Chapter 115: Belfein the Mercenary City
Belfein the Mercenary City.
Belfein was a large city located in the suburbs of Garoua Maria. It had excellent military power among the surrounding city-states. The city was flooded with mercenaries and adventurers. They lived their lives without caring about tomorrow while indulging in daily pleasures.
Why was there so much mercenaries or adventurers that gave Belfein its infamous name? One could say that the reason lay within Belfein’s policy, but the bigger factor was its location.
Garoua Maria was a wonderfully prosperous trading city, naturally flooded with a large number of merchants and goods. When goods flowed in, people gathered, and when people gathered, bandits and thieves gathered there as well.
Therefore, merchants needed to have safety measures to protect their goods and their lives. In other words, military power. This power would act as a defense force to prevent their property from being stolen. It was a way to avoid the threat of the blade and avoid bankruptcy.
Of course, there were free mercenaries and adventurers in Garoua Maria. However, it was not possible to help all the merchants who visited Garoua Maria.
Garoua Maria had undergone extensive development, but still surrounded by a hard shell called “the wall”. The population itself had limits in their jurisdiction and power, and the city could not keep up with the expanding economy.
The mercenary city of Belfein became an important source on which the merchants of Garoua Maria relied upon. Belfein widely accepted mercenaries, and thus, becoming their pillar to hide their rootless grass.
Instead of paying a portion for this benefit, the mercenaries gained a foothold in the city. Just as adventurers gained the support of aristocrats, in Belfein, the city-state became like a shield for every type of mercenaries.
The demand for mercenaries was so high that it gave off a rotten odor. Anyway, the trading city was very close to Belfein. Therefore, all the merchants who wanted bodyguards moved to Belfein.
The mercenary city of Belfein established itself through such a process over the years.
At this precise moment. I noticed many people going down the main street. Most of them were merchants with mercenaries by their side. There seemed to be no inconvenience for me to step inside this city.
I left the horse behind and trampled the sand on the road. The air smelled nostalgic. A strange smell of alcohol, sand and blood. I also felt the smell of scorching meat from the stalls.
I had no bad feelings, actually. There was no one I knew around me. I was by myself. I felt a strange sensation on my body. Yes, my shoulders felt light and free.
I knew it was selfish of me to think like this, but sometimes I wanted to be alone when there were too many people around me. Thinking about it now, did Helot Stanley, the former hero, have such thoughts too? Someone always accompanied him during the Journey of Salvation. However, I felt that he was always in great spirits.
Anyway. From now on, it was all up to me to decide on which strategy to use, what kind of person to use, and what means to use. It felt easy and liberating. It was no longer necessary for me to follow the Saint woman, Caria, Filaret, or other people.
While walking steadily ahead, I reached a road packed with people.
It was not too difficult to walk down the street despite it being crowded. In the old days, I felt hesitant to walk among crowds of people due to my nature as a person from the slums. Many of the poor children resorted to stealing. That was my ordinary life back then. However, I never thought that one day I would be one of those people who guarded their wallets tight so that nobody would steal from them. This fact made me feel at conflict with my former self.
I stepped on the sand very lightly, and slowly slipped into the alleys.
「Hmm…I never met a mercenary with such a name at my tavern. 」
The tavern’s owner stroke his beard with gray hair. His eyes were strangely sleepy. Was it because he did not sleep after a night’s work?
However, it was rather strange. I thought this place was his favorite tavern.
「Please try to remember. He must have been here at least once. He was a fan of poor quality rum.」
The old man moved his lips loosely again, saying that he did not know after I asked him again. He had wrinkles between his eyebrows. He did not make any effort to remember. I sighed involuntarily.
This old man had not changed at all. Well, it was not surprising though. Not much time had passed between my old timeline and this timeline.
「Okay then. I know it is early in the day, but would it be a sin against God if I drank on my own? I want you to bring me some ale and some good cheese. That’s all.」
The old man poured some ale on the pottery over the table. He looked at the ale with a cheerful smile. His wrinkles were apparent on his face while doing so.
However, his expression soon faded away again.
「But… I really don’t know such mercenary. I’ve never heard of that name before. Perhaps, he is not a mercenary.」
I wondered if it was another tavern. Perhaps, I was mistaken. But, I did remember this old man. I stared fixedly at his own eyes. It looked like he did not deceive me. Rather, it seemed that he tried to seriously remember, but did not find it anywhere in his head.
How strange. I checked the atmosphere inside the tavern and the scenery from the window. Several barrels piled up without any proper arrangement. The lights of the gambling hall could be seen from the window. This setting was no different from what I remembered in my memory.
It was truly this tavern. I frowned as I soaked my tongue in the ale.
After all, the mercenary city of Belfein used to be a land where I lived sporadically.
I often found work here. My finances were so bad that I could barely eat as an adventurer. However, I could still get some work done every time I came to Belfein. Thanks to this city, I was able to live moderately well.
Well, even so, I did not always have good memories. Rather, the bad memories were stronger in my head. My lips distorted without realizing it.
When I stayed here before, I joined hands with a man, albeit temporarily. I stroke my chin while thinking about it.
I wondered if the timing was slightly off. I could not remember what time and which day I met him here. There was a possibility that he visited another tavern at this moment.
It couldn’t be helped though. What a shame.
I pressed the hardened cheese against my teeth and used the ale to force it into my throat. The bitterness was rather comfortable now.
I never thought that I would ever drink again in this land. I felt like I would never step on this land again. Strangely, I felt light.
I didn’t know if it was uplifting or something to worry about.
「…Hey, old man. Do something about the Takari liquor that you serve every day. That kind of thing will destroy the reputation of your store.」
I poured the second cup of ale onto my lips. At the same time, a mercenary who entered the tavern strongly uttered those words.
I knew what those words meant. The owner replied then.
「I got rid of it today. What I have now is… 」
The mercenary did not let the owner finish his words.
He kicked the bottle with Takari liquor and trampled on it to relieve his anger. How foolish. It seemed that he wanted to show how great he was by doing a cruel act.
However, it was still a plausible criticism. Besides, I was not in a position to reprimand the mercenary nor ask what taste the product had. Rather, I tried to avoid unnecessary trouble.
Therefore, I poured more ale into my throat without worrying about it. Strangely, the heat burned my esophagus.
Then, suddenly, I stood up. A piece of memory passed through my head. I felt as if something flickered my mind.
No, wait a second. No way. However, I had a strange feeling. A feeling that made me nod at the bottom of my chest as if my thoughts were correct.
I left silver coins on the table and went out through the back door.
No one used the main streets as a stage when making a mess. If that happened, then the government would not keep silent.
Therefore, the back alleys were the places where fights took place. The smell of garbage and the muddiness pierced my nose. I turned my gaze to the back of the alley while trying to avoid the filth thrown away on the floor.
I saw one figure. This person looked somewhat somber. He leaned against the wall with his hands as he threw up on the floor.
The body itself was not so thick, but rather thin. He had a wide-brimmed hat with a blue bruise on his face. He also had long lips that spread to his cheeks. This person had the same features as the man I knew well.
No way. I slowly opened my lips while thinking about this. At the same time, I smiled.
The sensations on the bottom of my chest engulfed my whole body. I had a strange feeling while my emotions fluctuated constantly.
「…Bruder, what are you doing? You are the needle-shooting Bruder, aren’t you? You look like you are going to die.」
I tapped on his shoulders as if I was treating an old friend. However, even though I knew him well, he did not know me during this timeline.
He spoke with a familiar voice that was no different from what it used to be.
「Did you just call my name? Sorry to disappoint you, but my needle-shooting work is out of business. You can call me the drunkard Bruder now. The stubborn old man of that tavern over there gave me some liquor but it was still not enough!」
There was no doubt that this pleasant voice belonged to the man I knew in the past timeline. A mercenary I knew very well, a former comrade of mine…
「It’s fine, you can drink as much as you want. But I want you to go back to the mercenary business again.」
…This man was Bruder, my friend who died.
EN: nooo brother!! I mean Bruder!
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