Chapter 317: Chills Crawling Down One’s Throat
During the era of dead snow, the roads of nations became considerably quieter.
During the dead snow, many nobles and merchants hid themselves and enjoyed the luxury of their accumulated wealth. Commoners, who were usually busy working away from home, got back to the countryside and drank quietly.
Everyone, except for the magical beasts, quietly held their breaths. The dead snow was such an era.
There were at most two types of people who would triumphantly trample on those roads.
Merchants who were overly greedy, and mercenaries who wielded their skills just to make money.
A number of merchant carriages ran while swaying in the snow. Around a dozen mercenaries were running side by side, and the carriages seemed to be packed with a suitable number of people.
Hiring these people cost a fair amount of money, but the merchants who led the carriages knew that it was well worth it.
The client this time was Prison Beulah. There were more than a few hundred personnel inside, several times the number of prisoners. They needed food to fill their countless stomachs.
Of course, things that fit in a prisoner’s stomach were nothing but cheap, but even such things could be worth several times more if they were carried in the dead snow. Prisoners would not mind moldy bread.
No, it would be more than enough for the Old Believers who were being held as prisoners in Beulah.
There weren’t many other merchants who could bring in food, even if they charged exorbitant prices. Therefore, the prison side also had no choice but to buy food and materials at those high prices.
Indeed, those valiant merchants thought there was no better business than this.
Of course, there was the danger of being attacked by magical beasts, and the danger of losing everything at any moment. They had heard many times that their colleagues lost their lives doing so.
Nevertheless, the merchants thought that life was short and meaningless. Therefore, until they died, they had to endure it even amidst danger.
That’s what they thought. This was now the right time to do business. The leading horses roared loudly. The sound of hooves rumbled, and the carriages creaked.
Did the snow get into the horses’ eyes again? The moment when such a carefree thought ran through everyone’s mind.
The necks of the horses that were pushing the carriages burst with blood. The throwing axe gleefully ate up the horse meat.
Almost at the same time, a thunderous roar rang out loud.
Immediately, the eyes of the mercenaries opened wide. That familiar sound echoed in their ears.
That sound did not belong to voices. That sound belonged to armor jumping and hitting iron. The sound of a few hooves and a crowd of humans cracking the ground.
It was hard not to know which sound it was. It was the sound people made when they attacked other people.
The mercenaries grabbed their weapons with their hands and fought.
In the snow, I heard the sound of iron being shaken vigorously. The world of dead snow that had been dyed in a single color faded into a vague reddish hue.
Then, this reddish hue became stronger because of the spilled fresh blood, melting the snow and permeating the earth.
It continued for several times.
What hit my ears was the sound of sword fighting, as well as the sound of screams. The unpleasant sensation of tearing flesh and crushing bones spread in my hands.
Beneath the gray sky, screams reverberating from around the carriages went for a while, as if the falling snow were being thrown away. That was the sound when a person was attacked.
「Spare me! Look, my arm is broken, and I can’t fight anymore…! 」
The man in front of me looked like a mercenary, judging from his appearance. Considering the quality of his equipment, this man was probably the head of the mercenary group that guarded the carriages.
He was on his knees, showing his arm bent in a decidedly strange way, and yelling something.
I opened my eyes wide. I said, with my treasure sword raised straight up.
「…You must have become a mercenary because you thought it was okay to die. Then, look at my face. Die with a grudge.」
A line of purple light ripped through the air.
I put enough momentum on the blade to pierce an arrow and split the mercenary’s skull. The blood splattered so much that it was disgusting, but it would eventually be covered with white snow. I felt like I could see the dead snow butterflies twinkling in the snow.
When I suddenly looked up at the surroundings, all sword fighting and screams, had stopped ringing. It looked like it was over.
「I feel like I’ve become a thief. Lord Lugis, you’re quite used to this, do you have experience in being a thief?」
Vestaline stared in this direction, placing her battle-axe on her shoulder, and spoke. In her eyes, I could see a color close to exasperation. Red was splattering on her beautiful cheeks. It was probably blood.
I shrugged my shoulders and wiped the blood off my sword.
「Well. I do know that human beings hide three or four shady things…No, actually, five.」
I exhaled the air from the bottom of my lungs. As the exhilaration of the battle wore off, a numbing pain ran throughout my body.
I wasn’t injured in this fight. It was just that my body, which had become a ragged garment from Flimslat, hadn’t healed yet. Well, it worked for this situation, so it was fine.
When I asked about the damage, Vestaline shrugged her shoulders as if imitating me and only said that there were several injured. I thought she had a stubborn personality, but she was unexpectedly light-hearted.
No deaths, which was great.
That being said, it was natural because we launched a surprise attack on dozens of people while they were accompanied by mercenaries who only cared about money.
I returned the treasure sword to my waist and stared at the earth. There were clear footprints left in the snow-covered road.
Apparently, surviving merchants escaped to Prison Beulah as expected. I hoped things went well after this.
For a moment, I felt a chill in my throat and frowned.
I had a bad feeling. Not that something happened. For some reason, when my expectations as a human being were going well, I felt like something bad was going to wake me up.
Then, without knowing it, the ending rolled in the direction of misunderstandings. It was the same with Garoua Maria and Belfein.
Vestaline looked at my profile with suspicion and said the following.
「Taking food from the merchants, is that your mighty war plan? The prisoners inside will die first, you know, brutal Lord Lugis.」
I didn’t know what triggered it, but it seemed that my evaluation was not good for Vestaline. She had something of integrity to begin with. The warfare did not go well with her personality.
If I lightly opened the hood of the carriage left by with my fingertips, some food would spill out. It seemed that they were doing a lot of unreasonable stuffing. With this, it would be difficult to check what was piled up inside these carriages.
I rubbed my lips with my finger. I replied to Vestaline with my distorted cheeks.
「C’mon, can we have a long-term battle in the dead snow? That’s why I let the merchants escape.」
What did she think I let the merchants go? Was it for the guards and soldiers of Prison Beulah to know our whereabouts? Truly?
I opened my lips and continued my words.
「They’ll come out of the prison as soon as possible, or tomorrow morning at the latest. It’s okay, don’t worry and thank you for your collaboration.」
Even in times of dead snow, food tended to be scarce. Especially if it was a prison far from the villages. Food was a precious thing.
Then the merchants who risked their lives to bring in the food were our lifeline. Of course, I wouldn’t be doing careless management that would cause people to starve to death immediately. I could not afford to overlook the goods stolen by us.
I shall take it all back. Even if I came a little later. The merchants would tell the prison guards about it. They brought a load that could not be carried so easily. Therefore, the merchants would say that thieves killed all the horses so that they wouldn’t carry the goods.
「Gather the mercenaries. I want you to remember the plan from now on. 」
Upon hearing my words, Vestaline narrowed her eyes and spoke in response. There was a hint of skepticism in her eyes.
「I don’t mind, but if it’s a terrible scenario, I won’t agree. Please convince me firmly.」
Those were the typical words of Vestaline, who was originally reluctant to attack the Prison Beulah.
Did she say that it would be too unreasonable to destroy the prison itself, even if it meant rescuing one or two people?
She probably hated me from the beginning, but it seemed that she still viewed me as someone without much credibility. She thought I was a very unreasonable person when I invaded Belfein and brought her sister with me into that chaos.
When I told her that, Vestaline said that it was natural.
「Of course, Lord Lugis…you haven’t even answered to what said yet, have you? 」
After saying that, Vestaline showed her back. Her battle-axe swung around, and blood was dancing in the dead snow.
Lugis has become quite ruthless.
Thank you to the Patrons for the continued support!