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The gates opened, and a huge large group of merchants left Emon City. All sorts of flags flew, with over five middle-scale groups and tens of other small ones in the caravan. There were also too many independent merchants to count.
The group was like a museum for the races of the World of Gods. Humans, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, half-elves, and many other half-bloods mingled, leaving Leylin’s mind blown.
There were a lot of Professionals amongst the mercenaries, but there wasn’t a single leading commander so everything looked chaotic with all sorts of people mixed in. Leylin saw a few dwarves riding wild boars running past him while hiccuping. He was rendered speechless.
‘There are even more races than the types of pirates I’m in charge of… The Professionals are all a mess…’ These mercenaries allowed Leylin to have a better understand of the Professions in the World of Gods.
From the most common warriors, thieves, squires, and assassins to the higher-grade knights, gunmen and archers, Leylin could also see some low-ranked bloodline holders as well as druids. They were attached to those large mercenary groups and were employed by the medium-ranked merchant groups.
As for the weak group that Leylin was a part of, they were employed by a small merchant group with no other choice. With their route interrupted, not being able to drop their goods off was one thing, but the terrifying fines of violating contracts was enough to render their families bankrupt.
In this world with deities, those protected by the gods could have their church dispatch priests and paladins to demand payment, and even the king would not dare renege on a debt. Waukeen loved doing this with her wealthy church, and of course the fee was very high.
Hence, under the threat of going bankrupt, these merchants had no choice but to force themselves onto a path blocked by ogres.
However, they were no fools. They issued a few large missions, and recruited enough mercenaries and helpers to form a huge caravan. This have them enough strength to protect themselves.
However, Leylin had his doubts about the strength of these low-ranked Professionals. They were destined to be cannon fodder!
“Everyone of the Night Halls, I entrust the fates of me and my sister to you!” Before they left, their employers had come to see them personally. It was a pair of noblewomen who seemed like sisters.
“Haha… Don’t worry, *hic* … With Old Pam around, those darned ogres will die as they come!” The leader of this little group, at least in name, made his promise while patting his chest. This hiccuping dwarf with a red brandy nose was called Pam. He was a rare gunslinger, though the butt of the gun at his waist was already filled with rust. Leylin felt like the firearm was just scrap metal at this point, only useful as a hammer in close combat.
Leylin hadn’e even remembered all his ‘teammates’ here yet.
‘Besides that inferior dwarf gunman Pam, there’s a halfling thief, a human archer and me, a warrior. This is really the worst of the worst. We only met yesterday through the attendant at the Mercenary Guild… These sisters were obviously made a fool of by that attendant…’
Leylin never expected for there to be fraud organisations like this in the World of Gods, established temporarily to trick customers. Still, he had no intentions of changing anything.
‘Though they tried to swindle people, the bit of commission you paid got you a rank 10 wizard. You’ve really made a huge profit!’ he thought inside.
At this moment, the noble lady in the horse carriage sighed, knowing that she had dug a hole for herself.
“Everyone…” The hanging curtain in the carriage was pulled to reveal the corner of a beautiful face. She looked to be about 25 or 26, more mature than most young women. However, one could see sorrow from her furrowed brows, as if she had some doubts.
“In order to ensure the safety on this trip, I’ve especially invited an adventurer! She is a high-ranked knight, and I’m sure she’ll get along well with everyone!” The noblewoman looked apologetic, but the person who paid money was the leader here. Pam, knowing how much weight the Night Halls carried, only mumbled a little but agreed.
“A new adventurer? And a high-ranked knight at that. It’s… her?” Leylin suddenly had a bad feeling.
“Sorry that I’m late, Sister Hera!” A black warhorse streaked through the gates of the city like lightning, and the tender voice of a female could be heard from the knight on her mount.
“Rafiniya!” Hera, who was inside the horse carriage, revealed a tender smile that caused Old Pam and the rest to look dazed.
The knight quickly arrived at the carriage and flipped over to get off the horse, revealing a face that Leylin was exceptionally familiar with.
“Sister Hera!” Rafiniya first pulled at Hera’s hand enthusiastically, and then looked at the mercenaries nearby.
“Hello, everyone! I’m Rafiniya, and we’re going to adventure together— huh…”
Halfway through introducing herself, Rafiniya abruptly stopped, eyes widening. “Ley, you bastard, you actually cheated me!”
The tender voice of a young girl, as well as her appearance, made it easy for people to have misconceptions. The dwarf Pam discreetly gave Leylin a look of approval, while the human archer seemed envious.
“I didn’t, you’re just a person with a poor sense of direction!” Leylin touched his nose and rolled his eyes, not feeling like speaking to this girl who was directionally challenged.
“Who did you say has a poor sense of direction?” Rafiniya was immediately like a kitten who’d had her tail stepped on. She burst out in anger.
“Do you know each other? That’s even better! Come here, Rafiniya. Tell me about what happened yesterday…” Hera came to mediate, and it was evident that she was very tactful.
“But…” Leylin focused on Hera’s hands. They were rough, and there even calluses at the side. They were much like the hands of the maids in Leylin’s manor, and her clothes were rather simple. The edges were slightly whitened. It was obvious that she did not have a good family background, but had employed Leylin and the others in the name of a noble.
‘A noble born of a commoner? Or does she have a more troublesome identity? Did she get Rafiniya because she seemed to have a great status? She’s quite shrewd…’ Leylin watched Rafiniya enter the carriage, and the sounds of laughter could be heard once in a while. He shook his head inside.
He did not discriminate against Hera. All methods were valid when one’s survival was at stake. As long as it didn’t affect him, he wouldn’t bother unveiling her plot.
“Tsk! Ley, look at that warhorse! It’s even taller than the two of us. I’ll bet you that this horse has a value of at least 200 Gold kronas!”
Old Pam was now demoted to a horsekeeper and was gloomy. He temporarily took care of Rafiniya’s horse on her behalf. The sight of a dwarf leading a tall horse was rather amusing, though the man himself did not realise this. His hands kept caressing the black horse while muttering, “A pity… What a pity… Look at how she’s abused this good horse! This colour of the coat and the abrasions would make those horse peddlers reduce their prices…”
“Please, she’s a lady of a noble family and didn’t even bring a horsekeeper when she came out. It’s already good enough that she didn’t starve it to death…” Leylin laughed as he patted Pam’s shoulders, which gained the man’s approval.
“Mm, mm,” Pam kept nodding, “I’m not bragging, but my father’s father was once a horsekeeper for the city owner. He was able to raise even the best warhorses with heavenly bloodlines till they were plump and healthy…”
“That doesn’t seem right…” Leylin was speechless as he shook his head. Dwarves usually liked to brag, not to mention those that had taken alcohol.
At this moment, a gold krona was thrown from the window and hit Pam’s head.
“Take care of this horse and it’s yours!” Golden rays shone in Pam’s eyes, and he didn’t even get mad, “No problem at all! Old Pam will help you take care of this treasure, esteemed lady!”
‘Inexperienced.’ This was Leylin’s evaluation of Rafiniya. There had been many eyes fixed on her horse, and after seeing the gold krona she had casually tossed away, those gazes turned to greed and malice.
Even the halfling thief and the human archers had changed expressions now, they were up to no good.
They were all mercenaries who’d banded together for now. Why would they trust each other? On dangerous roads, they could easily become robbers and bandits.
‘Even if Rafiniya’s a rank 10 knight, she won’t be able to evade the plots against her.’ Leylin could practically predict the fates of these three noble ladies.
‘Ogres are the best cover. As long as someone’s careful, they can push the blame to the devils. After all, would they actually contend with those ogres?’ Leylin took a look at his surroundings. The merchant groups had mostly gathered, though the people in charge of a few medium-sized groups had no intentions of leaving, as if waiting for some important people.
‘Could they have banded together and recruited a high-ranked Professional?’ Just as Leylin was wondering, an elite team appeared from Emon City. The leader was a middle-aged man wearing shining armour, a resolute expression on his face. Under his thick eyebrows were a pair of radiant eyes.
Behind him, a pale eagle flag fluttered in the wind.
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