TL: This chapter is pretty dry because the entire thing is about world building.
Chapter 43 – Bruglas’s underground auction (1)
The seventh month. Bruglas’s air was filled with a scorching heat that made people feel reluctant to move.
Under the peaceful exterior lies a darker current. One could predict the movements of the noble in the first half of this month. The signs of the war ending was becoming more and more apparent, and the people who wanted to profit from the aftermath were becoming restless. (TL: This paragraph is unclear. Lines like this do appear from time to time, but this one was particularly bad. It’s either part of the nobles were able to predict the aftermath of the war and were becoming restless to profit from the war, or what you see above.)
The citizens frequently saw messengers coming in one after another on horse, and those who did not know the situation thought the war was becoming even more intense. In truth, these letters were negotiations done in the Winter Rose Fortress.
The commoners felt insecure, and the nobles also felt insecure.
Yet this had nothing to do with Brendel, and he spend three days to follow his schedule. He obtained a registry pass for to search new lands as a ‘Pioneering Knight’. The pass was a document that stated the loyalty and responsibilities of a knight towards the king, which was stamped with a seal on it.
This thin piece of parchment was even more valuable than gold in the early days. However, with Aouine’s decline and the knights retaining their own power in their local region, as well as adventurers’ turning to lawless endeavors and without anyone interested in expanding the kingdom’s boundaries, the term of a ‘Pioneering Knight’ gradually became a title that did not have any power to it.
Some time after the first king of Aouine, nobles slowly started to auction this title after they had solidified their foothold, and this piece of parchment slowly lost its value.
Brendel’s action was similar to how he did it in the game. He told Batum to buy a pretty dress for some random administrator’s wife, and he managed to get this title. He had held this title for days before Roen finally brought a piece of good news to him.
The long awaited underground auction’s date finally arrived.
Bruglas’s underground auction date was going to be held on the tenth day. There were numerous illegal goods including human trafficking. The people who participated this event ranged from mercenaries, adventurers, illegal merchants and even Bruglas’s lawmakers.
Without a doubt, there were also nobles.
The people who controlled this market were certainly from the local underground factions, but it was known to many that there were nobles who participated in them, and none would be the wiser if they maintained a peaceful and stable society for the citizens.
The auction site was usually held at the Maria’s market in Hood street or the eastern area at the Shepherd market. These areas were filled with people, and were deliberately chosen as it was actually better to use them as cover. People who paid close attention would discover that many unfamiliar faces would appear on certain days, and talked to each other and leave on the second morning.
These markets had mini auction sites that were used as cover, while the true sites were constructed only during the period and then dismantled.
These constructions might appear to be funded by ordinary merchants, but if one was to investigate, the funds came from the local parliament of nobles.
When Batum assisted Brendel down from the horse carriage, Bruglas’s evening sun lit the surroundings with a fiery hue that seemed to make things look like they were burning. In this light, Ciel wore a knight’s uniform and held his chest up high in order to make Brendel look like a highland knight from Karsuk.
Behind Brendel was Amandina and Romaine, acting as his younger sister and fiancee respectively.
Amandina removed her hand discreetly from Brendel’s helping hand when she alighted from the carriage. She wore a black veil and an equally black formal dress, her eyes observing the mini auction site with a disinterested expression.
She appeared to be completely different than before. Brendel found her to be weak and soft when he first saw her at the run-down mansion, but she was now cold and unrelenting, as if there was an aura that forbade anyone from approaching her. Even Tirste’s scout would not be able to recognize her even if he was nearby.
When Amandina disappeared from her home, no one noticed it until a few days later. The disappearance of a person typically belonged to the city guards, but the city cavalry had done a large scale manhunt for her. Three medium sized platoons searched the eastern area and nearly alerted Bruglas’s parliament.
However, Lord Tirste did not want this event to trace back to him, and tied the disappearance to a prior case that happened half a year ago, and made it as a case about a headless corpse.
This was why Amandina was able to go outside safely.
Beside her was Romaine who was slightly taller than her. The merchant girl was staring at a row of crystal balls nearby. Her frowning eyebrows were knitted together, as if she was a researcher trying to analyze what exactly they were.
[Even if you stare at it however long you want, or however serious you are, there won’t be anything that appear in it, you know…..] Brendel was a little exasperated.
He was certain that Romaine was trying to get Amandina’s attention.
Romaine and Amandina got along well for the past few days, and she was especially delighted to have Amandina’s knowledge about the outside world from her books. It was at least better than Romaine’s knowledge that came from her imagination.
“What exactly is that, Ama?” Romaine finally could not resist asking.
Amandina’s concentration was also on the row of crystal balls. The owner was a man wearing a black uniform. Not anyone had the qualifications to wear that uniform, and it clearly showed that he was a priest.
Amandina turned her eyes to Brendel, but the young man did not seem to react. She paused for a moment and frowned.
“That’s a ‘Fire seed’.” Amandina kept her eyes on Brendel and replied softly.
“What’s a ‘Fire seed’?”
“It’s a holy object that people use to spread civilization in the wilderness. I didn’t think I am able to witness something like this here in an auction.”
“I don’t understand.” Romain answered in a straightforward manner.
Amandina sighed in spite of herself. Brendel did not disappoint her in the past few days. She did not think that he was truly a knight, and one who was a legendary highland knight. Furthermore, he had acted in a polite manner most of the time, handled situations calmly and effectively, and fulfilled the image of a feudal lord in her mind—
[This fiancee of his is giving me a slight headache. It’s not that she’s not an easy person to get along with, and her personality is quite charming. But at the same time, she’s treating me like an encyclopedia and keeps asking me everything with the word ‘curiosity’ in her eyes.]
But she was unable to refuse and could only reply back.
“How much do you know about our world?”
“I know nothing about it.”
The young girl coughed twice: “Then I’ll try to talk about it a little. In the Kirrlutz’s poem, their god ‘Aixule” (Marsha) created the world from Chaos, and made the six elements, ‘Fire, Wind, Earth, Water, Life and Darkness’. After Aixule established a contract with the four Elven kings, the world’s border was formed.”
“With the border constantly drawing out magic energy from Chaos, it extended to all sides and formed the land that we see now. This world should be a circle that extends infinitely from four sides, but at the same time this world is constantly affected by Chaos, so Mother Marsha created laws to bind this land and set the areas where mortals are allowed to traverse in. In this region, the sun, the stars and the moon continue to work normally. Thus mortals are allowed to flourish and civilization can continue—”
“But the land that is outside Mother Marsha’s protection, is the Battlefield of the Elements and Chaos. There is a large buffer area between the protected land and the Battlefield. This buffer area is what we call the ‘Wilderness’. Since one can travel into this buffered area from the Battlefield or from our land, the terms ‘Pioneering Knights’ and ‘Monster Waves’ came about.”
“As for a Fire Seed, it is a ‘Law’ that can be planted into the earth. Any land that is developed in the ‘Wilderness’ has a fire seed in them.” (TL: The amount of world building tires me out for sure.)
Amandina coughed as she explained. “Do you understand now?”
Romaine nodded and then shook her head. She answered like a hardworking student: “I only understand the first sentence! O-ouch, let go of me Brendel—” Brendel pulled her cheeks, and held her in his arms as she flailed about when he heard what she said.
“Little Romaine. Looks like that you don’t have any talent for becoming a wizard, so there’s no need to worry about this. You should just worry about how much money we can earn in the auction.” Brendel spoke as he cast an apologetic look at Amandina.
Amandina gave a faint smile in return and walked towards him.
“Are you not interested in these Fire Seeds, Ser Brendel?” As an advisor, she knew that Brendel had bought the title of an Pioneering Knight.
Brendel glanced at the crystal balls. He was interested at their appearance, but there were definitely others who were interested in them as well, so he could only try to bid for it. At the same time, he had a place in mind that he wanted to go to which already had a Fire Seed, so he did not urgently need it.
“I understand. I can try and bid for it later on.”
Amandina watched him nod but she was not very convinced. Brendel appeared to be a young knight who left his home in order to get his own land, and his success depended on his ability to get his own land or got recognition in a battlefield. Her own path was a long road, and she knew that Brendel only admired her only for talent and not achievements.
With so many worries on her mind, she could not help but look at Brendel’s every action closely.
Brendel wanted to say something else when he felt her worries, but he suddenly saw Roen gesturing at him in a dark corner. He walked up to him and the cripple informed him that the auction was about to begin and they should hurry along. Brendel’s eyes darted around and indeed found that the people gathered around him had started to enter the site.