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Chapter 40 – Silver mines (1)
There was an inn located in central Schafflund and the owner a normal middle-aged man. However, the ale sold there had exceptional taste and thus attracted many recurring customers.
Most of them were locals who worked in the silver mines six days every week and returned every Sunday to rest, with a terrible body odor worked up from perspiration. They had loud, boorish voices, ignored what others thought of them, and leered at the waitresses.
If any barkeep girl flirted with them, they would definitely be booed at.
A few young men sat in one corner and stole glances at the noisy drinkers while discussing their affairs. Their parents were workers at the mine, and so were they. But these youths’ restless and brash personalities made them unwilling to resign themselves to spend their whole lives in this manner, and were currently discussing with each other to leave this town and see the outside world.
They had spent their entire lives within the town, and the furthest they went to was the forest, and the ideas they had of other regions came from the adventurers that came into the inns.
When they were finally prepared to leave Schafflund, they arranged the time to meet up and depart. However, they heard a cold scoff emitted through the nose near them. The young men’s startled heads whipped quickly to the opposite table in guilt and saw an aging dwarf.
He had a large nose and long braided beard that reached to his waist. Metal clasps were wrapped around his stocky arms, his legs short but thick and powerful. His skin color did not belong to a mountain dwarf’s ruddy complexion but a pale grey color.
The youths’ expressions immediately contorted. The old dwarf’s name was Odum; they did not know where he came from, but he was rumored to be skilled in mining and was hired to be a foreman.
His temper was atrocious, personality stubborn, and was inflexible; he never humored anyone. He seemed to have troubles of his own, and many had seen him drinking by his lonesome self— Dwarves love to drink, but they rarely do so on their own, and certainly unlikely to put a snarling grimace while ignoring everyone.
That was not the end of his unfavorable impression. He was also arrogant and looked down on everyone, even speaking badly about his superiors. He was bad-tempered enough to even insult the king, so they saw him as an eccentric person and ignored his actions.
The youths who saw him instantly cried bitterly in their hearts. One of them who had better social sense immediately spoke in a friendly tone: “Foreman Odum, we didn’t see you—”
The old dwarf glared at them: “Why, did I disturb you?”
“No, no, not at all. Would you allow us to treat you to a few rounds……”
“I don’t give a shit about your treat, but I’ll remind you young’uns that the world outside is harder than you think. Be careful not to get knocked in the head on your way out.” Odum snorted from his nose.
The youths were relieved and stuttered a few parting words in response. They nudged each other and quickly left the front door.
When they were finally out of the inn, they could not help but curse their luck for encountering the old dwarf. It was fortunate that he was in bad terms with the majority of the people in the town. Many of them would be rebuked if their parents found out.
Odum shook his head when he saw the youths leave. The world was a harsh place, but he did not bother himself with a bunch of hot-blooded youths. He was about to lift his flagon of ale, but the appearances of a group comprising of three men and women caught his eyes.
In fact, most of the people in the hall had their eyes lit up when Brendel pushed the doors open.
A bunch of beautiful lasses—
Medissa was a pure blooded Silver Elf from the royal family and was remarkably beautiful. Even though her body had not fully matured, her somewhat delicate appearance was more appealing.
Romaine and Scarlett were just as eye-catching. The merchant girl had a unique air about her that made people look at her twice, especially with her inquisitive dark eyes darting everywhere, while her hands were placed squarely on her leather bag in front of her belt.
Scarlet’s wary crimson eyes combined with her large halberd had the same effect. When she walked into the inn’s hall, her eyebrows were slightly knitted and lifted up a little, warning everyone not to approach.
But the reason why the bar was rowdy was due to Jana. Some men whistled loudly as they leered at the female mercenary commander’s ample chest and sexy body.
The latter did not mind the noise but sneered coldly in response.
Brendel had seen typical scenarios in games and stories about the inns; adventures would discuss their plans, while the loutish customers would raise their voices as they had drinking games, with the waitresses flirting laughs.
[It will be perfect if there’s a bard.]
He was quite fascinated by this sight and smiled.
The inn’s owner closed in on them. He looked like an ordinary middle-aged man, but it seemed like he was able to recognize the relationship between Brendel and the others.
While the inn’s men looked at the group with their lower bodies, the middle-aged man studied the two handsome men a few steps behind Brendel but shifted his gaze away after a few seconds to the youth.
As the owner of this inn, he learned how to read people after seeing so many people come and go. He was able to recognize him amongst the others because Brendel’s confidence as a modern-age person was similar to descendants of high-ranking nobles who had received good upbringing.
[This must be a scion of an important noble!]
He thought as he squeezed out a smile and used a polite tone subconsciously: “What does everyone need?”
Brendel looked at the menu and pointed at the most expensive wine. He was uninterested in the choices but merely chose to keep up an appearance.
The other ladies, with the exception of Medissa, chose a fruit wine that tasted mildly sweet and sour. Heroic Spirits did not need to eat, and Medissa merely sat quietly at their sides. Scarlett noticed this and whispered: “You can’t eat?”
Medissa paused for a moment and shook her head: “It’s not necessary for me.”
“Then it’s best to try something. It will be a little conspicuous if you don’t order.” Scarlett said as she combed through her ponytail.
“Not so,” Romaine’s voice cut in as she spoke earnestly, “a real lady wouldn’t eat or drink in this chaotic and noisy place!”
Scarlett watched the merchant girl drink her flagon of fruit wine with satisfaction. She rolled her eyes as she said with a huff: “Aren’t you drinking?”
“But I’m not a lady!” Romaine’s said with widened eyes.
Medissa giggled as she listened to their conversation.
The middle-aged owner confirmed his thoughts when he saw the two men standing silently behind Brendel without ordering anything. The girls were the youth’s companions, and the men were his subordinates.
He glanced at everyone and asked with a sensitivity belonging to a businessman: “I assume everyone isn’t a local?”
Scarlett stopped speaking and raised her eyebrow cautiously. Brendel knew there was nothing to hide. The innkeeper might not hold power in this town, but he probably knew enough locals to see through any lies they could come up with, so he nodded:
“We’re here to test our luck.”
But he did not give the truth either.
The owner thought Brendel was a young noble seeking fun and adventures. It was not uncommon.
“Do you mean to go out to the forest? Do you need a guide?” He asked.
Since Brendel had ordered the most expensive wine, he was quite happy to aid him.
Brendel glanced at the wine in his hand. The service was quite considerate, probably because of how expensive it was. This place was an information hub, and the owner typically sold it as a side business, but as the information was taken from third parties, it was not checked for falsehoods.
He had to remove the useless bits by himself. The only thing good about it was the price of the information was included with the drinks.
“I don’t need a guide, but I want to know more about the forest.” He shook his head and said.
“The town’s surroundings are safe, but if you go deep into the forest, you might encounter beasts and possibly monsters. Also, the mines are in the north, if you travel there, you might encounter the patrolling guards. It won’t be good for you to meet them because they might capture you for being suspicious—”
The owner paused in the middle of his explanation, then quickly added as though he was afraid the youth might abuse his status:
“While this place is within Trentheim, the owner of the silver mines is Count Randner.”
Brendel sipped the wine that was brought to him, and a burning sensation went down his throat before it burst up to his nose, almost causing him to cough. He frowned because he nearly made a fool out of himself, especially when he was not a good drinker. After dispelling the taste in his mouth, he decided not to touch it anymore.
“What other areas must I avoid?” He asked.
“Not heading north would be fine.” The owner said.
“But how is it possible for us to find the silver veins if we’re not close to the mines?” Brendel pretended to look troubled.
The owner thought he was right in predicting what Brendel came for.