TL: Alright, this is the last sponsored chapter. Again, thank you very much for the support especially from really generous people who donated chunks of money my way. I’ll see you again at the end of the month.
Chapter 41 – Silver mine (2)
“I don’t have firm information about the silver veins in the forest,” the owner lowered his body and whispered, “but if you do not lack money you can approach the well-known local adventurers here, they have entered the forest many times and even drew maps of the nearby areas.”
“How useful are these maps?”
Brendel nodded and asked information regarding the town’s workers and the patrolling time of the soldiers near the mines. He thought he made his group look like they were out for adventuring, but the innkeeper saw them as naive scions of nobles who were out for fun.
Neither cared about their misunderstandings, and the conversation continued until a dwarf nearly crashed onto Brendel as he stumbled close towards him.
“Excuse me,” Odum looked at the youth and barely recognized him as the person who came in earlier. His eyes were almost accusatory, as though Brendel was at fault, and shook his head in disapproval.
Brendel’s mouth nearly dropped. The path was wide enough for the old dwarf to walk by, but the latter made him sound like his chair was blocking his way. He did not want to have a scene, so he pulled his chair in after a moment of hesitation, but suddenly whirled his head back to the dwarf again.
Odum’s face was red from the alcohol and Brendel thought he was a common Mountain Dwarf, but the color of his arms was light grey.
The youth’s heart skipped a beat.
[A Rune Dwarf?]
He felt like he was somehow asleep and wanted to pinch the dwarf’s face to confirm whether he was sleeping, or if the latter was real.
The Rune Dwarves in Vaunte’s history was not as prominent as the Silver Elves, and they come from the Jurgen Underworld just like the Subterrane Dwellers, but their status was unique because they were from the Silver Lineage that disappeared from history a long time ago.
It was believed that the Rune Dwarves had died out during the Era of Chaos, but rumors indicated that the race survived because there was another city in the Underworld cut off by the Mercury Sea.
Either way, Brendel did not think he had the chance to see a living Rune Dwarf, mostly recognizable by their skin color as no other dwarves had the same color.
These Rune Dwarves were the builders of the Steel Plains, and their architectural skills were considered on par with the Wizard Craftsmen, though the Rune Dwarves were dissatisfied with the evaluation. Unfortunately, they would never be able to truly compete because the dwarves’ buildings were located in the Underworld and the Wizard Craftsmen’ buildings on the surface.
Brendel calmed himself after a short pause.
[It might be possible he’s from a bloodline that drifted outside the Underworld. Every race has their own adventurers no matter what kind of traits they have. Though these drifters might not have their cultural heritage, and some of them don’t even know what race they belong to.]
Perhaps no one in the town recognized this old dwarf for who he truly was.
Brendel continued to ponder as Odum staggered shakily past him, and his eyes followed the latter’s back out of the inn’s door.
[There’s no point to talk with a drunken dwarf right now; he seems like he’s a worker here as well, so I don’t think he will be disappearing anytime soon.]
Brendel did not follow him in the end. His goal was to take control of the silver mines, and there would be a chance to interact with him later. He turned towards the innkeeper and said:
“That old man? His name is Odum. He has stayed here for a quite some time,” the innkeeper did not know why the youth was interested in the dull-looking dwarf, “he’s currently working in the mines.”
“As a miner?”
“He works as one of the foremen.”
“Does he have any special traits like being knowledgeable in construction?” Brendel pressed on.
“…… Hmm, I don’t think I’ve heard anyone say that before,” the innkeeper shook his head.
“I see, I thought the dwarves are all specialists in building something,” Brendel laughed and lied intentionally.
“That would be the dwarves in the north.”
Brendel nodded and thanked him for the information and the innkeeper left to tend to his other customers.
“Is there something special about that dwarf?” Jana asked.
“No, nothing of importance. Let’s discuss the information we have from the innkeeper.”
“What do you make of his information?” Jana’s eyes had a streak of anxiety in them. She was the next person to Brendel to be concerned about this matter’s success.
“We had originally thought that the workers return every day from the mines, but as you heard from the innkeeper, they work six full days there and only return to the town on Sunday. That’s not good at all.”
“The people in charge of the mines seem to be quite strict.”
“Yes, and our chances to sneak in becomes smaller.”
“Why do we need to sneak in?” Scarlett asked as she did not understand.
“Controlling the silver mines isn’t hard as long as we can capture that Gold-ranked swordsman commander. It shouldn’t be hard since Scarlett, Medissa and I are Gold-ranked ourselves. The hundred-odd guards won’t be a match for us, but doing it silently without attracting the attention of Lord Palas would be difficult. You should know how much of a commotion a fight between Gold-ranked fighters is, and if any guard realizes the silver mine is under attack, they will make sure to seek help from Lord Palas, and it won’t take more than a few days to know that Schafflund is taken.”
“Perhaps we can cut off their paths ahead of time by putting the mercenaries in their paths,” Romaine suggested.
“Lord Palas is indirectly in-charge of the silver mines’ safety, and if there’s no news from Schafflund for a long time, he would be suspicious.” Brendel shook his head: “We need to control this place and make it look like it’s running as usual, then transport the silver to Firburh.”
The silver would then be moved to a mint to manufacture coins. This was not much of a secret in Firburh as Graudin had his private mint hidden in a manor within the city.
This was naturally an act of treason liable to hanging, but Brendel’s favorite phrase easily stated his thoughts— A person on a death row would not mind if the noose on his neck were one or two ropes.
“Is it possible to lure him out and take him down? Surely that commander can’t stay in the mines all the time.” Medissa suggested with her soft voice.
“It’s certainly possible, but what if he doesn’t come out for a whole month, does it mean we have to wait just as long?” Brendel shook his head again and said: “This is why we should take the initiative, and at the very least, we should enter the mines and observe their movements. We might even pick up on how they communicate with the Palas region.”
“Then what should we do now, my lord?” Jana asked.
“Stop, don’t address me with that title,” Brendel glanced at his surroundings cautiously, “there are two pieces of good news from the innkeeper. First is the possibility of the adventurers mapping the silver mines. I feel this is highly possible since good adventurers probably make maps all the time.”
“You’re not wrong, my…… young master,” Jana changed her words in time when Brendel’s eyes darted to her who had trouble using this title, “sometimes, the adventurers would even work with the local bandits. The nobles tend to ignore them since they won’t be able to cause any problems.”
“What’s the second good news?” Romaine asked.
“This information is subtle to pick up on, but the adventurers occasionally go to the mining area and work there. Not all the adventurers manage to earn money here.”
Jana was surprised and asked: “Count Randner is willing to allow these troublesome people into the mines?”
“Why wouldn’t they? The mines need workers. I’m certain that the adventurers are not allowed to bring in weapons when they enter the mines, and they are not allowed to bring even one piece of rock out when they leave. They exchange the silver ores in the mines for food and money, so what kind of trouble would they be able to cause? And the final reason…… It’s Count Randner’s territory. Who else would cause trouble other than us?” Brendel listed his reasons one by one.
“Then can’t we go sneak in by this method?” Scarlett’s eyes lit up.
“Well, yes and no, the women can’t, while the men can. The silver mines can’t allow women to work or else there will be chaos,” Brendel said with a bemused expression.
The girls looked at each other and understood how easy it was to gain information on the guards’ movements with this plan.
“Therefore,” Brendel said as he observed them, “it’s best I infiltrate the silver mines on my own.”