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Chapter 43 – Silver mines (4)
The youth with a refined voice disagreed with the girl.
“Shhh, stop talking about it. What that young man wants to do isn’t any of our business. Just pretend that you know nothing about what you saw. This isn’t a simple matter and he might have other companions. None of us wants to get our throats cut, right?”
The group fell into silence after his persuasion.
“…… Very well,” Maher finally said, “then it’s decided. Since we’re going to leave after this, we won’t want to get into unnecessary trouble.”
The others nodded.
Brendel turned his head to look at them. He did not expect there was someone with good common sense amongst them, so he wanted to see who the person was, but the group had turned around and walked away.
[That’s a little interesting.]
Brendel mused to himself. He continued to walk a mile to the silver mines without taking very long. When he entered the area, he clearly felt the increase of security to the point where it could be considered strict.
The silver mines sat in the middle of the looping mountains, and the thinner veins of silver deposits had been completely mined, causing the mountain walls to form into a depression and made into an artificial valley
[I wonder what kind of minerals these dark red boulders have in them. Hmm, these buildings on the surrounding mountain peaks are clearly watchtowers. They make this terrain very troublesome to capture. Also, there’s no hidden space to lure the Gold-ranked swordsman out here. It’s literally impossible to catch him here…… I need to change my plans a little.]
He continued to study the environment. The ground was considerably flat and extended towards the horizon, but he was unable to find the entrance to the silver mines. What he saw next was a heavily guarded building which looked somewhat like a fortress.
[Randner’s Gold-ranked commander and his administrative officer must be in this building.]
Workers were moving about in the mines amidst the piled rocks, soil, and carts. Most of them were walking orderly in a queue, and there were only a few adventurers who looked perplexed as they were here for the first time, just like Brendel.
But he did not feel tense and calmly followed the workers in silence. The soldiers would not leave this group of adventurers alone, and he was certain they would be ordered.
He was right.
A group of patrolling riders soon appeared from the valley’s side and rode towards the adventurers who were milling about. These riders wore bright army uniforms that represented they worked for nobles and roared at the top of their voices, apparently uninterested in wasting time: “Queue up over there, take your number tags and tools!”
Once they threw down their instructions, they immediately went towards the incoming adventurers at the valley’s entrance.
Brendel glanced at the direction where the riders had pointed to. The administrative workers were handing out tools and wooden tags with numbers written on them, which were forbidden to damage or lose them. If anyone lost them, they would be heavily punished. In this medieval-like era, Vaunte did not promote humanitarianism. One could have a reasonable or unreasonable cause to kill someone, and it would not be a big deal.
Even the officer even in the mining area had the authority to hang someone to death, as long as he suspected that person was stealing Count Randner’s precious ores.
Brendel did not care about that. His concern was the camps he was going to be allocated to. The workers naturally stayed within the valley, and no matter how stingy the officers were, they would build at least build camps for the workers, no matter how terribly built they were.
[I can’t help but sigh at the thoughts of staying in awful smelling huts. Thankfully the body of a Gold-ranked fighter tolerates things better despite the increase in perception.]
In the game, these camps were usually thatched huts that had awful odors that a person from modern Earth would find intolerable. Brendel was worried that he would keel over if he entered it.
[Bloody fucking hell.]
His worries became a reality.
Brendel’s nose wrinkled as the smell of shit and piss mixed with thick body sweat wafted into his nasal glans, and he covered his mouth in order to suppress the urge to retch. He frowned deeply as he stood in front of a shaky hut that looked more like a hastily constructed shed, and glanced back and forth at it and his number tag several times, but he eventually realized that he was going to sleep there. He suddenly realized the girls had made a wise decision for not sneaking into the camp, and he was the foolish one for choosing to do so.
He hesitated for a while and turned back to look at the camping area. There were many sheds in the valley. His mercenaries were scattered all over the place, but he was certain that they would not be affected in communicating with each other.
The other good news was that three mercenaries were also allocated to the same area. He had found their signs outside the hut in front of him.
But whether he received good or bad news, he had to face the most important question in front of him. He agonized internally for a while before he walked into the dimly lit area, with an expression that was no less pained than a falsely accused prisoner walking to the gallows.
Before he entered the area, he shook his hand slightly, and an undetectable flow of air placed a few pebbles on the ground into the shape of a triangle. At his current level, the White Raven Sword Arte allowed him to control the wind to a certain degree.
[This is a pretty useful technique. Maybe if I have time, I can try going to the palace and get the advancement scroll for it. It’s a bit of a shot in the dark though. Hmm, but princess Gryphine is most likely proficient in it, maybe I can fulfill some conditions to get her to teach me? How should I tackle this problem……]
Despite his attempt to distract his mind, he could not help but cover his nose a little as he entered the shed, which had turned silent upon his entry.
“Tsk, a noble’s spoilt brat.” The voice was nearly undetectable to an ordinary human, but Brendel heard it clearly.
He glanced at the direction of the voice and was instantly surprised. Jocah was sitting down on a straw mat and was looking at him with a smile, while the other youths in the group were beside him.
The oldest amongst them was taller and more built, nearly reaching Brendel’s height.
[This must be Maher.]
Brendel was certain the voice came from him. His eyes shifted to the slight movement from the latter’s hands on his shirt. He could guess that the object behind the thin fabric was either a dagger or short sword.
[These useless guards at the checkpoint…… As for this Maher person, you have some guts, but apparently, you’re asking to be killed.]
His eyes shifted to the side after he evaluated him. There was a lanky boy who looked malnourished, his face appearing almost gaunt. However, his eyes were unlike Maher’s wary looks or Jocah’s sheepish surprise, but of intent observation.
Brendel wanted to rub his forehead. He had been in battles constantly for the past few months, killed and slaughtered undead and humans alike, led thousands of soldiers and mercenaries, and even became a Gold-ranked fighter.
Even if he tried to hide his identity, there were traits that he was unable to hide. In the end, he decided to observe that youth as well, but there was nothing interesting about the latter, other than a grey bag which was filled to the brim at his feet.
After a few more seconds, he turned to the disguised girl. Despite the dimly lit place, Brendel could see freckles on her as though she was under sunlight. She was thin and not exactly pretty, but her features were prominent.
There were three other young men near them beside the people he had some slight impression with, and they seemed like they belonged to the same group as well. But his thought quickly shifted to a furious complaint—
[Eight people squeezed together like packed tuna in a can. This damned hut is even smaller than my university’s dorm room…… You bunch of miserly pieces of shit-eating nobles!]