Chapter 11 – Watching from the Shadows
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"We're here." A voice reminded in a hoarse voice, seemingly coming from the front. Turning around, Simonne saw the coachman before him pointing his index finger at the large gate in the far distance. Vague silhouettes of rising buildings and structures finally appeared within their sight.

"Let's hurry." Simonne said as he tightly grabbed the reins by his hands then lashed it down at the horse. The steed neighed and galloped up even faster than before.

The coachman looked at the speeding figure that overtook him at the side and then lashed the reigns of his steed too, trying to catch up.

Soon after, a large amount of crowd greeted them at the front. They all lined up in crooked rows, probably comprising of hundreds of various people that came from different places. Aside from the sea of people, there were also some carriages that were laid out by the sides; some of the few were coaches, wagons, and handheld wooden lifters.

Simonne steered his horse near a wooden side post and nimbly slid down the saddle. He held the reigns that connected the horse at its head and girth then circled it into the wooden post, tying the reigns into a knot just in case the steed escape.

*snort*

The horse snorted in discontent and gave him a scowl.

Simonne chuckled and patted the steed on its back. "Don't worry, I'll come right back for you after this."

The horse turned its head away and ignored him.

Simonne sighed but shrugged his shoulders. 'I've no other choice.'

He then shifted his eyes at the huge number of crowd not far away from him and neared to them. His eyes wandered around the surroundings before landing at the very front, just before the gate. Soldiers in armors stood firmly beside the entrance, all holding long spears— exactly like the ones they've seen at the village before. They all held their chests out with pride and gave everyone in the crowd with a look of contempt.

Simonne went towards their direction.

"Hey!" Some people took notice of him and immediately shouted attracting the gazes of many other people.

"Can't you see the line?"

"Line up here you moron!"

"Are you blind?"

"..."

The people who stood by the line exclaimed in aggrievement, their faces' visibly unhappy at the actions of the young man before them. They have patiently stood here for several days just to enter the town, waited and bore the weariness the long line of people could give to them, but now, a mere young man had just leisurely walked past through them— how could they not feel mad?

But despite all their rants, Simonne still continued his steps and acted as if he wasn't bothered by anything, completely ignoring them all.

Finally, he arrived at the front of the entrance where the soldiers stood on guard.

The knights narrowed their eyes but didn't acted hastily as they watched the boy stood before them.

Flipping his hand, a small pouch made of leather appeared at Simonne's grasp and with a flick, threw it at the direction of the knights.

"Thirty." Simonne said in serious tone as he pulled out his three fingers. "Thirty golds, all yours, as long as you let us in."

The knight caught the pouch mid-air, and looked at the young man before him and inspected his outfit. After a moment of scrutiny, he decided to open the pouch and inspected what's inside.

"...!"

'Jackpot!' This was more than the double of his salary every year! How could he miss such a good opportunity? A cold smile rose from the knight's lips and quickly closed the opening of the pouch and hanged it at his belt. It looks like his luck wasn't that really bad after all.

But even though he was loudly cheering inside, his expression was still that of a stern one as he once again gave the boy a cold look before waving his hand to the others behind him.

"Take him away."

Hearing the orders, the other knights who remained idle at the side all suddenly stepped forth and pointed the pikes of their spears at Simonne.

" "Please leave." " (They all said in unison.)

Seeing that the person who arrogantly ignored the long line was now at trouble, everyone at the front cheered the knights.

"Yeah, that's right! Kick him out!"

"That's deserves you well!"

"Haha! Karma at its fullest!"

All sorts of taunts poured down at Simonne.

*sigh*

But amidst all the turmoil, the person himself who was the target of all the rain of insults, didn't even seemed to be that bothered by everything. Instead, he simply placed his hand at his sword's hilt and slowly unsheathed it.

"Wait!"

Simonne's ear twitched at the familiar voice.

In the middle of all the jeering crowd, a hand emerged out of it. Gradually, that hand sweeped the people one by one towards the side and later revealed a man in his late-thirties. That's right, he'd forgotten him— the coachman from a while ago.

*pant* *pant*

The coachman hurriedly ran beside Simonne and asked him what happened.

"What happened?" The man looked around the surroundings.

"It looks like they don't welcome us here."

Simonne said as he scowled at the knight who took his gold.

The coachman followed his gaze and landed at the knight who prominently stood in front of the others.

"Him?"

"...!!"

The knight widened his eyes and cold sweat began to pour down his forehead. His lips trembled before he'd finally uttered out something. "M-mister Colton..."

The coachman narrowed his eyes. "Secondary Patrol Knight, Mival Brower." The knight quickly lowered his head. "Just what did you do?"

The knight, his head still lowered, hurried at the front of Simonne and quickly gave back the small pouch full of golds. "H-here, t-take it back."

" "..." "

Seeing the knight obediently bowing down with a nervous expression, the loudly jeering crowd's noise finally died down.
  
   
  
---
  
   
  
After Simonne and the coachman finally obtained the permission they needed, Kaiji and the supply equipage unit finally arrived there as well as instructed.

With all of them finally gathered together, they now went on through the wide entrance of the town of Hollowden and made their way across the town.
   
    
   
But unbeknownst to them, a figure quietly stood upon a structure just beside the entrance, silently watching from the shadows. 

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