Chapter 29: Patron Journey; Carbina Village
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Announcement

Hey guys. Late update.

Heads up, I won't be posting on Monday, but next thursday hopefully updates will get back to normal.

Hope you're enjoying the journey so far, it's been fun and exciting for me writing it, I hope you enjoy reading it. 

See you next Thursday.

 

Put together they barely cut a silver tokus. I pillaged some trinkets here and there; keys, necklaces and rings. But the coins were few and far between. Utterly disappointing really.

Though, it did prompt a question. Why would a bunch of bandits gather up and gather a place that wasn’t giving them any tokus? Well, their leader asked me to strip so maybe they weren’t after the money but the clothes and armour? They could be reselling, or maybe everyone in this world was just batshit crazy.

Of course, the alternative and most logically sound answer for the absence of coin in their pockets would be that they were hording it. Like a dragon sitting on a pile of gold and treasure.

And that’s why they’re guarding this place, it’s their castle, it’s where they kept their loot and fortified their defences against invaders or the law…if there was a law. But I’d have to assume there is a law, there’s no way any province would have their people robbed of the money they’d normally be bringing to them. No, these bandits were a plague to everyone.

But dead as they are now, they are simply a source of more money to me. Anselm had scouted ahead and returned to tell me the entire place was abandoned, but more importantly, the place was trapped and there was a chest waiting to be looted in there.

The grin on my face only lengthens as I think of how easy this all is. This is how a journey to another world should be, not nearly starving to death and being condemned as a heretic to be burnt or crucified.

“Lead the way, Anselm!” I clap, excited.

Anselm groans and starts idly floating off into the broken fort. Right outside there are these spiked barriers, not entirely sure what they’re called but they’re sharp enough to leave a splinter even when I’m being careful.

The inside of the fort is just one wide open space. It likely didn’t use to be like that, there are several towers all over, or guard stations, and by the structure it’s plainly evident that there used to be walls, ladders and stairs that led up to them from the inside.

No, the inside is not meant to be exposed like this.

Still, Anselm doesn’t mind any of this. He just floats on through, being the someone that died going to war I imagine he didn’t have a lot of experience with sieges, but he likely knew the basics. I’m not sure. We haven’t really sat down to discuss his past or his future. I think perhaps we should, might help our relationship, he’s become less of a means to an end and more of a companion on an adventure.

“Open the door.” I hear him mumble.

I’d glazed over. There’s a door right in front of us, not sue what it’s meant to be or where it leads to in the official medieval fort blueprint but Anselm says it leads to the chest.

I push the handle down and walk in. It’s dark, barely any light save for the candles that illuminated the room on the left. The walls and floor are wet and ridden with moss. It reminds me of the cave. Ahh…such terrible times.

I go through the room on the left, it’s just a rec room really. Lots of barrels and metal jugs with what smells plainly like alcohol, rum perhaps. I never really liked alcohol. I remember it tasted like shit when my father gave it to me and then I just didn’t see the point of filling your stomach just to get a buzz, not when you could just smoke a stick and binge on all sorts of lovely foods like a beast.

“Watch out.”

I stop my feet half-way from being planted into a pool of oil. There’s a door just ahead too.

“Don’t bother with the door unless you want to start a fire.” Anselm says matter-of-factly.

I tip toe my way around and about the oil into the next part of the place, just in case there’s some tripwire he’s forgotten to tell me about.

We walk up the broken stairs together, well, the stairs weren’t broken, the wall was just falling onto it. At the top we find another room. An open room. There are several bedrolls set on the floor, all with a lantern beside each, and on my way to the chest that sat at the end of the open room, I kick out many daggers from underneath the bedrolls.

“Doesn’t seem like they trust each other very much.” I comment.

“They’re bandits, they’re only together because they probably got tired of fighting each other for the right to heist here. Else you shouldn’t expect any real organization within a bandit ring, a few silver pieces can tear them apart.”

I suppose that makes sense. Though, I took a bit of offense seeing as my past occupation was exactly heisting people. Except mine was less…paltry? I didn’t heist the people themselves; I simply took what I righteously considered mine and went after their vaults, banks, safes and in extremes; the occasional twelve-year-old.

Another think that set us apart was, well, the body sitting on the chest.

“So, what’s this all about?”

Anselm grunts, “Barbaric.” He immediately walks up to the corpse and lifts it off the chest. “He was once a soldier in the army I served. His spirit isn’t here though, not many spirits are.” He mutters, his voice heavy with grief for his fellow man.

“I’m sorry about that.”

“Let’s just get going. It doesn’t matter, it’s war, it’s always been war.”

I nod and head over to the chest, I immediately find there’s something wrong though.

“Careful with that.” Anselm says, pointing over my head and back at the chest, “If you trip the wire on the lock that spike will fall through your head.”

“Hmmm. How about you do it?”

He gives me a deadpan look.

“What? You’re immortal.”

“I still feel pain though. Pain hurts.”

“You can go intangible right before it drops.” I grin.

“Ugh, fine. You’re keeping me solid all the way through though.”

I nod. I had the mana regen to do so after all.

Anselm trips the wire and gets a spear fall through his body very quickly. Fortunately, he’s quick enough to go intangible before getting hit.

I head over to the chest and take a look at the contents. “What the hell?”

Anselm snorts. “Let’s go.”

The chest is filled with all sorts of weapons, armour and the occasional robe. “Is this why they asked us to strip? Is this some sort of…fetish?”

“Ha, it’s likely.”

“Ugh! How do you take over a fort just to guard a chest full of armour!”

“Well, it’s not completely useless. If we could carry it, we could start an armoury shop in town. Armour is pretty expensive, the right armour anyway.”

I sigh. Despite Anselm’s positivity I know it’s completely useless. I don’t really think I have a need for armour. I don’t intend on having enemies come close enough to me that I’d have to worry about damage after all.

“Ready to go?”

I sigh again but nod. Time to end this unfortunate detour.

***

We get back on the path quickly, mostly thanks to the swift movement of my feet. I want to be miles away from that fort, I want to make up for the wasted time.

Eventually I get tired. This body is not built for long term abuse after all, simply moving that fast for so long had my wounds from Perlman aching again. Though they did bring up fond memories of when they ached under Elsa’s pressure.

Ahead there’s still nothing but stone, grass and flowers. Doesn’t feel like we’ve made much progress. Anselm suggests we should buy a horse or better yet, a carriage when we get the opportunity. I agree with him, my feet were starting to hurt, and that hurt brought back not so fun memories of the cave.

“Is it weird that we haven’t seen anyone on the road?” I ask. I feel it’s weird. I should have at least come across of few camps or even other travels along the way. What I’m really hoping for was a carriage I could hitchhike in but some other human face who didn’t want me to strip or die, would be appreciated too.

“Funny you ask that. You’re about to see some soon. If you pick up the pace anyway.” Anselm sounds excited. He’s been scouting ahead, flying high into the sky and taking an aerial view of things. Just so we’re prepared for any more bandit encounters.

“Really?”

He nods, grinning. “And they’re friendly too!”

I’m not sure how he knew that but he’s been right about most things so far.

I pick up the pace and have my questions ready.

It doesn’t take long before I have the group Anselm mentions in my sights. They’re walking off in a line together. Five of them. Although, none seems to have any type of luggage on them.

I pick up the pace some more and make it to their side in a few minutes. Anselm walking right beside me with an excited grin on his face.

“Hello.” He calls out almost immediately they are within earshot.

They’re all men, I finally notice. I also notice four of the five of them are wearing uniforms matching the exact of the corpse Anselm pulled off the chest back at the fort; Each had helmets set on their heads, they wore a thick looking cloth shirt over some chainmail I can see poking out from underneath and their trousers are plain black leather meant to match their pointy soled boots. Their weapons hung loosely from their sides, all had at least a dagger in sight, even the two with a bow and arrow set on their backs.

They turn their attention to us and stop, albeit a bit violently on the one man who wore…nothing but rags apparently.

“What is your business?” is the immediate question.

Yes, these men were part of this Kingdoms army.

Anselm clears his throat, “Ah, I am Anselm squire of Sir Archibald of Riveden!” this is the first I’ve heard his Knights name.

There’s a collective scoff among the men, some muttering ‘squire’ under their breaths condescendingly.

“Well, that’s good for you buddy. Go on and disturb your Knight now, we’ve got orders you nor your Knight can interfere with.”

Anselm is noticeable disappointed. I feel a bit sad for him. He’s doing it again.

“Ah, apologies for my companion here good sirs. We’ll be on our way and cease our disturbance.” I interject before Anselm can get too immersed into it.

I pull on his arm and keep on moving along, before stopping.

“Ah, mind you, where is the nearest town?”

“Nearest town is weeks away from here.” A different speaker, the man in rags, “If you’re looking for a rest stop though you should look for Carbina village, that’s where I’m from.”

I open my mouth to thank him for the information but immediately he’s done speaking the man from before strikes him down. The man in rags falls over and another soldier goes on to kick him in the gut several times.

“Didn’t we say you shouldn’t speak!” another kick. “Be grateful your owner wants you alive, why the Lord so kind with filth like you I’ll never know.” He spits.

“Get up already. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover because of you.”

The men start moving along again, the man in rags gives me a bitter look but smiles through the blood, bruise and pain.

He’s an elf.

So, this is what that looks like. This is what Elsa is so afraid of.

For her sake I feel the need to kill the soldiers and set the elf free, but I know that’ll only make things worse…a lot worse. The best thing you could do for an elf is to own them, marry them and claim their children.

That, or create a country for them, where they’d be safe. Perhaps that could work. I grit my teeth at my powerlessness, this is just all more the reason to get more power.

“Let’s go, Anselm.” Anselm is still in a daze. We’d have to talk about this later, for now. Carbina Village.

 

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