The 142th chapter “The strange fleet”
Although it is still early in the summer season, but the suns light is already showing hints of blazing heat as it glistened off the waters of the Lancang Grand Canal outside the capital.
Further down from this life vein of the empire – approximately 30 miles from the capital – a strange ship is already docked in the port of Enke.
Due to the heavy tax burden when unloading directly inside the capital city, a lot of smaller trading ships would dock in the ports of the surrounding auxiliary towns to reduce their expenses.
Right now, two merchant like people have already jumped off this strange ship and conversing with the local tax official. After a few minutes of chit chat, one of the merchants quietly fished out some coins wrapped in a cloth and secretly sneaked it into the hands of the official. Seeing the other party’s intent, the tax official smiled so hard that he didn’t even bother to check the cargo and directly signed the necessary documents.
Further behind this shady transaction, a large mob of heavy lifters is already buzzing in the background and waiting for the chance to land a job.
“Mr.–Mr. Hire me! Hire me! My strength is high but my hands are light! If you have any valuable goods, it’ll never be damaged!”
“Respectful Sir, hire me! I have 20 people under me, only two copper per person! Two copper!”
In the midst of this ruckus, the strange ship had already put down a plank to allow those on board to come ashore. Two fine ladies were the first to get off. One dressed like a knight, this beauty had a pair of intoxicating legs that could drive a man crazy. Strikingly enough, the second lady to come ashore actually wore a supposed white Mage robe. After many alterations, this mage robe didn’t look bland in anyway; moreover, there was a sense of sexiness in its design due to certain areas being cut off to reveal more skin!
Drawing the attention of everyone down below, the fact that the duo is a rare combination of a female knight and a sorceress is too hard to miss in this crowded port. However, Joanna only needed to give out a cold snort to shatter the trance like moment and instill fear into everyone nearby with her icy coldness. Retracting their eyes, none dared to face their general direction.
“Joanna, everyone is afraid of you now” Rolynn snickered a laugh. Then looking down at the busy street, she sighed and summoned one of the sailors onboard to her: “Go get someone to check the stuff, and then quickly unload all of the cargo before tonight because there will be new goods by then. If you dawdle and we can’t make it by the evening, then be careful of your legs!”
A while back, Du Wei sent the two girls with Captain Jack Sparrow and his new right hand man George Bush to find the Snow Wolf Mercenaries in the north. In a short period of time, the group was able to meet Du Wei’s expectation and located Beinlich. Handing over the handwritten letter, Beinlich, leader of the snow wolf mercenaries was so happy that he immediately sold everything to Du Wei. Normally things would not have went so smoothly, but at the time of their meeting, Beinlich was worrying over the price of the goods because the dirty merchants he was selling the goods to wanted to lower his price by an additional 20%. Therefore, when he read the letter and found out about Du Wei’s intent, he felt like he was being given a lifesaving hand in a critical situation.
At the same time, Beinlich also contacted several other friendly groups like them and discussed the matter. As long as Du Wei can keep buying their goods at the same price now, all of their goods will from now on be sold exclusively to Du Wei.
Just like this, the pirate ship came back with fruitful results. Since there are ports in the north anyways, Rolynn contacted three other pirate ships under Du Wei’s banner and had them go make another run while her group returned home to make a report. No matter what, trafficking goods of magic beasts is illegal, so having three ships full of elicit goods on its way back is starting to pull on her nerves. Unfortunately for her, Du Wei had already left the Rowling Plains by the time of her return and moved to the capital. For this reason, she had come to find Du Wei in the capital and get hold of a legal permit so she can transport the goods legally.
This woman was once an adventurer and a party leader, so she of course had the brain to match her previous status. After thinking it through, Rolynn thought it wouldn’t be hard to get hold of the permit considering the status of the Rowling family name. And since she is going to the capital, why not just bring the first shipment directly to the capital and make a small fortune in the process?!
The only problem in her plan is that the goods are still illegal without the permit. In order to deceive the inspecting officials in the checkpoints, Rolynn made a deal with the fur trader back in the Rowling Plains – This fur trader is the one that supported Du Wei in his first venture – and had him transport his furs and leather on top of her goods. This way, both parties can cut down on costs and help hide the elicit goods on the surface. The only thing out of her expectation was that the fur trader went beyond his agreement and had his people settle the matters along any of the clearance points on their journey.
As the two beauties finally got off the ship, the clearance matter was already settled by the people of the fur trader. The only worrisome matter left is the sailors onboard. Originally pirates, where in the world would these thugs ever get the chance to see such a bustling scene? Although the town where Enke port is located is still 30 miles from the capital, but the dizzying amount of finely dressed prostitutes below is already causing the sailors to itch with restlessness.
It’s already been a while since she led this bunch of hooligans out in sea, so she naturally had a good understanding of these pirates. Usually under strict management by her, Rolynn still understood the importance of balancing the mood of her subordinates. So after seeing the impatient eyes of those leaning over the ship’s side, Rolynn couldn’t stop herself from laughing. Giving out her orders from a distance, she instructed her subordinates to disembark in batches and not to stir up any trouble.
Upon hearing the graceful words of their leader, the eyes of this vulgar pirate crew were brimming with gratitude. Hurrying to grab their wallets, those not on duty only spent a moment to change their garments before jumping overboard without any intent to hide their eagerness for the brothel! As for those stuck behind to work, they were brimming with envy as they watched their peers disappear into the crowded streets….
“Humph!” Seeing the pirates act like a bunch of predators, Joanna is obviously displeased because she knew very well what they were intending to do in town. If not for the long period of time spent with the vulgar bunch, she would have already summoned a raging ‘ice storm’ and tossed it towards the group. In a angry whisper, she muttered to herself: “What a bunch of dirty men!”
As for Rolynn standing beside Joanna, she was already used to it because of her adventuring days prior to becoming Du Wei’s knight. Facing Joanna, she smiled: “Miss Joanna, now that we have arrived here, let’s go meet master Du Wei after the carriage is prepared.”
“Pehhh!” A strange expression emerges from Joanna’s face. With disdain in her mouth: “Why would I want to go meet that little bastard! Humph, you go by yourself! I only came to the capital because I wanted to help you protect the ship. Secondly, I also have business in the capital! Hmm…. Oh yes, help me transfer a message to that little jerk. The promise I made to him, consider it done! From this point on, I do not owe him any favor! If meet him next time, I’ll be sure to make him suffer a bit!”
At this point, Joanna glanced at Rolynn: “Rolynn, in the days we spent together, I noticed your talent in magic is not bad. Although I taught you a few spells during our time together, but I know I’m not a very good teacher, so leave with me. My teacher is an amazing person that cannot be matched by many in this world, so why should you follow that little jerk? I’ll ask my teacher to take you as his disciple….”
Before she can even finish her words, Joanna already saw the smile on Rolynn’s face. Letting out a sigh, she continued: “Very well then, I know you’re going to refuse me again. In this case, see you again in the future!”
Having said that, Joanna gave her a deep look before speaking in a whisper: “Although I have a sister, but she and I have never been on good terms. Every time I see her, I would get angry. If only I had a sister like you, then the situation would have been really good.”
Giving a big hug to Rolynn, Joanna bid her farewell. As a mage, Joanna’s proud personality tends push her into ignoring those around her. Without caring for the eyes of the crowd nearby, Joanna flew into the sky aand headed towards the general direction of the capital. Like a passing breeze, the shape of her body disappeared into the horizon.
In this one move, the crowd below started to cry out in surprise. On the Roland continent, Mages are revered like treasures. To see one flying up into the sky and disappearing far into the horizon, the crowd would of course be shocked. Frowning, Rolynn looked up at the sky where Joanna disappeared and sighed. Then turning to face the sailors onboard of the ship still, she yelled: “Why you are idling there! Haven’t you seen Miss Joanna use magic before? Get to work!”
Then Rolynn spent another minute talking with the subordinates of the fur trader. From what she can tell, the fur trader intends to latch onto this big tree known as Du Wei. Her idea was confirmed when she found out from their chat that one of the people sent by the fur trader was in fact his brother.
Around 40 years old, this man is called Herbon. During their journey in the canal, this person was always one step ahead of her and prepared everything in advance. Take the Enke port for example: Not only did he resolve the tax official’s inspection, Herbon even rented a warehouse to store the elicit goods away nearby. (Because of the large amount of traffic that goes through the port cities near the capital, cheap warehouses have popped up everywhere inside the town) After arranging the needed man power to transport the goods, the only left to do now for Rolynn is find a carriage willing to take her to the capital.
Rolynn was very grateful towards him so her attitude is naturally good: “When we were coming, my brother already gave me clear instructions. Miss Rolynn is a knight, as such, I must be the one to do these work to not tarnish your status.”
Once she thanked him, Herbon asked again: “Now that the cargo is taken care of, is Miss Rolynn going to head to the capital immediately? It just so happens that I need to make some purchases from some firms in the capital, why not make the trip with me since I already have a carriage ready?”
“Perfect, I also need to meet our master. Once the master gives the order, the goods should be shipped out because the goods can’t just be left in the warehouse.”
Just as the two was about to leave the pier, a loud horn sound reached their ears!
Turning around to look, she could see a team of 10 merchant ships dominating the main channel. From appearances alone, she can tell this mighty fleet is different from the regular trading ships parked in the port. Embezzled with a green oak leaf logo, all of the nearby ships immediately navigated away when they drew near.
Even more shocking, there is even formal capital guard soldiers standing watch on the deck of these ships. “Clearly a private merchant ship, so why would imperial soldiers escort them? For such a large river, why should they get to hog it all to themselves?” She frowns.
“This is Miss Rolynn’s first time in the capital, right?” Herbon took one look and whispered, “No need to say more! The origin of this fleet is not simple!”
Herbon secretly pointed to the oak leaf flag on the ship and whispered, “See it? It is the banner of the Solomon family. These are the Solomon family merchant ships. These people are backed by the Royal family. Each year, they need to help the royal family earn large sums of gold and even manage some assets under certain members of the royal household! With such background, who can compete?!”
Herbon concentrated for a moment and said “The ship is very deep in the water, so I’m guessing the ship is carrying some heavy cargo used for the summer festival. If anything, it should be some tribute to the royal family by the Solomon family…..”
Rolynn shook his head: “It shouldn’t be. If it is, then it should have been transported months ago.”
Herbon laughed: “Who cares what they are carrying, it’s none of our business.”
Rolynn nodded in agreement but she couldn’t stop herself from taking a few more glances. As a warrior, her sight is naturally sharper than a regular person. Ignoring the guards standing watch, even the sailors on board of the fleet were muscular and full of life, definitely not what you would expect from a regular merchant ship. As such, a sense of unease and suspicion lingered in her mind over this bizarre scene…….
By the time they got to the capital on the rented coach, the time was already late into the afternoon. No doubt about it, the coach cannot match up to the luxurious coach of the Rowling Family’s; therefore, the trip wasn’t as comfy as she had expected. Fortunately for Rolynn, her background is that of an adventurer, so she was able to cope with this easily. But what she couldn’t cope with is the smell… Drenched in the smell of a foul fishy scent, Rolynn felt ever so uncomfortable crammed in such a small vehicle with the smell. As for the merchant Herbon, he wasn’t so well off. As the brother of the wealthy fur merchant, he wasn’t accustomed to the ride and felt sick to the stomach. Once they were in front of the East Gate, Rolynn sighs when she saw the long line up: “There are so many people lining up, when will we ever get in?”
“This is already considered to be good.” Herbon pinched his nose as he smiled wryly: “I heard the gate tax was raised again…. Aigh, for people like us that transport goods to the capital, we cannot directly ship it into the capital. Only by disembarking in places like the Enke port can we save ourselves from the immense shipping tax. But now that the gate tax is raised again, we will lose even more from our already dismal profit share.”
By the time they were inside the capital, Roylnn no longer wanted to stay in the carriage. Without waiting till they were at the Rowling Manor, she and two of her old subordinates – a archer and a bulky warrior from before – had already went off to purchase some steeds to ride. After fixing up their appearances a bit, the trio rode in comfort to the Earl’s manor.
Usually the servants outside the manor wouldn’t be surprised to see visitors coming to the Manor, but the trio was wearing the Rowling Households private army outfits. Not recognizing Rolynn and her subordinates, the servants were wondering who they were.
Not deterred, Rolynn strode forward and identified herself as a direct subordinate of master Du Wei. Once the people inside were informed of her arrival, Marde quickly ran outside to receive the trio.
Presently, Du Wei was hiding in his room studying the bone structure of some magic beasts. After he returned home from that event, he had been confining himself inside his room and fiddling with the stuff he had in his possession.
When he was at Old Alley’s place, he had received a lot of good things from that crazy guy. For example: That formula to replace “Mithril”. After searching through his possession, Du Wei already had 20 of the needed ingredients and only lacked around seven to eight items. Guessing he couldn’t get the rest from Old Alley, he needed to come up with an idea to get his hands on the remaining ingredients.
Du Wei wasn’t worried if he could them because as long as has the water from“As time goes by”, he can successfully cultivate the ingredient every time.
Just as he was carefully studying the secrets of the recipe, Marde had already brought Rolynn inside.
Packing up the things and closing the door behind him, he then walked out to the meeting room met with the long awaited Rolynn..
Not seeing her for months, the fear and trepidation when they first met was already long gone. In its place, a mature and proud youthful aura filled her face. Not to mention the womanly charm of her body curves became even more defined as her plump breast grew ever more so than before!
Life on the sea had tanned her skin to a light bronzy shade and although her body was slightly thinner than before, she looked even livelier than their previous meeting.
“Sit down.” Du Wei rubbed his chin and lounged onto a chair. Watching Rolynn, he smiled as he faced her: “You’ve worked hard; I will remember the merits you earned. Say it then. Why did you come all the way to the capital to look for me?” Rolynn sat down on the chair further back from where Du Wei was and calmly reported what happened. By the time she explained up to the idea of how Beinlich wanted to gather other mercenary groups to sell exclusively to him, Du Wei immediately jumped in: “Accept it! Why hesitate? Now that we have the boats, we only lacked the goods. Beinlich is not only a good friend but someone I trust with my life. I not only respect him but also saved a hundred of his companions, so he can be trusted.”
“Understood.” Rolynn nodded: “That’s what I thought too before returning. A draft of the agreement is already made. Please have a look and see if there is anything you don’t like. If there is no problem, I’ll have it sent back to the north. Also, there is one more thing…..”
After listening to her explain how she brought a ship full of cargo to the capital, Du Wei frowned slightly: “This is a problem, but it should not be difficult to solve. Wait two days and I’ll try to get this thing done.”
“There is also the question of money.” Rolynn smiled bitterly: “The amount you gave Jack Sparrow back then wasn’t much, so when we headed north, we didn’t have enough money. In this one purchase, we bought a lot and didn’t have enough to pay for it all. Luckily, the snow wolf mercenaries trusted you a lot so they allowed us to pay a deposit of only ten thousand gold. The other reason why I came to seek you out is to ask for more money….”
Without waiting, Du Wei immediately called for Marde and instructed Rolynn to follow the butler to draw out some funds. On second thought, Du Wei added in: “All the goods this time are to be paid 10% higher than normal. If not for Beinlich’s help, this would not have worked out so well. For such a big favor, it must be paid!”
Rolynn immediately nodded. Then spending a moment in thought, this female Knight suddenly spoke up: “Master Du Wei, when I was at the Enke port, I saw the Solomon family fleet on the Canal…… But the fleet, it seems a little odd……”
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