Chapter 20 “Half Horn City’s Magic Beast Incident” (part one)
Solskjaer’s laboratory was in the south for he was partial to fire magic.
It’s clear that under the blistering hot climate of the south, the natural fire elements were richer down there. It’s not that fire magic couldn’t be researched in the ice and snow of the north, but it would be no different from asking for a beating.
After Du Wei had made his decision, everything moved very quickly.
Solskjaer was immediately released from the dungeon, his magician’s robe, equipment, those bottles of powder, magic crystals and scrolls were all returned to him.
And of course, the magician’s robe was new.
That this young master could recruit a magician as his subordinate astonished the old butler. But once he learned Solskjaer was merely a first level magician, he fell at ease…… So that’s why.
The old butler was unable to refuse Du Wei’s plan for a journey, especially since the young lord stated that very morning he will go assesse the clan’s estate, and something about how traveling was more intuitive than reading dusty old ledgers.
Carts, horses and luggage swiftly prepared, and this time the things arranged by the butler were for better than that wretched journey from the imperial capital. After all, it would be humiliating if the clan’s great young lord travelled too poorly within their own territory.
It was still Marde whom accompanied Du Wei as his personal attendant, but this time the old servant had more than ten castle servants under his command, in charge of looking after the young master on the journey.
From the castle guard, two cavalry squads were detailed for Du Wei’s protection, and the teams were accompanied by the castle guard’s vice-captain, a regular knight with outstanding martial skill. This vice-captain named Robert was also a regular knight, a person recognized by the knight’s association and held a badge of the fourth rank!
One of the two squads of cavalry was Robert’s own squad, and the other was the group that had followed Du Wei south from the capital.
This fourth level knight called Robert had a tall and powerful appearance, with broad shoulders, imposing build, square jaw, and generally seemed upright and outspoken. To Du Wei, his lord and master, this knight was always sufficiently respectful, apparently an unsophisticated warrior. Du Wei had a rather good impression of him.
Apart from all these, they were also accompanied by a female knight, naturally Du Wei’s first honorary knight, Rolynn.
Setting out from the castle and travelling south, Robert discharged his duties very conscientiously during the whole journey. He painstakingly arranged their formation and worked to take precautions whenever they stopped. On the occasions Du Wei had a sudden burst of interest and proposed camping out for the night, Robert didn’t voice any objections and merely nodded wordlessly to his consent. After continuing, he would also carefully arrange the night vigil and reserves.
Truly a model soldier.
This was Du Wei’s assessment of Robert. Clearly he had spent time in the army. Of the martially accomplished Rowling clan’s retainers, many were knights with a history in the army.
Compared to that old butler who Du Wei disliked, this loyal and conscientious knight was obviously more to his liking.
While travelling and sightseeing, Du Wei’s party finally left the Kurt province after seven days. To travel further south they would have to leave the Kurt province, or in other words, leave the Rowling clan’s territory.
Generally speaking, Du Wei was satisfied with the state of the affairs in the Rowling clan’s territory. On the road he had seen wide expanses of farmland, plentiful farming villages, leisurely farmers, and they even passed a couple of larger towns on the way. From all this he could see the people here led fairly good lives.
As their convoy travelled the roads, there would be frequent occasions when farmers would wave their hats as greetings to the envoy. This not only applied to those working on the wheat fields, it included passersby’s on the road even when they are still far away.
It seemed that the Rowling clan had the good will of the people here.
By now Robert has noticed the young lord never once inspected the clan estates yet, he basically came to sightsee.
But this wasn’t strange. Considering the age of the young lord, how could Robert believe a thirteen year old would have the ability to manage any clan estates? And this wasn’t a matter he should concern himself with, he only needs to discharge his duties well and serve as a loyal protector of the family.
This day when everyone finally reached the southern border town of the Rowling territory, Du Wei suddenly demanded to continue the journey south. Even if Robert felt a bit baffled by this proposal, kept his objections inside.
They were out touring anyways, and if the little lord was interested, they would continue south.
Moreover, heading south from Kurt province was the imperial Lille province, and Lille province’s governor was extremely well disposed towards the Rowling clan. The Rowling family’s young master coming over to amuse himself would certainly receive some consideration, there’s nothing to be worried about.
Du Wei quickly grew fond of this obedient knight. He also noticed that Sir Robert was well liked among his peers for the younger men’s would frequently consult him about martial skills at camp.
Robert’s martial skills were outstanding —— at least to Du Wei’s point of view. This knight could wield an immense broadsword with astonishing strength! When instructing those young soldiers, even seven or eight of them would be unable to get close to him.
Even that bulky warrior in Rolynn’s retinue admired Robert after the big guy was knocked off his feet with one hand during a spar.
A fourth level knight really had uncommon martial strength.
Under such circumstances even Du Wei couldn’t help feeling itchy, and proposed to recieve advice from Robert at martial art. Robert was a bit surprised at this request. Since, according to the clan supervisors, if the family head’s eldest son wanted to learn martial skills, then he would find those high level knight retainers as teachers, and not an insignificant cavalry captain like him.
Robert straightforwardly agreed, his training was the battle Qi training routine taught in the army anyways. It wasn’t any extraordinary secret. But just like the evaluation from the bodyguard at Earl Raymond’s side, after a brief period of instruction, Robert had no choice but to tell Du Wei he really didn’t have the gift for training in combat skills.
Du Wei’s present body had always been innately lacking since his childhood, along with serious illness.
Du Wei wasn’t dismayed by the truth. He wasn’t hoping to become an expert; he merely felt it was necessary to get a bit of exercise. Even if he didn’t become an expert, just being a bit healthier was good enough!
Like this, Du Wei began to learn some of the most basic martial skills, mostly some routines for strengthening the body. But this also led to their travelling speed dropping a bit.
On the ninth day of the journey, the party reached a small town in the northeast region of Lille province…… Half Horn City.
This strange name came from the town being located next to a valley shaped like half a horn.
This little town city was situated on an important caravan trade route, and was therefore quite bustling. Even to the extent that in this little town city, Du Wei’s party was able to see a twenty man strong mercenary company! They were escorting a caravan north, and stayed at the same lodging as Du Wei’s party.
Lille province wasn’t the territory of any noble, but a province directly subordinated to the Empire. This little town didn’t have any high officials, and Du Wei didn’t care to deal with any local officials. To him, staying at the local inn was more leisurely. So when their party arrived, they didn’t disturb the local officials.
At lunch, Du Wei and the others were in the inn’s main hall and on the other side were those caravanners. Suddenly, urgent hoof beats could be heard outside the inn, and after a brief clamor, the doors were pushed open by three cavalrymen wearing the uniforms of the local garrison.
On the chest of the leader hung a knight’s badge, representing his status as a fourth level knight. And judging from that armor and military insignia, he was clearly a senior officer of the local garrison.
He stepped in with big strides. Flanked by a few subordinates, they first made way to the side of that caravan group, declaring in a loud voice: “Everyone! I am Sir Spann, squad captain of Half Horn City’s second cavalry unit!
Currently under the imperial ‘regional military provisions law’, on behalf of Half Horn City’s garrison, I am officially expropriating your guards! Since our current military strength is insufficient, we require your guards to accompany us on a mission in Half Horn Valley. By imperial law, you may not refuse.”
His voice was loud and his manner resolute as he looked at those caravan guards: “I know you are all mercenaries, so the imperial military will reimburse you after the present mission. You have half an hour to arrange your equipment and horses! In half an hour, I want everyone to assemble at the inn’s gate.”
Even if those mercenaries were a bit unwilling, imperial law was like a mountain, and they couldn’t refuse. They would get paid anyways.
The caravaners on the other hand were anxiously watching the guards they had paid for leave before their eyes, and one with a pinched face came over, trying to get this officer to be a bit accommodating……
“Out of the question!” The knight refused him quite bluntly: “I’m very sorry for delaying your journey, but I guarantee it won’t be for long. Your guards will be back by this time tomorrow at the latest. You can choose a place to stay in the city for one day, and the military will reimburse your expenses! Please don’t say anything else, this is a military assignment and I can’t be flexible, and please withdraw your gold coins, bribing an officer is a criminal offense!”
Finished speaking, the knight pushed aside the caravan master and turned to Du Wei’s party.
He had originally planned to ask them along as well, but after two steps he suddenly noticed the clothes worn by several of the attendants around Du Wei, and Du Wei’s own clothes…… More importantly, he caught sight of Robert and the others behind Du Wei!
Robert’s armor clearly wasn’t imperial standard, but rather the equipment of a noble’s private army.
The authority to invite a noble’s private armsmen certainly wasn’t something an insignificant local garrison captain could have!
Sir Spann looked Du Wei over a few times, he hesitated, but he really didn’t have the manpower right now, and that assignment was really urgent. Clenching his teeth, he stepped forward with big strides. First he bowed according to a knight’s etiquette, then said in a low voice: “Sir, I……”
Here, his voice choked off. Because right now he saw what he hadn’t noticed before!
On the chests of the guardsmen behind Du Wei was the grand coat of arms of the Rowling clan!
Originally he thought there might be some way to borrow the guards, but he couldn’t ask to borrow from someone of the famed imperial military family!
Damn it! Rowling House? Why would a member of the Rowling clan be in Half Horn City? Why hasn’t he heard…
Spann sighed helplessly in his heart.
“Please continue, sir knight.” Du Wei smilingly raised his wine cup and sipped, this kind of weak ale actually wasn’t bad, somewhat resembling the rice wine he tasted in his previous life.
“This…… Sir. Forgive my impertinence, may I ask if you are from the mighty Rowling clan?” Spann’s tone was even more deferential, he even unconsciously hunched a bit.
“Correct. We’re from the Rowling Plain.” This time it was Robert who spoke, taking a step forward. His imposing build was half a head taller than Sir Spann: “This is my lord, eldest son of Earl Raymond, chief of the Rowling clan, young master Du Wei.”
Spann saluted again. The Rowling Chief’s eldest son, an identity like that would be on equal footing with the lord governor.
“Sir Knight, may I ask what’s troubling you?” Du Wei asked with a smile.
“Yes……” Spann waited it for a moment but decided to speak truthfully: “Just now I received an urgent assignment that requires somewhere around a hundred soldiers. But since it’s the period of the springtime military drills, the majority of Half Horn City’s garrisoned troops have been diverted a hundred kilometers south to participate in the event. At present I only have twenty men under my command. Therefore, in accordance with the imperial regional provisions law of the military, I can only requisition local combatants within the city grounds for temporarily assistance.”
Du Wei nodded: “Oh, then are you also planning to requisition my guards?”
“No, no, I wouldn’t dare!” Spann jumped with fright. That had been his original intention, but after seeing their status, how would he dare?
Who was Earl Raymond? He was the second highest in the imperial military! Requisitioning the guards of his eldest son? If by some terrible chance this little master suffered some accident due to a lack of guards by his side, even having his head lopped off a hundred times couldn’t atone for his sin.
“Then, what has happened?” Du Wei was somewhat curious: “After all, if something has happened and you’re here anyway, I would ask you to tell us, so we can prepare as well.”
Sir Spann thought it over, then spoke with a helpless and somewhat distressed expression: “It’s a strange matter. Half Horn Mountain had always been quiet, the mountain isn’t tall, the woods aren’t deep, there aren’t even any large animals. Even if there were, our local garrison troops would go out and hunt it down! But yesterday, somehow, from somewhere appeared a…… Magic beast!”
Du Wei’s eyes brightened!
“Yes, even if we can’t be certain it’s a magic beast yet, we can still be certain this is a large creature, because hunters have spotted its footprints. There’s no doubt. But what’s baffling is that a magic beast shouldn’t live near a human settlement, and even if it did, it would be in the frontier forest on the southern border of the empire around these parts. Moreover, there hasn’t been a magic beast sighting in Lille province for decades. I don’t know where this creature came from.” Spann smiled wryly: “Me and my men have been ordered to hunt down this creature, but according to my assessment, as this is a large creature I will need at least twenty soldiers in order to kill it. And with the size of Half Horn Mountain, in order to corner it, it might be no use without a hundred men.”
Magic beast…… It seemed interesting.
Du Wei couldn’t resist the temptation.
In fact, since finding out there might be a hope for him to learn magic, a strong interest has grown in him regarding anything magic.
In this hinterland of the imperial south, there had actually appeared a rare magic beast! How can he not join in on the fun?
“Excellent! I’ve brought forty guards with me, all elite cavalrymen of the Rowling clan, and my captain here is a fourth level knight. I want to let them follow you to carry out this assignment on Half Horn Mountain. After all, sitting here and watching a magic beast wreak havoc doesn’t agree with my ethics.” Du Wei spoke righteously.
Spann stared blankly: “You’re saying…… You want to lend your guardsmen to me……”
“Master, this is out of the question.” Robert raised an objection for the first time: “You can’t be without guards. If we must go, it’s fine if I bring twenty men.”
Robert wanted to help; he was after all a regular knight with a firm belief in chivalry.
“No, no, there’s no need to worry about a lack of guards.” Du Wei smiled: “Because I’m coming with you. I think staying next to you is the safest place, no?”
This time both Robert and Spann objected.
Especially Spann! He’s beginning to regret telling this young master anything!
Bringing him along? Catching a magic beast was no trivial matter! But if this young master faced the slightest mishap on the mountain, then he would truly be out of luck!
“There’s no need to object.” Du Wei bluntly made a decision: “There’s no need to worry about my safety, don’t forget that I still have an outstandingly powerful magician at my side!”
He pushed Solskjaer forward.
Solskjaer was utterly helpless. Even though calling his strength outstanding was stretching the truth, his magician’s identity was genuine.
Spann’s eyes brightened!
A magician? If he could have the aid of an outstanding magician, then this assignment shouldn’t be a problem!
Only…… This little master’s safety……
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