Chapter 553: Strange Beastmen on the Plains
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The sky and earth were vast; the breeze ruffled the grass, but there were no flocks of animals.
This was a rich and fertile area, but sadly, there were too few Beastmen, and the plains were too big. Most Beastmen didn't know how to take advantage of the valuable land either, so the Beastmen had to live in such poverty.
Link came to negotiate an alliance with their king this time. They had interacted before, but as leaders, that instance could only be used to reminiscence on the past. An alliance between two races couldn't rely on past feelings; they only cared about interests.
If they wanted a successful alliance, Link had to be clear about the other's interests. Thus, he didn't go straight to Gronhon Capital where the palace was. Instead, he disguised himself as a regular merchant and traveled through every city, observing how they lived.
He was now very familiar with Beastmen and had more bargaining chips now.
Traveling alone like this for a day, Link ran into a human merchant caravan. Since they were all humans and Link was alone, he joined the group after a few words.
Link observed while traveling and also chatted with these well-traveled merchants. He gained more knowledge about the lower class of Firuman too.
As the sky was getting darker, a small creek appeared before them. The caravan leader called for everyone to set up camp there.
There were around 300 people in the caravan made up of a dozen or so groups. The biggest group was called Red Earth Firm. They sold different types of spices to the Beastmen, such as garlic, dragon grass, and herbs. They had more than 20 carts and took up more than half of the caravan. The other groups were between five to a dozen people. There were also some more than that and individuals like Link.
With everyone together, they had strength in numbers. Thus, the caravans didn't hire mercenaries. The Red Earth Firm didn't reject outsiders either.
The grass in the plains was mostly up to a grown man's chest. The grass near the river went over a regular man's head. If there wasn't a set path there, they wouldn't be able to move past at all.
The caravan followed the path to the creek, and the merchants got off their carts. Some unsaddled the horses and brought them to drink and eat by the creek. Others started up fires to prepare dinner. The mercenaries of the Red Earth Firm went to the sides to keep watch. The caravan filled with action.
Link found a place to sit down. He couldn't reveal his spatial equipment, so he had a bag. He opened it now and took out a piece of bread. Chewing quietly, he planned out the rest of his journey.
They were still at the border of the Golden Plains. There were more than 1000 miles to Gronhon Capital. With the caravan's current speed, it would take more than one month to go through the dozens of cities.
One month was quite long, but he had to do this to truly understand the Beastmen and come up with an alliance that the king couldn't reject. Link wouldn't spend all his time on this too. For example, he was eating now, but things flashed past his eyes. It was the magic book he had with him. He could display it with the game system.
This way, people would think he was spacing out, but he was actually studying magic. Only a small amount of time was spent on observing the Beastmen.
Just as he was focused, he heard footsteps. Someone was walking over. The steps were light; it was a young girl. Link remembered her name quickly-Shallie.
As soon as that thought flashed past, he heard a bright voice say, "Brother Link, you must be thirsty. Come drink some water."
Link didn't hide his name. Actually, very few people referred to him by name after he became the lord of Ferde. He was a "master" in Norton, "Lord" in Ferde, and he was known as the "Ferde lord" in other places. Otherwise, he was Lord Morani. Those who called him by his name were mostly all close to him.
The name "Link" was also common throughout Firuman, so he didn't have to hide it.
After hearing the voice, he looked up to see a teenage girl walk over with a bowl of hot water. It was freshly boiled water, so she walked very slowly.
She was the daughter of a small group's leader. She looked plain and had many freckles on her skin. Because of all the time outside, her skin was tanned. This made her seem energetic and lively. Her eyes were bright, her figure was lean, and her personality was bold. She wore plain leather armor and seemed to have endless energy every day, bounding around the caravan.
No matter where she went, laughter and chatter followed.
Link stood up to accept the bowl. "Thank you," he said with a smile.
Shallie's eyes brightened and curved into crescents. She sat down beside him. "Brother Link, you keep dazing off by yourself. Are you thinking about something?"
Just as Link was about to reply, he felt unfriendly eyes on him. He turned to see Shallie's father, Olan. He procured magic material and had some fame. He didn't like it when his daughter was with Link, but he clearly couldn't control his daughter.
Link gestured at the water bowl to thank Olan. Then he smiled to the girl. "Shallie, your father probably told you before that solo merchants like me are dangerous. You should stay away, right?"
Link had the Song of Tomorrow sword hanging at his waist. Of course, he hadn't unsheathed it yet, and it looked like a plain metal sword.
Shallie didn't care. "Oh, he says that but he's old. I don't care. Brother Link, you have a sword and walk through the plains alone. You're good at swordsmanship, right?"
"I'm okay," Link said, chuckling.
"Can you teach me?" Shallie finally revealed her ulterior motive. She wanted to learn martial arts.
Link burst into laughter. He figured this out at their first meeting. Her eyes brightened whenever she saw someone with a sword. She would often look at the mercenaries of the Red Earth Firm, but they'd killed people before. She was like a scared little deer, only daring to look but not to approach them. Now that the harmless-looking Link was here, she started getting ideas.
"I don't mind, but you need your father's permission. He might not allow it."
It was just some swordsmanship techniques. Shallie had worked hard in bringing him clean water these days. When he finished speaking, he drank all the water and handed the bowl back. "Go ask your father," he said. "Remember, you can't just send the message. He must tell me personally."
Shallie gaped at him. "Huh? That's too hard. My father will never agree. Can you change to another requirement?"
Link wagged his finger at him. "No. This isn't up to discussion. Compared to swordsmanship, this is nothing."
"Fine, I'll try." Shallie walked away, both excited and depressed.
Left alone again, Link continued reading again. A few minutes later, a pained cry broke out near the creek.
Then Link saw a mercenary sprint back. His face was covered in blood, and an eyeball had fallen out of his socket. It swung before his face. Grasping his face, he screamed while running. After a few steps, he fell and rolled on the ground. Perhaps he'd given up because he couldn't get back up. His cries weakened too, and he just panted heavily on the ground.
His companions hurried over to check. A few ran to the creek with their swords too. A short while later, Link could hear the cries of fighting.
The merchants in the caravan waited anxiously. The mercenaries returned with many wounds. Link remembered that the leader was called Miro. He was a Warrior at the pinnacle of Level-4. This was great for a common soldier.
At this time, he held a strange black head in his hand.
Link looked carefully. The head was like a human... No, it was most likely a Beastman. But strangely enough, the skin was dark green. The blood dripping from it was dark green too. The grass didn't change when the blood dropped onto it, but Link could see that the grass' vitality was disappearing rapidly.
The blood was poisonous. In fact, it was a slow-acting toxin and hard to notice. It also emanated an indescribable aura.
It felt familiar to Link. It was like...Natural poison, but at closer inspection, it felt different too. In other words, he'd never seen this type of power.
Link also noticed that the Beastman's eyes were pure black. There were no eye-whites. The rest of his skin had patches of grayish marks like scars after getting burned.
Are there Beastmen like this? Link found it strange. He'd never seen something like this in the game.
A message suddenly flashed past his vision.
Activate Mission: Strange Beastmen
Mission Content: Some strange Beastmen have appeared on the Golden Plains. They seem combative. Investigate why they appeared.
Reward: 50 Omni Points
The reward wasn't much, but it was better than nothing. Link chose to accept it.
While everyone in the caravan was observing the head, he slipped to the creek. He had to investigate these Beastmen.
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