Chapter 3

The Strange Adventure of a Broke Mercenary Mine 2240words 2023-08-30 02:19:37

Chapter 3

The next morning, Loren showed up at the east gate . He had his supply of food in a small cloth bag, his great sword strapped around his back, and wore his battered leather armor .

It was not much, but it couldn’t be helped because he had to leave everything in the battle site and did not have any money to buy proper equipment .

He seemed to be early, since he couldn’t see Sarfe or anyone else from the party .

So he decided to have a little chat with the guards until the rest of the party came .

While talking with the guards, Loren finally found out the name of the city he was in, which was Kapha .

Loren knew nothing about this city at all .

He assumed that it was a city within some country, but since mercenaries weren’t confined to one specific country, and since he barely escaped from the battlefield, there was no way Loren would’ve known anything about Kapha .

“It’s a good city . It’s not as good as the capital but the food is good here and people are nice . Plus it’s my hometown as well,” said the young guard .

Loren couldn’t really understand the meaning or significance of a hometown .

For as long as Loren could remember, he was a mercenary, and kept on moving from battle to battle .

For someone like Loren who was never able to settle in one place, he couldn’t help but feel slightly envious of the guard, who looked like he believed from the bottom his heart that Kapha was a good city .

But settling down meant quitting being a mercenary, which meant thinking of a different way to make a living .

If one’s group disbands, it could mean two things . Either join a different group, or quit being a mercenary and look for a different job .

As Loren was thinking that being an adventurer in this city and settling here wouldn’t be too bad, Sarfe and his party finally showed up .

Everyone had full bags on their backs and looked better equipped compared to Loren, who had nothing but a small cloth bag .

“Are they your friends?”

The guard’s bright and easygoing manner suddenly turned slightly sour .

Loren thought that maybe he had something against adventurers, but quickly dismissed the thought because that meant he wouldn’t have been so nice to him .

“Maybe it’s because I don’t look like an adventurer,” thought Loren as he replied, “More like business partners . I’m just joining them for this quest . ”

“Not trying to sound like a hater but you should leave that party as soon as you can . A guy that invites a bunch of women to his party is never a decent one . ”

Loren thought maybe he was just jealous, but he wasn’t one to point that out .

He let out an awkward laugh and started walking over to Sarfe and the girls, waving at the guard behind him .

“Did you wait long?”

Loren shook his head .

Although they had agreed to meet up in the morning, it wasn’t as if they chose a specific time to meet up . He was also able to gain information from the guard while waiting .

No time was wasted, so he didn’t think that he needed to complain at all .

“Well we’re all here so let’s get going . Walking all the way there is going to be a pain so let’s borrow a carriage . ”

The members of the party agreed with Sarfe, but Loren stopped in his tracks .

Since the village was a 3-day’s walk, he thought that they were going to walk there .

However, if they were going to rent a carriage, he was going to have to help pay for it .

After buying rations for the next few days and spending a night at the cheapest inn he could find, he didn’t have enough money to rent a carriage .

At this rate he would have to go on foot while everyone else rode the carriage .

As he was debating to either borrow money or run at the same pace as the carriage, he felt some coins slide into his hand .

Surprised, Loren look next to him, a black-haired girl wearing the clothes of a priest was looking up at him, with a finger on her lips .

The others were too busy looking for a carriage and did not notice the actions of Lapis, the priest .

“You’re in a tough spot, right?”

Before Loren could say anything, Lapis continued with a smile on her face .

“These are 10 copper coins . It should be enough to take you to the village and back, so please use them . ”

Loren looked at the coins in his hand, then turned his gaze back to Lapis, giving her a puzzled look . Lapis stuck her tongue out and said to Loren,

“I’m lending them to you so please use it . ”

It was good for Loren that he didn’t have to say out loud that he didn’t have any money, but lending money was not normal among mercenaries .

Among mercenaries it was unwise to do so because it was a profession where no one knew if he was going to be alive the next day to return the money, which led to many arguments . Loren decided that maybe it was different for adventurers .

“If you owe me one here, you might help me later to return the favor, so it’s sort of an investment as well . ”

Loren couldn’t understand lending money for free, but basing an action on calculations and careful thought was something that he did .

He decided to stop giving it much thought and gladly accept her offer . He put the coins in his pocket and slightly bowed his head toward Lapis, expressing his thanks .

Lapis smiled, telling him not to worry about it .

As Lapis walked away from him, he heard the voices of Sarfe and the rest of the party getting close .

“We found a carriage . The ride to the village is going to cost 5 copper coins . ”

It was exactly half of what Lapis had lent him .

As Loren reached into his pocket and gave Sarfe the money, he was relieved that he didn’t have to make a fool of himself .

“Can’t thank you guys enough . Walking just wastes time and stamina . ”

The man taking them was a farmer from the village who came to the city to buy supplies .

He came to the town with furs and crops to sell, and bought food and tools and was about to go back . Since he sold most of the things he brought, there was a lot of space left in the carriage . He decided to take the 5 of them to make a bit of extra money .

“You’re adventurers that are going to come to the village to exterminate the goblins, right? Then I should take you back to the village as fast I can . ”

Loren felt if that was the case, he could have given them a cheaper fee, but since Sarfe and his party was already thanking the man, he held back the urge to try to change the price .

Although using a carriage is faster than walking, horses that pull carriages have more strength than speed, so they are not as fast as war horses .

But it was twice as fast than going on foot, and the farmer said that if they left in the morning, they would spend a night on the road and reach the village around noon the next day .

Staying inside a carriage for a day and a half wasn’t an easy thing to do but to Loren, who had similar experiences back when he was a mercenary, it wasn’t the worst thing ever .

He thought of striking conversation with Sarfe to try to get some understanding between them, but couldn’t find an opening to because of Naron, the thief, and Oxy, the magician .

Lapis was asleep the whole time and the farmer was busy driving the carriage, so in the end Loren put his head between his knees, closed his eyes, and just waited for time to pass .

As the sun was setting and getting close to night time, the carriage stopped .

“Let’s camp here for tonight . ”

Travelling the road during the night was usually not an option .

The roads were quite safe because soldiers and adventurers exterminated monsters and thieves (the criminal kind) often, and as long as you stay on the road, you would not run into big problems . But still, there was a chance that you would run into monsters or thieves .

There was higher chance of that kind of accident happening at night, so the only people who would do that are those in a hurry, those who hired strong guards, or fools who do not know of these risks .

The farmer was not any of them, and Loren thought they would be staying in an inn .

If they were not going to stay at an inn, it meant they were going to camp outside . When Loren thought about the situation carefully, he remembered that he didn’t even have enough money to rent a room .

The only money he had were the coins Lapis had lent to him in the morning, and 5 copper coins was barely enough to rent a stable stall, so he wouldn’t have any left to get a ride back to the city .

If that were to happen he would have to borrow more money, so he was kind of relieved they were camping outside .

“Ahhhh, I’m so tired and my butt hurts!”

“Stop complaining . We have to finish setting up camp before it gets dark . ”

Naron and Oxy got out of the carriage talking in loud voices, while Sarfe and the farmer watched them with wry smiles on their faces .

They were in the middle of a plain, with no trees or abandoned structures where monsters or thieves could lurk, but Loren looked around the camp and scowled .

In a situation where they had no idea what could be lurking near them, loud noises would bring attention to them, and with no cover at all, making a fire would mean someone could see them from miles away .

He wished they would move to sunken terrain with more cover, but he had no knowledge of the surrounding terrain and didn’t know if there was any place like that nearby .

All he could do was trust Sarfe and the farmer to know more about the surrounding area and do his best to be cautious of any sort of intrusion .

He was already feeling frustrated, but Sarfe’s next words gave the killing blow .

“We’re gonna have to keep watch tonight . ”

“You mean… just the two of us?”

Including the farmer, there were six of them . If they took 3 watches in pairs of 2, it would be much easier on everyone . Loren thought that he had a special reasoning for wanting just the 2 of them to keep watch, but Sarfe’s reply was surprising… in a completely different way .

“Well, it’s tough without any sleep so it’s gonna have to be the two of us . ”

“We’re only going to have one person watch at a time?”

To a former mercenary like Loren those words were unbelievable .

Of course, the number of people available was different, so Loren wasn’t expecting anything fancy, but in his mercenary group it was normal to act in pairs, whether they were keeping watch or scouting .

The only time they would act solo was when they were alone, or there was an absolute need to split up and act independently .

“You got a problem? The leader is telling you to do it so just shut up and do it!”

He was about to explain to Sarfe the dangers of keeping watch alone, but Naron saw that he wanted to say something and interrupted him with a loud, rebuking tone .

Oxy didn’t say anything, but she must have been thinking the same thing, because she was giving Loren a cold look .

Lapis didn’t seem interested at all and looked sleepy even though she slept the whole time on the carriage . She was rubbing her eyes and stifling a yawn . Loren decided that it was no use trying to convince them .

“Alright . You and me . Who’s going to take watch first?”

“You can take first watch . I wanna sleep . ”

He wondered if it was ok for the leader of the party to act like this, but didn’t say anything, as it was clear that even if he tried to argue no one was going to be on his side .

“Alright . I’ll wake you up halfway during the night . ”

“Sounds good . ”

Sarfe waved his hand, signaling that the conversation was over . Loren couldn’t help but feel a clear anxiety and let out a deep sigh .


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