Cthulhu Gonfalon - Chapter 134
Chapter 134: Chapter 4
Translator: Sigma Editor: Sigma
On the north of Federation of Gold Coins, there was a town called “Double Headed Stork.”
The town name derived from a famous silver coin from the Eagle Kingdom. On the back of the silver coin, there was a relief of double-headed stork.
The Eagle Kingdom’s coins were well known for their beauty. Not only were they famous across mainland, but they had great rebut across the world. Back then, when the pioneers from Federation of Gold Coins named the cities, they liked to use various kinds of coins as names; “Double Headed Stork” was one of them.
The city was similar to the trading center of the Federation of Gold Coins and the four towns of northwest. Food, daily commodities, and luxury goods were constantly sent to the north while from the gorge came ore, metal ingot, various types of gemstones, and magic beast materials.
Although the Federation of Gold Coins established a nation through business, most of the areas were under strict management. Business scale and types in each city were rigidly restricted. Regardless of the scale of businessmen, without ratification, no one could operate presumptuously. Through such methods, they realized the order of arrangement and distribution of all resources so the nation was in order.
The Double Headed Stork mainly operated on logistics, especially freight delivery for staple commodities. Naturally, thieves appeared one after another. According to the calculation of Association of Thieves, the thief organization that moved around and treated the city as their main stronghold had almost 46 members. At its peak, it hit 75 members. As for the exact number of the thieves, they conservatively estimated there were about 2,000 or more.
2,000 was not a small figure. If it were a united front, the federation would have sent out army to wipe them out. But the thieves were formed into organizations of various sizes, and spread out, using the city as their center. They came and went like shadows, always confusing the army with their irregular activity patterns. They emerged like the weeds in the backyard after rain, that would suddenly appear if it were not cleaned for a few days.
Including Double Headed Stork, the entire Federation of Gold Coins attached great importance to hunting and offering rewards for the capture of thieves. Hence the birth of a famous profession called bounty hunter.
Such capable adventurers that hunted thieves as their prey claimed bounty as their income source, like hunting magic beasts. They were the guests that were most welcomed by the travelling salesmen groups on the border of Federation of Gold Coins. They were also Knight errants that were most respected.
But of late, the income for bounty hunters in Double Headed Stork dropped sharply.
It was not because the reward lessened, but because of the appearance of strong competitors.
“Quick! There are people who came across a gang of thieves on the trade route on the west side, led by ‘Iron Claw,’ who seemed to be very strong. His head was worth five hundred gold coins!” When the sky grew dark, the door of the pub was pushed open. An adventurer that was fully armed dashed in and shouted at his comrades that were sitting in the corner, “We have had almost no income for half a month; we have to grab this one!”
The few comrades that were drinking sadly were suddenly in high spirits and jumped one after another, grabbed their weapons and ran out the door. Someone that seemed like a captain led them and shouted at the boss, “Old rules! Bill the alcohol on credit, wait till we claim our bounty, and we will talk again!”
They were capable and their actions were experienced. As they spoke, they got onto the horses that were tied outside the door and left with the clatter of hooves. The boss waved at them behind the smiling cashier and talked to a brawny man sitting next to the counter. “Stud, why don’t you try?”
The man from north who was referred to as “Stud” was tall and strong; he was also commonly known as “barbarian.” But unlike a barbarian, he had handsome features. White hair and red eyes didn’t look creepy on him, but lessened the feeling of danger that was brought upon people by his body size. The strong build was unlike the normal tribe that brought out their power conspicuously like granite statues, but appeared to be unusually balanced. He was tall and big; even when he sat down, he was taller than the nearby customers. But his gentle smile and the handsome moustache on his face made him look friendly and approachable, without the crude qualities of a barbarian. Even the cuts and bruises on his body did not make him look ferocious, but seemed unusually appropriate.
The only thing that made him look like a barbarian was the tattoo on his right arm. From his shoulders to his upper arm, he had tattooed a vicious winter bear. The bear’s eyes gave out ferocious green light, and everyone who was an expert could tell that it wasn’t just any tattoo. In it was sealed the soul of a strong magic beast.
Besides that, he did not show one bit of barbaric quality. Maybe the fish fork on the floor and the short axe on his waist could be considered barbaric. But he hardly used them. Under normal situations, he actually preferred the bundle of rope on his shoulders.
The man named Jose was an amazing adventurer, and especially good at lasso. He could ride on a bolting horse and take an apple from a roadside balcony by lasso. When there were four or five enemies dashing towards him, yelling, he could use lasso to tie all their necks to the edge of strangling them to death, in order to claim the highest reward.
But he was even more famous for his amorous character and his seasoned hands in the arena of love. He had been in Double Headed Stork for almost two years, and within those two years, all the ‘looser’ women had slept with him. There was even one instance where two female adventurers had a duel over him. He stopped the battle by pulling the two of them onto the bed.
That’s how he got the name “Stud.”
Of course, Jose had his biggest advantage: his sensibility. He never got involved with any respectable women, and never bid farewell reluctantly after he lost interest. This made him an even more welcome bed partner by those dissolute women.
Honestly speaking, a man with his talent could totally live his life by s*x, getting financial support from women. It was not like there were no adventurers that did so; but Jose persisted in pursuing his identity as an adventurer, and remained enthused over maintaining good terms with everyone, constantly heading over to the pub to socialize.
At the pub, he was the most popular customer; not one of them, but the only one.
When the boss asked, Jose put down his beer mug and smiled, “After this mug, I’ll go.”
“Huh? Shouldn’t this kind of thing be earlier rather than later?” A young adventurer asked curiously.
Jose shook his head. “It would make sense if the robbers were nearby. But this is a trade route in the west. By the time anyone got there, they would only be able to watch on the sidelines. A bunch of experts already rushed over a while back.”
The other adventurer suddenly understood and asked, “Is it the bunch that is not picky?”
“Who else? Of course it’s them.” Jose touched his moustache, that was called sexy by countless women, while he nodded with a smile. “When I returned to town earlier, I saw them going west in a hurry. The one who led the group was the bald guy. If he is already there, no one else could killed off anything. It is nothing; a scene only.”
Everyone was suddenly disheartened, and grumbled at that.
Ever since the bald guy brought a gang of brawny men into Double Headed Stork, they had been grabbing everyone’s business. The gang of men was like their nickname: not picky at all. If there was something to be done, even if the profit was low, they would take action happily like a swarm of locusts: wiping out thieves and bringing back a pile of winnings, dead or alive, to claim their bounty.
Relying on them, the city was in good public order and the number of thieves around the trade routes had obviously diminished. The businessmen and the residents were satisfied.
The only complaints were from the bounty hunters who got all their deals taken away.
Dealing with the bald man who was extremely strong, they couldn’t complain much. Fighting for business was a proper right among the strong. The world of adventurers had always been so. Luckily the things that the bald guy did were not considered excessive.
The adventurers ate while they chatted and the time flew by. Jose ate the portion of food before him.
He did not ride his horse but walked very fast. He left quickly and walked along the road towards the west.
About two hundred miles to the west of Double Headed Stork was Iron City. Its name was derived from a famous gold coin among the collectors. Iron City mainly ran projects like the smelting of ore and rough machining of metal. The refined metal ingot and unfinished weaponry was famous across the mainland, and their supply always fell short of demand.
The trade route that connected the two cities became the slab of fat meat in the eyes of the thieves. Not only were there often thieves’ groups that came and went, but they fought against each other internally more than once for that route.
“But I never understood; everyone is living their life. They eat, sleep, have s*x, have a bunch of children; such great lives. Why is no one willing to live like that?”
He kicked two thieves who jumped out from the bushes suddenly to mug them. Jose didn’t even slow down, but sighed with emotion while he continued to run along the traces left on the route.
The speed of his walking was faster than a bolting horse. By the time sun went down, he had already caught up to the people that left earlier. He saw the shadows from afar, long under the setting sun.
When he caught up to them, the sky was flushed with faint fires.
“Do you think that we will harvest anything?” The leader of the bounty hunter team smiled and asked. He was close to him.
Jose shrugged and pointed to the front. “Isn’t the result right before your eyes?”
The bounty hunter did not possess eagle-eyesight like him; he only saw the situation clearly after a while.
They saw a bald giant that was Godlike, holding a giant axe that looked like a door plank, and leading a bunch of brawny men a few sizes smaller than him. He tied the gang of disheartened thieves and threw them onto the cart on his side.
As for the thieves’ leader, “Iron Claw,” there was a huge pit on the ground that was an awful mess of fresh red. It was the final trace in the world left by the famous man whose head was worth 500 gold coins.