Chapter 84 - Alhad Bandits (3)

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“Huh?”

“Magi?”

Lulu and Kuvar questioned.

Airn Pareira nodded while looking at his necklace.

As an artifact that was gifted to him by his sister, it was an object which showed excellent performance in detecting Magi, poison, and magic.

The current color of the necklace was red.

Although very faint, it was clear that the color changed.

In fact, he didn’t even need the help of the artifact.

The moment he met the bandits, he immediately felt something.

Well, not everyone had Magi.

‘It doesn’t feel like a demon, but…’

Airn watched the bandits, including the leader, Kazhar.

It was different from the demon he saw during the subjugation. Most of them were no different from humans, and only a little bit of Magi could be felt from Kazhar.

Did he come into contact with a demon recently?

If not…

It was the time when he was thinking.

Lulu, who floated towards him, asked.

“Airn, are you alright?”

“Uh?”

“The condition of your mind. Does it feel like a sudden change happened like during the subjugation?”

“What is that supposed to mean, Lulu?”

Kuvar asked.

He realized that he didn’t know something about Airn’s concerns, which seemed related to the Magi.

Airn answered.

“It has something to do with the iron stake. If I come in contact with Magi, the symptoms worsen. Feelings turn colder, and I’m unable to think about my surroundings…”

“Ah…”

“But it’s fine. It’s because the Magi is weak, so it’s bearable.”

Airn reassured them.

But as his face was so stiff, it didn’t have an effect on them.

Kuvar and Lulu looked at Airn’s face with heavy expressions.

Of course, they were the only ones.

The people who heard the words of Kazhar were all unable to understand what was happening.

The faces of the bandits told them that this was no joke.

“I can’t understand.”

In place of the merchants, who were lost, someone close to being an old man stepped forward.

He was the most experienced one in the merchants union and had passed through the Alhad mountains more than 20 times.

In a calm voice, he asked.

“It doesn’t seem like there’s any room for us to negotiate, so I’ll start. It’s half of our things. Nonsense.”

“Why? Is there any rule that states bandits should only take a certain amount of goods from merchants?”

“There is. For nameless mundane bastards in the rural mountains, you all have sense, and you act like the representative of them and the three close-by estates. You’re an outstanding person with courage and wisdom.”

“It’s true. Men, it looks like that is all I have! Hahaha!”

“Hahahaha!”

Kazhar laughed as if he was in a good mood, and his subordinates followed him.

Seeing that, the merchants were shocked.

For the men of Alhad, who were more like soldiers than bandits, to show this kind of figure.

It felt ominous.

But they couldn’t say what they wanted to.

It was the moment when the old man tried to talk.

Spit!

“It isn’t a funny story.”

“Huh!”

Dang!

“That’s all.”

“Ku, euk…”

“The old tolls are no more. From today on, the toll is unconditionally half of the goods.”

“…”

“Of course, if you don’t want to pass, you don’t have to pay the toll. Instead, we will take all of your belongings, and you can head down.”

With that, Kazhar burst into laughter again.

This was how bandits acted, but still, the merchants were shocked.

This wasn’t how the Alhad bandits were supposed to be.

Unlike this harsh manner, Kazhar treated merchants with respect.

They even served meals occasionally to grow their relationship, and some of them were even friends.

The confusion and shock were indescribable.

However, just because the opponent came out strong doesn’t mean that they will retreat.

The head merchant, who retreated a couple steps, looked at the head guard.

He nodded and looked at another person when a man from the mercenaries appeared.

“W-What is this? You want to deal with it like this?”

“You have it wrong. We are still hoping to settle it peacefully.”

“Besides, that jerk’s eyes are scary! What is this?”

“We feel that to get peace, we need to show that we have the power to resist.”

Srrng!

As soon as the head merchant finished speaking, a mercenary drew their sword.

A heavy yet sharp-edged sword.

The entire blade was glowing blue, and one of the mercenaries who saw it shouted.

“Glacial Blade! That person is Wolfgang!”

“Wolfgang is the best!”

Magic Swordsman Wolfgang.

As one can see, he was a seasoned mercenary with a magic sword cold enough to give people chills when close to him.

Just like getting a mercenary card from Alcantra, he received a silver card in the five western kingdoms, and he was a veteran among veterans known to have received a gold card a few years after that.

With that, the group’s dark atmosphere grew brighter.

The head merchant, who was smiling, continued to smile.

“It isn’t just Wolfgang. There are four more silver card mercenaries among our men and quite a few bronze card mercenaries.”

“That so? Why put so much care into the escorts when you only paid tolls every time?”

“There’s no guarantee that this won’t happen. As a result, we are glad it turned out like this. Now, what are you going to do? Haven’t you changed your mind?”

The head merchant asked with a confident expression.

Of course, their power wasn’t ahead of the bandits.

Right now, their leader is an Expert, which means that he is above Wolfgang.

In addition, there were too many talented subordinates under him, the mercenaries were still at a disadvantage.

‘But, Kazhar would know. With this power, he will take damage too.’

The bandits draw their swords to plunder the wealth, eat well and live well, not to risk their lives against strong enemies.

Especially smart ones like Kazhar.

The fact that if he fought, he would lose half his power. And if he was unlucky, he might even be injured.

Because of that, the merchants were convinced that there would be no battle.

They weren’t sure what changed the situation, but no matter how strong Kazhar was, he would have to compromise…

Bang!

Sshhh!

“Ahh!”

“Uh, Uh…”

“… hic.”

Gasps escaped from the merchant’s mouths.

The mercenaries were the same.

A strong expression that shook their confidence.

It was because of the bandit leader, Kazhar.

The battle hammer he swung with all his might had created a huge crack in the ground.

“I see how you look at me…”

Shhhh!

Kazhar picked up the battle hammer, which was lodged in the ground.

No ordinary person could handle the weight of that hammer with one hand.

Wolfgang shook his hand like he was getting ready.

Cold sweat was running down his back.

“If you want a fight this bad, then fine. Wolfgang? I’ll take him down at once. But after him, it’ll be your turn.”

“… I’ll give you half.”

“No! What is that! How can you say that!”

“But, we’ll lose our lives if this goe…”

“If you leave half to them, you’d be practically dead anyway!”

The moment Kazhar’s threat ended, the merchant’s side fell into chaos.

Those who think that life is the most important thing wanted to meet the demands, but those who knew about money, knew that living or dying was the same if half of the goods were left.

The merchants were split as they argued among themselves.

The confusion in the mercenaries was no less than the merchants.

Most of them thought that this was an easy job and would get some money.

But now, they were being asked to put their lives on the line.

What’s more, the enemy they had to deal with is Kazhar.

What they saw meant that Kazhar was an Expert.

It meant that he was powerful enough to get a title from one of the five western kingdoms.

‘Please, I hope it ends without a fight…’

‘Just give them the goods! We will never win!’

Most of the mercenaries, including those with silver cards, shared the same thoughts.

No one had courage.

Some merchants seemed to be in despair.

And Trent couldn’t even meet their gazes.

“…”

As he was shy, he never told anyone that he wanted to be a hero.

That was why he decided to become a swordsman.

Hearing the heroic stories of swordsmen, including Ian’s, he thought he would feel like a hero if he swung his sword.

And he was in the middle of a bad situation.

And much better than ordinary swordsmen.

A much nobler heart than the mercenaries who only want money.

He was nobler than children of prestigious families who grew up without suffering.

He thought that if he gained experience, he would become a great swordsman like the ones from Krono.

It was a mistake.

‘I can’t do… anything.’

He realized that the moment he saw Kazhar’s strike.

He was lacking.

He didn’t have the determination to step forward courageously in the face of crisis, and he didn’t have the skills to stand up to his opponent’s hammer.

He really didn’t have a reason.

He got drunk on the cool heroic story and just thought, ‘I’m different from other people.’

The result was this.

He just stood still as his mouth went dry.

Trent closed his eyes as the sense of shame was creeping in.

He heard voices coming from behind him.

“Airn, you are going?”

“I should. I made a rough decision on what to do. This may not be the right answer, but…”

“And the Magi influence? Right now, you aren’t…”

Lulu frowned.

The meaning was conveyed.

It meant for Airn to confirm that he wasn’t under the influence of the man in the dreams.

The only thing he had to think about until he came to the top was if he was ready to kill people.

And he still hadn’t come to a conclusion yet.

In such a situation, Lulu was worried that the man in the dream might take the initiative.

“It’s fine.”

Airn smiled.

His face was stiff but not under the influence of Magi.

However, Lulu sighed in relief.

“Good.”

“Though, I wonder what choice you will make… but you’ll be fine.”

“Yes. I will do well.”

And that was the end of the conversation.

Slowly, the blonde stepped forward.

Contrary to his gentle appearance, his eyes were confident now.

The same as Kazhar.

The opponent asked, looking at Airn, who passed by Wolfgang and went forward.

“Who are you?”

“I am Airn Pareira, an official trainee of the Krono Swordsmanship School’s 27th batch.”

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