” Palden quoted another idiom.

”Without your Feat, how much would each pelt be? ” One of the [Caravan Guards] asked, a red-yellow scaled Lizardfolk wearing a helmet of bone and a thick coat, is one of the species from the southern continent of El-Mira; which also is a minority living in Libertalias southern coastal and swampy cities.

”Probably two silvs. ” Numisley shrugged. ”How ya fairing Mister Laexth? Chilly ain it? ”

”Cold. I wish I was a warm-blood like you, sir. ” Laexth, the only Lizardfolk of this wagon grumbled.

”Its a week or two before winter comes knockin, ” Numisley replied. ”Your family got enough for winter? ” He asked. He cared for his familys employees, but he had learned how to build rapport with their employees or subordinates from their father, who has many talents.

”More than enough. I fear that my hatchling would hoard the food in our pantry. ”

Good-natured laughs and words were exchanged during the duration of the trip. The trip itself was unremarkable. Plains and clusters of trees stretched for miles under cloudy skies. They passed by rotting ruins withered with time, and the occasional wild animal or monster.

Soon, they arrived in the town of Renimburg in the afternoon. The village was built around remnants of a destroyed keep, which is where the town got its name. The stone walls with wooden battlements were built with the aged stone of the old walls mixed with the new ones from the nearby quarry.

They passed through the road among the harvested fields, the perimeter guarded by warding totems erected by the allied Satyr Tribe of Tahchawe: a nomadic tribe that rides and herds Sclenti Deer; magical deer with glittering horns with purifying qualities that are powdered for Shamanic medicine and used in their totems. These totems are from a pact two decades ago that the village and the trading company would have a share of their grain, steel tools, money, and iron in exchange for their purifying powders, warding totems, and an exclusive trade partnership and mutual protection. Some of the Satyrs from that tribe had found work within the town and became part of the community.

They passed by the wooden ”saltbox ” houses outside the walls of the cities, a sign that the town is being expanded further. The wooden guard towers and guardhouses were manned by the Redmond Wolves [Mercenaries] hired by Maldent Trading to patrol their territory.

After identifying themselves by showing their companys identification documents, they were let into the walled section of the city. They headed for their companys headquarters, a wide stone three-story building that also doubled as an apartment aside from being an office beside a wide warehouse.

”Gildin Trading. ” The clean wooden sign on the doorway is displayed.

The wagon was parked inside and its few contents were unloaded. Numisley and Cultrost walked within the corridors of the buildings. Tenants and workers that they passed by knew that they were the sons of the owner of the trading company. Many of them minded their own business, but those who had long worked for the company greeted them. The chime on the door rang as it swung open. A middle-aged man with thin brown hair gazed at them over a cleared stack of paperwork.

”How was the trip? ” Jacias Glidin, the owner of the company, and their father asked as Numisley hobbled forwards, assisted by his brother.

”Good. We sold three-fourths of our inventory. Ill write the details on the report, as usual, Pops. ” Numisley answered.

”Suppose that he didn get into trouble, right? ” Jacias stared at Cultrost with a gaze that can pierce metal.

”Yes. Well, he did complain about not having enough time to gamble. ” Cultrost answered, sweating a bit. He was mindful that even if he lied, he would find out. Their father had a way of obtaining information expertly because of being an [Spymaster] in the past before being a [Merchant] and a [Information Broker], but they haven been told much even back when they were children.

”Good. I got news to tell. ” Their father announced. ”Close the door. ”

The Satyr closed the door. The office was [Muffled], not [Silenced], because [Glyphs of Silence] would consume too much mana and its magical signature would be more obvious that they had information that they want to keep within these walls, especially in a quaint town where there are not many enchanted buildings to blend it in.

As an extra measure, Jacias had commissioned enchanted speaking stones within the walls to play a random pre-recorded conversation as well as less obvious illusions on the blinds that showed them in a false conversation, to evade those who have Feats that read lips.

”A Dungeon has been discovered near us and the neighboring town of Ashiicalom, and it was just announced to be Silver-rank based on the initial floors. However, the news will reach the company of Belias Trading by tomorrow or the day after according to our information sources. Their [Mercenaries] and [Traders] might prevail on their Adventurers Guild and take a share of the loot before we do. It will raise the prices of magical items and raw monster products. ”

”I suggest that we sabotage them- ”

”We shall not do anything drastic. ” Jascias interrupted before Numisley suggested a risky idea. ”Although that would be a missed opportunity for profit, sometimes the risk isn worth the reward. ”

”I suppose I shall send a [Runner] or someone in the Messengers Guild to deliver the report for the higher-ups at Maldent? ” Numisley asked, slightly irked because he didn get to voice his idea.

”Yes. The usual. ” Jacias would send highly important letters by hiring two or three [Runners] to deliver two fake letters and the actual letter so that theres less chance of another company intercepting them.

”I know that you want to do something to help the family. Being ambitious is good. You remind me of your late mother in that regard. Some of your proposals had been helpful to our business, but I do not want to put us in danger as we already are. ”

”I know. ” Numisley moaned as he was being scolded.

”Listen. Our boys in Helmgartis Quarry in the Adymine Mine had been bought out by Belias Trading. One of our wagons was looted by unknown [Mercenaries]. They made their move to acquire a share for the new Dungeon public by declaring it in the Merchants Guild. ”

”It may be a company-to-company war again I suppose? ”

”Yes. ” Jacias gravely replied. ”By tonight, I want you out of this town and stay in the house. Cultrost, what Level are you in your [Warrior] Role? Any new Feats? ”

”Im stuck at Level 20. ” The Satyr answered. Jascias sensed the danger that was right outside their windows.

”Ill use [Priority Order] to charter a wagon fast. Get to the warehouse- ”

They were alerted their one of their Feats, but it was too late even if they jumped behind the side of the desk. The window at their right broke as fire and debris engulfed the room.

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