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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Record of Wortenia War - v3-c28

Chapter 3 Episode 28


"I see... So you come back nonchalantly just like that?"

Saying that, the woman gulped the alcohol from the beer mug.
She had blonde hair that had been exposed to the salt breeze. She was not ugly but her face can be considered as mediocre. She had a small breast on her chest, making her charm as a woman quite lacking.
However, despite being like that, no man would go against her in this town.
She had survived in the world dominated by men. She possessed sharp eyes and intimidating aura around her.
And her name is Luida
Just like Henry, she had nickname circulated among the people of the town, and that nickname was 'Sea Snake'.

"Does the shark came back just to be barbequed? I never thought that you would bring such story in this place..."

The man with bald head sitting across Henry muttered such words as if in sync with Luida's words.
His name is Andre.
He was a man boasting thick arms and nicknamed as the 'Tsunami'.
His sharp eyes looked at Henry while he tapped his bald head with his hand.
The three people surrounded the roundtable were the ruler of this town, also a captain of their own pirates' group.
They used Galleon ships type as their flagship, also they commanded several medium ships such as Caravel ship and Carrack's ship, and several others small ships... Those ships were operated around the Wortenia peninsula.
Today was the regular meeting held once a month.
It was an important meeting where they would be decided the future policy of the town.
And right now, the biggest problem on the table was regarding Mikoshiba Ryouma who had become the owner of the peninsula.
They had made a base in the peninsula because it was abandoned by the country.
And now official authority had come to the peninsula. Which they could not ignore.

"Do you really think like that?"

It was a calm voice.

(Well, it was natural for them to feel suspicious like this... If I were in their position I would also felt suspicious about this kind of story...)

Such thought calmed down Henry's heart.
Ludia shrugged her shoulders and Andre just kept silence after they heard Henry's respond.
They both understood Henry's ability.
Henry was one of the bosses who handled this barren city.
Thus his ability was something no one can refute. Since there's no such a thing as a noble privilege in this town.
If Henry's power decline and he became weaker compared to others, he would already be dead and his dead body would have been thrown into the sea.
For him to stay alive in this town. was a testament to Henry's ability. -

"I've done everything I can do right now. Certainly, I also thought of landing but, I was unable to throw away the possibility of it being a trap as well."

Henry glanced at the two people as if asking them whether there were complaints in his judgment.
The three people gaze clashed.

"A trap huh... Indeed that might be possible."

"That possibility itself means that bastard called Mikoshiba was a cautious person..."


Finally, the three people fell into silence.
Such long silence ruled the room.
The problem now was what they should do. Depending on their decision, their destiny can be changed.

"Should we attack them decisively? The enemy numbers are around 300 right...? If we go and fight them together, we could bring more than five hundred. The prospect of victory is high even if we use brute force, don't you think so?"

Andre was the most hot-blooded person among them, and he proposed a frontal attack.
His nickname of 'Tsunami' came from the way he attacked his enemy.
He would draw near his prey quietly like a falling tide, and then struck his prey with overwhelming force. <TLN: When Tsunami happen, usually the tide would be pulled several hundred meters away from the beach, before the wave struck back...>
It was not a simple brute force either. He would prepare the surprise attack meticulously. Which it was not easy to do.
Andre became one of the rulers of this town because he had the power to perform such tactic.
However, Henry shook his head toward Andre's suggestion.

"No, making a move unskillfully would be unwise... Performing surprise attack on unprepared enemy aside, this time they might have prepared something, which in turn will make the surprise attack disadvantageous for us instead. Their numbers might be small, but they seemed to have mercenaries among their ranks..."

If it were the normal situation the three of them would take Andre's proposal without any hesitation.

"There's too much uncertainty huh? If that the case then, what should we do?"

Although Andre proposal was being declined, because the one who did it was Henry, he seemed didn't mind it.
Certainly, the number of people serving under Henry was larger, and their combat experience was also abundant.
However, their actual battle experience was mainly at the sea.
When they fight on the sea, they were merciless people who would crawl under the enemy's skin. However, their land battle experience was mostly only when they plundered villages and port town.
And because their aim was to rob, rarely they fought on land.
In addition, their biggest weapon was a surprise attack.
No matter how much they had attacked towns with relaxed security, it would have been impossible for them to attack a well-prepared town head-on.

"Then, what should we do? Keep silent and persist in non-interference?"

Although they were on the same peninsula, their town and the place where Ryouma had built his base were split by a forested area where monsters wander around.
Their town itself was also hidden from people eyes and hard to find due to the town being surrounded by cliffs.
Luida's suggestion was passive move, but it was also not wrong.
Her nickname 'sea snake' came from her being able to wait as long as necessary.

"You meant waiting for an opportunity huh?"

Hearing Henry's words, Luida grinned and nodded her head.
There were many people who would choose to move, but only a few people were able to choose to not to move and waited for an opportunity.
The reason why she was able to reign was that she was able to wait quietly until the power of the previous generation wane.
And not only just waiting. She also had been engaged in scrapping the power of her predecessors as well as accumulated her own power and made sure that the opportunity came sooner.
It was like a poison that corrodes the body...
That was the reason why she was called the 'sea snake'.
But then again, Henry shook his head toward her suggestion.

"That move in itself is not wrong but, this time around, I think we should have a negotiation with Baron Mikoshiba..."

Hearing his words, Andre and Luida starred at Henry while full of doubt.
That was because, his words was too unexpected for them.

"Negotiation huh... Is it to make Mikoshiba drop his guard before we attack him?"

"That sound not bad, but you guys should remember that Mikoshiba is wary of us. Besides, if the rumor about him is true then, he is someone that would not drop his guard from just a mere negotiation..."

There was the saying 'big body have little wisdom' but, Andre had more wisdom than average people.
It was a matter of course, since previously he was a trade merchant who had crossed between the continents.
He ended up becoming a pirate due to the huge debt he got after his trade ship was struck by a storm.
Right now he had become a man who had no problem when using rough means but, he was once a man who had built a large wealth.
Due to the many experiences when he was a businessman, among the three people, he was the most capable when it came to ascertaining someone.
From Andre's point of view, Mikoshiba Ryouma was a man that was good at the scheme, and he also does not believe in others.
It was not easy to gain trust from such human being.
That was why Andre and the others need to plot something, but Ryouma might end up scheming against them in turn.
However, once again, Henry shook his head.

"That's not it... The negotiations are just the beginning. Our aim is to be under Mikoshiba's umbrella. That is what I really thought..."

"Are you serious?"

Toward Andre's question, Henry nodded his head.

"You guys should've already realized right...?"

No one said anything. The people who lived in this town had vaguely realized, and for the three people present inside the room, this problem was bigger than the problem Mikoshiba Ryouma.

"Certainly... We have no future... But..."

"I've also thought about that but... In the first place, will Mikoshiba willing to come and negotiate with us?"

However, Henry looked straight into their skeptical eyes.

"But, even if we continue our pirate business as it is, we have no future... Right?"

In those words, they fell silent. That attitude proved that Henry's words were correct.

In actuality, their chance to perform plunder was not many.
Certainly, plundered a village would garner them a big income.
Although they were exploited by the nobles, the commoner would save(goods) like a commoner should.
And plundering rob all of those saving. Speaking of agriculture, it was equivalent to eating everything one had harvested without leaving enough to use for sowing next year.
As a result, it cannot become continued revenue.

At first, it was not like that.
At first, they had robbed one village and town each and regularly took money from the surrounding towns as a form of taxes.
Piracy without causing blood and tears to spill. If they attacked, the women and children would have been mercilessly killed, raped and being sold as slaves.
Such image binds the ordinary people's heart who does not possess the power to fight and ended up paying the pirates to escape their fears.
For their own safety...
And the same case also happens when attacking a merchant ship.
One can attack a ship when they passed the route.
When the pirates appeared they would lose their goods and lives. Who would sail via such route then?
In many cases, pirates can ask merchant ships to pay a toll fee.
They decide on the price by the percentage per load.
Otherwise, the next one would not come pass the route.
Of course, they also need to sacrifices some to maintain their pirates' image, but it was not their method to completely rob their prey.

However, when Henry came to power only scorched land remained.
When they attacked the villages, they rob and kills everyone.
It was also the same when it comes to merchant ships.
Sailors who survived were sold as slaves and their goods were completely looted.
Around ten years ago, such method increased in frequency, and now it had become their method of modus operandi.

"I know that... Even now, it has become harder and harder to find prey..."

Luida nodded toward Andre's words.
The Merchant ships have stopped from going through the northern route.
Currently, they were using the port town located at the eastern end of Ernest Gora.
From there they would cross the continent via land route and transport it to the trade city of Fulzad.
Compared to mass shipping, the labor cost and other expenses were much higher, but it was much better than being robbed by pirates.
This was caused by Henry's rough manner of doing things.

"Our current profit is only barely enough for us to continue living... We can't do things like we do a long time ago anymore."

A long time ago, there were not many citizens in this town. Even if it was increased, at most there were only several families a year. It was never increased more than 10 people once at a time. But, people suddenly flowed in a decade ago.
The reason for that was obvious. That was the time when Ortomea Empire invasion became active.
As Ortomea Empire expanded their territory, the countries that had existed in the middle of the western continent were destroyed one after another.
In the process of that, many people escaped the difficulties and threw away their hometown.
Of course, there were also many people who had chosen to live as the citizen of the Ortomea Empire.
However, those who refused to become the Empire citizen they seek a new place to live one way or another.
While most of the people from the privileged class were either choose expulsion or execution.
Those people mostly return to the earth(died) under an unknown sky but, some lucky men would reach new place.
And some of them had flowed into an unknown town that existed on this Wortenia peninsula.

"The judgment I made that time was wrong... When we looked at the current situation, it was a complete mistake..."

"To say those words at this time, nothing will change you know?"

Luida spoke comforting words toward Henry who spit out his irritation.
Even if they reconsidered the situation at that time, the conclusion was only one. But looking at the result now, that conclusion was a mistake.
Although it can't be helped when looking at the enthusiasm of those days.

A number is a power.

If the inhabitant of the town increased, they won't felt threatened by the monsters.
Little by little they had become big.
No people hated when the town where they lived being expanded.
Especial for those who had been living while avoiding other humans.
Initially, only some lucky people who broke through the forest area arrived but, the number gradually escalated.
He ordered his ships to go to some town and invited some people who want to join the pirates.
At first, everything was going well. The number of pirates increases, and the scale of the ship and town they had attacked grow steadily.
They started to not feel afraid of the troops that sometimes being sent by the neighboring countries. Thus, the waters around the Wortenia peninsula have literally become Henry's territory.
For Henry at that time, he had never expected that he had opened a door to hell.
The town population grows. Thanks to that the surprise attack by the monsters inhabiting the peninsula decreased. -
The town population then grew once again. Thanks to that, the scale of the town they attacked get bigger.
It was natural if they ended up thinking that they were in a seventh heaven.
So they ended up forgetting something.
That they themselves didn't produce anything.

There were limits to the toll taxes as well as payments from the villages and towns.
Even so, they need to live...
However, by increasing the number of inhabitants of the town unplanned, it was impossible for them to maintain the town with that income alone.
And the balance that collapsed once never return back...
When the number increased the profit had become bigger but to maintain such number they also needed a bigger revenue.
That was the start of the endless cycle of barely keeping the business going.
The result, they gradually increase their plundering.
They didn't have other option since it was hard to aim for self-sufficiency at their base.

"We ended up overdoing it... Now, other than the whimsical one, none crossed the sea around this area. We also already plundered and exhausted the town and villages near the coastlines..."

Both, Andre and Luida remained silent after they heard Henry's words.
But they accurately read the hidden intent behind Henry's words, and their eyes shone brightly.

"But, that's why, there's room for negotiation with Mikoshiba. There's a room for us, to sell our power..."