Here you go, one more chapter, sorry for the long hiatus. Fully proofreaded by Avenue, credit to him.
On his way for the morning routine, Daniel checked his mail box searching for his job application news.
“(Hmm...nothing, just the usual outstanding bill reminder.)”
He was unemployed and the money he received from his last job barely let him survive last month. If he didn’t get any any decent job this month, Daniel thought of selling some of his in game money for the real money and start a business again
“(The last three times were failure. I felt a bit hesitant to start a new business and number four is not a lucky number either. I guess at least I had to try.)”
Every outstanding bill was red in color, but Chrono decided he could easily solved it later. He put away the bills and locked his house before he start his morning practice again.
Capsule System Scanning.........
Searching System Data....
Finalizing system decision.............
Loading system data...
The system scanned your real body to be beefier thus your character Strength,Dexterity and Stamina increase by 10.
The game updating Chrono’s stats proved that his training was not for naught. Normally, Chrono would spawn in the nearest safe spot, but as official caravan member, he was spawned in his own wagon.
As he get out from his wagon, Chrono saw a night sky of ‘Gliden Forest’. The dawn was near and the second days of the caravan was approaching.
Nothing big happens on the first day, only a few minor encounter from monsters and chaotic users. The caravan managed to reach the first checkpoint safely.
As the world of Emperor Saga was big, travelling between cities could take a long time on top of being dangerous for users in a weak class such as merchants.
From the pamphlet Gilbert gave to the caravan members, they were scheduled to arrive at the port city of Malak in nine days.
Instead of using the short route that only take three days, Gilbert plan on taking the safer longer route. With ‘BloodBrothers’ rampaging the Kramoris Mountain range and various chaotic users lurking around it, taking the shorter routes was not an option.
The longer routes means longer journey and needed more resources. But it was safe mainly because of the short distance between the checkpoints.
Checkpoints in Emperor Saga was made by various mercenary clans where they made the barricade surrounding an area. These checkpoints usually made in between cities where the traveler could take a rest and filled up their resources in return of the ‘protection money’ collected by the checkpoint owner.
The checkpoint were varied from a simple barricade surrounding a place to the town like checkpoints where users reside and various merchants selling their goods.
Considered as the mercenary clans way of gaining income, opening up a checkpoint was popular among the mercenary clans.
The ‘BloodBrothers’ and the guardian Oroviath controlling Kramoris mountain range area prevented the mercenary clan from opening up the checkpoint there. This forced the mercenary clans to opened the checkpoint on the longer route between Mafoso and Malak.
The checkpoint the caravan reside now was a simple checkpoint with wooden barricade three merchants selling their goods and few soldiers to protect them from monsters and chaotic users.
It was a bit of a shock for the caravan members since they were managed to go through the first day peacefully. But to Chrono, it was a calmed before a storm, he predicted the big bandit clan around already gathered and plan their ambushed at the designated placed.
Using the portal, Chrono take out a few firewoods. He did it with caution as he didn’t want anyone to notice him using the portal.
Chrono brought the firewood together and burned it to make a bonfire. He already noticed goblin Kai in the middle of his sword practice while Jason and James whispering to each other far from the wagon.
Leaving goblin Kai with the sword practiced, Chrono approached Jason and James first.
“...This time for sure…”
“...Yes, for sure…”
“Guys, let’s have a meeting at the bonfire.”
“What with the shock? Make haste, the caravan will leave on the sunrise.”
Chrono lead Jason and James to the bonfire. Protected from the guard contracts, Chrono could turn his back on Jason and James without worry.
“Here, have seats.”
“Yesterday was hectic with the preparation and all, besides, we…”
Before continuing his words, Chrono looked at both Jason and James with an eyes full of meaning while smiling wryly.
“We never properly introduced our self because of various….circumstance.”
“......You are right, we have come a long way, we should properly introduced ourselves to our ene…..*ehem* our contractor for a better ‘work environment’.”
“Y-Yes,my apologies for our rude way.”
“No problem, I will start by introducing myself.”
“My name is Chrono from a merchant class and my current level is a hundred ten.I am a rank C merchant in the merchant’s guild and currently working to up my rank to B. I wish to trigger a combat related hidden class with this class upgrade quest, but it was a more to a wishful thinking.”
Hearing Chrono’s remark, Jason and James can’t help but clenching their fist. They knew Chrono class was merchant and they knew Chrono level was lower. But they never knew Chrono level was that low.
Looking at Chrono again, they felt small as they used to attacked him with a hundred users and failed. Their several encounter after that also end up badly.
“M-My name is Jason. I am from warrior class and my current level is three hundred five. I am...I am a rank F bounty hunter in the bounty hunter guild. Me and James are currently hunting SOMEONE and we decide to not hunting anyone else until we successfully catch that someone.”
Hearing Jason’s words, Chrono could only shudder quietly. From all of his many enemies, Jason and James were the only one that gave him a hard time. The confrontation with Jason and James were always interesting but Chrono can’t deny the cold sweat he had as he escaped from Jason and James clutched by a hair.
Jason continue to speak while Chrono was in deep thought.
“I completed the warrior second class upgrade with James when we were level two hundred. I picked ‘Blood Warrior’ for my second class upgrade since it was specialized in chasing and killing the enemies while having above average defense in return of lesser skill arsenal.”
“.......I guess it’s my turn. My name is James, like Jason, my base class is warrior class and I too a rank F bounty hunter which explain on our bad records. I picked ‘Royal Hunter’ for my second class upgrade since it was specialized in tracking the enemies, having first class defense and have two weapon masteries.”
“Hmm….I see…. ‘Blood Warrior’ and ‘Royal Hunter’. Both specialized in...hunting.”
“(And the ‘Royal Hunter’ had a skill that enable them to tracked their target anywhere in the world, how annoying.)”
Recollecting his thought, Chrono spoke again to wrap up the ice breaking so they can get to the main topic.
“Since we had guards and employer contract, we could find this information by ourselves. But it was nice to break the ice like this. Let us have a round of applause before we moved on to the main subject.”
“”Ehh?! We can do that?”
As Jason and James were dumbfounded with Chrono’s remark, they follow on Chrono with the applause.
*clap* *clap* *clap*
“Now, for the main subject. Yesterday, I gained these.”
Chrono took out the notes and maps he received from Somnia.Jason and James widened their eyes soon after they realized that those document were the caravan information plan.
“W-Where did you get this?”
“I can’t tell you that, but I assure you that these document have been sold in the black market around the continent.”
“Hmm...So that explained on yesterday disturbingly peaceful journey.”
“If you guys believed in me, I need both of you to help me.”
James looked at Chrono with a suspicious eyes. Knowing Chrono, he can’t trust him easily.
“.....How do we know it is not one of your scheme?.”
“You guys are smart enough to figure that out.”
Jason pats on his friend shoulder before he speak out his mind. As the brain of the duo, he quickly figure out whether it was a scheme or not.
“He would gain nothing from this, let us hear him out first.”
“Good, the plan is….”
As the dawn approached, the merchants started to pack their things and ready their wagon. The guards checking on their equipments and the leaders have their meeting with Gilbert for the second day briefing.
The checkpoints merchants have a long line as the caravan members do their final restocked for the second day journey.
Goblin Kai just about to finished his sword practiced while Chrono, Jason and James busily cleared up the bonfire and packing their things.
For the final preparation, Chrono checked on his guards weapon and armor to make sure they are better equipped.
“( For a level three hundred user, their equipment are nothing special. Instead of paying more money for a better craftsmen, they just buy a standard weapon from the NPC. I should craft better equipment for them later.)”
Normally Chrono would never consider to craft equipment for Jason and James since thatose equipments would be used against him later. But the situation was dire, he need all the help he could get to make the class upgrade quest a success.
“(For now I will just refined their equipment since we had no time.)”
At dawn, the caravan started to move again for their second day journey to the city of Malak.
The rowdy route of Krobos forest delayed the caravan journey. It was tiring especially to the troops as they need to be on guard at all times.
Merchants have an easy time since they only need to sit on their respective wagon. The merchants could even log out and enjoy their real life because registering to the caravan enable their avatar to spawn in their respective wagon.
By allowing Emperor Saga’s system messaging to their phone line. They would received a phone messages if the caravan got attacked or it arrived at the checkpoint.
Instead of logging out, Chrono diligently grind his crafting skills. The staggering wagon does not allowed him to do complex craft like blacksmithing or alchemy. Chrono switched between mask making and tailoring while he grind his crafting skills.
The minor threat along the road was easily handled by the caravan’s guard leaving the merchants personal guard like Jason and James with nothing to do.
“LET ME HANDLE THIS!”
“Mwuahaha! This goblin is amusing!”
“Yes, thank you for your help, please watch our back!”
Without his master knowledge, goblin Kai moved to the front line and fight with the guards protecting the caravan. By nature, the monster he fought was two times of his level.
But the kind guards protected the goblin well enough. They found goblin Kai’s dignified way amusing for a goblin and protecting the goblin was fun in their own way. With goblin Kai, repetitive monster fights and discipline military formation marched were not as boring anymore to the guards.
By dusk, the caravan safely arrived at the next checkpoint. The checkpoint was owned by a small clan named ‘Starlight’. The checkpoint defense wall were made from low quality woods and it only had basic facility for a checkpoint.
These characteristic was fine since the checkpoint was placed far from aggressive monsters lairs and bandits raiding spot. But with the information leak, Chrono predicted the chaotic users would finally strike here at this place.
By signing contract with Chrono, Somnia was officially one of the Chrono employee. He was obliged to gather information for Chrono and forbidden from selling his information to others.
Last time, Chrono asked Somnia to gather the information about the bandits raid plan. According to Somnia information, the bandit would begun to raid at the checkpoint owned by the starlight clan.
The main force was the bandit clan named ‘Frozen Tooth’. The clan was famous for having two siege weapons, a ballista and a cannon but no one knows how they acquired those high level crafted weapon.
It was said, the raid party already arrived, the reason the guards didn’t notice them was because they did not login.
By twelve in the morning, the raid party would login at the same time on their respective safe spot and begun their ambushes.
“(Nice detailed information, like I thought, Somnia does not only acquired information by stalking his customer. It seems this guy has his own information network and I will if his information is reliable.)”
After skimming through Somnia information, Chrono clambered out from his wagon. He has plenty of time left before the expected raid, he need to get prepared first.
“Could you sneak out from here and searched for a ballista and canon? I need you to plant bomb at those things.”
“I DON’T WANT TO DISOBEY YOU, BUT I THINK MY FATHER, GOBLIN AI IS A MORE SUITABLE CANDIDATE.”
“Really, why did you say that?”
“BECAUSE HE NEVER GOT CAUGHT PEEKING FEMALE BATHROOM”
“......In way that also a talent. I guess you are right I need someone as stealthy as possible.”
Chrono moved to a desolated place before he summoned goblin Ai with the portal. At the checkpoint, the merchants were busy grinding their manufacturing skill while the guards loosen up while chatting with their friends.
Some troops logout from the game as the checkpoint was usually safe from the attack and they would get the phone messaged if the rare checkpoint raid occurred.
Thanks to this situation, no one noticed when Chrono using portal and summon goblin Ai.
“M-My honor to serve you, master.”
“Ai, wear these equipment I just crafted and take these bomb too. I need you to searched for siege weapons, a ballista and a canon. Plant these bomb to both and return here quickly. If you didn’t find the weapons by eleven thirty, quickly come back here. And finally, take your life as priority, please don’t get killed.”
“As you wish, master.”
Goblin Ai equipped the equipment Chrono just craft before he sneaked out from the checkpoint.Chrono returned to his wagon before he approached Jason and James.
“The preparation was done, now it is your turn.”
“I will take a stroll around the caravan, please contact me if you find anything.”
Five hours before the raid, Chrono strolled around the caravan to see the merchants around him. Ninety percent of the merchants diligently grind their manufacturing skill as those skill were the only way for them to gain level beside doing a business transaction.
Some of the merchant tried to sell their items here, but having a caravan full of merchant that could make their own items, these vendor could only hope for the troops as their customer.
“(Trying to sell items here just means they were absolutely noob or having high confidence on the item they sell. I guess it was the latter since these merchants have higher level, which mean they were a lot more experience than me. I should check out their stuff.)”
Browsing through the shops, Chrono found a few interesting stuff that urge him to buy. He decide to complete his window shopping first before he actually buy something.
There were few merchants selling basic stuff, but instead of selling the regular item, the other merchants sold rare crafting material and odd items such as books, morphing potion, pets brush , tools to make tattoo, paintings and many others.
Books and painting usually bought by rich merchant that had their own galleries. These were called collector’s items, depending on the rarity, these items price could went from a hundred copper coins to a thousand gold coins.
Morphing potion was a rare potion made by grand master alchemist that could randomly change one race. These potion could also used by the NPC.
Pets brush could be used to change pet colors and tattoo making tools could be used to make tattoo on one body. Depending on the tattoo, it could be used for power up by asking master enchanter to change the tattoo to magical insignia.
There were various other item that piqued Chrono’s interest such as ‘supreme broom’ that could quickly clean dust and ‘mighty shovel’ that could easily dig holes. He has the money to buy everything, but he decides to keep a low profile by only buying few items.
“( I should buy few books for Fai and I should kept one morphing potion just in case I will need it later.)”
“Can I help you sir?”
“Hmm...Did you have any interesting books for me?”
“Ah...Are you a collector? I had a six star rare book with me, ‘The Two Ducks’ by ‘Sir Halomus’. Are you interested?”
“( Six star rare book! If I remember right, the books rarity was rated from one to nine stars. One to four star considered as common books, six to seven considered as rare, eight was extremely rare and nine star was legendary. If Fai read this book, his wisdom may go sky rocket, I guess I will buy the book.)”
“How much for the book?”
“Fifty gold, sir.”
As he was about to reach his pocket, Chrono stops once he heard at the absurdly overpriced book price.
“What with the ridiculous price?”
“ It is a rare books, collector would buy this book without any hesitation.”
“Hmm...I guess you are right.”
As Chrono about to reached his pocket again, a girl in her early twenties hold his hands, stopping him from taking out his money.
The girl only look at the ground the whole time hiding her facial faced.From her shaken hands filled with the cold sweats, it seems holding Chrono’s hands was the most courageous deed she could do.
At Chrono’s single word, the girl quickly remove her hand while giving him a ninety degree bow.
Without paying any attention to the girl, Chrono reached his pocket again to finished the book transaction.
As his last transaction was over his budget, Chrono decide to hold himself from buying any other items just to stay low profiles.
Chrono continued his windows shopping and taking notes on things he would buy next. This time, he felt awkward as the girl from before kept on following him.
“(Did she want the book I just buy? I guess she is the type of poor people that come to the store seeing the items they want everyday and felt bitter when rich people like me by it.)”
Annoyed by the girl that kept on tailing him, Chrono suddenly stopped after an hour passed.
“You…...Why did you keep following me?”
“Stop hesitating and say something!”
Chrono usually kept his composure especially in front of the crowds, he never shouts and shouting in the middle of crowds was the first to him.
The girl taken aback by Chrono’s shout, but in away, it gain her courage. Clenching both of her fist, the girl tried to speak.
“Like I thought, you want this book. Sorry, I already bought this one, and sorry, I’m not mister nice guy that will just give this book to you out of pity. Give it up.”
“Just say it damn it! And it’s rude talking to someone without looking to their face. At least look at me while you talk.”
Raising her head, the girl facial expression was finally visible to Chrono. A round cute face paired with a hazels colored eyes. She was a beauty with her own unique value but her attitude just make Chrono ignored her beauty.
“T-The book…..the book was overpriced.”
“(I see, this girl want to talk about this. I guess that merchant just scammed me for a few gold. I never bothered about the books price before as it was useless to me. This was expected.)”
“.......So, how much was the actual market price?”
Without saying any words, the girl raised four finger.
“Hmm….So it was forty gold?Damn, I lost more than I thought.”
Again, she kept her silence but the girl shook her head to tell Chrono were wrong.
“D-Don’t tell me it was four gold, now I just feel super stupid.”
Chrono face approached the girl face while his eyes looking straight at the girl eyes to determine whether the girl lying or not.
The act made the girl blush. Gathering her courages, the girl slowly shakes her head again before she tried to speak.
“F-Four hundred silver coins.”
“I-I’m sorry, I tried to tell you earlier.”
“And why you need one whole hour to tell me?!”
“Because...because….that merchant might’ve had his reason. He may not know the book market price...maybe...maybe if you speak to him again…”
“How the hell would someone whom doesn’t know the market price sell books!? He wanted to scam me from the beginning! Now tell me, why does it cost 400 silver??”
“I’m not sure, but ‘The Two Ducks’ considered as Halomus best works, there were few schools whom mass produced the book and make it into their teaching syllabus. The book originally rated as eight star but since it was mass produced, the rating kept going down. Now it’s only rated as six star mainly because the literature value itself.”
“The last time, maybe I’d buy the book for four hundred silver coin . The prices may go up again from that time, sorry, I may told you something unnecessary.”
He has a lot of money, but it doesn’t mean someone could just rip him off. He used to scam and he used to scheme, the event was a karma to him, regardless, he still can’t accept it. As the girl finished her explanation, Chrono reached a conclusion.
“I want to kill someone.”
His decisions, his conviction just made him forget something far more important.
Two hours before the raid