Thursday, December 18, 2014

Volume 2 - Chapter 12 - Legends Untold, Legends Unknown

[T/N: The title is a slight play on word, "legend" was in katakana instead of written as 伝説. Bravo if any of you figure out the implication :3]

“Whew… is everyone alright?” The brown-haired man asks everyone on the roof in relief.

*uuuuu*

Groans of acknowledgment come as a response.

“Hurts like hell… but we really did it, didn’t we?”
“Sure did, can’t believe we took them on and survived…”
“uuuh… my ale and beer…”

*pa*

The giant of a man gives a pat on the brewery owner’s shoulder. “Don’t worry, Langley. We will all pitch in and help.”

“That’s a given, we wouldn’t have survived if we didn’t have all these barrels of beer and ale with which to drown the Huntsmen.” The brown-haired man shakes his head slowly in disbelief. “To think Mr. Gui had this method to deal with them. I think we are going to need to build a pond in case this happens again.”

*fuuu*

“It’s going to be a pain getting rid of these Huntsmen, hope the barrels aren’t damaged. Guess the entire beer pool will have to be gone too.” Langley sighs while slumping his shoulders, making his already small stature look even smaller.

“You know… you might be able to pickle them… or smoke them in your malt house. I remember some nomadic tribes in the extreme edge of the Frozen West like to drown their prey in alcohol before smoking them to preserve the meat to make them taste better. There’s also the seafarers tribe that would put live shellfish into diluted alcohol before cooking them.”

[T/N: Pickling meat in strong alcohol has a long tradition in various cultures. Personally didn’t think about it until our ED mentioned it. Russians immerse their meat in vodka for the winter as it’s both an antifreeze and well, booze. Asian and South American cultures throw in scorpions, snakes, hook worm and various other animals in their locally produced alcohol to serve as fortifying drinks. In some cases, as a full marinate (dark meat marinated with wine and spices are to die for, regardless of culture). Although in all these cases, the alcohol is unusually strong, smoking the meat soaking it in weak alcohol should theoretically be enough to preserve the meat. As a side note, I’m drooling just imagining the flavour, I’d think it would be something like biltong with a more complex and richer flavour.]

The short man’s eyes show a sharp glint. “Are you for real, Cori?” Langley had heard tales about the brown-haired man after he showed up suddenly one day, about five years ago, saying that he’s a traveler here to repay a debt. No villagers knew of him, nor were there any villagers that travel around aside from going to the Free City of Feia to the south and the border town of the Norman Kingdom, Liliheim, to the north. Naturally, everyone was suspicious of him. But he was neither stingy nor generous and has been paying for boarding in a guesthouse ever since his arrival. The children love him since he always tells vivid tales when asked. The adults always thought he was merely a failed scholar or scribe since the tales sound outlandish. But when the first of many strangers started to show up to beg him to return somewhere, the villagers became suspicious again. Through his own connections in the cities, Langley tried to look into Cori’s background and that of the stranger’s. Cori himself is a mystery, but the stranger was supposedly a renowned merchant within the Florence Conglomerate. The subsequent strangers were all equally powerful, some of which have enough wealth and influence to overthrow a minor kingdom. For these merchants to come begging, this means Cori can’t be a simple man.

For such a man to stay here for so long to repay an unknown debt, Langley wanted to know more. After gradually getting to know him, he found Cori to be extremely knowledgeable. The idea of building a communal malt house for the local wheat came from him, vastly improving the livelihood of the entire village - as he claimed it would. From the malt, the brewery expanded into beer brewing, making a lower quality beverage compared to ale, but at a much reduced cost. The villagers’ baked goods got sold within the morning in the two cities, said to be well liked by some of the better-off citizens and the nobles. The children became slightly healthier as well, with fewer becoming sick while many have developed robust constitutions. Everything happened as he said it would - and then some. Just how many of those tales that Cori told to the children were real? How many were actually tales of fancy? The previously unheard of bread loaves made with malt are now so good, that even the resident immortal seems to enjoy them. Now that this same man is hinting that there’s a way to recover his loss, Langley’s heart leaps in joy.

[T/N 1: Malt is made by soaking cereal grains in water, germinate them to a certain extent before stopping further germination by drying them. Since smoking was mentioned, I think he’s referring to the process of floor malting where the perforated wooden floor -ie wooden floor board with holes- gets heated and smoked via a series of channel underneath the floor, heated via a central fireplace. This process is well documented in the making of whiskey where peat smoke is used prepare the malt.]

[T/N 2: Baked bread weren’t usually sold out within a day in medieval times, that’s why there’s all the saying complaining about hard bread. So the villagers completely selling out their bread within the morning is actually a pretty big deal since you don’t have to stay long in the city and earn more than your usual profit. It should be noted that bakers usually get their leftover, unsold goods, in this case, the bakers can buy what they want to eat, indirectly improving their family’s health due to better nutrition. This doesn’t include the specifically made hard breads which were intended for long term storage]

“Well, if you don’t believe me, you can always ask Mr. Gui to try the taste for you, right Mr. Gui?” Cori turns around expecting a reply, but sees no one there. “Mr. Gui?” The brown-haired man looks around again, the rest of the men start looking around in confusion as well.

“He’s over there.” The large man points to the side, where a short, long figure is running on the ground. Cori’s brows furrow at the sight.

“Hugh, Langley, look after the injured and keep the door closed for the time being just in case.”

The other two uninjured men nod as Cori makes his way past the attic beer fermentation pool, down the stairs, past the barrels filled with drowned [Huntsmen Rabbit]s and out the door.

[T/N: Oh boy, Attic beer fermentation, both me and the editor didn’t know much about it, we only know “of” it. After some research, it’s referring to the practice of brewers opening their roof at night to let insects and other windborne material -likely fungi and yeast- to germinate within the pool, fermenting it. This GREATLY reduces the labour required as opposed to ale, but quality is harder to control.]

* * * * *

A sorry sight meets Cori’s eyes as he makes his way through town. There are dead villagers everywhere, many lying slumped on the floor in the doorways. Cori readies his weapon, advancing slowly through the village. All the houses within his sight seems to be ransacked, with the obvious valuables taken. He checks each body to make sure that they are indeed dead, all of them seem to have died from being stabbed in the heart. His heart sinks as he sees the opened door to a particular house, it’s a home to a particular child and the 3 generations of her family. He walks in and notices a strange sight, aside from the dead grandmother, there are two more corpses. Corpses of strangers.

*gata gata*

There’s a soft rattling sound while he was inspecting the corpses of the strangers, causing him to jump straight up.

*gata gata*

The rattling continues again, Cori is ready for it this time. Seeing that it’s from a storage closet, he readies his weapon and opens it quickly. The sight of Charlotte holding an unconscious Gui surprises him.

“Waaaahh!”

The girl that suddenly starts crying and running toward him causes him to kneel down and hold her in his arms to comfort her. The gray fox slowly gets up in a daze, looking around a bit before staring at the corpses intently.

*eeeeee*

A scream pierces the air and Gui’s ears twitch in a certain direction before he dashes out the door. Cori can only look down at Charlotte before worriedly looking back up at the door where Gui left from just a moment ago. Making a snap decision, he picks the girl up, partially closing the door before hiding in the bedroom. By keeping the door open, he hopes whoever is responsible won’t come back since an open door seems to indicate that a house has already been ransacked. Gui, after all, is an Immortal, so Cori put Charlotte’s safety as the higher priority.

* * * * *

The gray fox climbs up onto a house before leaping from one house to the next, approaching the location of the scream silently. He might be spotted, being out in the open, but at least there would be some distance for him to use to run away. On the relatively straight dirt road, there’s simply no cover, especially if the killers responsible are faster than him.

*KAN* *kan* *KAN*

The sounds of metal striking metal reverberates in the air. Gui makes his way quickly over to the source of the sound, in front of the largest building in the village, the Administrative Building. It’s the equivalent of a town hall and a storage facility combined; since it is only a village, obviously it would be smaller than an actual town hall. Naturally, it would be the first place for people to gather should disaster strike, aside from staying in their home. It’s guarded by the only guards within the entire village, 6 retired guards from Feia.

“Just die already you old men!”

“As if!”

“They are already dead, they just don’t know it yet!”

“You heartless monsters!”

“Stubborn old goats, you want to talk about heartless? You guys didn’t budge an inch when we trained that horde of [Huntsmen Rabbit]s here! Ahahahahahaha”

[T/N: Training is the act of aggro-ing/drawing the attention of monsters and running them into someone else. In this case, the entire village.]

*uu*

3 users, with the glowing red demonheads -the mark of a [Villain]-, taunt the two remaining guards who can only reply in anger as they struggle to ward the users off. The other guards are dead or severely wounded, with a crowd of villagers huddled inside the building.

“«Veil of Darkness»”
“«Serpent Strike»!”
“«Heartseeker»!”

The user in the back casts a screen of black in front of the other two users as they rush forward with their «Skill»s. The one on the left dives low to the ground while the one on the right charges straight forward. The guards tucks their shields close to their chests as they lower their spears, they have seen how their fellow guards were attacked and ready themselves. The veils moved back and forth in front of the users, as though they were curtains, with no fixed distance between them and the users.

Gui had already reached the ground and gotten within striking distance of the magic user in the mean time.

*KIIIII*

A loud, high pitched whining, whimpering noise fills the air just before the other two users reach the guard with their attack. They turn back at the unexpected, sorrowful sound behind them. Unexpectedly, the veils lose their effect, revealing the two users’ locations to the guards. They were surprised that the users are attacking from the sides, contrary to the location of the curtains, but manage to stab their respective opponents in the chest at the last second.

*mmnnnnnnn*

The third user is holding his crotch with both hands as he rolls on the ground, whimpering in pain. Gui spits out the piece of cloth in his mouth before quickly finishing him off by biting his throat before giving it a good shake. Without a moment’s delay, he dashes toward the user on the right that had turned back to deal with the guard.

“Germane! Watch out!”

*GAAAA*

The user on the right screams in pain as the gray fox bites hard on the section between the calf and ankle as the other user warns him in vain. Taking that moment of distraction, the guard in front of him suddenly bashes him in the head with the shield before dropping it and ending it by stepping in with a powerful two-handed upward thrust with the spear. The spear enters the user’s throat with a *zaku* before settling within his brain. The user can only stare blankly at the guard as his whole body slowly slides down the spear from his now unsupported body weight, before it’s unceremoniously thrown to the ground.

*BASHI*

The other guard slams his shield into the chest of the remaining user who had just tried to warn his comrade, before spearing him in the right eye with a wet sounding *zaku*, killing him instantly.

*ha* *ha* *ha*

The guards breathe heavily as they recover from the fight.

“Thank you, Lord Gui. You saved all our lives.”
“Mayor, take care of the wounded quickly, they might be saved yet!”
“We don’t know how to repay you, Lord Gui.”
“Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

“It isn’t over yet, keep everyone safe. As for repaying me, just give me bread, maybe with meat this time.” Gui holds his nose up in the air as he takes a sniff. His ear twitching left and right, within a few moments, he’s gone. The guards and villagers can only do as they are told and fortify their position.

As the sun slowly approaches the horizon, Gui managed to find two other users with the [Villain]’s mark and dealt with them promptly. That night, he gets to feast on bread and rabbit within the village before logging out and eating dinner with Kun. While the food within Second Phantasia was certainly delicious for Gui, he still prefers to eat with Kun and Hank. There are a few new members eating with them now, but Gui considers them skill-less juniors for the time being.

* * * * *

The next few days, the village spends its time holding funerals and rites for the deceased and their families. Langley, who managed to convince the men to help him skin the drowned rabbits while waiting within the brewery, has successfully cured the meat en masse. After finding out what has happened to the rest of the village, he secretly vowed to share all the profits he gets with the village as interest free loans. Stupidly enough, the [Villain] marked users tried to return to village to get their gear back. Except for the two users who Gui killed on his own, the rest were naked save for their avatar’s basic undergarments. Gui was surprised that he smelled their scent again, but swiftly dealt with them nonetheless. After they tried to sneak in for the third time after dying twice, Gui started patrolling around the village, checking for their scent. After finding their unmoving bodies a few times and killing them, the users finally decided to stay away from the village altogether, accepting their loss. As for the crystals, Gui ate them since they look like ice chunks and he wanted something hard to chew on after all the various soft bread the villagers had offered to him.

After a week or so…

“Mr. Gui, how about you escort me and a few villagers to Feia?” Cori asks him as soon as Gui logs in.

“Why?”

“There are a few orphans as a result of the last attack, I want to at least bring them to their family, if they don’t have any, at least an orphanage. Also, I’m going to see if I can barter for some supplies and also get some people to help the village.”

“Orphans?”

“Hmm… something like children without family.”

“Oh…” Gui vaguely recalls the time when his mother died trying to save him and Kun against the bear.

*Wafuuun*

Gui gives a mournful soft whine before nodding his head.

* * * * *

*ka ka*

“Eh… what’s going on here?” Cori already noticed something was going on within Feia from a distance, but he didn’t expect such festivities when he arrived with his carriages. The streets are lined with red and blue flowers and ribbons, with similar decorations on the balconies of all the various shops. Even the sulking and sad children stare in wide-eyed wonder.

“Hail, Archson!” Cori waves at a town guard he knows.

“Hail, Cori! What brings you here?”

“Well, you see…” Cori proceeds to describe the events that took place at the village. Archson can only nod sympathetically with a tight face. “Anyhow, what’s up with all the festivities here?”

“Oh… ummm…” The guard makes a shit-eating grin.

Cori stares at the man’s body language and face. “You earned a fortune? No… found a treasure?”

The guard starts shifting his eyes while still somewhat maintaining his smile.

“Wait… you have a son?” Cori stares even harder. “No, a daughter! Wow, congratulations! Didn’t you say you were impotent?”

The man scratches his head sheepishly while maintaining his smile. “Yeah, so did the physicians. Let’s just say a miracle bumped into me.” The man tries to straighten his expression, but his smile is too wide and the overflowing joy prevents him from doing so. “The festivity, well, we are celebrating the healthy birth of all the Elders’ children.”

“Wait… what?”

“All the Elders’ children were born safely.”

“What do you mean, all? Who?”

“Umm… every single one of them.”

“You are kidding me…” Cori stares in disbelief. “Wait… you aren’t kidding me… what in the four heavens…” He has seen and heard many strange things, but this is a first even for him.

“In any case, hit up the restaurants, all the different Elders are sparing no expense in the celebration and are serving free food. There are games and prizes for everyone as well if you hit up the townsquare.” The guard lowers his voice to a hushed whisper. “I’d personally visit old Markus’ shop, you should have seen him when he found out his wife is with his child. We couldn’t see his eyes for days. They are serving seafood pies and meat and cheese dumplings in his shop.”

[T/N: Not sure if “couldn’t see his eyes for days” is the equivalent idiom. Pretty much, it implies he’s so happy that he is grinning like an idiot all day, so much that no one can see his eyes.]

“I guess I can use this to try and cheer the kids up before returning them to their relatives… By the way, are the Chambers opened with this going on?”

“Oh, if you are looking for the Elders, they are all heading to Zinnia Academy to pay their respect. You could probably catch up to them, it isn’t too far a travel, but the group is going pretty slow with all the missus and newborns.”

“Where is this Zinnia Academy… more importantly, who runs it?” Cori’s mind is going into overdrive. First, Archson -who is supposed to be impotent-, was able to impregnate his wife. Then, all the Elders within Feia happen to have children at around the same time. Now, all of them are going to pay their respect to an Academy? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what it implies.

“Ah, that’d be my daughter’s godfather, Headmaster Rick. He also happens to be an Immortal. Runs the Academy with a few other Immortals. The ‘Little Witch’, the ‘Cat Amazon’ and the eh… what did the captain call him… think it was… the ‘Prince of Destruction’? Oh, and the Academy is filled with only demihumans, they are recruiting students though.”

[T/N: The Academy is recruiting as opposed to accepting, this is due to the fact that the Academy was never “opened” nor was it officially an Academy until Rick got tricked into running it. Going by the previous volumes, you can see Rick tried to get students from the elders as no one know of the Academy.]

“Headmaster Rick? ‘Cat Amazon’? ‘Prince of Destruction’? Never heard of them… but ‘Little Witch’…? Can’t be the same one, can it…?” Cori’s eyes are starting to spin as one bombshell arrives one after another. Each of those titles are amazing in their own rights, since he knows for every tall tale, there’s a grain of truth. In this case, it’s the famed captain that called someone the ‘Prince of Destruction’. Cori gives himself a good shake of his head. “Ah, I should get going, but wait here, give me a moment.”

The brown-haired man goes into the carriage, only to see Gui licking his drooling lips and his tail sweeps back and forth vigorously as though it’s a living duster. He quickly grabs a parcel he prepared beforehand before returning to the front of the carriage.

“Here, share this with your fellow guards.” Cori casually tosses the parcel into the guard’s hands.

“Ohhhh, what is it?” Archson catches it easily without dropping his spear with a *kisha*.

“Some new cured meat, ale marinated dried rabbit jerky and beer marinated smoked rabbit meat. Tell me what everyone thinks, I will leave a stock at Carvin’s as usual, anyone that wants them can buy them there.”

[ED: Carvin = carving, as in meat butchering. this is a terrible, terrible dad joke. You’re welcome for the facepalm.]

[T/N: Now that I think about it, that’s a surprising accurate use of the name within context… still… that pun…]

“Thanks! Will do! And tell the villagers that the guards send their condolences.”

Cori nods with a sad smile before whipping the rein slightly, causing the the horses to go forward. The carriages behind him follow him as he heads to the townsquare.

* * * * *

Most of the children had their fill of fun and amusement at the townsquare. After hitting up a few shops for the free food -where Gui struggled to eat some of the food due to them being served in soup or stock-, Cori finally brings the children to their relatives one by one. The practice of adopting one’s dead sibling’s offspring is widespread on the Zrewheig continent, there are occasions where these children will end up getting sold to slavers. Fortunately for them, this particular region of the continent practices serfdom and slavery is abolished by law in all the nearby kingdoms and city states. Instead, the unwanted children would become properties of the state where they are placed in an orphanage where they are trained in basic skills. The cost of running the orphanage is recouped from the orphans when they grow older and start working. In short, they become indentured to the state. It isn’t a perfect system, but at the very least, it is a better fate than being a slave.

The remaining children are somehow related to the Elders’ families or are without families all together. As such, Cori makes his way over to the Academy, after getting directions and taking a short rest.

* * * * *

“…”

“…”

“…”

Two figures get up from the table that’s just outside the main building of the academy.

“What the hell is going on?”

“What did you do while I was busy, Rick-ni~?”

“I didn’t do anything! I swear!”

“Then why is there so many guests coming… and why are the dog-eared soldiers escorting them in that manner~? Did you get married to some princess while I was away? Or you couldn’t help yourself and had a tryst~?”

“What?! I never left the Academy! Ask Isnic! Or that uncle from the archery range!” Rick pulls on his hair with both his hands, as though asking, “why me?” with his gesture. “What the hell are those Wan-Wan doing?”

Till narrows her eyes, which causes Rick to lift one leg to the side in air and draws his arms in to dodge on reflex. “Wan-Wan~? How cute~~ I’m going to be borrowing that~”

[T/N: Old comedy posture, seen in HK films, asian family sit-coms and japanese varieties shows from way back whe. Used to be the common “getting ready to be hit” pose. Here’s a visual aid, courtesy of Solistia.]

Rick looks at himself and his posture. Before coughing with a light *koho* to regain his composure.

[T/N: And dignity >.> Get it together Rick!]

“Well, whatever it is Rick-ni, deal with it~. Since you are the Headmaster and all~”

Rick looks on at the hundred odd guests that are slowly making their way onto the field just outside the main building, his face twitching non-stop in the mean time.

8 comments:

  1. Headmaster Rick? It is really his title as Academy head or a pun (crotch-butting fertility immortal) or both?

    ReplyDelete
  2. All praise the god of fertility. I want to see Gui meet up with Kun.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Now I also want to see Gui and Kun meet.

    Thanks for the chapter.
    Even without any editing it's still easily readable,

    ReplyDelete
  4. 2? I thought that GUI kill 2 after the house and 2 after the battle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Clarify? There's a party of 7 Vilains in total.

      Delete
  5. Thanks for the chapter!
    Cool! Gui gets to meet the rest of the gang.

    ReplyDelete

Due to a certain user that keep posting links to sites that directly ripped from wuxiaworld, comments are being moderated and need approval for the time being.