The Strange Adventure of a Broke Mercenary

The Strange Adventure of a Broke Mercenary – Chapter 222, Entering The Country Through The Checkpoint

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Translator: Lizz

Proofreader: Xemul


What Loren saw as he entered the checkpoint was countless animals’ ears and tails wagging and bobbing all over the place.


The checkpoint’s construction was no different from the one on the Wargenburg’s side, but the soldiers stationed here, though were not so different from humans at first glance, all had triangular animal ears wiggling on their un-helmeted heads and tails of various patterns and length swinging from their waists.


The soldier who seemed to be in command of these soldiers appeared to be of rather high rank and was wearing a set of magnificent armor, but looked like a beast walking upright. Loren thought that they were probably from the primitive tribe, but this was the first time he had ever seen a beastman having beast features on their whole body like this. He had almost no memory of seeing beastmen on the battlefield when he was a mercenary, and even if he did, he only vaguely remembered only those with beast parts here and there on the body of an ordinary person. 


“It looks like this barrier is under the jurisdiction of the Cat-men.”


Lapis, who was looking out the same window as Loren was, explained this to him.


“Are they different from beastmen?”


“No, they are generally classified as beastmen, but if we divide them into clans, as I mentioned earlier, then these are Cat-men.”


“Does that mean there are many others?” 


“Yes, there are the Dog-men, the Rabbit-men, the Fox-men, the Rat-men, and so on.”


Loren was impressed by Lapis’ ability to explain everything so smoothly, but he noticed that Gula did not look very happy, let alone Leila, who was drunk, and Laure, who was absorbed in reading.


“What’s the matter, Gula?”


“It’s nothing. I just remembered something I almost forgot.”


The way Gula answered, chewing on a hard baguette and not even looking outside, was unlike anything Loren had ever seen before. She should have looked happy since she was eating something, but the face she made while chewing the plain baguette did not look happy at all. Loren wondered if something was wrong, and then he realized a possibility and asked her about it.


“Is it the baguette trauma?”


“So this is a baguette… That’s why I thought the taste pierces my heart somehow.” 


Gula stared sullenly at the long loaf of bread in her hand as if she had just realized what she had grabbed and bitten into. Loren was worried that she had become seriously mental, not even knowing what she was eating. But on second thought, as Gula was the Evil God of Gluttony, maybe she was just in a state of mind where she just perfunctorily stuff whatever she found into her mouth. 


“If there’s something wrong, just say so, OK? It’s not good for you to hide it or hold it in.”


“It’s hard to tell if you’re worried about me or if you’re threatening me.”


Gula let a weak laugh escape her mouth, but when she saw that Loren’s eyes were serious in their own way, she waved her hands.


“It’s nothing, really. I’ll forget again soon.”


Loren was not an optimist, so he didn’t stop worrying just because he was told to. But as Gula assured him again that it was nothing, he decided it would be best not to pry any further.


Perhaps trying to distract Loren, Lapis opened a small window on the side leading to the guard platform, and they overheard the conversation between a soldier at the checkpoint and Klaus, who was playing the role of their coachman.


“Adventurers from Kapha, Wargenburg, huh. You seem to be traveling in quite a large group. Where do you plan to go? What’s your commission?”


Even though the checks on adventurers were somewhat lax, the fact that seven armed adventurers were traveling together still seemed to be of some concern to those in charge of security and protection.


To Klaus, who had nothing to hide, the answer was clear.


“We’re going to Karlovy to rest.”


“Karlovy? Ah, that place huh…”


As soon as he heard the name of the city, the tone of the soldier’s voice dropped. Wondering if there was something wrong, Klaus stopped the soldier as he was about to move away from their carriage and asked.


“Did something happen in Karlovy? The soldiers were reacting strangely at the Wargenburg checkpoint, too.”


“That… You’ll find out when you’re there. There’s nothing for me to say. It’s not like there’s any danger.”


“And we get somewhat strange responses here, too. Can’t you tell me what really happened?”


The responses were so suggestive that Klaus was tempted to raise his voice a little, but he patiently asked more while feigning casualness.


“Nothing is wrong. Nothing dangerous has happened.”


“Are you saying that there are non-dangerous things happening?”


“Come there and you’ll know.”


The soldier ended the talk here, and strode away from the carriage this time. When Klaus was thinking that he would not get any more information by stopping him, Loren spoke through the window.


“Here too?”


“Oh, I’m sure there’s something going on there. What in the world could it be?”


“I guess we’ll know when we get there…”


The possibility that it would be the last time they went there was still present. Loren expected some warnings in such a case, but he did not know whether the soldiers on the Jaloris’ side, let alone those on the Wargenburg side, were obligated to go to that extent.


“Are there any towns or villages on the way from here?”


Once the customs check was over, they couldn’t stop here forever. They had to make room for the other entrants coming up behind them, so Klaus gave the horses pulling the carriage a light whip to move the vehicle forward.


“I think there’s at least one village along the way.”


“Then let’s go there and gather some information, shall we?”


“Yes, that might be a good idea.”


What a soldier might not be able to say, a villager might be able to slip up. With this expectation, Klaus started the carriage.


The party entered the Republic of Jaloris in such a way, but perhaps because they were looking for a place to obtain information, they were unable to gain much distance and had to spend the night on the road to Karlovy. 


After this realization, they somehow managed to find a place to stay in a village they found along the way, but the villagers’ reaction to them was not very positive.


“It really feels like a remote village, doesn’t it? They don’t even have an inn.”


They managed to get approval to park the carriage in a vacant lot on the edge of the village. After parking, Klaus went to the village to book an inn, but he had to come back immediately.


“They don’t let travelers stay over. Well, that’s cold.”


Unloading his luggage from the carriage, Klaus walked over to Loren, who was preparing to make camp, and lamented in a tone of voice that didn’t sound disappointed at all. Loren had told the other members of the group to relax in the carriage, and he chided Klaus when he confirmed that they were the only ones around. 


“It’s natural to be wary of strangers, especially if they’re from a different race.”


Loren thought that just renting a vacant lot on the outskirts of the village was a good way to handle the situation. Besides, they were allowed to use the village’s well to replenish their water supply. A village well was an important lifeline for the villagers, and Loren thought it was a pretty good way to treat strangers to allow them to use it.


“We can sleep in the carriage and in tents. We should consider ourselves blessed.”


Even though it was on the outskirts of the village, it was definitely inside the village land, and for that reason alone, the possibility of being attacked by beasts or anything else at night was quite low. It would be impossible not to set up a lookout, but it would still be a fairly easy story, Loren thought, but Klaus seemed to be concerned about something else.


“I think it’s quite a terrible blow to lose the chance to be intimate with a pretty beastman girl.”


Klaus said so unashamedly that Loren let out a heavy, deliberate sigh. He just never learned.


“Don’t let the others hear you say that.”


“I think it would be a valuable experience, since you would never see a daughter of a primitive tribe in a human country.”


“Still, it won’t work…”


Even though they did walk on two legs and their forms closely resembled those of humans, their appearances were mostly beastly. To Loren, they were not very desirable partners, but according to Klaus’s taste, even them would be within the scope of his targets.


“Aside from that one, I hope you’ve gathered all the information you can on Karlovy.”


Aside from his libido, Klaus was a good-looking young man. It was Loren who sent him to the village, thinking that he would be able to talk to the villagers without alarming them. With strict orders to gather the information that he could not get at the checkpoint, of course.


He had not considered having the women go, but the drunken Leila and grumpy Gula were out of the question. Ange was ready to push all the chores to Klaus on this trip, and he had a feeling that if he left it to Lapis, she would go into all the unnecessary details. Laure, on the other hand, gave him a feeling that she would only ask about the obvious parts, so he had eliminated them all.


“I did try to ask.”


Emphasizing that he had not forgotten Loren’s instructions, Klaus looked sullen. 


“The villagers here, unlike the soldiers at the checkpoints, don’t even seem to know that something is going on in Karlovy.”


Loren clucked his tongue, wondering if the information was not something widely known. The soldiers at the gate must have received information from the government and knew that something was happening in Karlovy, but the villagers in the remote areas did not seem to have any information about what was happening outside of their village.


“But it seems that there are people coming back from Karlovy. They don’t stop here  so I couldn’t ask them about it, but I did hear that they seemed to be in a bad mood.”


“Not very useful. But I guess it can’t be helped.”


Loren was grateful to know that some were coming back. This should almost eliminate the possibility that if they went, they would not be able to come back.


“I guess it was good to know that there isn’t enough going on to spread the word, though, right?”


“That’s one way to look at it.”


If this was some kind of a major event, it would be strange if the information wasn’t widely spread. In Klaus’ view, it was likely that what was happening in Karlovy was something that was limited to one city and had little impact on the rest of the country. The thinking made sense, and it made Loren reconsider his opinion about Klaus a bit. But limited to a city or not, they were headed for that city, which meant that they were going to be confronted with something they were not going to be able to get any information about.


“I come for vacation, not for troubles.”


Loren shook his head, his shoulders slumped in disappointment. He just wanted a vacation without doing any work, and he couldn’t even have that. There must be a limit to his bad luck, mustn’t it?


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