Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Chapter 120 - Cooperation (Part 2)
-This chapter was sponsored by Noah (Wisconsin, US). Thanks!!!
Laura looked at the white magic radish. She didn't remember how many radishes she had seen before, but this was the first time she had seen such a high quality magic radish.
Kun was also giving this white magic radish a determined look, but what his heart really took note of was Zhao. With just a wave of his hand, Zhao made the magic radish appear. What did this mean? It meant that Zhao had some sort of spatial item.
Spatial items weren't something that ordinary people could have. Only a few large forces in the Continent had spatial items. For example, in the entire Markey clan, there was only one of these items, which was a spatial bag that the patriarch kept close to his body. Kun had heard that this bag contained a spatial area of one hundred cubic meters, which could be considered a lot of space.
Spatial items weren't just special equipment, it was also a sign of your superior status. You wouldn't be able to get a spatial item if you didn't have great strength. That was why Kun's heart couldn't help but feel surprised when Zhao pulled that magic radish out of nowhere. Because of this, Kun had confirmed his belief that Zhao certainly belonged to some kind of large underground force, otherwise he wouldn't have a spatial item.
Kun was now more determined about cooperating with Zhao. That was because he was very clear about their situation with the Markey clan. Although Kevin was the second heir to the clan, he simply didn't raise his own forces, so their position in the clan was small. They needed a powerful ally.
Laura picked up the magic radish off the table and carefully looked at it, then she put it back down. "Mister Zhao, do you have other magic radishes of this quality?"
Zhao smiled. "They're all the same, including the size. Please rest assured, Miss Laura. I want this to be a long-term cooperation, not just a one-shot business deal."
Laura suddenly stood up and bowed to Zhao. "I would like to thank Mister Zhao for trusting me with this proposal. You have now become an official ally of the Markey clan."
Zhao quickly stood up as well, and reached towards Laura. "No, in this case, an alliance with the Markey clan is impossible. What I was interested in was an alliance with you, Miss Laura."
Laura was surprised by what he said. In fact, although Laura told Zhao that he would have an alliance with the Markey clan, what she really wanted to do was ask him to form an alliance with her. However, she feared that Zhao would not go for this because her strength was too small. She really didn't think that Zhao would propose an alliance with her himself rather than form an alliance with the Markey clan.
This filled Laura with joy, but this also raised a wave of doubt in her heart. She looked at the magic radish on the table, which could be said was top quality. No matter who Zhao wanted to cooperate with in selling this radish, the other side would give him the best part of the deal. So why did Zhao choose them to work with?
"Why would Mister Zhao want to ally yourself with me? You should know that an alliance with the Markey clan would get you greater benefits," Laura said.
"I just want to do business with you, Miss Laura. I know you, but I don't know the Markey clan. I had even heard that their big stores would bully people. Even if your strength is smaller, if I cooperate with you, I wouldn't have to worry."
It was as Zhao said. He had a dense amount of fire fish outside. Although they might give him a lot of gold coins, they would also become the root of trouble. If Zhao were to cooperate with a large clan, it was likely he would only get bones that were hard to swallow.
Figuring this point out, Laura said, "Well, I will not do anything of that sort to you. From now on, I will be your staunchest ally. Please believe me."
Zhao smiled. "If I didn't believe you, Miss Laura, then we wouldn't be talking about this today. Now please give me a number on how many magic radishes you can endure per month."
Laura made a quick calculation. "I can't buy too much right now. We already have a store supplier that we have collaborated with for a long time, so I must make some preparations before we can work together. How about I send someone to pick up one jin of magic radishes three days later?"
"Only one jin?" Zhao frowned. That figure was too low, only the equivalent of five thousand catty.
Laura saw Zhao frowning, but she thought it was because he didn't have that much magic radishes. "Is this amount too large, Mister Zhao?"
Zhao had a wry smile on his face. "You misunderstand, Miss Laura. That number can't be considered large, it's too small an amount. I want to know how many magic radishes all of your stores buys per month."
Laura froze for a moment, then her eyes flashed. "If we're talking about all the stores I run in the Purcell Duchy, then we buy about four hundred thousand catty of magic radishes per month. If you can provide magic radishes with the same high quality as this one, then I will pay sixty copper coins per catty. Are you satisfied with this, Mister Zhao?"
Zhao nodded. "I'm very satisfied with this deal. I can assure you, Miss Laura, that if you need four hundred thousand catty per month, I can fully supply that amount, and each of the magic radishes will be the same high quality. Just make sure you have the money when you pick them up."
Laura looked shocked as she quickly asked, "Are you kidding, Mister Zhao? Four hundred thousand catty per month is not a small number."
"Rest assured, Miss Laura. I told you that this will be a long-term cooperation. I would not lie to you," Zhao said. "Four hundred thousand catty per month. Pick them up and pay me according to the price you had mentioned."
Laura had a look of excitement. "It's a deal. Three days later, I will send someone to pick up your magic radishes and give you the money."
Zhao smiled. "Don't be in such a hurry. In fact, there is another type of business I want to do with you. Miss Laura, do you also sell fruit oil?"
Although Laura was surprised, she nodded her head. "This is natural. Fruit oil is the Continent's most common commodity. It's always in great demand. Although you can't get much money per catty, the profits are not small. Is Mister Zhao also selling fruit oil?"
Zhao shook his head. "Not yet. This time I just want to ask Miss Laura a favor. Once you take the magic radishes, can you use some of the money to get me an oil press? I have a large number of oil fruits, but I have not yet been able to press them into oil."
Laura and Kun saw a glimmer of understanding in each other's eyes. There were very little areas in the Continent that was dedicated to growing oil fruit trees. Most oil fruits were gathered from the wild, and that was because of an absence of good land, which were generally controlled by some small elites. As for the nobility, they would not go into this kind of business because they would earn too little.
Zhao now said that he had a lot of oil fruits. Was he a small elite? Ah, no, if he was just a small elite, then he wouldn't have any spatial items.
Looking at the two, Zhao asked, "Will this be difficult, Miss Laura?"
Laura was startled, but then she recovered. "No, there will be no difficulties. Just tell me, what kind of oil press do you require? Wind, water, or animal?"
Zhao was surprised for a moment. He really didn't think that there were so many kinds of oil press. "What's the difference?"
"There's a big difference for oil extraction, Mister Zhao. If you have a spacious place, then wind-powered is the best. If you are near a river, then water-powered is the best. If you have neither, then you can only use an animal-powered oil press."
Zhao nodded, then he thought about the Black Waste. It was a very open place, so a wind oil press would work. There was also the moat with flowing water, so a water oil press was okay as well. And an animal oil press was also not a problem. He had so many undead that would never get tired and could work like machines. Any of the three appeared to be good selections.
But after thinking about it, Zhao overruled both the wind and water oil press. The Black Waste wasn't safe. You'd never know when there would be an outbreak of spirit beasts from the carrion swamp. The Iron Mountain castle still had no defensive capabilities. Even if they built a wind or water powered press, it would just be destroyed.
Figuring this out, Zhao turned to Laura and asked, "You understand these three kinds of oil press better than I do. Is an animal-powered oil press easy to handle?"
Laura didn't say anything this time, and instead she looked at Kun. Obviously, he knew more about these kinds of things than her. "Out of the three, the best oil press is the one powered by water. Wind is almost as good. But the oil press powered by animals is the worst. That is because you can get large volumes of oil from a wind or water powered oil press, and only small volumes from an animal-powered one. However, they are more suitable for handling and transport," Kun politely said.
Translator Notes: This chapter is to make up for the one I missed on Friday, 5/27
Monday, May 30, 2016
Chapter 119 - Cooperation (Part 1)
Kun shook his head, and Laura understood that he was saying he had never seen such dishes before, which made her feel even more curious.
Zhao saw the look on Laura's face and slightly chuckled. "Come, Miss Laura, Mister Kun, lady Nier. Try it. These are our specialties."
"Then I'll be polite," Laura said. "Honestly, this is the first time I have seen such big fire fish."
"Miss likes to eat fire fish, but we didn't expect that we could eat it here. Mister Zhao, do you have a lot of experience raising fire fish?" Kun asked.
Everyone knew what Kun was really asking for, but Zhao didn't get angry. In fact, he was waiting for them to give in to their temptation to ask. "Not really. We just came here for the hot springs. I like hot springs, so we stayed, and raised the fire fish as an afterthought. Unfortunately, the environment here stops us from raising a lot."
Not raising a lot? Kun and Laura couldn't help but recall the dense amount of fire fish they saw in the hot spring's ditch. There was a point where modesty could go too far.
Kun frowned. "Mister Zhao, may I take the liberty to ask, did you bring these fire fish from somewhere else? Because I remember the last time I came here to Stony Mountain, there were very few small fire fish in the hot springs, but now they're bigger and there are so much more. Even if you are raising fire fish, it would be impossible to raise that many in such a short time."
Laura knew why Kun was asking this. Zhao had only come to Stony Mountain not too long ago, so there was no way he could raise so many fire fish. The only explanation was that he must have brought them from elsewhere. But where? Maybe his answer would tell them where he came from.
Zhao shook his head. "I'm sorry, Mister Kun. It's a secret." It was clear that he refused to answer, like he was saying, I will not tell you and you will not find out.
At once, Kun said, "I'm sorry, Mister Zhao. I was being rude."
"Don't worry about it." Zhao waved it off, then he smiled, "Now try our vegetables before they go cold."
Laura and her group politely picked up their knives and forks, ready to taste the dishes on the table. Unlike them, Zhao wasn't a native of the Ark Continent, so he was using chopsticks since he wasn't used to knives and forks.
Ever since Meirin started learning how to make Chinese food, Zhao had been using chopsticks. Green and everyone else thought it was strange, but they didn't say anything about it.
Before, Green would tell Zhao not to do anything too strange since he was a noble, but now that Zhao had the space, Green would rarely say anything. Anyway, they lived in the Black Waste, so whether or not you acted like a noble, no one would see it.
These days, if Zhao acted too much like a noble, that would not be a good thing because it would make it easy to detect his true identity. Right now Zhao was supposed to be a black mage. In the Continent, black mages were a very special profession that was recognized as having some quirks. If a black mage acted too normal, no one would believe that he was a black mage.
Laura and her group noticed Zhao using chopsticks. It was made from a branch of an oil fruit tree, shaved down with a knife, and polished until its reddish brown wood became shiny and beautiful.
Zhao didn't take his hat off. This dark robe set was interesting because the veil of the hat could be adjusted, so you didn't need to bother to take it off when you wanted to eat.
Laura and Kun gave Zhao a puzzled look. They didn't know why he was eating this way. When Zhao saw the look on the two's faces, he laughed. "I'm sorry. Because of some special reasons, I do not want others to see my face."
Saying that was worse than giving no explanation. If Zhao hadn't said anything, Laura and Kun would just have assumed that eating with a veil was just another quirk of his. But thanks to what he said, Laura couldn't help but ask herself, why does Zhao not want others to see his face? Was he afraid of being recognized? Was he a wanted criminal in the Empire?
But Zhao gave no further explanation. After all, today was only the second time he had met Laura. So Zhao didn't say anything as he kept his head down and ate lunch.
Seeing as Zhao wasn't speaking, Laura and Kun focused on eating. Soon they didn't feel bored because the things they were eating really were delicious.
They had never tasted food like this before. It was completely different than what you could find on the Ark Continent.
Laura had high requirements when it comes to what she ate. Whether it was cooking methods or ingredients, she was very demanding.
Part of the Markey Company's business was selling vegetables and other types of food. Naturally, they must have the ability to assess the quality of vegetables. After all, the Markey Company's biggest customers weren't the commoners, but the nobility.
The most important thing to nobles when it came to food was that they must taste good. When Laura did any business related to food, usually she would personally taste it herself.
In the Continent, their cooking methods weren't really worth mentioning, but their quality of ingredients was high, otherwise there would be no distinction between ordinary vegetables and magic vegetables.
In addition to increasing magic power, magic vegetables also tasted a lot better than ordinary vegetables.
It was precisely because of this that Laura became very interested about the food on the table. Not only were the cooking methods good, but each dish also had high quality ingredients.
In the beginning, Laura didn't even want to try the dish that was made from magic radishes. In her opinion, magic radishes were the lowest level of magic vegetables, so she simply wasn't interested in eating it. But out of politeness, she ate one and found that it was the most delicious magic radish she ever had. The taste was pure and crisp. It was simply the best.
Laura couldn't help but feel taken aback. She tried all the other dishes and everything was delicious. The most important one was the fire fish. She had eaten fire fish before, so this dish shouldn't be more delicious than any of the other ones she had tried in the past, but it was. It was so good that she couldn't stop herself from eating two portions.
The atmosphere around the table was good with everyone thoroughly enjoying themselves.
Once lunch was over, they all went back into the living room. Meg and Meirin provided everyone with a cup of tea. It was then that Zhao turned to Laura and said, "Miss Laura, you know, if you hadn't come to me, I would have gone to see you."
Laura was surprised for a moment, not knowing why he would want to meet her, but then she quickly asked, "What can I do for you, Mister Zhao?"
"It's no big deal. Miss Laura might not see it, but my people are struggling, plus I'm a black mage so it's hard to earn money for my family. I want to ask if Miss Laura can help me with that."
Laura was surprised, not understanding what Zhao meant. Although the times she had been in contact with Zhao was short, she had imagined that he was a somewhat arrogant man. His pride was something that was deep in his bones. Such people weren't likely to open up to her about their lack of money, and would try to solve their problems by themselves. It was then that Laura immediately thought about the hot springs full of fire fish outside.
"What do you mean?" Laura asked. She was still not sure what Zhao's idea was.
"I want your cooperation in some business, Miss Laura. I don't know whether or not you are willing."
Laura's eyes were shining. "Are you talking about selling those fire fish?"
Zhao gave a slight chuckle. "No, the amount of fire fish is too little now. I can only sell about a hundred a month to you. What I'm talking about is another business: magic radishes."
"Magic radishes? Well, if you're planning to sell a lot, then that is no problem. We of the Markey Company could endure it." Laura was justified in saying this because magic radishes weren't precious things. She believed that if Zhao wasn't selling a lot of them, he wouldn't have wanted to meet her.
Zhao stared at Laura and said, "Miss Laura, I would like to know if you can endure how much magic radishes I'm going to sell per month. As for the quality of the magic radishes, you just have to taste it."
He placed a magic radish on the table.
Translator Notes: This chapter is to make up for the one I missed on Thursday, 5/26
Translator Notes #2: At the end, I'm guessing Zhao wants Laura to taste the magic radish in its raw form.
Sunday, May 29, 2016
Chapter 118 - Special Dishes
This was the first time Laura and Kun saw such a strange undead.
It was a humanoid undead that had a white, almost transparent, skeleton. It wore a gorgeous white robe and it was holding a white magic staff. It didn't take much to figure out that these were a light mage's equipment.
A white skeleton was not worthy of attention. However, the bones of this skeleton wasn't simply white, but a crystal clear color that sometimes shined with a holy light. This skeleton was indeed worthy of attention.
An undead that gave off a holy feeling? Were the gods living in hell?
Laura and Kun were stunned by the skeleton that was standing behind Green. They really didn't know what to say to describe this undead. Its skeleton was really too strange.
Zhao looked at the two's expressions, then he looked at Nier who was standing beside Laura. She was a petite maid with very little presence, just like how Zhao was. The look on her face wasn't the same as Laura's or Kun's. They had a look of shock, but Nier's expression was more of curiosity. Yes, it was curiosity, not surprise.
Zhao couldn't help but think that Nier was interesting. Her eyes were pure, clearly reflecting the thoughts inside her head, like a pure crystal. This was the first girl Zhao had ever seen that had pure eyes. Don't forget that Meg would sometimes have a sly look in her eyes. But Nier's eyes were pure, like she could heal your soul.
Eventually, Zhao recovered, and then he smiled at the white skeleton. "Gamma, say hello to Miss Laura and Mister Kun."
Like in a traditional aristocratic ceremony, Gamma extended his greetings to them like a gentleman. He was so graceful about it that for a moment, Laura and Kun forgot that he was an undead, and they greeted him back. Afterwards, they both felt a little embarrassed about it.
Curious, Laura asked, "Mister Zhao, you mean to say that this undead was Garan?"
"He's no longer Garan. In the future, the world will only know him as Gamma," Zhao said. "Okay Gamma, you can leave now."
Gamma bowed to them, then turned and walked away.
Laura stared at Gamma's departing back, then she faced Zhao. "Mister Zhao, what level of undead is Gamma?"
Zhao thought about it. "I think he's at the seventh level, but I'm not quite sure."
Laura and Kun saw a glimmer of shock in each other's eyes. They were very clear on the fact that a black mage turning a dead man into a high level undead was very difficult.
"Mister Zhao, does Gamma still have his memories from when he was alive?" Kun quickly asked.
Zhao shook his head. "This is not so. At the beginning, he just became an ordinary undead, but then I used an arcane magic that allowed him to remember how to cast light spells. Although this made it so that he's no longer low level, it still didn't help him recover any other memories."
Laura and Kun didn't really understand, how could an undead be able to use light spells? They really wanted to know what secret law that Zhao had discovered.
It was very clear that a lot of black mages had been searching for ways to turn their low level undeads into high level ones, but after so many years of research, they had made little progress. If those black mages were to know that Zhao had a way to do this, they would all go crazy.
The two looked at Zhao, not understanding why he was telling them this momentous thing. But then they saw how Green and Meg were watching them with a determined look, and although Zhao's face was covered by the veil of his black hat, they could feel that he was watching them as well.
Suddenly, Kun was able to figure it out, and he quickly said, "Please rest assured, Mister Zhao. No word of what we see or hear will leak from us. I guarantee this on the honor of the Markey clan." Laura quickly nodded, agreeing with what Kun had said.
Zhao smiled. "The two of you don't really need to make such an oath. To tell you the truth, although I can increase the level of an undead, it only works under precise conditions. It is simply impossible for others to learn how to do it."
Kun and Laura certainly didn't believe him, but they both nodded. After that, Laura waved at Nier and directed her to walk out of the room, then Laura turned to Zhao. "Today, we have bothered you, Mister Zhao, because I wanted to thank you for saving my life. So we prepared two small gifts. I hope that you will accept them."
Soon, Nier ran back in while holding two long boxes. One of them had a dark robe, which Laura took out. "Mister Zhao, this is a moonlight robe, which is a fairly decent equipment for a black mage." Having said that, she presented it to Zhao.
Zhao stood up, looked over the robe, and then he nodded. "Then I'll be polite, Miss Laura." He took the moonlight robe and gave it to Green to hold.
When Laura saw Zhao take the dark robe, she couldn't help but feel relieved. She then grabbed the other long box and gently opened it, revealing a magic staff. "Mister Zhao, this is a wind element magic staff, but because it has been soaked in the blood of a wind spirit beast, it can also strengthen black magic as well. I hope that you will accept this as well."
Zhao laughed. "Miss Laura sure is determined. To be honest, this staff is of no use to me, but my maid just so happens to be a wind mage. I have been searching for an appropriate magic staff for her, so Miss Laura's help has just come at the right time." He picked up the magic staff and gave it to Meg.
Laura didn't think that Zhao would give this staff straight to Meg, but she didn't say anything about it. After all, technically Zhao still accepted the magic staff.
Meg had a happy face as she held onto the wind magic staff. "Thank you, Master," she said to Zhao.
Zhao nodded, then he turned to Laura. "Since Miss Laura gave us these two gifts, of course I can also not be stingy. We should head into the dining room for lunch. Please follow me, Miss Laura, Mister Kun, and young lady." Having said that, he led the way.
Laura and Kun politely followed behind Zhao. Soon a few people arrived at the large dining room, where Meirin had prepared lunch.
When Meirin saw Zhao come in, she quickly smiled and said, "Master, the food is ready."
Zhao nodded, then he said, "Miss Laura, Mister Kun, young lady, please sit down. Here we're not like those big aristocracy where they are too many rules. We all sit together to eat."
Although Laura and Kun were a little against this curious practice, they didn't say anything. They both sat down along with Nier.
With Meg's help, Meirin brought out the meals for everyone. Today's food was very rich: roasted rabbit with some fire fish, and vegetables that had been produced by the space. Meirin went all out for this lunch.
Earlier, the Buda clan had a discussion which resulted in this meal to give Laura a taste of these vegetables, all in order to further their cooperation for the future.
Laura and Kun took note of the dishes on the table. In addition to the roasted rabbit meat, the fire fish, and the magic radishes, there were also some vegetables that they were unfamiliar with. Not only that, but the cooking method seemed to also be a little special.
Soon all the meals were served. These were very special dishes. Laura carefully looked over the table, but she found that she didn't know what cuisine this was.
Kun was also frowning at the dishes. To tell the truth, he considered himself very knowledgable, but the food on the table was something he had never seen before.
Translator Notes: This chapter is to make up for the one I missed on Tuesday, 5/24
Saturday, May 28, 2016
Chapter 117 - Surprised
-This chapter was sponsored by:
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The guards surrounded Laura's carriage as they walked up the road. The black fog enveloped them from behind, like a monster that had swallowed them, making everyone unconsciously speed up.
Soon they saw the manor at the top of the mountain. The last time Laura was here, she saw how shabby the manor was because no one had taken care of it for a long time. But since Zhao lived here now, she thought that it would have been renovated, but there seemed to have been no renovations or maintenance. From the outside, everything still looked shabby.
The doors of the manor were opened. Inside were two rows of humanoid undead standing in line. The bodies of these humanoid undead were dark green, like they had been carved from jade. They were scary looking, but far from the point of terror. On the contrary, these undead almost looked like a work of art.
These two rows added up to nearly one hundred undead, each of them wearing armor that was usually worn by mercenaries, and they were carrying weapons.
When Laura and Kun saw how they were dressed, they couldn't help but look at each other's eyes as they understood. They knew that sometime ago, Garan had brought a lot of mercenaries to deal with Zhao. And Laura remembered that the first time she met Zhao, he had summoned a lot of undead, but very few of them were humanoid ones. Yet suddenly there were so many humanoid undead. If you add in their outfits, it was natural to figure out where they came from.
Green was sitting on Alien at the back of the yard. When Laura's carriage stopped in front of him, he jumped down and stood next to the carriage, then he bowed. "Please, Miss Laura, my master is waiting for you in the living room."
Laura nodded, then she, Nier, and Kun got down from the carriage. Green then turned to her and said, "Miss Laura, please tell your men to follow the undead. They will take them somewhere to rest." He pointed his finger at the undead, and they all immediately bowed to Laura.
Laura and Kun were surprised for a moment. They were very well-informed, but they had never seen a smart undead before. Although they were surprised, Laura turned to the leader of the guards and said, "Sergio, follow them and go rest."
Sergio nodded as he and his men followed the undead.
Green led Laura, Nier, and Kun around the yard. Along the way, Laura stole some glances to look at everything. Although it wasn't much, the yard did go through some renovations, making it cleaner. As the four continued on, Laura's and Kun's eyes found the ditch where the hot springs flowed through.
The last time she was here, the hot springs weren't anything to take note of, but this time, it was all she could see. That was because of the fire fish.
Dense. They couldn't count the number of fire fish that were packed inside the ditch. Seeing this scene stunned both Laura and Kun. They were very clear about the situation of Stony Mountain. These hot springs were unsuitable to raise so many fire fish, but not only were they alive and well, they were even bigger than the average-sized small fire fish. How was this possible?
Green couldn't help but smile as he watched the two stop and stare. Of course, he had deliberately led them here. After seeing the fire fish, it would ease their talks of cooperation. Green then turned to the three and said, "Miss Laura, my master is waiting for you inside."
Laura snapped back to reality, but then she pointed at the fire fish and stammered, "This, this, how did you do this?"
Green smiled slightly. "This is our home. Please come inside." Then he led them into the reception room of one of the buildings.
Laura could see that Green didn't want to say, so she didn't ask anymore questions. She just exchanged a surprised look with Kun as they followed behind Green into the reception room.
Zhao and Meg were standing in the reception room, waiting for Laura and her group. When he saw Laura enter, Zhao said, "Welcome, Miss Laura. I didn't think that when you just got back yesterday, you will be able to see me today. I am really honored."
Laura bowed to Zhao. "Mister Zhao, compared to your life-saving kindness, this is nothing. I feel happy that I haven't disturbed you with my abrupt visit today."
Zhao gave a slight chuckle. "Miss Laura is too polite. Please come in."
They all went into the living room, where they sat on two sides so they could face each other. Meg brought a pot of tea and gave each person a cup. Laura didn't pay attention to the tea, but instead noted the Iron Book that Meg was carrying.
Laura and Kun were well-informed people, so naturally they would recognize the Iron Book, but they didn't think that a servant of Zhao would actually be holding it.
Zhao noted where the two's eyes were looking, but he didn't say anything about it. "This is a small place, and we don't really have anything to entertain you with. Please, won't you two try our tea?"
The two recovered and politely took a sip from their cups. Zhao looked at Kun and asked, "Miss Laura, who is this?"
"Sorry, how rude of me," Laura said. "This is my housekeeper, but I respect him like an elder. He is my Grandpa Kun."
Kun stood up, and then he bowed to Zhao. "I would like to thank Mister Zhao for rescuing Miss Laura. She is like family to me."
Zhao waved it off. "It's not worth mentioning. Sit down, Mister Kun."
Kun sat back down, while Laura looked at Zhao and asked, "I have a question, but I don't know if it iss improper for me to speak."
"What do you want to ask me, Miss Laura?"
Laura looked at Meg. "Mister Zhao, your maid is holding the Iron Book. But where did it come from?"
Zhao gave a slight chuckle. "Oh, I just took it from someone who wanted to come here and make trouble. It's not something I can do anything with, so I just rewarded my maid with it."
Laura and Kun carefully glanced at Meg. Those two could be considered experts, so they were able to detect a strong wave of magic fluctuating off of her. It seems that she wasn't anything less than a fifth level mage.
The two couldn't help but feel surprised. Ever since they came to Stony Mountain, they were overcome by too many surprises. Whether it was a whole mountain covered by black magic, the courteous undead that could understand people, the large number of fire fish, or a maid that was also a fifth level mage, all of these things surprised them.
Laura and Kun could see the glimmer in each other's eyes. Kun paused for a moment to take a deep breath, then he turned to Zhao and asked, "Mister Zhao, what happened to the man who attacked you?"
Zhao smiled. "Haven't you seen that he has become my servant?"
Although they were kind of expecting it, to hear Zhao tell them, they still felt very surprised. "Mister Zhao, are you saying that you made a light mage your servant?" Kun was well-informed, so naturally he knew that it was difficult for a light mage to be turned into an undead. There was a high probability of failure, but even if they succeeded, it would only become the lowest level undead. Did Garan, an eighth level light mage, really become an undead? If Garan didn't become an undead, then how did Zhao get his hands on the Iron Book?
In the Continent, Garan was a famous light mage. It wasn't just because he was at the eighth level, he was also best known as someone who was specialized in fighting black mages. As long as Garan finds a black mage, he would challenge him. Those black mages would only have a little chance of surviving once Garan sets his sights on them. Because of this, Garan gained a nickname: Black Mage Killer.
Garan had been able to win so many battles that many black mages feared him. Apart from being an eighth level light mage, he also had the Iron Book, which could seal a lot of light spells. A lot of black mages had died because of the Iron Book.
Zhao smiled at Kun, then he turned to Green. "Go call Gamma."
Green saluted, then he turned and walked out. Laura and Kun gave Zhao a puzzled look, but Zhao just smiled and didn't say anything as he took a sip of tea. Soon footsteps were heard, and Green came back in with an undead behind him.
When Kun and Laura saw that undead, they were stunned!
Translator Notes: This chapter is to make up for the one I missed on Monday, 5/23
Chapter 116 - Formidable
Moonlight robes were a type of dark robe. This dark robe was woven from the hair of a dark eagle, which was a seventh level spirit beast. Not only did it fly fast, what was most notable about it was its strong defense. Generally, magic and martial art attacks would have no effect on it. Dark eagles were known as the black kings of the sky. They were elegant and a little rebellious.
This robe could defend against fifth level magical attacks, as well as fourth level or less martial art attacks. It was a high level magic item with a market price of twenty five thousand to thirty thousand gold coins.
As for the wind magic staff, it was made from a century old willow tree that had been soaked in the blood of a wind spirit beast. Not only did it increase the strength of wind spells, it also made black magic spells stronger. The entire staff was blue with a crystal set at the head. The market price for this magic item could be about twenty thousand to twenty five thousand gold coins.
Laura was going to give these as a gift, but the price wasn't low, and reached fifty thousand gold coins. This was equivalent to half the tax of a small territory.
The next morning, Laura, Nier, and Kun were riding in a carriage on their way to Stony Mountain. This time they were followed by twenty guards with Sergio as the leader.
Laura was quite confident that no one in Casa city, including the Purcell clan, would dare to attack them. Because of their identity, if someone dared to attack them, that was tantamount to angering the entire Markey clan.
Right now they were sitting in a carriage that was pulled by snow stallions, while Sergio was riding a third level horse spirit beast. They were moving fast. Normally it would take two days to go from Casa city to Stony Mountain, but for them half a day would be enough.
The moment Laura left Casa city, this news was directed towards Zhao.
This result was what Zhao wanted to see. In the living room of his manor, Zhao smiled as he sat next to Green. "It seems that Laura is worth cooperating with. Just after she got back from Montenegro Fortress, she is coming to visit us."
Green smiled slightly. "Yes, they seem to actually have quite a bit of conscience. But if we want to further cooperate with them, we still have to test them to see if we could work together."
"I was thinking the same thing. After all, we have too many things that other people would be jealous of. Even if Laura is credible, there is no guarantee that the people around her won't be greedy. We still have to be careful," Zhao said.
Green nodded. "Then shouldn't we go prepare to greet them?"
"Ah, yes, you should get ready."
Shortly before noon, Laura asked, "Sergio, how much time before we get to Stony Mountain?"
While riding his horse next to the carriage, Sergio at once said, "Miss, you can already see the mountain rocks by now. But the mountain has gone through a big change."
"Oh? Really?" Laura opened the front of the carriage to take a look.
The carriage had two doors, one in the front and one in the back. There were two rows of benches on the left and right side of the carriage, with a small box in the middle, containing things to eat. The box was designed with ice magic, keeping the stuff inside at a lower temperature. There was also a magic lamp in the carriage that was used to heat things. It could be said that this carriage was like a room that was a full six square meters, three meters long and two meters wide. It was big enough that you could sleep comfortably in.
Because of this design, the cost of this carriage was very high. Only those with identity and status would be able to afford it.
Laura looked out of the carriage and saw Stony Mountain. However, it didn't have its original look because the whole mountain was surrounded by a cloud of black fog. She then understood why Sergio said that Stony Mountain looked different.
The reason why Laura knew what Stony Mountain originally looked like was because it had a hot spring. When the merchant that owned Stony Mountain wanted to sell it, he mentioned that it had a hot spring that could be used to raise fire fish. Of course, Laura as a businessman wouldn't let such an opportunity pass by, so she came to Stony Mountain to examine it. But in the end, although there were a few small fire fish, the hot spring simply didn't have the ability to raise them at a large scale, so Laura gave up on it.
However, she still remembered what Stony Mountain was supposed to look like, but now it was covered in black fog.
Kun couldn't help but chuckle as he looked at Stony Mountain. "To cover up a whole mountain with a blanket of darkness would require a black mage to at least be at the sixth level. It seems like Zhao really is very powerful."
On the Continent, it was recognized that a black mage that had managed to reach the fifth level was very powerful. That was because black magic was very weird, so almost no one was willing to challenge a fifth or higher level black mage.
Laura smiled slightly. "Of course, Zhao's strength is stronger than a sixth level. He was able to deal with the Immortal Mercenary Group. Plus he could summon more than a thousand undead, and each of those undead were very powerful. A sixth level mage couldn't do that, right?"
Kun nodded. "Ah, it seems like his rank should be at the eighth level, otherwise it would be impossible for him to defeat Garan. But then again, what happened to the one hundred assassins of the Purcell Duchy that were with him? It's not very likely that they were all killed. Some of them must have fled. Yet, none of them have come back. If they're not alive, then they would be dead, but no one has found their bodies."
"Those assassins might not be easy to kill, but don't forget that Zhao could summon more than a thousand undead, so wouldn't those undead thirst for flesh? Or maybe Zhao used his abilities as a black mage to turn them into undead? It's not impossible for Zhao to kill Garan's army and bring them back as undead."
Kun's face changed, then he nodded his head. "That is most likely what happened. It seems that Zhao is more ruthless than I thought. I am now even more curious about him."
The carriage stopped at the bottom of Stony Mountain. Just then the black fog became more volatile, and then it split apart, revealing a road that went up the mountain. In the middle of the road was a man that had a helmet covering his face. Laura recognized him. He was one of Zhao's followers.
The man standing in the middle of the road was of course Green. Zhao had sent his assassins to track Laura's every move ever since she left Casa city. When she arrived at the mountain, he ordered for the black fog to separate.
Green bowed to Laura, and said, "Welcome, Miss Laura. My master knew that you were coming here today, so he specially ordered me to come greet you. Please follow me." Having said that, the black fog split again and out came Alien. Green jumped on its head, then it turned its huge body and walked straight up the mountain.
Laura didn't know what to do for a moment, but as she saw Green walking away, all she could do was tell the carriage driver to follow him.
Kun's face didn't look so good as he watched Green. "Laura, this Zhao isn't so simple. It's likely that he really destroyed Garan. He was actually aware of our whereabouts, so he would have known in advance if Garan had tried to set up an ambush."
Laura nodded. "I didn't think that Zhao would be so powerful. Oh, but the more powerful he is, the better. We need a formidable ally."
Kun was sullen as he muttered. "Allies that are too formidable might not necessarily be a good thing."
Translator Notes: This chapter is to make up for the one I missed on Sunday, 5/22
Chapter 115 - Businessman
-This chapter was sponsored by Jaimie (UK). Let's give a big round of applause to this guy!
After dinner, Laura went to her living room. This wasn't the large living room used to entertain people. This was more like an inner chamber that only Laura's most trusted men could come into. Now there were only three people here: Laura, Nier, and Grandpa Kun.
Laura and Kun were sitting on the sofa, holding a cup of tea in their hands, while Nier was standing beside Laura.
Laura drank her tea, then she turned to Kun. "Grandpa Kun, tomorrow I will be making a trip to Stony Mountain to visit Zhao. Do you think this is a right decision?"
Kun also drank his tea, and nodded his head. "It's okay. After all, he did save your life. Recently, Zhao's name can always be heard in Casa city. You should know that just a few days ago, he had asked us for help with a shipment of blue-eyed rabbits, although I don't know what he would want them for. Right now Stony Mountain has become restricted, and most people will not even get too close, but tomorrow I will go with you."
No matter what, Laura will always ask Grandpa Kun for his opinion. This just shows how much she respects him.
Because of what he said, Laura felt relieved. Kun looked at her and smiled. "Do you have doubts about Zhao?"
Laura nodded. "Ah, yes, I started to have a little bit of doubt about him. It's just that his emergence was just too coincidental. Plus, he is a black mage, so I'm afraid that he might have ties to the Immortal Mercenary Group."
Kun was still smiling. "That is unlikely. I did a deep background check on the Immortal Mercenary Group and it seems like they belong to a secret organization. When Zhao was attacked, it was probably related to that organization, which included Garan and the three advanced level warriors. Although I can't find out more than that because this organization is very large and mysterious, I am certain that Zhao has absolutely nothing to do with them."
Laura's face changed. "There is such an organization? And the black mages of the Immortal Mercenary Group is part of them? But since Garan is a light mage, it is unlikely that he is in league with this organization."
Kun gave a slight chuckle as he looked at Laura. "Silly girl, nothing is impossible. This world is not as simple as you think. Do you think that all light mages are enemies against black mages? In fact, in this world, black mages aren't necessarily evil, and light mages aren't always clean. It's only because black magic doesn't have a good reputation that many people misunderstand it."
Laura nodded, understanding his words. "Then if this mysterious organization has control of such strong forces, then why don't they lord it over us? Why has no one on the Continent heard of them before?"
"Those with real strength doesn't need to lord it over this world's people. Any dynasty will face destruction eventually, but a force that hides underground will be difficult to destroy. The presence of these large forces have been there since ancient times, penetrating into every aspect of this Continent. They are definitely a force that you can't make light of."
This was the first time Laura has heard of such a thing, so she couldn't help but feel surprised. "Who can control such a force?"
Kun smiled. "No one knows."
"Well then, we just have to deal with them with our own hands," Laura said.
Kun shook his head. "That is impossible. If those big forces wanted to deal with us, we wouldn't be sitting here now. Do not underestimate their power. If they really wanted to destroy us, then we would be unable to resist even if the entire Markey clan came together."
Laura was surprised. "They have that much power?"
"Yes, they are that powerful. The Markey clan could be considered a strong clan on the Continent, but compared to those big forces out there, if they wanted to deal with us, we would most likely be dead."
"They sound very dangerous." Laura frowned. "Now that Zhao has defeated the Immortal Mercenary Group, wouldn't that usher in revenge against him?"
Kun gave a slight chuckle. "This Zhao is not so simple. I doubt that he doesn't also have a large force supporting him, otherwise as a black mage, how would he be able to summon so much high level undead. Do you think that a mage without any background would be able to do such a thing?"
Laura froze for a moment. "Grandpa Kun, are you saying that Zhao is also that powerful?"
Kun nodded. "It is possible. From the way he's doing things, it's likely that he is part of some other large underground force. If we could get in contact with them, maybe we could gain some benefits."
"But would those benefits be worth it?" Laura asked. "If Zhao represented a vast underground force, and they do battle against the forces of that mysterious organization, wouldn't we just be in danger if we get caught between them?"
"Little Laura," Kun smiled, "After so many years in business, if you haven't yet understood that sometimes you'll have to make risky investments, then you're not qualified as a businessman. Tomorrow, we will go see Zhao, and that is tantamount to making an investment. I believe that he is suitable to invest in."
Kun calmly explained. "You have to remember, as a businessman, life has two kinds of people. Those that are worthy enough to invest in and those that are not worthy enough to invest in. This includes your friends and relatives. If your friend deserves an investment, then you can invest in him and help him, and one day you will gain some benefits. But there are people that are not worthy of your investment, and these people could even be your relatives. You can help them, but your help must have a limit, because these people will not give you anything in return."
Laura looked at Kun in a sly way. "Grandpa Kun, what kind of person am I?"
Kun coughed twice, then stared at Laura. "You are a special circumstance, not one of those two kinds of people."
Kun was looking at Laura, but he had a wry smile on his face. He knew that Laura was smart and very decisive in her work, but she was also too soft-hearted. Sometimes you have to be heavy-handed in business. But Kun understood the reason for this. After all, Laura was only eighteen years old, and was just blooming as a girl. It was impossible to expect more out of a young girl.
Kun sighed. "Whether or not Zhao is part of some large underground force, his strength is still certain. If we befriend him, it can only be good for us."
Laura nodded, then she frowned. "Anyway, Grandpa Kun, Zhao did save my life. Tomorrow, we should have some gifts ready to give him. What kind of gift do you think we should bring?"
Kun also frowned. "I don't know. What if we sent a bad gift that Zhao wouldn't like. This is really not easy to handle."
"Ah, but when I first talked to Zhao, he seems like a man that you could get along well with. And he is a mage, so I think that we should choose a robe and magic staff as gifts. The last time I met him, his robe and staff were ordinary ones, so I think that something with the wind element or moonlight will be good."
Kun nodded. "That's a good idea. We could give him a moonlight robe, since it's a dark robe perfect for black mages. And a wind element magic staff could increase the strength of black magic. The total value of these two gifts will be more than fifty thousand gold coins. I think Zhao should be satisfied."
Translator Notes: This chapter is to make up for the one I missed on Saturday, 5/21
Translator Notes #2: Don't ask me, I also don't get why a wind magic staff can strengthen black magic. That's just what it says.
Translator Notes #3: Illuminati
Chapter 114 - Grandpa Kun
-This chapter was sponsored by Joshua (Texas, US) and Elizabeth (Illinois, US). Thanks!!!
Laura was calmly sitting in the carriage, while Nier was sitting beside her. This carriage wasn't like the ordinary one they had used to get to Montenegro Fortress, where they had to remain low key. This carriage was an ornate one pulled by four snow stallions.
Snow stallions were fourth level water spirit beasts. They looked like ordinary horses, but they had a white body with some water magic elements. These horses were docile, so they were easy to tame. The only problem was that they were very expensive. There were even some nobles in the Continent that couldn't afford them. Snow stallions were like status symbols.
As for the carriage that Laura was sitting in, it was an ornate one built with two layers. The outer layer was made of iron driftwood. Not only was it as hard as steel, but it could also block most magic attacks. The inner layer was made of bread cotton. This material came from a very particular plant, soft as cotton but also highly elastic. It was excellent for making a variety of furniture. Unfortunately, bread cotton had a very low yield. In the Continent, an average person wouldn't be able to afford it.
In other words, you would need thousands of gold coins to buy this carriage. And the total value of the four snow stallions were worth fifty thousand gold coins.
While riding in this expensive carriage, Laura had a calm face. Her transaction had been completed. However, her losses were not small. She had lost a total of three hundred guards, and if it weren't for Zhao, she might not even be alive herself.
And Laura noticed another thing. Someone from her clan must have found out about her trip to Montenegro Fortress and arranged for people to mess with her business. This wasn't a surprise since she knew that the road wouldn't be peaceful. However, Laura didn't want to retaliate yet. She didn't know if the ones who were against her was from the upper echelons of her clan or just one of the other heirs.
If it was the upper members of the clan, then that would be troublesome. Those people represented the entire clan, so no one would help her if she decided to fight back. But if it was one of the heirs, then that wasn't a big deal. She was ready to fight them to see who was more powerful.
With this thought, Laura couldn't help but frown. She wasn't afraid if it was a battle of wits, but she also knew that she was missing something: a master.
Her father, Kevin, wasn't a good choice because although he was a seventh level mage and could be considered an expert, he had very little actual combat experience. Even though his level of magic was high, he wouldn't know what to do in a battle. It was like her father had chosen the wrong career. Instead of a mage, he should have just been a alchemist.
Thinking of choosing a master, Laura couldn't help but think of Zhao. He was a mysterious black mage that was really amazing. Not only did he save her life, he was also able to defeat all obstacles and settle down next to Casa city.
Laura had done a background check on Zhao, but she came up with nothing. It was as if he came out of nowhere. Still, she was able to find out what happened to Zhao around Casa city. It was precisely because of this that she had kept up with recent events. Now she knew of two fights that he had been in, but to be honest, she didn't expect such an outcome on the last battle.
She had seen Zhao's strength so she knew he was very strong, but she still didn't expect that he would be able to deal with someone like Garan. Everyone knew that light mages had an advantage over black mages, but in this case, the light mage was defeated and had vanished without a trace, leaving many people scared.
To tell the truth, Laura didn't feel entirely at ease with Zhao. His timing was too coincidental, and he seemed to be living outside Casa city as if he was waiting for her. This made her skeptical of what his motives were.
Although Zhao did rescue her, do not forget that it was the undead black mages of the Immortal Mercenary Group that attacked her, and Zhao himself was a black mage. Who knew if there was someone kind of collusion between them.
As Nier sat beside Laura, she saw her frown, so she couldn't help but ask, "Miss, what unhappy thing are you thinking of?"
Laura turned around, saw the look on Nier's face and gave a slight chuckle. "Nothing, Nier. After we get home, get some rest. Tomorrow we'll be going to visit Mister Zhao."
"Miss, aren't you worried of what he might do to you? Why do you have to go see him?" Nier felt surprised.
Laura smiled slightly. "First, we have to thank him for saving us, and second, to deepen our connection with him."
Nier nodded. She didn't know many things, and left these sort of machinations up to Laura. She was as simple as a piece of paper. This was what made Laura feel a desire to protect her.
Just then, the carriage stopped. Searle, the driver, said, "Miss, we're home."
Nier immediately opened the carriage door while Sergio put down the foot board, allowing Laura to walk off the carriage.
Laura's home was in the Xicheng District of Casa city, a wealthy aristocratic neighborhood where rich people lived. Although Laura was only part of a branch family of the Markey clan, in the Continent, no one would dare underestimate anyone in that clan, especially in such a small territory like the Purcell Duchy. After all, Laura's father, Kevin Markey, was the second heir to the clan, which was an even higher position than the Grand Duke of the Purcell Duchy.
The power of the Markey Company spans across half the Continent, making it a lot more prestigious than a mere duke from the Aksu Empire. Because of that, Laura's home was placed in the best position in the Xicheng District, a gorgeous area that covered acres.
Just as Laura got out of the carriage, an old man went up to meet her. This old man was the housekeeper of their home, but to Laura, she respected him like he was her grandfather. Laura's mother died when she was small, and this old man had raised her as if she was his own grandchild. He taught her a lot of things, and if it weren't for him, she wouldn't have accomplished any of today's achievements.
When Laura saw the old man, she immediately greeted him. "Grandpa Kun, you didn't need to personally come to the door. You could have just let others to do it."
Kun gave a chuckle. "It's okay. I heard that someone tried to deal with you. Of course I wanted to take a look to see if my little Laura was hurt. Well, the Immortal Mercenary Group? Those bastards, just thinking of them makes me mad. Sooner or later, I'm going to go destroy them. Since they dared to fight against you, I think that they don't want to live."
Kun's words weren't light. He was strong with the strength of an eighth level warrior. In fact, Laura's martial arts skills were learned from him.
Laura smiled. "Grandpa Kun, you don't need to worry about the Immortal Mercenary Group. Anyway, where's my father?"
From the mention of Kevin, Kun couldn't help but give a wry smile. "He's in his laboratory. He wanted to pick you up, but you know how it is. Once he starts with his experiments, he will forget the time."
"Never mind." Laura knew what kind of person her father was, so she didn't care. "Grandpa Kun, did you prepare something delicious for me?"
Kun laughed. "I know what you want when you come back. Rest assured, I have prepared something delicious. I deliberately sent someone to purchase two small fire fish. Do you think those are good enough for a meal?"
Having heard of her favorite thing to eat, Laura couldn't help but cheer loudly. "Great! There's fire fish!" She pulled Nier with her as they ran inside. At this moment, she displayed herself as a true teenage girl, nothing like the high and decisive front she showed to outsiders.
Looking at Laura, Kun couldn't help but smile as he followed her into the house.
Translator Notes: This chapter is to make up for the one I missed on Friday, 5/20