Chapter 53 Forced draft
Primal Wildfire Town changing masters was not something extraordinary, but it being occupied by the Byzantium army was actually quite rare.
Shaar was puzzled for a moment, but did not plan to pursue this matter any longer since this had little to do with him. No matter who became the owner, Primal Wildfire Town would still stay Primal Wildfire Town.
However, when Shaar arrived under the city wall and saw several Byzantine Empire infantry guards wearing leather armor from up close, he couldn’t help but be stunned.
These people were the same people as the mercenaries who had occupied here before! When Shaar arrived a few days ago, these people’s identity were still that of mercenaries. He recognized them because when Shaar wanted to get into the town, one of them took his last copper plate as tax.
Shaar remembered very clearly all the people who took money from his pocket!
Only a few days had passed; how could those fellows changed from being mercenaries into the Byzantine Empire’s troops so fast?
Looking at them stupefied, Shaar suddenly heard hoofbeat on the road behind him.
A small squad of the Byzantine Empire’s regular army’s mounted patrol rode towards him. It looked like they’d just completed their patrol in the vicinity. A dozen riders wearing light breastplates and carrying halberds rode with their heads held high and chest out. They immediately formed a single line and entered the city gate. Each cavalryman’s face radiated a rigor and disciplined expression that only regular soldiers had, unlike these mercenaries.
Shaar, who had only put on a normal dress, didn’t attract anyone’s attention when he entered the town. Only after he entered Primal Wildfire Town, did he discover that the town was different than before.
It was obvious that the street looked bleak. On the square in front of the city there was a horse market. During weekdays, merchants from all around the world would gather here. But now, it was quiet. Depression loomed, and only sparse silhouettes could be seen.
Even on the streets one couldn’t see the scene of people gathering up in front of merchants, and it appeared somewhat deserted. Many family taverns and inns on the roadside were even closed and not doing business.
From time to time, a Byzantine infantry squad would patrol inside the town. These infantry wearing their metal boots would issue a firm, fierce sound while walking, and appeared combative.
The Black Alley was also deserted, and the streets filled with carpets were only a third as full as the past. Many shops had closed their doors.
Some doubts emerged in Shaar’s mind – Could it be that Byzantine wanted to ruin Primal Wildfire Town? It was not the first that a country seized the city, but it had never transformed into such a run-down place.
Shaar’s heart was filled with discontent since he just obtained a large sum of money, and wanted to go big, but suddenly discovered that most shops were closed or deserted. He couldn’t help but feel greatly disappointed. Passing through Black Alley, he checked out the shop where he initially signed the contract to capture some young Magical Beast cubs, and unexpectedly found out that its front door was also shut tightly, not open for business.
Walking through Black Alley, Shaar turned at the corner and arrived at the long-awaited Powder Street. Taking a quick look around, this hillbilly’s heart immediately lit up:
If you rode into the Powder Street in the past, you could be see prostitutes everywhere, long red sleeves waving from the windows of the buildings. From afar, one could already smell a romantic flavor. However when taking a look now, the street was deserted and a gust of wind stirred up some withered leaves. Occasionally skinny wild dogs ran across the street……
Women? You would count as lucky if you could find a female dog on the street!
Anger swelled up inside Shaar.
If a man came here full of pride and hope, and encountered such a situation, no matter who he was, he would feel unhappy; let alone a more than decade old virgin.
Shaar walked past two blocks and found a tavern that he once repeatedly patronized before entering. The tavern’s door was only half open and although it was still doing business, the huge lobby was almost empty, and only at two or three tables sat people.
Behind the counter stood a tall thin one-eyed man and he held a dry piece of cloth while wiping a wine glass. Watching Shaar coming in, he nodded and said in a hoarse voice while putting on a smile: “Did little Shaar come? You haven’t come to buy liquor for quite a long time now.”
This shop was often visited by Shaar in the past, because not only was its black ale the cheapest in town, the most important reason was: This one-eyed man behind the bar, was Shaar’s love rival for three years – before Shaar grew up and understood things.
Because ……This one-eyed fellow was Aunt Sofia’s husband.
Of course, this one-eyed man didn’t know about Shaar’s weird thoughts, and Shaar didn’t have any hostility towards this guy. He sat down and threw a gold coin on the counter.
The one-eyed man picked it up and looked at it before giving Shaar a glance. Putting the gold coin into his mouth, he nipped at it and cracked a smile while revealing his rotten tooth: “The little hunter got rich?”
He turned around and took out a bottle of superior tequila: “Here, this is the best we have and it’s yours.”
Shaar had never tasted such nice liquor before and bit open the bottle cap before taking a sip. While finishing his sip, he sighed and said in a low voice: “Hey, what happened to the town? Why did all those mercenaries suddenly became Byzantine soldiers?”
The one-eye looked discretely at the shop entrance and smiled: “Don’t you know? Those mercenaries were Byzantine soldiers. They disguised themselves as mercenaries before occupying the town to make an outpost for the Byzantine Empire’s army. More than ten days ago, a Byzantium army battalion arrived here, ehm, probably two days after you left. The Byzantium army has occupied the town, and the mercenaries inside the town belong to the same army. They replaced their equipment and then announced that the town now belongs to the Byzantine Empire. They also posted notices under the city wall.”
“How did the business turn so bleak in the town?” Shaar frowned: “How did they dare to act so unreasonably? Didn’t they fear that the people in the town would start to drive them out?”
In the past, this kind of thing happened before. Many years ago, there was a group of thieves who didn’t know their limits and occupied the town. They thought that they were powerful, and abused their power in the town while also collecting high taxes – As a result, the locals had had enough.
For most people inside Primal Wildfire Town, they didn’t care who controlled the town and managed it, as long as they did not cut uncles’ income source.
However, if you dared to act unreasonably? Ahem, there were no decent people in Primal Wildfire Town. Just by casually picking out two people, they were all ruthless outlaws!
As a result, the previous group of thieves started to think that they entered a flock of sheep that they could butcher without mercy. After having angered the people of Primal Wildfire Town, they suddenly discovered that they did not enter a flock of sheep, but a wolf’s den! In less than half a day, several hundred people gathered in Primal Wildfire Town and everyone was an outlaw. They stabbed and killed all those thieves and completely exterminated them. The head of the thieves was hung up on a big tree outside town and his corpse dried in the sun for a month. Finally, there was only half a skeleton remaining after the crows ate him!
After this event, no one dared to act unreasonably in Primal Wildfire Town.
You wanted to occupy Primal Wildfire Town? No problem. You wanted to manage it, also no problem. However, no one should interfere with each other!
It could be said that if you hung everyone in Primal Wildfire Town, there were some innocent people amongst them. However, if you killed half of the population, there would surely be bad people that would manage to survive.
For example, this one-eyed tavern owner, he was definitely not the friendly kind. On his neck there was a deep scar, which was caused by a knife. Because his throat was slashed, he could only speak in a hoarse voice. Moreover, Shaar heard that he was neither from Odin nor from Byzantine.
This one-eyed man was not from this continent, but from an Empire to the west, across the sea; the Atlantis Empire, or “The country of pirates”. This one-eyed man normally wrapped a kerchief around his head, and these kerchiefs were called “pirate turbans”. It was a typical way of dressing from Atlantians.
Tell me, would an innocent person have a knife scar on his neck?
“Right now, they changed everything and took everybody’s business. Are the town people not going to respond?” Shaar asked puzzled.
“Of course there will be some reaction, but what of it?”The one-eyed man sneered: “This time. a whole battalion is stationed south of the town. Against a regular army battalion… it’s not something we can easily deal with. Moreover, don’t you know? It looks like there will be war between Byzantium and Odin! On the first day of the occupation, the Byzantines already started patrolling the streets. They declared martial law and many shops that were trading military contraband were asked to be temporarily closed. That they didn’t confiscate the shops could already be called well-mannered.”
“What……about the Powder Street?” Shaar asked embarrassedly the question he was interested the most.
The one-eyed man cursed and made a resentful expression: “Bah! These Byzantine dogs, took away all the girls from the Powder Street! They probably use the prostitutes to offer their soldiers frontier service; so we don’t have any rights! Too despicable!”
Shaar fiercely despised this guy in his mind.
You already had such a beautiful woman like Aunt Sofia, but you still harbour ideas of Powder Street ……Too shameless!
After drinking half the bottle, Shaar put the bottle on the counter: “Keep the remaining half here. I will drink it the next time I come! You better not steal it!”
The one-eyed man cursed and watched as Shaar departed.
Outside the tavern, Shaar felt somewhat uninterested about this affair in his mind. Whether it was Byzantium or Odin, no matter who won, it didn’t have anything to do with Uncle Shaar. He was neither a Byzantine, nor from Odin. Looking at it now, because Byzantium occupied Primal Wildfire Town, Uncle Shaar’s desire to buy some prostitutes got busted. Therefore, the Odin Empire had a more favorable impression in his heart.
He leisurely strolled towards the northern town square and prepared to leave town to go home. Just when we arrived at the square, he saw that a platform was built on the square, and a military officer stood on it while holding a rolled together iron sheet while shouting something, and under the platform stood around hundred people watching.
“30 copper plates! A month salary worth 30 copper plates! We also provide free food! This kind of job is not easy to find!! Such work is not easy to find!!” The military officer shouted: “Whoever is interested, come up! Hurry! It’s a rare opportunity!!”
Under the platform, a squad of fierce Byzantium infantries held their swords and shield while keeping the order there. From time to time, there were a few guys going up to fill out the application.
However, most onlookers stood there and just sneered.
They turned out to be recruiting porters…… Shaar was somewhat amused.
Looking at those enrolments, most of those registering were thieves and crooks of this town who earned their meals through cheating and stealing. Now that the town was deserted, these people didn’t have anything to eat anymore. The remaining townsfolk of Primal Wildfire were mostly infamous bandits and pirates. Who would do this physical work for you for only 30 copper plates a month?
After shouting for quite a while, that military officer saw only a dozen registered, but his plan was to recruit 100 people and he could not help but start to worry in his mind! Furthermore, those dozen people he drafted were physically weak, and he started to fear the results when he reported his accomplishments later on. When one’s heart got anxious, one could not help but give birth to evil thoughts.
Fuck, if they do not come, do you think this uncle was unable to force draft you! In any case, this is not a territory of Byzantium and the people here are not Byzantines……
He made a few glances at his men, and they immediately understood. Forcefully drafting strong porters, who did not know about such a thing? The squad of infantries drew their swords and started fiercely rushing into the crowd while beginning a commotion.
The crowd instantly dispersed just as quickly. Those Byzantine soldiers pushed and shoved while trying to forcefully draft people, creating a chaotic scene.
Just when Shaar passed by, as his luck wished, the military officer standing on the platform looked farther ahead and saw Shaar, before lifting his hand while pointing out: “There! That sturdy fellow! Draft him in!!”