Chapter 333- Send-off
Hearing Fernand warmed Zhao Hai's heart. Although Fernand was impulsive and extremely valued his face, when you become his friend he'll treat you like a true brother. When he saw that Zhao Hai wasn't with Ruyen, he was afraid that the Purcell Duchy would take Zhao Hai's title away, making Zhao Hai's travels inconvenient. So Fernand gave Zhao Hai his own carriage's emblem.
One must know that a Noble's emblem cannot just be used by anybody, only immediate family members could bring it. And all who used this emblem would have to be registered to the Empire.
Zhao Hai knew that it was impossible for Fernand to know his relationship with Evan, Fernand did this for Zhao Hai's good. But Zhao Hai cannot just casually use this emblem, since it may be involved in future troubles.
For example, if Zhao Hai used the emblem while encountering some problems, the matters would be recorded under the Iksa Family on the Empire's register.
This was different to the title bestowed by Evan. Even though Evan gave the title to Zhao Hai, it was Zhao Hai's own insignia that was presented, so his actions would be independent from the Purcell Family. Whether he was innocent or guilty of crime, the Empire wouldn't give the responsibility to Evan. This and using a family's emblem was quite not the same.
Zhao Hai carefully received the emblem, then he patted Fernand's shoulder and said, "You have to take care of yourself, brother. If there are any important matters, you can write a letter and send it through the blood hawk. He'll be able to find me and give the letter."
Fernand nodded and gave Zhao Hai a hard hug, Zhao Hai also returned the hug. After the two let go, Zhao Hai gave Bell a salute and went to his carriage. He waved his hand to the two and departed.
Looking at Zhao Hai's carriage disappearing, Bell sighed and said, "He's an eagle of a man, possessing a heart as big as the sky."
Fernand smiled, "An eagle of a man indeed, he's a good friend. Right, Uncle Bell, come visit the mansion with me today, Wales left behind a few bottles of liquor for me, we can drink some cups."
Bell laughed and said, "Forget it, this old man couldn't keep up with you. You go back and drink slowly. I still have some accounting to do."
Fernand smiled and said, "You're very much like my father, I really can't deal with that kind of boring work. I'll be returning then, I still have some wine to drink." Then his carriage drove back to the city.
Bell looked at Fernand and smiled wryly, "Go live properly, you won't know how long you can keep being like that." Then he got on his carriage and drove away.
Zhao Hai was sitting in his carriage and stared at the emblem for a long time. After a while, he sighed, he really didn't have a good impression of Fernand the first time they met. But now it looked like he was a friend worth keeping.
Laura was also present when Zhao Hai and Fernand exchanged words, they didn't think that Ferdinand would show extreme care for them. Laura looked at the emblem and said, "You really can't expect that Fernand is also a good-hearted man."
Zhao Hai smiled and put away the emblem. Then he took out a map and spread it on the table. He pointed at the mark on the map and said, "This is the outpost that Bell told us about. I think we should send him wine as soon as possible."
Laura nodded and the group continued to look at the map. The map was very detailed, it showed how far the outpost was from the Iksa Domain. It showed the tribe's name, it's banner and the names of the people present there so they would never get the wrong one.
Zhao Hai turned to Laura and said, "What do you think we should do? I think we should have a Blood Hawk bring the Ghost Staff, and when it reaches the prairie, we'll release the carts to deliver the milk wine."
Laura nodded, "That is best. And to avoid unnecessary attention, we shouldn't have all of them be undead. Instead, we should have some drive the carts with Shue leading."
Zhao Hai smiled and said, "Good, let's send Shue. In any case, they could just return to the Space and rest."
After the plan was made, Zhao Hai called Shue over and told him the situation. Shue didn't complain, although the prairie was cold, he wouldn't be there for long. And when he finished his business, they could just return instantly, so he naturally agreed.
Without Ruyen knowing, a hawk flew to the skies and headed to the prairie's direction. They were still fairly close to the prairie, so it only took two hours for the hawk to arrive.
Zhao Hai immediately released the carts, ten of them. Each cart carried milk wine, totalling to about 11,000 jin of wine. Then Shue went to the prairie through the space and led the carts and horses and headed to Bell's outpost.
Zhao Hai used Cai'er to its full advantage. Cai'er can be considered to be another ghost staff. With Cai'er, Zhao Hai could essentially send and receive to and from the Space at the same time.
The rest of the day was spent while quietly travelling. Soon, they spent the evening on a small town. There wasn’t any trouble this time. Ruyen behaved and didn’t bother ZHao Hai.
Zhao Hai didn't comment on the matter. He had no complains if Ruyen followed him honestly. Although Zhao Hai wanted to drive Ruyen away, thinking about Evan's letter, he couldn't act on it, the situation can only be like this.
The next three days were very calm. On the third day, Shue found the tribe with Bell's outpost. He also met the person that Bell told them and handed to wines over to him.
However, Shue wasn't able to get the payment, he still had to wait next month. But this was also in Bell and Zhao Hai's agreement. So after sending the supplies, Shue immediately returned. Although he disappeared for a couple of days, Ruyen didn't say anything. Nowadays, Ruyen and Zhao Hai didn't talk too much, everyone was just quietly hurrying along the peaceful road.
Half a month of restless travel later, the group finally arrived at the central area of the Aksu Empire, making Zhao Hai extra vigilant. They were hurrying along every single day, attracting as little attention as possible. Every time they pass a big city, they didn't stop, they only stopped when it became late.
Zhao Hai thought that Ruyen would want to stay at a hotel for two days, but he didn't think that she would endure and kept following Zhao Hai's convoy. This made Zhao Hai very uneasy.
This time, Zhao Hai didn't want to go to the capital of the Aksu Empire. It was the place where Zhao Hai used to stay, and there were too many people familiar with him. Although the Ghost Staff provided him with disguise, he still needed to be careful, so he avoided that place.
After another ten days of travelling, they finally arrived at the border between Aksu Empire and Rosen Empire, the Kolan Mountains!
The Kolan mountain range was the continent's biggest mountain range. It stretched for almost the entire span of the continent and was the natural border between the Aksu and Rosen Empires. This mountain range, like the Purcell Duchy and the Black Wastelands, only had one canyon, which became the only main route between the two empires. They call this route, the Lifeline Canyon."
However, different from the Black Wasteland's situation, there were small routes inside the mountain range. These routes were used by merchants to smuggle some goods. There were plenty of carts and carriages going through these side routes every day to cross between Aksu and Rosen Empires.
Zhao Hai already had some understanding of this situation, but they didn't plan on taking these side routes. They were going to pass through the main route to Rosen Empire.
With this, they could only pass through the Lifeline Canyon. Before the travel along the canyon, they still needed to pass through two fortresses on both ends of the road. One was Aksu Empire's Cold Wind Fortress, the other one was Rosen Empire's Hundred Battles Fortress.
In preparation for the travel, Zhao Hai's group stayed inside Cold Wind Fortress. And since they're going to travel on continuously for many days, they decided to rest well.
Cold Wind Fortress was big, its walls reached 200 feet in height and was a hundred percent made of stone. There were six gates along the north and south sides of the fortress, the widest of them was more than 20 meters wide and ten meters high. The smaller gates were 12 meters wide and eight meters high. The fortress gates were made of cast iron, making them very sturdy.
There were a hundred thousand guards present here all year round. The army belonged to the Aksu Empires famous Magic Beast Cavalry Army. All magic beasts used by the army were all captured from Kolan Mountain Range. There were numerous magic beasts present in the mountains, there were even rumors that 9th rank magic beasts were present, but there was no proof of it until now.
Because the mountain range had a lot of magic beasts, it also made it impossible for large armies to pass through it. This contributed to the Kolan Mountains being the two empire's natural barrier.
Cold Wind Fortress was a heaven for adventurers and mercenaries who came to hunt for magic beasts. This also led to its chaos, making the fortress garrison to police the place and maintain public security. The garrison was also had two other purposes, to prevent invaders from the Rosen Empire and to collect tariffs.
Zhao Hai entered Cold Wind as low-key as possible. He didn't have any choice, Cold Wind Fortress was under Southern King's control, they were now inside enemy territory.
There was also a Shelley Hotel in Cold Wind Fortress. So naturally Zhao Hai chose to stay in the hotel. In such a place, his safety was backed by the Shelley Family. If you go to another hotel, it was possible that you'll get into a bandit's hotel instead.
After spending one night in the hotel, Zhao Hai didn't immediately take off. Instead, he went to some bookstores and bought a map of the Rosen empire as well as miscellaneous books about the empire.