Chapter 337 – Hundred Battles Fortress
Zhao Hai knew that Storm was probing him, but he didn't care. He was indeed going to do business in Sky Water City, there's no need to hide it. He smiled and said, "It is as mister said, I want to do business there. But since it's still my first time, I wanted to go and see the place for myself first."
Storm smiled and said, "Sky Water City is indeed good. I wonder what kind of business Mister will do there?"
Zhao Hai smiled faintly and said, "I have some business in the Beastman Prairie and I don't want to sell at Purcell Duchy anymore. I want to go and see Sky Water City because I heard that there were ships heading to the prairie from there."
Storm didn't suspect a single word from Zhao Hai. There were a lot of merchants doing business between Rosen Empire and the prairie. There's nothing strange about it since doing business between Rosen Empire and the prairie was legal and the tax wasn't high. Unlike Aksu empire where merchants would resort to smuggling, going through a lot of trouble in order to pass through. So there were a lot of people who saw that doing business inside Rosen Empire was cheaper than in Aksu Empire and decided to transfer.
There's a reason for this. Rosen Empire and the prairie was divided by the Aksu Empire. So when the beastmen performed their raids, Aksu Empire would take the attack first. For the people in Rosen Empire, the prairie naturally wasn't a problem. So they didn't impose strict restrictions regarding trade there. But Aksu Empire needed to heavily restrict trade, because if they didn't do so, they end up helping the enemy beastmen instead.
So every year, there were many merchants migrating from Aksu Empire towards Rosen Empire to do business with the prairie. And as time passes and these merchants settle inside the empire, they would gradually become citizens.
Storm was curious about Zhao Hai's business. He looked at Zhao Hai and asked, "Mister has a business in the prairie? So are you quite close with the beastmen? Is business with the prairie quite profitable?"
Zhao Hai smiled, "Quite profitable, doing business with the prairie is quite good. Beastmen lack grains, commodities, basically everything. As long as you bring some of them in the prairie, you can bring cattle and argali back with you. But when those animals get to the continent, they would generally get sick, making it very difficult to take care of them. So we would slaughter them to be made into products. Wool products in the prairie are also good. They're quite in demand in the continent."
Storm's brow went up and asked Zhao Hai further, "But is there any risk doing business there?"
Zhao Hai replied, "Naturally, there are quite huge risks. Some beastmen may come and raid you at any time, but most of the time they would just steal some food, choosing not to kill anyone. However, most of them would do business with you. In the end, the legend of making easy money there isn't true."
Storm nodded, he agreed with Zhao Hai's words. Although you could make huge profits in the prairie, the risks were also equally huge. He had seen many merchants chasing business in the prairie but failed to do so.
Zhao Hai asked Storm about Rosen Empire. Storm wasn't stingy and told Zhao Hai everything he knew about the empire.
However, Storm's information was quite the same with what Shue said, so Zhao Hai didn't reap quite the harvest this time. The two people continued chatting while the carriage pushed forward. The road was also very peaceful.
Before long, their carriage began to slow down, Storm smiled at Zhao Hai and said, "We must have reached Hundred Battles Fortress. Everyone is lining up to enter, I will not hold Mister, I still need to pay tariffs. Mister also needs to register, you should go back and prepare."
Zhao Hai nodded and stood up to say goodbye to Storm, "Then I'll have to say my farewells. If you have time to go to Sky Water City, don't forget to find me, I may also go to Carson City."
Storm smiled and said, "After Hundred Battles Fortress, there are three roads. The middle road is headed towards Carson City. The left road is towards Sky Water city, while the right path heads to Buli City. I'm headed towards Buli City, so if mister ever heads there, you can look for me. As long as you look for Freewind Merchant Company and inquire for Storm, you will find me."
Zhao Hai nodded, "Good, I'll certainly visit when I have the opportunity. Well then, goodbye." He said as he opened the door and headed to his carriage. Zhao Hai didn't immediately enter his carriage but instead he looked at Hundred Battles Fortress.
Hundred Battles Fortress looked more impressive than Cold Wind Fortress. Its walls reached 25 zhang tall (~250 feet). The fort looked like a giant beast blocking the entire width of the canyon. The carriages entering and exiting the fortress looked like ants compared to the structure.
Zhao Hai didn't think that he would see such high walls in the continent. He couldn't understand how the people in Ark Continent was able to construct such wall.
However, when he thought about the mysterious magics, he relaxed. This world has Magic spells as well as Divergent Abilities, anything was possible here.
Looking at the carriages in front of him, there were actually thousands of them. He didn't know when their turn will come. But he didn't become impatient. He returned to the carriage to chat with Laura.
When Zhao Hai entered the carriage, Laura stood up and asked, "Brother Hai, how was it? What did Storm discuss with you."
Zhao Hai laughed and said, "There wasn't anything noteworthy, we just chatted for a while. But it seems like you are right, he thought my method of dealing with the bandits was brilliant. Also, when I mentioned my business in the prairie, he became strangely less enthusiastic than normal people, it's quite strange."
Laura smiled, "Not all merchants in the continent liked doing business in the prairie, and Freewind Merchant Company is one. I heard that from the time they established their business up to the present, they didn't make a single trade with a beastman. Rumors said that the Freewind Company's founder had a grudge with beastmen."
Zhao Hai knit his eyebrows and said, "But Storm asked regarding doing business in the prairie just now. Can it be that they had a desire to do business in the prairie this time?"
Laura thought for a moment and said, "It's possible. In any case, in the eyes of an ordinary person, doing business in the prairie is very profitable. After abstaining for many years, it is normal if they couldn't help themselves from doing business with the beastmen."
Zhao Hai nodded and didn't say anything more. For Zhao Hai, Storm was only a fleeting person in his life. He was not sure if they would meet again in the future. He looked at Laura and said, "I think we need to send Ruyen to Carson City first. Then we'll head to Sky Water City. What do you think?"
Laura didn't object, she nodded and said, "That's also good, no matter what, she's still Uncle Evan's daughter. We should at least send her to Carson City and settle her down. We need to show extreme tolerance."
Zhao Hai agreed, "When we settle Ruyen, we'll send Uncle Evan a letter. Even if we complete the task, we won't know what she'll end up doing. If Ruyen offended someone at school, Uncle Evan couldn't do anything about it."
Laura sighed, this time it was Meg who expressed her opinion, "Young Master, I think that we should just go to Sky Water City directly. It's already good for her to get escorted here, everything from here on out depends on her. We should just leave Ruyen on her own, no need for us to take care of her."
Zhao Hai was silent, he knew that Meg hated Ruyen compared to Laura. This was because Ruyen refused first, giving Zhao Hai an awkward situation, which was the reason why Meg hated Ruyen.
Zhao Hai shook his head, "Forget it, we'll escort her to the very end." After he spoke, a voice came from outside, "To the people listening inside the carriage, please pay your tariff, and if you're not a Rosen Empire citizen, please have yourself registered."
Zhao Hai didn't do anything. These matters were for Shue and Shun to do, they didn't need to worry. No matter what, the garrison troops wouldn't embarrass them since they were still nobles. These small soldiers wouldn't dare go too far.
Shue paid two gold coins as tax and carried on with a simple registration, then they were allowed to continue on by the garrison. For Zhao Hai, two gold coins as tax was not cheap. There were only two carriages in their convoy, they actually took a coin for each carriage. The tax seemed quite too high.
He didn't know that this was because they were people from Aksu Empire. If they were Rosen Empire citizens, a silver coin would have been enough, nobles could even be exempt. But Aksu Empire nobles were not exempted from tax, actually it was quite opposite, they were taxed heavily.
Therefore, when Aksu Empire people did business inside Rosen Empire, they would rather buy a title inside the empire than use their identity as Aksu Empire citizens. This is also one method of Rosen Empire to attract citizens.
Before long, Zhao Hai's convoy entered Hundred Battles Fortress. Once the entered the fortress, Zhao Hai opened his window and looked out. Unlike Cold Wind Fort, where the roads looked very ruined and mercenaries in full armor were ever present, Hundred Battles fortress' streets were very neat. There were shops on both sides of the street. Pedestrians were hurrying along, looking very lively. Comparing here and Cold Wind Fortress was like comparing two vastly different worlds with each other.
Zhao Hai didn't plan to immediately leave Hundred Battles Fortress, he wanted to recuperate here for one evening and then go take a walk tomorrow and take in the customs of the people in Rosen Empire.
Since Cold Wind Fortress had a branch of Shelley Hotel, it was impossible for Hundred Battles Fortress to not have one. So when they were choosing where they would stay, they went directly towards Shelley Hotel.
However, when he arrived at the hotel, Zhao Hai noticed a difference. At Cold Wind City, the Shelley Hotel there was very good and business was booming. But here at Hundred Battles Fortress, the business seemed to be bleak. It looked like this hotel branch was failing.
However, the attendant of the hotel was very enthusiastic, even more than the one back at Cold Wind City. They immediately booked accommodations for Zhao Hai's group. Even their magic beasts were taken care of. This made Zhao Hai feel very comfortable.