Chapter 327: A talented person
The nature of the Lancelot Imperial Academy was different from that of the Babylon Academy. Lancelot Imperial Academy was an academy that groomed talented strategists, with magicians, swordsmen, and knights not within its scope. Similar to all other schools on the Profound Continent, it was always nobles who held the important positions within the Imperial Academy.
There were several reasons for why so many talented nobles came to be. The first reason being that the astronomical costs associated with attending such an Academy caused ordinary civilians to back down. The other reason was that, even if a civilian managed to enroll in the Imperial Academy, they would find it extremely difficult to find a good teacher who could teach them systemically about military affairs
However, nothing was ever set in stone. The Imperial Academy would still occasionally see one or two civilian students. These civilians would still manage to reveal their talents, even under such unfavorable conditions; they were so brilliant that they managed to steal the limelight from the other students of noble descent.
In such an academy, unparalleled geniuses would receive a multitude of offers from the greatest of teachers, guaranteeing their success As long as these talented civilian teenagers appeared docile and clever, there would always be talent-seeking nobles and generals who would attempt to recruit them.
Of course, there were also a few wild and unruly civilian teenagers who didn’t know to conceal their brilliance, which angered their fellow noble students. In the worst case scenario, they would be killed by their fellow students out of jealousy, or if their luck permitted, their careers would be obstructed, losing their chance to join the military.
Dorcas was exactly this kind of unlucky genius. The young Dorcas had once been unsurpassed in the Imperial Academy, but he’d became too haughty and didn’t conceal his talent, falling in love with an earl’s daughter. This made the girl’s father and her fiance’s family very angry indeed.
The end result was that Dorcas had been groundlessly accused of crimes. Not only was he expelled from the Imperial Academy, but he was also hunted down by the two families, and almost lost his life. He had been forced to become a fugitive.
This had happened about a year ago. The Dark Mantle’s records had details of this incident, and Han Shuo had also read through this intelligence when he’d exercised his rights in the Dark Mantle headquarters. It had left a deep impression on him, and he hadn’t thought that he’d be able to meet this civilian military genius here.
Dorcas was standing on a wooden raft. His once haughty face was now a bit more melancholy due to the bitter experiences he had faced. He stood straight and looked off into the distance. He turned his head and said to that bandit leader, “Captain, the people holding torches should be those from Brettel City. After we acquire the 50,000 gold coins, we should refrain from appearing in the vicinity of that city. The city lord named Bryan isn’t an easy person to deal with! If we don’t leave quickly enough, not only will we have to give up the gold coins, but even our lives will be forfeit!”
“Don’t worry. I’m not stupid enough to stay behind and let the people who killed Redbeard Troda surround me. Heh heh, let Laxi and the rest experience the rage of these people. Ten thousand gold coins is enough for us to live comfortably for quite a while.” This bandit leader wasn’t a fool. He cackled, and expressed his satisfaction that, after a lifetime of small jobs, he was able to split ten thousand gold coins for their efforts.
Han Shuo had seen everything through the eyes of the yin demon. He took a careful look at the raft that Jack and the others were on, before turning to Faulke and saying, “Hand the carts with the gold coins over to them, we cannot lose a single merchant.”
“Sir count, are we really just going to submit to them just like this? We’ve already prepared many ways to counter them!” Faulke said anxiously upon hearing that Han Shuo intended to hand over the money without a fight, trying and failing to suppress his doubts.
“The Imperial Academy genius, Dorcas, is out there. If we are to go through with original plan we created, then we would be at a complete disadvantage. Water lies in the distance, we won’t have an opportunity to act without them harming the merchants. We should give them the gold coins first as ransom for the merchants and war equipment. We can discuss the matter of annihilating the bandits after they arrive safely back in our hands.”
Before they’d arrived, Han Shuo had planned to have the earth elite zombie strike out in an ambush. Had they been in the forest, then the wood elite zombie would be able to quickly ensure the safety of the merchants. Unfortunately, the cunning Dorcas had chosen the middle of a river as their place of transaction. Han Shuo had no other option since the water elite zombie had yet to finish developing.
“Alright, I’ll go now!” Faulk nodded his head. He didn’t have a better idea either. He mounted his horse and rode forward, opening his mouth and shouting, “Carry the boxes with the gold coins next to the river, we’re going to make the trade with the bandits.”
Han Shuo had purposely filled one box with gold coins and not crystal cards. The original plan had been to dump the box filled with gold coins amongst the bandits. The suspicions of the allied bandits would surely explode and result in a fight over the gold coins. As such, the earth elite zombie and wood elite zombie would be able to ambush them.
Now that Han Shuo and the others were in a passive position, they naturally could not force this scenario. When the clinking of gold coins sounded out, the bandits drew near on their wooden rafts, with those behind them raising their bows, taking aim at the knights on the shore. The bandits in the front slowly pushed the merchants and equipment to a more shallow location along the riverbanks.
Dorcas was indeed cautious enough, never allowing the rafts to wash ashore. The merchants and the battle wagons all waded to the banks a close distance away, not providing Han Shuo’s side with a single chance to act.
After a case of gold coins were hauled aboard a raft by two bandits, a loud cheer arose from amongst the ranks of the bandits. The arrogant bandits laughed excitedly, with many leaders praising that the Imperial Academy’s Dorcas, saying that he was very able indeed.
Ducas, responsible for the scheme, did not smile. His expression from start to finish was one of gloomy remoteness. Under the cheering of the bandits, his eyes held a hint of hesitation, as if this arguably perfect plan was a disgrace.
Amongst the excited clamor, the bandits were taking advantage of the fact that the raft was slowly floating away to suddenly extinguish all the torches in their hands when they were 50 meters away from Han Shuo and the others. The bandits ceased their mad laughter under the berating of their leaders. The moonless night was pitch black. Having lost their light and sound, no one could clearly see what path they were taking when they were 50 meters out, the only exception being Han Shuo.
These bandits didn’t cross the river and disembark, but instead paddled along with the river, making use of the current. Dorcas shook his head at the bandits, who were silent but were squirming around with all sorts of weird postures to convey their excitement. He sighed inwardly, not knowing if it was right to use these bandits to exact his revenge, but now that he was considered a fugitive, unless he carried out the disgraceful actions of becoming a traitor to the Empire and seeking asylum in another country, who else could help him sate his desire for revenge?
Ai. He was someone who’d been born and raised in the Lancelot Empire in the end. No matter what, he couldn’t become a lifelong traitor with unforgivable crimes. Being a bandit was vastly preferable to being a traitor hated by everyone in the Lancelot Empire, right?
“Faulke, escort them back. We’re still some distance away from the city, so don’t have any mishaps.” Han Shuo’s vision was likewise affected in the inky night. He’d had nearly lost sight of the wooden rafts that were slowly floating away. When the merchants and war weapons had all clambered ashore, Han Shuo hurriedly turned to Faulke and gave his orders.
“Sir Count, are we not going to hunt and slaughter those rotten bandits?” Faulke asked, looking at him confusedly.
“If you safely escort this equipment and the merchants back to the city, I’ll forget about your previous negligence. Remember, the area outside of Brettel City still isn’t safe. Make sure you don’t overlook anything again!” Han Shuo was thinking of the constant threat from the seven grand duchies, as well as the larger bandit groups wandering between the duchies and Brettel City. He gravely warned Faulke to be careful.
Faulke’s goal this time was to redeem himself through meritorious acts. It was because he was constantly thinking about this that he’d lost his usual cool-headedness during this extraction mission. He immediately came to his senses after hearing Han Shuo’s warnings and realized that he had become too obsessed. He calmly said, “Rest assured Sir Count, I will definitely ensure their safety and bring them back to the city.”
Seeing that Faulke’s eyes had regained their calm, Han Shuo relaxed. He knew that Faulke had recovered from his urgent desire of redeeming himself. He patted Faulke on the shoulder, and said in a gratified manner, “Be careful!”
He left nimbly like a light wind after speaking. Han Shuo’s figure quickly flashed out of sight in the pitch black night. Faulke and the others didn’t know what Han Shuo was planning to do.
“You lot, use your warhorses to pull the carts. You over there, dismount and give the merchants your horses. Hurry up, we need to take advantage of this darkness to return to the city. Stay sharp. We’re all going to be in for it if something happens…” Faulke began loudly giving orders after Han Shuo disappeared. The knights that Faulke brought quickly executed his orders, organizing the merchants and tying up the battle wagons and other materials, slowly making their way back to Brettel City.
Dorcas was standing on a wooden raft, his gloomy face flickering between red and white with the lights of the torches. He looked at some of the bandits busily splitting a chest full of gold coins in the next raft over. He asked with awful timing, “That matter that you promised me… when are you going to do it?”
“Relax, Dorcas! As long as you help us with a few more of these ‘business transactions’, and we earn enough gold coins to grow strong from recruits, even hiring soldiers and wiping the dukedom off the map won’t even be a problem then!”
A bandit leader amongst them casually fobbed off Dorcas’s inquiry. He turned to another leader beside him, smiling lecherously, “Tuca, we’ll soon bring our brothers to the Full Spring Garden brothel to play. These gold coins are enough for us to play for a while! Heh heh, our brothers have always wanted to go and try it out. Unfortunately, those refugees from Brettel City didn’t have much on them… we didn’t really earn much in all these years. Now that we finally have money, we should thoroughly enjoy it!”
“I like your suggestion, Laxi. Haha, let’s go together!” Bandit leader Tuca laughed and rubbed his chin. He chatted knowingly about the smaller bandit groups with them, the smaller ones comprised of 70-80 bandits, and the larger ones around 200. They specialized in robbing refuges between Brettel City and Seamist City. They had no ambition or great accomplishments to their name at all. Otherwise they would have gone and raided Brettel City long ago. These people didn’t plan on upgrading their subordinates’ weapons and armor after earning these gold coins, but instead harbored thoughts of enjoying their lives to the fullest. They didn’t appear to give a damn about the promise they’d made to Dorcas.
Dorcas, a student of the Imperial Academy, wasn’t an outstanding swordsman or knight. He’d spent all his time studying military strategy and tactical skills. Even though he was 1.9 meters tall, his strength wasn’t strong at all. To these crude and uncivilized bandits, this kind of weak strategist, who didn’t pose a threat to them and was able to scheme and create plans for them, was very handy indeed. They weren’t in a hurry to help him exact revenge at all.
“You guys promised me that you would help me take revenge after we got the gold coins!” Dorcas stared at the bandit leaders, who were unrestrainedly talking about which girl’s breasts were the largest, and which girl’s asses were the plumpest. Dorcas’ muffled voice carrying over the water.
“The most important thing is to let the brothers rest and have a hell of a time after working so hard for so long. Dorcas, let’s talk about this matter later. I’ll help you find a girl to thoroughly enjoy. She’ll definitely be a lot more worth it than that little noble girl you like, haha!” Even the leader that Dorcas was following was also laughing heartily without any cares, completely setting aside his promises to Dorcas.
“Aha, we’re here!” Once we get ashore and walk for a bit, we’ll arrive at the Narsen Duchy’s Tulian Town! The girls in the Full Spring Garden are awaiting us!” Laxi excitedly laughed, instructing his subordinates, “Hurry up! Stop the rafts, your boss will take you to have some fun!”
Dorcas wore an unsightly expression. He resented these untrustworthy bandits, but he knew that his own strength was limited. He was angry to the point of erupting, but he didn’t have any other choice. He could only stare at the bandits who were disembarking the rafts one by one, walking happily towards the Full Spring Garden in Tulian Town.
“My friends who have so graciously taken my fifty thousand gold coins, I’ve been waiting a long time for you!” Suddenly, the silence of the night was broken by the sound of a young man laughing. The silhouette of an extremely large person gradually appeared beneath the flickering light of the bandits’ torches, blocking their way.