Sorry for the late release. Here's this week's fourth chapter.
"Is this the Rosanji Merchant Guild's storage area?"
"Yes, Milord. This entire circle of buildings is the guild's food storage area. It's said that there are over 500 of them. The one that has a lamp up there is the main entrance to the storage area. The guild's brewing area isn't far from here either. The Union's ale is mostly supplied by them. They are the largest brewers around," replied Lundmorde.
"Weird, why is there no security? I only see a few patrolling guards. With food prices as high as they are, isn't the Union worried about people stealing from the silos?" asked Lorist curiously.
"Perhaps these warehouses are empty? Maybe there's no longer anything to guard," suggested Lundmorde.
"Well, that could be. Let's go check."
The two scaled the walls, entered the storage area, and hid behind the dome-shaped stone building. It did not have doors or windows and was roughly 5 meters tall, the standard food silo design on Grindia. Besides the part visible above ground, the building stretched a further 3 meters underground. A single silo could store near half a million kilograms of food.
"I think I smell moss," said Lundmorde as he pinched his nose.
"I do too, the stench is quite noticeable. Let me go up and check."
"Wait, Milord, making a hole in the wall is much more convenient," interjected Lundmorde, pulling on Lorist.
He pierced into the silo's wall with his blade-glow. As they were situated behind it, nobody noticed anything. Lundmorde traced a huge circle before pulling his sword out, making a hole in the warehouse. Grains started pouring out through the hole and spilling onto the floor.
"It's wheat," said Lundmorde as he picked some up.
He quickly tossed it away and he jumped in shock.
"It's old and grassy... All this wheat is moldy as feck..."
Fanning the air in front of his nose, Lorist grunted, "The smell is too strong. I can't stand it."
"Ah, I know now. No wonder I've seen the guild bringing in carriage after carriage of lime. I thought they were using it to for sterilization and cleaning, but they were using limewater to wash the moldy wheat. Curse their ancestors... I won't drink their ale ever again," cursed Lundmorde.
"SO that's there aren't any guards around," Lorist said after some thought, "Nobody would steal moldy wheat. The guarded warehouses must be where they store the editable, sellable food. Lundmorde, make more holes in the other warehouses so the moldy wheat can leak out. I'll go to the front and set fire to the place. When people come to deal with the fire, they'll surely notice the moldy wheat on the ground and the matter will be exposed for all to see."
"Understood, Milord. Please be careful."
"Don't worry. You should be wary as well. I remember seeing these silos labeled 'wheat' on the roof, and there are around a hundred. You better act fast."
They two were currently in Morante's southern suburbs. The Rosanji Merchant Guild had built a large storage area with more than 300 permanent stone silos and 200 temporary mobile wooden warehouses. Together, they could store up to 300 million kilograms of food, which was what fueled the guild's ability to fight for the food market at Morante.
Lorist and Lundmorde had gone to set fire to the area to prevent the guild from paying the crowd that was gathered in front of Dauslyke. While there was the option of escaping by force, Lorist had to consider the safety of his allies and the women that came along with him, so he had no choice but to resist the burning urge to lash out. He would finally be able to teach the guild a lesson by burning the food stores.
So you have too much food to spare, huh? Let's see how you pay the crowd when I burn it all!
"Hey! What are you doing? Someone's setting a fire!"
It did not take long for the smallest embers to attract the guards' attention. They noticed Lorist pouring fuel on the warehouses in a casual and unhurried manner.
A huge wave of shouting guards leaped towards him. But, in a few flashes of the sword, all the guards collapsed on the ground, struggling in their last moments while Lorist continued pouring fuel just as casually as before.
After the third wave collapsed on the ground, the remaining hundred or so coachmen, transporters, and guards quickly crumbled into chaos. A few unlucky ones, who were using wooden buckets filled with water to try and douse the fire, were cut in half by Lorist's sword. Those who survived cast away whatever they had and scrambled for the entrance. Lorist, disguised in black pants, shirt, and scarf, looked like a demon of slaughter. He casually dispatched more than 200 guards in the most relaxed manner without showing the slightest bit of mercy.
Lorist was not interested in chasing people down. Besides, the guards he killed had allowed him to vent most of his pent-up anger. All that remained was to set the rest of the warehouses on fire before returning to the hotel to bring the rest away. He believed the fire would be visible to almost the entirety of Morante, and the chaos that would inevitably ensue might help increase the chances of their escape.
"Milord, I've only managed to make holes in 60 warehouses. Why is the fire this big already?" asked Lundmorde as he stared wide-eyed at the flames that consumed the silos behind Lorist, causing smoke to billow towards the skies.
"Let's go, that's more than enough. If we stay here, we'll be burned alive," said Lorist before he grabbed Lundmorde and ran.
The air had already begun to heat up as occasional embers fell on his body. The pair scaled the walls and took to the carriage. It was quickly turned around, and they left.
"Lundmorde, come steer this thing. Just send me to the area near Dauslyke. Check if the preparations are finished after you drop me off. We will begin our escape the moment I get back."
"Alright, Milord," said Lundmorde before he spurred the horse into a gallop.
They quickly arrived near the hotel. The crowd stared at the southern skies, where signs of smoke and fire could be seen.
Lorist jumped off before pretending to stumble around as he shouted, "Everyone! Go put out the fire, quick! The food storage area is ablaze! If we don't put it out, we'll run out of food! Quick!"
The crowd was originally waiting for their day's pay, they had been promised 2.5 kilograms of potatoes which they had yet to receive. The fire only served to unnerve them, and Lorist's cries confirmed their fears. The commoners panicked and thought their day standing around would be wasted if all the food burned up. The frontmost people began rushing to the storage area immediately, followed closely by those behind them.
"Go put out the fire! We can still take some food out of it and help our families last a few more days!" continued Lorist.
The rest, who originally did not intend to go, snapped out of their trance. They thought it would be a good opportunity for them to get more free food before the inevitable rise in food prices because of the fire. Most of the people surrounding the hotel ran south, only around 500 Rosanji guards remained.
Lorist snuck into the hotel quietly. Once inside, he immediately rushed to the back.
"Reidy, go prepare the carriages. As many as you can. Have everyone begin packing. We leave in thirty minutes!" instructed he.
There were seven carriages in Dauslyke's backyard, but only a dozen horses. Lorist had the three Dinas assigned to the first carriage. The second carried Count Kenmays and his two maidservants, the third Baron Shazin and his five concubines, and the fourth Howard, his fiancee, Baron Felim, and his concubine. The final three carriages were for the other maidservants and the luggage. The coachmen were the attendants that followed them. Since Northsea was docked at the Peterson Merchant Guild's port, they could have the guild send the carriages and horses back to the hotel.
Blademaster Shuss was seated atop the first carriage and Josk on the luggage rack of the second. Lorist believed that the marksman would be able to protect the other four carriages in front. Should their escape go wrong, the three rearmost carriages with the maidservants and luggage could be abandoned. Reidy was in the third carriage. As for Baron Shazin and Baron Felim, since they were gold-ranked knights, they were tasked with protecting the flanks of the third and fourth carriages. The guards that came along followed them from behind.
Just as Lorist was preparing to rush out of the hotel, he saw Blademaster Mike standing in front of him with a solemn look, saying, "Were you the one who sparked the fire?"
"So what if I am? Do you want us to be stuck here forever?" retorted Lorist, furrowing his brows.
"I only want to tell you that you'll have nothing to do with House Mireitas the moment you step out of here," Mike sighed, "I've already checked outside; Blademaster Danhema is still here. He's a rank 2 blademaster. Your blademaster can take care of him, but bare in mind that there are around 500 guards behind him. It's best if you stay here and wait for the big-seven to return and help you out.
"Additionally, with the food storage area set ablaze, there's no need to worry about the crowd surrounding the hotel anymore. As long as you stay here, House Mireitas will ensure your safety. I hope you don't act recklessly and rush to your deaths with so many of your family with you."
"Apologies, nobles from The Northlands don't have the habit of leaving their fates in the hands of others. We come from the wilds and it is in our nature to battle. Dying on the battlefield is a source of pride for us. House Norton asks not the numbers of the enemy, only where they are!" declared Lorist as he drew his sword.
Blademaster Mike looked at Lorist intently before sighing and waving his hand to the side. The guards by the gate opened it in response.
Blademaster Danhema had already made his preparations and instructed the 500 guards to get into five neat rows, blocking the road in front of the hotel. He realized that something was off when he saw the smoke billowing up from the south, especially when the crowd dispersed to put it out, and figured that the Northland nobles would use the chance to escape. However, being a rank 2 blademaster, he swore that he would disappoint those bumpkins.
Lorist burst out of the gates on horseback and rushed straight for the enemy formation. The bearded man at the front manifested his gold blade glow and yelled, "Dismount and kneel to surrender!"
"Who's doing the sparing here?!" shouted Lorist in reply, before he kicked both his legs to spur his mount forward.
Assailed by the pain, the horse neighed and jumped straight into the enemy formation. The guards at the front did not think that Lorist would pull such a move and hurriedly ducked to both sides. The bearded man positioned his blade glow and attempted to cut Lorist in half from his mount.
Lorist revealed a smile and pulled his horse in a circle while holding his sword out with his right hand, causing the blades to clash. A bearded head went flying, still wearing an expression of disbelief, as blood gushed out of the stump of its neck. Lorist continued to cut into the crowd and slaughtered away, causing the guards to cry out for their parents as they scrambled around in chaos and confusion. Not only was their formation heavily disrupted, more than 40 men had already fallen under Lorist's blade.
A flash of a blade traveled in an arc towards Lorist's back.
"Despicable scum!" cursed Lorist as he thought, this shameless rank 2 blademaster actually hid behind his iron-ranked guards to launch a sneak attack! However, he had long taken into account the presence of the blademaster and wondered where he had gone since the start of the battle and increased his alertness. If the blademaster had attempted to escape, he might have survived. But now that he had shown himself, there was no escape.
Clang clang clang!
The sound of clashing blades resounded throughout the area. After ten or so strikes, Lorist had already dismounted and stood in front of his assailant. With an insidious smile on his face, he said, "Rank 2 Blademaster Danhema, I presume?"