Chapter 24: Small Conflict
Translator: AtlasStudios Editor: AtlasStudios
Matt swore to the heavens that he had never tasted such a delicious breakfast since he was born.
Although it was just ordinary white bread, beef, and vegetable soup placed on an old wooden table. But compared to dried meat and cold water from a few days ago, the meal they had right now was almost comparable to the sumptuous dishes from the palace.
“Praise the great Holy Spirit, thank the Holy Spirit for giving us food…”
This was maybe one of the most earnest prayers before meals from Matt. But before he finished expressing his gratitude, suddenly a voice called out to him.
“I did not expect that you were a believer.”
Matt quickly opened his eyes. He saw Rhode and Lize walking down the stairs and sat in front of him. His face was still as indifferent as before. He not could tell if Rhode was being sarcastic or not. Thus, the fat merchant could only show an embarrassed smile.
“This… I always have a certain gratitude towards food. There is no relation between being a believer or not…”
His voice slowly drifted off. It was obvious that the fat merchant did not intend to prolong this boring topic, so he quickly changed the topic.
“What are you guys planning to do after this?”
However, Rhode did not answer immediately. He ordered two breakfast and asked a question out of nowhere, “How about you, Mr. Matt?”
Matt was caught slightly off guard, and he gloomily shrugged his shoulders.
“For me, I will go to the Deep Stone City to apologize to the recipient. Then I must compensate for their loss. Sigh, what lousy luck! Not only did I lose all the goods, but I also need to pay a large sum of money. My luck is really not so good…”
Lize revealed an apologetic face. After all, her mercenary group was responsible for protecting the merchant and his goods. But now the products had been lost. It could be said that they did not do a good job. Although to many people, these matters would be labeled as ‘just an accident’. But as a responsible person, Lize did not want to accept it like that.
“No no no! It’s not your fault, Ms. Lize. I am also at fault.”
Perhaps it was because he had returned to the safety of civilization, Matt subconsciously revealed his merchant side.
“If I knew that such thing would happen, I would never have done it. Sigh, but now it’s already too late. It was thanks to both of you that I can sit here and not become the dinner of those terrible beasts in the forest.”
He stopped talking and showed a rare sincere smile. He reached out his hand and took out two purses.
“This is the reward for both of you. Ms. Lize, thank you for saving my life for several times. If it was not because of you, I am afraid that I wouldn’t be sitting in front of you now.”
“No no no. This is what I am supposed to do. After all, we have taken your money…”
Looking at the purse, Lize hurriedly stood up and shook her head vigorously. But Matt was an old slippery fellow. He did not wait for Lize to finish her sentence. Then, he turned around and look at Rhode.
“Mr. Rhode, especially you… Frankly, if not because of you, the both of us would not be able to escape from Twilight Forest. I know that for high noble like you, this amount of money might not mean much, But please take it as a token of our gratitude.”
“You don’t have to be so polite, Mr. Matt.”
Rhode looked at the purse but did not reach out and take it.
“You have also saved my life. If you did not order to stop the boat, I am afraid I’d long be residing inside a beast stomach. So about the money… I think you can take it back..”
Matt felt a bit awkward. It was alright if it was just Lize. But against Rhode, he could not merely wave it away. In fact, this money was not only for repayment for service and gratitude. Instead, he wanted to increase their relationship with each other. Even though Matt wanted Rhode to accept, but he did not dare to force him since it might cause Rhode to be dissatisfied with him. As a merchant, he had dealt with a lot of nobles before, so he knew that nobles truly regarded their reputation, dignity, and position – especially the very talented young ones. Their self-esteem was high and some of them were even eccentric. Thus, he did not dare to force him like what he did to Lize. He revealed an embarrassed smile before taking out a small silver badge.
“Since Mr. Rhode said so, then I will no longer force you. But I hope you accept this badge. This is a keepsake from the Silver Libra Merchant Guild. Although our guild is not powerful in the Dragon Soul Continent. But it can be considered quite prominent. If you need my help in the future, please do tell me and I will do my best.”
This time, Rhode did not refuse Matt good intention. In fact, he had been waiting for it.
Rhode understood how these merchants usually think. In their opinion, money was above all else. Including their own life. The reason he took out the money was only to repay his life-saving grace. But he knew that after he took the money, they would be on even grounds.
This was not what Rhode wanted to achieve. He had his own goal, and to accomplish this goal, he would need some help. Matt’s Merchant Guild was of course not some large organization. But since it was a merchant guild, it had important information between the trade network that Rhode could not acquire by himself. After considering for a moment, it was more beneficial to his future to let them owe something to him right now.
Matt, of course, did not think that Rhode would think like this. His mind was filled with the preconceived notion that Rhode was a high noble with a strong family backing. For people like Rhode, why would he even try to curry favor with a small fry like him? It was Matt that should try to curry favor with Rhode instead.
This was a beautiful misunderstanding.
Of course, Rhode did not mind allowing this misunderstanding continue.
After that, the three people began to chat about some boring topics and then discussed the current plan. What made Matt glad was because Rhode and Lize also planned to travel to Deep Stone City. It wasn’t strange for her to go there because her mercenary group establishment’s home was in Deep Stone City. This was one of the reasons why Carter took the job to escort Matt because they headed for the same location. But Matt was surprised with Rhode’s decision. When he heard that Rhode joined Lize’s mercenary group, he was shocked and speechless for a moment.
It was not as if Matt did not understand Lize’s situation. Choosing a mercenary group was not his business, but he was still puzzled why would he join a declining group. However, it was not something he should worry about since he had already given enough money to her. As a cleric, she would face no problem with moving to another mercenary group. If she still had nowhere to go, then he would gladly welcome her to his guild. Since her profession was highly sought after, it was not a bad thing for Matt to accept her.
But he never thought that this soft, weak, timid girl actually planned to settle everything by herself!
That would be a challenging and dangerous thing to do.
Matt wanted to give her some advice, but seeing Rhode beside her, he did not dare to say much. In his point of view, Rhode was joining the mercenary group for fun. Since he had the power, money, and status, it was completely different with an ordinary mercenary.
Perhaps…maybe it was also because of Lize? Taking a closer look, she is quite cute and pretty…
Of course, Matt did not dare to voice out his thoughts. Since he was an outsider, he had no reason or position to pry into Rhode’s personal matters. That was why he only reminded her to seek him if she encountered any difficulties. If saving her mercenary group was something in his power, he would definitely try to help. After all, many things had happened and he concluded that befriending her wasn’t a bad idea.
After having their breakfast, they decided their next goal. Matt and Lize went their separate ways. Matt searched for a carriage to Deep Stone City while Lize prepped the supplies for the three of them. It was different from the time in the Twilight Forest; now they could make proper preparation.
Both of them were busy doing their own things, and only Rhode was idle. Even though Lize told him to have a good rest, but apparently Rhode did not intend to do that. After he finished his meal, he went out for a stroll.
Walking in the quiet town, looking at the scenery before him, Rhode could not help but feel a hint of warmth in his heart. In the game, this place was a newbie gathering ground. The bustling of adventurers could be seen everywhere. They were either shouting for party quests or was selling equipment. Based on Rhode’s memories, this town was actually very lively and crowded. But now without the players, all that was left was a quiet and serene town.
But soon, that silence was broken.
The noise came from the corner of the street. Rhode looked up and saw the roadside carriage. Four people were in a fierce quarrel. One of them was a young man wearing beautiful clothes with two swordsman dressing like guards standing in front of him. The other was no one else but Matt. He just left the hotel not long ago.
Rhode frowned and then walked towards the four.
“Don’t you think that you are something just by having some stinky money. Our Lord was giving you face!”
“That’s right; you are just a merchant. Don’t be shameless!”
“Bullsh*t. What Lord? Just a third-rate aristocrat, you think us merchants are good to bully?”
“Hey, you dead fatty. I think you are tired of living!!”
The quarrel was getting heated. Rhode did not make a sound, he looked around and patted Matt’s shoulder.
“What’s the matter? Mr. Matt?”
“Who is it? Even if you look for help… Ah !! Mr. Rhode!”
Matt who was busily swearing finally turned his head around and saw Rhode. His expression immediately changed from the Siberian blizzard into a tropical rainforest sunshine.
“You came in the right moment…”
Indeed, he deserved to be a merchant. After seeing Rhode, Matt’s attitude immediately changed 180 degrees. His expression right now was different with that domineering fatty from before. But Matt obviously knew the current problem. He did not wait for Rhode to ask and blurted out everything that happened in a flash.
The matter wasn’t complicated. It was just that after leaving the hotel, Matt quickly found a carriage. He successfully negotiated the price and the other side also agreed. When Matt was about to leave, three men suddenly appeared and said that they also wanted to rent the carriage. Because they were very arrogant, it caused Matt to be angry. Originally, Matt would approach the matter peacefully. But because he had bad luck for these days and even lost a shipment of goods, his mood was already awful. Now that someone provoked him, he just flared up.
Riverwood Town was just a small town. It only had one carriage. Matt wanted to leave a good impression on Rhode, so he did not want to give up the transport. But the other side also seemed urgent. They would not give in no matter what. Even the two impatient guards began to resort to force. They thought that by revealing their swords, the merchant would immediately concede. But they never expected that it would make the merchant even angrier.
I have seen wild wolves, wild ghosts, and other scarier monsters in these few days. Why would I be afraid of two small guards?
In the end, both sides were in a stalemate. No one refused to give up.
So that was it.
After listening to Matt about what happened, Rhode nodded, indicating that he understood.
But all of a sudden, one of the guards unsheathed his sword and pointed it towards Rhode.
“Who are you?! You dare to poke in our business?!”