This chapter is in honor of @NU_ST for the extremely generous super gift, the magic castle, thank you very much. I know I said I will release the extra chapter on Friday but I changed my mind you guys earned it.
I know this part of the story might seem boring to some readers but I can tell you guys that this set up is necessary for the next event, and I promise you it will be worth it.
Aldrich took out his sword and exchanged multiple times with the huge direwolf. This is where the great defensive properties of the half-plate came into play. When the claws of the direwolf tried to claw his insides, it was blocked.
This gave Aldrich the chance to inflict several gashes on the monster, the troublesome part was that the attacks weren't as effective as they could have been because of the size of the direwolf.
The wounds that would have been fatal for smaller creatures were not so fatal for the direwolf. Moreover he had not been able to make any critical attacks due to the high speed and agility of the direwolf.
But of course it was still driven to despair as Aldrich cut off it's hind leg, bringing it down. Aldrich finished the direwolf off and absorbed four essence orbs.
At one point not too long ago he was scared by the mere sight of this monster that he didn't think that he would survive without the timely help of Ayemon and company.
He grew to the point where he no longer feared this beast anymore. Sooner or later the mountains that seemed unattainable will no longer be so far away.
The seemingly impossible quest he was on wasn't so impossible after all.
Aldrich wanted to roar and celebrate his victory but this was not the time nor the place. Aldrich quickly drained the blood of the direwolf which took longer than the Umvorax. He was in a bit of a hurry since the amount of blood spilled here was sure to attract more and more trouble.
The weight of the cart wasn't a problem for Aldrich now but he wasn't sure that the cart could withstand the weight. However after a while he was assured that the cart was fine, it did creek once in a while but otherwise was fine.
He was especially impressed by the contraption that made the six wheels so flexible and sturdy at the same time. Adventurers used these carts commonly, it was only natural that a lot of care was taken when they were designed.
Soon the thick trees began to give in to mud trails and more and more people came into view. Some of them took a look at his catch and complimented him.
"Nice catch!" Someone exclaimed.
"A direwolf? Luckily you didn't bump into the pack." Another warned Aldrich.
"Hey. Just a minute brother." A group of men, that looked well armed stopped Aldrich on his way to the town.
"What's the matter." Aldrich asked.
"Well, if your teammates are forcing you to do the hard work alone you're better off with others. Don't put up with this behavior." A man who appeared to be around twenty five or so stepped up.
"Teammates? What are you talking about?" Aldrich questioned, feeling confused.
"Don't pretend. I know what you're going through. Just because you're not as good as the rest of them right now doesn't give them the right to treat you like a slave."
Aldrich was taken back by the apparent sincerity of the man that he didn't know what to say.
"Eeeh, I appreciate the sentiment but I think you've got the wrong idea. I don't have any teammates at the moment actually but I will keep what you said in mind."
The man looked like he felt very sorry for Aldrich, he put his hand on Aldrich's shoulder and patted him.
"Even in this situation you want to cover up for them? I like your character. Truly, even a young man can inspire. If you feel like you're not treated right come find me at the town square."
After the young man and his crew left Aldrich finally began to put the pieces together. After looking around at the returning hunters he noticed that the majority were in a team of five or more.
This meant that most hunters just couldn't defeat monsters on their own even if the monster were only grade zero and especially if they were at level two like the direwolf or three like the Umvorax.
You wouldn't expect a young man to go hunting in the Sunken valley alone not to mention the fact that he hunted a direwolf alone. The people didn't know that he hunted a Umvorax because the huge body of the direwolf completely covered it.
So when people saw Aldrich pulling the cart alone they thought that his teammates were leaving him with the heavy tasks as they returned to town ahead of him.
Aldrich made note of these things because it was interesting. The terror of monsters and the difficulty of hunting them even in numbers and with muskets.
A while ago Aldrich thought that all hunters must be rich when he counted the money they could make from a single hunt. But that wasn't necessarily the case.
If a direwolf in a good condition sold for a silver and that was divided by five then each would be making four coppers. A great sum on its own if you ignored that you had to risk your life to hunt a grade zero level two monster.
Aldrich returned to town, he stopped by a sink to wash his face and hands. Next he looked for one of the many butcher houses he saw while passing by this morning. He was taken back by the number of people crowding around every butcher house.
Aldrich had no choice but to wait in line for his turn by one of them. After the wait he handed both of the carcasses to one of the butchers in the stall, a white haired old man.
"I will sell you the direwolf and the fur of the Umvorax but I want it's meat cut nicely."
"Good catch. I'll give you a silver and five coppers, that's fair."
"Ten coppers and when I have something again I'll come to you."
"Deal. I'll take one copper for the job."
Aldrich nodded his agreement. One copper for skinning and cutting the small-sized Umvorax is fair. A few minutes later Aldrich was handed his money and an ice box with the meat of the Umvorax stored in.
Aldrich picked the pace since he was delayed more than expected by the wait at the butcher house. He moved through the streets back to the halfling girl's shop. He took off the backpack and returned it along with the cart.
"Hold it." Just when he was about to leave he was stopped by her.
"You're not going anywhere before I check on the equipment. With all due respect there have been some disrespectful people who tried to cheat us. It'll only take a minute."
"I'm in a bit of a hurry."
"I promise it won't take long."
Aldrich had to suppress the urge to just up and leave. He still had many things to do on this day, like buying cooking oil and food necessities as he wasn't simply going to eat every meal at Ayemon's mansion.
"We're done here. Everything seems to be in place. Thank you for your patronage."
"Your welcome. Oh, yeah, here. I almost forgot." Aldrich handed the halfling girl a copper coin.
"I think you guys provide a valuable service and I want to support you guys a little."
"Thank you sir, our company is detected to our craft of making adventuring easier and more accessible for everyone."
"That sounds great, keep up the good work. I'm off."
Aldrich walked out of that exchange feeling good about himself. The cold box wasn't heavy at all so it didn't slow Aldrich down as he made his way to the public carriage stop. Many hunters were coming in and many others were leaving.
Aldrich took a seat by the window and waited for the carriage to fill up. Half an hour later he stood at the mansion's gate and the guards let him in as usual.
Aldrich walked over to the main entrance and a guard opened the door for him. Aldrich didn't entered but called over to one of the manservants in the hallway.
"Hi, this a fresh Umvorax tell the chef to make us a nice lunch."
The manservant looked quite confused for moment but he soon regained his composure. iｎ𝓷𝓇𝒆α𝒅. 𝗰𝘰𝘮
"Sir, I must ask the master for his approval."
"Can you not do that? I want it to be a surprise actually."
The servant tried to take the box from Aldrich but it was too heavy for him and he had to call two other servants to help out.
"I can't, absolutely not." The servant was clearly adamant about it so Aldrich really had no choice but go along with it despite his disappointment. Still he could understand where the servant was coming from.
After all Ayemon was a true nobleman of the empire if his servants just accepted any food they were told to serve to him wouldn't they be failures as servants? Now that he thought about it the food that Ayemon ate must go through some extensive checks.
While thinking about that Aldrich went up to his room but he didn't have the time take a real bath so he only washed up briefly. When he was done he was back in his regular clothes and gentleman shoes.
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