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Black Iron's Glory Chapter 11

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Lake Island Egret

It was the 23rd day of the 5th month of the 574th year according to the sacred light calendar, a Tuesday. It was said that the sacred light calendar was something the leader of the mason brotherhood, Regius Au Syr, decided upon. The year after he used his forces to chase the evil magi away from the island and found his empire was the first year of the calendar that marked the final end of the dark ages, that had lasted for millennia. Basically all the nations across the continent used that calendar.

Four days later on Sat.u.r.day, the 27th, was the day that celebrated the ascension of Stellin IX after he emerged victorious from the Tricolor Conflict. After he pa.s.sed away, Stellin X motioned the upper house to make that day into a holiday for the kingdom. It was called Restoration Day to remember all that Stellin IX had done to reform the kingdom.

As the school was required to hold a celebration during the eve of Restoration day, it only had half a day of school. And there was no school during Sundays. So, Claude and the others would be getting two hard-sought days of vacation.

Unlike his previous world, the schools in this world didn't have summer or winter breaks. The whole year was a semester and school lasted all the way from the 2nd month to the 11th month before the vacation season came. That two-month holiday was called the annual break or the rest of winter, as that was the coldest period in the whole year on the continent with snow flying all over the place. Most people would be staying indoors to stave off the cold and there were few who continued to work.

Since they would be having two and a half days of vacation, Borkal and Eriksson had started planning where they would go to have fun. Claude and Welikro didn't really mind it. However, the ideas of Borkel and Eriksson were always funny and odd. In the end, they all settled on the plan to camp on lake island Egret.

Egret was less than ten kilometers away from Whitestag and not that far away. However, Claude hadn't visited the place before because it was separated by Lake Balinga.

More than a millennium ago, the mountain folk living in the southwest saw a white stag that represented peace and bliss near Lake Balinga. So, they brought their wives to settle there and the settlement eventually became Whitestag. Egret was also named in the same manner, given the number of egrets that lived on the island.

But people later realized that Egret wasn't just a simple island separated from the town by the lake. Instead, it was a seaside hill that separated Lake Balinga from the open sea. It was thanks to its presence that the strong winds and waves of the ocean didn't harm Whitestag at all. The only thing that wasn't ideal was the occasional flooding from the overflowing of seawater over the lake's dam.

It was also said that there were countless egrets, other sea birds, otters, stone foxes and panthers there whose skins sold for a good price, as well as many precious herbal medicines. It was a place rich with natural resources. But even so, few from Whitestag were willing to travel to Egret.

The main reason was danger, as well as the presence of a huge ruin on the island. Legend says that it was the rubble left behind by a magic tower that had collapsed centuries ago. As it was related to the evil magi, Egret was considered by the townsfolk to be infused with evil. n.o.body dared to head there to seek trouble.

Borkal and Eriksson haven't been to the island before either. The four Only Welikro had followed his father there for a hunting trip twice during the breaks of the previous two years. The first time, they went there to hunt stone foxes. As for their second visit, they spent most of their time picking a certain kind of herb.

So, Welikro's suggestion to spend their short vacation camping there was well-received by the clique's two daredevils, Eriksson and Borkal. Youth meant curiosity, as well as reckless courage. Claude, being a transmigrator, didn't really mind the scary tales about the island widely believed by others. Instead, he was especially interested in the ruins of the magic tower and intended to go check it out, so he agreed to the trip as well.

"Claude, we'll leave school from the back wall after lunch to Mock's Goods to sell the two skins Wero brought while checking if there's anything we need there," said Borkal softly as he pointed at Welikro's sack.

Claude nodded. The wall at the back of the school yard had been eroded by the snow and rain and it was used as an unofficial exit for students. Though almost everyone knew about it, n.o.body bothered to report it to the school board.

Additionally, even if the school administration knew about it, they wouldn't be able to fix it in the short term. The cost to fix the wall would have to be requested first from the administration of Whitestag. After that, the administration would send someone to the school to survey the damage to determine how much would be needed to fix the wall before discussing how they would source the extra funds and get the mayor to sign his approval. Only after that could the request for funds be submitted to the town finance department.

The whole process would take two months at the very least. If the mayor doesn't agree or the finance department cites having too tight a budget this year, all prior effort would be wasted and they would have to repeat the whole process the next year.

As such, even though the school did find out about the hole in the wall, they pretended not to know it. Perhaps they were hoping for there to be a few more holes so that they could eventually request for a grant to rebuild the school walls from scratch instead of patching a small part up.

The lunch served in middle-school was plain and hard to consume. There was a scoop of mashed potato and meat gruel, two pieces of black bread and a paper-thin bacon as well as a baby-fist-sized baked apple. However, the red vegetable soup served in a large pot in the canteen could be drunk as much as one wanted.

Though that was enough to fill the students' stomachs, it was far from a delicacy. From time to time, the school would change the menu by simply swapping mashed potatoes for wheat porridge or the thin bacon in the bread for some cheese and fresh lettuce.

The school didn't even serve b.u.t.ter to save costs. The canteen only had some salt to be used as seasoning.

Borkal was biting his black bread in a suffering manner. "It's far too dry... I really want to eat some of that delicious mutton biscuit from the morning... It's delicious and crunchy, not to mention juicy and oily..."

Eriksson cleared out the mashed potato on his plate and mocked, "Who asked you to eat the bacon first before eating the bread? How can you even stomach the bread alone? It tastes just like sawdust! Maybe you should get some soup instead."

"I don't wanna," Borkal said with a hurried shake of his head, "You know the taste of that red vegetable soup makes me puke. I don't know why, but every time I see that soup, I think about how my shoe smells. It's really far too disgusting."

"Eat quickly, stop talking c.r.a.p. Claude and Wero have already gone back to cla.s.s to get their bags. If you don't mind starving until the afternoon, feel free to not eat. Perhaps we can even buy some mutton biscuit for you later outside." Eriksson eyed Borkal without a good intention in mind and hoped that he would accept his proposition.

"Dream on," Borkal said as he stuffed his mouth with bread, "I only get two riyases as my monthly allowance. The mutton biscuit I bought this morning already cost me a tenth of it, and you guys even took most of it."

"Well, you are the richest among us after all!" Eriksson shrugged. "You're still not satisfied with two riyases a month? My father would only give me one riyas when he's in a good mood, a kick otherwise. And he spends most of his time on his boat. I won't be able to see him every single month, much less get a riyas from him.

"Claude's situation is more or less like mine. Without a good reason, his father won't give him any allowance. From time to time, his mother wouldn't give him more than one riyas. As for Wero, with his thrifty sister at home who's trying hard to save for her dowry, do you think he can get any allowance to spend?"

Seeing Borkal unable to talk back with his mouth agape, Eriksson laughed. "So, Claude is right. We are good friends, brothers, even, and your allowance is our allowance. If you get calculative about this kind of money, it's too much of a slight to our friendship. Well, stop eating. Claude and Wero are already waving to us. Let's go. Even if you don't get to buy any mutton biscuit, we can get some other delicacy later."

"I feel that something's off somewhere," Borkal muttered as he looked at Eriksson's back and back to his black bread, "Well, I suppose I should go get mutton biscuit after all."

The four of them left the school by vaulting over the rear wall without issue.

"Why are you going to Mock's Goods to sell the skins? I recall that Chirp Leather is the largest place that buys skins, right?" asked Claude.

"Wero's two skins have been left there for quite a while," Borkal replied, "Not only are they not shiny, they're also a little damaged. They won't fetch a good place at Chirp Leather, they probably won't pay more than six riyases for them. At least we can negotiate at Mock's Goods. I think we'll get around eight or nine riyases from him."

"Claude, you really don't frequent the market often enough, so it's no wonder you don't understand that shop," Eriksson added, "It's one of the oldest in town, being succeeded by three generations in the family already. They mainly deal with sailors and traveling merchants, who come from all over and bring all sorts of weird and uniques things to sell to him."

However, it seems that their shop doesn't collect or deal with those things anymore," Borkal said, "During the end of last year when the former owner of the shop went to fetch some goods from the mountains, his carriage slipped from the slippery winter path and he fell into a ravine with his carriage. Later, when his eldest son Wakri took over as the new owner, he changed it from a general shop to one that specialized in dealing with fishing gear and other necessities for boats.

"There are a lot of fishing gear that are made from skin, but Chirp Leathers is the largest buyer of skin in town. So, Mock's Goods can only count on sporadic sellers like us. I believe he'll offer us a good price for the skins."

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Black Iron's Glory Chapter 11 summary

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