The sun rose again and all 25 temples in Naveya rang their bells in proper sequence.
Dang, Dang Dang!
The sonorous and rhythmic bells started the day for the people in the city.
The officials entered the council meeting rooms; merchants headed to the markets and stores.
The common civilians though headed to their respective workplace to start their jobs.
However, many people gathered outside the city, some were farmers and hunters but most of them were merchants.
Naveya City was liberated by the hero, Algor, 300 years ago from the grasp of the Wicked Demonic God and was transformed into the biggest hub for trading and political operations. It became the most important city in the south.
Every day, there were hundreds of merchants with their fully loaded carts and wagons arriving at Naveya and they would bring the same amount of goods, traveling to all the villages and towns all over the region.
When Naveya opened her doors, the merchants with proof of identity would line up automatically in one line. Beside them was another line consisting of farmers and hunters from all around the city.
One different thing from the other cities was: the farmers and hunters from around Naveya all looked arrogant from the expressions on their faces. Although they didn’t live inside the city, they were still citizens of Naveya and were slightly different from the outsiders.
The merchants who stopped by Naveya a lot had gotten used to the farmers’ and hunters’ attitudes. Even for those first-timer merchants, they would have heard of the rules hereall of them would stay as humble as possible.
The merchants didn’t want to delay their entry to the city because of some small squabbles.
“Every head cost two copper coins, horses and mules cost another five and wagons an additional five!” The taxing officer beside the city gate spoke loudly.
Beside the officer’s feet was a wooden box about half a man’s height; beside the wooden box were iron chains and on top of the wooden box were small thin slots for people to put their copper coins in.
Every merchant who wished to enter the city would have to pay tax according to their numbers and amount of goods. At the same time, their goods must be checked by the guards.
The line was moving forward in an orderly manner without any accident.
However, when Mizelle found the other three of his comrades, it was already noon.
The sun was hanging above one’s head and was shining viciously.
After Mizelle signaled his comrades, the three of them drove their wagons and followed him.
The group of four finally met up in Charging Stable Inn.
“How are things, Mizelle?”
One of the three asked after they entered the room.
Mizelle didn’t answer but took a step aside and Starbeck swiftly came out from the inner room.
The person who asked the question instantly felt something was wrong when he saw Starbeck but before he could say anything else, he and his other two comrades passed out on the floor.
Mizelle who was dominated by the [Mesly Ring] then greeted Kieran who walked out from the shadows.
“So he is the leader, Pelker?” Kieran pointed at the one who spoke just now.
“Yes, my lord,” Mizelle answered honestly.
Without further ado, Kieran woke the man up and dominated him with the [Mesly Ring].
With Kieran’s high Spirit attribute, Pelker was taken under control without any resistance.
“My lord!” Pelker turned around and climbed up from the floor, greeting Kieran with a respectful salute.
“Tell me everything you know about this operation,” Kieran said.
“Yes my lord! I am one of the outer rim sentries and wasn’t involved in the stealing of the Holy Thorn Grail. In fact, I didn’t even know how many of them stole the grail before this but the two men told us to address them as sir and lord. After I realized it, I’d already witnessed their baptism process. The two sirs and the Lord promised me a slot in the baptism so, I was willing to take the risk by following their orders to kill his itinerant merchant and take his disguise. We then mixed into the group of merchants and return to Naveya.” Pelker spilled the beans.
“Did those two men give you any special markings? Did you see their faces when they spoke to you?” Kieran asked.
“Yes, there is a marking but I never saw their face before. They said when we return to Naveya, we would just have to hang a red cloth outside the inn window that we are staying at.”
“A red cloth?” Kieran laughed in disdain.
He was almost 90% sure when the red cloth was hung up, the one who arrived at the doors would be the city guards and the temple knights.
These two men who stole the Holy Thorn Grail were unquestionably vigilant and cunning.
The moment they chose Mizelle, Pelker and the other two as their lackeys, they had already decided to turn them into scapegoats, therefore Mizelle didn’t really know the rest of the group.
Other than that, besides Mizelle, the three of them were all outsiders.
From the start to end, those two men didn’t show their faces at all; they relied on paper notes to guide the four of them around and even during the baptism ritual, their faces were covered up.
“Is there anything that caught your attention?” Kieran continued.
“No my lord.” Pelker shook his head.
Kieran then asked a few more questions and combined with what he got from the answers Mizelle provided two days ago. Right away, a clearer connection of all the matters appeared in Kieran’s mind.
“The men needed the holy grail to perform the baptism, which means they weren’t strong enough or they are in dire need of power. Given the circumstances, they were able to steal the Holy Thorn Grail and find themselves a group of scapegoats Which means one of them must be related to Thorn Temple! A not so powerful person yet able to get near to the Holy Grail?” Kieran pondered upon his theories.
As he was in deep thoughts, sub-mission notifications rung in his ears.
Not one but two sub-missions!
[Discovered sub-mission: Itinerant Merchant]
[Itinerant Merchant: A decent disguise but you have to act like one!]
[Discovered sub-mission: Bold and Reckless]
[Bold and Reckless: Stealing the Holy Grail from a temple isn’t something just anyone can do, find these two thieves!]
Kieran glanced over the two sub-missions with a slightly surprised gaze.
He had expected the sub-missions but what he expected was the one related to the stolen holy grail, not the itinerant merchant one.
“Is it because it is related to the main mission, so it came up?”
Kieran looked at the two sub-missions and went into deep thought for a while before turning to Starbeck.
“I have sub-mission notifications here, did you receive any?” Kieran asked.
“No.” Starbeck shook his head right away.
“As expected, even sub-missions have to fulfill a certain condition to trigger, it doesn’t just come along for a party member.”
Kieran theorized since he had limited experience regarding party dungeons.
It was an act of habit though, just like his vigilance.
Kieran called Mizelle and Pelker over and quickly gave them orders before standing up.
“Get up, we shall have a road trip today! The market this afternoon should be very lively! If we are lucky enough, we might get some unexpected rewards,” Kieran said to Starbeck.