I normally say that I like Past Life Returner but I have not read it at all, not even the manhwa(comic). But this story is different, I love it. I...
My grandma past away about 24 hours ago. I consider this novel release as a toast to her. Cheers grandma, you are the best. Rest in Perfect Peace.
Chapter 88 Drugal (3)
The Drugal lands were called the Red Swamp in the past. The anonymous god’s body that the Emperor had slain on the top of the Manas Mountains had fallen into the basin, and red blood drowned the temples. The god’s followers had to leave their homeland.
After a long time, the blood had seeped into the ground, and the trees now sprouted bloody red leaves. The lands were nicknamed the Red Forest and called Drugal now. The Lord of Drugal, Mark Moure, was secretly proud of his land’s gloomy past. The dark red leaves, rotten smell from the damp, and the red mushrooms growing in the corners were all the Emperor’s achievements.
Mark enjoyed living in such a mythical land but was also depressed that no heroes, noble knights, and mythical monsters lived in his time.
“I do not think those mercenaries are up to par.”
Mark murmured as he looked at the smelly ruffians from the second floor of the pub. Half of them were criminals, and the other half were swindlers. While Mark had employed mercenaries at a high price for a long time, the rumors surrounding this land made more of them stay away each year. Now, the ones that came were those who were desperate or running away from authorities.
“How many gold ranked ones are there?”
“Two. The other seven new ones are silver, and there are quite a few who are either bronze or unranked.”
The butler looked at a list as he answered. Bronze ranked mercenaries had less than a year’s experience, and the unranked were civilians. They were useless in battle. Mark clucked his tongue, as he had employed platinum ranked ones ten years ago.
“We have not done anything for two years after discovering the underground area. Is there really no one?”
“I have tried to find a few but could not find anyone acceptable to your standards.”
“Are there really no heroes in this era?”
“I will send the weak ones to the central area to search again.”
“It’s depressing to think that only ruffians walk about in a land where the Emperor had done heroic achievements…”
“I will send those who have become useless through the back gate as always.”
The lord spoke what he wanted as the butler did what he could. Drugal was poor despite the astounding amounts of jewels and artifacts discovered in dungeons because Mark used money without question.
However, the rumors spread over time had stopped it, and they had to change strategies. They placed mercenaries in dungeons no matter their skill level and left the weak ones behind. Those that had survived did become stronger, while their mental state did become unstable. While the rumors became more ominous, Drugal had barely sustained itself due to the mercenaries coming for money.
The sun was setting, and as almost no carriages traveled during the night, Mark decided not to wait for any more mercenaries.
He sighed as he thought of his father, who he knew as a knight that had battled under the Emperor. Mark felt small compared to his father’s legend and wondered whether living as a mundane aristocrat in the country was his destiny.
It was then he heard a scream from the village entrance. Mark frowned, but such noises were common with all the ruffians and the crazy ones. The mercenaries gathered in the direction before Mark ordered, and he also went up with his butler. He was surprised that there were no screams or fighting noises but only awed whispers.
“That’s Jull, right?”
Mark remembered that name, as he had been a Holy Knight that Mark had barely managed to bring here with bribes and flattery. While he had been a help, in the end, Jull had been a nuisance. Did he really come back?
Mark’s eyes widened as a man with black hair, and a tired woman came into the village. The man held Jull’s head and looked around before speaking.
“Who pays for this head?”
The mercenaries looked around before staring at Mark, who thought that a light had come at last.
“It’s amazing you caught Jull. He had killed at least a hundred, and we owe you a big debt.”
Juan and Swallen were at the Lord of Drugal’s manor as its owner had invited them. The mansion was built like a small castle on a hill that looked down on the village, and the overall atmosphere was dreary.
“What’s the price for Jull’s head?”
“It was 100 Gold coins since I thought no one would catch him, but since you seem to have the stuff of legends, I will pay 150!”
Swallen did not ask for more, and Juan was not interested in the details as Mark spoke on.
“Can you tell me how you took care of a Holy Knight who avoids traps and heals fully in a day?”
“Why was a Holy Knight here from the first place?”
Juan opened his mouth for the first time after coming to the mansion, and Mark instinctively knew that he was the stronger one. While Juan seemed insolent, Mark respected those with real strength.
“It is because of an old legend. There’s a secret dungeon in Drugal here, and the divine blood spilled here causes many things. Jull came here because he suspected a cult was acting here.”
“Did he achieve his goal?”
“He was a strong Holy Knight, and we discovered a deeper area thanks to him. However, that was all as Jull went completely crazy after going there. We failed to go in deeper again, as there are fewer mercenaries.”
Mark did not speak about the rumors circulating here, and he thought Juan may not be a mercenary as he had no such marks on him. He liked the idea of a mysterious warrior, and the woman had the Gold mark and a formidable bow with her. Mark would welcome both of them with open arms.
“Well, let’s get down to business-“
“I have a question first.”
Juan cut Mark’s words short and dumped some crystals from a small pouch.
“Do you know something about these jewels?”
Mark opened his eyes wide.
“Those…are fragments of a jewel that comes out from only here.”
“This is a mineral that comes from cracks.”
While Mark hesitated for a moment, he quickly shook his head.
“From a crack? No, this is a jewel I named ‘Divine Blood.’”
“Yes, I believe that the divine blood spilled by the Emperor here made this purple jewel. Some connoisseurs like it.”
While Yuan did not care what the jewel was called, he was curious about one thing.
“It’s popular? There’s more?”
“A specimen like the one Bishop Rieto has would be rare, as that had been my father’s best finding. Aristocrats with money would have at least one of this.”
Juan thought about Mark’s words. It was true that he had killed a god here, but this was the first time he had heard about minerals. Anyway, that god had no traces of coming from the crack, so this mineral and that god were two different phenomena. However, Mark seemed not to know what a crack was, and the lord spoke after a few moments.
“However, I cannot say that Drugal is unrelated to cracks. I admit we have been affected slightly here, but I pledge that I had not seen the Thorn Chapter. However, I did see the Lintbloom Knights had hidden here.”