Yay! 20th post milestone!
The foundation for the next arc is slowly being laid… enter, THE TOURNAMENT ARC! DUN DUN~~
Although the winter wonderland attracted the attention of many nobles, it was quite a different scene inside the city.
The snow on the roads was trampled under countless number of horses, turning into a muddy black concoction. In some locations, the snow melted and formed into muddy pits, and an occasional carriage passing by would splash the dirty water onto the nearby passerby.
The prices for grain had already risen a lot despite the governor’s attempt to solve the food shortage by opening the city’s various grain reserves as well as banning all merchants from mass-buying large amounts of grain. The price for bread had risen by forty percent, and the price of meat doubled- Armenia, though rich in iron ores, was not a big producer of grain, nor animal husbandry industry a prevalent force in the within the empire. A portion of the food within the military region was imported from outside of the region.
However in general, over the span of three generations the governor’s family rule could be considered successful, as in regards to the poor population within the city, not many of them have been starved or frozen to death.
However because of the blizzard, many people were trapped within Malika City. In addition to Shaar and the others, there are also many other caravans traveling north that were also delayed there. Though there was a lot of them, they were as a whole very peaceful, being merchant groups that do business.
This time around, there were also many warriors and mercenary groups within Malika City.
This was because at the beginning of every spring, the Empire- wide annual martial arts competition will be held at the imperial capital of Osgiliath. As long as you are a citizen of the Byzantine Empire, and hold an official title of warrior, then you could participate.
This ancient tradition has been passed down in the Byzantine Empire for thousands of years. Legend says that at the very founding of the empire, such an event was held to promote the prestige of martial arts within the empire. The first few competitions were said to be restricted to only warriors, with a chance to meet the Emperor personally along with badges of honor bestowed upon the winners of the contest, along with a reasonably lucrative reward and a quick rise to fame, becoming one of the warriors under the Imperial court.
After the passage of thousands of years, this tradition was still retained, however the layout of this event had been changed hundreds of times.
In the arena, the original solo competitions have been retained, but another category was also added: Group battles! This no longer restricted it to the individual, but allowed groups of warriors to participate and compete amongst themselves in view of tens of thousands of cheering spectators with many different combat styles, such as melee warriors, swordsmen, ax soldiers, and even archers and assassins. This addition made it so that the competition was not a test of individual skill, but rather required a high level of cooperation and collective combat skills.
During many a round of competition, the losing side would suffer severe casualties, or even massacred on the spot! But the reward for the victors is just as amazing!
And aside from the various man versus man competitions, there are even blood-soaked battles between man and beast! (TN: PvP and PvE lool)
Raging bulls, lions, tigers, leopards, hungry wolves… and later on, even monsters were captured and thrown straight into the arena for warriors to fight against!
And the rules of the competition became more and more cruel and bloody over time! Before the start of each competition, the applicants must sign a death contract. Upon entering the arena, the competition would immediately begin with the portcullis shutting behind them and competitors would fight to the death. Only after surviving until the end could the winner ask for the portcullis to be opened again, signifying the end of that round!
In recent years, the competition has reached to an unprecedented bloody level.
However, there would be no shortage of participants, as even convicted criminals are allowed to participate in such an event, and once reaching a certain number of victories, no matter what degree of severity your crime was, the Empire will grant amnesty to you and eliminate all records of your crimes!
There are even some slaves that, upon receiving victory at such a grand event, can obtain freedom!
At the present time, the empire already has many warrior groups that have gone professional for an event like this. These teams recruit many brave warriors and form an organization that does nothing but go through hard training every day, and swarm to the Imperial capital to participate in this event. In achieving victory, they would attain immediate fame and fortune, and if they fail…. They would become nothing more than corpses on the floor of the arena, to be dragged away by the standby soldiers.
Some of the participants are brought by slave traders from all over the world. They are put through strict combat training, and then signed up for the event. Upon winning, the slaver trader would obtain an enormous “bonus”, while the slave would obtain their freedom.
At the same time, because this ancient tradition naturally incentivizes gambling, this has become a source for evil….
At this time, the annual competition held at Osgiliath is less than a month’s time away, and many mercenary teams have been trapped in Malika City due to the snow. Numerous men, who were rowdy and boisterous by nature, when faced with the looming date of the event with no way to vent their anxiety would naturally cause a lot of trouble to break out.
Even more are the many regulars that participate in the event, and had held grudges and hatred for individuals in previous competitions, upon meeting them here, would naturally let the accrued jealousy and anger burst out….
There are others that previously have had no hatred or bad blood, but heard about the reputation of the other group, and inevitably taken the opportunity to ruthlessly undermine or injure the opposing team, in order to get rid of potential competitors….
Due to this, the law and order in the city has become increasingly chaotic, with the patrolling soldiers running back and forth resolving fights, and even frequently looking into cases of murder.
Although the patrolling soldiers have been working hard to suppress the outbreaks, but to these mercenary and warrior groups that have been walking on the knife edge day- to- day, their efforts did little to deter them. Even a select few ferocious warrior teams even engaged in combat with the city patrol, then left Malika City under the cover of the chaos.
After all, outside the city was a frozen landscape of ice and snow, none of the pursuers from the city were willing to chase to fiercely. They could always find a village after traveling a distance and then wait until the weather improved before leaving.
Shaar, Gu Luo, and the rest of the caravan have been staying in this hotel for two days already. In the evening, they sat downstairs at the hotel lobby eating and drinking, but only after a moment, they heard a loud cursing sound a distance away from them, followed by the sound of a table being flipped over and the sound of bowls and plates shattering. Two people sitting a distance away from them cursed at each other a few more times, then suddenly stood up, and drew their swords out.
“Ai, this is already the third time today.” Shaar sighed, raising the wine bottle and pouring himself some more, while sitting there comfortably watching them fight.
The owner of this hotel and his assistant had long been scared into hiding behind the counter. Upon hearing the sound of shattering plates and bowls, the owner, with his face full of jiggling fat, became distressed at the lost of his precious chinaware, but could only lie there and pray silently in his heart.
The Landis people had already gathered together quickly, with Gu Luo and the others at the very center. After a few days, they had long become accustomed to this sort of scene, so everyone stayed calm while onlooking at a distance.
At the very beginning when he first encountered this scene, Shaar was still very curious about watching, but after seeing it for three days, he had long lost most of his initial interest, but still watched for another reason:
Within these warrior groups, there existed many hidden experts with unique and powerful martial skills!
Not a bad place to end off, I’m definitely looking forward to the upcoming fights and tournament arc!
Onto a different topic- I’ve been considering adding a donation or a sponsorship button for people that enjoy reading my translation, but I haven’t made a decision yet. If I do decide to do sponsored chapters/ sections, I think a reasonable level would be at 25 per release, in addition to my daily releases (therefore releasing 2 or more every day). Because the chapters are irregular in length, that would be equivalent to approximately 2.5-3.5k characters in length. I guess I’ll think of further details if I do decide to implement it in the future, but for now, enjoy! Let me know if you guys have any thoughts in regards to this or the novel in the comments below!
Potato rolling out~~