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The creaking of the wooden floor woke Tyrier up, as someone's heavy footsteps could be heard moving up the staircase. He dug under the wyvern feather pillow and pulled out his silenced Glock and flattened himself against the wall next to the door and waited. Not long, someone knocked on his room door, "It's me"

Tyrier lifted the wooden latch up and the door swung open and Hitsu entered and quickly closed the door behind him. "Wooo, it's hot outside." Hitsu removed his leather armor and sword belt, placing them on the room's table before pouring himself a drink.

"What did you find?" Tyrier peered out of the window and while placing his pistol on safe. The sky was a beautiful purplish red as evening slowly descended over the town.

"The whole town stinks, and I meant it literally," Hitsu finished the cup of water. "I bribed some of the town rats and cutthroats, but they tried to ambush me on my way back."

"You dealt with it?" Tyrier sat down on his bed.

"Yup, but we just lost some contacts from them," Hitsu fanned himself with his large brim hat. "But I did pick up some chatter at the local Adventurers Guild here. Seems that the Empire is offering a reward on the capture of the ex-Duke of Fallowfall."

"Oh, that is interesting," Tyrier got up and picked up his outer garments and started to get dressed. "Anything else?"

"Well, there are more jobs on the board for medical herbs than usual," Hitsu recalled, "Also, there are a few Empire contracts offering mercenary work for up to three months."

"What is the job scope?" Tyrier finished dressing up, looking like some well to do merchant.

"Mostly convoy escorting work, but the job's at the city of Woschester," Hitsu said, "I checked with the girl at the counter and she said it will take roughly three five-days by foot or two five-days by a land dragon."

"Anyone willing to sign up earns a deposit of 10 silvers and gets a gold crown at Woschester," Hitsu continued, "What the cargo is, the girl doesn't have any idea, but she suspects is probably military supplies. She said that the Imperials are building some kind of outpost south of here."

Tyrier nodded, "Got it, get some food and rest, I am heading down to the gentlemen's club to gather information."

"Got it, Boss!" Hitsu grinned as he leaned back on the chair and stretched, "Watch your back, the streets ain't so safe, especially at night! Damn, you get to have all the fun!"

"Rank has its privileges!" Tyrier gave a wink and left the room, making sure Hitsu latched and locked the door before heading down. He wore a finely tailored grey coat over a white spider silk shirt with high collars that were all the rage in Imperial fashion with a pair of black breeches and knee length boots. In his left hand, he held a sword cane topped with a piece of blue mana stone and his Glock was stored in a concealed shoulder holster while he held a top hat in his right hand.

He gave a greeting bow to the inn motherly matron who smiled back at him, and he left the inn, stepping out to the stone-paved streets of Falledge. The street lamps using glow moss gave out enough light to walk in the streets during the night, but Tyrier decided to call a carriage instead. As what Hitsu had complained earlier, the smell of the town was pretty bad. He gave a whistle to a coach parked at the side of the road and the driver quickly drove it over to him.

He climbed up on to enclosed coach and driver closed the door, "To the Clubs and Royals," He instructed the driver who nodded and climbed to the driver seat and snapped the reins of the dragon pulling the coach. The dragon gave an annoyed snort and leaned forward, its two powerful hind legs pushing off the pavement, pulling the coach forward with a slight jerk.

"Damn," Tyrier muttered, "I must be getting soft." He adjusted himself as the coach shook and rattle through the journey, making him think of the City of the hoomans. "Clean, no smell, smooth roads and bright." He watched the passing scenery of the Falledge through the small open window. Falledge might be called a town, but it grew almost twice its size since the war.

Many adventurers come to Falledge due to it bordering the Uncharted forest and it was also a staging area for the Empire forces, which they also brought along their families and slaves. It soon grew from a modest population of less than 10 thousand to over 20 thousand.

Soon the coach pulled to a stop in front of a large row of stone and brick buildings and Tyrier paid the driver. He straightened his coat and carefully stepped over a pile of dragon poo, and walked up towards the three-story tall brick building fenced in with an ornate gate. Two footmen dressed in a red uniform stood before the gates and gave Tyrier an eye over, before bowing and greeting him, opening the gate for him to enter.

Tyrier gave a nod and strolled carefreely into the walkway of the building. "Clubs and Royals Gentlemen's Club" was written in bold on a bronze plaque that was attached to a pillar on the side of the main door.

As he approached the door, a doorman greeted him politely and opened the door for him, welcoming him to the club. A warm glow greeted him as he entered the building, and the servant offered to take his coat for him, which he declined and the servant directed him towards the main hall. The hallway was richly decorated with paintings of war, and several monster trophies lined one side of the hallway. He walked past the trophies and paintings with just a simple glance before entering a large hall.

Inside the hall, dozens of reclining chairs were spaced out in groups of two or four, which small round tables set next to the chairs. Puffs of smoke erupted from several occupied chairs as the people smoked pipes and drank liquor. He scanned around the room before his eyes landed on a group chatting away, but he focused on the fat male in the group who was gorging away on a grilled wyvern leg.

"Hello my friend," Tyrier strolled straight to the fatty, who paused at eating the leg, and his greasy mouth broke into a wide smile as he recognized who it was.

"Tyrier Lodess!" The fatty put down the leg and wiped his hands and mouth while exclaiming in surprise and happiness, "As I live and breathe! How are you and what brings you here?"

"Etoro Arther," Tyrier grinned, giving the big man a hug, " I am fine, it has been years since we last met. How are you doing"

"Oh, its only been 1 year, two months and... four days since we last met each other," Etoro grinned. "I am doing quite well, as you can see!" He gestured his belly and laughed.

As usual, Tyrier was amazed by the mind of his fat friend, who seemed to have a memory unmatched by any other. "Yes, you are fatter than the last time I met you." Etoro had a round cheerful face with a double chin, beady eyes and a bald head, his tailored shirt was large enough to make a tent for two to sleep in.

Etoro laughed and slapped Tyrier's back and pulling him to join his friends, "This is Tyrier Lodess, he's a good friend of mine for many years, we used to work together in the army before it got disbanded."

"These are my partners in crime here," Etoro winked, and introduced the other three, "The skinny one is Lyo Yonder, next to him is Qoum Bishop, and that is Cesta Blackwind."

"The four of us form the North Star Trading company, a simple and modest trade company here," Etoro proudly declared. "Wait, how did you find me?"

"Well, I was just in town, and was looking around, and found out about you from the merchant district," Tyrier explained, he didn't really expect to find someone he knew before, and Etoro used to be his unit's quartermaster. "I found out that you like to hand out here, so here I am."

Etoro gestured to Tyrier to sit down, a new chair brought over by one of the servants, "Drink? Food?"

"I get a mulled wine," Tyrier told the servant on the side who nodded and went to fetch his order. "So how is business?"

"Not bad, not bad," Etoro said, "What are you doing now?"

"Oh, I working as an adventurer and problem solver now," Tyrier said, "You got a job for me?"

"Hmmm," Etoro glanced at his partners who looked back passively. "Maybe, but let's not talk about work here! Come, drink up!" Etoro picked up his glass of wine as the servant returned with a glass of mulled wine for Tyrier.

The night was spent with Etoro and Tyrier reminiscing about the past, exchanging funny stories during their time working together and before long, they bid farewell to each other. "Come and find me at my company tomorrow," Etoro winked and give his address to Tyrier who assured him he will and they left.

Returning to the inn, Hitsu opened the door and let Tyrier in, "How was it?"

"I am meeting him tomorrow to talk business at his office," Tyrier said as he stripped off his coat and boots. "Damn, I am tired."

"I will take the first watch," Hitsu said, while Tyrier nodded, and laid down on his bed to sleep.

The next morning, both of them had the inn deliver some water up for washing and refreshed themselves before having breakfast downstairs at the dining room. After a simple breakfast of bread, soup, and sausages, they headed separately to their own mission. Hitsu headed for the Adventurers Guild while Tyrier headed towards the address given by his friend Etoro.

Tyrier soon stood before a store with a large bustling warehouse in the merchant district where he went up to the storefront and spoke to the clerk inside. "Hi, I am here to meet with Mr. Arther, I have an appointment with him this morning."

"Please wait a moment... Sir?" The clerk looked at him in askance.

"Tyrier," He replied and went to take a look around the goods offered by the store, while the clerk headed upstairs to inform someone.

The double shelves were stacked with many different items, ranging from common household items like cutlery and plates to traveling supplies like crystal lamps and camping gear. There was even a section that offered to buy mana stones and monster materials.

"Sir Tyrier?" The clerk appeared at Tyrier's elbow, "The Master will see you now."

"Master?" Tyrier gave a small smile and followed the clerk upstairs and into a door where a large desk and chair strong enough to support Etoro's weight. The room was decorated with paintings of sailing ships and monsters, while a sofa and tea table occupied a place on the side.

"Good morning!" Etoro cheerfully greeted Tyrier and the clerk bowed respectfully and closed the door behind him, leaving Etoro and Tyrier alone. "Take a sit," He waved Tyrier to the sofa and joined him in the opposite side. "Tea?"

"Thank you," Tyrier said, as he settled down on the sofa and accepted a cup of tea from Etoro.

"So, what is your true purpose here?" Etoro asked while taking a sip of the hot tea. "You didn't just coincidentally appear here, did you?"

"Seriously, I didn't expect you to find you here," Tyrier gave a shrug, "But since I found you, and I do need your help on somethings."

"Like?" Etoro asked, "if it is within my means I will help you."

"I need information," Tyrier said. "And it must be discrete."

"What kind?" Etoro asked again, "I am not an information broker."

"Well, I am sure you will pick up something when you do trading with other people," Tyrier said, "Or you know someone who does."

"Well, that depends on the information you need," Etoro sipped his tea, "So what is it?"

"I want information on all Empire troop movements around this area."

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A note from neo Koh

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Enjoy, lately sick =(

 


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neo Koh

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