"If ya walked by or just passed by, don't miss out! Legend knight fights a dark antiholy knight elf. Gold female elf 1 to 15 odds, Legend holy knight 2 to 1 odds, a draw 1 to 3 odds. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You'd better hurry if you want in!"
I casually grabbed the empty account book from the counter and quickly wrote the betting odds and waved them around.
"Oh yeah! Do you guys want to take part? I, Karo, am an old hand. I can guarantee there's no age discrimination."
The companions of the duelists always cheered on their own teammates, but when I cried the betting odds at the clergymen, they instantly become oddly quiet on the spot.
"...Aren't bar duels really common?"
I was a little astonished, but when I followed everyone's averted gazes, I saw that the aggravated holy knights all wore angry expressions on their faces. Some of them were unsheathing their swords, and I immediately came to the sudden realization.
Alright. So although betting on bar fights was normal, it wasn't common to see Epic and Gold ranks at Rhino Bar, a rural area. It didn't matter for newbies to fight and old hands to make commotion and bet on the fight. It really was quite "unrestrained" for so high and mighty "big characters" after another to duel.
In some sense, those knights and priests were considered royalty. They were completely two unrelated things from commoner-level mercenaries.
"Which one? I'll share 450 with you guys? Don't be pissed. Alright, alright! For real though, I'm just joking."
It seemed that it was hard to do business here. I shook my head and shrugged, then ran back to the adventurers who were still eating breakfast.
But this time, my bets actually sold well. One by one, duplicate bets were quickly sold out.
As expected, most people supported the Legend holy knight. After all, their difference in strength was very obvious as one ranked higher than the other. What was more, the holy knight's weapon was obviously not a mortal object. When the difference in strength was slim, this was an important bargaining chip to make the final decision. With those two factors combined, it was only natural for the majority to look highly upon the well-prepared White Behemoth leader of the knights.
"Looks like if the holy knight wins, I can go bankrupt this time. Had I known this, I wouldn't have started betting."
In that moment, my face was filled with agony, as though I was worried to lose too devastatingly this time round.
"Don't even think about regretting it. You cheater, you should have bankrupted ages ago. Karo, this time you better not even think about not paying up. We'll be watching you."
"Come. 100 gold pieces on the holy knight. Ha! Karo, you brat, I'll be waiting to see you cry."
"If we're betting, I'm putting my money on the female elf. Karo, you brat, have you ever lost?"
Of course, there were some really sly guys, but this didn't affect the bigger picture. For the gold pieces, the majority chose the strongest side, so even if they won, their takings would be very little.
As this gamble involved divine clergymen, their status had already made sure that this wasn't a long-thought-out scam. Soon enough, the bets reached over two thousand.
"Hurry up and fight."
"We're waiting for you guys. What are you staring at? Is this dog fighting? If you're weak, then run home to mama for milk."
The crude mercenaries didn't care about some big shots who came from the Capital. When those mercenaries waved their betting tickets and started hollering, it was that familiar dog fighting time again.
It if were any ordinary Legend fighter, these kind of circumstances wouldn't be normal, and there wouldn't really be a duel. What they should actually do was to firstly take out these douchebag mercenaries, then show them what the sanctity of a Legend fighter really was.
But in that very moment, White, the leader of the knights, didn't have anywhere to retreat to. His focus was his own opponent from start to end; he didn't sway nor hesitate at all.
He represented the sanctity of his church, and issued a challenge with his own name. That was the resolution he possessed from the very beginning despite the humiliation of challenging a lower-ranked knight to a duel.
"I'd say that this is worth about 2500 gold pieces as a bet on my side's female elf?"
Other people didn't react as the goblin, Thor, quickly threw out a silver piece into the air, forming a silver arc as it fell upon my hand.
With one touch, I noticed that it was actually an ancient great demon's voodoo mithril. Following the great demons' return, this antique and ancient currency made of precious metals was rarely seen on the market, nor was it cheap.
And this kind of voodoo mithril was very special; a fair amount of mages even collected these to research the voodoo magic hidden within. Its value on the market rose exponentially. The current value was more or less the amount he just reported, but if one were to throw it to the Mage Country, they should be able to get twice the value for it.
"As expected, goblins won't miss out on any opportunity to make money."
As I collected the mithril piece, I looked happy on the surface, but deep down inside, I was cursing him. This prick was deliberately trying to f*ck me, wasn't he? If his side won, wouldn't I lose out big time?
But I couldn't refuse the bet; after all, on the surface, I supported the middle-aged uncle with the full beard. In that moment, if I didn't happily accept the bet, then wouldn't I be showing my cards?
And so, I grew even more hesitant... One shouldn't misunderstand—it was not because I was afraid of losing money. I certainly didn't always win my bets because I have good luck in gambling; in contrast, my luck has never been good.
"I'm only able to win every bet because I cheat every time. Although I could also cheat now, if I let that idiot holy knight and their church win, that might just piss me off even more than losing money."
Originally, I could have also taunted those guys of Napous' church of justice and commandment to get them to bet even more and make up for my losses. However, having considered their God's concept of "discipline" and that gambling was an absolutely forbidden act, my head hurt a little.
"Then, let's postpone the duel and start the backup plan. Harloys, move the plan ahead of schedule."
"...Can't you be a little more serious? Didn't you say that we'll start tomorrow?"
"Isn't what we're doing now serious business? If we wait till tomorrow, who's to say there won't be a new victim? The safety of innocent civilians is the most important thing, and we are duty bound to eradicate followers of the dark cult! What's more, how ridiculously long do you think it will take them to find out the truth with their investigative skills? My warm-hearted nature even makes me emotional."
"Hmph! I can't be bothered to argue with you. Be careful not to screw it up..."
As both parties of the impending fight continued to stare angrily, they had no idea that their duel was doomed to end in nothing.
Soon enough, behind the mountain of the little town, a sudden explosion erupted because of the carelessness of foreign adventurers. The explosion caused a small-scale landslide, which exposed the secret behind the mountain of the little town—the boneyard of Winlair the demon dragon.
That dark disciple from the Death Council was deeply hidden. In fact, for the past few days, even I couldn't find his whereabouts. It was highly possible that he wasn't even staying in the nearby town. Considering that they were special undead creatures, he could even be buried within the cemetery, waiting for explorers to leave. No matter the external appearance or indications of life, he would look like a corpse. If the hidden agent had enough patience, there was just no way of finding them.
But I was different from those other newbies; I was a mature and well-trained investigator who wouldn't scatter everywhere like headless chickens. That would only alert the enemy. I just collected intel and analyzed possible scenarios of the case. Amongst the many investigative strategies, it might seem old-school to guess the killer's next target by their characteristics, but this method was indeed practical.
"Since we know it's someone from the Death Council, that actually makes things easier. The Death Council only had two objectives in this world; one, to open the gate through to the death plane and call upon the dead spirits and Undead Calamity to spread death; two, to create even more and even stronger undead creatures to expand their undead army for their master.
The first objective could be immediately written off. Even if the elemental tide rose endlessly in today's generation, there weren't just one or two requirements needed to open the gate. Using all the townspeople for a blood sacrifice wouldn't even be enough, and this place wasn't a stable, empty space to connect to the plane. It simply wasn't fit to open the gate to the death plane.
Then it could only be the second objective. To create a large and powerful army of undead creatures, they required enough living and strong corpses. And, there were always clues that could be followed here.
What was left was simple; open the mayor's archive and read through all kinds of historical documents and legends. Then, eliminate the meaningless and inapplicable items to come out with the only possible answer.
We only found out about a heroic dragonslayer's over three hundred year old feat from a locally spread song for heroes. The story was so old that it was absolutely unoriginal. Several adventurers got an order from some leader to kill the evil dragon that kidnapped the leader's precious daughter. In the end, the adventurers chose to live in this land. One of the pike-wielding heroes was Anton, the origin of the town's name, and the other two heroes' names were also passed onto two other towns.
After she found out about the dragon slayer's feat, Harloys, who had the nickname of "Living Library" among other nicknames, went to research the local historical books. By comparing the names, she found out which unlucky dragon was killed here.
"Demon dragon Winlair—that's an elven name. It was said that he once lived with the elves for some time. Mhm, although he was a green dragon, the mortal enemy of the elves, he and the elves had a great relationship. He even had two elven wives, which was simply odd. What's even more odd was that he was a wind poison green dragon who specialized in fire magic, and he even invented several exclusive types of fire magic."
Countless facts proved that the truth behind the legend was definitely a load of bull. The people's songs about Epic heroes were mostly unreliable, but this time, having seen the difference between factual records and legends, I was still left a little unable to understand it all.
"Tri-attribute ancient dragon? Invention of exclusive magic? At least a top-class master, then. With an opponent like that, even a semigod couldn't defeat him, and yet three heroes who hadn't even made it to the state history books defeated him? If we're looking at the the successful battle records, the heroes might not even be ranked Epic."
We definitely didn't underestimate this demon dragon based on this record. First off, he had a seven to eight hundred year history of hanging out with elves, so he was definitely an ancient dragon. Secondly, besides possessing wind type and poison type magic, he even trained in fire magic, the best magic for warfare and slaughter. He was definitely a frightening slaughter machine in war.
For the time being, I wouldn't get into what happened back in the old days in the town. Since I know that this powerful demon dragon died here, the Death Council's objective became very clear. So, as an ultra-qualified undead mage, I had countless techniques to find the regrets of powerful creatures. With just an hour's time, I found the dragon bones buried underground behind the mountain of the town.
The fierce explosion caused the earth to tremble, and put the wooden structure of the entire bar to an immense test. Soon enough, the dragon bones uncovered with the blast automatically lured the Death Council's disciples to take the bait. Naturally, there was no way that the guys here would be able to duel anymore.
I'd still planned to wait a day while collecting a little more reliable intel. However, beginning since this sudden turn of events, my plan was pushed forward. Mhm, I was simply hot-blooded and wanted to help out. It definitely wasn't because I wasn't willing to lose my money in that gamble I set up!
However, sensing that the entire ground was still shaking, and the wine glasses on the table had been smashed to pieces, it seemed like they overdid it. This amount of force was a little too excessive.
"Harloys, how many did you bury? You overdid it…"
"I have two pieces of news; one's good, and the other's bad..."
"Just spit it out. Besides, there's nowhere to go."
"The good news is that our plan succeeded, and I've already found those Death Council disciples. They sent people to keep watch of this place, and are in a hurry to find comrades for help."
"Is the bad news that you didn't catch him?"
"No, the bad news is that the Death Council have bitten off more than they could chew. There's no way to summon the dragon with its bones. Their plan was doomed to fail from the start."
"Isn't that good news?"
"Of course it's bad news. The reason why they can't summon the dragon with its bones is because those weren't dragon bones. Buried under the mountain was a crazy, pissed off dragon lich, and we just blew up his home!" 5 Best Chinese Romance Books of 2018 So Far