Chapter 337: Complete acceptance
Even in front of the uncommonly tall mountain people, Han Shuo’s stature of over 190 centimeters exuded a natural deterrence that made him stand out like a crane among a flock of chickens when he walked out of the house. Practicing demonic magic had also given him an evil aura, making him even more attractive.
Smiling lightly as he approached, Han Shuo took out plate after plate of gleaming, roasted shiny golden meat from his space ring and placed them onto the table in front of everyone.
“Ladies and gentlemen, these are some very rare meats from distant lands that I’ve taken pains to hunt and prepare. Would you like to have a taste?” Pulling all the dishes out, Han Shuo smiled as he invited everyone to try a piece.
Jack was pulled to the other side by Dorcas to discuss military budgets. But when he smelled the mouthwatering fragrance of roasted meat, something he hadn’t tasted in so long, his belly couldn’t control its desire for good food. Jack quickly threw off the pestering Dorcas and came running over.
Dorcas was a fanatic with a fiery thirst for war. His only interest was slowly polishing his training methods to create an even more powerful, explosive force out of the soldiers under his command.
Therefore, Dorcas became especially interested in Little Fatty Jack, since he was in charge of the budget. Dorcas used all the tricks at his disposal to pry more and more money for equipment out of Jack. To be sure, Jack was a little scared at first, but after a while grew used to Dorcas. Now, he gave as good as he got in those little discussions with Dorcas, leaving him with just what was required.
“You little brat, heh.” Han Shuo shook his head when he saw Jack quickly run over, then spoke to the five mountain chiefs in a relaxed manner, “No worries, everyone hurry up and try some, these things aren’t delicacies you’d find normally.”
Even Fulkin, who was the only one among the mountain chiefs who knew Han Shuo, felt some fear and trepidation when he saw that the latter wasn’t aloof and lofty as they’d imagined. He actually became even more cautious.
Jack was most familiar with Han Shuo since he’d been Han Shuo’s only friend over the years. Therefore, he wasn’t as polite as others. He used a fork to stab into a large piece of fragrant, tender meat, and chomped down on it. As he chewed, he let out a surprised exclamation of praise, “Mmmm, so tasty, what is this meat? It’s really so fragrant!”
“This is a Manticore’s forelimb, tastes good, doesn’t it?” Han Shuo answered, with a smile. He pointed to the dishes one by one as he introduced them, “This one here is the tail of a Deepwater Venom Python, it’s the most chewy. That dish over there is the brain of a Harpy, you have to try to know how it tastes. And this is……”
Let alone the five mountain chiefs, even Faulke, Dorcas, and the others grew wide-eyed and openmouthed with astonishment as Han Shuo’s introduction went on. They couldn’t understand how the meat in front of them could possibly come from high ranked magic creatures like those described. Hunting magic creatures of that rank would require a team of experienced, skilled adventurers. If any ordinary person attempted to do so, they would only face death.
“Furthermore, there are no such creatures around Brettel City. Where on earth did he go to hunt? Ohh, these creatures are not something an ordinary person could hunt, the city lord really is an incredible freak!”
No one needed to look at each other to know that everyone present was feeling the same, gracing Han Shuo with a strange look.
“What!? This is the forelimb of a Manticore!?” Jack jumped in fright, the fork in his hand still holding a large piece of jiggling meat. He’d heard once that a single swipe from a Manticore could tear a person in half. He couldn’t help but cry out when he linked that image to the lovely piece of meat he was chewing on.
“Indeed, how does it taste?” Han Shuo laughed out loud, staring at Jack.
“The taste is no problem, but when I imagine the scene of the Manticore tearing up people and the ground using its front claws, I’m still scared!” Jack had some lingering fear, his eyes rolling as he looked over at the delicious dish. He seemed to want to eat, but couldn’t overcome the pressure in his heart.
Han Shuo glanced at the others and discovered their odd expressions. He let out a laugh, amused, “What, can it be that you guys don’t dare to eat? Hehe, I hunted these specifically to serve you, are you not giving me face?”
Dorcas silently walked towards the Harpy dish under Han Shuo’s watchful eyes. He forked a large piece of charred, black meat and swallowed it with a heavy expression.
“What’s the big deal, humph!” To Han Shuo’s surprise, Delia snorted, pouting as she picked up her knife and fork to start on the Deepwater Venom Python. She chose a piece of short rib with some cartilage in it, chewing it carefully.
As she chewed that morsel, Delia’s brows began to relax. She began to excitedly waver her cutlery, cutting a bigger piece. As she chewed, she praised, “It tastes really good!”
“Heh heh, the Deepwater Venom Python is extremely poisonous, even I don’t know if I’ve prepared it properly. Big trouble could come my way if by chance something had gone wrong!, Han Shuo’s lips curled as he muttered to himself, looking at Delia chew voraciously with her small mouth.
Delia had thrown her image to the wind as she ate heartily. Her small ears happened to catch Han Shuo’s mumbling. Her lively actions immediately froze stiff. Her delicate red cheeks paling, she stared at Han Shuo and her voice trembled, “What did you say?”
“Nothing, hehe! The Deepwater Venom Python is extremely poisonous. If I hadn’t prepared it properly, you probably wouldn’t be conscious by now” A loud laugh escaped Han Shuo as he explained it.
“Damn it! You even scared me!” Delia glared ferociously at Han Shuo but didn’t pursue the matter. She focused all of her attention on the Deepwater Venom Python dish.
The other four mountain chiefs as well as Faulke, Dick, and Chester had reacted by now, particularly little fatty Jack, who took off with an entire plate.
These rare dishes were originally hard to even catch a glimpse of, let alone savor like this. Yet, Han Shuo had brought forth quite a large amount of these delicacies. However, there were more than enough people present. With the mountain people’s famously large appetite, Delia was afraid that the others would wipe out the remaining dishes while she wasted time talking. Therefore, she no longer paid attention to Han Shuo and instead rejoined the tussle over the food.
The six dishes were spotless after some time, the maniacs having cleaned off the entire table. Some even held onto their forks, as if they hadn’t gotten enough. On one hand, the food was delicious beyond belief, causing them to eat quickly. But the rare ingredients were also delicacies in their own right, which was an additional incentive to devour the food.
When the servants hired by Han Shuo set up the food that the chefs had diligently cooked, the guests felt them to be dull and bland. They now despised the ordinary food.
Their palates satiated after food and drink, the bunch followed Han Shuo to the meeting chamber, leaving the mess for the servants to clean up.
Unlike the antisocial image that the five mountain chiefs had expected, Han Shuo always maintained a smile, occasionally cracking jokes. Everyone was now a bit less cautious and more warm when they sat down now. The exotic food had undoubtedly played a large role in this newfound relaxation.
Han Shuo sat in the center, as befitting his position. He smiled and glanced at the five mountain chiefs. Seeing them settle down properly one by one with careful smiles, he nodded and said, “Don’t be nervous. I’ve invited you here to discuss a matter of mutual benefit. You are all people from Brettel City. Maybe the former city lord couldn’t hold your trust, so you gradually severed your connections with the city.”
“This time, his Majesty has bestowed Brettel City to me, and I will not let the city bear the brunt of the raids from the seven grand duchies and other bandit groups. Not only Brettel City, but the five mines of your group will be protected as well. From now on I hope that we can join forces and develop the city.”
“Your Lordship, I believe you can bring peace to Brettel City. I, the chief of Mount Tali, am willing to be at Your Lordship’s disposal. I know that you will not treat us poorly.” Fulkin had already made his decision. He knew that Han Shuo alone could severely disable Mount Tali. Seeing the impressive array of defenses that Brettel City boasted had simply solidified his decision.
Han Shuo had already expected Fulkin’s goodwill. When he heard these words, he said with a smile, “Many thanks to you, Fulkin. When Faulke faced the threat of the bandits last time, your Mount Tali had lent a helping hand. This lord has remembered this in my heart.”
“Your Lordship is too polite. I held the former city lord in disdain because he ignored his own citizens. However you are completely different from him. As an original member of Brettel City, this is the least I should do. Not to mention since Your Lordship helped us break the siege against Mount Tali last time, Troda will never come back to disturb us again.” Fulkin was very sensible. Since he had decided to cooperate with Han Shuo, he spared no effort in forming a better relationship.
Seeing Fulkin make his stand, the other four mountain chiefs couldn’t help but look at each other. They knew in their hearts that this newly appointed city lord excelled in all aspects. Their only concern was that Han Shuo would take over their mines. This was the reason why they weren’t ready to compromise.
The mines were their main source of income and also the basis for their survival. According to what Han Shuo had said, everything around Brettel City belonged to the city lord, did that not mean their mines also belonged to him?
Han Shuo slightly smiled, he looked at the four mountain chiefs and said, “You four, are you willing to support me?”
Their four hearts jumped when his words resounded. The three young mountain chiefs didn’t speak and focused their gaze on the oldest, Adleman. Adleman was silent for a while, then bit the bullet and spoke respectfully to Han Shuo, “Your Lordship, we are your people. We certainly want Brettel City to develop, but we do not know how we could be of help to Your Lordship. We hope that you will clarify this for us.”
Han Shuo smiled, nodding his head, “Since you already admit to be citizens of Brettel, this is easy enough to handle. To be honest, Brettel City currently isn’t lacking anything except manpower. The merchants deliver a steady stream of materials, I also have enough gold coins to support the city’s operation. The only problem that can’t be solved immediately is the lack of population.”
“I know that there are thirty to forty thousand people around the mines on your mountains. Miners excluded, that total includes a large portion of elderly, women and children. Their living conditions near the five mines are far from ideal. They also only left Brettel due to the incompetence of the former city lord. Truth be told, they did so because Brettel wasn’t secure. But now that Brettel City is very safe, if you five are willing to, let them come down from the mountain. There are a lot of vacant houses in the city and living conditions are much better for them. What do you think?”
Adleman was moved listening to Han Shuo’s words. He knew in his heart that it was indeed difficult to live in the mountains. Except for the variety of ores from the five mines, the trees were sparse, the wildlife had long been hunted almost to extinction, and water needed to be hauled from the foot of the mountain.
The miners worked day and night in the mountains just to exchange for some food transported by the merchants. The mountain people lived in the caves all year round without seeing sunlight in order to prevent raids from the bandits. If not for wanting to ensure their own lives, who would want to live like a savage on the mountain?
Adleman was genuinely touched to see Han Shuo first think of the pitiful mountain people’s well-being. He suddenly kowtowed towards Han Shuo, speaking in a thick voice as tears spilled without end from his eyes, “I thank the city lord for your good intentions on behalf of all the mountain people. I won’t say any more unnecessary words. As long as Your Lordship can guarantee they will not lack for food and clothing, and give them a stable living environment, even if Your Lordship wishes us to hand over the mines, I will do so without a word.”
“Elder, please rise. They are also my people, giving them a good living environment is what I should do. The five mines are the basis for your survival, and from now on they are still under your control. There is only one thing, even though we have a lot of siege equipment, there isn’t enough manpower to operate them. Once the official army of the seven grand duchies invade, I’m afraid that with just three thousand city guards, we won’t be able to control the situation even with our prodigious equipment.”
“My only request of you is that you join us when facing common enemies and help stop them. We will provide the siege weaponry. As long as we have enough manpower on the city wall, the seven grand duchies can never even dream of breaking our defenses. Are you all willing to work alongside me, fighting for the safety of Brettel City and her people?”
There were no longer any rifts when they’d spoken to this point. Adleman had worked hard all his life to resist the constant plundering of the seven grand duchies and bandit troops, trying to provide the mountain people with a better life.
Han Shuo’s approach didn’t conflict with his ideals. Adleman no longer held any traces of hesitation towards Han Shuo’s proposal. He immediately shouted at the three young mountain chiefs, “You three little babies, why are you not with me thanking his Lordship for his grace?”
The three young people also no longer held any doubts at this point. Even Fulkin, who’d previously expressed his allegiance, bent one knee to Han Shuo. Each made a vow that they would use their everything to defend the safety of Brettel City.
Helping each of the mountain chiefs to their feet, Han Shuo said with a smile, “The last time I went to Mount Tali, I saw that your equipment wasn’t of the best quality. The bandits left behind tens of thousands of equipment this time. They would occupy too much warehouse space in Brettel City. Why don’t you take them and equip yourself?”
The mountain people were hard at work mining ores for many years to trade them all for food and daily necessities, maintaining the basic livelihood of their elderly and children. They simply couldn’t spare gold coins for weapons and armor. Some people only had rough iron bars of inferior materials to use.
Hearing this, the five mountain chiefs remembered the three thousand shiny armored city guards holding sharp, cold glinted weapons on their way here. They were red in the face with embarrassment when they compared that memory to their own shabbily dressed subordinates.
“Many thanks to My Lord, many thanks to My Lord!” Fulkin was first to react, once again falling down on his knees.
As Fulkin willingingly paid obeisance, the other four mountain chiefs did the same with complete willingness. Each were full of excitement and admiration as their eyes looked at Han Shuo, increasingly convinced.
“Haha, everyone please stand up. This is just the beginning. I think with gradual development, the future of Brettel will bloom for the better!” Han Shuo once again lifted the five mountain chiefs up, chuckling merrily.
“Wuuu, there goes hundreds of thousands of gold coins.” Only Jack, the finance minister, was sighing painfully. However, his cry didn’t garner any attention amidst the joyful cheering of the crowd.