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   Chapter 1 Life's like a Wheel of a Merchant's Carriage

The Strongest Merchant By Cobyboy Characters: 16158

Updated: 2018-07-19 17:55


A lone boy could be seen running frantically in his attempt to escape the chasing mob of goblins.

The darkness of the dungeon heavily obstructed his vision; a few jagged rocks here and there made him trip over a few times as the distance between him and the group of goblins drew closer.

"This is ridiculous! Why is this happening all of a sudden... Damn it!"

He was indeed having a bad day—

In fact, one could say that he's having the worst life possible.

Accidentally entering a damnable, cursed cavern after escaping another perilous situation, the number of misfortunes that happened one after the other could not be counted by one hand, in his entire life, it had always been like this…

The boy could not help but sigh in disappointment. Somehow, everything that happens in his life, good or bad, would always turn into something that is for the "worse".

It isn't his first time being in an utterly bad situation. If he were to rate these "tragedies" that have happened in his lifetime, this just might even be his fourth "worst" one so far.

It says a bit more considering the fact that he was still 14 years old—

Living a tragic state of life at such an age, any person would bend over to anyone and anything just to be granted a chance for a new one; a much, much better one, at any and all cost.

---

A slave for the noble family, the Bernian's;

Jacob had been working on this household for over six years now. This was something that others might not consider as something "fortunate" to befall unto them, but for him at least—

He considered this as some sort of blessing, he isn't mistreated in any way possible, which was odd enough for him, but the fact that Mr. and Mrs. Bernian's daughter, Lisa, had been a friend of his; had been one of the things that made him happier about being a worker for this family.

Having the same age as she was, they became close friends; even though they were technically still within the boundaries of a slave-and-a-master relationship, which Jacob had been keeping in mind all this while.

But truly, this was indeed the much "better" part of his life.

The life of being a slave for this family could easily outshine the previous disastrous eight years of his existence.

---

Back when he was 8 years of age—

Jacob was left on his own devices when both his parents suddenly disappeared...

He had little to no memory of what had happened back then — as to what made his father and mother leave without bringing him along.

Ironically, he had a clear recollection of what happened 'after' he was abandoned;

And it seems like nothing good had happened ever since that day.

Not long after being left all alone, a tragedy befell on the village he was living in.

A neighboring city had suddenly attacked and plundered his home village, leaving nothing but scraps for what was left of the citizens within it.

More than half of the population were either killed or kidnapped— only to be sold as slaves.

It might have been some stroke of "luck" that Jacob had survived said tragedy, but it entailed an even greater consequence just by the fact that he was still somehow alive…

"See? This boy was spared because he's the son of those damnable spies!"

A villager, to whom the chief listened to, exclaimed in sheer ignorance.

It had been news, or more accurately, rumors; that the sudden disappearance of the couple within Rolfe's household, meant that they were involved with the sudden attack.

Jacob's parents were then blamed for the tragedy that had happened, accused of being spies for the city that attacked the village and had thrown them into a pitiful state.

He could barely understand the situation back then, but now that he thinks about it, the man might have been right all along.

Up until now, he did not know for sure as to why he was suddenly abandoned.

He was still too young at that time, barely able to even survive alone without supervision. It had been too much of a mercy if he was executed for something he had never committed.

The chief, that somehow survived the attack, chose to exile Jacob in an attempt to both show his "mercy" and "decisiveness" to do things, all at the same time.

One could say that being an outcast at such a young age would easily equate to him dying.

Jacob had easily proved them wrong.

At his young age, he survived by going towards the city that had attacked his "home" village, in a desperate attempt to search for his parents. In his young mind, it was the best thing to do at that time.

It was not an easy journey...

It might have been a fluke, or he could have just exhausted all of his "luck"—

But an 8-year-old boy had managed to reach somewhere without anyone's assistance.

---

Creia — Capital City of the Grand Empire.

Entering the city wasn't Jacob's objective at first.

But being a child and all, he was unsure as to what to do next; He followed a few familiar faces that he saw back in the village.

A seemingly lone child who's walking on the streets of a city unsupervised would easily mean "business".

He was captured and then sold together with the others as slaves, which includes those that were also held captives from the conquests of the Grand Empire. It seems that their village isn't the only one that had been attacked recently.

It was within that time that he had fatefully fallen into the hands of the Bernian Family; It was indeed a blessing amidst the wave of misfortune.

At his young age of eight, he was then taught the ways of being a slave to a noble family;

Although he was indeed somewhat new to being a worker, he had immediately grasped the basics of it, grabbing the attention of both the head of the family and his co-workers alike.

The hardworking 8-year-old wasn't only capable of doing things on the level of doing chores— he was also strong enough to do hard labor!

He may not have been the sharpest in terms of book-wise intelligence, which is a given fact considering that he may not have been educated at his age, but he could easily understand and do the instructions and orders issues ordered for him without fail.

He was both strong and smart.

This was the reason why the head of the Bernian family had always favored him; Even giving him the basic education at times when he was done with work.

This was the reason why Jacob had then been close with Lisa— the only daughter of the Bernian family.

Mr. and Mrs. Bernian was never against this friendship though. In fact, for them, it was for the better.

They were old enough to not hold any prejudice against people of the lower class, and it was already below them to think that greater riches would even matter at their age.

Their sons were now as successful as far as they could have dreamed them to be, it was now the right time to settle down and let their youngest one, their daughter, to have the part where they would not hold or drag her down against what would make her happy.

---

For six years, Jacob had faithfully served the Bernian Family.

But it was within one fateful day, that would change everything— the thing that would change Jacob's future, for the better, or for the worse?

"Isn't this good news for you two?"

Mrs. Bernian exclaimed with happiness after she announced that both Jacob and Lisa were to be sent to the Academia City of the Grand Empire.

"Truly it is, Madame. But, this… Providing me with a shelter and education for over six years, I have truly been grateful— But granting me this, would it not be too much? I am just a mere worker, after all..."

Jacob earnestly replied; For him, it would have been extravagant to be given a higher form of education especially when he's just a slave.

"Oh? Hmmm… you still call yourself a "worker"? For us, we have already considered you as part of this family, regardless of the circumstance, it would be better for you to have this opportunity be granted to you."

Mr. Bernian replied with a genuine smile on his face.

"Besi

des, it would make us feel better knowing that our daughter would be in your safe hands."

Mrs. Bernian added as she cheerfully laughed together with Mr. Bernian.

"It is fine Jacob, besides, we get to be together more often because of this."

Lisa, who's sitting beside Jacob, added as she cheekily smiled towards him.

"Then, I— I would gladly accept this opportunity as a gift from you. Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Bernian."

Jacob stuttered for a moment before decisively replying the moment Lisa proposed the idea.

It may have been because they were childhood friends, but being able to be with her and protect her at all times would make him feel better than not accepting this gracious "gift".

"Good, good! Then, the classes would start a month from now, the time you would need to travel to reach there would at least be a few weeks, it would be the best if you could travel as soon as possible, tomorrow perhaps?"

Mrs. Bernian happily replied as she added the details of the travel to the Academia;

"Hmmm…Although, I have enrolled you both in different classes.

Jacob— you're going to undertake the Knight Class Training;

As for our daughter Lisa— you would be undertaking the Magi Class Training.

I am not sure if you have any affinity with magic, but it would be a shame to not take advantage of your physical strength and not enroll you on the knight's school."

—Mr. Bernian added.

"It is indeed the right choice, Sire."

Jacob bowed deeply as they were then dispersed to prepare for the long journey ahead of them.

---

Southern Grass Plains— the path connecting Creia and a vassal city.

It had been over a week since they have started traveling. It had been a smooth sailing journey so far as they trod these plains with ease;

The sun was already setting when they have reached the end of the plains.

"We might not even need a month to reach the Academia city!"

The coachmen exclaimed as the speeding carriage made its way towards the end of the grassy plains. Brick roads could then be seen on the horizon as the carriage neared its destination.

"Eh? We are almost there?"

Jacob, as someone that had never been outside Creia, randomly commented as he saw the road ahead of them.

"No, silly. That's the road that connects these plains to the nearest industrial city from Creia, the City of Dantalian. From there, it would only take another week for us to reach the Academia, which would mean that it's not gonna take a month but only two weeks for us to reach there!"

Lisa cheekily smiled at the innocence of Jacob as she filled him in with the necessary information regarding where they were heading.

Jacob might have undergone schooling, but the world's geography had never been a subject of his interest.

Instead, He had shown the skills and prowess when it comes to handling finances;

He had been entrusted by the family to handle several business-related transactions that would most of the time require professionals and experts, yet Jacob had done so easily.

He wasn't just all brawns, he had the brains as well; On a certain aspect, that is.

The carriage sped on the brick road as it made its way towards the City of Dantalian…

---

The darkness settled as the only sound resounding within the streets were the hooves of the horses that were dragging the carriage.

Silently hiding behind the thicket beside the brick road, a group of cloaked strangers is waiting for there "prey" to step into the "trap".

It would have been too foolish to think that one might not encounter anything bad during a long travel—

Although one could say that tragedies and disasters are bit unavoidable, one could always prepare beforehand.

"There are at least 10 of them surrounding us..."

A prominent mage that came together with Jacob and Lisa informed them after she used her [Area Scanning] ability.

Thinly spreading the clumped mana on her hand towards the direction of the ground, she could easily "see" and count how enemies there are.

Aside from the mage, three private guards of the Bernian family escorted the two on this journey.

It could be said that Mr. and Mrs. Bernian was a bit too worried for them, proof that they might have overdone the whole "escorting" thing a bit too much, but perhaps, it's better safe than sorry.

But this time, the fact that the number of guards they have was easily outnumbered by how many there were on the side of the attackers, would easily mean that this is far from being "safe".

—It could not be described well enough on how this would easily end up in them being slaughtered.

Although Jacob could fight, he was still 14… Barely mature and strong enough to fend off a single adult fighter, even more so against 10 of them.

"What do you people want? Were just merely passing by—"

The coachmen tried to feign ignorance towards these people, he might have been used to common thieves here and there, but it seems like these people were most likely not just robbers; with their decent equipment, they could've been knights themselves.

Without uttering any reply, one of the cloaked strangers rushed behind the coachmen, as a dagger cleanly slit open his throat, killing him in an instant.

The people inside the carriage could barely make out the situation outside…

They could not carelessly go out now and just charge blindly against 10 people. It seems that there was no other option but to actually open the carriage door and run as fast as they could to escape, it may not be the best plan, but that was all they could think of to survive.

"We could fight against them!" Lisa quipped against the plan of just putting all their luck into running and escaping.

"No, miss Lisa, it would be too dangerous to do that... We're heavily outnumbered!"

"It would be best that we stay and fend them off while you two escape…"

"Jacob, please stay with miss Lisa and escape as fast as you could, don't get caught for our sakes."

The three knights immediately retorted against Lisa's proposal, as the only magi within the cart added, "I'd distract them as much as I can... Please, you two escape with your lives."

---

The door of the carriage slightly opened as thick fog emerged from the inside— the surrounding was immediately covered in thick mist as the visibility dropped to zero.

Grabbing Lisa's hand, Jacob blindly ran as fast as he could towards the opposite direction of the freight, he did not think too much about anything as he focused his gaze towards the direction he was heading.

A sudden jolt of pain could be felt on his back as he still tried his best to run as fast as he could…He tried ignoring it for the longest time possible as he felt that he was starting to lose his balance…

His eyesight started to get blurry… as he gradually lost his consciousness.

His body dropped face flat on the ground from being drugged out...

—In Lisa's hands was a dagger coated with a liquid concoction that causes [Paralysis].

"Oh, you're as ruthless as ever, milady"

One of the cloaked strangers approached Lisa as the mist settled… Nobody amongst the 4 escorts was hurt! All of them, including the 10 strangers… were all in cahoots with Lisa's plan.

"I am not that ruthless you know? I did not dare kill him." Lisa coldly replied as she instructed, "You. Dispose of his body, don't kill him. Let him survive and suffer for a little while."

Glancing towards the leader of the cloaked group, she added

"Send a letter to my dear parents about the "kidnapping". Hmmm as for the ransom, ask the totality of the inheritance, including those that are for my dear old brothers."

---

"He's good as dead already… Why do I even have to bother carrying it this far..." One of the Lisa's "workers" questioned the purpose for doing this as he struggled to drag the body further away from where they were.

Throwing the body away at the woodlands further east of the grass plains, the worker left Jacob with nothing but bloodied clothes and his dying breath…

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