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117 Don’t Come Near Me!

 As the carriages of Angora and the party rode through Tunaya City, Vela was quite confused as she looked at the empty streets through the windows.

"Isn't Tunaya one of the greatest cities in the north? Why does it look so shabby? Why aren't there any people, it's like a ghost town..."

"Because winter this year came earlier, so a lot of the citizens of Tunaya hadn't had the time to prepare before the blizzard came. Now, they can only wait out winter at home until the sowing season comes around. The situation is even worse for those citizens that got their homes destroyed by the blizzard and have to stay in refugee camps or in temporarily built huts, and it would be hard for them to not get frozen into ice sticks, lest come out to wander on the streets. In the entire frost season, probably about a thousand people are going to die..."

Even though he spent this winter in the Unnamed Town, he was still born and raised in Tunaya, so he guessed the reason why the city was in such a bad state quite easily. "Tunaya...No, not just Tunaya, but almost every city in Valla would meet with this sort of situation every couple of years. The God of Blizzards is an evil deity to the Valla Empire, and only a bunch of barbarians and monsters would worship it, so it's only natural that this country isn't blessed by it."

'But aren't the streets too shabby, still? I don't think they can even compare to our town..."

Vela was still quite confused.

"Hey Vela, I think you have some sort of wrong idea about our town! Not to brag, but there isn't a single town or city that can be compared with our town, nor even the Imperial Capital or the Holy City!" Angora said proudly. "Not every deity is as good as the God of Games, and not every believer of those churches would be able to become strong and develop so easily like the players do."

"But there were so many people at the gates...We even had to get in line..." Vela was still having a hard time processing the situation, because she was only a young lady from a small village after all.

"Those are all merchants." Once he said this sentence, Angora stopped smiling too, and his expression looked as if he was talking about a bug that he despised. "Even though winter is about to blow over, but many of the reserves of food and water of the citizens are almost about to run out, so this is the hardest time for them. In this period of time, those merchants would be able to obtain strong young men and pretty young women that would have been hard to procure in peaceful times with a few morsels of food.

'You, you're saying..." Vela thought over his words for a moment, before her good looking brows furrowed slightly.

"Slavery. Other than wartime, these are the best times to obtain slaves at a cheap price for those merchants." Angora confirmed Vela's guesses. "And not the types that are thin and frail with unknown sicknesses at that, but high-grade slaves that are healthy and strong!"

"Doesn't the royal family have anything to say about this? What about those people from the Brilliant White Church?"

Vela was completely taken off guard by this revelation.

"The owner of the largest slave market in the Valla Empire is the eldest prince himself, and more than half of these slave merchants serve nobles, so why would they? To restrict the nobles from joining in on this sort of thing is the greatest mercy that my weak father can do for the citizens." Angora replied. "As for the Brilliant White Church...Do you know that those laborers that clean the monasteries and sweep leaves are slaves too? The people from the Brilliant Church love nothing more than to get free slaves from the slave market using their position in the church. The most ironic thing about this is that those slaves are so thankful to them that they act on any orders and aren't given any pay until every drop of blood, sweat, and tears are squeezed out from them!"

Upon hearing this, Vela felt as if her entire world view was shaken.

The darkest matters in society that this young lady met with in her entire life were nothing more than tax officers levying more taxes, or how many of the young and middle-aged men in town were forcibly recruited to fight against revenants. After Angora brought the faith of the God of Games to the town, life had improved more and more every day, so she never knew that the situation could be so bad in these large cities.

At this moment, she felt that it was definitely better to live a free and fulfilling life in the small town than becoming a resident of the big city that looked glamorous from the outside, but was corrupted where the sunlight doesn't shine.

At the same time, she was even more grateful for the blessings of the God of Games and His protection of the town, turning the once dangerous town into a paradise for players like here.

Meanwhile, Xi Wei who was plotting on future events tilted his spherical body in confusion as another believer of his became a devout believer. He was sure he hadn't done anything other than create a class that would cause trouble for the players lately...

Leaving aside Vela who was currently having a sudden epiphany, the carriage finally arrived at the Silver Eagle Castle after crossing the frozen surface of the Arabe River.

Angora was extremely surprised that his father was waiting outside the castle with him with his servants, and this greatly touched Angora who had become even more mature and had developed a heart of steel.

"Father!" He quickly jumped out of the carriage and stepped over, anticipating a touching father-son reunion.

Before he could say anything more, Horan Faust looked at him with a dumbfounded expression. "Angora, why are you back?"

Angora: ???

'Hey, weren't you the one that called me back here?!'

In a split second, Angora squeezed his touched tears that were threatening to fall a mere second ago back into his tear ducts, and started thinking whether this was a ploy by Miller and the mastermind to lead him into a trap like an eight-season-Victorian-political-fantasy soap drama.

Before Angora could choose between explaining to his father and turning around and leaving immediately, Horan came back to his senses. "No, son, I was just surprised that you came back so early! Didn't I tell you to come back during the sowing festival? Yes, how glad I am to see you arrive safely!"

Angora looked at him dubiously before his gaze flitted over the servants behind his father, all of which smiled at him professionally.

Did he really think too much? Wait, but who was it they were waiting for, if not him?

The next moment, Angora was given the answer to his question.

An extremely familiar-looking coach tugged by chocobos stopped in front of the Silver Eagle Castle.

The coachman jumped down from the coach with his chest puffed in pride, and was about to open the door to the coach with a stuck up expression before seeing Joe who was on the carriage nearby.

Joe jiggled his chest at him a single time.

Immediately, the coachman remembered the fear of Joe's chest being held to his face, and the humiliation of having to let them go in front of them...

"Don't come near me!!!!"