Chapter 42: Surplus Experience

Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio  Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio

The bright moonlight shining from above seemed to have been imbued with a chill that seeped deep into their bones.

They were in the Oasis Lookout within the Nahrin Desert.

The fighting at dusk had been intense, and it ended with the total collapse of the Jackalan forces.

The stench of blood remained thick in the air.

It made the scene feel like a slaughterhouse.

After all, it was a battlefield where fevered combatants had gone for each other’s throats. Dead bodies were sprawled everywhere. Blood was in such abundance that it stained the sand beneath them red. The bodies belonged to beings who did not want to die. The yearning for life was still seen deep within their lifeless eyes.

None could have afforded to pull punches on that battlefield. None could have afforded mercy for the enemy.

Only victors were qualified to savor the brutality of a battle and be sorrowful over it. Losers deserved only to be buried and reduced to specks of dust in history.

Kant knew that very well.

If he had been on the losing side in that battlefield, not even the bodies left sprawling on the ground would have ended up being buried.

Jackalans were not averse to the notion of eating human flesh. To the members of that primitive race, fine, juicy human dead bodies were, to an extent, considered a delicacy to them.

Jackalans and humans were totally different races at the most fundamental levels.

“Winner takes all. Losers can shove it.”

Kant quietly muttered to himself. He had little to mourn over regarding that intense battle.

He did not mind seeing more Jackalans dead. On the contrary, he felt pity for all the Swadian troops who perished in that battle. It meant that his military force suffered a huge loss.

The leader of the trade caravan did the accounting and made a report of the casualties:

100 Swadian Peasants. 58 dead, 42 remained

30 Swadian Recruits. 24 dead, six remained

35 Swadian Militias. 16 dead, 19 remained

The loss was crushing.

Kant’s forces had suffered a devastating blow in the battle.

It was bound to take quite a while for his forces to recover.

Kant frowned hard when he saw the report.

He took a deep breath to calm the intense frustration he felt deep down. He bitterly said, “The cost of 92 dead is steep.”

It was actually more than steep.

More than half of his zero-level troop class was lost.

His first- and second-level troop classes were almost gone.

It was a crushing blow that would significantly slow the development of Drondheim.

After losing so many troops, Kant was not going to be able to organize an effective defense.

After losing so many peasants, he was also unable to further develop his village.

“Count your blessings, I guess.”

Kant sighed. He still felt grateful for the bright sight of things.

Although he had suffered huge losses, he had the system. It allowed him to recover some parts of the loss.

[Ding… The enemy has been totally crushed after a bloody battle.]

[Side Quest: Persistence in Adversity is complete.]

[Reward Acquired: Denar x 1,000, Reputation x 500, Honor x 1]

[Introduction: Your bravery served to keep your forces going on the brutal battlefield. As a result, they were able to hold on to their beliefs and crush the brutal, merciless enemy forces in staggering numbers.]

Kant’s reward was issued by the system through the dialog box.

However, a new dialog box appeared before the one he was reading disappeared.

[Ding… You have acquired a proud victory due to having a battle in which you had been severely outnumbered.]

[Evaluation Acquired: Epic Victory]

[Acquired Reputation x 100]

[Acquired Honor x 1]

That was the evaluation of the battle given by the system.

The result was astonishing.

Epic Victory?

Kant clenched his fists as his heart raced.

It was quite a lovely surprise for him.

It was especially so because he had acquired two Honor. While he suffered considerable losses on the battlefield, have those two points for the prize draw in the mall allowed him to recover all of his losses. If he were really lucky, he could become even richer than that.

After all, Kant had acquired the sacred Intimidation banner through prize drawings.

Suddenly, a dialog box from the system appeared yet again.

It was a dialog box regarding troop classes.

[Ding… Your forces have upgradable units.]

The battle was over.

After the intense battle, his troops were finally able to continue getting upgraded. They could become troop classes with greater combat capacity.

“Open up the troop class page.”

He felt rather heavy deep down and took a deep breath.

His upcoming actions greatly affected the strength of his forces.

The dialog box from the system immediately opened, and the list was packed full of options.

[Upgradable Troop Class: Swadian Peasants x 42]

[Spend 10 Denars each to upgrade to Swadian Recruit]

[Ding… You have surplus experience. Your forces can be upgraded consecutively.]

[Upgradable Troop Class: Swadian Recruits x 6]

[Spend 20 Denars each to upgrade to Swadian Militia]

[Ding… You have surplus experience. Your forces can be upgraded consecutively.]

[Upgradable Troop Class: Swadian Militias x 19]

[Spend 30 Denars each to upgrade to Swadian Footman/Swadian Skirmisher]

[Ding… You have surplus experience. Your forces can be upgraded consecutively.]

[Upgradable Troop Class: Desert Bandits x 17]

[Spend 25 Denars each to upgrade to Elite Desert Bandit]

[Ding… You have surplus experience. Your forces can be upgraded consecutively.]

Things happened as Kant had expected.

After securing an Epic Victory in that battle, every single unit that lived managed to get upgraded.

There was even surplus experience to be had.

According to the system, they were able to be upgraded to further levels.

All of that served as a testament to how much Kant gained from that one battle. Bagging a decisive victory fighting 2,000 invading Jackalans had been incredibly difficult.

One mistake could have led to them all ending up dead on the battlefield.

Kant gulped.

He browsed the troop class page. “Well, the number of Denars required for upgrades seems rather steep.”

According to the available upgrades for his current forces, it required spending 1,367 Denars to get the upgrades.

Worse still, that expenditure excluded further upgrades after that.

Kant had no idea just how much surplus experience would have been left after upgrading them.

Then again, he would not have had to worry about it in the first place.

At the moment, the 1,367 Denars was a huge sum to Kant.

He had acquired 500 Denars after selling the dates.

He had spent 30 Denars recruiting one Desert Bandit.

He next acquired 1,000 Denars by completing the Persistence in Adversity quest.

With that added together, Kant currently had 1,470 Denars to spare.

If he upgraded all of his remaining units in one go, Kant would be broke. It would have created a situation like how it had been before where he could not afford to pay the upkeep for his forces in the following week. It was bound to put him in a very awkward position.

There was no way he was able to proceed in that way.

“This is really a headache.”

He pinched at his brow hard. He had just secured a victory, yet he felt jaded all over.

It felt as if all of his strength had been sucked out of his body.

As he was thinking about what to do next, he heard hurried footsteps from behind.

Captain Rowan, who had been fighting alongside the retainer knights before, approached Kant. He was also soaked in blood. He lowered his head and said with a rather complicated expression, “My Lord, Sir Hobson and Scholar Hank wish to speak with you.”

“Yeah, noted.” Kant nodded.

Regardless of feelings, Kant was a baron, so Rowan’s tone was polite and lacked the slightest bit of impatience in it.

The presence of both Hobson and Hank was a testament to Kant’s nobility. As a mere captain of the knights, Rowan’s status made it such that he was unthinkable to offend Kant.

Kant quickly went to the Council Hall, where the retainer knights were regrouping and tidying themselves up.

When they were charging at the Jackalans and dealing them a crushing blow, there had been many among those brave retainer knights who ended up injured. There had even been several among them who died during the battle.

Kant went up and asked in a rather serious tone, “How are the casualties, Sir Hobson?”

“Six were gravely injured, and seven are dead,” Sir Hobson replied.

Kant’s frown became even more pronounced as he apologized. “I’m sorry for getting you all in this mess, Sir Hobson.”

It was indeed him who got them in that mess.

If it had not been for Kant, those retainer knights would not have had needed to come to the Oasis Lookout and fight that many Jackalans in the first place.

“It is the destiny of knights to die with glory on the battlefield.”

Sir Hobson shook his head and took a deep breath. He said, “It’s a more memorable way to go dying in battle than to die of old age yet having accomplished nothing after all.”

He paused for a bit before turning around to look at Kant. His tone became rather secretive when he said, “It is indeed our mission to help solve your problems when we’re out here. That was the other mission of ours, one that no one briefed us about or said out loud.”

“I don’t quite understand.” Kant frowned.

“You are part of the duke’s bloodline.”

Scholar Hank walked out of the Council Hall with his cane and said, “I never believed for a second that someone of my status would have warranted an escort consisting of 50 retainer knights of the castle for protection, or that the expedition was little more than a common survey.”

“I’m truly sorry.” Sir Hobson had nothing to offer the scholar but an apology.

“Don’t be. I was able to guess what was going on.” Scholar Hank smiled after shaking his head. In a lethargic tone, he said, “That’s how it is with you nobles, and that’s why I don’t like mingling with you people.”

Both men knew that there was no need for more words after that.

Kant frowned, recalling his high-born, convenient father—Duke Cameron.

“So, it’s because of you,” the scholar muttered to himself.

Now that thing had been put in such a manner, everything made sense.

“Baron Kant.” Scholar Hank interrupted Kant’s thoughts.

“What is it, Master Hank?” Kant came to his senses again.

The scholar said, “The Jackalans have suffered a crushing blow. If everything goes well, they won’t be attacking this place again for a very long time. As such, I’m preparing to leave this place.”

“Leave?” Kant was slightly baffled.

“Yes, I’m thinking of leaving.”

Scholar Hank felt rather overwhelmed when he gazed at the faraway dunes. He shook his head and said, “The lost city is but a myth. I thought that Duke Cameron had been moved by my findings and finally decided to back my expedition. Come to think of it now, it was reckless to judge that the legends were true from nothing more than a single line in some book.”

“Well…” Kant opened his mouth but quickly found himself tongue-tied.

Scholar Hank shook his head and wore a bitter smile. “I’m thinking of heading back. I can consider the expedition to have fulfilled my dreams.” He sighed and quipped, “The lost city is but a myth after all.”

It was a renowned legend in the Dukedom of Leo. Countless people throughout history had searched for it before.

If there had indeed been clues out there, said clues would have probably long been found.

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