Raising his head to look at the greenish-grey tower, only to see Academy Head Levins standing at the balcony, Lorist put his hand to his chest gave a deep bow to him before turning and leaving.

The day before, Lorist received the academy head’s letter that asked him to go to the academy head’s office.

When Lorist entered the room, Academy Head Levins behaved politely and courteously towards him. Kknown that Lorist was about to return to his homeland to inherit the dominion, the academy head wished him good fortune and expressed his hopes that Lorist would one day become a great leader. After that, he told Lorist that the academy had a bunch of old equipment that were gathering dust which he could buy should he need them for the journey.

Thanking the academy head, Lorist removed the Dual Gold ranked instructor badge and placed it on the table. Given that he didn’t know how long it would take for him to return to Morante City once again, Lorist said that he would forever remember the ten years worth of good times he spent at the Dawn Academy.

Holding the badge in his hand for quite a while, the academy head gave it back to Lorist and said, “Keep it as a memento. And don’t even get started about your resignation. You are our academy’s pride and legend. At the very least, you can be the honorary instructor of our academy. The Dawn Academy welcomes your return whenever.”

After saying his farewells to Academy Head Levins, Lorist went to the armory where the training equipment for the knight and swordsmanship courses were kept. Even the training swords used by Lorist’s students had to be obtained from the armory before the classes start.

The supervisor of the armory, Kurzim, was expecting Lorist’s arrival. After greeting him, he brought Lorist to one of the warehouses which was packed full with various equipment.

“In here is a total of 320 training cavalry spears which will work perfectly well like a normal spear after installing the speartip. There’s also 700 training swords which is usable after some sharpening. Aside from those, there are 500 diamond-shaped training shields, 150 crossbows as well as 24 full body knight armors and 220 plate armors used by heavy-armored troops. Oh, and there are also 82 sets of cavalry armor suitable for scouts,” said Kurzim.

Lorist was quite delighted and surprised as all of the items were mostly new and weren’t in need of any maintenance. Two days ago before Charade brought Potterfang to Port Nupite, he reported that there were no issues when he purchased provisions and horse carriages, but it wasn’t the case when it came to weapons and equipment. First, the price was rather high. Secondly, most of them were not complete. While they were able to get quite a number of longswords and greatswords, they weren’t able to get good armors as most of the protective equipment in the market were leather armors which were usually favored by mercenaries. Metal armors were low in supply and each set cost quite a sum as well. Additionally, there wasn’t enough time to order some to be made. Now that Lorist had been given access to the academy’s armory, this problem was essentially solved.

“Uncle Kurzim, why does our academy have so many sets of plate armor? I recall that our academy doesn’t train any heavy-armored swordsmen. Also, what’s with those cavalry armors? I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Lorist.

“Hehe, Locke, have you forgotten that our academy has merged with the Yellow Ribbon Academy? These plate armors originally belonged to them. Due to the exceedingly few applicants for the heavy-armored swordsman course, the academy had it cancelled, rendering these equipment useless. They wanted to sell it off at first, but the academy head said that you might have some use for it,” explained the old supervisor.

Lorist laughed out shyly as he had totally forgotten that the Yellow Ribbon Academy mainly offered training courses for armed guards as well as supervisors. It wouldn’t be weird for them to have some plate armor.

“As for these cavalry armor……” Kurzim stroked his chin and tried to refresh his memory. “It seems that these were the result of a failed experiment and they have been in the warehouse for more than ten years. But the condition is definitely brand new as they have been well-maintained over the years.”

“A failed experiment?”

“That’s right, it must have been fifteen years already. At that time, there was a book published about the knight occupation that raised a lot of controversy. The author boldly claimed that the end of heavy-armored knights was coming and that cavalry in the future would be quick, agile and be able to employ hit-and-run tactics from far away, unlike the current fashion of battle which involves two armies charging straight on into each other. The author used the scout as an example. In one of the battles he described, a scout cavalry unit was able to totally dominate the battlefield and far exceed heavy-armored troops in both speed and performance. The author then posed a thought-provoking question: should an army unit be composed entirely of light cavalry that primarily employs hit-and-run harassment tactics on heavy-armored knights, who would win?

“Back then, the arguments between the knight training course instructors about that topic were really heated. The academy administration also got interested in the theory and believed that if they could realize the concepts described by that book, the whole occupation of the knight would change forever and thus grabbed the opportunity to begin research into lightweight cavalry troops. A research budget was then allocated to a professor that specialized in protective equipment to come out with a new type of armor suitable for lightweight cavalry. The original plan was to have 150 sets manufactured for a cavalry company to be formed to carry out the first test drill. However, the Battle of Mount Blanco happened and the 30000 mighty lightweight cavalry troops of the Khawistan Khanate were totally decimated by the Lormo Duchy’s heavy-armored knights with only less than 4000 of them surviving. As a result, the book was regarded as a huge joke and the academy also stopped the production of the armors midway, leaving the completed ones here ever since,” explained Kurzim.

“Oh, so that was the case,” said Lorist as he opened the box and took out a set of lightweight cavalry armor. Upon inspecting it, Lorist got a rough idea about it.

The heavy-armored knights that were so popular in armies donned chain mails before wearing full body plate armors and had extremely good defense. Lorist has also heard from Instructor Marlin once that the city garrison scouts were basically issued a chain mail and a leather armor to wear over it, and the scouts of the different nations on the Grindia Continent were no different.

But the lightweight cavalry armor Lorist held in his hand was an amalgamation of a plate armor and a chain mail. The chest and shoulder parts were protected by the breastplate and pauldrons while the arms and lower torso were covered by chain mail. One advantage of this combination was that its defense was superior to the common armors worn by scouts and lighter than the full body armors knights usually wore. The one drawback was that the design was not practical as it was inferior to full-plate armor in terms of defense and another layer of chain mail couldn’t be worn with it because it would increase the load borne by the wearer by too much. It’s no wonder nobody had found a use for it for the past 10 years. However, Lorist didn’t mind it and believed that the armor was indeed quite suited for scouting troops.

“Alright, I’ll take all of these, Uncle Kurzim. How much would all of these be?” Lorist asked.

Kurzim was momentarily stunned and exclaimed, “You’re buying them all?! The academy head was prepared to auction them if you didn’t want any, but it seems that he was worried for nothing after all. This will save me a lot of trouble from having too. Wait for a bit, let me give you a figure.

“The grand total for 320 training spears, 700 training swords, 300 training shields, 150 training crossbows, 24 knight training plate armors and 82 lightweight cavalry armors is 3836 gold coins. I’ve already given you a great discount for the lightweight armors at 10 gold coins each; they cost about 30 gold coins each to make back then.” Kurzim’s arithmetic ability was quite good given the speed at which he got the total cost.

“Oh, that’s right. Uncle Kurzim, can I have the equipment maintenance facility fix up these items for me? I want the training spears to have the speartips installed, the swords sharpened, the shields coated with a layer of stainless steel and all the armors be engraved with the insignia of my family. I will pay for the extra cost,” said Lorist thankfully. The price offered by Kurzim was already a third of what it would normally cost according to market price.

“Of course. The academy equipment maintainers have nothing better to do anyway and are either gambling or drinking away during the semester break. I’m sure they would be happy to be able to earn some extra cash,” said Kurzim as he smiled.

“That’s great. I’ll bring someone over in the afternoon who knows how the insignia is made. I’ll also be giving the maintainers a bonus when they complete the work. Also, can I settle the bill 3 days later?” asked Lorist.

“Of course, Locke,” said Kurzim, nodding.

…….

Sol, that fatty only left me with 3000 gold Fordes to buy the equipment and weapons we need. The 300-odd weapons and several tens of armors have already cost me about 1000 gold coins.. I guess I have no choice but to sell of that building I just got to be able to afford the costs, thought Lorist as he grit his teeth at the thought of having been forced by the fatty to have no choice but to inherit the position of the dominion lord.

That afternoon, Lorist brought Shadekampf to the academy armory and briefed him about the engraving the insignia on the equipment before heading to the Red Grace Inn to see Els. After a while of waiting, Els showed up and was surprised to hear that Lorist was about to sell off his newly-acquired building and asked him why.

Lorist then told him about the situation and Els asked him to wait before running off somewhere. He returned later with a small box in hand that contained 50 gold coin notes worth 5000 gold Fordes in total.

“Brother, this is the entirety of my savings and about half of them came from the betting pool you helped out with. I know you wouldn’t accept my money for nothing, so let’s consider it a loan with that building as the mortgage. Write up a contract that states that you will transfer the ownership of the building to me should you be unable to pay me back 10 years later. Aside from that, the yearly rent from that building that amounts to 70-odd gold coins will be my interest for the loan. How’s that?”

“Alright, we’ll do it your way. Els, thank you. You’ve really saved me big time,” said Lorist thankfully.

Els sighed and said, “There’s no problem. After all, I don’t have anywhere else to spend my money anyway. If I did not have so many attachments over here, I would’ve loved to follow you to the Northlands, especially after seeing that damned fatty show off in front of me.”

He was referring to Charade who came over to the inn two days ago with Potterfang and 10 other senior students of the academy who were willing to join the expedition to throw a welcoming party. When Els arrived, Charade told him this, “From today onward, you shall refer to me as ‘Honorable Knight’ because I’m now a noble and you’re just a commoner. You shall show me respect,” which, needless to say, enraged Els to the max.

—————————————————————–

After bidding Els goodbye, Lorist rushed back to the Dawn Academy and settled the bill with Supervisor Kurzim as he was afraid that the maintenance of the equipment would somehow be flawed if he really paid them three days later.

Kurzim laughed and said, “And there I thought that you didn’t have enough money on hand. It seems that you really need these equipment quite urgently.”

Lorist gave a bitter laugh and said, “Uncle Kurzim, you should know that the trip to the north won’t be a peaceful one. Charade intends to form an army to escort the convoy back to the Northlands. It is a huge help for the academy to be able to sell me these equipment.”

Kurzim gave it some thought before saying, “Then, come with me. There are still two storehouses that I think you should see. Maybe they’ll be quite useful to you as well.”

He brought Lorist to two stone rooms that was situated behind the warehouse and opened the door to one of them. Lorist was greeted with a whole pile of scattered equipment that was about half a person tall.

Kurzim said, “This is where we store all the broken equipment that are deemed too much of a hassle to repair. We only clean this place up once every few years. Some of them gets recycled while others go to the incinerator. I believe there should be something that you can use here. For example, look at this spear blade here. You can use it as the sharp tip of a javelin. If you need anything from here, Locke, feel free to take it. It’s all free. Just tip the maintainers a bit and they’ll be happy to fix them up for you.”

Lorist was exhilarated and he took Kurzim’s hand and shook it fervently. “Thank you, thank you. Uncle Kurzim, you have truly helped me out immensely.”

Kurzim laughed loudly and said, “Don’t shake so hard! This set of old bones won’t be able to handle the stress! Here, this is the key for the rooms so that you can have somebody come sort it out later.’

……

After having dinner, Lorist asked Terman and Yuriy to go into his study and told them about the storehouses in the armory.

Terman was excited to hear that. So far, there were 38 senior students of the academy who were willing to join the expedition to the Northlands and Charade and Potterfang brought 20 of them to Port Nupite some days back. He suggested that Yuriy, who was planning to bring a few others to the Khawistan Plains to purchase some war horses, to leave a few people behind to go sort out the usable items in the storehouses.

Charade had also given Yuriy 3000 gold Fordes before he left to buy 200 war horses. But the price of one horse in Morante City was at least 30 gold coins. That was why Yuriy planned to go back to his homeland with a few others to purchase the horses from the breeders directly instead of letting the darned horse merchants profit.

Lorist was against Yuriy bringing lesser people as he would be gone for at least a month. It was safer to go in a larger group just in case something were to happen. He said that he can just hire ten students from the academy part time to clean up the storehouses and mentioned that he would go monitor them personally from time to time since he wasn’t going to leave the academy anytime soon.

……

After sorting out the items in the storehouse for three days, Terman sent someone to ask Lorist to come over.

Lorist could see that the pile was cleaned up halfway and expected that the sorting process could be completed within 3 more days. The equipment that Terman deemed still usable piled up rather high.

Seeing Lorist inspect the items, Terman said a little reservedly, “Milord, this pile contains the things that seems usable after the first sorting. I think that after going through it again, only about a third of this will actually be useful. The reason I asked milord to come over today was because we discovered a few ballistas within the pile that’s still in perfect condition. I really don’t know why it had been put in here. I wonder if we can take this along with us as it will no doubt be incredibly useful during the journey.”

It was only after being told that Lorist noticed the 12 ballistas arranged neatly in a row at a corner. Other than lacking a bowstring, the rest of the parts were in good condition, especially the bowstave, which was made of some unknown type of wood coated with a glossy shine. This type of weapon was usually installed on war chariots for ranged support. It was weird how they were left in the storehouse for broken equipment.

Lorist asked for Supervisor Kurzim and after looking at the ballistas for a few moments, he flipped the beastskin book in his hand and said, “Ah, it’s here.”

According to him, these 12 ballistas were designed and constructed by a crafting professor and his students for the use of the city garrison. However, even though they were of good quality, they required too many people to operate. Each one needed one man for aiming and firing, one for driving the chariot and another to load the ballista. That was why they were left in the storehouse with the other retired equipment.

Kurzim said, “You can take them if you want. There’s even a label on the ballistas that says ‘defunct’. Though, you’ll have to string them up yourself.”

Both Lorist and Terman were extremely delighted. With the 12 ballistas, the armed convoy would have yet another method at their disposal.





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