The capital city of the Lioness Kingdom, Lionarch.
Aside from being the royal household being located here, this coastal city was also the trading center of the Britannia island due to being close to other factions south.
Due to its prime location, the city had a fairly dense population, with lots of different goods traded in and out of Brittania.
Located on top of a hill, Emery could see the majestic stone royal palace, which housed the royal family and safeguarded its city from any foreign invaders outside of Brittania as well as inland.
The Lioness had also established this place as their main base of military operations, hence, the security of the merchants including the roads leading to this city was well guarded with soldiers.
As the three travelers from Mistshire settlement passed the large gate that could fit two carts on both sides, they were welcomed by the hundreds of houses and dozens of shops along the main road, heading toward the city center plaza where the marketplace was located.
Emery couldn\'t help but notice that the place seemed more crowded from the last time he had gone here.
It was actually due to the arrival of the winter season because some settlements nearby still hadn\'t been fully developed, thus not having the appropriate clothing or tools to survive the upcoming harsh nights.
He adjusted his face coverings and cloak to make sure no one would be able to recognize him.
Although he knew his face wasn\'t that much known to the public, the nasty noble boys he had used to play with might probably be here, especially that Abe Fantumar since his father was the right hand of the king.
Jacob led the way but instead of going straight to the marketplace, he turned the cart to the side and got in line along with other carts from other settlements where there was a two-storey warehouse guarded by many royal soldiers.
The other people\'s carts couldn\'t compare on how full theirs were.
Okay, we\'re next! Come on, boys.
Help me get these carts up, said Jacob, pulling the cart in front of the steward who had a ledger sitting on a table.
Lanzo helped Jacob, while Emery still pulled his own cart by himself.
After parking it before the steward, the steward asked, Location
Mistshire, honorable steward, replied Jacob.
Mistshire...where is Mistsshire...ahh, here it is, so what do you have said the steward, writing some stuff with his quill and ink.
Jacob bowed and said, Of course, honorable steward.
This season\'s harvests are…
The steward then started listing the items one by one as Jacob gave how much they weigh.
You have brought so much more than you used to.
Excellent work, said the steward as if it was rehearsed.
Yes, honorable steward.
I hope you are pleased, said Jaboc, bowing multiple times.
Please, these fur clothings are the best out of the other settlements.
Our produce as well is the freshest and the tastiest! You wouldn\'t find one as good in the market! said Jacob before quickly winking at Emery.
Dear kind and honorable steward.
We would appreciate it most for the wonderful price you would give us.
Yeah, yeah... said the steward.
His men then came over and finished the weighing.
They whispered something as he continued listing the weights.
He pulled out a bag of coins underneath his desk and started counting.
After he finished counting, he separated about a third of the coins and said, Okay, 300 coins for the whole lot.
100 coins are to be given to the royal coffers as your settlement\'s tribute.
100! That\'s more than half of what we paid tribute last year for less produce! exclaimed Jacob.
The steward sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose.
This is required by the King\'s right-hand, Lord Fantumar.
If you have any issues, bring it to him.
We are only doing what we are ordered.
I—thank you for your generosity, honorable steward. It was Jacob\'s turn to sigh.
His shoulders slumped as he bowed weakly before grabbing the bag of coins and leaving a smaller bag from his waist.
Jacob then tied the larger bag on him with a thick rope and returned to Emery and Lanzo.
What happened, elder Jacob asked Emery, glancing at the steward who had a smirk while writing.
That greedy bastard gave us only about 300 coins! Everything we had in the cart should have been at least 500 coins! But he gave some bull** reason about taxes ordered by a lord named Fantumar.
I\'m hoping that Odin would burn him to ashes! answered Jacob, feeling the coins on his waist.
Then what was the other bag you gave Emery followed up with another question.
Must you really ask If we didn\'t give him that, who knows how much he will give us next season!
The two youngsters pulled the carts while Jacob once again led the way.
Emery looked at the sides and realized there were a lot of merchant stalls selling direct to the public down the street.
He could hear some customers haggling fiercely with the merchants because of absurd prices, but the merchants said something along the lines of new taxes, etc.
Despite the prices being high, the street they passed by was still crowded with buyers.
Elder, have you not considered opening a stall in the city asked Emery.
We can\'t afford such things.
In order to open a stall here, we will have to pay an even higher tribute with more taxes.
A small settlement like ours couldn\'t afford to even rent one much less buying a space here, explained Jacob.
Then what about selling outside the walls
The city forbids anyone selling without a permit and outside the city walls.
They would seize all a person\'s belongings and be thrown into the dungeon if you get caught.
We can\'t even directly sell to the merchants in the marketplace because that\'s also against the kingdom\'s law.
So, we\'re left with only selling it at the kingdom\'s warehouse.
Jacob continued grumbling as they walked inside the city, looking for a place to stay, after parking their carts near a stable.
He shared to Emery and Lanzo how he was becoming more and more disappointed at the Lioness Kingdom which he believed had become corrupt by raising such high taxes.
Damn, I need something to quench my dried throat.
Let\'s go to the inn, we will rest there for the night and return to Mistshire at first light.
Here, take these since both of you are part of Mistshire and helped me deliver the merchandise. Jacob gave Emery and Lanzo five coins each.
He then walked away, still grumbling to himself.
Emery stared at the five coins and was about to say something when Lanzo touched Emery\'s shoulders before shaking his head.
Lanzo said, Leave him be.
It\'s always like this every season.
Old Jacob just needs his drink and after that, he will be better again.
Emery gripped the coins in his hand tighter.
He actually wasn\'t thinking about the coins he and Lanzo received, rather, what would be left after Jacob spends the coins.
The coins belonged to all of the citizens in Mistshire.
Anyway, like Lanzo had mentioned, Emery let it go and started to walk with Lanzo on the streets of Lionarch.
As they strolled around, looking for the shops he wanted to go to, Emery reflected about the coins he had just received.
He was the son of Geoffrey Ambrose, a person who had once belonged in the noble ranks, albeit being the lowest ranking.
Back then Emery generally walked with dozens of coins in his pocket, but it seemed like he truly was fortunate, because before he didn\'t have to do anything and the peasants would give them their seasonal tribute to their family\'s steward.
He hadn\'t considered how much labor a person had done for a whole season just to receive something he had thought as measly coins before.
This got him into thinking more about it when Lanzo suddenly invaded his thoughts.
Hey, what are you thinking about Don\'t be gloomy, anything in particular you want to visit said Lanzo.