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Chapter 26 - The Milk Bandits!



Merlin's next stop was the nearby butcher. The butcher's place was in much better condition compared to the tailors, but it was still rickety, it was just that part of the village.

As Merlin entered the butcher's store, his eyes locked on the NPC who ran the store, a tall woman with large biceps. She was pacing around behind the counter while biting her thumb, too engrossed in her own thoughts that she didn't even notice Merlin enter the store.

It wasn't until Merlin walked up to the counter that she stopped pacing, turning to face him.

"Oh, I'm sorry, I was lost in thought." Her voice was soft and panicked, and she never stopped biting her thumb, even while talking. "I'm sorry, but I haven't got anything to sell today, I haven't received a shipment from the farms in a few days, and I sold the last few scraps of leftovers yesterday."

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that." Merlin spoke with a tone that sounded like he was being sincere. "I actually dropped by because I've got a fair bit of wild hare meat on hand after doing Old Man Louvel a favour, would you be interested in taking it off my hands?"

The butcher's face lit up, once again Merlin was abusing his prior knowledge to skip segments of dialogue, but he ended up with the same quest regardless.

"I'll buy enough to fill up my stock at market price, two copper each. Deal?" The butcher gave her request, and like clockwork a quest notification appeared before Merlin.

┌───────────────────

[Common Quest]

Rahel's Emergency Supply.

Rahel's supplier is currently unable to provide the products she needs to operate her business. Some meat from wild hares found south of the village would work perfectly as a temporary substitute, she is willing to buy thirty pieces at market price, two copper pieces each.

Rabbit meat: 37/30

• Reward: 100 EXP, 6 Silver

└───────────────────

Merlin accepted the request, exchanging his rabbit meat for six silver. He also sold the extra seven rabbit meat for a single copper each. Merlin's total wealth came to six silver and eighteen copper, or seventy-eight copper pieces total if it was all converted to copper.

This was comprised of the remaining nine copper pieces from the ten copper he started with, one of those copper pieces was used to buy the beef skewers used to feed Fluffernutter. He had found two copper on the corpses of the goblins, and now he earned seven more copper by selling the chicken and six silver from the quest.

"Thank you, this will keep my business afloat for a little while longer." The butcher thanked Merlin, before making another request of him. "Could I ask you to visit the farms and find out why they're not able to complete the orders?"

┌───────────────────

[Common Quest]

Where the cows at?

Rahel's supplier hasn't been able to supply her any products as of late. Figure out the reason why.

Speak with Oswin.


• Reward: 70 EXP

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Merlin accepted the quest. The farmlands were on the southern side of the village, so he had to walk to the opposite side of the village once more. Merlin gave his farewells to Rahel before leaving the store.

Stepping back out onto the street, Merlin noticed a few more players had started traversing this part of the village, most of which had probably been given help from their friends, such as getting told where some quests are.

Merlin made his way back to the southern side of the village, walking past the barracks once more. As he peered in, the crowd had dissipated, and some players were already sparring against the recruits.

Merlin sat in the lead, but it was only a matter of time before they started catching up, especially because they'd be playing in groups already, which would turn into parties and then guilds later in the game. Whereas Merlin was a solo player for the foreseeable future, although he wouldn't be against teaming up with Typhoeus or Snowbunny.

Merlin made his way over to the farm area on the more south-eastern side of the village, his surroundings slowly changed from tightly packed buildings to large fields of wheat, corn and a variety of other crops. Merlin eventually reached a few buildings, a large barn, a few storage silos and a farm house.

Merlin walked towards the farm house, but as he passed by the barn, he noticed a man working inside, throwing around a hay bale with one hand while carrying a bucket of water with the other. It seemed as though he was working on the farm all by himself, filling up the troughs and providing food to all the animals currently stored in the barn.

"Excuse me sir." Merlin yelled out to the man as he approached. The farmer wiped the sweat from his brow as he turned to face Merlin.

"What can I do for ya?" The man responded, he sounded rather fatigued, and his complexion was sickly. It seemed he hadn't gotten enough sleep in the past few days.

"Are you Oswin by any chance?" Merlin probed, he already knew it was Oswin, but this was the proper order of things.

"Yeah, that's me, what do you need?"

"I'm here on a request from Rahel, she's curious as to why she hasn't had any orders come through lately." Merlin spoke out once more, "If I had to guess, based on the fact you look exhausted, and that there isn't a single animal in the perfectly good pens outside, yet the pens indoors have been overcrowded. I'd say a large chunk of your livestock have been poached in the last couple days. Is this correct?"

"Impressive, you hit the nail on the head. I've lost a majority of my herd, just found a couple dead the other day." Oswin looked distraught, "Tell Rahel I'm sorry, there's no way I can provide her with meat at the moment."

"Do you have any idea as to where these poachers are now?" Merlin asked.

"Yeah, as a matter of fact. I saw some footprints out back, they're headin' in the direction of the forest." As Oswin spoke these words, a quest window appeared before Merlin.

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[Common Quest]

Find the filthy cow thieves!

The Oswin's farm has been having issues with his livestock being stolen. Sets of footsteps have been located at the back of Oswin's farm leading into the forest. See where they lead and report back.

Follow the poacher's trail.


• Reward: 50 EXP

└───────────────────

Merlin accepted the quest, Oswin lead him to the back of his farm and pointed out where the footprints started. Merlin began tracking the footsteps as he walked across the open field for a few moments before reaching the forest edge. The soil of the forest was much softer than the plains, so the trail was more obvious to follow.

The trail lead more towards the east than the south, Merlin could see a rocky cliff face through the gaps in the trees. As Merlin approached closer, a small clearing opened up, Merlin could see a large cave dug into the rocky wall, and standing on either side of the cave were two goblins armed with crude looking spears.

「You have completed the quest, "Find the filthy cow thieves!", talk to Oswin to receive your rewards.」

This was the end of the trail, Merlin knew that the next part of the chain quest would lead him right back here and into the cave. It served as a mini dungeon, comprised entirely of goblins. This was typically the first dungeon players in the beta would experience.

It would also serve as good practice in working in a party, as goblins in their own habitats had an extremely powerful advantage. An advantage that typically took somewhat competent teamwork to beat, although it seemed Merlin would have to attempt it solo, at least for now.

Merlin stealthily made his way out of the forest and back to Oswin's farm, where he spoke with Oswin once more.

"Goblins huh, and a whole pack of 'em?" Oswin looked surprised, "I think this is a job for the General and his squad."

┌───────────────────

[Common Quest]

Vanquish the milk bandits!

Speak with General Perakeles about the problems occurring on Oswin's farm, and the goblin nest you located south-east from the village. Have him dispatch some combatants to clean up the goblin threat.

Speak with General Perakeles.

• Reward: 50 EXP

└───────────────────

Yet another quest, this quest-line was an easy supply of early game experience, the only problem was that the goblin cave was a very dangerous area for unskilled players, and merely challenging if you were competent with an equally competent team.

Merlin waved Oswin goodbye before running off towards the barracks. As Merlin ran west through the village, he could see the fields in the distance. There was a large group of players all trying to hunt down the wild hares, they weren't spawning fast enough to satisfy the group.

Merlin was glad he grabbed all the materials he needed when he did, fighting for mob drops against such a large greedy group was stressful and inefficient.

Merlin finally arrived at the front door of the barracks once more.

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