The Card Apprentice Chapter 302
Translator:Nyoi-Bo StudioEditor:Nyoi-Bo Studio
The brazen card artisans’ faces had all turned dark, and their hair and clothes were smoking as they lay stunned on the ground. Everything was quiet in the large hall, with the rest of the card artisans’ gazes at the team looking completely different than before. Those who had just been catcalling along with the brazen ones had all turned white.
The youth swallowed hard, looking at Chen Mu in awe. That talented fellow, who was just about his same age, was actually the leader of that team.
Bogner’s eyes glinted with an unusual look. He normally had the impression that his boss was low-key. Although he knew his boss had killed Zu Ning with his own hands, he hadn’t seen it with his own eyes. The hot look the boss suddenly showed that day had rather surprised Bogner. Xi Ping, Sue Lochiro, and Ru Qiu were also looking at Chen Mu in disbelief.
On the other hand, Lu Xiaoru didn’t feel a thing. She had suffered at Chen Mu’s hands and knew the boss was just in the habit of staying normally low-key. Those guys were no different than local gangsters, after all! But she couldn’t help but feel for them, seeing their expressions under Chen Mu’s glare.
Chen Mu hadn’t been in touch with that many high-level people. He understood the struggles of the lower ranks better. When he had been a street punk in his childhood, he had only understood one principle: If you went to some strange place to beg for food, the more you cowered, the more you would be pushed around. But if you rolled up your sleeves and fought with the bums from that placeas long as you displayed enough toughness even though your fists might not be hard enougheveryone would be in awe of you even if you were defeated in the end. Bums and ruffians were like that. So were card artisans!
It was as though Chen Mu had realized something.
The card artisans were indeed intimidated. Lu Xiaoru and the others were perfectly powerful. Moreover, they were completely in sync. Along with their more than ten remaining comrades, if the power of a single person was that good, and their team matched their tacit synchronization, then they were what those card artisans least wanted to run into.
They completely ignored the several hundred other people. In that place, such mid-level card artisans weren’t worth looking at. That was even truer of the non-combatant personnel. But a puzzled look was flashing through quite of few of their eyes.
There were a few more than 20 battle personnel, plus 300 rookies and more than 100 non-combatants. That sort of deployment was really strange and a little bit unreasonable. As they saw it, there were only 20 of them who would be any use in a battle.
The team had only 20 battle personnel to carry more than 300 pieces of rookie, mid-level card artisan cannon fodder, plus a few hundred non-combatants, plus the transport shuttles. If that wasn’t looking for death, then what was? Even if those 20 card artisans were utterly awesome, that much power was nothing when facing a large team.
And, there was just one old hand leading the team! It was inconceivable that such a team configuration could actually get to the Regal Base. To reach the base from outside was very difficult; if you didn’t have enough power, you couldn’t reach it at all. So, the only possibility was that there were some super aces among them.
The card artisans watching looked at one another, keeping their expressions as usual, though their gazes showed a flash of alertness and caution. The card artisans who had been interested in the team were thinking it over. Even to be able to lead a team there, they would certainly have to be an uncommon power. They couldn’t afford to provoke such people.
But when their gazes passed over Chen Mu and the rest, there puzzlement grew still deeper. They certainly hadn’t found anyone with the power of an ace. Chen Mu was excluded right at the outset since he was too young! When you added to that his position as the boss, if such a young, rich boss wasn’t shooting for a tasty playboy future career, then what was he doing stealing food from them?
So, although everyone felt his perception, they still excluded him at the outset.
The one most like an ace was the man holding the fat dog, without a doubt. When everyone targeted him, however, they were amazed to find he had no perception at all! Weird! That was really weird!
How could such reckless card artisans survive there? The crowd was cunning and careful, and they remained alert and suspicious. Since they didn’t understand the situation, no one was stupid enough to start anything. Even just those 20-some card artisans were enough to cause a little trouble.
All the other card artisans in the big hall just kept drinking their tea with their heads down to hide what they were thinking from showing in their eyes.
“I think you need to rent a batch of rooms for now, so your fine dependents can rest,” the youth proposed.
Bogner knew that wasn’t what Chen Mu was good at, so he took over. “Oh, what would you suggest?”
Taking a look at Chen Mu, the youth saw that he didn’t look the least bit upset, and he immediately realized Bogner’s position on the team.
Without hesitating, he responded, “There are a lot of you, and you might want to rent an entire residential area. That way, you could be away from everyone else, and it won’t be so noisy. Your safety would be assured. It also wouldn’t be too expensive.”
“Let’s do that.” Bogner took a look at Chen Mu. Seeing that he had no objection, he nodded.
The youth then led the party to take care of the arrangements. Sue Lochiro and Ru Qiu still hadn’t recovered from their recent scare.
There was no commotion during the entire process of moving in. The whole team had maintained its ever-perfect formation since they had entered the large hall. Each of the battle personnel looked on alert. Such discipline made the minds of the jungle card artisans who had been secretly watching them jumpy again.
“How should I address my little brother?” Bogner asked with a smile.
“Jeeves.” The youth didn’t turn around.
“When was this base built? I remember there was an old, broken-down and abandoned base here before.”
Jeeves was speechless as he looked at Bogner. “That was ten years ago, Uncle.”
“Oh, ten years ago. Time really passes.” Bogner looked as though something had dawned on him, and he then asked in curiosity, “Who would spend so much money on such a large base?”
Jeeves looked at Bogner on alert. “What is it you’d really like to inquire about, Uncle?”
Bogner didn’t flush in the least even after Jeeves saw through him. “Didn’t your service include asking for information? The time for your service has arrived.”
Jeeves’ face darkened. “There is a charge for that, Uncle.” The word “service” had some bad associations for him.
“Ok, how much?” Bogner asked nonchalantly. When Xi Ping heard that, his face immediately darkened. He was the one in charge of money. What anyone in charge of money hated most was someone like Bogner just sticking out his hand to ask for it when he didn’t have any, like some kind of big spender.
Jeeves’ expression returned to normal as he said in a calm voice, “That depends on what information.”
“I’m just asking the first one; who built this base?” Bogner asked.
Jeeves took a look at Bogner and said, “You may consider this information a gift. Everyone here knows the Regal Base was built ten years ago by the Hughes Chamber of Commerce.”
“The Hughes Chamber of Commerce?” Bogner looked puzzled, and he dragged his feet before falling silent. He had lowered his head, seeming to be thinking about something.
Jeeves glanced at Bogner. Seeing that he was in thought, he led the party ahead more calmly.
The arrangements were made quickly. When those responsible saw that Jeeves was leading the team, they worked fast. Chen Mu and the rest packed into a residential area that could hold 800 people, where they could stay for a while.
After setting up the team and arranging for sentries, Chen Mu and Bogner decided to take a stroll around the base. Sue Lochiro and Ru Qiu needed some rest after their trauma. After going through such a long period of battling, those novice card artisans urgently needed some rest. Wei-ah was also left behind in the residential area. Chen Mu didn’t think anyone would make any moves with him there.
Lu Xiaoru took ten card artisans to follow along with Chen Mu. They weren’t there to protect Chen Mu, but to protect Bogner and Xi Ping, who had no fighting strength.
Chen Mu was looking around with a lot of curiosity, that being his first time to enter a base in the Outer Reaches. He had recently heard there would inevitably be some curious things about a base in the Outer Reaches.
Jeeves introduced it. “This is the trading area, where they sell some necessities for the card artisans, such as power cards. The price is a little higher than outside. Still, the materials here are comparatively cheaper. It’s too bad there are no awesome card masters who want to come here.”
What Jeeves said really surprised Chen Mu. But after he thought about it, he realized he had only reacted. What high-level card master would want to come to such a dangerous and desolate place? Sitting where there would be plenty of light and using all kinds of modern equipment, accompanied by a pile of students and assistants, would be the treatment enjoyed by any high-level card masters.
Some mid-grade card masters did actually want to come, but the normal level of the card artisans there was relatively high. Mid-level card masters had no way to satisfy their needs.
Chen Mu couldn’t help but ask, “So, what do you do when the card artisans’ fantasy cards break?”
“Grab someone else’s. There are a lot of card artisans here, anyhow.” What Jeeves said so casually gave everyone a chill.
“How many card artisans are there here in general?” Bogner asked.
Jeeves took a look at Bogner, clearly not having such good feelings about that uncle. But, considering he was a client, he still answered. “There are about 3,000 who are residents here, and more than 1,000 return once or twice per month. Plus, there are a few card artisans who might come once or twice per year.”
“Oh, how do you pay attention to that?” Chen Mu asked out of curiosity.
“The less they come back, the more awesome they are! They might enter the jungle’s deepest recesses to kill the most ferocious wild beasts, or they might take a contract with the chamber of commerce to look for some rare, weird things. Those who come back once or twice per month have a much smaller scope of activity. The ones who stay here are the lowest level.”
When Jeeves spoke of the card artisans who stayed often at the base, his tone of voice conveyed some contempt.
“You are in luck by coming in the middle of the month when there will be a relatively large number of card artisans returning. Every time they come back, they bring some good things. If you are lucky, you can trade for some of those. Plus, when they are here, the trashy scoundrels will be a lot more honest.
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