Located on the westernmost part of the Dinar Kingdom, the Lowell territory was the most isolated and remote region within the entire kingdom. It was surrounded by the intersecting Marius Mountains and the western mountains, forming a pocket of land. Beyond the western mountains lay the Rulin Empire, the kingdom’s enemy. To the south, the territory was adjacent to the Barin territory, which owned the Sylvara Plains. However, a vast forest of ruins separated the two regions, effectively cutting off the Lowell territory from the outside world.
The Yi’er River, originating from the western mountains, flowed across the entire territory, providing the most convenient channel for communication with the outside world. However, due to a significant drop in water level, it was only flowing out, making entry into the territory a challenging task that required crossing over mountains and ridges. The unique geographical environment of the Lowell territory, although not small, remained undeveloped due to its small population. Moreover, the frequent appearance of monsters in the mountains and forests had rendered it the poorest territory within the kingdom.
With a population of less than two thousand, the Lowell territory had only a small garrison that could hardly be called an army. Its main source of income came from selling herbs collected from the mountains and the forest of ruins. Given that adventurers often explored the forest of ruins and monster hunters captured monsters in the mountains, the territory had an inn and several potion and equipment shops catering to their needs.
These details about the territory were all learned in bits and pieces through Vince’s mouth along the way. At first, no matter what Zhou Wen asked, the old man just laughed it off. It wasn’t until they were far away from Almak that he loosened his lips, making Zhou Wen suspect that he was actually trying to trick him into going back.
Adding to Zhou Wen’s unease was the rickety carriage they rode in. It appeared to be their own rather than a rented one and could fall apart at any moment. Zhou Wen sat inside with Vince and Marlene, the carriage creaking ominously along the way. The rest of the attendants followed on horseback.
As they journeyed through the various territories, the lords of those regions paid no attention to Zhou Wen, the future lord of the Lowell territory. They didn’t offer any welcome or accommodation, forcing the group to pay for cheap inn rooms themselves. Zhou Wen began to feel more and more like he had been tricked.
Fortunately, Marlene—this charming girl—accompanied Zhou Wen along the way. From time to time, he would tease her, pick up some trivial stories that were irrelevant to his era, and brag about how much he had seen in his travels. Soon, the relationship between the two was getting closer, and they were having a great time.
After trekking through the mountains and valleys for half a month, which made his legs feel sore, Zhou Wen finally arrived at his own territory with a nervous and uneasy mood.
However, there were no towering castles or majestic honor guards to welcome him, nor were there any crowds cheering on both sides of the road. Instead, Zhou Wen was greeted with an ordinary small town.
The town resembled a typical scene in RPG games, with buildings made of uneven bricks that were not really old and dilapidated. The roofs, consisting of three main colors of red, yellow, and brown, formed a magnificent and delicate landscape.
The streets were clean, and a pebble road led directly to the mountain. The broad Yier River flowsed quietly outside the town, and there were a few fields and orchards on the flat land by the river. The whole town was surrounded by dense vegetation, and the houses were mixed with a green shade, giving it a unique flavor that refreshed Zhou Wen, who was used to the hustle and bustle of the city.
Standing on the hill overlooking the town, Zhou Wen exclaimed happily, “The scenery of this town is really beautiful. It wouldn’t be bad to build a villa here for summer vacation. By the way, are we staying here tonight? How long until we reach my territory?” After traveling over mountains and across valleys for these days, Zhou Wen was exhausted and couldn’t help but strongly yearn for the airplanes of his past life
Little did he know that his words made everyone around him feel extremely awkward. After a moment of hesitation, Zhou Wen’s butler, Vince, said, “Young master, you really know how to joke. We have already arrived in Lowell territory. Has anything changed since you left?”
“What!?” Zhou Wen exclaimed in disbelief, then looked at the town below him incredulously. This place, which was not much different from a village, was his own fiefdom?
“Um… where is my castle?” He searched with his eyes, but he couldn’t find even a building that resembled a castle.
Vince was taken aback for a moment, then suddenly realized, “You mean the lord’s estate, it’s over there.”
Looking in the direction pointed by Vince’s finger, Zhou Wen’s heart immediately sank. At the end of the small town, on a slightly elevated earthen mound, there was a dilapidated two-story house with a white dove holding a four-petaled Shamrock emblem flag fluttering in the wind on the roof. This shabby house—was the lord’s mansion?
He finally understood why officials who were exiled to the border in ancient times would rather die than live in such a place for their entire lives. Goodbye, my computer, goodbye, my games, goodbye, my McDonald’s, goodbye, my adult videos… for a moment, Zhou Wen only felt sadness and despair, his eyes went black, and he collapsed to the ground.
“Master!” Everyone was shocked.
After a while, Zhou Wen, who had been supported in a fluster by Vince, walked dejectedly down the mountain with him. From his demeanor, he did not seem like the owner of this place at all, but rather like a convicted criminal being led to the gallows.
As they reached the foot of the mountain, they suddenly saw a group of a dozen or so young and robust men lounging about on the side of the road, some sitting and some lying down. They were dressed in tattered clothing, and a few of them even wore leather armor, each of them equipped with a long sword and sporting a fierce expression.
Zhou Wen’s heart skipped a beat, and he silently cursed his luck. Before coming here, Vince had sworn to him that there were absolutely no thieves in Lowell, as there was simply no wealth to steal. But judging from the scene before him, it was clear that this was not the case. These bandits had set up a checkpoint on the edge of town and were even more ruthless than the road bullies employed by the transportation department.
As he was planning how to sneak away later, the group of bandits stood up and walked towards him, each with a fierce smile on their faces. A particularly tall and sturdy bandit shouted out loudly, “My lord, you’re back?”
Vince and his group walked towards the bandits with a smile, “Kress, what are you guys doing here?”
The leader of the bandits, named Kress, scratched his head awkwardly and said, “Jessica asked me to come. She said the young master was coming back, so we should greet him. Where is the young master?”
Vince smiled and said, “The young master is…huh?”
Faced with everyone’s astonished gazes, Zhou Wen awkwardly turned his head as he made a quick getaway, taking a step back. “Um…don’t mind me, you guys continue,” he said.
Vince pulled Zhou Wen aside and introduced him to the man, saying, “Young master, this is the captain of the territory’s garrison, Kress.”
“Greetings my lord, I am Kress captain of the Lowell guards!” The leader of the bandits from earlier raised his fist to his chest and exclaimed loudly. His men also scattered and saluted Zhou Wen.
Well, it’s a small place after all. The quality of the troops is so poor, but this guy has a really loud voice. Zhou Wen rubbed his buzzing ears and thought to himself.
“Uh-huh, no problem, no problem,” he waved his hand casually, considering it a greeting. It was only then that he took a closer look at the garrison captain named Kress.
Surprisingly, he was very young, around the same age as Zhou Wen himself. He had a wide face, thick eyebrows, and large, intense eyes. Even now, Zhou Wen couldn’t believe this guy was a law-abiding citizen.
This person’s body was as strong as a bear… no, he was like an ogre in human form. In front of him, Zhou Wen’s thin and weak body looked pitiful, like an undeveloped seedling. Kress’s huge sword on his waist was also one size larger than others’, long and wide. It could be imagined that it would have an amazing power when wielded.
The other members of the garrison were also strong and sturdy, although they were poorly equipped, they gave people a feeling that they should not be underestimated. After some small talk, under their leadership, the group headed towards the town.
Although the small town may not look impressive from a distance, the scene inside the town made Zhou Wen secretly admire it. The people in the town were simple and honest, and although they dressed simply, both men and women wore happy expressions as they came and went. The houses on both sides of the road were cleaned very neatly, and many balconies were decorated with flowers, making the small town look quite refreshing.
All along the way, people greeted Vince, Kress, and the others warmly. When they heard that Zhou Wen was the future lord, everyone showed enthusiastic smiles and respectfully saluted him. It seems that the old lord was quite popular here.
Although there was no grand welcome, the residents showed great enthusiasm, giving Zhou Wen a warm feeling of being at home. However, what made him depressed was that it seemed he wouldn’t be able to live the kind of carefree life he had imagined in the future.
While walking, they suddenly heard a commotion up ahead. Kress’s face changed, and he hurriedly ran over with his men. Curious, Zhou Wen followed quickly behind.
The commotion was coming from a small inn called “Unicorn”. The hall was in disarray, with tables overturned and chairs scattered all over the place. A big, bearded man sat in the center, with several men in leather armor blocking the entrance. Many residents had gathered outside, but none dared to speak up.
Pushing through the crowd, Kress examined the scene and asked in a low voice, “What’s going on?”
Before anyone could answer, the men guarding the door drew their swords and pointed them outward in a menacing manner. Only then did the big man inside the inn calmly say, “It’s nothing. The owner of this inn is dishonest and stole money from us outsiders. Fortunately, we caught them in time.”
As soon as he spoke, his words immediately drew a buzz of disapproval from the onlookers. A few brave ones retorted, “Nonsense! Mercy does business in the most honest way, how could she steal someone’s money?
“Yes! Obviously, you guys are intentionally causing trouble!”
Facing the accusing looks from the crowd, the big man remained silent and looked towards Kress. Kress spoke up, “I’m Kress, the guards’ captain in Lowell town. If there’s a problem, come with me to the garrison, and we can talk about it there.”
The big man scoffed, “What a joke!” This inn is cheating out-of-town customers. You’re not arresting the owner, but you want to arrest us? What’s the meaning of this?” His followers immediately joined in, and chaos ensued.
Kress was not a skilled speaker and could only ask, “Where’s Aunt Mercy?”
The big man turned around and ordered, “Go and bring out those two thieves for me.”
At this moment, Zhou Wen also squeezed over, craning his neck with interest and seeming to have completely forgotten that this was a public security incident that had occurred in his own territory.
A man quickly pushed and shoved two women out. The older one should be the shop owner, Mercy. She was about forty years old, with a plump figure, a healthy blush on her face, and an apron around her waist, looking very competent. She had her sleeves rolled up and had oil stains on her hands, obviously cooking before the incident occurred.
As soon as Zhou Wen saw the girl beside Mercy, his eyes lit up. She was probably seventeen or eighteen years old, with a beautiful face and golden long hair tied into a ponytail behind her head. Her rosy cheeks gave off a vibrant feeling. Like Mercy, she also rolled up her sleeves to her elbows, revealing milky-white skin that shone like ivory.
From Vince’s mouth, he learned that this girl was Mercy’s daughter, Julie.
The man’s rude behavior immediately drew disapproval from the crowd, but Mercy and Julie were not afraid. The two of them walked into the hall with unyielding faces, displaying their strong personalities.
“Aunt Mercy, what’s going on?” Kress asked the two of them.
Julie interrupted and said, “It was clearly these people causing trouble and falsely accusing us. They came in and ate and drank extravagantly. When it was time to pay, one of them pulled out a few gold coins. But before my mother even reached the table, they started shouting and accusing us of stealing their money, and they began smashing things.” She glared fiercely at the group of men.
“That’s nonsense! It was clearly you who were being dishonest, and now you dare to deny it!” The leader of the men slammed his hand on the table and shouted.
Another man smirked maliciously and said, “You, mother and daughter pair, run a business in a place like this and even dare to steal from your customers. I bet you’re not only running a hostel business but also doing something else at night…” He reached out to touch Julie’s face and leered.
“You…” Mercy couldn’t believe that the other party would actually make a move, and quickly shielded her daughter behind her.
At this point, the onlookers had begun to make a loud commotion, but several men had a hostile demeanor and weapons in hand, so the crowd didn’t dare to do anything. Kress was so angry that flames seemed to be coming out of his eyes. He grunted and drew his sword, apparently intending to forcibly snatch the two women away.
“What’s going on here? Why are the guards not catching the thieves, but instead going after the victim? Has the law disappeared from here?” These several men weren’t afraid at all and began to make noise.
“Tch, you don’t look like good people. You’re definitely causing trouble on purpose.” At this moment, a voice suddenly came out.
The leader’s face changed, and he shouted angrily, “Who’s talking? Show yourself!”
The one who spoke, Zhou Wen, noticed that the man was being inappropriate with the beautiful Julie, and in a moment of recklessness, he blurted out his thoughts. As soon as the words left his mouth, he knew it was a mistake, and he tried to shrink back into the crowd as the man shouted.
But to his surprise, the people around him all stepped to the side as if they had prearranged it, exposing Zhou Wen to the man’s gaze. Several fingers pointed at him in unison, “It was him who said it.”
Big brothers, if you just want to watch the show, why push me out here? Zhou Wen lamented inwardly. He only wanted to live comfortably on this piece of land that he had stumbled upon until he found a way back home. He didn’t want to cause any trouble.
At this point, he had no choice but to reluctantly walk up while pondering how to get away.
Looking up and down at Zhou Wen, the man asked, “Who are you?”
“I just happened to be passing by. Please don’t mind me and continue, please continue…”
“He is our lord!”
Someone who had already received the news immediately pointed this out, which made Zhou Wen so angry that he wanted to eat this busy body in one bite.
“Lord?” The leader of the group exchanged a suspicious glance with his subordinate. “Hasn’t the Lord of Lowell already died? How can another Lord emerge?”
Ah, everything is clear now. They deliberately caused trouble while the Lord was away. In an instant, Zhou Wen understood everything. However, understanding was one thing, and taking actions was another. He definitely wouldn’t do it.
Just as he was about to shirk his responsibility, Zhou Wen suddenly caught a glimpse of Julie’s eager gaze, which made him pause. The young girl’s eyes contained an unmistakable plea for help. It was then that Zhou Wen realized that everyone, including Marlene, had the same look in their eyes. Obviously, they were all pinning their hopes on him.
No matter how dumb he was, Zhou Wen knew that if he retreated now, he would never be able to hold his head high in the territory again. Damn it…Who asked him to be the lord of this damn place? He didn’t even get to enjoy any good fortune, and yet he was already facing this kind of situation.
The gaze of the two beautiful young girls played a role in encouraging him. With a firm resolve, Zhou Wen raised his head and said, “That’s right, I’m the new lord here, Saul Lowell. My father is dead. Do you have any objections?”
Upon seeing that he was indeed the lord, a fierce gleam flashed in the lead man’s eyes. He said, “So what if you’re the lord? Do you want to frame us?”
In fact, he didn’t need to think too much to understand what was going on. These were just dirty tricks, and in his previous world, there were plenty of people who would betray others for a mere quick buck. With a clear plan in mind, Zhou Wen didn’t panic. He calmly asked Julie, “Julie, earlier you said that the coins were taken out of their pockets after dinner, right?”
Julie vigorously nodded and replied, “Yes, my Lord.”
“Alright then,” Zhou Wen turned to Marlene and said, “Marlene, go fetch a bowl of water.”
Marlene quickly brought a bowl of water, and Zhou Wen gestured for her to place it on the ground. He then turned to the man and asked, “Which few coins did Aunt Macy try to steal? Can you show me?”
Hearing this, the men exchanged a look of doubt. However, the leader clearly didn’t believe that Zhou Wen could do anything with just a bowl of water, and with a sneer, he tossed two gold coins at him.
Uncertain about what their new lord would do, the onlookers gathered around, and Vince asked in a low voice, “Young master, what do you plan to do? Are you confident in clearing up the situation?”
Zhou Wen smiled confidently and casually tossed the gold coins into the water. After a moment, he turned to Marlene and asked, “Marlene, take a careful look. Has anything changed in the water?”
Marin widened her eyes, afraid to miss anything, and said disappointedly after a while: “There is nothing strange.”
Zhou Wen laughed heartily, “That’s right. Aunt Mercy, please come over here.”
Mercy wanted to come over upon hearing this, but was blocked by a man. Kress grunted and grabbed him by the shoulder like a chicken, and threw him out. Seeing this scene, Zhou Wen was even more confident, thinking to himself that if the fight started latter, Kress could repel them for a while, and he could escape.
Zhou Wen took out the gold coins and handed them to Mercy, “Aunt Mercy, take this coins in your hands.”
The woman was confused, but still took the gold coins in her hand as instructed. After a moment, Zhou Wen asked for the gold coins back and threw them into the water, saying to Marlene, “Marlene, take another look.”
Before Marlene could speak, someone shouted loudly, “It’s oil! Oil is floating up!” Sure enough, on the surface of the clear water, patches of oil floated up and slowly spread out, quickly solidifying into a sheet.
“Alright, this is enough to prove that this Auntie is innocent,” Zhou Wen stood up and said.
The leader sneered, “Hmph, do you think we’re fools? What does this prove?”
Everyone had the same question, and their faces all showed an eager expression to know the answer. Only Vince, who was experienced and knowledgeable, had already vaguely understood the key points and smiled while twirling his beard.
Being stared at by so many people, Zhou Wen wasn’t used to it. He coughed a few times and loudly addressed the crowd, “Why didn’t the clear water change when I first threw the coins in?”
“Because the coins were clean,” Marlene thought for a moment and answered with a clap.
Zhou Wen gave her an appreciative smile and continued, “Why did oil float to the surface when I threw them in the second time?”
“Because the coins were covered in oil,”
Upon hearing these words, Zhou Wen looked over and saw that it was the same person who had just alleged him of being the lord. He silently praised the man for his cooperation and nodded in agreement.
“That’s right. The oil on the coin came from the cooking done by Aunt Mercy. If she had really stolen the coin, why was there no trace of oil when she put it into the water just now?”
“So, the murderer is among us…cough, no, the truth is there is only one…uh, no, in any case, all the mysteries have been solved. It’s this group of guys who intentionally caused trouble and falsely accused Aunt Mercy,” Zhou Wen said loudly.
The crowd immediately burst into cheers, and Marlene’s eyes showed undisguised admiration. Zhou Wen felt a weight lifted off his shoulders and silently thought that this little bit of fame was worth it.
The other side’s expression changed dramatically, and the leader awkwardly said, “It turns out to be a misunderstanding. I’m sorry,” as he wanted to take his people and leave.
Kress stood by and watched for a long time, unwilling to let the others just walk away after falsely accusing someone and causing a disturbance. He blocked their way with his giant sword and said, “Do you think you can just leave after slandering an innocent person and causing trouble?”
“Get out of the way!” To his surprise, one of the men immediately drew his sword and charged towards Kress.
With a disdainful glance, Kress suddenly shouted and swung his giant sword around his wrist, sweeping it outward. The heavy sword body made a whistling sound, and before the man could see what was happening, Kress’s sword had struck his sword and sent him flying along with it.
Seeing how powerful Kress was, the others cheered, and the other members of the garrison took the opportunity to draw their swords and surround the group. Everyone was angry that they had caused trouble for no reason and demanded that they be arrested.
With a flick of his eyes, the lead man suddenly pulled out a strange badge from his pocket and proudly declared, “We are from the Adventurers Guild. Who dares to lay a hand on us?”
Upon seeing the badge in his hand, the crowd fell silent. The guards took two steps back, hesitating as they looked at Kress. The Adventurers Guild was spread throughout the entire continent of Modena and undertook missions such as mercenary hiring, relic exploration, and monster hunting. Like the Mage Guild, they held a great deal of power.
The Lowell Territory was located near two large mountain ranges and the forest of ruins, where monsters frequently appeared. As a result, many monster hunters came to the area. A large part of the territory’s income came from providing potions and equipment, as well as selling the herbs collected by the residents to the Adventurers Guild. It could be said that the territory had become quite reliant on the guild.
It was precisely because they knew this point that the men became fearless. They were proud again after achieving their goal. They didn’t want to let them go, but also didn’t want to cause more trouble. So Kress felt hesitant.
At this moment, Zhou Wen was completely oblivious to his duties as lord and ran over to Julie, fawning over her. He took her hand and said in a sappy tone, “Miss Julie, you weren’t scared just now, were you?”
Kress was at a loss and looked around bewilderedly. However, when he saw Zhou Wen, who was busy trying to impress Julie, a light bulb went off in his head. Of course, the lord was here. The former lord was respected, and the new lord was also very wise. He must have a solution.
With this in mind, he immediately turned around and respectfully asked Zhou Wen, “My lord, how should we deal with them?”
Just as Zhou Wen was about to show off his eloquence to impress the girl, he was suddenly interrupted by Kress. Zhou Wen was very unhappy and casually waved his hand, saying, “Do you even need to ask me? Round them all up!”
As soon as he spoke, Kress immediately showed a happy expression on his face, and the young people in the crowd began to cheer loudly. However, several men’s faces changed dramatically. How dare this kid not even put the Adventurer’s Guild in his eyes?
Worried, Vince walked up to Zhou Wen and whispered, “Young master, this… might not be appropriate, right?”
Zhou Wen sighed and nodded, “Indeed, it’s not appropriate.”
Vince was pleased and thought to himself that the young master was really quick to comply, worthy of being the heir of the old lord. But to his surprise, Zhou Wen suddenly spoke up to Kress, “Hey Kress, is there any heavy work to be done in the territory lately?”
Kress thought for a moment and replied, “There’s a lot of wood in the forest to the west that hasn’t been transported out yet. Miss Jessica is worried that she can’t find workers to move it.”
“That’s perfect. We can’t just keep them locked up and feed them for free. Confiscate their weapons later, assign a few people to keep watch, and have them go to the forest to move the wood. It can be considered as compensating for the losses caused by their troublemaking.”
For Zhou Wen, who came from the 21st century, arresting lawbreakers was an obvious matter, and making them work was commonplace. His answer was just following common sense. Moreover, as a newcomer, how could he know the ins and outs of the situation here? But in this way, he won the respect of all the guards present.
The lord gave an order, and at the command of Kress, the members of the guard drew their swords and surrounded them. Unexpectedly, they encountered someone who feared neither heaven nor earth today. The leader of the group gritted his teeth and shouted, “Charge!”
Immediately, his subordinates drew their swords and rushed outward, and the two sides engaged in a fierce battle. Although the number of guards led by Lowell was small, just a few dozen, they had been fighting against the threatening monsters for a long time and all of them had been through countless battles. Despite their simple equipment and lack of formal training, they possessed incredible strength in numerous life-and-death struggles against tough and resilient monsters. Their sword strikes were swift, accurate, and deadly, without any fanciness, all focused on achieving a decisive blow.
This was truly an elite team, but because they were confined within Lowell, their true power was not widely known. If they were to go out, they would probably be no less capable than the kingdom’s elite knights. These ordinary monster hunters were no match for them and were all captured in a matter of moments.
Seeing his subordinates perform so poorly, the leader was greatly surprised. He took a step back and pulled out a fiery red crystal from his pocket, shouting in rage, “Don’t come any closer!”
“It’s a Fire Demon Crystal!” someone with knowledge of the item exclaimed, and the crowd immediately dispersed.
The Fire Demon Crystal was a magical item that sealed fire-based magic inside a crystal, allowing ordinary people to use magic. Monster hunters often used it to deal with powerful beasts, and it held immense power.
The desperate man actually wanted to use this, and if he actually threw it, who knows how many people present would be affected.
At this critical moment, a flash of blade was suddenly seen, and a dagger was accurately shot into the man’s palm, nailing his hand to the wall behind him. The man cried out in pain and dropped the Fire Magic Crystal, which was quickly grabbed by the agile Kress. The one who threw the knife was the deputy captain of the guard, Bocci. Unlike Kress, he was slender with long limbs and belonged to the type of person who was agile in action.
His knife throwing skills were excellent. After giving some orders to a few people, Kress and his men escorted the crestfallen men away. As they were leaving, the leader couldn’t help but turn around and shout crazily, “You, a small Lord of lowell, dare to arrest people from our Adventurers’ Guild. Just you wait, you will regret it!”
“Hmph, still acting tough. Give him the hardest job to do!” Zhou Wen didn’t pay much attention to him.
However, Vince expressed his concern, “The Adventurers’ Guild is very powerful. They didn’t dare to act too recklessly when the old lord was alive. But since his death, they have started causing trouble. Now that you have arrested their members, I’m afraid that in the future…”
Kress sneered and said, “What’s so great about it? No matter how many come, I can make them obediently go back!”
At this point, Vince didn’t have much to say and could only sigh. The onlookers had already dispersed, and Kress stayed behind with two people to help Mercy and her daughter clean up the inn, then accompanied Zhou Wen to the Lord’s estate.
“My lord!” Suddenly, Julie’s clear voice came from behind.
“Hmm?” Zhou Wen turned around, and Julie bowed deeply to him. “Thank you!” she said.
“Ahahaha, it’s okay. It’s okay. If you really want to thank me, then with your body…” Zhou Wen became complacent, but luckily he regained his senses at the last moment and quickly changed his words.
With a dry cough, he patted Julie’s shoulder and said seriously, “Miss Julie is too serious. This is my duty as a lord. Please go back and help your mother.”
Julie only understood half of the strange words from the lord, and before she could react, they had already walked far away.
“The young master of the old lord is really strange, but…he’s a good person.” With this conclusion in mind, Julie’s sad mood disappeared, and she turned around, taking happy little steps to help her mother clean up the inn.