King of Mercenaries - Chapter 3

Published at 18th of March 2018 10:47:15 PM

Chapter 3

Marin was quite familiar with archery from his past . Rather, he was somewhat of a hunting enthusiast . Ever since China banned guns, Marin was forced to learn and perfect his archery skills .

Moreover, Marin had once personally crafted an English longbow . Regrettably, the arrows had to be made by a specialized craftsman . With the bow, he went into the mountains and started hunting birds and rabbits .

Of course, in the Middle Ages, bows and arrows were very important weapons . Their price being very expensive . As for the production of an English longbow, putting aside the specialized wood and other materials, just the crafting of the bow would take two or three months . The present Marin had no time to make one . Nor would he have the money to buy the bowstaves .

But, Marin also knew an important hunting skill – trapping…

As long as the camouflage was cleverly laid, even the most sensitive of animals can be deceived . Because animals are animals, they often pay attention to the movement around them . A useful survival trait when its predators are fast and nimble . Hence, they concentrate on seeing and listening to their surroundings . Leaving them susceptible to the trap underneath their feet . So, if the trap is arranged realistically, it can basically catch most animals . Of course, the premise is that animals happen to walk onto the trap .

Marin started to look around him . He was in a forest near the German Rhine . There was a stream running next to the road, a good source of water for animals .

Having watched "Animal Planet" quite often, Marin figured out that many animals, especially herbivores, will travel to the local water source in the mornings . Making it the optimum time for him to catch something .

There were no tigers or lions in Europe; the fiercest wild beast being a wolf . However, wolves infest the forest at night but don't generally appear in the mornings . So, venturing to the river on the mornings is nothing too dangerous .

Marin was riding along the small stream back and forth a few times . Repeatedly dismounting and squatting on the ground to observe the animal footprints and feces . Finally, he narrowed down the three most trafficked areas .

As for the three places, the terrain was all relatively flat, with virtually no trees to speak of . Probably the reason herbivores would choose this area because it's convenient for a hasty escape . Even if something wants to ambush them, it would be next to impossible as there is no dense vegetative cover .

Having chosen a good location, next was the layout of the trap . A sad reminder for Marin was that he didn't have anything to dig the pit . Strictly speaking, Western Europe at this time had not fully adopted iron tools . In many estates such as the Hoffman Manor, the serfs used wooden tools . Only in Italy, England, or some other affluent areas where metallurgy has developed enough are they widely used . As for the lack of copper and bronze, it's mainly due to its scarcity . The availability of European copper will only rise when mines are established in Sweden . Copper will also come from the East from sources such as Thailand or Japan . But without these sources, its value sustained an exchange ratio of 15 silver to 1 copper . Much too expensive for commoners and even lower nobility to use casually .

Since Marin's money was cheated away, he, of course, had no money for metal tools . He was forced to find a tree and use his dagger to cut a branch off of it . Forming a small wooden pick . Using that, he finally started to dig his traps .

Digging with wooden tools truly required much more effort . Fortunately, as it was next to a stream, the soil was quite soft . Otherwise, the wooden pick would stand no chance . As for the soil that was moved, it was just thrown into the water .

After digging a pit, it became time to cover it . The disguise must be very natural . If not, then animals won't be fooled . Marin hurried off into the forest to collect lots of dead, brittle branches . Then finally carefully covered it with the branches and dead foliage .

After a half hour, Marin finally finished with the first trap . Running around and finding no flaws, he could only nod in satisfaction . Then, the plan is to use the same process to arrange two more pit traps .

After a few more hours, Marin looking at the gradually darkening sky . Any commoner in the area could tell you that around this time of the year, wolves would be even more numerous than usual . Furthermore, with more wolves and less food, they become particularly aggressive . If Marin stayed overnight in the forest then maybe he and Karl would become supper for the wolves .

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So, Marin found a small nearby town . In nearly every town, there was a church . A relatively good place for sleeping outside . So, he tied Karl and fell asleep beside the horse .

The spring weather is still very cold, Marin carried neither a quilt or blanket . For the sake of warmth, Marin changed his location . Behind the church was a stack of firewood . Beside it was a pile of hay . Luckily, summer had not yet started . Or else, the hay would be teeming with snakes . In his previous life, back when Marin was a child, he was playing hide and seek with some other children . Opening a haystack, he saw dozens of snakes coiling together . The mere sight would make people's scalps tingle . During spring, the snakes were usually still hiding in their deep dirt holes .

The next morning, Marin was awakened by the sun that arced a bit over the horizon . In fact, the members of the church had undoubtedly found him . Rather, no one dared to disturb him because of his dress, which signified him as a wandering knight . In this era, wandering knights were not something commoners could mess with . If the church had their own guard then naturally they would not fear one or two wandering knights . However, this was only a small church in a small town . Wandering knights generally had a reputation of being potential thugs, leaving others afraid to provoke their wrath .

Waking up, Marin threw off the wheat straw that he piled atop himself . Grabbing his horse, he traveled to the stream where he washed his face and gathered some water . Riding into the forest, he dug up some more grassroots and ate them as breakfast . Luckily, this body was used to drinking cold water in the mornings . If it were his old body then there would be a good chance of developing diarrhea by drinking cold water so early in the morning . It was important to note that diarrhea in the medieval times was a very serious issue…

Marin was hopeful that he would catch something . So, he rode his horse and checked the traps laid down yesterday afternoon .

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The first trap, had nothing . Obviously, no animals had set foot on it . Marin dejectedly shook his head, continuing onwards to the second trap . Approaching the second trap, Marin was pleasantly surprised to find that the grass cover was broken . However, what made him even more depressed was that it was empty . Probably, an animal mistakenly stepped in but escaped before they fell in .

“Ugh, how can I have such bad luck!" Marin shouted to the sky . Now onto the final trap .

Walking up, Marin was surprised that the third trap was also triggered .

What could it be? Marin was careful to take his lance and leaned over the rim . Looking into the pit, he finally saw the animal – a male red deer .

As to why he could tell it was a buck? Very simple, as it was nearing summer, bucks would start to grow antlers . This particular deer was quite big, about in the prime of its life .

With a visual inspection, Marin found it to be about approximately 130 cm tall, 180 cm long, about 180 kilograms .

Such a tall and vigorous deer, only place Marin could see one was at the zoo . To catch such a large one, it made him overjoyed .