Chapter - 308: – Energy Shield Pt. 1
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Those that could return to this relay station alive were unexpectedly experts. They were all leaders of a group. Just as they said, if they didn’t have some level of strength, there was no way they’d get the chance to run back, and would’ve long since died halfway through their journey back.

They’d only passed three checkpoints, moreover, they hadn’t actually passed through the third one. However, these guys had already wandered around the Greater Trade Routes for over a year. They had plenty of experience, and their strengths were domineering. Moreover, they also had very extensive knowledge.

Suo Jia managed to gather 100,000 Trade Route coins from the hundreds of people. When Suo Jia looked at the large chest of brown Trade Route coins that had a strange map printed on them, he began to question…after living on the Greater Trade Routes for all this time, they only had this little amount of money? Each person had only handed over 1000 coins.

Seeing Suo Jia’s doubtful and suspicious expression, the bearded man lightly coughed and said in a suppressed voice, “Perhaps you don’t believe that we only have the little money, but this is the reality. This currency has a wide range of uses, which you’ll come to know later. Nobody overstocks too much on the money in their hands. We’re more used to changing this money into our own body’s strength!”

“Changing it into strength?” Suo Jia was stunned at these words.

The bearded man said to the shocked Suo Jia, “Don’t tell me you really don’t know? The reason the Greater Trade Routes is a paradise that all warriors dream of is because there are mystical magic fruits here. These fruits can bestow humans some abilities, or increase their strength in a particular area. These coins are the only type of currency that can purchase these magic fruits!”

“Heavens!” Suo Jia excitedly looked at the bearded man and exclaimed, “Then hurry up and say. I was wondering why you guys only had so little money, it seems like you all bought magic fruits. Hurry up and tell me, what kinds of magic fruits are there?”

“Hehe…” The bearded man smiled and said, “The magic fruits are split into 3, 6, 9 ranks. Rank 1 magic fruits are cheap, and only require 1000 coins. However, the amount they can boost is pretty small, and the energy it provides is relatively weak. The highest seems to be rank 10, which is said to bestow a deity-like ability and power to humans!”

The bearded man paused for a bit, then continued, “Also, aside from the magic fruits, the Greater Trade Routes also produces Illusion Gems. After getting a hold of these gems, you can find a specialized smith to strengthen your equipment with these gems. Even a set of the most ordinary equipment can become terrifyingly powerful with enough Illusion Gems embedded!”

After hearing the bearded man’s words, Suo Jia was so excited that he didn’t know what to say. He impatiently urged, “Don’t just talk about the benefits. The only thing I want to know now is, where do I have to go to get these things?”

“Mmm…” The bearded man muttered to himself for a bit before saying, “Normally, people purchase them from the indigenous people that live on the Greater Trade Routes. You must also know that the Greater Trade Routes are far too vast. Aside from the locals, how would any outsiders know where these originate from?”

The bearded man smiled and said, “Of course, if you guys are an adventurer group, then just forget about it. Going out on adventures, you will occasionally encounter magic trees that grow magic fruits, or you can find hidden Illusion Gem mines. That’s why the adventurer groups are extremely domineering on the Greater Trade Routes! They take up over 60%!”

“Heavens!” Suo Jia stared in shock at the bearded man. He found it very hard to believe that most of the people on the Greater Trade Routes were adventurer groups. Out of every 10 groups, 6 would be adventurer groups!

Suo Jia asked questioningly, “Why is it so disproportional? If that were true, what exactly are the statistics for the types of groups on the Greater Trade Routes?”

“Hmm…” After pondering it for a bit, the bearded man firmly stated, “Out of a total of 10 groups, 6 of them are adventurer groups, 3 of them are thief groups, and the last 10% are mercenary groups, knight groups, and others.”

“Heavens!” Suo Jia couldn’t help but gasp at the man’s words. Wasn’t that too overboard? Adventurer and thief groups actually took up 90%, and the remaining were all mercenary, merchant, and stuff like knight groups!

Suo Jia tentatively asked, “Um…can I ask something? How many merchant groups are on the Greater Trade Routes?”

“Merchant group!” The bearded man looked at Suo Jia in astonishment and confusion, “How could merchant groups appear on the Greater Trade Routes? Those that are able to reach here are all burly old lords, all warriors. Who would go and become a merchant! Would a good merchant have the qualifications to visit here?”

Suo Jia wordlessly looked at the bearded man, and after a long time, bitterly smiled, “How could there be none. We’re a merchant group!”

“That…” The bearded man was covered with cold sweat as he replied with difficulty, “Hehe…that’s really rare. I’ve been moving around the Greater Trade Routes for nearly 3 years, but this is the first time I’ve met…oh, no! This is the first time I’ve ever heard of a merchant group here.”

The bearded man lightly patted Suo Jia’s shoulders, and after some hesitation, firmly declared, “Brother, you still have the time to change it now. You can immediately request the relay station to send a letter back to Loze City, and you can change it. Let me tell you, the Greater Trade Routes is vast, but sparsely populated. There isn’t much business you can do. It’s best if you don’t bother wasting your time.”

The bearded man gave one last pat and then turned around to leave. Suo Jia could only blankly stare at the man’s back. After a long while, Suo Jia firmly curled his hands into fists. No matter what, he wouldn’t change from his original intention. With effort, one could achieve anything. If there were people, there were markets. If there were markets, there was business. Looking at it….the name was Greater Trade Routes, so how could one not be a merchant?

After several days, Suo Jia organized everyone’s information. Just like previously stated, majority of them were adventurer groups. They had pretty much probed out and memorized where villages and special products were at the previous 3 checkpoints.

Why did these guys work together and honestly announce their information? It was because even if they wanted to lie, they didn’t dare to. As an adventurer group, they needed to find a certain objective at each checkpoint to have the qualifications. Although each group received a different target to search for, there were always some repeats. Once one lied, it would immediately be identified.

Having received the other party’s money as well as the information they’d painstakingly gathered and organized, it was naturally Suo Jia’s turn to help them. During the next week, Suo Jia went back and forth six times. Once all the adventurers that had been blocked off at the relay station had been escorted to the edge of Tagan Desert, everything else was up to them.

After sending off every single person, the village returned to its previous peacefulness. This kind of environment was indeed very comforting and cozy, but it definitely didn’t suit Xiang Yun, Roger, and Nicole for long. They each urged Suo Jia to hurry up and continue onwards on their journey.

Although they had already stepped into the beginning of the Greater Trade Routes, they were strictly speaking not yet at the starting point. If they wanted to see the wonders of the Greater Trade Routes, they had to leave the relay station and head forwards.

However, Suo Jia rejected their pleas, and chose to temporarily live at the relay station. He even repeatedly warned Xiang Yun and Roger to properly revise their fighting skills, and not just constantly think about going to experience some kind of landscape.

After making arrangements for the three of them, Suo Jia called Nicole over. As he flipped through the information and data left behind from those guys, Nicole was trying to draw a map based on the information.

The Greater Trade Routes actually did have a map,Nicole had one in her hands. However, that was drawn by her predecessor. Everyone knew that human ability had its limits after all. Drawing it too detailed was definitely impossible.

However, it was different now. With the help of those hundreds of groups, Suo Jia had pretty much gathered all information and news about the first three checkpoints. What Suo Jia needed to do now was to portray it onto a detailed map of the Greater Trade Routes. Each village, specialized place, and representative locations were marked.

After wasting an entire month, Suo Jia finally completed the map markings of the first three checkpoints. As long as he had this map, he’d be able to investigate the sources of any special products, minerals, and even precious items. This was too important to a merchant.

A month later, when Xiang Yun and Roger were on the verge of just storming out, Suo Jia finally announced that they could head out. After simply organizing their things, they bid farewell to the administration head at the relay station, that old man, and finally took their first official step on their journey.

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