Chapter 248: Trap and Honor
Translator: WQL Editor: DarkGem
The boisterous atmosphere in Blapei because of the beer festival was almost out of Zhang Tie's imagination. Walking through the streets, he could see many people in holiday clothes surrounding the teams of festooned vehicles which were heading downtown. Those festooned vehicles came from all the suburban areas around Blapei. Additionally, many communities and business groups downtown also organized festooned vehicles to parade through the streets. Some were even matched with bands and dressed clowns walking on stilts. The festooned vehicles passed by with flying colorful ribbons and flags.
When Zhang Tie came to a populated place, he saw beautiful women displaying themselves by constantly sending air kisses in all directions and tossing great amounts of petals. Some of them were even tossing small trinkets like locusts woven from wheat straws, which made the surrounding kids reach to grab them.
Beer brewing workshops, roadside bars, and beer hotels in Blapei pushed out many competitions. As a result, the whole city became extremely boisterous.
Among the various competitions, the most common one was beer drinking in a limited amount of time that anyone could participate in at the cost of only one silver coin. The final winner would have a chance to win a bonus besides tasting many kinds of beer for free.
Zhang Tie had intended to push into the civic square to watch the Competition for the title of Beer Queen. However, because the area around the civic square was the most boisterous place today, when Zhang Tie was two blocks away from the civic square, the road became so crowded that he could not even move. Even if he tried for the two other directions, the dense population still held him back like a flesh wall. After pushing for ten minutes, Zhang Tie still had not moved even ten meters forward.
In the crowded streets, women screams could be heard from time to time, someone having stealthily touched their bodies.
Seeing what was happening around him, Zhang Tie had no other choice but to stop. If Hanna became this year's Beer Queen, he would learn of it at night. Each year, after the Beer Queen was selected, she would gain a great bonus and an imperial crown. The Beer Queen would sit on a special festooned vehicle and travel across Blapei.
For women in Blapei, Beer Queen was almost the highest praise and the most brilliant honor that they could gain in their whole lives. The selection of the Beer Queen was the start of the climax of the entire beer festival and carnival of Blapei. However, according to the customs, the Beer Queen could not be selected until the dusk fell and torches were ignited.
Zhang Tie really wanted to see how Hanna looked when she was selected as the Beer Queen. Since that cute girl had brought him so much happiness these days. he hoped that today could be the happiest day in her life. Zhang Tie didn't know the quality of the other women's beers as he was a layman about beer, but seeing her family members, the village head, the villagers of Chevli village becoming so confident about her, he also became confident of her success.
Old Harley casually mentioned that he slept very well after drinking two glasses of beer that Hanna had brewed using that marvelous yeast. These years, as he was growing old, he usually coughed at night. However, it was very strange last night as he didn't cough at all. Until this morning, he was still highly spirited.
Although others didn't put much weight on what old Harley had said, Zhang Tie bore it in mind as he remembered that when he had health problems or felt uncomfortable at a young age such as coughing or catching cold, his mom would always feed him the fruit yeast solution which was used to make the rice brew. It was very marvelous. Each time he drunk that, his health would become much better, so Zhang Tie had not gone for a doctor since he was young, neither did he suffer from any big disease while those small problems could be solved at home.
Perhaps the yeast could extract the substances from plants that were beneficial to people's health. Benefiting from this, old Harley slept quite well last night. Thinking this, after Zhang Tie came back to his residence last night, he ate two fruits to enhance his real strength. Additionally, he also took a look at those vats of fruit yeast solution that he had brewed in the lab of the Castle of Black Iron.
He had brewed too much, and the craftsmanship that he used to brew the fruit yeast fluid was obviously different from one used to brew beer. After a month, the fruits in the solution had not been completely decomposed. It meant that it would take a longer time for the yeast fluid to complete its final fermentation. However, the fragrance from the vats of yeast fluid had already filled the air, making him intoxicated.
The beer brewed from the yeast that only had one third of the properties of the basic aura yeast was great to drink, so the original basic aura yeast should be even more outstanding.
As for why the fluid fermented by yeast would have so many marvelous functions, Zhang Tie could not figure it out due to the limited knowledge that he had received since he was born.
Zhang Tie was thinking that perhaps he should go to the private library once again today to read a few more books and have a good study on the functions of yeast as the beer that Hanna had brewed using his yeast had made him realize that such trivial things might be very useful in the future.
The parading festooned vehicles parked in the afternoon in every street of Blapei. They became mobile stalls for selling beer and roasted meat. Zhang Tie then spent three silver coins to drink a few glasses of beer and eat some roasted meat in a festooned vehicle, accompanied by beautiful and passionate girls of Blapei who danced happily in the melodious music of a violin.
In such a boisterous and happy atmosphere, Zhang Tie really didn't want to wear his military uniform and return to the No. 9 Equipment Center and face a pile of worn-out machines. Right now he might as well do something else.
So after leaving the secret signal in the rendezvous point to Bilis, Zhang Tie came to the Grant's Library once again. He stayed in the retrieval area for two hours. Finally, he grew disappointed and left. Although there were some books on yeast, all of them were only related to beer brewing. No other aspects about yeast were mentioned in those books.
In such a private library, due to limited quantity of books, one could not usually find the knowledge that he truly needed. Perhaps he truly had really good luck last time.
After leaving the library, Zhang Tie soon arrived at the rendezvous point where he usually met Bilis.
As was expected, Bilis was already there.
"You're really responsive today, I thought you might not see my secret signal until night!" Zhang Tie leisurely told Bilis.
"I... I've been waiting for your news these days, so those guys even started to doubt the words that I told them several days ago!" Bilis seemed to be a bit nervous. "If you don't show up in a couple of days, I might not even dare to see them anymore!"
"Ho...ho..." Zhang Tie gave a smile. He also felt that Bilis was nervous. However, he didn't care about that as he guessed that he was nervous because he couldn't control those guys. "Don't worry, I will go see them with you today. I hope they can recognize me in this costume!"
Hearing Zhang Tie's words, Bilis let out a breath. "That's great! If you can show up in front of them, it will be more convenient for me to serve you from then on!"
"Where are they?"
"Some of them are at home; but as we often kill time in a billiard room in Xicheng District, many of them are also there today!"
"Well, I will go meet them then!"
Because of traffic control in Blapei today, with the exception of parading festooned vehicles and military vehicles, all other vehicles were forbidden to move on the roads downtown, so the two people could only go to that place on foot.
Compared to other places in Blapei, there seemed to be more poor people in Xicheng District. Buildings here were old. There were many slums and some factories. The coke-oven plants and the only steel plant in Blapei were also located in this district, so as one could imagine, the environment here was very bad.
Bilis guided Zhang Tie through the roads in the downtown area. Seeing the narrow and dirty lanes that he was walking through and the exceptionally less wealthy population which formed a sharp contrast with the boisterous atmosphere that he had seen, Zhang Tie slightly frowned. Many people here looked dumb, indifferent, grim and fierce, making him very uncomfortable.
"Do you usually stay here?"
"Yea, most of us do. This is the most chaotic area, this Xicheng District of Blapei. About two thirds of thieves, liars, rogues, rapists, prostitutes, jobless workers, low-level hatchet men, and drug addicts of the city live here. Previously, many criminals who were wanted by the Andaman Alliance also stayed here!" Bilis carefully answered.
Thinking of that night when Bilis and the other guys came to find him trouble for only two gold coins, Zhang Tie shook his head inside.
"Once you follow me, I promise you that you will soon leave this place and get to live a decent life!" Zhang Tie told Bilis very seriously.
Hearing Zhang Tie's words, Bilis suddenly slowed his speed, his shoulders and neck becoming stiff.
For some reason, since he entered this region, Zhang Tie felt like he was being watched. He glanced over all sorts of people who were silently looking at him from behind dim windows and doors and the prostitutes who had started to solicit trades under roadside lamps by leaning against dim wall corners at dusk. He then shook his head and forced a self-mocking smile. His clothes were truly not congruous with this place, so no wonder he would attract others' attention.
Bilis guided Zhang Tie into a beer hotel in a dim lane. The hotel had a very poor business with only a couple of people drinking beer inside. Zhang Tie glanced over the hotel and found nothing special.
"The billiard room is behind the hotel..."
Zhang Tie then followed Bilis into the billiard room which was made to entertain the guests of the hotel.
The size of the billiard room here was medium with 4-5 billiard tables inside, but for some reason, nobody was inside at all.
"Where are they? Can you wait here for a minute, please? Those guys might be hugging women upstairs. As they don't know you are here, I will call them downstairs!" Bilis said, lowering his head.
Zhang Tie nodded and Bilis left the billiard room. For some reason, Zhang Tie felt that the man was a bit flustered when he left.
After ten more seconds, Zhang Tie frowned as he felt that something was not right. Additionally, he smelt something bloody...
When Zhang Tie's face turned pale, with a loud "boom", a wall on the hotel's side was suddenly pushed down. The entire wall collapsed outward. Before Zhang Tie could make any response, a pile of people "flew" inside from the direction of the collapsed wall.
In this case, of course Zhang Tie instinctively avoided them. However, these people seemed weird as they all lay on the ground after "flying" inside...
They were not "flying" inside but being "thrown" inside. They were not live people but a pile of corpses in dark red military uniforms of the Norman Empire with various wounds on them. Strangely their faces felt familiar to Zhang Tie.
The fifteen corpses filled the whole billiard room at once. The nearest corpse was one meter away from Zhang Tie, face turned upward. Zhang Tie immediately recognized him-it was the guy who had beaten him and whom he had killed that night two week ago .
"We found the saboteurs of the Sun Dynasty!" someone loudly screamed outside.
Soon after that, many guys in red gloves rushed inside from the collapsed wall. With weapons in hands, they immediately surrounded Zhang Tie. Many red gloves then slashed towards the corpses on the ground and the surrounding walls and worn-out billiard tables. Some of them even slashed on themselves, none of the wounds fatal.
All of a sudden, the billiard room in the beer hotel seemed to have witnessed a fierce battle.
A red glove with silver hair then slowly walked out of the crowd gazing at Zhang Tie like how a wolf gazes at its prey.
"Major Franca, the remaining forces of the Sun Dynasty refused to be caught, so we've killed them all except for one person. When we rushed inside just now, this person was negotiating with these saboteurs of the Sun Dynasty. He was submitting an item to the saboteurs."
After his words, a red glove ranked first lieutenant searched out an item from a corpse lying on the ground and gave it to Major Franca.
That major then carefully unfolded that item with blood stains on it. He took a glance at it before facing Zhang Tie with a smile. "This item is the map containing the defenses of the Comprehensive Logistics Relief Base of Blapei and all the material warehouses. Who are you? How could you have this item?"
Hearing this, Zhang Tie knew that he was set up once again. The pit that he was in was bottomless...
"You bastard, motherf*cker!" Zhang Tie fiercely swore...
When Zhang Tie was surrounded by a group of red gloves, on the civic square of Blapei, after the afternoon's competition, the final result of the competition for the title of the Beer Queen was revealed: the winner today overwhelmed all her competitors and conquered all the 21 beer tasters from the Blapei Beer Industry Association.
Today, the civic square witnessed a miracle, a miracle that could make all the 21 beer tasters to vote for the same person without any hesitation. This had never happened in the history of Blapei. In the recent years, there was not even one woman who could gain more than half the votes from all the beer tasters and put on the crown of the Beer Queen of Blapei.
At this moment, in the center of the civic square, a single name gradually resonated. "Hanna... Hanna... Hanna..."
In the beginning, only a few people were shouting, but as time passed all the population in the square started repeating it while some of them even shouted loudly...
"Citizens of Blapei, please shout as you will, Blapei has its Beer Queen this year once again. This year's Beer Queen is Hanna. Hanna here brew the greatest beer in the history of Blapei. She conquered all the 21 honorable beer tasters..."
Tens of thousands of people started to cheer while many people from Chevli village were so excited that they even started to drop tears...