--Riverdale City, Arcadina--
Gathered within a large dining hall, where Marder Shannon, City Lord Sanders... and their men.
They had just had servings of Ramen noodles mixed with some canned tuna from Baymard, while sipping on some cool beverages.
The meal had truly made their taste buds tingle for more.... while the drinks, which had been placed in cold stream water, made their whole insides fizzle in joy.
Dinner time was over, and now.... it was time to get down to business.
"Once again, I welcome you all into my home."
"You are too humble City Lord Marder.
Instead, we should be the ones thanking you for giving us a roof over our heads.
So, back to business..... I have heard a great deal about this place.
From the buildings, to how the people lived.
And even though they have no knight academy there... the few knights that they do have, all seemed to be well trained knights.
For this operation to be successful, we need enough people and enough resources on our sides.
So tell me... how many men do you have for this operation?"
"6,000 my Lord."
Previously, Marder would've thought that this amount was enough to deal with Baymard.
But that was before he stepped into the city himself.
Hearing about it, and seeing it for himself... were 2 completely different things.
When he had listened to the stories from his men, he felt like that number would be enough.
But after visiting the newly established empire, he couldn't help but feel a little intimidated.
Something kept nagging at the back of his mind that this number was nothing at all.
He didn't know why he felt like that... but he just did.
Call it fear, instincts or whatever... but he knew that he needed at least double the amount he had on hand, to successfully take down these Baymardians.
So.... all this time, he had been searching for an ally to aid him in his quest.
Even if he had to give these allies a certain share of Baymard, he didn't mind, as he felt that it was better than fighting a losing battle.
Of course, one of the important criterias for choosing any ally... was that they weren't supposed to be close to Baron Cain or his other enemies.
He had searched for potential allies for several months before stumbling upon city lord Sanders.
His spies around Sanders' territory had reported some of Sanders' plans to him.
Hence he had sent a letter to Sanders, and the rest was history.
For Sanders, he didn't mind working with Marder.... as he felt like he could use the boy as a means to further ensure his victory over Baymard.
Again, he also felt like the Marder was someone he could squash at any time if need be.
So rather than working with allies who were too powerful.... working with a B-grade one was way better.
As those ag A+ grades typically double-crossed each other once the whole show was done.
Sure, his plan was to double cross his ally, as he wanted the entire Baymard to himself.
But for that to work, only newly appointed power holders would be easy to deceive.
"6000 men...Hm..... ... not bad.
And you say that another 1000 should be arriving sometime within this week?" Sanders asked curiously, while intensively eyeing Marder.
"That is correct Lord Sanders..... this is all I have on hand at the moment." Marder replied calmly.
In truth, he had a total of 13,071 men already.
But how could he use up all his men just for this battle?
Before he was made city lord, his father had secretly given him 3025 men.
And after he was made city lord, by Arcadinian rule, he got another 6000 again.
But when his father died, all his father's men had suddenly vanished or died.... so he had lost the privilege of inheriting all his father's men.
So he was only left with 9,025 men.... which was a minute amount for most city lords, as they usually had several hidden camps around as well.
Hence within these past 7 months, he had been recruiting, kidnapping and trapping several peasants... as well as recruiting slave knights who had been captured and sold after losing a war or battle.
So in addition to what he previously had..... as of today, he had a total of 13,071 men.
But he only decided to use 7,000 for this battle.
"If you don't mind me asking my lord..... but he many men do you have too?" Marder asked as well.
"Hm.... well, I've brought in 9,000 men for this battle.
That should be enough right?"
"My lord..... it's more than enough!!!!" Marder said excitedly.
With this number, Baymard would definitely be theirs.
Now, they had a total of 16,000 knights.
"My lord.... you had also mentioned that you brought in a lot of snow powder?
"Yes.... a few of my alchemists, had created it a while back.
In total, we brought over 52 barrels of snow powder for the operation."
Everyone from Marder's side, including Marder himself..... looked open their eyes wide from shock.
He actually brought over such a ridiculous amount?
Wasn't that a little too much?
One had to know that with all his money at hand, Marder would only be able to afford at most 6 barrels.
But.... this guy could actually bring 52?
Of course Marder know that it was all thanks to the alchemists.
But that in itself still showed how rich Sanders was.
He personally didn't have any alchemists to himself, as keeping just a single one on payroll, while requesting for their absolute loyalty.... would cause him a hefty amount, which wasn't something he could afford now.
But Sanders had not 1, but several alchemists all to himself.
This alone made Marder and his men look at Sanders with a little reverence.
Thinking about the snow powder, Marder couldn't help but grin widely.
With this amount on hand, how could they loose?
He had gone to Baymard, and had never seen or heard of snow powder there.
So he was certain that once they rained their arrows of snow powder onto the Baymardians, their visitors would definitely be ensured.
"As per our agreement, once this is all over... we'll share each district within the city equally, Right?"
"Of course....I'm a man of my word lord Marder.
I would never go back on my words."
--District I, Coastal Region, The Empire of Baymard--
Nature was at its playful stage during these last few days.... as the flowers began to bloom, the butterflies fluttered about joyfully, and the greenness of the grass was soon echoed out by the trees.
The early sunlight was soft and mild... as it gave off some warmth towards the Hertfilian grounds.
Within the Coastal region... The ocean's breeze gently whispered, as it sang its usual lullaby for all to hear.
The cold drought of air, whirled the waves together, bringing in the ocean's salty taste to one's tongue.
On the beautiful harbor that seemed to stretch further into the ocean..... one could see several ships lined up in an organized manner, around the harbor, as if it were a car park.
Of course while some ships stayed emotionless... others soon took off from the harbor, while others approached it instead..
On the harbor.... one would be able to find several staff members dressed in uniform, who were either aiding in welcoming or sending off visitors.
"Dear guests, thank you for staying in Baymard.
We hope that your trip here was satisfactory.
Have a nice day, and a safe trip back.
We look forward to seeing you again.... Bye...."
"Welcome to Baymard dear guests... please follow me, and I'll show you where you can check-in."
Of course... not all the staff had to send off, greet or lead the staff towards the Coastal port.
Some were in charge of transporting cargo, while others aided in untying the ropes that acted as anchors.
The entire region was bustling with activity, as everyone went about their day busily.
On the harbor, 3 massive ships soon approached the dock.
Very quickly, several staff members rushed over to assist those on board.
The ships were anchored in place within Harbor Stations 92, 96 and 97.
The ship was docked, and soon..... a large board was placed between the harbors dock point and the ship's entrance/exit.
The cargo was brought out and placed on several massive baggage trolleys.
And soon, when everyone on board was good to go.... they quickly headed out in one go.
'Din! Din! Din! Din! Din!'
They moved uniformly, as they all walked calmly around their leader while stepping into the harbor.
"Welcome to Baymard esteemed guests.
Your luggage has been secured, and you are all set to go.
All check-ins will be carried out within the Coastal Port.
My name is Sheila, and if this is your first time in Baymard, then I will be your guide for today.
So how can I address you Miss?"
"You may call me Penelope.