Chapter 1823 – Setting up a Trade Route
“Setting up a trade route?” Senior Administrator Elk was surprised when he saw the black iron token in Shi Feng’s hand. He then warned Shi Feng, “Lord Protector, although you have a Caravan Guard Order and indeed qualify to set up a trade route to a town, I must warn you that it is not such an easy task. The cost involved is astronomical. Moreover, since you are setting up a trade route to Star-Moon Kingdom’s capital city, not only will the cost be much higher, but the risks are also significant. If you abandon the operation before it is complete, this Caravan Guard Order will become useless.”
“I understand. However, I am confident in securing a trade route to Silverwing Town,” Shi Feng said, nodding.
He knew what it meant to set up a trade route. After all, he had done so many times during his previous life.
If a Guild Town wanted to become more attractive to NPC merchants and increase the town’s development speed, it had to have trade routes. Once the trade routes were in place, the town would acquire another benefit; the town in question would gain priority over rare items that NPC merchants transported. In addition, NPC merchants that used the trade route would pay the town a usage fee.
While these privileges might not seem like much, they would become a neutral town’s main income source before it became a city.
As a town’s Popularity increased, more NPC merchants would visit it. Even ordinary NPCs that used the trade routes would have to pay a usage fee. The trade route would become a safe path to the town and would include high-tiered NPCs to escort visiting and departing NPCs. Not even Level 100 players would dare to ambush such a trade route.
Although the usage fee was only 80 Coppers per NPC, if 100,000 NPCs used the trade route each day, the trade route would generate 800 Gold each day. Moreover, this was only one trade route. As the ruling Guild set up more trade routes, the town would generate more income.
However, players could only set up trade routes for neutral towns. This function was not available for Guild Towns in kingdoms and empires. This function was only available to Intermediate Towns and above, as well.
In addition, the number of NPCs that visited a Guild Town via the trade route would depend on the NPC city the town was connected to. The more prosperous the NPC city was, the more NPC visitors a Guild Town would see. If players set up a trade route to a capital city, it was almost guaranteed that their Guild Town would see 100,000 to 200,000 visiting NPCs every day. If the trade route were connected to an ordinary NPC city, the town would only receive around 20,000 to 50,000 NPCs. However, the more prosperous an NPC city was, the more difficult it would be to set up a trade route.
Aside from a revenue source, trade routes were a good method for players to acquire rare resources.
Not all of an NPC merchant caravan’s goods were available to players. A considerable portion would be reserved for other NPCs. Normally, players weren’t allowed to purchase these items, but if a Guild Town had priority over NPC merchants’ goods, not only would the town’s owner have access to rare items for players, but they’d also have access to NPC reserved items.
Many of the NPC reserved items were materials that were very difficult to purchase via the player market. Sometimes, NPCs even sold large quantities of Magic Crystals. Only, they cost significantly more than the market price. Even so, this was a valuable opportunity for Guilds. While it was easy to convert Magic Crystals into Coins, the opposite wasn’t. This was especially true with a large stock of Magic Crystals.
However, NPCs were different from players. NPCs had a much easier time acquiring Magic Crystals because NPCs occupied most ore veins that were capable of producing Magic Crystals and within kingdoms and empires’ borders. It was fairly normal to find NPCs who sold Magic Crystals carrying a stock of 5,000 to 10,000. On the other hand, one would be hard- pressed to purchase 5,000 to 10,000 Magic Crystals from players.
NPC merchants occasionally sold rare Advanced Designs, as well. Although these designs would similarly be overpriced, their rarity made the cost worth it. After all, it was almost impossible to purchase Advanced Designs from other players.
If one were extremely lucky, they could even find NPC merchants that sold Fragmented Legendary items or clues leading to such treasures. Although such occurrences were ridiculously rare, based on player-collected statistics, the more NPCs merchants that visited a Guild Town, the higher the ruling Guild’s chances were of finding an NPC that carried such items and clues.
Naturally, every clue that led to a Fragmented Legendary item was extremely valuable.
Since there was a possibility to acquire Fragmented Legendary items, Shi Feng wouldn’t miss the opportunity. Since players in the past hadn’t often spoken about how they had acquired their Fragmented Legendary items, Shi Feng knew very few methods to do so. In fact, most players wouldn’t even reveal the fact that they owned a Fragmented Legendary item. Hence, Shi Feng only knew about the relatively famous Fragmented Legendary items. However, the methods of acquiring those items were incredibly demanding, so he couldn’t hunt them down at this stage of the game.
“Since you understand the risks involved, that is fine. If you wish to set up a trade route to Silverwing Town, it will cost you a base fee of 10,000 Gold and 5,000 Magic Crystals. As you possess an ordinary Caravan Guard Order, you are only allowed to form a 100-man team. The team will require a minimum of one Advanced Magician to carve magic arrays on the route to repel monsters,” Senior Administrator Elk explained. “Lord Protector, may I know if you will need me to introduce you to some mercenaries to accompany on your journey?”
“Of course,” Shi Feng said, nodding.
The Caravan Guard Order was a trigger to activate the special quest for setting up a trade route. While Shi Feng could rely on players to complete this quest, he could also enlist the help of the Adventurer’s Association’s mercenaries.
At this stage of the game, NPC mercenaries were undoubtedly much stronger than players. Hence, players that acquired a Caravan Guard Order at this stage of the game would generally hire mercenaries to aid them. Unfortunately, the price was quite high. In the past, some Guilds had tried to save money, confident that their members would be strong enough to handle the task.
However, while Zero Wing’s main force was very powerful, the trade route he wanted to establish required crossing the border into the Ore Empire. When establishing a trade route, the system would occasionally send monsters to interfere. These monsters would be 15 levels higher than the local monsters, and many of the Ore Empire’s monsters were Level 60 or higher. In that case, the interfering monsters would be Level 75 and above once he entered the empire. These monsters were too high of a level for Zero Wing’s main force members at this time, so they weren’t suitable for this quest.
“Alright. Here is a list of mercenaries willing to undergo this challenge with you, Lord Protector,” Elk said before handing Shi Feng a list.
The quest to set up a trade route was very special and very dangerous. Players couldn’t simply hire whatever NPC mercenaries they wished. The available mercenaries would depend on the player’s status in the Adventurer’s Association. The higher one’s status was, the more NPC mercenaries they could choose from for the operation.
Amazing! Four-star treatment in the Adventurer’s Association is really a great help when setting up a trade route. Shi Feng could not help his surprise when he read the list
During his previous life, he had only been able to recruit three-star, Tier 2 NPCs at best. As a result, he had struggled to set up trade routes for Shadow’s neutral towns. Now, however, even two-star, Tier 3 NPCs had applied to join his quest, not to mention three-star, Tier 2 NPCs. He had to admit that the Spirit Slayer Advanced Title came with some awesome benefits.
Without hesitation, Shi Feng spent over 15,000 Gold to hire 97 mercenaries, spending almost every Coin he had on hand. The weakest mercenaries he hired were Level 80, three-star, Tier 2 NPCs, with the strongest being Level 83, two-star, Tier 3 NPCs. Overall, his team had 15 Tier 3 NPCs.
After Shi Feng handled the necessary procedures and learned how to draw the necessary Advanced Magic Array, he summoned the Level 85 Anna and Level 83 Kite. With 97 other NPCs in tow, he grandly departed Star-Moon City, riding Secret-Silver Transport Carriages.
The Secret-Silver Transport Carriages were an extraordinary sight to behold. Five-meter-tall Lightning-horned Earth Dragons pulled the carriages behind them. The Earth Dragons themselves were Great Lords, and watching the caravan move down the city streets was spectacular.
“What’s going on? Is the city hosting some kind of event?”
“That’s not it! Look! The lead transport carriage’s driver is a player! Could this be a player-triggered event?”
“That player is wearing Zero Wing’s Guild Emblem!”
“Zero Wing is so awesome! It can actually produce such powerful carriages?”
Crap! There are over ten Tier 3 NPCs in the caravan! This is ridiculous!”