Chapter 612: Experience in Thurii (I)
At this moment, Genta became discouraged, his face turning pale while trembling. At a loss, he said, “This…what should I do? Should we return…with our livestock?! These are all good cattle and sheep who drank mountain springs and ate fresh and tender grasses. But after walking for ten days, their fat had almost disappeared, and their meat became firmer; the only ones that survived until now are all very healthy cattle and sheep!”
Garni could no longer stop himself from asking the young man to help Genta. After all, he got along well with these Potentian herdsmen these past two days, “Is there any way for them to sell their livestock? Is there only choice to bring these animals back to Potentia again?”
In fact, the young man had already thought about it, so he ordered a slave to inspect the cattle and sheep by touching and pinching them, causing them to cry.
After a while, the dusty slave came and nodded toward the young man, causing the young man’s expression to relax. Afterwards, he said to the uneasy Genta, “These cattle and sheep are of good quality! Do you know Cheiristoya’s Restaurant?”
Genta’s eyes brighten up. How could he not know about the Cheiristoya Restaurant, famous in the western Mediterranean, located in all cities of Theonia, and had caused the value of cattle and sheep to double? If he could sell his livestock in Cheiristoya Restaurant, it would definitely be an honour for any herdsman, so he asked anxiously, “Can you contact Cheiristoya Restaurant?”
The young man didn’t answer and instead said, “Lead your livestock to the Tiro River while I send my slave to inform the head of Cheiristoya Restaurant to inspect them. I believe he will buy them because they are of good quality.”
“O Asinu! Thank you! Thank you so much!” Genta became overjoyed that he repeatedly thanked him. He didn’t expect much from this young man, yet he unexpectedly gave him a surprise.
“Hey Genta, do you just believe this boy’s words? What if he is just tricking you so he could buy our livestock cheaply!” A Potentian herdsman warned loudly.
“Shut up! He is sincerely helping us, yet you say such hurtful words! Apologise to him quickly, or I will kick you out of our team!” Genta said furiously.
But before the herdsman could do anything, the young man already said loudly, “You can go to the market first to ask, and then go with my slave to Cheiristoya Restaurant. From Cheiristoya Restaurant’s usual operation, they will never buy your livestock at below the market price!”
After saying these words, the young man’s face was still flushed, so Genta hurriedly said, “Don’t take that idiot’s nonsense seriously; we absolutely believe you! Since Cheiristoya Restaurant would be our future patron, I’d better go with your slave to show them our respect.”
The young man began somewhat regretting saying those words as he recalled what his father had told him, ‘In whatever situation, you must learn to remain calm as much as possible so that you can make the correct response.’ After slowly calming down, he heard Genta’s words as it became somewhat clear to him that Genta was, in fact, suspicious of him. Although he was a bit annoyed, he still controlled his emotion and nodded in agreement.
Then the group continued to head eastward along the main road and soon came near the big river.
“Woa, this stone pillar is so high! There is even a statue on it!” amazement filled the Samnites’ faces as they looked at the towering memorial pillar in front of them.
“That is the Pillar of Victory. More than ten years ago, Davos, the current king of Theonia, was only a leader of a Greek mercenary. At that time, the coalitions of Lucanian tribes invaded Thurii in hordes and defeated Thurii’s army. But when they were about to take over this fertile land, King Davos led a far smaller number of mercenaries than the Lucanian coalition-” Genta pointed at the vast river bank to his left and said with a somewhat mixed expression, “…and wiped out nearly 10,000 Lucanian warriors. It was said that Lucanians’ blood stained the river red, and corpses of Lucanian warriors floated on the surface…after losing this battle so badly, the coalition of Lucanian tribes collapsed…and King Davos rose to fame and eventually established the mighty kingdom of Theonia of today! And at the top of the Pillar of Victory is the statue of King Davos…”
Genta’s tone still contained regrets about the rapid decline of the former coalition of Lucanian tribes. Although the young man beside him was long familiar with the history, hearing it from others still filled his face with pride.
After listening, the Samnites laughed and said, “Even though the other side has more people, they still got slaughtered by enemies with fewer numbers. That just shows that you Lucanians aren’t strong, while if it were us, the Samnites, we would never-”
“Tatoni!” Garni glared at him fiercely to stop him from making a fool of themselves, ‘Although the Lucanians lost badly, the Samnites aren’t much better! Over 20,000 men, yet they didn’t even fight a single battle and lost in just one night, which is laughable!’
“Peace is better, and avoid war as long as we can. Is your life better or worse now that Lucania hadn’t had a war for ten years?” The young man chimed in at the right moment.
“It is naturally much better!” Genta became a bit emotional and not out of any desire to please the young man, “If it were ten years ago, I would never have thought that I would travel with the Samnites, drink water and chat like today!”
Garni was also touched.
Suddenly, a Samnite loudly said, “Chieftain, what are they doing?”
Following the place he pointed, they could see a long line of people queuing up in front of the river bank that stretches to a massive white building on the other side of the river. A lot of people would flock to Thurii from all directions on the eve of Hades’ Day, and only a few would leave, but the long line ahead was heading in the exact opposite direction of those bustling roads towards the city of Thurii, which is why the Samnites were curious.
“That’s the famous hot spring bath of Thurii.” At his men’s reminder, Garni seemed to have gone back a few years ago when they took him to Thurii. Back then, he hadn’t expected to be treated with hospitality, soaking in hot springs, tasting delicious food, watching the games and listening to the plays…for several months, during which he was also treated to the hospitality of King Davos at his palace on several occasions, “…it is a hot spring for you to take a bath on and a specially trained slave could massage you to remove your fatigue. I also heard bathing in hot springs is good for your health, so the Theonians like to come here often…”
The Samnites became interested when they heard their chieftain’s description, especially as the sweat and dush accumulated on their bodies over the past ten days, making them feel itchy, “Chieftain, why don’t we also go inside and take a bath?!”
“You have to pay to take a bath inside, and each person has to pay an obol.” Genta reminded as he had a general understanding of the economic situation of these Samnites, so he didn’t think they would be willing to pay for a bath.
Garni didn’t know there was a need to pay money here because a special Theonian civil servant accompanied him at that time. Although it is only an obol, he had around 60 men, so he had to pay ten drachmaes for this bath, which was too much for him.
Just as he was about to refuse, the young man interjected, “Once you have arrived at your accommodation and settled in, I will bring you here at dusk today for a nice hot bath to wash away the dust and fatigue so that you could be energetic for the Hades’ Day and the Rugby championship.”
As soon as the young man said those words, the Samnites cheered. When the young man came to welcome them, these brave Samnites didn’t pay attention to him, who was like a child. But with his gentleness, he managed to win them over by offering them a drink of water, and he was now taking them to a hot spring bath, which made them feel even better, so they all came over to hug him and thank him.
Seeing that, the young man’s slave became slightly nervous but soon relaxed as they saw the young man talking and laughing with the Samnites.
Further east, after passing the confluence of the Tiro and Cosceli rivers, they saw a ‘city’ surrounded by a five-metre-high stone wall with towers in the stone wall, a sentry tower behind the wall, a wide moat and a drawbridge in front of the wall. And at the top of the wall were teams of fully armed soldiers patrolling.
“Is this Thurii?” The Samnites and some of the Potentian herdsmen curiously asked because they couldn’t see any people going to the city.
“This is the military camp of Thurii. It is where the First, Second, and reserve legions of Theonia train during peacetime.” The young man explained.
“Is this just a military camp?!!” The Samnites and the Potentian herdsmen stared with suspicion. After all, this place looks much bigger and sturdier than the cities of Abellinum and Potentia. Yet it is actually just a place used by the Theonians to train their soldiers?!
“This is indeed Thurii’s camp!” Garni understood their confusion. After all, he was also shocked when he first saw that a few years ago. So during the months, he spent in Thurii, he asked the staff to show him around. There, he saw the training of the Theonian legion soldiers with his own eyes, which truly shocked him: Actual fighting in formation, siege drills, guerrilla attacks and defence in the mountains, offensive and seizing locations in the rivers, camp constructions…the whole camp and its surroundings were like a real battlefield!