The group of thieves was hesitating and only then they linked Noah's unusual presence with the academy's entrance test.
They weren't sure that they could gain anything using forceful methods.
The cultivator that seemed in the lead stepped further and slightly bowed.
"If you can give my brothers fifteen pieces of gold, I will gladly be your guide."
'So, they finally understood something.'
Noah oscillated his weapon in the air and pointed at it with his free hand.
"You still have to tell me how much this is worth."
The leader looked at it from the distance for a bit and then answered.
"I'm not an expert, but its value should be around five pieces of gold."
'I have more than thirty of these which makes it one hundred and fifty gold.'
He thought for a few seconds and then nodded.
The leader was about to cheer when Noah continued.
"However, you will receive the payment after you help me sell my items."
The leader complained but Noah jumped at high speed and appeared in front of him.
No one of the men saw him moving, his speed was too fast for these common people.
He tossed the weapon to one of the men nearby.
"Take this as a warranty. You, let's move."
Noah pointed at the leader and moved past the blockage.
The men looked at each other for a moment and then the leader followed behind the young man.
They walked for three days, resting only at night.
In the afternoon of the third day, they reached the market area on the mountain.
"This is Toottac town, young master. The market is the main form of sustenance of the city and many merchants had set up their stands in this period due to the academy's test. You might not know but many nobles will make a trip here before the test begins."
In the previous days, Noah had briefly spoken with the tall man in order to learn more information about that area and to set some rules for their interaction.
The man's name was Grant and Noah didn't reveal anything about his situation but simply ordered to be referred to as "young master".
Grant also explained the general situation of the area, focusing on the large-size noble family that ruled Ebonrest city.
The family was called Voydol and apparently, it had a really amicable relationship with the Elbas dynasty, which was the reason why one of the test areas was there.
"Why didn't they put their stands directly in Ebonrest city? This is just a peripherical city after all, how could they attract the noble families here?"
Grant's answer was immediate.
"Young master, Ebonrest city will be completely reserved for the preparations of the Royal family. In this period of time, all the main shops in the city had moved here. It is common knowledge among the noble houses by now."
Grant then realized that he might have inadvertently offended him but it seemed that the young man didn't even listen to him.
'Nobles... I bet that many of them will create problems for the lonely cultivators like me.'
The test was a matter of personal ability but that wouldn't stop the families behind the participants to scheme before its beginning.
He was familiar with the mindset of the nobles so he could vaguely imagine the methods that they would use to increase the advantages of their descendants.
'I bet that they will at least try to eliminate as many variables as they can. I don't believe that they will simply let someone with no status take the first place in the trial. They would lose too much face.'
Noah turned toward Grant.
"Am I right to assume that even the families that will buy their ingress will send their descendants into the trial?"
"Yes, not only they will spare an immense quantity of resources if the heir succeeds, but they would also want to show the strength of their new generations. It is a demonstration of the future power of their family after all."
Noah returned to look at the town.
Its perimeter was empty, with just some lazy guard drinking wine on tables near the path.
However, Noah could sense the liveliness of the city in its insides.
He stopped thinking about things he could not control and moved along the path, Grant hastily followed behind.
When they were about to enter the boundary though, one of the guards yelled from his seat.
"Hey, you two! The ingress to the town is one piece of gold each! Don't make me st-"
His words were interrupted by a metallic item that crashed on the table and directly broke it in pieces.
All the guards there stood up scared and looked at the weapon.
It was an ax of excellent manufacture, they knew that its value surpassed five pieces of gold.
They turned to look at the two men walking down the city path.
The hooded one was already walking past the entrance while the tall one was awkwardly scratching his head, making a bow in excuse.
"I'm sorry but the young master is tired, I hope that the ax can cover for the damage and our ingress."
One of the guards slowly nodded, a cold drop of sweat ran down his forehead.
Grant bowed again and followed Noah that was already far ahead in the city.
The guards looked at each other and whispered.
"I think we should go easy on the wine in this period."
"Agreed, if we offend someone with an even worse temper, I believe that we could really get unlucky."
"Yes, yes, wise words. If we are drunk and a noble gets annoyed by us, we are done for."
From that day onward, the guards of Toottac town were never found drunk again.
Meanwhile, Noah continued to walk rapidly toward the stands that became visible in the distance.
He threw the weapon as a show of strength, he knew that there would usually be an inspection every time a stranger entered a town so he decided to act as an irritated noble.
As for the money loss, he really couldn't care less if that granted him anonymity.