"Alright then, now we have to go to Donald's house; there you stay with the other kids and we adults will go to deal with Jon and his cronies" at that moment Meg who must have heard them said while coming out of the house with a Beast skin bag in her hand.
She was wearing her usual dress for hunting that was made of demon beast hide mostly covering her vital points and private parts and a Bow with a quiver full of arrows strung on her back. This with her tanned skin accentuated her wild side fully.
She also had a short sword on her waist dangling around as she walked. Jack who was already in his battle dress stood while picking his iron sword from his side. Alex too kept the Cultivation technique given by them in his bag which Aunt Meg had taken out.
Just as they were halfway to Donald's house they saw Joe running towards them hurriedly.
He quickly said "Jack that Jon ran away from the Village with his family and some of his trusted men about half an hour ago. A man in the village had seen them sneaking out of the village toward the city direction carrying bags. Donald is waiting for you at Jon's house right now."
"What? Why would he do that?" Jack quickly asked Joe while all three of them started hurrying with him to the center of the village where every previous Village Head's resided.
"He must have somehow gotten information about yours and Donald advancement which is why he would run away. "
"That can't be…" Jack couldn't find how he would have gotten to know that as they had made it very hard for anyone outside their group to know.
Reaching there, they saw Donald conversing with crowds of people gathered there with a dark look and a heavy frown on his face.
"Jack come here we got some serious issues now."
"Jon left a letter while leaving, read it." Donald said while giving him the paper.
"….It is saying that he is voluntarily giving up on the Village Head position and anyone with strength can take it. And also that he is leaving the village to work for Noble family of Jordan in the city….Doesn't this makes it easier for us now that he is gone?" Jack asked while passing the paper to Meg.
"No, instead it has made it impossible for not only us but anyone in the village to accept the position now, as it is no better than a hot potato?"
"Hot potato, Why's that?" This time it was Alex who asked the question.
Meg who was also listening to their conversation couldn't help but gasp while saying "AH, did he also take the tax collected for this month with him?"
Donald nodded "And there's only 6 days before deadline of this month. Anyone who even dare's to take the position would find himself dead if he could not fork out the money when the person of the lord comes to collect taxes."
"But can't we explain them that the previous village head ran away with the money?" Alex thought they would understand their situation.
"That won't do, because Lindon who comes to collect every time is very unreasonable, you may not know but there was one time when some powerful pirates had attacked the village to ransack, they took every penny, weapons and valuable material they could find. Fortunately they didn't kill many people then. After that when Lindon had come as usual to collect tax, even when he knew everything that happened, the village head before Jon was beheaded by him anyway and he even increased the tax after that as punishment. This time even if no one become the Village Head, that bastard would just make the strongest one here the Village Head and then kill him on the spot. Plus it is hard even now to pay tax and if he increases it again than half of the villagers will not be able to pay." Jack said grimly.
"If Jon really joins the Jordon Family then we can't even touch him not to mention he will bring us many future troubles." Meg also expressed her worry.
"Then why are we even giving them taxes if they don't even protect us like from those pirates." Alex found himself getting angry from shit logic of this world.
"The Lord only protects us from bandits on land, attacks from another city on this island and also from Noble families residing in the city so that they don't extend their power in Villages that come under the Lord. The pirates are not counted as it is very hard to even find them on the sea." Meg sighed while asking Donald for what to do next.
Other villagers were also distressed as they truly can't afford another increase in the taxes. Donald said while gritting his teeth
"Everyone, please take out any spare money you have now, we have to gather enough money and if we face this difficult time now, then it will only get better afterwards as I, Donald, will take the responsibility as the new Head of this village to do everything in my power to make the lives of fellow villagers better that it was before."
The villagers also quickly agreed as they knew about his character well so even though it will become difficult for them for the next three months they still agreed to take out their emergency money to pass this difficult time.
"Hah, Donald what have you done, you know if we can't gather enough than what will happen" Jack knew he couldn't stop his stubborn friend so he was the same. But he had to try to tell him the realility.
"Don't say anymore Jack, you know well that this happened because of us and even though we can also leave this village, the villagers here can't. I had to take this responsibility, plus don't we have 6 days left. Let's go and try to hunt as many Grade 5 Demon Beast we can and if possible than Grade 6 so that we can also ease their load. Theo you go and see how much the villagers can gather" Donald said quickly while sending Theo to collect money from villagers.
After 3 hours, they collected all the money they could from the villagers and also took out extra from their own savings while counting it in front of Donald's new house as the Village Head.
"The tax is 50 gold coins per month and we have only collected 29 gold coins even after we had added 15 gold coins we had saved it still not enough. There are 300 villagers residing here from which half of the people are mortal and can only contribute some coppers and silvers and the other half are cultivators ranging from Grade 1 to 6 but even then it's not enough. Tell every cultivator group who have not left to hunt yet to come here now."
Donald and Jack then sent cultivators to the forest in bigger group to hunt beast of their levels. But people at Grade 1 Body Tempering Realm were not included as they would only be killed out there instead they were told to take some miscellaneous tasks around market they could find to contribute some money. Of course not all the villagers were cooperating, but they were made to as Donald and Jack were more powerful than them.
There were outsider in the village like mercenaries guarding merchant caravan, rogue cultivators and other travelers but they don't have pay anything as they were not part of the village. There was no entrance tax in the village like in city as some of the outsiders are more powerful than people who stay here.
It might seem that if they hunt for 6 days they can gather enough money but actually it's not.
For example, a Demon Beast of same grade as cultivator is more powerful than the latter. So a higher grade cultivator will usually hunt lower grade demon beast than him. Even when fighting lower grade demon beast, because of some mistakes or other reasons a cultivator may get seriously injured or eve die. So there are Cultivators who forms small or large groups to easily hunt and to minimize risk but they can also expect same from demon beasts as some of them also comes in groups like pair of shadow leopard or a pack of grey wolves that can wipe a team of cultivators if their numbers are large.
Even if they hunt successfully, most of the money from selling the Demon Beast materials are used to treat wounds and also to purchase materials that helps in cultivating. A higher grade cultivator have to spend more money even if they hunt high grade demon beast because to progress in cultivation they need cultivating materials that are of higher grade. So the money that remains are divided into tax, daily expenses like repairing weapons and savings for future use which is none to very little.
In short, it will be very hard to gather remaining money in 6 days.
"Jack, we also have to go now." Said Donald while
Alex knew such basic things and that is why he requested his Uncle to also take him with them as he may be of some help and if he can find the thing which he needs from the Demon Beast then he can also take help from the Book.
If it was usual hunting then Jack would have taken Alex with him but they have to hunt higher grades Demon Beast today so it will be very risky to bring Alex with them.
"Jack, I think we can take him as you had already experienced his strength yesterday plus he is very sensible and won't make it difficult for us to hunt." Meg suggested.
"Alright, then you also come with us but you have to follow every orders given and if things go south then you have to run back when we say, without looking back." Jack also accepted after some thinking.
At the entrance of the village, a group of 7 people were quickly gathered. They were Jack, Meg, Julie, Donald, Theo, Joe and Alex.
Alex also had to wear Demon Beast skin stitched together as clothes. He also had a Bow on his back with a quiver. 6 knives were also strung around his waist as he was more proficient in it because of his mother. He also had a short sword like his Aunt.
"Alex, I have come to know of what happened yesterday night from Julie and that is why I am allowing you to come but like Jack had said, you follow our every order and don't go more than 2 meters from any of us."
Alex promised that he will stay with his Aunts who were archers and help them.