Rome Must Fall

Chapter 11: Raiding the Farm

Chapter 11: Raiding the Farm

Actually, without Maximuss reminder, everyone had already seen the towering cone-shaped mountain rising from the plain to the south. The upper half of the mountain was dark and obscure, while the lower half was lush and green, with faint smoke lingering at the mountain top

Everyone stared blankly at this renowned and peculiar mountain in Italy. Even the courageous Crixus couldnt help but swallow nervously and ask, Is that Mount Vesuvius?

Yes, Spartacus responded softly, as if afraid of disturbing something. Our destination is thereThe Forge of Hephaestus.

Although Mount Vesuvius was visible, it was still a considerable distance away, and it was already dusk. The gladiators didnt want to travel at night, so when they saw a nearby farm, they rushed towards it.

The farm had a moderately sized courtyard, surrounded by a dense arrangement of wooden slats and low shrubs, forming a crisscrossing fence. It was merely meant to mark the boundaries and prevent strangers from trespassing, but it couldnt obstruct the fierce and menacing gladiators. They charged through the fence, pushed open the wooden gate, and frightened the seven or eight people huddled in the courtyard, causing them to tremble. However, instead of scattering and fleeing, they shielded a young man in their midst.

One daring old man mustered his courage and questioned, W-Who are you?! How dare you intrude on Lord Dionysius territory! His words were greeted with even louder barking from the farm dogs.

Without hesitation, Crixus stepped forward and delivered a kick. The farm dog let out a cry, flew through the air, and crashed into the wall. When it landed on the ground, its legs twitched, further terrifying the people in the courtyard.

Spartacus looked at them and asked with a hint of interest, Who is Dionysius? Judging by the name, it sounds like a Greek.

The young man, as if humiliated, trembled as he spoke, M-My father is a Roman citizen, an important senator from Naples. He has enough money to pay a ransom for me, but if if you dare to harm me, he will make Naples send out its army

Can Naples army be stronger than Capuas? Crixus sneered, provoking laughter from the gladiators.

Spartacus, however, said seriously, We are not bandits. We are a group of fighters declaring war on Rome and fighting for freedom!

Despite the young mans desperate attempt to conceal it, his eyes looked at Spartacus as if he were a joke.

Spartacus paid no attention and looked at the others. Are you all slaves?

The old man, forgetting his fear, proudly said, I am a Roman citizen!

I I am a free man, two people responded in unison.

The remaining four hesitated and nodded, admitting that they were slaves.

Are you willing to join us? Spartacus looked at them and spoke in a gentle tone, This way, you will have your freedom and no longer have to worry about being oppressed.

The four slaves looked at each other, then lowered their heads, none of them responded.

Dont dream. They are all my family, the young man couldnt help but speak, but Crixus punched him in the face, causing him to fall backwards with blood streaming from his nose.

Shut up, you little brat, or Ill end your life! Crixus threatened fiercely, then turned to the slaves, If you dont speak up, Ill chop you up and feed you to the dogs!

The slaves trembled in fear, but still shook their heads in refusal.

Crixus, enraged, drew his short sword and made two threatening slashes in front of the slaves, You ungrateful fools, what use is there in keeping you alive?

Terrified, the slaves immediately knelt down, begging for mercy.

Crixus, thats enough, Spartacus face also turned grim, but he suppressed his anger and said in a deep voice, Our brothers have worked hard all day, tired and hungry. Hamilcar and Maximus, take these people to prepare food. If anyone disobeys, you can deal with them as you see fit.

Spartacus then looked at the young man on the ground and continued, Artorix, take this guy inside the house, we need to have a good talk with him.

Artorix approached and grabbed the terrified young man as if he were a little chicken.

Wh-what are you going to do? The old man stepped forward, wanting to stop Artorix, but he was pushed aside and fell to the ground.

He quickly got up and kowtowed repeatedly, Please, spare my young master! I beg you

Just come with me and work. If you do well, we will consider sparing your young master, Hamilcar said coldly.

The old man saw a glimmer of hope and quickly stood up, trying to please them. Please, give me your orders. We will do our best!

How many sheep do you have? Hamilcar looked towards one side of the farm, despite the noise from the gladiators entering the yard, the sound of sheep bleating could still be heard.

Forty-five, the old man replied.

Who among you is skilled at slaughtering sheep? Hamilcar asked again.

The old man pointed to two people.

Go and slaughter twenty, then chop them up for stew.

Twenty? the old man seemed reluctant, These are valuable Attica sheep, known for their fine wool

Do you want me to slaughter all your sheep? Hamilcar glared at him, and the old man became too scared to say anything.

Hamilcar ordered several gladiators to take the two slaves to the sheep pen behind the farm to slaughter sheep. Then he said to Maximus, Normally, one fat sheep is barely enough for eight people to eat. We gladiators have big appetites, and todays consumption is high. It seems that three or four people can eat one sheep. These 20 sheep wont be enough for them, but they havent had meat in a long time. If we let them eat too much at once, it will make them uncomfortable. So, we need to be moderate. Stewing the meat into soup would be best.

Maximus listened attentively.

Who among you is the cook? Hamilcar questioned again.

The cook is inside, the old man hesitated and pointed to the location of the kitchen.

Haha, so theres a woman hiding in there! Some gladiators were delighted and rushed inside.

Spartacus shouted, Stop right there! Are you a bunch of donkeys who have never seen a woman before? If you ruin the cook, who will cook for you?

Spartacus usually treated other gladiators kindly, but when he got angry, he was quite intimidating. The gladiators not only stopped in their tracks but also dared not meet his gaze or argue with him.

Endure for now, Spartacus softened his tone and smiled, saying, Once we settle down and open up the situation, we can find any kind of woman. Why bother with the cook, who looks tougher than a man!

Laughter erupted in the courtyard.

Hamilcar quickly led the others to the kitchen, asking as they walked, Is there ready-made flour here?

Yes, the old man replied.

Is there enough for each of us to have two large round loaves of bread?

The old man surveyed the gladiators crowding the courtyard and nodded, It should be enough, but with so many of you, it will take quite some time to make.

No rush, take your time. We have plenty of time.

Hamilcars words made the old man uneasy: It seems that these thieves wont leave here tonight.

Inside the kitchen, two cooks, who didnt look as terrible as Spartacus had described, were hiding. However, they werent attractive either. They were the wives of the two free men, who were promised by Hamilcar that their lives and the lives of their husbands would be spared if they prepared a good dinner. With trembling hearts, they began boiling water, making porridge, washing vegetables, and cooking fish.

The rest of the group, under the old mans guidance, split their tasks. Some were responsible for chopping firewood and starting a fire, while others kneaded dough, let it ferment, and baked bread.

Hamilcar walked back and forth in the small kitchen, solemnly supervising their work. It seemed that he had done the same thing in the kitchen of the Temple of Flora earlier in the morning.

Maximus stood at the kitchen door, silently watching Hamilcars well-organized arrangements.

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