Chapter 22: Registering as a Mercenary (Part 1)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The proprietor glanced at the ring with white crystal on Saleen’s finger and said, “Mage sir, if you are in need of money, you can pawn the ring on your finger to me. My offer is twenty thousand gold coins.”
“No need for that.” Saleen took off the ring with the diopside stone and tossed it at the proprietor. He then took out two bank notes worth a thousand gold coins each. “Just give me back the change and get a room for my friend to change in.”
Sika stood up as soon as she heard this, bending over the large wooden case and looking around. The worker held back his laughter and took Sika to get changed.
After examining the bank notes, the proprietor had his worker provide eight full bags of money, with four hundred gold coins in total.
Saleen took the gold coins, threw them into his leather sack, and asked, “Proprietor, have you got a map?”
“No, I haven’t got one. Mage sir, when you register as a mercenary, the professional union will provide one. It is a very useful magic map,” the proprietor said, realizing that it was probably Saleen’s first trip since he did not even know this.
Saleen turned red, and replied calmly, “I am inexperienced. Thank you, proprietor, for the information. Which way to the professional union, please?”
The proprietor took out a pen and some paper, drew a simple map, and passed it to Saleen. Sika, having changed into the leather armor, walked out after. Saleen’s eyes lit up. In the leather armor, Sika looked less rugged and even more delicate. If she were not still carrying that huge cudgel on her back and holding that old torn animal skin bag, no one would be able to tell she was from Caucasus.
The proprietor saw the two of them off warmly, and could not help but smile to himself. This was by no means a small transaction. That mage had actually bought a set of high quality leather armor. But he did not have good foresight, to have gone after a Caucasus girl. If he only knew how tough Caucasus women were…
Saleen followed the map that the proprietor had drawn, and found the professional union.
The entrance to the professional union was nothing to clamor over. It had a large door, with the union sign depicting a sword piercing a wheel on its lintel. There was not even a mercenary standing guard at the door. Upon walking through the door, he saw a large pillarless hall of about a few hundred square meters.
It was crowded in the hall, with the majority of the people concentrated on the right side. The left side was comparatively deserted. Saleen looked at the directional sign and walked towards the deserted side.
To the left of the hall was a room separated by a metal board. The side facing the hall was a large mirror which blocked noise but not sight. Upon seeing Saleen, a swordswoman approached him and asked with a smile, “Are both of you here to impart a mission or to register as mercenaries?”
“I would like to make an inquiry first,” Saleen replied with a smile.
“Please follow me.” The swordswoman smiled sweetly, and led Saleen and Sika into a room.
There were a table and eight chairs. Saleen sat down. The swordswoman handed him a book to read first. Sika pushed away the book the swordswoman handed her, and shook her head saying, “I am illiterate.”
The swordswoman gave a professional smile and gently retrieved the book saying, “I shall go make some tea. What tea would both of you like?”
“Anything will do, as long as it is free,” Sika said outspokenly. She did not want them to spend money needlessly. Her leather armor had cost a lot, and she did not know when she would be able to pay for it.
The swordswoman was used to seeing poor mercenaries. While Sika was clad in a costly leather armor, in the swordswoman’s eyes, she was not considered well off. Mercenaries usually spent all their money on equipment, and did not have much money left over.
“Saleen.” Sika used her pale finger to poke at Saleen’s ribs.
“Ah…” Saleen acknowledged her, feeling the pain. He did not raise his head. Sika whispered, “Look.”
Saleen turned his head and looked out through the glass, in the direction of Sika’s gaze. He saw the front of the hall. There was a large magic wall with a mosaic of dozens of magic screens set in it, projecting various magic images.
The magic screen on the wall was worth millions of gold coins. If a person had the audacity to commit robbery here, they would not ever need to worry about their future sources of income.
Saleen was not thinking of such things. He looked at the screen and saw that his own magic image had appeared. He shivered. This place was almost at the border of the Qin Empire. Would Earl Sufonso still have influence here?
The reason his own image had appeared on the magic screen was because he was on the wanted list. Luckily, the image was drawn and while the technique had been very good, there were differences between it and the present Saleen.
The image on the magic screen had brown hair and brown eyes. Saleen’s hair had turned black and his eyes blue. His body had become more muscular. If not for Sika’s astuteness, a person would not have realized that the image had any connection to Saleen.
Saleen had a lingering fear. If Sika had not seen this image, he would have been in big trouble.
Whether one was registering to be a mercenary or an adventurer, they would need to leave behind their name and image. If he had used the name “Saleen Metatrin”, he would have been discovered in no time.
The name Metatrin was too rare. Even a fool would able to discover who he was through this name.
The hated person in Saleen’s heart had chased him from the seaside to the border. He had walked straight through the wilderness for three months but still could not avoid the Earl’s relentless pursuit.
Many thoughts passed through his head before Saleen calmed down. Earl Sufonso would never let the matter of him killing his son rest. Viscount Gugger had provided a dated image and with his change in looks, it only barely resembled him. The favor he owed Ulysses, he would have to return in the future.
He had to temporarily change his name. At this thought, he waved his hand and the swordswoman soon entered the room with the tray.
“Will both of you please try this fog-tipped tea?”
The swordswoman poured the tea into dainty teacups, each about twice the size of a gold coin. They were green, and made of porcelain. There were no patterns on them, but they looked like they had been carved out of green jade. The green tea sat within the teacups, diffusing a light scent.
“We are planning to register as mercenaries,” Saleen changed his mind. Adventurers also had to leave their images behind but could not access as much information from the professional union. Furthermore, mercenaries were protected by Qin Empire laws. It would be more dangerous to be adventurers, who needed to be in the wild. The fighting amongst adventurers had gone on since ancient times.
“Do you plan to register as freelance mercenaries or to join a mercenary regiment?” The swordswoman’s eyes were large. The tone of her voice seemed to be a result of training and did not exude any pressure.
Saleen was unaffected. In terms of looks, Sika was superior to this swordswoman. And it was only when he saw Sika’s naked body that he had felt some palpitations. It seemed that since the formation of his magic chords, his state of mind had stabilized even more.
This was normal. A mage who allowed his emotions to fluctuate from time to time could not be depended upon during crucial periods. The release of magic required the control of strong mental power. Many junior mages had remained below Grade 3 all their lives because they did not have sufficient mental power.
“A mercenary regiment. Um, the one of the smallest scale.”
The swordswoman laughed, realizing that Saleen was a newbie. She reminded him, “The smallest mercenary regiment can only recruit eight people and cannot take on high-level missions. The difference between them and adventurers is negligible.”
If Saleen had read the book the swordswoman had given him, which described the regime, and looked at the relevant chapter, he would have known what the smallest mercenary regiment was like. He shook his head and said, “I do not have the money for the deposit.”
“Alright.” The swordswoman did not turn around as she waved her hand. In no time, someone brought a box and placed it on the table.
In the box were two contracts. Saleen glanced at them and nodded his head before asking, “Where do we pay?”
“Both of you, follow me.” The swordswoman led Saleen and Sika out of the room to a small door at the corner of the hall. There was a passageway through the door and many small rooms on both sides of the passageway. The swordswoman pointed at a small room and said, “Go and leave your magic images, and then sign the contracts before handing me the money.”
It cost money to register as a mercenary. Each mercenary needed to pay a deposit, in case they failed a mission and the loss was unaccounted for. Saleen had registered for a Grade 1 mercenary regiment. It cost one hundred gold coins to register and each recruit needed to pay a deposit of fifty gold coins.
If his eight-member regiment was full, they would need to pay five hundred gold coins. This was a large sum, which many could not afford. Many mercenary regiments were controlled by their leaders. As the poor mercenaries had no money, they signed separate contracts with their leaders and end up working themselves to the bone.
This was not surprising, to say the least. How would an ordinary person be able to raise fifty gold coins for the deposit? If they had fifty gold coins, most junior mercenaries would rather return home to be farmers. Fifty gold coins would be more than enough for them to take wives and have two or three children.
There were two of them. In addition to the registration fee of one hundred gold coins, Saleen would only need to pay another hundred as deposit. In this way, he would be able to take on escorting missions worth four hundred gold coins or less. Even if his regiment were full, he would only be able to undertake escorting missions worth a thousand gold coins or less.
Like the swordswoman had said, such a regiment was not too different from the adventurers. Escorting missions worth four hundred gold coins would only pay twenty gold coins at most. They would take a month to complete. The value of killing a Grade 2 demonic beast was more than such a mission. Saleen was a mage. Twenty gold coins was, in fact, not very meaningful to him.
If war broke out, these mercenaries would have to be deployed by their country. The junior mercenary regiment would be stationed at the most dangerous place, without being paid much.
Saleen did not place any value on this. The reason he had set them up with the regiment was not to take on escorting missions, but to gain access to information provided by the professional union. Only mercenaries were privy to such information. Other common information could be bought cheaply with silver coins.
He wanted to know what sort of person Earl Sufonso was and what power he had. Such information would not be readily available to adventurers.
After recording the magic images, the swordswoman had within ten minutes brought new contracts. On them were Saleen and Sika’s magic images. Sika did not know how to write and so Saleen signed the contract on her behalf.
Saleen did not leave his real name, and filled in the fake name “Merlin” under the name category. They then made their respective fingerprints. After handing over the gold coins, Saleen also received the mercenary badge provided by the professional union.