“Send word that I am recruiting soldiers for my fiefdom. Set their pay at the highest in the Empire, and provide them with the best equipment. And make sure you’re constructing barracks and other facilities of the highest quality.”
“What insanity are you spouting! What’s a Lord’s Representative going to use the soldiers for! In fact, why would you even recruit soldiers for this one, tiny city!”
“Isn’t recruiting soldiers one of the rights of Lord’s Representatives?”
“That’s true but…”
“What’s the problem when I’m just exercising my rights?”
Because I’m the one who deals with its aftermath! Cordnell sighed. His stomach started to churn. This was most definitely Isaac’s revenge for his earlier refusal.
Cordnell looked to the others in search of help. But Rizzly, Kunette and Reisha were on Isaac’s side. Kalden had surrendered. Soland was a foregone conclusion; he’d follow Isaac’s every order. Cordnell’s only hope was Rivelia, but he despaired after seeing her remain silent in the face of Isaac’s gibberish.
“Sigh. I’ve lost. So, what’s this business you want to start?”
“I’m telling you, this can hit big.”
“Yes, yes. When has it ever failed before. So what are you trying to pull off?”
Cordnell’s passive-aggressive tone earned Saint’s respect; he has just joined this rooftop meeting for his first time. The others treated it like it was any other day, having watched Cordnell fight Isaac many times before.
“I want to start a mercenary business.”
Cordnell exclaimed. Isaac ignored the oblivious Cordnell and turned to Soland.
“Oi, Smartass, you still have plenty of hoodlums around right?”
“… If you’re talking about my syndicate members, I can’t recommend them to you. Even if they are my men, they aren’t suited to be mercenaries.”
“I know. I’m not going to force them to fight. I will give ten thousand Giga as compensation to any who die in battle as mercenaries. I’m sure many would volunteer just for this.”
That was Cordnell’s final straw
“Oi, you bastard! Both the mercenaries and soldiers are the same thing! Are you throwing away all that money just because it isn’t yours? Huh? Maybe not for this case. But at least make your planned expenditures profitable!”
Cordnell shouted, and Isaac returned to Cordnell with a warm, satisfied smile.
“Kya! I knew Cordnell’s the only man I can trust. This is why I throw him around.”
Isaac looked down to see Kunette looking back up in shock.
“… Isaac, you don’t trust me?”
“Hm? No, this is just empty praise. You have to praise them even if you don’t mean it to motivate them.”
With Isaac blatantly saying that in front of the target of said praise, all hell broke loose. Cordnell rushed at Isaac in an attempt to grab his head. Everyone else tried desperately to stop him.
Isaac watched the scene unfold with a cigarette in his mouth and muttered to himself as he looked at the clear blue sky.
The general populace were mostly confused by the new business proposal made in New Port City. Most mercenaries formed contracts based on their personal qualifications, and although mercenary guilds did exist, the only difference was the size and the scale of the contracts.
This was inevitable, since it was much more efficient to hire a well-trained professional than training a soldier from scratch. If a mercenary guild were to simply focus on training its members, most mercenaries would simply leave and seek permanent residence elsewhere with better conditions once their contract expired. The mercenary world as a whole wasn’t that profitable of a venture.
Cordnell was doubtful that there was anyone who’d risk their lives for this work, but in New Port City, there were many who were both eager yet idle.
Making a name for oneself on the battlefield was a dream of every man at some point in their lives. They were provided with high pay, and most importantly, they didn’t need to worry about their family’s well-being even if they were to die. The number of volunteers were overflowing.
“Kunette and Reisha will be in charge of their training.”
“… I’m going to work hard!”
“Me too, sunbaenim!”
Kunette clenched her minuscule fists as she nodded, and Reisha waved her hand about as she bounced along. Isaac watched the two for a moment and then spoke to Rizzly and Lanburton, who were standing idly behind him.
“You two help Kunette and Reisha. We have no time, so finish training them in half a month. Make as difficult Central’s combat agent training process.”
Isaac never had any expectations of Kunette and Reisha. He was simply giving them empty titles to get them off his side and leaving the actual training to Rizzly and Lanburton.
“Really? Countless will die if we try to finish the training in under half a month.”
“Doesn’t matter. Give them 100 Giga as compensation if they give up at any point. We have to finish this by then. If anyone dies during training, give 1000 Giga to their families as consolation.”
Cordnell’s mouth foamed listening to Isaac. He could understand the consolation for the dead, but many would volunteer and then immediately give up on the training for the free 100 Giga. That meant the funds he’d just barely gathered wasn’t going to cut it anymore.
Now that his work was done, Isaac left his seat, all the while ignoring the rampaging Cordnell.
“Have at them for the next 15 days, and only accept those who lasted to the end.”
“And where do you think you’re going off to play after making this mess!”
Cordnell screamed sharply when he noticed that Isaac was about to leave the rooftop. Isaac clicked his tongue and lectured Cordnell pathetically.
“You think customers will just come to you if you stay still? Someone needs to do the sales. I will personally go out and bring us a contractor.”
“How can that be possible!”
“You want to make a bet?”
Cordnell couldn’t speak back against Isaac. It was an unwritten law that you never came out on top when betting against Isaac. If Isaac mentioned a bet, it meant he had a surefire path to victory. Cordnell wasn’t happy about this, but he didn’t even have time to complain anymore.
Isaac, the culprit of this scheme, ran away using the sales pitch as his excuse. There was a mountain of work to be done, from acquiring the training grounds to stocking up food and water to procuring equipment for the truly insane that managed to last to the end.
At the secret airport situated in the corner of New Port City… The airship Isaac requested and Rivelia acquired had arrived, and Isaac wasted no time boarding. Rivelia followed Isaac behind, but she did not hide her growing doubts.
“Are you really going?”
“Is there a problem?”
“Wouldn’t it be strange if there isn’t a problem? Wolfgang is suspected of harboring a demonic presence. What are you going to do by visiting him personally?”
“Obviously to make some sales.”
“Do you really think he’d believe that?”
“What’s not to believe about?”
“We are agents of Central.”
Isaac figured out what Rivelia was worried about and snickered.
“Do you think Wolfgang knows that?”
“You can’t ignore the possibility, no matter how small it is.”
Rivelia replied, and Isaac spoke back in a lecturing tone.
“Hey, innocent damsel, listen well. It doesn’t matter if that Wolfgang fellow knows about it. In this world, there are times when both sides just have to smile and act oblivious despite knowing everything. Why? That’s the world grownups live in. It’s a harsh place.”
“I don’t understand it.”
Rivelia glared at Isaac, annoyed that he was trying to teach her. Isaac continued to speak, irritated.
“Hey, damsel, let’s say that Wolfgang really is a demon. He’d like to live as long as possible in this world since it’s heaven for him right? But killing us on the spot the moment we visit him just because we’re agents of Central? You think that’s possible? Would he really be so insane to attack a damsel who’s also a sword master backed by Duke Pendleton? And even if he does attack, we aren’t going in there unprepared. We’ll be showing up with our defensive coats on for show. No matter how dangerous, we can buy enough time to escape.”
What Isaac said was true. It was widely known by the world that Isaac possessed a defensive coat that rivaled a fortress. No one would question Rivelia having one herself; they’d simply think that Isaac had another one made.
Rivelia was still unconvinced and hesitated. Isaac narrowed his eyes and questioned her.
“Let me ask this. Did you receive an order barring me from making contact with Wolfgang?”
Rivelia hesitated, then shook her head.
“Technically it wasn’t an order. But I did receive a request.”
“A request? From where?”
“… It was, Mazelan sunbae.”
Isaac smiled bitterly at the unexpected name. If things were like this, the chances his hypothesis was correct were now even higher.
“So humans live the same no matter where you go. This is the one truth that can never change.”
Isaac threw himself into a chair and closed his eyes, while Rivelia was left confused by Isaac’s comment. It seems like he was the only person who had the slightest suspicion on what I’m going to do. He must be trying to avoid the chaos by stopping me at all costs.
‘You’re far too late, sunbae.’
Count Wolfgang continued to use the same castle he had resided in as a baron. It was situated in the middle of Wolfgang City and had recently been expanded upon along with the city to match his territory’s rise from a barony to a county.
Wolfgang was busy in his office, preparing for the coming war, when he asked back in confusion at the unexpected news.
“Sir Isaac, New Port City’s Lord’s Representative.”
“What’s that man doing here all of a sudden?”
With the war so close by, Wolfgang reacted sensitively to the slightest changes. He frowned and muttered to himself. Dallas, his colleague, treasurer, and loyal subordinate, spoke out after a moment of hesitation.
“I think you need to see him.”
“Why should I?”
There was no time to see Isaac when he was busy enough already. Wolfgang was about to reject the visit, when Dallas hastily spoke out.
“He said he’ll donate 300 thousand Giga to the development of fiefdom if you see him.”
Gasps of astonishment escaped from Wolfgang’s vassals, and Wolfgang was shocked into silence. The string of wars were drying up his treasury. And with the preparation for war against Marquis Lichiten in a once-in-a-lifetime battle, including hiring mercenaries and producing war goods, the 300 thousand Giga would be like a downpour after a drought.
Wolfgang knew this was money for reception, but he was in no position to refuse. Plus, Dallas knew this situation was something Wolfgang could never refuse.
“And it seems the lady attendant who came with him is Lady Rivelia, no matter how I look at it.”
Isaac could be ignored, but Rivelia could not.
“It seems I have no choice. Let’s see him.”
“Oh my. It’s nice to see you, sunbaenim. I am Isaac.”
“… Greetings, the name’s Wolfgang. As a man who walks the path of swordsmanship, I give my respects to you, Lady Rivelia, who has forged a path of your own.”
Wolfgang was confused by Isaac’s groveling attitude the moment he entered the reception hall, which didn’t match the rumours he’d heard about Isaac. At the same time, Wolfgang bowed to Rivelia, who paid her respects with a dissatisfied look, as if she was bothered by something.