Chapter 116: How to be a Mercenary
The night breeze flowed inside, and the fire of the candles that illuminated the tavern wobbled slightly.
The number of candles arranged to illuminate the closed spaces indicated the prosperity of this city-state.
The swaying shadows and the sparkling lights illuminated Bruder’s face.
「Do you want to hire me? Forgive me for saying this, but why do you need my help? It’s not like you’re a stray dog, at least, you don’t look like one. Gah, ahahah!」
After a glass of rum, Bruder’s mouth began to move quickly and his voice resonated high. If a person wanted to hire mercenaries, then that person would have to justify. Hiring mercenaries was not a hobby after all. In fact, hiring mercenaries was a serious job that could endanger the mercenaries’ lives. Therefore, it was expected for mercenaries to ask for details and negotiate the price of their assistance.
Bruder snorted as he questioned me.
Moreover, asking Bruder for his assistance made him suspicious of me. It was strange, certainly. Bruder must think, “Why would he hire a mercenary like me?” Indeed. After all, I found Bruder throwing up in the back alley after drinking too much liquor. His attitude was not a good attitude for a fearsome mercenary. Actually, his attitude made him a loser. Someone who lost credibility as a mercenary.
Therefore, he wondered why I chose him.
Well, I could not tell Bruder everything from the start to finish. Rather, by doing so I would add further suspicion. He was already too suspicious of me.
I carefully chose my words and opened my lips.
「… I want you to do a job that only you can do, needle-shooting Bruder. Yes, it’s a job that I can’t ask anybody else.」
I moved my lips quickly without showing much nervousness. However, Bruder’s strong gaze made me somewhat tense.
Bruder distorted his eyes and closed his lips tight while he thought about my words. How nostalgic. The habit of this man was to immerse himself in his thoughts for a long time.
The man named Bruder had a strange thoughtfulness. He had a cautious personality and he often pondered about things too deeply. However, this characteristic was often at odds with his drinking personality. Actually, alcohol had the ability to distort a human’s mind, and mercenaries who drank too much made impulsive decisions as if they were hungry stray dogs.
Nevertheless, Bruder, despite his drinking habits, was not someone who made impulsive decisions without much thought. He truly had a peculiar personality.
「…Your words are good words, and they make me feel good. But, I refuse. I can’t see why it should be me. Your reasoning actually sounds like a bad joke.」
The rum was not that bad, as Bruder put the empty bottle on the table. Then, he raised his lips and professed those words. He rejected my request.
I did not even spoke about the details of the request yet, but he was very cautious or impatient. Indeed, such cautiousness was also his characteristic.
In negotiations with mercenaries, the one who left the table first signaled the rupture of the negotiations. It was customary in this city not to chase away those who wanted to leave. Doing otherwise would be a violation of manners.
I could not stop Bruder’s back as he tried to leave. Trying to lure him to drink more would only make things worse. And if he wanted to drink more, he would seek other people and not the one whom he broke the negotiations with.
Therefore, I did not stop him from leaving the tavern. I just shouted at him instead.
「I’ll be here for a while. If you feel like it and the weather is nice, then you should come and meet me here.」
Bruder twisted his head upon meeting a strange man. That person was a strange man who not only treated him some alcohol, but also wanted to hire him as a mercenary.
Bruder had a good understanding of his abilities and reputation.
Bruder was known as someone who drank alcohol constantly. A lower-class mercenary who behaved weirdly. A man who only used needles. This reputation was the evaluation that everyone gave to Bruder in Belfein. Bruder knew this fact, and he thought that it was quite reasonable.
Therefore, he felt confused about what happened earlier. Some people bought him alcohol on a whim at times, but no one had asked to hire him as a mercenary. Speaking of work, Bruder always took the tasks that no one had the guts to do. He was often relied on for that strength.
Nobody actually wanted to hire him personally. Bruder touched the brim of his hat with his index finger, while thinking about that man’s bad joke.
He was not in a bad mood, but he felt confused. Although Bruder lived in Belfein, he was no different from other mercenaries when it came to status, despite having an infamous reputation. None of the other mercenaries was offended when someone demanded their abilities. Even if their skills were not good.
However, Bruder’s nature could not accept strange things.
There was always a different side to something strange. There was always danger behind it. A suspicious person often brought endangerment. Bruder could not help himself but distrust strange things.
Bruder thought that trust was cultivated by approaching other people. And if possible, even exchanging some jokes.
As a mercenary, Bruder knew that his judgement was crucial. After all, what was important for mercenaries was whether the reward was worth the risk or not.
If the risks were less than the reward, then he would gladly accept it. That was the way of life for mercenaries, who sold their lives to assist others. That was how they spent their days.
Bruder’s judgment was cautious at best, but other people would say that he was too cowardly to be a mercenary.
Suddenly, his legs stopped moving. Bruder turned his gaze to the Guild dedicated to mercenaries. It had a different meaning from the formal Guild used by adventurers, but everyone called it a Mercenary Guild because of its nature.
Of course, some of the requests were made individually, but most of them were made through the Guild managed by Belfein.
Originally, managing mercenaries was difficult. Everyone was a rootless grass. Every mercenary cared deeply about money, and never settled permanently. If a mercenary were not good at their work, then he would quickly change jobs from a mercenary to a bandit. Therefore, mercenaries were a troublesome bunch, who often switched their jobs for something worse.
Therefore, some city-states avoided handling mercenaries, except for the mercenary city of Belfein.
By becoming a mercenary city, Belfein succeeded in accumulating a certain number of mercenaries that acted as products for the city. Then, next was how to manage the mercenaries themselves.
If all the work contracts were made individually, then it would have been difficult for Belfein to collect a small amount of work contract fees. The city wanted to manage the contracts situation and the compensation fees centrally. Something that resembled like a tax.
Belfein created an organization called the Mercenary Guild based on such thoughts.
The merchants asked the Guild for mercenaries, and the Guild convened mercenaries in response to their requests. Sometimes, the Guild arranged mercenaries from within the Guild, and other times, the odd jobs were given to mercenaries that hanged around the city like Bruder.
As a result, the merchants saved the trouble of negotiating directly with the mercenaries, and the mercenaries knew that their reward wouldn’t be overthrown or wasted. In a sense, it was a virtuous cycle of profits from both sides.
Since Belfein paid more than the original amount of the other Guilds’ fee, the mercenaries did not mind these internal affairs and continued to live their lives, as the city wanted them to live.
It was a troublesome place for Bruder, who usually did not have the energy to enter. But today he felt a little better because he had some rum. While whistling cheerfully, he put his hand on the door.
「Hey, hey. A rare guy has arrived. The alcoholic addict. As I said earlier, I have no job for you right now.」
The Guild Master professed those words as soon as Bruder entered the Guild. Those words were a form of ridicule.
The drunkard Bruder snorted strangely, as he sat in a nearby chair.
There has been uncertainty because of the fall of Garoua Maria. Most of the mercenaries working with merchants from Garoua Maria suddenly became temporarily free.
Suddenly, the Master removed a parchment overhanging at the front wall of the Guild. The parchment had an unmistakable directive with the inscription of the Great Holy Religion. Originally, nobody was allowed to remove it without permission.
「Gah, ahahah. Master, if you want to change your denomination, go ahead. I wonder if I’ll get gold coins if I run to the church to inform them of your doing.」
The Master threw the parchment, which had been rolled with his hands, into Bruder’s hand. The parchment looked damaged, but the characters and contents written on the surface were intact.
「It is your Lord’s command. They gave me an order to take it out temporarily.」
The Master looked somewhat upset with Bruder as he spit out from his mouth as he spoke.
At the same time as the Master’s words hit Bruder’s ears, a sentence reflected in Bruder’s narrow eyes.
“…Devout religious people. Death to the witch Matia and the great sinner Lugis.”
「The reward is…I’ve never seen such an amount before. I don’t even know how many cups of rum I could buy with it. This is no joke.」
Bruder’s eyes shined radiantly in a funny way as he amusingly lifted his cheeks.
Oh no…! Lugis wanted the help of his old friend, but it seems that his plan is about to backfire :O
Thank you to the Patrons for the continued support!