Chapter 226: Chapter 225: The Mercenary Lord Part I
After taking care of my Stat points and Pedro’s Chest, I remained in the Troll Dungeon to hunt. I needed to train more than ever now. I cut through one large horde of Trolls like a tornado through a farm field, and as the last Troll fell before me, my Comm Link rang.
“Ah, Young Master. There is a guest here looking for you.”
“Who is it?” Another guest. I’d been getting quite a few visitors lately and they had all brought trouble with them.
“He says his name is Devram.”
“Devram?” The name sounded familiar, but I wasn’t sure from where.
“Yes, sir. He says he’s from the Karaviki Mercenary Corps, under the direct command of the Mercenary Lord. He says the two of you met before.”
“Ah, right.” That’s right. Devram was the mercenary who took part in the Dark Caster Raid in the US. “Did he say why he came?”
“He says he has a letter from the Mercenary Lord addressed to you, and he would very much like to meet with you again.”
“Hmm…” Madun Yatekin was as much a Lord as Lagus Aman, and he was known as the perfect mercenary.
In the beginning, mercenaries were more akin to con artists. They would accept a contract and the payment up front and would do whatever escort, hunting, or exploration that was asked of them, but whenever things got dicey, they would get the hell out of Dodge the first chance they got. They would then argue that the client was responsible for the failure, deem the contract void, and keep their payment.
It seemed that there was no such thing as a proper mercenary. One could say that it would be better to not use these mercenaries at all in the first place, but there were always times to have to resort to such measures, regardless of the cost. It was then Madun Yatekin appeared and formed the Mercenary Corps under the Shield of Aleppo, which represented the Corps’ promise to uphold their contracts, no matter what.
No ordinary Joe could wear the Shield of Aleppo. Each prospective mercenary had to show that they had the proper set of skills, abilities, and morale in order to join. They also had to follow Madun’s rules to the letter. Madun had set the requirements of what it meant to be a real mercenary, and not following his rules meant that you were a false mercenary, a con. It didn’t take long for Madun Yatekin to be called the Mercenary Lord and his Mercenary Corps became a force that could not easily be trifled with.
Now that same Mercenary Lord wanted to meet with me. “I understand. I’ll be home soon.” As Anton said, the Judge’s Continent was going to appear soon. With that timing, this meeting probably had something to do with it, and if that was the case, then it wasn’t a bad idea to have the Mercenary Lord as an ally.
Back at my house in Seoul…
“It’s been a while, Mr. Lee.”
“It has. Have you been well?” I shook hands with Devram, and we sat down in my drawing room.
“Same old. You’ve been quite busy since we last met, haven’t you?”
“It sort of happened that way. But what brings you all the way here?”
“Oh, right. This is a letter to you from Master Madun.” Devram took out a fancy-looking envelope with a wax seal.
There really wasn’t much written in the letter. It just had a formal greeting with Madun’s signature, meaning that Devram himself wanted to meet with me.
“To be honest, I wanted to ask you for a favor.”
“Alright. I can at least hear you out.”
“Thank you. I’m not sure how much you know about this, but there are many thieves and cons out there who call themselves mercenaries. Master Madun has made it his personal mission to get rid of all of them.”
“Yeah, I’ve heard of that.”
“And that leaves those false mercenaries unhappy with Master Madun and the Mercenary Corps.”
“Well, I’m sure they’ll feel that way.” Only mercenaries wearing the Shield of Aleppo received contracts, leaving the rest with no work.
“There are times when we fail contracts. We don’t publicize this, but it’s no secret.”
“Sure, that can happen.”
“But seventy percent of those failed contracts are because of La Griffe, an organization made up of those false mercenaries. They purposely interfere with our contracts and cause us to fail. Many of our mercenaries have died as a result.”
I had never heard of La Griffe, but I could tell from Devram’s sour expression how much he hated them.
“If we faced them in a full-on battle, we could easily wipe them out, but they know this as well and have resorted to guerilla warfare to whittle away at our resources. They are also avoiding the Karaviki division and focusing on the weaker branches. Their attacks have been getting stronger and more frequent, and our boys are starting to become restless.”
“Wow. That sounds very frustrating. I’m sorry to hear that.”
“Yes, it is frustrating, to say the least. But the kicker is… they contacted us not too long ago.”
“Yes. They proposed a challenge to Master Madun personally, with the condition that the loser will have to disband their organization and cease all mercenary activities.”
What Devram explained after that was simple. The Karaviki Division of the Mercenary Corps was based in Ankara, Turkey. Store 39 of Ankara had revealed a small Quest not too long ago, called the Defense Quest. The challenge La Griffe proposed was to set the Quest at maximum difficulty and the winner would be decided by whoever lasts the longest.
“It seems they had properly prepared for their own challenge. They even recruited the Slayer. On top of that, they wrote up a Troll Market contract stating that we weren’t allowed to bring in any outsiders for help. This was a ploy to prevent us from recruiting someone like you. No, they were targeting you specifically.” Devram took a sip from his tea before continuing. “They held us at ransom. If we didn’t sign the contract as soon as possible, they would continue their guerilla attacks against our lower branches.”
“Hold on a second. Did you guys sign the contract?” I interrupted.
“Yes, we did.”
“Then why are you telling me this?” I wasn’t a mercenary, nor did I wear the Shield of Aleppo. If they had already signed the contract, then there was nothing I could do. There was no breaking a Troll Market contract. There was a reason one cost 350 million golden rings.
“You are absolutely correct. You aren’t part of our Mercenary Corps, but you still have that item, don’t you?”
“Do you mean this?” I took out an item Devram had given me during the Shire Guild’s feast after the Dark Caster Raid.
“That’s right. La Griffe obviously predicted that we would come to you when they recruited the Slayer. I can’t blame them. No one wants to face you in battle anymore. That’s why they bought that Troll contract, but unfortunately for them, they do not know that you have that.”
==[Karaviki Mercenary Corps Rank 1 Token of Authority (No Rank)
Grants total authority over 1,000 members of the Karaviki Mercenary Corps for 1 month.
Usable only by Lee Jiwon.
Destroyed after 1 use.]==
“I had expected you to use it during the Abu Dhabi guild battle, or during the war in Mexico, but I see now that you didn’t need it. I have to say, though, that the Karaviki division did preemptively prepare.”
“But using this won’t make me a part of the Mercenary Corps.” It didn’t put me under the command of the Mercenary Corps; it gave me my own mercenary team to command.
“You’re right. It won’t put you into our ranks, but it will make you one of our captains for a month. It wouldn’t work if we had given you the Token after we signed the contract, but since I gave that to you way before, it isn’t affected by the contract. You will become one of our captains without any issues.”
“Hmm…” I pretended I was thinking about what Devram said, but I had already decided that I would help them. The Mercenary Corps was probably the most reliable ally to have. “Very well, I’ll help. I don’t like the fact that these false mercenaries even existm either.” I had faced many false mercenaries now, especially during the fight against the Blood Prince and the Predator Duke. Those damned devas working for deities were all mercenaries.
I stood alone on the terrace overlooking my garden.
“Should I tell them?” I knew that I shouldn’t keep the existence of the Judge’s Continent to myself. I knew I had to tell my allied factions since it quite literally meant the end of the world.
“But since all VIP members of Stores will soon learn of the Judge’s Continent, I may as well wait a little longer.” If I made a scene about something only I knew, I could very well seem like a real madman. If everyone was going to find out soon enough, I may as well bide my time and wait for the perfect timing.
“What I need to focus on right now is my own strength.” Even though I was going to need the help of other guilds and organizations, the best thing I had to rely on was my own abilities. If I was strong enough, then I could fight on the Judge’s Continent without worry.
“I have no time to rest.” I took out my Clan Badge and used it to teleport to the Faroe Islands.I was expected to arrive at Ankara in three days. I needed to train as hard as I could during that time.
“Lee Jiwon said he’ll come?”
“Yes sir.” Devram had just reported to his superiors what he discussed with Lee Jiwon.
“Ha…that’s a relief to hear.” Madun Yatekin sighed when he heard the good news.
“Master Madun, do you really think we need Lee Jiwon’s help?”
“I was actually thinking the same thing, sir. Just because those cowards have the help of the Slayer, I doubt we have much to worry about. I’m sure our Mercenary Corps can beat them at their own game on our own!” a couple of the Corps officers exclaimed.
Madun chuckled. “You may be right, but I’d rather be on the safe side. This is not the time or place for pride.”
“I have to agree. Besides, having Lee Jiwon on our side might be enough to show them what sort of mistake their existence is.” Taniya, another of the Corps officers agreed with Madun. She didn’t seem like much, but no one ever looked down on her, especially because of the abilities she possessed. “Something big awaits us on the horizon. This matter with the La Griffe is nothing compared to what’s about to happen. In order for us to prepare for this event, we need allies, and recruiting Lee Jiwon is the best place to start.”
“…” Taniya had never really spoken as vaguely as this before, but she was also never wrong, so the other officers did not dispute her.
“Very well. We’ll proceed as planned.”