Chapter 28 - Recruitment (1)

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On the next day, Roman received the materials he had requested from Hans.

“This is information about the Barco family, young master. According to the intelligence guild, their recent behavior seems unusual.”

A few days ago, Roman had looked into the Barco family. He had a rough idea of ​​their level but was determined that detailed information was required for future plans. So, he sent a commission to the Black Moon, an information guild active in the North-East region of Cairo.

- I want you to collect information about what the Barcos have been up to lately and how powerful they are.

After Hans left, Roman read the papers for himself.

Flip.

[The Barco family was established in the North-East region over a hundred years ago. However, they became a true powerhouse when the people of the Barco family entered the central government. In fact, their military power is not as strong as one might think, but the influence of the central government is absolute in the kingdom of Cairo.]

The Cairo Kingdom—Among the two empires and six kingdoms that make up the Salamander Continent, it was a small country surrounded by other countries. Except for the mountains in the North-East, due to the Cairo Kingdom bordering other countries, it suffered from foreign invasions from a long time ago. As a result, the central government was naturally empowered. Basically, local nobles had the authority to train private soldiers. Still, since there were menacing enemies outside the country, they had no choice but to work together with the central government to survive.

In particular, the power of conscription was absolute. If the conscription was not followed, one would be regarded as outside the boundaries of the Cairo Kingdom. Then, the central government would dispatch troops to subdue the rebellion and retake the territory inside the kingdom of Cairo. Moreover, the surrounding lords who helped in the process received a certain amount of land as a reward, and a new noble who listened to the central government was introduced. As a result, the central government’s authority was absolute. And this meant the power of the capital aristocrats had to be strong. The Barco family had such a central government backing them; thus, the system granted them intangible power.

[The Barco family recently took advantage of their connection with the central government to secure a large loan through the Golden Bank. It would be impossible for most other nobles to get that large of a loan, but it is assumed that the Barco family made this transaction using a credit guarantee without any particular collateral. And the money they secured was used to recruit the Berge mercenaries. The Berge mercenary group has about 100 A-class mercenaries, and their main job is to intervene in the strife between territories and receive commissions.]

The information was extremely detailed. It explained how Barco secured the money and what they intended and did with it.

[Also, considering their conscription of their citizens, it’s estimated that they will attack in 2 weeks.]

Clearly, Barco had finished their preparations. Once Dmitry revealed that the marriage with Lawrence had been broken off, they moved in fast, and now, Lawrence would have to block Barco’s attack through their own forces, without making any mistakes. This was a situation in which war was imminent. According to the rumors, Viscount Lawrence was meeting with the surrounding nobles and trying to get some kind of support.

‘The Barco family gained strength by utilizing their connections with the central government. The difference in their power is obvious, and leaving Dmitry aside, there is no family who will dare to risk helping Lawrence and going against Barco. Even if I wait and see, it will be virtually impossible for Lawrence to hold on for more than a month.’

Now, the result was obvious. Therefore, Roman now thought of a different premise. ‘What if Barco and Dmitry get together?’ He scrutinized his enemy; he calculated the variables and thought of the worst-case scenario, but his conclusions about the contingency never changed.

“Even if we fought a hundred times, Dmitry would still win every single time.”—An overwhelming difference—That was Roman’s conclusion.

There was something people often misunderstood—They thought wealth and power were separate things, but for a family like Dmitry, who had enormous wealth, it was different. Normal aristocrats usually kept around 200 enlisted soldiers in their private army. Since the cost of maintaining more soldiers than that was too high, they simply maintained an appropriate amount of troops to rule and maintain control over the territory, and in special situations such as war, they recruited ordinary people to increase their troops. And the Barco family wasn’t much different. However, the employment of the Berge mercenaries, who specialized in battle, was a problem that could have a significant impact on the war.

On the contrary, the Dmitry family was different. They always maintained more than 300 enlisted men and fostered an armed group much more capable than ordinary soldiers—the Dmitry Knights. Even if one doesn’t consider that, most of the soldiers conscripted by other nobles were poorly armed, and Dmitry, befitting the reputation of a blacksmithing family, fully equipped their conscripts. They did not simply throw a bamboo spear in their hands and push the conscripts into the battlefield. At the very least, they provided them with leather armor and a hard iron spear as supplies to protect themselves. Thus, even if the conscripts were ordinary citizens, Dmitry’s fighting power had to be slightly higher than other nobles. And finally, Dmitry started with good connections in the first place—They basically needed the means to protect themselves in order to do business across the continent, so they had a close relationship with Benjamin’s mercenaries for decades. In the beginning, Benjamin’s mercenary corps was not large, but with the support of Dmitry, they eventually became a group that had more than 500 mercenaries.

In other words, if anyone wanted to have a dispute with Dmitry, they needed to consider the involvement of Benjamin’s mercenaries in the dispute as well. Barco and Dmitry—The difference between the two was enormous. The intangible power of the central government alone could not overcome Dmitry in the North-East region, at the very least.

‘Dmitry lacks neither wealth nor power. The thing holding Dmitry back is that Romero Dmitry’s origins were that of a commoner. Due to the short history of the family and its common origin, the nobles of Cairo do not recognize the Dmitry family as nobility. Nevertheless, regardless of their perception, it is an undeniable truth that Dmitry is the absolute powerhouse in the North-East region of Cairo.’

Dmitry had power. If Roman borrowed the power of his family, punishing the Barcos—who caused the death of the original Roman Dmitry—was as simple as breathing. However, Roman had no intention of doing that. Now at a crossroads, he knew what he had to do to make a leap in this world.

‘Even if one looks at the situation with the knights of the Barco family, the nobles in the North-East region don’t think of Roman Dmitry as such a big threat, regardless of his background. While the original Roman lived a life worthy of being treated like that, I, Baek Joong-hyuk, am different. Anthony Barco dared to mess with me. Therefore, he will pay a reasonable price, and borrowing the power of my family is not the right way to prove myself.’

In the cave, in front of all his brothers, Baek Joong-hyuk had smashed the boss’s head by himself. At that moment, his reputation changed drastically. He, who had only been seen as the weakest, had made a monumental and necessary leap forward.

Roman was lost in thought.

How will I be able to achieve maximum results with minimum effort? Well, what is certain is that to build something of my own, I need people to support me.

Ding.

“Hans.”

Roman called for Hans. He had much to do in the next two weeks.


Around the time the news about the imminent war between Lawrence and Barco was spreading in the North-East region, a man arrived in Dmitry.

“Dmitry remains the same as ever.”

That man’s name was Lucas; he was a B-class mercenary. As a mercenary, he had experienced many things and even participated in the recent battle at the border. There were even moments when he seriously thought he would die. Fortunately, he managed to survive by stepping on the corpses of his comrades, and in need of rest, he left the battlefield without even renewing his mercenary contract.

And now, Lucas had come to Dmitry to reorganize. Although he wasn’t born in Dmitry, Dmitry’s forge was extremely famous among mercenaries for its high quality.

“Fuck, I won’t even go anywhere near the border next time. My ten-year mercenary life almost ended that day because the bastards with brains for decoration ran wild without knowing anything. Sigh, damned dog-like bastards.”

A sigh came out of his mouth. Looking down, he noticed how badly damaged his chained armor had gotten.

The armor I bought for a large amount of money got torn in several places and exposed my wounds, and it seemed that even my bare skin would be completely cut if the armor was hit a little more.

Due to that, he spat out swear words bitterly during the battle. He almost lost his one and only precious life due to purchasing his armor from a new place. And Dmitry’s iron and armaments were considered one of the best. So he headed straight to Dmitry, and as soon as he arrived, he went to the blacksmith’s shop and put in a request for the production of a new weapon.

‘Let’s stay in Dmitry for a while and do some recuperation.’

The battlefield was tedious. Whenever he thought of the moment he was covered in blood from head to toe, he could already feel his teeth trembling. Lucas took a step forward. He was planning to go to a restaurant and have a meal, but in the city square, he noticed many people were gathered and gossiping about something.

Murmur murmur.

‘What’s going on?’

He was curious. Having lived as a mercenary for decades, it was natural for him to live out of curiosity and almost die of curiosity—That was something in his DNA, and he cut through the crowd and burrowed inside as naturally as if he were being dragged by a magnet. There was a bulletin board in front of him. It was mainly used by the lord of the estate to give orders or to convey information to the general public, but one article on the bulletin board caught people’s attention.

[Recruitment of private soldiers]

-Eligibility requirements: A healthy body and a desire to be strong.

-Number of spots: 30

-Salary: 8 silvers per month.

-Special Note: The recruited soldiers will belong solely to Roman Dmitry, not the Dmitry family. Keeping this in mind, I hope only those willing to give their lives for Roman Dmitry will apply.

It was a recruitment notice—and honestly, the conditions were not bad. The average cost for a family of four to live well per month was around five silvers, but giving eight silvers was extremely good, even considering the risk allowance. Besides, there was nothing special about the requirements and qualifications needed to apply. Of course, the conditions were harsh enough for ordinary people, but it was different for Lucas, a B-class mercenary. He showed a serious expression.

‘This recruitment has nothing to do with me.’

Being a B-class mercenary, he wasn’t in a position where he needed to enter the ranks as a private soldier. If he was going to swear allegiance to the nobleman, he would have to be paid at least 50 silvers every month, so it was a matter he didn’t even need to consider.

However, just then,

“If you’re thinking of applying, forget it. There must be hundreds of applicants already.”

The old man next to him said something unexpected. To Lucas, it seemed the old man had misunderstood that Lucas was interested in the recruitment notice. Normally, he would have ignored it, but Lucas couldn’t just listen to the old man’s seemingly foolish words.

‘Hundreds of people want to become Roman Dmitry’s private soldier? Is he even worth it?’

Roman Dmitry was, of course, famous in the area. Lucas also visited Dmitry often, so he knew just how pathetic Roman Dmitry was.

Was it two years ago? That was when I last visited Dmitry, and watching Roman Dmitry lose money at the gambling house while getting drunk, I thought that the baron known as Romero Dmitry had failed in raising his children properly.

However, today, hundreds of people were supporting him. Of course, no matter how important money was, the future under Roman Dmitry was clear as crystal.

Was that why?—Lucas asked curiously, “Is this seriously worth it? Even if he gives me eight silvers every month, isn’t he still Roman Dmitry, who is known as Dmitry’s Fool? You never know what hardships you will face when you become his private soldier.”

Hearing those words, the old man’s eyes widened. He looked at Lucas with a puzzled expression on his face.

“I’m a foreigner, so I don’t know much about this situation myself. However, Roman Dmitry isn’t the person we used to know. He not only subjugated the Blood Fang by himself, he cares for his people from the bottom of his heart!”

Recently, a rumor had spread among Dmitry—and the enthusiasm for this private soldier’s recruitment announcement had originated from that rumor.

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