Ardis who returned to the inn was greeted by Ted and Orphellia waiting on a four-seat table.
In this inn which serves as a tavern and a sleeping place for mercenaries, it would be noisy even if it’s late in the night. However, it was different today. It was noisy but, rather than liveliness, it felt like awkwardness filled the tavern. It was probably because no one had mugs of liquor in their hands.
Ardis took a seat at an empty chair, and asked the two.
「Norris is currently out to gather information. 」
「It’s a mess everywhere now, doubtful there’s any useful information to gather though. 」
It seems they have been exchanging information with the inn master and their mercenary friends as well. But, it’s not like the other mercenaries had witnessed the situation outside by themselves. So, it didn’t seem like what the other mercenaries know are more than hearsay.
「Sorry sorry. It took a little longer than expected. 」
Just when Ardis was ordering some food and drinks, Norris returned. Norris finished the cup of water on the table as he sat down before catching his breath.
「Good work out there. 」
As if awarding his hard work, Orphellia poured some fresh water into the cup and offered it to Norris. After downing the second cup of water, Norris who finally settled down started his report.
「It seems like the people managing Reiten are in a mess too. But, at least they’re fast. It seems like they’re planning to move at dawn. 」
「The Reiten army, those greenhorn soldiers we saw? 」
「That’s true. Wasn’t it five hundred people or something they have? Even if the threats are mostly just beasts, with that number to oppose the army of beasts……」
At Ted and Orphellia’s suspicion, Norris answered as if he was expecting it.
「Unn, there’re five hundred novice soldiers. On top of that, from what we saw at the west gate, there’re also demonic beings mixed in the army of beasts. Even if it was just beasts, 『Beast Kings』 might be dangerous for them too. That’s why there will be requests for us mercenaries too. 」
「Well, something like that is expected. 」
「But look. I don’t know how many mercenaries is in Reiten but, even if there’re a lot, wouldn’t it amount to hundred or two at most? It’s not like they have thousands of mercenaries here. Even if it’s just against beasts, even for us, that much is impossible though? 」
「Well there, every cloud has a silver lining? Coincidentally, there’re strong mercenary parties from other lands gathered in Reiten now. 」
Norris counted one by one, 『Freedom Cloud』, 『Dragon’s Pawn』, 『Spirit’s Guidance』, 『Crimson Three Blades』, all of them were famous mercenary parties that are known in their home country.
「Five hundred from the army, a hundred from mercenaries. If they just draft some citizens, wouldn’t it be easy to pass the two thousand mark? 」
It’s Reiten with more than fifty thousand population after all. Even if they aren’t mercenaries, there are sure to be some tough people among them, drafting them would surely increase the number of combatants significantly.
Of course, since there isn’t much time to spare for preparation, there wouldn’t be any kind of training of issuing of equipment. But, if the beasts managed to break through the town walls and entered the town, only the death of their families and loved ones awaits.
Since it’s a battle that even the normal citizens couldn’t afford to lose, their morale is very high.
「We will take care of the demonic beings, the army will take care of the beasts, and the remaining drafted soldiers will use numbers to suppress the remaining. I guess it’s something like that? 」
「Unn. It’s just as what Ardis said, the town seems to be planning it that way as well. The participation compensation for mercenaries like us will be two gold coins per person. And there will be an extra of three gold coins per demonic being dealt with. 」
It’s three gold coins per demonic being. It’s a high price considering normally. Since the failure of the request would mean the destruction of Reiten, it seems that the town wouldn’t save on the compensation. But there’s no knowing how many demonic beings is out there, if there are ten or more of them, it’ll cost the government quite a lot to compensate.
「But hey? If the employer of those mercenaries wouldn’t care, then wouldn’t it be useless? Certainly, weren’t 『Dragon’s Pawn』 and 『Crimson Three Blades』 hired by that――uhh, what name was it again? Jim……something merchant association――」
「It’s Jimberyl. 」
「Yeah, that. Didn’t they come because of the request from Jimberyl Merchant Association? 」
It’s as Ted said. Mercenaries only moves on the request from their employer. It’s the norm for mercenaries to be forbidden to take up on another request during the period of the request they are currently in.
For the employer, it would be bad if the mercenaries left just because 「The compensation of the other request was better」. For mercenaries who are regarded as ruffians by the society, by abiding the contract is what barely allows mercenaries to have citizenships.
Of course, there are some bastards amongst mercenaries who would go against contracts without hesitating. But, the parties that Norris pointed out just now were all famous ones, they’re probably different from the other thug mercenaries out there. They probably wouldn’t neglect the contract.
On the other hand, it just means that their actions are bound by the contract. If their employer is someone who would only guard their own benefits, they would prioritize their own lives and fortune rather than allowing the mercenaries to participate in the subjugation squad.
「Well that, you see―」
I’m glad you asked, Norris was giving such an impression as he started talking.
「It seems that the Jimberyl Merchant Association had gotten the situation under control, they requested the mercenaries to participate in the subjugation. By the way, it’s not just 『Dragon’s Pawn』 and 『Crimson Three Blades』, it seems like 『Freedom Cloud』 and 『Sprit’s Guidance』 were all called to Reiten by them. 」
Originally, Ted and the others, 『Bright Stars of White Night』 also came to Reiten under Jimberyl’s request. It’s not strange that they have called out to other parties other than 『Dragon’s Pawn』 and 『Crimson Three Blades』.
「So it’s only possible since that Jimberyl agreed to cooperate in the subjugation. If they refused, then it would be……」
Probably impossible to win, Orphellia explained.
The beasts can be dealt with somehow by the army and other mercenaries but, for the demonic beings mixed in the monster’s army, it would be a little difficult for them. Even if Ted and the others are strong, it’s not like they can be around everywhere to deal with the demonic beings.
「On top of that, it seems that they would be the one to provide weapons for the drafted soldiers and the materials to repair the town walls. The country and the army are praising the Jimberyl Merchant Association highly because of that. 」
「What about the other merchant associations? 」
Ardis recalled the messy situation in the Litte’s building.
「Who knows. I didn’t really hear much about the other associations. But wouldn’t they be lost in their actions, since they’re not clear about the situation? Exactly because of that that the Jimberyl Merchant Association looks really good now. Well, amazing people, aren’t they? 」
Norris laughed seemingly with irony.
After all, it’s only half a day since the emergency happened. There probably isn’t anyone else other than the upper echelon of the country that would know about the situation clearly. And in the midst of that, to decide to cooperate with the subjugation so quickly is too unnatural.
On top of that, considering the restricted circulation of information now, it seemed like the Jimberyl’s know something about the current situation. Although they can just dismiss it as their competence of being merchants, it couldn’t just be Ardis who is feeling skeptical at their actions.
It seems like Norris has also noticed it. Even without saying it aloud, it’s evident that he’s not really fond of the Jimberyl Merchant Association.
「Well, if they are saying that they’re willing to help, there isn’t any disadvantages to us. First would be dealing with the army of beasts. 」
「Yeah, just as Norris said. I don’t like that fishy merchant but, at the very least, having the chance to win is good. 」
Ted seemed to understand Norris’s feelings, as he was appreciating their decision albeit a little reluctantly.
「What―? Ted and Norris, you two are still saying something like that? Could it be that the Jimberyl’s president stole the glory and you two are jealous? 」
「As if! 」
「Definitely wrong! 」
Orphellia’s critic was met with furious objections.
Ardis who have never met the president in question ignored the small quarrel that had started beside him and started working on the food that was served. The warm soup that took away all his fatigue, and the crispy bacon sandwiched in the bun, the saltiness together with the meat juices fulfilled Ardis’s hunger.
Since Reiten is a town of trading, with ingredients from the west and east gathered, there are many dishes Ardis had never seen before. Leaving aside Ted and the others who are still quarreling, Ardis silently devoured the dishes that was put on the table.
The taste is reasonable. At the very least, it was the difference of heaven and earth when comparing to the Annihilation Weapon (Melir’s Cooking) of 『Seseragi Inn』.
Well, in the first place, it’s questionable to even categorize that as food, as Ardis gave his opinion that he would never speak out loud.
「You………. When we were still talking, you have been enjoying the food comfortably huh……」
Seeing Ardis who was enjoying his food, Ted and the others who were quarreling foolishly before stopped and started their meal.
It was an hour later when the soldiers went around the taverns in town to recruit mercenaries for the subjugation squad that will move out in the next morning.