I Became the Tyrant of a Defense Game novel - Chapter 13
Chapter 13: [Side Story] Do I get a guaranteed SR if I do 100 pulls?
After instructing Aider on what to do for the day, Lucas and I left the mansion.
About 30 minutes later, we were standing in front of the mercenary guild.
It was called a mercenary guild, but it was no different than just an inn.
Because it is a place where mercenaries who are not yet employed by the Empire stay.
Mercenaries who have not been hired stay here for a while. If I hire them, they are transferred to the city, and if I don’t hire them, they leave for another city.
You never know when good talent will come and go, so it’s good to visit often.
Even though it is early in the morning, you can hear the drunk noises from inside. They seem to be having a blast.
“I’ll head in first, Your Highness.”
As Lucas spoke while holding the doorknob, I shook my head and removed his hand from the doorknob.
“I’ll go in first.”
Then I kicked the door open.
“Come greet your customer~!”
At my wild appearance, the mercenaries who were drinking and playing looked at me all at once.
I could sense the warm welcomes from those gazes. There are around 100 of them, I think?
“What the? Who the hell’re you?”
“You wanna go down?!”
The bloody gazes were burdensome, but I wasn’t scared at all.
No matter how scary the gazes they give are, they are more docile than the black spiders.
“I am the one who will be your employer!”
Not only that, I’ll be the employer, and you will be the employee. So I have the high ground here.
I looked around the mercenaries and growled.
“The hell you lookin’ at?! Put your eyes down!”
Lucas covered his eyes with his hand. What, huh? After all, I’m the psycho nasty prince. It’s only natural for me to do something like this.
We strode into the mercenary guild. I could hear the murmurs from the people looking at me from all directions.
“He’s the third prince, Ash.”
“Y’mean that psycho? The one that kills everyone he doesn’t like?”
“He got his troops completely annihilated in the forward operating base…”
“But he killed all the spiders too, I heard.”
I broke through the murmur and calmly headed towards the inside of the guild while looking closely at the mercenaries around.
‘Let’s see, any shiny ones?’
The mercenary guild is basically a place to “pull” for new characters.
To make it easier to recognize from the player’s point of view, high-rank characters emit a subtle aura within the guild.
R-ranks emit a blue aura. SR-ranks emit a purple aura. And SSR-ranks emit a golden aura.
I wandered around the mercenary guild and tried to find the light. Where are you?
Then, I finally found it.
An elderly woman in a neat military uniform was sitting in the bar at the innermost part of the mercenary guild.
Behind her silhouette, a soft purple light shone.
‘An SR-rank character?!’
Jackpot! Without hiding my smile, I approached the mercenary.
“Welcome to the Continental Mercenary Guild, the Crossroads branch, Your Highness.”
It was a woman with her thick white hair tied back cleanly.
Her left eye was covered with a leather eyepatch, and her wrinkled lips were holding a large cigar.
I casually sat next to her.
“Can I ask for your name, mercenary?”
“Gladly. My name is Jupiter. It is an honor to meet you.”
SR-rank lightning attribute wizard, Jupiter!
Recognizing the person, I called for joy inside. But why is this old lady already in the mercenary guild?
I gave a chin gesture to Jupiter who was politely saluting.
“It’s a military uniform I’ve never seen before. Which country is it from?”
“It’s from our Everblack Empire. It’s a model from several decades ago, so you might be seeing it for the first time.”
Jupiter proudly hand-brushed her old black military uniform. More than 10 medals were engraved on the chest.
Even though I knew everything, I pretended to be blown away with admiration.
“Then you must have been a soldier of the Empire?”
“I served for 30 years. I even served as the commander of the 2nd Division of the Imperial Magic Corps. After retiring, I have been feeding my mouth as a mercenary.”
“You are an exemplary soldier, devoting yourself to your country even after retirement!”
“Not quite. Life is tight with only a veteran’s pension, that’s the only reason why I am serving as a mercenary.”
Smirk. Jupiter smiled. Her smile seemed like a smile that would come from a villain, not a soldier.
“But being a mercenary ain’t that bad at all. Due to the nature of the industry, which prioritizes skills and achievements, I am making quite some money.”
“It seems that you like to spend a lot?”
“It is a bad habit of this old lady who has been on the battlefield all her life. I just could not get myself to save up when I had no idea when I’d die.”
Jupiter, skillfully blowing smoke from a cigar in her mouth, smiled at me.
“So, Your Highness. What brings you here today?”
“What other reason would I be here at the mercenary guild for? I’m here to hire a useful mercenary.”
“Or you’re here to hire some disposable units that could die in your place, no?”
As Jupiter smiled, Lucas’s hand was placed on the hilt of his sword.
I grabbed Lucas’s arm and stopped him.
Lucas reluctantly stepped back. As he kept glancing at Jupiter.
“The outcome of the battle at the forward operating base has already spread, Your Highness. You seem to have paid a fair price for your overconfidence.”
Jupiter twirled her cigar with her long, wrinkled fingers and shook her head.
“We are indeed a bunch of vulgar fellows chasing after money, but we are not fools who dig our own graves. I have no intention of risking my life to follow a greenhorn commander.”
I nodded and looked around the mercenaries in the guild.
“But aren’t you all here to sell your lives?”
Some mercenaries flinched at my sharp tone.
“You’ve come all the way here to the edge since you don’t have any other way to make a living except selling your own life, am I wrong? But now you say that you’re too scared to sell your life for money?”
Facing Jupiter, I put my index finger in front of her face.
“Not some fools who dig their own graves, you say? That sounds a little strange coming from you. Don’t you think so, ‘Dame’ Jupiter?
“Pardon? What do you…”
“Your career is indeed splendid. However, the reason why you were decommissioned in the end—was because you were caught ‘behind the scenes’ in the military. Wouldn’t you call that ‘digging your own grave’?”
Jupiter’s one and only eye widened. She never thought I’d know everything.
I smirked and continued to talk.
“From defense industry corruption to smuggling trades with enemy countries. And when you were caught, you were decommissioned as if being chased by something! Yet you still wear that military uniform so proudly, how shameless!”
The embodiment of corruption. A fallen and rotten soldier. A disgraceful veteran whose all distinguished war contributions were expunged.
However, her ability as a fighter was undoubtedly the real thing. A heroine more suited to be a pirate than a soldier.
That was this old lady, the electro wizard, Jupiter.
Jupiter bit her lips. The end of the cigar trembled.
“Your Highness. Although the end of my career wasn’t very nice, I still have the pride of once being an Imperial soldier. Be careful with your…”
“How much is it?”
I cut her words off as I laughed scornfully.
“Your pride, how much will it take for me to purchase?”
Jupiter’s eyes narrowed. We met eyes for a moment.
Rather, a person like this is more reliable. Because there is only one principle of action.
“I’m asking you, how much will it take for me to make you my hunting dog?”
Jupiter smirked and took the cigar she was holding back to her mouth.
“I may not seem like it, but it costs a fortune to hire me. I make at least 100k Adel per year…”
The cigar fell on the bar table. Jupiter asked with a face questioning what she just heard.
“I’ll pay you twice that. 200 thousand.”
It may be excessive for a mercenary’s salary, but I am the prince of the empire and the lord of this city.
Moreover, I’ve just sold around 400 high-quality magic crystals.
One may call it a waste of money.
But I’ll waste as much money as possible if it meant I was buying a guaranteed SR-ranked hero.
“Your fear of death! I’ll purchase it. I’ll pay twice the amount of your yearly salary right here, right now!”
Usually, mercenaries were hired on weekly payments. Because you never know when they were going to die.
However, I was planning on throwing their yearly wage all at once.
I pulled out a bunch of gold certificates from my pocket.
After counting the certificates in my hand, I looked around the inside of the guild and smiled.
“Get out of here if you’re a coward who doesn’t want to risk your life! But if you’re a real mercenary who wants to make a fortune, then come to the vacant lot located in the west part of Crossroad in the evening.”
I turned around, after only saying what I had to say. I left the guild while receiving the gazes of the astonished mercenaries on my back.
Lucas, who hastily caught up behind me, looked back at the closed door of the guild and asked.
“Do you think… the mercenaries will actually come?”
“Of course, I am very sure.”
This is the monster front where the stragglers flow into.
All the mercenaries gather together with a dream of making quick big money.
For these people, a double salary would be an irresistibly sweet offer. So sweet that it would rot their teeth.
Money is scarier than death.
This truth applies both on Earth and in this world.
“I don’t know about the other mercenaries, but Jupiter must be recruited. We need a wide-ranged striker in our party.”
“However, according to Your Highness, she’s a pretty sketchy woman.”
“On the battlefield, Lucas. A capable scumbag is more reliable than an incompetent moral gentleman.”
Monsters don’t act on morals. They simply kill the humans in front of them.
And we can’t act on morals in such situations either. All we need is the ability to kill those monsters.
“…Well, that’s the case on the battlefield.”
I smiled bitterly and got into the wagon waiting for me.
“As the lord of the castle, I should do something a little moral to show off.”
* * *
[Translator: Dawn ]
[Proofreader: Alissa ]
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* * *
The next place I stopped by was the temple.
It was because Lucas was arguing very intensely that I should heal the burn I got from the last stage.
I didn’t really care about getting it fixed, but since I also had business to take care of at the temple, I decided to visit.
“Welcome, Your Highness. We’ve been waiting for you.”
A young woman in a tight uniform greeted me.
She was the representative of the R-class heroes that clearly showed better performance than their ranks, Saintess Margherita. With a skill set devoted only to healing and shielding, she was a top-class healer in the game.
‘I’ll be able to recruit her after meeting certain conditions, but…”
I’m not here to recruit her for today.
Margherita instantly healed my burn. It felt like it didn’t even take 5 minutes.
“We’re done. It will leave a faint scar though.”
“Thank you, Saintess.”
I sent a chin gesture at Lucas, showing my unbandaged hands in front of my chest.
Lucas handed me a bag of gold coins he was holding, and I put the whole thing in the offering box.
“Then, Saintess, as we informed you beforehand…”
I sent Demian here in advance last night.
To convey my purpose. As if she’d already heard everything, Margherita happily nodded her head.
“Yes. I have called all the priests who are currently available.”
About a dozen priests who were waiting bowed their heads. Among them, there was Demian.
Demian smiled shyly, and I gave a thin smile.
“Then shall we go?”
I led the priests and walked in the lead.
“There’s a lot of work to be done for the day. You will have a hard time.”
* * *
On the evening of that day. The west of Crossroad.
Under the sky dyed red by the setting sun, a procession of coffins from the forward operating base arrived.
There weren’t enough coffins left in Crossroad, so some troops had to be sent to the forest to cut down trees in order to make more.
In the western wasteland, the cemetery was dug by the soldiers in advance. Coffins entered the empty space consecutively.
The priests recited prayers for the coffins one by one.
Ken’s coffin entered the hole dug at the very front. I stared at the scene silently.
The choir sang while watching the process.
It was an improvised choir that had recruited anyone who could sing, not only from Crossroad, but also from nearby villages. It was rushed, but it wasn’t half bad.
A sad and beautiful song rang out.
People gathered to see the scene.
Soldiers lined up neatly. The imperial flags were placed on each coffin. And there was a large choir. It was a proper funeral, rare in a city where death was common and vulgar.
Above all, compensation was to be returned to the family of the deceased.
Among the citizens who came out to see the funeral, the talk about the amount of compensation spread.
Surprised by the amount, people murmured. The rumors will soon spread quickly.
‘I have no intention of sugarcoating it.’
I laughed bitterly as I watched the citizens roaring in surprise which was exactly what I expected.
That’s right. I have no intention of sugarcoating it. This is a show. However, a reasonable one nonetheless.
‘Loyalty doesn’t come at no cost.’
There must be a reward for dedication. And an honor for death.
Only rewards and honor produce loyalty.
‘Fighting on the front line here should be accepted as a noble task for mankind.’
Not reluctantly, but willingly. They have to open their chests and fight the monsters with pride.
Only then will the mercenaries become a real army.
“This is the third prince who was newly inaugurated as lord, Ash ‘Von Heiter’ Everblack.”
After a series of rituals, I stood in front of the crowd gathered like a cloud.
It was a little ironic that the first meeting between the lord and the citizens was at a funeral.
“Is that person the new lord?”
“That nasty prince?”
“He sure does look nasty, alright.”
Jupiter and the mercenaries were seen among the murmuring citizens. They actually came.
“Let me say this first.”
Thousands of people’s attention gathered on me. I wonder if it’s because of my career as a streamer, or because emotions such as fear evaporated away after what I had gone through against those monsters.
I wasn’t nervous at all. The words I had prepared in my mind came out smoothly.
“Even after this, you will die on the front line!”