Chapter 4: Recruitment (1)

This was the origin. To keep the Republic in check, the kingdoms of the continent supplied military aid to the Strabus Kingdom. However, the Republic was waging a tiring war of attrition with the Strabus Kingdom, and to provide aid for an extended period was like pouring water into a bottomless barrel. This was an especially large burden for the royal household which personally managed the finances of the country.

Therefore, the royal household came up with several policies to voluntarily get military funding from the nobles. For example, deducting an equivalent amount of taxes when providing military funding, or being given a decorative award.

From all those that helped with the war effort, those that personally led the military forces of their territory to join in the fight would be given the best preferential treatment. Preferential treatment would be given according to how aggressive one participated in the war.

There was one preferential treatment that Milton was after.

‘Nobles enlisting in the war against the republic will have their taxes and economic debt put on pause for three years.’

Meaning, for a noble participating in a war with their troops, they will be exempt from paying their taxes for three years and their economic debt will also be frozen for three years. This was the only method available to Milton, who could not pay off his debt immediately.

Milton, who had his memories as Park Moonsoo, hated joining the army for a second time and loathed joining the war. [1]

Therefore, even after coming up with this method, he left this as the last possible option. As expected, however, there were no other methods he could come up with, so there was nothing else he could do.

Milton called over Knight Captain Sansen and told him to gather the soldiers, so he could participate in the war.

The old Knight Sansen looked touched as he spoke, “That’s a great idea, My Lord. Let us take this opportunity to drive out the wretched Republicans and spread your Lordship’s name to the world.”

It seemed this old and rigid Knight thought his young lord was participating in the war due to the patriotism he had for his country, and to bring honor to his House.

Sansen’s loyalty went up at this time from 91 to 95.

‘I’m only going because I have to, because of my debt.’

Milton did not bother correcting Sansen’s misconception.

“In order to participate in the war as a commander, we need a minimum of 100 soldiers. Bring together as much of the territory’s forces as you can immediately.”

“Understood, My Lord.”

Sansen moved with motivation.

Milton grumbled with a sigh after Sansen left, “In the end, it looks like I’m going to war.”

***

Brix, one of the branch managers of Charlotte Merchant Company, was perusing his work documents as usual, when one of his subordinates came in to talk to him.

“Branch manager, I have a matter to report immediately.”

“What’s the matter?”

“We received another request for loans from the Forrest territory.”

“What did you say? What do you mean?”

“They’ve asked for an additional 2,000 gold in loans.”

Brix looked dumbfounded from hearing his subordinate’s report and asked, “Are they taking us for fools? The territory is already on hand as collateral, how are they going to get additional loans?”

“That is, the peerage has been put down as collateral.”

“The peerage?”

Brix was really surprised. It was public knowledge that a peerage can be used for trade with money. After working through some complex law documents, it was even possible to sell one’s peerage. However, this was something nobles never used, unless they were literally on the brink of collapse.

A peerage to a noble was the epitome of what was passed down to them from their ancestors. Even if they were to lose their wealth and authority, as long as they have their peerage, they would still be considered a noble. It was hard to put down your peerage as collateral, even if your neck was at knifepoint. For nobles who take honor seriously, just hearing about having a peerage put down as collateral was enough to turn you into an outcast.

“What could he be thinking?”

“He most likely needs money to start a new business venture.”

“That must be the case.”

Common thinking would dictate that to be the norm.

Brix made some calculations in his head. If they could get the peerage in addition to the territory, that’d be an enormous profit indeed. On the other hand, what if the target did miraculously well in his business and paid off the debt?

‘That’s good in its own way.’

At the very least, it seemed like they would have nothing to lose.

“Alright. We will allow it. Just make sure to be thorough with the documents and don’t leave out anything.”

“Understood.”

Brix allotted another loan of 2,000 gold to Milton in such a manner.

***

One month later.

“What? Enlistment into the war with the Republic? The debt is frozen as a result?”

Brix felt numb as if he was hit on the back of his head. When nobles join a war with the Republic, all their personal debts become frozen. Brix also knew about this fact but didn’t pay much mind to it.

That’s because, nobles normally wouldn’t take on the danger of joining a war just for monetary reasons, and there were not many instances of it. It was not even a war that was occurring within one’s homeland. You’d have to travel to the Strabus Kingdom, which was a totally different country.

It was a given that the risk factor was high as your authority as a noble would be diminished, and you’d have to follow orders in a military setting. That being the case, even if nobles knew about it in their mind, the majority of nobles would not enlist in the war.

“Wh… What should we do, Branch Manager?”

“What should we do… Fuck! What can we do?!”

Brix got up from his seat and yelled.

Milton had already enlisted. They could do nothing but watch at this point.

8,500 gold and another additional 2,000 gold. An amount of over 10,000 gold had been frozen solid. To a merchant company, a loan without any interest was really a loss.

“Uhm, Branch Manager….”

“What is it now?!”

“The company president has asked for you to come to headquarters. She said… as soon as possible.”

“Milton Forrest! You money begging piece of shit!!” [2]

Brix felt his blood pressure rise as he cursed Milton.

***

‘Huh? Is someone talking ill of me?’

Milton felt his ears slightly itch.

Two subordinates stood in front of Milton while dripping with tears.

“My Lord, please leave the work of the territory to us old vassals and be rest assured.”

“I, Sansen Bruno, will stake my life to protect the territory while you’re gone, My Lord.”

On the day Milton left his territory with his troops, Sansen and Thomas sent him off with tears in their eyes.

‘They’re just like parents sending off their child to the army. Tsk, this is burdensome….’

Milton thought their tears were burdensome, but let it be.

Milton was going to bring Sansen along initially, but after some careful thinking, he decided to leave Sansen in his territory. If he took the Sansen as well after taking over 90% of the troops in the territory, there would not be enough military strength to keep the territory peaceful. So, he decided to leave Sansen in place and take the other two Knights of the territory with him.

“Rick. Tommy. You guys must keep the Lord safe, even at the cost of your life. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Captain.”

“Worry not, and leave it to me.”

Rick and Tommy, the two knights standing at either side of Milton bravely answered.

Rick had a large build, was one head taller than Milton and had an outspoken personality. Meanwhile, Tommy was leaner than Rick, but also tall, with a quiet and calm personality.

When Milton had a look at their abilities, he saw both of their strengths didn’t fall behind Sansen.

[Rick Torris]

Knight LV.6

Strength – 65 Command – 40

Intellect – 32 Politics – 19

Loyalty – 81

Special Trait – Commando.

Commando LV.4: Jump into the fray against many enemies. When executed well, it could cause the opponent’s formation to break down.

[Tommy Croix]

Knight LV.5

Strength – 55 Command – 68

Intellect – 65 Politics – 42

Loyalty – 75

Special Trait – Unity.

Unity LV.4: Command subordinates properly, even during a dangerous situation. Able to cope well against situations like ambushes and night attacks.

‘Is this about average for knights from the countryside? Well, they’re still young, so there’s still a possibility for growth.’

The two were even ahead of Sansen in strength which was the most important stat.

Sansen was at 52 strength, but Rick was at 65, and Tommy was at 55.

Sansen was not a strong and courageous knight, but a seasoned and loyal knight, so that wasn’t something to be disappointed about. Thomas and Sansen both had a loyalty above 90, so they were the perfect people to leave the territory to.

“We will head out then.”

Milton proceeded to leave with the sendoff from his two vassals.

The first place Milton traveled to was a city named Castlelot. Castlelot was a city by the road, on the way to their destination. The city was incomparably more developed than the Forrest territory. There was also a nickname for this city the city of mercenaries.

“My Lord, I can see the city walls of Castlelot.”

Milton replied to Tommy’s report, “I see. As soon as we arrive, let the soldiers rest, while you two accompany me to the mercenary guild.”

“Understood, My Lord.”

The reason Milton was stopping by the city of Castlelot was to recruit mercenaries. This wasn’t a matter of choice, but a necessity. It was because Milton needed at least 100 soldiers under him to meet the requirements to be positioned as a commander when joining the war.

The lowest unit of commander was a 100-man captain[3], so one needed to join with at least that many soldiers, in order to be recognized as a commander.

Milton had brought 60 infantry and 20 archers with him. Even adding the two knights to that count would only total up to 82 people. Since it was below the required 100 people, he couldn’t be recognized as a commander even if he went to the battlefield now.

‘It’s depressing enough to join the army again. I can’t just join as some grunt.’

Therefore, Milton planned on filling his numbers to 100 people by recruiting mercenaries. Since he’s going to recruit mercenaries anyway, he wanted to hire the most skillful ones at the best price. Of course, such mercenaries were also expensive. However, Milton had the 2,000 gold from screwing(?) over Charlotte Merchant Company.

‘It’s impossible to wage war without money.’

Outside of the pay for the mercenaries, he needed money to arm the troops and other miscellaneous expenses. So, he inadvertently deceived Charlotte Merchant Company to get a hold of some funds. Of course, he found them to be a little reprehensible as well.

Milton decided to personally head over to Castlelot’s mercenary guild to see and recruit the mercenaries.

‘There is a strong meaning to seeing them for myself.’

Milton took Rick and Tommy with him to the mercenary guild with such thoughts.

***

“Welcome. What business brings you here today?”

Milton spoke to the receptionist at the table with the haughtiest voice he could muster, so he wouldn’t be looked down on.

“I want to recruit some mercenaries.”

“I see. The customer’s name is….”

“It’s Viscount Milton Forrest.”

“Ah, you’re a noble. Here is the request form. Please fill out the form as indicated.”

Milton looked over the form the receptionist handed him. The form asked for the name and identity of the requester, the reason for the hire, and the quality and count of the mercenaries. Milton filled out the request form completely and handed it over to the receptionist.

“The reason for the hire is to participate in the war, the quality of recruits needed is between the D~C level, and the count of people you wish to hire is 20~30. Is that correct?”

“That is so. I also want to personally interview the mercenaries I hire.”

“Interview? If you’re looking to test their skills, we can’t allow that. The mercenaries have all been graded based on our guild’s strict judging process, so we don’t publicly allow any additional testing of their skills.”

Milton frowned at the receptionist’s rigid tone. If Milton’s status was a little bit higher, a common receptionist wouldn’t dare to speak in such a rigid tone of voice. However, a common Viscount was someone a mercenary guild could easily take on. The mercenary guild was of formidable size and had many high-ranking nobles backing them. As a result, Milton had to endure his anger and spoke out sternly.

“What do you take me for? I’m not trying to test their skills, but just wanting to conduct an interview. Are you saying you will not even allow that?”

The receptionist momentarily panicked when Milton used his authority as a noble to speak out, before replying.

“That much… should be fine.”

“Then, get started immediately.”

“No, it’s impossible to start immediately. We will need to notify the mercenaries and it’ll take time to gather everyone.”

“What a mess. How long do I need to wait?”

“T... That….”

The receptionist panicked under Milton’s prodding.

This was a special situation, unlike the fixed tasks that the receptionist was used to. Not knowing how to respond created the panic.

Milton stood up from his seat while frowning at the receptionist.

“That's fine. I heard that the mercenary guild at Castlelot was of a high quality, but it seems to be nothing but false rumors. I’ll be better off going elsewhere.”

Milton got off his seat while saying that.

Then….

“J… Just wait for one day. I will gather the best mercenaries in the name of our mercenary guild.”

The receptionist grabbed Milton in a hurry.

“Can I trust your word?”

“Yes, of course.”

“Good. Then, I will come back tomorrow at this same time.”

“Understood, Viscount Forrest.”

Milton then left the mercenary guild.

Rick spoke from behind Milton at the outskirts of the building.

“My Lord, why did you act in such an overbearing manner at the mercenary guild?”

“Because you’ll be deemed to be a sucker if you’re a pushover during negotiations.”

“Sucker?”[4]

“Never mind.”

Recruiting mercenaries was an extremely important task for Milton. If he had been labeled as a sucker, the mercenary guild would have done a shoddy job of arranging the mercenaries for him. That was why Milton acted like a haughty noble, and then provoked his opponent’s pride.

‘Even in my previous life, I couldn’t look like a pushover when outsourcing to sub-contractors.’

It takes one to know one.

In his previous life, Milton gave and took on subcontracts while working for a civil engineering company. That was why he pushed the mercenary guild so much and provoked their pride.


1. It would be Park Moonsoo’s second time in the army since males between the ages of 18-28 are required to perform military service in South Korea.

2. This is a bad word I’ve translated almost literally 빌어먹을

3. The author used the word 백인장 which literally means 100-man leader. I thought about using centurion instead but since I don’t know what other ranks will be portrayed later in the book, I’ll keep it as 100-man captain for now.

4. The Korean word used for sucker here and the line above is 호갱, which is a slang in Korean for sucker. Milton must have just said the slang word from Park Moon-soo’s memories which led to Rick’s confusion.

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