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171 Three Swordsmen

 It was just as Rhode had guessed; these three people were brought by Sereck to join his mercenary group. Their situation actually wasn't considered rare in the Paphield area. When the prohibition was announced, some mercenary groups received very heavy casualties and couldn't help but disband. Shauna's Red Hawk was also one of them, but it didn't mean that all mercenary group suffering had ended. They were trying to persevere, but in the end they couldn't help but to give in. These three people weren't an exception.

"I don't think you recognize them, but it's no wonder considering that they usually aren't here. This time, were it not because of the emergency, they also wouldn't come here... Let me introduce you to them."

While saying this, Sereck reached out his hand and made a gesture toward the tall man who was talking with him. "This is the Coyote mercenary group leader, Obertan."

"Yo, hello, Mr. Rhode." Hearing that Sereck has introduced him, the huge man stood up and waved his hand toward Rhode. His voice was loud and earth-wrecking, and even Rhode's heart almost jumped out. However, his emotionless face brought a good advantage. Although he almost got heart attack after hearing that earth-wrecking voice, Rhode's face was still calm as usual. He only nodded and greeted him.

At this moment, the plump fatty also gave him a friendly smile, taking off his hat and putting it in front of his chest. After that, he bowed toward Rhode.

"Hello, Mr. Rhode. I'm the Lynx mercenary group leader, Kavos. I've heard of you; it's my pleasure meeting you in person. Honestly, you and your mercenary group is very famous in our Paphield region. Especially when you brought your mercenary group to Silent Highland to save our fellow mercenaries from undead creatures. I'm really impressed by it..."

"Enough enough, Kavos. Shut up." Hearing that this fatty had begun to chatter, Sereck quickly shut his mouth up and coughed. Then he look at the last person.

"This is the Condor mercenary group's leader, Derick.

After Sereck introduced him, this man who was surrounded by sharp air suddenly stood up and nodded to Rhode.

"Hello."

Rhode also nodded back. At the same time he was also pondering, since no matter what, these three people were too similar. Judging from their appearance...

"Just as you've guessed, Rhode." Looking at Rhode expression, Sereck already knew what Rhode was thinking about, so he immediately gave him the answer.

"The three of them are brothers; it's weird right, hahaha. Three brothers established three different mercenary groups and reached this point... You guys are just too pathetic."

"You cannot blame us for this, Mr. Sereck." Facing Sereck's ridicule, Kavos, who looked like a merchant, only shook his head helplessly.

"Everyone tried their best. It's just that our luck is too bad. You don't have to speak so sarcastically, right. Hehe, since we..."

"Enough enough, I'm not here to talk bullsh*t with you." Sereck waved his hand and no longer pay attention to Kavos, but looked toward Rhode.

"I'll leave the three of them in your care. These people were my subordinates once, so I have faith in the three of them. Obertan is a very remarkable two-handed swordsman. Although Kavos is a little talkative, he's a good thief. As for Derick... you've already seen that he's a very serious person. I think the three of them are suitable for your mercenary group. Of course, not only them, but also their subordinates."

"I understand, Mr. Sereck." Having said that, Rhode didn't reply immediately. To the contrary, he made an eye contact with Sereck and implicitly asked whether he had told them about the mercenary guild matter. But Sereck's expression showed his denial-clearly, he knew that this matter couldn't be talked about casually. If it was known by other mercenary groups that the quota of a mercenary guild in the Paphield region was going to be abolished, they would definitely go mad.

Those mercenary groups weren't considered too strong, always ranking behind Burning Blade and Dark Fang. They could barely create a threat either. But it was two different things. Just like famous universities: they have a quota for new students from various regions. Each year, thousands of candidates desperately study to achieve that quota. Although they also know that the probability was less than one-thousandth, whatever the outcome, there was still a hope, right?

If right now they directly told them that the university wouldn't accept anymore candidates...

Without thinking hard, the association would already be able to guess what might happen. Originally, they already received a very huge blow because of the continuous incidents that happened in the Paphield region. If they rubbed salt into their wounds, then a big problem would definitely occur... The mercenaries definitely wouldn't continue to stay in a hopeless place like this.

Naturally, the Old President and Sereck were hiding this news. They only talked about this matter with the top three mercenary groups. But Hiller was unable to accept this heavy responsibility and Shawn clearly didn't want to do it either. RIght now, the only person who could do it was Rhode.

"Then, you guys can slowly get to know each other. I'll leave first."

While Rhode dozed off for a few moments, Sereck left. Rhode only noticed when Sereck finally left. He walked toward the three people and waved his hand, then sat down again.

"Then... nice to meet the three of you." Rhode was silent, but in the end, he still chose the direct approach.

"But I hope you guys can answer me this question. Why did the three of you choose to join my mercenary group?"

"It's like this, Mr. Rhode." Hearing Rhode's question, the three of them weren't surprised. They glanced toward each other before finally Kavon spoke. He clasped his hands, showed his warm smile, and said, "It's not strange for you to doubt this matter, but we have our own reasons...

"You might not know that your Starlight mercenary group shook the entire Paphield area and became a discussion topic for many mercenaries. I'm not afraid to tell you the truth: there's only a few strong mercenary group in the Paphield area, and people like us can only pick up the remains left by them. But because this kind of incident suddenly happened, no one's life was good. Not to mention that the Dark Fang mercenary group is always secretive and mysterious, totally different from us. And although the Burning Blade mercenary group is strong, but they have a lot of problems... and they have a lot of members, so I don't think they would even consider us. However, your Starlight mercenary group is different. Frankly, in our opinion, Starlight is stronger than Burning Blade. You don't have to refute it; this is a fact. You saved them once in the Twilight Forest, right? As the saying goes, people walk toward higher positions. Every mercenary always hopes to join a strong mercenary group for benefits. Moreover, unlike Burning Blade, you don't have many members. Of course, I don't mean to say it's a problem, but I think numbers also play a big part in a mercenary group. Although your strength is strong enough to face many problems, if you received more help, it would be a lot easier for you, right? That's why we think if we could join Starlight, then we can at least help you regarding this..."

"I understand what you mean." Hearing until here, Rhode nodded. Of course he knew what Kavos meant. Indeed, no matter how strong Starlight was, it wasn't invincible. Sometimes, lot of members were needed. The Burning Blade mercenary group always maintained the first place position for so many years, so to them, numbers weren't a problem. That was why even if they joined Burning Blade, they wouldn't be treated well. However, Starlight was different; although they were stronger than Burning Blade, their numbers were too little. It was just like a legendary swordmaster; no matter how strong he was, he would not be be able to split the earth in half. It was also impossible for him to cook and wash by himself... He still needed support in those parts.

That's why they thought by joining Starlight, they at least wouldn't be treated as badly as they would in Burning Blade since they didn't really care about numbers, but...

"But, are you guys qualified to do so?" Rhode's words made the three of them surprised, but he didn't stop there and continued to speak. "Indeed, we're still lacking in numbers, but we haven't reached the limit... Since Mr. Sereck recommended you guys, I believe that you must have reached a certain standard, but whether it reaches my standard..."

Having said that, Rhode spread his hands and coldly looked at the three of them. "It's still uncertain."

Rhode understood what Kavos was trying to achieve. Mercenaries were just as sly as merchants. From the first time, his enthusiastic and blunt speeches were all directed to himself. This made people think that they were sincere, or at the very least, not nonsense. It was smarter than people who said meaningless nonsense like "I admire Starlight" or "I think you're the greatest mercenary commander here."

However, he naturally couldn't follow along smoothly. If they wanted to join his mercenary group, then they must have the strength to do so. He needed to let them know who the real master was here. Only he could decide whether they could join or not; it wouldn't happen just because they were lobbying.

If Rhode just agreed after hearing their words, it would leave an impression of him being too soft and easily be moved. A weak leader wasn't suited to be a leader. Even though what they said was right, he still had to interrupt it and gave them a new direction.

"This..." Hearing until here, Kavos's expression changed. He glanced toward his two brothers, and the huge man stopped smiling just now, clearly dissatisfied with Rhode while the other man stayed silent. Rhode didn't know what he was thinking about.

"Since the three of you are very familiar with my mercenary group, then you must know about a rule here." Seeing that he had the upper hand right now, Rhode didn't plan to give it up, wanting to control the situation, and started to put pressure on them.

Hearing until here, Kavos expression turned serious and nodded.

Starlight's weird contract had spread among mercenaries. Rhode didn't plan to hide it since the beginning. For insurance, another copy of the contract was kept by the Mercenary Association. Since this matter was known to the Mercenary Association, of course mercenaries knew about it too and everyone was shocked by it.

Rhode's approach had led to two different opinions in the mercenary groups in the Paphield region. One said that it was considered traditional desecration and lacked respect for mercenaries, treating them as goods and slaves, not human beings. It was just too inhumane for their existence to be symbolized by a contract, and if their performance wasn't good, they would be expelled. Once a mercenary joined a mercenary group, the mercenary group would be their home, so how could they not guard their home properly? What Rhode did was too inhumane and wouldn't be welcomed by anyone.

On the other hand, the other side was very supportive of Rhode's behavior. They thought this method would help stimulate a mercenary's passion, and the content of the contract could easily solve many troubles that often happened in a mercenary group, such as loot distribution and what happened if a mercenary was injured. Before, everyone had their own idea, and the result of this trivial matter could make the entire mercenary group feel uncomfortable. With a contract, written in black and white, more contribution would be awarded with more reward. The contract itself was known by everyone, so they didn't have to worry about who out of the force took more. They didn't have to worry about someone going back on their words. This was a lot better than bickering on their own. After all, they still valued the contract and this form of agreement because they could rely on the mercenary group to make money. Going back on their own words could be said the biggest taboo in the mercenary circle.

When Rhode reminded them about this matter, the three of them knew that the important part was coming.

"Mr. Sereck trusts you guys, but I don't trust you guys. I trust Sereck, but my trust isn't unconditional." Having said that, Rhode reached out two fingers on his right hand.

"I hope you guys can sign a contract. The contract valid for two years and I can renew your contract when it expires if your performance satisfies me. Like everyone else, if you can successfully renew the contract three times, you can stay in this mercenary group forever. I will give you a copy of the specific terms in the contract. I hope you can give me a reply after you discuss it."

Having said that, Rhode stood up and looked at the three of them. Now, he finally had full control of the situation.

"I hope we can have a satisfying beginning."