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205 Rebel of a Nonentity

 Barney lowered his head as he walked out of the room. He clenched both his fists and stared at the scroll on his hand. He had a tough time acquiring this roll of paper.

"How was it?"

A half-elf maiden, who was waiting outside, asked the young swordsman when he stepped out. Barney nodded at her excitedly. The half-elf maiden revealed a gentle and relaxed smile in response.

"I didn't expect that we actually succeeded."

"Yeah..."

Barney nodded his head and stared at the scroll on his hand as if he couldn't believe that it was real. He had waited a long time for this day, but even now, he still felt that it was a dream.

"We really succeeded... and from now on, the Jade Tears Mercenary Group belongs to us!"

Thinking of this, Barney felt a wave of excitement coming over him. They had been waiting so long for the arrival of this day.

After the disappearance of their ex-leader Frank, the Jade Tears Mercenary Group fell into unimaginable chaos. The remaining mercenaries didn't know what to do. They were mercenaries who were cast aside by their previous mercenary groups, and even Frank refused to trust them fully. Of course, this was also the main reason how these people were able to survive. Had Frank entrusted them with hunting down Rhode in the underground mine then they'd be long dead.

Since they had lost the only person who could restrain them, the mercenaries naturally started to make a scene and even requested for the disbandment of the mercenary group in attempt to obtain that final bit of money for themselves. The Mercenary Association accepted their request. If Frank didn't appear, they would disband the Jade Tears Mercenary Group.

However, not everyone chose to give up.

Barney was one of them. Due to the conflict he had with Rhode, Frank ranked him rather low in the group. But as a talented swordsman, his strength was actually quite strong. He was different from the other mercenaries. Barney joined Jade Tears Mercenary Group with hopes of succeeding in life, and thus, he was very much resentful against the disbandment of the mercenary group. He felt that they should rely on themselves to revive the group rather than to leave it in the hands of a sly, arrogant bastard.

So, even when faced with the terrible fate of imminent disbandment, Barney didn't choose to give up. He relied on his reputation within the mercenary group to band all the other confused and upset mercenaries together.

"All of you had once left under the mocking of others for the sake of doing better than those who mocked you. If all of you give up now, then you will always be under their feet!"

Under the encouragement of Barney, many of them were emotionally affected. Indeed, they had previously left their mercenary groups for the sake of doing better. But what happened now? If the Jade Tears Mercenary Group disbanded, they would become unemployed.

They could imagine the amount of mocking and teasing they would receive if they met their past comrades.

Based on Frank's impression, Barney's behavior was considered rash. However, Barney was respected by the mercenaries as a heroic figure. Rhode had mocked the Jade Tears Mercenary Group on many different occasions, and not only that, but he also avoided punishment for killing their comrades by using the identity of a noble. As a result, none of the members of the Jade Tears Mercenary Group liked Rhode.

At one point in time, Barney stood up for them and lost an ear to Rhode. Ever since then, he had become a heroic figure in their hearts. To them, Rhode represented the nobles who were highly arrogant, proud, prideful and evil. Yet Barney represented them to fight against him fearlessly. On top of that, he was even willing to reform the whole mercenary group! These noble acts finally gained the trust of many mercenaries.

It wasn't as if accusations such as 'Barney being too young and thus not suitable to lead a mercenary group as leader' never happened before, but they were mostly denied. Young? That little noble from Starlight Mercenary Group was equally young, yet he could lead an incomplete mercenary group to this size, so why can't we? So what if we're young? Maybe one day, Barney could become stronger than that damned noble, and our Jade Tears Mercenary Group will become the strongest Guild in Paphield Region. If that sissy little noble could do it, then we can too!

However, the journey wasn't all smooth sailing. As the proverb says, speaking is like splashing of water. Of course, the Mercenary Association wouldn't easily allow Jade Tears Mercenary Group to retract their disbandment application. In fact, the association hoped for this mercenary group to be disbanded as they created many of the previous incidents. And furthermore, this mercenary group was considered to be the enemy of civilians. Hence, they truly yearned to disband this mercenary group to give themselves more peaceful days.

However, Barney was extremely determined to revive the group, and eventually, the Mercenary Association could only delay and temporarily halt the disbandment process. But they had certain conditions - they needed to complete at least two of the two stars missions in the next month to prove their worth. At the same time, they had to guarantee they wouldn't start fights against other mercenary groups. Once any of these conditions were breached, the Mercenary Association would disband Jade Tears Mercenary Group with immediate effect.

Of course, Barney wasn't too happy. After all, the previous conflict was instigated by another group. Even if their side retaliated rather uncivilly, the fact remained that Rhode did kill someone. Apparently, the Mercenary Association chose to defend the other party...

None of these nobles were any good.

But not everything was bad news. Barney received assistance from someone that he had never expected to receive help from, and to him, it made him extremely happy.

Now, everything was going as planned.

Looking at the scroll on his hand, Barney fell deep into thought. However, suddenly a familiar voice echoed from the front.

"Miss Marlene, what do you think?"

Barney and the half-elf girl were instantly stunned when they heard the familiar voice. They quickly turned their heads and discovered Rhode who was standing nearby. He was speaking softly to the maiden dressed in a gown, with their heads turned towards the notice board.

"It's him, Barney..."

The half-elf maiden lowered her voice as she spoke frightenedly, and at the same time, she tugged onto Barney's shirt. After that battle, the half-elf maiden had never dared to be arrogant. Never had she faced death so closely before. Rhode was a formidable enemy, and just his hand was enough to break her neck as if she was a little chick without any resistance. The huge gap in strength brought fear into the half-elf maiden when she stared at Rhode's back. She hid behind Barney to avoid Rhode from noticing her and finding trouble. Rhode was more than capable of doing such things.

However, unlike the half-elf maiden, Barney didn't think of leaving just yet. Instead, he made a gesture quietly and eavesdropped on the two of them. Soon, Rhode and Marlene left. When their figures had disappeared into the crowd, the half-elf maiden finally relaxed.

"Barney, let's go, don't stay here anymore..."

"Did you manage to hear them?"

Barney asked, and the half-elf maiden nodded her head.

"Yes, I heard..."

The half-elves naturally had an acute sense of hearing, and besides, Rhode and Marlene weren't actually whispering either, so she was able to overhear their conversation. However, she didn't understand why Barney would ask her this question at such a moment.

"... I think we can take this mission."

"Eh?"

The half-elf maiden surprised for a moment and cried out in shock.

"Barney, what are you talking about, are you crazy?"

"I'm not crazy!"

Barney waved his hand and interrupted the maiden.

"I think this is a good chance. You know, now that the Mercenary Association requires us to prove our worth, we should show those people that we are capable and let them know we aren't weak. And if we can snatch this mission before Starlight does, and even complete it, it would mean so much to us! You should know how our mercenaries always hated that damn bastard and his mercenary group. Since they elected me as their new leader, if I don't do something, the Jade Tears Mercenary Group would be doomed!"

"But we can still choose other missions..."

The half-elf maiden shook her head and disagreed with Barney.

"Now our priority is to rebuild the mercenary group and not act rashly, Barney. Did you forget about Leader Frank's incident? What if that scary noble do the same to us, then what should we do? Barney, you don't need to do this. We can complete the requirements set by the Mercenary Association, then slowly settle other matters. Also, since Starlight wants to do that particular mission, we may not even be capable of completing it too..."

"You don't have to worry about this. You and I heard what he said. He required Fire-type scrolls for Blackrock Depths, which proved that they would be useful there. I think, our new supporter would be able to sponsor us enough money to purchase those scrolls. Don't forget the reason why the supporter chose us. If we show good results, then that person would help our mercenary group to become even stronger. Also, just think about it, if I announced to others that I had successfully snatched a mission from Starlight, and even complete it, wouldn't you think of that as a considerable feat?

"... you're indeed right, but..."

The half-elf maiden bit her lips hearing Barney's words. She understood what he meant, and as his companion, the half-elf maiden was very clear why the Jade Tears Mercenary Group had a new supporter in providing them with financial assistance. However, she was still afraid. Every time she thought of Rhode, the half-elf maiden would tremble in fear. She absolutely would not dare to stand close or provoke that man. Barney's idea was indeed logical, but wouldn't he be afraid of that man secretly planning for revenge?

"I'm still worried..."

"Fear is normal. But we still have to face our fears with courage." Barney looked at the maiden and coaxed. Then he reached for his ear. "I'm also afraid, but I will never avoid it. I know what you are worried about. Relax, I will not lead all of you into danger. Besides, this mission isn't too difficult. It is only a three Star-Ranked mission. Although, we, the Jade Tears has inadequate members, but it would still be enough for this mission."

"..."

The half-elf maiden didn't answer immediately. She went silent for a moment and said, "I'm not sure if I should agree with this unnecessary risk, Barney. Why not we do it this way, if they accepted the mission, then we would give up. And if they don't accept the mission, then we will do it, how about that?"

"No problem!"

Barney smiled excitedly. He held the maiden's hand and led her into the crowd. Soon enough, he saw Rhode and Marlene speaking to Old Hank.

"When did this request appear? Had any other mercenary groups accept this?"

"This mission... hmm..."

Old Hank frowned and tried to recall if anyone had taken it.

"It should be within the past few days. There shouldn't be anybody else who had accepted it."

Now's the chance!

Barney immediately stormed up and slammed his hand on the table despite the half-elf maiden's resistance.

"Uncle Hank, I'll take this mission."