“Gosh, it’s not that amazing. She’s so naive, she’d fall for every scam imaginable. That’s why she follows me – to learn about the world.”
‘I never praise you…’
Isaac responded with a wave of his hand while Rivelia remained still. Wolfgang glared at Isaac menacingly for a moment before he sat on the sofa to converse.
“My land is facing a great ordeal at the moment, so it is in no position to give you any welcome. What’s your reason for coming here?”
“As expected! Such a swift personality befitting of how quickly you expanded your fiefdom. I like it! I’ll quickly go over the purpose of my visit, just like my respected sunbaenim.”
Wolfgang could barely keep a straight face at Isaac’s irritating flattery. He hurried Isaac along with his eyes. Isaac explained with a grin.
“I’ve started a new business recently.”
“A business? What does that have anything to do with me?”
“I hear that mercenary businesses are on the rise lately.”
“You’ve gone mad.”
Wolfgang burst out in laughter in clear disdain, but Isaac maintained the smile as he continued.
“Have you heard rumours about me, sunbaenim?”
“You’re so famous that I couldn’t escape them even if I wanted to.”
“Truth is, I’ve already fulfilled most of the conditions our Emperor has given to me, but I really have no answer for the unemployed population. So many people in my city, but there’s a limit to how many jobs a single city can have.”
“So that’s why you’ve come up with mercenaries?”
“I get to reduce unemployment and the working population. Two birds, one stone.”
A chill ran through Wolfgang’s spine. He straightened his posture and looked directly at Isaac. The deplorable smile on Isaac’s face now felt entirely different.
“You… You aren’t just any man. I see. Perhaps it was not just a coincidence you managed to survive until now?”
“You’re giving me way too much credit. I’m just doing this to survive. It’s nothing compared to you, Wolfgang sunbaenim, who will step beyond the title of Count and be recorded down in history as a duke after defeating the Marquis.”
Wolfgang smirked at Isaac’s praise.
Wolfgang had reached a conclusion about Isaac, just as Isaac spoke.
“1000 Giga for each hire.”
“… What? Is that your contract’s condition? You’re asking me to hire fresh recruits fresh out of training at a rate of 1000 Giga per person?”
Wolfgang shouted out, enraged that Isaac was making a fool of him. Isaac flicked his finger and corrected Wolfgang.
“That’s not it. I’ll pay you 1000 Giga for each mercenary you hire from me.”
Wolfgang looked at Isaac in disbelief for this unfathomable offer, wondering if this man had gone mad. He’d never heard of a mercenary contract where the employee paid the employer. Isaac explained with an exaggerated sigh, as if he was aware of what Wolfgang was thinking.
“Sigh… As you already know, I’m standing on thin ice. The deadline for the Emperor’s conditions is approaching but I have no answer, so I have to make this mercenary business into a success no matter what. But who would pay for a recently graduated mercenary? That’s why I have no choice but to give you money and ask that you hire them.”
“As expected of New Port City, where all of the Empire’s wealth accumulates. Just how much money do you have to be able to do something like this?”
“I’m just using it while I have it. It’s not like I can use it from the grave.”
It was true. It was obvious what would happen if Isaac failed to meet the Emperor’s terms. The notorious Ark Royale would jump at him enthusiastically.
Although he was trash, his desperate attempts at self-preservation reassured Wolfgang. It ruled out the possibility that this was one of Marquis Lichten’s schemes.
“Fine. I’ll consider it. I assume they are still on their way here, since I would have heard of it if they were in my city. Where are they now?”
“They just started training.”
“I’m sure they’ll look the part in 15 days.”
Wolfgang was almost erupting in anger at Isaac’s obnoxious attitude.
“I think you’re mistaken. The war will start in under a month. We will be sending the declaration of war to the Department of Administration soon. But how long will it take for your soldiers to get here? It will take at least 20 days, even if you used the quickest route.”
“Ah. You don’t need to worry about that. I’m going to make the same offer to Marquis Lichten too.”
“… What are you scheming?”
“I suspect you’re just going to shove them in the back line, since you won’t risk a dangerous strategy that sends untrained recruits into the middle of the battlefield, right?”
“… I won’t deny it.”
“Marquis Lichten will be the same too. Their lives are on the stake too, right?”
“That’s why I’m paying 1000 Giga for every person gaining experience from being stuck in the back line. That money will come in handy in the postwar cleanup afterwards too. Ah! And my boys on the opposing side must die valiantly in battle, regardless of whether they are winning or losing side, since they’ve been hired under contract.”
Basically, Isaac was paying money to validate his mercenary business, which would allow him to reduce the unemployed population. But since he didn’t know which side would win, he was sending his soldiers to both sides.
“Of course, I know this won’t be enough to convince you to help me out. So I will give an additional 2 million Giga to the winner of the war, but only if the winner delays the war for another month.”
2 million… A dazzling amount of money. Wolfgang’s revenue from taxes and miscellaneous activities only totaled 700 thousand Giga after being reclassified as a county, yet Isaac was throwing around 2 million like it was nothing. Wolfgang now had firsthand experience as to why they called him a wastrel.
And 2 million… was worth one month’s delay.
With the negotiation over, Count Wolfgang offered Rivelia to stay a night so that he could prepare a banquet for her. Rivelia tried to refuse, but Isaac rubbed his hands together mischievously and accepted the offer instead.
Wolfgang made no comment over Isaac accepting the offer that was clearly not meant for him. Rivelia, who clearly wanted to refuse the offer, seemed like she was going to follow Isaac’s lead.
So the two were led into their separate guest rooms. Finally alone, Rivelia found some time to catch her breath, when Isaac barged into the room.
“What’s up with your expression?”
“It’s nothing. I’m just surprised at how calmly I’m taking your senseless barging into a lady’s room without a knock.”
Isaac shrugged in response to Rivelia and threw himself onto the sofa. He placed his legs on the table and took out a cigarette.
“Aren’t I being discriminated against here?”
Isaac complained as he scanned Rivelia’s room. Rivelia frowned at Isaac’s deplorable attitude, what with his twitching feet on the table, and asked.
“Why did you accept the offer?”
“You’re really asking me that?”
Realising that she really didn’t seem to know the reason, Isaac rudely muttered about not knowing where he was supposed to start in teaching this innocent damsel, irritating Rivelia already.
“Imagine the princess from Pendletons leaving this place without staying a single night here after the visit. What kind of rumours do you think will be spread?”
“This was an official visit, not a social one.”
“That’s what you think, but what about the local nobility here? The great princess of Pendleton, who they are too afraid to even look straight at. A sword master who has forged a path of her own. But hey, she just left? Why? Did they do something to displease her? Does that mean Count Wolfgang’s now on the Pendletons’ bad side? Won’t I be playing with fire if I stay close to him? I better keep my distance. That’s how it will go.”
“That’s wild speculation.”
“Oh you innocent damsel, don’t you know the more power one has, the more sensitive they become to those who have even greater power? Have you ever heard the phrase, a sneeze from the top becomes a typhoon at the bottom?”
“I’ve never heard of such a phrase in my life.”
Rivelia’s reply seemed to blow Isaac’s mind away.
“What has your family been teaching you at home? Did they not tell you about this?”
They hadn’t. In truth, she only learnt the barest of basics she needed as successor of Pendleton line and spent most of her time training her swordsmanship.
Truth was, even the Pendleton family was frustrated. Study of political relations was a part of studies needed for a ruler, and the family’s vassals recommended it be taught from a young age. But it was met with Duke Pendleton’s overbearing love and her early acceptance into College, the opportunity slipping away. So they decided to teach her little by little after graduation, but she had left for Central by then.
Rivelia wasn’t aware of anything, so she was completely clueless as to what disasters she had left in her wake.
“Well, I guess what i’m thinking might be wrong, since this is a different neighborhood. But it’s correct to stay this time. Pendletons aside, you are a Swordmaster, so everyone who uses a sword will congregate just to catch a glimpse of your face. There should be suspected turncoats in the mix too. So look at them with your eyes and make your own conclusions.”
“… Don’t you know?”
“You have no way of identifying a turncoat or demon until they use their strength.”
Isaac opened his eyes wide in surprise, and Rivelia sighed.
“One of the reasons why Central regulates wars so much is because it is the easiest environment to find turncoats in. Otherwise, the agents of Surveillance would have found them in advance and killed them.”
“You have a point.”
Isaac nodded in agreement, but then spoke out as if it didn’t matter.
“Don’t worry. I have a very special method.”
Rivelia felt a chill running up her spine when she saw Isaac look at her from top to bottom with a perverted look as he mentioned the word ‘special.’ Immediately, a servant entered the room with a knock.
“I have brought what you requested.”
“Oh! That was quick. Nice. Good job.”
Isaac jumped onto his feet and took the object the servant brought him. Rivelia’s instincts screamed as she saw Isaac jump with joy.
“… What is that?”
Rivelia asked, and Isaac ripped the box open and showed what was inside to Rivelia.
“I have specially ordered the dress our damsel will wear for the banquet.”
“W, what, is that!”
When Rivelia saw what the object was, she shouted out with her face red with fury.
Its fabric was soft and translucent, exposing a risqué amount of skin underneath. The dress exposed one’s back completely down to the waist. It then wrapped around the waist and came up the breast in two strips of cloth to be tied behind the neck, and each strip was so thin that it exposed most of the breasts. Also, the skirt was so short that it was more than a hand’s span away from the knees.
EDN: Here’s what Moyo thinks the dress looks like.
“How about it? Amazing right?”
“A-are you telling me to wear this!”
Rivelia was stammering in bafflement. Isaac responded with a perverted smile.
“The game’s over with this brain-melting outfit alone.”
“Not even the Blue Roses wear clothes like this!”
“Hm? How did you know? I gave this to them as an ultimate weapon for bringing over some guests, but they all refused.”
“Of course they would!”
“But this is a casual outfit in my neighborhood?”
“Y, you’re telling me they walk around wearing this!”
Rivelia shouted, and Isaac hesitated before he nodded.
“You just hesitated!”
“Don’t worry about it. Here, give it a try now. This is an order from your Director. You come out wearing this, and even the turncoats will lose their minds.”
Isaac approached her with the clothes in his hands, when there was a sudden ‘slash’ and the clothes ripped to pieces, turning into rags.
Rivelia glared coldly at Isaac, accentuating every syllable of her words. Isaac walked back as he dashed his mouth in disappointment. She ripped the clothes with just a wave of her hands without a sword. Isaac feared that he would be assaulted if he teased her anymore, so he simply acted oblivious to her frightening glare and turned away.