Chapter 31 – Recruitment (4)

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The day before the test.

While sipping from a tiny teacup that did not fit his size, Baron Romero received a report from the Dmitry Knights’ Captain, Jonathan.

“All preparations for the test are complete now.
We are only going to keep a minimal number of control forces to support the young master, and according to the talks with the young master, he himself will be taking care of the overall progress of the test.”

“Is it that time already?”

“Yes.
The number of visitors has increased significantly from early morning, and many people are willing to volunteer for the enlistment.”

“Is that so?”

Baron Romero remembered the moment he first heard the plan from Roman.
Even back then, he was shocked when hearing about Roman’s plans. ’Roman said that he wanted to nurture private soldiers—not for the Dmitry family, but for himself.
That’s usually not allowed in the aristocratic world.
Giving your son personal power when the question of succession is unresolved is a choice that can have irreversible consequences.’

Nevertheless, Baron Romero quickly agreed.
Most people’s opinions were that the second son, rather than the eldest son of Dmitry, should be the successor.
However, even though paying 8 silvers to 30 soldiers every month would not be a small expenditure, he did not even ask Roman for any justifications.
Honestly, Roman’s recent actions were hard to understand.
When he was told that Roman was going to Barco’s banquet after breaking up with the Lawrence family, the Baron thought that his son was trying to use his connections to collaborate with Barco to change the successor of Dmitry to himself.
Barco’s support would definitely be an ace up the sleeve for pushing out his second son and taking power by himself.

However, what happened at the banquet was utterly beyond the Baron’s expectations—In front of the aristocrats of the North-East, he slapped Barco’s knight even when Anthony Barco tried to stop him.
Clearly, he had crossed the line—Anthony Barco was a narrow-minded man, so he was sure to have a grudge against Roman for humiliating him.
Even though he knew that Dmitry was strong, Anthony Barco would surely want to get revenge on Roman, even if it was indirectly.
For example, he might intervene even in the succession of Dmitry’s son.
If he took the second son’s side and not Roman’s, he would be utterly disqualified from succeeding, both internally and externally, due to lacking support.

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That was the reason Baron Romero had granted Roman’s request—Roman Dmitry, who had destroyed and lived with his reputation as Dmitry’s Fool for decades, had finally begun to live an ‘independent life’ starting with the Blood Fang incident.
Naturally, he wanted to watch over him.
He knew it would be hard for him to get him in the line of succession, but he still wanted Roman to do everything he wanted to become a better person.
Having a father’s heart, he had no choice but to cheer for his sore thumb.
Moreover, his second son was living a luxurious life, due to his recognized talent, in the capital anyway.

Baron Romero asked, “So, how many applicants are there? Fifty people? A hundred people? Considering Roman’s reputation, I guess it would be fortunate to have more than just 50 people—Being a private soldier rather than the family’s soldier isn’t something people usually prefer to be.”

That’s right.
Private soldiers—As the word implies, they only belonged to one person and were used to solve personal affairs.
Hence, being a private soldier wasn’t something people usually preferred.
It was different from being the soldier of a noble family.
Being the soldier raised under the title of protecting a noble family was preferred due to a stable job, but individual soldiers were easily abandoned depending on the circumstances.

Fifty people at best.—That was Baron Romero’s expectation.
According to him, as not many people would want to apply, the test was virtually unnecessary.

However, Jonathan shook his head and said, “As soon as the guards confirmed the purpose of the people’s entry, they told me that more than two hundred people had already visited Dmitry for the military recruitment test.
And today’s not even the day of the test.
If things keep following this pace, I estimate that at least five hundred people will be tested on the day of the test.”

Five hundred people—As Baron Romero heard a number he could never have imagined even in his wildest dreams, his body froze on the spot.
“…That many?” Suddenly, he felt like he was the one who had been underestimating Roman for a long time.

At that same time, someone came to one of Dmitry’s inn’s doorstep and stepped inside.
Inside the inn that was bustling with people, Lucas sat at the bar and drank his beer.

Clang.

“Kyaa.”

The drink was truly incredible—After feeling the stout characteristic of Dmitry’s dark beer, Lucas frowned and carefully examined the surroundings. ‘How are there so many people flocking here even before the day of the test? I guess there will be more applicants than I initially expected.
Nevertheless, the problem isn’t the simple fact that there are a lot of applicants; the level of people who will apply for enlistment is higher than I thought.’

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At first, Lucas had thought that this enlistment would be just the recruitment of some ordinary soldiers—Although 8 silvers per month was a decent enough reward, there was no reason for veterans like Lucas, who had been through many trials, to apply for enlistment.
Nevertheless, the reason Lucas had applied was purely out of curiosity about Roman Dmitry—He wanted to see for himself how much the person known as Dmitry’s Fool had changed and whether he really valued people, as the rumors said.
However, Lucas was a special case.
He thought that only ordinary people would mostly apply; however, more talented people than he had expected could be seen in his eyes.

’Those three men talking loudly at the table in the corner—judging by the same-colored IDs hanging from their waists, they are highly likely to be C-class mercenaries.
And then, the guys drinking side by side at the bar—they don’t look like mercenaries, but just looking at their physique and posture, I can see they’re adept at fighting.’

Moreover, the inn he had come to was only one of the many inns in Dmitry.
However, if 5 or 6 decent applicants could be seen only in this small space, the level of applicants was much higher than he initially expected.
Of course, even then, he could see no one stronger than him.
In the world of mercenaries, the difference between B-class and C-class was huge, and they deserved special treatment wherever they went.

Lucas had a question—Why? I understand the general public would, but why would mercenaries like me apply? I don’t think it can be only because of rumors.
It’s remarkable enough that Roman changed the lives of the Clark family and treated Kevin so preciously that he even punished the knight of the Barco family.
However, in the end, the most important thing is money.
Eight silvers per month is a price only ignorant people would pay, and it is also an offer that people like me shouldn’t be interested in.

‘I don’t understand.’

Glug glug.

Lucas drank too much.
And as he was about to get up from his seat, he heard something that caught his attention—“Henderson, why are you here? Didn’t you want to become a knight of the Lawrence family?”—That was a conversation between two men.
Lucas sat back down and listened to him.

The situation was like this—There was a man named Henderson from Lawrence.
In preparation for the war against the Barco family, Lawrence conscripted the permanent residents of Lawrence.
Naturally, most of the strong men responded to conscription.
And Henderson, of course, had decided to fight for Lawrence not too long ago; however, an incident changed his mind completely.
Henderson said, “As you know, I was going to join the conscription even though I wasn’t eligible.
If Lawrence, my hometown, was destroyed, my life would have no meaning anyway.
However, when I saw Roman Dmitry subjugating Blood Fang in Lawrence, I changed my mind.
I understood that he was a real leader.”

That day, Henderson was one of those people who were present in the city square.
He saw Roman for the first time—A young master from a noble family, who must have been cherished since childhood, appeared in front of the commoners covered in blood.
Also, Roman had grabbed Ben Miles’ hair with one hand and was dragging him along.
Knowing just how dangerous Ben Miles was, people like Henderson couldn’t help but hold their breath.
And then, Roman executed Ben Miles.
Obviously, those who were not present did not believe that day’s events, but Henderson could not forget that moment.

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“Blood Fang even extended their demonic beasts to Dmitry.
With their obscene methods, they plunged Dmitry’s citizens into hell and even showed intent to kill me, who interfered with them.
Blood Fang’s sin is clear as crystal.
Therefore, in front of you, I will get rid of this evil at its very roots.”—That’s what Roman had said back then.
In order to punish the Blood Fang who dared to touch Dmitry’s people, he came to Lawrence by himself and killed their leader—Ben Miles’ blood spattered, and his head flew away.
The children screamed and closed their eyes, but Henderson clearly witnessed the splattering of blood with his eyes.

‘Wow.’

He shuddered. Look at Roman! He’s a leader who raises his sword for his citizens! I can’t believe there was such a person in the world!

Henderson, who was reminiscing and talking about the moment with a flushed face, explained to others why he hoped to become Roman’s private soldier.

“People doubt and deny what happened in Lawrence.
I myself didn’t think Roman Dmitry would ever be able to do such a thing.
However, I saw it and felt it with my own body.
Roman Dmitry is not a weak human being, as rumored in the world, but a leader who fights for his people.
And this military recruitment is a golden opportunity to become one of Roman Dmitry’s people.
I want to pass the test, get a permanent residence in Dmitry, and live as one of Roman Dmitry’s people.”

New stories piled up one after another, destroying Roman’s horrible reputation of the past.
Subduing Blood Fang; The Clark family; protecting and avenging Kevin—People now flocked to praise Roman’s name, not because of a single event, but because of synergy from multiple events.

People thought—If it’s the new and changed Roman, isn’t he worthy of my allegiance? Even if you ignore him treating one well in return for his loyalty, respecting people, and fighting against evil hordes such as Blood Fang, there is no doubt he has no hesitation in drawing his sword. They couldn’t help but support him.
Even those who thought they were worth 8 silvers or more felt inexplicable emotions rising inside them; the blood in their heart boiled when they heard Roman’s story and achievements.

A lot of people applying to become his private soldier was no accident.
People have eyes and ears, and due to that, slowly, the true face of Roman would be revealed to everyone.

On the day of the test, the day was bright.
And in the exam hall crowded with people, Lucas was still immersed in his own world. ‘If everything I heard earlier was true, what choice should I make now?’

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At this place, many others were feeling the same as Lucas.
However, those who were dubious and still expressed their intention to apply would soon face the truth about Roman.

That was truly the moment of choice. Should I take this exam seriously? Or should I just drop out after seeing Roman?—Lucas, who had spent his whole life at the front lines and earned a B-class mercenary title, seriously thought about whether it was worth investing and giving up his life to Roman while being paid the frugal price of 8 silvers every month.
It wasn’t a condition he would normally even consider.
However, the sense of Lucas, the same sense that made him a B-class mercenary, directed him to the testing ground.
Naturally, the exam room was noisy.
There were at least five hundred people there.
And since there was no one to sanction them, many people were making a lot of noise as if they were on the market floor.

“Ahahahahaha.”

“Did that really happen?”

“After the test, let’s go get a beer!”

However, just then, even though no one told them to stop, even though no one stopped them from talking, the commotion subsided.
People’s eyes naturally shrank and turned seeing that the noise had disappeared from each side.
Naturally, Lucas was no different.
And just when he shifted his gaze,

“…!”

He was out of breath.
His hair stood up, and he remembered it—fighting for his life on the front lines.
Lucas unconsciously lowered his head when the extreme tension that could only be felt back then was revived in the current situation.
It seemed like everyone else had done the same thing.
They all saw one man—his appearance and his gait.
And Lucas, just like everyone else, bowed his head to greet him. ‘The rumors were true.’

Roman Dmitry had finally appeared and was walking through the crowd.

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