The situation in Sikeqinya was still considered stable, because Sikeqinya was bordered by many mountains. The knights from Holy See could not breach it for the time being. The thing so worrying was that mercenaries from Sikeqinya had seized the opportunity to enter Loulan, because Sikeqinya was not involved in the war.
The Tanggulasi Empire had hired many low grade mercenary groups to defend the castles, while its own army was assembling at Loulan’s border. This meant that these mercenaries had helped the Tanggulasi Empire save on a lot of manpower, thus the empire could concentrate all its efforts on dealing with Qin, which was a tough nut to crack.
Mercenaries and businessmen were the same type of people, they could not care less whether or not the Tanggulasi Empire would turn around and invade Sikeqinya after achieving victory. At the moment, Tanggulasi had obtained large amounts of resources in Sikeqinya, using less than half the original duration to ship these things to Loulan’s borders.
“Stupid people!” Saleen thought to himself. Even though Sikeqinya was his home country, he had great contempt towards the short-sightedness of Sikeqinyans.
“Aini’s concern shouldn’t be coming true. Holy Rock City had hired more than ten-thousand mercenaries to be stationed along the Red River. So this five-thousand man mercenary team in Qin’s hinterland should not meet with any trouble. Who is able to attack such a large group?”
Julian was forcefully held back, he only returned to camp after the meal.
The Purple Smoke Mercenary Group did not cause trouble for Saleen. Towards a team with less than one-hundred people, this five-thousand man mercenary group was not worried at all. This mercenary group had two grade-6 mages and a dozen low grade mages, it was also considered a mighty force.
Su returned. Using a pair of alchemical binoculars to observe the surroundings, he came back and told Saleen, “Sir, this bunch of mercenaries are formidable!”
Saleen was intrigued, then asked, “Why do you say so?”
“We have used less than one-thousand people to defeat more than ten-thousand bandits, but we surely cannot replicate our victory in a fight against these five-thousand mercenaries.” Su’s eyes were ablaze with energy. Ever since he arrived on the mainland plane, he had only seen Lex’s army, but he knew that Lex’s method of cultivating an army was very costly. Those mercenaries he just observed possessed inferior equipment as compared to Lex’s swordsman’s camp, but their offensive power was much higher.
“If you charge into their camp alone, can you kill Dennis?” Saleen recalled the incident where a Silver Grand Swordmaster had charged into Lex’s camp.
“No, they have two grade-6 mages and numerous other swordmasters. The layout of the camp is very systematic, I don’t have any idea of how to achieve a breakthrough. I might get surrounded after killing a few hundred people.”
“How many people do you need to triumph over this mercenary group?”
“If Sir is accompanying me and soldiers of similar quality are available, I will require two to three thousand people. If I have Lex’s soldiers, I only need one-thousand people. If my men are wearing the Spirit Snake Armor… I will be able to defeat them with a hundred men.”
“Only a hundred men?”
“Sir, these one-hundred people are high grade swordmasters. After donning the Spirit Snake Armor, their abilities will be equivalent to that of a Zun Grand Swordmaster. Even so, I cannot exterminate the enemy, I can only defeat them completely.”
“That’s more like it, the trusted soldiers serving a normal noble are only swordsmen, and even a wealthy person like Aini can only gather fifty swordmasters. One-hundred high grade swordmasters wearing the Spirit Snake Armor will translate into a very high cost too. Even though I cannot manufacture the Spirit Snake Armor, I have comprehended its principles. A few more expeditions to the Frozen Sea and I will be able to amass the materials needed to craft armor for an emblem group. Currently, it is meaningless for me to expand the army, but it is still necessary to groom a one-thousand man team. These one-thousand people can be expended as if they are ten-thousand men.”
“Su, when we return to Metatrin City, I will allow you to form an emblem group to follow me into battle. In this emblem group, everyone has to at least be at the standard of a high grade swordmaster. They will don magic equipment and a mage will be allocated to the five brigades. There will also be an additional five-thousand auxiliary troops. The standard of the auxiliary troops will emulate that of the Purple Smoke Mercenary Group.”
Su smiled, “Sir was still very generous, he is willing to spend so much money to equip an army. This is the magnanimity of a monarch. Mm, Sir is a mage, not a monarch, but it is the same. Even though I cannot return to the subcontinent plane, it will be pretty good to carve out a career on this plane too.”
In his mind, Saleen was thinking, “The real crisis will only unfold after a year. No matter how weak the Qin army is, it will not allow the knights from the Holy See to breach their defenses in one year. In a year, Lex’s Metal Titan will have recovered. By then, even if the Tanggulasi people possess large sieging appliances, the Metal Titan will also destroy them. Without large equipment, it will be impossible to breach Metatrin City with simple tools like ladders. Fycro has said that the subordinates of the Holy See’s oracles will not aid the Tanggulasi Empire in battling Metatrin City. Since the Holy See will be fighting on several fronts, it is not possible for it deploy so many holy masters to my city. The longer the duration elapsed, the more advantageous it will be for me. Two years later, mages from the Sregl Island will arrive. Once the thirty-six magical towers are constructed, Metatrin City will be solid as gold. In this one year gap, I can hire Sikeqinya’s mercenaries to help me guard against Phoenix Duchy’s line of defense. As long as the mercenaries can hold the fort for one year, I don’t have to worry anymore. Sikeqinyans, aye…”
The team only set off at noon on the second day. The whole merchant convoy was located in the middle, while Saleen’s team was placed at the rear. Accompanied by people from the merchant convoy, Dennis specially sent a brigade of two-hundred men to merge with Saleen’s team.
He was not too worried about any ill intentions the guards from the Clyde family might have, he was concerned that the merchant convoy would be threatened from the rear. If these over fifty people got flustered, then the whole team would be affected.
After learning that Aini’s subordinates were swordmasters, Dennis’ two-hundred mercenaries had peace of mind. Seems like the Clyde family had lived up to its reputation, a small team like that would not be frightened by bandits.
The advancing speed of the team caused Saleen to feel a little astonished, the speed was actually about fifteen miles an hour. This speed could almost rival the marching speed of the elite infantrymen from the empire already. The elite infantrymen from the empire had horses and their chariots were bespoke, but they traveled at twenty miles an hour only.
Saleen quickly realized that all the mercenaries were also traveling on horseback. As long as the convoy from Sikeqinya’s royal trading firm did not veer off Qin’s roads, it could advance full speed ahead. If it traveled at the usual five miles an hour, then this merchant convoy would never make money.
Saleen was no longer anxious. All along, he never intended to fly to Holy Rock City, he wanted to learn some things along the way, such as redrawing a magic map. The flying puppets soaring in the sky consumed a substantial quantity of magic nuclei daily, but it was worthwhile. Saleen had memorized all the roads he walked past using magic, so that he could develop coordinates for his own magic map.
Once Saleen possessed sufficient powers, he would many mages redraw the map of Myers mainland. Frankly speaking, Lex’s map was not satisfactory. Its foundation was made up of things from tens of thousands of years ago, then it was supplemented one thousand years ago. The positions of many of the mountains and rivers had changed, so their coordinates had also been altered.
Saleen decided to take out his magic chariot, this was the irreparable one out of the chariots which were seized previously. It could not be used for battle, but it was still an excellent tool for mages. At least within the chariot, the elements were very stable, and not many magic nuclei were depleted.
Saleen called Aini and the rest onboard, while the fifty trusted soldiers walked alongside the chariot. Julian was invited over for a chat, this convoy’s leader was now very willing to get chummy with Aini. After all, Aini owned a business in Metatrin City. If Julian wanted to make a fortune in the future, he would have to receive guidance from Aini.
Walking for about half a month, Saleen even got familiar with Dennis, the leader of the mercenary group. This interim leader only led one-thousand men in the Purple Smoke Mercenary Group. On this trip, the group leader had shoved four-thousand men under his command, making him a delegation leader, which was also a deputy group leader.
He was more than happy to be on intimate terms with a grade-6 death mage like Aini. After becoming more familiar with each other, he made a request to Aini, wanting to purchase ten spirit wolves from him. He originally thought that such creatures could hardly be bought, since such grade-4 death creatures were very precious.
In the end, Aini agreed to sell twenty to him, Aini wanted to form a friendship with him.
Dennis was overjoyed. He had a grade-4 death mage in the group, but due to unsuitable summoned creatures and incompatible creatures from the death plane, this mage had been stagnant. Even though these spirit wolves were not as good as the ones from the death plane, their grades were high.
Indeed, Dennis had to appreciate the fact that Aini agreed to sell twenty spirit wolves to him in one go.
Aini also felt jubilant, because these eighty spirit wolves were kind of a burden to him, he had to use the Green Spirit to replenish their Soul Flames daily. Aini already owned the Fleshy Death Creature and the Floral Death Creature. He had better coordinates which enabled him to summon spirits like the green-bronze zombies, so there was really no need for him to keep the spirit wolves which did not hold much significance.
Saleen indirectly hinted that he possessed excellent magic equipment which could be supplied to mercenaries in bulk. Dennis then began valuing Saleen. Recalling the praises Julian had for Saleen, he expressed willingness to purchase Saleen’s equipment.
Saleen thus took out the armor he and Lex had plundered from the Dragon Tooth Town. This armor could not be upgraded anymore, and it had been soaked in dragon’s blood. If Saleen had not obtained a large number of red krill shells, he would not have sold this armor no matter the circumstances.
Dennis was pleasantly surprised, because the armor offered by Saleen was of premium quality. Saleen’s asking price was still forty percent cheaper than other weapon stores. With such a large mercenary group, a weapon shop would only give him a twenty percent discount even with bulk purchases. Saleen had actually offered Dennis double the discount.
Saleen stated that he could sell two-thousand sets of armor, with each set selling for six-hundred gold coins. This amounted to a total of twelve-hundred-thousand gold coins, which made Dennis frustrated. It was impossible for the mercenary group to raise such a huge sum of money, not to mention that he could not afford it. A grade-8 mercenary group was not poor, but they had to maintain a one-million gold coins deposit in the empire’s bank. If they failed a mission, then this money would be reimbursed to their employer.
Dennis only possessed disposable cash of about two-hundred-thousand gold coins.
“Leader Dennis, the Purple Smoke Mercenary Group has a grade-8 reputation, so payment for this armor can be converted into other goods. You can ask your men to send these goods to Metatrin City. Twenty percent of the payment will be made in grains, ten percent in gold coins, while the remaining seventy percent will be taken as my deposit for hiring you.”
Upon hearing Saleen say that, Dennis was exhilarated immediately. It represented more than eight-hundred-thousand gold coins in deposit, and the Purple Smoke Mercenary Group was coincidentally lacking business opportunities too! It would not have accepted employment from the Holy Rock City otherwise.
“Tell me, where do you want us to be stationed at?”
With a smile, Saleen answered, “Phoenix, Cexing City, Huoxing City, and Yaoxing City!”