Chapter 5 – The Price of Kindness (II)
A space ring’s master had a spiritual connection to it, and only the master was able to open the sealed ring. Forcefully opening the ring would only damage it. ‘The lost ring is explainable,’ now that Yin Zhu thought about it, recalling when he helped support the little beggar as he got up. The little beggar had grabbed his attention and could easily have pawed his space ring.
After leaving Desolate Jade Sea, anger had appeared in Yin Zhu’s mind for the first time. He gave charity with kindness, yet he had his most valued possession stolen. He was an acclaimed zither mage! Without his zither, he was basically unable to use any zither magic. In addition, those five zithers were the Zither Sect’s most treasured assets. They had accompanied him for 16 years; losing them like this, how could he not be anxious?
At this moment, in an uninhabited nook of Rolle City, the little beggar examined the sealed case in his hands. He mumbled to himself, “This is unexpectedly a space ring. What a pity, I am unable to take anything out of it. Forget about it, I’ll just keep it as a souvenir. In this troubled world, such a simple good man is rare; this could teach him a lesson. Anyway, so what if it is a space ring. Humph. Humph. I have it in a lead case to disrupt the the spirit wave connection. 10 gold coins is sufficient for my travel expenses and tuition fee. Oh, father— No, old man, just you wait. Inevitably there will be a day where I can get back what I deserve.” His eyes were big and bright, but it did not have the crystal clarity of Yin Zhu’s eyes. In his eyes was a light brimming with hatred and all sorts of complicated negative emotions.
He held the ring case tightly as a faint green light flashed by. His delicate figure rapidly disappeared out of sight.
“Oh no, no connection.” Withdrawing his spiritual force, Yin Zhu’s complexion had already paled.
What did losing the space ring signify? It meant he had lost the Zither Sect’s most treasured assets, all of his money, and his recommendation letter to Milan Institution. “Nothing, what should I do? What exactly should I do?” ‘I am in Wavast without any way out of this dilemma. Should I continue on to Milan? I no longer have the money to travel, nor the recommendation letter. Return? Likewise, I don’t have the money to travel back. And after losing those five ranked zithers, how could I face my teacher, Qin Shang?’
Gern and Hart, these two men, did not ridicule Yin Zhu for failing to procure gold coins. On the contrary, both of their faces exuded awe.
Gern probingly asked, “Little brother, are you alright?”
Ye Yin Zhu vexedly said, “Great Uncle, I fear I am unable to purchase a gnu; my space ring is lost with all of my money inside.”
Gern nodded, saying, “Little brother, looking at your appearance just now, you ought to be an advanced level red ranked mage.”
Ye Yin Zhu immediately recalled Qin Shang’s warning and subconsciously nodded, “Yes!”
Gern’s eyes displayed a trace of happiness as he continued to question him, “Do you have someplace you want to go?
Ye Yin Zhu hesitated. Thinking to himself in his heart, he certainly did not want to return. He absolutely could not return and face Qin Shang before he retrieved the space ring. It was still better to head to Milan first, as Zi said he would try to find him there. He would see Zi again and consult with him about what he should do.
“I want to head to the Milan Empire’s Milan Institution of Magic and Martial Arts.”
“Fantastic, that is indeed fantastic. The Milan Institution of Magic and Martial Arts is located outside the Milan Empire’s capital city. Our mercenary company’s next mission is similarly heading to Milan city. It would be better if you follow us. If you journey with our mercenary company until we reach the final destination, I will pay you 20 gold coins. What do you think?” Gern excitedly stated.
The sudden loss of everything had been a shock, so Gern’s proposal to Ye Yin Zhu ignited hope in his heart once more. However, all of this came at him too suddenly. He couldn’t help but be somewhat dazed.
Gern believed that he had offered Yin Zhu too little money and hastily added, “We would also produce the money for your gnu. What’s wrong? Do you not like it?”
“No, no, of course I am willing. But, uncle Gern, you did not tell me what a mercenary is?”
“Eh…….” Gern did not know whether to laugh or cry as he looked at Yin Zhu. In front of him, this handsome young man looked at them seriously. He did not seem like he was joking.
“You don’t know what a mercenary is? Come, I’ll tell you.” To the side, Hart explained, “On this continent, mercenaries are considered to be a very broad profession. This is purely because of the benefits. They engage in combat for their employers or execute warrior missions. In every place, you can find mercenaries. In addition, the Western continent’s Palermo Kingdom is called the mercenary kingdom because, on the continent, the greatest number of mercenary companies are stationed within its borders. In that place, a mercenary’s treatment and status is the highest.”
“So it’s like that. Uncle Gern, you’re allowing me to become a mercenary?” Ye Yin Zhu asked.
Gern nodded and said, “You’ll be considered a temporary mercenary. To be honest, our Iron Brambles Mercenary Company truly has not employed a mage’s power in a long time. We are escorting a Lord’s goods to Milan City next. The journey should be basic, nothing dangerous. Granted, we would lend a hand to each other either way. What do you think?”
The haze in Yin Zhu’s heart that was produced from the lost of his space ring had disappeared as he looked at Gern’s sincere eyes. “Uncle Gern, you are indeed a good person. I am certainly willing.” Currently, he had already forgotten about the little beggar stealing his ring as he spoke to this good person.
“Good, let’s go. Hart, have your men deliver these gnu to us later like in the past, or to the old location.” Gern’s mood was clearly pretty good. He drew Ye Yin Zhu’s shoulder to face the slave market and walked outside.
Looking at their backs, Hart smiled and said, “Gern’s luck is really not bad. I did not expect such an undemanding mage. The Iron Brambles finally has a mage. Although only temporary, they can now be promoted.
Ye Yin Zhu did not know, that on the continent, a mage’s status was higher than he had imagined. It was the highest and most noble profession. Even a red rank mage’s position was higher than their warrior counterpart. In addition, all mages were always very prideful. Precious few were willing to work with mercenaries. The great majority vowed loyalty and devotion to their kingdom. Mages were a significant indicator of a mercenary company’s strength and the hiring price exceedingly high if present.
Mercenary companies were divided into eight ranks. In order from highest to lowest they were: S, A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. At the E, F, and G ranks, they were called low order mercenary companies. For the C and D rank, they are called middle order mercenary companies. B ranks were called high order mercenary companies while those at the S and A rank were called supreme order mercenary companies. Currently, the Iron Brambles mercenary company was an E rank mercenary company running missions sufficiently. They wished to advance to the D rank, but they needed a mage for the mercenary guild’s audit. This was the main reason as to why Gern agreed to employ Yin Zhu for their next, not at all dangerous, mission.
The Iron Brambles Mercenary Company was stationed in the middle of Rolle City’s courtyard. All of the men, including Gern, totaled up to 67 members. 20 swordsmen, 10 archers, 10 light cavalrymen, and the remaining 27 shield warriors made up a relatively complete mercenary company. A mercenary company for six years, the great majority of the mercenaries were within the ages of 25 and 40. Gern was a green rank Earth Warrior. Because of him, the Iron Brambles rose to an E rank mercenary company in five years. His objective was to ascend to the D rank. Entering that rank of mercenary companies, the commission for employment would be substantially higher.