158 Monetary Incentive

 When Link reached River Cove Town, the carriage stopped right in front of the base of the Flamingo Band of Mercenaries. Link was surprised to find Lucy already waiting for him at the entrance. It seemed like the mercenary band had once again extended their influence over River Cove Town. That was good news.

It had been a month and the base had undergone great changes. The yard was expanded to an area three times larger than before. The nameplate was also replaced by one made of pure copper, with a logo of the flamingo outlined by silver wires above it. The wooden fence had also received an upgrade to a wall made from boulders. There were now two gates before the main entrance of the mercenary base. The first layer was a wooden door entangled with vines and copper nails. The second layer was a steel fence. This not only improved the base defensive capabilities but was also aesthetically pleasing. The mercenaries walking in and out of the base were clad in a wolf leather armor and a premium steel sword. This equipment was almost on par with the military. They looked extremely high-spirited and walked with confident strides.

This was the mercenary base that he had envisioned. It seemed like it was not a wasted investment.

Link was extremely satisfied.

The moment he alighted from the carriage, Link smiled at Lucy and commended, "This is better than what I expected."

"It is the result of spending a huge amount of money. We spent nearly 1000 gold coins on just 200 members." Lucy was very satisfied with the results as well. She just felt that it was slightly extravagant.

Link laughed, "Gold coins are meant to be used. If we save them all, they will just be useless metal chips."

Lucy bit her lips reluctantly. She knew that she could never persuade Link to save his money. She could only try to save as much as she could on her side in case of emergencies.

At the same time, Lilith and Molly also alighted the carriage. Link then introduced them, "This is my mother, Lilith and my sister, Molly. They will be staying with the mercenary band for a while."

Lucy immediately greeted Lilith and Molly with respect the moment she knew they were Link's close relatives. She then introduced herself, "Madame, Miss, I am a follower of my lord, Link. I am a Lucy, a swordswoman."

Lucy was wearing a premium alligator skin armor and had a magic sword enveloped in a light white glow on her back. She exuded a valiant and elegant aura, one that was completely different from the sweaty and rude mercenaries that Lilith was used to. She couldn't help but commend, "This is fantastic. This lady looks extremely suave."

Lucy felt uncomfortable listening to this comment. Since she became a mercenary, she was described as a cold-blooded beauty, an ice rose and other elegant names fitting for a woman. This was the first time someone described her as suave. She kept her displeasure in as the comment came from Link's mother.

Molly was slightly afraid as Lucy's presence was way too intimidating. She felt like she was facing a giant, the oppressive aura charging straight towards her. Molly stood behind Link the entire time, stealing glances at this beautiful woman every now and then.

Molly was extremely envious of Lucy. Lucy was independent and strong and furthermore, she seemed to be her brother's capable assistant.

My brother has really made it. He has so many followers. On the other hand, I accomplished nothing. Molly suddenly felt inferior. She blamed the life of fear and manipulation that she had in the castle.

Link led Molly and Lilith into the mercenary band. On the way, he carefully gave some instructions to Lucy. By the time they reached the hall, Link handed a huge bag of money to Lucy. There was a grand total of 1000 gold coins in the bag, dedicated to Molly's and Lilith's spending in the mercenary band.

Lucy received the money bag and gave Link the assurance he needed, "Rest assured, my lord. I will make no mistakes. Madame and Miss will be provided with only the best!"

Link had complete faith in Lucy's competency. He then turned and assured his family members that he would visit them often.

After his family members settled in, Link's face became serious as he talked about issues regarding his territory development.

"Lucy, the king has conferred me the title of a Baron. The Ferde Wilderness in the Southeast is now my territory. I am planning to invest resources into the development of this area. Before that, some preparations have to be done."

Lucy was slightly startled before a look of excitement appeared on her face. Since Link had become an official noble, as his follower, she would have the chance to become an official female knight.

Knights were also considered nobles by normal standards. Lucy was born in a rural village and becoming a noble was something that only happened in her dreams. She was extremely relieved that she had chosen to follow Link.

Lucy was not concerned about how barren and remote the Ferde Wilderness was. No matter the state of the land, it was still a territory that belonged solely to Link. They simply needed to spend more effort into building and developing the land. Thinking back, they similarly built their mercenary band from scratch. Nothing was impossible as long as Link supported them!

She immediately asked, "My lord, what do you need me to do?"

"The initial stages will be pretty simple. Send a few capable people to map out the Ferde Wilderness terrain. I will also need them to indicate the presence of any criminals, bandits or forces that are in the area. My aim is to make sure that ordinary people will be safe even when they walk on the streets at night. They should not have to fear about the possibility of an attack."

"Not a problem. The map will at most take a month," Lucy assured. This was a task that mercenaries were most capable of.

Link nodded. "That would be great. After the map is completed, start to chase the bandits out of the area. You, Jacker, Gildern and the rest may have to increase the training intensity of the mercenary band."

Lucy's heart was racing. She had gotten the underlying message of this mission. Link was prepared to make the Flamingo Band of Mercenaries the guardians of the new territory. If they were successful, they would become an official mercenary band, and she would be it's general!

With a pair of glimmering eyes, Lucy straightened her body and declared, "My lord, the Flamingo Band of Mercenary will be the sword in your hand! We will not disappoint you."

Link nodded and said, "Alright. I have some urgent matters to attend to and have to leave for East Cove Higher Magic Academy immediately."

He had settled all the matters he wanted to and bade his family goodbye before leaving the mercenary base. The three women naturally sent him off and watched as he boarded the carriage.

With a few kicks of the hooves, the carriage was headed towards the academy.

Lucy watched as the carriage moved further away till it was out of her field of vision. My lord is getting busier; he seems to be always in a hurry.

Her gaze then fell onto Lilith and Molly and she immediately felt better. Link had left his mother and sister in her care, suggesting that he had complete faith in her. Also, this might mean that Link would come back more often in the future.

Lucy then gently urged, "Madame, Miss, please follow me."


East Cove Higher Magic Academy

Warter had already reached the entrance of Herrera's Mage Tower. This was not his first time in the magic academy, however, it was his most nervous one yet.

Before he knocked, he couldn't help but think, Will there be other merchants who have already approached him? What will I do if he refuses? What if he offers a ridiculous condition?

He was feeling uneasy.

He was usually calm and collected, but the success of this trip was way too important for him

Link's enchanting skills were top notch, so much so that words could not capture the beauty of his products. He was a true enchanting master, especially when compared to the other enchanters who acquired fame through marketing techniques instead of real skill.

Furthermore, there was a sudden influx of high-quality magic equipment and intricate magic scrolls in the market. All of them had a special magic marking on them. Warter gathered important information from these traits.

This young Magician was at his peak and at the same time, he desperately needed money!

This meant there he would still be crafting a huge amount of magic equipment for sale. If Warter could strike a deal with Link, his Green Leaf Merchant Firm would definitely benefit, and make their name known outside of Hot Springs City. They might even expand their influence outside of the Norton Kingdom and become a threat to the merchants of the Southern Free Trade Alliance.

He was naturally nervous in the face of such a huge opportunity.

After three whole minutes of apprehension standing at the entrance, he took a deep breath and gently knocked on the tower door.

He made sure the sound was light. He knew that all the Magician's Apprentices were arrogant and did not like to be disturbed.

After a few seconds, the door opened. A beautiful and cheerful little girl stood behind the door and stared at him curiously. She asked, "You are...?"

Warter had seen many people in his life, but it was his first time seeing such an exquisite little girl. It took him a moment before he replied, "Warter. My name is Warter and I am in charge of a merchant firm. It is called the Green Leaf Merchant Firm and I am here to look for Magician Link."

"Looking for my master?" The little girl was Rylai. She frowned slightly upon hearing Warter's words and shook her head. "That is really unfortunate. My master is not in at the moment."

"Ah..." Warter was disappointed. However, he still had not given up all hope, "Can you tell me where he went?"

The little girl was vigilant and replied immediately, "That is not possible."

Her master had many enemies. That was why Auntie Moira repeatedly reminded her that she should never inform others about her master's whereabouts, especially to outsiders.

Warter looked at the little girl's determined expression and knew that he could no longer get any information from her. If he were in Hot Springs City, he might be able to exchange some information using gold coins. However, his wealth was nothing in the magic academy. All the Magicians here would merely look down on him and continue on with their daily tasks. He was already fortunate to be able to hold such a long conversation with this girl.

Warter's heart sank. He thought that he had found a huge opportunity, but it did not work out in the end. He couldn't help but sigh from the disappointment.

"Thank you." Warter was prepared to wait at the entrance of the academy until Link returned. He would not let this be a wasted trip. To his surprise, he saw a black-haired young man walking towards him the moment he turned around.

At the same time, the voice of the little girl rang from behind, "Master, you are back so early this time! Didn't you say it was going to take half a month?"

That person was none other than Link.