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 "Oh?"

Rhode raised his brow.

Then, he leaned back against the chair, crossed his hands and waited for the old ranger to speak.

This is about the investigation of the Jade Tears mercenary group. I found out that they are expanding rather aggressively and their new leader had tried to recruit members from other mercenary groups. I would say that his offer is quite enticing, and coupled with the fact that recently many groups faced a near wipeout, those groups that were planning to dissolve agreed to merge with Jade Tears."

"What is the current strength of their group?" Rhode asked.

Old Walker frowned and pondered for a while before saying, "Right now, Jade Tears has roughly around 30 mercenaries. From that number, they can already be considered as a large mercenary group."

"How about the class distribution?"

"Almost the same as other mercenary groups. Most of them are the ordinary Swordsman, Thief, Ranger you would find in mercenary groups-ah yes, and also a few Shield Warriors. Since many of their members are survivors from the previous undead mission, many of them are quite formidable. Perhaps if they carry on like this, it wouldn't take long for them to rise up again."

"I see... so that's it..."

Rhode changed his sitting posture, his fingers against his chin, pondering silently for a while. Then he once again asked.

"What about that second thing that I asked you to do?"

"That... is difficult, kid."

When Rhode mentioned this, Old Walker frowned and his expression turned ugly.

"Honestly, some groups are rather interested in your request, but they some aren't too enthusiastic at the same time. The ones that weren't interested wanted to stand independently on their two feet. It's already a miracle that they didn't kick me out the door. I'd told you, kid. It's only natural for people to ignore your request. You can't even find enough manpower for your group, and you want to swallow a group that is bigger than yours?"

"Sigh... and as for those who wanted to join you... I believe they have ulterior motives. It is already quite widely known that Jade Tears mercenary group offered a tempting sum to those who were willing to merge with them. That's why I believe that the mercenary groups who chose us over Jade Tears have something up their sleeves."

Though Old Walker tried to advise Rhode, his judgment was quite baseless.

Yes, the money Rhode offered can't be compared to Jade Tears, but in some ways, Starlight was more promising than Jade Tears. Not only did they have a genius Mage, they also had a Cleric. Not to mention that Rhode's strength couldn't be underestimated.

The recent mission to Silent Plateau highlighted Rhode's strength. At first, many people thought that Rhode relied on Sereck to complete the mission, but after Victorious Wine confirmed that Rhode was actually the head of the operation and even spearheaded the defeat of the Death Knight, many of their doubts died down.

Moreover, there was even a rumor that Rhode had an angel under him...

While nobles were uncommon, the people still managed to catch a glimpse of them from time to time, but they had never seen a noble with an angel as a subordinate...

Think about this: Starlight had a strong leader and a noble status. They even had an accomplished Mage and a Cleric to heal when in times of need. This lineup would make missions a lot easier than having a bunch of melee classes fumbling around in dark dungeons.Moreover, Rhode was also close to the Mercenary Association-even Sereck admired him.

And now that this mercenary group was actually recruiting?

What would the people choose? Money, or connections?

This is a matter of perspectives.

"You don't have to tell me about this, I know."

Rhode shook his head then frowned. It looked like everything didn't proceed smoothly...

"So no one wants to talk with us?"

"There is, but I think you won't be interested."

This time, Old Walker answered decisively.

"Oh?"

Rhode expression changed.

"Tell me?"

Old Walker didn't answer immediately. Instead, he grinned and revealed a strange smile.

"This group isn't alien to you since you're their lifesaver..." Old Walker said.

"Red Hawk. It's the Red Hawk mercenary group belonging to Shauna. I think you should know what happened to them previously in Pavel Cemetery. Many of them died, some of them quit, and now Red Hawk is left with only four people including Shauna. Seeing that there was no point, she thought of disbanding the mercenary group. That's why I talked I talked to her and asked for a chat. It appears that she's rather interested in negotiating with you."

"No problem."

Rhode nodded.

"We can schedule the time if she wants to negotiate. Is there anyone else?"

"Well, other mercenary groups didn't have much to say. But some people from Mark White came to look for me and hoped that I could help them. It looks like after Anne left, Mark White had finally elected their new leader and have begun purging the opposition. I think that those people who looked for me wanted to follow Anne. I trust these people, but it might be a waste of resources."

"How many people?"

"A small group of four people, three males, one female. Their leader is Edward. I think it's better to ask Anne directly since she knows them better."

"I understand, I will ask Anne about this matter. But I still hope that you can look for some information regarding these people. At the same time, I want you to find out what is happening to Mark White mercenary group."

"No problem, kid."

Old Walker gladly agreed. But after that, he touched his beard and looked at Rhode curiously.

"But kid, why do you suddenly want to recruit people at this time? Is it because of the recent situation? Also, why do you want me to keep an eye on that Jade Tears mercenary group? Did their leader piss you off or something?"

Rhode didn't answer immediately.

He turned around to look outside the window before saying,

"Mr. Walker."

"Yes? What?"

"When you encounter a young wild beast, will you kill it right away? Or wait for it to grow up, eat people, and then kill it? "

"Uhh..."

Old Walker hesitated a while before answering,

"Of course I would finish it before it has the opportunity to grow up. Otherwise, wouldn't it be too late if it ate people already?"

"That's right."

Rhode stood up and walked to the window.

"It's too late to kill it after it had killed someone. What I'm trying to say is that it's better to take preventive measures."

"But kid, how would you know if the beast will kill people?"

Looking at Rhode's back, Old Walker scratched his head, thinking that this young man's reasoning was really too strange.

"Maybe it won't... but it's always better to take preventive measures."

Rhode turned around and looked at Old Walker.

"Mr. Walker, I need you to help me with one more thing."

"Again?"

Old Walker immediately rolled his eyes.

"I say, kid. I'm a mercenary, not your attendant. Why must I always do everything! Do I have to help you change a diaper next time? I'm telling you, I'm a mercenary, not your lackey. If you have something, go ask for Lize, that girl would definitely follow you, even if you asked her to warm your bed, I believe she wouldn't decline."

"Help me look for people that are well-informed, neat and smart. I think that this shouldn't be difficult for you with your connections in Deep Stone City."

"I will give you some money, spend it as you see fit. Get that person to keep an eye on Jade Tears. I want to know what they did, and what they intend to do-especially information about their leader. They need to tidy up the information and pass it to me discreetly. Of course, I don't need to remind you that I don't want anyone finding out about it."

"Hey! Kid! Did you not hear what I said?! I said that I'm not your attendant, go ask someone else!"

"Here is 500 gold coins."

Rhode said as he grabbed a purse and threw it on the table.

"Spend it however you like, I won't deduct it from your pay."

"You..."

Old Walker glared at Rhode. After a while, he sighed and shoved the purse into his pocket.

"Sure, sure. I don't know what kind of curse I possess to have a leader like you. I will help you to find these people, but if the money isn't enough, I will ask you for it."

"If only the money is 'not enough'."

Old Walker didn't intend to continue to bother him. He stood up, glared at Rhode and turned around to leave. But when Old Walker reached the door, he thought of something and quickly turned around.

"Ah, I almost forgot. When I went to Mercenary Association, I was instructed to deliver a message. Three days later, the Mercenary Association will hold an emergency meeting. All the mercenary group leaders must participate. I have already delivered the message, don't blame me if you forget."

Afte saying his piece, Old Walker pulled the door and walked out.

Rhode sat on the chair silently and stared emotionlessly at Old Walker's figure disappearing down the hallway.

"At least learn how to close the door, Mr. Walker."

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