Within a secret room located at a secret location, the leaders of the six clans of the Cloud Capital were gathered around a table with serious faces.
“I believe everyone is now aware that the Bloodthorn Mercenaries, the Bloodsting Mercenaries, and the Carnage Mercenaries have all joined together to form a single mercenary group. This to us, is undoubtedly an unfavorable situation.” An elder spoke.
“That is correct. With the three mercenary groups joining together, they now have at least five Earth Saint Masters. A force like that is comparable to the unison of our six clans almost. In my perspective, we must take action now or else we will not like the horrendous aftermath that will come next.” A white-robed man in his middling ages spoke seriously.
“Taking the first course of action is indeed the right choice. But we first must find out the exact reason for why this impromptu coalition has happened. For what reason have they renamed themselves to the Flame Mercenaries? From what my informants tell me, the captains of the Carnage Mercenaries and the Bloodthorn Mercenaries were walking behind a youngster. Perhaps it was because of that youth they were subjugated?” An elder spoke.
“Then it would appear that this youth is not your average youth. However, no matter what status he holds, we must ensure that he doesn’t expand his power any more into this city. In two short days, this youth was able to combine three large mercenary groups together. That alone is proof enough that his ambitions are beyond what they should be. Three groups won’t be enough to satisfy him I bet. If we allow him to gather even more strength in this city, then his next targets will be us soon enough.”
“I can agree with that sentiment. If we continue to sit around like this, then we will ultimately be digging our own graves. When the moment comes for the Flame Mercenaries to overcome us in power, then the next sacrifice to be annexed will be us. We must take action now without any time to spare.”
And so the six men descended into a fierce discussion. The rate of growth that the Flame Mercenaries gained was more than enough to cause them all to feel restless.
An elder with white hair suddenly gave a light cough. “Gentleman. This old man has thought of a way to stop the Flame Mercenaries from growing any stronger. If the Flame Mercenaries wishes to annex all of the stronger factions in the Cloud Capital, then why can’t we do the same? This way, our six clans can unite to form a single alliance and have any and all factions that wish to preserve their status and name to join with us for the time being. In the case that the other side begins their encroachment, then we will have enough men to start a counter-defense.”
“Yes, I agree. This is a very good way to deal with the growth of the Flame Mercenaries. With their current strength, it will mean an unbelievable amount of damages on our part if we try to act against them now. But if we unite everyone, then we’ll have enough people no matter how much the Flame Mercenaries try to expand. And at the same time, we’ll have more than enough manpower to eliminate the Flame Mercenaries while minimizing our own damages.”
“Yes, that seems like the best course of action. However, I don’t believe the Flame Mercenaries will for sure try to fight against the entire Cloud Capital. Still, that does not mean we should not try to prevent his growth. Otherwise, it will be hard to do so in the future. For now, we should wait and see what they do next. In the case he does try something, we will have to be ready to stop him.”
“Then we shall implement this course of action straight away. Time cannot be wasted, let us all return home to make the proper preparations.”
A short amount of time later, the six clans had all a plan to counteract against the Flame Mercenaries. The growth of the Flame Mercenaries had been far too fast for their liking if they had been able to subjugate three different mercenary groups in two short days. It was a fearful thing for the six clans. None of them wanted to be annexed by any single power, so they had been more than willing to suppress the Flame Mercenaries at a moment’s notice.
The response from the six clans had been very fast. As soon as their discussion were over, each one of the clans had immediately got into contact with every single faction they knew. Since these factions were also aware of the situation with the Flame Mercenaries, not a single one of them had hesitated to join with the six clans to form an alliance.
With even more people added into the group, the alliance had quickly expanded. As of that current moment, there were at least ten Earth Saint Masters in the alliance along with the ones from the six clans.
News of the six clans joining together to form an alliance had made its way to Jian Chen’s ears as well, but he had not been concerned in the slightest. In his eyes, it was a futile attempt that served absolutely no use.
On the second day, Jian Chen had gathered the captain of the Bloodrose Mercenaries, Jasmine, the captain of the Bloodthorn Mercenaries, Ha Ni, and the captain of the Carnage Mercenaries, Zhan Tian and his two vice-captains together with Jian Chen standing in front of them. By his side was a worn out manual.
Pushing the manual towards them, Jian Chen spoke, “Now that you’ve joined the Flame Mercenaries, I will fulfill my end of the bargain. In front of me are five Primary Earth Tier Battle Skills. Choose whichever one fits you most. In the future when someone from your group becomes an Earth Saint Master, then let them learn from this manual. In the future, if your contributions are good enough while also maintaining a loyal attitude to the Flame Mercenaries, then I will impart a Heaven Tier Battle Skill to you.”
“Thank you captain!” Seeing the manuals on the table, each one of the captains had flames in their eyes as they gave their thanks before immediately choosing from one of the five battle skills.
Out of the five of them, the captain of the Bloodthorn Mercenaries had been the most excited. He had joined the Flame Mercenaries solely because of Jasmine so he hadn’t realized that joining the Flame Mercenaries would have such a great bonus like this. When Jian Chen had talked about the Heaven Tier Battle Skill, his own heart was nearly about to leap out from his chest.
Jian Chen’s actions there had been an undoubtedly good plan to entice the hearts of people. With an Earth Tier Battle Skill, Jian Chen would cement the feelings of loyalty they had for the Flame Mercenaries while also eliminating any ill will they might have for joining.
Seeing the excited expressions on everyone’s faces, Jian Chen smiled in response. This was a satisfactory reaction that he expected to see. After a short while, he spoke, “Our Flame Mercenaries won’t stay too long in the Cloud Capital. Perhaps in a few days, we’ll leave this place, so prepare your groups to move out of the city.”
“Captain, I have a question to ask. Does the Flame Mercenaries have a place to stay? Where might it be? It can’t be possible to have this many people drifting this way and that.” Ha Ni asked.
With a pensive expression, Jian Chen spoke, “As of right now, there is no determined spot. Right now, we are just expanding the power of the Flame Mercenaries. After we subjugate the rest of the Cloud Capital and then the rest of the Blue Wind Kingdom, we’ll expand outwards into the surrounding kingdoms.”
This time, both Ha Ni and Jasmine were startled to hear Jian Chen’s plan. Neither of the two had thought that he would be thinking on such a large scale. To annex the entire Blue Wind Kingdom of its mercenary groups and then the ones from the surrounding kingdoms was not what they expected to be his goal.
“That concludes our discussion for now. Our next step is for you five to subjugate the powers with the Earth Saint Masters in the name of our Flame Mercenaries.” Jian Chen spoke. With Zhan Tian and the other four, there was no need for Jian Chen to personally take part. Those five would be more than enough.
With that order, the five of them walked away.
After they left, Jian Chen took the tiger cub who was rolling around on the bed into his arms and began to stroke its furry head as he started to think about what the next plan would be.
At the current moment, all Jian Chen wanted to do was to expand the powers of his Flame Mercenaries. For the sake of his promise with Kendall, Jian Chen would make the Flame Mercenaries the strongest mercenary group on the continent. This was to say that not only was this a promise, it was a goal that Jian Chen would fulfill.
Aside from him, there were no other Heaven Saint Masters in the Flame Mercenaries. But that fact was not enough to make Jian Chen concerned. As the leader, he was more than aware that the Flame Mercenaries was in its initial stage--something like a child still and filled with superficial power. Right now, it wasn’t even on the same level of power as the Blue Wind Kingdom, but with time, power could accumulated slowly.
Jian Chen wouldn’t be able to say that he would be able to trust these newcomers to the Flame Mercenaries on how loyal they were. It would be no exaggeration to say that aside from Dohre and the others, Jian Chen trusted no one else--Zhan Tian and the others included.
But trust wasn’t something Jian Chen needed from them at this current moment. They were new blood to the mercenaries, and Jian Chen was convinced that the more the Flame Mercenaries grew, the more and more these people will begin to develop loyalty for them. Sooner or later, everyone will feel like the mercenary group was family. Kai Er and the others felt that way especially.
Two hours had past before Jian Chen had realized he had been pondering to himself within his room. It was only when a knock on the door was heard that Jian Chen was snapped out from his thoughts.
Looking to the door, Jian Chen spoke out, “Come in!”
The door opened, revealing Ming Dong and Dugu Feng standing shoulder to shoulder as they walked in. Ming Dong was wearing a black robe fitted slightly for battle while Dugu Feng wore his customary fire-like red robes.
“Jian Chen. Zhan Tian and the others have come into trouble. When they went to subjugate a sect, they just happened to come into contact with the people from the six clans and henned in the grounds of the sect. As of right now, they have no way out.” Ming Dong spoke with a slightly unsightly look.
Jian Chen’s eyebrows furrowed together at this piece of news. With a slight mutter to himself, he spoke, “This was not within my expectations. I had thought that the six clans would be slower to respond.”
“Jian Chen, if the six clans have mobilized themselves against us, then we may as well go all out to subjugate them all at once. There’s no need to run here and there to pick them off one by one. But to do that, we’ll need to have you meet them in person. I’d be enough to deal with most of them, but they too have people of my same level of strength, meaning if we were to fight, it would become a battle to the death rather than submission. And if there are any Heaven Saint Masters behind them, then they won’t dare to fight back even so.” Ming Dong continued to speak.