As for the mercenaries, this battle had been an eye-opener for them.
While Rhode's method of winning wasn't ethical, it wasn't a fair fight from the beginning anyway, since their level gap was like the sky and the ocean. Moreover, mercenaries weren't chivalrous knights; the winners always reign supreme over the losers.
From that day onwards, Rhode and Sereck's intense battle became a hot topic. Sereck's name had been famous for many years, but few witnessed his true power. Therefore, over time the mercenaries started to think that it was just a facade. However, after this battle, those thoughts were erased from their minds.
Apart from Sereck, Rhode's mysteriousness went up another notch. How can he, as a swordsman, summon two odd elemental spirits? Supposedly, only mages were able to that, but without a single chant? That was way too absurd. Therefore, the talk of the town was how Rhode managed to do what he did. Some people said it was a unique summoning spell, while some others insisted that he made use of a magic item. After all, this young man managed to use such a powerful magic weapon at the end of the battle, which implied that his identity was something extraordinary.
What made them even happier was that this powerful young man wanted to join in the ranks of mercenaries. From that day onwards, it meant that he would be a full-fledged mercenary. And at this moment, many mercenary groups were discussing on how could they recruit this young and powerful talent. While the results of the battle tilted towards Rhode's side at the end, but they knew of the level gap between both of them, and if it were a life-or-death battle, who knew who would emerge victorious? But since Rhode was able to push the usually calm Sereck to a corner, it was enough to prove his ability. Furthermore, he was still very young, and his future will be promising.
Meanwhile, Rhode and Lize had already returned to the president's room. A smiling man stood beside the old president, facing towards Rhode and Lize.
"Since you've already passed the assessment, from this day on, you are a mercenary. Congratulations."
Even though he was congratulating Rhode, the old president's smile was stiff and fake, obviously displaying his displeasure about this matter.
"As for the mercenary rules and regulations, I think you already understood it clearly, so I won't waste my breath on it." The old president said unhappily.
Rhode did not say anything since he knew Moby's personality. Anyway, since he had achieved his goal, he didn't care what the old president said as it had nothing to do with himself. Letting the elders vent their anger wasn't a big deal.
When the old president finally calmed down, he reached out his hand and fished out a scroll from a drawer. Moby glanced towards Lize who was sitting behind Rhode and noticed a calm look on her face. However, he still could spot a trace of slight displeasure from her expression. It wasn't because she had lingering worries about Rhode and Sereck's battle, but rather, it was because that the cloak she made for Rhode was torn and tattered after the fight. He had only worn it once, and yet it was already in this state. This made Lize's heart quite distressed.
A woman's mind is mysterious indeed.
"Lize... I admit that this kid is strong... but I still have to inform you that your decision is reckless. Individual strength is different from a whole mercenary group. Take a look at Sereck and Marl. No doubt that they're strong, but they are still part of a mercenary group because strength in numbers is far greater than a lone ranger." The old president sighed and glanced towards Rhode. "There's no problem with this lad's strength, but a mercenary group is not something that can be sustained by two people. Even though there's some time till the winter assessment, but I'm not certain if you'll be able to solve this problem by that time."
"I understand, Mr. President, sir."
Lize nodded. As a member of a mercenary group, she knew the difficulty of what was to come. But she didn't have the capabilities to do what needs to be done. If they wanted to survive, the most important issue to settle was the lack of members, which meant that she had to recruit more people. However, reliable new members were not easy to find, and the commander's position might be shaken if the management was not done right.
Even if Lize was a veteran of mercenary life, but she was still far too young, and she held a non-combat profession. It would be difficult to suppress anyone if they tried to overthrow her authority. On the other hand, Rhode was very strong, and a lot of mercenaries had observed his overwhelming might. However, he was a new mercenary and him being the leader would only create turbulence rather than stability.
Since it was her own mercenary group, Lize had her own values and ideals of how the group should develop. Many mercenary groups performed well in the beginning, but they fell to the temptation of underhanded means to gain funds, such as assassination. There were even more groups that lowered their heads and worked directly under nobility to collect taxes. These were no longer mercenaries, but thugs instead.
Of course, Lize didn't want her mercenary group to become like those vile and cowardly groups. But she was weak. Even with Rhode's support, if everyone refused to work under both of them, then everything would just become a fantasy.
"But it is pointless to say such things now."
Discovering the determination in her eyes, the old president no longer said anything and picked up the brush before staring at Rhode.
"Well, you've achieved your goal. According to the rules, when a group leader is replaced, the new leader is qualified to change the group name. Do you want to change it now?"
"Starlight." Rhode responded almost immediately without hesitation.
After hearing the answer, the old president nodded his head. He bent down, wrote the name on the scroll, lifted the seal stamp next to him and pushed down hard. Next, he spun the scroll around towards Rhode.
"Press your fingerprint on it or sign your name."
When Rhode looked at the scroll, he couldn't help but feel a wave of nostalgia rushing up his head. The scroll was somewhat familiar, but wasn't identical. Back in the game, it appeared as an application form, but now, the old parchment felt slightly more immersive and had a historical feel to it. Rhode glanced towards Lize, and after receiving her approval, he took a deep breath before signing his name on the scroll.
Suddenly, a sound rang in Rhode's head and soon, a system prompt appeared before him.
[Mercenary group leader position obtained; Mercenary Group System unlocked]
Rhode glanced at it for a moment before shifting his gaze away. Slowly, he was getting accustomed to the weird, unscientific system prompts. Since these things already happened, thinking about it further would be meaningless. Therefore, his expression did not change much and he pushed the scroll back after signing.
After taking the scroll, the old man face revealed a smile, but faded soon after.
"Well, I'd hope to see your exploits in the future, lad."
"I don't think you will be disappointed."
"I hope so..."
"But... there is one thing I want to remind both of you. Some spies from the Country of Light had arrived in the city. Although I do not know what they're after, I suggest that you do not to mess with these people. "
After hearing the old president's reminder, Rhode knitted his brows and frowned.
After the two people left the room, the old president gave a bitter smile. He sat down and turned towards to his old buddy beside him.
"Old thing, what do you think about this kid? I doubt that he was sent by above."
"You mean the Golden City?"
Sereck exposed a helpless smile.
"I don't think so. If Lize was speaking the truth, then she and this lad should have met accidentally."
"But if it's not an accident, then this kid wanted to form a mercenary group..."
"Of course, I know."
This time, Sereck did not deny the old president's judgment.
"Not only he possesses a magical weapon, but his strength is also good. And his appearance is quite... beautiful? Frankly, his features did match with 'that person's' aesthetic taste, so I can understand your thought. But if there really was such a person, then there would be news from the Golden City."
"After all, you and I know 'that person's' personality, if he was her subordinate, then she would absolutely not hide him until now. And... that unusual way of fighting, I've never seen it before." Sereck sighed.
"It wasn't a summoning skill?"
The old president expression immediately became serious after hearing his sigh.
"Of course not. Both of us have experience with mages, and I'm pretty sure you had seen summoners before, right?"
"Definitely. But I had never really understood those deeper issues about mages."
"That's why you are a mercenary, old friend. Go read some books."
"Well, let's not talk about this topic anymore."
When he heard Sereck's friendly mocking tone, the old president face turned red.
"I leave this lad to you, Sereck. Pay some attention to him. A few days ago those b*stards from the Country of Light secretly came to this city; I think they are up to something. At this time, such a strange kid also appeared all of sudden... We do not want to get involved in whatever trouble that is brewing... at the very least, the Mercenary Association doesn't want to."
Sereck nodded with a serious expression.
"I'll not let them give us trouble."