As Nono returned home, he quickly climbed up the wooden ladder and opened the door so quickly it caused a loud thud.
“YES-WHAT-WHA-WHEN-WHO-HOW-WHY... O-Oh... dammit, it’s you, Nono. Don’t blow the door open like that, will ya? It’s not cheap to hire a carpenter you know? Our door’s not that easy to make!”
Rodan got himself shocked. As a result, his nap was utterly destroyed. He instantly woke up from the couch and nearly kicked the apple box on the table. Nono, on the other hand, had the door closed firmly and carefully after being yelled at.
“It can’t be helped, Roro. I’m in a hurry, you know? Here, I closed the door with care.”
“Erm... ach, whatever, you’ll pay the carpenter if the door hinges get snapped. Good thing I didn’t smash this box or that noisy girl will start ranting all over the place again!”
“Don’t start nagging like a girl, will ya?”
“HAH! As if you’re not! Ouch... my head hurts... your way of blasting the door open forced me to resurface from the ocean of dreams and as a result I got a damn headache now,” Rodan rapidly grunted while rubbing his head.
“Fine, fine, I’m sorry. I was in a hurry.”
“Then, what made you in a rush, though? Unless you’re a heinous worker that had to race against time and be incredibly happy when the work period’s over, I don’t think you’re gonna have your ass heating up to go home so quickly.”
“Oh, right. When I’m in the guild, I heard this!”
Nono explained everything to Rodan about the mercenaries that are going to hunt him down. He also told him that his face was on the wall mag and wanted alive.
“Ho...? So I’m wanted alive by someone? How much will they pay for catching me?” Roro asked in a cocky expression.
“Why do you look so happy being wanted by the guild, Roro?” Nono retorted.
“No big deal, though. I’m just curious how those vassals price my head.”
“Hah...” Nono let out a long breath. “They put a prize of 5 gold coins to whoever can apprehend you.”
“Woo! Five gold coins? Sheesh, that’s a load of cash. Quick, Nono! Build a doll and put a painting of my face on its head and give it to the guildmaster! We can eat luxuriously after that!”
“HEY! They’re not that stupid dammit! Moreover, I’m not a doll maker! Aside from that, they’ve sent out mercenaries to hunt you down! Forget those 5 gold coins!” Nono rapidly yelled.
“Don’t slam the table, Nono! It’s a limited edition table that I’ve won in an auction last year!”
“It’s not important! Your life is at stake! It’s much more concerning!”
“—Eh, hold on a sec,” Rodan gestured his hand to make Nono stop ranting in an instant. He took a breath of relief and let it out to relax his nerves.
“Phew... I’m sorry, did you say... mercenaries?”
“Yes! They’re going to go after you, Roro.”
“Oh? When will they come?” Roro asked casually.
“The hell do I know. Besides, what’s with your calm tone, anyway? Your life is at stake, you know?”
“Hmph... you shouldave stayed a bit longer in the guild...” Roro muttered quietly behind his mask.
“Did you say something?”
“—Nothing,” Roro instantly replied.
“Besides, why did you break a noble’s wagon? Do you crave for hell, Roro?”
“Noble’s wagon...? Oh... I get it why I’m on the hot zone now. That retarded fatso decided to go after me, huh? He hired mercenaries and going to have them catch me. Hm, hm, I get it now.
Ah, I didn’t simply break the wagon, Nono. I destroyed it entirely.”
“That’s even worse! Why did you do that?”
“It’s obvious, isn’t it?” Rodan replied asking. “Remember a few days ago where our one and only carriage got confiscated by some dubious looking officers?”
“I searched who was responsible for doing that and found out it was Stupeyd Dumias, a corrupted noble of Gantz city!”
Nono sweated profusely as Rodan spewed that name, “Stupeyd... Dumias...?”
“Yup. Because he took ours, so I destroyed his! Pretty simple, right?”
Instantly, the living room is unsettlingly silent. On one side, a young man in glasses could hardly give any response to his senior, who was just now saying those words confidently and without remorse.
“...Roro... did you just say, Stupeyd... Dumias...?” Nono asked in a stammering tone.
“Yeah,” Rodan nodded. “What’s with the heavy sweating, though?” he asked in addition.
“Oh. My. God. You’re really asking for trouble, Roro... Crap, why am I still here, just to suffer?”
“Now, now... no need to worry about it. Since Stupeyd is a high-ranking noble, I think you know what we should do.”
Nono grabbed a towel handed over by Rodan. He slowly wiped his sweaty face and sat down near the impudent friend of his.
“So... should I start renting a cart for us to evacuate for the moment?”
“Huh? What the hell are you blabbering about? No need to evacuate.”
“Look, Roro, we’re facing mercenaries. Mercenaries, you know? Not adventurers. They’re much more numerous, and mostly tougher. Do you think you can beat them all?”
Rodan crossed his arms and leaned against the couch.
“We don’t necessarily need to beat them,” said Rodan while letting a bit of air out of him.
“What do you mean?” Nono asked curiously.
“Once you said that I’m wanted alive by someone, and then you said about me breaking a noble’s wagon, that’s when I noticed who was the culprit behind my criminalized status. By the way, how did you know I destroyed Stupeyd’s wagon, though?”
Nono scrunched his face, “Nrrgh... I heard it from the people in the guild. It’s like the headline of today’s news, anyway.”
“—eavesdropping again, aren’t you, Nono? Are you a stalker?” Rodan retorted quickly.
“Of course not,” said Nono. “Then, what are you gonna do with those mercenaries? The traps you’ve set up around here won’t work if there are plenty of people, you know?”
“Alright, listen up. I knew Stupeyd would be the one who will send out mercenaries, because that’s how he silenced his opponents for years. If he’s going after me, then I know he would send out many people to overwhelm me and catch me. It is impossible for us to win against them through physical warfare.”
“Then let me rent a carriage so that we can hang out somewhere for some days until they give up, Roro. That’s easier you know?” Nono tried to assume him.
“Of course, that’s one of a thousand choices we have to deal with these mercenaries. But! It won’t do us any good. Renting a carriage will cost us too much to travel away from home. Not only that. Those mercenaries are paid to catch us. They would probably wait for us to return or maybe burn our house to force us to return.”
Nono was disturbed by that explanation. “No way... that’s just damn cruel!”
“Well, what do you expect? Mercenaries are mercenaries. That’s why we’re not going to leave this place. Instead, I have a reaaaalllly interesting way to deal with them.”
“Roro, now you look like a legit criminal with you saying that. Even though your mouth is covered behind that mask, I can tell you’re grinning just by looking at your eyes.”
“Huuaaahahaha! Good shot, Nono. As expected of my disciple! Now then, listen up. I will tell you how’s it done...”
The night eventually came...
Rodan and Nono did not leave their house. They didn’t even do any barricading to protect themselves from the mercenaries. They’re just there, going to meet with the mercenaries as if they will welcome visitors to their home.
Nono was watching from behind the dense red leaves on one of the tree branches up high. He was watching the road from Gantz for their so-called visitors to arrive.
“Roro... I hope your plan really works. It’s greatly risky. I doubt it would work... but alas, I don’t want to lose a place I call home. So, I decided to play along his game.”
Back in the afternoon, Rodan told him his plan.
“Mercenaries are ‘man of contracts.’ When nobles got themselves fat with riches or was too cowardly to face their foes, they paid them to do their dirty work, Nono.
Mercenaries killed people because the nobles paid them. They stole because they were paid by a rich man. They fought in war because they were given loads of payment. But, if they’re no longer being paid by them, they made sure someone else did. They sold themselves to the highest bidder.
And here’s the interesting part... they do not hesitate to change sides if there’s someone with a bigger purse come to pay them. Their honor was weak and cheaper than copper, silver, and gold coins. That’s why we’ll use that to our advantage!”
And with that, Rodan ended his explanation confidently.
But Nono had doubt in his plans, “Do you think our purse is bigger than Sir Stupeyd’s? We can’t even afford to buy a new carriage. How do you think you can make them change sides?”
“That’s why I’ve set up a strategy. Leave it to me, Nono. If things go south, then you must hide until they’re gone. If I’m gone, then I’ll leave this house to your care. Good?”
Rodan ended his words with the edge of his thumb tips soared. He was completely confident.
Back to night time, Nono was heavily focused watching the road with his binoculars. Simultaneously, he thought of Rodan’s plans.
“He can say those words with easiness. He can always come up with a quick strategy. Yet, every time he conveyed his thoughts, I’ve always doubted him. I’ve doubted him, yet most of the time, his plans succeeded perfectly.
I’m concerned. Can he turn the tides, this time against an influential noble?”