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Bringing the Advanced Arsenal to Another World 87 Chapter 87 - Pick up the Slack

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Anybody else would think that Gren was crazy for accepting the deal, but Gren was satisfied with it. In return for placing the wall--something made easy with the system and Gren's magic--Gren got a large piece of unused land with permission to build anything he wanted on it and a promise that the leader would stop trying to take justice into his own hands. Right now it was just a billboard for the FMC but in the future he could have a secondary base here. He'd need to place radio towers since GPS wouldn't exist until he could get satellites... IF he could get satellites.

He ended up delaying the caravan by a couple of hours but Annie thought that he did a good job handling the situation. A village with a solid wall and functional gates was an oddity but one that was welcome. She wanted to leave her past as a bandit scout behind her and help make up for it with good deeds, even if it took the rest of her life to accomplish that.

Not everybody in the group thought that Gren's actions were good. The billboard meant more direct requests for the FMC which meant fewer for the independent mercenaries. Even if the billboard only mentioned the weapons and armor, the name was Flours Mercenary Company which meant that people would expect them to fulfill requests. When the night began to fall and the camp was set up; Zell, Krieger, and Suze decided to pay Gren a visit.

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Gren needed to use the bathroom which meant going away from the camp. He was busy whistling the part of the tune to 'We're in the Money' that he could remember while relieving himself when he heard some sticks snap. "Is somebody there?" There weren't any other sounds besides the wind causing some leaves to rustle, the insects making insect noises, and the occasional animal sound coming from the forest. Was he just being paranoid?

He finished using nature's restroom and reattached the piece of his armor that protected part of his lower body when he heard twigs snapping again. With the helmet on, he couldn't tell the direction that it came from but there was no way he was going to take it off. There was something nearby. Gren took his shield from his back and slowly backed towards the camp. He was a bit far from the camp since he didn't want to get peeped on by a certain half-orc that had a crush on him... not his smartest decision.

The sounds of something running entered his ear but he couldn't see anything coming from the forest in front of him. There was nothing on his left so he quickly turned to the right. {A boar!?} Gren tried to raise his shield but only managed to raise it halfway before the boar collided with him. Even with the weight from his armor, Gren was lifted off of his feet and fell heavily to the ground.

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Dhalra, the dark elf, saw the attack on Gren from the watch tower but chose to just watch. The other person on watch tower duty was Nina, the amateur archer; she was panicking but noticed that Dhalra wasn't doing anything. "What do we do?"

"Nothing. He can handle it." Dhalra was part of the faction in the FMC that didn't like Gren. There were only a few of them but they all had their different reasons for disliking him.

Dhalra's reasons for disliking him were simple; he was too nice to the elves. They did nothing for the FMC but he allowed them to stay anyways. Dhalra was hunting almost every day so that they'd have meat to eat but it's the elves that he picked for his harem in that wagon. She wasn't interested in being a part of it but the elves didn't belong. Their kind always got by on their good looks and contributed nothing. Just being compared to them disgusted her.

"Are you sure? He looks to be struggling." Nina saw that Gren managed to stab it but his left arm that used to be holding the shield was bent in a strange direction.

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This damn boar was making Gren angry. His left shoulder was dislocated and he didn't have time to put it back in place with it constantly charging at him. The boar charged again and Gren rolled on the ground to get away from it, making sure that the boar wasn't between him and the camp.

Before the boar could charge another time, Gren pulled out the ballista. Using his magic to adjust the aim, it was now in the boar's path. Gren only needed one arm to pull the lever that released the spear-sized bolt. The boar didn't know what hit it as the bolt tore through its massive body and ripped its guts out before embedding itself into a tree.

"That's what you get, you piece of shit!" Gren now had time to fix his arm but he had to remove the armor first; the metal part near his shoulder was bent out of shape from where the boar hit him. Gren stored his weapons away along with the boar before heading back to the camp.

{How many points was that massive boar worth?}

<16,500 points>

That little? The thing was as large as a person. Then again, it made sense when Gren thought about it; the boar that Ahk killed which was worth 50,000 points was the size of her. With the damage to his armor and the cost of a new bolt, this encounter only earned him a couple thousand points towards his own point balance. Right now he was still in last place in the rankings due to everything that he had created for himself.

After reaching the camp, Gren sat down by the fire and examined his armor. "It'd do you more good if you wore it." He looked up to see Zell standing next to him. "Mind if we sit down for a bit?" Behind Zell was Krieger and Suze. He had been wanting to talk with them so he slid to the corner of the log to make room. Zell sat next to him while the other two sat on the log in front and to the right of Gren.

"Your armor's battered. You get 'tacked by somethin' out there?" Krieger spoke a lot like that carriage-maker, Denny. They were both really old so Gren was wondering if it was just how they talked long ago.

"Yeah, there was a boar out there. I managed to take it down but it damaged my armor and knocked me around." He felt a bit embarrassed since he was supposed to be a bonafide mercenary but struggled against a boar. It wasn't even one of the monster ones.

"Give it here, I can beat it back in shape for you." Zell took the shoulder pad and the breastplate from Gren and looked it over. "I'll go take care of this real quick. My hammer's in the wagon. You three continue talking while I'm gone."

"Thanks for the help. I appreciate it." Gren didn't think of repairing the armor. Most of the equipment that the women handed back to him was completely broken so he had gotten used to just replacing things. He'd have to look at the scraps left in the storage room when he got back to see if he could repair anything.

Suze took Zell's seat next to Gren. "It's alright to lose every now and then as long as you stay alive." Gren was surprised by her voice. He was expecting a somewhat rough voice since she was older but if he closed his eyes then he could easily imagine someone his age.

"You look a bit familiar now that I've gotten a closer look at you." She released a light from her staff and gasped. "I remember! You were the boy that was in the slums." Gren didn't know if that was good or bad. "It's good to see that you escaped from those guys. Those guys give us mercenaries a bad name."

It seemed like she really hated the group that attacked him, which was something they had in common. "Back in the day, they were nothing more than a gang. They even have the nerve to name their guild after the old gang; the Viper Guild. An accurate name for those snakes. The Duke--the previous Duke--really ruined everything for the people in the slums." It was the previous Duke that caused his mother to go into hiding so hearing that Suze hated him was good. "The new Duke isn't as bad but he hasn't tried to fix the problems that his father created. I can only hope that the next Duke will be better."

"You're gettin' off topic, Suze. Gren, we wanted to talk to you 'bout somethin'." Krieger seemed very serious all of a sudden. "What's your goal with that big sign in Jellen Village?" Was that the village's name?

"Our guild is going to be selling weapons and armor soon. We're currently burning through our coins so I'm hoping to increase our customers." He had seen advertisements in Adierton before. Some businesses would partner up and put signs in their stores to help one another.

"What he means to ask you is whether or not you've considered the consequences. It's not just your weapons and armor being mentioned." Suze wanted to get straight to the point. "The name of your company says that you're in the mercenary business. More people will request for your guild to do requests which means less requests for us independent mercenaries."

Gren didn't think about that. He didn't want to take down the sign since it'd help the guild earn money but he also didn't want to hurt the livelihood of the other mercenaries. "We're already at the limit of how many requests we can take. I'll see if I can set up a system in the guild where independent mercenaries can accept requests through us. I don't know how I feel about letting kids accept requests without proper training though."

"Aren't you a kid yourself?" While technically true, Gren had gone through training. Maybe Suze just didn't know that.

"Before my first request, I practiced my magic and trained under a knight for a few months. If I faced a boar back then, I'd be dead." Thinking about how he looked back then made him think of those before and after commercials. In just three months he went from having no muscles to looking fit. All that it took was working out for six to eight hours each day while healing all of the muscles that he tore... doctors really would hate him.

"That kind of training isn't free and, even if it was, the kids in this business can't afford to survive without doing requests for long." Suze brought up a problem that Gren had already thought about.

"What if they were temporary members of the FMC for three to six months? We could let them go on requests while being supervised to make money during their training. They'd get a place to stay, weapons, armor, and a source of income." He could imagine the monthly allowance being abused so that would only apply to full members. "We'll figure out how to deal with people that have family members when we hit that problem. How does that sound?"

"That sounds like it'd send you out of business." Krieger didn't pull any punches. "Trainin' them is one thing but giving everybody weapons and armor is just asking for abuse. Everybody would sign up for a few months and leave with the gear instead of buying from your shop."

"As long as they're young then that's fine with me. They'll grow out of their armor or it'll eventually need to be replaced." It wouldn't cost him anything to give them the gear as long as they kept using it. "I think that it's a worthwhile investment."

"I think it's a wonderful idea. The world is getting more dangerous these days and we've lost so many villages to monsters." Gren only knew of three abandoned or destroyed villages near Adierton; Newton, Ironside, and that logging village that he passed. Suze knew of a lot more since she traveled often. "Just look at the request we're doing now; a group of bandits that were responsible for killing an entire village. That makes three this year alone."

"Which village did they destroy? I haven't heard anything about it." The destruction of Newton and fall of Ironside were hot topics in Adierton when they happened.

"It was a small village. I think that its name was Gigget but I'm not sure. It was only formed a few years ago and there were few families settled there." Suze seemed to be trying to remember something. "Right, Gigget, they were mushroom farmers. The village was close to the Elven fort."

"If these people have already destroyed a village, why don't the soldiers take them out? The King's Army is not that far away." Gren wondered why it needed to be mercenaries?

"They're the ones footin' the bill. The King needs his men to defend the capital and no noble is willin' to sacrifice their men. It's cheaper that way since each and every soldier costs money to raise. Why not send people like us that are willin' to die?" Krieger laughed out loud before continuing. "Why complain about them givin' us a job? If they weren't quakin' in fear up in their castles then none of us would be needed."

Krieger had a point. If they didn't want to defend the people then there was plenty of room for a group like his to profit. He didn't need to exploit anybody; just giving them a way to defend themselves would be enough. They would get cheap defenses and armaments while he got an unending source of points. "You're right. As long as they're doing nothing then we might as well pick up the slack."

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It wasn't until after the conversation that Zell returned with Gren's armor beaten into shape. It wasn't perfect but Gren gave him a few coppers as payment. Even if it looked a little bent, it was still functional as armor and Gren couldn't feel any difference from what it was like before.
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