385 The Worth of Salt Part One
Within the moon, Lieutenant Shao Ran of the Kingdom's Sea Wolf fleet arrived in Silva.
In theory, Tyrion officials would not be pleased to receive a military vessel from another nation at their port. However, the Spear of Selene was... not a typical warship.
Her deck was woefully devoid of cannons or... anything that made it war-like... The crew of thirty-something Marines and Sailors forewent their uniforms and did not at all appear as proud and noble members of an elite fighting force. They looked like degenerates and pirates.
Besides that, the ship was in such a sordid state of disrepair that no one would believe it was part of the Kingdom's Royal Navy. Ran could even declare it outright and not be suspected.
...As headstrong and straightforward as the gentleman was, he probably did.
Shao Ran wore gaudy golden robes, carrying a long hafted halberd over his shoulders that he called Ferocity. His sandy blonde hair flowed in the sea breeze and the side of his face suffered burns from dark magic-- which only added to his wild and somewhat feral appearance.
Ran was afflicted by what the Hidden Sects referred to as the Sea Wolf Curse, a form of lycanthrope. Like all Lycans, their strength, agility, and perception were greater than that of normal humans. Also, when exposed to seawater, Ran and his crew could recover from even critical injuries, their wounds healing at a visible pace. The strongest amongst the Sea Wolves could even transform their bodies into four-legged, four-tentacled aquatic beasts.
Tycondrius found it amusing that their Sea Wolf transformations looked as much like wolves as the Spear of Selene looked like a warship.
"Welcome to the city of Silva, Lieutenant."
"I hear you have some pups for me to train?" Shao Ran shook Tycon's hand, sporting a wide grin, "Seven hells, it's nice to hear your sweet, melodous voice, Tycon."
Melo...dous. That wasn't a real word. Tycon decided to ignore it, as to not spoil the mood.
"Indeed," He nodded. "Thank you for coming, Ran."
"Gahahaha!! I'll show these Tyrions how real men fight! Blood and thunder!!"
"Victory at sea," Tycon smirked.
The arrogant prick hadn't appeared to have changed since their last meeting.
⟬ Shao Ran, Iron-Rank Human Golden Halberdier. ⟭
Ran had a powerful, high-tier class, having been raised in the Golden Crow Hidden Sect, apparently known for super-heated, fire-type skills and spells.
Though Ran's fiery personality found him constantly... challenging his peers, Tycon held a deep respect for the man. Shao Ran was hailed as the strongest one-on-one duelist in the fleet. Such a title afforded him arrogance, yet also had to be cultivated by hard training, determination, and a superhuman sense of stubbornness.
The Sea Wolf Lieutenant informed Tycon of events since Sol Invictus left Port Saint Guinefort.
Pale, the youngest human Sol Invictus member, had completed officer training at the top of his class. Over thirty percent of applicants failed such training, usually by injury or death. Pale was special in that he was one of the very few who had foregone the Sea Wolf curse and thus did not have access to a superhuman healing factor.
The young man also managed to hold the highest record for a first-year Marine or Officer on the three-malm obstacle course. At first, this didn't seem impressive, as Pale could literally run on water.
Shao Ran explained that the Fleet Admiral, Lang Hai, had forced Pale to run the course without his water-walking boots. Though his swim speed suffered, his target clearing speed more than made up for the loss.
Ran also lamented that they lost Sol Invictus member Tarquin Wroe. He had mysteriously disappeared on a night of a ghost siege. Tycon assured him that Wroe was very likely not dead, more probably having gone on some sort of quest... concerning dark magic or the like.
He was too stupid to die, so easily.
Shao Ran agreed to train Tycon's new guild, the Letalis Serpentia. Ran, along with the help of other instructors from his small crew, would stay for up to half-a-year, preparing the various adventurers for martial combat and to work as a cohesive unit.
Tycon and Zenon had recruited over 200 adventurers for it. Miss Athena had vehemently argued against the wanton use of funds... not that she had a say. Guild Letalis would be supported financially by Sol Invictus until House Vanzano's revenue could support them on their own.
Discussing the matter with Ran, they agreed that it would be fortunate if a third of the initial 200 were capable of passing their combined high requirements.
The more adventurers culled, the less Tycon would have to bleed in coin.
Cecil Salt was a nervous wreck.
It had been over a year since he'd met his employer, Baron Tycondrius. He had a privateering vessel, once, long ago... but when that ship sank, so did his prospective career. The Baron found him and his crew of the Salty Selkie in the countryside of the Kingdom. Back then, they were living a pitiful existence, forced to highway robbery to survive.
Instead of slaughtering them and leaving their corpses for the crows, the Baron gave Cecil and his men purpose. They were sent to the city of Merylsward, where they fell under the command of Monsieur Reynard of the Iron-Blooded Butchers.
There, they were armed, armored, and paid handsomely for imposing their wills upon weaker men. Cecil learned better how to lead... how to leverage his strength and his connections to get what he wanted. He learned how professionalism could win him respect from both his subordinates and his enemies.
When they received word that the Baron was collecting people for a highly-trained unit of elites, Cecil immediately volunteered. He could have stayed where he was... well-paid, well-fed, and respected by all.
But that's not what the heroes in the legends did.
In Cecil's old life, he was a respected Captain, contracted by the Kingdom. At his lowest point, he was little better than a murderous thief. Reborn, he was a leader of men, feared by his enemies and praised by his allies. Over the suns of constantly having to assert his physical dominance over other Merylsward factions, he had even grown in strength... maybe even making it to Peak Bronze-Rank.
He owed it to Baron Tycondrius for rescuing him. He owed it to himself to not settle for mediocrity. And so, he sailed to the City of Silva, hoping to pay his dues, just one of several volunteers from the Iron-Blooded Butchers.
...But seven gods-damned hells and angel shite in a bucket, that man was terrifying.