29 The Sentinels 2
Upon joining the sentinels, Drake was taken to the Sword Saint Sillius, the Grand Knight who led the Sentinels and backed them. He was also the one who taught the 5 sentinel generals, all of them being Half Grand-knights. Although he seemed slightly old, his vigour and strength seemed to be higher than ever. In fact, the man was probably in his peak form, considering that Grand Knights had a lifespan of over 150 years.
[Human Male – Sentinel's Head | Name – Sillius | Title – Sword Saint
Age – 72 years. Rank: Grand Knight
Strength – 16.3 | Dexterity – 5.0 | Constitution – 18.0 | Internal Energy – (?)
Drake only came across two Grand Knights in his life. The first one was the immaculate leader Verdon, whose name spread across the continent when he beat a Magus by taking him by surprise. However, Verdon was older and injured, whereas Sillius was in his peak form, having access to many resources to further strengthen his body.
The two of them were not your average Grand Knights. They were on par with below-average magi. He had never witnessed actual magi fighting, but he had read about them in the library. And both Sillius and Magus Kayle were able to scare him with nothing but a stare.
The sheer presence of Sillius was enough to make Rey nauseating and Drake completely frightened. It was as if he was standing in front of a primordial beast. In fact, Sillius could be considered a real beast, based on his attributes. A beast that knew how to wield a sword if one trusted his title.
"So you are the acolyte who wishes to enter the Sentinels, huh? There were people similar to you in the past. Acolytes who sought to seek allies in the sentinels. Most of them were naturally body refinement acolytes, but really, they were nothing surprising. I must warn you: you won't find any treasure or ground-breaking technique among us sentinels."
"Yes, sir. I am aware. I must also point out that despite my wish to become a body refinement acolyte, I was a knight before awakening. My whole life has been about wielding a sword, and upon awakening, I was tested to have grade 5 talent"
It was Rey's turn to be utterly surprised. Most of body refinement acolytes strengthened their bodies because they lacked talent in spell casting and magical affinity, either because they lacked talent or intellectual capabilities to mentally picture the spell matrixes.
They would rather spend their days consuming toxins and strengthening potions as well as train their body to turn their bodies into that of human-shaped beasts. If they became strong and lucky enough to find a body refinement method, their body would become similar to that of spiritual beasts, absorbing mana continuously, thus stimulating their spirit and increasing their odds of breaking through a higher rank.
"Why would you seek to join our faction? Most of acolytes look down on us. If you seek missions, most of what we do is patrolling around Helios or participating in wars against monsters. We don't have meditation rooms to offer, or restricted tomes of knowledge to reward you with if you made incredible contributions."
"Indeed, but the sentinels are knights, or Grand knights, and since I want to become a body refinement acolyte, there is no faction more suited to me than the Sentinels. I am not asking you to treat me the way factions want to. Otherwise, I would have joined the arcane order a long time ago, if only to benefit from their network. I don't have any interest in Helios' politics. I seek strength, and sentinels can guide me on which potions are efficient, their prices and share their experiences with me."
Rey interrupted Drake: "If I may speak, Master Sillius, Drake has shown incredible talent in knight techniques. I am afraid I cannot match him in single combat."
"Oh?", Sillius was surprised. Rey was by no means a weak person. He was probably one of the strongest knights among sentinels, otherwise he wouldn't have been promoted to sentinel Captain.
"Alright, then. Drake, here is our emblem. Since Rey vouched for you, I will accept his request and hire you as a Sentinel Captain. You will be paid a Sentinel Captain's Salary as an acknowledgement of your acolyte status: three magic crystals a week. However, considering your lack of experience, you will join Rey's unit and participate in patrols for the time being. I am sure you heard that the Western Kingdoms are falling as we speak. Their armies are mostly destroyed, and tribes of orcs and wild beasts invade the Porfield Kingdom as a result, threats that average armies cannot face. Helios has a duty to keep the kingdom safe. You might encounter spiritual beasts, or orcs who possess higher strength than Knights. Injuries are frequent and deaths are common. Do you still want to join?"
Drake smiled. Obviously, he knew the Sentinels' role before coming in Helios. Although Sillius talked about weekly patrol in borders, most of the patrols were without danger to the sentinels.
"Yes, sir", Drake replied.
After all, the Western Kingdoms weren't as weakened as they appeared to be, not to mention that plenty of acolytes were stationed there and weeded out the strongest monsters reported in the border.
Sentinels took care of the small fries.
Three magic crystals a week was definitely a huge salary, on par with generously paid missions meant for rank 1 acolytes.
Of course, it was dangerous, but it was still a huge amount for Drake's current skills. More importantly, it was a steady income. The pay was this good because a Sentinel Captain was in charge of the expenses of his team: better gears, healing potions and rewards. After all, if the Sentinel Captain didn't take care of that, then his team would often be injured, and more likely to die, considering that average sentinels possessed a measly salary of 100 gold coins a month, and five magic crystals on a yearly basis.
Drake's instant promotion to Sentinel Captain was bound to lead to jealousy, but it's not like anyone could contest Drake's strength and abilities. The only people higher than Sentinel Captains in hierarchy were the Sentinel Generals, and they were only 5 of them. Each one of them served the Sentinels for decades, and possessed strength equivalent to that of Half-grand knights, probably on par with Franklin, perhaps even slightly stronger than him.
After leaving, Rey accompanied Drake to the market area. After all, he had a lot of money to spend, and a duel to win at all costs. If he lost the bet, then he would truly lose out on a great opportunity. The Jatu Meteorite wasn't something that could be bought in any markets. It was the kind of items that appeared in auctions at a well above market price.
Furthermore, losing his most valuable item, his enchanted heavy armour set, would be a huge setback.
"The markets are plenty, but most of the people using the streets are actually swindler who take advantage of newcomers' naivety or old acolytes' plights. They are the kind of people who would suddenly increase the price of healing potions after seeing someone bleeding out on the cold ground", Frey explained, "Us sentinels do not have many contacts, but over time, we hunted many magical beasts. The corpses and materials harvested are especially valuable to acolytes, and by signing a contract with the witch called Roxanne, a rank 2 acolyte, we earned large discounts over a variety of items. Sometimes she doesn't even make benefits by supplying us with strengthening potions. However, she does make a lot of dough by having access to the fresh materials we grant her."
"What is this contract?"
"Well, since you didn't sign it, you aren't bound by it, so don't worry. The contract only says that as long as she has business, we have to sell our game to her first before selling to others. That way, she has a monopoly over the rare items we get her."
"Does finding rare items frequent?"
"Actually, it is not. But when we hunt down a magical beast, we sometimes sell its corpse for dozens of magic crystals. Unfortunately, hunting a magical beast often come along with deaths and injuries, so most of it is spent on hiring healing acolytes or compensation to their families."
Drake pondered. He had never thought that hunting magical beasts could be this valuable! However, since even the Sentinels wearing heavy armours and possessing knight physiques died often, it was probably even more dangerous to rank 1 acolytes who barely mastered one…or perhaps two measly spells! No wonder that acolytes didn't wish to join the Sentinels. At rank 1, the dangers were just too high for the benefits and at rank 2 and above, they possessed strength to complete missions with less danger and more benefits!