As if to press me for an answer, the female staff deployed her sales talk.
“Azure dragon knight Nicholai, if it’s now, I’ll make his hourly fee 12000G!”
“T-that’s a bit high.”
My cold sweat wouldn’t stop.
“Then the seasoned veteran knight Reus. Normally, his hourly wage would be 20000G, but this time, we’re offering a daily fee of fifty thousand gold. If he’s on service all twenty four hours of the day, it’s a discount of approximately 2000 per hour.”
“H-hold it. This man’s sixty seven, right? Can he fight?”
“Customer. It isn’t just a matter of young is better. At times, it’s important to learn from the wise, right?”
To make sure not to touch the display, I kept my finger a little away as I pointed something out.
“No, I’m sure he has plenty to teach, but it says right here he’s prone to dementia. I can’t learn anything if he’s forgotten it.”
“That’s one way of putting it.”
“That’s the only way to put it!”
Clearing my throat, and taking a deep breath, the dispatchable soldier corporation employee swiped the screen with her fingertip, quickly introducing the next person.
“You sure are stubborn. But there’s no helping it. I’ll introduce you a special one we keep in reserve. A short-lived master fencer, Gustav. When faced with his expert swordsmanship, any monster will be bisected in the spot, and the moment he pulls his blade from its scabbard, everything in the area shall be minced to shreds.”
“Hmm, that’s amazing. But he’s expensive, right?”
“Fufufufu, you’d think so. But he’s not. The truth is, he’s a swordsman boasting an interesting history with our firm… to make matters quick, he’s a problem child.”
“Then I can hire him for cheaper than the others?”
“How intuitive, dear customer.”
She made an obviously-feigned look of surprise, with an insincere smile on her face. “So how much is he?”
The moment I said that, Gustav’s profile disappeared from the display.
“Ah, my apologies, dear sir. At this very moment, the short-lived swordsman Gustav has passed away.”
“… Oh, so that’s what you meant by short-lived.”
“He always had a tendency towards self-harm.”
Sobbing, she rubbed a handkerchief against the corners of her eyes. Of course, from what I could see of her crisp-dry canthus, she didn’t have a single atom of sympathy.
“More importantly, don’t you have anyone better? How should I put it, calm even in a forest inhabited by monsters, with a low hourly wage?”
Ahem, the woman cleared her through with a prim face. “If I may be so rude, sir.
“The job of hired soldier is one with a constant risk of losing one’s life. The reason for their high hourly wage is by no means our pursuit of higher profit margins. Please think of it as the cost of their lives.”
“… I’m well aware of that. Meaning, it’s the insurance costs, right?”
“… God, you sure are a teaser, dear sir ♥. If you knew, you should have said it sooner!”
After showing a completely forces smile, she touched her fingertip to the touch panel, and swiped to change the screen.
“But to talk business, soldiers and insurance go hand in hand. To us, you are definitely a customer, but while being a customer, you are also a contractor. If a mercenary suffers a severe wound on the job, or in the worst case, they pass away, you will face a compensation fee even greater than the contract fee. If you’ll let me be direct, can you prepare over a hundred million in cold hard cash?”
… Erk, she stabs the painful spots.
There was mercenary business all over the world. Because this business was more profitable than any other industry in the world.
There were plenty of things to hurt people in the world. Especially because of that thing called magic, no matter where they were, humans couldn’t find quiet sleep at night.
The one who took advantage of that mentality was the mercenary dispatch business.
Their dispatch company was like an intermediary to the mercenaries scattered over the world. Acting as middleman between those with power and those who wanted power was their job.
By registering with a dispatch company, mercenaries could find work, and by making requests to the firm, clients could find mercenaries looking for work.
The company took a registration fee from the mercenaries, and an agency fee from the client. It was an exceedingly simple business.
In the past, that business model was mainstream. But these days, with more competitors on the market, they weren’t making as much as they had been before.
If there were only one dispatch firm in the world, then the world’s mercenaries would only be able to use that one. But with multiple ones in existence, there was no need to take up any one company’s services. The mercenaries only had to leave themselves to whoever would assertively scout out work for them.
But then the dispatch firms wouldn’t be able to maintain themselves. In order to gather as many clients as possible, they had to constantly mediate for talented mercenaries, and appeal that they were able to employ them.
There’s no way a client would pay an introduction fee for a dispatch firm down on its luck.
So what made its entry on the scene was the long-term hire system.
The merit of this system was, that if a mercenary registered and remained faithful to a single company, as long as there were still requests coming in, the company would guarantee their living expenses.
For mercenaries who never knew when they would be getting work, the merit of a stable source of income was a large one. On top of that, from the dispatch firm’s point of view, they could constantly have prodigious mercenaries stationed with them, so it was a plus for both sides.
Due to the arrival of this system, mercenaries became a large, flourishing business. But while there wouldn’t have been any particular problems if it ended there, the problem was that it went on.
At first, the mercenaries were thankful their living costs were being covered, but their requests gradually began to escalate. Give me a higher income, pay for my treatment, and implement a welfare program.
Of course, to the profitable dispatch firms, that wasn’t a problem, but it wasn’t as if all companies were doing well. Among the dispatch firms were small businesses whose management prowess was unable to keep up with the demands.
Of course, in the end, demands were just demands. The company could deny them. But if they denied the demands, the mercenaries would just quit, and search for better employment.
Without any mercenaries, there’s no way the firms would succeed. So what they devised was life insurance.
Injury was indispensable to a mercenary’s job. In the worst case scenario, even death was possible. But the higher the death rate was, the higher the insurance payout became.
If mercenaries faced large injury, or death on the job, the dispatch firms placed an insurance on those mercenaries so they could accept a large insurance payout.
The payout was paid by insurance companies, so at a glimpse, it looked like a logical business. But those insurance companies wouldn’t stay silent and pay out those high sums.
It became the insurance company’s job to thoroughly investigate where the fault lay on the job. And in the case the fault fell on the employer in the mercenary’s working hours, the one to pay damages was the client hiring the mercenary, meaning a person like me.
I thought it was a really well-put-together thing. For if you put the theory of economics on it, human life became just another business chance.
Outside of my thoughts, the woman made a proposal.
“I have a general understanding of your price range. Unfortunately, with your budget, we will be unable to be of assistance. So here’s my proposal, if it suits you, why not hire a freelance mercenary?”