Standing last in line was a woman wearing a mantle.
The hood did not cover her head, allowing Kieran to see her face clearly.
She had a clean tidy red bob, strong facial features and light, wheat-like skin. She didnt share the weathered feel of a mercenary, but she looked healthy and lively.
What caught Kierans attention was the box she was carrying. To be more precise, it was a metal trunk as tall as a grown man, one meter wide and two knuckles thick. It looked extremely heavy.
The cowhide straps, which were as wide as a mans palm, were stretched tightly.
The trunk had to be full.
"Does it hold weapons? Or maybe armor?" Kieran guessed.
Either way, anyone who could carry that kind of weight had to be a good fighter. Kieran instantly marked her down, not just because of her strength, but also because of the Sub Mission description.
As a matter of fact, other than the redhead, there were a couple more noteworthy candidates, which were also marked down by Kieran.
No doubt, even if the marked down candidates passed through the sifting process and entered the bodyguard team successfully, they would still be the target of observation.
Seconds turned into minutes. Soon, 20 minutes had passed.
After Kieran confirmed that no one else was showing up, he spoke.
"Ill reintroduce myself. I am 2567. You can call me whatever you want, but Ill say this once more: Everyone will follow my rules. This is the last time I say this. There will be no more reminders for those who break my rules. Ill make sure anyone who disobeys will experience agonizing pain!"
Kieran pretended to be ruthless and strict, stating each and every word loudly and clearly.
Judging by the dispirited, scared faces of the candidates around him, his act seemed to be successful. The mercenaries and bounty hunters that arrived later raised no objections.
Of course, Kieran also noticed that a couple of them were making eye contact. Some of them were the ones he had marked down.
"As expected, something is fishy!" Kieran smiled coldly, but remained silent.
He remembered whether the marked down candidates had arrived alone, separately or with other groups. Now they were looking and communicating with each other.
Such an unusual tacit agreement could not exist among strangers.
Kieran decided to keep this to himself for the time being though.
He didnt even take another glance at them. He had already marked them down in his mind, so there was no need to try to memorize them any further.
"Bill, Cass!" he called as he turned around.
They were Harold and Joannas wagoner bodyguards, so they quickly answered his call.
"Sir 2567!" they both greeted him politely.
Harold and Joanna had already ordered their bodyguards to follow Kierans orders for the selection of the new bodyguards.
It was an important process before the expedition to Isogu City and it involved their employer's safety, so neither of them had objected.
Especially not when Kieran had displayed such exceptional strength before them.
The previous night, when Kieran had come back with that big guy over his shoulder while still carrying his huge backpack, Bill and Cass had been astonished by his extraordinary strength.
His huge backpack aside, the two of them could have barely moved that bloated big guy around. However, Kieran had come back really fast, as if hed had wings on his feet.
The two of them had instantly started to believe the rumors about him.
Astonished, Bill and Cass hadnt even tried to object to their employers orders to follow Kieran.
Powerful strength granted one many advantages.
Kieran had experienced that himself after a few dungeon runs. He wouldnt mind enjoying some advantages without violating his own principles.
"Please catalogue their weapons and run some simple tests," Kieran ordered them.
"Right away, sir!"
Bill and Cass moved as soon as the orders were given.
The mercenaries and bounty hunters that had come for the job position were almost 30 to 40 people.
If Kieran had done the registering and testing alone, the time and energy consumption alone would have exceeded his expectations.
Things were different when Bill and Cass were there to help though. Not only did they save Kieran a whole lot of time, but they also allowed him to focus his attention on the suspicious candidates and observe their movements.
Bill and Cass divided the candidates into two groups.
Bill took the group that was good at using sharp weapons, and Cass took the group that was good with firearms.
Of course, the candidates were not just good with one type of weapon.
Many of them had brought all kinds of weapons. Almost everyone had a long sword and a flintlock, and some of them had even brought heavy artillery, such as spiked clubs.
"The dawn of the firearm age, when swords still reigned" Kieran mumbled to himself as he watched the scene.
He silently recalled the last Guardian Knight, who had carried the burden of history on his back, Guntherson.
"I think Guntherson was also born in a similar era. One could fight with swords and blades or seal his enemys fate with the shot of a pistol. As time passed, the convenience and speed of firearms surged and made them the mainstream weapon of the era. Sharp weapons struggled to keep up and what followed was the sorrow and grief of a generation!"
Remembering what Guntherson had been through, Kierans heart filled with an indescribable feeling.
He couldnt say that he understood completely how Guntherson had felt, but he understood more now.
Looking at the mercenaries, the bounty hunters and their weapons of choice made him understand why Guntherson had chosen to reside in the most secluded area of St. Paolo, while peoples memories of him faded in time. He was an abandoned child.
"The abandoned child of time... Abandoned by the whole world and living like the walking dead How despairing was that! It must have been awful!"
Kieran recalled how Guntherson had lived on and felt a chill in his soul.
He was sure it wasnt the life that he had wanted for himself, but at the same time, giving up the hope of living and choosing death was not his choice either.
"Die a glorious death or live a feeble life Thats my choice"
It was hard for Kieran to choose his answer to that question.
Ten minutes later, he still couldnt make up his mind.
Disappointed, he snapped out of it when he heard Joannas cry.
Kieran turned around unconsciously.
The tall bloated man had awakened and was struggling to stand up. The metal chain tying him down was moving non stop, seemingly unable to withstand his strength.
Joannas petite body was less than three meters away from the big man. She seemed like she was standing beside a raging bear.
Cass, who was registering the candidates, wanted to leap over to protect his employer.
Before he could take a step though, Kieran stopped him.
"Keep doing your job. Leave that to me!"
Just as Kierans words faded, he appeared like a flash before Jonna, placing her behind him.
"Thanks," Kieran thanked Joanna, who was looking at him in confusion. Then he walked over to the big guy slowly.
A small spark ignited on Kierans right hand, followed by another, and then another.
When he took a third step, the electric current had already covered his right hand, letting out an electrifying noise.
Suddenly, everyones jaws dropped. They almost forgot how to breath.
Happy New Year everyone!
Hope we can have a lot more dungeons ahead of us!
Stay safe and be healthy :)
Bonus Chapter to celebrate a new year