King of Mercenaries - Chapter 1

Published at 18th of March 2018 10:47:16 PM

Chapter 1

Marin is very depressed . He had intended to go home and play some “European Situation” . He had finally developed near max affinity with the Holy Roman Emperor . But now, his friend, Li Liang, called him to provide backup for an upcoming fight .

It all started when Li Liang was out jogging at night and a group of thugs clashed into each other . Li Liang was caught up in the midst and beaten as well .

Li Liang naturally refused to accept it and called a few of his friends for some revenge . Marin was tall and athletic . Ever since a young age, he was adept in martial arts and wrestling . Li Liang would sometimes refer to him as the “beast” .

Although Marin was playing “European Situation” with great fervor, he still had to curse his luck and pedal his electric bike to “maintain justice” .

As everyone arrived, Li Liang promised a hot pot and a pack of cigarettes for everyone . Somewhat invigorating the atmosphere .

Under the leadership of Marin, they found some of the gang members still in the area . Like a knight, Marin sprung forward in a horseless charge .

The thugs were really weak at fighting . Before, they had relied on numbers but now it was evenly numbered . The fight was quickly concluding, as everyone finished their opponents .

But Marin was also carried away, his vision focused forward . Leaving him oblivious to the danger behind . Then, a solid brick slammed into him in the back of the head .

As the knight was felled with the strike . Marin lost consciousness as he tumbled down .

“Ah… … a brick … … these broken martial arts … … couldn’t stop … …” His last thought as he went into darkness .


After a long time, who knows how long…

Marin finally woke up, but it didn’t feel right . Because, as he opened his eyes, he didn’t see the white walls of the infirmary and its soft lights . It wasn’t even his own apartment . Instead, it was the smell of green grass, a fresh taste in the air .

“I swear! Li Liang you a bastard! Ah, your brother was injured but you tossed him into the wild . Didn’t even send him to the hospital!”

Marin scared to get up, but he suddenly realized that this didn’t seem to be his voice . It was relatively tender and young . But it still came from his mouth…

Marin has seen plenty of books and movies, so he wasn’t unfamiliar with this plot .

“It shouldn’t be… . no… . did I pass through?”

Marin quickly stretched out his hand and looked at his own body .

Then, he looked down and saw a young and thin body . It was covered with a strange clothing, and his white tender hands were obviously not his own… .

Suddenly, Marin thought of something . “Fuck – don’t tell me this is a gender-bender, right?” The last thing he wants is to stuck in a situation similar to “Go Princess Go” . If he turned into a girl… The mere thought sent chills down his spine .

With a tense mood, he slowly peeked down into his bottom garments .

After a moment, Marin breathed a sigh of relief – he was a man . Or rather, judging from the hair, a boy .

With his mind relaxed, Marin finally noticed the incredible hunger in his stomach . But that didn’t last long as he soon fainted back onto the patch of grass .


For a long time, Marin felt hungry…

At the same time, a memory fused with Marin’s consciousness . It was clear that it was the memory of the original owner…

By reading the memory, Marin learned that this body of the original owner, also known as Marin . Of course, not the Chinese Marin, but the Western Marin . More precisely, it was a Marin from the German region at the end of the 15th century . Hoffman family’s young wandering knight .

What is a wandering knight? First of all, it is a knight (most often a trainee knight) . Generally possessing a horse, a lance, and a knight’s armor . Some knights, even have armor on their warhorses . In addition, all knights, basically from childhood have underwent rigorous training . Hence, they are not only skilled at charging but also familiar with close combat . Their combat effectiveness is generally much better than that of ordinary foot soldiers .

In Medieval Europe and during the Renaissance, the knight was the lowest feudal lord in Europe . Above it were Barons, Viscounts, Earls, Marquis, Dukes, Princes, Kings, Emperors .

But not every knight is fortunate enough to get a fief and be considered a noble . The opportunity to rule a fief was most often given with service to a higher-leveled lord .

Moreover, the knight’s fief is generally relatively small . The comprising of one or more villages . For example, Marin’s family – the Hoffman family, was located in the Ruhr region of Germany . This knight family, only had a small village and a small amount of cultivated land . With all of the arable and barren land added together, the entire territory equaled about 80 hectares . [MD: Or ~200 acres, just remember the conversion rate is 2 . 5]

80 hectares of land, it seems like a lot, right? During the same time period, in the Ming Dynasty, it was absolutely a lot . Enough for the family to not worry about food or clothing . However, thanks to the low level of agricultural practices in the Europe, it is hardly much . The most common practices would be a rotation farming system, ranging from two or three-year cycle . With the third year left empty to restore the soil . During the time before the Industrial Revolution, 40 hectares only had an annual output of 5,000 kg of rye . On average, the rye production is only 156 kg per hectare . If there was a famine, the output can fall to 100 kilograms .

With this kind of yield, it was no wonder why tens of thousands of people starved to death every year in the Middle Ages .

Although the Huffman manor could almost be considered a large manor, it’s production was only around 100 kg of wheat per hectare .

As one of the top students in the History Department in college, Marin was clear that from the Han Dynasty onward, wheat production averaged 200 kg per acre . In the Ming Dynasty, rice yields sometimes even reached 500 kilograms .

Marin was very familiar with the source of the problem . The Europeans didn’t know how to use manure . For the longest time, Western farming involved plowing, sprinkling the seeds, and pouring some water on it . Then go do something else . Generally, even the peasants didn’t know to pluck the weeds .

As for the fecal matter, the Medieval Europeans pretty much defecated anywhere and everywhere . Making the cities constantly filled with a repulsive smell . This also led to the flies and the rampant spread of diseases . The outbreak of the Black Plague was by no doubt linked to the horrible sanitation in medieval times .

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During the same period in the East, farmers would consistently travel to the city collect feces . There were even children that specifically carried baskets of poop .

The feces were placed under the field, creating the high yields of ancient China . Furthermore, it was the primary pillar that sustained the growth of the Chinese civilization . Meanwhile, Europe cities could be considered to be filthy, dirty beyond words . A center for flies and rodents . Breeding a variety of diseases that periodically raged uncontrolled across the continent .

Anyhow, Marin probably thought a bit too much . His predecessor was simply a wandering knight per the German traditions .

Since Europe uses the eldest son inheritance system, it would be destined for the other sons to suffer . The eldest son would take the inheritance and the others could only curse their luck .

If it was a big aristocratic family, the situation may be better . For example, if it was a king’s younger sons, although there is no inheritance, the king can seal them as a Duke or an Earl . Give them a piece of his own territory and they would have no troubles for the rest of their lives . For Dukes, Earls, and other high-ranked nobility, if their territory was large enough, it’s only a small matter to throw some meat for your other sons to feast off of .

It was the small-time nobles that had the bad luck . Their territory was quite small and only just enough for the eldest son . Leaving the younger brothers to drink the northwest wind . [MD: Wind blows NW in China during the winter] For example, the Hoffman family’s 200 acres was mainly thin soil . Barely enough for the household and the eldest son . (Not only for himself, by also the horses, attendants, and money for weapons, armor, and tools . ) It quickly became increasingly hard to support Marin and the others in the family .

So, as the smallest feudal rank – knights were forced to make a decision . Typically, it ended with giving the other sons a horse, a set of armor, and a lance . Then send him out to make a living for himself . As for the daughter, typically they were married to some poor aristocracy and perhaps with a dowry included as well . Exceptions include entering the Church as a nun .

Under normal circumstances, the knights driven out were forced to seek refuge under that of higher-leveled nobility . This included services such as fighting in the lord’s battles .

Of course, not every one of the knights that were driven out of the house had a chance to find their own employer . A lot of knights could not find work, nor were they willing to be demoted to doing menial labor . Thus, they had to wander around, looking for temporary employment opportunities . So, a new group appeared – the wandering knight .

These wandering knights grew up in the knight family . From a small age received extensive training in fighting . Their martial arts were very good, fighting a dozen conscripted farmhands was not a problem . Some were strong enough that a single one on horseback could rout a group of robbers .

In fact, these wandering knights were an early form of German mercenaries . However, they were a scattered people . Since everyone wanted to be employed by a great noble and strike it rich, there was never the formation of any groups .

Until a few years ago, when the future Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I was battling in Burgundy, he saw firsthand the strength of the Swiss mercenaries . This sprouted the eventual rise of German mercenaries in this period .

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(Author Note: The Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I did not officially become the Holy Roman Emperor until 1508 . Prior to this, Maximilian I was only claiming to be the recognized by the Church . Without the coronation of the Pope, the foreigners only recognized Maximilian I as the King of the Romans . )

It was currently the summer of 1494, Maximilian I was recruiting his army for another period of turmoil . Marin Hoffman’s father, Fritz Hoffman, after hearing that the emperor was recruiting, decided to send his second son – the 16 years old Marin .

Originally, according to tradition, Marin was to wait until 18 years old to be kicked out of the house . But Old Hoffman felt that this was a rare opportunity . If a trainee knight obtained meritorious service, then chances were that he would be formally be promoted to a fully-fledged knight and obtain his own fief . So, he decided to let Marin go get his chance early .

However, he overestimated his second son’s real-world experience . Soon, the 10 gold coins were cheated away and Marin was left penniless .

Then poor Marin with no money to stay or eat . In desperation, he rode into the forest to try his luck at hunting . First, the meat can be eaten and fur traded for money .

But Marin was a knight, not a hunter . So, chasing animals was not his forte . Can you imagine a knight in heavy armor with his lance, chasing a little hare?

The weight of the armor itself would reduce the speed of the horse . How would it be possible to keep up with nimble wild animals? All the slow animals had long since been hunted .

The previous Marin had no crossbow and didn’t understand archery . Leaving him to haggardly ride on his horse, aching in hunger .

Finally, after two days of not eating, he fell from his horse and fainted on the grass . That’s when Marin finally passed into his body .

[MD: The Author uses some funky weights and measurements . I’m currently trying to convert everything into Kg and Hectares .  So there may be some inconsistencies . ]