"How does a mercenary's rank work?" Kang Oh asked the Chewbacca look-alike.
"There are three ranks: bronze, silver, and gold."
"How do you raise your rank?"
"It's simple. Perform great feats and improve your fame/reputation. Then, the Mercenary Association will increase your rank."
"Fame and reputation, huh... Is there any way to increase my rank immediately? I can kill monsters that are stronger than the Blade Beast anytime."
"Nope." The worker shook his head.
The Mercenary Association determined one's rank based on their accomplishments, fame, and reputation as a mercenary. It didn't matter how powerful they were; if they hadn't obtained these three things, then they would start as a bronze mercenary.
"How much is a bronze mercenary worth?"
"That depends on the employer."
"But there's an average wage, right?"
"The average wage is about 5 gold."
"That's it?" Kang Oh furrowed his brow.
"Since bronze is the lowest rank, that's all you can get. However, you get to keep 100% of the loot from your missions."
"I see." Kang Oh nodded his head. Bronze mercenaries made chump change, but they could make up for it with loot. "I'd like to start working immediately... I want it to be as dangerous and difficult as possible," Kang Oh continued.
It wasn't surprising. After all, he'd come to the west with the intent of becoming as strong as possible.
'You just wait and see, Valan.'
Kang Oh gritted his teeth, recalling how Valan had compared him to an ant.
He'd get Valan to say 'You've gotten really strong!' no matter what.
"You want some advice?"
"Yeah. As I said, the more dangerous/difficult, the better."
"The Black Dogs and White Cats will go to war soon, so both sides are recruiting mercenaries."
It was a job that fit his criteria.
"The Black Dogs and White Cats?" Kang Oh replied.
"Since you're human, you must not know much about us... The Black Dogs and White Cats consider each other mortal enemies, and have fought for quite some time. Apparently, they're fighting again."
"Then which side do I choose?"
"The Black Dogs are extremely hostile towards humans, so they won't accept you. They might actually try to kill you instead."
Kang Oh then recalled the two dogs he'd fought previously.
The two non-humans, the bulldog and Shih Tzu, had attacked him just because he was a human being.
They'd also told him this: that they were involved with the Black Dogs.
"Do most tribes here hate humans?" Kang Oh asked.
"Yeah, most of them do. Some don't merely shun humans, they hold radical ideas such as the complete eradication of the human race. The Black Dogs are one of them."
"So there are going to be a lot of people that try to kill me just because I'm human." Like the bulldog and Shih Tzu.
"That's right." The worker didn't deny it.
"That'll be quite... annoying and fun." Kang Oh grinned. 'If you want a piece of me, then come on! I'll use you to become even stronger!'
"Anyhow, if you want the job, then go to the Treville Bar. That's where the White Cats' mercenaries are gathering. The Treville Bar is located on the southern road."
Kang Oh left the association, and immediately headed for the Treville Bar.
Kang Oh opened the door and went inside.
There was a group at the center table.
It was the White Cats, a race that possessed white fur, as well as eyes, nose, ears, tails, and whiskers like a cat.
Kang Oh approached them. "I'm here for mercenary work."
"Let me see your badge," a shaggy white furred cat said. He must be in charge here.
Kang Oh passed him the Blade Beast's Fang.
"You really are a mercenary. Your pay is 5 gold, and your mission is to fight the Black Dogs. Would you like to take the job?" the White Cat Leader asked.
Kang Oh nodded his head.
"Bronze Mercenary, Kang Oh." The leader read Kang Oh's rank and name, and the White Cat beside him began jotting the details into a notebook.
"Make sure you're ready. Come back in three days; be here by morning."
* * *
Kang Oh left the grasslands, and then headed for the military city, Kuwang. Kuwang was the starting point of the 'Monster Road' and was in between the west and central regions.
"Welcome." Kang Oh greeted the nice-looking old man, Man Bok, once he exited the intercity transfer gate.
"Hello." Man Bok beamed.
"Do you have what I asked for?"
"I have them right here."
The small wagon that he'd dragged here contained several identical swords.
Kang Oh picked up a sword, checked the item's information, and then grinned.
It was a BB-rank, and had a level 150 equip requirement The sword was also created by a Blacksmith player.
The sword wasn't great, but it was cheap. Its market price was only about 70 gold.
But with Man Bok's abilities and connections, he was able to buy thirty of them for about 50 gold each.
'The partnership was a good idea.'
In the past, Kang Oh would have to get rid of his items himself, but now, Man Bok would do it for him.
Plus, he only took a 5% cut, unlike the auction house's 10% commission fee.
"Do you like them?"
"Yes. They're just what I'm looking for." Kang Oh grinned.
"I brought you the potions, maintenance tools, and return scrolls you requested as well."
"Thank you." Kang Oh took the thirty swords, which he'd use as fodder for Gluttony, as well as the potions and scrolls, and then paid Man Bok. "Keep up the good work. Then, if you'll excuse me."
"Yes. Until next time."
Because of Man Bok's new business, or selling the southern fish, he had way too much to do.
Likewise, Kang Oh had no time to waste. At least, if he wanted to become strong enough to receive Valan's acknowledgement.
Man Bok and Kang Oh parted ways.
* * *
In the west, there was an area called Harun Mountain. It was a sacred place for both the Black Dogs and the White Cats.
It was where their ancestors were born, so several of their legends involved the mountain.
Harun Mountain was important to their culture too, as they performed ancestral rites for their 'forebears' there.
At the beginning, the Black Dogs and White Cats jointly used Harun Mountain without much trouble.
But at some point, the Black Dogs took control of Harun Mountain and prevented the White Cats from using it. From that point forward, the Black Dogs and White Cats began their long war.
Of course, if the Black Dogs heard this story, then they'd be angered and say something like 'That's ridiculous! It's all a bunch of lies!'. They would say that the White Cats tried to monopolize the mountain, and that they were the victims.
'I don't care what the truth is. It has nothing to do with me.'
All he cared about was fighting and getting stronger. If he picked up some good loot along the way, then all the better.
The Black Dogs and White Cats were confronting each other, so the atmosphere was really tense. To Kang Oh, Harun Mountain was nothing more than a stage that would help him reach his goal.
The Black Dogs were guarding Harun Mountain, while the White Cats were trying to seize it.
"Today, we're going to defeat the Black Dogs and reclaim Harun Mountain! If we can't reclaim it, then we die!" the White Cat Leader yelled.
"If we can't reclaim it, then we die!"
"White Cat! White Cat! White Cat!"
The White Cats nearby began chanting.
Their cries rang out. The Black Dogs, which were atop the mountain, didn't just sit there and do nothing.
"Those wicked White Cats are trying to steal our sacred mountain from us! Let's punish them!" the Black Dog Leader yelled.
"Punish them! Punish them!"
"Black Dogs! Black Dogs!"
The Black Dog and White Cats' chants were equally loud, and gradually subsided.
Then, the White Cat Leader raised his weapon up high. "Everyone, attack!"
There was no strategy or tactics here. They didn't need them to defeat the Black Dogs; all they needed to do was overpower them!
The White Cats' warriors and mercenaries charged at the Black Dogs, which were positioned at the top of the mountain. Of course, Kang Oh was a part of this force.
"Attack!" the Black Dog Leader yelled.
He too refused to use any sort of plan. It would be beneath them, so he decided to just overpower the White Cats.
The Black Dogs and their mercenaries rushed down the mountain.
It was as though two huge waves had crashed against each other!
* * *
Kang Oh's first opponent was an orc. It was one of the Black Dog's mercenaries, and was bronze rank like Kang Oh.
Of course, just because it was the same rank as him didn't mean that it was just as skilled.
The orc swung its blunt weapon so slowly, making it easy prey for Kang Oh.
Kang Oh pocketed the poor breastplate it'd left behind, and went looking for his next prey.
'I need to find someone even stronger!'
The orc mercenary wasn't even good enough to serve as an appetizer. Kang Oh thirsted for an even greater foe.
But then, Kang Oh saw a mercenary fiercely swinging its javelin. It was quite skilled.
'You're next!' Kang Oh rushed at the mercenary.
The tip of its javelin came flying at Kang Oh's left eye.
Its attack was both quick and precise!
Kang Oh swung his sword and deflected the spear.
Then, the mercenary quickly got back into position and attacked again.
The mercenary swung its spear every which way. Kang Oh couldn't tell where it was aiming its spear.
Of course, Kang Oh Hyper Intuition fixed that problem; he wasn't fooled by the mercenary's flashy movements.
He turned his body, avoiding the spear, and immediately counterattacked.
The mercenary was incredibly skilled, so they were able to block Kang Oh's attack without much difficulty.
They exchanged attacks for some time.
The spear user's skills were extraordinary, and Kang Oh hadn't used Baramut's Roar, Gluttony, or Devil Trigger, so the battle was closer than it would've been otherwise.
He had no intention of using them either.
'I have no idea how the battle will go, so I can't use them just yet.'
But even without Baramut's Roar, Gluttony, or Devil Trigger, Kang Oh was still strong. The two continued to exchange attacks, but in the end, Kang Oh was the victor.
Ultimately, Blood pierced through the mercenary's heart.
It was a minor victory. Kang Oh didn't let the victory get to his head. He immediately withdrew his sword and looked for his next target.
Then, two Black Dog Warriors came rushing at him, intent on stopping him.
The Black Dog Warriors were just as skilled as the spear user.
However, Kang Oh had finished warming up and his concentration was at its apex, so Kang Oh wasn't pushed back despite it being a 2 on 1 fight. In fact, he was the one pushing them back.
Kang Oh's sharp attacks felled both of the warriors simultaneously!
"Kuu, he's strong. Someone stop him!"
"Damn it! We need reinforcements!"
The two warriors stood up and yelled.
Then, several nearby Black Dog Warriors rushed at Kang Oh.
Kang Oh grinned.
There were several stars glimmering on his snow-white blade. 15 in total!
Blood red energy exploded outward!
Those caught in the explosion were flung every which way.
Kang Oh immediately pulled out his four daggers.
Bam, bam, bam, bam!
One of his daggers called lightning down on his opponent.
Blood Bomb and Thunderbolt!
The two attacks were enough to cause the Black Dog Warriors, as well as the mercenaries they'd hired, to panic.
'This is my chance!' Kang Oh went wild as if he were a wolf amongst sheep.Previous Chapter Next Chapter