Everyone had their own playstyles.
For example, the red-eyed Assassins, Halt and Itar, preferred killing other users over killing monsters.
They gained far more from killing other users, and they could do things here which they couldn't in real life.
Moreover, they had even learnt the Pillage skill, which allowed them to pick and choose what items to take from a dead user's body; this only made them double down on hunting other users.
Kang Oh snorted after listening to their story.
While Eder scratched his empty nostrils with a finger.
In front of Kang Oh and Eder...
Halt and Eder were completely restrained in bone bindings and were hung upside down on a tree.
"We made a mistake. We won't do it again," Halt said.
"Indeed. We'll live properly from now on," Itar added.
Normally, captured criminals would be sent to the Security Bureau in exchange for a bounty.
However, Kang Oh hadn't chosen to do so; instead, he had them hanging from a tree.
Thus, the two criminals claimed that they would play nice from now on in an attempt to escape.
Sadly, this was the wrong move. After all, Kang Oh had absolutely no interest in justice or guidance.
"Do some bad things too. You can't live virtuously all the time, especially in this cruel world," Kang Oh said.
'You have to look after your own interests.'
Rather than get taken advantage of, he preferred to live a wicked life, within reason of course.
"Why did you tie us up and hang us like this?"
Both Halt and Itar asked.
"What do you mean, 'why'? You tried ambushing us and got caught, and you thought we'd just let you go scot-free?"
"Then?" Itar asked.
"Give me all your money."
Kang Oh rounded his thumb and index finger, and pushed it into Itar's face.
Halt and Itar retorted.
"I'm being generous here, so your equipment's fine with me too. But it has to be at least A-rank."
"We're sorry. Please forgive us just once..."
Itar was trying to buy time.
"Hey, shut up for a bit."
Kang Oh stifled him, and opened a message window.
- Hey, Asu.
Kang Oh sent a message to Asu.
- Oppa, what's wrong?
She responded immediately.
- You busy?
- No, I'm not busy.
- You're in Altein, right?
- Would you mind going to the Security Bureau and seeing how much the bounty on Halt and Itar is?
- I'll go find out and contact you back.
- Thanks. I'll buy you something tasty later.
Kang Oh closed the message window and stared at both Halt and Itar.
"So where was I?"
Halt and Itar kept their mouths shut.
They didn't want to talk about money or equipment.
"Why aren't you saying anything?"
Kang Oh annoyingly tapped their cheeks.
Their faces crumpled suddenly. Although it didn’t hurt since they were in a game, it sure was humiliating.
"Where was I again?"
Kang Oh turned towards Eder.
"You were in the middle of talking about them giving you their money or equipment."
"Ah, right. I was telling them to give me their money or A-rank equipment."
Kang Oh nodded his head. He then stared at Halt and Itar and said, "How much is your bounty?"
Halt and Itar kept their mouths shut again.
"You really going to keep doing this!?"
There was a fire in his eyes. At the same time, he raised both of his hands as if he was going to slap them.
"We're worth 10 gold a piece!" Itar yelled.
"Are you sure?"
Kang Oh scowled.
"I'm sure," Itar screamed once more.
"If you're lying to me, you'll lose a hand."
"It's a not a lie," Halt said.
"We're PKing scum, who go for beginners and low-leveled users, so we're not worth that much," Halt added.
"Well, I suppose it doesn't matter. I asked someone to check for me, so we'll see if you're lying or not."
Kang Oh's statement caused both Halt and Itar's faces to lose color.
Expressions that seemed to say, "We're screwed".
Considering their expressions, Kang Oh could tell that they had lied.
Then, he received a message from Asu.
- Halt and Itar are worth 50 gold a piece.
Kang Oh pinched their cheeks.
"Hoh. You guys were worth 50 gold each?"
Kang Oh smiled.
They were worth 100 gold total!
Which meant that he would receive at least 1 million won ($1,000 USD) if he brought them to the Security Bureau.
'It's a lot more than I expected. Should I just be a bounty hunter instead?'
Kang Oh briefly wondered whether he should be a bounty hunter or not.
However, it wouldn't be easy to find PKers in the vast expanse of Arth, unless they came for him of their own accord like these two.
And there were several actually powerful and psychopathic users amongst the PKers.
Kang Oh completely discarded the idea of becoming a bounty hunter and instead focused on the current situation.
"I'll let you go if you give me your money or equipment. Or you can rot in jail. It's your choice!"
Halt and Itar's eyes shook.
Whereas Kang Oh merely grinned.
He smiled with certainty, as if saying 'You have no choice but to give me money'.
* * *
There were huge penalties to a game over, or dying in Arth.
Not only did a death lower one's level and proficiency, but there was also a fixed chance that they would lose their equipment or possessions.
Moreover, they would receive a debuff for 1 week following their death.
The debuff would reduce one's abilities by 10% as well as reduce their experience gain by the same amount.
If they died again while under the effects of the debuff, then the debuffs would stack and refresh the debuff timer.
But being jailed was, in a way, a much worse punishment than dying.
The criminals' charges would be weighed based on the severity and frequency of their crimes, and the criminals would be forced to remain in jail for whatever length of time was decided.
Like being in a real jail cell, users in jail couldn't do anything in-game.
Meaning they were forced to watch the ceiling or the walls and waste precious time.
Additionally, they might have to pay a fine for their crimes and most of them had their equipment confiscated.
If they didn't have the money or equipment to pay the fine, then their jail sentence would be extended
Thus, there was a common saying amongst users on Arth.
I'd rather die than go to jail.
Halt and Itar agreed with that.
To them, paying Kang Oh off and avoiding jail time was the correct decision.
'Let's just give him the money.'
'Yeah, we can get it back in no time from other users.'
Itar and Halt exchanged looks.
"We'll give you your money," Halt said.
Kang Oh gave Eder a signal, and Eder softly chanted an incantation.
The bones that had once tightly bound them loosened, and they were able to remove a single arm from its hold.
"You should be able to access your inventory with one arm," Kang Oh said.
"But... we need a guarantee," Halt said.
Kang Oh scowled, his eyes seeming to say 'How dare they!?'.
"We'll give you the money right away if you're willing to sign a Sabra's Contract," Halt said whilst avoiding Kang Oh's gaze.
"What, a contract?"
Kang Oh's eyes were like lasers firing off killing intent.
Halt and Itar cleared their throats and turned their heads to avoid Kang Oh's gaze.
At that moment, Kang Oh's lips lifted slightly.
He had some sort of plan!
Then, after Halt and Itar had turned their heads back, Kang Oh quickly returned to his normal expression.
"In exchange, I'll charge you twice as much," Kang Oh said firmly.
"T-That's a bit much..."
Once Itar finished, Kang Oh threatened.
"Fine then! Negotiations are over. Eder, cover their mouths with bone too."
Eder stretched out his hand, but Halt and Itar were quick to yell.
Kang Oh waved his hand, signaling for him to stop.
"Then give me 200 gold a piece; 400 gold total!" Kang Oh said.
"Um... I think there's some sort of misunderstanding here. Two times would be 100 gold each, or 200 gold total," Itar said.
"Misunderstanding? I'm not misunderstanding anything. In total, your bounty's worth 100 gold, right?" Kang Oh said.
"Yes," Itar replied.
"And then there's the 50 gold you owe me to cover the psychological damage you inflicted on me; you followed me and then ambushed me," Kang Oh said.
"There's also the 50 gold you owe for the psychological damage you inflicted on our pure-hearted Eder."
Kang Oh pointed towards Eder.
The 'pure-hearted' Eder's eyes glowed blue.
"You said you'd pay double, so two times 200 is 400 gold! Right?"
Kang Oh raised two fingers.
"Who in the world calculates things like that..."
"What do you mean psychological damage? That doesn't make any sense."
Who was the one who'd been hung upside-down from a tree again? Yet, Kang Oh was the one who wanted compensation?
Halt and Itar were speechless and felt his claims were ridiculous.
However, Kang Oh was the one in control.
"Haa. You guys still don't get it, do you?"
Kang Oh glanced at Eder, giving him the signal.
Eder blocked Halt and Itar's mouths with bone.
"Let's go to the Security Bureau," he said to Eder who nodded his head in response.
Kang Oh grabbed Halt and Itar with the intention to bring them down from the tree, but the both of them struggled.
At the same time, with their only exposed orifice, their eyes, they seemingly said 'We'll do as you say'.
"Should I give you another chance?" Kang Oh stopped and asked.
"Alright, fine. What a pain. Eder!"
Eder waved his hand in the air, and the bones covering Halt and Itar's mouths disappeared.
"Heok. I'll give you the 200 gold!"
"I promise. I really want to give you the money."
Kang Oh accepted their pleas with a frigid expression.
"I want another 50 gold in exchange for you giving me such a hard time. So, you need to give me 250 gold each!"
Halt and Itar feared that negotiations would break down again, so they immediately nodded their heads.
"Good. Then write the contract!" Kang Oh said.
Halt and Itar replied immediately. They had responded quickly in fear that Kang Oh would increase the amount.
However, Kang Oh had no intention of increasing his fee any more.
There was a chance that if he went too far, they would just put up a fuss and insist they'd go to jail instead.
'This is the Maginot Line.'
Kang Oh retrieved a Sabra's Contract and began writing it right before Halt and Itar's eyes.
"Hey, do you guys actually have the money?" Kang Oh asked as he wrote the first letter.
"Yes, we do!"
"If we give you everything we have, we have exactly 250."
Kang Oh continued writing the contract.
The contents were as follows:
Kang Oh wouldn't bring Halt and Itar to the Security Bureau. In exchange, they would give Kang Oh 250 gold each.
Kang Oh wouldn't try and re-capture them for the duration of a day.
Halt and Itar wouldn't try and retaliate afterwards either themselves or via a proxy contract.
If the terms are violated, then the violator becomes a criminal, and they would be summoned to the Security Bureau and spend 30 days in jail.
Kang Oh looked through the completed contract.
'There isn't anything that could be removed, and I won't be punished, even if the contract is torn apart.'
Sabra's Contract was useful, but also very dangerous. Thus, one had to use it carefully. Unless they wanted to be judged and punished for their actions.
Once he was sure that he'd written it well, Kang Oh placed the contract in front of Halt and Itar's eyes.
Although they were hung upside-down, they meticulously looked over the contract with their eyes wide open.
"It's fine, right?"
"The clause where we won't retaliate or contract someone to retaliate is a little..." Itar began, but Kang Oh scowled once more.
"Why, are you planning on retaliating? You guys still don't get it, do you..."
"N-No, absolutely not!" Itar immediately yelled.
Then Halt said, "Please add a clause stating that the skeleton over there can't capture us or hand us to the Security Bureau as well."
"I summoned him, so there's nothing for you to worry about," Kang Oh said as he looked at Eder.
Eder was about to say that he wasn't Kang Oh's summon, but Kang Oh gave him a look, so he didn't say anything.
"Please add it in anyway."
Halt's stance didn't change in the least.
"What a pain. Fine, I got it."
Kang Oh added another line in the contract.
He couldn't bring Halt or Itar to the Security Bureau via his summons or special skills.
"This is fine, right?"
"Just a moment..."
Halt requested for some more time to scrutinize the contract again.
"Man, what a pain. The sum..." Kang Oh scowled and said.
"It's nothing. I'll sign it."
"I'll sign it right away."
They were worried that he'd raise the amount again, so they replied immediately.
Once Kang Oh finished with his own signature, the contract shined and became three, each with the same exact contents.
[You have received 250 gold from Halt as per the contract.]
[You have received 250 gold from Itar as per the contract.]
His pockets had just been filled with 500 gold!
'I hit the jackpot, even though I haven’t found a hidden dungeon yet.'
Thus, Kang Oh's lips began to curl upwards.
Moreover, he was happy that it still wasn't over yet.
"Then, we'll get going now."
"Yes, we'll be leaving now."
Halt and Itar said.
"Oh, right. We have to get going."
Kang Oh nodded his head.
"Please remove our restraints."
They were still hung from a tree upside-down, restrained by bones.
"Eder," Kang Oh called.
"Dump these guys at the Security Bureau and come back. Make sure you bring back the 100 gold bounty."
"That's a violation of the contract..."
Halt and Itar yelled in astonishment.
"This guy isn't my summon, he's my partner. So, he has nothing to do with the contract."
Kang Oh smiled wickedly.
'We've been tricked!'
'We've been had!'
It felt like they'd been backstabbed.
Halt was about to curse, but he couldn't finish as his mouth was covered by bone. Itar was in the same situation.
'That's how it goes.'
When Kang Oh had introduced him as his summon, Eder had some idea that this is how it would turn out.
After all, Eder was tricked in his contract too.
"That's why you have to be careful with contracts. Well, I'll use the gold well. Let's see each other again when your bounty's even higher."
Kang Oh waved whilst smiling.
"I'll be back," Eder said.
The bone covered Halt and Itar in their entirety, without giving them a chance to escape.
Eder dragged the two cocoons of bone with him.
The now alone Kang Oh stretched.
'Did I just make 600 gold all at once?'
It was plenty of money to make up for the week wasted of not finding a hidden dungeon.
However, he wasn’t satisfied with just this. He was still hungry for more. Much more!Previous Chapter Next Chapter