“Listen here punk, if you want to be a mercenary, you must be powerful and courageous!” The unkempt man bellowed at Fang Lin.
“Just because you want to be a mercenary does not mean s**t here!” The man then clawed his right hand as he attempted to crush Fang Lin’s head.
Fang Lin just sneered upon seeing this attack. He used both of his hands to grab the man’s right arm as he flipped him over Fang Lin. Fang Lin then brought the man crashing down on the bottle-filled table in front of him.
The table itself crushed under the weight of the man. The bottles in there shattered, as the man lay on the floor.
Fang Lin was about to say a cool line against the defeated man when he saw everyone in the bar clapping.
“Wooo! That’s a good one lad! Did not expect that from you!”
“Hahahaha! You better be more badass on your missions!”
“Eh? What’s happening?” Fang Lin was confused with all the enthusiastic welcome he received. He looked at the floor as he saw the unkempt man slowly stand up. He gave a hearty grin at Fang Lin as he said,
“You think I was just an a**hole? As if the Mercenary Organization allows that! What you experienced earlier was sort of a test for newcomers!”
“Test for newcomers? How did you even know I was a newcomer?”
“Ah that.” The man scratched his neck as he continued. “Once you register to be a mercenary, you will be given a mercenary token. It has many uses, and one of them includes the ability to determine if one has a token or not.”
Fang Lin then realized it. “Because I have no mercenary token with me when I went inside, you knew that I was a newbie then?”
“Exactly.” The unkempt man laughed uproariously. He slapped Fang Lin’s back as she continued. “We wanted to know if you can fight well. Now, there is one more test you have to pass before you can pass.”
Fang Lin gulped as he listened. The man then said,
“Suppose you are a mercenary already, and you and your mercenary buddy went to buy food. But at that time, your buddy was drunk. He of course became a little rude at the store owner. All of a sudden, things got heated and it turned into a brawl. What would you do?”
Fang Lin used his comprehension to arrive at the answer. “I will fight with my mercenary buddy. I will defend him against the store owner. We are now comrades, so I have to fight for him too.”
“Hahahaha! You are absolutely right!” Everyone at the bar started clapping for Fang Lin. The man then continued speaking, “Everyone at the Mercenary Organization are in one big brotherhood! Because of our dangerous activities and missions, trust among each of us is important! To survive against all odds, we must treat each other as our own brother!”
Fang Lin then felt everyone in the bar turned solemn. They slowly stood up as they slowly congregated around Fang Lin. They then uttered,
“Do you swear to stand by your brothers when they need you the most?”
“Yes!” Fang Lin started to feel his blood pumping as he answered.
“Do you swear to not betray the Mercenary Organization?”
The unkempt man then shouted at the top of his voice,
“With the power bestowed to me as a Guide of the Mercenary Organization, I accept you as part of the Mercenary Organization!”
The mercenaries cheered as they accepted Fang Lin as a new mercenary.
“Wait, that’s it?” Fang Lin was surprised at the ease of entry. He then saw the unkempt man waving his hand.
The bar and the filth he saw earlier had disappeared. Even the dirty clothes worn by the mercenaries were gone.
The filthy bar had been replaced with a cleaner room, which now looked like a room were people can get missions.
The mercenaries now looked better, with them wearing clothes of differing variety.
The bar receptionist was replaced by a pretty girl who waved at him merrily. She wore prim clothes as she stood behind a counter. Fang Lin read the sign above her that read,
He looked to the side, and the saw a bulletin board filled with mission requests. Fang Lin knew that it was there where one can get missions, while the pretty girl earlier will be the one to process the request.
He looked back at the unkempt man earlier. He looked better now. His face was of a young man, around 25 years old. His skin was tanned, and his body was toned. His face held a rough edge on it, as some scars crisscrossed his jaw. His green eyes seemed to be filled with intensity.
“Yes, that’s just it.” The man then guided Fang Lin towards the mission counter. “We mercenaries value brotherhood, so we test that the most. Even if you fail to beat that weak old man earlier, as long as we feel that you can uphold our principle of brotherhood, we will accept you.”
“So the filthy bar and the rude people are just an illusion?”
“Yes just an illusion.”
“What will happen to me if I did not pass your tests?”
The man just nonchalantly replied, “Then we will throw you out and make you swear an Oath to never tell anyone on what just happened. ”
“It seems too much, but we needed to make sure that each applying mercenary gets a fair chance to be tested.”
“That’s actually reasonable.” Fang Lin then continued inquiring. “You called yourself a Guide, what does that mean?”
“Oh that. A Guide is someone who leads a newbie mercenary or a group of newbie mercenaries into their early missions. That is to ensure that they can survive. The Mercenary Organization wants to take care of the welfare of the mercenaries after all.”
“Then you will be my Guide then?”
“Actually, the process of getting a Guide takes around a day but since I chanced upon to test you personally, I guess I can be your Guide then.” He then stopped as he faced Fang Lin. He then said in a dignified voice,
“I, Bloodspear, shall be your Guide from now on.”
Fang Lin then replied,
“I, Fang Lin, gratefully accepts your help!”
“That’s more like it!” Bloodspear was obviously pleased with Fang Lin. “So, what are you going to do now? ”
Fang Lin’s reply came quick.
“I would like to have a mission related to the Forest of Death. It will be better if I can go to the Forest of Death as early as possible.”
Bloodspear quickly drew in his breath. He stared at Fang Lin as he asked seriously,
“Are you sure about that? That is a highly dangerous zone!”
“Well even if I agree, I cannot help you with that.” Bloodspear sighed. “You know, missions with high death rate can only be taken by high ranking mercenaries. But you can only get higher ranking once you complete many missions. You are a newbie now, so you have no access to get this mission.”
While Bloodspear was saying this, the pretty receptionist girl managed to hear it. She leaned in towards the two as she slowly said,
“You know Bloodspear... I can help you with that.”
“You have a way Elizabeth?” It maybe only a hunch, but Fang Lin noticed that Bloodspear seem to slightly avoid Elizabeth. He slightly retreated as Elizabeth drew nearer.
“Muuu...” Elizabeth pouted as she noticed this behavior too. She huffed as she crossed her arms. “You know, someone from the 8 Families came here earlier, with a private request.”
“A private request?” Bloodspear’s eyes narrowed as he ruminated on that statement. “What is that request all about?”
“Welll.... They wanted to hire 5 mercenary guards to come with them to the Forest of Death. They must be around the Fourth Stage and have a high ranking. They also want to hire 3 mercenaries to act as a maintenance crew. Their strength and ranking does not matter, as long as they can do maintenance well.”
“They want to hire mercenaries? But the 8 Families have lots of that manpower that they can use.”
“I also asked that earlier, but that mean old man just snapped at me, saying that peasants like me have no right to know how the 8 Families run things!” Elizabeth started to tear up as she stared at Bloodspear.
“Bloodspear, you owe me a date for this ok?”
“Sigh, then I owe you one I guess.” Elizabeth tittered in delight as she rummaged her documents.
“So, Fang Lin will join the maintenance crew then.” Elizabeth was about to sign it when Bloodspear muttered,
“Let me join the maintenance crew too.”
“I am Fang Lin’s guide, so I have to join him. If you digress, no date for you.”
“Ah well then! The two of you are in the maintenance crew now!” Elizabeth slightly panicked as she stamped the documents. She then gave these documents to Bloodspear.
“Show that to them when they arrive tomorrow noon. As for the other mercenaries, you will see them tomorrow.”
Fang Lin was satisfied with how the situation progressed now. He now had a way to go in the Forest of Death, and it’s a free ride of all things! He might get paid too!
He then bade goodbye at Bloodspear as he rented an inn and took his sleep.