“The junior mercenary badge.” After he unconsciously let those words slip, Zeno quickly covered his mouth and snuck a glance at Xi Wei. Fortunately, the protagonist seemed to be caught up in his thoughts and did not notice the little one’s slip of the tongue.
The mercenary badges were very easy to identify. The junior badge was gold, the intermediate badge was silver, and the senior badge was purple. The design for all three was the same; two swords with their handles crossed.
Naturally, this badge could not be from Xiao Wu. A ten-year-old girl would never be able to acquire this type of thing, so it seemed that Xi Lun must be the one who got it.
The Mercenary Guild was the largest guild on the Hong Yue continent, and it was an organization that welcomed all. As long as they wanted, anyone could join—of course, they were required to pay one gold coin.
Xi Wei often heard of this guild thing, and he often passed by the Ye Sa City branch, but the threshold requirement of a single gold coin easily shut out beggars like Xi Wei.
If you could become a mercenary, it was the equivalent of having a part-time job. At least you did not need to worry about being hungry every day—this was indeed a very exciting opportunity.
But why would Xi Lun help them? Was there truly any free kindness in this world?
Xi Wei hesitated, unsure of whether he should trust that strange man.
Zeno was actually very hopeful that the protagonist would accept the job. As a mercenary, he could improve their current situation; they could rely on his labour through the guild to earn money for food. No more digging through the trash to survive.
The Mercenary Guild had a variety of tasks. They started off small, like finding a missing cat; and went all the way up to the most extreme challenges like fighting a dragon. There was a suitable task for every member, regardless of their level.
Xi Wei exited the boat’s cabin with his box. If he wanted, he just needed to loosen his hand and the junior mercenary badge would fall into the water. With only a small splash, he could treat this matter as if it had never occurred.
Zeno followed him out, a hand gripping the protagonist’s pant leg, trying to pull him back.
The small amount of strength that Zeno had pulling against Xi Wei’s leg was insignificant, but he still successfully stopped Xi Wei. The protagonist looked down to see the solicitous smile of the bright little boy; his small mouth was still filled with sugar, and his cheeks bulged out, while he cocked his head to the side, looking up.
Xi Wei found himself unable to loosen his fingers. At last, he seemed to compromise, keeping the badge, and then leaned over to pick up Zeno before walking out.
Mercenary guild members came and went in a lively manner. Most of the people were very rough, dressed in coarse clothing, but they had enough to cause beggars to be jealous.
Xi Wei silently stood near the front door of the Mercenary Guild, and he refused to take a single step further. To the average person, these were merely a few steps that need to be taken. To Xi Wei, this was the path to another life. No matter how precocious a child was, they would still feel unease and fear; it was human nature.
The protagonist had not yet grown to the level where he harboured malicious thoughts towards all living things, so he would naturally hesitate to step outside what was comfortable. However, Zeno was pleased with this. Although the cold protagonist was also very meng—it was obviously a lot easier to get along with him as he was now. Zeno wanted Xi Wei to live as a man, not alone as a god.
From their position, they were actually able to roughly see inside the Mercenary Guild hall. There was a large counter similar to what you might find in a bank that was divided into three different sections. Tthere were many tables in the middle of the hall, and sitting at the tables were a bunch of warriors. Although the majority were men, there were even some strong-bodied women, and all of them were engaged in lively discussions.
Zeno pulled on Xi Wei’s collar in order to pull him out of his state of contemplation.
At last, Xi Wei lifted his foot to step through the attractive front door that was completely incompatible with his tattered and filthy clothes.
“Charles, when are you going to turn in your mission report?” Nami, a tall, beautiful woman asked as she slapped her hand on the table directly in front of Charles’s face, scaring him half sober.
Charles attempted to placate her with a smile, rubbing his hands together as he bargained, “Oh, my lovely Nami, you are even more beautiful today than yesterday. As for that damn report, can’t you just help me write it, and if not, can you let me bring it in two days late?”
Nami’s gorgeous face showed a smile, and Charles did not even have time to be happy when the beauty lifted one of her slender legs and knocked him aggressively to the ground, followed quickly by the stool he was sitting on, “Charles, I warned you that your report has been due for a week, if you do not hand it in then there will be a deduction from your contribution points.”
Charles perked up all of a sudden, and nearly screamed, “Wait, wait, I’ll turn it in tomorrow, tomorrow I will!”
Suddenly, laughter rang out from the lobby; apparently this was not the first time this has occurred.
Nami grunteds and clapped her hands before going back behind one of the counters and sitting down.
Soon after she sat down, a dirty little hand raised a gold mercenary badge in front of Nami’s face, and then lightly places it on the table before shrinking back.
Nami was surprised for a moment. The counters in the Mercenary Guild were very high; they probably reached around chest height on an average adult man. She stood up and saw that there was a child who appeared to be around ten years old standing in front of her. He was wearing little more than tattered rags, his body was very thin, and his short black hair covered his eyes so that his face was difficult to see. Surprisingly, such a small child was actually holding a smaller child in his arms as well.
The little one was a little funny looking. He1 was very cute, his head was shaved bald, and he was wearing a shirt that looks like it was actually half of a dress. The child was neither fish nor fowl2.
Nami stood dazed for a moment before she remembered her responsibilities, and she asked, “What would you like?”
Xi Wei’s answer was very simple, “To be a mercenary.”
Nami’s gorgeous face twisted with confusion before she hesitatingly twirled the badge on the counter and took a closer look at it, as if to ascertain whether or not it was real. At this point, she sat down and started registering Xi Wei’s information, “Number 1008610010, what is your name?”
The little beggar bowed his head; what is it, what is his name? He had not thought of his name for so long, but he finally retrieved it from the depths of his memory, and after a moment of hesitation said, “Xi Wei.”
Nami could not see his expression across the counter, and praised him after she wrote his name, “Xi Wei, it is the name of an elven tree, really a good name—can you sign this for me?”
Xi Wei shook his head, and then remembered that the woman behind the counter could not see him, so he informed her, “I can’t write.”
Apparently he did not give an unexpected answer to this question, so Nami only nodded and stood up and handed him the registration form, pointing to the lower right corner of the page. “Just make a fingerprint on the line here.”
Xi Wei was very slow to move.
Nami, puzzled, urged Xi Wei, “Hurry up, I am very busy.”
The young beggar clenches his teeth, staring at the piece of paper in front of him as if it was not a registration form, but a slave contract.
Xi Wei even had the urge to flee immediately. However, the hunger in his belly and the ‘burden’ in his arms kept him from doing so. He adjusted his hold on the child, bit his finger, and pressed it down heavily on the snowy white registration form.
Nami awkwardly held an inkpad in her hands as she watched.
Until the unusual registration form was returned, Nami worked to regain her composure while she stared at Xi Wei strangely for half a day, until she finally received the form.
Nami turned around and gathered her long, wavy brown hair, throwing Xi Wei a coquettish look, “What is the matter, you handsome young boy?
She was purely ridiculing the boy, and had no intention of seducing him in any way. Xi Wei understood that, and only stiffly said, “The task.”
Nami was actually surprised, “You just finished registration and you already want a task?”
Xi Wei did not answer, so Zeno repeated for him, “Task.”
The little one wore such a serious expression that Nami could not help but cover her mouth and giggle, and then she began to look up a task.
Zeno was actually a bit nervous. Originally, in accordance with the “Curse” plotline, Xi Wei should already be at the age of 16 when, by chance, he used another person’s identity and badge to enter the Mercenary Guild. Now, because of the coincidence of meeting the scar-faced man and Xiao Wu, things have taken an unexpected turn.
He did not know how much impact such a change would have.
In some ways, it was a good thing. If Xi Wei’s life trajectory changed from now on, his future development would be on a new path.
All sorts of dubious plans begin to develop in Zeno’s brain, and this filled him with excitement—he could not help make small fists as his excitement grew.
Taking advantage of the time Nami was taking to look for a task, Charles walked over to Xi Wei to chat, “Hey, you a newcomer? Are you interested in joining us, the Wind Wolf Corps?”
Before Xi Wei could even answer, a folder hit Charles’s head. Charles, holding his head, begged for mercy, “Ow, dear Nami, can’t you be more gentle, the commander said that I am getting more and more stupid.”
Nami put her hands on her hips, “Troublemaker, you must be here to submit your mission report.”
As soon as Charles heard her mention the mission report, he made an embarrassed gesture and avoided eye contact.
Nami glared at Charles, and then bent over to hand the folder over to Xi Wei, “Handsome little guy, I think that since you are young, adventure missions are too much for you to handle. There is a long-term task to help a cat bathe every week. The cat’s Master’s eyes are not very good, so he needs to hire someone else to do it for him; will this suffice for you?”
Xi Wei nodded; for him, there was not much choice. Not to mention, bathing a cat should not be too difficult after all, no?
Seeing him agree, Nami handed him a note, “Little handsome guy, I know that you can’t read. First I’ll tell you the address. Your employers live on Luo Fu Street, No. 72—the address is written on the note. If you cannot find it take the note to someone to ask them the way.”
Xi Wei turned his cold eyes towards the charming woman, accepted the note, and then asked, “What do you want me to help you do?”
Nami was surprised, “What to do? I do not need you to do anything for me. You just have to complete the task as described and then afterwards be sure to submit a mission report.” Having said that, she patted Xi Wei’s shoulder.
Xi Wei stiffened; the moment the woman patted his shoulder, he actually could not escape.
After Xi Wei left, Charles stamped his feet again, “Nami, what’s so special about this kid that he’s worth your care?”
Nami sneered, “Mr. Xi Lun helped that boy apply for that badge personally—is that special enough for you? Don’t try to mess with him, he’s not someone we can provoke.”
Charles suddenly realized the gravity of the situation, and scratched his head—fortunately he had not gone crazy a moment ago.
After leaving the Mercenary Guild, Xi Wei headed straight to Luo Fu Street. Luo Fu Street was located right by the water; it was only a row of houses by the river so the environment was clean and tidy. There was a difference of heaven and earth from the rented room that Xi Wei grew up in as a small child.
It was actually quite easy to find the address. Even if Xi Wei was illiterate, the writing on the note was very clear, so all he has to do was compare it to the addresses on the homes one by one until he found a match.
The employer lived in a detached home with a small courtyard. The house was very lonesome and quiet—it felt out of place in Ye Sa City.
Xi Wei stood at the door, carefully confirmed that the address was correct, and then lifted his hand to knock on the door. The door opened slowly, and after a long wait the voice of a youth came out, “Are you here to give the cat a bath?”
Xi Wei bowed his head down and answered, “Yes, sir, that is the task I received from the mercenary guild.”
The door squeaked as it opens. A shy teenager stood in the doorway, his eyes vacant and without focus. He was a little embarrassed while he explained, “Sorry, my eyes are not very good, so I’m quite slow.”
Of course, Xi Wei did not care even if this young man was deliberately making things difficult. Even if this was the case, this type of obstacle was trivial.
The youth soon led them into the house. Zeno took a look around, but did not see the cat that was supposed to be precious as gold, and could not figure out where it was.
The young man grabbed a walking stick and tapped it along the ground to find his seat, then fumbled his way to sit in the chair and said, embarrassed, “Qiqi is out playing but will probably come back later, you can just sit for a while.”
Xi Wei nodded and placed Zeno on the ground, and Zeno looked at the youth’s vacant eyes. His heart was sad; he never thought that one day he would lose his own eyesight. Although there have been protagonists who have gone blind, they were always certain to be cured. But, even for a short period of time, it was not a pleasant experience.
Zeno unconsciously covered his right eye and walked a few steps. Sure enough, because of his lack depth perception and sense of direction, he hit the table leg.
The youth was astonished and asked, “Can’t you see?”
Fun fact: MTL from one website translated dragon as masiakasaurus hahahahahahaha. I low-key wanted to put that in, but it doesn’t really flow nicely. Well, also, it makes no sense.