The Great Tang was a nation of martial arts. At the very least, it wasn’t that ordinary human civilization that Wang Chong lived in before transcending over to this world.
It was precisely because it was a nation that promoted martial arts that there were many martial artists for hire. These martial artists came in different prices, strengths, and employment forms. Some of them preferred to take on singular missions while some of them wanted to be paid by duration. On top of those, there were also some who imposed all kinds of bizarre conditions on their employment.
These mercenaries came from differing backgrounds, and they had many different reasons for becoming a mercenary. Some of them simply wanted to earn money while others had impure aims.
It wasn’t completely unheard of for mercenaries to kill their employer to steal his fortune.
The responsibility was on the employers to investigate the background of a mercenary carefully before deciding whether to hire him or not.
“This is it!”
At the southwest of the capital, near the city walls, Wang Chong lifted his head and saw an ordinary, short, and small teahouse.
There were only four words on the plaque of the teahouse.
“Home of the Adventurers!”
The paint of the plaque was slightly peeling off, and there seemed to be several years of history to it.
“Young master, is this the location?”
“This place looks so rundown!”
Shen Hai and Meng Long frowned in bewilderment. Even though it was a teahouse, there were very few people walking in and out. Furthermore, the location was extremely remote.
Such teahouses usually had very few customers and suffered huge losses.
“Don’t worry, we’re at the right location.”
Wang Chong smiled confidently.
If this was just an ordinary teahouse, it would surely suffer huge losses. But it wasn’t. There wasn’t a single mercenary gathering point in Great Tang that was in a bustling location. Rather, the more remote the location was, the better it was.
And the ‘Home of the Adventurers’ was one of the many gathering points in the capital.
Beckoning Shen Hai and Meng Long along, Wang Chong walked into the teahouse. Even though it looked dirty and old from the outside, the interior was actually quite clean.
Wang Chong realized that there wasn’t a speck of dust to be seen on the neatly painted wooden steps just as he was walking in. Entering the teahouse, he noticed that the floor inside was also quite clean. Even though it wasn’t extravagant, it wasn’t as shabby as how it looked from the outside either. At the very least, it was passable as an average teahouse.
There were quite a few tables in the teahouse, and many martial artists, dressed all kinds of different clothes and carrying varying dispositions, were sitting, lying, resting, or drinking by these tables.
Upon walking in, Wang Chong realized that there was quite a handful of people here to employ mercenaries. Most of them were dressed like rich merchants so Wang Chong’s appearance didn’t cause much of a stir.
“Manager, whose hiring price is the highest here?”
Without wasting any time, Wang Chong walked straight up to the counter and asked the plump manager.
“There, do you see that person dressed in blue silk? His fees are charged on a per mission basis and he demands at least three hundred gold taels from every mission. The pugilist world gave him the nickname Bloodied Sword in awe of his ferocious swordsmanship! He is a True Martial Realm 1-dan expert, and at his level, he is more than sufficient to serve as a guard in the kings’ residences!”
Behind the counter, the manager glanced at Wang Chong and pointed to the neatly-dressed, cold-faced middle-aged man.
Shen Hai and Meng Long immediately grew agitated. If they could obtain the help of a True Martial Realm expert, the security of the Wang Family Residence would surely be beefed up significantly.
However, Wang Chong wasn’t satisfied.
“Three hundred gold taels? Is there any higher priced mercenary?”
Wang Chong frowned.
The price of three hundred gold taels was representative of the middle-aged man’s incredible strength, but what Wang Chong was looking for wasn’t a person of his level.
According to his impression, that person wasn’t someone who would settle for just three hundred gold taels.
The chubby manager sneered coldly as he measured Wang Chong.
“I see, you all are just feigning ignorance to cause me trouble. Fine! The person you are looking for is at the corner of the second floor! Don’t worry, you won’t mistake him for anyone else.”
After which, the manager placed his hands in his sleeves, turned his head over, and ignored Wang Chong.
Smiling, Wang Chong thanked him before walking up the wooden stairs.
Upon reaching the second floor, Wang Chong finally understood why the manager said that he wouldn’t mistake him for anyone else. In the vast area of the second floor, there was a clear boundary. On one side were the other mercenaries and on the other was a gray-robed martial artist.
This gray-robed martial artist seemed to be around thirty-four and he had a shaggy beard. The gray robe he wore was slightly tattered, making him look very different from the decently dressed martial artists in the room.
Even so, his hiring price wasn’t low at all.
Before him, there was a half chi long board, and a few eye-catching numbers were written on it.
Upon seeing this price, Wang Chong finally understood why no one was willing to sit with him. His hiring price was really so high that no one was willing to befriend him.
His price was more than ten times higher than that of the others, and even wealthy merchants would think twice before employing him.
“He’s the one!”
Upon seeing the wooden board, Wang Chong smiled. This person had just appeared in the teahouse not too long ago so his price was still at five thousand gold taels.
Wang Chong knew that after a period of time, it wouldn’t be just at five thousand gold taels.
“Shen Hai, bring me the finest wine here over.”
Wang Chong said.
“Yes, young master.”
Shen Hai answered and quickly walked away. On the other hand, Wang Chong began walking over to the gray-robed martial artist.
“Do you see the board on the table? If you aren’t sincere in employing me, don’t disturb me. If you wish to eat or drink, head to the tables over there. I don’t welcome you here.”
The gray-robed martial artist spoke with an extremely deep tone. There seemed to be a distant edge to his voice, as though he was a lone wolf who didn’t fit in with the crowd. As he uttered those sharp words, he didn’t even spare a single glance toward Wang Chong. Rather, he poured himself a cup of the several copper coins worth inferior wine before him and gulped it down.
“I am here to look for you.”
Wang Chong smiled. He lifted his head and glanced sideway. Understanding Wang Chong’s gesture, Shen Hai hurried forward and slammed a Green Pine Wine, which was worth several gold taels, on the table.
Shen Hai opened the mud seal and a fragrance reminiscent of pine trees diffused from the wine. It was a light refreshing scent which revitalized one’s spirit, making one feel as though one had teleported from a bustling city into the tranquil mountains.
“This is my gift to you. Due to this shabby location, this is the best alcohol we can get you at the moment!”
Wang Chong smiled.
He said these words with utmost sincerity.
Wang Chong would never be stingy to those who possessed true capability. Even though the Hyderabad contract was only worth ninety thousand gold taels, Wang Chong still gave Ablonodan and Arloja a sum far exceeding a hundred thousand. The Shadow slot for the secret alchemist organization cost a hefty two hundred thousand gold taels, but Wang Chong still paid the fee without much hesitation.
As long as it was something useful to him or someone capable, Wang Chong would be generous.
Six to seven gold taels for a vat of alcohol was expensive, but Wang Chong didn’t think that the person before him was worth just this price.
He thought that offering him such wine was doing him injustice.
Upon seeing the Green Pine Wine on the table, the gray-robed middle-aged man’s eyes suddenly became clear. Even though his face was still cold, he didn’t seem as distant as before.
“I will put it out first, my hiring price isn’t low!”
“Five thousand gold taels?”
The gray-robed middle-aged man replied.
Wang Chong smiled.
Five thousand gold taels every month meant an annual salary of sixty thousand gold taels! Even wealthy merchants would be unable to accept such a price.
On top of that, prestigious clans had their own group of martial artists as well. Instead of hiring an outsider, they could invest the money to groom their own people instead.
However, Wang Chong didn’t mind.
Five thousand gold taels a month might be a hefty price for others, but it wasn’t anything much for Wang Chong, Instead of money, what Wang Chong required now was the protection of a true expert!
Behind the table, the gray-robed middle-aged man finally gazed at Wang Chong seriously. In his days at this teahouse, most of the people simply mocked him or kept a distance away from him.
Wang Chong was the only one who came here with the earnest intention to hire him.
“I will say first now, I have conditions for my employment.”
“Firstly, you have to pay my hiring fee in advance. I don’t accept delayed payments.”
“Fine by me.”
Wang Chong nodded.
“Secondly, I won’t listen to your orders. After employing me, I will only be in charge of your safety. I won’t bother myself with anything else.”
“I’m alright with that.”
Wang Chong nodded again.
“Thirdly, I refuse to be restrained. After my employment, I will go wherever I want and you are not to stop me. As long as I ensure your safety, whether I appear before you or not is my problem.”
Wang Chong nodded yet again. However, Shen Hai and Meng Long’s face darkened after hearing the other party’s conditions.
“Lastly, if I wish to leave, I can leave anytime I please!”
The gray-robed man spoke of his final condition.
“You must be joking! Can that even be called an employment?”
“Five thousand gold taels for a month, and you expect to be able to appear whenever you please and go wherever you wish? How can there be such good terms in the world?”
Before Wang Chong could reply, Shen Hai and Meng Long couldn’t hold themselves back anymore. This wasn’t hiring a mercenary anymore, this was no different from bringing an old ancestor to wait upon!
To come up with so many ridiculous conditions yet charge such a hefty price, did this fellow think that others were fools?
The gray-robed middle-aged man didn’t react to Shen Hai and Meng Long’s outburst. He simply tilted his head to look at Wang Chong.
“Young master, you can’t! Can you even call that an employment? What if something happens? Wouldn’t young master’s money go to waste then?”
Shen Hai strongly rejected to the matter. After he said those words, thunderous laughter roared behind him.
“Now you know!”
“Why do you think we refused to sit with him?”
“That bastard thinks of himself as some high and mighty existence! He’s just an arrogant and inept fool!”
“You finally understand the situation right? Seems like you have wasted your time!”
When Wang Chong and the others entered, the crowd had already noticed them, and they expected such a sight to occur as well.
“We have quite a few experts here as well. Why don’t you come here and we can talk about it?”
There were also a few who tried their best to promote themselves to Wang Chong.
Just when everyone was laughing, Wang Chong finally spoke. That single word of his seemed to possess immeasurable magic.
In an instant, the entire room abruptly turned silent. Everyone stared at Wang Chong with a dumbfounded expression.
Even the gray-robed man, who was calm all this while, expressed a hint of surprise at Wang Chong’s words.