According to last year's statistics, the number of players who chose a merchant as a class was 41,715,997. It was comparable to the most popular combat classes such as swordsman and magician. Why? That was because it was a class that gave hopes and dreams to ordinary people. In modern society where in-game goods were traded for cash, it was natural that a merchant class which was meant for making money would be popular.
Of course, reality was tough, and most merchants didn't make money. However, a few merchants gained fame by accumulating a huge wealth. A typical figure was the 1st ranked Kir. As he was the first player to make a company, he had been accumulating wealth steadily. He had tens of thousands of people under him, and some people called him the merchant king.
"I finally found it."
The forest of the world tree—it was also known as the Elven Forest, and Kir was the first player to step foot in there.
[You are the first player to discover the elves' territory!]
[It is an achievement that will remain in history! The first discovery will give you various benefits!]
[You can easily raise affinity with the elves, and you will receive a 20% discount on the prices of items purchased in elven villages. There will be 20% more profit when selling goods.]
[Hunting in the elf territory will increase experience rate by 20%, and item drop rate will increase by 10%.]
[Mana regeneration rate is permanently increased by 8%.]
"Hoh! This is more than I expected."
With platinum hair, emerald eyes, and pure white skin that blended beautifully, Kir seemed like a typical handsome nobleman in movies and novels. He checked his first discovery benefits and glanced behind him. "You can come in now."
As soon as Kir gave permission...
"Isn't the air somewhat different?"
"It is sweet every time I breathe. The sunshine is exceptionally pleasant. I'd like to build a house here."
A group of people entered the forest. They were players who were armed with high-level equipment. Among them, the man with the ID of Boutian used magic. "Magic Detection."
Supaak! His mana extended a few dozen meters and searched the surrounding life forms. Boutian reported, "There are many small animals. It seems that the elves have no defenses at the boundaries of the forest."
"It is peaceful."
The elves had been living in this forest for hundreds of years. It was hard to expect them to be vigilant when they had been completely cut off from the outside world and lived their own lives. Of course, this was a good thing for Kir.
"I am sorry that I can't enjoy the bonus game but..." Kir's mouth spread into a deep smile as he stopped talking. It contained a meanness that wasn't shown before. No, it was right to say that his true nature was being expressed.
Who was Kir? He was a person who deceived others, trampled on them, and accumulated wealth from stealing in order to reach the 1st merchant ranking. The most appropriate description for him was 'evil.' The usual mild and remote impression? It was just a mask to distract the other person.
"Let's get started," Kir gave the order. His silent colleagues started to slash at him with a sword.
Merchants had no way to invest points in stats to increase their physical abilities. Kir's defense was terrible due to his low stats. despite the expensive armor he was wearing. His health fell to the bottom in a flash, and he started to flee. His colleagues, or former colleagues, chuckled as they watched him flee into the forest.
"It is useless trying to escape with such slow footsteps. Won't he be caught by us very quickly?"
"If he wants to run away, shouldn't he run away faster?"
"D-Dammit! S-Save me! Anyone out there?" Kir shouted in every direction, but there was no reaction. His shouts just echoed in the forest. The laughs of the traitors grew louder.
"There isn't anyone here except us. Who are you asking for help from?"
"Do you want a bear to show up and protect you? Stupid! Kakaka!"
The fierce pursuit of Kir followed. Kir had no time to breathe as he ran. The pursuers, who were faster than him, hummed as they slowly gave chase without killing him.
"Shit...!" Frustrated, Kir's eyes reddened as he was constantly hit by bushes and branches. The pursuers closely followed him.
"I'm tired of this. Let's finish this fun game. Yes?" This was spoken by a woman who destroyed every bush in the way because she didn't want to become dirty. Kir saw the killing intent in her eyes and cried out desperately, "Why? Why are you doing this all of a sudden? We're colleagues! Why are you suddenly attempting to harm me?"
Deep in the forest, Kir's unfortunate cries rang out in the middle of the world tree forest. The woman shrugged. "What colleagues? We just wanted your money from the beginning. Now, do you know what you have to do?"
The woman placed her scimitar to the neck of the frightened Kir. "If you want to live, give me money. I will spare you if you give enough money to satisfy us. Okay? Rich. Man."
"Ick...!" Kir gritted her teeth. The horror and frustration that filled his expression vanished like they had been lies, and anger took their place. "Using people for money...! You are worst than beasts!"
"Oh, my. What is this? Beasts? We are people. Most people are greedy like us, apart from freaks like you. Aren't we normal?" The woman's scimitar neared Kir's neck, soaking Kir's collar with blood. "Give me your money."
Kir was at the crossroad of life and death. He gulped as he feared death. "I don't want to...!"
"Justice is shouting in my heart! I would rather choose an honorable death than listen to the demands of people like you!"
"Are you crazy?"
"No! I'm fine! I am sane! I absolutely won't succumb! If I surrender, you will keep doing this and new victims will appear!"
"Hah, you are really a freak. Then die."
Tsk. The woman clicked her tongue and raised her weapon.
Puk! An arrow flew without a sound and penetrated the woman's shoulder.
"...?" The woman and all her colleagues were amazed.
"Who is it?"
"There are people in this forest?"
A breeze blew in the chaos. The bushes swayed, and a woman who boasted a perfect beauty emerged. Her perfect ratio and pointed ears revealed her identity.
"I-Is this an elf forest?"
The number of elves was so small that it couldn't be compared to humans. There was a rumor that there were only 100,000 elves on the continent. Nevertheless, why was it that the elves could protect their territory from the greedy humans? That was simple. It was because they were strong. The elves' innate archery and spirits were so great that humans couldn't afford to go against them.
The groups of humans who tried to kill Kir stopped immediately. They put away their weapons and raised their arms while the elf pointed a bow at them.
"Leave this sacred forest right away. This isn't a place to be corrupted by humans like you."
"H-Hik!" Grateful that they could escape alive, the humans no longer clung to Kir. They didn't look back as they ran away.
"Allowing access to humans... Are the wards old?" Beniyaru, the white-haired elf who gave off a haughty impression, muttered something about 'wards.' Then she gazed at Kir. Kir bowed his head. "T-Thank you for your help! I will definitely pay you back!"
"There is no need."
"Ah! I-I'm really sorry. I'll leave right away... Ugh!" Remembering that this was a place where human access wasn't allowed, Kir got up hurriedly, only to flop down again. He couldn't support his body due to all his wounds. "I-I'm really sorry. I will take a short break and then leave immediately."
With a good face and a pure attitude, Kir's appearance was different from the ordinary humans in the elves' memories. Unable to catch a glimpse of any mean desires, Beniyaru said, "I heard your conversation with them. You would rather choose death than listen to such a vile request?"
"...You can call me stupid. I dislike greedy people. It would be better to die than to give money to them." A small smile crossed Beniyaru's mouth.
"Follow me. I'll guide you to the village."
"Huh? Can I visit your village despite being a human...?"
"I think you will be okay. You are the first guest in hundreds of years. Stay in the village and heal your wounds until those greedy people waiting outside the forest have left."
"T-Thank you!" Kir's face brightened. His innocent smile didn't induce any rejection in the elf. The merchants' high charm stat, friendliness, and the first finder's benefits overlapped together, producing an excellent effect.
-Wait one more day before leaving, Kir sent a whisper as he followed the elf.
-Yes, I understand.
The whisper was sent to the person who betrayed him just a moment ago. In other words, Kir gave a command to the woman who had placed the scimitar at his neck. It was all an act… an act to approach the elves naturally!
-List of people who can be appointed as leader of a knights division-
[Mercedes can lead a total of 50 knights.
Mercedes' knights will have physical damage increased by 12%, defense by 12%, attack speed by 5% and movement speed by 7%.
The effects are permanent as long as the person belongs to the knights division.
Knights Division's Passive Skills: Increased Health Regeneration (High), Increase Mana Regeneration (Medium), Decreased Stamina Consumption (High)]
Until now, only Piaro and Asmophel had been able to be appointed as a knights division leader. Even Chucksley couldn't be appointed despite being one of the best knights of the Eternal Kingdom. In other words, any NPCs who could be appointed as the leader of a knights division meant they had great value. However, Mercedes passed the level of 'great.'
'It is the level of a complete scam...'
Piaro increased the group's attack power by 10%, attack speed by 3%, and movement speed by 5%. Meanwhile, Asmophel increased magic damage by 5% and reduced skill cooldown by 8%. The presences of those two were great enough. However, the effects of Mercedes' presence was twice as great as theirs.
Increase attack and defense by 12%... It was comparable to enhanced items. This was huge when the effects were applied to high-level players like Chris and Pon.
Gulp! Grid swallowed his saliva. He looked solemn for a moment before opening his mouth, "Mercedes."
"Yes, Your Majesty."
"Can I join your knights division?"
"It... isn't possible? Haha." It wasn't a genuine laugh. Grid trembled with a terrible regret.
[The Legendary Knights' Overgeared Division has been created.]
The third Overgeared Knights Division was born after the Overgeared Knights and Overgeared Magicians. Only the best members of the Overgeared Kingdom could join this new division. Lauel joined it due to his skill level and was stunned. "I... The Legendary Overgeared Knights Division...!"
He should be happy when he looked at the stats, but why were tears flowing from his eyes? Lauel was sad.