Twenty to thirty beggars surrounded Hawk and Link. They knelt down before the two, and although they had a timid look in their eyes, they stubbornly stayed.
The alley was very quiet. Hawk looked around at the circle of beggars and frowned. "You just said that you hope we can lead you and help you guys make a living… What gave you such an idea?"
The middle-aged beggar put on a placating smile and said, "You two big shots have hung around here for a while. We've seen that you guys are never starving, and you guys even bought a home and added furniture. That's why I'm thinking, you two big shots definitely have ways to let us fill our bellies. We don't have any skills other than doing what we're told. As long as we can fill our bellies, we'll be willing to do whatever you Sirs want us to."
The bustling noises of the main streets came faintly from the turn before the alley. The group of beggars knelt on the ground, their expressions serious to an almost devout degree.
Link was somewhat moved. He looked at Hawk, seemingly about to say something.
However, at this moment, Hawk suddenly sneered. He reached out and grabbed the middle-aged beggar's collar and lifted the latter up.
Then, Hawk rammed the beggar into the wall of the alley.
With a thump, this middle-aged beggar's face twisted in pain. He grabbed Hawk's hands forcefully, trying to twist free so that he could come down from being suspended in midair.
However, he was only a beggar who couldn't fill his belly all year round, whereas Hawk was someone with a class. Despite being at a low level, Hawk wasn't someone a beggar could contend against.
From the moment Hawk lifted up the beggar to the moment the beggar was rammed against the wall, only a few seconds passed. These two movements were too quick.
When the other beggars came to their senses, half of the kneeling beggars immediately ran off, and many others climbed up from the ground and ran to a safe distance. Link simply stared at Hawk.
He didn't understand why Hawk would bully a beggar, but as a good friend, he didn't ask any questions.
Being lifted up this way, the beggar found it more and more difficult to breathe, and his face soon turned red. Hawk kept the beggar lifted off the ground and asked in a cold voice, "Those words you said earlier, who told you to say them? A mere beggar like you can't possibly speak so coherently. If you had such skills, you would at least be able to fill your stomach—you wouldn't need to be a beggar at all."
The beggar shook his head forcefully.
"I see that you don't want to talk." Hawk's expression was somewhat sinister, he lifted the beggar and rammed him against the wall again.
After a thud, the beggar's face paled all of a sudden, then turned red again. He started to cough heavily, and then he shook his head even faster and more forcefully. His hands also seemed to be trying to break off Hawk's hands.
"Still don't want to talk?" Hawk struck a posture as if he were going to ram the beggar against the wall again.
Hearing these words, the beggar struggled even more fiercely.
At this moment, Link said, "Hawk, he might be strangled by his collar. He can't talk and breathe."
"I know, I'm doing it on purpose." Hawk threw the beggar onto the ground, then he squatted down and said with a sinister smile, "A beggar like you doesn't know how to speak like that. Who told you to say that?"
The beggar gasped for air while looking at Hawk in horror. After his body wasn't so lacking in oxygen, he immediately sat up and pushed with his feet to move his body backward, but unfortunately, Hawk stepped right down on his ankle, fixing him in place.
"Ah, my leg, please, let go!" The beggar let out a miserable shriek.
Hawk remained unmoved. He said coldly, "These past two months, I've killed at least two hundred people if not three hundred, adding you to the count won't matter. If you don't tell me who told you to come up to me, don't think about leaving this alley alive."
While saying this, Hawk continued to apply pressure with his foot.
The beggar screamed again—even the faint cracking and splitting of bones could be heard.
The middle-aged beggar wasn't a person with a strong will, so he immediately wailed, "I'll tell, I'll tell, please let me go."
Hawk removed his foot. Towering above the beggar, as if he were looking down at a tick, he said, "Talk."
"It was the city guards' Captain Lucian."
After the middle-aged beggar finished speaking, he immediately stood up and ran off. He looked back as he ran, and seeing that Hawk wasn't chasing after him, he ran even faster.
Hawk's expression was all the more gloomy as he watched the beggar escape.
Even on a scorching hot day, the alley's atmosphere was slightly chilly. Link sighed, stroking the long strands of hair on his forehead, and said indifferently, "What does he want to achieve by having the beggars join us… Troublesome matters one after another. Let's change places for our development, Hawk. Now that we have a few gold coins anyway, we can hire a slightly better carriage to travel to another city."
Link's voice became somewhat soft and expectant toward the end.
Hawk, however, shook his head. "I won't let this slide. If we go now like this, we're no different from stray dogs."
"But it seems like we've been targeted by the nobles." Link looked somewhat weary. "I just want to play the game happily and relaxedly. I don't want to play this game like it's just battles and endless slaughter."
"Link, you're too naive." Hawk shook his head. "Even if we go to the next city, our experience will be roughly the same as it is now."
Link pursed his lips, looking timid. "But when we arrive at a new city, we can think of ways to get on good terms with the nobles—just like Roland."
Hawk was at a loss for a moment, then he forced a smile.
At this moment, Roland turned the corner and walked into the alley. He said as he walked, "I'll explain in advance, I didn't get on good terms with the nobles."
Hawk and Link were both a little surprised to see Roland.
Upon seeing their expressions, Roland said with a smile, "I have a favor to ask of you guys, I never expected to see this drama."
Hawk regained his composure and said, "Don't stand by the door, let's talk inside."
The three of them entered the house and sat down. Link served up a cup of water.
Although they were in a game, Link seemed to have brought his habits in reality with him.
After Roland took a sip, he said, "Continuing the topic earlier, I didn't build a good relationship with the nobles."
Link sat down on the side and said, "But you entered the Magic Tower."
"Spellcasters have prerogatives. Although they aren't nobles, they have a high status," Roland explained. "And more importantly, the nobles aren't just targeting you guys; I'm also within the scope of their attacks. They just haven't done anything for the time being."
Hawk and Link immediately recalled the matter on the party invitation. The both of them sighed.
Hawk recalled the name the beggar revealed at the end. He asked, "Roland, what are your thoughts on the name the beggar gave?"
"It might be a strategy to kill two birds with one stone. If you took in those beggars, it would be a burden—you would have to take care of them, hear them complain, and you would have pawns planted right next to you." Roland contemplated for a while and said, "If you go look for trouble with that small captain, you might just be playing into the hands of the mastermind behind the scenes."
Hawk nodded. "That's what I thought as well… F**k, we have too little information. Regarding the division of this city's influences, organizations, territories, and so on, we know nothing at all. It would be difficult even if we wanted to just deduce the basic layout of the situation."
"It's actually not that difficult." Roland smiled. "Why not use their schemes as your own—how about you guys really organize a group of beggars? Of course, those beggars just now you can't accept. The both of you have large guilds backing you anyway, you guys should have a degree of organization and mobilization skills. The beggars' information gathering abilities shouldn't be bad."
"You're saying… we should create a beggar's union?"
Roland nodded. "That's right. NPCs can create organizations, and we certainly can too—there's a high degree of freedom in this game."
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