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18 The Huntsmen Guild

    "I don't need a teacher"

    Before the crowd could process the shock of witnessing the old man proposing to Daniel to become his student, his rapid response had forced them into quietness.. For the next minute, the silence was deafening.

    The old man had been left speechless. From his point of view, Daniel had no reason to refuse. He was a prodigy in need of a teacher who could shape him into a great warrior, but he had been quickly rejected.

    The reason of Daniel's unexpected rejection, was only known to him. While the crowd believed that Daniel was just a conman who had struck gold, and the old man believed him to be an undiscovered prodigy, the truth was much simpler.

    Daniel had ran out of karma points to spend.

    It was at the end of the practice with the basics of -True Motion- that Sewah had suggested that he should avoid accepting any other challenge, as he was almost completely out of karma points.

    After Sewah's warning, Daniel checked his profile.

    -----

    Dan Hiel - Karmic system's wielder.

    Age - 14

    Rank

    - peak rank 3 of Martial cultivation

    - early rank 2 of Spiritual cultivation

    Karma - 99

    -----

    Weapons Masteries (Details)

    Martial Arts (Details)

    -----

    Daniel's profile had an overall change. His karma points had drastically decreased, his rank had been upgraded to the peak rank 3 of martial cultivation, and last but not least, new informations had appeared on his profile.

    "Masteries.. details?" Just as Daniel thought about the details of his masteries, the profile window expanded, and a set of additional informations appeared on it.

    -----

    Dan Hiel - Karmic system's wielder.

    Age - 14

    Rank

    - peak rank 3 of Martial cultivation

    - early rank 2 of Spiritual cultivation

    Karma - 99

    -----

    Weapon Masteries:

    Swords: 1% (Details)

    Polearms: 3% (Details)

    -----

    After noticing the details of his masteries, a shiver run down Daniel's back.

    From the details given, he believed the karmic system to be capable of including every single martial art, weapon, and possibly even magic, into the wielder's percentage of mastery. For curiosity, he thought about the details of his polearms masteries, and a new window appeared.

    -----

    Polearms 3%

    Bladed Polearms: 10%

    Thrusting Polearms: 0%

    Staffs: 0%

    -----

    All this happened during the few seconds it took for Daniel to approach the old man, right after he had finished learning True Motion's basics.

    When the old man proposed to become his teacher, all he could do was refuse, because if the old man decided to start his teachings right away, he wouldn't be able to show the same level of results.

    What he needed now, was to spend his last few karma points into learning how to use a throwing weapon, and hunt for more beast cores.

    He didn't have an immediate need for money right now, and he would have gladly stayed in the hotel to master the use of every weapon he could find, but he had some pressing matters to take care of. Like finding his uncle, who was currently being forced into slavery in the city's mines.. or obtain enough resources to reach the perfect stage of the Body Strengthening Stage.

    In front of everyone's unbelieving eyes, Daniel bowed towards the old man, and left the training ground. After twelve straight hours of training, he needed to sleep.

    The next day, Daniel went back to training ground.

    As always, a large number of young men and women were practicing with their weapons arts martial arts.

    The moment Daniel stepped into the training grounds, various sets of eyes moved on him. He ignored the stares and started walking towards the weapon racks.

    Many were caught by surprise once again when they noticed the type of weapon Daniel had picked.

    What was in Daniel's hand, was a small set of throwing knives.

    Daniel's weapon of choice for ranged combat, were throwing knives, and he had two simple reasons for it. The first, was that he didn't need a manual to learn how to throw knives, as everyone was capable of learning with enough practice. The second reason, was that throwing knives were useful for sneak attacks and middle range fights. As a pickpocketer, he had quick fingers, so this kind of weapon was suitable for him.

    After reaching the practice target, he started to train right away.

    The knives Daniel was using were made of a single piece of steel. There was no handle on the grip and the only sharpened part was the blade. Their weight was completely balanced, which made them the easiest type of throwing knives to start practicing with.

    His first few throws were a complete failure, but he slowly got used to the weight and shape of the knives.

    The spectating practitioners didn't find it odd that Daniel would appear inexperienced at first. Many had witnessed how Daniel had mastered the basics of sword wielding, polearms wielding, and of the martial art -True Motion-. While those who didn't witness it personally, had at least heard of it.

    Daniel's progress was, as always, impressive. After only half an hour of uninterrupted training, he stopped missing the target, after two more hours, two out of ten throws would hit the bullseye.

    After four hours of uninterrupted practice, only one throw out of ten missed bullseye. This result was satisfactory to Daniel, so he left the training ground, and went back into his room.

    -----

    Commoner's Section, Third Gate of the Eastern Wall, 08:10

    Daniel was standing in front of a large building.

    This building was of a simple rectangular shape, and it stood about fifteen meters high. Its large double doors had been blocked open, and many individuals dressed in light clothes, and armed with various types of weapons, moved in and out of the building in a constant stream.

    The only two details that made this building different from the others, were the large dark green banners that draped down its walls, on which the silhouette of a stag had been sewn with golden thread. The other, was the thick wooden sign that was hanging above the entrance. On it, carved in black, were three simple words 'The Huntsmen Guild'.

    The Huntsmen Guild, along with the Mercenary Union, and the Golden Cauldron, were a few of the many organized groups tied to the Merchant's Collective. To be more specific, any group whose main purpose was collecting herbs, beast cores, ranked beasts carcasses, alchemical ingredients, or even offer protection services, was strictly tied to the Merchant's Collective, whose influence spanned through the entire kingdom.

    When Daniel had come back to the city, right after he had assisted to the battle between the two ranked beasts, he had claimed to have been sent from a herbalist to look for plants. That excuse implied that he had applied for a job at the Golden Cauldron, a group whose main goal is to collect alchemical ingredients, which they would then sell to the Merchant's Collective, or use themselves.

    Similarly to the Golden Cauldron, the main dealings of the Huntsmen Guild, was to send hunters in the area surrounding Phyrri to hunt and collect ranked beast's cores and carcasses, which they would then sell to the Merchant's Collective.

    The hunter's job had been a prestigious one in the past, but since the overall strength of the beasts around the city had drastically decreased, the branch situated in Phyrri had fallen into disgrace.

    The fact was that, differently from the Mercenary's Union, whose branches were built at the end of commercial roads, and Golden Cauldron's branches, which were built next to forests and fertile ground, The Huntsmen Guild was a nomadic group of sorts. In fact, whenever a new city was founded, its untouched surroundings were always a rich hunting ground. Consequently, when a new branch was opened within a new city, that branch would be automatically considered the new Huntsmen Guild's headquarters.

    Phyrri's branch was thousands of years old, and numerous new branches had been opened in just as many younger cities. The main revenue of the Huntsmen Guild came from experienced hunters who pushed themselves far from the city walls, to look for stronger prey.

    -----

    "Next.." Said the woman behind the desk inside the huntsmen guild's building.

    Daniel approached the counter and said "I would like to apply for a hunting party"

    "Your membership?.." Said the woman.

    Daniel's brows furrowed "Do I need one?"

    The woman looked him up for a few seconds, then responded "Aren't you a little young to join a hunting party? these people hunt beasts! ranked beasts!!.. are you going to hunt them, or are you going to feed them!?" her tone growing more displeased the more she talked.

    "If I won't be able to hunt them, I will at least feed one." Said Daniel sarcastically.

    The woman started laughing. Tears almost forming in the corner of her eyes, she barely stopped to say "It would be even funnier if you weren't so skinny! ha ha ha!!". She then stopped laughing, watched Daniel once more, and after realizing that he wasn't there to humor her, she turned serious and asked "Alright kid, i'll put you up for a hunting party. When do you want to go?"

    "Right now" Answered Daniel immediately.

    The woman furrowed her brows and looked at Daniel, she then asked "Right now?? where are your weapons? You don't even have a bow!"

    Daniel, looking embarrassed for the first time, responded "Yeah.. about that.. I don't use the bow.. but I might need a sword and a few throwing knives.."

    The woman started laughing once more, she then said "Well, you can always kill them from laughter! Hahaha.. alright, a membership costs 1 silver, renting a sword costs 10 copper, throwing knives go for.."

    After a good half an hour of explanations, Daniel was finally able to obtain his membership and join a hunting party.

    The members of his team were waiting for him at the first gate of the southwestern wall. When Daniel reached the gate, he noticed a group of four people waiting.

    One of them was a lean man. He seemed to be in his middle twenties and he had an arched nose so big, that it looked completely out of place. Strapped on his back, was a longbow and a quiver filled with arrows.

    The second one was an older man that looked to be nearing his sixtieth birthday, his back was very straight, and while his clothes looked like a pile of dirty cloth, one could understand why he would pick that outfit when moving through the forest. His weapon was a set of short spears, which similarly to the lean man, were strapped to his back.

    The remaining two people were a teenage boy and girl. Instinctively, one could guess that the two were a couple, but if one were to carefully look at their faces, they would notice the similarities in their features and eyes. The two were most likely brother and sister. The woman looked a year younger than the man, but they both looked like they were in their late teens.

    They both had blonde hair, green eyes, and bodies that looked like they were made for hunting. Both of them could be considered very attractive. The brother's weapon was a greatsword, while his sister's weapon were a pair of bolas hung to her belt.

    When Daniel approached the group, a mix of reactions could be seen in their faces. The two young teenagers furrowed their brows at him, then started discussing amongst themselves in whispers.

    The old man simply turned around and waited for the last person to arrive, and lastly, the only person who approached Daniel was the man in his mid twenties.

    "Can we help you with something?" Said the man.

    "I'm your fifth." said Daniel while smiling.

    The man had no problems with Daniel being too young and inexperienced, after all, you were paid depending on the beasts that you yourself killed, not by how many beasts were killed by the group. "Wonderful! we are waiting for our escort to arrive, then we'll depart right away" said the man jovially.

    Daniel nodded and then found a place to sit.

    Half an hour later, a robust man in leather armor and cleanly cut hair, approached the group. A deep scar that started from above the middle of his eyebrow, and finished on his cheekbone could be seen clearly, giving the man's face a permanent serious expression. At his waist he had a sword, and on his chest armor, a golden eagle was finely carved.
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