After a long and exhaustive explanation from the Operator, Sungjin was finally teleported to the Black market.
[Once you have finished shopping, please feel free]
[to return to the “Ninety Nine Nights” Inn at any time.]
The Operator continued to speak, but Sungjin had had enough.
“I got it, Thank you,”
Sungjin waved the cube away and entered the Black Market.
‘…Bookstore… where was that again…?’
Sungjin had been to the Blackmarket innumerous times, but couldn’t recall the last time he had entered a bookstore.
There never was a really good reason to enter one. Sungjin roamed the Blackmarket aimlessly until he found a bookstore hidden away in a corner.
[This bookstore ‘Dry Mouth’ is run by bookkeeper Gourmet.]
[Various books and information can be purchased here.]
The shop owner was a quiet looking goat man. He was so absorbed in his reading that he did not notice that he had a customer waiting. Sungjin eventually let out a fake cough to attract his attention.
The Goat man finally noticed that he was not alone; only his eyes moved as he gazed up from his book. He saw Sungjin and greeted him.
“Ah, please excuse me for not noticing you there… I hope you can understand; this is a great paragraph you see… so, was there something you wanted to buy?”
Sungjin shook his head.
“No… I did not come to buy a book.”
Sungjin carefully took out the part 1 of ‘Ancient Stories of the East’ from his vest and showed it to Gourmet.
“…Do you recognize this book?”
Gourmet’s eyes grew wide in surprise.
“Oh… My goodness!”
His eyes took turns looking back and forth between the book and Sungjin.
“This is a very precious item… where did you manage to obtain one?”
Sungjin replied matter-of-factly.
“What do you mean? I obviously got it as a raid reward.”
Gourmet shook his head in disbelief and replied, licking his dry mouth.
“I thought chapter 2 just ended… how is it possible to obtain a legendary crafting material this early on?”
“…I didn’t know it was possible either. So… do you carry any of the later parts of this book?”
“Hmm… Please wait for a moment.”
Gourmet closed the book he was reading and stood up. Behind him were mountains of books. Some were even taller than Sungjin.
He dug into the mountain and disappeared from sight. Once a minute had passed since his disappearance, the mountain seemed to collapse with books cascading down. After two major and chaotic book avalanches, Gourmet appeared holding two volumes.
In his hands were the ‘Ancient Stories from the East’ Part 2 and the ‘Ancient Stories from the East’ Part 3. Gourmet proudly announced:
“As I thought, I have them. So, have you come to purchase them?”
Sungjin instinctively swallowed.
“…How much are they?”
“5000 Black coins per Volume.”
Sungjin couldn’t believe his ears.
“5000 Black coins per Volume. Did you already lose your hearing at such a young age?”
5000 black coins per each crafting material; it was expensive. Far too expensive.
“That means… the final item has the component cost of 15,000 Coins…”
“In my humble opinion, the complete item is incomparably more valuable than 15,000 Coins.”
Sungjin fell quiet. Gourmet was right. For now, he decided to leave the shop.
“…Understood. I will come again at a later date.”
He needed 10,000 Coins to purchase the two components. Haggling or intimidation did not work with Vendors.
“… If you want to read to pass the time before the next raid, feel free to browse. Any book unrelated to combat is free after all.”
Sungjin waved his hands and left Gourmet’s bookshop. His destination: ‘Ninety Nine Nights”. There was nothing he wanted to purchase. There were only two items that he yearned for.
‘I currently have 2580 Coins. My old sword is 9700 Coins…but the remaining two crafting materials cost 10,000 Coins…’
“Mister Hunter! Please look at my wares!”
A Vender shouted for his attention, but Sungjin paid no heed. He was deeply troubled by his dilemma.
‘Finish the book, or reunite with the old sword…’
Sungjin was short of about 7500 Coins needed to purchase either of the two items. He would need to complete at least two more raids to earn the required amount. Sungjin debated on which item to get first as he walked back to the ‘Ninety Nine Nights’ Inn.
Once he returned to ‘Ninety Nine Nights’, he found that a familiar friend was waiting for him at the table. It was the wolf ‘Grand Kin’. Cain barked once as if to greet Sungjin.
It was unexpected. But the Operator gave an explanation.
[Beings connected via ‘Spiritual Link’ skill]
[Will be available at ‘Ninety Nine Nights’ from now on.]
Sungjin welcomed the information. He didn’t feel comfortable with other people, but being able to spend time with a loyal companion like Cain had no demerits.
Sungjin walked up to Cain and petted him.
“Cain… Let’s go in and eat dinner or something.”
Sungjin entered ‘Ninety Nine Nights’. Owlbear Dalupin greeted Sungjin as always.
“Welcome back, Mister Hunter.”
He bowed deeply until his back was nearly level with the floor.
Hearing an unfamiliar wolf voice, Dalupin turned his head around to look at Cain from his bowed position. Sungjiin was reminded that owl men could turn their neck around at 180 degrees.
Sungjin answered casually.
“He’s my ally. Please take care of him when I am not around.”
Dalupin finally stood up straight and asked
“You must be famished. What would you like for me to prepare today?”
Sungjin deliberated for a moment.
“Sushi. Various kinds, about 20 pieces. Oh, and make about 5 fatty tuna.”
“Understood. I will prepare them right away.”
“Ah… And raw meat for Cain. A good cut of beef around 500 grams. It’s okay right?”
Dalupin nodded once more.
“Not a problem.”
Sungjin picked up the last remaining Fatty Tuna Sushi with his chopsticks. He had been saving it for last. He dipped the tip of the rice in soy sauce before putting it in his mouth.
The soft meat of the tuna, with the perfect ratio of fat mixed in… it, almost seemed sacrilegious to swallow such a perfectly prepared culinary masterpiece.
But eventually, the tuna was masticated and swallowed.
‘Should I order 5 more fatty tunas?’
Sungjin considered his options for a while. After carefully weighing his options, he decided not to. If he over indulges on food today, it could cause problems in the raid tomorrow.
Sungjin took a glance down once he was done eating. Cain finished his meal and licked his plate clean.
“I’ll see you tomorrow Cain.”
Sungjin petted Cain one more time and returned upstairs. He asked the Operator as he took off his clothes.
“Operator, Time left?”
[10 Hours 49 Minutes 21 Seconds until the next raid.]
Until the next raid, there were two things he had to do; Distribute his status points, and decide on a title.
Sungjin sank himself into the tub and called upon the Operator.
“What is my status right now?”
Title: Master Hunter
HP : 1500 MP : 220
Strength: 275 212 (+63)
Dexterity: 381 293 (+88)
Endurance: 150 115 (+35)
Magic Power: 18 14 (+4)
Mind Power: 22 17 (+5)
Unallocated points: 2200
‘2200 unallocated points after completing chapter 2… I don’t think my total stat points added up to 2000 after four chapters last time though…’
It was certainly an incredible amount. It helped that Sungjin took the majority of the contribution points from both Chapter 1 and 2, as well as clearing them at 100% completion.
‘I guess it’s because I did everything by myself…’
The most important question that needed an answer now was how to distribute his status points. After thinking about it carefully while idly splashing about in the tub, he decided to invest 700 into strength, 800 into dexterity, and 700 into Endurance.
The reason why such a high percentage of status points went into endurance was simple.
‘There will be mages starting with the next chapter.’
There were magical attacks that cannot be dodged no matter how dexterous you were. In order to clear a raid safely, investing in Endurance was necessary. Of course, investing so much into Endurance could lead to shortage in attack power, but
‘If I really need to, I could always rely on Yahurat to get me through rough spots.’
His next dilemma was what to do with the titles.
‘If I use Master Hunter, I receive bonus stats. If I use Treasure Hunter, the opportunity to find hidden pieces would increase…’
It was a difficult decision. After much thought, Sungjin finally decided to keep Master Hunter for one more round.
The reason was that it was such an excellent title. Even to the final chapter, Sungjin had never even heard of such a good title.
‘… I will decide on the Treasure Hunter after trying the active skill at least once. Couldn’t hurt to wait and see first…’
Sungjin finished his bath and wrapped up his thoughts. Fatigue from the battle today, and the subsequent relaxation at the bath made him drowsy. He felt drawn to the bed and laid himself on its soft sheets. But…
He heard a knocking at the door.
“Who is it?”
Dalupin answered from the other side.
“Dear Hunter, it is the information pertaining to the next Raid.”
‘I don’t need it though…’
But Sungjin opened the door anyway. He felt it was against etiquette to refuse gestures of kindness. Especially against Dalupin who provided him excellent meals and a place to lodge.
Once Sungjin opened the door, Dalupin handed him a piece of paper. Sungjin accepted the note and said
“Hope you have a restful evening.”
Dalupin closed the door and left. Sungjin took a glance at the piece of paper. It goes without saying that there was no hint regarding the ‘Hidden Piece’.
Information mostly pertained to terrain, the different kinds of monsters dwelling in the area and about the boss that ruled the place. Ordinary things. Everything that Sungjin already knew by experience.
Sungjin placed the paper on his bedside table. The title was illuminated by the lamp.
‘Information pertaining to the Greysoul Cemetery’
But he turned off the lamp. While other hunters diligently studied the note, Sungjin laid on the bed and went to sleep.
Note: Here is today’s chapter 🙂 The next one will be posted as per schedule which is on Saturday unless a chapter’s sponsor queue fills up.