Note: Term change ‘Ring of Helrick’ to ‘Helix Ring’ explained at chapter end note.
‘One two three four…’
Sungjin counted his receipts. There was a total of 10. One of the items he had put up last time as well as 9 of the 15 items he put up for auction today was sold.
Sungjin shoved all ten sheets into the cube at once.
“Operator, how many coins do I have now?”
[You currently have 59065 Black Coins.]
Sungjin lost the sense of scale for the amount of money that he had.
‘So much money after buying two legendary class item like Blood Vengeance… compared to my last life…’
Running around diligently during the raid had paid off.
‘Since I got roughly 50,000 coins from 10 items… each one sold for an average value of 5000. I guess the average worth of items has gone up?’
The cause was twofold. The reason was the trolls now had better items, and the hunters buying items from the auction house generally had more money to spend.
“It was a really good day.”
Sungjin stretched. And
He couldn’t help but yawn. Sungjin rubbed his eyes and recalled
‘I said I would fuse Blood Vengeance as soon as I had the money…’
But he didn’t feel like making the trip to Kargos’s smithy. He could drop by the smithy at night on his way back from ‘Darker than Black’ and fuse his sword then.
He had to go there to pick up Artemio anyway. Sungjin stood up from his seat to head to bed. Soldamyr who was next to him asked
“Are you going back upstairs, Master?”
“Yeah. I am too tired today. I’ll be retiring early today. Please research on the ring until tomorrow.”
Sungjin who returned to his room didn’t take a bath like he normally would and only took a quick shower before collapsing into the bed. He fell right to sleep.
Four ten in the morning, Sungjin’s eyes opened themselves. He had gotten used to this sleep schedule and waking up early every morning.
Sungjin quickly washed his face before putting on day clothes and leaving the room. He saw Dalupin walking up the stairs. He must have come to wake Sungjin up.
When he saw Sungjin, he quietly moved out of the way. Sungjin passed him and reached the 1st floor. Soldamyr was inside his lamp. He didn’t require sleep, but it must have been easier for him to ‘research’ while inside the lamp.
Outside the Inn were the animals he had spiritual link with; Rajenta, Cain, and Shadowrun. Shadowrun looked like he did not need sleep at all. After Shadowrun saw Sungjin wearing Besgoro,
He let out a sound once. Cain noticed his master leaving, and stood up as well but
Cain was stopped by Sungjin’s gesture and command and returned to sleep. The youngest of the bunch, Rajenta, was the only one to sleep soundly in his straw nest. As Cain had once done so, he was growing rapidly day by day. Estimating his rate of growth, Rajenta would likely grow to be double the size of Cain.
‘Well, I did hear that Royal Griffins… grow to the size of a small dragon.’
Sungjin left them behind and headed towards ‘Darker than Black’ alone.
He took the napkin out of his pocket on the way. And on the napkin was the following message.
‘He who searches for answers finds questions, and he who searches for questions finds answers.’
Sungjin read the completed text and thought of the ‘Darker than Black’ Merchant. The man had definitely uttered this from time to time. Sungjin stared at the pen. There was more to the message.
‘4:30 in the morning, head to the 3rd district, last building on the right, underground.’
It was written by ‘Mu – Pen of Reply’, the message which Ariana was unwilling to speak out loud due to her mother telling her ‘not to get involved with that man’.
The individual that even the mighty dragons were afraid to cross was none other than the merchant of Darker than Black. Sungjin said while holding onto the napkin
“Just what is he? God? Demon? Or…?”
If anyone saw Sungjin right now, he would appear to be talking to himself, but there was indeed someone that was listening. It was Besgoro.
‘Who the fuck cares. Why are you wearing me every time you go there, but take me off when you’re meeting with pretty ladies?’
“That’s because I can see better in the dark wearing you. The shop ‘Darker than Black’ is just as advertised. Furthermore… about when I’m talking to ladies… You know exactly why, right?”
Besgoro did not reply. He seemed upset.
‘Is this how a 50 year old man should act?’
Sungjin thought as he entered into the Darker than Black. The merchant was sitting in the same spot as usual.
Thinking about it, the merchant seemed more like a piece of furniture like tables or chairs rather than a person. Once Sungjin arrived, he greeted Sungjin.
“Ah, you’re still alive, Master Hunter K.”
His words expressed surprise, but his tone of voice said otherwise. Sungjin asked him
“You already knew though, that I’d be back.”
“Well, I could predict to some extent that you would.”
But once again his words were mismatched to his tone. Sungjin took the seat directly in front of him.
“This raid was really difficult. The boss Red Dragon, as well as her* mother”
“Ahh, so you met her? Ariane?”
Sungjin stared straight at him and asked
“You know her?”
“I have heard of her, although I’ve never directly met her.”
He looked slightly up as if thinking about something and said
“It’s just that I’ve met her mother before. When she was a tiny hatchling.”
Sungjin was surprised and asked
“When Ariane was a hatchling?”
If what he said was true, it would be an incredibly long time ago. But the man shook his head.
“No, no. I’ve met HER mother when she was an infant.”
Sungjin couldn’t believe it. If true, it meant that his age was more than a few thousand to tens of thousands of years old. Sungjin stared at him, and the man said
“What is it? Are you curious about my age?”
Sungjin said bluntly
“It’s not like you’re going to tell me even if I ask you anyway.”
“Well, that’s not entirely true. Also… something like age is completely unimportant, isn’t it?”
Sungjin said to him
“It is important to a human being. We also value acting our age. But not you. Since you aren’t human.”
He grinned at Sungjin’s accusation.
“How can you be so sure?”
“Then are you human? You can’t be. There is no way.”
“Well feel free to think what you want.”
Sungjin took the napkin out of his pocket and handed it over.
The merchant narrowed his eyes and said
“What about this?”
“Ariane gave me this. Telling me that it would help me alter my fate. But I already knew where to find you from before I died in my previous life. And so I was able to meet you before ever meeting Ariane.”
“Despite that, you were unsurprised to see me. In other words… you already knew that I am a regressor, right?”
The merchant placed the napkin on the table and said
“Yeah, there’s very few things I do not know.”
“Then what are you? And just what is this raid for?”
The man answered
“In this dimension, I just sell few knick knacks and work as a merchant, but in other dimensions, I am an information broker. I give answers to questions, but I demand payment for the value of the information.”
“And? You want me to pay?”
“The first question, ‘What are you?’ You might not recall, but you already asked me that. And the price of that information, as I already said before, is 10,000 white coins.”
Sungjin frowned. With the way the Raid works, it was physically impossible to gather 10,000 White Coins.
“Second question, what are Raids for? The Operator already gave you that answer in the past. To prove the strength of humanity. Prove the worth of your species, and everyone goes free. Or the race is eradicated. It’s that kind of game.”
Sungjin glared at him. It didn’t seem like he intended to give any straight answers.
“What about this question? Is there such a thing as ‘the last raid’?”
“Hmm about that… I can tell you for 100 Black Coins.”
Just 100 Black Coins. It was a very small amount. Sungjin immediately said
As soon as Sungjin finished uttering his words, the man immediately gave an answer.
“There is a last one. In terms of the chapters… remember the raid you died on?”
“It’s not far from there. The last one.”
Sungjin was shocked.
“I’m not called information broker for no reason. I give guaranteed answers to any paid question.”
‘We weren’t far from the end at ‘that chapter’… that means from now on…’
Sungjin fell into deep thought. Soon, the man asked
“Well, did you come only to ask questions today?”
“No, that’s not it.”
Sungjin shook his head.
“Please recharge these.”
Sungjin placed the five marbles on the table. The Merchant picked them up briefly before returning them to the table. The Marbles regained their luminosity.
Sungjin put those marbles away into his vest.
“And… I was going to buy Elixirs today… before that… is there any item that can gather the Chosen Ones into one spot? Trying to meet them all one by one is proving to be inconvenient.”
“Ahh, for that…”
He reached into the darkness and pulled out a short staff. The Staff was similar to the ‘Helix Ring’ in that it was in a double helix shape. A round gem was embedded on the tip, and upon closer inspection, Sungjin could see that the staff was decorated to look like two dragons competing for a Dragon Ball.*
“Helix Staff – Staff of the Warlord. The price is 30,000 Black Coins. Once a day, you can call upon every Chosen One into one spot. In addition, you can check what’s happening to the chosen ones and teleport there yourself.”
It was good. Furthermore, it allowed him to choose to enter a dimension without having to wait for a Chosen to request a summon first. Sungjin liked it a lot. But the price was hefty and made him hesitate. 30,000 Black Coins. It was expensive even for Sungjin who was relatively rich. Sungjin deliberated for a moment.
‘Well… Do I need this now?’
Sungjin quickly considered his options. He had roughly 54,000 coins in total. He owed Kargos 20,000 Coins. And if he takes the cost of combination for the Blood Vengeance, he could run short if he paid 30,000 Coins here. Sungjin made a decision and said
“I’ll… buy it tomorrow. Elixir as well.”
“Really? Do what you like.”
Sungjin took out the white coins from his cube. There were four in total. Sungjin said while holding them up.
“Is there any item I can buy for four White Coins?”
But the merchant replied
“There is nothing you can buy other than four Holy Water with those.”
“… How much do I need to gather before I can buy something else?”
“Ten. If you can gather it, then you can purchase a different item.”
“Really? Then… give me four Holy Water for now.”
Sungjin handed over the white coins. He decided to have enough holy water to increase the number of Chosen Ones to nine. Afterwards, he could save up to buy something else.
The Merchant handed over four bottles to Sungjin. Sungjin received the bottles and stood up. He did wanted to spend not a single more second in this place than he had to.
The Darker Than Black merchant told Sungjin
“Then see you tomorrow.”
Once out of the shop, Sungjin headed towards the Kargos’s Smithy. While other shops were closed, the smithy alone gave off a brilliant light.
Sungjin took out Blood Vengeances out of his cube as he made his way to the smithy. One, two, three Blood Vengeances…
Sungjin even removed the Blood Vengeance hanging from his waist and carried them in his embrace as he made his way to the smithy.
* Apparently Khal Gal is a girl
Originally I had translated the ring as Ring of Helrick. It looked like it was a nordic/european name, and it wouldn’t have been a bad guess per se. But as I was translating another ‘Helrick’ Item, I realized ‘huh. both items are described to be twisted around.’ Then I realized that the shape is basically a double helix, and the phonetics of helrick is the same as helix in Korean.
Henceforce, the ring of Helrick is Helix ring, and the staff is Helix Staff. Change will be made in all previous chapters.
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