Chapter 128 – Eye of Truth
Whether or not he should go up and expose this swindler was a dilemma worth contemplating over. Nie Yan couldn’t resolve it simply by relying on emotion and impulse, but rather, he needed to analyze it with logic and reason. Just what were the intentions of this quest’s designer?
While pondering, he happened to glance over his own character information and noticed a new status effect—Administrator Kallan’s Referral.
Administrator Kallan’s Referral: Increases Influence in Hilderlocke by 30 points. Duration: 30 minutes.
He immediately came to a decision upon seeing this.
During the thirty minutes Administrator Kallan’s Referral was active, his Influence in Hilderlocke would reach a staggering thirty-seven points, more than enough to deal with these common nobles.
If I successfully trigger and complete this hidden quest, I might be able to obtain a decent reward. On the other hand… if I fail, then I should still be able to get out without any problems as long as I leave the city walls within thirty minutes.
After determining his plan, he began walking over to Krusch.
He would be a rash fool if he simply announced to all the nobles in the room that Krusch was swindling them. Instead of believing him, these arrogant nobles would probably mob him to death. He was a genuine human being, not some NPC with preprogrammed behavioural patterns. It would be disgraceful for him to fail at such an important juncture.
“Greetings Master Blacksmith Krusch, I was referred here by Administrator Kallan. He sends you his regards,” Nie Yan said as he approached Krusch.
Whispers could be heard among the crowd after hearing Administrator Kallan’s name. None of the nobles dared to be presumptuous in front of someone who had such a backing. Administrators were important dignitaries of the government in charge of a city’s finance and taxes, government and army, law and order, and so forth. They held absolute authority in their respective city. At the very least, they would be a duke in the ranks of nobility. Yet of the nobles currently present, the highest were no more than earls.
Seeing Nie Yan stepping forward, all of the nobles silently took a step back.
Krusch’s narrow eyes lit up, revealing a proud expression as they swept over the crowd.
“Please send my regards to Administrator Kallan and thank him for his care and kindness. Sir, would you also like to give your luck a try? There are twenty identical items here, but only one of them is the genuine Radiant Gem of Acass. If you pick out the real one, then this legendary item will be yours to own,” Krusch said with a smile.
Nie Yan glanced at the gems on the table. They looked identical to each other as if they had come from the same mold. They were truly dazzling and beautiful to behold.
“A master’s workmanship is really a cut above the rest,” Nie Yan praised.
Krusch faintly smiled before revealing a haughty expression. He seemed quite pleased at the quality of his counterfeits.
“These fakes really do resemble the real thing, but I can still tell that they have some flaws. Just like when a piece of ice is placed next to a gemstone, although both are similarly dazzling to the eye, the ice cube will melt under the sunlight while the gemstone will remain as dazzling as before,” Nie Yan said in a thoughtful manner. He was planning to slowly draw Krusch into his trap. NPCs were merely AI created by the game developers, hence they had set behaviours, manners of speech, and so on. As long as the player took things slowly, it would be fairly easy to discover their flaws.
Sure enough, as soon as he spoke out these words of provocation, Krusch’s expression gradually turned cold.
“Nirvana Flame, sir, your claims are quite bold. If that’s the case, then please guide us in pointing out which one is real,” Krusch said in an indignant tone. He knew for certain that Nie Yan would be unable to find the real one.
“Master Blacksmith Krusch, how about we make a little bet?
“What kind of bet?” Krusch coldly asked.
“It’s fairly simple. From these twenty gems, I’ll single out the real Radiant Gem of Acass. If I fail, then the title deed to the property in my hands will be yours. However, I can only be certain if you allow me to carefully inspect each and every gem,” Nie Yan explained. His motive was simple, to expose this swindler. Naturally, since the opponent was a swindler, he never believed they would honour the bet in the first place.
“Fine, I agree to the bet. If I lose, I’ll give you an amount of gold equal to the value of that deed in your hands. How does that sound?” Krusch exposed a greedy expression after peeking at the details of the deed.
Nie Yan had formulated a plan and created a trap for Krusch after more or less figuring out how the events of this quest should progress, and almost immediately, Krusch had foolishly stepped into that trap.
“Master Blacksmith Krusch, allow me to inspect these gems. I trust with your reputation, you’ll do nothing to interfere, right?”
Krusch coldly snorted before taking a step back.
The nobles crowded around the table, leaving about a two-meter gap, and inquisitively stared at Nie Yan. They wondered just how this youngster would be able to determine which gem was the real one.
Noticing their reactions, Nie Yan confirmed that he had indeed taken the correct course of action to progress this quest. He then picked up one of the gems and began examining it in a very thoughtful and earnest manner.
“Clumsy craftsmanship, the Radiant Gem of Acass possesses a pure and bright radiance, yet this one is muddled and dull. This definitely isn’t the real Radiant Gem of Acass. Am I right, Master Blacksmith Krusch?” Nie Yan asked as he turned to Krusch who was standing among the crowd. Truthfully, he had no way of distinguishing real from fake, but he still spoke in a smooth and unhurried fashion.
Krusch snorted again and turned his head away.
“Master Blacksmith Krusch, I’ve already learned an appraisal skill. Will you allow me to appraise this gem to confirm my judgement?” Nie Yan inquired with a smile.
Almost as if guided by a script, the crowd began clamoring and shouting, imploring Krusch that he should allow Nie Yan to appraise the gem.
Unable to refuse, Krusch could only remain silent.
Nie Yan appraised the gem with Transcendent Insight. Almost instantly, with a brilliant flash of light, the item’s properties were revealed.
|Counterfeit Gem (Fake)
Afterward, he handed the gem over to one of the nobles within the crowd who, after observing it, gave it to the noble next to him.
“He was right. This really is a fake!”
“Too amazing… It looks just like the real thing. How was he able to figure it out?”
“Alright, let’s move on to the next one.” Nie Yan faintly smiled as he picked up another gem from the table. He then put on an act of thoroughly examining it before shaking his head in a disappointed manner. “This one’s no good either. There are minute blemishes on the edges of the gem. The Radiant Gem of Acass has no such flaws. This gem taints the name of the legendary gem by simply existing! This one is a counterfeit as well, right?”
Krusch remained silent, making the crowd around him sound all the clearer as they implored Nie Yan to appraise it already.
Hearing their shouts, another brilliant flash of light appeared as Nie Yan appraised the item. As expected, it was yet another fake.
|Counterfeit Gem (Fake)
The crowd stirred into a hushed discussion while the gem was being passed around between them.
Appraising one gem after the other, Nie Yan became even more certain of his suspicions that none of the gems on this table were real. Since it was like this, so long as he gave a believable explanation, he would be able to claim that any gem in his hand was fake.
The number of gems on the table quickly decreased until only three were left.
Another gem was appraised after which Nie Yan shook his head.
All of the previous gems were fake!
However, there were still two gems remaining. The crowd of nobles was watching the conclusion of this event with tense nerves, wide eyes, and expressions of shock.
Nie Yan exposed a smug smile as he picked up one of them. After putting on an act for so long, he was mentally exhausted as his complexion had long since become ashen.
“There are a few impurities in the center of this gem, and the quality of this material isn’t even on the same level as the Radiant Gem of Acass. Therefore, this one is also a fake!” Nie Yan confidently declared as he stared at Krusch.
He then began the process of appraising once again.
The crowd focused their attention on the gem in Nie Yan’s hands. This was already the nineteenth gem. If it also turned out to be a fake, then the remaining one had to be real, right?
The brilliant light of the appraisal skill enshrouded the gem before it began emitting a rainbow-coloured radiance.
However, despite the pretty light show, the outcome of this appraisal was already predetermined.
This gem was yet another fake!
The numerous nobles all let out muffled gasps of surprise and expressed their deep admiration for this young man’s ability.
Nie Yan stared at Master Blacksmith Krusch before picking up the final gem. In that moment, Krusch’s expression became a little panicky and he began slinking towards the door.
“Master Blacksmith Krusch, you aren’t thinking of reneging on our bet, are you? Or could it be that you’re simply trying to run?” Nie Yan asked with a cold smile. He finally had him cornered!
Krusch awkwardly smiled and let out a dry laugh. All of the nobles in the room now had their attention fixed on him. He wouldn’t be able to leave even if he wanted to.
“Master Blacksmith Krusch, or should I just say Mr. Krusch? This final gem in my hand should be real, right? However… why is the workmanship on it so poor? In fact, with a single glance, I can already determine that this one is also a fake!” Nie Yan coldly smiled as he stared at Krusch before appraising the final gem in his hand. After a flash of brilliant radiance, its properties were revealed, and just like before, this one was also a fake. He sneered at Krusch and said, “Therefore, Mr. Krusch… you are nothing more than a dirty swindler!”
「System: After appraising 20 Counterfeit Gems, you have received Eye of Truth.」
Nie Yan was stunned as he stared blankly at the system announcement. He couldn’t help but become excited. It’s actually the Eye of Truth skill!
In the meantime, the crowd of nobles stared blankly for quite a while, seemingly unable to accept the truth.
At that moment, Krusch and his three accomplices bolted for the door.
“Stop them! They all colluded together to swindle you!” Nie Yan pointed at Krusch and the three middle-aged men.
Awakened from their stupor, the crowd quickly reacted and rushed after the four criminals. Very soon, they were caught, bound, and then thrown to the floor.
“We have to take these swindlers to Administrator Kallan and make them face trial!”
“Right, we need to punish these bastards and take back our money!”
The crowd of nobles loudly shouted and cursed as they brought the four over to the administrator’s office.
Nie Yan thought for a moment before deciding he would follow behind. Since he had progressed this far into the quest and managed to expose Krusch, then he would definitely be able to obtain some sort of reward. Administrator Kallan had only mentioned Krusch offhandedly. Never did he expect that it would lead to a quest to uncovering Krusch’s scam.
An outraged crowd of nobles entered the administrator’s office with Nie Yan casually following from the rear. That was the best spot for him to try out his new skill.
He examined Eye of Truth’s information.
|Eye of Truth (Instant Cast): After activating this ability, there’s a certain probability of seeing through disguises and stealth. The success of this skill depends on the level difference between the player and their target.Cooldown: 120 seconds.|
If Nie Yan activated the skill against an equal level Thief, he would have a sixty percent chance of seeing through their stealth. Not to mention some players and monsters also had the ability to disguise their appearance or create illusions such as clones. Although these were formidable deceptive abilities, he had a certain chance of seeing through them as well.
This skill was extremely useful and ranked near the top out of the numerous support type skills. It held an enormous restraining effect on professions similar to the Thief, and it was very useful while doing quests as well.