Chapter 18 – Hidden Quest
Nie Yan and Stone briefly exchanged a few more words before hanging up the call. By this time, he had already arrived back at the island. There, he found Physician Blevins still fishing by the lakeshore.
“Youngster! How many bundles of Fine Silk did you manage to collect?” Physician Plevins asked after seeing that Nie Yan had returned.
“Esteemed Senior, here are the thirty bundles of Fine Silk I’ve gathered. I’d like to request that Senior have a look,” Nie Yan replied in a polite and formal tone that was standard when turning in quests.
“Youngster, I must thank you for your generosity. Please take these thirty Silk Cloths with you as a means to repay your kindness. Furthermore, I have also decided to impart upon you a skill.”
「System: Physician Blevins wishes to teach you Intermediate Combat Medic. Will you learn it?」
Nie Yan felt his heart skip a beat. This was exactly the skill he wanted to learn. Without showing the slightest hint of hesitation, he immediately hit accept.
「System: The Great Mage, Blevins, has taught you a skill. You have learned Intermediate Combat Medic.」
Intermediate Combat Medic: Allows the player to create and use Intermediate Combat Bandages while in combat. Requires 10 Silk Cloth. Each bandage replenishes 20 health every second for 10 seconds. Healing can be interrupted after 3 seconds of applying bandages. Bandages can also be used on other party members.
Ten silk cloths were equivalent to twenty coppers. Although it was a tad expensive, this was still a skill that could save lives in a moment of crisis!
「System: The task Physician Blevins has entrusted you with is 20% complete.」
Nie Yan stared blankly at this notification. Reasonably enough, he believed that the quest would have ended after handing in the thirty Fine Silks, but reality proved otherwise. What the hell? Why is it only twenty percent complete?
“Youngster, thirty bundles of Fine Silk is still far from being enough. I still need much more. Would you be willing to help me find more?”
“I’m willing to aid you in your task,” Nie Yan hurriedly replied. It appeared that the Combat Medic Skill was merely one of the rewards in this lengthy quest. He was clueless as to what other quest rewards would lie further ahead. “Esteemed Senior. Here are five Rare Fine Silks that I’d chanced upon, though I am unsure of their usefulness.”
“Fine Silk becomes Rare Fine Silk after it has undergone processing. Each bundle of Rare Fine Silk is equivalent to six bundles of common Fine Silk,” the Old Man explained to Nie Yan. Afterwards, the Old Man inquired further, “So youngster, are you willing to give them to me?”
“Yes,” Nie Yan replied. Five Rare Fine Silks were equivalent to thirty ordinary Fine Silks. He had been killing Water Spiders for so long, yet he never once thought to hunt Water Spider Leaders despite them giving better drops.
However, this was to be expected, as killing a Leader-ranked Water Spider was truly too dangerous of a task. In any case, it wasn’t something Nie Yan could simply accomplish by himself.
「System: You’ve received 30 Silk Cloths.」
「System: You’ve received Headhunter’s Silver Leather Armour.」
「System: The task Physician Blevins has entrusted you with is 40% complete.」
Nie Yan felt a pleasant surprise after reading the second system announcement. After opening his bag, he found a silver-coloured piece of armour within his inventory.
Who knew what kind of animal hide was used to make this piece of leather armour. It was tough, durable, and radiated a silver-white lustre. Furthermore, it didn’t need to be appraised.
Let’s take a look at its properties.
Headhunter’s Silver Leather Armour (Silver)
Requirements: Level 5
Properties: Defense 13–17, Strength +5, Dexterity +5
Weight: 3 lb
Restrictions: Thief, Paladin, can only be equipped by a member of the Righteous faction.
The properties of Silver-grade equipment were at least thirty percent higher than normal equipment. Furthermore, they also included two additional properties. With current market prices, Nie Yan estimated that he could sell this piece of armour for at least five silvers if he put it up in the auction house.
Nie Yan’s equipment would improve significantly upon reaching level 5, as he would finally be able to replace his current equipment with the Horn Dagger and Headhunter’s Silver Leather Armour.
With these thoughts in mind, he suddenly felt more motivation to level up.
This Old Man sure is generous with his quest rewards, and sixty percent of the quest still remains unfinished. If I try to farm ninety more Fine Silks myself though… I’d end up working myself to death! I’ll just spend some money to buy the materials off the auction house instead. Ninety Fine Silks… that would be about three silvers. Ah… looking at it this way, I’m still a long ways off from having enough money to spend freely.
How can I make some money fast? Nie Yan was trying to rack his brain for a solution to this difficult problem. Eventually, he remembered a certain online guide that he viewed in the past.
It was then that Nie Yan had a sudden flash of insight. Back when the game was first released, the most worthless item in the game was a drop by the name of Bat Teeth. It was a material used for crafting Level 0 beginner weapons. Even more laughable, these weapons would come out with pitifully low attack. Thus, for the most part, no one, aside from the occasional player who would purchase a few to level up their Blacksmithing after learning the skill, would buy the Bat Teeth. Other than that, there were just no other players who would bother buying any. Not to mention even if you sold five stacks of them—a hundred bat teeth—to an NPC, you would only receive a single copper. For these reasons, there were quite a few Bat Teeth littered across the ground in the Level 3 Bat spawning area, as few would bother picking them up.
Many players would rather throw them away than have this trash material take up space in their bag. As a result, only the poorest of players would bother picking them up and selling them to the NPC stores.
Nie Yan, however, knew these Bat Teeth had another use. They could be given to a high-level blacksmith in Calore city after triggering his hidden quest. In exchange for ten Bat Teeth—half of a full stack—you would receive a little bit of experience and one copper. Furthermore, you could exchange an unlimited amount of Bat Teeth with this blacksmith. As more and more players discovered this blacksmith, the market price for these Bat Teeth rose accordingly.
This sort of business is actually doable… Nie Yan couldn’t help but have this thought. All he needed to do was head to the Level 3 Bat spawn area and advertise that he’s buying a stack of Bat Teeth for one copper. He’d soon have a massive amount of Bat Teeth delivered right to his doorstep. Afterwards, he could exchange all of them with that blacksmith in Calore city and receive his quest reward. This way he could make a profit while also leveling up at the same time. How could he have forgotten something like this!?
Nie Yan no longer hesitated and immediately ran off towards Tellak town. After returning to the town, he retrieved his two silvers from the storage, threw all his unwanted equipment up in the auction house, and then finally went to the appraiser to appraise the Soft Leather Gloves that he looted from the Golden Electric Eel. The gloves ended up being a Level 0 equipment with an additional property of Dexterity +2.
The properties were fairly decent for Level 0 equipment. Nie Yan put the gloves on; they were the first piece of Bronze-grade equipment that he could actually equip.
The gloves radiated a faint cyan glow until Nie Yan turned off the visual effects in equipment settings. It was still best if he kept a low profile. If his equipment was too conspicuous, then he would very likely be followed after leaving the city. After finishing up his business in town, Nie Yan went through the transfer point to Calore city. From there he went directly to the Kade Smithy within the city center.
Calore city housed over sixty smithies that offered various blacksmithing services. You could buy everything from large siege equipment to weapons, armour, and even horseshoes. Only the Kade Smithy differed from this norm. Of all the smithies in the city, it was the most unremarkable.
It was the high-level blacksmith, Kade, who issued the quest to gather Bat Teeth. In his former life, the player who first discovered it was a Paladin. After discovering that this blacksmith, Kade, gave out such a quest, he immediately bought a large amount of Bat Teeth and exchanged them with Kade for a large amount of profit and experience. He wanted to keep this his own secret, so he worked especially low key. However, as this Paladin purchased an increasingly large amount of Bat Teeth, other players began to grow suspicious. What could this Paladin possibly need so many Bat Teeth for? Afterwards, a Thief ended up shadowing him to the Kade Smithy, and the secret became publicized. However, by that time, most players were already over Level 10. The price of Bat Teeth had increased, and no players were willing to sell them for a low price now. It already wasn’t worth it for them to go back to the area and farm Bat Teeth for the quest. When those Level 10 players recalled all the Bat Teeth they threw away in the past, they could only helplessly shake their heads and sigh. As for the Paladin who had first discovered this hidden quest, he had already earned overflowing basins full of money from doing this quest in secret for such a long time.
However, at present… the only person who knew of this hidden quest was Nie Yan and Nie Yan alone!
Nie Yan entered the Kade Smithy. Its shopfront was extremely narrow, nevertheless, it was still one of the many smithies designated by the Viridian Empire Military.
As Nie Yan entered the smithy, he saw an NPC apprentice blacksmith.
“Dear customer, may I ask if there is anything you require?” the Apprentice came up and asked.
“I’m looking for Mister Kade.”
“I’m sorry, but my master has already gone out,” the Apprentice replied apologetically.
“I have some business with him. May I ask when he’ll be back?” The Apprentice’s reply came as no surprise. This was precisely how the hidden quest was triggered.
“May I ask what business you have with my master? I can pass along a message.” The Apprentice sized up Nie Yan, a sharp expression filling his eyes.
“Please let Mister Kade know that I can help him with the current problem he’s facing.”
“Please wait a moment!” The Apprentice hastily ran out the door.
After a while, the Smithing Apprentice came back with a tall and sturdy-looking blacksmith in his middle ages. He had messy sideburns, and his upper body was completely bare. His whole body was robust and covered in muscles from head to toe. Not only that, but his skin had also turned a dark shade of red after being exposed to the heat of a blazing furnace all year round.
“Mister Blacksmith, rumours say you’ve met with some worrisome troubles. May I ask what they might be? Perhaps I might be able to help you out,” Nie Yan said and then thought to himself, There should be no problems with my wording here…
‘Coming this autumn, the situation in Hilton Stronghold will become more and more intense. We need much more weapons in order to meet the demands of the soldiers on the frontlines. I need materials—a great amount of them. And at present, I’m clueless as to how I can amass such a large amount of these materials…” Blacksmith Kade said in a distressed manner.
“May I inquire what kind of materials you need? Perhaps I can help you find them.”
“I need a large quantity of Bat Teeth. I’m willing to purchase a stack for two coppers if you have them,” Blacksmith Kade replied. For Kade, these Bat Teeth were crucial materials he was in desperate need of.
NPCs didn’t have much intelligence; they simply followed the instructions given by the main system A.I. They could only issue and receive quests. Hidden NPCs like Blacksmith Kade would not announce their quest publically.
「System: Do you wish to accept Blacksmith Kade’s request?」
「System: You have accepted Blacksmith Kade’s request.」
“Please be at ease. I will definitely help you find these materials.” Nie Yan reassured Blacksmith Kade, then went through a transfer point to the town of Mordor.
There was a large expanse near Mordor where a large amount of Level 3 Bat monsters congregated.
With about several hundred people in it, the town was quite crowded.
“Recruiting people Level 3 or higher for Level 3 Instance, Warriors Tomb. I’m a Mage that deals over thirty magic damage!”
“Recruiting people to hunt bats! I’m a Level 3 Fire Elementalist!”
Players were looking to form parties. Some would end up joining parties, while others would be buzzing around like houseflies. Those who had good equipment would often have an easy time finding a party to join. Meanwhile, those with poor equipment would find themselves being ignored by most parties.
Parties formed one after another and left the town.
It was currently early morning in the game. Once players formed a party, they would farm monsters for the whole day, only disbanding late in the evening.
Nie Yan had set up a booth near the player storehouse. There he put up a sign that read: ‘Buying Bat Teeth. One stack for one copper.’
He had just put up the sign, yet there were already many players gathering around him. Many of them always hung around this area hunting Bats, thus their bags were filled with many Bat Teeth. Once they gathered a hundred of them, they would go back and sell them to the NPCs. One copper wasn’t much, but no matter how insignificant the amount was, it was still money. Besides, Nie Yan buying Bat Teeth for one copper per stack was a much better deal than selling the materials to an NPC.
The players thought, Huh? These Bat Teeth litter the ground everywhere. I can actually sell a garbage drop like this for such a high price? Doing the math, I can make a decent profit selling these Bat Teeth.
The everyday income for the average players wasn’t very high. Add on their need to purchase equipment and healing items, most players would only have ten or twenty coppers on them at most. Naturally, they were all very willing when they learned that they could make a few extra coppers off of Nie Yan.
“Hey, brother! I have three stacks of Bat Teeth here. Do you want them?”
“Of course. If you have any, I’ll take them,” Nie Yan said while nodding his head. After briefly sweeping a glance at the ten or so people circling around him, he noticed that five or six of them were already organizing their inventories. Several others were hastily opening up their personal storages, fearful that Nie Yan had collected enough Bat Teeth and no longer wanted any more.
“What are these Bat Teeth used for?” Some players probed and asked.
“I’m using them to level up my Beginner Blacksmithing skill,” Nie Yan would reply.
“How does leveling up the Beginner Blacksmithing skill require so many Bat Teeth?”
“I have ten or so friends who are all learning Blacksmithing as well, and they’re having me buy the materials all at once. If you’re going to sell then sell already. If you’re not, then stop standing around and blocking the line,” Nie Yan replied indifferently.
“Here, I have two stacks.”
Nie Yan glanced at the trade window. He put in two coppers and then hit confirm.
“Here are mine. There are three stacks.”
One after another, players continuously made trades with Nie Yan. Those who had more would sell around three or four stacks. While those with less would sell only one or two stacks. There were even a few who hadn’t traded anything; they stood off to the side and gazed helplessly. They were the ones who had either already sold all their Bat Teeth to the NPCs, or thrown them away. In either case, they all stood there filled with regret.
While trading, Nie Yan was also depositing the Bat Teeth into his personal storage. His bag only had twenty slots, and simply didn’t have enough space to hold all the materials.
More and more people came to trade with Nie Yan. The players who had sold their Bat Teeth would pass this information onto their friends. Then those friends who had Bat Teeth would come over one after another, bringing their Bat Teeth with them.
Before long, Nie Yan had collected over two hundred stacks of Bat Teeth.
Nie Yan hurriedly made an announcement. “Everyone, please wait a moment! All of you, please wait! I’m already out of money. Let me get some more money from my friends first. I’ll be back in just a moment—fifteen minutes at most. Everyone, please come back after fifteen minutes, I’ll be back here by then.”
“I still have some here!”
“Wait! There’s mine too!”
Nie Yan pushed through the crowd as he walked out. Finally, he took a deep breath. “Hah… these players are way too enthusiastic…”