Kang Oh stood in front of a small store.
Man Bok Fruit Store.
'Generous Man Bok. People think very highly of him, but... I wonder what he's really like.' Kang Oh opened the door, smelling fruit as he went inside.
"Welcome," a kind, middle-aged man said.
"You're Mr. Kang Oh, right?"
"Yes, that's right."
Kang Oh had gotten Man Bok's character code from Hye Rim, and had promptly scheduled a meeting with him. Man Bok had agreed, which is why Kang Oh was here.
"My name is Man Bok. Please wait over there." Man Bok pointed at a small chair within his store. "Which fruits do you like best?" Man Bok asked.
"Understood." Man Bok picked a ripe red apple from the display stand, cut it, and served it to him. "Please try it. It should taste good."
"Thank you." Kang Oh took a bite of the apple. It was incredibly sweet and delicious. "It's good."
"I can guarantee its taste. I've carefully selected the fruits that I sell here." Man Bok smiled. It was a pure smile, one that would put a person at ease.
"I'll have to buy some before I leave."
"You won't regret it," he said strongly. It was this confidence of his that would make people trust him.
'I expect this much from him. He once led a merchant group after all.'
Man Bok was once one of the greatest merchants. He certainly hadn't lost any of his skills.
"Then let's get straight to the point... I have a question," Kang Oh said.
"There's this lake I found that contains all sorts of fish," Kang Oh began.
Man Bok softly nodded his head, a sign that he was paying close attention.
He was a professional, one who didn't interrupt the speaker unnecessarily.
"There's a special mechanism that allows me to feed the fish too. Mm, I guess it's pretty much like an aquaculture industry. However, I'm not sure whether it's worth investing in or not. And I don't know where to sell the fish either."
"What do you want?" Man Bok asked.
"I'd like you to follow me to the lake and see for yourself whether it's worth investing in or not. And if you think it is, then I'd like you to take charge of the operation."
When you need medicine, you go to a pharmacist. If you want to win a fight, then Kang Oh's your guy. However, when you want to do business, you need a merchant!
"You're interested in a partnership?"
"We can talk about that later when the time is right. I want you to see the lake first."
"Where is the lake?"
"It's inside a dungeon that almost no one comes to. If you decide to come with me, then I'll tell you where it's located."
"A dungeon, huh... Is it safe?"
"It's not a dangerous dungeon, so you have nothing to worry about."
"Mm." Man Bok briefly thought it over. Then, he said, "I understand. Let's go together."
Man Bok was curious. What kind of fish lived within this lake?
"Thank you. I'll send you a message soon that contains the date, time, and meeting place."
"Goodbye. Oh, right. Please bring me some delicious fruit."
Kang Oh left the store holding a large peach that he'd bit into in one hand, and a paper bag filled with various fruit in the other.
* * *
A few days later...
A kind old man came out of Modrak Village's intercity transfer gate.
"Over here." Kang Oh waved his hand and welcomed Man Bok. Eder and Sephiro were beside him, as well as a man wearing a straw hat.
"Thank you for coming. These are my companions, Eder and Sephiro. The one wearing the straw hat is the Fisher Maniac, Mr. Fisher." Kang Oh introduced everyone. He'd managed to draw Fisher in by telling him about a never-before-seen fishery.
"Hello. My name is Man Bok."
"Please follow me." Kang Oh led the others. His party rode on their Yumas and traversed through the Great Forest.
Kang Oh's party, who'd eaten a simple meal at the Nuwak Village, safely arrived at their final destination, the Moss Cave.
[You have entered the dungeon, Moss Cave.]
"Is there really a fishery here?" The fisherman, Fisher, looked at him suspiciously. The only thing he saw was moss.
"Of course. Please, come his way." Kang Oh pointed at the right passageway. That passageway was connected to the lake. It originally didn't exist, but Kang Oh had added it as the dungeon's master.
"This is luminous moss," Man Bok said, seeing the blue moss that covered the walls.
"Yes. Isn't Moss Cave a good name for the dungeon?" Kang Oh grinned. 'How do you like the name?'.
"Indeed." Man Bok nodded his head.
Kang Oh's party continued forward. They encountered some monsters along the way, but Kang Oh, Eder, and Sephiro made quick work of them.
They eventually arrived at the lake.
"Ooh, there really is one! It's quite large too!" Upon seeing the lake, Fisher got really excited.
"Yes?" Fisher replied, though he hadn't looked away from the lake.
"Please try fishing. Check what kind of fish there are, what size they are, and how easy they are to catch. And please tell me if you find anything that you think is special."
This is why he'd brought the fish expert, Fisher, here.
"Yes, I'll do just that!" Fisher quickly finished his preparations and began fishing.
A short while later...
"I got one!" Fisher, who'd thrown his line into the water, quickly caught a fish and pulled it out.
Its body gleamed silver like a hairtail, but it looked more like a snapper.
The rest of Kang Oh's party gathered around Fisher.
"What kind of fish is this?" Kang Oh asked.
"It's called a Silver Sea Bream." Man Bok looked shocked.
"What's the matter?"
"As you can see, it's called a Silver Sea Bream because of its color. It's really delicious, and is considered a precious fish that can only be obtained in the southern sea. To think that this is what you'd catch..."
"What's the big deal? This is the southern sea." Kang Oh tilted his head. 'What's so surprising about catching a fish that you can only get from the southern sea when that's where you were?'
"Did you just say that this is the southern sea? What are you talking about?" Man Bok asked.
"Taste the lake."
Man Bok tasted the water. "This is... seawater."
"The lake is connected to the sea. That's why you can find sea fish in here," Kang Oh said.
"Hmm, so that's how it is..." Man Bok muttered.
"What is it? Would it be profitable?" Kang Oh stared at Man Bok excitedly.
"I'm not sure yet. Let's give it some time first." It seemed like Man Bok had an idea, but he kept it to himself for now.
How much time had passed?
It didn't seem like much time had passed.
"I got one!" Fisher, who sat on a foldable chair, suddenly stood up and pulled on the line.
He pulled up the second fish.
"This is red mackerel."
Red mackerel looked the same as regular mackerel, but its back was red. It was also about 50 cm large.
"Red mackerel... You can only get this from the southern sea too," Man Bok said.
"You know your fish quite well." Kang Oh stared at Man Bok.
"It's difficult to do business if you don't know what a product is, how much it's worth, and how much its market price is."
Kang Oh knew about all sorts of equipment and materials, as well as their market price. Thus, he almost never lost money when he was buying/selling goods.
Anyway, Fisher continued to catch fish.
There was regular fish and some rare fish too. Fisher even caught a huge fish that was over 1 meter long.
Time passed, and the sun began to go down.
"Shall we return to the village?" Kang Oh said.
"I'll keep fishing."
He wasn't called the Fishing Maniac for nothing. He was completely obsessed with fishing.
"All by yourself?"
"It's dangerous. This is a dungeon."
"I can take care of myself, so don't worry about me."
Kang Oh didn't try to stop him anymore. If he got ambushed by a monster and was killed, he'd be revived. It didn't really matter much.
Kang Oh's party, minus Fisher, left the dungeon and returned to the Nuwak Village's inn.
The four of them ate dinner in a cordial atmosphere.
"Does it look profitable?" Kang Oh asked.
"It does. After all, you're catching rare fish that only appear in the southern sea," Man Bok said with certainty.
"Is it that big that they're fish from the southern sea?" Sephiro jumped in.
"Of course. There's no port city in the south. Deep sea fishing isn't possible in the southern sea."
"Why is that?"
"It's why the south doesn't have a port city... There are several underwater monsters in the southern sea. Those monsters indiscriminately attack any vessel that comes over to the southern sea."
Kang Oh suddenly had a thought. "The Devil's Sea is in the south too."
The Devil's Sea.
Song Li Shen, a professor at Peking University, as well as the author of Arth is Bigger than China, said that the Devil's Sea was one of the seven most dangerous locations in all of Arth.
He stated that the Devil's Sea was filled with sea monsters, and that these monsters continuously killed each other! That was why it was called the Devil's Sea.
In order to complete Eder's quest, Kang Oh would have to pass through Despia, which was said to be 'the land that bordered hell' and was considered the most dangerous location in all of Arth.
"Anyway, large boats can't cross the southern sea due to these large creatures. Thus, the cost of the fish is high. A rare product is expensive. However, you can safely catch these fish in the Moss Cave."
Man Bok continued, "And if you can continue to procure the fish safely, then you can become the sole supplier of the continent's southern fish."
Sole supplier! If there was enough demand, then he'd make a ton of money.
To think that the fish would be that valuable.
By owning the soul dungeon, Kang Oh had killed two birds with one stone; he would receive a monthly payment and could sell the fish too, but... it looked like he could make a lot more than he could've imagined.
"Of course, if you're no good at business, then it doesn't matter how good the product is."
It was clear why he was telling him this. 'Leave it to me!' he seemed to say.
"You can manage the business, Mr. Man Bok."
Of course, this is what Kang Oh had been hoping for. Need medicine? Go to a pharmacist. Need to kill something? Call him. But if you need help doing business? Call a merchant.
"How will we divide the profits?"
"You're asking me to become your business partner."
"Yes." Kang Oh extended his hand.
"Alright. I said I'd make a comeback one day, but it seems like that day will come sooner than I expected." Man Bok shook his hand.Previous Chapter Next Chapter