Chapter 33. Information Gathering

The next day.

Kang Oh sold all of the materials he'd taken from Baramut's cave.

'I'll store the staff for now, but I wonder how much the grimoire will go for?'

Kang Oh held off on selling the grimoire and the staff for the time being.

He fed all of the junk items to his demon sword, and he also sold the equipment that the Baramut armor set had made obsolete.

In total, he had made a little bit more than 1,700 gold total, combining how much he had on hand and how much he got from selling everything.

'Let's change 1,000 gold into cash.'

Kang Oh headed for the Currency Exchange Office, which was near the Vidocq Square, so he could exchange his gold to cash.

The Currency Exchange Office was, as mentioned, a place where gold was exchanged into cash, so it was operated by the game’s users.

Apparently, the renowned trade-class user, Limidas, first started this exchange business and had made a fortune.

"Welcome," a potbellied user, who manned the Currency Exchange Office, greeted him.  

The Currency Exchange Office doubled as a pawnshop and was structured the same as one as well.

Also, he saw a sign that detailed the market value of gold, as well as the commission fee.


Market price of gold: 1 gold = 10,000 won ($10 USD)

Does not handle silver.

Commission fee for exchanging gold to cash: 2%


'It's still 1 gold for 10,000 won.'

Fundamentally, Arth was a game where players made a lot and spent a lot.

Users spent most of their money on equipment and potions.

Good equipment costs more than a few thousand gold. The best equipment even sold for tens of thousands of gold.

There were essentially two different types of potions; one red, which restored HP, and one blue, which restored MP.

The price of potions varied based on their performance; they could range from 1 gold to 100 gold.

Because Kang Oh could avoid most attacks through his Hyper Intuition, he didn't really need to use potions.

However, most users continuously used potions as they hunted. Thus, they were forced to spend quite a bit to keep themselves alive.

Moreover, since Arth was such a worldwide hit, there was still a huge demand for gold.

Therefore, the market price of gold hadn't dipped; it was still 1 gold for 10,000 won.

'It won't go up even further, will it?'

The market price may go down in the future, but it shouldn't go up.

Because the rankers and other users were continuing to progress, they were gradually making more and more gold.

Thus, there would be a large influx of gold, so the market price would naturally decline. 

In other words, 1 gold for 10,000 won was as good as it was going to get.

'You’ve got to take advantage of it while you still can.'

Kang Oh planned on exchanging as much gold as he could.

Moreover, the government would tax-exempt any money made from items or gold in order to promote the virtual reality industry.

'What a world to live in.'

If you were good enough, you could make a living as a pro-gamer; it was a great time to be alive, no, scratch that, an amazing time to be alive. 

"How may I help you, sir?" the pot-bellied owner asked, sporting a professional smile.

Kang Oh took out ten gold bars and passed them to the owner.

"Would you like to exchange this for cash?" the owner asked.

Kang Oh nodded his head, rather than reply.

"You have exchanged 1,000 gold for 10 million won ($10,000 USD). How would you like to pay the commission fee?"

"I'll pay with gold."

Kang Oh passed him 20 gold, which was 2% of the 1,000 gold.

"Please tell me what your account number is," the owner said, as he took the gold.

"My account number is 910-122-78331029, Choi Jae Woo. Please deposit it immediately. Ah, I use the Piggy Savings Bank."

When the turnover was more than 1,000 gold, the player could ask for their money immediately like this.

"Please wait 5 minutes."

The pot-bellied owner logged out right in front of him. A short while later, he reappeared.

"I've finished depositing the money into your account," the owner said.

"I'll come back after I've checked."

Kang Oh logged out and checked his bank account with his phone. He had definitely received 10 million won.

He accessed Arth once more and finished up.

"I got it. Thank you very much."

"Of course. Have a nice day."

Kang Oh, who'd left the Currency Exchange Office, headed for the Adventurer Guild.

* * * 

"Hello," Kang Oh smiled affably and said.

He'd occasionally use this expression when he needed something from someone.

"Have you been well?" the middle-aged man with three scars over his left eye, greeted back.

His name was Jayce.

He was the one who'd given Kang Oh the information on the Loxia family's sword and the Cave Hidden by the Wind.

"I found the Cave Hidden by the Wind," Kang Oh said.

"Oh, you did? Where did you find it? How?" Jayce asked.

Kang Oh explained where the cave's location was, as well as how to open the portal. He gave him a general overview of his exploration of the jungle, described his desperate battle with Baramut, and even explained the story between Bercy and Baramut. 

"Baramut and Bercy... As I thought, quite a lot of strange things happen on the continent."

Jayce, who'd heard the story behind Baramut and Bercy, was astonished.


[You have officially reported the Cave Hidden by the Wind, the Quiet Lavero Jungle, as well as the hidden story behind Bercy and Baramut to the Adventurer Guild.]

[Your credibility with the Adventurer Guild has increased.]

[Closeness with the veteran adventurer, Jayce, has increased.]


'There's nothing in the world that's free.'

There was a reason he'd delineated his adventure to Jayce.

Jayce had provided him with useful information thus far.

Thus, he'd repaid him with information of his own.

Now it was his turn to receive some information.

"Have you heard anything unusual or have any info for me?" Kang Oh asked.

"This is a big secret, but... I'll make an exception and tell you and only you."

As expected, it was give-and-take.

The veteran adventurer, Jayce, took a peek around, move closer towards Kang Oh, and gestured him to come closer.

Kang Oh pushed his face forward and Jayce whispered into his ear.

"There's a never before discovered oasis in the Bariton Desert; they say that there's a ton of treasure hidden there."


[You have heard about the Bariton Desert's hidden oasis.]


"Do you know anything else about the oasis?"

"There's truth behind the unending mirage. It's something that has been passed down from the natives there."

"There's truth behind the unending mirage, huh... Hmm. I understand. I'll try my hand at finding it."

Jayce was the one who'd provided him information on the Loxia family's ominous sword, as well as the Cave Hidden by the Wind.

His information was trustworthy.

"I'll be waiting in anticipation," Jayce patted Kang Oh's shoulder and encouraged him.

"Are there any quests concerning the Bariton Desert?"

If there were, then he could finish the quest while he's there.

"Let's see..."

Jayce began perusing the document of commissions to the side.

"There actually is one."

"I'll do it," Kang Oh replied immediately.

"There have been way too many sand-eating monsters, Sandurions, appearing as of late. Take care of these Sandurions."

Once Jayce was finished, a quest appeared.


[Kill the Sandurions!]

The sand-eating monster, Sandurion! A monster that could be seen very rarely in the Bariton Desert.

But as of late, the Sandurions have been appearing in great numbers and have been attacking the natives living at the oasis.

Kill 200 Sandurions for the natives.

(0/200 killed)

Difficulty: Hard

Minimum Requirement: Level 100

Reward: Credibility with the Adventurer Guild, 50 gold, and increased fame in the Bariton Desert.


[Your level is too low, so you cannot accept the quest.]


"Your level's a lot lower than I expected. You're still not level 100 yet?" Jayce said sounding slightly disappointed.

"Levels aren't everything," Kang Oh said firmly.

He was only level 77, but he was much stronger than the average level 100 user.

"You're right. Levels aren't everything."

Jayce nodded his head and looked Kang Oh over.

He was an incredible adventurer who'd undergone an amazing adventure in the Quiet Lavero Jungle!

"Alright. I'll be your guarantor, so you can accept this quest."

Jayce was doing him a favor.


[The veteran adventurer, Jayce, has become your guarantor.]

[You have accepted the quest, Kill the Sandurions.]


Honestly, it wouldn't be such a big deal if he couldn't accept the quest. The reward for completing it wasn’t that spectacular after all.

Still, he felt thankful that Jayce was willing to do him a favor.

"Thank you very much."

Kang Oh bowed his head deeply.

"Tell me about your adventures anytime," Jayce said whilst smiling.

"I will, I promise."

"Heh."

"Then, I'll get going now."

He'd received information and a quest, so Kang Oh had nothing else to do here.

"See you next time."

"Alright."

Kang Oh left the Adventurer Guild.

* * *

Kang Oh opened the door and entered the Jurento Bar.

He took a look around.

It was, as always, worn-out, dark, and shabby. The owner was the same as ever. And the old drunkard, Tino, was as well!

'He's over there.'

Just like their first meeting, Tino was lying on a table.

"Tino!"

Kang Oh shook him and woke him up.

"Mm."

Tino looked up blurrily at Kang Oh.

"Who are you?"

"A gracious man who bought you honey water."

"Then are you going to buy me honey water today too?"

 Tino's blurry vision became clearer bit by bit.

"Based on how you do."

"What do you want?"

"What do you know about the hidden oasis in the Bariton Desert?"

"The Bariton Desert... There's a saying that's been passed down, 'There's truth behind the unending mirage.'."

Tino stared at Kang Oh as if saying, 'how's this?'.

"I already know that," Kang Oh replied curtly.

"Ahem. My head's feeling dizzy. If I drank some honey water, then I might..."

He was tired of his bag of tricks.

"I guess you don't have any information. See you later."

Kang Oh stood up.

Kang Oh knew exactly what type of person Tino was based on their previous encounter.

Someone who wanted two things if he gave you one. 

That's why he needed to take the initiative.

"W-Wait a sec!"

Tino quickly grabbed Kang Oh.

"I don't know anything else about the Bariton Desert. I don't, that is," Tino said. 

"What do you mean by 'I don't.'? Then does that mean you know someone who does?"

"Of course. I know someone who came from there. If need be, I can write you an introduction letter too."

He was getting a bit interested.

"Who is it?"

"First... I'd like to eat some seafood soup."

Tino smiled. Kang Oh could see his yellow teeth.

Kang Oh raised his hand and ordered a serving of seafood soup.

"3 gold prepayment."

The seafood soup cost 3 gold! As always, it was crazy expensive.

Kang Oh took out 3 gold coins from his breast and gave it to the owner.

The owner quickly pocketed the coins to his own breast and disappeared into the kitchen.

"Who is he?" Kang Oh asked.

"There's a mage called Grano at Altein's Mage's Tower. They come from the Bariton Desert," Tino said.

"Where is he in the Mage's Tower?"

"Go to the water magic laboratory on the 7th floor. That's where he works."

"Give me the introduction letter," Kang Oh said.

Tino brought over an old piece of paper and pen, which were atop an ornament on one side of the bar, and began writing the introduction letter.

When he was finished, he passed Kang Oh the introduction letter.

"Here."

"You weren't lying when you said you two were close, right?"

Kang Oh stared at him suspiciously.

There was a chance that he'd be poorly received if he traveled to the Mage's Tower with Tino's introduction letter.

This was especially true because Tino was the type of person to do something like that.

"I'm not really close to them. We're close enough that they greet me when I pass them." 

"Ok."

It didn't seem like he was scamming him. If he was, then Hyper Intuition would've activated.

"Then I'll get going."

He had no further business with Tino today. Kang Oh stood up.

"Um... what about information fee?" Tino asked gently.

"Is the seafood soup not enough?"

"No, that's not it, but... The alcohol here is quite delicious."

In other words, he wanted Kang Oh to buy him alcohol too.

Rather than buying him alcohol, Kang Oh took out 10 gold from his breast and threw it at Tino.

"Thanks!"

Tino received the 10 gold and rejoiced. For someone who lives day to day, 10 gold was quite a lot of money.

Of course, 10 gold was quite a bit of money for Kang Oh as well. After all, it was worth 100,000 won. 

However, he was buttering Tino up for when he needed info next time.

"I'll see you later."

Kang Oh left the bar.

He was headed for Altein's Mage's Tower, which was known as the Mage's Cradle. 

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