Yeon-woo went down the hill and began to walk through the city. He was in an area which lay between the Tutorial and the Tower called the Outer District. It was a huge city established by people who lived in the Tower. Players who had just passed the Tutorial usually did not think of walking around it since their heads were full of thoughts of climbing the Tower.
Even if they did visit, it was simply to supply themselves with items they needed to make their way up. They didn't consider staying in the city any longer than necessary. However, unlike the other players, Yeon-woo didn’t plan on climbing the Tower right away. Instead, he decided to stay in the Outer District first. He had a lot of work to do there.
* * *
'It should be somewhere around here.' Yeon-woo headed to the market as soon as he entered the city. The market in this world was similar to the markets commonly seen in his home world, with street vendors displaying various items in their stalls, and it was filled with people haggling prices.
Yeon-woo walked down the street with a photograph in his hand. It was the photograph of his brother and his old Arthia teammates that had been found on his brother’s body along with the pocket watch. Although the photo had already faded by quite a lot, he could still distinguish the features of the people and location in it. Yeon-woo was looking for one of the people in the photo and the spot where the picture had been taken. ‘The place must be around here. This area looks similar to the one in the photo.’
Yeon-woo referred to the photo as he walked, but the area of the market captured in the photograph had already changed a lot, and it was difficult to find the building with so few clues. Thankfully, no one batted an eye at Yeon-woo’s appearance. The mask didn’t even stand out too much in this city full of different races in different types of clothing. ‘Is this the place?’ After quite a few turns, Yeon-woo finally stopped in front of a blacksmith shop inside an old, run-down building. A chipped sign showing a hammer and an anvil hung next to the door, and from its appearance, it seemed like the shop hadn’t had any customers for a long time.
However, Yeon-woo was certain this was the place. It looked just like the one in the photograph. He gazed at the hammer and anvil blankly for a while, then put the picture in his pocket and pushed the door open. “Excuse me.”
Creak! From the noise it was making, the door seemed like it would fall at any moment. The stained interior was as decrepit as the exterior, and dust bunnies rolled around the floor.
Yeon-woo cast Draconic Eyes and examined the items displayed on the rack along the wall. ‘However, the weapons are clean.’
[Henova's Superior Iron Sword]
[Classification: Two-Handed Weapon]
[Description: An iron sword forged by Henova, a dwarven blacksmith. It boasts remarkable durability and a long lifespan.]
[Classification: Two-handed Weapon]
[Description: A greatbow crafted by Henova, a dwarven blacksmith. It is made from the horns and tendons of a Minotaur. The bowstring is so stiff that normal people won’t be able to pull it.]
[Henova's Pitch-Black Helm]
[Description: A helm forged by Henova, a dwarven blacksmith. It will hide the wearer’s presence if worn in darkness.]
‘They’re all items with high ratings.’ The Draconic Eyes could partially peek into an object or person’s abilities, which meant that it was possible to use it to read some of the latent powers and characteristics of an item. Thanks to this, Yeon-woo could see how excellent the items were despite their shabby appearance. He was also surprised to discover an item that even his skill couldn’t analyze.
[Description: ??? forged by Henova, a dwarven blacksmith. ?????]
Yeon-woo picked up the item, which looked like a dagger about ten centimeters longer than the daggers he’d brought and just a little shorter than Carshina’s Dagger. Unlike the other weapons and armor, it was covered in rust. As far as he knew, there were two categories of items that Draconic Eyes couldn’t analyze. They were either too bad or too good, and things with bad appearances like the rusty dagger usually belonged to the first category.
However, this time, Yeon-woo had a gut feeling that the dagger actually belonged to the second one. There wasn’t anything lacking at all about its material and solidness even though it was all hidden under rust. ‘This one’s very tempting.’
Yeon-woo had already acquired a variety of great artifacts in the Tutorial, from the ones he was using like the Black Bracelet, Carshina’s Dagger, Goblin King’s Eye, Monsters’ Five-Colored Jewel, Hargan’s Crown, and Vigrid to the rewards that he hadn’t examined yet, such as the Beast Lord’s Lion Mane Helm and Iblis’ Embryo. Each was a powerful artifact that could carry him through the lower half of the Tower, especially the Black Bracelet and Vigrid, which could even be used in the higher floors once their seals were removed.
Because of his great artifacts, Yeon-woo’s standard had been raised to the point that artifacts without a proper option wouldn’t satisfy him. Nevertheless, the dagger possessed such a mysterious quality that captivated Yeon-woo. ‘I need a dagger around this size.’
Yeon-woo had to use Vigrid in Section G because it was the best sword available to him at the time. However, he preferred to use a fast and complex style of swordsmanship using a dagger in each hand. This dagger looked like it would go well with Carshina’s Dagger.
'I see why Jeong-woo preferred to come here for weapons.' In spite of its appearance, the shop had once provided artifacts exclusively to Arthia when they were the fifth-ranked clan. Judging from his works, it seemed like the owner of the smithy was still living up to his name.
Yeon-woo had just turned to check on other weaponry when the back door sprang open. "Who the hell are you?" A short, chunky dwarf with a bushy beard long enough to almost drag on the ground entered scowling. The muscles on his forearms looked as solid as those of an ox, and he was carrying a stack of swords. It was the dwarf Henova, the owner of the shabby smithy.
‘He looks just like the dwarf in the photograph.’ The dwarf in the photograph was standing next to his brother with a big smile. His brother had mentioned him several times in his diary.
If someone asked me to pick the person in Arthia I relied most on, I might have to think about it for a while because there are just too many. However, if they asked the same question but asked me to choose someone in the Tower, I can answer without hesitation: Henova.
He was like a father to me.
'Father…' Yeon-woo and his brother didn't have many memories of their father. They were told that he’d died in an accident when they were still very small, and all Yeon-woo could remember was the vague feeling of warmth whenever his father hugged him. It was the only memory Yeon-woo and Jeong-woo had of him.
Henova had to be someone special if Jeong-woo considered him a father figure, and it was why Yeon-woo decided to look for Henova as soon as he passed the Tutorial. ‘He was also the one who stayed by Jeong-woo's side until his last breath.’
However, Yeon-woo didn’t take off his mask and introduce himself. His innocent brother proudly described Henova as one of the few friends he could trust, but Yeon-woo couldn’t trust anyone that easily. Until he was completely sure, he had to keep anyone and everyone at arm’s length first. "I'm here to buy a weapon."
"A weapon, you say?"
Yeon-woo nodded, but Henova answered with a sneer. "Even after seeing that?" Henova pointed at the destroyed part of his shop with his chin.
"What's wrong with that?"
"You've gotta be kidding me. Kid, I’ve got no time for your jokes, so get lost." Henova tried to walk past Yeon-woo, but Yeon-woo used his long legs to block his way. "I’m not joking. I am here to buy a weapon."
"Well, that’s too bad, because I'm not selling any, so get the fuck out of here." Henova pushed Yeon-woo aside with his shoulder, as if he didn't want to deal with him anymore. His muscles were so hard that Yeon-woo felt like he’d run into a wall. For a moment, Yeon-woo watched Henova head back to his workshop, but soon threw a question at him. "Is it because Arthia was disbanded?"
Henova turned his head back to glare at Yeon-woo. Only one powerful emotion filled his eyes: intense resentment. "Don’t you dare speak a word about that, kid."
'That’s a yes, then.'
Henova had been the master blacksmith of Arthia. Because he wasn't a player, he wasn’t an official member, but no one could deny that he was an integral part of Arthia. Thanks to the outstanding weapons and armor he provided, Arthia could smoothly progress up the Tower. But now that Arthia was gone, he refused to sell his weapons. Yeon-woo was certain that he knew the reason why. "Did the other clans threaten you? I bet they tried to force you to join their clans, right?"
"I warned you not to talk about that."
"But you must have ignored their threats. Seems like they started hurting the customers who bought items here, didn’t they?" That was why customers stopped coming to his shop, and he had to kick out those who insisted on appearing so that they wouldn’t be harmed.
"You…!" Henova's face turned purple from anger.
"You don't have to worry about any of that, at least when it comes to me. You just need to sell your items to me."
Henova grew silent, and Yeon-woo grinned to himself. He had learned that Henova looked tough on the outside but was very soft-hearted underneath. It seemed like his brother was right about that.
In the end, Henova gave up trying to kick Yeon-woo out of the shop. He threw the swords in his arms to the ground and said with a scowl. “All right, you win. If you want to buy my weapons so badly, then buy them. Which one do you want?"
"I want this." Yeon-woo pointed at the rusty dagger he had picked up before. Various emotions swirled in Henova’s eyes for a fleeting second, then he put on his frown again and looked Yeon-woo up and down. "You got enough money for that?"
Yeon-woo said with a smile, "Can I buy it on credit?"Previous Chapter Next Chapter