Chapter 161. The First City (3)


[Highest Difficulty Tutorial Town]

A new morning arrived.
As soon as I woke up, I left the inn and began to do my morning stretch. Then suddenly, a loud, ringing voice struck my ears.

“Oi, what are you doing?”

I turned around and saw Cheok Jungyeong who was topless. He seemed to have been working out as his body was red and his muscles were bulked up.

“Just some morning workout.”

“Workout? Ha, you call that a workout?”

Cheok Jungyeong approached me as he sneered.

“Listen, Newbie, doing push-ups is for kids.”

“…Pardon?”

“When it comes to training your body, breathing is the most important thing. Got it? To breathe properly…”

Cheok Jungyeong suddenly began to lecture about breathing.
I was half-ignoring him, but suddenly my mind became clearer. Cheok Jungyeong pushed his face closer.

“Listen, breathing isn’t just done with your body, it’s done with your mind.”

The man who was standing in front of me was the famous ‘Cheok Jungyeong’ of the Goryeo era. As the most powerful general in the history of the Korean Peninsula, his understanding of martial arts was something no one could argue against.

“Look, this is what’s known as inner core breathing.”

Ssp, haa…
Cheok Jungyeong began to breathe. It might look like normal breathing, but it was different. I carefully observed his body. As he inhaled and exhaled, his muscles moved along with him.

“I’m moving the muscles in my body by breathing. Get it? We’re on a completely different level of breathing!”

Cheok Jungyeong stood proudly after finishing his demonstration. I watched Cheok Jungyeong’s muscles for a bit, then muttered with doubt.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do this.”

“It’ll be hard for sure. There are lots of rookies swinging their swords around claiming they’ve achieved the ‘one with the sword’ realm, but they are unaware that becoming one with your mind and body is the hardest thing in the world. But I can do it. Do you know why?”

No…
I gave him an apathetic look, but Cheok Jungyeong continued on without minding my disinterest.

“The strongest man in all of Goryeo, the martial god who could uproot trees with his bare hands and change the fate of countries alone.”

Cheok Jungyeong hit his chest proudly.

“It’s because that’s who I am.”

He smiled and faced me. His expression contained an ineffable pride and self-conviction. I stared at him silently. Cheok Jungyeong’s smile turned into a big grin.

“Are you starting to respect me now?”

“…No, I’m just cringing. Isn’t that your past life anyway?”

“What? Say that again, I dare you.”

In any case, I obtained a good hint.
Breathing through the entire body. Although it was impossible for my current self, I should be able to imitate it using Stigma’s magic power.

“Hajin~”

At that moment, Jain peeked her head out of the third-floor window.

“Yes?”

“Do you know how to cook? I think Boss is hungry from all the training she did last night. She wants you to cook for her.”

—Jain! W-When did I say that!?

“Boss says you’re a good cook. She wants bulgogi rice.”

—Jain! Y-You!

I could hear Boss’ voice as well. I chuckled and looked at Cheok Jungyeong.

“Let’s go shopping, Cheok Jungyeong-ssi.”

“Cheok Jungyeong-ssi? Just call me Cheok Jungyeong.”

“Alright, Cheok Jungyeong.”

“…You wanna die?”

Cheok Jungyeong and I went out to the busy streets.

“Isn’t it interesting?”

“What is.”

“The scenery here.”

This place looked exactly like a town from a fantasy novel. Most houses were built with bricks or wood, the only form of transportation were horses and carriages, and there were shops that sold potions and magic supplies.

“I guess so.”

Eventually, Cheok Jungyeong and I arrived at the town’s market district, a long stretch of alleyways filled with street vendors that sold food. After picking the freshest ingredients, I looked up at the vendor.

[Lower limit – 30TP]

“How much for all this?”

“Let’s see. Onions, mushrooms, pork…It should be about 100TP.”

“I think 35TP should be enough.”

In this town, talking politely was the same thing as announcing that you were a pushover.

“35TP? That’s a bit…”

“Make it 35TP.”

“Then you can go elsewhere. I doubt you’ll find any place that’ll sell at such a dirt-cheap price.”

The vendor tried to refuse, but he was an NPC with a low haggling level. It didn’t take long for me to crack him.

“Ehew, fine, take it.”

Using the intimidating aura Cheok Jungyeong was giving off, I succeeded in haggling down the price.

“Are you done?”

“Yes, let’s go back now.”

Afterward, I returned to the inn with Cheok Jungyeong. Seeing our hands full with bags of ingredients, Boss and Jain welcomed us. Before I even started to cook, Boss sat down at the table.

“Wait just a bit.”

Grade-8 Dexterity was more than enough for cooking.
Using a recipe I had memorized, I quickly made a 4-person meal.

“Wow.”

“Oh~ You’re a good cook, Newbie—!”

Cheok Jungyeong and Jain expressed their surprise, while Boss quickly ate like a vacuum machine.

**


After our meal, the four of us stared blankly at the ceiling of our room.

“Oi, Newbie, what are you doing next? Gambling?”

“No, we went yesterday.”

I already beat the casino hard. Since they knew my face, I should be on a blacklist, preventing me from entering. If not, I would be kidnapped the moment I entered.

“Then what are you going to do?”

“I’m going to open up a street stall.”

“Street stall?”

Jain’s eyes widened.

“Yes.”

The Tutorial Town’s NPCs had a lot of money. Of course, as this town was part of the tutorial, there weren’t any Lv.3 equipment or items. On the other hand, NPCs were Lv.2 or Lv.3 at the very least, and the captain of the vigilante corps could potentially be Lv.10 or more.
That was because ‘Tutorial Town’ was located in the basement of the Tower of Wish. In other words, it was one of the first floors created. All NPCs in this place should have lived here for at least 5 years.

“Why a street stall? Aren’t you just going to get scammed?”

“No, as long as you sell above the lowest price, opening a street stall is actually the easiest way of making money. There’s no way for NPCs to force you to sell something.”

“Mm, then what are you going to sell?”

“This.”

I took out my red crystal axe and red crystal spear. Although they came in handy during the second tutorial, I no longer had any use for them.

“I’m also going to make more.”

With the materials in my inventory and materials I could gain from rolling Random Dice, I planned to make more items. Although I wouldn’t be able to use Stigma’s magic power under the watchful eye of the administrator, I could make up for it with this special leaf.

===
[Lv.3 Yggdrasil Leaf]
—Lv.3 Blessing of Adventure
*Your body becomes lighter while you have this item in your inventory. (improvements to your physical abilities)
*You can grant small blessings to items. Blessings will get stronger the more they have to do with adventures.
===

“And actually, there’s something I need you to do, Jain-ssi.”

“…Me?”

“Yes.”

“Really? What is it?”

Jain tilted head as she pointed her finger at herself.

**


At the end of a street leading to the inn, where not too many but not too few people passed by, I set up a stall. In case I ran into other Players, I made sure to have my mask and hooded robe on.

[General Store]
[From weapons to armors to herbs to fruits, we sell everything and anything.]

I put my sign down and sat down on the ground.
Before I could even put down a piece of cloth to put my items on…

“Hey, who are you?”

Thugs who were in a union with the street vendors of the same street approached me. I was surrounded by five thugs, but I maintained my composure.

“I got permission to sell here.”

“What? Whose permission…”

“Mine.”

A deep voice rang out at just the right moment. The five thugs turned around simultaneously.

“Ah, Boss!”

At the same time, the five NPCs bowed at a 90-degree angle.
Tak, tak. Along with imposing footsteps, the man who the NPCs called ‘Boss’ stood in front of me.

“I gave this person permission.”

“Ah, our apologies, we didn’t know…”

“It’s fine.”

The boss frowned heavily. His eyes of contempt were clearly showing that he didn’t want to bother himself with trifling matters. As expected, ‘her’ acting was superb.

“I’m not the one you should be apologizing to in the first place. Why don’t you buy something from him.”

“Y-Yes, understood!”

With a single command from the man, the five NPCs faced me once again.

“This looks nice. How much is…”

The first NPC pointed at an armor I put out without much thought. However, in the next moment, his eyes widened.

“Whoa, h-hey, isn’t this a Lv.3 armor?”

“Lv. 3?”

“Ha, as if that’s possible.”

Their attention all fell on the armor.

“This is Lv.3?”

“I think so.”

Although NPCs couldn’t check item descriptions like Players, they had discerning eyes that could appraise the level of most items.

“But there aren’t any Lv.3s in our time!”

Even so, they displayed doubt and suspicion. I spoke.

“This isn’t a Lv.3 armor.”

===
[Lv.3 Leather Armor with Lv.3 Yggdrasil’s Blessing]
○Lv.3 Defense
○Lv.3 Durability
○Lv.3 Easy of Movement
—Lv.3 Yggdrasil’s Small Blessing
○Increases all effects of the Leather Armor by 1 level.
○This blessing will disappear after 24 hours. However, the owner of the Yggdrasil Leaf can choose up to five armor to receive permanent blessings.
===

“See, he says it isn’t. I’ve never seen a Lv.3 equipment before in my life.”

“It’s almost Lv.4.”

“Exactly, it’s only… what? Lv.4?”

“Yes, you should be able to tell if you look close enough.”

This was an armor I made in the waiting room using Stigma’s magic power. Although it felt a bit wasteful to sell it now, TP was much more important at the moment.

“Here, let me see.”
“Ah, let me see too.”

The five NPCs took turns looking at the armor.

“Ah, fuck, stop being so selfish!”
“You don’t even have money!”
“I do, you fuck!”

They even began to fight amongst themselves. I looked beyond their shoulders at the boss of the group of thugs. The boss, Jain, mouthed silently.

—Hajin, don’t forget to give me 5%.

I nodded.

“This, I’ll buy this! How much is it?”

“Mm… it’s going to be a bit expensive.”

“How’s 500TP?”

“8! I can do 800TP!”

“1400!”

The sudden auction caught the attention of others in the street. More people began to wander over in curiosity, and after hearing that a Lv.4 item was being sold…

“3000!”

“3000. Is that the final bid?”

“….”

“Good, 3000 it is.”

The leather armor I made was sold for 3000TP. The NPC who bought it seemed to be quite wealthy.
After checking that the TP I got wasn’t fake, I gave him the armor, and the NPC returned with a happy expression.
However, the other customers seemed to have no plans to leave.
They began to ask all sorts of questions on other items I had out for sale, some of which were Lv.3 items.
The fools who tried to sneak off with my items were caught by Cheok Jungyeong and taught a lesson of love.

…While I was busy dealing with the influx of customers, all of a sudden, a familiar voice rang out along with a gentle breeze.

“…What’s going on here?”

This faint voice set aside the booming voice of all the other customers and landed in my ears.
My eyes immediately shot open, and my head turned to the direction the voice came from.

There, I saw a girl on her tiptoes, trying to peek at what was being sold.

“A general store…?”

She was someone I knew well. Her face was one that I could never forget, to the point that my heart stopped a beat when I saw her.
She was… Chae Nayun.

“Argh, move over if you’re not buying!”

Chae Nayun worked her way in front of me.
I couldn’t say anything. I thanked the mask and hooded robe I was wearing and lowered my head further.

“…Red crystal spear? Um, do you have a red crystal sword?”

I shook my head at Chae Nayun’s question. Her voice was still the same as ever.

“I see… then how much is this spear?”

I was put into a situation where I had no choice but to speak. I cleared my throat and changed my voice.

“250TP.”

“250TP?”

“I’ll give you a bonus too.”

“Uh…”

Chae Nayun fell in thought. It seemed she didn’t find anything suspicious with my voice. I thanked my ‘Charming Voice’ once again.

“Hm… I really want this, but I only have 200… or no, 150TP.”

“….”

“I-It’s true. I understand if that’s too little. I can just go to another shop.”

Her haggling made no sense. There was no logic, technique, or emotion behind it.
But I pretended to be tricked.

“Then you can take it for 150TP. Here, have this too.”

On top of the red crystal spear Chae Nayun wanted, I threw in a money pouch which also had a bento box I made for lunch.

“Oh, I don’t need the bonus… How about you shave off another 50TP instead?”

“…You crazy?”

She made an absurd offer.

“…I’m kidding. Thank you, have a nice day.”

Chae Nayun turned around with the red crystal spear in one hand and the leather pouch in the other.
Just like that, she walked away. Her steps were light. She must be thinking that it was her haggling technique that cut down the price.
I watched her leave for a long time.
Her hair was still short and was dyed black.
I grabbed my chest. My heart was still beating violently, refusing to calm down.
…It was then.

“Oi, answer me.”

Some man walked in front of me and blocked my line of sight. His face was oily and generally unpleasant.

“How much is this?”

He pointed at the red crystal axe and asked.
I retorted briefly.

“1500TP.”

“What? You just sold the spear to that girl for—”

“1600TP.”

“What? Why did it go up by—”

“1700TP.”

“You…”

**


Five minutes later.
Chae Nayun ran to a nearby bench and sat down.

“Let’s see… Oh? It even has a blessing.”

===
[Lv.2 Red Crystal Spear with Lv.3 Yggdrasil’s Blessing]
○Lv.2 Burn Damage
○Lv.2 Fire-attribute Power
—Lv.3 Yggdrasil’s Small Blessing
○Increases all effects of the red crystal spear by 1 level.
===

“Huhuhu….”

‘What’s this, I bought a half-Lv.3 item for 150TP?’
Chae Nayun smiled happily as she read the item description.

“Looks like NPCs can’t read item descriptions. Should I sell it? No, why would I sell such a good item?”

Chae Nayun tightly hugged the red crystal spear.

“…Oh right.”

Then, she suddenly remembered the leather pouch she got from the street vendor NPC. Chae Nayun opened the pouch without much thought. Inside, she found a warm bento box.

“…Bento box?”

She checked the item description first. Thankfully, it wasn’t poisoned.
Feeling hungry, Chae Nayun smiled and took the bento box out.

“Oh?”

However, there were things she didn’t buy placed inside the pouch.
Five gold coins.
Right, the pouch contained 500TP.

“….”

Chae Nayun stared at the coins blankly.
Thinking about it for a moment, she quickly came to an explanation. The street vendor NPC must have placed the sales from today in it. Clearly, he gave the pouch to her mistakenly.
However, looking at the shining gold coins, a flame of greed rose up from Chae Nayun’s heart.
Five gold coins.
500TP.
She only had 150TP on her…

“N-No.”

‘It’s only right to give it back. You already got such a great item for 150TP. Don’t lose your conscience, Nayun.’
Chae Nayun shot up and went back the way she came from.

“…There he is.”

Thankfully, the street vendor was still there.
Chae Nayun worked her way through the crowd once again and gave the gold coins to the vendor.

“Um, here, you left 500TP inside the leather pouch.”

“…What?”

“I came to give it back. Take it.”

However, the NPC refused to take the coins and instead glanced at the giant man standing behind the stall.

“Oi.”

A giant walked in front of her.
While Chae Nayun was confused, the man shot back intimidatingly.

“Screw off if you’re going to argue with what you got.”

“N-No, I’m not arguing with what I got. I got five gold coins with it. These are yours.”

“…Hm?”

The giant glanced at the street vendor NPC.
Chae Nayun couldn’t hear what the vendor said, but the giant sneered and shot back.

“Screw off, idiot.”

“What? Idiot? Say that again!”

“Just leave, little brat.”

The giant man raised his arm and threatened Chae Nayun.
He must have thought that he could intimidate her away but in reality…

“What? Are you crazy!?”

Chae Nayun kicked the man’s leg without cowering down.
Kwak! Her foot dug into his calf.

“…Uk!”

A sharp pain coursed through the giant’s body, causing him to fall on one knee. Chae Nayun quickly ran away.

“Y-You crazy bitch—!”

“Hmph, I was doing you a favor!”

She stuck up her middle finger at the giant’s threat.

“I, I’ll remember your face! You little—!”

Only Cheok Jungyeong’s angry roar rang out in the streets.

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