Chapter 162. The First City (4)


By the time Chae Nayun completed a mission, the sky was already dark.
She trudged back to the inn she stayed in the night before. Although she completed a 500TP mission, she only received 200TP, and after paying for her lodging, she was only left with 125TP.

“Hey, you need to pay another 75TP.”

“Ask my companion for the other half.”

“…Hm, fine.”

“Alright, then I’m going back to my room.”

After walking past the greedy innkeeper, she returned to her room.
Lying on the empty bed, Chae Nayun stared at the ceiling.
She was tired, but she couldn’t fall asleep. In an empty room, she was all alone.
Suddenly, her heart rate slowed down, and her mood turned sour. Lonely thoughts began to distract her.
Tk, tk, tk.
Rain began to fall.

“…It’s raining.”

She opened the door, thinking that she was perhaps hearing things, but it really was raining.
She let out a small sigh.
Thinking about it now, the first two tutorials were much easier. Back then, she was so physically exhausted that her brain didn’t have the time to function.
But now that she had idle time… in complete solitude, everything began to come alive once more. Fragments of her memory swept through her head.
Her mental illness had gotten worse ever since she entered the Tower. Was it because she wasn’t eating her pills? Her breathing became rough and her head hurt.

“…Uk!”

An unbearable headache struck her. She clutched her head. Beeeeep— A ringing noise buzzed in her ears. She felt like the strange sound was making her surroundings quake.

“Ah… fuck….”

Blood dripped down from the lip she was biting. Things she couldn’t understand flashed before her eyes. The conversation from that day rose up in her foggy consciousness. She still had many questions left unanswered.

“Argh….”

If it really was him that did it or if he was making up an absurd lie.
And if it really was him who murdered her brother…
Why, why, why?
Just why did he do it?
Her questions repeatedly rattled her mind. Resentment and sadness came together and formed a restrictive chain that bound her.

Click—

At that moment, a clear clicking sound rang out.
The door to her room slowly opened. Chae Nayun raised her upper body slightly. She could see a man with disheveled hair trudging in. His face was that man’s face.
Kim Hajin, Kim Hajin, Kim Hajin.
The face she could never forget… was now in front of her.
She stealthily reached towards the spear standing next to her bed.

“You’re already back?”

However, her hallucination scattered away with a single sentence from the man.
With a sigh, Chae Nayun closed her eyes before opening them back up.
She now saw who the man really was.

“Why you are sitting in bed like a ghost?”

Shin Jonghak asked. Chae Nayun scrutinized his clothes. As though he spent his day rolling in mud, there was dirt all over his body.

“…Did you make some money?”

“Pft, is that the first thing you ask? Is this what it feels like to have a nagging wife?”

“Shut up.”

Chae Nayun encountered Shin Jonghak purely through coincidence. When she was looking for a mission to take on in the mercenary’s pub, he had suddenly appeared with a stupid smile.
Although Chae Nayun was freaked out at first, she decided to share a room with him to save money.

“What’s this bento box?”

Shin Jonghak pointed at the bento box sitting on the bed.

“Oh, this? It came with an item I bought…”

Chae Nayun glanced at the half-empty bento box.

“I didn’t finish it though.”

“Why? Is something wrong with it?”

“No, it’s actually pretty well made according to the status window.”

“Then why didn’t you finish it?”

“No reason. It just wasn’t to my taste… Why do you keep asking anyways? For the record, I didn’t leave it behind for you.”

The truth was that she couldn’t taste it.
After ‘that’ incident, Chae Nayun lost her sense of taste. Ironically, she had overcome her picky taste by losing her sense of taste entirely. For the current Chae Nayun, food was only a method of obtaining sustenance.

“Also, you bought an item? Are you sure you didn’t get scammed?”

“…Please, if anything, I’m the one who scammed the seller.”

Chae Nayun held up the red crystal spear proudly.

“…Is it good?”

“Yep. I think it should be worth at least 1500TP, but I bought it for a tenth of that price!”

Huhuhu— Chae Nayun made a big smile.

“I went on a mission with this thing. It cut through goblins like butter!”

“….”

However, Shin Jonghak didn’t react. Seeing his serious expression, Chae Nayun smiled awkwardly.

“Don’t force yourself to smile.”

“…What?”

“It hurts me to see you like this.”

“What are you blabbering on about.”

Chae Nayun brandished her spear in front of Shin Jonghak who promptly raised his hands and backed away.

“I’m kidding. Anyways, doesn’t that mean you used TP?”

“Yeah, but I ended up making money from it.”

“What?”

Shin Jonghak frowned. He clearly had doubts. Seeing this, Chae Nayun took out five gold coins from her inventory and told him about the lucky incident she had today.

“…I was going to give it back, but they chased me out while calling me an idiot.”

“….”

Shin Jonghak normally would have made a snarky comment, but he stayed quiet. Chae Nayun caught him looking at the coins with a complicated expression.

“So, how much do you have?”

“…H, Huh?”

As expected, he was flustered. Chae Nayun sneered.

“Pft, I bet you’re poorer than me.”

“…Pft, as if. Of course I have more than you. Who do you think I am? I’m the man who will become the world’s youngest high-intermediate rank Hero, Shin Jong—”

“Then show me.”

“…I’m getting sleepy all of a sudden.”

When Chae Nayun put her hands out demanding him to show his money, Shin Jonghak pretended to be drowsy and collapsed on the ground. Chae Nayun snickered and looked down at Shin Jonghak.

“Oh right.”

Suddenly remembering something, she nudged his shoulder with her foot.

“If you’re going to sleep, stay on the floor. If you try to put a leg over the bed like last night…”

“…I’ll give it my best, but my only flaw is my bad sleeping habit.”

“Try it if you want to break your leg.”

“….”

“Actually, since I slept on the bed last night, I’ll sleep on the floor tonight.”

“What? You don’t need to—”

“Hurry up and move.”

Despite Shin Jonghak’s resistance, Chae Nayun dragged him onto the bed.

**


Tk, Tk.
Late night with drizzling rain.
I closed the stall. Cheok Jungyeong left to drink with the TP he had left, but I returned to the inn. Feeling like someone threw a huge rock in my mind, I couldn’t bring myself to stay outside.

“Ssp… huu.”

Boss was the only one inside the room. She was sitting cross-legged and was focused on regaining her lost stats.

“….”

For some reason, her attire was more daring than usual. Wearing only a black tank top and hotpants, her well-developed muscles were being outlined every time she breathed.
I quickly walked past her and lied down on the bed.

“Did something happen?”

Boss asked with her eyes still closed.

“…No, nothing.”

“Did the stall not go as well as you expected?”

“No, I sold everything. I made a lot.”

“Then did you get scammed?”

I shook my head. Before going to sleep, I took out two Random Dice for my daily routine. Thinking ‘good items to sell’, I rolled the two dice.

[Lv.4 Krill Dragon Leather]
[Lv.3 Big and Juicy Mango]

A good material and a nostalgic fruit from the second tutorial.
With these, I had things to sell tomorrow.

“….”

Then, feeling a laser-like stare, I turned around. Boss was staring at me intently. Heh. I grinned.

“Are you hungry, Boss?”

“No.”

Boss furrowed her brows with a pout.

“Do you think I’m a glutton?”

“No, it’s just that you were staring at this mango.”

“…That’s a mango?”

She showed interest in the mango. Her eyes were clearly flashing with greed.
However, Boss soon retracted her gaze and got up with a dry cough.

“Kuhum, it’s not that. You don’t look so good today, Newbie.”

“…I just get a bit depressed on rainy days.”

Things that made me angry, things that made me sad, things that made me apologetic… For a long time, I’ve been burying my emotions deep inside my heart. Otherwise, I would only be in pain every day.
But when these emotions were subconsciously pulled out, they always came with great distress.
…Just like now.

“Anyways, Boss.”

“Hm?”

“How are your stats looking like right now?”

To be honest, Boss was currently a NEET. After I gave her 1000TP, she stayed indoors all day without doing any work. She spent all of her free time either eating or training.
Since that was the case, she surely must have seen some improvements to her stats.

“My magic power is at 3.5. Other stats entered the 2-point range too.”

“Oh?”

Even while considering the increased stat gain inside the Tower, her growth speed was incredible. This was why division of labor was important.

“You’re like a max-level NEET.”

“…What’s that?”

Boss narrowed her eyes.
Max-level NEET. It meant she was a bum who played around all day without working but could easily dominate whatever she set out to do.

“It’s a good thing.”

“I don’t believe you… I’m hurt. I think I need to eat that mango to feel better. Give it here.”

Boss reached for the mango, but I stopped her by putting the mango in my inventory.

**


For the ten-day duration of the third tutorial, I continued to make new equipment and sold them at my street stall.
Because I spent all my time either crafting or selling items, I couldn’t increase my stats by much. However, the most important aspect of the third tutorial was money.
Since I now had over 20000 TP, I was more than satisfied.

“I should be able to buy it now.”

Today was the last day of the third tutorial.
I stood in front of a dilapidated shop in the outskirt of the town. The pouch in my pocket was overflowing with money.

[Miscellaneous Item Shop]

Although it looked like the town didn’t sell anything special, there was actually a shop that sold rather unique items. As the shop that only existed in the highest difficulty tutorial, it could be said that this shop was what made the highest difficulty tutorial worth the trouble.

Kiiik—

With a trembling heart, I walked into the shop. The moment I passed through the door, an aged smell of wood and dust spread out.

“Uh….”

The shop was quite battered, and the shopkeeper was reading a newspaper without even looking at his customer.
First, I took a good look around.

“You have quite the collection of items here.”

“….”

The shopkeeper NPC didn’t say anything. However, his silence made him more trustworthy. After all, being talkative was one of the key characteristics of a scammer.
I pretended to look around the shop once again.

[Lv.2 Magic Contract]
[Lv.2 Illness Cure Potion]
[Lv.2 Speedwell Grass]
[Lv.2 Sprite Shield]
[Lv.2 Kim Joonghon’s Claymore]

There were all sorts of items in the shop.
However, the real specialty of the shop was on the counter.
I walked up to the counter and pointed at the egg sitting on it.

“Is this egg for sale too?”

[???]

An egg with question marks as its item description.
The shopkeeper finally reacted.

“That egg is the egg of a special bird that only lives in this town. It’s not something a nobody like you can buy.”

The man spoke with a husky voice that wasn’t hospitable in the slightest.
I retorted with a smile.

“Who else would buy it if not me?”

“…That’s 40000TP, kid.”

40000TP.
Even if someone knew about this before coming into the Tower, 40000TP was an impossible amount to acquire in only ten days.
However, this egg was certainly worth every TP.
This egg was laid by Muninn, a raven that belonged to the god Odin. In other words, this egg was Muninn’s descendant. Since Muninn was the pet of a god, this egg would surely be…
Well, I actually didn’t know the real answer.
This egg was introduced as an Easter egg and was something that not even Kim Suho could buy in the original story. Instead, the shop NPC would see through his sense of justice and righteousness and gift him a different item.
Of course, since I didn’t have Kim Suho’s disposition, I had to make do with money.

“How about half of that amount? 20000TP.”

“….”

The shopkeeper gave me an odd look.

“Isn’t that reasonable? I don’t have any more than that, and this egg isn’t an item you can sell here anyways.”

There was no way a 40000TP item would be sold. Not even a business god like Yoo Yeonha would be capable of earning that much money in only ten days.

“You mean to say you have 20000TP?”

“Of course.”

I took out twenty 1000TP banknotes from my inventory and showed it to the shopkeeper.
His eyes flickered conspicuously.

“…Why don’t you take that hood off first? It’s rude, don’t you think?”

“Ah, yes, sorry.”

As one of the only polite customers he would have met in this town full of scammers, I was surely seen in a favorable light.
I quickly pulled my hood down.

“So, do you know what this is?”

“…Yes, I do.”

“What is it?’

“The egg of an eagle, I think?”

The shopkeeper’s eyes widened.
As I said before, Muninn was a raven. But when I was writing my novel, I thought it was an eagle and wrote it as such.
Of course, there were commenters who pointed out my mistake, but because it was too late to make edits, I remembered saying something like, ‘an eagle sounds cooler’.

“You have good eyes. You’re right, it’s the egg of an eagle. But most people won’t be able to raise this beast. In fact, they won’t even be able to hatch it.”

“Ah… but you see, I’m not really an ordinary person.”

“….”

The shopkeeper gave me a meaningful look.

“Otherwise, how would I have made 20000TP?”

I received the shopkeeper’s gaze and spoke with ease.

**


[In three hours, the third tutorial will end.]

On the other hand, in the forest near the outskirt of the town, a wooden tent was barely standing in front of a campfire.

“This dumb, stupid town.”

One of the owners of the tent, Aileen, had a haggard and impoverished face after only ten days.

“Everyone in this town is trash, every single one of them!”

The humiliation she suffered all this time flashed before her eyes.
Having to eat a restaurant’s leftover food, her money being pickpocketed out of her inventory, accidentally spilling a juice she worked so hard to buy on a noble’s clothes and having to kneel and beg for his forgiveness…
They were all things she never would have faced on earth.

“But we managed to get enough TP somehow.”

Yi Yongha was in a similar circumstance, but precisely because of all the trouble they went through, the sense of accomplishment they currently felt was overwhelming. They slept outside, skipped meals, and gave up on living like decent human beings to scrape together 2000TP.

“…I know, hic…”

Aileen began to tear up.

“Are you crying?”

“Uun… they’re tears of joy.”

Aileen was proud of herself. She was so proud of herself for being able to gather 2000TP while her stats were restricted that she wanted to shower herself with kisses.

“…Oh, by the way, they’re them, right?”

“Them?”

“You know, the people we met on the first day at the pub.”

“Ah, yes, they should be members of the group Aileen-ssi is chasing.”

Aileen didn’t know their names. However, she was familiar with their faces. She met them before in an artifact scramble. With an impeccable strategy, she had almost arrested them both.

“Wasn’t there someone else?”

However, there was someone else in the pub other than the two people they saw.

“You know, the person who made me drink alcohol.”

“I’m not sure, but only one person comes to mind when I think of a mask and hood.”

“I agree.”

Aileen nodded. In truth, she was quite confident.
Black Lotus.
That he entered this Tower too.

[The third tutorial has ended.]

“…Finally, this damn tutorial is over.”

“I’ll bet my honor that less than half gathered more than 1000TP.”

Exhausted and enervated, Aileen and Yi Yongha leaned on a tree and read through the system alerts popping up.

[Of 78 challengers, 50 currently possess more than 1000TP in their inventory.]
[Congratulations. You managed to protect your profit from pickpockets, robbers, thugs, and scammers.]

Aileen turned towards Yi Yongha. He laughed awkwardly.

“…There’s a bit over half, haha.”

However, the system alerts weren’t finished yet.

[Hidden Reward – Profit Master]
[The profit of victorious challengers will be revealed along with their nicknames (expenses excluded).]
[Top 5 challengers will be given 100% of the profit they gained as a bonus.]
[Rank 1 – Extra7, 21300TP.]
[Rank 2 – PhantomThief, 7800TP]
[Rank 3 – …]

“…Eh?”

“…What?”

Aileen and Yi Yongha became speechless. The difference was too overwhelming.

“It’s not 2130TP but…”

“21300TP? How the fuck is that possible!?”

Aileen cursed inadvertently, mixing Korean and English together.

“Who is it!?”

Aileen felt wronged.
She suffered through one humiliation after another to scrape together 2000TP, but someone had earned 21300… He had to have used a cowardly method!

“Who’s Extra7!?”

**


Three hours later.
A burst of light brought me back to my waiting room. I didn’t say goodbye to Jain, Cheok Jungyeong, and Boss, since we should be able to contact each other soon through the messenger system.

[Congratulations on achieving first place.]
[21300TP has been deposited.]

“Ah, thank you, thank you~ you did well too, System-nim~”

I bought Muninn’s egg with 20000TP. Although I was left with only 3000TP because of it, with the hidden reward, I obtained 100% of the profit I made, making me rich once again.
It was a setting change I didn’t expect. I thought the co-author only made things harder, but it seemed I was wrong. A little bonus wasn’t so bad every once in a while.

“…Ah.”

I took out Muninn’s egg from the inventory as quickly as possible.
It was a 20000TP egg.
Huu, huu.
I blew on it just in case it was cold and carefully placed it inside my bed.
Wondering what cute eagle would pop out of this egg, I pulled my blanket over it.
However, that wasn’t the end of the good news.

[Your black entrance ticket has been confirmed.]
[As the tutorial has ended, you may take out three items you deposited.]

It was the alert I’d been waiting for.
Equipment that could make up for the stat gain I neglected while crafting and selling items.
I kneeled respectfully.
I decided long ago what items to retrieve.
Aether, Desert Eagle, and my laptop-linked smartwatch.

[Soon, your equipment storage will be transferred over.]
[Come to a decision within one hour.]

Of course, the Desert Eagle had limited use because of bullets. But there was a reason I was choosing it despite its disadvantages.

“…Jin Sahyuk.”

Killing Jin Sahyuk.
That was the only reason.

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