Henry and Kiri were easily persuaded, and I went with them to the building I bought. It was a bit weird to think of it as my building since I only bought it 30 minutes ago.
I walked inside with Henry and Kiri who were marveling at the building.
When Henry and Kiri saw the inside of the building, they gasped. The more quick-witted Kiri noticed that something was unusual.
“T-There’s nothing here…”
I could understand where their misunderstanding came from. An empty place like this was usually where crimes took place.
To make matters worse, a fierce wind shut the door closed.
“It’s empty because I only bought it a little while ago.”
I tried to calm them down, but Kiri’s legs were shaking uncontrollably. She quickly hid behind Henry, and Henry glared at me with a terrified expression.
“W-What do you want!?”
“S-Save us! We’re sorry, please don’t kill us!”
“Um, kids, I’m not a bad guy…”
Their faces turned purple. I approached them slowly to calm them down.
“W-We’ll give you back the money! Please don’t kill us!”
“Ah, aaak! Aaaak!”
Talking any more would probably make the situation worse.
As such, I sat down on the ground. I took out the burner and frying pan I bought from the Player Shop and then took out my special marinated boar meat.
The brother and sister became quieter, only sobbing slightly. I put the meat on the frying pan and glanced at them. They were still on guard and in fear, but they were also sniffing the air and smacking their lips.
I opened my mouth.
“Of course there’s nothing here. I only bought it just now. Come eat. You must be hungry.”
Starvation was a huge issue in Prestige. I had even written something about a group of people who practiced cannibalism. Because of this, the two children’s suspicion was only natural. Kiri was still hiding behind Henry, and Henry stuttered as he asked.
“What would I gain from hurting you two anyway?”
Tzzz— The marinated boar meat gave off a savory smell, tempting the two children.
“Come eat. It’s fine.”
“…That, that’s not human meat?”
“It’s boar meat.”
“W-Where did you get it? I… I heard livestock can only be found in the inner city.”
“I showed you my ID, didn’t I?”
Kiri and Henry were finally convinced. They approached the frying pan hesitantly, drooling with saliva.
I took out two plates, put pieces of boar meat on them, and gave them to Henry and Kiri.
Henry took the two plates and stopped Kiri from rushing to eat. Then, he took the first bite. Nom, nom. He seemed to be checking whether it was poisoned. As he chewed, his eyes became livelier and more sparkly.
“O-Oppa, can I eat it too?”
They finally began to eat the meat with their hands.
Worried that they would get sick from the germs on their hands, I took out two forks I made before and handed them to them.
They ate quickly.
I watched them silently with a smile on my face, then carefully asked.
“How old are you guys?”
“I’m 13, and Kiri is 12.”
Henry’s reply was surprising as they looked like they were 10 years old at most. It seemed they couldn’t grow properly due to malnutrition.
“Are you two living by yourselves?”
Kiri nodded joyously as she chewed on the boar meat.
For some reason, it sounded bitter.
Kiri had said that the Black Pouch was something their father left behind. Now, she was saying that they lived alone. It was clear what that meant.
…I took out another large chunk of meat and put it on the frying pan. Once it was cooked, I cut it in half and put each half on their respective plate.
“You guys can stay and eat while I’m fixing up this place.”
I patted their heads before standing up.
Looking around the empty space, I pondered.
How should I decorate the place so that it would become well-known around here?
Of course, I already had an idea in mind.
That was the time it took me to transform the building into an actual shop.
With brand new shelves, display cases, stands, and a counter, it should be the best-looking shop in the outer city.
“Wow… you’re so good at making things!”
Henry and Kiri exclaimed in shock.
They were sitting with their bellies full after eating all the boar meat I cooked for them.
“I’m just talented.”
They were impressed with whatever I said. How cute.
“Alright, you guys don’t have to sell flowers anymore. Just work here instead.”
“Yeah, and I’ll provide three meals per day with a monthly salary of 200TP.”
Their jaws dropped from shock.
“W-What kind of work do we need to do?”
“Cleaning the shop and selling items.”
“W-We’ll do it! But um… what items?”
“Oh right, hold on.”
Coming up with items to sell was easy.
I took out the four Random Dice in my inventory and rolled them thinking, ‘please change into anything that can be sold.’
The four dice transformed into four items, of which the only sellable items were a Lv.3 sword and a Lv.2 leather armor.
But, well, it was better than nothing.
I put the sword and leather armor in a display stand then took out other equipment I’ve made so far: bear leather jacket, red crystal axe, gorilla tendon wrist protector, etc.
“I’m opening the shop tomorrow. The sword is 1500TP, the axe is 1000TP, the armor is 600TP, and the jacket and wrist protector are 300TP each. You can sell them for higher, but don’t lower the price.”
Henry and Kiri nodded excitedly.
I smiled and added another sentence.
“From now on, think of this place as your home. You can live here too.”
There had to be an attic in this building considering its size. I wasn’t sure how I knew this exactly, but I guessed it had something to do with the dwarven knowledge I obtained from the different steles.
“Yep, that’s okay with you, right?”
Henry and Kiri stared at each other.
They looked happy at first, but their expressions darkened after a moment.
“Our dad might come back, so we have to stay home….”
“You can just leave a note behind.”
They were easily persuaded.
Kiri tightly grabbed Henry’s hand and spoke.
“Then we’ll be back soon.”
[TIP – Players can become friends with NPCs as well.]
[Friended NPCs can be contacted through the messenger.]
[You can become friends with the NPCs Henry and Kiri.]
“Sure, but before you go…”
I friended Henry and Kiri. It was simple. I just had to think about it while holding their hands.
Once that was done, Henry and Kiri went home to leave a note behind, and I began to clean up the attic.
After crafting a bed, a table, a mirror, and a dressing table, I bought a refrigerator from the Player Shop to furnish their room. Since I was going to go back to Earth for a few days, I put some boar meat and sandwiches in the fridge for them to eat.
As for the bathroom, they could use the one on the first floor.
Looking at the sandwiches in the fridge, I came up with a good idea.
I made a new sandwich and left the shop. Then, I went straight to the guard standing outside the inner wall.
I greeted the guard and gave him the sandwich.
The guard looked at the sandwich but didn’t take it.
“Ah, you see, as a fellow ‘citizen’, I was just grateful for all the hard work that you do. It’s lunchtime, so I brought you a sandwich.”
I emphasized the fact that I was a citizen.
As guards were one of the strongest existences in this city, befriending one would only be beneficial. In fact, Medea was likely the only one who was above guards in strength, but that was obvious.
“…Kuhum, thank you, citizen.”
The guard took the sandwich. After examining it more closely, he swallowed his saliva.
I laughed and bowed.
A system message arrived.
[Player ‘CaptainBritain’ sent you a friend request. Would you like to accept?]
I accepted it immediately.
CaptainBritain: 「Hajin-ssi, are you on the 3rd floor? ^_^ 」
「Yes, what about you?」
CaptainBritain: 「I just arrived, but I’m in a meeting right now in my waiting room. We’re deciding whether to buy citizenship to enter the inner city. Also, thank you for the deer meat. I just ate some with my guild members, and they all said it was delicious ( o uo)b!」
Rachel sounded as energetic as ever in her messages.
「Haha, I see. Um, you should buy the citizenship. Otherwise, you won’t be able to do much. Also, I’m returning to Earth for a bit.」
「Yes, there’s someone I need to check up on.」
As soon as I sent this message, I received a message from someone else.
Boss: 「Newbie, when are you coming back?」
It was Boss.
「I’ll be gone for about 2~4 days. Do you want to come with me?」
Boss: 「Should I?」
「ㅋㅋㅋ Actually, Jain and Cheok Jungyeong can’t do anything without Boss, so you should stay.」
Boss: 「I guess you’re right ㅋㅋ」
I was half-kidding, so it wasn’t a lie entirely. In battle, Boss’ judgments were always spot on.
After ending the conversation with Boss, I left behind a message for Henry and Kiri before closing the messenger.
「I’m going to be away for a while, so just keep the place clean while I’m gone. Eat lots and do some workouts. If something happens, ask the guard in front of the inner-city gate to help. Also, bring him a sandwich every day for lunch. There should be a lot in the fridge in the attic. 」
With that, I bought a return ticket and a re-entrance ticket from the Player Shop.
[Would you like to leave the Tower using the return ticket?]
[You will return to the place where you used the entrance ticket.]
[Warning! If you do not have a re-entrance ticket, your record will be deleted from the Player Database.]
I equipped the bracelet-shaped re-entrance ticket on my wrist.
“Yes, I’ll leave now.”
[You used the return ticket.]
Along with the system alert, a black portal shot up.
[Lv.??? Black Pouch]
—Allows you to copy one item from the outside world and bring it into the Tower.
—The copied item can only be used inside the Tower.
Holding the Black Pouch I got from Henry, I walked into the black portal.
I came out to the same empty space I was in when I first walked into the black ticket’s portal.
[Here is the storage box owned by Player Extra7.]
A system alert popped up along with the storage box.
[You can bring these items back to Earth or you can leave them inside.]
“I’ll just go. Oh, this is okay, right?”
I held the Black Pouch up.
[…Special item has been confirmed. The ‘Black Pouch’ can be brought outside the Tower.]
[The exit portal will now be created.]
Another portal shot up.
This time, it was a portal that led to Earth.
I closed my eyes and walked in.
I opened my eyes with a sigh. I was in a familiar place, Chameleon Troupe’s hideout. Goblins were busily running around doing work.
As I exited the Tower, I was no longer under its stat restriction. However, I felt more sore than light. I likely needed some time to get used to my changed stats.
I stretched and looked around the lobby.
“Oh? Newbie, when did you come back?”
I found Setryn who was lying on the couch. Next to her was a man I wasn’t too familiar with, but I still knew who he was.
The seat of Indigo, Yoo Kyunghwan.
Although we were members of the same family, I had to be on guard around him. It was because ‘Indigo’ swung the other way. 
Of course, Yoo Kyunghwan surely preferred handsome men. For example, Kim Suho or Shin Jonghak.
He looked at me and nodded.
“H-Hello, Yoo Kyunghwan-ssi. This is the second time we meet.”
“Yeah, I heard from Setryn that this place got better, so I came to look.”
“I, I see.”
I did my best to ignore him and walked up to the Goblet Tablet.
Then I took out the Black Pouch and brought it up to the Goblin Tablet. The Black Pouch seemed to suck something in and soon became full. However, the Goblin Tablet remained unchanged.
So this was how the copying mechanism worked.
“What did you do?”
“I copied the Goblin Tablet.”
Leaving behind Setryn and Yoo Kyunghwan who were observing me with interest, I looked for Khalifa. He came out of his room and opened a portal for me.
Just like that, I arrived in front of my apartment building. I ran as quickly as possible. I didn’t want to waste any more time.
At first, I went to my room, but no one was there.
Then, I remembered that I left Evandel in Haeyeon’s place.
I practically flew over to the apartment complex down the block and rang the bell.
—Who is it?
It was Yun Seung-Ah’s voice.
“It’s me, Kim Hajin.”
—Oh? You’re back?
Kiik— The door opened.
Yun Seung-Ah came out looking tired and disheveled, but she didn’t seem to mind it. I went inside and looked for Evandel.
Evandel was sitting on the couch with Haeyeon. Unlike when she was home, she was sitting modestly like a lady.
I called Evandel’s name.
Evandel flinched. Then, she slowly turned towards me. Her pretty eyes widened when she saw me.
“…It’s been a while.”
Evandel shouted and ran into my embrace. She buried herself in my chest and wept.
“Don’t cry. I came back safe and sound, didn’t I?”
While I was consoling Evandel, Haeyeon came over and bowed.
“Hi, it’s been a while.”
Haeyeon had grown since the last time I saw her. She must be around 120~130cm. Why wasn’t Evandel getting any taller?
Yun Seung-Ah murmured apathetically. I glanced at her, still hugging Evandel. I was shocked.
I didn’t notice too well at first… but her hair was a mess, she had thick dark circles under her eyes, and her lips were swollen.
I would have believed it if she told me she was homeless. Just what happened while I was gone?
I took a few steps back.
“Where are you going?”
Yun Seung-Ah asked coldly.
“H-Home. I’m going to eat with Evandel. Haeyeon, do you want to come too? Uncle will cook you steak again.”
Yun Seung-Ah stared at me fixedly.
“You entered the Tower of Wish, right? Are you doing well? Or did you give up half-way?”
“Ah, I’m going back. I’m paving the road for Suho, so don’t worry.”
September 1st was coming up. Kim Suho and Jin Sahyuk would finally enter the Tower. When that time came, I would be a lot busier than I am now.
But for some reason, Yun Seung-Ah tilted her head.
“…For Suho? Didn’t you guys break off your friendship?”
“What? No way.”
“We’re just doing different things for now.”
On the other hand, the three members of the Chameleon Troupe were walking through the inner city. The difference between the inner city and the outer city was like heaven and earth. The former had cleaner air and much better structures overall.
“Look, they must be Players.”
Jain pointed to the distance.
A huge group of people was gathered around a pond lit up by streetlights.
However, most of them had dark expressions. Judging by the serious tone they were talking in, things didn’t seem to be going well for them.
Jain guessed that it was because they spent 1000TP to buy citizenships when they were low on money.
“What’s wrong with them?”
Hearing Cheok Jungyeong’s question, Jain smirked.
“You would have been there too if not for Hajin.”
“…What did you say?”
“Think about it. Finding food, cooking food, advising us to find food, and even lending us money. It was all Hajin.”
Cheok Jungyeong became speechless. He rubbed his chin and pondered.
Now that he thought about it, it was indeed thanks to Kim Hajin that his body was in such a good condition. He never had to worry about food or money because of Kim Hajin too.
“I guess you’re right.”
Boss strained her ears and eavesdropped on the Players standing far away.
—Wouldn’t it be better to go back down to the 2nd floor? We can come back after we stock up on food.
—What if we can’t find an elevator to come back? Plus, our citizenship becomes voided if we go back. We’ll have wasted 1000TP!
—Then what the fuck do you want us to do? Haven’t you seen the shitty food situation we’re in? It’s better to come back with food and sell it.
—I have food. I brought some from the 2nd floor.
—What? Show us.
The group suddenly began to fight.
Boss watched the fight from the side then turned around.
“…Let’s go find our base.”
The Chameleon Troupe members walked away.
Walking through the city without sunlight, they looked for a ‘hideout’ like Kim Hajin said.
After looking around for about two hours, they found a decent building to rent for 300TP a month.
[Player ‘PhantomThief’ has rented a hideout.]
[The following bonuses will apply when you’re in your hideout.]
[+10% vitality recovery rate.]
[+2% stat increase rate when training.]
“So there are bonuses for having a hideout? Like I thought, listening to Newbie is never wrong~”
Jain smiled and sat down on the floor of the hideout. Cheok Jungyeong began to exercise the moment he saw the system alerts, and Boss opened the Community.
It was then.
A mysterious screen popped up in front of them.
The three of them stopped what they were doing and stared at the screen.
Speaking on the screen was a breathtaking beauty with blonde hair and green eyes.
[I am the administrator of the 3rd floor, Medea.]
Jain crossed her arms and murmured to herself. To be honest, she was jealous of Medea’s beauty.
[You must be surprised by the horrendous condition Prestige is in. Regarding this, I am also heartbroken. So while I explain how you can get to the 4th floor, I plan to help everyone out.]
Medea smiled brightly.
[First, to climb to the 4th floor, you need to kill at least half of the demons on this floor. This is because the demons and their undead army are blocking the pathway to the 4th floor, located in the four cardinal directions around Prestige.]
Medea made a somber expression and another screen popped up. It was a map showing the bases of these so-called demons.
[I’ll make it so that you can access this map from the system whenever you want. Also…]
Medea snapped her fingers.
[I’d like to give everyone a gift… but I, unfortunately, don’t have the resources. So, I will gift the Players with the highest point in each stat area. In other words, six of you will be getting a gift for having the highest point in strength, vitality, speed, perception, stamina, and magic power. I hope you don’t think I’m being too cheap.]
Suddenly, a flashing light shot into Cheok Jungyeong and Boss’ pockets.
“Boss? Cheok Jungyeong? What did you two get?”
“Uh… I got a gauntlet.”
Cheok Jungyeong took out a gauntlet from his inventory, while Boss took out what seemed to be a magnifying glass.
[Heart Piercing Magnifying Glass (3 uses)]
—You can see what a target Player or NPC thinks about you.
(Remaining time: 119 hours 29 minutes 23 seconds)
“Boss, what’s that?”
Without replying, Boss held the magnifying glass up against Jain. She didn’t mean anything by it. She simply wanted to try it out. Plus, the inner thoughts of a comrade was the most important to her.
[Sister] [Comrade] [Bond]
[Familiarity] [Responsibility to Look After You] [Light Pity]
The first three were good. The fourth made sense, but the last two… light pity? She pities me?
“What does it do, Boss~?”
Offended, Boss looked away.
Next was Cheok Jungyeong.
“Huh? What’s up?”
The magnifying glass zoomed in on his face.
“Hehe, you want to see my handsome face?”
Above the grinning Cheok Jungyeong, a series of words popped up.
[Loyalty] [Master] [Desire to Return the Favor]
[Gratitude for Awakening His Past Life] [Desire to Win Against You] [Thinks He Can Win Against You]
Just like last time, the last two bothered her, but it was still better than Jain’s.
Deciding to use the last one on Newbie, she put the magnifying glass away.
She clapped her hands.
“Since we found ourselves a hideout, let’s eat and go hunt.”