ETH – Ch 48

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“Thank you for the food.”

“Thank you for the food.”

Since I had to put in more water and boil it again, the taste wasn’t as good…but it was fine. While I was doing the dishes, Jung Sooah finished up in the shower and came out saying, “Those glasses look good on you. You look like a professor.”

“…I’ll take it as a compliment.”

I took them off and put them into my shirt’s front pocket. Even though it looked fragile, I’m sure it wouldn’t break easily since it was an item.

“Oh yeah. What does your schedule look today?”

“I thought I would just hand out here all day. I even brought some snacks on the way. Kind of sucks that you don’t have a tv though.”

“Aren’t you going to go home?”

“…So mean. And you were so friendly last night too.”

I sprayed water at her face.

“Kya!”

“Stop playing around. I remember everything ok? I know that as soon as we got home, we both fell right to sleep.”

“Chet…anyway, why?”

“I thought of going to the market later in the afternoon. If you don’t have any other plans, I was wondering if you might come with me.”

“Surely…this isn’t a sneaky way of asking me out on a date?”

“Just go home.”

“I’ll come back in an hour. I just need to change.”

***

After sending her home, I went back to check the manual again. I pretty much got the gist of how to use it. One of its feature was that you could store the user’s skill and item into a virtual space.

To test my theory, I took out the Item Fusion book. A message immediately appeared.

-Would you like to store the Item Fusion book?

I wanted to see if verbal as well as gesture prompts were viable input methods.

I nodded my head this time. As the book disappeared, a text with the title ‘Fusion’ appeared.

“Fusion.”

As soon as I said this, a list of all the fusion combinations appeared. I chose the bloodysword.

-Due to missing items, we are unable to move forward with the fusion.

“So we can do the fusion this way too.”

I wanted to check on a different item next.

Just for testing purposes, I took out Park Jungbeh’s longsword. Instead of nodding, I made a verbal prompt.

“Store.”

As soon as I spoke my verbal input, the longsword disappeared and another text appeared. Then when I tried to grab at the text, as if by magic, the longsword appeared back in my hand.

This. I could get used to this.

I went ahead and stored every single item I had. When I tried to store the Honcheon sword last, an error message appeared.

-Item storage is full. Please upgrade to store more.

“Upgrade?”

I checked the tutorial again. There was now a new area with upgrade information.

It looked like this manual only gave information on a need to know basis.

-Upgrade is eligible with fulfillment of the correct amount of ores. Upgrade to the next version requires 100 ores in total. Type of ore does not matter.

The cheapest ore is 1,000 dollars. That meant upgrading would cost a minimum of 100,000 dollars.

This meant that all the ores I get from all our hunts would need to be invested into this upgrade. But if I did that, I would be taking away from the party’s shares.

I needed to find a different way to compensate them.

This wasn’t entirely impossible.

I could just pay them directly from my own pockets.

Luckily I now had the ability to fuse items and earn extra money that way.

***

Location: Hunter Market in the Shinchon area. It was just about lunch time so there were quite a few people wandering about.

Jung Sooah came up to me and poke me in the side.

“Did you see?”

“See what?”

“That person leering at me just now.”

“You’re imagining it.”

“There have been at least 20 men staring at me with lustful eyes on my way here, ok? Come on. It’s about time you admit it, no?”

Jung Sooah said with her arms stretched wide as if she were putting herself on grand display. It wasn’t that it wasn’t true. She was indeed drawing looks from people. At a height of over 170cm tall, the outfit she had on were actually complimenting her usually broad shoulders. True to her athletic roots, she was well toned everywhere and had really done wonders with makeup today.

“But why are you still wearing those glasses?”

“Why? Is it weird?”

She slipped her arm into mine.

“You want to die?”

“Since you have two, it should be fine loaning one out to me.”

“Is my arm some kind of object?”

“But…”

Squeeze.

“Ok ok fine. I’ll let it be so stop squeezing. You’re cutting off my circulation.”

“He he.”

What is this manipulation?

The hunter market was only about 10 stories high, but it could probably compete with the biggest of department stores. They probably make about 3,000,000,000 dollars a month but, since this was not including all their online sale, they probably make several times more than that. Plus if you took into account their earnings from outside countries…I can’t even imagine that kind of money.

The representative of this goliath was that very Lee Wheesung. You know. The man who found the very first skillbook ever? Not only was he a world renowned hunter, but he was the elite of the elites – a man with power, money, and fame.

Even more amazing – this man did not age. His wife was still as beautiful as ever too. It was probably due to a skillbook, but that has never been confirmed.

“Welcome to Hunter Market.”

We were greeted by female personnel dressed in clean cut suits.

***

Name: ???

Skill type: Charm (1), Ability to draw the target’s attention

Additional Option: Group Managerment, Ability to draw attention of a group of people

Proficiency: 79

***

“Hm?”

This was what I saw above the head of one personnel. I was slightly surprised. Even though this was a level 1 skill, it was surprising that a regular civilian had a skill.

Male Male.

Most of the patrons here were male. There were a lot of hunters, but there were also a lot of civilians as well. To cater to this group, there were a lot of replica equipment, accessories, bags, cardigans, and more. They were even selling goods with famous hunters depictions, tactical videos, and books by famous hunters as well.

“This item was once owned by Team Eskatose’s tanker, Jang Hyunseung, until just 5 years ago. It is known for its sleek scales which change colors depending on the angle. Due to its artistic value, this item is very sought after.”

You could hear this explanation coming from a female, who looked to be a curator, holding a mic. She was extremely beautiful, but I could see a skill above her head as well. It was a level 1 ‘Ideal Beauty’ skill. Basically, it had the ability to slightly change the skillholder’s face to reflect the viewer’s ideal form of beauty.

That was a super expensive skill. If my memory serves correctly, it had market price of over a million dollars.

When I briefly scanned everyone around me, I could see that almost every employee had a skill in their possession. In the case of the guards, their skills started at at least a level 3. Seeing that there were several hundred guards posted all around the market, they could probably hold back an entire army.

“…It’s a scary place.”

I was able to recognize anew just what an amazing place the hunter market was. If they were able to invest so much into their lower level employees, then just how much was management making?

Click!

“…What are you doing?”

“It’s just a commemorative photo! I’m going to post it on SNS.”

“…”

I shook my head as I headed to my goal destination. The first floor was mostly comprised of shops set up for civilians. The real stuff was sold in the basement level.

When we arrived at basement level 3, we came upon a scene lined with shops as far as the eye could see. Most of the items for sale were level 1s with some level 2 items scattered here and there.

“It’s a lot quieter here.”

“It used to be packed back in the day.”

It seemed that sales were slow for level 1 and level 2 weapons ever since all the level 1 dungeons had disappeared. And among the few who were here, it looked like their objective was to sell rather than to buy.

The two daggers I needed to use in fusing for a bloodysword were priced at 50,000 and 55,000 dollars each. For something that had once sold for about 130,000, I had expected to pay at least 60,000 per. It looked like times were dire.

After making my purchases, we headed on over to a cafe on the ground floor. There were some people here too, but we were able to snag a booth.

Once we sat in our booth, I took out the two daggers I had purchased for 105,000 dollars. One was a glossy red color while the other was a plain silver-white.

I then took the ores out from my bag and immediately tried my hand at the fusion.

“Bloodysword. Fuse.”

As soon as I made the command, the two weapons and three ores began to meld into one right before my eyes.

It didn’t even take 10 seconds in all. Jung Sooah, who had been watching silently the entire time, blinked a few times before saying,

“Holy cow. So it really works?”

The only reason the process had been so smooth and easy was due to the manual.

“Are we done with everything now?”

“Well, all that’s left is to sell this.”

“Then that means starting now…the two of us are…”

“Partyhead.”

I looked up to see Cho Youngoo and Han Jooseok waving at us at the cafe entrance.

Jung Sooah looked at me with a mix of annoyance and surprise.

“SunbehOppa!”

“Ah. I called them. There were things we needed to talk about. The rest of the crew will be here too.”

“…Can I cry a bit right now?”

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