“Monsters here are generally estimated to be level 1s. This means that the price of level 1 items is bound to soar back up in the markets. And that – that means that we will be making far more money on what we earn than we have been.”
This was no exaggeration. If we went and sold just two of the items over there, we would be able to get a return of 300,000 dollars now.
Glasses girl raised her hand to her chest and took a deep breath. I guessed she probably started to do the math in her head.
“But if that’s the case, wouldn’t it be unfair to you partyhead?”
If we were doing the pay out the traditional way by contribution distribution, I would have earned half of 400,000 dollars today. So it would seem like I was taking a loss.
But I didn’t think of it that way. This was not a dungeon, and we were not a group of people who were expendable to one another. We were not a temporary team.
“We are a real team. I believe that strengthening my team members indirectly strengthens me too. So I hope that everyone here thinks of it that way as well.”
There was a limit to what I can achieve by just getting strong alone.
This was just like raising my abilities. I couldn’t just raise one. I had to raise them all to be truly stronger. Like synergy.
And the stronger we all get, the more we would all be able to earn faster.
I looked at it as an investment into our future.
“Well, I guess an item fit for me will fall at some point too.”
Manager Kim said as he lay down on a mat he had rolled onto the ground.
It seemed everyone was in agreement. Because more items will drop tomorrow than did today.
We decided to switch off keeping lookout two at a time. Some slept in the car while some slept in front of the fire outside.
And I – I had no intention of sleeping that night.
“Will you be ok? Won’t you get tired?”
Glasses girl, chosen to be the first to stand watch….no Yeonkyoung…asked.
“Even if you fall asleep today, never take your hands off your bow.”
“Is it because of them?”
Ban Shihyung. There was a higher probability he would come after us today rather than later.
Because as time went on and they went on to earn items, they would end up being more concerned about doing that than coming after us.
I could hear sounds of insects.
I listened as vigilantly as I could. Cho Youngoo, who was up as lookout, was fast asleep inside the car. I thought to wake him up, but decided to let him rest.
I had endurance buff so I could handle it, but I’m pretty sure it was harder for everyone else.
The night sky was surprisingly still very light. There was zero light pollution and there was no smoke either.
I wondered if there were some otherworldly powers or forces at work.
There were stars sprinkled all over the sky. A thought came into my mind that I wouldn’t ever be able to see something like this anywhere else but here.
I heard a sound. There was nowhere to hide here. I looked toward where the sound came from.
“Mr. Cho Youngoo.”
“Eung….chicken….I want to stop frying it…”
This man, what kind of dream is he having?
I shook him awake.
“What, what is it?”
“There’s someone watching us. About 50 meters away. Since they’re trying to be quiet about it, I’m pretty sure it’s human.”
“Surely…it’s not them?”
“I’m not sure yet. But let’s start waking everyone up. It would be best if they saw us wake and run away but…if they don’t…”
“We have no choice but to fight.”
I nodded my head. I woke up Manager Kim and helmet guy who had both been asleep by the bonfire.
Cho Youngoo opened the car door and woke everyone else up.
As soon as we started to move in earnest, I could feel a surprised energy coming from Cho Youngoo’s side.
Han Joonseok came up beside me.
“Can you tell who they are?”
He had the Optical Ruby Ring in his possession. That item allowed the holder to see as if it were day.
“There are exactly 16 of them. Ban Shihyung is among them….”
“Everyone get ready for battle.”
An arrow lodged into the ground right in front of my foot.
We were lit up by the light from the bonfire while they were still hiding in the dark. We were at a disadvantage.
I could hear Ban Shihyung’s weasely voice.
“You guys are quick.”
“I figured if you were to attack, it would be today.”
“If you die here, people will just chalk it up to a monster attack. It’s not too late you know…I can still give you one last chance?”
I didn’t say a word.
But he continued talking.
He had us outnumbered and was at a tactical advantage. He thought there was no way he could lose.
“Hand over all your equipment and work under me. Then I’ll let you keep your lives.”
“Isn’t it kind of dark?”
“What are you….?”
I took two rods I had on my belt and twisted off the tops.
At the end of the rods, a bright light began to sprout out.
“Have you ever heard of ground markers?”
Since it was in english, it sounded real fancy but they were just long lasting signal flares. Because real flares are expensive.
I threw both ground markers at the bastards. Now they were clear as day.
At Ban Shihyung’s order, Manager Kim started his sleep spell. A golden light floated above our opponents.
And four of them dropped right to the ground.
In that time, a few arrows flew in our direction as well.
Even though we now had the light of the markers, the arrows were still barely visible in the night.
Cho Youngoo had his shield up and was blocking off the attacks.
Han Joonseok’s own arrow pierced the neck of an opponent.
I had a longsword in my left hand and the Honcheon sword in my right. It was better to fight against many with this sword than the bloodysword.
Seeing first blood being drawn, they seemed to go crazy and ran right at us. But they were slow. A good indicator they didn’t have any items with buffs.
At best they had maybe one or two men with level 2 equipment.
I felt bad for them.
This wasn’t a fight.
My Honcheon sword made a small explosion. My opponent’s sword shattered and the pieces lodged in his arm.
Jong Sawon’s sword sliced right through the man’s armor – met with almost zero resistance. A waterfall of red showered into the air.
“Shit! Throw the fireball!”
As soon as Ban Shihyung made the commmand, the magician raised his cane. A fireball the size of a a person’s head began to form.
Han Joonseok’s arrow shot across the air.
Hit in the back with the arrow, the magician gurgled up some blood and collapsed to the ground.
This was the stalker at work.
As soon as the magician fell to the ground, any illusion that they might win shattered as well. The only reason they had continued fighting even as their comrades were dying left and right was because they had trusted in the power of Ban Shihyung and the magician.
But, not only did we have zero damages on our side, they now only had 5 people standing on theirs – Ban Shihyung, 2 archers, and 2 warriors.
The rest were either dead or fast asleep.
“Eu….what the hell…this doesn’t even make sense…how can something like this…”
Despair was etched all over Ban Shihyung’s weasely face.
I slowly walked toward them.
Two of the cowards started to grovel.
“Please…please spare us.”
“We only did it because that bastard made us….!”
I struck out in one clean cut with my sword and sliced both their necks.
There was no way we could let anyone out of this alive. It would be a massacre.
The two archers behind them dropped their weapons and started to run away.
Jong Sawon chased after them.
Han Joonseok and Bae Yeongyoung aimed their arrows at the fleeing backs as well. Now we only had the one bastard and the sleeping fools to deal with.
The despair bled out of from his eyes and was quickly replaced with anger.
“Do you have any last words?”
“Eff off. You think I’d go down that easy!”
He threw something to the ground.
It was a smoke grenade.
As the grenade continued to spin and spew out smoke, it not only messed with my vision, but it also covered any sounds I could rely on.
But that was the same for him too.
I started to swing all around me with my Honcheon sword.
I felt something hit the end of my blade at last.
Ban Shihyung was bumped right out of the cover of smoke from my explosive hit.
Seeing that his armor was just fine, it was probably a level 3 equipment.
But he probably still felt the explosive impact of my weapon. He held the side of his waist in obvious discomfort and started to cough uncontrollably.
“I have something I want to ask you.”
“Keuk….you want to say you have something you’re curious about now?…after all this…??”
“Why did you decide to attack us?”
“What? Weren’t you ready to attack us too?”
“I was just prepared for any eventuality. I knew you were trash, but I didn’t think you would really go through so much trouble to come after us like this.”
“Keukeukeu…bastard. Then you should have just died quietly.”
“Seriously? That’s not my style.”
Ban Shihyung stared at the ground for a long time. Then said.
“If I tell you something…will you let me live?”
“Keuk….bastard. I like that you’re honest. Cough.”
I might have effed up something inside because he started to cough up blood as he said.
“…We originally had over 30 people in our party.”
“So what happened to the rest?”
“They all died. Because of the hunter bastards.”
“Yeah. The first day that the West Sea appeared. There was a group that entered the land first. They had hunted the monsters here and massed together a much of equipment. That’s when they realized. That this land was a gold mine. How many people do you think would want to share such a gold mine with others?”
“You’re saying they killed other hunters for that reason?”
“They had another reason too. Even if you kill someone on this land and they have the equipment on them…the equipment doesn’t disappear.”
We left no one alive.
We all gathered in front of the bonfire as we waited for the bodies to evaporate.
“Seems things are worse than we imagined.”
“But it’s no surprise. Since uncouth things were happening even in the dungeons that were ‘overseen’ by the operators and officials…it’s no surprise that things like this would happen on land where no one is monitoring anything.”
Han Joonseok said thoughtfully – and everyone nodded their heads.
Our biggest threat were not just the monsters anymore. Anyone they potentially meet on this land could now all be enemies.
“What do you think of just entering level 3 dungeons for now?”
“It would be fine if we just fought against the normal level 3 monsters there….but it would be hard if we ran into any irregulars.”
I guessed that the irregulars that would appear in a level 3 dungeon would be at least level 4…and there was the chance we could find ourselves faced against a level 5 irregular…
With our current equipment and skill, it might be too much for us right now.
And it didn’t make too much sense for us to leave all the level 1 monsters we could hunt to try hunting after level 3 monsters.
“Let’s think about it some more tonight before we make a final decision on how to move forward.”
Everyone nodded their heads.
Once all the bodies evaporated, we started to inspect what was left behind and the items that dropped.
It was a bit easier now to understand why Ban Shihyung had attacked us.
“This is all….”
Cho Youngoo’s mouth was wide open in wonder.
There was a small hill of items in front of us.
About 30 items left behind by the 15 now evaporated enemies, 3 items dropped from the evaporation, and 3 ores.
There was no way we would be able to put carry this entire haul in the car. After wondering what we would be able to do with it all, I remembered the upgrade on my manual.
I had invested 98 ores into the manual upgrade option so far. If I just invested two of the ores that we just got today, I would have enough for the 100 ores required to do the upgrade.
“I’m going to go do something real quick and come back.”
-Would you like to initiate manual upgrade?
As soon as I nodded my head, millions of numbers started to rain down. It was very similar to when I had booted the manual for the first time.
It was like a green shower of numbers in the darkness. I waited in the midst of it all until the upgrade was complete.
-80…..90…..99….100 percent. Upgrade complete. Changes have been applied.
-Item storage has been expanded to 100. In the case of similar items, you may store up to 99 of them in one slot.
-You may also store an additional skill for a total of two.
-You may perform Item Fusions within the manual
I had my mouth open without realizing it.
I had only been expecting to be able to add more items to storage. But I have an additional skill slot now? And all I did was invest 100 ores…
I tried to calm my fast beating hard to no avail.
There was no way I could remain calm.
“SunbehOppa. What are you doing over there by yourself?”
“You’re not doing something perverted right? Everyone’s waiting for you. Hurry up and finish and come back.”
“You want to die?”
As soon as she showed up, I was finally able to regain some sort of control on my emotions. I guess she is useful at times.
As soon as I returned to the bonfire, everyone looked my way.
It seems they had tried to organize all the items into groups while I was gone.
But there was no one who knew the value of any of them.
Even if there were items here that were not rare or part of the new system, there was no one here who memorized them all as I have.
But….there were so many.
I simply regrouped the items and distributed them to whoever they were best suited for and put the rest into my manual.
As the many items started disappearing seemingly into thin air, they seemed to be surprised.
With this, it would be impossible for me to argue that I was storing them simply into a common transparent backpack. It was time to do some explaining.