“Giran, a commerce city, is two days away from this village. It’s like a capital for Merchants and production-class users. And the pearls you have, Ark-nim, are a material greatly sought by production-class users. Many Beginner and Intermediate production items require pearls, you see. Of course, since the supply is always insufficient at Giran, the market price is at its highest. Honestly, if I could afford it, it’s to the point that I’d want to buy them right away.”
“Basically, you’re asking me to escort you to Giran?”
As Ark Made an unreadable expression, Sid quickly added, “You definitely won’t regret it. I have the skill to trade jewels, so if I trade in your place, I can get 15% more. Considering the market price of pearls in is 40 Silver, then the current total is 320 Gold. 15% on 320 Gold is 48 Gold. So, in conclusion, you can make 168 more Gold than the store from earlier. If I also sell the japtem, you can receive a bit more. It’s good for me, since I’ll raise my EXP, and Ark-nim gets to make more money.”
Though he didn’t use Eyes of the Cat, Ark’s eyes glowed golden. He could earn an additional 168 Gold by investing two days of in-game time, 16 hours.
Although he made a rule of not trusting users, it was a different story for this much profit. 168 Gold was 1,680,000 won. It wasn’t an amount he could easily ignore when living a life that required even a single penny more. Moreover, he’d already been thinking of looking for the surrounding cities anyway. If he went with Sid, who knew the road, he could cut down the time.
However, Ark still felt uneasy about readily accepting. Reselling the pearls, didn’t that actually mean Ark would have to hand over all the pearls to him? How could he trust him and hand over the pearls?
As if he knew what Ark was thinking, Sid laughed as he pulled out parchment and a pen. Then, when he wrote a few things down and passed it to Ark, a new information window popped up.
This is the contract for recording when a Merchant’s profession specialty skill is used for the business of re-selling, exchanging, or acting as the proxy of another user.
If you sign the contract, the Merchant will be validated to make deals, has the right to act as the proxy for the other user’s business, and is obligated to return the promised sum. If the Merchant violates the contract, the Merchant Guild will be alerted, the Merchant’s reliability stat and fame will plummet, and you can charge twice as much as the contracted amount. When the contract is complete, the contract will be automatically discarded.
Contract Contents: Resale of Ark’s pearls, the contract will come into effect the moment the pearls are handed to Sid in Giran. Sid must give all the money obtained from the sale of pearls to Ark.
“Now, you can believe me with this, eh?”
A contract can be set up from a normal trade to a loan, bill, special trade, or almost any situation. It was like a document certifying that if there was a problem by any chance, all the responsibility would fall on the Merchant. The reason Merchants had high reliability from other users was exactly thanks to this unique contract skill.
“Definitely… if there’s a contract like this, there won’t be any chance of getting backstabbed.’
“Okay, I’ll accompany you.”
“Great choice. Since you were able to obtain so many pearls, you should be over level 60, right?”
“I’m level 65.”
“That’s acceptable. Since we’ve finally gotten 3 people, we can be on our way.”
“Huh? There are other companions?”
“There are two ways to get to Giran. The long way would take about 3 to 4 days. But if we want to get there in 2 days time, the only way is to cross Grey Ridge. However, high level monsters like Trolls and Stalkers are camped out on Grey Ridge, so we need 3 level 60 players.”
“The other people are waiting at the inn. Let’s go, I will introduce them to you.”
Sid dragged Ark to the inn without giving him any time to say a word. Two men, named Leo and Hargen, were sitting in the inn. Seeing as they were wearing plate armor, both seemed to be in combat-related professions.
Once Sid introduced Ark, they expressed looks of obvious dislike.
“Sid-nim, you didn’t mention your intent to find another companion.”
“We can pass the Grey Mountains with just the two of us.”
“I’m sorry. We met by chance inside the store, so we decided to go together. I know the two of you are enough, but as I’ve said before, I have a reason to get to Giran as soon as possible. Three is faster than two.”
“And the escort fee?” asked Hargen, who had an axe tattoo on his face, as he glanced at Ark.
“I will pay the escort fee we first agreed upon, since Ark-nim is also going to Giran with the intent to sell goods. I decided to make the sale on his behalf as payment in exchange for escorting me.”
“What did you agree to sell for him that would substitute for the escort fee?”
“Pearls. Perhaps because he wasn’t able to visit a village for long time, he collected quite a lot.”
Sid was boundlessly talkative. Whether it was in-game or real life, there are many humans who will cluster if it seems like you have some money. As expected, as soon as they heard Ark had items worth quite a sum, the two warriors examined Ark with gummy eyes.
Though their appearances were unlikable, their actions were just as disagreeable. However, it would be no good for him to withdraw when he had already agreed to accompany Sid just because he didn’t like them.
“I won’t see them after 16 hours anyway, so I’ll endure.’
After finishing his conversation with the warriors, Sid took out a scroll. It was a [Low-Level Inspection] scroll.
“Then before we go, I would like to do a basic check up. Please understand.”
The very first thing a Merchant did when choosing a player mercenary or an escort was to check their information. If they were chaotic players, then there was the chance of being backstabbed. Since the scroll was low level, Ark couldn’t check the information. Therefore, Sid explained for Ark.
“Leo-nim is level 64 and Hargen-nim is level 62, both of them job-changed to Warrior.”
Warrior was an open profession, but it was a special profession that required 150 Strength.
If you didn’t raise your character while intending to become a Warrior from the beginning, it would be difficult to job-change even at level 30. In other words, they were players who had prior knowledge before they began playing the game. They were users who knew much as information as Sid.
“Wow, Ark-nim is really level 65. With this party, 10 hours will be enough to cross Grey Ridge. But your profession is Dark Walker. This is the first time I’ve heard of it. What kind of profession is it?”
“It’s an ordinary thief,” Ark answered lightly.
Perhaps it was the image of the name “Dark Walker’, but Sid and the Warriors nodded without thinking much about it. Thief-related professions weren’t popular, so there were almost no people who knew the details behind them.
“Ark-nim is the highest level-wise, but it’ll probably be a bit difficult to take the lead since you’re a Thief. Please leave the front to Leo and Hargen and cover the back. Is that okay?”
“Yes, that’s comfortable for me too.”
“Then, we’ll leave after another 20 minutes.”
“We’re not going to go right away?”
When Ark, to whom every minute and second was precious, asked that, Leo snickered and asked, “Perhaps you’ve never rested in an inn before?”
The cheapest inns took 1 Silver and the expensive places took up to 1 Gold.
Heath can be recovered while resting on the ground, so why would you pay money to rest at an inn? That’s why Ark had never entered an inn.
But Sid explained with a surprised expression.
“Like the time in the store, Ark-nim doesn’t seem to know much about the game despite being level 65. The reason people pay to stay in an inn is because of the buff.”
“You can get a buff if you rest at an inn. It’s a buff that lasts 1 hour per 10 minutes, for a maximum of 3 hours. The inns have different prices because the buff effects are different. There are places that slightly raise Strength or Agility. Some places even have a buff that raise EXP gain by 20%. This place increases movement speed by 30% and Health by 10%. There is merit in waiting for 30 minutes.”
He had no idea. He didn’t think inns would have such a secret.
“No wonder everyone was visiting inns strangely often…’
It was information he could have used if he’d known beforehand. Basic information like this wasn’t on the site forums. No, it could be that it was too basic to even put on the forums. In any case, Ark didn’t even know such basic information because he’d never interacted with users much.
‘Minor info like this can be a big help in the game.’
He added another goal of the journey. ‘For 16 hours, I need to gather some info.’
He couldn’t keep living as a beginner forever.
* * *
“Bring it on, Giant’s Strength!”
At the booming cry, the muscles in Leo’s body pulsed as they grew.
It was the might of the job specific skill that increases Strength and Stamina by 30.
With increased Strength, Leo swung his shield and hammer as he charged at a Troll.
A Troll is a humongous, 4 meter tall monster, but his opponent was a Warrior! A fighter who specializes in hunting big monsters.
As all sorts of skills were applied, the Troll staggered as it lost its balance with each strike of the hammer. When the final blow was struck on its brow, the Troll collapsed weakly. At the same time, Hargen faced a Stalker while swinging his two-handed axe.
Leo and Hargen boasted their incredible strength as Warriors.
Equipped with a shield and plate armor, Leo took decent blows without a care, and the Stalker getting hit by Hargen wielding his two-handed axe was getting thrown around like a baseball. They didn’t land critical blows because they were Strength-focused characters, but they easily took out a level 73 troll and three level 66 Stalkers with only normal hits.
Regardless, Ark made an apathetic expression.
‘They fight in a really boring manner.’
The two Warriors were weirdly strong for their level. Based on fighting techniques alone, they were incomparably lousy. They didn’t even consider avoiding the attacks coming at them. That was characteristic of fighters wearing high defense plate armor. They ignored incoming attacks and just blindly swung their weapons. They didn’t pay any attention to distributing their power, managing the distance, or accuracy. They also kept using their skills until all their Mana ran out.
After clearing a group of monsters, Hargen hefted the axe onto his shoulder and boasted, “Hahaha, what did I tell you? With just Leo and me, even Grey Ridge is no problem. From now on we’ll handle it, so Sid-nim and Ark-nim, just watch from the back.”
Of course he was doing just that.
‘I can’t understand deliberately rushing up to fight.’
The group made a party in the village and hit the road. Thanks to this, the EXP was automatically shared even if he didn’t fight. Granted, you could get more EXP by contributing more to the fight, but it wasn’t worth the loss of equipment durability.
In addition, Ark had no experience in party hunting. Since Leo and Hargen fought in a completely different manner, there would be too many problems if Ark tried to squeeze in.
“Well, since it’s only a hunting ground of this level, I’ll just sit back.’
Ark distanced himself and spent his time striking the backs of fleeing monsters.
“Good work. Here’s some food!”
Once the fight ended, Sid immediately brought out food. Sid showed an extremely submissive attitude to the reliable Mercenaries. Well, since they were outside the village, Sid’s life was in the hands of the Mercenaries, so that was a given.
Carrying as many as 6 bags at once, it was was profession that could get a hold of a lot of money from the beginning. There was once a time when Ark was envious of Merchants.
But, after looking at Sid, those thoughts disappeared. They do earn money, but without the help of other players, they wouldn’t even be able to trade properly.
They had to waste their money to pay escort fees and bow to the tastes of others. It wasn’t a profession that suited the single-minded Ark.
“Even though he said there’s a comfortable path, why does he want to employ Mercenaries to travel by this road?’
With sudden doubt, Ark asked while chewing on the free food, “Why are you in such a hurry?”
“I spent my fortune on silk from the Southern region. However, the prices of silk can change in just a few days. If Merchants who bought silk at the same time were to sell them in Giran, then I can incur a loss instead. Since I invested my whole fortune on it, it could bankrupt me. So in order to get there even one day sooner, I haven’t slept properly in days.”
“If the market price is good, how much would you earn?”
“I still won’t earn a lot. Silk doesn’t have a large margin. Price gain is around 2%? With the travel fee and escort fee on top of that, there’s nothing left.”
Perched on top of a rock, Sid answered while swinging his legs.