Ark: Volume 2 Chapter 8

//Ark: Volume 2 Chapter 8

Ark: Volume 2 Chapter 8

This chapter was brought to you by AnmesicCat, Charles, Lei, and Masadeer.

Hohoho,

This leecher has infiltrated the Japtem ranks to bring you an early release of Ark. The chapter was completed ahead of time, and the staff wanted it to be released early. However~ their evil Overlord, Cat, wanted to release it only a minute earlier!

I’m sure everyone is with me when I say ‘How could she?!’ So I brought the staff over to my side. The good side. We held Cat captive, whipped her, and got her to post this chapter early. You may very well thank us.

— A random leecher.


Giran, a Merchant’s Battlefield

Hammer of Merciless Destruction (Magic)

Weapon Type

One-Handed Hammer

Attack Damage

15~20

Durability

31/50

Weight

60

Usage Restriction

More than 180 Strength

A hammer with a sharp, steel-forged edge, it is difficult to deal with the massive weight, but the power is outstanding. It boasts power mighty enough to reduce decent armor to scrap.

Option: +10% Armor destruction, 150% more damage to Undead.

 

Spirit of Separation (Magic)

Defense Type

Steel Helmet

Defense

40

Durability

11/45

Weight

45

Usage Restriction

More than 200 Strength

A helmet with overlapping layers of thin steel and specially made magic-resistant gold plate in between. Boasting strong defense, it has the effect of protecting the mind from mind-related magic.

Option: Mind-related Magic Resistance +30%.
Penalty: Agility -10, no penalty if used by a Combat related profession.

 

Magic Scroll ‘Lie’

Usage Restriction: Intelligence +60

Scroll made a long time ago by a notorious Rogue Magician, when used, one can change their information for other people to see at will. Can even fool NPCs of their alignment, level, stats, and profession. However, level can only be adjusted to within the range of 10 levels of actual level.

1 hour duration. Single use item.

 

Magic Scroll ‘Robbery’

Usage Restriction: Intelligence +60

Scroll with the ability of a notorious Pirate from a long ago. When used, one can designate an item from a user’s bag. While the scroll is in effect, killing the opponent will have a 100% drop rate of designated item. Duplicated items are treated as one item. Note, an equipped item cannot be designated. Effect disappears if the caster dies.

1 hour duration, single use item.

The items Leo and Hargen had dropped were very useful, but Ark’s attention was drawn to the scrolls.

‘There were scrolls such as these?’

For a user who planned and chose to be Chaotic, wasn’t this the best item?! Only then did Ark roughly understand the situation.

The reason why chaotic players like Leo and Hargen were able to enter the village, and why Sid, who even checked their information, didn’t know their identity. It was because of the scroll ‘Lie.’ Also Sid’s terror was because of the scroll ‘Robbery’. Since Leo used the scroll, he would have dropped all his silk if Sid had died. If he’d lost the silk he bought by investing his whole fortune, there’d be no hope for Sid. He could only declare bankruptcy.

‘If I died to Hargen, I would have lost all my pearls.’

Belatedly, just thinking about it caused cold sweat to trickle.

“You get it now, right?”
“Yes, I’m sorry for misunderstanding.”

“Not at all— in any case, I would’ve gone bankrupt if not for you, Ark-nim.”
“But the items Leo and Hargen dropped…”

In the craziness, Ark quickly claimed ownership of the items. Before there was talk of something else later, it was better to nail it down now.

Sid nodded as if there was nothing to think about.

“Of course, Ark-nim should get them. And when we arrive in Giran, I’ll be sure to repay you for all this. My margin is low so I can’t give you much, but I can give you at least 15 Gold.”

“Why go so far… Well, though I’d take it if you’re offering.”

Unlike Hyun Woo, refusal wasn’t in Ark’s dictionary.

“Yes, I’ll be sure to repay you. Ark-nim was almost in big trouble because of me, those bastards, just when will such guys disappear.” Sid ground his teeth as if his rage was exploding again.

“Anyway, it’s a relief it was settled well.”

“By the way…” Sid blew out a sigh as he slumped his shoulders. “If we try to go back to the village and take the safe route, it’ll take a few more days. That’s the worry. I heard silk prices are falling a lot right now.”

“Let’s just keep going this way. I need to get to Giran anyways, so I will protect you.”

“What? But Ark-nim alone…”

“Don’t worry,” Ark replied with confidence. “It might take longer than when there were three people, but at this level of difficulty, I can protect you just fine.”

Of course, Gray Ridge had a high difficulty. As Sid had said before, at least 3 players between level 50 to 60 were necessary to pass through safely. But it only applied to those who blindly charged in like Leo and Hargen. There was no reason for Ark to do something so idiotic.

If he lured them out one at a time with Dedric and took them down with a concentrated attack with Skull, they weren’t very difficult opponents. After all, Ark had hunted even more difficult monsters alone.

Granted, now that the situation had turned out this way, there was really no need to look after Sid. But Ark had his own plan. Even if you fall, you never get up with an empty hand.

“Ah, but…” Ark stopped walking and made a suggestion, “If I take the role of Leo and Hargen…”

“If we can get to Giran, I’ll give you the protection fee I promised to give those guys. For both of them combined, I promised 25 Gold,” quickly answered Sid, quick on the uptake.

“Of course the reward you promised would be separate?”

“Huh? Ah. Yes…” A look that said Ark was taking it too far surfaced in Sid’s eyes, but when Ark spoke as if he would get what he should definitely get, all Sid could do was nod. “Of course I’ll give it to you.”

“Then, for the trust between us, let’s write up a contract.” Immediately using what he’d learned, Ark’s caution shone.

In the end, Sid had no choice but to reluctantly write up the contract. But it was not the end of Ark’s demands.

“Ah, and Merchant bag space is spacious, right? It’s just that I don’t have room for japtem…”

In other words, he meant to take all the items from hunting for himself! Sucking his victim down to the marrow once he caught them, Ark’s tenacity was aroused.

Sid nodded with a sullen face. “I- I will see and do it for you. Since I have some space.”

“I’d be thankful if you did that, now shall we go?” Ark turned vigorously and went over the ridge.

Only then did Sid realize how horrible a person Ark was.

As soon as the bag space was acquired Ark’s attitude did a 180 flip. When they found monsters, they never just went past. And no matter how long it took, he annihilated them and stored away in the items. That wasn’t all. He collected all the grasses and fruits that caught his eye.

Needing to get to Giran even one hour faster, Sid stamped his feet, but Ark acted like he didn’t even notice. Sid wanted to spew curses at least, but somehow, Ark was his life’s savior. Plus, they were already in Grey Ridge. He’d get killed by monsters if he got separated from Ark, so all he could do was keep his rage bottled up inside.

“Now, please hold onto this as well.”

‘Waaah, can’t you even see I’m in a hurry? Am I just a bag? Are you treating me like a bag? Is that how it is? Dammit, this is the first time I’ve regretted my choice to be a Merchant this much.’ He hadn’t been this bitter even when he was being chased by Leo.

But no matter what Sid thought, Ark liked him. He liked Sid’s cute appearance and pleasing personality. Plus, Sid was going to give him 40 Gold as a reward and protection fee when they arrived at Giran, so there was no way Ark couldn’t be fond of him. The fact Sid had a lot of information was also helpful.

‘To think that New World had such scrolls. In the future I shouldn’t judge people by level.’

If the ‘Lie’ scroll could hide more than 15 levels, then even Ark wouldn’t be able to do anything but die. ‘Robbery’ was also a scary scroll. Though they didn’t impact the battle directly, they showed enormous power depending on their use. Merchants probably feared these two scrolls the most. Even so, Ark hadn’t even known such scrolls existed.

‘There’s definitely a limit to getting info from a meager site forum.’

This experience made Ark keenly realize the best way to get information was to interact with other players.

But Ark didn’t trust players. The case of Leo and Hargen alone was a testament how untrustworthy a player was. Therefore, as he headed to Giran with Sid, he tried to get as much info as possible. Knowledge was now a matter of life and death.

“A red scroll that can be misused on a player isn’t sold in a normal village.”

“Then where can they be obtained?”

“There is a village only Chaotic players can enter. In the Schudenberg Kingdom as well, there’s a Chaotic village called the Lawless City Kairote. Since Merchants don’t have much to do with it, I don’t really know where it is. Anyway, they say there are lots of various scrolls and items there. ‘Lie’ and ‘Robbery’ are famous among them. For the most part, Chaotic players set on PKing use them.”

“What other scrolls are there?”

“It’s also good to be careful of the ‘Trace’ scroll Leo used on me earlier. As long as you know their name, it’s a scroll that can find someone’s location within a 1 kilometer radius. And there’s also ‘Null-Recovery.’ If you get hit by this scroll, potions and recovery magic have no effect.”

There were many more. ‘Peek’ let you look at the items inside an opponent’s bag, and it was frequently used in combination with ‘Robbery’ by Bandits.

Of course, there were also scrolls that countered them. A typical one was ‘Sword of Truth.’ If another person was using ‘Lie,’ it was a scroll that dealt powerful damage while dispelling the effect. But ‘Sword of Truth’ was expensive and the places that sold it were limited, so it was too much to use every time you hired a mercenary.

“There are more, but that’s about all I know.”
“Even so, it was a great help.”

‘Until now, I didn’t have any interest in scrolls, but it’s not something I can overlook.’ Ark realized the value of information anew.

In fact, scrolls were such a specialized field that there was even a separate profession related to it. There were hundreds of types of scrolls, and among the Rare-class scrolls, there was even one that could deal a fatal blow to your opponent. And since the indirectly applied ones were also dangerous, even if he didn’t use them himself, he needed to know them all to not be a victim.

‘Kairote, huh…’

A village where only Chaotic players can enter. Since it was indeed a game with infinite freedom, it seemed there was a way for Chaotics could live with other Chaotics. Plus, countless scrolls with unknown effects were only sold in Kairote. If he could use those scrolls freely, it would definitely show an immense effect.

‘I should go look for it one day.’

Ark also asked for information on various regions of the Schudenberg Kingdom, its specialties, and hunting grounds. Each time he asked, Sid answered him freely.

For a Merchant, information turns to money. Merchants who cleared routes alone didn’t divulge such information lightly. No, other professions were the same. The reason why the information site forums were scanty was because information hoarding. Since Ark didn’t share information about hidden dungeons, he couldn’t blame them. But since Sid owed Ark a huge debt, so he couldn’t refuse sharing information. It was valuable information money can’t buy.

“Ah, do you by any chance know about a place called the Underground World?”
“Underground world? I wonder?”

Ark asked on an off chance he might know, and Sid scratched his head. “I haven’t been there, but I heard that among the Dwarven villages, there’s even a place under the ground.”

“No, I’m talking about a Beast village.”

“If it’s a Beast village, there’s none I know, either. I haven’t even seen a Beast myself, and players who choose to be Beasts start in the Sinius Principality.”

“I’m not looking for a player village.”
“Really? If I get some info later, I’ll tell you by mail.”

“Thank you.”
“But can’t we please move a little faster?”

Of course, Ark pretended not to hear Sid’s last words. Even so, since they were moving, their goal steadily got closer. After about 20 hours, Grey Ridge finally stopped and the sight of the commercial city Giran came into view from the base of the hills .

Giran was larger and more grand than any city he had gone to.

Encapsulated by thick walls, Giran was divided down the middle by canals, marking off several regions, such as Trade, Production, and Magic. Each of the areas was bigger than Jackson Castle.

As soon as they arrived in Giran, Sid rushed over to the trading post.

“Ah, thankfully silk prices haven’t dropped yet.”

After a long time Sid came out with a much brighter expression. “Thanks to selling the silk, Ark-nim’s japtem, and the pearls, my level went up by 5. Jewelry and Textile trading skill proficiency both went up by 40, and my silk share went up by 2% as well. All in all, this trade was a huge success.”

“Congratulations.” Generous with free lip service, Ark confirmed the ample money sack in Sid’s hand and also felt good. “Then it’s time to divide the money?”

“Ah, yes, of course.” Sid smiled bitterly as he nodded.

Just the japtem in Ark’s bag and what he had left with Sid totaled 50 Gold. Along with selling the 800 pearls at a 15% high price, the total was 418 Gold! It was more than the price of the trade goods Sid had brought while flinging himself around the Kingdom like crazy. Moreover, Ark’s earnings had mostly no investment, so his margin reached 90%.

He received more than half the money bag. But Ark still eyed Sid’s money bag with greedy eyes. It was his silent pressure to be given the promised protection fee and reward.

“Here you go. The 25 Gold I promised when I contracted Leo, and the 15 Gold special bonus.” Sid handed over the money looking like he was going to cry.

Ark quickly took it, packed it away, and laughed. “Thank you. Then I’ll see you again next time.”

“Yes; well, I’m gonna be in Giran for a while, so if you need to see me just contact me.”

Ark parted with Sid for now. However, there were still things he had to do in Giran. Even after selling off that many items, there were still three or four items left in Snake’s belly. They were items he couldn’t sell to the store because they were unidentified.

‘Huhuhu, he said he was gonna be in Giran for a while, right? Then I should check all these items and get Sid to sell them. Sid’s going to get EXP from selling them anyways. This is what they call a win-win situation. Knowing a Merchant makes a lot of things much more comfortable.’

He’d really caught a sitting duck this time. Whether he liked it or not, he’d come to know Sid, so he had to use him to the max!

Inside his bag, 650 gold coins jingled. Thanks to that, as Ark headed towards the item appraisal store, his steps were as light as air.

* * *

“How much did you say it was?”

“It’s 184,700 Won (~$185).” The checkout clerk spat out terrifying words with a friendly voice.

A sigh puffed out on its own. Buying a 4 kilogram sack of rice, some vegetables, toothpaste, and a toothbrush totaled to over a 180 thousand Won.

It seemed prices had risen yet again, in short order, whereas workers’ wages had been frozen for a year. The people’s economy falling to ruin was like a textbook example. The electric, water, and gas fees also rose.

It had already been 10 years since the privatization of public services. In the name of improving quality, the utility fees had risen fifteen times. As a result, even though he only kept one light on at night in his tiny room, the shivering Hyun Woo was charged a bill of over 150 thousand Won (~$150) every month.

Though his mother was just lying in the hospital, having to pay a hospital bill of 3 million Won (~$3,000) a month was certainly an aftereffect of the privatization of health insurance.

Since Hyun Woo was busy making a living, he had no interest in the workings of national bond companies or whatever. Whenever a policy came out, there was a part could not understand the people who rose up in arms like a swarm of bees. But after taking personal damage from the aftereffect, his thoughts changed.

‘Dammit, there’s a reason why adults talk politics if they simply gather.’

However, he couldn’t live without eating and using water just because money was precious.

‘I’m jealous of Ark, who can use Survival Cooking.’

Granted, even if Hyun Woo could use Survival Cooking, it wouldn’t make much of a difference. In a city where it was hard to even see grass, there was no way he could get ingredients.

In the end, although he valued them like his life, he handed over likenesses of Shin Saimdang (50,000 Won bill), Sejong the Great (10,000 Won), Yi I (5,000 Won), and Admiral Yi (100 Won) to the clerk.

[T/N: Ark is referring to famous figures in Korean history who are printed onto the currency. It’s like talking about giving someone a Lincoln ($5) or a George Washington.]

Walking home with shopping bags, Hyun Woo’s mind was busy calculating money.

His mother’s rehabilitation treatment started this month too, so it would take about 4,500,000 Won (~$4,500)… On top of that, the utility bill was roughly 450,000 Won (~$450), rent and food expenses were 500,000 Won, loan payment and interest were 1,000,000 Won. In conclusion, the total expenses was at least 6,500,000 Won (~$6,500) a month.

With the 7,000,000 Won (~$7,000) he’d earned from selling items in the past and 3,000,000 Won (~$3,000) he received from Global Exos for two months, he had thought he could endure for at least another two months. However, now it would be tough to last a month and a half. It was dangerous if he couldn’t step up his game.

‘Still, I can’t skimp on mother’s hospital fees.’

After life became difficult, the biggest thing Hyun Woo realized was life wasn’t so easy. Everything Hyun Woo had lived on and enjoyed for 17 years were not for granted. They were the result of his father earning with sweat and blood and his mother saving and saving again. They raised Hyun Woo with everything in a world with prices leaping like mad. He had to be grateful.

However that was then, now his pocket swung emptily.

Since he had to pay the hospital fee in advance, it immediately took a large sum. His loan payment date was also drawing very near. After thinking, Hyun Woo just shook his head.

‘No need to worry. I still have over 2,000,000 Won left. And if there’s no other way…’

There was still a final resort left to Hyun Woo. The 650 Gold he carefully kept in his bag!

It was an emergency card he could convert to 6,500,000 Won of real currency at any time. But just as money was necessary to live life, gold was necessary inside the game, too. At least for an unforeseen circumstance, he didn’t want to touch the gold if possible.

‘I still have time. Since I’m mostly set with my equipment, I’ll put any worthwhile items I get on auction right away. Since my level went up too, there’ll be more chances to get items worth money.’

Hyun Woo roughly finished cleaning his house and accessed the auction site.

Auction Complete. Reaper’s Scythe : 600,000 Won (~$600)

Auction Complete. Sharply Shining Sword : 350,000 Won (~$350)

Auction Complete. Merciless Hammer of Destruction: 800,000 Won (~$800)

Auction Complete. Spirit of Separation : 700,000 Won (~$700)

‘For now, I’ve scraped together 2,450,000 Won.’

Leo and Hargen’s equipment sold for a better price than expected. Since he’d made a tasty sum from the items he’d taken from them, he thought he could understand why players went the path of the PKer even while bearing enormous penalties.

‘But there’s a limit to the money you can make PKing anyways. And if you keep making enemies like, there’ll be a time when you won’t be able to play the game at all. From a long-term perspective, it’s actually no good. I have to make money my own way.’

Hyun Woo got in the unit and connected to New World.

* * *

“How much did you say it was?” Ark repeated exactly what Hyun Woo had said.

“The Low-grade Protect cancellation is 5 Gold, Intermediate is 10 Gold, and Advanced is 15 gold. Since it is impossible to identify items with the Ultimate Protect, please use the item appraisal store of Bristania Kingdom’s magic city, Hashui.”

After leaving Sid, Ark immediately sought out the item appraisal store, because among the items he’d got underwater, several of them were unidentified. Since he couldn’t even sell them while unidentified, he had to get them identified. But hearing the prices made his jaw drop on its own.

“W-why is it so expensive?”

“We only charge the fee the Magic Society announces. If you find fault with it, you can leave.” The appraisal NPC, named Doltorun, made an unpleasant expression as he replied bluntly.

A sigh leaked from Ark’s lips. The Identification skill only formed for people who observed many goods closely, so besides Magicians or manufacturers, it was nigh impossible to get.

But Giran was a commerce city, and there were many Merchants and manufacturer players. There were also bound to be people with the Identification skill among them. If he found them and made a request, he would be able to get them identified for 1-2 Gold cheaper.

However, he was reluctant to do so. He also didn’t want to mix with other players, because if it turns out to be a good item, he wouldn’t be able to maintain his security. Even if his luck was really good and a Rare item came out, the info might leak to Chaotic players.

‘Although catching them and getting a bounty or an item wouldn’t be bad either…’

There was no guarantee he’d be able to win with luck all the time. Moreover, Giran was a place where all sorts of high-level players gathered.

He wouldn’t be able to handle facing two or three players around the level of Leo and Hargen. Now he knew scrolls such as ‘Robbery’ existed, he had to be even more careful.

‘I can’t ask a player to identify it even while knowing of the danger to save 1-2 Gold.’ In that respect, an item appraisal store run by an NPC was trustworthy. ‘Can’t be helped.’

“Please check this first.”

Ark held back tears as he handed over the fee and requested the appraisal of a low-grade unidentified item. The only weapon among the unidentified items, it looked like some kind of tooth.

“Please wait a moment.”

Doltorun inspected the item carefully and the identification was soon complete.

Sharkman Fang Dagger

Weapon Type

Dagger

Attack Damage

4~6

Durability

10

Weight

5

Usage Restriction

None

A dagger made from a sharp fang of a Sharkman; the Merpeople use it when collecting pearls. It does not rust in seawater, but it breaks easily and repair is impossible.

Value: 15-20 Silver

Marking the value was an additional service of item appraisal stores. Thanks to that friendly service, Ark instantly fell into shock.

“20 Silver? W-what the hell? Then I can’t even get the identification fee back?”

“Can’t be helped. Item appraisal has no guarantee of getting a good result.”

“What kind of irresponsibility…!”

“I simply did as I was asked, and identified it. The results aren’t my responsibility, isn’t that right?” Doltorun replied insultingly.

In the end it was like throwing away 4 gold and 80 silver on the street with one identification.

This was the biggest negative point of an unidentified item. You could make a lot of profit if it came out as an item with a good result, but if japtem like this came out, then you just wasted the identification fee.

‘I’m gonna go crazy. What to do?’

He’d been all puffed up with expectation when picking up the items. But now that he was about to get them identified, caution exceeded his expectation. Of the remaining items, two had Low-level Protect and one was Intermediate. A whopping 20 Gold! If they all turned out to be japtem, then 20 Gold went up into smoke.

Even so, he couldn’t just throw them away. An unidentified item had a drop rate as low as a Magic item. It means there was a high possibility an item as good as a Magic one could surface.

It was a waste to throw them away, and identifying made him scared.

‘This is completely being stuck between a rock and a hard place.’

This was Ark worrying about spending 20 gold when having 650 gold. While Ark was going back and forth about his decision Doltorun muttered angrily, “Won’t you ponder outside please? Aren’t you blocking the other customers?”

“Ah, no. That is….”
“Aaah! Just sell them at an auction and be done with it!”
“Auction? But unidentified goods can’t be put up for auction.”

Hearing Ark’s reply, Doltorun pierced him with a look of derision. “You’re driving me mad though I’m so busy I could die. Look here, customer! Giran doesn’t have just one auction. Other than the normal auction, there are various types depending on nature. One of them is a place called the blind auction. As the name suggests it is an auction where one doesn’t know what item they are getting. So, I mean it’s a place where you auction unidentified items.”

“Unidentified items?”

“It’s a place where people like you who value the identification fee or can’t even afford the fee get rid of unidentified items. Since both the seller and the buyer don’t know what kind of good it is, whether they make a gain or a loss hangs on luck alone. I personally think it’s just pathetic, but if you like it then go take a look. Next customer!” Doltorun fumed as he pushed Ark out.

Ark opened his bag and stared at the unidentified items. They were items with shapes like clam shells— items that strongly smelled like they wouldn’t even make a few pennies if he identified them.

‘Still, I can’t just throw them away, so let’s try going to the blind auction for now. I’ll be able to pick up a few Silvers at least if they sell.’

The blind auction was in a corner of Giran, in the casino district. As soon as he entered the luxurious building the Auction NPC came up.

“Are you here to register an unidentified item?”
“Yes, I’m trying to register these three.”

“Please register the auction starting price and auction period.”
“10 Silver, 8 hours.”

“Thank you. Please find the office after 8 hours. Will you look around the auction while you wait? If good luck follows, you can even buy a valuable item for a ridiculously cheap price.”

Of course that was the plan. With the NPC’s guidance, Ark entered the auction.

In a wide space, there was an enormous number of items on display. There, the auction progressed by looking through the items and jotting down a price on the memo attached underneath the item you wanted to buy.

Ark walked around looking at the items with interest. Weapons, armor, shields, even items like food ingredients and pottery were being auctioned. As expected, players looking to make a quick fortune were interested in the weapons or armor.

A good weapon or armor was incomparably more expensive than other items. Plus, since even an average one could be sold at a relatively good price, you could also minimize the loss in case of auction failure. Of course those items got a high price at auction.

No, it was too high.

‘The auction price of an unknown sword is 30 Gold? If you add the identification fee that’s 35 Gold. 35 Gold is just thrown away if this is just an iron sword, but people are still trying to buy it.’

While Ark was thinking, someone approached and raised the price to 31 Gold.

It was a robed Magician wearing glasses. The name written on the memo was Vidus. He glanced at Ark, who was blankly staring at him as he put in the bid. Vidus raised the bid again to 35 Gold and laughed. It seemed he thought of Ark as a competitor.

Ark couldn’t understand his behavior.

35 gold for an item when he don’t know what will come out of it?

If anything, wasn’t it the same as gambling?

However, that amount was nothing. After he looked around a bit, he saw that all the auction goods had eye-popping prices. There were numerous items with over 100 Gold as bids.

‘For people to pour their money like this, it must mean there’s that much merit?’

There was no way all the players were idiots. Participating in the auction while going as far as to pour in hundreds of Gold, there was no doubt it meant they could make a greater profit. The smell of money wafted into Ark’s sensitive nose. He was just looking, but if there was money to be made, he couldn’t just pass it up.

‘For now, I’ve got to figure out why people are going so crazy.’

As Ark went around the auction, he started gathering info. And he came to learn a surprising truth.

The info was this: just a few days ago, among the items sold in the blind auction, an Epic item appeared.

No matter how low its stats were, an Epic was easily worth 10 million Won (~$10,000) at the very least; as its name suggested, it was a sensational item. Therefore, player interest was rapidly rising.

That wasn’t all. There was a rumor one player had gotten a Rare armor with just 50 Silver, and yet another player got a Rare skill book for 5 Gold.

‘This is an incredible place!’ Ark was shocked into attention.

Of course, there was no way such good fortune would come into his hand so easily. But depending on the situation, he could raise the profit by hundreds with a small investment. Moreover, Ark was in an immediate need of money. There was no guarantee anywhere he’d be able to obtain a Rare item within ten days with just hunting.

If he could obtain a Rare item here…?

‘This is an opportunity, I might be able to get money for this month if I use it well.’

The problem was, he could accidentally suffer a huge loss.

‘Still, I can’t just blindly buy auction goods. First, I have to learn the trick to it. There was nothing in the world that had no trick to it. After all, they say gambling is 60% skill and the rest was luck.’

After that, Ark spent the next few hours observing the people wandering the auction.

Be it gambling or anything else, the first and foremost way to make money was to follow the expert. Someone with expertise in this field would have their own know-how. For now, the urgent priority was to find an expert.

After 3 hours, the person Ark found was the Magician wearing glasses he’d met not long ago, Vidus. Other people left after bidding on 1 or 2 items at most, but he went around bidding on scores of items in one go.

‘That guy isn’t just doing this casually. He’s a person who buys and sells auction goods as a profession.’

Ark started to follow Vidus around.

Vidus’ work method was rational. He didn’t just recklessly raise the auction price, and if he found a worthwhile item, he wrote down the expected price, auction start time, and auction period on a notebook. When the auction closing time drew near, he checked the latest price and bid within a safe range. Vidus successfully won most of the goods after a few minutes.

‘Is he checking the price before the auction closes and buying if it’s lower than what he expected and forgoing if it’s not? It’s the trick to buying with minimal investment.’

Ark decided to use Vidus’s method. About 1 minute after Vidus bidded, Ark quickly bid 1 Copper higher. After Vidus bidded, Ark used the last few minutes before the auction ended.

Through that method, Ark successfully won 6 auction goods.

‘Alright, shall we check the results?’
Ark immediately ran over to the appraisal store.

The results: 4 were profitable, 2 were losses. Even with the auction and identification fee, there was a profit of 4 Gold left.

Inwardly, Ark cried out in joy. ‘This is it!’

Though he wasn’t completely convinced about the auction, 4 Gold was left even though he’d only gotten the cheapest goods. It wasn’t much money, but the important thing was that he’d definitely made profit. If he won more expensive goods, the profit would rise too. In addition, if he had good luck he could even hope for a jackpot item. It was the fastest way to make money.

‘Alright, I’m gonna catch my share with this!’

After that, Ark used the same method to win two more times. This time, both made profit and he was able to earn 20 Gold. Money was rushing in just by sneaking around the auction and making bids. After seizing 24 Gold in just 20 minutes or so, the auction was so fun for Ark that he was quivering with excitement.

‘To think making money was so easy!’

As he gained confidence, Ark was emboldened. ‘Alright, shall I try a bigger investment this time?’

The more money you invest the larger the profits. Ark chased Vidus around as he bid on very important auction goods. And after Vidus passed, Ark quickly raised the bid.

He chose 6 goods going for over 50 Gold. He poured out a fortune of 300 Gold!

As if fortune smiled upon him, Ark won all 6 bids.

‘Hehehe, looking at past results 4 of these should be good items. Since there’s been a profit of about 20% more than the investment, I should make 60 Gold. There’s no time. I should take care of these quickly and do it again.’

Ark took the auctioned goods and hastily sought out the appraisal shop.

“Welcome, ah, is it these this time?” Once Ark became a regular, the item appraisal shop’s Doltorun became pleasant as well. “Then I’ll identify them right away.”

Fshhh! Looking at the information window with expectant eyes, Ark’s face was drained of blood.

Broken Armor

Armor Type

Plate Armor

Defense

1

Durability

2/2

Weight

80

Usage Restriction

More than 150 Strength

Armor in tatters from many battles. In this condition, it can’t be used even after repairing it. You can only melt it down and recycle it.

Value: 10 Silver

The item he’d bought for a whopping 60 Gold was recyclable trash. He was so dumbfounded that laughter started to leak out.

“The item you brought this time was really no good. Well, this is luck too.”
“T-there’s no way! Another one, identify another one!”
“Work is welcomed anytime.”

As Doltorun checked the items one by one, Ark’s face became steadily paler.

The remaining items were recyclable trash like the first one.

The most expensive one was only 2 Gold. Calculating his investment and loss, 400 Gold went up in smoke. At the same time, his extremely elevated mood plummeted to the ground.

Was this the feeling of not even being able to scream?

‘W-what have I done?’ His mind reeled in the dizziness.

400 Gold… in just a few minutes, he’d lost one month of his mother’s hospital bill.

People who’d gone crazy with gambling and became homeless after losing their house came to Ark’s mind. Whenever he saw such people, he thought they were pathetic. Though they had learned again and again, he couldn’t understand why they were driven so far.

But Ark had no right to curse them. He was no different from them.

Once he made a little profit in the beginning, he’d gotten full of himself, as if he’d grasped the magic all on his own. Why did he believe such a weak idea was an absolute method and not question it? It was probably money, which clouded a person’s eyes— the charm of Gold.

When Ark staggered out of the appraisal shop, Vidus rose from his seat in front of the shop and approached him.

“Have you come to your senses now?”

About to pass him, Ark flinched and raised his head. “What do you…?”

“I’ve spent two months of real time in the blind auction. During two months, do you think there was no one who took what was mine with a method like yours?”

“What? T-then you..?”

“That’s right, since you were using a very dirty method, I joked a bit to teach you a lesson. Even so, I didn’t think you’d actually buy all of them. You must’ve lost about 300-400 Gold. How do you feel? Your insides are souring, right?”

“Y-you—!”

Ark clenched his fists. ‘A joke? Did you say it was A JOKE? Dammit, it may have been a joke to you, but it was a month of my mother’s hospital bills to me! After making me lose them, you call it a joke? Is that what you spouted?’

But Ark clamped his jaw down and swallowed the words surging up his throat.

Ark had used him first. And he had never forced Ark to buy the items. Ark was the one who used Vidus as he wanted and was tricked. As upsetting as it was, he had no right to curse Vidus.

After glaring at Vidus, Ark hunched his shoulders and turned away.

“The rascals fooled by me all lost their marbles and spewed curses, but you’re a bit different. Your actions are dirty, but your fundamental character is okay.” Vidus pushed up his glasses. “However, the fact that you are stupid and lazy is the same as the others. I really can’t understand why people get one thing but completely miss the other.”

“What?”

“Using me alone may be a good method. Because when I choose an item, I can ascertain profit with a chance of roughly 70%. But why is it that you or the others aren’t curious at all about how I can choose good items with a 70% chance? That’s the problem with young fellows these days. They only think about making money easily.”

“…!”

Ark finally understood where he went wrong. As he followed Vidus, Ark had considered himself clever. But after listening to Vidus’ words, wasn’t he wretchedly stupid? Ark had definitely only thought of making money easily, and he hadn’t even thought about how Vidus was able to pick out items so well. His eyes had been clouded by the thought of getting fish that he hadn’t even tried to learn how to fish.

As Ark turned with surprised eyes, Vidus laughed as he said, “Well, since the situation is like this and I did cause you a huge loss I’ll give you a bit of advice. This game is virtual reality. The laws of reality apply directly to most of the things that exist here. Do you get what I’m saying? Just as items are worth money for a reason in reality, it means items in game were also worth money for a reason.”

“Reason it’s worth money…”

“One more thing— I work in an auction-related job in the real world as well. To say simply, it’s not something a youngster with no experience should recklessly stick their nose in. Learn your lesson from this and throw away your dream of getting rich quick. There’s no such thing as a way to make money easily in the world.” With that, Vidus went towards the auction again.

Ark mumbled as he stared blankly at Vidus’ back. ‘He works in auctions in real life, too?’

It finally felt like the fog filling his mind was lifting. Just as Vidus had said, this place was a virtual reality. In other words, it was a copy of reality.

Until now, Ark had just thought of the auction goods as unidentified items. It was a misunderstanding. He had misunderstood everything from the beginning.

In the first place, there was no such thing as an unidentified item in reality or in New World. They weren’t identified, but the shape of the item could be checked by eye.

He should have personally judged the value with his eyes, not with an information window. That was the strategy for the blind auction!

‘Holy shit, how could I have just left everything to luck?’

He’d been tricked by the fact that the blind auction was in the casino district. Because of it, he had unconsciously thought it was a gamble. But the blind auction was not a place to gamble. Rather, it was the most realistic place. The ability to carefully appraise an item and judge the value. It was a place to test and compete with that ability.

‘In the end, that means you can work hard to succeed. If there’s a means, I can’t just give up like this.’

His tenacity flared up.

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2016-11-02T22:21:42+00:00March 22nd, 2014|[X / KR] Ark|46 Comments