“Hey! You came!”
Jake ran out through the crowd of people that were gathered like clouds in front of the large stall. Vulcan said in a grumpy way,
“Were you waiting for me or waiting for items?”
“Of course, the items!”
“Still, I’m a human being. Can’t you act like you care?”
“Of course, I will. But why did it take you 5 days to come back? My neck was about to pop out because I was waiting so long. Ah, I will take items first.”
“You were not listening to me carefully just now, were you?”
Vulcan calmed down Jake who was full of greed for the items.
“I have a few things I want to ask you as well. So, I know it is a little early, but let’s go to the pub. Well, if you want to run your shop for a little while longer, I could wait.”
“Really? In that case, please wait just 10 minutes. I will wrap things up and then go with you.”
Jake returned to the stall and labeled prices on all items. Noticing a 10% discount, many of the customers were happy to pay.
The items on the stall were all sold out at an instant. Jake wrapped things up and stood next to Vulcan.
“Now, let's get going.”
“... Is it okay to sell everything so carelessly like that?”
“Actually, they were all just leftovers after selling all of the high-end products. Hurry. Let's get going.”
With Jake urging Vulcan to hurry up, the two went to the pub. Watching Jake having a hard time opening the pub’s door, Vulcan said,
“Mr. Jake, it looks like you have no intention of ever leveling up.”
“Ugh. Do they ever think about making this door lighter? That's right. As for me, I never liked beating or killing something. I leveled up to where I am while I was just trying to survive. Now, I'm making a pretty good living, so it doesn't matter anymore.”
“Do you ever think about going back to your home world?”
“Did I never tell you? I was an orphan. Even if I go back, I don't know anyone there, so what is the point? I am comfortable here.”
Vulcan nodded. He could understand Jake.
The pub was rather empty at this hour. Jake found a table and said,
“All right. First let's check the items.”
“That is… How could we do that here? They will fill up the entire pub.”
“You have that many?”
“In the abandoned dungeon, I cleared out everything from the beginning to the end.”
Jake sprang up from his chair.
Because he did it in such a hurry, his chair got knocked over the floor with a loud noise.
“You, by chance, did you complete the quest already?”
“Yes. Why are you so surprised?”
Jake was at a loss for words for a while, but soon he smiled big and said,
“Now that I think about it, you were able to hunt in the south field when you were not even at level 200. Now you're at level 304, so it is very possible. What was the boss’s level?”
“It was 400.”
“Wow, your level is at the First-Rate range, but your abilities are already at the Zenith-Rate.”
Impressed, Jake said as he sat back down.
Vulcan felt that it was enough for the introduction. He started to talk about the main part.
"That is why I am saying this. I would like to switch my hunting ground now."
"Already? You're not even at level 350 yet. Why don't you just stay there for the time being?"
"I can feel that my growth rate is slowing down. Even if there are a lot of monsters, there is a limit. I think I would be better off hunting in the north gate side's plain-field."
"Certainly, if you got what it takes, the north gate's side is better than the abandoned dungeon..."
Jake was holding his chin with his hand. It looked like he was comparing the two hunting grounds.
Interrupting his train of thoughts, Vulcan asked a question.
"Is there a good hunting ground somewhere?"
"Is there another place similar to the abandoned dungeon? Please tell me."
"Hey. You think places like that are common? Most people don't even know that such places even exist. I knew that one place because I'm pretty knowledgeable."
"So what you're saying is, you don't know any other place."
"That is right. As you said, just go to the north gate field and hunt there."
Vulcan felt genuinely disappointed. A sigh came out automatically.
It was because Vulcan now knew for certain how important a good hunting ground was for leveling up.
'If I hunt on a plain field, would I have been able to get to level 300 so fast?'
Vulcan shook his head. It would have been absolutely impossible.
Besides that, there were many other factors that bugged him.
North gate field was an open environment where anybody could interfere in his battles.
Because Vulcan had enemies called Players Alliance, this factor made him very uncomfortable.
‘Well, actually, as I am now, I think I should be able to face them alone and beat them all.’
Still, it was better to avoid dangers that could be avoided.
Although Vulcan sometimes got excited and acted recklessly, he usually preferred to go about his business without risk.
“I don’t have the information you want, but there is one thing that I can tell you about something else.”
It intrigued Vulcan. In silence, Vulcan looked at Jake.
“You, did you know that there is a ranking in Beloong City?”
“This place is full of people who only fight whole day long, so I figured they like ranking amongst themselves.”
“That’s right. Actually, about half of what people usually talk about in the pub are about ranking.”
“I don’t care about such a thing.”
“Really? Although you are in the ranking?”
After hearing unexpected news, Vulcan leaned toward Jake.
“I didn’t do anything. What did I do to make people add me to the ranking? I have been cooped up in the dungeon and hunting all this time.”
“Didn’t do anything? Was it Beruneru beat the crap out of the Players Alliance?”
Certainly, that was a big incident.
However, Vulcan still could not believe it.
“Even if Uruo is the leader of Players Alliance, he is the top dog of a group that isn’t even acknowledged as a real faction. It is odd that I am treated as worthy of being part of the ranking. It looked like they only select about a hundred people for the ranking.”
“You are rather calm? Usually, when people hear that they are in the ranking, they pump up their shoulders and get smug about it.”
“If I did, I would just get more people trying to pick fights with me. So, how did I end up in the ranking?”
“Let me explain that.”
Before anyone realized, Filder was standing besides the two and joined the conversation.
“Ah, Mr. Filder. It has been a long time.”
“It certainly has. I have barely seen you in the past half a year. Did you just return from training in isolation somewhere?”
“Well… Something like that. By the way, about the explanation…”
Filder smiled gently. It had been a while since Vulcan saw Filder’s smile. Vulcan felt relaxed.
“Beloong City’s ranking is divided into two. The first one is the Golden Ranking, which ranks the strongest of all residents in Beloong City. The second one is for those who have been in the city for less than 10 years. It is called the Rookie Ranking.”
“Ah, in that case, the ranking I belong to is…”
“It is the Rookie Ranking.”
In the past, Vulcan was not interested in ranking plays, but after talking about it for so long, he could not help but to be interested.
Vulcan was about to ask additional questions about the ranking, but Filder pointed his finger toward the middle of the pub.
A square shaped crystal glowing in green light could be seen.
“The explanation will get too long if I explained it to you one step at a time. For now, please take a look at that crystal.”
“What is that crystal… Is it not just a decoration?”
“It is called Wiki Crystal. If you touch the crystal with your hand and gently input mana, you could see all kinds of information. Other than explaining it to you in words, it would be probably quicker to understand if you just tried it.”
With a smile, Filder recommended it to Vulcan.
Vulcan could not hide his face, which reflected his curiosity. He walked toward the crystal, put his palm on it and looked at Filder. Filder nodded, and Vulcan slowly sent in mana.
When he did, a window screen similar to the SYSTEM’s notification screen appeared in front of Vulcan.
[You have connected to the Wiki Crystal.]
[Please select the number for the information you wish to view.]
1. Golden Ranking
2. Rookie Ranking
3. Latest News
4. Information Inquiries
“… What is this?”
“It is a mysterious crystal that allows you to see the public opinion of the Beloong City’s residents. For now, check out the second one.”
Before they realized, Filder was already gone somewhere to take food orders, so Jake answered instead.
Vulcan selected 2 as Jake asked. Immediately, the screen filled with names and information about the people in the rank 1 to 30.
1st place: Dokgo Hoo
- Master swordsman from Murim. Joined the ranks of Zenith immediately after completing the training under Filder. His talents impressed even Folken, the patrol team captain. Practically speaking, his abilities are so incredible that it makes one sorry for even having him in the Rookie Ranking.
2nd place: Vulcan
- A Player. Unlike most Players, which are hopelessly weak, he is estimated to be pretty strong. Confirmed to have single-handedly defeated Uruo. There was a report about him fighting two monsters at once in the south gate field.
3rd place: Hororo
- From Powel. Known to have high-level wind magic. The Holy Denomination of War is paying attention to him as a prodigy.
“If you click on the name, you can check out comments from other people.”
Upon hearing Jake’s words, Vulcan clicked on Dokgo Hoo’s name.
For some reason, Vulcan was more curious about Dokgo Hoo than himself.
[Comments about Mr. Dokgo Hoo’s Ranking]
Anonymous: I have never seen a rookie this powerful in a hundred years. I guarantee it.
Anonymous: The way I see it, he is not the kind of talent that should stay in this place. He would either quickly move on to Act 2 or go back to his home world.
Anonymous: The runts above might be working for Dokgo Hoo. He is not that strong.
Re: Anonymous: You are just a newborn mutt. You are all talk because this is Wiki. Would you be able to say shit like that if you met him in person?
Re: Anonymous: Yeah. Next Second-Rate.
Vulcan carefully observed all corners of the window and noticed that the ranking must be done by votes from the residents.
Besides that, there were options for comments, such as writing, editing, deleting, and more. The user interface was streamlined and similar to the Internet from Earth.
It was a virtual space where people could check out other people’s opinions in real time and express their own.
‘This is totally like Internet!’
It had been a really long time since Vulcan saw something nostalgic to Earth. His hands moved rapidly.
He read comments about Dokgo Hoo, then he read comments about himself, and then he went on to see the Gold Ranking to read information about the top tiers.
Vulcan’s eyes, which were busy moving rapidly to read the information, suddenly came to a stop.
‘Lee JungYup is… at 7th place.’
The confrontation with Lee JungYup left Vulcan with a strong impression in his mind. The memory was still fresh.
Vulcan couldn’t help but to be weary of him.
“Haha. As I thought, even you are like others when it comes to this. It looks like you can’t stop looking at it.”
Jake laughed. It appeared he found it to be funny that Vulcan stopped the conversation and was now completely lost in the Wiki Crystal.
Vulcan was a little embarrassed. He terminated the connection and came back to the table. While eating food that came before long, Vulcan said,
“That thing over there is amazing. If I new something like that was here, I would have checked it out a long time ago.”
“Well, you were spending all of your time leveling up. I can see why you didn’t know about it. So, now you understand why you are in the ranking?”
“Yes. Honestly, even when I think about it, I am capable enough to have my name in the Rookie Ranking.”
“Yes. You certainly are. The guy named Hororo in the 3rd place is about as capable as Uruo, so you are way beyond that.”
Jake tilted up the beer glass.
He drank the whole thing at once and looked at Vulcan.
Vulcan was getting uncomfortable with Jake’s blank stare, so Vulcan was about to say something, but Jake said,
“It is a problem that you are way beyond that.”
“… What do you mean by that?”
Vulcan’s face hardened. Jake ordered additional beer and continued.
“As I said last time, you are getting stronger way too fast. You are going at it so fast that it is impossible for people to not notice you. You were able to go about your business as freely as you have so far because Dokgo Hoo enjoy standing out, but do you think you will still be able to from this point?”
“What you are saying is…”
“There are a lot of people who are curious about your abilities.”
“In a way, it could be said that this is partly my fault. Because I am not the type to invest on just anyone, the rumor about you spread faster. The news about you crushing the Players Alliance and hunting freely at the south gate field.”
“Mr. Jake, what you are saying is, I could be in danger from now on?”
“That’s right. Of course, people are not going to ambush you out of blue while you are in middle of hunting. If they did without a just cause, they would be caught and sent away by the patrol. However… I wanted to tell you that there will be more of people coming to pester you through the official route.”
“What is the official route?”
Vulcan relaxed his face and said,
“Haha. If it is just a duel, I can just refuse, can’t I? Also, if it is a duel, I don’t have to worry about people targeting my life either. Isn’t that right?”
“You are thinking way too positively.”
Jake took a big bite out of a chicken leg and continued like a teacher giving a student a lecture.
“I will give you an example that would be easy for you to understand. There will be people like Dokgo Hoo, no, fight maniacs who are even more stubborn than Dokgo Hoo will come to challenge you. Do you think they will just leave you alone because you refused?”
“Really, is Beloong City where only the people who are lacking in common sense gather?”
“Of course. You have no idea how many boneheads there are among the most powerful practitioners. Although there are ones with common sense too.”
Vulcan sighed big.
He figured that occasional duel would not hurt, but he was concerned about the time that would be wasted in the process.
Vulcan didn’t like the idea of his leveling up being affected negatively because of duels with these ruckus buckos. He wanted to say no to them.
Vulcan asked Jake.
“Really, you don’t have any? A place where I can hide and hunt?”
“… Can’t you believe a person’s words? I really don’t know anything other than what I have already told you.”
“Ugh, then what should I do.”
Vulcan looked depressed, but Jake thought Vulcan was acting weird. Jake said,
“You really are an weirdo. In a situation like this, usually, people worry about their safety. But you, you are more worried about losing time.”
“You know me well. Yes, that is my only concern.”
“You are not scared of a duel? You could get hurt if someone stronger than you challenged you. What if he doesn’t hold back?”
“I am not afraid. Not even a little bit. Unless it is someone who is at the top end of 400 level, I can end the duel without any injuries.”
“… You have an incredible confidence. Haha.”
Vulcan’s face was completely cringed all over the place. Meanwhile, Jake was thinking hard about something. As if he finally remembered, he snapped his finger.
“That’s right. There is a way to minimize the pestering.”
“What is that?”
Vulcan straightened his face and looked at Jake, and Jake said with stern eyes,
“Go find a suitable practitioner to duel against you and show off to everyone what you are made of.”
“Display your power to everyone so most of them wouldn’t even dare to challenge you.”