Having heard Vulcan’s desperate voice, Ryur-yul, the fox demon, lightly sighed. Having had worked under the Blue Dragon for over a hundred years to handle chores for him, she had seen all sorts of things.
There were people making unreasonable demands with pathetic amount of vitality marbles that weren’t even worth as a snack for her, let alone the Blue Dragon himself. There were also some that begged Blue Dragon to take them as students.
However, there never was anyone like Vulcan showing up with a protective blessing still hanging on the forehead and asking to trade so confidently.
‘Seriously, why is he so confident? At most, he probably just has a pouch worth of marbles collected from Act 1.’
That was assuming he worked diligently in Act 1 to collect them. It was extremely likely that most newbies would not even have that. Ryur-yul quickly came out of the counter and walked toward Vulcan.
‘I can’t even imagine how the master will react to this one. He just might laugh out loud and leave, but he might also get infuriated and destroy this place… I should handle this before it gets to that…’
At that moment, the marbles were pouring out from Vulcan’s inventory.
Ryur-yul stopped where she stood and vacantly stared at the marbles.
Marbles were pouring out endlessly. It was incredible.
At an instant, Vulcan completely filled the box that looked just like the one Phantaero used. Vulcan asked Blue Wind the Blue Dragon,
“I’ll be using a few more boxes.”
“Uh? O… okay. As you wish.”
Excited, Vulcan got a few more boxes of similar sizes and poured in more marbles into them.
The sounds of marbles colliding with each other were heard endlessly.
One, two, five, ten, twenty… total of twenty-one boxes were completely filled. Vulcan looked at the Blue Dragon.
“Are they enough to trade with you directly?”
Silence was flowing through the area.
Everyone had a lot in their minds to say, but nobody could quite get their heads around the situation, so they couldn’t make any comment.
In particular, Ryur-yul, the fox demon, forgot about putting up her business-like expression on her face. She just stared at the boxes with a vacant look.
‘What in the world? Seriously!’
Although she was well aware that they were for her master, she could not help but to drool over them.
The marbles’ quality was not impressive.
Most of them were about half an inch in diameter. There were a few chestnut sized ones. The quality was definitely inferior to what Phantaero brought earlier.
However, the quantity was overwhelming the quality.
‘100 years? No, I’m don’t know!’
Ryur-yul thought about how long it would take to gather this many marbles. She stopped thinking about it and looked at her master.
Instead of his usual calculating and nick-picky self, the Blue Dragon also looked quite shocked.
“… You… Did you gather these marbles from Act 1?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“I figured as much. They are a lot smaller than ones from Act 2. However… There are a lot of them. Really, a lot. It’s to the point that I’m having a hard time understanding how you gathered this many.”
The Blue Dragon shook his head.
After a moment of pause, he said,
“Can you give me a moment?”
Blue Wind collected the marbles and slowly walked away.
However, each of his steps resulted in traveling over 300 ft.
Vulcan got to witness the land-fold technique for the first time. Impressed, he quickly ran to follow Blue Wind.
After a short-while, they arrived at a seat on top of a small mountain. Sitting at the seat, Blue Wind went straight to the point.
“How did you collect them?”
“It’s not something you can do. In Act 2, it is a method that only I can do.”
“Explain in a way that would make sense.”
‘He is impatient. Actually, maybe it is no surprise considering what I brought?’
Vulcan took a moment to organize what he wanted to explain.
“I’m a Player.”
“I don’t know about where you were when you were in Act 1. By any chance, have you ever seen a Player?”
Blue Wind responded as he fiddled with his chin.
“I have seen one. I also know that Players get stronger by slaying monsters, and they also gain all sorts of items from doing so. So, it seems like vitality marbles also fall from slaying monsters regardless of which one you kill.”
“Huh, geez. In the past 2000 years, I have never seen a Player in Act 2. A Player…”
Blue Wind looked up the sky and mumbled.
Vulcan waited until he finished thinking.
After a moment, he said,
“Instead of trading on per occasion basis, let’s make a contract.”
Blue Dragon brought up the idea that Vulcan was going to suggest.
Vulcan hid how excited he was. Vulcan asked,
“If you mean by a contract, do you want to trade more in a steady pace from now on?”
“That’s right. Bring me all of the vitality marbles that you will be getting from now on. I’ll give you a fitting reward for them.”
Blue Wind brought out a wooden doll that was shaped like a bird.
When he injected mana into the wooden doll, it became a living bird with flesh and flew to Vulcan’s shoulder.
“Feed me! Feed me!”
Vulcan examined the bird using the SYSTEM.
[A Special Item – Beast Bird Kina Kina]
*A mysterious bird that is connected spiritually to Blue Wind. Ordinarily, it is in the shape of a wooden bird, but it transforms to its living form when mana is injected to it. From a remote distance, it can deliver vitality marbles to Blue Wind the Blue Dragon and receive the rewards. If it is annoying, it can be reverted back to its wooden form by retrieving the mana injected to it.
“You are probably reading information about it, right? What do you think? Do you understand what it is for?”
“Looks like you know about Players very well.”
“You are the third one that I have actually seen in person, but because Players have such unique abilities, I remember them. Anyway, what would you do? If you are going to make a contract with me, I’ll give you Kina Kina. You can get rewards proportional to the amount of vitality marbles you send me.”
Having heard Blue Wind’s explanation, Vulcan asked what he was most curious about.
“Is the Blue Dragon’s Breath the only thing I can get as the reward? The Blue Dragon’s Breath is nice, but I was wondering if you could help me in other ways as well.”
“Tell me what you want. I can’t grant you big ones like Act 1 or Act 2’s reward wish, but I could provide a lot of help when it comes to things related to combat.”
“Um… Instead of a steady boost like the Blue Dragon’s Breath, is there something that could give me an incredible amount of boost for a short duration? Something that would be like a triumph card in case of danger?”
“Well, for instance, if you could be summoned to where I am for a moment, or… a power far greater than the Blue Dragon’s Breath for a short duration… Something like that would be best.”
When Vulcan was making the guidebook, there was one thing that Vulcan had been thinking as the most important factor.
It was his ‘safety.’
Back in Beloong City, Vulcan was able to start hunting while being more than powerful enough to handle it. This was all thanks to the support of The Six. However, in Act 2, hunting like that was not possible.
Even the protective blessing was only for 10 years.
After that, Vulcan was going to be thrown in to Act 2, a world full of thousand different dangers.
Because of this, Vulcan was actively seeking ways to ensure safety before the 10-year period ran out, and he thought about using vitality marbles and borrow the Blue Dragon’s strength.
‘The Blue Dragon’s Breath is more than sufficient, but, if possible, I might as well get something that’s like a spare life.’
Having thought this far, Vulcan steadily looked at Blue Wind.
He was in deep thoughts while tapping at the seat.
It seemed like he did have a way, but it seemed Blue Wind was wondering if it was going to be worth what Vulcan could provide in terms of vitality marbles.
‘Seriously, he is not a god beast. He is more like a merchant, a merchant.’
For about a minute, Blue Wind the Blue Dragon didn’t say a word.
Finally, he had a look on his face that indicated he came to a conclusion. He said,
“I do have a perfect method for what you were saying.”
“What is it?”
“Feed the vitality marbles to the doll and say ‘Summon Enligtened Beings.’ If you do, for a moment, beings from the Enlightened World will be summoned to this world to help you. Their number and strength will depend on the amount and quality of the vitality marbles, so consider it carefully.”
‘It’s like using an expendable item. It’s not bad.’
It was not as good as having a god on his side, but being able to borrow 500 – 900 level enlightened being’s power was going to be extremely helpful.
‘Although I wouldn’t know how much of vitality marbles will be needed.’
As for that, Vulcan figured he will need to just be diligent about collecting the marbles.
Vulcan finished thinking about it. In a refreshing tone, Vulcan said to Blue Wind,
“All right. I’ll sign the contract.”
“You made a wise choice. Don’t tell anyone we made this contract. If you do, I won’t go easy on you.”
Vulcan made an exaggerated face and waved his hands.
“I will never do that.”
“I’ll trust you. Now, what should we do about the marbles that you brought? Should I give you the Blue Dragon’s Breath?”
“Um… If I use them all, how much will I be able to get?”
“For the quality version, 120 years. If you want the best quality version, 2 years. You have brought a lot more than the other guy, but the quality is lacking, so those are the best you can get for the marbles you brought.”
Having heard what Blue Wind said, Vulcan thought hard about it for a moment. For now, Vulcan decided to trade enough marbles for a 20-years’ worth of quality breath.
Blue Wind raised his finger and cast the boost on Vulcan. Blue Wind said,
“Are you going to use the rest later?”
“Yes, I plan on saving them for later in case of an emergency.”
“Do as you like. I hope that emergency comes soon.”
‘Why don’t you just curse me, gosh.’
“It was an honor meeting you.”
Vulcan, who was now surrounded by the Blue Dragon’s Breath, said with a smile.
* * *
Phantaero was walking with a face that looked as if he just lost his soul.
Vulcan, who was walking next to him, asked,
“Mr. Phantaero, why do you have a blank look on your face?”
Phantaero’s gaze turned toward Vulcan slowly.
With a confused look, he asked Vulcan,
“Just how did you manage to collect so many marbles?”
“Ah, about that…”
‘Looks like he doesn’t know much about Players.’
The responses from both Blue Wind and Phantaero were same. They both said that Players are harder to run into than demi-gods or Dragonians.
‘Could it be that there were just many of them gathered in Beloong City?’
On top of that, there never was a Player who was powerful enough to come to Act 2. It was understandable why Phantaero didn’t know much about Players.
Vulcan slowly explained who Players were.
Phantaero was very surprised and also very intrigued.
Phantaero was more surprised than how Vulcan was when Vulcan heard the explanation about brave heroes.
Having heard Vulcan’s explanation to the very end, impressed, Phantaero clapped and said,
“Wow, gosh. To think such a mysterious race existed.”
“Well, Players are human.”
“Is that so? It is like how I am a human and a brave hero. Ha… Really, Players have incredible abilities. Getting stronger by slaying monsters is incredible on its own, but they also get items from doing that?”
“Despite having such abilities, most Players are weak. There is no need to envy them.”
“Still, you are strong, aren’t you?”
Having heard what Phantaero said, Vulcan blinked his eyes several times, confused.
Vulcan looked like he was not expecting to hear that.
“Do you think I’m strong?”
“Yes. You are strong. You think you are weak?”
Phantaero scratched his head and continued.
“It’s been only a few days since we met, but you seem to underestimate yourself too much. If I were you, I would act with a bit more confidence.”
“However, there are so many here that are stronger than me.”
“That is true. However, they were all greenhorns when they first arrived at Act 2.”
Vulcan was at a loss for words.
To Vulcan, Phantaero said in a warm, caring tone.
“You don’t need to shrivel. You are strong enough, and you are probably ranked as the number one among all rookies. I guarantee it. So, act with confidence. Of course, you should still be respectful.”
Having finished what he wanted to tell Vulcan, Phantaero raised his power of the brave hero.
Warm orange colored energy and the Blue Dragon’s Breath’s blue energy mixed together to create a mysterious atmosphere.
“Well then, this is where we part ways.”
“Are you going to leave the island?”
“That’s right. I got what I needed from here. I no longer need to be in this place. You have more businesses here, right?”
“Right. I was thinking about going to the forest area.”
Phantaero nodded and extended his right arm.
Vulcan also extended his arm. They firmly shook hands. While shaking hands, Phantaero said in energetic tone,
“It was great meeting you. Let’s travel together again later if we get a chance.”
“It was great meeting you too, Mr. Phantaero.”
Having finished with handshake, Phantaeo quickly left.
Vulcan, now alone, stood there and thought about what Phantaero said.
‘I’m strong? I certainly am. Only handful of people can go to Act 1, and only a select few can go to Act 2 from there. I have strength far surpassing all rookies in Act 2. Still, I never thought of myself as strong. Why should I? There are fiends with level 800 or 900 here.’
Vulcan knew that Phantaero was trying to inspire confidence in Vulcan, but Vulcan could not quite agree.
He still found himself to be lacking. There were many holes to be filled.
Vulcan concluded that underestimating his own strength was actually not a bad thing.
‘A slight sense of feeling inferior to others is necessary to fuel the desire to work hard.’
Before he realized, Vulcan was already at the diverging point on the pathway. Vulcan looked at the post that indicated the destination of each path.
Looking at the post that described the direction to the forest area, Vulcan got rid of all miscellaneous thoughts and ran toward there in full speed.
‘Let’s just shut up and level up.’
At the forest area, the place that Vulcan marked as his first hunting ground, Vulcan’s hunting began.