Chapter 15 - The Link Between You and I (3)
“Hello, adventurers. I was dispatched by the Anywhere company. I am here to help your Dungeon exploration be as smooth and pleasant of an experience as it can be. I am a middleman. My name is Mycenae!”
She had smooth brown skin, and a notably ample bosom. The beautiful woman’s voice was clear as if a bell was ringing. She waved her hand as she spoke towards Artpe and Maetel.
Maetel instinctively pushed Artpe behind her, and she was about to raise her sword. Artpe smirked as he placed his hand on her shoulder.
“She isn’t an enemy, so don’t worry about it. According to their contract, they aren’t allowed to attack us first.”
“It is a contract made with the god. It is sometimes called the Dungeon contract. Anyways, it is a contract that no one can break, so you don’t have to worry about it.”
“Artpe even knows about that. You are really amazing.”
“Oh my. Do you know about the Anywhere company?”
She surmised they were out of the ordinary, since the two kids were able to reach the depths of this Dungeon. However, she never expected him to have some general knowledge about her store!
Mycenae, who was the middleman from the Anywhere company, looked at Artpe with round eyes. Artpe snorted as he waved his hand.
“How dare you?”
Several dozen Mana threads were emitted from both sides, and they crossed paths. There weren’t any ill-intention behind her use of Mana, but it was indiscriminately broken up as it dissipated. He was able to declare this his words with impudence. All detection and inquiry magic was useless under his Read All Creation ability!
“Don’t you try to get cute with me, merchant.”
Mycenae realized that her inquiry magic had been denied before it could even activate. She backed away in fright. She backed into the cart, and her bosom jiggled as if it was about to spill out.
Every man, who had the strength to raise a spoon, would have been instinctively drawn to her charming gesture. However, Artpe just spit on the ground.
“Hoong. You are an ajumma.”
“W...what did you just say!?”
“You should be prepared to give us a 20% discount, ajumma. If you were able pull it off in secret, it would be fine. However, you have no excuse, since I found out. Right?”
She had been a middleman for the Anywhere company for the past 100 years. She was a veteran of this industry. She never expected to be humiliated in her first meeting with this brat! Mycenae balled up her fist as they trembled.
Artpe turned his gaze away from her.
His gaze reached the two Skeletons, who had been enhanced to the extreme. Only pile of bone dusts was left behind as remains.
“All right. Let’s do our looting first.”
“We’ll trade with you. Just wait there.”
Even if she set aside the brusque little man, the girl had completely ignored her. She felt a large crack form in her pride.
Who the hell were they! Unlike their appearances, why were they giving off a vibe of 20 year veteran Dungeon explorers!
“There really is only powders left behind. Still, it isn’t as if there are no other way to….”
“I tried to loot, but it didn’t work. What should I do in such a situation, Artpe?”
“All right. I’ll teach it to you, so you should pay close attention.”
Even as Mycenae's body shook, Artpe approached the two pile of bone dusts, and he extended his Mana Threads in abundance. Maetel stood by his side, and her head was tilted in confusion. He gave a friendly explanation.
“Of course, it does seem impossible to loot a monster that had been completely pulverized, but this isn’t the case if you have the ability to control Mana. Watch me.”
Mana Threads extended out of his hand, and they reached the two piles of bone dusts made out of two Skeletons. The piles reacted to the Mana Threads, and it started to clump into a single pile. Artpe moved his hand in various directions, and the process accelerated.
“Next, you have to do this….”
When he severed the Mana Threads, the debris also stopped moving. It looked like a pile of ash. It was as if a vampire had been burned to death there.
“We just have to wait for the chosen items to come out. This is an easy method you can use if you acted rashly by burning remains of a monster. You should keep that in mind.”
“As expected, Artpe is amazing!”
“These customers are…..”
This Dungeon had been appealing enough to call her forth. The fact that these young adventurers were able to last inside this place was surprising, but it was much more surprising to see one of them use such advanced technique to loot the monsters.
While Mycenae was gawking at them, the looting process was coming to a end. It looked to be successful.
“Ah, Artpe. Something is emerging.”
“It is an arm warmer. Since you have the gauntlets, this one is mine.”
“Wow. A pretty crystal also came out!”
“There were too much excess magical energy from monsters gathered here. Since it couldn’t be collected naturally, it clumped together. Normally, it is used as ingredient for making magical tools. Mmmm. This isn’t an item that you can use…....”
“Artpe can have it all. I have the sword and the armor.”
Mmm. She was like an unwavering angel. Artpe let out a bitter laugh as he put the crystal away. Then he put on the arm warmers.
It was unknown as to why arm warmers made out of black leather was dropped by a Skeleton, but when he equipped it, it had a supplemental effect of increasing his hand speed. It wasn’t intentional, but this was the ideal equipment for Artpe, who had to use both his hands for battle.
“I can see something still shining there, Artpe.”
“Ah. I almost forgot about it.”
Since all the drops of Skeletons on this floor was gathered in one place, there would also be some money mixed inside the loot. He saw two pretty large gold coins. Artpe smirked as he picked them up.
“I anticipated a gold coin would come out, but I didn’t expect two. Nice.”
“Wahhhhh. They are pretty.”
This was the first time Maetel had seen gold coins in her lifetime. Her eyes twinkled as she let out an exclamation. A gold coin was worth 100 times more than a silver coin. This wasn’t something unique to Maetel. Even their town’s chief would never be able to possess one in his lifetime.
“Normally, not all monsters over level 100 drop gold coins. This miraculous event occurred, because all our enemies were tied together by the Record Link. You should keep that in mind.”
“Wait a moment, customer. Record Link? What is that?”
Even if she was a veteran middleman for the Dungeons, this didn’t mean she knew everything about ancient magic. Of course, Artpe didn’t answer the merchant’s question. He finished his looting.
“We didn’t gain any rewards that we can liquidate…. Still, if we add the gold coins to the money we already have, I might be able manage a decent trade.”
“What is it?”
“Wait a moment.”
After Artpe made sure there weren’t anything else he could take, he walked towards the Dungeon merchant he had been ignoring up until now. He moved towards Mycenae. Mycenae acted as if she had forgotten about the affront of being ignored up until now. She greeted him with a bright smile.
“Welcome, customer. Are you looking for a specific item?”
“One empty bottle”
“Y…you want an empty bottle?”
Mycenae and Artpe made eye contact. She tried her best to discern Artpe’s inner thoughts, but he kept a sickeningly innocent expression on his face.
She knew he was up to something. However, a member of the Anywhere company couldn’t turn down a trade unless there was a special circumstance involved! It was the biggest taboo to turn down a trade! Mycenae felt uneasy as she took out an empty bottle from her cart.
“The price is 50 bronze coins.”
“It is only a single empty bottle! Why is it so expensive!?”
“All Dungeon merchants are like this.”
Artpe ignored Maetel, who was shocked. He took the empty bottle. Mycenae watched Artpe unstopper the bottle. She spoke with a worried tone in her voice.
“It seems you are trying to fill up the bottle with the water from the fountain. Shouldn’t you check if the water is safe to drink first? It is a fundamental rule followed by all adventurers.”
“I know. I already checked it.”
“You already checked it!?”
“It originates in my heart to manifest in the shallow floor of the water. Peel off your despicable outer layer to reveal what lies inside!”
“W...what the hell!?”
While the middleman Mycenae expressed her dismay, Artpe finished his chant. It caused an enormous amount of friction to form at the middle of the fountain!
“Wa-ha-ha-ha. The water is boiling!”
“That’s right. I’m wastefully using my Mana!”
The Hyper Rubbing spell was causing so much friction that it was vaporizing the cold water. He was now over level 40, and he was getting used to forming the Hyper Rubbing spell. The effectiveness of the magic was on a different level compared to before.
“Kyahhhhk, customer. If the water holds poison, it’ll turn into a poisonous fog!”
“I already checked it!”
The steam covered them completely, but there was no poison within it. There were some poison that dissolved entirely in water, and it could have been vaporized alongside the water. On the other hand, there were poisons that didn’t mix with the water. It would be left behind in place as sediment.
Of course, the poison within the fountain was the latter type. This was why Artpe didn’t hesitate to evaporate the water.
“It is the first time I’ve heard of such a spell. If you wanted to boil the water, couldn’t you have just used a fire type magic?”
“I did it, because I don’t have such magic!”
“I’m currently selling the Boil spell for two gold. The fire spell is being sold at a great price of 1 gold!”
“I won’t buy it!”
There were a lot of water inside the fountain, so it took a good amount of time for all of it to evaporate. After a long wait, the result came to fruition. The copious amount of water inside the water fountain had all evaporated, and on the floor, a dark green powder was left behind in a lump.
Artpe smirked when he saw Mycenae unconsciously let out a moan. He put the powder into the empty bottle. Of course, the identity of the powder was a form of poison. It was fine to touch it with one’s bare hands. Its toxicity appeared only when it was mixed with a liquid, so it was safe to touch it right now.
“Well, are you going to buy this?”
Artpe didn’t leave a single grain of the green powder behind. He stoppered the bottle, and he pushed it towards Mycenae. Her cheeks were puffed up as she started to argue with Artpe.
“.......so you already know why the Dungeon Merchants appear in Dungeons?”
“Of course. You guys have designs on acquiring magical goods.”
When adventurers explore a Dungeon, they face danger and opportunity prepared by the Dungeon. One might find a hidden treasure box, a poisoned fountain or a pond made out of the highest quality holy water.
It was possible for the Dungeon Merchants to detect the energies of these treasures, and they appeared randomly in these Dungeons.
If an adventurer was unable to find the treasures, the Dungeon Merchants acquired the rights to take the unfound treasures. Around half the population considered to be adventurers were poor at detecting treasures on each floor.
Even if an adventurer knew why a Dungeon Merchant had appeared, the adventurer wouldn’t be able to find the treasure unless they were very skilled. An adventurer could search the entirety of the Dungeon for treasures just based on the fact that a Dungeon Merchant had appeared, but the chance of finding the treasure was close to zero.
Of course, Artpe was an anomaly. Even before the Dungeon Merchant had appeared, he knew what was waiting for him at the end of the 6th floor. He had located everything, so there was nothing else to say. He grinned as he shook the bottle containing the green powder.
“So you aren’t going to buy it?”
Mycenae’s expression crumpled in distress, but her instinct as a merchant was soon brought to the fore.
“Koo-oohk…. I’ll buy it for 2 gold.”
“All right. I hope you meet a pushover next time, who will be easily deceived by you.”
Artpe turned around without hesitation, and Mycenae desperately reached out towards him.
“I'll give you 4 gold! You have to factor in the processing cost! The processing cost!”
“I made sure there wasn’t a single drop of water remained. What processing fee? Give me 10 gold.”
“You are being heavy-handed….!”
“If you don't’ buy it for 10 gold, there will be no trade.”
Artpe was firm. He was so resolute that it made one wonder if the creator, who made the boundaries between ocean and land, spoke in such a way in the past.
Mycenae knew that the person in front of her already knew the exact worth of the item within her hand. If so, what choice did she have? She had no choice, but to agree to his demand!
“I’ll buy it for 10 gold.”
“All right. Since you bought the Basilisk Venom Powder for the price of 10 gold, this isn’t a losing proposition for you.”
“You even knew the name…..”
At that moment, Mycenae decided to treat him like an experienced merchant. When one met a person like him, the fact that she didn’t take a loss was a form of victory!
Moreover, she would be able to gather information on a little-known adventurer on this continent. She would be able to gain massive profit from it.
“Next… I want you to repair our equipments.”
“Repair… All right. Huh? All your equipment are artifacts, but…. Overall, you guys have pretty bad equipment. Does this mean that your levels are also…..?”
“I told you not to pry any further.”
It cost 50 silvers to repair all the equipment. He paid 40 silvers after receiving the 20% discount.
Mycenae never expected him to discount the price of the repair fee, but she also knew she had acted rude in the first place. This was why she couldn’t do anything about it.
“Next, I want boots and helmet for her. I want a robe. I want you to give me your best performing equipment with the lowest level restriction.”
“I have boots and helmet made from the bones of a Blood Ketai. The two items will be worth 8 gold…..”
“Since I’m receiving a 20% discount, I’ll give you 6 gold and 30 silver. ”
“Jeez. You should just give up on being an adventurer to become a merchant.”
Maetel’s lower extremities and head had been vulnerable compared to the other regions of her body. She now had defensive gears that could protect those regions. Artpe purchased a robe made out of a black fabric. The threads were knitted using the quills of the Darkness Hedgehog, which had the ability to manipulate magical energy. The robe increased one’s Mana by a small amount, and it had a modest ability to obstruct other’s perception. This was why he had to pay 6 golds for it.
In truth, these equipment weren’t something that could be obtained by level 40s. The power of money was really great.
“There, Maetel. You should be pretty safe wearing these.”
“Ah. Ah-ooh. It is so expensive. These expensive items are for me…..”
The fact that Artpe had obtained 10 gold by selling a weird powder was already shocking in itself. Now that she saw so much gold being exchanged for their equipment, she became delirious.
“The cows we can buy with that much money…. One, two three…. Ooh-ahhhhh.”
“Calm down, Maetel. Also, I want to purchase water and food with the remaining money, ajumma. Give me the cheapest ones.”
“I’m not an ajumma! I’m a green spring girl!”
“If ajumma is a maiden, then I’m a hero.”
Mycenae didn’t know that Artpe was really a hero. She was infuriated when she saw his sly smile! However, the heroes weren’t paying attention to her anymore.
“Ooh ooh. I don’t like food that doesn’t taste good…...”
“A hard bread you eat right now will come back as tenderloin steak in the future. You have to be patient.”
“......yes, I’ll be patient! I’ll wait until happiness comes to Artpe and I!”
“No, you don’t have to wait that long.”
Mycenae took the money pouch put forth by Artpe. She emptied it, then she started preparing the dry foods and water. Mycenae was dumbfounded as she heard Artpe placate Maetel.
“You guys act as if you’ve been clearing Dungeons for 20 years. You guys must have received fantastic training at home.”
“None of your business.”
He spoke in a brusque manner as he received the bag with dry foods and canteens containing water. After he put away the items inside his robe, he let out a sigh as he raised his head.
Mycenae somehow managed to regain her business smile. She gave him a cute smile, yet Artpe was apathetic. He shooed her off with his hand as he spoke to her.
“Well, you should go now. We’ll probably meet again soon.”
“I’ll see my customers off from here!”
“Nope. Go. Ajumma has to leave, then I’ll be able to take out the treasure chest you are standing on.”
In the end, Mycenae sank to the floor.
She never expected him to be aware of it! She had endured all the humiliation up until now as an attempt to get him to act careless. She even sold her wares at a very cheap price, yet at that moment, her plan went up in smoke!