Chapter 11 - Intern Stella
“I can’t see the rumored rookie.” An orc remarked to Lenox as they stood at the training grounds.
It was a shaman wearing animal skin and holding a staff. Lenox nodded.
"I sent him to Hoyt.”
"Hoyt... I haven’t heard that name in a long time. Has he been doing well?”
"He’s gone away this time because he became friends with a human.”
The shaman touched his chin.
"It isn’t good to become entangled with them.”
"I hope the human he called friend is a man of honor.”
A few warriors greeted the shaman.
“Tashaquil! Are you alive?”
"Oh, I’m alive. Bul’tar!”
Tashaquil smiled and nodded.
"Hey, everyone’s alive.”
Just like Lenox was the instructor for the warriors in Orcrox Fortress, Tashaquil was the teacher for the shamans.
Beginner orcs often met with either Lenox or Tashaquil. The system determined the user’s alignment and suggested the way best suited for them. They were the two NPCs that could be called the starting point of the hell species.
Lenox stared at a collapsed warrior who jumped to his feet and started moving again.
"I see you’re still strict.”
"I’m treating them as warriors.”
“Grant sent me a letter.”
"Grant? Didn’t he become a farmer?”
"I was expecting him to give up.”
“He selected that life for himself.”
At the time the Mutant Hunt quest was received, the system said that the compensation would depend on their performance. Ian and Grom didn’t know it, but the letter Grant wrote to Lenox resulted in a far bigger reward.
Tashaquil waved his staff and a blessing covered the orcs practicing at the training grounds. The warriors shouted their gratitude to Tashaquil.
"That blunt person wrote a letter. What does it say?”
"He gave me his regards and talked about the rookie.”
"He met the rookie?”
“Yes. I told them to help the orc farmers as a whole, but they ended up meeting Grant instead.”
“What’d he say?”
"That he’ll be a good warrior.”
“A good warrior...”
Tashaquil started thinking.
"I have seen many warriors. Good warriors as well. But not all good warriors go the same way.”
Tashaquil smiled and nodded.
"So you sent him to Hoyt?”
"Hoyt is an honorable man.”
"It’s enough as long as the rookie doesn’t forget the path of honor.”
"That is your answer, Lenox."
At that time, an orc appeared in front of Lenox’s eyes. With a lousy rushing gait, it was Grom. Lenox laughed bitterly.
"There’s another rookie.”
"He isn’t reliable, but he’s coming along well.”
Lenox called out to Grom. Grom jumped. He became tense as he discovered Tashaquil, who had a fierce atmosphere similar to Lenox, standing on Lenox’s other side. Tashaquil waved his staff.
“I am alive. I am Tashaquil.”
“I am alive! Are you the shaman instructor?”
"You know me.”
Grom initially worried about whether he should become a warrior or a shaman. In fact, the system had proposed becoming a shaman, and told him to go to Basque Village to find the shaman Tashaquil. However, Grom himself chose to become a warrior.
Lenox told Grom, "The mission to help Grant turned out well.”
"But I'm still not satisfied. Are you satisfied?”
“Yes. Never be satisfied with the present. I will give you a mission.”
Grom had learned through a whisper that Ian was on a solo quest. This would be the first quest that he proceeded on alone without Ian. In fact, it was thanks to Ian that Grom had made most of his progress as an orc. If it wasn’t for Ian, then he would’ve already quit.
The orc really was a hell species! What quest would he have to do alone? Grom gulped.
"These days, a group of goblins are threatening the orcs. Go with the warriors to clean them up. Fight together.”
Lenox pointed behind Grom. There were a series of warriors holding weapons. They grinned as they gestured to him. It was a fearsome sight to behold. Grom seemed like he was about to cry.
“I understand... Uhh...”
Tashaquil laughed as he watched Grom walking away.
“That guy’s going to be a warrior?”
"Anyone can become a warrior."
"Tashaquil, a warrior isn’t born, but made.”
"You are still a romantic."
"I just believe.”
"I believe in the possibilities of all orcs.”
Ian walked around Anail.
Once he became recognized as an orc warrior someday, he would leave Orcrox Fortress and meet various other species. Just like he admired Orcrox’s scenery, Anail was overflowing with NPCs with their own intelligence and personality.
In addition to the merchants at the market welcoming customers, he also saw the mercenaries of Elder Lord who would do anything for money. Orcs were rare in Anail, so Ian gladly bumped fists with them every time he met one.
"Hey, are you alive?”
"This is the first time I’ve seen you. A warrior?”
"I’m still an apprentice. Shaman?”
“No, no, no. I am the much cooler warlock compared to a shaman.”
“Ohh... This is the first time I’ve seen an orc warlock.”
"Don’t reduce the honor of the warlocks. I am a warlock.”
"Kulkulkul. I’ll be careful.”
“It is nice to meet you, Warrior. Warriors can be called the pride of the orcs. Become a warrior who knows honor, young man.”
“I understand. Bul’tar!”
The citizens glanced over at the two big orcs saying goodbye on the street.
Ian’s childhood memories returned as he wandered around the market. It was fun to follow his parents around at the market when they were alive. When they saw the young Ian, the adults at the market would give him something to eat.
"Purchase radish! Selling radish! Purchase radish! Purcha....eh?”
A woman screaming while holding a radish in both hands noticed Ian and her eyes widened.
Ian looked at her as well. There was a white star in the middle of her forehead. A user. It was the first user he met apart from Grom.
"Whoa, this is the first time I’ve seen an orc user. Wah, wah.”
She examined Ian with amazement. As she reached out to touch Ian, she realized that she was holding radishes in both hands and stopped.
"Do you want to buy a radish?”
"Kulkulkul. It’s okay.”
She laid down the radishes with regret-filled eyes.
"This is really the first time I’ve seen an orc user. Have you been playing for a long time?"
"Not that long. I’m a beginner.”
“I see. You should try a different race. I have friends who tried being an orc, and they all ended up quitting.”
"You are like a real orc.”
A woman was selling a variety of vegetables on her own, with a sign saying ‘Anail Branch of the Blacksmith Company’ in front of her. Her eyes widened as she noticed where Ian was paying attention.
"Ahem, I am the successful applicant for the intern position at Blacksmith Company.”
“Don’t ignore the interns. The Blacksmith Company is a large business in Elder Lord.”
Even in games, the preference for large companies remained.
“I’m going to become a legend of the business world and appear in [Elder Lord Times].”
[Elder Lord Times] was a program that talked about news in Elder Lord, as well as the rankers. Ian had watched videos of Elder Lord through this program before starting Elder Lord.
"Orc, what is your profession?’
“A warrior, although I am still an apprentice.”
"Truly an orc. How tough.”
The woman sighed, “It’s good that I don’t have to worry about fighting. But I have to sell all of this today...”
She glanced at Ian.
"Are you busy?”
“I’m not busy but...”
Now was his free time. Hoyt told Ian to explore the city.
“Then please help me.”
[Stella has suggested a quest.]
[The pay will be according to the results. There is a base salary of 5 silver and you will receive 30% of Stella’s dividends, depending on the sales performance.]
Stella’s quest! This was the first time he discovered that users could grant a quest. Ian looked at the woman, Stella, who was gazing at him earnestly.
“I’m an intern. If my performance isn’t good then I can’t switch to being a full-time employee!”
It was the sad reality. Anyway, it seemed fun so Ian nodded.
"Did you see my name in the quest window? I am Stella. Orc, what is your name?”
“I am Ian.”
"That isn’t an orc-like name.”
Thus, Ian started to help Stella with her business.
"Purchase radish! Buy carrots! Selling cucumbers!” Stella yelled loudly. Unbecoming of her slim figure, she yelled like an amazon, but nobody looked back.
Ian watched Stella.
"Excuse me, Mister! Do you need a radish? This is a radish, a delicious radish! You can boil it, cook it, or even sell it! Buy it!”
"I’m not buying, not buying.”
"The aunty over there! Carrots! It’s great for your body! Good for your eyes, and rich in beta-carotene. Even children like them! Carrots are great, Aunty!”
"My kids hate carrots.”
"The pretty sister over there! Elf sister! Sister, do you like green peppers? Sister, how about a basket of green peppers?”
Ian shook his head. Stella looked over at Ian with tearful eyes.
“What? You’re just watching and not helping. Do you think you’ll be better than me at this job?”
"Isn’t it just selling?’
“Yes, I went to a private school in order to pass the interview to enter the Blacksmith Company.”
"There are many special schools for Elder Lord.”
If there were private schools for games, it would surely be in South Korea.
"I’m broke because I used my salary to pay for the private school’s fees...”
He was reminded of Yiyu when he saw Stella. Ian sighed and said, “Okay. I will lend you my strength.”
"Bah, will Ian’s strength make a difference? Will it turn carrots into beef? You would be a wealthy merchant.”
Desperate words poured out of Stella’s mouth as she started talking. Ian placed a dirt-covered carrot in her mouth. She tried to speak while spitting it ot.
"Stella, please remember this.”
Ian puffed up his chest. He was a dignified and honourable orc.
"If you want to grab the mind of a person, be aware that 70% of communication is through non-verbal behaviour, not words.”
Ian moved Stella out of the way and sat down. The people passing by looked at the orc sitting in front of a vegetable shop like he was a spectacle. Ian didn't say anything.
At that moment, he caught the eyes of a passerby. The man flinched at Ian’s intense gaze.
Green skin, grim expression, protruding fangs, and the huge size. It was a scary appearance. The man became nervous as Ian paid strong attention to him. An orc acting as a substitute in the market, what the hell was this? The moment that they locked eyes, the terrible orc started to lift something up.
Dagger? Axe? Hammer? Was he staring because he was going to do some act of violence? The man swallowed his saliva. Should he run?
The orc lifted something up. It was nothing other than a radish. An orc holding a radish, it was an unusual sight. Was he an orc who would throw everything around him if he got upset? Would the radish fly over right now?
His eyes looked down. As the man tried to bow his head, something unbelievable happened.
The orc placed the radish near his face and gently smiled.
Then the orc spoke in a loud voice, "Radish.”
"Do you need one?”
Did he need a radish? The man didn’t understand. However, he felt a type of strange trust from that short question. A pride that didn’t need long, flowery words! The warmth that spread from a gentle smile.
The man nodded like he was spellbound.
There was nothing more to say. The man paid the money and the orc handed over the radish. One radish was sold. Stella couldn’t understand why the man bought the radish and what this whole thing meant for her.
After the man bought the radish from the orc, people started to show interest. Another man walked up to the orc and said, "This is the first time that I am seeing an orc vegetable dealer. Orc, how much is this onion?”
Ian looked at the man with blank eyes. It was a deep look.
"...What will you do with the onion?”
The man rolled his eyes at the sudden question.
“Huh? That...I don’t know. My wife will take care of it.”
He was a patriarchal man who knew nothing about cooking. Ian shook his head.
"I won’t sell you the onion.”
A declaration of refusal! The eyes of everyone watching grew bigger. What merchant would refuse to sell an item? Had the orc applied a quota to the onions? He was a mysterious orc vegetable seller.
"Each ingredient has a value. An onion is the ultimate vegetable that can be used for all dishes. It can be used in stir-fry, steamed soup, soup, fried dishes, or as a nutritional or taste supplement. It is the guardian of the home.”
"I will only sell it to those who understand the value of this ingredient.”
The pride of the seller who would judge the buyer’s qualifications! It was a first for the market. The orc vegetable seller folded his arms and didn’t say anything more.
The rejected man looked between the orc and the onion with devastated eyes.
A woman came forward.
"Hrmm, he doesn’t know the value of the onion at that age because he depends on his wife instead of cooking for himself. It’s shameful!”
She was a middle-aged woman wearing a headband. She lifted a potato and said, "Orc, I want to buy a basket of potatoes.”
"What do you think I will make with this?”
"A basket of potatoes...”
The orc vegetable seller touched his chin with a troubled expression, "Hrmm...potatoes... Thinking about the health of the family...how about a boiled potato salad...?”
The middle-aged woman waved her fingers and said with a smile.
"The dish I will create...”
She said firmly. Everyone was surprised by her answer.
"Crispy potatoes fried in oil.”
"Fried... Oil... Isn’t this the enemy of health that causes hypertension, myocardial infarction, or obesity...?”
Didn’t their parents and elders always tell them to boil instead of frying?
"Yes, Mister is correct. That is possible, but they are just words.”
The middle-aged woman laughed at the orc vegetable seller’s puzzled expression.
"Isn’t it good to risk your health if you can know the taste of fried potatoes?”
"I would rather live today freely than tomorrow in caution. That is the value of the potatoes to me.”
It was big. This woman...big. Her thoughts were bigger than his. She was someone who walked the path of a gourmet without any prejudice or self-righteousness.
The orc vegetable seller stood up in amazement.
“...Rather, I have learned something from you.”
"The world is wide, Mister Orc.”
"To you...I will sell three baskets instead of just one.”
“I’ll willingly accept."
Thus, the middle-aged woman left with three baskets of potatoes. The people who witnessed the encounter came up to the orc seller and started conveying their beliefs.
"I will make a soup with the carrots. The color will hide the identity for my children who don’t like carrots. It is my small consideration for the dark knight at the table.”
"Give me an onion. I’ll serve it with a great steak. The people of the world only look at the heroes, but the protagonists are the performers who do their part in silence.”
"Please give me garlic. I’ll eat it raw. It’s my gut feeling that I have to try the original taste of the ingredient and confront the world.”
Truly a great success! The vegetables started to quickly sell. The orc vegetable seller looked around at the empty store.
Sold out! It was a clean sweep.
He declared it to the customers, "Today, I left the land of the orcs for the first time and had a thought as I saw the various species in Anail. Do they really know the honor of the ingredients? Do they take vegetables seriously? Are they pursuing the path of cooking with their own beliefs?”
"I was skeptical, as I figured it wouldn’t be the case. But now I have realized it. I was wrong. I’ll acknowledge my misjudgement. There are a lot more gourmets than I first thought there were in this world.”
Everyone nodded. The orc bowed.
"This orc! Today I have learned from the humans, dwarves, elves and gnomes!”
An enthusiastic applause began. Everybody who watched him cheered and clapped. This day became a legend at the Anail Branch of the Blacksmith Company and would be circulated throughout the city for years.
The legendary witness, Stella, who had been watching this scene from the beginning, made a rotten expression.
“...What on earth?”
Glossary of Common Korean Terms.
Praise the Orc: Glossary Link.
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