Published at 2nd of April 2024 01:22:57 PM

Chapter 71

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Flanked by the players, Victor made his way towards the bustling marketplace. Several market stalls were set up in a long straight line on an empty ground, displaying all sorts of wares. The villagers were out and about as the sounds of haggling filled the air, along with the aromatic blend of exotic spices and fresh produce. It wasn’t just the merchants who were selling here, but the local villagers were too as well.

“Sir Astralium, what exactly are we looking for at the market?” Zero inquired as he scanned the array of stalls and vendors.

“Our primary goal is to sell the magical beast meat. After that, we’ll look for some rare essentials not available back at the academy.” Victor replied, his gaze focused on finding the right vendor he could trade with.

It was important to note that Victor only had forty-six platinum coins remaining, and while it was still a large sum, it was time that he filled that amount back up. In the future, he planned to incorporate metal coins as a secondary currency among the players. This was so that he could keep the merit points as a special and non-tradable currency, while the other as a fluid one. The concept was similar to a game’s premium currency that could only be gained by using real money.

“Ooh!” Aphrodite peered at the various items on display with curiosity. “Do you think we can find any rare items or magic tools here?”

“Very unlikely,” Victor said. “But it’s never impossible. Keep your eyes open on any unusual thing; this kind of place can sometimes surprise you with unexpected finds.” This was obviously a lie. The possibility of finding a hidden treasure like the one that happened in novels was an impossibility in itself. But who knows. Players could maybe identify something valuable that people of this world saw as trash, just like the adage “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

Thunder held a wistful look as he mused, “I wonder if we might stumble upon some hidden magic artifact here…”

Still, as poor as this village might be, it still had a population exceeding five hundred residents. It meant that the potential marketplace that it would have definitely wouldn’t be so small, especially if this was the central trading hub that convened only once a month. Everyone would be here to purchase locally unavailable goods and offer their own products for trade.

The array of goods on display at the market stalls was quite diverse. There were those selling fine silk and soft cotton fabrics; others were selling aromatic spices and herbs; some were practical items featuring an assortment of tools and earthenware. Among these, one stall stood out, displaying an intriguing collection of rocks, gemstones, and intricately carved ornaments. It wasn’t just selling meat and vegetables here.

Just then, Aphrodite halted to stare intently at one stall. On display was a basketball-sized rock glowing with a bright yellow hue. Looking at the color alone, it was quite obvious that the rock was flammable and originated from a high-heat environment.

“Sir Astralium. I think I recognize that rock, and I think it’s something that we need.” He pointed at the rock, excitement creeping into his voice.

Victor raised his eyebrows. “Something that we need?”

“Yes. It’s maybe the last ingredient we need to make gunpowder!” Aphrodite said excitedly, almost jumping to snatch the yellow rock.

“Mm, let’s take a look then.” Victor walked toward the stall in question and inspected the stall laden with an assortment of gemstones and peculiar items.

The vendor, noticing their interest, called out, “Welcome, sirs! We have the finest selection of exotic stones and gemstones straight from the city. Perhaps you’d like to purchase some?”

Ignoring the vendor’s pitch, Victor gestured toward a seemingly ordinary jade stone. “How much for this piece?” he asked casually.

The reason he didn’t immediately show his interest in the yellow rock was so that the vendor didn’t balloon the price too much. This tactic was something he had honed during his time as an acolyte at the academy. Back then, the competition between acolytes was thriving, and they often tricked each other on the academy’s market. It wasn’t rare that a duel broke out because of this.

The vendor responded eagerly, “This jade? It comes from the eastern region, a true beauty that has seen many places. But for you, I can offer a special price — just one gold coin apiece.” He added quickly, “If the price is not to your liking, we can negotiate further.”

Victor internally scoffed at the obvious overpricing. The quality of jade from a jade stone like this one was dubious at best. It wouldn’t be of much use as a decoration, much less as an ingredient for a magic tool — it was practically worth nothing.

Finding that the vendor would trick them anyway, he shifted his focus toward the yellow rock and asked, “And what about this one? What can you tell me about it?”

“Ah, you have an eye for the extraordinary! This rock is no ordinary stone; it possesses magical properties. For one, it can burn into a blue flame if you light it up and emit a foul smell that will scare any ferocious beast away!”

“Nonsense! That’s clearly sulfur rock!” Aphrodite interjected sharply. “In essence, sulfur rock is a simple, naturally occurring mineral, primarily composed of elemental sulfur. It’s not imbued with any inherent magical properties. Sulfur, in its elemental form, is characterized by its bright yellow color and is commonly found in volcanic areas. While it might appear extraordinary, its most remarkable traits are purely chemical. For instance, it burns with a blue flame and emits sulfur dioxide, a compound with notable industrial applications, but nothing magical. The conclusion is that sulfur rock is a straightforward mineral with well-documented properties and uses.”

Is this guy reciting an entry from an encyclopedia or something? Victor squinted his eyes at the player who explained all that, Aphrodite. Well, as expected of a chemist, I guess. This kind of way also works.

As expected, the vendor paused, clearly unprepared for such a scientific rebuttal. The confidence with which he had initially described the rock’s “magical properties” seemed to dissolve into nothingness. While he probably understood less than 10 percent of what was explained, the impact of being called out on his exaggeration was unmistakable.

This momentary lapse gave Victor the perfect opportunity.

“You dare trick a Magus?!” Victor raised his voice, though he was careful to keep his voice low enough not to draw unwanted attention.

The mention of “Magus” sent a ripple of fear through the vendor, who visibly flinched. Stammering, the merchant quickly pleaded, “S-Sir, I didn’t dare! Please forgive me! I was wrong! I was wrong!”

“It’s fine. Give me this rock for one silver coin and tell me where it came from, then I will let you off the hook.” Victor placed a silver coin on the table; he had exchanged one platinum coin with the village head beforehand for this exact situation — technically speaking, he only had forty-five platinum coins and some gold and silver coins.

“Yes, of course, sir!” Obviously, as a normal human, he couldn’t verify Victor’s claim to being a Magus, and he wouldn’t dare. Besides, Victor didn’t show his mana force or magic to pressure the other party since it was unnecessary.

The vendor then eagerly told him where he had gotten the sulfur rock. He explained that there was a sulfur mine located near an active volcano, relatively close to the City of Brightmoon. The rocks were frequently collected and sold to the city as many magicians were interested in studying them.

Brightmoon City again, huh? This name had been appearing a lot recently, and Victor felt that someday he should check that place out…

“I have one more thing to ask you.”

The vendor, still eager to appease, responded rapidly, “Of course, Sir Magus. Feel free to ask anything.”

“Have you heard about a certain rumor circulating recently?” Victor noticed that the question was a bit vague, so he decided not to beat around the bush and quickly clarified, “The one about large-scale acquisitions of weapons and supplies. Does that sound familiar?”

“Ah, yes! I have heard of it.” His eyes lit up with recognition. “In fact, I’ve been involved in securing some of those supplies myself…”

Seeing that the vendor was cooperative, Victor asked a few questions to confirm his suspicion and got what he wanted. The one who orchestrated all this was indeed his former comrades, and they would be coming here soon. In the most generous estimation, they would arrive in three weeks, and in the worst case, it could be less than ten days!

A sense of impending doom hit Victor on the back. To confront these bastards again when they were coming with larger forces was the worst thing that could happen… But he quickly steadied himself; he wasn’t alone this time. With an army of players at his back, all he needed was to summon even more of them and formulate a strategy to counter the impending threat.

But this wouldn’t be so simple.

Unless they were a dolt, they were likely to call their families for assistance. But Victor was more than sure that they wouldn’t divulge the whole thing and simply ask for assistance. And there was a good side to this for them since they could claim more benefits that way. After all, they didn’t have to conquer the whole pocket dimension to get some gains.

After getting the information he wanted, Victor moved on from the vendor and continued browsing the other stalls in the market. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything of interest here; the players were rather disappointed that they didn’t find any hidden gems.

Next, Victor focused on selling the magical beast meat, and he had narrowed down the merchants that would take them. To avoid drawing undue attention, he discreetly sold the meat to various merchants, earning him twenty-five platinum coins. He was quite pleased that his dwindling money was finally coming back up. Furthermore, there was no need to worry of his group becoming a topic of interest among the locals. After all, for extraordinary individuals to come to this place and hunt magical beasts wasn’t all that rare.

With their market tasks completed, Victor decided it was time to regroup. “Let’s go back to meet with the others,” Victor instructed, leading the players out of the marketplace and back toward their designated meeting spot. Of course, he didn’t forget to return the borrowed capes.


It was past noon.

Victor and the players were gathered just outside the village, close to the forest, while having a quick lunch. The various items purchased from the village head, including seeds and other supplies, were neatly arranged nearby. Victor efficiently stored everything, excluding the seeds, in his interspatial ring. The rest were then neatly arranged on the two wooden carts; even with two, it was a tight fit. Now, the last thing to wait for was Eleanor.

Fifteen minutes later, a familiar figure approached the group, and of course, it was the awaited one. She carried a disproportionately large backpack that dwarfed her frame by two times over, like she was carrying a typical one. How did she have so much strength?

“Yahoo! Sir Magus, I hope I’m on time!” Eleanor called out cheerfully, her energetic arrival causing her long dark brown hair to bounce merrily.

“You have got everything packed?” This question was obviously redundant, but he was just making sure.

“Yup! Don’t you see this ridiculously large backpack?” She chuckled, pointing at her giant backpack with a matter-of-factly expression.

So, you do realize that it’s a ridiculously large backpack… And why does it feel like you’re getting more and more blunt with me? Victor almost failed to maintain his serious demeanor, so he swiftly diverted the topic. “Ahem. Well then, let’s get moving.”

“Whoa! The pretty girl from before is coming with us!”

“Is she really going to be our new NPC?”

“I wonder what’s inside that large backpack of hers.”


Victor ignored the players’ enthusiastic chatter and signaled for the group to start their journey back to the academy.


I have a little skit that fit for this chapter:

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