Chapter 59. The Tower (1)
Yeon-woo went down the hill and began to walk.
The place where he was now was somewhere called the Outer District. The intermediate location connecting the tutorial and The Tower.
It was a huge city established by people who lived in the tower. Therefore, players who had just passed the tutorial usually did not think of paying a visit to this place.
Their heads were full of thoughts of climbing up The Tower.
Even if they did visit, it was simply to supply themselves with items they needed in order to make their way up. They didn't consider staying for a long time.
But it was different for Yeon-woo. Unlike other players, he wasn’t going to climb The Tower right away. Instead, he planned to stay at Outer District.
He had a lot of work to do there.
* * *
‘It should be somewhere around here.'
Yeon-woo went to the market upon entering the city.
The market in this world was similar to the typical market commonly seen in his home world where street vendors display various items on their stalls.
The whole marketplace was filled with voices of people haggling for prices.
Yeon-woo was walking along the street with a photograph in his hand. It was the photograph that was found next to his brother’s body, along with the pocket watch. The photo of his brother and his old teammates of Arthia.
Though the photo had faded a lot, he could still distinguish who these people were and where it was taken.
What Yeon-woo was currently looking for was one of the people inside the photo and the spot the picture was taken at.
‘The place looks similar to the one in the photo. It must be around here.’
Yeon-woo walked down the market street as he constantly took glimpses at the photo.
But the problem was that several parts of the market captured in the photograph had changed a lot since the time it was taken. It was difficult to trace down the building with what little hints he had.
Thankfully, even though Yeon-woo was wearing a strange white mask, people didn’t care much about his appearance. It was because the city was already full of people of different races in different clothes.
‘Is this the place?’
After quite a few turns, Yeon-woo finally stopped in front of a blacksmith shop.
An old run-down building with a chipped painting depicting a hammer and an anvil next to its door. Judging by its appearance, the shop must have had no customer for a long time.
But the place looked the same as the background in the photograph.
He was certain.
It was here.
Yeon-woo gazed at the hammer and anvil symbol with a blank look for a while and soon opened the door as he put the picture inside his pocket.
The door opened with a strange noise as if it were going to fall at any moment.
The interior was as messy as the exterior. Dust bunnies were rolling around the floor, and there were stains everywhere on the wall.
‘The weapons are clean.‘
Yeon-woo cast Draconic Eyes and examined the items displayed on the rack along the wall.
[Henova's Superior Iron Sword]
Classification: Two-handed Weapon
Description: An iron sword forged by Henova, a dwarven blacksmith. It boasts remarkable durability and a long lifespan.
Classification: Two-handed Weapon
Description: A greatbow crafted by Henova, a dwarven blacksmith. It was made with the horns and tendons of a Minotaur. The bowstring is so stiff that normal people won’t be able to pull it.
[Henova's Pitch Black Helm]
Description: A helm forged by Henova, a dwarven blacksmith. It will cover up the wearer’s presence if worn in the darkness.
‘They’re all items of high rating.'
Draconic Eyes can partially peek into an object or person’s abilities. Which means, it is possible to read some of the latent powers and characteristics of an item if examined with the skill.
Thanks to this, Yeon-woo was able to see how good the items were despite their shabby look. It was an advantage granted to the users of Draconic Eyes.
And surprisingly, there was an item that was impossible to analyze even with his skill.
Description: ??? forged by Henova, a dwarven blacksmith. ?????.
Yeon-woo picked up an item that looked like a dagger. Unlike the other weapons and armors, this one was fully covered in rust. Its length was about 10 centimeters longer than the daggers he had brought from the outside world, and a little shorter than Carshina’s Dagger.
As far as he knew, there were two cases of items that Draconic Eyes refused to analyze.
It was either too bad,
‘Or it’s too good to analyze with my current level of proficiency.
And things with this kind of bad appearance usually fell into the former category.
However, Yeon-woo had a strong hunch that this time it should be the latter.
The material, the solidity, not one bit was lacking. Even if it was hidden under the rust, you couldn't hide it to its core.
‘This one’s very tempting.’
Yeon-woo had already acquired a variety of great artifacts throughout the tutorial. Artifacts ranging from the ones he had been using, such as Black Bracelet, Carshina’s Dagger, Goblin King’s Eye, Monsters’ Five Colored Jewel, Hargan’s Crown, Vigrid, to the rewards which he hadn’t had a chance to check, such as Beast Lord’s Lion Mane Helm and Iblis’ Embryo.
Every single one of them was a powerful artifact that could carry him through the lower half of The Tower.
Especially the Black Bracelet and Vigrid, if their seals were completely removed, they could even be used in some of the upper floors.
Because of all the great artifacts he had, Yeon-woo’s standard had been raised to the point where artifacts without a proper option weren’t enough to satisfy him.
Nevertheless, the dagger possessed such a mysterious power that was enough to immediately captivate Yeon-woo's heart.
‘I needed a dagger just about this size.’
Yeon-woo had to use Vigrid in Section G because it was the best sword available to him at that moment. However, Yeon-woo's speciality was a fast and intricate style of swordsmanship utilizing two daggers, one in each hand.
Plus, the dagger looked like it would go well with Carshina’s Dagger.
‘I see why Jeong-woo preferred to come here for weapons.'
In spite of its current appearance, this shop used to be a workshop that provided artifacts exclusively to Arthia when they were the fifth-ranked clan.
Judging by his works, it seemed like the owner of the smithy was still living up to his name.
Yeon-woo turned towards another direction to check on the other weaponry.
At that moment,
"Who the hell are you?"
Suddenly the back door sprang open, and a short, chunky dwarf came in with a big frown on his face.
His face was covered by bushy beard, long enough to almost drag it through the floor. The muscles revealed on his body and forearms looked as solid as those of an ox.
On those two arms, he was holding a stack of several swords blocking his front view.
Dwarf Henova. He was the owner of this shabby smithy.
Not only that,
‘The dwarf in the photograph. He looks the same.'
He was the same dwarf who was smiling next to his brother in the faded photograph. The one who his brother mentioned several times in his diary.
If someone asked me to pick a person I relied on the most among Arthia, I might have to think it over a lot ‘cause there are just too many.
However, if they asked the same question but among the whole Tower, I can answer without hesitation.
He has been like a father to me.
His brother referred to Henova as ‘father’.
In fact, Yeon-woo and his brother didn't have many memories of their father.
They were told that his father had passed away in an accident when they were very small.
When he thought about his father, he could only remember the vague feeling of warmth he felt when being hugged by him. That was the only memory both Yeon-woo and Jeong-woo had of him.
So if Jeong-woo had compared Henova to a father, there must have been something about him.
And that was why Yeon-woo decided to meet Henova as soon as he passed the tutorial.
‘He was also the one who didn't leave Jeong-woo's side until his last breath.’
However, Yeon-woo didn’t take off his mask and introduced herself.
His innocent brother proudly introduced him as one of the few ‘friends’ he could trust and even went as far as to call him a ‘father'. But Yeon-woo couldn’t trust not just him but anyone that easily.
Until he himself felt certain, he had to doubt anyone and everyone.
"I'm here to buy a weapon."
"A weapon, you say?"
Yeon-woo nodded, but Henova answered with a sneer.
"Even after seeing that?"
Henova pointed at the half-destroyed part of his shop with his chin.
"What's wrong with that?"
"You've gotta be kidding me. Kid, I’ve got no time for your jokes, so get lost."
Henova tried to walk past Yeon-woo. But Yeon-woo used his long legs and block his front.
"I’m not joking. I am here to buy a weapon."
"Well, that’s too bad, because I'm not selling any weapon. So get the fuck out of here."
Henova pushed Yeon-woo with his shoulder as if he didn't want to deal with him anymore.
His muscles were so hard it felt like he had rammed into a wall when he hit him.
For a moment, Yeon-woo stared at Henova heading back to his workshop, but soon threw a question at him.
"Is it because Arthia was disbanded?"
Henova flung his head back towards Yeon-woo.
On his distorted face, there was one strong emotion displayed through his eyes.
An intense resentment.
"Don’t you dare speak a word about that, kid."
‘That’s a yes.’
Henova was originally a master blacksmith of Arthia.
Because he wasn't a player, he wasn’t an official member of Arthia. But still, nobody could argue about him being part of Arthia.
And thanks to the outstanding weapons and armor he provided, Arthia was able to smoothly progress through The Tower.
But now, he was refusing to sell his weapons even when Arthia was gone.
Yeon-woo had could guess what was the reason, and he was very certain of it.
"Did the other clans threaten you? I bet they tried to force you to join their clans, right?"
"I warned you not to talk about that."
"But you must have ignored their threats. Seems like they started hurting the customers who bought items here, didn’t they?"
And that’s how people stopped coming to his shop. Even if he had customers coming to his shop, he had to kick them out so that they wouldn't be harmed.
It was easy to guess what could have happened to him.
Henova's face turned purple from anger.
"But you don't have to worry about that, at least for me. You just need to sell your items to me."
With Yeon-woo’s next word, Henova grew silent.
Yeon-woo grinned inwardly.
He was told that Henova looked tough on the outside, but underneath he was very soft-hearted. It seems his brother was right on that point.
In the end, Henova gave up trying to kick Yeon-woo out of the shop.
Henova threw the swords he was holding on the ground and spoke with a frown on his face.
"All right, you win. If you want to buy my weapons that badly, then buy them. What do you want?"
"I want this."
Yeon-woo pointed out the rusty dagger he had picked up before.
Though it was just for a fleeting moment, various emotions swirled in Henova's eyes.
Then he quickly put on his usual frown and looked at Yeon-woo up and down.
"By the way, you got any money for that?"
Yeon-woo said with a smile.
"Can I buy it on credit?"