Level Up - Chapter 14: Jongno Black Market - 1
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For a moment, Hyun Seok had contemplated pretending that he didn’t see that person.
But it soon became unnecessary.
That person turned their head and spotted Hyun Seok.
“Huh? What did you come here for?”
“I have something to sell. What about you?” Hyun Seok replied with a smile.
Instead of answering, Ji Hye looked at Hyun Seok with strange eyes. She didn’t expect a rookie like him to know that there was a black market in Jongno.
“Well, there was always something mysterious about him.”
She smiled brightly and answered briefly, “I was looking for something. It’s hard to get, but I came here just in case. Though it seems like they don’t have it.”
For a short moment, Hyun Seok saw that Ji Hye’s face had slightly darkened.
“Something hard to get?”
Hyun Seok didn’t know what it was yet, but he might be able to procure it, or at least introduce her to someone who could help.
She is a valuable person who will become the Korean branch manager of the Dungeon Headquarters in the future. If he worked hard to make a strong relationship, it would be good business.
“Well… No one can be sure about the future.”
Even if he doesn’t help her, she’d probably follow her “predetermined” path. However, the story is prone to change the moment Hyun Seok intervened.
If Hyun Seok was an ordinary mob, nothing would’ve changed, but he was a person who knew the future. There is a good chance that her future will change.
“What are you looking for?” He asked.
Hyun Seok had decided to help her if she told him what it was. If not, then so be it.
Ryu Ji Hye smiled awkwardly and answered, “Hehe. I’m looking for Holy Water.”
“You haven’t heard of it, have you? It’s tough to get, so it’s not well-known. Besides, all the holy water found in our country is managed by a single person.”
There’s no way Hyun Seok hadn’t heard of it. At this point in time, he was probably the one who knew the most about the Holy Water.
He knew about it too well that it’s not an exaggeration to say that he could even recite the history of Holy Water.
That was how well-used, and how thoroughly researched and developed Holy Water was in the future.
“What are you going to do with it? Are you sick?”
“You know about it?” Ryu Ji Hye asked with wide eyes.
“If you were to ask anyone who played games, they would at least know the name.” He said with a smile as he recalled the Holy Water’s early history.
“If I remember correctly… The first product made with the Holy Water was…”
“An Elixir?” Hyun Seok muttered.
But of course, the prefix “prototype” was omitted.
The first thing humans had researched with the Holy water was an Elixir.
Continuing their studies after the first successful prototype Elixir, the researchers were able to produce an Elixir with an outstanding performance.
And the early Elixir, or the so-called prototype elixir, ended up being named as ‘Potion’.
And the Potion was further developed into two types: a Healing Potion and a Mana Potion, which were excellent for physical injuries and mana recovery, respectively.
Since both potions had originated from the Holy Water, both can be used for physical and mana recovery, but only a minimal amount would be restored for the one it was not dedicated to.
“You even know about Elixirs? That’s something only a few people know…” Ryu Ji Hye was surprised when she heard Hyun Seok’s mumbling, for it hasn’t been that long since it was developed.
The research probably hadn’t even figured out the side effects or the detailed properties of the Elixir yet.
“You don’t look like you’re hurt to the point that you would need something like that, though…” said Hyun Seok.
The Elixirs being developed during this period were more inclined to healing physical injuries than to recover mana. Of course, they may not even have a good grasp of that fact yet.
In any case, there was no apparent injury on Ji Hye’s body.
“Did you get a scar somewhere?” Hyun Seok asked.
“My brother is a little sick, not me.” Ji Hye replied while shaking her head with a bitter smile.
Hyun Seok got surprised a bit because he didn’t know that she had a younger brother. By the time she became the manager of the Korean branch, she didn’t have any family.
Only then did Hyun Seok grasp the bigger picture.
“So… she was tied to the Dungeon Headquarters because of the elixir, but then her brother died.”
Ryu Ji Hye’s personality was very different from what he saw in the future. If it wasn’t for her mana pattern, Hyun Seok wouldn’t have thought that she was the same person.
“Something must have changed after her brother died.”
Whether it’s her personality, life, or life’s goal.
“What’s his illness? The Elixir isn’t as powerful as its name.”
Ji Hye hesitated for a moment, and Hyun Seok just remained calm as if he didn’t care whether she’ll say it or not.
His actions seemed to have piqued her interest so she slowly opened her mouth and said, “He got the dungeon disease.”
“The dungeon disease?”
Hyun Seok tilted his head at the totally unfamiliar name. Was there ever a disease like that? Given that the name “dungeon” is included, it is clear that the disease is related to the dungeons, but Hyun Seok had never heard of it before.
“It’s a disease when an ordinary person, not a player, gets exposed to a dungeon. If he doesn’t take the Elixir regularly, his seizures get worse. The doctor said… if they fail to stop the seizures in time, he’ll die.” She calmly stated while trying to force a smile.
Only after hearing her explanation did Hyun Seok realize what kind of disease it was.
“Oh, it’s mana addiction.”
It was called “dungeon disease” because no one knew what it was. It’s a relatively rare disease, and an elixir won’t help it. In fact, it would worsen the condition.
The Elixir’s base is Holy Water. And Holy Water is a highly concentrated mana liquid.
Injecting mana into a person who is addicted to mana would naturally improve his symptoms, but that was only temporary. It was no different from giving alcohol to an alcoholic.
If they kept on injecting elixirs like this, he would die without overcoming his addiction.
Hyun Seok knows one of the safest treatments to mana addiction, but he wasn’t sure if it’ll succeed.
Thinking about it, he made a thoughtful look.
Ryu Ji Hye stared at Hyun Seok in curiosity.
“He doesn’t look like he’s worried… but he looks like he’s considering something. What could it be? Does he have Holy Water or an Elixir?”
If that’s the case, she was planning to hang onto him until she gets it from him.
Although Choo Kyung Hoon had a lot of Holy Water in his hands, the amount of Holy Water he could provide to Ryu Ji Hye had been set, and it wasn’t enough.
On the other hand, Ryu Hye Yeon, her younger brother, was looking for more elixirs day by day.
“By any chance… Do you have Elixirs or Holy Water?”
Hyun Seok came to his senses and shook his head at her question.
“That’s not it…”
Ryu Ji Hye’s expression changed again… Hyun Seok sighed softly and said, “Hmm. The disease that your brother has… I think I know what it is, but…”
Ryu Ji Hye made a weird face and said, “I just told you. It’s called a dungeon disease…”
Hyun Seok shook his head and then looked around.
“First of all… Let me finish my business here and then let’s head to a quiet place to continue our talk.”
Ryu Ji Hye nodded unconsciously because Hyun Seok’s tone of speech and expression was unusual.
Then, she turned to him with astonishment.
“For real… He’s definitely not an average person.”
She decided to follow Hyun Seok because of that thought.
Hyun Seok took the lead, and Ji Hye walked by his side.
At the same time, the man who was spying on Hyun Seok had followed him from far away.
Hyun Seok didn’t worry much though. This was the black market. It was not a place where anyone could come in, and definitely not a place where Choo Kyung Hoon could do as he pleased.
This was a place where the Dungeon Headquarters had no power in. The nation will surely be shaken if they ever decide to go on a spree here.
If that happens, only Choo Kyung Hoon, who caused it, would be in trouble, and it was obvious that he wouldn’t want to take such risks.
The black market was set up in a huge underground space, where merchants each bought and sold unique goods at small booths.
Hyun Seok was looking for the magical core section because he was going to sell all of the cores. He wanted to turn it into cash, and then invest it in promising stocks again.
If everything went according to his plans, once he finished his business here, he’d probably won’t have to worry about money until the moment he dies.
Hyun Seok quickly went around the complicated alley.
He suddenly started walking faster, that even Ryu Ji Hye was about to lose him.
The spy had hurried his steps too but ended up losing sight of Hyun Seok.
“Shit! He’s gonna go crazy if I mess this up…”
The spy hurried around and searched for Hyun Seok, and as soon as he disappeared, Hyun Seok showed up at the booth right next to where he was.
“Thank you.” Hyun Seok thanked the owner of the booth.
“I’m doing this for money too, if you need help another time, feel free to find me.” replied the booth owner.
Hyun Seok walked the opposite direction from the spy.
Seeing what just happened, Ryu Ji Hye asked in amazement, “How did you know?”
Hyun Seok glanced at her before looking ahead again.
“Everyone who’s been in the black market a few times would know.”
Ryu Ji Hye pouted at Hyun Seok’s remarks.
“Then what about me? I’ve been going in and out of black markets, and I didn’t know.”
Seeing that, Hyun Seok advised, “Sometimes, you should live while looking around you. The views on your right, maybe left and sometimes behind. You can’t see around you if you only look ahead and run.”
At his words, Ryu Ji Hye dumbfoundedly stared at Hyun Seok. It was at times like this that he doesn’t seem like a man who’s five years younger than her. Hyun Seok smiled at Ryu Ji Hye and hurried his steps.
“We had to sell the cores before the spy returned.”
Ryu Ji Hye was astounded by the endless number of magical cores coming out of his backpack. In addition, he sold it as if he was a professional black market trader.
He sold the cores one after another at a reasonable price without losing one bit against the black market traders who wanted to cut the price.
“What the hell… Just how many cores do you have? Oh, my. . . It’s coming out again. Are there even more in there?” she asked.
Furthermore, the new magical cores that came out were twice the size of what he had sold before.
“That’s at least over 2,000 mana. If he sells it well, he could get 700 million won.”
Since it wasn’t easy to get quality magical cores at this point in time, the price of cores that had high mana was skyrocketing.
As soon as Hyun Seok had taken out the magical core, the merchants from the two booths nearby had jumped out and grabbed his sleeves before starting to argue among themselves. After all, the core that Hyun Seok held in his hand was an attractive product that was hard to see even on the black market.
Hyun Seok took out another core of the same size from his backpack even when his sleeve was seized.
The merchant’s eyes brightly sparkled.
“Come on, start bidding.”
At his words, the merchants’ faces turned quite sour. But soon, the tension started again.
They glared at each other with a look that said, “I’ll be the one to buy this!”.
Translator and Editor Notes:
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