Level Up - Chapter 15: Jongno Black Market - 2
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Ryu Ji Hye stared blankly at Hyun Seok, who had just sold two cores at an astonishing price of 900 million won each. And when Hyun Seok brought out two additional cores of the same value, she didn’t even bother to react anymore as she was already exhausted from being constantly surprised by his actions.
When Hyun Seok had brought out another core, the merchant who had just bought the cores made a puzzled expression, while the other merchant glared at Hyun Seok.
Although Hyun Seok wasn’t able to sell it for 900 million won, he still got a fair amount.
After selling off the cores, Hyun Seok and Ryu Ji Hye headed off to another booth.
Just like this, Hyun Seok had sold the cores in various booths.
However, what surprised her wasn’t the absurd number of cores, but the fact that Hyun Seok seemed to have memorized the whole map of the black market.
The black market is a vast and complex place. It wouldn’t be possible to navigate the whole market just by going to this place a couple of times. Many people would even get lost finding the exit, yet Hyun Seok was able to find the core dealers with ease.
“Just how frequently has he visited this place?” Ryu Ji Hye thought.
Her previous investigation clearly proved that Hyun Seok had become a player merely 3 months ago, and she had even followed him for almost a month. But she had never seen him come anywhere near Jongno, nor did he seem like he actually had anything to sell.
The more Ji Hye met Hyun Seok, the more mysterious he became. So she just made an “I give up” face and followed behind Hyun Seok.
Just as his bag was about to be empty, Ji Hye asked the question that she was keeping in for the whole time, “How the hell did you get those giant cores? From what I’ve seen, you’ve only cleared Bronze 1 dungeons, right?”
That question was something anyone who had watched Hyun Seok would definitely wonder.
The majority of the cores Hyun Seok had sold contained more than 1000 mana, and the last few all have above 2000.
To acquire a core with 2000 mana, one had to clear at least a Gold level dungeon.
Therefore, it was almost impossible to obtain one in a Bronze level dungeon.
Although there was a case in another country where a core with high mana appeared in a Bronze dungeon, that was a rare case.
Hyun Seok mostly hunted in Bronze dungeons, but after seeing so many cores with high mana, how could someone not be surprised?
So Ji Hye thought that there was a special method to obtain a magical core.
She believed that the others who were watching him would have thought the same.
She looked at Hyun Seok with curious eyes, resembling a cat that was longing for an answer.
Hyun Seok smiled and replied, “We only have one place left, so brighten up.” He changed the topic, implying that he would not answer her question.
Ji Hye quickly realized this and turned her head in disappointment while she grumbled, “You still have more left?”
Hyun Seok raised his shield and patted it while saying, “I still have to sell this.”
Surprised, Ji Hye widened her eyes and asked, “You are going to sell that too? The artifact?”
“I’m not gonna use it anyway.”
Ji Hye made a dumbfounded face and thought,
“Who the hell sells an artifact at the black market just because they aren’t going to use it?”
She then said, “Well, you never know when you will need to use it. How about keeping it? You’ve just recently got it, so there may be some hidden functions that you’re not aware of yet.”
Some artifacts are not completely usable after obtaining it. Sometimes, an artifact may be cursed. For that reason, it was difficult to receive a proper price at the black market until it was thoroughly inspected.
It would have been better to sell it to the Dungeon Headquarters as they purchase artifacts only by the amount of mana it contains.
Seeing Ji Hye warning him with sincerity, Hyun Seok made a soft smile and decided to respond honestly. “I have a rough understanding of this shield.”
“Huh, already?” Ji Hye asked while alternately glancing at the shield and Hyun Seok.
It takes a considerable amount of time to properly check the performance of artifacts. Moreover, it requires the assistance of professional artifact researchers.
There was a research institute under the Dungeon Headquarters that studied the artifacts. Naturally, there were many players among the researchers there.
Players use mana to stimulate artifacts in many ways and check its performance by looking at the changes accordingly.
From that information, they invent things using the dungeon materials to create an item similar to an artifact.
It was still in rudimentary stage, but Hyun Seok knew better than anyone how powerful the inventions would turn out in the future.
Information about artifacts was highly classified at the Dungeon Headquarters. It is also considered as an influential power for them so they hardly leaked any information on artifacts.
Therefore, the easiest way to check the performance of an artifact is to purchase a different one at the Dungeon Headquarters. They won’t tell the owner the actual performance anyway, so most players just sell their artifact and buy an already inspected one.
“You didn’t just use your mana to check, did you?” Ryu Ji Hye worriedly glanced at him.
There were players who did that and quite a few of them got cursed and caused damage to their surroundings.
Hyun Seok grinned and shook his head.
“It’s not like that, so don’t worry. It’s just an artifact that I know. Artifacts from Bronze dungeons are already common, so it’s not difficult to figure it out anyway.”
“That’s true.” Ji Hye replied while staring at the shield and sword on Hyun Seok’s waist.
Ji Hye had seen the sword before too. It was a typical sword; however, if one assumes that an artifact is the same artifact because it has the same shape, there will definitely be some problems.
Meanwhile, Hyun Seok checked the shield with his eyes that were filled with mana.
– – – – –
[Can prevent attacks using mana.]
[Neutralizes the force of 100 mana.]
[The mana reduces kinetic force.]
– – – – –
It was a very simple shield. It was a shield that didn’t even have a name. Moreover, the decline in mobility by holding the shield was a fatal disadvantage given Hyun Seok’s combat style.
So it was an artifact that he would never use. The performance was too low.
On the other hand, Hyun Seok’s knife was a bit different.
– – – – –
[Sharp Steel Sword]
[A sword with mana that keeps the blade sharp.]
[An additional attack of 300 mana will be applied.]
[Agility+1 when equipped.]
– – – – –
Hyun Seok just realized that there was a name attached to an artifact. In the past, he did not have the ability to see status windows, so it was natural to not know.
“Well… what a mysterious ability.”
The skill, Mind Eye, was really unusual. It didn’t seem to be just a simple skill that analyzes things using mana.
At first, Hyun Seok thought that the ability automatically analyzes and extracts the information stored in the mana before combining it with his own memory to print out the status window.
However, after experiencing it, it wasn’t like that. There must be something deeper behind it.
“I don’t know what it is, but… I’ll make good use of it for now.”
Looking at Ryu Ji Hye, who was still anxious, Hyun Seok smiled again and walked away.
Hyun Seok spotted the spy in the distance. His face was intricately filled with embarrassment, anger, and disbelief.
Hyun Seok leisurely walked towards a place to sell the artifact.
There’s a place you must go to sell artifacts in the black market of Jongno. Everywhere else was more or less a fraud.
Ryu Ji Hye, who was walking side by side with Hyun Seok, was curious.
“Where are we going? There’s nothing here.”
The size of the black market was enormous, but not all places were packed with people.
There were booths but many were empty, and some were even used as storage.
The place where Hyun Seok was walking was a row of empty booths.
No one could be seen there, and it was literally empty.
Therefore, Ryu Ji Hye and the spy tailing Hyun Seok could not help but to wonder where he was headed.
Hyun Seok and Ryu Ji Hye cautiously entered an alley between two booths. He carefully moved forward, hiding behind the empty booths.
A few minutes later, Hyun Seok managed to lose the spy. Only then did he approach a certain booth.
Ji Hye looked inside the booth in astonishment. “I didn’t expect to see an open booth here…”
It was normal to be surprised. There were empty booths everywhere, but only this place was open. Besides, artifacts filled the entire booth.
“Does this place ever get customers?”
“Of course. But it’s a place where only those who know it visits.”
Later in the future, this area will thrive because of this booth. Obviously, it won’t happen until at least five years later, but this area will be an artifact street in the black market.
As Hyun Seok entered the booth, the owner’s eyes glistened sharply. The owner was an old man and he was watching Hyun Seok before he even entered.
“You’re a fellow I’ve never seen. How’d you know about this place?” the old man asked.
Hyun Seok laughed at the old man’s words and placed his shield on the table and replied, “It’s a black market anyway. Was it really important? All that matters is that I have an artifact.”
The old man moved his gaze up and down at Hyun Seok.
“I won’t come again for the time being, so it wouldn’t be very useful even if you stare at me now. It’d be better to remember me the next time I come.”
Suddenly, a dangerous light flashed through the old man’s eyes.
Ryu Ji Hye, who was next to Hyun Seok, was startled and she unconsciously stepped back at the sight of the old man’s eyes.
“Wh… who is this grandpa?” Ryu Ji Hye thought as she stared blankly at the old man.
On the contrary, Hyun Seok took a step forward without being intimidated and he said while tapping his finger on the shield, “How much will you give me?”
The old man glanced down at the shield before he lifted a finger.
“This isn’t the headquarters. Don’t you think you’re cutting the price too much?”
The old man was surprised at Hyun Seok’s response and he stared at him again to recall if he had ever met him.
“I don’t know what you’ve heard from others, but I have no intention of wasting money on such a shabby shield.”
Hyun Seok smiled and nodded. He was now sure that the old man was Mr. Hwang. It was the first time Hyun Seok actually saw his face.
Supposedly, it should be five years from now before Hyun Seok would meet Mr. Hwang but his skills seemed no different from then and now.
“I’ll give it to you as a gift then.”
The old man glared at Hyun Seok, “What kind of nonsense is this?”
Ryu Ji Hye was startled and she couldn’t help but to shift her gaze at the old man, Hyun Seok, and the shield.
The booth’s temperature suddenly dropped.
Translator and Editor Notes:
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