Spectator - Chapter 21: Untitled
“Oh~ I just did.”
Vincent smiled like a naughty boy.
My first chain of thoughts when I saw him was that I should get as far as I possibly could from this guy.
-‘Why do I always find myself in these situations.’
Luckily, this time there was Hwarang with me to act as a distraction. After all, Vincent wanted a wizard to form a party and Hwarang was just the man for the job.
“Big Bro James! Hunting is a total waste of time. I tried to follow your method of levelling up and ended up wasting so much time in the forest.”
Both of us kept quiet. But that didn’t stop Vincent from continuing.
“But it was worth it because I witnessed the amazing kick of our Oriental martial artist and wizard! Big bro Hwarang~ I was really lucky!”
Hwarang looked quite flattered by this. Vincent had a way with his words.
“It’s nothing much, you just need to put your points on your leg muscles-”
“I know that big bro. That’s not what I wanted to talk about.”
The jolly look on Vincent’s face vanished causing my breathing to tense up. You can call it instincts or gut-feeling. Either way, the air around him tensed up quick. Even Hwarang looked a bit tense.
Vincent spoke again, but his tone changed from that of an air-headed teenager to that of a professional businessman.
“I already put forward this proposition to brother James but I didn’t see much enthusiasm from his side. Perhaps he needs some time to consider, which I am fine with.
I make the same offer to you brother Hwarang.”
“What are you talking about? What offer?”
“I was getting to that. The prospect will be a mutual benefit to all involved. A scheme to raise p the ranking boards.”
“Yeah, right. See you are not the first to ask me to join their party. I am touched by your gesture but I will politely decline, thank you.”
Did Vincent seriously think someone would ‘Join forces’ with him just because he asked them? People won’t trust you that easily in any circumstances, forget trusting a random stranger and his ‘revolutionary’ scheme that came out of the blue.
Hwarang shook his head in disappointment and was about to walk away when Vincent jumped in front of him. Trying to block his path.
“I already answered your question. Please stand aside now.”
“Wait a sec, please! Big brother James! Help me out here!”
-‘What am I supposed to do’
“Listen! I will pay you! Yes. I will pay you for your help big brother Hwarang.”
Both of us were surprised.
I had heard about people being paid an amount by guild masters to be a part of their guilds in certain games but I wasn’t expecting that process to carry over to [New Century] so soon.
“Pay… as in… real-life currency?”
That’s an interesting development. From the looks of it, Hwarang also took the offer much seriously now.
“If the three of us unite and follow my plan, we will soon be able to go toe-to-toe with players like Kaiser.
How does it sound big bro Hwarang and James.”
Hwarang scratched his head and looked at me.
“I don’t know about James but I will consider your offer if you are willing to pay for my services.”
Vincent’s face lit up.
“But I live in America. Will that be an issue?”
“No, no don’t worry about that. I already guessed that you weren’t of Korean origin.”
“What? Is it that obvious?”
“Somewhat. Your name gives it off, look at our names and then look at yours.”
“Ah. I get it…”
Hwarang looked a bit embarrassed by this ordeal. But I had to hand it to Vincent’s observation skills. He had already gathered so much information regarding Hwarang even when he hadn’t talked to him beforehand. It is kind of scary, who knows how much info he has in store about me.
Vincent walked over to Hwarang and extended his hand.
“So do we have a deal?”
Hwarang put his hand forward only to pull it back into his pockets.
“Yeah… I am interested but I need some time to think about it.”
Vincent lets out a groan and smiles awkwardly. He was latching on to us. While it did look suspicious, what worried me more was why us? There were many more talented individuals in the village. Be it the man with the club or someone else.
For some unknown reason, he picked the two of us over those individuals. Was he rejected by them or was he convinced that we were the only ones up for the task?
Either way, I should be cautious. He could be Korean but he hasn’t admitted to that himself yet. I could avoid him for now but sooner or later I would cross paths with him again.
-‘If I take his offer I could keep an eye on him but at the same time I could also fall into his trap if he had such plans.’
“Anyways Bother Hwarang, how is the Taekwondo scene in America?”
“If it were any good would I be here? The fact that I am even considering your offer must give you a good idea.”
“Well, you could afford a capsule so you must not be that broke.”
“That can be said about all of us playing the game. Just cause we play, doesn’t mean we have the fortune to spare.”
“I guess so, My uncle is a director so I didn’t have to worry about the cost of a capsule.”
“You are one lucky bastard.”
Both of them laughed. Seemed like they were getting a lot friendlier than before, which was good but it made me look like the odd ones out as I didn’t share the same sentiment.
I tried to join in so as to not stand out.
“So why didn’t you use an American name and set your character with blond hair and fair skin?”
Hwarang looked at me with an embarrassing look on his face. Vincent noticed it too and spoke up instead.
“Maybe he was just shy or wanted to look more authentic with the Taekwondo master aesthetic”
“No… That’s not the case. I thought it would be easier to get recognition if did that…”
Vincent smiled. His teeth looked vicious, ready to tear into your consciousness with his sly persuasion.
“So you were interested in ranking… Unlike brother James.”
“Yeah, it’s a surefire way to fame isn’t it.”
“Of course it is! It’s the sure-fire way to many things, fame being one of them.”
Our conversation would be abruptly stopped by the opening of the door. The three of us had gotten so intertwined in our talks that we didn’t notice that the music had long stopped and we could enter.
The three of us looked at the doorknob as it slowly twisted and turned. Finally with an audible click the door unlocked.
A girl walked out with a Lyre.
She wore leather armour and the same grey clothes underneath them. She had a beautiful smile as she glided her fingers over the silver strings of the golden Lyre.
It was apparent that she was awestruck by the instrument. So much so that she hadn’t even noticed the three of us standing right in front of her with eyes locked at her and her instrument.
That didn’t last long though. As soon as she noticed, she opened her inventory and put the lyre in it. The instrument dematerialised in front of our eyes as she too plastered an emotionless expression on her face.
I couldn’t believe this was the same girl that followed me to Marter.
Scarlet had already surpassed the three of us and rose to a level beyond us. As we stood and pondered, trying to set a course of action.
-‘The likes of Taejin… No… Kaiser and Scarlet were advancing at a rate that we can’t even begin to understand. If I don’t sit here like this then soon… I won’t even be able to to find his shadow, let alone look over him.’
After she left, Vincent and Hwarang continued talking as I went inside.
The inside was just as you would expect from an old lady’s home.
Pictures littered the walls, covering the cracks caused by time. The room was dimly lighted, It took some time for my eyes to adapt to the dark. In the corner of the room sat Pirette on her rocking chair smiling. The wrinkles on her face stretched out as she did.
“Thank you for waiting outside. Thank you for not disturbing us.”
She then took a deep breath and exhaled.
“It has been such a long time… I remember him every day but I never spoke to anyone about it.”
“Tell me, young man, how can I help you?”
I bowed my head as a sign of respect before asking.
“If there is any skill I can learn from you then please, kindly teach me.”
It was an indirect way of saying ‘Please teach me how to repair clothes.’
Pirette taught the skill of repairing clothes. A very handy skill that helped restore the durability of clothes. However, it only worked on clothes. You couldn’t restore leather or Iron armour using this skill.
For fixing armour, you had to hit level 10 and go ask Denik to teach you the skill called ‘Repair’ or something like that.
“This all I can offer. And I think this is something that will be more helpful to you.”
She handed me a parchment, as I opened it, a window similar to those before popped up.
But this time there was only one skill.
You will be able to play musical instruments.
Effect: You can get additional effects by playing after learning the score.
Acquisition condition: Favorability with Pirette is 70 or higher
This was unexpected.
The acquisition condition made it look like you need to be very close to Pirette to be able to learn this skill but this was literally my first time meeting her.
For her to suddenly favour me this much. It didn’t feel right.
Maybe it was because of my 1% sensitivity, anything I do or say become either overwhelmingly positive or painstakingly negative.
Whichever might be the case, it was apparent that I had somehow triggered a different interaction then I intended.
The fact that she did offer me a Lyra made me believe that this wasn’t the same interaction that Scarlet triggered.
-‘Should I learn it?’
Not learning it would be a waste, who knows when it might come in handy.
I politely said thanked her and walked towards the door.
[Skill: Clothing Repair is available, would you like to learn it]
Looked back at Pirette, she nodded in approval.
All was set and done.
With the repair skill in my arsenal, I could finally go to a city.
Vincent offers to form a party had its perks but was a nuisance. Having to share your resources with your party-mates made the game a lot more difficult in terms of resource management.
-‘Still, its something I will consider if needed in the near future.’
I was still using the basic map, I mean it is good but it only shows you the way to the location you have already been to. That makes it bad for exploration.
-‘I remember seeing a continent map in the game store.’
It works like a regular map, with indicators for objectives, the conflict between villages, distribution of monsters and the degree of people’s traffic.
-‘I guess I should go get one before heading out.’