"Hey, isn't that the owner of the Mystical Realm Palace?" One of the players in the crowd said as he pointed towards Izroth. He recognized Izroth from the last time a commotion took place in front of the Mystical Realm Palace. He was one of the lucky players who was able to get his hands on one of the rare items that were put up for sale for a single bronze coin.
His words caused everyone to immediately turn to look over and all around as they tried to locate the owner of the Mystical Realm Palace. The vast majority of players still had no idea what the mysterious owner of the Mystical Realm Palace looked like in person. There were all sorts of rumors going around about him, as well as, heated debate as to how he managed to own the first property in RML.
"Woah, what kind of armor is that? Could it be a rare equipment set?" One of the surrounding players said as they saw Izroth's Attire of a Silent Night. The details and craftsmanship certainly did not appear to be something common or uncommon. In fact, its appearance even surpassed that of most rare equipment sets!
"Heh, I heard that last time Sage Falls caused trouble and did not dare speak of the events that took place in the Mystical Realm Palace that day. That's a top ten guild! The owner of the Mystical Realm Palace has a connection to all the top guilds. I heard that one word from him caused a top ten guild like Sage Falls to be exterminated in a single night."
"What nonsense are you saying? How can a top ten guild be destroyed overnight from a single word? Everyone knows that Sage Falls made many enemies during the Protectors of Amaharpe event and sustained heavy damage. They're probably just rebuilding their strength to reclaim their rank as a top ten guild."
There were various conversations taking place among the crowd which ranged from rumors about Izroth, Sage Falls, and even if there was going to be another sale like the last time. Needless to say, everyone was anxious to know the fate of that idiot who dared to offend the owner of the Mystical Realm Palace!
Izroth shook his head inwardly as he overheard some of the things being discussed. In truth, the only reason he held such a grand sale last time was to teach Sage Falls a small lesson. He did not think that it would cause others to hope for trouble to find its way to the doorsteps of his Mystical Realm Palace just so they could receive some benefits!
'As for this guy...'
To be honest, Izroth did not know what to think of this guy who was behind all the ruckus. Izroth could see that this person was not a threat, however, his intelligence certainly left something more to be desired. Though Izroth could not help but admire their dedication. This person had been out here for hours calling out and wanting to meet with him.
'Well, I can't just leave things this way. Let's see what he's up to.'
Izroth stepped forward and said, "I heard that you've been looking for the owner of the Mystical Realm Palace. Tell me, who are you and what business do you have with me?"
The person who had just bit their tongue and was squirming around in pain looked up towards Izroth. At first, he was completely silent as he seemed to be sizing Izroth up.
The person in question was a young man in his early to mid-twenties with short black hair, dark brown eyes, and a face that appeared handsome, however, it was difficult for most people to notice given the layers of fat that hid it away. He was quite round and chubby, but the plated armor he wore, as well as, the small hammer at his side was surprisingly all rare equipment!
"It's you? Are you the owner of the Mystical Realm Palace? Then the rumors..." There was a look of surprise on his face when he saw Izroth.
"Rumors?" Izroth said.
"I can't believe the rumors were wrong...! I knew it! How can anyone be as handsome as I, Gu Chao? Ahahaha, well there's no need to be worried. This handsome genius will share some of his personal beauty tips with you." The one who called himself Gu Chao said with a cheerful expression on his face.
Everyone in the crowd nearly coughed up blood when they heard Gu Chao's proud declaration. Who wanted his beauty tips?! Wasn't this fellow too shameless and thick-skinned? Not to mention, he was acting such a way before the owner of the Mystical Realm Palace himself! Did he wish to follow in the footsteps of those in Sage Falls by angering the owner?
However, unlike what the crowd expected to happen, Izroth remained calm and did not erupt into a fit of anger.
"I'll have to pass on this 'generous' offer." Izroth responded swiftly.
"Well, suit yourself. It's your loss. Many people would beg to know such deeply hidden secrets of mine." Gu Chao stated. He then snapped out of it as he was reminded of his original purpose for visiting the Mystical Realm Palace and wanting to meet with the owner.
"Owner of the Mystical Realm Palace Izroth! I challenge you to a duel, do you dare accept?!" Gu Chao announced loud enough for everyone in the surrounding area to hear.
What?! He wanted to challenge the owner of the Mystical Realm Palace to a duel? But, what did he gain from doing so?
"Oh? A duel?" Izroth felt that it would be a waste of his time to duel someone like Gu Chao. After all, he had recently fought against individuals like Roudin, Sage, and even sparred with the third young master of the Dragon Palace. In a duel, Izroth was positive that there was no player within all of RML that could even come close to defeating him. This was not due to him being arrogant, it was just simple facts.
How many players could survive even the first round of the second team selection, let alone come in first place? Besides that mysterious player who referred to himself as Law, there were likely to be no other players that could come even remotely close to it. But, since he was challenged so openly to participate in a duel, how could he possibly back down from it?
"Very well, I accept your challenge." Izroth said. In turn, this caused the crowd to become excited and restless. They knew that a good show was about to start! Not to mention, they would get to witness the owner of the Mystical Realm Palace fighting in actual combat. They were some who were curious as to what kind of skills he possessed since he came in first place in the individual player category during the Protectors of Amaharpe event.
"Good! I knew that the owner of the Mystical Realm Palace couldn't be a coward who was afraid of challenges! Surely, the esteemed owner of the Mystical Realm Palace will not mind if I set the terms of the duel, right?" Gu Chao said with a large smile on his face. It was obvious that he was up to something, however, Izroth did not mind these little tricks. In the end, he was confident that no matter what conditions or terms Gu Chao set, he was more than capable of overcoming them.
"You can do as you wish." Izroth replied nonchalantly.
"Then, the duel shall be in... Forging! A contest between Blacksmiths!" Gu Chao announced.
Forging? Blacksmiths? Wasn't there going to be a fight? Why was this Gu Chao suddenly talking about forging? Besides, was the owner of the Mystical Realm Palace even a Blacksmith? If so, why were there no weapons in his shop? These were all the questions traveling through the minds of those in the crowd.
It was well known within RML that a player could only take on a single profession. Since Izroth had already chosen the Apothecary profession, how could he possibly face off against someone in a contest designed for Blacksmiths? Was this fellow misinformed about something?
"I'm afraid this isn't possible. I've already chosen Apothecary as my profession which means that it's impossible for me to become a Blacksmith." Izroth stated.
"What?! You're not a Blacksmith?!" Gu Chao said in a shocked tone.
He then continued, "This... What do I do now...?" Gu Chao appeared to be in deep thought about his next move as if he did not plan for this possibility to occur.
The crowd, on the other hand, all had looks of pity while looking at Gu Chao as they shook their heads. It turned out that this person did have something wrong with their head!
After seeing that Gu Chao was lost in thought, Izroth released a small inward sigh. He felt that the Returning Scroll he used to rush back to Amaharpe was not worth it at all. If he knew that it was this kind of person waiting for him, he would have taken his time and journeyed back through normal means.
"Since there's nothing else..." Izroth started to head towards the entrance of the Mystical Realm Palace as he walked past Gu Chao.
"Wait a second! You may not be a Blacksmith, but you still can't go back on your word since you've already accepted my challenge! How about this-!" Gu Chao bit his tongue mid-sentence which caused him to cover his mouth from the pain. Even though he turned the pain sensitivity down to the absolute minimum setting, it had not changed the feeling at all!
However, Gu Chao spoke through the pain as he continued and said, "I'm not unreasonable! How about this? Whoever can take out the most impressive piece of equipment is the winner." Although his speech sounded somewhat strange due to trying to talk right after having bit his tongue, it was still clear enough to be understood by those present. However, the crowd immediately went into an uproar.
"You have a full set of rare equipment, have you no shame?! How shameless can you be?!"
"Yeah! First, you want to challenge him to a match between Blacksmiths when he's an Apothecary, now this? Bastard... Just hurry up and die so we can have our sale!"
Everyone was outraged over Gu Chao's behavior. But, most importantly, everyone was upset that their chances of a grand sale were being ruined by him! Why couldn't he just cause trouble like those people from Sage Falls? Why did he have to be this messed up in the head?
"Y-you! You all! How can you call this handsome once in a lifetime genius shameless?! Your mother is shameless! Your whole family is shameless! That- Who was it?! Who dared called me fatty just now?!" Gu Chao did not let up as he responded to every single insult with one of his own. Of course, this caused the crowd to completely turn on him and most of them wanted to strangle him to death by this point!
"Enough! You all didn't even let me finish! The weapon I choose to take out has to be one created personally by me! Well, what do you say, will you accept or not?!" Gu Chao roared as he huffed and puffed in anger at the crowd as he turned his attention back towards Izroth. How could these people all team up on him and call a handsome and peerless once in a lifetime genius like himself, shameless? Even he had some pride!
"Hmph, it turns out that this fatty is not completely shameless after all." One of the players in the crowd commented.
Gu Chao chose to ignore that comment as he said to Izroth, "I want to make a friendly wager. If I win, I want to become the owner of the Mystical Realm Palace and turn it into a weapons and armor shop. If you win... Well, then this handsome young genius will be willing to personally follow you and call you big brother. Although I'm suffering some losses from this arrangement, it can't be helped." Gu Chao sighed as he said those last few words.
This caused the person who had just commented on his behavior to cough up blood from anger. What kind of deal was that?! How could he say that he was the one suffering losses?! It was obvious that he was trying to take advantage of the owner of the Mystical Realm Palace from this wager!
Izroth, on the other hand, had a feeling that if he did not take care of this now, then this Gu Chao would not give up so easily. Of course, this was far from being a fair wager, however, Gu Chao had no idea just what he was getting himself into.
'I suppose I could use someone to run a few errands.'
Even if Gu Chao was a grade five Blacksmith, he should still be unable to forge an epic quality piece of equipment. Even if by some miracle he did manage to craft one, it was even more of an impossibility that he could forge equipment with a growth-type nature. This meant that even if Gu Chao forged a legendary piece of equipment, he would still ultimately lose the contest! After all, they were not going by pure quality, but by which piece was more "impressive" overall.
"Alright, I'll accept your challenge with the conditions you've chosen." Izroth replied.
The crowd was taken aback. He agreed to such ridiculous terms? Could he be afraid of losing face if he did not accept? However, no one would fault him for not accepting such unfair conditions. It was too ridiculous!
"Good, very good! Let everyone here be a witness that the owner of the Mystical Realm Palace is truly a man of his word and knows how to keep his promises!" Gu Chao announced in a slightly gleeful manner. To be honest, he never expected Izroth to accept his wager so openly. This was a huge opportunity!
"Then, I'll go first." Gu Chao said as he removed an item from his inventory. It was a soft-plated chest piece with a faint aura around it and made one think of the endless seas when they glanced upon it. He held it up proudly for everyone to see and examine it.
When he removed the item from his inventory, the crowd was left speechless. Did he really forge this item by himself?
"This aura... It's a rare item! There's a Blacksmith who can forge rare items!" One of the players exclaimed.
Once news of this got out, even the top guilds would fight to bring this Gu Chao over to their side!
'Oh? This may be somewhat worth my time after all.'