Chapter 258 Alaunar (Part 1)
Is he going to place another curse on me? Ye Ci grimaced, What sort of curse will it be this time?
The light disappeared after a few seconds, followed by a system notification: “You’ve learned the Doluo language.”
As expected of a game! I learnt a new language just like that! Why can’t I do that in real life? Ye Ci was not very gifted when it came to languages. The only language she could speak other than Mandarin was bits and pieces of English. She was forever envious of the characters in-game that could learn a language in the blink of an eye.
“Alright, Elf, you can talk to Barik for the purchase of a harp. If there’s something else you need from me, I’ll be in the grand hall.” Dalufar handed Ye Ci over to the middle-aged individual and left the tent.
Ye Ci bowed at Dalufar as he left. After all, she was in the territory of someone else, and paying respect to their leader was the right thing to do.
Barik was apparently satisfied with Ye Ci’s display of courtesy, “So, are you here to buy a harp, Elf?” he smiled at Ye Ci.
“Yes, Mr.Barik.” Ye Ci nodded as her eyes swept over the musical instruments hanging on the wall behind Barik. They were all masterfully crafted pieces of high quality.
“Very well. Everything here is up for sale.” said Barik as he initiated a trade with Ye Ci. The wide selection of musical instruments in his inventory was dazzling for Ye Ci. She found herself unable to make a choice.
Barik noticed Ye Ci’s expression and asked with a smile, “You seem to have trouble choosing a musical instrument. I happen to be very good at something like this. Why don’t you tell me what you need? I might be able to help you out.”
Ye Ci nodded when she saw the sincere expression on Barik’s face, “Mr.Barik, I’m here to buy a harp for a Mermaid, but there’s so many of them here. Do you have any suggestions for me?”
Barik tilted his head, “Does she have a blue tail, blond hair, and speaks in a weird fashion?”
Ye Ci immediately nodded. It was apparent that the Mermaid was well known even among the Doluo tribe.”
“Ahh.. Her name’s Lia. She’s an old customer of ours.” said Barik with a smile, “She tend to break her harp. But lucky enough for us, Lia has never blamed us for the mishap that happened to her musical instruments. We will be troubled if she accuses us of producing harps with inferior quality.” said Barik as he tapped on the trade window and pointed at a golden harp on the last page, “This is the one Lia had always bought. So you can just buy this from me and hand it over to her.”
Ye Ci noticed that the harp was just like the one she saw in Lia’s hand. She stole a glance at the amount of gold in her inventory, and made the conclusion that she would be able to afford the harp, “Okay then, Mr.Barik. How much does this cost? I’ll take it.”
“This does not come cheap. It’ll cost you 20 pieces of Ancient Emerald Ore.”
The smile remained on Barik’s face, but Ye Ci’s expression was morphed into a frown, “What did you say? 20 pieces of what?”
“Ancient Emerald Ore.” Barik nodded.
“You don’t deal with money?” Ye Ci blinked.
“What sort of money?”
“This.” said Ye Ci as she produced a gold coin from her pocket and placed it on Barik’s palm.
Barik stared at the gold coin, and even nipped it in his mouth before returning the coin to Ye Ci, “What is this? What is it for?”
Ye Ci was rendered speechless by his words. What is this you say? This is the general currency of the game! It can be used in every single continent! Why can’t I use it here? She could not bring herself to believe what she heard, “Mr.Barik, are you saying that this thing is useless here?”
“Of course, Elf. Is it useful to you?” Barik replied with a shrug.
His words were met with silence from Ye Ci. Fine! This is a primitive village. Of course the currency from the outside world will not work here. But can someone tell me what to do right now? Ye Ci nodded at Barik after a short moment of thought, “Very well, Mr.Barik. I think there’s something that I need to discuss with Mr.Dalufar. I’ll be seeing you again shortly.”
Barik nodded at Ye Ci, who bowed at him before leaving the tent. She then headed straight to the large tent at the center of the village.
I knew it! There’s no way in hell a lvl120 NPC will give out a simple courier quest! So this is the deal! Thought Ye Ci to herself.
She was quick to arrive at Dalufar’s tent. After greeting the elder and initiating a small talk, Ye Ci immediately went straight to the point, “Mr.Dalufar, is the currency from the Jiama Continent not usable in your village?”
“Of course. We’ve never traded with anyone other than the Mermaids, and they’ve never used the currency from the Jiama Continent. Your gold coins worth nothing here.” said Dalufar matter of factly.
Ye Ci sighed, “What sort of currency do you use then, Mr.Dalufar? Is it the Ancient Emerald Ore?”
“The Ancient Emerald Ore is just one of the currencies that we use. We trade with Ancient Ores, and the Ancient Crimson Ores are one of our most common currencies. A hundred of these are worth an Ancient Azure Ore, while a hundred Ancient Azure Ore is worth one Ancient Golden Ore. You can exchange one hundred Ancient Golden Ore for an Ancient Emerald Ore.” Dalufar proceeded to explain the currency used by the Doluo tribe to Ye Ci.
Ye Ci could hear ringing in her ears as she listened to the explanation. You’ve got to be kidding me! These things are not easy to get! God knows how long it’ll take me to obtain 20 pieces of Ancient Emerald Ore…
“And how do I obtain these ores?” asked Ye Ci with a sigh. Her intention was to leave the island, and the only way out was to obtain the 20 pieces of Ancient Emerald Ores.
“Well, there are two ways, and both of them involve having you travelling to the depths of the Kalidor Volcano. You can either mine for ores in the cave, and with luck acquire an Ancient Emerald Ore, or you can head to the Pitch Black Cave. There are a lot of Magma Golems in the cave, and you can obtain ores by killing the golems.” Dalufar smiled at Ye Ci, “By the way, I happen to be in possession of a shovel. I’m sure you’ll be needing it.”
As Ye Ci received the shovel from Dalufar, she had a nagging that she was being tricked. It felt as if she was being exploited by the NPC.
Despite such a feeling, Ye Ci knew that she must endure. She was a player, and he was a highly intelligent NPC. They were already on unequal footing at the beginning.
“Go to the southern corner of the village. You’ll find Nuoba there. He’s the general of our tribe, and he will lead you to the bottom of the Kalidor Volcano.” and with that, Dalufar refused further dialogue with Ye Ci. Knowing that she would make no further progress with Dalufar, Ye Ci bowed at the NPC and headed for Nuoba after leaving the tent.
Nuoba was a Doluo who towered over his fellow tribesman. Armed with a sharp spear, the man was clothed better than most of his tribesman, and his neck was decorated by several rows of wild beast teeth. The battle scars that covered his body were telltale signs that he was a brave warrior who fought and bled for the sake of his tribe. Ye Ci walked up to Nuoba and stated her purpose. She was greeted warmly by the general, who immediately agreed to send one of his men to guide Ye Ci to the bottom of the Kalidor Volcano.
“The way to the bottom of the volcano is not an easy one, Elf. The paths are too complicated. Do you wish to hire one of my tribesman as your guide?” Nuoba smiled at Ye Ci. Despite his gruff appearance, Nuoba was cunning when it came to making money.
Having the company of a mercenary in an unknown place had its merits. Ye Ci could save herself the trouble of exploring the terrain, and would even receive help in times of danger. Then again, she had no means of paying for the hired aid, which was why she shook her head with regret clear in her expression, “I don’t have any Ancient Ore with me, Nuoba, not even a piece of Ancient Crimson Ore.”
Nuoba’s eyebrows furrowed upon Ye Ci’s words, “That’s a shame.” he said with a pause, and his eyes lit up instantly as he cast a glance at the guards posted behind him, “Ah, my dear Elf. You’re our guest, and was sent here by the chieftain. It’ll be discourteous of me to turn you away just because you do not have any ores in your possession. I have a suggestion for you. What if I send one of my men with you, and you can pay me when you get back?”
Is there such a nice thing in this world? Ye Ci was sceptical. There is no free lunch in this world. Nuoba is definitely up to something. Ye Ci narrowed her eyes, but she did not decline Nuoba’s offer immediately. I want to know just what is this guy up to. “I can’t do that. I’m staying here because of the good graces of Mr.Dalufar. Isn’t it ungrateful of me to be doing this?” she said with a troubled expression.
“It’s alright, Elf. We of the Doluo tribe treat our guests well. I’m glad to be of service.” Nuoba let out a hearty laugh. He gestured with his hand, and a thin and sickly looking Doluo boy walked up to Ye Ci. Nuoba pointed at the boy, “Do not underestimate this child, Elf. He is agile on his feet. He’ll have no problems serving as your guide. Besides, he is quite cheap. You only have to pay 50 Ancient Crimson Ores per day for his services.”
Ye Ci studied the Doluo boy. The boy’s skin was pale, and the color of his hair was dull. He was young and very thin. By Doluoian standards, the boy was a sickly person. One might even say that he was sick beyond cure. In a society that placed martial prowess above all, the boy was definitely a misfit, or even a burden. Ye Ci had no idea how the boy ended up as one of Nuoba’s troops, but it was obvious that the general disliked the boy, and was even harboring thoughts of getting rid of him.
The boy’s arm that was holding a wooden stick was even slimmer than the arms of an Elf. He stood on unsteady feet, and Ye Ci feared that the boy might fall over in the next moment. She was deeply troubled by the boy’s condition. Is it even a good thing to have someone like this as my guide? What if he dies on the way there? Will his death be a responsibility of mine?
Nuoba smiled at Ye Ci, “We of the Doluo tribe do not fear death. It is a glory for us to die in battle, just like Khutak once did.” it was as if the NPC was able to read Ye Ci’s mind.
Ye Ci cast a glance at Nuoba and sneered at the NPC. The bastard. He might look like a good person, but he’s far from being one. He was hinting to me that it did not matter if the boy die, and in a way was telling me the if the boy stays alive, I’ll have to pay him the fees for hiring one of his men. If I take the boy with me, I’ll be getting rid of a burden from him while he earns a side income from me.
Nuoba did nothing to hide his intentions from Ye Ci’s piercing gaze. One with strength held the right of speech in the Doluo tribe. Those weak were nothing but trash in their society, and according to the laws of the jungle, death was the only fate that awaited the weak. Nuoba himself did not think that he was in the wrong.
The Doluo boy raised his head and stared at Ye Ci. His face was pale, and his breaths shallow. It looked as if the boy might drop dead at any second. From his eyes, however, Ye Ci could see an unyielding spirit. There was not a hint of the feebleness of the weak in his gaze. All traces of hesitation disappeared from Ye Ci’s heart. She did not know what would happen in her journey ahead, but she was certain that a person with such a piercing gaze would never bow down before fate.
She nodded at Nuoba and stroke the boy’s head, “Alright, I’ll hire the boy. What is his name?”
“Diluo” replied Nuoba, and his word was followed by snickers from his men. Ye Ci narrowed her eyes. She knew not of the meaning of such a word, but it was definitely not something good, “You can call him Diluo, Elf.”
“Very well.” Ye Ci wanted nothing more to do with a viper like Nuoba. She had a great distaste for his snobbish personality, “I’ll be on my way then.”
“Go, Elf. You can head there from that entrance.” said Nuoba as he pointed at the direction of a few guards posted not far away, “With Diluo as your guide, I’m sure that you can reach the bottom of the Kalidor Volcano very soon.” it was apparent that the general was in a good mood.
Ye Ci left the entrance with the Doluo boy, and was quick to arrive at a huge, deep crater. Lush green growth can be seen growing from the cracks surrounding the crater, and there were even herbs hidden among the grass. The area was full of life, a sign that the Kalidor Volcano was indeed an inactive volcano that has not erupted for a long time.
The boy’s movements were quick despite his frail frame. He led Ye Ci to the bottom of the volcano through a small deserted road. Ye Ci was deep in thought as she followed behind the sickly thin boy. She cast Detection on the boy, but was not able to gain any useful information with the skill. The boy had a very plain outlook, but Ye Ci could feel a mystery hidden behind him.
“So what does Diluo mean?” asked Ye Ci without warning.
The boy’s body shivered at the word, and his soft voice mirrored the sadness in his heart, “I-it means ‘trash’.”
Ye Ci responded with a nod. It was just as she had expected. Every NPC has their own past in Fate. A player who was able to form a bond with the NPCs would be able to gain access to secrets or benefits that were not available to the rest of the player population. Ye Ci’s understanding of the Doluo tribe came from Dalufar, which was from a very positive viewpoint of community. She knew that hiring a builder from the Doluo tribe would not be easy through the official channels, but the boy… He might know things that were not known by others.
After a quick analysis on the boy, Ye Ci came to the conclusion that he was a rather capable individual. After all, the boy was able to earn a spot in Nuoba’s troop. The general’s uncaring manner towards the boy’s life was a sign that he did not have an influential background. As for why Nuoba was looking down on an individual with talents… Ye Ci had no answer to the question. She could tell that the boy was not useless based on his performance. The boy, at least, did not see himself as trash.
As long as Ye Ci was able to get along with the boy, it would be easy to build a good relationship with him.
“And what is your name?”
“Diluo…” the boy’s voice grew even softer.