Chapter 5: Black Market Challenge
As the Luxurious Ornament Box slowly opened, a dazzling array of multicolored light burst out from within.
Fortunately, Shi Feng was currently standing inside a dark alley; there were no players who would wander over here. Otherwise, such a spectacle would have incited the greed in their hearts and Shi Feng would be killed and robbed.
When the glowing brilliance faded, a simple silver necklace and a purple-gold ring could be seen lying inside the Luxurious Ornament Box. Carved on the ring’s exterior were words resembling the ancient language of Elves and within them stored a tremendous magical power.
“Fortunately, it is still the Ring of Gravity.” Shi Feng let loose his breath when he saw the appearance of the ring. Carefully, he took the ring out of the box and inspected it.
[Ring of Gravity] (Mysterious-Iron Rank)
Equipment Level: 0
Strength +2, Agility +1, Endurance +1
Additional Skill: ‘Gravity Liberation’. Greatly reduces the gravity acting upon the user. Duration 30 seconds. Cooldown 5 minutes.
“Great! It’s not just Bronze rank.” After reading the item’s introduction, Shi Feng became extremely excited. The situation was far better than he had expected.
The Equipment in God’s Domain was categorized into Trash, Common, Bronze, Mysterious-Iron, Secret-Silver, Fine-Gold, Dark-Gold, and Epic.
At the start of the game, players only received Trash Equipment from the System. This equipment was utterly worthless. At this stage of the game, however, there were no players who possessed Common Equipment. While you could buy Common Equipment in large cities, the prices were costly. As for Bronze ranked, those were extremely rare and they also came with additional attributes. Mysterious-Iron Equipment, however, only dropped from Bosses and, needless to say, they were even more precious.
In Shi Feng’s previous life, the Ring of Gravity obtained by the player was only Bronze ranked. It gave only an additional 1 point to Strength. The skill ‘Gravity Liberation,’ as well, only lasted for 15 seconds. It was a surprise to Shi Feng that completing the Quest at Level 0 would earn him a Mysterious-Iron Ring of Gravity.
As for the necklace, it was just a Gray Item. NPC merchants coveted these items and they were willing to buy them at high prices.
After wearing the Ring of Gravity, Shi Feng added the 4 Free Ability Points that came from leveling up all into Agility.
Shi Feng’s Agility rose to 12 points, his Attack Speed to 5 points, and his Movement Speed to 6 points. He could almost rival a pure Agility Assassin of the same Level now.
“My Agility will reach 20 points after rising to Level 3. At that time, I can unlock the Hidden Basic Skill of the Agility System.” Shi Feng looked at his Attribute Panel in anticipation.
Shi Feng moved his body, feeling it become a lot livelier than before. He wouldn’t be in his previous sorry state if he were to face off with Town Mayor Cross, right now. If his Agility reached twenty points, the condition of his body would become even greater after activating the Basic Skill [Fast And Nimble]; he could even rival against those Wulin Experts depicted in Wuxia novels.
Afterward, Shi Feng added 15 of the Free Mastery Points towards his One-Handed Sword Mastery, keeping the remaining 5 points for future use. With his One-Handed Sword Mastery now at a total of 20 points, Shi Feng advanced from Apprentice to Basic Swordsman and the additional damage dealt by using a one-handed sword increased to 10%. He was still 30 Mastery Points away from advancing to an Intermediate Swordsman.
Regular attacks were only the basics for a Swordsman. If one wanted to become an expert with the sword, Skills were a must-have. The more, the better, as this would create more flexibility when in battle, thereby allowing the Swordsman to dish out greater Damage.
Shi Feng was both an expert of the sword and a person who had been reincarnated. Now that he had a special tool such as the Ring of Gravity, he needed a large amount of Swordsman Skills to display the true potential of a Swordsman. He could then level up at a fast pace. Otherwise, it was impossible to increase the efficiency of killing monsters by relying on normal attacks.
“I recall there being a Black Market Challenge in Red Leaf Town’s Trade Area. Players who cleared the challenge for the first time would be able to obtain a skill book for Swordsman.” Most skill books dropped from monsters around Levels 3 to 5 and their drop rates were pitifully low. At this stage of the game, there were still no players capable of grinding those monsters. It would be a big waste of time if Shi Feng wanted to obtain the other skill books for Swordsman. He also did not have the time for it. So, the Black Market Challenge was the only way for Shi Feng to quickly obtain a skill book in Red Leaf town.
Trade Area of Red Leaf Town
Shops filled both sides of the street. There were pharmacies, smithies, bars and more; it was extremely flourishing, just like a small market. However, the current trade area wasn’t as lively as it should be. It hasn’t been long since God’s Domain started its operation, so most players were busy leveling up instead of enjoying what God’s Domain had to offer. As a result, there was only the minority of Lifestyle players staying here. They were here to learn Auxiliary Jobs such as Enchanter, Forger, Pharmacist, Chef, Engineer, Alchemist, etc.
“Buying herbs at a high price, contact me directly if you have any.”
“Buying ores; rip-offs can stay away.”
“Sincerely buying high ranking equipment. Price is negotiable. Willing to pay with Credits.”
Many logistics staffers of Workshops and Guilds had set up a small stall by the roadside of the Trade Area. They were mainly here to buy items and equipment.
Shi Feng quickly headed towards a two-storied building without halting. High-ranking Gnomes guarded the building, and above the building read ‘Black Market’. This place was the dark side of Red Leaf Town and it was a place of entertainment built by the greedy Gnomes.
The Gnome’s Auction House could be seen just after entering the Black Market. Going down along the basement staircase led to two empty fields; one was the Battle Arena, while the other was the field for the Challenge Race.
At the moment, several players were standing in front of the field. They were receiving the Gnomes’ challenge.
“Good luck! You have to succeed this time!”
“Good luck! Stomp those Gnomes!”
A few players were currently cheering with all their might for an Assassin player that stood on the field. Their reddened eyes made them look no different than crazed gamblers.
The Challenge Race could be considered a testing grounds for a player’s capabilities. Once a player entered the trial grounds, all their Attributes would be fixed at 10 points, their skills disabled, and their equipment rendered useless. Within the 30-yards-long and 10-yards-wide field, players were only allowed to block or dodge the incoming shots from the Gnome’s muskets. A victory would ensue once players arrived at the finishing point.
The Gnomes gave out three ranks of challenges: Copper Prize, Silver Prize, and Gold Prize. After a challenge was completed, there would be a three-day cooldown. There was a fee of 5 Coppers for the Copper Prize, 5 Silvers for the Silver Prize, and 5 Gold for the Gold Prize. Naturally, the higher ranked the challenge, the greater the prize. There was even the chance of obtaining a Dark-Gold Equipment.
However, if a player obtained the First Clear for the challenge in Red Leaf Town, the reward of Copper Prize may be comparable even to the Silver Prize.
In Shi Feng’s previous life, this First Clear was obtained by a Swordsman named Fierce Gale and the person had received a rare skill book for Swordsman.
After a short while, the Assassin on the field was struck. His body lay at the 20-yards mark, still ten yards away from the final point.
“Despicable. Just a little bit more. Do you guys still have money? I’ll definitely clear it the next time.” The male Assassin said after reviving from the field.
A male Cleric shook his head saying, “Boss Stabbing Heart, the five of us have already given you all our money. We don’t have anymore.”
By the side, Shi Feng shifted his sight towards the Assassin. He was shocked after hearing the two words ‘Stabbing Heart’.
The person’s body was covered in black clothing. He had a short and skinny stature, just like a monkey. Shi Feng could hardly believe that the ‘monkey’ in front of him was Stabbing Heart, the Assassin who ranked at number 10 on Star-Moon Kingdom’s Assassin Leaderboard.
The Assassin named Stabbing Heart shifted his gaze onto Shi Feng. After sizing Shi Feng up, his eyes revealed a gaze as if they had just found prey. With a smile, he walked up to Shi Feng and said, “Nice to meet you, friend. I’m Stabbing Heart, Assassin Squad Leader of the [Assassin's Alliance]. Lend 5 Coppers to me and I’ll return 20 Coppers to you tomorrow. How about it?”
Stabbing Heart was just ten yards away from the final point this time, so he was unwilling to accept defeat. He had already figured out some of the challenge’s patterns; he would be able to clear it if given another chance. Hence, he thought of using his Guild’s name to shock and awe Shi Feng into lending him 5 Coppers.
The Assassin's Alliance was a large Guild that was well known in the world of virtual gaming. Any veteran gamer would know this name. Someone capable of becoming the squad leader for Assassins was definitely a great expert, a figure that was respected by many players. Instead of lending, the average player would definitely just give the 5 Coppers to gain some favors.
“5 Coppers is it?” After some thinking, Shi Feng answered: “I can lend you the 5 Coppers, but you have to pay back 50 Coppers tomorrow.”
Stabbing Heart was surprised. He was Stabbing Heart, the Assassin’s Alliance’s famous Assassin Squad Leader. However, Shi Feng’s uncourteous reaction was completely different than what he had imagined it would be. Could Shi Feng be a rookie gamer?
Seeing Stabbing Heart staying silent, Shi Feng asked, “Still borrowing?”
“I’ll borrow.” Stabbing Heart wanted to weep. Other players would be going ‘Expert, expert!’ when they met him, yet Shi Feng showed no such reaction. However, when he thought about the bountiful reward awaiting him, even 50 Coppers was worth it.
“Here’s 5 Coppers. Let’s add each other as friends. Don’t forget to return 50 Coppers to me tomorrow.” Shi Feng took 5 Coppers out of the 60 he obtained from selling the necklace, not forgetting to remind Stabbing Heart to return the 50 Coppers.
With tears flowing down his face, Stabbing Heart received the 5 Coppers and said, “Fine. I won’t forget.”
Not knowing what Stabbing Heart was thinking, Shi Feng walked away after the trade was completed. He headed towards the green-skinned Gnome who was the Challenge Race’s administrator.
“Sir, time is money. What business do you have?” The Gnome administrator said so in a lofty tone.
“I want to enter the Copper Prize Challenge.” Shi Feng said as he handed over 5 Coppers.
After flipping the Copper coins a few times, the Gnome nodded his head in approval. He opened the wooden door to the Challenge Race, allowing Shi Feng to enter.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new challenger on the field. Please let us welcome this brave Swordsman.” The gnome loudly announced.
“Boss Stabbing Heart, the kid that lent you money is participating in the Challenge Race,” the male Cleric pointed out.
The resting Stabbing Heart laughingly said, “That kid’s just a rookie. Does he think the Challenge Race is so easy? Even though the distance is only 30 yards, the Gnomes’ attack pattern will change after you get past 15 yards and their attack rates greatly increase. Not to mention, even I have difficulty facing them.”
“That’s for sure! Even an expert such as Boss Stabbing Heart could only reach 20 yards. I’m guessing that kid will, at most, reach five yards before being done in.” The male Cleric nodded with a smile.
Inside the field, the three Gnomes standing at the finishing line readied their muskets, aiming them towards Shi Feng.
Above the challenge field, the timer started counting down.