After leaving the guild, Tsutomu headed straight for the gem exchange shop. There was also a shop in the guild. However, he did not like being the only one out of his 2 other party members left in the guild, so he decided to stroll around town.
Often, you would get better rates at the stores in town when compared to the ones in guilds anyways. On top of that, it would take quite a while to receive an appraisal from the ones in guilds.
The cashiers in town usually buy your gems at a higher price and are very willing to negotiate prices, especially on the magic gems. Recently, however, several stores began to lower their rates, meaning that you couldn’t earn as much anymore.
Because of Tsutomu’s old nickname of “Lucky Boy”, Garm taught him that it would be unwise to reveal his identity while in the stores. Otherwise, problems with regards to the negotiations might arise.
While viewing a sign showing the various gem exchange rates, Tsutomu entered the store recommended to him by Garm. Inside were workers aligning wooden boxes before lifting them up and carrying them to their destination. There was also the cashier station that had a shiny look to it along with some guards standing by.
The rugged cashier station was made out of white stone, and besides the guard were 2 people. Among them was a little girl, who was sitting in a chair and examining a magnifying glass-like object while having a fist-sized gem appraised. As Tsutomu began to reach for his magic bag from behind him, the girl started to speak to him.
“Hello. I would like to buy your gems.”
As Tsutomu turned his gaze towards the little girl, he noticed her short, brown hair shaking. As he was about to give a reply, a wooden door beside the cashier opened.
“Small ones here. Big ones by the counter.”
In contrast to her rather cute outward appearance and voice, she made some awkward movements while struggling to carry a large basket almost as big as her. With a thump, the large bucket was placed in front of Tsutomu.
Even though she seemed like a dwarf, Tsutomu realized she was still powerful despite her appearance. Tsutomu began to open his magic bag, never really getting tired of the sight of unraveling the many threads that kept it closed.
From his bag, he took out a large purse which contained his smaller gems. He turned it upside down over a deep wooden basket, transporting all his gems towards it. His gems began to fall from the purse, making a sound reminiscent of the flowing of water. After Tsutomu repeated the action 3 times for each of his purses, he motioned to indicate that he had finished.
Seeing Tsutomu’s signal, the girl carried the basket into the counter with both her hands. At the same time, Tsutomu began to return his purses to the magic bag, while also bringing out his larger gems that the basket could not have contained and placing them on the counter where the girl had indicated. As soon as the girl returned to the counter, she began examining the gems, and her eyes widened.
“Woah, these are really valuable.”
“It’s probably because they came from the 40th floor.”
While showing plenty of excitement, the girl appraised several of the large gems and began transporting it behind the counter. When she got to a strange, purple one, her hands suddenly stopped, and she began to use a large magnifying glass to analyze it.
“This gem… No wonder they call you ‘Lucky Boy’.”
As the girl raised her head from the gem, Tsutomu gave her an awkward smile as his cheeks began to sweat. Understanding the situation, the girl broke eye contact with Tsutomu and handed over to him a large wooden board.
“I think we’ll be finished by sunset.”
While Tsutomu pointed at the price, indicating his order, the girl called out to behind the cashier, where a strong-looking, shirtless man extended his hand.
In the meantime, the girl wrote the price of the item on a piece of paper and pasted it onto a red bag. After which, she removed a seal from the gem and placed it inside the same bag. The bag released a puff of smoke and began to emit a burnt smell. After a while, the girl removed the seal from the bag and blew on it, clearing the smoke and allowing the bag to return back to normal.
Then, the man came from behind the cashier, carrying two boxes and greeting Tsutomu with a warm smile. The man then placed the boxes in front of the little girl, nodded, and then swiftly returned to from where he came.
The girl took out the red gem from one of the boxes and placed it inside a red-colored bag. Although the bag, when viewed from afar, did not seem like much, it now contained a very pricey gem.
When Tsutomu was handed the red bag and told to check the contents, he looked inside it and only saw a tiny portion of the entire gem. Without further investigation, he tied up the bag and left the store.
The next stop for Tsutomu would be the potion shop. Looking at a map, he identified the nearest store to be the famous “Forest Drugstore”. When he reached it, he immediately stepped into its doors.
The store looked rather clean, even though the smell of medicine oozed out from the inside. A woman was squatting behind the counter while Tsutomu rang a bell. As Tsutomu took out a large bottle from his magic bag, an elderly lady came out from behind the counter holding a cane.
The lady’s blonde hair contained small grey patches splattered throughout, and her ears stuck out a little further than most people. She was a wood elf and the founder of the drugstore.
“Hello. Would you like some more potion refills?”
The elf placed her hand in a pot, showing a smile as bright as the Sun.
“Yup. Could I have some blue potions?”
“Another one? I ran out of ingredients last week. I’ll have to go buy some more.”
The elf laughed as though she was being teased. Tsutomu put his hand behind his head awkwardly and asked if there wasn’t anything he could do to help out. The blue potions at this shop were made to restore one’s mental state, apart from tasting sweet. If any materials were needed, Tsutomu was willing to help out.
The elf looked enthusiastic and smiled happily while waving to Tsutomu, indicating there was no need for that.
“Young people are so weird… It’s because our warehouse was recently moved. Blue potions don’t sell that fast, silly. Everyone wants green potions nowadays.”
“That’s probably right. Black mages would likely buy them, but white mages would never buy any.”
“Yup. I still can’t believe you chose white mage just because of its appearance, though. I suggest you make a switch.”
“I’ll consider it.”
“You’re speaking like an elder!”
As Tsutomu began deceived the elf into thinking he had spent his whole life in the dungeon, she struck her cane in amazement.
As the green magic gem in her hand began shining thinly, she released her hand from the pot, then placed something resembling a large straw in the pot’s spout.
The elf put her hand over the pot, and a blue liquid began being poured into the bottle as if being pushed by something underneath it. Soon the bottle was filled with the bubbling, blue liquid. Tsutomu put a cap on the bottle, wrapped it in a green cushion, and put it in his magical bag.
Tsutomu paid the price using the red gem he had bought earlier, and when the elf saw his payment, she looked up at him and smiled.
“Thanks as always. You always find some way to help out.”
“No, it’s helping me too.”
When Tsutomu bought the red gem, he was actually doing so as an errand for the old elf, and she agreed to lessen the prices of her potions in return.
“See you next week. How’s the gem?”
“Great. Next time, I’ll ask you for wind and water gems.”
“I understand, and if you have a blue potion, please notify me.”
“Sure. I’m tired of making recovery potions anyway.”
Both parties were laughing as they said their goodbyes and Tsutomu left the store.
As he was walking through the crowd, he noticed one of the food stalls near a monitor that caught his attention. There were many other street food stalls like these too in Japan.
Although he usually didn’t trust street food, since he was so hungry, he bought some meatballs and thick soup.
After finishing his meal, Tsutomu got up and began window shopping in the rest of the street food stalls and shops. When he soon got tired of that, he sat down on a bench in front of a medium-sized monitor and took out a notebook and pen from within his magical bag.
The major clans and parties usually employ firepower and potion tactics, which Tsutomu observed from the monitor. However, he already knew this, it was the mid-tier clans he wanted to see.
Mid-sized clans have their own unique tactics and party compositions. Over the past 2 weeks, Tsutomu has begun seeing most mid-tier clans running 5 attackers with no healers.
Among these clans, Tsutomu observed they rarely had many warriors that specialized mainly in defense, as many had dark magicians who used their skills to restrict enemy movement. He even found one party that was functioning properly with a white magician.
On another monitor, Tsutomu also saw one party that consisted only of women. However, they ran out of anti-poison potions in the swamp of the 20th floor and chose to withdraw. As they evacuated from the swamp, close in pursuit were a few mud slimes.
Although the mud slimes are a type of monster that is best dealt with magic rather than the slashing of a sword, the party’s 2 magicians were already in critical condition. Apparently, they were still aiming for the Black Door even though they were 2 members down.
With the Black Door already in view, their leader called for an advance as the warrior in their frontlines fell down beside it in awe. The feeling that the door gave and the temporary respite from fighting monsters made her dance in joy even as she lay on the floor, although one could already feel that something was going to go wrong.
The girl tried to get up, but the mud on the floor was really sticky and pulled her back towards the ground. A woman who seemed like the leader of the party knelt down and brought her head close to the stuck warrior.
After exchanging a few inaudible words, she wiped the warrior’s face with a towel, pulled her up, and retrieved from her a small magic bag, before advancing towards the Black Door in tears.
The view shifted to the warrior whose face was still covered in some mud. She was smiling as she was talking to the party leader, and as the camera began to zoom in, she looked straight at it and gave a quick wink.
The focus shifted onto 2 of their party members entering the Black Door and disappearing in a flash of light. After which, only the warrior remained. She exhaled as she began to look for a way to get out of the thick swamp.
A mud slime began approaching the warrior from behind, following her as she traversed the swamp. However, she eventually could no longer continue, and she fell face first towards the swamp before disappearing in a flurry of particles, with the slime standing where she used to be only moments ago. Then the monitor cut off.
[Could I even do that? To sacrifice myself like that?]
Even if you die in the dungeon, you could always be revived later, so most people just leave any valuable items with a friend.
She’s a spirit that wasn’t afraid of experiencing pain nor of being sacrificed. After watching their tactics, Tsutomu didn’t really think they were that helpful, although he did learn that a significant component to a party’s success lies within its mental capability. It wasn’t mere tapping of a key on a keyboard or the moving a mouse.
Recovery, aggro management, and situational analysis. All of these became more important than in the computer version of the game, where your movement was restricted to commands given to the character. The occasional monster attacks also became much scarier in comparison.
It’s not optimal that you should sacrifice yourself, but he should probably always be prepared. He didn’t think he could do it himself though. After seeing the Sun setting on the horizon, he decided to head towards the bank.
In the bank, Tsutomu gave a wooden plank, which acted as a receipt, to a dwarf girl who was sitting at the cashier. When she received the wooden plank, she fumbled around for a stone and gave it to Tsutomu.
“Small ones all have bad quality, so if you have any complaints take it elsewhere.”
“Oh, no, it’s okay.”
“Yes, then next are the medium and large ones.”
Saying that, the girl took out some stones from under her desk and arranged them.
“4 mid-sized ones, and 3 more big ones. Total is 204,000G.”
“Yes, that’s fine.”
“Next are the large ones. Each is worth 400,000G. This purple one is high quality, and it’s colored, so it’s probably worth 1.2 million G.”
“Okay. It’s fine if it’s not colored, I’ll just sell them at the guild anyways.”
As Tsutomu began examining the purple gem, the girl took his palm and began piling up the gems on it.
Tsutomu returned an awkward smile as the girl clenched his fist. He eventually left the bank with about 250 million G.
After leaving the bank, Tsutomu stayed at a modest inn, spending the rest of his night studying more parties displayed on the monitor.
Silavin: I’m playing around with the time a little. Trying to have a gauge on when is the best time to post this novel. For these two days, it will be at +8 GMT 2am