I held my gut with a firm grip, feeling the rough motions of my stomach screaming back at me.
“I haven’t eaten in quite a bit, no getting around it then. I only have 10 Rhan left though…oh!” I tried holding out but the hunger wouldn’t allow it. I had never experienced it on this level before.
I opened the pouch attached to my waist and pulled out a small red shard which glistened with a bright shine through the centre.
It’s a monster core, one of the easiest get-rich methods in the dungeon as well as a rare find. I picked this up just as I left the dungeon, I found it where the Howler was devoured. Since it's my first stone I’m a little unsure what I could get for it, best to take it to an appraiser.
It’s a little late to be running around with this but I don’t have another choice, I’m practically broke right now.
I impatiently raced across the cobble roads toward the nearest store that I could find. I found a small tacky store wedged between two larger buildings that appeared to fit my needs. Upon entering the store I was greeted by the smell of freshly lit candles which calmed my angst.
The woman behind the counter greeted me with a warm smile as I burst through the front door.
She was dressed in beautiful purple robes with a silk material hanging from her hair, it rested on her shoulders like an open veil. The woman herself was quite well into her years but still displayed the mature beauty that most men would turn back twice for.
“Where did you find this, if you don’t mind me asking?”
She looked confused after inspecting it closer, her eyes widened further as she examined it.
Will it be a problem if I tell her I found it in the dungeon that Uriel brought me to, I don’t even fully understand it myself.
“A monster dropped it, it was a Shadow Howler.”
That response really must have come as a shock because she nearly gasped upon hearing it. Is it that surprising?
“A Shadow Howler? Those only spawn from the sixth floors though, I underestimated you.”
I don’t think it’s an underestimation, I barely believe it myself! That monster was from the sixth floor, how could I have beaten it then?!
While my thoughts ran rampant my face reacted with a childish grin as a huge wave of accomplishment flooded my mind and forced my mouth into a goofy grin.
The old woman glanced over to me once more and frowned, “Peculiar…”
…I think I let my inner thoughts show again.
She held both hands over the shard, channelling a powerful aura that lifted the stone into the air above the countertop.
“Is this magic?”
“Is it your first time seeing it up close?” The woman asked with a cheery smirk.
“Uh…yes it is. I haven't been an adventurer very long.”
Her face shifted back to its previous shocked expression as her mouth opened widely. “But you already made it to the higher Floors? You’re definitely a stranger case, much more interesting than these nameless youngsters I usually see coming in here.”
She plucked the shard from the air and handed it back to me with a smile.
“It’s very potent with magical energy, I can sense that the monster was quite strong. If you want to sell it I wouldn’t mind buying it for 900 Rhan.”
“Nine…nine hundred?!” I blurted out.
I knew monster cores were lightly rarer but I didn’t realise that they could sell for so much on their own!
“Normally they wouldn’t sell for so high but since it's quite potent this core would be incredibly useful for crafting.”
“Crafting, do you mean like making weapons?” I asked curiously.
“Yes, if you’d like I can craft or enchant something using magic cores. Although there would be a slight commission fee because of the tools needed.”
So I could use this to better my gear then, that might be pretty useful then…but I focused on gear last time. I need to stop and eat sometimes too.
I followed the advice of my restless stomach which groaned through the silence.
“I’ll just sell it for now.”
After placing the monster core behind the counter she handed me a coin purse the size of my hand.
“Pleasure doing business with you child, oh and need anything magical done then come to me. I’m sure we can be quite useful for each other going forward.” She added.
“Thanks, I’ll be sure to come back soon.”
I somehow ended up with 1000 Rhan and have only one objective with spending it…Growl~
“Should I go to my usual place?” I thought for a moment but my stomach began to growl even louder than usual. “I don’t think street stalls would be to filling right now…”
“Rei?” A faint voice called out from behind me.
As I turned around to the soothing voice I noticed Kana strolling towards me from the end of the street. She seemed to have just exited the store next door with some documents in her hands.
Is she still working, doesn’t she ever sleep?
“I thought that was you, what were you doing in there?” Kana enquired as she walked up to me. With a quick glance up at the store's sign she smirked.
“This is an appraiser isn't it, did you find something interesting in the Tower?”
I didn’t think telling her about the Dungeon would be too bad, I trust her after all. However, I would need to explain about Uriel then too…I’ll keep that to myself for now.
I don’t think I completely understand it myself. So I left out the parts about Uriel and my…unique ability and just told her about finding a dungeon. It isn't weird for adventurers to enter dungeons after all.
After finishing my story, her jaw dropped. Once I mentioned the magic core that I found she was left speechless.
“…Uh…I- I don’t…” Nonsensical noises were all that she could muster.
“I promise it wasn’t too dangerous and I even managed to make some good money from it!” I assured her.
I didn’t think she would have been this worried for me. I hope I didn’t do anything wrong.
Kana lowered her head without a reply, I thought that maybe I must have really messed up. I haven't made her mad before so I didn’t know what to expect.
She wouldn’t punch me, would she? I mean I made almost a thousand Rhan from only 1 monster! Who could get mad at that?
I stiffened up with both arms at my side. “Yes?!”
Kana raised a finger to my nose and pressed it against my face.
“You owe me one meal for going into a dungeon without telling me!”
I wanted to fight her on that but…she just invited me to go eat with her. Some would say this could even be a date! Plus I was already on my way to do that already.
Even though I was delighted to go out with her and eat, I was still intimidated by the menacing finger being pressed between my eyes on the other end of that scowl.
“…okay.” I answered nervously.
On Floor 13 of the Tower.
A large tree towered over the ground, and within the furthest heights of its leaves, a feathery creature cowered in the dark. Its gleaming eyes focused on the figure standing before it.
The monster was easily larger than a fully grown man and yet it was cowering from someone, for someone with a human appearance no less.
Who could bend a beast to such limits?
Her ivory hair flowed down to her ankles with a light purple tint at the ends. Starry pink eyes pierced into the darkness as the monster clawed at the bark of the tree trying to push itself away from her.
She approached it with a dull expression and reached out, her dainty thin fingers crossed into the dark and pressed against its feathery body.
“A creature born from the cold walls of this prison. A slave following only your basic instincts.” A powerful light was born from her hand that enveloped the darkness, overwhelming the creature in a potent bubble of light.
“That fool Ellios has done plenty with the time he stole from us, now it is time to continue the mission. Wreak havoc among the weak, monster.”
The powerful glow from her hand rested over the monster's skin, filling it with a raging green light. The monster's high-pitched screeches flooded the tree as its body writhed in response to the aura surrounding it.
A beast that was once only a few inches taller than her, now towered over her as if she were a child.
It lowered its head to her, allowing her to rest her hand over its head. No traces of cowardice remained as the monster had become completely submissive to her.
“Your shackles to this place have been broken. Go now, kill them.”
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