Chapter 5:

Chapter 5: Supply and Demand

A Black Market LitRPG

In the Red Lions’ base…

The Red Lions were much larger than the Seven Snakes. The gang controlled four districts in total, with more than three hundred men in total.

Each of the three subordinate districts was controlled and managed by separate sub-leaders. They were now eyeing the Seven Snakes district, which would be an easy kill. However, they were not the only enemy facing the Red Lions, with both larger and smaller gangs trying to test them with small skirmishes.

No gang wanted a full-out bloodbath between gangs – they were here to make money, not to be mass murderers.

At this very moment, the sub-leader of the adjacent district to the Seven Snakes was training hard against a wooden dummy in a massive training yard nested between buildings. Winding up a punch that caused the reddish armour set to elicit striking neon blue lines reminiscent of arcite fuel, he delivered a devastating strike, cracking the wooden dummy figure into half.

Two Red Lion associates ran up to him, getting down on one knee while waiting for the sub-leader to acknowledge their presence. He panted slightly, grabbing a towel from a servant and wiping off the sweat on his scarred forehead. He ran his other hand through his spiky dark red hair before tossing the towel back and nodding towards the two underlings. “Speak.”

“Boss Wrent, we still can’t find any trace of Riker. We suspect another rival gang has imprisoned him.”

“Who did it?”

The associates looked at each other before one gulped and bowed lower. “Boss, I think it’s the Seven Snakes.”

A loud bellowing laughter roared through the yard. “Ridiculous! Against us?! The Left Paw of the Red Lions?! That fat slob Ulon and his measly twenty men would never be able to pull off such a feat.”

“But boss, Riker was last seen heading towards their district, where we recently took over ownersh-“The associates paused as Wrent raised his hand.

“Or maybe a bigger gang has impersonated them and is trying to get us to fight each other. I would not put it past the Ilysian Punks or the Wretches, and it won’t be the first time they did such a thing. Our main headquarters is still at war with them. Focus your search on the punks from Versia.”

“Yes, boss. What do we do about the Seven Snakes now?”

Wrent currently had more than sixty men under him, three times the number of the Seven Snakes. However, a cornered animal was just as dangerous as a wounded one. Wrent was playing the slow game. Any pyrrhic victory would leave him weak and vulnerable to the other sub-leaders and external rival gangs.

If I can subjugate the Seven Snakes while the headquarters and other sub-leaders are busy with the Ilysian Punks and Wretches, it would be a big boost to my reputation and allow me more of the take.

“Carry out my orders. Keep an eye out for any booming businesses of the Seven Snakes. The moment any of them stand out, we will slowly target them one by one with persistent harassment, crippling their finances. They are already in debt, which would eventually force them to capitulate without a single loss of life on our side.”

The next day…

Kyle observed intently as he poured out a tenth of the Stamina Recovery potion, mixing it with stored rainwater as the base, representing nine parts. He then swirled the mixture around before pouring it into an empty flask, filling it to the brim.

[SYSTEM MESSAGE] Item Created [Diluted Stamina Recovery Potion (Basic)] Restores a tiny amount of stamina Recommended dosage: A bottle for an adult human male every hour Ingredients, Poair Leaves, ???, Water Cooldown: Thirty seconds

[SYSTEM MESSAGE] Title Obtained [Potion Crafter (Basic)] Mixing water with an existing potion might be inane but still worthy of recognition +5 INT, Increased description of potions examined, +5% chance to craft an intermediate potion when using basic materials

Kyle immediately put down the diluted potion and picked it back up.

[SYSTEM MESSAGE] Item Created [Diluted Stamina Recovery Potion (Basic)] Restores a tiny amount of stamina Recommended dosage: A bottle for an adult human male every hour Ingredients, Poair Leaf, Greis Powder, Water Cooldown: Thirty seconds

“Finally, the entire list of ingredients is visible to me. The exact recipe might be missing, but it’s a start.” Kyle quickly retrieved the Mind-Bending Potion.

[SYSTEM MESSAGE] Item [Mind-Bending Potion (Basic)] Sends the user on an illusionary trip fueled by their subconscious, rendering them incapable of normal functions Recommended Dosage: Half a bottle for an adult human male for three days Ingredients: Poair Leaf, ???, ???, ???, ??? Cooldown: Thirty seconds

The description had barely changed, much to his frustration. “Looks like I don’t have the necessary skills to see such a complicated recipe yet.” Kyle mused to himself, noting a difference in the number of ingredients between the two types of potions.

He repeated the process of diluting the Stamina Recovery Potions, but no new titles, skills or information appeared. “I’m relying a bit too much on this holographic interface, it seems, a very addictive approach. Perhaps when I get back to the Melsura Star Sector, I should buy out the VR game industry as much as possible…”

With now a hundred and twenty diluted potions, he ordered Damian and another gang member to distribute them to the training gang members, who were now undergoing a hellish regime.

Kyle called for Keith. “How much cash reserve do we have?”

“Uhm, about twenty thousand rakels since you spent the other half on the potions. That was last month’s revenue.” Keith was much more receptive to Kyle now as they had witnessed the relative increase in competency, especially with the increased discipline.

“What are our current expenses?”

“Hmm, food, utilities, equipment maintenance. It should amount to ten thousand rakels, assuming five hundred for each gang member. This also considers that there would be no future fights with the other gangs.”

Kyle was reminded that Riker was still imprisoned by them. If I let him go, the Red Lion would come running at us. I can’t afford a fight now. Seeing as they have not approached us yet, no need to stir the pot now. Let’s keep it that way.

“Are you familiar with Poair Leaf and Greis Powder?” Kyle asked.

“Huh? Oh yea, they are pretty basic ingredients. Used quite a lot in simple bandages and as a spice for food. It is quite abundant in the food market area.”

Kyle’s eyebrows twitched slightly. He recalled seeing a large amount of Poair Leaf crates in the alchemist’s basement. Each crate could probably hold about a thousand kilograms based on his estimates, and judging by the size of the potion, not many need to be used for each potion. Very interesting…

“How much is each of the ingredients?”

“Erm…” Keith tried to recall in his head. “Maybe about a thousand two hundred for a sack of Poair Leaf, two thousand four hundred for the Greis Powder.”

“Good, go out and buy a sack each and come back. Try to remain inconspicuous as much as you can.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Wait. While you’re out there, buy a sack of Euria Seeds.”

“Raw or crushed, sir? Do you need a smoking pipe as well? It will cost about six thousand seven hundred.”

“Raw. No, no pipe needed.”

While Keith was gone, Kyle quickly calculated. Each Stamina Potion was sold to me by Haui for six hundred rakels. Assuming I can nail down the recipe, I can potentially enter a price war with him. However, I will have to add something more unique to the concoction…

The sacks arrived, though they were a bit too bulky to be placed in the office, so they were stored in the common area. The associates were currently resting from their training, gulping down their diluted Stamina Recovery Potions. It was not super effective, but every little bit helps.

Some of them watched as Kyle scooped a handful of each into separate smaller bags before heading into the kitchen. “What the hell is Alvin up to now? I’ll like to say that I prefer this personality compared to the weak one before, but isn’t this too drastic of a change? Is he a chef now?”

“Better than the shitty Ulon who just lazed around. I actually feel more productive now. I can somehow see the makings of a great gang.”

“Man, I joined the gangs to fuck around, not get drilled this hard.” One of the associates was still reticent about the entire training regime, lolling about on the sofa. However, he still secretly appreciated the clear growth plan set forth, already fantasising about him becoming a bigshot in the future. He just did not want to work that hard for it.

“Rested enough, associates?” A stern voice suddenly spoke from behind. “If you have time to chat, you have time to train and get stronger. We haven’t completed the exercises today. Move!” Damian ordered.

As the associates continued their first training under the supervision of Damian, Kyle was in the kitchen, arranging the ingredients out nicely.

[SYSTEM MESSAGE] Item [Poair Leaves (Basic)] A bunch of leaves of an evergreen shrub known as Poair A common ingredient in tea to provide relaxation and a base ingredient for many potions Not recommended to be consumed raw

[SYSTEM MESSAGE] Item [Greis Powder (Basic)] A powdered form of an uncommon rock found in mountainous regions, it is touted to improve virility and sexual lifestyles Not for the faint of heart Do not attempt to snort

[SYSTEM MESSAGE] Item [Euria Seeds (Basic)] Seeds with extremely mild intoxicating attributes, along with the dense flavour of sweet acidic fruits Extremely hard to crack with human teeth

Kyle grabbed a single seed, looking around the kitchen to find anything to crush it with. However, the kitchen was extremely barebones, only having the basic utensils. In fact, it looked like they barely cooked at all. Kyle now understood why they had been buying food from the food market.

None of the gang members knew how to cook nor had the money to hire a cook.

Instead of being angry, he focused his efforts on the current task. He placed the seed in a small stone bowl, using his metal pipe’s tip and smashing it slightly, careful not to break the bowl as well. The seed was now flattened, with the oil squeezed out.

He carefully poured out the oil into a flask before holding it up to examine.

[SYSTEM MESSAGE] Item [Extracted Euria Seed Oil (Basic)] The oil of a Euria Seed Someone went to town on the seeds for sure

He crushed a few more seeds in this manner before collecting enough to fill a flask. The description did not change, prompting him to boil it over a stove.

A copious amount of blue smoke began to waft out of the kitchen, attracting the attention of the exercising gang members. “That’s… that’s a lot of smoke for a Euria pipe. Should we check?”

“Maybe he runs on Euria fumes?”

“Idiot, you want to antagonise Alvin when he’s in this state? No fucking way!”

Kyle waited until nothing was left to boil, only a dark yellow residue left behind. After the flask had cooled down, he picked it up to check.

[SYSTEM MESSAGE] Item [Pure Euria Mineral] The dissolved minerals in Euria Seed Oil Potentially increased addiction attributes

He then used a separate flask to mix the Poair Leaf and the Greis Powder along with water, trying to get the ratio right. Too many leaves, and it was simply tea. Too much Powder, and it was more of a sludge. Too much water and nothing at all. Each flask could only hold two hundred and fifty millilitres, based on his estimate.

He soon had five flasks going in sequence, boiling them in tandem for different durations. He checked them all, frowning when the holographic interface did not pop up, which meant he failed.

However, with the sheer brute force of combination, he finally managed to figure out the recipe. “15% of each, the rest water, boiled for three minutes.”

[SYSTEM MESSAGE] Item Created [Stamina Recovery Potion (Basic)] Restores a tiny amount of stamina Recommended dosage: A bottle for an adult human male every eight hours Ingredients, Poair Leaves, Greis Powder, Water Cooldown: Thirty seconds

He did not receive another title or skill, but it was good enough. He then took the dark yellow residue, dropping a small amount into the potion.

[SYSTEM MESSAGE] Item Created [Addictive Stamina Recovery Potion (Basic)] Restores a moderate amount of stamina, along with a moderate temporary high Recommended dosage: A bottle for an adult human male every eight hours Repeated consumption in a short period may result in addiction Ingredients, Poair Leaves, Greis Powder, Pure Euria Minerals, Water Cooldown: Thirty seconds

A small smile appeared on Kyle’s face as he read the description. “Our first drug. Time to begin.”


Level 9

Max HP: 58(+0)(+0)(+0)

Max MP: 0(+0)(+0)(+0)

Max STA: 58(+0)(+0)(+0)

[Status Effects] NONE


















Free Points



[Necklace of Healing (Basic)]

+3 INT, +3 VIT, +1 CHA. Active Skill: Heal (Basic) – Restore a tiny amount of health. Cooldown: Ten seconds.




[Former Crime Lord]

A bigshot in your previous life, so much for that, huh?

+10 INT, +10 CHA

[Martial Arts Expert]

The best things between you and death are your fists

+10 STR, +10 DEX


Everyone has to start somewhere

+2 STR, +10% Increased Damage to Humans

[Potion Inspector (Basic)]

Ah, you seem to be looking for something very specific.

+5 INT, Increased description of potions examined.

[Potion Crafter (Basic)]

Mixing water with an existing potion might be inane but still worthy of recognition.

+5 INT, Increased description of potions examined, +5% chance to craft an intermediate potion when using basic materials
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