Chapter Eight: Ruined Reputation
A week went by . I stayed relatively close to the castle .
“Hey there, Shield-Guy . ”
It was the owner of the weapon shop . I’d been walking around town in my underclothes, and he called me over when he saw me .
Granted, I’d been passing right by his shop, but what could he have wanted?
“I heard that you tried to take advantage of your friend . Come over here and let me give you a hard smack . ”
It was like he had no intention of listening to me in the first place . Hatred was on his face, and his hand was curled into a tight fist .
No one wanted to listen to me . No one believed me . Granted, I was from another world, and the common sensibilities of this land were a mystery to me . But even then, I was not the type of person to force myself on a woman . No way!
Ugh…it was making me sick . Even the owner of the weapon shop started to look like her .
I could probably kill him with a well-placed punch . My hand was also curled into a fist . I glared at him .
“What? Weren’t you gonna hit me or something?”
His hand relaxed, and he didn’t seem as on-edge .
“Uh… well, never mind . ”
“Gee, thanks a bunch . ”
Right then, even though I was weak, I thought I could punch everyone I met .
But I stopped myself . What good would that do? I needed to focus on leveling up, and on making some money . If I focused my anger on the balloons, it would at least do me some good .
“Wait just a second!”
I was standing at the town gate, ready to leave for the fields, when the weapon shop guy called out to me again . I turned to him, and he tossed a small bag in my direction .
“You’ll never make it dressed like that . At least take this . ”
I looked inside the bag . It contained a sooty cape, and some cheap clothes .
“How much are these worth?”
“Somewhere around 5 bronze pieces . I just had them in the back . ”
“Got it . I’ll bring you your money soon enough . ”
Honestly, I was starting to worry about going around in my underwear .
“I’ll be waiting for that money . ”
“Sure you will . ”
I flung the cape over my shoulders, changed into the clothes, and made for the fields .
I decided to base myself out in those fields, and to hunt balloons .
It took about 5 minutes to kill one of them, but they weren’t able to hurt me, so all it took was time .
I spent most of the day fighting, and was able to secure a substantial amount of balloon skins .
You are now level 2
Orange Shield: conditions met
Yellow Shield: conditions met
I spent the rest of the day carefully reading up on my preparations .
Just as the sun was going down, I realized that I was hungry . I trudged back to the gate and made for the shop I’d been told would buy my battle loot .
A portly man stood behind the counter . He was laughing heartily as he looked me over . He was going to turn me away . I could tell .
There was another customer there also, already selling loot, among which I spotted some balloon skins .
“Yes, yes . How about one bronze piece for two of these skins?”
They were deciding on a price for the balloon skins .
So, only one piece of bronze for two of them…
“Please . ”
“Thank you very much . ”
The customer left, leaving me alone in the shop .
“Hey, I brought you some of my battle loot . I hope you’ll buy it from me . Heh, heh . ”
Did he think I couldn’t hear the giggling that followed all of his sentences?
“So you’ve got some balloon skins, huh? How about one bronze piece for ten of ‘em?”
A fifth the price?! He was looking at his feet the whole time!
“Didn’t you just offer that customer one piece for two skins?”
“Did I? I can’t seem to remember…”
He went on for a few minutes, making various excuses about his stock .
“Fine then,” I said, grabbing him by the collar and pulling him close .
“What are you doing?!”
“Buy this stuff off me too . He’s still alive, and a real kicker . ”
I had an orange balloon hidden under my cape, where it was fruitlessly biting my shoulder . I removed him and put him right in the shop owner’s face, where he promptly bit down on the man’s nose .
He started screaming, and rolling around on the floor . I pulled the balloon off of him, and pulled him up by the collar .
“Should I take these little things back to the fields where I got them, or do you want to buy them off of me?”
I pulled back my cape to reveal five additional orange balloons . I’d realized that their attacks didn’t hurt me, so I was able to carry them around, and use them against others, if I chose to do so .
It was an ingenious strategy, if I do say so myself . It would help with my negotiations . Besides, I had no attack power, so I wasn’t able to threaten anyone without them .
Surely, the man would understand . Surely, he knew that if I left the balloons there, they’d eat the guy down to his bones .
“I’m not asking for much, just a fair price . Our talks start with the market price . ”
“But the country will…”
“Look, what do you think will happen to a merchant who tries to cheat a hero out of his fair share?”
Exactly . Merchants had to rely on the trust they’d gained . If he had tried to pull something like this on any other adventurer, he’d have gotten a swift kick in the teeth for sure . And hey, there was always the chance that his customers would stop showing up altogether .
“But, it doesn’t have to go that way . If you’ll buy from me consistently, I’ll sell to you for just under the market price . ”
“Honestly, I’d like to refuse, but there’s no sin in business . ”
So the guy just never gave up, but in the end I was able to convince him to buy my loot at just under market price .
“Feel free to tell others about me . Tell them I’ll punish other sneaky merchants with my balloons . ”
“Sure, whatever . You’re quite the customer, aren’t you?”
I took the money for my loot, went back to the weapon shop, paid the owner for his clothes, and finally went to a restaurant to get some dinner .
The food, however, tasted like nothing .
It was like eating unflavored gum . At first I thought someone was pulling a trick on me, but soon enough I realized the problem lay with me .
Where would I stay? I had no money, so I slept in the fields . The balloons weren’t capable of hurting me, so there was no real problem .
When I woke in the morning, I was covered in balloons . It was something like a Tibetan Sky Burial . It didn’t hurt though, and I used them to burn off some stress, popping them one by one .
I was already filling my pockets, and I’d just woken up!
Just then, I came up with an idea . I could make money without having to kill these things all day .
The first thing to do was to find some loot, besides the balloon skins, that I could sell for a profit . There were grasses in the field that had medicinal value, and I’d seen an apothecary in town, and I am pretty sure I could sell off the grasses if I picked them .
I walked around the fields, picking grasses as I found them . Suddenly, my shield began to react . It absorbed the grasses as I picked them .
Leaf Shield: conditions met
That reminded me, I hadn’t looked at the weapon book recently . I opened it, and focused on the flashing shield icon .
Small Shield: ability unlocked: defense 3
Orange Small Shield: ability locked:
equip bonus: defense 2
Yellow Shield: ability locked:
equip bonus: defense 2
Leaf Shield: ability locked:
equip bonus: absorption ability 1
I decided to look into the help menus .
Weapon Leveling Up and Unlocking Abilities:
Weapon leveling up means that your currently equipped Legendary Weapon will change form . If you hold the weapon in hand, and picture what you
it to become, the weapon will change into the desired form .
The weapon ability refers to abilities that can be unlocked simply by using the equipped weapon . Once unlocked the equip bonus will last forever .
Equip bonuses are special abilities that can be used while your weapon is equipped . So if a weapon has unlocked the Air Strike Bash ability, that ability can be used as long as that weapon is equipped . If a weapon has an Equip bonus of “attack up 3,” the user’s attack stat will increase by 3 while the weapon is equipped .
I got it . So as long as the abilities were unlocked, you could use them even when you have a different weapon equipped .
The experience was something you earned, and slowly collected while you battled enemies and leveled up your equipment .
The world really was like a video game .
Despite being a little annoyed by the whole process, I did find the equip bonus of the Leaf Shield attractive .
“Absorption ability up 1 . ”
It must mean that I would receive some kind of bonus when collecting items .
At the moment, I had no money . What that meant is that I needed to find the best products to sell, for the least amount of effort . I quickly changed my shield into the Leaf Shield .
There was a sudden rush of wind, and suddenly my shield had changed in my hand . It was green now, and appeared to be fashioned directly from leaves .
My defense stat didn’t drop at all . Apparently my original Small Shield was as weak as they come . Now to test my theory; I reached for a clump of grass .
A positive sound rang out, and the clump of grass tore free easily .
The clump of grass glowed with a faint light .
Absorption up 1
Aelo: quality: fair to excellent: medicinal herb for treating wounds
An icon describing the change appeared .
Well, it was nice to get such an immediate explanation .
I spent the remainder of the day walking around, mechanically picking grass and filling my bag . Also, and I don’t know if it was because I had been collecting grass all day or just because time had passed since I switched shields, the Leaf Shield equip bonus was unlocked .
The rest of my Small Shields also had the equip abilities unlocked .
I made my way back to town and decided to try and sell my herbs .
“These are in excellent shape . Where did you get them?”
“In the fields around the town . Didn’t you know it grew here?”
“I did, but I’ve never seen such high-quality stuff around . I thought only junk grew out there . ”
We chatted for a little bit, and eventually he bought the grass off of me . My stash was worth one piece of silver and 50 pieces of bronze… which was much better than I had done so far . It was a new record .
I had a cheap dinner at a restaurant . As I was eating, a few people stopped by to ask if I would join their party . Unfortunately they all looked… disreputable . I soon came to find their intrusions annoying .
Ever since that day, all the food I ate tasted like nothing .
“I’ll join YOUR party, Shield Hero,” said some guy, who clearly thought a lot of himself .
Honestly, I didn’t like the idea of joining up with anyone at that point . Besides, they all had this look in their eyes that reminded me of her . Just looking at them made me angry .
“Fine . First let’s go over the employment conditions . ”
“M’kay . ”
Stay calm, stay calm . If you back down now, these guys will follow you everywhere you go .
“All right, employment will be based on your performance . Do you understand?”
“Nah-uh . ”
Jeez, I could punch the crap out of these guys .
“It means that, as we are out adventuring, we collect a certain amount of loot, yes? So let’s say we earned 100 pieces of silver, I will take a plurality of it, which is at least 40% and divide up the remainder among you according to your performance . If it were just you and I, we would split the remainder . If you were just standing around all day, you don’t get anything . The amount you receive depends on my judgment of the matter . ”
“What the hell! That means you can just take however much you want, right?”
See what the people were like in this country?
“But if you do your part, you’ll get paid . Get it? You got to do your part . ”
“All right, fine then . That’s all good . Let’s go buy some equipment . ”
“You buy your own equipment . I don’t see why I need to take care of you all that much . Take care of yourself . ”
“Pfft . ”
Exactly what I expected . Even if I did buy his equipment, he would probably just slack off the whole time . In the end he’d run off, leave me in a tight spot, and sell his equipment for a profit . The gall of these dirty men . They were just like her .
“Fine then . Just give me some money . ”
“Hey, what’s a balloon doing here?!”
I had taken a balloon from my cape and let it bite the man’s face .
People threw a fit . I had brought balloons into the restaurant, but what did I care? I pulled the balloon off of the screaming man, put money on the table for my meal and left .
Were there no good people in this world? They all looked like rotten cannibals to me .
Anyway, I kept this pattern up for a few days, and finally started to save a little money .