༺ Karma ༻
“Oh? That box…?”
I blankly looked at the owner. The owner, who appeared drunk, hiccuped and reached out his hand with a gleam in his eye..
“Why are you here?”
I looked at him warily and hid the box behind me. The owner then lost his balance, he fell on the counter with his stretched hand.
“This bastard. I’m the owner of that box you are holding.”
“You’re the owner?”
I frowned as I looked at him. After hearing what he said, I let out a surprised reply.
This drunken old man in front of me, was he really Rosinante, the legendary master who owned the item store in the first version of the game?
“You look a lot like Hanbyeol… but of course, your hair color is different.”
I got pulled back from my thoughts when I heard a dunce-like voice of an elderly.
“What do you mean…”
“Forget it. Tell me, what do you want from me? Of course, you should know that the things that I make come with their own cost…”
Tilting my head in confusion, I tried to ask him what his words had meant. Yet, he just waved it off and started to talk with an annoyed voice.
“Here, a jade pendant.”
“Crap. I don’t like doing unprofitable trades.”
I offered him the jade pendant that I received as a reward from the Second Ordeal. He accepted the jade pendant reluctantly and started to grumble.
“So, what do you want to make?”
“I’m not here to ask you to make anything. I need your help in repairing and upgrading something.”
Saying so, I took out the ‘Mask of Deception’ that was cracked in half. The owner made an expression of disbelief and started to complain once again.
“What kind of shitty work is this?”
“Is it really that bad?”
“Yeah, if I was the one who made something like this, I would have died out of shame.”
He frowned deeply as he said that. Soon, he shattered the mask on the counter into pieces with a hammer.
“Did you have to destroy it?”
“It was a magic trick at best. I tried to recycle it, you punk.”
“Didn’t you say it was shitty work?”
“I’m a craftsman, not a magician. Of course I can’t make a magic tool without the necessary materials.”
He had a curt expression on his face, but he still kindly answered my question. His features and personality matched the prophecy written by my ancestor, and it became clear to me that he was indeed Rosinante.
“You, How are you still alive?”
“What concern is that of yours? The fact whether I’m alive or not has nothing to do with you.”
“Do you know who I am?”
“Well, what I know is that you are my customer.”
I eventually asked him a serious question, but he only gave me a brief answer and tried to steer the conversation away from the topic.
“You’re free to leave if you don’t like it. Didn’t you come here of your own accord?”
I frowned as he said that. His curt attitude was beginning to frustrate me. I was already tired of all his cryptic words and details.
“But, are you going to give me back my stolen box?”
“Nice. I’ll start working now.”
After I handed him the ornamental box, the owner beamed a smile and walked towards the back of the counter.
“It’ll be ready soon. Just wait here for a bit. I’ll turn that mask of yours into something truly extraordinary.”
“Wait, I just wanted to have it repaired…”
“I will make you something way more amazing than that mask, so don’t worry!”
Hearing his excited voice, I could only sigh quietly. Soon after, Iasked him a question.
“Would you consider becoming my exclusive craftsman?”
“Even if I wanted to, I can’t do that.”
The owner, who had been observing me with a sly grin, replied with a smile. Then, he disappeared behind the counter.
“…Kania, do you hear me?”
I gazed at the spot where the owner had gone for a moment before stepping outside the shop.
– Yes, Young Master. I can hear you.
Hearing Kania’s response through the communication magic tool I held in my hand, I smiled in satisfaction and ordered.
“Come to me at once. I’ve found the owner.”
– I’m coming right away
I smiled upon hearing Kania’s calm answer. Then, I cut off the connection between us and fell into deep thought.
‘If the owner really is Rosinante… I can’t let him go.’
According to the prophecy of the previous Hero, I must do everything in my power to secure the services of a master craftsman who can enhance the items given by the system. The fact that my ancestor even mentioned the owner only heightened his importance and required my utmost attention
I’m not quite sure why my ancestor seems to attach great significance to Rosinante, perhaps it’s just a gut feeling.
“Well, he will inevitably be defeated by Isolet. So, I’ll just have to apply some pressure, right??”
Of course, physically assaulting an elderly man was a morally questionable act. But when the time is right, and with Kania by my side, we would blackmail him.
“…Right, let’s have a look at the information board.”
I sat idly on the chair waiting for the owner, but soon I became curious about the contents of the information board and proceeded to the counter.
“Oi, boss. Let me take a look at it.”
After a moment of silence, I called out to the owner, but when I received no response, I crossed over the counter.
“…Kania, don’t come.”
I entered the room and with a defeated look, I muttered to Kania through my communication device.
“It’s too late for you to come now.”
Inside the room, only a pendant and a note were left behind.
I shed tears upon reading the note, but quickly regained my composure and smiled.
‘It seems like you won’t steal it after all.’
Although the plan to repair the mask and do good things with it seemed to be out of the question now, something that was made from an item that had been given by the system definitely wouldn’t be something ordinary.
In addition, the owner had repeatedly said that he would make it into something that was even more amazing. Even though he was a little bad tempered, he was someone with real skill. His creations were something worth looking forward to.
With a grin on my face, I tilted my head in surprise as I discovered a small pendant lying next to a note.
I checked the box with a puzzled expression and I soon found a memo attached to the pendant and frowned deeply.
‘…Really, a legendary weapon should be given as an easter egg. What is this thing?’
Thinking that, I carefully picked up the pendant and tried to open it.
I attempted to open the pendant but it wouldn’t budge, even with my strength.
“…What is this?”
I wanted to know if my strength had suddenly weakened, so I hit the desk lightly to test it out. But as I had expected, the desk crumbled into pieces.
There was nothing wrong with my strength. So was my strength inadequate to open this little pendant? The pendant didn’t budge even though I tried to pull it open with my hands for a while. Eventually, I tried hitting it with my sword, but it only resulted in the destruction of the objects around me.
I eventually placed the box in my chest pocket and dejectedly decided to leave the store. Before I made my exit, I started at all the things displayed in the store
‘…Should I just take one?”
Unknowingly, I reached my hand out to take an item that looked quite useful. However, I soon shook my head and muttered,
‘No, the mask is being held hostage right now… I would be in big trouble if he doesn’t give it back to me.’
I stopped thinking of such things, and with a regrettable expression, I smacked my lips and left the store.
However, upon leaving the store, I realized that I had emerged from a shabby building, not the soft wall as before.
Dumbfounded,I entered the building again, but I was greeted by ruins and dust.
Confused by the situation, I took a look around the crowded street to try and figure out where I was.
I realized that I was in the market by the entrance of the back alley, the same place that had been crowded by numerous beggars… The same place I had visited with Isolet before.
“Come! Buy vegetables!”
“Delicious potatoes! Come get it!
Quickly making a decision, I strolled down the street. On my way, I glanced towards the source of the noise in the distance.
“They are working quite hard…”
I noted that the boy and girl appeared to be working diligently. Unintentionally, I couldn’t help but smile warmly, as if I were looking at my own children.
“You there, what are you doing?”
However, my expression quickly turned stern as I approached them…
It seems like I needed to quickly lend them a helping hand.
“Buy radishes! Big green onions! Buy oni… Cough! Cough!!”
“Sister, don’t go overboard. You’ll end up getting sick like me.”
The girl, who had been working hard to promote her store, punctually did her duties today as well. However, she started coughing, causing the boy to worriedly chide her.
“But… If I gather a little more money I could take you for treatment!”
“Even so, you received a gold coin from Sister Ruby last time! So take it easy!”
Seeing her little brother say that with bright eyes, the girl nodded with a prideful face.
The girl smiled at him, and the merchants and passersby around them smiled too. They had become the street’s beloved mascots.
“What? How can you be so easy-going while doing business?”
“…Shouldn’t you have some conscience?”
But that warm atmosphere didn’t last long.
“You guys, when are you going to pay back your debt?”
“We-We will pay it soon! Please give us some time…”
A group of rough-looking gangsters suddenly appeared and started causing a commotion.
“The rent has been pushed back months already… until when do you want me to give you time to pay it back?”
“Ple-Please let us off one more time!! Please!!”
“No. There is a limit to being generous.”
The boy and girl kneeled down and begged for more time, but the gangsters ignored their pleas.They started throwing the pile of vegetables on the ground and trampling on them.
“No, No!! How could you trample on it!!”
“Who told you not to pay your rent?”
“But, I need to sell those so I can pay you!! So then, why…”
“Tsk tsk, this little brat…”
The boy couldn’t stand by and watch, so he rushed up to the gangster in tears, only to be kicked and sent collapsing to the ground.
“Please! Please have mercy!! If my brother doesn’t get treatment within this year, he will die!!”
“That is none of our business.”
The boy fell on the floor and clutched his chest in pain. His sister hugged him and wept, but the gangster remained unyielding.
“I, I will do anything! Please let us off for only this month!!”
The gangster’s tone shifted as he kicked the boy once more and he whispered to his companion with a sly smile.
“Little girly… I can do that if you sign here…”
The gangster took out a piece of paper from his chest pocket and began to persuade the girl
“Yes, if you sign your name on this paper here… I will let you off for a month.”
“Re-Really? I only need to do that?”
She cautiously took the pen he offered, despite the suspicious contract that included a dark and sinister-looking magic circle.
The merchants and bystanders who witnessed the scene remained silent, unable to interfere. This poor market street was ruled by the strong, and these gangsters had powerful support, possibly even from the law itself.
Heroes were either oppressed or thrown in prison, leaving no one daring enough to stand against the injustices. The law and power were both against them, leaving them helpless and unable to act..
“That’s right. Just like that…”
At the moment another frail flower was about to wither…
Suddenly, an alcohol bottle flew out of nowhere and struck the bald head of the gangster.
“Which crazy fucker…!!!”
The impact from the bottle caused the gangster to stumble back, clutching his head in pain. He scoured the area with a menacing gaze, trying to locate the source of the bottle.
“Hahaha… you, did you just curse at me?”
As soon as the gangster discovered the culprit, he froze up in shock.
“He-Hello! Lord Frey!!”
“Ah… my head.”
His comrade, who was also bald, quickly came to his aid, slamming his head to the floor and offered a greeting. Frey, who was heavily intoxicated, looked irritated as he spoke.
“Why are you blocking the road… someone is trying to pass by.?”
“We-Well… I’m just doing some ‘work’ here. Hehe.”
“Ye-Yes… don’t you know it, Lord Frey? This is Count Justiano’s territory..”
“Aha… that back alleys emperor…”
Frey quietly nodded as the gangster spoke, sweating profusely. Frey then picked up the fallen contract and quickly scanned its contents.
“…Come to think of it, that punk Justiano has his claws in the new back alley market as well.”
Frey eventually muttered to himself, with a cold look on his face, before his expression lightened up.
“I got it, then…”
“Yes! Please take a look at it!”
“I said fuck off.”
The gangsters were stunned by Frey’s words. Frey picked up the bottle once more and bellowed,
“I said fuck offff! You bastards!”
“Ye-Yes! We will go!”
Everyone in the Empire was aware of Frey’s drinking habits, so the frightened gangsters quickly scurried away, muttering to each other,
“Huhu. I almost received an extra commission from those children.”
“Can’t we just abduct them? This is so freaking annoying.”
“Somehow, they seem to sell better when they come of their own accord, rather than when they’re kidnapped or forced.”
Those gangsters muttered and they soon walked out of sight. With a cold gaze, Frey watched them go, then he approached the girl who was gazing at him fearfully..
In an instant, Frey then arrived in front of the girl, cutting her off, and grabbed her arm abruptly.
“You are quite pretty.”
Frey attempted to take the girl with him, but the boy on the ground blocked him, shouting,
“Le-Let go of my sister!”
“…Why should I?”
“I, I will give you this! So please…!”
Saying that, the boy offered Frey the only gold coin he had ever owned, the same one Ruby had given them a few days prior.
“What can this do… huh?”
Frey took the coin with disdain and sneered, and he tried to throw it to the ground.
Then with a stiff expression, he began to mumble.
“Pl-Please… Please… Cough! Cough!”
Frey, who had been scrutinizing the gold coin for a while, spoke in a low voice as the boy tugged on his trouser and pleaded.
“Then, you follow me too.”
“You too. Follow me.”
He then dragged the girl by her arm to a quiet alley. Frey infused his hand with stellar mana and whispered,
“…Who did such a thing?”
As the stellar mana from his hand met the gold coin in his hand, it emitted a ruby-colored smoke.
At the same time, in another part of town.
“Ruby! Are you okay? Are you going to start coughing blood again?”
“What are we going to do? Ruby looks to be in so much pain. This must be a severe illness.”
“Sister Ruby… you can’t die.”
Laying in the bed surrounded by people, Ruby became a little awkward.
“I’m fine. I’m really fine…”
“Bear with it a little longer!! We will slowly gather some money and we will call the Saintess from the church! Maybe she can come in a few days!”
“Th-There is no need for that!!”
Ruby put on a strained smile, but when the people mentioned the Saintess from the church with concern, her expression became truly distressed and she shook her head.
“Look at her, she’s still worrying about us.”
“Oh the Sun God! How can you put such a kind child through so much hardship…”
“Sister Ruby was so kind that she tried to hide it….”
However, no one listened to her words. Ruby whispered quietly,
“…What have you done?”
But when nothing happened, she spoke coldly,
“There’s a help function… doesn’t that mean you are obligated to answer me?”
Soon after, a system window appeared in front of her.
After checking the content, Ruby burst into laughter with an incredulous expression.
From a far distance, Glare was quietly staring at her.
Wanna read ahead? Subscribe here. You can unlock all premium chapters of all novels if you become a member.Wanna read ahead? Buy coins here. You can unlock chapters with coins or rather “genesis orbs”.
You can support us by reading the chapter on the Genesis website, and also by becoming an exclusive member.
You should check out the illustrations on our discord server: discord.com/invite/JnWsEfAGKc
You can rate this series here.