Chapter 61: That Old Man Again
After sending off the scholar Hui Shi, Yue Qiang was ready to discuss with Yin about the peculiar traits of the scholar. After all, they should be able to glean a lot of information from this discussion. However, the situation had changed, and yet another group of soldiers entered the teahouse to capture beautiful women.
This time, it was different from before in that these armor clad soldiers were no longer just setting their sights on beautiful women. In just a moment’s time, they had already marched away two unattractive and slightly plump women away.
He took a glance at Yin. The girl behind him had an elegant countenance, and even though her eyes were closed, her head was bowed, and her face was smeared with a couple of lines of black dust, her beauty was still too prominent.
While holding her hand, Yue Qiang sneakily led her out of the back door, “I wonder why these soldiers are searching for women wantonly. At any rate, let’s be a bit more careful. I think that spending money on a helmet that can cover the hair and the face completely would be safer.”
The duo followed stream of people flowing through the streets, and they quickly found a store that sold equipment and armor.
Yue Qiang briefly browsed through the equipment sold at this shop. There were no weapons, although the variety of armor was more complete. There were leather armors, armguards, belts, long pants, boots, helmets and so on. A full set of equipment would cost him a thousand knife coins at best.
There was a problem though. None of these equipment gave stats.
They were all gray equipment, and their descriptions were more or less something like this: XXX provides a certain degree of protection to XXX body part. Not only did they not add to stats like Strength or Vitality, even their basic protective functions had turned into a kind of flavor text.
There was an equipment called ‘Shabby Leather Armor’, and its item description was: Light, can increase a small amount of defense and reinforce the protection at the chest and the back area. Can effectively withstand arrow damage.
There was another equipment called ‘Boots’, and its item description was: Can reduce the fatigue of long travel and stamina exhaustion. There was also a line of note that stated: Please choose a pair of boots that fits the size of your feet, or it will increase your fatigue instead.
The more Yue Qiang read, the more cringe he felt.
After browsing through all the items briefly, Yue Qiang asked the boss of this armor shop, “Don’t you have any better equipment to sell?”
Mentally speaking, especially from a gamer’s mindset, he would rather spend 2000 knife coins to buy a single equipment that could be used for a very long time, than a full set of very shabby equipment that cost only 1000 knife coins.
“Customer, what exactly do you mean by better equipment?”
“Of course I mean those green and blue* and… er, I mean those equipment of more excellent handicraft that enables a person to move their body freely.” Yue Qiang attempted to use a way of speech that was more suited for this era, “Mm, the price is negotiable.”
*In MMOs and Chinese-made games, equipment rarity and rank is usually classified by color: Gray (Common), Green (Normal), Blue (Rare), Purple (Epic), Orange (Legendary).
He mainly wanted to check out of the game had any equipment that added to one’s stats at all. If there was, it was absolutely worth getting for a few thousand knife coins even if it was just a point or two.
In most games, money was almost always the most worthless item. On the other hand, combat prowess was the true root of it all.
“Customer, I do understand what you mean. However, my stall is small, and the equipment you wish for, I do not have. And not only do I not have these equipment, you will not be able to buy them in this market, or even the blacksmith stores of every trading zone in the entire Zhao and Yan borders either.”
Not available, huh? Yue Qiang was not surprised. On the contrary, he was now even more attentive than before. Since the small trader had said that he did not have them, then there must be some other place that they could be bought.
“May I know where I can buy these types of equipment and armor then?”
“You are lucky, I suppose. There is just one person in this place who sells the armor that you speak off. Watch my hand gesture, and follow this path.” The small trader answered him while pointing, “Turn a corner at the end turn left turn right go to the end and turn a corner again…”
“Slowly, slowly! How do I go again?”
“Customer, it’s fine if you do not remember. How did you enter the market just now?”
“From the entrance.”
“Then you simply need to return to said entrance.” The small trader said, “When you reach the entrance, find an old man holding a folding fan and iron balls. You will be able to buy from him the equipment you ask for.”
That old man again, huh?
He sure has a hand in everything…
“I’d like to add one more thing.” The small trader said again, “The things he sell are very expensive, and he does not accept knife coins.”
In the end, Yue Qiang bought a helmet that could cover one’s face, and a broad leather armor for Yin to put on. When the girl’s face and and body was completely covered up, she finally did not look much like a female any longer.
They returned to the entrance after making many turns through the market. The old man who accepted his 100 knife coins payment was still laying on the rocking chair, holding in one hand two iron balls and in the other a folding fan. The iron balls he kept turning in his hands, and the folding fan he fanned slowly as a leisurely aura assaulted Yue Qiang’s senses.
Yue Qiang had Yin stand behind him before he walked forwards alone and greeted politely, “Good day, senior.”
All the clues indicated that this old watchman was the true final boss of Green Cow Village Market, which was why Yue Qiang’s mannerism was exceptionally respectful.
The old man smiled at the duo, his gaze lingering a bit longer on the girl behind Yue Qiang. After examining them for a while, the old man said four words,
“You passed the line.”
Yue Qiang was confused.
“It costs 100 knife coins to enter the market each time. You have come out, but you will definitely be going in again later, so I’ll still have to take 100 knife coins as admission fee from you.” The old man said, “Same rule. I’ll take only 68 knife coins from you.”
This final boss is pretty interesting, I see.
Yue Qiang examined the old man from top to bottom once more. In every aspect, the old man fitted very well the image of a master hiding among the commoners. His beard was snow white, and his face was filled with wrinkles. A kind smile appeared often on his face, and from time to time, he would secretly glance at the beautiful girl behind him like an old pervert. No matter how you looked at it, he was the perfect image of a top class master having retired to the common world.
After a moment’s hesitation, Yue Qiang ultimately paid 68 knife coins obediently.
“This young one has some questions to ask his elder.” Yue Qiang obediently paid his respects the traditional way, and changed his way of greeting into an ‘elder’.
“What do you want to know?”
Quite a lot actually. After some thought, Yue Qiang decided to take out the Ring of Earth first from his backpack. This item was absolutely one of, if not the most mysterious item of them all, and it wasn’t an item that needed to be appraised, but ‘explained’.
From the village elder Chen Zi Han, Yue Qiang learned that this item could enable a normal person to acquire a basic level Heart Skill. A Heart Skill was a conundrum on its own, and the origin of this Ring of Earth was pretty mysterious to begin with. He especially wanted to know if this awesome-looking old watchman of the market could tell him anything about it.
“Please assist me in appraising this bracelet, elder.”
Yue Qiang played a little trick and did not mention the name ‘Ring of Earth’ directly. Instead, he described it vaguely as a bracelet basing off its shape to see how the old man would react to it. In other words, he wanted to see if this old man was the real thing.
“My lad, this is no bracelet.” The old man continued to say smilingly, “As for its function…”
The old watchman fetched over a green cow from nowhere, before clipping the ring right onto its nose.
“It’s just a nose ring.”