Chapter 2

01 – A Hidden Piece in a Dry Sky (2)



     “C-Carlos-ssi?” Startled, I jumped to my feet.

     He nodded his head.
The man had a bulky face and was a head taller than me.
He had a disgruntled expression alongside a bad posture.
“Where is this letter from?”

     “It’s from Violetta of Florence Town.
Ah, and I’m Yoon Gaho.
I came here at the request of Charlotte, Violeta’s daughter.”

     Carlos’s face noticeably relaxed when I mentioned Violetta.
Taking a second glance, it was only his expression that was surly; his face was actually quite pretty.

     Carlos, who made his disheveled shirt look like a luxury brand, looked more and more handsome as his cold atmosphere dissipated away.
If he weren’t one of the NPCs in the world’s towers, I would have thought he was some famous celebrity.

   “I can’t just send that child’s guest away, can I? Come in.”

     “Thank you!” Was he going to give me the reward inside the house? I tried to tamp down.
my excitement and followed him in.

     ‘Something’s strange about this place, though?’

     Compared to the house’s exterior, the interior was unusually spacious.
The ceiling height was also different than what one would guess.
As expected, he was a proper Hidden Quest NPC! His appearance wasn’t the only extraordinary aspect about him.

After sitting me down in the living room, Carlos brought refreshments from somewhere within his house.
While he read Violetta’s letter, I obediently sat still and nibbled at the provided cookies.
Perhaps his sense of taste was as sensitive as his vaunted aesthetical sense–although I wasn’t one to like sweets very much, the cookies tasted incredibly delicious.

    As soon as I emptied the entire plate of cookies, he spoke to me, “You’re called Gaho, right? Answer me honestly.
How is Violetta doing now?”

     “I don’t know Violetta very well.
I’m simply acquainted with her daughter, Charlotte.
I occasionally help her find a five-leaf clover–something she wants to use to help heal her sick mother.”

     “Tsk, I understand.
She’s the same type of foolish as her mother.” Carlos looked a bit melancholic.
He folded the letter many times before tucking it into his bosom.
Something must have come to mind as he soon opened his mouth, “Thank you for delivering her letter.
I’ll make my own arrangements for my reply.”


[Hidden Quest, “Violetta’s Letter (?)” has been completed]


     ‘So, where’s my reward?’

     As if he were responding to the unspoken question in my heart, Carlos led me out of the living room.
“Thanks to you, I was able to hear how Violetta has been living.
If it weren’t for you, I would never have known she was sick until the end.” He could not hide the slight bitterness in his tone.

     As he guided me to the exit, Carlos stopped in front of the fireplace, “You must not tell anyone what happens from here on.
Can you promise me this?”

     How amazing must this reward be for him to tickle my suspense like this?  When I nodded, Carlos reached out to the fireplace.
When he rotated the candelabra once, my field of view darkened.

     Simultaneously, the space surrounding us turned upside down.

     My mouth opened automatically at this hitherto unseen sight.
‘What is this NPC?’

     “This is the only thing I can give to a player.”

     The warmly painted living room disappeared, and, in its place, a room filled with various items materialized.


     I could see display cabinets that were full of unusual–even in this cursory first glance–items; because of the items rolling around and crammed together all over the floor, I found it difficult to even take another step.

     “It’ll be better made than most anything.
Take one thing you’d like from here.”


     Carlos smiled and nodded at my absolutely idiotic question.
The energy each and every one of these items exuded just felt different.
Is he really going to give me something from this pile?

     I bit my lips unwittingly.
A-rank? That’s nothing.
If I searched well, I believed I could find an S-class in this room.
“Who knew such luck would come my way?”

     Even S-class Hunters were desperate to get their hands on S-class items because they had such a horrible drop rate! Would I really find my own belated goose that lays golden eggs and unfurl the rest of my destiny? 1

     I could feel my heart beat.
“Let’s calm down, Yoon Gaho.” I shouldn’t get too excited; I took a deep breath and tried to relax.

     ‘Calmly and patiently–let’s look around.’

     The items displayed in the cabinets seemed to be the most valuable.
They boasted a splendid appearance that one would expect from an expert craftsman with a peculiar aesthetic sense.

     ‘The longbow over there? No, it’ll be wasted on me.
Should I go with the plate armor, which always has mass appeal?’ My eyes darted here and there.

     Carlos squinted his eyes as he waited for me to choose.

     “Being conspicuous doesn’t always mean it’s good.” Something I had heard in the past suddenly bubbled to the top of my brain.

     I felt as if someone poured cold water over my head.
Calm myself–otherwise I would invite total disaster.
I was so excited that I almost did something stupid.

     “They said you can recognize a real ‘bag’ without needing to look at it.” 2 I closed my eyes lest I become hasty.

      Instead of being misled by my eyes, I stretched out my magic and groped around.
They were all great items, each and everyone of them, but my Mana Rod felt numb at each brush against the item. 3

     After digging around, I could feel remarkably powerful mana emanating from someplace.

     When I fiddled around, I bounced my magic around the item.
Intuitively, I knew, whatever it was, it couldn’t be an ordinary item.

     “This is it!” I picked up a dagger that had fallen to the wayside of this sea of items.
“I’ll take this.”

     “Are you serious?”

      In lieu of answering, I nodded emphatically.

     Honestly, right after I opened my eyes, I thought my skills were mistaken; the item in my hand was an old dagger that one could find anywhere.

     But a Hunter’s intuition should not be ignored.
Even if one gets slapped along the way, one should grab opportunities in order to become great.

     Just as I tried to place the dagger in the inventory, Carlos suddenly snatched it away.

     ‘What? Why did he give this to me only to take it away?’

      “Choose again,” he said.


     “I’ll give you one more, so pick again.”

     I don’t know what his reasons were, but I wouldn’t refuse if he offered another item.
I closed my eyes again.
After picking once, this felt a little easier.

Well, this time I’ll choose that!’

     That item was friendly enough that it was willing to accept this insignificant C-class mana–I had a good feeling about it.
I reached into the pile.
“This is… A monocle?”

     Carlos, who had been staring at me this entire time, clicked his tongue as if he couldn’t believe me.


[NPC Carlos requests to peruse through your Status Window.
Will you accept?] 


     “Accept it quickly,” he said.

      A system message I had never seen before popped up quite suddenly.

     I automatically accepted Carlos’s request, but later, after thinking about it, I looked at him in surprise.
“Wait–how is this possible?’

     NPCs shouldn’t know about the existence of a system.
I’ve never heard of such a request to view another’s status window either.
My train of thought halted–this was completely counter to common sense.

     ‘Wait a minute.
Is this maybe…’


[Player Yoon Gaho’s trait, “A Blessing for you (C)” reacts to NPC Carlos’s trait, “Blacksmith (SS)”]

[A new possibility for “A Blessing for you (C)” opens up.]


     A New… Possibility?

     I suppose mysterious things all happen one after another, in a series; I couldn’t get my head on straight.
However, when I saw the new status window, I was certain.

     All these indicated one thing:

    A Hidden Piece.

     A term that meant special NPCs or items hidden throughout the Tower’s layers.

     The Hidden Piece, sometimes referred to as a curious coincidence or the strange irony of fate, could only be obtained through a very special route.
According to rumors, some people have broken through walls–the limitations of their natural talents–to become A-class hunters with these Hidden Pieces.

     That fabled Hidden Piece came my way? Unbelievable.
Why me?

     I couldn’t believe this unexpected, sudden turn of fate.

“Why are you doing this?” I asked.

     “You have talent.”

     “Me? Everyone knows how to use detection magic!”

     Carlos snorted as if he had heard something ridiculous.

     I couldn’t believe Carlos’s words at all–mana detection was something that could be done naturally.
Once one was awakened, that ability came as easily as breathing.

     ‘What’s so great about this, huh? There’s no way anyone can’t do what I’ve just done!’

     “Do you think such mana sensitivity is common? Don’t spout bullshit and check the status of the equipment you’ve chosen.” Carlos, disregarding my disbelief, finished speaking and turned to look towards my status window.

     I left him to do his business–he tapped on something (my status window perhaps?) midair–and appraised the two items.


[Argonaut (S)] 4

[Volcanus’s Eye (SS)] 5


     SS rank? I hurriedly checked the rank of the items displayed in the cabinets.
Most of them were A-class.

     Carlos tapped me, who was standing with a dumbfounded expression, on the shoulder, “How about it? Do you want to learn? You’ll be a different type of craftsman than me, since you have different natural traits, but I can pave the way for you.”


[The opportunity for your traits to evolve is beginning.


A Blessing For You (C) –> Everlasting, Immortal Blessing (S)

   –Additional Skills (Expected) :
     Grant Attribute (C) –> Enchant (S)
     The Eye of a Marksman (C) –> The Eye of a Explorer (A)….

 ※ Some additional skills that are part of the trait “Everlasting, Immortal Blessing (S)” are not available for current perusal.]


     I was mesmerized by the various pop-ups that appeared as soon as Carlos finished speaking.
“S…S-rank Traits?” I stuttered like a broken machine before looking at the blacksmith.
Carlos stared back with a mischievous smile.

In Korea, we still didn’t have over 10 S-class hunters.
S-rank traits with possible additional S-class skills! This was something anyone would covet.

     ‘This is enough to get me to A rank–no, maybe even S-rank..!’

     Judging by that one phrase tacked onto the end of the system message–the fact that I couldn’t currently see nor access these additional skills–meant that various other skills may be acquired if certain conditions were met.

     There was no reason to refuse his offer.

     “Of course….”

     “However, if you choose to be taught by me, you’ll have to give up the equipment you’ve chosen.”

     “What? That’s different from what you said before!”

     “It’s beyond my authority to reward you with both items and a new trait.
I apologize, but you’ll have to choose between them.”

     Before he finished speaking, the system window prompt to force me to make my choice appeared before me.


[Choose your reward for the Hidden Quest, “Violetta’s Letter.”]

Argonaut (S), Vulcanos’s Eye (SS) Trait Evolution: Everlasting, Immortal Blessing (S)]



TL: Booo~ Unfair~ I would want both items and the trait evolution!


I actually substituted a word that denoted ‘Buddhist shrine’ with ‘goose that lays golden eggs’.
Essentially it means the same thing–great fortune or great luck.
Something that’ll change your life.  ‘Bag’ is slang for something that’s worth a lot, Or just monetary wealth in general.  I’m assuming that a Mana Rod is similar to a divining rod.  Divining rods are used in pairs by “dowsers” and, occasionally (and unofficially) by water companies, to detect water sources, pipes, or other metals underground.  Historically, they also have been used for divination or locating magical substances and hidden treasure.  In Greek mythology, the Argonauts were a band of 50 heroes who went with Jason in the ship Argo to fetch the Golden Fleece.  Vulcanus/Volkanos/Vulcanus (Vulcan) is the Roman god of fire and smithing.
His Greek counterpart is Hephaestus.
In his temples, he’s often depicted with a blacksmith’s hammer. 

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