chapter 164: everything has its price

As I walked towards Feradin, I began adjusting my levels, practicing something that I hadn’t really tried yet. Rather than fully unlock one class, I practiced on only unlocking a portion of the class in order to control my level more effectively. This way, I wouldn’t just always come across as the best of one field. And more importantly, my levels would not go so high over the limit that people start to notice.

Soon, I saw the city as I left the forest. Tall marble walls, battlements adorned with cannons every dozen meters. The silhouettes of dwarves could be seen walking the walls, patrolling with their eyes focused outwards. Patches of grass could be seen disturbed in large circles around the walls, looking more… fresh than the others. Likely from druids covering up craters.

When I arrived at the walls themselves, I saw two dwarves, one on either side of a large gate. Each one held a polearm with a curved hook-like blade at the end, the length of the weapon longer than their entire body. Their armor seemed to be made of silver, though I could feel the thrum of magical energy from it.

Between them was a decently sized line of people and carriages waiting to enter the city. Each one had to step up to the guard on the left, take a small cerulean orb from his hand, and display their identification. Only after that were they allowed to enter. And going by the pace that people were leaving the city, there was a similar checkpoint on the other side of the gate.

Among the people gathered, it was safe to say that the vast majority were dwarves. Maybe one out of a hundred were beastkin, with about as many elves mixed in as well. However, aside from silently grumbling about their freakishly tall height requiring them to constantly talk up towards the other races, the dwarves didn’t seem to have any complaints.

It was my turn soon, and the guard handed me the same orb that had tested everyone else. “Is there a criminal on the loose or something?” I asked as I displayed my information, earning a gruff laugh from the guard.


Laird Mickens























Class List

Alchemist 1

Blacksmith 5

Carpenter 1

Druid 30

Enchanter 5

Herbalist 2

Hero 3

Leader 1

Mage 2

Martial Artist 1

Monk 62

Monster Tamer 2

Ninja 6

Noble 1

Pirate 10

Priest 1

Scholar 3

Scout 25

Shaman 10

Spirit Hunter 21

Spirit Tamer 6

Swordsman 62

Warrior 3

“No, nothing like that, lad. Just standard procedure.” Although he said that, his eyes gave a small twitch when he saw my information window. “Ah, sorry. Ye can be on yer way now. Tavern’s just past the gates on yer right.” As he spoke, he shook his head slowly, waving my through. There seemed to be a trace of… pity in his eyes?

As I walked into the city, I reviewed my status information, and soon realized what the ‘problem’ was. My scholar level was only 3… From my perspective, this was perfectly normal because I didn’t do most of my learning on this Earth. But for the people here, that meant I had to have the intellect of a child at best.

I gave a small shrug as I considered that. If anything, it wasn’t particularly bad. It was the perfect excuse for why my classes were so mixed up, as I had simply wanted to try a bit of everything. And it wasn’t like I would be checked like that all the time, either.

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Sure enough, there had been another checkpoint on the other side of the gate, checking the people who were leaving the city. Nobody spared me a second glance as I walked in, moving past the crowd of people and into the city proper. I was able to get my first look at the dwarven architecture from up close…

And I had to say that it wasn’t as impressive as it looked from the Admin Room. Yes, the buildings looked nice, with slanted ceilings and sharp overhangs, but they were actually quite small on the surface. From my earlier inspection, I knew that this was because of the dwarves’ particular building habit. Rather than building up like most races, they tend to build down, causing all of the buildings to look small on the outside.

In fact, the only ‘large’ buildings in the city were the Tower of Communication, and the city lord’s palace. The former is likely something that the elves have been spreading through the dwarven continent, as it was convenient for all parties involved. Not to mention the fact that if either race ever turned hostile towards the other, it would be a method of instant information gathering.

I debated going into the tavern, as it was a surefire place to find members of all three races. However, I didn’t exactly have any coin to pay my way, and I didn’t trust myself enough to not do anything stupid if I got drunk. So instead, I wandered the streets, occasionally stepping in to look at the goods in a store.

Whenever I found interesting items, I gave them a glance to identify their properties before moving on. Some of them had effects that I hadn’t even thought of including in my checklist, such as a two-handed sword I found which was able to create a shield of ki around its wearer. Or a shield that was able to absorb mana from a spell and fire it back in a concentrated blast.

Of course, there were other items available as well, such as a selection of bags of holding. Each one had a rather outrageous price tag, easily enough to purchase an entire house, if I was calculating the currency properly. Either way, they were ridiculously expensive.

To my surprise, I also managed to find a selection of spell-iron and ki-iron weapons, showing that the dwarves had gone a step further than I had initially expected. This made me feel rather safe in regards to the spell-iron blade that I myself carried, as it could no longer be seen as an otherworldly artifact. Of course, it was still strong enough with its added enchantments to put what the dwarves produced to shame, but given that it was personally made by Tubrock, that is no surprise.

Continuing on my way, I saw examples of the beastkin, elves, and dwarves interacting with each other. Of the three races, the only ones that seemed to have even a somewhat strained relationship were the beastkin and elves. And this wasn’t a hostile relationship by any means, as there were still several places where they could be seen enjoying each other’s company. Rather, it seemed that some of the elves were wary of the beastkin.

This was enough to make me curious, but I decided to wait to investigate until after I returned to the Admin Room. Right now, I was simply looking at what the world had to offer. Unlike when I descended in the beastkin city with Terra and Aurivy, there was no festival going on. Nothing particularly eye-catching.

At least, until I got to the center of the city. There, I saw an auction underway in the middle of a crowded intersection. Given the presence of guards protecting the stand, it seemed to be a sanctioned event.

Only allowed on

“Alright, lads and ladies! Next up, we’ve got the spell-woven armor produced by Maxin Irins!” As the dwarf on the wooden platform spoke up, he unveiled one of the tall stands near him, showing a suit of metal armor within a glass cage.

The armor drew in shouts of admiration from the crowd of all three races, though only the dwarves were bidding. After all, armor doesn’t magically adjust to fit a wielder, so only a dwarf of roughly the same size as it was made for would be able to wear it. And sure enough, after a heated bidding war, one lucky dwarf dressed in fine silver armor walked up to claim his prize.

“Thank ye thank ye. Now, this is where things start to get a bit unsavory. I’d like to remind everyone not to cause a ruckus. Our remaining items to auction are all crime slaves.” There was a silence that spread over the crowd as the auctioneer announced that. “These young lads and ladies stirred up trouble, and instead of rotting in a dungeon, they chose time as a servant.”

With those words, he unveiled the last three standing cages, though these looked far more like cages than the glass display for the armor. Iron bars holding back the sullen faces of three individuals. The first was a young dwarven man, likely barely of age with dark blonde hair. The second was a felyn woman who looked to be in her thirties. And finally, an elderly dwarven male, his sharp eyes scanning the crowd.

Each one had a tattoo on their foreheads, in the shape of a rolled up scroll. “As ye can see, they’ve already entered into a binding contract.” The auctioneer announced. “Until their term expires, they shall obey the one who purchases them. So, let’s start with the you lass.”

The auctioneer stepped up towards the cage with the felyn woman, and shook his head sadly. “Sorry, miss, but it’s not often we get yer folk, so I gotta start you off.” After saying that, he turned to the crowd. “This is Jinra Skoll. Her crime is using magic to burn a farmer’s fields. The term of her contract is ten years. Per the rules agreed upon, she cannot be ordered to undertake any sexual acts. She is also permitted to defend herself from violence used against her.”

The woman in the cage glanced down towards the masses, the sadness evident in her eyes. I could tell from observing her that she was a fairly high level mage. And in fact, focusing in closely enough on her thoughts, I knew that she was in fact guilty of this crime. It may have been to kill a monster attack the land, but she had used fire magic to kill it, resulting in the burning of a farmer’s fields. While accidental, she had cost a man his own livelihood.

If my guess was correct, the addendum to her contract that the auctioneer specified at the end was precisely because her crime was recognized as a justified accident. Most likely, had it been malicious intent, no such leeway would have been given otherwise. Before the auctioneer called for the bidding, he beckoned Jinra forward, and she placed her hands outside of the cage.

The auctioneer placed a status orb in her hand, and she displayed her information to the crowd. As I had observed, she had just over a hundred levels in mage, as well as a few in enchanter. Surprised murmurs broke out in the crowd, and as soon as the dwarf called for bids, a bidding war even greater than the spell-iron armor erupted.

Although I didn’t place a bid, I stuck around to watch the results. The one who ultimately purchased her was a stocky elven man, his ruby colored hair going down his back. There was a lascivious grin on his face as he walked up to the platform, having the woman removed from her cage and then silently departing.

The two dwarven men were enough to show me that the law had not been overly biased against the felyn woman. The young boy’s crime was attempting to steal a bag of holding from a storefront, with a punishment term of five years. As for the older man, he actually had a much more grave offense, killing a foreign noble. His term was a life sentence, with no limits placed on his contract.

Though, people seemed to doubt this claim when they saw his information, as he was by no means a fighter. He was a blacksmith, and quite a proficient one at that. I would check when I got back to the Admin Room, but I would bet that his real crime was simply making the weapons that in term killed the noble.

Once he was purchased, by another dwarven blacksmith, the auctioneer gave a satisfied nod. “Alright, everyone, that’s all for today! As always, we’ll be back for another round in three days, so be sure to stop by and see what we get in!”

As the crowd dispersed, I made my way towards a nearby alley, rather satisfied with the results I had seen. As the blue light washed around me again, I once more returned to the Admin Room.

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