01 – A Hidden Piece in a Dry Sky (3)
‘SS-rank items and S-class traits.’
This choice of one’s lifetime left my mouth dry. Either way, it was clear that a road of flowers would unfurl before me. 1
If I sold an SS-rank item, I would be sure to earn enough money to fund my entire life; how many weapons of this rank exist in the world? If C-rank equipment cost millions of won, then it goes without saying that SS-rank equipment would be priceless.
This would be an opportunity to retire from the dangerous Hunter lifestyle and live a leisurely life.
“But…” However, for some reason, my heart leaned towards evolving my traits.
‘If I obtain this S-class trait, I’ll be able to make items like Carlos can, right?’
Even if I could only buff others’ equipment, I’d receive better treatment from my fellow Hunters due to my rare ability.
I would be the only Hunter in the world with S-class crafting traits.
If I grinded this trait up properly, I’d be able to boast immense wealth for the rest of my life.
Perhaps this choice would result in more money than I could receive from any old equipment.
However, there was a chance that this skill wouldn’t be as useful as I imagined it to be, but… It was worth the gamble.
“I see you’ve made your decision,” Carlos said.
“Yes–I look forward to your kind instruction in the future, Master.” 2
“Ho~ How shrewd.
The first realization I made after the apprenticeship began was that Carlos was not a very kind nor patient teacher.
Perhaps I could say he was a genius with no talent for teaching others.
The day after I became his disciple, Carlos had me observe his work.
[Entering a Special Field, “The Song of Fire and Anvil (S).”]
He poured sizzling metal into the mold, hammered it, and engraved a mana circuit.
His near-divine ability was simply magical.
Carlos’s workshop, the first special field I’ve ever seen, was also quite fascinating.
It was filled with all sorts of minerals and fire that burned without any firewood; flames embroidered the ceiling.
I felt like I was in another world.
However, my interest only lasted one or two days.
After a week, I grew tired and bored.
“Carlos, Carlos! Ah–Master! Please say something!”
“Just come over here and properly observe what I’m doing.”
“Honestly–how am I supposed to learn anything just by looking at you.”
“Read the flow of mana instead of just using your eyes.
Then, you’ll be able to recreate what I’ve done.”
I didn’t know about that.
“That’s why you’re a genius, though…”
Perhaps he heard my sneaky grumble, Carlos slapped me on the back of my head.
“Agh! You could have totally broken my neck! I’m a C-class Hutner!” I screamed.
I’ll get hurt if he just hits me willy-nilly like that!
My shout was half-sincere and half-exaggerated, but the blacksmith didn’t even pretend to listen to me.
To be honest, although I grumbled, I wasn’t having a horrible time.
Carlos was brusque and never explained anything properly, but receiving his instruction while surrounded by piles of rare items was an enjoyable experience in its own right.
Have I ever been this relaxed in my career as a Hunter? Even if his hits hurt enough to make an impact for the rest of my life, this time was precious to me.
After 15 days of living together, Carlos suddenly declared, “Gaho, it’s time to return now.”
“Eh? What’s this all of a sudden?”
“I’ve shown everything I have to show.”
I hadn’t learned anything yet, but he was ready to throw me back into the world again? I protested, but Carlos was firm.
Perhaps, worried that I’d cling to him, Carlos quickly kicked me out of the house.
Simultaneously, he provided me with a basket of cookies and told me to eat well.
‘I can’t even cry pitifully to him when he’s being so coldhearted.’
Eventually, holding the basket in one hand, I waved the other.
“Master, you must live a long life! I’ll be back!”
Carlton snapped the door shut without even a response.
I knew he was secretly soft-hearted though, even if he pretended to be cold.
While nibbling on the cookies, I walked towards the square.
‘From now on, a golden road will unfurl before me!’
Though I may not be as adept and skillful as Carlos, I was still someone with talent.
Groundless confidence filled me.
‘Besides, I have the system.
There’s no way I’ll fail.’
I, who had never held a bow before, became a markswoman overnight through the system’s grace.
With these traits, I could become an experienced blacksmith as well.
For now, I should experiment with C-rank weapons…Then I’ll sell the results and build up a reputation…! My heart swelled like freshly baked bread.
‘Goodbye, C-Class DPS Yoon Gaho! Starting today, I’m an S-class Hunter!’
Long gone were the days where people contemptuously ignored my C-class self.
Now, no one would be able to ignore me.
“Even those high-brow S-class Hunters will regret the way they’ve treated me, probably?”
Equipped with talent that even Carlos acknowledged and this trait, there would be nothing to fear.
While dreaming of the bright future ahead of me, I could only laugh.
‘At least that’s what I thought…That’s how it should have gone!’
[Enchant, ‘Tearful’ (B) has failed.
[Failure! The penalty will now commence.
Lucky Revolver (C) will now be destroyed.]
In the room filled with acrid gray smoke, the remains of demolished, exploded items were strewn about.
The beginning of this process was hopeful, but the end was disastrous.
I couldn’t believe I had broken six C-rank equipment items; my heart wouldn’t calm down at all when I thought of all the money that simply vanished into thin air.
“This damned failure penalty!”
Unable to withstand this unjustness, I pounded the floor.
“Was this all a scam? ….No way–That’s impossible.” With trembling hands, I grabbed another C-rank item: a ruby staff.
This was the last weapon left.
“I still have this left.”
Since I already had a knife in hand, I should at least cut the remaining daikons. 3 Wetting my dry lips, I let my mana flow into the item.
“This time, please…!”
“Oh god…Oh Buddha.
Oh all the deities in heaven and on earth; any god of any religion or location.
Please help me!”
[Choose an effect to apply to ‘Ruby Staff’ (C)]
— Nature: Pure (B), Profound (C), Sturdy (E)
— Nurture: Option unavailable
I closed both eyes tightly as I chose the lowest-ranked effect.
My confidence hit an all time low due to the six consecutive failures.
Please don’t tell me that I’d fail to apply this E-rank effect as well?
Gray, cloudy light wrapped around the staff.
Then, with a bang and an explosion, smoke rose from the weapon.
[Enchant ‘Sturdy (E)’ has failed.]
After seven failures, the only thing left in my hand was this ash-stained staff.
Anger soared within me, and I threw the staff onto my bed.
“What’s the point of getting this S-rank skill if I can’t even use it!”
My bank account, which was already quite small and ‘cute,’ had shrunken into insignificance.
I had bought these items, digging at the bottom of the barrel, because I thought that they would become an investment for a rosy future…!
“Why is this thing intact anyway?” I approached the bed and rubbed at the soot-stained staff.
‘Well, at least it isn’t destroyed.
I guess this thing is one-of-a-kind.’
However, the more I thought about it, the more dumbfounded I felt.
When I obtained this S-rank trait, I thought the flower path would immediately unfold before me.
This wasn’t an ordinary S-rank trait after all, the attached skills could permanently strengthen equipment.
Forget the flower path–I thought I’d be skipping down the golden, yellow brick road.
“I didn’t know this would happen.”
Blinded by the S-rank label, it was clear I was missing some important information.
I thought I would simply need to use my skills, but what was this humiliation?
‘I should have just chosen the items at that time rather than try to evolve my traits.’
When I thought back to my choice, I felt as if I would cry.
While I stayed at Carlos’s house, I was too busy being at his side, so I couldn’t afford to look at my status window either.
After this series of failures, I belatedly realized, as I later skimmed through the status window, that a new clause was added.
“Open status window.”
Player Name: Yoon Gaho
Comprehensive Evaluation: C
–Stamina: 27 (+13)
–Strength: 30 (+7)
–Magic: 45 (+22)
–Agility: 36 (+19)
Traits: Everlasting, Immortal Blessing (S), Marksman (C)
–Additional Skills: Enchant (S), Explorer’s Eye (A), Aid and Assist (C)…
※ Some additional skills of the trait ‘Everlasting, Immortal Blessing (S)’ are currently unavailable.
– (Requirements: Successfully Enchant an item 1 time)
After becoming a hunter, I looked at this status window and I soon grew tired of what was written there.
So, I knew well that this ‘dexterity’ stat was something new.
The stat sounded quite impressive: ‘dexterity.’ However, it was currently at a ‘3.’ In terms of rank or class, that would be worse than any F-class stat.
Since swinging a sword increased my strength and being beaten increased stamina, I folded 1000 paper cranes and knitted constantly.
Still, this dexterity stat seemed immobile.
On the other hand, something else triggered my curiosity….
…”What is ‘Item Comprehension’”
[Grant Attribute (C) –> Enchant (S)
–Your items gain special powers.
–The power of your blessings has been strengthened by the instruction of a master craftsman.
Items will keep their special powers permanently.
(The probability of success increases in proportion to ‘Item Comprehension’ and ‘Dexterity.’)]
I searched through Towers.com, but there was no information on these two concepts.
I heard that information on production-class hunters was treated like national secrets, but I didn’t expect the situation to be this dire.
I think I made the wrong choice after all.
TL: RIP Gaho, but you couldn’t have expected your new skill to be THAT easy!
Also, ‘Item comprehension’ just reminded me of my old art teacher.
He also wanted us to totally understand something to draw it, whether still life or something more stylistic.
We licked a looooot of pencils/pineapples in that class lmao.
“Your tongue understands texture better than your hands!” he said.
꽃길 Literally “Flower Road.” If life is a path, then a flower road means a good, plentiful life. 스승님 actually is more respectful than ‘teacher.’ It’s akin to ‘master’ in an apprenticeship.
In xianxia novels, the equivalent would be ‘shizun.’ However, English doesn’t really have an equivalent term to denote the distinguished status of a Master Teacher. This is simply a saying that means, “When you have the means, you should finish the job
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