“Um, you can make some special products too. For example...”
Zack explained while fiddling with his menu. The area beside him turned blurry and half of his arm vanished into a hazy cloud.
“Eh? What’s that?”
Erika examined the fog from different angles. It was very similar to the fog which guarded the entrance to the farming field.
“Um, this? It’s the DiVe.”
“Um, how was it called again... Dimension Vessel, I think?”
“Oh, I see. I never saw others using it.”
Whenever Erika brought out her Dimension Vessel, it appeared like a small island hanging in midair. However, for others around her, it must have looked like a foggy area, leading to another dimension.
Half of Zack’s arm was completely erased, searching deep inside his DiVe. He pulled out a carrot out of thin air and the fog dispersed.
“Um, I take it you’re from the Water Temple?”
“Um, water usually doesn’t taste good... maybe ice?”
Zack drew out a few pale pieces, which Erika recognized as [Ice] pieces. He pressed the pieces against the carrot, and a brown sigil formed on his right arm.
The carrot and the pieces were wrapped in bright light, morphing into a new item. The carrot changed color, from orange to light blue, and turned half transparent. It now a carrot-shaped icicle.
“Um, you can synthesize a special product like this, then grow more it on your field. Here, give it a try.”
Zack tossed the blue carrot to Erika, which she masterfully caught... with her forehead.
【Obtained Ice Carrot.】
Erika nearly dropped the cold carrot once it reached her palms. The word “ice” wasn’t in the name for nothing.
“Mm! It’s pretty good.”
Erika happily licked the carrot-flavored popsicle.
“Um, yeah... it’s good... very good, heh.”
Indeed, the sight of a cute girl licking a long, stiff object was good. Very good.
“Hm? Do you want a bite too?”
Erika noticed strange icon hanging beside Zack. It had a face licking its lips, suggesting that Zack craved a bite from the popsicle.
“Um, no... you can keep lick- er, eating it...”
All Zack wanted was for Erika to: Just. Keep. Licking. Erika shrugged and finished carrot ice cream, bringing down the curtain on Zack’s entertainment.
Zack explained that the Ice Carrot was made with the power of the [Synthesis] rune. The rune had many different uses, one of which included fusing items with rune pieces, to give them special attributes.
Creating unique food was one way for players to make it big on the NPC market. There were NPCs who sold similar fantasy food, the way Jeff did, but they were rare and had a limited variety. Hence, many merchant NPCs gladly bought exotic types of food.
Due to its versatile utility, Zack claimed that [Synthesis] was a must-have for most merchant-type players. Whether it was growing a field or running a shop, synthesizing special items was always important.
It sounds like I should get further into the game before I consider farming.
Erika needed to get more runes, to study the market and to collect money for renting a field. Though she was an RPG veteran, her experience couldn’t print money. As far as GoVe was concerned, Erika was fresh meat.
“Um, that’s the basics, I guess. Anything you wanna ask?”
“Hm... oh, yes. There’s one thing.”
Erika brought out the Darkflora Seeds she obtained from the black flower.
“Have you ever seen this sort of seed before?”
“Um, let’s see... ah, t-this...!”
Zack's eyes popped wide once they laid on the black seeds.
I think I won the jackpot~
Erika secretly grinning, sensing that she won the loot lottery and obtained a very special item.
"Um, these seeds... I... I've never seen these before..."
"My, that’s interesting~"
"Um, Darkflora Seeds... I guess you got them from fighting a mob called ‘Darkflora’?"
"Yes, it's a very friendly black flower."
"Um, I don't think I've ever seen a mob like that... where did you fight it?"
"In this very village."
Erika briefly explained how she triumphed over the almighty, long-armed raid boss.
"Um, so it's a special 'quest mob' drop, I guess. Must be something new... I've never heard of a battle event in a safe area."
Zack scratched his neck in wonder.
A fight inside a safe zone wasn't a big deal by itself. However, the player was normally informed ahead of time and their consent was requested. Neither of the two laws applied to the scenario Erika described.
Erika also showed Zack the [Darkness] pieces which were dropped by the the same Darkflora. They were peculiar pieces, as each [Darkness] piece had the value of 7 pieces; it was the only type in her pocket to worth this much.
"Um, I think I saw a [Darkness] rune on the wiki before. Never came across it myself, though. It may be a rare quest you stumbled upon."
Zack twirled his blue hair as he eyed the black seeds. Two conflicting emotes wrestled with each other above his head: "I WANT IT!" vs. "Not sure about it...".
"Um, do you already know how much NPCs offer for these seeds?"
Zack’s eyes lit up. He was easygoing until now, but he suddenly turned pushy. He was only sorta and kinda farming because there was nothing better to do, but as a gamer he still thirsted for new experiences.
“Hmm, I’m not sure.”
Erika answered carefully. The friendly conversation was now over, replaced by a business negotiation.
Erika was grateful for all the tips Zack provided, but she couldn’t allow him to exploit her ignorance. She saw enough MMORPG newbies selling rare loot for a meager amount, just because the crafty buyers offered an appealing price compared to NPCs.
“I haven’t checked the prices yet, but NPCs said it’s a very rare type of seed. As you suggested, it’s a good idea to study the market first.”
Erika fired Zack’s tip back at him. She made an indirect declaration of war, hinting that she won’t be an easy prey.
“Um, I guess nobody will offer you more than 100 pieces for it. I could buy them off you for 200 pieces each.”
“My, you want them that badly~? Makes me suspect they’re veeery valuable~”
“Heh, they’re certainly rare, I guess. Not even sure they’ll even be of any use to me, though”
A coweb icon appeared on Zack’s head, expressing his struggle with the negotiations. Erika was delighted to be recognized as a tough foe, for that decreased the odds of being ripped off.
On the surface, 200 pieces for a seed sounded like a great deal. A generic Windflora Seed was worth 4 pieces in Murph Village. No matter how big was the gap between markets, it was unlikely for a mere seed to fetch 200 pieces.
However, Erika still had the “rarity” advantage. If a farmer like Zack hasn’t come across such a seed until now, then its existence was something extraordinary.
“Hmm... you said this quest I got may be special, right?”
Erika tapped on her cheek in ponder, playing it hard to get.
“It’s possible I’ll need these seeds for other parts of the quest too.”
“Um, fair enough, I guess. I doubt you’ll need them all, though. How about selling me just a few? I’ll raise the price to 500 pieces.”
“Um, I’m not raising it any more than that...”
Zack stood firm when he shot his ultimatum, but there was a frustrated emote above him. It might have been possible to push him further, but it was risky. Fetching 2,000 pieces for 4 seeds which she didn’t even need right now - it was a great deal.
“Alright, I’ll sell you four seeds. I’ll keep the fifth seed to myself, just in case.”
Zack exclaimed and sent Erika a trading request. She accepted the offer and two semi-transparent windows opened up. One window hovered in front of Erika, while the other in front of Zack.
【TIP】【Place the items you wish to trade into the empty slots and press Ready when done. Once the other party is ready as well, you will get to examine the items they are offering. After verifying the trade, press Confirm to exchange items.】
The two windows had many empty square slots. Erika pressed four Darkflora Seeds against a slot and they got sucked in. Now, the flat slot displayed an icon of the Darkflora Seed and had a “x4” mark beside it.
I wonder why the Dimension Vessel isn’t as simple as this.
Erika tilted her head in wonder and pressed【Ready】. The straightforward trading screen was similar to how the player’s inventory was represented in most MMORPGs. Yet, despite employing this traditional design for the trading, GoVe had a strange, restrictive floating island as the player’s storage.
“May I request the types of pieces I want?”
“Um, sure... if I have them.”
“Great! The cheapskate NPCs didn’t let me pick.”
“Heh, I feel you. Trading pieces between players is practically a business in GoVe.”
This was a great opportunity to get goodies. Erika’s first priority was [Water] pieces... which Zack had only 8 to spare.
Other than that, Erika’s collection of pieces was a splendid mess. She had many [Wind] pieces thanks to driving Windfloras to the brink of extinction, but she also had 11 other types as well.
In the first place, she had no idea which types to prioritize. Pieces were used as currency, but they were also requested by certain NPCs and they could even be synthesized to create a carrot popsicle; there were many factors to take into account.
“Would you recommend hoarding specific types of pieces?”
“Um, it’s hard to say. I think most players hoard pieces for the next rune they wanna get.”
Zack scratched his neck, reluctant to dig himself a deeper hole by feeding the RPG veteran with tips. He decided to explain the most barebone reason for collecting specific pieces.
The pieces were in fact “rune pieces”, as Erika suspected. By collecting 10,000 pieces of a specific type - it was possible to synthesize a rune of that type.
“Um, I’d recommend sticking to the starter runes if you don’t know what you want yet. They are the cheapest pieces and the easiest to get.”
Accumulating pieces of starter runes was effectively the same as hoarding pennies. They were the most common types and each was worth 1 piece.
“Um, there are some ‘unusual’ runes, they’re worth two pieces. They’re niche and situational, so you better pay with them to NPCs, unless you really plan to get them.”
Currently, Erika had only two types which fit this criteria: [Absorption] and [Azure]. She couldn’t tell what made these runes “unusual” or why they were worth 2 pieces. Other non-starter runes, such as [Ice], were all worth 5 pieces. And then there was the enigmatic [Darkness] pieces, which were worth 7 pieces
Following Zack’s general guidelines, Erika agreed to receive many pennies from him. He made sure to live up to his own advice and also dumped “unusual” pieces on her: more [Absorption] and [Azure], as well as [Shop].
Once Zack pressed【Ready】, the two trading screens switched places. Now, Erika could examine the pieces Zack offered her. Even though they were primarily starter rune pieces, the 2,000 pieces were nonetheless divided into many types. Erika sighed and pressed【Accept】.
The trade was complete and Erika parted with most of her Darkflora Seeds. She was happy about owning more than 2k pieces, but she lamented the overflowing amount of categories in her pocket:
[Fire] [Water] [Wind] [Earth] [Power] [Speed] [Synthesis] [Communication]
[Absorption] [Shop] [Azure]
[Aura] [Ice] [Telekinesis]