Icicle traveled with Adian along the road, discovering various new creatures. After the wolves retreated, their territory was taken over by the original inhabitants - [Wild Boars] and [Maws] - giant earthworms that are slow but deal a lot of damage, applying various nasty debuffs.
The surrounding areas seemed to finally get back to how they originally were. With the wolf infestation gone, other creatures made their way into the light, providing a variety of new environments and equipment for the players.
At the exit of the forest, just before the grasslands and farms of Vilen Town, Adian stopped and nudged Icicle to transfer his items. "Here, that's all the furs I collected. You can give me half of the money later."
Unexpectedly, the skimping bastard was suddenly meek! Icicle noticed Adian's weird behavior but didn't voice his misgivings. He'll probably learn about them soon, seeing how Adian gazes anxiously at the 5m high walls of Vilen Town.
"Where can I sell those for most profit?"
"Sigh, really? You told me you have this great plan and now this?" Adian couldn't believe his ears. "You can get the best price in the harbor. If you happen to find a merchant who's embarking to Glacia Kingdom that is. Otherwise, you should sell it to the Tailor, Marisse. She's a nice middle-aged lady with fair prices."
"Thanks Adian, I'll keep that in mind."
In Icicle's head the wheels started turning. His previous plan seemed rather bland now. This new information simply changed too much. A lot of players were hunting wolves after all, there won't be any deficit of furs anytime soon. However, if he were to secure a trade between the merchants embarking to the Glacia Kingdom, where as the tooltip on one of the items said, it's frighteningly cold, he could earn a fortune!
Thinking about it, his mouth curled into a devious, impish smile. He was about to rejoice when something hostile entered his [Sense presence] range.
Moving quickly in stealth, a 1m long black dog with the features resembling a genuine wolf was about to sink his teeth deep into Icicle's neck, like a vampire thirsting for blood.
Icicle's right hand instinctively jolted, blocking the trajectory of the hound, forcing it to sink its teeth into his forearm.
Icicle's gloating face instantly turned sour. He was so full of himself, thinking of a possibility of a great hidden quest and now the pain brought him back. His face grimacing, he struck the black creature's head with his open palm.
Black Hound yelped, its mind shook, rattling like a drum. The damage of this human was ridiculous! It couldn't believe that a human could actually be this strong! It killed a lot of humans before, they were weak, completely incapable of sensing, not to mention hitting it. But not this human! This person reacted and blocked its fatal attack with his arm! Why did this human feel so overwhelming though? It couldn't understand!
Black Hound bared its teeth and was about to enter stealth to launch yet another deadly attack when Icicle glared at it. His gaze petrifying, the air around him rippling, like an endless void.
The Black Hound finally understood. The howl that came from the human sounded more terrifying than one of its great great ancestor. No wonder it was scared! This human has to be the reincarnation of the ancestor! Yes, he must be! How can the human be so powerful otherwise?
Icicle grabbed the Black Hound by the scruff, lifting it. He looked at it with disdain, snorted and threw it to the side like a sack of rotten potatoes.
If Black Hound had any misgivings before, they were all gone. Reincarnated ancestor found him unsatisfying! This pride of an ancient race, it had to be the ancestor's spirit that underwent reincarnation! Black Hound was now fully aware that it must appeal to the ancestor to take it under his wing!
Meanwhile, Icicle disregarded the dog completely. He traded with Adian, taking most of his belongings for sell. He also used him to identify his boss and event loot.
As the group of players approached the enormous gates of Vilen Town, beginners hunting Wild Dogs all around them gaped with confused expressions. There was a level 7 Black Hound jumping around, barking, performing tricks around someone in the front.
Icicle who wanted to stay low-key before he gets his set and experience fixed became the center of attention yet again. "The last thing I wanted!" he cursed under his breath. "All because of this black whelp!"
He approached the guards who stood by the town gates and was about to enter when they stopped him, crossing their halberds.
"You cannot bring wild monsters into the town, adventurer. You have to tame it or leave it outside." one of them spoke sternly, brandishing his sharp weapon.
Black Hound saw that its ancestor was threatened and growled fiercely at the guard. Icicle looked at it and couldn't understand why is the critter following him. However, if he didn't do anything about it then he couldn't enter the town. Those guards didn't seem too keen on helping him out either.
"You're not attacking me anymore so it would be a waste to kill you." Icicle sighed inwardly. "What do you want? Are you hungry?"
Icicle examined his inventory. There was a ton of wolf meat. He planned to give a piece to the whelp, but when he looked at the Black Hound who resembled a wolf more than a dog, he considered it a cannibalism and decided against it. Thus, he took out a slab of wild boar meat, crouched and handed it over to the hound.
Ancestor was giving it food! What a benevolent ancestor! Black Hound rejoiced and gladly munched on the tasty meat. It was far better than human meat. It looked at its ancestor appreciatively, barking happily.
When Icicle saw the happy dog wagging its tail, his heart softened a little and he patted its head. "Now go. It's dangerous here." he made a "shoo" gesture.
He turned around, about to walk past the guards.
"Eh?" Icicle made a 180 degrees turn and stood petrified. The Black Hound was nuzzling his right leg and merrily wagging its tail.
"Ancestor, ancestor! Can you hear me?" the voice rang out in Icicle's head.
He looked around, but he couldn't distinguish the speaker.
"It's me ancestor, look down!" Black Hound continued wagging its tail happily.
Icicle stared at the black dog and couldn't believe that telepathy existed in Loiterous. He blinked twice, rubbing his eyes afterwards, then pinched his right arm. The pain he felt told him that it wasn't a hallucination.
"Ancestor, give me a name!" Black Hound's soft voice rang out as it stood on its hind paws and playfully propped itself against Icicle.
"Your new name is... Blackie!" Thinking for a while Icicle declared. He used his subordinate's nickname as a name for a dog. If only Bob knew...
"Blackie! That's a great name ancestor, thank you!" the hound's soft voice rang out again.
A new pop-up appeared.
"Fanatical loyalty, wasn't it supposed to be low? It's calling me its ancestor for some reason. Maybe Silverfang's howl made a wrong impression on it?" Icicle pondered as he looked at the new, forced familiar.
"Listen up Blackie, I have a lot of things to do now, so I'll have to unsummon you. We'll discuss things later." Icicle patted it a few times and unsummoned the hound.
"Alright ancestor, I understand. I'll wait for you." rang out the dog's excited voice from Icicle's head. A new tattoo appeared on his left forearm, resembling a black hound with an open maw.
The spectators all around stared with wide opened mouths. Icicle actually tamed a Black Hound by giving it meat and patting it a little! The players stared at each other, then on their friends and finally on the map. They discussed which familiar they should get. After all, the tutorial stated that the chance to tame a creature was low and it first needed to be beaten! But Icicle didn't beat the hound, he just struck it once and then fed it, petting it a little.
Since he could do it, so could they! As if on cue, a few hundred players forewent the free identifying process of Adian and rushed out into the various corners of the beginner area to get their new pet!
FieryRed envied Icicle. He already had a familiar. But it quickly passed, as she resolved herself to find a tanky pet just like her, so they can both ram into the players, enjoying the true beauty of the game.
Adian watched all of the happenings with a wide smile on his face. Lady Fortune seemed to be smiling upon his disciple. He hoped that this would carry on so he could profit big time as well.
"Move! Out of the way!" came voices from inside the town. The guards on duty respectfully stood to the side, lowering their heads. When Adian heard those voices his expression immediately turned sour.
"Here!" he gave Icicle his items back and whispered "Find me later. I need to go."
Icicle woke up from his daze. Blackie has preoccupied him for a minute. He looked around and saw that there's a regiment of guards coming through.
"Commander!" the guards shouted respectfully.
"Here you are!" rang out an authorative voice. Middle-aged man in his forties with brown hair and hardened face came forward and grabbed Adian by the collar. "You were supposed to come back a week ago! Goddamnit, you're a Guards' Captain!" he barked.
His name was Cus. The description above his head was the following: "Vilen Town's Guards' Commander - Cus".
Players all around stared as the "Merchant Adian" was dragged away by the guards. The two guards on duty sighed, shaking their heads "Such a mischievous son."
Icicle caught on that conversation. He finally realized why Adian was injured. It wasn't Atlas who hurt him but Fleeting Violet Direwolf! Disposing of Atlas was just a bait! He wanted the Fleeting Violet Direwolf to come so he could get rid of the whole wolf infestation. That event wasn't caused by Icicle finding Leila, but by Adian entering the perimeter!
"That cunning son of a bitch! He was playing me all along, acting like I was the one extorting him! Just you wait, I'll cut your share by half!" Icicle cursed the "benevolent" Adian. "Trainee my ass, he was a Guards' Captain!"
Icicle checked his inventory. There were a total of 18000 furs, out of which over 15000 were the low level ones. The furs were considered crafting items so their weight was 0.01kg. This made Icicle rejoice, if not for it, he wouldn't be able to carry the loot. Aside from that, there were 4000 wolf claws and 3500 pieces of wolf meat. Both wolf claws and the wolf meat counted as crafting ingredients as well. Overall, Icicle's gathered junk items and equipment weighed around 500kg.
Players behind Icicle dispersed into the corners of Vilen Town, looking for the Alchemist to buy health potions and the Blacksmith to repair their gear. Icicle on the other hand hurried over to the harbor, which, according to his map, was located at the south part of the town.
Crossing the plaza with the white fountain in the middle, Icicle took a left turn, gazing at the huge marble palace of the ruler, Lord Vilen. Walking futher down the street, Icicle passed by a Mage Guild's territory and a residential area, where a few empty buildings and small palaces had "for sale" boards. He shook his head thinking that one must be crazy to buy a house in the starting area. Although safe, there wasn't much to hope for here. It's a low level area after all.
The castle-like building made from various grey stones was covered in ivy. It was fenced by a black iron gate, looking sturdy and majestic. Its four watch towers were created to deter any possible assailants. Unfortunately, it was ridiculously pricey. Not only was the buyout cost expensive, it even had a 5000 gold monthly rent...
Icicle passed through the eastern gate, using [Soundless Fear] to scare off little lizards and Wild Dogs away under Blackie's constant praise of his ancestor's strength.
Walking down the winding road down, Icicle gazed at the huge cliff Vilen Town was built on top of. The walls on this side were 8m tall, while the northern side only had 5m tall walls. In Icicle's opinion if there was truly potential danger from the seaside, such as naval attack or aquatic monsters siege, no matter how high the walls were, they would crumble all the same.
When Icicle reached the bottom, a white sand beach entered his vision, stretching far and wide. Ten guards were stationed next to the the cliff, as if protecting something important. On the white sand laid a caravan trail, allowing a safe passage for the merchants.
A skinny merchant could be heard ordering a horse from a stable nearby. This really was quite a sight, a stable in the middle of the beach. A robust stableman quickly reigned in a huge creature he was currently tending to and made his way outside. It was a huge grey rhinoceros! That stableman was actually a Beastmaster, employed by Vilen Town to help the merchants transport their cargo. The rhinoceros pulled a huge wooden cart, followed by two guards on each side, securing the short, but safe caravan route.
Icicle moved in closer to take a look.
The guards at the sides of the cliff made some signs and the cliff opened like a proverbial sesame, showing an entire regiment of elite guards, behind which was a storage and a magic-powered round elevator platform. Rhinoceros pulled the cart in and the cliff closed, restoring its former undamaged appearance.
Icicle took note of the secret passage and decided to get a better look of the place.
With the stable located at the east side of the beach, the west side was dedicated to travelling merchants, mercenaries and travellers. A spacious wooden inn was built on a stone platform on top of the sand. One of the inn's workers was dusting off the wooden steps leading to the entrance. On the first floor of the inn, a middle-aged woman dressed in maid outfit was cleaning the cloudy windows. Laughter from the drunk people inside the establishment echoed throughout the beach.
The pier in front of the cliff spanned for kilometres, made out of brown, sturdy oak wood. Based on the little wooden post stuck in the ground before it, Lord Vilen invited Acalen Kingdom's mages to fortify the pier, inscribing various barriers and strengthening inscription patterns on the submerged logs of wood.
The entire place bustled with activity, on the forefront of the pier were small stalls with fresh products where many residents of Vilen Town bought their groceries. Further in was Navy Services Guild where one could hire an entire crew for your ship. Next to it stood the Mercenary Guild, providing escort for the caravans. Both of those were apparently certified by Lord Vilen and their actions reflected on his authority and dignity. On the opposite site of them was a large market, people simply called it "Bazzar". The experienced, sly merchants sold their esoteric goods there.
In the middle of the pier stood guards' barracks and houses of the more important officers. Finally, at the end of the pier towered an enormous white stronghold, spanning a few kilometres. Fortified stone watchtowers, cannons and braziers. Atop the walls Mages, Archers and Warriors stood guard.
A few kilometres into the sea, one could see a sinking ship, its mast barely protruding out of the seawater, black flag with a skull perched on top of it. This sight accentuated the might of the stronghold which protected both the traders and the residents of Vilen Town from various calamities like pirates, aquatic monsters and unwanted guests.
Icicle walked down the wooden pier, gazing with excitement at huge galleasses, frigates, ships of the line, barques and brigs moored at the port, either fully loaded or in the middle of resupplying its cargo. He was reconsidering his initial choice of the Water Mage. Sailing those ships and encountering dangers sounded like great adventure!
He gave it some thought and realized that he can sail as Water Mage later on too, if he decides to do so. The profession was chosen on a whim, but it's his current top choice. Not giving it further thought, Icicle walked into the Bazzar to check how much he can get for the gathered furs.
As he walked in, the loud clamoring of the merchants and customers increased in volume drastically. This place was the haven of traders. Spacious roof provided cover from the blazing sun. Inside the building the air was much cooler than on the outside. This had to improve the public opinion of the place.
Stalls of merchants littered the place, there was barely enough space for customers and guards to walk through. Windows on the sides of the building made a just right amount of light enter, illuminating the Bazzar without making the eyes of the customers squint. Various scents assaulted the nostrils; fish, fruits, seafood, beef, chickens. All kinds of meat and vegetables were sold, even various kinds of exotic food like worms and alligators, roasted, grilled and boiled.
"Ancestor, ancestor..." Blackie screamed inside Icicle's head upon seeing all the delicacies the humans indulged themselves with.
Passing the stalls of the enthusiastic merchants advertising their goods, Icicle gave in and bought five small smoked fishes for the incessantly talking Blackie, costing him 1 silver. If he didn't, the dog wouldn't stop grumbling.
Free from the black, furry curse assaulting his ears, Icicle took in everything and became excited. This was an area where you could buy almost anything! From watermelons to sharp swords! From armors to delicacies! Icicle decided to buy some lemonade from the trader, paying 5 silver for a few litres. As he took a sip, a feeling of citrus refreshment coursed through his body.
Reminding himself not to spend everything just because he has 2 gold coins, Icicle moved towards the armor and weapon selling merchants. Amongst them there was one old man with long beard, surrounded by three robust, burly men. Their weapons were worn from battle. Cracks spreaded through their sturdy leather armors, resembling claws of a huge beast. They seemed experienced. Icicle decided to get some information from them.
"Welcome young man, what do you need?" the old man raised his head and asked amiably, flashing his trademark merchant smile.
"Hello sir. I'm looking for someone who's interested in buying wolf furs. Do you know of anyone in particular?"
"Wolf furs? You've come to the right address young one! I'm embarking to the Kingdom of Glacia in 40 minutes! Show me what you have." the old man's expression brightened when he heard the words "wolf furs". It was a troublesome task to hunt down the wolves at Glacia Kingdom, where those critters were much stronger. The climate of Minaeryth Kingdom played a huge role too, it allowed the wolves to spread. However, due to the hot weather, their furs were thinner. This was offset by the possibility of buying them in bulk and then sewing them together, creating warm coats for a small amount of money. For a noble merchant such as Bingus, money wasn't too much of a problem. All he cared about was face and the prestige in his homeland.
"Here you go sir, these are the furs I have." Icicle took out an example of each fur he possessed, presenting it to the merchant.
"Let me see." Bingus's smile waned as his face turned serious. He wore a monocle and examined the furs. "This one is from the common type of wolf, but five of those sewn together can become quite a warm coat for poor people. I'll give you 3 copper for each. This one on the other hand is sturdier, more resilient, it's from a rare variant, yes? Hehe, I know my stuff young man. I'll give you 15 copper for each of these. Oh? This one comes from a direwolf! A thinned out bloodline, but the fur is excellent. For these... I can give you as much as 1 silver each!"
"Alright then, thank you for the evaluation. I'll check with the other traders and get back to you." Icicle collected the items and started walking back to check the prices with the other merchants and then comparing them with the Tailor Marisse Adian recommended.
"Wait young one! Come on over." Bingus gestured, his expression turning somber. "I'll be honest with you. Those furs are worth 3 coppers in every stall. However, I'm going to profit from them anyways, so I can raise the price a little. I'll give you 4 coppers instead of 3 for each one! What do you say?" Bingus flashed his trademark smile again, appearing magnanimous.
"Ten coppers each and we have a deal." Icicle said curtly, not bothering with the sly merchant. Realizing he was tricked by Adian made him wary, thus the sudden offer.
"Ten?!" Bingus stood up, outraged. "I'll give you six, that's my last offer!"
"So it is worth around ten, huh?" Icicle inferred, not showing anything on his face.
Three bodyguards on the side guffawed, whispering to each other. "This young man is crazy, trying to bargain with Bingus. I haven't seen anyone getting the better of the old man in years."
"Just let him do his thing, we haven't seen the old man being so lively in a while." the other looked with amusement.
"Ten coppers each or I'm going to sell it to the Tailor. Your choice." Icicle didn't budge at all.
"Y-You! Ten coppers my ass! No one will give you such a price!" Bingus yelled resentfully. "You'd have to sell in bulk to get a price of eight, yet you want ten?!"
"What does in bulk represent for you?" Icicle glared with disdain at the old man, comparing him to a stray dog. He knew that acting up is the only way to extort the merchant.
"Thousands! Bring me two thousand furs like that and hell, I'll give you 9 coppers per fur!" Bingus declared loudly, letting all the merchants around hear. His loud voice gathered their attention earlier, even the nearby customers enjoyed this spectacle, viewing it with curiosity. It wasn't everyday that someone tried to extort the Bazzar's regular merchant. Those were too sly and cunning, experienced in their trade.
"Two thousand?" Icicle made an expression of outrage. Bingus saw it and laughed out loud, patting Icicle's shoulders. "Haha, is that too much for you young man? Alright then, the old man will be magnanimous with you! Bring this old man 2000 wolf furs and he'll give you not 9, not even 10, but 12 coppers a piece!" Bingus declared. He had nothing to lose as he was about to embark to Glacia Kingdom.
"Really?" Icicle looked at him with puppy eyes, on the verge of crying.
"Of course! Let it be known that I, Bingus, am always true to my word! I'll buy every single fur from you as long as they are above two thousand in number! The price for rare ones will be very satisfying as well! These people all around can be witnesses of our conversation!" Bingus straightened his stooped back, showing the pride of the northern people. As soon as he said that, he turned around, about to sit on his wooden stool, gloating at the victory over a shameless young man.
"Deal!" Icicle shouted. Bingus skeptically turned around and saw a nightmare of his life. If someone told him it was real, he wouldn't dare believe.
A little devil stood in front of him, emanating pure greed, his impish grin spreading from ear to ear.
Icicle pressed on the 15000 stack in his inventory and let it slowly pour out. Surrounding people looked on, flabbergasted, as the mountain of wolf furs formed, blocking the whole passage.
Icicle walked around it to see Bingus and reached out with his hand to shake the withered palm. "14500 furs, 12 coppers each, giving a total of 17 gold coins and 40 silver. It's a pleasure doing business with you."
Bingus stood on the side, staggering. The profit he'll make from this furs now dwindled to almost nothing... He started thinking if he should just donate this entire mountain of furs to the royal family to earn their favor.
"Pack it up quickly!" Recovering from his daze, Bingus shouted to the bodyguards behind him. They didn't laugh anymore, for they understood that they're the ones who need to load those furs on the ship.
Getting a handsome amount of gold, Icicle turned to Bingus and said "So you will be here for another half an hour, right? I'll be right back, prepare to empty your pockets, old man!" he turned to the door and sprinted away.
Regulars of the Bazzar laughed at the misery of the old man. He was actually played by a young man in his twenties. A new adventurer at that.
Bingus was depressed. He wanted to show off and let other feel the pride of the northern people, but he was actually extorted by an actor! A young'un! He considered packing his things up and sailing away immediately, but the commotion this mountain of fur caused couldn't be simply forgotten. The people of Vilen Town, which deals with Minaeryth Kingdom, will remember this day. If he wants to return here then he needs to keep his promise. Mages of Acalen Kingdom don't even bother selling lowly crafting items such as furs. As for the Qured Kingdom, their climat is so hot that wolves don't even live there...
Forced into staying, Bingus plopped into the ground, shaking his head from time to time, trying to get the nightmare out of his head and praying that the young man won't make it in time...
Icicle ran at top speed towards the Vilen Town. He took a sip of lemonade to refresh himself and opened his friends list. He sent a message to Faura.
Closing the window, his devilish grin widened. "I'll finally be rich!" He checked the map and pinpointed the location of the Hunter from the forums. On the screenshot, this Hunter had a mountain of low level wolf furs behind him, thus Icicle decided to earn as much as he can, resolved to buyout his whole stock!