"Hye… What are you doing"
"How did you get this sword"
It was crucial to me to get over five thousand coins if I wanted to survive the next quest. In essence, the next part might look like a copy to the first part. We would be asked to survive the assault of monsters.
But the strength of these monsters plus other variables would make it difficult if not impossible to clear this stage by my current strength.
"I'm getting the cores," I said before adding without looking back at the group around me, "and the sword can be got from the market."
"The market" one of the youth said.
"How did you know about these cores" Isabella was still sharp in her senses like ever. I couldn't help but stop what I was doing and turned to them.
"This is just the games I told you about," I said before looking at others, "we have a system, skills and stats. So what's strange about finding weapons and gears at the market Don't tell me…"
I faked my surprise while the gamers here in the group took the bait.
"It's… really like the games I used to play," one of the youths said while others nodded.
"So we shall get gears for free like the games" a girl said who had short blue hair to her ears except for a group of seven thin bundles that ended with earrings' like things. "We are considered newbies now, right"
I had to admit she was too optimistic about the apocalypse. "Nothing is for free," I said before adding, "I've bought this sword for one hundred coins."
"Wow! This price already" John was the one to ask, while Allen threw his metallic club and said: "Finally I'll get a decent weapon."
I didn't speak any further and let them all explore the market. It seemed they didn't touch it mistaking it to be something useless.
After all, no one had an option for coins, so most people at this time would be interested in the market. That was what I read before at the records and it seemed to be true.
"Holly sh*t! The prices are all off the roof!" one girl screamed in panic before John didn't hesitate to buy himself another version of my sword.
"This sword is enough for me," he waved it while others complained:
"We didn't get enough coins to even buy that!"
"Home come!! Even Isabella, who literally did nothing, had a sword as well!"
I looked around after getting another core and realized the gazes of the other members with few coins. 'Don't hate me, hate the system,' I inwardly laughed before deciding to give them a little help.
"You can get more coins if you got the remnants of the monsters here," I pointed my sword to the tusks, claws, and even the fur and added, "these things can be sold to the market for a fair price."
"That's why you are collecting cores" Isabella's eyes shone before she added, "I need body armor to better defend myself. However, its price is over three hundred coins!"
"On one condition," my words seemed decisive, "all the cores will be given to me."
The group that followed me here was initially over forty people. Now all that remained was a handful of nineteen youths. Despite their obvious objection on their faces, no one dared to loudly say anything to me.
It was expected. After all, I was acting as the leader of our little group here.
The main source of light only came from the fire still raging around us. At this moment I regretted burning many monsters and used them as wood for the fire.
However I couldn't survive that part without this step. I threw that memory behind my back and started to work to get the cores of the monsters.
The group stood behind me and waited for me to extract ores. Actually it seemed ironic to me about what I was doing right now.
Every time I read about such actions in the records I felt disgusted. The monsters we had after ninety-nine years were much fiercer and more advanced than these useless ones.
Just reading the doings of many survivors as they extracted cores and other parts of the monsters they killed made me despise their pathetic actions.
And now I was just doing the same as them. How ironic this was!
But to reach the five thousand coins goal I had to do anything, that was out of the question.
"How did you know all these things Are you a prophet" Isabella kept wondering about this for five minutes before finally asking. The time was against me here, so I kept my hands busy while answering her: "You just needed to play more games to know how things work here."
My answer wasn't the truth but it was enough to clear all doubts at me. As the minutes passed, my coin balance kept slowly rising.
Each core was sold for twenty coins. That was a daylight steal! At this moment I couldn't help but doubt the intervention of those bastards.
However, no matter what they tried to do, I would reach my goal in the end.
"Wow! I finally got one hundred coins!" That girl with short hair screamed in joy as she jumped in the air a couple of times. Her hair produced a faint sound as her strange earrings kept clanging against each other. "Now I can get that sword."
"I envy you," another youth said before adding in determination, "I only lack twenty coins. I'll reach the one hundred milestone and get that sword."
I felt bad for them. What if they knew how many coins I had However I noticed something disturbing.
In the absence of an honest guide, humans tended to make many wrong decisions. One of them was just happening in front of my eyes.
If not my survival in the next round would be affected by that mistake, I wouldn't have volunteered to say anything.
"You shouldn't think like that," I finally opened my mouth and stopped that girl from making that mistake, "like games, everyone had his unique stats. Don't copy me and first revise your stats before doing anything."
"What do you mean" Isabella's face darkened but according to the old man's tales, I knew that sword suited her better than anything else.
"Look at your stats," I said before adding as I extracted another core and threw it carelessly in the air where it vanished, "see what's the highest stat you got. According to that, you can select the best weapon and gear for you."
Before anyone could ask again I added, "anyone who played games before can explain this better. I'm busy right now."
My job to extract cores wasn't that easy. I hate to slice the monster and get its organs out. The cores were placed deeply just next to their spinal cords.
It wasn't just resting calmly there but there was a hollow space dedicated to firmly hold the core. I had to crush these hard bones surrounding it without actually damaging these cores.
In the meantime, those in the group who played the games frequently took the charge of explaining this to the others.
I listened as they said the right things till the end. Actually this mistake seemed trivial at first. However, imagine a healer who could be a perfect support in battles, held a sword and tried to fight monsters head on
His strength would fail him, and his stamina would deplete fast. In the end he would die and the team would lose such a critical player.
"Wow! I had my highest stats at strength!" Isabella hurriedly examined her stats and was relieved to see that she didn't make a mistake.
But others did.
"Ouch," Allen said in pain, "my highest stat is speed!"
"You shouldn't feel that bad," John bitterly interfered, "my highest stat is defense!"
I heard the two and couldn't help but inwardly smile. 'You two… don't tell me you only had one hundred coins from the quest' I knew that wasn't true. "Speed can be used better if you have two swords and not one," I started coughing them before adding, "as for defense, you can sell the sword to the market and try to buy a shield instead."
"I'll do that," John paused for a second before I was startled by his screaming voice, "What the f*ck! I just bought it for one hundred coins! Why the hell did it sell for only fifty!"
I controlled my face to not show an expression of ridicule. C'mon man! I was pretty sure you had more than five hundred coins there.
"Screw this," John was enraged by the scam of the system before he bought the only basic shield available. "This will do… I shouldn't have sold that sword! I would have acted like those spartans from legends."
He felt a little regretful but it was the right choice to ditch the sword. John and others forgot that stamina was a vital stat that would be pressured if he held a sword in addition to the shield.
"Excuse me, I have something to ask," that girl with short blue hair suddenly said, "I have a weird thing called attribute. It says I have earth grade mana affection. Any ideas about what this means"
Just as I heard her words my hands paused and my body stiffened. I couldn't help but turn and get a good look over that girl.
'So Isabella isn't the only special one here,' I suddenly realized this. It seemed humans had great talents who were never mentioned even by the old man's words.
At this point I realized something. The old man only gave me a part of the story based on that man's words. No matter how special and strong that man was, he couldn't possibly have known everyone in the apocalypse.
He must have only paid attention to those shiny stars who managed to survive after long trials. "Tell me what your attributes are," I said to the group while my face looked a bit serious.
I couldn't help it! Even if they started to develop doubt at this point, I needed to know who should receive my full attention and who shouldn't.
"Me is unique."
All started to state the grades of their attributes. Honestly speaking all of their attributes weren't something I knew before. The attributes were like a vast encyclopedia of weird names that only fit each person.
But it was shocking to me! What the hell was this group Monsters!!
I never thought the randomly gathered group had a special grade attribute as their weakest member! At this moment my eyes shone and I decided one thing.
'You are mine,' I hardly prevented myself from drooling at them, 'you are all mine!'
"Listen up," as I made the decision, I had to show them some support now, "if you have an attribute, try to link it with your stats. For example, Sara's attribute can work best as a wizard. Using swords or shields won't show your abilities like having a magic staff or wand," I took that blue haired girl as an example before I continued to talk.
"Gerry has an attribute to support healing. So he should also look for a staff or a wand."
"But I don't know any skills to use," Gerry objected before many nodded in agreement.
That was another naive mistake many humans committed at this time. Actually it wasn't all their fault, after all what came after the upcoming quest would mislead many.
"You didn't need any," I slowly said before adding, "if you know a skill in your life, try to use it."
"How can I be sure about this" Isabella seemed to notice anomalies in my latest actions. However, if I really wanted to help them, then let them all doubt me instead of just blocking crucial info that would save their lives, my life, later on.
"Just try it," I firmly said before pointing to my sword and added, "but without the suitable gear, enough stat, and good supporting attribute you won't be able to take any step."
The holy triad, the sacred triangle… Many names were called upon the relation between these three things together. Right now I was cutting short at least one month of trials and errors, deaths and suffering for them to learn such important knowledge.
Humans were curious species, but they took a month for the first human to discover the link between these three aspects. For me I already knew this and they had to be grateful for being with me.
And that wasn't only everything I had to say to them here!