4. The Capital Prole
So that he could reach Level 10 as fast as possible, on the second day Bai XiaoYu decided to have a look around the village and complete some quests. Thus the tiny lucky cat dejectedly became a pretty corpse sunbathing over his shoulders because quest rewards were all transferred straight into the players’ hands. It couldn’t even pick anything up. It just showcased its passive skill being triggered. All quests he completed had an additional 10% to 50% gold reward.
With a few small dried fish he’d bought from the game system’s pet shop, he teased the kitten from time to time. He walked through the village looking for kill quests, something to make it a little more energetic.
Whether it was because his luck was just too strong or terrible, most of the quests were just errand quests like delivering lunch and letters. He found a few fetch quests that required him to gather items from the monsters near the village, but due to the hours he’d spent battling yesterday and the tiny lucky cat’s inventory has yet to be cleared of non-equipment items, all requests were fulfilled as soon as he received the quest. He’d instantly obtain the quests’ rewards.
After looping round and round the village for half a day, he finally found a kill quest that afternoon: kill 30 of the small grey wolves that have been harassing the villagers. Location: the Nameless Mountain.
XiaoYu looked behind him. It was probably referring to the mountain just behind the village. He bought some food and potions, and headed off for the mountain.
The game called it a mountain but it’s just a slightly taller mound of dirt than usual. Ignoring a bunch of wild rabbits, it was halfway up the mountain before he found Level 7 to 9 tiny grey wolves lounging around.
They really are tiny…grey wolves. They weren’t just a tiny bit lacking compared to the tall fierce wolves Bai XiaoYu had imagined. They were just a smidge larger than the tiny lucky cat. True, what new player would have the strength to kill large wolves. The most they could do is torment the wolves’ children. He’d much rather believe it was the villagers harassing the wolves than these itsy-bitsy wolves harassing the villagers.
But a quest is a quest. After over an hour of slaughter by himself (the tiny lucky cat was observe-and-collect-money-ing), he finally killed 30 small grey wolves. With a lazy stretch, he began heading back to the village. Just as he did so, an earthshaking howl echoed through the mountain.
Shoot. Could it be the big grey wolf had come seeking vengeance because he’d killed too many of its children? He turned around to find a great big grey wolf as tall as a man, with red eyes, sharp teeth and the words “Great Grey Wolf, Boss, Level 15” shimmering above its head, running straight at him.
Bai XiaoYu didn’t pause for a single moment and dashed right down the mountain with TinyLuckyCat in his arms. Is this a joke? He’s only at Level 9. To boost the power of his skills after becoming an Acolyte, he’d spent all his points on Intelligence. There was not a single chance he could go against this boss.
However, it’s a pity that he himself forgot about his pitiful 5 Dexterity. He can’t even run away from the raging boss. When he transformed into a ray of bright white light, the only thought in his mind was: next time, he must not forget to buy Return Scrolls.
Depressed, the big and small lucky cats sat beside the Revival Point in the Newbie Village and sighed for the nth time. Although he’d reduced the Pain Sensory setting to 10%, the sting of death would always break one’s heart.
Looking on at his torn-up clothes and the near leafless wreathe on his head, he reminded himself once more. He must always carry Return Scrolls with him! Before he was reluctant to get one due to it being 5 silver coins each. The net worth of the two lucky cats were just a little over 6 silver coins. Buying one equals to going broke. Now he’s not going to bother saving that tiny bit of cash. All gold lost will return. Once his level increases, money would slowly come back.
When XiaoYu handed in the quest, he finally reached Level 10. But after buying a Return Scroll and repairing his equipment, there were barely over 10 copper coins left in his pockets. It wasn’t even enough for the teleportation fee. Eventually, after completing a few more errand quests, he had earned enough money, and just before the sky turned dark. He decided to leave the village on the next day and head towards the nearest city, Prole.
Upon arriving at Prole, the first thing he thought was: huge, and not in an average sort of way. The second thought that went through his mind was: there were too many people.
As one of the main 4 cities, Prole was definitely big. At the same time, as the City of Merchants, its streets and alleyways were filled with stalls on both sides. The voices of those who were loudly advertising their wares and those of haggling rose and fell in waves. There were also sellers who seemed as if they were paralysed, stuck in front of their stalls with nary a movement.
These were the two modes of stalls AO offers. The first was the Original mode. Players could buy a stall sign from the game’s shop for 5 silver coins and they could set up a stall in an open spot by a street with no time limit. However, the player cannot leave the stall during this time. The other was the Body Double mode. Players would need the special stall sign which costs 10 silvers each. They can then set up a stall for 12 hours (once the stall expires, all items and money go straight into the player’s storage), but the players can choose to leave their stalls. The game will save the last pose the player was in prior to leaving their stall.
On the surface, while the latter option was slightly more expensive and the time was limited, it was convenient. Players could freely move about and deal with other matters. Logically most people would choose this mode, and indeed the other cities’ markets were more calm with a vast majority of stall owners using body doubles.
But Prole was different. Its name as the City of Merchants wasn’t blindly given. It was because amongst the 4 main cities, Prole had the best scenery with a wide variety of NPC shops and the largest Teleportation Sector. As such, it was nicknamed by the players as the capital of AO.
Most players chose to set their revival point at Prole. The more players passed by, the more merchants were attracted to it. The more merchants came by, the stronger the competition became. You want to make your product stand out from the sea of stalls? Then cry out and boast about it. You want to buy something you’ve been eyeing at a low price? Then haggle. This was something a Body Double stall could never do. Hence when players set up their stalls here, they prefer to look after the stall themselves and call out for passing players to come have a look at their wares. Similarly, players passing by also preferred to head for Owner-mode stalls as they could haggle.
Bai XiaoYu carefully walked through the wide streets of Prole. He watched as players around him rushed about and haggled. No one paid attention to him. Slowly his courage grew and he began walking down the streets with a straight back, browsing at the prices of items in AO.
Occasionally a few players would notice the black kitten on his shoulders. Even then, they only gave him a brief glance before turning away. After all, in-game pets have been released for quite some time now. With all sorts of cutesy blobs, rabbits, puppies and kittens to be had, the range of pets to be found were near endless. While this little cat was very cute, when thrown among a street filled to the brim with cute pets it wasn’t as eye-catching.
XiaoYu leisurely strolled down one lane after another. Whenever he encountered an energetic merchant waving him over, he’d hide to the side. He roughly understood the basic situation of AO’s economy. As expected, cards and equipment with low drop rates were the popular items. All items, as long as they aren’t the white-grade equipment sold by NPCs, could be sold in the market. Even the small grass wreathe on top of his head was being sold. But was only worth 1 silver. There were even rocks used to refine armours, potions, food, quest items etc.
He considered the notion of setting up his own stall for a moment. There was probably quite a while left before he would be able to set it up. Disregarding the expensive stall sign, there weren’t a lot of items on him that were worth anything. He couldn’t even reach the maximum stall limit of 20 items (One stall sign only allows 20 items to be sold at a time but the owner could replenish the stall as soon as an item is sold).
As such the current mission was still to go for a job change. But before he headed towards the place he could do so, he first found a storage NPC to apply for a free small storage box which could store 50 items (Every time he accessed the storage box, he’d pay a 1-copper fee. Expanding the box by 1 slot required 1 crystal with a maximum of 250 slots to be had.) and stored all the items in his and the tiny lucky cat’s inventories.
He then entered the Job Change Hall, found the NPC in Acolyte robes, and accepted the quest to kill 100 flowers sprites and 100 lizards in the areas surrounding Prole.
Observe-and-collect-money-ing: Purposely made to not be grammatically correct as it reflects one of the many Asian styles in online text or to act cute – [verb]ING.