I only had 3 gold and 11 silver. I had to make items and sell them to people in order to earn enough to use the carriage. Once I saved up enough money, I could buy some blue orichalcum ore and make 'Failure.' However, saving money was as hard as plucking the stars from the night skies.
The moment I set foot in the smithy,
[The effect of mastering 'Blacksmith's Craftsmanship Skill' is activated. Blacksmith NPCs with craftsmanship skill beyond the intermediate level will treat you in a friendly manner.
['Pagma's Descendant' class effect is activated. Blacksmith NPCs with advanced level craftsmanship skills will recognize and worship you.]
This was a hidden feature? It meant I could readily obtain the desired production methods from blacksmiths.
The Pagma's Descendant class, the most I experienced it, the more I liked it. At first, I disliked it because it was a production class. However, it truly was a legendary class. I joyfully entered the smithy and found a blacksmith sweating in front of a hearth.
"I want to make and sell the most profitable item with the greatest demand. What is that item? Please give me a recommendation."
I smiled brightly.
'I am Pagma's Descendant, someone who has mastered the Blacksmith's Craftsmanship Skill. Feel appreciation towards me, worship me, and hand over the appropriate crafting method!'
But the next development went against my expectations. Instead of the worshipping, the blacksmith gazed at me with cold eyes.
"Bah, a kid wants to talk about this subject. I don't want to talk to a rude and incompetent person like you, so get out."
This was an ordinary NPC's attitude towards level 1 users.
'He didn't recognize me?'
An intermediate or advanced blacksmith would instantly recognize me, but the blacksmith here didn't know me. It meant that he was a low level blacksmith who hadn't even reached the intermediate level.
'Ah, you. I met a lousy person.'
I wanted to go to another blacksmith, but this was the only smithy in the village. I expected this to be easy due to the notification window, but it was in vain.
'I forgot how unlucky I was. Dammit.'
It couldn't be helped. I hurriedly changed my attitude and respectfully spoke to the blacksmith, "You were so passionate about your work that I was afraid to disturb your concentration. Therefore, I wanted to quickly get to the point. Did I sound rude? If so, please forgive me."
"Huh, I see. You have learned strange manners."
The blacksmith looked at me with interest. I stood as politely as possible, like a man engaged in a service job.
"I am Grid. I would like to learn how to make items."
The blacksmith snorted. "Bah, do you think anyone can learn how to make items? A child like you should start from firewood. No, not even. If you sincerely want to learn how to make items from me, you should go to the backyard and obtain firewood. You should be thankful that I am letting you do this."
"…How expected from a lowly blacksmith."
"Huh? Did you say something just now?
I was the one feeling regret now. The only person I could depend on in this village was a lowly blacksmith. If I was kicked out from here without learning how to make items, I would have to save money while doing restaurant chores or working in the fields until I gathered enough for the carriage.
"I'll chop the firewood. How much do I need?"
The blacksmith gave me an old axe and said, "As much as you can."
Blacksmith Smith has given you an errand to chop firewood. If you can finish this task well, Smith will look upon you in a more favorable light.
Quest Clear Conditions: 500 pieces of firewood.
Quest Reward: Affinity with Smith +10, experience +10, 20 bronze.
Quest Failure: Affinity with Smith -10.
'Wow, it's a normal quest window this time.'
After starting Ashur's quest, I only received S-grade or SS-grade quests, so receiving a normal quest felt like my mind was cleansed.
'I need 20 experience until my next level up… If I complete this quest, my experience bar will fill up by half.'
There was no change in the amount of experience needed to level up from -3 or -1. The amount of experience needed for minus levels seemed to be 20 points. In other words, at the minus level, I could raise my level just by doing these miscellaneous quests.
'First of all, I need to escape from the minus level.'
I thought positive thoughts and headed to the backyard with the axe. After checking the trees piled up on one side, I looked at the axe in my hand. It was an old axe. Could this old axe be used to chop firewood?
'Rather, I'm worried that the axe will be shattered upon hitting the tree… He might be angry if I break his axe, so I have to be careful…'
I decided to use the 'Legendary Blacksmith's Appraisal' skill on the old axe.
[The blacksmith who becomes a legend that appraises items with an excellent discerning eye. If a hidden feature exists in the target item, it will be found.]
[Smith's Old Axe]
Durability: 6/6 Attack Power: 4~7
An axe that the blacksmith Smith has used since he was young. It was well made and is very old, but still cuts well. The durability is weak so there is a danger that it will be destroyed.
[No hidden functions exist.]
It was an ordinary axe, save for the fact that it was very old. I felt relief, rather than disappointment, that the item didn't have a hidden function. I had gone through so many incidents lately that I missed ordinary things.
[You have grasped the materials that make up Smith's Old Axe, the production method, and the intentions of its creator.]
[Your understanding of Smith's Old Axe is now at 100%. You can use Smith's Old Axe perfectly.]
[You have learned how to make an axe.]
Thanks to his passive skill, he perfectly understood the item and new notification windows popped up.
"I got 100% understanding straight away."
It seemed that items with low ratings could reach the maximum understanding just by using Appraisal on them. Indeed, it would be funny if a legendary blacksmith looked at a normal axe and couldn't understand its production method.
"There are no conditions of use, so I don't think an increased understanding is useful. The advantage is that the axe production method is gained."
A penalty would occur if I equipped an item that I didn't meet the conditions of. The 'understanding' of an item was just a skill that played a role in reducing the penalty. Smith's Old Axe was an item that didn't have a usage penalty, so there were no advantages to the 100% understanding, except for the addition of the production method.
I didn't feel much inspiration, but I placed the axe to one side and set up a log. I thought about spitting into my hands and rubbing them together, like the old man in historical dramas.
'There is no need for physical power when chopping firewood. I just need to go along the grain.'
It was knowledge I picked up from somewhere, but I didn't know exactly what it meant by following the grain. It was simply knowledge that couldn't be applied. However, there was no need to worry. Couldn't I just cut the piece of wood like I would cut a monster with my greatsword?
'It is like using swordsmanship on a tree.'
I picked up the axe I had put aside. The moment I was about to chop the log… A solid black line was drawn near the center of the log.
"What is this?"
Strange. I watched it for a moment before putting the axe down, watching the black line disappear like it was a lie. I picked up the axe again. The black line soon reappeared. It felt like the axe was telling me to hit the black line.
"This is the effect of 100% understanding."
It was a possible interpretation, but I couldn't be sure. I avoided the black line and hit the middle of the log with the axe.
Although I struck down with all my might, the axe failed and stopped halfway through the log. Chopping it in one go had failed. A notification window popped up stating that the durability of the axe had decreased by one.
I couldn't even chop firewood… I was useless here as well! I felt frustrated as I barely managed to pull out the axe stuck in the log. Then I threw the half split piece of wood to the side and picked up a new log.
I gazed at the black line and swung the axe.
The moment the axe touched the solid line, a light sound was made and an exhilarating feeling could be felt. The log was split in half without any resistance.
I was forced to admire the effect of understanding the item, finally realizing the importance of understanding.
'This is what it meant by handling the item perfectly. The benefit of increasing item understanding isn't just reducing the penalties or learning how to make the item.'
There was an expression about treating items as another limb. If I raised a sword's understanding to 100%, I could use that sword like it was my own limb. Item understanding could be thought to have the same type of concept as Weapons Mastery.
'If I raise the understanding of items I created to 100%…'
Invincible! I had played the game for over a year, but now there was the possibility of entering the rankings!
"Okay, earn money quickly and pay off my debt! Then I will become a ranker with the power of items!"
Once I became a ranker, I would receive a staggering amount of requests from various media. I could become a rich person just from the TV performance fees. It came with bonus popularity and fame. No one could ignore me anymore and I would be able to gain the heart of my first love, Ahyoung!
My motivation shot upwards!
"Haaaah!! Hat! Hat! Hap!"
Ttaak! Ttaak! Ttaak! Ttadadak~!
I didn't rest as I chopped firewood for two hours. I couldn't stop because the feeling of success was so thrilling. But the pleasure only lasted for a while. As my level was -3, my poor stamina quickly ran out my sense of hunger came quickly after.
I started getting tired at around the 150th piece of firewood, my breathing became arduous and pained.
'Should I take a break and rest?'
No, I wouldn't.
The three months I spent on Ashur's quest was exceptionally painful and difficult, but I pressed on without giving up. I had experienced such a thing, so I couldn't take a break while chopping firewood. This exhaustion was nothing compared to everything I experienced before.
'This isn't hard work. Don't rest. Finish quickly and proceed to the next quest. I will level up and make money.'
I grit my teeth and kept on chopping the firewood.
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