"Hey, Old Man! You still haven't decided? Will you hand this building over to us? Then won't you be able to buy alcohol every day until you die?"
The men who entered the smithy were rough looking and their physique was good. They reminded me of the employees from Mother's Heart is Happy. They took a heavy-handed attitude as they handed a sheet of paper to the elderly blacksmith.
It was a contract to sell this building and the land to the Mero Company. I instinctively realized it.
'If I analyze this based on my recent successes and troubles, it's likely that I'll get involved in a stupid quest as I stand here.'
That absolutely couldn't be allowed to happen. The urgent thing right now was to earn money by making items.
'There's no time to waste on unwanted quests.'
I admired my brain's quick thinking and moved to avoid this situation. But how many things ever went according to my will? I only managed to move a few steps before I was caught by the gangsters.
"Hey, where did this newbie come from? You trying to sneak into our business like a rat?"
They started to question me in an intimidating manner.
"Did you come to steal the contents of our contract? You, are you a spy? Did the Skaner Company send you?"
Why did I get caught up in the contents of that piece of paper? This was really some useless curiosity.
'I should've just stayed in the rear and avoided looking at them.'
I shrugged as if to say 'Spy, me? What are you talking about? It isn't like that, so don't worry about me. I just want to go my own way.'
But they continued to act tough.
My saliva dried up and sweat beaded up on my forehead. I remembered my low-level days in Satisfy.
Was it due to the fearful memories of being a bread shuttle, or being threatened by teenage gangster NPCs in the back alleys? Or maybe it was because they resembled the employees from Mother's Heart is Happy Financial Services.
I reflexively shrank back from the group; I couldn't cope with this.
'I should behave.'
Violent NPCs didn't fear the law. It was entirely possible to be severely injured or killed if I even so much as touched these guys. Of course, I could report the NPCs to the guards, but their fists were closer than the law was. It might be possible if I was stronger or quick enough to flee from this building. However, that wasn't the case so it was better to avoid irritating them.
'Judging by their appearance and atmosphere, they aren't back alley bullies. They don't just smoke cigarettes and use bread shuttles.'
The Mero Company was the second largest business company in the Eternal Kingdom. They wouldn't give jobs to losers. These assholes were all gangsters.
'Based on their equipment, they're at least level 35.'
Gangsters over level 35! How many people have they hurt and frightened in order to level up? I couldn't imagine all the sins that these people had committed.
'There are five of them… In contrast, I am only level 3. While my stats are superior compared to those of my level, they're all still around level 20. Not only that I am alone as well.'
To make matters worse, I was unarmed. I would only lose if I got into a fight with them.
'Yes, let's act prudently and discard my pride.'
As soon as I organized my thoughts, I smiled as brightly as possible and explained, "I'm not here to spy on you. I am just a customer passing by. So you don't have to be so vigilant. Heheh."
Acting subservient to NPCs! I felt no shame. The hand of the man holding my shoulder loosened slightly.
"Customer? At this smithy?"
"Hoh? A customer of this smithy…"
The grip of the man's hand on my shoulder strengthened again.
'Ouch, it hurts.'
I frowned due to the pain. Curse words almost popped out of my mouth, but I remained patient. Instead of scolding him, I tried my best to maintain my smile. Why? Otherwise, I might get hit! There was an old saying that you couldn't spit when there was a smile on the other person's face.
The gangsters eyed me with suspicion.
"The street operated by the Mero Company has a large number of weapons stores, so why would you come to a smithy like this? Isn't this strange?"
"There might be many weapons stores, but this is the only smithy. I don't want to buy a weapon, but instead find a blacksmith for production-related work. Therefore, it was inevitable that I came here. Hehe, I had no idea this smithy was troubled since I am new to Winston."
I could debut as a lead actor right away and would be the perfect candidate for the New Actor Award at the end of year ceremonies. My appearance and tone were subservient. I continued to smile and the suspicious gangster released me.
"I somehow feel like hitting you, but you're a blacksmith as well? Umm, indeed. You're so weak that you can't be a spy… Okay, get out of here. Don't think about coming here again."
Did he want to hit me? Did I look poor and weak? These scum thought they could make fun of me just because of how I looked? The fury in my heart boiled over. However, be patient.
"Hehe, thank you for believing in me. I'll be going now."
I was able to keep the smile until the last minute as I quickly headed out of the smithy. Then the old blacksmith's angry voice was heard behind me, "Yes… there's nothing to be gained from dragging this dirty work out too long. It is better to avoid such things. I'm too tired now."
As I paused for a moment, the old man blinked his bloodshot eyes. It was to stop the tears from falling down.
"Give me that contract. I'll sign it as you wish."
"Ohh! Good thinking Old Man!"
"It took a long time, but you have finally made a wise decision."
The gangsters cheered at the old man's words. It was like a festival. The one who seemed to be the leader handed the contract to the old man.
"All you have to do is sign. Then you can take it easy."
The old man gazed at the contract and hesitated for a moment before reaching towards the contract with trembling hands. At that moment, tears fell from the old man's eyes. "Ahh! This is the end of my seven generation family business! I won't be able to face my ancestors after death!"
The sight of the sad and depressed old man was unbearable. But the gangsters mocked him instead of comforting him,
"You abruptly stopped blacksmithing, so isn't it natural for the customers to turn away? And Old Man, didn't you have a child? Your only son died, so you turned to the bottles? You don't have a successor, so once you die, your family line will naturally be cut off. You were defending something that had no value. Didn't your debts just increase? Pathetic, truly pathetic."
"You! Don't mention my son with that vulgar mouth!"
"Why the hell are you so loud? Do you want to be scolded like last time?"
The gangster called 'Johnson' threatened to hit the old man. I was angry when I saw Johnson.
'Isn't that an old man? Not only did he speak rudely to the old man, but threatening to beat him up…'
At that moment, a gangster called 'Um' spoke, "Look, the contract should be completed today."
Then the one called 'Praga' jumped in like an excited foal, "No, I'm mad. Didn't we have to wait a few months for the old man to acceptwhile that old man refused? Think about how much we suffered because of him!"
The gangster called 'Neil' continued, "I agree… Fuck, we couldn't even properly handle an old man. We received less pay on the scheduled date because of this."
Then the silent leader, 'Veil' smiled coldly and said, "That's right, you must compensate us for the damages we received."
Veil slapped the old man's cheek and said, "Hey Old Man, once you receive the money for selling this smithy, half of it will be used to pay off your debt, while the other half will be handed to us. Isn't it obvious to compensate us for the damages you caused?"
"You dog bastards!" The old man, Khan, angrily replied to Veil.
"Hey, you don't have a wife or son to feed, so why do you need a large amount of money? You should help the poor, young people like me."
My insides were boiling with anger.
'I don't respect senior citizens much, but…'
When I used public transportation such as the bus or subway, I never yielded my seat to the elderly. I paid the same taxes, so I also had the right to enjoy the seat! No matter how burdensome their gazes were, I never gave way.
I didn't insult or tease the elderly, unlike these gangsters. I was really angry.
'Young pups treating grandmothers and grandfathers like this… it is terrible.'
So? Should I help the old man, despite my low level?
NO~ NO~ I don't have a sense of justice. Why should I help others? I couldn't think of any benefits. In my childhood, I was disgusted by superheroes instead of admiring them like everyone else.
'Why are they getting hurt trying to save others? Are they crazy?'
I couldn't understand the heroes who sacrificed themselves to defeat the villain. My young self cringed as I watched their unconditional sacrifice. So when the neighborhood kids played as heroes, I acted as the villain. Once I became the villain, I enjoyed the pleasure I got from harassing my friends who played the role of heroes. I showed sense by pretending to die at the end of the game, meaning the other children didn't feel any resentment.
'When I think about it, I have been like this since childhood. Yes, from the beginning, I closed my eyes whenever I saw injustice.'
So I turned away from the old man who was being humiliated and about to lose the business that had been in his family for seven generations. Sure, some regrets remained.
'The situation has become like this, so it is impossible to make items in this smithy. If I want to move villages, I have to pay for that scamming expensive carriage again? Do I really have to move villages once more? No, there is no need to. I will just hunt and raise my level until the new owner of this smithy starts work.'
'Don't I need equipment to hunt? This damn thing! I stored my sword and armor in the warehouse. My 50 silver!'
My stress levels weren't a joke. My stomach hurt when I thought about all the money that was flying away. Why was my life so twisted? Uhh… I'm getting a stomach ache. I should leave here as soon as possible.'
But strangely, my feet didn't move.
'That old man… is this okay?'
Ah! Really! Fuck!
Maybe it was because I witnessed the dirty work. No matter how much I dreamed about a life that was far from good, I still had the basic fundamentals of a human. It was too much for my conscience to ignore the old man surrounded by gangsters.
'No, why risk myself for someone else? Am I stupid?'
I was fully aware that I should turn a blind eye to this. So why was I hesitating?
'When did I become nosy? This behavior isn't like me. I've always closed my eyes to injustice.'
The moment I braced myself to leave the smithy.
[Your anger levels are at their peak after witnessing gangsters commit wrongdoings towards a blacksmith.]
[The quest 'Blacksmith's Rage' has been created.]
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