Chapter 48: The allure of gold coins
After departing from Fabian, Han Shuo’s path took him straight to the outskirts of the Dark Forest. He took paths that their group had all taken before.
During his journey, Han Shuo continued to practice magic. Having gone through the reforging of the “solid realm”, it was as if Han Shuo had been reborn. Now that his magical training had bore fruit, the magical yuan could travel to all parts of his body according to his will.
There were nine levels in the world of demonic magic, and Han Shuo had now reached the “open passages realm”. The training for the “open passages” and “solid” realms differed slightly. This was a realm that primarily focused on the expansion of the body’s meridians, greatly increasing the width and durability of the meridians. In every instance of training, the process of “opening passages” filled his body with splitting agony, as if there were insects biting and gnawing within the meridians.
The first three levels of demonic magic of solid, open passages, and molded spirit were the most foundational realms. Training became increasingly difficult as one progressed, but with the experience of training in the “solid realm”, Han Shuo already understand that agony and inhumane torture accompanied his magical training. The inhumane pain of the “open passages” realm was also within his expectations. He used magical yuan to repeatedly expand his meridians without letting up for a second, basing it purely on indomitable will.
After twelve days of training and traveling, Han Shuo still hadn’t run into Fanny and the others along the way. He finally made it out of the Dark Forest alone and made it to the town of Drol again when dusk fell.
Compared to a month ago, Han Shuo had weathered through the trials of the Dark Forest, and since then his strength, mindset, and appearance had all undergone drastic changes. Han Shuo was now over 170 cm, and although his body wasn’t too muscular, he was no longer thin and scrawny.
After baptism by fresh blood, Han Shuo had greatly improved both his pluck and knowledge. His entire aura was also undergoing mysterious changes. He was slowly changing under circumstances that even Han Shuo himself wasn’t even aware of.
At dusk, the town of Drol was enclosed in a happy, carefree atmosphere. Many adventurers had returned from the Dark Forest. Some wore expressions of sorrow, having lost companions, while others had satisfied smiles on their faces due to obtaining rich rewards, and they planned on a thorough night of depravity within the town of Drol.
When it was dusk, Han Shuo first came to the place where Gene and the others had borrowed and stabled their battlesteeds. He observed the place from a distance and noticed that the battlesteeds that they had spent money to borrow were still present. He immediately understood that Fanny and everyone else probably hadn’t returned to Drol yet.
Although they had spent money on the battlesteeds, the necromancy teachers and students only had the rights to use them. When they returned to Zajoski, they would have to return the battlesteeds to the Zajoski guards in precisely the same condition that they had received them. Since the battlesteeds were still here, that meant Fanny and them had definitely yet to leave.
Han Shuo naturally knew that traveling with such haste by himself, he was sure to return much more quickly than Fanny’s slowly plodding group. Perhaps Fanny and the others had been delayed by magical creatures along the way, so it was within his expectations that Fanny and the others hadn’t returned yet.
He went to the small hotel that everyone had stayed in previously, walked to the main counter, and said with a smile, “I need a room.”
The owner was eating fruit with his eyes almost shut. He raised his head to flick a glance at Han Shuo and said lazily, “Oh, it’s you. Give me ten bronze coins. That warehouse is always empty… you can go there now.”
The last time Han Shuo had come with the others, Gene had especially rented out a warehouse for Han Shuo, and Han Shuo had been scorned by the owner because of this. Therefore, when the owner saw that it was Han Shuo, he naturally assumed that with Han Shuo’s status, he could only rent the warehouse.
He didn’t become angry, but rather smiled and took out the money bag at his waist. He clinked and poured out one gold coin from it, dumping it onto the round wooden table. He looked sideways at the owner and said, “I don’t want to stay in the warehouse.”
The owner had been lazing about when he suddenly sat up, swiping the gold coin off the round table. A professional smile swiftly pasted itself to his face and he raised his voice, “Of course, of course. How would a warehouse be worthy of one gold coin. Cute little fellow, tell me whatever kind of room you want to stay in. A gold coin will be more than enough.”
His treatment was drastically different from last time’s with the presence of gold coins. Han Shuo smiled faintly and nodded, “I want the room the female teacher was in last time. Arrange it for me.”
“No problem, not a problem at all. This is the key. One gold coin is enough for up to five nights there. Do you have any other desires, young man?” The owner asked further with a toadying expression. The owner’s face was wreathed in smiles as he merrily took out a key from a drawer behind him and handed it to Han Shuo.
“Nothing else, just go about your own business!” Han Shuo walked directly towards the room that Fanny had occupied before after receiving the key, thinking that money had the same miraculous power no matter what world one was in. It would seem that in order to gain one’s footing in this world, gold coins were a requisite item.
Han Shuo unloaded his belongings after arriving at the room Fanny had stayed in before, leisurely taking a hot bath in the tub. Recalling the pleasant affair that had taken here last time, Han Shuo felt a burst of flames erupt from him and his lower body bore certain uncontrollable, strong signs.
Cursing in a low tone, Han Shuo stood up naked and grabbed a towel from the side to dry his body off. Just as he was about to leave the bathroom, he caught a glimpse of his athletic, sculptured body in a wide mirror that had been off to the side.
Han Shuo’s body in the mirror displayed bulging muscles all over his body and a fit figure. The sun had turned his skin copper colored during this time, and he looked exceedingly healthy and full of masculine energy, a marked difference from his previous waif-like, thin self.
He squeezed his two chest muscles with satisfaction. They were neither too big, nor too small, and he struck some poses in front of the mirror. Han Shuo pointed at his reflection in the mirror with quite some narcissism, laughing as he complimented, “Little fellow, looking good eh!”
Han Shou came to a clothing vendor after he left the hotel and spent one gold coin to purchase a soft, high-quality undergarment, wearing it inside the errand boy uniform that the Academy had handed out.
He then came to a weapons vendor and spent ten gold coins to purchase a higher quality dagger, four gold coins for fifteen sharp steel needles and hid them in his pant legs, and another six gold coins to purchase a miniature crossbow to hide in his sleeve, fully arming himself.
Afterwards, Han Shuo went to a pharmacist and took out forty gold coins to buy a few solutions and powders. Apart from a few simple medicinal supplies, tranquilizing and psychedelic aphrodisiacs were also part of the mix, as well as a bottle of poison.
These items were prohibited within the Empire’s city of Zajoski. Even if Han Shuo had the money, he didn’t have the means to procure them, but in the town of Drol, open trade was allowed because adventurers needed them. Since Han Shuo had come here with money in hand and now that he understood the importance of strength, he naturally bought some in case they would be needed later.
After he had bought all these items, Han Shuo finally sighed and thought that it was good to have money. He felt that even his spine was more upright than normal after walking out of the pharmacist. Everything became so much easier when there were gold coins in his moneybag.
On the way to the hotel, Han Shuo’s stomach roiled as he looked at the hotels decked out in colorful lights. He followed his body’s needs and ducked into one of the hotels.
The din was loud and deafening within the hotel and neon lights flashed randomly on the roof. Adventurers and merchants had formed small groups and had congregated on the tables and chairs within the hall, loudly chattering about their adventures.
These people’s faces were flushed red and they held wine glasses in their hands, drunkenly calling out and conversing without any reservations. Delicacies were placed everywhere on the tables and a few young male and female waiters continuously threaded the throng, serving them more fragrant wine and dishes.
Han Shuo made a beeline for the only empty table in the corner of the hall and sat down. A shy young waiter quickly walked in front of Han Shuo afterwards and asked politely, “Excuse me, what would you like?”
“Good wine, good meats, give me some of both of them.” Han Shuo fished out one gold coin and flicked it into the waiter’s serving platter with his thumb, commanding loudly as he opened his mouth.
When the server saw the gold coin land, his eyes immediately brightened and he immediately bowed even more respectfully. He put away the coin without a change in expression and smiled with a gentle voice, “Yes sir, please wait just a moment, it will be up right away.”
One should enjoy themselves when they had wealth to spend. Han Shuo lazily lounged against the chair and sized up the various adventurers and merchants in the hall with slitted eyes. Some of these had possibly just returned from the Dark Forest, or were about to enter to Dark Forest. Some of them had just escaped from danger, whereas others were planning on heading into unknown perils. They were all releasing their energy in great waves, enjoying the depravity of the town of Droll to their heart’s content.
After a while, the shy server placed a bottle of light purple wine, three large platters of meat, and two bowls of fruit on Han Shuo’s table.”
“This is Purple Leylan, the most renowned wine in the town of Droll. Adventurers all love drinking this, I hope you will be satisfied with it.” The waiter pointed at the bottle of light purple wine and introduced it after placing everything on the table. He then bowed and retreated.
Han Shuo couldn’t wait and grabbed a piece of meat and started tearing away at it. Although it didn’t taste as good as the ones he’d prepared, it was still quite good. He twisted the top off the wine bottle and gulped down a large mouthful of Purple Leylan. The luscious sweetness also embodied a certain fire to it, and a mellow aftertaste was left in the mouth after it had travelled down to the stomach, bringing another kind of enjoyment to Han Shuo.
Good wine indeed, Han Shuo complimented. When he raised his head to look around, he suddenly saw two familiar figures walk in the door — Claude and Irene.
Claude and Irene scanned the area, searching for an empty seat. Both started when their gazes landed on Han Shuo, after which they actually started walking towards Han Shuo in pure coincidence.