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 Chapter 24. I Can Hear Your Voice (1)

[You became level 20. You obtained the qualification to challenge the Floor Master.]

[You obtained 5 bonus stats.]

[You became Bronze Rank 1. If you defeat the 20th Floor Master, you will be acknowledged as a Silver Rank dungeon explorer.]

[Name: Kang Shin Race: Human Sex: Male

Class: None Title: Wraith Queen Slayer Rank: Bronze 1

Level: 20

HP - 6,270/6,270 MP - 2,940/2,940

Strength - 55(+9) Dexterity - 49(+2) Constitution - 59(+7)

Intelligence - 20(+2) Magic - 47(+2) Charm - 31(+2) Luck - 10(+2)

Skill - Low-rank Martial Arts (Master), Mid-rank Martial Arts (Lv 9), Low-rank Spear Technique (Master), Mid-rank Spear Technique (Master), High-rank Spear Technique (Lv 4), Low-rank Spirit Mastery (Lv 2), Low-rank Heroic Strike (Lv 7), Low-rank Provoke (Lv 1), Peruta Circuit (Lv 2), Deific Manifestation]

"Oh, you obtained a named drop item?"

"Yes, Loretta."

As I wrapped myself in bandages (5 gold) after fierce hours of battle, I answered Loretta at the 19th Floor Shop.

Although leveling up restored HP and MP, it strangely did not heal all wounds. As such, I would sometimes collapse after breaking through a floor.

She received the pink ribbon Kruna dropped and examined it. Then, with a satisfied expression, she offered, "I'll buy it for 500 gold."

"I'm not selling it." I replied immediately.

"Ueh!?"

Loretta seemed surprised by my clear-cut answer. I snorted as I tied the bandages shut.

"There's no way I would sell a named drop item so easily. I couldn't see the item description, don't you have an item that lets me see it?"

At my spot-on question, Loretta made a cute pout. Then, she retorted bluntly.

"... You've grown, customer."

"All thanks to you."

When I poured a potion over the bandages, the wounded area heated up and then subsided. Seeing that my HP had stopped decreasing, I nodded and looked back at Loretta. Loretta, who was watching me wrap myself in bandages, looked away at the same time that I looked up at her. I didn't yield to her complaints and asked, "So? You have it right? How much is it?"

"Chet. It's 100 gold."

"Here, 100 gold."

Even as she grumbled, she took the gold from me, returning back the Headband of Wisdom along with a scroll. I always wondered, just where was she taking these things out from?

"It's an Appraisal Scroll. Because items dropped by named monsters aren't registered with the dungeon, Appraisal Scrolls are needed to check their item description. With this, you can see the description of any items! Since you can always come across cursed or magical items with unknown effects, it's best to always carry some around."

"Before using this, is it impossible to find out the headband's effects?"

"A magician with the Appraisal skill would be able to do the same thing."

I learned more good information. I followed Loretta's instruction and ripped the scroll above the hairband. Then, a translucent window popped up in front of me.

[Headband of Wisdom (Rare)

Durability - 50/50

Defense - 3

Equipment Requirement(s) - Female only

Option - Intelligence +5, Magic +5, Charm +7]

"Here, let me see. Gek."

Loretta stuck her head next to me, letting out a fragrant scent. When she saw the item description on the window, she frowned and made the sound of a frog being run over by a truck. She then murmured, "I should have bought it for 1,000 gold..."

"I wouldn't have sold it anyways. This is good, right?"

"Setting aside the charm stat, it has the stat value of two levels. Plus, it's an accessory. Of course it's good."

"It's as I thought then. One problem though, I'm not female."

"You can gift it to your girlfriend!"

"Loretta, are you picking a fight with me?"

Like I'd have a girlfriend! Can't you see by the fact that I'm always in the dungeon hunting? When I shot Loretta a look of resentment, she made a sly expression and poked my shoulder. It hurt.

"What do you mean, customer? You promised to meet someone, remember?"

"Ah..."

She had to be talking about Palludia. That wasn't funny, even as a joke. Why would I make a choice equivalent to throwing my life in the dumpster?

However, regardless of what Loretta said, Palludia was still mad at me. If I gave her a gift, she might forgive me.

The only other female explorer I knew was Shina, but I was much closer to Palludia than Shina. Alright, then it was decided. I made up my mind to give the Headband of Wisdom to Palludia. After returning the hairband to my inventory, I talked to Loretta again.

"Loretta, I want to buy 20 Floor Master Battle Vouchers."

"20!? T-That's 60,000 gold!"

And it was also 102 million won. Kuk, now that I made the conversion in my head, I felt just how much money that was. However, it wasn't such a big amount compared to how much I had.

Excluding the few items that Loretta forced on me, I never used gold or exchanged it for won. As such, they were just piled up in my inventory. For reference, the lizardmen from the 19th floor gave 170 gold for every three that I killed. It meant each of them gave over 50 gold, or 100,000 won.

"It's fine. I still have about 500,000 gold saved up."

It was 1 billion won.

"Amazing, customer. Just when did you get so much?"

"It must be from all those Floor Masters I hunt every day. Alright, hurry up and give them to me before I change my mind."

"Customer, I'm seeing you in a different light. You're a man when you want to be!"

"Just fork it over!"

I snatched the twenty battle vouchers from Loretta. Since I could only use two per day, I had bought enough to last for the next ten days. After taking the 60,000 gold from me, Loretta gave her money bag a slight look of reluctance. Then, she sighed and returned 10,000 gold to me. I received the money, confused.

"What's wrong?"

"It's a discount, customer. Discount. Don't you know?"

"I know what a discount is, but why?"

I could not understand why Loretta gave me such a benefit, especially given what she said about them being sold at manufacture cost. However, after handing over the gold, Loretta looked almost relieved as she replied with a light smile.

"I was a little mean last time trying to sell them at their manufacture cost. No one buys them anyways. Humans are truly too weak. Even though the dungeon guarantees to save their lives, no one dares to adventure. For hundreds of years, everyone only thought to climb higher while avoiding Floor Master battles. Even in this First Dungeon where the brave and strong have been gathered... Ah, I can't say anything more than that. Regardless, customer is a Hero I haven't seen in a while. I shouldn't be punished for supporting you this much."

"You're saying that too, Loretta. I'm not something like a Hero. It's just that I'm not desperate right now. I can be adventurous because I'm not afraid of losing a week's worth of time."

"Huhu, customer, you see..."

As if it was a secret, Loretta lowered her voice to near silence, bringing her lips to my ear. As I was about to tear myself away, Loretta seemed to have read my thoughts as she whispered,

"The more desperate the situation, the more necessary it is to adventure."

I held my breath. She was right. My existence proved she was right.

I understood. Saying that the continent's in dire straits, or that every second is important. They were all nothing less than excuses. Perhaps they said that as they never had the chance to see Muscle Compressing Elixirs or Soul Tempering Pills. However, there had to be people other than me who discovered and consumed them.

Yet, the thought of dying and wasting a week caused them to give up re-challenging the Floor Master, and they continued their climb. I, on the other hand, was different. That's how I got stronger. Although I may be weaker than them now, I would continue to grow stronger. Stronger than them. I was confident.

"Now you get it? The fruit of adventure is always sweet... Hero-nim."

Loretta whispered sweetly with small teardrops hanging from her eyes. Seeing her bewitching figure, I couldn't help but gulp down a mouthful of saliva. Wait, was she...

"Are you that sad about the 10,000 gold? You shouldn't have given it to me then."

I seemed to have hit the bull's eye, as she yelled with her teardrops flowing midair.

"Don't say it! I was trying to forget about it, but now it's on my mind again!"

"What's done is done. Thanks."

"Uuu, meanie."

The Floor Shop owner, Loretta, with a cute personality. It seemed the playful relationship between me and her would continue.

"Whew, alright. I'm going to start my Dark Ratman conquest today."

"Customer, are you going for a complete conquest again?"

Complete conquest. If it referred to consuming the Thunder Crystal to the limit, collecting the Dark Ratman equipment set, and defeating the Dark Ratman alone, then my answer was clear. Although I thought over the benefits of consuming Thunder Crystals, since Loretta already confirmed the path I was walking was right, I no longer hesitated.

"Of course. See you later!"

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