104. Heart Shopping
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While on his way to Trafford, Rakna was rapidly made aware that his muscles were turning back to how they were before he used Soul Drain on Evelyn. He pulled up his status and noted that his stamina was dangerously close to zero again.

 

‘Even during meditation, without moving, my stamina goes down. What normally happens daily within the body takes less energy than how much is recovered, but in a crippled state, that’s not the case, huh?’ he said to himself.

 

“{Indeed. Not only that but your stamina, unfortunately, goes down faster as well,}” the lioness commented, now only able to hear Rakna’s surface thinking and none of his more internalized thoughts.

 

‘Uh, now that I think about it, I’m quite fortunate. I acquired a new bank of information in the form of a Dusk Lioness’ soul.’

 

The lioness cackled. “{That is true. However, I have to be frank, my knowledge doesn’t extend too far, especially after all these years. At the end of the day, as a Dusk Lion, I lived very isolated.}”

 

‘I’ll keep that in mind,’ Rakna replied and took out the mechanical syringe. He loaded another dose of Vegas’ tonic and injected it into his neck. The bystanders looked at him with weird looks but he couldn’t be bothered by what strangers thought of him.

 

After a few more minutes of walking, he arrived at his destination and entered Trafford’s building where he immediately visited the service he was looking for. This time, he wasn’t welcomed by Baires personally but the staff seemed to be aware of who he was and brought him to a VIP room.

 

“I see that you use similar procedures as the Quest Board,” he commented when he saw the large screens fixed to the walls. They were displaying three-dimensional models of monsters.

 

“Correct,” a personal assistant who had been assigned to him spoke from her seat in front of a computer-like device. “Whatever you wish to buy or sell, please tell me. If you wish to browse our inventory, you can ask me.”

 

“Hm,” Rakna mused. “In that case, show me the list of hearts of creatures above level 100 and filter out those that independently have a price higher than 100 000 Talys.”

 

“Right away,” she replied and inputted a few commands. The large screens promptly displayed an extensive list and he raised an eyebrow.

 

“Sort by price, descending. Also, if you can, prioritize creatures that had a balanced distribution of attributes while alive and only show the hundred strongest of them.” The assistant was a bit surprised by the specific demand but professionally went through with it and the list was updated within a few seconds.

 

Rakna hummed as he carefully read everything with Fabled Sight. Overall, if he wanted to stick to the budget he had set himself, he probably wouldn’t be able to get hearts that belonged to a creature stronger than level 200.

 

“Raise the price limit to 200 000,” he said and the list was altered again. ‘Barely level 250 after doubling it,’ he clicked his tongue internally. “I’ll buy five hearts of level 200 drakes,” he said and she nodded, registering the order.

 

“Now, reset the parameters. Show me hearts between level 50 and 100,” he instructed and a far longer list was given to him. The screens slowly scrolled down and he read all of the information on them with inhuman speed.

 

‘Hey, lioness… hm… true, a name would be a good idea…’

 

“{Haha, indeed. Did you want to ask me something?}”

 

‘While you were alive, what was your favorite prey to hunt?’

 

“{Let me see… I would say cockatrices were my favorite snack.}”

 

‘The oversized legendary chickens with petrifying abilities?’

 

“{Yes.}”

 

‘Forget about it then. I saw it nowhere on that list.’

 

“{Naturally. Cockatrices are all at least level 400; from birth.}”

 

Rakna’s eye twitched at the outrageous information. ‘What about the cubs as you call them? Do you know what they like to eat?’

 

“{I believe nine-tailed wolves are particularly fond of high elks; animals with reign over nature and its whims. As for the Luquila, I’ve heard stories in the past. Supposedly, they loved hunting wyverns and dragons.}”

 

‘…talk about an expensive diet,’ Rakna uttered. ‘But that would explain the compatibility I have with reptiles. Dragons are essentially overgrown lizards after all.’

 

“{I recommend you never say that to a Dragon’s face if you want to live,}” the lioness provided.

 

‘Dully noted,’ he replied blankly then turned back toward the personal assistant who had been patiently waiting for his decision.

 

“To complete my order, get me a stock of hearts of level 75 reptiles. I don’t mind their specific race but it would be appreciated if you can get those that have the closest possible relations to draconic species. Get me 100 000 Talys worth and their individual cost must not surpass 5 000. Oh, don’t forget to take into account my discount for that.”

 

“Understood,” she said and typed a few things before pointing at a small elevated stand in the middle of the room. “Please put your hand on there for the transaction. If you have the necessary space in your storage, everything will automatically be transferred to it. They will be preserved so you don’t need to worry about their quality going down.”

 

Rakna nodded and did what he was told. “I have enough space.”

 

“In that case, you only need to accept it,” she stated and a System window appeared.

 

❮ ◈ ❯

5 Lv.200 Drake Hearts => 500 000 Talys => 400 000 Talys (-20%)

29 Lv.75 Reptilian (Draconic) Hearts => 125 000 Talys => 100 000 Talys (-20%)

Final Price: 500 000 Talys.

Do you accept this trade?

Yes/No

❮ ◈ ❯

 

“Yes,” he voiced and the stand glowed shortly. His balance went down to 100 000 and the window was dismissed.

 

“Will that be all, sir?” The assistant asked and he momentarily considered selling the body of the Dusk Lioness before ultimately deciding against it.

 

‘I have a better use for it,’ he thought. “No, I got what I wanted,” he said and left the room after he exchanged goodbyes. As he walked out of the building, he opened his Item Box and inspected the new elements present in it. They were already preserved in ice apparently which meant he would not need to do it himself.

 

“{If I may, why did you not buy the heart of a higher leveled creature instead of these five? Were you not looking for a powerful one to get stronger? Or am I wrong about your ability?}”

 

‘Efficiency,’ he answered his resident soul’s question. ‘Five would get me more attribute points than just one higher leveled that would require more money. Additionally, I haven’t tried to eat hearts that are considerably distinct from my power level. I can’t use Verias as a reference since I was in a near-invincible state when I ate him.’

 

‘Long story short, I don’t want to push my luck too far and risk something similar to an overdose by getting something like a level 300 or 400 heart,’ he explained as he planted a waypoint on his map and traced an itinerary. ‘Though you could argue I’m already pushing it with a level 200 one.’

 

“{I see. Well, it is a reasonable precaution. Are you going to eat them now?}”

 

‘No, I have something to do before that. I’m on my way to meet an acquaintance of sorts,’ Rakna unexpectedly said. ‘Though, to be exact, I’m going to check if he’s there or not.’

 

“{May I know who?}”

 

‘You’ll see.’

 

* * *

 

Around ten minutes later, Rakna made his way inside a rather small and unpopulated street. While there was nothing wrong with it, it seemed to be a lodgment-focused area and most people simply either left to go through their day or stayed at home so there was not a lot of circulation.

 

But, even in those conditions, Rakna could see someone setting up a food stand in a corner of the street where it wouldn’t trouble anyone. “Good morning, Old Wang,” he said in a relaxed manner as he approached.

 

“Hm?” The familiar dwarf from a few days back stuck his head out from behind his kiosk to look at who had addressed him. “Oh! It’s you, sonny! You’re up early,” the old man said with a friendly grin as he finished preparing everything.

 

“I could say the same about you,” Rakna retorted as he took a seat on one of the chairs after the old dwarf confirmed that he could. “I’m not sure if having noodles for breakfast is very tempting.”

 

“Hah! It’s just my routine to be this early. Even if there isn’t a lot of people passing by, I still have some regulars. As for what I serve in the morning, it’s not noodles but pancakes. If you want the latter, it’s after my lunch break,” he said as he got inside his stand and began to turn on the stoves.

 

“I wouldn’t mind some pancakes,” Rakna said and the old dwarf chuckled.

 

“Coming up. You’ll have to wait a bit though. I haven’t had the time to set up everything. So? What brings you here today?” He asked. “It doesn’t seem like you were here just to have a meal. Not like I don’t appreciate the company.”

 

Rakna snorted. “You’re right. I came here to ask for a favor.”

 

“Oh?” Old Wang raised an eyebrow in curiosity and turned around after he was done mixing the ingredients. “What would that be?”

 

“Can you teach me blacksmithing?”

 

This one's a tad short but it's nothing too bad...

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