The seats prepared for them were surprisingly comfortable, despite their appearance . If it wasn’t for a groaning sound coming from beneath them, Bluebird would be less creeped out .
Franz stared at them intently without blinking their eyes . A bowl with warm liquid was lifted up by Sila and brought closer to his mouth, which wasn’t covered by his mask .
However, Sila suddenly stopped and put the bowl down while taking off his mask .
“Ah, please excuse my rudeness . I still haven’t introduced myself yet . My name is Sila . ”
Franz was upset and hastily introduced herself, “I’m Franz, and this guy is Asura . We are Sebastian’s acquaintances . ”
“From my right, they are Bluebird, Burapha, and Julia . ”
Sila lifted the bowl up again . “The smell of this soup is mouth-watering . May I ask what kind of soup it is?” He took a sniff . The scent easily stimulated his appetite .
“It is Nine Hel— cough . . . I mean He— Nine Heavens . It a soup made from brewing nine types of first-rate herbs for nine days straight . The pot can only be opened at night to absorb moonlight . The nine herbs blend their taste together to create a superior taste that, upon drinking, will make you feel as if you have been reborn nine times over . Getting a chance to drink it once is considered a great fortune . ”
Actually, the liquid in the bowls was Nine Hells . Upon drinking, the consumer would feel extremely tortuous pain and eventually die . Not only that, when the consumer came back to life, they would get suffer from a different poison . This repeated eight times until they had experienced all nine types of poison . It was one of Franz’s bizarre creations .
“Ohhh! Such a rare and delicious food like this, there is no way I will miss my chance to taste it!” Just listening to the explanation, Bluebird was almost drooling . He was the first one ready to swallow it .
‘Damn! I made a mistake . If this brat eats first and writhes on the ground, the others won’t eat . ’ Franz sent her gaze toward Asura, asking him to do something via eye contact .
Realizing that he was suddenly asked for help, Asura panicked . He wasn’t sure what he should do . In a spur of the moment, he threw a bone in his hand toward Bluebird .
“Kill!! . . . Oh, I mean, my hand accidentally slipped!!” Even though he said that, the bone he threw was clad in psychic power reinforcement . In a moment of crisis, Bluebird was aware that he couldn’t dodge the bone in time, so he quickly transformed himself into a tailorbird . As a result, the bone missed its target, and the bowl in Bluebird’s hand fell to the floor .
“What the—?! Why did you attack me?” Bluebird was upset . Meanwhile, everybody’s eyes fell onto Asura .
Asura paused for a while, before starting to explain, “ . . . I-I’m too tired . I worked so much so that my hands are numb . Sorry, Little Bro, for losing my grip on the bone and letting it fly toward you . ”
“Just now, I think I heard you said ‘Kill’,” said Burapha .
Franz stared at Asura, cursing him in her mind for his stupidity . How could he fail to kill a mere human? Even worse, who on earth shouts at a target before making a move to kill them?
“I think I heard ‘Kill’ too,” said Sila, while lowering the bowl .
Seeing how bad the situation had become, Franz quickly gave out an excuse .
“That’s not it, everyone . ‘Kill’ what? Asura just has a habit of exclaiming something like ‘Kya’ like ‘Kyaa! It fell,’ when he is startled, right, right?” Franz said while looking at Asura, her eyes filled with qi . It was the gaze of a venomous snake looking at its prey .
‘Oi! Can’t you come up with a better excuse?!’ Asura complained inwardly . Though, if this was required for Sila to drink the poisonous soup, he could do at least this much .
Turning his head to Sila, Asura swallowed his own pride . He gritted his teeth and said, “Ri— Right . When I am panicking, I always exclaim like ‘Kyaa! I'm shocked!’ or something like that . . . ”
The room fell into silence . It was the first time Bluebird heard that even Lord Rank monsters can make such lady-like noises . Feeling interested, he planned to collect more information on the topic . Who knows? Maybe he could write this fact in a fun-fact column of a newspaper . This kind of topic was currently nonexistent in Monster Soul, so it might become a big hit .
Since it was a matter of taste and personality, even though he was as curious about it as Bluebird was, Sila decided not to pursue the matter . “By the way, when will Mister Sebastian come?”
“I already sent my underling to call him . He is quite busy so it will take some time before he can get here . Just chill out and drink a bowl of warm soup while waiting for him . ”
Sila began to lift his bowl up again . In the meantime, Burapha was more interested in Sebastian’s shop and finally gave in to his curiosity .
He asked, “Excuse me for asking this, but I’m really interested in what you are doing . May I ask you to explain to me what is in each pot?”
Yet again, Sila lowered his bowl . It was at this moment that Franz was filled with the urge to drop everything else and kill this group of people at any cost . She could barely control the urge and cool her head .
‘Can’t they just shut up and obediently drink the poison?’
Asura sent his gaze to Franz . He was telling her that, in his opinion, if they didn’t tell the group about their potions, Sebastian’s master wouldn’t drink the poison .
Franz gave them her warm smile and said, “Oh, how keen of you, Little Brother! Since you are all our dear guests, of course, we can tell you . Our shop’s main products are potions . In the main pot Asura and I take care of, we are brewing a concentrated liquid called Seven-Form Serum . It’s a concentrated liquid that can only be produced by using medium-grade ingredients combined with the bone of a high-level undead monster like Asura and the poisonous blood of a high-level venomous snake like me .
“Seven-Form Serum is a valuable but difficult to utilize chemical substance . Sometimes it's a deadly poison, and at other times it's the ultimate healing potion . It constantly transforms itself into seven forms, yet always looking the same . Only I can discern what form it currently has . What we are doing is, when it's in a certain form, we scoop some of it out and blend it with specific ingredients to change its state of matter . This way, we can make seven kinds of pellets from it . Then, we will liquify the pellets and dilute them in seven smaller pots to mass produce a weaker version of it, which is what these pots are for . ”
Burapha couldn’t help but be amazed . “Wow . That’s cool . Thanks to you, I have learned a lot . ”
“Sure, who do you think I am? No one can use poison as skillfully as I do . ” Franz straightened her back, feeling proud of herself .
“What kind of potions are you selling?” Burapha asked with attention . Maybe he could negotiate with Sebastian and export the potions to other cities .
“Let me talk about the pellets first . They are King’s Core, Snow Crystal, Purgatory Pellet, Royal Blood, Queen’s Tear, Stardrop, and Venom’s Heart . What you are seeing in the small pots is the diluted version that Sebastian ordered us to store in pretty bottles and sell for a high price . It’s profitable since the other ingredients are not too rare . The rarest are Asura’s bones and my blood . ”
Burapha smashed his fist into the palm . “I see! The reason why Mister Sebastian accepts trading common items for his potions is to use them to reproduce the potions . With this method, he saves a lot of time by not having to go out and hunt for those ingredients . ”
Bluebird interrupted . “What about Skull Grass? It’s a rare ingredient with a high medicinal property . I heard that it can be used to produce various kinds of high-grade potions . It’s one of the best-selling products of this shop that is always sold out no matter how much you sell . I wonder where you can find it in large quantities . ”
Sila, who had lifted his bowl halfway to his mouth, lowered it down again to pay attention to the conversation . Upon seeing that, Franz suppressed her anger by counting to ten in her mind, before slowly explaining .
“You are all curious about so many things, it seems . Little Brother, Skull Grass is not that hard to find . Just look at the ceiling . ”
Everyone looked up simultaneously and saw several patches of grass growing from the ceiling . Each blade of grass had black dots on it that looked like tiny skulls .
“Skull Grass only grows in a place that has the right moisture and humidity, as well as fumes from brewed poison; it’s not a grass that grows in nature . By its own, it isn’t that useful . Though if you carry them in a large quantity, they will repel the weakest kinds of venom from bugs and beasts . Its main usefulness lies in the fact that it can be blended with many kinds of potions to strengthen their properties . Normally, I would pluck them all out, since if they drop into the pot, they will affect the Seven-Form Serumin a negative way . However, that stingy Sebastian said that it could be sold to humans at a high price, so he ordered us to keep it . ”
“Amazing . I’m in awe and wonder what each pellet you mentioned can do . As far as I know, Miss Franz is the most knowledgeable expert regarding this topic . I can even say that you are the best in this field . If you are fine with it, could you please share with us a bit more of your knowledge?” Sila politely asked .
It is said that even a whale dances when praised . For Franz, aside from her underlings, she only had proper conversations with Sebastian and Asura who were her equal and they were good at different things . When she encountered humans, they would always fear her, and each side would rarely talk . Therefore, this was the first time she received sincere gratitude .
Franz slightly blushed . “Ahem . Is that so? Well, if it’s just a bit . . . ”
Thinking that they had wasted a lot of time already, Asura secretly poked Franz . However, the present Franz no longer minded him .
For Burapha, this kind of topic was his favorite from the beginning . For Julia, she didn’t possess information about items that were directly produced by humans or monsters, so she paid attention to collect more data . For Bluebird, as a newshawk, it’s natural that he was open to learning new kind of information . Since everyone was so eager to listen to her like this, Franz couldn’t help but feel proud . In fact, she was so happy that she forgot how she was trying to feed Sila poison .
“Mn . The diluted version is as you can guess, they are B-grade, weaker versions of the pellets for the sake of selling to ordinary people . For the record, Seven-Form Serum is an S-grade item . Its effect far surpasses those seven pellets . Though, as I said, its ever-changing attribute makes it difficult for even medicinal experts to use it . Thus, the most useful ones are the seven pellets, which are grade items . ”
“King’s Core can temporary amplify your power for a short period of time . However, you must be careful when consuming it since the power that surges from within might cause your body to explode . The diluted version of it that we are selling is called Strength Potion .
“As for Snow Crystal, you can consume a fraction of it to cool your body or break it into dust to sprinkle on something you want to freeze . Be warned that you have to protect your hand with hot-attribute power when handling it, otherwise your hand will be frozen . The liquid version of it is Freezing Potion . People normally buy it to preserve food, stop burns, or add ice elemental power to their weapon for a short time .
“Next, Purgatory Pellet, it’s the opposite of Snow Crystal . When handling it, you need to protect your hand with cold-attribute power . It’s flammable and will be ignited when coming into contact with a solid object . The liquid version is Flame Liquid . As its name implies, it’s a flammable liquid . People tend to use it as a throwing weapon .
“Royal Blood is an abrupt health-recovery pellet . Take it with great caution since overconsumption will let you end up with too much blood gushing out of your body . When diluted, we will get a normal high-grade health-recovering potion . ”
“Queen’s Tear can regenerate your qi, magic, and psychic power upon consuming . I don’t recommend you take it as it is, though, since it regenerates all of three types of energy simultaneously . I doubt your body can handle its explosive regeneration power, so you will probably explode . It can be diluted to produce either qi-recovering, magic-recovering, or psychic-recovery potions . However, Sebastian told us to only produce the psychic-recovering kind . His reason is that there are many magic-recovering items in the market already, and he didn’t want to seize customers from the local businesses by making qi-recovering potions .
“Then, there is Stardrop, or you can refer it as a Food Pellet . Its taste is horrible, but you can last at least a month when consuming it . However, that means your stomach capacity need to be able to take a month’s worth of food inside . My recommendation is, for humans like you, you should only drink the liquid version called Food Potion . Not only is it safer, but Sebastian also seasons it, so its taste is decent . One bottle can replace a single meal . Sebastian told us that it sells quite well .
“Lastly, Venom’s Heart . It’s a high-grade antidote that can cure almost every kind of poison . You can rub it on external wounds to cancel the poison that lingers on it, or eat it to clear poison from your body internal system . However, don’t eat it when you are not heavily poisoned, otherwise, you are guaranteed to die . Its liquid version is called Cleanse Antidote, which can be used in the same way; drink it directly or pour on external wounds . It may not be able to heal you from high-grade poisons though . Well, the good point about it is you won’t die even if you drink it on a whim . ”
Finally, the explanation ended, and everyone clapped their hands in admiration . Franz couldn’t help but scratch her head, full of venomous snakes, out of her embarrassment .
“My, my . It’s good that you are already getting along . How about it, everyone? Do you like my shop?” Sebastian’s voice rang out from the stairs behind the two monsters .
Asura gave a threatening glare at Franz while whispering .
“How do you like it, you flattery-seeking gambling addict? It’s your fault that we are too late . ”
Recalling their original objective, Franz shocked .
“Did you send your servant to get him? I didn’t send out any of my underlings . ”
Sebastian approached everyone . “I happened to hear Asura’s shout so I came to take a look . It’s just that I saw Franz giving you all an explanation of our shop’s products, so I didn’t interrupt . It’s good that everyone gets along well . It saves me having to introduce you to each other . ”
Asura and Franz looked at each other . It turned out that Sebastian already arrived here a while ago, but he just didn’t make his presence known . Both of them were in a bad mood for being outwitted once again .
“There is nothing interesting in the back of my shop, sirs . Instead of being here, how about we go to the best Chinese restaurant in Zhongsuyuan City? Have any of you already eaten there? Please allow me to treat you all in celebration of my master’s first visit to my shop . ”
Just hearing about it made the single blue tailorbird in the room salivate . “Oh, such a blessing moment for my mouth . Let’s go now . I’m already looking forward to the food . ”
“I’m glad to hear that, sir . Please wait for me outside for a minute . I still have to make some preparations . ”
Sila looked at Asura and Franz . “In that case, how about you two join us as well? I still want to learn more things about you . It’s a good chance that we can get to know more about each other . ”
Sebastian hurriedly opposed the idea, “That shouldn’t do, sir . There is a lot of work, a mountainload, left for the two of them to do . The number of customers of our shop has skyrocketed recently . ”
As the phrase ‘a lot of work’ was spoken, the two monsters got goosebumps .
“Can’t you let them take a break for at least a day? Or do you have financial difficulties? If that’s the case, let me be the one to treat them . It’s just a single meal anyway . ”
Sebastian paused for a moment . “ . . . That’s not it, sir . My money is yours anyway . Well, if you truly want it, I think it’s fine to let the two of them join us . ”
The two monsters gave a meaningful look at each other . Did they hear incorrectly? To think that Sebastian would go along with the request of someone else . . .
Franz got a new idea and whispered to Asura’s ear . “I got a new plan . How about we lick Sebastian’s master to gain his favor and ask him to free us from Sebastian’s contracts?”
“I don’t have a tongue, so I don’t think I can lick him . Can I let you handle that task? Just having a break is enough for me . I will do my best to prolong this valuable break time . ”
“Let’s go outside, then . ” Everyone stood up and placed their bowls onto the chair . Burapha was the first to go outside . He said he would go ahead and take care of the reservation, along with Bluebird who said he would place some orders in advance so that they wouldn’t have to wait too long for the food to be served .
“Ah, look at my bad manners . ”
Meanwhile, Sila lifted his bowl up and drank the soup before going outside . Looking at her master’s example, Julia stopped for a second to drink it as well before following Sila, leaving the three Lord Rank monsters behind in the room .
Sebastian looked at the bewildered expression on Franz’ face and smirked . He snickered at her while taking his time to close the shop, leaving the confused Asura and Franz to wonder why the Nine Hells didn’t work on those two humans .