Chapter 139 – Taiga Black
In the present day, several gold was an immense sum for a team or guild, to say nothing of a lone individual. After all, even when an elite team was clearing dungeons, they would earn no more than several dozen silver a run. When that money was divided among numerous team members, there wouldn’t be much left for the team itself. Not to mention most players weren’t all that wealthy in the first place; they would need to spend their money on equipment, skill books, potions, and other consumables. More often than not, these players were strapped for cash themselves, so what money would they have left to be donating to their guilds? Every guild-related affair came with considerable expenses, especially so in building the treasury. So even after being squeezed out of all their wealth, these guilds would still have to occasionally visit black market websites to exchange real-world money for in-game currency to supplement their funds lest they fall to ruin from the burden of their daily expenses.
Establishing a guild so early in the game was an incredibly costly affair in both the real and virtual world. Black market dealers were constantly running low on supply due to the high demand, resulting in a premium on in-game currency. Even then, although guilds were willing to buy, these dealers would often have nothing to sell. The average player didn’t even have enough money for themselves, so how could they possibly be willing to sell their in-game currency for some pocket change in real-life? A guild was basically a giant sinkhole that swallowed funds and caused endless headaches for the guild leader. If the flow of money ever stopped, the whole guild would quickly collapse. However, in spite of all this, as long as these guilds persevered, their prospects would be exceedingly optimistic. Further down the road, when the Path to Power patch was implemented, strongholds in every city would be open for guilds to vie over. If a guild successfully besieged a stronghold and occupied it for a period of time, then that stronghold would belong to them, meaning they would receive the taxes from every property, shop, and any sale conducted within the stronghold. When that time came, the wealth these guilds would amass would be quite astonishing.
It was precisely because of these prospects that so many guild leaders were willing to pour such a great deal of resources and energy into the game, but at the same time, under this immense burden, they didn’t have much money left over for purchasing properties let alone opening up a shop. If it weren’t for the pressure they felt from the flourishing business of the Starry Night Potion Shop, they would have never rushed to open a potion shop themselves. However, due to insufficient funds, they could only afford properties in remote locations, and the shops they opened were merely Tier 1. Moreover, most of the concoctions created in-house would be used for themselves, and only the surplus would be given to stock the shops. As a result, their businesses were doing very poorly.
Alchemy wasn’t the only lucrative crafting profession. There was also Tailoring, Tinkering, and Blacksmithing, but for the time being, they weren’t very popular. In the early ranks, the items they created were garbage that no one had any interest in. Take a Blacksmith for example, at Apprentice rank, the weapons they created were all around Novice-grade. After advancing to Junior Blacksmiths, their creations would still only be Bronze-grade at best. Even if they sold them in the marketplace, they wouldn’t earn much money. This was why Alchemy was currently the most popular crafting profession in the game. After all, even low-level concoctions would have some effect when used at higher levels.
Tailoring, Tinkering, and Blacksmithing… Nie Yan certainly had ambitions of stepping into these markets, but for the time being, he didn’t possess the resources. Right now, most of his money was being invested into buying land. After settling his current affairs, real-estate in other cities and the Starry Night Potion Shop, he would then be ready to expand to other markets. He figured that at that point many Blacksmiths, Tinkerers, and Tailors would still be uncontracted. And if he truly couldn’t find anyone suitable in the future, he could simply headhunt them from other guilds or shops by offering a much higher salary. After all, this was how Cao Xu frequently handled affairs in the previous timeline.
After upgrading the Starry Night Potion Shop to Tier 3, Nie Yan withdrew the remaining money, which amounted to 36 gold, and teleported to the second largest city in the Viridian Empire, Nisode. Calore, Nisode, and Hayson, City of Radiance, were where Cao Xu had held the most influence. Back then, Cao Xu had owned over 50% of all properties in these three cities. So in order to prevent him from achieving such dominance again, Nie Yan was purchasing land in these cities for the express purpose of ruining Cao Xu’s foundation for growth.
Upon arriving in Nisode, he discovered that nearly all of the smaller plots of land had already been purchased. However, the larger plots, which cost upwards of 10 gold or more, remained untouched.
He was eyeing a specific property located at the heart of the city that cost 28 gold. With such an expensive price tag, no matter how big the guild was, they still wouldn’t be able to gobble it up for the time being. The population of Nisode was much lower than Calore’s, so although commerce here was still flourishing, the number of players who were wealthy was comparatively lower.
It would be an understatement to say that the property at the city center was the best in Nisode. If he built an auction house in this location, then in the future it would become the landmark building of the city. Purchasing this plot of land was equal to purchasing half of Nisode!
Nie Yan bought this property without the slightest hesitation. However, simply buying an expensive property wouldn’t guarantee success. When it appreciated in value in the future, the monthly property tax would become a considerable expense. The system AI was clever. Although the original price of a property wasn’t high, its property tax would rise correspondingly as it rose in value. There was a set amount of tax that would need to be paid every month, acting as a constant stream of money flowing outward. So, if the player was bad at managing their business and couldn’t pay their property taxes, then they would be forced to sell their land, thereby preventing regional development from stagnating by transferring the property to a hopefully more competent owner.
Aside from this, Nie Yan also bought a few relatively cheap plots of land. With only 1 gold remaining in his pockets, he teleported back to Calore.
Nie Yan checked his own status bar. The Level 30 Elite Scaled Frogs proved extremely effective at reducing his PKer status. Now, his name was no longer branded red but rather yellow instead. While his name was yellow, NPCs would be wary of the player and treat them rudely. But aside from negatively influencing a player when they were receiving quests, it had no significant impact on anything else.
A Killer’s Demonic Medallion had a chance of dropping from Scaled Frogs when the player was branded with the PKer status effect. Sadly, Nie Yan’s luck wasn’t great this time around and it didn’t drop. Although it was quite a pity, he had no other choice but to suck it up and try again tomorrow. If it still didn’t drop, then there was nothing he could do. It could also be due to his PKer score not being high enough. Conjecture aside, it wasn’t unusual for an accessory with excellent properties such as the Killer’s Demonic Medallion to have an abysmal drop rate.
He then checked his skill bar. The Adjudicator of God skill that he received from the Chapter of Courage finally shifted from being greyed out to brightly lit, signifying that it was now active and available to use.
This skill on a 10-day cooldown timer had made him wait for quite some time!
Nie Yan felt incredibly excited. If he used Adjudicator of God in conjunction with Sacrificial Gambit, then his damage would be astonishing, especially if his luck was good. These two skills along with Steal should even allow him to meet the requirements to clear the next quest.
A strike from Sacrificial Gambit when Adjudicator of God was activated would be quite frightening. Adjudicator of God would increase Nie Yan’s health by 500 points, allowing him to reach nearly 900 health. 30% of that would be 270, so that meant as long as Sacrificial Gambit didn’t miss, it would be able to instantly kill most players.
After ten years of playing this game and countless days of theorycrafting, this was the completely brand new style of Thief that he had aspired toward!
In this life, he wouldn’t leave behind any regrets. He wouldn’t merely stop after Shadow Dancer; he would advance even higher and become a godly existence!
Looking at the time, Nie Yan hastily finished his business and gave Bird a short briefing before logging out of the game.
Removing the game helmet, he got out of bed and headed to the washroom to brush his teeth and wash his face. Afterward, he ran to the kitchen and drank a tube of nutrition tonic from the fridge before setting out on his daily routine.
Some time later, while he was in the middle of tidying up his room, the phone suddenly rang.
「Nie Yan, I’m in front of your house. Come open the door.」The voice belonged to Tang Yao.
「Hold on, I’ll be there in a second.」Nie Yan put on his clothes and headed downstairs to meet Tang Yao. After opening the door, he spotted a black sportscar parked on the street right next to his gate. With a fairly large body and a streamline design that made it resemble a metal feline on wheels, it was one of the hottest models of hover sportscar right now in China, the Taiga Black. Domestically, it represented the highest level of achievement in modern engineering. With a price tag that exceeded many foreign cars, it was powered by a miniature cold fusion reactor and could go as fast as 1,800 km/hr, making it faster than most commercial airliners from the past. It was completely made out of bulletproof material that was able to withstand almost any impact and possessed durability equivalent to that of a half-meter thick steel wall.
Right after stepping out of the car, Tang Yao patted the hood and said, “What do you think? Amazing, huh?”
Giving it a look over, Nie Yan nodded his head and replied, “Not bad… This car isn’t really yours, is it?” He recalled that his father had also ordered a Taiga Black before in his past life. It was truly quite a flashy car.
“Tsk! Aren’t you even the tiniest bit surprised? Ah, how disappointing… but you’re right. This fella doesn’t belong to me. It’s my old man’s. Rich people really are different! He even made me pay ¥20,000 just to take it out for the day!” Tang Yao said as he rubbed the car’s hood. When he reached the age of sixteen, any money that he spent would have to be earned by himself first. His father didn’t even give him a single cent allowance. So, him speaking about his father in that kind of tone really wasn’t anything. “But you know… being able to drive such a flashy car around really is awesome! Even if I hit a tree or a cement wall, I’d still drive on through!”
Nie Yan chuckled and said, “If your dad knew this was what you were doing with his precious car, you’d be dead.”
Tang Yao shrugged his shoulders and said in an indifferent tone, “Can’t be helped, not my fault I can’t find parking. Besides, what use is an expensive car if no one’s driving it? Alright, enough gawking. Let’s go, everyone’s waiting.”
In the past two weeks, Tang Yao had gradually noticed a shift in their roles. He had always been the one in the dominant position, acting as an older brother of sorts, but recently, it seemed things had subtly changed. However, he strangely didn’t find their current relationship uncomfortable. The perception he had of Nie Yan in his mind was slowly transforming.
After Nie Yan got into the car, Tang Yao turned on the ignition as it started up without making a sound. It gently floated up, and then they instantly sped away.
Their meeting place was outside of town at a restaurant in the provincial capital. After the car switched over to self-driving mode, it would take them half an hour to get there at most.
The Jaderiver Dining Hall was known as the crown of the provincial capital. In fact, it was a high-class club. Covering an area of over 20,000 square meters, it contained all sorts of entertainment facilities which were readily available. It was the ideal location for parties and get togethers.
The Taiga Black stopped at the dining hall’s parking plaza which was lined with cars stretching out as far as the eye could see. Although the Taiga Black was a very good car, it wasn’t the best. In this entire plaza that contained over several thousand cars, there were at least several dozen that were even more valiant than it.
“Sure are a lot of rich people, huh.” Tang Yao turned to Nie Yan and said, “Come on, let’s go.”
“I definitely can’t afford to visit a place like this. You’ll have to cover for me, okay?” Nie Yan said.
“Stop acting like you’re poor. If you sold off your in-game gold through a blackmarket site, who knows how much money you’d earn? Yet you still have the nerve to freeload off me!”
“I definitely won’t sell my gold. Inside the game, I can use it to make even more money. Every single coin can be turned into even more coins,” Nie Yan shook his head and replied.
Tang Yao stared at him pensively before nodding his head. “I understand. It’s the same as the money I’ve invested into the stock market. Even if I do spend it, I won’t take out more than ¥30,000 a month. When I’m working for my dad, I won’t even touch it all. Alright, since I freeloaded some gear off you inside the game, everything today is my treat.”