Chapter 229 - Black Flame Effect
Starstreak Trading Firm, at the premium goods counter on the second floor...
Due to the raging popularity of the Advanced Whetstones and the fact that only a limited amount was available for sale each day, many Guilds and players could normally be seen queuing and waiting at the counter.
Today, however, fewer people were present on the second floor of the trading firm. No one waited in line at the premium goods counter. Those present were only independent players just window shopping, and not a single Guild player wandered the spacious hall. Nobody present even asked about the availability of the Advanced Whetstones, and such a situation had caused Anna, the manager of the trading firm, to grow anxious. Immediately, she started an investigation into the cause of this sudden lack of customers. She then forwarded her findings to Shi Feng, letting him decide what to do with it.
“Although I have long since expected this, they certainly took action quickly. Is Dark Star trying to start a price war with us?” Shi Feng revealed a calm smile after he read the message Anna had sent him.
The reason the Starstreak Trading Firm’s business would suddenly grow cold was mainly due to Dark Star. Dark Star had managed to nurture Forgers and Potionmakers capable of producing Advanced Whetstones and Intermediate Potions. Furthermore, they had widely trumpeted the fact that they offered their products for a much lower price. Originally, a stack of Advanced Whetstones sold for 1 Gold, 40 Silvers at the Starstreak Trading Firm. However, Dark Star sold them for only 1 Gold per stack. As for the Intermediate Potions, both types sold at a price 1 Silver Coins cheaper.
Although the prices were greatly reduced, the Advanced Whetstone and Intermediate Potions were originally products that sold at greatly inflated prices. Even if one reduced their selling price, they would still earn several times the base cost of the items. Hence, in order to solicit customers, Dark Star would naturally initiate a price reduction.
As for the players looking to purchase these items, they would purchase these items for the lowest price. This was the natural law of human nature. Nobody would be so foolish as to purchase an item of equal quality for a higher price.
However, a price reduction was only the beginning of Dark Star’s strategy. To make matters worse, Dark Star had even made a decisive change to the exchange mechanism. Although the exchange rate they used for normal Whetstones was similar to the Starstreak Trading Firm’s, they had reduced the Advanced Whetstones-to-Hard Stones ratio from a 1-to-9 ratio to a 1-to-7 ratio. This ratio was just slightly higher than the production requirements of Intermediate Forging Apprentices. Compared to the Starstreak Trading Firm, Dark Star’s exchange rates were far more lucrative. As a result, many players had turned to Dark Star to trade their Hard Stones.
Now that the Starstreak Trading Firm had lost its main source of income for Hard Stones, even if they relied on the Hard Stones Shi Feng had previously accumulated, they would, sooner or later, run out. Without the necessary basic materials, how were they supposed to produce anything?
Moreover, Dark Star also possessed an advantage that Shi Feng did not; they had more people producing the Advanced Whetstones. As more time passed, Dark Star would obtain more Advanced Whetstone Recipes from raiding Dungeons. They could endlessly increase the number of people capable of producing Advanced Whetstones in their Guild. Meanwhile, the Starstreak Trading Firm only had Shi Feng. However, Shi Feng currently had neither the manpower nor the time to waste raiding a low-level Dungeon for the recipes. If this situation persisted, Dark Star would surpass the Starstreak Trading Firm eventually.
Soon after, Shi Feng passed on his verdict to Anna. Since Dark Star wanted to start a price war, he would gladly engage. Hence, he adjusted the prices and exchange rates to equal Dark Star’s. However, this change would only take effect in White River City; the prices and exchange rates would remain the same in the other seven cities. Simultaneously, Shi Feng also took this chance to reveal the Basic Mana Armor Kit.
Anna was very efficient in her work. Shortly after Shi Feng assigned her the tasks, she had completed all of them. Moreover, she had also added an additional counter on the second floor specifically for selling the Basic Mana Armor Kits.
Visiting players quickly discovered the new addition.
“Huh? There’s a new counter here. What’s this Basic Mana Armor Kit?”
“Won’t we know once we take a look?”
Originally, one of the elite parties present on the second floor had only come to the Starstreak Trading Firm with the intention of purchasing some normal Whetstones for future use. However, when they noticed the appearance of the new counter and a new product, curiosity got the better of them, and they decided to investigate.
“Crap! This is insane! Is this thing made of silver? They’re actually charging 20 Silver Coins for a Broken Armor Kit! I can get a piece of Level 10 Bronze Equipment with that kind of money! They’re even limiting the sales of this thing to 50 pieces a day!”
“This is too expensive. Even though we are an elite party, our harvest from a single Dungeon raid will, at best, amount to two to three pieces of Bronze Equipment. Moreover, not only do we risk losing experience, but we also need to spend money on potions and repairs after a raid. One Armor Kit already amounts to our party’s total harvest in a single day.”
“Wait a minute, why are the Attributes of this Armor Kit so high? We can bind a total of three pieces on per character?! The total Attributes of three pieces is even higher than a Level 10 Mysterious-Iron ranked breastplate!”
“Look! Every Armor Kit is marked with a black flame! Don’t tell me this is something made by the Black Flame Forger?!”
Originally, the members of the team had cursed the Starstreak Trading Firm for trying to rip them off. However, the moment they noticed the Attributes on the Mana Armor Kits and the Black Flame mark, they involuntary shuddered. Who was Black Flame? He was someone every veteran player throughout Star-Moon Kingdom knew.
Although the Glimmer Chestplate was outdated at this point, it was an undeniable fact that the item had once caused an uproar throughout Star-Moon Kingdom. Moreover, due to its gallant appearance, many players still held onto their Glimmer Chestplates. The ones that held the Black Flame mark looked even more awesome, and countless collectors wished to possess of one of these pieces. Unfortunately, such marked pieces were exceedingly rare, and right now, each piece was already worth 50 Silver Coins on the black market. Yet, even at such an insane price, nobody would willingly sell theirs.
Now, Black Flame had revealed himself once more. He was even selling such powerful Mana Armor Kits.
It was just like the saying that had circulated Star-Moon Kingdom; anything produced by Black Flame would definitely be a premium product.
“How much money do we have right now?” speaking softly, the leader of the elite party suddenly asked in the party chat.
“Brother Qin, we barely have 43 Silver Coins if all six of us pool our money together. We have only managed to collect this after much difficulty to repair our equipment and buy some potions. You can’t be thinking to…”
“Trade a portion of the Hard Stones we collected for normal Whetstones, then sell the rest. Also, sell all of the Gemstones we previously obtained. Before anybody discovers this Armor Kit, we need to buy as many as we can. As long as we can equip our MT and healer with three of these Mana Armor Kits, we can easily clear Normal Mode Party Dungeons. Furthermore, by the time Starstreak sells out on these Mana Armor Kits, we can resell our extras for a high price. We should be able to earn back most of what we have spent.”
When the other party members realized the logic behind their party leader’s words, they immediately started pooling their money and sold all of their expendable items to buy as many Basic Mana Armor Kits as they could.
If both their MT and healer could have an additional piece of Mysterious-Iron Equipment, they could greatly reduce the number of deaths when they raided a Dungeon. With an additional 240 Defense and 12 Endurance, their MT’s strength would soar to the next level; their MT could tank Boss monsters with much greater ease. Not to mention, their healer would also receive an upgrade.
Soon after, the elite party’s MT and healer each bound three Basic Mana Armor Kits to their equipment. The party also bought an extra piece for future use.
In reality, it wasn’t just this particular elite party that had found out about the Basic Mana Armor Kits. Several other elite parties and independent players that had wandered into the Starstreak Trading Firm had secretly sold off their assets after discovering the Armor Kits. Some of the players who were wealthy in reality even went as far as to purchase Coins at a high price to purchase the Armor Kits.
As a result, 50 Basic Mana Armor Kits silently disappeared from the Starstreak Trading Firm.
During the night, when the moon was bright, and the stars were few, many players would come to the pub to relax and chat.
“Old Qin, why is your party so happy today? You guys even bought such expensive alcohol to drink. Don’t tell me it’s your birthday?” a party leader of another elite party asked.
“Our Three-headed Wolves party is very happy today! Here! I’ll treat your Nine-headed Birds party to this bottle of Ice Blue Spirit!”
“Did you guys strike it rich? Why are you being so generous? This is a high-quality spirit that costs 3 Silver Coins!”
“Of course! Today, our party managed to clear a Hard Mode Party Dungeon for the first time! We also managed to get a piece of Mysterious-Iron Equipment for our MT from that Dungeon raid. Tomorrow, we plan to raid another Hard Mode Party Dungeon.”
The other players inside the bar were immediately shocked when they heard that someone had managed to clear a Hard Mode Party Dungeon. They all sent envious gazes at the player called Qin.
Throughout White River City, the number of independent parties that managed to clear a Hard Mode Party Dungeon could be counted on one’s hands.
“Old Qin, stop boasting! Did you think I don’t know about your party’s strength? Not to mention Hard Mode, you guys still have to struggle through life and death to even clear a Normal Mode Party Dungeon!” The party leader of the Nine-headed Birds frowned in disbelief.
“Hahaha! If it were in the past, of course, it would be impossible. However, our party’s MT has over 1,000 Defense and 1,600 HP right now!” Qin gleefully boasted.
The party leader of the Nine-headed Birds was greatly shocked by this information. After all, he and the other party leader had known each other for a long time now, so he knew Qin from top to bottom. Previously, the Three-headed Wolves’ MT had not been so powerful; he was even weaker than the Nine-headed Birds’ MT by a small margin.
After some probing, the Nine-headed Birds spent 20 Silver Coins to obtain the secret the Three-headed Wolves used to clear a Hard Mode Party Dungeon.
The main reason for the Three-headed Wolves’ success was the contribution of the Basic Mana Armor Kits. During the day, the Three-headed Wolves were one of the parties that had secretly bought the Basic Mana Armor Kits from the Starstreak Trading Firm. With their newly improved MT and healer, in addition to their familiarity with the Dungeon they cleared, they finally managed to achieve the feat that all independent parties aimed for, clearing a Hard Mode Party Dungeon.
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