A thick aroma wafted from the black tea, filling the luxurious room with a calming scent. However, it could not diffuse the icy cold atmosphere inside the room.
"Mr. Claytor, I can't agree to your condition."
The middle-aged man firmly disagreed as he placed down the cup on the table.
"The situation within the mines are stable. Increasing the price by a substantial amount right now is an irrational endeavor. As a member of the Association, I, without a doubt, seek to do my very best for the benefit of the Association. But regarding this matter, I won't be of much help. I hope you can understand ."
"Please relax, Mr. Keller." The soignée man who sat leisurely on the couch curled his lips coldly.
"The 30% increment in ore prices had already been approved by the Association. As a member of the Association, you must abide by the rules."
"But that isn't reasonable!"
"Right now, there isn't any shortage of minerals. We cannot arbitrarily raise the price without giving a rational answer. And as such, Mr. Claytor, from the start of our discussion up until now, I have not received a satisfactory reason to increase the price from your mouth. You can't expect me to agree to this outrageous request by merely invoking the Association's authority. At the very least, give me an adequate reason for me to do it. Moreover, if the Golden City were to discover such a thing..."
"... Even if 'that person' realized what was happening, she wouldn't be able to do anything to us."
The moment he mentioned the Golden City, Claytor's face darkened.
"Mr. Keller... the reason I, the vice leader of the Association, directly addressed you regarding this matter was because you controlled 85% of the mines in Deep Stone City. But I hope you can visualize the bigger picture, Mr. Keller. What you think you have right now, is a drop in the ocean when compared to the entire Paphield Region."
"No matter what you say, if you cannot give me a reasonable explanation, then I cannot accept the Association's proposal." Keller then stood up and continued, "Since that's the case, then I'm sorry. I don't think we have anything else to discuss."
Having said what he wanted to say, Keller gave a slight bow and turned away.
"Please wait, Mr. Keller." Claytor's face darkened once again.
"Seeing that I have no way of changing your mind, then you've left me with no further choice. The truth is, I don't want to do this, but since we came to this point, you can't really blame me..."
"What are you going to do?"
The moment he heard Claytor's subtle threat, Keller's face hardened.
"If you refuse this proposal, then the Association has the right to revoke your ownership over all your mines to ensure that they can operate stably and normally."
"The Association does not have this authority!"
Keller smashed his fist on the table.
"The Deep Stone City's mine is the property of OUR Keller family. It has no any relation to the Association. Surely you don't mean to steal it openly, right?!"
"Of course we will not -openly steal- it."
Claytor narrowed his eyes and revealed a sinister smile.
"Of course, the Association will pay for the acquisition of the Keller Family's mines for five thousand gold coins... What do you think about the price?"
Keller almost fainted when he heard the preposterous offer. Keller family owned four mines, and their total revenue was in the hundreds of thousands. This b*stard actually intended to purchase all of his mines with a meager five thousand gold coins? That amount couldn't even buy a pit! Were they idiots?! Or did they have other intentions?
As the head of the family, Keller naturally did not think that the Association was a fool. A trace of doubt flashed across his face as he stared at the Association's vice president. The fact that he could become the Merchant Association's vice president demonstrates that he had the ability.
When the Association headquarters summoned him, Keller already felt that something was amiss. The ore market had been stable throughout the year, and the surrounding countries did not encounter any disasters recently. If they were to raise the prices by 30% suddenly, not only would the Keller family cause a predicament for themselves, but it would adversely affect the market in the surrounding countries as well. This was a delicate situation. Ore trade was one of the most important sources of income for them.
If it was another person, he might have taken those words as a joke. But Keller was unquestionably certain if 'that person' in the Golden City were to discover this matter, every merchant was going to die. 'That person' wasn't a kind-hearted being. Although everyone had to die someday, but perishing by her hand was the worst kind of death.
What is this? The Merchant Association suddenly intend to inflate the price of ores? Do they think that they can escape from 'that person's' detection?
When he thought of the consequences, Keller's back felt cold. He immediately recollected his memories of the horrors five years ago. An entire country was massacred, all because of the nobles who refused to sign 'that person's' proposal. In the end, 30% of the nobles lost their lives.
Keller would consider himself as a hardcore merchant by blood, but even someone like him who'd loved money so much, felt utterly terrified when faced with her wrath. To make matters even worse, when he thought that her massacre would cause public unrest and create turmoil throughout the country, never could he have imagined that after two months, everything would be back to normal as though nothing happened.
Rhode did not sleep. On the contrary, he secretly organized his stats. Back then, because everything was in a rush, he had forgotten to organize it. Keeping track of one's stats was a necessity, thus, when he was finally able to settle down, he could peacefully do what he wished to do.
In the previous battle, he began to realize that even though this body was his own, but his ability was completely different from before. This was because, in real life, he wouldn't be able to dodge and parry as quickly when compared to before.
Strength was the first major difference. Based on the previous battle, he understood that his strength was higher than the average man in this world. Back in the Dragon Soul Continent, the strength value of NPCs were roughly 4~5. This number could be considered high for ordinary people. If their strength stat hovered around 6~8, they would have the ability to wield a heavy sword single-handedly. Rhode's strength was between 6~8. While he did not attempt to wield a heavy sword, judging from the previous battle, it shouldn't be a problem to do so.
Next was his vitality. It was something that he did not worry at all. Ordinary humans had around 5~8, elves were 4~6, dwarves and orcs were mostly between 7~10, and the highest vitality belonged to the angels and demons, which hovered around 15~20 points. While evaluating his injuries from previous battles, Rhode concluded that his vitality should be between 10~15. This kind of absurd distribution of stats does not belong to a human's body. It was practically monstrous. After all, he'd been assaulted by the Void Dragon before, but he still managed to survive until now.
As for his agility, he was unmistakably faster than an average person, but his agility was still lacking when compared to the elves. In the Dragon Soul Continent, elves boasted the highest agility, which was between 10~15 points. Rhode's agility was higher than an ordinary human who had around 5~6 points; thus, his agility should be 7~10.
The intelligence stat was the most difficult stat to judge. After the battle with the Shadow, he could finally grasp the basis of this stat. He recalled the game information regarding the Shadow's attack level and how much Intelligence he needed to resist it. Based on his speculations, his stat should have barely passed the requirements, which would mean that he had around 8~9. Comparing to an ordinary person, he would still be slightly higher, but he was definitely lower than those powerful NPCs. Rhode knew that his stats would continue to increase in the future, so he did not worry about it.
Last was the senses. The stat seemed to work completely different from the game. Previously in the Dragon Soul Continent, when one increases their senses stat, it would enhance their hearing ability, and it also provides a radar which could pinpoint dangerous entities ahead with a red dot. However, in this current world, senses worked in a totally different manner. When Rhode closed his eyes, he could still 'see' his surroundings, as though he had a pair of invisible eyes. With a thought, he could alter the distance by zooming in and out, just like a black and white infrred camera. Rhode used his battle with the silver wolf to calculate his senses stat and concluded that it should be at 6~7, it was lower than elves which were roughly 9~10 but still higher than ordinary people at 3~4.
After analyzing all these information, he could estimate his overall stats:
If an ordinary human were to look at these stats, they would be shocked silly. Overall, all of his stats were higher than a default human character. Never in his life had he seen any characters with such high stats at level 10. One had to be reminded that Rhode's nickname was the 'walking library'; thus, he knew the starting stats of every profession at the back of his hand.
That was the exact reason why Rhode felt puzzled over his stats. He clearly surpassed the human race's stats but was still slightly lower than other races. Even after he organized his stats, he still could not figure out what kind of mixed blood he possessed.
Typically, a mixed race would inherit both of their parent's blood. Take Lize for example; her stats were similar to an ordinary human except for her Intelligence and agility. Even her soul power was of the angel-tier.
Right now, Rhode's level was low. Except for his enormous strength, his other stats were obviously beyond ordinary humans but was still below the initial stats of other races. When he realized that his initial stats were already so high, then what would happen when he awakened his other bloodline? That would mean that his stats would at least double! Moreover, his stats would still rise as he leveled up!
If such a monstrous race existed in this world, wouldn't the players have abused it long ago?
Rhode attempted to deduce his own race.
Could it be a vampire? Or was it an angel or demon?
These races faced the same kind of restriction. Although they could increase their stats drastically, the condition to trigger these effects were reliant on their surrounding environment. Furthermore, the stat gain was a temporary thing. For example, a vampire would gain an enormous amount of stats during a full moon, but the stats would drop back to its initial number once the full moon ended. Rhode's stats were always stable and would never fluctuate; thus, these races were out of the question.
So, what race was it exactly?
Rhode fell into contemplation for a while, but even after racking his brain, he still did not acquire any logical conclusion. He shook his head helplessly and sighed.
In any case, this race should be stable. If he found out that it was half angel of half demon, he'd be doomed if he visited an area which would cut his stats in half.
After he decided to stop mulling over this matter, he chose to get some shut-eye. But the moment before he closed his eyes, he caught a strange movement.
From the bushes, a tiny, rustling sound could be heard.