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The success we obtained from our dungeon expedition didn’t get me too excited. I was already trying to get back to my normal life, as soon as I could. The kids strived to be more devoted than excited towards their responsibilities.
Naturally, it was normal for successful expeditions to spread throughout the city and stir up the attention of many curious players. I had initially considered that happening, but ironically, our successful expedition remained a secret amongst our team as the shrine hadn’t permitted us to report it for the time being.
At the moment, I could only see this as a good thing; it allowed me to take some time off. Obviously, I didn’t believe our dungeon expedition results to remain a secret for very long; discovering the dungeon of the ancient Alchemist Vivian could only be categorized as an excellent performance. Later, when I decide to create a clan, this achievement will come in handy.
The kids’ daily routine was the same. As soon as they woke up every morning, they began their mana training, and I would guide them through it individually. In the afternoons, I would do go out of the city for a rigorous practice session, only returning back to the inn before dinner. I would take the remainder of the day off as my personal time.
After dinner, the kids also get some personal time off which they used to relax or train. However, in my personal time after dinner, I train even harder than I did in the afternoon. Nevertheless, I still had a lot of work on my hands that I needed to do; organizing and managing our spoils from the dungeon, while rummaging through to the records I found about the ruins.
The matters of sorting through the spoils of battle that we gained from the dungeon and worrying about new equipment for the children took more of my time. Since I was in charge of assigning roles to the kids based on where they’d fit into, I would sometimes interview the kids individually in order to access their strengths and weaknesses.
Naturally, the kids were also called upon whenever I needed them to practice or show me the results of their training, and not even one of them got annoyed. They knew how busy I was, and how I also strove to get enough time to rest and sleep.
When I was done with all I had to do for the day, I didn’t go to bed immediately. Instead, I would do my personal training till dawn. This particular training session didn’t involve any swordsmanship practice, meditation, or physical training, rather, it was a routine geared towards stabilizing one’s current strength, and maintaining it for longer periods, during battles.
On the other hand, my life was nothing more than a paradise. Every time I finished this training session, I would only get one or two hours of sleep before I got up and began my daily routine; sometimes I don’t even get to sleep for an hour. The kids would always look at me with worry in their eyes, but I would brush off their concerns by saying “You guys will soon be able to help me out.” Honestly, I didn’t find this daily routine exhausting. Back when I fell into the forest of hell, I had to push past my limits every day. Compared to that, this life was quite easy going for me; it was nothing more than paradise.
I gradually increased the intensity of the kids’ workout sessions. They were now more intense than they were the day we arrived at Mule, but the kids hadn’t complained at all – not even once. On the contrary, they all joined me in my training sessions that carried on after dinner until dawn. I always had to send An Hyun back myself. Although the physical exertion had no effect on me, the kids were still growing, so they needed enough sufficient time to relax and sleep.
However, it can be said that the attitude of the kids changed. It was a kind of adventure as well as a gamble when we went into the Dark Forest. Of course, the victorious joker Su Hyun intervened in the gamble even when there were a lot of dangerous situation that we had to face. In the past, there was no compulsion to follow, but now a days, I was willed to learn a lot. And, gradually, the kids’ attitude changed over time. Our journey into the Dark Forest was, naturally, an adventure, but at the same time, a gamble. The comic of our team, Su Hyun, lightened the atmosphere with her jokes-even when we were faced with some dangerous situations. In the past, there had been no need for me tag alone, but nowadays, I came with them because I wanted to.
I realized that I was better at teaching An Hyun and Yoo-Jung, so Vivian oversaw An Sol’s training; she was more suitable than I was, anyway. Although this development upset An Sol, she accepted my decision. An Sol and Vivian were both mana users, so I wanted them to train together and hoped they’d get to know each other more.
I kept the items we gained from the dungeon, especially the jewelry, potions and books which I decided to keep in the general storehouse. I didn’t want to sell the jewelry because they were too high quality. Maybe, we’ll find some use for them later.
Everything else was sold off. The spoils from the goblins and other monsters were sold. I was able to make a profit of 150 gold from the sales. Additionally, we can activate the practice monsters only by paying 50 silver and 1 gold. The practice monsters could be easily handled by novice players.
However, naturally, whenever there was an inflow of money, there would also be an outflow.
The expenses that I prioritized were the ones that would be incurred from upgrading the kids’ current equipment. It wasn’t necessary to change all their equipment, just upgrading a few would suffice. The money I had made from the dungeon was 700 gold, so I boldly decided to invest 100 gold each into equipment for An Hyun, An Sol, Yoo-Jung, and Vivian.
Vivian’s equipment wasn’t that bad, so I had no needed to spend more on her than I spent on the kids, so, for her, I bought a magic robe (27 done) and a cane (63 gold), which would increase the circulation of magic in her body and keep her warm.
Sol didn’t need much equipment as well, so I bought her a scarf armor (38 gold), which should wear on the inside, and priestly robes (46 gold), which would increase the efficiency of her sacred spells. I initially intended to change her staff, but when I asked her to hand it over, she replied, “Over my dead body.”
“Uh uh uh. I don’t want a replacement. I’ll use this… this is a good one…”
“Why? I’ll change it to something much better. That isn’t a bad thing…”
“I don’t… No, uh. This is the first thing Oppa bought… Uhuh.”
No matter how I tried to persuade her, Sol refused to let me change her staff. When I tried just taking it, she burst into tears, so I quickly surrendered and gave up. However, I was able to stick a gem onto it, effectively upgrading it. The gem cost 61 gold, and it had the effect of aiding mana activity within the body. Waving the gem around, while struggling to stick it onto the staff, made me feel like a woman. I did return the staff back to An Sol after the upgrade.
An Hyun and Yoo-Jung leaned towards offense more, so I had to focus my attention on their armor. Investing more money than I originally planned on them was inevitable.
Especially An Hyun. He specialized in close combat, so It was vital that I got him a pair of gloves much better than the other kids’. I wanted to get armor for his head as well, but I realized that It would cost 900 gold just to get him a full set of items. I had to make do with buying each item from the set one by one.
The first item I bought for An Hyun was a chainmail (124 gold), and afterwards, a chest shield (48 gold) and a leg protector (39 gold), which had been imbued with lightning magic. I ended up spending a lot more than I initially planned, purchasing the new equipment. . And after I had splurged a lot of money on him, he called me “father” by accident, inciting a small laugh from me.
Yoo-Jung was the dealer. Additionally, she had a special ability which required unrestrained movement into order to be more effective, so I couldn’t get any heavy equipment for her, which would restrict her movement. I bought her a thin and light ring mail (92 gold), which could be worn on the inside, and a monster leather armor (71 gold).
The leather cost 50 gold by itself, but one had to pay an additional 20 gold to strengthen its defense and reduce its weight.
Yoo-Jung’s one was too expensive, but it was okay, I just bought it immediately. Even though I didn’t like it on the outside, I was hoping that it was good inside.
The total expenses amounted to 520 gold. Over 500 gold was gone in an instant, and only 100 gold was left over. I didn’t bother me because the kids liked their upgraded equipment. I was pleased with my choices, but at the same time, I felt hungry.
Everyone donned their new armor, and I was able to admire their new looks. Although, I didn’t look like an expert myself, I still my own equipment set of armor and gloves. I smiled at the kids with a gaze brimming with warmth. Yoo-Jung came forward and examined my face.
“Oppa, You aren’t going to cry?”
“Why would I cry?”
“Why. Parents cry when they see their kids wear their uniform for the first time. Ha.. our kids are so grown. Sobbing. I’m so moved.” “Why? Parents cry when they see their kids wear their uniforms for the first time. Ha!” Yoo-Jung chuckled, “Shouldn’t you be saying ‘The kids are so grown up now. Sob, sob. I’m so moved.’?”
“I see,” I replied
“Ouch! Ah… aish.”
I watched Yoo-Jung vigorously rub her forehead and signed. Frankly, I did feel good doing that.
Yoo-Jung was a starter when she first came to Mule. She was dressed in the player academy outfit and had a high status. Currently, she had already shown the disposition of an excellent player. She was so excited about the new equipment that she waved her dagger around, in front of me. Her smile made me feel warm and got me thinking, Is this how parents feel when they watch their children grow?
There were many gazes directed our way; some were brimming with kindness, while others brimmed with envy and greed. The equipment that the kids had on weren’t much different from most, but some players there didn’t own any weapons, and they only donned the players’ academy clothes which they had gotten for free.
It was so far for them to fit in to new equipment. They were like the players who aren’t busy worrying about their tomorrow and were eating comfortably today. It was the reality of the players who couldn’t enter the clan. I didn’t go to the clan, but within a month it was a miracle to buy the equipment. New equipment was a luxury they couldn’t afford. These sort of players didn’t worry about their futures and instead chose to eat comfortably today. This was the norm for players who couldn’t get into any clans. Although I didn’t join any clans, I raised the money to buy my equipment, and that could be considered a miracle.
I decided to upgrade my gloves when I left the Mule later on. With that, I had sorted out the equipment problem – which had been an exhausting task – so I heaved a sigh of relief.
Although the new equipment weren’t of good quality – according to my standards, it improved the efficiency and speed of the kids’ training routines, and they showed remarkable improvement afterward. This helped boost their motivation – which was worth I had hoped for.
The team’s motivation was at an all-time high. The kids were so fired up, they wanted to go exploring again, but I refused their request. Even for explorers at a high level, immediately venturing out for another expedition just a short while after re-organizing from the previous expedition was not advisable. Teams were supposed to take a step back and try to make up for the previous expedition’s shortcomings.
Objectively, the team was in short supply of personnel, equipment, experience, and ability. Especially, in terms of experience and ability. It just wasn’t possible to venture out for another expedition so soon. One had to identify their own problems and fixed them, just like the process in Baduk. When one solves a problem, the level of the entire group rises. I had decided not to take that risk again-not until I had solved the problems we faced in the previous expedition.
As the days went by, we persisted with our daily routines. The kids were gradually maturing, and their growth was visible to the eyes.
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