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59 Festival I

 The unnamed town was decorated with lights and festive ornaments, and even the snow couldn't cool down the burning enthusiasm the players had on the banquet.

On the small square next to the Lifestone, a pile of carefully constructed wood and tinder were ignited with a Fireball skill, the resulting bonfire lighting up every corner of the square as the residents of the unnamed town started their party.

Originally the celebration was a small gathering of several players, but after Angora caught wind of it, he decided to hold an extravagant event for the entire town to enjoy in order to increase their sense of belonging to the town and strengthen their bonds.

Since he found out that the Underground Hideout of Lancaster was in the territory of the God of Games, he had been feeling somewhat threatened.

Granted, using the word 'extravagant' to describe the party was a bit of a stretch, given the current conditions of the town.

But this kind of banquet with a bonfire still left a lasting impression on those who hadn't experienced these sorts of celebrations before.

Zonyan never knew that life could be so easy. Only one week ago he was but a lowly refugee that was looked down upon and not accepted for jobs, even as helpers in stores. Even though he was single and thus had no family to take care of, but since he had a large appetite, he had always been hungry and insecure about life all this while.

After he became a believer in the God of Games and came to this unnamed town, his life became much better. As long as he was willing to spend some time and effort to hunt down some skeletons near the Valley of the Tragic Dead, he could get game coins and earn himself a good meal at the restaurant in town.

Even though the veterans complained that the menu there was too simple and the options were too little, but the refugees were happy enough to be able to eat their fill.

Zonyan knew what banquets were. While he was living at the refugee camp, he learned that these were activities that were only held for the aristocrats from a man called Vanke Noreki.

Hence, he was surprised that the banquet that their lord held could be attended by everyone.

Zonyan wasn't very interested in the decorations that lined the streets, instead locking onto the many barbecue stands set up all around the event venue. After all, even if something was pretty, it could not fill his stomach.

The barbecue was handled by the townsfolk-Some of them were responsible for the kebabs that were sizzling with oil and spice, some were in charge of the refreshing and multicolored vegetable skewers, but the most popular was the grill that had whole fowls stuffed generously with expensive herbs and spices. The fowls that were grilled this way were crispy and the outside while tender and juicy on the inside, and held a strong aroma of spices that was extremely appetizing!

The atmosphere of the banquet became more and more heated as the veteran players joined the fray-the venue filled with laughter and noise.

The veteran players that were once mercenaries surrounded the bonfire and started singing and dancing crudely to folk songs.

To Zonyan who had stuck out his tongue from the head of the kebab he put into his mouth, the players weren't doing a banquet dance, and they looked like they were doing the ritual dances the hunters from his place of birth did to pray for a good hunt.

The dances that the players did were down to earth and easy to learn, and some refugee players that were braver stepped into the circle of players and started to sway their bodies with the rhythm, spinning around the bonfire with them.

Of course, a lot of veteran players were not interested in the dance, and so they all gathered near the barbecue stands and talked and bragged about their exploits and adventures.

They told grand tales of how they killed the Berserk Armored Alligator, and how they retreated unscathed from rat hordes that could eat a person whole in seconds, and someone even said that they face three-thousand Swamp Fishmen at once...

The refugees who had only become players listened diligently and in awe, imagining themselves becoming as strong as the veteran players one day and going on their own escapades.

Zonyan who had been a hunter before felt that they were blowing the story out of proportion but he didn't have any proof, and so he only stood at a side and ate skewers as he listened to the music, pondering on whether he should invite some of them to challenge the 4% exploration rate of the Valley of the Tragic Dead after this.

"Why aren't you joining them?"

A voice asked suddenly.

Zonyan turned quickly and found an unfamiliar man.

If it were not for the words Xi Wei floating on the latter's head in white font, Zonyan would have assumed that he was a spy.

"I'm not too great at socializing." After he confirmed that the other had no malice, he brazenly too a bite of his skewer before asking with a mouthful of juicy meat, "Do you have any business with me? I don't think I've seen you before."

"I'm a believer in the God of Games from the outside." The man smiled softly. "I have relations with Eleena and her friends so I'm here to see them."

"Alright, lemme bring you to them."

Zonyan who had finished his skewer threw the remaining bamboo stick into a nearby rubbish bin and wiped his mouth. "This place is great, but there are too many rules. You can only throw your rubbish into rubbish bins and you even have to go to toilets to do your business, or else you would be given a penalty..."

"But thanks to those rules, the town is cleaner and more comfortable to live in, no?"

"That's true, life here is much better than the outside!" Zonyan scratched his mane of hair gruffly and guffawed heartily.

And so the two continued with their conversation as they passed through the crowd.

Within the crowd, there were quite a few familiar faces.

For example, Angora and Marni were talking not far from the bonfire.

"Mister Wilf, thank you for all the resources you brought. If you hadn't, it wouldn't have been possible to hold a celebration like this."

"No, no don't thank me. I'm a merchant after all so I don't do anything that brings me loss."

"What do you mean? Ah, if it's not convenient, you don't have to tell me..."

"It's alright. Do you remember the Shop that was built the other day, my lord?"

"Oh, that. The quality of the products sold are pretty good and inexpensive, but the restriction on the number of items you can buy is a little inconvenient."

Once he had obtained the blueprints for the Shop from Edward, Angora immediately built this building in the town. This Shop was actually the system shop that Xi Wei provided to the players, allowing them to buy items like HP Potions, MP Potions and Teleportation Scrolls, and Appraisal Scrolls. Once players had enough Reputation, they could unlock more high-grade potions and consumables.

As Xi Wei didn't have a lot of divine energy to spare, he could not give his believers an infinite amount of items, so he set purchase limits for each player.

"After I used game coins to buy extra potions from players, I sold the items at Lancaster for Rions and bought supplies with that money."

"...I see."

"I told you this because I want to do business with you, my lord. The town would definitely require more supplies and resources in the future, so why not get a secure supplier for your goods?"

"You're good at making money, Mister Marni..."

Angora didn't think that he could copy the exact plan and let Vela sell potions at Lancaster like Marni did.

After all, Marni had been a merchant for half his life, and so he had ways to sell these items without getting any attention. He probably told Angora this information knowing that he was the best choice to do this.

"Of course. Normal people want Rions and bronze coins while players want game coins. I..." Marni held out his hand and closed it into a fist. "I want it all!"

Angora: "..."

Zonyan who was not far away sweatdropped.

"I feel like we listened in on something we shouldn't have..."

"It's alright, they probably don't care if anyone heard if they said it out here..." Xi Wei comforted.

Then, he paused and continued, "Probably."

'You're making me more nervous alright?!' thought Zonyan in response to the half baked attempt.