Surviving as a Mage in a Magic Academy - Chapter 53
“What are you doing?”
“Collecting bread, sir.”
“Yes, they’re used as currency here. Five pieces of bread can get you a quill, and ten can get you a matchbox’s worth of sugar cubes.”
Students of the Blue Dragons were able to live rather comfortably thanks to Yi-han, but the others didn’t have the same luxury.
They were doing everything they can to survive, collecting the hard bread that was served during every meal.
After all, they were considered money here, money that could be used to buy all sorts of goods!
“Woah…can we take a look?”
“Please feel free to do so.”
Yonaire studied the goods displayed in the black market with great interest, probably with the intention of buying anything that caught her eye.
Yi-han, who was curious, took a gander at the goods as well and was pleasantly surprised.
‘Some of them seem actually useful.’
Initially, he didn’t harbor much hope for the Black Tortoise, but against his expectations, they had managed to gather all kinds of things.
Granted, they didn’t have much food, and aside from the canned goods that they got from the priests, the rest were analogues.
Cheese analogues, milk analogues, egg analogues, meat analogues, fish analogues, coffee analogues, tea analogues, and so on.
‘Isn’t it harder to make all these than to acquire them?’ Yi-han wondered.
However, other than the food, there were quite a few items that had practical use.
Backpacks, quills, blankets, lanterns, fishing rods, shovels and pickaxes, makeshift tents and sleeping bags, ropes and chalks, bows and arrows…
What took him by surprise was…
‘Why are there so many artifacts lying around?’
Ordinary-looking cloaks, leather belts, and accessories made of stones.
Though they appeared to be common junk, Yi-han could sense mana being emitted from them.
He was certain that they were artifacts.
‘I didn’t think it’d be this easy to find artifacts, even if we’re in a magic academy.’
Outside, even a single artifact would be considered priceless. Not only were they expensive, but the supply also couldn’t meet the demand, which was why countless adventurers and mercenaries could only dream of owning one.
It was to the point where someone with an artifact would be considered a veteran adventurer.
Artifacts with <Night Vision> could help them navigate through dark dungeons, allowing them to serve as scouts, and artifacts with healing magic could be used to save lives in times of emergency.
However, the situation was a bit different inside the academy.
It was a place where people that knew how to craft artifacts and people who wished to learn how to craft artifacts gathered.
Although the ones made by amateurs lacked in terms of quality, they made up for it through overwhelming quantity.
What was impressive was that a bunch of freshmen had managed to scavenge them.
Yi-han was in awe of the Black Tortoise’s practical mindset.
‘I might have been better off being a member of the Black Tortoise.’
If he had been placed there, he would’ve gone around the academy with the others and mugged the place clean.
“Are you planning on buying something, sir? I’ve checked, and none of them seem particularly useful.”
Ratford whispered words of advice next to Yi-han.
The Black Tortoise student who had his business interrupted glared at Ratford.
‘Don’t get in the way of my business…!’
Ratford, however, didn’t care in the slightest.
“The cloak over there can protect its user from blades, but it’s been shown to work only half the time.”
“Blocking one out of two hits doesn’t sound bad though?”
“I see…Sir Wardanaz is wise. Instead of saying the cup is half empty, he’s the type to say that it’s half full.”
“Ratford, saying whatever comes to your mind doesn’t constitute a praise.”
There was a reason why Ratford didn’t think any of the artifacts were worth buying.
It was difficult to determine their effect, and the mana within them was gradually becoming thinner. In other words, the magic that had been cast on them wouldn’t last forever.
As unreliable as it was, the protective cloak mentioned just now was on the more practical end of the spectrum.
The problem was…
“Can I purchase things on credit?”
“Mr. Wardanaz, even if you were to threaten us with a knife, we won’t accept credit.”
‘What’s up with the honorifics…’
Yi-han was getting tired of this. He was fine with them speaking comfortably!
That said, the Black Tortoise was adamant about not accepting credits.
Students from the other towers had tried the same thing before and had failed.
Someone like Yi-han would have no qualms knocking on the doors of influential nobles, demanding that they pay up.
It would be reckless of the Black Tortoise to do the same, which was why purchasing on credit was a no-go.
Yi-han nodded after hearing the explanation. It made a lot of sense.
“Nothing we can do about it, I guess. Hmm…I heard we’re allowed to barter here. I wonder if the things I brought will be enough.”
He had brought with him a basket of goods after learning about the black market, but he was beginning to lose his confidence.
Should he return to his dorm and bring some canned food?
‘I want those artifacts before someone else takes them.’
“What did you bring, sir?”
“Oh, just some vegetables and fruits that were recently harvested, along with some eggs.”
An uproar ensued as countless students of the Black Tortoise rose from their seats.
The Black Tortoise went nuts over the fruits, vegetables, and eggs.
Not to mention the student selling artifacts, others also rushed up to Yi-han, begging to trade.
“There’s a chance this shovel and pickaxe were made by a dwarven smith! You might find a use for them later—”
“I’m willing to trade coffee and tea analogs for just one egg!”
“A staff for an onion!”
While the others lined up to trade, the student that had sold his protective cloak for two potatoes started a fire and mocked his friends.
“Idiots. You guys should’ve brought something of value. You think he’d be willing to trade for some trash?”
“Shut up! You just happened to pick up that cloak by accident!”
“Hey, how much bread for a bite of potato?”
“Keep them. I’m not selling.”
“I heard potatoes don’t taste that good nowadays. You might be better off with this bread.”
Ignoring all the distractions, the student kept baking his potatoes.
Once they were adequately baked, he peeled them, revealing their flesh which looked absolutely delectable.
After blowing on one, the student took a big bite.
The potato melted like cheese inside his mouth, putting him in a daze.
Yi-han, who had been watching, was flabbergasted.
‘Just how starved are they?’
Salt and butter hadn’t been used in the baking process, so there was no way it tasted as good as the student made it out to be.
“…Gather around. I’ll cook something for you guys. Yonaire, can you help me?”
She nodded, and the two exchanged glances.
‘Just this once, we won’t ask for money.’
As stingy as he was, Yi-han didn’t wish to ask for money from people so desperate.
And there was also another reason.
‘By feeding them before entering the mountains, I can have the Black Tortoise owe me a favor.’
He was enemies with the White Tigers, and there was no going back from that, but he still had a chance when it came to becoming friends with the Black Tortoise.
Yi-han chopped up the vegetables that he harvested and sprinkled some salt and pepper, something which shocked the Black Tortoise.
However, it was too early for them to be surprised.
He added oil and deep-fried the vegetables.
An irresistible aroma spread to surrounding areas, prompting the students to gather around the pot like lifeless zombies.
Yi-han then popped open a can of tomatoes, scooped up its content, put it into the pot, and fried it together with the vegetables.
Despite having made it in a rush, the thick tomato vegetable stew looked mouthwatering.
Once he was done, Yi-han handed out a bowl of stew to each student.
Everything around him became silent as the students got to work with their spoons.
Once they were done, they expressed endless gratitude and appreciation.
So this is what a proper meal tastes like!
I’ve finally recalled what it’s like to live!
“Now, a round of applause for Sir Wardanaz—”
Yi-han shoved a potato into Ratford’s mouth, stopping him from ruining the mood.
Although Yi-han tried to turn them down, the Black Tortoise wished to repay him.
As a result, he ended up returning with full pockets and two backpacks on his back. A lantern, a fishing rod, a shovel, and a pickaxe hung on his sides.
“T…that’s so cool.”
For some reason, Yonaire seemed mesmerized by the unique fashion, and Ratford soon followed suit.
“Sir looks like a top-tier adventurer.”
Ratford aside, he couldn’t tell whether Yonaire was teasing him or being serious.
After letting out a deep sigh, Yi-han put down one of the backpacks. In it was a set of chess, a set of cards, and a set of dice, among many others.
He had successfully earned the favor and trust of the Black Tortoise.
Furthermore, he had acquired quite a few useful artifacts other than the protective cloak.
A pair of lower-tier covert boots that mysteriously lowered the sound of his footsteps, a chalk that created a smoke screen when thrown, a detection bracelet that turned red if someone was watching…
‘Hmm, our seniors must’ve made these, but for what reason?’
Yi-han began to question the intent of the seniors who took the artifact crafting class.
‘Were these all made to sneak away from the professors…?’
As he was browsing through the artifacts in his backpack, he heard something rattle.
And much to his horror, a skeletal hand came climbing out of the backpack.
For a split second, he thought someone from the Black Tortoise had repaid kindness with hatred.
But it didn’t take long for him to realize that no one could lay such a sophisticated trap using magic yet.
The skeletal hand came flying towards him, and it combined with the mysterious bone that he had received from Professor Mortem which he had kept with him.
Now, the bone had both a hand and a forearm.
The bone proceeded to float in the air, like a puppy waiting to be fed.
Ignoring his protest, the bone approached Yi-han, pricked him in one of his fingers, and took a droplet of blood from him.
Soon after, he felt a connection form between him and the incomplete bone summon.
“Sit.” “Stand.” “Turn around.” “Fetch.”
Yonaire and Ratford stared at Yi-han, feeling complex emotions.
Their friend had suddenly summoned a piece of bone and was giving orders, as a black mage would.
‘What a strange gift. But then again, I’d be more worried if a professor gave me something normal.’
“I think it’s better if you throw it away”
Terrified by Yonaire’s suggestion, the bone stuck close to Yi-han.
This behavior made them feel sorry for the poor piece of bone.
“…I-I take back what I said. I take it back, alright…?”
In the end, Yonaire had to retract her statement.