World of Masks – Chapter 20
Jin-suk bowed awkwardly in return as Jorba bowed towards him. He noticed that while this game seemed to be based on western culture, bowing in greeting was common.
Jorba smiled warmly at Jin-suk.
“Come in. I’ll prepare a cup of tea for you.”
Jorba led Jin-suk into the church.
As soon as he entered, he saw a large, empty room, with various altar looking items placed at the end. This was probably the place for mass or worship.
Jin-suk followed Jorba through a passage to the right of this room, before being led to a small room.
In the room, there was only a table, two chairs, and a bookshelf with a few books on it. These gave the room a very simple feeling.
“Please wait here for a moment.”
With those words, Jorba opened the door and walked out, leaving Jin-suk in the room.
Jin-suk, who was still standing at the doorway, felt that he shouldn’t stay like that, so he stepped forward and sat in the chair before looking around the room. Judging from the absence of bad, Jin-suk figured that this wasn’t a bedroom, but was instead a drawing room.
Looking out the window, the white clouds floating in the blue sky created a rather picturesque image.
The view outside was so beautiful that this thought floated past in his brain. (TL: He’s probably thinking about ruining it.)
“The world is beautiful, isn’t it?”
It was Jorba who spoke while holding a steaming cup of tea out for Jin-suk.
“Yeah. It really is.”
“Huhu. Usually, the Travelers who come to this world for the first time have similar reactions.”
As he said these words proudly, Jorba sat across from Jin-suk. He gave the image of a true follower of God who felt pride in this world, which was God’s creation.
“Have you seen a lot of Travelers?”
“I took care of almost every Traveler who came to this city. After all, I’m the one in charge of this temple.
The building seemed more reminiscent of a church or cathedral. But now that he thought about it, Jorba’s outfit did look more like a priest’s outfit rather than a pastor’s. The mild cultural shock caused by his cultural differences had blurred this reality, but now he realised it.
In all honesty, it didn’t matter whether he was a priest or not, or whether this was a church or not.
Those who were deeply interested in religion might have been interested, but unfortunately, Jin-suk was an atheist.
“Now then. Let’s get to the main point. Just to confirm, is it true that you are a Traveler who has just entered this world?”
“Yeah. I came here about 5 hours ago.”
Jorba reached into his pocket, retrieved a piece of paper, removed the lid from a bottle of ink which sat on the table, and dipped a pen in the ink. (TL: What a sentence)
“My job is to create an identity for those who came to this world for the first time.”
This time, he removed a jewel from his pocket.
Jin-suk’s eyebrows rose.
“That’s a contract jewel.”
“Hoh. You know about it?”
“Yes. The bandits I met not long after coming in had it.”
Jorba’s expression hardened.
“Bandits you say. I know why they had it. Are you alright?”
“Yeah. Fortunately, they weren’t that strong, so I was able to defeat them.”
“Fortunate indeed. These days, there has been an extremely large number of bandits targeting novice Travelers around the Holy Neutral City. Even if we subdue them, they eventually reappear after a while. In a way, they are like pests.”
He shook his head animatedly as though he was truly disgusted.
“Usually, I would give you a proper description about this gem, but I suppose you already know about it, so I’ll skip that part. First of all, I would like you, Traveler, to make a pledge upon this gem.”
Jin-suk frowned beneath his mask.
He was well aware of the dangers of a Contract Jewel. After all, he’d used it to toy with the bandits earlier.
“I’m not reluctant to do it, but…”
“I naturally understand that. But I have to make sure that you really are a novice Traveler. It’s common for criminals and fugitive slaves to try to create new identities by pretending to be novice Travelers.”
Now it seemed that NPCs would even imitate players.
This game really did have all kinds of situations.
“If you like, I can leave this world for a moment before returning. To show that I’m a Traveler. Wouldn’t that be enough?”
“Unfortunately, there are Travelers among the criminals I mentioned. In truth, it’s even more difficult to check when this is the case. After all, they are much more capable of pretending to be beginner Travelers than inhabitants of this world.”
“I see. However, I really don’t want to do something so risky.”
Jorba looked at his cup of tea for a moment, seemingly deep in thought.
“How about this. There will only be one condition. I will ask whether a day has passed in this world since you left the beginner village. The contract will only be that question, and you will only have to answer yes or no. I think that is simple enough for you to accept.”
Jin-suk thought that it was fine.
He would only have to give a short answer, and the question was only asking for a brief detail. In this way, there was no way to infer multiple interpretations about the clauses. The reason he wouldn’t simply ask if he was a beginner or not was because the concept of beginner was subjective.
He would have no problems if Jorba asked such a question.
Jin-suk nodded his head.
“Alright. But, just out of curiosity, what would happen if I refused?”
“Unfortunately, you would have no choice but to leave without getting any identification.”
Jorba’s face seemed to be saying that something like that would be incredibly troublesome.
“And what if it had been more than a day since I arrived?”
“In that case, you would say yes. And I would have to ask you a few more questions.”
It seemed that he had thoroughly prepared for the other possibilities.
After taking a short breath, Jin-suk responded to the question to verify his identity as a novice traveler. And after checking with the Contract Jewel to make sure he wasn’t lying, Jorba reached out to him.
“I apologize for the rudeness. However, it’s a necessary procedure I must follow…”
“No. As long as you were able to confirm my identity, it’s fine.”
Jin-suk also stretched out his hand and shook Jorba’s hand.
“Thank you for your understanding. Nevertheless, I cannot rid myself of guilt. You see, in our world, it is considered rude to use a Contract Jewel to determine whether someone is telling the truth. So even though I’ve done the same for many Travelers before, I still can’t get accustomed to it. If I wasn’t duty bound to use this gem, I wouldn’t.”
“Ah! I suppose you wouldn’t know this. Yes. It is considered very rude to use a Contract Jewel to determine the truth like I just did. Using this is like bluntly saying, ‘I don’t trust you, so swear with your life’. So if you were to use a Contract Jewel to determine the truth, you would receive the disdain of those around you. And they might even ignore you if you tried to do it again. Nevertheless, there aren’t many disadvantages. Rather, someone who pushes to use a Contract Jewel to determine the truth might be seen as trustworthy to some.”
“And yet it’s still seen as rude?”
“As a man of God, I shouldn’t be saying something like this, but everyone always has something that they need to hide. And the fear that these secrets might be exposed by this gem has created such a culture. In all honesty, it depends on personal preference. In my opinion, it’s better than being lied to or swindled.”
“I see. So these jewels aren’t used very much.”
“That’s right. The effect is absolute, but the risk is too high. People will unconsciously think that they are risking their lives whenever they make a contract. Because of this, it is not used even in a pledge between a Lord and a Knight. If you give an acceptable phrase, but your thoughts are different, the other person might end up entrapped. In which case, it would be like breaking each other’s trust. In the old days, Contract Jewels were often used in such a way. Where both sides would use words that could be interpreted differently in order to get what they want.”
Jin-suk looked down at the Contract Jewel which lay on the table.
It seemed that this gem had a painful history behind it for the NPCs.
“Then are these gems still used?”
“They’re still used. They’re used for very important contracts. But in those cases, both sides would thoroughly go over the clauses and even add secondary clauses so that there would be no other interpretations. But it can be quite annoying. In the past, two kingdoms used one to sign an agreement. But when they listed the clauses for the contract, it was long enough to fill an entire book. But what was even more ridiculous was that the secondary clauses which were made to prevent any misinterpretations were long enough to fill more than two scrolls of parchment. Nevertheless, it is still used, and it is absolutely effective. Ah! Actually, there are some people who use it often.”
“Slave traders and bandits.”
Jorba said these words bitterly.
“If you hold a blade to someone’s neck and force them to agree to a contract, most people would do it. So most slave traders or bandit groups would have one. The bandits do it to steal all the remaining property from their victim, and the slave traders do it to forcefully make people into slaves.”
As if his mouth had become dry, Jorba took a sip of tea. (TL: He’s talking so much, his mouth should be a desert.)
“In truth, this gem is quite expensive. Moreover, it’s relatively rare, because it is a magical item. It is something that could only be produced by the magic towers. They also have a fixed number of uses, and if you use it up, you’d have to go to a magic tower to recharge it. Recharging it costs a lot of money, but the large slave traders and bandits use them because they feel they are worth the expense. After all, having it directly relates to how much they can gain.”
“The bandits who had the Contract Jewel didn’t seem like a large group.”
Jin-suk thought about the four bandits who had been trembling in front of him. Both their size and strength seemed completely different from the big groups Jorba had mentioned.
In fact, now that he thought about it, they were either very stupid, or didn’t know how to use a contract jewel since they were toyed with to such an extent by Jin-suk, who didn’t even know much about the jewel. Well, they wouldn’t be bandits if they were smart or well trained.
“That’s why it’s such a common thing to attack novice travelers. They usually earn enough to buy such expensive items.”
Jorba smiled bitterly.
After all, even if they robbed only beginner bandits, they would be able to receive low class Life Beads and bracelet type magic warehouses. Most of the people who had these treasures were raw beginners who knew nothing about self defense.
Perhaps in this game, robbing novice Travelers was a high value industry which generated high profits for surprisingly low capital.
‘I can’t use it easily.’
Jin-suk inwardly clicked his tongue with slight regret.
However, he didn’t think that he wouldn’t use it at all. After all, this gem was still an item that, if used well, could be a really fun toy.
“My apologies. Our conversation suddenly went on another tangent. That’s why it’s better for the old to die.” (TL: I really thought I read this wrong… )
“No no. It was a very informative conversation.”
Jin-suk was being honest. After all, for Jin-suk, who was thirsty for information about this unfriendly game, even the slightest bit of information was like rain in a drought.
“I’m glad you think so. Well then. Let’s proceed with the procedure.”
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