Chapter 381 [Bonus] The Second Revision
Due to Max's outcry within the Merchant Association, a small commotion was caused, resulting in a swarm of eyes looking in Kieran's general direction.
Filled with embarrassment, Max could only scamper away to fetch his father, in an attempt to avoid the scornful eyes that his interruption had caused.
In contrast, Kieran was seemingly unaffected by the increased number of eyes drawn to his presence. Unbothered by the situation at hand, Kieran leaned against the desk and awaited Max's return.
While doing so, he took the time to iron out the details of his actions.
'Seeing as I have roughly eight to nine days remaining before the trial occurs, maybe it's possible to find the link between Bundal's journal and the quest in my possession,' Kieran thought.
After having read through the journal once, Kieran eventually found hints that it was related to Aeredale, which was understandable, given that the Concealed Canyon existed within Aeredale's territory.
However, Kieran also found hints that the journal's importance transcended a mere kingdom quest. Inside the notes, there was an explicit mention of the Xesian Empire.
Whenever a quest item alluded to a territory, it generally meant that it could grant a quest of corresponding magnitude. In other words, Kieran estimated that if he could solve Aeredale's crisis, he'd perhaps stumble across an Empire-level quest in the end.
Of course, this was all speculation.
Mention of the Xesian Empire could also mean that Bundal's experiments were substantial enough to affect the empire in the long run.
Given the ample possibilities, Kieran decided that concrete evidence would be best to move upon rather than pure assumption.
'While Bundal was thorough, he was also careful not to make his recording too incriminating. After all, a lot of the matters he ventured into are considered taboo. However, there may be another factor involved. Perhaps Bundal didn't know the true identity of his supporters and only knew what they revealed to him.'
Whether or not Bundal was skeptical by nature, he understood that some questions were better left unanswered simply to ensure his longevity.
Nevertheless, it was these speculations that helped Kieran look in the right direction.
A Hidden Dungeon.
Hidden Dungeons generally went against the guidelines of typical dungeons.
As the name implied, Hidden Dungeons could not be accessed unless one possessed something like a key. In this case, Kieran's key was the Log of the Mad Alchemist, which had a secondary purpose of acting like a compass to guide him to the dungeon's location.
Another thing Kieran recalled about Hidden Dungeons was their usual relation to hidden parties, oftentimes dark ones. Considering that this dungeon was catacomb-themed, Kieran reckoned it had something to do with death, or at the very least something vile and sinister in nature.
"I should probably solo the dungeon, given the fact everyone is now focused on honing their techniques to complete their Advancement. It wouldn't make much sense for me to interrupt them and have them lose out on the additional benefits of leveling after a successful promotion," Kieran muttered.
However, before he could continue with his thoughts, a couple of footsteps approached briskly. As they approached, Kieran could hear Max and presumably Dillon in a heated debate.
As Kieran lifted his gaze, he watched Dillon grinning at him with glistening eyes. "At first, I called my son's bluff, but then I read the authentic letter. This is unprecedented in Aeredale…"
"Oh?" Kieran muttered in response, his eyebrow arched with intrigue.
"Yes. I absolutely could not believe my eyes and ears! I was in utter disbelief. Do you understand how valuable both the membership and this favor are? We're talking about the Head of the Alchemist Circle!" Dillon exclaimed, excitedly slamming his hands on the desk.
Due to the meaning of such a situation, Dillon had also momentarily lost the decorum that befitted a Manager of the Merchant Association. Then again, he couldn't care less about the pretenses of his status. He could be pegged for a belligerent fool for all he cared.
Why? One might ask.
Because having ten or more VIP members of the Merchant Association gathered in one location meant that the territory could be considered a decent earning prospect!
If the opinion of Aeredale's worth changed greatly, it would vastly increase Dillon's chances of becoming a Diamond Manager!
"I know who wrote the recommendation, she gave it to me, after all," Kieran said matter-of-factly.
"Ah… I guess all of the praise Mayor Lowe sang regarding your ability was not exaggerated. Not to mention… my boy has even told me that you're related to the Mystic Mistress?"
"I am," Kieran admitted with a nod, showing zero intention of hiding his relationship.
The greater his connections, the higher the chances of Dillon permitting the appointment of a VIP membership.
Of course, there was also the fact that Kieran was proud to be related to Agatha, but he didn't let her know, otherwise she'd gloat about it.
"My oh my. The more I learn, the more I'm impressed. You truly are deserving of the membership, but you'll have to wait here as I file the proper paperwork," Dillon said before raising his hand and snapping a few times.
Sometime later, an attendant approached him posthaste and listened to the directions before scurrying away.
According to Dillon, the entire process had to be logged as a VIP member of the Merchant Association was welcomed even in the more affluent branches.
The moment Kieran was given the membership, all of the branches would be notified and the Honorary Ledger would be updated.
Roughly ten minutes later, the attendant returned, carrying a stack of papers.
However, the stack didn't bother Dillon because he was familiar with the process.
As he took a seat at the desk, he handled the document at lightning-quick speeds, creating two piles of papers that quickly changed in inverse proportions.
Eventually, Dillon arrived at the remaining and most important sheets. "Please place a drop of blood here and inject some Mana into this shard," Dillon instructed.
Unlike the standard membership card, the Honorary Card possessed top-notch security and was tailored to the holder's signature.
If it wasn't within the rightful holder's hand, the card would be rendered invalid.
Thus, even if it was stolen, attempting to access the benefits of the card was impossible. This was the reason most theft only involved items and never the card itself, which could similarly hold a balance like a credit card on Earth.
As per the instructions given, Kieran pricked his finger and dropped it on the contract, which, in reality, was an agreement stating that he understood the terms of his membership.
Afterward, he also injected some Mana into the shard, recording his unique Mana signature.
However, when Dillon went to apply to authenticate the agreement, he grimaced and stared at the blood on the paper.
After leaving Kieran's body, it turned an unusual color, with tinges of gold and prismatic light present within.
Additionally, a small disturbance occurred as the ambient Mana reacted to the blood, shuddering and quivering.
'What the…' Dillon blinked, incredulously staring at the situation before him. 'When has Mana ever quivered and submitted like this? It's almost as if it's within the presence of its master.'
Though he was unaware of what Kieran had achieved, Dillon's thoughts were almost completely accurate.
The Eternal Manaspring was the master of Xenith's Mana. On top of that, Quintessential Aether was produced within that spring, so by right of this relationship, Kieran's blood could be considered to hold sovereignty over Xenith's Mana.
However, this phenomenon was not something Kieran could harness.
One, he didn't assimilate with enough aether to weaponize it, and two, he had yet to master his own Mana. With that, how could he rely upon the world?
Fortunately, the phenomenon was fleeting, lasting less than ten seconds.
Once it dissipated, Dillon continued the procedure without any additional hitches.
As soon as the card was completed and imprinted with Kieran's unique information, Dillon handed it to him.
Compared to the standard version, the Honorary Card was simply exquisite and fitted the standard of a VIP presence. Whether it was the Mana Crystal foundation or the liquid gold that ran through it, the card was simply eye-catching in all aspects.
The source of this content is no/vel//bi/n[./]net'
As soon as Kieran accepted the card, he received several notifications.
〈System: You have received a VIP Membership with the world power: Merchant Association.〉
〈System: Due to you being the first player to hold the «Honorary Card», you have triggered the Universal Currency Exchange Trading System's second revision.〉
〈System: Please hold as the changes go live…〉
"The second revision? That would mean…" Kieran gawked at the notification before his eyes.
Due to the information he obtained in his past life, he believed the second revision could only be obtained after the first player-owned property went public. Though, now that he obtained the notification, it appeared his understanding of the matter was truly shallow.