Unrecovered Rice Cakes
When I got near the Virgin City Tower and yet there was no warning message, I felt my heart pound for the first time.
And when I realized that no one was guarding the front door, I felt my heart pound for the second time.
Third, when I didn’t feel the slightest sign of life inside the destroyed building.
Fourth, when I discovered that the boss’s room remained intact.
And fifth –
When I found a safe the size of a small refrigerator in there, I felt my heart pound for the fifth time.
My memory had been spot on.
I’d recalled a glimpse of a scene where, hearing that the two attackers had been forcing their way in, the mafia boss had said something like, ‘Well, I need to pack everything back into the safe…’.
I hauled the safe to the top of the table, then gently caressed it.
The steel door looked pretty solid, but somehow it felt like I could break it.
This ‘Villain 3’ character that I possessed (oh, he’s ‘Squatjaw’ now) is a character with the characteristic of being ‘a little strong’.
And the characters called ‘strong’ in this manga can basically easily lift a rock the size of a house.
‘Should I just break it?’
I grabbed the top of the safe and applied a bit of pressure.
The safe crumpled in an instant.
It looked like the door could be ripped off with a bit of effort.
After a few minutes of wrestling, I managed to unlock the safe’s door.
“… Oh my god.”
Inside the safe, bundles of cash were piled up one after another.
There was even a sack next to them to put things in.
“How much is all this?”
At first glance, there were dozens of bundles of banknotes alone.
Of course, I couldn’t figure out that amount right away.
I only knew that the unit of currency here was ‘gold’, but this was the first time I’d ever seen a real money bill.
“Well, there’ll be time to count it slowly later.”
I hummed as I swept the money into the sack.
Then, as I lifted the sack full of money on my shoulders, a feeling of fullness arose from the depths of my heart.
It felt as if there was finally a ray of light on the perilous path of survival.
But just then,
Something happened to make my heart tremble for the sixth time.
And the tremor this time was incomparably intense compared to the last five.
Really, my heart was about to jump out of my chest.
“Excuse me, are you a thief?”
For the first time, my body froze in surprise.
I turned my stiff head back, trying to calm my startled heart.
A man was standing before my gaze.
A ‘slit-eyed character’, wearing a sharp suit.
He was looking at me through those slitted eyes with a strange smile.
I haven’t decided what to do with you yet.”
Despite his calm tone, the trembling in my heart did not subside.
On the contrary, it pulsed even more violently.
The reason was simple.
Because it was a familiar face.
“Have you found anything other than the money in the sack?”
Instead of answering, I slowly shook my head.
“Can I check?”
I put the sack down and took a couple of steps back.
I watched as he came over and opened the sack.
“By the way, how did you get here? Do you have any ties to the mafia here? Tell the truth.”
After I calmed my beating heart, I timidly answered in a soft voice.
“I’m just… a little thief…”
The slit-eyed character in front of me is called Haka.
A very secretive guy.
His identity was so tightly veiled that even I, who had read this manga right up to the end, knew little about his secret.
To put it simply, he was the first ‘unrecovered rice cake’ that appeared in Adventure King.
An unusual story element or character that popped up, aroused readers’ interest, but never got explained or resolved even when the work ended.
An unlucky character who slipped into the story here and there from the beginning, acting as if there was some great secret involved, and then disappeared without even startling a mouse or a bird.
I think this is clearly the author’s mistake, but according to the author’s logic, he is one of those characters who disappeared because he could not prove his worth.
As time goes on, he loses his initial momentum and shows all sorts of oddities.
It can be said that the cold, insidious, and playful murderer gradually degenerates into a less-than-ideal gag character.
Perhaps the writer couldn’t help it.
There must have been a story prepared for this guy, but for some reason or another, he just overlooked it, and after that, it must have become a difficult character to use.
Then all it stays good for is to be a gag character.
“Actually, it was a lie.
That I haven’t decided what to do with you.”
Even if he showed a strange appearance later, that was only – ‘later’.
At least now, this guy is a very secretive and intimidating character.
Strong enough to threaten even the main characters right now.
“I’m sorry, but what do you think we should do?”
The man smiled as he slowly approached me.
What should we do…?
An alarm sounded in my head.
Need to be careful, or I could actually get killed here.
I calmed my thoughts.
‘It’s still okay, there’s a chance.’
This guy is dangerous.
But he has a definite odd and geeky side to him.
As I recall, this guy doesn’t kill people at once.
“Let me give you one chance, because otherwise it’s just embarrassing.
I’ll give you a riddle, and if you answer it correctly, I’ll let you leave.
If you don’t get it right, well, you know?”
Yes, just like right now.
An absurd and unexpected suggestion of a riddle game.
However, this was one of his habits and one of the main settings the author wanted to put into this character.
When I nodded, he grinned and posed a riddle.
I have a total of five brothers including myself.
I’m good at disturbance, teasing, and trickery; and I like to play hide and seek.
I always look at the world with three questions in mind.
Who am I?
“Do you know the answer?”
I was silent at his question.
In fact, I knew the answer as soon as I heard the question.
Because this problem was part of his standard repertoire.
The only reason I hesitated was because I didn’t know how many humans would be able to answer this right now.
The ‘being’ who is the answer to this riddle, is a race that only appears in earnest in the mid-to-late half of the work.
Right now, their ‘den’ was located in the opposite direction of Westland, where the main character and his party were currently wandering.
Even there, they were rare enough to be called a legendary race.
To be honest, the very fact that this guy asks about them at this point was close to a configuration error.
That he actually has a relationship with them, even more so.
Even so, if you dare to guess the reason why this setting was applied… Perhaps the author had conceived of this race and wanted to use it right away, so he was trying to reveal it through this guy.
At this point in the work, the most secret character was this guy.
He must have thought that he would be able to figure it all out somehow later.
However, this rather became poison for the character.
If a character’s story arc goes on unresolved for years, it’s nothing but shackles limiting his actions.
Anyway, getting the answer right wasn’t a problem.
It was a matter of whether I could survive this unpredictable bastard afterwards.
“Silence means you don’t know the answer, right? Well then, I’m sorry, but I’m going to end it here.”
But, well, I didn’t have any other options anyway.
I muttered as I looked at the guy approaching me.
“Then, goodbye… Yes?”
“It’s called a goblin, a goblin.
“Can I go now?”
I took advantage of his embarrassment and quickly grabbed the sack from the table.
“Wait a bit, wait!”
Then he hurriedly grabbed me.
“Hey, one more! So, can you talk about the goblin’s unique abilities, who are their five gods? If you get this right, I will admit it and let you go!”
Are those words true?
Of course, the answer was not difficult.
“God of Mischief, God of Lies, God of Whimsy, God of Pretence, God of Sabotage.”
“Right? I will go now.”
It seemed that the shock was too great.
He stayed still and could only gape like a fish as I took my sack full of cash and left the room.
Or maybe there was a conflict of settings in the guy’s head.
Anyway, it was very lucky for me.
‘Should I run first?’
As soon as I made up my mind, I started running.
Fortunately, he didn’t seem to be chasing me.
After a while.
Returning to Rosemarietta’s shop, I reflected on my meeting with him.
I met an unexpected character and was in danger of dying, but survived surprisingly easily.
I found this quite positive.
‘Is this a good thing?’
There’s also the fact that he is a character who shows his face quite often in the early part of the manga that was still to come.
Moreover, in episodes involving the ‘Black Shadow’, he exerts a powerful influence.
First of all, one of the various identities he has is a member of the ‘Black Shadow Secret Service’.
Perhaps the reason why he appeared here was because of the background settings related to it.
What if he remembers my existence? Maybe, I might come up with a new rice cake?
Or even better –
What if I pick up that ‘rice cake that will disappear without being recovered’ and weave it into the story?
‘I think the writer might even like it.’
It’s not just this guy.
In the future, rice cakes floating around without being recovered will appear in various places.
What if those could be woven into the story through me? Wouldn’t it be possible to win the favourability of the author as well as the liking of the readers?
In the first place, a rice cake itself is a factor that arouses the interest of readers.
The moment the rice cake gets hooked to a side plot and that side plot is woven back into the main story, all the spotlights are bound to focus on the person at its centre.
Namely – me.
Of course, it’s just an idea for now.
I’ll have to look into the situation carefully and make a decision.
At this point, I decided to stop thinking about him.
No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t come to a conclusion.
And to be honest, it was hard to think of anything else because the loot I brought kept glimmering in my eyes.
With a bright smile, I opened the sack up.
Screw it all, let’s count the money first.
I said my farewells to Rosemarietta, who was seeing me off, and got on the horse that had been waiting for me.
It’s Squatjaw all the way to the end.
Several requests for revision were ultimately unsuccessful.
Even after I taught her my actual name, she kept calling me ‘Squatjaw’ without any regard at all.
That surprisingly shameless face was a bonus.
Of course, it’s not like her intelligence had any serious problems or anything.
Maybe this was something set by the system.
However, for some reason, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being teased…
Anyway, it was time to leave.
I opened the map Rosemarietta gave me.
I was curious to see how the map would show the areas not introduced in the work, but again, there was nothing.
On the sparsely drawn terrain, only large and small dots could be seen here and there.
The dot size seemed to indicate the size of the city.
“Well, where is this…”
Anyway, I managed to find the way to the big city nearby.
I put the map back in my sleeve and nudged the horse to move.
– 3 hours later.
I arrived at the ‘Big City’, the largest city in the vicinity.
What an absurdly appropriate name.
Upon entering the city, I was greatly surprised in two respects.
First, there was a huge difference in the development and even the civilization level between cities.
This would only be possible in a manga world.
Although it was similarly called a city, what could be called the triumph of civilization in the Virgin City was, at best, a gun.
Horses and carriages were the only means of transportation.
However, this city was completely different.
Cars and trams were running right before my eyes, and even the people wore much more modern clothes.
How come there’s so much of a difference, when it’s not even that far?
And secondly, the exterior of this city was not unfamiliar.
This was quite bizarre.
Because I’ve never actually seen this city in the manga.
Because the main characters had never been here.
In particular, some buildings and places were so familiar that it felt dreary, and in fact, I could recall the scene in which they were used as the background.
As a result of careful thought, I was able to hypothesize one fact.
This place was created by weaving together different aspects of the cities I’ve seen in the manga.
In fact, in a way, this might be normal.
This city will exist only as a ‘metropolis’ or a ‘modern civilized city’ in the artist’s consciousness.
Unless there is a scene or two drawn separately for it, it can only be roughly composed based on the other cities in the work.
And as a result, I was able to find my destination very simply.
[Big City Special Potion Shop]
It was as expected.
The special potion shops that appeared briefly in the manga usually had a unique and intuitive appearance.
It could be said that anyone could see the purpose of the store, just by looking at it from the outside.
I went straight into the building in the bizarre shape of a large vial.
A special drug that transforms humans and artificially imparts supernatural powers.
Even just hearing the explanation, the item seems illegal and something likely to be trafficked in the dark, but in reality, it was the other way around.
The very stylish interior, the employees who greet you with a smile, and the display stands arranged by item, from the best to the classic, the old discount products, and the new products.
It felt like a fashion shop trying to ride the trends.
Even the atmosphere –
“Customer, is there a product you are looking for?”
“Uh… well, I’ll take a look first.”
“Yes, please tell me if you need anything.”
– until it’s hard to follow.
I quickly ran away from the enthusiastic staff to a deserted nook, and then slowly started to scan the potions that were there.
I was a little perplexed, because the instruction manuals attached to the products were much more detailed than expected.
In fact, special abilities don’t play a huge role in manga.
Since there is a better option called ‘unique ability’, at most, it was only used by the early villains.
Of course, there is an episode in the middle where the point-of-view character is someone who uses a special ability, but that also focused more on the character’s personal history rather than the ability itself.
In other words, the setting of special abilities has never been introduced in such detail in the manga.
However, the manual was full of information about the ability generated by the potion, the utility and limitations of the ability, the duration, whether it was one-time, and side effects.
To be honest, I didn’t even know there were separate one-time potions and permanent potions until I saw this.
There were thousands of special potions that caught my eye, so if they were all different types and even the instructions were different, it could be said that the artist really created an enormous setting for special abilities.
Maybe over a few hundred A4 pages.
My surprises didn’t stop there.
I doubted my two eyes.
“A, a million gold?”
A set of 10 disposable special potions was worth 1 million gold each.
The money I stole from the mafia vault was 5 million gold, in comparison.
Hell, it wasn’t even a potion that gave some great power.
The abbreviation is [Ugh! Smell] or [Stink-Stink Potion].
It was a potion that allowed one to emit a stinky smell and lasted less than an hour.
Even this was the cheapest.
Powerful, long-lasting potions were not even purchasable in bulk.
‘It’s all ruined.’
I’d been planning to prepare for the next chapter by stocking up on a lot of important special abilities…
I was in agony.
Of course, the answer was simple.
Make more money.
Because there’s still plenty of time.
The problem was how.
After a while, after a lot of thought and contemplation, I bought two special potions with tears in my eyes.
Even though I purchased only one of each, it cost a whopping total of 3 million gold.
It was almost like investing 60% of my total fortune, but I had no choice but to do it.
I thought this would be the fastest and easiest route.
I glanced at the two special potions in my hand.
[Hey, I can’t see it! Invisibility Potion].
And [Yep, be light! Weight-loss Potion].
“Screw it all.
It’ll work out somehow.”
My plan was simple.
I was going to rob a bank.
 못한 떡밥 (lit.
rice cake): We have added a simple explanation of ‘unrecovered rice cakes’ into the text itself to smooth out the story flow.
See Namu Wiki for a detailed explanation.
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