We had breakfast next morning. It was food I haven’t had in what feels like years. Back in Taliqa, and before Alice would begin to feed me normal food, I was still stuck eating apple sauce, and perhaps some milk, yogurt and cheese every so often, anything suited for my young age unlike the spicy meaty bits with beans I was now having. When we finished, I thanked Zeyl, who once again treated me with her own money, and she expected nothing in return. Not to mention that we regressed back to using nicknames, even after our more formal introduction from yesterday, and it was something we both agreed on.
We headed out, leaving Selsie back in the room in the mean time while we made our way to meet with Zeyl’s acquaintance. This was all for the purpose of selling my magic stone. We kept walking toward the center of Aria, where the trade of goods became more common. An increase of stalls and shops are seen as we near the center, prime locations for the traffic that travels from one entrance of Aria to the other.
While we went on with a steady pace, I also made sure to look at what was being sold and what was being used as currency in exchange for the goods bought. Copper coins traded for single and cheap items. A basket of apples went for three or four copper and no more than six for more fresh or of different variety of apples. Then we have silver that are rarely used except on the larger items like swords, furniture, and what seems like medicine being traded from one person to the other. Potions perhaps?
“Two silver silver each, and I’ll take four,” said one patron, to which the clerk gladly accepts the offer and the exchange is made.
Lastly, there was gold. No one I saw through our walk used one, but I am aware that Zeyl has two of them in her bag. I look up at her, noting our difference in height. She was holding on to my hand so that we didn’t get separated from the large crowds of people so early in the morning.
“Zeyl, how many copper coins make one silver?” I asked.
“One hundred copper for one silver.”
“And one gold?”
“One thousand copper or ten silver,” she said.
Whatever my estimates are, I could consider one or two copper to be equivalent to one dollar from the other world’s currency. If that were the case, then one gold is about five to a thousand dollars, probably. It would be best that I use whatever I get with due caution. How much can I expect for my stone? Five silver? One gold? By the sounds of how excited those thieves from before were, this might even fetch a decent sum.
“This way,” said Zeyl, puling my hand at a sudden change in direction. We entered a small shop. Jewels of all shapes and sizes made up most of the merchandise. A woman with freckles on her face, and slight crows feet building by her eyes stood by the front counter. She then noticed us.
“Zeyl!” She yelled, “How are you?” The woman greeted Zeyl and looks to me a second later.
As if from instinct, and remembering the same feeling Isla gave off, I step back as the woman was about to grab hold of me. She then tries a second time and doesn’t fail like before.
“…” I reach my arm out to Zeyl “…Help.”
Zeyl looks away, making sure our eyes don’t meet, but snickers at my misfortune, thus acknowledging my helplessness. I give up trying to call for her salvation, and instead place my life on Selsie, who was not here to begin with. Selsie wasn’t coming.
The women rubbed her cheek on mine and began to ask for my name as she did so, to which I hesitantly gave while trying to get away from her hold. She smelled of perfume and a mix of metal and polish.
“Sooo cute,” she said, continuing with the harassment! She then carefully looks to Zeyl. “What happened to your right arm?”
“Don’t worry about it,” said Zeyl, and finally introduces the woman to me, now known as Freyer.
“Okay, well, then is this your son? Did you keep him hidden from me all this time after finding a nice young man from Taliqa??”
“No,” said Zeyl, and she takes me from Freyer, who hesitantly didn’t want to let go of me. Now Zeyl carried me with just one arm.
“…” It doesn’t seem like I’ll ever win this battle, so I stay quiet.
“So,” said Freyar, “how can I help you today?” Finally getting down to business.
“Lee here is looking to sell his magic stone.”
“Alright, let me take a look at it,” said Freyer, and I hand her my last magic stone. Freyer takes out a small magnifying glass and gives the stone a closer look and we then wait on her.
“Talician made…” said Freyer, “maker initials are… A.C.” she moves the stone around, making sure she sees every speckle of it. “Wow.”
“Well?” said Zeyl impatiently as Freyer took her time.
“This is a summoning stone,” said Freyer.
“And its worth?”
“This could very well go for… a hundred gold,” answered Freyer. It didn’t hit me until much later how much one hundred gold coins were worth. Zeyl shook me as I dazed off, I might have actually lied about underestimating how much the stone was worth, because I kept staring blanks. This much gold could be like… fifty thousand to a hundred thousand dollars.
Without asking further on what a summoning stone does in detail, I accept the offer. Freyer takes us to a backroom where we finalize the deal. She readies a document for us, a contract of sorts. I read it carefully.
In the sale of said magic item, owner gives up full ownership and possession of the item. In return, I, Freyer Cheyen, upon sale of the item, will receive a finder’s fee of ten percent (10%) of the earnings of the item once sold. Owner will receive twenty percent (20%) of the quoted price to use as he/she sees fit, and that amount will be deducted on the final earnings of the magic item once sold to interested parties.
Merchant Signiture: Cheyen, Freyer__ Owner’s Signature: ___L._____
“Would my first initial be fine?” I asked Freyer, she nods. Freyer then takes out a small chest box and takes out about a dozen gold coins and hands me what remain in the chest.
“The chest is a complimentary gift,” said Freyer. “Once you activate the chest, it will open only to you.” I began counting the coins inside the chest as she spoke. Each coin slightly bigger than a half dollar, and very heavy in weight. Nineteen… twenty, all twenty coins are accounted for.
“So I’ll have to do is wait for a buyer to receive the rest?” I asked.
“Yes, that is correct.”
“So what does the stone summon?” asked Zeyl.
“It could be any kind of beast, but that popularity and high value lies in the stone’s ability to be re-used. For all we know, there may very well be no summoning beast inside.”
No matter what is said, there is no doubt that I need some sort of income, especially as I am right now, and can’t keep relying on Zeyl for financial support. If there is a beast inside that was gifted to me, then all I can hope is that it will be sold to someone who will take care for it.
“You’ll make sure that someone who cares for whatever is inside will be someone of good character, right?” I asked, Freyer frowns but then smiles.
“I will try if that is your wish.”
We wave Freyer goodbye. I’ll have to return a month from now to check on the progress of the sale. The only problem with the sale is in contacting anyone interested, which wouldn’t be a problem if we had computers and internet in this world. Information really is power.
Zeyl suggested I invest in new clothing with the money I received, and so we spent the rest of the day buying basic necessities to start with. After finding something my size, I don’t really care how it looks as long as it is comfortable. I buy whatever Zeyl thinks looks good on me, which she didn’t mind helping me with, in fact, she did so on her own. What I am most interested in, however, is books. I ask Zeyl to take us to a book store, but the worried face she returns me is.. concerning.
“Just don’t buy too many books, okay?” She said.
Once we reach a book store, we are greeted by two old men who work around the store. We walk inside, and as expected, books of different types fill every book-shelve in the store. That’s when I notice the price tag on these books. The cheapest range from five silver, and up to two gold coins from first glance. I’d be worried, too, if it meant I’d be burning a whole through my pockets. I walk up to one of the clerks.
“Excuse me,” I said, getting his attention. “What is the resale value of the books?”
“Depends on the condition, and who you sell it to,” said the clerk, “so long as the condition is is good, then you should have no problem selling the book for about seventy percent of the value you bought it for, higher if you had your own book store.”
This brings me some comfort, which mans that I’ll be paying for the knowledge inside, and can sell the book when I am done with it. I start browsing around. The first thing I pick is map of the world, in it, the title says “Map of Asterm.” Outside of the world map is the star, named Zol, which vaguely resembles the spanish name for the sun. The book is worth five silver, and I can consider this a wise investment to know where I am in this world exactly. Next, I look for a book on magic. Sadly, these go for up to five gold, if not more. I can’t buy that, or, if I did, I should be careful about which one I get. Can I even use magic to begin with?
Zeyl was browsing around on her own. She held on to the chest for me, and I walk up to her.
“Hey, Zeyl,” I said, “How do I know if I can use magic?”
“You’ll need to have someone check that for you,” she said, “I can’t use magic myself, so I have to rely on magic stone whenever I find myself against a magic user.” Zeyl hints at having fought with magic users, which is interesting despite what little I actually know about Zeyl. Next is a book on history. How this planet came to be, how nations were brought up, culture, and anything that I might learn from the people that reside in this world. That’s my one major concern. The fact that both planets that I’ve come to know share so much, and yet also differ greatly in some detail or other. The fact that we can speak the same language, the fact that we have fish that look so much alike even though the possibility of such things are nearly impossible. There are too many questions that will keep piling up at this point, so I refrain from going deeper than that.
I have two books so far worth about one gold.
“Zeyl, can you recommend anything?”
“Try this,” she said, picking up a book on the common animal wild life found in each region. “Even if you stay in Aria, if you ever want to leave for some reason, you should at least get to know this book.” She then picks out another book, this time the tittle reads “Creatures of the Night.”
“Is that a book on ghost stories or something?” I ask.
“No,” she said, “read this one much more carefully than all other books,” she points to the price, which is two gold coins. “These monsters are very real, and should be avoided at all cost. You should think about getting a copy, or a light version of the common ones that are encountered.”
“What kinds of creatures?”
“Ones like the cold reaper,” she said, “that hunt at night and freeze people to death, losing their insanity in the process as a dark figure follows behind in the shadows.” This sends shivers down my spine, just that fact that Zeyl makes them out to be real, and are in fact by her word real, makes this worse.
“…” I’ll leave that book out for now until later. Three books, all for about three gold coins, and I am left with around fifteen gold and some silver after the purchases I’ve made today. The clerks sends us off with pleasant smiles for having bought their books. In the end, I didn’t find what I was looking for, that is, a book on teleportation or something that can clue me in on how to get back home. I’d ask Zeyl or one of the clerks, but I’ll keep that to myself for now. I’ll return some other day.
“So, what next?” Asked Zeyl.
“Actually, I’ve been meaning to tell you this, but… would you be willing to accept half of the earnings from the magic stone?”
“No,” she said bluntly. “You need it much more than I ever will, besides, I have a paying job, something you clearly don’t have.”
“Oh, is that so?” I said, “what kind of job?”
“I am a First Lieutenant of the Dahramn Region military far southeast of Aria,” she said, opening the map I bought and points to the a city in said region. Dolain city, is where she points to. Beside it is a very large lake called Vein lake, which is east of Sharia Stronghold. Aria is in the Sharian region.
“You’re a high ranking officer?”
“That’s what the lion crest on my cloak represents,” she said, pointing to it. “Which is why it is made out of gold.” She points her tongue at me this time, signifying her own wealth. We laugh together. We head back to the inn, but before that, we stop to buy some large chunks of meat for Selsie.