~ Chapter 53: Ayuseya makes a move (Part 2) ~
[Illsyore’s point of view]
We found a small restaurant that took all of us in after walking for who knew how far. I was this close to actually building the whole thing from the ground up only made out of pure gold and platinum just to annoy all those human ingrates.
The place we dined at wasn’t a fancy one, for certain, but it made a decent soup and steak. They even served Tamara some fish, which she wolfed down in mere seconds.
It appeared as though the draconians were mostly seen as enemies around these parts, as for the nekatars, they had two separate statuses: slave or free. The latter didn’t offer them full rights though. They could be set free, true, but they weren’t treated equally, which pissed me off… a lot.
One of them even had the guts of telling me the following words:
“But they don’t look like us? They are beasts, so we must teach them their place. Man is superior to any beast, after all!”
The man declared it like he was proud of it. If Ayuseya and Nanya weren’t there, I would have punched him all the way to the palace. The idea that a king could rule a country with such prejudice and discrimination sickened me.
That was why when I found the small restaurant that served all the species there, I decided to give them a big tip. The meal was 3 silverettes and 4 copperettes, but I paid 4 goldiettes. The owner thanked me in tears. That money would have been enough to help him pay the taxes and renovate a little.
The food was good too, so I had no complains about it.
After a good meal, we took a walk through the city. We looked around and checked out any store we found interesting. It was a big city, but not as big as the ones on Earth. To be honest, not all of the things I saw pleased me, and the girls didn’t buy anything either. There were some nice-looking ladies, but when I saw them dragging slaves behind them, which were clearly barely fed and even overworked, like quickly turned into disgust.
Surprisingly, there weren’t any beggars on the streets. When I asked about this, the one to answer was the draconian princess.
“In countries that rely on slavery, if you become a beggar, then you are immediately taken as a slave by the state and sold to government-owned markets. Not owning a home does not necessarily mean that you are a beggar. As long as you still have money to pay the most minimum of taxes, you can live as a free man. Here, it should be a one-month fee of one silverettes. For us, who have just arrived in this city, we are not obligated to pay anything until the end of the month or if a knight requests it.”
Her explanation was long and spoken with the dignified tone suited for her rank, but it revealed the ugly way the system treated the poor people. To be honest, I knew how democracy and communism treated them, but so far, I had yet to see a system that sided with the poor people just as much as it did with the rich ones. This was one of the things that annoyed me. I saw the problem, but I had no idea how to fix it… but most importantly, was I the right one to fix it?
In the end, any change that took place in any sort of system happened with the people who belonged to the system. As an outsider, I didn’t believe my opinion really matter.
By the time we reached the bathhouse, I pretty much saw what the capital looked like, at least in this area. The streets were mostly clean, but the side alleys were filled with garbage. I was told they usually didn’t stay like that for long because the local elves and el’doraws had sensitive noses. Humans more or less could live with it under theirs.
There were no beggars, true, but there were many slaves and guards patrolling the place. The crime rate was probably low because of this, but I highly doubted there wasn’t any sort of mafia around here. No matter the world or location, it was highly unlikely that one wouldn’t find any sort of organized crime running in the shadows. Bucket Head, for example, could be seen as having formed the beginning of an extortion or bandit group. The plan was easy for him. At the guild, he could spot potential targets and determine their approximate strength, a thing on which he obviously failed with me, and once he forced them out of town, he was free to hunt them down.
As for the nobles and rich folk, they could do pretty much whatever they wanted around here as long as they had the proper connections to back them up, like the dude I ‘gently’ pushed out of my way.
Long story short, it was a city with many problems, but which only the king and the people living here could fix.
While I kept thinking about this sort of stuff, we finally arrived at the bathhouse. It was a fairly large building from where many men and women entered and left. When I saw it, I instantly remembered the bathhouse at the Fellyore Academy in the Student Dormitory, the one where I caught the old geezer Tuberculus trying to sneak a peek at the lovely girls inside.
“We’ll leave you here, Illsy. We’ll see you back at the inn?” Nanya asked.
I shrugged “Sure. I’ll see if I can find a map or something… Here’s the key.”
She absorbed the key for safe keeping.
“Just don’t get into trouble, alright?”
“I won’t!” I waved and left.
Walking down the street, I passed by the bathhouse, and at the first intersection, I turned left. I continued to walk forward, turned right, then took a left, and basically moved in a zig-zag pattern. At one point, some guy in leather armor went flying past me and landed face first on the ground.
I blinked surprised.
He groaned and said something in Kalish. It could have been a swear or some strange curse word, but I couldn’t tell.
With a bruised cheek, he walked away.
“What was that all about?” I wondered and looked to my left.
Up on the sign board, I read… I read nothing cause I had no idea how to read those chicken scribbles.
“One way to find out…” I said and stepped into the shop.
The place was filled with maps from top to bottom, very neatly drawn and filled with details. They were all maps of this continent and even some of Allasn and Thorya. I was quite impressed, so I took a quick look at some of them, of course, I had no idea how to read them.
Suddenly, I felt someone behind me and turned around. There was a man in his thirties looking at me with sharp brown eyes and hands behind his back. He had a short mustache and short cut, black hair.
“Hello?” I said and forced a smile.
He spoke in gibberish.
“Sorry, I can’t understand… I will leave and maybe return with a translator. I’m interested in your maps…” I smiled and turned to leave.
“Wait.” he suddenly said in Shorayan.
“You know my language?” I asked him surprised.
“What sort of cartographer do you think I am? My name is Cairen Talcaea!” he said proudly.
“I’m Illsyore, nice to meet you.” I nodded and offered my hand.
He looked at me and then at my hand.
“I’m not going to kiss your hand. Are you mad?” he said.
“Erm… Sorry, an old custom… And it’s not kissing but shaking.” I smiled awkwardly.
“Oh! I see. Weird custom. What you do if the other just took a dump?” he asked curiously.
“I pray to the gods he washed his hands?” I smiled.
“Ha! And here I thought I was the only one who did that!” he smiled and then shook my hand before I pulled back.
“Hand washing is not a custom of these parts, I presume?”
“Unfortunately, not.” he shook his head.
“Well, about your maps. Can I buy some?” I asked.
“Some?” he squinted his eyes at me.
“Yes.” I nodded.
“They are not cheap.” he warned me.
“I can pay.” I replied.
“Very well. What would you like a map of? Recently discovered dungeons? I can map out an entire floor if you walk me through it only once! How about some maps of the capital cities? Or the whole world?” he grinned and then pointed at the biggest map there, one with the three continents.
“I would like one map of each capital you have, that big map of the whole world, one in detail about each continent, and I think that’s about it.” I told him.
“Good! Good!” he smiled and quickly went to get the maps I requested.
While he did that, I made a quick pit stop at the local gold mountain, location Inner Mind. From there I picked up a few gold bars and turned them into some of those fancy balls with drawings on them. I already had the model, so making a few more didn’t bother me. This time, I tried to make the balls tell a story about a vulture who soared through the skies and became a star, then return to the surface as a man. Easy and simple way to increase the price for a useless piece of metal.
Once I was done, I came out and prepared the spheres as payment. There were three of them, but I also made a flat disc of gold to offer first. I planned to use it first to let him know that I wished to trade with gold, then I could haggle with the spheres. Those maps couldn’t be very expensive, right?
“There!” Cairen said after he rolled the last map and placed it on a stack of 26 others.
“How much?” I asked.
“All of these? 146 Goldiettes!” he smirked.
I might need more spheres… I thought then placed the disc on the counter.
“How much would this be worth?” I asked him.
“Hm? You will pay in trade? Well… Let’s see… That’s about 12 Goldiettes, maybe 14?” he said.
It was a lot, to be honest.
“And this?” I then placed the sphere on the table.
“Hm? Oh my! What is this? Such fine inscriptions! Is this a story? These details are extraordinary! Where did you get it, if I may ask?” he looked at me with curious eyes.
“Erm… Found it in a dungeon.” I said with an awkward smile.
“Interesting! This here would be worth about 60 goldiettes!” he nodded.
“Well then, here are the other two. Do we have a deal for the maps?” I asked with a smile as I placed them on his counter.
“More of them? But with the disk, it will be over the price I requested! I can’t take them…” he said shaking his head.
“Take them, I don’t mind.” I smiled and took the maps from the counter.
Those pieces of paper were far more important than some spheres I made in the blink of an eye. In a way, I felt like I was cheating, but he set the price himself, so win-win?
“Very well, if you insist.” he nodded and took the spheres and disk from the counter, stashing them in a Storage Crystal he carried around his neck.
“By the way, what was that all about? With the man who was tossed outside earlier?” I asked him.
“Oh, that?” he furrowed his brow “He came her asking for a map like you, but he made fun of my name. Around these parts, Talcaea is also a woman’s name.”
“Well, then we have something in common, Illsyore is also a woman’s name. Anyway, thank you again for the maps. I hope we will meet again sometimes, mister Cairen!” I told him with a smile.
“Of course! Anytime! For good customers, my shop is always open! And if you ever need to map out a dungeon, I’m the man to call!” he laughed.
“I’ll keep that in mind!” I then left the store and absorbed the map.
There was one thing I wanted to ask him about, but it sort of skipped my mind.
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