We leave the Colourful Threads and follow Rory to the Ruby Mint. From the Red Coin they have on their sign, I'd have assumed it to be a bank and not a blacksmith's guild. But then, it's call a mint, so they manufacture the local currency? Aren't coins supposed to be governed by the country?
“So this place…” I try to ask.
“Yes, this guild is jointly managed by the members and the castle,“ Rory answers my question as we enter the building.
After seeing the Colourful Threads, this guild seems lively in comparison. But the front desk is still free, so it's immediately our turn.
“Greetings!” the clerk greets me, “that's a nice ring you got there, young man. I'd really like to meet the craftsperson who created that.”
What's so special about the ring?
“You just did, guild master Melora,” Rory answers, “I see you still make it a habit to be the front desk from time to time. Why don't we move to the conference room?”
The guild master is at the front desk from time to time? Melora leads us upstairs into a conference room just like the one in Colourful Threads: they also have rather high tables.
“You might have inferred it,” the guild master says, “I'm Melora, the guild master of the Ruby Mint.”
After Rory introduces Rowan and me to the guild master, she answers: “So you're the one that Nescha told me about.”
“You know Nescha?” I ask.
“Yes, of course, she's a member of this guild. She told me, you had a way to make use of Minium. That alone was interesting, but seeing your skills, I'd like you to join this guild.”
“Skills? What are you talking about?”
“It's the colours on the ring,” Rory answers instead.
“It's just treated Titanium, what's so special about it?” I ask.
“Colouring Titanium at will is a skill not many people have,” Melora explains, “even with Cryaci's common blessing, it's not an easy feat.”
Even with Cryaci's common blessing? From what I know, it's a fire blessing… So they only know about adding a layer of oxide with heat? It's much easier to do with electricity, or just synthesizing it directly. The thickness of the oxide layer changes the colour. Some colours are easier to achieve than others. The order of colours is yellow, red, purple, blue, green, yellow, red, purple, blue, green. The first green band is very narrow, and the first set of bands are more intensive than the second set.
“And this is so detailed,” she continues, “it's fine work that's none of our people can replicate. And you can do that without using Cryaci's blessing… If you were to join the Ruby Mint, we could finally fulfill the request's that the crown has been asking of us.”
“I understand your enthusiasm,” Rory interrupts, “but the crown has promised to keep Aster away from politics.”
“Thanks for confirming it, Rory, but I can at least listen to what this is all about,” I add.
Excited, Melora leaves the room for a short moment and returns to puts some coins on the table. I recognize the round titanium coin is a Bell. There's also other coins; they are all long. One coin is red, with a jewel like ruby. One coin is blue, with a jewel like sapphire. And the last one is green, with a jewel like emerald.
“These are higher denominations of coins,” Rory says and points to the round titanium coin, “this is a Bell. The long coin of the same colour is worth 12 Bells. The green coin is called an Emerald, it's worth 120 Bells. The blue coin is called a Sapphire, it's worth 10 Emeralds. Finally, the red coin is called a Ruby, and it's worth 12 Sapphires.”
Judging from the conversation until now, I can assume these coins are made of Titanium, and then oxidized to the desired colours.
“So you're looking to make a new denomination?”
“Correct, a new coin which should represent the worth of at least 12 Rubies,” Melora answers, “it's to be used in dealings between countries. If you were to make coins as ornate as that ring of yours, I'm sure it might be assessed to be of more value.”
Finn has a very troubled look on her face. It's kinda strange, I've never seen her show her emotions this openly.
“The problem is, this would also lead to having to send you to other countries of the currency union,” Finn explains, “your crafting methods are your own, but if you only manufacture coins for Tatilans, it would negatively impact relations. You didn't want to be pulled into politics, so I have to advise against taking this job.”
So it's a multinational currency? Sure, in the Latiko Galaxy, we now have a common currency, but that took decades to propagate. Especially, the digital token took a while to be accepted. I didn't expect a world in the early stage of civilization as this to have a multinational currency.
“Aren't we travelling all over for our pilgrimage anyway?” Rowan asks, “I mean, travelling with Aster will hardly be a typical journey anyway.”
Finn sighs, “if you put it that way, meeting other royals will be inevitable for you anyway. Maybe I'm just too overprotective about my little brother and my brother-in-law.”
“I can't blame you,” Rory adds.
“If both Princess Finn and Prince Rory put it that way,” Melora states, “I shall put this matter to rest, for now.”
I've come to a decision.
“No, it's fine,” I answer, “if I become part of the guild, I can also request the large hatchment from myself, can't I?”
After a brief moment of silence, Rory and Finn start laughing.
“You really want to make it yourself, don't you?” Rory says, “I'll have Father prepare some letters of recommendation for you then.”
He turns to the guild master: “Melora, you sure are lucky.”
“Yes, I am,” Melora answer, “it also means it was the right choice to prepare this.”
She takes out a set of stamps from a drawer below the table and a red plate. She stamps something on the red plate and hands it to me. I look at the plate. It says Aster Tatilans. So it's a membership card?
Right, I'm engaged to Rowan. And he's to be welcomed into the Tatilans Royal family. That also means I will be, too. We have talked about it. Yet, I'm surprised about this. Changing your family name isn't until the actual marriage, isn't it? But then it's just a formality for normal villagers, maybe it's different for nobility? It's rather strange how my feelings don't catch up that fast with my intellectual knowledge…
“Right, we've never talked about that,” Rory says, “I mean this development was rather unexpected, but is it fine with you?” We can still change it at this stage…”
“I…” I hesitate, “I don't know.”
My family name… aside from the Speeding Kitten, it's one of the last things that I still have from home. I… didn't think there would be a need to think about this… I don't know… should I keep it? Or… should I discard it? I'm proud of my parents, I'm proud of our family history… But…
“Aster!” Rowan calls for me, he looks worried, “I'm glad you're back with us!”
“I can see the name must mean something to you,” Rory says, “so how about joining the names? Like Tatilans-Cayden? Or Cayden-Tatilans? I should tell you, double-barrelled family names aren't that uncommon.”
A double-barrelled name? That… sounds fine to me.
“Yes,” I agree to the suggestion, “Cayden-Tatilans sounds fine. Sorry to trouble you, guild master Melora.”
“This is on me for confirming before acting,” he says, “don't worry about it. Family names do carry some weight. I have never heard about the Cayden family, but it doesn't mean it can't be important to you. I'm just very happy to have someone who might be able to create that coin.”
She stamps a new plate and hands it to me. It says Aster Cayden-Tatilans.