Chapter 55: Another deal with Albert.
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” Lizza, what is that? ”

” That's a dog, Fio... I know that much. ”

” Mm. ” 

’Goddammit... How low did I drop in her eyes... Am I some kind of idiot for her right now?’

” And that? ”

’Please stop, seriously... You're hurting the already little and pitiful pride I still have... You’re hurting it way too much... My little pride is on the verge of dying here...’

*sigh*

” I'm not that stupid, Fio... That's a... Wait!? Why is that cat purple? ”

’The hell is wrong with that cat? Someone painted it or something?’

” Lizza... ” while I was concerned with the strange cat in front of me, a serious-sounding voice came from my back. 

’Oh, shit...’

” W-Wait... Fio, it's not as it looks like... I know what a cat is. ” I tried to defend myself but she wasn't even trying to hide her doubts anymore. She was straight-up looking at me like I was a little kid trying to hide whatever he did wrong.

” Lizza... What colors do cats usually have? ”

’Oh nooo... Why do I have a bad premonition regarding this question? Well... I know why...’

I know why... But maybe... Maybe, the great Holy Tree would help me this time. Yes. That was the right choice. Pray to the Holy Tree. 

’Please help me, Holy Tree. Let it be like I remember them to be.’

” Well, Fio... Of course, the cats usually are black, gray, brown and purple.  Sometimes they are a combination of these as well. ” I said with confidence, adding the purple color as well since I guessed that for some reason, the color was common for cats here.

” Mm. Purple, green, blue or yellow. Combinations of these are considered very rare as well... You got one. ”

And so, my confidence from earlier dropped to the ground. Her opinion on me most probably dropped even lower... Somewhere underground maybe...

I didn't know if it was my shattered self-esteem playing tricks on me but I think I heard her muttered to herself something like ’we should start with something easier’... I wanted to cry.

.

.

.

As we finally arrived at our destination, we opened the door and stepped inside the shop. This time, there were not that many customers as the last time and we found Albert speaking with one of them. After he finished, he turned our way and greeted us. 

” You finally arrived. Thanks for coming. ”

” Yeah... Sara told me that you wanted to discuss something with me after we came back. The sooner, the better. I actually wanted to discuss something with you as well, so I came as early as I could. ”

” Then, that means both of us will benefit from this discussion. Just wait a little bit. ” he said and quickly looked around the shop after something. 

Not finding what he was searching for he went in the back and opened the door leading to another room. 

” Carol, are you here? ”

” Yeah... ”

” Come here a little. I have something to discuss with a customer. ”

” Ok. Wait for just a little bit to finish this. ”

The other guy, Carol, came shortly afterward and Albert took us to the same room we unloaded the materials last time. It was more like a deposit room than a place where you ’speak privately’ with a customer but I didn't mind that. 

After looking around the room for several moments, I moved my attention back to Albert. 

” So, Albert... What did you want to speak with us? ” I said and waited for him to give us a reply. 

It should be something important if he wanted us to speak the moment we returned so I didn't want to waste more time. 

” Ah, yes. Even though we don't know each other for long, we got some nice deals already. I'll be direct with you, I want to buy the materials you got from this quest. Knowing your situation, I know that it wouldn't be easy to sell them yourself. So I wanted to suggest another deal with me if you are interested... ”

” Well... yes. We didn't even finish the last deal anyway. We didn't plan to switch to another buyer if that's what you are concerned with... ”

” So you still have materials from before... How many? ” 

” Hmmm... If I were to make an estimation... We sold to you about half of them. ”

” I see. ” he said and started to laugh for a little bit. 

” I had known that something wasn't right with the amount but you don't fail to surprise me every time. Whatever... Not my business. I want to keep that deal too, but what I want this time is something else. How many wasps did you manage to hunt this time? ”

” Hmm... Don't know exactly, but I think we got at least a hundred. Ohh, Fio... You counted the claws, don't you? ”

” Mm. 137 pairs. ”

” Heh... Better than I expected. ”

” Mm. ”

” And we got several materials from other monsters as well, Alber... Ehh, what's with that face, Albert? ”

” I see... 137... I see. I had a guess that you'll give me a good number but still... ” he said and shook his head two or three times be to look back at me.

” Well, the more the better. Listen to what I want to propose to you. I got a deal that will be in both of our interests. In three days a ship will come here to purchase materials and I know a guy who will help me to get first on that list. ”

” That's good. ”

” It is. So that's why I wanted to speak to you as fast as I could. Right now, the price is relatively good, but in a week or two... I don't know if you'll be able to sell them at two-thirds of this price... Maybe the price will drop to half of what it is right now... ”

I just nodded at him. Well, I was expecting this. When there was a lot of something, the price would surely drop. It was natural to happen. 

” So here is the deal. If you drop the price a bit lower than the current one on the market, I will buy everything you have on the spot. You don't need to deal with anything else and the rest is on me. You win, I win and both parties are happy. What do you think? ”

” I see... ” 

Well, that was a good offer. Even more so for someone like me who didn't even know what the current price was... But there was a problem. 

” I'd like to accept the deal, Albert... but there's another problem. ”

” Hmm, what is it? ”

” Ehhh... The materials weren't processed... yet. So... Three days is a little... ”

” The materials weren't processed... like... not fully processed, right? Three days is enough to resolve that... ”

” Ehm... No. I mean, most of them were still bodies... We got done just a few of them... ”

”...”

”...”

” And you carried the full bodies to the city... ”

” It's a long story. ”

” I don't even want to ask how or why... You got help from someone? ”

” You can say that... We returned together with the party that exterminated the Queen. ”

” I see. Anyway, I assume you don't have a place where to work with them, right? ”

” Yeah, that's a problem too... ”

” Then, I'll help you with that. I'll let you work here in the back. What do you say? ”

” Okay. But today I had to do something else... I had to go to the guild too... But we'll get them done in two days... probably... ”

” Good. We have a deal, Miss Elizabeth. ”

” Yeah... Thanks for helping us, Albert. ”

” No problem. ” he said and started to laugh again. 

” Lizza... ” as I was about to tell him that we'll take our leave, Fiona tapped on my shoulder. 

” Hmm, what is it, Fio? ”

” The books... Remember? ”

” Ohh... I almost forget. Albert... I still have something to speak with you... ”

” Ah... Yes. I almost forget about it too. So, what was it? ”

” Well, you see... ”

.

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After we finished the deal with Albert, we started to wander a bit through the city. It was still not the time to go to the guild. 

We did not have much money at the moment but I just wanted to look around for a bit. To see the prices and so on... I wanted to buy or maybe find someone to make a set of armor for both of us after all. 

It was also because of my casual conversation with Silvia from the other day made me realize something. It was not much. From one thing to another, she told me that it was most probably to be able to take the test for the C rank after completing that quest. It was an interesting subject so I asked for more details. 

What got my interest, in particular, was one interesting requirement. To be able to make it to the C rank wasn't enough just to be good in your own domain. Outside of your main weapon of choice, you had to be at least capable of using other types to a basic degree. 

From short-ranged weapons like daggers to the normal types like swords and most blade-type weapons, to the mid-range weapons like spears and stuff and finally to the long-range types like bows. You had to have a degree of proficiency in at least three of these categories. 

Even for mages, they had to at least be able to wield a sword or any other short-ranged weapon. It was for them to be able to protect themselves in case of close combat.

Back then, when I was attacked by that wasp, it would have been the end for me if I wasn't able to use my spear. It was a good idea to at least know how to wield a sword too, and since I could store them in my ring some throwing dangers weren't a bad choice either. 

As for Fiona, I got another interesting idea. I wanted to buy her a bow too. Maybe it didn't seem a good decision at first but there was a reason. 

While it might not be seen like that, a bow wasn't an easy weapon to use, even when we take out of the equation the whole target hitting problem. Depending on which materials the bow was made of, it could be quite heavy and the higher quality it was the harder it was for you to pull the string. Firing arrow after arrow for a long time or firing several of them in a short amount of time was not an easy feat. 

Taking advantage of her high power status I wanted to make her use a hard-to-pull bow, focused on raw strength rather than dexterity. It was better against armored targets. I didn't know if I could find something like that at a decent price though...

Anyway, since this time we had time to spend, we wandered around the city from shop to shop, comparing the products and prices. I asked a man who was selling mainly weapons why there were so few enchanted weapons on sale. The last time when I got my bow, I didn't saw a single enchanted weapon in that shop. 

The reason was that few people would risk buying a weapon enchanted by a stranger. They usually buy the sword or piece of armor or what they need and pay an enchanter with a good reputation to do the job. 

Most of the people buying this stuff were adventurers and could appraise a sword even without the [Appraisal] skill but the enchantment was a gamble. 

That means that even if you were a good enchanter, it was still hard to work without a good reputation... And even with the [Appraisal] skill, the skill had to be quite a high level for the person to see the enchantment. 

Just now I found out that with Fiona’s [Appraisal] level 2, she wasn't able to see the enchantment on her sword. Just the name, description, and grade. 

And she was a happy case, having that skill. It was quite rare to have. The skill was the reason she was taught about herbs when she was young. 

Well, it was not good that she was used by them because of it, but she said that they gave her more food when she managed to find more herbs. My heart was pained hearing that but I didn't say anything and decided that it was the time to head to the guild. 

 

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