An hour later, the plan was settled and everything had been stored within my finite ring, with the rest being carried by the Maidens.
Setting off, we followed behind Sia as she looked at the map that we had been given and soon we were at a round clearing where several stalls had been set up with more being built as we stood there.
Looking closely, we saw that they were all part of the year 2 class.
Sharing a meaningful look between us; Me, Sia, and Apollo headed over to the first stall as we signalled the Maidens to split up with a portion guarding our goods.
The first stall we approached had an eager-looking youth manning it, who smiled widely as he saw us approach.
As we came closer, we noticed that there were no visible goods for sale and we raised our eyebrows at the youth, who sheepishly looked at us as he said, “This is for the exchange of construction supplies and they’re too heavy to be carried back and forth for nothing.”
Understanding, I said, “So you’ll only deliver it once we agree on the exchange?”
Nodding, the youth said, “That’s right! Once a deal is struck, we’ll immediately bring it over. Now, do you want to make the first offer or do you want to take a look at our list first?” as he slid over a paper toward us.
Picking it up, Sia read through it as her eyebrows quivered momentarily before she mutely handed it over to me and Apollo.
Scanning it, we saw that they had nails, gypsum mortar, stones, masonry equipment like hammers and the like, and carts.
Looking at the youth, I whistled as I said, “You guys have a forge or what?”
Looking away to the side, the youth said, “Perhaps.”
Turning back to us, he grinned as he said, “Perhaps not.”
Nodding, we asked, “What are you looking for in exchange?”
Without hesitation, the youth said, “We want construction materials only.”
Looking at Sia and Apollo, I slowly smiled as I said, “Can I convince you to take arms and armor in return?”
Dismissively, the youth looked at us as he said, “None of that academy issued stuff for us. You can keep it wit-” before he trailed off as his eyes bulged at the shield that I held up.
Tracing my finger over the shield’s surface nonchalantly, I said, “I suppose I should keep this fine shield with myself then.”
Hastily, the youth cried out, “No! No! Don’t do that. Tell me what you want for it! But first, show me what else you have!”
Grinning as I made a victory sign behind my back to Sia and Apollo, I asked the youth, “What weapons and armor do you use?”
Speaking rapidly, the youth detailed his preferences and then, looking suspiciously at me, he asked, “You wouldn’t happen to have all of that, would you?”
Smugly, I began pulling out one piece after the other as the youth drooled as he stood there.
Then pausing, I said, “I have the rest too… but only on delivery of goods.”
“What goods do you want?” the youth asked with a hungry look in his eyes.
Leaning forward, I held up one finger and said, “I want everything.”
Astonished, the youth looked at me as he cried out, “Everything?”
Nodding, I repeated myself and the youth chewed his lips as he said, “I need two sets of what you just showed.”
Shaking my head, I said firmly, “one set and I’ll throw in a sword and a shield extra.”
Shaking his head, the youth was about to say something when I added, “You can take it or leave it. But if you take it, I’ll throw in a pair of gauntlets too.”
Decisively, the youth held out his hand as he cried out, “Deal! You’ll have everything in an hour over here.”
Clasping his hand, I said, “I’ll leave one of ours with you to work out the details.” and turning, I called out to Urbano.
Explaining the situation to him, I passed the set of arms and armor to him, and told him that I’d give the remainder on delivery of the materials.
Nodding ecstatically, Urbano was soon engrossed in his conversation with the youth as they both gestured animatedly.
As we walked to the next stall, I whispered underneath my breath to Sia and Apollo who were beside me, “Stage one… success.”
Nodding at me as they hid their grins, we hailed the next stalls shopkeeper… a cute girl with chubby cheeks who grinned at us friendlily.
Of course, that put us on guard instantly as we smiled back, equally friendlily.
Welcoming us, she pushed over a piece of paper toward us.
Scanning it, we saw that hardly had stage one of our plan finished, that we had already arrived at stage two.
Placing her arm on the counter, Sia flashed a brilliant grin at the girl, who took a step back defensively.
“So, would you be interested in training uniforms?” she asked, maintaining the smile throughout.
Almost jumping forward, the girl squealed out, “You have training uniforms?”
Nodding, Sia raised 5 fingers, and the girl deflated as she said in a small voice, “Only 5? Well, we’ll take the-”
Cutting her off, Sia said, “50. We have 50 uniforms for you.”
Blinking at us with wide eyes, the girl shook her head, smiled pleasantly at us and said, “I’m sorry, can you repeat that?”
Laughing, Sia said, “We have 50 training uniforms and I want to exchange them with all the food that you have.”
Moving lightning fast, the girl clasped Sia’s arms and yelled out, “It’s a deal! It’s a deal! You can’t go back on it!”
Disengaging, Sia shot a quick grin at us before she began finalizing the details with the girl as Apollo and I waited.
A few minutes later, and it was done.
Walking out, Apollo winked as he said, “it’s going better than I thought.”
Shushing him, I murmured, “Don’t jinx it,” and then turning to look at the remaining stalls; I grinned as I said, “But it is going well.”
Then, hands behind our heads, we strolled to the next shop… as plan ‘fleece the sheep’ entered its next phase.