Haggling fiercely with the girl, who kept crossing her arms and uncrossing them as she haggled back, Sia finally struck the table as she said with gritted teeth, “Two sets of armor. But I want all the shields you have.”
Shaking her head, the girl adamantly said, “Three sets, and you can take all the shields I have here.”
As I glanced around once again at the mountains of worn out equipment that lay in the stall, I signalled to Sia who said to the girl, “3 sets of armor for all the shields…” and then holding up a finger as the girl opened her mouth, she added, “and all the training equipment the academy gave you.”
Puzzled, the girl looked at Sia before she quickly stuck out her hand, which Sia grabbed even quicker than the girl had extended it.
Narrowing her eyes, the girl looked on as I swept all the shields and the mountains of old equipment into my finite ring.
But it was too late for the girl to do anything, as Sia had already placed the three sets of armor in front of her.
And stage three of fleecing the sheep was carried out successfully.
Huddling together, we quickly tallied up the materials that we had exchanged and that we had in reserve.
As of now, we had gotten all the construction materials; food; shields and training equipment in exchange for 50 training uniforms and 4 sets of armor.
Leaving us with only 8 sets of the finest quality common arms and armor, 10 sets of medium quality, and an assortment of other pieces of normal quality that were the best of the training equipment that the Academy had provided us with.
Apart from that, we only had our construction equipment that consisted of logs, and other things; our spare uniform sets that numbered close to 500 sets, and yes, I do mean 500 sets; and lastly, the food that we had already stockpiled along with the spoils from the monsters from which the food had come from.
That was essentially all of our available trading materials, and as we separated, Sia murmured, “Let the last trade happen successfully, and we’re set.”
“You want to do it in batches?” I asked as I looked at her.
“Why?” she asked as she raised her eyebrows.
“Because, I think they’re onto us.” I said with a wry smile.
Nodding, Apollo said, “That girl definitely smelled something fishy. My guess is that she’s going to alert the rest.”
Laughing, Sia said, “We didn’t do anything suspicious... did we?”
Snorting, we looked at her as she said, “Okay, perhaps we were a tad bit suspicious.”
“You don’t say,” Apollo said as he chuckled. “They probably thought of us as madmen, and madwomen,” he added hastily as Sia glared at him.
Nodding in approval, Sia said, “They’d be right to think that, you know. I mean, what if we’re wrong?”
Shuddering, me and Apollo looked at each other before saying in unison, “Then we’re Baling done for.”
“Aye...,” Sia said as she chewed her lip before she shrugged and said, “Well, if that does happen, then we’ll just have to suffer for a bit.”
Tapping my finite ring, I grinned as I said, “At least we have plenty of shields.”
Shaking their heads, the other two set off to the last stall as I called out from behind, “We aren’t doing it in batches?”
Without turning back, Sia said, “We’re not shy Maidens, Faustus.”
Mimicking her, Apollo repeated, “That’s right. We’re not shy Maidens, Faustus.”
Shaking my head, I hurried after them and we were just about to greet the stall keeper when Celine walked over and took the stall keeper’s place.
Smiling pleasantly at us, she said, “What would you like to exchange, my dear friends?”
Smiling stiffly, Sia said, “We’d like to see your list first.”
Still smiling, Celine dipped her head as she said, “Unfortunately, we’re short on most of the items. So, if you can name something, we’ll try to get that for you before the exchange market ends.”
Silently applauding her cunning, I intervened as I said, “Could we see the list anyway? Even if you don’t have the items in stock, there’s always tomorrow as you said.”
Hesitating for a moment, Celine silently passed over a paper saying, “Please do have a look then.”
Scanning it quickly, I saw that they had a lot of crafting materials for sale, as well as finished products like uniforms and other clothes.
Passing it to Sia and Apollo, we nodded simultaneously as Sia said, “We want the clothes.”
Smiling, Celine said, “Out of stock.”
Evenly, Sia said, “Uniforms.”
Still smiling, Celine said, “Out of stock.”
Frustrated, Sia said, “What is in stock?”
Nodding slyly, Celine said, “Almost nothing is in stock. Except for a few things here and there,” as she pointed to some common materials.
Scanning them briefly, Sia said, “Fine, we’ll take whatever you have left, and we can offer you finished uniforms in return.”
Raising her eyebrows, Celine asked, “Uniforms? Didn’t you want to buy some, and also how many are we talked about?”
Without batting an eye, Sia replied, “We did want to buy some, but since you don’t have any stock, we’ll sell you our uniforms. 200 uniforms to be exact.”
Despite her eyes widening, Celine calmly said, “We do not have enough to offer you in return for 200 uniforms.”
Narrowing her eyes, Sia said, “You said you can deliver it tomorrow if we ask, yes? We want weapons.”
Shaking her head, Celine said, “Out of the question.”
“Materials,” Sia continued, unperturbed.
“Finished? Or Unfinished?” Celine questioned.
“Finished, of course,” Sia said with a smile.
Considering, Celine said, “We don’t have that much of finished materials and we can’t prepare enough for 200 uniforms in one day.”
Pondering, Sia said, “Throw in the unfinished materials too.”
Nodding, Celine was about to agree when Sia asked, “Would you be interested in an additional 100 uniforms?”
“300?” Celine gasped out.
“Yes,” Sia said, as she grinned.
“But, I just told you that we don’t have anything to exchange for that.”
Leaning back, Sia rocked on her feet before she said, “We’ll take all the hides you have.”
Calculating rapidly, Celine looked at us with narrowed eyes before she raised a brow and looked at Sia piercingly.
Peacefully, Sia looked back and, for a long moment, the two girls stared at each other before Celine slowly nodded.
And phase 4 of “Fleece the Sheep” was done.
Strolling back to the Maidens, we quickly gave the signal, and the uniforms were delivered to Celine’s stall as she gazed at us from across the clearing.
Ignoring her, we quickly loaded all the food, equipment, and crafting materials before heading back to the community.
As the clearing went out of sight, we turned to each other and let out a small cheer.
A cheer that died as Sia muttered, “I do hope we’re right.”
Nodding gravely, we looked back at the exchange clearing once more, before turning our gazes back to our community.
Plan ‘Fleece the sheep’ had ended.
And the sheep had been fleeced.
They just didn’t know it yet.