Chapter 64
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Blackthorne pulled out his two swords, and the decaying armor he had acquired. The blacksmith took one look at them then snorted. "That armor is hopeless. You'd be better off buying a new set."

The man's eyes roved over the copper sword. "No problem. I can fix that easily enough."

The iron sword, however, was deemed unworthy. "I can repair that, but it will never be as good as it once was. The cost to do so will be pretty high as well."

"How much for everything?" asked Blackthorne as he reclaimed his decrepit armor.

"Two hundred Jerin," said the man without batting an eyelash.

"Two hundred..." Blackthorne's eyes widened. "It usually costs twenty or thirty..."

The blacksmith snorted at him. "You usually don't come in smelling like you rolled around in an open sewer, or bring me equipment on the verge of breaking."

While part of him wanted to haggle with the man, Blackthorne realized that it would be a losing proposition. The man seemed to be on the verge of vomiting even as he spoke his terms. "Fair deal," he said. "I'd shake your hand on it, but I think at the moment you would prefer that I did not."

"Oh, you've got the right of that..." said the Blacksmith, a slight hint of his good humor returning, "Leave your gear with me and come back tomorrow. It'll be ready."

"Tomorrow...?" asked Blackthorne.

"Of course, this isn't a simple repair job. Your copper sword would have been easy enough, but I can't use a repair hammer on that iron blade. I'll have to actually treat it like it's broken in order to regain even a semblance of its actual ability," said the Blacksmith. "You're not my only customer, either."

"I see," said Blackthorne. "I'll be back in the morning. Thanks again."

He reached into his bag to get the money then offered to hand it to the man. The blacksmith stepped back with a cough and waved frantically at the far end of his counter. "Just set it down there... I'll get you a receipt."

Business complete, Blackthorne returned to the Screaming onion with nothing to show for his efforts but the armor that he had grabbed, the shard of death essence, and the overwhelming stench of victory.

Several people who were attempting to enjoy a good meal began to gag as a powerful scent wafted through the area. Blackthorne never stopped long enough for the patrons to realize what the source might be, and he headed directly to the bathing area.

"Scrub, scrub, scrub," he said as he did his best to scrub the scent of his glorious victory away from his equipment. Despite the foulness of it, the scent came away quite easily. Not long afterward, he also took a quick bath then returned to his room.

Roughly an hour later, Scraggles appeared at his door. Blackthorne looked askance at the man for a moment before the tavern owner asked, "Have you seen it?"

"Seen what?" asked Blackthorne.

"The dead hog that people are complaining about..." said Scraggles.

"Dead... Hog?" asked Blackthorne, confused.

"People have been complaining about it for a while now. Some sort of foul odor that smells like a hog had crawled into a sewer and died before it rose again to visit my tavern," said Scraggles with a straight face.

"I haven't seen a hog..." said Blackthorne.

Scraggles squinted at him. "You know nothing about this?"

"Not about a hog, no.... But I was playing at the graveyard earlier, so the smell was probably from me..." said Blackthorne. He might get kicked out for it, but he did not want to lie to the man.

"Glad you admitted to it..." said Scraggles, "Nothing wrong with stinking to high-heaven after a hard day's work. I've come home smelling of all manner of things... But you do know we have a place near the stable where you can wash your gear without causing my paying customers to vomit into their soup?"

"I... did not know that," said Blackthorne slowly.

"Well. Now you do," said Scraggles. "Just go round behind the stables and you'll see the washing station I set up a while back."

"Sorry about this," said Blackthorne. "I didn't mean to cause you any trouble."

Scraggles chuckled slightly. "It's fine if it only happens once."

Blackthorne watched the tavern owner leave then withdrew back into his room. That could have gone worse, but thankfully he managed to find a means to avoid becoming homeless.

He stared blankly at the wall for a moment then blinked. "Ah, right! That's right, I was looking for that potion."

Curious to see if it existed or not, Blackthorne went back to his alchemy guidebook and started his search anew. He skipped past the alchemy and correspondences lessons in the front half of the book and sought out the actual recipes. It did not take long to find what he sought.

"Taelmir's Aromatic Denial," said Blackthorne. "An easy to concoct potion made from common materials. It will change any unpleasant aroma into the scent of fresh green grass and roses, for a time."

He happily read through the ingredient list then grunted. "I'll have to take the crusty old fart up on his discount. I don't know what half of these things are. Need a mortar and pestle, and a few other things as well."

Blackthorne spent the rest of the afternoon planning his potion list. While he did want to craft new grass leaves and other items, the lure of alchemy was too strong. If he were brutally honest, so long as he could come up with the funds to purchase the tools and materials it would be a lot simpler to just buy what he needed in order to make potions. Synergy was a great tool, but it required a lot of time and resources to turn basic things into truly splendid items.

Even so, he would need to spend his night gathering grass and other things to try and make a few leaves. It was his only free option at the moment. His funds once again at rock bottom, he could not even afford to stock up properly on fruit.

"I'll come back smelling like death's asshole after a holiday in Mexico for a while, but this is my way forward..." said Blackthorne. If he could just get through the first few days of tomb raiding and the stench of such work, he would be able to drastically improve his circumstances. Everything seemed to be falling into place.