“They called her a fool who was easily parted from her money. They just didn’t know that it flowed back to her just as quickly.”
I approach the lemu and join it. The animal is at the edge of my property, leering down at the town beneath us. I didn’t bother to create a fence. If the lemu falls over the edge, then that’s his own problem.
The animal looks up and flicks its tongue out as if it’s trying to tell me something. I cross my arms in front of my chest and sneer at it. “What? Not enough space to run around?” The lemu draws in a deep breath and flops down on the ground.
Beneath us, the townsfolk are freaked out. It’s not every day that they have a house floating a hundred metres above their heads. Since this morning, they’ve been pointing and screaming, generally doing everything that’s expected of barbarians who are confronted with something which is outside their understanding.
Some idiots even tried to take me down with fireballs. I already expected that, so I created several barriers to protect my new home. I sit down next to the lemu and allow my legs to dangle freely above the city.
I refrained from taking offensive action against such attacks. If I look too aggressive, the authorities might decide to do something about me sooner rather than later. Oh, I am quite sure that I’ll have someone ‘official’ on my heels as soon as I go down there.
But first I have to get my house ready. I need more materials to create something with the comforts of modern life. There is no way that I’ll willingly live for the rest of my life in a medieval shack.
I need metals, stone, wood and plants. What worries me the most is a sufficient water supply. The house had a supply pipe, but it got obviously torn out when I lifted off. For the time being, I used force fields to design a large basin which is supposed to gather rainwater.
Later on, I’ve plans to put up some sails. Then I can gather water directly from the clouds.
The basin which is holding my property is about a hundred metres long and fifty in width. At its deepest part, the basin reaches a depth of about twenty metres. I’ll change the design in the near future. It’s against my aesthetic ideas to live on a flying egg, but I’ll deal with what I have for now.
What I am waiting for, is for the power core to finish the creation of the four tubes which run through the entire basin. Then I just have to create a force field which sucks in air at the front and pushes air out at the back. And voilà! I’ve a perfectly fine jet engine. It’ll suffice to get me where I want to go.
Another change is that I use barriers to create vacuum bubbles which are attached to the basin. I basically turned the entire thing into a huge airship. It’s more efficient than to use force magic to lift the whole weight.
But before I go, I’ve to talk to Dorver.
I push myself off and fall towards the ground. Shortly before I impact, I cast force magic and land softly on my feet. The people who were watching me landing in the middle of the market place jump to the side. I can’t help it, a smile steals itself onto my face as I stride through the crowd. They give me a lot of room, proving to me that a mage who has a flying house is respected even without a title.
When I reach the guild, Dorver is already waiting for me in the reception hall. He looks like he is nervous and gestures for me to follow him into his office. I follow him up the stairs and down the corridor into his room. He must’ve expected me.
As soon as the door is closed behind us, he explodes, “What were you thinking!? A flying house! Everyone is going mad. They are flooding me with requests to get an appointment with you! And I am sure that the royal court is already on its way to check you out!”
I polish my beautiful nails on my shirt and smile. “They’ll have to get in line. I am a busy person and my latest creation will take a lot of attention until I’ve harnessed its full potential.”
Dorver waves with his short hands. “The baron of Hormundad requested your presence to dinner! You can’t refuse such an invitation.”
“Watch me. I can refuse him and I will. He is just a noble who is in charge of a single city. He isn’t the president of the Alliance. They have to learn early that I am not someone who can be commanded around,” I reply coolly.
The gnome gapes at me, but after a few moments he closes his mouth. “So that’s your game. I can’t say that I approve of your strategy. You just caught the eye of powerful people. People whose arms are long enough to reach you even on that flying island of yours.”
“An island?” I ask.
“Is it not?” Dorver gestures towards the window. “Look at it! It’s a floating island. You didn’t just rip the house out of the ground, you took the entire property with it!”
I snort. “I like to have some plants when I step outside.” I am absolutely against having plants inside my house, but a nice little garden is nothing to sneeze at. “Let’s return to the important matters. I need resources like building materials. Metal, marble, wood. Those sorts of things. Where can I get that in abundance and as cheap as possible? We are talking about a large scale project.”
Dorver scratches his head. “What do you intend to do with it? Is it for that flying monstrosity of yours?”
I nod and Dorver scratches his chin. “Normally, I would say that you have a few screws loose, but your company will start selling the first chests soon enough. You will have the money for a large scale project. The problem is that it takes a lot of time to transport all the materials where you need them.”
He looks out of the window. “I have no idea of the lifting capacity of your creation. But I suppose that you could just fly around and buy everything directly from the manufacturers. I’ll give you a map with the locations of mines, sawmills and stone quarries.” He walks over to his desk and pulls out a scroll, together with a large bag.
I take the scroll and the bag. With at least four kilograms, the weight surprises me. It’s clear that the scroll is the map, so I open the heavy bag and find it filled with gold coins. “I didn’t even ask for more funds.”
He rolls his eyes. “Two thousand gold coins with ten percent interest. That’s everything I can give you without having to explain myself to other guildmasters. Have you forgotten that I am managing your account?” He raises his hand to stop me. “Whatever you are doing with your money, I don’t want to know about it! It’s very clear that your next question would’ve been about money.”
I try anyway. “Ten percent is a high interest! It’s close to robbery! How can you be certain that I’ve any interest in paying it back?”
In an unexpected emotional outburst the gnome runs to the window and slaps his hand against the glass. “Have you looked at the fucking floating house out there? I’ve heard that the Consortium has things like it and maybe the elves. Do you really want to tell me that you can’t pay back a measly two thousand gold coins!?”
I bite my lower lip and throw the heavy bag over my shoulder. It’s true that I’ve been burning through my funds. Turning two thousand gold coins into raw materials will accelerate my plans greatly.
Frantic knocking interrupts us and Dorver quickly corrects his clothes. His grey suit became a little disarranged when he ran over to the window. He walks to the door and opens it.
A man with brown hair and prominent cheekbones enters the room. Two city guards follow in his wake. I notice that he has an expensive taste in clothes. His eyes immediately land on me. The man didn’t even look at Dorver. More accurately, he is checking out my breasts quite blatantly. “I assume that you are the commoner, Joyce? The lord, Baron Tarmo of Hormundad, requests your presence.”
I snort. “Tell him that he can make an appointment.”
That startles the newcomer. “Excuse me? The lord is nobility and you are just an adventurer. You should be glad that he has taken an interest in you.”
“Could you please raise your eyes. I feel dirty when people look at me like that.”
That finally gets his attention, so I continue. “I am very busy and I’ve studied the Alliance’s laws. I am not your baron’s subject and I am not indebted to him, so he can’t order me around.” I give him one of my sweetest smiles. “So, please bug off.”
The man starts grinning as if he has me. “Your little magical experiment damaged the city’s sewer system. I am afraid that you owe his lordship at least two hundred gold coins.” He gestures at the door. “So would you follow us, please?”
I want to say something, but Dorver steps in front of me. “Excuse me, but two hundred gold coins are a little much, don’t you think? I happen to know the previous owner of the property which you are talking about. The place is very remote. There is no way that the city’s sewer system took a lot of damage. The pipeline to the property in question may have been damaged, but that can’t cost more than ten gold.”
The man sneers at the gnome. “We have a giant hole where the estate is supposed to be. That’s a huge loss in taxes! We have to refill the hole with earth. Do you have any idea how much time that costs?”
Dorver picks his nose, showing his disrespect. “That’s a few months of work with cheap labourers. The rent for the entire property was one gold per month. So lets assume that the labourers need a year to refill the hole with dirt. That’s twelve gold. Let’s be very generous and hire enough workers to use up eight gold over that period. That’s thirty gold, so how do you justify the other one hundred and seventy?”
The man shakes his head. “Then it’s thirty! What does it matter! She is a commoner! Even a top grade adventurer doesn’t earn more than a hundred gold per year!”
Dorver smiles and nods at me. “Just pay them.”
I smile and reach into the bag, then I shove a fistful of gold coins at the man’s chest, forcing him to take it. “Keep the change and buy yourself some sunglasses. Then you can’t offend women with your ogling.”
The man is gaping at me, but Dorver grabs my sleeve and pulls me out of the office. “You have to make a quick exit before they come up with another reason to detain you. I am very sure that this isn’t about money. You should buy yourself some bodyguards. Don’t show yourself in a city before you have a solid group of people behind you.”
I can’t keep myself from grinning. “This is going better than I thought. Everyone wants a piece of me. Oh, and Dorver, are you interested in becoming my treasure keeper?”
“Aren’t I already doing that!? First you need to stop spending everything you earn as soon as you get it! And now make yourself scarce!” Dorver stays behind and turns around to stop the man who regained his composure.
“Stop! Who do you think you are? Detain her!”
But the gnome stands his ground. “What do you think you are doing to a free citizen? You don’t have any grounds to restrain her. Don’t you realize that she is the mage who lifted that huge piece of property into the air!? She could wipe the floor with all of you! I won’t allow any fights inside my guild!”
I turn around to take a look at the scene. Dorver is barring the corridor while the man is shaking his fists in vain. The city guards don’t look like they are particularly eager to do anything that could escalate the situation. Especially not if they have no legal reason to stop me.
My grin turns wider, like a Cheshire cat, and I keep walking. Things will get really interesting.