Chapter 24 The Queen
The cart came to an abrupt halt, waking Ilea from her doze. “We’ve arrived lady adventurer.” Greg says, as he started unhitching the horse, whose name apparently was White Ash. Getting up from her lying position, Ilea grabbed the bags but only belatedly remembered to act like they were heavy.
Getting down from the cart, she placed them a couple meters behind herself. Getting two silver coins from her pouch, she handed them to Greg who was a bit shocked at the amount. “Lady, that is way too much for a simple transport. I didn’t expect anything to be honest!”
Reassuring him that it was fine, Ilea bid him farewell before turning around again. “Greg. Another question. You work with the wood as well or do you just sell it?” He quizzically looked at her and then smiled.
“I do I do, whenever I find the time. Tables, beds, whatever it is. Just come by at my farm east of the city. It’s only a couple hours down the road.”
‘Do you have a business card as well?’ She thought as she nodded at him “I’ll do that maybe. Thanks again and have a good day!” She said and walked down the alley.
Greg said his goodbyes as she turned around, going up to the nearby workshop undoubtedly going to sell his cargo. Ilea meanwhile activated her Sphere skill to perceive anything in a 15m globe around her. Seeing nothing, she increased her pace.
Going from back alley to back alley, she sometimes slowed down as people approached or a beggar laid near the walls. She threw a Drake scale at one of them who just confusedly thanked her. She saw him trying to take a bite out of the scale just before her range of perception left him behind.
Chuckling, she walked through the city until she came out near Earl’s shop. ‘Busy as ever I see…,’ she wondered at the people walking in and out of the blacksmith’s shop.
Stepping inside with her massive bags, a couple people stole glances at her but nobody said anything. There was a line at the counter of four people while an attendant she hadn’t seen before talked to them. Standing in line, Ilea looked at the plentiful gear in the shop ‘Guess he did fulfill those contracts hmm?’
Two minutes later, she stood in front of the clerk. ‘Well that sure was quick.’
“Hello, I’m Ilea. Can you get Earl for me? Tell him it’s the healer.” the attendant was confused at that.
“I’m sorry miss but the head smith is currently quite busy. I’ll have to check the schedule but I can’t promise anything until the upcoming spring.” He explained regretfully.
‘Ah fuck this…,’ Checking the shop with her sphere, she found Earl working in the back. The clerk only blinked as the healer in front of him disappeared.
“Spring? Are you fucking kidding me you old cunt?” She blared, startling the smith out of his work. The sword fell to the ground, which Ilea caught in a quick fluid motion. Earl just stared at her hand, as she handed the glowing piece of metal back to him. Bare handed.
Gesturing to the anvil, she placed it there. “I forgot how nuts you are.” Turning to Ilea he extended his hand but thought better of it, instead patting her on the back. “How is our little Berserk healer doing? Any new developments?” He asked, a smile spreading on his face.
A hint of fear evident as he kept glancing at her completely fine hand and the level next to her class that changed to two question marks compared to the last time when he had still been able to see her level.
Ilea quickly caught him up on her past month. The smith apparently hadn’t been doing bad either. Having fulfilled some rather big contracts in an incredible time with even less sleep, his status had risen by quite a bit. And apparently his smithing skills as well. Hence the attendant out front, dealing with the ever increasing customers.
“So you’re a rich fuck now. Congratulations. Why not get some apprentices?” He nodded at that
“Yea yea, I know but they are all so… adequate. Haven’t found one to really strike me as the one ya know?”
‘Is this a love story or what?’ She nodded and motioned to the front. “Hey, I have something for you. And a request or two maybe.” The attendant seemed conflicted if he should check with Earl but relaxed as both the healer and his boss came out from the back room.
“It’s materials I gathered a while ago. You still have the charred scales right? Should be enough for a set. Well I thought before I get you the higher quality hide, I can get something with this in the meantime.” She opened one of the bags and he whistled.
“So one set with this stuff? Bony with scales. Red or green?” Checking the scales he added “Doesn’t seem to be of a very different quality.”
She thought and decided on red ‘Fits the fire I guess and the camouflage would only really help in a forest.’“Do the red one. I’ll sell you the rest.”
“Hmm yes yes…,” Motioning the attendant away from the counter, he removed some big books from below it. “..the armor I can do for four gold in three days.” The attendant’s eyes opened wide at that.
“But Earl, the contracts and time…,” Getting interrupted by a hand on his shoulder, Earl stepped back to the bags.
“Mason my boy, do you know how much I bore working on iron swords all day and steel plate armor? This… this here…,” Opening the bags, he grinned “This is why I became a blacksmith!”
“And the sweet sweet gold of course.” Ilea added.
“And the sweet gold of course.” Earl confirmed. Getting the two bags into the back room, he emptied them onto a massive workbench. He counted the scales and bones and checked them for their quality and weight.
Ilea meanwhile fucked with the different equipment in the smithy, burning herself in ways others would scream for hours and need a healer to attend to their injuries.
“You’re like a newborn puppy. Do you not fear pain?” He asked, seemingly done with his work.
“Oh, I fear the absence of it more to be honest.” Thinking of the Demon, a thoughtful expression showed on her face.
“Well none of that seriousness now. I like that puppy more. All of the materials you could sell to the adventurer’s guild or any trader for between 7 Gold, 13 Silver and 12 Bronze up to… well up to infinity really. I could get that stuff for around 13 Gold from the guild or a trader. 10 Gold 10 Silver sounds fair?”
She just nodded at him ‘Is he really that trustworthy?’
“Deducting the cost of the armor, which includes any materials used and my labor you come out at 6 Gold and 10 Silver.” The smith said as he walked back outside.
Receiving the money, she thanked Earl again, got her bags and stored them in her backpack. ‘Back to 9 Gold eh… what do I need money for again?’ she thought but then remembered that food existed.
Looking through the markets she found what she was looking for. A small empty booklet, similar to what would be a notebook on earth. Compared to the machine manufactured and plain paper ones she remembered, this one held quite a lot more charm. She also got a magical pen in a shop nearby, leaving her 10 silvers lighter as she went back to Earl’s shop.
‘Considering a meal is a couple coppers, notebooks and pens are luxurious as fuck.’ She mused as she walked behind Earl’s shop. Just in range of her perception, she could see the scales and bones still on the table. Taking out her notebook, she took an intricate inventory of everything she had given to Earl. Checking through the rest of the shop quickly too, to make sure he hadn’t moved anything yet.
She was glad to see the charred scales were still there, hidden away in what seemed to be a secret compartment. ‘He didn’t lie about liking them at least…,’
A guard was chasing a dog through the street as she entered it, a boy frantically trying to keep pace and shouting after the dog.
Going back to the market street she got the pen from, Ilea bought some food on the go. Two hours later of eating different foods and watching the people make it in front of her, she finally got closer to her next target. ‘Street food is like a live performance…,’ thinking on that, she finished the last of her noodles while standing in front of Splicer’s bookstore.
“Hello! Schroedinger’s healer is back!” She shouted into the seemingly empty shop. ‘No customers today hmm… how does he stay afloat?…,’
The old man appeared from a back room “Schrodinger's what? Oh it’s the theoretical dealer of black market information. Greetings young adventurer!” He said with a completely straight face.
“You’re as dry as your skin old man.” she answered, removing her backpack and getting out the old tomes and diaries.
“First hand accounts of the Order of Azarinth.” She had brought five diaries and three history books. The ones holding nearly no knowledge on the Bluemoon Grass and her techniques.
His eyes became a little wider and his heartbeat quickened. Ilea was only able to tell because of her buffs and newfound sense enhancing perception. ‘Or my stats as well… at this point I’m like a superhuman and I’m too afraid to ask…,’
“Wanna buy any of them? How much would you pay? I’d take some good stories as well.”
He calmed down again. “I’ll have to check their authenticity, age and contents. If they aren’t fake the diaries between 4 to 8 Gold each. The histories around two Gold each. Would you lend them to me for one or two days?”
“Sure sure, I’ll come back again in two days then.” She said “Thinking about it maybe you can lend me some books as well, you know… as collateral?” He nodded and after discussing some of her preferences, he suggested five books to her which she packed into her backpack.
“Another thing Splicer. How much knowledge do you have on the worth of… say Drake bones and scales?” A shot in the dark, but she had a feeling that when Walter was a powerful sorcerer in disguise, the man in front of her was the same… just with a different kind of power.
Knowledge that is. And he didn’t disappoint. “Yes, I do dabble in the exchange of goods. Do you have an exact number, quality, weight. And where would you like to sell them?”
She gave him the notebook, opened at the page with her inventory. He took a look and three minutes later wrote down some numbers. “Selling that to the adventurers guild would net you between 7 Gold and 5 Silver and 7 Gold and 30 Silver depending on the day and demand. Buying it from a trader or the guild you’d have to pay 13 Gold and 20 to 50 Silver.”
‘Fuck that’s scarily accurate. He’s like the god of numbers.’ Looking into his eyes, she could see a spark. ‘Is that…. No… the infamous… billing intent. Yea that was bad, even for me…,’ Lost in her own joke, she just nodded to Splicer.
‘Apologies for doubting you Earl. At this point you’re 100% Ilea approved.’ Putting the notebook back, she closed her backpack and got it back on again. ‘Or maybe this is some underground trader monopoly and they all know exactly what prices to tell to whom… scary scary.’
“Do I owe you something for that math?” She asked but he waved her away
“It’s on the house lady Ilea.” She curtsied at that, the grace of the movement surprising her.
‘It’s the staaats...’ She reminded herself. ‘I should go dancing…,’
Saying her goodbyes to Splicer, she exited the store and promptly bought more food. After walking aimlessly for twenty minutes, she decided to go eat something in a nice restaurant. All that snacking made her hungry after all. ‘And it’s nearly midday judging by the suns.’
After finding a nice place, Ilea sat down and thought about her next actions. ‘I can do whatever I want…,’ smiling to herself, she apologized to the waiter that had asked her twice if she wanted to order something.
Waiting for her food, she got out the map of the Calys mine that she had improved upon with coal whenever she discovered a new tunnel or cave. Going to a new page of her notebook, she wrote down ‘Calys Mine’ and started to copy the crude map sharply onto the thick paper with her black inked pen.
The food arrived fifteen minutes later and let her take a break from the work. ‘Who would’ve thought copying maps is that difficult. Where’s my ctrl plus c ctrl v?’ the food stealing her attention. It was a potato soup with sausage in it and some fresh bread on the side, perfectly fitting the autumn temperature.
Ilea chose to sit outside, having a pretty good view and a decent supply of people to identify and possibly gain some skill levels. The restaurant was located on a small square with few people walking through. She was actually the only one sitting outside.
Finishing her meal, she ordered a tea and continued her work. ‘How peaceful it seems… and at any moment a bunch of bloodthirsty monsters or Elves could come and attack… is this how people in the cold war thought like?’
She finished the map and burned the coal version in her hand. No guard was around to scold her. The people that saw her casual use of fire magic certainly weren’t happy though.
She paid and made her way to the southern guard station. Getting stopped by a gruff looking man outside the gate, she asked to see his excellency lord Dale. The guard didn’t laugh but his posture relaxed a bit.
“And what business do you have with his lordship?” He asked her, apparently bored enough to join at least a little in her escapades. Guard duty certainly wasn’t the most interesting of jobs.
“We’re old friends, thought I’d visit him while I’m in town.” She said.
“DALE!!!” The guard suddenly shouted.
“What the fuck John?” A voice came from the other side of the gate.
“There’s someone here looking for his lordship prince Dale. Would you ask for an audience… What’s your name lass?” Turning to her with the question.
‘Nice touch with the prince…,’ “Ilea the healer.”
Waiting at the gate for five minutes, it was soon opened from the other side. “He says it’s fine. Come on in my lady.” The guard motioned for her to follow.
The guard station was clean and everyone seemed ready and on alert albeit in a relaxed way. Very professional to say the least. ‘Considering the action they get it’s no surprise…,’ She thought, as they rounded a corner when the sound of metal meeting metal could be heard.
“Good, another one.” Dale’s voice sounded out.
Coming into a walled off square with a gravel floor, Ilea and her guide entered a scene of two guards fighting Dale.
[Warrior – lvl 83]
She identified him, happy to see that she could finally see his level. The other two were in a level range of fifty to sixty. The ten or so spectators were even lower leveled than that.
‘blng’ ‘Identify reaches lvl 4’
‘Oh, I forgot that was even a skill for a second there…,’ she thought as the two warriors slowly circled Dale. With a sudden explosion of speed and power, the two approached him at the same time from different angles. Dale simply crouched in a smooth movement and lifted his sword and shield to intercept both attacks.
Following up with an elbow to one of the men’s ribs, he quickly turned to the other to block with his shield. Ilea felt a quick surge of mana exiting Dale’s shield, as his opponent’s sword was deflected off his shield right on impact. He placed his own sword at the man’s throat at that opening in a practiced and fast motion, ending the practice bout right there.
Some of the men clapped, other’s exchange tickets. Seemingly a betting system.
Her guide guard coughed and in an exaggerated voice announced. “Ilea the healer queen! Here to see the prince of Practice Square, Dale Langston!” All the eyes immediately turned first to her guide and then to her. Some of them chuckled.
She walked in front of her guide in the most noble way she could think of while quickly unbuttoning two of her leather armor chest buttons. Standing ten meters before Dale, she bowed deeply, getting whistles and applause for the act and likely the cleavage as well.
Standing up again, she buttoned up her chest piece while smirking at Dale. “Been a while Mr 83.”
“Indeed it has. Ms… 75… well, that is indeed quite a change. Are you still running into battle to heal your enemies to death?” He joked.
“Oh don’t be so mean, a girl’s first rodeo is always painful. And the blood…,” some of the men laughed, while two of them got up from their lounging positions.
“We’re next Dale, you up for another or do you have to attend to the princess?”
Shooting a glare at the man and activating her buffs, she declared “It’s Queen.” The man stopped in his tracks as some tense stares were exchanged before Dale started laughing.
They relaxed again, the man calling her princess seemingly embarrassed. “We can surely catch up later, I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to. I do have my duties though and today that duty is to whip this bunch into at least somewhat capable warriors.”
Getting an idea, Ilea walked closer to him. Talking in a voice much lower than before. “You know, the running in part… that wasn’t because I was reckless or stupid… I’m not exactly just a healer.” his eyebrows rose at that.
“And even though since then I’ve fought monsters and people, maybe some pointers against swords and other weapons might come in handy… you’ll get it once I start fighting. I won’t kill you, don’t worry.” she winked at him
“What you’re saying is a bit confusing but you don’t seem the type to lie. First you prove yourself against the royal offender there and then I’ll face you, what do you say?”