Saya gave us the system-version of the quests to hunt wolves, alpha-wolves and wind raptors in addition to the one that required us to bring in game-animals, mostly elk, deer or mountain goat, but it was quite wide-ranging, as it was given out to supply the town with meat. The quests for wolves and meat were marked as easy, the one for wind raptors as medium and the one for alpha-wolves as hard.
Afterwards, she suggested to take the pelts we already had to the fur-trader, as they would most likely give us the best price, not that we could count on a lot of money from the pelts we had. Pelts were simply the main-product of the town and, in a way, the region, in addition to some other speciality products. But those specialities were only available to few traders, for example there was a dwarven settlement further to the north, close to the trade-route and they traded in some metals, but getting in on that particular trade was next to impossible. Others, like the trade in certain timber-types required special skills, as I had not the slightest idea how to find the required resources.
We thanked her for the help she had given us and left the guild, me once again hiding in Sigmir’s shadow. The market-place was still quite lively but it was obvious that soon people would head to their respective lodgings. It was something that should be quite easy to find, Yaksha was a trade town after all, people came here to sell their wares and buy things they could not get in the wild, things that needed to be imported and thus would carry a steep price.
The fur-trader was easy to find, once we knew where to look, it might just be the biggest building in town, a small store-front set in a huge warehouse, allowing them to collect furs and pelts all winter and shipping them into civilisation during the spring and summer-months. Feeling that my presence would not help the trading, I stuck to the shadows, watching Sigmir and Adra haggle with the buyer, trying to get a better price but the buyer was obviously quite skilled and had an almost unbeatable advantage, he knew that he had no competition. In addition, at least according to him, the furs we had were of a bad quality and inadequately skinned and treated. The result was that nobody would give us a better price, so even if his price was quite bad, barely more than the base-price offered by the guild, it was the best we could get. Finally, Sigmir shook his hand and took the silver he offered, placing it into her satchel.
With that out of the way, we went back to the market square, looking for an inn for the night. Yaksha had multiple and all but one quite obviously targeted the countless hunters and other less reputable guests, those folks that came to town to dispose of their goods, getting a small taste of creature-comforts before heading back out into the wilds. They seemed rough, probably overpriced and selling an enormous amount of beer and spirits but the alternative was the inn that targeted the trader-trade but I had a feeling that we were lacking in money for that particular establishment. So, after a little looking and asking, we decided on an inn at the edge of town, towards the trade-road, hoping that it would be fine. I had mostly gawked at the various beings Sigmir and Adra had talked to, so I had not paid that much attention to the conversations.
The inn was, once more, built out of the never-ending supply of timber and the inside walls insulated with furs, trying to hold in the heat from the huge hearth. Over that hearth, a large cauldron was hung, letting out steam and the delicious smell of soup or stew filled the common-room. From the size of the building, I assumed that there was a second floor and rooms further in the back. The proprietor was one of the bear-beastman and judging by the fact that he was hardly bigger than Rai, he seemed to be a small one. But he easily made that small size up with his girth, he looked almost comically round. While it was hard to judge on his, to me, alien face, he looked like he was happily smiling.
“Greetings, greetings, travellers, welcome to the Dancing Bear. Are you looking for a room or do you only want dinner?” he asked Sigmir in a happy voice.
“Greetings, innkeeper. We are looking for a place to sleep, what rooms do you have available?” she asked back.
“I think three of the private rooms in the back are still open and obviously there are spots left in the open room upstairs. A private rooms is three silver the night, with a single bed, the spot upstairs is a half-silver per person. Dinner tonight is a silver per person, unless you want something special.” I almost choked at the prices, selling all our furs had only netted us thirty silver, so if we wanted to have beds for everyone with dinner, it would be more than half of our money. Sigmir grimaced but agreed after haggling a little and getting breakfast for our party for another silver. It was gratifying to watch the innkeeper blink in surprise when Sigmir handed over seven silver and I stepped out of her shadow when he checked us in, only then realising that our party was composed out of four people, not three as he had apparently assumed.
While we all had quite the desire to take a bath, getting clean once again, none of us felt the need to fork over ten silver for the service of getting water brought in and heated. Out of curiosity, and to mark out our sleeping spaces, Sigmir and I went upstairs into the open room and it was just that. It was simply the attic of the building, filled with furs spread over some sort of padding material, dried grass or maybe leaves or something similar. We decided on one of the corners, marking our territory by dropping small items onto the furs, in this particular instance, I created small items out of hard ice, the room was cold enough that there would be no melting that might make our bedding wet. In addition, the icicles were still mine, so if someone had the great idea to steal them for some reason, I should be able to find them again, at least for some time.
Afterwards, I followed Sigmir back downstairs, with me hiding in her shadow once more. It was becoming something of a habit. But, I did not mind being her Shadow at all, as it meant that I was able to be so very close to her. And nobody got hostile due to my outsider-trait. So, it was a win-win situation.
Downstairs, it was not my outsider-trait that made things annoying. It was the fact that there were very little human-looking beings in the region. Giantbloods, if you wanted to feel small and were into blue girls, a few dryads or nymphs, maybe the odd firn-elf, if you could deal with the skin-colour or maybe similar races but that was it, most locals had some sort of furry adaptation to the local climate. So, a couple of Travellers had seen their first non-furry female when they spotted Adra and the sight must have caused them some sort of testosterone overload.
That was the only explanation I could come up with, when I saw three males of different species stand next to the table Adra and Rai had secured for us, trying to pick Adra up with lines that should only be used at a bar, moments before last call, when desperation set in. Those lines, and their varied races, were also the reason that I figured they were travellers, as I highly doubted that any native of Mundus would suggest that someone was tired because they had been running through their mind all night long.
Rai was still sitting, even if he looked slightly annoyed at the interruption and maybe a little jealous, he had become quite close to Adra, over the last couple of days. At least, that was my assumption, he rarely blushed anymore when she used him as a hug pillow. Maybe, he was just getting used to it, who knew. But anyway, he was trying not to make trouble for the innkeeper, something quite admirable.
Sigmir and I moved over, just as one of the would-be Romeos finished asking what was on the menu and answering his own, stupid, question by separating the word into three, making me groan. And it was not even funny, not in an establishment without a menu. One of his compatriots spotted Sigmir and realised that, while she was vastly taller, broader in built and had oddly coloured skin, she looked quite human, especially her chest area. In addition, he might have had a little something to drink before, as he elbowed his friend and pointed at Sigmir, specifically at her chest.
His words, “Woah, look at the hoo…” were not quite literally cut off when he felt an icy feeling at his throat, a feeling that may or may not have originated from the blade I was pressing against it.
The response of his friends was cut off when I activated Overflow and plunged the area right around me into darkness and struck against their minds at the same time, trying to rattle them, inducing fear in their heart. I felt Lenore’s mind join mine in the attack and when I let the shadows fade a moment later, all of them looked quite shaken.
“Now, my friends and I want to have dinner in peace. And if you talk about my mate like that again, you will learn two things. The meaning of pain and the meaning of fear.” I announced, still pushing against their minds.
The three stooges left, their tails firmly tucked behind their legs, only leaving behind a faint smell of urine, as one of them had a small accident when I cut off his sentence.
As Sigmir and I were settling down at the table with Rai and Adra, the innkeeper came over, delivering our dinner and asking me to not spill blood in his establishment, at first I wanted to be annoyed but when he explained that it was so incredibly hard to get the blood stains out of the wooden floor, I had to relent, it was a good concern and it would be impolite to make more work for him. I agreed and promised not to make a mess. It was not as if I was really limited by the promise, if necessary, I could always use my Blood Magic to keep blood from making a mess.
The food was quite good, rustic and gamey but good. None of us was interested in alcoholic beverages, which were almost prohibitively expensive anyway, so we stuck to water from a nearby well.
“Now that we have some time, Rai, where did you get that much money?” I asked.
“My father gave me some coin for the travels. We don’t use coin a lot in Adernas but sometimes there is trade with outsiders and coin can be useful.” he explained. Sigmir and I shared a look and wordlessly agreed that we should reimburse him.
“Well, thank you. Can you give me an idea how much each coin is worth?” I asked, looking at all three of them.
“Hard to say, really. It depends where you are, closer to home a guild-silver penny is enough to feed someone for two days, but here, where food is more scarce, the price shifts. So, really it depends. Mostly, ten copper-jacks, the smallest guild-coin can be exchanged for two halfpennies or a full penny but especially half-pennies are less desired so you will sometimes only get nine copper-jacks when exchanging for two halfpennies. Simply because a halfpenny is less convenient to carry.” Adra explained, while Sigmir showed me the coins, the silver coins I had seen before, each with a small indent that showed its middle-line and one of them had been split at that indent, making a half coin, or a halfpenny. In addition, there were copper coins that were similarly sized, maybe a little smaller.
“There are also gold coins but they are less common and a lot more valuable. I think there are different sorts of gold coin, but I’m not sure about that.” Adra finished her explanation, with Sigmir and Rai listening just as I was.
After dinner, we headed upstairs, looking forward to sleeping indoors for once. Not that the furs were much more comfortable than our normal bedding, or the location much more secure, it was just a psychological thing, at least for me. Sleeping indoors was what I was used to see as normal, so it was the best. Or something like that.