I rubbed my forehead, internally insulting myself before sighing and giving it up.
“Ah! Whatever,” I said, frustration coming through in my words. I looked at Mayer, a sort of dead look in my eyes, “Can I please have this day off. I want to just rest and not do crazy Champion stuff today.”
He looked at me while taking a long sip from his tea. Slowly swishing the tea around his mouth, probably just basking in the taste. After a long moment he swallowed gently and spoke.
“I think that is fair. You can have today to yourself, it would probably do you some good.” He said, placing his still half full cup on the coffee table and quickly walking into the joining kitchen and started to efficiently and methodically move about.
I wasn’t entirely sure what it was that he was doing before he clicked his fingers and a small flame appeared in what looked like a large metal bowl with a grate over the top of it, with some neat uniform holes cut into it. It wasn’t anything like a stove from earth, but more technically rudimentary than that. The way that it was made in Mayer’s kitchen look was strangely elegant. It was a lot like a fire pit really, something that was just meant to be dug into the ground, but it was a fine centrepiece in Mayer’s kitchen, like a beautiful antique stove.
First thought that I had, was that the smoke from burning wood would fill this place, but as the fire burned on, no smoke came. The air remained perfectly undisturbed by the smell of wood, or other cruder fuels. This somewhat surprised me, I looked into the fire, trying to find some fuel that it was burning. I found none.
“Magic?” I asked him, and he nodded.
“Ether burns clean. A pure flame tends to cook the best, I find.” The old man quickly pulled a pan out of a cupboard to his right and gently placed it into one of the holes in the grate. He moved to another cupboard, pulling out an egg and presented it to me. They were large and speckled, almost two odd times the size of a chicken’s from back home.
“How many?” He asked. I usually had four chicken eggs, and so I asked for two. He nodded and got to work.
Now that I thought about it, I didn’t eat at all yesterday, or even the day before. For some reason it never occurred to me during all that time, I didn’t feel even a little bit hungry, but now that I was being presented with the opportunity, I was positively ravenous. I sat on a stool that was tucked underneath a beautiful wooden table that separated the large kitchen area from the Livingroom.
“You didn’t think about food at all, did you?” the old man said as he broke the eggs into the pan. The eggs were largely the same as a chicken’s, just that the yolk was a deep red, almost like blood.
“No, not really. I’m not sure why, I should have been craving food like crazy.” Mayer grunted at this as he cracked the second of my eggs and another two eggs for himself with clean, practiced motions.
“It is because you are a Champion. Your bodies are different from ours. You still feel pain, and still suffer, but you are far hardier than the average person. In fact, as far as I understand it, Champions can effectively go without sleep for weeks, if not months on end.” To be honest, I couldn’t really muster the energy to be surprised, or even excited at the prospects of not having to sleep.
“So that’s why you pushed me so hard yesterday I guess.” A statement really.
“Yes, I needed to be sure that I was correct. If you had come to me asking for food then I would have given it to you, of course. I’m not looking to kill you.” He said, a faint smile on his lips as the eggs fried in the pan.
It didn’t take long for the eggs to be properly cooked, and once he plated them and gave my share to me, I practically wolfed them down. The taste of the eggs were almost lost on me, only the silky sweet taste of the yolk was left in my mouth after having eaten them.
Despite only looking to be about two times the size of a chicken egg, they were a great deal more filling. I looked up from my plate to see Mayer standing there on the other side of the table slowly eating his eggs, savouring the taste, just like the tea he had earlier. For a moment I hesitated to ask what was on my mind, something that I knew to be true, but almost didn’t want to believe.
“Mayer.” I said softly. Mayer turned to me, eyes just as soft. “Is this as bad as it seems? Me being a Champion, this test?”
He answered without words. His eyes looking into mine, narrowing only slightly, and then looking back to his eggs. It was precisely the lack of an answer that that solidified what I already knew to be true.
I sighed deeply, and decided to let the worries go out with the air from my lungs. If only for a moment.
“Alright,” I said, with somewhat forced energy, “I want to go out today, go see the town a bit, get to know some people. Is there anything I need to know before going?” Mayer looked thoughtful for a moment, his eyebrows lowering in thought before he gently placed down his knife and fork and briskly walked across the barrier between the two areas and opened a drawer of a little table near the door into the hallway. Inside was few thing, but what he pulled out was a small leather purse with a cord so that it could be easily pulled open and closed. Probably not the safest way to store money, but I’m not sure that Mayer was worried particularly about keeping valuables safe. He had a damn wand lying about in his hallway.
After digging around in the leather purse for a moment, he pulled out two heptagonal shaped coins, walked over to me and placed them on the table next to my plate before returning to his own.
They both looked to be make of iron, both had very similar shapes and imprints on the coin, both imprints were relatively bland, most likely to make it easily made by a machine of sorts.
It seems there were some sorts of machines, but how advanced they were was a different story all together. Humanity back on earth had been using coins, or close enough to coins for a very long time. They were able to make enough to run a society on them back then, so I couldn’t tell you how hard or easy it was to make something like this.
“Take these. Around here iron is used, anything larger than these and no one would be able to give you change,” he said, cutting of a bit of his egg and eating it, “those are Iron smah, they are worth 10 iron hum each. That will be more than enough to get you through whatever you want to do.”
I looked down at the two coins in my hand. The names were odd to me, but I started to try me best to memorise the names. I only knew that smah was a really nice feeling word.
I tightened my fist around them and put them into my pocket.
“I’m going out. I’ll see you later today.” I said, no real justification for me going.
Mayer just nodded before I walked out into the hall, and out the door.