Ellitis was a massive world, with most of its surface area still unexplored. As big as the night sky itself for the beings living there, as they did not know where its end was.
Anovar, it was the name of the main god of balance. It was also the name of a continent that was ruled by humans, elves, dwarves and beastmen. Though rich in history and culture, it was still just a small part of this world.
Other than Anovar, there were 2 other continents that had been discovered by the adventurers and explorers of the 4 main races, and 1 other continent which was first to discover them. And all of these discoveries brought new culture, new people and new conflict.
This is why currently, because of trade, politics and various other matters, many other races then just the 4 main ones lived in Anovar. Not to mentions species like dragons, gods, spirits, monsters and others that could be found in nearly every continent. They were indigenous to the world of Ellitis itself, not just one or two continents.
Scholars of both past and present have theorized that other then the 4 known continents, the world consisted of many others. Adventures and explorers support this theory. Because if there is nothing new to discover, nothing new to conquer, what is the point of living? Though some of the religions may say otherwise.
And considering the fact that even the 2 newly discovered continents of Istarea and Uchogar have yet to be fully explored, Sapient races were still a long way off to discovering, conquering, all of Ellitis.
Located in the Northwestern most part of Anovar was a nation founded by an alliance of 12 city states each ruled by a family of masters from 12 different races, both major and minor. It was called the Leon Federation. Home to one of the most diverse societies in existence. A source of great pride for their citizen. But not many others in Anovar shared the same sentiment.
The far Northwestern part of Anovar was still considered part of the frontier region by the countries situated in Central-Anovar. Well, the folks living there considered every area other than the central region part of the ‘frontier’. For them it was a way to mock the poor who didn’t have the privilege they were blessed with.
But jest as they might, it was true that the area surrounding Leon and its neighboring nations was fraught with peril. Monsters roamed the wilds to attack any living thing they could find, and rogue dungeons plagued the land.
Rogue dungeons, they were somewhat of a specialty of any region considered a frontier. Just like the wilds, while they possessed great danger, they also possessed great allure. Like a forbidden fruit, guarded by a beast of great cruelty, but promised a treasure when obtained.
Dungeons were a source of near limitless resources. When conquered, the entire rogue dungeons could be scrapped for the magic cores and treasures within. Unlike central Anovar where the various guilds, governments and royal families strictly forbade people from scrapping dungeons, it wasn’t a problem in the frontier because the sheer number of dungeons that popped out all the time. Leave their population unchecked and uncontrol, and the next thing you know it you have a few hordes of monsters raiding the land for anything killable, and anything edible.
And unlike the wilds which were simply large areas of unclaimed lands filled monsters, dungeons could be magically tamed and used to produce resources for trade, and monsters for training. Each of the 12 cities of Leon had tamed one of the biggest rogue dungeons in the area. Each dungeon was unique, so each city was unique.
Ezora was one of those cities, and the Enchanted Forest of Ezorael was the dungeon the masters of Ezora, the Ezoraleon family of the wood elves had tamed. They were loved by the masses for unlike some of the other cities, they shared their dungeon with everyone. Of course, for a small but affordable tax. Though they were a powerful clan, and maybe because of their almost naive compassion for all, some lesser liked people had made Ezora their base.
It was in this city of Ezora that Eliot Wyon was born. He had lived here all his life with his companion, Sugarette the former goddess.
And right now, our duo of heroes was coming out from one of the least liked places in the whole of Ezora.
[Oh my gosh master, the smell is so bad! This is why I always tell you not to go down the sewer entrance.], Sugarette complained.
[… The smell should not affect you though?], Replied Eliot inquisitively. He knew her senses worked differently than normal living things.
[Boo! It’s still so nasty down there. Do we have to take this one every time?], even if the smell didn’t affect an ethereal figure like her, that didn’t stop the overall nasty environment of the sewers from creeping her out.
[*Sighs* We won’t be coming down here again after we go to the frontier so bear with me okay? And if we want to use the other entrances to the Goblinewts’ dungeon we need to pay a fee. A compromise neither me nor Ralph’s gang wanted to make.], Eliot was reminded of the unpleasant events that went down in the dungeon with the temporary party he delved down with. And considering that his plan to get the magic treasures out from the dungeon might need him to seek Ralph’s gang out, his face morphed into a mild frown.
[Grr! Who cares about them! Those nasty no good cowards!], it seems Sugarette was the one most pissed off about the whole ordeal.
Unknown to those around them, Eliot and his tiny friend were talking via mental link, an ability they got after forming their spirit bond. Other than himself, Eliot hasn’t met anyone who could see Sugarette unless she revealed herself to them. So, it was safer to use mental link to communicate with her when she was invisible to all but he, rather than talking out loud and catching unwanted attention.
At the moment, they were leaving the sewers to enter the city.
The sewers, one of the most disliked places by the proper residents of the city. And they had good reasons to borderline ‘hate’ it.
Part of it was a hideout for gangs and thugs, part of it was still infested by monsters, and the rest of it either led to dead ends or dungeons. Here ‘dead end’, in the literal meaning of the phrase.
One such dungeon was the Centinewts’ Pit. A recently tamed rogue dungeon infested by weird monsters that had either newt-like bodies and a centipede’s head, or newt’s head with a centipede’s body. It was also owned by some of the most notorious gangs in the city. A compromise the Ezoraleon family made with the gangs to keep them in check.
The dungeon was a moderately big one so it had other entrances too, but those came with larger entry fees. A ploy to keep the normal folks out where the gangs didn’t want them to be.
[So where are we going now?], asked Sugarette while flying around Eliot’s head.
[Hmm… I was thinking of going to one of the magic tome stores after selling of the herbs.], The overall plan was set, but Eliot would still have to think of the finer details. And considering the limited resources he could access, this was the hardest part.
[What!! Magic tomes! Are we learning new magic!! Are we?], The prospect of adding new spells to their arsenal excited Sugarette. But then Sugarette stopped, because she knew Eliot was somewhat against using their hard-earned money on things that had no immediate needs.
[No, I was thinking of buying a few books on esoteric magical plants and a book on beginners’ alchemy.], Eliot confirmed her guess. But that didn’t stop Sugarette from feeling a bit disappointed, [Alchemy? Plants? Boooring~]
Eliot looked hurt.
‘Wasn’t this dumb goddess the one who wanted to know about my plans? Maybe it’s better off not telling her’
Putting that random thought away, Eliot continued.
[It’s for the things we discovered in the dungeon. It’s better to process them ourselves than to hire someone else right?], He wouldn’t put it past the alchemist they might hire to backstab them for the loot.
[Yeah! And those bratty alchemists charge way too much anyways! Master who has such a good foresight, so cool!], Sugarette was against going to an alchemist for a different reason altogether. But still a valid one, they did overcharge when they knew they could get away with it. Well, other then the alchemists contracted with the adventurer’s guild.
‘She’s a brat herself though’, Eliot thought it was too stupid to get mad at a brat like Sugarette.
[But, umm, wouldn’t you have to bring them out first? Right! I forgot, what is your master plan?], The floating ball of ethereal light seemed to have remembered that it was she who wanted in on the details of the plan.
After sighing again, Eliot continued his explanation,
[We need to go find Ralph’s party.]
[What! You want their help after what they did?!], Sugarette exclaimed with a shocked look on her face.
[Not help, ‘Cooperation’.], Eliot smiled mischievously and sent Sugarette a few mental images.
[‘Cooperation’? Isn’t that the same th-…OOOHH!! I get it. Hehehe, serves them right!], Her expression changed into that of a brat who is about to pull off a successful prank. They would use them and throw them away, just like how they left them to their fates in the reaches of the dungeon.
Eliot smiled and said, [It could be our little revenge. They don’t need to know the details. Hell, greedy idiots like them probably won’t even realize they are being led by the nose even after everything is over.]
Just like this, they chatted with each other while heading for the marketplace. It was where Eliot decided to find one of the vendors there to sell the magical herbs.
The marketplace, also know as the Ezora Bazaar, was where most of the low rank adventurers sold of their loot, other than the various guilds. It was also a perfect place for transactions where you didn’t want people asking too many questions. If people wanted to do truly shady business though, they had to find the black-market.
For a J-ranker, a haul of almost 30 gold was certainly a big one. But not so big to catch unwanted attention. And it definitely wasn’t considered black-market worthy. There were always a few lucky chums appearing every day at the dungeons or the wilds.
It took about 15 minutes of walking to reach the marketplace. Eliot’s leather gear and face were smeared with dungeon waste and sewer water. It made his fifteen-year-old face look even older than it actually was. But that couldn’t be help. Adventuring was an occupation where cleanliness rarely took first priority.
The market place was rowdy as usual. With vendors shouting trying to get people’s attention. There were business owner’s furiously bartering with their customers, and laborer’s hauling various goods on their shoulders or by using mounts. There were children running around playing, and trying to get free stuff from anyone and everyone. And of course, ruffians eyeing unsuspecting passersby for an easy target to either swindle, or rob. Truly a perfect image of a fantasy world bazaar.
Eliot and Sugarette went around the various stalls selling magical herbs. Before selling the berries and lesser aura grass, they wanted to get an idea of the proper pricing.
“Oi! Pesky brat! Come back here!” Suddenly Eliot heard a loud voice coming from the rows of stalls. He looked in that direction and saw a bulky middle-aged man chasing after a dirty looking kid who had a few fruits in his hand.
But then a few other kids came out of an alley and plundered a few more of the fruits from the now unmanned stall’s fruit basket.
“What the! Great god Anover! There’s more of you! Stop, are you trying to make me go out of business?!” By the time the stall-owner noticed, the kids had already run off.
Classic diversion tactic.
‘Hmm… This gives me an idea…’, Eliot pondered.
The middle-aged man was already back to his stall, grumbling and trying to calculate the losses. Eliot recognized the man. His stall also sold magical herbs, albeit lower grade ones.
Eliot had already gotten an idea how much to sell his loot for. He had tried negotiating with a few vendors but none gave him a satisfactory price. Including the man in question.
It was getting late, and he still had to go buy some magic tomes.
“Stefan, why be so roundabout?”, as he was deep in thought, a different stall-owner called out to the middle-aged man. It was a short looking man with a bald head and green skin.
[A goblin? That’s rare], Sugarette sent him a mental message.
They were rare. At least in Ezora.
“None of your damn business, Girk.”, the man who was called Stefan replied reluctantly. After figuring out what the kids took, he went back behind the stall.
“Well, the choice be yours.”, the goblin named Girk went back to tending to his own stall.
‘What was that all about?’, Eliot couldn’t make sense of their conversation. He looked at Stefan again. His face still had a scowl, but his eyes! Yes, his eyes were different. None of the anger he showed on his face, reached his eyes.
Then it hit Eliot,
[Ah! So, it was on purpose.], Eliot accidentally spoke out in the mental link.
[Hmm, what was? Master, are you keeping secrets from me again?!], Sugaretta asked. But Eliot didn’t bother to reply.
He walked to Stefan’s stall and greeted the man again.
“Oh, it’s you again? What is it, kid? I ain’t giving you a higher price you know.”, Stefan said with an irritated tone.
“Nah, it’s okay. None of the others gave a higher price than yours. If you still want them, I can sell the herbs to you.”, It was a lie. He could’ve gotten more gold if he sold them elsewhere.
Stefan looked at him suspiciously, but in the end he nodded. The deal was in his favor, and he could make at least twice the amount after re-selling the herbs.
“15 gold then.”, Stefan said. Eliot handed over the spotted winter berries and lesser aura grass. And Stefan Passed him a large gold coin with a square shaped hole in it, and 5 smaller gold coins with circular holes in them.
“Ah sorry, can you give me 2 gold in silver coins”, Eliot suddenly requested. Adventurers usually kept larger coins for saving, and smaller ones for spending.
“You’re a troublesome kid, you know that right?”, Stefan as usual spoke in an annoyed tone. But he complied. After taking back 2 of the smaller gold coins, he gave Eliot 4 large silver coins with triangular holes. Coins with circular holes had a value of 1, square holes had a value of 10 and finally triangular for a value of 50.
After thanking Stefan, Eliot left. It was almost evening and he still had other things to buy.
[Hey master! Don’t ignore me! And why’d ya sell to that mean looking old man? Didn’t the elf lady offer you 18 gold??], Sugarette was puzzled and also annoyed at being ignored for so long.
[No real reason. And it’s not much of a loss. We can sell the rest of the spotted winter berries and lesser aura grass to the elf lady next time.], Eliot replied.
[Hmm, oh okay~], in the end Sugarette didn’t really care so much about why Eliot did that. She trusted him enough to know he did the right thing.
The vendors that sold magical tomes and artifacts were on the other side of the marketplace. It would take a while to reach so he hastened his pace, with an invisible green glow following behind him.