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Enjoy! Next chapters are (hopefully) on Tuesday when I have internet at home again... this was posted during my lunch break.
 
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While the party ate, they talked about various things that happened in past lifetimes and tried to see if either of them had been in a world that one of the others had been in. As there were billions upon billions of worlds that the possibility for this to occur was close to zero if not zero.

Nuvahn took another bite from his toast and asked. "So what are our plans for today?"

Zaran glanced at Florance "Did you have anything planned at all?"

Florance swallowed and took her handkerchief to wipe her mouth before replying. "Well I was just going to go around and see if I can pick up a quest or something but then I met you again and I am not planning to leave you anytime soon so I will just tag along with whatever you do."

"It is fine if you want to do something without me... You do not have to feel obliged to go along with everything I do. If I do something you do not like or you want to do something else please speak up, that counts for you too Nuvahn. I am very happy and grateful that you both want to stay with me but please do not feel forced. Please be your own human and do not try to become what I want you to be, because that is exactly what I do not want to happen."

Both Nuvahn and Florance bit their lip as Zaran reprimanded them.

Florance suddenly grew angry as she hit Zaran's side and remarked. "Way to ruin the mood!"

"It had to be said! I am starting to feel like I am forcing you to stay with me."

"You are not! If you were I would have told you! YOU of all people should know me more than well enough to know that I would tell you the instant I think you are forcing me." Florance said with a commanding tone.

Zaran chuckled. "True."

"As for me, I do not really care if you drag me around as long as I get some good fights in." Nuvahn calmly said. "If I feel you are doing boring stuff I will just go my own separate ways for some time. But when there is a fight I will always be right there with you."

"Right, well my plans for the day are as follows; first I will sell of the loot I acquired from our trip to the sewers, then I will go to Eoric's smithy to craft a basic shield and shape the Hellweaver queen's fangs in to two daggers, after which I will pay a visit to Henry and ask him whether he has any beasts that can guard the mansion.  I will go to the city and hire or buy some guards and a couple of maids for the mansion. Afterwards I will bring the maids and guards back to the mansion and have them settle in. When all that is said and done I am going to train as there are a few skills I would like to acquire relatively soon."

"Buy guards and maids?" Florance said with raised eyebrows. "So you mean... buy slaves right? You know I do not agree with that."

Zaran quickly shook his head. "It is not like that, how could there even be slaves in the free kingdom that Liberiu is? Well... maybe human slaves but no other slaves could possibly exist here. No, buying guards or maids is simply buying their allegiance to you and you create a blood contract with them. They still have to get paid like normal guards or maid, but they essentially become a part of your family. But of course there are a few catches. First, neither side is allowed to harm each other as long as the blood contract exists, secondly, they have to do whatever I say as long as it is within their capacity to do so and is not dishonourable to them or against their moral compass. Thirdly, if the master mistreats the contracted person, the contractor suffers divine retribution, and the same happens if the contracted is disloyal to their master. Fourthly a real blood-link is established by the contractor and contractee and given a year of time, the contractor will always be able to locate the contractee's whereabouts and vice versa. If either side dies, the other side will suffer a backlash and is able to momentarily see what happened the last few moments before their death. The final and an advantage that solely exists for the contracted person is that they can be included in a will. I do not know what happens if players who have blood contracts would die though... I guess we will figure that out sooner or later."

"That sounds... fair enough." Florance said. "So basically you get completely loyal and trustworthy followers as long as you don't harm them?"

"Pretty much. I have one big favour to ask the two of you though. Florance, while I am running all over Virul, could you go over all the guild applications? Just read them and pick out the ones that seem suitable for the guild and invite them to the mansion where we will submit them to one additional test. How they will get here is their own problem. If any applicants get here before I am back, Nuvahn could you test them? For non ranged classes, all they need to be able to do is to get one clean hit in on you in a fair duel. For ranged classes, they have to be able to block your advance for ten seconds OR be able to pin you down. For classes who are not suitable for fighting, like priests who focus on healing, just see how well they cope with pressure, be it when casting spells or just in general behaviour. When I am back I will take over from the both of you."

Nuvahn swallowed the meat he was chewing on and calmly spoke. "Sure, no problem. I will train the first three stances of Dance of the Butterfly in the meantime and regardless there were some things I would like to test so waiting here for you suits me very well."

"Just leave everything to me. I will see to it that we only have the most promising guild members!" Florance said with a bright smile.

"Thank you. I shall take my leave then. I hope I am able to return before midday." Zaran said as he stood up. "Kirin, Cindarrah and Kru, you can stay here." Zaran said as he cast metamorphosis and changed himself to become a middle-aged man. While he would have to recast hourly, he was confident that he could do so on time as there were clear indications as to when the spell would end.

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Half an hour later Zaran arrived at the Virul's eastern gates. He felt it had been a little lonely along the way as for the past few in game weeks he had rarely been alone. He had long since grown used to having Kirin and Cindarrah around. Still, Cindarrah and Kirin would draw attention to him and now that he had the metamorphosis skill he could finally walk around without having the worry about being bothered, which was a nice change of pace.

After a swift search by the guards, which included a search through his storage ring with the use of a spell. The guards raised their brows on some of the things that were placed in Zaran's storage ring but as the guards did not find any forbidden goods Zaran was free to go. Before continuing on Zaran very politely asked one of the nearby guards. "Excuse me sir, but why is a search necessary all of a sudden? The last time I entered and exited this was not necessary."

The guard sighed and answered with a weary tone. "With the increase of travellers in the past few weeks there has also been an increase in some of the more forbidden goods. Normally we would only search merchants because most mercenaries do not occupy themselves with smuggling, although that seems to have changed in the past few weeks. While the majority does not seem to know what we consider as forbidden goods, we cannot allow them to just enter the city with them and they are confiscated on sight."

"I see... Where can I find this list of forbidden goods?" Zaran asked. As long as he knew which goods were forbidden he could drop them of at his mansion before coming to Virul. When he started venturing out he would have to solve that problem in another way but at least he would know and could prevent embarrassing situations from happening.

The guard took out a scroll from his storage ring and handed it over to Zaran. "Here, this contains a list of all the forbidden items. Now be on your way, I do not have any more time to waste on your questions."

"Sorry for bothering you but thank you very much for giving me a moment of your precious time." Zaran said, before he strolled towards the market area. Along the way he found a free bench, sat down on it and took out the scroll of forbidden materials. Nearly half of the materials on the list were intoxicating of nature or contained a very dangerous toxin. The majority of the other half were mostly goods solely manufactured by humans.

Closing the scroll and storing it back into his storage ring, Zaran cast metamorphosis once again to keep the spell up before heading off for the market area.
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NianKaraz

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