“Here you go Mr. Wayland, your cut of the sale.”
The auction was over and at this moment Roland was in the office with an auction house clerk responsible for giving out the earnings. Thanks to the strange rich woman who contended with the dwarven union members, the sale amounted to twelve large gold coins, which was quite a sum of money.
“Isn’t there too much in here? You only took out one small gold coin, this is not the price we agreed on.”
With the help of his skills, he was able to quickly count how much money was in the sack. A contract was signed beforehand, it stated that he would be given ten to fifteen percent of his earnings to the auction house. This depended on the scale of the sale, the more money he earned the less he needed to pay up. With this one passing the ten large coin threshold he would need to fork up ten percent.
He was also required to present a minimum of ten items in a year otherwise, he would need to pay a fine. This was an understandable clause as he was given a better rate than other sellers that mostly had to give up from fifteen to twenty-five percent from the sale. Thus he was confused that he only had to give up one small gold coin.
“This was the lord’s decision, he sends his regards and hopes that you will continue to work with us. He also wanted to inform you that he would look into the situation with the dwarven union and the merchants.”
“Oh he did? and he will?”
By the ‘situation’ the clerk probably meant the way the dwarves almost caused others from bidding. Such acts were strictly forbidden in any auction house, even without words it was clear what had happened there. The union members probably didn’t think anything off it after getting used to almost owning the city.
‘Those bastards were heading upstairs weren’t they?’
After the bidding war was over the dwarves left in a hurry. It was clear that they only wanted to get his golem for a cheap price. After failing in their attempt they b-lined it for the auction storage to pay up. Roland was a bit interested in their reactions so he followed behind them but then when they were about to leave with the crate the lordling’s maid appeared out of the blue.
‘Will that guy do something about them, or will they just offer him a bribe?’
Roland wasn’t sure what he should expect from his new business partner. It was clear that he was getting some favorable treatment at least for now. What the future held in store for him was unknown and he could be betrayed any moment.
Yet he was willing to give it a try as he had become tired of all the running. It would have been easy to just leave a few years ago when the union became aware of him. Even going to a different country would be that outlandish as his manufacturing class would probably allow him a position almost anywhere.
Until times became really dire, he decided to remain and go through the hardships. Contending with a few penny-pinching dwarfs wasn’t all that bad, his business was doing well enough even when he was getting sanctioned left and right.
“Well then, give the lord my regards, I’ll deliver the next set of products before the deadline.”
It was not the time to worry though, he had made a lot of money today. Many more gold than he could by selling runic weapons in bulk. Also now with everything in place he would be able to construct the same golem a lot faster and perhaps at a lower cost.
Thus the town runesmitgh made his way out of the Valerian Auction house, his mind was now only on his comfortable bed.
“You can’t be serious…”
“Oh I’m very serious, this will be your only warning, if something like this happens again my father will hear about it. I wonder what the union would do to the little dwarf that caused a scene at a Valerian Auction house?”
The two dwarven union members that were bidding for Roland’s golem were now together in Arthur’s office. As always he was here together with his maid that was in the process of serving some tea to the two guests.
While Dunan’s face went pale, Bamur remained calm. He lowered his head at the request knowing well that they were in the wrong. While Arthur Valerian here was not someone that they feared, they were in no position to offend a duke household. How much pull outside this city he had was unknown to them, thus it was better to tread lightly.
“Good, I will not fine you this time around but let this be the last time we have this conversation, you may leave now… oh and enjoy your new golem, I’m sure it's worth all the coin that you paid for it!”
Arthur smiled while sipping his tea, Bamur just looked at him with a blank expression while his friend was biting his tongue. Soon the two departed with less gold in their pockets as they had already paid up for the golem. Finally after leaving the room Mary was able to speak up.
“That was somewhat boring, they didn’t even try to make a deal. It’s still disappointing, I’m sure I could have gotten more out of them.”
After her performance at the auction house she was feeling quite good about herself. This was not the first time that she inflated the price of an item around a place like this.
Before this day she had done some research for prices of golems, with the help of that knowledge she knew just how much the union dwarves would be willing to pay. How much they had in their coffers was also important but Arthur stopped her before she reached the amount she was going for.
“That was more than enough, it was already a big enough gamble, not sure how I would have explained it to our runesmith if you had won the auction.”
Arthur laughed to himself while thinking about Roland, his new business partner. What would he do if he knew that a noble was inflating the prices at his own auction house? Would he be all for it or did he have a more steady moral compass?
“Speaking about Mr. Wayland, I think that he might have noticed that it was me.”
Mary shifted the conversation towards a different subject, which was Roland’s piercing gaze.
“Oh? Was he able to look through your disguise?”
“I’m not sure, I changed my voice and mannerisms, he is hard to read with that helmet on his face but maybe Sir Gareth and Sir Morien did a bad job in their new roles?”
The guards that she had with her were of course the two knights that served Arthur. They didn’t have to do much besides standing in place while Mary shifted the attention towards her extravagant look.
“Think I need to train them more!”
“I think they did well enough but we should focus on other things now, is our next guest here?”
“Yes, he is drinking up all the expensive wine as we speak.”
Replied Mary while frowning slightly when thinking about the person that she would need to fetch now.
“Good, would you be so kind to bring him here, I thought that he would at least make one bid but instead he kept to himself through the whole auction.”
“Maybe he is just afraid of the union as the rest?”
Mary shrugged while walking towards the door to go to the VIP room where the next guest was waiting.
“He didn’t seem like the type but I’ll see for myself soon.”
“Fine then, but I wouldn’t trust that man too much.”
“I’ll take that to heart.”
Replied Arthur while looking down at some papers. While the issue with the city runesmith was probably settled now, he was only a small cog in the machine. For this young noble to get his heart desires he needed more power and the amount of money that his new worker gave him wouldn’t be much unless he somehow attained tier 3 status within the next few years.
“Tier 3, that would be nice…”
Arthur gazed at his own status screen while thinking about the fabled tier 3 stopgap that not many could get through. If his new potential follower could attain it he could become a larger chest piece but for now, he was only someone with some potential. Whether he could prove himself in the coming years remained to be seen. For his future plans, he needed many more pieces like him.
“Lord Arthur, our guest is waiting, should I let him in?”
While contemplating the future he heard Mary call out to him from the corridor outside. The door slammed open as it was pushed with impunity, the maid on the outside started shouting but the person that walked into the lord’s office didn’t seem too apologetic.
“How dare you!”
“Haha, calm down little missy.”
Arthur looked at a somewhat imposing-looking man that was built like a brick house.
“Young lord, you wished to see me?”
The man ignored the maid that was about to grab him for being rude.
“It’s fine Mary.”
Arthur just shook his head, after locking eyes with him Mary backed away from the man that she considered an oaf. Soon she was standing right next to him while feeling uneasy, the man before her was not someone that she could really handle as he was of tier 3 strength.
“Guildmaster, I’m happy that you have accepted my invitation, I think we need to discuss a couple of things.”
“You’re back! How did it go?”
“Surprisingly well… but why are you still here at this hour?”
“Lobelia is taking care of the kids, they are also getting older so it's not that hard anymore.”
Roland was back at his home along with the pouch of gold coins. This was the most that he had earned from one sale and the future looked bright. The lord named Arthur was somehow clearing up the mess he had gotten himself into with the union and he only needed to do things that he was good at, which was crafting.
“That’s wonderful, wait a moment I’ll get you something to eat.”
“No, that's fine. I’m not hungry, I just want to sleep.”
After the stress buildup from working months on his golem along with the time spent during the class change, Roland was just tired. He managed to hold himself together thanks to his skills but in reality, he felt like he could sleep for a week.
“Oh… you want to go to bed… that’s fine with me too, just give me a moment.”
When he mentioned the bed Elodia started blushing wildly but even with her ready, he wasn’t really interested in that kind of stress relief. Thus the night ended a bit uneventfully with him passing out before she managed to return. In the morning he was greeted with a somewhat disappointed-looking girlfriend and him not being sure what was the problem.
Roland kept quiet as he didn’t want to somehow increase Elodia’s anger. Just as always they were sitting together by the table but this time around there was mostly silence. Finally, after a moment, she did break it.
“So… what are you going to do now?”
The question was quite simple, what did he intend to do? The golem was sold and he could take the money and invest it either into his house or tools. With Arthur fixing most of his problems he could also stop going to the black market. While it was an interesting place, the regular merchants gave a better deal. Also, he knew that the materials he got would not be sponsoring any shady business.
“That’s a good question… I’m not sure, was so focused on the golem that I didn’t plan ahead.”
Roland laughed while taking a bite out of a large sausage that Agni continued to stare at. Feeling good about himself he decided to throw his wolf the unfinished part which was chomped down almost the moment it was thrown in the air.
“Is that so? How about you take the gold rank test?”
“The adventurer test?”
“Yes, Armand has been talking behind your back, that he is so much better than you because he outranks you now.”
Elodia chuckled while a vein appeared on Roland’s forehead. It was true while he was busy with his golemic creations, his new class, and the dungeon he somewhat ignored his adventurer rank.
“With things settling down now, I think you can put your worries at rest and leave for a few weeks. Agni has gotten so big now too I’m sure he can protect the home while you are away you don’t need to worry.”
She looked at the wolf that was staring at the meat that was on the dining table. When his name was mentioned he gave out a resounding howl, then presented his large tongue for more treats.
“What, I’m not worried…”
Roland’s reply was laughed at as Elodia knew him well enough to know that he was a worrywart. The adventurer rank-up test could even take a month depending on his luck. If he was free to travel it would have been completed a long time ago.
“If you are worried, just hire a few more guards. If you toss a few gold coins towards Armand, I'm sure he will be willing to stay here for a few weeks.”
“Can I pay him some gold for him not to stay here instead?”
While he didn’t trust in Armand’s housekeeping capabilities, he was a gold rank adventurer over the level of a hundred. Perhaps he would destroy some of his furniture but it would be better than getting his workshop ransacked. The trust between Elodia and her siblings was deep so he was also inclined to trust them now.
“Stop joking around, I’m being serious. You should really go, what kind of adventurer reaches level 125 before changing their rank? You are missing out on so many good deals! ”
With every adventurer rank came privileges, slightly better rates for selling monster parts, and also access to more lucrative quests. While wandering down into his secret mining spot, he did pick up some of the monster parts that could be sold off later. While he wasn’t missing out on much, with time it started to add up, and even more, if the monsters became rarer.
“That’s true, speaking of the adventurer guild, do you still keep in contact with Solana? Maybe she could procure a test that won’t have me wandering to the north end of the kingdom also there is the issue with my status screen and class...”
The tests were somewhat random as they depended on each adventurer guild. Most of the time they just took one of the easier gold rank notices off the board and called it a day. If Roland decided to forgo the test he would need to wait half a year to take a new one as punishment.
After his question, Elodia remained a bit silent but after the pause, she nodded her head.
“I think she might help, but I’m not sure. "
“Does she have a grudge against me or something?”
“Grudge? No, it’s just… that girl has a strange sense of humor, I’m not sure if going through her is wise, but I can try if you want. You should really stop worrying about your class, don't think anyone will care that much at this point...”
Roland had no idea what the elven guild receptionist’s and his girlfriend’s relationship was like. He knew that Elodia had covered for a lot of shifts that were meant for Solana in the past. A few favors should be owed through that but sometimes a sense of entitlement could cloud a person’s judgment.
“Oh look at the time, I need to go to the store!”
After talking for a while Roland was left in the house alone. Now he needed to make a decision, would he finally go get that troublesome gold rank test done, or was there something else that he needed to do first. If Solana helped him in concealing his status screen, then perhaps it wouldn't be such a bad option for the respite that he was given now.