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Dreamweaver Chapter 133

 

 

 

 

 

Right after we got back from exiting the dungeon we start on trying to get attention and protection from Moose and Jimmy. Cassius takes the lead in this part of the operation; and its best this way because he’s well known in this city and his name will establish credibility. His lieutenant and a couple others go with us.

We go into the city guard office a short time later after travelling by coach and carriage.

Right now Cassius is talking to the Captain of the Guard up close and private while the rest of us are sort of distanced between the two. They are in hushed voices as the guard captain is behind his desk with pen and paper with ink well ready to write. Then his pen starts moving lightning fast as he writes up the statements. He trades off halfway through with his scribe while sometimes coaching him on the proper word etiquette.

He looks over it with his assistant scribe and Cassius at long last. “That looks good,” he finally says as they finalize it. Then he’s carrying sworn written statements by both me and Gyle as well as observations of others in Cassius team, written by proxy scribe of the accounts of murder committed by Moose and Jimmy. These also get notarized and stamped by different legal officials and the town guard while they go over it with the Captain of the guard.

For now it looks like there’s still paperwork, even if it’s a dwarven kingdom.

I wonder what will happen, I think while trying to read their faces. Part of me wonders if doing stuff on paper like this will even be backed up by actual muscle.

The Captain of the City Guard had already heard this before from others but didn’t have any witness or credible incident reports from anyone that was at the location when the crime was committed. This is our first chance to do so. He’s nodding anxiously.

It didn’t take long for them to get an arrest warrant on Jimmy and Moose. The sick part of the joke is we convinced the city guard to put ‘Moose’ as his name on his wanted poster just for fun. To be fair, his other alias’ are also listed but in smaller font size underneath. Before we even left the Captain of the Guard they already had him drawn up with a pretty good likeness. And because the bounty hunter industry in the dwarven town is bustling the wanted posters are made with beautifully smelling paper and ink and very identifiable caricature that made his nostrils too big just to spite him. The guys that draw up the wanted posters and stuff apparently hang out at city guard stations in the city, so when something comes in to do they put a lot of speed into it.

But when Cassius comes back to meet us outside he’s really unhappy. He sighed. He motions for us to leave the city guard’s watchtower area even, that’s in the middle of the city. We’re now outside the building and talking on a street corner while dwarven traders are passing the area all around us.

It’s kind of unexpected that somehow Cassius is becoming an ally despite trying to blow us up earlier. How bizarre is that? I still don’t trust him, but he’s effective while he’s working with us and I can’t argue against that.

Curiously the wealthy and people like Cassius have what look like 17th century carriages with elaborate woodwork and a wagon chassis and wheels. It looks like what you might guess was a design and architecture from the revolutionary war era of the United States in Earth being pulled by mountain sheep. Cassius has his own personal carriage which we all had ridden in to get here.

Huh, it all fits. Of course they’d use mountain sheep because they are in a mountainous area. Plus, they could navigate areas that horses couldn’t. They could also harvest the wool later on. It was more efficient than dogs or horses and faster than oxen too, which would be too big for their streets.

All kinds of dwarven trade are going through here and there’s a lot of traffic. You could literally spend all day just being curious at what kinds of traders and merchants are coming through the streets with the things they are peddling.

We’re now standing in front of Cassius fancy carriage while he talks to us on a stool since he’s a little tired.

What also surprised me was even true to the 17th century the dwarves have clothing in the styles of 3 pointed tri corn hats and the long coats from the 17th century era. However that is the limit of the similarities. They don’t have the same shirts, pants, or boots thank goodness. The pants, shirts, socks, and shoes did look fairly normal, so the 17th century look seems confined to current technological levels apart from having magic, the hats, long coats, and a few other things.

I’d seen 17th century British clothes and the socks and shoes with the pants were pretty sick looking to say the least. I’m so glad that they don’t wear those here in this world. I wouldn’t have been able to handle that very well.

It also makes me curious how much has crossed over into this world.

This can’t be a coincidence.

The whole city of dwarves has the same style with the hats and long coats. But I hadn’t seen it in the other outposts because of them either being a different tribal group within the dwarves or because of the styles of the city not having reached the frontier.

Is it cultural influence spilled over from our world onto theirs or did it somehow culturally evolve this way on their own?

And come to think of it, Gyle’s own long coat is in this style too but he doesn’t always wear it so he can keep it nice. I hadn’t been able to ask him about it, but it’s clear he follows the customs here too.

“He believes us and is working and capturing him already. So the hard part is yet to come…waiting for a counterattack. We think he’ll try to get revenge or strike back either against us or against the Captain of the Guard tonight. Then tomorrow we regroup as soon as possibility. The Captain thinks we need to stay in public places as much as possible until they are both captured,” Cassius said.

“So we only did the easy part, and not the hard part?” Gyle asked. He looks a bit nervous at first.

“Sorry. The law is slower here; everything like news has to travel by foot. They first have to figure out where he’s hiding, and then they would need a good two hours to gather their men on foot for an arrest with as many men as possible. They won’t even approach him without probably 2 full squads because they already have an idea what his strength is. Because he’s a known and accomplished combat expert and exceptionally strong they don’t dare take him down without a good set of numbers that looks good. And they can’t do that until we have a known location,” he said.

“Dang it,” Gyle swore in frustration.

“This is complicated isn’t it? But what happens to his adventurer’s license? Is it still active? Will he be able to get into the dungeon?” I asked.

“That’s a good question,” Gyle raised an eyebrow.

Cassius scratched his chin. “Well… he can technically still enter the dungeon. But he can’t benefit from the loot bonuses and other city enchantment bonuses protecting adventurers going into the dungeon. The city guard can put sanctions on his license using Law enchants of course.”

There’s Law enchants too? Wow…

“So he can still enter,” Gyle looked at me.

We’re both still a bit upset. It’s looking more dangerous than it was before.

“Damn,” I said.

Then the lieutenant whispers something to Cassius and gives him a small wooden box. He’s just come back from the adventurer’s office.

“Oh good. It looks like we have our loot from the dungeon. It seems the loot enchant has calculated and worked out the results,” he said nodding to his man.

“It’s all there sir,” the man replied quickly with a slight bow.

Cassius pulls out some spectacles that he puts over his nose and reads the written notice aloud. He did skip over the parts relevant to his team.

“I’ll skip to the parts relevant to you guys. Acting as trustee for the former…Moose and Jimmy team, I have received the funds earned from the shares acquired by said team for and in behalf of adventurer Gyle and mage adventurer Shun, the other survivors of aforementioned team. Economic contract magic was active upon funds disbursement and has properly calculated reward benefits.”

Economic contract magic?

I guess that’s why we’re not at a selling stall right now. I should probably find out more about what economic contract magic entails later on.

“Amount awarded is based on an average cave rainbow trout selling price on the street at ten trout per silver piece. Total of 892 trout fished divided between team of 12 + 2, averaging 74.33 trout per person. Each team member receives 7 silver 43 copper. Additional reward based on Dwarven National military stipend of 5 silver per person awarded based on hazard pay of worker with multiplier rate based on risk. Each adventurer on either team, which means Gyle and Shun specifically, now received 12 silver 43 copper in total,” Cassius reads.

“12 silver? That’s all?” I exclaimed.

I’m not greedy, but that was pretty awful to go through all that for only 12 silver you understand; we risked our entire lives and lived on the edge all that time for only 12 silver.

I know I sounded unhappy. But the money I had in the past was all blood money through tragedy and artificially high. I guess this is really what it likes to really earn your keep as a real adventurer.

“Twelve silver is pretty good Shun. You don’t think money grows on trees do you?” Gyle growled.

“Ahh I see. So what did you expect it to be?” I asked Gyle.

He shrugged, “less than that actually. If anyone could do it then the reward wouldn’t be this high even.”

Dang.

“It would have been less if you didn’t have a license,” Cassius said.

“That doesn’t make me feel better,” I said.

“It may not sound like much, but its honest work. It adds up especially when you consider a room for a night in this town costs maybe half of 1 silver piece per day and 10 copper for meals for the day,” Gyle said counting his pieces carefully as the coins clink together.

“Yikes. It’s that much just for a one day stay and with meals?!” I exclaimed.

He nodded. “That’s what it’s like to live in this city and the other dwarven cities are pretty similar in costs. So I don’t know where you came from but you just made ten days worth of room and board in one day. That’s pretty freaking good to be honest. It’s worse if you are a farmer and renting at the same time. Although farming isn’t too bad if you aren’t renting…according to my brother in law.”

I did the math in my head. So if I were in my world and stayed at an inn and the next day did a job that made me that much money. I suppose hotel costs might be anwhere from 60 to 100 per night with meals. And if I made over ten days worth of wages just now then that would be around me making like $800 estimated. That’s not exact math.

I find myself blinking as I think about it.

Actually I feel embarrassed. They are right I was being uptight when I should have been thankful. I guess I’d been anxious to make more and let it get to me.

I felt Cassius’ hand on my shoulder. “Thank you for your effort. You did save people. Think of that if you feel bad. Think about it, 892 trout for a big city means a lot of extra meals. The lake prosperity enchant not only increases the growth of the fish spawn rate but also a size bonus to the weight of the fish. So let’s say one of those fish can be the dinner for a family of four, when mixed with some rice and vegetables. You just fed a half a day’s worth of food to over 3500 people in this city. Although that’s based off if their family budgets are based on two meals a day but a lot of the more poor workers will only have one meal a day,” he said.

“But there’s way more people than 3500 in this city,” I objected.

“Think of it like a start, not a finish. I think this city has more than 5,000 dwarves actually,” Gyle corrected Cassius.

Cassius looked offended for it.

“That may be, but we managed to have other adventurers secure the same site we used after we left and they’ll be able to use the former kobold village to try to conduct a week’s worth of fish harvesting operations with alternating shifts. With any lucky, with about two weeks of this we’ll have a year supply of food for the increase in armies and army volunteers and fill the city’s provisions for the coming siege which was our goal in the first place,” Cassius explained.

“Wow, that’s a lot to calculate,” Gyle said.

“It’s accurate though in principle though we need to adjust our max population variable. And also your share was exactly the same as mine and Cassius’ as a gift for helping us out,” the Lieutenant explained.

So Pyroman can be generous??

“Really?” I’m still taking it in. I’m not used to being able to trust others.

“Oh I almost forgot. This is the amount taken through the auto loot from kobold sub chiefs and leaders that had their own money pouches. Kobolds aren’t exactly rich so don’t get your hopes up too much. I’ve divided it up cleanly for your share,” Cassius said dourly. He reached out and then gave us each a small bag of what looks like a bunch of copper pennies.

“How much is there?” Gyle asked hefting the small leather bags. They look hefty and big, but they are entirely copper pennies…

“It’s an additional 2 silver 12 copper each, although all in copper pieces,” the Lieutenant explained apologetically with a bow.

The formal way Cassius and his men are approaching things with us is very businesslike and professional.

“I wasn’t expecting a bonus amount. For one day this isn’t a bad haul,” Gyle said.

So is this feeling I’m having now after bringing in this much why people get obsessed with money?

“Normal kobolds usually don’t have any money on them, but their sub chiefs often do, plus the sale of the ore drops taken from leaders,” Cassius interjected. He’s smiling smugly, knowing he’s impressed us with his honesty.

“But there’s something else I don’t get. Why is that I couldn’t be my own team leader in the beginning?” I asked.

“You have to have a certain number of successful missions in a city first before you can earn the right to be an adventurer team lead unfortunately. It’s put into effect by the law enchants of the city governing the dungeon too so you can’t get around it unless you become a bandit. Even I don’t have it yet and even if I did the incident losing my team previously at the other dungeon makes me not want to be the leader. I’d rather work with another group of people I can trust with someone else being leader,” Gyle sighed.

“Ahh, so you were going to have your own team eventually?” I asked Gyle.

He slowly nodded, “I hadn’t banked on being able to find solid people so quickly. But I wouldn’t mind being in your team or Cassius’. Being a leader isn’t that great. Bad things happen and you are the one holding the bag when in that position,” Gyle responded.

“My team is full. I have a two month waiting list too,” Cassius frowned.

Dang.

So our way ahead is thwarted again.

It would have been interesting to be in a team with two mages. It might be nicer to not have to worry about watching my back with him now if we go separate ways too.

“So 14 silver 55 copper more or less altogether…I can live with that,” Gyle said. Just like a dwarf he’s obsessed with counting the amount.

But the math seems off…it takes me a minute to think about it.

“Ahhhh wait,” I exclaimed in surprise.

“What is it?” Gyle and Cassius asked.

“Did you notice that our reward amounts were based solely off our efforts and Cassius’? We didn’t get any amounts or recorded shares from what Moose and Jimmy pulled out,” I said. I’m sure of it. I’m right.

Gyle swore. “You’re right.”

Cassius also is suddenly excited. “Oh, I get it! Those guys were smart! They tricked the economic and law enchants with a cheat.” He is now standing up off the stool.

“How?” Gyle has wide eyes.

“So how did they pull that off? There should have been a partial shore on top of working with Cassius of whatever Jimmy and Moose pulled in,” I restated.

“You’re right, but how would they do that?” Gyle is pulling his beard in frustration.

Cassius snapped his fingers. “They must have made a loot deposit next to the exit with a cache of whatever they pulled in. Then they wait for the enchantment to clear and come back to retrieve the cache after no one is the wiser at the dungeon exit and then leave again. That way they won’t have to share any of their cut.”

“Sir, I can act on this immediately. I’ll take care of this sir,” Cassius Lieutenant says as they prepare to act off my discovery.

“So what makes you sure the cache would be near the exit?” Gyle asked.

“Simple. They wouldn’t want to go all the way through. They have already worked through the place, so they would put it where they could retrieve it as quickly as possible, but after we’re already back in town. And if they go in the same day, which they obviously are, they could get back before the dungeon changes for the day. But it would only work if they did it as fast as they possibly could and within the same day before the dungeon changes again at midnight,” Cassius finished at about the same time I was figuring it out.

“So we have a means to catch them don’t we?” Gyle asked.

Cassius shook his head, “It will be a death trap to capture those two. It would be better to let the veteran city guards take this one. The reward is high, but that guy can cut a man in half without even trying to. Trust me, you don’t want to be a part of that hunt.”

“Well wouldn’t we get like a bonus or something from tipping off the guards to where they can capture him?” I said.

Gyle snapped his fingers and his mouth is wide open. “Ohhh, nice! That’s great. You just made us some money without even trying.”

“So do we get anything from the two weeks’ worth of operation that’s being conducted on the site of the kobold village that we secured?” I asked Cassius directly.

He’s thinking it over. “That’s a good point. I’ll look into that and try to set it up. It’s fair for us to get some finder’s fee and you to be compensated for their thefts. It probably won’t be much extra though,” Cassius said.

“Maybe even just an additional 2 percent would do. I do the same for a bonus on being a tunneling expert. We could have it fall under that and under your bonus status for being a higher rank adventurer,” Gyle said to Cassius. Again Gyle looks a bit proud of himself.

I guess to dwarves being a tunneling expert is a big deal.

“That’ll work. Make it happen,” Cassius nodded to his lieutenant. “I like it. Set it up for us, don’t forget to mention I’ve got a premium card for the premium rate to blanket the four of us,” Cassius confirmed the second detail to his Lieutenant, who takes off to seal the deal with the guards.

“Wow, you just netted us a whole bunch of extra money,” the dwarf is smiling at me like I’m his new best friend.

“Of course, having allies is good,” I said with a twisted lip.

“You, and you report this back to the clerk of the Captain of the Guard on the double. This is important,” the Lieutenant said to two of Cassius’ runners. They immediately are rushing to get the information back in so it can be used before the window of opportunity expires.

Cassius and his Lieutenant left us in front of the closest inn after dropping us off after a quick ride in his carriage. These carriages are nice and fun to ride in, though the shock absorption on bumps is not quite as good as a normal car from our world.

Before driving off with us on the side of the street in front of the building, the Lieutenant has one more detail. “We’ll send you a confirmation message on the City Guard’s moving on the supposed location of the raid on their stash. It’ll probably be later tonight. Then they’ll find you at this inn?” he asked us.

I look to Gyle quickly. “I’m new to this town and need you to vouch for me so I can stay here instead of the foreign quarter. Can you help me with that if I’m paying my own way?” I asked.

“Got it. Actually you saved my bacon and made me a ton of cash, so your room is on me tonight if you agree to let me in your party tomorrow. You my friend, smell like money and that’s a good thing for both of us,” Gyle counters.

I can deal with that I guess. He hasn’t tried to steal or kill from me yet. His eyes twinkle a little bit too much when he’s looking at me, but if dwarves are obsessed with money then that might be why.

“Then good day gentlemen. We wish you well. It looks like you can work out the rest on your own,” The Lieutenant gives a slight bow before getting back into the rich looking coach. The mountain sheep take up a strong pace as we hear their feet clip clopping down the cobbled street.

Sweet. I just made another sweet deal. Free food, drink, and a room plus more than enough money to start getting back on track.

“It’s a deal,” I shook hands with Gyle on it.

“Of course that’s assuming this inn doesn’t try to rip us off,” he huffed as we approach the doors.

“So we meet up tomorrow morning after breakfast?” I asked.

I then arranged a week stay with possible extensions at the inn. I don’t know much about this city yet. Gyle’s room is separate from mine but right next to his. But we were both nervous. Because of what had happened, its likely Jimmy and Moose are looking for us…to kill us.

So we used fake names for the inn.

But the receptionist wanted a documented name.

I’m lucky Gyle surprised me on this and has a prepared fake alias, complete with documents. How did he know about needing this ahead of time? Is he running a scam of some kind or involved with immigration? Is he involved in the underground? And does that mean much of what I’d heard from him is bullshit? Which is real? Is Gyle his real name or his alias? Maybe the perceived alias is the real him?

It was also too late to put in a request for a bodyguard. I’m considering hiring someone to guard us when we sleep. But there might not be enough time to set it up. I need to figure out this inn business too. Will they be able to spy on me and figure out my secrets? How safe is it here really?

I’m sure I’m looking around nervously.

For tonight I’ll just have to pray we don’t get noticed.

“Ahh that meal feels good,” Gyle said stretching his gut. I pretend to be casual about eating and more interested in chatting because I can’t eat this stuff. But I don’t want Gyle to know that yet. There’s only so much food I can slip under the table when he’s not looking either. Then I had to say I only wanted to sleep but had come back down to talk to him after a quick nap.

Later we received another written message at the front desk of the inn after having a light dinner, which consisted of some apple cider, mashed potatoes and gravy, carrots, chopped boiled onions, and some deer venison.

Gyle reads it for me…

“To the esteemed sirs Gyle and Shun. On behalf of the dwarven nation, we award a partial ten percent bonus for information on the whereabouts of the bounties; Moose, and Jimmy, and for efforts, information, and strategems leading to their capture. Given that the bounty is currently at 10 gold each, we will award the calculated amount to be split between you after suspects have been apprehended, but not before then. Estimated bounty allotment will be 1 gold each. Signed, Clerk of the Court, Southern District.”

I accidentally interrupt Gyle before he’s done reading.

“1 gold piece? What’s up with that? That’s not worth the trouble for those guys. Some of the city guard are very likely going to be killed taking him in. And all of that just for a few lousy gold pieces?” I complained while Gyle and I are going over it.

Gyle nods, “yeah I’m actually glad we’re not there. That’s going to be messy. I don’t want to be anywhere near that place. Still…it’s generous considering we just managed to get the stakeout location and don’t have to do much. The guards will pick up the rest. I don’t envy them.”

“So can people actually make a living off setting up finder’s fees?” I asked him.

“The problem is that you’d have to be able to consistently be able to predict where they were going. Not all of them will have a cache they are going after. Even if someone could predict that lightning was going to strike, predicting where is another thing too. I’ll continue to read the letter if you don’t mind? There’s an amendment section for a separate issue,” he asked me nodding.

“Go ahead,” I replied.

He continues going line by line, “for the second item of business on the proposal for a guiding and navigation setup bonus for the site used for fishing the City Council has decided to award a 2% estimated calculated gain for award of stabilizing the location setup for fish harvesting. Rather than wait for the two week period to accrue we will preemptively base a reward on estimated gains now to settle the account permanently based on a long term holding period calculation of the site conquered and held. After receiving said funds the City has no more encumbrances owed to each other you for having set up the fishing outpost at the kobold village ruins,” he finalized.

“Is it me or why are they going to be so generous with us? It seems too good to be true,” I said.

“That’s because it is. They know it’s dangerous. They also know if they get stingy less solid people will go out to face those risks,” Gyle frowned.

“They based the award on a 892 cave rainbow trait gain per day that we first gained to calculate our bonus. But the truth is that they will be doing at least two shifts per day for the two week period on that, and not one shift per day. So they did screw us for half the reward. Or they just decided one shift is the standard. I don’t know why,” he explained.

“So can we fight them on that to get the real amount?” I asked.

He shook his head, “Nah, not worth it. Unfortunately they are giving the reward because they think they are getting a good deal. But if the deal isn’t really appealable to them, then there won’t be any deal if it’s just average. We’re actually lucky that this is being generous for them.”

“So it’s basically take a cheap offer or get nothing?” I asked, my eye twitching.

He looked apologetic. “It’s actually not that easy for them to accommodate all these bounties and offers for just one city’s funding. You have to give them a break somewhere and its cool they aren’t pocketing it for themselves.”

We look at the letter’s box contents.

It states the calculated amount of 892 times by 10 (two weeks but only weekday shifts on 5 day workweeks) and reduced by 10 fish for 1 silver piece. So that’s 892 times by .02 for a total of 17 silver 82 copper to split between me and Gyle.

“Stop making me so much money or I’ll have to give you my sister,” Gyle joked.

Eh…I’m not into dwarves. They aren’t bad looking but they seem too small for that to seem healthy to me.

“Not bad, that’s an additional free 8 silver 92 copper,” I pocketed the extra money in my jacket inner pocket in the envelope we’re given.

I’m curious about the nice looking dwarven stationary, even though there’s little actual value to the envelope.

Day earnings total calculation based off 14 silver 55 copper plus 8 silver 92 copper for total of 23 silver 47 copper…

The temptation is for me to think that’s nothing, but the reality is that it probably takes an obscene amount of time for a normal person to accumulate that much change in a very short time period of a day.

Turns out this inn has a lot of other adventurer’s staying here. Our conversation gathered a bit of interest, even though we were trying to stay quiet.

Before going to bed we had several written offers to join all kinds of other teams. Because it’s the Dwarven Nation of course there is more to it than that. A paid scribe within the inn has to ‘officially’ give us a written offer on nice looking vellum stationary.

Because there’s risk and money involved a verbal offer doesn’t cut it, per Gyle.

That’s trouble for me, since I can’t read or write dwarven.

Gulp…

Seems I’m stuck with him for now, whether I like it or not. Without a dwarf that can read or write their runes I’d be having a lot of problems right now. 

Somehow I think we didn’t get all of the cut from the Moose and Jimmy loot still. Why is that? We did get the bonus and the bounty but not the percentage from their loot yet. Is it because it was lost? That could have happened if they'd seized them when they first saw them, but if the capture occurred before picking the loot up. 

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