Dreamweaver Chapter 158
I woke up with a start.
That was…intense. I wipe the sweat off my face. To my relief we’re safe. I guess the build up of so many trauamatic experiences and so many battles makes me edgy to check my surroundings constantly. My breathing slowed down a bit as I realized we’re safe.
“Hey are you OK?” Rina asked.
I didn’t answer back right away. I did end up flexing and stretching out my body to feel more comfortable. And Rina does the same right after me.
“Um, are you OK? Can I help you feel better somehow?” she asked again. She leans up in the bed next to me. She temps me with trying to push a healthy looking round breast up to my face.
She’s the only one here.
“Yeah, thanks for asking,” I said.
“Ahmmmmmmmm, where’s my hug,” she said reaching out to embrace me with her arms outstretched while topless in bed, like she always sleeps. She’s already activating wicked seductress mode. The warmth of her body feels wonderful.
I could stay in bed like this all day.
This is still better than normal. Usually I’ll wake up when one of them has already started trying to crawl on top of me to initiate mating.
We hug. I thought it was going to be a quick hug but then she won’t let go.
“Where’s Sunghee?” she suddenly asked. She realizes I'm alone with her. That's good in some ways but we also don't like being without her because Sunghee carries a lot of our morale because she's a good ass kicker.
She then looks in my eye and knows something is up.
“Yeah…that’s our current problem. I need to let her rest a bit and then we’re going to hopefully be able to stay out of trouble. I’d like some help looking at some things,” I said.
We meet Gyle after breakfast and our morning rituals. There’s also some cleaning up of our rooms and the bed too, and the desire for a washing machine so we don’t have to wash our clothes by hand anymore.
Gyle is suspicious of why I don’t always eat breakfast or in front of him but so far we’ve just told him I’m not a breakfast person. But I wonder if he’ll always buy that. We’ve also made arrangements for packs of jerky in my bags, that I’ll offer to ‘share’ during the day to keep people off questioning when I eat as a ruse.
Do I put him at farther distance? Or bring him in closer? I need to also get more contacts and core people to solidify a survivable position here in this world.
“So for morning business, should we get started? What orders of business do we have to deal with?” I suggest.
Gyle is really taking the part of a real advisor or executive secretary now. It’s almost like we’re at a big advisement session of a corporation, where big things happen; except we try to keep our voices down so nearby tables don’t hear us.
He even has a sort of…handsomely made but rough looking leather bound dossier with pen and ink with sheaves of paper. It’s got a good collection of maps and folders for maps, known listings of useful shops and markets nearby, addresses for contacts, and other people that he uses such as runners, traders, ingredient and supply companies, and so on which he explained.
He’s a wealthy treasure trove of information. Gyle is useful and he knows how dwarves do things, and their culture and politics affect being able to navigate living within their city, so we’re fortunate to have him.
“Um, where’s Sunghee? You told me she wouldn’t be gone long. And her skills are unmatched,” he asked. He tapped the ink quill expectantly on the table lightly without realizing he was doing it.
Rina’s eyes widen. She’s not sure what I’ll say but I have my hand under the table on her thigh to make sure she knows not to say anything. It was an effort to calm her reaction and it did work.
“I had to have her take care of some stuff. And she will probably be a bit tired today. So I was hoping to get some things worked out with you,” I said before Rina could react. Rina goes along with it, with her facial expressions and staring at me in the eyes; which is one of the consequences of the pheromones acting on my harem. They find themselves staring at me abnormally and sometimes people notice it, but it still looks human-ish in behavior.
“That sounds like a good deal for me…unless there’s fighting,” Rina shrugged.
He gives me a confused expression. “That’s a bit odd don’t you think? She’s strong and the team leader as far as dwarven law is concerned since she’s the only one with sufficient experience to do so. Even though you are stronger than her, she has the leadership license upgrade not you,” he reminded me.
“I’m sorry. I hope to get her back as soon as we’re able,” I said.
“Yeah? Be careful. Dividing teams is a bad move Shun. That’s where my team got in trouble. Rivalries, problems with trust, and loot splits caused everyone to not be together,” he said. He took a drink of his malt beer. I can still see the froth running down part of one side of the cup where he hadn’t put it down carefully enough after refilling it again.
Dwarves can’t seem to function without a morning beer it seems, but I’ve warned Rina against such things since human bodies are different. We don’t have two livers like they do. And our blood chemistry is more fragile too.
I considered my next part carefully…
How do I even bring it up?
Rina is listening while Gyle talks about how his family’s shop is hoping to expand from all the war proceeds flowing to them. He’s also complaining about the challenges of it too.
While he does I’m thinking what to tell him.
I want his advice and input on some of the items looted from the hobgoblin casters and the other mercenary team that also hit us. But to do so means he’ll ask where I got such things. I can’t tell him I use some kind of version of a dream pocket reality because that creates problems.
Even when people know I’m a mage they also have trouble with why I can’t give them free magic. They also have trouble with thinking I owe them explanations and to give up all my secrets too, which is also stupid. I think that’s partly why I had trouble being accepted when I went to the gnomes cavern with the others. They thought some mage had skills or free stuff that could save their life, and didn’t understand the strain and obligation of being a mage, and therefore resented them.
Another situation too, would want to know more about my power and skills and how I was able to beat a whole team that went after me. And I didn’t want to disclose anything more about Asakura, or Fox.
Fox in particular was distrustful of non-beastkin and it’s been hard to gain her trust.
Yeah…can’t tell him that.
I could say some of them were from agents we’d fought in the city siege.
At some point we settled on local news of the cleanup in town and what was left of the fighting. So far there are way more survivors than people expected there to be, though it’s made people really edgy and afraid. They tend to notice strangers and people they don’t know more now too.
And thankfully things are getting cleaned up now. Sometime last night the dwarves finished killing everything that had still remained in the east side of the city. Thus the pockets of resistance weren’t able to keep their holdings once they’d been cut off from supplies and reinforcements two days ago.
“There’s still going to be a lot of war orphans,” Gyle said with a groan.
“That’s so sad,” Rina empathized.
“Yeah, and it will cost us a lot making a future for them without the help of their parents,” he added.
“Those poor kids,” Rina obviously is trying to resist crying.
I avoided looking at her in the eye. Girls have this thing where they can’t resist puppies, kittens, or little kids. I’m not suited or ready to taking care of some dwarven kids right now.
“Dwarves take care of their own though. We’ll get through it,” he said gruffly after we went over the local reports. Supposedly there were at least nine small skirmishes in the night between local guards and fleeing goblin resistance since we’d been sleeping.
“I got a telegram from that team from yesterday. It seems they are trying to fix their leadership problem with the knight trainee after I sent them a message that he’s reckless and going to get them all killed,” Gyle said.
“Yeah, good you did that,” I noted.
“Of course they sent that only after I rejected two offers the same day of grouping with them again. I hope you don’t mind, but I just think I knew what you’d say,” Gyle added.
“Good job,” I said aloud.
“We should hear from them next week on their rep, but they are hoping to find someone who has a team lead upgrade on their license already,” he frowned.
“That idiot Leif was a piece of work. How did he get allowed into this profession anyway? There’s no telling how many people he’s gotten killed or hurt,” I said.
“Probably his dad is someone important…and…bribes,” Gyle I can tell doesn’t like saying the ‘b’ word.
“Shun…were you hoping for them to reach us?” Rina asked.
I was lost in thought and didn’t realize what she’d said right away. I’m thinking about what we can do without Sunghee here. And I don’t want to risk pulling her from ‘night duty’ in the dream pocket to guard me with the others.
Everything is really crazy right now.
I don’t want to team with anyone. It would be better if I didn’t have many outsiders. I may have to sometime cut ties in this area too if its ever leaked that Asakura or I have demon genes…mine through incubus influence and her through ghoul status.
Does that mean I need to figure more ways of hiding myself? Should I consider going into hiding? How many nights in a row am I going to be under siege?
I realized I was sweating from the stress and it was showing on my face.
Right now safe houses cost too much to even have one of them. To properly work this out I would need several of them.
Gyle doesn’t say anything but I suspect he knows I’m on edge, but just chooses not to say anything yet.
“I’m thinking about that. It’s complicated,” I said.
“How so? We have a duty you know,” Gyle inquired. He’s genial and hoping for a long term thing. But how do I handle this.
“We’re worried about if we can secure a future in this city or if it will be better for us to put down a base elsewhere. But we do appreciate the dwarves’ hospitality,” I added.
“That’s fair,” he noted.
“Any other team offers?” Rina asked.
He shook his head. “Not yet, but there will be. After the other day, there will probably be several. It’s no secret that you and Cassius were responsible for helping to keep the city free. But too many people aren’t sure if there’s even going to be an adventuring season with a large amount of goblins still wandering outside. They can’t go out searching jobs if they still think that the city is in a precarious position. Once that’s decided you will probably be flooded with team offers to be honest,” he said spelling it out.
“That’s good right Shun?” Rina asked, putting her hand on top of mine.
“It can be. It can be trouble too,” I noted.
“Yeah we seem to be good at finding trouble,” Rina said while playing with her fork over her breakfast.
“Well I haven’t known you that long but I agree with what she said,” Gyle said nodding a bit too happy.
I sighed. I might as well get this over with.
I need his opinion on the loot I just got.
The long black bastard sword with the rich looking metal I gave to Sunghee.
There was a hand crossbow however that the man had. None of my team are ready for that yet, and we don’t have any marksmen. Plus Gyle already has a nice crossbow and I don’t know how long he’ll stay with us anyway.
So I handed it to Gyle for a price check. Since he’s a merchant he’ll know.
“Holy shit where did you get this?” his eyes are wide as he looks it over. Like the beautiful long black bastard sword from the same guy it’s made with the same color scheme and some kind of fancy and exotic looking metal. Part of why that guy was so deadly was he had very expensive toys.
“Took it off an assassin,” I said.
His eyes widen. He also glances around the room and is more suspicious of others.
“Wow. In this city? Now I can guess why Sunghee isn’t here huh?” he asked while looking over it again.
I shrugged. “Well…from near the city but not inside it exactly. It’s hard to explain so maybe it’s better if you don’t know. That’s as much as I know except the guy who had it was a killer and really hard to fight.”
Rina is looking at the pretty looking crossbow too. Even with no training she can tell it’s a nice piece. “Yeah, Shun’s right. It’s better if you don’t know.”
“That’s a dark elf crossbow Shun. You better put that away before others notice. Having something like that out in the opening after what we’ve just dealt with as a city could cause a shit ton of negative publicity,” he said pushing it back towards me with a whisper and very wide looking eyes.
Dark elf paraphernalia is contraband? Or just trouble? Do I need to be careful here? I should clarify this.
It’s a very nice looking weapon though. So it must be the dark elf stigma.
“Put it away!” he whispered hurriedly again.
I regret showing it to him now. It’s a nice piece though so it has to be worth something. Carefully I pulled it under the table again, and then put it in my magic inventory slots.
I almost asked ‘so there are dark elves on this world’? But I can’t do that without raising questions about myself. Rina is probably thinking the same thing too. She gives me an odd look while her elbows are on the table.
“Dark elves huh? I hope we don’t meet them,” Rina said worriedly while looking down.
“Can’t you tell me anything?” I asked, after closing it securely in my inventory slots. I also do a pat down over my gear like I usually do to make sure nothing has been pick pocketed recently and to make sure I’m not forgetting anything.
“Good lord Shun…and you have magic inventory slots too. You must be a rich guy,” he said dryly staring at me.
“Don’t worry about that. Haven’t I always shared with you fairly?” I asked.
He nodded. “Yeah, I suppose you have. I get it. Not to worry, I won’t rat you out. Besides I’m making money off you right now. And I don’t want anything to happen to that.”
He sighed. “Nothing good ever comes of messing with dark elves. They’re strong in combat, one of the few creatures that can go toe to toe with dwarves and ogres and still live about it. If you run into them you have to tell the City Guards or any dwarven leaders ASAP do you hear me? They are usually the clever leaders behind any kind of mayhem with the other races too. So I hate to admit it, but not a lot of dwarves can fight them one on one, and even ogres have a hard time with them.”
Rina looked at me nervously. She didn’t like what we’d just heard either.
“OK Shun? You will tell me where you got that right? Where did you get it? I mean…I’ve been impressed with you so far but I have to know you aren’t connected with dark elves in any way shape or form?” he asked not letting up and whispering lower than normal.
He is like wow stressed.
“I got it from someone else who probably bought it off or killed the dark elf who originally had it. To be fair I don’t think he paid for it off the dark elf he took it from. Sorry I haven’t seen any creatures as you’ve described,” I said.
Gyle still looks nervous, staring at me for a bit until he’s satisfied in his dark elf phobia.
Come to think of it, if he’s got a dark elf phobia then probably a lot of other people here do too.
“That’s good. Shun can kill an ogre. So does that mean he’d take a dark elf too?” Rina asked.
Her reaction alarmed even me. I don’t want to test that idea.
“Trust me you don’t want to find out. They are tough,” Gyle said to her.
“Hopefully it won’t come to that,” I said.
“I thought elves were extinct,” I said right after that to Gyle.
He frowned. “Most people think they are, at least for light elves. Dark elves are a bit too plentiful and still murdering folk every chance they get but strangely nobody really knows where their cities are. But they stay in hidey holes and underground caverns and tunnels, of which this world is full of. They are far from being extinct. Whenever you hear of one being close you can expect all kinds of shit to happen.”
Gyle looked shaken up.
“So the guy that you took that from has been dealing with dark elves. They don’t just sell their weapons to anyone. He would have had to impress them too. And the only kind of people that impress dark elves are murdering folk just like they are,” he added.
“I thought you guys said elves were extinct,” Rina said.
“Light elves are believed to be. I don’t know how close dark elves are to them on the gentic tree. And they are alive and well to our dismay,” Gyle said to her.
“I would have wanted to meet an elf. Unless it’s the murderous kind I mean. Nobody wants to meet a dark elf right?” Rina said.
Will someone come looking for him or his gear?
“What to do with it…” Gyle is muttering to himself while eyeing us and the piece in question.
“What do you think Shun?” Rina asked.
“Gyle…if we killed that guy and took his stuff, would someone be able to trade that to us or use that to find our position? After hearing what you’ve said about them, it’s for sure we don’t want to keep that weapon either but I also don’t want to be ripped off on its cash out price,” I asked.
“You are right to not want to be ripped off,” Rina said carefully.
“Hell yes. And it is a fine weapon, nobody is saying it isn’t. But anything connected to them, you better just go wash your hands off it right now. It’s probably got magic trackers on it too. You probably haven’t been told about those huh,” he said.
“Damn,” Rina and I both swore.
Suddenly I wanted to throw away the crossbow. If somebody is tracking it, then there’s no telling how much trouble there will be from it.
“So that crossbow…you better get rid of it today. You can pay a mage to cancel out magic trackers but that’s not usually cheap. In a lot of cases it’s better to just sell it and dump it somewhere,” he said.
“So can you help us get this sold?” I asked.
“I can but I don’t want any murder loot or loot taken from murderers going to my shop for that very reason, even if it’s through second generation of looting or changing hands. We’ll have to hook that up to another shop. And I won’t do that unless you’ll disclose where you got it with no secrets. We can’t have people dying from looking for whoever holds that,” he added.
This is so not my day.
You need a specialist for this kind of crap.
Stubborn ass is overstepping himself. It’s not his business to interrogate me.
That means they can track us now both in the dream state through that dream walk thing, and in the real world, probably using something similar to how geomancers can find people.
Somehow I told Gyle not to poke his nose where it shouldn’t go.
Gyle believes he can get us still a pretty good amount of money for the dark elf hand crossbow. And he did relent on wanting to know more, but only because I’d made him a lot of cash already. To him this is like we’re holding a giant bag of cocaine or something is what it feels like in terms of danger level. And yes you can go to jail for being armed with dark elf weapons.
I’m glad we were careful and in the back corner of the inn’s mess hall area.
We also trekked around the city selling the stuff I got, which took awhile and some haggling. I’m not good at this and it helps to have Gyle with us since he knows how to make a deal.
The typical price for a beautiful hand crossbow of this type is 30 gold. Because this is a dark elf crossbow its worth an additional 10 gold, and has a cool sniper sight. We still need to get rid of it.
We almost fainted to hear it. This is a freaking rich haul if we can even get a penny of it. Getting that much for selling loot from the fallen is cool if we can manage it; but it has tons of problems. The couple of shops we took it to, in order to dispose of it almost panicked because of fear that the dark elves were involved in the goblins trying to get their city. We had to tell them we didn’t think that was necessarily the case…we hope. Containing their panic took a lot of time.
Some of those even threatened to turn us in to the city guards so we ran off.
We almost gave up for an early lunch break but we decided to give it a second go. Plus we need to get rid of this thing fast.
And we had to try selling it four other different shops. Luckily there are so many arms shops in a dwarf city that there’s a lot to choose from and they all have specialties from one another. One takes secondhand goods, one does defensive weapons, one specializes in range weapons, and one is a rare collector of things that are hard to find. The first one didn’t want anything to do with it, the second also, and then we got two offers for 22 gold and 17 gold each. Nobody will pay the full price because they know it’s going to be trouble even though they admit they are low balling it right to our faces. Obviously I’ll go with the higher offer.
Rina was cussing up a storm until Gyle explained that part of that is for the fees of having a mage cancel any hidden trackers. And we can’t approach just any mage on that either because you have to have certain training to cancel out magic trackers. And partly for …it’s almost like a fencing an enemy weapon disposal fee and tax that goes to support the City Guard and the dwarven military, plus a commission for the shop, and some commission for Gyle, which amounted to 10%.
Overall it’s a mess to try to go around a city all day selling weapons and crap. Now our feet hurt from walking all day on cobblestone, which hurt like a bitch also if you trip on them. Still, I like that we made a lot of gold off it.
We have 24 hours for the offer to be valid. For us to accept the offer we go back to that shop.
I also decided to fence some of the other goods we took. But the goblinoid raced mercs mostly had a bunch of junk like bone collections, and human teeth that were disgusting and not worth anything. The only human teeth worth anything were the ones that had gold caps and fillings, which dwarves do have the craft of dentistry for among them but no other race has the technology for yet.
The ogre’s weapon was a damn tree, so we only got an offer of 5 copper for it at the firewood stand near the gate leaving town.
We do find out if we want to sell a slave we have to take the person to the city slave auction for appraisal if I want them to sell the necromancer we captured…who is currently using a slave crystal slot. Then I’ll also have to figure out how to dump him out of that slot so that he’s not with us. I don’t really want to keep him around much. But he’s also so dangerous that I don’t know what to do with him. If I just dump something like that back into society will I be assisting whoever buys him commit more crimes?
I’ll have to make a plan and think more on what to do with the caged necromancer.
And I can’t really go into detail with Gyle why I asked him about slave prices. He doesn’t ask, but I did see his eyebrow raise a bit in surprise.
There are two goblin shaman staves, but I have to have Fox look at those before I even touch them because of fear of booby traps which goblins are prone to do. It won’t do to mess that up or throw them away either for much of the same reasons as the necromancer.
The human with the black bastard sword and the crossbow was carrying 12 gold 67 silver.
The ogre…I mean half ogre had pretty much nothing…I wonder why. Maybe he was poor or had blown all his money. I guess ogres do eat pretty much non-stop and that’s probably part of it.
The necromancer I didn’t dare take anything from him yet. But that has to be attended to also at some point. And when I do I want it under a controlled environment. So no rush on that.
Plus an assortment of 52 silver from the rest of the fodder orc troops, and whatever else there was.
Strangely enough as I go over the inventory box contents of stuff we’d received recently there wasn’t really hardly any change from the goblin invasion. It could be it was a poor tribe, or they’d purposefully buried their own loot elsewhere before going on the march.
22 gold – 10% = 20 gold for me and 2 gold for Gyle. Those greedy shop fuckers took a lot.
Today’s earnings; 20 gold + 12 gold 67 silver + 52 silver 5 copper…and a very jealous looking Gyle.
I’m starting to worry he thinks I’m some kind of damn money tree to go shake every time he wants some change. And any time I’m in a store I get too much attention not just from having hot women with me, but also from the coinage I’ve received from selling the loots received so far. Dwarves notice pretty fast when you are changing hands with their stores on large amounts of coins.
My money bag = 150 gold 35 silver 17 copper + 32 gold 67 silver + 52 silver 5 copper = 183 gold 59 silver 22 copper
If I were back on our own world this would be like putting big stacks of bundles of twenties or fifties in a big bag, so you can imagine the stares I was getting.
“Um, people are staring at us. Let’s get out of here,” Rina said.
“People always stare at you,” I said.
She blushed, “yeah because I’m good looking. But when it’s because they might rob me that’s different,” she said.
Both Gyle and Rina were staring at my money bag so I put it away quickly.
“That’s so hot Shun…you’re like super successful. Any girl would love to be with you…erm…even without your other traits,” she said while winking at me.
“You could think about acquiring a place to live in town now Shun. You could put down roots and live here,” Gyle hinted. He probably is partly saying that for wanting to have a long term hold on me, but he is partly right too.
“You did send an introduction note to that Deinan girl for me didn’t you?” he smiled.
Crap…so much happened that we forgot that.
“Um…we’ll do that. Today,” I said after apologizing.
So …I need to check on the necromancer and also on Ayumi…
Gyle is satisfied. He’s never made 2 gold so quickly and easily. I hate to burst his bubble that there’s no way I’m going to risk something shitty like fighting mercenaries just so he can have another handout. That was dangerous stuff last night and I don’t want to repeat doing it ever again.
I’m …really curious about using that mage black market interface orb, which that the necromancer guy told me about though. It has potential of all kinds.
What will I see for sale?
And I have enough money that I actually might be able to buy cool stuff or get a small house…or…I could use another slave or a slave crystal if that’s possible.