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A note from Belgianfri

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The incensed [Paladin] went on to make good on his promise and beat me black and blue for the next half an hour.

I had gotten some good practice in with my [Overload Aura] when I tried to block him, but ultimately it had fallen to my dark form to keep me in fighting shape as Doran's attacks practically ignored whatever improvised defence I managed to put up owing to their light elemental affinity.

I had wisely kept my [Overloaded orb] out of the rest of the battle because I hadn't been sadistic enough to destroy Doran's dignity entirely. Evidently, he placed a lot of importance on his hair.

Near the end of the battle, I started practicing my [Curse mark(guide)] skill, with limited success. My sword strikes never quite connected to activate the skill, due to Doran's high swordsmanship tier.

I did manage to find a creative workaround, however. As Doran was breaking through my maelstrom with a physical strike again, I left another cut on his arm, which actually succeeded in leaving behind a curse mark.

From then, I played around with my different attacks. My physical attacks weren't affected by the curse mark, but my [Overload Aura] was. Every time his arm came within range, my cutting winds would aim for the previous wound that was leaking a small amount of dark mana. Problem was, Doran then used this to guide my experimental shield away from me as he attacked me with the other arm. I had to slowly learn to make certain attacks ignore the curse mark entirely, which was proving to be quite difficult.

So far, I could either ignore the mark entirely, or have all my attacks home in on it. I still felt it would be possible with practice, however.

A few minutes later, we wrapped our practice up. I was exhausted and sweating like a pig, yet for some reason, Doran looked no worse for wear. Apart from the singed hair and bald spots on his scalp, of course. Poor guy.

"You have gotten better since the time we last sparred. Rather than fight to win, you fight to hurt. I'm not sure if your affinity has affected you over the past little while, but despite this fighting style's cruelty, it suits your skillset well. Enduring longer than your opponents is the nature of every fight, after all."

I sat down to think for a moment. Ever since I had gotten ambushed on the road I had gotten a little bit of a mean streak. I supposed this came hand in hand with my affinity growing. I would need to increase my wisdom and reflect, if I wanted to limit this behaviour.

"So what did you think of my new skills? Pretty sweet huh?"

Doran pursed his lips. "They are indeed rather powerful for tier 2 skills. Your new core impressed me the most. The ability to continuously charge overloaded mana with little to no negative backlash is quite potent, especially in combination with your other skills. The curse mark would synergise well with your orb projectile as well, even more so if you can launch multiple orbs one after another."

I lifted my nose proudly at his praise. He frowned and decided to ruin my good mood.

"I still haven't forgiven you for ruining my hair, however. If I was a crueller man, you would leave this place with the same haircut as my own."

I almost laughed. I would have, if it wasn't for the fact that he was dead serious. I decided to just change topics.

"Well, thanks for the spar. Why don't we head back to the guild? I have some equipment from my last quest that I need to get appraised and sold."

He kept staring me in the eyes for a moment longer, intent on making me uncomfortable, but eventually gave up.

We took a small break beneath a tree and took out some of the rations we had brought to eat.

I deliberated summoning Revan right now to see how his tier up had affected him, but I didn't think he would get along well with Doran. If you added his terrible mood at the moment, it would definitely not be a pleasant meeting. I decided to come back here the next day to summon him while I was alone.

 

With our spar done, we decided to head back the way we came. I got some more apparation practice in on the way back, which was coming along swimmingly. Before I knew it, we were back in Reito.

I parted ways with Doran at the guild's front gates, because the appraisal office was in a different direction from the training yard. That maniac was going right back to training.

Well, I suppose I wasn't one to talk. I had done plenty of training myself.

In one of the corners of the enwalled compound sat a rather well-decorated building. The appraisers' office reflected the wealth that appraisers and merchants were known for with its well-crafted furniture and decoration. The building itself was adorned with small statues placed in wall niches, as well as some schematics of expensive items and powerful weapons. I personally found it to be a little gaudy, but could understand their feelings. Who didn't like bragging, after all?

As I entered, the wooden door gave a small chime. An attendant rushed from behind a curtain to a central desk in the greeting area, ready to welcome me.

"Hello, sir. Welcome to the local witch hunters' appraisal office, how can I help you today?"

Not really used to business talk like this, I struggled to reply.

"Uh, yeah. Hi. I need to get some items appraised. Do I need to make an appointment, or?"

The attendant was experienced in these kinds of interactions, which immediately became obvious as she continued her routine.

"Can you give me your name and badge as identification, sir?"

I nodded and gave her both.

"Can you tell me how many items you would like to appraise and what tier they have, if you had to guess?"

I had to think for a moment. What did I want to be appraised? The blue shield-making hammer, the expensive sword, and the alchemist's cauldron? I had given the staff back to Michael, provided the guild itself with the two types of poison and left most of the necromancer's things with the guild as well, except for the spatial pouch. Oh right! I could have the pouch appraised while I was here!

"Yeah, I have four items I want to have appraised. I would guess two tier 2 items and two tier 3 items."

The cauldron and pouch were probably tier 3, otherwise the necromancer wouldn't have been able to make such a strange poison. I was confident the hammer was tier 2, while the sword made me hesitate. It certainly looked impressive, but it didn't look enchanted. It was probably just an ornamental sword of some kind. At least, that was my best guess at the moment.

"Alright sir, normally you would need an appointment for tier 3 items and above, but because someone cancelled their appointment earlier today, one of our tier 3 appraisers should have the time to help you with your appraisal. Each appraisal will come with its own price, a percentage of 2-5% of its total monetary value, depending on the quality of the item. After the items are appraised the office will make up valid status documents that you can use to sell the items. The guild can also sell the items on your behalf for an extra 2% of their monetary value, if you are willing. Are those terms acceptable to you?"

I nodded quickly.

"They are, yes. Is the appraiser ready for me now?"

"I'm afraid not, sir. He should be finished with his current appointment in about half an hour, though. Would you like to wait in the waiting room?"

I nodded and followed her into a comfortable room filled with soft chairs and bookshelves. I picked out a thin book I liked the sound of called 'The sword in the stone' and got to reading. Apparently, in this fantasy world that the book described, it was possible to get a tier 6 class just by pulling a sword out of a stone. This kid that shared my name instantly became a [King]! How ridiculous. The story was just wish fulfilment at this point. Who would want to read about a character that gets stupidly powerful right at the start of the book, only to later find out that the real struggle wasn't power, but the responsibility that came with it?

There were truly some strange people out there.


About an hour later, the attendant came over.

"Sir, the appraiser is ready for you now. Sorry about the delay, his previous appointment took slightly longer than expected."

I waved her off.

"It doesn't matter, I have time."

 

She guided me to the third floor, where I was asked to enter one of the separate offices. As I opened the door, I encountered an older man with sideburns and a comb-over. His hair had clearly seen better days, since the comb-over reminded me of those tufts of fibre corn had on the top. They were called corn silks, I thought. Suffice to say, it wasn't a great hairdo. He gave a good-natured smile and introduced himself.

"Hunter Arthur, correct? I am Harold Withersby, one of the four tier 3 appraisers of the Reito branch of the witch hunters' guild. Apparently, you have some tier 2 and tier 3 items that you want to appraise? Why don't you show me the first one?"

Harold had a last name, which meant that he was either nobility or part of a landed knight's family. Appraisers were well-respected and well-paid, so it wasn't surprising that lower-rung nobles would consider the job.

I took the two-handed hammer out of my spatial bag and put it on the large wooden desk. Thankfully the appraiser had kept the desk empty, otherwise, I would've surely knocked over some of his stuff.

"Ah, what a nice two-handed Warhammer! Let me take a closer look at it."

He pulled a glowing monocle out of his breast pocket, no doubt an enchanted item, and used it to inspect the enchantment in the Warhammer.

"Ah yes, here we are! An enchanted tier 2 weapon! I would firmly place it at the peak of tier 2, in fact. Here, let me share its status with you."

[Water-aligned Warhammer]

Tier 2 hammer.

Enchantment: [Water shield], [Tidal smash]

A well-crafted Warhammer made by a practiced blacksmith and a skilled enchanter. This item was originally a tier 3 weapon, but has since degraded due to its age.

 

It did indeed look expensive. It had even been a tier 3 item before!

"Well, thank you for appraising it. How do enchantments work though, if you don't mind my asking?"

The old man smiled kindly. "Enchanters can impart certain skills onto items and equipment. Mind you, they need to be a tier above the tier of the enchantment to apply it successfully. While this Warhammers base might have only been tier 2, a tier 4 enchanter put two very useful skills onto it, making it far more valuable. Even this weakened version would sell for about 250 silver, about 2,5 gold. Are you willing to sell it through the appraisal office? I assure you we can get you a good price for your items!"

I took some time to think before replying. On one hand, selling though the office I had to pay a percentage of my item's worth, on the other I wouldn't really know where to start if I wanted to sell it myself. Worst case scenario I would get scammed by another greedy merchant. Furthermore, I wasn't really hurting for coin right now. The value of 5-6% of this hammer was ultimately limited.

With a nod, I agreed.

"Fantastic! Why don't we take a look at the next item?"

I unwrapped my spatial pouch from my belt and put it on the desk.

"Oh, a spatial pouch! What a remarkably rare item! You must be quite lucky! That, or quite wealthy."

He grabbed onto his monocle again and inspected it.

"Ah yes, here we are. A rather unremarkable item as far as spatial storage items go, I must say. Tier 3, around the middle level. Still, because of its great craftsmanship, it has above average storage capacity. I could sell one of these for about 55 gold pieces. Why don't you take a look?"

With a wave of his hand, a blue screen became visible to me.

[Spatial pouch]

Tier 3 accessory.

Enchantment: [Pocket space]

This pouch was made with average craftmanship and enchanted by a very experienced enchanter.

 

"Would you like to sell it using our office?" the appraiser asked with a greedy smile.

"I'm afraid not, I just wanted it appraised."

I had decided to keep the pouch, it was just too useful. Still, I had needed to get it appraised. It simply wasn't responsible to keep an un-appraised enchanted item on you 24/7. That was just asking for bad luck.

"Why don't we get to the next item?"

I reattached the pouch and summoned the cauldron, but not before giving the old man an explanation.

"So, I found this item on my last mission. It belonged to an unscrupulous person, so it might not exactly have an ethical description. I've had it cleaned, so don't worry about that."

With that said, I placed the copper cauldron that was shining with purple light onto the desk.

The appraiser looked at it strangely for a moment, summoning his monocle to inspect it more closely. After a few moments, he spoke up.

"Yes, I see what you mean. Objectively speaking, it is a well-crafted piece of equipment near the peak of tier 3. I would place its value at around 80 gold if you found the right buyer. I will tell you this, however. A number of our guild's alchemists would fall over one another to get their hands on this item."

[Eternal poison cauldron]

Tier 3 crafting station.

Enchantment: [Eternal poison]

This cauldron was made by an enchanter with bad intentions.

 

"What does the enchantment do?"

The old man hummed for a moment. "[Eternal poison] is a skill, or an enchantment, as the case may be, that causes poisons that are brewed to lower in potency by one tier yet rise one tier in persistency. Even worse, it makes the poisons resist the body's natural defences, allowing them to persist indefinitely. In other words, poisons brewed in this cauldron are extremely difficult to cure or resist, making them usable against high-profile targets that would otherwise be immune or have the means to cure themselves."

I felt some cold sweat run down my back. What had that necromancer been planning to do with such a troublesome poison? I supposed the guild could use it well for their own under-the-table dealings. I felt a little guilty allowing such an item to continue existing, but the amount of gold it was worth could buy me some tier-appropriate armour, which I desperately needed. In the end, I decided to sell it.

"Can you guys sell this to the guild for me? I don't trust anyone outside of the guild with an item like this."

The appraised nodded along. "Neither do I, young man, neither do I. I'll sell it to the most trustworthy guild-sponsored alchemist I know, you can take my word for it."

The old man summoned the item into his own spatial accessory, a gemstone ring on his middle finger.

"Now then, you had one final item?"

"Yeah. I'm not sure what it is though."

"Well, take it out then, don't leave my old bones waiting!"

With a chuckle, I summoned the ornamental sword and put it on the desk. The appraiser pulled at his sideburns a bit, before inspecting the item.

His eyes went wide and he whipped his head around to stare at me. After a moment of silence, he spoke up.

"I'm afraid I can't appraise this item for you, young man. That means it must be tier 4."

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About the author

Belgianfri

  • Your holiness

Bio: I like fries. The belgian kind.

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