Agran was waiting outside the room, he took her straight to a storage room full of empty bottles.
This guy must have listened in on the whole talk. I bet Astelia knows things that he does not, he doesn’t look disturbed by the name. That or he has a high level [Poker Face] skill. I’m getting very curious about the deep, yeah if anything I’m a saint of the deep more than a saint of whatever shitty god that threw me to his church.
Filling a hundred and fifty bottles full of blood one by one was quite the boring task. Another vampire had joined to seal the bottles with mana, which would help preserve the blood for longer she explained. Agran had left midway.
When she was done, the pale man came back to accompany her to the front door.
“Young lady, this is your membership card, valid in all Vasperian establishments.”
He handed her a small platter that held a thin needle. “Please imbue the card with your blood, a single drop is enough.”
She had some reservations about bleeding in front of a vampire but she remembered she literally just sold them loads of the stuff. She pricked her finger, a single crimson drop fell on the card, which disappeared without a trace, as if absorbed by the metal.
That was strangely underwhelming.
“We hope to have the pleasure to do business with you again.”
The sun was already high outside, she had spent a good hour in the embassy. A few people were running around in the previously empty streets. She checked the so-called membership card. It was a thin rectangular silver plate, engraved with the Vasperian flag and a few lines of text.
‘Member : Lady A.
Rank : A+ Trader
Guarantor : Duke Astelia of Brehmin
Issued : Einsen Embassy, 24.04.3210’
Duke? So that small girl really wasn’t any random vampire. That’s the highest rank under the queen if I remember correctly. She’s probably very high level too! … Looks like I’ll have to get much stronger if I want to travel around. How do I keep meeting strong people?
The pouch she held, heavy with gold coins, was enough to live her whole life without worrying about money ever again. To Sofia who had never even held a gold coin before, this was all very new and exciting.
I thought this was the worst out of all my ideas to make money! I only came here first because it was the only place open so early! I’M RIIIIIIIIIIIIIICH!
On the outside she looked like any other bored passerby going about her day.
She walked around the city for a while, undecided on what exactly she would do with that much money. She hadn’t at all expected to get that much in one go.
I’m spending it all and fucking off to the Red Winds! So long, shit ass kingdom and your dumb church!
The first thing she did was to enter a bakery, where she bought a whole 10 silver worth of sandwiches and pastries. The baker was annoyed that she had to give change for a whole gold coin but she couldn’t decline such a large order. Afterwards she asked for directions to a cartographer’s shop. Maps were expensive but she still bought 4 of them, totaling 3 gold and 40 silver. The cheapest was a map of the city, annotated with all major facilities and commerce. Then she had a map of the kingdom, a map of the Red Winds Empire, and a broader ‘world map’ that really only showed the one continent humans lived on.
Sitting on a public bench and gulping down pastries, she planned her itinerary for the day. No one paid her any attention.
First off is the bag and clothes. Traveling supplies…
She wanted to buy some luxury items but she didn’t think the shops would even let her in looking like she did. She crossed the stone city, reaching the adventurers’ district around noon.
This part of the city was home to the adventurers' guild and the economy around it made it the best place to buy any and all kinds of practical outdoors gear. She procured a sturdy backpack and a pocketed belt she slung over her shoulder and chest. Next were a good quality traveling outfit with matching boots and mantle. Then a bunch of traveling supplies, food, spare clothes, a bedroll… Her hair was getting in the way so she had to tie it in a bun.
When she was done her previously empty brand new backpack was almost full, and she looked like any experienced adventurer did. She still had a bit over a hundred and thirty gold left.
Being done for the day and dying from exhaustion, Sofia entered the room she had just rented at a renowned hostel. She had let go of her backpack and belt, and slumped on the bed, still clothed. It was noon the next day when she woke up.
She had spent a few hours taking care of her hygiene and generally doing nothing productive in the large room. Ordering enough food to feed three people and throwing a feast by herself. When she got out and paid for her extended stay, the sun was already setting.
With her brand new outfit and being all cleaned up, she thought she looked like some kind of young adventuring noble now. The best part about this new getup was how the backpack ended up being almost effortless to carry. She greatly appreciated the benefits of her higher level body.
This time she made a beeline for the nobles’ district, her destination wasn’t the vampire embassy again, she had caught wind of a very special shop. A magic item shop.
Alright, time to burn that money. I wonder if I can afford a storage item… hmm, I need to buy a few healing potions first. I want to have the gold circlet identified but that’s risky…
She didn’t even have to open the door herself, a man inside in a white and blue uniform held it for her.
“Welcome to Garan’s emporium! We offer the best magic wares in the kingdom. Do you want a personal assistant to help you around the store?”
“Hello. That would be nice, yes.”
“The fee is one gold coin…” Oi, that’s way too expensive! “...to be discounted on your first purchase.” Oh, ok.
“Sure, here it is.” She fished out a coin from a pouch near her chest and held it out for the doorman.
He took the coin, inspected it, nodded, and pocketed it while turning towards the back of the shop.
“Silvia, you have a client!”
The woman called Silvia wearing a similar uniform appeared from a side door, greeted Sofia and led her to a private room on the second floor. Did I just pay for some weird service?
“Do you want some coffee?”
“Water would be fine, thank you.”
The woman left and came back a few seconds later, bringing a glass of cold water and a plate of cookies. Was this not a magic item shop? Are these magic cookies?
“So, dear customer, are you looking for an item in particular, do you want to make a custom order, or are you here to get something identified by our experts?” The woman’s speech was smooth and clearly something she had repeated a million times.
“Oh, I’m here for a lot of things actually. First I have a few questions.”
“Please, feel free to ask, I will advise you as best I can.”
“I have acquired a peculiar magic item recently, it is not something I dare show anyone. Could I perhaps acquire the identification skill myself?”
“I would recommend you trust us with the identification of your item either way. Our experts are bound by contracts and must keep secrecy no matter what you bring them, the fee is only two gold coins per item. But if you insist, we do still have a single [Identify] skill scroll. For the small sum of twenty gold coins it can be yours, the skill works on both people, animals and objects, it is a very good investment for any adventurer.”
“Twenty?!” How could Sofia not be shocked, she had seen a few skill scrolls for sale in the adventurer district. They were rarely valued at more than a handful of silver coins.
“Indeed. If I may, this is a very good price. The [Identify] skill is very hard to learn, as you must know, it can take years, and it is just as hard to level up. Getting it early by buying it from us will net you that much more skill experience. Knowing the level of your opponent can be a great advantage in many situations.”
“The scroll is also hard to manufacture. Hence the price.”
“Alright, alright I get it, I might buy it if I still have enough when I get the other things I need.”
The woman had a genuine smile for the first time, she smelled a big fish.
"Understood. Do ask for whatever you want, we have a large stock."