Seth urged Bertram to hurry. This was one of the few cherished breaks and he still wanted to get a good meal, after dealing with business. The dwarf had a hard time keeping up with the blacksmith´s speed and under Seth´s constant nagging they arrived at the shop in a record time of 10 minutes. Bertram had a hard time catching his breath as he tried to explain the features of the shop.
The building was smaller than the shop he had underground, but the showroom was about the same size, with a small room for storage and an office in the back.
The shop had anti-theft magic built-in, together with a binding feature and a defense system. The items could not only not be moved by unauthorized people but also bound anyone who tried to steal an item. The defense system would protect the shop and products from harm in case a fight broke out or someone tried to break in.
Seth kept nodded as he listened to the dwarf introducing the features of his new shop and went to the back. There was a small storage room built like a safe. He put everything from the old shop and the new stuff in there. His new employee could take care of sorting and displaying it.
As Bertram was explaining to him how to control the features, they heard the sound of bells. Someone had entered the shop. Who would come to a close shop just after they entered it?
There stood three people heavily panting with sweat soaking their clothes.
”Errm, hello…? ” Seth tried communication. He had no idea what was going on until he saw their faces. These three were his potential employees, but what were they doing here…
”Ah, I can explain. I didn´t know how long he would take, so I left a message at the guild, to send them after us if they were faster than expected. ” the dwarf explained.
They had been in the shop for maybe 45minutes. Taking into account the walking distance from the merchant association…how fast had Bertram ’s messenger found them? Seth gave them a waterskin and they waited for them to calm down and catch their breath.
After a short introduction came the job interview. Seth had already thought of something and brought out a common ring he showed the three of them. It was one of the first he succeeded to make. The workmanship of the ring and enchantment was barely existent at best, and that was the point.
”What do you think of this ring? ” he simply asked and gave it to them.
The tall and handsome one scratched his head ”It-It might be a nice gift? ”
The smaller innocent looking on the other hand made big surprised eyes. ”What a beautiful ring! As expected of such a skillful blacksmith as Sir. Smith! ”
An idiot and a snake…
Next was the cute girl. She was a little chubby and her personality seemed joyful and bubbly. But when she took a closer look at the ring, she looked disappointed.
”I heard that this was the shop of a well-known blacksmith, why are you showing us such a crude ring? Are you telling me to sell this? Not even a broke merchant would want this. If this is the kind of merchandise I ’m supposed to sell, then I will leave. ”
”You are hired. ”
”What!? ” exclaimed snake and idiot.
”I prefer honest people, what can I say? The ring is garbage and fits to be recycled. Anyone with eyes can see that. Of course, this is not the level of stuff we sell here. ”
The girl ’s face only lit up after Seth showed her one ring, he planned to sell. It was still rated common, but it was worked more intricate and the engraved enchantment was well hidden. Only then did she turned back into a happy, bubbly bundle of joy.
Her name was –not important. Bertram pulled out a magical employee contract that eased Seth´s doubt in leaving his stuff with her. It actually worked similar to those slave contracts or collars in fantasy. After signing it, she would not be able to do anything to harm the shop or steal stuff. If she did, the contract would punish her.
She still looked quite happy, until he showed her the crates of products and told her to sort and shelve them in the shop while he would go for lunch. Seth would come back later and tell her the prices.
Seth had dealt with the business in a satisfactory manner and invited Bertram for a meal. The magical contract was a great idea and brought the dwarf some bonus points with Seth.
As they sat in a café the dwarf suggested and waited for their order, Seth had time to watch the crowd. There were even more figures in worn-out and damaged clothes. Dirty from a long journey they would stumble among the regular crowd or sit in a corner, begging for money or food. Their numbers had easily doubled since the last time Seth came out.
”A shame isn ’t it. The human countries in the north keep losing to the demon army. That is if you call the populace being turned into mindless puppets or undead and killing their own soldiers ”losing to an army ”. More and more people flee in fear. ” Bertram suddenly said. He had followed Seth ’s gaze and commented on the situation.
”Why aren ’t the dwarves helping them? Isn´t it bad that those guys keep amassing troops? ”
Bertram could only shrug his shoulder at Seth ’s question.
”No idea. I´m not high enough to be told the reasons of the royals. I heard that they shared the way to get rid of the curse with the humans, but it did not seem to help. ”
Master Tored had said they easily repelled them, but the human armies had such a hard time, even dispelling the curse? Something didn´t seem right in this situation. Seth was seriously debating, whether he cared enough to try and investigate the truth when their food finally arrived.
Seth didn´t hold back and Bertram, despite his slim looks, was also a big eater. They enjoyed their food and talked about happier topics, like items and making money.
Everyone knows the best decisions are made with a full stomach and an idle mind. He decided not to care about the big picture. He was not some hero of justice that had the urge to reveal the truth and fight some terrible conspiracy.
”I´m a blacksmith, that ’s not my job. Leave it to some hero. ” he thought to himself and enjoyed the warm feeling and sluggish mind after a good meal.
There probably was not even a truth to reveal.
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