Chapter 345: Dealing with Evil
“Did you really make an epic item just like that?” Corvo asked in disbelief.
“You heard the appraiser, right? Are you sure Big Dave will get the info?”
“Of course, nothing of value happens without Big Dave knowing of it. Ar you sure you want to use an epic-rated item to bargain with him? You would have to fight the whole city if you try to get it back.”
“Oh, dont worry. He can have this all to himself.” Seth told him with a smug smile.
The smile had a few separate reasons. One was that his
The others had to do with what made it possible.
The blacksmith had made a necklace. However, it was not an epic item, but actually, relic rated. An unexpected turn of events, really.
Obviously, Seth did not intend to give the Kingpin of this landfill anything nice.
After visiting the appraiser, the party had checked in at a simple hotel. The rooms were clean. The furniture was old and outdated but in good condition. Pip fell asleep as if the beds were pure luxury while the rest stayed up and waited.
There was a knocking late at night. It was as Corvo had said, it only took a few hours for a messenger to arrive with an invitation. How did they know where the party stayed? As Corvo mentioned, the Kingpin seemed to really know a lot, if not everything.
Big Dave wished to invite them for dinner at his private restaurant in the central tower. The messenger was polite on the surface, but it was clear that this was a decree to show up, not a simple invitation.
They had heard that Seth was looking to liquefy his assets to buy rations for his caravan and they would be willing to talk about this business. Without a question, Seth agreed immediately.
“They took the bait” was a thought both parties shared but it was still unclear who would have the last laugh.
Seth sent some of his entourage back to the caravans camp to inform them of their stay at the city. The dinner invitation was for the evening, so they still had some time. The blacksmith used it to scout a little more of the city.
The nightclub and their inn were actually part of a better area if one could call that. At least it looked like a normal ghetto you would expect in a big city and not a wobbly shantytown like the slums.
Walking around they took a look at the place of the big boss, where they would soon dine with the head honcho.
Big Daves building, or the Dave Tower as the kingpin called it, was in the better area. This place looked almost normal with well-maintained houses and skyscrapers. It was home to the rich people of Hope. Rich meant that most of them were gangsters that sucked the lifeblood out of the normal populace of the city.
The blacksmith had hoped to find something interesting if he kept exploring. But all he found was a disappointment. Hope was really hopeless. Especially the ruins beyond the wall. He heard that a lot of refugees were fighting for their lives over there.
It was the only place in the plains where dungeons spawned. While those within the walls would be immediately closed, those outside were only marginally kept in check. There was no guild here, after all.
Although it cost some poor people their lives, letting the dungeons outside the walls break had a bigger strategic advantage for the bandits and gangsters.
Pip had once fled from this place, but her painful expression as they explored the place showed that she still held a deep attachment to it in her heart. Her sorrow grew with every bit of information they found.
Finally, Seth could not ignore it any longer, so he sat down with her on a bench.
“You are still attached to this place, right?” he asked. The girl only looked away and nodded. She seemed to be a little embarrassed. This city had treated her like shit, but she could still not really cut her ties with it.
“I- I grew up here, with my parents. Back then I didnt like it here at all. But… when all this happened- When my parents were… I realized how great it was. My time with Karina made me realize much I long for that time to come back. Seeing Hope in this state I…”
She fell silent. Seth waited for her to continue as tears started flowing.
“I want to bring back that time! That place where everyone was so disgustingly optimistic. The place where everyone was so aggressive friendly and helpful. I want my home back! B-But I know! What can a weak girl like me change? I am not strong enough to change anything! I never am!” she cried.
It finally broke out of her, and she kept babbling on about how it was and how it should be. The blacksmith simply listened and pet her back. Until finally.
“C-cant you help me? You are strong! I am sure you could-“
“No, Pip. Complex problems need complex solutions. I am not the man for that job. To fix this you dont only need power. You need time and dedication; I am not willing to invest. I am not the one who will solve all your problems.” he struck down that glimmer of hope.
“Is there even anyone who can?” she asked dejectedly. She had become gloomy again.
“At the present, no. But I will offer you the same I did on the day when we first met. I will take you in and I will help you become strong. And then there will be someone to solve all your problems. You will solve them. You wont need to ask anyone for help.”
“Do you really think I can?”
“Sure. That is the special thing about the system. Even if you have no luck, as long as you are willing to grind, you can become someone strong. And with some fortune, like say meeting an awesome blacksmith, you can definitely reach the top.” he said nonchalantly.
Pip looked askant at him but ended up hugging him tightly. “Thank you!”
“I-Its okay. How about you go to the other, I will sit here for a moment.”
Once the young girl was gone Seth took a deep breath and let out a long sigh. He was drenched in sweat. He had tried to sound wise and experienced but heck, he had no idea what he was supposed to do! Was this good advice or not?
Of course, he cared about her and didnt want to hurt her feelings. But heck, he just didnt want to deal with this chaotic pile of shite. In his opinion, it was best if she just forgot this place and found a new home in Minas Mar.
Well, if she didnt… Then they would have a branch of Minas Mar in this place. As long as he did not have to deal with it, he would not mind.
Again, he realized that he really was not good at dealing with people. He calmed down and collected his thoughts before joining the others. He did not know whether it was good advice but at least Pip seemed happier overall.
In the evening, Seth and 4 of the warriors went to Dave Tower for their dinner with the big boss. The chimeras and their leader stayed behind with Pip.
They were greeted politely at the entrance of the tower and escorted to the restaurant on the 30th floor. What surprised Seth was that they managed to keep these ancient elevators running.
Like most things in this city, the restaurant had the style of a different century. This did not mean it was not luxurious in its own way.
“Please have a seat. The dinner will be served soon. The host will also join you shortly.”
They waited and soon Big Dave entered the restaurant. He wore an antiquated smoking and a fedora, looking like a true mobster. The man inside the suit was wider than he was tall, but his mass did not give the impression of obesity.
The man possessed the gravity of power and confidence. One could easily understand why he was the big boss of this place.
“Greeting Mr. Smith. I am glad you could make it.”
“The honor is all mine.”
They greeted each other politely but did not talk any further as the food was finally served.
The meal started very normally as both ate slowly and moderately. However, soon they realized that this was the first battle of the night and their speed picked up.
Dave prided himself in his mighty stomach, but it had been a long time since Seth had the chance to really eat to his hearts content. The battle of giants raged until deep into the knight. Dishes towered, bowls rolled and even a few forks lost their lives in the skirmish for the turkey.
Borders were crossed, cheese plates decimated. Innocent dumplings had no chance to run for their lives.
The first battle of the night ended in a draw. The only loser was the chef who had kept cooking for 6 hours straight.
“I see you are a worthy business partner. Lets go to my office and talk.” Dave finally said and heaved himself off his chair.
The opponents wobbled into the elevator together with the guard. The elevator creaked threateningly as they rose to higher floors. With big sighs they sat down on opposite sides of the big desk inside the office.
It was time to make a deal with evil.
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