Negotiating for the jade, both parties were able to reach an agreement. Since it was mined locally, he was able to get several beautiful pieces. It only cost him a few hundred gold coins, not even half of one of the sacks.
Lord Martin got confused, when Zanir mentioned he would also take any damaged, cracked, or lesser quality pieces. Most traders would only be interested in the best, they would be offended if someone presented sub-par goods. Seeing the confusion, he explained.
"There are many skilled artisans and old seniors in the company. They can repair many goods, even some that are considered beyond repair. Even if it's the jade powder, they could use that for experiments."
"I look forward to seeing what they can craft with this jade, of course I will be willing to pay for any amazing pieces produced."
"Lord Martin, I will send these materials into the company, as soon as I have time. That reminds me, I've yet to set any reservations. Do you know of any establishments that could accommodate my men?"
"Haha, yes, but I'd like to offer you the guest house first. There is plenty of room for your men, and it will give your company more face, don't you think?"
"Alright than, I'll have to trouble uncle Martin. This way, I can save on the fees for Inn, and I'll give you an even better rate next time."
Settling the accommodations for his stay, he was able to save a fortune, by staying here for free. Then again, he could just have his men stay inside his world space. It's just that, he didn't want to expose it's existence yet.
At this point, it was getting late in the evening. The kids all came back, riding on Bruce. With gentle steps, he walked over carefully, so as to not wake the sleeping children. The only one still awake, and barely at that, was the oldest child.
"Zach, what are you still doing up? And where did this Ogre come from?"
Yawning, he replied to his father.
"Oh hey Dad, this is my new friend Bruce. Zanir said we could play with him. We had so much fun, the best game of heroes and monsters ever. I'm exhausted though, see ya tomorrow."
The nonchalant reply stunned Lord Martin. It was a real, live Ogre. Was this really the fierce monster he'd heard legends about? He could see the gentle giant, handing off each kid to the nearby servants, like precious packages.
Seeing the surprise on Lord Martin's face, he was quite amused. After all of the kids had been taken by the staff, Bruce rushed over, excited to talk about all the fun he had.
"Did you have fun today, Bruce?"
"BRUCE HAD FUN, BRUCE LEARN GAME. MAKE FRIEND, NOW TIRed.."
The last half of his sentence crescendoed into a lazy yawn. It was easy to see that even Bruce was tuckered out.
"Haha, alright, go on and head to building over there."
Pointing over to the guest house, the sleepy Bruce went inside to rest. Seeing that Lord Martin was still confused, he provided an explanation, as to how he met the Ogre. Obviously, he couldn't reveal anything about his space, but he could use his 'company'.
"Poor thing, we found him injured and unconscious. He was in pretty bad shape, but we got him back to the company in time. They've got a few beast tamers there, so we were able to save him."
Hearing the tale, Lord Martin was even more intrigued. This company 'Dragon's Den' seemed to have a hand in everything. He wondered, just how large this company truly was?
"Is there anything they can't do?"
"As long as there is profit to be made, the possibilities are endless. Though we won't break any laws, of course."
Wrapping up the discussion, both men agreed to meet tomorrow night, to further discuss business. During the day, he would visit the market, and tour the town. There was no way that he could stay cooped up for too long, when there were easy deals to be made nearby.
Reaching the guest home, he had the guards secure the perimeter. There was no telling if the lord had some kind of surveillance spying on them. Just in case, he had them bring everything into his carriage.
Inside, he was able to safely absorb the majority of the gold and all of the jade.
Type: Minted (Coin)
Rating: Level 1
Description: Gold coins are currency, usually issued with an imprint of the local monarch. Used for nearly all purchases, they have almost entirely replaced the need to barter.]
Rating: Level 2
Description: Jade is an ornamental mineral, mostly known for its green varieties. Translucent emerald-green is the most prized variety, it's widely used in ornamental and decorative objects.]
Jade was added to the mine, but the gold wasn't. He checked, confirming that it was because the system considered jade a raw material, whereas the gold was already processed and minted. Drat, he'd have to get some gold ore later.
Satisfied, he left the carriage, ordering his men to keep watch overnight. The guards would take shifts, to secure the area, he didn't want anyone to find out the carriage was empty. That might lead to uncomfortable questions.
Finally arriving at the guest home, he was able to get some sleep. Before he went to bed, he had set the system to carve some of the jade pieces. The night went by, soon everyone awoke, feeling refreshed.
They were eager to head out onto the town, now that they had money. Buying some other trade goods would help them blend in more, once they got to the other towns. He was hoping to avoid some of the suspicion he'd get, if everything were too high quality.
After a quick breakfast, everyone departed the estate. The jade was ready, but it was way too quick. There was no rush, he'd be able to bring it by later tonight. For now, he took his carriage and guards into the market.
Trostin lacked an auction house, but they had several different shops. The blacksmith and armor shops had standard items, they were both more interested in the equipment his guards had. Buying a few regular armor and weapons, he also negotiated the sale of several equipment sets.
Visiting the tailor's shop, he made similar arrangements. He would provide several garments, in the most popular sizes. Of course, he didn't forget to mention, that they could do custom fitted clothing, for an extra fee.
At the general goods store, he purchased many various goods. Everyday household things like blankets, lamps, utensils, soap, etc. Absorbing these goods would kill two birds with one stone. His system could replicate the base good, and also make improvements, giving him advanced versions.
The general goods store owner couldn't believe how much this young man bought. It was more than he'd usually sell in an entire season! Out of curiosity, he asked about the large purchase, and subsequently found out, that he was a fellow trader.
After conversing, he assured the old man, he would bring back some goods his company based off these products. Happy to have the assurance, the old store owner gave Zanir directions to the farmers' market, his next destination.
Making his way over, he saw various stalls and stands setup. Here the farmers would directly sell their harvest. He had to control his impulses, upon stepping out of the carriage, as he was tempted to run amok, absorbing everything.
Clearing his thoughts, he ordered his men to buy a few of each different item. Soon a large group of people spread out, bought something from almost every stall present, and brought it back to the carriage.
It definitely attracted attention, even in a noisy market. There were already rumors of a handsome young trader, having connections with the city lord. Now he'd been seen at the markets making large purchases, naturally news continued to spread.
Conversing with a few of the farmers, he asked them if they knew where to get magic crops. Unfortunately, they told him the due the strict growth requirements, they didn't grow well in the area. No one was growing them locally. Disappointed, he could only thank them for the answers.
Having shopped through the morning, it was now early afternoon. Seeing that it was around lunch time, he had a great idea. He had his men head out, into the slums district. The outer city was rundown, housing the poorer citizens, his men wondered why they had come out here.
Upon reaching the center of the district, he had his men prepare several large pots, and a table. Having already absorbed everything on the way here, he 'retrieved' a blend of regular and spatial produce from the carriage.
While he prepared the produce, he had his men bring out a small hearth. He had his men light fires under the pots, while he put the vegetables in with some spatial water. Soon, it would become delicious vegetable soup.
Lighting the fire in the hearth, he went to get some from freshly ground flour from the 'carriage'. Returning shortly, he finishing preparing the bread. All of this took place right in the middle of the street, in front of an abandoned building.
People were watching from the shadows, curious to see what was happening. There were a few rough looking young men peering from the nearby alleys, but even they stayed back, cautious of the guards.
As the smell of the food cooking started wafting around, you could literally hear people's stomachs growling. Being poor, it was a cruel reality that some of them were starving, while others hadn't eaten in days.
Standing up on one of the chairs, he cupped his hands, shouting out to the nearby concealed people.
"Hungry people, step up, step right up!"
"The Dragon's Den trading company is sponsoring a free meal, to introduce ourselves."
People were skeptical, after all, who in this world would be so kind. They thought it was some kind of trick. One the the thugs in the alley became enraged.
"Ya rich people t'ink ya can come here and trick people 'ta eating your poison, just cuz ya can get 'way with it. You make me sick"
Before he could even try to calm the situation down, an old man hobbled over, crazed with hunger.
"I don't care if it's poison, just let me eat something please. At least I can die with a full belly!"
Running up to the group, he threw himself down on his knees. The emaciated man looked thin and pale. Helping him up, Zanir could only reassure him.
"Senior, there's no need to beg, be at ease. Try to eat slowly, so that you don't hurt yourself. There's plenty of soup today my friend, and even bread to go with it."
As he spoke he brought the old man two bowls of soup and a fresh baked bread. There really were no tricks, he just wanted to help these people out. This world had no concept of food banks or shelters, but he could change that one day.
Everybody was watching, people had even come out of the shadows, to see what happened to this brave old man. A few of the hungrier people came right up, as if they'd grab a bowl the moment he lived.
Smelling the soup, the old man actually cried a little, as he lifted up one of the bowls to drain the broth. Taking a slow, steady drink, he set the bowl down. Letting it set in for a second, he sighed contentedly.
After that he took a big chunk of vegetable, biting it, then blowing on it a little to cool it down. Looking up, noticing everyone staring at him, he told everyone about the soup.
"It's delicious, and hot!"
Then, he just went back to enjoying the meal. Seeing that it was safe, many more people came over. He had his men bring out tables, and served up the vegetable soup and bread. Even some of the thugs came over.
"Hey, is this for anyone?"
"Yes, just remember to tell everyone you know about the Dragon's Den trading company."
Seeing that it was free, they had no reason to start any trouble. Besides they all saw there was an Ogre with them. He had his own soup pot, twice as large as the others. They saw the Ogre eat the entire thing himself, while still having room for bread.
Zanir and his men also ate during this time. While he was enjoying his simple meal, and the warm feeling of giving back, he got an unexpected system notification.
[Host's cooking has received one hundred 'top quality' ratings. Host has unlocked Cooking subroutine.]
[The Cooking subroutine handles the absorption, preparation, and cooking of edible materials. This particular subroutine will automatically analyze and catalog the dishes consumed by the Host. Reactivation of Cooking subroutine has unlocked the spatial restaurant.]
[Upon reactivation, the subroutine can prepare any dish the host has ever tried in the world's spatial restaurant. Ingredients will be prepared by the system to remove contaminants and ensure optimal plating and flavor levels. The dishes can be upgraded and adjusted according to further samples and ingredients collected.]
The restaurant is finally here. How many stars will our chef get?
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