I had one more place to visit. It was the abandoned house, where Alicia lived. I knocked on the doors, and waited. After a while, the doors opened, and I entered. Inside the brightly lit room, I saw Suly studying books and writing stuff. She seemed busy, and didn't even notice me. Alicia asked "What is it this time?". I smiled, and asked "Why so cold?". She didn't comment on that, so I continued "I'm here to commission something. I want you to make a mask, or to be precise, two masks".
Alicia replied "I don't have time". Suly suddenly butted in, and said "That's not true. You have a lot of time. Hi Nex". I smiled, and replied "Hi Suly, how are your Formations?". This time Alicia replied "She has loads to learn, so don't disturb her". I nodded, and said "I need two masks. I don't know if you can make them though". Alicia replied "I doubt I can't. Alright, what are those masks, that you speak of".
I said "The first mask, needs a few Formations. One which seals sight, another which seals hearing, then one more that seals smell. If all three could be activated separately and together, it would be great. Besides that, I want the design to fit a Shade". Alicia asked "Why would you need such a mask? And for a Shade nonetheless?". I said "I have uses for it. Can you make it?". She thought about it, and said "I can. It's not going to be that difficult though. But you will pay, and I will make the price exceptionally good for you". I replied "Sure, how much do you want?". She smirked and said "150 Black Hals".
I took out two bags, each contained a 100 Black Hals. I passed one to her, then took half of the Black Hals from the other, before handing it to her as well. She seemed shocked, but said nothing. I continued "That is, for the first mask. I still need another mask". She asked absentmindedly "What would you like?". I replied "The second mask, is a bit more tricky. I want the mask, to improve the sight. I want the best Formation you have, that concerns the sight improvement. I also want it to change shape, based on the wearer. I'm not sure how this works, but I had a mask, that changed its look, when different people wore it. Besides that, I want it to be very tough, and conceal my identity. Can you make something like this?".
She thought about it, and said "I can, but this time, I will tell you the real price. If you want such a mask from me, I will need 380 Black Hals. That is the price, and it's a fair price at the same time". I nodded my head, and gave her the money. She said "You are quite wealthy. I wouldn't have guessed that from your clothes". I smiled, and replied "I would like a new set of clothes too, but with your prices, I don't think I will be able to afford it".
Suly again butted in "I can do that for you. Although I'm not that great, I can make some proper clothes. Just tell me the design you have in your mind, and I will make them". Alicia protested "You need to study! Not make clothes. If you reach my level in Formation skills, then you can make clothes all day long". I thought about it, and said "Actually, this is not such a bad idea. She is reading books all the time. Being able to practice in real life, will give her much more experience". Alicia replied "Don't tell me, how to teach my student… It's too soon for her to do that… Alright, I will help her. But you will pay her too. She is not your slave".
I asked Suly "How much would you like?". Suly shook her head, and said "I don't know". Her master though, knew perfectly well. She said "Show me the design, or tell me the design, and I will get the cost of that. The price will be for apprentice, not master". I said "I want a long coat with a hood. Black is my preferred colour. Matching shirt and trousers. I will need new boots as well. A neck protector would be a good idea too. The final piece should be the gloves. I want gloves that allows a lot of mobility, so gloves without fingers, would be the best". Alicia nodded, while I continued "As for the design… You know a lot about me, so I will leave the design up to you".
Alicia nodded, and said "Yes… I have a design in mind. What about the Formations?". I replied "I want the clothes to be very tough. I don't need anything else really. Besides, the same applies. You know some stuff about me, so make it that my abilities, don't damage it. I would like you guys to aim for mobility as well". Alicia calculated for a while, and said "235 Black Hals, that is the price". Suly again butted in, and said "Just give me half of that". Alicia became angry, and said "Don't forget, I will be helping you. This is a fair price". Suly replied "Maybe, but I don't want money from Nex. Half is enough, you can take all the money, if you need them so much". Alicia was stunned for a while, then said "Fine. 120 Black Hals".
I laughed a bit, and said "It's a deal. Here, this is the 120 Black Hals. When should I come back, to collect those things?". Alicia replied "The first mask, will take very little of my time. So I'd say in a few days. The second mask will take a while. The complexity is much greater, so you will have to wait. As for your new set of clothes, I'd say in about a week's time". I nodded, and said "I need the first mask, as soon as possible anyway. I can wait for the other things, so take your time with them. I will be back in a few days, to collect that first mask". Alicia nodded, and I said goodbye to Suly, as well as Alicia, then left.
'I spent quite a lot of money today. Fortunately, I will not pay for Crow's weapon upgrade, and materials. Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to buy that distillery, if it's available' I thought, and returned to Lazar's place. Lazar was still at work, so I sat down with Crow, and said "The upgrade of your weapon is taken care of. We just need the materials. For that, I will need Harlin. I also issued an order for something special. It will help you train your senses better".
Crow asked "What sort of special thing, do you mean?". I replied "You will find out, when I get it". Crow though about something, and asked "You said it's for my senses right? Can't you just tell me?". I smiled, and replied "It will help you develop your instincts. Be patient, this is something you have to learn about too. Patience, is a very good trait to have. When it is ready, you will find out". Crow nodded his head, and asked another question. "How do you come up with such ideas?".
I said "I went through the same stuff. I'm teaching you, a part of my own Art. I will not teach you everything, as you are clearly better at stealth than me. But your senses are worse. My instincts are many times better than yours. Even if we were at the same level, I would still be able to find you, if you tried to attacked me". Crow was surprised, and asked "It makes such a difference?". I laughed, and said "I live only thanks to my instincts. If they were not so acute, I would be dead already".
Crow nodded his head, and asked "What about those materials?". I said "They are quite hard to get, and quite expensive too. But you should have more than enough money to afford them. With a good weapon, you will have some advantages in a fight. I can't help you much with swords though. I don't specialise in them. You will have to find someone who does, and learn from them. Or develop your skills by yourself".
Crow acknowledged that, and said "Yea, I'm lacking a bit in the battling departament. I will need to polish my skills. On a more serious note". I asked "Yep?". Crow continued "What is your plan? You are helping some Lizards, you helped a Shade. I don't know who else you helped, but why are you doing this? Being friends is one thing, but grooming people, and making them strong... ". I smiled and replied "You are asking about Lazar, Harlin and others right? There is a reason. Actually, there are two reasons. I'm helping you all, because you deserve to be helped. You are my friends after all, and all of you helped me when I needed help. I can now help you guys, and that is what I'm doing. As for the second reason". I smiled, and continued "I will tell you in the future".
Crow leaned back, and said "I was just curious. I don't care if you want to use me. It seems all people that are your friends, owe you too much. I will stand by your side, even if the whole world is against you… Becoming the ruler of Shades eh? I like that goal". I smiled, and replied "Don't think of yourself as my slave. I don't treat you guys as such. I know what it means to be a slave, so don't have that mindset. You are all my friends, and you can make your own choices". He said "I know. I was just saying".
2nd bonus chapter of the week. When I see the title of this chapter, a Bruno Mars' song plays in my head. There was a bit of text in one of his songs "Spending money, like money ain't shit" :D That just FYI - For Your Imagination.
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