“This is the Magic Guilds headquarters!” said Lue while pointing at the building in front of him.
“Wow it’s big,” said Akira as he stared at the building in front of him. The magic guild headquarters was four stories high and built with black stone.
Most buildings if not all the buildings he had ever seen were I story high and on the rare occasion there was a two-story restaurant or house. But four stories? That’s huge!
“Shall we head inside?” asked Lue before walking through the front doors past two burly guards who stood on either side of the entrance to the building.
Akira followed him through the lobby until they stopped in front of a reception desk.
“Ah! Mr. Lue, are you here to see the Grand Masters?” asked the young female receptionist with a warm smile as if she was used to greeting him often.
“Yes, if you could inform them that I have brought someone to introduce them to. I’ll be showing my new friend around the lower floors while we wait for those old geezers to finish with whatever they are working on,” said Lue, “Follow me Akira.”
Lue walked to the left of the front desk, towards a set of stairs that led to the lower floors, with Akira following.
The air began to change as they descended the steps it had an unpleasant chemical taste and smell to it.
Lue walked off the stairs and into a hallway stopping in front of a door with a sign that read ‘HQ store’, making sure Akira had followed him, before opening the door and entering the shop.
“To my knowledge, there is no other store like this one. In this store, the magic guild sells everything that they have released to the public. That includes things like the highly sought after Magic gems, the one-time use items such as the healing potions and special one time use skill scrolls. If you have the money they just recently started to produce more of their new skill gems. They cost nearly 100 times more than the one-time use skill scrolls, but that’s because the new skill gems can be used over and over again,” said Lue.
There were only a few other people inside the shop each of them were wearing expensive looking clothes.
Akira walked around the store drooling over all the Magic gems that were just laying on shelves, not in a case like the ones he had seen as a kid. The prices in the shop caused his head to hurt. The prices were too extreme he only had 31 gold and could not use most of it because he needed it for his traveling expenses, he could at the most buy a few of the cheaper potions and maybe a Magic gem if he wanted to, but not much else.
“Would you like to see the Skill gems also?” asked Lue.
“Yes! Very much so!” said Akira even though he knew he wouldn’t be able to buy one.
Lue called the shop assistant to the counter and asked him to bring out the new skills gems.
“Although the magic guild does not practice or teach magic they do have a special technique to put a [Skill] inside a magic stone. Allowing the user to use the skill as many times as their body can handle it,” Lue explained while they waited.
After a few minutes, a wooden box with a glass window on top like the one he had seen in the previous shop was brought out from the back room.
Akira stared at each skill gem soaking in all of their features. They were about two times larger than the magic gems but similar in that they were in all types of colors. What was most interesting and different between the two was the odd carving of a rune on each of the skill gems. They looked very similar to the runes he had seen Delgar carve swords and shields.
After looking at the price he felt a sharp stab in his heart. The cheapest skill gem was in the low 100s of gold. Who could afford something so expensive?
“Everything here is so expensive,” mumbled Akira.
“Well from what I hear it’s not so cheap to create them. They first have to buy the large magic stones from merchants or mercenaries selling them. They then have to add on the price for whatever method they use to place the skill inside. The main cost is the having to buy the even rare large magic stones. I’m sure if you were ever to find a magic stone of the correct size they would buy it from you or they could probably cut the price down for you. Who knows you might even receive one as a reward for helping them complete the job that needs to be done,” said Lue.
“I wonder how they make the skill gems it must be a fascinating, and mind-bogglingly technique,” said Akira while inspecting a blue skill gem through the glass.
“That’s a trade secret. If I told you I would have to kill you,” said a voice jokingly behind the two.
Akira and Lue both turned around to see two old men one wearing a red robe and glasses the other with wearing a blue robe and he had a long white beard. They both had large smiles on their faces.
“Lue, good to see you. Is this the person you brought to meet us?” asked the old man wearing the blue robes.
Lue nodded his head. The two old men turned to Akira and introduced themselves.
“My name is Deve Hobs,” said the old man in the blue robes.
“Hello my name is Beel Geets,” said the old man in the red robes.
“I’m sorry to have interrupted your busy day,” said Lue.
“No need to apologize. If anything we should thank you for freeing us from the boredom of going through all the paperwork needed to keep this place and all our branches in other cities running properly,” said Beel Geets.
“You know our name so may we know your name?” asked Deve Hobs.
“My name is Akira, It’s a pleasure to meet you,” said Akira.
“You look familiar have we met before?” asked Deve Hobs as he stared at Akira’s face.
“No, this is my first time in this city as well as meeting you,” answered Akira.
“Lue, could you tell me why you’re introducing young Akira to us? It’s not like you to do something like this,” asked Beel Geets.
“He is here to complete the task you mentioned last week,” said Lue.
Beel Geets and Deve Hobs looked at each other for a few seconds, unspoken words passing between the two of them with just a look.
“Ah that, this is not a place to talk about such things. I suggest we return to our office for more privacy,” said Beel Geets.
“But of course we can get into more detail on the subject in your office,” said Lue.
The four of them were now sitting in uncomfortable wood chairs around a large rectangular wooden table.
“Lue what makes you think that young Akira can help us?” asked Beel Geets.
“Although I have not been able to verify everything, he says that he has cleared two dungeons before,” said Lue.
“Is this true?” Deve Hobs asked Akira.
“Yes, although they were both on the lower difficulty,” said Akira.
Both Deve Hobs and Beel Geets quietly whispered to each other for a minute discussing what to do.
“We will allow you to join but under one condition…” said Beel Geets.
“You must complete a simple test for us to prove your skill and other quality’s,” said Deve Hobs completing the other’s sentence.
“Come back tomorrow, and we will have the test ready for you,” said Beel Geets.
“Since this is your first time in the city you should check out the Auction house. You might find something useful there. Although I doubt it, it won’t hurt to look,” said Deve Hobs.
“Do you need any help in finding it? If not I’ll be staying here to talk with my old friends,” said Lue.
“No need for you to trouble yourself anymore then you already have. I can find it on my own, thank you for the introduction and the chance to complete the job,” said Akira as he stood up from the hard chair and swiftly left the Magic guild’s headquarters.
Akira spent a few minutes walking around the streets looking for any sign boards that had a map of the city. When he finally found one he saw that the auction house was in the opposite direction he had been walking.
The auction house was located at the center of the city. It only took him fifteen minutes to walk to the auction house due to the large crowds that filled the street as he drew closer to the center of the large city.
The auction house was an extremely wide, two-story, white building. The only entrance into the building was at the front placed between a row of pillars.
Akira lined up behind the large crowd that was slowly moving forward through the path of pillars leading to the entrance.
The line flowed forward quickly allowing Akira to enter through the large oak double doors.
As he entered the small lobby he was greeted by the male receptionist behind the desk.
“Hello, sir is this your first time visiting? Would you like a flyer that explains everything about the auction house and how it functions?” asked the receptionist.
“Ah, yes, I suppose I should get one,” Akira agreed.
“That will be 50 copper, “ said the assistant after handing Akira the flyer.
Akira was caught off guard but paid the price for the flyer with a silver coin and received 50 copper back as change.
“Thank you for coming, we hope you’ll be able to find that special something that is just for you,” said the assistant with a smile.
“This place is such a rip-off. Charging 50 copper for a small piece of paper, that money could have bought a few cheap meals,” mumbled Akira as he passed through the door on the right labeled first-floor open auction room.
Akira began to read the expensive piece of paper he had just paid for.
Welcome to the NoFreGold auction house:
The first floor of our auction house is open every day for quick bidding on items under the rare rank.
Items of uncommon and lower rank can be placed in the main bidding room for a week, if said item is not sold within a week you will either have to pay for an additional week or retrieve your item.
There are two bidding periods each day. Opening-noon. Then a break for an hour. The second period is from one-five.
If you plan on bidding ask one of the staff at the claimant desk for a set of biding stickers.
The bidding stickers will have a number registered to your name. To bid on an item you must write down the price you want onto the sticker and place it on the information card next to the item.
If you are the winning bidder do not try to pick up the item. You are to go to the claimant desk and pay for the item before you can receive your item.
The second floor is only opened once a week and auctions off the items that are rare or of an even greater rank. All items will be auctioned off by our professional staff.
To have an item auctioned off you need to let the receptionist inspect the item. If it’s a rare or higher rank will you have the option to wait until the next day the second floor is opened to receive a higher price.
The NofreGold auction house will take a 10% tax on the final bidding price as payment.
“Well hopefully I can find something good in all of this mess,” said Akira as he looked around the large room.
There where thousands of items cluttered on hundreds of tables and shelves. The room could be mistaken for a junk shop, everything had the appearance that it had been carelessly thrown onto the tables and shelves with multiple things cluttered together.
A few hundred people that Akira could see were already weaving through the maze of tables and shelves looking for something good.
The auction house had their staff members standing behind every other table watching the people as they passed making sure that no one tried to steal anything.
Akira started to walk from table to table looking for anything interesting that was cheap enough to not break the bank.
When he found something interesting he would use his inspection skill and check the items information most turned out to be junk or nothing he needed at the moment.
After an hour of searching for something he could use, he reached the 69th table in his search. The table was empty except for an old looking black hooded cloak laying on the table.
Bored he decided to inspect the hooded robe.
Hooded Cloak of Secrecy (Rare):
It takes a good eye to be able to understand the greatness of this cloak.
-Unknown effect requires lvl 15 to unlock.
“Jackpot!” Akira happily muttered to himself, “But what is something like this doing on the first floor?”
Akira pondered this for a few moments before heading to the claimant desk registering his name (a fake one that is) and receiving a set of stickers for bidding with the number twenty-three on them.
He walked back to the cloak and looked at the starting price of 5 silver. The price was extremely cheap for a rare rare item. He wrote down 6 silver on his sticker and added it to the cloak’s information card.
There was only an hour left until the current bidding period finished. Instead of waiting next to the cloak Akira decided to look for other hidden gems in the piles of junk.
After searching around some more and not finding anything he walked back over to the table with the cloak to see if anyone else had bid on it. There was another sticker on it with the price of 10 silver.
Akira hurriedly wrote down 15 silver on a new sticker and placed it on top of the sticker for ten silver.
A table over a middle-aged man watched as Akira raised the price on the useless looking cloak.
‘So he is the one who bid on the cloak. Is it worth it to keep biding to see how badly he wants it?’ thought the man as he watching Akira.
With ten minutes left he walked up next to Akira and raised the price again to 25 silver.
Akira looked at the man next to him, ‘Why is he bidding on this? It looks like crap. If I didn’t know it was a rare item, I would have ignored it. Does he also know the cloaks rank?’
The two of them each stared at one another sizing the other up.
Then they both started a bidding war the price steadily rising 35, 45, 65, up and up it went.
Just as Akira placed a new bid, a loud gong was heard signaling the end of the afternoon biding.
The final price was 1 gold and 10 silver.
“How shameful spending a gold and 10 silver for that old ratty cloak,” said the man who had been in a bidding war with Akira. He was looking at Akira with disdain.
“Then why were you also bidding on it?” asked Akira.
“Hmph!” the middle-aged man harrumphed and left Akira.
Akira left the table and lined up behind one of the three the growing lines in front of the claimant desk. It took some time for all the staff to bring the information cards of the items that had been bidden on to the claimant desk.
When it was Akira’s turn he handed the remaining stickers back to the female clerk.
After searching the cards for his number she spoke in a bored voice, “Your final bid was 1 gold and 10 silver.”
Akira nodded his head and handed over the owed money.
After placing the money into a drawer and slamming it shut again. The clerk swiftly with practiced hands took a rubber stamp and pressed it into an ink pad before slamming it down on the information card and handed it to Akira.
“Next!” she shouted signaling Akira to get out of the way.
As he walked back to the table with the cloak he quickly looked at the stamp which said paid in large thick red letters.
Before Akira could take the cloak off the table he was stopped by a staff member standing behind the behind the table.
“Don’t touch that! You must first hand over the information card showing you have paid for this item,” said the strict looking burly man.
“Ah, sorry. This is my first time here,” said Akira as he handed over the card to the man who glanced it before handing the cloak to Akira.
“Thank you for coming to the Nofregold auction house. If you come again please be sure to follow the rules. We wouldn’t want to have a misunderstanding and brand you as a thief now would we,” said the burly man.
“I understand sir,“ said Akira as he giddily placed the cloak into his small bag and left the auction house.
When Akira had made it back to his room he was renting he let out a shout of joy. He had been able to get a rare piece of equipment for such a cheap price.
“Well I don’t know exactly what it does but it’s rare so it can’t be all that bad can it?” Akira asked himself out loud.
In an alley near the auction house, a hooded figure was talking to the man who been in a bidding war with Akira.
The man looked at the large triangle surrounded by seven smaller ones on the chest of the hooded figure. He shivered knowing who he worked for.
“You say a young male like I describe was he only an hour ago?” asked the hooded figure with a hiss.
“Y…yes, I swear I wouldn’t lie to you. Do you think I would risk offending you and the…” he was interrupted before he could continue talking.
“Enough! Tell me, where is he now?”
“H…how should I know that? I just sent a message to you to inform you like you said to. So is my debt cleared now?”
“So can I leave now?”
“Yes…Oh, wait I almost forgot I need something else from you.”
“What is it?” asked the middle-aged man.
“Your silence,” said the hooded figure his hand shooting out and stabbing at the middle-aged man with a dagger piercing all the way through his heart.
“I can’t have loose ends. I must inform headquarters of this,” mumbled the hooded man as he cleaned his dagger on the dead man’s clothes.