We were dipping into our accumulated money stockpile to purchase some magical items. I had acquired an Arcanologist job which gave me access to the Magical Appraisal skill. While it was no good for mundane items but I could accurately identify most enchantments on items. Some particularly unusual enchantments were difficult to discern but most things that were commonly sold didn’t qualify.
I had learned it by spending some money through the merchant’s guild to arrange a tutor. Herbert was apparently surprised that I kept leveraging him for more services but apparently he got some kickbacks from it so it wasn’t entirely on sided.
Mendel’s Magical Items was the shop of choice that I had picked up. The titualar Mendel was a portly man who had trouble being taken seriously in the more major cities however here is Dungeoncity the only thing that mattered for a prosperous shop was skill.
Mendel wasn’t the highest skill magical creator in the city but he had a sense of style and creativity that did not exist in the other shops. He went the extra mile and his items always had that special touch.
My staff was beginning to show its age. It was the second staff that I had owned. I had replaced my initial staff when I was around level 12 however when I bought it I hadn’t known about Mendel. The staff was worse quality then I had hoped but I hadn’t been able to tell at that time. After that I was basically forced to keep it because it was an expensive investment.
This time however I was going to find something good.
“Hey, Mendel, how’s the store?”
“Good enough. I hear your planning some big expedition.”
I nodded, “Yeah, there are a few things on the list that I need to buy so I wanted to consult with you.”
“Sure, what are you needing?”
“The first order of business is that I need a new staff. Something more appropriate for my level.”
He nodded, he knew I had been thinking about getting a new one. “So, an Elementalist focused one? Any other special requirements? I know you have also been practicing Life magic.”
“That is one thing too. However I don’t want the staff to deal with that. I just need a charm for my Life magic. One that emphasizes mana conservation. However about the staff I would prefer one that specializes in Fire magic. I recently got an improved Fire Elementist job so my fire spells are definitely my best offensive options.”
“Turning into a right good fire mage huh? Did you prefer an offensive focus on the staff or something else?”
“Yes if it can have a more generalized focusing effect as well as a fire damage boost that would be best but I know that is a lot to ask.”
He rubbed his chin contemplating, “I don’t have anything like that is stock. However if the expedition isn’t leaving for a bit I could make you something custom.”
“Custom? Don’t you have quite the backlog?”
“Some, but you have been a good customer. But more important than that I’m looking to the future. You have been progressing really well and it would be good publicity to have you do something big with a custom piece of gear.”
“I’m not going to have enough money to get everything custom but I could probably afford the staff.”
He nodded, “I’ll write up an estimate and get it delivered to you tomorrow.”
“Now about the other things? I also need the Life magic charm, one with efficiency would be the best but power is acceptable too. Sterling needs a magical shield, his current shield can’t handle the stain anymore so something with high durability would be good. The jungle also has a lot of poisons so something to resist those for Lanette, preferable resisting poisons that give speed debuffs.”
“I’ve got the Life magic charm and the shield. There are a few different rings with poison resist but I don’t have anything specifically to resist movement poisons. You can look at them in the case over there is your want to choose.”
I nodded and began looking through his stock. There were those items but sometimes there could be things that you didn’t realize you wanted. Most of the items I could ignore. They were minor magical items for more rookie adventurers, things that I already had. Like the robes that I was wearing which provided good magical resistance.
The other side of magical items were consumables. While I wasn’t going to buy any of those until the permanent items had all been collected it was good to alway have a feel for what was on the market.
While I was glancing over the items I stopped and leaned in too look at it. It was small stuff bear, about the height of a finger. It could tell with my skill that it only had a minor good luck charm on it. It was a kind of magic that was basically useless in combat but some adventurers took every advantage that they could get.
“Hey, Mendel, could I get this too?”
“That? What do you want that for? I don’t think it would be very useful for you.”
“I think it would look cute tied to my satchel.”
He paused for a moment then said, “Aye, that it probably would. It was initially made for small kids to tuck into their crib to protect them from harm however it never sold. I could affix a strap and you would be able to attach it to your bag.”
After that I looked through the poison resist items. Found one that looked good for Lanette and had Mendel tally up the price for everything. It was expensive but good magical items kept you alive. Normally I would haggle the prices but Mendel priced things fairly they were good quality.
Most of the items went in my satchel, to which I attached the tiny stuff bear that Mendel had quickly adjusted. It was indeed cute. The shield wouldn’t go over the bad and had to be slung over the shoulder.
As I left the town and began to head back to the inn that was our base of operations I was approached by a couple of men whose level compared to mine wearing pure black clothing. Normally this might be a cause for alarm but I recognized their insignia. The Ravens, an veteran adventuring group.
“Hey,” said one of the men fairly gruffly. “Our boss, leader of the Ravens, wants to meet with you. Said it was important.”
“Really? Do you know why?” I had heard rumors about the boss of the Ravens but I had never meet them in person.
“Information about your expedition.” He said.
We really must have started to make a reputation for ourselves since everybody seemed to know about the expedition.
“Should I go with you now then?”
“Dinner, 6pm, at the Cobelatte. The boss said to come alone.”
“Alone? Why alone?”
“Dunno, ask the boss.”
I nodded, the Cobelatte was as upscale as restaurants in Dungeoncity came. Doing something devious there would be hard to get away with. “Alright, I’ll be there.”
Six o’clock wasn’t that far away because I had spent so long perusing items. I had to deliver the items to the inn. When I arrived I found Sterling and Lanette huddeled around a table which had a map on it.
“How’s the route going?” I asked as I approached.
“Welcome back.” Said Sterling who nodded as I approached. He was without his armor today. He looked skinny but that was not exactly accurate. His frame was much stronger that it looked. There must be some kind of video game magic which made the levels more than just physical muscle.
“We have been debating whether to go through the gulley of madness or fog bank.”
“Well the first one sounds more dangerous.”
“The fog bank has larger concentrations of enemies…” Began Sterling.
I held up a hand, “I left this part of the planning to you two. I’ll go with whatever route you think is the more beneficial.” I probably could have participated in all the different planning activities but it was good to make sure everybody had some experience in this kind of thing.
“Understood.” Said Sterling.
“I got everybody their items.” I handed over my purchases.
“What about your staff?” Asked Lanette.
“Mendel said he wanted to make me something custom. Good product placement he said.”
“After strange phrase from you but I think I understand what you mean.”
“I also have a meeting with the leader of Raven later tonight. I believe she wants to talk about the expedition.”
“Raven huh? I suppose it is worth it to go. They mostly specialize in doing expeditions into the Jungle and they have a lot of level 20+ adventurers.”
“Yeah but I expect something more than just a simple meeting. I was asked to attend the meeting alone.”
“I’m sure everything will be fine.” Said Sterling. “Whatever it is you can just say no.”
Lanette however was more pensive. “Do you need a backup? Just in case things go sour.”
“No, it should be fine. It would probably be better if you just finished planning the route. I’ll give you the highlights when I get back.”
The items were distributed to them and I explained what I had learned about them from Mendel and from my own examination of the items. The two of them were about to order dinner from the inn when it was time for me to go and meet the boss of Raven.
The journey to Cobelatte was a big of a walk. It was on the side of the town close to the mountains, way from any potential monster invasion. The place was ritzy but some adventurers liked using either money to live up the big life and this was one place for them to do it.
As I entered the restaurant I was greeted by one of the servers who said, “As Miss Veronica, your table is this way.” I was lead toward the back of the restaurant where the boss of Raven was waiting for me.
She was a woman in her early thirties. Most of the time she wore black leather armor but now she was wearing a simple black dress. Although I did not doubt that she had some kind of weapon hidden on her person. She was level 45, very high level by Dungeon city standards.
“Veronica, please have a seat. I recommend the roast pork, it is quite excellent.” She spoke nonchalantly but her eyes constantly darted around the restaurant as if scanning for threats.
“If that is what you suggest then I’ll get that.”
“Good. Have you been liking your time in Dungeoncity?”
There was some small chatter before the server came and took our order. She listened as I spoke a little about our experiences in Dungeoncity.
Eventually it was time for idle banter to end and for business to begin.
“First, I would like you to quit your team and join Raven.”
“You do know that I am basically the leader of my team right? Besides I like my team.”
“Tsk, well it was worth a shot. Although Raven would accept all three of you if you want.”
“Again I will have to refuse.”
“Are you in charge of the training regime that your team uses? Your team very efficiently have been gaining levels this last couple of months.”
“I’m afraid I can’t say it is anything special other than extremely hard work. Maybe your people are just not motivated enough.” I lied as smoothly as I could.
“You might be right about that. Once a member reaches level 20 it is hard to keep that growth up. It is hard to force them without having them grow resentful and we have basically made a name for ourselves doing things approprate for that level so it is hard to blame them.” Said Stella the leader of Raven. “Still you would be quite a boon.”
“Is this going to be about trying to get me to join you or was there something else you wanted to talk about?” I asked.