The novelty of sleeping in a soft bed hasn’t worn off yet. We had the inn to ourselves. I took one of the rooms and and forced Alice to take a different room. The morning was quiet, and the bed felt extremely soft. The morning sun waking me up also continued to be nice. I could get used to this.
As I got up I noted that I really one had one set of clothes, as did Alice. We would need to get some more. A single set was terrible. Currently we were wearing clothes that I had put together but I was not the best as design although the clothes were sturdy because they were made out of monster skin.
I went down stairs to find Portman playing a game (maybe solitaire or something similar) in the corner. As he noticed me he climbed out of the chair and said, “Ahh, good morning Master Jack.”
“Yes, of course, how silly of me to forget.” He looked around the inn main room which was now completely empty. “It seems that the innkeeper has abandoned the place so if you want something for breakfast we will need to go elsewhere.”
“Portman, how much would you recon that this inn costs?”
“This inn? Maybe 2000 gold pieces all told, why?”
As I expected building were expensive, at least I felt that the number was expensive. I unstrapped the sword that was around my waist. I slid the sword out for a moment to examine the blade, a sharped tooth, before putting it back into the sheath. I then held it out of Portman.
“I would like you to sell this for me. If I am to stay in this city I will need money which I do not have much of. However I feel that the blade will fetch a high price. Find somebody who is willing to buy it for a fair price and then return to me with the money. If you wish me to retain your services then you can take a weeks worth of salary out of what you do.”
Portman hesitantly took the sword and said, “Are you sure it is alright to sell this?”
“Do you think that that sword is valuable?”
He nodded, “Yes, very valuable. I have an appraisal skill and this is the most expensive item I have ever held. It might, no it definitely is, the best crafted sword in this entire city. I don’t know if it will be possible to get a fair price unless the High Nobility want to buy it. And I doubt they would want to buy anything that came from you.”
I waved my hand, “Just get the highest price you can manage. I have plenty of other weapons and that one is not particularly special.” I neglected to mention that the sword was also a bit out of date. I had improved a bit since I had made that one. It was the oldest remaining weapon that I had taken with me out of the demon pit. The spear that I had sent against the tower was more powerful than it and that weapon was unlikely to have survived the impact.
He did a little bow and said, “I will do my very bust to get you a good price. I know a couple people who would be very interested in buying it.”
He turned and began to leave but before he exited the building I said, “Oh, and it should go without saying that if somebody tries to rob you of it then I will kill them.”
There was a moment of hesitation as he realized the implied threat that if he tried to cheat me then he would also be killed. He nodded and left the building.
With that done I headed into the inn kitchen. The place was empty of people but those people who had previously been here had not emptied it of food. There hadn’t been any new food delivered but there was still enough to make a meal for me and Alice.
Some eggs, some sausages, and a few potatoes. Enough to make a proper breakfast. Since I knew that Alice was going to want seconds I made sure to prepare plenty extra. There wasn’t quite as many spices as I had hoped but there was salt and pepper and that was good enough.
I heard the front door of the inn opening while I was cooking but didn’t worry too much. Currently I didn’t think that there was anybody in the city who would even potentially challenge me or Alice. I filled a couple of plates with the food that I had made and entered the main room of the inn.
There I was greeted with, “I’m extremely sorry.”
It was the kid from yesterday. He was bowing in apology to me. It was a little embarrassing actually. “Oh, yeah, uhhh, don’t worry about it.” Having said that I turned my head toward the stairs leading upward and yelled, “Alice, food!”
Then almost predictably there was a loud thump and hurried noises from upstairs. She was nothing it not gluttonous.
She was disheveled as she reached the bottom of the staircase. Her eyes immediately locked on the plate that I was holding and she almost ran to it. “What do we have here?”
“Eggs, sausage, and potatoes. Breakfast style.”
“Your made them?” Asked Alice as her eyes widen hopefully.
“Indeed.” And I handed the plate over to her.
I could feel the second pair of eyes looking at the food. The kid. He was eyeing the plate with a hungry look that I could easily recognize from my experience with Alice. They weren’t saying anything, resisting their urges, but I could feel the stare none the less.
I sighed. I was too much of a softy. “Here, you can have it. I made extras.” I forced the plate off to the kid given them no choice but to take it from me. Then I turned around back to the kitchen to get myself a plate. It had been a good idea to make plenty.
“What… I couldn’t possibly…” Said the kid in protest.
“I already gave it to you. Do whatever you want with it.” Was all I said. I wasn’t going to force them to eat it after all.
When I returned with my own (third) plate he were still standing there debating what to do.
“You should eat it or you will remain scrawny. Don’t you want to be like your father?” I was making a bunch of assumptions but they were reasonably safe assumptions. “Just take a seat. We aren’t going to bite.”
The kid looked up and said, “Are you like a good demon or something?”
“That is a complicated question I think. I would like to think of myself as a good demon. At least I would like to avoid being a bad demon.” I took my seat and the kit shuffled nervously before eventually taking a seat too.
“But, but, you are a Demon Lord. Aren’t Demon Lords supposed to be the ultimate evil?”
“Nah, in my case I got it because I beat up all the demons where we came from.”
“Why did you do that.”
Kids… “Because we were being forced to fight in gladiatorial fights.”
“And eat bad food.” Said Alice between bites.
“Don’t talk at eat. It is bad manners.” I said.
She just stuck her tongue out at me and said, “Demon.” I was never going to win against her on that.
The kid looked between us and said, “Are you two married?”
“No.” I said.
Alice however had a different impression, “Oh, married. We should do that Jack. Then you would have to make me food every day. It would be great.”
“That isn’t really how marriage works. Plus there are all kinds of other things involved in marriage too.”
Alice nodded, “Yeah, I know. I’ve been prepared for that since you first recruited me. But you haven’t seemed interested.”
She was staring at me. I coughed and turned my head. Was she really implying what I felt that she was implying? When I returned my gaze she had returned to eating like that had never happened. The kid however was looking embarrassed and was also starting to eat, it only to avoid having to pay attention to adult matters.
Even if Alice was interested in that kind of stuff I still had to wait. I had an authoritative role over her and it was bad to start a relationship like that. Once I was certain she could survive without me then I could consider more.
Finally the kid… so I should call them by their name. Finally Azar said, “So did you come to this city to take it over?”
“Didn’t I just say that I wasn’t an evil demon? Why would I want to take over this city?”
Azar was quite for a moment. Finally he said, “Because the High Nobility are evil.”
Ahh… a complicated problem. Azar didn’t think very highly of the nobility but his father worked for them. I thought back through my walk in the city to this place. It had initially seemed prosperous but maybe I had thought too many of the things I saw was because of me and not the general theme of the city. Maybe it was only the veneer of prosperity in the city that had once been prosperous.
If that was the case then what should I do. I hadn’t wanted to conquer the city plus I wouldn’t know what to do with it even if I did take it over. I was hardly fit for any leadership role.
“Azar, can you tell me everything that you know about this city and the High Nobility?”
“Sure,” said Azar and then he proceeded to tell me what he knew about it. I made sure to mark what he knew with a grain of salt because he was a kid but often kids also saw things unclouded by judgements that adults might have.
Much later in the day Portman came back carrying two large sacks. He was also looking thoroughly pleased with himself. I also felt like he was looking at me differently. He set the sacks down on the table next to me.
I opened one up and inside was not gold like I had a expected or even silver. But was similar to silver but slightly different and a more impressive crest on it. “And these are?” I asked.
“Platinum. Each is worth a hundred gold pieces.”
“Two bags full?”
“Indeed.” He seemed excessively proud of his accomplishment.
“Who did you scam to get this much for just that sword.”
“Scam? No, no, no. It was an auction. I never expected the price to get this high. However one of the High Nobility got involved and then the price skyrocketed.”
“I though that you said that the High Nobility wouldn’t get involved?”
“I had thought so too but it seemed that I was wrong. Apparently there is already talk about a fracturing of the high nobles. You have caused quite a stir and each of the high nobles are scrabbling to determine what to do next. I expect some of the high nobles to begin to approach you about it soon.”
“Is some of that your doing I wonder?” I asked.
He grinned, “Who knows?”
I reached into the bag and counted out thirty platinum pieces. “Make sure this gets to the innkeeper. Tell him that I am purchasing his inn. That should be more than enough to cover it.”
“You want to purchase the inn?” He asked.
“It seemed like an appropriate place to live. Lots of space and a good kitchen.”
“You could surely get a mansion with this money, especially if you gained the support of one of the high nobles.”
“What seems overly unnecessary. Plus way more space then we would need.”