Reincarnated as a mana core - Chapter 88
Argul’s anxiety skyrocketed at the question of Mia. The problem wasn’t really explaining to the child what a pad was or what it was used to, but having to explain why in the world she had taught her niece about menstruation, pregnancy and contraceptives without telling her of things like pads and tampons. As a former and partly still man those things had just slipped her mind.
Argul fully turned to Mia, preparing herself to explain the pad, but Tania was faster than her. Whether that was a good thing or not remained to be seen. “These are menstruation pads, little Miss. You see, every month grown woman get something called pe-”
Mia looked up defiantly and interrupted the woman. “I know what menstruation is, I’m not stupid!”
Ignoring the speechless Tania she turned to Argul, who scratched her cheek uncertainty. “What are they for aunt?”
“Well, I think they are meant to keep your clothes clean during your period?”
Argul shot Tania a glance and hesitantly opened her mouth. “You know it’s rude to interrupt someone else Mia.”
The girl pouted a bit. “But she was rude first, just assuming I didn’t know!”
Argul nodded in agreement, both of them not realizing that it wasn’t exactly polite to discuss this in front of the offended offender. “That is true, you don’t have to repay that in kind however. If everyone did that the world would be an awful place.”
She wasn’t actually sure about that. The outcome of an encounter would mostly depend on the first action taken so it could very well be a good world, though things like murder or giving presents would spiral out of control pretty fast.
The two of them continued bantering for a minute or so, Tania eventually finding her way back into the conversation and Argul was just about to somehow explain to the shopkeeper why she didn’t need pads without telling her that she was, in fact, not a full woman and her body was little more than a bunch of mana, when Alyra arrived with Arthur in tow.
The two of them put the blankets they had chosen on the counter and Alyra gave the trio a raised eyebrow. “That’s quite an interesting topic you are discussing there.”
Argul’s ears flicked in embarrassment. “Ahh, well, it happened?”
She took a look at the 4 blankets, pre mana blankets to be precise and decided to take the opportunity to end the weird discussion. “Anyway, I think that would be all we need Tania.”
The shopkeeper nodded, giving the assortment of everyday stuff a look. “You plan to go on quite the journey, don’t you?”
Argul just shrugged in response and let the woman name a price. What she and her family did was not of Tania’s concern after all.
She let Arthur do the haggling and then left the shop with about 4 large bullets less, but more prepared for their travels instead. Hopefully the other things they had yet to get wouldn’t cost too much, because she only had 40 pieces of the sniper ammunition left.
Outside of the shop the group didn’t waste much time and walked down the street to the carpenter.
There Argul commissioned 5 planks that were about 20 cm long and 10 cm wide, making them fit comfortably on the palm of people with a bit larger hands or generally taller people. Each of the planks would have a small hole in their center, that would make it easier for Argul since she now only had to widen it for the mana storage stone.
The order was pretty easy and straightforward so the carpenter was able to finish it in less than half an hour. He even paused working on something else for the small task.
The planks cost Argul another 2 large bullets, leaving her with 38 and going by the face that Arthur made when she told the others that wasn’t going to be enough. That a truck trailer would cost more than that didn’t really make sense to her, because she doubted horses would be able to pull such a heavy large thing and it was ultimately unwieldy.
She trusted his sense for the market more than her own though and thought of other ways to pay for the long wagon. The bullets didn’t make that good of a currency and in the absence of something else being established, barter was a daily occurance. It wasn’t good for the government though since it was difficult to tax.
The group went to the closest stable next. There were more than one by now, but they were all in the outer rim of the market area.
Sadly, they weren’t all that successful at the eastern stable. There was a guy there, who knew a guy, who might know someone who was acquainted with someone else, who knew a trader that had a trailer, which wasn’t all that useful in Argul’s opinion, but she wasn’t exactly patient when it came to shopping.
Arthur assured her that having a trail like that was already a lot better than wandering around cluelessly, at least until Alyra told them that they would find someone at the northern stable.
Argul could only groan in response. She knew that her daughter didn’t want to interfere too much with her knowledge for now. This journey outside of her domain was something that could be seen as Argul saying goodbye to her humanity so she could embrace her new existence entirely afterall.
Alyra could still tell them about stuff like that earlier in her opinion though. It would have saved them at least half an hour of walking!
On the way to the northern stable it started raining and Argul had to shield the group from the falling water with her manipulation ability. This turned out to be more difficult than she had expected, just barely manageable and she mentally slapped herself for not creating a rain shield. Hadn’t she told herself that the grace period for humans was already over?
Mia tried to replicate her feat, but she wasn’t able to keep more than a fist dry in the rain. The jealous gazes they earned for walking around dry didn’t exactly help concentrating either.
After an hour of walking and getting lost they finally found the northern stable and true to Alyra’s words, the stable master told them the way to a trading company. The woman also gave them a letter of introduction that would speed things up for them, which Argul very much appreciated.
With the letter in hand, they now had to walk back into the residential parts of the city and Argul felt this familiar annoyance at not getting all she wanted in one place. It gave her too much time with nothing to do but think, which wasn’t that bad a thing anymore, but the memories and habits of her past remained, overshadowing the changes to her situation.
The building complex of the trading company was located in the outskirts of the residential parts of the city. They owned a good 10 buildings in addition to the newly constructed warehouses.
The whole compound was surrounded by a wooden barricade and the group had to enter through a somewhat medieval looking wooden gate. A guard stopped them there, asking for their purpose of visit and Argul truthfully answered while presenting the letter.
After checking the letter, especially the signature, they were kindly asked to wait for a few minutes for someone that would lead them to the trader who owned the trailer.
5 minutes of standing in the rain, without getting wet, later, a boy around 15 years old came running towards them. He gave the group a polite greeting before showing them the way to the trailer, telling them this and that during the walk.
Argul didn’t really listen to him, not interested in the market or the glory of this new trading company. The only thing that mattered to her was that the trader had been notified about her arrival and made haste to meet the group. It seemed like normally you would have to expect a good few hours of waiting, even with the letter of introductions and if you were unlucky the trader wasn’t in town, but the title of the Silver witch gave her some pull or the fact that she practically taught magic theory in Luna’s inn if someone asked.
They entered one of the long wooden warehouses and Argul could finally drop the magic umbrella.
Most of the house was empty besides a few crates standing around here and there. The only thing that stood out was the trailer parked along the left wall and the merchant standing next to it.
The man, who was now coming towards them, was dressed in a suit and a wild yet elegant hairstyle. He gave them an inviting smile and opened his arms in greeting. “A good day to all of you! I would normally ask if the weather wasn’t too much of a bother, but seeing you that seems to be unnecessary.”
He offered Argul a handshake. “The name is Colwin.”
She gave him a forced smile before taking his hand. “A good day to you too, Mr. Colwin. You may call me Miss Agren.”
He nodded and they shook hands, though Argul had to be careful not to accidentally injure him. “It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance Miss Agren.”
Somehow the way Colwin acted annoyed Argul, but she ignored it for the time being. The man gave the group another warm smile. “So, what can I do for you and your company today, Miss Agren?”
She kept her forced smile and came straight to the point. “We would like to buy that trailer there.”
He nodded sagely. “Ah yes, the trailer. You see, I have gone far and beyond to secure this one so I could use it once the problem with the technology is solved. Yet, it seems like that is not going to happen anytime soon so I may be willing to sell it, for the right price of course.”
Argul sighed deeply. “How much do you want?”
Colwin smiled brightly. “Straight to the point aren’t you Miss Agren?”
She rolled her eyes and let him continue. “For nothing more than the small sum of 250 sniper bullets I would be willing to part with that beauty of a trailer.”
Argul groaned in her mind and Arthur replicated it out loud for her while Mia looked confused at the adults. 250 was by far too much and there was no way she or Arthur would be able to negotiate that down to a measly 38.
She crossed her arms and looked at Colwin. It was time for plan B. “250 bullets is by far too much for us so I will make you a counter offer, one I will not negotiate.”
The man immediately turned serious and Argul continued. “I am willing to offer you written instructions teaching [conjure water] and [water manipulation] as well as the basics of magic needed for the two spells in exchange for the trailer. I would add [banish water] to the deal, but you would have to make modifications to the trailer, transforming it into a movable house and storage. This would give you all spells that are needed for [water manipulation].”
Colwin’s eyes widened ever so slightly as he heard her offer. What Argul offered was quite valuable to humans at the moment, more so than a single trailer and a few modifications and Colwin could make a lot of money with this.
For Argul however, the spells weren’t that special. They were some of the most basic things she knew of and she was more than willing to leave these instructions back. Not only would she gain the trailer this way, but also speed up the pace at which humanity recovered and discovered magic, or so she hoped at least. She wanted to see what crazy ideas they got, she would have never thought of.
Colwin’s eyes darted back and forth between her and the trailer and Argul could practically see the gears in his head turning. “I-, I am willing to accept that deal! But I need time for the modifications.”
Argul nodded in understanding. She needed time to write down the instructions as well. “How about we make a magical contract and both of us get one month’s time before we meet again?”
The man thought about it for a moment and nodded eagerly. The contracts had been part of the system for a while now so it wasn’t that surprising that he knew of them or maybe even had the skill himself.
[You have offered a contract to Colwin]
In exchange for the instructions on the basics of [water magic] he has to modify a truck trailer after your preferences and give it to you.
The trade will commence in 29d 23h 59min.
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