Crimson chorus from the.., p.2
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       Crimson Chorus, From the Nine Kingdoms (Chapter 2), p.2
 

          
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  ***

  In the merchant neighborhood some merchants began their crop day; others, neither late nor lazy, raised tents; and many others prowled the avenues. Among them was the hoary Veledden who seemed irritated, not because the limited competent of his assistant or the disdainfulness of his young guide, but a hangover, product of the last night's feast. He liked to alleviate his worries with ferments of low quality in taverns of low reputation. The consequences were always the same and his assistant Resso always handled to assembling the tent alone, causing delays.

  “Chief, you do not look healthy today,” said Resso worriedly, while using a rag to polish a pair of jars. “Do you want to rest a little longer? Zoria and I can deal with the crop.”

  “I ... No ...” said Veledden while was staggering because his sickness. “That girl ... just wandering around the city,” he groaned, this time was because his guide servant. “She didn’t even deign to appear,” he complained again holding his head. “No, I must stay to supervise this ...”

  “Let us trust chief," added Resso condescendingly. “Certainly Zoria is already on the way. Also,” he sweetened his voice fearing to his recklessness, “I am sure that discomfort will not progress at 1st golden-hour, contrary it will get worse ...”

  He stared to his assistant with eyes wide open, remembering something.

  “I think ... just for this time I'm going to follow your recommendation ... yes, I'd better go and rest some more ... Aye ... I'll be well ...” said Veledden, retreating.

  When Zoria appeared, Resso had finished the tent for the bronze-crop. He was attending his first client, who had bought a couple jars of palm-fruit oil, for the sum of 28 cooprou’s. He thanked him with a kindly gesture, which changed later to seriousness when he noticed the presence of his unconcerned companion.

  “What made you take so long?! Once again you entertained with your explorations?!”

  “What a night ...” said Zoria cheerfully. “It got me completely exhausted.” Had finished while was looking around as part of his strategy to minimize the accustomed scolding from his chief, who does it whenever she was late or unwilling to help; for her luck, she realized that the chief wasn’t. “And where’s the boss? Couldn’t get up?”

  “Of course he's up,” replied Resso as scolding. “But he decided to go to rest for a bit more. He entrusted us the bronze-crop.”

  “Us ...?! JA! Why do you include me? It’s supposed that you are the disciple here, the trader, the merchant, the ...”

  “And you're the guide,” replied Resso interrupting her mockery. “And don’t forget that from here you receive the payment for wandering around the city. And let's not talk about your nighttime distractions ...”

  “MMM ... You're right pal,” said Zoria shrewdly, then she investigated around as if looking for something. “What has been known about the flame-crafter?”

  “Flame-crafter ...? Still with that?! I thought you would tell me,” he changed his mood to interest.

  “I’ve just arrived. But it's strange ...”

  Zoria silenced at once after see a customer asking for the prices of the jars and their contents. Resso disposed to answer.

  His first suggestion was the big jars, which kept palm-fruit oil and sent a sweet aroma, but the customer wasn’t convinced by the offer, more for the price which was fifteen cooprou’s. He was demanding a discount, the same that was for a pair of jars. But, Resso wouldn’t accept it so easily nor would risk losing a client; charming him was as valuable as earning a single cooprou. That was the trading art, breaking the will of the customer before the agreed price and if it could, get a little more. Even masters in the art could get the double. It was not the offered item but the interactive way with the customer. Accepting the customer's request without even dealing was a symbol of an inexperienced merchant and that was disapproved upon all merchants. Resso had experience but sometimes the results of his transactions weren’t pleasant to his chief. He had to improve and every opportunity was a living experience, and he had to take advantage of it.

  "You see, you're the one who likes good oils …" said Resso as seducing him. “Like the best ones. I know oils because I trade with them, but also, I know about good customers because I recognize them.”

  “Are you sure?”

  The customer was interested, he had been seduced.

  "Yes," affirmed Resso. “Come, come ..." he whispered. “I have a jar of palm-fruit oil but it isn’t like the ones I have here ... although ... I do not know if you would be willing to pay for it ...”

  “Are you trying to swindler me?”

  The customer looked insecure.

  “You offend me, of course not. I would not risk losing a good customer. Really it is of the best quality ...”

  "Fine ... and how much for it?" asked the client with interest.

  "Well ... eighteen cooprou’s.”

  “What?!”

  “Be calm ... I will give you a discount.”

  “How much ...?”

  Resso had finished the transaction. The customer was satisfied, for the surprise of Zoria who didn’t believe it.

  “You surprise me. You've managed to sell him an oil jar for eighteen cooprou’s.”

  “Sixteen.”

  “Two cooprou’s less than your first price tag?”

  “Well ... It’s a bit more than the fixed price.”

  “You're improving ...” said Zoria flatly.

  “And why are you so interested?” asked Resso as he put the rounds in his wallet. “It’s unusual from you.”

  “I'm not. It's just that you took me by surprise.”

  “I do not mean about the trades, but the woman and the fire stranger.”

  “Yes ...’ said Zoria remembering. “The woman ... When I saw her, I thought I had seen her before.”

  “Are you sure? Haven’t you confused her with someone else?”

  “Confuse her? HA. Even you were almost overwhelmed by her charm, I thought you would be the one who threw the flames through the eyes,” she said mockingly. “No pal ... That woman has an incomparable body; besides, don’t forget that I have a good memory. I'm sure I've seen her somewhere else ...”

  “Explain it that way, well I also open to doubts ... But all this isn’t our concern! Don’t want to use it as an excuse to leave your place and wander around the city ‘searching’. Leave that task for watch guilds!”

  “Right ... the watchers ...”

  “What ...? Now what are you plotting?”

  "I must go."

  “Are you going away?!”

  “I'll be back in a couple of hours,” said Zoria, retreating.

  “Wait, Zoria! You haven’t heard me?!”

  “I'll be back before our boss returns ...”
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