Balancing the Scales: The Sage Hero's Story
The two approach the gate to the capital of Vance and are stopped by two guards in iron plate with spears. “Halt and state your business in the capital!” a deep booming voice barks at Kaz, he looks up with a smile, “My partner and I are just here to do some mercantile business. We have things to sell, and we need to see the smith.” He responds to the guard. The guard then reaches out his hand, “That’ll be an entry tax of two copper.” He demands. Kaz shoves the two magnifying glasses into his back pocket and opens his coin pouch and fishes out two dull copper coins, then drops them into the palm of the knight. The knight looks at the other and nods, and they both raise their spears and wave the two of them in, “Behave yourselves, you two.” They warn them before going back to guard the gate.
Kaz and Tasi wander around before they come upon a storefront with a wooden plaque hanging out front depicting a coin pouch and brass scales. Kaz points to the door as he looks back at Tasi, they both head in through the wooden shutters and walk to the counter. “Luckily, the store is empty.” Kaz thought before he motioned Tasi to lay the flashlights on the counter. Kaz opens the packaging on all of them quickly and rings the small bell for assistance. A younger boy comes out of the back room and greets them. “Welcome to the Vance General Store! How can I help you this evening?” he says with a smile.
Kaz returns his greeting, “I want to sell these, but I don’t know if you can price them or not.” Kaz says, then he explains what a flashlight is, how to work it, and demonstrates it for him as well. The young boy asks Kaz to excuse him for a moment before he runs to the back room, the sound of him climbing steps can be heard just before some shouting. He then returns to the counter with a man he introduces as Alden, his father, as well as the owner of the shop. Alden eyes Kaz curiously and fiddles with one of the flashlights.
“I’m sorry young man, I don’t have the knowledge to put a price on these. May I propose a deal in the meantime?” he asks. Kaz looks at Tasi, she shrugs her shoulders. “What'd you have in mind, gramps?” Kaz replies as he leans on the counter. Alden laughs and points to one wall of the store, “You can take anything from that wall in return for one light stick. In the meantime, I’ll ask around to ascertain its value. You come back in a day or two and we’ll discuss a deal. How’s that sound?” The old man smiles as he awaits a response.
Kaz walks up and down the wall, then points to a large steel ingot. “Give me this and you've got a deal, gramps!” he shouts across the store while holding up the hunk of metal above his head so Alden can see it. Kaz hears a reply from up at the counter, “You’ve got a deal boy!” he cackles. Kaz hears the elusive ringing sound in his head again. He rejoins Tasi at the counter, who is playing around with Alden’s son while she waits. He then asks as he watches Tasi swing Alden's child around on her tail “Hey gramps, could you point me to the smith?” Alden grabs a “Closed” sign from behind the counter and motions Kaz and Tasi to follow him back outside. Alden tells his son to go get ready for bed, he then hangs the sign on the shutter and points to a large wooden shed down the road before heading off to the opposite end of the street and waving goodbye.
After having finished at the general store, the duo make their way down to the building they’d been directed to. Kaz shoves open a heavy metal door with a loud squeak, the banging of a hammer on metal can be heard ringing throughout the structure. Kaz walks up to the broad-shouldered bald man with a scruffy goatee who was sitting in front of an anvil, hammering away at a hunk of red hot metal.
“Excuse me!” Kaz yells as he taps on his shoulder. The loud clanging ceases and the man gets up and turns to face Kaz and Tasi. He looks at Kaz, “That’s some pretty dingey looking armor kid.” He states before turning to Tasi. His eyes light up upon seeing her silver armor and tail halberd. “But yours is absolutely wonderful! So masterfully crafted, the engraving, so well maintained! What can I do for you two lovebirds?” he says excitedly. “Well, it’s an odd request. I think it’d be better if we showed you sir. Wait, lovebirds. Us?” Kaz’s face turned red before he turned around to calm himself. Kaz turned back around and handed him the steel ingot, “We need two large pieces of metal rejoined.” Kaz pleaded. The smith began bellowing with laughter, “All right. Lead the way you two. Name’s Ferron, but you can call me Ron” He snickers before following the two of them back to the car.
Upon arriving back where they hid the car, Ferron’s jaw dropped. He rushed up and began picking at the windshield of the car. “What are you doing Ron?” Kaz shouted. Ferron looked back at Kaz with a wild expression and ran back to him, “Why are there dragon scales in this thing?” he yells, holding a handful of bright blue scales in his palm. “These alone could almost buy you an entire manor with plenty of land for a family!” he shouted at Kaz. Kaz’s face went pale, “Oh. I don’t know how they got there. Maybe a dragon flew overhead?” Kaz always struggled with lying. “How about this, if you can manage to rejoin and fix this.” Kaz pulls the roof of the car out of the back seat and drops it in front of him. “I’ll tell you where I got those scales. Deal?” Kaz reached his hand out to shake, “Working for free isn't my deal.” Ferron grins, “Give me a scale or two as well and you’ve got a deal Kaz!” Kaz agrees and lets him keep two of the scales, he puts the rest in his coin pouch and shakes Ferron’s hand. Kaz pulls Ferron aside for a moment before they start heading back. “Can you join these together with a flexible rod?” Kaz whispers as he places the two magnifying glass lenses in his hand and places another vivid blue scale on top of them. “What, like glasses? Who the hell needs glasses this big?” he asks as he scratches his head, Kaz shushes him. He smiles and gives Kaz a wink.
The three of them head back into town, Ferron agrees to start his work the following day and heads back to his shop. Tasi and Kaz both locate an inn to stay at, but they meet Alden who is waiting by the door. Alden flags them down and calls them over, “I found someone who will buy the flashlights Kaz, at an exorbitant price as well!” he shouts as he hands Kaz a small leather pouch. Kaz opens the sack and peers inside, two gold coins and a handful of silver coins as well. Kaz wasn’t sure of the currency’s actual value, but he could tell by the way Alden was acting that it was quite a bit. “That’s great. I’ll drop the rest by your store tomorrow!” Kaz says cheerfully as he pats Alden on the shoulder. Alden bows and thanks the two for their patronage and heads back to his shop.
Tasi follows Kaz into the inn, they only had a room for one available that night. Kaz opens the room and begins to take his armor off, revealing his white undershirt and pair of boxer shorts. He then heads into the bathroom and draws some warm water. The bath finally fills up and he shuts the water off and steps in. He hears the door creak open ever so slightly, and a purple blur flies past, followed by a large splash in the water next to him. Kaz shields his face from the water, and just as he had guessed. It was Tasi who had come to bathe with him.