Better Business through Portals

Reads: 141  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 3

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Mystery solved!

Submitted: July 22, 2015

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 22, 2015

A A A

A A A


"Actually, I'm a piddler of a peddler," I say to Guard Satchel, who leans on my counter top.

"What's that mean, merchant?" Satchel asks.

"Oh, I dabble in this and that drabble," I reply with a shrug. "Bring me armor, I get it to armorers. Weapons? Armory. Alchemy? Wizards and such."

Satchel looks over my conveyor belts leading into the back, all labeled appropriately for each, and powered by my little goblin familiars who turn the cranks.

"What about that one?" Satchel says, looking at the Junk belt. "What good's junk?"

I allow a small smile. "Oh, I'm a modern-day kind of Alchemist, you see."

"A wha?"

"Ah, big words..." I press the fingertips of my hands together, thinking. "Let's see. You heard about turning lead into gold and such, my watchful friend?"

"Yah."

"Well, I do the same thing, but..." I lean across the counter-top, whispering. "Don't tell the Champion, okay? Our little secret."

"Why woulda I help that cuss, anyways?" Satchel says. "He's always runnin' through town on his horse, scaring people, demanding someone give him a quest or somethin'. Stupid cad."

"Well..." I grin. "Okay, you see, he brings in all these shiny rocks, skulls, bits of debris and the likes, and I buy it from him for a little here and there, you know?"

Satchel picks at his teeth with one of my bargain-brand tooth picks. Best-sellers in the tavern business across the countryside.

"Yah?" Satchel finally says. "He brought inna dead muckrab once. Stank up the Dainty Lady next door, demanding twenty copper or some such." He picks out a piece of mutton from his teeth, admires it a moment, then licks it off, right back down the hatch. "A dead muckrab!" He shakes his head.

"I bought that."

He looks out the corner of his eye at me. "You did wha? For how much?"

"Ten copper and two mugs of water," I answer.

"Wha, wait," Satchel says. "Okay, ten copper, yah, but you sold him water? And he bought it? Water?" I nod. "Like, he coulda drank from the stream outta the city?" I nod again. "Har! That's rich, merchant!"

"You said it, Satch," I reply with a smile. I rub my hands together. "He's rich, and he's making me--us all--richer."

"With dead muckrabs?"

"And mugs of water."

"How?" Satchel asks as he flips the used toothpick onto the floor, where it's retrieved by a goblin familiar and flipped down the Junk belt, heading to the back. "This I'd like to hear."

"Well..." Again I whisper. "Don't tell the Champion this: But I got portals back there, at the end of each belt. A wizard friend did it--for a start-up fee."

"You know a wizard?"

"All good merchants know a wizard!" I say. "It's just good business."

"Anyways," I continue. "The portals drop into storage rooms I've rented at Callistile, the merchant capitol here on Lorristal, where a broker opens them up every two or three cycles for thirty-moment inspections by numerous bidders. To the highest bidder goes the entire content of the storage room."

"Ah, yah?" Satchel says, looking at the conveyor belts again. "So, they just throw the gold in a sack back through the portal every few cycles, then?"

"That's about the long and short of it, my sentrical friend."

Satchel looks at the Junk belt, though. "And that? Wha about the Junk? Who buys junk?"

I shrug. "I have no idea," I admit. "Someone has a use or fetish for this stuff, I'm sure. One man's junk is another muckrab's nest, or something."

"Wha? Muckrabs buy stuff?"

"Well, not the ones 'round here," I say, waving my hand. "Keep getting killed for a pittance of copper by every nub of a wannabe Champion for target practice."

"So, same deal with the junk?" Satchel asks.

"Yes, exactly," I reply. "Thirty moments of peeking, then bidding, then the gold comes back through the portal in a sack. Win-win, apparently." I shrug. "I don't question it. It works. Portals are good business."


© Copyright 2019 Jack Motley. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Comments

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

More Fantasy Short Stories