The things on the wooden shelves were as disorganized as usual. However, Claude had come here with the intent of getting something with value who others couldn’t tell. He picked up every single item and carefully scrutinized it before putting it back down on the shelf, causing Borkal to call out to him after he was sick of waiting when he had finished his payment.
It won’t do, I can’t look through each and every single item like that. Other things aside, these three rows on the shelves have at least a hundred little objects. If wouldn’t have enough mental power to look all of them through anyway. If I linger for too long, somebody will also suspect me. Even though Wakri doesn’t know about magical items, he’s a capable merchant and if I take so long to pick something, he’ll definitely jack up the price.
Claude told Borkal to leave first while he looked for some toys for Bloweyk. He then retreated and swept the items on the shelves from a distance while concentrating on his mental power. He believed that if something there was truly magical, there would be some sort of sign that he could identify. That would save him much more time to pick the magical item out if it was there to begin with.
Surprisingly, his method really worked. The first of the three wooden shelves didn’t reveal anything under his concentrated gaze, but there were two items on the second shelf that did. One of them glowed slightly green and the other, slightly black. There was one item on the third shelf that pulsed blue twice.
Claude hurriedly took those items. The first item that emanated a slight green glow was a small wooden plaque. It looked rather odd and seemed to have an oily surface. It was black-brown and it didn’t look the least bit eye-catching, reminding Claude of longevity lock pendants from his past life. However, those pendants were usually made of jade, gold or silver instead of wood like the little trinket he held in his hand. He didn’t know whether that thing was used as an accessory or decoration either.
The second item that released a black aura was a dagger that looked incredibly normal, save for its scabbard that was made of a bone of a large marine creature, making it stand out slightly. Claude guessed that it probably belonged to some sailor before he lost it during a bet or pawned it to Mock’s Goods after using all his money up for drinking. A layer of dust had built up on the scabbard with the passing of time.
The third item that pulsed with a blue glow was a pen holder in the shape of a fish jumping out of water. The mouth of the fish was wide open for the pen to slot in. There were several types of writing instruments in this world, but the most common ones were dip pens and pencils. Dip pens slightly resembled quails from Claude’s past life, but their tips were mostly made of copper or silver and they had to be dipped in ink before they could be used. Instead of a feather, the top of the pen was a wooden stick that was engraved with all sorts of patterns that could be filled in with color.
The fish-shaped pen holder wasn’t the size of normal pencil cases and looked rather small, but more intricate in comparison. There was a base that resembled water which the fish jumped out of and two holes for screws. It was probably made as a decoration for a ship, such as on the desk of the captain’s room. That way, the pen holder could be secured on the desk and won’t fall even if the ship oscillated strongly from the waves. Unless the whole ship flipped over, the pen holder would remained screwed tight to the desk in a ship cabin.
Right now, Claude didn’t care whether the three items in his hand were real magical items and why they glowed. He focused his mental power and swept the three shelves once more. After confirming that nothing else stood out, he took those items out of the storeroom to look for Wakri.
Borkal, Eriksson and Welikro were standing outside the shop and looking at an overturned flipper.
Flippers were what the folks of Whitestag called a type of small boat. It was roughly four to five meters in length and two meters wide and the head and tail of the boats curled up rather high. Normally, those boats were transported on large, long-distance ships and used as lifeboats. Each flipper could carry around 20 to 30 people. As a long-distance ship would normally only sport a crew of 50 or 60, each of them would also carry two flippers.
The overturned flipper before them was considered quite big for its class. Claude estimated it to be around 5 meters in length and some 2.8 meters in width. The reason it was put there like that was quite apparent: there was a large hole in the hull of the boat and three or four boards at the front of the boat had cracked, seemingly as a result of a blunt collision.
“It hit a reef, right?” Claude said curiously, “Are those on the boat blind or something? How could they not see a reef that could make such a huge hole in the hull? Wait, rowing these boats wouldn’t give nearly as much thrust required to make a hole that big. Even a breach from colliding with a reef wouldn’t make a hole nearly that size…”
“It had indeed collided with a reef. However, this is a flipper and it was being transported by a long-distance ship,” Eriksson said, “Wasn’t there a large ship like that which sunk near the bay as a result of a reef collision during the 3rd month this year? This flipper was on that ship. Because of the collision, the panicked crew of the ship dropped the flipper right on top of a part of the reef, rendering it useless for good.
“And after that, a passing ship from our town, the Flying Spear, saw them and saved them. The crew of that ship stayed in our town for around two months. By the time the next transport ship sailed past, they picked out the cargo that was left at the sunken ship and left nothing but a stripped down ship frame. They also didn’t want this ruined flipper anymore, so some of the fishermen brought it back from sea to sell it to Uncle Wakri.”
Claude handed the three items to Wakri for a total sum before he asked, “Can that flipper still be fixed? A few of the boards on the hull are ruined. Wouldn’t the whole hull need to be switched out? It might even cost less to build a new flipper than undertake such extensive repairs.”
“Oh, don’t even bring it up. I made a wrong assessment back then,” Wakri said with a sigh, “When those fishermen brought this flipper to me, it was upright and I could only see the hole in the middle from the top. I thought I would only need to swap out the boards there, so I bought it. I only found that some of the other boards on the hull were already broken when I flipped it over to check. It’d be hard to fix unless I swapped the whole bottom part out, which would cost just slightly less than building a new flipper.”
“How much did you buy it for?” asked Eriksson.
“Don’t bring it up… I’ve lost at least three thales because of this,” said Wakri.
They had a rough idea of how much it cost. Wakri had spent one gold crown at most for the broken flipper, the equivalent of five thales. As he was no philanthropist, he had bargained for the lowest price possible for the flipper. A new one cost around four to five crowns and buying a broken one for only one crown and reselling it for three was a good deal. However, he didn’t expect that he would have to repair more than just one broken board.
If the broken flipper was disassembled, the remaining boards in good condition could sell for around two to three thales. However, taking out the cost of manpower would leave only one or two thales left. That’s why Wakri said that he would be incurring a loss of around three thales.
“I’ll charge you one thale and five riyases for these three,” Wakri said, “Since you’re a regular customer, I won’t overcharge you.”
Borkal jumped and said, “Uncle Wakri, we patronize you because we trust you. How could you cut into our wallets so blatantly and charge one thale and five riyases for these three pieces of junk and claim that you didn’t overcharge?”
Claude didn’t know how to respond. He had wanted to agree to the deal without a second thought as those items were rather rare magic items. Even if Wakri wanted a thale or two more for them, he would still be willing to buy them. He didn’t think his friends would bargain on his behalf.
“That’s right,” Eriksson said as he took the dagger from Claude, “Isn’t this just a normal fishbone dagger? Why would you buy this? I can get one from the sailors on my ship for only two to three riyases.”
Wakri smiled bitterly and said, “You can’t put it that way. Even though this dagger is quite normal, it is a little bit of an antique given its age. Even if you get your sailors to make one for you, they would simply just cut some fish bone and stick it to the dagger’s scabbard and make a hilt for it. You didn’t include the price of the dagger itself when you estimated the price. I think that one silver thale for this dagger shouldn’t be that pricey, right?”
“It’s only seven riyases at most,” Eriksson said as he drew the dagger and inspected its blade, “It’s only a common mithril dagger. If I got to Hans’s weapons shop, I can get an even better and brand new mithril dagger for one thale.”
Borkal looked at Claude peculiarly and asked, “Why would you want to buy this fishbone dagger?”
“Well, you know that my father doesn’t like weapons. We don’t even have a shortsword or a hunting knife at home. When we went to Egret, I had to borrow Wero’s hunting knife and Eyke’s dagger. But since my father got me a gun this time, I figured I might as well get a dagger while I’m at it so that it’d be more convenient for our future hunts. It just so happened that I found this dagger here and thought it to be rather unique, so I thought I’d ask how much it costs.”
Hearing Claude say that, Wakri felt a little desperate. That dagger had ended up in his shop a couple of years ago since his late father got it from some sailor. Usually, nobody would ask about its price, because most people who wanted to buy a weapon would head to the weapons shop in town and wouldn’t look for one in a general store like his.
“Alright, alright, you got me. I’ll sell this off for seven riyases then.” Wakri thought, My father probably didn’t pay more than three riyases for it anyway, so seven riyases is already at least double the price. It’s better to earn less than none at all.
“Then how much are you charging for this wooden plaque and the fish pen holder?” Borkal tried to push his victory even further.
Eriksson commented, “This pen holder should be something used on a ship. It looks rather old and Bark’s bookstore also sells something similar for only two or three riyases. They’re also made of sculpted wood. As for this wooden plaque, it seems to be used as a door plaque for inns or something. But I seem to remember some long-distance ships using plaques like these to number their cabins, so it probably isn’t worth much, right?”
Wakri said with a pleading expression, “Alright, I’ll give those two to you for three riyases. One thale for all three items, do we have a deal?”
Claude smiled and nodded. “Alright, I’ll take them.”
Just as Wakri was about to head back into his shop after receiving Claude’s thale, he heard Eriksson ask, “Uncle Wakri, how much would you sell this flipper to me for?”
“What did you say?” Wakri turned around in delight, only to see Claude, Borkal and Welikro looking at Eriksson, dumbfounded. Apparently, they didn’t know why Eriksson would ask such a question.
“One gold… No, four silver thales would do.” Wakri had wanted to say one crown, but he just recalled he had revealed the price he bought the flipper at. “You can take this flipper for four thales.”
Wakri felt the urge to slap himself hard on the face for his big mouth. Why did I tell these brats about the flipper? Now my story is blown… I could’ve earned a little bit more, at least enough to cover the cost I bought the flipper for…