Part 7: Shops and TalksAthonos 8-10
Oans next Mentor explanation regards shops, but Ilianas going to visit one early so she doesnt have to put in an honest days work for once in her life. To avoid redundancy, Ill limit myself to speaking mostly about the interface.
Here you can see Ive got a pretty limited selection of shops at the moment. Shops unlock as skills go up, much like everything else, so you can expect this list to improve as time goes by. Right now, though, it looks like the Wand and Brush is our only option, since catalogs dont accept customer sales (for obvious reasons).
This is the shop screen, and its the same whether youre shopping at a real store or through a catalog; the only difference between the two is that catalogs have the selling option disabled. You can see here that Ive selected all four goodies the magic girl gave Iliana, and theyre worth a pretty penny put together--see the 140 next to the Sell button. The Wand and Brush also has some really good stuff for sale, like a wand that ups Finesse, but sadly even with the windfall its all priced well out of reach. At least for now.
Speaking of windfalls...
Although still somewhat regretting your decision to sell your treats instead of eating them, you console yourself with the giant pile of pims you got in exchange. Not only will you have enough for Oans task, but youll have plenty left over to buy yourself dozens of lesser (but still tasty) candies.
As you walk through the halls of Academagia on your way to the Aranaz dorm, counting out your coins yet again, you notice something sparkling in the light.
Curious, you approach the object and discover its a very pretty silver chain. Attached to the chain is an ornate bauble that, while small, is very beautiful. It feels heavy in your hand but soft to the touch.
You conclude that this necklace is an exquisite piece of jewelry that must be sorely missed by its owner.
Not a chance of success on this one. Sleuthing is a Dialectic Subskill, so we dont need to learn about it, and the Negation option is asking for a Parent Skill, which doesnt really help, so I think just leaving it be would be best here.
Even though this looks like an expensive necklace, you havent heard anything about anyone losing it. As such, you have no idea whatsoever as to where to begin to look for the owner. Besides, whoever it is is probably looking for it and will eventually come back for it.
The best course of action in your mind is just to leave the necklace where it is. You really dont have the time, or interest, to get involved in finding its owner, and such a striking piece is bound to be noticed if you keep it for yourself. You put the necklace back on the floor and continue on your way.
After dinner, you decide to spend some time reading in the Aranaz common room. You notice Emilia enter some time later, and you watch with some curiosity as she stands at the edge of the room, trying not to look at you and apparently having difficulty making up her mind about something. Finally, her hand is forced as someone rudely brushes past her, forcing her to move further into the room or appear even more awkward than she already is. At least she doesnt take much longer to speak once she sits down next to you.
So...were supposed to be friends now, right?
Thats right. Friends wholl stick by each other through thick and thin.
Oh, thats good...so, does it mean we can hang out together? And talk about...things?
Yes, of course! Havent you had friends before?
Um, once, I think, but Dad...Dad says I shouldnt bother making friends. There are more important things to worry about.
What? But how can you get anything done without friends? Some of the best cons--constructive exercises can only be done with at least two people. Plus connections will get you everywhere; heck, Ill bet those pirates would still be lost, or even locked away, if I hadnt decided to be their friend.
Oh, sure, now that youre my friend, youll get to meet them, too! They arent all that bad, you know, especially after I taught some of them to bathe regularly. But let me tell you about how I met them. So there I was, my first day at a new school, and already I knew that being just a wizard wasnt enough for me...
Having gathered the necessary funds to appease Oan, you slip a letter under her door and walk away. Before youve gone more than three steps, though, she bolts out of her room. Youre already ready? she asks. Seeing your nod, Oan smiles and tells you to wait just a moment. She steps back into her room, and, true to her word, steps right back out several seconds later.
Just needed to grab my bag, she explains, slinging her empty schoolbag over he shoulder. The Admiratio isnt that far away, but I hate carrying things in my arms when I can use something else. Now, act cool and pretend were just on a walk.
Unsure of what Oan is up to, you warily agree to her condition and do your best to look normal. Only after youre past the main gates and heading into the bustle does she start to explain. We just learned about Listening Spells in Advanced Incantation, she states, and a lot of my friends are trying them out. Since I dont want anyone to know what Im up to, I figured itd be easier to just keep quiet than explain why.
Some people still call the place the Empire Market, Oan begins as you both head for the Admiratio. Thats kind of juvenile, I think, considering that markets in general have existed since the first defeat of the Dragons. This one in particular has existed in one form or another for a minimum of four centuries before the Empire was founded, but since everything was absorbed by Verus and...you know, this probably isnt what you want to hear right now. Lets talk about important stuff instead of historical stuff; if you want the history of the Admiratio, Ill get you a book.
Kicking at a small rock in your path, Oan frowns at her own thoughts before continuing. This is where students and citizens alike come to buy and sell different things. The merchants here can give you stuff right away for your hard-earned pims, as opposed to catalogs, which can take a few days to get stuff to you. Of course, the difference between Merchants and Catalogs (besides the time delay) is that with Merchants, you might get caught holding on to something illegal. If youre carrying a bunch of stuff and arent careful, youll either get spotted by a Professor and have your things confiscated or youll get spotted by a nosy student and get blackmailed. Neither one is fun...or so Ive heard.
With Catalogs, you can buy as many illegal things as you want and not have to worry about getting caught with the delivery. Items bought like this are delivered straight to your room, no questions asked. It can take anywhere from five to ten days for your stuff to arrive, though, so if you need it fast, better buy from a Merchant. Oh, and one more thing about this before Im done: Merchants will sometimes buy stuff you have, either stuff you have lying around or stuff youve made. Catalogs absolutely dont buy stuff no matter what, so dont go looking for a refund from a Catalog, got it?
You manage a nod even as your eyes wander.
Were almost there, Oan mentions, pointing up the hill at the chaos ahead known as the Admiratio. Peoples of all nations come here to buy and sell, she boasts. The stuff you can get here...well, it beats any other market hands down. There are others in Mineta, of course, but as the saying goes, If it isnt in the Admiratio, it isnt worth having. Come on! Stay close!
Oan dives into the crowd, pushing her way past people with a fixed point in her mind. She knows right where she wants to go, but the trouble is, she didnt tell you! Several people jostle you hard enough to make you lose your balance, and only after the fourth arm-bruising collision does Oan realize shes sped up so much. Sorry, she apologizes as she slows down to let you catch up. Its just that Im really looking forward to introducing you to my second-favorite merchant. Oan looks up and sees the crushing crowd ahead. Im not sure whats going on today, but its much more packed than normal out here! Tell you what, Ill give you directions the best I can, and if we get separated, just come find me. Ill wait for you as long as I can. Dont worry, I doubt anything will happen. This is just in case.
Oan dictates several twists and turns, making you repeat the correct route several times before shes secure enough with your knowledge. Like I said, I dont think Ill lose you, but just in case, Ill meet you outside. Without waiting for you to so much as nod, Oan bolts away into the crowd. From the moment she pushes past her first person, youre hard pressed to keep up with her. Squeezing past a pair of Mineta Guards, you accidentally snag your sleeve on one of their sword hilts, jerking you around in a circle and cutting off all sight of Oan. Biting back a swear word you probably shouldnt even know, you close your eyes and quickly think about what to do.
Considering all the real options are red, I suppose theres only one that really seems appropriate.
A merchants daughter, lost in a market? It would be laughable if it werent so insulting. Glancing around at the nearby goods for sale, you go over the mental map you built of the Admiratio when you went shopping yesterday. Based on what she described, there are only a few places that have the requirements Oan listed off; with your knowledge of all things monetary, you should be able to narrow down the list pretty quickly and find the right spot. As if a light has gone off in your mind, you realize just where Oan was talking about. Before you can think twice, you dash off, make the appropriate turns, and slip into the alley where you see Oan waiting in front of the merchants door. Sorry about that, she says. Ready to go in?
You brought the 20 pims, right? Oan asks as she opens the door. Nodding you hold up a small leather purse. Oan smiles and ushers you in, closing the door behind you. She hasnt taken more than two steps into the small shop before a tall, gaunt-looking man with curiously bony fingers brings you both to a halt.
Greetings, young Oan of the Academagia. I see you brought a friend. I trust youve explained my rules?
Only the part about the one-time entrance fee, Oan relates, elbowing you to give the strange man the purse. Garibaldi here believes that money buys loyalty.
Money buys acceptance, the merchant interrupts, gently relieving you of your burden of Pims. Loyalty comes with time. Now that I have your acceptance, we can begin to work on your loyalty. Garibaldi removes the hand barring your progress and uses it to wave you deeper into the shop. Enter and enjoy.
The walls of Garibaldis shop are lined with small, shallow shelves upon which are balanced dozens of wands. Each wand is tied to its shelf with a small colored ribbon. The color of the ribbon denotes what kind of school the wand is useful in, be it Negation, Incantation, Artifice, and so on, Oan tells you. You quickly look over the walls and count the different colors, coming up with the number...
I know, therere seven colors, Oan sighs. Garibaldi is a firm believer in the idea that just because Mastery and Gates are Proscribed doesnt mean that one cant own a wand that is attuned to the school. These items are illegal, so dont go waving them around in class if you know whats good for you.
I make no apologies for anything I sell, Garibaldi declares as he slips behind the counter. If anyone has ever had a problem with the items I sell, Ive never heard a word of it. You cant help but wonder if hes never heard a word because no one has said anything, or if he simply hasnt listened.
Speaking of buying wands, Oan segues, I need to pick up something special. You okay with what youve learned here today? Nodding, you ask when you should meet next. Thats a bit tricky, she muses. You need to learn a bit about Dueling before we can talk next. Tell you what: learn the bare minimum of Duel Conduct and send me a note; well meet after that, okay?
You nod one last time, then head out. You may not have the Pims to buy from here right now, but you imagine thatll change before too long.
...Study Habits? How do you train Study Habits? Wouldnt that be like...buying the ability to purchase things?
We arent all so advanced that we can tutor other students, Milena. Some of us havent even gone to a formal school before, and if we dont figure out how to get ready for exams, well be out of here by the end of the year.
Test Taking is something separate from Study Habits, believe me. Study Habits is more about the regular homework, or even doing independent Research.
Independent Research? Dont the professors provide everything we need to know about the class subjects?
Oh, hardly! Are you saying you dont even know how to Research on your own? But its so simple! You dont even need to know anything about the topic; you just find a place where the skill is practiced regularly and talk to the people there, or else find some reference books and read through those. Youll have to get through a lot of useless information, but by the end, youll probably learn something really important that you wouldnt get just from classes.
Really? Well, thanks for the advice.
Hang on a sec. You know I normally charge for that kind of information, right?
Oh, but you really should give me that info for free. Not that Im saying Im entitled to it or anything, but its good to offer a free demonstration before charging money. After all, you need to let your customers know that your services are high quality and clearly worth the price.
Sure! Some of the merchants in the Admiratio itself have free samples for anyone to take. And even if you dont take my advice, you should at least say its an exchange for yours. See you around, Milena.
Looking to relax after a particularly brutal series of quizzes, a bunch of students put together a singing night in one of the inter-college common rooms. Youre not quite sure what this means, so you ask Katja Quinnecht.
It means we all take turns standing up in front of the room and singing. Its a lot of fun...if you can sing.
Will you dare to get up and sing?
Hmm, even odds on the singing. I suppose we should at least try and Observe first, if only because Observation is pretty important and Im not sure if weve learned of it yet.
Some of the students singing is very good. Now you really have to wonder whether or not youll make a fool out of yourself if you go up there and sing.
Not very helpful, so we must have failed the check. Luckily, failing a gate check like that has no real consequences aside from not getting access to the easier rolls or new options. Time to make the music (or die trying).
How much worse could you be than everyone else? Apparently more than you thought, as this is the time your voice decides to do that cracking thing. The entire room begins to boo and hiss. Realizing theyre giving you the hook, you quickly run away. You were so bad that you probably permanently damaged some of the students hearing.
Gains of the Week
Confidence increased by 1.
Basia used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 24.
Emilia Strolin used Hang Out Inside the College on you.
--Relationship with Emilia Strolin increased to 3.
--Willpower increased by 1 step.
--Increased Stress by 1.
Theory of Revision increased by 1.
--Amplify pheme learned.
Revision increased by 1.
--Power pheme learned.
Illustration increased by 1.
--Learned about the Illumination Cubicle.
--Confidence increased by 1 step.
----Presence pheme learned.
--Money decreased by 20.
--Learned about Negotiate (Economy).
--Learned about Duel Conduct (Duel).
--Learned about Garibaldis House of the Seven Colors, Merchant.
Revision Phemes increased by 1.
--Corporeal pheme learned.
--Solid pheme learned.
Study Habits increased by 1 step.
--Learned about Library Knowledge (Research).
--Research action gained.
--Impression of Diligence ability gained.
--Courage decreased by 1 step.
Limning (Illumination Cubicle): Finesse/Illustration v9 to earn 20 pims plus 1 step to random Art subskill; same v12 to increase Glamour subskill as well; same v15 for +1 to von Rupprecht relationship.
Research: Research any discovered Topic (see below).
Impression of Diligence: +1 to chosen professors Relationship.
Research can be a very powerful action. Although the first 9 levels contain nothing but lore info, the last level is always something worth the trip, like +1 to an Attribute or +1 to the level cap on a skill (and trust me, there are some pretty awesome abilities waiting at level 11). Still, you should probably prefer Adventures to Research when you can; Adventures have additional rewards along the path to that final bonus, plus theyre much more interesting than the lore entries. On the other hand, Research rolls dont get nearly as hard.