Part 8: ARC II: Sellout.ARC II: Sellout.
How was the pub last night?
Oh, it was hilarious! I thought you were going to come, though. Where were you?
Rana and I took a walk around those mountains where we caught Morias. It's really nice there.
Ah... not bad, my friend. Not bad. Seems like you've been doing well lately in that department.
Ah, give me a break. What was so funny about the pub?
Bubba was completely nuts! Just shouting nonsense and trying to start fights with everyone! Finley made some comment about how bad kobolds smell...
... And that really set him off! He was swinging like crazy! Next thing you know, he's flat on the ground. Barry and I almost soiled ourselves from laughing!
Ha ha... I'm gonna crack up just thinking about it.
Ha ha! I'm sorry I missed that!
Yeah... it was great. Ha ha ha...
????: You guys always have this much fun at work?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MeYcNVFGrM Labelled 'Auburn's Theme' in the files....
Not one of our regulars, that's for sure.
Well, you've come to the right place! We've got a bunch of those, made from all kinds of materials.
Looks that way. I'm not looking for anything too heavy, though. I need to be able to move it quickly if necessary.
I think I know what might work. Hold on just a moment.
Bones heads into the back room, and Auburn's Theme dies off.
So what kind of work are you involved in, miss...
None of that 'miss' stuff. I'm Auburn. I'm a bodyguard.
Just a little.
So are you planning on telling me your name or what?
Oh, right. I'm Cade Mistral. I work here. Bones is my friend who's getting your armor in the back room now.
Seems like nice and simple work. Are you two guys happy with it?
I suppose. It pays well, and I've learned plenty about armor, that's for sure. How long are you in town?
I'm not really sure yet. Time will tell.
What do you think of our humble little seaside town?
Oh, it's beautiful! Right by the sea... nice ocean air... It's like a dream!
We've got a great pub here, too. All sorts of good times. I was just telling Bones--
You want me drunk, huh?
Listen lady I'm tryin' ta tell you bout this drunk ass kobold I know!
So sit yer ass down an' listen!
Auburn, the temptress she is, steps in close to say this.
... Anyway, then Barry and I nearly shat ourselves.
Bones voice interrupts from the back room.
Here we go. I had to really dig for a while, but I think I found what you were looking for.
Well, let's have a look.
Can I hold it for a sec?
There we go... This is just what I needed. How much do I owe you?
Comes to about... 2275 GP.
There aren't many of these around this area. We can't just give them away.
No need to worry about me, sweetheart. I've got money.
Pleasure doing business with you fine gentlemen.
The pub, huh?
Yeah! I can't wait!
Aren't you forgetting about someone? Someone named Emma?
Oh yeah... Emma.
You're a real cad sometimes, you know that?
Hey now, I'm not the only man who would have trouble thinking straight when talking to a girl who looks like that!
Heh, a strong point.
I suppose this is a good time to tell you then.
Tell us what?
We're about to have some serious competition. Barry's Blades has just been bought by Equipment King.
CADE and Bones: What?!
How could he do that?!
They approached me about selling this place as well... for a very hefty sum of money, I might add.
What did you tell them?
I told them that under no circumstances would I give up my store.
Conscience beats commerce? We had better write down the date.
Boys... I've been selling armor for thirty-eight years. Armor has brought me all the wealth and success I could ever want. Sure, I could make more if I started selling weapons, but what's the point? Why hurt the business of others for money I don't even need?
It's one thing to have ambition... but there's only a fine line between that and outright greed.
I'm impressed, boss.
I'm glad. I want you both to be proud to work here. I'm going to need you more than ever now. We've got quite a battle ahead of us.
There are two armor shops in Port Arianna now.
And that means a total of three Equipment Kings in the world. What an odd situation...
Why would any one person need to own that many stores? As soon as we're done here, let's find Barry. He's got some serious explaining to do.
The scene ends here, so we do go find Barry immediately, outside his store. Well, first I see if Bubba has anything worthwhile to say.
Oh, hi guys. I hoped I would see you today.
What's wrong with you, Barry?!
How could you let them trick you like this? Don't you know the kind of people you're making deals with?
They're people who have been helping me! I've been scraping by for years! Now I finally get a break and this is how you guys react?
You don't understand, Barry.
I can't believe this! What's with you two? Is it the competition? You can't handle it?
Oh, forget the competition! Listen Barry, Equipment King is a business that began in Gallia.
Yeah, so what? Gallia's a successful city with kind leaders.
Not today's Gallia, you fool! These guys believe in the old Gallia! The one that was devoted to slaying all those who weren't human!
You're out of your mind! There's no connection at all! That stuff is all in the past... Nobody thinks that way these days.
Barry, they deliberately pay non-humans lower wages. You don't think that's a connection?
Actually... that policy changed. Now we just only hire humans.
You want to promote that kind of exclusion? People of all races live here in Port Arianna. Your support of Equipment King is a slap in the face to all of them!
For Arcadius' sake! You both are so paranoid!
I'm old enough to remember Gallia, Barry. And when they come into a town with multiple races for any reason, I get very suspicious.
And I can't fathom this 'multiple store' concept. I don't trust any business principle that centers on spreading across Solest like some kind of plague.
Arrgh! Enough of this! I can't pick and choose who helps me survive! I thought you guys would be happy for me! I thought we were friends!
We are your friends but--
Don't even start! I've had enough of this crap!
Barry dodges both issue and Cade and leaves.
Stupid doesn't even begin to describe it!
Phew... okay, let's calm down. Let's figure out what we're going to do.
What can we do? They haven't broken any laws.
I doubt that. What we need now is information.
You thinking what I'm thinking?
Yeah. Let's go have a chat with our favorite thief.
Real funny. You know, it seems like you two aren't doing your civic duty so well these days.
You have the nerve to say that?
Hey man, I've been here two weeks and there's been no new people in these other cells. Let's get some company in here, huh?
It's been quiet since we put you away, but don't worry. I'm sure there will be some new arrivals before long.
So what do you guys want?
What do you know about Equipment King?
They're about to open a new store here in town.
I hadn't heard. I'm not exactly up on town gossip.
They're up to no good, and we need to find a way to prove it.
Good luck with that. How am I supposed to help? I'm small time.
You're a crook and so are they. The difference is you have to sit in a prison while they prosper.
You're right! That really makes me mad, now that you mention it.
So what can you tell us?
Hmm... let's see. Well, the other Toutens and I were camped out in Rellenia a while back... right around the time they were trying to open there.
It was hardly a popular idea among the elves. Gallia had destroyed their city... they were trying to rebuild it. Now a Gallian store was asking for their money.
I'm amazed it was built at all.
Aside from how offensive the idea was, the elves figured it didn't make much sense even from a business standpoint. The war was over, why buy new equipment?
Rebuilding the city was top priority.
Exactly. But then, all sorts of things started to happen. Houses set on fire. Elves found beaten in the woods or robbed blind.
Not robbed by me, either! I don't go after my own people, we've suffered enough.
Elves live here in Port Arianna. Some even put their money in the bank that you robbed.
Uh... I don't rob my own people directly. Anyway, there were all these random violent incidents. Nobody knew what to make of it.
It had to have been them.
Plenty of elves suspected them, but they couldn't find any proof. Not a shred of evidence.
Then what happened?
Nothing much. People had no choice. They needed new weapons... and Equipment King provided them.
Let me tell you guys something... This is not the work of amateurs. Pure professionals are the ones doing their dirty work. I'd be careful.
You almost sound concerned for our welfare.
Well, I figure the other Toutens and I can only benefit from these guys being shut down.
We prefer your type of mischief. It never gets this complicated. Thanks, Morias. We'll be in touch.
Well... At least tell that guard up there that Douglas likes fish! He hates cheese and they keep giving it to him!
I'll mention it.
If what he said is true, we're dealing with an enemy who is not easily caught in the act.
*sigh* Well, I suppose we've wasted enough time here on the docks. Might as well cut our losses and just go home.
All we can do now is wait for them to make their move.
I planned on covering the next two arguments (well, one barely counts) Cade gets into today in one update which was originally titled 'Cade Argues With Everyone' but this updates already a pretty decent read, so I'll cut it short here. Next time, more arguments! And then the bad guys do a thing!