Circle Star Adventure. The Ever Blooming Flower.

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Chapter 24. Errands.

I slept like a log and woke up full of energy. My body felt fresh and strong.

“Ghmwuaaa…” - I stretched.

“That bath really did it’s job. I haven’t felt so rejuvenated in a long time. And it was quite a treat as well, hehe. Speaking of treats… “

Eve was lying next to me still asleep. Since I knew she wasn’t wearing any pajamas, I decided not to wake her up just yet.

After dressing up quietly, I went downstairs to have some breakfast. With the whole day ahead of us, I thought I’ll let her sleep.

- Good morning. - Grog met me with a smile.

- Good morning. - I returned the favor.

“I wonder where does Grog get his energy from? He closed late last night and had to wake up early. Of course I am not here during the day. Maybe he takes breaks to rest now and then.”

I ate breakfast slowly, waiting for Eve to come down. But she didn’t show up even after I was done.

“Oh well. She had some ‘fun and exciting’ time yesterday. But it probably drained her body as well and she needs some time to recover. Maybe I can check the information about the tournament instead of simply waiting here?”

- Hey Grog. - I approached him.

- What can I get you TC? - he smiled.

- No, it’s not about the order. Eve is still sleeping and I thought I’ll let her rest for as long as she needs to. I want to go check the information about the tournament in the meantime. Can you tell her to wait for me when she wakes up? - I asked.

- Sure, no problem. - he agreed.

- And only one mug of Croberry Juice please. - I added.

- Haha. Yes, of course. - Grog laughed.

The streets were as busy as they can be. I bumped shoulders more than once with the passersby before I reached the Arena. There were plenty guards to maintain the order.

“With so many people around, they’re bound to put in some safety measures. Now, I need to find information about the schedule.”

Luckily, registration for the tournament and information sections were separate, which made it much easier. They put up a board with all the rules and regulations.

There wasn’t much to the rules really. As Vorin mentioned, you can use any equipment or magic, or even potions, if you have any. You can participate alone or with somebody else, and your partner doesn’t have to be your companion.

“Hah, that makes things nice and easy. That’s why Don brought Amelia with him. Ghm… but it also says you can’t change your partner during the fights. That makes sense. Otherwise everyone will have a bunch of people lined up as their partners. Haha. Now where is the info about pairings? Huh? No way… “

I didn’t know if I should be sad or happy about what they did. The preliminary fights were split into three Branches: Gold, Silver and Bronze. Every participant will be assigned to corresponding Branch, depending on their Adventurer’s Rank. People who don’t have a rank will be assigned to the Bronze Branch. Which meant I will start in the Bronze Branch as well.

“The joy… ”

Each Branch will have their own preliminary qualifiers and total of sixteen people will go to the finals: six from Gold and Silver each and four from Bronze Branch.

“So they want to eliminate as many Bronze Rank adventurer’s as possible. How nice of them.”

I knew from the start it won’t be as simple as everyone made it sound. But this Branch thing just added extra work for me, considering that Bronze Branch will probably have the most participants out of all three.

It made sense of course. From Knight Gorren’s view, he probably wants Angel to get a strong Master, who can take care of her. And who would expect a Bronze Rank adventurer to be stronger than a Gold Rank one?

“At least they are giving everyone a chance.” - I cringed.

One way or the other, I had to win every match, so it didn’t matter. The exciting part for me was I can use any equipment, and magic, I have. That thought alone made me want to step into the arena right now.

“Hehehe. That will be fun.”

I checked the location of the Bronze Branch and it turned out it will be held at the Military Barracks Training Grounds. The fights will be closed for public and will start from early morning.

“Of course they will. Why would somebody want to come and watch Bronze adventurers fight?”

I was being sarcastic in my head, but then I quickly changed my mind. When I thought about it, I decided it was a good thing. Nobody will know what to expect when we fight in a big arena. And I like making surprises.

“Nice, time to sharpen my weapons. Oh, right… “

From all the excitement, I forgot my swords were still with Sieran. Since I was done here and his shop was on the way back, I decided to give him a visit.

When I arrived, I couldn’t believe how busy Sieran’s shop was. The line of people was long and stretching outside in the street. On top of that, it was moving very slowly.

“Hopefully you’ll have a long beauty sleep Eve, cause this might take a while.”

I knew I had to get my swords back, so there was no choice, but to wait. I was glad I remembered about it now, because later in the afternoon the line might’ve been ten times longer.

“Sieran must be overjoyed with all the orders. Right now most common response from him will probably be ‘No can do today!’ Haha.”

Little by little, people were coming out of the shop. Some were happy carrying a piece of armor or a weapon. Others were upset and grumpy with nothing in their hands. The line was moving forward and I was getting closer to the entrance.

“I bet traders and crafters will benefit most from this tournament. I pity most people though. Just like Sieran said, no new, shiny equipment will win them the fight. I guess people are attracted by the fantasy of winning big with no effort on their part.”

“Oh well. Not my problem. I have to make sure I win, that’s all. I know there are strong adventurers out there. Vorin is one example. Doubt he will participate of course, but I bet I’ll meet someone who can put up a good fight.”

Thinking about it made me excited again. I waited for almost an hour before I got inside the shop. It was cramped and noisy. One of the customers was arguing with Sieran and everyone could hear him.

- What do you mean I can’t have them? I’ll pay you double for it! - the man shouted.

- No can do. These swords belong to someone else. - Sieran stated firmly.

I looked around the shop. It was barely anything left in it. Most of the armor, shields and weapons were gone.

“Hah, good one. Sieran is almost sold out. Oh wait, I hope he didn’t sell my swords.”

Now that I thought about it, Sieran did say the swords belong to someone else. I pushed through other people to get closer to the counter.

- Oh good to see ya lad. Glad ya made it. - Sieran’s face confirmed my suspicions.

- I see you have your hands full. - I smirked.

- Business is booming, for better or worse. Here ya go. - he placed my swords on the counter.

I was about to pick them up when the same man, who argued earlier, placed his hand on one of them.

- I need these swords. - he stated staring at me.

I gripped the sword he placed his hand on, then turned it’s blade up and pulled towards me, cutting his hand.

- Aaaaa! - he shouted grabbing onto his hand.

- Nice job Sieran. It cuts well. - I was checking out the sword.

- Ghm… - Sieran was waiting to see what happens next.

- Didn’t anyone tell you that taking someone’s else stuff is wrong? - I asked the man.

- How dare you? - he retorted angrily.

- I haven’t tested the other sword’s sharpness yet. - I pointed another sword at his face.

- Eeeek… - he squirmed.

- Why don’t you take a hike and go bother somebody else? - the sharp end of my sword stared at him.

Without saying a word, the man took few steps back and, pushing through the crowd, quickly left the shop.

“Well, I wasn’t as graceful as Madam Norel, but it worked.”

- I can see ya can be quite intimidating lad. Let me see… - Sieran picked up the first sword and wiped the blood off it.

- Thanks. - I put both swords away.

- Good luck to ya. - he wished me on my way out.

- Thanks again. And good luck to you today. - I smiled.

- Hah. - he half-laughed.

“That was fun. Let’s go back to Grog’s.”

Eve was awake and talking to Grog when I arrived. It took longer than I thought it will, so it was no surprise.

- Good morning Master. - she was happy to see me.

- Hello beautiful. Had a good sleep? - I asked.

- Yes, I did. But I was sad when I woke up and you weren’t there. - Eve petted her lip.

“Ain’t you cute?” - I smiled.

- You took your time. - Grog commented.

- You have no idea. The city is busier than ants in the autumn. Sieran’s shop was packed and I had to wait outside in line for an hour. Some idiot wanted to take my swords from Sieran. Luckily, I came just in time. - I told him about what happened.

- Oh, I can imagine. - Grog wasn’t surprised.

- Have you eaten yet? - I asked Eve.

- Yes, I have. But Grog refused to give me more Croberry Juice this morning. - she made sad face again.

- Haha. Did he now? - I laughed.

- Sorry Eve. TC’s orders. - Grog spilled the beans.

- So it was all your doing Master. - she puffed her cheeks.

“She’s too adorable to describe, even when she’s upset.”

- How about we go buy some pajamas? - I changed the subject.

- Yey! Yes, let’s go. - Eve’s mood changed instantly.

“I’m glad you are you Eve.”

- Haha. I see you are getting along nicely. - Grog laughed.

- See you later Grog. - I wave turning towards the door.

- Bye Grog. - Eve hugged my arm.

It was almost midday outside. Eve was full of energy. She was looking forward to buying her new pajamas.

“She’s as cute as ever. I think I am getting used to having a pretty, hot forest nymph around me now. Does that mean I’m starting to accept her as my ‘companion’?”

Of course, when I thought ‘companion’, I meant more than simply a companion I summoned to help me get a job at the Guild. And that thought made me feel slightly uncomfortable.

- Where will we go shopping Master? - Eve’s smile made me smile back.

“Where to indeed? With the tournament around the corner, most places will be like Sieran’s shop. It’ll be a drag having Eve push and squeeze through people in a cramped shop. The streets are busy enough as they are.”

- Do you think Miss Norel sells pajamas? - Eve asked me partly thinking out loud.

“Hah. That’s a good question. Eve’s simple thinking strikes again. Considering it’s Madam Norel, I doubt there will be that many people in her shop.”

- Good thinking Eve. Let’s check out Madam Norel’s shop. - I was glad about her suggestion.

As expected, her shop wasn’t that busy. Only few people were waiting outside.

- Welcome to our shop Mister TC and Eve. - the assistant outside our shop greeted us.

“Wow. She knows our names, even though we never interacted with her directly. Madam Norel’s customer service is impressive. She teaches her assistants very well.”

- Hello… - I felt awkward not knowing the girls name. - What is your name by the way?

- It’s Sina Mister TC. - she smiled.

- Thanks Sina. - I added.

Eve was excited only to enter the shop. It was busier than usual, but Madam Norel had more people helping her.

- Why hello Mister TC and Eve. So nice to see you at my shop again. - Madam Norel greeted us.

- Hi Miss Norel. - Eve was happy to see her.

- Good day to you Madam Norel. I see you are managing your shop quite well during this busy time. - I complimented her.

- You are very kind with your words Mister TC. What can I help you with today? - she asked.

- Miss Norel do you sell pajamas at your shop? - Eve quickly jumped in, not even trying to suppress her excitement.

- Of course I do. But does that mean you don’t have one yet? - she enquired.

- No, unfortunately I don’t. We spent a night at a very nice lady’s house and she had some pajamas for us. It was so pretty and cute. And Master TC promised me to buy one. - Eve didn’t hold back.

“As if it’s possible for you to become even cuter.”

- Oh my. It sounds like Mister TC is such a daring man, having you sleep without pajamas until now. - Madam Norel was graceful, yet a little cheeky with her comment.

- Yeah, well… - “It was heaven and hell at the same time.”

- And do you need pajamas for both of you? - she asked.

- Only Eve please. I’ll get something simple at the market. - Having some fancy pajamas for myself was a big fat no.

- Ok then. Please follow me. - Madam Norel invited us.

We went to the other room, where she had pajamas and some other attractive lady’s wear. My face went all red imagining Eve wearing some of those.

- This is the evening and night dress section of the shop. Feel free to check what you like. - said Madam Norel.

Eve was into it right away.

- Wow so pretty. This one looks similar to the one Nirane gave us, but is much more elegant. And how do you wear this one? It has so little fabric on it. - she was amazed and puzzled at the same time.

“Don’t tell me you want that one.”

-Oh look, this one is so soft to the touch, but is also almost transparent to see through. I wonder how will I look in it? - Eve was thinking out loud.

“Seriously? And you call them pajamas?”

- Eve is such a charming girl. - Madam Norel commented. - And she evolved too. Well done.

- Yeah, thanks… - I thought I won’t get into details.

- Dear Eve do you need some help deciding what you want? - she asked her.

- Please Miss Norel. There are so many and they are all so pretty. - Eve was more than happy to accept the help.

- Why don’t you ladies take your time choosing the best one for Eve? I’ll go check the market in the meantime. - I suggested.

- Is it ok Miss Norel? - Eve asked.

- of course dear Eve. - she replied.

- How much will it cost by the way? - I asked before leaving.

- It will be one gold coin for two pajamas. - was her answer.

“Great. Now Eve doesn’t have to choose between the cute and the pretty.”

- Here you go. - I passed one gold coin to her.

- Thank you Mister TC. - then she turned to Eve. - Now how about you try some of them on?

- Have fun. I’ll be back soon. - I said.

- Thank you Master. - Eve was happy.

I went outside and scratched the back of my neck.

“Man, it was getting hot inside. But Eve was having so much fun, it was adorable to watch. Ok, let’s go check the market now.”

The market was full of people of course. Lot’s of happy merchants selling out their goods. I bought few apples to have a snack.

Since pajamas weren’t on the hot buying list for most people, I didn’t have to look for long. An older pleasant trader was selling clothes for every day wear and had some pajamas as well. I picked a simple, light brown color ones. And the best part – I paid three silvers for it.

- Thank you. - I paid the man.

“On the bright side, it will be fun to watch Rori raving when Eve tells her about the new purchase. Haha.”

The thought was funny and I must’ve looked strange to the man seeing me laugh. I was done with my errand and went back to Madam Norel’s shop. I hoped Eve was done choosing what she wanted.

- Mister TC, welcome back. - Madam Norel greeted me.

- Hello Madam Norel. Is Eve done yet? - I asked.

- Almost. She is trying on another one. - she said.

“Oh boy. Perfect timing… “

Eve came out of the changing room.

“Wow, she’s amazingly pretty. The pajama dress looks simple and yet quite alluring and elegant at the same time.”

- Oh, hello Master TC. - she didn’t expect to see me, which made her blush too.

- I think it suits you very well. - I complimented her.

- Thank you Master. - she blushed even more.

- I believe this answers your question dear Eve. - said Madam Norel.

- Yes. I’ll take this one as well. - Eve smiled happily.

“This one as well? I wonder what was the other one.”

Eve went back and changed to her outfit. Madam Norel packed our purchases and we were on our way.

- Thank you Miss Norel. - Eve waved while leaving.

- Thank you for your visit. - she replied seeing us off.

- Wuaaahh! I can’t believe it. I have myself new pajamas! - Eve was hugging the bag with newly bought merchandise.

“Haha. Cute as ever.”

- Where are we going now Master? - she asked cheerfully.

- We’ll go see Farla at the Summoning Temple. They have a library inside. I want to do some reading about companions and evolution. - I replied.

- Oh, that’s right. I remember you mentioning it. - Eve put a finger to her chin.

- They probably have books on magic too. You might be able to learn how to better use spells as well. - I added.

- That would be wonderful Master. - she agreed.

With all the excitement and streets full of people, we turned towards the Summoning Temple.

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