Circle Star Adventure. The Ever Blooming Flower.

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Chapter 44. The Excitement At Madam Norel’s Shop.

I had no idea how long the meeting lasted, but the streets were bustling with people when I got out. Grog’s Inn didn’t look much different also. It was fully packed.

- Good morning. - Grog greeted me again.

- Good morning. - I smiled like no tomorrow.

- Oh, someone’s in a good mood. Care to enlighten me what happened? - he was curious.

- Did Eve or Luna came down while I was gone? - I asked instead.

- No, not yet. They worked really hard last night and it was extremely busy. Both of them must be really tired. - said Grog.

Maybe I should check on them? Eeer… maybe better not. Being a man is so hard sometimes.

- Hey! Master TC! - I heard Eve shout from upstairs.

Phew, saved. My hormones can take a hike now.

- Hey, this one is on the house. You look like you need to cool off. - Grog grinned.

- You old… - I almost blurted something unnecessary, but then smiled instead. - Thanks.

- Haha. It’s good to be young. - he went away to serve another customer.

- Good morning Master. Did you sleep well? - Eve was acting like nothing happened.

Ain’t you sweet you little seductress?

- Good morning beautiful. - I stepped forward and kissed her on a cheek.

- Aaah… - she blushed and jumped on my neck.

- Well now, ain’t that something? - Grog wasn’t really asking a question.

- What? - I looked at him.

- Oh, nothing. Don’t mind me. - he smiled.

- Good morning… TC. - Luna was blushing for a change.

- Good morning Luna. - I felt a little uncomfortable. - Want to get some breakfast?

- How are you doing ladies? Can I count on your help today? - Grog was as sweet as a puppy.

- Not today Grog. I’ll be taking them with me this time. - I replied instead.

- Nooo! You can’t do that to me. They are the stars of my diner. - Grog cried out.

- Watch me. - I grinned, remembering his ‘free drink act’.

- Sigh… I knew it won’t last forever. Where will you go if I may ask? - he asked.

- To celebrate this. - I showed them my Adventurer’s Silver Rank Tag.

- Woah! Silver Rank? Congratulations. - Grog was impressed. - You must be the first person I know to get to Silver Rank this fast.

I better not tell him about the gold. He’s the one who told me it’s hard to make money as an adventurer here.

- Yey! My Master was promoted to Silver Rank! Congratulations! - Eve wanted everyone to know.

- Impressive. So you’ve visited the Guild already. I was wondering why you took so long. Congratulations. - Grog congratulated me as well.

- Congratulations. - Luna added quietly.

Luna probably has no idea how much charm her ‘shyness’ adds to her already cute looks.

- Thank you all. How about we get some cake together with our breakfast? - I suggested.

I had some at the Guild already, but I wasn’t about to make a big deal out of it.

- Coming right up. But seriously, you sure went up the Rank quick. - Grog scratched his head.

- They said my performance at the Tournament made an impression. And Gorren almost insisted I should be promoted. - I explained.

- You spoke with Knight Gorren at the Guild as well? - Grog couldn’t keep still.

- Yeah. We had a meeting with Vorin, Roland and him. They invited me to join the Conquerors Division. Naomi, Angel and Meera joined us a bit later on. They served some tea and cake, and… - I crap I said too much.

- You had some cake already Master?! - Eve puffed her cute cheeks.

- Conquerors Division? How did you…? Bah… never mind. It’s you we’re talking about here. I should stop being surprised by now. Anything else interesting happened? - Grog braced himself for another big news.

- Ahm… nope, that’s it. - I pinched myself to keep my mouth shut.

The breakfast arrived soon after. I wasn’t very hungry, but the food was so tasty, I still emptied my plate. And the cake was delicious too.

Eve and Luna were having fun telling me about the work yesterday. Eve was embarrassed when Grog mentioned how she spilled a drink on one of the customer’s head. But instead of getting angry, he asked if he can get another one. That produced a whole lot of laughs around the table.

Eve and Luna were paid five silver coins from Grog, but made more than a gold coin each in tips from customers. Not a bad earning for a single evening. At first they wanted to give their earnings to me, since I pay for everything and all. But I insisted they keep the money and spend it on something they wanted.

Cake, talks and laughs made the time fly fast and we spend longer at the diner than I planned to.

- I think it’s time go. - I stood up.

- Sure Master. Where will we go? - Eve was as much curious as she was excited.

- I need to see Madam Norel. I have some business with her. So how about we go there first? - I suggested.

- Yey! I’d love to see Miss Norel again. She’s so elegant and is so polite and welcoming. - Eve jumped on her feet.

- Have a nice day. - Luna thought she wasn’t going.

- Oh no, you’re coming too Luna. I did mention I will be taking both of you out today. - I said.

- Oh, ok. - she smiled.

- Have fun you three. Looking forward to your return. - Grog was too obvious with his hopes.

- Thanks. - I grinned knowing we won’t be back till very late.

It was already afternoon when we left the inn. It wasn’t a bad thing of course, except for the crowds on the streets. I’ve been to Sieran and the Guild already. After we visit Madam Norel, most of the errands will be done.

I also wanted to see Farla too. I hoped to get more information about the Frost Giants. She meets a lot of adventurers at the Temple. Even if it’s some rumours, it is worth learning about it.

Eve was beside herself. A little bit more than usual even. I wondered if it was because of us going to Madam Norel or the morning kiss. And Grog was acting like it was a big deal as well. Either way, I was glad to see Eve happy. Even Luna was smiling and seemed to be more relaxed than usual.

One reason I wanted to see Madam Norel was about the bet money from my fights in the tournament. I wondered if that Squintl guy kept his word. Money traders are usually rather stingy with their payouts.

Another reason was to get Luna new outfit. The one she had was rather worn out and even torn in some places. Her former Master clearly didn’t care much about his companion.

The shop was as busy as it could be. Madam Norel’s wears, being high quality and fashionable, attracted new and regular clients all the time.

- Why hello mister TC. And my dear Eve, how have you been? - Madam Norel greeted us as soon as we stepped inside.

- Hello Miss Norel, you look so pretty. - Eve was amazed by her new dress right away.

- Thank you dear Eve. You are so kind. - Madam smiled.

- Good day Madam. It’s a pleasure to see you again. - I greeted her.

- And who is this with you today? - the shop owner didn’t recognize Luna, hiding under the hood.

- Hello… Madam. - Luna removed the hood.

- Oh, you are the girl who came with Grog and Eve. Luna if I remember correctly? - Madam Norel remembered her name as well.

Eve was still admiring Madam Norel’s dress. But Luna became uncomfortable, since people started to stare at her. The shop was full of customers and after Luna showed her face, everyone saw she was an elf.

- How about we go to our guest room for more privacy? - the shopkeeper suggested.

That was a good idea. She noticed Luna became the center of attention.

- Here we are. Please have a seat. - Madam said after we entered a beautifully decorated room.

- Thank you. - I sat down.

- First of all, congratulations on your win in a Five Star Tournament. I must say I was impressed with your prowess and strength Mister TC. - Madam Norel congratulated me.

- Oh, thank you. I was a little lucky I suppose. - I almost blushed.

- Now regarding the reason you are here. - she said with a hint in her voice.

- I’d like to buy something for Luna. I’m sure you noticed her clothes aren’t in the best of shape. We’ll be escorting her home and it would be good if she had something more travel friendly. If that makes sense? - I tried to sound tactful.

- Oh my. - Madam seemed surprised with my request. - Please do forgive me Mister TC. I rushed too much with my assumptions regarding your reason for coming here. I thought you came here for… something else.

Something else? Ah, she must mean about the money from the bet.

- Not to worry Madam. - I said.

- Yes, of course. It will be my pleasure. - Madam Norel smiled graciously.

- Wow Master TC! You will buy new outfit for Luna? - Eve’s eyes sparkled. - Can I help pick one?

- Sure, but remember I was talking about the armor outfit, not about… errr… a dress of some sort. - I was about to blurt out something else.

- Of course. - then she turned to Luna right away. - I saw one on our way here. It will look absolutely amazing on you.

Didn’t she hear what I just said?

- But… you don’t have to… - Luna wasn’t expecting such a gift.

- Of course I don’t. But I can’t have you travel or walk around in your current clothes. - I didn’t want to point it out, but they were badly tattered.

- Mister TC. - Norel addressed me. - I can offer my services to sell or make a custom outfit, however there are limits to what I can do. If I understand you correctly, you want something more durable, with added physical protection for Luna?

- Yes, that’s right. - I said.

- I’m afraid I am not much of an armor crafter. For that you would need to approach someone like our good friend Sieran. - she explained.

- Oh, sorry about that. Since you can imbue magic runes, I thought a magical armor, that can enhance agility or reflexes, would be a good fit for Luna. - I pointed out.

- That is a wonderful idea indeed. - Madam Norel was impressed with what I said. - Maybe we can find a solution after all.

- What do you mean? - I asked.

- You gave me a wonderful idea Mister TC. I magical protective armor. The only difficulty is, I can imbue magic runes during the crafting process only. Otherwise it won’t work. If I can work with someone who can craft the armor and then I… - she said thoughtfully.

After few moments Madam Norel’s face lit up and she even clapped her hands.

- I know. I will ask our good friend Sieran to help me. And if we succeed, it can lead to a new, exciting business venture. - she became extremely excited.

- Sounds wonderful. Just don’t tell anything to that Squintl guy. - I smiled.

- That is true, haha. - Madam Norel covered part of her face with one hand. - Speaking of him.

- Ah, right. How about you have someone take Luna’s measurements in the meantime Madam? - I suggested, realizing what she was about to say.

- Great idea. I will call for someone right away. Please excuse me. - the shopkeeper left the room.

- Eve, Luna. - I spoke to them.

- Yes Master? - Eve was curious.

- Yes..? - Luna’s said shyly.

They’re both so different, yet so alike. Perfect pair… cough… ahem…

- Errr… I have a suggestion. Both of you made some money while working at Grog’s Inn. After they take Luna’s measurements, why don’t you look around the shop and by something you like? I am sure one of Madam Norel’s assistants can show you around the shop. How does that sound? - I asked.

- I’d love that Master. - Eve was totally excited.

- But… I want to pay you… for the armor… - Luna’s cheeks were red.

- No, no. Don’t worry about it. You earned the money working hard. Buy something for yourself. - I insisted.

Madam Norel came back, accompanied by one of her assistants.

- Hello, my name is Ralani. I will be assisting you today. - the girl bowed down.

- Hi, I’m Eve. - Eve greeted her.

- Hello, I’m… Luna. - Luna said.

- Hello to you too. My name is TC. Can you show Eve and Luna around the shop afterwards please? - I asked politely.

- Of course. That will be my pleasure. - Ralani smiled. - This way please.

When all three of them were gone, Madam Norel invited me to sit down at a small table in the middle of the room. In a few moments another assistant came in, carrying a tray with tea.

- Please enjoy. - she served us the tea, bowed down and left.

Top class service. Madam Norel must’ve asked to make some tea while she was gone.

- Please Mister TC. - Madam Norel invited me to have a taste.

- Thank you. - I picked up my cup.

The tea was hot, but not too hot to have a taste. It was delicious and refreshing.

- Very nice. - I said.

- Thank you Mister TC. - the shopkeeper smiled. - Now, getting down to business.

- Yes? - I listened.

Having received three hundred coins from the Guild I was already happy. But getting few more coins wouldn’t hurt. Making money on bets is usually profitable for the money trader most of the time. I doubted any of them are generous on the payouts.

- Mister Squintl kept his word regarding the payout. And he is one of the very few money traders, who is rather fair to his clients. - Madam said.

- That is a high praise for Squintl if you say that. - I commented.

- He came in to see me personally this morning and brought your winnings with him. To tell you the truth, I was more than surprised by the amount of coins he presented. Apparently your matches raised quite a ruckus within money traders. And Mister Squintl, being a shrewd business person, made a decent fortune during the Tournament. I must admit your fights exceeded my expectations as well. And I wish I upped my bet by more than a multiple. - Madam Norel was telling the story with great enthusiasm.

- Thank you for your compliments. But you give me too much credit. I was lucky with my last match. - I thanked her.

- Now, now. No need to be so humble. Winning against Gold Rank adventurers was no small feat. And watching you win against a succubus… well… that was one passionate fight. - Madam tasted some tea, while covering part of her face with another hand.

Was it me or did she blush just now?

- Anyhow, Mister Squintl was generous with your winnings. The total amount of coins, as he said it, is four hundred thirty six gold and fifty eight silver coins. That is, of course, to be confirmed, as I didn’t dare to count someone’s else money. But the size of the coin bag indicated Mister Squintl might’ve been telling the truth. - she told me.

Needless to say, I was enjoying the tea to the fullest after hearing the amount of coins I won.

Over four hundred coins? That’s way more than I expected. Grog can keep his ‘It’s hard to make money here’ comments for somebody else.

- That is an impressive amount. - I finally said.

- It is indeed. That said, Mister Squintl must’ve made more than he expected himself and said he was looking forward to your future performance. - Madam paused for a moment. - Is everything fine Mister TC?

- Oh yeah, it’s fine. Very fine. Sorry, I didn’t expect you to talk so highly about Squintl. - I was thinking more about the gold actually.

- I have known him for a while and he kept his word with me. - said Madam Norel.

- Good to know. He might be a half decent money trader after all. - I said.

My host put the tea cup on the table and stood up. She walked over to a tall, yet tiny table next to the wall. Then waved her hand and a chunky looking purse appeared on it.

- Wow, an Illusion Magic. Very impressive Madam. - I complimented her.

- Why thank you Mister TC. - she brought the purse to me. - Here you go. Will you be ok carrying such an eye catching purse with you?

- Don’t worry Madam. I have my own means to hide it. - I have my magic bag after all.

I put the purse inside my bag right away, since counting the coins didn’t seem practical here and now. Eve and Luna will be back soon as well. Besides, it didn’t matter if it was exactly four hundred thirty six gold and fifty eight silver coins.

- That sounds intriguing. Would you mind satisfying my curiosity? - I could see she was really curious.

Satisfying… your curiosity. - I liked her choice of words.

- Sure. You saw me put the purse inside my bag? Why don’t you try to take it out? - I smiled.

I extended my bag for her to reach inside it. She put her hand in my bag and her face changed with an unbelievable surprise. After going back and forth, Madam Norel even picked up the bag to see inside, but was unsuccessful to find a single coin.

- What kind of magic is this? You are beyond mysterious Mister TC. May I ask for an explanation? - Madam tried to hide her fascination.

- That will have to stay a mystery I’m afraid. - I decided to keep the bag’s secret a secret.

- That is really unfortunate. - she smiled.

Right at the same time, Eve and Luna came back, accompanied by Ralani.

- Hello Master. - Eve was shinning all over.

- Hello Eve. - I noticed she had a hairpin on her head, which resembled a flower I was not familiar with. - Wow, that’s such a beautiful hairpin you have. You look ten times prettier.

- Aaahh… thank you Master. - she blushed.

Luna stepped out from behind her. She was wearing a nice yellow scarf. She probably bought it for practical reasons to cover her ears. But it was stylish and added made her look even cuter.

She might be hiding her ears, but she will attract more attention.

- You look amazing too Luna. That scarf looks very stylish. - I said as if I knew anything about style.

- Thank you… TC. - Luna blushed too.

- See, I told you it will look great on you. - Eve added excitedly.

Why am I not surprised Eve had something to do with Luna’s purchase?

- It warms my heart to see happy clients. - said Madam Norel. - Now that all is done, I need to visit our friend Sieran. Time is short and there is a lot of work to be done.

- Thank you for your hospitality Madam. - I stood up and bowed my head.

- My pleasure. - she bowed back. - Take care dear Eve, Luna. If you need anything else, my wonderful assistant Ralani is here to help.

The shop owner left the room after that.

- Is there anything I can help you with? - Ralani asked me.

- No, I think we’ll be going as well. - I answered.

I had my money and girls were done with their purchases. We had no reason to stay here any longer.

- Where will we go next Master? - asked Eve.

- To the Temple of Summoning. I want to get some information from Farla. - I said.

- I’d love to see Farla again. It feels like I haven’t talked to her in ages. - Eve said cheerfully.

Ralani walked us to the shop exit. I thanked her for the help and we were on our way.

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