“Welcome, esteemed customer.” As someone entered in the shop, both Cecile and Cielle would politely greet them. If not both of them, at least one of them would be there for giving the greetings. Most people would be astonished by suddenly being welcomed in such an exaggerated manner. Though maybe it could be considered as an exaggeration in this world for a shop that attended commoners, in Lin Ner, such degree of politeness and respect isn’t uncommon even when the lowest level disciple would be greeting a slightly stronger one.
In Lin Ner, flattering words were as worthless as farts, but rather than they being completely useless, exactly because Lin Ner was a world where the strong rules everything bellow them that one should use all the resources possible to evade death, and so even that meaningless existence the weak was to the strong could find hope in surviving by giving respect to them, so as to mean they do not represent any threat. After all, if one were to be weak to a certain extent, to the strong, even breathing would need only a little bit less effort than killing.
As predicted by Jandarl, them working there considerably increased the popularity of the shop. Both Cecile and Cielle were good looking, with Cecile somewhat above Cielle in that aspect. Adding it to how suddenly it was for one day they make an appearance in the shop as employees and their exaggerated manners which showed respect as if the costumers were nobles, the impact of their appearance increased and they got many people interested in them. Soon, people would start gossiping about it and the shop would get more customers. Compared to an old man welcoming people, it was in a completely different realm. Once, he saw someone using this sort of appeal to attract people to buying. He thought it as something underhanded, but after having to explain so many times about the girls’ situation to the curious people to the point of annoyance, he definitely saw the effectiveness. Before, he thought of helping mostly because he pitied them, but now he was sure he didn’t make a bad decision.
“Uhhhh… I would like a weapon, but I really don’t know what to choose… Do you have any recommendations?” Asked a adventurer aspirant boy. He had a dark brown hair , blue eyes and was about half a head taller than Cecile. He was still in his teens. It seemed he was indecisive about what to choose and he was somewhat hesitant when speaking to Cecile.
“Esteemed customer, please, tell me your budget so I can give you relevant recommendations. I would also ask you about your preferences and proficiency.” Said Cecile in a way that was nearing a complete business-like voice. Her smile wasn’t completely for the purpose of attending customers; part of it were actually her true feelings.
“Ah, sure, of course yes… Hmm…” After checking his purse and counting the coins, he continued” I have 3 silver coins… and three iron coins. I don’t have any preferences. It can be just a sword… But what do you mean by proficiency?”
“By proficiency, I mean which type of weapon do you excel at, the attributes of your combat style, your strength… Esteemed customer, which kind of monster are you looking forward to combat? Each weapon has its own advantages and disadvantages; you should pay mind to that.” Without being annoyed by his indecisiveness, Cecile advices him with all her knowledge.
“I excel in using the sword over other weapons, I guess… But it is because I’ve never used other weapons. I don’t really know which monster I…” Before he finished speaking, Cecile went her way to a counter further in the shop, and from there brought a battle axe with both her hands. She easily would be able to carry it with a single hand, but doing it would be unnecessarily suspicious.
“Esteemed customer, please, prepare yourself.” Said while handing him the battle axe.
“Woah!” Before, he was startled by how she left him speaking by himself, and then she came back carrying an axe, and without much explanation, she handed it to him. He was taken by surprise with the weight and almost let it fall off his hands even though he was wielding it with both of them. It was too heavy for him if used as a weapon, but he could lift it up without problems.
“I see…” Said after thinking for a little bit while seeing the axe in his hands. Once again, she left him by himself and came back with a big two-handed sword and a dagger which was long enough to almost be considered a short sword. She immediately put both the sword and the dagger onto his arms. Because he was wielding the axe in front of him and with both hands, his arms were close enough to each other that even the dagger wouldn’t fall down. Then, she followed by getting the axe back.
With just a look at his face, it was possible to see he was astonished about how fast and strangely the situation was developing. Without minding his situation, Cecile continued “I recommend both this steel bastard sword and this steel dagger to you. Esteemed costumer, you don’t possess much experience and skill to battle, and would only be able to deal simple blows against the opponent. In accord to your arm strength, I reckon the sword of this weight would suit you. The dagger should be used for when the enemy is fast and sudden. With the budget you have, only this level of quality is affordable. The total price of both weapons is three silver coins and six iron coins; slightly above the money you have, but if you are to buy both of them as recommended, I would give you a discount and lower the price of its refinement level cost. As additional advice, I recommend you not to refine neither of those, since this bastard sword does not need to rely on its sharpness for its blows, and the dagger, as it is not the main weapon, is not used much. Carry on saving up money, and after acquiring proper combat experience and learning how to use weapons from, perhaps, other experienced adventurers, you should buy a weapon of good quality and that truly suits you.”
After the detailed explanation, the adventurer aspirant was looking at Cecile with a bit of admiration despite how forceful she was. He soon corrected his awkward position and carried the sword and dagger each with one of his hands.
Although Cecile was very forceful to the boy, there was no way she would give the same treatment to everyone. Because of her change of mentality at her stay in the world of Lin Ner, her temperament became one that would want to keep it to herself and wouldn´t meddle with bothersome and unnecessary matters. If it was boring and a pain to do, and if it was unworthy of her time, she would not even consider it and indifferently forget about it.
With a glance, she could see the boy´s personality. Although it wasn´t possible to decipher one´s most inner thoughts with only a few glances, the main ones would be easily visible to her if the person wasn´t very proficient in controlling one´s emotions. Even if she reacted in her own pace, the boy wouldn´t raise complaints, and deciding that hearing him out was nothing but a waste of time, she ignored him and used the few information she heard from him to sell him the most appropriate equipment to the situation, and even gave out a few advices for his future plans.
One must be flexible at anything, otherwise, once a situation you have no way to deal with appears, death is the only result.
In the world of Lin Ner, there were varied fighting styles, techniques, cultivation methods, formations, poisons… There were plotting, betrayal, deceit… If you didn´t have fighting experience with a certain type of opponent or lacked crucial information, even if you blamed fate, in the end it would be death.
Unfortunately, maybe this couldn´t be considered a good example of the importance of flexibility.
After pondering a bit, he took out a few coins from his purse. Then, he gave it to her and said “I will buy it.”
“Esteemed costumer, thank you for your purchase.” Said Cecile in the same barely business like tone, but with a bit more of a real smile. Even though it was only a small gain, it definitely felt rewarding to succeed without problems. Besides, it was a first time experience to her, so it was fun either way.
“But you are very strong… To carry that axe like it was nothing… Despite being a girl…” Mumbled the boy, comparing himself to the weird girl that had attended him. The boy had a good set of muscles, and yet, compared to Cecile’s thin arms that looked like they had never met any hard work before, it seemed that they were much stronger than his just by seeing how she didn’t show even the slightest hint of struggling in her face while she was carrying the equipment.
“Esteemed costumer, even though it seems that I am stronger than I am supposed to be, it is not the case at all. I was having a hard time carrying the equipment, but for me to show such unsightly demeanor would be too much of a disrespect to you, esteemed costumer. I’ve trained to keep the appearances and not have anything unworthy to show in my behavior.” Said Cecile as an excuse for her unrealistic arm strength.
“Really? That’s amazing. It was like you weren’t even feeling the weight.”
Rather than struggling to the heavy weight of the equipment, she was struggling not to end up treating them as something as weightless as feathers. It couldn’t be helped as it has been just too many years since the last time she moved without using qi. Even if she wished for it, she wouldn’t be able to easily go against this conditioned action even if she put her all on manually controlling herself.
While she could have pretended to be struggling with that amount of weight as a normal girl that never received any training, considering the mentality of the people of this world, it would most likely call unneeded attention of costumers, and perhaps attention of Jandarl himself. This would mean that once she made a mistake, everything would be over. It is much better to be a girl that for unknown reasons has an above average strength than a girl that obviously is pretending to be a normal one on purpose.
Even though acting was something she could do like breathing, doing something she has no experience and even difficulty would be just too risky, which in this case, it would be treating a sheet of paper as a mountain. Besides, she has no idea how much strong people are, with all information she got about it being improvisation by testing out the weights and visually comparing it to how people would react to the weight; nothing that could give exact results. Since she has no idea, she might end up treating something not heavy as too heavy and something very heavy as only a little heavy, which would be a disaster.
Even though Cecile reached at this conclusion, Cielle didn’t seem to have the same point of view.
“Little lady, is it fine? Isn’t it too heavy?” Asked worriedly the adventurer Cielle was attending after seeing her pretending to have a hard time carrying the sword. He had a big build and was wearing an armor that seemed to be of very good quality. An big sword which suited his size was at his back. Cielle´s figure would seem like a tiny mouse next to a cat if compared.
“Esteemed costumer, I am fine. It is my job to do this. But you are really kind; I must thank you. It has been difficult times to me and my sister, but even if it is just the thought, your kindness is a blessing.” Said Cielle with a bright smile. The adventurer looked at her with a faint smile in his face.
“But even so, isn´t it fine for you to have just pointed it out to me? There is no need to bring it over all the way here if it is that heavy to you.”
“Esteemed customer, making you walk due to my incompetence is disrespectful. I am very inexperienced with this job, but that is exactly why I must get used to all of this. Only then I can move forward without worries. Master Jandarl took pity on me and my sister and let us work here despite not knowing a single thing about this job. How can I repay this debt if I can´t even handle something as elementary as handling the weight of equipment in an equipment shop? But once again, I thank you for being so considerate to me. Perhaps not all costumers would be as kind as you, and so, when I meet an unreasonable and arrogant one, this engraved memory will help me.” Said Cielle while holding her own hands together. She gave a heavenly aura as she flattered the adventurer´s bits of kindness. Even though it was all exaggerated, her perfect acting bestowed truth itself upon all this sophism, becoming a blessing that warmed his heart.
“W-well, if it is fine by you… What about the sword you brought?” Said the adventurer while blushing a bit. Mentally, he was thinking of how cute Cielle was, comparing her to a cute angel that didn´t know wickedness. He would never know what monster was behind the hide of the sheep.
“Here, the silversteel heavy sword of good refinement level you requested. The price of the sword should be six silver coins. Regarding the refinement levels, it is at the sixth level of concentration of selana. It should be… Yes, five silver coins and three iron coins. So it adds up to… thirteen! It´s thirteen silver coins and three iron coins.” She pretended to be calculating using her fingers. Seeing her giving the wrong price, the bulky adventurer couldn´t help but frown a bit, but in the end, seeing the innocent way of the acting, he couldn´t help but smile slightly at the clumsy Cielle.
The adventurer´s actions were not exactly kindness, but more of something close to helping a fool who is giving her all in something, but despite all that, can´t realize the obvious. Of course, without saying, Cielle´s appearance and demeanor played a big role for this reaction to happen. Adventurers were people that faced danger itself as their lifestyle, and it wasn´t only monsters and demons that were a threat, but humans too. Swindlers weren´t that common, but they weren´t so rare as to not be necessary to watch out for them either.
Before, the counter was close enough for him to casually walk to there and get the sword himself, but in Lin Ner, when something is personally being requested by the costumer, without doubts it would be disrespectful to have the costumer walk to a counter instead of bringing over the item even if it is on a counter before his eyes. It could be said that respect and flatter became the common sense once the cowards and the weak people had always been doing it since the ancient times to please their superiors into not killing them.
Cecile had always felt that it was something people could do without back then in Lin Ner, since in the end, nobody but people who had yet to reach the First Level of Spirit Ascendance cared about it. In order to truthfully say one has joined in the world of practitioners that defied the Siyita writings, one must at least be of the First Level of Spirit Ascendance, otherwise, not even the speck of dust in a desert could be used when comparing the amount of significance or influence one would have. Although even if it held no meaning to the person´s feelings, seeing someone not do it was similar to ignoring one´s power, and so, it could mean that the person was looking for trouble.
Fortunately for the fools, it was easy to notice the cases for when it was nothing more than a stupid arrogant person. Killing the fool wasn´t something to do if one were to ignore the meaningless of the tiny possibility where the fool would become a future threat or consider the meaningless of the tiny possibility of the fool being a relative above the Fourteenth Level of Path Seeking that would care for such fool. Yes, both killing and not killing were choices that held no meaning to someone of such strength, but even if one were to pounder about a reason not to kill the little bastard, rather than that, just waving a hand and outright killing him would be fine too in the end. Even being respected and feared had their uses and conveniences, and sometimes, maintaining them was more than worth it.
As far as Cecile and Cielle remembered about this world, although it had its own kingdoms and countries with people selfishly claiming superiority by influence and wealth, offending them wouldn´t cause certain and instant death. It couldn´t be compared to Lin Ner.
Even though Cielle and Cecile had already acknowledged the fact that this world was just too peaceful, cheerful and full of easygoing people, for each time they encountered something that made them ascertain of it, they couldn´t help but feel weirded out.
As for Cielle´s actions previously, not only did she make it so the result of the price was a bit higher than what it was supposed to be, she too did the same thing with the refinement cost. The refinement cost was much less likely to be discovered since people weren´t as much aware of the price table of refinement levels, and using the distraction of doing an obvious mistake while putting a facade of being harmless, with how the adventurer reacted to her acting, it was most likely he wouldn’t notice and focus on the mistake at the total cost. Because she did the mistake in doing a calculation, it wasn´t impossible for the adventurer to request the cost to be calculated again. Besides that, her acting was indeed a little exaggerated. However, this wasn´t a situation where she wanted or needed absolute efficiency. The main point of this plot is having the costumer be as much distracted as possible. If Cielle didn´t let him think it through, he wouldn´t be able to request the complete recounting of the cost.
” Little miss, I think you did a mistake there. The price should have been 12 silver coins and 3 iron coins…” Said the adventurer with a helpless look while seeing the panicking Cielle.
“S-sorry, I didn’t mean to!! I… Esteemed customer, let me do it again! Uhh… Five here, five there… Plus…” Said as she started to count using her fingers.
“Esteemed costumer, the result was thirteen again… I-I, I am not good when counting above ten…”Said Cielle while looking depressed with her head hanged down.
“No! I mean, don’t worry, esteemed costumer! It must be me the one at fault. I’m not good at math as you could see… I need to ask for help… Grampa is busy… Sister too… What do I do… I can’t keep wronging this kind costumer… To keep him waiting… What do I do…”Said Cielle with a teary face. The adventurer crossed his arms, wondering what he was supposed to do.
In fact, Jandarl was “busy” with people that were asking about Cecile and Cielle, and for Cecile, actually, Cielle had told her through her divine sense to busy herself so her plan could work. Just by how the adventurer was looking at Cielle worriedly as if he was looking at a cute and pitiful being, it was obvious that he took the bait.
“Alright… I will pay that price.”
“But, but esteemed costumer, didn’t you say the price was faultily calculated? I can’t let you pay this much until it wasn’t revised.” Said Cielle somewhat hurriedly.
“It’s ok. Think of the charge as a treat to you. Keep working hard!” Said the adventurer with a bright smile.
“Esteemed costumer… Thank you very much, but are you sure it is alright? You don’t need to do it for me…” Said Cielle with a bit of hesitation in accepting his money, but at the same time, with bits of happiness mixed in there as if she was glorified by his kindness.
“Yes, it’s alright. I have plenty of money; one or two silver coins isn’t much to me. I think you deserve it, little miss.” Said the adventurer after laughing a bit. He gave her a purse with the amount of money necessary and got the heavy sword, which he leaned on his shoulder.
“I understand… Thank you very much kind costumer.” Said Cielle gratefully.
“Just live healthy and well.”
As he left the store, Cielle smile was from an ear to another. Not only did her plan go well, but she was also able to get more than expected.
Before, he said to use the charge for herself, but for her, whether it was a single coin or a fortune, she doesn’t really care. She simply put the money In fact, the bonus money she got was comparable to her monthly wager.
Although she had a positive view of Jandarl, she didn’t really care that much about him to go out of her way and help him get extra money. The main reason for it was that she liked to try things out, and was also a bit of a perfectionist. Whenever possible, she would do everything possible to get the most of the situation.
All in all, she was having fun.
It could be said that it was a bad habit. Of course, in situations which caution was necessary, she would prioritize her safety over gains. Profiting doesn’t have any use if one dies for them. Better living rich than living poor, but better living poor than not living.
Since their present situation wasn’t really something that caution was needed, Cielle was having fun in her own way as she stealthily tricked people.
Jandarl had said before about the trust of costumers being something very important for a shopkeeper, and although she was an existence much above when compared to some puny mortal, she wouldn’t ignore his experience as a shopkeeper over her own experiences, which were lacking in this regard. That’s why she wouldn’t overextend herself in trying to deceive others into buying things costlier. Besides, she would only do that when Jandarl was distracted, and so, she wouldn´t be constantly doing this sort of thing even if she wanted to do so. Jandarl was evaluating hers and Cecile’s skills since, after all, they were newly employed. It wasn´t impossible for him to notice something wrong.
There were also other tricks Cielle would employ.
It wasn’t only deceit by feigning harmlessness, but also deceit by adding false information of the equipment or a bit of exaggeration in some of the equipment details. And of course, she wouldn’t only use deceit, but also skillfully bargain with people for better selling, convincing people to buy costlier equipment or more equipment.
There were many ways to get a good price and to get the most of something; one must consider every single variable.
Cielle was a bit sad because she couldn’t come up with more schemes. She lacked information, experience and tools to use, so it couldn’t be helped. With only this little amount of possible movements to intervene with the outcome, she felt a bit uncomfortable. Even though it wasn’t a situation where having multiple backup plans to rely on was necessary, preferring schemes to have many layers of measures was something ingrained in her nature.
It felt a bit regretful to her, but nevertheless, it didn’t interfere any bit with the amusement she was having.
Both of them were doing their jobs really well for who they were supposed to be; two simple villager girls. It felt as if they were extremely experienced at it. Albeit many distractions, not only it surprised Jandarl, but also the ones that were attended by them, which after hearing about their profile, they would become astonished. Even though nowadays there was the implementation of schools in villages, they only taught the basics of basics, and so, it would be impossible for both of them to have learnt the etiquette they were using.
Their actions didn´t follow the etiquette seen in any of the four kingdoms of the Woltens peninsula, but the exquisite words they were using and demeanor were something that emitted a sense of being deeply respected for those that were attended by them. That said, it was not perfect, since sometimes “a few slips” would happen. Even with those, everything they did felt natural and without a hint of hesitation. Any explanation or bargain they did followed a flow; not one costumer was left disappointed.
It was incredible for two ignorant village girls to accomplish something similar in the first time they did something like that as if they originally had a lot of experience in this kind of things.
As for the slips mentioned before, it is unnecessary to say that they were made intentionally and on a whim by them. It was not something to be serious about, but something that served mostly to amuse themselves.