Roland woke up the next day earlier than expected, the sound of carriages moving and people talking filled his ears. The residents in this city started the day a bit faster than back in Carwen. They also made a lot more noise, he could hear the sounds of hammers hitting metal even from here.
He rose to his feet with one eye glued shut, he was a bit groggy the fatigue from the week long train ride didn't go away just yet. He somehow crawled out of his bed and went out of his room. There wasn't really much to do there and he could just carry his stuff in his spatial bag.
He had his breakfast which tasted bland as before, the common people didn't really have much seasoning besides salt and pepper. The small gnome girl was up and about today. He decided to try not to bump into her again as she looked easily irritable. He needed to inspect the new city, besides this inn and the adventurer's guild, there were other interesting places to see.
First, he decided to find himself a general store that sold items for scribes. He needed to get himself some paper or blank scrolls made from monster skin. He wasn't sure which ones were better but it would probably be easier to draw on paper than rough scrolls. He kept looking around quite curious about the people living here. He had been in this world for almost six years now. The time that he had spent adventuring was already over half a year. The adventurers were a peculiar bunch but he found them a well-knit group.
There were still dangers in this world though. Bandits and monsters prowled in the night, and you could get yourself a death sentence if you bumped into a person in a high enough position. Luck was on his side as besides that one encounter he had managed to fly under the radar. This was probably thanks to the adventurer party he had joined, the three girls were quite cautious in their hunts.
He didn’t show it back then but he noticed that they were different from the usual adventurer group. They didn’t wander into the deeper parts of the Dungeon even though they should be strong enough. He had reason to believe that they weren’t willing to go there with a child-like him.
He shook his head around, trying to forget about the recent but now old days. He needed to get some shopping done and he had reached one of the larger general stores. He entered inside and could hear a bell ringing the moment he pushed the door open.
He could see some people inside looking at the items on display. The first thing he noticed were the long display cases. They had items placed in them with small text which showed the name and the pricing akin to modern-day price tags.
There were some bookcases placed at the walls and some decorations in the form of shields and swords at the walls. This was a general item store so you could find things like potions, scrolls, and even provisions here.
“Good day customer, feel free to look around the store.”
He heard someone calling out to him. In front behind the display cases stood an older gentleman. He had large glasses on and was partially balding with some hair on the sides. He was wearing a heavy apron over his regular clothes with some tools sticking out from the pockets.
Roland nodded and moved closer to the display cases. He could see some potions of various grades. They had the same grading system as the runes, ranging from lesser all the way up to legendary. Here he found mostly lesser and common ones though.
‘Oh, they do have some scrolls here!’
In one of the display cases, he saw some rolled-up scrolls. This one he was looking at had a mana arrow spell inscribed onto it. He looked at the price and saw that this one went for one small silver coin. He wasn’t sure if that was a large sum for an item like this. So he tried comparing the price to monster kills.
He reasoned that it wouldn’t be worthwhile to kill a goblin with this spell scroll unless you were getting a mana stone out of it. If you considered this a life-saving measure then it wasn’t that costly.
He looked further and spotted more scrolls that were being sold. The next one in line was a fire arrow spell scroll. This was a direct upgrade from a mana arrow spell and was tier 2 magic. A person making this scroll had to be a more advanced scribe along with being an elemental fire mage.
The cost of this spell was triple what the inferior one cost. Roland was a bit surprised by it only being this much, he was inclined to think that this spell should cost a lot more. It was always best to ask when you had some questions instead of overthinking so he looked at the store owner and gave his question.
“Excuse me, why does this fire arrow spell only cost three small silvers when it’s a tier 2 spell while this mana arrow spell costs 1 small silver?”
The store owner moved a bit closer to look at what his customer was looking at and then gave the answer.
“Even though it’s a tier 2 spell it isn’t that much more potent, it also depends on the person making these scrolls and materials. If it was a fireball spell it would cost about six small silver per scroll.”
“Also dear customer, these scrolls get identified by a professional that can distinguish their true attacking value. An Arch-mage could very well create a simple mana arrow spell that would be several times stronger than a fire arrow spell, it all depends on the person making it.”
The shop owner was quite happy to explain while taking out one of the scrolls and showing them off. These scrolls also had gradings just as the runes. They were a bit different as the determining factor was not how well they were made but how much power was injected into them during the creation process. The people made it simple and rated them from lowest to highest and they were checked by a special device before a price was assigned.
“I see, thank you.”
Roland nodded and wondered how high his grading would be if he wrote down his own mana arrow and mana bolt spell. He had a lot more intelligence and mana than a regular mage so he should be able to make more powerful spell scrolls.
Before asking more questions Roland went around the store and found the things he was looking for. He found some magic ink and the more crude looking monster skin scrolls. He was also sure to get himself a pencil and more sketching paper.
From what the shop owner said, these were the cheaper options as the magic paper was made from some difficulty to come by wood. In contrast, monsters were easily hunted down in certain dungeons and were a good renewable resource.
The empty scrolls came in bundles of ten and they were close to the size of A5 paper. This meant that they weren’t all that big, but considering the spells he was going to write on them weren’t that high level this was enough. Larger spells required larger scrolls but these were enough for tier 1 and tier 2 spells.
The ten blank scrolls cost him 9 small silver, which put them at 9 large copper coins apiece. So if he managed to sell them all at the price of the mana arrow spell in this shop he would only be making one small silver coin. He probably wouldn’t be making any money if he added the price of the magic ink into the mix.
He was seriously contemplating getting a job now. If he worked for someone he wouldn’t need to worry about manufacturing costs and he would be still able to earn experience points while getting paid.
“Excuse me, are there any scroll scribing shops nearby?”
The shop owner gave Roland the location of the nearest store but he didn’t know if they were recruiting. He bowed respectfully to the man before leaving, the man had been really helpful.
His next destination was a place called, Exeor’s Magic Emporium. It was one of the larger magic shops in the city and was apparently owned by some rich magic-user. Roland had no idea what class of mage the person was but he was loaded.
Roland was slightly worried that he wouldn't be able to get a spot in the workforce. Mainly due to his lack of elemental affinity. He wasn’t sure if he should disclose that he had a more advanced version of the scribe class to people he didn’t know either. The mana arrows weren’t really a hot commodity from what he could tell.
He ended up by a large three-story building, it had the name that the shop owner mentioned. The sign on it was composed of two potions on the side, a scroll in the middle with a staff going through them. It had your standard magic shop feel to it, nothing out of the ordinary.
‘I guess this is it…’
The first thing he did was to see if there were any job listings hanging outside the three-story tall building. He didn’t find anything like that so he decided to step inside. The doors were a bit peculiar as they didn’t have any handles but this mystery was resolved quite fast as they opened by themselves the moment he got there.
On the inside it had a similar layout as the general store he visited before. There were display cases with various magical items scattered all over the place. He could buy spell scrolls just as in the previous shop but they had a lot more variations. He checked the names and he compared the prices which came out to be strangely similar.
He went through the larger spell scroll section of the shop, there were various spells here. Like fireball spells, lightning bolt spells, freezing cones, and various others. He wasn’t looking for those though, he was interested in something else. He finally arrived at a smaller section that was further in the back, it was the ‘Runic Spell Scroll’ section.
There were actually few and far between scrolls in this section. They looked a bit dusty as if no one had picked them up in a while. There wasn’t much variation and they didn’t come in bundles like the regular scrolls. They looked more like an exhibit than actual items for purchase. He leaned in closer, interested in what type of spells these were.
‘Runic Orb of Light spell’
‘Runic Fire Arrow spell’
‘Runic Aqua Ball spell’
They were mostly simple lower-tier spells. He glanced at the fire arrow one, he could compare the prices of this one to its counterpart. The moment he saw the numbers he realized why these were not getting sold.
‘It costs six or seven times as much...who would buy this?’
There wasn’t a spell under the price of a large silver coin and that was the Orb of Light. The Fire Arrow spell cost 2 large silver coins. This was a large gap to the regular fire arrow spell scroll that went for 3 small silver coins.
He tried thinking about why these spell scrolls cost so much more than the other ones. There could be a couple of possibilities but luckily there was a clerk coming his way, so he could just ask like before.
It was a cute looking girl with long ears and she was of the taller kind, an elf. She was wearing a red robe of some kind, with the same logo that the store had on her chest part. She was quite the beauty with golden hair as most of the elves were.
“Hello there, need any help?”
The girl smiled, she looked to be in her later teens but from what Roland knew she could be well into her fifties. The elves were a race that could live for a very long time.
“Yes, why do these runic spell scrolls cost so much more than the regular spell scrolls?”
He was here to ask for a job but he was also interested in why the runic scrolls were so overpriced. Also why they didn’t look like they were selling well.
“Ah, these? That’s simple. These spell scrolls are a lot harder to produce than the ordinary spell scrolls. They also require a Runesmith to produce them.”
Roland didn’t actually get to scribing the regular spells just yet. He did know that it took quite a while to create one of those runic scrolls. He needed close to an hour to produce one and he was in a rush for time. The runic spell he made was also on the more rudimentary side, so he could only imagine how long a more complex spell would take to scribe down.
From the conversation with the elf lady, it became apparent. The spell scrolls cost so much due to it requiring a tier 2 Runesmith and also a lot more time. The Runesmiths probably weren’t willing to drop the price range due to the time and effort put into their work.
There were a couple of those spell scrolls there. He wanted to get them for further research. He could probably upgrade them to the highest grade and get some schematic experience while at it. Before that though, he recalled what he was here for in the first place.
“Ah yes, excuse me, Miss. Is this shop perhaps looking for Mana Scribes?”
He didn’t want people to know that he was a Runic Mana Scribe just yet as he didn’t know if that would bring any unwanted attention to him.
The elf girl looked at him from top to bottom and nodded.
“Mana Scribe? I’ll have to ask the manager, I think we are but…”
She didn’t finish the sentence while covering her mouth as if she was holding back from revealing too much information.
“Just follow me, I’ll bring you to the manager, he is always looking for good workers~”
The woman turned around and he followed after her. They both headed upstairs the stairs were quite narrow and circular and there was hardly any space for anyone to walk next to.
On the next floor, he saw a corridor leading to a room with the words ‘Manager’ on them. To the sides were other rooms that were closed off. These rooms also had words written on them, one of them had ‘Potions’ on them, another one ‘Scrolls and Spells’ written on a plaque. Those were either production rooms or places where they stored those items.
Before he could examine his surroundings the elf girl knocked on the door. They both heard a high pitched voice answering with a ‘Come in’ and so they did.
Inside was your usual office with a large desk. On that desk beside documents, there was a full-blown chemist set with various vials and tubes. There were various colorful liquids going through those tubes, for what reason he did not know. To the sides were shelves filled with some strange ingredients which made Roland think that he entered an alchemist workshop.
“What is it Zilyana? You know that I’m busy.”
The person that answered wasn’t human, he was a person with a smaller frame and a large head and his ears were pointy but not as long as an elf’s. He was holding a pipette and dropping some blue liquid into a larger pitcher of green liquid.
“Manager, I’ve brought you a potential worker, I think this boy wants to work as a scribe.”
The smaller man stopped what he was doing and glanced at Roland with his eyes. He then went right back to what he was doing while speaking.
“Just show him the contract, if he signs it you can test his skills in scribing. Now leave, I’m busy with my research!”
The two-headed out and the elf girl just smiled at Roland while shrugging.
“Don’t mind the manager, he is always buried deep into his work, he is actually an advanced Alchemist!”
“Ah sure, he mentioned some kind of contract?”
The girl nodded and they went downstairs and they entered a smaller back room. Once inside the elf girl started to rummage through some stacks of paper. She then brought out a large scroll and handed it to him. It looked a bit beat up and dusty.
“You just need to sign the magic contract with your signature and insert some mana for it to work.”
He was interested in what this was so he started reading through this so-called contract. The more he read the more his brows started furrowing when he arrived at the end he just looked up to the elf with a confused expression.
“Y-you want me to sign this?”
The elf nodded as if everything was fine. The contract was a six-year deal, it stated that he would work for a set price and would have to scribe a set number of spells each day. There were a few he could choose from and depending on it the number could decrease or increase.
This wasn’t the problematic part though. The contract stated that he wouldn’t have the right to sell any spell scrolls outside the shop. Even less if it were spells that he had learned during his work here. In short, they would supply him with the knowledge but he needed to waive any rights to his work for those six whole years. The contract was a magical one so it would be known if he breached it and he would suffer some type of curse.
It might have not looked like such a bad deal. He would have work and would be supplied with crafting materials. The only thing getting impeded would be his freedom, he wouldn’t even be able to make spell scrolls outside his work area. So he wouldn’t be able to experiment with his runes at all. The six-year period was also bothering him, he wanted to quickly level up and then get the blacksmith class. If he signed this he would have to keep working here even when he achieved his goal.
“You know what, I’ll think about it.”
He decided to leave, for now. Maybe the other shops around the city would give him a better deal. He still had a lot of time and he wasn’t low on money so he wasn’t worried, at least not yet.