Chapter 13 -It all boils down to how you sell it

It all boils down to how you sell it

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Ming was fifteen, Chu and Lucy were twelve. In the past few days they had started move from malnourished looking kids to a more normal countenance. They were also used to a hard life and carrying heavy loads.

But in front of this solid mass of flesh and bones it was like asking a child to carry a car. The twisted expressions on them all including Chu was priceless.

In the face of a more than half ton deer and over a ton bear tank, even if they built a make shift sled it would be difficult to transport across the forest. They were far from the road that the woodsmen used to carry  the logs.

Without a cart having large wheels to navigate over the bumps and tree ruts, trying to drag the beast was impossible.

“Chu even if you whip us, I don’t think we can carry that load. Look at that deer, we would need long branches to even flip him over. And I am not sure us together can do it.”

“Ming is right Chu, That deer is a bigger than the normal grassland ones. Only a Great Horned deer would have antlers so big. I saw one at the trading post with my mom a long time ago.”

Crap! Chu felt like pulling his hair and screaming.

This was like finding gold embedded in a rock without a pick-axe.

What should he do. He had never paid attention to how they butchered the animals. He couldn’t walk with that size of meat into the slums. If he got seen with that it would be suicide.

Should he take the chance and butcher it here? With that bloody action the scent alone would attract nearly all the predators in the forest. All they could be by then would be sitting ducks.

Light a fire and attract the other hunters? Which idiot in their right mind would share wealth with kids from the slums? Greed is a bad thing among those struggling to survive everyday.

“Ming it is time for you to prove yourself.”

Chu looked at him and continued.

“I need you to remain here. Not to gurad but to see if anything happens to our catch. Climb up and stay hidden in the tree until I come back. Take the spear and machete with you for protection.”

“Leave it to me. I will do what you say.”

To Chu’s suprise Ming didn’t hesitate at all. With a determined face he got up and taking what he needed he climbed up a nearby tree. What Chu didn’t realize was how important he had already become to his companions. For those struggling in harsh environments Chu had already become a blood brother.

For a bond lie that, risking their life was a normal event. It was not like he was telling them to take their life. Risk is risk, there is always a chance to live. It was for that same reason that Lucy overcame the fear and risked her life. She wasn’t over confident on their trap, but seening Chu in trouble caused her to act.

For Chu who just arrived in this world and hadn’t fully soaked in the slum experience, he was ignorant of this type of bonds.

“Lucy come with me, I need someone in case something happens on the way.”

It was not long since the bear announced its arrival with a loud commotion and roaring. Chu was convinced that this would keep inquisitive predators away for part of the night. It would take two hours to return to the village. He would not be mad as to try and run in a beast packed forest, who knows what you could meet up.

“Keep your eye out Lucy, hide as much in the shadows. When we reach the grasslands we can run. With the amount of last minute hunters around, the lone wolves will be intelligent to keep away until it quiets down.”

Lucy replied with a soft mumble. She was the quickest so if they were attacked Chu would try and use his spear to fend of the beast while giving Lucy a chance to run. He didn’t know Lucy was thinking the same.

They reached the edge of the forest and dashed out on the road towards the village. This way they actually made it to the village under two hours. Only then did they breathe a sigh of relief.

Chu didn’t go to the Slums for help. He wasn’t familiar with much people and had nobody he completely trusted. Instead he went to the Trading post. Since being in this world, it was the place he interacted with the most.

The Trading post was open until half the night to accommodate hunters coming in late with their catch. It was even more so given that many would be leaving soon along with the merchant caravans.

Some hunters were hired by respective merchant to hunt during their stay while others were either going to shack up in some town for the winter or moving down south to hunt during the winter. Very few hunters would risk getting caught in the predatory packs that formed from normal lone beast.

Chu rushed to the Trading post but seeing a new person at the collection bay he paused. Holding Lucy by the hand he carried her to the well. Removing his scarf and hood he cleaned up his face and had Lucy do the same. Replacing her hood he held her hand and casually walked into the collection area.

Even though she was shocked, Lucy didn’t pull away her hands from him. Chu on the other hand was completely clueless of his actions. His mind was on focused on other things at the moment.

Chu timed it so there was no one except them as they entered the bay. The surroundings around the Trading post was empty.

“Hello, good night sir.”

Chu greeted with just this sentence. He was waiting for to gauge the type of reply and expressions of the clerk. Only then could he know what kind of approach to use for striking up a conversation.

“Beat it kid, there is no free firewood here for you. We don’t run a charity here.”

If Griz had this attitude, Chu would have found it doubly hard to have progressed. This person was likely in his early twenties with some form of education. He definitely would not be some rich brat because which young master worked the graveyard shift?

Chu summed him up at first response.

‘Conniving young partially educated brat.’

“S.so..sorr…sorry young master. Pl…please take no offence.”

“Hmph!! Darn right, least you have some common sense. Begone before I loose patience.”

Chu rolled his eyes in his head.’ F^%$ ME!’ he thought as the clerk leaked out a prideful aura. A little compliment and this guy was ready to launch for the moon. Chu continued his play.

“So…sorry for wasting your time lord, but Mr Griz..Mr Griz request I meet him at this time.”

Calling the clerk ‘lord’ while calling the head of the Trading post ‘Mr!’

The clerk’s head was inflated until it nearly popped with pride.

“What are you saying? Why should Griz meet with the likes of you at this time of night?”

Of course the clerk had to follow suit. ‘Mr Griz’ simply became Griz in his eyes. Any more buttering up by this kid and he would be the owner of the Trading post company.

“Sir..your lordship sir… Mr Griz says that I was to meet him here with my sister sir.”

“WHAT?!”

Seeing the clerk nearly falling over Chu continued.

“Your excellency, I am not lying. He said to bring my sister here tonight. He will be waiting or he will be informed on my arrival.”

The clerk looked at the young boy who was teary eyed like he was a child telling the truth but being doubted. What the heck he thought, that big ass man was into young girls? Hmph! Tsk!nTsk! coasting a fair reputation while being a demon inside. And to think he was warning me at the start about playing around!!

“Hey kid you sure?”

“Yes your lord. Look I even have the coppers he paid me today.”

Chu produce the pouch of remaining coppers and handed it over as if showing off his simple minded honesty.

The clerk on the other hand saw the simpleton standing before him and immediately turned into a wolf.

“Hmmmm…..Yes yes, thats true kid. But you have to know I don’t know if Griz may want her again. He may even take back you money. Tsk! Tsk! I’ll tell you what….”

Looking at the expected reaction of tears welling up in the kid’s eyes and his face clouded with fear the clerk continued.

“I’ll help you, but you have to keep it a secret or if Griz finds out it would be the last time he would deal with you. He HATES rumors.”

‘Oh god, look at this sucker being played.’

Of course there were two thinking the same thoughts at the time.

“Yes, yes please help us, I will do anything you say my lord!”

The clerk turned up his head, gave a sigh, shook his head and continued. He was like a man going out of his way to do a favor.

“I will carry her now and make sure that Griz always calls on her. But for this service I need to get something in return. Since I will make sure you have a steady income for all winter, how about you give me half of your fees now. Then during winter bring her to me for a few days. I will guarantee she is fed.”

“Thank you…thank you lord….please take what you need, I cannot count so if your lordship may..”

The clerk hurriedly took three quarters of the money and threw back the near empty pouch. Seeing the kid pocket it without hesitation reinforced his character as a bumpkin.

With the transaction complete the clerk hurried of with Lucy in tow towards the village. Griz would naturally have his sleeping quarters in the Trading post lodge within the village. The huge building served as storeroom and resting places for merchants and their guards.

Seeing off the girl at the lodge he returned in high spirits. Tonight was a very profitable night for him. This winter was shaping up to be wonderful. He had secured a good job, had enough food and now had the added bonus of free entertainment.

This move from the town to this backward village was shaping up to be one of his best decisions. EVER!

When the clerk returned Chu was waiting in the collection area.

“What are you doing here brat? I dropped her of with one of the guards to carry her to Griz rooms. Don’t hang around here! You want me to get a guard to chase you away?”

Chu looked at him with an awkward expression. To avoid trouble he simply moved away from the clerk’s sight. It should be noted that all that conversation didn’t take fifteen minutes to resolve with Lucy being delivered in that time-frame. Given his situation this was the quickest way to achieve his goal.

Their futures were all dependent on the outcome of this meeting. Hopefully he didn’t read the merchant wrong.

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