The Slime Farmer 100 Ordaine
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Bluzand was too much a hive of buzzing wasps flitting in and out to be comfortable. The mood in the company building was a mix of agitated and excited, too stressful.
After finalizing his cooperation with the company, Defi was glad to walk out to the noise of the open street. At least the vibrating tension of the people there was not amplified by being cooped up between walls.
He walked to a wine shop Vesia had pointed out yesterday. Degaine's capture had brightened the spirits of the city, and the laughter and conversation were slightly less despondent. Children were still running about the side streets, playing pirates against the city guard who were armed with…was that a dead snake on a stick?
Defi laughed softly.
Listening to the gossip, it appeared many thought Turq's seakrait form was the summon-beast belonging to one of the city guard.
The wineshop's door opened with a blooming of aromas from within. Defi felt that a child could get drunk on the scent of the shop.
He already had a selection of wines on the list, but he wanted some to bring back.
Sarel, just this morning, had informed him that the warehouse needed a blessing feast and that he couldn't put it off too long after the construction was finished.
Basically, he just needed enough wine and bread and viand to feed all the people he was acquainted with. According to her, it was a good thing that he wasn't so social yet, or half the town would descend upon his larder like migrating locusts on a doomed field.
Because of rumor, everyone 'knew' that Sarel was his aunt, so it was up to her to arrange part of the blessing ceremonies. Sarel was an outsider though, and didn't really want to deal with organizing social gatherings, so she pushed off the responsibility to Aire.
"I didn't know about this!" Who planned a gathering in one day? How would people know to arrive? Invitations had to be sent!
"You don't need to host," Sarel said in exasperation as he mildly panicked. "People are just there to drink. Adan already has set aside some centals of the ordinary beer for you."
Defi glared at her. "It's tomorrow."
She waved his concern away. "Already sent Aire a note by bird, when I saw your list. All your reading, you didn't catch this tradition? The bakery is likely working overtime for you. Everyone who should know already knows."
Defi calmed down. "Thank you."
"Go buy gifts for the people saving your skin."
Which was the reason he sought out the wineshop.
He already had a collection of jars containing samples of spice-mixes from Bluzand to use as gifts, actually. But it didn't seem enough. Aire and the others were saving his social reputation, after all.
In a tight-knit town where he was both outsider and the owner of town land, his character as seen by the townspeople was important. If he missed this ceremony, he might as well be noised to all and sundry as ungrateful towards fortune bestowed by the divine.
Wine was a simple decision, one that would not be seen as extravagant even if he gave out a slightly expensive bottle. Everybody drank wine, and it was a gift that was always appreciated.
"Good sir, may I be of a.s.sistance?"
Defi greeted the wine-seller, and went directly to what he wanted. "Six bottles of the Madalaine Ordaine, madame. Something similar if you don't have it."
"I apologize," the middle-aged woman inclined her head. "All of the Madalaine we have in stock has been reserved"
"For harvest celebrations, young sir," she clarified. "I'm afraid even the Ambrose and the Boroline cannot be bought from any wineshop in the city at the moment. Perhaps the Zamen Ghisar might satisfy? The Chossur Lemorne is a personal recommendation of mine."
"I've not had those before." Defi stated truthfully. "Can you bring out…hm, six would do. Yes, six of your recommendations."
Defi eyed her discreetly as he kept his outward attention on the bottles displayed. Her silence went on too long. He glanced at her, eyes narrowed. What was the problem? "This cannot be done?"
She smiled tightly. "Certainly it can, young sir. Please wait a moment."
He was a little wary when six bottles were placed on the counter. Before she could start her spiel on the names and origins of the wine, he was already uncorking the first.
It was not a bottle that was native to Ascharon, and the scent of the wine was a little sour for him. He corked the bottle and went on to the next.
Because of Adan's forceful lesson, Defi could rank many different wines into tiers just by using the scent and taste examples the tavern-brewer had given.
The second, he poured an amount less than a mouthful into the waiting cup and carefully let the wine spread on his tongue. By scent and taste, it was inferior to the Madalaine.
Defi put it down and went on to the next. Then the next.
He sighed when all of them were done. "They are all inferior to the Madalaine."
The best one of the lot was the second to last bottle. It was inferior but not by much. Defi studied the design etched on the gla.s.s. Chossur Lemorne.
"Should I prepare another six samples, young sir?"
"No, this one will do. Your personal recommendation, yes?" His current wealth was actually a bit short for the Madalaine.
"It is," she looked surprised, then gratified. "Six bottles, young sir. Forty-eight crescents. I will prepare a carry-box."
"Make it ten bottles, please." He belatedly realized he hadn't for the recommendation letters.
He exited the shop and
He waved at Vesia, who was busy and even had a ma.s.sive stack of paper in one arm even as she sent him off, then entered the waiting carriage. Sarel nodded in greeting. "Ready to go back?"
"Yes." He hefted his pack, set it to one side.
The quiet river bank and the expanse of green mountainside that were parts of the Garge homestead sounded very relaxing at the moment.
He hadn't expected a day in Ecthys to be so draining.
"The furniture and part of the blacksmith's order needs a few more days to be put together. The caravan holding most of the supplies will leave the city in two days, on Thunders. Expect it in town four or five days after."
"Day of Moons or Duels then. Isn't that too long?"
"It's the harvest. The wagons are all laden these days. The caravan's a little lazy, but they're careful. The leader's a friend."
Defi remembered that the aunts in the market said that bandits and thieves were more active at harvest time. He nodded.
"Mm. Won't be back for some time. You can use the orchard as usual."
"I'll be sure not to set the place on fire."
She remarked calmly. "Should know by now that my Shade is Earth."
"Resorting to threats?"
"I'm sure it's the proper response to people inviting arson."
"My ears must be going and, of the two of us, I'm not the one who's old. I've not heard this. Who invited what?"
The carriage ride to Marmocha's city house was filled with light conversation.
"Sarel, my friend! Young Defi! Welcome to my abode!" Marmocha greeted them enthusiastically, as usual. "You have met my niece Amicha of course."
Said niece sent him a look that was both injured and reproaching.
Defi knew the reason. "Good afternoon, Miss Ami."
Her name was Amren, and she did not like the nickname her uncle was so fond of throwing around.
She beamed. "Good afternoon, mestre!"
"Yes," Marmocha smiled widely at them both. "Good afternoon. What's all this about a seakrait catching a pirate, eh? It's all over the city!���
"The vengeance of the sea on the plunderers that sully her honor!" followed the smaller but no less animated member of the Chacort clan.
Defi could only smile. The energy of these two Chacorts was inherited, it seemed.
Possibly they sucked it from the air around their bodies?
Getting hugged by the two would certainly explain why he fell asleep on the flying carriage and did not notice until Marmocha was nudging him awake.
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The Slime Farmer 100 Ordaine
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The Slime Farmer 100 Ordaine summary
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