On my way to Tatilans, I arrive at a farm. Or rather, this construction site that looks like it’s going to be a farm. This certainly hasn’t been here the last time I went to Tatilans. The main house is barely done, but it looks like it’s livable.
The door opens and Alexander and Pat come out to greet me. That’s a surprise. So this is Alexander’s new place?
“Hello, Alexander! Hello, Pat! How did you know I was coming?” I ask.
“I didn’t. I was on my way to your place,” Pat answers, “Matt got Flynn to go with me for this. Since it’s on the way, I was just stopping here at Alexander’s farm for a bit. This is where he’s planning to raise Slimes for the Slime Gelatine production.”
“As you can see, it’s not done yet. But when it’s done, I’d like to get some Slimes from you. After all, I still don’t know if any Slime will do for that project. From what I know, there’s the possibility only your Slimes are capable of producing Slime Gelatine.”
“I see. Just take your time building this place. The Slimes aren’t going anywhere!” I answer. I turn to Pat: “So what brings you here?”
“Matt needs to go on a smaller trip to the south. Just a regular inspection of the area. But it’s still a bit away. We figured you might want to join us. If you’re interested let’s talk about the details in the palace.”
“Sure, I’m interested. But before that, I need to drop by Glorindamli’s place for a bit.”
“I see, let me accompany you. Again, thanks for your hospitality, Alexander.”
“You’re welcome. Goodbye!”
We leave the farm and make our way to Tatilans. Seeing Pat being with me, the guard lets us enter Tatilans without any checks. We continue to go to Glorindamli’s Armoury.
“Say, Pat, have you tried archery yet?”
“Yes, it’s going surprisingly well, I have to say. It’s a little tricky, but I seem to have the knack for it. Also, Lady Aenwyn found some old documents detailing lost Light Magic. You use your staff as a bow and shoot light arrows. I managed to pull it off, but it doesn’t look like what you used on the Sky Fish.”
“Light arrows? That sounds more useful than my Laser spell. Oh, we’re already here.”
“I’ll wait outside.”
“Good afternoon, Glorindamli!”
“Good afternoon, Swift! It’s good to see you. You have some more pelt?”
“Yes, I do,” I take out the pelt from my Infinite Storage and hand it to him, “but I need some help, too. It’s about… this,” I give him the bottle with the young ale.
“The wine? Is there a problem?” Glorindamli asks.
“Kind of. Just go ahead and taste it. This a trial run for an improvement,” I grin.
“If you say so…” he opens the bottle and takes a sip. His eyes open wide. “This… isn’t Maple Wine. THIS! This is ale! MAPLE ALE! It’s still young ale but how did you…”
“Shh!” I try to calm him down, “that’s a secret, for now at least. I have started a batch, but I need some casks for this.”
“My beard… I won’t pry how you did it…
I see, casks for ageing ale… Used casks are no good. And existing residue would change the taste… So new casks. Hmm, I’ll source you some casks. It might take a while though.”
“Yes, I’ll just push the task onto Snakkonlir. He’ll manage it. He’ll be the one that’ll profit most, so giving him more work shouldn’t be a problem.
Before I forget: that other item Prince Matthew ordered for you is finally done.”
“The other item?”
“Didn’t he tell you? When he ordered that sleeping bag he also ordered a falconry glove made for you. It just look a little longer, since I had to get the right material. Since it’s done, let me fit it for you.”
He hands me the glove. I put it on. It’s a half glove made from sturdy leather, and it fits quite nicely.
“A perfect fit. So I hear you keep a very special bird?”
“No, it’s just a hawk. And keeping is saying too much. He usually lives on his own in the forest. He just joins me for hunting and food. When we go hunting he tends to sit on my head, hanging onto my headband.”
“I see. This should do. Don’t worry about payment for this. It’s already been taken care of. If you have trouble with it don’t hesitate to come here. I’ll have word sent to you when I hear about the casks.”
“Thanks for your help. Bye!”
“Don’t mention it. Bye!”
Since we’re done here, Pat and I make our way to Tatilans Castle. In Matt’s room, the others are already waiting for us. Silas is there as well.
“I’m glad you could make it, Swift.”
“I hear you’re going on a trip?”
“Yes, our group was tasked with a routine checkup of Cogen, a town three days south of here,” Luna answers in her usual emotionless manner.
“It’s relatively safe, so apart from our party, only Silas will accompany us,” Kat adds.
“That’s only what’s on paper,” Matt adds in a more serious manner. Silence fills the room. “The accounting numbers we received from that town don’t really add up. There might be something fishy happening.”
“I see. That’s why it’s Silas. So I take it we’re just there for the cover story of a routine checkup and Silas has the real work?”
“Yes, that’s basically it,” Silas answers. His answer isn’t as carefree as I remember him.
“Is something amiss, Silas?” I ask.