Chapter 10 Back to Business!
Nate finally emerged his week long soak. He changed out of his ruined earth clothes and put on a flame brand polo and slacks.
Despite suffering nearly life threatening trauma, Nate already planning to travel to the water region. This highly distressed his daughter. Olivia knew she couldn't intervene, so she told Paul.
Paul wasn't great with handling Nate's dynamic nature, but he knew the way to start, the practical solution.
So he simply just talked with him over a round of badminton.
Just two old friends catching up and exchanging their stories.
Paul: So why have you stayed with the flame tribe this long?, I been almost everywhere across the plains of Nexus and it's way more nicer than this oven. Why do you put up with this?
The blacksmith took a deep breath as he rallied the shuttlecock back and forth.
Nate: Well, Long story short I may have been involved in an incident that ruined the Scarlet Stronghold royal family's most valuable treasure and now I must pay them back or risk getting decapitated.
Paul: So how much do you have to pay back then?
Nate: Oh it's not much, just…the national debt plus a royal family's ransom metric tons of petals. A debt of a caliber that has forced me to take three jobs and other hands on work just to pay the monthly fee and provide for a orphan, materials for a restaurant and inn, more orphans, and then maybe myself.
Paul: NATE. WHAT IN THE WORLD DID YOU BREAK!?
The gentlemen was so rocked at the revelation he didn't bother returning a serve, ricocheting off his head.
Nate: Hey that witch shouldn't have held an elephant gun and lamp that expensive near me, and she's the one who broke it! I took this upon myself so she won't suffer this. At least she regrets this mistake!
Paul: Why can't you leave, they won't know would she?
Nate: Her family placed a cursed leash on me I can't get it off and not paying up on time causes me to get strangled. So if I slack off, they'll know. I'm really tired of this, but I really don't want to imagine seeing Olivia saddled with this.
Paul: I thought you stopped the rampage of the Scarlet region's royalty?
Nate:If I had these powers several years ago perhaps I could've have gotten off with several years of community service but that not an option now.
Paul: Alright plan B, how have you been paying this back?
Nate: Well let's see, I work at the Boundless Hammer Monday and Wednesday, I work at a Inn I invested with the Heads of Hydras called "Nomads Retreat" Tuesdays and Thursday, and I get sent off for a random odd job every Saturday but I have to take every Sunday for maintenance and rest so I usually head to the Lilypad Orphanage to help out…What's plan B? Just don't do anything crazy!
Paul: Don't worry I don't wanna end up like you to be honest.
The ranger bunts the birdie for an easy point, chuckling with a smug grin while Nate glares bitterly at him.
Paul: Anyway, I think I have a way to not only alleviate your megaton debt but I think we can cut this crisis of yours from several decades to a few months.
Nate: And how do you plan to do that? I have been doing this for years and I'm on a water tight budget.
Paul:Hmm…give me a day to study your income, your resources, and your spending list and I'll give you a more concrete answer. I'll need to head to Zenith Enterprises to open an account.
Nate: Fine, I might as well work to make a dent in this month's payment. Go see Olivia if you need taxes and other stuff.
The next day.
The blacksmith is looking for Paul when he sees him standing by a merchant, they seem to be discussing prices and market value over a chalkboard.
Nate: Uh Paul what are you doing?
Paul: Ah Nate great timing, I like you too meet our new employee; Jerry.
Jerry: It's nice to finally meet you sir, I promise to do my very best!
Nate:Nice to meet you, excuse me one moment.
The errant man drags Paul to his office.
Nate: Paul how in the world will this make me money?, As nice is help is, I have to out pace death with dwindling funds!
Paul: Don't worry I took out a loan on my expense to get this empire started. We discussed a reasonable pay and even better Jerry here is going to be our first-
-delivery guy. He will go to all the cities and trade your goods for specific key demographics for a reasonable price, and once people test your wares they will begin to flock to us like hotcakes.
Paul smiles with certainty and hands Jerry a manifest of what to take and sell.
Nate: Are you telling me, the weight is finally going away?
Nate: ("Wow, ten. F #%$# years of working my ass off and keeping the old Lilypad Orphanage running, and I finally get some help!")
Paul: Exactly. This world may be ripe with opportunity, but I'll be damned if I don't help you first pal.
Nate rubs his temples, "Alright, I trust you, I mean best man trust you. I need to do this foolhardy quest if we want to go home, But I can't do it alone. I just can't. I'm so tired and yet I can't rest." "I made so many promises..."
The daring entrepreneur slugs an arm around Nate and gestures to the sky.
Paul: Nate with me I will make your shop into a global empire. Either way let me sweat the big stuff for now. We have some paper work to do.
The two go through the legal tender.
Nate: There's one more thing I should mention.
Nate: The contract that was made for the debt in question went like this, The owner of the establishment that will pay off the debt, must have proof of the curse shackled on them. Since this is the source of income, the debts on the owner.
Nate: So I don't get strangled, you must be willing to focus your attention on this. You may be wielding the reins but this place is under my name. My life is in your hands.
Nate: I understand if you don't want to. I wouldn't wish this burden another soul.
Nate: Just don't let the debt drop okay?
Nate: Sorry for trying to dump more problems on you, I promise to pay you back for making you do this all added up.
Paul: You don't have to do that.
Nate: Heh, Thanks Paul.
They shake hands.
The blacksmith is on his trusty stead ready to traverse to the gates of the sea bound royalty, Serendipity Beach, but he has one more thing to do.
We cut to Nomad's retreat, The pint sized sentinel is conversing with Olivia. She got a new pair Boundless Hammer brand axes.
Olivia:Are you sure you can handle this trip? Just remember what to do when Nate sleeps.
Zandra: I-I know, don't have a choice. The Ranger requested that I assist the blacksmith.
"Would you help without the oath?" Olivia raised an eyebrow.
Zandra: I would be more inclined to help, but I worry that I will be a burden without my armor.
Nate's voice rung, "Your armor was tampered with, I need you because I don't have a clue where to go." "If you really want to make things right, I'll need your help."
He held out his hand.
She turned to him, and nods before taking his hand. "Olivia, help Paul run the forge and Nomad's retreat while I'm out." He steps back. "Oh, and have Paul help you carry the supply crates to the Lilypad orphanage every Saturday okay?" He backtracks once more "Also I left a bookmark on my fairytale book so you be up to speed." "You got that all?"
She wrote down the last part in a cute red notebook.
"Got it Dad!" She hugs Nate in a sendoff.
The milquetoast blacksmith and fun sized warlord went to his companion who was now wearing snug steel armor.
Nate: So, Where is the destination miss?
Zandra pulls out a map and compass. "It's southwest from here, then after we hit Nexus's crossroads we will move east."
The trek began as Nate and Zandra took off on his bear. The ride was rather a new experience for Nate, without fearing about his debts he was like caged animal who finally got his freedom. It was also a first time for the seaside sentinel as she got a glimpse of sightseeing of the Geode land's valley. The duo would take turns guiding the bear to the destination. After a few hours the maiden with waterfall locks lets her eyes rest while tightly hanging on her new companion.
A sudden change of Paula's movements wakes her up in the middle of the night, she looks upwards to find that Nate was gone!
Zandra: Nate!? Don't tell me he fell!
Paula: *Groan* ("Can't I get some shut eye?")
She looks at her neck to see the three headed dragon that accompanied the blacksmith on his adventures. Looks like they were taking shifts too.
Hydra Head #3: What's the matter?
Zandra: Noble hydra, where is Nate?
One the other hydra heads points down.
Nate was carrying them all at once on piggyback!
Nate: Hey! Get some sleep! I'll nap in a little bit okay. Hydra is on watch out so don't worry okay?
She pulls up and shrugs. The maiden holds on and almost melts in Paula's toasty fur.
"Huh?" Nate woke up from a siesta.
The trio stopped in front of a beach that lead to the sea.
"What a beautiful beach, It kinda reminds me of Manilla." Nate reminiscent as he dismounted from his steed.
The Surging Siren pulls out one of her axes, It took her more effort without her powered armor. She then slammed it into sand and turned it like a key. A rusty scratching sound is heard.
Zandra: Hold on, It's stuck give me a minute.
After the sound of gear churning, a massive seashell door rose from the depths of the sea.
Its maw opens to reveal a staircase leading to a massive hallway, almost like a lit road under a bridge.
The sounds of symphonic music play through.
Zandra's expression starts to shift to concern.
"Do you you hear that?" Zandra alerted him.
The muffled sound of engines roaring could be heard.
Zandra looks back to figure out the source of the commission.
Her eyes widen!
She quickly tackles Nate out of the way of the entrance!
A flash of lighting rushes through the gate!
Following after a miniature ship on wheels rockets through the entrance!
Nate:I-I think we should hurry, that doesn't sound good.
Meanwhile during the inter sanctum of the seas of Nexus. There is a posh dinner going in the feast hall. Many treasures hung on the wall and cherry blossoms trees were spread on the corners of the room. Many people were seated while a king with a massive trident and a magnificent beard remained perched on the end of the table. The water element was comfortably fastened his neck, it was a clam with a water droplet. A alluring azure hue radiated from it.
Typhos: When is the catering from that Nomad's retreat coming here?
Suddenly a trail of lighting zipped past the room, The empty plates were filled with lavish meals, various goblets are filled with a sparkling fizzy liquid.
The masked merchant in light blue leather armor brakes in front of the King and politely kneels before him.
"Sorry for the delay." He apologized with a slight hint of anxiety.
The king looks at his pocket watch.
Typhos: No you are early in fact, not a problem of course.
He gave a bright blue jewel as payment. He began to grind pepper onto his meal, the mill was jammed. "Confounded cheap spice instrument." Do you want to join us?" "We have some spare seats remaining."
The merchant quickly stows the jewel in his coin pouch, he insisted he couldn't stay because he had a big proble-
Alexis: Stop right there arms dealer!
The mercenary rushed into the room and then launched a shuriken made of ice towards the merchant.
The Merchant ducks out of the way, the lethal snowflake cleaves the pepper grinder in two spilling an extra helping of peppercorns and ground pepper into the king's meal.
The face the king made could have stilled the fury of a tidal wave.
"Excuse me one minute." He drew his trident.
We cut to Nate getting lead by Zandra around the vast maze of the fortress's walls. The duo made their way to the feast hall where he sees the king shooting a burst of water towards a girl guarding with two pirate swords.
"Hang on!" Nate shouts before he unleashes two streams of fire from his hands to counter the water stream. The two forces clashed with Nate on the losing side. Nate eyed the room looking for a way out of this mess. Once more time slowed. He saw a golden medallion, a steel trophy, a cherry blossom tree with a loose branch, some beautiful curtains, and a lapis lazuli jewel. A light bulb flickered in his head. Gaia's voice reached out to him, "Nate, use the fire amber and earth geode in tandem to your advantage!"
A wild grin flickered to Nate's face.
Suddenly several walls were sprung from the ground between the burst stream of death! Nate snatched the items during the confusion and then prepares his plan.
Nate: Blacksmith art: FORGE BLOSSOM KATANA!
The medallion and steel trophy melted and turned into blobs and then merged. The blob began to swirl, while that phenomenon happened Nate quickly whittled a branch of the cherry blossom tree into a handle and then wrapped it with the curtains. The jewel topped of the bottom of the guard. The walls started to crack and leak water. The blob then shifted into the familiar shape of a katana. Cherry blossoms had fallen onto the blunt ends of the blade leaving flower shaped engravings, slender yet graceful this one of his better builds. It was still too hot to attach to the handle.
Nate:Damn, if I only had some oil, If I try to quench it in water it would warp.
The hydra flickered from one of Nate's tags.
"Hello, Master I heard your plea." one of it's heads greeted him. "I can spit oil!" The second head conveniently told him.
The blacksmith hastly created a stone basin that had a longer length than the burning katana. The second hydra filled the basin with a green oil. Nate gently dips the blade and pulls up the completed product.
Nate created: Blossom Katana!
In a hasty impulse he swings his blade! As he swung the blade, several petal like projectiles emerged from engravings! They rush forward and cleave through the rocks and the torrent of water!
A figure ambushes him!
Someone snatches the blade from Nate's hands!
It was Cerberus.
Nate: ("Well spit.")
She proceeded to knock Nathan out by hitting him with the blunt end of the sword.
Disorientation, Chaos, and Pain.
As he started to collapse he caught a glimpse of Raiden uncloaked as he fought off the enraged king, it was his old friend Owen!
What was he doing again? Oh right, blacking ou-