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Ancient Knowledge for Modern Currency [Private]

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#1Zane 

Ancient Knowledge for Modern Currency [Private] Empty Wed Mar 17, 2021 12:54 pm

Zane
"Are you sure this will work, Zane? I know that your plans can work on occasion, but this seems like a bit of a waste of time..." Beelzebub spoke to Zane in a rather concerned fashion but his words would be falling on deaf ears. Zane was absolutely hyper-focused at the moment. His mind was determined. His hands were moving at the speed of light, the sheer dexterity of his actions surpassing what any man could ever hope to accomplish. Zane's face was confident and his soul was on fire. What was all of this intense effort for?

He was digging through a dumpster behind a library.

Zane's hands dragged away another trash bag from the many that lay in the bin, his legs diving even deeper into the dumpster. Beelzebub wasn't even mad at his host for doing such a thing. He was just concerned. The demon had sensed something was odd about Zane around a week ago. The two were sitting in a club of sorts in Oak. For some reason or another the young lady who was in charge of the music selection put on a certain foreign band known as "Nickleback". Upon hearing this band Zane commented that the song sounded pretty good. That was when Beelzebub knew something was up. While the demon certainly had doubts about Zane's taste in the past there was NO way that Zane had taste THAT bad. Something was wrong.

And here Zane was a week or two later in the middle of a dumpster. "Zane, I'm worried about you. Please get out of the dumpster. I know I call you a piece of trash from time to time but I do not mean it that literally." Zane stopped digging through for a moment. It seemed he finally heard Beelzebub. "There's something very, very valuable in this dumpster. I know it because I saw that dumb kid who works at the library throw it in here the other night." As Zane's hands went back to moving away garbage his fingers touched upon the cover a book. "Ah! Here it is!" Zane exclaimed out loud, not even bothering to just do it in his head as he usually did with Beelzebub. Grabbing the mostly clean book Zane's legs propelled him out of the dumpster with a rather impressive jump. It was a shame he landed on his face on the way out.

Getting up and dusting himself off, Zane looked down at the book to confirm if the symbols he saw on the cover were correct. Opening up the pages he found similar characters. "You did ALL of that for a book made of unreadable windings? Oh no... it's worse than I thought." Zane placed the book in his coat pocket and walked out onto the streets of Hargeon, talking in his mind to Beelzebub as he did so. "This book is a lot more interesting than you think, Beelzebub. Lemme tell you a little story..." Beelzebub already had a feeling this would be rather long winded. "Let me guess. You're going to start off by saying it was a day in Baska like any other, you're going to mention your childhood crush at some point early on due to the fact you still cannot let it go, you'll make mention of how you used to be an elf - a detail I still doubt - and you'll end the story on some grand moral that wasn't even the focus of the tale in the first place."

"..."

"..."

"So here's how it goes. It was your average day in Baska. I was working the fields in my family farm. I finally manage to finish up the day's quota so I decide to go into town to find the girl I liked. Anyways, there's this elven man who comes up to me in the town square as I'm heading towards where all of us kids would usually hang out. He saw my elven ears and assumed I would be more willing to help him, same race and all that." Beelzebub made a fake-snoring noise in an attempt to get Zane to think he wasn't listening so that the story could end there. It didn't work. "Anyways, this man was looking for the mayor's office. I pointed him in the direction of the place. But I was curious about the book he was holding. It had some strange symbols on the cover, stuff I'd never seen before. He explained to me that they're remnants of a lost civilization - or so scholars believe anyways - and that he knew that scholars and other rich men would often seek these kind of books out in an attempt to crack the codes they contain."

"Wait a second..." Beelzebub was starting to get an idea of where Zane was going with this. "So I guess the moral of the story is to always try to finish farm work early. And also that we need to scurry on over to the local lord's office and sell the hell outta this book."

In about an hour's time Zane had been to a few locations throughout Hargeon. He wasn't even allowed in the mayor's office - something about how his eyepatch made him look like a pirate. Apparently they didn't like pirates much here. Made sense for a port town. Zane also tried a different library but none of the people there knew about the story of the texts. All of them just saw it as nothing but scribbles and doubted Zane's tale about them being worth something. Zane had visited just about every place he could sell something like this. It seemed there was no hope. But Zane wouldn't be giving up anytime soon. He dove through a goddamn dumpster to get this book and he wasn't planning on letting this matter go.

It was the late afternoon now. A small booth stood in one of the parks of Hargeon. A blonde man with an eyepatch stood behind it, a book with a symbol on the cover right in front of him. "Come purchase these ancient texts! What secrets could they hold? The key to a lost technology that could change the world? Directions to a pile of treasure? For only a modestly high amount of jewels this valuable piece of history could be yours!" Zane cried out towards the people in the park, many of them passing by with a glimmer of some interest but not nearly enough to actually check. To most he just seemed like a snake oil salesman. A few people had come to check out the book in the past half hour or so but all of them soon turned away once Zane gave more details. "Do you really think you'll be able to sell this, Zane? Are you sure that guy in Baska wasn't just insane?"

"This is DEFINITELY worth something Beelzebub. And we're going to sell it today. No matter what it takes..."

#2Atani 

Ancient Knowledge for Modern Currency [Private] Empty Thu Mar 18, 2021 2:46 pm

Atani

As nice of a town Hargeon was, Atani couldn't help but feel that something was amiss. It was supposed to be her new home as a member of Blue Pegasus, yet it in no way felt like home. That being said, Athalran was the only place she had vivid memories of, and it was impossible to recreate the magnificence of her elven home in the rest of Fiore. The magical forest was unparalleled. The closest she could probably get was Worth Woodsea, but it was so secluded. It wouldn't serve her purposes, though she did intend on venturing there when the time was right. For now, her place was in Hargeon.

All in all, Hargeon was far from the worst place she could have ended up in Fiore. Though she wasn't exactly a beach person herself-- much preferring the trees and riverside over anything-- it was a pleasant place and had the protection of a light guild. It was secure, and it was a place where a mage like her could thrive. That was more than enough to get back on her feet after all these years. And for that, Atani supposed she should have been grateful, but it was difficult to shake the feeling that something was off about her situation.

In times like this, Atani liked to clear her head with a walk. Fresh air always did the Wood Elf some good. Hargeon's streets in particular were always interesting to look at. Windows were filled with colorful pastries, delicate works of glass, lacrima souvenirs. Even she had to admit that the trinkets humans created were fascinating. There were times where she wanted to purchase something just for the hell of it, take it back to her home, and try to understand its inner workings, but if she did that for everything she found remotely interesting, she'd be out of jewels.

"Come purchase these ancient texts!"

The elf's ears perked up. She felt her heart sink a little upon hearing the words to follow after. The man sounded desperate, appealing to the sense of adventure and whatnot. The book was probably a dud. However, Atani would be lying if she said she wasn't interested in seeing what more he had to say.

"What do you have there?" the elf asked, green eyes gleaming with curiosity. The book had seen better days.



Ancient Knowledge for Modern Currency [Private] 3vv0p5Q
#ff6666 - Fiorian #cc6666 - Elvarin #996666 - Val'Elvarin
#3Zane 

Ancient Knowledge for Modern Currency [Private] Empty Thu Mar 18, 2021 5:17 pm

Zane
Zane was quite surprised to garner the attention of another potential customer so soon. Upon hearing the woman's voice his head instantly faced her direction, his eye immediately locking with hers. She was quite beautiful, and to a degree reminded Zane of someone he could've sworn he'd met before. He often ran into people in Fiore on his many travels throughout the many years. It was precisely because of these many years that there were people he couldn't remember the exact name or face of. Looking at the girl Zane felt as though he had a name on the tip of his tongue. That being said he had already stared at her for a number of seconds now. He'd have to try to remember later. Besides, there were plenty of elven girls in Fiore with long blonde hair and pretty eyes like hers. It was possible that he had her mixed up for another.

"Oh god." Beelzebub knew what was coming. The other people to come up to the booth so far had been middle aged or elderly men - in other words people Zane could pitch things to without any detriment to his intelligence. But a pretty blonde elven girl? Beelzebub had pretty much given up the idea of making any money at this point. "Ah, I see you have fine eyes,  miss. Both literally and figuratively." It took a couple more seconds of thinking for Zane to finally break the silence, though thankfully he didn't end up staring at her for too long - hopefully she would just see it as him admiring her beauty rather than him being some sort of crazy guy with a demon inside of his head. For what it was worth Zane thought that the line he just spouted out was legitimately clever, his smile growing just a bit bigger than it was before. Confidence restored. "It wasn't that good."

Patting the old and still somewhat dusty book on the counter with the enthusiasm of a car salesman, Zane stood up straight in order to give the impression he knew what he was talking about. "This book may seem like nothing more than scribbles on paper to the majority of people." Zane's hands gently opened the book to a random page in the middle, pushing the book out slightly so that the girl in front of him could have a better look at exactly what was written down. It was as Zane had said - the pages were all filled with a form of text that looked like an assorted bunch of symbols. None of them looked anything like the characters used by other languages of Earthland either. "But I can tell just by looking at you that you're much smarter than that." Beelzebub doubted Zane's claim. "Can you actually? She looks no different than any of you Earthlanders."

"First of all: realmcist. Second of all: I can't actually. But it doesn't matter how smart she looks - or how smart she actually is. I just have to make her believe that she's smart. And that smart people would be in possession of this book." Zane explained, talking rather fast in his head as to not waste any time while speaking to a potential customer. Zane had gotten pretty used to internally quipping with Beelzebub that he was more than able to do it even while speaking out loud at this point. "Then why do you have it?"

"Very funny." Zane had been flipping the pages while internally speaking to Beelzebub, confirming to her that this book was full of nothing but these symbols. The symbols weren't random either. The text was overall pretty big and after a while some patterns were fairly clear, certain shorter words sticking out thanks to their placements at the beginning or end of many sentences. "You can see it too, right? The patterns? This isn't just gibberish. This is a code." Closing the book so that its cover lay upright once more, Zane took it into his hands. "And from my understanding it is not a code that any other modern language uses. This is something much older than that. Just look at the book itself." Zane spun it in his hands a little bit showing the wear and tear of the object. It was in a pretty bad shape honestly. "Its age is the reason it looks so horrid." In reality half of that was probably from the dumpster. Zane didn't wanna mention that.

"And all of this knowledge can be yours for only..." Zane paused dramatically for a moment, his eyes on the book. Wait. How much was he going to charge for it anyways? He wanted to charge a lot. How much was a lot? Why is there no lore on how much jewels are worth in character? There's a rock on sale for 500,000 jewels in the shop. How much is a house worth if that is the case? Oh god, this is worse than I thought. "3 Million jewels!" Zane knew this was a crazy number - even the greatest jobs he had ever been on didn't pay off a third of that amount. He was just leading it into something else. "Aaaannnd this is where it all goes downhill." Beelzebub commented, sounding genuinely disappointed rather than angry. Zane tired him out too much for the Lord of the Flies to have that kind of emotional energy.  "Oooorrr 500 thousand jewels if you tell me your name. And your sign of birth." If Zane was lucky enough he'd be able to remember which ones matched with which and lie about it correctly this time.

#4Atani 

Ancient Knowledge for Modern Currency [Private] Empty Sat Mar 20, 2021 2:31 pm

Atani

"Oh?" The elf quirked a brow. A smirk followed. So flattery was this man's sales tactic, wasn't it. It wouldn't work, not on her at least. Wood Elves were creatures of humility... Though that didn't mean she wouldn't take the complement. Appealing to her intelligence and emerald eyes? He knew what he was doing.

Atani peered curiously at the strange scribbles on the page. They were not written in a language she had ever seen before. Perhaps it really was as ancient of a book as the eye patch man made it sound. But still, he was rather vague about the whole thing. If it really was such an important book, he would let her know that this hypothetical purchase was worth its value. Three million was a lot of jewels. Her eyes widened upon hearing the price. She might have been a member of Blue Pegasus, but she was not nearly as wealthy as what most would assume of the elegant guild.

He was willing to considerably lower the price to 500,000. Still out of her budget even if she did want to purchase the tome, but she would play along for now.

"I'm Atani," the blonde said with a kind smile. "But elves don't do star signs."

It was a lie, but most humans wouldn't know that, lest they knew how elves in Athalran were raised. They were very in tune with everything to do with nature, which included reading the stars. She just didn't happen to know her birth month, one of the many things she aimed to rediscover. Even so, she believed humans' interpretations of star signs were vastly different than the elves'. "As for that price, it's still a little high, don't you think? Especially for a book I still don't know much about."

It was a fair thing to ask. After all, what did a strange language amount to? Ancient knowledge did not always equate to ancient magic or power.



Ancient Knowledge for Modern Currency [Private] 3vv0p5Q
#ff6666 - Fiorian #cc6666 - Elvarin #996666 - Val'Elvarin
#5Zane 

Ancient Knowledge for Modern Currency [Private] Empty Sun Mar 21, 2021 3:53 pm

Zane
Elves did do star signs. Elves were pretty into it too as far as Zane remembered. Upon her lie Zane gave the girl a suspicious glance. In the days when he was an elf Zane wasn't one to really care about them either, but his family did. All of the other elves he had met as a kid did. Zane couldn't help but wonder as to why the girl would tell such a lie instead of saying that SHE didn't do star signs. "...Beelzebub, I think I have quite an advantage here." Zane commented to the demon, Beelzebub seeming somewhat confused as to just what it was that Zane meant. "Because now you don't have an easy way to hit on her and are less likely to do it?" Beelzebub didn't actually believe this to be the case - Zane would probably end up going down that stupid path regardless of how easy or hard it was - but the fly could hope. "No no, I didn't need that anyways. She thinks that because I'm a human I wouldn't know about elves and their star signs. In other words she's underestimated me. In other words..."

"She thinks you're dumb? Seems like an incredibly correct assumption to me." Zane decided to stop interacting with Beelzebub for a little bit after that, tuning his voice out of his thoughts. He could only take so much of the peanut gallery at any given time. Still, this did present a good opportunity. The way Zane saw it the girl probably saw herself as smart enough to trick Zane into thinking that way. And if the girl did manage to trick Zane like that she'd probably end up believing that Zane was less likely to trick her, right? Genius. It was around this time that Zane remembered he was making a suspicious expression and decided to change it to something different. Suddenly his smile grew a lot more innocent, looking as though he was the village idiot who had just been told how rain works. "Ohh, wow! I didn't know that. Well I'm sure if you all did then our's would be a perfect match."

Flattery and everything that came with it aside, Zane could tell that the girl was the type to need a little more convincing than compliments and symbol patterns. Zane could tell she needed some degree of proof - the only problem was that Zane was possibly the furthest thing from a scholar out there. Sure, there were times when he would get drunk and say something like "how can mirrors be real if our eyes aren't real" which was a... actually, that wasn't a smart thing to say at all. Oh god. If that was the best example his mind could conjure on short notice how would he ever manage to sell this girl something?

It was time to stall. "Don't worry, Atani. You have some time to spare, don't you?" Zane asked as he took his book into his left hand, holding it by his hips as he came out from around his booth. He wouldn't be needing it anymore - Zane had a feeling he could find some way to sell her this book. None of the customers that came before (and most likely any who would come after) were as interesting as her anyways. Or as pretty, but Zane liked to fool himself into thinking he didn't care about that part. "I won't just tell you why this book is worth 500,000 jewels - I'll show you." Zane had gotten out onto the street by now, facing the direction that would lead them to the sea at the current moment. The park had gotten a bit quieter compared to before, the paved road leading down it now stood on by nobody but him and Atani. A few people did sit on some benches that were next to the road though. "After all, do I look like the type of man that would lie to y- wait." Zane quickly moved his right hand to the back of his head, untying his eyepatch and shoving it in his pants pocket.

"Do I look like the type of man that would lie to you?" Zane asked, both of his eyes now meeting the girl's rather than just the one. The second eye seemed to be completely healthy, implying that Zane wore the eyepatch for show rather than any sort of practical reason. Zane himself figured it was probably best to avoid this girl seeing him as a pirate like the guards at the mayor's office did. He'd also heard from a number of people in Fiore he looked much more handsome with it off rather than on, though Zane himself thought this to be nothing more than everyone but him having poor taste in fashion. "Now that your heart is done skipping a beat, let's head to the pier. There's something I ought to show you there that will almost definitely change your mind." Zane held out his right hand so that Atani could take it - though he'd eventually just give up if she didn't do so within ten seconds. Either way Zane would have something much more pressing to worry about while the two made their way to the oceanfront.

He didn't know what the hell he'd say at the pier.

Why the hell did he pick the pier anyways?! What the hell was at the pier that related to ancient civilizations? Was he going to claim that the doughnuts they sold on the wharf were the fine cuisine of the precursors? Or perhaps he'd try to say that fishermen were secret agents sent forward in time? Zane was almost at the point of sweating as he led Atani to the pier, having no plan whatsoever. Zane had to figure something out. Perhaps he would have a better time finding a lie to spin if he knew the girl he would be spinning it around. Zane asked Atani a question out to the blue as he led her to the pier. "What exactly did you find interesting about interesting texts, Atani? What brought you to my booth I mean - are you a scholar? Hobbyist? Just bored?"

#6Atani 

Ancient Knowledge for Modern Currency [Private] Empty Sun Mar 21, 2021 11:19 pm

Atani

Atani watched curiously as the man cycled through different presentations of himself. At first he was all about flattery, and then a sort of impish grin turned far tamer, which was followed by a giddy statement. It made the elf’s head spin. She just could not get a read on this man. Perhaps that was the goal? Or maybe he was just trying out whatever worked until she finally caved and made the purchase. Who knew.

“Maybe,” she offhandedly said in reply to his statement, clearly showing her disinterest. She wouldn’t let him indulge any further in that matter. Once again, flattery would not work. Still, the man was persistent. He didn’t give up there. In fact, he stepped out from behind his booth to talk. Apparently, whatever sales tactic he was going to employ next would take a little time. She gave a shrug to his question. “I suppose I do.”

She didn’t have anything better to do with her time. Despite her aloof nature at the moment though, Atani had to say she was quite entertained by the whole situation. This man was amusing, and she wanted to see how this little schtick would end up. The fact that he would supposedly show her why the book was so valuable sealed the deal. Atani did a double take, however, when he revealed that a completely normal eye laid beneath his eye patch.

“Oh, so that little thing was just for show then?” She smirked. Of course it was. It seemed to fit his little merchant gig quite nicely. A mysterious eye-patch-wearing man selling an ancient book filled with endless wonders. A mysterious man who now wanted to lead her someplace. A mysterious man who still remained nameless. Who exactly am I following to the pier, by the way?”

She half expected him to give some sort of fictitious name as this point, but it didn’t matter much to the girl. He was referring to her as Atani, so it only seemed fitting she should have something to refer to him as well. If he did so, she would then take his hand. Otherwise, she’d refuse out of distrust.

Upon reaching the pier, it seemed the man had some questions for Atani. He wanted to know why she was so interested in texts, to which she was happy to give her honest answer to.

“I suppose it’s more of a hobby than anything,” she began. It was true, her profession was being a mage of Blue Pegasus, not being a scholar, though she did utilize a large portion of her time studying magic. “I love learning all sorts of things about Earthland. The more ancient and mysterious, the better. I appreciate the new discoveries people make and all, but they’re already advancing and jumping to conclusions without fully understanding the past, you know? And the magical past was much more interesting than present day Fiore.”



Ancient Knowledge for Modern Currency [Private] 3vv0p5Q
#ff6666 - Fiorian #cc6666 - Elvarin #996666 - Val'Elvarin
#7Zane 

Ancient Knowledge for Modern Currency [Private] Empty Tue Mar 23, 2021 11:25 pm

Zane
Zane usually told new people his name quite quicker than that so his face seemed genuinely shocked when he realized that the woman hadn't yet received it. "Ah, I forgot to introduce myself. I'm Christian Zane, though I'd really prefer if you called me Zane rather than Christian - my given name is so rarely used that I'm surprised I remember I even have it." Zane saw the girl grip his hand shortly after that, a smile brought upon his face. Nice. "She most likely just felt sorry for you. I can't blame her. Who in the world would want to be named 'Christian Zane' of all things?" Zane smile decreased by 20% percent as he heard that comment. The good moment had been ruined now.

Zane listened intensely to what Atani had to say about her reasoning. Very intensely. He even looked at her while she spoke despite the fact he had to lead her to the pier at the same time. Zane wanted to pick up something - ANYTHING - he could use here. There was no way he would be able to craft a convincing story without getting at least a tiny bit inside this girl's head. "Beelzebub. I'm going to need your help with this one." Beelzebub had a feeling that Zane was somehow taking the scheming more serious than the flirting with this one, something he hadn't seen Zane do in... forever, really. The Lord of the Flies was proud enough of his host to agree for today. "Very well. I'll keep my eye out, but no promises. You Earthlanders still make little sense to me." Zane didn't exactly feel much more confident with Beelzebub on his side, but it was better than nothing.

The first thing Zane noted was how Atani phrased that it was a hobby. Supposed it was more a hobby than anything? Zane didn't wanted to look into her words too much - he had a lot more of them to go - but he could piece together by the way she said it that Atani was rather modest about it. The second part of what she said gave Zane a bit more to work with. Atani liked mysteries and trying to find answers to them. She didn't like the way many people seemed to jump to conclusions about the past, and she seemed to prefer learning about the distant past much more than anything currently happening in the modern day. "Hm... I'm still not sure." Zane remarked in his mind, hoping he could've gotten a little more material out of it all. Beelzebub seemed to have gotten a direction of sorts they could follow however. "This woman seems must more likely to desire questions than answers, Zane." Zane didn't exactly get what Beelzebub meant. "Huh? What do you mean? She wants to solve the mysteries of old worlds and everything. I think that implies she wants answers." Beelzebub let out a sigh. "Don't sigh like you're a million times smarter than me. I'll swat you next time you do."

Beelzebub had thought about what the girl had said a little bit and chose to focus on the nature of her desires. Beelzebub had been a demon lord in hell and had interacted with a number of other demons who also represented a sin in the same way Beelzebub did. Many of these sins revolved around the way individuals desired things. Greed involved desiring everything. Gluttony involved desiring too much of something. Envy involved desiring things others had. It was because of Beelzebub's past interactions with these sins that he chose to look at the nature of Atani's desires first. She likes her knowledge as ancient and mysterious as possible. She does not enjoy the answers that others seem to come up with and sees them as too hasty. She finds the past which she could not experience much more interesting than the world she currently can experience." Zane was starting to make sense of what Beelzebub was saying. He could get the main idea that the demon was trying to get across. "In other words I shouldn't be focusing on giving her answers... I should be focusing on giving her questions."

This was perhaps the best bit of advice Zane could've been given. Zane didn't know all that much about this book, but he WAS good at pulling things out of his ass. It was hard to pull answers out of your ass. It was easy to pull questions out of your ass. Zane immediately felt much more comfortable and confident with the way things were going. Zane smiled at Atani, replying to her explanation. A little bit more flattery wouldn't be a bad idea, though he'd probably have to stop resorting to that after this. "You're an honorable woman, Atani. I too often find myself unsatisfied with the answers a lot of these so called 'experts' seem to churn out. You seem to actually care about going after every question and leaving no stone unturned, not giving any half-assed conclusion. Your quest for knowledge is almost as deep as your eyes are it seems." The last line was definitely a little bit cheesy, but Zane was saved by the fact that the two had finally made it to the pier by now.

The pier wasn't very busy today with only a handful of souls wandering around it at this hour. The sun was starting to set, something that only served to make Zane's further words seem even more dramatic. Zane didn't know how the hell he'd be able to connect his questions to the pier, though. He had to make it seem like there was at least some reason he brought Atani here... unless... "The sun. There must be things we haven't learned about it already, right?" Zane asked, nodding his head towards the setting sun. "There's no way that every question we've had about that thing has been answered. And there's no way that all the resources we have in our current lives could ever be used to figure it all out." Turning to Atani, Zane gripped her hand slightly tighter in a somewhat more dramatic fashion. "But a lot of our technology is nothing compared to what some ancestors are built. Believe me, Atani. I know of ancient powers that have long since been completely forgotten. I've come to know a lot more about them then most would..." Zane's words on the matter seemed oddly genuine, and that's because he wasn't lying at all. Thanks to his connections (it was more like Eternal Nightmare's connections but same thing) with Zagan he had learned a few things about an ancient civilization the man spoke to the group about. That power was indeed with Zane even now, though he'd never actually gotten a chance to properly use it yet.

"And let's say someone learns of some old technology, an ancient device. Let's say they even find remnants of it. That opens up an entire tree of questions. Who built it? Why was it built? How does it work? Did it need maintenance? A lot of those questions will take decades to answer, but that's the fulfilling part." Zane turned to face Atani directly now, taking the book he was holding in his left hand and pressing it against her chest lightly. The setting sun's lighting at this point had somehow gotten even more dramatic. Zane felt pretty lucky at this point in time - almost as if some sort of deity had decided to smile down upon his choice to semi-scam this woman. "I can tell that you're constantly hungry for questions, Atani. You want to be able to solve things. You love it. This book has an endless supply of untapped questions. You can have all of them for only 500,000 jewels..." Zane paused for a minute. It seemed as though he was debating saying something else. "No. No, no no. You're doing well Zane! Don't do th-"

"Or 300,000 and a date with me. Your pick."

Beelzebub wanted to die.

#8Atani 

Ancient Knowledge for Modern Currency [Private] Empty Thu Mar 25, 2021 6:26 pm

Atani

So the man's name was Christian Zane, though he preferred to be called by his last name. A bit unusual, but she'd respect that. Now knowing who she was going to go on this little walk with, Atani took Zane's hand upon offering him offering it. However, she still was not quite sure why he was taking her to the pier of all places. As far as she knew, there was nothing particularly outstanding about Hargeon's pier or waters. The former was man-made, and the latter was simply just salt water. It was no different than the salt water on any other beach in Fiore. She didn't yet see how this ancient book would prove otherwise.

Zane seemed to want to try and butter her up more before delving into the nature of the book. He praised her aims and empathized with her distaste for what modern scholars concluded. She might have been flattered had it not been for the superfluous language followed by yet another compliment on her eyes. It left a sour taste in her mouth.

The time was just before sundown when they arrived at the pier. Atani was surprised. She didn't realize it was already so late in the day. It wouldn't be long before dark, and she was spending her time negotiating the price of an old book... Not that she had any other plans in mind, but it was strange to say the least. It was not something the elf found herself doing everyday.

"The sun. There must be things we haven't learned about it already, right?"

The sun. She was confused what he meant by that. It was a ball of gas that their planet revolved around. It determined the seasons and time of day. She didn't know what humans would gain from learning more of it at this point, but she supposed she understood where Zane was coming from. At the bottom line, there were still questions without answers in the world.

Atani's expression softened in her level of skepticism upon hearing the next thing Zane said. His tone had changed. He lacked the exaggeration and appeal to wonder he had used earlier when trying to sell the book. Instead, it appeared that he was speaking from genuine experience. Her eyes narrowed in curiosity.

It all circled back to buying this book she still didn't know much of. But now, he made things a little more interesting. 500,000 jewels... or 300,000 and a date. Atani was surprised. She didn't even know what to answer at the moment.

"Hmm," she wondered, tapping her lip with her free hand. "You'd go from three million jewels to that? I'm not sold yet. What kind of questions is this book supposed to answer? Surely you'd know what you're selling for that kind of price."


Atani wanted to know what type of knowledge this book contained. "An endless supply" was not what she was looking for. It was too general. She would spend her time translating that information, and for what? Knowledge that had already potentially been acquired by other scholars?



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#9Zane 

Ancient Knowledge for Modern Currency [Private] Empty Fri Mar 26, 2021 12:21 am

Zane
"You're losing her, Zane! I knew it would come to this..." Beelzebub's disappointment was immeasurable - and he wasn't even expecting all that much in the first place either way. The girl in front of them hadn't fallen for any of Zane's tricks. If anything his insistence on lowering the price at multiple intervals seemed to have made her feel skeptical instead of enticed. "Stop being dramatic! I can still make this work, calm down." Beelzebub huffed within Zane's headspace. The demon had no doubt that Zane would find some other way to muck it all up again. "You're not going to think up of any creative garbage to convince her. Give up. Try another customer before it gets completely dark out." Zane thought about what Beelzebub said at that moment, physically moving his eyes downwards to focus on his feet. This gave the outward appearance of him thinking hard about Atani's question rather than, you know, arguing with the voice inside his head. And then it hit him.

"What if I don't lie and just speak from the heart?" Zane asked, lifting his head to face Atani once more. There was a significantly different look in his eyes now. It was a look that didn't seem as forced. Most of the time Zane would often try to seem a certain way to people, making his expression into what he believed would get through the most to them. Zane was currently in the process of undoing the lies he had splattered onto his face in that moment. "
Speak from the heart? Wha-? Do you think this is some kind of movie, Zane?"
Beelzebub could've sworn he had seen scenes exactly like this in countless generic feel-good movies. "Know what? I'm going to go think of the demon realm and other comforting things like watching countless souls suffer for hundreds of years instead of witness your drivel. See you later." Zane tried not to let Beelzebub's words get to him as he readied up for being genuine for the first time in a while, though he did agree that this seemed awfully like something he'd see at the end of a film.

Zane let out a deep breath as he stared in Atani's direction. He could do this. Just tell the truth. "I've got no idea." Zane plainly answered, admitting that he didn't actually know any of the questions the book posed. It had been a while since he'd told the truth in such a matter. Zane remembered that his eyepatch had been put in his pocket a while back. This thing was the start of his constant acting when he first put it on around a year ago. It was a good thing he chose to take it off. "When I was a kid I met a man who told me about that book - or at least a book with the same characters as that one has - back in my hometown. Apparently some people were paying good money for it. And I went to the other kids in Baska to tell them about it, and they..." Zane stopped for a moment to remember exactly what they said, his hand gripping Atani's somewhat tighter for some odd reason. Zane's voice seemed somewhat softer now, his tone seeming much different as well. Where as before his words seemed carefully prepared even if improvised, these words seemed to be completely unfiltered. It certainly made him give off a significantly different vibe. "I remember they called me gullible and dumb for believing in it, that the dude was just some conman. It really made me angry for some reason. I wanted to believe all of that cool stuff was in the book. I wanted it all to be real." Zane pushed the book slightly forwards into Atani's torso once more, his whole body getting close to her this time. "I'm not one for translating these things, but you are! At least I think you are anyways. And I just want someone out there to prove the stuff in this book is for real. I don't wanna be wrong about it. I want all that super cool ancient knowledge to turn out to be real, so..."

Zane sighed. Would this even work? Wait a minute... that was the first time Zane had wondered if something would 'work' in about a minute now. He hadn't been overthinking every sentence in his head like he always did. It felt strangely refreshing. Taking another sigh, Zane looked down towards the book he held in his hands. "Buy this book from me so you can prove me right. Take the offer and translate all the things I really believe are in there." Zane looked up to Atani. She seemed smart enough to be able to crack whatever code lay in its pages. "The cheapest offer, preferably." He added, staring at her just a tad longer. "Very preferably."

#10Atani 

Ancient Knowledge for Modern Currency [Private] Empty Fri Mar 26, 2021 1:58 pm

Atani

Atani watched as Zane's expression softened.

"I've got no idea."

There was the authenticity she was looking for. Her expression of skepticism turned into a small yet appreciative smile. She listened intently to the rest of the man's story, eager to know the true meaning behind the book he was selling her. In reality, the truth was obscure. Zane believed it held some form of important knowledge, but that opinion was not shared among the many who resided within Baska. The elf's eyes showed her sympathy. Knowledge was prided in Athalran. If someone wanted to know more or thought of something to be mystical, they would not have been turned down. She was sorry that was the case for Zane.

Atani's hand hovered over the book hesitantly as Zane pressed it against her. She looked at its cover, and then back to the blonde-haired man. She was surprised to notice just how close their bodies were-- The point where she could nearly feel the heat emanating from his body. Still, she did not back away. The girl listened to his offer once more. There was no doubt in her mind what her answer was.

"I'm sure I can do that." Her voice was both reassuring and determined. The pursuit for knowledge was something she greatly respected. If Zane had just led with that, she would have bought the ancient text long ago; however, Atani liked how this situation had turned out. From the looks of it, she was going to be getting more than a book out of this deal.

Squeezing his hand just a little tighter and gently brushing her thumb over his, she made her reply. "I'll just have to take you up on the offer then."

However, there was one minor caveat to it. Atani loosened her grip before further explaining. "But, I don't have 300,000 Jewels on me at the moment. Shall we... arrange the payment for later?"

It was true. The elf had not gone out that day expecting to purchase anything, so she left her jewels back at her place. It might be more convenient to get everything done in one fell swoop, but she'd let the decision be up to Zane. She was in no rush.



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#11Zane 

Ancient Knowledge for Modern Currency [Private] Empty Fri Mar 26, 2021 3:03 pm

Zane
Zane smiled at Atani's confirmation that she could translate the book. Thank god. If there was one thing that Zane enjoyed it was knowing that the stupid classmates he had as a kid would be proven wrong. Being petty really was an enjoyable experience - while they were probably off living some sort of happy and fulfilling life he was secretly getting revenge on them without them even (and ever, most likely) knowing. "Nice. You'll be doing me more a favor than you could ever know." Given that Zane had just explained the entire story to her a moment ago it was more than likely she DID know, but at this point he wasn't worrying about little details like that.

Zane stayed just as close to her as she spoke, happy about the offer being accepted. There was a catch though. She couldn't pay right now. Zane did suppose it was rather unusual for anyone to keep 300,000 jewels in their wallet. The wallet would be huge, big enough to burst out of someone's pocket. "Ah, yeah. Don't worry about it right now. You can get me the money sometime tomorrow." Thank god Beelzebub wasn't listening. The demon most likely would've demanded Zane ask Atani to get the money right this instant. In fact, since Beelzebub wasn't here... "You can keep the book for now too." Zane pushed the book towards Atani a bit more, intending for her to move her spare hand to take it from him. Beelzebub most likely would've maimed Zane before he let him do something like this - Zane could already imagine him in his head. Something like 'Zane, you absolute idiot! I can't believe of all the billions of people in this accursed realm I got stuck with you!'. When Zane thought about it like that he kind of missed Beelzebub. Wait a second... was this stockholm syndrome?

Still,  pretend-Beelzebub's concerns did raise a good point. Could Zane trust this woman? Looking into her eyes, Zane pondered if she really would come back with the money instead of skipping town on him. It didn't take much wondering to confirm that he was probably alright on this front. "Don't worry, I trust you won't run off to the other end of Fiore with it. I have a feeling that the book isn't the only thing you want in Hargeon." Zane paused for a bit after that sentence, waiting. He waited a bit more. It really was odd not to hear a voice in his head making fun of him. Zane guessed he really did miss Beelzebub. Oh well, his absence did mean he got to say cheesy things like that without any kind of peanut gallery giving their input.

Speaking of getting the book back, Zane realized he hadn't yet told Atani where it was they would be meeting anyways. He didn't really know many places in Hargeon. Zane had explored a lot of the corners of Fiore and Hargeon had always been one of the ones he spent the least amount of time in. It was odd really, considering this is where they had all the beaches and everything. He supposed that he just preferred Astera as far as port towns go. "Sardina Restaurant tomorrow evening at 6 PM." He plainly stated, the restaurant being one of the few places he knew that just about everyone in Hargeon would like to go to. "Wear something nice. Errrr, not too nice though. The food there can leave some really bad stains if you're not careful. Not that it's happened to me before though, haha..." Zane's eyes moved away from Atani's for the time being, an action that only served to make his lie even more obvious. Perhaps she'd find it charming that he had to take a few extra visits to the local laundromat after his last visit there? Probably not. Not even Zane was that lucky.

#12Atani 

Ancient Knowledge for Modern Currency [Private] Empty Fri Mar 26, 2021 3:30 pm

Atani

Atani was surprised to hear that Zane was willing to give her the book in advance. She hesitantly reached for the book as he gestured for her to take it, fingers hovering just over the spine. "You're sure?" she asked before finally taking it from him. She of course had no intention of deceiving the man, but she was surprised someone who had been so vague earlier, who had taken so long to reveal his name would be so trusting in the elf. She could comfortably say she would not have done the same in his shoes. For all he knew, with the book now in her possession, she could simply never show up and have fun uncovering its secrets on her own. But what was the fun having no one to share her discoveries with.

Zane reaffirmed that he wasn't worried about her taking the book, ending his sentence with a suggestive tone. "Oh, is it now?" the elf smirked, her voice lilting at the end. She had to say, she was intrigued to see where this little date of theirs would take them.

They were to go to Sardina Restaurant, a place Atani had actually been meaning to try for a while now. She giggled at the last thing Zane had to say, finding it amusing he couldn't even look her in the eyes. "Alright then, got it. I'll see you at six."

She slipped from out of his grip and waved goodbye with one hand, the other clasping the book firmly against her chest. Turning on her heels, Atani made her way back home, intending to arrive before dark. She had an important day ahead of her.

- Exit -



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#13Zane 

Ancient Knowledge for Modern Currency [Private] Empty Fri Mar 26, 2021 3:56 pm

Zane
"See ya!" Zane happily said as Atani made her exit from the scene with the book in tow. That went a lot differently than Zane initially guessed it would. Maybe there really was some sort of power to being yourself. Were all of those cheesy movies about friendship, romance and things of the like right? Maybe there was truth to the cheese. Cheese metaphor here. Either way Zane had faith things would go pretty well tomorrow. He stared up at the sun setting on the water for a while. Zane then quickly remembered that the sun made people go blind as he felt an intense pain in his eyes.

It was about time to go back his hotel room by now. Zane had a relaxing walk home. It really was quite a beautiful evening. Spring was a nice time of year. It was as though life had begun again. Trees sprouted to life. Animals came back out from their hiding places. Winter jackets went for INSANELY low prices. The world seemed just about perfect right now. Zane knew there was probably nothing that could ruin it. Everything would go fine in the lives of the people around him. Everything would go fine in his life. Nothing was going to hap-

"Why is it that the book is gone while your wallet is the same weight as it was earlier?"

Oh god. Zane forgot who was still there.

EXIT

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