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 Dealings with a Black Market Trader #3

Theo started to explain about the 'deal' he had envisioned.

Right now, he was offering a chance to turn meaningless products into a viable commodity. In return, he would take a certain amount of low-grade artifacts and merchandise. In other words, it meant paying for appraisal of genuine products with defective goods.

The black market trader thought about it before giving Theo a look of caution. He didn't understand. No, it was incorrect to say that he didn't understand.

"So... you will appraise the goods in my store, and the cost will be for you to take the defective or low-grade artifacts?"

For the black market trader, it was a suspicious proposal.

The cost of hiring appraisers was expensive. The price of appraising a genuine produce was around three to five gold, and the profits obtained from selling it was only around one gold. By the way, the fee for a non-genuine item was 50 silver. If he called the appraiser in vain, 50 silver would go flying into the sky.

Of course, the story was different if it was genuine, but... how likely was a genuine item at a black market trader to be worth the expense? If there were 10 items appraised, would there be any good ones?

Let's say that eight of the products were deficits. The hole made by the eight defective artifacts would be larger than the profit from the two genuine artifacts. Thus, he had been selling off genuine products like cheap lottery tickets. However, he would be able to reduce the cost significantly with Theo's suggestion.

"Yes, I will take some of them."

The black market trader's poker face finally cracked as he smiled at Theo. Theo was well aware of how expensive appraisers were. He guessed that the black market trader wouldn't be able to cover the costs.

'This is an offer that a black market trader absolutely can't refuse. I am the only one in this world who would offer such a deal.'

This was actually the case.

In the black market trader's head, an abacus was calculating frantically at the thought of such a jackpot. What seemed like a boring day had turned into a drastic change in the store's books. Anybody would be confused. Before long, the abacus in the trader's head gave a result.

'No matter how I look at this, it is an enormous profit!'

Even if nine out of ten items were defective, it was enough to pay for the appraisal. The largest damage would be 50 silver, while the profit would be several times that. Besides, what if he got not one but two genuine products? Or three? The money the black market trader could earn would vary.

He wanted to agree to the proposal right there. However, the black market trader cleared his throat and shook his head.

"Hoo, I am at a loss. I don't know what to do."

Theo frowned at his words.

"How come? These are exceptional conditions."

"Of course. It is because I am well aware of that. This is an offer that can't be refused... So, I am worried."

A smile flashed over the black market trader's face.

"It is strange no matter how I think about it. What benefits will Young Master receive from these conditions?"

"You don't need to know that."

"I see."

The black market trader stared at Theo with snake like eyes. It was like the eyes could see into his head. Quite a few people would jump at those eyes, but Theo didn't look away. The black market trader smiled as he assessed the response and explained the reason.

"Since I was a child, I learned not to accept one-sided profitable deals. I never know what I will have to pay afterwards. In fact, the person who taught me that was killed for not keeping his word."

It was worrisome since the black market trader didn't know what the other person was intending. In this world of humans, he couldn't believe in anyone but himself. That was why the black market trader hesitated. He couldn't guess the reason why the appraiser had suggested this proposal.

'It is too wasteful to reject but too good to accept.'

Should he give up a good deal due to a few doubts or place priority on earning a profit?

The black market trader was accustomed to a rough life, so he thought calmly.

"I'm sorry, but if you can't answer, it will end here."

Theodore stiffened at the unimaginable resistance.

'No, he's refusing because it's too beneficial? Is this the world of the black market traders?'

Should he go and find other black market traders?

Theo hesitated for a moment before shaking his head inwardly. He wouldn't have known this place even existed if he hadn't visited here three years ago. Theo had no proper information to look for other black market dealers, and the likelihood of closing a deal was close to zero.

Somehow, he needed to close the deal with this black market trader.

'But I can't reveal Gluttony's existence... How do I convince that guy? A lie created hastily won't convince him.'

Simply put, it was difficult to instill trust in others, especially if he had to hide the reason. It would be nice if there was a notary, but a black market store wasn't the type to have a notary. His attempts to hide his identity might prove futile.

At that moment, something passed through his head.

'...No, wait a minute.'

Theo's face brightened as he remembered something. He looked at black market trader and said without hesitation, "I'm sorry, but I can't say why. I can only tell you to trust me."

"Is that so? Then this conversation..."

"Come on, don't be too hasty."

The voice of the black market trader was cut off.

As he looked at Theo with a confused expression, the concept of a notary emerged.

"If you are a black market trader, illegal transactions aren't uncommon. You will often come across untrustworthy people."

"What are you trying to say?"

"...Do you have a Geass Scroll?"

A Geass Scroll was, in other words, a scroll which forced a geas. They were items mass produced by the Tower of Magic. The black market trader's face stiffened at those words.

He asked in a nervous voice, "Young Master, are you serious?"

"Yes."

"...Then the story is different."

The trader got up and walked towards the counter, pulling out a small box from underneath it. He opened the box and pulled out a piece of parchment. Even from a distance, the noticeable reddish colour and magic circles on the surface proved its authenticity.

This was the first time Theo had seen a Geass Scroll.

"Is this it?"

"Yes, it has been a while since I took it out. There aren't many great things that require writing on this."

The red parchment between the two people shone brightly. Just like its name, the function was to force a geas. There would be a compulsion to adhere to the contract written on the parchment. If the contract was broken, then they risked blindness or losing their lives.

Thus, a Geass Scroll was more reliable than any notary.

"...Let's start. My name is Canis. Young Master?"

"Theodore Miller."

"You truly are a noble. Then I will write down the terms of the contract as you described earlier. Don't regret it later."

The black market dealer started drafting the contract. If this deal failed, then he would be seeing a loss. The Geass Scroll got rid of any lingering doubts, but he needed to make certain. As a result, it took a long time for half of the parchment to be filled with clauses.

Theo quietly looked at the parchment and added one thing.

"Canis, I would like to add one provision."

"What is it?"

"Silence about me and this transaction. If you can't accept this clause, then the deal will be over."

In fact, Theo had no room to step back, but he maintained a calm face. It was counterproductive for humans to appear weak, so he should seem like he had the advantage.

A strange expression appeared on Canis' face before he smiled. He thought it wasn't a big deal.

"Ha, is this revenge for before? Well, okay. This is why we are using the Geass Scroll. I will accede this much."

This would prevent any information from leaking out. Theo couldn't help sighing with relief. Although he had a good head, bargaining with a black market trader was a different story. He didn't have an aptitude for dealing with people. He could only hope that this didn't happen next time.

"Hey, Young Master."

"...What?"

This time, Canis was the one who wanted to say something. Theo buried any annoyance when he replied.

"Can you appraise cursed items? If possible, I would like to ask that as well."

"Um..."

Cursed items?

It was an unexpected question. Gluttony was a grimoire which ate magic books. He hadn't verified if Gluttony could distinguish magic curses separately before eating. However, the black market trader had many things that could be used to verify this.

"I'll try it once."

Canis brought out an item without saying anything. He was agile when it came to his own benefits.

'Well, I'm not in a position to speak about that.'

Theo grabbed the ring with his left hand and closed his eyes to focus.

"Appraisal."

The tongue could be felt within his closed fist. The visualized information entered his head, dispelling any worries.

[+2 The Widow's Wail (Accessory)]

[A ring made of high purity silver. The first owner of this ring lost her husband early on, and soon followed afterwards from an illness of the heart. The widow's sorrow remained in this ring and turned into a strong curse. If the wearer of this ring is a woman, the 'depressed' state will occur. If the wearer of this ring is a man, there is a low probability that the 'depressed' state will occur.

* The grade of this ring is 'Normal.'

* When consumed, a very small amount of magic power will be absorbed.

* When consumed, the digestion time is 8 minutes and 22 seconds.

* When worn, the owner of Gluttony isn't affected by the curse.]

However, this wasn't the end.

The following sentences were enough to make him forget his tired mind and body.

[You have appraised a cursed item. The faint curse has shrunk back at the presence of a predator.]

[Curse magic is a mysterious phenomenon. When you feed Gluttony a cursed item, there is a low probability that the owner may learn the memories, experience of skills of the person who left the curse behind. The more powerful the curse, the greater the probability.]

[Gluttony's owner isn't affected by the curse.]

The result was more than he expected. Theo accepted the request without any hesitation. Of course, he didn't forget to extract a price. The distribution of cursed items instead of artifacts was added as a better condition.

After that, the process went smoothly.

Wuuong-

Once the two people added a bloody thumbprint, the parchment absorbed the blood and shone with a red light. It meant the Geass Scroll had activated successfully. Canis placed it in the original box and sealed it tightly. Since the clause had a condition of silence, the existence of the contract itself became an absolute secret for Canis.

"Now, since the deal is established..."

Theo, who was feeling tired, raised his left hand with a gentle expression.

"Let's start immediately."

From that moment, it was time for him to fill up his magic power.

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