Bitter 97

It had to be Dad, right? No one else would have such a dumb name. If it was him, what was he sending her? Money? It was possible—he did owe her—but could you send money through the post?

It might be some items, either to use or sell. That didn’t seem very likely. Dad had never been a generous game player but maybe he had matured with age. He had to grow up eventually, in theory.

Britta checked the map. The Auction House was on the same street as the post office. In fact, they were opposite each other, which was convenient. She would go to the Auction House first. Every time she went to the post office she got dragged off on a tangent. It was important to understand the basics, and nothing was more basic than making money.

She marked the Auction House as her destination and set off down the street, her view once more restricted by her height. She noticed a lot more players in the crowd although she didn’t see them. Their name tags floated by, all rushing off in the same direction.

The sparkling trail suggested a number of detours which could have been shortcuts or, more likely, led to dead ends. She ignored them and took the longer, more reliable route.

Now that she had decided to really get to grips with the mechanics, she checked the shops and stores for anything that might be useful. Most looked decorative to give the town a more realistic feel. How much business did Macaroni’s Cheese Shop do? Or The Ladder Emporium?

It was while she was perusing the establishments along the main street that she noticed a small shack squeezed between two larger stores. It was just a hatch with a man in a turban sitting there. He was reading a newspaper and sucking on a long piece of tubing, occasionally blowing out a stream of smoke.

What caught Britta’s attention was the faded sign over his head with a barely visible painting of red and blue potion bottles. She went over and tried to look past the man into the interior of his shack. There didn’t seem to be anything in there.

The man closed his paper and pushed his turban back off his forehead. “Can I help you, miss?”

“Do you sell potions?”

His look suggested he thought she was an idiot. “Yes, that’s the idea. What would you like?”

“How much?”

The look grew more emphatic. He leaned down and pulled out a sheet of paper. It was laminated. How was it laminated?

Britta took it and looked it over. It was a menu of different potions, not just healing and mana, but a whole range. Increase to stats, night vision, poison, invisibility, levitation.... Prices varied from five coppers for a low strength healing potion, to a hundred gold for the more interesting ones like invisibility. That was for seven day delivery. If you wanted it sooner, you had to pay more. 500 gold if you wanted the invisibility potion the next day, which was the quickest. There was also a limit of ten potions per order. It was all very heavily regulated.

“What if I want to buy a potion right now?” she asked the man who was back to reading his paper and sucking on his tube.

“Can’t rush quality,” he said. “You could always make your own.”

“How do I do that?”

He shrugged. “I’m just a trader, I don’t control the means of production.”

She took another look at the list. You had to plan in advance if you wanted to be stocked up. If it took this long to get hold of potions, there might be a demand for a quicker supplier. That was the sort of thing the forum might help her with. Or she could ask Dad. She could start her own pharmaceutical business and get rich the old-fashioned way, by selling drugs.

Subscribe to this content and receive updates directly in your inbox.