Saturday, November 5, 2016

Sassy Saturday: Haggling with elves is easy for Emily

Welcome to another week of Sassy Saturday at Trickster Eric Novels.  Every week will be an excerpt from one of my novels showcasing a kick-butt heroine. If you want read about the original blog hop the link is here.

The previous Sassy Saturday post can be read here: Conversion War Vision Quest

The context for this post: Eric and Kallen are in a situation where they need to acquire a lot of expensive items from the elven city-state of Dnnac Ledo.  The smith says that he is willing to trade and Emily steps up to negotiate.

Sonic palmed a piece of ore and held it up to the light.

“This stuff is common iron. As good as it is, it gets boring to use the same old stuff. I’ve heard rumors that a grendel’s hide is made of a unique metal and I’ve wanted to use some of that stuff for six hundred and eighty years, but they’re rare creatures. By the time I catch news of one, someone else has stripped it clean! If you have a Seed of Chaos, then I could harvest it without doing you any permanent harm.”

“You want to skin me alive?”

Sonic frantically waved his hands. “I’ll pay you, of course! I’ve accumulated plenty of human money over the centuries and it’s not like I have many opportunities to use it.”

“How much are we talking?”

“How much do you want?”

Memories of the pawnshop came back to Eric and gave him pause. Discussing how much Pilaocv would pay him for Lunas’ influence choker came out gibberish to him. He settled on a trade because he couldn’t comprehend the economics. He’d rather not go through that again.

“How about a trade: three daggers, two swords, an axe, and two suits of body armor.”

“That’s oddly specific.”

Eric thought so too, but a lie came naturally.

“I want three daggers for myself and my two teammates, two swords for Tiza so she can dual wield them, an axe for domestic labor jobs, and the armor for Tiza and Nolien as well because they lack my and my mentor’s physical advantages.”

“Alright, that makes sense. Okay, first show me your true form.”

Eric reached for his grendel identity and allowed it to shift his human body into its true stature. It occupied substantially more space and this delighted Sonic. He fingered his way from Eric’s knuckles, up his arm, and down his back.

“Fascinating! The stuff I could make with this...” He grew an abacus in his stomach and set about making the calculations. “Now let’s see….considering your size…..” He moved several rings to the right. “Then balance that against the equipment you asked for.” He moved other rings to the left. After a couple permutations of this, the abacus dissolved into his stomach. “If I took four complete hides, then we would have a fair trade.”


“What!?” Emily asked. “He wants to take every inch of flesh off your body! Four times! Even if you can grow it back, how is that okay?”

“Smithery is my Eternal Hobby,” Sonic said seriously. “It’s what I do to stave off chaotic madness and create meaning in my life. Opportunities like this are what I live for. Besides, it’s just skin. It’ll grow right back.”

“I don’t think you grasp how painful this is going to be for Eric,” Emily said.


“Shut it, Eric! You don’t understand this either. You may have an elven girlfriend, but I’ve spent a lot more time around elves than you have. They think differently, and not because they literally have chaos in their brains. Their Seed of Chaos makes them apathetic. They think nothing of ripping arms off because they grow back. They can’t understand a human’s need for food because starvation can’t kill them. They think we’re stupid barbarians because we can’t spend our lives doing mad science for shits and giggles. Just because you have a Seed of Chaos, it doesn’t make you an elf.”

Someone clapped. Everyone looked up and saw that it was Tasio.

“Well said! I’m glad I dragged you here. You’re fun.”

“Go to the abyss. You’re worse than they are.”

Tasio shrugged and said, “Guilty.” Then he disappeared again.

The smith looked shocked and immediately bowed his head in apology.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to give the impression that I wanted to avoid pain by pushing it on someone else. I assure you that elves still comprehend pain even if we do heal quickly from it. If I could transform myself into a grendel, I would, but I have no idea how to do so. I don’t know what they look like and I don’t know how their skin works. How about this? Three hides.”

Emily threw up her hands. “It’s like talking to a wall. I don’t think you’ve ever had your skin peeled off before.”

“You have?”

“Eight weeks ago; Bog of Poisoned Glory. I was helping Kallen find Forol so she could ask the goddess for a blessing. I was infected by a parasite that ate my skin before my eyes, then moved into my internal organs. Kallen had to give me two years off her life just to keep me stable enough to get to the ER. I was in intensive care for seventy-two hours.”

“Okay, two hides.”

“Emily, it’s all right,” Eric said. “If I didn’t believe in the idiom ‘no pain, no gain,’ I wouldn’t make it through Basilard’s training sessions.”

“One hide or Eric walks out and you’ll lose this opportunity forever.” Emily leaned in closer. Her stare was sharp and piercing. Her Evil Eye filled him with despair for lost time and crushed dreams. “For the rest of eternity, you’ll curse your greed overcoming your creativity.”

“Fine. One full hide for everything.”

Emily blinked and leaned back. “I’m glad we could come to terms.”

Kallen slung an arm around her shoulders and pulled her in close.

“You drive a hard bargain, as usual.”

“It was nothing, Boss. Just practice.”  

Mana Mutation Menace, and the rest of the Journey to Chaos series, is available for purchase at Amazon as both an ebook and as a paperback.

 To learn more about the heroines of Journey to Chaos, visit the Tvtropes character sheet. 

The next Sassy Saturday post is Mad Scientist and a Monster Unicorn

Brian Wilkerson is a independent novelist, freelance book reviewer, and writing advice blogger. He studied at the University of Minnesota and came away with bachelor degrees in English Literature and History (Classical Mediterranean Period concentration).

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