Money Makes the World Go Round - Part 3

(Next Chapter: http://www.erfworld.com/blog/view/50335/money-makes-the-world-go-round-part-2)

 

Drachma marched back into the Hall a few minutes later, hearing the Adepts, Novices, and Apprentices shouting about things. None left the grounds, of course. Moneymancers were expected to keep their nose out of other caster’s business. Unless they saw a shmucker making opportunity of course, but this action seemed more likely to turn into a sunk cost than a dividend, so they merely watched. Some instructors even had their juniors reach out, and sense the flow of wealth in the Park, testing the limits of their senses.

 

The white haired caster ignored them all, and instead entered the Hall directly, and then went straight to his room. Here, he found the place replete with his nest eggs. Gems large as his head, and one serving as his bed, all arranged in a way that gave the place a look of a cabin on a ship made of gold. Smiling at the memory of such a room he’d had once, Drachma reached out his power, and began to harvest. Just a few gems, only four, but when he opened his eyes, the room looked far more barren.

 

“Hmm, perhaps I’m a Fool, taken in by a Prediction,” he chided himself, as he took a meditative stance on his large bed. Humming an old sea chanty from his youth, Drachma let the Great Material Continuum enter his thoughts, and carry away all his concerns of the day. Within an hour, he was resting, in a state only a true Master could achieve, refilling his Juice off-turn. Deep in the trance, he barely noticed as the sun across the heavens, and finally set over the horizon.

 

Only when the dead of night was all around him did something intrude on his peace. A niggling little thing, that felt like some fly buzzing in his brain. He knew the feeling well, and almost, almost said no to it. Sending it away. But instead he agreed to the contact, the world about him seemingly melting away until he was sitting in a duplicate of his throne from earlier in the day, in a shaft of white light in a void, with an archon staring at him.

 

“Please hold for Charlie,” she said in that sing-song voice of hers. He was about to tell her to get bent and break the connection, not wanting to give Charlescomm’s Overlord the satisfaction of leaving him on hold. Before he could form the thought though, the image of the pretty young lady vanished, and in its place stood Charlescomm’s Liverary, seeming to stare at him despite being just a symbol golden winged circle with no real eye.

 

“You interfered today,” came a voice from the emblem, and Drachma barked another laugh, one that the void did not echo, leaving him just sitting in his throne in silence, while the emblem stared. He took this silence for almost a minute, before deciding to break it.

 

“To be fair, your involvement was not well advertised until after I had made the decision to do so,” he countered, and Charlie at first seemed ready to argue, but then paused, and instead brought up a window with a very old contract in it. He went over the detailed wording one line at a time, but Drachma sat there, unconcerned. He knew that contract by heart, and knew he was in the clear.

 

“Hmm, ignorance is an excuse in this case. Well then, let me remove that ignorance right now, so there is no mistake. Parson is a unit of interest to me, as is Jeftichew. You will cease to interfere in their affairs, or there will be consequences,” he said, bringing the contract to the fore, with several lines highlighted, mostly the clauses that had to do with breach of contract and payment for the same.

 

“Heh, you think you’ve covered all the bases, don’t you?” asked the Moneymancer, reaching a finger forward and quickly scrolling through to the end of one particular subsection, and then widened it. Turning the contract around, he let the Overlord read it, feeling a building heat as his anger rose to a hot enough level to melt metal in their thoughtspace. Of course, being Charlie, by the time he turned back to Drachma, he was calm.

 

“You know what this would mean, don’t you?” he asked at last, and Drachma nodded, all mirth gone from his face as he did so.

 

“We both knew it might come to this one day. We both play games far wider than others. Someturn, we would overlap,” he said simply, and Charlie seemed to nod at the assertion.

 

“Then this contract is null and void. Agreed?” asked the Overlord of Charlescomm. Drachma didn’t even consider the motion, instead punching with his artificial arm, smashing the window with the contract, and scattering the shards of blue around the thoughtspace.

 

“It will be my pleasure to see you croak, Charlie,” he told the emblem, and then closed the connection with a thought. Charlie, of course, tried to niggle him into reopening the thoughtspace, probably so he could get the last word in, but Drachma ignored him. Instead, he continued to meditate, imagining the walls of Charlie’s great city fallen before him. Somewhere inside, that gave him a warm fuzzy feeling.

 

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Ten turns passed slowly. Ten grueling days of waiting, often with Charlie buzzing in his ear every other hour, which was now more annoying than gratifying. Still, he ignored him, and spent his juice mostly restocking his purse and room with the finer things in life, while waiting for the invite Marie had promised. He did not doubt her word, and as a Predictamancer, she would have ways of ‘altering’ Fate’s course just enough to give him his pay for the previous job.

 

The Magic Kingdom moved around him, and soon enough, his fellow Bank Heads, the four other Master class Moneymancers, the only ones in all of Erfworld as far as they knew, called him to account. Well, really, it was just the Old Bird who called him to account, the other three could have cared less about their reputation in the Kingdom, as they had loans and debts that would protect them for a few HundredTurns at least. The Bird saw things differently though. He cared for the younger Moneys that were sometimes coming in.

 

The news that Drachma had been involved in whatever had happened in Portal Park had gotten out pretty quickly. Some were even saying the tunnel and hole in the park were his doing. He denied the allegations, of course, even Pinkie Swearing twice that the tunnel itself had not been by his hand, though the hole was. Luckily, with the heat of the moment passed, the Carnymancers were having trouble keeping a good froth going, and many were beginning to realize most of the worst trouble had seemingly come from their rabble rousing.

 

Still, Magic Kingdom Neutrality, one of the most sacred Duties of the barbarians who made this their home, had been breached. Some were calling for the banning of all Gobwin Knob units, telling them never to set foot in the Kingdom again. Others were wondering just what had happened exactly, as details were becoming more and more muddied. Still a third faction apparently wanted to start raising units in the Kingdom itself, to protect it from another intrusion.

 

After a while, calm was restored. Parson A. Gotti, Chief Warlord of Gobwin Knob was formally informed that he was no longer welcome in their borders, on pain of croak, and that was the end of it. Oh, Jojo tried to get more of a penalty going, but given his own hand in the events, running into the tunnel after Parson? Well, no one believed him to be uninvolved. After some probing questions regarding a scroll he’d apparently had at the time, the Carny had let it drop, and once the charges were gone, so had the Old Bird.

 

Ten turns after all the action, Marie appeared at the Gild Hall. At least one of the lower level Moneymancers propositioned her, but Drachma quickly shooed the young lady away. Too many of the Novices seemed to believe the best investment to make was with a body, rather than with a mind, and tended to make their first bid that. Drachma, having long ago explored that route, had found it to be pleasant, but not productive, and instead offered the Predictamancer a seat.

 

She had his invitation, a direct walk into Gobwin Knob itself, as Parson had only just returned the turn before to the city. Apparently he’d spent the day garnering information about the day, mostly Fate or Think stuff, but then he’d gotten around to questioning the gem. It had been an expensive item, after all. Even Drachma would take almost four tenturns to recoup the loss, but, with a world weary smile, he told her it was worth it, when she asked, and the pair of them walked towards Portal Park, and a meeting with the future.

 

(Next Chapter: http://www.erfworld.com/blog/view/50351/money-makes-the-world-go-round-part-4)