The pills Izroth removed from his inventory were the five of his most recent creations along with the two pills he had already revealed to Mariposa, the Five Cycles Pill and the Two Solar Extremities Pill.
Everyone present was drawn into the seven pills laid out before them on the table. Each pill was unique and besides the Five Cycles Pill and the Two Solar Extremities Pill, they had no idea what the other pills were. It was something they had never seen before.
The most shocking fact was that there was a unique aura lingering around one of the unknown pills that Zi Yi, Mariposa, He Huian and Valkyria were familiar with. That aura was unique to grade three pills!
"Impossible... How can there be so many?" He Huian said as she closely observed the seven pills. She started to think back to when they first discussed the priority purchase contract with Izroth and could only shake her head. What a joke!
Not only were there three grade one pills, but there was also two grade two pills amongst the mix.
Zi Yi was unable to wipe off the grin that formed on her face when Izroth revealed his hand. So this is why he needed two hours!
If it were anyone else Zi Yi would not believe that they were able to suddenly craft five new pills in such a short amount of time, however, after her journey with Izroth inside of the Chaotic Dogma Realm she would not dismiss it so easily. Zi Yi immediately began to send a message to Izroth.
Mariposa had a serious expression on her hand with her hands clasped up near her mouth with furrowed brows. Not only had Izroth shown them a title that allowed him to own property inside of the capital city of Amaharpe, but he revealed to them five new pills as well. However...
Izroth sat quietly with a carefree expression on his face as he allowed them to freely examine the pills.
Mariposa was screaming on the inside. No matter how much she tried to discern based on Izroth's body language, she was unable to tell what was going through his head at the moment. To her, Izroth's move did not make any sense.
He could have simply offered them a slightly lower price on the purchasing value of the Five Cycles Pill or even just gifted a few free pills to show his sincerity. What was the purpose of showing them all of this? What did he stand to gain from doing so?
Thanks to the information he revealed, it was now obvious that he wanted to open the very first officially owned player shop within RML. It was most likely why he requested such a large amount of gold coins in one go and was unwilling to sell the exclusive rights for the pill.
Even without their help or finances, eventually, Izroth would have made enough to open his own shop and start selling his products there, but he did not do so. Instead, he came to them and this is what baffled Mariposa. Not knowing what the person she was making a deal with was thinking was not something Mariposa was used to. For her, it was always the other way around.
"Since my elder sister and the others seem to have bitten their tongues, I'll ask the question currently on everyone's mind. Izroth, what is it that you want to accomplish?" Zi Yi took the initiative.
While it may have seemed as if she was helping Mariposa and the others, she was actually helping Izroth follow up on his opening move. At this point, it was nearly impossible for Mariposa to have any control over the outcome of this event.
"What I desire is something not easily given, but often times become easily misplaced. I desire an ally I can trust. An ally whose word binds stronger than any contract." Izroth said in a calm tone of voice.
"Trust? Ally?" Mariposa raised her brows at the mention of those two words. Was it truly so simple? Was there no complicated or hidden motive behind all of this? No scheming? Could she really have been overthinking things this entire time?
Zi Yi was a little surprised when she first heard Izroth's words, however, after remembering the conversation they had outside after the first contract was made something suddenly dawned on her.
"Can it really be because of that...?" Zi Yi muttered to herself as her eyes widened slightly from the sudden realization.
Back when Izroth and Zi Yi left the Sleeping Gardenia building after the first contract...
"Then, I'll try my best not to betray that trust." Zi Yi said as she turned to face away from Izroth.
"If ever that moment came I would not blame you, but rather myself for lacking the proper skills when it comes to the judgment of character." Izroth said.
Zi Yi turned to face Izroth with a smile on her face, "In that case, let's make a pact." Zi Yi said without thinking. It was as if the words just slipped out of her mouth, however, now that they were said she would not take them back.
"Oh? What did you have in mind?" Izroth asked curiously. To Izroth, pacts were something that was not made lightly. A pact would truly test the limits of how far a person was willing to go to keep a promise. To keep their word.
"I won't allow anyone to deceive you. In return, I ask that you not allow anyone to deceive me. This applies even to ourselves. What do you think?" Zi Yi said.
"I'll accept." Izroth said without the slightest bit of hesitation.
Zi Yi was stunned. To be honest, she did not expect Izroth to accept so quickly if even at all. After all, it was such a bizarre and sudden request that anyone would have the right to be cautious. However, Izroth did not hesitate a single moment and accepted right away. But, in the end, she was happy that he agreed.
"My real name is Zi Jiayi." Zi Yi said as she stared at Izroth as if she were waiting for something in return.
"I am called Zhang Jin." Izroth stated.
Zi Yi nodded and said, "I, Zi Jiayi, make this pact with you, Zhang Jin. If one of us breaks this pact, may both of us for the eternal price. Zhang Jin, do you accept these terms?" Zi Yi then held the palm of her hand out towards Izroth. She then made a small gesture as if signaling Izroth what to do.
'A pact where both sides pay the price regardless of who breaks it. It almost reminds me of the Otidium Pact in the Seven Realms.'
Izroth placed the palm of his hand on top of Zi Yi and said, "I accept the terms."
"Then from this day forward, we share the pact." Zi Yi said as she then removed her hand from Izroth's.
After everything was over, Izroth could not help but ask, "Tell me, why the ritual?"
Zi Yi smiled and replied, "It is a long-standing tradition of my family. I do not usually enjoy the old traditions, but for this, I made a small exception. I am glad you humored me."
"I see, tradition." Izroth said to himself. However, such old traditions were extremely rare in this day and age. To still keep to those old traditions meant that Zi Yi's family must have been one with strong roots.
Zi Yi seemed to be a bit hesitant at first, but she decided to speak her mind in the end.
"I should warn you, Izroth. You should not become too deeply involved with my elder sister. She's a dangerous person to be around." Zi Yi said.
'This is unexpected...'
Those were the last words Izroth expected to hear from Zi Yi. Not only did she and Mariposa appear to be on good terms and tied closely together, but she even just helped him with a deal involving her. Now, she was telling him that it was not good for him to become involved with her?
"It's a bit late for that don't you think? Do you not trust your elder sister?" Izroth replied.
Zi Yi shook her head, "I would trust my elder sister with my life. I don't want you to misunderstand my words. Although I can't go into too many details, I can elaborate a bit. My elder sister's situation is a little... Complicated to say the least. She is not the dangerous one, but there are those who..."
Zi Yi seemed to struggle with her explanation for a moment, however, she managed to organize her thoughts and continue.
"There are those who would see my elder sister fail at every turn. Those are the people you should be careful of. They will do anything they feel is necessary to make sure she does not succeed. That also means getting rid of any... Obstacles." Zi Yi explained.
"In other words, you mean to say that other top guilds do not take kindly to your elder sister." Izroth said.
Zi Yi released a small sigh, "I wish it were that simple. I just thought it was only fair to warn you so you would not be caught completely off guard. But, as I said before, you have nothing to worry about due to the current arrangements. However, you should definitely think twice about forming any true alliance."
"Do you trust Mariposa?" Izroth asked as he looked directly into Zi Yi's eyes.
For some reason when Izroth looked into her eyes, Zi Yi felt as if he was looking right through her.
However, Zi Yi nodded and responded, "I do. More than anyone else in this world."
"Then I see no problem with whatever I decide to do. I thank you for your warning, but I would not let such a small matter stop me. If you trust her, then that is good enough for me." Izroth responded.
Zi Yi believed that Izroth was too trusting. He trusted someone just because someone he trusted, trusted them. There were not many people left in the world that would take such a risk.
Izroth and Zi Yi continued talking for a bit longer before Zi Yi started to take her leave towards the Amaharpe Palace Library.
However, just before Zi Yi left she turned around said, "Oh by the way, if you tell my sister what I said here today about her..." Zi Yi gave a simple smile as she finished her sentence there before turning to walk away.
'I wonder if those two realize just how much they truly care for one another.'
"That's right. It is a simple thing to ask is it not? As a gesture of good faith, I am willing to share in this opportunity with you and the Sleeping Gardenia guild." Izroth said.
"You can't honestly expect us to believe that you would be willing to sacrifice such a prime opportunity just for our trust and alliance. I've never heard of such a deal in my life." Valkyria said as she shook her head.
He Huian also had her doubts, but if what Izroth said was true then this could be a huge chance for her Sleeping Gardenia guild.
"Trust and an alliance..." Mariposa softly whispered those words to herself. She then looked over towards Zi Yi who currently had that grin on her face. She knew Zi Yi enough to tell what that grin of her's meant. It was her younger sister's way of telling her she had no other choice but to concede.
Mariposa sighed and said, "There's an old saying. When something seems too good to be that's usually because it is. However, I have never been that good at following old saying." A lovely smile appeared on Mariposa's face.
A few moments later, a piece of parchment appeared in front of Mariposa. It was the original contract that she and Izroth had signed. She held the contract in her hands and torn it in half. This actively made the contract null and void. In other words, she herself terminated the contract! That meant that even if Izroth walked away right now there would be no consequences.
He Huian and Valkyria were stunned when they saw Mariposa tear the contract in half. She was always the type to take a risk, however, that was the only card in their hand and now it was gone!
"I have resigned myself to fate this time. He Huian, Valkyria, I will accept all the responsibility for this if anything should go wrong." Mariposa said in a reassuring manner.
He Huian and Valkyria looked at one another and then back towards Mariposa. Both of them did not say a word and respected her wishes without raising any objections.
"If it hasn't become obvious by now, I plan to open a shop. Its location will be right across from the auction house. However, the cost of that place is 80,000 gold coins. Though I suspect the price may have risen over the last few days to almost 90,000 gold coins. This is the spot I wish to purchase." Izroth said.
He then continued, "I plan to open the first official pill shop in Amaharpe. I do not need to explain the potential profitability behind this venture. Therefore, in addition to the 10,000 gold coins you've already given me, I will need an additional 80,000 gold coins for the building purchase and 1,000 gold coins as a resource credit. I will also need to borrow your Apothecary branch."
If Izroth had made these demands before they would have said that he was being ridiculous. However, now that they had seen what he was truly capable of, nobody dared to utter those words from their mouth.
"In return, I will supply Sleeping Gardenia with pills for free. Of course, provided it purchases or obtains all the resources required. Sleeping Gardenia will also earn 50% of all profit from the shop until the debt of 91,000 gold coins is paid off. After that, Sleeping Gardenia will receive 10% of all profit made from the shop." Izroth explained.
Of course, this was something Zi Yi had suggested to Izroth. From the moment Izroth revealed the seven pills Zi Yi had been in constant over the messaging system with him. After verifying a few details, she came up with an arrangement she believed would be acceptable to both parties while also allowing both sides to demonstrate their first ever step of trust.
Mariposa was honestly surprised by such a generous offer. There was nothing for them to lose and only much for them to gain. It appeared that Izroth was serious when he spoke of trust and wanting an ally.
He Huian and Valkyria were also pleasantly surprised. They expected Izroth to strongarm them and grab as many benefits as possible despite his previous elegant words. However, they believed that they may have misjudged him and started to see why their guild leader was willing to take such risk when it involved him.
Mariposa looked at the terms suggested by Izroth from all directions and yet came up with the same answer no matter what angle she looked from. It was an offer that couldn't be refused!
"I... accept." Mariposa said as she looked directly at Izroth.