128 A Business Venture*
Rassa had spent most of the morning attempting to determine how best to go about his new task. A thousand gold may seem like a lot of money, but it would only go so far. Evanine Crystals sold for an average of fifty silver per kilogram. Cheap for a crystal, but then, these crystals were uncharged and thought of as nothing more than cheap diamonds. It was likely that if Rassa wanted to purchase any Evanine Crystals that were charged, they'd sell for a minimum of 30 gold per kilogram, three times as much as your average kilogram of diamonds. Considering it had been a couple of months since the Vanguard had made an appearance, it was likely that Jeremiah was not the first to think of monopolising the market. The cost of even the uncharged crystals would likely equate to that of a diamond once word truly got out.
After Aegin and Ebony found him, Rassa had relayed the task and his concerns to them. They'd readily agreed to help, Ebony especially seeing as it was her fault Rassa had been forced into this. Rassa had suggested that their first task would be to enquire in the ports around the island as to what the average price of the Crystals were. Rassa, with his speed, could easily visit all the ports that afternoon. As such, he left Aegin and Ebony to inquire around Port Cresh whilst he visited the others.
The first stop on his rushed tour was Port Tegi, the Port they'd first passed upon arrived at Rouke Island. Jewel traders were few in general. The mines were often hard to hold on to and costly to maintain. Not to mention the fact that their workforce from the mine all the way to the store had to be trustworthy dealing with precious materials day in and day out. As such, it tended to be a pattern that Jewellers were often from more well-known entities.
Port Tegi had three. Enough to establish competitive pricing but not overwhelm the market. But, only two of them dealt in Evanine Crystals. After a short inquiry, Rassa discovered their stock was limited, and on top of that the price had grown to 8 Gold per kilogram at one shop and 7 Gold 60 Silver at the other.
In short, Rassa's suspicions had been right, there were many who had already ascertained the value of the Evanine Crystals and sought to monopolise them.
Of the three other ports he visited, the Southern Port Lace, and the Western Ports Reldo and Cornish, the best price he could find per kilogram of Evanine Crystals was 5 gold. But even then they only had twelve kilograms in stock.
When Rassa again met up with Aegin and Ebony for their evening meal, it appeared that their efforts in Port Cresh has garnered the same result. Only one shop sold Evanine Crystals in Port Cresh, and they were currently going for 6 Gold per kilogram.
"If we were to buy all the kilograms of Evanine available on the Island, how much would we have to spend?" asked Ebony.
"400 gold," Rassa replied, "But we'd only be getting 55 kilograms of the stuff".
"Compared to the 800 kg we could have gotten had they still been their regular price, we're definitely taking losses," Aegin stated.
"They're uncharged," Rassa said, "But the traders all refuse to negotiate on the price, it's a complete rip-off".
"Were any of them willing to broach the subject of selling their mining veins?" asked Ebony.
"Even if they were, we wouldn't be able to buy one with just a thousand gold," Rassa replied, "At minimum we'd need twenty times that".
"The Captain only wanted us to purchase as many as possible, yes?" asked Aegin, "Then why are we worried about spending all of the gold given to us?"
"Because Jeremiah wasn't just looking for the Crystals," Rassa replied, "He's a businessman, he wants profit as well. One the market realises that the Evanine Crystals that are uncharged are essentially worthless, they'll drop back to their original price, how then will Token make up the profit for all of these crystals? Even converting them into proper jewellery won't make up their loss-"
Rassa froze, a look crossing over his face that made Aegin and Ebony turn to him expectantly. When he said nothing, Aegin prodded him for information, "What, what have you thought of?"
"Something I probably shouldn't have," Rassa replied.
Aegin and Ebony looked to each other, then back to Rassa, "What?"
Rassa sighed, "I know how to make the money back, but doing so could expose more than I'm willing to expose".
"You mean about…you?"
Rassa nodded, "If I go through with it, they'll want to know how I did it…and frankly that's not something I feel comfortable reintroducing to the world".
"Reintroducing to the world?" asked Aegin, confused, "What do you…urgh, nevermind, its just one of your many mysteries that I'll never be able to get my head around. But still, if its something that can help, why can't you do it?"
"If you really can't expose it…but what sort of harm could it do anyway?" asked Ebony, "If you're unwilling to this extent".
"It won't do any harm perse," Rassa admitted, "The opposite in fact…but its implications, they could change the course of the whole world".
"But if you're the only one with knowledge of how to do whatever you're proposing, won't you be able to control it?" asked Aegin.
"In theory," Rassa said, "But it will also expose me to far more attention than I want or need. No, it's too dangerous".
"If it's the attention that's making you hesitate…why don't you propose it was someone else?" asked Ebony.
What do you mean?" asked Rassa.
"Well," Ebony looked to Aegin then back at Rassa, "Aegin or I could pretend to-"
"No," Rassa frowned, "The kind of attention I'm talking about is not a game. It could get you dragged into world politics, embroiled in fights you can't even begin to comprehend, let alone win. It's out of the question".
Ebony's eyes narrowed, "I think you underestimate our capabilities".
"I think you're underestimating the scale of what you're proposing," Rassa replied.
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The corner of Ebony's mouth quirked up, "Well now I'm just more intrigued. Now come on, what's your plan?"
Rassa sighed, "You're not going to let this go, are you?"
"You shouldn't have brought it up if you didn't want us talking about it," Ebony replied, "This is the most motivated I've seen you since we met. You may not want to admit it Rassa, but you like this challenge. You want to see what happens when your plans unfold. So, let us help".
Rassa turned away like a sulking child. He disliked that she could see through him so easily, but at the same time, was grateful that he didn't need to explain himself. After another moment of indecision, Rassa relented, far easier than he had foreseen.