179 The Fate of his Investment*
Ishta Alamone had been in quite a good mood as of late. He'd been officially crowned the King of Merchants with the Golden Trade Token at the end of the Trader's Festival, and had had no problems with his trading partners ever since. Word of such a prestigious award travelled remarkably quickly, and no one wanted to give trouble to the company that had proved itself better than all the rest.
Still, despite his recent success, he couldn't help but turn his eyes to the one thing that everyone else seemed to have also been eager to watch.
This Moonshadow Trading Company...what would it do next?
Following the mass of charms that had been auctioned off on the second last night of the Trader's Festival, there had been no word of the mysterious owner nor of any of their products being sold anywhere. It was as if the company had appeared and disappeared with the Trader's Festival. Such a prospect truly perplexed everyone. Were they a business that only opened during the biannual Trader's Festival? It was possible with the amount of money they earned, but surely such a successful business prospect would be greatly received all year round.
Perhaps they'd run out of materials? But there had been no indication of the stock dwindling, and they'd had plenty of opportunity to make appropriate trade deals. In fact they had made one with Apple Star Trading Company. Why they had made a deal with a Company that specialised in fabrics was the conundrum. Why would they do that unless they were interested in going into the fabrics industry? But Fabrics had nothing to do with the charms as far as the general business world could tell.
Even Ishta was confused as to why this Rassa Moonshadow had made a Trade Deal with Falla Startree. Though his confusion mostly stemmed from the fact that he'd been positive that his offer was far more attractive, besides the fact that he held ownership over a large portion of the Southern continent's Evanine Crystal Veins.
In the end, all Ishta could do was wait for good news from Illai. She'd never failed him before. She'd bring back the insubordinate young man and then Ishta could have a nice long talk about his future prospects. Which, of course, included the secret to manufacturing the powerful charms.
Who would have thought that for the first time in her two decades of service, Illai had made an irreversible mistake?
Ishta grinned as he shook hands with one of the lesser merchants on Rouke Island, and walked him out of his office. As he closed the door to bring silence to the room, Ishta turned to find Illai standing to the side of the broad window.
"Illai, what a pleasant surprise," Ishta grinned as he walked around to the side table where he kept his best liqour, "I hope your trip was fruitful".
Illai said nothing, she seemed reluctant to speak.
"Come, tell me what happened," Ishta prompted.
Illai seemed to gather her courage before she spoke, "Rassa Moonshadow proved to be a more difficult opponent than I had ascertained".
Ishta scoffed, "Illai, you've taken down a Miracle Level Shadow Magician before with little effort, how could he possibly pose a threat?"
"With respect sir, my initial report was incorrect. Rassa Moonshadow is not simply a Shadow Magician. To be honest, Sir, I'm not entirely sure what he is, but it became clear when I approached to capture him that he would pose more of a threat to you alive than anything else".
"Pose more of a threat to me alive?" Ishta pondered the words, "Sorry, I could swear that you are implying that you killed him? The only reliable source we know of that knows how to produce the charms".
Illai sunk to her knees quickly, bowing her head, "This servant asks that you punish her for her transgressions".
There was silence for a moment, then the glass in Ishta's hand shattered. He sighed lazily grabbing a towel from the side and wiping his hand, "That was good liqour too".
He walked towards the window, "What made you make this call without permission?"
Illai hesitated only a second before she spoke, "The way he controlled shadows was unlike anything I've ever seen before even during the height of the day he seemed powerful. In addition, he possessed incredible speed and strength, the likes of which I have never witnessed before, even from the elvish. Seeing this, I decided that despite his unique knowledge, it would be better if he were to die than to threaten my master".
"So you killed him?" asked Ishta.
"I...I tried to, Master," Illai replied.
"Tried to?" asked Ishta, his tone darkening.
"I...I took him to the depths to drown him, where the shadows were at my command rather than his own. He fought vigorously and ferociously for longer than I expected, but he stilled after some time. I waited, but he didn't move and simply floated for quite a while. I then turned to his companions to see what information that I could derive from them," Illai said, "However, they informed me that it was unlikely I had killed him by simply drowning him. When I went back to check on the body I...I couldn't find it, Master".
"Couldn't find it?" asked Ishta, "So he is still alive?"
Ishta turned to glare at Illai and Illai shut her mouth immediately.
"You don't know?" asked Ishta slowly. Illai could only nod in reply, she was nearly shaking in fear. This tone...things did not bode well for her.
"So the man I sent you to capture, whom you attempted to kill, is now at an unknown location, likely still alive?" asked Ishta.
Illai reached for a pocket, "They had a tracking-"
Illai's eyes widened as she found nothing in her pocket. What had happened? She'd taken it from that Aegin man.
"A tracking what?" asked Ishta.
Illai looked up at her Master in fear.
"His companions, they had a charm that seemed to be capable of tracking others in a sequence," said Illai, "If we can use them to find Rassa Moonshadow then-"
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"Then where is the charm?" asked Ishta, holding out his hand.
"I...I took it but..."
"You lost it?" asked Ishta.
Illai said nothing as she looked down.
A resounding smack rang out as Illai was backhanded across the face. She sprawled onto the ground, but quickly righted herself despite the pain in her cheek.
"Do you have any good news to bring me at all, Illai? Because so far I have been incredibly disappointed," Ishta snapped.
Illai hesitated, then spoke softly, "The Pirates are in possession of his two companions, and despite your connections with them, I fear those two will not cooperate anyway. However, they did leave behind allies here on the Island".
Ishta's eyes narrowed as he turned away. He was silent for a moment, then spoke once more, "You will spend three days in the solarium. After which I want a full list of his allies on the Island and their suspected roles in his business. Is that clear?"
"This one accepts the punishment and will obey," Illai replied.
She then stood and walked to the door. The Solarium. The one place where she would have no access to any shadow but her own, and certainly no water. It was torture for a Magician to be kept from their element for more than a day. Ishta had come up with quite the special punishment for Illai, and she dreaded every moment she was in there. Still, she could not refuse him in this instance.
She'd asked for punishment, and her Master had given it to her.