222 The Jealous Rival*
Falla smiled as Iah walked in.
"Iah, I see business is going well," Falla said.
"As always," Iah smiled back as she took a seat opposite Falla who had helped herself to tea as she waited, "What brings you here?"
"Well, I have come with a rather important order," Falla stated as she took out a piece of paper and handed it to Iah, "Jane recently reported to her superior on Moonshadow. Of course she did not reveal anything that is not publicly known, but her superior seems quite impressed by your business. He has placed quite the large order".
Iah raised an eyebrow at what was written there, "That is quite a large order, it will likely take the craftsman longer than the regular orders".
"Yes, I informed her of that, at the moment she was only looking for a price and confirmation that you could complete it," Falla stated.
Iah considered what was written there, and her eyes flicked to the name at the top.
"The Eldovian Emperor should have more faith in such a booming business, of course we can complete it, as for the price, I will need to discuss it with the craftsman, though for the charms alone it will be 55,000 gold. The inlay into armour...we have only done a few pieces before but they did not hold a crest as this order demands. From memory I believe that was around 4 gold for every chest plate so that would make the total price around 60,000 gold," Iah iterated.
Falla nodded, "Shall I make that your final quote?"
"You can tell Jane it is my initial thoughts, though I have yet to speak to any artisans about the crests," Iah stated, "Regardless however, I will only agree should a deposit of 10,000 gold be paid".
"A bit larger than your usual 10%, no?" asked Falla.
Iah smiled, "When the order is greater than 50,000 gold worth of product, I think I have earned the right to have a little damage pay. Even from an Emperor".
"I'll let her know," Falla smiled back.
Illai made no comment as she sat opposite her Master at the small cafe on Charm Street. Though, she was sure that if she didn't speak soon, Ishta's teeth would be ground down to his gums. Despite his attempts to thwart Moonshadow and their rising popularity, whether through more appealing business deals or outright threats, more and more customers kept pouring in from all corners of the known world. Illai had found herself accompanying her Master here at least once every few days so that he could watch the customer flow steadily in and out of the Moonshadow Charm Shop.
Really, Illai thought the street itself was indication enough of their success. She remembered vividly how the Cermine District had looked two years ago. If anyone had gone away then and come back now, they'd think they'd gotten lost. The street was not originally known as 'Charm Street' but the locals had all agreed that it was a fitting name.
It was not just Moonshadow that was doing well on this street either. Of course they came for the charms, but they stayed because of the many other boutiques, cafes and craftsmanship stores that had opened up along the street. There had been quite a few disgruntled shop owners who were losing business from the Market District in Port Leis, but even they'd agreed that a trip to Charm Street was well worth it.
Ishta had been stubborn and arrogant, positive that he was capable of thwarting their business before it got too big. Now, Illai knew that he came so often to Charm Street because he was waiting for any of the businesses to look like they were struggling. A place on Charm Street, or even in the Cermine District, was prime real estate now, and Ishta had missed his chance.
Still, Illai didn't say a word. She'd learned her lesson. Servants were better when they kept their mouths shut. Even when Falla Startree showed up walked from her carriage with an air and grace only afforded to successful and powerful individuals.
"Illai?" asked Ishta, breaking the silence.
"Yes, Master," Illai acknowledged, sitting at attention.
"I need you to find the craftsman," Ishta ordered.
"Sir?" asked Illai. After the incident two years ago, he'd yet to trust her again with anything to do with Apple Star or Moonshadow Trading. Even when, just a seven months before, Moonshadow had risen to become the tenth place Trade Company at the Trader's Festival. It had shocked many. While Ishta had waved and happily accepted Gold once again, it was the first time Illai had ever seen her Master afraid. And he had reason to be. In just eighteen months, Moonshadow had very nearly achieved what he had in twenty years. With just one shop. Their growth was unprecedented, and many anticipated what another two years would do for their company. Was it possible, that in just under four years, they could become one of the top tier companies? On paper it seemed absurd, but when one watched Charm Street regularly they had to think...what if?
"We're aware that the Craftsman aren't on the Island thanks to that useless woman," Ishta stated, "And the spies I sent managed to follow the cargo as far as Falla Startree's Star Pavilion in Eldovia, but they've been cut off or mislead every time they try to enter and find the Craftsman".
Illai had been aware that Ishta was still searching for the Magician boy who could carve the charms, and if they'd traced the charms back to the Star Pavilion, it was no wonder they'd hit a dead end. The Star Pavilion was a sacred place built inside a fortress. It had its own Knight contingent that were specially trained to protect it. It would be the ideal place to keep the craftsman considering one could not enter without permission from the owner, but clearly Ishta wanted conclusive evidence, not hearsay.
"I need you to succeed where they failed," Ishta continued as he turned to look at Illai with harsh eyes, "Can you do it?"
Illai bowed her head, "I shall do my best, Master".
Ishta frowned, "The fate of my entire livelihood lies in finding those craftsman. At this point I don't much care if you bring them back to me alive, or if you kill them. I just don't want them in the hands of such a problematic company any longer. Is that understood?"
"Is it, Master".