Sun wiped the sweat off his forehead as he urged his [Poun] to continue walking. It had been several days since he started traveling the road towards Shard city.
The desert is harsh as expected. Several monsters had popped up but since they were only [Rank D] Korua dealt with them without mercy. The problem was the ever suffusing heat that permeated from the desert, this heat sapped the strength of both him and the [Poun].
He had been rationing the water supply but it seems if they can't resupply the water would run out before they arrived to their destination.
With the impending water shortage, Sun had been tasking Korua to scout for water sources nearby every few hours or so.
"Pyoooooon!" Came a thrill from above, hearing this Sun became elated. pulling his reins he readjusted the Poun's path to Korua's position.
It took a couple minutes of running but they eventually arrived to what seemed to be an oasis. Overjoyed but cautious Sun studied the oasis before approaching. The oasis in itself was a simple pool of water surrounded by tufts of grass and a few grown palm trees. There was a tent camped near it with the remains of a bonfire aside.
It looked safe enough so he made the Poun approach.
"Hello, is anyone there?" Sun asked, calling out to the tent. An old man eventually went out of the tent, he almost looked like a corpse so Sun was a bit shocked.
The old man was almost dangerously thin, his face was gaunt and his clothes barely hanged on his body. He squinted slightly as if having trouble seeing Sun but after a while the old man produced a smile showing an incomplete set of teeth.
"My, It's been awhile since I've had visitors. Welcome youngster, feel at home to this oasis of mine." The old man welcomed with exaggerated gestures and a widely opened arms.
Sun dismounted his [Poun] and returned the greeting with a nod. "Greetings sir, My name is Sun. I'm in need of a resupply of water." He said respectfully.
"No need to be polite youngster. As I've said feel at home. The name's Devon by the way." Devon said toothy grin still in place.
"Thank you sir." Sun said before leading his Poun towards the pool. He then began collecting water in his containers.
"Tell this old man why you're traveling alone in this desert? Hm?" Devon asked stroking the thin beard he was sporting.
"I'm traveling towards Shard city. I missed taking the caravans by a few days so I had to hire a [Poun]." Sun said as he capped the last container and placed them on the saddles of his [Poun].
"Is that so? So it's like that. I see. Would you perhaps have food on you? As you might imagine this place has no variety in food, it's always lizard or palm fruit really. I'm willing to trade you this." The old man rambled taking out three books from inside his tent.
"There's no need to trade me anything Ojii-san, the water is enough for me to give you food." Sun said already pulling out food from his [Storage Bag].
"Tsk, tsk. Youngster let this old man have some pride, these books aren't much use for me. Take one of them and let me feel at ease." Devon said a touch of melancholy in his voice.
Sun thought about it for a few seconds before conceding. It wasn't that big of a deal after all. "Very well Ojii-san if that's how it is."
"Good, good! Now let's see here. This one is about the travels of some youngster, this one's got a map for an authentic treasure!" Old man Devon puffed his chest as if bragging about the book. "This one's about a young boy who tamed the wind" He said as he showed an impressive looking book to Sun. It looked well kept, Sun felt that Devon treasured this book."Last and definitely the least is this book of some old fart rambling about silly things." The last book looked to be on it's last legs and it looked like it would fall apart with the slightest of touches.
Sun really didn't care which book he takes. Since he was already in debt of Devon though he just took the worn book as his compensation. Even Sun wouldn't want to take advantage of an old man who has given him help after all.
"That one really?" Devon asked incredulously. "You don't have taste at all youngster."
"It's OK Ojii-san I want this one." Sun said as he handed Devon three days worth of processed meat and fish.
"Fine, take it. That's a fine [Storage Bag] you have right there by the way." Devon said already chomping the head off a dried fish.
"A gift from my brother." Sun said, it wasn't like he was hiding it from Devon. After all Devon did see him take out water containers from that [Storage Bag].
"Gifts from family are always the best aren't they?" Devon said wistfully.
"Indeed they are Ojii-san" Sun said then remained silent. The only sound that could be heard then was the soft crunching of the fish head old man Devon was eating.
In the end Sun stayed in Devon's Oasis for the night and in the morning he bid farewell to the old guy.
As Sun sped off towards Shard city an old man in an oasis in the middle of the desert eating dried meat was muttering to himself "Interesting Youngster. For him to take my greatest treasure just like that, he has potential don't you think?"
The wind answered softly with a whisper "If you say so beloved."
Two days have passed before Sun even thought of reading Devon's book. While resting inside his tent he began to read the worn out book, taking care of it as he felt as though a single careless move would have it rip to pieces.
To his surprise the first entries were actually useful things! The first pages described a method of purifying magic gems using complementary potions.
It just so happens that Sun had bought a few Fire condensation potion on his last day in Thrush city. This was the potion that the book described as complementary to flamerite gems. The potion is usually drunk by magi who are training their control for fire spells as it stabilizes their casting and condenses the fire mana in their bodies to help.
The method required one to soak five dozen flamerite gems in the potion for a few days. Feeling doubtful however Sun decided to test this method by transferring a bit of the potion into a small phial and placing a single gem in it. He first studied the impurities in the gem so he can later see if there are differences.
If this were to work then there were large profits to be had, was Sun's thoughts.
The very next day he examined the gem and was pleasantly surprised that there were indeed less impurities! If the method worked as advised the results would be high yield flamerite gems, those would sell for more than a gold coin each. Calculations were already running through Sun's mind as he prepared the potions and the gems. If this were to work then he'd effectively double his net worth. Devon had given Sun a goldmine. Sun silently gave that old man a prayer of blessing.
Sun began to work taking out a medium sized phial and cramming 60 flamerite gems into it then filling it up with two flame condensation potions into it. That done he sealed it meticulously and stored it in his [Storage Bag]. The phial was only as large as a fist though as flamerite gems were really small. Sun shook his head more than 60 gold pieces could come from that small phial if all went well.
In a few days he'll look into it and see if the gems really do become high yield varieties. If they did, then maybe his goal won't be as far off as he thought.
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