Chapter 87: Crown Membership
“Is this right?” Derek asked, looking at the contract. The offer was for 25,000 gold coins and contribution towards a membership. He had expected quite a lot, but more like 10,000 gold coins. If Bronsons sword cost 2,700 I wonder what kind of weapon I could get for this. Nah, I bet at a certain point, Weaponsmiths stop accepting gold for their wares. They probably deal only in trade.
“Mhm.” Stella nodded. “As I said, my employer has made the decision to give you a premium offer. Plus, the Void Beast you brought in was high quality, so the price has to match. As you only want the hide back, not much was deducted from the amount because we dont have many uses for it.
“The current payment is what someone with a tier one membership would be awarded if they brought in the same beast. As I said, my employer is treating you quite fondly. This is the first time I have seen such a thing happen, though it is not the first that Ive heard of.” Stella finished with a smile.
“I see. I will have to thank your boss at some point.” Derek replied. “Now, about the Crown Membership. This contract only states that I will be awarded a medium amount of contribution towards a membership. Is there a tangible way to tell how much contribution I have?”
Stellas smile grew wider at the question. “I was wondering when you were going to ask that.” Stella looked deep into Dereks eyes. “Now, there are two answers that you can get. One is a basic outline, but the other requires an oath to not repeat what I say to anyone. Which would you like?”
Derek frowned, but agreed to the oath. “I, Derek Hunt, swear to the Great System to abide Stella Brightons words and keep what I am about to hear to myself… and my companion, as I cannot hide things from her, for as long as required.” After his oath, the notification popped up.
You have sworn an oath to “Stella Brighton.”
Stella frowned. “Your companion? The rabbit?”
Derek nodded. “Yes. We communicate telepathically. It is easy for her to hear my thoughts unless I specifically focus to keep her out. Trust me, she does not actively try to listen to them either.”
“Thats… interesting. Most communicate with their beast companion through their will. They just understand each other.” Stella furrowed her brows. “Just how strong is that bunny?”
Derek smiled. “Would you like to swear an oath?” He laughed.
Her eyes widened a little, then she chuckled. “No, it was just a passing thought.” Then she cleared her throat. “I trust that she will not speak of what we are discussing to anyone?”
“No. If we were talking about food or sleeping, she might find a way, but she couldn ’t care less about anything we are discussing right now. Besides, as of right now, she can only communicate with me.” He answered.
Stella nodded. “Very well. First, to answer your question… No. All that you have to go on is my word and the trust that you have in the Crown. There are many reasons for this, but the main one is because my boss controls who gets the memberships and who does not. She is quite fair, though.
“Even if she does not personally like you, as long as you do not act in a detestable and despicable way, and if she sees that you have worked and contributed much to the restaurant, she will award you with a membership. However, the biggest factor standing in the way of most of the nobles receiving a membership is how they act and treat others. My boss is… well, she has eyes and ears everywhere.”
Stella sighed. “You could say that she is the Kingdoms foremost expert in gossip. She does not spread it, but she collects it, then verifies it. There are nobles, I will not name names, but there are some that have contributed greatly to the Crown, and help the cities and those less fortunate than themselves. But they have never received a membership and they never will.
“They may look perfect on the outside, but they are vile on the inside. Some of the things that I have heard about…” Stella shook her head. “My mistress will never allow people like that to be formally associated with her business. There are some, though, that are strict and violent that have been given membership and people wonder why.
“Those people treat everyone the same. If a descendant from their house steps out of line, they will be punished the same as if a beggar did the same. Their violence is warranted. They are usually noble houses who uphold the laws of the kingdom. And though they cannot punish a noble of another house the same way as they do a commoner under kingdom law, they will punish their own. It is respectable. Many normal folk and nobles alike fear them.” Stella stated.
Derek nodded. “I understand. This is actually great information for me to know. If I go to another city and aperfect noble house is there, but they do not have a membership to your restaurant, I will know to avoid them. I see why you had me take an oath.”
Stella nodded. “That is correct. There are a few, not many, that are respectable and close to perfect that do not care for a membership, therefore do not seek to obtain contribution. But, they are usually neutral parties and will not seek you out without reason.”
She continued. “Now, that is all for people who have not earned a membership yet. There is a tangible way to see your contribution once you are a member.” Stella flicked her wrist and a solid white card with a golden crown in the middle appeared in her hand. It was slightly bigger than a credit card. “This.” She waved the card around. “Is a membership card.” She handed it to Derek for him to examine.
Holding it in his hand, he studied it. It was hard, he put some strength into his hand and squeezed slightly. After some pressure, the card bent a little and he relaxed. “Some good material.” He said.
“Indeed.” She answered. “They can survive…” She watched as he bent the card even more. “most attacks.”
Derek nodded and handed the card back. “Im guessing this is just for me to examine?”
Stella chuckled. “Yes. It is not an actual membership card, just a display. It is the same in almost every way, just lacking the enchantments.” She took the card back. “Now, as you can see, the card is a blank slate, solid white. This is a tier one membership card with no contribution. You will begin at tier one if you ever become a member.
“Now, as you gain contribution, you can give your card to a manager and they will transfer it to the card.” Stella injected mana into the card. The end of the card began turning blue. As he continued, the blue color spread across the card. “As you can see, as you earn contribution, the card will fill with a different color.” At that point, the entire card had turned blue.
Stella injected more mana into the card, and a purple tint appeared on the side. “White is tier one, blue is tier two, purple is tier three, and black is tier four, the maximum tier. Each tier comes with different benefits, you will only learn about them when you reach that tier, and you will be required to sign a contract not to spread said benefits.”
Mhm… Its like the more I spend, the higher my credit limit. Derek nodded. “I see. That makes sense to me.”
Stella nodded and put the card back into her ring. “Now, like I have said, my boss seems like you, which is a point in your favor. She will definitely be listening and watching you, so when you reach enough contribution in her eyes, it wont be hard to become a member.”
Derek frowned, disappointed. “So, no matter how much I contribute, it will take a while to become a member because she needs to find out my character?”
“Well, that depends. My boss is a great judge of character, and I dont believe that she has ever been wrong about a person, no matter how quick she came to her opinion about them. Shes… special in that way.”
“I see.” Derek nodded. “So, hypothetically. If I had enough contribution in her eyes today, how long do you think before she judged me worthy or not?”
“Thats a tough question. It could be a day, a week, a month, a year… I dont know. Im sure she knows more about you than I do, already. And shes in the Capital. She may already have her opinion.”
“Interesting.” Derek smiled. “This isnt some secret spy or assassination guild or something is it?” He asked in jest… mostly.
Stella broke out in laughter. “No, it isnt. But isnt that exactly what a spy guild would tell you?” She gave him a serious look, then busted up again. “No, my mistress doesnt have a lot of friends and cant talk to many people.” She frowned and lowered her head. “So, learning about people from afar became a hobby of hers after she started the Crown, and her skill in it has greatly improved the restaurants standing. This is all public knowledge.”
“Why cant she talk to people?” He asked, intrigued.
“This is also public knowledge. Her class has a skill that makes people… uncomfortable, and she can not turn it off. It is a tragedy because she really does love having conversations. Very few servants can be around her, and most of her communication is done via the communication crystal, even then, her skill affects others.” Stella replied.
“That is sad. I would like to talk to her someday. Who knows, maybe Im different.” Derek smiled. If she has a skill thats constantly active, and its magic, will my Magic Resistance constantly go up? Of course, he had ulterior motives.
Stellas smile shined. It was more genuine that Derek had seen before. “Im sure that she would love that. Ill let her know next time I speak with her.”
Derek nodded. “Im looking forward to it.” He said, then continued. “Now, lets get back to my payment and contribution.” He reached over and rubbed his bracelet, waiting for the right time to reveal his other… goods.
“Very well.” Stella replied.
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