System Change

Chapter 89: Alanah

Chapter 88: The True Value of Void Beasts

“So, as you can see…” Stella reached over to the contract and pointed. “You will get 25,000 gold coins for the Void Beast, minus the hide. And seeing your earlier reaction, Im guessing that this price is acceptable?” She asked.

“Yes, very acceptable. I was just wondering what I would do with so much gold.” Derek replied.

Stella chuckled. “Ah yes, having such an amount of coin and nothing to spend it on can be a problem. May I suggest your local Crown Restaurant? I hear that they have a delicious menu, though, they arent cheap.”

Derek laughed at that. “No, I suppose they are not. As for the contract, I would be happy to sign, but I was thinking about maybe adding something to it. Or, I could take this and the money, and we could make another.”

Stellas eyebrows raised in surprise. “You never cease to amaze me. You have more to offer the restaurant? Is it another product like coffee? I dont think were ready for that yet, the Botanist is still working out the kinks on that, and we wouldnt want to introduce too many new products like that into the market all at once. I mean, we would still buy it, but you wouldnt see revenue on whatever we work out until we begin selling.”

Derek shook his head. “No, unfortunately I dont have any more money makers like that. Though, I may have an interesting alcoholic beverage later, but Im still in the process of thinking about it. This is another one-off purchase, like the Void Beast. Are you interested?”

“Of course we are interested. May I see the goods?”

“Sure, but first, since youve treated me so well.” Derek held his arm out and the small Void Beast appeared, held by the back of its neck. “You said that the older and stronger the Void Beasts were, the more expensive. Well, this one is neither old nor strong, more like a baby. I figured Id toss it in as an appetizer if your offer was sincere.”

Stellas eyes were like saucers. “Another Void Beast.” She whispered. Then she stood and walked around the desk to get a closer look. “May I?” she asked.

“Of course.”

With that, a knife appeared in Stellas hand and she reached over to the beast Derek was holding. She slid the knife along the upper arm of the creature, slicing through the flesh. Derek could see the bone when she withdrew the blade.

“Interesting…” She said as she touched the exposed muscle with her finger. “Ive never seen a Void Beast that was so… delicate.” She looked at the finger, which had a small amount of blood on the tip, and frowned. “I hate having to do this.” Sticking her tongue out, she licked the end of her finger and closed her eyes. After a few seconds, her eyes shot open. “Store that… immediately.”

Hearing the agitation in her voice, Derek quickly stored the Void Beast. Confused, he looked at Stella. “Whats wrong?”

Stella leaned against the desk, using her hands, she lifted herself atop it. She sighed and summoned a tissue to clean her hand. Then, sitting on the desk just in front of the seated Derek, she spoke. “I cant in good conscience accept your gift. Not without you knowing the real value of it. Now, I cant tell for sure by just tasting the blood, but that creature is most likely worth much more than the one you already brought me.”

She sighed again. “The meat, bones, and brain are the valuable parts of the usual Void Beasts.” She chuckled. “Hell, I might as well tell you this. I suspect you will be a member soon. With the right chefs, our chefs, those who eat the Void Beast meals we prepare obtain increases to their stats. Of course, a Void Beast meal is absurdly expensive, even for tier four members.”

“Dont most meals increase a users stats?” Derek asked. He could see where it was going, but he wanted to make sure.

Stella nodded. “Thats true, but those stats are temporary. These are permanent. We are unsure why, but the theory is because the beasts are creatures that areoutside the Great System. So the increased stats arent system granted stats, but more… personal.”

That got Dereks attention. “How much will a Void Beast increase someones stats? Lets say, the one Im selling you.”

“Well, you are able to get increased Strength, Endurance, and Intelligence out of a Void Beast. Which is funny because they come from the muscle, bones, and brain, respectively. Now, if you want to get the most benefit out of the creature, you cant eat it all at once. The benefits diminish the more you eat. You have to give your body enough time to process everything.

“If you were to just eat it all at once, that Void Beast, prepared by our cooks, would give you around 50 Strength, 30 Endurance, and 25-40 Intelligence. Intelligence is always hard to estimate. Now, if you eat then wait a couple months for your body to process everything, then repeat until the Void Beast is gone…” She quieted, thinking. “Then you could stretch the gains to probably 120 Strength, 70 Endurance, and 50 or more Intelligence.” She answered.

“Okay, you said that Void Beast was pretty strong and special though, so I imagine those results arent typical.” Derek said.

“No, not typical at all. Really, Void Beasts arent typical.” She laughed. “The foundation of our entire business is based on the way we prepare Void Beasts. My boss… the owner is the only person who has the recipe. Our cooks are bound by extreme contracts. If they so much as think about selling the recipe, they will die.”

Derek frowned at that.

“Dont get me wrong.” Stella said. “They arent slaves. They and their families are paid extremely well. A chefs child can grow up as if they are the heir to a top noble house in the Kingdom. Also, they can leave whenever they want. Remember how I was telling you about the owners skills?”

Derek nodded. “Yeah.”

“Well, those skills allow her to both implant the recipe into the chefs mind, and remove it without any harm. If a chef wants to leave, the process is simple. In my 27 years with the business, only one person has ever died from the oath. We also provide top-notch protection to all the chefs and their families. As I said, my boss has eyes and ears everywhere. Its near impossible for harm to come to one of her chefs.” Stella explained.

That sounded well and good to Derek, but he was more caught up on the fact that Stella had been with the Crown for 27 years. She looked to be in her mid-20s, so unless she was born into the Crown… “Uh… Youve been with the Crown for 27 years? Were you born into it? You dont even look that old.”

Stella burst into a fit of laughter. “Thanks for that. Its very reassuring that you think Im that young. No, I started working for my employer when I was 20. Now, Im not going to say my age out loud because it stings, but Im sure you can do the math. Being in my position has a lot of benefits. One of them is obtaining the strength and stats to have a greater lifespan, therefore preserving my looks.” She smiled. “Though, its nothing compared to Alanah.” She muttered under her breath, but Derek was still able to hear.

Derek snapped out of his thoughts. “Well, you are very beautiful for your age… or any age, actually. Anyway, whats up with the baby Void Beast.”

Stella stared him directly in the eyes, all playfulness gone. “When I tested the blood, I was just testing the flavor to see which tier menu to put it on. Its a Void Beast, so no matter what, it will still give stats, even if its only a few. But, when I tasted the blood, I got a notification that my Vitality increased by a point. Vitality is a very… sought after stat. Its easy to die in a fight without having decent Vitality, but if you put your free points into the stat, you are missing out on offense.

“Very few people like classes that get hit often, so there arent many people with Vitality as their main stat. People offset this weakness with accessories and potions that boost their Vitality. Im sure that you know all of this.” She said.

Derek nodded. Yup, people looked at me crazy when I said that I was a tank. Who knew, getting hit hurts. “I see. So, if the blood gave you an increase with just that much, and no special preparation, then the value would be… a lot.” Damn, who knew the baby beast would have blood that would increase Vitality. Its almost like those old stories…

Derek flinched, thinking about the stories he had heard about people bathing in the blood of babies or virgins. There were movies and novels about the subject, mostly fiction, but he could recall that there were people who actually did such things on Earth hundreds of years ago.

Stella gave him an odd look. “Whats wrong?”

Derek shook his head. “Nothing. I just thought of something unpleasant.”

Stella nodded. “I see. Anyway, yes, the value would be astronomical depending on how much blood the creature has. Would you please give me a moment? And please ignore me if I act… odd.”

“Sure.”

Stella walked back over to her side of the desk and sat down. A blue communication crystal appeared in Stellas hand. I hope this isnt too embarrassing. I guess I could ask him to leave. She looked up at Derek, who was watching her with interest. Whatever, lets get it over with.

She injected her mana into the crystal, hoping that Alanah would pick up quickly so she would not waste too much of the mans time. Fortune seemed to smile on her as she felt the connection establish.

Hurriedly she transmitted, hoping her boss would not speak first.Dont speak. With a client. Seeing that her boss did not speak, she sighed in relief.I have Derek Hunt with me right now. We were going over his contract for the Void Beast. He looked over the contract and decided that we were being very sincere, so he said he wanted to do more business. Before that, however, he said that he wanted to give us a gift for being sincere.

‘The gift is why I am contacting you. He pulled out another Void Beast from his storage. It was a very young beast, most likely a baby. I went over and took a blood sample… Alanah, it gave me Vitality. One drop of the blood gave me a point of Vitality. Now, I told him what occurred and gave him the beast back. Im not sure how to proceed. He did say that he would like to talk to you, though.

‘I may have overstepped, but I told him a bit about your… condition. I was wondering if your recipe included preparing blood along with everything else, and I was wondering if I could just pass the crystal over to him and let you talk.

“Yes, we can talk.” The alluring voice sounded out of the crystal, and Stellas mind went blank.

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