Buck’s Bucks

Buck enjoyed the morning sun on his neck while he swept the shop’s front porch. He heard a commotion up the street and leaned over the wooden railing to take a look. A heavily armored paladin clanked toward’s Buck in black armor. His helmeted head swiveled left and right as he ran to check the shops on both sides of the street. Buck realized he was the only one open.

Ohhhh. That’s why I’m here early,” Buck thought. He forgot that it was the first day of the new season, which meant new quests. Buck waved to grab the paladin’s attention, then headed into the shop. He found his position behind the counter as the armored man ran into the shop.

“I need to purchase anything you have to kill a dragon with!” the paladin wheezed at the tall, sturdy man behind the counter. Even with his armor on, the paladin seemed to be a scrawny twig in front of the salesman. Buck smiled broadly. He’d always dreamed of being an adventurer, and now he saw a chance to make that dream come true. He nodded.

“100 Million,” he replied.

“What? That’s insane!” The paladin stepped back from the counter and crossed his arms, but did not leave. Buck shrugged.

“Yeah, I’m sure one of the other shops can help you out for cheaper. Whenever they open,” he leaned on the counter with a calm, bored look on his face. “So what’s the quest anyway?” Buck asked with genuine curiosity.

“The first guild to kill the God Dragon gets their own server.”

“Your own server?” Buck stood up straight and crossed his arms. The situation kept getting better. He knew he could be out of the shop within the next half hour. “Sorry, the price just went up. 100 million and my own continent, with my own settings.” Buck always wanted to be an adventurer because he saw it as a step on his path to being a great king. Now he had the opportunity to skip straight to the end.

“Man, you’re crazy. You’re open a couple of hours before everyone else, but that’s it.” The paladin pointed at a bright red two-handed sword hanging on the wall. “The price under that Dragon’s Blood sword says 20 thousand.” He turned to walk out of the store, but Buck spoke up.

“You asked for something to kill a dragon with, not something that gives you a chance of killing the dragon. I assumed with something as important as your own server, you’d want a ‘sure thing’.”

“What?” The paladin turned away from the door and approached Buck’s counter again. “It’s the God Dragon, there is no sure thing.”

Gotcha,” Buck grinned to himself. “There is if you’re willing to split the winnings three ways.”

“Three? So you and some mystery friend each get a third of an Earth while I split my third with the guild, AND we do all the work?” Buck shook his head.

“Why are you splitting it with your guild? Give me 100 million right now, and I promise you one dead God Dragon. You won’t even have to lift a finger.”

“If it’s that easy, why aren’t you doing it yourself?” Buck sighed.

“You don’t know any merchants do you?” the paladin’s helmets swiveled left and right.

“The epic quest for the merchant class is to make 100 million profit in transactions. I can’t take up any other major quests until I finish it. If you cover that, I can accept the quest to kill the God Dragon.”

“Do merchants get dragon hunting skills?” The paladin asked. He sounded confused, but held his hand out with the black iron palm pointed upward. Golden, glowing dust began to collect on his hand.

“I’m not gonna kill the dragon, our third member is.” After Buck clarified the paladin placed a softball-sized golden cube on the counter.

“100 million, but who’s the third member? If I don’t recognize their name they probably can’t solo the God Dragon.” The paladin’s hand remained on top of the golden cube. Buck grinned, he loved dropping the name.

“Flutter,” he said.

“You know Flutter?!” the paladin asked. He lifted his hand off the cube and pushed it toward Buck.

“Yeah, we used to date. She still owes me a favor, I think this counts.”  Buck touched the golden cube and it exploded into shining, sparkling, multi-colored confetti. Buck flinched as the celebratory fanfare played in his ears. The paladin did not hear a thing.

“Alright!” Buck cheered. “Don’t worry, I’ll go through my quest rewards later,” he said as he reached into his pocket. He pulled out a small black business card and tossed it at one of the walls. A tall black portal opened and he shouted into it. “Flutter! I’m calling in a favor!” A giant, pale woman with a long, bright red braid flowing down her back stepped out of the portal. Buck was tall, but Flutter towered over him by at least a head. She saw him and grinned.

“Hey Bucky, what’s the favor?”

“Will you kill the God Dragon for me?”

“Yeah, that sounds fun. Let’s go.”

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