“Do what you have to do,” James told them. “Just don’t lose it, and always haggle for a lower price.”
“My mother knows the same rule,” Bayani said. “She uses it to buy her supplies, but when people try to haggle her prices…” He shook his head.
“Your mother does not like giving discounts,” Peter noted.
“That’s what she and my father are usually arguing about. He will give a discount just to make a sale, and he doesn’t mind, and long as there’s still profit.”
“I remember hearing that from them one time.”
“Only once?” Bayani asked, his eyebrows furrowed in disbelief. Then he thought of something. “Ah, that’s because you were only there when my parents were home a couple times. They argue about discounts almost every night. My father wants to start printing coupons, but my mother is completely against the idea. She said–”
“Bayani,” James interrupted. “The quest, if I may.”
“Sure,” Bayani replied, and gave his boyfriend a shrug.
“If you agree to any price too easily, you are going to be suspected of having a lot of money,” he warned the group. “Merchants always start with a price above what most people would normally pay.”
“I’ve seen that in games,” Cerys said. “It’s like shopping at one of those hoity-toity stores where everything costs more, whether or not it’s organic.”
“Okay,” James said, trying not to get frustrated. “I have played them, too, but remember: this isn’t a game. If you get robbed, you can’t mine the hills for ages in order to replenish your pouches.”
“Or collect wolf scat,” Cerys added, looking to her brother. “Remember how you spent hours in Everquest repeating that quest so that you could save up all that gold?”
“Don’t remind me,” Peter groaned.
“That was how I learned another English word for–”
He didn’t let Bayani finish the sentence. “I really don’t want to talk about it. It was cruel for Daybreak to put something so foul into a game.”
“Can we focus?” James sighed. “I have to start riding back after this.”
“What?” Himeko asked in disbelief. “But night is falling!”
“I have no choice,” he replied. “I cannot stay the night.”
Himeko and her friend exchanged worried glances.
“The noir beasts…” Cerys breathed, hardly willing to talk about them when an encounter was so imminent.