The rogue looked at the money he had left, and thought it over to himself. The parade would be tomorrow, but the partying would start tonight.
He rolled out of bed and leapt to his feet. “Well then, let’s go have some fun!”
First, they would need some costumes. In the market everyone was selling like mad; there were colorful outfits, both audacious and elegant, harlequin masks, and innumerable trinkets and adornments everywhere they looked.
Sebastian had his eye on a thin purple green and ochre cloak and thought it would fit wonderfully.
“Seventy dinars! The finest silk from the east, premium quality and dyes that will never fade!” promised the merchant, who had many buyers crowded around him.
He bristled at the price, but Kahina was no novice to a bargain.
“Seventy dinars!?” she exclaimed. “Fah! I would pay no more than twenty for such work.”
The merchant put on an offended show and spoke back at the woman. “Twenty!? Miss, have you no eye for quality? Even sixty-five would be too low, I have paid top dollar for these goods!”
She scoffed and waved her hand dismissively. “Then you have paid too much!” Kahina held up the garment that the crowd might see and showed it to the merchant. “This ochre is made from Lutite clay! It is so cheap that I could buy a barrelful for less than a meal! I know this, for it is so common in the desert that nobody will trade in it. And this silk? You say it is so fine, but you would not find even a Budaran pauper in such low-quality fabric. Look at the stitching! I give it three washes and the seam will break.” As if to emphasize her statement, she pulled upon the cloak and stretched the stitches, making the merchant balk.
The crowd chattered excitedly and the merchant was quickly being backed into a corner.
“What would you suggest ma’am?” he whispered to her. But Kahina did not lower her voice.
“In all honesty I would not buy this at all! But my companion has poorer taste than I, and he seems to like it. I stand by my offer, twenty dinar.”
“Ma’am, have mercy please. I have a family to feed! I could not go lower than fifty-five,” the merchant returned.
“Just look at this silk! The weave is so rough it had might as well be cotton. Twenty-five dinar, at the most!” she counter-offered.
“If I sell it to you for that I will have no money left to buy replenish my stock! Perhaps forty?”
Kahina looked at Sebastian as though she were deliberating on it quite hard, then gave a reluctant sigh.
“I tell you what, my companion seems to like it, and we are generous and do not wish to put you out of business. Throw in that matching dress and we will pay you sixty-five dinar for the both!”
The merchant reluctantly looked at the dress she pointed to and sighed. “Sixty-five then, for both,” he agreed.
Kahina took the two garments triumphantly and beckoned to Sebastian with a lone finger.
“Pay the man,” she said. Then she smiled like a deceptive child at the rogue.
Sebastian di Lucca paid what was agreed and left feeling astounded with two silk outfits.
“And here I was thinking I was the thief,” he muttered.