V is for Volcano Vendor

V is for Volcano Vendor

Gregory Von Gillansforth spun his wide-brimmed hat around in his hands as he sat on the edge of the chair in the surprisingly cozy office. Even though the man had been here many times already, it still surprised him how different the room felt from the rest of the Market. The office was cozy, and he had been in many times before. Across the table, Kyle sat reading over the stack of paperwork that declared his new merchandise. Except for the occasional flip of the page and the constant hiss of the clock on the wall, the room was silent.

Kyle flipped over the last piece of paper and stacked the papers against the desk and set them aside,  “this is not your usual wares, that’s for sure.”

“Yes, you’re quite right. I’ve got a few samples with me right now.”

“You have a sample of a volcano?” Kyle raised an eyebrow.

“Oh yes, hold on a moment.” Gregory fished around in the rolling chest he had brought in with him. He pulled out a glass jar about six inches high and six inches in diameter. He placed it gently on the desk. Inside puffed a miniature volcano. A small wisp of smoke drifted to the top of the jar and hung in the air. Lava trickled down one side of the tiny mountain and pooled at the bottom of the vessel, cooling into black stone. “This is a good one. Sometimes you can get a dud or one that isn’t very interesting. There are smokers, rock tossers, stormers, and sleepers to name a few. Every once in a while we’ll dig up an exploding one. Sometimes they won’t explode until after they’ve been placed in a jar.

Kyle leaned back into his chair after inspecting the jar, “explosive, you say?”

“Oh yes, quite violent. But very fun to watch. Even better if you send it to someone else,” Gregory gave a short laugh, “you’ll find lava rock for weeks stuck in all kinds of places you didn’t know existed in the room.”

“May I?”

“Oh yes, wait a moment, I have some special gloves. They can get a might hot.” The shorter man produced a pair of insulated gauntlets and gave them to Kyle to put on before he handed over the jar.

Kyle took the jar and lifted it over his head to peer at the bottom, “where’s the magma chamber?”

“I’m not entirely sure myself,” Gregory pulled out another jar and placed it on the desk. “I’ve seen many fill the entire glass jar to shatter and then some, which is far more than what one of this little things could possibly contain. I’ve taken a few apart and aside from the conduit and throat there’s just rock and dirt on the inside of them.”

“You wrote down that you are harvesting these?” Kyle turned it around and titled it on the side, letting the lava run up the side of the jar, hardening against the cooler glass.

“Yes, several of my fields began growing them several months back. I found if I dig them up, they stop growing. Eventually, a new one starts growing. But if I leave them go, they just continue to grow. I’ve got a dozen that are six feet high now. I’d rather not find out if they grow to full-sized volcanoes or not, but I’m at a loss how to remove those now.”

“How long do they last after you’ve… harvested them?”

“So far I’ve seen them last as long as two months after I’ve dug them up before they grow cold. Then I can put the remains back in the field.”

“What’s their reactivity?”

“That was the first thing I checked when I found them. Seemed might unnatural. I had a buddy of mine come over, he’s pretty good at threading, but not a Weaver, mind you. He can do some of the minor inspection weaves for the town though. Anyway, I asked if he could test a few and he couldn’t get any kind of negative reaction out of them. So, I took them to Yarin to be tested by their resident Weaver.” Gregory produced a sheet of metal paper. “He bought several from me for a good price so I thought I could bring them here to sell to others.” The words scrambled away from where their hands touched the paper while handing it over. Kyle concentrated a small weaving at it, forcing the text into legibility. Frowning, he returned the paper after reading it over. All of the words jumbled up again as his weave frayed into pieces.

“The concern is that these could catch the Market on fire and the glass jars are not robust enough to prevent splash damage. You are aware of who are guests normally are here. The chances of a Weaver or other powerful enough to react with these are a lot higher here than anywhere else then probably the Ministry.

“… Yes. I understand that. But you sell everything.”

Kyle nodded, “We do, but everything that could explode has been sealed. This could explode in the Market, and it doesn’t have the proper safety material. That’s the difference. You’ll need to rethink how these are packaged before we can sell them.”

“But things are exploding all the time here. I see places under repair from what looks like an invasion all the time.”

“That’s true, which is why Management is striving to make this place safer for its guests.”

The man stood up, collected his paperwork and began packing away his samples, “thank you for your time then, Kyle. I hope to do business again another time.”

“Always a pleasure, Gregory. If you figure out how to make them not explode, we’ll sell them.”

HE CAN USE DEPARTMENT 2487. IT IS REINFORCED AND AND UPGRADED TO PROVIDE NECESSARY PROTECTIONS FOR SUCH AN INTERESTING ITEM.

Gregory vaulted into the air before landing in the chair, clutching at his chest.

Kyle rolled his eyes. “What happened to who was in 2487? Or Management?”

THEY HAVE BEEN UPGRADED TO UNIT 3291.

“I see… when?”

DURING THIS CONVERSATION.

“Well, Mr. Von Gillansforth, I have been overruled. You get a wall store instead of a floor booth this time.” Kyle filled out several sheets, signed them and stamped them. “Sign these.”

“What was that?” The man looked around the room expecting to see someone else standing somewhere.

“That’s… mayhem,” Kyle rubbed his eyes,” I’ll leave it at that.”

Gregory filled out the paperwork and hurriedly finished packing his chest. The two shook hands, “Congratulations, you now have a storefront, Mr. Von Gillansforth.” After he had left, Kyle asked, “Why.”

THEY ARE UNRAVELED VOLCANOES. THEY ARE MOST INTERESTING. THEY WILL ALSO SELL FOR A HIGH PRICE TO THE RIGHT GUESTS.

Kyle felt his knees go weak as he leaned on the chair for support. “I didn’t hear anything; there were no alarms, no state of emergency, when did this happen?”

SIX MONTHS AGO. IT WAS JUST A LITTLE UNRAVELING. THE MINISTRY HAS NOT COME TO INVESTIGATE. THEY MAY NOT KNOW YET.

“That doesn’t make me feel any better. Is this even remotely safe?”

THERE ARE MANY UNKNOWNS. THESE VOLCANOES WILL BE FUN.

Kyle groaned.

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