πŸ“œChapter 4 - The Insurance boy

People keep losing their faith...

The soil carried a pleasant scent in my hands, its texture both moist and firm. Despite the brilliant sun, it felt cool. Above the forest, pigeons glided gracefully, occasionally landing on the well-trodden path of clay, gravel, and hay. They pecked at seeds scattered by children, startling winged creatures. "Today seems to be a peaceful day," reflected the Mage from Shtor. Guided by the wind, he navigated the forest labyrinth to the village store. A man with dark brown hair, beneath a cape, nibbled on dry bread with goat butter. "Greetings, old friend," the man said. "May it serve you well, old man," replied the mage. "I've come to buy a stoneβ€”Lapis Lazuli, the stone of wisdom from our ancestors." The man behind the counter chuckled, choking on his bread, and clung to the counter until the dangling stones jingled. "Lapis Lazuli, you say? Haven't you consumed enough wisdom, Mage from Shtor?" the merchant teased.

"No, I need it for..." The Mage's words were interrupted by a passerby. "Wow, wo, Wooow! That's the Mage from Shtoku! And Mr. Merchant Tarberg, the foremost seller of rare stones!" - exclaimed a boy, adorned in humble attire. "What a peculiar fellow," thought the Mage. Yet, such eccentric people had taught him valuable lessons. Out of curiosity, he asked, "What brings you here, stranger?" The boy took offense, crossed his arms, and cheerfully declared, "You call me a stranger? I'm the most renowned insurance agent in the village of Seenburg! All the neighbors sing praises of my work!" The Mage raised an eyebrow, jingling the crystals around his neck as he provocatively asked, "So, what does a boy, known enough to wear holey pants, do?" The man behind the counter chuckled.

The boy scowled. "I ensure that when you get injured and can't continue your wizardry work, you'll still have plenty of gold and silver to take care of yourself." With confidence, he stamped his foot and twirled the tip of his shoe. The Mage noticed a wave of red energy around the boy, signifying fear, uncertainty, lack of money, pressure by time, and lack of understanding. He scratched his long, bejeweled beard. "And how do you manage that?" The boy's smile surprised both the merchant and the Mage. "You'll give me ten silver coins every week, and I, based on your earnings and the severity of your injury, will provide you with a substantial amount of coins. This will allow you to heal without fearing homelessness, lack of funds, or succumbing to illness." The merchant's eyes gleamed; he always injured himself when journeying to distant places to find new precious stones for sale. Before he could inquire about obtaining such insurance, the Mage interjected, "So, you're building your business on human fear?" The boy raised a finger to speak, but the Mage continued, "You make a living by robbing people of faith in God, in the Universe, in the existence of God's Hand guiding us through life, in the belief that whatever happens, it happens for our benefit, and we are co-creators of our destinies and the present moment. You create a problem that doesn't exist to amass gold. But maybe that's why you have holey pants; people haven't lost their faith yet."

The boy was shaken from head to toe. "He saw through me, darn it..." he thought, "You'll see, old man..." he walked heavily past the village well and disappeared into the bushes of his garden. The Mage watched his departure, took a deep breath, and gazed at the clouds. The disappointed but enlightened merchant also stared at the clouds.

After a moment of contemplation, the Mage spoke, "These people forgot what faith is. They are new children, born without mothers and fathers. They grow on their own, beg, and look for ways to earn. Some are beaten by life, forget what is good and what is bad, even though nothing like that exists. Thieves are part of this life journey; their deeds are not evil; they do what they can. Well, don't let yourself be robbed, my friend; if you believe, the wind will bring you wisdom, flowers will welcome you in magical presence, fire will warm you, and water will give you strength. 'God put his pharmacy in the forest so that all people could be healthy.' That's what a traveler from the planet Earth said. He is a very wise man; I doubt he has life insurance..." The merchant scratched his head and nodded in agreement. "So, do you have that Lapis, cousin?"

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