Cast a Line, Not a Net
Karteira meets a young shopkeeper who explains that the local merchants have been put out of business by her former mentor's monopoly. However, in a display of unrivaled mercantile prowess, Karteira turns the tables on the crooked merchant and returns the market to its former glory.
(Captain) and the crew have come to a small city to stock up on some supplies.
But they're left speechless as they walk through the lifeless husk of what should be a bustling market street.
Karteira: Well catfish and corn balls, what is goin' on around here? Did all the stores get up and move on their own?
Young Boy: Oh, did you come to buy stuff? You must be a collector or something to come all the way out here.
The young boy proudly stands in front of a crude stall which is almost completely devoid of products.
Karteira: You the only one sellin' stuff here?
The boy doesn't answer. Instead he signals upwards with his eyes.
Towering above everyone is a giant brick building.
Karteira: Huh? What's that s'posed to be?
Young Boy: Ever since they built that—in the fancy part of town, mind you—we lost us all our customers.
Karteira: I can't believe it... Don't tell me this pest of a superstore is...
Karteira: The Lowcust Corp!
Lowcust President: Ah-hah-hah! Well if it isn't Karteira!
Young Boy: Whoa, lady, you know the guy who manages that store?
Karteira: Well, uh, I s'pose you might say he did me a favor once.
Lowcust President: That's not even the half of it—I was your business mentor! And after all that time I spent showing you the ropes...
Young Boy: Huh, the ropes?
Karteira: Back in the old days, when Siero and I were just wee merchant babes, this swindler tricked us into buyin' defective merchandise.
Karteira: And because of that, our wagon slid halfway down a mountain and a buncha bandits attacked us!
Lowcust President: Oh, come now. Swindler's such a strong word. After all, I was only trying to teach you the golden rule of commerce: the trick of the trade is to never be tricked.
Karteira: Grr, as I remember it, that little course o' yours cost an arm, a leg—and a whole darn kidney as interest!
Lowcust President: Oh, for someone so riled up, seems like you haven't learned your lesson. Guess that means class isn't over yet; I better start calculating how much tuition you owe me.
Without giving time for Karteira to respond, the president continues on his way, sneering as he goes.
Karteira: Hey, you. You know about that golden rule?
Young Boy: Um, that guy just said it, right? The trick of the trade is to never be tricked.
Karteira: Nope. It's really cast a line, not a net.
Young Boy: Huh? Cast a line, not a net?
Karteira: Think about fishin'. If you capture all our scaley friends in one go, there won't be any delicious fishies the next year.
Karteira: It's the same with a market. Try to take everythin' from your customer, and you'll lose their trust faster than a chicken loses its feathers come dinner time.
Karteira: I gotta say that store really fits its name. Just like a real swarm o' hoppers, they'll swoop into any small town and eat it away till there's not grass nor grain left.
Young Boy: You're right. That's exactly what they're doing here.
Young Boy: Not to change the subject, but I gotta say, you sure sound like you have a lot of business smarts...
Young Boy: I mean... I want you to help me be a good businessman! Please show me the ropes!
Karteira: Geez, I, uh...
Well, you never know what'll pay off in the end, so why not?
Karteira: But why're you so eager?
Young Boy: Um... Isn't it obvious why?
Karteira: Look, kid, cuttin' yer losses and gettin' outta dodge is a fine strategy.
Karteira: Just take a glance around. All the other merchants've long moved on to greener pastures, right?
Karteira: So why haven't you?
Young Boy: Because I won't! I can't!
Young Boy: No matter how rundown my shop looks, Granny left it to me.
Young Boy: I'm doing my darndest to sell stuff. But it's just not working out...
Young Boy: A-and... Sniff...
Karteira: All right, I can see you got the guts, kiddo! I'll turn you into a top-class capitalist in no time!
Young Boy: Really? Thank you!
Karteira: Hehe. Another customer satisfied—all cuz o' big sis Karteira!
Young Boy: Okay, lesson one: sissify customers. Got it, Karteira!
Karteira: Gah, you dummy! Satisfy customers! And show your teacher more respect!
Young Boy: Hmm. Okay! Teachify customers! Got it!
Karteira: Oh boy... We're closer, but we still got a long way to go.
Karteira: Let's start with the basics: gettin' stock.
Young Boy: Hold on a minute. Even if you wanna get stock, the Lowcust Corp has a monopoly on the wholesale market in this town.
Karteira: If we take a wagon into the next town, we can make it in time before the wholesale shops close up. So get yer stuff! We're headin' out!
Karteira: I heard some people talkin' about some kinda sweet fruit. It's apparently gettin' real popular on this island.
Young Boy: Yeah, that'd be the cantaloop. They're giving out free samples over there. Wanna try some?
Karteira: I sure do!
Ma'am, can I get one o' them?
Karteira: Blessed bananas and miracle melons, what is this flavor! It melts in yer cheeks like a snowman who took a trip to the tropics and had too much fruit punch!
Young Boy: Hehe. That's this island's specialty, and you've come during its harvest season. It's kind of a pickle to farm though, so it's a rare item with a high price tag.
Karteira: Ah-hah! Then that's it! This beaut's gonna be our prize product!
Young Boy: What! But it's super expensive!
Karteira: Well how 'spensive is it? What would one cost ya?
Young Boy: Hmm... I'd say they've always cost about 5000 rupies.
Karteira: Always? How far back we talkin' here?
Young Boy: Let's see... Since before I was born, I guess?
Karteira: Gah, you dummy! Market prices are livin', breathin' things! If you wanna be a merchant, you gotta at least keep up with how much stuff costs!
Young Boy: Yeah, but that's easier said than done...
Karteira: Prosperin' primals, you got me worried, kid... Well. Go on. Pick a couple of 'em out.
Young Boy: Let's see... Um... We'll take this one and this one and this one.
Karteira: Gah, you dummy! You just picked the worst of the bunch!
Young Boy: Yeah, but they all look the same...
Karteira: That one's too ripe! This one's too bruised!
Karteira: And that one's just out of the question! It's actually leakin'! What if it rots before you can sell it?
Young Boy: I see your point. I guess I've never given it much thought before.
Karteira: Sigh... You gotta get a grip, kid. This stuff is just the basics of sellin' produce...
Karteira: But it's fine, I'll take care of it for now! Watch n' learn!
Karteira selects the best fruits from the pile and begins negotiating a price with the vendor.
She throws in a skillful compliment with a giggle, remarks that the vendor's cart seems overstocked, and finally makes a bulk purchase at a much lower price.
The young boy can only look on as Karteira works her magic.
Karteira returns to the deserted market street and carefully displays the cantaloops.
But despite her efforts, there's still no sign of any customers in the area.
Just as she begins wondering why that could be, she hears the young boy call to her in the distance.
Young Boy: Karteira! We got a big problem! The Lowcust Corp is selling cantaloops at half our price!
Karteira: Wh-what! That explains why we ain't got no customers!
Young Boy: Sob... Even though we found our product... We're gonna go in the red for sure. Guess we have to slash our prices...
Karteira: Gah, you dummy! They're just fleas tryin' to bite us outta the market. You play by their game and o' course you'll lose.
Young Boy: Then what should we do? Everything we don't sell will go bad!
Karteira: You said these here cantaloops are rare, yeah?
Young Boy: Yeah. I think we bought out the last vendor, so we won't be able to restock any more this season.
Karteira: Hmm... Well, guess we've got no choice. Listen here...
Karteira: Psst... Psst-psst...
Young Boy: No! Can we really do that?
Karteira: Hehe, yep. It's the best way to get back at idiots who only know how to lower prices.
The pair make their way to the Lowcust Corp and launch an immediate economic assault.
Lowcust President: Wh-what! You're telling me we're sold out of all our merchandise? Everything?
Store Clerk: Yes, everything's gone. But the one who bought it...
Karteira: Yer darn-tootin' it was me!
Lowcust President: How does that make sense? You would know better than to help your direct competitor.
Karteira: Yer right. I know a lot better than that. If you're a merchant worth his salt, surely you know about harvest strategies?
Lowcust President: Don't insult me! Of course I do! Buy out your competitor's products until the supply's completely gone. Then meet the surging demand by reselling that merchandise at a stable—
Lowcust President: N-no... You couldn't have...
Karteira: Yer luck ran out when you decided to try to price us outta the market.
Karteira: Hehe. Thanks to you, we'll be swimmin' in rupies like a pig in mud!
Lowcust President: Tch...
I guess we priced ourselves out of the market. Everyone, pack everything. And make it snappy.
Store Clerk: Huh? But Mr. President...
Lowcust President: Hehe. A true merchant accepts a loss honorably and uses the experience to reflect on their mistakes. But be assured—this won't happen again.
Young Boy: ...
Karteira: Why the weird face? You gotta go whiz or somethin'?
Young Boy: I, uh, was just thinking about how glad I am that you teachified me.
Young Boy: Up until now it's like I've just been keeping Granny's store 'cause I thought I had to...
Young Boy: Hehe, but after seeing you, now I get it. Capitalism's fun.
Karteira: Gah, you dummy! You can't say that
yet—you gotta count all yer money first!
Young Boy: Haha, I guess you're right!
Karteira: I get the feelin' you're startin' to understand though! Well, that money's not gonna count itself. Shall we make like a couple o' bankers and vault? Hehe.
Young Boy: Let's. Hehe.
Thanks to Karteira's skillful market manipulation, the once prosperous street begins to hustle and bustle once more.
The young boy attends his stall with aplomb, intent on hawking wares until he reaches the same mercantile genius as his beloved mentor.
Dandelion on the Wind
Karteira comes across a young man who is trying to join the chamber of commerce. When he fails, a realtor offers to show him property to help him out, but where she takes him is little more than a monster-infested hut.
(Captain) and the crew have come to an island on an assignment.
Although it's a small island, it's a bustling hub for skyfarers on their way to larger islands.
As they walk through the streets, they happen upon the local chamber of commerce.
Karteira: (Captain), can I make a pit stop here?
Karteira: Feel like I should give my greetin' to the business community here.
Karteira swings the door open, revealing a young man bickering with a council member.
Ever the curious merchant, Karteira smirks and leaps toward the commotion.
Karteira: Is there some kinda problem here?
Young Man: Indeed there is, kind stranger.
Young Man: You see, I was brought up by a merchant family on a neighboring island. They taught me the ABCs of business.
Young Man: And now it's about time I opened up my own store—I've even collected the capital.
Young Man: But opening a branch of my family's store and selling the same products is so boring. The world changes and so should the things we sell.
Young Man: It's with that purpose that I've come to join this chamber of commerce!
Karteira: Yep, I see yer point. This island's a great spot fer a shop. And when business is good, the people can have cake n' eat it too.
Karteira: And what's more, yer not in an urban center or anything, so yer lookin' at cheaper real estate. Just right for an up n' comin' shopkeeper!
Karteira: You got eyes like a hawk with magic vision to find this place!
Young Man: Thanks!
Young Man: But for some reason, the members of this chamber of commerce won't approve my application.
Karteira: What's up with you? You got some screws loose up there?
???: Ahem. You must not be aware... In this town you have to have a store before you file to join the chamber.
Young Man: What! Is that true?
Karteira: Gah, you dummy! Don't get tricked so easy! You just got yerself a swindler here. That's all.
Realtor: Ahaha, you do say such presumptuous things. However I am not a scammer. I'm a realtor affiliated with a branch of the chamber of commerce.
Karteira: With the chamber of commerce? You serious? Somethin' smells real fishy, and I don't see any sushi.
Realtor: Well, whether you believe me or not is up to you.
Young Man: Um, Karteira, I would like to see what she knows...
Karteira: Huh! You serious?
Young Man: Yeah, um... It seems like you need a store no matter what, so it just feels like my only way out is to trust her. Eh-heh-heh...
Karteira: Sigh... Well, I'd suggest not relyin' on her, but hey, since this ship's already set sail, I guess I'll ride it till you find treasure.
Young Man: Ah! Really? I appreciate it!
Realtor: How... charitable. But don't cry to me when we get out there and you find you don't know as much as you think you do.
Karteira: Oh, I'll show you how much I know!
(Captain) and the crew accompany the young man as he follows the realtor to search for potential storefronts.
During their jaunt, Karteira begins enthusiastically questioning the young man on the type of shop he wants to open.
Karteira: So, buddy, while you were a wee merchant pup, what kinda merchandise did they have ya sellin'?
Young Man: Oh, we were exclusively in the food service industry.
Young Man: During the afternoons, we would open for lunch, so I learned how to cook. And at night our establishment was more of a dining bar, so I learned how to take care of customers.
Karteira: So yer thinkin' of tryin' out another restaurant then?
Young Man: Yes. That's the plan at least.
Karteira: Well then yer gonna need a way to ensure yer water quality. And it'll need to be close to a source o' firewood.
Karteira: Oh, one more thing—can't skimp out on sanitation. Pickin' a clean building is obvious, but you also gotta check the garbage and drainage situations.
Karteira: Do I got somethin' in my teeth? Or did I say somethin' funny?
Realtor: No, no. You are absolutely correct.
Realtor: To talk about the very basics in such a proud voice, it's just too funny—hahaha. Forgive me.
Karteira: Y-you got some nerve!
Realtor: Anyway, we're currently headed to a property that was originally built to house a cafeteria.
Karteira: Not sure if I'm buyin' what yer sellin'. It all seems too good to be true.
Realtor: Aaand, here we are! You can find both water and kindling in abundance in this fabulously valuable property—ideal to start any culinary establishment!
Young Man: Um... B-but this is...
Karteira: Seriously, lady! Yer right never worryin' about any water and firewood.
They've come to a grove in the middle of a forest, where a crude hut stands alone under the shade of the canopy.
Karteira: Gah, you dummy! What about this place says ideal? How're you s'posed to lure customers out here? Smoke signal?
Realtor: Oh, I wouldn't worry about a lack of customers.
Realtor: Hehehe. Look, business is already booming. You better serve these fine customers.
Karteira: Grr, this is what I get fer pokin' my nose in other people's business!
Young Man: Aaah! Hurry! You should get out of here!
Karteira: Then what're you waitin' around fer? Can you actually put up a fight?
Young Man: No, I'm afraid not. But how could I call myself a shopkeeper if I run away now. I must defend a potential—
Karteira: Whew, buddy, you gotta save your breath. We won't let you lose here.
Karteira: C'mon! Let's rumble!
Dandelion on the Wind: Scene 2
The realtor takes the young man to a great property located downtown, but Karteira has her doubts when she realizes the shop next door might be less than wholesome. Some ruffians appear and attack the realtor; Karteira assists her at the behest of the young man.
After (Captain) and the others take care of the monsters, they head for the next property.
It's not long before Karteira raises her voice against the shady realtor.
Karteira: Well I have never seen a business practice so brazen in all my days!
Karteira: If yer a real merchant, you'd know better 'n to treat yer clientele like half-baked ham!
Realtor: You're certainly a rude one. I assure you I have his interests at heart.
Realtor: I only showcase properties that I have the utmost pride in. Even the last property was well received by a number of my other clients.
Karteira: Sure, sure. Let's get on to the next one.
Realtor: Of course.
Earlier you mentioned needing a way to attract customers, correct?
Karteira: Uh, yeah. It's only one of the most important things for a merchant to have.
Realtor: Then you're in luck. Our next building is known to lure quite a lot.
Karteira: Why do I get the feelin' you're talkin' about more animals or monsters, or things with teeth larger 'n my head...
Karteira: You best not pull the same stunt on us.
Realtor: I promise you the customers this place attracts are people—in the flesh.
Karteira: Well, we can trust you 'bout as far as we can throw you, but I guess we'll see.
Realtor: And we're here! This fantastic location will help you gather customers like moths to a flame!
Young Man: Whoa! Karteira, she's right! Just look at all the customers that are already lined up!
Zombies: Urgh... Grrr...
Karteira: Yer kiddin'! This is exactly the same as before!
Realtor: What in the skies are you referring to?
Karteira: Don't play dumb with me, missy! Those buncha walkin' sacks of flesh are about as human as a bag of undercooked bacon!
Young Man: Eek! Karteira, we have a problem! Behind this building, there's a cemetery! That might make the customers feel a little uncomfortable.
Young Man: All right. This is my chance to show my stuff as a future shop owner. I'll handle this line!
Karteira: Gah, you dummy! Those aren't
Young Man: Eek! Z-zombies? But what kind of merchant would I be if I couldn't sell something to zombies?
Karteira: Gah, you dummy! You try to sell stuff to people beyond the grave, and they'll kill yer business... Literally! Now shut it n' run!
Karteira: Pant, pant...
Karteira: You danged realtor, you got us into this mess!
Realtor: I do apologize. I had no idea that this would happen. Hehehe.
Karteira: You lie about as good as you show off buildings! We were wrong to trust you. That's fer sure!
Realtor: Well, you don't have to get so upset. I do care about my customers' satisfaction, so I'll show you my very best property. I'll even throw in a discount.
Karteira: This time yer not lyin', right? Right? Cross yer heart and hope to die? Stick a needle in yer eye?
Realtor: I'm not, no. My customer here, he's a young merchant who would like to keep his startup costs low, correct?
Karteira: Yep. That's about the look of it all right. How's a fresh spring chicken s'posed to get money to build a coop unless an older hen cuts 'im a break?
Karteira: Gotta speak to the guild on his behalf, give 'im a deal on the accoutrements of the trade, make sure he's got good staff...
Karteira: Then once all that's taken care of—as cheaply as possible—gotta help 'im stock up, get his service chain in line, and start focusin' on advertisement.
Realtor: Yes, that is certainly the truth!
The next location, as it just so happens, was originally the property of a prolific restaurateur!
Young Man: That sounds perfect! Is it true?
Realtor: Yes, indeed. All of the equipment and appliances are still there, and it won't cost you a thing for interior design.
Karteira: Whoowee! We found a good 'un this time!
Realtor: Indeed! And just look at this ideal locale! You won't find another place like this!
Karteira: I hear ya, sister! This place is right on the city's main street!
Young Man: Could it be... Karteira, do you see that?
Karteira: Huh? See what?
People are comin' out of the store next door!
Karteira: C'mon! This is no time to sit around twiddlin' our thumbs—we gotta go greet 'em!
Karteira: Hello there, gentlemen! We're gonna be openin' up a shop here soon, so be sure to swing by for a special discount!
Flustered Gentleman: Humph. What poor decorum... If this behavior could even be called decorum.
Annoyed Gentleman: Indeed. Inexcusable... Absoluuutely inexcusable!
Without answering, the gentlemen lower their quickly flushing faces and make a hasty retreat.
Karteira: Well, that's a pickle. What kinda store did they come from anyhoot?
Karteira enters the neighboring store's door.
She soon comes flying back out, her face as red as a beet.
Karteira: Jumpin' junipers, not good! This is not good at all!
Intrigued by both the depth of Karteira's blushing and the irregularity of her breathing, the young man peers at the mysterious store. Karteira tries to avert his gaze.
Karteira: N-no! Stop it! Yer not allowed to look!
Karteira: Hey, missy! What were you doin' showin' us a spot like this?
Realtor: Oh my. Is something to your dissatisfaction?
Karteira: Gah, you dummy! I'm nothin' but dissatisfied! We can't set up shop next a store like that!
Realtor: Hehe. What are you suggesting? You're not exactly so innocent yourself, but you're grimacing like a silly monkey.
Karteira: What do you mean... not innocent!
Realtor: Well, look at that. Even an illustrious businesswoman such as yourself is capable of an adorable reaction.
Realtor: Perhaps I was wrong. Maybe it is a little too soon for you after all.
Karteira: You better stop yankin' my chain!
Karteira: I... I've seen a lot since leavin' home! And stuff like this, well, I can handle it...
As the two go back and forth, a couple of rough-looking men approach the realtor.
Realtor: Ah, ahem... What do you want?
Rough Ruffian: Well if it isn't our old friend the
Brusque Brute: Looks like we found her all right! She's the one showing everyone mountain huts, graveyards, and all kinds of strange places!
Realtor: No, wait! What are you doing! Unhand me!
Karteira: Haha. Now that's more like it. Nothin' like a little comeuppance, am I right?
Young Man: No, I don't believe so.
Knees shaking with every step, the young man moves in between the realtor and the rough-looking men.
His voice matches the quiver of his legs as he asks them to let her go.
Karteira: What're you doin'? This lady played you fer a pig and took you from sty to sty. You gonna forgive her fer wastin' yer time?
Young Man: That's all fine. I'm determined to be a successful merchant in this town.
Young Man: And if I can't fix a small problem like this, then how could I own my own store?
Karteira: Yep. You got the guts for commerce. That's fer sure. Hehe. S'like I've found a diamond in the rough...
Karteira: Hehe. But enough about that. We got some varmints to bust! Hold on—we're comin'!
Dandelion on the Wind: Scene 3
Karteira realizes the real reason for the realtor's strange behavior—she's an agent working for the chamber of commerce, sent to test the merchant's resolve. The realtor offers Karteira a large storefront on the island, but Karteira refuses so she can continue to adventure with (Captain) and the crew.
After all he's been through, the young man decides to purchase the last property he was shown.
(Captain) and the crew are perplexed by his decision, but he is excited to start his new venture.
Young Man: This is it! This location is perfect for the type of establishment I have in mind!
As the man speaks, he fondly remembers his days training with a merchant family and working in their bar.
Since then his dream has been to establish a pub that would rival the Jewel Resort Casino in both its culinary and entertainment selections.
Karteira: Well, well. Gotta say I'm impressed. You really earned my respect.
Realtor: Hehe. I told you, didn't I? I always have my customer's interests at heart.
Karteira: Yep, you really put yer nose to the grindstone. But I can't wrap my head around this island's chamber o' commerce bein' so strict.
Karteira: You don't believe I was fooled too, do you?
Realtor: What in the skies are you referring to? I don't understand what you're—
Karteira: Leadin' that poor boy to all those ramshackle huts... You were testin' him to see his potential as a merchant.
Karteira: You can play dumb all you want, but I could tell you were appraisin' him from the start.
Karteira: Mayhaps yer real client is the chamber o' commerce? Can't have just any ol' shopkeeper joinin' the guild without a proper investigation.
Karteira: Wouldn't expect nothin' less from an official rep from the chamber.
Realtor: Hehe. Precisely. And we wouldn't expect anything less from the wind-reading trader herself.
Karteira: Geez. Guess my reputation proceeds me, huh?
Realtor: Indeed. A single woman once took on the mercantile force of an entire country by herself and succeeded. There are few merchants that can boast of that.
Realtor: Of course we've heard those rumors on this island as well. And you do seem to fit the description of that woman.
Realtor: If you'd like to open up shop here, don't hesitate to ask. I could turn you into the tycoon of a major enterprise.
Karteira: You make a temptin' offer. But I gotta be free like the wind.
Karteira: The wind don't stop in any one place. It flies from island to island, spreadin' beautiful dreams like dandelion fluff.
Karteira: Bein' a tycoon or whatever sounds great, but I'd prefer to keep on deliverin' happiness wherever I drift.
Realtor: Haha. Dandelion fluff and happiness on the wind, is it? Well, so be it. There's room for that style of business as well.
The realtor turns and leaves with a satisfied smile.
As she walks away, Karteira gives a content grin herself.
Lyria: Are you sure this is how you want it? It sounds like a nice opportunity...
Vyrn: Yeah, aren't you always goin' on about how you want to be a hotshot merchant with a huge store like Siero?
Karteira: I got all I need right here, right now.
Lyria: Huh? Karteira, you look kind of... happy? Hehe.
Karteira: Like dolphin-ridin' donkeys I do!
Karteira: I'm serious! I'm not happy about this at all!
Karteira: Just because I've got more adventures to have with you n' (Captain) don't mean nothin'! I still want a store! Was just confused for a minute, is all!
Despite her genius-level social and commercial skills, Karteira finds herself tripping over her words.
Her out-of-character fumbling is met with good-natured laughter.
Regaining her composure, Karteira hides her embarrassment with a friendly giggle of her own.