Writing Prompt: Benno POV [P1V2]

2022.01.24 13:41 FIFOforLife Writing Prompt: Benno POV [P1V2]

Here be my contribution into the community:
A New Source of Headaches [POV Benno]
“I swear that Geezer will be the end of me,” mumbled Benno as he returned from another meeting with the top guilds. Despite the short duration, it was enough to give Benno a sizable headache. Surely a few moments to decompress from the meeting before working on Gilberta Company items would be ok.
“Heya, Benno”
Of course, the only other person in the country who could give him a bigger headache had to show up. Gods help him if someone else could top either of them.
“What do you want, Otto?” grumbled Benno with a near audible grimace.
“What? I can’t just stop in on the brother-in-law for no good reason?”
The actions of this wife-loving idiot will be the death of one of them someday.
“When you come to me while I am in the office, it is only because you want something. I don’t have much energy to deal with you so just spit it out and get it over with.”
Otto scratched the back of his head with a sheepish smile.
“Well if you put it that way… I was wondering if you had an opening in your schedule to talk to a prospective apprentice?”
Oho? Otto introducing someone for a job? This could be interesting.
“Oh? Is there an apprentice soldier that would make a good merchant?” questioned Benno.
“No idea, I’ve never really talked to the kid.”
Interest gone. Headache intensifying.
Luckily for Otto, Benno was trying not to yell as that would just make his headache even worse.
“Otto, why are you wasting my time with this?” growled out Benno, trying to keep his temper to a roiling boil.
“Well, to be fair I am doing this at the request of my assistant. She’s been doing a great job with the gate paperwork that I figured this can serve as her bonus.”
“Finally found an apprentice who can help with paperwork, huh? So, who is she? A daughter of one of the other soldiers?”
“Daughter of another soldier yes, but she’s technically not an apprentice.”
What?
“She’s still about a year off from her baptism.”
WHAT?!?
~~~~~~
After grilling Otto for more information, Benno got a better idea of what was going on. His assistant, a pre-baptismal girl named Myne, was looking for an introduction with a merchant for her other pre-baptismal friend. Benno had half a mind to tear Otto a new one for employing someone underage but apparently Otto knew what he was doing. By not paying his new-found assistant with money but with slate pens, Otto was skirting the line of the law regarding the employment of pre-baptismal children.
“Is this girl worth the potential trouble if other people knew about her employment?”
Otto shrugged his shoulders, “It shouldn’t be too much of a problem. It’s not like she’s taking a job someone wants. Plus, her father seems ok with it… mostly.”
That was an odd answer.
“What does she do as your assistant exactly,” queried Benno.
Otto looked to the side, “she helps me out with the calculations for reports and budgeting for the gate.”
As desk work did not suit those who typically became soldiers, Otto would complain year after year about how he had to do all the work himself. Surely any help, even if was from a 6-year-old girl, would be a great help to the overworked Otto. Though that raised a question: most merchant apprentices were not overly fond of doing calculations, but they did it out of necessity. However, that was after seasons of instruction under expensive tutors. The fact that this child was good enough that she was able to be helpful must mean she was quite intelligent.
While he wasn’t going to agree to taking either of them on as an apprentice, at least this would be interesting.
“I can meet them on your next day off at third bell.”
~~~~
It was early in the morning, and Mark was going over the day’s schedule.
“… and Lady Corinna has a meeting with the Tailor’s Guild leadership at fifth bell today. That is all for both of your schedules for the day.”
“Sounds good. Anything else to report?”
Mark’s ever-present smile got a bit wider as he started going over the various information that he had collected the previous day. Paying attention to the day-to-day gossip, finding something useful or manipulating it how you want was always a strength of Mark's. He especially enjoyed seeing the result of his efforts, usually when it resulted in the downfall of a rival. Despite Mark's genial exterior, he was an immensely petty and vindictive person.
Thank the Gods that he worked for the Gilberta Company.
“Oh, and there has been some talk about a glossy-blond-haired child asking around for trees with soft fibers. Doesn’t that match the description of one of those prospective apprentices you mentioned?”
Benno nodded. Could this have something to do with the plant paper Myne was talking about?
“I figured as much. In response, I mentioned that he was probably an aspiring apprentice carpenter trying to pass his apprenticeship test. Luckily, there is one carpenter who specializes in working with soft wood. He’s not very well known but it should limit his actions spreading much further.”
“Good work. Moving forward, we should work to suppress or redirect any and all information regarding those two. If that little girl can actually make plant-based paper then everyone will want to control her. We cannot leave a potential market maker in the hands of someone else! We must be the ones to control this natural disaster as best we can.”
“If you truly feel that to be for the best, then I will endeavor to steer all inquiries away from the little lady.”
Benno nodded and got up from his desk, “Thank you for your hard work. Now, let us be a thorn in that geezer's side again!”
Mark let out a chuckle, “I will take my leave then.”
With that, Benno started to prepare for his visit with a laynoble. During his preparation, he noticed Otto making his way towards one of the exits. That was odd, as Otto typically never left Corinna’s side on his days off; something about wanting to make up for the time when he worked at the gate. Maybe she kicked him out or had him run a task for which Otto was always too eager to please.
Whatever, it wasn’t his problem. Money didn’t make itself after all and he had a customer to wring some money out of.
Today was looking to be a good day.
~~~~~
Today was looking to be such a good day.
Benno had not seen Corinna before she left for her guild meeting at fifth bell and by the time he saw her when she got back the damage had been done. Corinna had walked into Benno’s office after closing so they could discuss any new developments with the tailoring guild. Benno looked up from his reports and noticed the delighted look on her face before his eyes were drawn to the unnatural sheen in her hair. He questioned how she made her hair so shiny and she told him what Otto had done.
Benno cradled his head with one of his hands.
Oh great! Another source of mind-numbing headaches.
Talks of guild developments were put on hold as Benno unleashed his fury at his sister and her idiot husband. It was one thing for unknown children to show up in the north side of the city with glossy hair, no one would pay too much mind as they would simply assume that their hair was just naturally like that. But an influential member of the tailoring guild suddenly having sleek and shiny hair out of seemingly nowhere? Of course that would draw a lot of attention! What the hell were they thinking!
Otto, ever his wife's defender, attempted to redirect Benno’s ire towards him by claiming it was his fault as he just wanted to make his wife happy. Benno did remember how excited Corinna was about the new cleaning product when the discussed it the prior week but how did Otto have to pay to weasel some of the cleaning solution out of the tight-lipped little girl.
"At this point, what's done is done," sighed Benno before fixing Otto with another glare. "Though, I hope you didn't spend much for that girl's hair wash."
Otto had the audacity to smirk, "It actually didn't cost me much."
What?
“She was more than willing to trade me for some nails.”
WHAT?!?

Should I keep going or work on a new prompt?
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