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【书籍搬运】The Cake and The Diamond 蛋糕与钻石

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原文地址:http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:The_Cake_and_The_Diamond

作者:埃辛·穆恩迪尔

翻译:花溪流萤

故事发生时,我正处于奥德-鲁恩一个隐秘外地人会所鼠壶中与我的同伴老鼠谈话,随后我见到了那个老女人,我以前从未见过她。那时,布列顿女人于此并不鲜见。这个种族似乎很喜欢远离自己的栖息地高岩四处流荡。然而,安土重迁的布列顿老妪则很少在此出没,所以当这个干瘦的老人徘徊于屋中,四处寻人搭讪之际,大家的注意力都集中到了她的身上。

尼姆罗斯和欧迪亚德此刻正坐在老地方,饮着日常美酒。欧迪艾蒂向尼姆罗斯展示着自己新近所得的一笔不义之财—一颗如同婴儿拳头大小,通块晶莹剔透的巨型钻石。当我对其啧啧称赞时,我听到身后老太婆传来一阵咯咯怪笑。

“朋友,你今天真幸运,”老妪说道。:“我叫阿柏丽·科里蒂特(Abelle Chriditte),我正需要一笔金融资助以帮助我前往奥德瑞达尼亚(Ald Redaynia)。”

“你可以去神庙恳求施舍”尼姆罗斯简短的提醒道

“我要的不是施舍。”阿柏丽说道。“我长在寻求用服务换取(路费)。”

“别恶心人了,老家伙。”欧迪亚德大笑

“你说你的名字叫做阿柏丽·科里蒂特(Abelle Chriditte)?”我问道,“你和高岩炼金术师 阿柏丽·科里蒂特(Abelle Chriditte)是什么关系?”

“非常亲密”她咯咯笑道:“我们是同一个人,或许我能为你们炼制一剂药剂来换些金币?我注意到你拥有一颗质量上乘的钻石,钻石中蕴含的魔力可是无穷无尽。”

“不好意思,老太太,我不会将钻石用在魔法上。我好不容易才把它偷到手,”欧迪亚德说道。“我想寻个下家把它换成金子”

“但是你的下家需要抽取部分佣金,不是么?不如我用一剂隐形药水来交换它怎么样?虽然失去了钻石,但今后你想偷任何东西都成。我敢说。这笔交易相当公平。”

“听起来不错,但我没金子给你,” 欧迪亚德说道

“我只要炼药剩下的钻石就够”阿贝乐说道。“如果你去找魔法公会,你还得自备材料而且要支付加工费。但是据我了解,还没有任何药剂师能将钻石用化学工艺制成钻石粉,必须用粗劣技术手工打磨,而且别指望那些愚蠢的公会炼金术师加工过后能剩多少钻石。”

“这听起来很不错”尼姆罗斯说道,“但是我们怎么知道你的药剂管不管用?如果你随便拿一种药水,然后携钻石潜逃,我们根本无法验证你的药水是否有效。”

“啊,如今的人真是缺乏互信” 阿柏丽说道。“我将为你准备双份药水,这样剩下的钻石虽然不多,但也足够我抵达奥德瑞达尼亚了。然后你可以先试服第一剂药水,再做决定不迟。”

“但是,”我插嘴道。“你可以让第一剂药水起效,但是第二剂必不能保证有效,这样你就可以拿走更多的钻石。甚至还会给我们一份慢性毒药,当你回到奥德瑞达尼亚时,我们可能已经被毒死了。”

“凯瑞纳斯在上,你这个黑暗精灵真是太多疑了!虽然这样钻石剩不了多少了,但是我可以把两批药水混合再均分成两份,这样你就能确信药效的确管用而且无任何毒副作用。如果你还不相信我,随你喜欢,尽管放马过来监视我并亲眼监督炼药的全过程好了。”

最终决定由我陪同阿柏丽返回她的工作台监督她的工作以确保两批药剂完全相同,此处放置的旅行包中,放满了大量药草和矿物,她的准备工作耗时近一小时,但是她好心的允许我观察她工作的间隙随便喝她剩下的半壶酒。将钻石裂解成粉末需要耗费大量时间;她粗糙的手一次又一次的在宝石上面盘旋,口中吟诵着古老的魔法,将这颗宝石卷切成越来越小的切片,另外他用一份绿色苦啤熬制了一份酱,切入一些德尔‘酚奎(dell’arco)红葱,然后加入少许西利亚尼(ciciliani)油。不久,酒喝完了。

“老太婆”我最终还是忍不住叹息道。“还要多久啊?我实在懒的欣赏你的工作了。”

公会总是把炼金当成科学欺骗公众。”她说道。“如果你觉得累了,就先休息会儿吧”

我的眼睛逐渐闭上,虽然我不想如此。但是酒中掺入的某种东西令我不得不听从她的指示。

“我认为我应该把药剂加工成蛋糕,这样药效会更强。年轻人,请告诉我,你的朋友拿到药剂之后,第一件事是要做什么?”

“在大街上打劫你,抢回剩余的钻石,”我简短回答道,我本不想说实话,但是言不由衷。

“正如所料,我只是想确认下。你现在可以睁开眼睛了。”

我睁开眼睛。阿柏丽已经在木盘上做好了两个蛋糕样品,旁边摆放着一把银质餐刀。

“拿着这些蛋糕,送到他们面前的桌子上”阿贝乐说道“除了附和我的意见,别的什么都不要说。”

我遵从了指示。这是一种微妙的感觉。那时我并不介意做她的傀儡。当然,每当回想起来,我都充满怨恨,但是彼时彼刻,自然而然的我就想服从命令。

阿柏丽将蛋糕递给欧迪亚德,随后我忠实的报告两个蛋糕制作过程相同。她建议道,先将蛋糕切成两片,她先吃一片以证明药剂有效而且没有投毒。 欧迪亚德表示赞成,然后拿起阿柏丽带来的餐刀将蛋糕切成两片,阿柏丽马上取起左边那片吞下,欧迪亚德则拿起右边的那块小心翼翼的吃了。

顷刻间,阿柏丽和她的旅行袋消失于空中,但是欧迪亚德仍坐在那里,毫无变化。

“为什么蛋糕对她起效,却对我无效?”欧迪亚德哭喊道

“因为钻石粉尘只存在于切片的一侧”老炼金术师借我之嘴说道。随着她的远去,我察觉到控制自己的力量正在减弱。随后她急匆匆逃离鼠壶消失在奥德-鲁恩的街巷中。

此后我们再也没有找到阿柏丽·科里蒂特以及她取走的钻石。她是否完成了到奥德瑞达尼亚的旅行亦不得而知。剩下的蛋糕同样毫无作用,除了让欧迪亚德独自生了一周的闷气。

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The Cake and the Diamond
by Athyn Muendil
An alchemist tricks a thief!


I was in the Rat and the Pot, a foreigner cornerclub in Ald'ruhn, talking to my fellow Rats when I first saw the woman. Now, Breton women are fairly common in the Rat and the Pot. As a breed, they seem inclined to wander far from their perches in High Rock. Old Breton women, however, are not so migratory, and the wizened old biddy drew attention to herself, wandering about the room, talking to everyone.
Nimloth and Oediad were at their usual places, drinking their usual stuff. Oediad was showing off a prize he had picked up in some illicit manner -- a colossal diamond, large as a baby's hand, and clear as spring water. I was admiring it when I heard the creaking of old bones behind me.
"Good day to you, friends," said the old woman. "My name is Abelle Chriditte, and I am in need of financial assistance to facilitate my transportation to Ald Redaynia."
"You'll want to see the Temple for charity," said Nimloth curtly.
"I am not looking for charity," said Abelle. "I'm looking to barter services."
"Don't make me sick, old woman," laughed Oediad.
"Did you say your name was Abelle Chriditte?" I asked, "Are you related to Abelle Chriditte, the High Rock alchemist?"
"Closely related," she said, with a cackle. "We are the same person. Perhaps I could prepare you a potion in exchange for gold? I noticed that you have in your possession a very fine diamond. The magical qualities of diamonds are boundless."
"Sorry, old woman, I ain't giving it up for magic. It was trouble enough stealing this one," said Oediad. "I've got a fence who'll trade it for gold."
"But your fence will demand a certain percentage, will he not? What if I could give you a potion of invisibility in exchange? In return for that diamond, you could have the means to steal many more. A very fair exchange of services, I would say."
"It would be, but I have no gold to give you," said Oediad.
"I'll take what remains of the diamond after I've made the potion," said Abelle. "If you took it to the Mages Guild, you'd have to supply all the other ingredients and pay for it as well. But I learned my craft in the wild, where no Potion-makers existed to dissolve diamonds into dust. When you must do it all by hand, by simple skill, you are blessed with remnants those fool potion-makers at the Guild simply swallow up."
"That sounds all very nice," said Nimloth, "But how do we know your potion is going to work? If you make one potion, take the rest of Oediad's diamond, and leave, we won't know until you've gone whether the potion works or not."
"Ah, trust is so rare these days," sighed Abelle. "I suppose I could make two potions for you, and there'd still be a little bit of the diamond left for me. Not a lot, but perhaps enough to get me to Ald Redaynia. Then you could try the first potion right here and now, and see if you're satisfied or not."
"But," I interjected. "You could make one potion that works and one that doesn't, and take more of the diamond. She could even give you a slow-acting poison, and by the time she got to Ald Redaynia, you'd be dead."
"Bleedin' Kynareth, you Dunmer are suspicious! I will hardly have any diamond left, but I could make two potions of two doses each, so you can satisfy yourself that the potion works and has no negative effects. If you still don't trust me, come along with me to my table and witness my craft if you'd like."
So it was decided that I would accompany Abelle back to her table where she had all her traveling bags full of herbs and minerals, to make certain that she was not making two different potions. It took nearly an hour of preparation, but she kindly allowed me to finish her half-filled flagon of wine while I watched her work. Splintering the diamond and powdering the pieces required the bulk of the time; over and over again, she waved her gnarled hands over the gem, intoning ancient enchantments, breaking the facets of the stone into smaller and smaller pieces. Separately she made pastes of minced bittergreen, crushed red bulbs of dell'arco spae, and driblets of ciciliani oil. I finished the wine.
"Old woman," I finally said with a sigh. "How much longer is this going to take? I'm getting tired of watching you work."
"The Mages Guild has fooled the populace into thinking alchemy is a science," she said. "But if you're tired, rest your eyes."
My eyes closed, seemingly of their own volition. But there had been something in that wine. Something that made me do what she asked.
"I think I'll make up the potion as cakes. It's much more potent that way. Now, tell me, young man, what will your friends do once I give them the potion?"
"Mug you in the street afterwards to retrieve the rest of the diamond," I said simply. I didn't want to tell the truth, but there it was.
"I thought so, but I wanted to be certain. You may open your eyes now."
I opened my eyes. Abelle had made a small presentation on a wooden platter: two small cakes and a silver cutting knife.
"Pick up the cakes and bring them to the table," said Abelle. "And don't say anything, except to agree with whatever I say."
I did as I was told. It was a curious sensation. I didn't really mind being her puppet. Of course, in retrospect, I resent it, but it seemed perfectly natural at the time to obey without question.
Abelle handed the cakes to Oediad and I dutifully verified that both cakes were made the same way. She suggested that he cut one of the cakes in half, and she would take one piece and he'd take the other, just so he would know that they worked and weren't poisoned. Oediad thought it was a good idea, and used Abelle's knife to cut the cake. Abelle took the piece on the left and popped into her mouth. Oediad took the piece on the right and swallowed it more cautiously.
Abelle and all the bags she was carrying vanished from sight almost instantly. Nothing happened to Oediad.
"Why did it work for the witch and not for me?" cried Oediad.
"Because the diamond dust was only on the left-hand side of the blade," said the old alchemist through me. I felt her control lessening as the distance grew and she hurried invisibly down the dark Ald'ruhn street away from the Rat and the Pot.
We never found Abelle Chriditte or the diamond. Whether she completed her pilgrimage to Ald Redaynia is anyone's guess. The cakes had no effect, except to give Oediad a bad case of droopsthat lasted for nearly a week.

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