Wouldn’t it be better to go in through the door, have the imps attention (and eye contact) and shoo them out?
Woah, woah, woah, you hiss. What are you doing? Rajirra tells you that she’s climbing up to the window. Yeah, you noticed. But like… people are watching. The shopkeeper is right over there, watching you right now, and if you asked, she’d probably let you use the stairs like an ordinary-
Rajirra cuts you off with a glare and clarifies that she’s climbing up to the window for reconnaissance, so you can see what you’re up against before you go barging headlong into the room. The only thing she’s planning to steal is a quick glance through the window.
Oh, you say. That’s… yeah, that’s not what you thought was going on here.
Rajirra says she’s going to resume climbing now, unless it has a better idea?
Actually, yeah. Yeah, you do. You tell her to hold on a minute – you have an idea that should let the two of you scout out the room without being seen, without any potentially dangerous climbing, and without looking like some kind of thief.
It’ll be really cool, and involves magic. You’ll see.
You scurry over to the shopkeeper and ask her if she has any hand mirrors. She tells you no, explaining that most of her cosmetic supplies are up in the second-floor storage room. You ask her if she has any other reflective things, like a very polished piece of metal or or something. No, she tells you, the town smith is the main supplier of metal goods. You ask her if she has any kind of dark glass, or shiny rock, or anything else small or reflective thing you could borrow for a minute. No, she replies; like she just said, her stock on that sort of stuff is somewhat limited at the moment.
Nevermind! Just… keep doing what you were doing.
You try to alleviate some of the awkwardness by striking up a conversation with the shopkeeper. You explain that, despite being a trained professional who can totally handle this, you’re looking to make this as safe as possible and are wondering if you could, like… pre-buy some supplies for this, pre-using the money you’ll get after you finish it.
She points out that she’s a shopkeeper, not a banker, and doesn’t usually deal in loaning things out.
You know, but you’ll have the money right as soon as you’re done. And your chances of getting those imps out (for less than the Fighter’s Guild!) will be a lot better if you have a weapon or shield or something.
The shopkeeper finally shrugs and says she supposes she can make an exception; after all, she’s not making any money with half her wares being held hostage upstairs.
This is a general store, she explains, so she doesn’t have a whole lot in terms of weapons and armor. But, if she remembers right, you’re a mage – or at least a talkative wannabe – and she does have a few spell scrolls on hand. From left to right here, she has a basic healing spell, a skeleton summoning spell, and a low-tier shock resistance. She has a scroll of invisibility, too, though that one would eat up almost your entire half of the reward.
Right, you say. Your entire half.
You admit that you’ve never used a magic scroll before. Am I supposed to study it and learn the spell, or does it magically teach me what I need to know, or…?
It’s just magically charged paper, she says. Mages back west tend to use wands – these are the same thing but more disposable. An enchanter already formed the spell and imbued it with the necessary magicka. You just need to peel off the safety sticker, read the release phrase off the scroll, and let it out. It’s not hard; even a parrot can do it.
Huh. Yeah, now that you think about it, you remember reading that was one of the reasons they’ve been wiping all the birds out. So how much money are we talking for magic scrolls like this?
The shopkeeper says there’s not a lot of demand for magic supplies in Kvatch, so she’ll probably be sitting on these for a while if she doesn’t ditch them now. How’s 20 septims each sound?
You, ah, you’ll definitely consider it. You should run the idea by your partner first, to make sure it doesn’t conflict with anything she has planned. You thank her again for the help, and promise you and your friend will have those imps handled and the shop accessible again before she can say “impless”!
Impless, she says. You tell her it was a figure of speech. This is gonna take you like half an hour, at least.
You ask the Fighter’s Guild member if there’s any hard feelings, what with how you and your friend totally scored the job and now he’s just gotta sit back and watch you be all professional.
No hard feelings at all, he says. Your boldness is admirable, and he looks forward to seeing what you can do.
Oh, you say. That’s… thanks, you guess.
You tell the Fighter’s Guild guy that you’re sorry and you hope you didn’t take a job he really needed or anything like that.
He tells you that it’s no big deal, really.
Once Rajirra is back down the rope, you ask her what she saw. She tells you that there are just two small imps, which wouldn’t be difficult for either of you, alone. You nod and ask if there’s any more preparations she wants to make before going upstairs and dealing with them. Personally, you were thinking about pre-buying some spell scrolls, just in case. Is that a thing she’d be interested in, too? The shopkeeper said they could be used by anyone, not just wizardy-people.
Rajirra tells you that, really, she’s only interested in getting paid and getting out of here. Right now, she has to start clearing a path through that barricade to get up the stairs, since you apparently didn’t even start on that while she was scouting. You tell her you’re sorry; you’re just trying really hard to make sure nothing goes wrong here.
She repeats herself slowly, saying the imps shouldn’t be difficult for either of you, alone. The two of you have a match in numbers and superiority in tactics, and she is completely certain this won’t be a tenth as difficult as you’re making it out to be.
You tell her you really hope it isn’t, because you’re tired of situations always taking a turn for the worse when you enter them. She puts on a reassuring scowl and tells you to stop expecting the worst out of everything.
You ask her why, because things usually turn out for the best? No, she replies, because it’s annoying to listen to well-manicured kittens whine about how miserable their lives are.
Additional resource credits:
Cider – all the perspectivey panels