v) The crates change hands at last

The crates change hands at last. The alchemist is all business, counting each mangled copper penny. She relieves the gang of all but a single penny each — presumably to leave enough for a cheap pine box in an ignoble grave. The team’s infatuation is such that this seems entirely just.

The alchemist departs amicably, having concluded the transaction amicably and legally.

The “love” effect wears off after midnight. The gang’s carousing, having racked up quite the bill at the inn, to celebrate their good fortune, when reality re-asserts itself in a rapidly dissolving gradient.

Shyan asks, “Did we pay the alchemist to take the crates?”

“I do believe we were under the influence,” Cang says. “Of love.”

“Wow,” Fassn says, his mustache full of grog foam. “She really was an alchemist!”

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