v) The alchemist’s voluminous robes shift and swirl


The alchemist’s voluminous robes shift and swirl as Fassn searches them. He comes up empty handed. He’s certain foul magic is at work but the alchemist wears an expression of utmost innocence.

“You bumbler,” Cang says, pushing his friend out of the way. “This is how you frisk someone.” His hands and stubby fingers are a blur; the layered robes are no hindrance. A moment later he withdraws his hand, clutching a leather pouch heavy with clinking coins. “Ah ha,” he says, showing off his find.

“With this we can repay the innkeeper, at least,” Shyan says. Cang rolls his eyes.

“I’ll bet this Eric Wagon has even more,” Fassn says.

“You say this as though he even exists,” Cang says.

The alchemist gulps, nervously. Her horses stir as Abia whispers to them.

“So,” Shyan says. She casually tosses her weapon into the air, catches it like a juggler. Somehow this is more frightening to the alchemist than when she was being actively threatened. “Do we trust her?”

“Yes,” Abia says, in a clear, loud voice, surprising everyone present. She gently pats the neck of the alchemist’s horse. “Follow horse. Find buyer.”

Cang’s face breaks into an irrepressible grin.


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