Book of Days: May 4, NPC

“Why not?” Ruthe asked, her eyes dull and her lips pouting. She looked like a disappointed toddler, and Belen had to keep reminding themselves it was a trick. It was one they’d seen before, many times, but hadn’t had it aimed at them, not in the five years they’d known one another.

“I’ve told you before, I’ve no interest in becoming an adventurer.”

“But you’d make a great one!”

Belen sat back in their chair, crossed their arms, and indicated the total lack of weapons in the small house they called their own. “Exactly how did you come to that conclusion?”

“Well, you’ve potions enough.”

“That is because I sell them,” Belen explained, not for the first time. “I create potions and sell them to adventurers. Then they go on their adventure, needing things like healing, and invisibility, and protection, and I get to remain here, needing none of that. It is a wonderful system.”

“But don’t you ever want to see these places they talk about?”

“Have we been hearing the same stories? No.”

There was a knock on the counter and Belen stood, leaving Ruthe to drink her tea as they went to the window in the side of the house. A man stood there, decked out in plate-mail that had seen better days.

“May I help you?” Belen asked.

“Five healing potions, top quality,” he said without any preamble. Belen took the potions down from the shelf and placed them on the counter. They were about to quote a price, but the man in the armour paid it without needing to hear to number. Belen took a moment to study him then, hard to do with the face-plate on his helmet down, but the face-plate itself was somewhat familiar, and they realized they had last seen it tucked under the arm of a tired-looking adventurer who had purchased five mid-quality potions the day before.

The man took the potions and left, without a by-your-leave, but Belen didn’t mind. Most of the adventurers who came by were all business, and that suited them just fine. It was when the townspeople needed something that the purchase was likely to come with chatting, and Belen had never grown good at that, though Ruthe was always forgiving of this lack of talent. Though, not, it appeared, of their complete disinterest of the world beyond the town’s borders.

“It’s so boring here,” Ruthe complained as they joined them at the table again. “Every day is the same. I swear people are even having the exact same conversations sometimes. I just want to try something new.”

“You could always pay some adventurers to take you along once, to see if you like it,” Belen suggested.

“You think they’d do it?” Ruthe asked, brightening up.

“I think they would, at least some of them. I’ve heard of it happening in other towns. Tell you what, I’ll even give you some potions to sweeten the reward.” And to keep her safe, Belen thought, though they wouldn’t dare voice their doubts, not when Ruthe was looking so pleased by the entire thing. “What do you think?”

“I’m going to do it!” Ruthe declared, standing up and pointing to the world outside the shop’s window. “I’m going to see what’s out there.” She downed the last of her tea and then strode determinedly out of Belen’s home, though they knew she’d be back shortly. She had forgotten to take any potions, after all.

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by | May 4, 2021