61 Boom. Swindled.
| Flynn the Fae Cobbler POV |
(because why the hell not) ┐(￣ー￣)┌
Flynn stumbles back into his shop for the fourth time, beard singed, hat crumpled, and coat missing two of its shiny gold buttons.
"Go n-ithe an cat thú is go n-ithe an diabhal an cat, a shlíomadóir francach,"** Flynn curses as he pushes past the Pu`ca halfling staring at him with wide-eyed innocence and concern.
**(May the cat eat you, and may the Devil eat the cat, you rat bastard.)
Nostrils flaring in anger, Flynn flings himself onto his work stool and picks up his hammer. When he sees how close he is to finally finishing the D'Raven boy's boots, however, he takes a deep breath to calm himself down.
Now's not the time to give in to his emotions. Beating the two brats who've given him this much trouble will be the best reward at the end of this disastrous day.
And that Erebus fellow, who thinks he's so damnably smart, well he didn't notice Flynn never specified which "penalty quest" he'd make the boys do when they lose.
They won't be coming back from this quest alive, no matter how many lives the Fate-Blessed Children have.
Imagining their screams of terror lifts Flynn's spirits, and he renews his efforts to finish cobbling the boots with a smile on his face.
'I'll give the little guy credit,' Flynn thinks grudgingly. 'Boyo's done a fine job making me waste time. The forest fire was a stroke of genius; I'm not evensure how he managed that one. Then there was the lightning, the beast horde, the bees...'
The leprechaun shudders.
'But none if it matters now, in the end. These boots are almost finished, and no amount of stalling was enough to help them find my precious treasure!'
Chuckling to himself, Flynn glances up at the clock ticking away on the wall. Wincing at the time, he starts working even faster. 'If Da were alive to see me take almost a full hour to cobble a single pair of boots, though, he'd whap me upside the head with me own hammer.'
The Pu`ca, Flynn thinks his name might be Taliesin, jiggles his knee and fiddles with his sword Excalibur as he also nervously watches the clock.
The sight cheers Flynn even more, and he can't help a snide remark. "You think you've done well, but even if he had all the Luck in the world, and your partner is definitely lacking there, that boy could never have found me coins. He isn't born of Gael, so he can't use the fae portals."
The Pu`ca pales, as if it never occurred to him the final coin might not be located within this particular forest.
The boy gets to this feet and starts pacing, thundercloud gray eyes glued to the cuckoo clock.
Wait a minute.
The leprechaun's steady hands freeze, as his mind races.
Something is wrong. Something is out of place.
Suddenly, it hits him, and his hammer tumbles from his hand and clatters on the floor.
Flynn barely notices, as he's jumping to his feet. He points dramatically at the demihuman boy and cries, "IT'S YOU!"
"It's me!" a confident voice that sounds just like Erebus shouts from outside the tiny red door.
Confusion clouds Flynn's face, and he whirls to face the door.
"And me!" another voice that sounds like Erebus shouts from inside the shop.
The leprechaun whirls back to face the first boy. To his shock, the Pu`ca's body and face appear to be melting and morphing.
A hooded figure bursts through the door, victoriously holding up three glittering gold coins.
"IT'S US!" both Erebus voices shout, and then the newcomer throws off Erebus's hood to reveal a grinning Taliesin.
| Erebus/Eric POV |
Holy bejeebus I can't believe that worked.
BAHAHAHAHA I AM SO AWESOME.
"How...what...but...HOW?" Flynn splutters, too bewildered to even be angry.
Red splotches flush his face, and his wiry red hair is sticking out in every direction; he looks like a very Irish mad scientist who can't understand how his unnatrual creation turned on him.
"A magic hood, impressive impersonation skills, a dumbass plan and two dumber-ass gamers willing to go along with it...plus a dash of Luck."
If anything, the leprechaun looks even more baffled and unnerved, but it's the truth.
I brandish Excalibur a few times, then with a flourish, I hand the beautiful blade back to its rightful owner. I'm a little sad to let it go, but I know Zen'aku would probably not get along with the shiny shortsword anyway.
"If you want to hear all the details, I want to see that pot of gold we rightfully earned. Once the money's safely tucked away in my wallet, we can talk."
Flynn tries to argue, but no amount of wheedling and whining will budge me. Eventually, with a heaving melodramatic sigh, he snaps his fingers, and a black pot of glittering coins appears at our feet.
500 gold coins fill the pot, and at the very bottom, we also find three Rainbow Teleportation Charms.
Today is the best day.
The pot itself is a magic item as well, but it only works for leprechauns. I can tell Flynn's more upset about losing the pot than he is the gold and charms, so I offer a trade: the pot for a friend request accept.
Players can be "friends" with NPCs, though it's a different system than the inter-player friend and chat system. Being "friends" with an NPC allows you to contact them as long as you're in the same Realm. It's not usually useful or necessary, since most NPCs stay in the same general places and are therefore easy to find in person. But Flynn's notoriously difficult to find, especially if you've already found him once.
He's suspicious, but once I explain what I'd want to contact him about, his mischievous heart is swayed, and he agrees.
Once all the goods are put away, I briefly explain how we swindled the great fae swindler.
First, it came down to my Changeling Hood and Taliesin's insane trust. I used the Copy Change skill to transform into Taliesin, then we switched gear. To fully sell it, he had to let me borrow Excalibur, since Flynn would have immediately noticed I was missing such a legendary blade.
Honestly, that one part of the plan is why this would never work with normal people.
Who in their right mind would let another player borrow Ex-fucking-caliber?!
Even crazier, he did it even though my own swords are safe with my blacksmith right now, so he couldn't even hold onto Zen'aku as insurance.
Between Taliesin and Lialas, I know too many people way too freaking pure to play this game.
I'm glad I had the sword, regardless, since I ended up fighting so many monsters and buzzing murder bees while waiting for Taliesin to return, I'm almost Level 15 now.
Once we switched gear and equipment, Taliesin pulled up the hood to cover his face and used his ability to copy my voice to answer a few questions before taking off to search for the coins.
"But the Luck!" Flynn interjects. "You had barely any Luck before, and now you somehow both smell like you're overflowing with it."
As he says it, the clock strikes the hour, and faint wooden chimes can be heard, off in the distance.
Flynn starts, then sniffs the air again. He stares at me in shock. "It's gone. All of it. You don't even have a trace of Luck left. How is that possible?"
I hold up the +1 Luck necklace. "What you sensed about me at first was my usual -1 Bad Luck. Since you mentioned smelling it, I realized you couldn't tell good luck from bad; you could only sense Luck in general. Right now, with this necklace, I'm at a perfect Zero Luck, so you can't sense anything."
Then I explain my Fickle Fortune skill Erratic Luck.
I cast it on myself, so for one hour, I would have either Great Luck, Decent Luck, or Miserable Fortune. If I'd ended up with Decent Luck, we would have been screwed, since that wouldn't have been equal to Taliesin's natural Luck, and Flynn would have seen through me.
But I had faith that it would be Miserable Fortune.
Call it a hunch.
The Luck was so bad, actually, I still had more Bad Luck than Taliesin had Good Luck, even with Excalibur and Taliesin's necklace.
"So the forest fire, the bees, all those disasters...you didn't do them on purpose?"
I grin. "Well, I figured if I could snag a ton of Bad Luck, they'd happen whether I wanted them to or not, and as long as I survived, it would give Little Dude here enough time to find your secret stash!"
Flynn hadn't wanted to come all the way outside to hear whether we were going to take him up on the bet or not, so Taliesin pretended to be me, from far enough away the leprechaun couldn't sense our Luck stats. Then Taliesin turned and left, and I walked toward the shop, smelling like a ton of Luck.
Flynn was never the wiser, at least until he finally noticed the one difference between me and the original: my eyes never changed from gray to Taliesin's bright green. As soon as he realized I was an imposter, my Copy Change skill was forcibly cancelled, and I started morphing back into myself.
"So that's how we did it, Master Flynn. Impressed?" I shoot him a lopsided smirk and cross my arms.
At first Flynn looks like he wants to strangle me, but then he grins, too. "Honestly, yes. You're the first to outwit me, and I admit, you're worthy adversaries."
I'm prouder of that than I probably should be.
Since we're the first to complete the challenge, we score a load of EXP, and right before the first 36 hours of Viren's Refuge ends, I hit Level 15.
Pleased with ourselves, Taliesin and I head back to Tara. We trade the rest of our gear back, too, except:
"You should keep that," Taliesin says as I try to hand him the shamrock necklace.
He shrugs and beams his usual bright, friendly smile. "I don't really need it, and honestly, I'll probably find more Luck amulets before long, so..."
"Lucky brat," I say, and bonk him on the head. Affectionately.
We make it right inside the gates of Tara as the game goes dark, and when the first official day of Viren's Refuge ends, my Luck is a perfectly balanced Zero.