No discounts. Not even in the face of Armageddon
The door to the merchant’s shop swung open. In stepped five figures. The first was a knight dressed in dragon-like armor, his face grim and hard and he had a lance strapped to his back. The second was a woman in white robes who appeared elegant and kind but radiated a magical energy. The third was a man with a mask covering the lower half of his face, two long, thin swords strapped to his back, and eyes that made it look like his mask concealed a smile. The fourth was a woman in green robes who seemed magical as well, but there was a darker energy to her that filled the merchant with fear. And last was the one who appeared to lead them all, a paladin in white armor, a face of calm in the dark gathering storm that had plagued their lands. The merchant knew of these people: the five adventurers upon whom all the world’s hope rested. The Dark Lord Zorule was planning to unseal the elemental crystal and plunge the land into never-ending darkness and evil, and only these people seemed to have the power to resist him. And here they were, in the merchant’s store. The merchant tried to keep a face that matched the grim times, but he couldn’t help but smile a little.
“How may I help you?” he addressed the adventurers.
“We’re seeking supplies,” said the paladin.
“I’m sure you are,” answered the merchant. “And we have a wide selection here. First off, we have potions. Take a drink of them, and they will heal any injury.”
“Yes, we will need those,” said the woman in white. “Do you have any that will restore magical energy?”
“Absolutely,” replied the merchant. “That’s our ether. Surprisingly expensive, though. I recommend you get some of our tents and use those when you can. A good night’s sleep is a great way to get back your mana. Also, it’s perfect for healing up; I’ve never heard of an injury so great a single night’s sleep couldn’t fix it. I’d get a dozen tents if I were you.”
“Why that many?” asked the man in dragon armor.
“Well, the tents are kind of shoddy. You can only use each once.” The merchant shrugged. “Sorry; that’s how they come from my supplier. I should mention, though, I do have a lot of phoenix downs in stock. If things go poorly for you, they’ll bring back to life anyone who has fallen. And they’re surprisingly cheap considering the huge social and religious implications of them.”
“Yes, we will need those,” said the paladin. “Anything else you recommend?”
“Golden needles,” the merchant answered. “If you get turned to stone, one of those will cure it immediately.”
“We have worry about being turned to stone?” asked the woman in green.
The merchant nodded. “Yes, there are a lot of things out there that will turn you to stone. More than you’d think. But if that happens, just use a golden needle. Of course, you’ll need someone not turned to stone to use the needles, so I highly recommend not all getting turned to stone at once.”
“That’s some great advice,” said the masked man, with maybe a little mockery in his tone.
“And advice is a free service here.” The merchant noticed the paladin was no longer paying attention to him. Instead, the paladin was staring at the ornate sword hanging from the wall behind the merchant. “Ah, I see you’ve noticed the Sunblade. That’s exclusive to my store. It is a blade of pure light that will cleave through any darkness.”
The paladin looked down at the sword in his sheath and back up at the Sunblade. “That sword is much greater than the one I have. It would help in my quest immensely to have it.”
The merchant smiled — perhaps too big a smile. “And it’s yours for one million gil.”
The room went quiet. All five adventurers stared at the merchant. “Are you serious?” the masked man finally asked.
“It’s a quality sword,” the merchant stated. “And, as you said, it would help greatly in your quest. I think one million is a reasonable price.”
“It’s an insane price,” said the woman in green. The merchant began to fear her again but kept up his smile.
“And we don’t have that much,” added the paladin.
The merchant nodded. “Oh. Okay. Well, come back when you do, and the sword is yours. So just the potions and tents and whatnot for now?”
The paladin kept staring at the sword. “Do you think maybe you could donate the sword to our cause?”
The merchant furrowed his brow. “Sorry? What?”