Pairing/Characters: Rollick/Haydee, shopkeeper
Word Count: 1125
Summary: Days off are rare for the guardians of the Valley of Doom, so Rollick is determined to make the most of it.
Notes/Warnings: The word Rollick instantly makes me think of Golvellius, so I couldn't help writing something that was mostly just designed to flesh the world of the obscure game out a bit.
"Thou hast not the gold. Go gold some more."
Rollick rifled through his belt pouch, "You're sure? Even with the Level Guardian's Union discount?"
"Sorry, it's usually even more."
"And you've factored in my Gold Bible level bank account?"
"If I could find a way to get it further down, I would do."
"Oh, cmon, give me a break," the giant armadillo glared daggers at the old woman at the counter of the subterranean store, "You know I haven't had any adventurers for weeks. A level boss just can't get any business around here."
"Do you think its any easier for me?" replied the shopkeeper, "Why do you think we have to keep putting the prices up? You know we're grateful for all the work our level bosses do but nobody gets any customers in the middle of the Valley of Doom except that damn Blue Lander."
Don't you start on the Blue Lander, Rollick thought to himself, I've had to listen to Enny complain about the extraterrestrial visitor who appeared to be a blue sphere with tiny legs and a permanent grin that covered most of his face. He had appeared from nowhere and seemed to be literally made out of the raw essence of life. It was difficult for an ordinary healer to compete against someone who radiated positive energy simply by existing. The Blue Lander's services were incredibly cheap as well, presumably because it cost him nothing to maintain them. The other inhabitants of the Valley weren't even sure if the Blue Lander ate or if he simply regenerated himself overnight.
"I keep telling the boss we'd get more visitors if we renamed the place but he says that the ominous names are the ones that attract adventurers. They would do if anyone could actually find your dungeon," said Rollick, "Sometimes I can't even find my dungeon. I swear Golvellius changes the security mechanism when I'm out."
"Either that, or you're getting too drunk and falling into the wrong holes," said the old woman, "What do you need scale polish and claw files for at such short notice, anyway? You never normally take care of your appearance. I hardly ever see you leave the dungeon at all."
"I'm supposed to look fearsome when I'm on duty," said Rollick, "But it's my day off."
"Golvellius gives you days off?"
"The Guild doesn't give us many. You never know when an adventurer will arrive, is what the boss keeps saying. It only takes the dungeon being left unguarded for five minutes and an experienced pack of adventurers can have the whole place cleaned out, crystals and all," he added, "But the whole dungeon's down for maintenance, so the entrance triggers have been taken down. Nobody can get in, so we have to find our own amusements around the Valley."
"And what exactly are you amusing yourself with?" she demanded, peering at Rollick's small, beady eyes through his massive scaled bulk. Rollick stepped back, scratching his snout.
"Nothing," he said, "I'll ask somewhere else. Maybe Dinah's is open..."
"So, something important enough to trade off your life energy for?" the old shopkeeper shoved her head further towards Rollick's, "Are you going on a date?"
Rollick's ears flattened, "Gee, don't you wish you were an adventurer and could get paid by the monster? Not that I want to slaughter the local wildlife, but there must be something else in this valley that there's actually a lot of..."
"Don't change the subject!" she snapped, "Is it Haydee? Or maybe Crawky? I keep up with the gossip, you know!"
"Why do you even want to know what we do in our spare time?"
"Information can be worth more than gold, you know," she cackled, "I'll make it worth your while. I imagine it would cover the cost of your purchases. I might throw in a bunch of Mea flowers on the side."
"Now I really want to know why this is worth so much to you. What exactly are you plotting to do with the information?"
"Oh, it's not what you can do with it that makes it valuable," she grinned, showing off the gaps between her teeth and the stains from chewing too many Mea herbs, "It's the fact that you have the most, and you have the pieces of information that fill the gaps. Think of it as security. Now, is it Haydee's long flowing hair and tall legs, or Crawky's luscious, silky blue feathers?"
"Why don't you tell me, seeing as you know so much?"
"Or you could tell me something of equal value. Like, where the fairies are getting all those snow-cones from when the snowy regions are too far to transport food. Or if Golvellius is hiring any more dungeon labourers. Or maybe if there are any routes relatively free from monsters at the moment."
"I should have known you were trying to set me up," Rollick sighed, "Well, I can help you with a quiet trade route. The bees are migrating west soon."
"You know, maybe you really should keep the monsters' population in check. Then we wouldn't have to live underground," suggested the old woman.
Rollick shrugged, "What's wrong with living underground?"
With a giant claw, he tapped the third tree from the left five times, sealing the cave entrance shut again with a boulder that rolled seemingly from nowhere. The triggers for the security system were often obscure and random, from waiting a few minutes in the right place, tapping the right object, destroying said object or even clearing the area of monsters to stop any of them from wandering in. Rollick assumed it all made sense in the larger scale, was part of some grand plan by Golvelius to keep the entire Valley's subterranean system in balance, known only to the final guardian himself. Then again, the old ladies probably knew all about it as well, probably without Golvellius even realising.
The walk to Haydee's forest would be long. As soon as he reached the river's edge, Rollick checked his appearance. His scales were polished until they glimmered, his scruff of red hair combed back, his nails smoothed of any ragged edges. He bared his fangs, checking that they were still clean, then gave himself aother quick wash under his arms. He wondered if the flowers would be enough or if he would have to let slip some of the security codes around the dungeon - nothing important, of course - in exchange for a bottle of Mea wine for them to share. Maybe he should just invite her out for dinner at some point during the evening.
Whatever he did, he was determined that nobody and nothing, not even Kelesis himself, was going to ruin Rollick's day off.