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File 155347318796.png - (44.12KB , 800x700 , 134-titletwo.png )
927154 No. 927154 ID: 688dd6

>Previous thread: https://tgchan.org/kusaba/quest/res/530834.html
>Wiki page: https://tgchan.org/wiki/Age_of_Shadows
>Discussion thread: https://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/74609.html

In the East... er, wait... in the East Crescent, a being of great evil... uh, I mean, there was a great Empire, on the edge of the... no... where was I? Damn it. The empire was in the west, wasn't it? I could have sworn it said east... Wait, hold on...

*flip flllip flip*

Right. In the West, there was a great Empire which centuries ago wrested peace from the jaws of war. Its line of rulers was good and just, and that peace was maintained for centuries. That period of order came to an end when a being of terrible evil arrived, and wreaked havoc on the lands.
189 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 930519 ID: 91ee5f

>>930516
That’s not what she’s talking about and you know it.
>>
No. 930520 ID: 0ebfe7

That's a seat we can take, and we can make conversation while we wait for Niklaus, so it all works out. She said he wouldn't be in a good mood, something might've happened while we were away.

What's your thing with goblins, anyway? Are their souls really tasty or are they easy to sway into working for you, or something?
>>
No. 930578 ID: 688dd6
File 155581872549.png - (11.97KB , 700x800 , 197-surprised.png )
930578

>Really?
Yes! They're my favorite kind of mortal.

>I thought you said you didn't do all of that love stuff?
Look out, everybody! We've discovered the new densest material known to man.

>go make friends then.
>make conversation while we wait for Niklaus
I take a seat across from the goblin. Sometimes it's hard to tell their genders; this is definitely one of those goblins. Between the emaciation, the hairlessness, and the baggy clothes, it could go either way. A moment passes before it realizes I'm sitting there.

"Hello," I say.

"H-hi," it stammers. "Do you need something?"

"Just making conversation. I'm waiting for somebody. What're you doing here?"

"I work here," the goblin mutters. Its voice does sound vaguely feminine.

"Why're you just sitting here, then? Shouldn't you be serving tables?"

"I'm... taking a break. It's a lot of work."
>>
No. 930579 ID: 688dd6
File 155581873759.png - (10.74KB , 700x800 , 198-snarl.png )
930579

"What's a goblin doing working here, anyway?" I continue prodding it with questions. "Seems like the rest of the staff is ratfolk."

The goblin gives me the best glare it can muster at that. "You don't believe me, do you?"

"Sure I do. I'm just curious."

It sighs. "It's a long story. Why does it matter? There's goblins everywhere."

"I know. I like to meet them. What's your name?"

"You do?" It gives me a skeptical look. "Why do you want to know, anyway? Are you trying to get me in trouble? Old master Irontail told me not to talk to strangers any more than I had to."

"I'm not trying to get you in trouble, I just wanna know," I press it. It sighs.

"I guess it doesn't really matter. I'm Sosatoush. Everyone calls me Sosa, though."

"You're a girl, right? That sounds like a girl's name."

"Yeah. I am. What's it to you?" she growls, like a dog that grew up being kicked and sees the foot pulling back again. This is why I love goblins. They're the most interesting mortals I've ever met. If I could ever call a race of flesh and blood creatures 'my people,' it would be them.

I do my best to reassure her. "Nothing. It's not obvious from looking at you. Just wanted to see how good I was at guessing." She turns her head back down to stare at the table without a response.
>>
No. 930580 ID: 688dd6
File 155581874958.png - (11.73KB , 700x800 , 199-puzzling.png )
930580

Taking some pleasure in poking her when she clearly doesn't want to talk, I ask her another innocent question. "Have you been here long?"

Despite her obvious reluctance, she keeps answering them. "A while. Years."

"What brought you to Kelorus?"

"It's not important." That answer doesn't really surprise me. Goblins almost never want to talk about their past, in my experience.

"Are you bound to serve Niklaus, or can you leave when you like?"

Sosa looks puzzled. "Do you know Master Irontail?"

"Yes. I'm his friend. He's the person I'm waiting for."

"Oh..." Her expression changes to one of worriment, and she doesn't answer the question.

I decide to mess with her a little, and dig up some of my old Ancient Dwarven. "I can be your friend, too. I've always been fond of xatraavi."

She blinks slowly and mouths out the word in confusion, trying to parse it into her race's charming creole. "Xa- xat- sotrav--"
>>
No. 930581 ID: 688dd6
File 155581876070.png - (13.07KB , 700x800 , 200-moshvak-neelosh.png )
930581

Suddenly her eyes widen, and her body shudders. Her pupils dilate, and angry blue fire surges into them. Her voice shifts and echoes, her normal voice overwhelmed by the booming diction of another being.

"DO NOT TOY WITH MY SUBJECTS, DEMON. THIS ONE IS IMPORTANT TO ME. YOU WILL NOT TAMPER WITH HER FATE. BEGONE."
"Do not toy with my subjects, demon. This one is important to me. You will not tamper with her fate. Begone." she hisses.
>>
No. 930582 ID: 688dd6
File 155581877707.gif - (16.69KB , 700x800 , 201-aback.gif )
930582

A hand claps me on the shoulder. It's the ratfolk servant from before, her accent dripping just as much honey. "The master awaits you in his sitting room, sir Bartholomew. Shall I escort you there?"
>>
No. 930583 ID: b1b4f3

Haha what the fuck was that? Some kind of deity?

Yeah how about we get the fuck out of here and talk to Niklaus for a bit. Maybe we can ask him about the goblin too, and find out what her deal is.
>>
No. 930586 ID: 977456

You are right, goblins ARE fun! I would keep this to mild prodding though. As much a that sounded like a challenge, you already have a lot on your plate. That said... she DOES sound like someone who would be receptive to certain deals. She sounded like she didn't want Niklous to know she was off-script. Perhaps she is under his thumb? Or spends time under him? Or could even just be a loyal employee avoiding trouble for her master? Or maybe beholden to a third party and avoiding attention... so many possibilities!

Alas, there is no benefit to appearing to keep Niklous waiting, so off to work...
>>
No. 930591 ID: 91ee5f

>>930582
So, I think that’s enough “fun” with the goblin. Let’s go meet Niklaus.

Don’t make eye contact with the goblin as you walk away.
>>
No. 930613 ID: c9c19d

>>930582
aww but you were just getting to the fun part.
...you were expecting this, right?
>>
No. 930616 ID: 094652

I'm going to address the elephant in the room - what the hell was that? You're the expert and apparently you just ^&*( your pants.

Time to discuss your contract with Niklaus. Prepare your spells, this might get soul-wrenching.
>>
No. 930625 ID: f2320a

>>930582
yeah goblins are fun
>>
No. 930681 ID: 688dd6
File 155590022051.png - (16.25KB , 700x800 , 202-slumped.png )
930681

>Yeah how about we get the fuck out of here and talk to Niklaus for a bit.
Uhhhhhh yeah let's do that!

>You are right, goblins ARE fun!
See? Never a dull moment with goblins.

>...you were expecting this, right?
No. That has never happened before.

>Some kind of deity?
>what the hell was that? You're the expert
If I had to guess, it was her patron deity. Goblins have a pantheon and each of them is claimed on birth by one of them, usually their mother's. That's about all I know. You'd have to ask a goblin for the specifics.

Maybe a different goblin.

>Don’t make eye contact with the goblin as you walk away.
Not an issue. By the time I look back, she's already back to normal and staring at the table again.
>>
No. 930682 ID: 688dd6
File 155590023210.png - (26.57KB , 700x800 , 203-opening.png )
930682

I follow the servant girl through one of the doors, and the din of the gathering instantly fades when it shuts behind us, muffled until it's entirely inaudible further down the hall.

"Master Irontail filled me in on the details, sire," she says, filling in the silence as we walk through darkened halls. "It's such a joy to hear that the two of you have reunited. Who would have thought he had a distant, long-lost cousin out there? I must say, mouse or no, I can see the blood running through your veins."

She stops at one of the doors and places her hand on the handle, cracking it open. "I do hope that your family can indeed help him restore glory to ours, sire. We all despaired that the Irontail name might ever mean anything again. Your arrival is the opportunity we have all prayed for."
>>
No. 930685 ID: b1b4f3

>>930682
Oh dear. He made up a cover story for you, but... if he dies and there's no other living relatives, your mouse disguise persona would inherit the manor, wouldn't it? If he told anyone else the same story and the information made its way to Jakob, then that could be why you were told to kill him. But this hinges on a few facts that we haven't confirmed yet, so I wouldn't really put much faith in that hypothesis.

Anyway, tell the servant thanks but it's going to be tough with the manor in its current state.
Go in, and ask Niklaus just how private this room is. Could anyone listen at the door?
We need to know what Jakob would gain from his death, because he seemed completely unwilling to discuss an alternative. Who would inherit the estate? Would Jakob be able to lay claim to the place just from the weight of outstanding debts? Maybe in order to protect Niklaus we'd have to start making him enough money to pay off Jakob, which would mean they'd have no interest in killing him anymore.
We could rob some other rich bastard to accomplish that.
>>
No. 930691 ID: 91ee5f

>>930682
Tell Niklaus that you met up with Jakob and he correctly guessed that you weren’t actually a mortal. You wanted to ask Jakob for a job and, upon completion, you ask the reward go towards getting rid of Niklaus’ debt.

Unfortunately, the job Jakob gave you was to come and kill Niklaus. So, now that a demon actually has been sent to kill him this time, maybe he’d like to tell you if this is really only for a debt that’s owed? Or is there something else going on?

Because if he wants this partnership with you to work out, he’s gotta start helping you out by coming up with ideas that’ll convince Jakob to not want him dead.
>>
No. 930693 ID: 20b7eb

>>930685
>if he dies and there's no other living relatives, your mouse disguise persona would inherit the manor, wouldn't it?
well, that and the debts
>>
No. 930706 ID: 977456

Pasue for a moment as though thinking, then tell her that you would like it if she could just write down a small list of her own concerns and thoughts on the problems. That she reminds you of someone who once provided a valuable insight.

Another perspective on matters might help detangle some of these conspiracies.
>>
No. 930707 ID: 094652

Tell him you are seriously considering a better offer; after all, you're a mass-murdering demon from hell. The smart one knows what you are, and wants you to kill him - but why? The house is comfy to hide in but it's not worth the hassle of sending a rampaging, soul devouring beast to destroy property values across the board. Someone wants his bloodline erased and they played the long game to ruin him completely.

He needs to fess up. Now. Or you'll just take the simple option.
>>
No. 930768 ID: 0ebfe7

Why would Niklaus even need a cover story if we've been careful not to go through the front doors? And he's propping you up as someone who could potentially save him, too. We've got the threat of Jakob's hit on him to push him with, too, so let's get some answers.

Let's lock the door behind us and present ourselves in our true form, while we're at it.
>>
No. 930799 ID: 688dd6
File 155598736145.png - (11.40KB , 700x800 , 204-nose.png )
930799

>tell her that you would like it if she could just write down a small list of her own concerns and thoughts on the problems.
Rather optimistic to assume she can write. If you want me to ask her questions, I'll just hunt her down later. She seems easy to find.

>Let's lock the door behind us and present ourselves in our true form
I'm not sure this is a good idea, in case the servants are nosy, but... what the hell, it's been a while since I got to be myself. Pretty sure the door doesn't lock from either side without a key, though.

As I go through to close the door behind me, the servant pokes her nose around the edge of it and whispers sweetly, "Do be careful, sire. His kind likes ice and fire both."
>>
No. 930800 ID: 688dd6
File 155598738039.png - (18.41KB , 700x800 , 205-pace.png )
930800

"You look different," Niklaus comments as I enter.

[ Dionaea stops Impersonating a victim. ]

"You didn't tell me you could change shapes," he adds.

"It's an illusion, not shapeshifting. Why did you tell her I was your cousin? Why the need for a cover story if I've never gone through the front door? And you're casting me as your potential savior?"

He holds up his hands in a defensive gesture. "Whoa, now, why the hostility? First of all, how can you say that to me after you quite literally walked through the front door and up to one of my servants? I had to come up with something to tell her. That you were my distant cousin was the first thing that came to mind. And that's the truth, isn't it? You're someone who could potentially save me. It's fine; I told her not to get anyone's hopes up."

I pace around his seat, tail lashing. "Well, I spoke to Jakob. He figured out immediately that I was no mortal. I asked him for a job to win his trust and work towards freeing you of your debt, and he gave me one -- to kill you."

Niklaus gives a wan smile. "Now you know why I thought it so when we first met."

"But why, Irontail? It's a nice manor, but why would he threaten your life for it? Why would he play such a long game to bring you to utter ruin? Why is he so intent on erasing your bloodline?"

"I don't know!" he protests. "I have no idea why he's so ruthless. He was born a black-hearted bastard, isn't that enough? Don't tell me he sweet-talked you too. I told you he was a silver-tongued liar."

"He didn't lie to me," I point out. "He was very meticulous about laying out only facts."

His eyelid twitches in irritation. "Exactly like I told you he would!" he hisses. "Were my exact words not 'I've never met a man who used authenticity so duplicitously?' So he didn't lie to your face. Did he tell you anything useful? No. He sowed doubts in your head and turned you against your ally, and then walked you out the door so you could lie to yourself for him. Believe me, I've seen it all before."
>>
No. 930801 ID: 688dd6
File 155598738923.png - (21.18KB , 700x800 , 206-argument.png )
930801

"Who would inherit your estate if you died?" I demand.

He shrugs. "I'm the last of my name. My family's decline began before I was born; I merely accelerated it. If I died, I imagine the Emperor would reclaim possession of the land and the manor and bestow it to someone else. The servants would have to fend for themselves, and the new owner would do as they liked with what I left behind. But to position themselves next in line for it would require far too much political capital for too little reward. I swear to you there's nothing of significant worth left on the whole property. All the heirlooms, all the artifacts, all the trinkets -- I sold them long ago."

I jab a finger at him. "Now I know you're lying. The whole reason I came here is that I sensed a lot of magic in the place."

He throws his hands up. "God in Heaven! How should I know why you sensed it? I don't know magic and I didn't pay attention in my artificer studies. I swear to you I sold it all. I combed the whole place top to bottom myself. I had every damn fork and bowl appraised for enchantments. The only objects of value left are sentimental."

"What about Bartholomew? Wouldn't he be next in line to inherit? Does Jakob know that? Is that why he sent me to kill you?"

Niklaus scoffs. "He may be a clever piece of shit, but I know damn well he can't see through time. I made up that story twenty minutes ago, after you got here. And don't go getting your hopes up; some long-lost cousin from outside the Empire wouldn't have a stronger claim to the land than the Emperor."

"I just don't believe it. There's really nothing more to this than your debts? If you want my help, you'd better tell me."

"For the last time, that's all I know! Is it really so hard to believe that he's a sadistic, greedy fuck who'll gladly wring me of every last coin? For the love of God, if you'd rather make your bed with Duke Furthing, then just kill me. But you'll regret it just as my family did. I may not be a moral paragon, but I'm still a man of honor, and my word is my bond. I would never purposefully deceive you. He and all those who work for him are scum, and they'll stab you in the back before they let you climb on their heads."

"What should I do with you, then? Give me some ideas so I don't have to solve this the easy way."

"I don't know! Why the fuck do you think I asked you?! I don't know what to do! For the last few months I've been sleeping with a sword, just hoping to die fighting! I'm a cornered animal! You said you were a problem solver, so solve the problem! I'll do whatever I have to do, but I can't tell you what that is because I DON'T KNOW!"
>>
No. 930803 ID: b1b4f3

>>930801
Alright if he doesn't know anything, then I think Jakob knows something he doesn't know.
Use Spectral Senses again as soon as it's available so you can track down whatever's magical in here. That's what Jakob is after, for sure. If we can get it first, Jakob will likely back off since he can't get it anymore.

Also Jakob did tell you something useful- he wants all the servants alive but doesn't care about the guards. Are the servants special? Ask Niklaus about that "ice and fire" comment. Also, the blood thing. Is there anything special about his bloodline? She also implied it didn't have anything to do with being a mouse...
>>
No. 930807 ID: 094652

>Sentimental
"... Something tells me those 'sentimental' trinkets are at the very root of your problems.

Your goblin servant, for instance. I like her, she's cute. Her guardian spirit? Not so much. Now where would she even find an attunement artifact to link with a powerful spirit if she spends all her time in your empty house with its 'worthless' trinkets?

And of course, even if I could wring the locations out of you, they will work best in the hands of their bloodline owner. So you get to live. Until you live no longer."
>>
No. 930811 ID: 2202fb

>>930801
"You are either a lying, dishonorable bastard, or there is something game-changing here you dont know about."

Lets learn about the house history and if there is any interesting history about the land it is on.
>>
No. 930818 ID: 91ee5f

>>930801
Hey, I know this is a bad time, but now that you’re wearing this outfit as yourself, I’d just like to reiterate that you look adorable in it!

Anyways, back to the task at hand.....

Ask Niklaus why there’s a huge party going on? You’d think someone that’s got a huge debt wouldn’t be able to afford to throw a party like that.

>>930803
This makes the most sense. There must be something special hidden in this house that Niklaus doesn’t know about, along with the servants themselves being special in their own way.

Then again, maybe Jakob doesn’t want the servants killed because he won’t have to waste money on replacing them when he takes this manor from Niklaus.

Once Spectral Senses are available, turn them on and let’s go on a treasure hunt with Niklaus. We’re bringing him with us because you don’t have access to certain places of the house and the guards will be suspicious of you walking around alone, but with Niklaus at your side, the guards will leave you alone so you guys can explore. You’ll also have to put on that same Impersonation you were using.
>>
No. 930824 ID: 977456

Will the magic of whatever is here help to hide your use of Spectral Senses?
>>
No. 930827 ID: 20b7eb

>>930801
it appears there's magic hidden somewhere. maybe finding it would explain something.
personally i'd start with the basement, but really it could be anywhere.
use spectral senses?
>>
No. 930870 ID: 64356b

>>930803
>>930818
Both of these.
>>
No. 930919 ID: b8d5aa

let's think for a minute. if jakob knew there was some powerful magical artifact hidden in the manor, wouldn't he just demand it from niklaus like he's demanded everything else? i think there is something else going on.

let's change the topic for a moment and ask about the party, and his servants, and that strange 'fire and ice' comment. and let's definitely not go poking around in full-on demon form where all the guards can see, even if we do have niklaus' blessing.
>>
No. 930921 ID: e715fe

I'm thinking Sosa is probably involved in the same sort of plots, whether she knows it or not. She probably doesn't work for Jakob, but it wouldn't surprise me if there were more than one with the agency to come looking for all this.

Which means if you can figure out what it is, and get it first, you'll simultaneously have this very much wanted thing, and also be targeted because of it.

Tell Niklaus that you're still going to solve his problem for him, and you'll try to make it be in a way that won't get him killed.
>>
No. 930923 ID: b1b4f3

>>930919
It's probably something Jakob doesn't want Niklaus to know about, for whatever reason. Maybe something powerful enough Niklaus could use it to stand up to his debtors directly? Or something that's worth way more than the debt, so they want to gain access to it directly?

Or maybe they want the servants alive to try to wring money out of them. Like "your master had the debt, it now transfers to you"
>>
No. 930933 ID: 688dd6
File 155606437807.png - (12.23KB , 700x800 , 207-duress.png )
930933

A silence hangs in the air for a long time after he screams at me. I watch while tremors run through his body, his shoulders flexing and heaving as he draws in shuddering breaths. I can see the frustration and desperate anguish in every knotted muscle along the back of his neck, his form hunched over in tearless grieving. When I look at him I see an animal not merely cornered but crippled gorily, somehow surviving its injuries, but only to spend every waking moment suffering, dreading every touch to its festering wounds.

Pity is alien to me, but I was born a huntress, and I can recognize someone else's prey. I find no joy in tormenting a quarry that was brought low by another, no pride in toying with a creature I did not lame. That is the domain of a scavenger, utterly beneath me, and the disgust the thought evokes in me might suffice as empathy. Perhaps it was the wrong approach to interrogate him so harshly, when plainly his heartstrings are wound so tight that they might snap.

I don't feel tired like mortals do, the dullness of mind and leadenness of body that screams at them to sleep or die, but I can feel exhaustion of the spirit. It's been a long night, and not long from now daylight will begin to creep its abhorrent way over the horizon. I want to rest. I can ask him more questions if you think it necessary, but I don't know how much good it will do. I feel like I have all the answers I need, anyway. I just don't know how to put them together. That's your job, I think. If you need me to play sleuth before you're satisfied doing so, I'll do it tomorrow.
>>
No. 930937 ID: b1b4f3

>>930933
Are you not gonna comment on any of our theories?
>>
No. 930938 ID: e715fe

>>930933
Let's all get some rest. You don't need to reassure him, but letting him vent probably helped a little anyway. Tell him he's going to live a good while longer if you have any say in it, and tomorrow night, you'll look around his manor more.
>>
No. 930944 ID: 91ee5f

>>930933
Just tell Niklaus that you think there’s something magic hidden somewhere in his house and that might be what Jakob wants. The sun’s almost up, so you’ll have to wait until tomorrow night to go treasure hunting with him.

Tell him not to die during the day while you’re asleep.
>>
No. 930946 ID: 1e415e

Niklaus is a paragon of a broken man. At this point, I doubt suicide is far beyond him. Leave him with some semblance of a reassurance, even if a false one. At least make clear that he doesn't die by your hand, not today.

I personally think we should help him. He has nothing, making him prime material for an ally, yet is in a position to gain much, with a little help, making him valuable in the long run. On the other hand, Jakob is rather powerful in his own right, and doesn't actually need you; making you expendable to him, a tool, if you would. You will have a hard time gaining any control over Jakob, making him a liability, even if an ally in the short-term. Overall, I believe you stand to gain far more from Niklaus.
>>
No. 930950 ID: 8d4593

>>930946
I agree.

Tell him that you will solve his problem, but you need him to stay alive to do it.
>>
No. 930971 ID: 977456

...
Ask if he has heard of people creeping around on rooftops.
Yes! This again! I am not clear on where our senses come from, and maybe they can be fooled, but Creepy Rooftop Stalker is as verified as we are able. You yourself are capable of some exotic stealth abilities with limited use, so don't be so quick to doubt that others are using their own brand of conventionally-impossible hiding.
>>
No. 930989 ID: 91ee5f

>>930971
>Creepy Rooftop Stalker
I’ve been thinking about that guy for a while and I might have a theory on why he keeps disappearing when we tell Dionaea to look behind her.

Hey, Dionaea, are you the only one that can hear us? Is it possible for someone else to hear the things we say to you? Because if it’s possible for us to be heard by someone other than you, that might explain how the guy on the rooftop keeps disappearing at the exact moment we tell you to look behind you. He hears us tell you, so he quickly hides before you can see him.
>>
No. 931032 ID: a9af05

>>930933
Yeah, if the sun is coming up, then you can go looking for magic things around the house tomorrow night.

Just let Niklaus know that you're gonna sleep and both of you can look around tomorrow night. And tell him to not throw a party tomorrow night, so that you guys have less people here to bother you.
>>
No. 931037 ID: d63ea8

>>930950
Seconded.

Niklaus strikes me as someone who would honour their debts with us once we have this sorted. Jakob might give us easy work now, but they would stab us in the back as soon as they had the chance.
>>
No. 931071 ID: 688dd6
File 155615583694.png - (22.23KB , 700x800 , 208-confer.png )
931071

>Are you not gonna comment on any of our theories?
What do you want me to say? They range from the plausible to the utterly oblivious. I've said what I think is important and I tire of repeating myself. Mortal affairs are not my forte. I listen to you because you ought to understand them better.

>Ask if he has heard of people creeping around on rooftops.
No. What kind of useful information could I possibly get from that?

>Hey, Dionaea, are you the only one that can hear us?
I dunno, probably.

>He hears us tell you, so he quickly hides before you can see him.
Did they do that when you told me earlier tonight? You told me not to look, so if they disappeared anyway, maybe it's plausible.

>Let's all get some rest.
>Leave him with some semblance of a reassurance
>Tell him that you will solve his problem
>Just let Niklaus know that you're gonna sleep and both of you can look around tomorrow night.
>And tell him to not throw a party tomorrow night, so that you guys have less people here to bother you.
I break the long silence. "I'm going to rest in the cellar until night falls again," I tell him. "I will do my best to help you, but when I said I was a skilled problem solver, I meant I was good at killing people who posed problems. It was innuendo. Since you've tied my hands on that, I have to find a less violent solution, which isn't my expertise, and will take time. Keep your head on until I can."

Niklaus lets out a rattling sigh. "I just don't see how killing them would make anything better. Not unless you killed your way right up to the Duke and freed me of my debt to him. Do you think you're capable of that?"

I consider the thought, and answer honestly. "No. I'm not that powerful yet."

"Even if you did," he continues, "you'd have the whole Empire after you. You'd be in more trouble than I am. And if I'm indebted to you for your help, that trouble is mine too. I'd go from one nightmare to another."

"What's with the party out there, by the way? I thought you said you were poor. Having all those people around is going to be bothersome."

He gives me a weary look. "Party? What? Oh. The servants run an alehouse and wine bar out there and rent the lower floor rooms out. Don't you remember? I told you I couldn't afford to pay them anymore. They have to get by somehow. I just let them run the place how they will."
>>
No. 931073 ID: b1b4f3

>>931071
Ah, so they have a source of income. Yeah it could very well be that Jakob (or the Duke?) is planning to offload the debt onto the servants. Hmm. Not sure how we can discourage or prevent that. Tempting to try to ask the goblin's patron for assistance since she's part of the staff here and thus potentially in danger of inheriting the debt. You're more familiar with gods than we are, how safe would it be to even talk to the goblin again?

Still, whatever's magical in here could be useful even if it's unrelated. Or, you know, we could just pawn it off.
...I wonder if we can work on our powerbase by killing off or otherwise sabotaging Niklaus's rivals? Seems like a slow method though. We could also, possibly get Niklaus's debt forgiven by gathering some extremely valuable information and delivering it to Jakob. We'd have to be sure they don't know about it already though.

Also no, the guy on the roof didn't move when we told you about him that time. It'd be embarrassing if it was a weird-looking chimney...
>>
No. 931076 ID: 91ee5f

>>931071
>Mortal affairs are not my forte. I listen to you because you ought to understand them better.
Well, with the way Niklaus is acting right now, usually what you’re supposed to do is either give him a hug or a pat on the back to help him feel better. But I know that’s not your kinda thing, so don’t do that.

>He gives me a weary look. "Party? What? Oh. The servants run an alehouse and wine bar out there and rent the lower floor rooms out. Don't you remember? I told you I couldn't afford to pay them anymore. They have to get by somehow. I just let them run the place how they will."
I really hope this doesn’t mean that the magic you sensed here before belonged to someone staying in one of the rooms the servants rented out. Because that would mean that there isn’t some special magical trinkets hidden here!

And holy shit, his weary face actually makes him look like he’s aged into an old man! He must be really fucking tired if he looks that bad!

I know that he’s afraid of getting killed in his sleep, but you’ve got to tell him to take better care of himself, otherwise he’ll literally kill himself from lack of sleep!
>>
No. 931090 ID: c93db0

Well, I do believe that's all the questions we need pester him with for now. I think it's off to bed. Do remember to give a proper goodbye to Niklaus, demon or no, you must hold yourself to certain standards of class.
>>
No. 931141 ID: a9af05

>>931071
There's not much else to say. Let's head to your barrel and sleep.

>>931076
>He needs to take better care of himself.
Yeah, he really does.
>>
No. 931143 ID: b8d5aa

so is this a pretty straightforward case of jakob thinking he's squeezed as much as he can out of niklaus, and trying to finagle his way into possession of the manor (and its profitable ale-house) once niklaus is gone? i get the feeling it's more than that. back when you invited yourself in to visit jakob, he seemed to know a lot more about you than he should have in advance.

because of this, i think any further murders should be postponed for the moment, until the heat dies down. remember how the whole city's protected by a magical ward, and you snuck in through a hole? i bet now that it's known there's a monster in town, whoever's in charge of that will be going around the perimeter with a fine-toothed comb, making sure nothing else can get in- and that you can't get out.

you're going to be hunted. and when niklaus doesn't immediately end up dead within a day or two, jakob's going to be doubly suspicious.

the basement may not be safe much longer. you're going to need new hidey-holes, and start alternating between them. finding more places to stay can be one of your chores tomorrow night.
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