Who thought a tavern was a good battlefield?
If there was one thing Len was thankful for, it was that elves didn’t prepare for their criminals to be ghosts.
Leaving the Elven Capital was simple once he’d figured out how to exit his physical body, though the ability to float and soar at speeds he’d never travelled in his life was a little jarring at first. The ghost learned the ropes quickly though, and soon he was searching for a different body in a different town. He was more than ready to start over, to really make something of himself.
Len had never spent time to dwell on the ethics behind possessing a random person for his own gain, mainly because he never really had to. The only time he recalled dying was when Kamui had accidentally thrown him off of a cliff on the way to the Capital, and he seemed to completely forget about it afterwards. It was insignificant enough to where his mind didn’t bother bringing up the memory when he contemplated whether he could really die without issue.
A few minutes of flying eventually led the ghost to a rather small village. He made sure to pick the loneliest looking person and take their body without giving himself any time to hesitate. He then noticed that it began to shift into something more… familiar feeling.
“Oh, thought I should mention,” the spectre’s feline friend said as he climbed from his hood to his shoulder, “I upgraded your possession ability, so anyone you possess is...well, to put it simply, easily recognisable as you.”
“That is both kind of terrifying and...really cool.” Len replied. “Any reason?”
“Found out I could. Thought you might like it. Also, mind putting me on the floor? I want to show you something else I can do.”
The teen did as he was instructed and placed the cat gently on the floor. The tom’s body began to glow, then morphed from the shape of a ginger house cat to something more humanoid - a tabaxi. He wore a white robe over one shoulder that covered most of his body(Len wanted to call it a dress).
“So, rather than stand here awkwardly, let’s go shall we?” the tabaxi had already started walking so that Len had to follow, “What do you want to do now? Continue hunting down the dragon?”
“I’d assume it’s already long gone.” the rogue replied as they wandered, “And I’ve had my share of dragon murder. I don’t know… I’m not really happy with myself right now.”
Percival’s expression seemed to soften, but his words were harsh. “That wasn’t your fault. Sure, you could’ve just told Xiantha to leave you alone, but he was a violent fellow. He got what was coming to him.”
“But Kamui and Althea? I didn’t even attempt to help.”
“That doesn’t matter now. All you can really do is move on.” The tom gestured to the forest around them. “You like forests, don’t you? We could just… sit here for a bit.”
“I want to take down the Goldbags.”
The statement was easier to understand once Len explained that he wanted to start actively helping people, and taking down a large criminal organisation that actively harmed people sounded like a really good way to start. Percival brought up the fact that he couldn’t possibly do so alone, and that was when the rogue asked if the deity had any suggestions of where he could get some new companions. They came to an agreement that their next stop would be The Magic Marketplace.
It wasn’t too far away from where they were, according to Percy. True to his word, they arrived within the next half hour, through dense forest that seemed to surround the place.
The Magic Market was possibly the centre of all magical trade. A sprawling city where most of the streets were lined with stalls of all different sizes, colours and types. Some sold potions, others sold weapons, and Len couldn’t even tell what some others had to offer. In that moment, the stalls weren’t the rogue’s focus, though they did give him an idea.
“I could turn my little...scamming business into an actual shop.” he mused as they approached the first tavern they saw, “A legitimate business where you actually get what’s sold to you.”
“That might be the best idea you’ve ever had.” Percy purred, then added jokingly, “Did you hit your head in the colosseum?”
“Probably. It was certainly a smack in the face.” he opened the door and chose a table in the corner for the pair of them, Len making sure he was as close to the corner as he could get. “...hey Percy, I’ll order you some tea if you go buy me a stall while I hopefully get us some friends?”
“...I suppose?” the tom caught the bag of gold that was thrown at him, “Don’t start a tavern brawl while I’m gone.”
“No promises!” he laughed as the guardian rolled his eyes and left, then pulled his hood up over his head for the first time in a while. His plan was simple; sit back, kick his feet up, and wait for an adventuring party to question him, perhaps ask for a quest. The ideal outcome would be a small group of people agreeing to assist him with taking down the Goldbags.
A while passed before an interaction occurred, and it was just another rogue discovering that he was in the corner and apologising. Len would admit he was disappointed, but he still had hope. Maybe he just had to wait a little bit longer?
“You! Good shady sir!” as if on cue, a rather large looking man took a seat in front of the teen, almost knocking his legs off of the table with how much he shook it. Beside him sat a much smaller person in a robe and oversized hat who seemed to like the colour blue for his apparel, and the same rogue from a few minutes ago. The last of the trio gave his fellow rogue a small wave as a moth landed on his finger.
“Uh...oh! Yes! A party!” despite having scripted the encounter in his head for the entire waiting period, Len still stumbled over his words, “I suppose you’ve come for a quest?”
“Well, obviously! You’re sat here, hood up in the corner! Either you’re an assassin or a quest giver, and we had to go with the latter.”
“You’d be correct in that assumption.” Len offered the party a smile, “I’ve come here to request something of a brave group of adventurers...how would you all feel about taking down the Goldbags?”
“The Goldbags? The organisation that nobody’s attempted to take down for over a century?” the largest of the group audibly held back laughter, “We’ve already tried. It’s a pointless endeavour.”
“Maybe you just didn’t try hard enough.” The teen’s smile became a smirk, though internally he questioned why he was taking the conversation down this route. “Maybe you gave up too easily?”
For the second time, Len’s legs were almost knocked off of the table as the man slammed his hands into it.
“Have you tried yourself? Have you been shot to unconsciousness, with your spellcasters rendered useless? Have you only made it out by the skin of your teeth because you had someone sneaky enough to carry you all away without a trace?”
“...not necessarily-” God, Len, you really are bored, aren’t you?
“Then don’t even try to think we didn’t try hard enough. We gave it our all, and received a fine enough reason to give up and get on with our lives.”
“Okay...but have you considered-”
The half-orc placed his hands under the table and threw it into the air in an action that kn Len into the wall behind him. The teen winced and ducked out of the way of a full force axe swing.
The fight was predicted to be short. The half-orc pretty much had him cornered without effort, and Len was by no means strong. No, he was the complete opposite, mockingly described as a ‘noodle’ by most. The teen was able to use his agility to dodge another axe strike, though he was still sent flying across the room by the barbarian’s other hand, which grabbed his ankle from an angle he hadn’t expected. He’d almost forgotten that this guy even had a second hand.
The warm, sunshine glow of the lamps in the tavern were almost fitting for a fiery feud between trickster and… big angry orc man. A few people around had abandoned their tables in favour of not getting food or drink smashed by any projectiles or structural debris. The calm melody from the assortment of bards on the stage had shifted to a dramatic violin tune at some point, and the man at the bar had revealed a weapon for self defence.
The blade of an axe mere inches from his head pulled Len back out of his thoughts, though not to panic. He instead moved to a position where he was crouched in front of the man, then leapt with intentions of landing on the rafters above him.
As he jumped, the half-orc chose to swing his axe again, and while he missed, it still threw the rogue off balance in mid-air. To compensate for his lost goal, Len did a front flip and landed on his feet with bent legs to better take his minimal weight. He then unsheathed his rapier and turned to face his opponent, finally appearing ready for a real fight.
“Took you long enough.” The half-orc snapped, not quite noticing the blood seeping from a stab wound in his shoulder. He also didn’t notice his wizard friend muttering an incantation from where they’d all been happily discussing how terrible Len’s ideas were.
Len chose to use the distraction of suddenly appearing spectral restraints to turn the tide more in his favour, a stab here and there with the odd dodge thrown in, but the brute strength of the barbarian almost proved superior, as the more dextrous of the pair was once again thrown but this time into a table. The force of the fling was enough to snap it in half and, by extension, smash a glass of something undoubtedly alcoholic on his favourite(and only) cloak. The wizard gave him an apologetic shrug and sat with his rogue friend to watch the rest of the fight.
The ghost was almost ready to lie there in acceptance of his fate, but a flash of ginger in the corner of his eye brought new energy into his veins. That, or Percival was blessing him with some secretive ranged healing.
Instead of letting an axe surely cut him in half, Len rolled out of the way and leapt on top of it, running up and stabbing the half-orc through the chest. The barbarian let out an enraged snarl as he collapsed to his knees, and the rogue hopped off of his shoulder as if he hadn’t been injured at all during their scuffle.
“Lennardis Silver, what in hell was that about? What did I say about starting a bar fight?”
Len’s smile dropped upon hearing the beginning of a lecture. Maybe if I’m lucky, he’ll only make it twenty minutes because I won?
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