"Shall we?" I motioned for Alexican to exit first and fell in step behind her, eyeing the fortune in a sack and trying to estimate just how much money Odael had tossed at us.
"So where to first?" she muttered as we reached the edge of the sprawling town.
"Well," I took a quick scan of the place to see that everything was still generally as I had left it years ago minus a few new shops, "I'm assuming the princess wants us to buy our individual supplies and whatever else might prove useful. How about we head for the tailor's since its the closest and we'll work our way around from there."
She nodded and something about her deep blue eyes struck me as familiar. Where had I seen them before? My own eyes widened as realization hit: Ukaor. I knew he was married once but did he actually have any...?
I shook the thoughts from my head, reminding myself we had errands to run, "Alrighty then, let's go this way," I grabbed her sleeve to keep from getting seperated and dove into the ocean of activity.
It wasn't long before we reached our destination--a pile of wood haphazardly nailed together, its faded sign being the only evidence that it was anything else--and I paused to turn to Alexican before we entered.
"This guy's poked himself one to many times with the ole' mending needle so just be aware. Don't try to correct him or prove him wrong or we'll never get what we need here," I was about to proceed when something else came to mind, "Oh, and don't touch anything either or he'll rally half the town on us for thievery. Trust me, I know from experience."
She nodded again and I couldn't help but admire her courage. I didn't know much of her background but it seemed she'd never done anything quite like this before.
I pushed the door open and the musty smell of leather, rotting wood, and dust hit us full in the face. Due to only a single window and one carosene lamp, one could barely see the shopkeeper in the dim light, let alone his products. Once again I was reminded at how long I'd been gone. Despite it's outside appearance, this place used to be thriving.
"Who's there?" the plump figure demanded.
"I'll give you two guesses," I smirked, pulling off my hood.
He gasped and threw his arms into the air, "Well if it isn't the Shadowman! How ya doin' lad?"
I chuckled for old times sake but due to lack of time quickly turned to buisness, "We'd like to purchase some traveling clothes from you, Burt."
Alexican stepped forward into the lamplight and smiled politely.
"Ah," he raised his eyebrows, "And who are you, miss?"
"Alexican," she muttered.
"She's on a quest for the princess," I leaned forward, "and you know how impatient she can be."
Truth be told, Odael was the most long-suffering person I knew, but any sort of authority to this man was his worse nightmare and I knew it would get the job done.
"Oh, of course, of course," he bent over behind his counter and brought up two stacks of clothing, dusting them off sheepishly, "A week's worth of outfits for each of you."
"That'll do. How much?" I nudged Alexican to hide the bulging money sack knowing only too well this man's greed.
"Twenty gold peices," he declared, folding his arms over his wide chest defiantly. The clothing looked rather shabby when compared to that amount.
"Well that's too bad," I shrugged, "We can't afford that." I turned to Alexican, "I guess we'll just have to go somewhere else."
"Wait!" he cried, "ten!"
I sneered, but kept my back to him, "That'd be all we have and we have other shops to go to."
"Five!" He'd obviously hadn't had business in awhile; that was the lowest I'd seen him go.
"Deal!" I spun around grabbed the clothes off the counter and Alexican went along by replacing them with the correct amount and, after a quick thanks, we were out of there before he could change his mind.
"Aren't that many clothes usually worth more than that?"
"That's why we came here. You can find some of the best bargains at Burt's."
We went to a few other places which were less eventful and even some that, to my surprise, Alexican warmed up enough to suggest. We had just reached the place where we'd started when Alexican spotted two peculiar looking people heading towards the castle.
"Do you think those are latecomers?" she asked. I could tell she was hoping they weren't.
"That or intruders," I replied, "Maybe we should go ask them. We've got nothing else to do."
"Alright," she shrugged, "If you say so."
Her parents, whoever they were, must really appreciate her and her simple obediance--it was a remarkable trait.