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Suckered into Shopping
(2013-01-13 - 2013-01-13)
Square Deal

As a hub of trade in the Central Isles and immensely famous for the unusual sport of Blitzball, Luca receives quite a few visitors, most of them being merchants. It's been rumored that a person can find anything here in these markets. Not even the setting of the sun deters the relentless capitalisim within the grand city. Though there are many proper shops in the city, accomodations have been made for travelling merchants from other worlds as well. Of course, the city does demand a "rental fee" for setting up shop.

With so many people, Luca was a good place to flee to and, potentially, flee to somewhere else if she had to. Perfect for certain Aviras that need to lay low in the World of Ruin for a while-or leave it completely.

The Huntress moves through the merchant quarter with a mission: more clothing. Clothing that did not reek of Rabanastre sewer.
Honest John Relentless capitalism as the late afternoon sun.

"Ah.. the beautiful sounds of munny." murmurs a merchant to himself as the antromorphic fox lets coins slide past a twitching ear from one palm into another. He takes in a heady scent of the ocean and the melange of conflicting smells.

Across the long lanes set up for travelling merchants there is some short and some long. One of them in particular is cluttered and festooned with colors.

It is the one the fox is manning, with a slick and dapper outfit and slightly battered hat next to a slightly battered wagon of a similar condition. It was stuffed quite to the gills with merchandise of every description. Long racks of clothing are bunched along wooden pegs with scarves drapped over the top of the stall like a waterfall of clashing patterns. Every horizontal surface (of which there are several, of differing sizes and heights) is crammed with nic-nacs, brick a bac and all manner os snowglobes, glowing objects and questionable objects which go ZORT every once in awhile.

A bronze cube sits like a doorstop on a little three legged stool, lines and circles etched into the surface in complicated pattersn. It is overshaded by a hulu dancer and a tacky flamingo lamp and the /entire/ mess is overshadowed by the fox, whose voice continues to wheeedle and call out and cajole business, his smile wide and charming and friendly.
Avira In the harsh world of capitalism, one had to stand out and grab the attention of potential buyers! This particular merchant cart, commanded by Honest John himself, clearly has the right idea. Just look at all the COLORS and STUFF.

As a prospective shopper, Avira is immediately attracted to colors and stuff-the scarves especially, which could easily be the component in a disguise. It is these that are the first things from the fox's stall that receives Avira's attention. She strides over and starts to lift the scarves, one by one, feeling the material they are made out of while examining the patterns. "Hmmm..."

Pulling back her hand, she starts to look at the other items the cart has to offer before calling out to Honest John himself, "Say, how much are you selling these scarves for?"
Honest John "Ah, but you have an exquisite taste madam." The fox takes the slightly battered hat from his head, ears twitching as he sweeps it in front of his chest and reaches out a hand to gently finger the scarves.

Now, granted some of them do actually look good, but a few are a little threadbare around the edges and one that is artfully hidden away has it's color starting to bleed but to the fox they are as precious spun gold and moonlight, streams of starlight captured from distant horizons far away.

And of course. Munny.

"And for you, who has the common sense to come to me instead of these.." he waves a hand dismissively at the other merchants, who are, at this point, pointedly ignoring Honest John from an entire afternoon of having to deal with his blandishments. "hawkers-- I am willing to part with such exotic treasures. The fine markings there? That is the personal embroidery of a seamstress that I know." The fox looks crestfallen. "Or that I did know. I wonder what has become of her now." The fox makes to wipe one eye and sigh a little to himself with regret. "Oh-- oh yes! The price. The price my dear.. my apologies." he smiles wanely. "Forgive an old actor his moments of distraction." --He lowballs the price, eyes shimmering with the greed of the 'mnay I also suggest this' additional sale.
Avira There was a reason Avira started touching those scarves and it wasn't because she is a grabby person that likes to touch things. Just messing with them revealed that some certainly do not have the quality she was looking for. Then again, if this was a disguise she was going to ditch in the future at some point, a cheap scarf might be just the thing she needed.

She winds up picking the worst of the bunch, with fraying edges and bleeding colors, sliding it free of the others. "Well, your shop looked far more /interesting/ than the others." Avira says with her most charming smile, responding to the acting in kind.

Oh how sad, a seamstress lost, "-to the darkness, I'd imagine. Ahem, well..."

Her eyes widen at the price. "My, that's so low, I'd feel like I'm practically /stealing/ it. -of course, I'll certainly take it." Munny had never been something Avira was able to hoard, save for the secret airship fund she kept at the VALKYRI headquarters in a giant glass jar.

That look in Honest John's eyes, though...she can't quite place it. Confusion, surely the perfect time for him to strike!
Honest John "Yes yes. Very sad." Hoenst John puts the hat back on his head, tilting it forwards with a rakish air. My! I've seen that look before.. You are an adventurer, aren't you? A brave and noble and couragous fighter against the uncertainly of the horrors beyond the worlds?" his chest veritably swells with pride and another merchant, a turban wrapped fellow with a mustache, ostensibly cleans an old lamp and mutters.

"Oh. Here we go again.." to himself from the opposite stall as Honest John /launches/ head first into his spiel. "Every adventurer needs information as well as exquisite clothing. Why-- how else will you find the great treasures and secrets of the world that will help you on your noble quests without it? I Do-- if you have a moment of time-- have such a device that can assist such a noble warrior as yourself. It's a little thing really.

A trifle-- it's "It is a lump of /junk/" complains another merchant. "And you've been trying to sell it all /week/ --spare us another spiel."

"HEY!" Honest John barks at them. "Do I barge into your pathetic excuses for sells and sour YOUR customers?! Give an Honest Fox a chance to speak with the lovely lady before you poison the well with your venoms."
Avira Ooh. /Flattery/.

Avira likes that. "I am." she says brightly, her adventuring profession a point of extreme pride for the scarred woman. It always pleases her when people notice, even if the noticing person does so as a specific attempt to part her with more of her hard-earned munny.

Honest John segues into a topic near and dear to every adventurer's heart, Avira included. She doesn't try to interrupt his little speech, enraptured and waiting for him to explain precisly what he has to help her.

The other merchant interrupts and Avira glances over to the turbaned individual. "Sell it all week?" There's wariness in her tone. After all, if this thing was so wonderful, how could he not get rid of it?

As the two begin to fight, Avira smothers a snicker. "Well you have my interest, my good sir." He also called her a lovely lady, "Please, go on."
Honest John When the two stop bickering for long enough for the merchant to continue, Honest John's smile is now /firmly/ again in place although his tail lashes behind his back every so often. He presents to her this bronze cube. There are many lines and squiggles, and there are places where it might be turned or places depressed.

He spins her a tale of mystery-- of enchantment-- of "STOP STEALING MY LINES" -- "Quiet you hack!"

"Anyways, my lady.."

And he continues his story. About a doomed world faught with great peril but also blinding wonder, and how when they fell, they left this archive behind. The repository of all their knowledge, that was passed to him by another merchant along with the tale, extending in a long chain across a great continent and many worlds.

The Cube has traveled to be in his possession in order to be ready for.. something "Surely you can solve the riddle of the ancients? After all-- it has been waiting all this time, gathering dust-- " Honest John shrugs and looks downtrodden. "They say I am a fool, but I still believe in a miracle or two. That is why I still struggle one, telling the story to anybody who will listen."

"Or who will PAY."

Honest John grits his teeth and /ignorelists/ the merchant. "Would you like to have a try? Maybe-- the archive has been waiting for you."
Avira Avira takes the bronze cube in her hands. The scarf is quickly draped over a shoulder and she right away starts playing and poking it. "This...?" she says, holding it up to her face. "It reminds me of..."

Flashback. A Manhattan toy known as a Rubic's Cube. Such a thing didn't exist anymore unless someone had grabbed one before they fled. When he starts to speak of a doomed world, she wonders if it IS Manhattan he mentions...but as he continues to speak, she realizes it certainly isn't.

He goes through the whole story, which sounds mightily impressive but she can't help but wonder if it's just that, a story made to sell a strange piece of junk.

Then he mentions riddles. "Wait wait wait..." she looks at Honest John directly. "So this thing is a...puzzle?"

Oh no. She looks excited. As it just so happens, Avira really does like the kind of puzzles solved with hands. "I have to admit, I am -intrigued-." Especially to solve a puzzle that nobody has before!
Honest John And every time Avira says something positive, a cash register somewhere in Honest John's head dings and jumps up the price he is going to eventually offer to her. But instead of immediately hitting her with the bill, he tries another distraction tact. "You have come to the right place for Intrigue! There are many things here to amuse and intrigue. Is there anything else that you need that a humble merchant can provide?" and he starts in again with the flattery.

Honest John. Master of the Hard Sell.

As long as you have Hard Currency.

"Perhaps we should make a bargain. " and he tries to sell this to Avira for a modest price which is far, far higher than he could have sold the lump of junk to the scrap merchant. Ah. Tourists.
Avira "Oh, I can tell! You have a whole bunch of intriguing-looking things here." That are mostly junk, Avira is figuring. Heck this funny little cube could very well be junk too. A glorified hunk of puzzle that was painted over and dressed up to look all mystical and ancient-y.

AND YET, Avira wanted it.

However, experience had taught her that interest meant increased prices. "A bargain..?" He names his price, Avira frowns lightly. "Oh, that's total price, isn't it? To include the scarf? That seems a little bit higher than I was, well, expecting."

She holds it up to her ear. "There is the chance that this doesn't even work anymore." Avira counters the suggestion with a far lower price that would make Honest John feel like a sad extortionist panda.
Honest John Ah. But Honest John is also a master of Haggle-fu, young grasshopper-- and is not as easily willing to go down without a proper struggle. The foxes tail lashes once or twice as he counters. "Ah well yes. Expecting, expecting." he nods soberly.

"I know how it is for an adventurer to be down on their luck and consigned to being.." he pauses, then admits. "More thrifty than usual. There is a chance that it may not work anymore, but there is also the chance that you may be missing out on a grand adventure-- even.. a great destiny by shortchanging such a simple merchant as I." --And there's the hat in hand again. "But.. what do I know." he shrugs.

"But I am a fox who sells you intrigue. A fox who sells you /opportunity/ -- as well as greatly needed items. Surely you can dig a little deeper?"
Avira Alas, her certainly did not find the price right! "Well you know how adventuring is! Potions, equipment, airships, chocobo rental, it all really adds up." Avira shrugs disarmingly.

She turns the cube over in her hand, holding it up by a corner. "You're asking me to make quite a gamble, but, hmmm...I think I do have a /little/ more on me."

Avira suggests a second price, higher than her first suggestion, but certainly not the first that Honest John had named. It should assauge his merchant pride just a little more!
Honest John Annd roughly about twice what the junk dealer would have given him yesterday. Honest John gives Avira an ingratiating smile and finally relents. Somewhat.

"So it does. And I am humbled by your show of faith, my dear." The other merchant snorts very loudly at this and it sends the fox's brush bristling again.

"I believe we can have a deal. The agreed upon price for the cube and the scarf, which, may I ask, is a luxury item and quite rare. It would be quite a risk to go looking for another who would sell you the same quality."

He bumps up the price just that one notch more in the vein of reeling them in /just/ a bit more and then makes the transaction should Avira continue to bite.
Avira Ah, the tail floofed in irritation. That is a visual queue that Avira recognized well. How amusing! Perhaps she should buy the other merchant a drink later for entertaining her so much. "Quality?" Avira says slowly, lifting her free hand to toy with the frayed edge of the scarf. "Well I've been inspecting it closely and I have found a few..hmm..defects."

She lets the end of the scarf fall. "I would consider it acceptably added to the price at..."

Avira takes Honest John's last price and bumps it down juuuust a teeny bit.
Honest John And the deal is made.


Honest john continues to have that smile on his face, and it relaxes into something like smugness and a little bit like amused respect as he gives forth the scarf and the cube in exchange for the payment, which while relatively meager in general terms, is more than satisfying enough for a suck-- a paying customer.

"A pleasure to do business with you, my dear."
Avira Avira turns away to produce her money so Honest John knows that it isn't all the money she has on her. Sure, she could have paid a higher price, but why do that when she can haggle?! Pleased, she passes the money over.

The scarf is tossed around her neck with a flourish. The mysterious cube is tucked away into one of Avira's leather pouches.

"A pleasure!" Avira beams and strolls away. Part of her hopes she didn't just throw down a chunk of cash for a fancy-looking paperweight, but time would tell on that one, wouldn't it?

This scene contained 17 poses. The players who were present were: Avira, Honest John