>>314075>As you leave Shay's kiosk, you hear her from the back room call out back to you.
"I'll have a selection ready for you to browse, when you return, mister human!">As you regroup with with Nevil, the situation looked like it was already cleared up: Citrine was incapacitated, the guards have already left empty-hooved, and one one of Golden Gadget's game buddies was nursing a black eye while Nevil looked over him.
"Mmmgh, great, another one...">>314091>Getting Quill's attention he looks up at you through one good eye, his left slowly squinting more and more from the swelling.>He stiffens at your offer of actual first aid, and breaks eye contact with you to nowhere in particular while talking through his teeth.
"No thanks. I'll... get checked out at the clinic a level down.">Quill leans back a bit as you get to eye-level with him, his ears pull back in a pout. He's being cooperative at least, but he's not happy about it.
"I guess it IS a coincidence, then. On my days off I go rare ore hunting at markets... I hit here, Gozka, even Dragonspine Mountain occasionally.">He throws his head back, hissing outwardly.
"-sshhh- I make custom Mazes and Monsters dice sets, and rare hard-to-get ores go for a a premium along with adding enchants to them."
"Mister human! I'll back him up on that, at least.">The ore kiosk mare Amethyst gets your attention with a hoof wave. Quill's ears perk up at her chiming in.
"Quill comes by every Monday looking for stuff from Stalliongrad, Ewerup, even banned and embargoed countries then storms off when he comes up empty-hoofed!">Hearing his methods so bluntly explained, Quill grumbles to himself amusingly.
"What can I say, I have an expensive hobby. And an archivist's salary doesn't exactly pay for it.">Looking a bit more sympathetic, Amethyst dips behind her kiosk and walks out from behind it with a large chunk of perma-ice. A dip of her head offers it to Quill. He magics the ice from her and hovers it over to press on the left side of his face, letting out an exasperated sigh of relief on contact, then looks back at you.
"If this has something to do with Gadget the other day, I swear I haven't seen him since. Neither have the others, far as I know.">>313514>The more stern guard mare you were currently being appraised by looks you over once, nodding and blinking slowly passed the openings in your helmet.
"HmmHmm. There is a Gozkan smith and fletcher from the Hegemony here today, so you're in luck human. It's no problem anyway, you may pass through.">Shifting from business to food, she does perk up a bit nodding more enthusiastically.
"Then you'll have to check out the Sand Dune Cafe, up at the north end. Plenty of space for sitting, and they cater to a range of diets.">As the rest of your adventure group ascends the steps behind you, the guard mare to your right greets them. You notice a new human has joined with Jim and Joel: A man in his, you would guess, early 30's donned in battle robes, greaves, gauntlets, torso and thigh and skirting sheet layered armored adorned in a royal purple with predominantly white and lesser black patterns.>What got you attention most were the pair of swords attached to the left of his hip: one full length, with a slight curve going by its sheath, and a smaller one between the length of a dagger and short sword. Both matching the color scheme of his armor.>At the first mention of food he speaks up passed any oncoming conversation. His voice is heavy with an accent foreign to you.>>313553>Kenny's voice booms over the group, hearing him be addressed by you to Lucius.
"Hai! A good full meal before we set off sounds perfect!">The Bronze Elite Guard mare nods her head in agreement with Kenny's sentiment.
"Mmmmmm Hmmm! The Sand Dune sounds great for lunch! And a Maregarita, after we're done for the day. Can't wait.">>313931>Hearing you both stick up for the latter guard mare, the one attending to Lucius waves a hoof at both you and Jim reassuringly.
"While I wholeheartedly agree with both of you... as two out of three Elites of the Bronze Guard in Neighmara, it is our duty to set an example for the Veterans and Masters. While this one has been letting in too many solicitors with no good reason up in the upper markets lately. Only one of us is supposed to guard the main entrance at all times, but she needs a chaperon or else she's in for a demotion.">'Dancer' nudges a shoulder at her partner, who dips her helmeted head, pauses, before snapping it back up with a bubbly aura.
"Hehe! I know I'm easily charmed! I even let in a known pickpocket up here the other day. No need to defend me!">Embarrassing the mare's shortcomings aside, her senior 'Dancer' looks to you and nods into the markets.
"You mean the donkey and the armored human? They haven't left yet, so they're probably still walking around inside. I doesn't matter anyway. Miss Espresso informed us all humans and any companions of yours' are permitted in.">Dancer turns to the gateless wall of runed glass and presses an armored hoof against it. Almost instantly, a ripple erupts form the point of contact and a thick glowing line draws up from the bottom of the wall up to twelve feet high. It then splits left to right, arching downwards to line out a silhouette of a huge arching doorway.>A crystalline crackle breaks the seal on the wall, and it swings open inward to open up to a bustling market centered in an open courtyard.
"Enjoy your stay in Neighmara humans."