Just Before the Boss Fight

Halfway up the wizard’s tower was a landing where a lone figure, wearing a traveler’s coat and a wide-brimmed hat, stood and waited. No one had been by in a long time, except for the wizard, who never stopped to talk. But now a small group approached, pausing during their climb. Three people, adventurers by the look of them, eyed the waiting figure cautiously.

“Who are you?” Asked the one wearing lots of heavy armor.

The figure smiled in an approximation of welcome. “Merely a merchant. Perhaps you would like to look at my wares.”

“Do you not realize how dangerous this place is?” This time, the one with the staff asked.

“Of course. That is why I am here. You should be sure you are well-equipped for the confrontation that is before you.”

“So you sell to those who would face the wizard?” The third person was quiet and dressed in dark clothing.

“Exactly. No one wants to enter an important fight without enough healing potions or other necessities.”

Armor spoke again. “Does the wizard not object?”

“No. I pay a modest rent, as well as making sure the fights are not a complete waste of his time.”

Next was the staff again. “How do you earn enough in this place?”

The figure’s smile grew bigger. “Enough try to defeat the wizard. And you have not yet seen my prices.”

Finally, the quiet one took its turn. “If your prices are so high, what would stop us from leaving and going elsewhere?”

“Absolutely nothing. However, the wizard will reset all the enemies you have already defeated, and you will need to fight them all again. If you go through all of your support items, you will still need my services.”

Armor sighed. “Very well. Let us see what you have.”

“Excellent! Also, for a fee, I can save your progress.”

“What?” Staff asked.

“If you should lose your fight, you can come right back here and try again.”

“How does that even work?” Quiet followed up.

“Magic!”

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