The Alchemist is a new basement/shop/living area combo to add to your ever-growing collection of modular buildings.
Sweat beaded on Veron’s forehead. It collected together and slipped down his cheek to blend with the blood that ran from his nose. Burning pain still radiated and the point of impact could be seen, stained red, on the table in front of him.
“It’s just a few questions. Nothing too difficult, then we’ll be on our way.”
The thug smirked as he spoke. His threatening bravado was undermined slightly by a cough to clear his throat. He circled the table while his partner watched, leaning against the doorframe.
“You’ve quite a reputation as an alchemist. Do you have experience in the creation of poisons?”
The interrogator now hung over Veron’s shoulder, craning down to meet the halfling’s ear. Veron remained resolute and silent. He had experience with bullies and had developed an aversion to those who would intimidate others. More than that, he needed to delay them.
“I’m sure you’ve heard about the High Chancellor’s death. Poison. Not too many people in the area with the skills needed to-”
“What did you drink when we came in?”
A frustrated sigh over Veron’s ear. At the shop’s door, the second man inspected a small glass vial. He held it to his nose, taking a small sniff and coughing. Only a drop remained from the mixture. The rest was inside Veron, who had drunk it upon their violent entry into his workshop.
Two gloved hands gripped the sides of Veron’s chair, creaking the wood. The man turned his head to clear his throat again, this time more forcefully.
“Clever, really. Trying to poison yourself before we can get the truth out. Seems you’re not quite as skilled as we thought, though. Your poison’s taking its time and we don’t need long.”
One hand released the chair, grasping a handful of Veron’s hair and wrenching it back. He winced from the pain as his face met the thug’s. The man was, obviously, much larger than Veron. His head was shaved and a thick stubble emphasized his gritted jaw. His brow was contracted in fury above wide, reddened eyes.
There was a visible catch in the human’s throat before he grunted and threw Veron’s head toward the table. The halfling braced against the pain, stronger this time, as the man walked to the back of the room. His nose was broken now, if it wasn’t already. Behind him, the agonizing sound of bottles and notes being shoved off a table caused Veron to inhale sharply. The second man saw this, approaching with an opportunistic glint.
“Please, there’s no need to damage my laboratory…”
“Then answer our questions. Tell us what we need, then we can go and you can go back to your work.” The second interrogator now sat opposite Veron, his eyes occasionally flicking over his subject’s shoulder and to his partner. He leaned forward, stifling another cough.
“Fine. I’ll tell you.” Veron looked up at his captor. His eyes were focused and he seemed to ignore the pain in his face.
“I didn’t do it. I didn’t poison the Chancellor…” The man sighed in frustration. The exaggerated breath forced another cough as he lowered his head.
“… But I did make it. I made the poison that killed him, I knew it would kill him, and I would do it again.”
Both of the interrogators seemed surprised at the confession. A satisfied smile extended across the seated man’s face. He turned to his partner, but the look of celebration shifted into a furrowed brow. Veron heard the man behind him struggling to support himself. They both coughed.
“And your question, about the vial I drank when you came in? It wasn’t a poison.”
Panic was rising in the man’s eyes. His hand drifted shakily to his chest before darting up to cover yet more coughing. His breath rasped like knives in his throat and bloodshot eyes met Veron’s. The halfling was stoic and calm. His mouth curled in a grin.
“Quite the opposite. What I drank was the antidote…” Veron stood up from his chair as both humans began to wheeze and crumble under their own weight.
“The antidote to the poison that I filled this room with.”
Loud thuds gave way to an uneasy silence, broken only by the futile attempts for fading breath. Both men had fallen to the wooden floor. Small rivulets of red ran from their mouths and eyes. Veron stepped over them and towards his station, ready to continue his work.
– by Troy McConnell
More content by Troy
The cauldron-equipped basement also makes for an excellent witch’s hut if you swap the ground floor for a more conventional house. Gah, my head’s still in Halloween mode!
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