Molly and Jester walk up to the storefront, arm in arm. They pretend they haven’t seen this place before, that they’re instantly charmed by the sign that reads "Razgha’s Leathers and Textiles" with the letters painted to look like they were sewn into the wood and the little window display of finely made coats and satchels. Molly checks around for Nott, but he can’t tell if he doesn’t see any sign of her because she’s not there, or if she’s just gotten that good at being invisible. It used to be that she’d have some telltale sign of her presence, whether it was footprints in the mud or a stumble and a curse when she bumped into things or the tkitkitkitki of her hasty steps as she darted from one hiding place to another. He’ll just have to trust that she’s nearby and go ahead with the plan.
Tieflings aren’t as rare in Xhorhas, but they’re still uncommon, so it’s understandable when the shopkeep, an older female orc, stares at the pair of them when they enter. “Uh, good day to you,” she says. “What can I help you with?”
“Well, you see,” Molly says with a polite bow, “it’s our anniversary and we wanted to get each other something special, so we’re picking out our own gifts, as it were.” He listens for Nott. She should be in the shop with them now. Molly had made a show of holding the door open for Jester so Nott could slip in ahead of her. They need the key for the cellar, and hopefully it’s in here somewhere and not on the shopkeep’s person. Molly has a few ideas of how to cause a distraction so she can pick some pockets if that’s the case. For the time being, he and Jester will continue to play the happy couple looking to make an impulsive and expensive purchase.
Jester squeals with delight and prances over to a rack of embroidered shawls. “Ooh, these are so pretty!” She sweeps one off the display to wrap it around her head. “How do I look, sweetie?”
Molly pretends to be enamored. It’s not difficult. “My dear, you look absolutely magnificent. How about that green one over there, though?”
The orc stands up behind the counter, one hand trembling in concern. “Oh, be careful, please. Your horns. Wouldn’t want to tear the fabric.”
“She’ll be careful,” Molly assures. He pulls five gold from his pocket and places it on the counter in front of who he supposes is Razgha. “This should cover any damage though, just in case.”
Razgha’s eyes widen for half a second. Her mouth pulls into a grin Molly knows well. It’s the “I’d rather you weren’t here but I’ll gladly kiss up to you if you’re throwing around that kind of money” grin. He saw it a few times with the carnival and often when looking for information with the Mighty Nein. It means he has her attention. Once again he checks for Nott, and again he’s not sure if the fact that he can’t find her is a good sign or not.
There’s a quiet sound of metal clinking against metal, but both of Razgha’s hands are on the counter. Molly hastily dashes over to a lumpy canvas mannequin that’s showing off a leather vest over an off-white tunic. “Darling, which of us do you think would look best in this?” he says loudly to Jester.
Jester saunters up, her tail swinging pensively. She puts one hand to her chin as she inspects the fabric with the other. “You mean wearing just this?”
“I’d wear it however you’d want me to,” Molly says with a wink.
“I think you’d look good in the vest.”
Razgha speaks up, “Ah, um, that is a women’s vest.”
Molly gathered such from the mannequin’s attempt at recreating a busty figure. It is a nice vest, however. He frowns. “Yes, and?”
“I— Um, well…”
Jester hugs Molly and entwines their tails together. “I think you’d look very sexy in that vest, sweetie.”
“Thank you, darling,” Molly replies with a kiss to the top of her head. “I think you would too. Though with your muscles I’m worried you would flex the poor thing to pieces.”
“D’aww, Molly,” Jester says, her shoulders bunching and her nose wrinkling as she grins bashfully at him.
Razgha clears her throat. The sound is on the rougher edge of polite. “My work is not so flimsy as that. Most of my customers are of a, erm, more robust nature than your…wife?”
Molly laughs. “Oh, goodness, no, I would never tie her down like that. No, I’d like to think I’m her favorite, but I’m only one of…how many partners do you have now, darling? Four? Five?”
Jester counts on her fingers. “Just four, I think. We’ll see.”
“Ah, well.” Molly gives her another kiss. “I’m sure she’ll come around.”
Their ruse is having the intended effect. Razgha is staring at them both in mild shock and disbelief. Fortunately, Jester taps him on the back in their designated signal to indicate that Nott has messaged her and they’re ready to go.
Molly feigns offense at Razgha’s bemused expression. “What? You think my darling couldn’t get five suitors? I’ll have you know I had to work hard to earn her affections, and I’d do it all again!” He tightens the coil of his and Jester’s tails. “Come on, love. Let’s take our business somewhere more understanding.”
“But Molly, I really wanted that shawl…” There’s genuine disappointment in Jester’s tone. She gazes longingly at the shawls with a subtle pout in her lower lip.
“…Very well. I said I’d buy you whatever you wanted and I’m a tiefling of my word. How much for the shawl?”
Razgha stammers a fumbled apology, but Molly glares at her until she sits back down, resigned. “One gold, two silver.”
“For those prices your work had better not be so ‘flimsy’.” Molly puts the coins on the counter. He includes a few extra silvers and doesn’t ask for his previous five gold back. The poor shopkeep deserves some compensation for putting up with their nonsense, and for the damages that might occur while they’re in her cellar later.
Jester happily wears her new shawl out of the shop. She does look quite good in it. Once again, Molly holds the door open for her with a sweeping bow. He perks his ears and just barely catches the sound of Nott dashing out into the street. Pretending to be Jester’s partner was nice. They should pull this con more often. He wouldn’t mind playing the same part with a few other of their friends…