The shop bell rang. I looked up from organizing a gleaming display of hunting knives to see a shy-looking boy walk into the shop. His eyes grew wider and wider as he took in the impressive array of equipment lining the walls.
“Good morning!” I sang out. “And how can I help you today?”
“I need some things for going on a quest,” the boy said in a quiet, hesitant voice.
“Then you’ve come to the right place!” I came around the counter and thumped him on the back. “Welcome to the ultimate quest emporium, we supply all your needs. Quest big or small, we’ll outfit them all! Now, first I’ll need to know exactly what kind of quest you’re going on.”
The boy looked confused.
“Oh, there’s all sorts of quests,” I said. “I’ve got a whole catalog here.” I thumped the large book on the counter. He gave it a look that made me think he wasn’t the reading sort, so I began to enumerate the possibilities. “First of all we need to know what size of party you’ll be traveling with. Small group, medium group, small army, large army, an entire nation, or…” I put my arm around his shoulders and gave him a wink, “An army of one, aye?”
He didn’t respond, so I kept going.
“Once we know that, we can order up your mode of transportation. Will you be going on foot? Always popular, cheap option that, recommend it if you’re questing with an entire nation, but I’ve got horses, wagons, camels, dragons…” As if to punctuate my pitch, a screech and a bright burst of flame shot in through the back window. “All in the stables out back. Sorry, I’m fresh out of giant eagles, the last fellow who came in bought the lot of them.”
The boy frowned.
“I’ll also need to know what your objective is,” I said. “Are you going to fetch something? Or perhaps deliver something? Do you know exactly where you’re headed, or is your final destination a mystery? Is your questing target stationary, or will it be moving about? Will it matter if you return, or is it imperative that you stay once you reach your goal? Also, what’s the scope of your quest? Will you be saving the kingdom? The world? Your own village? Or perhaps just one person?”
The boy swallowed. “Just one person,” He said. “And I’m the only one going, really.” He dug a very unimpressive pile of copper coins from a small pouch at his belt. “It’s my sister. I have to find her. We think the fairies took her.”