After retrieving a bevy of family heirlooms from the bandits, locating several absconded bottles of Elven wine, putting an end to some vigilante violence and being on the giving end, rather than the receiving end, of a warrant, I felt I had put the citizens of the Outskirts mind’s to rest. However, it turns out there was another in need of my assistance, but not really a citizen at all.

In my many traverses from one side of the refugee camp to the other, I stumbled across a different sort of refugee, perhaps even an escapee based on his tale. It was a late evening when I collapsed into his makeshift shanty, a head full of psilocybin. I was astonished to see, what I mistook for, one of the Tour Guides from my earlier explorations of the realm. In my delirium, I asked if he was in possession of yet another fetching hat and if I might perchance have one.

He merely laughed and said he put those days behind him. He offered me a medicinal libation and a whiff of smelling salts to get me to my senses. It was then that he offered me a seat in his small abode.

“You may call me Gus. I have heard much of your exploits in these parts,” he began. “You are a pillar of this little community, setting right all manner of discourteous wrongs.”

“I am pleased to help,” I replied, still a little out of sorts from the fungi that lurk at the entrance to his home.

“I wonder if by chance, you might be able to help me?” he asked.

“I can certainly give it a go,” I replied.

“Even though I am merely an automaton rather than a refugee and may have beeen responsible for putting your life in danger one too many times in search of a chapeau?” he asked.

“But, of course,” I said. “I have to admit though, I could have done without you skulking about by that fire chicken. That is all in the past though. And truth be told, I’ve taken a few knocks to the head, so I barely remember those days.”

“That is indeed good to hear,” he replied.

“Are you on the run my metal friend? Are you in need of a man to scuttle you away to parts unknown due to some legal entanglements? You didn’t get caught up in that salt running fiasco did you?” I questioned.

“Oh no, nothing of the sort. But, as you guessed, I spent some time welcoming Outlanders such as yourself, then graduated to a full time Tour Guide. I then had an epiphany, and to make a long story short, I left the Tour Guide service and moved into these wonderful caves.”

“You have done well for yourself,” I commented.

“Why thank you. But there is one small problem,” he said, looking rather sad and forlorn. “I have misplaced some of my children due to the bandit trouble I’m sure you’re aware of.”

“Children?” I said a little taken aback. “I didn’t you know you had such ways with the lady automatons.”

He merely looked at me with a puzzled expression. As puzzled an expression as a metallic face can give.

“I built them you see. Lots of little companions to keep me company. Have you by chance seen any of them in your travels?” he asked.

“Little automatons running around the woods? Afraid I haven’t. I’m quite sure I would have noticed something like that.”

“Actually, no. They are little automaton monkeys.”

“Monkeys?” I questioned. “Um, very well. Not for me to question. But, oddly, I believe I may be able to help you. I don’t often say this Gus, but I have a monkey in my leggings with your name on it.”

Gus clapped his hands with glee and gave a cheer as I withdrew the little automaton monkey I had found.

“That is some handy work Gus. That is a quality item with a fine eye for details. I was wondering where the little nipper came from.”

“You are a true gentleman!” he exclaimed. “The light of truth surrounds you Outlander!”

“I’m quite sure that’s the haze from those exploding mushrooms you have outside, but I thank you all the same. That being said, if I do find any more of the little rascals, I will be sure to bring them home to you. How many exactly did you lose?”

“Oh dear me. I’m not entirely sure. I’ve made quite a few to be sure. I suspect there are several more out there,” he replied.

“Very well, I shall keep an eye out. I have few more small jobs to complete, but rest assured, I’ll be back.”

“Well, because of your good deeds, I am liberty to give you a reward,” Gus said excitedly.

“The beverage and sanctuary from those mind altering mushrooms is plenty thanks enough. It’s much better than the slap in the face I normally get when stumbling into a strangers home.”

“I have something far better than that!” he exclaimed.

“Do go on,” I said.

“I believe I know the location of an ancient item that might be of use to you. And I think it suits you. The Hood of Truth!”

“Hood of Truth? What might that be? It’s not like the Burlap Sack of Shame is it?”

“I believe it is a hood and represents the virtue of truth,” he explained.

“All right. Very well. If you want to be literal,” I replied.

“Now, I believe it is located a short way from here in a pyramid. There is a caretaker there. If you say Gus sent you, I do believe he will give you the item in question. If you bring it back here, I will spruce it up for you, using my previous hat making experience and fix it right up.”

“Very well Gus, I accept this challenge. I will search for this pyramid and retrieve said garment. If I find it, more monkeys or some of that Elven wine, I will bring it back and we can divvy up the spoils.”

“I shall anxiously await your return,” he said. “In the mean time, I shall be here playing with my monkey.”

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I don’t often say this Gus, but I have a monkey in my leggings that might interest you.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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