Their meetings were always so awkward.

Muxileth Sixtysix and Tripsibet Teavalve sat on a low masonry wall around the corner from the SI:7 entrance. It was warm in Stormwind, which meant that the smell of horse manure was inescapable. Muxi ran a finger over the pattern woven into the red brocade of her dress. She laughed.

“Troll relics? Truly?”

“Don’t you think they might seem creepy to troggs?”

Tripsy wore pants and boots of soft doeskin dyed the earthy color of dried blood. The sleeves of her cream-colored cotton shirt were just a little too long; she kept rolling and unrolling them.

Creepy, she thought, was something her cousin should be an authority on. If they’d been having this conversation outside the city, Muxi would have summoned one of her little monsters to lurk about “just in case.”

“They’re stupid. I know they stand up, they use weapons but they’re too stupid to think something’s creepy. Edible, yes. Enemy, yes. Creepy is too nuanced.”

Tripsy didn’t try to hide her disappointment. Muxi continued, “But if you like the effect, that’s great. And you’re killing troggs. Good work!”

“Yeah well. I like to keep the shop clean. They would have wanted me to.”

“Mmhm.” They were silent a moment.

“Would you reopen the shop if we got the city back?”

Tripsy gave her cousin a sharp look. “Well, naturally.”

“You’ve thought about it, then?”

“It’s what I do, Muxi. It’s what mother and father did, and their parents. I’m good at it.”

“You do other things now.” She nodded toward SI:7. “I know you’re in deeper than I am. I get the feeling you’re pretty good at that.”

Tripsy stopped unrolling her sleeve and blinked. “You wouldn’t go back?”

Muxi shook her head. “I like being out in the world! There’s so much to see, Tripsy. So much to learn. Speaking of which!”

She hopped off the wall and gave Tripsy a quick wave. “There’s a boat I have to catch. Kalimdor. Got a lead on something old, and by old I mean ancient. Maybe powerful.”

Tripsy stared at cobblestones after her cousin left. It was a choice, after all.


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