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private IC: Return of the King (1x1 with Catpone Cerberus)


Props Valroa

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@-HeedGreen-
"Following her." the dragon corrected, his tone was calm and confident, but not to the level of arrogance, or even pride really, unlike the female dragon Sombra had met before, this one didn't seem like he saw himself above Sombra, though he also didn't submit under him, rather, he was...neutral. "I have no interest in the local politics so you were no interest to me." "And why I followed? This." he held the medal to Sombra's eye level "I dropped it while I was observing her so I simply wanted it back." Una opened her mouth to ask something but the dragon spoke more before she could make a sound "I was observing her because I felt obligation to make sure that a creation of those I used to call my allies didn't cause too much havoc here." "Because while I don't care about the fate of this land, one shouldn't bring invasive species into a foreign ecosystem." Una was visibly offended by this,  invasive species? she wasn't some animal, she was an individual like everyone else. 

 

 

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@Catpone Cerberus

Sombra narrowed his eyes at what he had heard, and he didn't like what this dragon was saying. He kept collected for the most part. The one thing that struck out was that this dragon seemed to know where Una was from. "So it seems like you know something. Tell me more about that, and perhaps I'll consider letting you free for inconveniencing me. If you know something, you better fess up and tell me before something happens." Sombra said, making a slight threat to the dragon here. He didn't appear like he wanted to fight in this city, while they were largely far enough away to avoid being out of earshot, a direct fight would be something that would be easily noticed.

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@-HeedGreen-
"Don't mistake my calmness for weakness or pacifism, your ways of dark magic are ancient, obsolete even, I do not fear you." The dragon stated, as calmly as ever "But I have no reason to not speak to you." "You didn't specify what you want me to tell, but I assume it is about her." he looked at Una as to point at her with his eyes  before turning his eyes back to Sombra "I assume you are smart enough to have figured out that she's not from here, nor am I." "Our arrivals are not directly related, I've been here for quite a while longer." he showed the logo on the medal to Sombra "The United, an alliance between Equestria's enemies, you have seen the logo, I know you took the documents." he pointed at Una "UNA, United something something, a military research test subject, she's most likely either an attempt at a super soldier, or a weapon, can't say for sure, my brotherhood had nothing to do with such research." "She seems to have kept her individuality, so either she was unfinished or a failure." Una just opened her mouth in disbelieve, she wanted to say something, but she couldn't believe the way she was talked about, and thus she couldn't come up with anything fast enough, this dragon almost made Sombra look like nice respectful gentleman. "That's all I know about her specifically, as stated, my brotherhood took no part in military research, none of our business you could say." 

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@Catpone Cerberus

Sombra would grit his teeth. The information that was revealed was not too far off from what he expected. "I found her in a forest. Obviously from another dimension. You are likely from another dimension as well, as I have not seen Dragons of your type. I have never heard of this 'The United', so suffice to say, that also doesn't exist here." he snorted to him. "If you have the gall to call me obsolete, just be glad that we aren't alone. I'd be glad to show you how obsolete I really am." he rolled his eyes and noticed the expression on Una's face. "You seem to only care about what directly affects you. I can respect that. Now, give her back the metal you took from her, and we'll forget this encounter happened." Sombra stated, attempting to be diplomatic, but his patience was rapidly fading.

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@-HeedGreen-
"I don't think I will, after all, it's mine." the dragon said, flipping the medal over his finger, making it disappear from view "It's just a worthless piece of metal for you anyway, it has no magic, and you can't even sell it, it's not real gold." "You can keep the test subject though." he turned his back on the two "But be aware, we are not the first to appear here, nor the last, even now I'm being watched by one other, but also be assured, you are unlikely to be of interest to any of the others either, King Sombra..." he kept a short pause "...yes, I do recognize you, only one native being in this world has connection to darkness like yourself, maybe we'll meet again when you are....more formidable." 

This was now a second creature that seemed to be able to see through Sombra's disguise, though for this dragon it was less seeing through it and more just being able to sense Sombra's 'aura', though was it really surprising? considering that the dragon had one too?

"And don't worry, your illusions have nothing wrong with them, illusions in general just have become obsolete where we are from." Until Sombra said, or did something, the dragon would walk away, Una stayed quiet still, it was hard for her to wrap her head around things, as this was the first time she had been disrespected like this, so she ended up to just say nothing. This was also partly due to her not wanting to say something that Sombra didn't like, and being in such state, she wouldn't have considered her words very well.

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@Catpone Cerberus

Sombra narrowed his eyes as the dragon revealed his true identity. Sombra wanted to keep himself secret, but appeared unable to. The dragon did indeed have a point. His illusions were becoming obsolete, it worked back then, but it won't work now. Back then, he didn't use his amulet. He had managed to lose access to the Alicorn Amulet before he attempted to Conquer the Empire in full and maintain his power. Evidently, that was a critical mistake - as he only could rely on illusions, and his dark magic, rather than actual things so to speak. He could use his illusion magic to create scary monsters, but they were nothing more than images. It worked back then, since Ponies were less advanced and aware than they are now. 

Rather than what the Dragon probably expected, Sombra would state - "My own lack of foresight was my own downfall. After two defeats and nearly dying twice, I will not make those again. Eventually, the world will learn the value of Darkness and Shade, heralded by those of my race. Wherever you are from, or whenever I should say - in the future, when I have what I deserve, you'll know where to find me, and perhaps then, you can have a place at the table. You can take it or leave it. It makes no difference to me, you have all the time in the world to decide." he said, in a formal fashion.

"If where you from is significantly more advanced than this place, it shows - as evidenced by what I have seen from you so far. You will go a long way here, as will others like you, if you have the will to use it. Otherwise, you'll just be sitting around, watching, observing - without making a difference." he smirked slightly, and would also turn to walk away.

 

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@-HeedGreen-
The dragon stopped walking for a second "It's not your future we come from, we never had harmony, I saw the sun for the first time when I was 20, our dying world is covered in darkness, but it is not your doing, you were just a meaningless paragraph in Equestria's long history." "I shall watch if you do any better here, and only watch, I shall spend rest of my days like I have until now, in the shadows." he then walked once again, before suddenly being engulfed by darkness and disappearing.

While still greatly offended, the mention about dying world caught Una's ear, dying? in what way? was that why she was here, why this dragon was here? Una would turn away a moment after Sombra, and would generally do what he did. be it with a tiny delay since she had to go from visuals rather than commands. 

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@Catpone Cerberus

Sombra would watch as the dragon disappeared and went silent for a second. After the dragon vanished, he huffed. "What? What is this, a boarding school for those from other dimensions? If they won't directly help me, I don't see why they should even be here. That poses a grave risk to my future plans. Someone who I've never seen before can just come in and destroy everything with highly advanced technology." his eyes narrowed, he had never considered this up until this point.

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@WinterS
Una was silent at first, but then tried to speak, if Sombra told her to be quiet at any point, she would shut up and take her usual submissive state, but if not, she would say "M-maybe he didn't lie? When he said they don't care?" "He spoke of a dying world, and the building I came in seemed like it was just randomly cut off rather than purposely separated, so maybe they didn't arrive out of their own will?"  "And them being here specifically, could be because of me... I-I imagine building appearing in middle of a forest isn't hard to notice." the dragon had said as much, that he had followed her, but that didn't of course tell why he was around here originally, until he was investigating the building she came in.  

 

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@Catpone Cerberus

Sombra huffed slightly, although he didn't tell her to be quiet. "Whatever the case may be, they, and along with you were somehow brought here. I do not think it would be any natural occurrence. I have never heard of individuals randomly slipping into other worlds without a moment's notice, and if reality is truly that unstable then we have some serious issues going forward. If he really doesn't care, then I don't either. Let's go return to our objective." he said, changing the conversation topic and looking for any magical artifact stores or anything like that. 

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@WinterS
Una just shrugged, she didn't claim to know anything, she just guessed based on what she did know, which wasn't a lot. The only thing she fully believed, was the fact that she personally didn't come here on purpose, partly due to how she had appeared, and partly because she had seemingly come alone, one would think that if she was sent here on purpose, there would be someone with her or at least there would be someone waiting for her to arrive.  

Una kept her eyes open for anything that screamed 'powerful magic here' but unsurprisingly such things weren't exactly on the main streets of a city, there were shop or few that sold magic related things, things for potions, books for general magic learning.... and services like item identification or enchanting, and while one could assume places like the latter would have enchanted items in them, how powerful they actually were, was another question, since no doubt the princesses had some kind of laws in place against selling dangerous things like...well, the Alicorn amulet. The closest thing to obvious artifact shop was shops that sold magical trinkets. 

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@Catpone Cerberus

Sombra headed towards one of the artifact shops that looked the most promising. From initial looks, it looked like it was promising. He had no qualms with what he wanted to do - to steal anything of value here, to steal the highest value wears and then get out of here. Chicoltgo was a big city, so if there were any chases to be had, he and Una would definitely be able to lose any pursuers. He would have to see about the rail situation, as he was thinking it may be possible to take a train out of here like what they did before. 

As they approached the shop he would make sure to have a casual stance and stride as they walked into the place. Once they were in the place, he began looking around at the various things here. He knew that much of his illusion magic was obsolete, as soiled as he was to admit it. If he were to use 'real' magic, however - that would be unexpected by potential adversaries who knew him well.

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@WinterS
Una acted as casual as she could for someone covered in cloth from head to hoof, and at least for now she seemed to be successful, with most she was getting being few curious looks, it could have been that her generally submissive demeanor was mistaken for shyness or something similar, and thus others just assumed she wanted to be left alone, which she did, but for different reason. 

In the magical trinket shop, there was magical trinkets, mainly things meant for entertainment, magical equivalents of nightmare night outfits, things that made neat looking visual effects, things like that, nothing really one could use for anything useful, until they wanted to just suck out the magic itself, not that there was a lot. But even though the place seemingly sold what was basically magic toys, the place didn't feel like a toy shop, more specifically, the staff, the pony behind the counter was oddly shady looking for somepony selling this stuff, there was also two ponies of security staff, bit weird for a small shop selling relatively cheap junk, especially since they stayed nearby the counter the whole time, and didn't seem to actually care about watching over the stuff in the shop, and rather were watching over a 'staff only' door. 

On hindsight, Una thought about the fact that they didn't even know the shops name, there was no name outside, just 'open' sign and stuff, she hadn't been to a shop before, but she assumed they all would have some kind of name for marketing purposes. 

 

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@Catpone Cerberus

After looking around a bit, Sombra was a bit disappointed but then he would remember that they would likely keep more powerful items behind locked doors so visitors wouldn't see them. Perhaps one would have to walk up to the rather shady figure for information, but he didn't want to make any interactions here that would bring more attention to them. He wanted to be in, and out. Looking to Una, he would look into her eyes. "Stay here." he said quietly to her, and would then move behind some of the aisles where other ponies weren't, and his body would turn into black smoke - and would then move along the shadows of the room, slinking to the top of the door and moving inside. 

He would do that because he wouldn't think anyone would be looking at the top corner of the door. Once he was on the other side of the door, from his shadow form, he'd look around to see what was about the area.

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@Props
Una stayed as she was told to, but she didn't just stand there, instead she started browsing the shop, curious about what everything around her was. She glanced towards the ponies to see if they did anything she needed to worry about, but it seemed they couldn't care less about her, or the shadow that just went over them...those were very bad guards. She ended up looking at weak illusion trinkets that seemed to work like magical outfits, more specifically, she stopped to look at a picture that showed the effect of one of them, a Nightmare Moon one, it wasn't amazing by any means, the bare minimum actually, but it had few recognizable details, details that stuck Una's eye....there was something faintly familiar about it, she didn't know what, as she was sure this was her first time seeing it, but it was one more thing to add to the list of 'Why is this less weird?'.

 

Right after the door, the place looked like a normal backroom, a small break area and lot of boxes with stuff to fill the shop, but there was a small hallway, and after all the expected stuff ended, it opened into a room that was full of boxes, but in these boxes there wasn't stock for the shop, but rather all kinds of stuff, stuff that while vastly different from each other, it had a one commonality, all of it was old, very old. Not all of it, or even most of it, was magical, but certainly there would be something magical mixed in.

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@Catpone Cerberus

From in the backroom, Sombra began to look over the various boxes in the back of the shop. He could tell if there was anything worthy of value, he would find it here. While a lot of it had value, he wasn't here to steal and pawn it off to someone else for cash. He was here for the magical artifacts themselves, everything else other than that was simply not his concern. With his shadow form, he'd look through the boxes themselves. If there was anything magical, he would quietly collect it for himself in the corners of each room, and after the searching was done he would momentarily assume his physical form to stash the items within the pockets of his cape. There was a chance that this process could have been interrupted, and what the results would be - would depend on if he was successful in doing it without anyone walking in. 

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@Props
There were some magical items, some stronger than others, some damaged and some seemingly part of bigger whole that wasn't there, none of it was one the level of something like the alicorn amulet though, being mainly items that were used in ancient rituals or other non-combat activities. There were things that just made one's magic stronger, and things giving specific spells or types of magic, like a dragon themed horn-ring that added fire to magic that flowed through it, nothing was especially strong compared to others, and this was far from what Sombra would need to take on Equestria, especially considering the old age of everything. 
While the magic itself was as potent as ever, the artifacts themselves were worn and time had clearly taken its toll on the materials, so especially the stronger items were most likely such that using them at their full potential was dangerous to either the user or the artifact, most likely both; not that it necessarily mattered, if one managed to drain the magic from them rather than using them directly.

Sombra didn't need to worry about getting company, because while the ponies had noted his sudden disappearance, they didn't think much of it, since they hadn't really paid attention to him in the first place, and they didn't really have any reason to believe that the random stallion who came in with a hooded individual had managed to get past the guards, in fact, from two of them, Una was the one they paid slightly more attention to, and even that wasn't a lot, especially now that she seemed oddly interested in the Nightmare moon picture.

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@Catpone Cerberus

Sombra's eyes fell onto that of the dragon themed horn-ring. It looked to be some sort of fire magic related item. Fire wasn't typically his thing but it was definitely something that he would take. Looking to the other items, he would see they looked rather old. Definitely something he would be able to experiment with to create something better eventually. It was something he would be able to work with. Honestly, he couldn't help but feel a bit euphoric at the prospect of simply taking these. And so he would do exactly that, stuffing them all into his pockets. He'd have to experiment with them later.

Smirking pridefully, he looked off to the side. He'd be able to easily find other stores within this city, and take what they have as well. Hopefully that would amass enough potential power for him to experiment with, as well as finding the proper tools to do so. He knew about this thing well - he was the one who crafted and forged the Alicorn Amulet after all, so he knew what he was doing. With that in mind, his body evaporated into smoke, and his shadow form flowed outside and then went into the allyway, and he formed himself out of it with hopefully nobody seeing.

He went back inside casually, acting like he had lost something somewhere outside but seemingly giving up, muttering something about "glasses". He'd approach Una, and lead her out of the place. If they left without anyone knowing, he'd reveal that he was successful, and it was onto the next magic shop to see what else they had. 

 

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@Props
Una broke out of her thoughts when she heard the shop's door opening and felt the familiar feeling of Sombra's presence, at this point she was starting to get so used to it that she only noticed it when it went away for a while. She simply nodded and followed Sombra, the pony behind the counter glanced at her slightly when they left, but nothing happened, it didn't miss her that she had been very suspicious, especially with what she was wearing, but it still slightly offended her that she was being suspected of something, since factually speaking she had done nothing.

This offense however was one of those things that she didn't entirely understand, as it came from lot deeper than a slight offense should, like it was deep-rooted in her, had she been blamed for things in her past so much that it left a subconscious mark?

She nodded to what Sombra told her, but then seemingly hesitated something for a moment, before speaking now that they were in a place where Sombra felt private enough to speak of their plans "I-I'm sorry if I'm annoying but...I know the plan, it is clear, but.... What's your plan with me? I...All of this is for you, and it is clear you're not keeping me around from pure goodness of you hearth, you...no offense meant, don't seem like such individual." "D-don't get me wrong, I don't want to leave or anything, I just.... I want to be useful, I want to know what you want from me so that I can try to give it." it was a risk to say it but she decided to take the risk, the dragon's comments earlier had ignited a kind of spite in her, she wanted to show that she was more than just a test subject. 

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@Catpone Cerberus

Sombra's eyes would fall upon Una's own. It seemed as though she may possibly be getting ideas. He tolerated many of her questions and such before - but now was a time to show discipline and to show that he was truly a force to be reckoned with. He pulled her into an ally somewhat roughly, and looked deeply into her eyes much like the leader of a wolf pack and snorted right in her face.

"For a while now I have tolerated your questions. I will give you answers when I deem it appropriate. Right now, my plan for you is for you to follow my orders exactly as I tell them to you. I know best. I know what I am doing. Do not take my tolerance for you for me being foolish, or weak. If by any chance, or even mere thought in that head of yours of betrayal arises, I will know. I've had many guards and ponies get fragrant ideas around me, and it didn't end too well for them. I will leave it at that." his eyes were intense. He was speaking very deeply, clearly - so she could hear each and every word properly.

"What I want is your loyalty. Beyond that, that remains to be seen. I do not know what you can and can't do. One step. At. A. Time." he huffed, speaking of their current plan to take more magical artifacts. He went silent, letting the words settle into her mind before abruptly pulling away, and leading them towards the next shop as if nothing happened.
 

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@Props
While Una's reaction was fearful and apologetic, Sombra's response didn't have the effect he may have thought it had, Una was already scared of him, so threatening her changed nothing in that aspect, it did however confirm to her that her feeling about him had been right, that the sense of danger was not imaginary. It also didn't quell her bitterness, quite the opposite. Ultimately, Sombra got Una to shut up, but the effect beyond that was actually negative, from his point of view, she did not become more loyal, rather, her dislike towards him grew, and while something in her drove her to stay loyal to him, it did not control her direct actions, and more importantly, her words, he was annoyed by her questions? well, now she would keep her thoughts to herself, all of them, even if she thought they would be useful for him, if she ever figured out something he didn't, he would only learn it if he asked the right question.

She also started to doubt the things that had been told to her, partly because of the emphasis on betrayal, because if what he had told about the rest of the world was true, why would he be worried about betrayal, why would she change sides if the other side would treat her worse?

 

For shops, the situation was still the same, there was magic related shops, but none of them were selling powerful magical items, the trinket shop they just visited was the closest thing to artifact shop when looking at the openly sold merchandise. 

 

 

 

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@Catpone Cerberus

Sombra would look to Una and realize her reaction. As they walked to the shop that lay ahead he would begin to tell them about Celestia and Luna. Who they were, their role in the world. He would describe various details about how they lead to his defeats with the elements of harmony, and how his Empire had been stolen from his control. His Empire shattered to the winds, and stolen by Cadence and Shining Armor as well, who he had not previously brought up. Of course what he said about them was through his eyes, and the way he spoke about it - he strung his words together in a way that indicated that he genuinely believed what he was saying. It wasn't something he would just make up on a whim.

Sombra didn't just do what he did because he wanted to do it, he did it because he had to, for the sake of his Empire. To free his people from underneath of the ice, to release them from their banishment under the ice that Celestia and Luna had put onto them so long ago. He made this evident as well. Though the historical accuracy of what he was spoken of could likely not be either confirmed or denied, as said events had happened so long ago that it had likely phased from history. He was careful to omit the more brutal parts of what he had to do, so that if anyone talked about it - he would simply claim that it was a bunch of lies and propaganda to make him look bad. Throughout his explanation, he remained stern - yet understanding, to the way Una might view things. At least that was how he wanted to project himself.

After this conversation, he would tell Una to wait outside while he want into the various shops in a similar manner as before. With his shadow form, he would have looked right through their inventories for anything that was worth taking for his purposes. If there was anything, he would take it. 

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@Props
While it didn't magically change Una's opinion on Sombra, at best showing to her that he was volatile emotionally, being able to go from total calmness to strong hostility and anger and back to calmness, she did appreciate the better explanation, though while she didn't necessarily doubt his words directly, she did take it with bit of grain of salt, both due to his words and actions, and because it was just a bit too...nice, he had just few seconds before threatened her with what to her sounded like death, so him not doing anything...too harsh was hard to believe, not that she blamed him, after all, even she was aware that individuals tended to tell stories from their own point of view, and that meant they would always be the good guys of their story in way or another.

She stayed quiet mostly, but she did take part in the very one sided conversation in the end, addressing the explanation of Celestia and Luna, even though it went against the decision she had made moments before, though it was less a direct comment and more thinking out loud, which Sombra could easily ignore if he wanted to "The names are still not familiar, but something about rulers of the moon and the sun ring a distant bell, and I don't think I liked them." 

 

She would wait as she was told, there was no artifacts in sale, at best there were tools and other such that had been enchanted to do their job better. 

 

 

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@Catpone Cerberus

Sombra didn't reply to her comment, but would be sure to moderate his actions further onward. He couldn't risk losing her. He knew little about what she was, and even less than what she was capable of. He had hopes she would be able to be a powerful weapon at his side one day. He could very easily perform his corruption magic on her like he did with the Crystal Ponies - those who were corrupted by him would have their moralities replaced with what his would be. They would be eager to fight at his side, but otherwise when not being ordered around would remain true to their personalities before that. He didn't want a society of drones or mindless ponies after all. However, as far as he knew, this spell only worked to that level of control on Crystal Ponies. Might be something with their biology.

As for her? Her biology seemed to be a mix of all different species so there is no telling if it would work or not. He wasn't betting that it would, though. 

When he was inside the various stores, he would collect the various most powerful artifacts he managed to nag without anyone noticing. After he did this for all the shops he could, he began to take them towards the railyard. Hopefully they could find a train that could take them to Canterlot, if not somewhere near to it.

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@Props
It was a weird feeling, to feel like something was familiar while you were certain you had never seen or heard of it, and also not being able to tell in which way it was familiar. She knew now that things like that were caused by her memory having been wiped, but it didn't really help with anything, she was still clueless about most things and knowing why that was didn't give her the needed knowledge. What were she a test of anyway? the dragon spoke of weapon and soldier, and the building she was in was military related, but she couldn't feel anything special about herself, besides the obvious of course, but she doubted that uncontrolled constant change of appearance was the desired result.

 

There wasn't that much to find, there were few things here and there, the highest amount of magical items being in a enchanting shop, but since most of it was armor and tools and such, stealing it, even by magical means, was inconvenient at best, and pretty much impossible at worst, if not for any other reason than the items being in very visible places with lot of eyes looking at them. Other than that, any artifacts that were around were used as decoration or were otherwise not too heavily guarded, but while that made them easy steal, it also meant they weren't especially powerful, since nobody wanted to keep actually dangerous artifacts in the open, not that owning them was legal either. 

Ultimately the trinket shop was the best haul, and like the stuff from there, what could be found was mostly the kind to either boost magic, or the kind that had very specific spells in them; there was also few pieces that were enchanted to nullify magic. Though unlike the ones in the backroom, items found from other places were generally in better condition, since they were usually either actively used or used as decoration. 

 

 

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