A week has passed. Hnng comes into work in the morning. He ignores the bulletin board. Marda notices three new bulletins. One says that the government wants more information about the princess. Another is of a new magic shop. Marda takes the last coupon attached to the bulletin. It seems that the magic shop is associated with Wizards of the Coast. The last bulletin says that there is a forest fire to the west; much of the forest had burned down, but the government reports that it has no reason to believe arson. When Hnng learns of the last piece of news, he gets very excited to himself and tries not to show his excitement to others.
Yish staggers into the office three hours late. He’s only slightly drunk, but he is pissed (as usual). Yish is wearing a black turtle-neck and jeggings, with many ear rings. The leader of the red cloaks, although not wearing his red cloak, follows Yish into the office and makes himself known. Hnng peaks out from his slightly ajar door. The leader notices but doesn’t acknowledge.
Yish is surprised that the leader was so quiet. The leader had been waiting for Yish to arrive at work. Clarion is also surprised, as she comes up the stairs from the basement, to see the leader.
The leader claims that he is heir to the monarchy. The current ruler is a usurper, a second uncle. The usurper’s done a bad job of ruling, and the leader wants to take the throne back. The leader also reveals that the blue stone is an ancient artifact. Hnng comes out on pretense of getting more coffee. Hnng has completely forgotten of the incident at the barn; he drinks noisily.
The leader continues to explain that the blue stone casts illusion spells that tests the heir to see if he is worthy of the throne. Clarion begins to wonder whether that meant that everyone was standing there in the barn with dumb expressions on their faces. The leader adds that the stone took them into a pocket dimension. Marda then asks what the leader’s opinion is on forest animals. Yish warns the leader to be very supportive of the animals. The leader responds to Marda: “Creatures are important to the ecology of L’lanon”. Marda is very pleased with this response and is willing to help him in any way.
The party then begins to wonder what the leader’s name is. The leader reveals his name to be Cory Dapia. Yish asks rather disbelievingly whether Cory is really his name and then explains that his cousin’s name is Cory. That cousin has really bad eczema. So Yish was surprised that such a non-regal name would be the rightful heir’s.
Both Yish and Marda detect no deception in Cory’s claim to the throne. Clarion thinks he’s lying. Hnng attempts to intimidate Cory into not telling lies (Hnng doesn’t even bother trying to detect whether he’s telling the truth). Cory does get uncomfortable at Hnng’s proximity, although he isn’t actually afraid; even so, Hnng convinced that Cory now fears him. Hnng slithers back to the coffee pot, now filled only with the dregs, pours another cup full, and begins grinding his teeth on the bitter coffee grounds. Yish assures Cory that Hnng is not acting unusually.
The party is now curious to hear what Cory wants. Cory explains that he wants the blue stone.
Knowing that he is in a position of bargaining, Yish makes two demands. The first is to help get Vallan back. The other is to deal with Rudolf, whom Yish describes as being a dick and living in the forest and abusing dire wolves. Cory wonders what he can do, since his rule does not extend to the western forest. But he does promise to protect Sif with his guard. Yish attempts to understand the size of Cory’s guard. Cory replies that there are more guards than whores in the town. Everyone turns to look at Hnng, who becomes very self-conscious and refuses to answer. As for helping with Vallan, Cory agrees to allow them to be served with Wizards of the Coast. In return, Yish allows Cory to use the blue stone under supervision (meaning that Yish and his friends are allowed to be a part of trials).
After Cory leaves, Yish pulls out paper, glue, and broken pottery to work on his collage. Hnng returns to his office, which has a blacked out window. Yish declares that pizza bagel bites is superior to pizza hot pockets. Hnng gets sucked into the discussion. Clarion gets ready to prepare bagel bites for the party’s lunch. But then she remembers that she’s got a sandwich (from the Philadelphia Street’s gnomes) at home and so leaves Yish to finish cooking the bagel bites.
Yish also gets notice that he gets a 10% discount on all items at the Cat’s Paw.