The Potion Master

An elderly gentleman bowed slightly as his customer left the shop and said, "Have a good day, sir!".

"Thanks, you too! This will really come in handy!" A young adventurer lifted a brown bag concealing a healing potion while closing the door behind him.

"Only the best for you, Tobi! Be sure to come back if you need anything!" The elderly man then slouched a bit in his seat and sighed before nodding to himself. His shop was littered with oddly-shaped jars filled with liquids of all different colors, all reflecting his shadow as he crept toward the door.

"Well, that's it for today!" He said as he flipped the shop sign to "closed." He then pulled out a broom and began to sweep the floor, whistling a slightly sour tune as he did so.

Once done, he returned the broom to the front of the store before opening the flap to the back room near the desk, where he was immediately welcomed by the quiet bubbling and brewing of various concoctions. Though there were no lamps, the room was illuminated by the glow of several different potions; however, there was a shaded black door across from the entrance that seemed hidden from plain sight. Amidst everything was a single desk with a large stack of papers, along with a quill and ink.

The man sighed again and pulled the chair back before sitting in it and staring at the ceiling. He then began to write:

Dear Illyna,

Today was a good day. We finally managed to save up 1000 gold coins, which should be enough to start you off on your journey!

Before you go, please take as many potions as you need! At the very least, please take a few health and defense potions. In fact, I can give you some of my favorite recipes in case you want to follow in your grandfather's footsteps and brew a few yourself!

When you were younger, you told me that you wanted to be the greatest adventurer to ever live. You said you wanted to protect everyone in the village and save the world from the Demon Lord.

Well, I believe in you. No matter what happens -- no matter what challenges you encounter in life -- please remember that.

I'll always be with you, encouraging you from the side lines. I miss you more than anything in the world.

I love you,

The man nodded and began sifting through the papers on his desk, all of which were filled with scribbles and crossed out phrases. This was it. The final letter.

He sealed it up in an envelope and placed it at the center of the desk before walking to the door on the far side of the room. He opened it and immediately turned on a small, flickering lamp. There were no windows, but it was possible to make out a single, small coffin in the center of the room, surrounded by a series of pipes and a giant cylinder just big enough to fit the old man. A small hole had been drilled into the coffin to allow one of the pipes to enter.

Potions were a tricky business. Stealth potions required foliage and the fur of stealthy creatures. Strength potions required tough materials, like horns and stone. Health potions required blood, and a lot of it. All of these ingredients could be found relatively abundantly. Even health potions could be made by sacrificing a few woodland creatures like mice or squirrels.

On the other hand, revival potions were another story entirely. They required human blood, human skin, human bones, and most importantly, a human soul. They were the essence of humanity distilled into a single tonic.

The old man took a deep breath and stepped into the machine. A few seconds after he closed it, there was a loud cracking noise, and white mist began to leak from the machine's improperly welded joints. Within minutes, a small dripping noise could be heard on the inside of the coffin.

The next morning, in complete darkness, the coffin's lid opened, revealing a pale little girl in a white dress.

The potion master, of course, was no where to be seen.

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