In the morning they retrieved their collection of bandit equipment from the basement and set off for the Market District to see what it would fetch at Jensine's. The reporter wasn't expecting much, but the offer Diablita got for the first piece was much lower than he could believe. "Let me handle this," he said, and took over the haggling. The price immediately went up considerably, and he made the deals on all the remaining items. The enchanted items got a nice premium, too. They'd decided that they weren't worth keeping if they couldn't be repaired, but Jensine didn't see it that way. She could sell them to people who had the ability to fix them.

He shouldn't have been surprised when he got the better deals. Jensine had never seen anyone like Diablita before, and probably thought she was Mehrunes Dagon's daughter. He'd also had a lot more practice at dealing with shopkeepers than the sisters, if they had any at all.

Angeline had noticed that. She proposed that she and Diablita would do all the dungeon-diving, if he'd do all the selling. They'd seen that he wasn't comfortable with fighting, and they'd like to keep him alive for the things that he did do well. She hoped that included map-making, as they'd need to know the good places to look.

He bought a couple of blank maps of Cyrodiil from Jensine, and marked on them the places he knew. Mostly, they were just ones that he'd passed by on the roads, but there were a few that other people had told him about. In particular, he pointed out Rockmilk cave, and Fort Nikel. Those were locations where bandits and marauders were always fighting each other for possession of the hideout, and there was a good chance one could just go and pick up the pieces when they'd wiped each other out.

"Rockmilk's a long way away from the city," Angeline noted. "But Fort Nikel's just up the road from the Talos Bridge. I bet we could go there and be back before it gets dark." She and Diablita scampered off across the plaza toward the gate to the Eleven Gardens before he could say anything.

He decided that this would be a good time to see what the Three Brothers had to offer in the way of storage. And maybe buy himself a chair, too.

The amount of stuff they dumped on the floor of the shack left him amazed. He didn't understand how they'd managed to bring back so much. Diablita told him they'd found a couple of feather potions in a chest at the fort, and they'd lasted just long enough to get home.

That was how she put it. "Home", not "back here". He had a sinking feeling that his life wasn't his own any more.

They picked through the heap, deciding what to keep and what to sell. Some of it was better than the equipment they had, so their old things went on the "sell" pile in their place. Not much of the armor would fit Diablita, with her large breasts and beast-shaped legs, but there were a few plate pieces she thought she could adapt. Angeline didn't have that problem, but she was just as choosy in what she'd wear. It seemed to him that looks outweighed protection in her selections, but he said nothing.

He couldn't carry all the loot to the Market District at one time, so it took several trips across town before he'd sold it all. He'd also decided to sell the armor at The Best Defense, and the weapons at A Fighting Chance, to get the best deals. Jensine still got all the jewelry and gems, as Hamloff was harder to haggle with at the Red Diamond. All of that added up to extra time taken with his side of the enterprise, so it was getting dark again when he returned to the shack and found the sisters there with their next load.

There wasn't as much this time, as they hadn't found any feather potions. They told him they'd had to leave some stuff behind, and they wanted him to come and help fetch it. They had turned the other way after they crossed the Talos Bridge, and had found Fanacasecul. They thought it was another bandit hideout at first, because there were a couple of them camped just outside, apparently guarding the entrance.

"But when we got inside, we found it was full of undead," Diablita complained. "And I hate zombies, they remind me of my sister."

The main reason they needed him wasn't the weight of the loot, but that they couldn't unlock some of the casks they'd found. He produced some lockpicks, and showed them how to use them. Angeline seemed to get the hang of it right away, and broke less of the lockpicks than he did. He made a note to go see Shady Sam and get a few more anyway.

He also found that there were Welkynd stones all around the place that they hadn't collected. They didn't know that they were valuable, they just appeared to be a useful source of a little light. He found ten of them, which would be a nice addition to their haul. He also collected Mort Flesh from the dead zombies, which got an "Eeeuw!" reaction from the sisters until he told them what it was worth to an alchemist.

Diabla, the mother of Diablita, had been an alchemist, so she knew what he was talking about. Some ingredients she just didn't know, because they hadn't been available on the Island. It seemed that none of the ships wanted to carry Mort Flesh in their cargo, so they'd never had any to trade. Bonemeal, crab meat, and things like that were well-known, and Diablita had some idea of how to combine them with other things. She had her own mortar and pestle, but all the other apparatus she'd owned had been lost with the house.

He told her he'd get the glassware from the Main Ingredient when he went to sell everything, but she'd have to do her alchemy in the basement. He'd ask Phintias about any books he had that listed Tamriel's ingredients, or would help her increase her skills. Alchemy was a good way to make some gold, as most potions were worth much more than the ingredients that went into them.

Angeline wasn't too happy with her sister's skills getting all the attention. Her mother had been a mage too, but she specialised in Destruction and Mysticism. "Do you know how to Soul Trap?" asked the reporter.

"In theory," she replied. "I know the spell, but there weren't any soul gems on the Island for me to practise." The reporter had found a petty gem in the last cask they opened, so they went looking for a mudcrab as they walked home along the shore.

"I'll find out how much extra this sells for tomorrow, but I suspect we'll want to use it for enchanting. I can get a contact at the Arcane University to put Night-eye on a ring for you. That will make it easier to see where you're going in the ruins."

"Oh, I can just use my light spell for that," Angeline told him, but he pointed out that it made her more visible too. Night-eye was better for an archer who wanted to be sneaky. Diablita wanted one too. If her sister wasn't lighting the place up, she wouldn't be able to see.

"Well if you want one, you'll have to find another gem, and get it filled," he told her. "They're not that uncommon, especially in dungeons with Conjurers or Necromancers." Then he had to explain what those were. Diablita liked the idea of summoning extra help. Could she learn to do that?

He thought about that for a while. They weren't carrying much, and they were close to Weye. If they walked past Fort Nikel instead of taking the road to the Talos Bridge, they could journey on to Chorrol, and Diablita could learn a Conjuration spell or two at the Mages Guild there. It meant travelling at night, but Angeline had just told him about her light spell, so why not?

They bought Diablita's glassware, and a calcinator, from Angalmo, and she tried it out by making a few potions and poisons. Then they got all their money back and more by selling the results of her efforts to him. Diablita was delighted by her success, and wanted to do more.

He was happy to have someone else do the work of mixing and refining, so he sold them more ingredients, and bought back the potions and poisons she made. Meanwhile, Angeline had bought all his empty soul gems, and had gone out of the city gate to go look for rats.

Athragar tested Diablita's Conjuration skill and found that she already had enough natural ability to summon creatures. "I'd normally start people off summoning Bound Daggers or Gauntlets, but she's ready for Scamps, Skeletons or Ghosts." Since she had a fireball attack of her own, she opted for a Summon Skeleton spell. It was a good thing that Angeline wasn't here to see how well her sister was doing, or she'd have been very jealous.

It wasn't long before she returned, a little out of breath. She'd got a bit more than she bargained for in the mine just out of town, where she'd found the rats she was hunting, but also a few goblins. She'd backed up and used her bow on them, but they'd pursued her relentlessly, and she'd had to resort to her spells when they caught up. And there were too many to handle on her own, she'd been forced to run back to the city gate and get help from the guards.

"Mr Bones here can help next time," said Diablita, and summoned her new skeleton right next to her sister. Angeline jumped when she did that, and Diablita giggled like a little schoolgirl.

She regretted that pretty quickly as Angeline had filled all the soul gems she'd taken with her, and threatened to just sell them all. Diablita needed one of those if she was going to get her own Night-eye ring.

All the rivalry was forgotten, however, when they left the Guild and turned down the street toward the shops. The house next door had a "for sale" sign sitting outside it. It looked big enough for all of them, and it had a garden out the back, too. "As big as the garden we had on the Island," Diablita pointed out. "We could grow some of our own ingredients!"

They made inquiries at Northern Goods and Trade when they sold the other items they'd brought. They got a very good price for the Welkynd Stones, and a fair one on the bandit's gear. Seed-Neeus owned the house they'd seen, Arborwatch, and she could sell them the furniture for it, too. "You'll have to pay the Countess for the house," she told them. "She's the agent for all home sales, because she has to handle all the registration of the deeds. Actually her secretary does all the work, but it's still a Castle responsibility. She adds a commission to the price, so you'll have to speak to her to find out what it will cost you."

20,000 Septims was a bit more than they'd accumulated so far, but they weren't far short. "We need furniture, too," Angeline reminded him. They went back to Seed-Neeus to find out what that would cost.

"We don't have to buy everything at once," he reasoned, "so we could start with the bedrooms and add the other things later. Once we have a base here, we should be able to earn enough for the rest in short order."

That sounded like a plan, so they set off back to the Waterfront to put it into action.

A few weeks later, they were back in Chorrol with enough gold to buy the house, and furnish the bedrooms. Careful haggling by the reporter squeezed the dining room into their budget, too. The study, seating area and wallhangings would have to wait.

"Who wants to open the door?" he asked. Of course they both did, until he announced that the other would get first choice of bedroom. So he opened the door, and and they all rushed in.

The place was huge compared to their shack. The floor was stone, instead of dirt, and so were the stairs leading up to the bedrooms. He was expecting arguments about who got which, but that seemed to sort itself out without any. He got the largest one, with the biggest bed, but apparently he'd be expected to share that most of the time. The two small rooms with the single beds had their differences, and each one appealed more to a different sister. "I don't think I could handle all the space in the Suite," Diablita said. That room's bigger than our whole house was on the island!"

That didn't stop both of them spending the night there with him. They'd sleep in their separate beds when he wasn't there.

They stayed in Chorrol for a week, raising the money to finish furnishing the place. The sisters were delighted to have rugs on the floors, and paintings and tapestries on the walls, all luxuries they'd never known before. But even when their own rooms were decorated to the same level of opulence, his was the only one they occupied at night.

The reporter wanted to pay a visit to the Red Dragon Club, in case Taminwe felt it was time for him to get back to his job. He'd not really settled his new identity into the Waterfront District either, and he wanted to consolidate that base even if he did have another home now. A pied-a-terre in the capital would be useful any time it wasn't safe to go to the Club. He left the sisters exploring the countryside around Chorrol while he went back down the Black Road with the Legion patrol for cover.

Taminwe didn't have anything that needed him right away. The Altmer mage that he'd missed at Fort Black Boot seemed to have gone into Elsweyr somewhere to try and stir up more trouble there. They had agents in that province who'd take over now.

He went back to the little shack on the Waterfront. It really did look bare after Arborwatch, but he remembered that he'd never purchased any of the upgrades. There hadn't been room for any furniture while the sisters' bedrolls were taking up all the floorspace. He had enough spare cash to make the place cozy, so that was the next business on the agenda.

With a much better-looking place to take a girl back to, he went searching for Minx and the Bosmers. It seemed that Minx had gone back to the Leyawiin area after she was released.

Methredhel was still seeing the man she'd been with at the Bloated Float. She'd not been seen much around their shack, presumably his place gave them more privacy.

Adanrel had come out of her shell, instead of just out of her clothes, and she had a lot more confidence in herself after that night. She'd found herself a boyfriend on the other side of town, and you never saw her here any more.

Carwen pretty much had the place to herself, and she was making the most of it. She didn't have a steady boyfriend like the others, but she wasn't alone at night either.

Selene was still happily working the Bloated Float with Ormil. They were planning to get married as soon as they had time for a honeymoon away from the city. He paid them a visit for his lunch, and had an excellent meal while he chatted to the other customers. Most of them were dockworkers who either lived on the Waterfront or in the nearby districts of the city.

Ormil told him that the evening crowd was a bit different. Since word had leaked out about the night Sugar and he had dropped in, he'd had quite a few private parties booked here by city folk who'd previously looked down on the place as just another dockside dive. They tended to have the whole place closed to the public on those nights, though. On the other nights, most of the customers were single men. "They're alway disappointed, but that makes them drink more." Ormil told him with a huge grin on his face.

Carwen dropped in for some lunch, just as he was about to leave. She spotted him, and came over to join him. She wanted to thank him for what he'd done for Adanrel. "She's a completely different woman these days."

He quickly pointed out everyone else's role in that. Methredhel, Sugar, Jair had all played a part. Armand and Praxedes had moved it up a notch, too, or was that down, or just off? Carwen laughed.

"Adanrel remembers you in particular. She can't explain why. It wasn't like she spent all of her time with you that night."

Now it was his turn to laugh. Adanrel had made a point of sampling every man she could, in every way she could. He'd just taken what he was offered, and paid back more than he was given. And he was embarrassed that he couldn't remember if he'd done anything with Carwen. There was bare Bosmer all over the place that night, and you couldn't always see a face.

She admitted that she wasn't sure either, for much the same reasons.

"So what have you been up to since?" they both asked at once. He told her that he'd just bought the little shack at the end of the row, but he hadn't spent much time there recently.

Carwen looked rather disappointed when he said that. She confessed that she'd intended to offer him a bed for the night, hers of course, but he wouldn't need that, would he? And she wasn't sure that bedding her neighbors was a good idea, if she wasn't looking for a long-term relationship. Forget the "if", she wasn't. She was having too much fun being free and single.

He told her about his other house in Chorrol, and how he wasn't going to be a resident, so much as an occasional visitor. The smile came back to her face when he suggested she knock on his door tonight if she hadn't made other arrangements.

The knock was a lot louder than he was expecting, and the face he saw when he opened the door wasn't hers. There was an Imperial Watchman instead, asking if he'd seen the Grey Fox. "We know he's somewhere here on the Waterfront" the iron-clad legionary told him. "Nobody's leaving their house until we find him."

He saw Carwen in the doorway just up and across the street. She blew him a kiss, and made a sad face. They were both confined, and separated, until the Watch completed its search.

The curfew was still in place hours later. He gave up and went to bed alone.

The following morning Carwen had already left for work, or whatever she did, in the city, so he left her a note, and set out for Chorrol to try and forget this missed opportunity. He'd at least established his being a resident with one of the right people, as Taminwe termed the Thieves Guild. And he'd have other opportunities later.