Haggerd the Haggard knew that patience was a virtue when it came to a good assassination. He had waited until he was certain his victim was close to finishing his business for the night and now Haggerd was ready for the confrontation. The clanging of bells caused him to hesitate for a split second as he pushed open the door and stepped inside.
His victim, clad in white and stood amongst his paraphernalia, offered him a wry smile. "Sorry about that, I was just closing up and had the alarm set." He motioned under his bench and the bells abated. "What can I do for you? I don't want to rush you but it's getting late."
Haggerd flipped the sign on the door from 'Open' to 'Closed' and pulled down the blind to cover the window panel. "You are the one known as 'Ryan Peabody'?" Haggerd asked. "The one that claims knowledge of the alchemical arts?"
"Yes, I'm the chemist," Peabody said. "A humble pharmacist, at your service. Do you have a prescription you need to get filled? It's just I have to be getting home or the wife will give me hell." He rolled his eyes at Haggerd.
“You won’t be going anywhere tonight, alchemist,” Haggerd said. He took a pace forward and planted his staff on the floor by his foot, daring Peabody to try anything.
The chemist looked dismayed. “Don’t tell me the roadworks are still holding the traffic up! At this time of night. Good Lord. I thought I’d seen the last of bumper to bumper traffic when I moved here.”
“You should have thought twice before moving to my domain, little man,” Haggerd said, ominously. “The village of Tiddling-on-the-Wold belongs to me and I will slay any other magic user that attempts to wrest it from me. I will have no aggravation from warlocks.”
“No 'what'?” Peabody asked.
“Warlock aggravation!” Haggerd shouted.
“Okay, steady on,” Peabody said. “I think I have an ointment for that.”
Haggerd took another pace forward and Peabody could see just how large and imposing a figure he was, wrapped about with ragged brown robes and steadfastly clutching a gnarled wooden staff in his hand. “Do not mock me, interloper,” Haggerd said, “there is the stench of thaumaturgical meddling about you.”
“I expect that will be the drains,” Peabody said, somewhat perturbed. “The Council were supposed to have all that sorted out.”
“Be warned, meddler,” Haggerd said, “for I have choked the life from many a neck in my time, and relish the opportunity to do so once again.”
Peabody looked at Haggerd blankly. “I see,” he said. “Is that a euphemism? I can’t sell you viagra without a prescription, but we do have some herbal remedies...”
“Enough of your lies,” Haggerd cried. “You are a rival magus intent upon usurping my dominion. Admit it!”
“Stop!” Peabody said. “I’m just a simple chemist. Look!” He grabbed a small brown bottle. “See? It’s just aspirin, for headaches. And this is toothpaste, for brushing your teeth.” He pulled a brown jar from under the counter. “This is... is...” Peabody pulled out his spectacles and read the label. “Ah, yes, knuckle bones from nosy hedge-wizards.”
Haggerd realised he couldn’t move a muscle, couldn’t even bat an eye-lid. Not even when Peabody produced the rusty old hacksaw.