"And you think he hid his top-secret formula... in the library?"
"If you can recover it for me, I'll give you a glass on the house."
"You want me to march cross-country and recover the secret of Awesome Ale, and in return you'll give me... a glass of ale?"
"And ninety coppers!"
On one hand, I'm not keen on helping someone who just poisoned me. On the other hand... eh. I've done worse for 90 coppers. I raise my glass, "Sold!" I then put the glass down without drinking from it.
I hike over to Tuckborough. I should point out that this is a lot less fun without a satchel of mail to inexplicably speed my footsteps. And I can't look forward to throwing away any mail when I arrive, either. This really takes the fun out of things.
The Great Smials is a big network of Hobbit-holes. It's a vast complex of mansions and tunnels. It's possible that somewhere in this dizzying labyrinth there may or may not be an Ale Recipe, left hidden and untouched since Old Blagrove died and his grandson started making ale from fermented spider juice*.
* "Juice" in this case being a euphemism for, "You don't want to know what they do to the spider to get this stuff unless you're a lady spider, and even then it's not exactly something which will sound like the makings of a tasty beverage."
Pausing at the main entrance, I steel myself for the coming hunt. If the recipe has been lost for half century, then it must be well-hidden indeed.
The library is on the left as I go in. The recipe is sitting on top of a bookshelf.
Back at the tavern, I present Carlo with the recipe. I didn't bother to read it myself, but hopefully near the top it will explain in easy-to-follow terms that you shouldn't bathe your barnyard animals in the ale and then filter it through a sweat-stained undershirt. I think these are things he needs to know.
Carlos thanks me and presents me with ninety copper and a mug of his current batch of ale.
Now, seeing as how the ale is actually worth less than negative ninety copper, this entire errand has ended in a net loss for me. I fix this by dumping the ale outside and chucking the tainted mug into the bushes where hopefully it won't do any further harm.
I look around to see if anyone else needs my particular brand of help. There are several people standing near the mayor.
Rollo Newbuck. He wants to pay me to play hide and seek with children. I need money, but I have far too much self respect to degrade myself like that.
Just kidding. I've actually forgotten what self respect feels like by this point. I tell Rollo I'll do whatever he wants as soon as the word "coppers" crosses his lips.
Next Time: Easy as pie!