Choose Your Own Adventure Part 86: It’s Been A Long Day
By coin flip, you have chosen to watch one of the palace entrances in hopes of finding the other target of the spell. You may also seek out further information about the Emperor’s movements, but the stakeout is your first priority.
One of the largest gardens near the palace is open to the public. The wealthy public, anyway — the indigent or insufficiently “suitable” are escorted away by city guards. A quiet student with a book not looking for trouble can get past them easily enough. With a little effort, you work your way through sculpted bushes and elegant fountains to a bench with a view of the palace’s main entrance.
The palace itself bears some similarity in architectural style to the mage academy, though you know the main palace complex is significantly older. The smooth, pale gray stone is artistically carved, with well-tended ivy surrounding scenes of history and war and heroism. Memories of a younger empire.
You settle down on the bench, using a book to hide the compass as you watch both it and the people passing in and out of the palace’s gate. Hours pass, then hours more. Human necessities force you to leave your post from time to time, but the compass only twitches back and forth a little bit, never swinging out to the main entrance. You remain convinced that whoever your target is, they have not left the palace. Your target will be spending the night.
There are plenty of possibilities. Any member of the Emperor’s family might not leave the palace for the entire day. There are servants, clerks, and officials who also might not leave. Some members of the old nobility might be paying a visit.
But you have your own suspicions. The Emperor… the pieces your remember of him… he knew the value of secrets.
On one of your breaks, you managed to learn a few things about the goings-on at the palace from a clerk playing hookey. Apparently, the first appearance of the Emperor’s recently born daughter is due in a couple of days, explaining many of the comings and goings around the palace. You may be able to use the resulting crowds for cover later. You also hear a bit about which notables are staying at court, and an odd rumor involving a missing mage.
Option 89: It’s best to figure out what’s going on sooner rather than later. Sneak into the palace under cover of darkness, to see if you can locate the other target of the spell.
Option 90: Wait until the Emperor and his entourage make their big public appearance in a few days. Careful triangulation may give you results without too much risk.
Option 91: Follow up on some of the rumors you have heard. Knowing who’s who and what the word is about a lost wizard may help guide your investigations.