And in the Broken Drum Rincewind was listening open-mouthed as Twoflower talked.
"So I decided to see for myself," the little man was saying. "Eight years' saving up, this has cost me. But worth every half-rhinu. I mean, here I am. In Ankh-Morpork. Famed in song and story, I mean. In the streets that have known the tread of Hemic Whiteblade. Hrun the Barbarian, and Bravd the Hublander and the Weasel... It's all just like I imagined, you know."
Rincewind's face was a mask of fascinated horror.
"I just couldn't stand it any more back in Des Pelargic," Twoflower went on blithely, "sitting at a desk all day, just adding up columns of figures, just a pension to look forward to at the end of it... where's the romance in that? Twoflower, I thought, it's now or never. You don't just have to listen to stories. You can go there. Now's the time to stop hanging around the docks listening to sailors' tales. So I compiled a phrase book and bought a passage on the next ship to the Brown Islands."
"No guards?" murmured Rincewind.
"No. Why? What have I got that's worth stealing?"
Rincewind coughed. "You have, uh, gold," he said.
"Barely two thousand rhinu. Hardly enough to keep a man alive for more than a month or two. At home, that is. I imagine they might stretch a bit further here."
"Would a rhinu be one of those big gold coins?" said Rincewind.
"Yes." Twoflower looked worriedly at the wizard over the top of his strange seeing-lenses. "Will two thousand be sufficient, do you think?"
"Yarrrt," croaked Rincewind. "I mean, yes sufficient . "
"Um. Is everyone in the Agatean Empire as rich as you?"
"Me? Rich? Bless you, whatever put that idea into your head? "I am but a poor clerk! Did I pay the innkeeper too much, do you think?" Twoflower added.
"Uh. He might have settled for less," Rincewind conceded.
"Ah. I shall know better next time. I can see I have a lot to learn. An idea occurs to me. Rincewind would you perhaps consent to be employed as a, I don't know, perhaps the word "guide" would fit the circumstances? I think I could afford to pay you a rhinu a day."
Rincewind opened his mouth to reply but felt the words huddle together in his throat, reluctant to emerge in a world that was rapidly going mad. Twoflower blushed.
"I have offended you," he said. it was an impertinent request to make of a professional man such as yourself. Doubtless you have many projects you wish to return to- some works of high magic, no doubt..."
"No," said Rincewind faintly. "Not just at present. A rhinu, you say? One a day. Every day?"
"I think perhaps in the circumstances I should make it one and one-half rhinu per day. Plus any out-of-pocket expenses, of course."
The wizard rallied magnificently. "That will be fine," he Said. "Great."
Twoflower reached into his pouch and took out a large round gold object, glanced at it for a moment, and slipped it back. Rincewind didn't get a chance to see it properly.
"I think," said the tourist, "that I would like a little sleep now. It was a long crossing. And then perhaps you would care to call back at noon and we can take a look at the city."
"Then please be good enough to ask the innkeeper to Show me to my room."
Rincewind did so, and watched the nervous Broadman, who had arrived at a gallop from some back room, lead the way up the wooden steps behind the bar. After a few seconds the luggage got up and pattered across the floor after them. Then the wizard looked down at the six big coins in his hand. Twoflower had insisted on paying his first four days' wages in advance. Hugh nodded and smiled encouragingly.
Rincewind snarled at him.
As a student wizard Rincewind had never achieved high marks in precognition, but now unused circuits in his brain were throbbing and the future might as well have been engraved in bright colours on his eyeballs. The space between his shoulder blades began to itch. The sensible thing to do, he knew, was to buy a horse. It would have to be a fast one, and expensive - offhand, Rincewind couldn't think of any horse-dealer he knew who was rich enough to give change out of almost a whole ounce of gold.
And then, of course, the other five coins would help him set up a useful practice at some safe distance, say two hundred miles. That would be the sensible thing.
But what would happen to Twoflower, all alone in a city where even the cockroaches had an unerring instinct for gold? A man would have to be a real heel to leave him.