"What ails you, my friend?"
Got it? Yep, it's Pepin, the mild-mannered healer from Diablo. Responsible for the trading of various healing pots and of course, sorting out whatever it was that was ailing you when you returned to Tristram. I liked the cut of Pepin's jib. He didn't give it a shit that the lord of hell was about to rise up and destroy the world, he just wanted to know how you were doing.
However, Pepin's 15-year stint at number one has finally been ended. Ended permanently. Pepin's days as my most favourite RPG merchant have come abrubptly to an end.
Who is this new pretender who has usurped Pepin and his unfazing philanthropy? Who could possibly surpass he who tends to what ails you?
Well he's sardonic, he's pessimistic, he's derisive, he loves pots (like Pepin before him) - his is called Yulia and he's delightfully camp and catty but he's the shining light by which nearly all Dark Souls player secure their earliest, most coveted treasure...and his name? Well...he doesn't actually have one, it's the 'Undead Merchant' in the Undead Burg who I have personally named, Bob. And here he is:
Stuck in the Undead Burg for something like eight hours I talked to Bob a lot. With the Taurus Demon repeatedly handing my arse to me and with my increasing frustration leading to unnecessary deaths at the hands of the sword thrusting, axe swinging, firebomb throwing, crossbow shooting, spear stabbing, knife fighting dissidents of the 'Burg, I visited him for comic relief whenever I felt my frequent failures were getting to me.
'Oh, there you are.' he'd say with unnerving surprise.
'Where else would I be?' I'd respond in turn, 'Fucking Taurus Demon keeps smashing my back doors in with his giant hammer.'
'Nee hee hee hee hee hee!' Quite.
I spoke to him so much I perfected an impression of him. It's flawless. You should hear it. He loved me when I bought firebombs:
'Oh...thank you very much!'
He hated me when I was just browsing:
'Throw me a bone will you.' He quips as I walk away for the umpteenth time without buying anything. Throw me a bone, Bob, throw me a bone, I'm your only frickin' customer and Huey, Luey, Duey and Donald downstairs would have eaten your face years ago had I not killed them all several hundred times.
Anyway, for all his mocking, he really grew on me. When I bought 20 firebombs off him to deal with the 'Burg Black Knight, he endeared himself to me. When I bought the Shortbow and 300 arrows off him to kill the Hellkite Dragon and secure the Drake Sword post Taurus Demon, he cemented his well earned place at the apex of my RPG merchant list.
It's been a while since I've seen Bob now.
'Oh, there you are.' He sneered, on a rare visit last night. "Where have you been hiding?" I'd been busying myself progressing through the game to finally arrive in Anor Londo, but what was this? NEW DIALOGUE! I was delighted. Bob - in the way that a decrepid old uncle that no-one in the family really likes to visit and who knows that's how the family feels about him - had missed me!
Behind that crusty face and underneath his tough exterior, Bob loves you. And admit it to yourself, you love Bob too. You probably wouldn't have the Drake Sword without him.