Qetesh smiled and said, "I'd say as close as any other contract-holder has bee," and chuckled as she signed her own name on the two forms and handed them to Ra.
Ra checked one last time to make sure nothing had been changed when the other two signed, and set the forms down on the coffee table to sign where they could see he wasn't making secret changes himself. Then he handed one form back to Umbear and tucked the other in his pocket along with Umbear's sack of gold.
"A pleasure doing business. I'll be on my way now," he said, sweeping a bow.
"Ah!" Qetesh exclaimed, jumping up. "I'll see you out, I need to have a private word with you real quick," she said hastily. She led Ra to the door and shut it behind them.
Spoiler: DC 22 perception to eavesdrop
"Ra, how much of the take is going towards my debt?" Qetesh whispered.
Ra was silent for a moment and sighed. "Not enough," he murmured.
"You know the split for these kinds of deals is higher for the Guild because you don't have to allow for your living expenses. You haven't been paying back enough at a time to keep ahead of the interest--"
"I know!" Qetesh interrupted in an urgent whisper. "I'm doing the best I can!"
"I'm... sorry, Vee. It would have been better if the ogre paid the full price immediately. By the time it's all paid off, your interest will have compounded twice. I haggled him up as much as I could. And look--with your living expenses covered, you can pay the Guild all of your cut at the end of the year, and that will be nearly double what you usually pay the Guild back in a year! It's... progress. And I know you can wring the hero for plenty of expensive baubles you can hock when the contract is up." Ra's whispered tone attempted to be comforting.
"I-I know. I know the contract is a good deal for me, that's not the problem. I-I just... I just thought, hoped rather, that the Guild would've counted more towards my debt considering the price you got!" Qetesh whispered, sounding crestfallen.
There was a swish of fabric and Ra's voice sounded slightly more muffled, as if he were hugging her and speaking over her hair.
"I know, Vee, I'm sorry. I'll do what I can, but it would've been easier to convince the bookkeepers to cut you slack if he'd agreed to pay in full upfront, or even half now and half later. Hang in there."
Qetesh let out a long-suffering sigh, her own voice also more muffled, as if speaking past arms around her.
"I am, I just... I thought this," she paused, "was supposed to make my job easier, not drown me in debt so I can't even set anything aside for my dreams!"
Ra's tone sharpened a bit, though he kept his volume at a whisper, still.
"Well, I told you not to go talk to the financial guys alone. If I'd gone with you, I could've talked down the interest. And right after, if you'd taken my offer--"
"No, Ra," Qetesh whispered, the sadness in her tone replaced by resolve, and sounding clearer, as if she'd stepped back.
"I couldn't just throw away my dream like that. Not then, not now. I will find a way to pay back my debt in full and start making enough to save for my real goals!"
Ra sighed. "I couldn't make the same offer now, so it's really moot. I'm sorry. You know I'm rooting for you. I'll talk to the finance guys. But don't hold out too much hope."
The sound of his footsteps started, and faded away into the distance.
Qetesh came back into the room with a big smile on her face and beamed at Umbear.
"So!" she said, "we all got something we wanted! Shall we go out and have a celebratory supper?
Or...?" she trailed off and waved her hands in a gesture inviting him to make suggestions.
"Ah, did your enemies escape you?" Aurora asked sympathetically. "I think we managed to mop up pretty successfully," she said, glancing around for the Captain.