"Thanks for ruining the show. Can't you just enjoy the contrast?" ― The Shopkeeper
The Shopkeeper is a character in The Messenger. She is the first member of the Order of the Blue Robes, and she manages the shop that sells various upgrades to the current Messenger. The Shopkeeper has unique optional chat dialogue for various areas, and sometimes she has stories to share. Cabinet-related interactions can set The Shopkeeper off on long-winded cabinet rants.
Like the other members of the Blue Robes, The Shopkeeper wears a blue robe outfit and a necklace of round white beads; the outfit shrouds her face in darkness except for two glowing red eyes. She is taller than The Artificer but shorter than The Prophet.
The Shopkeeper is often condescending, dismissive, and snarky. However, The Shopkeeper is also generous enough to grant Ninja free mandatory shop upgrades when he reaches impassable road blocks. She also attempts to give Ninja helpful adventuring advice, such as information about new areas, tips on tackling bosses, and offering a scrying orb service for deciphering parts of The Prophet's prophecy. When asked, The Shopkeeper entertains adventurers with stories.
Ninja meets The Shopkeeper for the first time in Autumn Hills, where he is stuck in a pit due to not having the Climbing Claws. He enters the first shop checkpoint and finds himself inside the shop, encountering The Shopkeeper. The Shopkeeper introduces Ninja to the unfamiliar location and hands him the climbing gear so he can progress. After this, similar situations occur on Ninja's journey to Glacial Peak, and he is given the required Wingsuit in Howling Grotto and the Rope Dart in Searing Crags. Throughout his adventure, Ninja can interact with The Shopkeeper in order to purchase upgrades, or he can ask her for stories and area-related info. The Shopkeeper also pops up outside of the shop the first time Ninja collects a Power Seal or a Voodoo Mask Piece, explaining their purpose.
When Ninja reaches the top of Glacial Peak, The Shopkeeper is revealed to be one of three sages who assist Messengers. Ninja summons the Tower of Time using the scroll, which shocks The Shopkeeper. After entering the Tower of Time, it is revealed that the shop checkpoints were teleporting Ninja to the shop located within that tower the whole time. Ninja clears the Tower of Time's gauntlet and encounters the Blue Robes once again, who form the Arcane Golem to demonstrate the might of the Order. He emerges victorious against the Arcane Golem and is transported by the Tower of Time into the future and into Cloud Ruins. If Ninja enters the shop and speaks to The Shopkeeper at this point in time, she admires Ninja's new hat and explains that he has arrived to the future.
Later after Ninja passes on the scroll to Soldier, he is teleported to the shop. The Shopkeeper has Ninja put on a blue robe from the cabinet. She then leaves the shop via a magical opening on the left side of the shop connected to the Tower of Time HQ. Ninja takes over The Shopkeeper's role and runs the shop to serve as Soldier's shopkeeper. Not long later, The Shopkeeper checks in on Ninja's status, curious about why Soldier hasn't shown up in a while. She checks for Soldier in the shop's scrying orb and freaks out, implying that he died. The Shopkeeper retrieves the scroll from Soldier's corpse and convenes with the other Blue Robe members to figure out the next course of action. They decide to let Ninja fulfill the prophecy and return back to being a Messenger. Ninja leaves the Tower of Time HQ and is greeted by The Shopkeeper, who informs Ninja to make good use of his map. Ninja insists that he doesn't have a map, which leaves The Shopkeeper dumbfounded as she explicitly explains that Ninja's scroll is actually a map. After this, The Shopkeeper sells an expanded selection of upgrades and assists Ninja by using the scrying orb to pinpoint exact locations related to Prophet prophecies.
After Ninja collects the six remaining Music Notes, The Prophet teleports away to retrieve The Shopkeeper. The two arrive back on scene, and The Shopkeeper is amazed to learn that the curse might soon finally end. She uses the scrying orb to fill Ninja in on the backstory for the Music Box and the origins of the curse. She also warns him to be careful of Phantom's traps as he treads through the Music Box. After Ninja defeats Phantom, The Shopkeeper appears to evacuate everyone. She takes them back to the top of the Tower of Time, where she helps in the Arcane golem fight against the Mask.
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When Ninja looks through the scrying orb for the first time, he sees some blurry figures. The Shopkeeper starts worrying and explaining to Ninja that they are not only fighting the demons in different times, they are also fighting them in different dimensions, and explains that some of these different realities can overwrite their own if the demons win in them, so Ninja offers to go directly to that reality and prevent the events from happening.
Interacting with the orb again after finishing the main game opens a portal, The Artificer enters the shop asking if a portal had just opened, as was indicated by his devices. The Shopkeeper tells him that it's fine and that he can go back to the lab, but he summons The Prophet accidentally and she tells Ninja go into the portal while she handles the duo.
After Ninja defeats Octo and reaches the beach, he arrives at the shop, which has been redesigned in a tiki-ish style, and The Shopkeeper is wearing a tiki girl dress. The Shopkeeper welcomes ninja to the shop and proceeds to tell ninja that she attuned his scroll so that he can see time rifts now, Ninja then can talk to The Shopkeeper or upgrade his equipment as usual.
Once ninja reaches Barma'thething, The Artificer arrives and, after seeing the situation, leaves and comes back with The Shopkeeper. Upon entering, The Shopkeeper expresses confusion on how the scroll could have been copied and Barma'thething says that he had been hoping to meet her for a long time. Upon seeing Barma'thething's hat, she says that she takes fashion statements very seriously, she leaves and comes back with her own, saying let's do this.
When Barma'thething is defeated and the voodkins are freed, there is a celebration picnic, The Shopkeeper arrives and has a story to share. Once she finishes the story, she leaves, saying that she needs to get back to the shop.
- For the main article, see ARG.
In the official The Messenger Discord server, The Shopkeeper came to an agreement with the Clockwork Concierge, agreeing that she would set up a Discord branch of the shop if the community acquired 10,000 Time Shards. The community did, unlocking #the-shop text channel. The Shopkeeper used to visit when the community amassed enough Time Shards to afford a Discord perk in the Shop website's talent tree.
Within the game's English script, The Shopkeeper is not referenced by gender. Outside of the game and within the ARG, various hints were thrown related to The Shopkeeper's identity. This is a timeline of the hints and teasers leading up to the reveal of The Shopkeeper's pronouns being "she/her."
English Script Is Canon
Thierry Boulanger, the main director and writer of the game, wrote all of the dialogue for the English and Québécois scripts. The Messenger's game publisher, Devolver Digital, handled the translations for the other languages. Within the official The Messenger Discord, Thierry has mentioned on multiple occasions that even though he wrote both the English and Québécois scripts, only the English version of the script is canon, as it allows him to write around certain things. He did not elaborate any further, other than mentioning that it's related to The Shopkeeper.
The speculated reason for the English script being canon is because of The Shopkeeper's gender. In Québécois, gendered words are unavoidable, in which words can be masculine or feminine. For the Québécois script, The Shopkeeper is referred to as "Le Vendeur," which is masculine. For the English script, "The Shopkeeper" is a completely gender-neutral term, and all pronoun usages are completely avoided for The Shopkeeper.
The Archivist's Poll
On January 8, 2019, in the official The Messenger Discord, The Archivist posed three different statements related to The Shopkeeper: one being completely true, one being completely wrong, and one containing an important mistake. It was not known to voters at the time, but the statement that contained the important mistake was actually VoteTri , as that statement incorrectly refers to The Shopkeeper as "he."
Analyzing The Archivist's Poll
The community speculated about the identity of the mistake between the two remaining statements. There was some speculation about the important mistake being either "he" in the VoteTri statement, or being "from Ninja's perspective" in the VoteX statement. However, no consensus was ever reached. Since it's now known that VoteTri is the statement that contains an important mistake, each statement can be properly analyzed.
Within the game itself, there are a couple of red herrings that suggest The Shopkeeper is potentially The Bowman:
- The Bowman statue is located above one of the shops within the Tower of Time.
- The Messenger presents a cyclical theme: the curse repeats every 500 years, the human village is attacked by demons, and the human village is saved by a Western Hero who drives away the demons. From the logic of a cyclical standpoint, if Ninja passes on the scroll to Soldier and becomes Soldier's shopkeeper, then The Bowman who passes on the scroll to Ninja would be Ninja's shopkeeper.
However, this was the completely wrong statement, implying that The Shopkeeper isn't The Bowman.
The Shopkeeper is indeed usually in the shop and has stories to share, from Ninja's perspective. Many voters believed this was the completely true statement. However, it was actually the statement that contained an important mistake, since it refers to The Shopkeeper as "he."
In-game, The Prophet states that The Shopkeeper is the first of the Blue Robes Order. However, it was never mentioned that The Shopkeeper was also the first Messenger. This lack of knowledge made many voters believe that this was important mistake. But surprisingly, as revealed by The Archivist, it was a completely true statement.
The Official Shopkeeper Pin
On March 26, 2019, the official Shopkeeper pin was released on Fangamer. The description for the pin refers to The Shopkeeper as "he," hiding the reveal.
"Whether you need valuable items or critical exposition, he can help. Even if he doesn't look much like a shopkeeper."
DreamHazard is a speedrunner for The Messenger who has helped organize a few speedrunning events and also assists with moderating The Messenger speedrunning Discord community. On April 15, 2019, in the official The Messenger Discord, DreamHazard directly asked The Shopkeeper what pronouns she would prefer. The Shopkeeper replied that any pronouns were fine and that she would prefer for her identity to remain anonymous.
|DreamHazard||Shopkeeper, may I respectfully ask your pronouns? As a trans woman I feel it's especially important to pay attention to these things|
|VeggieDelphine||Good question !!|
|VeggieDelphine||I’d love to know your pronouns as well|
|The Shopkeeper||Ah, Messenger @DreamHazard, I suppose I should thank you for all the support!|
|The Shopkeeper||When it comes to my identity, I prefer to remain anonymous, you can refer to me in any way you please.|
On January 27, 2020, a special several-day event was held in which the three Voidwalkers were given a chance to procure information from The Void. They were locked within #the-void text channel, but they left on January 30 and 31 as The Void began to close. The Archivist gave each of the three Voidwalkers the opportunity to ask him a single question before leaving. Voidwalker Stéphanie followed the community's wishes to ask a question about The Shopkeeper's identity.
|The Archivist||Did you want to ask something else before The Void closes?|
|Stéphanie||Alright, it seems like the community really wants me to ask this so here goes|
|Stéphanie||Could you tell us about The Shopkeeper's identity ? I know we aren't going to have a lot of details on this, but I'm curious to know what information we can get|
|The Archivist||The Shopkeeper?|
|Stéphanie||Doesn't matter if we get close to nothing, I'm already satisfied with the previous answers you provided us with|
|The Archivist||I respect anyone's wish to remain anonymous.|
|The Archivist||While this may raise more questions than provide a real answer, I will say this.|
|The Archivist||Her ancestor built the Clockwork Castle.|
- The Shopkeeper is referred to as "SHOPKEEPER" and "MEDIUM_MAGE" in the dialogue files, and she is referred to as "Shopkeeper" and "MediumMage" in the picture files.
- For a few years starting in January 2018, The Shopkeeper had her own Twitter account, with the username "LeShopkeeper." However, it was eventually deleted, and the username started being used by a different Twitter user in November 2021.
- This Twitter account is referenced in The Shopkeeper's Steam trading card. The card is called "Le Shopkeeper," and its description text is "I'm on Twitter, by the way."
- According to the "Live Messenger Q&A," The Shopkeeper's favorite drink is the Moscow Mule.
- The ARG has revealed additional information about The Shopkeeper.
- Along with being the first of the Blue Robes Order, she was also the first Messenger.
- According to The Shopkeeper, her favorite ninja is Rock Lesieur, the tutorial ninja in the beginning of Ninja Village.
- The Shopkeeper's ancestor built the Clockwork Castle.
|Characters in The Messenger|
|Characters||Ninja • Rock Lesieur • Ninja Elder • Demon King • Barma'thazël • The Bowman • Quarble • The Shopkeeper • Cage Monster and Parrot • Ruxxtin • Emerald Golem • Primal Fear • Monk • Quillble • Colos & Suses • The Artificer • The Prophet • The Iron Hood • Manfred • Soldier • Butterfly Matriarch • Guardian Gods • Clockwork Concierge • Pitou • Muse • Phantom • Cowboy • Necro • Claustro • Acro • Pyro • Alektoro • Octo • Pi • Dark Messenger • Voodoo Mask|
|Groups||Ninjas • Demons • Greed Demons • Order of the Blue Robes • Phobekins • Magic Fireflies • Sky Giants • Voodkins|
|Special Roles||Messengers • Western Hero • Fallen|