Go ahead and go 9.6 and get your eShop back. Sky3DS works fine on 9.6.
Do not go through Sky3DS games for eShop or DLC. You need private headers for that.
Anytime the Sky3DS makes contact with online or account data transmission, you will get banned.
No exceptions. No mercy. Nintendo is angry. Avoid their wrath.
If you want private headers, you need a 3DS with 9.2 ow lower. No need to buy Gateway. Everything else is free. Then you can dump ROMs and get headers for Sky3DS.
Warning, going above 9.5.0-22U blocks all browser injection for Pokemon. After that, you might as well go 9.6.