The merchant holding the tin-foiled corn waved his merchandise high in the air as he shouted, “Get your corn! Hot piping corn for ten dreggs!” He was walking by the open market front while Damien and Tyler were buying the twenty pounds of flour Olivia had wanted from the opposite end of the alleyway. “Care for some corn, beauty?” The man gave her a smile before Charlotte waved him off.
“I’m just browsing sir, but I’m sure that gentleman over there would be interested.” She pointed to a man who had stopped by the husks of corn in the cart.
The merchant smirked, “That’s too bad, love, especially with corn in season after all.” He showed her the gleam of gold in one of his teeth before hurrying off to where she pointed.
Cesium tugged on the hem of her skirt to take her away from the stall before the man came back.
“All right already. I’m walking.” She chuckled at the Great Dane’s attempt to watch over her but found it interesting that it needed more help than she did.
When they first arrived in the open-air market, the robot dog had walked its way into an open parcel of plums and effectively squashed a couple in its paws while it squirmed to get loose. Charlotte, who happened to see it, was forced to rescue the Great Dane and got a scolding from the merchant about those plums becoming a waste of food. Of course, she had to compensate for her “pet’s” mistake.
“Charlotte!” The girl turned on the balls of her feet to swivel around. Coming up behind her was Tyler carrying two ten-pound bags of flour and Damien carrying a bag full of other assortments Olivia listed. “There you are. We thought we had lost you when you disappeared.”
Charlotte sheepishly gave Tyler a smile. “Sorry, I just wanted to walk around. It’s boring standing and doing nothing.” She then waved the list in the air. “We only have about two major items left to get, so I was hoping to decrease our time in finding them.” Charlotte pointed to the stall to their left. “We can find the mechanical tools Olivia needs over there, and farther down the alley, there is a shop with tailored clothes that she requested for the crewmates. Surprisingly, she wrote down all the measurements and then the instructions for delivery.”
Damien balanced the bag of supplies so that it was in one arm. “We won’t need to carry back the raiment then. That’s good.” He paused then thought about what the girl had said about measurements. “Wait, everyone’s measurements are on there? How’d she know everyone’s?” The blond walked over to the brunette and peered behind her shoulder at the numbers listed. It was accurate if he just went off his numbers.
“That’s kind of scary,” Damien muttered before Tyler shrugged his shoulders.
“Well, it is Olivia, and having known her for as long as I have, she has been particular about knowing everything.”
The guy with the glasses smiled before suggesting they move on to their next destinations. “Damien and I will go order the tools from the stall. Charlotte, why don’t you and Cesium head on over to the tailor’s shop and order the shipment of clothing? It shouldn’t be too bad since everything is already written out.”
Damien was hesitant to allow them to split up again and voiced his complaint, “I don’t think that is a good idea.”
But Charlotte merely waved him off. “I’ll be all right. I’ve explored the marketplaces near my uncle’s estate before, so I know how to navigate if I get lost. By the time you two are done, I would have already ordered the clothes and have walked the block twice.”
She smiled before tapping her chin with her index finger. “It’ll be fun! Why don’t we meet up by the fountain that connects this alley to the next one before sunset? We can do whatever we want to do while shopping!” She gave the blond a “pretty please” look before he caved.
“Two hours is the limit, but only that long. We can’t risk being seen by someone who maybe in with the state. Keep Cesium close to you, understand?”
The girl gave him the two finger salute he normally gave to Aden when he agreed. “I understand! No later than two hours!” she squealed before running off to the tailor’s.
Damien yelled after her to be careful while Tyler heavily sighed. “We’re going to be tailing her after we order those tools, aren’t we?” He shuffled the weight of the flour while Damien sighed.
“More than likely. Well, let’s get on with it. After all, we have a princess to follow.” They made their way toward the open stall where all the mechanical tools were displayed and ordered what Olivia had specifically wanted from her list.
While Tyler had placed the bags of flour down to fill up another satchel full of tools, Damien noticed a mechanical dog’s nose pointing at a two-to-three-gear connected piece on top of one another. The gears didn’t connect in the dents, but it was an interesting piece that resembled a 3-D sun.
A merchant oddly dressed in a cosplay version of the army uniform with sandy brown hair was wiping his hands on a napkin before gesturing to the gears. “Those gears were separated from one another, but my niece took a soldering tool and connected them into some makeshift-gear sun. It’s more of a jewelry piece than an actual tool.”
Lifting it up, Damien peered at it before inquiring a price, “How much?”
“Since it’s a special day today in Refrazzya, I’ll sell you it for five dreggs. Besides, it’s not something that would sell to any of my normal customers.”
Damien smiled, handing over the small amount to the merchant. “Thanks, sir.”
The man gave him a curt nod before turning back to his work.
Somehow, Damien had felt he’d seen him before but shrugged the feeling off. Damien deposited the three-piece gear shaped like the sun into his vest’s pocket just as Tyler came back with everything they bought. “I got all the tools she wanted, Damien.”
The blond looked over the list before seeing that their task was complete. “Looks like it. Are you ready to go after our companion?” Damien began to walk away from the stall where he stepped past a hungry-looking Great Dane staring at the cosplay man’s glass bottles. He continued down the designated path with Tyler, trailing after him before he registered what he saw.
Abruptly, he stopped, causing Tyler to crash into his back. “Ow.” The male with glasses reacted, and Damien snapped around to look at the Great Dane.
“What are you doing here?” Tyler turned to see Damien yelling at Cesium, and the dog slightly whined with puppy-dog eyes. The man in the cosplay uniform merely handed Cesium the glass bottle, and the dog happily chewed the bottle between its mechanical teeth.
“Oh, gods,” Both Damien and Tyler groaned in frustration.
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