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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Broken Path, Starless Tail - 15. Chapter 15

“What about this?” Beckett unstrapped his watch. “Do you think I could trade this?” His jeans had been a hit. For all the word human had been said to him with disdain, the gnome had looked pretty greedy when he’d asked for Beckett’s jeans in trade. It wasn’t even like he could trade them to just anyone either. How many creatures could actually wear them?

“A human toy? It doesn’t work here, but the bits and pieces are valuable. You could get a lot for that. Barter for azure crescents, over there.”

“It’s not a toy. It tells time. Like hours and minutes? And it connects to my phone so I can stream music and tell who is texting or calling me, plus do apps and weather….” Shit, he didn’t have his phone, so really it didn’t do much of any of that. But it was colorful. At least until the battery ran out. It was already at forty-three percent. He should sell it now before that happened.

“Who needs to tell more than morning, midday, and night?” Valrinda asked.

“Lots of people.”

“Why?”

“Well, we work in shifts, mostly. So eight hours a day for most people. And we have breaks for fifteen or thirty minutes. And school was broken up into a bunch of classes.” Did any of that even make sense to Valrinda. It didn’t look like it did. And based on how he’d been traveling since Beckett portaled in, stopping only when he got to where he needed to go or for meals, it made sense that Valrinda wouldn’t. “What are azure crescents? Gemstones?” Beckett asked, deciding to change the subject.

“No, they are made of metal. Every city and town in Clarensticus takes them in exchange for goods or services.”

So it was money, in a rudimentary sense. Beckett turned to look at the store or stall that Valrinda indicated. But it wasn’t either of those. “Why there?” It looked just like a house.

“See those windows?” Valrinda indicated the ones on the right and the second floor. They were red glass and glowed dully despite the sunlight.

“Uh-huh.” Glancing around, Beckett didn’t see any other windows in that color. Or glowing.

“A wizard lives there. Or wizardess. They would be the best bet to barter with for your gadget, if you want azure crescents here. They are always being hired for spells, and they could figure out how to use your human gadget with their magic.”

“Human gadgets aren’t magic,” Beckett insisted, but stopped when he realized there was no way he could explain technology anyway. “Fine. So, what, I just go knock on a wizard’s door?”

“Or wizardess.”

All right then. Beckett took off his watch, then grabbed the strap holding the gate. It creaked when it opened and he winced, looking up. One of those ruby windows opened a crack, but all he saw was a flash of a bright color before it clicked shut.

Reluctant, he dragged his feet on the flagstone path up to the door. Beckett glanced over his shoulder to make sure Valrinda stayed close by. “Don’t leave me,” he called.

“I won’t.”

“Why, are you scared of me?” a small voice piped.

Beckett yelped and turned. His heart felt like it had jumped up and was pounding in his throat, and he choked, staring down at the tiny female… wizardess?

She was wearing a loose tunic in orange, puffy pants with green stripes, and she had a shock of white hair that stood straight up before tipping forward to just touch the purple skin of her forehead. Because she was purple, with dark purple wings that buzzed they were beating so fast.

The wizardess zipped out of her door and flew in a circle around him. “Hmm, a human. Wow. I haven’t seen one of you in a long, long time. At least a hundred years.”

Gaping at her, Beckett flinched when she poked his chest. “Well, what do you want, human?”

He clenched his jaw. What was with all these beings who loved to say humans in that insulting tone and invade his bubble? “My name is Beckett.” He held up his watch, tapping the screen so it turned on before it dangled in front of her. “Do you want to buy this?”

Her purple skin darkened, and he took a step back, not sure what that meant. Was she angry? About to do something dangerous?

“A human trinket?” She flew closer to look at the screen. Creepily, something white with three tendrils on the end that buzzed swept out between her lips as she hummed. Beckett jerked his arm back. “Wait, I want it!”

Ew. Was that her tongue? Beckett had to suppress a shudder. “How many azure crescents?”

“Five hundred.”

“A thousand,” he said automatically.

“Six hundred.”

“Nine hundred.”

“Seven hundred.” The wizardess’s eyes were locked on the watch when he shook it so Beckett took a shot. It was more that she was haggling because that was habit. He had to distract her.

“Final offer. Eight fifty… and a spell that will help me on my journey.”

“A spell? For what?”

“You tell me. I’m traveling to Brozuche.”

“Ahh, I know what you need. A flask spell. It will automatically refill your water container with fresh, cold water no matter how much you drink.”

Beckett widened his eyes. That would come in handy. “Can it be a big water flask? Enough for… a dragon?”

She shrugged. “The spell is the same, no matter the container. But… only eight hundred crescents.”

“Deal.” He held out his hand.

“I don’t want your hand. I want the gadget.”

“Oh, um. Right.” Duh. She wouldn’t know about shaking hands. Beckett switched hands and held out the watch. “Do I have to go buy the flask?”

“No, no. Just wait here.” She turned and flew back into the house, slamming the door behind him.

"Well, shit." Did he just give her his watch and get screwed?

Copyright © 2023 Cia; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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On 6/28/2023 at 2:43 PM, drsawzall said:

I can't remember, did he get a flying jacket?

 

5 minutes ago, Al Norris said:

Beckett didn't remember either... So, no flying jacket.

It flew away before he got there.

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