Wednesday, December 10, 2014


The bell rang, and Quies looked up from his book. A girl wearing a bicycle helmet on her head and a crow on her shoulder walked in.

"Whoa, what is this place?"

"Welcome to the Elllong Yardlong, miss. How can I help you and your corvine friend?"


"Cat: feline. Dog: canine. Crow: corvine."

"I never knew. Thanks. I, umm..." Daya flushed, nervous and embarrassed.

It's alright, I got it. He launched from her shoulder to the counter to the waiting tray of white sand, plucking a scrap of paper from her fingers along the way..

"Thanks, Umayyad."

"Umayyad," Quies asked suspiciously.

The bird gave him a long stare, countering Quies's inquisitive one. Can you fill a prescription and bill it to Mr Curo?

"Sure. Is that the scrip?"

The crow nodded.

"It will take a few minutes, but I'll get right to work. Keep your friend out of trouble."

Daya had been reaching out to touch a flower, but now she snatched her hand back. Umayyad rejoined her.

"What is it?" she whispered.

Carnivorous snapdragon, from South America, I believe. They have very sharp teeth; you could lose a finger.

Daya took a step back suddenly enough to crash into the racks behind her, but they're fortunately heavy and secure enough to not even wobble. She glanced sharply at its contents, before turning fully and peering closer.

"This one isn't going to hurt me, is it?"

Not as agressively as the snapdragon, but if that's what I think it is, I don't recommend touching it.

"What is it?" The milky white flower stretched upward eagerly, absorbing all the sunlight it could.

A moly blossom from Greece. Somewhat rare, unless you know where to look. either Quies is very well-traveled, or trades with someone who is.

"What about this?" Daya took a step to the side, peering at the next planter which looked particularly innocuous.

Irish hungry grass. Nasty stuff.

"Okaay," she drew out. "Moving on." She pointed to another curious display

A miniature coco de mere, which should be impossible.

"Why's that?"

It's a palm tree for one. The tree itself isn't anything special besides being a little endangered, but the nuts are supposed to perform some pretty heavy magic. At that size, however... who knows.

"Ah, you found it," Quies interposed.

"Found what?"

He walked down the next aisle and peered at his customers through the branches. "My baby coco. Cost me a fortune, but since you only need one..." He inspected the tree closely and plucked a tiny nut from the boughs and popped it in his mouth. "An expensive trick, to be sure, and the effects of it are short-lasting, but it can work wonders for a flexible businessman like myself."

"What do you mean?"

What he means is that one of the side effects of eating a nut from the coco de mere is the ability to understand bird-speech.

"Precisely, Umayyad. This particular geneticly engineered tree produces nuts that are highly concentrated, so they work almost as well at the full size ones. Neither of which works as well as the Slavic fern flower perseved in glass behind the counter, but don't get me started on what it took to get one of those." He passed over a plain white paper bag. "There should be everything you need in there, and I've thrown in some correct preparation pamphlets as well as a small box of paper tea bags."

"Thank you."

"Be careful with some of that stuff, and dry why you don't use right away. The leaves will lose some of their efficacy dried, but they'll keep for longer. If you have any questions, I also dropped in one of my business cards, so you have my business hours and phone. And you're very welcome."

Daya picked up the bag and glanced inside long enough to sort out the contents, each plant further bagged separately, and the extras down at the bottom. She looked at Umayyad. "Shall we?"

We shall. Good day, Quies.

"Beautiful skies to you, Umayyad."

Characters: Daya Kerrin | Quies | Umayyad Corvus

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