In the Highest Room of the Tallest Tower

(Takes place after Death Becomes Him)

'Second Story Books'. SECOND STORY BOOKS? The woman on the sidewalk scoffed and rolled her eyes, and when she felt like that wasn't enough she let out a bark of condescending laughter that drew several stares. What a silly name! (she actually thought it was very clever but she wanted to dislike it so she leaned into the distaste all the same) A foolish name cooked up by a foolish girl no doubt! The petite duckette  fixed the scarf tied around her head and slid on her big sunglasses. Disguise in place she pushed back her shoulders lifted her chin and paraded right into the shop.  It was empty HAH. Of course it was! But...oh... oh no maybe it wasn't! Those were voices, she scrambled around to hide in the comfort of a tall backed chair (and it WAS comfortable... what a nice NO it was a terribly inferior chair!).  She sunk into the cushions trying to make herself as small as possible all the while trying to peek around the upholstery to catch a glimpse of this probably very annoying girl.

"-I'll let you get to it then, even though I know you'd much rather gaze longingly at me than finish your inventory counts. See you later, maybe we can attempt to go to that new Italian place later? La Torre? Think about it." 

OH WAND ROT. WHAT WAS HE DOING HERE?! She shrunk down into the chair as Gladstone sauntered past towards the door, blowing a kiss to the other half of his conversation, and pausing at the curled up figure on the chair.  She tried to shield her face and he tilted his head curiously, and pointed at her.

"Lillypad dear, you have a customer." He informed the store at large. "She doesn't bite, don't worry-" He confided to the nervous looking woman. "Not even when you ask her to..." He winked and he was given such a dark look in return that his feet started back into motion just to be away from it.  "...well, bye."

With the sound of a tinkling bell the goose had flown the coop and that just left her and...

    • Lilly Teal
      Lilly Teal

      "Hello!" As Magica was looking at the door, the bright voice chirped from the opposite side, far too close to the chair. How did she even get here so fast without being heard?!

      Lilly beamed, though whether that happy air offset the creepiness of how suddenly she'd appeared or just added to it was up to personal opinion. She didn't seem at all suspicious of the fact that the customer was less customer and more clothing, or that she were burrowed so firmly into the chair that if Gladstone hadn't pointed her out she might have gone completely unnoticed.

      It was those kinds of observational skills that made it so easy for supervillains to roam around in a trenchcoat and glasses.

      "Welcome to Second Story Books! Normally I'd ask if you're here to browse or eat first but I think you've made your decision. Do you see anything you'd like? The cheescake is fresh."

      Well we try to make sure everything is fresh but you know.

      "Or some tea or coffee to start, maybe?"

      • Gladstone Gander
        Gladstone Gander

        Fresh hm? Well your boyfriend certainly is.

        Magica stared at her over the top of the sunglasses that had slowly started sliding down her bill after she'd whipped her head around to look at the far too close girl. She recoiled into the farthest side of the chair, pressing herself flat against it, the eyewear slipping lower and lower as the woman spoke until they drifted off the end of her bill and just swung under her chin like a pendulum as the witch tried to work out what she was seeing.

        What was that thing she was doing with her face? Was that a smile or a solar flare wrapped in a cuddly blanket filled with bubbles and rainbows and kittens?  And what was that thing she was doing with her voice? What right did she have to sound so... so... friendly?? And nice and British and... helpful. Also how did she get her hair so shiny? Magica's hand drifted to her headscarf, thinking about all the frayed and split ends in her own black hair. Black hair... that snapped her back to her true reason for coming here.  The hand fell and the shock shifted to an almost unsettling serene smile. 

        "Oh hunny aren'cha jus' th' sweetest!" She drawled and nearly rolled her eyes at herself.  Sweet enough to rot anyone's teeth out in ten seconds she'd bet.  "An' you know ah'm jus' famished!" The calm act froze completely as her stomach grumbled.  ...actually she was.  When was the last time she'd eaten? After she'd gotten the sanguine rose she  just got so caught up in... she blinked and did her impression of Lilly's smile.  If the darling book clerk had known that this was this strange woman's aim she might have taken offense to the dopey slightly cross eyed grin she gave her. "Cheesecake you say? ah'd love a slice. As fer a drink..." -bite down that evil laugh bite down that evil laaaaaugh- she produced a single tea sachet from  her bag. "Ah actually came in ta let cha sample some of mah homebrewed tea.  Ah'm tryin' ta get a business goin' an' thought ah'd drop in on the locals. Give 'em a taste of what ah can do. Mwhaha..ha.. cough. Tickle in my throat. Excuse me."

        It works better if you don't SAY cough Magica.

        • Lilly Teal
          Lilly Teal

          Listen there is a long and storied tradition of saying cough to cover up even worse spoken sound effects.

          ... it's not a tradition that has been traditionally successful mind you.

          "What a lovely idea! Ah..." Lilly's friendly smile faltered apologetically as she turned to fetch the nice lady a slice of the cheesecake. "I'm sorry but I don't really... like tea. But my neighbors can't get enough of it. Maybe after you've eaten a little," you do sound so VERY hungry, "you can share it with them? I'm sure they'd love it. And St. Canard is surprisingly good for small businesses. I'm sure if they enjoy your tea you'll have a following in no time at all."

          Helpful, and yet not helpful at all, considering YOU are supposed to be drinking this tea. She set the cheescake slice on the little table next to where Magica was ensconced, and gave her another smile. "I'll just be sorting through some books over here. if you need anything, just tell me."

          • Gladstone Gander
            Gladstone Gander

            Doesn't drink... tea?

            Magica stared at the fragrant little mesh bag in her hand as it dangled like the world's most disappointing lure.

            She narrowed her eyes at the girl's back as she fetched the cheesecake. Of all the stupid things to be picky about! Didn't she KNOW how carefully she'd dried that rose petal?! You think that grew on tea leaves? And she'd even gotten lavender and honey in there to mask the smell but she was too FANCY for tea was she? And her an Englishwoman! 

            Magica was alight with silent outrage but her stomach was very vocal in its appreciation of the rations. Hello, food my old friend! Let me gurgle out a greeting song at the sight of you! The witch felt weak at the smell of the thing and managed a sneer of a smile in return. She'd rather die than eat this girl's food... but it did... look... really... and... was that a strawberry... on top? Well, she'd eat it! But she wouldn't enjoy it! No! She needed to keep her strength up for what she had in store for this smiling brat! Yes... yes...she'd eat this cheesecake and then... oh but my was it fluffy and... Magica swallowed the first mouthful with her eyes closed. This was...

            "AH HAVE TA' GO! SORRY TA BITE N' RUN BUT... uh... important tea business needs ta be done!" She blurted out and started to dash towards the door but stopped and took another mouthful of cheesecake, it was so good it made her furious, then ran out the door.  

            The door would barely have time to settle back in its frame when there was a bit of animated cussing and series of poofs from outside and it swung open again.  This time a woman with blonde hair and a frilly pink dress sauntered in.

            "Excuse me Ms. I'm with GoodGreets the complimentary compliments company where kind people give gifts to kind people! And I have a delivery here for you of the most wonderful rose liquor!" She produced a fancy ornate bottle and practically shoved it at Lilly. "I am DYING to know what it tastes like, I'm not leaving until you try it, you lucky girl! OH is that cheesecake? Don't mind if I do-" The blonde shoveled two more spoonfuls of cake into her mouth and Magica tried not to notice the creamy texture and perfect tart and sweet combination of flavors.  No... she was watching this girl like a hawk. Why was this cheesecake so good?!

             

            DRINK THE DANG ROSE PETAL.

            • Lilly Teal
              Lilly Teal

              No doubt making the liquor from the rose petal had been just as fiddly a process as drying it for conversion into 'tea'. But unfortunately for Magica...

              "Oh!" Lilly clasped her hands brightly at the woman, and it was only slightly tinged with concern as she began eating the leftovers of the last customer. "That's so kind! Ah... would you like me to bring you some more food? I have some quiche, I can cut you a slice of that?"

              You look like you need it!

              "Goodness, how lovely, a present for me," she went on, taking the bottle with a smile. "I'm not very fond of drinking I'm afraid," so much for your curiosity, "but how about I keep it behind the counter here! I can offer a complimentary drink to customers. A way to gift the gift forward."

              Wasn't that a NICE idea?

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