The grand opening was overwhelming for Guinevere. Agnes’ article was a headliner, which of course included her self advertisement for the shop. Agnes was at the door, ready to greet her. “Gwen! You won’t believe how many people showed up, just to see you.” Her stock wasn’t completed, so she had frogs for sale in the meantime. It felt embarrassing, all these people looking at frogs when she should’ve prepared her bottles of herbal remedies.
“This is only a temporary stock, I…kinda hope no one buys these frogs.” She said in a low voice that only Agnes could hear. Just then, Guinevere saw a cloaked figure in the crowd. “Hey Agnes…can you see that cloaked guy over there?” She didn’t want to cause alarm…because that cloaked figure was the one and only Grim Reaper.
“N-no? Cl-cloaked g-guy? You don’t mean death is walking among us?” Guinevere placed a finger to her lips and let out a quiet ‘shh’.
“He’s just browsing. I heard tales that Grim frequented my grandmother’s shop. I guess he heard it was reopening.” Agnes looked feint. “I promise, he’s a good guy. He helps souls cross into the nether, it’s his job.”
“O-oh. Well I’m going to go browse. My sister is on the other side of that wall…I think she’s looking for a gift for Gunther.” Agnes left her side, and Guinevere went into the brew room.
“How’s it going in here Yuki?” Guinevere sent Yuki ahead to open shop, since she trusted her with the responsibility.
“There’s a lot of people out there, Your Majesty. So I’m just going to stay in here and try to perfect a less addictive sun resistance potion.” Could she possibly have anxiety around people?
“Yuki…are you okay? Around crowds, I mean?” Yuki put the bottles down and turned to Guinevere. She shook her head.
“M-my sister left me in a crowded mall, promising that she would come back. She never did. She left me, and I wandered for days. Hide during the nights. I waited for her. I was a child and the crowds didn’t help me. They avoided me. Your father found me, and saved me. I-I have abandonment issues, ma’am…and yes, I have anxiety around crowds.” Guinevere didn’t know any of this, Yuki never opened up about this. If I had known…I wouldn’t have sent her alone.
“Yuki, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know. I didn’t know how you came to be here. I never would have sent you here alone if I had known.” Guilt was eating away at Guinevere. She was feeling maternal to this young woman, she wanted to hug her and keep her safe.
“It’s okay, I try to never talk about it. I should have told you, but I didn’t want to disappoint you.” At that, Guinevere hugged her.
“I don’t think you could ever disappoint me Yuki. You stay back here as long as you want, I’m probably needed out there.” Guinevere pressed her lips lightly to Yuki’s forehead before leaving the room.
“Hey! Gwen!” Agnes called as soon as she entered the sales floor. Guinevere rushed over there. “Gwen, this is my sister Cornelia. Nelly, this is Gwen.” So this is Gunther’s fiancée. She’s not how I expected.
“Pleasure to make your acquaintance.” Guinevere smiled and held her hand out to shake Cornelia’s.
“Gunther has told me all about you, Guinevere. How exactly do you know him? He’s never told me.” Guinevere knew she couldn’t mention the glade, so she went with the next logical explanation.
“He helped my betrothed set up the conference the other day. He introduced himself afterward, and took me out for a business lunch.” Jealousy radiated off of the purple haired woman, and even though she hid it, Guinevere could sense it. I would be lying if I said there was nothing to be jealous of…
“I see, he’s always been a kind person.” Tension was growing thicker in the awkward silence.
“Anyway! Gwen, I called you over to see if you could tell us about this painting. Nelly is thinking about buying this.” It was a painting of Morgan le Fay, her grandmother.
“Well, it’s a portrait of my grandmother. It’s not exactly for sale…but I could part with it since it would be going to a friend.” The human women inspected the name on the frame. “Yes, that really does say Morgan le Fay. And yes, she named her own shop after her. She was an egotistical and vain woman. Her overconfidence was her downfall.” Guinevere hated her grandmother — she was executed for attempting to poison her husband. On top of that, it was rumored that she had a lover that helped her plan the poisoning, he was never caught and she died without saying who.
“How much for it?” Cornelia asked. Guinevere hadn’t thought about it.
“How much are you willing to pay?”
“Two-hundred thousand?” Cornelia offered. It seemed a little cheap considering the historical value, but she agreed on it. It’s a gift for Gunther. Plus, it’s not like I’m short on cash.
“I’ll ring you up when you’re ready.” She left the women to go help other customers.
She approached the hooded figure standing next to bottles of vampire essence. I wonder what he wants with that? “Hello. I must admit, I was shocked to see you in here.”
“Young Guinevere Straud. It’s nice to finally meet you after so long. I heard you were reopening Le Fay’s and had a desire to check in on you. I’m sorry about your father.”
“Don’t. I don’t blame you, I blame whomever killed him…because I know that’s the truth. I just need to find proof.”
“Do you think it was coicidence you decided to open this shop? You could have done anything for money. But why this shop?” Guinevere thought about it. I…honestly don’t even know why I opened this shop. “You have no answer, because you were called to it.” His voice rumbled on, “All the answers you seek are here, you just have to know where to look. Now, I would love to buy a bottle of this please.” Guinevere stood, dumbstruck. There was too much for her to process. How does he know? Without asking any of the questions she needed answered, she entered the transaction and handed him the bottle. As soon as his boney hand wrapped around the bottle, he was gone. What. The. Hell. Is. Going. On?! All at once, everything processed. I will find those answers, even if I have to tear this place down.