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 The Cross Country Merchant (Please Join Ilu)

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Jay
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PostSubject: The Cross Country Merchant (Please Join Ilu)   Thu May 08, 2014 5:36 pm

The bag was slung over his back and it gave him an appearance not unlike that of Santa, with the brown canvas pack being impressively large. You had to be strong to travel with it, and the man seemed to be just that, with broad shoulders and a stocky build. Lotte was exiting the café, as she usually did every Thursay, when the man came. He sparked much attention in a brisk amount of time, and people crowded when he set the bag down and began to set up a shop of sorts. He sat on a low, stone wall, laying out interesting and unique items. Then, he spoke.

"Hello, ladies and gentlemen. I am a merchant who has come to sell items from around the world. Please have a look." said he, and though the scene was rather out of the blue, the people of the town seemed interested. Men and women went to investigate, children clutching their legs. Small antiques from India, dolls from Russia, goodies from Japan. His stash was impressive. His back retained shape when he pulled his merchandize from it, giving Lotte the impression that he had more stuff. Wow, how interesting. Outsiders were unusual.

The girl grabbed Ethel's pale hand gingerly, smiling. "Come on, let's see what he has!" she suggested. When it seemed like Ethel was on board, though with not as much wonder as her alive counterpart, they made their way over to the merchant.

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PostSubject: Re: The Cross Country Merchant (Please Join Ilu)   Fri May 09, 2014 8:57 pm

Skipping in a particularly merry fashion, Ashleigh made her way into Rosebury, her skirt fluttering gently with the movement of her legs. Just as she passed the café, something caught her eye: a small gathering of people, all gazing curiously at something that was just out of vision. Stopping in her tracks, the purple-haired girl made a beeline instead for whatever was being hidden, whatever was so curious to this crowd. Being a rather unimpressive five foot three, Ashleigh was forced to stand on tip toes to peer over the shoulders of the crowd to see that their interest was roused by a rather stocky man with a brown bag full of foreign trinkets. Her eyes lit up with excitement as she squeezed between people in order to get a closer look.

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PostSubject: Re: The Cross Country Merchant (Please Join Ilu)   Tue May 13, 2014 7:38 pm

Lotte bounded up to the man at around the same time as Ashleigh, appearing beside her in awe. What interesting things! She wanted to buy something, anything! But...
The man noticed her interest. "Hello there, young lass!" said he, a Scottish accent exiting his larynx. "Y'looking to buy anything?"
Lotte nodded, but immediately shook her head. "Erm, no sir. I haven't any money."
The man seemed unphased by this statement, as if he has heard it many times before. He completed a sale before continuing.
"I have an alternate method of payment you could use..." said he.
Lotte blinked, taking it in, before her face became pale and her mouth agape. "N-no sir, I don't want anything that badly..." said she, bitterness laced into her voice. How dare he? The man took his own turn to process the response, before flinching back in surprise.
"N-nie, I didn't mean that! I collects me some books. It is a passion of mine. What would you like?" asked him, smiling awkwardly upon finishing this sentence. That must have looked awkward in front of the Roseburians.... "What would you like?"
Lotte was embarrassed by her misunderstanding as well, but as the question was presented to her, the girl thought a little. And by that, I mean a lot. So much so, that Ethel broke the silence. "What about that, madam?"
A finger pointed to a locket. It looked to be made of gold, and Lotte was wary of its authenticity, but it was pretty. Carved in the shape of a heart, she didn't know of its contents and had a curiosity towards finding it out. She pointed to it. The man glanced at it, then back at her.
"Aye, lass. You're going to have to find me a great book for that. Impress me and I will give you it in return."
The barter was made. The two shook hands, the man's calloused hand that obviously belonged to a laborer, and Lotte's gentle, pale hand.

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PostSubject: Re: The Cross Country Merchant (Please Join Ilu)   Thu May 15, 2014 2:04 am

As Ashleigh got herself closer towards the intriguing salesman, she noticed a raven-haired lass make her way over with the same idea having crossed her mind. Standing less than ten feet away, she clapped a hand across her mouth to keep from laughing at what clearly sounded like a rather illicit offer of alternate payment from the stout seller. The sheer embarrassment from the other girl only made it funnier, but it probably wasn't very nice to laugh at others' mistakes. Eventually they recovered from this and the girl pointed out something, which upon closer inspection turned out to be some kind of golden locket. By this time, her ability to realize the object was because she was standing right behind the girl in question. Smiling, she stood on her tiptoes and addressed the two.

"Ooh, that looks nice. If I get you a book, can I get something too, mister?" Her eyes scanned the trinkets and artifacts before they rested upon a silver ring, a bit of dust obscuring the crest that was carved into the face. "How about that ring? Would a book get me that, mister?" She tipped her head towards the other girl and gave her a grin, thinking of how simple this could be. A book for jewelry? She had books; this was cheap as free!

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PostSubject: Re: The Cross Country Merchant (Please Join Ilu)   Thu May 15, 2014 9:28 pm

The man smiled at the girl. "I suppose, but only because you asked nicely. Now, they must be worth inclusion in my collection." stated he, stroking the stubble of a beard on his chin. "I'll be here until nightfall. After that, I am heading to the Pacific shoreline."

Lotte saw the newcomer, immediately recognizing her as a Beata student; both by her uniform and her face. She could have sworn she'd seen the girl somewhere at sometime, but didn't really bother to figure out when. She beamed, bowed her head to the man, and grabbed the other girl's wrist. "Come on, we can look together!" she suggested, though the suggestion didn't give any time for a refute. "Hi, I am Lotte. This is my friend, Ethel."
She gestured to nothingness.

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PostSubject: Re: The Cross Country Merchant (Please Join Ilu)   Fri May 16, 2014 2:37 pm

Success! All she had to do now was find a worthwhile book, and that ring would be hers. Even better, it looked like she would have some help. That girl she was standing next to was definitely a student of Beata, if her uniform was any indication. Suddenly she had grabbed Ashleigh's wrist and introduced herself as Lotte, and her… uh, her… Glancing back and forth, she couldn't see this Ethel girl. Did she have an invisible friend or something? Wasn't she too old for that? "Sure, we can look together!" And without waiting to even introduce herself, she had started to move forward, forcing Lotte to follow along if she wanted to keep a hold of the purple-haired girl's wrist.

"Excuse us, pardon me, coming through!" She maneuvered them both through the crowd, squeezing through pushed-together watchers before getting them into a less crowded airspace. "I'm Ashleigh, by the way. I bet the library has a bunch of interesting books for us to use." Sure, you couldn't keep the books permanently, but would they really miss one or two obscure copies?
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PostSubject: Re: The Cross Country Merchant (Please Join Ilu)   Fri May 16, 2014 2:41 pm

"Is stealing really okay?" asked Lotte as they weaved through the crowd and started towards the academy. Sure, the library was the ideal place to find an interesting read or two, but would they get in trouble? The Headmaster was Jace's father, but he didn't seem as jovial. Stoic, maybe, but not very much like his son. Lotte's one hand still held Ashleigh's, and the other Ethel's, though it must have looked rather strange in the point of view of her companion. Gradually the two made their way to the gate, where Lotte made a sharp turn for the library.

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PostSubject: Re: The Cross Country Merchant (Please Join Ilu)   Fri May 16, 2014 3:06 pm

Ashleigh shrugged at Lotte's query, knowing that stealing wasn't exactly appropriate, but if they were going to buy a book, they might as well have bought the merchandise. "Well, no, but that man will have to return the books then, won't he?" Accepting that flawed logic, she allowed herself to be turned around fast and led towards the library. She knew she could get there a lot faster than Lotte could, but she decided it was okay to slow down and let Lotte lead. "I haven't been in the library yet. What section do you think the interesting books are in?"

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PostSubject: Re: The Cross Country Merchant (Please Join Ilu)   Fri May 16, 2014 3:36 pm

Lotte shrugged. She knew that the place looked nice, and that's it. "I am a photographer, I don't read." she stated as they arrived at the door.

The library was air conditioned, a feature many classrooms lacked. It's architectural style made it evident that it was definitely not built during the twenty first century, and maybe not even the twentieth century as well. It had a smell to it, an old smell, a smell of leather book covers and knowledge. Well, that and the smell of sweaty students filed into one room to study or escape the heat, but oh well.

Lotte decided that the best course of action was to ask the lady behind the desk, so without consulting Ashleigh, she walked up to the desk. It was a tad too tall, the counter reaching to her breast and making her feel short, but nevertheless she smiled at the tall lady behind the barrier. "Excuse me, miss. Do you know where the interesting books are?"
The woman blinked. She looked mean, he face frozen in cynicism and wrinkles. "Pardon?"
"The interesting books. You know, the ones with history, the ones that are reeeally valuable."
It didn't help much, but it did enough. The woman pointed a boney finger at one of the end aisles, and Lotte wretched her Ashleigh towards it.

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PostSubject: Re: The Cross Country Merchant (Please Join Ilu)   Fri May 16, 2014 4:19 pm

When they walked into the library, the air conditioning felt really good on her skin. "Well, I'm a runner, so I guess I don't read either." It was a joke, of course. She did read, but oh well. When they reached the front desk, she listened as Lotte explained what they were looking for to the sour-looking librarian, and when they were directed to a vague area, she let herself be pulled along towards it by her eager new friend.

"Okay, so we gotta find a interesting and valuable book…" She murmured as she looked up and down the shelves, the two of them being sheltered by the back aisles. Without having a list of very expensive and lovely books, she really had no idea how to tell what would catch the eye of the salesman. At this point, she was just looking for a shiny book, as if that would be the one book that ruled them all. "We don't have to… look at every book in here, do we?" Because that would be terrible!"

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PostSubject: Re: The Cross Country Merchant (Please Join Ilu)   Fri May 16, 2014 7:58 pm

"I don't know." states Lotte, sifting through the books. Ethel had refused to help. The ghost did not want to cooperate in a petty theft, even though it was impossible she'd get caught. Due to this, it was only Lotte of the duo that was checking, fingering the spines of the books until she found one that caught her eye.

"Oooh, this looks neat." she stated. The cover seemed to be written in a strange language, a golden print that said, "Μια ιστορία της Σόφιας." Foreign languages meant value, right? Lotte flipped through the pages but could not focus on the long winded paragraphs, droning on for an eternity before finally resting at an occasional black and white image. Class photos. It was obvious that they were not of Beata, and therefore it most likely did not have much value to the school.

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PostSubject: Re: The Cross Country Merchant (Please Join Ilu)   Fri May 16, 2014 10:43 pm

Neat, huh? Abandoning her fruitless search, Ashleigh slipped behind Lotte and peered over her shoulder, looking down at the strange book with long-winded paragraphs. "Wow, that looks extremely boring. I bet he'd love it." That was less boring than expected, although that could be contributed to not having to search all day. Clasping Lotte on the shoulder, she gave the girl a broad grin, followed by a curious expression.

"So, Lotte, how long have you, uh, known Ethel?" She might as well ask. It was curious as to why a high school-age girl would still have an imaginary friend, but maybe she was secretly super lonely. Well, she could fix that! They could be good friends with sweet-ass jewelry.

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PostSubject: Re: The Cross Country Merchant (Please Join Ilu)   Fri May 16, 2014 11:03 pm

"Three years." said Lotte, eyes in the book as she glanced through to find more pictures. "She protected me from the bad spirits trying to make a contract with me. We haven't left each others' side since." she peered up from the book, grinning at the ghost who had boycotted any thieving affairs. She didn't smile back, for she still detested their actions.
"What, you aren't going to say anything?"
"I am going to say that you are a bloody fool."
"Oh come on, don't be like that."
The ghost didn't answer. Lotte giggled, but as she finished this, she blinked. "Oh, you can't see her, but she is there, I promise! She is why I am here." reassured Lotte. The girl had forgotten her friend was invisible. She was always around for her, so it was hard to imagine her not existing for everybody else, even three years from when they first made a contract.

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PostSubject: Re: The Cross Country Merchant (Please Join Ilu)   Sat May 17, 2014 2:04 pm

"Bad spirts, huh? I see…" Or, rather, she didn't. It was quite the fantastical story, but it didn't really matter as long as they got this book to that stout salesman. "Well, I'm glad you're here. Now, what do you think: should we find another book, or is this such an amazing book that it's a two-for-one deal?" Oh please be a twofer. Looking through volumes upon volumes of old tomes was boring.

"Why does this guy want a book anyway? Is he that much of a reader that they're worth more than what he's selling?" It seemed odd, but weren't many things about this place odd? Eventually you get used to it, so perhaps it was just par for the course. Hopefully this book would be a hole in one. "If we need another book, can you help me find another old book written in gobbledygook? A photographer like yourself probably has a great eye."

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PostSubject: Re: The Cross Country Merchant (Please Join Ilu)   Sat May 17, 2014 5:59 pm

"Yeah, maybe we should get another one for you." suggested Lotte. She glanced outside to where the sky was growing pink, and huffed. "And fast, we have a timer."
She began to sift through the books more rapidly. "I have a good eye for things that are not boring squares of paper." she murmured, discarding books that she found unworthy onto the floor. Finally, however, she spotted another book similar to her own. "Βιβλίο Κρυφό πλάσματα."
She tossed it towards Ashleigh. "Come on, let's check them out."
Forever.

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