Mo the Eluvfant
The Glade Kora
Age: 4 years, 3 months, 2 weeks
Born: August 21st, 2015
Adopted: 2 years, 6 months, 2 weeks ago
Adopted: May 21st, 2017
- Level: 42
- Strength: 101
- Defense: 100
- Speed: 100
- Health: 100
- HP: 100/100
- Intelligence: 100
- Books Read: 100
- Food Eaten: 0
- Job: Unemployed
Tramp strode past the counter and through the back door. He looked back, realized Cosette wasn’t following him, and sighed. He went back to the front, where she was still sniffling in front of the display case.
“Come on, doll,” he said gently. “I know it’s a lot to process, but this is going to help explain things. You need to hear this.”
He pulled her up and gently guided her in to the back.
The tiny shop was indeed just a front. The back opened up into a huge anteroom with several doors to different rooms. It was one of the nicer dream dens that Tramp had seen in his time taking care of Clack, but it still had an air of dirtiness to it that he could never quite place.
A bell rang and the little kora came out of one of the rooms, closing the door softly behind her. She jumped when she saw them, startled.
“Oh, oh I didn’t know you would come back here. I’m so sorry. Oh, ma’am, I am so sorry about Lou, he was such a good man, we all have our problems and he wasn’t hurting anyone,” she spoke quickly, apparently nervous. “Please don’t be angry with him, it would have killed him- oh! Oh no! I shouldn’t have said that, I’m so sorry ma’am-”
“Lidia, please,” Tramp cut her off. “I need you to slow down and think. It’s important that you tell me everything you remember from his last appointment.”
“Oh!” She squeaked, “Of course! It was just a normal appointment, he wanted the usual, which is your standard nightmare where you’re being chased through a dark forest by some unseen creature. For all my customers, I give them the dream and then stay with them until they’re fully in it, then I leave the room for my other appointments. I check in on them every fifteen minutes or so, usually it lasts about three hours,” her voice was getting more confident. “Everything was completely normal, I’ve been doing this for years. His vitals were fine, once he started coming down I gave him some water and when he was ready I let him go.”
“Did he speak to anyone on the way out?” asked Tramp, “or say anything odd about meeting someone? Did he ever talk about where he got the money for his... habit?”
“Oh no, I’d never ask that kind of question,” she replied.
“Can I see the bottle you gave him?”
“Yes, I should still have it in the closet somewhere,” she said, then hurried off to what Tramp assumed was the closet they kept their empty bottles in, ready to return them to the Dreammaker.
But when she returned and handed him the bottle, he knew something was wrong. He questioned her, “Lidia, you do get your dreams from the Dreammaker, right? Please don’t tell me Carole’s started dabbling in bootlegs.”
“Oh no, she would never!” squealed Lidia, “those are straight from the Dreammaker himself, I swear it!”
Tramp looked at the bottle again. He’d been around dreams enough to know that this was definitely not the Dreammaker’s seal. It was close, the differences were almost imperceptible, but they were there. ‘Oh Carole,’ he thought to himself. Anyone in the legitimate dream business could and should be able to recognize the bootlegs, even if the changes in the bottles were so tiny. Carole knew better. He barged back into the front of the shop, which was luckily still empty.
“Bootlegs, Carole? Really?” He shouted at her. “You know how dangerous these are! If the Council knew! You’d be out of the City in a second!”
Carole’s eyes narrowed. “How dare you accuse me. You know as well as I do that this is a legitimate business, not like the scum your friend ended up in frequently...”
“Look at this!” He demanded, still shouting, not caring that Cosette had started sobbing behind him, “you know the Dreammakers seal just as well as I do! There should be three prongs on the staff, there’s only two. It’s a dupe. What are you into?”
Carole snatched the bottle from him and her eyes widened in shock as she stared at the seal. “Oh no,” she whispered, “no, you’re right Tramp. It’s a dupe. But you have to believe me, I have no idea where this came from. I inspect every bottle that comes in and I would have seen this. Someone swapped this.”
She looked up at him, eyes terrified. He believed her. She knew the consequences of bootlegging in the Zone, and they weren’t good.
“Go,” he murmured, and she bolted to the back of the shop.
Tramp wandered over to the pastry display and picked out two colourful cupcakes. He handed one to Cosette, and they munched on them quietly, waiting. When he noticed she had finished the first, he walked over and grabbed two more. They went through the entire rainbow before Carole returned, Lidia following, her arms full of bottles.
”They’re all bootlegs,” she said in a hollow voice. “Tramp, how could this happen?”
“I don’t know,” he said. “But you need to figure this out, Carole. Someone’s dead and you’ve got dupes. If the Council finds you, you know what they’ll do. Look, I’m going to keep looking, see if I can figure out what this guy was into. Talk to your staff, see if you can find anything out. Trust none of them, Carole. None of your attendants, none of your clients.”
Carole nodded at him. He wished he could help, Carole had always been one of the best in the business. And if she couldn’t keep out the bootleggers... what about the seedier dens? What was happening there? Tramp shook his head, this wasn’t part of his investigation, he couldn’t save everyone.
Tramp walked to the door, turned the ‘Open’ sign around to ‘Closed’ and headed out to the street, bells jingling happily overhead.
Cosette followed him, subdued and still holding half of a cupcake.
Dream Eating Vessel
Spilled Liquid Dreams
Notes On A Dream World
Book of Healing
Large First Aid Kit
Blue Nitrile Gloves
Blue Liquid Filled Giant Syringe
Ibuprofen Travel Pack
Drunk and Drunker: An Alcohol Safety Guide
Passionate Perfume Bottle
Flirty Love Potion
Hastily Written Invitation From Cassandra
Secret Love Letter
Passionate Love Letter
Tear Stained Linen Handkerchief
Homemade Love Notes
Pure Heart-Shaped Box