The clock had just struck noon.
Not that Vorhias could have known that. She was still wandering through the woods, and there was no other way to put it: She was fed up. Even as she had forced herself to keep to the path and not get side-tracked again, things just kept coming her way, the hag in the candy house being just the beginning.
In the course of but a few hours shed been accosted by a kid made out of wood looking for the ocean, an anthropomorphic wolf thing on the run from the cops, a crazy old woman trying to sell her apples, and all manner of whimsical ridiculousness. Shed had enough.
The sun hung high overhead, piercing rays of heat through the brush. What a time to be so overdressed. Vorhias felt like she was in a sauna. Though she was sweating bullets however, not one bead of sweat damaged her daintily made-up face, or stained her clothing.
More magic humdrum, probably.
Or maybe she was being written into a Mary Sue role. At this point who can say?
Her stomach growled menacingly. Thinking back she realized she hadnt had anything to eat since the night before, and even then all she had was some wine. She was so incredibly hungry, and coupled with all the walking shed done she felt like she was going to collapse. She still had no way to know how close or how far she was from town, either.
She looked up. Nothing but the tops of the trees, and the blue sky above them. No sign of Arabelle. Not that she could be expected to help her in a situation like this anyway.
.that tears it
She muttered to herself. One way or another she was going to get some food. Itd do her no good getting the estrogen-bomb out of her head if she starved to death first.
Perhaps that was easier said than done, though. All around her there appeared to be nothing but grass, trees, and questionable greenery. She didnt want to run the risk of eating something that could poison her, or hallucinogenic.
imagine getting high while like THIS
Vorhias thought. Definitely not worth a risk.
Just then, Vorhias noticed something
something that might have been obvious before, but was only just now starting to glare out at her. Across the tops of the trees, she could see a line of smoke. The trail landed just up the path ahead of her, where off in the distance, she could see what appeared to be a pub of sorts.
There was bound to be food there. Hoisting her dress up once more, Vorhias beat feet in its direction, as fast as she could go. She didnt care what they had to eat, one way or another she was going to eat.
Aldo grumbled, beholding yet another mostly empty tavern. He and his business partner Gavin had no luck with the place ever since theyd bought it so many weeks ago.
One would have thought that business would be booming for them in a fantastical world such as this. Spending too much time living amongst the magical pixies and fairytales was bound to drive people to alcoholism
at least that was their reasoning when they purchased the bar
but no such luck. The place barely took in enough business to get by, and if they didnt turn it around they would have to let their wait-staff go.
Just stay with me, were going somewhere with this, I swear.
Whats wrong, Aldo? Gavin asked.
What dyou mean whats wrong?? Aldo replied. What do you THINK is wrong?? This place isnt raking in any gold is whats wrong! We never get any turnaround unless theres a wizards convention in town or something, and weve got NO repeat customers! None!
Well I DID tell you it wasnt a wise idea to invest in those
Shut up. Just shut up. Dont even say another word about those.
Well it WAS kind of a presumptuous purchase on your part
Well obviously I didnt consider that the only women around here are insane hags!
Yeah, thats what Im saying-
Did I say not to shut up?? I dont think I did!
Gavin shook his head.
Im gonna clean the windows
Ill let you know if anyones coming up the road. He added, heading towards the entrance.
Its all location
nobody wants to go to a bar in the middle of the freaking woods
Gavin tried to ignore Aldos angry ranting, as he grabbed a nearby washcloth and began to wipe the dust clean off the nearest window.
hold on a minute
someones coming up the road.
Aldo sprang over to where Gavin was so he could catch a glimpse.
What?? Who? Whod be walking around in the middle of the woods like this??
Right there. Gavin said, pointing up the road.
Who, that rich-looking girl? Aldo asked, peering at Vorhias, who got closer and closer to the tavern with every step. She seems oddly out of place
Shes not coming HERE, is she?
Why wouldnt she be? Theres nothing else out here, like you said.
Yeah, but rich women dont want to come to our squallid little tavern. Shes bound to pass right by.
With a resounding SLAM! the door swung open, and in stepped Vorhias, panting madly. She staggered over to the nearest table and sat down. Then with a mighty tug, she yanked the necklace off her neck, as well as her bracelets, and slammed them down on the table.
Bring me the biggest lunch platter you have. She said.
Gavin and Aldo looked at each other, puzzled. They then looked back at Vorhias and in unison replied: Yes, maam! and darted off to the kitchen, grabbing her pawned jewelry as they went.
Just as well
Vorhias thought. Hadnt planned on using them for anything else anyway
This is just about the closest weve ever got to having a lunch rush. Aldo said to Gavin.
pretty gorgeous lunch rush at that. Not like any of the other women around here
Gavin replied, starting up an oven.
I just got an idea. Aldo replied.
Were finally gonna attract some customers, and make use of those specialty items you said were such a rip-off.
Gavin caught on immediately.
What?? Shed never agree to that!
Just follow my lead, and finish cooking
It wasnt the most delicious meal that Vorhias had ever had, (It was like having something from Burger King in terms of quality.) but now her stomach didnt hurt anymore. Strangely enough she appeared not to have gained a single pound from eating the meat dish shed been served. (Though that could have just been the tightness of the corset she was set in.)
Either way, she was satiated, and she still had hours to spare. With nary a thought she got up from her table and headed to the door.
wouldnt go so quickly if I were you. Came a voice from the back of the tavern. Aldo and Gavin stood in the doorway to their kitchen, arms crossed, looking fairly stern.
Huh? Im kind of on a schedule, though-
Yes, yes, but it seems, milady
that in your haste to pay us for your meal you neglected to give us a proper amount. Aldo replied.
What?? I gave you some really shiny jewelry! That should be more than enough!
It was strictly cosmetic accessories. Worth little more than a shiny trinket.
Aldo was lying through his teeth of course. If adjusted for its worth in the realms currency, the jewels that formerly adorned Vorhias could have bought the whole tavern 50 times over.
Vorhias didnt know that, though.
You still owe us quite a bit, madam. Gavin added.
Im good for it? Vorhias asked, sheepishly.
You cant be serious. Aldo replied, as Gavin shook his head.
But I dont have anything else to pay you with except the clothes on my back!
Well thats too bad. We dont take clothes as payment. Aldo replied.
Were not going to have to call the authorities on you for attempting to squelch on paying for the whole meal, are we? They can be here VERY quickly. Gavin added.
Vorhias was about to make a snappy comeback, until she realized that if whatever passed for the police force around here were to pick her up, Prince Otis would catch wind of it, and have her whisked away back to his palace. All her work escaping would have been nullified in an instant.
surely we could cut a deal or something
work your time off. Gavin said, knowingly.
Vorhias didnt like that one bit. As she said, she was on a schedule. The sooner she got out of the forest and back into town, the better. But she didnt see any way out of this.
She heaved a painful sigh.
should I go put an apron on or something?
No, no, no, weve got plenty of wait-staff. Aldo replied. Though we do have something a little more
mmmm...up your alley for someone of your, ahem
As if on cue, Gavin strode to the back of the room, and pulled a lever. A table that had been sitting in the middle of the floor just as quickly sank back into it through a special panel, and was just as quickly replaced with something different.
Vorhias thought. What the heck kind of use would a tavern have for a big human-sized cage? One with a big
..in the middle
Her face went pale.
thats not what I think it is, is it? She stammered.
Call us trailblazers, but someday soon EVERY bar in this realm is going to have one of these
No. NO. NO. Vorhias declared. I dont care how much I owe you, there is nothing you can say that will get me into that cage!
Gavin, call the town guard.
Vorhias stomach turned.
Okay, okay, okay, fine! Dont
dont get hasty
Sounds good. Aldo replied, grinning maliciously. Theres a place in the back you can change. Strip down to your skivvies and get in there. He turned to Gavin. And you spread the word. If you hurry we can have this place packed before 1:00.
Vorhias groaned, and grudgingly trudged to the taverns back room. She was by no means thrilled about her current predicament.
The only solace she could get was knowing that nobody she knew was around to see what she was about to do.
Theyd have a freaking field day