I stopped him with a sudden look.
“Sir Dylan,” I whispered, bringing my face closer to his, “please call me by my name here. People might find it uncomfortable if you call me that in the middle of the city. There are so many commoners around here.”
His eyebrow lifted. “Commoners?”
“Yes, so please just call me by my name.”
He looked flustered for a bit but nodded shortly after.
“Okay…Miss Lesprey,” he said, gently as though testing the name.
I flashed him a smile. “Much better. Now, I asked you a question: would you like to go and have that?”
I began dragging him about, trying out different foods. Things like fruit skewers with syrup and cream, freshly fried mini doughnuts, and colorful jawbreakers. I ate until my stomach was bloated, to raise my sugar levels, and bought some more food for those still trying to pick out a dress for me.
“Are you going to eat all of that?” Dylan asked me, pointing at the food.
“No way.” I chuckled. “I just figured the other two might be hungry. And I got some food for the shop employees.”
His got a weird expression on his face at that. “I’ll help you.”
“Ah, thank you.”
I took the soft-looking flower cookie box and handed everything else to Dylan. The clothing shop wasn’t very far away. If we moved quickly enough, they’d be able to taste the flower cookie before it melted.
This flower cookie, I thought. Ridrian would like it.
I couldn’t help feeling a bit disappointed. I couldn’t have him try the cookie right now.
Someone appeared in my line of vision. Not too far away, a grandma seemed to be experiencing some trouble.
“Miss Lesprey?” Dylan said.
I ignored him and went over to her.
“Are you ok?” I asked.
“N-no,” came the reply. “I just dropped my glasses and can hardly see a thing. Perhaps you could help me?”
The grandma seemed a bit surprised by us. Apparently, she was practically blind. I was standing right in front of her, but her eyes weren’t even trained in my direction.
“Isn’t this it?” Dylan picked up an object a few feet away. A relieved smile appeared on my face, but disappeared almost immediately.
“Oh, no,” I said. “The lens are missing.”
Only the frame of the glasses was present. Dylan frowned at the spot where he’d picked up the glasses and a defeated sigh escaped his lips. The lens had been shattered.
“It looks like someone stepped on them,” I muttered.
“Oh, dear!” the grandma exclaimed. “Could you help me across the bridge? My daughter will be over there to greet me.”
Dylan, who was already on guard duty, looked a little troubled, but I could tell he also felt guilty about leaving a grandma who was basically blind to go on her own. I took a look at the flower cookies, then faced him.
“Sir Dylan,” I said, “I’ll go straight to the shop. Go escort the grandma for now.”
His eyebrows rose sharply. “I can’t do that. Anything could happen.”
I rolled my eyes at him. “The shop is just right there. It wouldn’t take me ten seconds to run over.”
The grandma must have overhead our conversation because the next thing I knew, she was trying to stop us from helping her.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “You already found my glasses. I’ll go find someone else, so you can be on your way.”
Dylan seemed to be feeling even worse after that. Clearly, he had no idea what to do. So I decided to persuade him.
“Sir Dylan,” I began, “why don’t we all go into the store together? Then you can escort the grandma to her destination?”
He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “That won’t be a problem for me.”
It would be okay since Eris was in the shop. Dylan conceded at my suggestion.
A few moments later, Dylan and I arrived in front of the shop with the grandma.
“I’ll be right back,” he told me. “Please wait inside the building.”
“Okay. Will do.” I took all the snacks from him.
“Thank you, Miss,” the grandma said. “You’re so kind. Good things will happen to you today.”
With that, she and Dylan left. I waved after them, then turned to enter the shop.
These sugar cookies are going to melt.
I made to open the door. And then it happened.
“I found you,” a man’s voice said. I started to turn to see who it was, but a hand clutching a handkerchief clamped over my mouth, suffocating me.
He used a drug…
The last thing I remembered was the sound of the snacks breaking as the bags slipped from my hands and fell to the ground.
A chill travelled down Eris’s spine. She stopped picking clothes and whirled on the spot. After a moment’s hesitation, she tossed the clothes she was carrying and dashed downstairs.
“Miss Deron? What’s wrong?”
A bewildered Lina raced after her, jumping over the railing instead of taking the stairs. Customers and employees alike yelped and shrieked in surprise, but Eris didn’t care one bit. She wrenched the entrance door.
There was no one at the door. Passers-by outside shot odd stares in Eris’s direction.
“Miss?” Lina called, as she reached the front door.
Eris said nothing. She bit her lip, an agitated look on her face, and darted outside, but had only taken a few steps when something caught her eye. Grinding to a halt, she turned to get a closer look, and her agitation grew.
Scattered on the ground were more than enough snacks for one person, but Eris was quite certain that these were Iona’s purchases. Definitely hers. The pretty flower cookies were visible between the crushed doughnuts. Eris could hardly make it out, since it had been crushed on the ground. As she took in the sight, a chill raced down her spine.