Run, Red, Run: Chapter 13

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Chapter 13: Paint the Town Red

Red was just going to visit her sick grandmother; she wasn't expecting the big bad wolf.

 

“If you use the term ‘live’ very loosely in my case,” Goldie muttered between sips from her bottle.

 


 
Author's Note: Here's the new chapter of Red. This should have been posted last week but between being sick and then trying to get my contest story entry done in time, I just didn't have the time or energy to post it. As always, thanks to Big Closet and to all my readers for your support, and I will continue to post chapters here, patreon chapters are only for people who wish to support me and read ahead. I hope you all enjoy. Further chapters are available on Patreon.~Amethyst.
 


 
Chapter 13: Paint the Town Red

We ate breakfast at a tavern called Witch’s Brew, which Cerriwyn informed us was run by a Witch named Simone, something that Greta tiredly confirmed as we entered the building. Like most businesses in Shadowtown, it was open all day and all night to serve Arcane of both nocturnal and diurnal varieties. Much like the other buildings in Shadowtown, the outside was mostly overgrown and partially supported with vegetation, but there was electricity and lights, and the inside seemed warm and homey with hardwood floors, sturdy wooden chairs and tables, and both the tables and the top of the walnut-hued bar were clean and polished.

The tavern wasn’t terribly busy at the moment, there was only one customer shrouded in a black cloak sitting at the bar and another small group like ours at a table near the back. Behind the bar were more bottles of various alcohol than I had ever seen in one place before, neatly stacked on shelves that covered most of the wall back there, and a gorgeous and curvaceous redhead with pointed ears who was wearing a green dress. The latter offered a friendly smile as we stepped inside. When a verbal greeting followed, it was spoken in a distinctive Scottish accent.

“Welcome t’ Witch’s Brew, I’m Dierdre, yer bartender if yer drinkin’. I’d’ suggest the house mead, or we do have a nice ale on tap too if that’s yer preference. If yer ‘ere t’ eat, I guess I’m yer waitress too since Farah’s on her lunch break wit’ her friends o’er there,” she said playfully as she gestured to the table in the back where her waitress was probably one of those seated.

The Fairy with us immediately took charge. “Hi, Dierdre, these girls are new to Shadowtown and will be working for the Fairy Godmother, could you get them some breakfast menus? Oh, and bottle of your special blend?”

The redhead raised an eyebrow and carefully sniffed the air. By the time that she had produced a trio of menus from beneath the bar without even looking, her eyes had settled upon Goldie. “Aye, only the Witch there smells vaguely familiar, ne’er smelled anythin’ like the others afore. You ‘ave the stink o’ death on ya though, Blondie. Vampire?”

“Yes,” Cerriwyn answered before Goldie could find the words. “Can your supply handle another blood drinker?”

“Aye, there’s plenty o’ folk in Shadowtown willin’ t’ donate blood, an’ we pay good money. More’n I need right now since we figured there’d likely be more bloodsuckers in town eventually, so the boss will probably charge her same as she’s chargin’ me, jus’ enough t’ make a slight profit.” She bent over and a moment later reappeared with a large, chilled wine bottle in hand, placing it before Goldie. “There ya go, Blondie, I hope ya like the taste o’ Orc, that’s the vintage we seem t’ get most. The Families don’ want folk like us preyin’ on the unwilling, so ya can buy yer blood ‘ere when ya need it.”

Goldie popped the cork and sniffed the bottle experimentally before taking a tentative sip. Her eyes widened and a smile tugged at her lips. “It’s not bad,” she admitted, “and I’ll be glad not to have to leave town for my meals.”

“Oh, Dierdre, I need to speak with Simone as well, is she awake?” our Fairy guide inquired.

“Aye, I just took o’er for her a l’il while ago. She’s in the back placin’ an order, I’ll go an’ get her while yer friends decide what they’ll be eatin’.” With that, the redhead hopped gracefully over the bar and sauntered over to a door on the back wall near the table where the other small group sat. Damn, I’d never be able to pull off something like that. I could barely reach the bar, let alone hop over it, especially while wearing an ankle-length dress like she was. It was as she walked away that I noticed that the hem of that dress was swishing around a pair of hooves rather than feet.

“She’s a Baobhan sith,” the Fairy explained, noting the direction of my gaze. They’re Fae, but like Goldie, they need to drink blood to live.”

“If you use the term ‘live’ very loosely in my case,” Goldie muttered between sips from her bottle.

While she was drinking and we were waiting for the proprietor of the bar, Goldie, Greta, Berry and I took seats at a table near the bar. Only Greta and I looked through the menus though since Goldie had her meal already and Berry was still feeling full after disposing of Porgie’s body early that morning. I decided on my new favorite breakfast, steak and eggs with toast, bacon, home fries, and orange juice while Greta decided to have the pancakes, also with orange juice.

Once she returned to let us know that Simone would be joining us shortly, Dierdre took our orders and dropped them off with whoever was working in the kitchen before grabbing our drinks and then returning to her post at the bar. It wasn’t all that long before the door at the back opened, and Simone emerged to head straight for our table. She was a tall, slender, and somewhat pretty Witch who was just as redheaded as Dierdre, though her build was far slighter and more modest when compared to the Baobhan sith.

She seemed friendly, greeting our group with a smile and nodding her head toward Greta in acknowledgement. It was Simone who had told Greta about the price on Porgie’s head and taught her the bare basics about being a Witch after all. Apparently, she would also be Greta’s new official teacher in witchcraft, or at least that was what we were told after Cerriwyn had a hushed conversation with the bar’s proprietress. Like any other business owners in the BriarRose territory, she had an arrangement with the Fairy Godmother.

In Shadowtown, business owners don’t really own, lease, or rent the buildings that they run their businesses in, at least not like in the outside world. They are granted the property and permission to do business there by the Family that runs that area of Shadowtown in exchange for a handsome portion of the profits after supplies and labor, and the occasional favor, such as training a newbie Witch. If a business owner did not hold up their end of the bargain, they could find themself homeless, without a business, and on the wrong side of one of the Families, which as not an enviable position to be in when in Shadowtown.

Of the four Families, the BriarRose Family seemed to be the most lenient and didn’t call on favors from their tenants willy-nilly or make those favors exceedingly difficult. Like the Fairy Godmother had promised us in our jobs as her enforcers, it was also up to the person doing the favor just how to do it and in cases such as this, where a lot of time and energy would be spent on it, those favors could be negotiated. So, Simone negotiated that Greta would work part time at Witch’s Brew while getting her lessons, in addition to her enforcer duties with us.

I thought this would send the novice Witch into a swear-laden complaint, but she seemed alright with it since she would be learning to properly control her magic from the other Witch once she was recovered from her mana exhaustion. It could also be that she was just too damn tired to care very much as we ate our meal. She had already nearly nodded off once while we were waiting for our breakfast and while Simone and the Fairy had their quiet conversation.

Once Greta and I had finished our breakfast, we dropped the Witch off at our new shared home and, once we were certain that she was safely inside so she could sleep, we headed off on the rest of our tour. Since Goldie wouldn’t need to leave Shadowtown to hunt down a meal, we planned to take our time and get some things for the house, with the shared funds that the four of us had withdrawn from the bank. As tired as Greta was when we dropped her off, she was happy to let us handle that kind of stuff while she rested and recovered.

Before we went anywhere else though, I needed a cup of coffee. I wasn’t as tired as Greta was, obviously, but I hadn’t gotten nearly as much sleep as I should have and I was feeling it. With that in mind, Cerriwyn had us make our first stop at The Bean Stock, a local coffee shop. They didn’t sell baked goods or sweets like The Muffin Man, but they didn’t really need to since their coffee was far superior. It was the best cup of coffee I ever had, and they also sold pre-ground coffee, fresh beans, and a variety of herbal teas to make at home.

Cerriwyn said that the coffee shop was run by a half-Fae named Jack and that he used his demesne and his nature magic to grow the best beans and herbs that he could. Jack was actually the one to serve me when I ran inside to grab a coffee to go, and I seriously wondered if his other half was hill giant or something since he was absolutely huge. I know, at five feet even pretty much everyone is huge to me, but this guy was over six and a half feet tall. Still, he was friendly to the point of being boisterous, and his coffee was so good that I vowed to return to buy some of the packaged stuff for the house once we had a proper coffee maker.

As I drank my cup of joe and Goldie drove while following Cerriwyn’s directions, the Fairy pointed out the various landmarks in the BriarRose area of Shadowtown and gave us the rundown on some of the more popular shops and the people who ran them. Our first stop for shopping was Hubbard’s department store, the old lady who ran it prided herself on having practically everything that the people of Shadowtown might need. We were able to get things like kitchen appliances (like a microwave and my coffee maker), pots and pans, a television, some dark curtains, a few other basics for the house, personal hygiene stuff, cleaning supplies, and some new clothes for Berry, Goldie, and me.

We didn’t go crazy, but tried to get everything that our home might need. For basic furniture we went to a secondhand shop called Second Chances, where they sold goods that had been found abandoned along with the homes in the area and repaired for residents of Shadowtown to buy cheaply. We managed to score a couch, recliner, kitchen table, four chairs, a couple of dressers, and a trio of nightstands. Those still cost a good chunk of our shared funds, but they weren’t nearly as expensive as buying new stuff would have been.

For some stuff we went to some of the specialty stores in Shadowtown. For dishes, cutlery, and other basic kitchen stuff we went to Ms. Moon’s Tableware, which was located next to Kat’s Music. Like a lot of the places in Shadowtown, they had simple old fashioned wooden signs over the doors with the shop name and a picture carved into them, a dish and a spoon for the shop that we entered and a cat with a fiddle or violin or something for the other. I wouldn’t have thought that a music store would bet much business, but Cerriwyn said that playing music was a popular pastime in Shadowtown, especially among the Fae.

Once we finished at Ms. Moon’s, Cerriwyn suggested that we go to Princess Pea’s Bedding Emporium to get beds for our rooms, since we hadn’t been able to find any at Second Chances. They had a good selection of bedding, pillows, comforters, and such in addition to selling handcrafted wooden beds and really cozy handmade mattresses. I almost fell asleep while testing the queen-sized bed and mattress that Goldie and I bought for our room. We got beds for both Greta and Berry as well, but the slime girl wasn’t really sure if she was going to use it much. Worst case scenario, we at least had somewhere for a guest to sleep.

Our final stop for the night was Jiggety Jig’s Market, a grocery store in one of those little strip malls that had been repaired and embraced by nature, much as the rest of Shadowtown had. The market took up half of the little mall while three other stores occupied the rest; a butcher shop, a bakery and a place called B. Nimble’s, which was basically a place where people could buy incense and scented candles made by the owner, a half Fae named Bethany. I didn’t think we would have any use for candles, but I made sure to remember the bakery and the butcher shop, especially with my recent meat cravings.

“That’s the second half-Fae that you told us about,” Goldie mentioned as we entered the market. “Is it common for Fae to have children with humans?”

“No,” the Fairy replied with a shake of her head. “At least not with humans who were raised among their own kind. Fae sometimes steal away children who are being mistreated and adopt them though, as the Fairy Godmother has with little Ella. Those children grow up among the Fae, sometimes Underhill, so they can fall in love with Fae and, sometimes that results in children. The Winter Court often casts out such mixed-blood children, but those of us in the Summer Court see such children as precious. They are proof that Fae and humans can coexist.”

We finished off our shopping tour of Shadowtown by buying some groceries together at the market and then going to get some things from the butcher’s shop and bakery as well. I also promised myself that we would buy some coffee and herbal teas from The Bean Stock on our way home. It was a good thing that Goldie and I had our new demesnes, because they were getting a lot of use storing our purchases during our shopping excursion so we wouldn’t have to pay O’Hare Fast Shipping to deliver them to our home. The delivery company’s rates seemed fair enough, but I didn’t see why we should spend the money when we had two demesnes to store things in until we got home.

As we shopped, Berry was flirting with Goldie nearly as much as she was with me. I think that, in her own way, the slime girl was trying to show the Vampire that she wasn’t trying to threaten our relationship and that she was willing to share me, if Goldie was too. While seeing Goldie on the receiving end of the shameless flirting for once was interesting, especially with how it seemed to fluster her, I wasn’t sure if Berry was hurting or helping her case.

They were both still flirting with me the whole time too, and seemingly trying to top one another, so I was a blushing mess. It is so unfair that Vampires can’t blush, at least then I wouldn’t feel singled out. I still couldn’t flirt back with them very well either. I was just too inexperienced and every time that I tried, or they said something to make me blush, I would become a stammering mess of useless lesbian.

I tried to put it all out of my mind as we stopped to get my coffee and then returned to our new home, where Cerriwyn bid us good night, promising to contact us when the Fairy Godmother had an assignment for us. We had a lot to do with setting up furniture and stuff and turning our house into a home. After we got all that work done though, I rewarded myself with a nice dinner.

One of the thick juicy steaks that we had gotten from the butcher’s shop, medium rare, really hit the spot along with a baked potato, a fresh dinner roll from the bakery, and a cup of one of the nice herbal tea blends that I had bought along with my coffee. I would have had some of that delicious coffee, but I was tired and now that I had a bed, I wanted to sleep in it. That night, for the first time since Granny’s death, I slept without nightmares as Goldie held me close in our cozy new bed.

© 2023 - 2024 Amethyst Gibbs
All Rights Reserved

Thanks to RoseyRedd for the great teaser image and for putting this idea in my head. Further chapters are available to the public on my Patreon page for those who wish to read ahead.

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Comments

Co-Existence

joannebarbarella's picture

It's so nice to see all these girls just getting along and getting on with the normal domesticity of life. Their different sleeping requirements might take some organising.

I love the names of the shops. There's a little bit of magic in them all.

normal life

Amethyst's picture

I wanted to give them some semblance of a normal life after what they've been through. It'll give them something to anchor them when things get tough. They'll have to get used to having roomies and each other's quirks, but hopefully it'll bring them closer together.

A lot of the shop names were inspired by fairytales and nursery rhymes since it was a great way to get some more obscure fairytale referenced in.

*big hugs*

Amethyst

ChibiMaker1.jpg

Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

I can relate with Red

Amethyst's picture

I often turn into a stammering mess of useless pansexual.

*big hugs*

Amethyst

ChibiMaker1.jpg

Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

I love the Puns

Langalf's picture

The names of the characters and the various shops are sooo punny. I love it.

Me too

Amethyst's picture

That's half the fun of writing this one, coming up with names like that and fairytale-based pun. Even if it doesn't get as much of a following as my other stories, I do enjoy writing it.

*big hugs*

Amethyst

ChibiMaker1.jpg

Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

It is nice to know

Wendy Jean's picture

That there are other people who also need blood like Goldie. Hopefully it will be of the highest quality.

Blood

Amethyst's picture

It might not be the best quality, but they get it ethically.

*big hugs*

Amethyst

ChibiMaker1.jpg

Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3