Product of Love part 3: The Marketplace, takes place the next day in the market where the story first began. If you haven’t read the first two installments, you can find them here: https://www.victoriamayburybooks.ca/2020/02/15/the-product-of-love-gills-backstory/ and here: https://www.victoriamayburybooks.ca/2020/02/23/product-of-love-part-2-adrianna-and-dereck/ . So without further ado, enjoy the story. Happy reading!
Product of Love Part 3: The Marketplace
“Hey!” Adrianna heard her friend’s footsteps before she saw the shorter mage. “Adrianna, sorry about last night, I was held up by one of the board members. How did you get home?”
“I walked,” Adrianna replied briskly. “I wanted to get my grapes before the market closed.”
“By yourself!? You know better than to do that.” Mi lowered her voice. “We aren’t even supposed to do that. I could get away with it once or twice but you are – “
“The daughter of one of the board members, I know. It is all people tell me these days.” Adrianna sighed and rubbed her temples. She hadn’t slept well, thinking about her identification necklace in the hands of some human. Her thoughts had then strayed in the direction of the human who had stood up to her, not seeming to care who she was. Those thoughts had concerned her more than what befell her necklace as did the slight rush of adrenaline coursing through her veins as she drew closer to the gates that led to the city proper and not where she and most well to do mages lived.
“Where are you going?” Mi’s pace slowed as they drew close to the gates.
Adrianna pursed her lips deciding whether or not she should tell her friend where she was going and what she was going to do. “Back to the market, I left something there.” The human’s green eyes flashed before her.
“What did you leave? You could just send a guard to fetch it.”
“Mi, it isn’t something that I want to be reported to my parents. I,” She lowered her voice. “I left my identification necklace there.”
Mi stopped, her jaw dropped slightly in shock. “What would posses you to do that? Did someone posses you to do that?”
Adrianna quickly explained her situation to the mage. Mi’s face went from surprise to anger and back to shock. “Oh, once we get there, I’ll give that man such a tongue lashing that his ancestors will be ashamed of his existance.” Mi grabbed Adrianna’s hand and marched towards the gate. “Open up!” She yelled at the guard who scurried to do her bidding. “We have business in the market.”
The produce market was packed by the time the mages had gotten there.
“Oh, how are we supposed to find the right stall with all these people here. Humans all look the same.” Mi groaned as she tried to scan the nearest stalls.
“Why don’t we split up? You go that way and I’ll circle around this way. I’m sure we can find them.” Adrianna directed Mi in the opposite way from where she knew the stall to be.
“Ok, just don’t leave the market without me. We don’t need to get you into trouble.” Mi started off in the direction, slowly peering at each of the stall owners as she tried to find the one Adrianna described. Adrianna slowly approached the stall of the old man, unsure as to why she directed her best friend away from the stall.
The old man looked up and smiled at the mage, “Ah, are you back for more grapes, Miss? Or is there something else I can help you with?”
Adrianna smiled politely as she scanned the stall for the younger man but to her disappointment, he was not to be found. “Actually, I was looking for the man that was here last night, there is something I need to talk to him about.”
The old man smiled and gestured her to come around to the shaded part of the stall. “You can sit here, while you wait for my great-nephew. He is running some errands at the moment but should arrive in the next while.”
Adrianna was taken aback that the awful man she met last night could share any familial genes with the sweet grape vendor. “I honestly have a difficult time believing that he could be related to you, sir.”
“I understand, his side of the family did receive a double share in the looks department.” The old man’s eyes twinkled much like his great-nephew’s did the evening before.
Adrianna felt her cheeks start to burn as she ignored the vendor’s jab. “I was talking about his behavior last night, it was most uncouth towards me.”
“Oh, yes, he told me all about what happened. I do apologize for mixing up you and your friend’s names, but perhaps you were a bit demanding in your requests. My great-nephew is more stubborn than a bull when he wants to be and he didn’t know that you are from one of the most influential families in the city, though I’m sure your actions did show him some of the snobbery that comes with the territory.”
The old man paused to sell some of his produce to a passerby who left after glancing at the mage sitting beside him in the stall. “My question to you is, why didn’t you report him? The guards wouldn’t have blinked twice if you told them to arrest or even execute him for his insolence to you.”
Adrianna sat quietly, disturbed by the man’s words and gentle questioning. She had no answer for her actions the night before, but the thought of punishing the man for simply protecting his uncle’s livelihood made her feel sick. She quickly excused herself, determined to not let Mi find the stall or the man. As she left the stall, Adrianna felt a herself quickly pulled behind the stall. A hand was clapped over her mouth, muffeling her surprised shriek.
“Be quiet! Your friend is looking for you and the last thing I want is to be arrested on the spot since that looks like what she is planning on doing.” A pair of green eyes met Adrianna’s as the man pulled his hand away. “I believe this is yours, your highness.”
He dangeled her identification necklace in front of her face, a taunting look crossing his face. She snatched it out of his grasp and quickly strung it around her neck. “Were you waiting for me to come out of the stall?”
“Well, I didn’t want to interrupt the conversation you and my uncle were having.” He smirked at her.
Adrianna huffed as she pushed away from the wall. “I won’t stand here for you to mock.”
“Oh, my apologies, your highness.” The man bowed slightly, his eyes never leaving her own.
“Stop calling me that!” She glanced around but no one else could see them or hear them over the hustle and bustle of the market. “I’m not part of the royal house. Just a member of the governing faction of this boarder town.”
“Will, my lady, suffice?” He asked her still in his mock bow.
Adrianna exhaled forcefully as she tried to quench her rising anger. “Just . . . Adrianna will do.”
“Adrianna,” he rolled the name around in his mouth. “Not very mage like at all, sounds like something from Dasica or Fadrye.”
“It was what my mother picked.” Adrianna replied hotly. “It belonged to her childhood friend who passed before I was born. But I assure you, I am Adrianna of the town of Delgart and not of some Dasicain town.”
“Well, Adrianna of Delgart, I have but one question and I’ll leave you be.”
His eyes glowed as he spoke. “Why didn’t you deny the fact that I had been blessed with a double share in the looks department as my uncle said?”
Adrianna sputtered, “I suppose you look average for a human, though your actions last night showed your true nature which perverts even the most perfect of beings.”
“So. . . you think I look perfect? I’m flattered that you would think so highly of a lowly human such as myself.” His green eyes twinkled.
“It was hypothetical!” She turned to re-enter the market, knowing her friend would soon call for the guards to help find her.
“I’m sorry?” She turned, bracing for his mocking again.
“My name is Dereck Preslar. You never asked for it so I give it freely.” He smiled slightly, not a sarcastic or mocking smile but something more genuine.
“Nice to meet you, Dereck Preslar.” Adrianna paused, unsure what to do until she heard her friend call out for her. “I should go before she brings the guards. Tomorrow, meet me in the northern arbor, I wish to continue this conversation.” With that, she whirled around and slipped back into the market.
Thank you for reading Product of Love Part 3: The Marketplace. Stay tuned for my next installment of the story and feel free to check out my Tumblr page while you wait. https://www.tumblr.com/blog/authorvictoriarmaybury