Chapter 2: Shopping
I woke up startled. The sound was loud and unexpected. Looking around, I realized I was in a bed in an RV.
All memories flash into my eyes from yesterday. I remembered Annalise and I had traveled for days looking for Mr. Inez. Dragon hunters found us. I got rescued by a human girl named Odette Miller. Eating mushroom soup with the Dwarfs family. I've been to the Adventure guild and a lot more.
Couldn't believe I made it out alive and found Mr. Inez, which means I can finally be trained by him. Only he can accept me as a dragon shifter. There is no one else.
Sighing, I got up from the bed and then looked at the weird looking alarm clock: It's 6.
As soon as I changed into my clothes, I walked out of the room. I was ready to start the day.
When I got out of my room, I was greeted with sounds of boiling eggs and bacon with the aroma of coffee. I followed the sound and realized it was coming from the kitchen. When I stepped in, Mr. Inez was cooking breakfast.
He smiled at me and said, "Good morning, I'm almost done here. Can you set the table?"
After a puase, I nodded and started to set the table while Mr. Inez finished cooking. Once I finished, I sat down and watched him.
"Have you heard from Odette?" He asked without looking at me.
"Hmm? The girl? Uh, no. Haven't seen her yet."
"Magic really messed up her mind, huh?" He chuckled.
I frown. "Ah, yeah. She literally saw people turning into trees."
I shook my head. "It's been really a struggle for her. She lost her family, she's in a foreign country and the only way she can get back home is to use her staff and magic and save her family. However, she doesn't know how to do it. She's scared and confused."
He nodded. "That's terrible. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for her. And that's why she came to me. I told her I would help her. I have some knowledge of magic and I'm sure I can help her find a way to save her family. I'm confident that together we can figure out a solution."
The vampire flips eggs and bacon before putting on the plate. "Breakfast is served."
He serves me a bacon and eggs before sitting down. "Let's dig in then, shall we?" He smiles, grateful for the distraction the meal provides.
I picked up my fork and stab the bacon. "Aren't you a vampire? Why are you cooking bacon and eggs?"
He chuckles and shakes his head. "It's a reminder of what I used to be. A reminder of my humanity." He takes a bite of his eggs. "I'm not a monster, you know. Just someone who had to make some difficult choices."
"BULLSHIT!" I screamed slamming my hands on the table.
There was no emotion on his face as he stared at me. I can feel anger rising inside me, and I point my finger at him. "You call that humanity? You're nothing but a coward! You made Odette cast a spell that turned people into trees and it was just yesterday!"
He stared at me, still emotionless, and my anger boiled over. I yelled, "How can you do this and not care? Like, what the hell?"
He didn't flinch or show any remorse. All I saw was a cold, empty stare.
"And what do you think is the best solution from yesterday's aloof?" He asked blankly.
I stuttered, not sure what to say. His gaze intensified as he waited for my response. I was paralyzed by his stare, my mind racing to find the correct answer.
"Yesterday, you insisted on breathing fire into those guardians and you may think it will stop them from getting us?"
The vampire reached for the milk carton. "Which is hypocritical of you to think I'm a monster while you are planning to burn everyone but also the forest which can lead to a forest fire and put everyone in danger. You will cause more destruction than I ever could."
I grin my teeth. "HEY! WATCH YOU'RE TOUNG-"
"But then again, those guardians didn't back down from you even after you breathe out fire they'll still brave enough chase you down through you are a dragon shifter. This proves to show, they are not afraid of you and have fought dragons before."
I shivered down my spine as the vampire opened the milk carton only to spill blood into a glass. I leaned back from my seat in shock, not expecting to see such a sight.
"But, of course, you didn't know. So, you should thank me that we're still alive and no one got hurt."
I shook my head in disbelief as I watched the vampire drink the blood. I had no idea what to say or do, so I just sat there silently. Suddenly, I felt a wave of relief wash over me as I realized I was safe.
"Mr Inez...I" I breathed out slowly and finished my sentence. "I don't understand why turning people into trees is a good idea?"
Mr. Inez paused and looked into my eye, "It's a complex process, but it allows us to escape these people who teams to kill us. It's not something we do lightly, but it's necessary in certain situations."
He smiled creepily and replied, "Besides, don't you think they look beautiful when they turn into trees? Trees are cut down every year...why not replace them with a new one?"
The man's words were almost hypnotic. I started to feel like I was swayed by his strange beliefs and ideals. He was staring at me, waiting for an answer.
Just then, Odette walked into the kitchen. I was suddenly snapped out of my trance. I could feel the tension in the air and see her stern look.
"Good morning, Odette. Sleep well?" Mr. Inez asked, sipping his blood drink.
Her eyes are fixed on Inez's drink as she stares at it. "It's that...blood? You drink blood in the morning?"
He nodded. "Of course I am. Don't you know I'm a vampire?"
"Vampire? What?" Odette paused. "What do you mean by that? What's a vampire?"
"A vampire is a mythical creature that feeds on the blood of living creatures," he explained, his eyes narrowing. "I'm one of them - I'm immortal, and I have special powers."
"WHAT? THAT'S CRAZY!"
He smiled. "Yes, it is crazy, but it's the truth. I'm not going to hurt you, I promise."
"I don't understand why you humans don't know what vampires are. Vampires are pretty common beings living in Arkane." I said.
"She's not from here. She's an outsider, remember?" Inez said.
He shook his head. "Yeah whatever. It's like you've never heard of us before." He sighed. "I guess you have no choice but to show you."
"I still feel like I'm dreaming."
We turn to the girl tumbling at her feet. She stares at us with wide eyes, disbelief on her face. Her hands shake, she stands up and takes a few steps back, her gaze still fixed on us.
"This can't be real," she whispers. "It...it all has to be. It feels like I'm in another realm...another world. I must be dreaming. But how can I wake up? I feel like I'm stuck here, in this strange place, forever."
Both me and Inez looked at one another. I couldn't find the words to comfort her. We both sat in silence, unsure of what to do next.
"Odette, you are not dreaming. This is real. You're in a place called Arkane. It's the truth and nothing but the truth." Inez said.
"But you've only been here for five days, how are you having a break down now? Did you get used to it too fast?" Inez asked.
Odette shook her head and dropped to the floor, her body shaking with sobs. She couldn't believe it was real. It was all too much for her.
"My Whole family is gone, and it's all my fault!" She cried, sobbing on the floor.
Honestly, I feel sorry for her losing her family, but at the same time, her sobbing makes me feel uncomfortable. I don't know what to do. I wanted to console her but didn't have the right words to say. I just sat there eating bacon.
Just then Inez got up from his seat and grabbed her hand. "Odette, everything is going to be okay. I don't know how you lost your family, but I promise you we'll get them back."
Odette looked up at Inez, hope in her eyes. She searched for the strength to believe him as tears welled up in her eyes. Inez gave her a reassuring smile and squeezed her hand.
Oh god, are they going to fall in love with each other? Don't they know she's a human and he's a vampire?
Disgusted, I interrupt. "Okay! Can we get on with our morning?"
They look at me, embarrassed, and quickly move away from each other. "Yes, let's get to work," one of them says, and they walk in opposite directions. I exhale, relieved that nothing more has happened.
"Oh, by the way, Inez, did you honk the car wheel?" I ask.
"I wanted to ask the same thing! Why, did you honk the car?" Odette wonder.
Biting his last bacon, Inez spoke. "Because I want you all to wake up. We reach our destination."
My eyes are fixed on the old, rotten building, so I glance at the vampire in confusion.
"An antique store? Really?"
The vampire nods in confirmation and gives me a knowing look. I can't help but wonder what's so special about this place. I have a feeling something unusual is about to happen.
"Why are we coming here? I thought we'd be heading somewhere we could train, like I don't know the mountains?"
The vampire pauses and looks around. "This is the place," he states firmly. "You will find what you need here."
"Wow, looks ancient! Wait did you bring us here becuase you wanted us to buy something from the antique store?" said Odette, holding her magical staff.
"Not exactly," the vampire replied with a smile. "I wanted to show you something more special than that." He opened the door and stepped inside.
As we step inside, I was amazed by the sight of the room. It was filled with beautiful and mysterious artifacts that I had never seen before. I could feel the power of each item radiating in the air.
I was mesmerized by all of the different objects in the room. I felt drawn to each item, like I wanted to learn more about them and what they could do. I knew this was a place of great power and secrets.
"Oh! A customer!" A voice called out from behind me, startling me out of my reverie. I turned around to see an old troll standing there, smiling at me. He beckoned me to come closer and see what he had to offer.
He lifted a jar of eye balls. I shuddered as I looked into the jar. He chuckled and said, "These are eye balls from a thousand different creatures. I guarantee they will bring you luck!"
He winked and handed me the jar.
"Oh, no. I don't believe in the superstition. So, put those eyeballs away or I'll puke." I said pushing the jar away.
He chuckled and put the jar away. "You're no fun," he said. "Can't blame me for trying."
"Rifty! Long time since I've seen you! Have you gotten shorter?" Mr. Inez said.
"Nah, it's you who's gotten taller," Rifty replied with a smile. "Can't believe so many years have passed already." Mr. Inez gave a hearty laugh as he clapped his hands.
"So, what brings you to my shop? Are you interested in buying something this time?"
"Actually, I'm here to ask for a favor," Mr. Inez said.
Rifty raised an eyebrow, intrigued. "Anything for you, my old friend."
The young vampire leaned forward eagerly. "I want you to find a weapon for the dragon shifter and an instrument for the girl to lead her to her family."
The vampire paused, waiting for a response. The shopkeeper nodded and began opening the drawers. The vampire watched them go, satisfied.
"I'm guessing you three aren't here for the usual shopping spree," the shopkeeper said with a smirk.
The vampire chuckled, amused. "No, we need something special."
"Okay, now I see. We're here in this old antique store because YOU want me to get a weapon." I said stepping forward. "But why didn't you tell me? And I don't NEED a weapon."
"I know you don't need a weapon, but you do need to be prepared," he replied. "You can never be too sure what kind of danger you may face."
"I'M A DRAGON SHIFTER! I BREATH OUT FIRE! I CAN FLY BUT WHY DO I NEED A WEAPON?"
"You are not invincible," the vampire replied. "You still need to defend yourself against those who don't understand your power."
The vampire paused, and added, "If you're a dragon shifter, you must understand that."
"Alright, I have only three special weapons of choice." The troll returned holding large, dangling weapons.
"These are my three special weapons," the troll said. "Choose wisely. Any of them can defeat any foe if you know how to use them."
The vampire nodded, impressed by the troll's arsenal. "You heard the old man, choose your weapon from the three."
I rolled my eyes and glanced at the melee weapons on the table. The first one is a broadsword, heavy and sturdy. The second one is a mace, its head shaped like a spiked ball. The third one is a curved dagger, its blade glinting in the light.
Before I hold one of them, Odette interjects. "Um, Ax. Are you seriously planning to...kill someone?"
I looked at her in surprise. "No, of course not," I said. "I just want to make sure we're prepared if things get dangerous."
"I...I don't believe you." Odette clutches her magical staff. "Back when I met you, you said you'd give the same scar as the person who stole your family."
She stepped back. "You said you wanted vengeance, but is it really worth it?" she asked, her voice trembling. "What has it brought you? Is it really worth sacrificing your own happiness in the process?"
The vampire looked at me. "She has a point. There are other things to live for than revenge."
"Oh and what? Let MY people be slaughtered every day or thrown into the "Time Out" district?" I snap at him. "You don't know what it is like to be a dragon shifter. To be hunted down and treated like animals. To have to live in fear every day of your life. To never feel safe, no matter where you go." I take a deep breath, my anger seething inside me.
Without thinking, I grab the curved dagger pointing at the vampire. He didn't move a muscle and stood calmly.
I raise the blade until it's level with his throat. "No one should have to live like this," I say. "It's not right." I can feel my grip on the dagger tightening as I step closer.
Odette yelled, "DON'T, don't you know he's your trainer! He'll help you!".
I turn my head towards Odette and pause for a moment, then sheathe the blade and turn back to my trainer. He stares at me, his expression unreadable, and I slowly lower my head in shame.
"Sorry, you'll have to see that, Rifty." Mr. Inez smiled. "I just met him yesterday. He's...has some issues."
"Not to worry, I'm sure he'll be fine once he's settled in." The troll nodded in understanding before scouring down the drawers.
Taking a deep breath, I picked up the dragger and tried to forget the incident.
"Ah, there it is! You girly girl came over here!" Rifty called Odette.
Odette looked at Rifty with disdain, not even honoring his words with a response. Then the troll put a crystal ball on the table in front of her. "This is what you need. It will show you the way," he said.
She glanced at the crystal ball. "How is this glass thing helping me find my family?"
Rifty pointed to the crystal ball. "Just look into it and you'll find the answer you are seeking."
Odette hesitated, but finally looked at the crystal ball. She could see the path to her family. There she saw a familiar figure holding a brush and swiping it on the floor.
"OH MY GOD, Aiden?" Odette gasped and stepped back. I can hear her heart pounding as she stares at the crystal ball image.
She was filled with a mix of emotions, fear and joy, as she realized that the figure in the ball was Aiden, her long-lost brother.
"How? How is this possible?" she asked.
"It's called a crystal ball," he replied with a smirk. "It has the power to see the future and answer any question."
She was amazed and couldn't believe her eyes. "Inez, please we must buy the crystal balls. It's the only way I can find them!"
"And you will." Inzel smiled patting her head. "And what about you Blayden? You satisfied your weapon of choice?"
I looked at my dagger and nodded. "It'll do for now."
Inzel smiled again. "Good. Okay, we're all ready to pay. How much?"
I place my dagger while Odette places the crystal ball on the table. The merchant examined them both. "The dagger was used over 40 years ago by a legendary warrior and the crystal ball was used by a powerful witch."
With a smile he said. "That will be 500 gold pieces for both."