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Dec 03, 2021 3:16 PM
Turquoises in the woods.
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Tick, tick, tick, tick.

 

There is a village, as previously mentioned, at the edge of the woods. In that village, there are paths; rolling down one of those paths, in a sort of primitive wheelchair, there is a young girl - thirteen years old, at the most.

That girl - who’s wearing a vividly blood red cloak - is! so! excited!

She’s wanted to take over granny’s crime ring since forever, but it’s really hard to do that when you can’t have contact with anyone involved in criminal activity! Her mother had been very strict about how she was absolutely never to go near anyone involved in the family business, and it had taken absolute ages to maneuver her mother into letting her ‘be a dirty criminal, like the rest of our bloody fucking bloodline [cue swig of liquor]’ without irretrievably comprimising their relationship. But now she can totally be a dirty criminal! She’s always wanted to be a dirty criminal, it’s all really very exciting.

Basket in her lap, thankful for the doorstop in place - fiddling with knobs and handles can get pretty annoying - she wheels into the bakery.

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There’s a different woman behind the counter, today. She’s dressed a bit too well, for a baker, and she doesn’t quite have the physique, but she certainly seems happy to be here.

“Salutations, my dear!”

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Ooh, new friend opportunity, score.

“Hello! I’m here to get some bread to -“ disguise the fact that she’s making a drug run “- bring my granny, because she’s sick.”

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“We have bread, dear, don’t worry. Are you interested in endeavoring to try our experimental sampler platter in return for individually rating each piece on a five part scale, in case your grandmother would prefer something more exotic than the harmless yet ultimately staid fare that we ordinarily serve?”

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“I can’t get sick. Are they going to make me sick?”

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“Absolutely not.”

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“I’ll try the platter, then!”

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That means it’s time for her to eat an absolutely ridiculous amount of weird bread! The woman manning this store is so excited about feeding her weird experimental bread and writing down her reaction to it! Bread made with ground blueberries! Bread made with citrus! Bread using two different kinds of dough in a swirl pattern! Bread shaped like a bird! Strangely spongey bread! Bizarre quickbreads! Bizarre yeast breads! Bizarre breads of every shape and color and variety and -

 

They can kill thirty minutes, easy, with the baker’s wife periodically bouncing around that store helping customers and mostly just beaming at her intensely and scribbling down notes.

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She produces detailed and interesting opinions about every kind of weird bread presented to her! And then she is eventually full. 

“I liked the regular bread and the citrus bread the most. Could I have a loaf of both?”

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“Certainly! - and free of charge, I insist.”

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This has been a successful friend acquisition mission. She is pleased.

”Thank you so much!”

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The baker’s wife acquires two loaves of bread and deposits them in the the basket. 

“You’re - welcome. Come by - any time, dear, that you would like.”

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There’s a story there. Prying is really tempting but it might cost her friendship points and she doesn’t want to lose friendship points, losing friendship points is the worst thing ever. Maybe she can ease into the topic.

“Thank you. What do you mostly do, when you aren’t being a baker?”

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“I also assortedly dabble in being a baker’s wife, an inventor, and an heiress. They are all extraordinarily pleasant occupations!”

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“But I don’t know what you invent! What do you invent?”

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“I may or may not have invented the process of pasteurization.”

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“I don’t know what that is, either.”

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“Wetnurses are expensive, dear, you can’t just hire one, if you’re impoverished, and you can’t always breastfeed if you need to work. So impoverished people sometimes resort to using cow’s milk, and then their babies die more often. I heard anectodal evidence about milk increasing infant mortality, and decided that it was important to try verifying that, so I ran an experiment, and I cried, and it did. So then I thought about why milk might make babies sick, and I thought that the problem might be that there were impure humors that could be burned off by mild heating - like how water has impure humors that you can burn off by boiling, except subtler - so I tried that, and it worked, and I called it pasteurization, and I had my results verified by the royal guild, and now babies won’t die from drinking cow’s milk.”

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“Wow.”

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This person’s estimated friend-value has just shot through the roof and onto the moon and they are totally becoming part of her burgeoning network.

“That’s really good. You aren’t here most of the time, and you seem really neat; is there some place I could visit you?”

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“My residence is the vividly green one, underneath an oak tree, at the end of this block; you can come by any time. I have an exhorbitant number of books!”

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“Thank you! - I should get going, I guess.”

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“Don’t be a stranger!”

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“I won’t!”

She puts her basket back in her lap, and rolls out of the store.

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