Since we were going anyways. Of course, there was a hitch. Sure, it was great that James had sold a lot of goods and needed to go pick up more. (Apparently he was the manager of all the shops in the courtyard or something. That is a very scary thought.) BUT. We had to have a bus ticket. And he couldn’t loan us his because it only worked for the people who bought it. (Which sounded like bull to me, but you know what, I was willing to let him get away with it this once.) So, we’d have to purchase our own tickets from the Notary and activate them in the machine behind James. Then, we could go to the mall.
Well that was pretty easily done. 110 Jorvik Shillings later and a run through the machine, we each had our own validated ticket that would get us to the mall whenever we wanted! James said that the bus came in on the other side of the bridge. I shuddered. I wouldn’t want to take a bus over that rock bridge. It was hard enough taking Heart over it. And, well, I wasn’t about to leave Heart standing in the hot sun without anything to nibble or drink while we went to the mall. So, we took the horses back to the stable and left them there. This time I gave Heart a bit of a lecture under my breath about how she couldn’t come with me since this involved wheeled noisy conveyances that were just too small for her.
She huffed but seemed content to settle down.
Misty and I went to the bus stop on foot. It appeared the bus came every three minutes. I fidgeted as I waited. But, soon the green and yellow bus appeared and we were on our way to a city! The music on the bus was pretty happy and loud. I figured we wouldn’t be overheard. I turned to Misty who was looking out the window. I took a deep breath. “Do you ever sense Evening’s emotions?” I asked her.
She turned white.
I hurried on. “I feel like I’m going crazy. I can tell when Heart’s happy or sad or when she really wants something. She just doesn’t act like a normal horse all the time either. She’s too smart.” I bit my lip. “I’m afraid she’s going to start talking to me next.” And if she did, I was going to hyperventilate and scream. I’m not sure how I would do those at the same time, but I would certainly be trying! “Star does it too, not to the same extent as Heart does. I mean, he doesn’t seem as smart, but I can still tell his emotions!”
Misty reassured me it wasn’t just me. And I wasn’t going crazy. We compared notes the entire ride to the mall.
We got to the mall and before we’d barely stepped off the carpet onto the floors before this big beefy guy started yelling at us. I got between him and Misty. We’d just stepped on the floor, jeez. That’s sort of what we were supposed to do. Turns out he was the janitor. I told him our mission from James. He didn’t look happy to see us at all. He accused James of being too cheap to buy his own ticket. That sounded like the James I knew. He told to run off. He wasn’t about to help us. I figured we didn’t need his help since he was being so grumpy. But Misty spoke up and asked politely with please and thank you and if that big guy just didn’t melt from being grumpy to just a teddy bear.
I need to figure out what Misty does. Yeesh.
Of course, we had to earn his help. He had us scuttle about both floors of the mall putting out signs to indicate the floor was wet. Despite the fact that floors are made for walking on and mopping them is sort of his job. I didn’t mind. It gave us a chance to check out the mall. The first floor had a café, the horse equipment shop and a clothing store. There was also a small stage. Apparently, we’d arrived in time to meet Raptor, a R&B Rap type artist who’d just put out a single. I asked one of the ladies standing around. She gave me a t-shirt and when I got close to Raptor, he assumed I was there for his autograph and gave it to me. Eye roll, diary, eye roll. The second floor seemed to hold an event space, a wall of lockers and a horse decoration store.
It was an okay shopping center I guess. Half the stores seemed to be closed, and there was a whole upstairs that was closed off. I went up there anyways since the sign was down and poked about. Just a bunch of boxes and cement mixers. Weirdness.
When we returned to the Janitor, he accused of thinking we were done. We were just lazybones. I had no expectations and I took a little offense at that. We weren’t lazybones! Well, he insisted we prove it. Walked straight into that one, bad me. So, he had us go around and pick up the trash. I don’t think this guy does as much work as he claims he does. I bet he passes it off to random mall goers he thinks he can intimidate. If we weren’t on a mission for James, that little toad, then I’d tell janitor to shove it and do it himself. The janitor wanted to shut the whole place down so that things would stay neat and clean. If they did that, he’d be out of a job. Logic, people, logic! After we cleaned up the trash, then he was willing to help us.
The janitor couldn’t make up his mind though if James had a ticket or not, but seemed to be the reason why James really wouldn’t come to the mall. It’s not a good idea to get on the bad side of the doorkeeper cum janitor. I mean, the Janitor has a mop and James is really little. He told us to talk to Gordon and Alyx to get James’ orders. Misty offered to talk to Gordon while I went to Alyx. That way we could get it done faster and have a chance to browse.
I went inside the horse equipment store and looked around. Alyx immediately welcomed me, of course. There were plenty of people wandering about looking at things, but she still seemed a bit sad that I was there to pick up James’ order and not to shop. I eased her pain and told her I’d be back in a bit to browse, but I wanted to get James’ stuff out of the way first. That made her smile as she saw potential sales.
What is it with store owners? I mean, yes, I understand you want to make a profit, but the pressure on the customer. I just want to have an easy experience looking about, which means, being left alone.
Turns out James’ order wasn’t there and that Alyx had sent it by truck. Well, crap. Alyx was confused as to why I was doing this. So was I, but hey, we’d promised. She told me the driver, JB was probably still at the café getting coffee. If I hurried, I’d probably catch him and could get James’ order.
There was only one guy in a construction like driver outfit at the café. I approached him and he made me wait! Then he got all upset because the lady served him tea instead of coffee. I didn’t know the difference, I drank hot cocoa. Surely, if the tea was made in the same machine as the coffee, they’d both taste the same! Well, he insisted that I was to get him coffee. High handed, grumble. I turned to the café owner who was in a bit of dither over the fact no one stayed in the café to drink her coffee tasting tea and could I go collect the dishes for her since she was all alone in the shop? I told her I’d get her dishes if she’d have a coffee with milk ready for JB when I got back, no charge.
I wasn’t about to spend my money on him.
She offered me better and said not only would she have the coffee, she’d have some jorvik shillings in it for me as well. Hell, as long as I didn’t have to wash the dishes. I grabbed a tub and ran all over the mall looking for the dishes. I waved to Misty. Looked like she was searching for something too. We shared exasperated looks. I returned with the tub full of dishes and brought JB his coffee with milk.
Then he was ready to leave on me. Something about having run off the Fort Pinta bridge three times last month and I got in front of him. There was no way I was going letting him take James’ stuff to toss it off the bridge. I told him firmly, that I would take James’ order. He seemed agreeable, almost relieved actually. He shoved the box at me and disappeared.
I tried to pick it up, couldn’t and shoved it with my foot all the way to the Janitor. He stashed it under the balcony behind him. At last, I was free to roam the mall.
Have a question you want to ask Savvy about her experiences in Moorland or before? Ask at Ask Mountain Song on tumblr.