Micah walked next to Rakon as they trailed the ranting demon down the street. Rakon looked over at him and just rolled his eyes as they listened to the tirade continued. Micah was still having a hard time wrapping his mind around how everything looked down here, but he was pretty sure that these streets were very well-kept. It was odd to think that it would be infested by hooligans and dust drug pushers.
His “pack” at his heels, they entered the shop. The annoying demon in front of them hadn’t stopped ranting yet. Hopefully, stealth would not be required for this mission.
The place… defied description. There was a kitschy sign at the entrance that said “Emporium of Wonders.” And wonders there were. There was an entire aisle that looked like it had fallen out of a Chinatown tourist trap. Another that was devoted to Christmas ornaments. And yup, Christmas carols were playing. Nonstop. The next aisle over held an assortment of items that looked like someone had assembled every possible item from a clearance section at a dollar store.
“So now my customers are being scared off by the dust idiots, and if that’s not bad enough, Hellmart is threatening to open a location over by the bridge. How am I supposed to stay in business with all this ridiculousness? I need you two to make the dust demons stay away from here!” the demon continued as they walked towards the back of the shop.
“So, Ilrazun, can you give us an idea of how many dust dealers there are and when they show up?” Rakon asked the ranting demon.
“They just wander in and out at all hours. Even when I’ve closed for the night, they bang on the door. It is so irritating!”
Just then, the jingle bells on the back of the front door rang loudly as someone entered the shop.
“Illy? Are you there sweetie?” called out a sweet tremulous voice as Ilrazun turned a petrified look towards the incoming customer. Soon enough, a sweet looking older lady turned the corner and walked up to the counter. “There you are! And oh my, such handsome customers you have in here!”
“Hello, Petunia darling. I was not expecting you to stop in today. Usually, you come by on Tuesdays.”
“Ah of course because that’s when I need to stock up on prizes for bridge night. Well, that’s on Thursday, but it just takes me so long to decide. And then I always have so many questions for you, don’t I Illy. But, yes, today. I am planning a dinner party you see, and I was just hoping you could help me with the perfect menu.”
“Petunia, you know I don’t sell food here.”
“Yes, yes, but I was hoping you could provide me with some advice. For a loyal customer as it were. Oh, and of course I would love for you to come to my little party. My niece’s cousin will be in town, and I just know that you and she would just get on like gangbusters, and I know you said last week that you were busy, but Muriel is so much prettier than my other niece’s cousin, and…”
Just when Micah thought his head was going to explode the bells jingled again and three demons walked in. They wandered up the Christmas aisle, then down the Christmas aisle, then up the Christmas aisle. Finally, another demon walked in, talked to them briefly, and handed over some bags as Micah’s eyes narrowed. Rakon signaled for him to follow, and the two of them quietly headed down the clearance dollar store aisle, the mini pack of hellhoundcats trailing behind.