Serenity rumbles through the Dodgson Woods, sending the local wildlife scurrying in various directions. Her tires roll over the rough terrain pounded down by horse and carriage. She carries Ecks and Willow to the smith village of Tulpaar after learning that the letter sent to Arcana came from the neighboring merchant village Tulpex. It is not long before the trees begin to reduce in number. This suggests they are getting close to the village. Steadily the forest becomes less confined until it open to the large area surrounding Tulpaar. Ecks reduces Serenity’s speed as they enter the village. The buildings and homes of Tulpaar closely resemble those in Arcana Kingdom’s neighboring village of Syrus. However, these buildings are outfitted with large iron smoke stacks and several of them are made of stone instead of wood. They pass by one building where they see a man pounding away at red hot iron, shaping it into a useable tool. On the other side in another building, two men grind metal into various weapons such as swords and axes to be used by soldiers of the town or city that purchases them. They drive until they reach the shopping district. With the street too narrow for Serenity, Ecks parks her next to the horse stable.
“Alright, let’s find who sent that letter,” he says as he and Willow step off the trike.
Ecks and Willow enter the shopping district and immediately notice that the buildings here are a bit more lavish than the ones they saw when they first entered Tulpaar. Stores of various types lined either side of the street. The district is active with people buying, trading and browsing each of the stores, merchant carts and makeshift businesses help on carpets placed on the ground. But something doesn’t seem right. Though there are people, Ecks and Willow notice that the volume is far less than a standard market place. Usually, market places in towns are more bustling than this. They wondered if it because Tulpaar is a smith town. But then the town would need to trade with other villages for materials. Looking around, they notice the lack of merchant carts from ore producing villages.
“Ecks, doesn’t a smith village need raw materials to make things,” Willow asked.
“You noticed it too,” replied Ecks. “Yeah, it’s kinda hard to make armor and other things without the proper materials. We’re might have to start asking around even if they don’t like us.”
Ecks and Willow walk along the strip when they are approached by a woman with short auburn hair with a pair of goggles on her head wearing a midnight blue dress with a leather corset and calf high leather boots with large checkered patterning. The woman stops them and begins looking Willow up and down. She examines Willow carefully, tracing her hazel eyes across her body. Willow is taken by the act and looks to Ecks for advice. Ecks simply shrugs his shoulders unsurely. The woman comes back around and stares deeply at Willow’s large bust which is at her eye level. After a long minute, the woman looks Willow in the eye.
“Can I borrow you?” she blurts out.
“Borrow me?” Willow said, staring blankly back.
“Yes, just for a minute,” she says impulsively again.
Ecks sees the distressed look on Willow’s face. “What do you want with her exactly?”
“I just need your girlfriend for a minute. I have a client who ordered a dress and the model I hired for fitting isn’t the right size. I have been all over town searching for someone who matches my client and this is where you come in,” the woman explained.
“One; we just work together and two; how about introducing yourself first,” said Ecks.
“Elyzah Turbin, I’m a seamstress. I just need your sister for minute and then you can have her back,” the young woman is quick with her response again.
Ecks was thinking about sending Elyzah on her way until he realizes that they could ask her about anything strange happening in Tulpaar. “Well, she’s not my sister but we’ll help you out,” he says.
“Great, my shop’s this way,” said Elyzah.
Ecks and Willow follow the impulsive seamstress. Ecks tells his partner about using the same tactic they did with Donovan back in Tulpex. If they want information about who sent the letter to Arcana Kingdom, they have to gain the trust of someone. And this flaky seamstress just might be able to help. They’ll be able to question her without raising too much suspicion. On the way to Elyzah’s shop, Ecks sees a woman in the middle of the market district holding a picture and talking with people as they walk by her. Some people stop momentarily to speak to her before continuing on their way. Others shun her completely. Ecks wondered about the woman. Something must’ve happened to the person in the picture they are holding. He’ll speak with her after they get to Elyzah’s shop.
“All right, here we are,” said Elyzah.
The walk to the dress shop was brief and it is conveniently across from where the woman is standing. Ecks and Willow enter the dress shop. It is quaint on the outside and lavish on the interior. Dresses of various styles and colors decorated the walls and racks. Elyzah leads Willow over to the fitting area where there is a red and white formal Victorian dress with black trim and low cut front. Willow looks the dress over. Elyzah certainly knows her work, she thought.
“Okay, remove you clothes,” Elyzah says bluntly.
Willow is taken aback by the seamstress’ straightforwardness. “Wait, right here? Isn’t there a changing room or something?” she asks.
“If there was, I would’ve taken you to it. Besides, the dress is right and the lighting is better,” Elyzah says as she rummaged through a box full of materials she uses. She takes out a measuring tape and turns back to Willow who is hesitant in undressing. “I can’t do this with your clothes still on,” says Elyzah, giving Willow a look.
“Just get her a couple drinks, she’ll have no problem then,” Ecks commented.
“Shut up!” snaps Willow. “And why are still here anyway, this is a woman’s store.” She then plays coy with Ecks as she usually does. “Unless you want to see me naked,” she added with a sway of her hips. She waited a moment for a response from her partner. The sound of the shop’s bell as the door closes is his reply.
“Your boyfriend’s not the talkative type, is he?” Elyzah says casually.
“He’s not my boyfriend!” Willow shot back with a scowl.
“Well, whatever. Anyway, just remove your bodice and skirt,” said Elyzah.
Willow is a bit nervous removing her clothes with Elyzah’s seemingly unblinking eyes watching her. She starts with her boots and sets them aside. Then her bodice and skirt are next. Elyzah is kind enough to hang these on the post for Willow. She then holds up the measuring tape but stops before she unravels it and gazes at Willow’s bust. Willow looks down past her bust—or as much as can be allowed—at Elyzah, wondering why she stopped. After a long minute, Elyzah bluntly says, “Wow, you’re huge.” With the same bluntness, she unravels the measuring tape and wraps it around Willow’s bust while she hangs her head in embarrassment.
(Have a look at my novel Defenders!! Volume 1 and Volume 2 are available for Kindle and E-book device!! Head to the J1 Bookstore and click the links!! Check my awesome fan fiction: Dante vs. Bayonetta and“Fury Rages On: Kratos vs. Asura!!”)
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Arcana X: Gunslinger Swordsman
Chapter1- Part 1
Chapter2- Part 1
Chapter5- Part 1
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