Episode 14 - The store of Elixir
Scratch is a beautiful city, mesmerising in many of its sights. Young kitties have long loved the shining lights throughout the city, with colour shifts and brightness that flow between lamps. Growing up, it was a game to try and catch the light. A competition between kitties to see whose pounce was the best.
Trolling points to a lamp beside us as its colour shifts from a cool blue into white.
“Yes Trolling, it’s beautiful… the city must know the White Sorceress is here.”
Many of the cats in town don’t care about the lamps, it is simply a part of life here, but there is a cat that can decipher the colour pattern of the lamps, and though I have never seen this Catmen, word is that he lives in the tower.
On the main road, to the south of the square, the lights all glow blue. This signifies the arrival of a ship, with the road leading down to the harbour. Likely, the ships bring produce - from Yarn, the King’s City, or perhaps from Sumatran, the big city in the land of snow.
I look at the sign in front of me for directions. The road to the west goes to the market. And to the east, the big tower. My shop is to the west, in the labyrinth of small shops. If I go to my shop, I can restock my elixir belt. It should be only a short detour from my journey to the Milkbar, Fungus. All the lamps along the road glow softly with red, reminding early risers that it is too early for the shops to have opened. It had taken us a long time to get here, the night spent finding the Scratching-post. The road going the other way is extravagant, full of the elegant homes of those Catmen fortunate enough to afford it. Just to set a paw on the street, it is assumed you’d have a lot of pearls. The lamps on this street are special, changing to match the colour inside of a passing Catmen. On busy days, colours would be shifting with a chaotic magnificence as they fought to match so many passersby. I stare at the tower for a moment, remembering tales of a secret way through the tower to others towers. No one has found a way to use it… but maybe someday I can find it.
As I am about to walk, one of the wolves bites my cape; four young Catfemales walk across my path, chattering arrogantly.
“Oh my, that female should just move.”
“Wasn’t that a Wolf back there?”
“Why should we care?”
“Someone important must be in town if that sort of Wolf has been let in.”
The first one looks around at all the lamps…
"Just look at the lamps"
"Ya, they're all white. So?"
"It's just the lamps."
"Why should we care?"
With the last sentence the three of them burst into a kitty laugh.
"Remember the words of the hymn called ‘Cat-light’?"
The three of them look at each other
"I do. It said: 'Time is important when the lamps begin to change again.' Those were the lyrics."
Curious, I follow them down the road towards the shops. I continue to listen in as they talk.
“‘Time is important’? Ha! We’re the important ones right now.”
“Where’re we going again?”
“To meet someone important to us.”
“Can we shop for… ah, all the shops are closed.”
Trolling’s eyes are wide, reflecting lamp light even as he quickly fires curiosity after curiosity…
“What is this place? Who made it?”
I stop following the four females to answer Trolling.
“The city was built by the Mages.”
We continue through the labyrinth of shops, to the west. It is a little strange, a lot of my memory is back as the lamps light the way for me.
“There were three Mages, who built this city and created all magic: the Green, White, Red and Black Magics, who were here in the beginning. In the tales, they are portrayed as our Fathers who civilised us, for we had started off as wild as Cat-cats.”
I grin at Trolling as he laughs.
“Ya, it’s funny. I don’t believe it either. I think they built the city’s magic and no more. I’m born a Sorceress; I had magic from the beginning. The Mages couldn’t have taught it to me.”
Trolling continues to laugh, stuttering out an utterance between giggles,
“I don’t understand anything! Magic here… magic there… magic anywhere, everywhere!”
“... alright Trolling, try not to laugh so much though… everyone will look at us.”
I turn to Trolling in confusion as he goes completely quiet, unsurprised to see his face going red as he sits on my shoulder. And, as I had predicted, a sudden, loud, laugh erupts from him. It has enough volume to awaken the shops-clock. Of course, shops-clock is only a nickname for the poor sleepy frog sitting atop my shop, but it’ll only wake up at opening and closing times so it’s a fitting one.
“Are the Mages really so funny, Trolling?”
“No my Princess, it’s the Wolves!”
Having been so enamoured by the city, I’d forgotten about the wolves. I turn to look at the two, finding that they’re making silly faces at Trolling. As Trolling continues to erupt in little giggles, I look around the street. The shops-clock has woken many Catmen, who hurry to open their shops while asking confused questions of one another…
“Is it already time?”
“This isn’t normal?”
“You’re opening too late again, will you ever learn?”
Running about the street in their confusion, the Catmen kick small creatures that scuttle across the ground. Each Mously is small enough to run under their feet, big eyed and cute. If you stare into their eyes for too long you go a little crazy-cats. Ignoring the chaos, I continue down the road, speaking to my wolves…
“Vapor and Mason, there are many crazy-cats here. Be sharp.”
At my command, they stop playing with Trolling and follow closely. I hear them whisper…
"How can she know our names already?"
"Do you think it is because she is sensing her future through our past?"
It does not make any sense to me what they speak of, but there is so much in this world to which I may never get the answers.
Above all the shops, beautiful homes sit in narrow rows, two floors high and each one attached to the next. Each one is a different shade, a different hue, a different saturation, creating a chaotic rainbow of colours about the street. Currently, we stand in front of a flower shop with forest green paint upon its house.
The shopkeeper is from Sanskrit, a land of Ligormen in the north. It’s unique in the same way all shops in this city are: no doors, windows or walls. The shop is open to the street, just like a marketplace. Of course, the homes atop the stores are like any other, though many have platforms and beams instead of stairs. Catmen can get to their homes using their strong jump, so shops have more space in them, without the need for stairs. Next to the flower shop, a much taller white building is one of few to contain stairs. It has three floors, but remains unoccupied by the owner. Rather, a young Catmale watches the store for the owner… me. The other shop near mine is a pet store, with birds tweeting in their cages. While all Catmen have some Green Magic, others have a greater ability to use it. Such Catmen are more better suited to be able to own the fast birds. I can also see Mously, Skvaders, even a Deer. Can Catmen control Deers as pets now, too?
With the sound of the frog, streams of light flow from the lamps, changing colours to match the houses. I step into my shop, going over to the Catmale and smiling at his familiar pointed hat and white clothing.
“Good morning my Cat… .”
Bowing as he sees my fluffy tail.
As expected, he doesn’t recognise me.
I follow his eyes, seeing that he is staring cautiously at the wolves.
“Don’t worry about them. They’ll only harm you if you attack them. We are here for some elixirs?”
“Right! Of course they’re with you, my Princess. Any particular elixirs you’re looking for?”
“I heard your master has made a Secret Elixir? That creates your heart’s desires?” I ask cheekily.
“I don’t know where you heard that… the White Sorceress has only been working for two days… she says it will take at least a year.”
Only two days since I left? I look at my Trollfairy, who has the Secret Elixir strung about his neck.
“Trolling, he doesn’t have it!” I say to make him laugh.
“But… we do have another new elixir, my Cat… Princess… if you will see it?”
I haven’t sent any new elixirs recently… Perhaps it is a sales trick? I nod to him and he leads me from the main floor to the first. Moving from the messy main floor to the first, is like stepping into another store. While the main floor is full of ingredients and equipment, the first floor is lined with well organised shelves of elixirs. On the table in the centre of the room, sit four elixirs, odd in that they are solid in colour. Green, white, red and black…
“No stripes? Or glimmer?”
“I know, these are not our normal potions. They contain magic, if you drink one you get a shot of the corresponding magical power"
In his own excitement, he speaks quickly and has to take a deep breath as he finishes speaking. Suddenly, from downstairs, a voice and the growling of wolves reaches our ears. The owner runs to the stairs while shouting back to me.
“Take your time Princess, I’ll be right back.”
Curious, I walk to the front of the floor, where a hedge is set up to avoid falling, not for the Catmen, I believe but for others, as we do not fall.
A Catmen dressed in worn leather is trying to push past the Wolves.
“Where is my red Mously? Let me find my Mously! I am in the Crazy-Cat Catch!”
My shopkeeper runs out to the Wolves to help the stranger…
“Wolves, don’t eat him!”
The two turn to him with unfriendly eyes. I draw my attention from the scene.
“Let's go! Leave the Secret Elixir behind, grab the colour elixirs.”
Leaving that to Trolling, I grab some more elixirs from the shelves, shoving them in my belt before I grab some paper and ink. I rush to write a short letter:
Smecrmet mElmixmir, pmomur momut ma drmop pmer smmall bmottlme. Smell fmor…
Trolling looks very interested in my writing, and inquires as to what I am writing. It is still clear he can not read the language of Mijow, so I read it as I write…
"Secret Elixir, pour out only one drop in each small bottle. Sell for at least one hundred pearls each. Need to save the world so see you around - the White Sorceress, Princess Meow of the Woods."
As I run downstairs, I take out a particular elixir and chuck it at my shopkeeper. “Sell him this one.”
As I continued leaving the shop, the owner shouted out to me…
“Who are you!?”
The Catmale sees that it is okay to shout to me, so he does so as well…
“Do you know where my Mously is!?”
I ignore them, and whisper to my wolves…
“Thanks, my Wolves, it’s time to go."
And continuing outside and down the road. Once we are a little further down the road, I turn and wink at Trolling.
“Well, wasn’t that a catastrophe?”
Trolling giggles, landing on my shoulder.
“What elixir did you give him?”
“The elixir to find what you have lost.”
The Alpha, Vipor, begins to make some strange sounds, and as we stop to look, a tail emerges from his mouth, and then out from his mouth, we see a thin red Mously land on the ground.
Vipor looks at it with big eyes…
"You are mine now, you do as I command."
The Red Mously shifts its pretty eyes to a more normal size and bows for Vipor.
Trolling flies down to the Red Mousley…
"Vipor, have you just taken control of it?"
But as we contemplate this we hear the owner shout back to us, while we are standing in front of a new building.
“Thank you, my White Princess Meow!”
He must have read the note. I smile, and, looking up at this building, I find that it is bigger than many of the shops in the area, three floors… but no home atop it? I certainly hope they sell my favourite blue milk.
“My Wolves, this is a place you’ll find many strange Cats, because they sell many types of milk. Try to be calm while you watch my back. Drink some milk, too.”
And so, we all approach The Fungus Milk.
This story's plot, (with out saying too much).
Everything have something to do with magic, time and Meow! But not in the way you think it will go.
4 books will come, 4 parts will go into the story, 4 charaters we follower and only 3 staff magic.
Inside the book:
That will by chapters art by Azifri and character pictures by Sarah.Mørch