Recette’s stomach growled. She was so hungry despite eating all of her porridge at breakfast. The morning restocking was already finished so she could only wait until it was time to open. She rested her head in her hands and stared at the window display. A slice of shortcake was glimmering in the early morning sunlight. Items in the front window always seemed to have a special sparkle, but something about the shortcake made it shine in her hungry eyes.
She pushed herself up from her stool. Recette moved around the tables piled high with everything from the latest knives to scarves that could keep you warm in any type of weather. Soon she was in front of the shortcake.
It smelt so delicious. She had been making a lot of money lately. So it would not hurt to have just a little bit, right? It was a shopkeeper’s job to keep tabs on food to make sure it had not yet gone bad. Just a little icing off the side. No one would notice.
One finger darted out and wiped icing off of a back corner. When she tasted it she thought she was in heaven. The frosting had the delicacy of a cloud and the sweetness of a flower. But, now it had that ugly scar in the frosting where the shortcake could be seen. Something so delicious really should not be forced to have to endure such a blemish. Recette scooped it up and shoved the whole thing into her mouth. She closed her eyes as she chewed and swallowed.
There was a knocking on glass. Recette opened her eyes. Euria was standing outside and was knocking on the window. She had a scheming smirk plastered across her face. Recette stood completely still except for an automatic licking of shortcake smeared lips. Euria strolled in the front door.
“I saw what you did,” Euria said.
“Don’t worry, I won’t tell the fairy. But, only if you do something for me, first.”
“Is this blackmail? Well, I won’t give money to anyone delivering mail that isn’t the normal mailman!”
“Blackmail? That really hurt, Recette. I’m an honest business woman. I was just hoping you would be willing to do something small for me in exchange for silence. You know a favor, trade, quid quo pro and all that crap.”
“Well, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to find out what you wanted first.”
“I just want you to buy a crate of goods from me.”
“What’s in it?” Recette asked.
“Don’t know. It is still closed. How about this, I will have it brought in and you can take a look at it then you can decide if you want to buy it?”
“Well, I guess it can’t hurt to just take a look.”
“Great, I’ll be right back with it!” Euria was grinning madly as she left the shop. She returned with four identical men, two on each side. They were carrying a long wooden crate on their shoulders. “Okay, guys, you can just set it down right here.”
“One. Two. Three,” the man in the front left corner said. On the last word they lowered the box to the floor.
Recette stepped up to the crate. It was three times her height in length. It must be full because she had seen the men struggle when they had lifted it off their shoulders and onto the ground. Something from inside of it smelt good. Recette sniffed the air. She moved closer to the one wooden side. She pressed her face so close to it that she was almost kissing the wooden crate. She could smell chestnuts and whipped cream. While she was not as skilled at sweets identification as Tielle was, Recette was very confident in her identification of a certain sweet made with chestnuts and whipped cream. It could only be mont blancs. Hundreds of them could fit in it.
“How much do you want for it?”
“It’s a steal at only 1,000,000 pix.”
Recette concentrated on trying to break that down mathematically to figure out if it was a good deal. Euria was surprisingly willing to wait quietly while she worked through it. With some heavy rounding and estimates she came to the conclusion that she would need less than 200 but more than 150 mont blancs in there to break even at that price. The crate was big enough to hold far more than 200.
“500,000 pix,” Recette counter offered.
“Fine, not a penny over- done?”
“It was a pleasure doing business with you. Now, count out that money for me and I’ll be on my way.”
“Alright.” Recette went back to her table and began counting out the pix. She had thought she had given Euria a good counter offer, but it usually took a lot more haggling to reach a price that Euria would take and Recette would pay. Even then, it still tended to be outrageously high. Euria must not know what was inside to let it go so cheaply. She returned with a bag of money and held it out. “Here you go.”
“Thanks, I knew I could count on you Recette. Come on, boys,” Euria said over her shoulder as she walked out of the shop with her money.
When Tear returned from filing their taxes she found Recette with a crowbar and struggling to open the wooden crate. She had only managed to pull up one corner, the nails held the rest of the lid in place.
“What is going on? We weren’t supposed to receive any shipments today.”
“Hi Tear, I bought a crate of mont blancs from Euria today.”
“How. Much. Did. You. Spend.”
“Only 500,000 pix.”
Tear adjusted her glasses. “I suppose that isn’t too bad then. Even at base price we would only need to sell eighty-four to break even.”
“Tear, I can’t get it open. Will you help me?”
“I’m not sure how much of a difference I will make.” Despite her words, Tear flew over and grabbed onto the crowbar.
The two pulled down over and over again, but they could not get the lid off. The door opening stopped them.
“Is this a bad time?” Louis asked.
“Louis, can you help us get it open?” Recetted asked.
“It appears to be too much for a girl and a fairy to handle on their own.”
“Sure, I can help. Do you have the warm clothing I ordered?”
“It’s in the back. I can get it for you.”
Recette went to her back storeroom. They kept everything in here that was not immediately going up on shelves or was a special order. She grabbed the bundle that had a white tag hanging from it with Louis’ name. When she came out the lid was off and resting against the side of the crate.
“Here you go.” She handed the items over.
“What is wrong?” Recette asked Tear.
“Take a look.”
Recette went to the crate and looked inside of it. There were six mont blancs evenly spaced out inside. They were resting on fishing rods. The entire box was filled with fishing rods.
“Well, it was still a good buy. We can sell the fishing rods instead.”
“These aren’t just any type of fishing rods. These are all walnut bread fishing rods.”
“Oh, walnut bread fishing is so fun. I used to go all the time when I was little.”
“Recette, walnut bread fishing is illegal. These are useless and are worth less than the materials they are made from. You were swindled.”
“Awww, and I thought Euria had decided to be a good girl. What do we do?”
“Put them in storage and hope we can use them to fulfill vague customer orders.”
The next morning the town crier was out before dawn to announce to all of the world that the walnut fishing ban would finally be lifted and that there was a surge of popularity in walnut bread fishing rods in all citizens.
The only shop that had them in stock was Recettear. There was such a demand for them that they had to take everything else out of the shop and fill the counters and vending machines with walnut bread fishing rods. They were busy all day and sold out completely.
They had steak for dinner with shortcake for dessert.