The group headed down the street and stopped in front of the store. A sign on the door read “Nathaniel’s Hunting Goods.” They walked in as a bell over the door rang. Behind the counter was a large burly man with a beard and his long hair tied back into a bun. His large arm rest on the counter as he leaned on his elbows. The trio walked up to him. He looked up and a large grin spread across his face. “Well if you’re not related ole Augustus Winchester then I’m a Dungeon Troll’s uncle.” He said looking at Bart. “You look just like em, besides the hair that is. Kept it nice and short he did. And you!”
He looked at Rena. Giving her a bit of a startle. “I’d recognize a Beasley from a mile away. Although I’m not quite sure what one is doing in my shop.” He gave a quick wink in her direction. “I’m Nathaniel, what can I help you with?”
“Uhh.. hi sir.” Bart started, exchanging glances with Rena who was just as weirded out by the large man. “We need to buy a couple things from school. I need one of those Ghillie suits that are in the window, 24 wooden stakes, and a generic side pistol.”
The shop owner looked as if Bart had offended him. “Generic Side pistol!? Oh no, this will not do. Your brother was a dear friend of mine. I will not dishonor his memory by not doing the very best I can for his brother. Don’t you worry my boy, I’ll take good care of you all.” And with that he hustled into the back room. Rummaging could be heard from the counter
Ali, who had been standing right outside of the entryway doors, walked inside joined by another boy. He was a little taller than Ali, with olive skin and thick waves of hair. He had thick ray ban reading glasses on, and scruff that did a commendable job blending in with the acne scars.
“Ah, you guys find everything you need? This is Garrett Amos. G, this is Irena Beasley and that’s Bart Winchester.” Garrett gave a silent nod and wave.
“So who’s rummaging around in the back today? The mellow fellow or the eccentric fellow?”
Just the man reappeared, hands full of stuff. He walked over and dumped the pile onto the counter.
“Okay let’s see what I got for you. Ah-ha. The wooden stakes.” He plopped two thick narrow down in front of them.
“Eccentric fellow.” Ali whispered loudly to Garrett who gave a side smile.
Nathaniel opened one up pulling out a wooden spike, about 12 inches long and rich with a brown-red color. “Redwood” He said holding the stake in front of them. “Top of the line. These bad boys don’t kill a vampire or disintegrate them like everyone thinks, but they still help do some damage to them. A box for each of ya.” He set a box each in front of Rena and Bart. “Ah next, your ghillies.” He pulled out two plastic bags and laid each out on the counter. “This year’s new model. It adjusts to your size, so you don’t have to worry about growing out of it if you gain a little weight like myself.” He chuckled gesturing to his round stomach. “But here’s the cool part. When you put it on, it has the ability to reflect your surroundings making you look almost invisible.”
He stuffed it back into the packages and set on each in front of them. “And last but not least, your guns.” He pulled two black plastic cases out.
“For you my lad.” He popped the two latches on the case unlocking it turning it to face the group. “A H&K USP. German made.” He gave a wink at Bart. “Magically modified of course. Glow in the dark night sights and a removable silencer. I’ll throw in. Thigh holster with it as well. He pushed the gun towards Bart.
“And for you my lady.” Nathaniel opened up the other case. “A Beretta 93r. Triple burst pistol.” He flipped down a small handle. “Flip this down if you need to steady it. Built in laser sight. And I have a waist holster for you.”
“Uhm” Bart glanced at Rena. She gave and agreeing nod “This all looks super expensive so... could we just get the cheapest stuff?”
The man waved his hand at them “Don’t be silly! You need the best if you’re going to be the best! Besides! I don’t ever do this but for you guys I’m selling it just a little above wholesale. That’s just half of what you would pay for anything else!”
Rena opened her mouth to protest then closed it, knowing the man was going to have none of it, glancing over at Bart once more she shrugged. There was no use in arguing, the man seemed as stubborn as a mule. Turning to the man she offered a smile “Thank you really, this stuff is great. How much do we owe you?”
“Well lets see” The man stroked his beard thinking. “Generic pistol is around 175€, last years Ghillie suit is on sale for about 50€, and a box of your average oak wood stakes would be about 25€. So let’s say 215€. ”
Bart stared at him blankly. “Wait that math doesn’t real ad-” Ali elbowed him in the side. The store keeper gave a kind hearted wink and they paid for their supplies. “Remember to send any of your friends this way and if you ever need anything come and find me.” The man said to them as they walked out of the store.
“I can’t believe he sold us that stuff for so cheap. He must have really liked Augustus..... for some reason.” Bart gave a small chuckle
“So..” Bart looked at Ali and Garrett expectedly.
“Where can a man get some werewolf urine?”
Ali and Garrett stared at each other, and nodded in unison. “Let’s hop to it then.”
After a decent journey, they found themselves in a part of town that was still recognizable but only in structures. The buildings were darker and less maintained; there were stains on the street from who knows what or when. The group made a concerted effort of staying close together. “This place gives me the creeps...even in the day time. They arrive in front of a huge, All black building with no sign or name. A sketchy man in a black coat and sunglasses stood by the door and, seeing Garrett, opened the way for the 4 students.
Rena’s hands were tucked into her jacket pockets, left hand clutching a small pocket knife that she kept with her for protection. It was something Lev made her do since they were kids.
‘You never know if you’ll need it.’ Were his words when she had tried to protest against carrying it around. Now having it brought her comfort, in a strange way.
This place was creepy and she hoped they could get their things and leave as soon a possible. “What is this place?” She murmurs as they entered the building.
“Cursed.” Ali kept looking ahead at the shelf of charms he needed. “Grab the things you need and don’t look at anyone funny there, bean.”
Bart looked around wondering what was so bad about this place. It looked like a lot of the places he would sleep outside of back in Berlin. He headed for an aisle that had a crooked sign over head reading “Monster Urine”
Rena followed Bart nervously, purposely looking away from anyone else in the shop. “Let’s just get this urine and go.”
Indeed the place was cursed. It was one of the few buildings that looked entirely the same as it was in its construction during the late 1890s. A century of poking and prodding into dark areas of magic naturally led to some irreversible damages, both on people and location. Grims seemed to navigate t with no issue, but non crazy people? They still had their reservations.
Ali grabbed a few charms off of the rack. “Jarred insects...hearthstone...” as he spoke, a set of 8 eyes all opened up on the wall beside his hand. Ali stared with wide eyes “...I hate this place”
Bart grabbed two bottles of Werewolf urine and tossed one to Rena. “Why is it orange?” He looked at it examining every inch of the bottle.
Rena shrugged “Hell if I know, werewolves are strange beasts, it isn’t surprising they have strange pee.” she chuckled and studied the bottle “It is weird though.”
“It’s distilled.” Garrett finally spoke. “When the vapor comes back, the color turns orange. That’s how you know it’s ready for use.” The group all stared at the British boy, then went back to what they were doing.
“So how do you know Garrett?” Rena asks quietly leaning closer to Ali eyeing Garrett as he studied the potions that sat on shelves along the wall. “He’s a little on the quiet side.”
“Aye. So last year, we had a 4th hour course together. Astrology. There was another student - 3rd year, a real chancer - and he was making it hell on both of us separately. So we pulled together with our wee bit of knowledge as freshies, and put a hallucinogen spell on him. They found him in the court yard with a teddy bear in hand. He left us alone...it was a real gas.”
She chuckled covering her mouth with her hand “Well that’s one way to stop a bully. You handled it better than I would have.”
Bart paid at the counter for his Werewolf urine and put it in his bag with the rest of his supplies. “This is getting heavy. Are you guys ready yet?”
They paid for their supplies and made their way out the door. Rena was the first out not paying attention to her surroundings and felt herself being shoved to the ground. “What the hell?!” She exclaimed as she landed on her behind.
A group of three boys stood in front of Rena laughing, one was standing in front of the group with his arms crossed, she assumed he was the leader.
The boy was pale and burly with spiked orange red hair, light freckles covered his face and arms. He wore an angry glare on his face. Rena spotted a tattoo on his arm that was visible due to his black tank top, was that an orangutan? The kid was definitely a brute.
“Watch where you’re going freshie.” He sneered, his Scottish accent strong, pushing past the group into the Cursed store.
“What’s up O’Malley.” The boy smirked walking past the Ali who merely glared back watching them enter the building.
Bart grabs Rena’s outstretched hand to help her up. “Who’s that jerk?”
“That’s Ian Breckenwood.” Garrett simply states “He’s-”
“Just some spineless, witless, brainless, jagged toothed, sunken eyed, half ape half sack of shite, rumbly chancer who wouldn’t know good sense if it bit him in the ar-” Ali rants out.
“Take it easy, mate.”
“I’m guessing you two don’t like each other.” Bart states slowly.
“I WOULDN’T HAVE LIKED HIM HAD WE SHARED A WOMB” Ali is now stomping through the streets on the way back towards the dorms.
“Geez... he steal your girlfriend or something?”
“No, much worse...he stole me glory.” The Irish boy replies dramatically.
Ali explains how the Mages missed the title match of Stronghold last year because of Ian’s shadiness. He didn’t necessarily break any rules, but all Brutes are cheats and he’s the worst of them. They both play Utility so they’re always matched up and it’s awful.
“They can’t all be cheats Alister” Bart agues laughing slightly.
“The whole lot! I hear they penny up the refs before each match. And still couldn’t win the title! Serves em right” Ali replies crossing his arms.
“Maybe you’re just not as good as you think you are” Bart says. Ali’s eye twitched and he continued stomping away. Garrett held an amused smile walking after his friend.
“Don’t be a jerk Bart.” Rena scolds punching his arm.
“I was joking!”