He Who Yearns for a Heart
“Hmm... A lizard’s tail should do the trick.” Stein said to himself as he examined the movements of the bubbles in the jar. He remained stoic and composed despite the tone he was using in expressing. He was inside a cramped room with multiple jars contained with different preserved items. The lights were too dim for a normal person to be in. There was no telling whether it was morning, afternoon or night. Crumpled papers were scattered across the floor. The place was too inappropriate for anyone to live in.
Stein walked across the room, kicking the crumpled papers in the process. He grabbed a jar with preserved lizard’s tail. His eyes trailed to the jar with an empty slot. He paused for a moment then headed back to his work place. He lowered the temperature of his new mixture then tossed in two—three tails. The concoction shifted its color from green to blue to red until the color settled down to pink. He made circular motions with his hand and lifted the jar in space. He snapped his finger and got a test tube out of nowhere. The mixture was poured into in and on cue, the jar turned into particles.
“I am sure they won’t complain this time.” Stein muttered to himself as he contemplated on the quality of today’s potion.
Stein looked across the room to see the amount of mess he did this time. He brushed his finger on the broom and mop and gave them a cleaning order. He clapped his hands twice and called the marionettes to help in cleaning today’s heap of mess.
He got out of his house with the modified potion in a test tube following him behind. As he got out of the house, his casual clothes turned into formal attire. His black hair was covered with top hat. His simple ripped shirt was morphed into a suit—making him so much of a gentleman. And his jeans turned into slacks to match the suit. Stein caught the floating test tube then disappeared upon having it slammed against his palms. “I’ll retrieve this later.” He said.
He walked the streets of Midtown. The harsh rays should’ve affected him at some point since he was wearing a suit with so many layers. There was no reaction however. Stein brisk walked to reach his destination since it was a bit far and he couldn’t afford to use more magic ALL BECAUSE HIS CLIENT DIDN’T LIKE THE SMELL OF THE POTION.
“Hey! YOU!” Shouted one of the vendors.
Stein turned his head to check if he really was the person the vendor was referring to. He pointed at himself to see if there is reaction with the vendor.
The vendor nodded.
Stein headed to the vendor, “Up close, you look small yet so large.”
“Watch your mouth, brat.” He scoffed. The vendor was a dwarf judging by the ears. The vendor just shook his head to remove the last event, “Anyways, I’m here to ask if you know the immortal who was searching for a guy.”
Stein shook his head, “This is the first time I got out of my house after three weeks...” He dumbly commented, “Are you new here?”
The vendor gave an exasperated look, “Smart word, yes, I’m new here!” He exclaimed as he made a fanning motion with his left hand, “Anyways! What are you doing with your life?”
“Make things from nothing... Clean houses...” Stein looked up to ponder more about his odd jobs, “In any case, I mostly do requests and chores.”
“While looking like that?!” The vendor exclaimed, “I’m so sorry boy but the way you are dressed, you look more like a dignified noble than a petty lackey.”
“People say that every time.” Stein lazily replied. He looked around before getting back to the main topic, “You were saying about an immortal searching for a guy.”
“You see...” The vendor looked left and right before leaning over towards Stein. He made cups with his hand then whispered, “Rumor says that she guns for any guy and haves the guy all to herself for seven days!”
Stein didn’t look interested, “What does she do during those seven days?”
The vendor winked then gave this lecherous grin. He made a ring with his right hand then a stick with the left. He inserted the finger within the ring, “What else than this?”
“Hmmm... I’m pretty sure only a succubus and incubus does those things ever-so-often...” Stein plainly replied. He sighed, knowing that he is late with the appointment with his client, “In any case, may I know the details in regards with the looks of this person?”
The vendor chuckled, “I see that you want the sensation as well!”
“I can see that you misunderstood well, but fine. Just give me details.”
“She has long violet hair and she wears this weird dress that reveals the chest area... Let’s see... the chest part was protected with some sort of armor, so I’m guessing she’s luring men with that kind of get-up...” The vendor shut his eyes tight to try and remember the other details, “Oh yeah... and she’s short... Incredibly short!”
“Shorter than you?”
“Nah... Not that short—HEY!” The vendor was about to throw a tomato at Stein but he saw that he was pointing to his side while covering it with his other hand, “What’s that for?” He asked. The vendor looked to the side and saw the very person he was describing, “I AM SO SORRY OH LOOK AT THE TIME!” He said then went underground that very instant.
“It seems as though you are popular...” Stein commented as he went his way to meet his client.
The girl followed Stein to wherever he was headed. There were no introductions howsoever and there were no conversations. Stein continued to walk gradually getting faster by the moment so he can shake off the girl who was following him. The girl didn’t back down as she did the same action to keep up with him. Stein casted a little sticky spell to stop the girl in her tracks but for some reason unknown, she was able to evade the trap.
Stein gave up and stopped only to fall flat forward because the girl failed to stop on time. Stein remained like that, “Must you follow someone?”
The girl stood up so that Stein can stand as well. The girl looked at the sky, pretending that she didn’t do anything wrong, “I just happened to be heading the same way as yours...”
Stein didn’t look so convinced with the reason, “Were you heading Intown?”
The girl rolled her eyes to the side, “... Yes...”
“Too bad, it’s in the opposite direction. Bye.” With that, Stein dashed to get away to the girl.
The girl was left speechless at the lack of subtleness in his escape. She pouted then looked at the side, “You could’ve just properly turned me down...”
“My~ my~ this has a lovely fragrance! I’ll take it! But I want a discount for your tardiness.” The old lady sharply said as she grabbed her purse.
Stein just sighed in dismay. You reap what you sow as they say. He looked around the shop, “Do you sell hearts by any chance?”
“No... no... no...” The old lady said. She scratched her head as she found herself lost in her counting, “Hearts these days are very rare... No one wants to die that early, you see...” The old lady pulled out an insanely long scarf out of her purse so she can find more coins for the payment, “Well, only an immortal can give a heart... but unfortunately not everyone can get it that easily...WELL unless the person is willing to give the heart that is...”
Stein just scratched his head then sighed, “Why is it hard to get their heart..?”
The old lady once again sighed as she lost count again, “You have to make it beat! A cold heart has no use for anyone!” She then proceeded to counting the coins once more.
Stein took note of it, “How can I get one once it beats?”
The old lady exasperatedly sighed. She probably lost count again, “The immortal will give it to you.”
“Where can I—hm?” Stein felt a finger press down on his lips so hard that it might bruise him if it presses any harder.
“Son, I can answer your answers later AFTER I finish counting my payment to you!” The old lady sternly said. Stein dumbly nodded.
Moments later, the old lady was finished with counting, “Here you go son! Ten jewels!”
“Didn’t we agree that you pay me fifteen..?”
“Well! You were tardy and that deducts on your performance!”
Stein sighed, “There goes my lunch...” He mentally said.
“I heard that!” The old lady gave him a playful look then winked. She placed a plate of pasta for Stein, “I suddenly feel sorry. It’s on me.”
Stein took the food without any second thought. Today was a stressful day. First, he had to redo a potion all because of the stench it released. Second, he had to use all his money to buy the ingredients. Third, he meets this weird girl who wouldn’t let him out of her sight. And fourth was that he didn’t make so much as a profit. He took a few bites, “As I was saying, where can I see an immortal?”
The old lady gave a sceptical look, “Now I’m curious as to why you need that heart so badly...” She just raised a brow as she stared at Stein’s stoic face then sighed in resignation, “Immortals find you not the other way around. Say, why do you need that heart anyway?”
Stein remained calm despite of his internal turmoil, “I need it for a potion...” He smoothly lied.
The old lady didn’t seem to be convinced given that she could read minds. She took a sip of her drink, “Well, I say you are lucky. There’s this girl who’s looking for someone to make her heart beat...” She cheekily grinned then made a pointing gesture with her head.
Stein looked at the pointed direction. He stood up from his seat, “YOU!”
“Hm... So you know her...”
“She was following my tail not too long ago.” Stein replied. He stared in disbelief at the sight of the person in front of him, “You’re an immortal!” He said. He brisk walked to the girl, “And you ARE short as the dwarf said!”
The girl ignored Stein’s hurtful words as she went past the guy, “I was rudely rejected a while ago...”
The old lady stole a look at Stein’s face then smirked as she drank the last of her drink, “I have a good idea who he was.” She winked at the girl, “Trust me, I can tell.” She gestured for the young man behind her, “Risette, meet Stein.”
Risette turned around to see an incredibly tall guy looming over her, “You’re the rude magician.”
“How do you spell your name... Reset..?” Stein made the word in the air to which Risette shook her head to.
Risette dispersed the letters. She glanced up with a deadpan look, “Very funny...” She flatly said. She sighed in defeat, “Change the first ‘e’ to ‘i’ then add another ‘t’ finally end it with an ‘e’...”
Stein recreated the name, “Risette?”
The girl nodded, “Now please go away.” She turned her back against Stein then made a conversation with the old lady.
“I need your heart.”
“This is a matter of life and death.”
Stein sighed in defeat as he knelt down, “Please...”
Risette turned around to see the defeated look on Stein, “I am very picky and you only have seven days to prove your worth.”
Stein nodded. Unbeknownst to the other people, he was unconsiously grinning at the very fact that he has a chance to attain a heart.