On the Outside

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Chapter 2 - The Market

“As expected the market was bustling. People of high class, low class, and Keepers, were walking, running, and calling in every direction. If I didn’t come here every day I probably wouldn’t know which way was which. Merchants were trying to sell their products, screaming as if their life depended on it. Which in some way it did, we all needed the money to survive.

“Get you pearls! Get your pearls! The only real ones on the Inside!”

I was starting to get close to the Markees booth for I could finally hear Stephan’s screams.

“Steph, we all know the pearls aren’t real. Don’t waste your voice“ I said stepping behind the counter of the booth. Stephan worked in the Markees booth with me. He was quite the character, he’s 19, has shoulder-length dirty blond hair, blue eyes, tall, and had the personality to cover three average people. I was truly lucky to work with him and have him as a friend, he understood me, and although he liked to joke a lot, he would never hurt me or let anyone. Steph now noticing my presence turns towards one of the many shelves behind the counter and grabs a handful of jewels before turning back to me with a mocking grin on his face.

“At last! Ambrosia, the great grump has arrived!“ I rolled my eyes before reaching in my bag for my apron. “You know dear if you’d only smile more or put more effort into your appearance I could be calling you Ambrosia the great beauty!“ Steph grabbed my arm with his free hand and spun me around towards one of the many mirrors of the booth. “Look, darling, I know you’re the girl here and I, the knight in shining diamonds but look at yourself! You’re gorgeous! You’re short, and I’m pretty sure men like short girls, but what do I know, I like short guys. Anyways, you got beautiful black hair and eyes! All ya gotta do is maybe add a smile, a diamond or two, a new dress, and voilà! You’d have a wedded Ambrosia who wouldn’t have to worry about money for her and her mother anymore“ As he was talking he’d take different jewels from his hand and held them up against me, or pinch my cheeks and pull them into a smile. At the end of all his touching, I had jewels hanging from my ears, my neck, my wrist, my hair was piled on top of my head with another jewel and my face was pulled into a ridiculous smile.

Steph was right though if I did put more effort into my appearance, and perhaps flashed the occasional smile, I would probably have guys crowding around me, like hyenas to a wounded doe. Just taking advantage of the week. Although in my case the doe would still be able to benefit in a way, for I’d finally be able to provide for my mother.

“Thanks, Steph, but you know I don’t want someone to marry me because I look pretty“ Stephan took a step back and helped me remove the jewels to put back onto the shelves.

“I know darling, I know. I just worry for you“ he said sadly.

“Don’t, I’ll be okay, I promise“ He looked skeptical but didn’t say anything and returned to selling the jewels. As I got to work selling as well.

The night was now coming, and as the sun started to set people retreated to their homes. There were only about a dozen of us left at the market, all of which were trying to split their days earn money, and clean their booth as fast as possible so they could get home to the comfort of a busy house so as not to be alone.

Stephan had left a little while ago to bring the Markees their money and should be back any minute now with our share of it. As I finished sweeping the booth I realized that the few dozen people that were here a few minutes ago were now gone. “Strange, “ I thought and looked at the clock to see that it was much later than I thought. Steph should have been back at least 20 minutes ago by now, and trust me he is never late. I started quickly gathering up all my belongings so I could go look for him when I heard someone approaching the booth. I quickly looked up hoping that it was Stephan, but was met with the confused gaze of Mr. Markee.

“Ambrosia? What in the name of all that is good are you still doing here? It’s quite late“

“I just finished up cleaning Sir and was about to go look for Stephan. I haven’t seen him since he left to bring you your money and he should have been back a while ago Sir. He did bring you the money though didn’t he?“ Mr. Markee now looked quite concerned.

“No dear, Stephan never came by. Though I did find a rather large pile of money on my way here. Strange isn’t it, one thing disappears and another appears“ As soon as he said that I felt the color drain from my face.

“Mr. Markee“

“Yes, dear?“

“How much money did you find?“

“That’s not any of your business is it Ambrosia?“ I stood there numb but irritated because I needed his answer. “Anyways, since it is not I just came here to collect my days worth of money seeing as you or our dear Stephan haven’t bothered to bring it to me“

“Sir, once again, Stephan did leave to bring you the money. Now how much did you find?“

“Seriously dear that is not any of your business. I really ought to have a word with your...“

“Mr. Markee! Just please answer the question! I believe the money you found is the money Stephan left to bring you!“

“Nonsense! You two would never be able to make 109 coins in a day!“ That’s when it hit me. I reached into my bag and pulled out the list of today’s earnings handing it to Mr. Markee.

“But Sir, we did. 109 coins exactly“

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