Around two hours since Mabelle and Curtis left the mansion, they finally reached the market that was still bustling with people either shopping, browsing, or selling. Mabelle stared in amazement at the sight of the market.
“Is this your first time here?”
Mabelle shook her head and stated, “I’ve been here before, but it has so many more people compared to when I came last.”
“Then we should enjoy ourselves while buying what you need.”
Mabelle nodded with a smile. Curtis led the horse to a post and then tied it to it with a rope. He then held his hands to Mabelle to help her get down from the horse. Mabelle leapt down with Curtis catching her just by the waist. The moment her feet touched the ground, she took Curtis’s hand gently with a smile on her face.
“Would you mind guiding me to the best produce the market has to offer?”
“It will be my honor, my lady,” stated Curtis with a bow before planting a kiss on her hand. Mabelle giggled and then commented that Curtis reminded her of a knight. Curtis smiled at her and asked, “Then will you become my princess?”
Mabelle giggled and stated, “You are really quite charming.” Curtis chuckled in reply and began to lead Mabelle through the market.
As they walked, Mabelle took note that the women loved to dress in elaborate dresses that seemed to suffocate them and a dress wasn’t a dress without the skirt looking like a marshmallow. Curtis noticed Mabelle’s expression as she looked at the women’s dresses and asked, “Are their dresses not to your liking?”
Mabelle shook her head saying, “They are lovely, but when I dress, I want to be able to breathe.”
Curtis chuckled saying, “That’s true. Now that I think about it, your first dress that I saw you wearing at our first meeting was quite revealing.”
“Where I came from, it was something normal.”
“Where did you come from?”
“Do you really want to know?”
Curtis nodded. Mabelle placed a hand to her chest in a seductive manner and stated, “I come from Arabia, a place where love is everlasting.”
“Arabia, that is quite surprising.”
“Well, you are more dignified compared to…um…”
Mabelle opened her mouth in an exaggerated gasp and asked, “Do you have something against foreign women? I am shocked.”
Curtis gasped with a look of panic growing in his face.
“I didn’t mean to offend you…I just…well…uh…”
Mabelle giggled and stated, “It was just a jest. I didn’t grow up in Arabia. I just lived there for a while and picked up some habits.”
Curtis sighed in relief and then asked, “Then where were your origins?”
Mabelle was silent and then admitted, in a soft tone, “I don’t have any.”
Curtis grew puzzled by Mabelle’s words, but Mabelle suddenly smiled and added, “I am starting anew here.” Curtis smiled and held Mabelle’s hand a little tighter, until they reached the produce store of the market.
Mabelle browsed through the produce placing what she needed on the counter. As she did this, Curtis began to grab a bag of apples. Mabelle noticed this and asked, “Do you like apples?”
Curtis nodded and stated, “I plan to give some to the horses.”
“The horses will love that,” stated Mabelle grabbing a bundle of carrots. She went to the store keeper and then asked in a sweet tone, “Do you sell any white rice?”
“I do, but it is quite expensive.”
“I am willing to pay.”
The store clerk went to the back after Mabelle’s words and came back to the front with a brown sack filled with white rice. Before stating the price, Mabelle suddenly asked, “So what is your secret in growing these vegetables and fruits?”
“Just lots of love.”
“Well your love must be strong to make your produce look so healthy. I hope your business flourishes.”
The store clerk was silent as she stared at Mabelle’s charming smile and then stated a price lower than what the store clerk had originally planned to propose. Mabelle accepted that price paying for it. She placed the ingredients in her basket, except for the rice, that she held under her arm.
Curtis also paid for the apples, but when he saw the brown bag under Mabelle’s arm, he offered to carry it. Mabelle accepted his offer, but couldn’t help herself from laughing when she saw him struggling to carry the bag of rice. With a little bit more thought, they bought a cart to carry the ingredients.
With the cart in hand, Mabelle began to visit the other stores for fish, eggs, and other needed ingredients for the kitchen.
After a long while of shopping, Mabelle glanced at Curtis, who was pulling the cart, and asked, “Do you know a place where I could buy some curry powder?”
“There is a specialty spice store. They might have some.”
Mabelle nodded and allowed Curtis to lead the way.
Meanwhile, at another stand selling bread, a man in his twenties with long brown hair in a ponytail wearing a white shirt and brown vest and pants was looking through the selection of bread. He shook his head and continued to another store muttering that the bread wasn’t fresh enough.
This man was an important man for he was known as one of the greatest detectives in the country. He solved mysteries that were deemed unsolvable and was even given a title by the Queen herself when he prevented an assassination plot on the royal family. This man was named Ellery Peyton, age twenty-five, a man known as a detective, but also known as the stubborn fellow by close acquaintances because of his role of never giving up when he sets his sights on something.
Ellery headed into a produce store and showed a smile at the store clerk before asking, “Do you have any white rice today?”
“I’m sorry, sir. I gave the last bag to a young lady.”
“So no rice?”
The store clerk shook her head. Ellery groaned, since he was looking forward to tasting some rice for his meal tonight and this store was the only one that was willing to order white rice from foreigners, so other stores having rice was slim to none.
Ellery thanked the store clerk for her time and continued to go through the market cursing at the young lady who had taken his prized rice.
Mabelle, the young lady in question, had entered the specialty spice store with Curtis waiting outside with the cart. Mabelle looked at the exotic spices, but realized that there was no curry powder. She approached the store clerk and asked, “Do you happen to have curry powder in your stock?”
“I do, but I only have one bag left. Is that OK?”
Mabelle nodded and watched the clerk go to the back.
Mabelle folded her hands on the counter as she waited for the clerk to return, but then the door of the store opened making her look back. Entering the store was none other than Ellery. Mabelle didn’t know the identity of this man, so she turned away staring at the door where the clerk entered.
Ellery examined the spices, but couldn’t find the spice he wanted, so he headed to the counter to ask the clerk if the spice was available, but he was shocked when he saw a woman already at the counter waiting patiently.
“How long have you been there?” asked Ellery with shock apparent in his voice.
“Since you entered,” stated Mabelle without looking at him.
“Are you waiting for the store clerk?”
Mabelle nodded and added, “He is getting the spice I ordered.”
Ellery went to Mabelle’s side and finally had a look at her face that was shadowed by her bonnet. Her saw her emerald green eyes and rosy red lips making him momentarily mesmerized, but shook his head. He found Mabelle to be quite pretty, but he refused to have any attraction to her for his job was his number one priority in his life.
Ellery leaned on the counter next to Mabelle and asked, “So what is your name?”
Mabelle raised an eyebrow at him and asked, “Shouldn’t you introduce yourself first, dear sir?” Ellery chuckled saying, “True enough.”
Ellery held a hand at Mabelle to shake hers saying, “My name is Sir Ellery Peyton.”
Mabelle took his hand in a handshake with a smile of amusement on her face.
“So you have a knight title?”
“Yes, it was given to me by her majesty.”
“May I ask the reason why her majesty would give you this title?”
“It was thanks to my detective work that we still have a royal family.”
“Impressive,” stated Mabelle and added, “I guess I should introduce myself now. My name is…”
Before her words could be complete, the store clerk exited from the back and placed a brown bag in front of Mabelle.
“Here is your order.”
Mabelle thanked the clerk and paid, but before she could leave, Ellery stated, “I still haven’t heard your name.”
“Oh yes, well…”
Mabelle’s words were interrupted again when the clerk asked, “Do you need something sir?”
“Ah yes,” stated Ellery facing the clerk and added, “I was wondering if you had any curry powder.”
“Sorry, but I just sold my last bag to that young lady.”
Ellery was silent and turned his head slowly to Mabelle. Mabelle shrugged with the curry powder bag in her hand. Ellery chuckled and approached Mabelle saying, “I will pay you five gold shillings for that spice.”
Mabelle smiled and stated, “I would have to decline.”
“…How about ten gold shillings?”
“Not happening Sir Ellery.”
Ellery breathed in deep trying to remind himself that it was not polite to lose one’s temper in front of a woman. Ellery forced a smile on his face and said, “I will pay one pound for that spice, so hand it over.”
“Oh my, is this spice made of gold? To even have a street rat wanting it so badly.”
“Who are you calling a street rat?”
“The one who answered of course,” stated Mabelle with a giggle. Ellery groaned and held Mabelle’s wrist saying, “I was trying to be polite, but I really need that spice, so please…”
The next thing, Ellery knew, he was flung in the air and landed flat on his back. It happened so fast that he didn’t even notice that Mabelle had begun to leave the store with the curry powder in her hand.
Ellery sat up groaning and yelled, “Who do you think you are?”
Mabelle smirked and glanced back at Ellery saying, “Mabelle Winchester.” With those words, Mabelle parted ways from Ellery.
Ellery stood up with a groan. He never expected that he would be tossed in the air like a rag doll by a woman no less. All the admiration he felt for Mabelle was completely shattered at that moment. His thought process was very chaotic.
She is a witch! That’s why she needs the spice. I hope she explodes. She’s the street rat! She’s a she-devil!
Ellery’s thoughts were nothing, but curses toward Mabelle and he hoped that he would never run into her again in this life time.
Meanwhile, Mabelle and Curtis were already heading back to the horse with their bought items. Curtis glanced at Mabelle and asked, “Were you OK in that store?” Mabelle nodded saying, “There was nothing to worry about.”
When they reached the horse, Curtis fastened the cart to the horse and then carried Mabelle onto the back of the horse. Curtis rode in the front and the trip home began.
As the horse walked, Mabelle remembered Ellery from the spice store. She remembered how much he was offering just for the spice in her hand and giggled at the memory.
He must really love curry.