Clockwork Rosebush [I]

Magical librarians, fluff, a paper-coloured crow thief and the overpowering presence of oranges. What more could you want?
A few short things from the Library, a world-in-progress. As these are drafts, corrections of mistakes are welcomed.
Updates will be posted daily, or else whenever I've written them.

The bell on the shop door rang twice, as the door was opened and shut.

The girl who had stepped in paused for a moment and breathed in the warm welcoming air of the antique shop. It smelled of old wood and incense. The latter was intentional, the former unavoidable.

She took off her coat and hung it on the stand by the door, and did likewise with her hat, leaving her long winter boots on the doormat so that they didn't make the carpet wet when the remnants of snow melted off them.

Taking a pair of red slippers, she finally turned and locked the door behind her.

The time was two o'clock in the afternoon and the girl named Maria had returned with lunch.


"Maer!" the girl called. The shop didn't look massively bigger than its neighbours from the front, though none of the shops could have been called small, but it went back a long way and up at least four floors. It also functioned as a house for Maria and Kerimaer.

A groan of reply came from the direction of the kitchen. Maria followed it to find a tall young man holding the edge of the worktop with brow furrowed. It was unclear what he had been trying to do, but evidentally it had not been successful.

"I brought lu- what've you done to your head, you?"

There was a small cut on the man's forehead. The area around it was already beginning to bruise and swell a little.

"I hit it on a cupboard and I was trying to find plasters- get off, that hurts!" he said, as the girl suddenly prodded the injury, making the man flinch.

"What've I told you about trying to walk around when I'm not here?"

"I'm not an invalid, I won't stay confined to a chair just because you're out. I'd be fine if you wouldn't rearrange things every other day."

"You're blind, so don't complain. And I have to rearrange things, it's the nature of an antique shop. People buy things, so I have to bring new things down. Stay upstairs if you want it to change less."

"No way. I like it down here."

"Nnh. Hold still." The girl produced a cute patterned plaster from her bag and carefully placed it over the cut on the man's head.

"You're not using those stupid bow plasters again, are you?"

"No, I promise," the girl said, smoothing down the plaster which was covered in stylised pink ribbons on a blue background.

"Mmh. Okay then."

The girl stopped herself from laughing. It was a good thing the man couldn't see. She couldn't hold a straight face at all.


"What did you get for lunch?"


"I don't know. You made this place smell too much like oranges. I can't tell."

"Don't you like oranges?"

"Not this much. It's getting a little sickly."

"I'll change it then. Any preference?"

Kerimaer had looked off since Maria had got back, but she couldn't work out why, so was trying to avoid the matter in order not to aggravate anything.

"... Anything else. Tell me what lunch is, dammit."


The man looked so aghast at this that the girl burst out laughing.

"I'm joking! French onion soup. You like that, right?"

Kerimaer glared in her general direction until she stopped laughing.

"Okay, I'm sorry. I promise I won't do that ever again."


"I'll go find bowls."


"Did anyone come by while I was out?"

"Not to my knowledge. Were you expecting someone?"

"Someone should be picking up that crow today. It's getting pretty noisy."

As if on cue, a rustling noise came from somewhere upstairs, followed by a chaotic clanging and cawing.

"My, that is noisy."

"Mm. The collection date was meant to be this week. So, today's the last day."

"What'll you do with it if no one collects it?"

"I'm not sure."

The End

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