The False Shopkeeper

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: House of Ghosts

Chapter 1 (v.1) - A Magical Gate and a Semi-Interesting Fate

Submitted: March 27, 2017

Reads: 3107

Comments: 7

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Submitted: March 27, 2017




The False Shopkeeper


Chapter One - A Magical Gate and a Semi-Interesting Fate.


Where do I begin? The beginning, like very beginning? Would a detailed description of my birth be too far? Perhaps a short video of my first walk would suffice? No? When we talk about beginnings we never usually mean the actual beginning, do we? It’s weird, at least it is to me. Although perhaps that just means I’m weird? It’s a possibility.


Technically my story begins quite a few years after the beginning of my life, twenty-one of them to be exact. At the time I was just one of the many students at an obnoxiously named university, studying an even more obnoxious and also utterly pointless degree. Who the hell studies philosophy in this day and age?


I did.


I know, I know, hold the bloody applause, I knew what I was getting into but youthful angst made the art of bullshitting so appealing. There was nothing edgier than saying ‘I didn’t have time to finish my salad bowl because I was too absorbed in Rene Descartes’ Meditations.’


Fucking salad bowls. It was like someone woke up one morning, cut the grass, stumbled over hilariously which in turned caused the aforementioned grass to fall into a plastic bowl which was then sold to the masses for ludicrous prices. Sometimes you don’t even get to keep the bowl. What an outrage.


Now, I’m sure you're wondering what bogus degrees and bowls of expensive grass have to with what’s to come. Well, in all honestly everything so far has absolutely no effect on the following events but it may be used unexpectedly down the line to gain some cheap laughs.


It was 2: AM, Saturday night and I was staggering down an uneven country road, trying my best to ensure that the never ending stream of vomit didn’t make contact with the shoes that were far more expensive than a salad bowl. Why had I decided to join a ‘lads’ holiday to a nowhere town in which the closest pub was a three-mile walk? I’ll never fucking know. However, what I do know is that the giant sparkly door that had appeared in front of me was not a hallucination brought on by mixing spirit with spirit and then some more spirit. Imagine a unicorn taking a shit, and then imagine the shit was a door, that’s pretty much what was in front of me. A gaudy pink gate that wouldn’t cease its incessant sparkling. A congregation of singing, fairy-like beings circled the door with their silent wings.


As if my late night trip to crazyville wasn’t enough, the door creaked open and revealed a crazy swirl of lights that can only be described as the offspring of a black hole and a rainbow. From within said swirly place stepped out a man, sort of. Two feet, two legs, an average torso, two arms and then the head of a wolf.


“The fuck?” I so rightly exclaimed.


The wolfman eyes me up down in a way that was neither greedy for food or lustful for some cross-species eroticism. No, the inquisitive look in the eyes that hid behind the pair of shrunken spectacles (I say shrunken but he just had a big nose, because the whole wolf head thing,) was the kind of look one might receive from an oppressed member of middle management who's almost ready to give up due to the stress of overbearing bosses. Thus he was looking for a scapegoat, someone to exist at a lower stage of the metaphorical totem pole.


He continued to look at me but I was only able to reply with vodka scented eyes and the occasional hiccup. However, in what turned out to be the easiest job interview of my life, he grabbed me by the arm, said “You’ll do,” and carted me off through the magical door. It wasn’t your typical fairy tale entrance but I’ve always liked to be different. Well, that’s a lie, it’s not that I liked to be different but people don’t tend to forget the time you stuck your precious member in a tub of vanilla ice cream to satisfy the unbreakable rules of truth or dare. FYI I got truth, they asked if the ice cream was still cold, I obliged. I’m just joking with you, would you believe me if I said that? I guess that’s the thing about jokes, if you tell too many people can’t tell if you’re practicing to be a comedian or if you actually meet weird people at bus-stops every single day. Now, what definitely wasn’t a laughing matter was the fact that my first sight in a fantasy world was not a harem of buxom maids, but a job application instead.


My drunken grogginess had gotten worse on account of the trans-dimension-spiral-portal-thing. I didn’t even time to collect my senses enough to survey the room before a ball point pen was placed in my hand. I was expecting ink and quills but fictional media can only prepare you so much. The staggeringly tall wolf-man slapped the paper application on a table in front of me and nudged me over to it. I was tempted to ask for an electronic copy but I couldn’t find the words.


The application was fairly simple, a few short questions that were hastily typed on a word processor, but like, the fantasy kind. I steadied my hand as best as I could and squinted both eyes until I could make out the words on the page. As far as I was concerned this situation has two outcomes. One, I was going crazy. Two, I was already crazy. Either way, my unfinished and pointless philosophy degree was worth shit so rejecting job offers was too impractical, even if said offer came from a kidnapping wolfman from the world beyond. My application looked something like the following, though that night’s a bit of blur so accuracy will vary.


Name: Leonard White Furio Leonhardt


Age: 21


Experience: Not much


Skills: ?


Reason for wanting a job at Greybears’ Adventuring Store: I thought you were a wolf?


The wolf-man called Greybear studied my hasty application with that same intrigued glare, it was almost as if it was forced to a degree that it was more convincing than actual intrigue.


“Furio?” He said, well, growled in a semi-intelligible manner.


“Ah? Yes?” I answer, completely dazed, still. As for why I decided to change my name from Leonard to Furio Leonhardt is buried in the depths of a man who never quite grew up.


“You’re hired,” said Greybear.


“Awesome,” I said, just before my body hit the ground from passing out.




To say that my hangover was out of this world very much depend on grammar. Regardless, it was a killer. My head hadn’t throbbed that much since the time I couldn’t decide between creepily approaching my crush or creepily staring from afar. My mouth was as dry as this simile and my eyes were, unfortunately, open before the hours of noon. I let my legs dangle off the bed, forcing the power of activity through my body in order to stand up. I looked around, my room was nothing to call home about, not that I could due to being a dimension or two from the nearest cell-tower. A simple bed, a nicely crafted desk and the pungent smell of ageing chemicals coming from the closet, nice.


A set of clothes had been laid out at the foot of the bed, it was annoyingly ordinary. A plain black shirt and a similarly coloured pair of plain trousers and shoes. I was expecting more flamboyance. Something that shouted ‘I’m too good for the dungeon,’ instead I got ‘Rainbows offend me.’ Nevertheless, I slipped into the clothes, the smell of irresponsible drinking still clung to my body.


I exited the room via the door on the right and entered the main shop area in which I had filled in the application.


“Good, you’re up.” Greybear pointed to the counter, still half distracted by the book in his eerily human hands. “Work, now. Customers, soon.”


“Sure.” As ordered I made my way over to the shop counter, the top was jam-packed with an assortment of products I had never seen before. Same goes for the surrounding shelves, I knew absolutely nothing. You might be wondering why I had so readily accepted the job and why I appeared to be completely fine with my alternate world predicament. Well, for one I wasn’t completely sure I hadn’t gone insane or if I had died on the long walk back from the rural country pub. Also unlike ‘reality,’ I already had a job in this world and they hadn't asked forty years prior experience and my left lung as a down payment. Things were looking up.


A few minutes had passed and so far I had done nothing but fidget and read labels in a language I didn’t understand. I tried coughing awkwardly to alert my wolf-man manager that I had no idea what I was doing but he just pointed me to this terribly handmade guidebook that was, surprise surprise, written in a language I didn’t understand. Before I had a chance to do anything else my first customer of the day entered.


It was a rather burly man, at least that’s what I assumed upon first glance. In actuality it was a skinny guy wearing oversized armour, he struggled to walk and carelessly fumbled everywhere he went.


“Um, can I help you?” I asked.


“Ahem, yes, of course. As you can see I am a man who needs no introduction-”


“I’d prefer it if you did though.”


“Ah...right, of course, you must be new here,” fake burly forced out some pretend coughing but he only managed to produce a pitiful wheeze. “I would like my usual order, three small potions, two rabbit feet and a dash of giant piss.”


“A dash of what now?”


“Giant piss.”


I looked around for some large containers of urine, just so I could make a joke but to my horror, I actually found some. Two massive clear glass vials the size of myself. Each filled with a dark orange substance.


“It doesn’t look too healthy,” I commented on the piss’s hue.


“It never is, but it’s mighty effective for warding off animals if you cover your face in it.”


I assumed that it warded off more than just animals but the customer’s always right, even if they’re really bloody wrong. I used the release valve on the front of the giant tubes of piss to fill up a small canister for the man. Then I rummaged through a box of assorted animal remains for two rabbit feet, although I’m pretty sure half the stuff in the box wasn’t real in the slightest. The final hurdle was what I thought would have been the simplest to fulfill.


“I’m telling you, health potions are always red, like, always,” I explained to the man.


“In what world? Health potions have been orange since the day I was a born!” He argued.


“Are you sure you just haven’t been drinking giant’s urine by mistake?”


The man’s face clouded over, a deep shade of health potion red. He sighed, placed a handful of coins that I wouldn’t bother counting on the table and said “fine, have it your way but you better be right.”


I packed up his items in a sturdy brown bag and send him off with a frustrated smile. My first sale was a great success!




Later that evening I found at he was now in hospital after drinking what was in the health potion, turns out it was just this world’s version of tabasco. Either way, that’s how I came to be the assistant manager (gave myself a promotion) of Greybears’ Adventurer Store. It was the start of a semi-eventful life in a fantasy land, filled with cat-girls, lazy bosses and monster urine, the perfect recipe for life.



© Copyright 2019 Craig Yorozuya. All rights reserved.


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