She pressed her face against the glass, eyes going wide at what lay beyond it. It was completely perfect. It was small, and really fuzzy looking, and it looked adorable. But most of all, she wanted it. No. She needed it. The stuffed animal on the other side of the window had to be in her possession, somehow.
Almaria sighed, saying to no one in particular, “But I waaaaant it.”
And you may have it. Once you have retrieved what I have asked you to retrieve.
The woman let out an overly dramatic sigh, prompting a few of those walking past her to glance at her with some sense of wonder, but not enough to compel them to stop. Someone talking to herself wasn’t entirely out of the ordinary, even among the Core Worlds. Enough people came and went from Coruscant, even in these lower parts, to create some sense of inevitable oddities.
With another sigh, Almaria turned from the window, continuing down the street. Every now and then she would be prompted to take a turn, winding herself further and further down a back alley, until she was properly delivered to her destination which, as was plastered in fading neon above its door, was a pawn shop. Despite her feelings regarding the smell and the look, not to mention all the scary strangers she had seen on the way here, she knew she had to go in. That stuffed animal was counting on her!
There was a beep somewhere in the back of the store as she walked past the sliding door. Shelves lined what little space there was, packed to the brim with odds and ends from places she could only dream of seeing, or look up on the HoloNet. Skulls sat alongside ancient technology that had probably been outdated before she was even born, with no rhyme or reason to what was placed where, or at least none that she could decipher. Just past the shelves stood a rusting metal counter, smaller bits and bobs, ranging from small keychains to even smaller chips, resting and gathering dust.
An older man emerged from some back room, pushing his way through a few protocol droids that stood guard along the back wall, their positions fixed as though they were mannequins rather than machines. With a cough he rested against the counter, squinting at the young woman who had just wandered in.
She offered an awkward smile, which he returned in kind, motioning her towards the counter. Letting out another cough, he waved a hand around the shop, “Anything I can help you find, miss? Or are we just browsing this afternoon?”
Almaria took a moment to consider the ‘we’ part of his question, before nodding. “Yes. Uh. Yes, I’m looking for something.” She rummaged around in her pocket, pulling out a flickering datachit and offering it to him.
Keeping his polite smile, he took the device and giving it a look. When he frowned, she mirrored him, tilting her head to the side, “What?”
He quickly made to return the datachit, motioning her towards the door, “I’m afraid I don’t have anything by that description here, miss. Perhaps try further down the alley.”
She shook her head, “You’re lying.”
The shop keep stared her down, eyes narrowing. She had the impression that he wasn’t only looking at her, but seemingly through her, as though to someone standing directly behind her. He bit his lip, arms crossing, “Perhaps you have an order number, and I may check in the back to see if I have it on one of my storage racks.”
One hundred and forty-five.
Almaria’s head tilted to the side, “Maybe one hundred and forty-five?”
The man’s face paled in the short time it took him to turn and head into the back of the store once more. A multitude of sounds filtered in through the open door, among them the sliding of boxes, the opening of latches, and even what might have been the clicking of locks. When he returned he held a box under his arm, setting it on the counter. The box was lined by a distinct band of metal, a keyhole on the side facing her. He rested what she could only assume was the key on top of the box.
She made to test the lock, before he slapped her hand.
“Don’t,” he said, holding the key out to her, “Do not open this, unless told otherwise. Now get out.”
She wormed her way under the covers, the stuffed nerf in tow, smiling as she felt the sheets tuck under her. At the foot of her bed yet another holocron was hoisted into the air by some unseen force.
This one is interesting, though I am afraid it might bore you to sleep.
She nodded, looking up the ceiling. She knew she shouldn’t ask it, that she might get in trouble by asking it. But she just had to know. She wanted to know.
Almaria let out a sigh, “When?”
Sooner than you may think.