It took longer to figure out the name of what I wanted through asking awkward questions about powders and medicines—an apothecary—than it did to actually locate one in the town around Roderick’s castle.
Of course, I was greeted by a stereotypical fairy tale character of a wizened old man with tufts of wild hair surrounding a bald pate. Thick, wire-rimmed glasses magnified his eyes until he took them off, letting them dangle to his chest by a string attached to the earpieces.
“Good day to you, Shamus. What can I do for you? Perhaps some toilet water to give to a fair maiden, hmm?”
My mouth was already open to ask him what I wanted, but then I closed it, quickly.
What maiden? Who am I supposedly wooing?
I shook my head, and then asked what I wanted. “I need a concoction of powders.”
“Oh, I have many fine powders. Some relieve pain, others aid in sleep, some make a man stand tall,” he chuckled after that last.
Okay, something’s going on that I don’t know about. Some kind of gossip, about me and a woman, I guess.
“No, not like that, this is a tool from my homeland. My, er, apothecaries new the secret of it and made it for me, but I’m afraid I don’t know all the details. I was wondering if I could look through your ingredients and we could attempt to come up with the . . . substance, together?”
“Oh, my, well, of course, Shamus. I would be honored to aid you in such an endeavor.”
Score one more for Rule 16: Fairy tale folk are friendly and helpful.