Nashtra led everybody out of the room, back downstairs, and through a narrow passageway, into the front part of the store. He came up right behind the shop-keeper, who was at first surprised that so many people were behind him, but then relaxed when he saw that it was somebody whom he knew. He greeted Nashtra cordially, and let the elf walk past him, around the counter, leading the party behind him.
“Get what you need,” he told them. “Food, supplies,, anything else that you have need of; just hurry.”
While the others began to walk around the store to see what they might need on the next part of the journey, Cerys noticed that Nashtra went over to the fireplace and tossed the note into it. He leaned on the mantle and watched it burn away, the wax melting and dripping down under one of the logs. She did not have to ask him why he had done it; clearly, she did not want anybody else to read the note. Yet he had said that it was terrible. Did it explain to him the plot against the king? That was what she wanted to ask him more than why he had thrown it into the fire.
How much did he know? she wondered to herself. When he looked over at her, she quickly turned away, and went down one of the aisles. Looking up again, she realized that nobody else– besides her brother and friends– was shopping there at that time. Why not? Was this an exclusive store, or were there just no other people in need of food and gear fit for traveling?
Himeko came up beside her and asked her to help pick up a few items. She already had her own hands full. Cerys nodded, and helped her friend. She tried to ignore the fact that Nashtra seemed to be watching her and the others very carefully. It did not take long for them to assemble a large selection of items on the counter. Dried meat, a wedge of cheese, more biscuits, and a few other things that looked good to eat. Peter had a second set of clothing.
Bayani set a rope next to it. “You can never have too much rope, can you?” He winked at Peter, but his boyfriend pretended not to be amused by the comment.
Nashtra had a bag of what looks like grain, which Cerys hoped he did not intend to cook for them. He asked none of them for any kind of money, but laid a small bag on the counter, which the shopkeeper gladly accepted. It did not rattle and chime with the metal of coins, as Cerys expected it to, so she was not entirely sure that it contained any sort of gold pieces or similar such money. Still, if Nashtra and the shopkeeper had an agreement about payment, she was not going to argue the point.