Market Fresh Crab Apples

August 23, 2014:

A group of people find themselves in the Nowhere Market. Pepper buys Crab Apples

The Finder

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

There is, if you know where to look, a Market. Not an ordinary market, of course. This one only appears in when the City that Never Sleeps seems closest to slumber. Today that’s in Flushing Meadows Park, in Queen. Jarringly enough though it’s near noon in the actual world, its witching hour as always it is inside.

The god-wolf himself is standing at the stall of a woman with raven feathers for hair, peering at her intently. “If you don’t have it, Finder, just say so.”

“Rawk. Patience Old Wolf. Even I cannot keep everything here. One of my birds will fetch it directly.”

*

Pepper Potts is on her way back to her office after running an errand and … seriously, what is UP with the elevators in Stark Tower? EVERY time this happens, it's when she's stepping off of an elevator! She sighs and lets her head drop for a moment before taking a deep breath and looking around to see if she recognizes anyone here. There are a few repeat offenders she runs across pretty consistently, so she's got a few faces she's searching for in particular. Constantine. Fenris. Lo…wait. There's Fenris.

Trying her best to walk calmly toward the tall individual — instead of stomping like a tired-cranky toddler because that really is what she wants to do right now — she places herself in the old wolf's line of sight and crosses her arms. Okay, she managed to avoid stomping, but the grumpyface is still totally happening.

*

Sara Pezzini was just trying to do the grocery shopping thing. More and more people keep insisting she can't live on takeout, and it would be nice to have food in the house after a long shift, so…grocery shopping. She's reading the instructions on a package of some sort of meal in a bag with a plastic basket over her arm, engrossed enough that it isn't until she tries to step around someone with wings that she pauses.

"Oh, come on," she sighs, grimacing.

*

While searching for some unknown family treasure, Zachary was able to find something quite unexpected. This special Market. Suddenly there is a smoke (almost like a smoke pellet was dropped) somewhere near Fenris and when the smoke quickly fades a young dark haired man appears.

"Well, that worked!" He mutters to himself and looks around the place curiously to say the least. A glance is given to Pepper Potts as she obviously differs from everyone else here. And then he sees Fenris. Someone he actually knows.

*

Fenris looks mildly at Pepper as she interposes herself between he and the Finder. "Miss Potts. What are you doing here?" He honestly has no idea. He'd been in looking for a particular book. One that he remembers contains some esoteric warding designs that he just… doesn't recall anymore. Hey. You try perfectly remembering two thousand years of magical study. It's impressive that he remembers as much as he does.

Poof. Cough, cough. "Okay there's a… Zachary? What worked." Pause. "And why do I smell rotisserie chicken. Are the goblins firing up their bar-" Fenris pauses and turns to stare Sara's way. "Ah. That explains everything. Exceeeeeept what you're all doing at Market."

*

Pepper Potts offers Fenris a very brief version of a smile that isn't really a smile, clearly okay with waiting until Fenris is done speaking with the feathered woman before stepping forward to ask what the bleep. Of course, that's when a poof of smoke that's very … Atlantic City to her eyes reveals a dark-haired teenager. And really, all she can do at this point is try to wave the smoke away from her face and hold her breath to keep from coughing.

*

"Don't try to blame this on me!" Sara protests to Fenris, turning a circle to look around herself with a sigh. "I was just trying to go grocery shopping. Steve came by with some stuff a couple weeks ago, but I've used it all, or it's gone a little…off, and I just thought maybe I'd try actually shopping for a change." She grimaces, looking around. "Clearly, the mystical world considered that sufficient alignment of unusual forces or something to drag me out here."

*

Zachary smiles seemingly pleased that he was able to find his way here. "Magic." Zach replies to Fenris. He waves a hand causing all the smoke to be absorbed into said hand noting the people coughing. "It would seem I managed to find myself here. Which is rare knowing that I generally cannot teleport to places I am unfamiliar with. I was actually looking for a mansion." There is a pause. "One that has not fallen from the sky."

The teen scans the place looking at some of the wares these creatures have to sell until his gaze returns on Fenris. "Quite an interesting place I must say."

He turns to look at both Pepper Potts and Sara. "Greetings to you both. My name os Zachary Zatara. A pleasure to meet you two."

*

"Well those are in rather larger supply, Zachary." Fenris chuckles. "Now while I do wonder what has brought the three of you out here tonight, I assure you that there's no evil mojo in the offing… that I'm aware of. For those of you who have not been here before. This is the Nowhere Market and so far as magical things go, you can buy nearly anything here. But you can also trade away nearly anything here, so have a care." The old wolf actually looks rather amused at Sara's grocieries.

"Rawk. New cusomers? Welcome. How can the Finder help you."

Fenris sighs. "If you're going to look around, the Finder here isn't a bad place to start. She's not malevolent and cannot by nature engage in an unfair trade. An unwise one yes, but not an unfair one."

*

Pepper Potts takes a step or two closer to Fenris and the Finder at this point, nodding a polite hello to the woman while at the same time offering a small wave hello to Sara. She's dressed casually — well-worn jeans and a button-up shirt, and thank goodness she wasn't walking around barefoot — and that may be part of why she seems a bit more discombobulated than normal.

When the Finder asks how she can help, Pepper offers as politely as she can despite her temper, "Well, I would very much appreciate finding a way back to my office. I don't know why I'm here; I have a lot of work to finish before tomorrow."

*
Sara eyes the Finder. Eyes Fenris. Then crosses her arms so that the Witchblade is stuck under her arm, rather than on display. "Nope. Only thing I was shopping for was spaghetti sauce. And maybe some lean cuisines or something," she admits, peeking into her basket. "Baked beans. Canned goods take a surprisingly long time to go bad, you know."

*

Zachary looks at the Finder. More like examines her. "No, I don't think that will be necessary. I just wanted to see if there was actually something here and I wasn't just sensing strange things. I'm pretty sure I have nothing that I need to buy. So, I shall make my leave!" He waves his hand again making a wand appear in it. "Emit ot og emoh!" He exclaims causing another puff of smoke to appear and when it clears the boy isn't there anymore.

*

Fenris chuckles. "What an odd boy," he says with a smile as he waves the smoke away and focuses more closely on Pepper and Sara, hrming softly. "Well why don't you two take a walk with me. Finder, I'll be back for my things." So saying the Old Wolf begins to walk deeper in, pausing to make sure that they're following him. After a little while he starts to talk again.

"So I've come to believe that there aren't really any coincidences though I'm honestly not sure how either of you would have been drawn in. So, without meaning to pry I have to ask, are either of you facing problems that just… aren't solvable by normal means? Or seemingly so?"

*

Pepper Potts glances at Fenris and then at the space Zachary just vacated. "Very odd. I wonder if he realizes people can tell when words are spoken backwards. Though… why speak them backwards word for word instead of speaking the entire sentence backwards? Does that make a difference?"

Her musings are interrupted by Fenris' question and she ohs and considers. "Beyond what you already know, Fenris, no." It's her way of referring to Tony's ailment without naming outright in the middle of this market. And in front of Sara. Speaking of, "Ms. Pezzini, hello again. You should try the dry goods market on fifty-first. They specialize in items that are preserved for longer-term storage, and are generally far better quality than normal canned food. Fewer added salts and the like."

*

"Sure," Sara snorts to Fenris' question. "I somehow managed to stumble into an investigation that's going to end in hunting down Superman's boogeywoman. I wish I was kidding about that. Actually, I was meaning to talk to you and a few of the sorts from around these parts. Seems like magic might be the way to go to deal with this woman." Pepper's advice, on the other hand, gets a better reception. "Yeah? I'll try that, thanks."

*

So really, both have reason to be in the market. Which explains why both are. "Mmmm. Well, Pepper shall drop by Stark Tower again soon. Perhaps there is something I may yet be helpful with… While we are here though, we should pick up some crab apples. They may help with the symptoms. I think they're at a stall in this direction." He pauses to step around a gentleman wwith a mantis head and a top hat. "As for you Detective…" The lean man glances back curiously. "Boogeywoman? Do tell."

*

Pepper Potts offers the Finder a smile then moves to follow Fenris. Crab apples? Seriously? Well, at this point she's willing to try just about anything to give Tony more time to figure this out. "Boogeywoman. That sounds, really bad." She's going to let the detective talk, her problems sound more far-reaching.

*

"Something about criminals being sent somewhere and combining themselves into one super-Superperson, or something like that," Sara grimaces at Fenris' question. "Though it's got the shape of a woman. Does everything Superman does, so far as I can tell, too. I caught a case in a Chinese restaur-" And then, as she turns a corner, she's out. Apparently Sara's desire to manage to do her grocery shopping is stronger than her desire to get an answer about the superboogeywoman!

*

Fenris sighs. Well, that's inconvenient. He'll have to drop in on Sara later. He doesn't like just portaling in on people but it's possible that could have been important. Still, he doesn't slow his stride through the market, past a stall under a footbridge tended by a trio of trolls. Goat hide rugs, it seems. "I'm a bit concerned about you, actually, Pepper. I'm not sure if it is my presence or something else, but you seem to have picked up a bit of magical resonance." Could be lucky too. He's magic ish.

*

Pepper Potts sighs as well though for a different reason, then nods to Fenris. "I've kind of guessed that. Why, though? I mean, I know having you and Rune and… that man around can't help, but it's not intentional in any way." She glances around at all of the booths and shops though is too distracted for anything to really catch her attention. "What can be done to reverse it?"

*

"Mmmm. Depends on what it actually is." A stately woman with spiders legs growing out of her back passes by Fenris and Pepper. "Sometimes it builds up just like static cling. Or lint. If that's the case, purging it from you should not be difficult or painful. If, however, it's worked its way within you…." That might be different, and difficult. "And sadly, that's possible given that you were exposed to that book…"

*

That book. Pepper visibly shudders at the mention of that book. It's not a gesture of fear, but rather one of revulsion. "Then it's his fault. And he needs to fix it." Yes, she doesn't think of Constantine fondly at all. Not even close.

*

The Old Wolf chuckles again. "If you can find him. If you can't, well… I am rather versed in such things. I've simply not thought to take a look before. Ah, here we are." Fenris stops in front of a stand selling… crab apples. That means something different here. Which is to say crabs with apples for bodies instead of the usual shell and such. They're all in baskets, sitting there. "The legs are supposed to be quite good for what ails you."

*

Pepper Potts looks at the apples and … stares. "They have legs. I thought you said crab apples, not apple-shaped crabs." She reaches out to one, curious to see if they're like apples and won't openly react or if they're more like crabs.

*

"Apologies. Fae Fruits are often like this." Fenris smiles a little though he's apparently serious about them helping.

"Lookin' for dead or live?" A scruffy hobgoblin with a jersey accent asks Pepper. "Y'look like your from Normalsville so I guess it wouldn't hurt to give you a taste…"

Fenris clears his throat at the vendor meaningfully. "Er, right. Eh, sorry buddy." Do not eat food given you by a fae being. Bought is perfectly acceptable. "The meat of the legs tastes a lot like apples… or, maybe a crab and apple mash." He offers helpfully. Thankfully, the basket Pepper has reached for contains 'dead' crab apples. The one above it, she may note, has a few moving their legs.

*

Pepper Potts already knew the rule about not accepting food from Fae, not that she would have accepted otherwise. Just… yeah. This is why she won't eat crabs normally. She can't fathom eating anything that's LOOKING BACK AT HER. But of course, now that random curiosity that tend to get her into trouble kicks in. "Do they make okay pets?" She can get a fish tank for her office, can't she?

*

"Uh, suppose so… Never had anyone ask to keep 'em as pets." Hobgoblins don't keep many pets at all, Fenris knows. They eat everything. "They'd not be unlike hermit crabs… except they spin shells out of candy. It's… somewhat surreal. Then again, they are fae." Fae plants nonetheless. They break a few rules but what Fae does not?

*

Pepper Potts is actually, honestly considering purchasing a live crab to keep as a pet. "What do they eat, normally? And do they prefer to live in or near water?" Wait, damnit, what the hell are you thinking, Pepper?

*

Fenris seems, if anything, incredibly amused. "Er, well, once they drop off the tree like this, they eat salt slugs and greeples and they sun themselves a lot…" The vendor isn't a crab apple expert unless it comes to picking the right one to cook. Fenris though…

"You could feed them rock salt and feeder goldfish. It's close enough to what they actually eat. Oh and sweets, like hard candies. So they can get the sugar to spin their shells." How those shells survive in the water is something of a mystery.

*

Pepper Potts huhs. Fascinating. BUT. "Thank you for answering my questions, kind sir," it never hurts to be polite. "I will think on purchasing a crab for a pet, and perhaps next time I stop by I'll pick one." But, in the meantime, now she has to contemplate the dead ones. And that's honestly a little bit depressing.

Fenris sees that look on her face and sighs in the manner of a parent instructing a young child. Which is amusing considering he looks younger than Pepper. "They're… like annuals, Pepper. Had you bought one it would have eventually turned into a small crab apple tree, fruited, spawned more crab apples, and died. It's… how they are." Z-Frank should probably do a documentary on one. Though it might freak him out a little. "If you intend to get some for Tony, I'll buy."

*

Pepper Potts ohs, perhaps a bit sadly, and nods. "All right. How do you select a good crab apple?" She hastily adds, "Because these all look excellent to me." Again, she knows that Fae are usually susceptible to flattery.

*

What Fenris did not tell Pepper is that there is a spell that will prevent that from happening. As is the case with most things and magic, rules can be broken. Why did he not mention that? Well, Tony has to get her one, obviously. For a special occasion.

"Well, missy, ya come to the right hobgoblin. First ya wanna pick em up and sniff em. If they doesn't smell like much, they're good. Too fishy and they've gone bad. Next feel the legs. They should feel waxy. Finally, if ya thump em, the shouldn't sound hollow. I think you'll find my wares meet all three of these…"

Pepper Potts hesitates. She knows how to pick good fruit — NORMAL fruit — from farmer's markets, but this is somehow different. These little crab apples… they used to walk, and catch their meals, and . Damnit. This is why she's almost gone vegetarian so many times. She looks up at Fenris imploringly.

*

Fenris steps up and selects half a dozen, holding up a vial of what looks like a clear, sparkling liquid. "Whole thing if you prep them for the lady so she doesn't have to." Poor Pepper. Well, the even the god-wolf has to admit, they are kind of cute. Especially the little ones. The hobgoblin nods and steps away to do his work.

*

Pepper Potts looks at the vial curiously, but knows better than to ask. The live crabapples, though… they're catching her attention again. She's actually watching one that has a little shape on its 'back'.

Fenris follows her eyes back. He gave the hobgoblin more than enough star's tears for an extra apple… "Mmmmm, something catch your eye?"

The tall man steps up looking over the basket. This must be what Inara feels like shopping with him. Except probably not here. And without the hindbrain screaming to run.

*

Pepper Potts ohs and steps back from the little crab apple with the shape on its 'back' quickly. "No, nothing. It's fine. Are we ready to go?"

*

"I have to pick up a book from the Finder on the way out." Fenris half growls. He likes the Finder well enough but she'd better damn well have it when he gets back. "But yes, we can go…." The hobgoblin comes back and offers a plastic container full of prepped crab apple to Pepper. "… now."

*

Pepper Potts accepts the container with a smile and a nod to the hobgoblin, managing to hold back the habitual 'thank you' before looking up at Fenris again. "Okay. Lead the way. I"m pretty sure I'd get lost in here instantly."

*

"If you ever find yourself in here alone, look for the Finder. She's at least not… hostile." Speaking of, there's a book waiting for Fenris at the Finder's stand near the gate when they arrive. "Very well. Here we are. Do you want to get back on your own or shall I open a Way for you?"

*

Pepper Potts actually laughs faintly at Fenris. "How would I get back on my own? I don't even know how I got here in the first place. So, um, a lift back would be very helpful, yes."

*

Fenris smiles and opens a Way right back to Pepper's office at Stark Tower. "I assume given the hour this is where you were? After you, Miss Potts."

*

Pepper Potts looks and sees her office and nods, stepping through the portal and just as she does so wondering how this suddenly has become her life. That MAGIC is par for the course anymore. Really. "Thank you, Fenris. I appreciate the help." And she hopes the sudden appearance doesn't freak Cricket out. Too much.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License