"We don't have many leaves in stock," I apologize.
"So the price in the market isn't accurate."
"W-what's the price?" Her voice shakes as her breath deepens
"Normally it's 10 pariels, but..." My stomach tightens. The new price is almost as much as a drug store would charge. "Because of our bad season we've had to raise it to almost 50 pariels."
"50 pariels!" Her face is a stark contrast to her clothes.
Ashen, completely drained of color. "I-I can't afford that." Her voice is barely a whisper. She trembles on each word. Water glosses over her pale blue eyes.
I feel bad for her, I really do.
Many people rely on us to supply them with what the commercial stores can't, and when we have a bad season we can't help them like we're supposed to.
I frown. Is there anything I can do?
What would Ruby do? You want to be more like her right?
I do, even if I don't look like a princess;
I can still act like one. I can have her heart, one full of love and kindness for others.
I smile, gazing directly into her blotchy red eyes.
"Don't worry." I grab a leaf and place it in a tiny to-go box under the counter. "If 10 pariels is all you can afford, just pay that."
My eyes drift to Mimi.
She's still reading a fortune for a customer; completely oblivious to me.
The woman's eyes widen. "You mean that?"
I nod and push the box towards her. "We do just fine. Those who are struggling deserve help."
"Sweetie, you're a life saver. Really."
A couple of tears dribble town her cheeks as she exchanged a red pariel for the box. "I'll never forget this."
I wave to her as she exits, the box over her heart.
I won't tell Mimi what happened. Lying is wrong, but that woman looked like she could really use the help. A white lie is a small price to pay for her happiness; Ruby would have done the same.
Mimi makes her way over to the counter.
"How did it go?"
My heart races. "G-great."
She eyes me curiously. "Why so nervous, dear?" I swallow. "No reason." Her eyes examine me a moment. "You can run along now. I can take the shop from here."
I nod and exit towards the kitchen.
"I saw what you did, Roselyn," she says as I turn my back. Her voice is calm, but I know on the inside she isn't.
The guilt in my chest throw my heart against my ribs.
"Y-you did? She sighs. "Roselyn, I'm not mad. You were just trying to help, right?"
I face her and nod. "10 pariels was all she could afford."
Her smile calms my nerves. "You've always been such a sweet child. But," Her gaze hardens. "We can't give everyone price cuts all the time. I have to make a living too sweetie. For you, for us."
"Yes, Mimi." I'm relieved she isn't too upset with me.
Her smile returns. "I think it's a good day to go out to the market, what do you say?"
"Really!" I beam at her.
"It's not a busy day. Besides, we need some supplies anyway."
"Thank you!" I squeeze her tight.
Mimi grabs our traveling cloaks from the closet as she begins to close up shop.
"Mimi," I say as we walk. "I love you."
Her motherly warmth beams down on me. "I love you too, Roselyn."