The town of Badgerbrough, like any larger town, housed a numerous amount of small shops, each with their own kind of goods and services. In school, Billobi was taught that there existed some kind of balance between what the people wanted to buy, and what was actually in stock; if a rare item was highly sought after, it generally costed a whole lot more, and vice versa.
It was the opposite that got both him and best friend Tristan curious and slightly confused; if a certain item wasn't in demand, it would become cheaper. So if this continued, they reasoned, then the item would eventually cost nothing!
"I hope everybody stops buying candy", said Tristan and kicked a small rock.
"Why?" asked Billobi.
"Because, if no one buys candy, that means no one demands it, and therefore it will drop in price, and if it continues long enough, all candy will eventually be free! Free, for me to eat!"
Relieved that school was finally out for the day, they crossed the school yard with their backpacks dragging in the gravel.
"I don't think it's that easy", said Billobi. "Mrs. Alcott said a lot of other things about that too."
"Like what? I don't remember any of it."
They walked on for a bit and arrived shortly at a street famous for its small shops, packed and stacked like items on a shelf.
"Do you think Angela Burdett's Candy is open?" said Tristan with dreamy eyes. "That nice lady always lets me taste for free..."
A scream interrupted their cravings; it came from a small store behind them. Curious, they rushed to see what was going on.
Inside, they found a young woman with arms crossed over her chest. Her clothes were bulky and colourful, and looked like a mixture of pants and dress in one. Her hair was pitch black and all over the place.
"Are you all right, madame?" asked Billobi.
She looked at them with wide open eyes.
"I just... That lady scared me, that's all", she said and pointed towards the wall.
The boys followed her arm but couldn't see anyone there; the wall looked ordinary, cluttered with shelves and strange cloth, and it was only the three of them.
"There's no one there, madame", said Tristan.
The woman dropped her arm slowly with a surprised look on her face. She walked up to the wall and inspected it carefully.
"Ah!" she suddenly said with a relief in her voice. "It was only my reflection! Damn those mirrors, ey?"
She walked over to a narrow counter at the back of the room, also cluttered with various things.
"Care for a sweetstick, boys? That fine woman Angela gave me these the other day. Taste a bit like bark, but good. I had five, but I think I lost one in me dress. So, so, don't be afraid."
Billobi and Tristan walked over to the counter and received the sweetsticks; they did actually taste like bark.
"Thank you, madame."
"No need for that, say Prunella, that's me name. Well, not really, but you may call me that anyway. So, what are two small boys as yourselves doing in my little shop? Fancy a lock for those backpacks, do you?"
Billobi and Tristan shook their heads.
"We hea'd you sc'eamin'", said Tristan, mouth filled with sweet candy.
"Ah, and you came to me rescue, didn't you?"
Billobi shrugged, and took another bite on his sweetstick.
"We'e adventu'e's", said Tristan.
"You are what?"
"Ad-ven-tu-es", Tristan repeated. A small piece of half-chewed, sticky candy fell out of his mouth and landed on the counter.
"Ah, adventurers! Yes, I saw that immediately the moment you walked in! And by what names do these brave adventurers go by?"
"Tristan and Billobi, my brave rescuers, who helped me defeat that awful lady in the mirror!"
A knock on the window interrupted them. A tall man walked in and started talking.
"It's 'bout them locks."
"Yes, what about them?" said Prunella and smiled.
"I'm pleased to hear, not many of me customers comes back and complements my items!"
"Yes, they're great, but me wife and I decided that we need ordinary locks, like we said. Not the disposable ones you recommended."
"Absolutely, come this way."
Billobi and Tristan chewed away on their sweetsticks while witnessing the purchase of three new locks by the man.
"Another happy customer", said Prunella and smiled when he had left.
"Wha' wos w'ong wi'h hes locks?" asked Billobi.
"Ah, nothing. Some people just don't know what they want!"
Billobi and Tristan finished their sweetsticks, said good bye and left Prunella's shop. When they started thinking about what she'd said about people not knowing what they want, they realised that at least they knew what they'd want - and went straight to Angela Burdett's Candy.
Lady Prunella's Lovely Locks has a rather large assortment of devices for locking things up, and not only doors. Her sales philosophy is that every customer should come back and buy more, which they often do for obvious reasons.
Besides the ordinary type of locks found in every other store, she also has a selection of locking devices not necessarily useful. Unless noted, they all look and feel the same as ordinary ones. Naturally, combinations of these exists.
Here follows some.
Works a fixed number of times, before they either crumble to dust or just stops working.
Only appears on one side (e.g. on only one side of a door; there have been reports of people locking themselves out while installing these).
Need to be pleased to be operational (the unforgiving ones may take weeks to work as expected again).
Needs to be eaten to unlock (the name is misleading since its taste will vary greatly).
Discontinued (impossible to handle in stock).
Twin locks are two ordinary locks with a relation; if they like each other, they share the same state (e.g. either they're both locked, or both unlocked), but if they don't, they will strive to be the opposite of the other (e.g. if one is locked, the other will unlock, and vice versa).
Although rare, there have been twin locks that all of a sudden have started to dislike each other, and therefore changed their ways of working. Some twin locks also forgive one and other.
Not considered as real locks by many, since they only lock things when someone tries to unlock them (e.g. with some key or by picking). Only way to open anything with these types of locks is to treat it like it's unlocked.
The 2016 Cartographic Review!
59 minutes ago