Sessaril Petals

Lorwyn bangs open the door from the back. “Miyara, we have an emergency.”

Customers exchange glances and start murmuring. “Lorwyn, why don’t we—”

“The back is full, and the door is blocked. The pallets are half unloaded, which means we can’t get them out of the way. And we just got a delivery of a whole pallet of sessaril petals.”

I blanch. “What? I haven’t even ordered any.”

“Take it up with Talmeri, but the courier won’t take them back now, for obvious reasons.”

I rapidly turn off all the burners, abandoning the steeping tea. “Iskielo, set down that tray and go to the back.”

“But I was just—”

“Lorwyn is right; this is an emergency. Go now.”

He hustles.

“Miyara—” Lorwyn starts.

“I’ll be right there.”

She nods, and the door slams behind them both.

A customer begins to protest, and I bow. “With my sincerest apologies, we will endeavor to make our failure of service right as soon as this situation is resolved.”

“What’s going on?” a woman asks.

“We were not expecting a shipment of sessaril petals today and are not prepared to receive it,” I explain.

“Can’t they just sit outside?”

“Regrettably not. Like many Cataclysm plants, sessaril petals are unique. They begin to wilt the instant they sense the warmth of the sun, which is why their shipments are timed very precisely and include special cooling equipment. If they are dried when only partially wilted, they add a nectar-sweet note to our tisanes, much like fairy dew extract but with the thickness of honey.

“But today is sunny, and the magecraft cooling is expensive and won’t last substantially past the delivery time. If the sessaril petals wilt all the way, the noxious odor they release is reminiscent of a skunk’s spray. Moreover, it permeates every object within a substantial radius. Not only will it ruin every ingredient in the store, this whole block would become unlivable for days. So while it pains me to abandon you, I’m afraid this is all the time I can spare to explain our predicament.”

With one last bow, I rush to the back, leaving my hapless customers to fend for themselves.

“Don’t unload the pallet yet,” Lorwyn tells me as I roll up my sleeves. Iskielo is already shoving boxes out of the way as fast as he can. “The more crates we can keep from having any contact with sunlight, the better, and the cooling will fade gradually. The courier is already gone; here’s the paperwork.”

“If he left that fast before even facing me, I bet the error originated on their end,” I say, placing it up on a high shelf where we won’t lose it in the coming chaos, “which means Talmeri will enjoy following up.” Dropping my voice, I ask, “Will you be able to flash-freeze any that wilt too fast?”

Lorwyn shakes her head. “No. They’re too delicate—freezing makes them explode, and the result is the same as if they’d wilted all the way. Get ready to move.”

Spirits.

The door to the front bangs open, and a line of customers squeezes through.

My heart about stops at what they must think, but also we can’t afford any more delays.

“I’m sorry—” I start.

“Point us where you need us,” the woman in front says. “Let’s get these boxes moved, folks!”

I blink and exchange a glance with Lorwyn.

“All yours,” she says, stalking over to prepare her lab space to dry more petals faster than any woman in history.

My heart swells at the generosity of our community, who have not abandoned us. I bow low and take over the crisis management. “Thank you for your service. Please, start here.”


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