A/N: Happy Thanksgiving week! I’m heading out of town and will be back with a new chapter next week.
“I hold you both personally responsible for this,” Meristo groans, flopping into a chair. “I’m never moving again. It’s incredible I made it this far.”
Lorwyn manages to sound profoundly unconcerned as she asks, “What did we do?”
“I believe we highly recommended a Gaellani noodle shop,” I answer.
“It was too good,” Meristo says. “I was unprepared. No, there’s really no preparing for a place like that. I ate everything, and now I will die here.”
“I don’t suppose there’s anything you could give him?” I ask Lorwyn. “Else the dramatics may continue until morale improves.”
“How about some feris seed?” Lorwyn suggests.
“I have no idea what that is and would have sworn it was not among our inventory,” Meristo says. “More to the point, given the expression on your face, I will decline emphatically.”
I could say many things about Meristo, but he is certainly not stupid.
“It’s not one of our ingredients—it’s not from the Cataclysm,” I explain. “It’s used medicinally to cause people to, ah, flush their systems rapidly. I suspect Lorwyn was considering an… uncommonly high dosage.”
She shrugs. “You asked for a solution.”
I ignore that. “What about that new ingredient, the delwinder extract? Weren’t you experimenting with a stomach-settling property?”
“If that’s what you want to call it.”
“What exactly is the ‘delwinder’ it’s extracted from?” Meristo asks.
“I’m amazed you still ask questions like that,” I say.
“This job is not for the squeamish,” Meristo says. “But on second thought, don’t tell me.”
“This is amazing,” Meristo marvels. He can’t seem to stop staring at his abdomen as he pokes his stomach, pushes it in and out, stretches and bounces. “It’s there, but I can’t feel it.”
“I’m glad you’re feeling better,” I try to interrupt, not for the first time.
“Are you really?” Lorwyn asks. “Still?”
I try, “Now that that’s settled, we have to—”
Meristo cuts me off. “—partner with restaurants and make a FORTUNE.”
I sigh. “Meristo, we are here to serve our customers—”
“Trust me, they are going to be thrilled to learn they can eat as much as they want and feel no ill effects.”
“—not help them injure their health as well as overtaxing our resources unnecessarily.”
“Spoilsport.” Meristo grins. “Someday I’m going to go into business without you, and just imagine how much fun I’ll have.”
Lorwyn snorts. “I shudder to think.”
I say dryly, “I have every confidence you’ll be terrifyingly successful.”
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