Heather tromped down the steps, finally finished with her last task of folding linens. The weather was a little warmer to her disliking, and she could hear a bustle of activity from the shop. Her arms were weary, glad to finally take a small break.
“Chores, chores, chores. I wish I’d get something else to do,” she muttered.
It had been over a month since the attempted kidnapping had taken place. The abductor was quickly caught, and a hastily gathered group of men had managed to hunt down the large creature that they had squared off against. A search had also taken place for the man who had sold her Pipp, being cited as the one responsible for the other creature as well.
Which was something from the Outer Rim. Something called a nosedein according to Janus. They were very lucky to not have been killed, much less Pipp…
She decided to gravitate to the lively sounds she was hearing, entering the shop section.
Everyone else was around the counter, seeming to be entertained by something. Heather quietly made her way up behind some shelves to close the distance. As she got to the end of the counter, a soft smile spread on her face.
Pipp was pattering around on the counter, going between Janus, Elizabeth and Tau’mi for pets. He had grown a bit bigger now, with a more rounded jaw and more developed feet. The injury on his neck had healed, though there was a noticeable scar where he had received it. The blue on his tail had become a vivid shade of blue, almost like lapis lazuli.
Upon catching sight of her, Pipp squeaked in a sort of purr, running across the counter towards her. His eyes were bright and had dark brown irises, coming to a stop before looking up at her. Heather.
“Oh, hello!” She immediately started to stroke his head and flanks.
Pipp cooed in response, eyes closed with the attention. He nudged his nose into her palm, turning around before waiting expectantly.
“Ah, You want a treat, don’t you?”
Heather reached into her apron pocket for a tiny oilskin sack, containing a few bits of dried meat. Pipp eagerly anticipated this, following her hand movements with utter devotion until a few chunks were presented to him. He carefully picked them off her palm, devouring them quickly afterwards.
“There you go.”
The bells on the door rattled as the door swung open, causing Heather to pause and look at the door. Her chest involuntarily clenched as a familiar face strode through the door. The dark hair and sharp eyes were all too familiar to her.
“Well hello, Mrs. McCally,” Elizabeth greeted her.
The woman responded with a curt hello, glancing at Heather with disregard. She spent a few moments in the back of the store gathering items. Heather contemplated taking off while she was out of sight, but this was her home now. How dare someone cause her to run off without justifiable cause.
When Mrs. McCally did return, she did startle just a bit upon seeing Heather. Why she was surprised only became obvious; it was a good reason she didn’t flee.
“Elizabeth,” Mrs. McCally greeted Elizabeth, letting a set of tins drop to the counter.
“Well, hello there. Did you find everything you needed?” Elizabeth shut her book and started to count her items.
Mrs. McCally glanced over at the others. When her gaze rested on Heather and Pipp, she looked her up and down, then quietly scoffed at her.
Upon this, Pipp planted himself in between of Heather and Mrs. McCally. A soft trilling leaving his throat with open jaws, focused on the woman.
Mrs. Carmichael flinched at the noise, especially as it was directed at her. She glared at Heather, then turned to Elizabeth.
“Heel you beast!” Mrs. McCally demanded.
“Oh, is something the matter?” Elizabeth didn’t look up at her.
“It’s not good business to have your raptor growl at people,” she demanded, shifting away closer to the door.
“Well, you can’t blame him. You threatened to put Heather in an asylum or worse. He’s guarding her to the best of his ability.”
“Oh, the nerve!”
She slapped the counter in anger, which just made Pipp trill louder. Elizabeth finished placing her items in a paper sack, handing it to her.
“You have a wonderful afternoon.”
“Well good day!”
Mrs. McCally l grabbed the sack and slammed the door.
The shop was silent for a moment, before Tau’mi and Janus erupted into laughter. Even Elizabeth had a smile on her face, slowly picking up her quill again.
Mrs. McCally getting sent on her way made her elated, and Pipp seemed to gather he did a good thing. He looked at everyone with what could only be interpreted as approval, his head going back and forth between faces.
“You’re a good raptor,” Heather praised. She folded her arms and braced on the counter, meeting about eye level with her pet.
Tau’mi came besides Heather, starting to pat Pipp on his head. He closed his eyes again, enjoying the attention.
“Yes, he good pet. Good Pipp.”
Heather slowly walked over, carefully scooping him up in her arms. He protested with a squawk at first, but let Heather cuddle him close to her chest.
“You’re the best raptor ever.”
She gently kissed the top of Pipp’s head.