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The store was one of many oddities, and one that didn't stand out much on the quaint Parisian street on which it resided. It was a shop that sold dolls, and the specialty of the toy-maker who worked there, a foreginer called Natalia Arvoslakya, was little porcelain figures of her customers. Some of these she made without asking, but the gloomy appearance which she wore and the slight childish look of sadness in her eyes that she got when someone began to scold her, not to mention the rumors of a pouch strapped to her thigh under her dress containing rat poison and two daggers, made those who wished to ask her to stop for the sake of whatever it was they valued falter in their speech and instead crave nothing more to let her play with her dolls. Natalia rarely spoke, as French was a hard language for her to speak and she couldn't request that someone speak English in French (She didn't know the language, and assuming that her clients, which were mostly children, spoke fluent English was quite impolite), and she had quite a strong, albeit one-sided, admiration for her elder brother, if admiration is taken to have quite a strong meaning.
The shop where she worked did not have a name, and had few customers. However, those who did come by and pay a bit lower than average price for a doll at Natalia's store were quite happy with their purchase, and most came to buy a doll of themselves, as the similarites between client and product were often shockingly plentiful. Natalia, like a tailor, would often request that she get the sizes of the client, and she would take those sizes and somehow perfectly replicate them, albeit in centimeters. If a client had, say, freckles, but only on the left side of their nose, Natalia would count each freckle during one of her long, blank stares that she often gave people, and put them in that exact same position on the doll. Evidently, the Belarusian was extremely observant.
There was a customer who often came around to visit, whose name was Kiku Honda. He sensed easily that Natalia enjoyed having more company than dust mites, and came to the shop to keep her company. He did buy something every time, because he valued politeness, and did not want to seem like someone who simply sat around a store trying to distract the workers from whatever it is they did to make a living. He did not, though, buy freely -- He picked out dolls that he felt were specifically extravagant, and always paid quite highly for them, as Kiku was a lover of fine handiwork, and these dolls were a prime example of such. Today was one of the days where Kiku walked into the shop.
The slightly rusted bell that signaled who was coming in tinkled as the door was opened, but it was unnessecary, as Natalia had already known that Kiku was there as he was walking onto the street. Again, she was very observant.
Kiku nodded in greeting, and Natalia did the same. The Japanese man was aware that the shopkeeper was not particularly fond of speaking, and allowed her to have it that way if she so desired. Although, Kiku was not the sort to fill the air with speech either -- There was simply a connection of body languages between the two accquaintances. They enjoyed eachother's company in silence.
Kiku soon left the store, leaving Natalia to work on her current doll. It wasn't a particularly special doll; She had made it for a strange man named Alfred F. Jones, a tourist who needed an interesting sovenieur for his husband back in America. He did not speak French very well, nor was he of any note, but he had paid quite the sum for such a simple order, leading Natalia to question if he had any clue how French economics worked and how much a doll was worth when paid for in francs. The vauge order, however, left lots of room for the shopkeeper to be creative with her work -- Alfred had simply asked for a doll that looked French. He did not evaluate on if he wanted it to look racially French or have clothing from any specific French time period, nor if he wanted it to look like someone from France's history -- He had only said that he wanked a doll that looked French. It was quite odd, really, especially considering the high payment given to her out-of-pocket, and it left Natalia to wonder if he, with his horrible French skills, had tried and failed to describe to her a particular way in which he wanted the doll to look French that would somehow make the order very specific and hard to make, which would make it worth the amount given. It was an extremely curious concept.
But Natalia was not one to question that amount of money, and so she sat on her little desk in the workshop in the back of the small store, littered with boxes and preciscion tools and little strands of a horse's mane which she used to make the dolls' hair, working on the doll which she dubbed Little Francis.
The doll had blue eyes and a slight stubble on the end of his chin, and wavy blonde hair reaching to his shoulders. He wore a blue tunic and red slacks, something which Natalia thought fit the slightly flashy clothing worn by the French in certain time periods. She was quite proud of her work and smiled internally at it before standing from her seat of 5 hours to place the doll into a velvet-lined red case, covering it and tying a white satin ribbon around it as an extra flair for the doll's shipping recepticle. Then, as it was time for her to sleep, she set the doll gingerly on the front counter, leaving it there as she strolled off to her bedroom, which was also found within the shop.
She soon fell asleep.
Although, she was entirely unaware that Kiku had dropped in for another visit.
TO BE CONTINUED