Having contracted something of a mild cold, Fakir traveled down the street from Charon's house to the apothecary's, unable to help but drag along a concerned Ahiru with him. In truth, he didn't mind her company that much. Actually, he preferred her company in light of his suffering, but he wouldn't let her know that.
The apothecary's was a small shop the size of a bedroom, and the walls of vials, bagged powders, and boxed incense cramped close together to create both a stuffy and homey space. Once inside, Fakir had the however fleeting sensation that something might go horribly wrong, to which he jerked his head over to Ahiru next to him and caught her mouth a little ajar at the interesting concoctions displayed.
"Don't touch anything, moron," he sternly reminded her, his bad mood from being ill evident.
Ahiru jumped but quickly regained herself, facing Fakir with pink cheeks and a flustered retort on her tongue. By the time she raised a fist, however, preparing to give him a piece of her mind, he had already turned his back in approaching the shopkeeper's counter.
Still irritated that he treated her like a naïve child, Ahiru dropped her fist and walked toward the case nearest to her, her interest in the concoctions eventually winning over her anger.
"Ah, Fakir. It's good to see you. Would you give my regards to Charon?" The apothecary greeted, flashing a smile full of yellowed teeth.
"I need medicine for a cold," Fakir said.
The apothecary, having known the young man since he was a boy, chose not to regard Fakir's dismissal of his request, and instead nodded with an air of business dawning over his face. "Yes, I can see – and hear – that. I have a vat of medicine prepared already from another person sick with a cold that came in this morning." He bent down, his thin veil of hair hanging over his forehead, procured a small sack, and then disappeared into the storage room behind him. When he came back out seconds later, he had filled the sack with a white powder. "Will you be needing anything else?"
"Um, what's this?" Ahiru asked, walking in long strides up to the counter beside Fakir. She held a ceramic jar into the light for both Fakir and the apothecary to see. "Can I buy it?"
It took Fakir a moment to read the label on the jar, but likely the apothecary already knew what the jar was the moment she brought it over, hence his face growing very pale and looking taken aback. Fakir squinted, reading "APHRODISIAC POWDER" in neat, straight lettering on the piece of parchment tacked to the outside. For several minutes, neither of the men could scramble the voice to speak, Fakir especially, who clenched his teeth and moved his lips and spluttered, much to Ahiru's confusion.
At last, as the color began to noticeably rise from Fakir's neck up to his ears, he managed to shout, "Idiot! WHY ARE YOU HOLDING THAT?"
"I just thought it looked interesting, okay, and I don't know what it is! The jar looked pretty enough!"
"DIDN'T I SAY NOT TO TOUCH ANYTHING?"
Therein their retorts developed into a ferocious argument, the apothecary unable to halt the storm in his shop, and the jar broken in the end, for which Fakir had to pay for with a burning red face.
His humiliation was made all the more unbearable when the apothecary muttered unhappily to him, "Pity you had to pay for it without acquiring it: it would certainly do the two of you good for all the energy you both have."
"Fakir, what did he mean by--?"