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The Adulterated Market
August 4th, 1889 — Muggle Market evening - Slum tide

The market was generally swarmed around twilight with the undesirables of society as they moved in to call dibs on the produce the rich and middle class did not desire, but that did not mean they didn't still hunt for the better produce to be had. Ronan's fingers picked up a bit of tea, rubbing her fingers together. She had an annoyed look on her face as she could feel the dirt that had been added to amp up the volume. Then there was the dairy stand, where she gave the milk a swirl, it had been diluted with water and the bread with chalk. It was difficult to find decent food for a decent price.

Those with more to spend complained the poor were too choosey, but honestly she didn't see them reaching for the ornament meat in the butcher window either. Ornament meat, used for show, was cheap to buy, because only a thousand hands had touched it through processing. Make someone sick. She sighed, "Well looks as though the pickins be slim today, but imagine we can still get by." She said trying to offer Alina a reassured smile. "So Dublin Coddle, family recipe. Potatoes, beef, bacon rashers, bit of beer, and stew vegtables." Stew vegtables consisted of onion, carrot, and turnip.

The conversation they had at the junk shop had fled from Ronan's mind, lucky for Alina, and she was ready to move forward, well sort of. Hogwarts still seemed like a pretty big step. Maybe not for Alina, but definitely for Ronan. She simply wasn't ready to say goodbye. She took in the sour air and used it to clear her mind of the thoughts before she teared up, and even if she had, she would blame it on the sewage.

@Alina O'Malley

The market was always overcrowded and overpriced. One would think that people of their station would have some sympathy for one another. But that wasn't how life worked. It was a dog-eat-dog world. As such, plenty of these people skipped corners to make more of a profit. Especially this evening.

Slim pickings indeed. She gave a small smile to her mother in response as she continued to look through their options. Who wouldn't be picky? It was their health that kept them in work in order to put this food on their table. Bad food, bad health. "Didn't your pa put a bit more beer than usual sometimes when he was tired?" She said playfully, in an attempt to lighten the mood. Or had that been a family friend?

Hogwarts and quidditch were not far from her mind as they went along. But she let it go for now. Starting trouble was not something she needed at the moment. She wasn't sad to go. It meant better opportunities, a better life. Becoming better. Something she dreamed of.

Magic by Lady!
Ronan began sorting through the produce looking for the best of the worse, and before long she had three pounds of potatoes, after all she was feeding roughly 13 people, plus whatever bachelors were slumming about on the first floor, which varied by the shift. There was atleast 20 people in their tenament at any given time.

She laughed, "Oh so I see ye do listen." She teased. When her mam was too sick to get out of bed, and she was busy taking care of Ella and too young to do more than be a helping hand her Dah would cook, though he swore up and down the invisible house elf did it. "Aye, if by ah bit more ye mean half ah keg." She laughed again, "Was ah good night for us those were, he never cooked all the alcohol off." She wouldn't say the man pulled a woman's weight, but he did fair.

Fingers fished in her coin purse, "Ask for three bundles of stew vegtables, make sure they got few bruises, and don' let them cheat ye out of the carrot." She handed the coin over. She herself went to go look over the sausages hanging off the meat stall, flies buzzing about every which way. Nothing was left un touched.

A stout woman stood with big arms crossed, guarding her vegetable stall like a mean arse junk yard dog. "Get ye vegtables, fresh crispy vegtables 3 pence per ah bundly, tasty fresh vegtables!" There was nothing fresh to be had.

So many people that she and her family lived with. Sometimes too many. It was crowded, people shared food a lot, and said food wasn't always good. Sometimes it was just plain overwhelming. But she learned not to complain. Not around ma and aunt Ella, anyway.

A small, playful smirk flashed on her face. Some of her mother's good memories from her childhood was always nice to hear. She snickered softly as her mother went on. She sometimes wondered what her mother was actually like as a child. Not that she had asked in years.

The young witch nodded and took the money from her mother. Keeping the money on her left side, with her hand kept in the pocket. Her right pocket held her rock, just in case.

Ever the skeptic, Alina studied the vegetables carefully. "These are not fresh. One pence for a large bundle, if you ask me." She finally concluded.

Magic by Lady!
"Oh yeah? Well don't think anyone asked you." Smarted off the large woman, "3 Pence for a bundle you brat of skit skat! Selfish little wench." she scowled.

Ronan wasn't far off from her daughter, and indeed in ear shot as she bargained around the butcher and conned him out a scrap of meat each time he tried to haggle her for a higher price then fair, but one ear stayed on her daughter. After all it was not unlike her to throw a test or two at her daughter. She knew quite well she could not shelter her child from the cruelty of the world, but she could help her learn how to navigate it.

The butcher's assistant frowned, "So you don't want the pork sausage you want the sheep belly? Well that will be five pence!" He said turning to put up the sausage, some of it lagging behind. Ronan quickly cut off a link with a knife she had palmed in her hand and slipped the now missing link into her pocket. The butcher turned back around with the sheep gut, not noticing his sausage strand having shortened by one.

Ronan made a face at the sheep sausage, "Those are so small! What about those sausages there?" Rinse and repeat, one sausage at a time.

This was one thing that Alina couldn't stand. Selfish gits like this woman who just couldn't accept that they were greedy bastards. "2 pence for the large bundle back there. It at least looks slightly fresher." She countered.

If this woman was going to be greedy, she would have to learn a right good lesson. Not that she would likely notice said lesson, but it would hurt her pocket later. The same trick her mother pulled, if the lady would just turn around.

Magic by Lady!
The woman gave a nod and looked over her shoulder to see at the large bundle, "5 pence!" She said and looked back not noticing one of the many near rotted bundles having gone missing. The bundle Alina had gestures to came with twice the amount offered in the smaller bundles.

Meanwhile Ronan finally purchased something from the exasperated butcher assistant, but then there was a bit of confusion over the cost and at some point one silver became 9 pence, which was a damn good bargain for three sausages seeing as she had 12 stowed away in her bag.

Mother rejoined daughter and looked to the woman who doubled in size compared to Ronan. "There ah problem miss?"

The woman glowered at Ronan who locked her steel grey eyes on the beady eyes glaring back at her. "She don't want to pay, typical Paddy! Stick to your potatoes and be off with you, better yet go back to where you came!" The woman span at Ronan whose gaze set firm, "Oy, ye sure ye want to be insultin me. Though I be wee, I gots the numbers." A dark smirk formed over her features. It was no secret that the Irish dominated the slums since the famine mid century, and were always ready for a fight. In fact it generally took 20 coppers to arrest one Irish man on account that 100 would show up just to save his bacon.

The woman in turn locked eyes with Ronan, "I'll take you all on with my thumb and a boot up the arse too!" Ronan hoped Alina used her wits as she carried on with the woman, "Ye? Really?" She egged on.

Of course it was beyond unreasonable of a price. That seemed to be this women's only specialty. "2! It wouldn't be worth 5 if I was buying it for a goat!" She insisted as she gestured to the bag once more. Take another look, her body language implied.

All the insults rolled off of her back like a duck. Not fazed by the most typical of language from this heathen. She let the two older woman exchange bitter words of hatred. Alina was smart about it. Fast enough to not get caught, but slow enough to where she wasn't being obvious. She even noticed a young fellow sneak a carrot as he passed by.

Magic by Lady!
"Poor heathen, I'll pray for ye soul, and light ah candle for ye once ye gone. Lord knows it will be quick as the devil's already got ye." Well was their much more to be said to piss off a protestant of the Church of England? Nope. She watched the woman's face turn cherry red and gave Alina a gentle nudge, "We best be goin lass, before she blows, though out of which end who knows?" Ronan gave forth a genuine cackle, and then with her arm around Alina guided her into the throngs of people and out of the market.

"How much ye get lass?" She had taught her well, damn well. Fight greed with greed had been their motto. "Though I dare say, me thought her face was redder than our hair."

With the nudge, Alina was done grabbing what she could and looked at her mother with innocent eyes. She smiled and giggled as she walked with her mother. She could even here a few others chuckling and laughing as well.

"Like a giant cherry." She commented as they slipped into the crowd. She counted each type of vegetables and listed them off. "Wasn't the only one either. Seems she's rubbed several people the wrong way. I bet that won't be her only verbal beating tonight."

Magic by Lady!
Ronan laughed and wrapped an arm around Alina's shoulders. "Well, we certainly ain' cherries are we? Apple don' fall far at all lass, not far at all." To some degree that was a worrying statement, "Well maybe ah wee bit far." Her arms squeezed the girl's shoulders, "I reckon too she'll get her come uppins, and no profit but the good old boot. Ye did good lass." She headed them out of the market and down a dark alley way where she gave an odd knock on a door nearly knocked off it's hinges.

It creaked open and the head of a weathered old grandmother peaked through, "Two hippos met a man named griff back down on dragon alley." Said Ronan ever so plainly. The woman opened the door in full and Ronan led them through, There wasn't much to be said for the room as it contained a rug with a table and two chairs cast to the side, and an old stove. The woman peeled the rug back to reveal a trapped door.

Ronan pulled out her wand and gave it three taps in various corners. The trapped door disappeared momentarily and revealed a ladder. Ronan wrapped her handkerchief around her face, and climbing down several feet they entered into a dank old sewage system that smelled worst than corpses and swill ferment together. If Alina had any questions for her Ma she wanted to ask, now would be a good time. Anything to take the mind off the stench.

The young witch simply giggled in response. Likely, less and less would bother buying anything from the woman until she moved areas. People didn't take kind to that sort of attitude. Though, the lady might get lucky and find enough sorry souls. Too desperate and unknowledgable of the game. Fallen debutantes and the like.

Alina hated the way home. Through the sewer. But they were typically too dirty to track foot through the Leaky Cauldron. And this way was quicker. But it still didn't sit right with Alina as she put on her own handkerchief and followed her mother.

Magic by Lady!
The walk was quiet aside from the splash of their boots where it couldn't be avoided and the echo that carried their foot falls when it could. Along their trail were a few beggers, near death's door, but Ronan paid them no mind. She didn't mind the sewers as much as others to get to the Wizarding slums, simply because it allowed her to avoid much of the toms catting around so to speak. Most muggles that came down here anyway got lost or died of illness.

She stopped at a ladder and climbed up, tapping her wand to the door to open up, stale air was a fresh welcome as light greeted their eyes once more. Finally Ronan removed the rag from around her mouth, and went to give Alina a helping hand, "So, what topic ye lookin to learn most?" She was not accustom to silence. In unnerved her. Her entire memorable life was spent surrounded by people, loud machinery, animals, the works.

There didn't seem to be much to discuss. After talking all day and dealing with so many people, the quiet was a welcome relief. Well, except for the beggars that were too weak to really beg. She would never want to find herself lost down there in her life.

Light was welcome indeed, though waiting until her mother was out made the hairs stand on the back of her neck. She hated this place, but she hated it more when she was alone. She gladly went up quickly, yet carefully. Taking off the handkerchief once she was in better air, she shrugged at her mother's statement. "Charms? Defence Against the Dark Arts? One of those."

Magic by Lady!
Ronan quirked a red brow, "Oh, think ye brave enough for them Dark Arts?" She teased, though she had a knowing smile. Her daughter was no coward, couldn't live in the slums and be a coward. A healthy sense of fear sure, but not a cluckin chicken, those just got butchered. "Ye'll kick their arses while the lads piss their pants."

The rest of the walk was pretty quiet as Ronan's mind went to the list in her head. Make dinner, clean up a bit, get the kids down for sleep, work on Alina's robes and gloves, sleep three or four hours, and start work the next day. As they stepped out into the road, Ronan gave her daughter's shoulder a squeeze, a mere thanks really. She had enjoyed the day of just the two of them, and no work between them.

Alina scoffed at the first statement made by her mother. Of course she was brave enough. She likely wouldn't have made it to age eleven if she was a coward. "Nah, the professors will likely do that themselves."

While dinner was being made, Alina planned to peddle a bit to see if they can make back at least a little of what they spent. Even if they already saved up for those supplies, saving for future supplies was always good. She smiled at her mother when her shoulder was squeezed. For the most part, she had enjoyed the day as well.

Magic by Lady!

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