Ashley opened the door to a visual cacophony, her vision throbbing in color. She took a few cautious steps forward as the drug haze started to thin, but even at its most blinding it couldn't obscure the pull. Ahead and to the right, near the back of the shop, inexorably drawing her attention — and her footsteps, whenever she wasn't paying attention — as if she could see some beacon there. But of course she couldn't.

"Welcome to Strange Treasures. Please my name is Tony, I would be glad to help you." A male voice, young and smooth. She couldn't yet pick him out of the sea of color filling her vision, but her fine elven hearing wasn't impaired in the slightest; he was to her right, near the wall, not as far back as whatever was pulling her.

She faked a smile and turned to give him a "no but thanks" nod, but the smile was genuine by the time she reached the base of the nod. Holding in laughter as if it were a burp, she kept it no more than a smile. This was the recreational side of "candy glass", the feedback triggered by even a fake smile, which would send her into uproarious laughter if she let it.

By then she could make out roughly where the walls were — still partly by hearing — so she turned to her left and browsed over the wall there, as if she could see kitsch all over it. It sounded like that kind of store, cluttered with junk, and she could hear the sound of her steps bouncing off plenty of heaped-high displays, ready to trip her up in the center of the room.

In a moment the haze cleared enough that she could pick out animal figures on the wall, even if each was still a phantasmagoric chaos. She looked back toward whatever was pulling her, but a wall-rack of hats thoroughly blocked her view of it. She had blindly crossed over to its side of the store, which unfortunately put Tony's original position between them. She summoned another drug-fueled smile and swept her gaze over the store; Tony had actually moved closer to her, but was in the center, dusting a crystal ball, one of a dozen in the display.

She found her vision fixing back on the hats, and swallowed to suppress a laugh. Time to browse for a hat. Her vision was clear enough to guide her footsteps unerringly, and she swayed to manuever around clusters of kitsch protruding into her way.

The rack was stacked up to ten deep in some places, and she took her time working her way left, seeing which hats were already pierced for ears. A surprising number were pierced for gargoyle horns, and two or three of the designs even went up and around to drape from horns more gracefully, but she only found four pierced for ears, and all of designs stereotypically suited for frolicking in the woods.

She kept glancing toward the pull, as if she could see it through the divider behind the rack. A wide-brimmed design with tassels caught her eye by getting in the way one of those times. She picked out a vibrant violet that appealed to her, and a deep rich green that went better with her own coloration, and skipped to the end of the rack where there was a mirror.

Below the mirror were small heads: an elf, a troll, and a gargoyle. She was confident that there were actually just abstract symbols, her drugged mind filling in fully-detailed faces, but the effect was uncomfortable nonetheless. Below the heads was text, something like "expert hat piercing included", and at that she raised an eyebrow. Some of these hats would take her ten minutes to pierce properly, and she'd been piercing her own hats ever since she was a little girl.

More likely she'd just misunderstood, in her impaired state. She tried on the violet hat, the wide stiff brim bending down the top six inches of each ear until all other sounds were drowned out by the roar of her own blood, and was able to smile somewhat because of the drug. She was mixed, two deserts halfway around the world combining into medium brown skin, laser-straight hair in a soft silky chestnut, big round eyes, and a nose sharp-edged but plump on the sides… not a graceless mix by any means, but one that played poorly with violet. Currently hidden at the edge of deep blue lipstick, she had a cupid's bow to die for.

Her reflection frowned at her, and she doffed the hat, now ready to try the green — but the pull was suddenly strong again, and she could hear footsteps off to her right. She glanced rapidly back and forth between the two, spotting a rack of crystal woo-woo stuff and Tony approaching with a gentle smirk, and she deliberately settled on Tony.

He curved to the side, headed more toward the rack than toward her, and deftly picked out a hat of the same design but in a dusty medium blue that would've been subtle if not for the faceted glisten that flowed over it. He offered it to her, that gentle smirk unchanging. "May I suggest a compromise?"

She tried to match his smile and overshot into something barely/almost laughter, but to the tune of blood rushing in her ears again, she tried on the blue hat. It… was a compromise in many ways, appealling to her less than the violet but more than the green, and fitting her colors less than the green but more than the violet. She grinned, and it threatened to escape her control again. She held up the green beside her cheek, just enough to check that indeed the color fit her better, then doffed the blue and stacked them together, but held on to them.

Tony had maintained a respectful silence while she had the hat on, perhaps knowing it would deafen her, but at this he raised an eyebrow and spoke. "All three? A woman after my own heart." He grinned ruefully, glancing around the shop.

She nodded sympathetically, then ducked aside to pick out — almost instantly — the white spherical crystal that had been pulling her, and was caught off-guard by a distant cacophony of voices. Taking a moment to check, she was hearing it from everywhere at once, which suggested an auditory hallucination.

"Something wrong?"

Well, she could still hear him clearly over it, but the "candy glass" presented a problem. She couldn't really speak, her words would come out in a jumble, roughly as hard to understand as the chaos that filled her vision when light levels dropped. She silently mouthed a babble, placed two fingers over her lips, and shook her head.

He looked at her as if she'd shattered into just such a visual cacophony, but then averted his gaze. His voice, however, was a mismatched cheerful. "Well, if there's anything more I can help you with..."

She looked right at the sign below the mirror, tapped the shrunken elf head with one elegant purple nailtip, then looked back at Tony with one eyebrow raised as an exaggerated question.

"Yep! My fiancee's a gargoyle, I took a class last year and I've had plenty of practice since. Hats tailored to you, no additional charge, just like it says."

Surprised and not all at once, she nodded, that grin threatening to escape into peals of laughter again. In search for relief, she turned sharply and carried the four items to where he'd originally stood, except on the other side of the register, with a sigh of relief as the unintelligible voices faded. She drew her phone while he took his position, and once he'd scanned the items in her arms and sent the bill to her phone, she signed it and sent it back. The hats were cheap, but she was paying no few denarii for the crystal; not really a deal, unless the crystal proved to be something other than religious junk.

He nodded, and turned with a beckoning hand. "If you'll just come in back, I can adjust those to you, piercing and all."

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