Known throughout the area for its quality and convenience, Meido Mart is a store where anything one would need, could be found with ease. From aisle to never-ending aisle, each item is neatly presented; awaiting to be picked by a potential owner. Any specific item, it could be found in a matter of minutes, due to the considerate organization of the store, and how clean and prepped each section was.
Their most prominent feature was not its specialized inventory, nor their membership programs, or weekly sales; but rather the ever-so loyal customer base, most of which were, of course, maids. Starting as a convenience store, due to its upscale district location, it was the go-to place for any maid in need of supplies. To this very day, it still does so. It soon grew and expanded, until eventually being renamed Meido Mart, to pay homage to their wonderful staff and customers.
Even though there were no restrictions barring non-house servants from shopping within the store (nor any explicit benefits given to one if they were)most of the shoppers continued to be primarily maids. Throughout the entire store, it was nearly impossible to not be within the vicinity of one of these caretakers. Be they Kikimoras or Shoggoths (or even sometimes muscle-bound Jinkos) one could be assured that there was always one nearby.
Although primarily a store, it slowly became a meeting grounds of sorts for maids of all kinds; a place where they could talk and share ideas amongst themselves. These ranged from recipes to ways in how they could subtly hint at their masters their own interests in them. It was easy to tell who had already obtained a person willing to be called Master, and would share stories of what had happened between the two or within their household since their last visit. But, most importantly, they would share stories of how they came to acquire their master. Advice like this was worth more than gold to those who were still waiting/searching for a master. Someone to wait on hand and foot, to dutifully serve, someone to depend on them, someone to trust them, and in the end, someone to love them.
It was a dream that every kikimora and shoggoth shared, a dream that would fuel the rivalry between the two distinct species. However, you would never be able to tell once you stepped into the store. It was an unspoken truce;a golden rule between the two species. Meido Mart was considered hallowed ground, one that prevented violence from erupting and instead prompting a sense of camaraderie whilst within these walls.
Although this was common knowledge amongst the two species, most people were unaware of such a thing, and as such were usually surprised to see them happily chatting amongst themselves when entering the store.
Such was the case for Marcus.
Marcus was new.
Not only to the store, but to the area in general. He had just moved in to town after finding himself a job in the nearby city and managed to find a nice cozy house to call home. But with a new place, it meant that it was time to stock up on food and other things he’d need for his home.
There was just one problem. What in the world did he need?
At this point, he had decided to go through every aisle in the home section just to see if there would be something he spotted something that his new home would require. Despite having already filled a good portion of his cart, he was certain there was more that would be needed.
Currently he was in the middle of a tough decision. In both his hands he held two different brands of floor cleaners, both claiming to be all-purpose detergents. One was the generic store brand whilst the other was a brand he had never even heard of. He was utterly trapped, unable to determine which would be good enough to use. He stood there, trying his best to make up his mind, unsure which would be good enough to be of use.
“Excuse me sir.”
Looking up from the bottles, he turned towards whoever was addressing him.
It was one of the kikimoras that could be seen throughout the store, in full maid regalia.
She stood with her hands held together against her uniform.
“I’m sorry to bother you, but you seem to be struggling. Do you need some help making a decision?”
A sincere expression of concern was visible across her face, one that seemed to put his mind at ease as she looked at him with her hazel eyes.
“Uh- yes actually. I um… have no idea what I’m doing in all honesty.”
He was greeted with a giggle followed by a gentle smile as she slid a few locks of her brunette hair that was too short to be tied into her bun behind her ear.
“Perhaps I could be of assistance then.”
She outstretched her hand towards him, asking for him to hand her one of the cleaning agent bottles. Once he gave her the detergent, she brought it up to her so that she could read the label.
“Just an all-purpose cleaner? Although the store-brand is generally good enough for most things, it’s never quite enough to give it that shine that’s needed. What type of floor do you have?”
“I think it’s wood.”
“Think?” she asked, raising an eyebrow.
The kikimora took a sweeping glance over his shopping cart, taking notice of the items inside. A broom, several generic cleaning supplies, some toiletries, a box of cereal, a half-gallon of milk, and a stack of microwavable frozen dinners.
“Forgive me for asking, but did you just recently move to the area?”
“Ah, yes. Yes, I did.”
“And is this your first time living on your own?”
“Hehe… yeeaahhh… It’s pretty obvious isn’t it?” he responded, while scratching the back of his head.
She chaste herself from giggling again, trying to maintain a respectful smile. The kiki then grabbed the other bottle of cleaner from his hand and placed them both onto the shelf. Her finger ran across the several different items on the shelf before landing onto a specific and handing it over to him.
“Here, this is the one you’ll be needing. You either have actual wooden floors or you have some laminate flooring. This one works well on either, and much better than the generic cleaner.”
She continued walking down the aisle, picking up a mop and placing it into the cart as well.
“You’ll be needing this too, unless you’re planning to clean the floor with your bare hands and feet.”
Unable to say anything about it, he let the mop stay.
Before he was able to thank her for her help, she had already grabbed his cart and was strutting back down the aisle.
“Hmm? Oh, you can’t expect me to leave you like this? Your cart full of these no good-generic products, they’re more work than they’re worth. I’ll help you get exactly what you need, you just need to tell me what you know about your house so we can get the right items.”
“Al… Alright then.”
He was in no position to refuse any help he could get. He was in a new place, in a new town, and had no idea what he was doing. Even if it was a little odd, he needed all the help he could get.
“Now then, let’s go to the next aisle and put back these items.”
Doing as she said, they started heading out of the aisle. Just out the corner of his eye, a single shoggoth who stole a glance at the Kikimora before giving her a thumbs up
She gave her a confirmatory nod and followed him to the next aisle.
“Oh yes, since I am lending you my services, I should at the very least introduce myself. I am Marie.”
“Marie? My name is Marcus.”
“It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Marcus. Now then, to get you some proper toilet paper.”
The two walked throughout the store, returning almost everything Marcus had originally put into his cart and replacing it with a different brand that the Kiki had faith in. She even put back all of the frozen meals he had, switching them out for proper groceries to make simple meals out of. If it wasn’t for the pitiful face he probably had on while she did so she most likely wouldn’t have kept a single box of frozen breakfast sandwiches. Eight packets of Danny Jean sandwiches. The good stuff.
After having traversed through the entire store once again, the two finally made it to the front of the store for check out. The two had been conversing for so long, he hadn’t noticed how much they had put into the cart. This was far more than he was originally planning to buy, and probably way above his budget.
“Maybe we should put a few things back.” He whispered to Marie in a slightly nervous tone.
“There is no need to worry about the cost if that is what’s troubling you.”
How was she able to read him so easily?
Before he could ponder on this any further, the automaton cashier had finished scanning all and bagging all the items.
“Do you have an MM Membership Card?”
Marie lifted her finger to Marcus to cut him off, reaching into the pocket on her apron and pulling out a sparkling silver card. As she handed the card over to the mechanical cashier, Marcus noticed that it was the store’s Platinum Members Card.
The automaton scanned the card and promptly returned it to the awaiting kiki.
“Member’s discount has been applied. The total is $86.27.”
That… was surprisingly cheap for everything he was getting. It was even well below his budget limits.
Paying for his items, the two made their way out of the store towards the parking lot, eventually making it to his car. Marie passed the bags to Marcus as he loaded them into the trunk of his car, eventually taking the cart to one of the store’s designated drop off zones.
As Marcus shut the door to the trunk, he turned around to say his thanks and goodbyes to the kind kikimora, but she was nowhere in sight.
Turning around, he spots Marie smiling at him, as her hand remains on the handle of the passenger side door waiting for him to unlock it.
“I thought it would be best if I were to accompany you home.”
“I’m not too sure…”
“Marcus,” she said with a knowing smile, “can you honestly say that you know how to properly use half of the supplies we bought today?”
“As I thought. I believe it would be most beneficial for you if I were join you on your trip home and assist in teaching you how to properly maintain your home.”
Being unable to retort, Marcus silently unlocked his door and let the kikimora take a seat in his car.He went around, taking a seat into the driver’s side, started the car, and made his way to his home.
Thus began Marcus’ new life, at his new house, with his new job, and his new maid.