“I’ll take…that one.” The wolf-eared witch pointed to a visibly-damaged doll, sitting in the corner away from its peers, writing in a notebook. Mistress Morgan’s Doll Rehoming was, after all, a reputable service, and the witch had decided that there were far too many dolls in need of a home to just create more. Adoption would give her and a witchless doll both some company.
“Are you sure, ma’am?” The clerk gave her a concerned look. “There’s a horrible rumor about that one. They say it killed its former owner. It doesn’t even have a name, just a number. Five thousand, four hundred, fifty-nine.” The doll had visible damage that hadn’t been properly repaired, spider-webbed cracks spanning its arms and legs, going further under the simple clothes it wore – the rehoming service unfortunately had limited resources and their smiths couldn’t simply repair every doll back to its original state, of course.
“It’s perfect. I want it.”
“O-of course, ma’am. Just remember that Mistress Morgan’s is not responsible for any malfunctioning dolls or –“
“Yes, I know, I signed your waiver. Can we get on with this?”
“Certainly, ma’am, if you’ll simply follow me, you can have a chat with it before finalizing our business…”
The wolf-eared witch was led to a small reading room, and told to wait while the staff retrieved her doll-to-be. Before long, the door on the other end of the room opened and the doll entered. Up close, it was beautiful in a way. Long, raven-black hair turned a deep, soft blue at the ends. Its figure was slim, lithe, and small – it couldn’t have been more than five feet tall. It stared intently at the ground, standing before the witch.
“Well, hello, little one. Why don’t you sit and tell me about yourself?” she gestured to the spot on the sofa next to her, patting it softly.
“Yes, ma’am,” the doll responded, swiftly sitting next to the witch. Its body language was guarded at best: knees and arms tucked in, making itself appear even smaller than its true size. “This one is five-four-five-nine. It is a comfort doll and wishes to assure you that it is fully functional and capable despite any apparent damage. Do you wish for a demonstration?”
“I don’t think that will be necessary, little one. Tell me this, though: are the rumors true? Did you kill –“
“Yes.” The answer came swiftly, coldly. Without hesitation.
“He was a bad man.”
“I see,” the witch said quietly. This close to Five-Four-Five-Nine, she could study it with senses beyond those that most humans possessed. 5459 had been modified, and haphazardly so. Combat modifications. Discreet, able to pass a rudimentary inspection, but to a trained eye like her own: glaringly obvious. Nearly invisible seams in its skin undoubtedly conceal some form of hidden blade or firearm, and the damage to its skin reveals not a frame of wood or porcelain as so many are fond of, but a shining titanium alloy. The rehoming service truly had no idea what they had recovered. “Come on. You’re coming home with me, doll.”
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