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File 163519765057.png - (137.30KB , 406x700 , 14-1.png )
1013588 No. 1013588 ID: de852d

Chapter 14
+18 Adult content

First thread: https://tgchan.org/kusaba/quest/res/860238.html
Wiki: https://tgchan.org/wiki/Moot_Point
Previous chapter: https://questden.org/kusaba/quest/res/990619.html#990619
Expand all images
>>
No. 1013590 ID: de852d
File 163519773160.png - (142.42KB , 563x700 , 14-2.png )
1013590

Casey taps her pen against her notepad, her gaze caught somewhere in the middle distance. Her mind should be translating looping fey poetry into more common mortal tongues. Instead its produced half a page of scribbles and crossed out passages.

“Hey Casey, something wrong?” Says a voice.
>>
No. 1013593 ID: 75c709

Just feeling a bit burnt out on this, not making much progress.
>>
No. 1013594 ID: 094652

"How do I translate a paradoxical statement?"
>>
No. 1013595 ID: 9a2966

Oh, you know. Haven't fucked a god in a while, Graves.

Oh sure, there's the undead army about to wake up hungry and snackish, where the only recourse seems to be to use a once-in-a-lifetime trip (to be determined when) to go fetch enough mana to sate them until you can dig up the true location of yon lost lord of the dead so that he can, hopefully maybe, help resolve this mess.

And you really need to decode your third of this critical book that might clue you into his location and... really, why'd Tuvara-Malli go and have such penmanship to her? You're pretty much spoiled for life as regards poetry. It's... even getting a bit stale? KINDA? Which you wouldn't expect of words of otherworldly wonder and imaginings within a language built for such, but hey, isn't that just the way of mortals. Attention span of a gnat and oft compared to such.

...bleh. You're just not feeling the spirit of discovery today, you suppose. Might have to take a break soon.
>>
No. 1013596 ID: 3ed3c3

>>1013590
"Well, it turns out that fey take what they say very seriously. Not surprising, considering how important names and wording are to them. In short, trying to translate fey script, which places more emphasis on meaning than what's actually written, is fucking hard."
>>
No. 1013597 ID: 998426

>>1013590
I'm guessing we're still on the boat...
>>
No. 1013729 ID: ffac61

Flip out! You were alone and the door was locked.
>>
No. 1013734 ID: 30b9f6

>>1013597
Bookshelves in the background, so I think we're in the library.
>>
No. 1013755 ID: de852d
File 163538338315.png - (170.30KB , 577x700 , 14-3.png )
1013755

“Its nothing… its just… this thing is a poem, a legal document, and a training manual. Untangling it is a mess. Every line has several meanings that needs to be cross referenced with previous passages, and I’m just feeling burnt out.” Casey sighs.

Graves nods with a clatter. “I’m always amazed to find a mortal that has any stomach for fey poetic contracts. They’re beautiful, sure, but in the way a tree growing or a glacier moving is beautiful.” He grins, having little other option, and sets down a hefty stack of books on the table.
>>
No. 1013781 ID: 3ed3c3

How difficult is fey language? Let me give you an example.
If I said to you, "The curtains are blue," then you would understand that I'm saying that the curtains are blue.
In fey speak, everything said or written has, at the very least, three different meanings. So, if a fey said, "The curtains are blue," they could mean that the house is full of sadness or that someone's hair is blue or that someone spilled the paint.
It all gets wrapped up in context, metaphor, cultural references, and the feys' obsession with complexity.
>>
No. 1013783 ID: dca4d6

>>1013755
Perhaps there's a device or artifact out there that can make these deciphering efforts significantly quicker and easier.

A "fae cipher" if you will.
>>
No. 1013787 ID: 815672

Well said, Graves
>>
No. 1013805 ID: 9a2966

So how's HIS progress coming along?
>>
No. 1013871 ID: de852d
File 163555544137.png - (182.92KB , 643x700 , 14-4.png )
1013871

“I mean, you kind of have to have a magically extended lifespan to appreciate fey poetry.” Casey nods glumly. “Like, take this line for instance: The sun which rises on land of golden grain. Gold, which wrapped in amber did spirits become. Amber, stone bled from wood. Wood, its twisting root did turn its key, opening stone.

Casey looks over her notes and shifts the puzzle pieces together, “This seems to be referencing Tuvara-Malli’s own auramancy spell, which was like amber or crystal. But its also referencing things like the sun, gold, roots, stone: the fey draw power from those things and part of a contract is listing off their natural allegiances. Its her way of calling on different magical aspects she wants to wield: strength, light, growth, sealing.”
>>
No. 1013872 ID: de852d
File 163555544977.png - (138.69KB , 576x700 , 14-5.png )
1013872

Casey points to the “Its also a way of establishing her right to wield magic, kind of like showing her credentials. The more powerful a magic user, the more sources of magic they’ll list.” She sighs, “A lot of fey legal battles are just lengthy pissing matches trying to call upon as many allegiances as possible.”

Graves cocks his head at the mouse, clearly curious. “But you and me can’t form allegiances like that. We don’t talk to rocks and forests.”
>>
No. 1013879 ID: 96c896

You do have some friends in high places though. Several fey, a god, and the current spirit guardians.
>>
No. 1013893 ID: 3ed3c3

"Well, I'm technically speaking to the dead right now. So that's something."
>>
No. 1013894 ID: 769845

Don't you? You can persuade the air to carry you. Can't magic be considered as a way of communicating with the world? Also you did fuck someone who's part of the sky, so.
>>
No. 1013914 ID: 094652

"Well, you can't make a lengthy negotiation with a rock. You can't shake hands with a cephalopod. But you can pick up a stone. You can feed a fish. Things like that, and those who claim to speak for them, however true that may be."
>>
No. 1013918 ID: 815672

Mortals are gone sooner sure, but you have to admit we make use of our time. Our lives are a story of the connections we make.
>>
No. 1014042 ID: de852d
File 163581134743.png - (161.26KB , 666x700 , 14-6.png )
1014042

“Right… well, normally, yes.” Casey says, thinking about the night spent with Flashing Feathers that gifted her with wing spells etched into her shoulders. “For a long time it was considered impossible for non-fey to wield. Tuvara-Malli found a way to make contracts with oneself, which allowed her to teach fey magic to mortals. Its not as powerful as true fey spellcasting, but it was revolutionary.”

“Very impressive.” The skeletal ghoul nods sagely. “Never really understood how magic worked, to be honest. Lord Hekal made it all seem so easy. He could pick it apart like a clock and put it back together without missing a tick of the second hand.”
>>
No. 1014044 ID: 96c896

Too bad we can't show Hekal the book.
>>
No. 1014069 ID: 3ed3c3

To find Hekal, we need to think like Hekal.
>>
No. 1014093 ID: 30b9f6

>>1014042
You speak as if he could pick up new magics at the drop of a pin. Now why was that, I wonder? Natural talent combined with the acquired skill of ages? Or did he somehow enhance his own capabilities, like the fey would when calling on natural allegiances?

Maybe - in line with your clock analogy - he had power over time... or maybe his own perception of it? That sure would be helpful to be able to take all the time one needed to understand something.

(Tap the book meaningfully, wistfully.)

At any rate, Hekal's abilities and his true story remains little known. If you weren't so busy trying to translate the book before the, um, deadline, you'd be interviewing Graves for historical details day in and day out. It's certainly become clear there was a lot more to the histories of Augustine's time than what survived.
>>
No. 1014105 ID: c0641b

>>1014042

Interesting turn of phrase, but then, Lord Hekal was a fey himself, and doubtlessly had an innate understanding of magic.

But perhaps Graves can give us more insight, having known him so closely for, oh ... centuries.
>>
No. 1014175 ID: de852d
File 163598720752.png - (156.89KB , 461x700 , 14-7.png )
1014175

“How did Hekal get so powerful?” Casey ponders.

Graves shrugs, “No one really knows. His life before becoming a vampire lord is a complete mystery. Much of his raw power came from mana wells, but he preferred to wield it like a tool, rather than a cudgel.”

Casey eyes the skeleton curiously. “Then, did you know him well?”

The undead thinks for a moment and admits, “For as closely as I worked with him, I can’t say really knew the man. I don’t know if anyone truly can. He was dour and serious; distant to everyone, even his closest allies. Talking to him felt like you were interrupting some vast, dangerous calculation he was attempting to solve. While I owe him for returning me to life after death, to him… as far as I can tell, I was just useful.”
>>
No. 1014197 ID: 028f23

An intriguing figure. He seems devoid of outright charisma and yet he commanded the devout loyalty of thousands, if not more. The impression we have seen of his people does not match the legacy of a dour and withdrawn man. He seems to have been more passionate about research than rhetoric.

I'd wager then, that his actions were what earned their loyalty, and perhaps belied something of his true character.

A man that utterly dedicated to his studies and yet still principled must have had some overarching goal. Something that drove him further than the arrogance and thirst for life of the other lich lords. Whatever that was may be the key to discovering what happened to him and Augustine.
>>
No. 1014245 ID: ab33cc

Must've been fun at parties.
>>
No. 1014268 ID: f78c68

>>1014175
Nevertheless he inspired a fierce loyalty in his followers. As vampire lords go he did not seem unstable and his goals seemed admirable.

How DID he and Augustine come to blows? Over what? Just the mana vents? Prejudice? What a mystery.
>>
No. 1014451 ID: de852d
File 163632175651.png - (155.98KB , 700x386 , 14-8.png )
1014451

Casey taps her pen on her notebook, “He was distant and cold, yet every one we’ve met from his kingdom is still fiercely loyal, even after hundreds of years. How did he manage that?”

“Despite how he sounds, Hekal was skilled at diplomacy. He could be straightforward and blunt, but treated everyone with respect, regardless of rank. He recognized people for their abilities rather than their status and sought out the talent he needed to run his empire. For instance, he recruited Rodwin as his second in command, despite his status as a devil. Or, take me for example…”

Graves opens up one of the books and starts turning pages one at a time, lingering only long enough to glance at each one. “I was a soldier at first and a pretty bad one at that, but I can remember everything I’ve experienced: right down to the smallest detail. It was just a parlor trick: telling you what the weather was like the day you were born, or reading a whole book in less than a minute. But he noticed my gift and I became his living ledger: everything that needed counting or remembering went through me.”
>>
No. 1014452 ID: e7848c

Casey, Graves could probably fill a library with just his memories. There's your energy boost for the day.
>>
No. 1014468 ID: a4cda2

>>1014451
For the hell of it, see if there's anything on an anti-bargast weapon in those memories, just in case.
>>
No. 1014475 ID: b5c538

Wow what? Maybe you should add that to your introduction. Especially to a history buff. Although I suppose you didn't tell him that about you either.
>>
No. 1014477 ID: 3ed3c3

Could Graves perhaps give us any information about Hekal that could help with our search? Where was he the day Hekal Disappeared?
>>
No. 1014749 ID: de852d
File 163660388165.png - (118.17KB , 500x700 , 14-9.png )
1014749

Casey stares at the scribe and puts her pen down. “Wait, you remember everything? Why are you just telling us now? There’s so much we need to ask you!”

There’s a bony shrug, which clatters. “No one really asked. Besides, I don’t know how much help I can be. The truth is, it took some time for anyone to realize Hekal had gone missing. It wasn’t unheard of for our lord to disappear and engage in matters of secrecy. It wasn’t until Rodwin returned that anyone knew for sure that Hekal was gone.”

“Come on, there has to be something.” Casey stands and paces, “Like, what happened the night of the disappearance?”

“I believe on the night in question: I went to bed having memorized the correspondence from two of the converging fronts on the Whittaker Plains, as well as the intercepted orders from the third battalion of cavaliers under sir Thorall Krojen. His troops were in retreat and looking to rejoin the larger allied forces, having been routed by archers attacking from the Great Carrion Woods.”
>>
No. 1014939 ID: 028f23

So nothing immediately helpful, but he perhaps had a better understanding of the ongoing war than anyone else at the time, let alone still "alive".
Was the war just more jostling between Vampires/Liches/Necromancers? Or was there something more substantial on the line? I presume that Augustine was largely an unknown at that point, and simply infiltrated the citadel without actually assaulting it. Considering that Hekal's polity was fully mobilized for war at the time, I doubt she could've reached the throne room by force without the alarm having been raised.
>>
No. 1015143 ID: f57349

Okay, back to basics. Potential jackpot of intel here. Gotta prioritize.

Fetch a world map with grid coordinates, along with a historian or astronomer or some other timeline reference. Figure out exactly where and when Hekal was last seen, and any available context of what he and/or his known associates or enemies were up to in that general vicinity. Then start plotting the barghast's subsequent travels, a list of places to rule out as already thoroughly searched.
>>
No. 1015265 ID: de852d
File 163702452919.png - (128.38KB , 500x700 , 14-10.png )
1015265

“Hmm. So, not a lot of obviously helpful information, but you’re probably one of the best resources we have about the ongoing war at the time.” Casey continues, “What sides were involved? Was it just vampire lords?”

“It was a very fluid situation. There were at least five major factions, but alliances and betrayals were common, so its hard to really pin down the exact numbers. At the time, Lord Hekal was attempting to fend off an alliance of three Fey Courts, as well as the machinations of Telleremenas, vampire lord of the Smoking Pit.”

“Considering all the the conflict, do you think Augustine could have gotten into the throne room without raising any alarms?” Casey asks.

Graves pauses, “Now that I’ve seen the magic your senders use firsthand, I’ve had to wonder about that. Gating directly to our lord’s chambers would require a fairly intimate knowledge of the castle. The whole compound was warded against scrying, and gate magic leaves a trace of thunder once its used: scouting out the location on her own would have been nearly impossible without being noticed. So…”
>>
No. 1015281 ID: e7848c

She must have had help on the inside
>>
No. 1015331 ID: d43396

>>1015281
Or access to someone (prisoner?) who knew the layout.
In fact, who was the architect? Did anyone known for remarkable memory visit the castle, even before the war?

Another possibility would be that a prisoner had been brought to the castle, and used as a teleport homer.
>>
No. 1015334 ID: 30b9f6

>>1015265
Another obvious question: What happened in the aftermath of Hekal's disappearance? How did all the wars get resolved and Augustine's faction end up on top of it all?
>>
No. 1015368 ID: 028f23

Huh. An interesting point.
How do we follow up on that? We can hardly go around waking up every revenant on the Barghest asking them if they betrayed the trust of their liege lord centuries ago.
We have so many pieces and no idea how they fit together yet. We need a lead.
>>
No. 1015471 ID: de852d
File 163720604248.png - (139.84KB , 700x500 , 14-11.png )
1015471

“Then that means she had help from the inside…” Casey finishes. “Someone gave her info on where to gate. Any idea who?”

Graves shrugs, his bones clattering against one another. “No idea! There’s only a few that would even have access to our lord’s chambers, and they’re all fiercely loyal.”

“What happened to the war after Hekal went missing?” Casey asks.

The undead stares off into the distance, as if watching history unfold inside his skull. “Rodwin had us pull our forces back and consolidate them. The vacuum left on the battlefield allowed two of the fey factions to pour into the gap, and immediately turn on one another.” Their bones sag as they shake their head. “Several of our generals took off on their own, joining allies and enemies. It was a whirlwind of magic and betrayal. Its kind of a miracle the world held together through it.”

“Rodwin believed that our lord was somehow still alive. Our remaining forces defended our lands for as long as they could: and when defeat seemed inevitable, he took our last bargast and marched north to lands so cold and blighted no one would follow.”
>>
No. 1015473 ID: 769845

The lord's chambers... could it have been someone who used to have access to them? A former friend, even an ex-lover? Not to be indelicate or disrespectful, but is there any chance Hekal had some... secret relationships, in the past?
>>
No. 1015482 ID: ab33cc

So what faction is considered to have "won" in the end? Is the war even considered to be over?
>>
No. 1015501 ID: 028f23

Perhaps it may be even closer than that.
If noone but a trusted few had access to Hekal's quarters, and we know that Augustine was perhaps the most accomplished Sender in history, is it possible they may have collaborated, parlayed, or met at some prior point? Before it all went sour and they evidently became enemies?
Rodwin had obviously never seen her before, but Hekal had been a power for some time before he was cursed and taken in, if he had known the previous Warden.

Augustine may have been illiterate and from poor roots, but as we've seen from Graves, that didn't stop Hekal from considering or valuing those with potential and drive. Is it possible that she wasn't simply working her way through a list of vampire lords and necromancers? Might there have been a previous interaction between the two?


Our understanding of both individuals basically begins and ends with their most noteworthy achievements. Their lives before that are utterly blank. Heck, even after.

It's probably not something he would have shared, but was Hekal's age something Graves would know?
>>
No. 1015584 ID: de852d
File 163737875553.png - (143.11KB , 700x500 , 14-12.png )
1015584

“We know some of what happened next: the end of the Wild Age left the world in chaos. Major conflicts tore the world apart until the First Guardians sealed the mana wells and cut off the flow of dangerous magic.” Casey nods. “It would be good to get some more specifics, if possible.”

“I can only tell you so much about that.” Graves shrugs again. “I spent much of the last five hundred years in a tomb with no body.” He pats the pile of books, “In fact, I was going to skim as much as I can, so that I have plenty of reading material when I’m re-interred.”

“You know, you’re here to work on translating the tome, not brush up on reading.” Casey’s lip twists at the corner.

“I’m working on it!” The undead insists, “Its all up here…” He taps his skull again.

“If you say so.” Casey stretches and jiggles some feeling back into her legs. “I’m going to go get some air.” She announces.

“Seeing as I no longer need such things, I’ll remain here.” Graves goes back to turning pages without looking at her.
>>
No. 1015585 ID: de852d
File 163737876550.png - (145.62KB , 544x700 , 14-13.png )
1015585

The mouse rolls her eyes and steps out into the corridor. Her footsteps echo against the precisely cut stone floor of the Sender library, tracing her way through the labyrinth of the college. She passes the occasional student, hurrying this way and that from some late-night errand.

Casey steps out onto the hillside and leans against the guardrail overlooking the lights of the city. Above her, the statue of Augustine looms in the night sky, her back turned and silent. Her mind flashes to thoughts of Madam Moot and Hekal locked in combat. Or…

“What if… there was no fight?” She says to herself.
>>
No. 1015586 ID: de852d
File 163737879845.png - (123.13KB , 500x700 , 14-14.png )
1015586

Elsewhere in the College of the Senders, Clio hurries back to her dorm from a study session.
>>
No. 1015587 ID: 815672

How goes the studies?
>>
No. 1015594 ID: f8fa51

>>1015586
You look tired. Time to get home and drop into bed, huh?
>>
No. 1015609 ID: 2de4fd

Girl have you been running yourself ragged over there? You look like you need sleep. Or at least a relaxing massage for a few hours.
>>
No. 1015621 ID: 5ea209

>>1015585
Hekal did, in fact, trust Hekal...

>>1015586
I know College Face when I see it. At least it seems things are going well
>>
No. 1015624 ID: 4e2458

>>1015586
What’s the hurry? Got plans?
>>
No. 1015651 ID: fd0201

Lookin' like you got some eye baggage goin' on there. You been gettin' enough sleep? No trouble's sleepin', I hope. Gettin' enough to eat too? And to drink? Gettin' stuck into your studies and forgettin' to eat or drink'll sneak up on ya.

How've you been gettin' along with your fellow students? They been friendly? Made any friends here yet? Nobody givin' you hasslin' I hope. You gotten hazed yet or is that somethin' that they don't do here? Or are folk kinda standoffish?

You doin' good with your studies? Keepin' up with 'em? Been gettin' extra tutorin' to bring you up to speed and all? Has Gabe been 'round to help teach you a thing or two about Sendin'?
>>
No. 1015753 ID: de852d
File 163755045662.png - (119.51KB , 500x700 , 14-15.png )
1015753

Clio yawns and takes another peek at her notes. Through the fog of post study haze, she sighs. Her aptitude for gate magic put her at the head of her class in all but one way.

Her mouth twists wryly as she looks at the scribbled calculations regarding spirit wards. Compared to the complex interactions of distance and momentum built into gate magic, it seems simple: building a volume of mana that blocks spirits from passing through. But for some reason her attempts at spellcasting never result in a stable ward field.

Having spent several hours in a practice room scarred from generations of student magic, the cat feels her mind turning to soup. While her natural mana supplies allowed her much more leeway to practice with, exhaustion from so much calculation eventually set in. Maybe tomorrow she can talk with her teachers about what she’s doing wrong.
>>
No. 1015754 ID: de852d
File 163755046461.png - (134.80KB , 552x700 , 14-16.png )
1015754

Still engrossed in her notes, Clio bumps headfirst into someone in the hallway, scattering paper everywhere.
>>
No. 1015755 ID: f8fa51

Hastily apologise and try to pick up your notes while you figure out who you just bumped into.
>>
No. 1015757 ID: 96c896

Time for an anime trope.
>>
No. 1015758 ID: a63e3f

Lightly swear under your breath, then catch yourself and apologize to whoever you collided with as you crouch down to help pick up their papers.
>>
No. 1015890 ID: c0641b

>>1015585

I suspect this was the truth all along. Moot and Hekel forged a pact to end the wars and he voluntarily disappeared, ensuring the Guardians would be able to stop his rivals by stifling the mana wells.

>>1015754

Oh dear, Clio, but I hope you had those numbered.
>>
No. 1016084 ID: be028a
File 163781052554.png - (80.66KB , 700x500 , 14-17.png )
1016084

Clio scrambles to pick up the scattered notes, apologizing frantically.

“Shit! Sorry! Sorry! Shit! I’m so sorry!” She claws her papers into a pile and looks up. She blinks at the empty hallway, looking forward and back, finding herself alone.
>>
No. 1016086 ID: e7848c

Oh sweet, ghosts. You're aware of them, right?
>>
No. 1016088 ID: a63e3f

Huh... You sure you ran into someone and not some... invisible surface? Did you feel the touch of skin or fur at all when you collided? Hear a "oof" like you'd expect from a person that's been run into? Could somebody have magic'd a force field across this hall as... I dunno, a prank? Better test if there's something still here.

Scoop the rest of your notes up and stow them in your book, then poke your hand about at about the point you collided with whatever it was. Whether or not you touch anything, pull out a blank piece of paper and wave it about in that volume as well to test if an inanimate object collides with anything or not.
>>
No. 1016102 ID: f8fa51

Wow, you must be more out of it than you thought. You definitely need to take a nap.
>>
No. 1016140 ID: 6c5f9b

Literally walking into the fourth wall is probably not good for your head.
>>
No. 1016157 ID: 2de4fd

What was it that first gave you the impression that it was someone that you bumped into? You're smart, think back a few moments. It might give you something to go on.
>>
No. 1016432 ID: be028a
File 163832810181.png - (103.12KB , 500x700 , 14-18.png )
1016432

“Hello?” Clio looks around cautiously, her ears twitching in search of sound. She waves a hand in the direction of the impact, finding nothing there. “Anyone there?” She asks the nothing.

Whatever it was, it felt solid. Clio’s exhausted mind runs through a quick logic chain: Was that a ghost? But ghosts aren’t solid. Or are they? I’ve never touched a ghost. Except for Pezzi and Rufus, I guess. Wait, are they ghosts? They were in mechanical suits. What should I do if I think there’s a ghost around?
>>
No. 1016433 ID: be028a
File 163832811146.png - (136.55KB , 700x500 , 14-19.png )
1016433

Clio decides to test things, casting a spirit ward in the hallway. Wavering red light filters out around the edges of the walls, flickering with instability.

The cat tries to hold the spell for as long as she can before it collapses, taking with it a bit more of her energy. Right before it vanishes, she notices an odd hole in the light.
>>
No. 1016436 ID: 908530

Ah yes. A ghost gloryhole.
>>
No. 1016438 ID: e7848c

>>1016433
Okay, you are a cat with an education now. Despite your mind being frazzled, what do you know of warding spells? They're normally solid, correct? Would a hole in the surface be a sign of something coming into contact with it?
>>
No. 1016440 ID: 96c896

>>1016433
Poke where the hole is.
>>
No. 1016443 ID: 36784c

>>1016433
That looks like a doorknob. Try grabbing it and giving it a turn?
>>
No. 1016448 ID: 2de4fd

Is there an invisible object in the hallway? Try feeling around the hole area.
>>
No. 1016507 ID: 6c5f9b

Have some self-preservation instincts and don't touch the magic hole. Maybe there's someone with more experience around who'll be able to investigate it, without risk of losing limbs to residual portal magic?
>>
No. 1016525 ID: 5b0071

>>1016433
Get your bearings: have you actually been down this hallway before/recently?
>>
No. 1016770 ID: be028a
File 163875491881.png - (103.94KB , 556x700 , 14-20.png )
1016770

Clio stares at where the hole was, blinking and examining it from various angle. She cautiously reaches out and gropes at the air, finding nothing but air.

“Spite me, what the fuck was that?” She mutters to herself. It looked to her almost as if her warding spell was wrapped around something solid, but invisible. Self doubt creeps into her tired mind like mold, ”Maybe it was something wrong with the spell? I just still can’t get it right…”

Sighing and rubbing her eyes, Clio chalks it up to overworking and late nights. The young sender sets off down the hall again, away from the mystery.
>>
No. 1016771 ID: be028a
File 163875495824.png - (126.58KB , 500x700 , 14-21.png )
1016771

Only a minute or so late, as she’s passing the library, she hears a pair of odd, clattering footsteps. Light pours out of an open door as a skeleton steps backwards out of the room and swears, “Oh fucking, litchfire…”
>>
No. 1016772 ID: c0641b

>>1016771

This looks like one hell of a prank, but I'm not sure which of us is on the receiving end.
>>
No. 1016773 ID: 96c896

An intruder? Yell at them.
>>
No. 1016778 ID: a63e3f

Ordinarily a undead skeleton's presence here would be cause for alarm, but with the situation with the bargast and all this one is almost certainly a visitor from there. Probably helping with research, given they were in the library. You ought to be more concerned about whatever has spooked them.

Move at a brisk pace up to the far side of the hall behind them, just up to where you can get a look into the library at whatever they've locked sight with. While you're moving up ask them what's wrong. And be ready to cast because there might be something in there that is menacing them that'll need to be stopped.
>>
No. 1016783 ID: 2de4fd

"Hey, skeleton?? Can you kindly explain what the fuck?"
>>
No. 1016784 ID: 8b1fc0

>>1016771
oh no, what spooked the spooky skeleton? Seems like important information
>>
No. 1016800 ID: 8f128b

>>1016771
Clearly this is a vivid hallucination caused by onset sleep deprivation, and not an actual skeleton in the library, right?
>>
No. 1016810 ID: 9a2966

Say hi to Graves. Remind him you're not Augustine.

Go have a peek at whatever he's surprised by.
>>
No. 1016847 ID: 815672

>>1016771
You've heard of this guy, right? What was it, Graves? Ironic.
>>
No. 1016920 ID: be028a
File 163901420302.png - (198.59KB , 588x700 , 14-22.png )
1016920

Clio yelps, falling backwards and dropping her notes again. The skeleton turns suddenly at the noise and stops, its expression difficult to read: the cold light in its eyes focused on her.

“Wh- who are you?” Clio demands.

“I could ask you the same question.” The undead states. “And what is that spell?”

Clio blinks and realizes her hand is extended in front of her protectively, blazing with the sword of light.
>>
No. 1016921 ID: e7848c

Now ask yourself, is this an Open secret or guarded? Either way, state your name
>>
No. 1016930 ID: 2de4fd

Yeah, elaborating on that magic seems like a good idea. But, wait, why was he swearing?
>>
No. 1016937 ID: 076735

Cancel spell and dodge the question about it. Simply give your name and apologise for your overreaction.
>>
No. 1016954 ID: b84796

Him first! What's so scary about that room?
>>
No. 1016962 ID: c0641b

>>1016920

A very tired, very overworked, and very startled student. Since when DID the school have skellies walking the halls? Attending? Teaching?

Should we be running from whatever's in that room?
>>
No. 1017011 ID: 028f23

Tell him the truth, but not the whole truth yet.
I suppose the others had the idea to not immediately spill the beans that we've found proof that Augustine Moot had kids.
So yeah, let him know it's a rare and difficult type of Sender magic that Gabe and the gang are helping you learn to control.
If he presses, say that they think it could help them find where Augustine Moot went, but don't elaborate further after that.
>>
No. 1017068 ID: be028a
File 163919305540.png - (174.87KB , 659x700 , 14-23.png )
1017068

Clio’s spell disappears and she blinks away surprise. “M-my name’s Clio. I-I’m just a student. I, uh, I don’t remember the name of the spell. Cleave something…”

She changes the subject hastily, turning the inquiry around. “Sorry, I didn’t know we had a-a skeleton in the library. Um, what’re you doing here?”

The skeleton creaks. “I guess word hasn’t gotten out yet. My name is Graves. I’m a guest here, assisting the college in translating a tome of historical significance.” He looks back into the library and flatly states, “Or, at least… I was, but it seems that it just went missing.”
>>
No. 1017080 ID: 028f23

Oh.
Oh dear.
>>
No. 1017083 ID: 815672

>>1017068
Missing? As in the book you're reading is gone?
>>
No. 1017093 ID: 2de4fd

Did it get taken out by an invisible person?
>>
No. 1017099 ID: 076735

Immediately mention you bumped against something invisible.
>>
No. 1017103 ID: 9a2966

>>1017099
This.

Like... did someone steal a book? Well, something else weird just happened (obviously, says the mammalian pattern-seeking brain, the two must be related).

Er. Something else weird, aside from the talking skeleton. No offense. Is he (they?) from the Barghest - ah wait, no, focus. Stolen book bad. As in... you think stealing is bad? Not that you would know anything about stealing!

But you didn't steal it. This book. That was stolen.

Can you be of assistance, somehow?

(Continue adorably flustered state, from the fact there's a talking skeleton you haven't met or heard of before and don't the Spirit Guardians usually take care of that?)
>>
No. 1017123 ID: a63e3f

Don't jump to conclusions and think it was stolen. Perhaps Graves was working with a associate and they took the book while he... Er, is Graves' pronouns "he/him?" Get clarification on that. Anyway, they could have taken it while Graves wasn't there. So ask Graves if somebody else was working on this tome with them, why Graves wasn't where they could observe the tome and for how long they weren't there. Also, could it have fallen behind a desk or shelf or something like that? And was Graves out of earshot of any Sender portal portal opening in the room the tome was in? Is the room it was in warded against portals from outside the room?

Actually, this is also rather more than what a sleepy Sender collect student can and should be dealing with. It'd be best to bring in at least one or two more people to help search. Getting whoever Graves was working on the tome with, or whoever is Grave's contact in the collect, would make sense.

Do mention to Graves that while walking down the hall this way you collided with seemingly thin-air and knocked your notes all over. You didn't see anyone or anything to collide with and when you waved your hand through where you collided you didn't touch anything. What's more odd is that when you raised a spirit ward there, it looked like there was a circle shaped hole in it.

...Maybe if it was a magically invisible and sound muffled person fleeing with the tome they collided with you, then stepped back so you didn't touch them when you waved your hand, but they left a hole in the spirit ward where their arm was? Ah, you're speculating too much.

...Are fingerprints a known thing in this world? 'Cause whoever took the tome could have left their fingerprints on the table or shelf the tome was on. Assuming they have fingerprints, of course.
>>
No. 1017365 ID: f57349

Bright lights and exclamations like "fucking lichfire" imply something more urgent than the book simply having been reshelved in the wrong section. What else is missing?
>>
No. 1017443 ID: ce39da

"Izzat what the light show was? A thief?"
>>
No. 1017501 ID: be028a
File 163961875915.png - (110.49KB , 700x524 , 14-24.png )
1017501

“Wait, missing? Like you lost it? Or someone took it?” Clio looks back over her shoulder as her mind races.

Graves shrugs and shakes his head a little, “I was reading another book and it was open on the table. When I looked up, it was gone. I didn't notice anyone else enter the room”

“Okay, because I bumped into someone or something invisible just a minute ago.” She points back down the corridor.
>>
No. 1017623 ID: be028a
File 163971209779.png - (84.09KB , 500x700 , 14-25.png )
1017623

They head back to the hallway where Clio was knocked over. Clio stoops to pick up one of her notes she missed and notices something: a strange indentation, shaped like an elongated, curvy H. “What the?”
>>
No. 1017647 ID: 96c896

>>1017623
Like someone stepped on it? I guess that's a footprint. Better bring it to someone who's familiar with esoteric magical creatures.
>>
No. 1017652 ID: 30b9f6

>>1017623
Hm... bird's feet, maybe?

Whoever was invisible could be a bird-person. Maybe they've flown the coop, so to speak. Does Clio know of any big windows nearby they could enter and leave through?
>>
No. 1017705 ID: 028f23

>>1017623
>>1017647
>>1017652

w-wait a second.
I don't think that's a bird's footprint.
... I think that's a chameleon's footprint.
That makes sense, I guess, but a chameleon can only camouflage its skin.
Which means we're looking for a....a naked chameleon.

>>1016433

Hmmmmmmmmmmm.
>>
No. 1017709 ID: 96c896

>>1017705
Caught its tail, I'd guess.
>>
No. 1017728 ID: c0641b

>>1017709

But a gate will sever whatever it intersects, and there was neither blood nor any, ah ... "tidbits."

Which means either they managed to counter the gating spell, OR they were never affected by it.
>>
No. 1017730 ID: 815672

>>1017728
Portal Gates intersect. This was a ward, which only pushes ghosts and spirits out of a certain space.
>>
No. 1017753 ID: 96c896

Idea:
Try to make a ward, but spread it out over a large area so it looks more like fog.
Then if the chameleon is in the ward, we can detect it by the lack of fog in its location.
>>
No. 1017769 ID: be028a
File 163988295451.png - (140.93KB , 700x500 , 14-26.png )
1017769

“What do you think this is?” Clio holds up the paper to the skeleton.

Graves looks at it with an expression of blank calcium. “Math?”

“No, what?” She flips around. “Looks like a footprint of some kind.”

“That’s a fairly odd looking foot. I’m not an expert or anything, but I imagine not many people have toes arranged like that. It doesn't look like a bird: there's no talons.” Graves cocks his head. He looks past her and spots Casey returning from her break.
>>
No. 1017776 ID: e7848c

>>1017769
We might have a situation or a poorly timed practical joker.
>>
No. 1017785 ID: 96c896

Say hello to Casey. Graves will probably explain the situation.
>>
No. 1017788 ID: 908530

Clio should go to bed, though.
>>
No. 1017862 ID: 67be32

Graves and Clio, quickly inform Casey of the theft and what you two witnessed and experienced. Clio, show Casey the (presumed) footprint on your notepaper and ask her if she's seen anything like it before that would make such a mark. We think it's a footprint, but it could be from a piece of footwear as well. It'd make some sense that if it was a invisible thief Clio collided with that if their footwear was magically silencing their steps that it'd be some weird shape.
>>
No. 1017880 ID: 8f128b

>>1017705
Hold on, if they can only camoflauge their skin, wouldn't Clio have seen a floating book? It's possible that Clio didn't see the book initially, but after walking into them, it's unlikely she wouldn't notice a book getting up and walking away, especiallly if she caught them in the ward. I think one or more of the following must be correct:

-More than just the thief's skin is camoflauged
-The thief didn't actually have the book, just stashed it somewhere in the room (I like this one)
-The book is inside of the thief (I do not like this one)
>>
No. 1017884 ID: 96c896

>>1017880
The thief could have been holding the book behind them.
>>
No. 1017982 ID: 36784c

>>1017769
Explain the situation to Casey and ask for her help.
>>
No. 1018124 ID: be028a
File 164021747167.png - (139.44KB , 700x500 , 14-27.png )
1018124

“Clio? Hey, what’s going on?” Casey blinks in surprise. Picking up on the ex-thief’s anxiety, she asks, “Something wrong?”

“Er… the tome of the First Guardians seems so have been stolen.” Graves explains.

“What?! How!?” Casey’s eyes dart between the two for an explanation.

"I was reading in the library and when I looked up, it had disappeared from the table." Graves points a boney finger at the cat and continues, “What's more: she said that she ran into someone invisible in this hallway a few moments ago.”

“Invisibility? Like magic? Is that even possible?” Casey’s mind reels.

Clio responds timidly, as if reluctant to admit, “Back when I was a thief… There were rumors about methods of turning invisible, but… never any proof. I tried a spirit ward earlier, thinking it was a ghost, and there was a hole in it; like something solid was there. And when we came back, we found this strange footprint.”

“Okay…” Casey recomposes herself. “We need more help on this. Clio, go wake up Mariana and the college staff. Whoever did this couldn’t have gone far. We need as many eyes as possible on the campus.”
>>
No. 1018149 ID: 815672

Sound the alarms!
>>
No. 1018168 ID: 9a2966

Contact others and sound alarming!
>>
No. 1018646 ID: be028a
File 164075206638.png - (144.77KB , 500x700 , 14-28.png )
1018646

Clio nods wordlessly and focuses for a moment, mentally plotting out distance and angle. She disappears in a crash of thunder.

She appears outside the apartment shared by Mariana and Ashe, the clap of air shaking the pair from their bed.
>>
No. 1018647 ID: be028a
File 164075207969.png - (108.34KB , 700x500 , 14-29.png )
1018647

Mariana peeks through the door a few moments later, squinting at the cat.

“Clio? What? What time is it? What’s wrong?” She asks.
>>
No. 1018651 ID: e7848c

>>1018647
A theft! Graves was reading that text when someone snatched it when he was looking away. Seemed like there was something physical, but invisible.
>>
No. 1018793 ID: dcdd0d

Lay out the importants. Tome of the first guardian is missing, you aren't sure but you think invisibility is involved or something, you tried a spirit ward and it had a hole in it, and now we need at least to make sure whatever took it doesn't manage to escape
>>
No. 1018811 ID: c0641b

>>1018793

Wait, where's the library in relation to exits? They might be hiding somewhere in the (college?) waiting for a chance to slip out, invisibility or no.

We'll need people posted at all entrances and exits, and conduct a sweep of the halls. And, well ... just about anywhere someone could reasonable wedge themselves.
>>
No. 1018812 ID: 36784c

Would having people that are good at using a spirit ward help? We might be able to find where the invisible person is from where the ward is missing like right here: >>1016433
>>
No. 1018866 ID: be028a
File 164091438767.png - (131.46KB , 500x700 , 14-30.png )
1018866

“Uh, Casey said to come wake you. There’s a thief, we think- we’re pretty sure. They were using some kind of invisibility magic, but I was able to spot them for a second with a spirit ward. They took a book.” Clio stammers, trying to cram as much information into her sentences as possible. “Uh, the skeleton in the library, Graves, said it was important: said it was connected to the first guardians?”

That seems to wake the guardian up, and she runs her fingers through the crest of feathers on her head anxiously.”Oh-okay, okay. Uh, let me… um. I’ll wake the others.” She nods slightly as she takes on the familiar look of a sender trying to remember a location.

Her hands opens and closes three times in rapid succession, opening and closing a gate. Each cast of the spell is followed by the sound of a bell tolling on campus. She pauses before repeating the process another two times and stops. “Haven’t had to ring that in years. Let me get my robe and I’ll meet you in the main hall with the rest of the staff. We'll get as many wards around the campus as possible and narrow down our search.”
>>
No. 1018881 ID: 815672

Sounds like a story for another time. What now? Return?
>>
No. 1019248 ID: be028a
File 164115893475.png - (136.75KB , 700x500 , 14-31.png )
1019248

“Oh-okay!” Clio nods as the Guardian goes back inside to get dressed. A quick gate later and she returns to the library, finding Casey and Graves combing the room over for any clues.

The skeleton stands up triumphantly and holds out a single bony finger. “Ah-ha! They left something behind!”

Casey squints at the find, “Is that… looks like a shed scale?” The tiny translucent circle flaps dangerously as minute air currents threaten to carry it away. The change in angle reveals a strange iridescence that makes it even harder to see. “So we’re definitely dealing with some kind of reptilian visitor then.” She draws her attention away and waves the cat over, “Clio! That was fast! What did Mariana say?”
>>
No. 1019250 ID: e7848c

>>1019248
The alarm is rung and she agrees that we need to get as many eyes as possible. She'll meet us back at the main hall.
>>
No. 1019251 ID: 9a2966

>>1019250
So we'd better get going, yes?

Uh. Will it be okay to bring Graves?
>>
No. 1019253 ID: f8fa51

They want to throw up wards around the campus to try to contain the visitor.
>>
No. 1019325 ID: 2de4fd

Is there, like, magical chameleon magic that would do something like this? Maybe some sort of potion poured on the scales?
>>
No. 1019431 ID: 028f23

>>1018866
Oooh, that's a brilliantly clever alarm system. Damn fine usage of the secondary effects of gating.

>>1019248
Aha! I thought so!

>>1019325
Perhaps a Fae subspecies? There are a number of Fae we have seen so far who resemble other, mortal species, and yet possess some supernatural edge that sets them apart. The eyes of the Leucrocotta, the hide of the Selkie, it wouldn't surprise me if there was a chameoleoline variant of Fae with far more prodigious camouflage than biology alone could manage.
>>
No. 1019713 ID: be028a
File 164143971268.png - (138.88KB , 700x500 , 14-32.png )
1019713

“She said that she was going to wake up the staff. They’re going to use wards to try find the thief. She said that they were going to meet in the great hall.” As if on cue, muffled thunderclaps echo around the campus as the members of the Sender College begin to assemble.

“Uh, if its alright with you, I believe I should stay here.” Graves speaks up, “Magical wards around the campus will definitely limit my ability to help.” He shrugs, “Plus, there's the whole walking skeleton thing.”

Casey bites her lip and admits, “Ohhhh yeah. That- yeah. I guess stay here and… uh, examine the scene of the crime?”

“I can do that.” Graves shrugs again, “All this drama when I could be reading…” he grumbles.

“What about you? I seem to recall you’re pretty good at Sender magic.” Casey suggests.

“I- I’m still working on my warding spells.” Clio admits, “They’re not very stable.”

“So?” Casey shrugs, “Do the need to be? They only need to be active for a moment. If you used your ward as a pulse and we’ll be able to track them down.” She glares at the single cast off scale and thinks aloud, “I’m pretty sure that whoever this is, they’re not fae. They have a very specific set of rules about theft, weird as it sounds. To them, theft is less of a crime and more like a performance: they'll often give their target some kind of warning before striking and leave a calling card. Whoever did this was all business.”
>>
No. 1019727 ID: 96c896

>>1019713
Alright time to join the sweepers.
>>
No. 1019812 ID: 815672

Who else knows about this? What other interested parties are there?
>>
No. 1020115 ID: be028a
File 164178382369.png - (134.13KB , 700x500 , 14-33.png )
1020115

“ Let’s go, Clio!”

The cat and mouse rush off to the last known position of the thief. Clio concentrates and sends a shimmering wall of magic ahead of them, which fades after a second or two, revealing about 20 ft of empty corridor.

“This is so weird.” She comments.

Casey looks at her quizzically and the cat explains, “I, uh, never thought I’d be helping catch a thief. Fates, that life feels like it was a million years ago.”

“We’re all glad you’ve been helping out!” Casey replies as another wave of red light washes over her.

Clio looks around for any sign of the thief and asks, “Why would someone take that book, anyway? Even rare books don’t really sell for that much.”

“It was written by the first Guardians,” Casey explains, “We’re still translating some of it, but we’re hoping it’ll lead us to finding out more about their roles in the disappearance of an ancient vampire lord. I wish I knew who or why someone would take it though.”

“You mean Madame Moot wrote it? The founder of the college?”
>>
No. 1020129 ID: 96c896

>>1020115
As a former thief, do you know any likely hiding places the target would be in?
>>
No. 1020138 ID: 9e6598

Could they be clinging to walls and roofs to avoid attention?
>>
No. 1020140 ID: 9a2966

>>1020129
Ah, yeah, her some experience in avoiding attention could come in handy her.

Also: a game of cat and mouse with a literal cat and mouse, lol.
>>
No. 1020224 ID: 815672

Oh yeah, we have literally years of thieving experience we could tap into. If you were the thief, where would you go
>>
No. 1020348 ID: be028a
File 164204627192.png - (81.94KB , 500x700 , 14-34.png )
1020348

“Since you have the experience, any thoughts on what the thief might do now that they have the book?” Casey asks.

Clio thinks out loud, trying to dredge up memories of another life. “I would usually find a place to lay low, and sneak out when an opportunity arises. I usually only used my gates if things got dicy, because they’re so loud. If the thief can stay invisible for long periods of time, they might just find someplace out of the way and try to blend in with the students once they start crowding around the campus.” She frowns, “Although, I imagine that bell ringing probably put them on edge. If they think we’re on to them, they might make a move sooner rather than later.”

Casey nods in agreement. “You’ve been here for a while; noticed any places someone might lay low?”

“Maybe the cellar? There’s a lot of clutter down there to hide in and almost no one goes down there.”
>>
No. 1020349 ID: 96c896

Worth a shot.
>>
No. 1020355 ID: 9a2966

To the cellars, then!

Maybe get some people on exit overwatch to ensure that our guest won't be able to mix in with ordinary students - or faculty - leaving?

If someone seems new to the campus, they should be (comfortably) detained until someone can vouch for them, the purpose of their visit is clear and they've been verified not to carry the book.

Let's hope our thief didn't have a collaborator that is a student or teacher. Or is one themselves. Have you got any reptilian students on the student or employee roster? With... iridescent scales? Almost figure that'd be too easy, if it was the case, but might be worth asking. Whoever they were they had to have SOME familiarity with the campus and the library in order to know where the book was and that it was under study.
>>
No. 1020418 ID: f57349

If there's more than one way in and out of the cellars, rig up a noisemaker and tripwire on the one you're using, and the old bucket-over-the-door prank on another - but make sure to fill the bucket with something that wouldn't damage the stolen book.
>>
No. 1020443 ID: be028a
File 164222007256.png - (169.68KB , 700x500 , 14-35.png )
1020443

“Let’s start with the cellars first, then.” Casey nods, “…er where are they?”

“Just off from the kitchen. This way!” Clio turns and leads them to a large, columned atrium milling with sleepy looking Senders. A central light well shows only a few stars as the night wears on. A spirit ward glows around the edges of the room as one of the magic users focuses on maintaining the spell.

“Hey, you!” Casey grabs the sash on a random Sender. “You doing anything at the moment?”

“Uh-“ the mage blinks groggily, “Guardian Rue-Larrey said there was a theft? We’re supposed to be on lookout.”

“Good, you can come with us. We’re going to check the cellar. I want someone watching the door in case the thief slips past us.”
>>
No. 1020444 ID: be028a
File 164222007837.png - (149.89KB , 700x500 , 14-36.png )
1020444

Clio takes them to a rather unassuming door set into the wall next to the larger kitchen entrance. “I peeked down here once when I was first settling in. Old habit, I guess.” She leads the way downstairs, letting the gentle pulse of magic illuminate the darkness.

Small, narrow windows line the edge of the cellar, letting starlight in to give texture to the dark. The rooms, like much of the college, is carved out of the rock itself by magic and supported by thick, coffered pillars. Forgotten boxes of supplies and holiday decorations clutter the corners, while sagging shelves stretch the length of the smooth, stone walls.
>>
No. 1020446 ID: 36784c

>>1020444
From the looks of that bedroll, someone’s been living down here. And that candle is still smoking, which means someone put it out very recently. That person could still be in the room right now!

Cast your spirit ward and see if anything happens!
>>
No. 1020460 ID: 96c896

Pulse a ward.

At this point I'm betting the thief just wanted to read the book, not take it out of the school.
>>
No. 1020480 ID: 815672

A bedroll implies that this person was staking this place out for a while
>>
No. 1020544 ID: f57349

See if you can find a bit of flour or something among the old supplies, scatter a thin layer of it on the floor. One of the few things we know for sure about the magical stealth technique in question is that it doesn't tidy up footprints.
>>
No. 1020594 ID: c0641b

>>1020444

Guess we aren't the only one who has been poking around down here.

Cleo should use her ward from near the door, while Casey remains nearby. Once clear, poke around in the storage boxes for any that look recently disturbed, in case they tried to ditch the book to come back for it later.
>>
No. 1020619 ID: be028a
File 164246197624.png - (161.34KB , 700x500 , 14-37.png )
1020619

Clio pulses her warding spell and something clatters among the shelves. The pair turn and glare at the telltale movement intently.
>>
No. 1020620 ID: a9af05

>>1020619
They're hanging from the ceiling above where that box fell! Casey, grab them with your tentacle magic (or whatever it's proper name is supposed to be)!
>>
No. 1020623 ID: e7848c

>>1020619
You have the element of surprise, lock the place down before tipping your hand.
>>
No. 1020630 ID: 67be32

Casey, cast binding magic targeted not just on this cloaked person, but also on the area around them to snag 'em if they run.

Clio, keep pulsing the ward to keep 'em in you two's sight. Also yell up the stairs to the Sender mage watching the exit that you two located the invisible thief and to block the exit.

This chameleon appears to be wearing a Sender's mantle. Are they a Sender College student?
>>
No. 1020637 ID: 96c896

>>1020619
Casey, bind the thief! Then we can demand they return the slab book.
>>
No. 1020642 ID: 8f128b

>>1020619
Busted!

They definitely know they've been spotted, so they're gonna bolt. If you can mark them with something, that would be ideal.
>>
No. 1020644 ID: 36784c

>>1020630
>This chameleon appears to be wearing a Sender's mantle. Are they a Sender College student?
They're either a Sender or they're pretending to be one.

If they really are a Sender, then catching them will be difficult since they could portal away!
>>
No. 1020645 ID: c7eead

Looks like it could be a student. Hopefully this is just a curious creature who couldn't help themselves. Maybe try and catch that falling book? If it's our ancient tome, it might get damaged.
>>
No. 1020648 ID: 36784c

>>1020645
>Maybe try and catch that falling book? If it's our ancient tome, it might get damaged.
That is a box that has been knocked off of the shelf.
>>
No. 1020675 ID: c0641b

>>1020619

Oh, come on, dood, you're not even trying!

Well, whatever. Tell them they're not in trouble (yet), and ask why they took the book. Maybe this can resolve itself nicely.
>>
No. 1020676 ID: 9a2966

Casey, lay out a tentacle web - so whoever that is can't get away.
>>
No. 1020681 ID: 5b0071

>>1020619
... are they naked?
>>
No. 1020687 ID: be028a
File 164256304603.png - (112.56KB , 500x700 , 14-38.png )
1020687

A glow forms around Casey’s hand as she applies a binding spell to the upstairs door. She takes a deep breath and lets it out before continuing calmly, “You might as well come down. You aren’t in trouble yet, but hopefully we can work all this out.”

There’s no verbal answer, but there’s a slight shift to the invisible figure as they weigh their odds.
>>
No. 1020688 ID: be028a
File 164256305724.png - (146.03KB , 500x700 , 14-39.png )
1020688

“Both of us are magic users and the whole college knows you’re here. Who are you? Are you a student? You look like you’ve got a sender’s mantle.” Casey says, her voice a little firmer.

The figure sighs and drops softly from its perch. Standing up, the thief slowly becomes visible, revealing a chameleon who sizes up the pair with two independently roaming eyes. He holds up his hands carefully from underneath a strange, patchwork cloak; its colors seeming to move and shift like ink in water.
>>
No. 1020690 ID: e7848c

A patchwork mantle at that. Let's start with the name. We're adults here, we can talk about things.
>>
No. 1020695 ID: f8fa51

Let's disarm them with a compliment before bringing up the theft. The invisibility was a neat trick. It clearly wasn't just camouflaging your skin, either. Was that magic?
>>
No. 1020696 ID: 96c896

Where is the book?
>>
No. 1020697 ID: 3ed3c3

>>1020688
How did they even get into the college anyway?
>>
No. 1020723 ID: c0641b

>>1020688

Well, that's a good start. Remind them that so long as they return the book, then there's no harm done, but that if they really do need the thing, they can certainly borrow it once we've finished transcribing things.

Or if they can read it, they're certainly welcome to lend their assistance.

We need to give them an opportunity to talk, without necessarily offering them easy responses.

>>1020697

I imagine they walked right in through the front door.
>>
No. 1020795 ID: 2de4fd

So, what's their name? Kinda cute! Neat mantle. Is that what was giving the invisibility?
>>
No. 1020801 ID: 028f23

Those clothes look enchanted, at the very least made a something fancy. Probably not bespoke, though, considering their state. Wonder if they came up with it.
At this point I’m guessing they’re either talented and ambitious or genuinely had no idea what it was they were stealing. That said, it’s possible someone hired them, so we should still be careful, though I agree that emphasizing no real harm has been done yet is the best course of action.
>>
No. 1020841 ID: be028a
File 164273335419.png - (138.28KB , 700x500 , 14-40.png )
1020841

“Nice trick with the invisibility. I’ve never heard of that kind of magic: were you born with it?” Casey asks.

The chameleon’s expression is hard to read with his eyes darting in different directions, but he responds, “Sort of. I can fade out of sight on my own. The cape makes the spell more effective, lets me move around.” His voice is gravelly, as if he’s unused to talking to people much, and oddly even toned for someone who’s been caught.

Casey nods, watching the cloaks colors shift. “What’s your name?”

“Er…” He shifts uneasily and his mouth screws up at the corner. “I’d rather not. You know?”

Clio rolls her eyes, “Come on, dude. Look, I’m a former thief too. I’m Clio, this is Casey.” She smiles at him, trying to break the ice while keeping her distance. “Impressive sneaking. Wish I could do that.”

“Well, That explains how you figured out where I’d hid.” He sighs. “I guess you can call me Nemo.”
>>
No. 1020842 ID: be028a
File 164273336451.png - (103.86KB , 500x700 , 14-41.png )
1020842

“Nice to meet you, Nemo. May we have our book back?” Casey asks sweetly, but with a hint of tooth.

Nemo reaches into the satchel around his tail and pulls out the book of the First Guardians. He holds it out with his strange, double-thumbed hand.
>>
No. 1020843 ID: 96c896

Take book, ask why he stole it.
>>
No. 1020844 ID: 815672

If you need it for something, I'm sure something can be arranged after we're done with it.
>>
No. 1020845 ID: 96c896

Wait, why would he steal a book he can't read? Does he know the language?
>>
No. 1020880 ID: 2de4fd

Thank him. That book's going to help you out a lot when it comes to solving some problems!
>>
No. 1021144 ID: be028a
File 164299032915.png - (123.64KB , 500x700 , 14-42.png )
1021144

Casey extends her aura and takes it, causing the thief to recoil slightly at the sight of the spell. “Thank you. I don’t suppose you’d like to tell us why you stole it.”

Nemo looks around nervously for a moment before sighing again. He shifts on his feet and scratches at a scale before answering. “I suppose I might as well. Somebody hired me to grab it. Offered me a pretty big payout; the cloak was part of the payment.”

“Who hired you?” Casey interrogates further.

“I don’t know their names. Some fey folk. Pretty important looking. You know: real old school fey.”
>>
No. 1021146 ID: 96c896

Interesting. If you can get a physical description then you'll have a clue as to who might want to stop you.

Also you might be able to organize a fake handoff to capture them... Assuming this won't spark conflict between mortals and fey.
>>
No. 1021170 ID: 028f23

Figures it would be the Fey courts. No other big players in the area that would know about and care about the book.
The big question is why?

Are they pissed off about Litany? Stealing an important book seems too roundabout for vengeance. That said, they are Fey, so I could be mistaken.

It seems more likely to me that the motive is power. Influence over either Moot Point itself, or the Barghest. I have a feeling there are probably older Fey who still remember Hekal, and either resent his deeds or covet his power/vice versa.

Then again....the author of this book was Fey themselves. So it's possible the culprit is a descendent who feels some right to the book itself as a result.

At this point, we have no way to tell. Best thing is to win the man's trust and learn more about the contact.
>>
No. 1021189 ID: c0641b

>>1021144

Sounds like someone who might have an interest in Hekel's continued disappearance, or potentially keeping secret whatever led to it.

Might be that same court our angel friend was from, considering the exiled demon we met, before.
>>
No. 1021319 ID: be028a
File 164316537583.png - (128.13KB , 619x700 , 14-43.png )
1021319

“I thought fey weren’t supposed to steal like this.” Clio turns to Casey, confused.

The mouse bites a fingernail and thinks, “They aren’t supposed to, but… maybe they decided to hire someone who can. They have about as many loopholes as they have rules, but I can’t say I’ve ever heard of this.” She looks Nemo up and down, and continues, “Maybe its old fey who still have a beef with Hekal, or its related to that angel Gabe met recently... Or they just really want some of the first guardian's writing. Either way, they’d really have to be desperate to hire a mortal. Its taking a pretty big risk.”
>>
No. 1021320 ID: be028a
File 164316540318.png - (159.10KB , 700x500 , 14-44.png )
1021320

“What?” Nemo’s beady eyes blink as they focus on the mouse. "What's that supposed to mean."

“Tell me: do you remember the exact terms you agreed on with your clients?” Casey steps forward, looking at Nemo closely.

The lizard steps back, “What? Uh, I dunno. They asked me to bring them the book, and I’d get the cape, a couple of warding gems, some raw gold and platinum… Why’d you want to know?”
>>
No. 1021323 ID: e7848c

We cannot stress enough how important the wording of agreements and contracts are to fey
>>
No. 1021324 ID: 96c896

"the book"? How did they specify what book it was?
Also, how was it meant to be delivered?
>>
No. 1021337 ID: 8bd94a

Because you might have just made a slave out of yourself to some very powerful being and there might be a huge amount of fine print under the contract.
>>
No. 1021338 ID: 93ba79

If anything, that means if you don't bring them the book or give them the cape back, you'll have a very pissed of fae on your heels, or worse, fae law enforcement.
>>
No. 1021344 ID: 9a2966

>>1021320
Because if you break contract with some fey types, bad things will happen and not necessarily just to you depending on how that contract is phrased; there's a whole bunch of classics, like loss of family, misfortune being rained on communities, etc.

If a limitation was to not give any details you've already broken with that though.... hrm. May as well continue. What were the at-the-time-seemingly-unimportant caveats of this theft?

Also, not that you will succeed necessarily, but the continued attempting may be important to stave off immediate consequence. This may sound weird, but: don't give up on the theft yet.

Yes, we know you're a thief. You're also someone who got conned into a fey contract, so... you probably need help. Good thing for them, though, someone who's been getting WAY into deep fey lore is standing right here!
>>
No. 1021349 ID: 50af53

Hmmm. While in the over-arching circumstances, a fae being the benefactor is just if not more likely, I'd watch his body language and speech patterns or cracks and irregularities in the story in because he could also just be

L Y I N G

And he's covering for the real person he's doing this for and also himself in the eyes of them. The guardians have shown to be altruistic if anything, and criminals are very rarely forgiving.
>>
No. 1021356 ID: c5da90

oh, damn! Going in with the fey and not knowing the exact terms?

You are a braver person than I.

They can be real sticklers about this stuff, backed by magic.

If you have a copy of the contract, or can get yourself to remember at least some of the exact words, we might be able to figure some stuff out, and you might be able to keep yourself safe
>>
No. 1021377 ID: 028f23

For both your sake and ours, man.
We wanna keep the book, and you wanna keep your hide.
But you already have the cape....which means they already have power over you. Wow, this guy is NOT collected enough to be dealin with the fae. Just desperate enough, I guess.
>>
No. 1021481 ID: be028a
File 164333607821.png - (135.43KB , 500x700 , 14-45.png )
1021481

“Sooooo, no guarantee of safe passage out of their lands? No promise not to imprison or kill you?”

“Wait, kill?” Nemo’s skin turns an ashy grey. “You serious?”

Casey nods and shrugs, “First time making a deal with the fey, right? You’re probably lucky you got caught. Even if you were to return with the book, you could be considered a liability to their oaths. You'll fair game to do whatever they want to you. Of course, now that you’ve broken the terms of the agreement, you could be in even more trouble.”

“Fuck! Shit!” The lizard’s tail starts to unwind from its tight coil. “I knew I shouldn’t have taken this job.”

The binder holds up a hand to calm him, “Hold up, there still might be a way out of this. Tell me more about the terms. How did you know this was the book they wanted?”

Nemo thinks, his skin changing to a dark green as he concentrates, “Ummm, the guy who came to me said something like, the sender’s have a book about that size that’s got ‘the old teacher’s’ writings that’s being translated.”
>>
No. 1021483 ID: 96c896

Hmmm... maybe we can find another book that matches that description. Probably gonna have to stretch the definition of "old teacher" and "being translated" though. Like, any old book written by an old teacher could work, and someone could start translating it into a different language.
>>
No. 1021513 ID: 93ba79

Problem is, giving them a book that technically fits the description wouldn't help with the whole "not dispose of thief" thing, and in fact would probably encourage the fey to "technically fulfill their end of the bargain".

I think returning the cloak would be easier, preferably with a dead drop if we're to avoid assassination.
>>
No. 1021515 ID: 96c896

Well if they didn't include a penalty for failure, then maybe returning the cloak would work to save the poor sap.
What if we made a second deal though? With an unrelated fae faction, to escort the thief to the meeting spot and back home?
>>
No. 1021521 ID: 6b6298

Cool! How did you know what the "old teacher's" writing was? There are probably a few books being translated from all sorts of weird languages.

Bonus: did you hear anything about who the "old teacher" is supposed to be?
>>
No. 1021527 ID: c0641b

>>1021481

"The old teachers," is it? That's certainly an interesting way to view the First Guardians. Also one that only makes sense if you're old as the fae ... or a vampire lord.

Doesn't really narrow things down, however. Perhaps it's time to inquire with Vivian and see if she hasn't any insight into the undercurrents of fae intrigue?
>>
No. 1021627 ID: 2de4fd

He must be very good to have found it from that alone; but hey, did that deal have any time constraints? Because if not, technically you could deliver them the book long after we figure out who they are, why they're doing this, and get enough blackmail material for their very clear indiscretion here to make sure they never touch him again. "Pretending to cooperate" with these fine folks seems like a great cover to eventually steal the book and deliver it as promised, no?
>>
No. 1021665 ID: f57349

Was timing specified? If you don't need to bring the book back by a specific date, could stall until after this whole situation with the bargast is settled.
>>
No. 1021765 ID: be028a
File 164356765727.png - (132.19KB , 500x700 , 14-46.png )
1021765

“Hah, I figured they wouldn’t refer to Tuvara-Malli by name. The old bastards were probably scared of attracting attention by naming her.” Casey smirks, and continues, “I bet there’s a few books here written by someone who would qualify as ‘the old teacher’ that aren't fully translated. I wonder if Ashe would be willing to let us borrow one.”

“Won’t they know that’s the wrong book?” Clio asks.

“Not if we rebind it. If we're careful, we can satisfy the terms of the deal and distract them for long enough for Nemo to escape.” The mouse’s tail flicks with excitement as aura flares around her wrists.

“Hold on.” Nemo’s scaly brow furrows. “You want to help me?”
>>
No. 1021767 ID: 9a2966

Well, you certainly don't want them dead! They should still, yannow, make up for their transgression in some way - but given their failure to get away and their willingness to talk, there's definitely wiggle room for forgiveness here. You're not leadership, but you think you can spin it.

See, tricking the fae who commissioned them to do this should get them off the Spirit Guardians' backs for a bit - or maybe you can identify them and use them to track down Tuvara-Malli. She's kind of important! Founding member and all that. She's also important right now because of something big that's going on. With that Barghest and some undead who are searching for their lost lord. Translating the old teacher's old journal is one way to pin down his location and figure out a way to fulfill their obligations and earn them their final rest.

So they don't go crazy and hurt people.

So yeah, him getting away with the book would've maybe been bad. Very bad.

But! Their crime seems mostly one of ignorance and desperation. You're not here to punish that.
>>
No. 1021768 ID: 815672

This is what we do. Do try to keep up. We're going to outwit a fay contract. We should inform the school.
>>
No. 1021786 ID: 094652

"We plow, not screw."
>>
No. 1021798 ID: 96c896

>>1021765
Tell him that the punishment he'd get for failing the mission is far worse than the punishment he deserves for the attempted theft.
>>
No. 1021814 ID: 2de4fd

To be honest, nobody really deserves to get wrecked by the fey in any non-lewd manner, and luckily this might prove very helpful for your endeavors. If someone cares this much about getting the book, they might be someone you need to know about.
>>
No. 1021823 ID: f57349

> “You want to help me?”
Helping people who are in over their head with magic problems is just what a Spirit Guide does, and that's who I am. Sometimes we even get paid for it.
>>
No. 1021825 ID: 8f128b

>>1021765

We don't owe this guy anything. Getting involved in a vague far contract seems dangerous.
That said, it's probably still the best course of action. Without our help, he's backed into a corner and he knows it, and will probably make a problem of himself.
>>
No. 1022049 ID: be028a
File 164376767084.png - (188.79KB , 700x540 , 14-47.png )
1022049

Casey shrugs, “You being captured or killed by the old courts doesn’t do us any good. If you work with us, we get to find out more about who hired you and you get your freedom.”

Nemo’s eye fixates on Clio and he asks, “Is she serious?”

“Pretty much.” Clio smiles back at him. “Her and her friends helped me out when they didn’t have to. Its just what they do.”

“You two are weird, but if you say so.” He twists his mouth up in resignation. “So what now?”

“We stick to your original plan: you lay low here and we’ll make arrangements with the Senders. How long did your client give you to turn over the book?”

“I asked for two weeks. I figured it could take a while to find the book, plus I wanted to wait until the search had stopped. Spent a while settling in and searching, so ten days.” Nemo admits with a professional tone.
>>
No. 1022074 ID: 50af53

Where's the delivery to be made? That's particularly important.
>>
No. 1022082 ID: 551fea

Damn, that's longer than ideal. Still, you've worked with worse. What can you tell us about the person who actually hired you? You haven't given any details about them directly.
>>
No. 1022296 ID: be028a
File 164394113209.png - (145.64KB , 500x700 , 14-48.png )
1022296

“That’s plenty of time, though it might mean laying low for a while.” Casey paces a little while she thinks.

Nemo shrugs as one of his eyes wanders off on its own. He sits down on a box and rests a leg on his knee, “S’fine. I was expecting to have to sit down here for a few days. Before I got the cape, if I wanted to blend in, I would have to stand still for as long as needed.”

“What’s the longest you had to stand still for?” Clio asks, her own professional curiosity taking over.

“Two days. Had to hang upside down in an office while shipping guild guards searched the place. Timed things wrong and got stuck trying to escape.”

The cat nods, impressed.

“Where are you expected to hand over the book?” Casey asks.

Nemo’s eyes refocus on her, “The fey quarter: little coffee shop built into a hill. Damn good coffee.”
>>
No. 1022304 ID: 50af53

Continuously distracted by him wearing what looks like a G string.

So I guess now comes the part where we brainstorm to try to find a suitable tome to pass off as this one. Ask once again and for the last time if he can wrack his brain for any finer details of the contract or general agreement. Devil's in the details.
>>
No. 1022330 ID: 50ee4a

>>1022296
We know exactly where that is. The fay who served us the coffee heated by the hot sand.
>>
No. 1022354 ID: 1ac3ac

Wait, is that where they met originally? Either way, maybe even if he didn't get any details, knowing more about that could mean someone else saw something.
>>
No. 1022357 ID: c0641b

>>1022296

>little coffee shop with damned good coffee

WAIT A MINUTE. We've been there, we know some of the fae there, and those who frequent it.
>>
No. 1022729 ID: be028a
File 164428538062.png - (156.10KB , 700x500 , 14-49.png )
1022729

The mouse smirks, “I think I’ve heard of that place. Did they make you sing for your drink?”

The thief’s scales blush red as he avoids her eyes, “I- uh… don’t really sing. I, uh showed off my, you know, disappearing act.” Nemo sighs, “The owner didn’t seem that impressed. She said I’d ‘give her a better show when I came back.’ Whatever that means.”

“We best not disappoint her then.” Casey nods and paces some more, “Any details you can tell me about your contact?”

Nemo thinks, scratching a scale with one of his odd thumbs, “Not much. They used a dead drop at first: left me instructions on how to meet in an envelope sealed with wax, unsigned. The contact was hidden under a cloak the whole time, didn’t get anything to drink. Sounded really fancy and important, although sounded isn’t the right word. When they talked, it was like I was remembering what they said, but thinking about it now, I don’t think they were actually speaking.”

Casey nods, taking everything in, “That’s pretty distinctive, even among the fey. Anything else?”

“Oh, sometimes when they moved, I could hear metal clinking: like a chain. It looked like they were carrying something under their cloak too. Something heavy.”
>>
No. 1022746 ID: 96c896

>>1022729
Something heavy, sound of chains... an anchor? A chained-up coffin would be too big to hide. Then again anchors are pretty big too. Hmm. Clinking could be chain mail or some other kind of armor. Ah well, it's some kind of fey I'm not familiar with I guess. Chains are associated with ghosts more often I think. (especially Jacob Marley)
Wait, what about a ball and chain? Was the fey secretly an escaped prisoner?

Anyway, I think we've gotten all the info we can get. Let's go talk to someone that can get the replacement book ready.
>>
No. 1022752 ID: b5c538

Heh, so you CAN change colors.

The voice is fairly distinct but the metal could be anything, really. Armor, an item with chain around it, something pertaining to it's existence. Likely won't know unless we see he/she/them physically.
>>
No. 1022758 ID: 59dbc8

Ooohhh now we need to get details. Blushu must be investigated.
>>
No. 1022760 ID: 8bd94a

Maybe a Dullahan?
>>
No. 1022801 ID: 9a2966

Ghostly telepathy, clanking of chains... getting some vibes here. And aren't Dullahans, well, a type of undead?

... maybe we were off on something. What if the hirer wasn't a fey? What if it was some manner of intelligent undead? But why would they call Tuvara the 'old teacher', then? You can't imagine she spent her time teaching undead in the fey realm, unless...

... it IS one of the possible places undead could have retreated to retain their sanity once mana levels dipped, isn't it? If there were fey who'd tolerate and keep them 'fed', as it were.

Gah, this is utter speculation. Too many mysteries, you'll just have to face this one head on, and play backup to Nemo during the hand-off so you can reveal this mystery person yourself.

Time to go find a book written by an 'old teacher'!
>>
No. 1022981 ID: be028a
File 164446835738.png - (152.42KB , 700x500 , 14-50.png )
1022981

“Metal, chains, weird voice… hmm maybe a dullihan? “ Casey thinks out loud, “Honestly, that sounds more like an undead than fey. But then why would they call Tuvara-Malli the ‘old teacher’?” She shakes her head.

“We’ll just have to find out when we catch them.” Clio shrugs.

The mouse nods, “I guess so. Come on. Let’s go let the Senders know what’s up.”

Nemo looks panicky for a moment and asks, “Wait! What about me?”

“Stay put,” Casey tells him, “As far as your clients know, everything is going as planned. You’re safer here than anywhere else on the mortal plane.”

Nemo sighs but settles back against the wall. “Alright, but keep me in the loop.” He grumbles.
>>
No. 1022982 ID: be028a
File 164446840085.png - (135.17KB , 500x700 , 14-51.png )
1022982

Casey and Clio exit the cellar and find the Sender they left as guard looking anxious.

“We got the book.” Casey holds it up. “The thief is still there, but we’ve come to an arrangement. Don’t let anyone in or out of this door, okay? We’ll get you some help.”

“Also, he can turn invisible, so throw a ward up if you see anything move.” Clio suggests.

The Sender nods and watches the door nervously, as they walk away.

They find Mariana stalking the main courtyard, directing search operations. She turns as they approach and cocks an eyebrow at them. “I’m told you checked the cellars by the kitchen, any luck?”

Casey holds up the book for her to see and the cardinal sags with relief, “Oh, thank Minerva. Did you catch the culprit?”
>>
No. 1022988 ID: e7848c

Yes, but like with all things lately, there's more to it. Give her the plan.
>>
No. 1022993 ID: 96c896

Yes and no. The thief himself was a patsy, the true culprit is a fae, or someone pretending to be one.
>>
No. 1023011 ID: ce39da

"Yes, but he was hired by a fey, in a manner that I'd consider him to also be a victim in this incident. We were hoping you could assist us with helping him technically fulfill the conditions of his contract?"
>>
No. 1023113 ID: 028f23

>>1022982

The thief is an ambitious hired contractor, and more importantly a dumb kid in over his head with the fae.
It's a better move to turn him and let him earn a pardon by cooperating, than taking him in.

If we just arrest him, his contact will just disappear and leave him out to dry but worse, they'll probably escalate to direct force.
We don't know who hired him. They could even be just a middleman. But if we break this link we will have absolutely no warning or understanding of what they will do next.

We now have someone even more antagonistic than the fellows up on the Barghest, and seemingly far less interested in diplomacy. Hopefully we can change that, but only if we actually meet them, and that will require beating them at their own game.
>>
No. 1023425 ID: be028a
File 164480668518.png - (131.77KB , 700x500 , 14-52.png )
1023425

“Sort of: turns out he was just a pawn, paid by someone else.”

Mariana blinks, still a little too tired for complex thought, “Oh yeah?”

Casey continues, “He was hired by someone who seems to be a member of the fey, but we aren’t sure who or why. But it seems likely that he’d be imprisoned or killed the moment he turns over the book.”

“Okay, yeah that makes sense.” The Guardian nods, as she internalizes this, “So… but he handed the book back? Is that it? Can we go back to bed?”

“Well, he’s still under a fey contract.” Casey explains, “If he doesn’t turn over the book, they’ll come and collect from him.”

“Riiight.” Mariana nods. “So…”

“So, if we hand over a fake book that technically fulfills the terms of the contract, they’ll have no means of taking him. Also, we can use the hand-off to find out who hired him!” Casey beams entirely too brightly for Mariana’s taste.

“That’s… a plan, alright. So, uh… what do we do right now?”
>>
No. 1023429 ID: 96c896

Go to sleep, first off. Tomorrow we start snooping around.
>>
No. 1023441 ID: 815672

Let's remain alert for now, in case the contact is watching from afar. We'll need a list of books being translated by the college, but that can wait until morning.. sleep would be advised.
>>
No. 1023452 ID: 8bd94a

Ward the entire place.
Put sentries around in case of a mad fey taking actions.
Put the thief under surveillance, he might just be a good liar and waiting for his moment.
If we're exceedingly paranoid we can lock up the whole district (and if we have the power to do that)
Oh and also send a message to the demon to let him know what's up, he might have some info on the subject.

THEN get some sleep.
>>
No. 1023453 ID: 96c896

Oh right, we might want to keep up some appearances as if the search is still ongoing. If casual observation of this location reveals behavior implying the thief has been caught, the fey might vanish.
>>
No. 1023506 ID: f57349

Sooner the fake book can be ready, the more likely it'll be taken at face value. Next step is probably to wake up whoever does bookbinding, fetch tools and materials they'll need for a rush job, and figure out other specifics of what will satisfy the exact words.
>>
No. 1023664 ID: be028a
File 164506486560.png - (94.14KB , 500x700 , 14-53.png )
1023664

“Well, as far as his clients know, he still has the book. We need to keep it that way.” Casey holds onto the aging leather cover carefully.

“So…” Mariana sighs, knowing where this is going.

“So, we need to keep searching until it seems like he’s escaped.” Casey smiles back. “Just keep out of the kitchen cellar for now.”

The guardian runs her fingers through the crest of feathers on her head and sags. “Of course…” she sighs again, “Anything else?”

“We’ll need to talk to Ashe. We need to borrow a book that we can use as a fake and have it rebound. It’ll need to be written by someone who qualifies as an ‘old teacher’ and currently being translated.”

“We have whole shelves full of drivel written by ‘old teachers’, although the translation part might be more tricky. I’m sure she can find something she’d be willing to part with for a bit.” Mariana nods, “Actually, why don’t you go let her know about the plan so she can stop worrying about me. We’ll wrap up ‘searching’ in an hour or so and keep guards posted around campus.”
>>
No. 1023667 ID: e7848c

>>1023664
Sounds like a plan. Thank her and apologize for the theatrics.
>>
No. 1023702 ID: 2de4fd

Ask them to set up some wards, too. Just in case, it'd be good to know if anyone unexpected winds up on the premises.
>>
No. 1023878 ID: be028a
File 164523906076.png - (137.28KB , 500x700 , 14-54.png )
1023878

“Might be a good idea to set up some wards too, just in case we get some unwanted visitors peeking in.”

Mariana grumbles sleepily but agrees.

A moment later Clio’s gate opens up outside Mariana and Ashe’s home. The door opens at the sound of the thunderclap and the librarian peeks out at the visitors.

“Clio? Casey? What’s happening up at the campus? Mariana said the Guardian’s tome had been stolen! Is everyone okay?”

“Everyone’s fine.” Casey’s hands wave away her worry. “We just need your help. Can we come in?”

Ashe opens the door wider, her wheelchair making room for the pair. “My help? With what?”
>>
No. 1023881 ID: 96c896

Fooling a fae.
>>
No. 1023963 ID: 815672

How do you feel about pulling a fay move on a contract? We've been given an opportunity to see into who else isy be interested in this book.
>>
No. 1024412 ID: be028a
File 164566953376.png - (135.67KB , 700x500 , 14-55.png )
1024412

“Essentially, we caught the thief and he’s cooperating with us to help uncover the people that hired him. He’s locked in a fey contract and we want to switch the book out for a fake in order to complete the transaction.”

The binder places the Guardian tome onto the kitchen table and takes a look around. Ashe and Mariana’s place is small; its tables and counters lowered in order to be more accessible to the librarian. A kind of low grade, married couple clutter peppers the kitchen with opened letters and small piles of cookbooks.

“You want to swap the book? Won’t they notice?” Ashe asks.

“We’re hoping you can rebind the tome and put the cover onto a book that technically fulfills the contract. The new book would have to be written by an ‘old teacher’ and currently in the process of being translated.” Casey explains.

The librarian picks up the tome and turns it over in her hands. “Hmm. To be honest, I’ve been wanting to take a crack at rebinding this. Its in remarkably good shape considering what its been through, but a few centuries among the undines definitely did some damage. I was going to hold off until after we had dealt with the bargast situation though.”
>>
No. 1024414 ID: e7848c

>>1024412
Will it seems the time table has shifted forward. And we might get more knowledge out of doing so now.
>>
No. 1024422 ID: 96c896

>>1024412
She seems reluctant. Is there something you can do for her in exchange?
>>
No. 1024468 ID: c0641b

>>1024412

Well, now's a great time to do so. The trick is going to be finding something ELSE to sacrifice in its place, however, aside from the bindings.

Best let Mariana know that we're on a limited timeframe as well, since the contract comes due in about 10 days.
>>
No. 1024693 ID: be028a
File 164584587767.png - (109.61KB , 500x700 , 14-156.png )
1024693

Casey paces around the kitchen, “You’re going to have to make it quick, then. Nemo, the thief, says he’s expected to hand off the book in ten days.”

“We also need a fake book to rebind.” Clio continues.

“Right, I was less clear on that.” Ashe frowns, “What kind of fake?”

“Since it a fey contract, we need to meet certain requirements.” Casey says. “It needs to be written by an ‘old teacher’ and currently in the process of being translated.”

Ashe takes her glasses off and rubs the bridge of her snout as she thinks. “Okay, give me a minute.”

The librarian opens a gate, that appears to open above a desk and reaches around for a moment. She pulls out a heavy ledger and sits it down in her lap. “Nothing really springs to mind, but we have a few translation projects underway within the library. This might take some time to figure out.”
>>
No. 1024702 ID: 8f128b

Well, if anyone's got the skills to find the right book it's Ashe! She may have an easier time of it after a full night's rest though...
>>
No. 1024704 ID: 96c896

>>1024693
>we need a fake book to rebind
...didn't we just explain that?
>>
No. 1024718 ID: 815672

>>1024693
As soon as we have the plan settled, we should let everyone get some rest
>>
No. 1024867 ID: e51896

best to get some rest for now
>>
No. 1025091 ID: 6ff334

Does the oldest teacher at school know any old languages
Maybe they could donate a notebook to the cause
>>
No. 1025139 ID: 2de4fd

Honestly, there's only so much you can do tonight. Just come up with a preliminary plan and go take a rest. Though to be honest, you should probably go back downstairs to where the thief is to keep an eye on things, don't want someone sneaking in to check on him. Bring sleeping stuff if you can.
>>
No. 1025197 ID: be028a
File 164627438075.png - (118.53KB , 700x500 , 14-57.png )
1025197

“You should get some rest then. We can meet up tomorrow and figure out the specifics of the plan once we’ve all had some sleep.” Casey suggests.

Ashe glides over to the kitchen table and sets the ledger on it, “I appreciate it, but I think I’ll wait for Mariana to get back before heading to bed. You two have certainly done enough for the day though.” She yawns and guides Casey and Clio back outside. “You’ve certainly given me a challenge, but I’m sure I can figure out a likely replacement.”
>>
No. 1025198 ID: be028a
File 164627438877.png - (130.03KB , 622x700 , 14-58.png )
1025198

Clio and Casey say their goodbyes and step out into the front yard and a chorus of crickets. The pair stop on the path and share a moment of quiet as their eyes are drawn up to the monolithic stone shoulders of Madam Moot.

Clio chuckles, “I was dead tired from studying earlier. But to tell you the truth, I’m a little too excited to sleep. You know what I mean?”
>>
No. 1025202 ID: e7848c

>>1025198
Bet it feels weird to be on the other end of the thief hunt and to try and outplay a fay contract, huh? Makes ya curious what a humble thief can do with their hands.
>>
No. 1025208 ID: 2de4fd

It's amazing what a little exercise after sitting staring at words all day will do. Also wow she looks kind of like the statue huh.

Anyway, going to suggest going back down to the basement again, but if that's not your speed, maybe you could have a girl's night at clio's? Does she have 'on campus housing' as it were at the sender academy
>>
No. 1025230 ID: 401b30

>>1025198
Time for a girls night between you two and perhaps whatever other students may be interested.
>>
No. 1025261 ID: be028a
File 164636262524.png - (144.17KB , 500x700 , 14-159.png )
1025261

“Feels good to help out, right?” Casey stretches, her pale fur glowing in the moonlight. “I needed a break from working on that book, we should hang out!”

“Oh! Yeah, sure!” Clio says, looking unsure. “Uh, what should we do?”

“Why don’t we go up to your room?” Casey suggests, “I’ve heard Gabe talk about his time at school, but have only really come up here to use the library. You should show me around!”

“Yeah, okay!” Clio grins and takes the lead. “We should probably walk. They don’t like us gating in after dark. Its too loud.”
>>
No. 1025273 ID: 2de4fd

seems reasonable. What's she got her room set up like? Or do they let you personalize it any?
>>
No. 1025277 ID: 815672

>>1025261
After the fuss of tonight, it's better to keep the noise down for everyone. Grab some water on the way there. What's school life like?
>>
No. 1025327 ID: be028a
File 164645148515.png - (134.36KB , 700x500 , 14-160.png )
1025327

Clio leads the way down the path, away from the teacher’s housing towards a collection of long, two story buildings.

“How’s school going, by the way?” Casey asks.

“Rough, I guess.” Clio shakes her head a bit and sighs. “I’ve never had to study this much. I went to some of the free schools when I was a kid and picked up enough to get by, but never had to memorize all these formulas and things. Using gate magic has always been… natural to me. I’ve never had to study it.”

The path takes them through a small park, which is laid out in the precise geometric aesthetic found around the campus. Oddly smooth flagstones are fitted together by seams tighter than a hair, while stone benches are positioned at regular intervals.
>>
No. 1025328 ID: be028a
File 164645150650.png - (124.18KB , 500x700 , 14-161.png )
1025328

“I’m also still having trouble figuring out warding, as you can tell.” Clio shrugs. “Its so different from gate magic. I don’t know how to control it.”

“I can sympathize.” Casey says, “It took me a long time to control my magic too.”

The mouse raises an arm and extends her aura out into a glowing tendril, which twists slowly in the air. “Binding spells require a ‘form’ for the spell to define their function. I wanted a spell that was versatile, so I chose water as my aura form. But…” She pauses to let Clio finish the thought.

“… But water doesn’t have a shape. Right?” She deduces.

Casey nods. “I was warned by my tutors that it would be very hard to control: and it is. Trying to get it to do what I want is a little like trying to sail in a straight line in a hurricane. I kind of have to let it do what it wants and nudge it in the right direction.”
>>
No. 1025347 ID: 815672

Sounds like a metaphor for a lot of things in life. I'm curious on how different learning to be a sender and binder are. Clearly Casey's water form is the opposite of the senders' clear precision and mathematics.
>>
No. 1025472 ID: ff31b4

What other forms can binding magic take?
And if the form of majic is water, how about ice or vapor?
>>
No. 1025483 ID: 79d7c6

Seems appropriate. I wonder if a shift in her worldview would help contextualize all the studying she's doing. Maybe you could help?
>>
No. 1025543 ID: be028a
File 164662253149.png - (117.51KB , 500x700 , 14-162.png )
1025543

“So how does Binder training work?” Clio asks, transfixed by the glowing tendril.

“The Circle of Binding doesn’t really have a school. You have to seek out a tutor, who teaches you how to channel your aura and shape it as well as how to safely bind a target. Since the magic has its roots in Fey culture, you learn a lot about their system of law and contracts, as well as their history. While we can’t make magical allegiances with natural forces the way Fey can; we make contracts with our own bodies, represented by sigils.” She runs a hand over the crescent shaped magical brands on her arm. “Its a technique passed on to mortals by Tuvara-Malli, ‘the old teacher’.”

“That sounds so different from Sender magic. We use so much precision and math. Its like the whole world is just numbers!” Clio waves at the perfectly laid out park as an example.

“I’ve wondered about that. I think gate magic wasn’t always like that: when we met you, you were able to open gates on instinct. You didn’t use any of the rune systems or calculations that the Senders use.” Casey glances at the ever present statue of the city founder, “I’m pretty sure if Augustine Moot’s magic was like yours. Having read her notes, she definitely had no formal education.”

“But she founded a school? That’s weird, right?” The cat cocks her head, “Like, how did she pull that off?”

“I’m… not really sure.” Casey admits. “She must have had help.”
>>
No. 1025544 ID: e7848c

Like the first guardians? But we know that the mediums didn't exactly have a "first" so it's all very curious. Who was around first?
>>
No. 1025548 ID: 96c896

Sounds like something you should ask a historian.
>>
No. 1025561 ID: 93ba79

Presumably, Sender magic was made formulaic either because the "raw" form was too dangerous, or simply to make it learnable by those who don't have the natural talent. Bit of both, perhaps?
>>
No. 1025570 ID: 8f128b

>>1025561

The 'wild' form of gate magic, like what Clio is accustomed to, likely had great potential that was unlocked through the formulization we see today.

Moot could probably have sculpted a great statue with her gates, but cutting and fitting stone so precisely like the way the academy is constructed is a marvel of both mathematics and magic.

Someone good at math saw gate magic and went, "Man, I can think of a million things I could do with that!" and then they did it. That's how innovation works.
>>
No. 1025684 ID: be028a
File 164679088733.png - (118.01KB , 700x500 , 14-163.png )
1025684

“Someone figured out how to break down Madam Moot’s raw magic and codify it into a teachable form.” Casey say, half to herself.

“One of the first guardians?” Clio asks, as they continue their walk.

“Tuvara-Malli was a teacher, but the magical systems seem too incompatible. It might have been one of the original Mediums, but they never had a First Guardian, so to speak.” Casey follows, racking her brain as Clio holds the door for her. “If I remember right, Kol said that the Path of the Mediums came from five surviving members who undertook a ritual to unbind their spirits from their bodies.”

They step into the student’s doorm, a fairly plain, but comfortable space. Its foyer opens up to a common room packed with extremely worn out couches and chairs, several occupied by late night studiers. Clio starts up the central staircase to her room on the second floor. “Okay, but who came up with the ritual? Someone must have come before them, right? Was it one of the five?”

“I… I’m not sure. Maybe Kol knows? Or his uncle? Or maybe we’ll find the answer in the book we saved?” Casey shrugs, feeling a bit defeated. She stops with the furious mental labor for a moment and takes in her surroundings. “Hey, this is pretty nice. I kind of expected more gate-cut stone and carvings.”
>>
No. 1025687 ID: 96c896

Maybe they had a fae help them out?
>>
No. 1025692 ID: e7848c

>>1025684
Hey, even students need a break from the hard edges and precise measurements of the usual stone masonry. Need to break up the silhouette sometimes.
>>
No. 1025729 ID: 9255e1

>>1025687
The fae does seem like a good catch all first assumption for most things. They're looong lives and intimate relationship with powerful magics easily rope them into mortal world changing debacles.
>>
No. 1025887 ID: be028a
File 164696705966.png - (125.33KB , 561x700 , 14-164.png )
1025887

“Its nice, right? I think even the Senders get tired of all that stone. Plus, I think this dorm was built pretty recently: I’ve heard the college is looking to expand.” Clio steps out onto the second floor and deftly avoids another student on his way downstairs. She gives him a little wave as he passes and gets a nod in return.

“Are you getting along okay with everyone?” Casey asks. “Gabe said you were still having trouble fitting in.”

Clio rolls her eyes at the question, not out of dismissal, instead scanning her memory as if it were printed on the ceiling. “Yeah, pretty much. I think since I’ve struggled with warding spells, people have stopped assuming I’m some kind of… divine prodigy.” She giggles, “Plus, Gabe helped me loosen up and enjoy myself a bit more. Really helped me open up.”
>>
No. 1025889 ID: 815672

Oh he totally told her about the mile high club.
>>
No. 1026195 ID: 2de4fd

Anyone fun you've met? Or has it been so much work that it's been difficult to socialize?
>>
No. 1026199 ID: 9a2966

>>1025889
Did anyone expect him not to? It's Gabe.
>>
No. 1026267 ID: be028a
File 164730764941.png - (114.53KB , 700x500 , 14-165.png )
1026267

Casey laughs, “Oh, if I know Gabe, I bet he opened you up. He seemed pretty smug after his little trip to the mountain.”

The cat blushes and attempts to hide it badly. “What!? Fates- I, he- uh…” Clio fumbles with the door to her room and manages to open it on the second try. "Wha- what'd he tell you?"

“I mean… he didn’t tell me exactly what went down, but Kol and I recognize that look on his face. We figured you two had some fun together. This is Gabe we're talking about after all.”
>>
No. 1026268 ID: be028a
File 164730766467.png - (190.97KB , 700x632 , 14-166.png )
1026268

Clio’s eyes dart to the corners of the room bashfully and she admits. “Well… you heard about what he was famous for here right?”

“You mean lopping off part of a professor’s tail?”

“Uh, no the other thing…”

Realization hits Casey like a swung bat as her eyes go wide. “You mean…?”

Clio bites her lip, but grins.

“So you and he…”

“Uh, and Pezzi and Rufus.”

Casey’s mouth drops open out of genuine astonishment. “The Mediums?!? With the mechanical bodies!?! In the sky?!?”
She sits down next to Clio on the bed, mind reeling. “That’s… wild, even for Gabe.” The mouse idly looks around at the dorm room as she processes things.

The room isn’t big, but fairly comfortable. A number of second hand books are piled on the desk with a small range-finding instrument and hand scribbled notes. Clothing is piled in a hamper by the bed, along with a spare Sender’s sash waiting to be laundered.

“Its definitely the wildest thing I’ve ever done...” Clio picks at the bedsheets with a claw, “I think about it a lot. I can’t remember a time where I’ve let myself have that much fun.”
>>
No. 1026269 ID: cdabe3

>>1026268
well goddamn, girl, don't hold out on us!! we need the deets in full detail!!
>>
No. 1026279 ID: e7848c

Hey now. Hang around with us long enough, the fun and stories will start piling up. From student to guide to guardian, taking breaks and knowing how to relax are important.
>>
No. 1026280 ID: 96c896

Wait, how did we end up in her bedroom? Clio are you making moves on Casey? "show me around" and this is the first place she brings her. Hmm. Suspicious.
>>
No. 1026309 ID: e29ab9

I think its time to show Clio that the senders aren't the only ones that can have some fun with their magiks
show her how the binders do the deed
>>
No. 1026396 ID: 401b30

>>1026268
Time to them take it off and show Clio some "binding" then.
>>
No. 1026405 ID: 11b316

>>1026269
>>1026396
These
>>
No. 1026446 ID: be028a
File 164748230849.png - (103.08KB , 542x700 , 14-167.png )
1026446

“You gotta tell me everything!” Casey grins and leans closer, “Like, I don’t even know how you’d pull something like that off!” She draws her legs up and crosses them, intent on listening to the account.

“Oh Fates. Uh… hang on.” The cat makes a small portal with her hands and reaches inside, pulling out a bottle of wine with a fancy label. The gate closes with a small rumble of in-rushing air and she holds it up, “I’m gonna need a drink, I think, if I’m gonna loosen up enough. You want some?”

“Where’d you get that?” Casey asks, peering at the bottle.

Clio shrugs, “I dunno. Something I snagged back in the day. I thought I could sell it because it looked fancy, but no one seemed interested in buying it. I stashed it away a year or so ago. Though, I’m not sure how to open it…”

“Here, let me…” Casey places a finger on the cork and a ring of light encircles it. “Try pulling it now.”

Clio tugs the bottle down and, with some twisting, the cork pops loose with a squeak. “Awesome! Thanks!” She takes a quick swig of wine and passes it to Casey.
>>
No. 1026447 ID: be028a
File 164748231696.png - (122.03KB , 700x500 , 14-168.png )
1026447

“Are you gonna keep holding out on me?” the mouse asks.

“Well… okay, so first of all: Gabe has a little secret.” Clio confides, “So we all agree to do this and are standing around naked. I’m feeling… way out of my depth, and opens a gate. I thought ‘Okay, I’ll show him how its done.’ I grab Gabe and jump in and…” She bites her lip, “Turns out it was just a gate to his little pocket dimension.”

“What?” The mouse’s ears go flat.

“Yeah, He admitted he the only part of the original sky sex was just for the finish. The rest was just in bed.”

Casey laughs, “That little shit! All this time… You know what I’m gonna do? I’m gonna tell Delilah: you’d love her. She’ll get him to do the real deal. He’s going to end up leaving a crater when she’s done with him.”
>>
No. 1026457 ID: e7848c

Oh hell yeah, that would be a sight to see! Take a swig
>>
No. 1026467 ID: 96c896

So how was it?
>>
No. 1026497 ID: c7eead

Oooh, if we're telling stories, maybe Casey can show off her wings and tell Clio how she got them
>>
No. 1026505 ID: 76c949

>>1026497
This
>>
No. 1026527 ID: be028a
File 164756892349.png - (105.89KB , 581x700 , 14-169.png )
1026527

“That’d be something to see!” Clio takes the wine back from the mouse.

“Oh, he’d be fiiiine. Del’s a healer: she could piece him back together… probably.” Casey wave a hand dismissively. “Anyway, how was it? Was it fun at least?”

Clio giggles, has another sip from the bottle and swallows quickly in order to answer, “So fun! Gabe went down on me while the other guys, they had these amazing hands that could vibrate-“

“Oooh, I know the guy who helped them modify those bodies. He’s an expert when it comes to useful attachments.”
>>
No. 1026528 ID: be028a
File 164756894531.png - (147.17KB , 700x500 , 14-170.png )
1026528

Clio blushes, “And then, Rufus, well… I wanted to try out anal…”

Casey beams, “Well? How was it?”

“It took some… adjustment, and a lot of patience, but it felt pretty good once we got going.” Clio blushes. “I wouldn’t mind trying it again.”
>>
No. 1026529 ID: cdabe3

well, we could definitely give a few pointers to make it even better
>>
No. 1026543 ID: 96c896

Yes. Tell her all about how to do it right.
>>
No. 1026563 ID: 35bb13

>>1026528
Ask if thats an invitation? Because you're willing to do it with her if she wants.
>>
No. 1026588 ID: 815672

Good thing we don't need to wait for the dong-havers to try that again.
>>
No. 1026592 ID: 8d81e4

Tentacle time?
Tentacle time.
>>
No. 1026593 ID: 127044

>>1026528

Should we let Clio know this aura can take on a LOT of fun and interesting shapes and is very good at effortlessly wriggling into tight places?

I think we should.
>>
No. 1026595 ID: 274345

>>1026593
Yes
>>
No. 1026641 ID: be028a
File 164765556641.png - (153.10KB , 598x700 , 14-71.png )
1026641

“If you’d like, I could help with that…” Casey takes another sip from the bottle and bounces her eyebrows suggestively. “If you’re up for it.”

The cat gives her an excited smile and bites her lip wordlessly.

Casey passes her the wine and notes, “You brought me up here for a little fun, didn’t you?” She shuffles closer on the narrow bedspread.

“I was kind of hoping to, yeah…” Clio admits, having a quick swig.

“I’m not quite the horndog that Gabe is…” Casey reaches for the bottle again, but instead of taking it, wraps her hand around Clio’s. “But I’ve been known to have a little fun too.”

The cat pants, licking her lips excitedly as Casey draws closer. Their bodies sink into each other’s orbit until their lips are drawn together.
>>
No. 1026642 ID: be028a
File 164765557276.png - (146.24KB , 700x500 , 14-72.png )
1026642

”Oh Fates, this is really happening!” Clio’s mind echoes as she feels Casey’s tongue against hers. The cat “mmmhhh’s” appreciatively, pushing back against the eager mouse; the wine flavoring their breath as the two get their first exhilarating taste of one another. Clio twists her head, attempting to eliminate any space between the two, her tongue rough against the mouses.

She feels Casey’s hand on her side, pushing up under her shirt and gasps, her voice muted by the kiss. Clio responds by putting her hand on the mouses thigh, who opens her legs invitingly in her grip.
>>
No. 1026653 ID: 815672

>>1026642
Let the hands roam, but after putting that bottle down and out of the way.
>>
No. 1026668 ID: 68f89f

>>1026642
Careful with how you're holding that bottle! You don’t want to spill that on Clio's bed!
>>
No. 1026673 ID: 8f128b

>>1026653
>>1026668
Pretty sure there's nothing left in there to spill.
>>
No. 1026676 ID: 401b30

>>1026642
They've reached the moment where it's time to the both of them to strip down and get to the business of pleasure.
>>
No. 1026679 ID: c7eead

Hell yeah, get it Clio!
>>
No. 1026720 ID: be028a
File 164774640773.png - (200.63KB , 549x700 , 14-73.png )
1026720

Clio traces her hand up Casey’s leg and flat against her stomach. With a quick swivel of her fingers, she thrusts down past the mouse’s belt and beneath her undergarments. The cat clutches hungrily at the warmth and softness she finds, letting Casey feel how eager she is.
>>
No. 1026721 ID: be028a
File 164774643823.png - (212.52KB , 615x700 , 14-74.png )
1026721

The mouse shifts her hips, grinding happily against the dexterous fingers. Soft moans help encourage the cat, as Casey’s hand slips down behind her, under her waistband. A single finger finds its way beneath her tail and presses there, teasing more to come.

>>
No. 1026723 ID: e7848c

>>1026720
Get those pants out of the way. Maybe the shirts can stay. For now.
>>
No. 1026747 ID: 93181a

>>1026721
Everyone start taking your pants off.
>>
No. 1026749 ID: 01fe07

Both of you grab a handful of ass and start pulling off pants.
>>
No. 1026790 ID: be028a
File 164781605841.png - (102.73KB , 700x352 , 14-75.png )
1026790

The cat mewls softly as she’s toyed with, “-ahh! Please…”

“We’ll get there.” Casey promises. “But first…” She nods, indicating what she wants.

>>
No. 1026791 ID: be028a
File 164781606531.png - (134.08KB , 500x700 , 14-76.png )
1026791

Clio nods and slips off the bed, dropping to her knees in front of her. Her heart races as the mouse shimmies out of her pants, leaving one last piece of clothing in the way.
>>
No. 1026792 ID: be028a
File 164781614732.png - (171.63KB , 500x700 , 14-77.png )
1026792

The cat reaches for her hips, dragging the panties down by her claw-tips. She feels Casey’s legs shiver from the sensation and drops them around her ankles. Clio looks down and hesitates, ”I know what I’m doing, right?” she asks herself, as she realizes how close she is to the cleft of another woman’s pussy.
>>
No. 1026793 ID: f683de

You totally know what you're doing, but she can summon tentacles whenever she wants to, maybe follow her lead.
>>
No. 1026794 ID: e7848c

You proceed how you started. With a kiss. Your whiskers will help with this.
>>
No. 1026838 ID: a557fd

Even if you don't know what you're doing, you're safe here. Learn & explore.
>>
No. 1026915 ID: be028a
File 164791809214.png - (161.84KB , 700x500 , 14-78.png )
1026915

She swallows her uncertainty and reaches for Casey’s inner thigh. Knowing what she likes in her moments alone, Clio starts by running her thumb around the lip of her labia, pulling it aside and exposing vivid pink. ”She’s so warm…”, Clio marvels to herself, watching the muscle in the mouse’s hips shift and twitch with each touch.

Clio reaches up with her other hand, finding the fold of her hood and rubbing around at the burning nerves beneath it. She watches Casey’s face as the mouse moans and throws her head back, encouraging her more.

>>
No. 1026916 ID: be028a
File 164791811487.png - (188.61KB , 688x700 , 14-79.png )
1026916

She pauses and leans in, kissing her partner’s thigh before running her tongue carefully along the exposed edge of her pussy.

Casey slips out of her shirt and bar and rolls her hips roll in Clio's grip, aiming the cat’s tongue deeper. The mouse pants with little “hah- ah- hah” sounds.

Clio swallows, the salty taste of the Casey’s lust running across her tastebuds. She thrusts her tongue sideways, before turning it like a key and feels a shudder in response.

“Ohh-h-h FUCK!” Casey moans, her hand falling on Clio’s head. “That tongue!”

>>
No. 1026917 ID: fb1eae

... is tolerably painful.
>>
No. 1026918 ID: e7848c

It's a feline specialty! Now show her what it can do.
>>
No. 1026952 ID: 401b30

>>1026916
Clio should probably take her outfit off before going too deep, so to speak.

Wouldn't want them to get wet or anything, after all.
>>
No. 1026958 ID: 96c896

Just like picking a lock. With your tongue.
>>
No. 1026986 ID: be028a
File 164800691158.png - (136.63KB , 700x474 , 14-80.png )
1026986

Clio pauses, worried about the texture of her tongue. “Too much?”

“No, no-” Casey insists, “You’re doing good, keep it up. Hah- Just take it easy.” She shivers and lays back across the bed.

Clio quickly slips out of her shirt, and kicks off her pants. At Casey’s urging, she returns to the task at hand: lapping dutifully at her pussy, her hand spreading and kneading the soft, pink opening.

>>
No. 1026987 ID: be028a
File 164800691737.png - (156.38KB , 500x700 , 14-81.png )
1026987

Clio slips a finger, then two inside; slowly twisting and thrusting. She changes her angle and feels the tight passage clench and twitch around her like tumblers in a lock.

>>
No. 1026989 ID: 815672

And next thing you know, you're an expert at this sort of lock too. Just don't get cocky! Slight twist, some pressure, and the right flick will have this open right up for you.
>>
No. 1027160 ID: a557fd

Casey: Have a really good time
>>
No. 1027231 ID: be028a
File 164817322010.png - (178.02KB , 700x561 , 14-82.png )
1027231


“D- Don’t stop!” Casey pants.

Clio nods and speeds up, sucking and licking at the mouse’s clit. Her fingers piston in frantically, angling to try and hit her G-spot. Her other hand slips her underwear off, fingering her own pussy in time with Casey’s.

Casey bucks and twists, her pussy leaking down the cat’s chin and staining the bedspread. Her whole body tenses, muscles twitching in orgasmic rictus as she cums.

Casey’s body goes limp, her tail and legs drooping off the bed like they’ve been left boneless. She pants, looking off into the distance as the endorphins taper off.

>>
No. 1027232 ID: be028a
File 164817322780.png - (168.46KB , 500x700 , 14-83.png )
1027232

“Are you okay? Was that alright?” Clio asks, little pinpoints of teeth visible as she bites her lip.

Casey smiles and wordlessly reaches for her, dragging the cat onto the bed. She embraces her with everything: arms, legs, tails intertwined in the desire for as much bodily contact as possible. Casey kisses her, tasting the salty wetness left behind by her own climax. “That was fantastic, Clio.” Casey says in a dreamy, post-orgasmic haze, “I think its your turn now…”

>>
No. 1027234 ID: cdabe3

time to start kissing, nibbling and teasing your way down to go down on the cat

also, better take off her bra on the way down. let the kitty's kitties out to breath while you make her gasp for breathe~ try to find out if she can cum just from having her nipples sucked, her breasts caressed, her ears nibbled and her tummy rubbed before you get to work on the puss's puss with your tongue
>>
No. 1027246 ID: b37ec9

>>1026528

Clio wanted to try anal again. Before Casey shoves her energy tentacles up her ass, I think she should warm her kitty up with a sensual, deep rimjob first.
>>
No. 1027247 ID: 401b30

>>1027232
Also get that bra off.
>>
No. 1027267 ID: 815672

Casey, show off the one handed bra unlatch. Clio isn't the only one with slight of hand
>>
No. 1027270 ID: f57349

>>1027267
Or zero-handed, to warm up that binder magic.
>>
No. 1027281 ID: 8f128b

>>1027246
He's saying what we're all thinking!
>>
No. 1027298 ID: be028a
File 164826187612.png - (142.83KB , 700x500 , 14-84.png )
1027298

“Uh, what should I do?” Clio asks, still tasting the mouse on her lips.

“Roll over for me, will you?” Casey twirls her finger and the cat obliges, laying on her stomach with her tail in the air.

Casey clambers up on her hands and knees, facing the opposite direction. Clio feels a sudden tension released and looks down at her suddenly loose bra.

“You’re not the only one with quick fingers.” Casey smirks.

>>
No. 1027299 ID: be028a
File 164826189131.png - (189.02KB , 700x500 , 14-85.png )
1027299

Clio giggles and then gasps as the Binder leans over her, pulling her tail out of the way. Casey dips her head down and laps her tongue between the cat’s asscheeks.

“Ah, oh!” Clio wriggles in place, spreading her legs and biting the sheets. “That’s- ahhhh wow!”

Casey comes up for air and chuckles, “Little weird, right? Just getting you warmed up a bit.” She dives back in, tonguing deeper, spreading Clio’s tailhole before changing angles and lapping at her pussy.

“Ah! No kidding!” Clio screws her eyes closed before willing herself to relax. Once accustomed to the probing attention, she feels herself enjoying it: the warm breath of her partner caressing her nethers as her tongue ensures that she’s slick and ready for further penetration.

>>
No. 1027304 ID: 96c896

Try fingers,
but hole
>>
No. 1027319 ID: 815672

While you work that rear, let's get touchy feely with the beginnings of some tentacles, yeah?
>>
No. 1027331 ID: b37ec9

>>1027298

Apparently the experience of going down on Casey was so exciting that her left ear grew back! :)
>>
No. 1027458 ID: be028a
File 164842087587.png - (155.01KB , 700x500 , 14-86.png )
1027458

Casey pauses her rimming and admires her work: feeling that Clio is sufficiently relaxed and prepped. Her hand falls across the cat’s asscheeks and she lets her middle finger wedge itself between them; pushing against Clio’s entrance but not yet entering it.

“How’re you feeling? You think you’re ready?” She asks.

Clio nods, looking over her shoulder at the Binder. She blushes, her hips wriggling in anticipation.

Casey giggles, putting a bit more pressure on her finger. “What was that? I don’t think I heard you.” Her digit sinks in up to the first joint, the tight ring clenching at the sudden intrusion.

“Mm-hmm!” Clio wriggles backwards, feeling the tip just inside her. “Yuh!” She raises her ass in the air and rests on her knees

Casey grins at her frustration, “What was that? Couldn’t quite hear you…” Her finger rubs back and forth, tugging at the sensitive entrance.

“Pl-please! Fuck my ass!” Clio breathes, her tail raised and ready.

Casey giggles, “That’s what I like to hear.”

>>
No. 1027459 ID: be028a
File 164842090732.png - (180.09KB , 700x437 , 14-87.png )
1027459

Clio huffs, “I swear, you mice and your teasing. You guys- Ahhhh!” Her opinion is cut off as the Binder’s hand glows blue. The cat’s mouth drops open as Casey extends her aura, sinking inside until Clio’s ass is spread around a translucent blue shaft. She lets out a low “mrrrowwww” as she feels the spell sinking deeper, thickening and pulsing with mana.

Unlike Rufus’s synthetic cock, there’s no solid core to Casey’s spell. Its warm and living, somehow a part of Casey, that seems to have a mind of its own: coiling its way inside her like a lazy serpent. Slowly, it fills every available space within her, flexing shifting along with her. Clio is left wordless, her ass straining as the spell hits a wall inside her and pauses.

>>
No. 1027469 ID: e7848c

Let her catch her breath. Allow yourself your own tentacle to play around with.
>>
No. 1027471 ID: c7eead

Clio has that spot just above the tail that she really likes, too.
>>
No. 1027508 ID: b37ec9

Casey should move to finger or lick her lover's pussy, only to pause and instead decide to see if Clio is able to orgasm through anal stimulation alone (the answer, later on in the scene, will be a resounding: yes!)
>>
No. 1027560 ID: be028a
File 164852015461.png - (186.39KB , 700x500 , 14-88.png )
1027560

“How’s that treating you?” Casey asks, sounding casual.

“Ah-hah- fuck!” Clio rocks back and forth, experimentally, feeling her body clench on the invading coil of light. “I- I need a minute…”

“Been a while, hasn’t it? Have you been practicing?” Casey leans over her partner, getting a good view. The translucent glow offers a fairly intimate look inside the cat’s stretched hole.

The sender blushes, admitting, “J-just my fingers. I-I thought about getting- um- some toys or something.”

“If you do, I know just the person to ask. He’s quite the expert.” Casey grins, “I’ll even help you test them out if you like.” Her fingers tease the base of Clio’s tail idly.

>>
No. 1027561 ID: be028a
File 164852016047.png - (128.72KB , 437x700 , 14-89.png )
1027561

“Fates, did you cum already? I’ve barely started!” Casey looks on in amazement as Clio’s body shivers. “You’re pretty pent up, aren’t you?”

“Nnnhhh its been a long week.” Clio admits. “I haven’t exactly had time to get off.”

“I see. We’ll have to fix that. I’m going to start thrusting, let me know if its too much, okay?” She pets Clio’s ass sweetly and twitches her fingers.

The binding spell responds, slowly undulating until it forms a loop, dragging itself backwards out of Clio’s tailhole. The tip pulls back, leaving her almost completely vacant before driving back in, pushing through her clenching passage like a piston. The cat gasps and swears as shes filled anew, rocking backwards on her knees into the thrust. “Fu-uck!”

>>
No. 1027607 ID: 815672

Pat cat, she's doing so well.
>>
No. 1027636 ID: f683de

yeah, give the kitty some praise.
>>
No. 1027669 ID: b37ec9

Casey's been patting and caressing Clio's asscheeks up until now, but maybe she should give them a hard smack or two, just to spice things up.
>>
No. 1027707 ID: be028a
File 164869427216.png - (179.68KB , 500x700 , 14-90.png )
1027707

Casey lays back against Clio’s pillow, allowing her spell to work its way in and out. She takes her time, allowing the cat some reprieve as she rides the aftershocks of orgasm. She positions herself at the head of the bed and tucks an arm underneath her.

She concentrates for a moment and gasps in air as a second tendril extends from her left hand. The spell curls up and into the cleft of her ass, pushing deeper until she’s speared on her own aura. “Aahh, fuck that’s good…” she sighs, as she feels her muscles tense under the penetration.

>>
No. 1027708 ID: be028a
File 164869428488.png - (199.17KB , 559x700 , 14-91.png )
1027708

The mouse spreads her legs, letting Clio get an inviting look at her waiting pussy. “What a good kitty. Why don’t you come eat this mouse.” She says, her incisors peeking through her grin.
>>
No. 1027713 ID: e7848c

Bet she's never seen a mousetrap like this!
>>
No. 1027995 ID: b37ec9

Maybe I've missed this, but does Casey's tendrils always have to remain connected to her own body or can she release and move them about independently? If the latter, after Clio has eaten her out for a bit, she should join her energy tendril to the cat's and go ass-to-ass with her.
>>
No. 1028121 ID: be028a
File 164895772897.png - (178.91KB , 700x546 , 14-92.png )
1028121

Clio crawls between Casey’s legs, letting the thrusts of the tentacle carry her forward. She pulls the mouse’s hips into pussy eating position and dives in; lapping hungrily at her folds and laying hot, breathy kisses on her thighs. The cat purrs loudly, the throaty rumble broken by gasps and grunts as she’s pierced from behind.
>>
No. 1028127 ID: e7848c

Oh hey, she even vibrates for you!
>>
No. 1028310 ID: 9c4e46

>>1028121
Looks like it's time for nature to take its course. It's time for the cat to eat (out) the mouse!

Clio purring will kinda be like a vibrator for Casey, right? I wonder how effective that would be?
>>
No. 1028428 ID: be028a
File 164929922823.png - (203.47KB , 700x584 , 14-93.png )
1028428

“Ooh that purr is niiiice.” Casey sighs, enjoying the feeling of a slight vibration added to the sensation of cunnilingus. Her spell curls up under her tail and pumps in and out slowly as Clio’s tongue works magic of its own. “Fuck yeah don’t stop…”

Casey flexes her aura, causing the spells to thicken, and speeding up their thrusts. Between her thighs, Clio moans and pants, the momentum bumping the cat against her hips.


For her part, Clio struggles to keep up: trying to maintain a consistent pace with her inexperienced oral skills. Below her hard-worked tongue, her fingers slam Casey’s pussy, thrusting up to the knuckle in time with the pulses of magic. She feels herself drifting in a haze of pleasure, unsure of how many small orgasms have wracked her body as the binding spell thumps deep within her again; feeling a big one building up.
>>
No. 1028470 ID: 815672

Don't fall apart yet! Almost there!
>>
No. 1028471 ID: 9a2966

Coming events leads to the tentacle's even further increased girth, and a kitty who discovers the wonders of getting well and truly stuffed in the rear.

Also, why not go for the full turkey? Fill the other hole as well, it should be pretty lubricated by now.
>>
No. 1028768 ID: be028a
File 164962374783.png - (232.19KB , 500x700 , 14-94.png )
1028768

Casey taps Clio on the head and nods to her. “Come up here: I want to try something.”

The cat slinks closer, laying down next to Casey and cuddling her. The binder slips her arm down between them and closes her eyes to focus.

The aura around her hand extends and blooms, splitting into four tendrils.

>>
No. 1028769 ID: be028a
File 164962377060.png - (186.60KB , 500x700 , 14-95.png )
1028769

The spell snakes its way around their hips, threading its way into every welcoming opening. Both women gasp as the glowing shafts fill and thrust, finding their way deep inside. Quickly, they form a rhythm as the magic begins rutting the pair.

“Ha-ah, how’s that feel?” Casey pants, her face glowing with bliss. The Binder abandons all control of the spell, letting her aura fulfill its own desires as it spears her pussy and ass. She bites her lip as unbidden squeaks leak through her teeth, jostled loose from her own magic.

>>
No. 1028770 ID: be028a
File 164962378311.png - (173.04KB , 548x700 , 14-96.png )
1028770

Clio hangs on and moans as the tendrils drum frantically towards her climax. “Ohhhh f-fuck! Ah- Fates!” The dual shafts stretch her open, working in tandem to stimulate each of her openings. The cat clenches down around every powerful thrust, feeling the muscles in her pussy flutter and soak her thighs. The smooth motion beneath her tail fills her before pulling out; a coil of aura slapping her ass as it positions itself for another thrust.


>>
No. 1028773 ID: e7848c

You kiss that girl, make it a good one
>>
No. 1028785 ID: 4120ac

Casey should suckle on her kitty's breasts. This is one romantic occasion.
>>
No. 1029109 ID: be028a
File 164981664021.png - (187.86KB , 500x700 , 14-97.png )
1029109

Laying side by side, the pair hang on to one another as Casey’s binding spell coils and thrusts beneath them. They press as much against each other as possible, the pounding from the tendrils rubbing together their aching bodies.

Their voices rise in unison, driven by mutual desire, wanting to hold out for a few more seconds before release. Casey and Clio stare into each others eyes, inches apart from climax.

In an unspoken moment of need, they come together: tongues meeting, forgetting to breathe as they drink each other in. The women moan into the kiss in agreement, their heads dizzy with the rocking bliss.

>>
No. 1029119 ID: e7848c

Race to the edge, ride that wave!

oops, knock knock, who's at the door? Responsibility. Don't you know there's no privacy in dorm rooms?
>>
No. 1029242 ID: 9272af
File 164990529558.png - (242.20KB , 500x700 , 14-98.png )
1029242


Their bodies heave; once, twice, writhing on the bed-sheets as the cresting wave overtakes them. Their legs shudder and clamp in a knot, around which, the glowing tendrils twist and pump inside them. Pussy and ass are stretched wide as the spell sinks in deep and fills every available inch within. Wetness blooms between them, spreading through the sheets as the mutual orgasm explodes between the pair.

Clio hangs on to the kiss, but feels her eyes rolling back in her head. The world spins around her as if, once again, she’s been dropped out of a portal a mile off the ground and is floating among the clouds.


>>
No. 1029283 ID: 815672

Glide your way back down to the ground. Thank you for flying Air Casey. Please enjoy the complimentary cuddles.
>>
No. 1029806 ID: 9272af
File 165042650749.png - (200.96KB , 500x700 , 14-99.png )
1029806

Clio rolls over, collapsing next to Casey on the narrow dormitory bed. She feels the warmth of the binding spells disappear and her body shudders as it contracts around nothing. She pants and stares up at the ceiling, the wetness spread across her thighs slowly evaporating. “Ohh, Fates… “ she gasps. “That was intense…”

Casey “mmmmm”s in agreement, threading her fingers between Clio’s and giving a little squeeze. “Been a while since I used my spells like that.” Her aura tingles around her fingers as it flows back to its natural state.

The pair settle back to catch their breath, the silence only broken by amused murmurs from the neighboring room. If she wasn’t riding the high of several fantastic orgasms, Clio would feel self conscious about it. Instead she grins and basks in the afterglow, having thoroughly enjoyed her first time with another woman. The cat remembers Casey’s offers to experiment more and her body shivers a little with excitement.

>>
No. 1029816 ID: 4120ac

I wonder if Clio and Casey could become a sort of "official couple", in the same way that Gabe seems to be coupled with Delilah and Kol with Caleb. It would also complete a trifecta, with Gabe's male/female and Kol's male/male pairing, this could be the main female/female relationship of Moot Point.
>>
No. 1029826 ID: f683de

>>1029816
Cat and Mouse are cuties, look at them holding hands in that last image!
>>
No. 1029834 ID: 455958

Y'all deserve a good hugging at each other for some bonus afterglow!
>>
No. 1029866 ID: 50af53

Cuddles and some good sleep. Still some very important business to attend to once you guys wake, but this hopefully helped de-stress the both of you.

>>1029816
That'd be super cute. Maybe in time. They only just now started really hanging out.
>>
No. 1029867 ID: e7848c

Get cozy! Cuddle in close, pull up th blanket and snooze.
>>
No. 1029895 ID: 9272af
File 165050730068.png - (187.21KB , 500x700 , 14-100.png )
1029895

Casey sits up suddenly and blinks. “Hello?” She relaxes a bit and looks at a space a foot or two above her, “Oh hey, Gabe! No, nothing much. I- well, I guess I took a bit of a break, as you can see.” She pauses and explains. “Uh, Gabe is scrying us, he wanted to make sure I wasn’t up all night working.”

Clio blushes, her fur standing on end, “Oh- oh!” While its not the first time Gabe’s seen her naked, she covers herself up out of reflex.

“Uh-huh. Yeah, we can talk you about it later.” Casey waves a hand at the unseen voyeur, “No, you’re very sweet for checking up on me, but I think I’ll spend the night here, okay? You and Kol can have the bed tonight.” She rolls her eyes, “Okay, I will. Good night!”

She giggles and sighs, “Sorry about that. Bad timing. Gabe says ‘hi’. Also he wanted me to high five you for him.”
>>
No. 1029930 ID: 815672

Hah, nice. Time for pillow talk
>>
No. 1029931 ID: 96c896

Hi 5!
>>
No. 1029933 ID: 455958

Hehe, look how cute Clio is bein' all blushy there.
>>
No. 1029944 ID: 210f04

>>1029895
Go for the high five.
>>
No. 1029974 ID: 9272af
File 165059206520.png - (100.71KB , 589x700 , 14-101.png )
1029974

Clio laughs and brings her palm up. The two hands slap against one another satisfyingly in the quiet dorm room.

Casey winks at the cat, "Nice."

"Nice." Clio agrees.
>>
No. 1029975 ID: 9272af
File 165059208712.png - (149.84KB , 437x700 , 14-102.png )
1029975

The pair grin, holding their high five as their fingers thread between each other. Unbidden they come together in a long, deep kiss, interrupted by fits of giggles and tight lipped smiles.

Casey and Clio pull one another closer. Their bodies gyrating and grinding. Too tired for another round of sex, the simple pleasure of contact is all they seek.

As they grow tired even of kissing, they lay side by side, enjoying gentle touches of each other’s curves.

“I had so much fun. Thank you.” Clio says in a small voice.

Casey smiles back at her, “So did I. Lets do this again soon.”

Even in exhaustion, the cat’s heart races at the thought. She nods back, feeling her face flush red.

>>
No. 1029989 ID: 4120ac

>>1029975

Clio learned the ability: Certified Butt Slut!
>>
No. 1030008 ID: 815672

Think there's a possibility of making this a regular thing? Something similar to Del and Gabe, Kol and Caleb?
>>
No. 1030045 ID: 9272af
File 165068009257.png - (203.09KB , 700x500 , 14-103.png )
1030045

Clio bites her lip, hesitating before asking, “Would you like top, I dunno, some other stuff sometime? Just hanging out?” She tries to keep her excitement in check, but the question rises in pitch a little more than she anticipates.

The mouse looks at her with mild surprise, before smiling, “You mean like a date? Yeah, that sounds fun.” She pauses and her next thought bubbles up out of her, “You know… I don’t know if I’ve ever been on a date.”

“Wait, really?” Clio asks, amazed by the admission. “Kol and Gabe never…?”

Casey shrugs and says, “I guess we’ve done dates, but not really a one-on-one romantic date. We just kind of… happened. Honestly, we went from partners to friends to lovers so naturally, I think a full on romantic date with them would feel… weird.” She laughs to herself, “It’s kind of hard to explain what we have together: its just as easy as breathing.”

Clio looks on, trying not to feel a little jealous, but also excited to go out with the cute mouse. Her own dating experience is, admittedly, pretty limited but enough to give her some ideas.
>>
No. 1030063 ID: e7848c

Just like how her mana moves, you just have to go with the flow. Won't you let this mouse show you how far the mouse hole goes?
>>
No. 1030266 ID: 455958

Dates! That'll mean dressing in all manners of fancy! Or casual, depending on how you want- dress up is fun!
>>
No. 1030365 ID: 9272af
File 165093705585.png - (184.59KB , 700x500 , 14-104.png )
1030365

After all of the excitement, Clio’s exhaustion sets back in with interest. A heaviness covers her like a thick blanket, and she lets herself sink into a warm, dark sea. Still clasping Casey’s hand, she sleeps with a peace of mind she hasn’t felt in years.
>>
No. 1030366 ID: 9272af
File 165093706929.png - (130.41KB , 500x700 , 14-105.png )
1030366

A few days later, a figure cloaked in rippling patterns darts from shadow to shadow. They duck through a red painted door and into a space that is cavernous and dark
>>
No. 1030403 ID: c7eead

Looks like it's showtime! Lets make it a good performance
>>
No. 1030471 ID: 815672

You are a professional. This is just another job. Nothing unusual.
>>
No. 1030501 ID: 9272af
File 165102507982.png - (144.66KB , 700x437 , 14-106.png )
1030501

The door closes behind the figure with barely a click, and they duck into a handy shadow. Their eyes swivel to assess the situation: the cafe is mostly empty, aside from one or two patrons and the fae working the counter.

They steady their breathing and cross the cafe, sticking to darkness and silent on their feet. The barista’s jewel bright eye winks at them and she goes back to wiping down cups with a rag.

Nemo finds the booth where he’s supposed to meet his contact and shimmies in. The opposite bench is empty, but his eyes rotate at the sound of approaching heavy footsteps.
>>
No. 1030530 ID: 9a2966

Act casual! Or nervous! Or nervously casual!
>>
No. 1030549 ID: 815672

Steady your nerves, you don't want to give this away.
>>
No. 1030628 ID: 9272af
File 165111195815.png - (118.38KB , 700x500 , 14-107.png )
1030628

The contact sits down opposite Nemo, the faint rattle of chain audible from within their cloak. Their hands rest on the table, sheathed in thick leather gloves, which creak audibly against the strain of muscle. Their head, obscured by a hood, tilts expectantly towards the thief.

Nemo swallows, trying to keep his nerves steady. His scales maintain a grey pallor, trying not to stand out or show any emotion. Words come flooding into his mind, silent and serious as an epitaph set in granite. “Do you have what I asked for?”
>>
No. 1030633 ID: ce39da

"I have a book written by an old teacher, which was being translated, yes - that's what you asked for, right?" Present the book you have. If they ask whether you were followed, truthfully answer 'no' and trust that your backup showed up before you even came here. With the fey, deception is all about technically telling the truth while omitting the crucial details.
>>
No. 1030640 ID: e5709d

Don't say anything, hand the book over and immediately leave. Cover your ears and don't listen to anything he has to say.
>>
No. 1030641 ID: 96c896

Hand over the book, say the minimum about it.
>>
No. 1030663 ID: ecac66

Give the book, say your business is finished
>>
No. 1030668 ID: 9a2966

>Do you have what I asked for
The book being translated? Yup. Did they think you'd fail?

Not that it was easy, mind you. But you put your sticky fingers on it.
>>
No. 1030688 ID: c7eead

Stay cool. Stay professional. You got this!
>>
No. 1030805 ID: 9272af
File 165128260240.png - (89.86KB , 700x513 , 14-108.png )
1030805

Without saying anything, Nemo rummages in his tail pouch and pulls out a squat, oblong shape wrapped in cloth. He sets it on the table in front of his contact and slides it over with his fingertips.
>>
No. 1030806 ID: 9272af
File 165128261793.png - (139.59KB , 500x700 , 14-109.png )
1030806

The contact’s voice echoes in his head. “Good, good. Excellent work.” The gloved hands twitch the cloth aside, revealing aged leather bearing the seal of the Senders.

“Wasn’t easy.” Nemo nods, trying to fill the gap in conversation, “Those Senders nearly caught me. I had to spent a week hiding in their cellar.”

“I didn’t ask.” The contact states dismissively. They turn the book over to look at the spine and continues, “I was aware that there was some commotion on the campus, but had confidence in your abilities.”

“Yeah, well…” Nemo’s retort to the indifference dies on his tongue. “I… trust you have the rest of my payment; assuming you’re satisfied?” He asks.
>>
No. 1030807 ID: 9272af
File 165128263190.png - (190.29KB , 700x500 , 14-110.png )
1030807

The figure reaches into its cloak, pulling out a bag full of something dense and metallic. “You seem to have fulfilled your end of the bargain. You are quite the skilled thief.”

The contact drops Nemo’s payment into his hand, and a glowing manacle appears around the chameleon’s wrist. The spell pulls downward until his arm is pinned to the table by a magical lock.

“Which, is why, of course, I cannot let you leave.” The robed figure stands up and steps forward with a heavy foot.
>>
No. 1030808 ID: e7848c

Oh no homie, that's binder magic. But you know you have backup. Keep selling it. Ask them what the meaning of this is.
>>
No. 1030809 ID: 96c896

Loudly complain about your mistreatment.
>>
No. 1030818 ID: 15b5a0

See if letting go of the gold gets rid of the lock.
>>
No. 1030822 ID: e5709d

"You. ASSHOLE. You can go log on to the interweb."
Wait a few seconds.
"Log on to the interweb! the INTERWEB!"
Wait a few seconds more...
"WHY ISN'T IT WORKING?!"
>>
No. 1030825 ID: 1b1d26

>>1030818
If not just slip your hand out, it doesn't look tight.
>>
No. 1030839 ID: ecac66

Right! End of negotiations it is!
Even more so because it looks like lich magic to me rather than binder magic, the tint is greener.

Wreck that wretch.
>>
No. 1030842 ID: 9a2966

They just said you fulfilled your end of the bargain and gave you your payment. That counts, right? Even if they're immediately moving to Do Something.

"And you've fulfilled yours, though now you want me silenced? Oh no. Whoever could have seen this coming?"

Their magic may be dependent on them touching you - or you touching anything of theirs. Flip up onto the table and twist around your bound hand. You just have to keep out of the way until...
>>
No. 1030852 ID: c28082

>>1030807

Well THAT sure looks like a breach of contract to me. Hardly seems right to promise payment in full, then alter the agreement once our end of the bargain is fulfilled.

Nevermind that it means not getting any of the OTHER books they had in that library, should they prove necessary.
>>
No. 1030859 ID: 2bb350

>>1030807
"how is this possible!"
"there was no verbal condition or clause, what is this magic!?"
(pore coins into closed hand like a roll)
(PUNCH HIM AS HARD AS YOU CAN!!!)
>>
No. 1030940 ID: ce39da

"But you can't just leave me like this - the contract isn't complete as long as you still have the cloak I was promised!" It was what the book was wrapped in, after all. Break the lock casually and bean him with the sack of gold.
>>
No. 1030958 ID: ab33cc

Apparently we were TOO good at our job. Maybe the next one could buy our freedom?
>>
No. 1030965 ID: c7eead

I sure hope the rest of the team is here as backup! Clio's knife can probably cut right through that binding
>>
No. 1031046 ID: 9272af
File 165154161592.png - (166.69KB , 700x500 , 14-111.png )
1031046

Nemo pulls desperately at the binding spell, his skin flashing different colors in a panic.

“I, Ometra; Warden and Justicar of the Court of the Pooling Deep, bind you, thief, by Chain and Brand.” The looming figure pushes back their hood. Underneath, where a head should be, are a series of long rods made from blackened metal.

Ometra takes hold of one of the rods with a gloved hand and the empty void of their neck fills with the pale light of litchfire. Slowly, they drag the shaft out, revealing a twisted branding iron which seethes in the cool air of the cafe.
>>
No. 1031047 ID: 9272af
File 165154162672.png - (151.29KB , 700x500 , 14-112.png )
1031047

Nemo holds his free hand up to plead with the warden. “Woah, whoah! Wait! H-hold up! You can’t do this! We had a deal!”

“We did. Now that our deal is complete, I have enough evidence to carry out judgement.” The justicar turns the brand around, readying it to plunge into the thief’s trapped hand.
>>
No. 1031050 ID: 6c227a

you didn't steal it! the deal didn't say you had to steal it!
>>
No. 1031052 ID: 36784c

>>1031047
Now would be a very good time for Clio and Casey to show up and stop this!
>>
No. 1031054 ID: b5c538

Stop, great justicar! If you look further you'll find I've decieved you within contract! My task was done with good will!
>>
No. 1031055 ID: 344f1d

desperately cover the trapped hand with the bag of cash
>>
No. 1031088 ID: 96c896

This is entrapment!
>>
No. 1031092 ID: ecac66

And that's why one should always carry cold iron on themselves, to stick it to those kind of treacherous fae.
>>
No. 1031097 ID: 67cdb5

>>1031047
Chuck the coinpurse between the Brand and the hand.

Or just accept the judgement stoically, because, after all, you’ve done little to nothing wrong. Unexpectedly. What judgement can they render then, in truth?
>>
No. 1031098 ID: 3d2a86

You didn’t steal the book you gave him, you made a deal for it. Also where does this fool get off acting like hiring someone else to steal something magically absolves him of guilt?!
>>
No. 1031100 ID: 815672

Entrapment! The contract was contingent on stealing a book you described. I have not done that. This book was given to me intentionally. There has been no theft that you accuse me of.
>>
No. 1031129 ID: c28082

>>1031047

So let me get this straight: Ometra sets up a theft for an item of particular worth which evidently they never truly desired, Ometra lies to an individual about their motives and purpose for this theft, Ometra furthermore provides a magic cloak to thereby facilitate this theft, and Ometra believes that staging this whole affair in what amounts to entrapment and coercion (to say nothing of the dubious morality of corporeal punishment or the wielding of lichfire) is sufficient evidence for Ometra to mutilate and torture an individual because of their own duplicitous actions ...?

I don't know about anyone else, but the evidence herein states that Ometra is a charlatan and fraud.
>>
No. 1031156 ID: ce39da

"But I didn't steal that book." Now is when you casually break the binding, given its premise is false. "It was given to me as a gift. :)"

"You, however, are indeed guilty of conspiracy to commit theft unlawfully," says someone else finally stepping in, "as well as, apparently, attempted entrapment, which is also illegal under our local laws. Ometra, it comes with great irony to say this, but we're putting you under arrest."
>>
No. 1031340 ID: 9272af
File 165180236766.png - (123.89KB , 700x500 , 14-113.png )
1031340

A ring of light forms around the Justicar’s arm, halting it in midair. Ometra’s empty neck hole flares with litchfire as they pull ineffectively at the binding spell. “What is this outrage? Who dares interrupt me in the course of my duties?!”
>>
No. 1031342 ID: 9272af
File 165180244731.png - (150.64KB , 700x500 , 14-114.png )
1031342

Casey and Clio stand up, having waited for Ometra to reveal themselves in the shadows of the cafe.

“Thats enough of that.” Casey’s hand glows as she pours her aura into stopping the Justicar. “Let him go.”

“Spite me, is that litchfire? I thought you said this guy was a Fae, Nemo!” Clio blinks in amazement at the hulking figure.

Casey smirks, “That’s because they’re a dullahan. An undead Fae.”

“That’s a thing?” Clio asks, her eyes darting between the

“Apparently. Extremely rare though. Fae are usually opposed to any kind of necromancy.”

Nemo moans and blanches white. “You guys! Get me out of this thing!”
>>
No. 1031343 ID: 50af53

Time for even more lawful maneuvering. There should be more than enough explanations between this and last post to get out of this peacefully.

Failing that, you're a trained binder, Casey. Surely you'd know how to break them. Even if that's with Clio just stabbing the lock with her spirit dagger.
>>
No. 1031344 ID: 96c896

Tell Nemo to be patient.
Time to figure out what's going on here. Interrogate the Justicar, ask why they wanted a book like that. It couldn't just have been to catch a thief- not when the book is something so specific. If Ometra won't cooperate, then you could drop the bomb on them, that the book wasn't stolen. It's not evidence of theft at all.
>>
No. 1031351 ID: e5709d

Wait for him to declare his motivations, in plain view of witnesses, then reveal everything and claim this is entrapment.
>>
No. 1031363 ID: 815672

Stay your hand. There has been a misunderstanding. You are about to punish an innocent.
>>
No. 1031382 ID: ce39da

"First, you must release him before anything else happens. While he did give you a book matching your description, that was indeed once part of our library, he did not steal it. He was given it so that he may give it to you, confirming your identity and guilt of conspiracy to commit theft. Your premise for punishing him on a count of theft, therefore, holds no water, while you are still very much in trouble."
>>
No. 1031731 ID: 9272af
File 165215202413.png - (156.35KB , 700x500 , 14-115.png )
1031731

Ometra growls at the Binder, “You’re one of them; one of her students, aren’t you?”

“You mean Tuvara-Malli? I’m a Binder, yes.” Casey nods slightly. The dullahan flinches at the sound of the first Guardian’s name and she continues, “Is that what this is all about? The old teacher?”

“The apostate!” Ometra accuses, “That magic is not for your kind. Mortals are wild and lawless: there is magic within those pages too dangerous for this world.”

“Oh really?” Casey’s head cocks with interest. “You talk a lot about law, but from where I’m standing you’re about to brand an innocent man.”

The dullahan scoffs, “I have the evidence right here! Stolen from the mortal ‘academy’.” They produce the altered tome, waving it like a beacon of justice.

“Are you sure about that?” Clio asks in an offhanded way.
>>
No. 1031732 ID: 9272af
File 165215203179.png - (198.07KB , 700x500 , 14-116.png )
1031732

Omerta pauses, flipping open the cover to see the title page: Professor Pendergast’s Ointments and Salves Vol IV. in its original printing of the Triad Seas dialect.

The Justicar pivots as if mounted on a swivel, slowly facing Nemo, who waves meekly. Their words thunk into the thief’s mind like knives being thrown, “This is not what we agreed on.”
>>
No. 1031736 ID: e5709d

Checkmate.
>>
No. 1031738 ID: e7848c

Actually we're pretty sure this exactly matches the description you gave. A book currently in the sender academy being translated, written by an "original teacher". Nemo has fulfilled his end of the bargain, as stated.
>>
No. 1031765 ID: 96c896

It's not stolen, by the way.
>>
No. 1031767 ID: 30b9f6

Nemo: You followed the specifications of the request to the letter. What were you supposed to acquire then? It's an educational institution - there's plenty of old teachers and several books under translation! Whose book were you supposed to acquire?

(Dare them to say the name.)

Casey: The Fae have left well enough alone, by and large, for ages, and the mortals have not gotten up to that much wildness on their own - there's simply not enough magic these days, yeah? You pronounce their reasoning flawed - or a veil. Why would they get involved in mortal affairs in this day and age even if an old text of an old teacher was revealed? What are they truly worried might come to light here?

(Dare them to reveal their true motivations - goodness knows you need a hint for translating that book!)

Clio: If the Dullahan gets violent, pop the blade and hold it up for them to see as the ultimate distraction. Grin and say mortals can pass judgement too, it is known. Are they so ready to face the music?

(Dare them to try anything.)
>>
No. 1031848 ID: ce39da

"The book matches the specifications you gave Nemo here exactly - an old teacher's book from the sender school's possession that was in the process of being translated. More fool you for not specifying how old the teacher was, or their name, or the book's title. It isn't stolen, either - we graciously gave it to him to use here; and now we have you where we want you."
>>
No. 1031954 ID: 9272af
File 165232191259.png - (123.93KB , 700x500 , 14-117.png )
1031954

“Actually, its exactly what you asked for. A book written by an old teacher, currently being translated.” Casey grins and continues, “And Nemo didn’t steal it: we gave it to him. Under Fae law, he’s done nothing wrong.”

“Do not presume to tell me what the law says!” Ometra snarls. “I am the voice of the law!”

“Well, the law should format its contracts better. You could have forced our cooperation if you’d had the courage to specify Tuvara-mal-“

Silence!” Ometra’s free hand whips another iron brand from their litchfire furnace. The justicar points it at Casey.
>>
No. 1031955 ID: 9272af
File 165232191794.png - (131.38KB , 500x700 , 14-118.png )
1031955

The mouse barely has time to react before a ring of pale green fire wraps itself around her neck and lifts her off the ground. She instinctively grabs for it, trying to support herself as she dangles, momentarily dropping her own binding spell.

“Casey!” Clio gasps as the mouse is pulled into the air
>>
No. 1031957 ID: c7eead

Oh shit! Can Clio cut her loose? Maybe break that tool with a gate or her knife?
>>
No. 1031958 ID: e7848c

>>1031955
You're going to need to be quick but you're going to want to put a portal under her feet connecting to the ground so she can stand on her own.
>>
No. 1031962 ID: 96c896

>>1031958
Can't do that, it'd cut her feet. Portals are dangerous, remember?

>>1031955
I wonder if cutting the brand would break the bind? Alternatively, you could ask for help from the staff here. Surely they have some means to kick out unruly patrons?
>>
No. 1031969 ID: e5709d

Quick, use your portal knife!
>>
No. 1031982 ID: 30b9f6

>>1031955
Casey, stabilize yourself with your wings and offer a hand/leg for Clio to scamper up you and carefully sever your bond with you-know-what. Don't let Ometra get a good look at it.

Both: Give Ometra raised eyebrows. And then, maybe something like...

"Y'know, I wonder if he isn't sacred of us saying Tuvara-Malli."

"I think so too. Though why would he be worried about Tuvara-Malli?"

"Yeah, looks like he should be more worried about people who aren't Tuvara-Malli presently, but what do we know? Just a bunch of wild, lawless mortals here, after all."

"Yup. Tuvara-Malli."

"Tuvara-Malli, indeed."
>>
No. 1031989 ID: de3d9f

This is no Justicar. They twist the law to suit themselves. This is a vigilante.
>>
No. 1032002 ID: c28082

>>1031955

Seems he's nothing but a blackguard vigilante with delusions of grandeur that freely attacks any with whom he so much as disagrees, and is too weak-willed to even acknowledge his own shortcomings.

Pitiful, really.
>>
No. 1032049 ID: b5f44b

>>1031955
Cut his ass. We haven't actually seen a gate cut yet, or anything cut by Clio's spell either. If there's a time to put that into action, it's now.
>>
No. 1032081 ID: 4ef6e2

>>1032049
If we cut anything, the iron he's brandishing is a better choice.
>>
No. 1032446 ID: 235693

The barista and other customers are cool with all of this? Surely they have noticed what's going on.

Gate-cut the brand is a good idea.
>>
No. 1032506 ID: 9272af
File 165274859220.png - (112.11KB , 700x500 , 14-119.png )
1032506

Casey’s wings flutter to life, giving her enough of a lift to croak out, “Touched a nerve?”
>>
No. 1032507 ID: 9272af
File 165274861971.png - (151.38KB , 500x800 , 14-120.png )
1032507

“You would do well not to invoke that name, mortal. You might have a pale shadow of our magic, but you have no idea-“ The justicar’s monologue stops as they clutch their arm in shock. The glowing brand falls in two perfectly cut halves and the litchfire shackle holding Nemo to the table vanishes; a moment later he does too. “Rrrrrroot and Stone! What was that?”

Clio lands on the ground and holds up her arm protectively as Casey flutters down beside her. Held in her fist is a hole in space, burning like the inside of a star.

“You…” Ometra steps back, seemingly terrified, “You shattered my binding… how did you?”

“What kind of law lets you treat people like that?” Clio hisses, “I’ve seen some nasty enforcers before, but you’re the worst.”
>>
No. 1032514 ID: 96c896

Tell the fae it would be best for them to surrender, and face true justice.
>>
No. 1032588 ID: ce39da

"You should be thanking us; if we allowed you to follow through with a verdict you knew was based on outright falsehoods at that point, it would have been grounds to brand you a devil, with all other fey present as our witnesses."

Perhaps here, it should dawn on him that everyone in this place is in on this setup. The proprietress, the other customers - everyone. This assumes that fey liches aren't any less super-illegal than ex-mortal ones, of course.
>>
No. 1032595 ID: 1c6255

You can also add that there's a reason you refer to her by name: Tuvara-Malli doesn't do titles. She founded a school that doesn't do ranks.

BTW, why did you switch from "lichfire" to "litchfire"?
>>
No. 1032599 ID: c7eead

They wanted T-M's book, and that's not going to happen because we need the book to accomplish our own goals.

They wanted to punish Nemo for wiggling out of their trap, but that's not going to happen because it's a shitty thing to do and legally dubious enough to get them in serious trouble.

This '"justicar" should ask themselves: Do they want to keep (acting like a jackass) escalating this conflict, or can we start looking for a less violent and backstabby solution?

If we can manage to de-escalate, we should try to find out if this guy or the people he works for know anything about what happened to Lord Hekal.
>>
No. 1032763 ID: 9272af
File 165293015916.png - (145.73KB , 700x596 , 14-121.png )
1032763

Clio stands and points the tip of the Claiomh-solais at the fey. “You better surrender; don’t make me use this thing on you. You've probably broken a bunch of laws at this point, so don’t make it worse."

"She's right," Casey coughs and continues, "You could get branded a devil for what you've done. I can't imagine your Court would be too happy about that, especially since it would compel you to only tell the truth."

“No, no.” Ometra says to themself, “I've heard of that blade. That magic is too dangerous: it already unmade everything once before. It must be stopped.”

They reach for one of their remaining branding irons, only to find it missing.
>>
No. 1032764 ID: 9272af
File 165293017568.png - (233.09KB , 700x700 , 14-122.png )
1032764

The headless figure seems to look around in confusion and, without warning, jumps and roars: one massive hand clutching their backside. They turn to find Nemo, holding a branding iron with a startled look on his face.

“Uh- Hi?-“ Nemo gulps.

The litchfire furnace seethes, “You. What have you done?!”
>>
No. 1032768 ID: e5709d

"Good question.
CLIO PORTAL OMERTA SOMEWHERE NOT HERE!"
>>
No. 1032770 ID: 96c896

Wait, those brands, is that how they brand devils? Well, we saw the one used to brand thieves, which presumably imprisons them somehow, or forces them into servitude. The second one was a binding brand... the third one is probably the devil brand.

So I guess the justicar's sentence has been preemptively carried out. Tell them they really have no choice now. Their clan won't want them anymore. Surrender and there may still be a life for them in mortal lands.
>>
No. 1032771 ID: 96c896

Wait, didn't they have four? One went missing when the binding brand was cut.
>>
No. 1032784 ID: c7eead

Wait, what exactly did he mean by "Unmade everything?" Does he actually know how that sword works?

Also, nice one Nemo! Get his ass!
>>
No. 1032815 ID: ecac66

I suggest we experiment on what exactly each brand does, we have a perfectly good test subject here after all.
>>
No. 1032817 ID: f52a42

>>1032784
Technically, he already did! Nemo, I would keep that brand out of his reach.
>>
No. 1032818 ID: 30b9f6

>Wot u done???
Stuck you in the rear with a judicious amount of karmic energy and/or possibly poetic justice. Or wait, do you have to do a poem for it to be poetic? Uhh...

"Ometra the Dullahan,
Came to a mortal town.

For justice, tried to trick a thief,
(But trust us, all they got was grief)
With heavy coins and magics light,
To filch a journal in the night.

But the Spirit Guardians saw through,
Knew thieves, and thievery so too.
They caught and spoke so that thief knew,
Unwise promises with fey he'd rue.

And so it came to this here day,
When Guardians and thief joined fray,
And turned the trick right back on them,
Who'd entrap the unchained and condemn.

The deal fulfilled, to letter's end,
No law thief broke, one must append.
Ometra righteously chained thief's hand,
But found the journal was not as planned.

Oh brands were raised and bindings cast,
But a blade was raised, the fey aghast,
Their butt got singed, their law cleave'd twain,
Whose bright idea had this been, again?

Oh what fools these Justicars be,
Who don't really get what it means to be free!"

>>
No. 1032957 ID: 5900c4

>>1032764
He just burned your ass! That's what he's done!
>>
No. 1032959 ID: f98a7b

Ah. Those last words are fey for "get the fuck away from here really fast"
>>
No. 1033031 ID: 9272af
File 165309983961.png - (144.04KB , 700x500 , 14-123.png )
1033031

“He branded you an oath-breaker: which, as the unjustly accused, he has every right to!” Casey laughs.

“I did?” Nemo looks down at the glowing sigil etched onto the justicar’s ass. “I j-just meant to be a distraction. I didn’t realize…”

“And we have a witness, right?”

The barista, who had been watching with a look of enraptured glee, waves. “Oh, everyone is going to hear about this! We can have songs and poems and nightly performances!” Her thin, dagger-like pupils stray towards the ceiling as she starts composing lyrics in her head.
>>
No. 1033032 ID: 9272af
File 165309984666.png - (147.43KB , 500x700 , 14-124.png )
1033032

Ometra shakes with fury, their headless form erupting like an emerald volcano. Their fists clench as they loom over Nemo, but something seems to be holding them back from attacking. “You have made a very powerful enemy this day!” They declare.
>>
No. 1033042 ID: c7eead

As have you
>>
No. 1033052 ID: 96c896

Don't let them run.
>>
No. 1033053 ID: 36784c

>>1033032
>something seems to be holding them back from attacking.
I think this means that brand prevents Ometra from attacking Nemo, since he’s the one that branded them.
>>
No. 1033059 ID: bb78f2

>>1033032
You are you're own enemy. Take on that one before making more.
>>
No. 1033073 ID: 2de4fd

Hold up a sec. You still haven't learned why he wanted this book. It's FAR to specific to be just a random sting operation.

Bind him, he's not getting away. Surely he's violated rules of hospitality in here enough for that, right?
>>
No. 1033139 ID: ecac66

Grab someone that can open a pocket dimension and imprison the Dullahan until it talks.
>>
No. 1033154 ID: 7f44fa

"I dunno dude, you were already treating me like an enemy. I'm not sure we're gonna notice the difference."
>>
No. 1033164 ID: 9a2966

"At least my ass doesn't glow in the dark. Or worse. Here."

Nemo: Toss him back his brand - it's not yours, after all, and it's done its job.

"What did you actually have in mind to do with me, Ometra? Before that doublecross you could've just walked away scot free, if tricked by your own open request. If you wanna blame anyone, why not whoever told you to get that book in the first place?"

C'mon... get them to blab about who wants the book in their rage. Or at least told them it'd been found and should be retrieved because mortals dangerous blah blah blah.


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