Welcome to No Books of Men! We are a modern alternate history board set in a magical school nestled in the Columbiana Valley of the Rocky Mountains. Students of the Collegium Illustrata Columbiana (commonly called simply The Academy) are free to explore their wildest imaginations in learning the mystic arts, so long as it does not jeopardize the ongoing Shadow War with the Exarchs. How will you live up to the legacies of Merlin?
darkkenchild is the Head Admin here at No Books. He enjoys long walks on the beach and debating the metaphysical underpinnings of reality, so any questions about your character , the plot of No Books, and/or how magic works on the site, please do not hesitate to ask him.
Squeeji is the head of “Human Resources” here at No Books, and responsible for pretty much everything related to our contact with the outside world. Advertising, orientation, and just about anything to do with bringing in new blood is in her wheelhouse.
Veronica had received one of those investigations that could put her in jail because sneaking into someone's house was illegal. it was true that a private investigator could justify it, but only if the investigator found something and by Veronica's experience it happened few times. If someone was really hiding something then they didn't hide it in their house. However, Veronica had to give it a shot.
So, here she was, at night, waiting for the owner to not be in the house. Veronica approached the house when she was sure that Crystal wasn't present "...and you are a thief now Veronica" she thought walking behind the house, she was wearing all black to not draw any attention. She better find something. Most of the time, Veronica searched people's houses only if she was sure to find some sort of proof.
Veronica was in front of the window "It seems that there isn't any security system...strange" she frowned looking down at the window, or at least it seemed so when she had made some research about the house and the owner. However, this was the only entrance hidden enough so she had to use it, she was gonna worry about the security system if it happened, she didn't want to stay here for too much time anyway.
Veronica managed to open the window and sneak into the house, it was dark, but she had a little flashlight, she had to be careful when to use it though because it could be seen from outside if Veronica pointed the light directly at one of the windows. Veronica closed the window behind her and started snooping around, she didn't know how much time she had.
Chrys was still on campus, but that wasn't exactly outside of the norm for her. It was dark already and her office hours were already long over, she often stayed late to finish her grading. She didn't like to take such things home, so she preferred to finish such things before heading out for the evening. She rubbed her temples for a moment contemplating what exactly the student had meant in their analysis of the text. She was even starting to worry that it wa yet another case of a student being intentionally obtuse to cover the fact that they had not done the assignment. Leaning back with a sigh, she contemplated how to handle the situation when she felt something that drew her immediate and full attention... Someone was in her house.
She had no security because she did not need it, as the home was part of her Cover she always knew what was happening within its walls. If anyone or anything entered, she could feel the Aetheric resonance much like a spider sensing movement within its web. She paused, her brow knitting with curious worry. Maybe it was just the raccoon getting into the garage again, hardly worth concern... Then she felt it again. This wasn't a raccoon. She knew it was too big to be a small woodland mammal, but she couldn't be sure what else it could be. This could not be left alone...
Standing up, she carefully walked to her door in a manner that would seem like a professor casually closing her door against a draft. Then, taking a deep breath, she allowed her human form to fade and took on her metallic true form. Once more looking around to be sure that she would not even be seen through the window, she closed her blue glowing eyes and seemed to fold within herself multiple times until there was nothing in the space she had once occupied...
...and a moment later she silently unfolded herself within her kitchen. Her human form molded back in around around her form, hiding her true self from prying eyes once more. The exception was the pair of blue glowing eyes she allowed to leak through her mortal Cover as her true eyes were better able to see through the gloom than human eyes ever could. Walking around and tracing her faintly glowing over every detail of her home as she went, she looked for the source of the disturbance. It took only a moment to pinpoint the source and bracing herself for the worst she rounded the corner to confront the intruder. "Who dares enter my home!" She shouted, her glowing eyes standing out as clearly in the gloom as her hands seemed to lose focus and blur into the darkness.
"Something is happening in the kitchen" Veronica had the time to think before someone yelled at the intruder...also called Veronica. She turned off the flashlight and stayed in the shadows. She was in a corridor away from the kitchen, but still, she didn't know how much time she had. Veronica took her phone ready to use it if necessary. Also, an exit, she had to find an exit "It's better in the movies" Veronica thought while still staying in the corridor. She didn't know what to do because moving wasn't an option, sure, she could move silently, but she could also bump into something and that would be even worse.
Her mobile was in silence mode of course, but Veronica had an half-idea to use her phone as a way to distract the woman. Using the little light that the phone's screen was providing, Veronica moved into the corridor and entered in one of the rooms where the door was already at least half-opened, she didn't want to risk to make any noise.
Unfortunately, plans often didn't go as planned. Veronica entered in a room, but something in the room also fell on the ground at the same time, probably because of Veronica. The noise was loud enough to draw the woman's attention. Veronica didn't have time to think, just to act. She saw a window and hoped to get there before the other woman arrived. Veronica didn't want to be spotted, it wasn't good for business. Well, luck wasn't at her favor, it seemed.
Chrys felt a bit foolish really. I mean 'who dares' sounds like some sort of badly written Hollywood cliche. Of course the intruder didn't step out and introduce herself when Chrys sounded like the villain in a bad fantasy movie. Chrys made a mental note to watch less Netflix on her late nights and maybe spend some more time practicing her social skils in front of the mirror. Two years might be too long to wait before a refresher.
Focusing back on the matter at hand, Chrys slowly walked through her home and taking care not to make any sound. Fortunately, thanks to one of her preternatural abilities, she could be very quiet when she wanted to be. Between that and the fact that the dark house may as well have been lit as midday for her ability to see in it, Chys moved after the intruder unimpeded. She still couldn't find the woman, as her other senses were unenhanced, but based on the disturbences in the Aether she could tell that the intruder was somewhere towards the side of the house...
...which was supported a moment later when a loud thud announced the intruder's mistake. A moment later and a quick warping of spacetime, Chrys was in the living room and barely a foot from her intruder. As the intruder made a break for the window, Chrys clmly and silently pace a firm but gentle hand on the other woman's shoulder. "That's enough. Why don't you have a seat young..." A moment's hesitation as she scanned the girl with faintly glowing blue eyes. "...lady. We can discuss this like human adults can we not? I don't want to call the authorities if I don't have to..."
"Ok, Veronica, you surely can't have a career as thief" she thought after the loud noise then after...not even a second...she felt a hand on the shoulder. Veronica sighed turning around so that she could face the hand's owner. It seemed the owner of the house, but she couldn't tell because of the lack of light in the room. Veronica frowned and tried to figure out the face in front of her "It seems Crystal" she thought "Young lady, I only hear it when my relatives scold me" she kept thinking, not sure of what to say "Discuss like human adults..." Veronica thought that it was an odd combination of words, just sounded odd.
But...wait, wait, wait. No one was in the house and then Crystal...poof! Veronica was sure that nobody had been in the house when she had come in here. Mh. Veronica nodded, not involving the authorities was good for Veronica, but maybe was good for Crystal too...maybe she was hiding something in here "Sorry for the intrusion" Veronica said at some point, being a little bit sarcastic, just a little bit, because she had intruded for a reason so apologizing was just hypocrite.
Veronica didn't know what to say or what to do...or better...she had something to ask now that she thought about it "You weren't here, I was sure of that...and now..." Veronica rose a brow "...you are here" Veronica was curious to know how and what had happened, but at the same time she wasn't in the position to ask questions seen that she was the intruder, but still, she had to ask.
Chrys watched as the young woman considered her options, and she could only hope that the intruder made the smart decision. She really didn't want to call the police, but she would if there was trouble. When she saw the nod a moment later, Chrys visibly relaxed. "Thank you for the apology, but I am sure you have your reasons..." ...no matter how misguided. She knew better than to voice that particular comment, but she certainly thought it. If she noticed the sarcasm, she didn't show it.
"Now come. Sit. Then we'll figure out what to do about this..." She trailed off when she heard Veronica's question, even if it wasn't phrased as a question. "Hm? Oh. Yes. Well..." She floundered a bit for an explanation, only now realizing that in her haste to ensure it wasn't a more existential threat, she had tipped her hand somewhat. "...let's just say I have certain talents and devices in place for security." Not altogether untrue, but far from an honest truth either. Until she had a better grasp of what the young woman knew, Chrys didn't want to reveal more than she already had...
She walked over to the end table beside the couch and switched on a lamp there before turning to Veronica with a deadly serious expression. "Now sit." It wasn't a request. "Tell me why you are here, in my home, without permission. What did you come for?" Knowing what had driven the girl to breaking and entering would do much to shape Chrys's view of how she should deal with the situation...
Veronica wasn't sold about the woman's explanation, but she sat when she told her to sit, her tone pretended no complains. The private investigator was feeling a little blue and worried, she didn't know what to do, she had to find a way to go away, but even going away wasn't an option because the woman could talk with the police...it was true that Veronica had friends in the police, but still, she wasn't above the law.
Veronica kept thinking that she had to find something, anything, otherwise she just was in big trouble. Anyway, the woman was reacting in a very interesting way at Veronica's intrusion, she was hiding something, Veronica was hoping so. A light was turned on, it wasn't much for Veronica's average eyes, but it was better than nothing.
There you go, the fatal question. Veronica had to be very careful "Okay, Veronica, don't screw this up" she thought trying to keep a straight face "I..." don't stop talking just talk Veronica "...I am not a thief" she replied sincerely because she wasn't although she was like a thief right now. This was kind of an answer, Veronica had given a sincere reply saying the reason why she wasn't there.
Chrys watched the woman with what seemed to be a passive expression. In truth, she was anything but passive. Countless calcuations and scenarios were coursing through the circuitry of her mind at near the speed of light. Some were discarded out of hand in less than an instant. The girl clearly wasn't one of the Heralds, that much was obvious due to her lacking the distinct Aetheric 'flavor' of such beings. She could be pact-bound, but that was unlikely as Chrys should be able to sense such, though it would be difficult to confirm short of trying to form such a bond. Could be a dupe, of course. Just an innocent wrapped up in things she didn't understand, or she could be self-motivated for one reason or another. Either of the latter scenarios would mean Chrys would need to take great care to be subtle and merciful in her handling of the situation.
"Well." Chrys paused to process the other woman's statement. "...That's a start." She nodded. Probability calculations indicated to Chrys that she could trust those words with 87.34% certainty. That closed off a number of potential scenarios, but did little to eliminate other concerns. There were many terrible things the girl could still be even if she wasn't a thief. "Not a thief is a good start." She smiled, accepting the statement but clearly not terribly happy with its vagueness.
Chrys walked over to a nearby chair, somewhat overstuffed and dropped herself into it with a faint whoosh of air from the cushion. "Unfortunately, that doesn't tell me much else." She sighed. She had little context for dealing with a situation like this, so she thought back to the many television shows she had watched over the last few years. "I mean, I don't even know who you are, let alone why you are here..." She smiled, waving her hands like she half-remembered some actor doing as she parroted the words, "...I mean, you have me at a disadvantage here. You clearly know who I am, but I don't even know your name." Chrys didn't expect an honest answer, but she needed to call the woman something other than 'Miss.' Besides, names built trust and trust might lead to the real reason the girl was here. " I mean... You have to give me something in return for not calling the cops... Assuming that was still the plan?"
Actually, this wasn't the first time that Veronica had been caught by the owner of the place she had been investigating on. However, everytime, the ending was always different. There were times that the owner had tried to kill her or kidnap her, but just talking to her was actually the first time. The situation here was very civilized and it was strange for Veronica because she was used to the angry owners who tried to harm her somehow...well, just the owners who had something to hide.
Although Crystal wasn't trying to harm Veronica, the detective still felt that something was wrong, usually people didn't react in a civilized way. Veronica listened to Crystal words and observed her gestures, there was nothing wrong with that though "It's still the plan" Veronica nodded "If I tell you my name then you won't call the cops" she had to say it anyway because her face was on the official Private Detectives' list and sometimes in announcements for jobs so Crystal could recognize her.
"I'm Veronica Bell" she decided to be honest "I'm a Private Investigator" there you go, honesty, it usually led to something. However, honesty had its limits, Veronica couldn't reveal who her client was, so she wouldn't answer if Crystal asked that.