Grimoire Girl: Chapter 4 part 1
Pierre crossed the old wooden bridge over a small creak, that lead from the education building to the guarded house belonging to the Order. Trying not to feel like a student called to the principals office, he braced himself, inwardly and outwardly, for the Order’s rebuke.
Two guards, dressed in black robes over similar gray leather armor, stepped forward to greet him. One glance at his ring relaxed the hands hidden beneath their robes.
“Greetings Librarian, the Order is not expecting you,” the one on the left announced from under his black hood.
Pierre blinked, mixture of relief and surprise surfacing on his face.
“I was told to report this morning about an-” he started to explain.
“If you need to address the Order on matters of utmost urgency, we will take a message for you. But I’m afraid the Order is busy at the moment dealing with another very important matter,” the second guard informed him gruffly.
“All other matters will have to wait until such time as the Order is free to deal with them properly,” the first added with finality.
“I understand…” Pierre murmured. While the Oder being to busy to pepper him with questions about his lack of control yesterday was a good thing, his curiosity was running wild with what might be happened. The Coven had reported no new or unusual sighting of demons. That could only mean a magical item or some rogue sorcerer was the cause of this sudden urgency.
With a polite bow to the guards, feeling he owed someone a gesture of gratitude or this providential escape from a good tongue lashing, Pierre turned around and headed for the bridge. He has just reached the other side when someone cleared their throat behind him.
The man, who had appeared practically from no where, stood in the exact center of the bridge, arms folded under his green robes. Green, a wandering sorcerer then. Pierre studied the untidy shoulder length hair, but well trimmed beard with familiar interest. He knew this man from somewhere.
Aware of the man’s gaze, staring at him expectantly, Pierre turned to face him offering a polite smile.
“Did you need-”
“Everlast, right?” the man asked instead, studying the ring on Pierre’s hand with a look of faint doubt. “I heard the guards addressing you.”
“I am the Librarian, Everlast, yes,” Pierre answered, realizing with growing curiosity this man had come from the Order’s office.
“Doberman,” the man announced, stepping forward with an offered hand. Pierre shook it, mind rolling over the possible reasons a parent would name their child after a dog. “I think you might be of help to us young librarian.”
“How can I help? And who would ‘us’ be?” Pierre asked warily.
Doberman’s lips twitched in amusement. “I assure you I have nothing to do with the Keegan’s, I am here to assist the Order, though I must confess my knowledge in this area to be a bit lacking.”
He was working for the Order, which meant he knew what their secret meeting was about?
“And what area would that be?” Pierre asked quizzically, trying not to look too eager.
“I’ve been sent here to hunt down a book,” Doberman answered his tone suddenly serious. “More then that I can not tell you here. Perhaps we might discuss the matter more privately at your library?”
Pierre nodded dumbly, a rather unpleasant feeling rising in his gut as he contemplated the possibility of this book being the one trapped in Victoria.
* * * * *
Victoria was relaxing on her new comfortable bed, feet swinging lazily over the edge, when Flea appeared through the curtains looking rather worried.
“It’s him again?” the apparition coughed, his small dark body shaking with indignation.
“Who is?” Victoria asked, feigning disinterest.
“That troublesome boy, that’s who,” Flea snapped as if this were the only logical conclusion to come too.
“You mean Paul?” Victoria queered, suddenly apprehensive. Was he really back in broad daylight to steal a book again? Springing up from the bed, she grabbed her boots, quickly slipping them on and tightening the strings as she hopped towards the stairs. Flea simply flew over the balcony with all the skill of a ghost, waiting for her anxiously by the barrier.
“What do we do?” Victoria asked, hearing the sound of a car pulling up outside. “Did Pierre get a chance to change the barrier.”
“I don’t know, its not like he lets anyone watch when he changes security around here,” Flea huffed, seemingly faintly hurt that the Librarian still didn’t trust him.
Doubling back to the kitchen, Victoria glanced between the broom, and an iron kettle, before selecting the latter as a weapon. A good knock on the head and a time out might help Pierre’s troublesome brother rethink his new hobby.
For a few brief moments she reflected on the fact that Flea seemed to have found someone he hated more then her, but then she was back to focusing on the person picking the lock: again. Bracing by the wall on the other side of the barrier, skillet raised like a bat over her shoulder, Victoria waited.
“Hello,” Paul called out loud and clear as the door opened. “Pierre? Crazy Girl? Anyone?”
Who was he calling crazy..?
Springing out, with a quick snappish retort on her lips, Victoria prepared to cross the barrier an take him on - when her eyes fell on the girl beside him.
“Seriously, what are you, his pit bull?” Paul asked eying the frying pan with a scowl. The beautiful girl beside him, tugged his sleeve, sending him a questioning look. “Ahh, Alice, this is,” he paused, “a guest of my brothers, -Trish?”
“Victoria,” she corrected, placing the frying pan behind her back as she offered Alice an uncertain smile.
“Is the Librarian present?” Alice asked, eyeing Victoria with guarded eyes that expressed interest.
“He had to leave early today, after last night the Order requested he give a report in person,” Victoria explained, accusing eyes turning on Paul.
“I see,” Alice murmured, not looking too disappointed. Turning to Paul with a flattering smile she added, “I’m sure you’re just as capable of showing me around.”
The tone of voice and the expression Alice used, brought back memories of Karen, parading her hold over Ben those many months ago. Victoria decided there and then Alice was bad news. Paul eat it up like candy though, smiling confidently as he led Alice to the barrier.
“Wait, you can’t-” Victoria started to protest. Their faces registered a brief expression of shock as the barrier tossed them back, and a cloud of honey and flour suddenly opened up from the ceiling above. “Oh, my god..” Victoria covered her lips to stop from laughing.
Flea was not so kind, the until then invisible ghost toppled onto Victoria shoulder - creating a brief sensation of extreme cold - as his pierced and shrilling laughter filled the library.
“This must be my brothers sense of a joke,” Paul seethed. Alice stood rigged as a statue, her face several shades paler, eyes burning with humiliation and anger.
Flea’s sense of amusement was catching.
“More like payback after the mess you left him to clean up last night,” Victoria shot back defensively. “Anyone with common sense should know you can’t pass the barrier without the Librarian’s permission, and he warned you last night he’d change it for you as well.”
“He had no right, this is just as much my home as it is his,” Paul shouted back advancing, but stopping just short of the barrier.
Crossing her arms in front of her confidently, Victoria smiled. “Maybe if you hadn’t tried to steal from him, he’d be more receptive to letting you come and go.”
“This is ridiculous,” Alice snapped, stepping forward, but stopping beside Paul with a wary look at the barrier. “You tell that stuffy, arrogant book worm that he only governs who has access to the books. He can’t deny his own brother, and certainly not a member of my family, from entering.”
“And why exactly can’t he do that?” asked another voice form the open door way. Paul and Alice both spun around to find Pierre, and a man in a green cloak, entering the library. “Everything in the library falls under the jurisdiction of the Librarian. And it is not a ‘home’ for anyone except the Librarian and those he offers sanctuary too,” continue the man at Pierre’s side, eying Alice with mild interest. “Keegan, I believe.”
“And you would be?” Alice snapped icily.
“Doberman. No you won’t know the name, but your brother does,” the man answered with a knowing smile. Something in his tone seemed to push Alice off balance, she shut her mouth, released Paul’s arm, and stormed angrily past Doberman and Pierre outside.
Paul waited only long enough to send Pierre a deathly glare before following her outside.
“The ‘other’ Everlast, I presume,” Doberman observed, following Paul with keen eyes.
Pierre didn’t answer, and it was then that Victoria noticed his rather worried expression. Flea seemed to catch onto it, the ghost leaned close to Victoria’s ear and whispered, “I think its best if we disappeared.”
Okay, so normally she wouldn’t trust a word this ghost said, but Pierre did seem rather nervous about something..
“It seems you have a guest presently, Librarian,” Doberman observed, glancing over the skinny girl who disappeared towards the back of the library with little interest.
“Yes, friend of a friend, needed a place to stay for a while,” Pierre nodded, relieved Flea had caught his message.
“She seemed, normal enough,” Doberman frowned, “is she a-”
“She’s perfectly normal I’m afraid, just here about a small ghost problem,” Pierre lied again, praying his deceptive spell would mask the fact. Lying to a sorcerer was tricky business, but only if they expected you to lie. Doberman didn’t seem bothered, and much to Pierre’s relief, he turned back towards the door.
“Perhaps we should find another place to have our conversation. I don’t believe the Order would want me spilling secrets in front of such dubious company,” Doberman suggested patiently.
“Of course,” Pierre agreed, closing the library door behind him, inwardly relishing Alice’s expression covered in honey and flour.
Of course, the fact that Paul was here with her did bother him…but right now he was more interested in the book Doberman was hunting.