Book 2 – TTW – Prologue

To Lia,

What is a dream, but another world?

May we dream of the world where we are together.

MYSTRYAL

The Case of:

The Traitor’s Whim

Written by Calum Traveler.

PROLOGUE

Tonight was a less-than average night for the current Chief of the Mystryal Agency being spent filing paperwork and reading the day’s reports. On an average night, come the strike of eight o’clock, she would head home, slither out of her uniform, and soak the tip of her tail in one of those fancy, magically calibrated water powered foot massagers that the previous Chief had recommended to her; meanwhile, Ranagi would give her a shoulder rub and back massage. Alas, she would be alone tonight as he was out on assignment. And so she would instead be spending an extra hour reading over whatever report had been written during the previous day; come morning her eyes would be red less from their natural coloring and more from staring at paperwork for longer than was necessary or strictly healthy.

Her name was Nahgi Llewellyn, and like most Lamias of her kind, she was extremely long lived. This made her recent appointment as Agency Chief one that she was expected to fulfill for the rest of her life… That didn’t mean she couldn’t enjoy the finer things in life when she could, however. But when her best friend’s investigation partner (and her lover) made up a vast majority of the category ‘finer things,’ it was hard to do anything but work to fill the void.

After all, how often could it be said that she was one of the few people who had a direct line to the Agency and Academy’s founder without having to go through a summoning circle? The Denizen of the many Paths- The Hunter of Justice- Hecate. Very few people in the world knew that the shape shifting Creator had founded the combination Academy and Agency, and even fewer knew that through Hecate, Mystryal held a firm tie to its very anti-thesis: The Lucky Cat’s Guild of thieves.

Yes, that sneaky thieves guild- the equally secretive bunch of Cat-eared folk who slipped through the shadows and maintained a steady, predictable flow of crime across the world. At its head was the Mistress of Shadows, the one who directed All of the criminal under-world to luck and fortune… the one who shared the same bed as Mystryal’s founder, Hergie.

The very thought of the Cat-girl curled up next to the gender-fluid Wolf caused Nahgi to chuckle, even as she eyed the special phone sitting on her desk- it was “enchanted” with a perception filter that made both items invisible to anyone who was not worthy of seeing it. “Enchanted”, that is, in some Ascended Magic sense that didn’t even use the modern rune system. She didn’t pretend to understand it nor wanted to beyond the basic facts.

The Phone itself was both a direct line to Hecate (it would call them immediately, where-ever they were, whenever Chief Llewellyn thought to pick up the phone) and an indirect line to the Cat’s Guild itself. How that worked was a bit more of a mystery. Nahgi Llewellyn knew she could never call them directly, but on the other hand, the thieves’ Guild Master (the equivalent roll to her own job as Chief) could call her at any time when something demanding of Mystryal’s importance was discovered in some intrepid thieves’ burglary.

She had never personally had a call from either Hergie herself except for the day she first was sworn into office. That infuriating cat had congratulated her on getting one of the most stressful jobs in existence, and then wished her luck in catching anyone who wasn’t a part of her guild before hanging up. Sometimes she wondered, would she get a call tonight that would save her from the dreadful dullness of paperwork? Would she be asked to put aside some brazen crime that ended up with a man money-less, but still possessing his life? (Because that was the one rule that Nahgi Llewellyn knew the Thieves Guild operated by, “Never Take a Life.”)

But it never happened. Several months after first taking the job, she had yet to receive a call. She had yet to receive any word from that shadowy organization, and wondered if it was a sign of trouble. The former Chief laughed when she’d told him about this seeming oddity, and he told her that her fears were very much unfounded. “Crime and Justice,” he said, “ebbs and flows like the course of a river under the tides of Mizar and Alcor.” And then with that he flicked her on the nose and said, “You definitely worry too much. Get that foot massager already!”

And so she had, and so she sat in her chair in her office, wishing that her tail’s tip was curling around itself in the fresh, bubbling water… She took a sigh of resentment, before looking at the small clock next to the framed photograph of her at Graduation, along with her best friend, Kana Mayoi, and the man whose daughter she should be checking in on shortly, Ranagi Kaie. ‘Almost Nine thirty. Kendal should be in bed by now,’ Llewellyn mused, ‘I wonder if Ranagi called yet?’

A few moments of signing off on things that required her signature later, and Nahgi stuffed the finished paperwork underneath the Ruby Heartstone paperweight that she kept on her desk for such just a purpose. It was time to go check on Kendal.

Chief Nahgi Llewellyn had no way of knowing it, but at that very moment, Ranagi Kaie was chewing through the rope binding his investigative partner in an attempt to escape a flooding cavern that two cultists had thrown them into.

She also had no way of knowing that in a few short hours, she would be receiving a phone call from Hecate and Hergie both, informing her that a certain Cataclysmic Demon had escaped her prison cell… and then the next morning have it confirmed by her lover that he had been there at ground zero.

But that was life, after all. Things could change in a heartbeat. The ebb and flow of luck, so on and so forth. Yes, she would soon discover, that foot-spa had been a worthy investment. She was going to wear out the enchantments from overuse before the month was out.

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