“We were in The Eye of the Storm,” Ranagi Kaie said it quietly, almost as if dreading the very words he was about to speak. “Matoi then stabbed herself and brought down that other dimension’s glare upon us. It was…” He sighed. “It was all just to bring that bitch back into this world.”
Chief Nahgi Llewellyn looked over at Kana Mayoi, and the orange scaled dragon nodded, a tired look peering out through those green eyes of hers. It had been stressful enough going through it once, the Chief imagined, let alone telling the whole tale again for the second time.
“I heard about it before you two came back,” Nahgi glanced outside her office where the team’s group of tag-alongs had grown significantly than it had left the Isles with. “Hecate was not pleased, I can tell you that much.”
“When are they?” Mayoi asked sarcastically as she leaned back into her chair.
“When we do our jobs right and don’t let cultists allow banished demons back into our world?” Kaie asked in return, less sarcastic and more sour.
‘More like when Hergie’s around,’ Nahgi shook her head of that thought and then coughed to get their attention back on her. “Regardless, it was inevitable, Hecate told me, that after the last semi-failed attempt, that the next would likely succeed. Some crazy bitch sacrificing herself is just icing on top of the cake…” She peered over the remainder of the written report.
The “Official” string of events that left out quite a lot from the actual events. Things like one of their intern-students having discovered a soul bond with a then-suspect. Things like the fact that the Muse Zuzol had been reported to have been slain by one of the now-dead criminals, a statement that even Hecate had no real confirmation for, citing, “Prizen, Collen, and Zuzol have all had their disappearing acts before. Zuzol especially is like the void between the stars when she wants to be.”
That said, there was some major concern, and so a quick conference call with Yaovi was made. Said call confirmed that the Muse Zuzol, of the Guardian Trio, had indeed disappeared some time before the first summoning attempt for the Traitor Princess Kyiahlnah, but as to the question of if the Muse was dead? The Reaper was looking into it for the moment and would get back to them when she had more news.
The Lamia Chief of Mystryal looked out her office window once more. Waiting just outside doing their own paperwork (Or not, depending on the person) were the kids involved in all of this. There was the Lycan girl, Ayako Mayoi, pressing herself up against the Lycan boy, Tony Nori. With a flick of her eyelids, Llewellyn peered into the Sight, and observed their souls.
The Sight was gift all of the Lamia species had received at birth, and it let them see things that only some of the Creators- like Yaovi, or Zuzol- could see, except slightly more limited in scope. It was for their own protection, legend and experience told. There were some Lamias who could see more than usual. Something about their mortal biology just couldn’t handle all that extra information, it seemed, because all of those “Super” Seers all suffered from a tragically short life.
Nahgi was not one of those Lamias, however, and so she was fine peering at these few particular auras.
Yes, there was the telltale sign of a strong, golden bond of magic flowing between Ayako’s and Tony’s hearts, a metaphorical representation of the bond within the Sight. While still viewing through the Sight, she glanced over at the other Nori sibling, Miri, and frowned at the abruptly severed magic of a bond temporarily severed by death. That was a detail that, unfortunately, had not and could not have been left out of the official report despite one person’s best intentions. It had been noted, very sadly, that Miri Nori and Shirou Tsubaki’s bond had been, for the moment, silenced in death. There was a Death Shimmer, but was lost within the dangling threads of a Bond.
“So with Shirou dead, the cultists dead, and their mother dead, basically you want to…?” Nahgi she asked this as she turned her Sight towards Kana Mayoi. The aura around her friend was shifting from a tired pale-grey to a flush, almost motherly shade of pink. Good, she could always count on Kana Mayoi to play the role of team mom when it mattered the most.
“For the time being? Enroll them in classes at the Academy, and keep an eye on them.” Mayoi paused, to look out the window at the sad, still quiet Drow girl, Tsukia Tsubaki, and the energetic Spriggain next to her. “Lizzy’s requested admission regardless, so that shouldn’t be too much of an issue. She’s pretty excited to be here.”
“Yes… the enchanter extraordinaire Spriggain,” Nahgi followed her friend’s glance outside, and observed with the Sight.
Much like Miri, there was something sad in the Spriggain girl’s aura and soul. A Death Shimmer that was trying to hide itself, but the edges were just too rough, and were inflamed. Nahgi shifted her Sight over to the Imp girl in the Mystryal uniform, Mikari Yuki, for comparison. In that girl’s soul held the same Shimmer, but less pronounced than the other. For sure it had once been as noticeable as the Spriggain’s, but was now faded. Edges smoothed over time, it was barely there, really, and only noticeable with direct focus and comparison.
Such quirks in the Sight were omens to Lamias, telling that the given observed soul had been touched by a large death. The stronger the rift, the more likely that the death had happened recently. The weaker, the more likely it was that it was an older incident, and the wounds had faded to a large degree. If not compared directly to someone who was never startled by death like the ice-colored Dragon, Tyler Obonz, an inexperienced Lamia would likely overlook the shimmers as a normal part of a soul.
Nahgi turned to look to Tsukia Tsubaki for comparison and- ‘What the fuck?‘– something in Nahgi Llewellyn’s soul shuddered as she looked upon the Drow girl’s aura. It was ravaged, torn up and shredded and even looked burnt in places. No doubt after effects of the multiple deaths in her family in addition to the chaos of a demon summoning.
“You okay there, Nahgi?” Kaie asked, breaking her out of her thoughts with just a kind smile. (Damn business regulations, so long as they kept it outside of the office, nobody would complain of their relationship, but during office hours…)
“I’m fine,” Llewellyn shook her head. “The Sight can just be… overwhelming at times.” Both detectives nodded at that, accepting the answer as the truth… which it was, really. “I’ll get the paperwork sorted out for the applications. I’m sure the Academy Principal won’t mind me handling it for a change.”
“You know how much he complains,” Mayoi laughed as she got up from her chair. “I’ll go tell them they’re in.”
“That’s fine,” Nahgi nodded, and with that, the orange scaled dragon left the room with a swish of her tail.
“Alright, now spill,” Kaie frowned at his Boss/Girlfriend, and wow was that a subject she did not want to even try to approach right now. “I know that look. You’re thinking about something.”
“You know how one of the first things I did when I got this job was call our Boss Upstairs about your daughter?” Nahgi asked. “How I saw what the ritual did to her soul, and if there was anything that Hecate could do to help?”
“I remember,” Kaie nodded. “I also remember that wolf taking one sniff at her and then grimacing, but refusing to tell us why.” He didn’t voice the fact that it was a cover story, they both knew what the real story was. Hecate had informed them of the fate that Kendal would have if they could not find a way to remove the fire magic that the cultists had infected Kendal with- the same fate as Ayako’s… former guardian.
“I thought, just now,” Nahgi paused, “maybe I should call in and ask if there will be any… complications for the Tsubaki girl. I’m concerned at how well she’s holding together and the state of her soul. It’s possible she’ll recover on her own, but that could very well change very suddenly…”
“So what’s wrong with calling for advice?” Kaie asked.
“I’m afraid that a trap has been planted in her soul- a weapon against anyone who tries to meddle,” she closed her eyes, wishing that she hadn’t lied, although the lie’s statement in-and-of itself was a good idea, now that she had thought of it. Something to look into as well… “For now, I’m just going to observe her soul. If I see something start to change for the worse, I’ll have to reconsider the risks.” Hopefully before it wasn’t too late.
“If you say so,” Kaie turned to look outside, as the group of kids erupted into cheers at something Mayoi said. Oh, and now she was turning to come back into the office and–
“Pizza Dinner Party at my apartment tonight!” Kana Mayoi grinned, leaning through the door she was partially holding open with one hand.
Pizza, huh? Discarding all notions of being chief for a moment, Nahgi Llewellyn nodded. “I’ll be there.”
The food commodity known as “Pizza” Originated from the Port town “Romain Port” on the southern cost of the Northern most Continent, N’kaish’al. It was essentially a flat bread, either round or square in shape, covered in tomato sauce and a variety of toppings, the primary one being some form of cheese.
The “Original Classic Style” Pizza’s contents was a matter of hot debate in food circles, as it had emerged as one restaurant’s way of fulfilling a picky customer’s very strange order in a seemingly spiteful way. Instead of scooping out a huge bowl of day’s old bread and filling it with leftover ingredients and served cold (COLD! On one of the coldest continents in the world!), the chefs had taken offense at the order, and instead whipped up everything fresh, making a ‘bowl’ out of bread dough that, when cooked, ended up creating a sort of thick-rimmed crust with a thinner inside.
Thus, “Pizza”, named after the creative chef himself, Camembir Piz’zaxa, had been born. The customer in question had loved it, and immediately ordered a round of pizza for every customer in the shop. Needless to say, many merchants from other ports and countries had been in that shop on that day, picked up the recipe, and almost immediately it had become a world-wide hit.
Some people dared to theorize that one of the world’s Creators had been the one to prompt the order that innovated the strange concoction of food, calling it ‘food fit for gods.’ Nahgi Llewellyn knew better than to believe such rumors, and to ignore such strange titles. One of her ancestors had been in that port, and had steadfastly said that the person who ordered the first Pizza had a perfectly normal soul aura besides being extremely picky about his food.
A fit of spite had ended up creating one of the world’s best known food-stuffs, and there was nothing divine, or demonic, about it. That was all there was to it, beyond people taking something well out of context. Even so, Pizza Parties were things that a vast majority of people could get behind, regardless of what they believed of its origins. Food was food, and it tasted wonderful regardless. Why did some people have to make such a federal issue out of every little thing?
But putting aside all of that unnecessary exposition for some actually needed exposition; Kana Mayoi’s apartment was located in the Residential District, just a few blocks north of the Plesio Myne’s Pizza Parlor that they’d ordered from, which was in the Other Business district- a place where any shop or store that couldn’t fit in either the Student Shopping district’s or the Mystery Mall’s limited store space. To own store land on Mystryal’s Isles was a status symbol. Only those people who had passed exhaustive clearance checks were allowed to work here, and only those businesses who didn’t cause trouble were allowed to maintain knowledge of the alternating way-gate pass codes. The same process of selective entry was maintained for anyone from the Scientific Community, and all had to sign a magically binding contract stating that they would keep the biggest secret of all: That the Islands were in another dimension- possibly even in another Universe entirely.
The Creators had gone to great lengths to maintain the illusion that Kono Yisela and Yuugo Yisela were physically located on Oneuywa with the rest of the world. To aid in this deception, Map Makers constantly drew the islands on the map in the vast sea between N’kaish’al and Bragegaius, right on the date-line of the world. It went without saying that anyone who tried sailing there by boat would quickly find themselves not landing where they expected to land at all.
The wonderful auroras and brilliantly shimmering, constantly changing stars that made up Mystryal’s night sky told anyone who was there that they were no-longer terrestrially bound, and it more than made up for the inconvenience of the required multi-step travel to get to-and-from any destination. It also didn’t hurt that Mayoi’s apartment was on the top floor of a building resting atop a small hill that was overlooking an ocean of rainbow colors and strange, lizard like creatures beyond mortal comprehension. (Cryptozoologistis who came to Mystryal had a field day that quickly turned into a field week, then a month, and then a year and then decades, and then…)
All of this was a brand new sight for the four children who had been taken away from the western most island of Aura’s Dawn, located in the Sunrise Isles chain that had seen so much trouble over the many years since the cataclysm.
For the Nori twins, they stared out with awe at the sight of stars and rainbow auroras that made up the night sky. The quiet Tsubaki girl seemed to have snapped out of her current state by the sheer awe and wonder of it all. And the Spriggain girl… Seemed to take it all in only for a few moments before picking out constellations in the sky that only she seemed familiar with to some degree or another.
Kaie had left early at one point to go home to pick up his daughter, and would be returning soon with her in tow. For now, the off-duty Chief sat down on the comfortable sofa and sprawled her tail out across it while Mayoi and her three favorite intern-students worked to set the table, chatting idly as they did such.
“You made sure to ask for extra meat this time, right?” Ayako Mayoi asked, lupine tail swishing angrily at the indignity that had been the last failed order.
“Yeah, I made sure,” Mayoi nodded. “We’ve got three hungry Lycans here. I’ve learned from my mistakes!” She then joking ribbed Obonz with one of her wings. “Unlike someone who forgot to order the right dipping sauce last time!”
“Hey, you know as well as I do that the garlic sauce isn’t that good for you,” Tyler Obonz protested. “The marinara sauce is a lot better for you, and tastes better with the pizza too!”
“But you’re basically just dipping pizza into it’s own Sauce, Bonesy!” Mikari scolded him.
“Yeah! What’s the fun in that?” Ayako asked, nodding in agreement with her friend’s statement. Her aura practically radiated a jovial mood now, let alone the swishing of her tail and perked up ears that came from a change in mood.
“Asks the girl who orders ranch dip instead of marinara for her cheese sticks,” Tyler smirked at her in that knowing, friendly way that all detectives did when they were using Friendly Teasing Banter, or “FTB” as it was used in shorthand. Nobody could seriously get mad when you got to know someone well enough to tease them so thoroughly, although they could sure pretend to be offended, as Ayako was doing now. The long, sharp, drawn in gasp, followed by a higher-pitched tone of voice, decried the foulest of foul insults!
“Well, I NEVER!” She put a hand up against her forehead and lamented, dramatically, “Oh woe is me, Mika’nnn~! Bones is mocking my favorite foods!” She then spun around dramatically in a circle, “Why! I feel faint! I think I’m going to…!”
And then, she dramatically collapsed back against one of the dining room chairs, like a puppet without strings. Her tongue rolled out of her mouth as she hung her head to the side, all so cleverly playing dead for the sake of the joke.
From across the room, Tony Nori glanced over at her and asked, “You still do that ranch thing with the cheese sticks?”
It wasn’t an odd question, but the fact that he then paused and mouthed “still” made the remark stand out for what it was: A memory from another life.
Ayako stopped playing dead, and spun around in the chair’s seat to look over its back at him. “I did it in another life?”
“I guess so?” Tony shrugged just ever so slightly. “I just had this impression of you doing it before somehow and…” They both went silent for a moment, and over the Sight, Nahgi saw that soul bond pulse as bright as a star for a moment, and then settled back down as the two of them started to laugh at some memory only they were privy to.
Miri’s aura flared sad for a moment, then was squished aside as she clapped her hands, and asked “So, when’s dinner?” as if to distract herself from that sadness.
“Kaie and Kendal should be bringing it back with them,” Mayoi filled in an extra detail for Miri, who didn’t know the layout of the island that well yet. To those who did, though, it made sense given where Ranagi’s apartment was in relation to Kana’s- being closer to the Plesio Myne’s. Given wait times and when they called in the order… It all worked out better to have Ranagi pick it up and bring it over here.
Idly, the Nahgi side of her personality wondered how many late nights at the office had cost her the chance to have dinner with her favorite people if that had become part of some unspoken ritual between them. Idly, Llewellyn then wondered how long it had been since she’d even had dinner or even lunch with her former room-mate. Idly, the Detective Llewellyn part began looking around the current apartment, trying to count all the differences from the last time she’d been here, and then tried to remember when that even had been…
‘Too long,’ she sighed, both parts of her whole personality agreeing sadly. The most likely answer probably was since the day she had been promoted to Chief, but she really didn’t want to think that she had been ignoring her social life for so long… who else had she neglected to keep in contact with?
“Hey, Kana?” She asked as a name came to her.
“Yeah?” Mayoi asked.
“Have you spoke with Izumi lately?” That question made the dragon frown as she counted.
“Hmm… not for a few months now, actually,” Mayoi shook her head.
“So it’s not just me then,” Llewellyn sighed, partially in relief.
“Hey, we’ve all got busy lives, Nahgi,” Mayoi smiled at her. “Some just more than others.”
“So true,” Tyler nodded. “I’ve got my graduation exams at the end of the year.”
“Wow, really?” Lizzy, the Spriggain girl, asked.
“The perks of being a third year,” the dragon boy smiled back at her. “Once I graduate, I’ll be a full fledged coroner.”
“And you’ll be on my team,” Mayoi added, pointing a fork at him briefly before putting it down on the table. “I’m not letting talent like you kids go! It’d tear my heart up too much to let you go work for someone else.”
“Another few years for me and Aya until then, though,” Mikari mused. “I’d be sad to break up the team before then too.”
“Yeah,” Ayako nodded, and went to say something more, when a knock came at the door, and Kaie called in from outside, asking for someone to get the door. “I’ll get it!” And with that, Ayako took off for the door.
The current mood was quickly washed away with the arrival of fresh pizza, and the rest of their party guests.
Introductions followed as Kendal was introduced to Tsukia and Lizzy, and then Tony and Miri in quick succession, and then soon all conversation slowed to a crawl as many mouths were more busy with chewing on pizza than talking.