The Librarian’s Code, Part 35 (Teens)


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Of Demons and Fae

“What do you mean we have an escaped fairy?” I said, getting to my feet. “I heard him! I put them both in there myself!”

“It was a glamour,” Kelcie said with a sigh. “I didn’t even catch on until I opened up the cage to put in the garlic bread.”

“God damn it,” I swore, standing up and looking around the room. We’d moved the carrier with the fairies out of the room before we started talking. No use in giving away everything we knew. Although…

“Why didn’t you lead with that?” I said angrily, “Errok could have been listening into everything we said!”

“Give me a little respect,” Kelcie replied. “I swept the room for glamours and sealed the room before we started.”

I settled back down. If Kelcie had sealed the room, there was no chance Errok was here. “Fair,” I grunted. “So what do we do about our escapee?”

“I don’t know,” Kelcie sighed. “I don’t even know if he ever entered the house at this point, or what he’d find if he did. I can try to question Ashlynn…”

“I’m sorry,” Amber blurted out.

“For what?” Kinder asked.

“It’s my fault we brought back the fairies,” she said, “And now one of them has escaped…”

“It’s fine, Amber,” I said. “It was a good idea, even if we only have one of them. The fae like Kelcie way more than they like you or me.”

“All this is well and good,” Mark interjected, “But we still need to figure out what our long term plan is. We already wasted a lot of time getting here.”

I nodded in agreement, turning to Kinder. “They didn’t like my idea,” I said. “They decided they wanted your opinion.”

Kinder looked to me. “What was your idea?”

“Do you even have to ask?” Mark rolled his eyes from the couch. I rolled mine back at him.

“There’s still a few demons I can call on for answers. Since our Nature and Fae experts claimed out only other lead was a dead end-” I gave Karen and Kelcie a meaningful look- “I was going to summon Shino and hope they could give us another lead.”

“Right, that’s definitely a bad idea,” Kinder said. “Especially now that we have Dame Ashlynn. We can keep that option on the back burner.”

“Unless she lies to us,” I said.

“The fae don’t lie,” Kelcie said with a sigh.

“So you keep telling me, but if they were truthful I’d never have gone to that moonlight ball,” I said.

“You must have just misunderstood what they said,” Kelcie replied.

“‘Is this a trap?’ doesn’t leave much room for interpetation, Kel.” My voice didn’t hold much anger, despite how upset I’d been at the time. We’d been over this argument again and again in the last ten years. Well, it had been a decade for me. I suspected it was a shorter time period for her.

“Enough,” Kinder said. “Even I know that you’ve had this debate too many times. The important question is how what do we do now.”

“Well, we came this far to hear your advice,” I said sarcastically. “Advise us, fearless leader.”

Kinder grimaced. “You won’t like my advice.”

“Which is?”

“You all need to get back to work,” he said.

“What?” I asked in disbelief. “And just ignore the missing books?”

“No,” he said. “But clearly, whoever it is behind this knows we’re aware of them. They’ve already ramped up the pressure on the team and launched a home invasion. They’re clearly on the offensive. They want something. And if they’re stealing keys and books, it seems likely that something is in the library. Or in your homes.”

“So we just go defensive?” I asked. “What if they want is us being too distracted and holed up to notice what’s going on behind us?”

“Then we keep an ear to the ground,” Kinder said. “But you can’t afford to go off and do something rash either.”

I grumbled, but the other librarians were nodding in consent. “Did you just want to come here so he would keep me in check?” I accused Mark.

“I did hope that would happen,” Mark said. “I was worried you were about to unleash the Trauermarsch with just a few glamours as evidence.”

“Would that be so bad?” I asked. “The deal’s been made, the pacts are already in place. If it was the fae, we’re going to need some more firepower and demons aren’t nearly as scary as you all to act. They aren’t evil.”

“Well you didn’t exactly pick a harmless one, did you?” Mark snapped. “The Trauermarsch? Is this going to be like the Christmas party at my farm? I swear every time I walk through the hall I feel like I’m walking through a lust-colour haze. And you claimed that demon wasn’t scary either!”

“They weren’t,” I said. “Dibella is just… friendly.”

“Friendly,” Mark said. “She left a scar in my house for five years, despite trapping her, and she’s just friendly.”

“It’s not like anyone got hurt!” I said. “And it could have been the booze.”

“It was not the booze, Rachael,” Mark said.

“It could have been the booze,” Kelcie said diplomatically. “We did all drink a lot.”

“It was not the booze,” Mark grumbled.

“Point is, Rachael,” Kinder said, “Demons leave scars. So let’s make that a last resort, and not a first one.”

I sighed. “Fine. Let’s figure out a work schedule, like there’s nothing wrong at all and we’re not two days away from the full moon.”

I saw a moment of panic flit across Kelcie’s face. “Okay, maybe we should be a little concerned. That’s not much time.”

“See?” I said. “This is worrisome. We can’t just sit around and hope an answer falls in our lap.”

“Um,” Jeff leaned forward from where he’d been listening. “Not to be a buzzkill, but I don’t think all of us are up for storming the castle just yet. Another chance to sit around would not go amiss, even if we do it at the library instead of at home.” He gestured at Nate and Karen, both of whom were nearly asleep where they sat.

“Damn,” I said quietly. “I would have thought they got plenty of sleep already.”

“I don’t really need help to research, Rachael,” Kinder said. “I’ll mostly be calling our neighbouring libraries to see if they’re having issues.”

“And I can interrogate Ashlynn myself,” Kelcie added. “It’ll probably be easier without you around, Rach. No offense.”

“It’s probably true,” I said. “So what, we all just sit around the library all day tomorrow and hope you two find something before the full moon?”

“All those in favour say ‘Aye,’” Mark said, raising his hands. Around the room, everyone else’s hand went up, save for mine and Nate’s. Nate’s head rolled back and he jolted awake.

“What’d I miss?” he asked sleepily.

“Nothing important,” I said standing up. “Get up, it’s time to go home.”

The Librarian’s Code, Part 34 (Teens)


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Testing 1 – 2 -3

“Wait here, Opi,” I said when we were standing on my doorstep. He nodded, standing beside our massive rhubarb bush. I checked him versus the door. Maybe I could sneak him into my bedroom, if my dad was in the living room. It was only 5 PM, we should have plenty of time before he needed to leave.

I opened up the front door carefully and heard my dad cry out as the doorknob hit him. I winced a little, and poked my head inside to see him rubbing his side, a screwdriver in the other hand. “Sorry Dad,” I said around the door.

“I knew I was tempting fate trying to fix this stupid lightswitch,” he said, looking at the wall beside the door. The outdoor light had been burned out for 6 months and no replacement seemed to fix it. My dad’s hazel eyes met my matching ones with a smile. Then his eyes slid off me and onto Opi where he stood behind me.

“Oh ho, and who is this?” he said, his smile getting wider. “Are you trying to sneak a boy into your room?”

“What? No!” I said, my cheeks burning. “He’s a… a study partner.”

“Study partner, eh?” My dad was still grinning at me, giving me a nudge with his elbow.

“Dad!” I said urgently, “Shut up!”

My dad’s grin didn’t lessen but he did offer a hand to Opi. “Nice to meet you. I’m Mr Regenbogen.”

“Opus Scriven,” he said, shaking my dad’s hand.

“Opus?” my dad said. “Interesting name there.”

“My parents like music,” Opi said sheepishly.

“And are your intentions with my daughter honourable?” my dad asked. I wished someone would shoot me.

Opi gave him a blank stare and I grabbed his hand, pulling Opi up the stairs. I rambled the whole way to my bedroom. “Thanks Dad, we’re going to my room now to study, we’ll be fine, don’t come up.”

I slammed the bedroom door shut behind me and Opi with a sigh of relief. And then I looked at the mess I’d left in my bedroom this morning and briefly considered turning and running all the way back to Sam’s house.

I squeezed my eyes shut for a moment, hoping this was all a bad dream. Opi cleared his throat. “So, this is your room?”

“Yes,” I muttered. “Sorry it’s such a mess.”

Opi snorted. “You should see mine. This is nothing.”

I had to admit, that made me feel just a little better. “So you were going to show me that book?”

“Yeah,” Opi said, pulling out the orange leather-bound book and looking for someone to put it. I cleared away my desk, dumping a stack of books onto my unmade bed and tossing the covers over them. Opi flipped through the book to the right page.

“So, this is what I was reading yesterday,” Opi said, point to the diagram. I leaned over the book to see a picture of what looked like a house cat. Only this cat was made of twisted metal, with highlighted diagrams of tangled gears and wires. The ink of the blueprint glimmered under my bedroom light in shades of copper and bronze, and there was runes covering the shape like the ones we’d drawn on the floor in chalk.

“Okay, that looks awesome,” I said.

“Right?” Opi said. “I was trying to figure out how it works. And well… How to make it.”

“I don’t know how you’d make it,” I said. “It’s not like you can just walk into Walmart and by a metal shell for a cat.”

“See, that’s what I thought,” Opi replied. “But then I was reading this part here…”

He pointed out a short caption and I read it out loud. “To fabricate the exterior, see pages 18-19, Fabrication and Transmutation…”

“Yeah,” Opi smiled. “I got to that point around midnight. Then my mom started yelling at me to go to bed.”

“So you could just like, make the parts?” I asked, flipping through the pages while keeping my hand on the cat page. “That feels like a cheat.”

“Maybe if it worked,” Opi said. “I tried that spell and barely anything happened.”

I read pages 17 and 18. Sort of. “This is like the stupid initiation ritual,” I said frustrated.

“What do you mean?” Opi asked, leaning over.

“I mean it may as well be written in greek or something,” I said, frowning. “I feel like I’m reading someone’s first attempt at English. Like, I get that it’s words, but they don’t even make sense.”

“It seemed straightforward to me,” Opi said. “The explanation, at least.”

“Not so easy in practice?” I asked.

“It suggested forming models out of wood, but the wood didn’t seem to want to move.”

I stared at the pages in front of me but I didn’t see how he’d possibly gotten that out of the page. “I feel like you guys are pranking me when you say this book makes sense.”

Opi sighed, sitting on the corner of my bed. “It does say that. It talks about constructing and manipulating a material by concentrating your will.”

“Ugh,” I said. “If it was as simple as ‘concentrate and focus to do magic’, everyone would have done this shit.”

“Well, not everyone has a book telling you the steps and words to focus on,” Opi retaliated. “Or has done a ritual to see magic.”

“Yeah, but the words didn’t help me there.”

Opi shrugged. “It helped me. And you can see things now!”

“But not your copper lines.”

Opi frowned. “No. But the earth quadrant reacted for you, and the wood of the treehouse went crazy. I wonder if maybe you could form the pieces.”

“Maybe…” I looked around my bedroom for a piece of wood. The cat didn’t look too big, so hopefully the pieces weren’t too big either. I grabbed a stick that I’d whittled to look like a woodpecker head on the end of a pencil off of my bedside lamp. “You’re going to have to explain this all to me,” I said, sitting beside him on the bed.

“Okay,” Opi moved to the desk, beside the book. “so, technically this is two spells. The first one forms the model of what we want to make, the next one turns it into metal. So first up, we’re just going to try to change the wood into something.”

“So, we could just whittle it?” I asked, looking at my random camp souvenir. I wasn’t even a great whittler, I’d just been goofing off with a swiss army knife and managed to accidentally create a woodpecker while carving away at the stick. My dad had helped me burn two tiny dots for eyes into it. It was crude, more like a cartoon woodpecker than an image, but recognizable all the same.

“I don’t think we can get quite the precision we’d need,” Opi said. “But probably? Let’s keep that as a backup.”

I nodded, turning the wood over in my hand. It had been a few years since I’d carved it, but it felt familiar to me. Magical? Powerful? Maybe. I had a lot of memories with it.

“Maybe I can guide you through this,” Opi said, picking up the book and putting it in his lap. We were so close our knees were practically touching. “I’ll just tell you what to do, and you follow my lead. Close your eyes.”

“We should have tried this with the initiation,” I said under my breath. “I might not have panicked.”

“Sorry,” Opi said. “I didn’t know you were worried about it. How are you feeling now?”

“Nervous,” I admitted. My fingers were playing over the little stick, still stroking the smooth wood.

“Alright, we need to fix that,” he said softly. “So just follow my lead. Breathe in, nice and slowly.”

I did so, breathing in until I felt like I couldn’t anymore.

“Now breathe out,” Opi said, “still nice and slow.”

He repeated that a few more times, each time dragging it out to a half second past when I thought I could inhale or exhale.

“Calmer?” he asked.


“Okay. Now you need to keep that up, while focusing on the stick. Can you see it?”

“Not with my eyes closed,” I said.

“Don’t open them,” Opi said. “Just try to imagine the stick. Picture it in your mind’s eye, where it is in relationship to your hands, to your body. Picture it like it’s another part of your body until you knew exactly where it is.”

I twisted it in my fingers, tapping either end of the stick from the pointed tip to the jagged crest. I almost could see it, illuminated like the gardens I’d passed on my way home. “I can see it,” I whispered.

“Good,” he said. “Now you need to picture what you want it to be.”

The image of the clockwork cat sprung into mind, but I didn’t think I wanted to start that complicated. “What do I want to make?” I asked, struggling to maintain the breathing and the image of the stick.

“Start simple,” Opi said. “Maybe just a disk or a ring?”

A ring seemed simple enough. I could picture the stick bending around into a perfect circle, the pointed end merging with a point just below my woodpecker head. I didn’t want to lose my carving completely. Perhaps it could just curve up and out of the way. Like a small tiara made out of wood.

“What did you pick?” Opi asked calmly.

“A ring,” I said, twisting my hands around it.

“Can you see it?”

“Yes,” I said. I could too, nearly as well as I could see the stick itself.

“Next we need a leyline,” he said. “There’s a copper one running down your street. Can you feel it?”

“No,” I said, biting my lip.

“Damn. Any leyline will do. There’s a faint blue one out there too?”

I moved my head around slowly, keeping my eyes closed. I could see his blue one. I could also feel a bigger green one behind the house, where the farmer’s field lay.

“Got one,” I said. “It’s green.”

“Good,” Opi said. He sounded a little distracted, I wondered if he was looking for it.

“Now picture yourself tapping into it, like you’re forming a river that connects it to you. Can you feel the power flowing into you?”

I pictured myself reaching out to it, trying to grab at the power, but it seemed flow through my fingers.

“Is it working?” he asked.

“No,” I sighed heavily. “It feels… heavy.”


“Like I can feel the power, but it doesn’t want to come to me,” I said, trying to put it in words. “Like scooping up water from a river with your hands.”

“Don’t get discouraged,” he said. “It’s like in the ritual, where you reach out and touch the four corners.”

“I never did that,” I said. “I just winged it. On intuition.”

“Then try to wing this,” Opi suggested. “It says you need to direct the flow of the leyline into the spell you’re trying to cast, using yourself as a conduit.”

I nodded slightly, trying to throw out feelers to the leyline behind me. I threw them out to the blue line in the street too, and Opi’s invisible copper line, and a dozen more to any invisible leylines I’d missed. I cast out a net and dragged the energy back with it until it gathered at my fingertips. And then I released it into the wooden stick.

“Whoa,” Opi said. I opened my eyes.

The stick was twisting in my hands, little branches spouting off the long dead wood and twirling into the shape of a crescent. Tiny yellow flowers bloomed out of the crest of the woodpecker and his eyes deepened into tiny inset gems of a deep gold colour. The process took maybe a few seconds but when it was done I had an elaborate tiara of twisted vines and flowers, with an expertly carved woodpecker head sitting front and centre. Twin amber gems stared at us where tiny soot dots had been before, and small leaves and flowers filled in the spaces between the vines.

“I thought you said you pictured a ring,” Opi said when it finished. “Simple…”

“I did,” I said, “Just a solid ring with the woodpecker moved on top.”

“This isn’t even a complete ring,” Opi said, taking it out of my hands. He nearly dropped it when there was a knock on the door.

“Mary?” my mom called through the wall. “Shouldn’t your friend be getting home soon? It’s after 10 PM.”

“What?” I asked in disbelief. “Mom, we’ve only been up here like, thirty minutes.”

“Check your clock, dear,” came the reply.

I looked at my alarm clock beside my bed. It happily displayed the time for me. 10:12 PM.

The Librarian’s Code, Part 33 (Librarians)


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“Karen’s back,” I said with relief. I looked up just in time to see her step out of the forest and stumble to her knees on the driveway. A pit formed in my stomach. Both Mark and Kelcie were getting up to look out the window as I walked quickly to the front door, grabbing my coat on the way out.

Karen smiled when I opened the door. “Hey you,” she called out, getting to her feet slowly.

“Hey hun,” I said, crossing the driveway and draping the trenchcoat over her naked shoulders. It dwarfed her small frame. “I was just starting to worry about you. We were expecting you back hours ago.”

Her smile wavered a little as she pulled the coat around herself. “Sorry. I uh… I fucked up.”

I bit my lip. “Fucked up how?”

“They got my key,” she said with defeat, leaning up against one of the cars.

A dozen angry curses flooded into my mind. I bit them all back, breathing deeply. “It’s okay,” I said a moment later. “I’m just glad you’re alright.”

“You don’t have to pretend, Rachael,” she said, “I know you’re pissed. I’m pissed.”

“As our newest recruit reminded me, that doesn’t necessarily mean they can use it.” I sighed. “And I really don’t know what I would have told your family. Especially since they’re already suspicious.”

“Fuck,” Karen said. “Alicia didn’t give you a hard time, did she?”

“She did,” I said. “Your husband too. We can talk about it later though. Let’s get you some food. And clothes.”

She nodded, her stomach grumbling. “Is everyone else okay?” she asked, following behind me. “Last I saw Mark was in a bad way.”

“He’s fine,” I said. “They’re all fine. Mostly just waiting on you.”

“Karen!” Kelcie was waiting for her just inside the door.

“No lectures please,” she said with a sigh.

Kelcie looked hurt. “I just came to make sure you were alright, and let you know there’s pizza in the kitchen.”

Karen smiled at her tiredly. “Thanks.”

I grabbed her bag of clothes, pushing her towards a bedroom to dress.

“Is she okay?” Kelcie whispered.

I shook my head. “We need to do a group meeting as soon as she gets food and clothes.”

Kelcie nodded. “We have another problem. I figured out why Errok was so quiet.”

“So clearly, we got problems,” Kinder said, standing in the living room in front of the other librarians. It had only taken a matter of minutes to gather everyone together. Karen had dressed with lightning speed and now sat beside Mark on the couch, a plate of pizza. Kinder had offered to let me lead the discussion, but it was clear to me that everyone still respected his opinion more. I was sitting on the window ledge again, keeping a half eye to the forest outside.

“First up is the obvious issue. Our books are missing. We have a full list of the books missing, but to put it in general terms, we’re missing 25 out of 49 books, including all of the fae, the majority of the orange arcane books, and over half of the nature books. The rest of the books are scattered amongst the other domains. It’s believed that the fae are responsible for this due to the use of several glamours.”

He paused for a moment. “This would be enough of a problem, but at the same time, we’ve had a direct attack from the harpies last night, during which they dealt significant damage to our team and successfully stole the Nature Key.”

There were a few murmurs in the crowd at that. I heard Jeff asking how, but Karen just stared at her pizza. Kinder continued. “And while we were recuperating from that, they took the opportunity to invade at least one member’s home, if not others. Does that about sum up what you know, Rachael?”

“More or less,” I shrugged. “They also definitely stole Demons of Ice and released the demons inside and I think the fairy invasion was at the direct behest of the Fairy Queen.”

“If you only think that’s who’s responsible, we can’t trust that,” Kelcie chimed in. “Did they tell you that directly?”

“They’re fairies, Kel,” I said exasperatedly. “They’ve never told me anything directly. I’d get better answers from the harpy in the cellar. But you’re the one who says they don’t lie.”

“They don’t,” she insisted. “But they do misdirect and mislead and omit.”

“So, might as well be lying.” I crossed my arms in front of me. “Got it.”

“Enough, ladies,” Kinder said. “The fae have clearly been involved, and this fits their methods best. It wouldn’t be terribly surprising to learn their nobility is involved.”

“If it is a plot of the fae, is it even worth detangling?” Mark asked. “It seems like their reasons might be less important than some of the creatures they could have released.”

“I’ve already contacted the Falconers,” Kinder said. “I’d like to work with them to discuss our priorities, but unfortunately, they’re unavailable at this time. Hopefully they’ll be available soon.”

I let out a sigh of relief and Mark rolled his eyes at me. “I guess we have a few days to try and fix this ourselves before we can call on them.”

“Indeed,” Kinder said. “Moving on, we’ve had a slightly worrisome report from Gale, though he didn’t leave any specifics about the incident other than some property damage and that he would be out of town.”

Figured. I’d have to convince Amber to enter the room under her own power. “Lots of people leaving town,” I remarked.

“The fae may have planned for that,” Kinder said. “They rarely fight fair.”

“It’s annoying all the same,” I said. “They’ve gone out of their way to keep us out of the loop, off guard, and under-equipped.” And they were doing it well too. We were already down two significant sources of information and one room, having lost the key. And one heavy hitter as well. Karen still boasted considerable strength but she’d be handicapped without her key. And it would have been great to have Gale in our corner as well. I wasn’t sure how much more could go wrong.

“And one last thing,” Kinder said. This must have been what Kelcie alluded to about Sir Errok. “It seems we have an escaped fairy in the house.”

Well, fuck.

The Librarian’s Code, Part 32 (Librarians)


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The sun was just starting to get low in the sky when we pulled into Kinder’s driveway, staining the driveway orange and gold. I notice Jeff still in the window but he got up the moment the car came to a stop. I parked alongside Karen’s dark forest, staring into it intently.

“Has it changed?” Amber asked, getting out of the car. The sun reflected off her silver shirt, turning it gold as well. I was impressed with how clean she still looked. Other than the loose waves of hair around her face and the slightly red and puffy marks on her face, she looked like she could walk into work tonight.

“I think so.” I was pretty sure those red flower hadn’t been as plentiful when we left. The thorn bush that we’d used before leaving was now covered in crimson primroses, and they speckled the forest interior of the forest as well. “Has your hand stopped bleeding?”

She turned her hand over but before she could really investigate I heard the all too familiar voice of Dame Ashlynn from within the car. Amber sighed. “Let’s deal with food first.”

I nodded, opening the backseat for the cat carrier and my sword. Amber grabbed the pizza, needing both hands to carry the boxes and drinks.

“You really are at the peak of your annoyance game today, Dame Ashlynn,” I said as I followed Amber inside.

“Less talking, more pizza,” she replied.

“Is Sir Errok even alive back there?” I asked. I’d seen him in the back of the cage but he seemed oddly subdued for a fairy the entire trip.

“Don’t worry yourself with him,” Dame Ashlynn said. “He believes I sold him out for pizza.”

“In my experience, when you fae say not worry about something, that’s precisely when I should worry.” I didn’t hear the fairy’s response as I stepped over the threshold into Kinder’s house.

“I see you’ve been in the basement,” Kelcie said when I stepped inside.

I sighed. She couldn’t even let me get to the pizza before she was ready to pick a fight.

“I was,” I said. “I was all over town covering our asses. I brought you back a gift.”

She at least looked surprised when I dumped a cat carrier full of fairies in her arms. “What is-”

“Rachael!” Dame Ashlynn yelled.

“Yes, yes, I’m getting you a slice,” I said. “I just need to get to it before the ravenous hordes descend.”

“Rachael!” Kelcie yelled as I stripped off my jacket. “Why do I have a fairy?”

“You don’t,” I called as I walked into the kitchen. “You have two!”

‘Ravenous hordes’ had been only a mild understatement. Nate had finally woken up, and had loaded down his plate with at least half of the meat lover’s pizza. Jeff’s plate was no smaller, but he at least had picked a few different types of pizza. He made way as I helped myself to two plates, adding an extra slice of cheese pizza to the extra plate.. Amber was standing to the side with two slices, watching on in horror.

“I thought you were overestimating when you told me to get 6 extra-larges,” she said when I emerged from the fray.

I gestured to Nate with my head. “Healing makes you hungry. If we’re lucky, there will be leftovers for Karen.”

“Karen?” Amber asked, peering into the crowd. Her tellatale pink hair was not part of the moving crowd.

“She’ll be hungry too,” I said. Mark started walking away from the food and back towards the living room and I fell in step beside him.

“How are you doing?” I asked. He still looked tired to me, but magical healing was rarely a perfect science. It largely depended on the person doing the healing at the time. Nate’s healing had a tendency to work quickly but left both him and the patient exhausted afterwards. Karen, meanwhile, took more time to heal but the results didn’t come with the same level of tiredness when she was done.

“I already have Kelcie and Kinder fussing over me,” he said, clicking the pop tab on his can of root beer. “I don’t need you to start too.”

I snorted. “Well then fine. Is there any sign of Karen?”

Mark shook his head. “Still missing. Nate’s awake though.”

“I noticed,” I said. “Was he okay?”

“Just exhausted,” Mark said. “Like me.”

“Rachael!” Kelcie and Ashlynn’s voices overlapped on my name. “Why do I have two fairies?”

Kelcie was sitting on a chair in the living room, the cat carrier placed on the table facing her. Ashlynn watched my approach with excitement. Mark walked right past the carrier to the couch, flicking his root beer open and drinking it immediately. The look on his face spoke of great satisfaction.

“They were invading Amber’s apartment when we got there,” I said, handing Kelcie the second plate of pizza. “She decided they were too annoying to talk to and opted to bring them back for you. The top slice is for the fairies.”

“I can’t imagine why she thought that,” Kelcie said, sliding the cheese pizza through the wider space at the bottom of the cage. “Couldn’t you have negotiated with them?”

I scoffed at the same time the fae did, sitting down on the wide window ledge to look out Kinder’s window. “The last time I talked to the fae I initiated an eight year cold war. If I try to talk to them, they’ll just lie.”

“The fae can’t lie, Rachael,” Kelcie said, leaning back to eat her own pizza. “You know that.”

“They can and they have,” I retaliated. “Even if it’s just once a decade, they’d take that opportunity to use it on me.”

“So you trust a demon to heal you but you don’t trust a fae to tell you the truth?” Kelcie asked, gesturing at her own face where my cuts used to be. “You’re too paranoid, Rachael.”

“And you’re too trusting,” I said around a mouthful of pizza. It had gotten a little cold, which I was sure Ashlynn was about to complain about, but the combination of bread, sauce and cheese satisfied the hunger I’d barely noticed creep up on me. “But you’re also more likely to talk to them without causing another large-scale incident.”

“I’m glad you think so highly of me,” Kelcie muttered, staring into the cage. “Is the one at the back sick?”

“Sir Errok?” I asked. “He shouldn’t be.”

“He doesn’t seem interested in the pizza,” Kelcie said.

“Sir Errok, what’s wrong?” I asked, raising my voice a notch or two and turning to the table. I couldn’t see into the cat carrier from this angle, but I got back a tiny grunt back from it. I shrugged. “He’s been moody with me since Dame Ashlynn appeared.”

“Lover’s quarrel?” Mark suggested.

“Eww!” came Dame Ashlynn’s high voice.

“Evidently not,” Kelcie said, leaning forward. “Do you just not like cheese pizza, Sir Errok?”

“There was garlic bread promised,” he replied.

“Shoot, I forgot!” I ran into the kitchen to grab some, hoping it hadn’t all vanished. The remaining 3 librarians and Kinder all sat around the kitchen table, deep in discussion. It seemed that the prime topic was how Amber had gotten so many scratches just picking up pizza. I didn’t bother joining the discussion as I rooted through the bags to find the last piece of garlic bread, bringing it up for Kelcie.

As I walked into the room, the front window was an open panoramic of the dark wall of forest outside. The sun was finally setting, staining the entire forest in shades of red.

And walking out of the thicket like it didn’t even touch her was a very naked Karen.

The Librarian’s Code, Part 31 (Librarians)


, , , ,

“Rachael, the pizza is getting cold.”

I rolled my eyes for what I was sure was the eight billionth time. “Yes Dame Ashlynn, it is.”

“I don’t think you quite understand me.” The fairy was right up against the gate of the cat carrier, thin arms folded on the wrong side of the grate. “The pizza is getting cold.”

“That is unfortunate, isn’t it?” I said.

“Why is the pizza getting cold?” Dame Ashlynn asked again.

“Because thanks to somebody, we now need to drive past every librarian’s house on the staff and make sure they aren’t also being invaded by fairies,” I explained for the nine billionth time, drumming my fingers against the steering wheel..

“Surely there are more important things!” Dame Ashlynn said. “For instance, the pizza is getting cold!”

Amber sighed. “Can I just give them a slice of pizza?”

“Yes!” Ashlynn cried.

“They’re like cats, Amber,” I said. “If you reward their annoying behaviour, they’ll never stop doing it.”

“I do not have annoying behaviour, you lying wrench!” the fairy yelled from the backseat. “I was promised pizza for moving to the back of this foul cage and now here I am, in your infernal jail, with no pizza as you taunt me by placing it just out of reach. And it’s getting cold!”

In response I turned up the volume on the radio. The loud dance music could hardly drown out the indignant yelling but it was slightly preferable.

Thankfully, we only had one more stop on our itinerary. Text messages with Mark had confirmed who had and had not remembered to activate their wards before leaving the house yesterday, but there was one last stop we hadn’t been able to confirm. Karen’s house.

I parked on the road, several houses away from hers. The fae probably knew where she lived, but there was no point in making it easy on them. Everything looked normal from here, but looks could be deceiving. I turned down the music to concentrate.

“There are no fairies on this block, can we eat now?” Ashlynn said as soon as the volume was down.

“Like I trust that,” I said sarcastically. “Be quiet unless you want this to take longer.”

Ashlynn sighed loudly, flopping against the grate like a ragdoll.

“What are you going to do?” Amber asked quietly.

“You hush too,” I said, reaching across to the glove compartment for my swiss army knife. I flicked out a blade far sharper than average, running my thumb across the edge. Beads of red sprang up from my finger. I closed my eyes to focus.

“Rachael, the pizza is getting cold!” Ashlynn complained from the backseat.

“Right, this isn’t going to work,” I said, opening the car door. “Watch them, Amber.”

“Me?” She gave me a desperate look and I smiled at her.

“If she starts really annoying you, just use her to practice your wind gusts.” I shut the door on her before I could hear her protests.

It was blissfully quiet outside of the car. I could still see Amber arguing with the fairy, but at least I couldn’t hear her anymore. Blissful, peaceful, silence.

I smudged the droplets of blood between my fingers, trying to send out telepathic feelers for my past spells in the area. It had been 4 year since I had activated the wards in Karen’s house, but hopefully I could still find them.

At first I almost couldn’t sense them. The blood connection had been almost wiped out beneath the constant green of her magic. But they were there, right where they’d been when I refreshed the carvings. Unfortunately, I could also sense they were inactive.

“Fuck,” I said, staring at her ivy covered house. It was nearly out of sight from the road, sheltered away behind unruly trees and bushes. I really hoped the fae hadn’t paid her a visit like they had Amber, but just in case, I needed to go inside.

I knocked on Amber’s window and she gave me a desperate look. “Please tell me we can go.”

“Afraid not,” I said. “I need to go inside. I’ll be back soon.”

From the back seat, I heard Ashlynn yelling.

“Rachael! Rachael! The pizza is…”

I walked away before I could hear her finish that sentence, buttoning up my trenchcoat.

Of all the places I wanted to be today, outside Karen’s house was the lowest on my list of wants. Of course, first place would have been taken up by ‘At home on my day off, waking up in my own bed,’ followed closely by ‘working another ordinary day as an ordinary librarian who doesn’t need to save the basis of modern society from a fairy queen.’ But as low as today had already scored, I really didn’t want to be standing outside her door, ringing her doorbell.

I didn’t have to wait long for a response. A tall man with a mohawk answered the door quickly. His face fell when he saw me.

“Oh, hi Rachael,” he said, sounding disappointed.

“Hey Corwin,” I said, giving him a half smile. “Sorry for not being your wife.”

“It’s hardly your fault,” he replied. “What the excuse this time?”

“Some pipes burst, we’re doing an emergency inventory,” I said confidently. Emergency inventory was close enough to the truth. “I just came by to pick up some extra clothes.”

“Mhm, and I bet you want to check all the windows while you’re here,” he said.


“Rachael, you’ve worked with Karen for nearly a decade now, right?” Corwin asked.

“About that,” I said with a smile. “She’s a great librarian.”

Corwin nodded. “And we’re on pretty good terms too, right? You’re over fairly often for drinks?”

“Yeah, we’re cool,” I said, already worrying where this was heading.

“If my wife was a secret agent for the government, would you let me know?” he asked.

I laughed, but it sounded a bit forced to me. “Probably not. Seems like it would defeat the point.”

He looked disappointed. “Well, go do your sneaky check then while I go get her some clean clothes.”

“Thanks,” I said, stepping inside. He closed the door and walked to the bedroom. The moment he was out of sight I did a quick run through the house, pressing my bleeding thumb to the runes at the corner of windows. They were all conveniently hidden beneath curtains, but having helped create them, I at least knew where they were.

“What are you doing?” a young voice asked behind me. I closed my eyes momentarily before turning around to face her kids, Hunter and Alicia. I always hated lying to kids, and I’d known Hunter nearly since he was born. The rest of the world did that quickly enough without me needing to speed it along.

“I’m making sure evil creatures don’t attack you while your mom is away,” I said lightly. Alicia rolled her eyes but Hunter seemed to take me seriously.

“Is she coming back soon?” Alicia asked. She was getting too old for fairy tales, but I told her one anyways

“I’m sure she will,” I said, moving to the next window and activating the ward. “Mothers are magical.”

Alicia snorted at me. “You don’t know, do you?”

“She might be a tree right now,” I replied. “I’ll make her call when she’s can.”

“You can just say you don’t know,” Alicia pestered. “Is she having an affair or something?”

I gave her a stern glare. “What have you been watching?”

Alicia rolled her eyes at me. “I’m not a baby anymore.”

“I still think you’re a bit young to ask that,” I grumbled. “But generally coworkers don’t show up to check the windows if that’s the case.”

“So then what?” Alicia asked.

“Let’s just call it magic,” I said. Alicia scoffed and walked away. If I was really lucky, she’d believe me. Her mom could probably use any extra power she could get at this point.

I finished up the rest of the wards quickly, meeting Corwin back at the door. “A change of clean clothes for her,” he said, handing me the small bag.

“Thanks,” I said, pausing for a moment before leaving. “Don’t suppose you noticed anything suspicious in the last night?”

“Other than my wife leaving for an emergency at the library and not returning for 24 hours or calling?” he asked.

“Other than that,” I said, fake smile plastered on my face.

“Nothing,” he said. “She is alright, isn’t she?”

I didn’t want to lie to him either.

“I think so?” I hedged. “She might be a tree right now.”

“I can never tell when you’re being serious,” Corwin said. “Should I be worried?”

I sighed. “I clearly misstepped in this conversation at some point.”

“Wasn’t you,” Corwin said. “Karen just used that excuse a few times too many. Either you guys really need to look into the plumbing, or something else is up. And people having affairs don’t come home just to check the windows.”

I was going to have to give Karen a talking to about setting wards when she got back. Assuming she got back.

“Sorry,” I said. “I sort of have pizza in the backseat getting cold. Any chance we can raincheck this conversation if I promise to explain later?”

“I thought you said you wouldn’t tell me,” he retaliated.

“I might have changed my mind,” I said, backing out the front door. “We’ll talk.”

I flopped back into the front seat of the car with a sigh of relief.

“Was there trouble?” Amber asked.

I grunted. “Don’t have kids.”

From the backseat, Ashlynn chirped up.

“Rachael! The pizza is getting cold!”

The Librarian’s Code, Part 30 (Teens)


, , , ,

“Thanks for walking me home, Opi,” I said shyly as we started heading down the street. Now that we were out in the open, I was starting to notice some strange sights. The gardens on the street seemed to almost glow; more so in the unmaintained lawns, filled with bramble and wildflowers. The well-maintained gardens didn’t have the same glow, but the colours felt brighter than they had before, the colours deeper and the greens more vibrant.

“No problem,” Opi said. “I kinda wanted to know if you saw anything anyways.”

I was too distracted by the glowing flowers to even be upset that he was more interested in my magic than me. The glowing flowers were really cool anyways. Far cooler than me.

“Everything is glowing,” I told him. “Like that garden.”

I pointed at a yard that was covered in shrubs and wildflowers. Red, spikey flowers leaned over the walkway, and long stems covered in purple flowers were interspersed with rosemary bushes and hedges. Despite how clustered it was, the underbrush seemed to have tiny specks of light that peeked out like cat eyes. Tiny, bell shaped flowers seemed to spill sparkling green pollen onto the ground beneath them.

“You can see ley lines in that?” Opi asked.

“Not leylines,” I said. “But it all sparkles. And it’s bright.”


“Yeah,” I pointed out the long spikes of bushy red plants. “I’ve walked past these a dozen times already, but now it’s brighter. Like someone gave it a fresh coat of red paint.”

“I don’t see anything,” Opi said.

I blushed, muttering under my breath, “I might be wrong. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention.”

“Do you see anything like a line?” Opi asked. “Sort of like a vein of light in the earth?”

“Like that copper one you were talking about?”

“Yeah, like that.”

“I haven’t seen it,” I said.

Opi frowned. “We’ve been walking on it for the last 5 minutes.”

“Oh.” I looked at my feet but the ground was still pretty boring. “Nope, sorry. I don’t see it.”

“Hmm,” Opi lapsed into a thoughtful silence and we walked along for another few minutes.

“Is that it?” I asked when we reached a major road. Beneath the road there was a faint red colour that shimmered and rippled. Along the edge of the red, a finer, blue shimmering line travelled, sometime dip into the red one. Further down the road, it veered off to the side, away from the red line and the roadway.

Opi moved his head behind my arm, trying to follow my line of sight. “I guess that’s a bit blue? But it’s not the copper one.”

“No, not the blue part,” I said. “The red one running alongside it.”

“I only see the blue,” Opi said, shrugging. “And maybe a bit of a coppery colour. I’ve never seen anything I’d call ‘red’.”

“Well, at least Rou saw it?” I said. I kinda wished I saw what he did though. My brain conjured a stupid image of Opi and Rou, getting married over their mutual ability to see orange leylines.

“Yeah, but I was hoping you did too,” Opi said. “No offense to Rou, but you clearly had the biggest reaction to the magic. According to Syra, my ritual mostly looked like Rou’s.”

“Mostly, yeah.” They’d both had the same shimmery glow in a burnt orange colour. It almost reminded me of the cognac my dad drank at Christmas, fluid and amber.

“You just glowed like Sam,” Opi said. “I guess it makes sense you can’t see this leyline. Sam can’t either.”

“Shouldn’t the book say something on all this?” I asked. “You’ve had it for two days now.”

“You read it,” Opi said, “It’s practically unreadable.”

“Well, maybe if I had it overnight…” I trailed off.

Opi nodded. “I did try look it up last night, but I just had so much homework. I think it has something to do with our personal affinities. For instance, Sam and I both got a reaction from the water. And then near the river, we both saw a blue leyline.”

“So do you think I’d see the one near the river?” I asked. The wall had been wet when I finished the ritual, though I couldn’t remember anyone saying anything about water.

“Definitely,” Opi said. “I looked up the circle again, the one that we had you sitting in, and there triangles under the where we put the dishes. I looked them up online and I think they were alchemy signs for the elements; fire, water, earth and air. The only one that didn’t react for you was the milkweed.”

“Which element is that?” I asked, “Earth?”

“Air.” Opi shrugged. “I guess you aren’t going to be flying.”

“But the milkweed didn’t react for you either,” I said. “So why can you see the copper lines and I can’t?”

“That’s where everything got confusing,” Opi said. “It listed three more elements alongside those four, but they didn’t have components. And when I looked up their symbols it didn’t really help.”

“What were the symbols?” We were getting near my house now. I didn’t want to be home yet. I slowed down my pace to a snail’s pace.

“Sun, Moon and Venus,” Opi said. “According to the internet, they don’t say that in the book. The book calls them Discord, Law and Balance.”

“Okay, those doesn’t make sense,” I said. “How are those related?”

“Apparently the symbol for Venus can also represent copper?” Opi added. “Which I guess almost makes sense, that’s the colour the lines are. It’s also that weird sign for women.”

“So I guess one of the other two must represent me and Sam,” I said. “Probably sun, she was really bright.”

“That’s my guess,” Opi said. “Also represents gold according to the internet.”

“Did the moon symbol have a metal?” I asked.


I thought about it but I couldn’t remember anything that seemed like silver. “Okay, but what does that mean? Can I like, control gold with my mind?”

Opi looked embarrassed. “Well, I was going to look that up next.”


“But then I found this page that was like, a clockwork cat, and I got really distracted trying to figure that out.”

I snerked. “Okay, that sounds really cool.”

“I know, right?” he said excitedly. “I really want to try and make it.”

We were standing outside my house now. I stopped with a sigh. “This is my house.”

“I know,” Opi said, standing beside me. “I guess I should let you do your homework.”

I hesitated. “Maybe you could come in for a bit and show me the clockwork cat?” Opi smiled his crooked smile. “Sure.”

The Librarian’s Code, Part 29 (Librarians)


, , , ,

“What the hell!” Amber yelled, stepping back from the small fairy that attacked her. I started to move towards her but I felt the other fairy try to tug away from under my boot. Sir Errok glared up at me angrily from the floor.

Amber didn’t seem to need my help. After a short struggle, she threw the second fairy back against the wall with a quick burst of wind. A small female form hit the wall hard and fluttered to the ground. Before it could get up, the orange tabby had launched itself onto its back. The cat’s tail flicked back and forth angrily.

“How many damn fairies are in my house?” she yelled at the prone form. She had a small scratch just beneath one eye and another across the bridge of her nose that was oozing blood, but it looked like the fairy had missed her eye.

I nudged the fairy I’d trapped underfoot. “Answer her.”

Errok looked unhappy, but answered when I shifted my sword closer to his prone form. “Just the two of us,” he grumbled.

“That better be the truth,” I said. “Are you alright, Amber?”

“I think so?” she said, huffing a little. She ran a hand through her hair, brushing it back into a semblance of order.

“Then get the cat carrier before your cat bites her head off, Amber,” I said, pointing at the downed fairy. I hoped she was still alive. “Assuming you want to bring that one back too.”

“Right,” she said, slightly out of focus. “I do. Right.”

She reached into the closet uneventfully, pulling out a cat carrier and holding it up to me. I pointed to the downed fairy first. She looked at the fairy hesitantly.

“I can do it if you stand here,” I said, looking down at a disgruntled Sir Errok. There was a small scuff mark on my boot now, surrounded by a halo of glitter. I wondered if he’d tried to stab my foot when the other fairy attacked.

Amber nodded, stepping on the fairy wing gently. “Does this hurt him?”

“Yes,” the fairy objected.

“Maybe a little,” I said, lifting my foot carefully. “But he already tried to stab me once.”

I passed Amber my sword, taking it in exchange for the cat carrier. The scratches on her face were starting to trickle blood, and I could see that the fae had almost got her eye. Another inch and she’d have been in trouble.

“Isn’t this overkill?” she said, shifting the 4 foot sword. The fairy cringed away from the moving blade.

“It’s cold iron,” I replied. “If he gets uppity, you can just tap it with him.”

I glowered at Errok, kneeling beside his fallen comrade. “And that’ll really hurt, won’t it?”

The little fae grunted at me, but watched me closely out of the corner of his eye. I turned to the small fairy under Amber’s cat. The orange tabby chirped at me happily.

“You’re a good little hunter, aren’t you?” I said, petting the cat behind the ears. He purred beneath my hand. Beneath his paws, the fairy stirred.

“That’s a shame, you’re waking up.” I shifted around, trying to find an angle where she could see me. The fairy had long, silky hair the colour of wheat and leather armour similar to the other fairy. One hand was held around the hilt of her crystal sword.

“Hey!” I said, “Drop the sword.”

Instead of moving her hand, she tightened her grip, pulling it to her. “Why should I?” she hissed. She buzzed her wings under the cat and he lifted one paw curiously. She tried to slash at the cat, but the larger beast batted her down twice, burying her under his fluffy paws.

She lay stunned under the cats attacks and I took the opportunity to grab her fallen weapon. I now had two tiny crystal swords.

“Two reasons you shouldn’t attack me,” I said, pinning the swords through my shirt like a brooch and stepping on one wing. The cat looked at me like I was stealing his toy. “The first being because we have your buddy.”

“The fool got himself caught,” she said angrily, slightly muffled beneath the furry paws.

“She doesn’t seem to like you, Errok,” I commented. The other fairy grunted at me non-committally.

“Right. Well, the second reason is that the Trauermarsch will definitely see that as an attack by the fae, and I’m sure you know what that means.”

Finally the female fairy looked at me properly, straining slightly to get her head clear of the cat fur. She sighed beneath the cat. “Of course it’s you.”

“Trust me, the feeling is mutual,” I said. “You’re lucky this isn’t my home.”

“What are your plans for me, Diabolist?” she said harshly.

“I’m not playing this game again,” I said, sighing. “For now, you’re just coming with us.”

It took some finagling to get the cat off her and the fairy into the cat carrier, but she didn’t struggle too hard. It was hard to overpower someone when you were only the size of a barbie doll. I moved onto Sir Errok next, pinning him underfoot.

“Thank you, Amber,” I said, putting down the cat carrier and taking my sword from her. “Did he behave?”

“Yeah.” She’d rubbed at the small scratches the fairy left, leaving rusty red streaks over her cheek and nose. “Can I go wash up?”

“Go ahead and clean up,” I said. “I’ll handle these pests.”

I glowered at the pair of fairies as she left the room, both cats hot on her heels and rubbing up against her. Maybe they were hoping for that food.

“Are you two going to be difficult?” I asked, kneeling over Sir Errok. They both gave me a look of pure hate.

“I don’t see why we should cooperate,” the female one said, poking her arms out of the wire gate on the carrier. Errok nodded.

“Well, the way I see it,” I said, “There’s two ways I can get you both in the cage. First, I open the cage, this little Missy-”

“Dame Ashlynn Tempest,” the fairy corrected me.

“Alright then,” I said unconcerned. “First method. I open the cage, Dame Ashlynn flies at me with whatever little dagger she has stowed away or tries to escape, I swing this sword that could kill you both and you both end up with cold iron burns and caged.”

“You wouldn’t dare,” Dame Ashlynn said. So she was banking on the idea that the fae hadn’t broken our pact yet as well. They might be right… And I’d be in trouble if I was the one to break our pact. Not that this was information they needed to know.

“I’m having a bad day,” I said out loud. “And I’m pretty sure I’ll win the resulting fallout with the Trauermarsch on my side.”

She winced at the demon’s name. “What’s the other method?” she asked.

“The other method is simple,” I said. “You go sit at the back of the carrier, I’ll put Errok here inside, and on the way back, I’ll pick up pizza.”

Sir Errok didn’t look convinced, but I could see Dame Ashlynn was considering it.

“Pizza that you’ll share?” she asked cautiously.

“I could even get you some garlic bread,” I said. “Final offer.”

The fairy flew to the back of the cat carrier and sat down. We were out of the house in another ten minutes.

The Librarian’s Code, Part 28 (Librarians)


, , , ,

“Paradox!” Amber said in a scolding tone. The orange tabby cat looked up at her, chirping happily with his captured prey.

“No no,” I said, holding up a hand. “He did good. Didn’t you, kitty?”

The cat mewed at me and I walked up slowly, not wanting to startle him. When I was close enough I placed one booted foot onto the gossamer wing, kneeling down over the tiny body.

“Hello there,” I said to the small fairy that the cat had pinned. “What are you doing here?”

“Get your infernal beast off of me!” the fairy chirped. I was pretty sure I had never met this fairy. He struggled against his own wings, trapped beneath the weight of the cat. The orange feline looked at me questioningly and I scritched him under the chin.

“But Paradox here did so well,” I said as the cat began to purr. “Who’s a good kitty, defending your friend’s home?”

Amber took a hesitant step forward. “Rachael?”

“Yes?” I asked, looking up from my hostage.

“What is that?”

“What?!” the fairy yelled. “I have a name, you fat cow!”

“What did you call me?” Amber advanced angrily.

“I called you a cow, fatty!” the fairy yelled back.

“I weigh like, 100 lbs!” she raged. “That’s practically underweight!”

“Amber!” I said warningly. “You’re so tiny that a stiff breeze could knock you over, but you’re arguing with a fairy over your weight.”

“So we just let him insult us?” She asked.

I nodded at her. “He can’t really hurt us. Pick up your cat?”

She still looked unhappy as she bent over to pick up the orange tabby, placing the cat on the bed. The fairy leapt into action, trying to get up until it noticed I was standing on his wing.

“I take it back,” the fairy said to me. “You’re clearly the hippo in here.”

“Aren’t you just a charming little knight?” I said, leaning over. Now that the cat was out of the way, I could see the fairy clearly. He was maybe 6 inches tall, with golden blonde hair and pale leather armour. Several inches out of his reach, there was a long splinter of clear crystal in the shape of a sword. I picked up the tiny sword gently.

“Unhand my weapon!” the fairy yelled, grabbing at the sword ineffectively. I held the glorified hatpin over his head.

“What, this little thing?” I said, swishing it around. It made a lovely singing noise as it cut through the air. “Why would you need this? We’re just going to have a nice little chat, you and me.”

“The fae are under no obligation to deal with you, Diabolist,” the fairy said, crossing his arms. “You made your thoughts on the matter quite clear at our last moonlight ball.”

“I’d say the fae broke our pact quite soundly when you stole the Falconer’s books out of the Artemis Public Library,” I said. “Or did you all think that I wouldn’t consider an attack on my library to be the same as an attack on me?”

“Will your pet demon see it the same way?” the fairy countered.

In truth, I had no idea. They hadn’t glamoured me, just the staff around me, so there had been no direct attack on me. They had interfered with relics under my protection though, which should be enough. Hopefully I’d remembered to extend the pact to items under my custody. But it wouldn’t do to let the fairy know my uncertainty. I grinned at the little fae, moving to stab the palm of my hand with his sword. “Shall we summon him and ask?”

“No!” he yelled in panic and I paused the sword. The fairy’s face twisted back into a semblance of self control. “Perhaps we can have that discussion after all.”

“Excellent,” I said. “Amber, come over here.”

The girl came over, kneeling beside the fairy. “You aren’t really going to summon a demon in my bedroom, are you?”

“Depends on whether he wants to cooperate,” I said. “Come introduce yourself.”

“Umm… I’m Amber Seren,” she said to the fairy. “What’s your name?”

The fairy glowered at her, and I leaned over menacingly, stabbing my sword into the carpet near him. He flinched as I put more weight on his wing.

“Sir Errok Fox, at your service,” he grumbled resentfully and I leaned back a bit.

“Um,” she looked at me expectantly.

“He broke into your house,” I said. “You get to lead this discussion. He already knows my name.”

“Right,” Amber said. She sounded unsure of herself. “Um, why’d you break in, Sir Errok?”

“You were spotted at the home of the Water Master Kinder last night,” Errok stated.

Amber looked confused. “And?”

The fairy looked up at me. “Is she slow?”

“Most humans don’t consider that to be a good reason to invade their homes,” I told the fairy. “Elaborate.”

He sighed, turning back to her. “And the fairy queen hoped to learn more about you.”

“What?!” Amber said. “Why?”

“I’m not privy to that information,” the fairy said grumpily.

“Well what do you know?” Amber asked,

The fairy crossed his arms. “I know the full moon is in three days. I know that the grass is green and the water is blue and that fire burns. I know that my queen has a plan and that Amber Seren is protected by two beast from hell. I know that the one you call Paradox is orange and the one you call Squee is black and white. I know that you own 16 pairs of underwear, 7 of which are black, 2 of which are red, 3 of which are purple, 1 of which is pink lace and-”

“Okay, that’s enough!” Amber said, turning pink herself. “Why were you in my underwear drawer?”

The fairy gave me a look of askance, as if Amber were a minor nuisance he wanted to be rid of. I leaned further in on his wing with a stern look and he sighed.

“Because the fairy queen hoped to learn more about you.” He looked at Amber like he thought she was a moron.

“Are all fairies this annoying?” Amber asked me.

“Generally yes,” I replied. “Ask him what the fairy queen’s plan is.”

“Uh… Can’t you?” Amber asked. Behind her, the orange tabby cat meowed, scratching at the closet door.

“He invaded your domain,” I said, “and was caught. He now owes you a debt.”

The fairy humphed. “That is a gross over-simplification.”

“Close enough,” I grumbled. “Just ask.”

“Uh, What is the fairy queen’s plan?” Amber asked, trying to shoo the cat away from the door.

The fairy scowled. “I am not privvy to that information.”

“Do you know anything?” Amber yelled.

“I know the full moon is in three days. I know that the grass is-”

“Right, right, I caught that,” Amber said impatiently. “Are fairies deliberately annoying?”

“Generally yes,” the fairy said, mimicking me.

Amber sighed . “Is he going to tell us anything new here?”

“Maybe not to us,” I said. “What would you like to do with him?”

“Why is this my decision?” Amber asked.

I sighed. “Your house. Your rules. What do you want done?”

“Could we like, take him back?” Amber asked. “Maybe Kelcie can talk to him?”

“Yes, we can,” I said, standing up without moving my foot off his wing.. “Do you have a cat carrier or something?”

“Yeah.” She got up, walking towards her bedroom closet where the cat was still pawing.

She opened the door and a flurry of wings and hair flew at her.

The Librarian’s Code, Part 27 (Teens)


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“Shit, what happened?” I yelled, throwing myself away from the black wall. There was parts of it that still glowed red and other bits that were white and ashy. The various colours seemed to form patterns on the wall.

“The candles just went crazy,” Rou said, with a voice filled with awe. “As soon as you started up, the candles sort of flared up.”

“And then these little fireballs started jumping around!” Syra added.

“There was a lot of things jumping around,” Opi said. “Like when Sam did it, only not just water this time. There was fire too.”

“And flowers!” Syra added. She was grinning from ear to ear. I wondered if she was waiting her turn.

“Flowers?” I asked, looking around the room. After I stopped staring at the scorched wall, I noticed some other things were odd in the room. The left wall was wet, while the one in front of me where everyone sat was covered in tiny dark buds. If they were flowers, they’d already shrivelled and died.

“They all died when I yelled your name,” Sam said. “Sorry.”

“Don’t apologize,” Rou said. “We were worried you were going to burn everything down.”

“I wasn’t sure if you were done though,” Sam added. “I didn’t want to interrupt you.”

She looked at me questioningly and I shrugged. “I guess I’m done now?”

“She has to be done,” Opi said. “The ring vanished.”

What?!” Rou yelled, falling to her knees to look at the glass dish at her feet. “That was my ring!”

“Sorry Rou,” I whispered. “I didn’t mean to do any of that.”

“Wait!” Syra sounded panicked. “How am I going to do it then?”

I shared a glance with Sam, Opi and Rou. “I don’t have another tourmaline,” Rou said. “I bought that ring with my own money!”

“There is no way I can borrow my mom’s jewelry if it might disappear,” Sam said. “She would kill me. And I don’t own a tourmaline.”

I nodded. I didn’t even think my mom owned a tourmaline. Definitely not in that colour.

Opi frowned. “Well I definitely don’t have one.”

“How am I going to do it?” Syra whined.

“We’ll figure something out,” I promised, racking my brain for how to make it happen.

“Maybe I could buy another one,” Rou said, sighing.

“You shouldn’t have to pay for it alone,” Sam said.

“We can all chip in,” Opi said. “It doesn’t look like the components always vanish.” He pointed at the milkweed as an example. The other three dishes were empty.

I nodded at Rou. “Yeah, we can chip in. And then Syra can do it too.”

Rou ran her hand through her hair. “I guess that would be okay. But it was like, $200.”

“That’s only $50 if we all chip,” Sam said. “And it’s our fault it vanished…”

Rou sighed. “I’d appreciate it. Broke university student and all.”

“Yeah, don’t worry about it,” Opi said. “We can replace it.”

She nodded. “I’ll order another one.”

Syra sighed a long suffering sigh. “How long is that going to come in? Cause now all you guys have cool magic and I’m stuck waiting.”

Rou gave her sister an apologetic look. “It took a month or two last time…”

Syra looked disappointed. “So I have to sit around and wait a whole month before I get to do this?”

“At least,” Rou said. “But at least school will be out?”

“Maybe for you,” Syra grumbled, pouting in the corner.

“Hey, cheer up,” I said. “At least you’re still invited to the Fairy ball.”

Sam glowered at me. “Which I still think is a bad idea.”

“Wait, back up,” Rou said. “Fairy ball? Explain please.”

I tuned out as Sam and Syra tried to explain the ball, tripping over themselves to explain why it was a good or bad idea. The back wall scared me. No one else had impacted the room around them quite so much. What if I’d hurt someone while using this magic? Could I be trusted with it?

“The fairies attacked us!” Sam said angrily.

“They were just excited!” Syra retaliated.

I sighed, looking at the ground. Opi had said he saw a leyline on the ground here, but I didn’t see anything when I looked at the spot. I didn’t see anything inside the clubhouse except for the still smouldering wall and the tiny flowers that crumbled when I touched them.

“What do you think, Mary?” Syra asked. I looked up to notice everyone was staring at me now.

“Uhh…” I could only imagine they were all expecting my opinion on visiting the fairies. “I want to go.”

“Did you even ask your parents?” Sam challenged. “Cause you know they’ll say no.”

“You don’t know that,” I said, though I really did know.

“Did you ask yours?” Syra countered. “Did they say no? Is that why you’re so against this?”

“No,” Sam said evasively.

Syra gasped. “That’s totally it, you don’t want to go because you aren’t allowed to!”

Sam looked down at the ground. “No, I just… didn’t ask yet.”

“Why not?” Opi asked.

“They’ll say no,” Sam said. “But it’s okay, I don’t want to go anyways.”

“What if I offer to chaperone?” Rou asked. “Maybe they’ll let you go out for a night with me.”

“I doubt it.” Sam sounded defeated.

“Do you really not want to go?” I asked. “Or do you not want us to go without you?”

“Bit of both,” she said stubbornly. “It still might a bad idea. They did attack us.”

“Look, I have to go do homework soon,” Opi said. “So let’s make a plan. Rou, you and Sam go inside and ask if you can go. Mary, you ask your parents tonight. And I’ll try to see if the book says anything about fairies tonight. Then tomorrow we meet here again and discuss it. Agreed?”

He looked at everyone and was met with sullen glares, gleeful smiles and undecided shrugs. He sighed. “That looks like a consensus. Sam, go talk to your mom.”

Sam and Rou left the clubhouse together, Sam quietly talking to the older girl.

“I have to go,” Opi said, standing up. “Do you want me to walk you home, Mary?”

My heart skipped a beat. Syra’s face was frozen in an excited mask.

“Uhh… I should say goodbye,” I said desperately reaching for an excuse.

“I can tell Sam where you went!” Syra said, a little too enthusiastically. “I need to wait for Rou anyways.”

“Uhh…” I articulated.

“Go on,” Syra said grinning, “You have homework too.”

“You’re right,” I said, flustered. “We should go, Opi.”

I hoped he didn’t notice my blushing face as I stumbled out of the clubhouse and into the sunlight.

The Librarian’s Code, Part 26 (Librarians)


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When the indigo door closed, Amber let out a breath that sounded like she’d held it for the last ten minutes. I grinned at her.

“Why,” she began, “do you have a demon in that room?!” Her voice got louder as she spoke, and more high pitched.

“I didn’t think he was in there,” I said, trying not to laugh. “Sorry about that.”

“I don’t believe you!” Amber said angrily. “Are you just messing with me? What am I going to find behind the violet door?”

I shrugged. “Dunno, it’s been years since I’ve been in there. Probably not a demon though.”

“Why?” she said again, plaintively.

“There was never a reason,” I said. “Gale held the key and he didn’t need my help.”

“Not that,” Amber said. “Why do you have a demon in that room?”

“Oh, Jackie? He’s hiding.” I started walked towards the violet door beside us. I didn’t want to ignore her freak out, but it we still had a lot of stops to make before we could get back to the others. Especially if she wanted to see her room.

I stood in front of the pale purple door before I realized Amber hadn’t followed me. She was still standing in front of my door, staring at the soft colour covered in fine silver lines as if it might bite her.

“Are you coming?” I asked.

“Not unless you can promise me there’s no demons behind it,” Amber said. “Or anything else that wants to attack me.”

“Jackie didn’t want to attack you,” I said, but the argument didn’t seem to hold much weight. She stared at me, arms crossed over her tiny form and her feet planted on the ground. I sighed. “I really can’t promise that. I’m ninety-nine percent certain that Gale didn’t leave you any demons though. He didn’t like using summons.”

“But he could have?” she pressed. “I could open that door to a demon and neither of us would have a clue why it’s there?”

“That’s… Extremely unlikely,” I said. Our previous wind expert had been more inclined to summon fae, but I didn’t think that was likely to reassure Amber at all. Not that many fae would have bothered to stick around this long. Unlike demons, summoned fae were much more fickle about the deals they’d make, and the minor fae had a tendency to bore easily.

“Can we please just go, Rachael?” Amber said, practically begging. “I don’t want anything behind there.”

“That’s because you don’t know what’s in there,” I said gruffly. “There’s at least weapons and armour. Gale was good with a bow.”

“I’m not,” she pleaded. “I’d be even more of a threat to our own team.”

I sighed, giving one last look to the violet door. The large door was covered in pale, muted shades in ombre patterns, like tendrils of fog or mist crept over a lavender field. On top of it, silver lines etched out feathery patterns. In the centre, there was a small, indented circle, with two silver wings wrapped around it. I supposed the mysteries within would have to wait another day.

“Fine,” I said, walking back to the stairs. “Let’s go take care of your cats.”

“Thank you,” Amber said, falling into step beside me. She had to rush just to keep up with me.

“I still think you’re over-reacting,” I muttered.

Amber sighed as we walked past the red door and started heading up the steps. “Well, you picked me to make the decisions when it comes to the violet key and I’m deciding that we have enough trouble for one day.”

She pushed past me to head up the stairs first, and I grunted as her black leggings vanished up the spiral staircase. These kids were learning way too quickly for my tastes.

“Give me the car keys,” I said as soon we were out of the library. “I’ll drive.”

She tossed me them without question. Back in the car, I tossed the sword into the back seat, grabbing my purse from underneath. I pulled out my phone, scrolling through names until I’d found the name of our most recently retired librarian. I found him quickly enough, Gale Philomel, and started to call him. Amber looked at me from the passenger seat.

“Shouldn’t we go?” she asked as the phone rang.

“It’s dangerous to use the phone while driving,” I said, listening to the phone ring again.

“Is it important?” she asked.

I stuck the keys in the ignition while listening to another ring. “You think it is.”

She leaned back in the seat, scowling.

“Don’t look at me like that,” I said. “You should know what’s in your arsenal if we’re going to be getting into fights. And we are going to be getting into more fights.”

The phone went to voicemail and I cursed at it, passing it to Amber. “Text this guy, ask him what’s in the room. And then maybe place a pick up order for some pizza.”

“Do you have an app for ordering pizza?” Amber asked, fingers already flying across my phone’s touch screen.

“Why does everything have to be an app these days?” I asked, turning on the car and pulling out onto the road. “Why not just call them?”

“Well, do you know what you want?” Amber asked, still fiddling with the phone.

“No,” I grumbled. “Download the app if you insist.”

She proceeded to spend the next 15 minutes on the road asking about pizza topping, only pausing to give me directions to her apartment.

“Anything else?” she asked as we pulled into her driveway.

“Make sure you get some root beers for Mark,” I said, turning off the car.

She hit a few more buttons. “And done. Are you coming in dressed like that?”

“Preferably,” I said, grabbing the bastard sword out of the back.

“We’re just feeding some cats!” she exclaimed. “You don’t need a sword.”

“I could wait in the car if you’re sure it’s safe,” I offered. I could see her hesitate. Probably remembering Jackie in my room. It was easy to forget the supernatural weirdness while placing an order for pizza.

“Just tell people you work at a Ren faire if they ask,” Amber said blushing, getting out of the car. I grabbed my sword, snerking. Scared, but definitely not stupid.

Amber didn’t need to worry anyways. We didn’t pass another soul as we headed through the back stairs to her apartment.

“I hope you’re not allergic to cats,” Amber said as she unlocked the door. “I haven’t had a chance to vacuum.”

“It’s fine,” I said as she pushed open the door. A blur of black and white fur darted out instantly rubbing up against my boots.

“Well that’s an enthusiastic greeting,” I said to the purring cat.

Amber pursed her lips. “Yeah…”

She stepped into the house and I could see that the she really hadn’t cleaned up in awhile. clothes littered the hallway and her shoes scattered the entranceway. From the other room, I could hear the other cat meowing eagerly. Amber looked uneasy.

“Something wrong?” I asked, closing the door behind me and the cat.

“It wasn’t this messy when I left,” she said quietly.

The cat was still twining between my legs. “Maybe they missed you?”

“So they knocked down the pictures?” she asked, gesturing to the fallen frames in a living room that looked like a tornado had come through.

“I’m guessing you aren’t this messy?” I muttered, pulling my sword out of it’s sheath. She shook her head no and I pushed her behind me.

I stepped carefully over a spilled vase on the floor, heading towards the noisy cat. Amber’s home looked like it would be pretty nice normally, if a little small. The meowing was coming from the bedroom. I went inside.

The first thing I saw was the orange tabby cat crouched in the middle of the room. The next thing I saw were the long, gossamer wings they had pinned beneath them.