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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.”

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