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"Thank you for keeping an eye on my brother," Alys told the servant at Finny's prompting. "I'm glad to hear he and Walter are being looked after." Even if Finnegan had ignored the news, she would not -- and it never hurt to be courteous to one's staff. She herself lived with minimal staff, just a single housekeeper, but the Greys had taught her to respect the help and always treat them well. "Let's see...I think a map of the city, if you please Franklin, one that Finnegan won't mind me marking up, and that should be all."

It didn't take long for the man to return, and by then Alys had moved the various trinkets from the coffee table to an end table, giving herself and Finnegan space to work. "Thank you, Franklin," she said, taking charge of the requested items. The map she laid out on the table, and she gave Finny the book with the news clippings, keeping the almanac for herself, as well as a small notebook of her own. "If you'll read through the dates and locations in order, Finny, I'll write down the moon phases, and we can mark the locations on the map to see if a pattern emerges."

Together the pair went over times and places, until all were neatly jotted down. Alys looked over her notes and frowned slightly, then held out her little notebook so Finnegan could read it. "I think you were onto something, Finny, with the phases of the moon being relevant," she said. "Just look at this."
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. . . 𝓨es, I suppose I grabbed,

𝓐t Spring. 𝓐nd you set your hopes much too high. . .


𝓛ady Alyssana's manners were impeccable. He wished sometimes to hang them upon the sky, but alas, that was too much, just like her crystal attitude being clean to a fault. She wore it as some sort of fresh fragrance that he really had no time to cusp on his cheeks for comfort post his afternoon shave. He admired this about her. There were other women he knew who treated his servants with dignity and respect, and to single her out would be too easy. He understood far too well for her to not be an easy woman. She deserved more than some imaginary flight of words that made up florally lines of poetry. She deserved the truth.

Ah, but the truth was much too hard to say, and when the right words formed for him to say it, the time was not quite right. He knew this far too well, as well. It haunted him his whole life. It was something like staring through a glass fixture. His boyish nature eventually admitted defeat with the other more easily attainable ones.

He watched as Lady Alysanna was moving through his manor, speaking to his servant. She already owned the place. She commanded herself with a gentle nature, β€œThank you, Franklin,” he assured the man with a smile. It was quiet and sharp, but there hinted some tinge of jealousy underneath the feeling even if the servant operated in a more clumsy manner, β€œAh!” he echoed out of some hollow version of himself, β€œIt appears as if we are onto something, what good luck we are having,” his arm gently cusped Lady Alyssana's outfit, guiding a small nudge as a couple would when sharing a dance. The moment was brief like and left with a bitterness, he knew he would wear for the rest of the afternoon, β€œWhat discovery do you think we should make of this?”

Drawing his arm, again, it entered back into the measure,
guessing back into pricking
a word -- a date -- anything marked by a printing press
with the tip of his finger.


Just a prick of the hem . . .
. . . For the ages.


. . . π“˜ set my love upon you much too high.

𝓐nd in the sky arranged my burial. . . .
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"It means we know roughly when the next murder will occur," Alyssana declared, "though not so much where." She peered at the marked map with a sigh. "The murders are spread out across the city, far too large an area to patrol properly." She stepped back, pacing slowly up and down the length of the room as she thought. "I really don't think there's much more to be gleaned from what we have in the way of information. If the note doesn't refer to a place but rather to the cycle of murders and moon phases, well. I'm not sure what our next step should be." Alys closed her little notebook and tucked it back in her pocket, along with the pencil she'd used for writing.
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𝓐 quiet perfume from the orchard,

π“ͺpple blossom and acacia. . .


Of course, the answer was right there. The words were neatly and nicely pressed and typed across the pages of the almanac. Finnegan smirked, preoccupied with his own selfish endeavors and was unable to properly see the one that was in so badly need of assessment.

Meanwhile, Lady Alysanna straightened herself, assessing her clothes intuitively. Their simplicity fell without any derangement as did her hair. She was simple, and her simplicity made finding the exact things that he needed in life much easier. He was always concerned, as was part of his business, mind you, about the frivolous parts of life. He watched lazily as she began to pace the room back-and-forth, but he still kept his posture. Eventually, though, he slid into his chair again.

The maroon cushion was velvet beneath him, and the arms were styled with a lion head carved in wood. The style was a 1600's wing chair, and was not very popular in appearance, but the uniqueness caught Finnegan's eye once while at an antique shop. It was the 1720's that had intrigued the audience when the wing chair became popular. Nonetheless, this particular chair commanded its own respect amongst the other chairs that remained in the study.

His thumb fiddled with his ring finger as he allowed Lady Alyssana to take the lead. Her impassableness was why he had chosen her to help him with the case. Why, he had thought of simply (not the simply that was used earlier in this commentary) to bide his time easily with Walter, but Walter, as everyone knows could not even stomach a trip to Madame Sophronia's Papillon Tea Room. Everything was too sporadic for Walter. The man could barely find his way to his breakfast in the morning. He felt for his younger brother, but it was clearly an obvious implication of hi travesties when dealing with reality.

β€œI say, let us get some Tea and head to the Library,” he could make two winks with the same eye ad gesture. Lady Alysanna also ignored his question of wanting any refreshment. She was someone who could easily get caught in her studies, as she was now, and even if she had only arrived half an hour earlier from the shenanigans that had prescribed themselves already, he felt she needed a true break, β€œIt is about tea time, after all.” After a small time he added, β€œPerhaps, Christopher and Walter would care to join us.”

. . . 𝓓ead men float.
𝓛ast night. π“˜t was glorious, ecstatic. . .
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"Tea time?" Alys pulled out a pocketwatch and checked the hour. "Ah, yes, I suppose it is. And there really isn't anything further to be done with the information we have. Tea would be lovely -- and I do have time for a trip to the library afterwards." She went to fold the map up and handed it to Finny, to tuck in with the various newspaper clippings in his notebook.

By the time the tea was ready, Chris and Walter had been rounded up and and everyone was settled in the parlor. Chris was fidgeting absently with a small cube featuring brightly painted squares of color. It was something he'd shown to Walter earlier -- a Rubik's cube, Christopher called it. Solving it was a trivial matter for Chris but playing around with it gave him something to do with his hands.

"Chris, put it away."

"But Lyssaaaa--!"

"No buts, Chris. You can't have tea and play with that at the same time."
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β€œπ“žh, thank God, I thought I was going to have to plead with you to take a break.”

𝓛ord Finnegan admitted before the forever squeamish Lord Christopher and Lord Walter would arrive. Lady Alyssana was masculine (the crash courses at the Institute still played well in his mind); once she began something, she could not simply stop herself. She simply, again, had such a driven nature that she had to finish something once it was started. However, the woman had her decency. She was from the noble class and could stop herself, if she so desired.

There were women who laughed at her ambitious side. He thought them fools, like the audiences misunderstanding the humors of Shakespearean plays, and not the fools who played the fools themselves.

She was sometimes seen as someone no man would want when compared to the lavishly dressed maiden counterparts. He believed it to be particularly brilliant that she could turn scraps into beautiful pieces of art. Other men wanted more from their women. The mechanical nature of her bronze wings may have given a clue to this, but even with such steam that he would love to rust with all the intricacies of the secret stardusts, the nervous irritabilities she often portrayed in other women was indescribable sometimes.

It was not her, he was taught to believe, by all the teachings that he had learned while attending the Institute. It was them. He could read all of the pearls and diamonds of the other dames like name tags, but if the truth were to be told, they all read the same name. It was part of the reason why Le Parfum Operando was successful. It was just like the jewelers who made personalized watches. They had some rich way of glittering on the flirting wrists, but her personality sparkled in a way that was not needed for such luxurious fashions.

It was the other women whose fashions grew in vain, and Lady Alysanna's whose fashion kept cheerful and steady. It was natural at most and exemplified the parts of her most women cared to hide with disguises and other masquerades, β€œWalter, don't squirm so much. You make hav...” He stopped himself, unable to finish his sentence. It was not every day that Walter was able to see Lord Christopher, and seeing Lord Christopher meant that Lady Alyssana was about. He felt like a spoiled rich kid, again, grasping at straws on how to connect with the people around him, β€œYou might spill your tea.”

Walter's whimsical mess was disastrous all the more as he sat panting in the back of his mind at some joke he could barely remember. His hand messed with one of his wrist watches, β€œOf course, I'm just so excited.” His excitement was a flaw, and it would probably be the death of him as it drained his energy as he aged. However, the sin was merely a missed mark he could not afford to correct. A chloroform perfume of sorts might be myth to help. β€œThank you for joining us, Chris and Alyssana, especially, a-after this afternoon. It is such a pleasure.”
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Both brothers had the fidgets it seemed, as Finnegan scolded Walter for not sitting still. Alys had long ago learned to put up with Christopher's lack of stillness, and under most circumstances encouraged him to carry some small device or other to keep his hands busy when they weren't otherwise occupied -- such as with a cup of tea.

"This afternoon?" Chris echoed, looking up from his teacup, where he had been watching the motion of the tiny particulates at the bottom. "What happened this afternoon?" Of course the young man would catch a reference to something embarrassing, without even knowing it was.

"Just a minor laboratory accident, Christopher. Fortunately no one was injured." Alyssana downplayed the incident to avoid piquing her brother's interest further, hoping to avoid having to explain the precise details of what was an all around unfortunate incident.

"Oh. Well yes laboratory safety is very important, even if you're not working with dangerous chemicals and stuff like that," Chris said. "You should be more careful -- accidents are bad."
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π“˜mprinted in my soul,

π“˜ have the portrait of a fair lady. . .

π“˜ won't insult my fate by weeping, empty tears shedding. . .


𝓑ut as it was, it was torture for Walter attempting to mind his own business as he sat there like a good trained dog next to his brother as a master. He understood the feelings that multiplied in front of Lady Alyssana, and even then, he felt a sudden flush like a paleness blushing a fever across his cheeks. Still, the young man fidgeted with one of his watches. The strap was soft with leather, and he thought of the calf that had been separated from his mother before slaughter. It brought his mind to an ease on the main topic at hand.

β€œThey simply want us to quiet the media, is that correct?” He felt Finnegan's strong hand place itself upon his shoulder, and the jittery feelings calmed instantly. A sick he was being, and a sick man he always would be. He wished to be of more use to his brother, but his mind would not allow it in many different ways than the ones currently being provoked.

Finnegan removed his hand as his brother's body quieted. His scent was starved for some attention that would never happen. His mind knew better. He needed food, perhaps more than Lady Alyssana. He wondered now, if this was where he fit, caring for everyone who was too preoccupied with their own studies. He would take the compliment with his own selfish endeavors, β€œSomething of the sort,” he took a bite of the shepherd potpie, letting a gap between Walter and him linger, β€œUnfortunately,” he squinted, tempting his memory with the words of the poem, β€œThis murderer has become more and more attractive the more I get to know Lady Alsy--,” he stopped himself, again, letting usual course of his overly amusing flirts overlay evening, β€œHe or she has drawn my attention. Why do they want us to quiet the murders? I have been wondering this when here, no one wants to quiet my own nor those of Madame Sophronia.”

His hand looked at the silver print on the fork's handle. There was an intricate design that was melted and stamped into it. He had inherited it from his father's side of the family, and just know he noticed there was a man who wore a bore head on it. His feet started at the thread and ended on the fiddle-shape. It meant nothing to him at this very moment, but he thought maybe it was some olde sprite akin to some trickster of sorts, β€œYou do know, I am half wondering why they even asked for my assistance on the matter.” He allowed his mind to linger on his dinner as he thought about it.

There were far more important things to ponder than stupid murders, especially from the whiles of Madame Sophronia. She would never let him have his way with Julianna, not that she was anything compared to Lady Alyssana accept both seemed almost unattainable. No, that was a lie. Even the reader could tell us this. Lady Alyssana was the more sought after woman, but in horribly indistinct times, Finnegan would drop his guard even if momentary and on purpose.

β€œYou are a very good problem-solver, my dear brother,” Walter chimed. He was still attracted to sipping his tea and had not touched much of his dinner, unlike Finnegan who seemed to have known exactly what he wanted from his meal, β€œAs is Lady Alyssana.” He could not help but add. He tried to hold back such a random comment, but as usual, his honesty took hold of him. It was like a torch, and he could never put it out. Many times, this torch was too heavy for him to carry. Even now, with Lord Christopher about, he worried that he would have to excuse himself. He strained to keep himself with another sip of conversation, β€œYou do not make, they knew you would bring in Lady Alyssana? What if the murderer is the one who has requested you?”

It was almost darling to watch his brother attempt to help with the case. After working with him in the laboratory, he understood this was not going to end well, but he allowed it, like the lavishly ridiculous designs on all his cockery. He took more to the artistry than he should have while Walter attempted to make his case known, β€œTo be honest, I doubt someone would do such a thing. I would find them immediately. As Lord Finnegan Oaks. I am live as too much of a shining example to played with like this. In fact, I'd say I frighten a good neighboring psychopath if that were the case,” his eyes looked at Lady Alyssana. This was meant as a pass, but as all his attempts, he knew were fleeting, like a dead, gentle lantern swaying in front of her. She saw past his every attempt, and all the more, he loved her.

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Alys smiled slightly at Finnegan's boasting, but said nothing about it. She was used to his mannerisms but saw little reason to encourage him to more. Instead she turned to her brother. "You should finish your meal, Chris. You too, Walter -- if we're going to have a decent amount of time at the library, we should be leaving soon."

"We're going to the library?" Christopher lit up. "Oh that's good -- there's a few books I've been meaning to get, but I was busy with my research and all so I never did get around to going." With a goal in mind, Chris stopped talking and dedicated himself to eating, and before long he was finished.

Once everyone was done, the group prepared to leave, donning jackets and locating library cards.

"C'mon, let's go!" Chris enthused. He was more than ready to be on his way, even before he'd gotten his jacket all the way on. "Library time!"
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𝓛ady Alyssana's lack of response was disheartening, and Lord Finnegan could not help but give her some sort of smile in response. It was rehearsed gentlemanly like the rest of his behaviors. There was much to be said about her silence, and he was not going to push her. The woman's will was an animal of its own, and he was busy taming a different part of her, β€œVery well, the library it is then,” he spoke for Walter, who was busy juggling the thoughts of speaking and taking another sip of his tea. He was after all is said and done, the clumsier and more bashful version of his older brother.

He looked down at his several wrist watches. They were still ticking in their quietly ticking ways. They had different times for different places around the world. Finnegan had offered to purchase him something that had several dials and on one face, but he refused to wear something of the sorts after getting so attached to the ones already on his arm, β€œGoing to the library sounds as a good idea as any,” Lord Walter finally admitted. He was giddy and was not certain he wanted to show anymore of it. The tea was definitely helping with his fiddling mind, and getting a few books for learning would be quite worth his time. He was always eager to do what his brother said, albeit when the Greys came into their manor, it seemed he suddenly had more worth in amongst the guests.

Lord Walter quickly removed himself from his chair but not before saying, β€œExcuse me!” And β€œYes, let us go!” to Lord Christopher as they went to go don their jackets and other necessities for the trip.

. ❖ .


𝓣𝒉𝒆 π“‘π’Šπ’ƒπ’π’Šπ’π’•π’‰π’†π’„π’‚ 𝒐𝒇 π“’π’π’π’†π’Šπ’


𝓣he Bibliotheca of Soleil was across town. It was not the only library in town, but it was the main library. The library had smaller locations for the ones who had a much more difficult time traveling across town, and those particular libraries had not as many glorious books and many repetitive literature that could be found in the main library near the center of the town. This particular library was large and at one point, Lord Walter had gone by himself, and after taking the steam-cranked elevator downwards to the basement, nearly fell to the floor from exhaustion after getting lost.

There were columns of books everywhere with ladders and stairs and traits of flourishing ideas. It was almost a beast of a place to be. However, the entrance being as tidy and finely lit seemed to offer a perpetual steeple of insightful and glorious knowledge that always encouraged anyone who left the library from exhaustion with a new found hope of freedom for learning and education. It is also true that only the library workers, regulars, and nobles find this library easy to navigate.

Lord Finnegan had thought it was a perfect place to murder someone as it is so large, but his admiration for the art or writing tended to overwhelm him whenever he stepped afoot inside the monstrous library. It's Gothic architecture with flying buttresses had some sort of power over him, and he proposed it some sort of middle ground of sorts where government officials and locals could play fairly next to each other without fearing any negative outcomes.
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The library was a beautiful building, Alys thought. Both she and Chris were regulars there, and knew their way around, at least for the most part. Of course there was never any harm in consulting a librarian for help if such was needed, but over the years the pair needed that help less and less.

"We have about an hour before we should be going. Chris, set your pocketwatch so you don't forget," Alys cautioned, as Chris made to head off at once into the stacks of books.

"Yes alright," he replied distractedly, wanting to be off, but he did at least take out his watch and fiddle with it until the little device was set. And then he was away, Walter trailing behind, vanishing between the rows of books with an eager and confident air.

"Well that's those two taken care of," Alys said with a smile. "We may have to track them down later, but I have a good idea of where they'll end up. Finnegan, are there any books in particular you wanted to get?" She was eager to be off as well, but it was polite to ask her companion if he meant to get anything and take care of that first.
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𝓣he library was a beautiful building, but it was not nearly as beautiful as Lady Alyssana, Lord Finnegan thought. There was something more classical about the woman than any other thing in the world. Afterall, beauty would save the world. However, he did not want his mind to wander. He had a few things himself he had to get at the library. It was duty that he attempted at least a couple times before flouncing himself forward with getting some sort of librarian to set him straight, β€œIf you feel faint, Walter, by the shield of Saint George the Trophy bearer, say something to Lord Christopher before we have tragedy on our hands,” he breathed in a little, looking down at his wristwatch. He was already feeling a little resentful of the travel himself, but being around Lady Alyssana had forced him to prove something of himself.

Was this how all his lady friends felt after he doused them?

Of course, not.

It was merely impossible.


β€œYes, brother,” Walter smiled sweetly with his hazel eyes. His lips cusped upwards as he looked to Lord Christopher. All the adventure that was about to unfold. There were other types of adventures that could grasp them, but libraries, especially this one, had a special knack for surprising each and every one of its guests with something different and unusual. There was a unique magical mist that seemed to set it apart from some of the even larger libraries in the other cities. Lord Christopher had only heard of the few adventures his brother and other acquaintances had been on in those other knowledgeable buildings, but by far, the ones that took him in this particular one were by far the very best.

With that, Lord Walter looked to the pocket watch in Lord Christopher’s hand and followed, as if the device was some sort of compass before putting it away. He quickly began following his friend, both with curiosity wrapped around their minds. It was nothing unusual to see, but in the least, it was still unique as was stated in which the library treated each and every quest with the same special particularities that no two guests or visits were the same.

Lord Finnegan watched as the two younger men wandered through the dissension of books. Their footsteps were slowly lost to the discord, β€œThat’s fine, as long as Walter watches himself more than the books, and honestly, I prefer we take care of you, first,” he smiled with a bit of shy slyness, β€œIf I am not mistaken in assuming that you have a few or more gentle reads in mind?” He was eager to get lost in the rows of books with her and really did prefer the pompous art of letting the lady go first. Besides, it reminded him of the first time they shared a dance

It was a memory he would hold close to him, not just whenever he took a step into the library but as long as the stars flared up in the nighttime mist and the moon surfaced without deceit and as easily to remember and rehearse in his mind as to count the sun to rise in the morning. It was a memory eternally engraved and to cherish all the same, even more now, standing so close to her.

It almost killed him to breathe her in.

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Alys looked up at Finny as he offered to let her do her browsing first. She gave him a smile, for once glad of of his perpetual chivalry. "Alright then," she said. "Yes, there's a couple authors that have released new things, including one that published some new material on the Wasteland cities." The animation in her voice indicated her excitement, belying the relative neutrality of her expression. She lead the way through the stacks at a brisk pace, heading first to the fiction section, where she made a couple different stops, including one in the mystery section. Alys was swift to locate the books she wanted, and in the end the walking took more time than the actual searching.

In the nonfiction section she lingered over the books a little longer, but still worked relatively quickly. Here Alys told Finny a little about what she was looking into, though if he didn't seem interested she let it go. Her focus on magic and how it affected human culture and development throughout history was nothing new; she'd been at it for years.

Her selection of books completed, she tucked the last one into a cloth bag she'd brought for the purpose. "That's everything," she said, turning to look at Finny, her eyes bright. "What were you hoping to get?"
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β€œπ“¨es, there's a couple authors that have released new things,
including one that published some new material on the Wasteland cities.”


β€œπ“h, the Wasteland cities,” Lord Finnegan made a serious tone and drew in a small breath as he watched the woman. Her change of demeanor was always a delight to watch, but he found himself neutralizing the situation as opposed to provoking it like Lord Christopher or Walter would try to do. He wanted to show more of something, but within himself, he still could not find it and smiled nonetheless. He was unsure of how he came across because at that moment, he felt to give her his most true self, a serious natured human. It was also true that he was not at all as familiar with the library as he ought, and therefore, he mustered up a small smile to give the woman. Although, the smile turned more into a smirk of sorts.

He enjoyed the cunning parts of Lady Alyssana. Her guard was still easily seen, but with her whimsical charm being shown to him for the first time in what seemed like ages, he felt of utmost need or perhaps an untamed desire or dare even both strings pulled his study into something of all due respect. Therefore, his attitude was more reverent than usual, but Lady Alyssana was too fixated on the spiraling stairs and the ladders and the smell of books that needed more minding and less modeling.

She even chatted away about things that ended up going in one ear and out the other, no matter how hard he wanted to mind her. It was a shame and a slight deflation to his manliness that he could not take it all in, and he wanted to slow her down at some point. He thought several bad thoughts of potions and elixirs that could conjure several such happenings and scolded himself heavily for thinking anything against her. The guilt set in, and he saw himself lagging even further with keeping up with her. Part of him wanted to stop her, but nothing in him could prevent her from continuing.

The feeling of being just a pawn crept over him, and he allowed himself to enjoy it. He knew what she had gone through, and as much as he felt as if he was being used, he knew that she never truly would use him. After all the times that he had ever manipulated a woman to his own will meant far nothing to letting Lady Alyssana steal all of his attention with such a blur of feminine inquiries on such heavy subjects. Her smarts and wits were outstanding, which always proved themselves heavily lauded at the Institute. Even now, right in front of him, her words were dressed in scholarly approval that not any one person could wear as an evening gown and look delightful.

Lady Alyssana wore her intelligence with a special wisdom that invoked a beautiful scent. I wished to capture that scent, but having it be so rarely given gave it all the more value. He enjoyed his time, and wondered little about their brothers, and suddenly, she was done lecturing him like the schoolgirl he once knew. Her eyes were still sparkling with that childlike gaiety as she looked up at him, still dawning her scent, β€œI almost forgot to be honest. I was so busy listening to you,” he shook his head, β€œSeeing you so excited like this is rare for me, and I would like to cherish every moment of it,” his words were spoken a little more hushed and quickly than usual. It was not just because they were in a library, but the reasoning could likely be given to the Soleil.

β€œLord Finnegan and Lady Alyssana,” Professor Clementine Mitchell, an dark haired, average heighted man who had just turned the corner, approached the two. His stout nature was round, and his face was pale but his beard was thick with dark hair. His strong voice was not easily disguised amongst the rows and rows of books, β€œI thought I heard some chit-chattering that sounded very familiar,” his wording seemed to have been a strange break, stealing every opportunity for Lord Finnegan to make any real say in the conversation, which reminded the younger man as to why speaking so weakly was ill-advised, β€œMy, what brings you two here to the library today?”

Professor Clementine Mitchell had taught at the Institute and knew both to the best of his abilities as a professor could know his devious students. His mustache was imperial. He used to have a more English mustache, but as time passed, it became curlier and no one ever really minded too much until they had to describe him to someone for some reason or another. His usual dress was in his navy swallowtail jacket with black lining. He was holding his cane and pointing at them as if they ought to be doing something else with their lives than stand there. Unfortunately, he was unaware that he was part of the reason that they were now stuck in the exact same spot of the library and unable to move.

β€œOh, no, why yes, hello, Professor Mitchell,” Lord Finnegan smiled, nodding his head slightly, as to see no fine opportunity to shake the man’s hand. This was slightly strange, but all the same, the man was zany and expecting anything usual from the man seemed would have been recorded as much more strange. In fact, he smelled just the same, zaney. Cheating on any of his exams by smelling for the right answer was always a whirl of an experience. To say the least, his smell was not pleasant to the younger gentleman, and he wished that the professor would at least dowse his pits in soap or powder, β€œLady Alyssana found some books on the Wasteland and magic, and I have a few books the number five that have caught my attention, recently,” Lord Finnegan looked to Lady Alyssana briefly while he spoke, making a small motion.

β€œThe Wasteland and Magic? By God, my dear Lady Alyssana, Are you never going to give up your studies? Now, I wonder, what really did bring you two to the library today.” The Professor looked at Lady Alyssana with a slight puff coming from his nose, trying to anticipate the answer or decipher through their muddied explanations. Lord Finnegan was never a good one for those things. He was too busy trying to manipulate everyone, during his time at the Institute. The Professor would never imagine anything different from the man. As well, Lady Alyssana was always much more straight forward given most circumstances.
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Finnegan's answer to her question was a flirt, though a surprisingly subdued one in terms of tone. Alys would have replied but at that exact moment one of their old professors turned up. "Why, Professor Mitchell. What an unexpected pleasure," she said. "And no, I've no intention of ceasing my learning. A professor is obligated to stay up-to-date with their field, after all."

Mitchell's repeated question of what brought them to the library confused her. Finny had more or less answered the question, after all. "We came on a whim, I suppose. I would have found my way here sometime in the next couple of days, if not for Lord Finnegan's suggestion that we come today. And really, is it necessary to have a reason to enjoy the library?" The corner of Alys's mouth twitched upwards. "What about you, Professor? What books are you seeking today?"
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chrysocoma ❀

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𝓣he trees are always listening.

Most of them are on our side, but there are trees that would betray us to them...

... you know who I mean...


𝓣witching his smile under the Imperial mustache, the Professor bared a few crooked teeth. They were yellower in nature, β€œAh, my dear. Always a pleasure to see a colleague cleaning his or her clock.” He narrowed his eyes at Lord Finnegan. The redness of his own face blushed with some boyish emotion, trying to skirt tail any unnecessary conversation that may direct him into a position of being ungentlemanly. There was a whim of test in him that would always exist, in the classroom and out of the classroom, especially for his students who survived his brutal examinations.

Lord Finnegan was definitely one of them, having a permanent fixation with experimenting with the human mind in one way or another, β€œTo answer Lady Alyssana, I am looking into the core of the human body at the moment. Magic and fire. It's complete mayhem in my laboratory. Lots of explosions. Lots of fun. Woooh,” his hands went upwards and jingled his fingers, β€œYou two should come by sometime. But please, knock before entering. I have some top-secret information that I would not want getting out, but...”

The professor held up his fist with a little gesture that meant as much as it meant as little as it did to anyone who may understand or misunderstand the motion, β€œIs that not the truth about all of us?” He made a merry giggle as if he was eluding to something or another. It was what he did during class quite often, as if he was waiting for someone or something to happen upon his hybrid-thoughts of bio-steam mechanics and make more sense of it. Lord Finnegan had the notion his wife was probably at wit ends with him because she was never around him, even when he went out in public, but at this very moment, he was starting to wonder if the ring on his finger meant what it actually meant.

β€œOur brothers are also here, conducting their own studies if that solves any mysteries you may be unnecessarily trying to solve. I assure you, there's no funny business going on. Nothing in comparison to your own fun. We shall have to stop by soon enough.” Lord Finnegan changed the subject as he listed his wrist, twisting it to see the time on his watch. Not much of anything had past, but the bookshelves seemed to have aged quite a bit just listening to the professor talk about himself. He had barely spoken a word, and yet the movement of time seemed to have warped.

There was a legend that the library was indeed a living, breathing entity. Its spirit was alive and well within the center of the building. The upkeep was different and strange, and there were so many rumors running around the large facility that no one ever knew who or what to believe about it. Even the employees themselves had their own stories, but it had become such a lore to the city to make-up stories about the library in order to draw even more attention to it, even if something had happened, it was hard to believe because of all the rumors. Lord Finnegan believed none of them and pegged the situation on his mindset on this morning's toxin, and the confusing aroma steaming from beneath Professor Mitchell's undershirt.

β€œOh my, yes, the brothers,” Professor Mitchell continued in his merriment, β€œWe will all be delighted to see you. I promise you that, but shhhh” his fist, let out his pointer finger and pressed it to his plump lip, β€œDon't let anyone or anything know that you're invited. They may get the wrong idea...” His smile widened, β€œAs if they too are invited.” He straightened his posture and pulled on his coat, β€œW-wery well, you two. I will be on my way, then.” His body made a small bow and straightened itself again as his eyes shifted about for someone or something and continued his way through the maze. There was a slight gaunt in his walk, and Lord Finnegan could not help feel the brows on his own face weaken against a faded smile.

β€œSo, yes, books on the number five,” Lord Finnegan managed after clearing his throat, β€œI am delving back into my studies of Phi and the Divine Ratio's relation to flora. Upon further looking at my own home library, I realized my collection is far from complete. It's a shame, really. Someone with such a successful operation should have a better grasp on his studies. Fortunately, I have everything memorized. However, I have to begin teaching Walter somehow.” There was a price for teaching Walter. He was not sure what it was, but it was there. It was an emptying of something in the back of his mind. Whether it be gone or not was hard for him to grasp as being of good or bad consequence.
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shylarah the crazy one

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Alys accepted the invitation to visit with a nod and a smile. "I'd love to drop by some afternoon," she said, "and see what all you're up to." The clarification that Chris was not invited was met with a wry expression. She understood, of course. Not everyone had the tolerance for him that she did.

She watched the professor as he made his way off into the stacks until Finnegan cleared his throat and spoke, at which point she returned her attention to her friend. "The number five and the divine ratio...I'm not sure where those books would be, unfortunately. We should consult a librarian."
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β€œπ“¦e should consult a librarian.”

β€œπ“˜ agree,” Lord Finnegan affirmed as he watched again, as the professor waltzed in his merry way. He was a strange one, and indeed, he had not made mention of Walter joining him in his laboratory despite having been told of Walter’s new business learnings. He looked down at her. The sparkles in her eyes less than cheery as when she had been telling him all about her studies, and part of him wishes he had minded more during those times.

Instead, he blamed the ill-will on his failings and the bumbling library. It was shifting like some sort of conundrum, β€œI think I saw one...” he finally said after some time. He preferred leading the way. Although, he much preferred following her through the library as he did many nights ago when they were much younger and much more naive than now. He also wished her demeanor would change, and she would bring the cheeriness back.

It had been right there, not moments before Professor Clementine Mitchell had made his appearance. He re-measured himself, feeling the fickleness of his own tendencies changing course, β€œI will follow you. If I remember correctly, I saw one of the librarians…” He motioned his hand beyond one of the finely carved bookshelves that extended to the high painted and illustriously carved ceilings, β€œBut…” He had tried his hardest not to bring up the subject, but there was no holding back at this point. Perhaps, it was because he was an impulsive man or perhaps, it was because of what had happened earlier. It was not as if he had been lying. If anything, he had been more truthful to her than he usually was, β€œDo you remember our first dance?”
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shylarah the crazy one

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Finnegan agreed to consulting a librarian, and after a bit of a pause he suggested Alys take the lead. She was happy to, and indeed she knew where the librarians were likely to be found -- but before she could turn to head off, Finnegan brought up an unexpected memory. "Our first dance?" she echoed. "That would have been after I started attending Geraldine's, and the Institute, right -- or wait, no. No, I remember. I was what, thirteen? Fourteen?" The details came rushing back in a flood. "I was sick of being shown off to people so I escaped to the manor's library and completely ignored my dance card, but you wouldn't go away." Alyssana spared a smile for her younger self. "That was how I thought of you, you know, until we met properly at the Institute. 'The boy who wouldn't go away'. And I think I judged you rather unfairly, back then. I am glad we became friends despite that."

If she focused on the memory, she could remember the finer points of it. The dry, book-scented air of the library. Her annoyance at being discovered, and her uncharitable thoughts regarding the one interrupting her reading. The warmth of Finnegan's hand, when she finally acquiesced to his request. It had been at least a year before they met again, but the encounter stayed with her. "And I suppose, if I am being honest, that I was a little flattered. Not at the time, but when I thought of it afterwards. No one else made the effort of trying to find me -- or if they did, they didn't succeed."
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