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Fantasy Fiction Crime

Glossy green eyes looked up at the building in awed confusion. Cecilia was told it was the library she was looking for. But that couldn't be. This place looked more like a grand cathedral than a library. The young woman clutched a card to her chest and held on to her red hood as a strong wind arose. She was looking for something and had been told by her grandmother that she would find it here. Gathering her nerves, she stepped forward and headed towards the door. All the while, she made sure she kept her hood up, if she didn't, it would break the glamour, and this trip would be wasted.

'Grandmother did say she paid that dark magic witch a hefty sum to cast that spell on my hooded cloak. If I came home and told her the spell was lifted right outside the door, she would rap my knuckles with her ruler.' A shiver ran down her spine as she remembered her childhood. Once inside, she was once again confused. It looked like a regular library on the inside. She almost wanted to step outside and step in again to make sure she wasn't dreaming, but her grandmother's voice echoed in her mind.

"Remember Cecilia, I have been there numerous times. You need to act like you have been too, or you won't fool anyone." Doing her best to shake off the surprise, she headed toward the librarian at the desk. She walked up to the woman and gave a smile. The lady was an ordinary Librarian. A typical Librarian you would see in every library. She wore her hair in a tight bun. A long modest Victorian dress complete with a corset and a happy smile painted on her face.

"Hello ma'am, how can I help you today?" Cecilia hoped this worked. She lifted the card in front of her eyes and recited the phrase.

"The Grand Collection, please." Soon the woman's eyes glossed over, and she looked to be staring into space.

"This way, ma'am." Cecilia glanced at the card before following the hypnotized woman. Her voice was now monotone and sounded very distant.

'That is some powerful magic.' Cecilia thought to herself. As she followed towards the back of the library, Cecilia started going over what her grandmother had told her.

"Once inside, try to be polite and say hello to anyone that greats you. I tend to call everyone dear. Talk to the front desk and let them know you want to visit the restricted section. They will call a senior librarian to come and escort you to that section of the library. Usually, they hover around you while looking through the books, but most of them know me and will just be content waiting by the door. In the back of the room, you still see them there. The manuscripts for every story ever made. They will be on locked glass-windowed shelves, and only a select few have the privilege to open and read such books. The one you'll be looking for will be the 5th bookcase, middle shelf. Be careful, Cecilia; what we are doing is very much against their rules."

"We are here, ma'am please let the librarians know if you have any questions and enjoy your visit to the Grand Collection." The woman bowed and left Cecilia to face… a janitor's door? 'Right. This is normal.' with that quick reminder, she grabbed the doorknob and pushed the door open. It took all of her control to not let herself slip up in her act.

This library was unlike any she had seen. Closing the door behind her, she did her best to walk at an average pass, but she so desperately wanted to turn and take in this place.

'Thanks, Grandma! You could have warned me on how hard this actually would be!' This place felt so unreal. The magic was heavy in the air, and all walks of life walked the isles.

"Oh, come on! Did I have to come to return these?" Cecilia looked forward to where the outburst came from. At the front desk, she saw a woman in clothes she had never seen before. She was short, arms crossed over her chest. A taller man stood next to her. He looked to be wearing servant clothes, and in front of them was the help desk with an older man trying to calm her down.

"I'm very sorry you had to come all the way here, Talanoa, but unfortunately, these books will be placed in the restriction section starting today, and they had to be hand-delivered so no further damage could be done. The Grand Collection does appreciate your cooperation in these… delicate matters." Green eyes darted back to the woman.

'Talanoa? A storyteller?' Her grandmother had warned her of such people. The ones gifted to re-write someone's story. They weren't inherently evil… but many claim they are not good either. They incited people in, claiming to give them the happily ever after everyone wants, but it comes with a price. Cecilia inched to the side to get a better look at the woman. Curiosity was getting the best of her.

"Hello, Cecil! Is there something I can help you with?" Cecilia started to turn red as she was caught doing this. Clearing her throat, she gave a smile.

"I am so sorry. I guess the curiosity got the better of me, dear. You go ahead and finish your business with the young miss. I'm in no rush." The young woman hoped she sounded enough like her grandma. She was old fashion, with everything.

"Cecil?" The Talanoa turned and looked at Cecilia. Her eyebrows pinched together as she examined her. While she did this, Cecilia did the same. She was young. Maybe in her late twenties no more. Her short black hair held a blue hue and clung to her face. Her eyes were a deep blue as she scanned her. Cecilia held her breath. Had she been found out? The woman took a step closer. Staring her dead in the eyes. Sweat started to form at the back of Cecilia's neck. Then a light went off, and she pulled back. "Oh! Cecil Rouge! My, I almost didn't recognize you. It's been far too long; your granddaughter, Cecilia Hood, was it? How is she doing?"

Cecilia was at a loss for words. Did her grandma really know this woman? Cecilia would have pondered on this more, but now was not the time. But she would have many questions for her grandmother.

"O-oh. Here I thought you wouldn't remember me. Yes, Cecilia is ornery as ever. Always asking questions and exploring the woods."

"Well, you should bring her over someday. Maybe I can be of some... assistance." Cecilia paused. The way she worded that… Did the storyteller know why the young woman was here? Before she could answer, the woman turned her attention to the man. "Are we done here, Erick? I have a business I have to get back to."

"Yes, Talanoa, and thank you for visiting the Grand Collection." He gave a slight bow. The woman turned on her heel but not before giving Cecilia a mischievous smirk on her way out. Cecilia watched a moment longer before hearing a deep sigh. Turning around, she brought her focus back to her mission.

"I'm so sorry you have to see that, Cecil. How can I help you?" He ran a hand through his salt and pepper hair and gave her a friendly smile. Smiling once again, she gave a laugh.

"It's quite alright, dear. I want to go to the restricted section today." 'Please don't ask, please don't ask, please don't-'

"Of course, one moment. Let me see which senior librarian is available to assist you." The man pulled out a book of some kind and started to go through it. He stopped and grimaced before looking back at her. "Just uh… I'll be right back with them." He took his leave from the help desk and went into a back room. Cecilia glanced around while she waited for the man to come back out. Soon he stepped out with a taller man, and what Cecilia saw made her jaw drop.

The man glared mildly at her. His eyes were gray and had dark circles under them. His skin was pasty white, and his hair was short, messy, and charcoal in color. Her eyes then moved down to his dress. It was a black trench-style coat followed by a white shirt in a style she had never seen before. It had rips and tears in veracious places. He wore long pants that had one knee ripped up and black boots.

'What on this green earth is this?! That's not a librarian! That's a delinquent!' Cecilia had a hard time shaking off the shock; she almost didn't hear Erick clear his throat.

"This Is Fenris. He'll-"

"Let's just get this over with." His voice was deep and raspy. He was rude as well.

"My my… Young people are always in such a rush." She gave a nervous laugh before following the man. His hands slide into his pockets as he leads the way. Cecilia saw Erick give her an apologetic look before going back to work himself. Green eyes drifted back to her rude tour guide, and she held back a sigh. This was not what the young woman pictured when her grandma said, senior librarian. She thought it would be some faddy-duddy in thick glasses. Not a Casanova in a black trench coat that smelled like burnt cloves.

'Keep it together… I'm sure Fenris will do all he can to avoid me. That will give me time to go in, grab the book and get out.' Her need for this book started weeks ago. She felt like her life had been on pause. It was the same thing every day. Wake up, go to school. Sunday, grab a basket and go to grandmother's to help with her garden. When she brought this up with her grandma, she got this forlorn look and told her about these manuscripts. How their lives were written in a storybook. But when the storytellers got involved, new stories were created and replaced the very first copies. 'If I can just get my hands on it… I would see what my story was really supposed to be… Then maybe I can make my life more forward.'

It took forever for them to get to the restricted section. All the way in the back, on the second story of the building.

'Could they have put this any further in the back?' Once there, the man pulled out a ring of keys and flipped them about. Cecilia must have made an audible groan because his eyes shot towards her.

"You're the one that wanted to come up here, Granny." His voice rang out.

"So rude… You should be more kind to your elders." Cecilia wanted to put more into that, but she left it where it was. She was too close to blow her cover. The man only hummed at her words before opening the door and letting her in. Cecilia smirked faintly at him before stepping into the room.

"What are you looking for in here?" He closed the door behind him and leaned against it. "I can't imagine anything in here that would be of use to you." Cecilia pretended to glance at the shelves as she weaved between the bookcases.

"I'm an herbalist, dear. I make a lot of healing ointments and various other medical supplies with my tread, and there is always more to learn. I come here to this section because it holds books on various potions and recipes that people have long since forgotten. Or lists of rare plants that they don't want people to find more."

"Oh? So you deal with things like Convallaria Majalis?" She smirked.

'Nice try, Fenris, but my grandmother drilled those names into my head when I was 10.'

"Heaven's no. Lily-of-the-valley is something you would use in perfume or for wedding decorations. Those are toxic flowers. They are fine to touch but not eat." She turned down another row and sighed lightly. Where the heck were the bookcases she needed?

"Cymbopogon?" Cecilia paused as she thought of that one for a moment.

"Ah, Lemongrass. I use it as a spice and in my bug repellent candles. I even grew a batch of it for a beekeeper friend of mine in my younger years." Cecilia was losing interest fast in what he was asking. She found herself nearly at the end of the room. Then a flash of light came from her left. She turned her gaze and almost jumped for joy. She finally found it. She took steady steps, counted the bookcases to the fifth one, and stood in front. Her eyes scanned over the first set of books in front of her. Many of the spines had faded in color. She could even see the woven fibers of some of the covers. Shaking her head, she read the titles on the middle shelf till she found hers.

'There! Little Red Riding Hood… Hm, such an odd name...' She stepped back from the shelf and glanced around. Making sure Fenris hadn't followed her back there. Her father had had a sketchy past and taught her a few things. When she felt satisfied with her lookout, she pulled out lockpick tools. Slipping in the pick, she started to work on the pins focusing on the sounds and the vibrations she felt from her picks. She heard the satisfying sound of a pin sticking in placed and moved on to the next one. Another click. The 3ed pin took a little time, but she managed to get it to stick. A smile started to form on her face. 'Just two more to go.'

"Such an odd hobby for an old bittie like you to pick up Cecil Rouge." Cecilia broke out in a cold sweat, eyes growing wide with panic as she looked up at him. How did he get there so fast? She didn't even hear him coming. She had been so close. Slowly she pulled her tools out from the lock and placed them in her pockets.

"Oh my… Seems I wasn't as careful as I thought." She murmured. Fenris narrowed his eyes and they… turned yellow? Cecilia sucked in a breath from shock and walked away from him. He then tsked at her and crossed his arms over his well-toned chest.

"I think it's time you dropped the act. You must be Cecilia Hood."

"Wait… how-"

"You can change your looks and voice with that glamour… But not your scent." Cecilia lifted her hands and pulled her hood down. The magical curtain fell from her, and she stood watching him with her bright green eyes. Cecilia had pale yellow hair that reached her shoulders, pure white skin, and stood to his shoulder. She wore a white poet shirt, a black waist cincher, a dark brown skirt that reached just past her thigh, and knee-high brown leather boots. And to tie the look all together, she wore her red hooded, waist-length cloak.

"So what happens now?" She asked; her voice was light and air, almost like a melody. Compared to the older, worn-out voice that was her grandmother's.

"I take you in for attempted theft. With any mercy, they may let you go." Cecilia didn't like the sound of that. In fact, she hated it so much that she used her full might to push into Fenris and shoved him back into a bookcase. Affectively, making a few books fall on his head. She didn't take the time to look at him before darting out the room and towards the front of the library. As she ran, she heard many shouts from passing librarians telling her no running, but she didn't have that luxury. She could hear him heading after her.

"How is the place so big?!" Her heart pounds in her chest as she pushes herself to go faster. Even though she was running, it felt like it took even longer to get to the exit. She smiled a bit after running down the stairs, seeing the door, only to feel dread as she was yanked back from her cloak. She flinched from the sudden choking pain in her neck. She saw Fenris grinning as he held on to the end of her red cape. Did his fangs get bigger? Not wanting to lose all that momentum she had built, Cecilia unhooked the cloak before taking off again. She almost didn't make it as she threw the door open, got to the other side, and slammed it closed behind her. Not wanting to stick around, she kept running until she got to the forest and looked behind, relieved to see he didn't follow.

Fenris gave a feral growl. That little wretch had gotten away. He would have followed through the door, but he couldn't. He had to take a different, more extended way. Looking down at the cape, he smirked and lifted it to his nose. Taking a deep breath, he took in her scent. Wildflowers with an undertone of apples and cedar. His eyes glowed a bright yellow. Turning on his heel, he heads to the primary office.

"Sir? Where are you going?" Erick had asked.

"I'm going hunting."

April 21, 2022 02:06

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3 comments

Tora '
07:18 May 10, 2022

wow, i liked this story a lot ! the glamour part reminds me of TWAU (the wolf among us)

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Jordan Tope
19:40 May 10, 2022

Thank you!

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Tora '
06:22 May 11, 2022

you're welcome !! <3 i absolutely love fairytales so this story caught my attention !

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