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Mystery

Odin Andromeda was crouching behind a small barrier. All he could hear was the enemy's artillery pounding against his line. While he waited, he and his surroundings were coated in a continuous light layer of white.

With ammo in hand, he rose over his snow barrier, throwing his snowball and duck back down immediately. He peeked over just enough to see his snowball hit the enemy leader square in the face, knocking him to the ground in a mushroom pluff.

With a renewed hope, Odin’s lines fired without mercy. He prepared his last ball for victory. It sailed smoothly through the air towards the last remaining opponent. But, a figure came through the fog-like snowfall. And the ball’s flight ended right there, hitting the figure in the chest.

The figure snapped its fingers, and, with a tornado gust, all the snow disappeared. Everyone let out a gasp at the sight of the man. With a twirl, the opposing team shrunk to one-inch glowing spheres and scattered in different directions.  

The three people on Odin’s side rose to their feet, with ache on their faces. “Hello, Prime minister,” Odin quivered, “what can we do for you today?” 

He brushed off the snow off his suit and tugged on the bottom of his shirt and jacket. “Andromeda,” he said, like how Odin’s mom would when he broke her favorite vase, “the council wants to see you and Ambrose.”

“Now?”

“Now,” he scowled, “after you.”

Odin started the march, with Ambrose two steps behind him. The last of them dwindled behind. “Hi, daddy,” she said, looking at the ground while she twirled her long black ponytail.

His scowl faded, but he couldn’t decide whether to be happy or disappointed to see her there during her lesson time. “We’ll talk about this later, Sybil.”

The council members of Arbutus were already in the hall. The representatives of the ten realms were waiting for Odin and Ambrose. 

The Prime Minister, Mist Creek, sat at the end to the left of the boys. He governed over the forest and all the woodland creatures. Next to him sat as follows: Alpha Drust, head of the morphic tribes; Dr. Teng Shi, the spokes representative for the animal kingdom; and Marquess Victor, head of the Desmodsapiens sects.

Across from the Prime Minister sat: King Astennu, who reigns over the ocean; Empress Tabitha of Outcast Island; Lorelei Carroll, artist of Illusion; and Royal vizier and Matriarch Dorothea Morgade of the sorceress clans. 

Lastly, Queen Elaine - the only heir of Camelot - and her husband, Prince Tristen, sat at the center in sovereign seats of Queen Morgana and Guinevere after the fall of Camelot.

A mild murmur plagued the representatives until an echoing bang of a gable rang through the hall. Both Ambrose and Odin’s hands shot over Ambrose’s ears at the sound of it. “Thank you all for coming, and please excuse the noise, Ambrose.”

Ambrose gave her a nod with a smile. 

With that, she continued, “We have a major problem, one Arbutus hasn’t seen in over 800 years. We convened to ask for your help.”

 Both of the boys’ eyebrows jumped up.

“As Dorothea has advised us, Ambrose has captivated her students with stories of your time on Magisterium assisting Detective Serenity.”

“You had a crime? Here?” Odin interrupted out of pure disbelief.

The Prime Minister shot him a glare as deadly as a dust storm on Mars. 

“What kind of crime?” Ambrose said with a fearful stutter.

“Murder. One each on the last three nights.”

“Three?! Murders?!”

“Dr. Teng and Enlynn just pronounced it this morning.”

“You want us to solve three murders?” Odin stopped closer to the council.

“Yes,” the Prime Minister answered.

Turning back to Ambrose, he let his expression ask the question, 

“They need us, Odin,” Ambrose replied between them. 

Pinching his bridge, He turned back to the council. “You have our assistance. Within limited danger, of course.”

“Of course,” Elaine replied. “And you'll have anything you need.”

“I suggest we start at the hospital,” Dorothea said. 

While Odin stood agape at the ‘we,’ Elaine struck the gable once more without the ear-piercing effect. “This conclave is adjourned.”

The ten members dispersed with Doc and Dorothea walking up to the boys.

"You two ready to start another adventure," she directed to the boys.

“Uh-Huh,” Ambrose said, almost too excited for speech.

“As I’ll ever be,” Odin answered.

The hospital was only a brief walk from the council chambers. A wooden ship designed shuttle landed on a pad next to the hospital. In a rush, hospital staff unloaded emergency patients along with medical supplies. The four barely made it into the entrance between the gurneys and sorceresses ‘carrying’ in supplies. 

Within the mess, Ambrose asked Odin, “Why aren’t you happy about this adventure, Odin? You loved helping Serenity.”

“This isn’t the same thing,” he said, squeezing his way between a group of nurses. “Serenity is a detective, a professional. This is everything but that. And I don’t you nor me getting killed over this.”

“This means a lot to me: a lot more than another story.”

“I know, that’s the only reason why we’re here,” Odin said, reaching out his hand towards Ambrose’s shoulder, stopping mid-way. “Where did Dorothy and Doc go?”

“Over there.”

“Boys, you should stay close,” Dorothy said, waving them on, “the morgue’s hard to find.”    

“We’re coming,” Odin said with a head toss.

The morgue was in the far corner of the main floor, tucked away nicely. Though isolated and banished to the farthest reaches, it wasn’t forgotten. It was as pristine as any of the surgical rooms.

When the doors opened, Dr. Enlynn erupted, without looking up, “Don’t tell me one of the Casts died. Oh, Dorothy, Shi, I’m sorry I thought you were someone else.”

“What happened on Outcast Island?” Shi asked.

“One of the old rope bridges broke, hence the mess in Emergency. Who are your friends?”

“Odin Andromeda and Ambrose Johannus,” Dorothy stated, gesturing, respectively.

“The Ambrose?” she said, pushing her hair behind her pointed ears. “Nice to meet you.” She extended her hand towards Ambrose.

Ambrose stared at her hand, with an eyebrow raised.

“He doesn’t do that. Not with anyone,” Odin said, coming between Ambrose and her hand. “But I can say both of us are happy to meet you,” he continued, shaking her hand.

“Now, you four are here for the murders, right? Shi, do you mind helping with drawers 2 through 4,” Dr. Enlynn said, sweepingly pointing at the back wall.  

 With all the drawers open, Enlynn hithered the four closer. “The first death was of a Megalonyx-.”

“Kasin!” Shi interrupted.

“Kasin from the animal kingdom, Hutou of the morphic dragon tribe, and sorceress Mystia Lynx.”

“One of your students, Dorothy?” Odin asked.

She nodded. “Toto and Severus found her yesterday morning.”

“How did they~?” Odin asked.

“They lost over two-thirds of their blood supply. If you look over here on Hutou’s shoulder, there is a healed over puncture on the left axillary artery. The other two have similar ones: Kasin in the jugular and Mystia on her iliac. The healings have indications of regenerator use: I have the hospital doing an audit on supplies and access for you.” 

“When do you think they’ll be done?” Odin asked.

“A few more hours. I’ll send a messenger bird if you don’t want to wait.” 

“Boys?”

“The scenes would be nice to see,” Odin answered.

“Thanks for your time, Lyndis,” Dorothy said.

“See you later,” she said, fading back into her work. 

“I need to go back to Regnum to take care of some patients. I can bring you to the crime scene on the way.”

“That will be great,” Odin said.

“My shuttle is back at the Council Hall.”

“Kasin was found over there,” Shi said, pointing to a flattened shape of grass, “none of the inhabitants have come close to this area since.”

“Thank you, Shi,” Dorothy said as Odin and Ambrose crouched and knelt on the grass. 

“Don’t mention it.”

“Ambrose, honey,” Dorothy said, bringing a hand to her head, “what are you doing?”

Ambrose was crawling along the length of the outline in the grass, while he used one hand to shift the grass. “I like the feel of grass. Mars doesn’t have grass, you know,” he stated.

“Thank god, ‘cause this is horrid,” Odin said, standing to his feet, wiping all the green flakes off of his pants as if they were spiders. “But that doesn’t answer Dorothy’s question, Ambrose.”

Ambrose kept to his movement without an answer. Near the shape’s neck, he paused. Out of the blue, he popped up, holding up a little metal piece. “I saw the glint of this. Now, what is it?”

Odin extended his palm for Ambrose to give it to him. He held it up a bit above his eye height. “It’s a cufflink. Initials C.D.”

“Cufflink?” Shi asked, “No one wears those here: don’t want them ending up in someone’s digestive track.”

“I don’t know many who do. Desmods definitely, some from Camelot, then the odd case,” Dorothy added. “The blacksmith might remember who he made these for. We can ask when we get back to the capitol.”

“Might as well wait until we see the other scenes since they're on the way.”

“As you wish,” Dorothy bowed.

“Ambrose, why don’t you give another look in the grass, and we’ll go,” Odin said. 

“Good luck and be careful then,” Shi said, leaving them.

The first stop on the way back was the valley of the morphic that was surrounded by two mountain ranges and two bodies of water. The Alpha was waiting for them at the shuttle pad. “Dorothy, Odin, Ambrose, I hope your journey was favorable. Have you figured out anything yet?”

“Sorry, Drust, we haven’t,” Dorothy said as he helped her with the step-down.

“Well then, do you want to walk or fly to the scene: it’s not far.”

“Walk, please,” Ambrose pleaded, holding his stomach. 

“We hit a bit of turbulence on the way over,” she commented softly to Drust.

“Ah, I know how you feel, Ambrose. It can be quite messy up there,” Drust laughed. His smile faded away as he said, “Well, come on then.”

“Do you mind if I ask you a few questions on the way?” Odin asked.

“Not at all,” he answered, starting to walk down a cobblestone path.

“Who was the last person to see Hutou?”

“I was.”

“You were?” 

“Yes, Odin, I was. We throw a party every first Sunday: he was the last to go.”

“About when?”

“Around midnight. From where he was found, he was on his way home.”

“Do all your people live so far away from the main settlement?”

“He wanted to live close to the pad. His sister is one of Dorothy’s students.” A second later, he continued, “Stop,” throwing his arm to the side in front of Odin.

Odin stopped in time, but Ambrose ran into Drust’s back.

Exhaling, Drust added, “I don’t know how much you’ll find. My aides and I went over this area thoroughly: a healthy young man of 270 doesn’t just die.”

After a dead-end search, they arrived at Dorothy’s house. Barely in the door, a small black dog came running through the house. Inches away from her, he morphed into a young boy. “Hi, mommy,” he said, nuzzling his face into her.

“Hi, Toto. Where’s Severus, honey?”

“I’m coming. I’m coming,” Severus said, out of breath, slowly walking through the house. “Where’s Sybil, she can keep up with a mommy deprived puppy better than I can?” 

“Her father’s keeping a close eye on her after today's meeting,” she answered, running a hand through her son's hair

“I’m guessing you’re not here to relieve me of duty.” He took a step back, crossing his arms. 

“I didn’t know one of your powers was mind-reading,” Dorothy mocked.

“Theodore, do you mind going to your room for a moment?” Severus asked, not amused.

Toto grimaced at the sound of his full name. He knew if he waited any longer, he would hear it again. Retaking his dog form, he scampered off. 

“Severus, you might be a lord, but-.”

“Dorothea! A woman died, and your son found her body. What is wrong with you?”

“With me? Severus? I don't want my son, who found a murdered girl, to be scared that the person who did it is still out there every night he goes to bed. What's your excuse?"

Severus was thrown back. His mouth started to move but stopped. Breathing deeply, he said, "Toto needs a walk before his nap."

"A walk! A walk!" Toto interrupted, using Severus as a merry-go-round pole as Dorothy said, "Glad you agree with me."

They all walked back out of Dorothy's house, with Severus trudging in the rear. Her place was on the edge of town with houses outside the front door and a grove off the back. 

Farther from the house they got, the grass soared in height. Inside the grove, the grass was up to Severus’ knees, climbing higher on everyone else. Most of Toto had disappeared, and he completely vanished in a flash of black, with only sporadic barking to let them know that he was still there.

As Toto hopped through the grass - chasing a butterfly, a creek came into view.

Odin looked behind him. The houses were small in the distance. “Why would anyone go this far out?”

Getting a little red, Severus explained, “Have you met Toto. He has to walk the city perimeter each day to fall asleep at night.”

“Most of us do, Odin. I don’t know how it’s on Mars, but we have nothing better to do than enjoy our nature. No ones supposed to be out here after dusk, but some of my younger students seek out and mess around in the creek.”

“How many were there the night of Mystia’s murder?”

“Four others. Rowan, the last one to leave, said she saw nothing and no one.”

Toto let out a howl, drawing all their attention forward. He was standing in an area of flattened grass next to the water. As the others came closer, Toto shook his puppy nose in the air then wandered the area. 

Ambrose followed behind Toto as Severus described what he saw that morning. Her lower legs were still in the water. A towel barely clung to her pale skin. Two red streaks run her leg from two holes.

“Two?” Odin interrupted.

“Yes,” both of them replied.

“You could barely tell at the hospital, and how you explained it, they weren't healed yet.”

"That's actually not that hard to explain, Odin," Dorothy said. "The device used isn't magic. It works with the blood to seal the wound. But if it's used after a person's death, it takes hours to do the same job."

Before Odin could get out another question, Toto started barking again. He was pawing at the grass as Ambrose crouched down. Toto crowded around Ambrose’s hand.

After standing once more, Ambrose analyzed what was in his hand. His knees buckled. Falling, he was caught by Odin’s forklift arms, with the small object in his hand rolling into Odin’s.

Odin sat Ambrose on a rock by the shore, and Toto cuddled upon him. He rubbed the back of Ambrose’s hair before going back to the others. He walked with his fist clenched around the object.

The two looked upon curiously as Odin presented his hand. “Blood,” he announced, getting an ‘oh’ expression from the two who knew of Ambrose's intolerance for blood. He continued, “A bloody fang. A cufflink. Night. Blood drained… A vampire!”

The two shifted back as if Odin had sweared or something. “Odin!” Dorothy exclaimed.

“Desmos- whatever! It’s the only answer that makes sense.”

“Why don’t we get that to Lyndis and she can tell us how much sense it makes.”

As Odin thought and Dorothy feared, Lyndis confirmed it was extremely probable that a Desmodsapiens did it. A group was in the hospital with mass food poisoning a few days before the first death. The blood on the fang was from Mystia, and the DNA in it held markers only they have.

Her comments sent them immediately to the Pitch range, a region darkened by artificial cloud cover and mist and a landscape ony scathed by a looming castle.

The shuttle was instructed to land on one of the wall turrets. Right after the shuttle's door opened, two guards met the three of them to escort them through the empty labyrinthine passages.

The only sound came from the great hall. An occasional shout, but mostly a low murmur. As they got closer, the place began to glow with the faint sound of a harp.

Two men stood in view from the archway. They spoke with fierce gestures. Nothing phased them: not the workers, not the praticing harpist, and not their guest. 

“Marquess! Sir,” one of the guards said waiting for his attention, “vistors.”

The man on the left turned. A little confused at first but a smile krept across his face. “Dorothy… and friends, come in, come in,” he said, waving them in. 

The three of them entered and the worker stopped what they were doing and vacated the room. 

“Victor, how are you doing?” Dorothy asked.

“Not well,” he shifted his attention, “Drew, do you mind, darling?”

With a roll of her eyes, the lady at the harp stopped playing and trudged out of the room.

Victor laced his fingers together and rested his hands on his abdomen. “Now, what do I owe the pleasure?”  

“Um,” she mumbled.

Odin moved to her side. “Excuse me,” he addressed the man to the right. “Are you missing something?” he motioned to the man’s wrist.

“What of it?!” He gritted his teeth, revealing a gap.

“Dracula! That’s no way to talk to our guest.”

“Count Dracula?” Dorothy asked.

“Yes,” he said a little politer.

“Kill anyone lately?” Odin asked. 

July 25, 2020 02:22

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6 comments

The Cold Ice
07:19 Nov 19, 2020

Would you mind reading my story “Leaf me alone”

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The Cold Ice
09:57 Sep 10, 2020

Mysterious story.Wow !!! super story.Great job keep it up.I love your divulges. Keep writing.I love the ending. Would you mind to read my story “The dragon warrior ?”

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Kira Krieger
18:54 Sep 10, 2020

Thank you. I try to read your story as soon as I can, but this is a very eventful school year.

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Kira Krieger
23:08 Jan 03, 2021

I gave you some notes on your Dragon Warrior. I had a hard time reading it because of some inaccuracies.

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The Cold Ice
04:39 Jan 04, 2021

Ok but thanks

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Wow, great job! ~Ⓐⓔⓡⓘⓝ (ℙ.𝕊. 𝕨𝕠𝕦𝕝𝕕 𝕪𝕠𝕦 𝕞𝕚𝕟𝕕 𝕔𝕙𝕖𝕔𝕜𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕠𝕦𝕥 𝕞𝕪 𝕞𝕠𝕤𝕥 𝕣𝕖𝕔𝕖𝕟𝕥 𝕤𝕥𝕠𝕣𝕪? 𝕋𝕙𝕒𝕟𝕜𝕤!

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