It was morning at the shared apartment. James, Anesh, Alanna, Anesh, Sarah, and Secret, were all seated around the main living room table, just… pleasantly existing together. A comfortable breakfast being quietly consumed while calm sunlight poured through the glass doors of the patio.
Well, okay, some of those things were true. Those people were present, and there *was* certainly a table. Some people were even seated at it. But it was about eleven AM, so it wasn’t quite ‘morning’ anymore, except for the most ardent of insomniasts that James was. Also the breakfast - James had made pancakes; classic blueberry - was being eaten alongside an argument on putting maple syrup on blueberry pancakes. And one Anesh was on his way out to classes, so he was less ‘sitting and enjoying a meal’ and more ‘cramming an entire pancake in his mouth while muttering about American breakfast foods’. And Secret, more solid than normal, was coiled under the table sharing bites of bacon with Auberdeen.
Oh, and it was early December, and the sun had forsaken them entirely. What light there was, was cold and grey. James scowled at the glass door, wishing it was a wall instead.
“Are you sure you guys are going to be okay today?” Anesh asked for the third time, his mouth crammed full of pancake.
“Stop asking!” Sarah and Alanna chorused back at him.
This had been going on for a while. They’d woken up today, trickled into the living room, and started making plans for what to do with their evening. When Anesh had finally made his way out, he’d been presented with a group of people who had a list of ideas on how to try to communicate with the entity that was a haunted house.
He’d been unhappy with that, to say the least. Both of him. Mostly since each of him had something going on today, and neither of him was available to tag along.
The house that the human-shaped ball of nervousness named Fredrick inhabited was part of a larger picture that was starting to come into focus. The dungeons were, obviously now, not unique. And the house, while it seemed to be just weakly haunted, had the same pattern of challenges, rewards, and a confusing entrance. Getting to know it, James insisted, was going to be part of the key to understanding dungeon ecology as a whole.
Going inside it, Anesh countered, was a great way to possibly get stuck in a mental bear trap.
There’d been a small argument. Which, honestly, wasn’t that much of a fight. By this point, the idea that they were putting themselves in mortal danger was kind of, weirdly, *fine* for everyone. Even Sarah, who had literally seen companions die in front of her, seemed more or less accepting of the risks they all took together. Anesh seemed more concerned that he wouldn’t be there to help, than any overt worry that anyone would get hurt.
“Alright, alright. Cool off.” Anesh said through his breakfast. “I’m just trying to help. Maybe another me isn’t a bad idea.”
James hissed through his teeth as he flipped another pancake in the skillet. “Anesh, I love you like… well, like I love you. But we *cannot* get a bed large enough for five people. They don’t make those.”
“You take up too much space!” An Anesh protested. “And you hog the blankets! I barely have a profile on the bed!” The other Anesh chimed in.
“Rude.” Secret echoed Anesh’s thoughts from under the table.
“Right. And if my selfish ass isn’t going to cede any territory, imagine how cramped you’ll be.” James pointed out with good humor. “But really. We might need to devote more cash to our expenses anyway; more so if you keep adding to our group. I think we just need better time management, instead of more people.”
One of the Aneshs, the one in a hurry, took the opportunity while James was talking to slip out the front door. The other one, who wasn’t going off to class, picked up the whole burden of conversation. “James, I love you like we’re in a long term relationship, but you’re objectively wrong.”
“What? How do you figure?”
Alanna chimed in. “I mean, you took time over the last couple nights to actually hire, like, six plus people, because we don’t have enough people.”
“Also, we now have *three* known dungeons. Two of which we haven’t even really started to explore.” Anesh said. “Wouldn’t it be nice if we had someone who was, in a sense, expend-”
“No.” James shortly cut him off.
“I’m just saying, I can-”
“Nope!” Sarah added to James and Alanna’s voices. “You already spilled the beans when you told us each iteration of you is a whole person, Anesh!” She exclaimed at him. “You can’t back out on treating yourself right now, you honk!”
Anesh fumed a bit. Honestly, it didn’t *feel* like it should be a big deal to him. He could make more bodies. And yeah, those bodies were whole people, exactly like him, with their own copy of what made him Anesh running on their hardware. And yeah, he didn’t *want* to die, or be hurt. But… well, if he *did* lose this body, it wasn’t actually death now, was it? Because everything but the last hour or so would live on in another iteration of him.
That everyone else was so protective of him was a good feeling, true. It made him feel like he was more than just another tool in the box of options. But he’d always felt that way, since he’d been pulled into this strange group of friends, and more so since James had shared the dungeon with him. He’d never felt like anyone would ask him to throw his life away; spare or otherwise.
And that’s why he was willing to do it, without question.
“Fine.” He said out loud, in a tone that reminded them all that this conversation wasn’t over. “But I would-”
Now, once again, he was cut off. But this time, by the front door bursting open.
Before anyone had processed that the form standing in the entryway, taking panting breaths from having sprinted up the stairs, was actually just JP, they’d all started moving. James had dropped the pan and was reaching for the closest knife the kitchen offered, Sarah was flexing her hand with a motion that would compel her magnetic field to rip anything vaguely related to iron away from the intruder, and Alanna just *had a gun*. Where she’d pulled that from, James wasn’t quite sure.
Everyone instantly dropped their guards back when they realized it was just JP.
“Good afternoon.” Secret announced to him with a dour voice. “James wishes to offer you breakfast.” He said, shattering the tense atmosphere.
“Jesus Christ, JP, don’t you knock?” James asked. “Also, want a pancake? Oh, also, did you get my messages about the suspicious day trading thing?” He followed up as he slid the blade back into the knife block.
JP, leaning forward with his hands on his knees as he breathed heavily, held out a hand to wave off James’ breakfast offer, ignoring the weaponry and the slight at his potential trade violations. “Don’t you fuckers answer your *phones*?” He demanded of them.
All of them, on reflex, reached into pockets or picked phones up off the table. Except Secret, who basically was a phone in a weird way, and Auberdeen, who was a dog, and too smart to need an extra leash.
“Um...no one called me?” Sarah asked. “Alanna?”
“Nope.” The other girl shrugged, the firearm she’d been gripping a second ago already vanished again. “Anyone else?”
None of them had anything, and they let JP know.
“Holy fuck, you guys. We’ve been calling you all damn morning. I thought you would have died.” He pulled his own phone out, and out of curiosity, dialed James.
James raised eyebrows and waited while JP tested their numbers, and eventually, tried calling anyone who wasn’t in the apartment. “Okay!” He eventually announced. “Your apartment is a dead zone for service! I’ll just blame Secret and move on. Whatever! There’s a thing you guys need to see!”
“Do not place this on me undue.” Secret protested, still coiled up around the chair that faced the door, his bacon forgotten and long since swiped by the dog.
“Dude, what’s going on?” James asked. “We’re just about to head out to the haunted house, can this wait?”
“No.” JP made eye contact and shook his head. “Not this time. Momo met someone you’re gonna want to talk to.”
James and Alanna sat in the front seats of James’ defiant old Subaru, thinking and talking through the twenty minutes of road time it took to get to the secret base. They'd left Sarah behind, because she was driving Anesh to a doctor's appointment, and Secret had wanted to finish his breakfast, so he planned to tag along with her.
On that note: “Secret’s been weird lately.” James announced.
“Lately?” Alanna raised her eyebrows as far as they'd go.
“Okay, weirder, then. And since...last night.” James felt like he should be feeling awkward here, but he couldn't find it in himself to do so. For a brief window, he'd known literally every speck of emotion Alanna felt, and he knew damn well there was not a single thing to be embarrassed over. “Did you notice this morning? He's *solid*.” James fretted, worried like a parent with a maybe-sick kid.
Alanna nodded, absently watching out the window as their route took them past a specific high school. “He's a lot less rippley than normal. Makes sense, though.” She caught James’ question in the air before it was asked. “Because he's still just...well, not ‘just’...but he's an *idea*, not a body. So, when we all hooked up…”
“We cannot call it that.”
“...we took all the different ways we thought Secret, and connected them. And now he doesn't leak smoke as much!” Alanna concluded.
It took James a few seconds to put that together, but when he did, it made sense. Nodding to himself, he replied to his partner, “Yeah, I suppose so! I mean, it seemed rude to ask for some reason. Like, it felt so personal and I didn’t want to bother him, so I just kind of forgot to bring it up. But your thing makes sense.”
Biting her lip, Alanna tapped the armrest of the car. “Is it possible that Secret keeps his own secrets? Like, by default, we just find reasons to keep things secret because he has that sort of effect?”
“It’s never been clear to me exactly *how* magic Secret is.” James mused. “Like, I kind of assumed that he was less magic now that he had a body, but that might be a lie as well. We’ve seen him eat the ending of secrets, burn out communications technology, live inside forgotten dreams, and, apparently, he is fully capable of blanking memories that include him. And half of those come from *after* he turned into a not-so-endless snake.” He sighed loudly. “I’m starting to think that I’m in over my head with this weird-ass adoption thing that I’ve got going on.”
“You’re a good dad.” Alanna offhandedly quipped, not realizing just how much her words impacted James. “You know what *I’m* disappointed about, though?” She tried to change the subject.
“Do tell.” James grabbed the segue like a drowning man after a plank.
“Our atrocious time management.” She said with a barely contained grin as she brought up the morning’s conversation again.
James sighed. “Okay, look.” He started with consternation. “I’m gonna say something that might catch me some flack from everyone, and also possibly my own past self.” He glanced at Alanna and waited for her to give a quick nod of acknowledgement of his social sacrifice before continuing. “I don’t think the haunted house is that important.” James announced.
“Whaaaat!” Alanna gave him a betrayed look. “James, dungeon! It’s literal magic!”
“Look,” James repeated himself, “the office, Officium Mundi which I guess is it’s official designation now, it gives us things that are life changing. World-altering. And from day *one*, I could see the way that the yellow orbs could be something more than they seemed. The sorts of skills they could offer, you know? And the reality is even more than just that.” He tapped his fingers along the wheel in a nervous beat. “But the house? It’s… I mean, it’s more convenient. Telling one nervous guy that his family’s ancestral house is haunted and he should probably move is way easier than sneaking past corporate security every week. But it doesn’t give us anything of value. You and Anesh *still* don’t know what it means to be ‘connected’!”
He wasn’t *wrong*, but Alanna still had a counterpoint. “Yeah, but it’s cool, dude.” She told him bluntly. “Like, it’s magic. You’re doing exactly that thing that you said you hated, where you’re treating magic as just another tool in the box, instead of something awesome and amazing for us to explore.”
“I know.” James gnashed his teeth. “I *know*! But there’s so much to *do*, and the office offers us the most in terms of power, right now. The house is just a fancy escape room.”
“You realize that this is literally the kind of thing that we used to go out to do on the weekend together in our free time, right?”
“Yeah, but we’ve had our free time surgically replaced with firearm practice, small unit tactics, and suddenly learning more than we ever wanted to about ducks.”
“Touché.” Alanna sighed as they pulled into the parking lot of the lair. “Lotta cars here today.” She said, offhand. “It’s not support group day; are these the new people?”
“I dunno, it might be a church group using our parking lot to go to the diner across the street again. But I can easily see myself having hired the kind of person who spray painted a desert sunset on their hood, so that checks out.” James said, looking over at the beat up clunker of a car he’d parked next to. “You up for meeting new people today?”
Alanna scoffed. “Please.” She said. “I’m *always* up for meeting new people.”
“One of them is ex-military.”
“I’m *almost* always up for meeting new people.” She corrected. “Also, that’s kind of out of character for you.”
James turned off the car, killing the heat and making getting out and going inside a bit more necessary before he and Alanna spent half an hour bantering here. “He’s a cool guy, honestly. If he’s here today, maybe he can make us lunch. I’m hungry.”
“Yeah, I didn’t really get a chance to eat before JP interrupted.”
The two of them traded words as they moved toward the front door, the tinted front windows not giving a good view into their secret base. The place was growing on James a lot, since they’d picked it up. The short pine trees out front, the little patch of gravel around the bike rack, the way the door made a goofy *wonk* noise when you opened it out instead of in; all of it built up to a place that was just enjoyable to walk up to.
It also helped that James’ modifications to it via green orbs made it exponentially more valuable than whatever building their landlord thought they were leasing.
The use of green orbs on a central location was something that had resonated with James since he’d started idly doing it. And when his brain had caught on the idea and puzzled out *why* it felt so useful, he came to a satisfying conclusion.
Yellow orbs would, sporadically, make one person more powerful. Sometimes in ways that could accumulate wealth or resources that could then be shared, but usually personal ways. Blue orbs could give powers, or solve problems, but they were even more focused on personal power. Green orbs, though, were for everyone.
Every single green orb that they used at the lair would be experienced by twenty, thirty, forty people. Over and over. The whole guild made use of this central place, and it was here that their power could start to multiply. *Especially* now that they were aware of the fact that some of the greens changed time itself to their benefit.
And sure, nice bathrooms or proper water pressure weren’t huge deals. But if you wanted to sew a pair of pants at the lair, you’d find yourself finishing a lot sooner than you *should*. And if you needed a place to stay for the night, or space to test out potentially dangerous xenotech, or just a secret firing range to practice with the growing arsenal? Well, they had a basement. They had *two* basements.
“You know, there’s a bet going around on what happens if you dig up from one of the basements.” James told Alanna as he held the door open for her.
“Don’t.” She said. “Just don’t. The basements are awesome, and they work, and somehow we haven’t gotten dinged by the city for building permit violations. Don’t ruin this for us by trying to backhoe your way through subdimensional space.”
James snorted. “You made that term up.”
“Probably. Hey Momo!” Alanna changed tones in a hot second as their younger friend came up to the duo. “Is JP here yet?”
The young woman looked up at the two of them. Her eyes were ringed with dark circles, her hair, even as short as she kept it, looked frazzled. The normal goth look she cultivated had fallen away, despite her wardrobe still being all black. But for all that she appeared like she hadn't slept in a week, her face beamed as she looked at them.
“Hey guys. I felt you come in.” She said, wiping at her nose slightly with the long sleeve of her sweatshirt. “You got here fast.”
“Yeah, JP made it sound like a big deal. Where is he, anyway?”
“Not here yet.” Momo said, unhesitatingly. “I’ll let you know when he makes it in. Did he tell you what was going on?”
James shrugged. “He said you’d met someone, that they knew about a dungeon, and that they were on the run from the wizard police. I dunno if any of that is true, but I’m always open to new friends, so fuck it, let’s say hi, right?” Alanna nodded agreement; there wasn’t much more to say than that. Sometimes James was oblivious, sometimes he was outright dumb, but no one, in the world, would ever be able to accuse him of not having compassion.
“That’s what I figured. I didn’t talk to her much before she snoozed.” Momo admitted. “She was *tired*. Like, tired like I was when we left the office the first time, you know? She’s eating now. Oh, and your new chef is here.”
James had actually kind of assumed that Nate would be here today, because he’d gotten the impression that was just the sort of person Nate was; showing up literal days early to work to poke around in the kitchen. But to hear he was actually here was still a nice amusing confirmation.
Momo led them through to the back, where they’d set up a few round tables and sets of padded chairs so that anyone who wasn’t actively working out could watch the other half of the room that was devoted to the small gym they had. ‘Gym’ was a strong word, honestly; they had some equipment, but they mostly just used it for the mats so that Simon and Other James could kick the crap out of each other as they pushed the limits of martial arts while connected via wireless skulljack. That was why the tables were here; less for lunch and more for the show. Turned out, when humans started to pick up increasingly supernatural powers, it was fun to watch them do just about anything.
Sitting at one of those tables, eating a goddamn masterpiece of a burger, was a woman about James’ age. She had blonde hair, a sharp nose, and eyes that never stopped scanning the area. Over against the back left wall, the gruff ex-sailor stood half in the door to the kitchen, idly rolling a towel in his hands and keeping an eye on the room. Whether he was just making sure she was okay, or making sure she wasn’t stealing their punching bags, James didn’t know, but either way, it gave the place a strangely familiar feeling. Like a home, not just a business.
The instant James walked in, and Momo had started to say, “This is El-”, the girl had already kicked the chair backward as she lunged to her feet. As James’ brain caught up to the fact that she was moving, and he started to flex the limits of his enhanced synapses, she had already half drawn a small pistol from a holster mostly hidden under her arm.
Time didn’t slow down, but James experienced so much more of the world in those few seconds. Crisis crystallized thought into truth. He saw with perfect clarity the emotions running through the girl. Eleanor, he knew the name; he’d seen her before. Connections fell into place at a rapid clip. She was here being hunted by the wizard police? No, she was here following Secret. She thought *he* was the wizard police. She was going to shoot him. She was afraid, felt betrayed, felt lost, felt *tired*.
James saw it all. He could feel the currents of the air conditioning, smell the cooked food from the test run of their kitchen, he knew so much, had so much information crammed into his mind all at once. And it didn’t hurt; he just went with the flow of it, and experienced the world.
None of this was going to keep him from getting shot, he realized suddenly. He didn’t have the time to move, couldn’t actually react faster. He could move faster, think faster, but his reactions were as human as ever.
Eleanor pulled the trigger. Once, twice. The gunshots were like audio poison to his unfiltered perception. They crackled across the metal of the ventilation overhead, broke against the walls and floor, rippled off the human bodies in the room. James could feel them, more than he’d ever like, and he dreaded the feeling they precipitated. But he couldn’t move to stop it.
The bullets slammed into the arm Alanna had thrown out, drilling neat, low-caliber holes in her coat, bowing her flesh inward, before surrendering to the twisted physics of her body, and clattering to the floor. James blinked. He’d been able to see so much, but he hadn’t noticed that. Awkward.
Two and a half seconds later, three hundred pounds of chef slide tackled Elenor, pinned her to the ground with calloused hands, and kicked the gun into the center of the room.
There may have been yelling happening.
James took a deep breath. The people in the room kept yelling, but he was silent. He felt adrenaline pounding in his ears, but he didn’t speak just yet. He had to get this right, and he didn’t want his voice to shake.
Alanna was swearing, Momo was protesting that she didn’t know this would happen, El was screaming about her rights, Nate was telling someone to stop yelling though James had no idea who. All of them were caught up in the moment. So James just waited for them to run out of words.
One by one, the parties present fell silent as they noticed him standing there, fingers steepled in front of his face. Even Eleanor, writhing on the ground in a vain attempt to break away from their far-more-combat-ready-than-expected cook, paused when she noticed the room going still.
“Don’t,” James said softly, “do that again. It’s very rude to shoot at your hosts.” He paused, waiting for the words to sink in. He spoke calmly, clearly; making sure not to stumble over the words. “Nate, let her up. Momo, please take that gun to the armory.”
“You have an armory?” Nate asked, rumbling voice showing concerned surprise.
“*We* have an armory.” James corrected him, keeping his tone the same, despite the joke in his words. He glanced sideways, checking on Alanna. His girlfriend was rubbing her arm, but not actually hurt, it looked like. “Regardless. I think there’s been a misunderstanding. Eleanor, sit down and eat your food. You came to the right place, you just got the wrong person through the door first.”
The young woman scrambled backward along the ground as Nate released his iron grip on her wrist and throat. “Wh.. what. Who the fuck *are you people*?!” She demanded.
“Ah.” James said, smiling sadly. “I wish I got to say this under more fun circumstances. We’re you, you know? We’re you, with a little more of a kick.”
Twenty minutes later, after Momo let him know that someone had come in through the back warroom area, James had met up with Secret and Sarah. He didn’t ask exactly how Momo was keeping tabs on everyone in the building, but he made a note to check later. That was something they should probably look into.
He filled them in, especially Secret, on what had happened. And, more importantly, who it was that had shown up on their doorstep.
“She has been coming here for a long time.” Secret said. “I knew that, and now I know that. I kept the secret from myself, somehow. She kept something secret, too; Eleanor is not what you would call baseline. There was something else, that let her track us to this point.”
“Good to know.” James said. “Do you want to go say hi?” He asked Secret. The infomorph was sitting on his coils, rising up to just under James’ shoulders. It was, especially for Nate, who had been given an open invitation to tag along for this sort of thing from now on, still unsettling to see a creature with that many mouths and teeth and eyes. But James had come to get used to it; he loved Secret, in a very protective way, no matter what he actually looked like.
“I would, yes.” Secret said, bobbing his head in a nod.
They descended the elevator, the two of them. Sarah and Alanna stayed up top to talk to Momo, to discuss what had been said between her and El during the night, to figure out even if they should trust her at all. Alanna didn’t know James was going down to the basement where they’d stuck their visitor; she’d protest if she did. That was why James left Nate upstairs, too. A brief distraction; and also because it was considered bad form to bring someone who your conversation partner had just lost a fight to, to a polite chat.
“I’m still not mad at you.” James informed Secret as the elevator zipped downward. “So you know.”
Secret rolled the piece of information around in his maw, tasting the myriad of little secrets in it. “Thank you.” He settled on.
They’d stuck Eleanor in one of the guest rooms in the more normal basement. Or rather, Momo had last night. But El was pacing the floor like she was a prisoner when James knocked and cracked the door open.
“So, this is my cell, then, huh?” She demanded in a pissed voice as he opened the door to say hi.
“Um… no? This is a bedroom.” James went for the humor approach. Because he was James, and he could only really hold onto the serious tone for so long before he started to break down. “You can leave whenever, the door wasn’t even locked.” He told her.
“What about the elevator?” She demanded.
“It… is an elevator, yes. There are also stairs, if you don’t like it? Though I’ve been conditioned to be worried about stairwells in office spaces.”
“I’ll show you later. Hey, so, why did you come here?” James cut to the chase. “Like, here. You came to our place, to the heart of our little operation. I’d say ‘home’, but this isn’t really where I live, but it is important to me. Why here, Eleanor?”
“I was looking for someone.” El said. “And my name is El, not Eleanor. How do you even know that name?” She demanded.
“That’s a Secret thing.” James quirked a grin. “Looking for someone?”
“Not like it matters. I didn’t see him on you earlier when I… fuck it, when I cast the spell. So maybe he got away, and I wasted my time, or maybe you’ve already killed him.” El spat out. “Still not really doing a good job of convincing me to trust you.”
“Yeah, so, full disclosure? I already know what you mean, being cryptic isn’t helping. You’re talking about someone who’s pretty important to me. The reason your spell didn’t see him on me was because he stayed back at our apartment to *eat pancakes* while I came here first. So chill.” James glanced sideways to Secret, who was still standing just out of view of the doorframe, looking absolutely unashamed for getting breakfast. Sighing at the theatrics, James casually reached over and hooked a hand around the part of Secret that was closest to being shoulders, and pulled the serpentine creature into view. “Say hi.” He commanded whichever one of them would listen first.
El froze. So did Secret, too, amusingly. The two of them stared at each other for a long moment. Eventually, El broke the silence. “I… um… I’ve seen you in my dreams.”
“That is very flattering!” Secret responded cheerfully. Whatever trepidation the meme felt, gone in an instant as he found his voice.
James didn’t know whether to slap his face into his palm, or beam with pride.
“No, I mean… we’ve talked. You’re why I’m here. I followed you, through the dreams.” El said, gasping. “I thought you could help me. I was… god dammit, I was so fucking *afraid*.” She sat down on the edge of the room’s bed, one hand coming up to splay fingertips against her face. “What is even happening.” It wasn’t really a question.
“I do not remember my dreams, very well.” Secret admitted. “But I believe that, if I helped guide you here, it was because I thought of you as a friend there. And I can feel that secret half of my self, reminding me of that.” He looked up at James, then back to El, and nodded in his bobbing way. “Do not fear.” He said. “I remember telling you that. You don’t need to be afraid. There are no monsters here. There is nothing to run from. Perhaps there never was, but, even so, your running has brought you to us. And we can, and will, help you.”
“It’s kind of what we do, these days.” James admitted with a shrug.
“Help me *what*!?” El demanded, angry. “I threw away my whole life, on, what, a comic misunderstanding? Are you fucking kidding me?”
James was starting to get annoyed, and he barked out his response in a tone that made both other presences in the room ripple in shock. “Hey! It’s not my fault you decided to go on the run! If cheap suits and one excitable infomorph is all it takes for you to think someone is the goddamn magic gestapo, then I can’t really help how skittish you are, can I?” He tried to take a deep breath and reign in his anger, but El cut off his moment.
“I gave up my car! My fucking *mom* doesn’t even know what happened to me! And you think it’s not your fault just because you didn’t realize you’d look like feds while you were *pretending to be fucking feds*!?” She half yelled at him. Or full yelled, really.
Weirdly, her yelling crystalized his own calm. *This*, right here, was something that he could *fix*. You couldn’t just tell people to not be afraid, but problems? Especially problems of logistics? James had people for that. Specifically, he had a boyfriend. “Well, first off, lemmie tell you that we have the money to fix most of the basic problems.” James said. “If you want to go home, we can absolutely get you a plane ticket. If you need a new car… holy shit, why haven’t I bought a new car yet? Whatever, ignore that. But, beyond that?” He tapped a hand against his leg, before deciding on how much to divulge to their new potential recruit. “How do you feel about a little more magic in the world?” He grinned what he hoped was an inviting smile, mirrored by Secret a dozen times. “Because all anger aside? I’ve got a job offer for you.”
It didn’t seem to reassure Eleanor, but that might have just been all the teeth.
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Bio: I write stuff, and have a lot of thoughts about narrative structure and tropes. Some of the stuff I write is here, the rest can be found over on Reddit on my r/hfy author page. Feel free to message me if you want to talk about ideas, or just have questions about anything I made!