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Christmas was a touchy time for Jessica. Sure, Freedom City loved their heroes. But those of her type were not seen as heroes at first glance. And especially since the holidays had been co-opted by Christianity. Well, Jessica didn't invited to go caroling. At all. Still, she had a lot to keep her busy. Gift giving was irreligious. Her magic lessons with Jack were the highlights of her days some times. Jack was the highlight of her days most of the time.

 

She had already went shopping with him earlier, but this time she wanted to get a special something. She poked through her contacts to see where she could get to the weirder side of Freedom. She knew his style of magic was different than hers, but he barely knew about his. So she taught him hers. Quite fun.

 

What she found was Silberman's Books. A bookstore, naturally, but something of a seller of magical things to the mundane. Magic For Dummies. How To Summon Confidence. Annotated Necronomicon. It all looked like a cash grab. But her sources knew better. She was here for something more advanced. And real. Arcane musings aside, Jessica's carnal spirits knew that there was something there that she needed.  Most of demonblooded didn't take stock in writing, but a treatise was written a few hundred years ago. Only seven copies remained of it. And it was in reach.

 

So much for buying the SO a gift. She was sure something would pop up.

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Christmas was...a complicated time of year for Lynn Epstein, owner and operator of Silberman's Books, because it impacted her in several different ways. As a practicing Reformed Jew, the day itself meant very little, other then a day off, Chinese food and a trip to the movies. However, there was an unusual Christmas Eve tradition within her otherwise Jewish existence, and that was dinner and gifts at her Uncle Sid's house in Brigantine, just outside of Atlantic City. Lynn's father was half-Italian and his side of the family was very Catholic despite their misleading name, which led to lots of confusion growing up. It had taken years for Lynn's mom to make peace with it, but now it was a beloved aspect of all their lives.

 

However as a retailer, Christmas was a big deal for Lynn, and the store's busiest time of the year (though Halloween was a close second, largely due to her own efforts). So there were decorations and lights and oh dear God, the music, but at least sales were always good. The store smelled like peppermint, cinnamon, wreaths and hot cocoa, and all the smells were delightful and intoxicating.

 

And lastly as a Fae, well, Christmas was still about magic, no matter how hard traditional Western religion tried to scrub it all away. Happy Wiccans bought their Yule supplies, candles sold like hotcakes, and most importantly, Lynn got to wear her hair up and show off her lovely pointed elfin ears. Add a pair of festive reindeer horns, an ugly Christmas sweater and a pair of green tights, and the mischievous changeling practically sparkled. And if she occasionally gave into temptation and snuck out a bit of glamour here and there, people would smile, shake their heads and blame the Christmas spirit.

 

Lynn flitted about the store as though she could still grow wings, balanced on tiptoe, head cocked to one side as she listened to a customer's request, nodding thoughtfully with her hands behind her back as she tried to make each customer's dream come true. She couldn't always, but at least she could guarantee a few amazing Yelp reviews for her efforts.

 

So it was this doe-eyed sprite who came to a stop before the crimson-skinned Jessica; she pursued her lips slightly as she took in her skin tone, generous curves and pleasant demeanor, then she nodded to herself as a warm smile spread across her impish face.

 

"Welcome to Silberman's Books! My name's Lynn; what can I help you find today?"

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Of course, stares, the other people in here probably had never seen a real life demon before. but hey, there Jessica was, walking around in broad daylight. Much to the chagrin, or maybe delight, of the customers of Silberman's Books. She could absolutely feel Lust, Envy, Pride, and definitely Greed in this place. Though the last one wasn't pointed at her, she was sure. Tsk, Christmas.

 

That was Lynn greeting her. Jessica knew even before the greeting. She had such a powerful presence. Elegant. Proud. It was reassuring and startling at the same time. But Jessica kept her composure. When you met great people every day, you learn to roll with it and do your best to not 'look evil'.

 

"Good evening," Jessica said greeting Lynn with an almost serpentine smile. The size difference between the ladies now was very much noticeable. She took a step back, a laugh under her breathe. "I do believe we've talked on the phone before. You have one of the copies of," she looked around to see if anyone was listening, of course they were. She leaned in and whispered, "The Heretical Ravings of the Demon Lover Kyson."

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Lynn's graceful eyebrows elevated just a hair as her eyes lit up in recognition. "Ah! Miss Witchblood, I presume? As I stated on the phone, while that is in fact an item we currently have in stock, for certain items we require..." And here, the changeling clucked her head from side to side. "A private consultation. I can assure you, such a consultation would be required for any customer interested in such a purchase, and is in no way reflection on you." She gestured towards a door marked 'Manager'. "Would you join me? if you'd like a complimentary beverage from the espresso bar, I can happily have something sent in."

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Jessica knew the implications of the visit. Even knowing of such things and contacting others about it put alarms in certain people's heads. Lynn was right to judge, whether or not it was fear of her or not. But she didn't sense fear or hatred in the woman's voice or movements. She much enjoyed the formalities. of such grillings. Free drinks was even better.

 

"Oh sure," she said following the sociable manager, "let's get to the fun part where you ask me awkward questions. Maybe take some blood. That'll be fun." Not that the store was privy to their conversation, but she tried to keep her normal showy attitude to less than eleven. As the door closed behind them she looked at the surroundings, "pretty swank."

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