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GM

 

5:30 PM, December 17th, 2019

Riverside, not too far from Riverside Park

 

It was the week before Christmas, and Freedom City was as calm as one could expect the city to be. It had been snowing, but wasn't right now, and the city was as busy as ever, with people leaving work, looking at Christmas decorations, shopping for Christmas gifts or whatever other activity they felt like doing the week before Christmas.

 

Pan was leading his friends through the streets of Freedom, heavy shopping bags in his hands. After his first Christmas on this world, he had quickly decided that it was much more enjoyable to do Christmas shopping together, instead of on his own, and so he had managed to bring Lulu, Adam and Veronica along, visiting shops, stores and what have you. 

 

Now, they were heading towards one particular shop in Riverside at Pan's insistence, a little bookshop called the Never-Ending Story...

Edited by RocketLord
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Forever Boy

 

Two bags full of presents, some wrapped and some not, in one hand, Pan held a small wrapped gift up in the other hand, stretched out towards Veronica, lightly shaking it, with a wide grin on his lips. He was in a pair of jeans, a thick dark green jacket and a red and white Santa hat, because of course he was. "Come now, Veronica! Guess!" He had made a great show out of having disappeared for a short bit earlier, then appearing again out of nowhere, with the gift for Veronica in hand, and well, of course he had to make a show out of it. Would it be Pan if he didn't? The gift wasn't large, a bit larger than his hand, a square box, wrapped in red and green striped wrapping paper, with a white bow.

 

After finally getting a response or not, Pan would finally pull the gift back and put it back in one of the bags. "Have any of you ever visited the Never-Ending Story? It is a lovely little shop, full of old books. Nice place, if that is something you like, at least."

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Veronica Danger

 

Veronica was enjoying the opportunity to spend a bit of time Christmas shopping with some of her friends. In fact, it was hard not to be influenced by the excitement and energy Pan tended to bring to so many endeavors. The teenage Danger was dressed in her rather typical attire, only slightly adjusted for the colder weather: khaki cargo pants, grey fleece, a rugged dark green winter parka, and her omnipresent hiking boots.

 

When Pan returned and heled out the wrapped gift he had gotten for her, Veronica gave him a warm smile. "You really did not need to. But, I would have to guess some sort of jewelry."

 

At Pan's follow up question regarding the group's next destination, Veronica gave a slight shake of her head. "No, I cannot say that I have, but it certainly sounds like an interesting place. I do enjoy old books."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Adam always enjoyed Christmas, but Pan's enthusiasm was warmly infectious. That, and he had an excuse to hang out with Lulu, so that was a bonus. It was cold, but he enjoyed the briskness of the weather. Plus, it gave him an excuse to bundle up, and that was always a bonus. He could wear a hood, a hat, gloves, a coat, a scarf...he could just keep the self conscious parts of himself hidden and just enjoy being outside.

 

"I love old books." Adam said. "Consider me interested."

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Lulu loved her friends; for years, her parents limited her access to other kids her age, as they were afraid she'd leak details about the 'family business', but freed from their constraints, she could now hang out with whomever she wanted, and it was glorious. She had a surprisingly large amount of bags in her grasp (in truth, she was using just a little TK to lighten the load), but her beaming face cheerfully poked out from under them. Today, she was dressed mostly in black (low boots, jeans and a leather jacket) complimented with a pink scarf and matching Santa hat.

 

"Sure, it sounds fun," she said eagerly from within her presents.

Edited by Heritage
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GM

 

The bell on the door jingled, as Pan pushed it open, but the shop itself was silent. Rarely busy even at the best of times, the Never-Ending story was empty. Books and papers were littered across the floor and shelves, and the little three legged chair that the owner sat on behind the counter lay broken in the middle of the room, a single chair leg missing.

 

There were a trail of papers leading ahead, into a backroom, where the noise of raised voices could be heard. 

 

"Where is it? Where is the book!" called one, angry and loud.

 

"Just listen to me! I don't have it!" An older voice, trembling.

 

Then, a loud *TWACK!* and the older voice groaning in pain.

Edited by RocketLord
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  • 2 weeks later...

At the sound of physical violence, the redhead's eyes went wide, and she threw her packages up in the air as she scuttled towards the commotion; as she did so, her parcels descended to the floor in slow motion. She used her illusions to erase the sound of her movement, then as an afterthought did the same for the rest of the group; anyone who tried to talk would find they made no sound. She turned to the others and held a finger to her lips as she silently crept forward toward the back room.

 

This does not sound good at all.

Edited by Heritage
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Forever Boy

 

Pan opened his mouth to speak, but found he made no sound. This was less than ideal. No room to talk, no way to communicate except for signs between each other. They were still visible, however. He could help with that. He waved his hand a bit, Pixie Dust sparkling around, then, an one way image appearing in the room. The side towards them had the words "ONE WAY WALL" written on it. Aside from the letters, they could see through it, whoever was back there could not see them. He gently placed his bags on the floor, couldn't risk hurting the gifts for his friends, after all, then motioned towards the image with his head.

 

He slowly crept forward. Not making any noise was a nice trick, one that he had used many times before, so it was kind of amusing to see someone else using that same trick. He couldn't suppress a smile, despite the noise, as he moved behind the counter and peeked inside through his image.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Veronica Danger

 

Veronica had followed Pan into the quaint bookstore when her attention had quickly been drawn to the sight of what appeared to have been a struggle in the middle of the floor. Then the voices and what sounded like someone striking another was heard from the backroom and the teenager tensed in anticipation of trouble.

 

But before she could say anything, Lulu used her mental illusions to mask their movements, as well as their voices. Of course, Veronica knew this was an illusion, and something that could be overcome with the right mental focus, but she decided against it for the moment, so as not to do anything that might break the illusion for whomever was in the backroom. She just wished Lulu had done something like establishing a mental link before preventing any communication.

 

Luckily Pan had a way of communicating some at least, as he also acted to help mask their presence. The teenage Danger only hoped that whoever was in the backroom had been so focused on what they were doing that they had not heard the bell of the door when the group had entered.

 

As Pan and Lulu began to move forward to get a view of the back room, Veronica deposited the packages she had been carrying into a small hole in space that closed back once she was done. The teen then removed a couple of small symbols from a bracelet around her wrist, attaching them together on a small silver chain that she slipped onto her other wrist as she felt the magic within the symbols merging together and forming into an offensive spell she could use if needed.

 

 

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Adam loved his girlfriend, and loved that she was masking his sounds. Otherwise he would give himself away for sure. Adam could leap, run, smash and even run on walls, but his footfalls were like bowling balls slammed against a wooden floor. He was not a subtle person.

 

He did nothing special to ready himself for a fight. His friends had various powers, he had his fists.

 

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GM

 

"What was that?" the angry voice had paused the sound of violence looked up. "I thought I'd locked that damn door."

 

There was some rustling, and a man came into view, behind Pan's one way wall. He looked to be in his late thirties or early fourties. Short blonde hair with a goatee, he wore a pair of round glasses that obscured his eyes. He wore blue jeans and heavy black boots, with a grey jackets and black gloves. In his right hand, he was holding the missing leg from the chair on the floor. 

 

He looked around, obviously suspicious, before turning towards the back room, slapping the chair leg hard into a bookshelf back there, causing several books to fall to the floor. "Last chance, old man! Where is it? Where's that damn book?"

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Lulu's first thought was to send a piercing psychic spike right into the bastard's skull, but that would require her to drop her silent field. Speaking of which... She turned to the others and whispered (more out of habit than anything else). "Y'all can talk now; ah made it so only we can hear us. Let me try somethin' out real quick..." She then turned her attention to Mr. Chair Leg as she sent a sinister message straight into his mind. 

 

- I wouldn't do that if I were you. The Council is watching. The Council is always watching. -

Edited by Heritage
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Veronica Danger

 

As the voice from the back commented about the sound of the bell on the door, Veronica began to raise one of her hands that glowed with eldritch energy, ready to act if Lulu's illusion were to fail or Pan's image did not work. However, the illusion held as the figure appeared and looked out to see  the image Pan had projected to show an empty shop.

 

Veronica had still been about to unleash a blast of mystical energy at the figure when it became clear he was threatening the shop's proprietor with violence. However, Lulu made a shift to her illusion, allowing the group to communicate freely once more and then indicated she wanted to try something. Lowering her hand, which continued to glow with the mystical energy, Veronica gave a small nod.

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GM

 

"The Council?" The man went silent. The sound of some struggling, then he moved into view again, pushing an older man in front of him. He held the broken chair leg to the older man's throat, a hand on each side, ready to pull back to crush the man's windpipe, if need be. "Who's there? Who are you?" 

 

He spun in place, standing in view as he was. "What Council? Where are you? Show yourself, or the old man gets it? I'm... I'm not afraid of some disembodied voice!" Oh, but afraid he did seem to be, from the trembling in his voice and the way he quickly looked around him, trying to catch but a glimpse of the one that talked.

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Forever Boy

 

Pan couldn't suppress a smile. Whatever Lulu had done, the man was clearly reacting to it, spouting about some Council, but he had taken the owner hostage, holding that chair leg to his neck like that. It would be painful for the older man, at the very least. He could not allow that, could he now? Whatever Lulu had done, talking about some council, she had the right idea.

 

For his part, Pan moved a bit to the side, just out of the way, so if the man tried something in his direction, the others wouldn't get caught in it. Then he spoke up. There was a laugh in his voice, mixed with a small hint of the disdain he felt for the man. His voice sounded just a bit older than it normally would. "Someone much more powerful than you." Lulu must have mentioned that Council, whatever it was. He could just as well build on her lie, follow her lead. "We are everywhere, we are watching, and when we see someone act like you? Then we act. Release the man, leave, or we will give you an answer you should know not to seek!"

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  • 2 weeks later...

GM

 

The man froze. His grip on the chair leg in his hand tightened, while he looked around, trying to catch any of the voices that spoke to him, be it Lulu's or Pan's. Oh, he was all alone there, no question. There was no one to see, no one to hit with his mighty weapon, all he could do was to feebly swing his weapon around, hitting nothing but air.

 

Finally, having had enough, he yelled incoherently before pointing at the old man. "I'll be back!" Then he turned, swinging the chair leg around one final time, as he adressed the Council. "I'll be back, and I'll be ready for you! All of you! I want that book!" 

 

With that, he rushed out, slamming out through the door, unless someone stepped in the way, of course.

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  • 1 month later...

"Ah'm on him," Lulu said as she dropped her previous illusion and slowly got to her feet. "Mah ESP's got a range of five miles, so ah can keep a watch on the bastard, see where he goes." Even though she could see with both her physical and psychic senses at the same time, it could still be a bit disorienting, so she reached out to Adam for support, affectionately squeezing his shoulder when she found it.

 

"Can someone check on the old man, maybe have a look 'round?"

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Veronica Danger

 

Between Lulu and Pan, the man threatening the shop owner was fooled into leaving the scene. With Lulu tracking the man, Veronica turned her attention to the shop keeper. Removing a few of the small trinkets from a necklace, the teenage Danger reconnected them to a small silver chain which she then slipped around one wrist.


Moving out of the illusion, she knelt down next to the old man. "Are you okay sir." She asked as her hands glowed with mystical energy and she reached up to gently touch his shoulder with her right hand in order to heal his injuries. "What was that man after?"

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GM

 

The older man looked up at Veronica, standing up and straightening himself. He was a portly gentleman with a well groomed beard, dressed in a slightly scuffed tweed jacket. He held out his horn rimmed glasses, sighing in frustration at the broken frames, before smiling at Veronica.

 

"I'm quite alright now, my dear." He made a wry face, then placed his glasses back on his face. They were slightly crooked now. He reached for a chair, pulled it up and sat down. Then he looked at the small group and chuckled. "I suppose you tricked that man into leaving?" Reaching for his shoulder, he gently touched the point where he should have felt pain. "Not quite as ordinary as some of you look, are you now?" Looking at Pan, he shook his head. "Ah, you. I suppose you have some interesting friends, then." His tone was slightly annoyed at the you.

 

Finally, he smiled at Veronica. "Well, he was after a book, of course." He chuckled at his joke. "A very special book, not just a first edition, but a true edition. The real book, the real thing that the book was supposed to be. Or, one of many, I suppose." He was obviously being cryptic, enjoying himself quite a bit, despite the previously serious situation. "You're all young, but even then, you must have heard about the fairy tales written by H. C. Andersen, right? Clumsy Hans, the Snow Queen, the Little Mermaid, the Tinderbox, the Princess and the Pea, all of those?"

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  • 2 weeks later...


"Of course, not necessarily all of them, but many of them, yes." Adam said. "What is special about this copy? Is it rare and expensive?" He looked around. "I imagine an old copy could probably be very, very valuable. Though I'm not an expert and have no idea how much. I'm glad he didn't get it, though."

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Posted (edited)

Forever Boy

 

Pan smiled at the owner and made a small bow. "And I believe that you are quite happy that I do, are you not, old man?" He took a step back, letting the others come closer instead, asking their questions. Pan seemed to think about the old man's questions for a bit. "I have heard of some of them, at least." He moved around, slowly circling the room and looking around, not really stopping moving.

 

"But I do have some experience with fairy tales."

Edited by RocketLord
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Veronica Danger

 

"No, the tricks were handled by the others." Veronica replied with a small smile as the older gentleman got back to his feet, healed of his minor injuries. She stood up as well and gave him a small smile. "Veronica Danger." She stated in introduction.

 

When the man answered her question about what the other man had been after, a slightly questioning look came to the teenage Danger's face. "I have heard most of those." She admitted when he named some of the fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen. "What is so special about this book compared to other editions?"

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GM

 

"Ah, yes, I apologize." The man made a small bow. "The name is Andrew Orlando." 

 

With the teens having acknowledged that they knew of the fairy tales, he smiled slightly and nodded.

 

"Well, the thing is that the good fairy taler didn't just write stories. No, the fairy tales were just tales of the things the true story could do: The true books are the source of power." He walked to his table, reached under it and pulled a note out from a secret room under the table, before standing up again. "Put short, the books let you get super powers, and our friend obviously wants those books." He held the note up. "And I do believe that the four of your look like just the kind of kids that would like to stop someone like him from getting his hands on some powers that he doesn't deserve, right?"

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  • 2 months later...

"Lulu Beaumont, at your service, sir." She offered a playful curtsy. "Ah know some of his stories; they tend to be a little sad, don't they? Not like the Disney versions." At the mention of obtaining superpowers from the books, she looked quite alarmed. "So you mean this feller's goin' to trade his voice for fins, or somethin' lile that? Boy, some folks will do anything to be special. And if he's mean enough to beat up a sweet old man, ah'd be happy to stop him."

 

The whole time she's been keeping an eye on their would-be book thief.

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