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Silberman's Books: Reprise (IC)

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Lynn looked between mother and son, and blinked a few times. "Uh, well, if she's okay with it..."

 

Gretchen frowned. "You may want to draw up some legal paperwork first-"

 

The shop owner waved a hand dismissively. "Nonsense! If Taylor trusts her son, then I trust him, too." Though she did give the boy a look that said 'I'm going out on a limb for you kid, so don't make me regret it'. The changeling gestured for the group to follow her into her office. "Lance, I'm checking on a 'Special Order'; can you-"

 

She didn't even have to finish her thought. "I'll get Kiki to help out on the floor, no worries."

 

"You're a prince among men, Lance."

 

The big blonde barista bowed with a flourish, prompting Gretchen to shake her head and mouth 'suck-up'; Lance just beamed.

 

Lynn's office was relatively modest, roughly nine by fifteen with a ceiling fan, pressed tin ceiling and a transom light over the door. All four walls sported dark wood bookshelves that were crammed full of books and strange odds and ends. The only furniture was a massive old desk, leather swivel desk chair, and two overstuffed leather chairs for guests. The desk had a computer and the usual clutter, including a large candy bowl filled with a wide variety of treats. Lastly above and behind the desk were two unusual firearms, a rifle and a revolver, mounted in a frame; Taylor instantly recognized them as Colt's guns.

 

Once everyone was in the room, Gretchen quietly closed the door and locked it while Lynn stepped behind her desk and faced the back bookshelves. "Help yourself to the candy," she said as she waved a hand at the bookshelf, part of which melted away into vapor to reveal a digital keypad and simple metal handle; in a few moments, she heaved open the heavy reinforced door behind it on smooth hinges. "Upped the security a bit since 'the incident'". Her assistant made a pained expression and reflexively touched her stomach. 

 

The room beyond was dry and a tad dusty; several low-energy bulbs popped to life, filling the chamber with a soft white glow. There were many bookshelves in various styles bearing lots of books and unusual objects, some of which looked quite old. There were also old-fashioned steamer trunks, magical props and faded posters for the Amazing Al-Kazar's stage show, all turbans, sabers, tigers and pretty ladies in gauzy veils. To those sensitive to such things, the whole place hummed like an idling engine.

 

Lynn shrugged and waved her hand about. "Well, this is it; I've never had the time to properly inventory all the stuff in my great-grandfather's collection. Guess I'm a little scared about what I might find."

 

"I wished you'd let me do that...", Gretchen muttered as she stood off to one side, hugging herself tightly.

Edited by Heritage

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Huang for his part ignored both his mothers meddling and the bickering of grim and her employee as he followed at a calm pace to the office and hidden chamber of secrets.  As the doors slid open and revealed the knowledge hidden within he winced slightly at the wash of mystical energies.  "Quite the collection."  he said approvingly it was rare that non-practitioners managed to accrue such a trove of lore, "Your great-grandfather must have been a canny man indeed." he suggested as he stepped into the room and began to peruse the tomes and sheaves on offer. 

Raising a brow he murmured slowly under his breath, "Per octo oculis Ios mystica reveletur." as his eye glinted with a lument blue gree light.  He examined a small sheaf of parchment and frowned slightly moving them across the room from a dark colored leather bound tome, "Ah yes inventory may be good, these probbaly should not be stored adjacent."  he sighed, "It could be, problematic, over time."  He contintued to peruse the collection for several minutes liftign and examining this book or scroll his otherwise silent perusal punctuated by an occasional "hrmmm."

Finally selecting a leather bound and folio and a triptych of strange illustrations he presented them to Grim with a nod, "Do you preffer trade or currency?"  he inquired flatly in a manner that really showed how out of touch with 'normal' huang was or had become in his years pretending at adulthood.

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"This is quite impressive, Lynn," Taylor stood back by Grim's side as her son was drawn into the magical wonders, her hands clasped in front of her with a faintly indulgent smile. The gaze she cast over the books held a lambent white glow as she, too, checked over things with a mystical bent although for her that required no gesture or arcane words - merely a thoughtful look. Whatever her senses revealed to her, Taylor kept her mouth closed on the matter as mystics are wont to do.

She glanced down briefly at Huang's purchase selection thoughtfully. Her lips pursed before she gave a slight nod.

"Or do you want another after school employee?" She suggested to Grim in the wake of Huang's odd statement about what she might wish in return, apparently still on with her internal crusade to normalize his life to the more mundane. "Huang could help you and Gretchen with the inventorying if you like. He's really very skilled in matters arcane for his age."

She tucked her hands in her pockets, turning her head to examine one of the more garish stage props with some interest of her own. Taylor reached out to run a fingertip over the old chest in question. "Heh. The locked-chest trick. That's a classic."

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Lynn looked uncertainly towards her assistant. "Uh...as intriguing as 'trade' might be, I think we have to stick with currency for the time being; Gretchen, can you ring him up?"

 

The young barista rolled her eyes. "Actually I imagine his mom will be paying for the disturbing tome of eldrich wizardry. Can you follow me, please?"

 

As the group headed to the front of the store, the changeling pondered Taylor's question. "I haven't brought any high schoolers onboard yet; to be honest, I didn't want to do it after the nastiness last year. Worried about liability, mostly." Then she paused to look back over her shoulder at the boy "But I guess...? I'm sure Huang can take care of himself."

 

Gretchen stepped behind the counter and rang out the purchase, her face fairly neutral as always. "Here you go." She forced a smile as she handed the bag to the guardian of the compact. "Thank you for shopping at blah blah blah." Then she gave her boss a meaningful look. "As much as I normally despise teenagers on general principle, I could really use him to catalog that stuff; it would be good to know what we've got, and if any of it needs to be sent somewhere safer. Like under the Nevada desert."

 

Lynn frowned as she leaned up against the counter. "Hey, I actually do possess a healthy knowledge of the occult, y'know."

 

Her sidekick smiled with a hint of actual warmth. "Yes, but you have the organizational skills of a hamster on meth; you make these crazy little piles everywhere."

 

"Hey, that's...that's actually fair." Lynn clapped her hands together. "So, I need to read up on New Jersey child labor laws, but I think we can work something out; a few hours a week after school, as long as it doesn't interfere with your homework sound okay?"

Edited by Heritage

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"Actually I cover my own eldritch tome expenses."  he explained with a smile, didn't do his own dishes or laundry, certainly didn't get his own food.  But buy esoteric books of arcane mysteries with his pocket money absolutely.  He paid cash which he pulled in a tight roll from inside his jacket and peeled off the fee before tucking it away.  He was impassive to his moms suggestion of working the store the special collections were interesting enough to be a nice diversion though he doubted it would be as lucrative as his sideline in sportbooks on matches he knew the outcomes of.  

"I'll take that as the praise it was clearly intended to be."  he replied to Gretchin with a saucy wink and looked to Grim with a raised brow smiling as she agreed, "Yea I can virtually assure you it will not impact my homework habits in the least."  He said with a firm nod, mostly because he pretty much planned on blowing most of it off anyway.  You know what they say C's get degrees.

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Taylor eyed the teenager's pocket money with vague suspicion but didn't hassle him about it at the moment. "I think you'll be fine. Honestly, I still haven't gotten a straight answer out of him as his actual age. I am guessing sixteen but its hard to pin down."

She looked annoyed at that, as well she might be. There were few true mysteries to Taylor's mind when she put the effort into uncovering them. That her own child was one was most frustrating. Of course, at least she knew they had trained him well if he'd continued to confound her efforts. Grounding him until forever only bore so many results. Occasionally she considered dangling him off of a rooftop but largely that was saved for muggers and really, Huang didn't have anything to fear from the drop. Also because it would probably have made her a terrible parent. Probably. 

"I get your report cards," Taylor reminded her offspring with a frown, "And I am fully capable of grounding you in ways you haven't even begun to contemplate yet."

That took on other meanings when one's mother was a supernatural practitioner. There was a ghost of Phantom in the back of her mother's eyes but when she turned to Lynn and her assistant she was all friendly smiles once more, "It really has been good to see you again, Lynn. We should get together again sometime when you're not busy at work!"

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Gretchen was seriously icked out by Huang's wink; her face crumpled a bit as she drew her hands back to her chest. The young dhampir caught a glimpse of a simple silver ring on her left index finger, which bore a large ruby that pulsed with a hidden fire...

 

Lynn scowled at the boy for several seconds; he reminded her of Jon-Jon more every minute! It was a good thing she'd be able to keep an eye on him. But she was all smiles, too, when she addressed Taylor again. 

 

"Absolutely! It's a date!" She was so happy to reconnect with her old teammate; perhaps she could actually have a social life again!

Edited by Heritage

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