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❈ Elysium Detectives ❈ [ 1x1 ]

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Posted (edited)

" It's the sixth case

Another dead end, another mystery with no conclusion

It's becoming too frequent

Inordinate

The weight of the papers feel heavy in her hands

They can't keep pretending they know how to fix this

Not anymore

Ink pools at the tip of the pen

She writes, hoping that the message will be received before the next body grows cold "

...

..

.

 

 

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a fantasy detective 1x1

 

 

[ Story ]

 

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" The mortal plane and the spirit realm have been bound together as long as recorded history. Most humans are blissfully unaware of their proximity to the magic realm, but spirits have always been gifted with the knowledge of humanity. In the past, spirits have freely interacted with humans and, on occasion, grew malicious towards them. Such things are nothing more than a memory of a bygone past. In the modern era, the spirit world has a hierarchical society  that has cultivated its people to respect humanity from afar. Only the elite or a select few workers may pass into the human realm. It is a honor bestowed upon very few.

 

In the year of 20XX, a series of murders have taken place. The culprits are using tools from the human world and magic from the spirit world together in order to escape capture. Police Chief Rhea has grown tired of chasing shadows she can never catch. With permission from high powers, she has sent one of her most trusted recruits to form a pact with a reported expert on human-spirit relations. Together, the unlikely pair will have to solve the spur of murders, learn of their cause, and, hopefully, put an end to it once and for all. "

 

 

[ Cast ]

 

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" Can we do this some other time? I'd rather go back to bed. "

[ Theodore Reyes ]

A university student studying abroad in the United Kingdom.

Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Theo views life through a veil of insouciance.

He spends most his days studying, working, or playing video games.

 

 

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" It is our duty to solve this case! Don't you understand how important this is? "

[ Epona Margarine ]

A spirit dedicated with the power to transform into an household cat.

He dreams of climbing the social ladder and becoming a more respected figure in his world.

Poe is a stickler for rules and determined to be the best detective on the force.

 

 

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" Remember, I will always be there to help you. "

[ Rhea Notragon ]

A spirit who has acted as a police chief for countless years.

She acts almost as a mother figure to not only her friends but her fellow co-workers.

Rhea cares deeply for spirits and humans alike.

 

 

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" ... "

[ Hinata Elwood]

A mute spirit who works on the police force.
Although some spirits claim his marriage to Roy was purely to climb the ranks, he truly loves his husband.

He loves helping recruits and living a carefree lifestyle.

 

 

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" Yes? Did you need something? "

[ Roy Elwood ]

A high-ranking spirit that is treated with universal respect.

As minor royalty in the spirit world, Roy is tasked with attending to the affairs of royal court.

He's excellent at his job, but often complains about being unable to spend time with his family.

 

 

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" Don't fret the details, darling. I'll take care of the rest. "

[ Andraste Camembert]

Rhea's second-in-command who cares deeply for her superior.

Andraste is exceptional at almost any task she tackles.

She is calm no matter the situation which frustrates her brother, Poe, to no end.

 

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" Sorry, I wasn't really paying attention. Could you repeat that? "

[ Erin Reyes ]

A human infamous in the spirit world for her work with the royals of that world.

Erin comes from a long line of humans that have worked closely with spirits.

She's exceptional at her work, but doesn't know how to interact with her son beyond throwing money at him.

 

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" If it's not important then don't waste my time. "

[ Kira Reyes]

A hot tempered human that's familiar with the spirit world.

She's quick to voice her opinion, whether that be her love for her wife or her desire to fight.

She loves her family dearly but feels like her son would be better off not knowing her.

 

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" Good morning! What will you be having today? "

[ Lily Williams ]

A barista who works as the same Starbucks as Theo.

Their friendship has only recently started blossoming outside of work-related events.

Though kind, Lily is quick to insert herself into situations and is prone to stirring up drama.

 

 

< credit >

- header

- character headers off picrew

Edited by Doctortear

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Posted (edited)

[ Art Dump ]

 

Reserved post for when we start making art

Edited by Doctortear

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my BABIES poe has the dumbest name 

ty doc for making this so pretty iluuu ))

 

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[[ epona || spirit realm --> theo's apartment ]]

 

 

"Is the portal ready to go?" Poe asks, just as he finishes strapping his communicator into his belt loop and looks up, rolling back his shoulders in a quick stretch. 

 

His superior, idly rolling a lolipop between his teeth, looks up at the sound of his voice. Then, the blond scrambles for his notepad, pen furiously working on the pages, before he holds up the paper. Poe sighs, clearly exasperated, before he leans down to read the messy, scrawled writing.

 

You have to approach this carefully, Hinata writes, before the blond pulls back the paper and scribbles frantically, knowing Poe's patience is quickly wearing thin. Humans aren't too used to being ordered around.

 

"Does it matter?" Poe asks, raising an eyebrow. "Chief Rhea has ordered us to work together. He can hardly turn away from a suggestion like that." 

 

A pause. Chief Rhea holds very little official command in the human realm.

 

"So it doesn't matter," Poe says loudly, "because he'll be following our rules."

 

Hinata shakes his head, the senior officer having been to the human realm a great many more times than the eager-eyed officer before him. Despite his seniority, Poe thinks, Hinata is entirely too wary for their line of work -- a factor greatly exaggerated by the blond's refusal to command the correct spell for the portal to actually begin working. 

 

"The portal," Poe says again, firm. "Trust me, I know what I'm doing. It'll be fine! I'll pop over, get him to sign the contract, and start working." 

 

Hinata flips back to the first page of his notepad, raising up the words. For added emphasis, he draws a few furious marks. 

 

You have to approach this carefully!!! 

 

"I know," Poe confirms again, rolling his eyes. "I have my rules book with me. We won't break a single one, Hinata."

 

Hinata stares at him with an expression that seems to convey that Poe has managed to misunderstand perfectly every one of his concerns, but the blond sighs, relenting. He pulls the lolipop from his mouth with a quick pop, setting it down on the table -- undoubtedly to be forgotten later -- and vanishes in a burst of light; as the bright rays dissipate, Poe finds himself staring down at a fluffy pomeranian with pink-tipped paws. Hinata reaches up for him, and Poe makes an noise of discontent.

 

"Why couldn't you have done this after you got within reach?" he asks, picking up the dog and shaking it slightly so that Hinata's paws wave in the air. "This isn't very professional of you."

 

Hinata, for his benefit, nips at Poe's nose. The pink-haired officer pulls him away, grimacing, before he places the dog -- his commanding officer, Poe reminds himself internally -- on the platform. Sparks touch the air where Hinata lands, and the pomeranian yips slightly to signal the portal's gradual opening. Hinata sits back on his hind paws, raising his front ones in some gesture of a wave; Poe returns the motion with a dip of his head as a thank you, before he immediately rushes into the swirling blue-pink constructs, the golden arches of their police office disappearing, swallowed by the magical forces as he feels the borders of the spirit world weaken underneath his entering force, slowly revealing the constructs of the human world to his swirling vision disrupted by the magic at play.

 

There is a jolt, a sudden breath of distance as the otherworldly realms collide, and Poe finds himself momentarily blinded by a bright, flashing light. He blinks, trying to regain his thoughts from his scattered mind, and slowly the location before him comes into view.

 

He is rapidly approaching what seems like an apartment's kitchen; there is a lone figure, back turned towards him, bending over the sink. Next to the newcomer, a stovetop on which a pan sits with blackening eggs cooked at too high a heat is slowly beginning to smoke into the air, and Poe has just enough time to think that the man should really not be eating breakfast, hardly dressed, moments from beginning his new job, before the border between their worlds is abruptly breached and he finds himself landing, physically, in the apartment's space.

 

He taps his shoes on the kitchen's wooden floor, breathing in. The human world -- he has been here before, only briefly, and always with some kind of guide -- this is his first solo foray, and the thought fills him with excitement. What a setup this is! The first human-spirit partnership in the history of their two worlds. 

 

"Your eggs are burning," Poe says without introduction, the human language still unfamiliar on his tongue. "Get dressed. We have a lot of work to do." 

 

Of course, he intends to make clear who is the person in charge of this partnership. 

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AAAAAAAAA OF COURSE
i love the pretty aesthetic of the forums it's so good ))

 

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[[ theo || theo's apartment ]]

 

Theo was a masochist. He had to be. That was the only logical explanation for why he would continually set his alarm to 6:30 every single morning. He knew for a fact that he was going to groggily grab his phone, set a new alarm to go off in thirty minutes, try to get comfortable, and then rinse and repeat. He didn't know why he got into the routine of setting his alarm super early just so he could lay in bed and hate the idea of having to be awake, but he did and he always ended up doing it every single day.

 

The alarm went off again much to Theo's dismay. Whatever dream Theo had been entertaining himself faded into obscurity as the familiar ringing of his Iphone filled the room. Theo let out a dramatic sigh. He shoved his head face first into a pillow and began mumbling incoherently. A quick glance at the clock told him it was 9:31. His shift at the coffee shop started at 11:45 and while it was within five minutes of walking distance, he really shouldn't wait until 11:20 to get out of bed like he did last time. With tremendous effort, perhaps more effort than anyone in existence had ever done, Theo forced himself to get out of bed and start his day.

 

With sleep still ailing his mind, Theo drowsily went about his morning. He stumbled into the bathroom, peeling of his nightgown with fingers thumbing between he buttons of his shirt as he stepped into the shower. He slowly washed himself, nearly nodding off as he lathed his hair with shampoo. When he finished with the shower, he realized he forgot to bring in a clean set of clothes with him. With the amount of energy it took to get out of bed, Theo really didn't feel like wandering back into his bathroom and picking out his outfit for the day. He opted to tightly wound his bath towel around his hips and stumbled out of the bathroom.

 

Cooking wasn't his forte, Theo knew that for a fact, and yet he felt somewhat compelled to try his hand at making breakfast. He was an adult, right? He was going to university! He was living on his own and he had a job. Sure just about everything was being paid for by his parents, but he was in his early 20's. Weren't they supposed to support him until he get a degree and could afford to live on his own? Granted he didn't actually know what kind of job he wanted once he got out of university. Money hadn't really been a deciding factor for him when he decided to become a history major, but that was besides the point! He was an adult with a credit card and that meant he should be able to make eggs!

 

Despite rarely cooking eggs in the first place, Theo had a full dozen carton of them in the fridge. It was one of the items he felt compelled to buy when he went grocery shopping. Not because he needed them or anything but buying eggs just seemed like something you were supposed to do. Theo pulled a pan out of the pantry and placed it on stove. He banged two eggs against the kitchen counter just as he saw his childhood maids do and broke them open above the pan. Theo squinted at the stove controls. He was sure at some point someone had explained to him why people cooked certain food at particular heats, but now that he was in the moment he was unsure of what heat to put it on. He was just cooking eggs, right? There probably wouldn't be a problem if he cooked them on high or low. He was feeling pretty hungry so maybe if he put it on high that would mean they would cook faster. The thought seemed completely logical to Theo so, without any further thoughts on the matter, Theo set the heat on high and took a step away from the stove.

 

Was he just going to eat eggs? Theo frowned to himself. He needed something else to eat. Like... bacon or pancakes or rice or some kind of vegetable. How did one even go about making pancake batter? Was that something he was just supposed to know off the top of his head? Theo's fingers twitched. He felt compelled to grab his phone and Google some recipes, but no. He shouldn't be cooking two new things at once. That was probably a horrible idea that would only end in him setting his kitchen on fire. Theo glanced at the stove uneasily. What if he didn't like the eggs? He had eaten eggs many times before but what if he put them on a plate and he ended up realizing that he was done with eggs forever and never wanted to eat them as a main dish again or maybe there was some sort of magical seasoning combination he was unaware of and that he never liked plain eggs in the first place. How did you even season eggs? Was it just salt and pepper? Should he have added butter?

 

Theo shook his head furiously. No, no, he shouldn't be fretting over the details. If he was this concerned about the eggs then he should fall back on ol' reliable. With a sigh, Theo marched over to the pantry and pulled out an almost empty box of pop-tarts. They weren't the healthiest way to start a morning, but they were a safe option that Theo knew he would eat. He quickly ripped off the packaging and unceremoniously plopped the pop-tarts into the toaster. There, Theo thought with a small grin. Breakfast was secured. Now, if there was some milk in the fridge perhaps he could—

 

"Your eggs are burning."

Theo started, his hand gripping the kitchen corner hard enough to cause his knuckles to turn white. He spun around towards the voice, vaguely aware that it would be best if grabbed a knife or something to protect himself with. The stranger was completely unfamiliar to Theo. His hair was entirely pink and he was dressed far too well to be homeless. Dear God, was the door unlocked all night? Theo darted a desperate glance towards the front door. He could have been murdered in his sleep! How on earth did he forget to lock the front door?

 

The man's words ran in Theo's ears. In an instant, he registered the smell of something burning. Theo squeaked in horror as he rushed over towards the stove and hastily shoved the pan into the sink. He turned off the heat and rushed to turn the cold water on in the sink. The smoke began to dissipate as water poured over the pan and the burnt remains of the eggs. Well. It was a good thing he started making the pop-tarts.

"Get dressed," the man continued. He didn't seem phased by the situation. "We have a lot of work to do." Theo glanced over his shoulder. The man was still just standing there, almost impatient. He was acting like he knew what was going on which was absolutely bizarre because Theo had never even see the man before. Maybe he had been partying the night before and got confused as to where he was supposed to be or maybe he had simply got the wrong address.

 

Leaving the eggs in the sink, Theo turned towards the stranger.

"I believe you have the wrong apartment," Theo said, crossing his arms over his chest. "I don't know who you are or how you got in here, but you should probably see yourself out."

Edited by Doctortear

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[[ epona || theo's apartment ]]

 

Poe watches, unimpressed, as the blue-haired man abruptly dunks his eggs in the sink, running the cold water over his previously burning food. The result is a sizzle of steam as the other man has the gall to look back at him, unabashed, and mutter something about him having the wrong address -- all while barely clothed, and having burnt his food?

 

Perhaps Rhea herself is testing him. There could be no other explanation for assigning him such an impotent partner, but if this is a test, then it is something Poe intends to pass. He has never failed a test, after all.

 

Clicking his shoes together, Poe stares down at the apartment's floor -- very clean, for how the man appeared before him. Did he clean it? Why did he pay more attention to his apartment's floors than his own personal hygiene? 

 

"Absolutely not," Poe says, scoffing. "Captain Notragon's intelligence would never be wrong." Andraste herself saw to that, and his immaculate sister would never make an error. "Epona Margarine, but you can call me Poe. From this day onward, I'll be your partner in the Yasha Police Force. Didn't you receive the briefing about me coming today?" 

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[[ theo || theo's apartment ]]

 

...What?

 

Instead of apologizing and leaving like a normal person would, the guy was doubling down. He was looking down at Theo like he was a school administrator that had gotten a little too drunk on the idea of bossing around a bunch of children that had just waddled their way into the beginnings of adulthood. Not only that, the name he gave was so startling that Theo had to repeat it in his head. Epona Margarine. That was... what? Theo squinted his eyes at the stranger. Epona? What like Link's horse? That was almost as bad at someone naming their child Hermione or Daenarys but not nearly as bad as having margarine as a last name. That wasn't even a real name! That was just butter's' crappy cousin! So, what? The guy's name was the equivalent of horse butter. Some guy named horse butter had just wandered into Theo's apartment and began spouting nonsense with so much confidence that Theo would have taken him seriously if he had a few less brain cells. In all honesty, Theo wasn't sure if he should be disappointed or impressed.

 

"Okay... Poe," Theo began slowly. He was glad Poe had given him a nickname to use because God knew he was going to call this stranger Epona. "I really must insistent that you leave." Making sure to keep a safe distance from Poe, because there was no telling what he was capable of, Theo walked over towards the front door. "I don't know who Captain Notragon is, I've never heard of the Yasha Police Force, and I certainly wasn't debriefed about anything this morning. Listen, if you had a little too much fun last night and are just afraid to admit it, you're good. If you need me to call someone to pick you up, I'd be more than happy to, but otherwise..." Theo stopped next to the front door. The lock clicked as he turned it between his fingers. Theo cracked the door open ajar and motioned towards it with his free hand. "You should really go. I don't really want to have to call the landlord or something. Do me a favor and make this easy on the both of us, okay?"

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[[ epona || theo's apartment ]]

 

Is the other man really telling him to go? And in such an insultingly simple way, too?! 

 

Poe immediately stiffens, bristling -- had he been in his spirit form, Poe would have more than likely scratched the man already, just to teach him a lesson. in his experience, humans did not want to harm creatures smaller than them -- but that just means he had even more ammo to hurt the blue-haired man as much as possible.

 

"Excuse me?" Poe says, refusing to budge from his position taken up, leaning against the apartment's immaculate leather couches. No, he decides, the blue-haired man cannot possibly be the one cleaning up this place. Not when he has greeted Poe so rudely, and left his still-steaming eggs in the sink to edge warily around him.

 

"I'm not leaving," Poe says, exasperated; the file he had been given had mentioned the man's name and a couple personal details, but no image or particular skills description, which begs the question -- what exactly can the other man offer him in the field, even?

 

This must be a test. Andraste is not one to play games, and he trusts Rhea's judgement, but -- there has to be some kind of catch to this.

 

"There'll be no landlord calling," Poe announces, swinging his legs around to take a seat on the couch. "That's not very professional. The standard partnership welcome brochure  says we should get to know one another before we start the meeting; I suppose I 'ate the gun', as you say. So, Theo, would you kindly take this?"

 

He holds out the side of the contract he'd been instructed to give to his partner upon meeting him; although the paper seemed perfectly ordinary at first, it had actually been bewitched to appear as a normal sheet of paper instead of the magical contract seal. The bewitchment had been Hinata's idea -- so that he didn't scare his partner too much, was the blond's way of thinking.

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[[ theo || theo's apartment ]]

 

Oh. This was it. This was how he was going to die. The stranger reasserted his intention to stay a second time. He waved a piece of paper in front of him, clearly expecting Theo to take it without any further objections. Poe's annoyance was evident from the way he pressed his lips into a firm thin and rapped his shoes impatiently against the wooden floor. When his murder case was presented to the court, Theo didn't want to implicit that he was in anyway compliant with Poe's demands by rubbing his fingerprints on whatever kind of paper Poe was holding. Poe was going to get off easy. The nice old lady down the hallway was going to get roped into murder investigation and be convicted with 1st degree manslaughter while Poe walked away scot-free. Then, twenty years down the line someone would realize that Theo had just grabbed the paper without thinking about and would realize that Poe was the true killer, but it would be too late for sweet Mrs. Anderson who passed away from natural causes seventeen years prior. It would be Theo's fault and it would be terrible and...! Boy, he was overthinking this.

 

Still!

Theo's hand tightened around the doorknob. There was no way in hell he was going to do listen to the demands of the pink stranger who had materialized into his kitchen. He should probably call someone like the landlord or the police, but could he even make it to the phone? Mr. Horse Butter was unpredictable. He had left his phone on the kitchen counter. If Theo tried to make a run for it, Poe could easily intercept him before he dialed a number or, heck, even reached the phone.

 

God, what was he supposed to do? What would Mom do? Theo frowned at the thought of his mom. She'd probably stare at him blankly for a good few seconds before telling him to go talk to his mother. Okay, so if that was the case, what would Mother do? She was assertive! She didn't let anyone step over her! She would take charge and make the problem go away! She would...

 

Theo's eyes hardened. He let go of the front door and marched forward with purpose.

"No," he said sharply. He snatched Poe's free hand by the wrist and forcibly dragged him towards the front door. "You will not sit here and spout nonsense at me. I do not know you and I will never do whatever theater kid crap this is." Without warning, Theo ripped the front door open and shoved Poe straight through it. "If you're not gone within the next five minutes, I'm calling the police." Theo slammed the front door shut, locked it, and then took a step back. He stood there for several heartbeats, breathing heavily as his brain tried to process what he just did. Then, the weight of it all hit him.

 

"Ohhhhh, sweet Jesus," Theo whispered. He raised his hands to his head and grabbed a fistful of hair. "What was that? What did I just do?" Theo took in several shallow breaths, his arms beginning to feel like jelly. He collapsed down onto his knees, his heart beating wildly. The sheer rawness of the situation was beginning to settle in Theo's mind as he stared at the door with wide eyes, still unable to believe what just happened.

 

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[[ epona || theo's apartment --> starbucks ]]

 

 

Huh?

 

Poe blinks from where he stands, staring at the hard wood door before his face. Had he just been ... kicked out? He'd barely had time to register the blue-haired man's words, much less understand what was actually happening, before he had been pushed out of the room and abruptly locked out. 

 

How rude! Poe crosses his arms and huffs. He has half a mind to call Hinata and let the blond spirit know what happened, but then a thought occurs to the young spirit detective.

 

Is this -- a test? Certainly, he'd entertained the thought before, but with the same kind of half-seriousness as one would when considering how silly something was. But now, faced with such a ridiculous situation, there could be no other explanation for his current peril -- this had to be some kind of test, set up by Rhea herself, to guide Poe on his exploration of the human world. How brilliant their police chief really was! Poe could never have come up with something like this himself. Perhaps Theo is in on it too, for him to act so violently and appear so messy. Surely no one actually lived like that, in real life. 

 

Well -- in that case, he knows what he has to do. Poe looks down, scanning the information on the sheet of paper before him -- it is a contract, already pre-drafted and pre-approved by Hinata, so that the only thing Theo really had to do was acknowledge it for the terms to come into effect -- but it also happened to contain quite a bit of lengthy information about the other man, for legality's sake. And to avoid cases of mistaken identity, of course.

 

Poe's eyes zero in on what he is looking for, a certain location springing to mind, and the spirit smiles, dissipating the contract between his fingers. The next step of the plan is in place, and how smart he is -- to figure it out on his own without any interference from the spirit realm. After this mission, surely both Hinata and Rhea would be impressed beyond words by his quick thinking!

 

--

 

Poe steps into the shop, the smell of roasted beans instantly prominent as soon as he opens the door and allows the bells above to signal his entrance, and immediately his eyes zero in on a bobbing blue head.

 

Lock on. Theo is here, in this strangely-named "Starbucks" -- did a star have a buck? Why is there multiple ones? -- and working, just as the information file had promised. It is almost too easy, but Rhea is as caring as she is smart, and he is no ordinary recruit.

 

"Yasha Police," he immediately announces, drawing the badge from his inner coat pocket as he plucks his way through the crowd. Upon the agreement Rhea had made with the human world to have the spirits work between both realms, their police district had been given a human name, badges, and sufficient leeway in the human world to do some very effective things -- including cutting in line. Poe, waving his badge around like a trophy, efficiently cuts through the line of people wanting to get coffee and immediately makes his way to the front.

 

"I'd like to speak to Theodore Reyes," he says to the girl at the cashier stand. "Police investigation." 

 

If appearing at his apartment didn't work -- surely the panicked look of Theo's co-workers, wondering if the blue-haired man had somehow gotten wrapped up in the law, would be enough to drive the blue-haired man to play by his terms. 

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[[ theo || theo's apartment --> starbucks ]]

 

The rest of the morning was a blur. For about twenty minutes, Theo sat on the ground with his back to the front door. He waited in silent terror for the sound of stranger's footsteps retreating off into the distance. Theo let out a sigh of relief, pressing his head against the door until he couldn't hear the footsteps any longer. It took an additional ten minutes to gain the emotional capacity to pick himself off the floor and wander towards the kitchen counter. He briefly considered contacting the police and filing a report, but he was hesitant. What was he even going to say? Some pink shogun protagonist wannabe materialized into my house, threatened me with a peace of paper, and then left after I shoved him out the door?

 

When one of Theo's friends had her house broken into, the police had proven completely useless. They filed the report away and the friend never got her stuff back. Perhaps it was the pessimist, or idiot, inside of him, but the memory felt raw and Theo was inclined to believe the police weren't going to be helpful in the slightest. In lieu of filing a report, Theo collapsed onto a chair next to the kitchen island. With minimal effort, the dragged his phone towards him, unlocked it, and texted his co-worker.

 

Lily, as it turned out, grew exceedingly concerned with Theo's well-being after he asked her if she could walk him to work. She hadn't been to his house before but he had mentioned on several occasions that he was within walking distance. Theo wasn't exceptionally close to Lily. Sure, they worked together and would talk about their shared interests after hours, but he wasn't sure if they were at a "walk me to walk after my house got broken into" level friendship yet. Theo had tried to be vague on the details as to why he needed a walk to work, but he felt bad about not being honest with a friend. After about thirty minutes he cracked and within seconds he was receiving a phone call.

 

The walk to work was happily uneventful. Lily had insisted on staying on the phone with him until she was outside his front door. Even if he knew the pink jerk hadn't been waiting outside of his room, it was a relief to see Lily standing there in his stead. As they approached the Starbucks, Lily insisted that they enter through the backdoor. Theo was about to object, but before he knew it, Lily had grabbed him by the hem of his shirt and dragged him inside.

 

"Maybe you should work in the back today," Lily said as they walked into the storage room. "I mean, we'd have to talk to the manager of course, but this seems pretty serious, right?" Theo rubbed the back of his neck nervously.

 

"I can't count through coffee beans and frozen cheese danishes forever," he replied. "I have to actually do my job." Theo folded his arms against his chest. "Besides, I didn't file a police report. You know Briggs is going to use that against me. Besides, what are the chances the guy is going to show up again? It was pretty scary in the moment, but I bet he was just a theater kid who was partying too hard last night and wandered himself my apartment after I forgot to lock the door." Lily raised an inquisitive eyebrow.

 

"That's a lot of coincidences that have to happen at once," she said. Theo dramatically threw his hands up into the air.

 

"There's a lot of rich party kids down stairs," he said, shaking his head. "They're away from home so they're doing a bunch of heavy drugs because they think it makes them cool or something. I don't know!" Theo walked to the storage room door. "Point is, I don't think anything will come of this. I just freaked out because it was recent." Theo turned the knob and walked out the room. "I'm sure everything will be fine."

Everything was not fine.

 

Standing at the front of the customer line was horse butter himself, waving away what distinctly looked like a police badge. Theo's co-workers turned to him nervously, no doubt wondering what horrible thing he did to warrant a cop to confront him at work. Lily peaked her head into the room, staring intently at Poe. Theo could feel a chill run down his spine as he locked eyes with the stranger. Was he an actual cop? Did Theo just blow off an actual cop? That didn't make sense though! Didn't he need a warrant or something to enter a house without permission?

 

Everyone was beginning to stare. Several of the customers were shifting their feet uncomfortably. A handful of people, one of Theo's co-workers included, were fishing their phones out of their pockets and starting to record the outburst. Theo swallowed against the lump against his throat. Even if the cop wasn't going to arrest him for something, he was definitely going to lose his job over this and then what? He really liked this job; he got along with everyone he worked with, the schedule was nice, and he liked making coffee. How long would it take for him to find a gig as good as this.

 

With a reluctant sigh, Theo approached Poe.

"Can we at least do this outside?" he asked. He motioned towards the backdoor. "I'd rather not make a scene."

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[[ epona || starbucks ]]

 

"So you can lock me out again?" Poe replies dryly, as soon as Theo makes his way to the front and stares at him with wary apprehension. The blue-haired man has the gall to suggest that they move this outside, as if Poe would fall for that again -- not again! If this is Rhea's game, then she really should have picked a better actor than this university student who looks like he barely can hold it together, if the way Theo's eye twitches in response to his words is any indication.

 

"We have to talk," Poe says firmly, one more time, just to confirm his intentions; he is somewhat confused as to why Theo's coworkers, instead of scattering as expected, are now holding up their phones to their faces. Pretending to not see, perhaps? He knows the humans are awfully attached to their phones, but has never really worked one himself -- Hinata has one, though, something the blond officer stole while on duty to amuse himself with.

 

Somewhere out there, a Youtube video labelled "Stray pomeranian steals purse" reached one million views.

 

"I understand what's going on now," Poe explains, "so you don't have to pretend further. Captain Notragon set you up to this, right? You can stop now -- we have an actual case to work on. A man is missing. The first twenty-four hours after a disappearance are the most crucial to find someone, and I need you to take this." 

 

Poe sets the contract down on the counter again, the magical scroll appearing as a perfectly regular piece of paper once more. Looking up, he meets the other man's orange gaze head on, determined. 

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[[ theo || starbucks ]]

 

"God, no!" Theo pinched the bridge of his nose. "Are you even listening to a word I'm saying?" At least a third of the people in the Starbucks now had their phones up and were recording the incident. Much to Theo's dismay, most of those people were his co-workers. He knew for a fact that Johnathon was going to upload the video onto his TikTok and then make some ridiculous video on his Youtube channel clickbaiting the life out of Theo's misfortune. Truly, a reliable guy. Theo was better off knowing him.

 

Theo pressed his hands flat against each other and brought them up to his mouth. He took in a deep breath then spoke,

"Look." He pointed his hands at Poe. "If you know what's going on, I'd love it if you're fill me in on the details because I'm utterly clueless. I don't know who Captain Notragon is and I don't know why you're bringing up a mission person case to me. I'm in university. For a history major. I'm the last person who's going to be able to help you with a case, and this?" Theo snatched the paper out of Poe's hand with more force than necessarily. "What is this? A warrant?" Theo skimmed through the paper, hoping it would shed some light on the situation. It, in fact, did the exact opposite.

 

"What... is this exactly?" Theo asked, frowning. The paper had his name on it along with a few additional details. Some of it was harmless such as where he went to school and some of his life accomplishments, stuff he'd put on a resume. Then there was more damning things such as his home address and phone number. "Where did you even get this from?" Theo asked, glancing up warily at the stranger. This was a weird thing for a police officer to give him. It was weird for anyone to carry around a piece of paper with someone's information on it. Just what was this guy doing?

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[[ epona || starbucks ]]

 

Poe blinks, rather confused by the man's insistence on not knowing anything. He already let Theo know that he is aware this is a test by Captain Notragon -- why did Theo feel compelled to keep acting?

 

Whatever the reason is, Poe finds his patience growing rather thin. It is only the reminder of Andraste's calm words that keep Poe from lashing out, as the young spirit reminds himself that his sister would handle this situation gracefully, allowing the other man to speak his mind, and so Poe holds his tongue and waits for Theo to finish speaking. To his surprise, Theo takes the contract and stares it down, still asking questions.

 

Surely the act would be over by now, right? Poe watches with interested eyes as the contract glimmers once, hidden from human eyes but easily picked up to his vision, and a slow shimmer of gold dances on Theo's fingers for a brief moment as the contract reads his data and complies it, sealing the deal.


Surely Theo would let up the act now, right? 

 

Looking up, Poe finds that the blue-haired man still holds the same expression of faintly-annoyed confusion, and Poe sighs.

 

"You'll have to put your degree on hold, won't you? You've agreed to work with the Yasha Police on this case. Without your input, we wouldn't get very far on the case," he says, playing along -- might as well, right? He's certain Theo has already made arrangements for his education and current living quarters to come work with the Yasha Police, and he must still be annoyed at Poe's entrance to act this way. His fact for not getting ready at the promised date!

 

"Crime doesn't wait for anyone. But! Neither do our duties. Get ready -- now that you've accepted the contract, we have a meeting with my superiors!" 

 

He takes the paper from Theo, not answering any of the blue-haired man's questions, and instead flips open the phone he had been given earlier and dials Hinata's number. After a brief ring, Poe realises that the mute spirit would probably benefit from writing down his answer, and so instead texts him.

 

Signed the contract. Please meet us back at Theo's apartment for finalization. 

- Poe

 

He receives a series of emojis that signal that Hinata has seen his message, and, satisfied, Poe closes his phone and looks up.

 

"Shall we get going?" 

 

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