Chapter four, page six, The City of Locked DoorsMature

Adrian turned to him as grimaced, "What is it?"

"The Shadowmancy here is basic apart from that used by Alucard."

"Why is that a problem?"

"Because it means that all of this Shadow-Debris came from the day to day occupation of the Academy."

Her brow furrowed, "And?"

He waved a hand at their surroundings, "Look around us. Do you see any Pathomantic burn marks? Any Necromantic bleaching or Hemomancy stains?" She shook her head, comprehension dawning, "Exactly, there are no signs that whoever killed Alucard was an Adept. Whoever did this, did it solely with his Hyde." He looked at her and, noting that the color had returned to her eyes, asked, "What did you see?"

"He died in a state of terror."

"Most men die in a state of terror."

"Most weak men die in a state of terror, those who are used to fighting and winning die in a state of exhilaration and anger as they struggle to survive. This man died in a state of fear and pain, there was no strength left in him, no courage, or anger: just the fear and pain."

"So, he was bested wholly and utterly." She nodded. "So, whoever did this was powerful enough to debase a Proctor level gifted." He sighed and began tapping his arm as if in thought, "That's not good."

The corporal they had met earlier reemerged from the surrounding crowds and hurried over to them with a black coated sergeant in toe. Noir straightened as they arrived; his hands once more buried in their pockets, "You the Hemomancer?"

"Yes, I hear you want me to inspect the body."

"Yes, I want to know when and in what state his injuries were inflicted."

"What good will that do?"

Noir scowled and pointed at the corpse, "Look at how messed up the body is, are you going to tell me that's normal? Adepts don't generally engage in the kind of physical conflict that would result in those injuries."

Understanding flickered in the Hemomancer's cracked eyes, "You want to know if he was tortured?" Noir nodded, but the Hemomancer was already on his knees beside the corpse, laying Hemomancy-stained hands onto its breast. A moment passed and the corpse began darkening, its skin and clothing both assuming a reddish hue. "The majority of these injuries were inflicted when the body was in a passive or bound state," The Hemomancer looked up, "He was tortured."

Noir tapped his thigh thoughtfully, his coat pocket moving up and down with the action, "Whoever did this wanted information. I wonder if the Academy was involved in some sort of strife, an inner conflict perhaps."

The Hemomancer shook his head, "I don't think so; at least it wasn't when I was here."

Noir grimaced, "So, it was external rival, which means that its probably somebody that Grim pissed off."

The Hemomancer glanced at Noir again and, taking in his white coat, shifted subtly to face him. Noir saw this and waved dismissively, "No, it wasn't us, we don't have anybody capable of killing a Proctor level gifted with his bare hands." The Hemomancer nodded quietly but kept watching him. Noir rolled his eyes, "Alright, I think I have everything I want from." He turned from the corpse and departed.

Adrian fell into step behind him, "Where are we going?"                                                             

His grimace deepened, "To see Grim so he can tell us who he's at odds with." He caught sight of grim and changed course.

"Will he even talk to us after the way you treated him earlier?"

Noir shrugged, "I don't know, we'll just have to see- Hey, Glass Ass I have something I want to ask you!"

The End

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