Chapter four, page seven, the City of Locked DoorsMature

Grim turned sharply at Noir's call, his features darkening with anger, "I am currently occupied, Lieutenant Noir, you may speak to one of my aides." Grim made a sharp gesture and a red guard hurried to intercept Noir, who killed him with a wave of his hand and a tendril of shadows. Grim had already dismissed Noir from his mind and resumed speaking with the Architect standing opposite him, "I understand your problem-"

The Architect snarled, its hackles rising, "It is not our problem, Proctor, it is yours. We have delayed long enough; the city needs to be healed and you are in our way. "

Noir reached them and dropped the aide's corpse at Grim feet with a dull thud, "I think you lost something."

Grim spun on him, lips curling as he prepared to call for his guards until he saw the corpse. His temper cooled slightly, the instance forcing his natural intellect to reassume dominance, "That is an act of war, Lieutenant."

Noir shrugged, "I am a Lieutenants of Proctor Solomon Doll; you owe me respect."

Grim hissed, "And do you not owe me respect?"

"You have done nothing to earn my respect."

"And you have?"

"I have just killed one of your soldiers right in front of you in broad daylight, that act alone should merit your attention, I don't give a damn about respect."

Grim glowered at him, "Very well, Lieutenant, you have earned my attention, but right now I have to finish speaking with this Architect-"

Noir glanced at the Architect, "We'll be gone in an hour."

The Architect stared at him for a long moment, its jackal head leaning forward as it smelled him. After a long breath, the Architect drew back, "Very well, one hour, anyone who is still here after that time has elapsed will be evicted." The Architect turned away and dove into the floor, parting the Shadow-Steel as if it were water.

Noir watched the Architect swim away for a second, its dorsal fin protruding from the ground before  reverting his attention to Grim, "We've already found everything of use on the body and its surroundings."

"Even if that is a correct assessment, Lieutenant, this is my investigation, not yours."

"Then arrest me and be done with it. If you're not going to imprison me then I have a question for you."

"What is it?"

"The victim was tortured in the time leading up to his death and we believe that it was for information. Thus, I want to ask who you've antagonized recently or have had conflict with in the past."

"My personal history, and that of my Militia, is mostly peaceful, Lieutenant, the only conflict we've experience is the current strife with your Proctor, and that has been a wholly defensive effort." Grim glanced archly at Noir, "I don't suppose you're accusing your own Proctor of murder?"

Noir shook his head absently, "No, we're dealing with someone who closer to Tyrant level than a Proctor."

Grim started and refocused sharply on Noir, "A Tyrant level. Are you certain?"

"No, I don't think we're dealing with a Tyrant, or anyone of their caliber, just somebody who's far superior to a Proctor; probably an Autorius with Caelus Hyde."

Grim stroked his beard, humming quietly, "Hmm, Harlequin's the only Proctor with a Caelus Hyde, but he's a Rencensere; there would be far more devastation if he released his Hyde."

Noir shrugged, "Either way, I have to go make my report, which I'll make sure everybody gets a copy of."

Grim nodded and nudged the aide's corpse, "First I've got to deal with this mess you've made then I'll do likewise." He turned in place, calling out to various red guards.

Noir watched him depart. I don't like this, he's being too lenient about me killing one of his aides.

Maybe he's just smitten with you?

Noir began making his way back toward the Doll District. I doubt it.

You're right, you're way too ugly.

The End

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