Tristan hummed a tune to himself, it was from a song he couldn’t remember the words to, he always thought the song was about truth and justice though he couldn’t be certain without the words. As he hummed he read from the book on jewel appraisal from the time Gear broke into his house. It was Nine in the morning, Tristan woke up early out of excitement, and couldn’t fall back to sleep, so he was passing the time happily. There was a knock at his door, he knew his friends wouldn’t arrive for another hour. He walked over to the door and peered through the peephole, to find Rich waiting outside his door impatiently. Tristan opened the door with a smile. “Good morning Richard, I trust you slept well?” Tristan said cheerfully. “I’m not in the mood for your games Bolt, I’m begging you to just give in already, you know you did this, why can’t you just admit it?” Rich said meekly, as if he hadn’t slept in days. “You’re not sleeping at all, are you? I wonder why that is, perhaps you’re just depressed, or maybe filled with guilt.” Tristan said while walking back into his house, leaving the door open for Rich to follow. Rich hesitated for just a moment before accompanying him. “I’m going to bring justice to the town, you’ll be stopped Bolt, it’s going to happen, nothing you can do will stop me.” Rich said. “No, no you won’t, I’ve been fighting for justice since her death was brought to my attention. I’ve been investigating two strange cults, she was involved with, I’ve consorted with every manner of demon I could find, even getting a glimpse into a crystal ball, but this manages to make even less sense every single day.” Tristan explained, showing Rich a single page of notes, marked with arrows and short hand and diagrams, it was beyond cryptic a completely different language. “As you can see I’m working hard, and no longer is this just to save my own hide, I grew a taste for this sort of work you see, I think I like it just as much as thievery.” Tristan explained taking back the page and replacing atop a pile of similar notes. “I don’t believe you, it has to be you, it has to be.” Rich said shaking his head slowly. “My friends are coming over for further investigation in an hour’s time, you should wait for them to come, we could use your help.” Tristan said slowly, trying his best not to raise Rich’s suspicion. “How did you find them?” Rich asked. “They freed themselves, but it is a nice place, I’d make an offer for it, but this isn’t the time for that, we can talk about that another time.” Tristan said smiling kindly. “Fine I’ll wait, but if this is a trick then I’ll make you pay.” Rich said grumpily.
When Kaylie opened the door she was shocked to see Rich reading from a book on proper investigation from Tristan’s personal library, Tristan himself was sitting in his arm chair reading from a book on diamonds or something. “Whoa, you’re here? How did you do this Tristan?” Lisa asked rushing past Kaylie to see Rich. Blue stepped in slowly closing the door behind him, carrying a dead mountain lion (lunch). “Why are they staring at me Bolt?” Rich asked. “They never learned their manners, you can excuse the guy with the carcase as he was raised by wolves.” Tristan said without looking up from his book. “They were foxes, and they didn’t actually raise me.” Blue yelled. “You’ve got some odd friend’s demon, make your questions quick, I’ve got a funeral today, I doubt you’ll be there.” Rich remarked. “Where were you the day she was supposed to meet Tristan?” Kaylie asked, turning dead serious in a heartbeat. Rich seemed shocked by how serious they were. “I don’t remember it’s all fuzzy, I remember waking up then it was like five and the sun was setting, and my eyes hurt like crazy.” Rich said dropping the anger from his voice for a change. Tristan wrote down notes. “And what time did you go home from the party?” Kaylie asked. “It was so late I was textremely tired, there was someone following me, but I had to leave without her, because she wanted to go somewhere on the way back, which is odd because her house is at the edge of the real part of town, there shouldn’t be anything in between, how could it be on the way?” Rich asked while staring up at the ceiling deep in contemplation. “So you’d say she kept secrets from you?” Tristan asked writing down more. “Well I don’t like to talk about it but she did vanish from time to time, I don’t know where she went, but she would show up with odd markings she washed them off easily they weren’t scars or anything I’d have found out if it was that. I don’t know where she went, I just got used to her disappearing, but lately I had been very curious about it, I needed to know, I was thinking about following her.” Rich said pondering deeply the nature of his actions. “Is it possible you followed her during your memory gap?” Lisa asked taking a seat on the floor. “No, she made me promise to never follow when I asked about it, she said that it was something she had to do because of her family, I had to or they wouldn’t let us get married.” Rich said sadly. The four friends exchanged glances trying very hard to figure out what was really wrong with Rich. “So you had no idea about her connection to the Order of Shadows?” Blue asked. “I heard one of her friends mention it once, her name was Sarah Tin, I think.” Rich said feeling relief, which came to him from what was actually an intense investigation into his motives for killing his fiancé. “We’ll probably need to talk to you about this another time, but I think we should let you go about your day now.” Tristan said writing up the last of his notes.
“He’s the killer why did we let him leave?” Blue asked furiously. “We can’t prove anything yet, and he didn’t seem to be lying for most of his answers, he really doesn’t remember killing her.” Tristan said reading from his notes. “How could he forget killing his girlfriend?” Kaylie asked. “That’s what we’ll have to discover before we go to the officers, he needs a motive or rather, if he was controlled by another.” Tristan said with a wicked smile revealing from his sleeve a small page of notes from the Metal Forest with diagrams for prototypes of the palace. “What is it?” Lisa asked. “It details how earlier versions of the device used to have negative side effects worse than the insanity of the Metal Forest, two such devices vanished from their archives, I swiped this when I went over there to take a look at their sacred tree, in fact they only got the sacred tree to counter this.” Tristan explained. “So if it was stolen then it’s possible that she had it because she was with the shadow people, and Rich got into her stuff out of his curiosity and it made him mad?” Kaylie asked. “It’s a possibility, we’ll need to go find proof, I’ll find a few leaves of sacred trees so we can go around to look for it.” Tristan said filled with hope. “Well how do we get more I think the Metal Forest will be off limits for a while.” Blue said. They were at an impasse, but it was one Tristan preferred to their previous problems. “I’ll ask around the black Market for some I’ll need you girls to go talk to her family in order to get permission to look through her stuff. Blue, you’re cooking today sorry but we need to be at maximum efficiency.” Tristan said speaking quickly before walking out the door. “He’s changed.” Blue said. “What do you mean?” Kaylie asked. “When I first met him, he didn’t care about anyone but himself, he only helped me because he wanted someone to keep his fort clean and well kept, he told me he thought I’d die out there.” Blue explained. “He was really good at one point, but then he started getting worse and worse, I thought he’d be that bad again, until this, this has been changing him.” Lisa said smiling. The three went with Tristan’s plan or at least they tried too.
All alone in the Bolt estate trying very hard to stay indoors, preparing the meat and removing it from the bones and seasoning it, he left it marinating while he went up to the roof. Drake Shadeling stood there waiting for him. “Our investigations have yielded no data on you, who are you?” He asked. “I’m a man raised in the forest, you can call me Regral.” Blue said, refusing to use his birth name with his biological father. “I don’t much care what you think you’re doing, but you’ve got a lot of work to do, you and your friends will rid us of the Order of Steal, or we will destroy you.” Drake said. Blue revealed a small blade from his sleeve. “You’ll die here shadow scum.” Blue said, feeling overjoyed at another chance to take his vengeance. Drake’s smile was the only feature of his face visible beneath the shadow of his blue hood. Blue swung his blade wildly feeling truly enraged. Drake dodged easily laughing all the while. “You’ll do much better if you rid yourself of this undue rage; I’ve done no wrong to you, at least not yet.” Shadeling said maliciously. That was when Blue truly snapped, all his time spent in the harshness of a forest just to escape a drunken abusive father, and now here he was listening to that very man tell him that he hadn’t done anything wrong. Blue roared like the wild beast he had become and dropped his blade. “What are you doing Regral?” Drake asked. Blue literally began removing tiles from the roof and flinging them, as Drake deflected them with a staff he removed from within his cape, Blue lunged forwards with full force catching Drake off guard sending them both tumbling to the ground.
The food’s preparation was incomplete, there was blood in front of the house, and Blue was missing. “What has he done now?” Tristan asked confused and concerned. “I don’t know, but it had to be bad.” Lisa said searching through the house for her strange friend. “Well I’ll look for him, you two handle the prototypes,” Tristan said handing Kaylie a bag of golden leaves. “I’ll figure out where he is quickly and I’ll make sure he’s safe.” Tristan said before leaving once more.” “I’ll finish his cooking.” Lisa said happily, before running to the kitchen to handle the proper cooking of the meal. Kaylie rushed off to her next destination unsure of what to do. Tristan ran to the hospital, recognizing the damage of people falling from roofs, from his long time of running rooftops in the name of theft. “Excuse me Madame, have you had any strange people brought in today? Probably smells like the forest and had some fall damage.” Tristan asked to the young lady at the front desk. “You’re out of prison already, don’t think we’ll be falling for any of your shenanigans today Mr. Bolt.” The lady said. “I’ve never scammed a hospital, and I don’t intend to do so today, I’m going to make this simple, my friend is hurt I want to see if he came here or if I need to check somewhere else.” Tristan said angrily.
“No, no one has come into the hospital today at all, please see yourself out, or should I call the Sheriff, he’s still looking for you right?” she said sternly. “No actually, he’s not, you can call him to confirm if you wish.” Tristan said with a smile before turning to leave. “I don’t think that will be a problem Mr. Bolt, even you wouldn’t lie about that.” She said before he was completely out of earshot. Tristan was annoyed, Blue had no idea how to stay out of trouble in a civilized world, he should have known better, he did this to his friend, it was all his fault, he felt terrible. “Tristan you idiot.” He complained to himself. “We have your friend in our care, we’ll bring him back to your home soon, in return we have another request.” A man dressed in a red Cloak stated appearing from a dark alleyway. “Make it quick.” Tristan said angrily. “We want an explanation of his security system, what has he done?” The man asked. “IF that’s all you could have asked my friend, he probably would have freely told you they burn grim trees there as part of their construction process, it makes a madness that makes you run away and blabber on about nonsense, the people who become immune are usually forced to join the order.” Tristan explained quietly as he walked slowly away as if he was merely talking to himself. Tristan was confident his friend would be returned and if not, he would demolish the Order of the Shadows. Tristan was so confident in this idea that he felt comfortable enough to go to the market and purchase some exotic fruits to eat with his lunch; he even got some for Blue.
Blue wasn’t there when he got home, Blue wasn’t there when Tristan spoke with Kaylie and Lisa about the prototypes and how it was nowhere to be found. Blue wasn’t there when Kaylie and Lisa left for the night. Tristan ate leftovers from the wonderful meal Blue started preparing, unsure where he was, struggling to calm down the small flame of rage threatening to burn through his entire being, he knew exactly what was happening. The Order of Shadows had decided to control him through his friend, just as the being he freed had predicted, and Tristan couldn’t stand it. He went to bed early, and found himself having odd dreams.
At first he couldn’t tell if he was flying or falling, he was in a detailless void, making it hard to tell if he had any control or was being pulled, but he felt motion, directionless as he was he couldn’t help but find it amazing. But as details began to phase in it became clear he wasn’t flying at all, and he was in serious danger, at first he blamed the details for ruining his flight, but this did nothing to stop him, so he calmed down and grabbed onto a flag pole of the skyscraper he found himself falling next to, no more was he flying, no more did he fall, he was safely within a building, and he was still mad at the details, including the building, it had robbed him of flight. He walked through the building, it was covered in strange markings, it seemed to be a language he couldn’t comprehend, it continuously stated a single message over and over, but it was beyond his understanding. “I don’t know why you think you need my help but yes I’ll give you a bit of advice.” The voice spoke as the man in the suite and cowboy hat appeared. “Where am I?” Tristan asked. “You wanted my help so I’m here in your dreams, we’re going to have a talk about what you want and I’ll help you because we’re friends now.” The man said happily. “We’ll how did you know I wanted to talk?” Tristan asked. “Well, I didn’t you summoned me, You forced me to be here, so let me check what’s wrong with you now, hmm something with and injured friend.” The man said his eyes glowing red. “Yes, Blue was hurt and then captured.” Tristan exclaimed. “Oh him, he’s been hiding a secret from you of course, and I think it best he deal with this himself, though knowing you that’s not an option so I’ll let you know the location, when you awaken there will be a map of the town with several houses marked, it’s on the table the marks are entrances to the Lair of shadows, as explained in that book you never finished. I’m more than willing to help you, but please don’t bother me so late at night, this is my hunting hour and I haven’t eaten in years.” The man explained before vanishing.
- Beyond the Cutting Edge: Chapter thirteen (trueecho22.wordpress.com)