“That should be all,” Raju said, as he patted a large stack of books.
Jeanne had followed the Bookkeeper into the citadel, where he presented a collection of books on a table to the witch. The two were surrounded by walls of bookshelves with spiraling staircases and platforms every now and then. The orange sun shone through a glass dome in the ceiling, pleasantly illuminating the interior of the citadel.
Jeanne eyed the books, tracing a finger along their spines, before opening a sachet attached to a belt on her hip.
“Yes, that is indeed it. The king has another order however.” From her sachet she fished a bunch of scrolls and handed them over to Raju. “Have your scribes copy these into a bound book in chronological order. They are expected to be finished in two weeks’ time.”
While Raju was looking through some of the contents, Jeanne put the books into her sachet one by one. From the outside the small bag looked like it could barely house more than a pebble. Though if she wanted to, Jeanne could absolutely put a house in it.
“Should be completely doable in that time frame,” Raju commented the papers and threw them all in a chute, that had suddenly opened up in the floor. “If that is everything, I would like to accompany you outside,” he then offered.
“Oh, no need to,” Jeanne replied. “Since I am already here at the library, I figured I’d take a look at some of your books here. Can’t go to a library without looking at a few books now, can I?”
“That’s fair. Well, you have been here enough times already to find your way around.”
“Indeed. So, if you’ll excuse me ...”
With that the two bade each other farewell. While Raju descended some stairs not too far away, Jeanne made her way upwards one of the spiral staircases.
Now that her job was done, why shouldn’t she look at some books after all?
The scribes of the Citadel were ever busy copying books, or compiling new-found knowledge into thick leather-bound tomes, so each visit yielded the possibility of Jeanne coming across a new spell or a new way to put her herbs to use. Cookbooks were also to be found occasionally and Jeanne was longing for the day she could put her cooking skills to good and regular use.
Maybe she should also become head cook for the king.
She chuckled at that thought as she pulled out a book from the shelf in front of her.
She opened a random page but didn’t get far into inspecting its contents, as a dull pain connected with her skull and her hat was blown onto the floor.
Covering her head and taking a few steps back she looked up. A book had hit her square in the head and the perpetrator was still floating several feet above her.
It was a young woman with long pinkish hair and a set of dark wings on her back, that held her afloat.
“Oh my God, I am so sorry,” she apologized as she rapidly flew downwards. Her landing brought up a gust of wind, that blew Jeanne’s hat even further away.
“Are you hurt?” she asked. “Wait, do you even understand me? I could use some translation magic-”
“Don’t worry, I am familiar with the vampiric language,” Jeanne interrupted her. While she couldn’t mimic the accent quite perfectly – she struggled a bit to roll the “r” – she had the vocabulary of a scholar. That is without a doubt to be attributed to her being very well-read.
“Oh, you speak my language?” the vampire asked in surprise.
“Well, yes, being a nigh-immortal witch gives me a lot of free-time to study one language or another. Really expands your dating pool...” Without giving her a second glance, Jeanne turned around to fetch her hat from the floor, leaving behind a momentarily petrified vampire.
“Wait, please,” the vampire suddenly jolted up and ran ahead. The vampire picked up Jeanne’s hat and held it out to her with stretched-out arms. “I’m so sorry I dropped that book onto you. I am a bit clumsy at times. You shouldn’t be picking up my mess,” she explained.
Jeanne reached for the hat, putting it on top of her head.
“I wouldn’t mind picking you up for a drink however.”
“Ahahahah,” Crimson burst into a high-pitched laughter holding his stomach. I also had to hold back my laughter.
“Okay, hold on,” I interjected in-between breaths. “No way you were that smooth, Jeanne.”
“Well, I don’t know. That seems very much in line with how I know her,” Zenia commented.
“I mean yes, she knows how to flirt her way through enemy lines, but this is ridiculous. She just met her!” I vehemently objected.
“How do you think we met?” Crimson asked, still cackling to himself.
“So? I already thought she was cute back then,” Jeanne explained. “Not that she has changed much in the past few decades.”
Jeanne glanced at her partner; her chin propped onto her hand. Babylonia’s usually pale skin had turned a bit red in that moment.
“I can tell she is just as embarrassed now, as she was all those years ago ...” Jeanne added, causing Babylonia’s blood pressure to rise even more.
“See?” Zenia snarked at me.
“Okay, let’s leave it at that for now.”