Every person who participated in the initial study of CoL powers as well as subsequent studies that have occurred since the first edition of this book was published has been allowed to pick their own pseudonym for use in research papers and any other publications that should arise from the work we do here. There has only been one CoL as of yet who had difficulty choosing a name. With their permission I chose to refer to them as 'Book.' They are remarkable in their abilities as a CoL as well as in their general adaptability. Yet, somehow they are simultaneously the most indecisive yet impulsive person I've ever met in my life. They assure me they were this way before they gained powers and have made jokes they're genderfluid because of their indecisiveness. I can tell they have improved in both their indecisiveness and impulsiveness but have to admit there have been times when I have been frustrated working with Book.
Excerpt from "The Book of CoL: Second Edition" Chapter 1: Names and Identity.
Little Asgard Heights is a huge complex. A big rectangular structure with a nice green central courtyard with a pre-CoL style pool on one end. I walk around to take in the place as the evening goes on. The entire bottom floor is filled with businesses just like it said online, a few of which, are still open at this hour.
I make a note to hit up the grocery store after my walk. The coffee shop smells great so I head in and get a drink and a doughnut before continuing my walk.
The building is five stories tall with one hundred and eight living units. Each apartment is two stories with the sleeping quarters above a living area and kitchen.
A few have two bedrooms but mine, like most, has only one. The bathroom is on the same floor as the bedroom and from the floor plan looks like it shares the water lines with the kitchen below it.
The bedroom and living area both have balconies, mine faces inside toward the large courtyard and pool area. People have clothing strung up on lines on several, or in some cases a small barbecue pit here and there. A few balconies have umbrellas with little tables.
The other apartment complex I looked at had rooms that were staggered with one another causing some bedrooms to share walls with their neighbor's sitting rooms, but this way each bedroom shares a wall instead. Maybe it wont be a problem?
I hope I have quiet neighbors.
I finish my doughnut and coffee, toss the wrapper and cup in one of the reasonably well maintained trashcans, then head up to my apartment, number 221.
When I arrive there's a person waiting in the hallway for me. I pause a few feet away and try not to stare at the six and a half foot tall person with a stylish form fitting dark colored short skirt and top, tall boots, deep red skin, horns, a forked tail, thick body, sizable chest, and plate of chocolate chip cookies I could smell when I got off the elevator. Their eyes brighten up when they see me and they grin with extra sharp teeth.
"Uh, hello there?" I say.
"Happy house warming from your friendly fiendling neighbor, Eterna," they say with a bow while keeping the plate of cookies before them. "She and her please."
"Thank you," I reply while accepting the cookies. They're on an inexpensive plastic plate that I will still try to return.
Before I can properly introduce myself Eterna squints at me and barks, "Oh my gods, you look so Basic."
"Oh, no, wait, gods, I fucked up," she waves her hands in the air and backs up a bit. "Shit, sorry. If you like to look Basic that's none of my business."
"It's no problem." I gesture toward my door with one hand, the cookies in the other. "I do need to get into my place and all."
"Right, shit, sorry," she shuffles out of the way. The hallway is just barely high enough for her to not hit her head. The ceilings in the rooms are pretty tall for an apartment but still, many CoLs could easily find themselves cramped here if they went overboard.
I use my card to unlock the door. The digital lock isn't great. I haven't done locksport in some time but remember reading this model has at least one known exploit.
I'll get a second analog lock installed when I can.
"Wait," Eterna calls from the hallway. She purses her lips together and looks down while fiddling with her fingers. "Has anyone shown you around your place...mixter?"
"Simmons, Page Simmons," I say. "And not really. Not sure what there's to see other than the usual."
Eterna rolls her eyes. "The secret party room."
I stare at her from the doorway.
"No one told you about the secret party room? The realtor didn't mention it at all?"
"I didn't really talk to one. I called and booked the place online," I explain. "Picked up my card from the building manager. There wasn't anything online about a secret party room."
"Of course not, that's why it's secret," she replies with her hands on her hips.
It's not like she could do much to me if she tried, so I let out a sigh before saying, "Okay, you can come in and show me this secret party room."
I stop her before she ducks in the doorway. "Please don't gouge my ceiling with your horns. I just moved in today and don't want to be out my deposit already."
She nods quickly before shrinking down to the more reasonable height of maybe five foot ten, yet still with the horns, fangs, tail, and whatnot. Her clothing shifts with her accommodating the change without a problem.
I wonder what brand it is. It would be weird if I asked her for feedback on it, especially if it's not the brand I beta test.
"This way," Eterna says while walking past me.
I shut the door behind her and then follow her to the stairs. She walks up almost to the top before kneeling down and pointing to the wall. It's the space between the bedroom floor and the living room ceiling. The perfect place for a hiding spot.
"I'll be damned," I say.
She looks at me. "Did you just x-ray it?"
"No, why would I do that? That's just a great spot to hide something," I say.
Eterna looks at me funny, her brows furrowed before turning her attention back to the wall. She presses it firmly and a square goes in slightly before popping out on a hinge.
"You open it by touching this spot like this. It's always on the second to last stair too. Every unit has one."
I go up the stairs to join her and peer into the tiny space. It's lit with LEDs built into the walls and looks very similar to my living room, save for the television being a small cellphone sized screen built into one wall where the window would be.
There are also several tiny recliners and a couch inside with a little table. There's no switch to turn the lights off and I wonder how the little screen is operated. At least it has a button on one side. Maybe it's touch sensitive? It would be annoying to have to slam my whole hand against it to change the channel. Plus there's no apparent ventilation. I bet it would get muggy as Hel in there.
"Wow," I say.
I really don't see myself using the tiny room when I have a perfectly good living area already. Maybe I can store my keys in it or something?
"What class are you?" Eterna asks. "I mean, C and D's can't get small enough to even fit, but if you're B or higher it shouldn't be a problem. We could have a welcome party!"
Yeah, I'm not doing that.
"I don't think I'll be using that room," I say instead.
"Oh, that sucks, sorry," Eterna replies with her hands over her mouth as if she's praying. "I'm so so sorry. I shouldn't have even shown you this. Shit."
"Nah, it's okay," I say. I reach over and shut the little door. "I appreciate the info and the cookies."
I go back down the stairs and set the plate on my kitchen counter. A moment later Eterna follows. When I turn around she's even shorter than before and looks a bit embarrassed. Thankfully her clothing has kept up with the shapeshifts.
"I'm so sorry I made assumptions," Eterna says.
"Don't be," I reply. "It's not that I can't use that room. I just don't want to."
She wears a look of shock on her face. "What? Why not?"
"You ever been in one of those?" I ask. "Does it get intolerably hot and humid if there's other people?"
"Yeah, but what party doesn't?"
"Good point, but still. I don't like the lack of airflow. I might use it for storage or something."
"Oh my gods, you can't use the party room for storage," she says.
"Well, nothing vital, anyway," I admit. "Everybody knows about the secret room, right? It'd be the first place someone would look if they were searching for something hidden."
"Why would you need to hide something?"
"I don't know, why hide a party room?" I reply with a laugh. "It doesn't matter. Thank you again, for the cookies and the greeting and everything."
I turn around and look in my new empty fridge. "I need to run to the store. Want to come?"
"Sure! I can show you the best shit. Lets get some beer."
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