Always be with you

Chapter 11: Personal Investigation

Chapter 11: Personal Investigation

"Wait, where are you going?" Mary called after Jack as she saw him rushing past.

"I have a friend I need to see in town." he answered back, stopping at the inn kitchen door. The sun was shining through one of its windows and the warm morning light fell beautifully on everything. Something was being cooked, too – and it smelt amazing!

"But it's so early in the morning!" Mary protested.

"I'm supposed to meet him today. And it's really urgent." Jack felt like a child caught sneaking out.

"Well, at least have your breakfast first. It'll be ready in a moment." Mary said sullenly.

Jack exchanged with her an apologetic look.

"I'm sorry. I'll be back before you know it!" he shot towards the door before Mary could patronize him. She could not pursue the topic, however, because the frying pan was still hissing on the fire; the food in it, as she'd said, was half a minute away from being done.

Mary's mood was foul as she tipped the pan over and divided the breakfast into portions. What could possibly have called Jack away this early in the morning, it being only a few minutes short of a quarter past seven? Jack said it was urgent, but his face told her there was no emergency.

Well, that Jack better be back as he'd promised. But in the meantime, Mary wasn't about fuss anymore about the subject – best not begin the day feeling anything less than positively motivated…

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Mary ate along with Baby Tooth without paying much thought to Jack after that. She thought it must have been a very important friend, and perhaps he had expected breakfast at whatever place he had gone to, so there was no need to worry.

After she'd finished with her own, Mary decided to put away Jack's plate for the future. Then, she put the leash around Luna again and went out, Baby Tooth accompanying.

She had a list of to-do things she needed to tick off today. The very first should be finding a pet adoption centre, if there was one, for Luna. Her hands tightened around the cat leash, thinking that this could be the last day she spent with Luna, but she carried on.

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Erich Damascus had been living in Aberyst for a little over two dozen years. He knew the town people well, but he was also well acquainted outside of town - being a senior man. One of such acquaintances, and whom he met, peculiarly enough in this very town, was Jack Overland Frost. It happened many years ago. He was to expect a visit from his old acquaintance at his antique shop a few days ago, as a message originated from the North Pole had informed him.

"Good morning, Erich."

Erich spotted the young spirit through his oddly shaped spectacles and brightened.

"Jack. Is that you?" The shopkeeper lifted his worn hat and bowed courteously, a kind smile breaking across his delighted face. "Good heavens, you're finally here! Good morning, good morning. Pray come in.

Jack was quickly sucked into the shop by a zealous shopkeeper, who could not seem to contain his joyous bubble.

Erich quickly cleared a way for them to enter. "I was expecting you! But after a few days... Good Gosh Jack, I thought you weren't coming!"

Jack gazed around the shop, fascinated by the evident differences to it from the last time he was there.

"Yeah, sorry about that, Erich. In my defense, I didn't either." At least at one point...

"Ah, no. Don't mind it even slightly, my boy. Your company is enough for me. Now that you're here, your date of arrival has less relevance." Damascus said as he navigated through the maze of his own shop, until he reached a slightly more spacious area with a table and chairs.

"Won't you like a seat?" he offered.

"No thanks, I'm good." Jack said casually, leaning against the wall.

"I've heard the news, Jack. Did you become a Guardian?" The man asked eagerly.

Jack looked at the old scholar, surprised. "I did, but I didn't think you'd know."

"Didn't think I'd know?" Damascus said suspiciously. "You could have fooled this ole man. No one's been accepted in the ranks of the Guardians for centuries! And suddenly Jack Frost joins the group of the most powerful beings in the world. How could I have not heard? You were all the news at the time."

"Ah, just an everyday part of my life - having publicity!" Jack replied.

"The good kind. It's hard not to enjoy it." Damascus set down a tray and stirred his teacup. "Tea?"

Jack took a cup from Damascus, but he didn't take a sip.

"There's something I came to talk about, Erich." he said.

"Ask away, my boy. Ask away." the man beamed, while blowing the steam off his cup serenely.

"The town, it's different from when I last saw it." Jack met the man's eyes with an unusual flash of seriousness. "There's an aura around it that I really don't like. It feels like Sorcery. I hoped you could tell me a thing or two about what's going on." the gleam was gone the next moment as he seemed to relax a bit more, not liking the idea of pressuring his friend into speaking.

Damascus met his blue gaze steadily. "So you've already noticed? That is...I'm sorry. It must have felt nasty for you…" his voice sounded sympathetic and somber. The man patiently lowered his cup and sat it on a matching saucer. His eyes seemed to sigh at the steaming drink in his hands.

"I think we're going to need a lot of tea for this." he said soberly.

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Author's note:

Hi, I'm back with writing fanfiction! For anyone who's been watching and support this story, I'm terribly sorry for not updating in such a long time. I got a combo of writer's block and heavy-weight schoolwork. Luckily, that's over for now. It's Easter holiday and I still have a few days left until revision week starts.

This chapter is short, but that's because I decided to split it into two and this is the smaller half. I also think it's nice to reintroduce the domestic side to Mary and welcome a new character - Erich Damascus to the story.

I'm so excited for the next chapter. It's nearly complete now. Enjoy the story!

Next chapter: Erich explains what's going on in Aberyst. Mary meets a suspicious stranger who claims to be saving her life.

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