Ethereal Vampire

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Chapter 3

Private Detective Troyi Lavode

Troyi felt the world around him frozen, his heart reached a halt and his breath stuck in his lungs. A thousand questions swarmed into his head forming it’s internal little debates. His lips twitched slightly but his face muscles barely moved.

“Pardon me?” He hid a stutter. His eyes met Eliora’s, without any verbal exchange, he knew she was questioning him.

“I heard you last night Detective Lavode...the voice sounds exactly like you...but I might be wrong.” Adalia tried to ease the suspicion or so he assumed.

She stood there by the dorm fidgeting with her hands.

Troyi’s shocked face was replaced with a warm and gentle smile waving off his hand.

“Don’t worry about it. Tell me Miss Adalia, what did… the voice that sounds like me, told you? The most you can remember at least.”

Adalia’s eyes shifted to glance at her shoes, her hand rubbing her arms slowly as if she felt the winter’s chills.

“He…told me that there’s this group of…I’m not sure I can’t remember much, but it’s a certain group that will continue the murders for revenge. . . And he was just following his master’s orders.” She whispered.

Hearing her response, Troyi ran his hand through his hair, taking in a deep breath before letting it out slowly. This wasn’t the first time he heard of such a message, but it was the first time in years, what more that their suspect mentioned the voice was his, or somewhat his.

Could there be someone who’s using his voice as a disguise?

If so…

Why?

“Thank you Miss Adalia. Was there anything else you heard…feel? Or perhaps sensed? That could give us a better clue.” Troyi asked, hoping there was more useful information other than just his voice as a message.

Surely he didn’t sleepwalk right? Fern would have noticed right away.

He noticed from his peripheral view that Eliora was eyeing him though He couldn’t read her gaze this time.

He shouldn’t be feeling chilly if he knew, no he is innocent. Troyi was sure that he had nothing to do with these murders. The voice Adalia heard was only a brief information of her thoughts, it couldn’t be marked down as concrete evidence.

“ I think I saw a glimpse of his eyes… if that was his eyes. I saw a flash of…bright magenta. I might be seeing things but I think it’ll help you Mr Lavode.”

Troyi took out his notebook and swiftly jotted down every detail Adalia mentioned while trying to remain in his calming posture.

“Thank you Miss Adalia, if there is anything else we’ll contact you. The police will be patrolling these areas so don’t worry too much tonight. Have a good day.”

Troyi gave her a warm smile before walking away from the door. He heard Eliora’s footsteps behind followed by a hard pat on his back. He expected Eliora to question him but instead, Eliora returned Toryi’s warm smile.

“I promised you lunch didn’t I? Come on, I know a good place but since you’re driving, I’ll give you directions.”

Troyi stared at her dumbfoundedly for a second. His heart was poking him but he didn’t want to think much about Eliora’s actions.

She has good intentions and if she does interrogate me during lunch, it’s fair that I give her the assurance that I am neither the murderer nor related to the case.

“Coming!” Troyi laughed and jogged to his car behind Eliora.

The journey to the restaurant didn’t take too long. Troyi couldn’t deny his heart racing yet staying sane as Eliora simply talked to him about her daily life and some opinions about the murder.

When they reached the restaurant, Eliora led Troyi in and towards their reserved seats. The table was placed in a cooling area where the cold would not affect the warmth of the food. Troyi settled down with Eliora and looked at the menu.

“Judging by how well you maneuvered your way in this restaurant, I suppose you are a regular customer here, am I right? What do you suggest for me to have then?” Troyi couldn’t resist giving her a cheeky smile.

Eliora shook her head, the end of her lip lifted as she glanced up to Troyi.

“How observant. As expected from a Private detective. I recommend the Shepherd’s Pie, the flavours are strongly balanced and the portions are sufficient for one man unless you have a huge appetite.”

“Shepherd’s Pie it is then with some coffee. What will you be having?”

Troyi kept his eyes on Eliora as she was figuring out what to have.

“I’ll have some fish and chips with tea. The late afternoon seems fitting to have it.”

Once the waiter took their orders, Troyi was playing with the utensils, forgetting that he was neither with his sister nor alone at the moment. Despite being a detective, he didn’t notice Eliora holding her hand to her mouth, holding a laugh back when she was watching him.

“Troyi, how old are you again? Or do you do this and pretend it’s the suspects?” Eliora asked.

Troyi looked up to her, his eyebrows furrowed and tilted his head at her words, though it only made her laugh more. He paused for a second before looking down to his hands where he held the utensils in a mocked argument and quickly placed it back down.

“Umm.. pardon me, it’s an unconscious habit. I don’t usually dine with others so…” A shaky laugh came out of Troyi’s lips as he rubbed his neck.

Hearing his response, Eliora raised an eyebrow.

“You mean, you rarely dine out with others? Not with your friends or, maybe a girlfriend, or boyfriend if you swing that way?”

Troyi’s cheeks warmed up, making him wave his hands and shook his head. “No no I mean, well I don’t really have the time for all those… commitments? I have friends but we only dine out for-”

“Business purposes?” Eliora finished it for him.

Troyi let out a sigh, nodding in defeat.

Internally, he does wish that he could dine out with others normally, or maybe even bring someone out on a date, but time doesn’t permit him and his life is constantly on guard. Eating out with Eliora just for work was also a risk, he simply allowed it to get to know her and not to make himself feel like an odd one out, even though he is showing it unconsciously.

“Well then Troyi,” Eliora started. “Till this case ends, you shall have lunch with me, maybe if you’re lucky, after the case we can have dinner and while we’re at it, tell me what is your life like. If you don’t mind?”

Troyi tilted his head looking at Eliora, he leaned forward and rested his cheeks on his palm, lips forming a small pout as he thought about the question and how to answer her.

“Hmm, what is my life like? I’m not sure if you accept the terms ordinary? I just work case by case, help my sister at home, eat and sleep.” He trailed.

“No hobbies? Weekend plans or partying?” Eliora asked. “When you said ordinary I didn’t actually think you meant literally ordinary.”

Troyi shrugged at Eliora with a smile on his face. He received that reaction multiple times and he wasn’t sure how to respond to it anymore. He simply can’t figure out what he needs to do or gain to fill up the blank space in his life.

“Well, it is indeed ordinary. Maybe after this case there will be something sparkling in my life.” Troyi gave a toothy grin to Eliora who leaned in and gently tapped his head.

“How cheeky.” A small laugh escaped from her lips.

Their food soon arrived and the two detectives dug in, but of course, they didn’t eat in silence.

“Well Troyi I didn’t know at this very age your sister has to nag at you as if you’re a toddler.”

“Hey! To be fair it’s easy to misplace the tiny stuff you have. You told me you yourself also forgot where you placed your phone during the crime scene when someone was playing dead.” Laughter erupted from the two. Troyi didn’t expect to get along with Eliora easily, from her friendliness to her smile, being around her made his life brighter.

“Hey Eliora, do you know-” Before he could continue, Troyi felt his body stiffened, his hand clenched his fork as he stared at his food. Everything around him became louder and when he looked up from his food, a pair of dark eyes met him. His heart raced and his breath swallowed.

Why are those eyes… so familiar…

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