You’re Faeryland’s newest sleuth, lucky you! Your reputation precedes you as a master problem solver, even though your magic can be pretty wonky at the best of times.
And you’ve just landed your first major case: the daughter of Baroness Isabella Marcio is missing! Baroness Isabella Marcio has a reputation for being an airy faery and you’ve dealt with her in the past, but now that her daughter, Lillian Marcio, has disappeared without a trace, the heat is under you and you alone to find her.
There’s just one problem.
A box that cannot be opened has just been delivered to your door. It radiates a powerful, evil magic, and you can’t help but feel that it’s a threat against your life…and the baroness’. And the tick, tick, tick sound that comes from within, it almost sounds like a countdown.
You need to find Lillian Marcio before it’s too late…before the tick sound ceases, and the evil from the box is unleashed.
The wooden box has been ticking for two hours straight, ever since it arrived this morning, and you can barely take it anymore. You’ve just been given the biggest case of your career as a detective: find Lillian Marcio, daughter of Baroness Isabella Marcio, and you can barely concentrate with all the racket.
Your boss, Mr. Gaviff, is also not pleased. The dwarf bursts into your office and points a stubby finger at it. “Get rid of it. Now.”
“I don’t think I can,” you reply. “It stinks like evil magic. What if I throw it away and it casts a curse on me? I can’t have that, not when I have a baroness’ daughter to find.”
“You don’t have a choice. That box…” Mr. Gaviff leers at it, and takes a step away from your desk, and looks worried. “Fine. Find Lillian Marcio. Get the baroness off my back. She’s sent three pigeons this morning about her daughter, and we have to resolve this disappearance quickly before the media makes it into a scandal.” He frowns at the box. “I can’t help but feel that box has something to do with the Baroness Isabella, whether she sent it herself or perhaps one of her social enemies…or something much more evil entirely…”
You glance at the box again. Its lined with ancient runes you don’t recognize, and it’s no longer than the length of your hand. Its delivery this morning was strange, as it had no return address, and when you tried to open it, with magic and by throwing it against hard objects, it started ticking. No one ever sends you anything, except bills, which you struggle to pay. The timing of its arrival and you being put on the baroness’ case…could it be connected? Or just a coincidence?
“What are you going to do?” Mr. Gaviff asks you gruffly. He folds his large arms across his burly chest and stares down at you. He doesn’t like it when his detectives sit around all day.
Looking at your case files, you have a couple of leads. Lillian Marcio was last seen at the local bookstore, Fae Reads, downtown. You could fly there and ask if anyone has seen her. You could also go talk to her mother, Baroness Isabella Marcio, to find out more about Lillian’s life and who her enemies might be.
Or…you know of a goblin who deals exclusively with ancient artefacts. You could shirk your duties as a detective and take the evil box to him to look at, maybe it will provide some clue as to why it keeps ticking. But you’re not even sure if it relates to the Lillian case, and you only have 300 gold coins in your purse–a visit to the goblin will be costly, but it could give you peace of mind.
Remember: wherever you go, you will have to take the box with you. It will probably attract attention. That box is evil, and it’s kind of loud, and your boss doesn’t want evil, loud things sitting around his office.
What will you do?
Choice 1: Go to the bookstore and ask if anyone has seen Lillian Marcio. (0%)
Choice 2: Question Baroness Isabella Marcio about her daughter. (57%)
Choice 3: Visit the goblin to find out more information about the evil box. (43%)
You’re not sure what’s worse: being tasked to find Lillian Marcio, or talking to her airy mother, Baroness Isabella Marcio.
The baroness rarely admits visitors to her large manor, located about 20 minutes (flying distance!) from the detective agency. Today there are two guards standing at the gate. They examine the ticking coded box warily. You can see that they’re thinking of denying you entry just because you had to lug around the stupid, evil box. Just as you’re about to explain to the guards that the ticking box cannot leave your side–who knows what evil it may unleash when you’re not present–one of the tower windows opens and the baroness flies out, zooming over her tall gate towards you.
“Oh, Lillian! You’ve come back!”
The next thing you know, the baroness’ arms are wrapped firmly around your body, squishing your wings together in a way that is quite painful for fae folk. You look to her guards for assistance but they just throw you sympathetic looks. Right. Nice to know you can’t count on them.
She draws back with a large grin that slowly fades when she doesn’t recognize you. “Lillian…are you shapeshifting again?” She smacks you across the face. “Lillian! Stop that RIGHT NOW!”
“I’m not your daughter. I’m here from the detective agency to investigate your daughter’s disappearance,” you explain.
“Oh. Are…are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m pretty sure of my own identity.”
“That is good to know. Very well, come inside.”
Once you are settled in the baroness’ parlour room, you get right down to business and start asking about Lillian. She almost bursts into tears when you mention Lillian’s name.
“Oh well, my husband goes missing all the time. But that’s just his nature. Enjoying caves, and such.” You smile politely but it’s fairly common knowledge that she and her husband divorced recently. “Lillian, my beautiful Lillian! I do not know where she would go. She was most certainly kidnapped. And why, I could be a detective myself, because I know EXACTLY who has taken my darling child!”
“And who might that be?”
“Stuella de Sanco, of course. Pay attention! She’s just jealous that my Lillian is more beautiful than her ugly daughter Ruby. Ruby just had her debut, you know. I laughed and laughed when that monster came down the staircase. Everyone else was laughing with me. In their minds. And then, the nerve! Stuella had me thrown out of her estate!” She pouts, but her sadness evaporates as she narrows in on the evil, noisy box you’ve got in your bag.
“That ticking is dreadful!” the baroness exclaims. “You should get that looked at.”
Yes, as if the box is part of your body, and is purposefully making the offensive noise.
Likely Stuella de Sanco is at her estate at this time of day, and she’s more reasonable to deal with than Isabella. You could question her about Lillian’s whereabouts, especially since Baroness Isabella is so sure that Stuella is a suspect. Or, you could visit the goblin downtown who deals with ancient artifacts. He might be able to give you information about the evil, ticking box that was mysteriously sent to your desk. It may or may not have anything to do with Lillian’s disappearance, but you don’t really believe in coincidences.
What do you choose?
Choice 1. Visit the goblin to find out more information about the box (75%)
Choice 2. Question Stuella de Sanco at her estate (25%)
You visit the mysterious goblin…
Lillian’s disappearance can wait. You seriously need to check out this ticking box before it releases or summons something evil. Mr. Gaviff suggested that it could have come from one of the baroness’ enemies, but she’s got so many of those that it would be difficult to pin down exactly which one sent it, especially since it showed up so mysteriously on your desk this morning and it did not have a return address.
Hopefully the goblin at the ancient artefact shoppe can shed some light on its origins. Hopefully it won’t cost you all three hundred pieces of gold in your pouch.
Air traffic is light from the baroness’ estate to the goblin’s shoppe and when you enter, a little bell above the door ding-dings gently. Inside it’s dark and it smells musty, but it is impeccably clean. Shelves line almost every free space in the place, leaving narrow spaces to trudge down to the back, where the customer counter lives. Behind it is a stout goblin, with long, crooked, pointy ears, yellow pointed teeth, and small, beady eyes the colour of emeralds. His gaze goes instantly to the ticking box, held protectively in your grip.
“You have a lot of nerve bringing that to my door,” says the goblin with a high-pitched, gravelly hiss.
“You know what this is?” you ask.
“Set it down, you shouldn’t be touching it with your bare hands.”
You drop it on the counter and wipe your hands on your clothes. The goblin takes out a monocle attached to a chain from his shirt pocket and peers at the box for several minutes, hmmming and haaaaing the whole time. You flutter your wings impatiently.
“These runes here”–the goblin points at the string of incomprehensible symbols around the box–”are Ancient Troll runes. It’s not well known but the trolls actually had a sophisticated society thousands of years ago. For five hundred gold pieces, I’ll tell you more about the runes and what they say.”
“I only have three hundred gold pieces,” you say, devastated. “Please, this is urgent. Someone’s life is at stake.”
The goblin considers this. “Very well. For three hundred gold pieces I will sell you a copy of one of my translation codexes. Very valuable. You are getting a good bargain for three hundred gold pieces.”
You consider this. You don’t know of any connection between trolls and Baroness Isabella’s family. Trolls generally live outside of Fairyland in their own territory. If he would’ve said they were ogre runes, you would’ve been less surprised, as the baroness was once married to an ogre.
If you pay all your gold you will have nothing left, and who knows what you might need it for during the course of the investigation. Then again, this just may be the information you need to get a solid lead.
Or, you could forget about the box for now and follow up on Baroness Isabella’s lead and question Stuella de Sanco. Baroness Isabella did ruin Stuella’s daughter’s debut recently, that could be enough motive to abduct the baroness’ daughter.
So, what will you do? Question Stuella de Sanco, or pay the three hundred gold coins for the translation codex?
Choice 1: Question Stuella de Sanco at her estate
Choice 2: Pay three hundred coins to get the translation codex to decipher the ancient runes.
Reading ancient runes is your new hobby: You pay to decipher the runes
You reluctantly hand the goblin all of your money. Hopefully this codex is able to give you some insight into the mysterious runes on the side of this evil box. You hope that this box has something to do with Lillian’s disappearance, because you imagine you’ll get a pretty big bonus for finding her…which should more than offset this unfortunate translation cost.
The goblin inspects the coin purse, and weighs it in his palm. Once the clink clink of the coins within meet his approval, he hides it away beneath the desk and disappears into a back room. You hear rummaging, and then: “I don’t have a copy of the translation at the moment, but I can create one from the original. It will take me an hour or two.”
An hour! Two hours! You don’t have time for these delays! You sigh, leaning against the desk. But you’ve already given him your money. You have no choice but to wait.
The goblin agrees to keep the evil box in his shop for safe keeping while he translates and you fly to the cafe just down the street. You’re craving a honey tea desperately.
You stand in line for about ten minutes. The cafe has a soothing atmosphere and many fae folk chat in pairs or threes. The tension in your shoulders melts slightly. You’ve had a stressful day so far. You deserve this break. And once you have the codex, you’ll be one step closer to getting rid of ONE stress in your life!
As you approach the counter, a young faery with bright green wings and even brighter green eyes smiles brightly and asks you for your order. You tell you want a large honey tea with extra spice sprinkles.
“That will be five pieces,” she tells you.
Oh crap. That’s right. You have no money.
Just as you’re about to tell the barista to charge the amount to the Faery Detective Agency, an explosion rocks the establishment. Tea cups crash as they hit the floor and a few of the more dainty fae folk take a tumble from their chairs before fluttering upward. You rush for the door. After all, if there’s trouble, it’s probably your fault.
As soon as your feet touch the sidewalk, you know for sure that this is definitely your fault.
The artefact shoppe is in ruins. There is no sign of fire but the scattered wood and stone are blackened and charred. Remnants lay all over the street, and the strangest part about all of this is that it’s JUST the artefact shoppe that’s been affected. No sign of damage to the adjacent buildings, to the road, or to the buildings across the street. There’s also no sign of the goblin. It’s possible he’s buried beneath the wreckage…dead. Fae folk surround the building, but most are too afraid to get near, as the shoppe had a reputation for carrying potentially unstable artefacts.
Wait. Oh crap. The box! The codex!!
And then you feel it. A sort of…pull. You don’t want to, but you turn around…
….and there it is. That darned box. Sitting innocently on the sidewalk before you, emitting a dangerous, come-hither aura. But it’s also the aura of a child who has dipped dirty hands into the cookie jar before supper time. Except instead of chocolate, the child’s hands are covered in blood. How it got there, you don’t know. It’s your responsibility now.
This is bad. Very bad. Somewhere in the wreckage is probably the body of the goblin, your money, and the codex. If you have the codex, you can translate the runes. Hell, maybe you might be able to get your money back. Then you might be one step closer to finding out the truth behind the mystery of this box.
Then again, if you are seen in the ruins with the box, people might start asking questions and blame you for this. And you really can’t get charged for murder right now, not when you’re in the middle of a case. It might be best to get out of here and follow up on another lead while no one is looking at you.
What will you do?
Choice 1: Rummage through the wreckage to find the codex.
Choice 2: Quietly disappear and continue your investigation into Lillian’s disappearance.
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