Boast Writer

    Lilly Teal
    By Lilly Teal Comments (71)

    Categories: Reserved Roleplay

    Ah the St. Canard opera house. Opera wasn't exactly the most popular form of entertainment in the city, but the people who liked it were a determined bunch, and fought tooth and nail to keep the place open every year. They hadn't become quite so desperate that they would let out their space to ballet performances or... perish the thought, musical theatre, but things had been a little thin all the same.

    But none of that mattered tonight. Against all expectations, the place was packed, and the money was pouring in as if they had printed it themselves.

    Grinning merrily, the opera house manager closed the door of the safe and spun the lock with a cheerful whistle. Tonight was going to be a good night! They'd be in the papers!

    ~~~

    The next day, they were definitely in the papers.

    OPERA HOUSE IN CHAOS

    CHANDELIER FALLS

    THE MOST DRAMATIC HEIST OF THE CENTURY

      • DarkwingPsycho
        DarkwingPsycho

        Naturally after a string of odd crimes with seemingly no related theme or motive, the police were baffled.  It was time for SHUSH to step in.

        Jacob moved into the opera house as if he belonged there, and while he had been there a number of times, opera was not exactly his forte.  Still, dressed in his usual suit and light blue tie, he approached the opera house manager with a keen gaze.

        "So.  Tell me about this alleged theft.  Did you catch a glimpse of the perpetrator?"

        • Lilly Teal
          Lilly Teal

          The manager shook his head, looking harassed, and not because of the interrogation.

          "I didn't see a thing. I was just headed out of my office to make sure things were all in order when- wait, what do you mean alleged?!"

          Ah yes, the thing about the people who ran the opera house was that they were all a little high strung. And very dramatic. Scenery chewing abounded in even the more casual conversation.

          "I am shocked, shocked sir that you would even insinuate-"

          "I saw him!" screamed one of the principal singers. Not because she had been asked, you understand, and certainly not because she recognised Jacob as any kind of authority, but because she was telling everyone who could listen. "I SAW HIM. THE PHANTOM!"

          Somewhere, a stagehand accidentally leaned on the keys of an organ.

          • DarkwingPsycho
            DarkwingPsycho

            Jacob sighed internally at the man's defensiveness.  Theater people.  

            The cry and then the organ made Jacob turned around with a raised brow.  First the local church had reported a theft by Quasimodo, Captain Ahab had terrorized a local sea entertainment business looking for a white whale, and Jay Gatsby had crashed a gala and made off with the mayor's wife.  Now the Phantom of the Opera stealing the theater's profits?

            What was even happening?

            Jacob moved from the high-strung manager to the woman.  "What did he look like?" Jacob questioned unenthusiastically.  "Did you witness the theft?"

            • Lilly Teal
              Lilly Teal

              The woman hesitated mid testimony. "No. Nobody saw that. But we saw him BRING DOWN THE CHANDELIEEEEERRRRR."

              Are you sure, because that voice sounds like it could have brought it down all on its own.

              "It's a MIRACLE nobody was hurt. He had eyes like two portals into hell! A black cape! A mask over his face! A shockingly athletic manner for someone who I presume does not do much exercise! And terrible taste in music!"

              Wait, what?

              "He said I was A BAD SINGER!!!"

              How... dare he...?

              • DarkwingPsycho
                DarkwingPsycho

                Jacob tried his best not to wince at the off-key tones of the woman's voice.  No wonder the opera was rarely filled.

                He chose not to address the last part.  "Show me the chandelier," he said, although he was a little loathe to spend any more time with this woman than he had to.  Which...was unusual for him.

                He moved around the second crime scene in the building, using gloves to examine the end of the rope the had held up the light fixture.  "Well, he used a knife.  A bowie knife by the look of it.  Late 1800's..."

                He mulled over the scenario for a moment, then glanced back to the woman.  "And...you said no one was harmed, correct?  Were there any...nooses discovered?"

                • Lilly Teal
                  Lilly Teal

                  "How did you KNOW?! Yes, there was a noose! He dropped it as he fled the scene of the CRIME! I heard him grumble about there being no ingenues and that he did not want to waste his time any further! But I hardly know what happened after that! IT ALL WENT DARK!!!"

                  As if to demonstrate, the excitement of the testimony led to Carspotta coming all over faint. Whipping out a fan from her voluminous skirts, she fanned herself vainly a few times before she swooned into the handsome (and irritated) man's arms.

                  • DarkwingPsycho
                    DarkwingPsycho

                    Jacob had been about to ask to be taken to the noose when Carspotta "fainted."  He rolled his eyes upward and grimaced since he knew she couldn't see his face, and he unceremoniously let her slide to the floor and stepped over her.

                    "Thank you for your help, madam," he muttered.

                    Well...Quasimodo, Captain Ahab, Jay Gatsby, the Phantom...these were all literary characters.  Was there a theater troupe out there having a laugh terrorizing the populace and stumping the authorities?  It seemed their crimes were getting bolder.  Yet there was no physical evidence whenever they attempted to retrieve some.  No DNA, no fingerprints, not even so much as a nose hair.

                    Somehow these crimes were all linked, and it had something to do with stories.  He wasn't much of a reader, but he knew someone who was...

                    • Lilly Teal
                      Lilly Teal

                      The someone who was a reader was currently reading the newspaper in complete bafflement. This had to be some kind of publicity stunt. It was the only explanation for the theatrical nature of the crimes, but also the only explanation she could think of for why four papers in a row had headlined them as "THE MOST DRAMATIC HEIST OF THE CENTURY."

                      Nobody seemed to mind that the headline was being recycled, or even the fact that they were... not. More dramatic heists had happened, surely. And they couldn't ALL be the most dramatic heist of the century.

                      "What do you think, honey?"

                      Javert, who had wanted to have a day out and had fussed until she brought him along to work, grumbled to himself and rolled into his back. I don't care, I'm trying to sleep in this sunny patch.

                      As the bell over the door rang, he cracked open one eye.

                      Intruder?

                      Food?

                      ... it was all the same thing.

                      • DarkwingPsycho
                        DarkwingPsycho

                        The familiar SHUSH agent moved easily into the store and glanced toward Javert before moving directly toward Lilly.

                        "Ah, my favorite bookworm..." he said smoothly.  "How is everything, my dear?"

                        He had been going to ease into the topic smoothly until he saw the newspaper.  He paused, then continued, "Ah - I see you've been keeping up with current events..."

                        • Lilly Teal
                          Lilly Teal

                          "Jacob!" She looked over her newspaper happily, giving the man a smile. "What a lovely surprise. Have you come for some tea?"

                          At his comment, she shook out the paper slightly before folding it up again. "Everything's fine. But the news is awfully strange, isn't it? The phantom of the opera, actually at the opera?"

                          Considering nobody died, I would have loved to see that.

                          "Oh! Jacob, did they ask you to look into it?" Tell me, tell me, I'm curious!

                          • DarkwingPsycho
                            DarkwingPsycho

                            "How about some coffee instead?"  He slid into the seat across from her.  "How are your ribs?"

                            At her excited question, he smiled faintly.  "I have been asked to inquire after it, yes.  Tell me, have you noticed the peculiarities linking each of these recent crimes?"

                            • Lilly Teal
                              Lilly Teal

                              My ribs? Oof, let's not talk about my ribs.

                              "They're... okay. Almost completely fine now." It's just the nightmares that are a little tiring. "I just haven't been sleeping all too well, but it'll all be okay soon enough, I'm sure!"

                              The smile that was aimed at him was optimistic, if a little tired. And possibly trying to be more optimistic than it felt. Optimism was hard on less sleep, okay?

                              His question caught her attention, and she put her elbow on the table, resting her chin on her hand. "The fact that they're all from books, you mean? And the characters seem to perfectly match their venue so they can do something related to their plots while someone else does the stealing?"

                              did notice them, yes. The papers are making a huge deal about it.

                              "Is this some kind of new theatre-based villain group?"

                              It's ONE way to get funding I suppose.

                              • DarkwingPsycho
                                DarkwingPsycho

                                "I'm sorry to hear that," Jacob said genuinely.  "If you need anything to help, I know a good medication.  If it comes to that."

                                He chuckled at her guess.  "If only it were that easy.  I wonder, Lilly, if you might be up for a little detective work with yours truly...  You know classic novels far better than I, and I am certain your intellect would be a huge help to the case."

                                Plus I have already okayed it with your uncle...

                                • Lilly Teal
                                  Lilly Teal

                                  The compliment made her perk up hugely, and she clasped her hands. "What, me? Heee, I can be your Watson?"

                                  Only, you know, less knocking people down because I'm not a tall ex-army doctor. I could maybe trip someone up, and that's about all.

                                  "I'd love to! Though... I'm not exactly sure how I could help." Don't the crimes happen out of nowhere?

                                  • DarkwingPsycho
                                    DarkwingPsycho

                                    He shrugged but was smiling at the "Watson" comment.  "If you like.  I can bring you on as a consultant to the case, and possibly go over the evidence with me to determine a link between the novels being acted out...  The strangest thing is, there doesn't seem to be a bit of tangible bodily evidence at any of the crime scenes.  No DNA, no fingerprints, et cetera.  Would you like to accompany me to SHUSH?  I know you've your other responsibilities, but I was hoping, perhaps in light of things, you might be able to bow out of them."

                                    • Lilly Teal
                                      Lilly Teal

                                      "What, none at all? That's so strange..." it sounded like the work of very careful professionals, but they certainly didn't ACT like careful professionals. You'd expect fingerprints or hair or bits of cloth all over the place!

                                      "Yes!" Oh this sounded very exciting! Normally she would be more wary about it (or at least as wary as Lilly could be), but if she was just a consultant there was so possible way she could be in any danger.

                                      Clearly!

                                      "At least, I'll do my best." I already had an idea pop into my head for how they're related but it's probably very stupid. "Ah! Can Javert come?"

                                      • DarkwingPsycho
                                        DarkwingPsycho

                                        He chuckled at her enthusiasm.  "Good."  Then, at her question, he glanced toward the honey badger.  "Er...I suppose.  We'll just...say he's a service animal if anyone asks."

                                        ***

                                        While he couldn't exactly secure Lilly clearance to go back into the laboratory or any other restricted areas, he could let her into his office.  So that's where they were, looking through files and photographs as well as Internet research.  Jacob could only hope that Javert was potty trained.  The last thing he needed as an "accident" of that sort in his office.

                                        "Even with four scenarios of the literary persuasion, it's difficult to establish a clear pattern..." he mused aloud.

                                        • Lilly Teal
                                          Lilly Teal

                                          "The only thing that really comes to mind is that all four characters wanted something they couldn't have," Lilly piped up almost to herself, leaning forward a little to help as Javert clambered into her lap for pets and snuggles. Oof, you're getting so heavy, honey.

                                          "Um. That's probably not helpful. I just mean. Well. Gatsby, Ahab, Quasimodo, the Phantom. It just feels like each time it's been some kind of event or performance or large gathering. And they're very... loud and public characters. Nothing's happened in quiet places. Maybe whoever is setting up these distractions wants to be noticed?"

                                          If that's a case, the next target would be some kind of fancy gathering or show... no?

                                          • DarkwingPsycho
                                            DarkwingPsycho

                                            Jacob looked at Lilly with interest from across the stack of disorganized papers, then sat back in his chair, grinning a little.  "Well now...isn't that something.  You know, there is gala at the art museum coming up to celebrate the opening of the new Faberge egg wing...perhaps a look into that is warranted."

                                            There was a spark of amusement in his expression now as he looked at her.  "Bring Gladstone...I'll bring a few men to be safe."  That didn't quite come out right, but oh well.  "That way you can be near in case I need your expertise, but you can also enjoy a night out with my compliments if nothing happens."

                                            • Lilly Teal
                                              Lilly Teal

                                              Ah.

                                              The last gala at the art museum hadn't exactly gone... well. But, she reasoned, that was because things had been going smoothly at first. Logically if there was already crime going on, nothing would escalate because things were already happening!

                                              Flawless reasoning!

                                              So, while the mention of the art museum did bring a small wince as she recalled the chaos, she nodded, giving Javert a cuddle as he made pleased noises. "Alright."

                                              Also... kind of funny. Because if it's about an egg and maybe this is the story about the goose that lays the golden eggs and I'll be with a gander and-

                                              ... maybe not that funny. Shaking her head a little, she smiled. "But with you and your men there, everything will go smoothly. I'll send Gladstone a message!"

                                              Do you want to try going to another art museum gala. I am 50% sure there won't be any supervillain activity or at least nothing that will involve us?

                                              Aaaaaaand send.

                                              • Gladstone Gander
                                                Gladstone Gander

                                                A reply came back almost instantly.

                                                 

                                                darling darling darling. if u wanted me 2 get all dressed up all u had 2 do was ask.-heart eyed emoji- -kissy face emoji- i will gladly b ur arm candy. -heart emoji- villain schmilains. 

                                                • DarkwingPsycho
                                                  DarkwingPsycho

                                                  He wasn't sure about "smoothly," he hadn't been too impressed with the SHUSH extras thus far.  At some point he might have to speak with John about it.  Someone could get killed, and if these were the types of agents Gryzlikoff was churning out...

                                                  At the look on Lilly's face after reading the reply back, Jacob smirked.  "So that's a 'yes,' then?"

                                                  ***

                                                  As with every gala that happened in St. Canard, and there were quite a lot of them for such a small metropolis, it was packed with the elite and those who wished they were.  Everything was decked out to the nines, and while people mingled in their fancy dress, a speaker was giving a history of the Faberge egg.  The wing would open soon.

                                                  Jacob and the rest of the SHUSH personnel were either stationed in a particular area - having coordinated with the on-site security - or moving among the guests to blend in.

                                                  • Lilly Teal
                                                    Lilly Teal

                                                    It was a strange sort of criminal. Public distractions, private robberies, it was as if they wanted to be noticed and not at the same time. As if they wanted to be undetected, but also have all eyes on them.

                                                    Could it be two people? It did feel like it.

                                                    Lilly, hugging Gladstone's arm, had so far just been near one of the walls with him, bringing him up to speed.

                                                    "And that's really why we're here." I'm helping an investigation, Gladstone! Aren't you proud of me?

                                                    The dresses were fancy, the wines were fancier and... people on the edge of the crowd were starting to mumble in confusion, as someone decidedly unfancy stood there, a little confused in his big straw hat, thoroughly stereotypical farmer's clothes, and massive hobnailed boots.

                                                    • Gladstone Gander
                                                      Gladstone Gander

                                                      Well, yes. Yes he was impressed. Because who wouldn’t be while being so earnestly being told such a tale of intrigue. I mean since he was a big fan of his narrator of current events and that the tale featured his favorite secret Agent did NOT help things.

                                                      “So-“ said after she’d summed things up for him. “-I have a very serious question.” He leaned in to whisper to her. “On a scale from one to ten how close do you think you are to becoming Jacob’s partner? Because I’ve been kind of hoping he’d ask me. You know buy me a boutonniere and everything, I mean, I’d defer to you of course because I love you so much but I may never recover. I wouldn’t blame him. You are brilliant, but-“ he wagged a finger at her playfully. “-but I’m plucky!”

                                                      “But seriously-“ was it serious? He wasn’t sure. It seemed very silly. “-with you and Double-O on the case I’m sure we’re all in good hands. If I see anything freaky like... hey watch out eggs Amelia Bedelia is comin’ ta steal ya! I’ll flag you down. In the meantime can we look at pretty expensive things and you can watch me embarrass myself in front of my hero.”

                                                      • DarkwingPsycho
                                                        DarkwingPsycho

                                                        It wasn't until the speaker introduced the curator of the museum, who was going to open the wing, that Jacob spotted an odd person with a tall straw hat.  There was quite a wide berth around him, as if he was giving on a rather pungent odor.  He frowned and started excusing himself through the crowd.

                                                        "...so without further ado," the stuff-shirted man was stating into the microphone, "we present the grand opening of our Egg-stravaganza Exibit!"

                                                        There was a loud chorus of "oooo"'s from the crowd, and the ropes were dropped so that everyone started heading into the wing.  That included the man in the straw hat and Jacob, who had nearly gotten to him but was now being sandwiched by the masses.