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Family Matters: The Society Book 4 By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 20850

Updated: 2019-06-11 14:58

Chapter 18

"I guess we'll see what they find, " Ivy said as she rejoined the others and they stepped back into the plain looking corridor. While each of the rooms she saw behind the plain doors was designed to fit in more with an ancient castle or manor house, the corridors seemed plucked from the back hallways of a standard office building.

'The kind not meant to be seen by clients and only navigated by general employees, ' Ivy thought. While she could see someone pushing a cart filled in the mailroom and set out for delivery, she couldn't see a highly paid lawyer in an expensive suit cruising around in them.

'At least it means my jeans and sneakers aren't a problem, " she thought.

As Russell knew the way to room twenty-eight, she let him take point as he moved in front of her. She doubted anything was planning to jump out at her, but knew he was upset that he wasn't able to protect her during the last attack. If letting him take point in the hallways helped with that, she was fine following along.

'And in all fairness, I didn't expect the last attack either, ' Ivy thought. She glanced over at Alex, who was peering down corridors almost as intently as Russell. 'Maybe paranoia is contagious.' She tried not to let their wariness cause her nerves to jump. Even with her earlier fear, her insides were beginning to settle down. Despite Emma's questioning, things were flowing along in a more or less expected manor and it was helping her to settle.

Their little group made it to the research room without anything jumping out at them and Ivy felt herself start to relax a bit more. While the door looked as plain as all of the other doors they passed, bolted into the center of it was a brass plate with the number twenty eight etched into it. The brass gleamed smartly under the hallway lights.

'At least something is the same, ' Ivy thought as she reached for the knob, turned it and opened the door.

'I spoke too soon, ' she thought as she stepped inside.

On all of her previous visits, the room looked more or less the same. The center of the room held a large wooden table with two library chairs placed on either side. In the back of the room there were two comfortable reading chairs in case whoever was working didn't want to sit at the table. There were small side tables set next to each of the reading chairs, capable of holding a cup of coffee, but little else.

Between the two reading chairs was a small coffee table. There was little space for much else in the room. When Ivy requested a white board on her last visit, Fig brought something roughly the size of a standard school chalkboard. When rolled in it served as a room divider, completely blocking view of the reading chairs from the wooden work table.

"This is new, " Ivy said as she looked into the room. She glanced at the door to make certain the brass plate was still labeled twenty-eight. It was. 'Which meant that my research room has been modified.'

"Is it me or is the room bigger?" Russell asked as the three of them stepped inside. Alex closed the door against potential attackers while they looked over the changes.

"Much bigger, " Ivy said. She wasn't entirely certain how the room got bigger, but it was definitely more spacious. Instead of dividing the room a new whiteboard, the same size as the old one was placed off to the side. There was easily room to walk around it. The first white board was broken when Vlad broke through the assistant's door, but Ivy thought this one was its twin, right down to the pack of dry erase markers and board eraser. She glanced at the wall panel.

Vlad bent it completely out of shape before breaking through, but before she left, the Teds repaired it leaving only a slight dent to show anything happened to it. It only needed a little retouch with the paint. While she was gone someone did the cosmetic work, and managed to get the last of the dents removed and the panel was now fitted seamlessly into the wall.

The wooden worktable was roughly the same size as before, but instead of being a plain wooden topped table, it looked more like a large dining table. The sturdy legs curved gracefully and an egg and dart border was carved around the edges. Instead of the expected pine, the table looked like it was made of mahogany. There were now four chairs around the table instead of two.

'And the chairs have padded seats instead of plain wooden bottoms, ' Ivy realized. 'At least my rear end won't go numb if I spend too long researching.'

She looked past the work table and saw the reading chairs also multiplied. Four comfortable reading chairs were now grouped around a marble topped coffee table. Each chair had a matching side table. While they too were now topped with marble, they were still only large enough to hold a cup of coffee.

To the left of the grouping of reading chairs a wooden sideboard was placed. A silver tray filled with pastries was placed on the top of the side board. Next to it was a silver insulated coffee carafe and a second silver tray filled with items needed to doctor the coffee. Ivy was amused to see a glass bottle of milk placed in what looked like a champagne bucket of ice next to the crystal jar filled with silver spoons. It was hard to make the simple accoutrements to a regular cup of coffee look elegant but someone certainly tried. In a line next to the coffee were several white ceramic coffee cups, each with their own saucer.

While the coffee service was unexpected, the biggest change, however, was at the back of the room. Somehow, a fireplace was moved into the space and now looked built into the back wall as though it had always been there. It looked old and made of soot stained stone. The mantel piece was a heavy wood that matched the work table. In the grate, a fire burned merrily and a basket of logs was placed off to the side so it could be replenished. Ivy studied the fire and realized it was real and not an illusion of some kind. She wasn't exactly sure what sort of magics went into creating it, sensing earth and air magics mixed in with the fire magic, but saw something similar in the entry chamber leading to the vampire archives.

"I guess you've been

makes sense if it is an index, ' Ivy thought. From the bottom of the cart Fig took a thick roll of what looked like blueprints.

"That looks like a tree trunk, " Russell said. "What did you ask Fig to find?"

"I told him to go looking for any spare tree trunks lurking around, " Ivy said.

Fig looked up at her concerned.

"A joke, " she assured him. "Are these the schematics I did ask for?" she asked as he set the thick roll down on the table. It was nearly three feet in length and almost a foot in diameter. The roll was bound together by what looked like two belts and Ivy couldn't even begin to guess how many pages were in the roll. Attached to one of the belts was a tag. Ivy lifted it and read.

"Archival overview, " Ivy read. "Excellent starting place Fig, " she said, feeling as though she needed to apologize for her joke. Beside her Russell chuckled and shook his head.

"This is a great start, " Ivy said to her assistant, ignoring her husband. "If you could see if the archives have anything on Colin Morgan that would be great, otherwise I think we are set for the moment."

Fig nodded and indicated the sideboard again before he left. While she guessed it was a 'help yourself' kind of gesture, Ivy wondered if anyone would be offended if she didn't partake. While Fig may have put the food together, Jane seemed upset about Hamilton not offering coffee and food the day before. Ivy suspected it was protocol to make refreshments available, she didn't know what protocol said about those who refused to consume them.

"Do golems get offended?" Ivy asked as she crossed the room and poured herself a cup of coffee. The scent of the rich brew filled the room. As Ivy doctored her cup, Russell and Alex each took one of the offered pastries.

"I'll let you know after I start reading, " Alex told her.

"How can you even be hungry after that breakfast?" she asked.

Russell shrugged. "High metabolism."

"You don't have to be hungry to eat pastry, " Alex told her. "It's just there so you eat it. And these are very good."

Ivy shook her head and took her coffee back to the table. "I think I'll wait until the giant omelet settles."

Alex shrugged, stuck one of the pastries into his mouth and poured himself a cup of coffee. "Try not to get crumbs in the books, " Ivy warned him as he placed his coffee beside one of the reading chairs and went for the stack of golem based books Fig brought in.

"I'm sorry there isn't much for you to do, " Ivy said looking at Russell.

He shrugged. "I'm okay with being bored, " he told her. "It beats the alternative. Besides, I came prepared."

"Prepared?" Ivy asked.

"In your bag, " he said moving over to her laptop bag. "I dropped my tablet in and I made sure to stock it with several books so I can keep myself occupied while you work."

"Because there is nothing else you need to do?" Ivy said.

Russell snorted. "Like I'm leaving you alone down here."

"Hey, " Alex protested looking up from the first of the golem books. "I'm here."

"Danny was here last time too, " Russell said. He pulled his tablet from the bag and stalked over to the sideboard. He picked up one of the pastries and then flopped down in the reading chair across from Alex. He stretched his long legs out in front of them wiggling his feet under the coffee table. "You just do what you need to do, " he told her.

"Mostly what I need to do is wait for Hamilton to tell me he's figured out the special wording to make the golems like him again, " Ivy said. Even as she spoke, she moved to the large wooden table. "But I do have things to keep me occupied."

"Good, " Alex said without looking up from his book. "Because I doubt Hamilton will come up with anything soon."

"Oh?" Ivy said.

"Usually golems are one owner creations. After the owner dies or decides he doesn't want them anymore, they are destroyed. The fact that Theodore created ones that could be passed down is a minor miracle."

"I guess that explains why Emma was worried, " Ivy said. "Not that she'll admit it."

"It also might make Hamilton's quest more of a fool's errand, " Alex said.

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