Wizard Cops (in color)
rating: +5+x

My name is Les Woodrow, I'm a detective working for the Arcane Investigations Special Police Squad. Recently, there had been an outbreak of mages summoning powerful succubi, and setting them loose on officials and investigators alike. Unfortunately, I've been assigned to tracking down affiliates of the Mage's Academy who are practising unlawful magics instead.

"Good morning, Detective Woodrow. I'd like to see you in my office." Les looked up at his boss, a broad shouldered man with a powerful collection of bone structures. Chief Fleischer had many notable qualities, but among the most referenced was the magnificence of his beard. It was as bushy as it was made of fire, and the crackling orange flames dancing off of his chin made sure you knew that it was certainly not made of anything else. Les stood up carefully, putting down his mug of internal monologues, and followed his boss into the square room.

"Now, Woodrow," the Chief of magical police began. "There's been a murder. I'll need you to take your sorry rear end down to the Freising University immediately."

Les rolled his eyes. He'd miss lunch. His gluteus maximus, cursed the other week to be vocal, apologised for Les' rudeness. "I don't suppose I'd be able to take this assignment on my own?"

"I'm afraid not Les, you've been assigned a partner. You'll be taking a new recruit from the Foundation with you."

"What was wrong with my old partner?"

"Ulthrike the Almighty, dread behemoth of the deep, quit the force. Getting too old for this, apparently." The chief shrugged his shoulders, and then shrugged Les' shoulders just for good measure.

"I swear he's immortal."

"Be that as it may, Detective Robertson will meet you in your car."

True to the chief's words, the fresh faced and overly serious man manifested inside of my vehicle just as I was turning onto the Bundesautobahn 92. Naturally, I offered him a cigarette on arrival.

"I don't smoke." Robertson said after a moment. Les glanced at the man, and sure enough he was not currently emitting soot.

"Ah, I apologise. Would you like a cigarette?"

"Thank you."

Les tried to keep his focus on the road ahead of him. "So, what's your name? If we're going to be working together we may as well get to know each other."

"Riley Robertson, thaumatology specialist."

"You know, the Foundation should stop trying to mix science and magic." Les glanced over his shoulder as he changed lanes, choosing instead a nice carpet over the harsh asphalt that had been there before. "I'm afraid that you're going to be quite out of your depth if you keep clinging to such notions."

"I shall do my best, Detective Woodrow."

A few more minutes of driving took them into the trees, and once they'd recovered from the crash they were well on the way to the academy. The building was coated in a nest of turrets and towers of many different shapes and qualities. One tower in particular was in the process of falling over as they arrived; the destination of their venture. From the report given to them by the local dean, the tower had been locked with all people inside. This should make it easier to find the culprit.

The case as it had been handed to me was rather unusual. Not a simple magical murder, which some colleges actually encourage as a method of encouraging students to take up abjuration classes, rather the victim had been murdered in secret, and then had their corpse raised as a thrall. The only people who could've done such a thing would be the two other people currently residing in the decades decommissioned west wing. Before any of this however, we visited the scene of the crime.

Les beat down the smoldering flame spell from his left arm as his partner took to the corpse to smother the fire before it spread too much. It was a little surprising to see the thrall still moving when they arrived. It was even more surprising when it kept talking afterwards.

"Alright keep your hair on, I get the message. No funny business." Robertson replaced the toupee that he had been using to to damp the fire upon his head. Woodrow put away the comedy props.

"Good evening sir. Would you be able to inform me of the identity of your murderer?" Riley asked after a moment. The thrall turned the remains of its head towards the question, and even without a face remaining Les could tell it was vastly unimpressed.

"First day on the job, is it?"

"How could you possibly tell?"

"For starters, it's written all over your face." Riley looked in the nearest pane of glass, and sure enough there were sharpie marks plastered covering his nose and brow. He turned to his partner incredulously, and saw Les holding a distinct crystalline object in the rough shape of a pen.

"Magic marker." He responded.

"But also, it's pretty basic stuff to know that a thrall ain't the same guy as the body he lives in."

Detective Woodrow stepped forwards to the thrall for his own questions.

"Could you tell us the identity of your summoner then?"

"How am I supposed to know one idiot mage from the next?" The thrall attempted to spit on the ground, but he lacked the glands to do so. "Some kinda blue robed man."

Les nodded, and scribbled something onto his notepad. "Were you conjured in this building?"

"Downstairs, some kind of dungeon going on."

"Interesting." The sound of Les' pen again filled the room. "Do you mind if I examine the body?"

The thrall indicated that it was happy to accommodate the investigation, and Les passed his notebook to Riley. Riley examined the book, and found a rather fabulous sketch of a sandwich robbing graves.

Les cast his eyes about the body quickly and carefully. He plucked and examined a thread from the un-corpse's fingernails. It was a light blue hue. He pocketed it with a smile. "Right, I think we're done here. I'll go talk to the witnesses, you perform the exorcism."

Our two witnesses in question were both students of the School of Evocation, taking up residence in the now abandoned wing while they worked on their final project together with the deceased. Since they knew each other personally, I decided to interview them together.

"So, for the sake of the recording charm, please state your names." Les watched the two men carefully as he prepared to ask them questions. They were almost identical in ways that would imply either a close familial or magical connection between them, or a really uncreative flesh mage. They both had roughly rectangular faces, with tight upper lips and even tighter brows. The pair did have distinctions however, one was short and one was tall. One was fat and one was thin. One was currently glowing bright purple, and the other was not.

"I am Alexys Todbringer," the taller man said.

"My name is Dietrich Achtung," the luminous man said.

Les nodded once to both of the men, politely ignoring the ridiculous and obviously false surnames. "Alright. Can you please tell me what you were working on with our victim?"

"We were attempting to marry the powers of Evocation and Conjuration, so that we might make it possible to summon non-physical entities and familiars." Alexys responded after a moments consideration.

"Very difficult," Les nodded understandingly. "Had you prepared a vicar in advance?"

Both men looked quizzically at the detective.

"I think you misunderstand my associate," it was Dietrich's turn to speak, taking time with his words to ensure he was understood. "There was no vicar involved in this process."

"Oh of course, a christian wedding would be completely unworkable."


"Jewish then? Associations with Kabbalah would make it ideal."

Both interviewees nodded in unison. Dietrich's glowing hue shifted towards the orange spectrum.

"Back to the matter at hand. What would you gentlemen say your relationships were to the deceased?"

Once again, Alexys was the first to speak, leaning in towards his interviewer.

"To be quite honest, Iskandar was unpleasant as conjurers can be. A very rude man who I wouldn't hesitate to eliminate from the equation if not for his relevant expertise."

Les then leant towards Dietrich to hear his opinion.

"Iskander was a liar and a thief. He stole the heart of my former lover and told me she had run away. I only found out that he had taken her internal organs a week later."

Individually, this information might've been more use. When Les considered both however, it was almost as useful as if they'd said nothing at all. The detective stood up from his seat and ended the recording his attractive attitude had been taking.

"I shall have detective Robertson take your alibis in the morning, for now I suggest we all hit the sack. I'll have to ask that neither of you leave the academy grounds until this is all over."

A levitation ban was perhaps more strict than necessary, but frankly Les had had enough of suspects floating out of his reach as he was about to convict them.

One exhausting night of hessian pugilism later, Robertson was gathering information in the university. I decided the best thing to do was to pay a visit to the on-campus bagel shop. I had ordered ham and stilton on poppyseed, and was waiting for it when I spotted an all too familiar face in the line behind me.

"Delightful replication charm, Alexys," Les chuckled politely at his reflection.

"You do live up to the job, Detective Woodrow." The tall man nodded his head in return as he dropped the illusion, revealing his true form from blue socked toes to blue hooded head.

"Please, Detective Woodrow was my father. Call me Detective Les Woodrow."

Les took his bagel from the server, a rotund man with a hole in his midsection, and followed Alexys outside. As he stood there adjusting to the sunlight, Les wondered if Alexys had something to talk to him about.

"I have something I need to talk to you about," said Alexys, looking furtively over his shoulder. "There's something Dietrich isn't telling you."

"Well spit it out then." Les barked behind his bulging bagel. He had no time for nonsense.

Obliging, Alexys coughed up a small silver key. Les took a napkin and carefully picked it off the floor.

"That will let you into the dungeon under the Evocation department, I would suggest you investigate it thoroughly."

"What are we expecting to find down here?" Robertson was following behind, cautiously holding the lit torch away from his face. Possibly an overreaction with the advent of electric lighting, but to each their own. Les was too busy with his internal monologue to notice.

"It's probably a storeroom or something, but if that thrall was created here then there's probably some traces of magic still in the area." Les inserted the key into the stout wooden door, and slowly pushed it open. "Huh, wasn't locked."

The pair of detectives entered the dank room, and immediately it was clear that this was no ordinary cellar. The walls were covered in splashes of blood and the tools of torture. The floor was marred by deep concentric channels, centred on a pile of discoloured skulls. The air was thick with the scent of iron and that crackling feeling that surrounds impressive magic stuff. Robertson had to take a moment in the corner to empty his stomach, after all he needed to make room for dessert. Les took a few minutes to give the room a cursory examination.

"Looks like a pretty standard necromancy lab, we won't get much from this." The younger detective started his own sweep, before Les reminded him it was bad form to clean up a potential crime scene.

"I thought raising the dead was illegal?"

"Eh, probably. But it's not our jurisdiction." Les turned then to the back of the room, examining a dusty old desk that had once been home to a computer, as evidenced by the computer shaped disturbance in the piles of dirt and the sticky note declaring that the computer was out for repair. Instead of there being a computer on the desk then, a solitary thumb drive sat motionless on the surface, as one would expect for an inanimate piece of electronic hardware.

"Charmingly on-brand," Les said as he retrieved the modified digit. "Riley, you bring your laptop?"

In short order the macabre memory stick was loading its data for the detectives to read, and they poured over its contents carefully. Luckily it was a waterproof laptop. They passed over photographs and audio recordings, as well as an old shopping list that was probably left in by mistake.

"Alexys said this would be interesting," Robertson commented as he watched the footage of a glowing man thoroughly unburying a body.

"I think we have all the information we need, would you be so kind as to gather the suspects?"

"Where to?"

"Where else? To the Denouement Parlour!"

It only took a few minutes for the suspects to get together. Honestly I wasn't expecting a cover of 'Bad Case of Loving You', but it killed some time as we waited for Dietrich and Alexys to arrive. Chief Fleischer decided to drop by as well to see how Riley was getting on.

Les paced at the front of the room, in the designated pacing zone, as he collected his final thoughts.

"Gentlemen, thank you for gathering today." He looked at the two students, both holding baskets of fruits and nuts. "Please take a seat."

Robertson stood behind the students alongside a sergeant, ready to make the arrest as soon as Les finished expositing his reasoning. With a curt nod from his superior, Les ceased his pacing and moved to the dedicated debriefing pedestal in the centre of the room.

"Earlier this week, we were called here to investigate the murder of your fellow student Iskander. I believe that after two thousand, three hundred and thirty-nine words of combined exposition, dialogue, and description, I believe I have deduced who our culprit is."

The students shifted in their seats uncomfortably, Dietrich shifted from his neutral cyan glow to a more alarming ochre. After a moment of silence Alexys spoke up for the pair of them.

"Are you going to tell us, or just stand there posturing?"

Les considered the question for a moment, before deciding that unveiling the murderer was probably more important than his yoga routine. It would probably make concluding this investigation a bit easier.

"Very well, you see me and Detective Robertson received a startling and informative piece of evidence regarding one of our suspects this afternoon. With the data contained, I can reveal that our suspect is..!"

For one moment, the room was silent, Robertson's eyes darted between the students, Dietrich almost stopped glowing entirely, Chief Fleischer's eyebrows furrowed intently, The Suspects paused halfway through a bar of 'Living on a Prayer'.

"Alexys! Sergeant, lock 'im up!" Les proclaimed loudly. The sergeant was upon tall man in an instant, and in a moment he was in cuffs, then in another moment in shackles, and three or four moments later was bound up in a very official looking sarcophagus. Robertson nodded to the sergeant before walking over to Les.

"Good man, that Sergeant Lockimup," the older detective mused. "What can I do for you, Riley?"

"Forgive me, I'm afraid I'm slightly lost as to how you came to the conclusion that Mr. Todbringer was our culprit. Didn't the flash drive we received concern Mr. Achtung?"

Les smirked as he took a printed sheet of paper from his pocket.

"A clever ruse. Do you remember when we were examining the body, and I located a dark navy thread beneath his fingernails?"

"It would match either of our suspects' robes, this hardly seems conclusive."

Despite Robertson's protests, Les continued to smile as he handed over the piece of paper. He clapped the confused man on the shoulder, and stepped past him to talk to the chief of magic police. Riley looked at the note to see it was a printed document, the personal shopping list from the flash drive alongside the supposed evidence, and highlighted in red was a note to pick up some fresh dark navy socks, fitted for larger feet.

"Well done Detective." Chief Fleischer nodded his approval as he lit a cigar on his beard. "I'll be sure to inform the commissioner of your success, I assume your partner wasn't too troublesome?"

"Not at all." Les lit himself a cigarette, though it took a more dedicated effort to light it on a beard not made from fire. "In fact he was a huge help throughout the investigation. I believe he has the potential to go far."

"Well, I'm sure there's no better man on the force for him to learn from."

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