Representations: Theodore Nott; Flynn Carsen; Excalibur
Bonus Challenges: Bee Haven
Prompts: Librarian (auction); Crown (365 words); Library (Insane Prompts)
Word count: 2,147
"What makes you think you could be the Librarian?"
Theo hesitated for a few moments. He didn't know. He didn't really know anything about what was going on, just that he had received a letter telling him to come and apply for the position of librarian. He certainly hadn't imagined the ridiculously long line of applicants he had encountered upon entering the Metropolitan Public Library.
It had taken over an hour and a half just for him to get into this room with the scary lady and her strange question. As he sat in silence, her glare intensified, and Theo started fearing for the pencil she was holding.
"Well," he started, "I know a lot of things about a lot of things."
His small huff of laughter quickly died away when he noticed that she did not look amused. He jumped when she suddenly called out, "Next!"
"Wait, no!" Theo didn't know why he was now so determined to get the job when before he hadn't really cared, but he was. Perhaps it wasn't even the job, it was that he wanted to please the scary lady. "I can be a good librarian. I know how to organise things, I can learn new systems quickly, and you can be sure that I won't leave until I've finished all of my work.'
"That's all very well, Mister Nott, but I'm afraid you don't quite fit what we're looking for. Next!"
Theo nodded glumly and collected his satchel from where he had plonked it on the ground when he sat down. The man coming in after him looked just as confused as he was and Theo silently wished him luck. He steadily made his way down the spiral staircase past the multitude of other applicants, and thought about what he would do now.
It wasn't as if he couldn't return to university and learn yet another new thing, but his father was becoming rather insistent on Theo joining the family business if he didn't find himself his own job. Theo didn't want to follow in his father's footsteps. He wanted to see the world and discover new things; not sit in an office and slaughter the competition in the stock market.
With a sigh, he glanced around the library and then pushed open the doors that led outside. As he walked away, he found himself suddenly wishing that he had been what they had wanted. It would have been nice to be surrounded by books all day long. He would have been able to see the new ones that came in and the old ones that stayed locked away until someone needed them.
It would have been marvellous. The Metropolitan Public Library had so much information stored in it that it would have been a dream come true for Theo—not that he had known that before he had stepped foot in the office and been refused a job there. Maybe he'd find another library and see if they wanted him. It wouldn't be quite the same, but it might be enough.
It had the added bonus of giving him a reason to refuse his father's increasingly annoying daily offers as well. With a determined nod to himself, Theo lengthened his stride and returned home to then quickly work on his resume and highlight all the things he thought might be important to a library.
Theo looked up when someone stopped at his desk and blinked when he realised he recognised the man standing in front of him. It was the man who had been behind him in the line all those months ago for the position of Librarian at the Metropolitan Public Library. The man grinned and held out his hand.
"Hi, I'm Flynn Carsen. I hear you're an expert in Arthurian mythology."
Theo shrugged slightly after he shook Flynn's hand. "Not really, it just interested me at the time and so I did a few courses on it."
"Well, it turns out that you are just the man I need."
"You need to find a specific book on mythology that the Metropolitan Public Library can't find?" Theo asked, raising an eyebrow.
Flynn shook his head. "Not exactly. You see, I have a sword—well, the Library has a sword—that is believed to be Excalibur and there's a rumour that if you have the crown of King Arthur as well as Excalibur, you can claim allegiance of Excalibur forever."
"Why do you need me if you already know so much about it?"
"Well…" Flynn trailed off and smiled apologetically. "I can't really tell you that. I can tell you that the fate of the world rests in your hands."
Theo felt the sudden urge to drop his head onto his desk and thump it a few times. "You have got to be kidding me. Were you this dramatic before you were given the job of librarian at the Metropolitan or is this just what happens when you work in a large library?"
"A bit of both, probably."
"I am now so thankful that I didn't get that job," Theo whispered to himself and Flynn winked at him—clearly having heard his mutter.
"What do you say? Want to help stop the world from falling under the shadow of a secret organisation that wants to bring magic back?"
Theo blinked. That was a lot of information that made almost zero sense and hadn't Flynn just said that he couldn't tell Theo anything about why he needed the other librarian's help? He glanced over at his half-full tray of returned books he had to put back.
"Fine," he agreed. "But only after I've put these books back."
"The fate of the world, Theodore! You're going to risk the world on a few books?"
Theo glared at the man. "Yes," he clipped out. "I can't just leave them there waiting. It'll distract me until I can come back and deal with them and you don't want the fate of the world to rest in the hands of a distracted librarian, do you?"
Flynn's mouth clicked shut and he looked thoughtfully at the trolley. "Want some help?"
"Considering the fate of the world is in my hands and I need to do this quickly? Sure."
Theo became more thankful that he hadn't gotten the job of Librarian at the Metropolitan Public Library when he was dragged across the globe by a cheerful Flynn Carsen while being shot at by what seemed to be quintessential bad guys that belonged to a secret organisation intent on bringing ruin to the world. Or at least, their version of paradise which was actually ruin to everyone else.
He was even more grateful when a sword came flying at him of its own accord. It hadn't even been thrown by someone! It had been lying on the floor and then suddenly flew up and aimed straight for him. If this was what Flynn's life was like, Theo could understand how he was the man he was. When you thought of a librarian, you did not think of a man gallivanting across the globe and collecting ancient artefacts that shouldn't even exist!
Theo's entire world was crumbling around him as he learned that the flying sword was the actual Excalibur and they were looking for the actual crown of King Arthur that actually had the power the grant Excalibur's allegiance. As he rattled from one dangerous situation to another, Theodore could only be glad that he had returned the books to their proper places on the shelves at his own, much quieter, library. If he had died with them still on the trolley, he would never be able to rest peacefully.
"This is insane!" he yelled over to Flynn who was hiding behind a rock opposite him while they tried to avoid the hail of bullets.
Flynn just gave him a wild grin. "I know!"
The bullets stopped and the two librarians peered over their rocks to see what had happened. The bad guys—according to Flynn, they claimed the Serpent Brotherhood as their name—were all standing quietly. Their guns were still aimed at the hiding place of the librarians, but they were no longer firing. A woman stepped forward and addressed the hiding men.
"Surely you see by now that you have no choice but to hand over Excalibur and lead us to where King Arthur's crown lays."
Theo glanced over at Flynn who shook his head. They wouldn't be giving up. Theo groaned softly to himself and let his head thunk against the rock that had once been a column and was now his shield. He stared up at the temple ceiling and let his brain whizz through all of the possibilities. Without even realising he was doing it, he also started cataloguing the various imperfections on the ceiling.
He sat up quickly when he realised that some of the imperfections weren't imperfections at all, but a map. With hurried looks, he cast his gaze around the stone walls—searching for the signs that the ceiling had revealed to him. Flynn watched him and Theo signalled for the other man to be ready.
With a quick gesture, Theo called Excalibur to him—he had grown used to the sword during their travels and the sword in return seemed to have become attached to Theo—and pointed to where he now knew lay a secret passage. Excalibur whizzed towards it and struck the small lump that was a button. Immediately, Theo lunged for Flynn and pulled them both into the darkness beyond the wall.
It wasn't a full darkness, they soon noticed as the wall snapped shut behind them. A few feet away there stood a pedestal with a crown resting atop it. The crown shed a blue light that was mirrored by Excalibur a few moments later. Flynn stared in wonder at the sword.
"I didn't know you could do that."
Excalibur rose up and down in the air in a semblance of a shrug and floated to the crown. Behind them, thuds started to reverberate the secret door as the Serpent Brotherhood attempted to get in. They were ignored as the two librarians walked carefully to the pedestal—eyes scanning the area for booby-traps.
Theo looked down at the crown. He hadn't thought it had existed a few days ago and now here it was, shining with a magic that had long ago left the world. Excalibur nudged him forward and he stumbled as he tried not to fall over.
"What did you do that for?" he asked the sword. "Flynn's the Librarian, you should be pushing him to get the crown."
Flynn shook his head slowly. "No, I think Excalibur's right. And when you think about it, you're a librarian too."
"But I'm not your type of librarian. I'm an actual librarian! With books and stuff!"
"Still a librarian. And I don't think the crown wants me to wear it."
"Crowns can have opinions now?" Flynn gave him a level look and Excalibur hit him flat-bladed on the arm. Theo grimaced. Right, if swords could be sentient, why not crowns?
With a heavy sigh, Theo glanced around the small chamber once again and then carefully lifted the crown off the pedestal and placed it on his head. The blue glow from the crown extended down his body as the glow from Excalibur reached towards him and mingled with the blue already there. Soon after, the glow faded completely and they were left in utter darkness.
"You think you could bring back the light?" Flynn's voice asked.
Theo didn't know but he guessed it didn't hurt to try. "Uh… Excalibur? Light, please?"
Excalibur lit up again. That answered one question at least. Theo had the ability to ask Excalibur to shed light. A louder thump directed their attention back to the secret door and they could see that it was starting to crumble.
"We have to get out of here!" Flynn said, looking around for another exit.
Panicking and not really thinking about what he was doing, Theo asked, "Excalibur, is there another way out?"
Excalibur hummed and zipped away from them to show a crevice high on the ceiling that would only be reachable by the sword itself. The sword sank into the crevice until it was half-submerged and they heard a slight click before another, smaller, secret door opened. Theo and Flynn both thanked Excalibur and then proceeded to scramble into the corridor that had been revealed.
Theo stared in utter amazement at the world Flynn had just revealed to him. Attached to the Metropolitan Public Library was another one. The Library was filled with artefacts from myths and legends. Things that the world thought only existed in stories. This was what he had been interviewed for when he had been told to apply for the position of Librarian.
"Wow," was all he could say.
Flynn laughed. "I know right?"