Now that the sense of magic had dulled to a dim background noise, she could take stock of the room's contents. Her eyes roamed over the book-strewn worktables, the glassware full of liquids in various colors, the antique scales, potions, drying herbs, laden bookshelves, the candles that flickered with enchanted flames… It looked like a mage's sanctuary.

She walked over to the worktable and let her hand trail gently over the books stacked haphazardly on its surface. With great care, so as not to be overwhelmed as she was when she first stepped into the basement, she opened a chink in the wall of her mind's eye. Glowing ribbons of magical energy, bringing to mind the auroral displays that frequented the Earth's poles, flared up around the tomes as she focused on each in turn. Even without reading the titles, she realized they must be spell books and marveled that one person would have collected so many.

Emily flipped the pages of the books that were opened and skimmed their contents but they were all written in languages she couldn't understand. Absentmindedly biting her lip, she wandered toward the overladen bookshelves. Again, she trailed her hand over the books. This time, the power emanating from some of the books she touched gave off a biting chill so cold that it almost seemed to burn her fingertips. She sealed away her talent again, closing it behind the wall in her mind, and the stinging sensation eased.

Brushing her fingers against the soft fabric of her worn jeans to rid herself of the lingering chill that clung to them, she paused on one of the books that had elicited the reaction and read the spine. The Latin title was one she recognized from one of her demonology classes in university. It was supposedly the grimoire of an infamous warlock that practiced black magic back in the nineteenth century. There weren't supposed to be any copies of it in circulation. As she had learned, they had all been rounded up and destroyed. How had Edmond managed to come across a copy of it?

Emily skimmed over the titles of a few more books and recognized some of them from various paranormal classes she'd taken over the years. Many were reputed to be very rare. She tapped her chin in thought as she ran an appraising eye over the other books scattered around the basement. Edmond certainly had quite the collection.

On the middle bookshelf, she came upon a text whose spine seemed well worn. The book hadn't even been fully replaced on the shelf. Edmond obviously consulted this volume a lot. She started to pull it from the shelf but then something mechanical clicked inside the bookcase and she pulled her hand from the volume as if were live wire.

With the scraping rasp of wood against wood, the middle bookcase began to rotate.

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34 Responses to “The Monster and the Maiden: Ch. 06, Part I”

  1. Trine says:

    Fantastic πŸ˜†

  2. Kara says:

    Thank you so much, Trine! This one is kind of wordy (yes, even a bit more wordy than my usual stuff…haha) but it's important to getting to know Emily's point of view and to setting the stage for the next part. I'm glad you enjoyed it. πŸ™‚

  3. E. Black says:

    I can't wait to see what Emily finds back there because I don't think we've seen what's behind that bookshelf have we? Also those outtakes are nice. I especially love the last one.

  4. Cadie says:

    This chapter has made me love Emily even more and I agree with E. Black, the last outtake shot is just pure bliss.

  5. Kara says:

    I'm glad you both liked the outtakes. I had too much fun with them.

    E. Black: Yep, you're right. What's behind the bookshelf is still a mystery. πŸ˜‰ I think there are only a few more rooms that I haven't shown in one way or another.

    Cadie: I'm glad! I thought it would be nice to get to know Emily a bit since most of the story has been shown through Edmond's eyes so far. She certainly is something else. haha

  6. Kim says:

    Omg! These stories are so interesting! Please make more! When will the next one be out?

  7. Kara says:

    Thank you, Kim! I don't have a set schedule for when I post my stories as I never seem to be able to stick to it. All I can say is it'll be out when it's out. πŸ˜‰

  8. Trina says:

    :up: Ah! How could you leave us hanging like that!

    I am thoroughly enjoying this story Kara. I really like the lighting you use. I tried to use the radiance mod from MTS but it made everything too dark but I see it works beautifully for you!

  9. Erica says:

    Simply Wonderful…I can't wait to see what happens next.

  10. Kara says:

    Trina: I know…I'm evil. πŸ˜‰

    Have you tried the newest version of the Radiance Mod? I used to think it made the game too dark too, but I really like the newer version.

    Erica: Thank you! I'm keeping my lips sealed. πŸ˜‰

  11. Cheripye822 says:

    Beautiful outtakes, beautiful writing. And HAHA Emily broke in, lol!
    Now where is her husband??? lol! I was chuckling the whole way through especially after her diary entry. Although I am a bit worried that she doesnt feel for Edmond, *swoon* as he does her. 80)

    On a seperate note, do you mind if I link to your story on my blog page?

  12. Kara says:

    I'd be honored if you linked my story, Cheri. Thank you! πŸ˜€

    I'm really glad you enjoyed this chapter so much. I've been excited to work on it for awhile now. As for whether or not Emily feels as strongly for him as he does for her…well, she's a bit upset at Edmond at the moment. She hates feeling that she's been made a fool of or being treated like a little girl. She has no way of knowing that he's trying to protect her. Beyond that, I'm not saying a word. πŸ˜‰

  13. Lani says:

    Great writing Kara. One of your best, I think. And a nice cliffhanger. I kept wondering when (hello!) a certain somebody would arrive home.

  14. Kara says:

    Thank you, Lani! I hope you're doing well. πŸ™‚

    I felt a little mean ending it where I did, but there was really no other part I could split the chapter in two. (I write the complete chapters and then split them up after I'm done.) Oh, well, a little added suspense. πŸ˜›

  15. Gayl says:

    Loved the outtakes! haha those were just wonderful.

    Now to Miss Emily's curiosity…no matter how smitten Edmond is with her, breaking in is not something I think he will tolerate much. That and the fact that someone has figured out what is going on with his security system. I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't consider moving…

    I loved how Emily set up her surveillance. She must have shown incredible restraint not to drive herself mad wondering what he did when he was gone. She may say she wants to get to the bottom of the magic that is going on at his place but methinks she doth protest too much! Come on, she can't be immune to his charms…

    Wonderful update as always! I am in such awe at your work, images and writing.

  16. Belle says:

    You story is wonderful! And your pictures are so atmospheric. Text are good too, but english isn't my native language and I can't understand it well. Anyway, I love read to your story. :XO:

  17. Decorgal says:

    Ack- I don't remember getting an email for this one so I'm glad I checked your blog. πŸ™‚

    This was certainly an intriguing chapter- I like how Emily's personality from youth translated to her as an adult. She seemed like a troublemaker then and she still is now (in a good way of course). I'll tell you again and again till my face turns blue- your sets are so phenomenal. They really do carry you into another world altogether.

  18. Kara says:

    Gayl: Emily is a handful, that's for sure. Thank you so much for the kind words. They are very inspiring especially since I'm having such a hard time with the second part of this chapter. haha

    Belle: Thank you! Even if you can't understand all the words, I'm glad you're still enjoying the story. πŸ˜€

    Decorgal: Yeah, sometimes Feedblitz seems to send out emails erratically. Sometimes I get them and sometimes I don't. Email programs are frustrating (as you know! haha).

    Emily is fun to write. And, you're spot on about her–her trouble-making ways followed her from a child to an adult. It seems like Edmond doesn't know her as well as he thinks he does. And thanks so much for compliment! I really have fun with my sets even if they take me forever and a day to decorate. πŸ˜‰

  19. Erica says:

    Hey Kara..I was wondering will Emily's brothers make an appearance? I would love to see them all grown up. :XO:

  20. Kara says:

    Hi, Erica. They will be making a small cameo appearance in the future, but I'm not saying when. πŸ˜‰

  21. Reyoko says:

    Your descriptions are wonderful and amazing as always. :XO: I'm amazed at how you are able to describe so much yet have it sound interesting and worth reading. If I wrote so much of descriptions, I'm sure to have put my readers to sleep already. ::-*: Heh.

    I'm very curious as to what's hidden behind the shelves, but I'll find out soon enough. There is one thing I'm curious of… Emily's not really engaged, is she? I just have this feeling in the pit of my stomach that's saying she is not engaged. She lied didn't she?! 😑 So much for my Rafe x Edmond…!

  22. karen says:

    Hi, i've been lurking around for sometimes. Hmm, i just had to say something this time. Emily is just stubborn!! Well, i'll be upset too if anyone try to doubt or make me doubt my memories. Edward is gorgeous in his own brooding demented way!

  23. Kara says:

    Reyoko: Thank you! I'm glad I'm not overdoing my descriptions. That's always a fear of mine. I think some description can add to the richness of a story but too much can bog it down. It seems like balancing act sometimes!

    As ever, my lips are sealed tight about future events in the story. But I do enjoy reading everyone's speculations!

    Karen: Welcome and thank you! You're so right! Emily is stubborn. If she were an animal, I believe she'd be a mule or a donkey. haha! Hmm…that makes me wonder, what type of animal would Edmond be? I'm going to have to think about it. πŸ™‚

  24. Beth says:

    First I have to say that I adore "curiousity killed the cat, satisfaction brought it back." and why don't they return? maybe satisfaction is on the cat's terms…

    I loved the shot and the scene where Emily is researching the camera footage. The changes in her expression, the difference in the lighting and even the hair..just wonderful!

    And the entire sequence…she is so stubborn and so intent and so determined to do it on her own. Edmond and the mysteries surrounding him, and Edmond the person, and whether the two can be separated.

    I love where you're taking this. slowly. on little cat feet.

  25. Kara says:

    Thank you, Beth! I'm so excited for the next chapter (even though it's been hard taking pictures for it).

    And, you're so right, Emily is very determined to prove herself. I think it comes from having a father who she worshiped like he was a hero. She doesn't want to come up short in his eyes.

  26. Julieth says:

    Oooh I love it. The way you get your characters' expressions to be *just* right, it's fantastic…I especially love the picture of Emily looking at surveilance photos, it's so realistic!
    I can't wait for the next bit- I sense crazy amounts of drama!
    (I'm from GOS by the way)

  27. Kara says:

    Welcome, Julieth, and thank you so much! I had a lot of fun taking pictures for Emily's surveillance scene. It was also the first time her apartment appears in the story. And, I think your senses may be correct. πŸ˜‰

  28. Cadie says:

    Dear Kara,
    I hope you find success in releasing the next chapter, we're really missing Edmond and Emily πŸ˜₯ *Where's the Hagen Daas?*

  29. Kara says:

    Hi, Cadie! I've been sort of on vacation for the last couple of weeks since my husband has taken some time off from work. I'll be back to work on it next week though. πŸ™‚

  30. Maria says:

    Your stories are fantastic, especially their atmosphere. I can't wait for the next installment!

  31. Laxyl says:

    Oh gosh, this is one of the best stories I've ever read!
    Mind if I ask what font you used for the Diary?

  32. Kara says:

    Maria, thank you so much! I'm working on the next installment so hopefully you won't have to wait too long. πŸ˜‰

    Laxyl, thank you! That's so nice of you. πŸ™‚ The font I used for Emily's handwriting is Jellyka–Estrya's Handwriting.

  33. sourtea says:

    The quality of the images is breathtaking, each shot is just perfect. 😯
    ..and I’m glad you keep on posting outtakes from the header because they are a real treat for the eyes! :XO:

    I know this has been said before, but I can’t wait for the next chapter.. 😳 since, of course, I love the plot too! :halo:

  34. Kara says:

    Thank you, sourtea! You flatter me! :XO: I'm in awe of your artistic imagery as well.


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