2

Noel

The hour needle of the antique clock that was attached on the wall struck to midnight and the bell chimed. Noel—who was having a deep sleep—immediately opened his eyes and sat up. Dozing off for a few seconds, he then set up his bed and went downstairs to the bathroom to wash himself before starting his night work.

After a few minutes of preparing himself, he walked towards the main door of his house. Flicking the circular lock that was attched above the knob of the door, the door’s whole structure suddenly changed it's shape from a bright vintage wooden door to a dark mahogany door. Then, he pushed the door open.

What greeted his eyes wasn’t the bustling atmosphere of the neighborhood or a quiet, serene night scenery. Instead, he had to adjust his eyes before he could see clearly of the view on the other side. Stepping through the door, He closed the door behind him, his eyes now able to see clearly in the dimly lit surroundings that were only aided by a few fire torches. A strong stench of book invaded his nose, sending a feeling of melancholy at the back of his mind. He smiled.

"I'm back."

He then snapped his fingers, and the room lit up, revealing towering dark wooden bookshelves that were arranged irregularly like a maze. Amused, Noel took his time to wander around the bookshelves, curious to discover what’s probably hiding behind the shelves even though he’s the one infused magic to the shelves to move on its own. As Noel walked through the maze, his adventure ended after he somehow managed to exit the shelves. He pouted for a moment, before shrugging his shoulders and sauntered towards the reception desk where he belong, a gremlin who was carrying a stack of books greeted him.

"Welcome home, Master."

The gremlin said with a language only a certain people could understand, including Noel. That dwarf creature curved it’s wide mouth into a smile, it’s dark marbled eyes sparkled upon reflected by the light of the library. Noel noticed a speck of dust on it’s librarian uniform as it was busy cleaning the old bookshelves and stacking the books. Noel crouched down to it’s eye level and patted the gremlin's uniform.

"You've worked hard."

The gremlin's smile widened until it’s ears and his head bobbed left and right in happiness. Noel let out a lighthearted chuckle.

"Where are the other gremlins?" He stood up and looked around.

The gremlin keenly twitched it's long ears.

"They are finishing the bookshelves upstairs. It will be done soon."

"I see. Well done." Again, Noel weaved a smile to the creature in front of him.

Noel looked around the library and sighed in satisfaction. After deciding to live in this world for a while, he chose this old library to become a place where he make his connection with the humans from this world.

Judging from the way the group of gremlins skillfully decorated the library just like he wanted, he could feel the library can finally be opened tonight.

"I'll go to the reception table now. I assume that everything is prepared?"

The gremlin nodded enthusiastically. Then, it leads Noel to the reception table which was located adjacent from the main entrance of the library.

He took a brief time to adjust his things—cleaning and rearranging the utensils, rechecking the magic tool to stamp the borrowed book, and preparing some borrowing cards to write the name of the visitors who borrowed the books. He heaved a sigh of relieved, now really convinced that he can open the library now.

Noel sat on the chair that was prepared for his reception desk. He decided to wait for any chance of encounter from any random visitors who entered his sanctum while reading some mortals’ books that he bought from a book shop nearby his university. Upon closer inspection of the city’s map, he noticed that there’s a lot of general library and bookshop located in Westwood. He giggled in excitement, impatient to explore all of them soon.

It was after a few moments when his first ever visitor came. Noel stood up, greeting the first visitor of his library.

"Welcome to the library. How can I help you?"

It was an unprecedented leap of fate, when the first visitor of his library was none other than the douche who he handed his gold containing pouch to earlier. A revolting scent entered Noel’s nose, causing his face to stiffen in disgust.

"Hic..."

The douche hiccupped and swayed towards the reception desk. Then, he sat on one of the prepared stools in front of the desk.

"I want... a bottle of whiskey..."

He said to Noel while pointing his finger to him, mouth forming a messy grin while he swayed again, slamming his head on the table. Noel’s grey eyes widened in surprise. Never in his life he would feel this disgusted for a person, however, as a patient person, he heaved a sigh to calm his nerves, his eyes twitched again from the scent that corroded the fresh air of the library. A question struck into his mind when he finally calmed down.

How could he find this hidden library anyway?

Noel strategically chose his library's location to be on the most secluded place, away from the bustling city of Westwood. He chose his place carefully, at the back of the alleyway of a suburban road north to the capital of Westwood, near the so-called death forest which people said that meat ravaging ghosts who kidnapped people and scattered their blood everywhere on the roadside. Actually, the legend about the ghost weren’t true at all. There’s nothing, except for some psychopath who hid inside an abandoned house inside the forest and killed people occasionally. For an uncouth an inhumanely imbecile like him, Noel gladly presented his bloodied head to the underworld’s doomsguard. They’ll LOVE seeing a sinner’s head hanging on their gates.

Then again, his selection of location is to determine the personality of his visitor who found this library. He wanted the people who entered his library to have a carefree personality. Not too moping over their live but also not too oblivious of their surrounding. In sum, he just wanted a normal looking people who’re willing to share their story to be the one visiting his library.

            Not. This douche.

Noel felt like his veins snapping gradually when the douche drunkenly stated while drooling on his table, forming a waterfall on the shiny wooden surface.

Noel heaved a long sigh. Well, he's going to gain a real time experience bathing an adult drunkard and tending to him. He massaged his temple and called some gremlins.

"Bring him upstairs..."

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