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Augustus made himself a hearty breakfast of eggs, bread, sausages, and cheese, combining them into something resembling a sandwich and chewing slowly, his brow furrowed.
It was time to focus on Soren, clearly; Em had said as much, and if Em’s first priority was conquering this plane of existence, his second was fulfilling his promise to Augustus and unlocking his past. If he thought Soren was the key, then Augustus needed to talk to him as soon as possible.
He was strangely afraid to do this, possibly because Soren was tied to that big gap of nothingness that had been in his life for so long, but he needed to be brave. He needed details, he decided, in order to know how to approach Soren correctly. Where had he been studying originally to get his degrees? Where had he been working before the school hired him? Who had referred him? Were there any inconsistencies in his paperwork that could be found by talking to the right people? What details were known about his past and what was rumored?
The problem was, he concluded as he took his plate to the sink and scrubbed it ferociously, that if something were to happen to Soren soon, his asking around would make it possible to tie the incident back to him. Obviously, that might be a non-issue if Soren ended up coming consensually, or if he simply stole something of Soren’s and brought it to Em instead. But while his specialty wasn’t in sympathetic magic, he knew that if you wanted to use magic to divine about a person, the actual person was the best option, then hair or nails or other body parts, then belongings, and so on. The further away one got from the actual individual, the less the magic could get.
So he had to go ahead assuming that it was possible he might end up having to kidnap Soren sometime.
At least getting Soren (or something of Soren’s) to Em wouldn’t be an issue. Summoning him took time and materials, and also increased the chance that someone would find out somehow. But he could still summon him whenever he liked, and there were times in the past that he’d summoned Em every day just for the joy of it.
He had to focus, he reminded himself, dressing in a smart peacock blue suit which was embroidered with gold thread. If he wanted to reduce the number of people who knew about him being interested in Soren, Olivia was the only person he’d already asked. And she was willing to introduce them, so simply using her might work. On the other hand, he didn’t know how much Olivia would know about Soren, and Olivia wasn’t free until the afternoon—at the same time as Augustus’ office hours. Skipping them might go unnoticed, or it might stand out as suspicious.
On the other hand, asking multiple people only for one or two details might make him seem less obsessive than asking for a lot of details from one person. And he did still have to interrogate Fitzfleming to see if she were somehow involved in the theft of his research. It was possible he could double up and ask her about Soren while he was questioning her anyway. As a professor, though, she would be far more likely to know about Soren now than about Soren’s past.
The best person to get access to all of Soren’s hiring information and background details would be the dean, Reginald von Beekeeper. He’d thus be the best person to go to for things that other professors wouldn’t have access to. On the other hand, he’d likely be the first person to notice if something was amiss with Soren later, and he’d definitely get on Augustus’s case to hurry up with his monograph the moment he even caught sight of Augustus. Ugh.
There was also the easy option: using Yujin. On weekdays, Yujin worked on whatever research items that Augustus had previously assigned to them, and remained on call for anything else Augustus might need. He could have Yujin do a certain amount of asking around on his behalf; he could probably tell Yujin that he suspected Soren of the thefts to justify it. He could probably lean on them for discretion—he was pretty sure they weren’t behind the thefts themself. He just wasn’t certain of it, which did introduce some risk. Still, if Yujin did the asking around instead of Augustus, that’d be a level of deniability for Augustus himself.
His feet had taken him most of the way to the school as he thought through his options, and he frowned up at the campus gates before passing through them. Well, he could at least do the most basic research himself: finding Soren’s office.
Augustus walked the block of their department’s offices casually, as if simply going for a stroll on the way to his own. It didn’t take him too long to find his target: A door labeled Soren Kincaird, Doctor of Conjurations, Aetherial Spirits. Posted on the door were Soren’s office hours—none today, some tomorrow morning—though unfortunately, classes were not listed. The note did, however, list Soren’s research assistant as Feather St. Saint, and said to direct inquiries to her in his absence.
The office was closed and the opaque window was dark. Augustus hesitated outside it, casually checking his pocket watch. So, he could seek out any of the people he’d thought of and try to get information through them … or, of course, he could simply attempt to break in.
[What should Augustus do? Comment with details.
(There was a lot of options in there, so to summarize:
– Wait for Olivia’s offered introduction in the afternoon, skip office hours
– Question Ivory Fitzfleming about the missing books and/or Soren
– Go to Dean Reginald von Beekeeper to try to get info
– Make Yujin do it for you
– Try to find Feather St. Saint and see what she knows
– break the fuck into this guy’s office lol
– Some combination of the above, timing-dependent)]