n o  o n e  m o u r n s  t h e  w i c k e d

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—i wish i had more to say here; this is a storage and nothing more. feel free to look through the content, but please don't steal anything.—

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#, as written by barnes
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A N D R O M E D A x M E R C I E R

canada xx outfit xx #4d0d1e

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C H A x H Y U N - J U N

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J A M I E x I N N E S

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L U C Y x T H E O D O R A

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The morning dawned bright and early over the Swiss Alps, and with it the village of Zermatt awoke, activity bringing it to life. Tourists ate and chattered and strolled through the streets, and a little way away, in the Dômes Resort, Jamie Innes had been awake for three hours already, running through the register one last time to make sure that everything was in place.

"I'm sure it's all right, sir," Gilbert, the manager, tried to reassure him for what must have been the fourth time that morning. "Sondra is quite capable, and she will have made sure that no one has been overlooked."

"And I will have double-checked, and triple-checked that besides," In-young sighed, wresting the clipboard from Jamie's hands. "Please don't question my work ethic in such an insulting manner."

"But what if unforeseen problems—" Jamie began to protest. In-young held up a hand, clearly tired of his fretting. "We will deal with those when—if—they arise. We've been through this before, you've made your contingency plans. Everything is going to be just fine."

Jamie stopped to process this, clearly caught between his borderline obsessive need for control and not wanting to test the IAN secretary's patience any further. Eventually he gave in, holding his hands up in a gesture of surrender. "You're right."

"I always am." She couldn't resist preening a bit. "Now let me take over the registration process, and you can go and have some breakfast with Gilbert, yes?" She flapped the clipboard at him, shooing him out of the front hall. "I promise to tell you when people start arriving."

———


An hour later the first chartered bus pulled into the roundabout at the resort's entrance, courtesy of IAN's collaboration with a local bus company to ensure a steady stream of buses between the airport, car-free Zermatt, and the resort. Andromeda Mercier was one of the last few people to alight, collecting her bags from where the driver was unloading them with a murmured thanks and rolling them into the front hall. She took a moment to admire her surroundings. The building was angled so as to allow natural light to flood the room through a row of glass doors off to the side, highlighting the interior of the hall which had been designed with a sleek, minimalist atmosphere in mind. Everything was cold marble and bronze, a stark contrast to the warm beauty of the lake and mountains just on the other side of the glass doors, and Andromeda felt as if she was standing right in the middle of the two settings, caught between the worlds of the natural and the artificial.

Already a short line had formed at the front desk, with two young girls working separately to register the arrivals. They appeared to be locals; a slight Asian woman hovered behind both of them, no doubt keeping an eye on their registration process—she probably didn't work for the resort. As she joined the line, Andromeda noted the other individuals strategically positioned around the front hall, making a mental note of the ones who looked like they did this all the time—no doubt the local employees of the resort—and the ones who were scrutinising each arrival as carefully as they were being scrutinised—the members of the International Agents' Network committee, then.

The line moved quickly, and soon Andromeda found herself at the counter, looking down at the receptionist. "Hello!" the girl chirped. "Your invite, please?"

A printout of the email invite that had been sent to each individual agent to confirm their presence at the conference; the instruction that a physical copy would be necessary for the process of checking in had been duly noted. Andromeda slid the folded piece of paper over the counter, and the girl began entering the information into her counter. With her being the last one to be processed, Andromeda was acutely aware of the attention being directed her way by both the receptionists, the Asian woman, and the others standing around the hall.

"Alright, Ms Mercier. Your room is 303, on the third floor of the South Wing. Here's your keys—" a single keycard with the room number printed on it was placed on the counter "—and your identification." A lanyard joined the keycard, a neatly printed card with Andromeda's name and agency printed on it. "South Wing is up that way, through those doors, the building just down the lane. Scan your card at the gate to get through, and then in the lift before selecting your floor. Let Gilbert over there know if you need help with your luggage. Breakfast is being served in the South Wing's dining hall. Here's a map of the resort with a list of our amenities and available services. And a schedule of the conference activities." The girl returned Andromeda's email invite to her, along with a card-sized map and the schedule.

"Thanks." Tucking the papers carefully into her coat pocket and slinging the lanyard around her neck, Andromeda headed in the direction of the South Wing. The doors led her out of the building and down a concrete path, to the only other building in sight. Buzzing herself through the security gate, she could already smell hot coffee from down the hallway, presumably in the direction of the dining room. Already she was planning the next hour in her head—she was going to down as many cups of coffee as she could physically keep down. Find out if they served French toast. And then, only then, would she try to meet some of the other agents.

———


Lucy had been in Zermatt for a couple of days before the conference's beginning, holed up in a cheap bed and breakfast, taking advantage of the free time to wander around and explore the village before it was time to head down to the conference. She hadn't seen anyone around that might have been the other agents, or if they were also wandering around Zermatt Lucy had her the fortune to avoid them.

This morning she'd checked out of the B&B after a simple breakfast, and turned up at the pickup point bright and early. The email invite had specified that chartered buses would be running between Zermatt and the resort all day, allowing the conference attendees time to get there and settle down, maybe acquaint themselves with the surrounding area if they so wished. Lucy considered it better to turn up early and scout the location out—she had looked up all the information she could, but it didn't compare to seeing the place in person.

The bus pulled up, and the driver got out to help load Lucy's bags on, but she waved him off. Her things weren't heavy at all, and she didn't need assistance. The driver backed away respectfully, and she got on without much trouble, settling herself into a seat at the back. No one else got onboard, and after a twenty minute wait the bus pulled away.

Lucy turned to look back at the village as it moved further and further away, and made eye contact with the young man sitting in the aisle across from her. He grinned, flashing a mouthful of neat, small teeth. "Hi. Cha Hyun-jun, Cheonsanju. Where are you from?"

She accepted his handshake, a little reluctantly. He seemed chatty, and she wasn't the best at conversation. "Lucy, Karaton Majapahit. Indonesia," she clarified.

"You were staying in the village before this, huh? I couldn't be bothered," he confessed with a conspiratorial smile, running his hand through his rumpled hair. "My flight landed yesterday evening, and I spent so much time exploring the airport that I had to sleep in the chairs there. They're super comfortable, though. I would probably do it again." He kept up the steady stream of commentary the entire journey, sparing Lucy the necessity of having to talk about herself. Even when they arrived at the resort he kept it up, chattering as he helped her to unload their things, as they registered their presence in the front hall, and down the path to the South Wing. Lucy was granted reprieve only when he got off the lift—his room was on the second floor, hers on the third.

"Well, I guess I'll be seeing you around. It was nice meeting you, Lucy." The lift doors slid closed, and she finally had a bit of quiet to herself.

Her room looked comfortable enough, the balcony looking out over the lake, the curtains pulled back to let the sun shine in. Lucy resisted the urge to flop down on the bed. She did, however, sit down at the desk, turning the chair to face the balcony to soak it all in. There was never anything this beautiful and calm back home; back home it was a constant drone of cars and calling voices, and Lucy rarely had a moment of silence to herself like this.

Another minute, and she'd gotten out of the chair, heading out of her room. There would be time to unpack and get comfortable later. Right now she wanted to take a walk around the resort, maybe even tackle one of the hiking trails before lunchtime. As she got out of the lift on the first floor, she bumped into someone on their way in, taking a step back in order to steady herself. "Sorry."

———


To say Hyun-jun was having one of the best times of his life was probably an understatement. Sure, he was here for a work conference, and yes, he was expected to maintain a certain level of professionalism, but headquarters wasn't breathing over his shoulder, and the air was so clear and cold even for the beginning of summer that every breath felt refreshing. This was way better than the trip he'd made to Jeju Island with his parents the last time he'd managed to get a hard-won break from work.

Entering his room for the first time, he almost laughed in delight—glass doors on the other side of the room opened out onto a balcony that faced the lake, and the expanse of water stretched out blue and glittering as far as he could see. This place was beautiful. He didn't forget to take a quick, calculating look around the room, noting its layout and blind spots, but with nothing of real noteworthiness he'd bounded across the room and thrown the balcony doors open, almost falling over the railing as he pressed himself against it. A cool breeze blew in, and he closed his eyes and smiled. He'd lucked out big time on this assignment.

After a moment Hyun-jun's stomach growled, and he was forced to return to reality. He felt grimy from the flight, and the bagel he'd grabbed at the airport before boarding the bus was all but digested. A quick shower, and then he was going to check out the dining hall.

Twenty minutes later he was down in the dining hall. It wasn't super big—this was no Four Seasons—but a good range of food was laid out, and he spotted an egg station. A sign noted that lunch service would begin at twelve. Hyun-jun's stomach made another grumbling noise as if telling him to get on with it already, and he started towards the tables, picking up a plate.

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