The Last Draconian 49: Where They Go Next

Previous Chapter

Michael Ryufan

I left early and traversed the terrain rapidly. I considered not covering myself with a cloak this time since I had already given myself away. However, I realised that Sadow would likely have contacts searching for me and it did not behove me to make it simple for him to find me.

Thanks to Lynai’s interference, it would not be a simple matter to get close to Sadow. He was a very cautious individual, I would not easily catch him off guard again.

As I walked I considered methods of gaining an opportunity to mount a strong assault. I could allow myself to be captured, but his men were probably under orders to kill me. He had no reason to keep me alive. He was not likely to even approach me to do it himself. Hence such a tactic would be fruitless. I could sit outside of his keep until he exited, but there were almost certainly wards in place that would reveal my presence. A frontal assault? No, his guards would be sent to dispatch me while he remained safely inside. I did not know the strength or numbers of his forces. Therefore, I could not properly prepare a way to get past them. I considered hiring mercenaries of my own, but I dismissed the idea. It would be erroneous of me to trust such people. Besides, I had inadequate gold with which to elicit their services. I would probably be able to scavenge some from Drahaven, but there was very little of value left since it had been abandoned to looters for so long.

I sighed. There had to be a solution, one which would allow me to avenge my people, preferably without the involvement of any unrelated individuals. Unfortunately, that solution continued to elude me.

The facts all pointed to one inescapable fact. I would require allies. The elves and trolls were at war. I could join the battle and gain the gratitude of the winning side. At that point, I would be able to use them against Sadow. I had already told Lynai that I would be going on my own path, but pride was a luxury I could ill afford. I would join the elves and fight in their war. I had waited for decades already, I could afford to wait a little longer.

*****

Michael Ryufan

I eventually came across a dilapidated tavern. The multiple horses outside and cacophony from within enabled me to deduce that it was not abandoned in spite of its appearance. Clearly, it was not a reputable establishment.

I entered and took a seat at a vacant corner table. A rather buxom young lady approached me.

“What’ll you have, Sweets?” She asked while adopting a very disingenuous smile.

“I will take whatever is ready,” I said.

“And do ya want company?” She asked. Her eyes went to a row of rooms upstairs. What an annoyance.

“That will not be necessary,” I snapped.

She shrugged. “Suit yerself. One rack o lamb comin up.”

As I waited a middle aged woman approached me. “Not lookin for a good time, Pretty Boy?” she laughed. “Maybe you’re lookin to sell instead?” She plopped fifteen gold coins in front of me.

“I have no need nor desire for your money,” I stated. “Leave me in peace.”

“You’re a touchy one ain’t you?” she asked. She plopped a money pouch in front of me. “Everyone has a price, just name yours.”

“I am not a commodity to be bought,” I said. “Now, begone.”

She slammed her fist on the table. “You think you’re too good for me, you little punk? I oughta…”

She was cut off by the woman returning. She grabbed her shoulder and wheeled her around to face her.

“This ain’t that typa place,” she said. “If the boy don’t want none, ‘e don’t want none. Now go an find someone else to keep ya company.”

The ruffian glared at her for a few seconds before putting her hands up in a sign of abject surrender. She rapidly removed herself from the establishment. The woman placed a plate in front of me.

“Yer a strange one,” she said. “Most folks come ere for a bit o company or to make some quick gold.”

“I have no need for either,” I said. I began eating. It was not well cooked and inadequately seasoned, but it was sustenance.

“A pity,” she said. “Yer one o the rare ones. Pretty enough for the boys, ansome enough for the gals an so exotic.”

I scowled at her. Perhaps, I contemplated, it would have been wiser to keep my hood on.

“I get it,” she said. “No need to get defensive.” She walked away and I was finally able to dine and contemplate in peace.

Over the course of my repast I overheard a conversation from a nearby table.

“They say you finished a very juicy job just a couple days ago.”

A large barrel-chested man laughed and downed a mug of ale. “Thas right,” he said. “Ne’er a dull moment workin fer captain Femre.”

“Was it dangerous?”

He laughed again and waved dismissively. “Na at all. We jus ad to kidnap a blind girl.” He took a long drink. “She was supposed to be some kinda great mage, but we didn give er a chance to use none of that magic.”

I listened more attentively. Was it possible?

“What did ya do with er?”

“Took er to the Strecner tower and locked er up under guard.”

I had heard enough. I placed twenty coins on the table as compensation for the meal and departed the establishment.

The Tower of Strecner. It was a landmark. The first Lord of Strecner had built it to incarcerate enemies of the throne. Considering Illyana’s frail physique, she would not last long in its confines. It had not been long since I had left her and now it was imperative that I return to her rapidly. I took flight.

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The Case of the mummified: Part one

Previous Case

Detective Hildegard Elizabeta Müller sat in her office, playing around on her laptop. Sakura was flying behind her, looking over her shoulder.

“I like that Red character,” Sakura said.

“So do I,” Hilde said.

She went through some more of the game while Sakura watched. “Shouldn’t you call Bianca?” Sakura asked. “I’m sure she’d love to hear from you every hour on the hour.”

“Sakura,” Hilde said. “One thing you’ll need to know as a love fairy is that most people don’t want a partner who’s really clingy or jealous. Bianca and I will talk tonight while there are no conference activities. Until then, I’ll let her have her fun. Maybe find myself a case to do while she’s away.”

“I just hope she’s not lonely without us,” Sakura said.

“She’s with her sisters, I’m sure she’s not,” Hilde stated.

*****

“Down there!” Brenda called. The trio brought their brooms down, making certain no one was watching.

The Inn had a sign welcoming the European Seamstress Guild for their annual meet up. “Great, we got to stay at backup Inn number two,” Bianca said.

“It’s just as good as the other Inns the guild booked,” Brenda said. “No call to be grouchy. Besides, we’ll be spending most of our time at the convention center.”

“She’s just bummed because she couldn’t bring her latest toy,” Beatrix said.

“She has a name you know,” Bianca said.

“Does she know the relationship’s over?” Brenda asked.

“It’s not over,” Bianca said.

“You say that every year when we come to the meeting,” Beatrix said. “And every year you forget why you like the current girlfriend during the event and break up with her when we get back.”

“I haven’t even had a girlfriend every year,” Bianca said.

“No, but she just means you do it every time you’re dating someone,” Brenda said. “But if you’re still dating her when this is over, introduce us. I’d love to meet the girl who can keep your affections after you’ve been separated for a week.”

*****

Hilde paused her game and Sakura moved into hiding. There was a knock on the door.

“Come in,” Hilde said.

The man who entered was quite tall with slick black hair and bright blue eyes.

“Detective Müller,” he greeted, extending a hand. “So good to meet you. I’m Vincento Thoril. I’ve heard a lot about your feats.”

To Hilde’s surprise, Sakura swooped down. She faced the man with her tiny hands on her hips. “Don’t try anything, Buster. She’s spoken for.”

Hilde was about to think of some excuse, but she noticed something. The man was eyeing Sakura with an amused expression. There wasn’t even the slightest hint of surprise.

“So, what are you?” Hilde asked. “You don’t appear to be human.”

He laughed. “I’m  an Incubus, actually.” He looked at Sakura. “Don’t worry, little one, I’m here purely on business. I have need of a detective, and the one who consorts with a witch seems the best choice.”

“And what does an Incubus need with me?” Hilde asked.

Vincento responded by tossing her a paper.

She figured out the article he was referring to immediately. The fifth  mysterious killing in Berlin. Three women, two men. All of the victims had been left virtually mummified and naked.

“You can relax your guard,” Vincento told Sakura. “I told you, this is business. Besides, I can tell from her aura that it would be impossible for me or any other male to seduce her.”

“The work of one of yours?” Hilde asked, tapping the paper.

“It appears so,” Vincento said. “Most of our kind feed off of humans from one night stands. Some even maintain a relationship and feed every three days, not wanting to permanently harm their partner. But whoever’s doing this is taking all of their energy. To put it simply, I’ll provide you with a list of all the sex demons I’m aware of in Berlin. I want you to find out who’s gotten greedy. You don’t have to bring them in yourself. You just have to report who it is to me. We’ll deal with it.”

“I could do it,” Hilde said. “But answer me one thing. Why are you so keen on not drawing attention? Worried about humans finding out about your kind?”

“Not exactly,” Vincento said. “Our concern is that it’ll draw the attention of Veritas.”

Hilde saw Sakura gasp and cover her mouth.

“That’s a Latin word, isn’t it?”  Hilde asked.

Vincento nodded. “It’s also the name of an organisation that hunts magical creatures. If they go on the prowl, they’ll exterminate any of our kind they find. And it won’t just be us. Witches, pixies, anything they happen to see.”

“And they don’t even care whether you’ve done something bad,” Sakura added. “It’s enough that they find you.”

“They have a simple philosophy,” Vincento said. “Us against them. Humans against anything resembling but not human.”

“I get the picture,” Hilde said. “And that’s why you want a detective who knows about your kind.”

“And one who is on friendly terms with some,” Vincento said. “It’s the best way to make sure everything is done… fairly. So, will you accept the case?”

“Very well,” Hilde agreed. “I’ll drive down to Berlin in the morning. Leave the list for me.”

“Thank you very much,” Vincento said. “I do trust you’ll complete the task… promptly.”

Hilde nodded. She wouldn’t show it, but she was a little concerned. This would be her first case involving a magical menace without Bianca’s help.

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The Last Draconian 48: The Michaels Depart

Previous Chapter

Illyana Fensen

I sat in the garden. The aromas brought back a lot of memories. This was where I had met Michael all those years ago. This was where I had first started practising magic. Where mother had used to bring me to calm me down when I was upset. It was where I was when Sylvie had come back into my life.

It was still a place of rest and relaxation for me, but it had also become a place where I could reflect on the events in my life with more clarity. At first I had thought that Michael’s emotional displays were the result of bitter disappointment over everything that had happened with Sadow, but it had become clear that it was more than that.

It was hard to pinpoint, but there was something different about him. In many ways he was the same, but in many others he was completely changed. He had always been distant, but somehow warm. Now he was a lot more passionate, and a lot more expressive. Unfortunately, he’d also become a lot more obsessive. I heard the beating of wings and a light weight touching down on the ground.

“Hello, Michael,” I said. I heard his tail swinging back and forth.

“I have sufficiently recovered,” he said. “I must resume my task. I can no longer linger while my enemy lives. I must find his lair and utterly end him.”

“I see,” I said. I had never heard such raw passion, such rage in his voice. “I suppose it would be useless to try to dissuade you?”

“Of course!” He was practically shouting. “ You are my very dear friend, but I have also lingered long enough. I do not have the time or patience to waste standing about when I am perfectly capable of acting. Please, understand that I must resume what I started.”

Before I could respond I heard his wings flap rapidly and felt a surge of wind carry him away.

“Michael…” I clenched my fist. “What’s wrong with you?”

I was so concerned with his change of behaviour that I only vaguely noticed Drake shrieking. Something hit me from behind and I briefly felt my face hit the wet grass before I fell unconscious.

*****

Lynai Elfblood

I unwrapped Michael’s wounds. They had almost closed completely. “I guess Callie’s medicine really worked, huh?” I asked.

“That appears to be the case,” he said. He looked up at me with his piercing violet eyes. “You should know that I intend to take my leave tomorrow morning. I have imposed on you and your friend long enough.”

“Just take it easy, okay?” I said. “You still need some time to recuperate.”

He nodded. “I understand. You are correct, of course. Even though I am not in a good position for a rematch with Sadow, I can still approach his keep and make a plan for our next confrontation.”

“You’ll have to travel alone,” I said. “I have to head back to Het Wald. My people need me.”

“I had no intention of travelling with you,” Michael said. “I would prefer to be without needless distraction when I finish this.”

I nodded. “Just try to stay alive, okay?”

“I make no promises,” he said. “Sadow’s death is more important than my life.”

“Again with that?” I asked. We sat in uncomfortable silence for a while. I cleared my throat and decided to just ask him directly. “Was Sadow responsible for the deaths of your people?”

“He was,” Michael didn’t hesitate to say it. It took me by surprise. I was used to him being more difficult to get information out of.

“Why don’t you tell people?” I asked. “You could have him brought to justice instead of just seeking revenge.”

“In this situation justice and vengeance overlap,” Michael stated. “He committed a grievous crime against my people. I am the last one left to pass judgment on him for that.” He looked over at me. “Or is it your belief that a law enforcement organization would be willing to take the word of a lone draconian over that of one of the great Magi?” He turned away. “He left behind no evidence with which to implicate him. I have only the charred ruins of my home, the broken bodies of my people and their last memories. Memories which only he and I can know for certain are the truth and I do not believe he would be willing to corroborate them.”

I put my hand on his shoulder. I could feel his scaly wing with my knuckles. I understand,” I said. “Good luck.”

I left him alone and went out to the garden. I felt a pair of slender arms wrap around me. “What are you doing, Callie?”

“I thought that you could use some comfort,” she said. We stood in silence for a few minutes. “Are you really going tomorrow?” she asked.

I nodded. “I have to. I have to try to help Lan, Lais and everyone make it through this war.”

“Let me go with you,” Callie whispered.

I pulled away from her and turned around to look her in the face. She looked completely serious. “I can’t have you do that,” I exclaimed. “Don’t you have duties here?”

Callie chuckled. It sounded a bit forced. “I’m an aristocrat,” she said. “I can basically do whatever I want and no one around here cares.” She reached out and stroked my cheek with one hand. “Let me do something that matters. Let me protect you.” I pulled away. “I can’t?” Callie asked.

“I don’t want you to be hurt because of me,” I said.

Callie put one hand on my chin and guided my gaze up to meet hers. “Let me worry about that.”

I thought for a moment that she was going to kiss me. I wouldn’t have stopped her.

Next Chapter

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The Comic Con Case Finale

Beginning 

Previous Part

“I don’t suppose we can just tell Borchert that we solved it and there won’t be more incidents?” Bianca asked.

Hilde shook her head. “Even if he did believe us, which is unlikely, we’d have to present evidence or any further trouble, even something completely unrelated, could be seen as us having lied.”

“That is troublesome,” Bianca said. “We can’t have that first date if we don’t finish the job.” Hilde wondered if Sakura noticed the disingenuous way that Bianca had said ‘first.”

“That’s no good!” Sakura declared. “You two have to get together or I’ll never get the love fairy job. Please, think of something.”

Hilde sighed. “That’s the problem. She muttered. It’s not like we can just show Borchert Sakura.” Even if he could get past the perfectly justified disbelief, he’d have all kinds of questions.”

Bianca chuckled. “Actually, we can show her to him. In fact, that’s what we’ll do!”

“What are you up to?” Hilde asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Simple,” Bianca said. “Sakura will put on some glamour and I’ll use a simple spell to make Borchert a lot more… receptive to what we tell him.”

“We can’t just…” Hilde began. Bianca silenced her with a raised finger. “Look, we did solve the case. We’re not defrauding the man or doing anything else unethical. We’re just going to make the facts a little more palatable. If Sakura will help us.”

“I will,” the pixie agreed. “I’ll do it to help speed you on your way to true love in one another’s arms. Just tell me what to do.”

*****

Looking at Sakura was like seeing a very dated 3d effect. She could see the  outline of a humanoid form around the pixie while also seeing her true form floating inside. She carefully removed her pendant, setting it in her pocket. She couldn’t see the pixie anymore. She saw a very realistic looking ten or maybe twelve year old girl. If she hadn’t seen the pixie cast the spell, she’d believe that Sakura was just an ordinary girl. She put her pendant back on, destroying the illusion, at least for her.

They led Sakura to the office where Borchert was busy at work.

“Detectives,” he greeted. “Who? No, it can’t be. Is it?”

“This is Sakura Kino,” Hilde said. “She’s the one who’s been causing trouble for you.”

“This child?” Borchert asked. “How?”

“Her parents were magicians,” Bianca answered. “They taught her some very good sleight of hand tricks.”

“She also memorised where your surveillance was,” Hilde added. “Combined with perfect timing, it allowed her to avoid getting caught on camera.”

“Have you contacted her parents,” Borchert asked.

Sakura’s illusion started crying. The pixie herself had a mischievous grin on her face.

“Her parents were killed in a stage accident,” Hilde stated. “That’s why she did it. She thought she could make her own way by stealing from the booths. She took small things because she really didn’t want to cause too much trouble.”

“Oh, the poor child,” Borchert said. “I don’t know if I can bring myself to press charges.”

“You don’t need to,” Hilde said. “I know of a program that takes in wayward children, teaches them valuable life skills and lets them have more carefree childhoods.”

“We’ll gladly get her out of your hair and take her there,” Bianca said. “Unless you really want to see the kid in juvenile detention.”

“By all means, take her,” Borchert said. “It’s enough that our beloved hall is free of the trouble. I’ll have your pay deposited immediately.”

“We appreciate it,” Hilde said.

*****

“I’ll admit,” Bianca said. “That nerd convention was kind of fun.” She gave Hilde a come hither smile. “What do you say we keep the costumes on? I could use a spell to make myself sound like Farina.”

“You don’t need to do that,” Hilde said. “Besides, you already sound a bit like Ohara Sayaka.” She looked at Bianca’s confused expression. “Her Japanese voice.”

“Oh, okay,” Bianca said. “Wait, how many languages have you played that game in?”

“Five,” Hilde answered.

“You really are a major nerd,” Bianca laughed.

“I know,” Hilde agreed. She glanced around. “Do you think that pretending to have just become a couple for Sakura is going to cause us trouble?”

Bianca shook her head. “Worst case scenario, she might show up to check on us later. And, if she thinks our relationship is in trouble, she might try to help.”

“I guess that’s not an issue,” Hilde admitted.

*****

The next morning, they arrived at the office together. Hilde had a bouquet of roses at her desk. She read the attached card. It said: Hildegard, I enjoyed our first date. I desire to cover every inch of your supple body in cream and lick it off.

Hilde glanced at Bianca who had her own bouquet.

“You don’t need magic to get me going, you just need the power of your touch. Let me be the one who bewitches you,” Bianca read. She sighed. “Sakura Sugarlight the Joyous, you come out of wherever you’re hiding.”

The pixie flew down from the ceiling, looking rather sheepish. “What gave me away?” she asked.

“The lines,” Bianca said. “Look, we appreciate that you’re trying to help, but maybe don’t write notes like that.”

“How come?” Sakura asked. “What’s wrong with them?”

“They’re too much,” Hilde explained. “Especially for a first date. You want to keep things concise and simple like ‘I had a lovely time and hope to see you again soon’ or ‘thank you so much for a lovely date.'”

“Wow, you’re so wise!” Sakura declared. “Okay, it’s decided. I’ll watch you two for a while and learn how to be a better love fairy!”

Hilde and Bianca glanced at each other. Bianca just shrugged. Hilde gingerly rubbed her forehead. This was going to be a pain.

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The Comic Con case part four

Beginning 

Previous Part

Hilde and Bianca went right through the mirror, into the middle of the crowded convention floor. The unorthodox entrance earned them more than a few stares from people who were wondering if they’d been there all the time or if there was some kind of stage trick.

Hilde looked around. The pixie was floating overhead, she could see her through what looked like a haze. It was almost certainly thanks to Bianca’s pendant that granted protection from magics. No one else seemed able to see her.

“Thank you,” Bianca bowed to the people around them, playing up the idea that their sudden appearance was indeed a trick. Her eyes went from Hilde’s to the ceiling. Hilde noticed her fingers starting to move. “Fareeha, keep the skies clear for me.”

Hilde had a good guess of where she was going with this. She knelt and kissed Bianca’s hand. “We’ll keep them clear together.”

“Then let’s soar!” Bianca declared. Her fingers finished their motions and Hilde felt herself taking to the air.

The attendees below them began applauding and cheering, enjoying what looked like a show.

The pixie realised what they were up to and began darting away from them. The pair flew in pursuit, Bianca keeping them aloft.

“Can you cast a spell to slow or stop her?” Hilde asked.

Bianca shook her head. “I could if I had my broom, but I can’t cast another spell while maintaining the flight spell. You’ll have to shoot her wing, or something.”

Hilde looked at the little pixie flapping her wings earnestly to stay ahead of them. It was going to be a tricky shot. Especially aiming to just graze her.

Still, Hilde had no real desire to kill her. She’d caused trouble, certainly, but intellectual curiosity drove Hilde to find out why. More importantly, nothing she’d done deserved death.

Hilde unholstered her luger and took careful aim, trying to anticipate where the pixie would try to dodge.

The fleeing fairy looked back and noticed the weapon. She began darting erratically and dove towards the crowd. No tie for hesitation, she risked hitting someone if the pixie got low enough. Hilde fired.

The pixie staggered, falling from the sky. Hilde put her luger away.

“Nice shot,” Bianca said. “I am so going to do whatever you want tonight.”

Bianca acted quickly, setting them down before the fairy finished her fall so that she could catch her. A crowd was starting to form, curious about the stunt and the gunshot.

“Thank you, thank you,” Hilde said, copying Bianca’s earlier performance. “We successfully pushed the payload and took out that pesky enemy Junkrat. Now, please excuse us and enjoy the rest of the convention.”

“Yes, we must be going somewhere private for PharMercy things,” Bianca said. “See you all around.”

They hurried off. Behind them they heard a feminine voice shout “Yes, we won!”

*****

They took their captive pixie to the back. Hilde had shot cleanly through the upper middle of her right wing.

“All right,” Hilde said. “What did you think you were doing here?”

“Not fair,” her voice squeaked, it was surprisingly loud given her size. “You aren’t supposed to be able to see me.” She was crying. “It hurts.”

“Let me try,” Bianca said, rubbing Hilde’s shoulder. “We saw you because I’m a witch. If you answer our questions, and answer them truthfully, I swear by the locks of mighty Hecate that I’ll fix your wing.”

“Let the bargain be made,” the pixie said, speaking through grit teeth.

“First, tell us your true name,” Bianca said.

“Sakura Sugarlight the Joyous,” she answered.

Bianca nodded towards Hilde.

“Why were you pulling all of these tricks on the convention hall?” Hilde asked.

“I’m studying to be a love fairy,” Sakura responded. “I wanted to help Mister Borchert and Mister Graf come together. I thought they see their connection if there was a problem.”

“All right, I’ll mend your wing now,” Bianca said. “Maybe we can help you with them.” A warm glow surrounded her wing as Bianca’s magic went to work.

Hilde shook her head. “I’m afraid that won’t work. The two of them are boss and subordinate. Even if they are attracted to one another, they can’t act on it. It would be a gross ethical violation. In truth, trying to bring them together probably strained their relationship.”

“No way!” Sakura declared. “That was going to be my first solo assignment. How will I become a love fairy if I can’t find a lovely pair to bring together?”

Bianca looked at Hilde and winked. “Well, you certainly caused us trouble,” she said. “I could have been looking for a cute girlfriend at the convention.”

“Me too,”  Hilde said, playing along. “I’d love to find a cute girlfriend.”

Sakura looked from Hilde to Bianca and back again. “I’ve got an idea!” She declared. “You two can date! You’d be ever such a lovely couple.”

“Well, I don’t know about that,” Bianca said. “Sure she’s cute, but she might be too nerdy.”

“And we may be partners at our job but we still work together,” Hilde added.

“You can work it out,” Sakura insisted. “No one’s going to share all your hobbies and you seem very compatible. Besides, it’s no problem when you’re equal partners, right?”

“Well, I guess we could try,” Bianca said. “If she’s willing.”

“I suppose,” Hilde said. “But just one date. If it doesn’t work out, we go back to just being partners.”

“Fair enough,” Bianca said.

“Yes, I did it!” Sakura declared.

“One problem,” Hilde said. “We still need to explain the incidents.”

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The Last Draconian 47: Lynai’s Thoughts On Responsibility

Previous Chapter

Lynai Elfblood

Several weeks had passed since I learned of my father’s death, of my brothers’ deaths. Callie stayed by my side and was a source of constant support and comfort. I don’t know how I would have coped without her there.

On a positive note, Michael’s health began improving. The colour returned to his cheeks and he was able to move around a little and stay awake for several hours a day.

I felt comfortable and safe living with Callie. She had been nothing but kind and had never once tried to take advantage of my circumstances. I confess, I was starting to get a little… confused about my feelings towards her. Was it just gratitude or something more? Still, I was growing discontent.

I wanted to help my people fight against the trolls, to chase after Larick to avenge my family. The only problem was Michael. I felt responsible for him. I had brought him all the way here to recuperate.

I glanced at Callie. She almost immediately looked up from her book and smiled at me.

“Is something troubling you?” she asked.

“No… not really,” I answered.

She closed her book. “Let me guess, you miss your home and want to know if your last brother is still okay?” She winked at me.

“How do you do that?” I asked. “You always seem to know exactly what I’m thinking without me saying anything.”

“It’s because I looked into your eyes,” Callie leaned back. “I told you that you could learn everything about someone that way, didn’t I?” We sat in silence for several minutes. I felt Callie’s arm wrapping around me. “You can go if you like,” she whispered. “I’ll look after your friend for the next week or two and then join you.”

I shook my head. “I can’t. You barely know him. It wouldn’t be fair to expect you to look after him.”

Callie chuckled. “I had a feeling that you would say that. For someone who ran away from her royal duties you certainly have a strong sense of responsibility.”

“It’s not the same thing,” I said. “I didn’t ask to be the royal daughter or to have a bunch of suitors. I was just sort of thrust into that role because I happened to be born into the Elfblood family.”

“But this is a responsibility you chose to accept?” Callie asked. She let out a long sigh. “Can you really live a normal life if you run away from every responsibility you don’t want to deal with?”

I thought about it for several minutes. “I don’t think it’s a matter of not dealing with responsibilities you don’t want to deal with,” I answered, finally. “A responsibility thrust on you without your consent isn’t really yours to deal with unless you choose to accept it. Who and when I marry is my own business and I shouldn’t have to rush into anything because of the circumstances I was born into. The choice wasn’t mine nor should I have to live up to it. I think that as we live we make choices and we sometimes take on duties as a natural result of those choices. For example, if I were to choose to have children I would be responsible for them, whether I wanted to be or not. It would be a natural consequence of that choice. However, I don’t think it’s right for someone else to force a responsibility on you. For instance, if someone were to leave a baby on your doorstep I don’t think that you should have to raise it. I think you should be able to send it to be adopted by someone who wants it.”

I cleared my throat and looked up at Callie. She was studying me with a somewhat amused look on her face.

“Perfectly reasonable,” she admitted. “I am a little surprised that you chose that example, though. I thought you didn’t like children. Or has living with me gotten you thinking about us and whether or not we should have our own?”

“I would never,” I said. “But it was the only example I could think of.” I felt my cheeks redden as Callie burst out laughing.

“Now that you’ve explained it, it is just like you,” Callie said. “You really are a predictable girl.”

I hit her with my cushion.

*****

Lan examined the troll army through his looking glass.

“You mustn’t worry yourself too much, Roy… Lan,” Lais said. “Our defences are stable. We can hold them back as long as we need to.”

“They haven’t gotten truly aggressive yet,” Luc pointed out. “Right now they’re fighting a holding action. We have enough supplies to last several weeks, but if this continues we’re going to start having problems keeping everyone fed, unless we can recapture the peripheral lands.”

“That isn’t our most immediate problem,” Lyon said. “In our current position the trolls can easily receive reinforcements, but we can’t. Even assuming our allies send help they’d never be able to break through that barricade.”

“We can defend our own country without help,” Lang stated. “Our casualties have been extremely light so far.”

“We have to get these trolls away from the city,” Lan said. “The longer they remain the more the risks to our people increase. Isn’t there any way to drive them back?”

Luc cleared her throat. “Lais and I have talked about that. We think that if we can sneak two battalions outside the walls we can hit their left and right flanks while the mage unit simultaneously strikes the front. We can’t beat them that way, but it might do enough damage to force them back.”

“I have to advise against this,” Lang said. “If it fails we could be left without a force large enough to defend against a troll counter-attack. Besides, won’t they be suspecting such a ploy after our last counter-offensive?”

“That attack didn’t go as planned,” Lais admitted. “But that may be to our benefit. If we can trick them into believing that we’re trying the exact same tactic we can catch them off guard.”

“Besides, we did bring down one of their Generals,” Luc added. “They may have gained a victory but we made it costly for them and with little harm to ourselves.”

Lan pressed his hands together and looked from Lang to Luc to Lyon to Lais. “I can’t condone putting my people in any more danger than is absolutely necessary,” he began. “However, retaining a defensive position is just going to exacerbate their jeopardy. We can’t afford to wait until our soldiers are fighting on empty stomachs.” He looked Lais in the eyes. “I’ll listen to your plan.”

Next Chapter

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The Comic Con Case part three

First Part

Part Two

Bianca went to the back of the convention building and carefully drew some sigils. Chanting the spells only took eleven minutes. She finished up and headed back inside.

“Doctor,” she was approached by a dark-haired heavy set man dressed in a costume she recognised from her lore training.

“Genji,” she said, not breaking stride.

“You’re looking well, Doctor,” he said, hurrying to keep up with her brisk walk.

“And you’re looking like you’ve been hitting the concessions,” Bianca said. She walked faster.

He struggled to keep up. “You have ever the sharp tongue,” he panted. “As much as you are a true vision of loveliness.”

She rolled her eyes. That’s when she spotted Hilde. “Fareeha!” She took a running leap into Hildegard’s arms. The Genji cosplayer backed away and trudged off.

“The creepy fat dude was hitting on you?” Hilde asked.

Bianca shrugged “Can’t fault him for trying. I’m amazing. Although I think you are allowed to hit him once to defend my honour.”

“I’ll pass, this time,” Hilde said. “Wouldn’t want to disrespect his sense of self esteem. Besides, he gave up quickly enough.”

“Too bad. I  was  kind of looking forward to seeing you get defensive over me,” Bianca said. “Anything happen while I was gone?”

“A stand of PMA merch got replaced by a bunch of death metal looking stuff,” Hilde said. “Let’s try and make the next strike from whatever this thing is the last.”

“I’ll pretend I know what that is,” Bianca said.

“I’ll tell you later,” Hilde said. “Any guesses on what our perp might be?”

“I’d say something mischievous like an imp, pixie or even leprechaun,” Bianca answered. “Could also be a young with toying with spells. We’ll find out when they act again and my detection spell kicks in.”

“Danger?” Hilde asked.

“Very little,” Bianca said. Those creatures are pranksters, not fighters. And a young witch testing her power would have to be very foolish indeed to try to challenge me. One of them could lead us on a merry chase though.”

The next incident happened after fifteen minutes. An IDW display found its titles changed to strange ones including Samurai Squirtles, Krinx, Agents of Nom, Omicron Squad & Sonic, but not for Furries.

“Funny,” Hilde muttered.

“Come on, our perpetrator is this way,” Bianca said.

The two hurried. A few attendees tried to stop them for pictures but Hildegard politely declined, saying they had something urgent and they’d pose later.

Bianca’s tracking spell led them to one of the conference rooms where a stage was set up and a show was ongoing. The two entered quietly and stood along the back.

“It’s back stage,” Bianca whispered. “I could cast an invisibility spell.”

Hilde shook her head and whispered back. “Not with this crowd. We’d be seen vanishing. I have a better idea. We’ll use the employee badges Borchert gave us and casually walk back there. Just keep quiet. We don’t want to interrupt Mister Siebeck’s talk. You can prepare something to trap our prey when we’re there, right?”

“I can trap them and keep the noise from travelling out here,” Bianca answered.

They quietly, and unobtrusively moved backstage. Bianca was quietly muttering incantations the entire way.

Once backstage, they moved into action. Bianca finished her spell and Hilde looked around.

There was no sign of anyone working at the moment. Had they finished setting up and gone on break? That was unusual.

She reached around her neck and grasped her pendant. That’s when she noticed it, possibly because of the magic-imbued within the jewel. An area that looked hazy, concentrating on it, she noticed two people lying unconscious near a large mirror.

“A sleep spell, looks like,” Bianca said. “I don’t see our trouble maker. But we’re probably looking for a very small creature.”

“Then let’s find them.” Hilde stated. She examined the stage controls. They didn’t appear to have been messed with. There was only one thing odd. What looked like drops of glitter were lying around the area. Hilde looked up. A pixie, slightly larger than her hand fluttering about. She had dark hair, wings like a black swallowtail’s and a little red dress that looked like she’d stolen it from a doll.

The pixie noticed her staring and bolted, hitting Bianca’s barrier and falling back.

“Can’t escape us, little Pixie,” Bianca said, noticing it. “Why don’t we have a chat about what you’re up to?”

The pixie’s eyes darted around. They went towards Bianca. The pixie flew towards her, suddenly diving and disappearing into the mirror.

“Shit!” Bianca declared. “She had an escape route.” Bianca fired a bolt of magic at the mirror. “We’ll have to follow.” She hurriedly squeezed through. Hilde followed.

The chase was on.

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The Omicron Squad Archive

Okay, it’s been a while since I started this WordPress. So, I thought I might  go back to my older stories, compile the archives into a single post and give some little tidbits about the process that went into it. I’m starting with Omicron Squad since it was the first story I posted. We’ll start with the archives.

Episodes 1-3 Episodes 4-6 Episodes 7-9 Episodes 10-12 Episodes 13-15  Episodes 16-18

Episodes 19-21 Episodes 22-25 Episodes 26-29 Episodes 30-32 Episodes 33-35

Episodes 36-38 Episodes 39-43 Episodes 44-48 Episodes 49-50 Episode 51

Episode 52 Episode 53  Episode 54 Episode 55  Episode 56 Episode 57 Episode 58

Episode 59 Episode 60 Episode 61 Episode 62 Episode 63 Episode 64  Episode 65

Episode 66  Episode 67 Episode 68 Episode 69 Episode 70 Episode 71 Episode 72

Episode 73 Episode 74 Episode 75 Episode 76 Episode 77 Episode 78 Episode 79

Episode 80 Episode 81 Episode 82 Episode 83 Episode 84 Episode 85 Episode 86

Episode 87 Episode 88 Episode 89 Episode 90 Episode 91 Episode 92 Episode 93

Episode 94 Episode 95 Episode 96 Episode 97 Episode 98 Episode 99 Finale 

Macabre Song Part One Part Two 

Okay, now let’s talk process a bit.

I started the story on Gamespot, hence why the version here has the early episodes combined. When I’d decided vaguely what kind of story I wanted to write, I asked my readers there to create characters, offering to let them make one male, one female. Originally, I wasn’t going to do an all female team. I was planning something more gender equal. However, the five people whose submissions I ended up using had far more interesting female characters than male ones, Sirvanna, Alena, Alexa, Yuni & Katelyn. The only male character who made it in was Asbestos, who shows up in the finale as someone they’re arresting.

I remember my buddy Sky came up with Alena and I loved the idea immediately. I don’t even remember what powers her male character had. The way her powers activate in darkness really gave me ideas. Especially in conjunction with Yuni and her light-based powers. Which is probably why I was keen on coming up with a way for them to combine their abilities and that whole process led to them getting really close as characters.

Inez was my own character. I’d actually used her in the first story I’d written for my GS blog and in my early writing that was really derivative and I’m really not proud of. Her character in that resembled the Inés of Grand Pilgrimage more than the Omicron variant though. Although, the proto version wasn’t nearly as interesting. The prototype was basically an angry, strong woman who loved to fight. In Omicron I gave her super speed because I thought the power set the group had would benefit from a speedster tossed in.

That aside, since the female characters were more interesting, I decided to connect the development of their abilities to the X chromosome and use mostly female super-powered characters in general. Which I thought was rather interesting.

Originally, the basic story was going to have one person in the group switch sides halfway through and end with the other five characters fighting to stop the “bad guys” from taking over in a final push. They were going to fail and at least a few of them were going to die in the attempt. I  ended up changing it for two reasons. The first is that the ending was too similar to the one from my first GS blog story and, even though the blog was set up on a new site I didn’t want to do that. The second is that I made the initial antagonists too blatantly correct. To the point where there was really no compelling reason for Omicron to stay loyal to their government. So, it ended up with them all changing loyalties.

I started by giving them code names as kind of a joke. Since they barely used them and none of the heroines were particularly happy with them.

Fun fact, I actually walked around for a while talking like Zhao in order to get her voice down. She was an interesting one to write. A character with an exterior that doesn’t match her interior and who tries to compensate for that to an extent by deliberately drawing attention to the way she talks.

Macabre Song was an interesting addition. It’s actually based off of a poem I wrote where a little girl is dancing around a graveyard playing with dead bodies. And the song she sings is actually made up of words from that poem. I thought it would be interesting to have the squad take on someone who controls corpses and my weird, macabre poetry seemed a good basis for it.

So, I guess that’s it for tidbits about the Omicron Squad. I’ll probably do one for Purification next but I shan’t post that one for a while. I hope you guys enjoyed it.

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The Last Draconian 46: Poorly Planned Pursuit

Previous Chapter

Lais signalled her unit they moved out carefully. They crept closer to their targets. The troll tents stood silently. “This is odd,” Luc’s voice said in her head. “There should at least be sentries, but the entire camp is silent.”

“Could it be a trap?” Lais thought.

“They couldn’t have known that we were coming,” Luc answered. “However, a trap is the only explanation. I want you to pull your unit back for now. Wait until Lang acts and then strike.”

“Understood,” Lais thought.

Lang’s troops stood at the wall with ladders. They were waiting for Lais’s attack before dropping the ladders again and joining the battle.

“I’m changing to the backup plan,” Luc said.

Lang nodded. “Very well,” He turned to his troops, regretting that the spell couldn’t connect all of their thoughts. “Listen up! We’re moving to the secondary plan. I want you all standing at the gates in five minutes. Our task is the most dangerous, but we must accomplish it with due diligence for the Royal One and our homeland. Just be cautious and we may survive the night.”

The elves scrambled off of the wall and moved to the gate. It opened very slightly, enabling them to charge under it and emerge into the night. There was no sign of movement from the troll’s encampment.

Lang mimicked the cry of a barn owl and his group charged forward creating a huge cacophony as they moved toward the troll’s camp.

Troll archers and mages lay in wait for their attack and began firing with arrows and magic as soon as they heard the approaching elves.

Lang’s unit was taken by surprise. Several elves fell before they could bring up their shields to block the onslaught.

“Forward!” Joseph cried. “Leave none of the tree dwellers alive!” His unit hefted their spears and rushed to meet the elves in battle.

Zelma’s unit followed him. She held up her axe and smiled broadly. “There’s no way such an ill-conceived attack could work!” she cried

Selene and her archers fired arrows more to keep Lang’s unit confused and disorganized than to wipe them out.

“Shall I join the battle?” Lais thought.

“No!” Luc’s mental response was so loud that it gave her a headache. “They were expecting us. You should have your people retreat back into the shadows quietly while Lang falls back. We can’t win a prolonged battle. Not under these conditions.”

Lais quickly scanned the battlefield. Troll mages and archers were cutting into Lang’s forces while lancers and blades closed in. Half of Luc’s unit was trying to block the enemy spells but there was only so much they could manage. None of them had expected the trolls to be prepared and their mages were nearly as strong. Luc herself was out of sight, undoubtedly preparing. Lais reluctantly gave the signal for her unit to move back. Lang was on his own.

The elven defenders opened the gates halfway to allow the remnants of Lang’s unit to retreat in.

Joseph signalled his unit to stop pursuit. “What are you doing?” Zelma demanded.

“I was warned not to follow them into the city,” Joseph said. “Larick was very clear.”

“You can listen to that tree-dweller,” Zelma scoffed. “But I’m going to take advantage of this opening.” She held up her axe and shouted “Charge!” She led her troops into the gates of Het Wald before the gate could be closed.

Joseph held out his arm to try to stop her, but she wouldn’t heed him. He remained still and watched. His soldiers looked from him to Zelma, paralysed through indecision.

Zelma’s group found themselves instantly surrounded by a group of robed elves and pixies. Energy was already gathered into their hands. “Now!” Luc said. Magic sparked from all of their hands simultaneously. The eight elements engulfed the trolls from all directions. They couldn’t move, they couldn’t act. They were swiftly reduced to less than ashes.

“By the Gods…” Joseph whispered.

Selene put a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “You made the right decision,” she said. “Zelma should have known that the elves would have an escape plan in place.”

Joseph nodded. “I just didn’t expect such a display of raw power.”

Selene shrugged. “New techniques like that are developed every time there’s a war. Our mages will just have to learn how to copy or defend against it.”

*****

Michael Ryufan

I lapsed in and out of consciousness. My battle with Sadow was the most lucid image in my mind. I could have been victorious, if not for Lynai. Her words were clear in my mind “Don’t ever say that your life isn’t important!”

Was life really that grand? The draconians remembered everyone, regardless of how little or how much they had accomplished with their lives. But no other species had our racial memory or anything remotely comparable. They remembered only those who had accomplished something incredible or done something atrocious.

What of those who lived normal, uneventful lives? Did their lives truly matter? Was life truly important or was it a person’s accomplishments that gave their life meaning? Was a person who committed atrocities truly as deserving of life as someone who dedicated their life to improving their society? If actions truly dictate the worth of a life, then is taking Sadow’s life and avenging my people not the best course for my life? What could possibly be a nobler course for me?

I was dimly aware of Lynai’s voice near my resting place while I considered these philosophical matters, but it seemed very dim and far away. I was vaguely aware of someone else being present as well, but I was not acquainted with the person in question and could only surmise that it was an associate of Lynai’s.

I knew that it would take me some time to recover and that until I did I would be unable to complete my task. A part of me was unconcerned. I had waited for a couple decades already, a little longer would not be harmful. However, another facet of my consciousness was concerned. Sadow now knew of my existence and intentions. If he should appear while I lay wounded and unable to retain more than a peripheral consciousness all would surely be lost. Moreover, he would be on his guard.

Next Chapter

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The Comic Con Case Part 2

Part one

“Do these costumes really go together?” Bianca asked. She glanced at herself in the mirror then looked over at Hilde. “Not trying to question you or anything. But I’m dressed as a witch and you look like some kind of space soldier.”

“First off,” Hilde stated. “You’re a Doctor. I just used her Halloween skin because I thought it’d suit you. Secondly, you’ve seen me play this game. I believe you said ‘what twelve year old Edgelord designed that skull mask guy?'”

Bianca snapped her fingers. “Oh, I remember. You said he was just designed to appeal to twelve year old Edgelords.”

“Just don’t repeat that at the convention,” Hilde cautioned. “We’re going to solve a case and have a little fun while we’re at it. We don’t want a bunch of pissed off nerds.”

“Don’t worry, I have tact when I need to,” Bianca said.

“We have a week for you to learn the basics of your character,” Hilde said. “Should be plenty of time for you.”

“Do I have to?” Bianca asked.

“Yes, because people might want to strike up a conversation about it,” Hilde said. “If you don’t know the basics, we’re going to have a bunch of strangely elitist twenty somethings tossing out terms like ‘fake geek girl’ and causing a huge fuss.”

“Okay, I’ll learn so I don’t embarrass you in front of your people,” Bianca said. “Don’t worry.”

“To start with,” Hilde said, holding her tablet for Bianca to see. “Say this line for me.”

“Why that line?” Bianca wondered. “Could it be that you have something you want to do with it?”

“Damn right I do!” Hilde declared.

“Ooh, intriguing,” Bianca said. “All right, here goes.” She cleared her throat. “Keep the skies clear for me.”

Hilde grinned and knelt down, lightly kissing Bianca’s  hand. “Let’s keep them clear together.”

Bianca felt herself flush. “Okay, that was pretty sexy,” she said. “Do it again?”

“Maybe later,” Hilde said.

“Then how about a bath?” Bianca asked. “I’ve got some special bath salts that have some great effects, mostly medicinal. They relieve aches and pains, help injuries mend and unknot your muscles like a superb massage.”

“And what do they do besides medical stuff?” Hilde asked. “Are they an aphrodisiac?”

“Kind of,” Bianca said. “They enhance pleasure. Under water infused with this stuff, you’ll think there are two of me.”

“Aren’t you a dirty girl,” Hilde muttered.

Bianca shrugged. “What can I say? I like to get busy with my girlfriend. Or were you offering to scrub me down?”

“Tempting,” Hilde said. “Lore studying for an hour. Then I’ll take a bath with you and your salts.”

“Yes Ma’am!” Bianca said.

*****

On the day of the convention, Hilde and Bianca arrived at the hall early.

“You came dressed up?” Borchert asked.

“We told you we’d be incognito,” Bianca said.

“We’ll go around and find your trickster,” Hilde said. “If they like to appear when the place is crowded we’ll just be able to find them more easily if we’re blending in. Our culprit won’t be as guarded.”

“Oh yes, of course,” he said. “Come with me for a moment, if you please.”

They followed him to the back. “This is our head of security, Mister Lukas Graf.” Lukas looked slightly younger than Borchert with dark hair and a clean shaven face. He had a sullen look.

“So, you’re the detectives,” he said, practically spitting the word out.

“You have a problem, Buddy?” Bianca asked.

“I apologise for him,” Borchert said.

Hilde shook her head. “There’s no need to be sorry. We understand.” She looked directly at Lukas. “We’re doing your job and you feel put out. But this isn’t a matter of ego. We’re here to do a job. And it’s something you guys need done.”

Lukas nodded. “Doesn’t mean I have to like it.”

*****

The  convention started. Hilde and Bianca quickly merged into the crowd.

“You don’t suspect Mister ‘I don’t want detectives at my convention’ at all?” Bianca asked.

“No,” Hilde said. “Trust me, security workers always have that reaction. Unless they’re just at the point where they don’t care any more. Sense anything yet?”

“Nope,” Bianca answered.  “I’m not doing a comprehensive detect magic spell or anything, but I should be able to detect magic if it’s used this close to me regardless.”

“Well, we haven’t seen anything suspicious yet either,” Hilde said. “Guess our culprit’s not making their move yet.”

“At least we have plenty of time to play,” Bianca said. “Here, take my arm and let’s do another sweep of the displays.”

“Next sweep, I get to hold my arm out,” Hilde said.

The pair wandered about, looking at the booths and stopping on occasion to pose for photos.

They were looking at an artist’s booth when it happened. The contents shifted and, somehow, a large triceratops statue appeared to take the centre stage at the booth.

Hilde and Bianca nodded at each other and backed away.

‘It’s magic,” Bianca whispered.

“I noticed,” Hilde said. “Source?”

“Hard to say,” Bianca answered. “I think the culprit set up some basic transportation spells ahead of time and scrolled them.”

“I’m guessing that’s like D&D when you read a spell off a scroll,” Hilde said.

“Basically,” Bianca said. “So, they just activate them and they take effect.”

“Can they be tracked?” Hilde asked.

“I’ll need to set up an actual detect magic spell with a tracking function built in,” Bianca said. “I’ll also add some protective layers so our culprit doesn’t sense them until it’s too late. Trust me, we’ll get her.”

“All right, hurry back,” Hilde said.

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