I awoke the next morning completely exhausted in Lucy’s over-sized bed. I was naked as expected and Lucy was nowhere to be found. I took the time to look myself over; one of the bonuses of going full wolf, my healing ability gets boosted. All the scrapes and bruises from the past few days were healed as if they were months old. I had been cleaned as well. I figured Lucy would do as such since I nearly always pass out after the change.
My stomach growled something similar to my own growls the night previous. Another side effect to the change, if I don’t eat half a cow in that form, I’m famished when I return. The aroma of steak and eggs drifted into the room from the kitchen downstairs. I shuffled out of the bed and located a pair pants. I didn’t bother with a shirt, as I would be showering afterward anyway. The hardwood floor felt odd under my bare feet as it always did after the change. A muted numb feeling like my brain is still in the process of reverting to my human form.
I reached the bottom of the stairs to find Crista’s amber colored eyes staring at me. A small-satisfied smile stretched across her copper colored face.
“Well young one, looks like you’ve come from very good parentage. You would differently be an alpha in a standard pack.”
“Um. Thanks...I guess” I said rubbing my head.
“We will have to talk about your transition though, there is no reason for it to be that painful. If I went through that much trouble I wouldn’t do it either.”
“Wait, there is a less painful way?”
“Yes, it’s actually all in the mind.”
My stomach growled loudly.
“Ugh, food first.” I said raising a hand.
“Yes, I think I will join you.”
I walked in the kitchen where Lucy was on her raised platform in front of the oven. She didn’t look at me just slid a plate in my general direction. The plate came to a halt as it tapped the edge of the morning paper. The headline reading “The Silverstein’s Folly.” I took up the paper and sat at the breakfast bar in front of the plate of mouthwatering food.
Lucy poured me a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice after sliding a plate to Crista. She soon sat down next to me as I read the article.
Yesterday evening around 11:30, tragedy stuck downtown Luimere. The Silverstein Flagship known as the Amelia suffered a critical malfunction of the containment unit for its fire elemental. Reports say the elemental, once free, charged directly for the hydrogen balloon overhead.
All aboard the vessel save one lone survivor are reported dead. Initial testimonies state that the carnage in some cases resemble bodies mangled by a wild beast instead of a massive hydrogen explosion.
Arlena Silverstein, daughter of Augustus Silverstein, and board member of Devlin Works is the single survivor of the ship’s explosion. She miraculously survived a fifteen-story drop to a nearby building just before the ships eruption. Sadly, it appears that the event has torn her mind asunder. Lady Silverstein was extremely disturbed and rambled on about a monster. She will be moved from Darlingdale Hospital to the Sarhome Mental Institute for further treatment.
To add to the woes of the Silverstein household, documents bearing the Silverstein family seal were presented today along with the testimony of Franklin Devlin, implicating the Silverstein’s in an attempt of corporate sabotage. The documents indicated that The Silverstein’s intended to undermine Mr. Devlin to the point that his own board would oust him, giving the company to the Silverstein’s.
We tried to get and an early morning interview with Mr. Silverstein, but were promptly turned down by his lawyers. Injuries from the explosion have been in the thousands as many we struck by falling debris. As of this article no deaths other that the crew and passengers of the Amelia have been reported, however there is quite a bit of wreckage to sift through.
I put the paper down and ate a bit of the delicious meal Lucy had prepared.
“Lucky that the ship was over downtown and not more of the residential areas. There would have definitely been more casualties.”
“The fates were with me it seems.” I said between bites.
“You should look at the business section. You may find something interesting” Lucy insisted.
I picked the paper back up and flipped through the pages to the business section. Top article was titled, Devlin Works Board Fired, I read on.
Franklin Devlin, founder and CEO of Devlin Works fired his entire board effective at midnight last night. This decision was made after the discovery of the alleged conspiracy of a corporate takeover. Mr. Devlin went on record stating that his board had been compromised and had become greedy. He has already hired a new board from within his organization with one surprise addition.
Coming on to the Devlin Works board as Vice President of Research and Development is the daughter of the late Senator Eldawin Ravens, Lucille Ravens.
I put the paper down again and gave Lucy a surprised look.
“You got a job?”
“Yea looks that way.”
“But, you. Lucy Ravens, got a job?” I exclaimed nearly choking on my food.
“It’s not that big of a deal. He made me a very convincing offer.”
“And that was?”
“Full funding on all my inventions. I keep the copyrights, but as long as I work for the company, Devlin Works produces them and I get really big salary.”
“Well that sounds like a swell deal.”
“I thought so, gives me a larger work space and minions to do my bidding.”
“Speaking of space. Crista, I’m presuming you’re sticking around?”
“Of course, we still need to look into the Sons of Silver situation and there is also much to teach you. I was hoping you would have room for me at your home.”
“That can be arranged my place does have a second bedroom I don’t use.”
“Thank you, young one.”
I finished my meal, and then kissed Lucy is on the cheek. I stood and placed my plate in the sink.
“Okay, Crista, I’ve got a few thanks I need to do in person. I will swing back by here to pick you up.” I said as I walked toward the living room.
“Very well young one.”
I walked through the living room and back upstairs to Lucy’s enormous bathroom. I hopped into Lucy’s amazing shower and a few moments later Lucy joined me. As you might have guessed, I worked off a bit of my debt to her. After a time we both exited the shower and got ourselves dried off.
“You kind of scared me back on the ship, Marcus.”
“Before or after the change.”
“Both, it was really hard to watch as that harlot had you electrocuted repeatedly, then stab you with the sword I made for you and then after the change your thoughts were so clear. I mean you were completely aware of every action.”
I sat there on the edge of the bed for a moment. I did not realize how much of the telepathy transferred to Lucy during the change. I never thought I’d have to explain what happens while I’m in wolf form. Lucy’s tiny hand rubbed on my shoulders, comforting, reassuring. Something had changed in her.
“Becoming the wolf is a conscious choice. Every action made while in that form is a conscious choice. When it boils down to it, if something has driven me to the point that I need to change then all bets are off. Changing means I’m in a kill or be killed situation. I take no pride or pleasure in my actions last night and I pray to the fates that the reflections of those slain will find peace. I did what was necessary to survive and protect my charge.”
“I do not judge you, Marcus. I know very well that most of my weapons end up in the hands of those with ill intentions. This fact does not stop me for creating them and producing them. We are what we are. It’s just it scared me is all. I’d have to find a new toy and you’re so well trained.”
We shared a laugh.
“I. I’m going to ask another favor,” I said.
“Yes, do you think I could borrow your portable until I can get mine replaced?”
“Keep it, I have several others,” insisted with a hint of a smirk.
Lucy slipped into her usual mechanic’s jumper and tossed on an evergreen blouse. She fashioned on her steam-powered arm enhancement sleeves and headed back downstairs. I threw on my brown suit with a maroon vest, eggshell colored shirt and black tie. On the nightstand beside the bed sat Lucy, my pistol, in her gun belt.
I fastened the gun’s belt to my hip and check myself in the mirror.
“Good enough for Brill.” I thought to myself.
“Brill?” A thought invaded my mind.
“Okay, Crista we are going to have to work on some boundaries.”
“I’m sorry, young one. In a pack such boundaries do not exist.”
“Be that as it may. I can’t have you just wondering in my head whenever you like. Some thoughts are meant to be private.”
“You mean like how you thought I was ravishing in the clothes Lucy had dressed me in?”
“Yes, exactly like that. As far as I know you could be my great, great, great, great, great grandmother or something.”
“I suppose that could be possible, though the chance of that are very low. I only gave birth to one offspring and I’m not sure what became of him.”
“When I come back to pick you up we’ll discuss boundaries.”
“Very well, young one.”
I shook my head in disbelief and opened the portable scrying mirror. I remembered that I had still not informed Pharmis of Davis’s passing. I thought I had seen a scrying mirror in Pharmis’s home. The mirror chimed several time before finally Pharmis answered.
“Oh my, I can’t remember the last time I’ve actually used this thing,” she said cheerfully.
“Good morning, Pharmis.”
“Oh, Mr. Moore. Good to see you.”
“Good to see you as well, though I summon bearing bad news.”
“What has happened?” she asked some of the cheer leaving her voice.
“Darvis did not make it out of Undercity. I wanted to come back and tell you but Bell. I mean Shadow Stepper insisted it was safe to move forward.”
I could see Pharmis slump down in her chair. Grief washed over her round face and her rosy dwarven cheeks lost some of their color. She closed her eyes and said a quiet prayer before meeting my eyes again.
I told her everything about the tunnel being blocked, finding all the spider corpses and lastly the battle against the zombified Noranox. I mentioned the discovery of a silver weapon bearing the marks of a long dead mercenary group.
“This is sad news.” She said her eyes start to glisten as tears began to well up.
“I only knew him for a short time, but he was a solid dwarf. I am grateful to have met him.”
“Yes, yes. Darvis was a selfless dwarf. Always looking out for everyone else in the village never for himself. He will be sorely missed. Marcus, I… I will have to make arrangements to get supplies that we cannot make on our own down here.”
“Not a problem, I know some people that can help out with that if you can get someone to the surface to pick the stuff up.”
“Okay, I’ll be in touch. I need to go inform the others of our loss.”
“I await your summons.” I told her before closing the connection.
Next I summoned Haven, after a few chimes priestess Kiea answered.
“Ah, Mr. Moore. How good it is to see you.”
“Priestess Kiea, You are looking as radiant as ever.”
“Thank you, Mr. Moore. As ever, you are too kind. How may I assist you?” the elven priestess asked.
“I seek an audience with Joseph and Amelia Dorn.”
“I will call them forth right away.”
The priestess’s image left the tiny screen on the portable mirror. A few minutes later she returned with three others with her. Dr. Dorn and the automaton formally known as Tanis smiled with big cheer filled smiles.
“I’m glad to see you all happy with your new home.” I said.
“Thank you very much, Mr. Moore.” Doctor Dorn said to me.
“It was the right thing to do.”
“Marcus,” Tanis said. “You are a gift to the world. Thank you for returning my son and my husband to me.”
“Anytime, Amelia. How’s the kid?”
“Cheerful, Happy as can be now that his father is back and no one out to kill us.”
“That is good to hear. Haven is a great place to be if you wish to have a peaceful life outside of the system. I’ve struck a major blow to the Silverstein’s. You all should be able to return in a few months if you so choose.”
“That is good to know,” said Dr. Dorn. “Though I don’t foresee us leaving this place anytime soon.”
I smiled, “I’m glad to hear it. I’m going to let you go as I have more errands to run. Summons me if you need anything.”
“Thank you again, Marcus.” Amelia-Tanis said.
The Dorns closed the connection and I made one last summons before I left Lucy’s place. Ovur picked up after the second chime. I could see white clouds behind him, but I could hear the rain outside Lucy’s bedroom window.
“How are the skies my old friend?” I asked.
“Above the rain clouds, absolutely wonderful. What can I do for you, lad.”
“Oh nothing, just wanted to tell you thank you.”
“It was nothing, really, my crew didn’t even have to pull a trigger.”
“True, but I wanted to thank you anyhow.”
“Like I said before I owed you for what you did for me.”
“Well then, consider us even.” I told him.
“Even it is. We’ll have to get together for a drink to make it official.”
I laughed, “Any excuse to drink right?”
Ovur smiles a toothy smile barely seen under his massive mustache. “You know me so well, lad.”
“What kind of detective would I be if I didn’t?”
“A piss poor one, I’d imagine. Oh, looks like we’re about to descend into the storm. I’ll summons you once we are back in Luimere.”
“I’ll look forward to it” I said and then closed the connection.
I headed downstairs gathering one few things I had and headed to the garage. I passed Lucy and Crista looking over some gadget Lucy was working on.
“I’m heading out. I’ll be back in a few hours to pick you up Crista.”
“Very well, young one. Lucy here has much to teach me about the city above.”
“Not a problem, Marcus. Crista and I will spend some quality time together.”
I walked through Lucy’s death trap of a workshop and back into the garage. I sat down in my Athena for the first time in two days. I started her engine and gave the boiler a moment to get hot. I pulled out of Lucy’s hidden garage and headed to Brill’s place. The drive was short, but it was nice for once not having to look over my shoulder.
I pulled up to the address that Brill had provided me. Her home was a small mansion; small meaning it was as large as my apartment building. She did say business had been really good for her. I pulled the steammobile up to the front gate and hit the buzzer.
“Who is it?” sultry voice called.
“Marcus Moore,” I replied.
“Oh sweetie! You came to see me first thing in the morning. I didn’t think that little minx would let you out to play today.”
I laughed, “Lucy, has no leash on me, yet. Though this last case may change her mind.”
“Then I better enjoy you while I can.” she said with steaming sensuality. “Come on in.”
I heard a buzzing sound and suddenly the gate began to move on its own. The sound of grinding gears and buzzing electricity mingled with the falling rain and my engine’s rumble. I pulled the vehicle up the short drive and parked it next to Brill’s Zeus.
I stepped out my Athena and head up to the door. The door swung open as I reached the final step. Brill stood before me in nothing but a thin see-through robe of silk and lace. The heat in her eyes could have lit a fire. She was a sight to be held, a goddess among men. Her light green skin covered well defined, extremely tone muscles of a fighter without losing an ounce of femininity.
I stepped forward and held her in a warm embrace. I know what you’re thinking. No I’m not a man-whore, I am a wolf though. I picked Brill up and carried her inside. Needless to say we didn’t make it out of the living room. We barely made it out of the entrance hallway. After a few hours Brill was finally satisfied and I was thoroughly exhausted.
“Now that that’s out of the way,” I said between big breaths sweat covering my body. “How’s your gang.”
“Lost two, a few minor injuries on the others. As a whole they are all quite pleased. Some it seems feared my leadership would be more business less violence. Which eventually it will be, but I’m still an Orc. Violence is in our nature.”
“I’m sorry for the lost.”
“Don’t be. They were good deaths, warrior’s deaths.”
I rolled over and started to get dressed. “So what next for you?”
“Well, I’m going to get my “Shipping” Business back underway. I have to instill in the other orc bosses around Orc Country that Brill is not a Boss to be toyed with. Don’t be surprised if you see a news report about a clan war in Orc Country. Morntok was at the top of the pile of garbage. I have to assert myself as if I have the right to fill his shoes. Killing him, my own brother, helped with that.”
“We’ll have to keep in touch now that we can,” I said slipping into my shoes.
“Until little Ms. Ravens locks you down, sweetie. I have every intention to.”
I smiled and leaned over and gave her a long kiss. I got up and walked to the door.
“Summons me if you need anything thing. I owe for all your help and sacrifice.”
“You know I will, sweetie.”
I put my goggles and top hat back on and stepped back out into the Luimere rain. Closing the door behind me, I walked back to my Athena started her up and after a minute, made my way to the highway. I took the road south and head for the one place I knew I would find Tobias.
I parked the Athena in the lot across the street from the bar. The scene was reminiscent to a few days ago. I entered the bar and tipped my hat to big Francis at the door. It was about mid-day at this time and the bar was full of patrons getting their mid-day meal and drink.
I could see my cousin and company were by their usual billiard tables in the back of the bar. I swung by the bar and order a round of dark ale for the lot of them and chicken sandwich for myself. I grabbed the bottled ale and with the assistance of one of the waitresses, we carried the drinks over.
The gang greeted me warmly and after the drinks were served I received several handshakes. I sat down in the booth across from Tobias who was enjoying a juicy looking rare steak.
“I should have ordered one of those.”
“Yes, you should have cousin.”
“Next time, maybe. I just wanted to come by and thank you for the assist on this one.”
“Some assist, you ended up getting captured.”
“That was all part of the plan. In the big picture you guys did exactly what I needed. How did the Lurkers fair?”
“Better than the Orcs. Scrapes and bruises, for a few of us that means nothing. No one got himself or herself killed surprisingly enough. Those Silverstein goons were a tough bunch. Ex-military would be my guest. Lucky, we had them outnumbered and outgunned. Honestly, don’t know how they got you out of there.”
“I didn’t ask. My best guess the Magus teleported us to the ship. As big as that thing was I would not be surprised if it had an anchor point installed. Especially as rich as the Silverstein’s were.”
“I read in the paper about the crash and the Lady Silverstein losing her wits. What happened up there?” Tobias asked.
“The short version. I let them torture me so Lucy could get Arlena on record declaring her plan to take over Devlin Works. Electrified chair and sword through foot were her methods of choice.”
“Ouch!” Tobias winced.
“Yep, afterwards I made the change and brutally murdered everyone, save her. Then I did the whole, if you go after them I’ll hunt you speech.”
The group laughed, “She soiled herself didn’t she?” one of the other werewolves in the gang asked.
“You know she did. After that I took out the engine room and set the elemental free.”
“Wow, cousin… I knew you were pissed off, but I did not think it was that bad.”
“It was a really rough couple of days.”
“So what now?”
“Now I go about my day and tally up my loses.”
“I still say you don’t charge enough for the work you do, cousin. Honestly, you would make more running with us.”
“You know, no pack can have two alphas, Tobias and you know I don’t follow well, hence my not being a cop any longer.”
“True, true. I’d much rather not find out which of us is the better.”
“Same goes for me. Anyway, I’m going to run by my office before heading home. Crista is going to be staying with me for a while. You and the others may want to stop by from time to time. She has four hundred years of experience at being what we are.”
“Four Hundred Years!” Tobias and some of the other wolves exclaimed.
“Yes, she is an original. You know the old stories about wolves that learned how to become people. Well, Crista is one such wolf. Also there is a possible threat to us that we need to discuss.”
“Ok, cousin. Summons me when you want us to come over we’ll bring food and drink.”
I finished my meal and rose from the table. The other wolves in the gang padded my shoulders as I made my exit. Once more in the rain, I return to my Athena and ventured to my office. I parked in my reserved spot in front of the building.
Exiting the car I could see the proprietors of the first floor shops looking at me with shocked faces. I tipped my hat at each of them and walked into the building out of the swelling rain. Upstairs the police had been nice enough to close my office door.
I checked the handle, it was locked; the superintendent must have locked it up after all the commotion was done. I opened the door expecting to see the damage I vaguely remembered from Arlena’s assault. What I saw was a brand new room.
The floor had been repaired and a new tan and maroon patterned rug covered it. The walls had been repainted a dark green the desk had been replaced with one made of bronze and brass with a thick glass top. Even my file cabinet and scrying mirror was new. Next to the mirror was one of those expensive glass bottles with matching glasses filled with a dark liquid, that I guessed was bourbon. I took off my hat and cloak and hung them on my new bronze coat hanger and sat in my new leather chair.
It felt nice, far nicer than my old chair. On the desk was an envelope. A brand new letter opener with my initials on the handle sat next to it. I took the letter and opener in hand and opened the letter. The letter read:
I want to personally thank you for saving my company from the potential threat of the Silverstein’s. I know that it was never your intention, I however am still grateful that it was a side effect of your actual goal of saving the child. The children of Luimere are our future.
As of reading this letter you have notice that I have taken the liberty of repairing and refurnishing your office. I hope it is to your liking. You will also find two additional items in this envelope.
The first is a certificate giving you a lifetime membership to the Hurley. The second is a check, payment for services rendered. Hope to see you at the Hurley, Mr. Moore and Thank You.
I pulled out the two additional pieces of paper from the envelope. As stated, the first was a lifetime membership certificate for the exclusive gentleman’s club the Hurley. The second was a check for two thousand sovereigns. I sat there stunned for nearly a minute. I had never held so much money, even a check for so much money in my life. I sat the check down on the table and poured myself a drink. I walked to my favorite spot in the room by the windowsill and took a slow sip from the glass. I smiled at the glass; the liquor was smooth and warming, well aged.
“I guess this case wasn’t so bad after all.” I said aloud as I stood and peered out the window. “Not that bad at all.”
Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Marcel AlexanderWrite a Review