I awoke the next morning possibly more tired than I was the night previous. If you ever share a bed with a half gnome half elf, I advise keeping a pot of coffee on hand. They are near ravenous and have enough energy to go non-stop for hours. Lucy laid naked next me, a sleeping angel half covered by the red silk sheets. I slipped out of the bed and pulled on my slacks. Lucy murmured something about applying gyros to the stabilizers on something. Smiling I tossed on my button down shirt and exited the room. I walked down the stairs to Lucy’s scrying mirror and gave Tobias a summons. He answered after the fifth chime. He looked about as groggy as I felt and expressed his displeasure with a few choice words.
“Seriously cousin, I know I said summon me whenever you need me, but at least have the decency to summon me after ten.” he grumbled.
“I have a situation and I need to start the preparations early. What can you tell me about recent activity among the orcs?”
Tobias shuffled a bit and rubbed the sleep out of his golden eyes. I could see two girls move in the background in his bed. He smoothed out his thin mustaches with his hand.
“My boys say that one of the big gangs has gotten their hands on something huge. Sounds like they are sitting on it. Word is that they are calling in outside help to examine whatever it is.”
I swore. “OK, I’m going to need help with an extraction. Morntok has the kid I’m looking for.”
“Didn’t he shoot you for sleeping with his sister?” he laughed.
“Yes he did,” I sighed.
“You got a way in?”
“Not quite yet. I’m contacting Brill after this conversation. Hopefully, I’ll have something of interest for her.”
“Hopefully?” he asked.
“Lucy’s got something for me.”
“Ah, the infamous Lucy. I’m going to have to me the reclusive genius one of these days.”
I laughed “No, no you won’t. I had to share plenty of my things with you when we were growing up.”
Tobias smiled warmly. “OK, OK give me a shout when things are ready. The boys and I will be ready to ride, guns loaded.”
“Hopefully we won’t have a big shoot out. I know for sure we will need an escort back to my office at least. Morntok rarely ventures out of orc country. The coppers will be on him and his crew the moment they entered my side of town.”
“True enough. I await your summons.” Tobias closed the connection.
I felt a pair of tiny arms wrap around my waist. Lucy’s bare breasts pressed against my buttocks.
“I don’t recall saying I was done with you yet,” she whispered in a soft sultry voice.
“Lucy, You do remember we are not alone?”
“Your point? Our peculiar guest is in my home at her own risk. If she has a problem with nudity, it is none of my concern.”
I laughed and turned around to face her. She looked up to me with big wanting eyes. Her head rested just above my belly button and she lustfully licked her lips. I lifted her up off the ground and gave her a kiss before she could do what I knew she was thinking. I carried her back to her room. In the corner of my eye I noticed Tanis peeking out from inside the guest room.
I laid Lucy back on her large bed. Now, when I say large, I mean large for me. It was a proverbial ocean for Lucy. Complete with an ornate headdress, full canopy with red curtains that matched the silk sheets. The little minx even had mirrors installed in the ceiling of the canopy.
“Lucy, I will need that bargaining chip before I make the call to Brill.”
She yawned, “Guns or gold you said.” She rolled lazily onto her belly. “I’ve got a toy that I suppose I could part with.”
She hopped off her bed and slipped into her mechanic’s jumpsuit that was thrown carelessly on the floor. She didn’t even bother with undergarments. She tossed on the grungy blouse from yesterday and walked to her closet. Inside hung her steam powered arm enhancements. She fitted them on and slid her tiny feet into her bronze-toed work boots.
I pulled my socks on and put on my shoes. Lucy suiting up meant a trip to the workshop. That was the last place you wanted to go without footwear. I buttoned up the front of my shirt and tossed my blue vest back on. We exited the room and headed down stairs. Tanis was sitting in the living room still as a statue
“Good morning Tanis” I said with a smile.
“Mr. Moore, Ms. Lucy.” she said with a small smile and a blank stare. I wasn’t sure how she was able to do that.
“Gah, I hate being call Ms.” Lucy exclaimed. “Just call me Lucy. Now come along, let us go look at my toy collection.”
We entered the deathtrap known as Lucy’s workshop; gears turned, small steam vent whistled, and electricity arced off of strange contraptions I could not begin to understand. I’m not even sure how we did not hear the noise in the rest of the house. We walked to the back of the shop some fifty feet. Did I mention Lucy’s place was a warehouse that took up most of a city block? She and I have been close for years and I still haven’t seen most of it.
“Grab a pair of those goggle over there” Lucy told us as we reached the door.
I grabbed two, handed Tanis a pair and then we joined Lucy by the heavy pressure sealed door. She pressed a sequence on the dial pad of to the side. I could hear the pressure release and the door slid open on grinding gears like the garage door had yesterday. Lucy whispered a small incantation and rows of lights came to life across the ceiling. The room was filled with shelves upon shelves of gadgets.
I stood there speechless. The room was nearly double the size as the workshop. There were devices of all shapes and sizes the majority of which I could not begin to name. There were quite a few weapons and enchanted items. Lucy had at five cars parked off to one side; two Artemis, one Apollo, a Zeus and one I did not recognize. Lucy walked forward and urged us to follow. We walked down a few rows and stopped in front of a gun rack. Lucy pulled over a step stool, scaled it and pulled down what I recognized as a long rifle.
This rifle was different from your standard weapon. Where you would normally load the ammunition was a cylinder made of bronze and steel. Lucy ratcheted the handle on the bottom of the weapon. I could hear something within the cylinder spinning and begin to hum. The hair on my arms started to rise and I noticed magic runes beginning to glow a pale blue. Lucy walked over a couple of rows to where she had fashioned a shooting range. A mannequin made of wood and clay stood like a battered with pockmarks, bullet holes, and scorch marks.
“I call this little beauty the Storm Caller. Goggles on, if you like having your sight.” She said as she trained the rifle on the target.
She pulled the trigger, steam from her power gloves hissed from the vents as they braced for the recoil. A bolt of white-hot lightning streaked from the barrel with a loud crackling sound. The bolt struck the target with such force and power that it exploded to ash almost instantaneously. The smell of ozone filled air and I could feel the hair all over my body stand on end. Lucy looked at me with a rare smile. She only showed emotions when she’s exceptionally proud of herself. Tanis appeared to have a slight look of admiration on her face.
“Isn’t she a beaut?” Lucy asked. “That was the force of a tier three lighting spell, only combat masters are able to use that effectively. Storm Caller can fire five times before it needs to be recharged. And she fires with pin point accuracy for over three hundred yards.”
“That is astonishing, Lucy” I said “Isn’t that a bit much. I mean do we really want this thing on the streets?”
“No worries. The government just purchased the blueprints to put these in production. We’ll see them on the black market in a few years.”
“OK, I think I can arouse Brill’s attention with this.”
“If you wanted to arouse her attention you should just make the call exposing your man meat.” Lucy giggled like a schoolgirl.
“So the plan is to bribe this Brill to get Braylen back? Tanis asked.
“Part of the plan, Yes. Brill and her brother don’t get along too well, primarily because orc women aren’t supposed to be free thinkers. Lucy’s plan is to give her a powerful weapon that she can challenge her brother with. And if Morntok loses the kid in the process he’ll look weak in front of his crew.”
“Look at those detective skill at work.” Lucy said.
“Very well, when do we start?” Tanis asked.
“I have to make the call first and see if an old flame will hear me out, and then I need a shower. Lucy, Do I still have clothes here?”
“Yes, The black jacket with the dark red vest and the tan pants. I think I have one of you shirts in my closet too.”
“That will do.”
As we were leaving the warehouse Lucy stopped in front of an Apollo model steam powered car. This steammobile would have cost at least a year’s worth of wages if I had a really good year. The body was smooth painted jet black with a bronze grill and two pair of polished bronze exhaust pipes protruded from its smooth hood. The car featured black fenders that covered half of both the front and rear wheels with a thin hand painted bronze trim. It was a hard top four-sweater, rare for an Apollo model steammobile. The dashboard and side panels were cream colored leather and the seats a dark red.
“She’s a beautiful machine, Lucy.” I told her.
“You should take her.”
“Wha... What?” I stammered.
“Your Athena is a good car. But if the idea is to out run the orc that will be in Hephaestus’ and on Pans. She’s not going to be quick enough. Tanis, I assume you can drive?”
“Yes, I am proficient in defensive driving tactics.” Tanis said plainly. There was certainty in her clear blue eyes.
“Good, Marcus you will need to have your gun hand free.”
Reluctantly, I nodded in agreement. I didn’t want to think of even scratching this car. Much less driving it into orc country and then driving it out in a blaze of glory. We followed Lucy back through the workshop and into the living room. Lucy handed me the storm caller rifle and took Tanis into the kitchen. I walked back to the scrying mirror and made myself presentable. I made the call for Brill’s portable scrying mirror. The mirror chime several times and after about the seventh chime, Brill’s face appeared in the mirror.
She had small dark brown eyes under a heavy brow. She had a small nose that was slightly up turn and high cheekbones. Like all orcs she her jaw was wide, square and accented with a small dimple in her chin. Her lower k-9s protruded slightly between her plump violet-colored lips and black hair fell long into loose curls framing her face. I got more than a pleasant view of her bosom cresting over her corset.
“I could not believe my ears when the mirror whispered your name. I had to step away from the breakfast table,” she said.
“Hello Brill. How have you been?”
“Two years and how have you been is what you ask me?”
“Hey now! A bullet does wonders in persuading a person from nefarious actions.”
“If what we were doing was considered nefarious, sign me up for villainy any time,” she said in a sultry voice.
OK, I admit it I was blushing. I’m sure I was near rosy cheeked at that point. I ran my finger along the collar of my shirt. Even through the scrying mirror Brill radiated sensuality. Maybe I was wrong about declaring her not a succubus. Brill had a sexual appetite that could rival the hungriest demon of lust. I cleared my throat before speaking. “Listen,” I said steering the conversation away from her removing my pants. “I’m on the job and I need your help.”
“That saddens me, not a call in two years and now you’re calling for a favor,” she pouted
“This is a big one. I’m looking for a kid and your brother has him.”
“Oh, I can’t help you with that one, sweetie. Morntok is acting like he got his hand on the Holy Grail. Whatever that boy is, he is worth more than his weight in gold.”
“Brill! That prize your brother is pining over like it’s his long lost love is the kid’s power generating heart.”
“What? The boy’s heart?” she asked taken aback.
“Yes, They are going to rip the kid’s heart out, for a device they may or may not be able to understand, let alone use.”
“I hear you sweetie. But this is Morntok we’re talking about. What could you possibly offer me to go against my brother?”
I hefted up the Storm Caller rifle. “I’m sure you are familiar with Lucy Ravens. This is one of her latest rifles. It fires a tier three lighting spell with the accuracy of the latest steam precision sniper rifle. It can hit a target with this accuracy at three hundred yards. You will not see another one of these on the streets for at least two years. Here’s what I’m offering you, the combination of this rifle and your brother losing face by losing the kid. You will be a position to step in and take over the gang. I know what kind of Orc Boss he’s been. Hell, he shot me for having an invested interest in you.”
I watched her through the scrying mirror as she thought about my offer. I could smell fresh coffee, bacon and eggs from the kitchen. “Curse you Lucy,” I thought. After the night I had with her that coffee would have been a Godsend.
“You are certain Morntok is going to kill the kid?”
“It is the only way he will be able to get to the device. He does that and an innocent eight year old dies.”
She sighed deeply as she switched her portable to her other hand. I caught a quick look of the room; it was her bedroom though not the bedroom I remembered. Still it contained the same big wooden furniture covered in heavy furs, various medieval and modern weapons displayed on the walls. Orc women are tough as nails and built like dead lifters, still Morntok treated them as inferiors. I was sure I struck the right cord.
“Very well, I will assist you, sweetie.” She said as she brought the scrying mirror closer. “I will accept your lovely rifle, but there is another stipulation I wish to add to this bargain.”
“And that is?” I asked inquisitively.
“You and I are to revisit our last engagement if you survive this encounter.”
Laughter blurted out of kitchen followed by a choking sound. I could hear Tanis patting Lucy on the back. Brill looked as if she was trying to see what was going on. I shook my head in disbelief.
“If we survive this and save the kid. I will agree to revisit our last encounter minus the bullet,” I said tentatively.
“OK, so what exactly do you need for me?”
“A way in.”
“All right, I have to do a store run today out of orc country. We can meet up and you can hide in my car’s boot. That will get you in, but I do not think you will be able to sneak out in the same manner. ”
“I’ll crossed that bridge when I come to it. You still driving that old Hephaestus?”
She laughed, “No sweetie, Morntok may be a jerk, but he’s smart enough to let me handle the finances. I just bought a slick new Zeus with all the bells and whistles not to long ago.”
“Very nice. Do you know when your brother is expecting the scientists?”
“The goblins are coming in tomorrow to assist. Rictus hasn’t left the warehouse in three days. From what I hear whatever this thing is it’s so beyond him, and that he’s damn near afraid to touch it.”
I breathed a sigh of relief. I thought to myself at least I wasn’t racing against the clock. I had a way, so I would need to map out the escape route and hope the fates were on my side. My stomach grumbled hunger was calling me.
“Brill, thank you. I know I’m paying for this, but thank you anyway. Shall we meet at three o’clock by the founders statue downtown?”
“Sounds good sweetie. It will be nice to lay eyes on you in the flesh again.” She smiled at me warmly then closed the connection.
Tanis came around the corner from the kitchen carrying a plate and a mug. She handed me the plate filled with grilled ham, scrambled eggs, crispy bacon and toast. I took the plate and walked over to the nearest chair in the living room. I didn’t realize how famished I was until I had the food before me. Tanis placed the mug of dark coffee on the coffee table and took a seat in the chair across from me. She sat there, her icy blue eyes quietly watching me eat. She looked as if she had a question, but was unsure how to ask it.
“I assume Lucy went back to her workshop?”
“Yes, she said something about calibrating Lucy. She then picked up your gun and walked into the workshop. I am confused... are you and Lucy not lovers?”
I choked on the bit of toast and ham I was chewing.
“We are in a non-traditional relationship.” I told her. “Mainly, I come over and she patches me or Lucy up. Occasional she has to do work on the Athena. Afterword she has her way with me. Lucy doesn’t date per say, let her tell it dating is impractical and only causes grief in the long run.”
“So she does not care that you agreed to have sexual intercourse with Brill?” She said flatly.
“You are almost as blunt and to the point as Lucy,” I said. “I learned a long time ago. Even the world’s greatest detective can never discover what goes on in a woman’s mind. And the one that claims he does is simply waiting for the undertaker to arrive. I have a special place reserved for Lucy whenever she desires it. Until that day comes I do what I have to in order to do what’s right.”
Tanis sat and thought about that while I washed down the food with the warm coffee. I could almost see the cogs turning in her mind. Tanis was a really pretty girl, but there was definitely something off about her, more than her motionlessness or the naivety she presented. There was a piece of the puzzle that was Tanis that was missing. A puzzle piece, I filed away to find out about later. I finished my cup and said, “OK, I’m going to have a shower and put on a change of clothes. We need to make arrangements to get Braylen somewhere safe after we get him out of orc hands. I will have some friends watching my office; they let us know if it’s clear. From there I may have a friend that can get him to Haven.”
“Haven?” she asked with a puzzled expression on her ebony face.
“It’s a town outside of the city that is outside the jurisdiction of Luimere law. It is primarily Magic Town they have very little technology and enough magical power to keep the senate away. Safest place to take a kid with a power core that no one should possess.”
“How will you get him there?”
“I know an airship pilot I trust. He does regular runs to the town for imports and exports. It’ll cost me a few sovereigns, but it’ll be worth it in the end.”
I rose and took my empty plate and mug in the kitchen. Poked my head in the workshop and yelled to Lucy that I was going to shower, I was not sure if she heard me. From where I stood it looked like she was enchanting new bullets. The catch to the arcane pistol and the reason there was only one. A magus needed to craft and enchant each bullet individually. I’m very cautious about the spell rounds I use for two reasons. One, they are seriously powerful. Two, I really hated the thought of Lucy wasting her time to make me a few more bullets. I closed the door and made my way up to Lucy’s bedroom and to her ridiculously oversized shower.
The shower was five feet by five wide with a checkered pattern black and white marble floor. It was enclosed with full size glass windows in bronze frames. The shower did not have a single showerhead; Per Lucy’s design the water from the shower fell like the rain directly from above. I stripped down and got inside in the warm shower. I scrubbed my skin clean of the dirt, grime and lust of the day before. I closed my eyes and in my head and I plotted the next steps in the plan that I hoped would not get me killed. Apparently, Lucy had heard me and I felt her little arms wrapped themselves around me. She pressed her head on the small of my back. Her plump little breasts pressed against my rear end. “Maybe she did care,” I thought in the back of my mind.
“If I remember correctly you and Brill were fairly close. I didn’t see much during that time.” She whispered over the drizzle of the overhead shower.”
“Well, I believe the saying goes, the heart want what the heart wants.”
“And what does the heart want?”
“Marcus... You know why.”
“Yes, and that is why I will never push.”
“It’s been five years. Isn’t what we have enough?”
“I’d be lying if I said yes, Lucy. But like I told Tanis I am yours whenever you are ready.”
Lucy’s tiny hands turn me around to face her, I knelled down to face her bare form, she kissed me softly. She wrapped her arms around my neck and pulled me closer, deeper. I lifted her up off the marble floor as we continued the kiss. She wrapped her small cream-colored legs tightly around my waist as passion took us once more. Let’s just say we took care of a bit more of my debt before I exited the shower to face the rest of my day.