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    Thread: The Magical Cop

    1. #1
      TXU Sr. Member kevin398's Avatar
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      Default The Magical Cop

      OK, be warned, this story is different from any thing I've ever written before. Its written in the First Person, the main character is telling the story as he lives it. Got the idea from an old TV show from many years ago, but other than the basic idea thats all. It will be placed here in small amounts maybe a chapter or two at best, so sit back and wait, his story is about to begin.

      Hiding...in Plain Sight


      Chapter 1: My Life


      My name is Erik Hanson and while I love to live a nice, quiet lifestyle of sleeping in and staying up late, I usually have a few things to do every week or so to keep me busy, and good thing too because the bills need paid wither I like it or not.

      I rent a small place with certain...hidden advantages...in a rather run down part of town. My family moved here after many years of traveling around the country as entertainers, and now my parents are gone and I run a small detective agency that helps, among other things, to find missing persons, objects, and even pets, if the price is right.

      My skills are...unique...to say the least, and as a full fledged, Union Certified Sorcerer I have many responsibilities not the least of which is reporting anything and everything I do to the local High Council, a group of 12 high ranking Magical members with great power, and its their rules we ‘special people’ need to follow, on fear of death.

      Even though there have been Witches ,Warlocks and Magical People of all types living in the city since it was founded over a hundred years ago, the Council says that if you don’t know about Magic, then you never will, and their members and the Teams under them are very strict about it too.

      Now, I’m not above doing minor jobs for fair pay, and have earned a reputation for finding lost people or even lost objects. The Police Department too have called for my help once or twice, knowing full well some things wont be fixed any normal way, and while we have to fight every single time for my salary, they do, eventually pay it. So when the call comes, I usually go, even though helping them can be a real hassle, and many there don’t seem to like a simple Sorcerer stepping in when the job gets too weird for them to handle.

      It’s not like some top members of the Department don’t know about Magic, but they too have to keep it quiet, if they ever want our help. More than once I pulled in in my old Falcon, to hear some officer complaining that ‘that weirdo is here again’ and I usually try and make sure they have a reason to say it the next time too.

      But today I have off, or so far at least, and I found a great old volume of ancient spells that I want to finish reading before the end of the day. You never know when some old book might hold the key to something you’ve been looking for for a long time, and Magical Spells and other things like rituals and incantations have never been computerized...and never will be.

      So old hardcover volumes are it, the History of our People, and no matter how old you are, studying these old manuscripts is the only way to learn anything new.

      So here I lay today, with my old sweats on and a T shirt, reading away when the call came in and my old friend Sargent Murphy was on the other end and he asked if I had time to see something, and that told me they had something really odd going on, or I wouldn’t have been called.

      “What do you have for me this time, Murphy?” I asked as I stepped out of my old 62 Falcon and he waved for me to follow. We went up in an elevator and when we stepped out on the tenth floor the smell was unmistakable...burnt flesh...and as we walked into a set of offices I saw the large wooden doors leading into the next room was charred from the inside, and a dead man was still sitting in his chair behind a large desk that too was charred badly.

      “Charles Hendricks...CEO of Hendricks Electronics Corporation...he was doing normal daily business and his secretary was sitting right there.” he said pointing as I nodded and he went on.” no one came or went but suddenly he screamed, and the door was jammed until the fire department got here to pry it open, and thats how they found him.” he said as I nodded and walked over to look closer, and it seemed the man didn’t have a clue anything was happening until it was too late.

      He didn’t jump up and run away, try to run out of the office, nothing. He just screamed and sat there and died, and that was suspicious in itself. The room was all charred but not burned completely and it seemed like the fire hit suddenly, burned hot and bright for a few seconds, then went out, all on its own.

      “The Fire Company is baffled, in their book this cant happen, once the fire got started it should have spread all over the floor and maybe even burned down through the floors to other areas...but none of that happened.” Murphy added as I nodded I understood.” The Captain checked all the info we got and immediately called for you, so there’s got to be something weird going on right?” He asked as I smiled and shrugged and he gave me a dirty look for the hundredth time for not saying anything else.

      “Don’t piss with me Erik... answer the question!” He screamed as I went on about checking the corpse.

      “You know I cant do that, Captain’s orders.” I mentioned softly, as he looked sad and tired, he had heard it all before but it wasn’t any easier to hear it this time either. Something odd happened from time to time and a lot of cops heard that line, and many weren’t happy with it at all, cops want to know everything they can, and sometimes they just aren’t allowed.

      “Any enemies that might want him dead?” I asked as Murphy swore his secretary didn’t know anyone who would want to harm him. But I was sure she was lying, and said so,as he looked surprised I said it just like that.

      “You cant do a job like this without some really serious planning.” I said as he nodded he got that part,” so he had at least 1 enemy with enough money and power to hire the best, because this had to be a professional job.” I added as he took notes of everything I said for the official report.

      “Give me a day or two and I’ll see what I can find out.” I added and took a small sample of wood from the corner of the desk and went back to my place. There, behind the cliche bookshelf was a small lab and once inside I set about analyzing the wood for certain chemicals or particles that would be left behind by the fire, and whoever caused it. 3 different tests showed nothing, then by accident I tried something completely off the wall, and it worked, as I sat back staring at the results, and I made a call and a member of a ‘certain sect’ that I had worked with before came on the line and I asked why his people wanted Mr. Hendricks dead, and he swore he knew nothing of it.

      “There’s an unmistakable residue left behind when Magic is used, and its here, very strongly and pointing right at you, so please check your people and find this murderer, or a serious investigation might find out more than just this.” I said and hung up, and in a day someone turned themselves in, claiming it was an act of Passion, and the case was marked solved.

      “I don’t know how you do it,” Murphy said over the phone,” but thank God things worked out. His family was ready to sue the city for not finding his killer fast enough.” He said and then smiled and said the ‘check is in the mail’ and hung up.

      “I hope this one gets here,” I whispered since I’d been shorted on pay several times before, and the rent was coming due. But that was my life, and I went back to my reading.


      Chapter 2: Friends and ‘Others’


      I finished my reading and made a few notes I might use someday and then went out to stock up on groceries. Being a Registered Sorcerer I get a certain monthly payment from the Council, sort of a retainer fee, so that they can call on me whenever they want and I have to show up. Its not much, but sometimes like today it pays for food and lets me slide by for a while.

      I got my stuff and stopped by the local restaurant for lunch. It was mainly just a small family owned place more like a truck stop than a real restaurant, but I ate there often and there were friends here, and I waved as I sat down and Shirley walked over all smiles.

      She was a ‘special friend’ of mine and a big reason I stopped here often. Her big smile and baby face surrounded by her short but always neatly kept brown hair, made me smile even when I was having a bad day, and she made a few trips to see me at home too, some lasting until morning.

      We had an understanding, and she seemed happy with it, and since she made me happy too, then enough said about that. I ate my lunch and went back to put my things away and as I finally sat down with a hot cup in my hands the phone rang and I answered it.

      “You’re late for your monthly report.” The gruff voice said as I looked at the calender and swore, they caught me again, it seems.

      “OK here it is, take notes if you must...” I said and I told him everything I had been doing...not much...and he grumbled the entire time and finally agreed that covered it.

      “Someone of your abilities should be busy all the time, and living a better life.” He demanded as I waved it away saying I lived as I pleased, and he grumbled and hung up.

      Phillip Carlton...my own personal Warden... sent from the High Council to keep an eye on me, and he made sure he was never, ever late doing it. Technically I could report any time during the month, but Phil made a note of it if I passed the 15th...ever...and that was today. He was punctual if nothing else, and he did keep me from getting into any more trouble than I usually did, so I guess I had to let him slide, but he was a grump and he didn’t even try and act any better, and he was the one lecturing me?

      I was sitting behind my desk when a small sound was heard and a flash of light that made me look up, and there, sitting on the corner of my desk was a large tabby cat, busily washing his front paw.

      “Hey Frank, finally come home I see.” I mentioned as he looked my way and smiled and gave me a long report of where he had been this week, like I cared. Frank was one of those ‘Magical Scientists’ that had to know everything, and his experiments with ‘the Black’ got him into trouble with the Council. Black Magic, thought of as pure evil, had been around since Time itself, but was badly frowned on. Frank was determined to show that power was just power, and only how it was used made it ‘good or bad’ but his experiments made some people angry, and so here he was, trapped in a cats body for the next 50 years.

      “Did you know the Cardashian Clan is selling drugs on our block now? Those parasites need taught a good lesson...if I still had all my powers I’d show them!” He went on as I looked up from my work. The Cardashians were a gang who specialized in drugs made especially for Magic users. Some Power Boosters, and others that were supposed to help you gain power faster, or new powers, all very illegal of course, and their main area was the central part of the city, and even the Council worked hard to keep them from spreading.

      “What are those fools thinking?” I whispered, shaking my head as Frank nodded agreement,” This is a long ways from the Central Business District, and the Council will be furious. I better report this, they’ll go nuts if I don’t.” I added and grabbed my coat and went for a ride.

      Phillip was not just my personal Demon, he led the group that watched my side of the city. He had a position of power, and with it came some nice perks. Today he would be sitting in a meeting with his subordinates, and I knew right where. I parked and went inside, and the manager of the restaurant pointed me to a room in the back. I knocked and after a minute Phil opened it, wearing his 1500 dollar suit and carrying a warm towel and grumping that I was messing with his lunch.

      “Cardashians are selling on my block...” I quickly said as his face fell into total seriousness and he looked actually angry for a change.” Frank came in and reported it...they’re a long way from Central.” I added as he agreed.

      “These charges will be checked, if true, you’ll get a bonus next month.” he said as serious as ever and the door went shut in my face and I walked away.

      Well I did my job, so enough of that, and I went home to take it easy for the rest of the day.

      They were warned before, and only having a few friends on the Council kept them from getting wiped out completely. But here they were again, and even I didn’t know what was going to happen next, and I didn’t want to know either.

      Phillip called immediately and the head of the Cardashian Clan was dragged in for a rather abrupt meeting. He declared that they were being chased out by a more powerful clan and that many of his people were dead now...not something that had been reported until now...and not something many on the Council worried about either. Drug smugglers caused a lot of trouble, and helping them was well down on the Council’s list of things to do.

      “We have been given certain assurances that we could do our business, if we kept it small, but how can we when people are dieing every day and we’re being hunted all over the City?” he demanded as even the Council had to admit that something was going on.

      “Give us every bit of info you have, and we’ll see what we can do.” he was told and he looked happy the Council was listening at all, and did as he was told. The information packet was then read and discussed and finally handed off to someone to investigate it further, and that person handed it off...to me.

      “The Council needs this done quickly, more than a dozen members of the Cardashian Clan have disappeared and while we aren’t too happy having them around, they do have some rights.” Phillip added as I agreed that every member of our world had been given certain rights, mainly just to live peacefully, but that didn’t seem to be happening here.” I would have thrown this mess in your face and made you do it for your monthlys, but the Council, in its Infinite Wisdom...” he started and rolled his eyes sadly. In other words I would get paid, a real job was being handed down by the Council, so I dared not refuse, and they paid really,really well too.

      “Find out whats going on and where they are being taken, or whatever is happening, and report back, and get it done fast, its making us all look bad.” Phillip added as he walked out, closing the door behind him, and I grabbed my coat and went to see a man about some hair.


    2. #2
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      Chapter 3: Tracing a Life


      It didn’t need to be hair of course, there are a dozen kinds of tracing spells. But getting a ‘piece’ of someone was better, and everyone combed their hair or took a shower, and I went to one mans house and entered and since no one else was there, I got a chance to check it out for anything personal I could use. He had no hair brush and there wasn’t any comb in the bathroom with hair on it, but after several minutes crawling around on my hands and knees I found...a toenail clipping...on the rug next to his reclining chair. It wasn’t glamorous work, but it would do, and I went home to run some tests and make a Geiger Counter for humans.

      First you boil up some chemicals in a small vial or caldron, then just as it gets boiling good you add the sample. If all goes well you’ll get a mysterious looking green mist coming off it and you soak a quartz crystal in it and tada...a pointer showing where the subject was last. Its not a surefire thing, but my skills using this had improved with practice, so hunting down missing pets had a second perk...it improved my skills.

      Now armed with this new tool I went back to his house and the crystal, hanging like a compass on a string now, pointed south, and I got in my car and started that way, checking at every stop light and stop sign as I went.

      An hour later it pointed back some little ally, and I parked and walked back to see. The Cardashians were not a very friendly lot, but working for the Council made a real difference, so if they killed me then they would pay big time, of course that wouldn’t help me, but thats where other practical skills came in.

      Since days gone by Wizards and other Magical people carried self-defence items with them. Wands and Staffs usually, but over the years they had changed, and where some odd tree from the Dark Forest might be the best wand, even a pencil gave you something to point and shoot with, and was easier to write off when someone ask why you were carrying one.

      I pulled out mine and started across the street and just as my feet touched the sidewalk, screams were heard, and I ran down the ally to see a large shadow, high lighted by a pole light behind it, and something I never wanted to see was devouring several men, who had no chance to stop it or escape.

      I did the only thing possible at the time, I ran, and that made sure someone was alive to report this. There hadn’t been a Dragon sighting in the City for my lifetime, and I wasn’t happy to report one now. But it was important, and I was dragged into the Council Chambers a few minutes later, and I was tested for drugs and alcohol and even Magical Interference, and nothing was found, and so it was decided that I did see it after all, and an Attack team ran to the spot, to find nothing but blood left, and a new hunt was ordered and even the High Council got in on it.

      For three days there wasn’t a word, and I was happy with that. I did one small job, a lost necklace, and got paid again. Then as I sat down one morning to eat my breakfast my back door flew open and in walked Phillip, two other husky looking guys carrying swords, and a second later, a small, almost delicate looking oriental woman. If I didn’t know better I might have said something very stupid, but I recognized her instantly. She was the top dog of the Council, a Hunter of great repute, and she only came out to play when things were getting out of hand, and she was standing in my kitchen...not a good thing.

      “Mr. Hanson I presume?” She asked as I swallowed my eggs and nodded. “I have been told that you’re the best tracker in the city, and I need the best right now.” She said and for a second I felt pretty good about that, until she was standing nose to nose and demanding my help, like I had a choice.

      “I’ll need something that belonged to the person or thing...” I started as she snapped her fingers and a bag of...poop...was brought and it was easy to see chucks of bone in it and there went my breakfast.

      I slowly got up, took the bag and started back the hall, with half the Council’s Attack Team right behind me. I asked, politely...for them to wait here and opened the hidden door and stepped inside and started up my burner and got the chemicals boiling well. I turned to get a sample tool and nearly bumped into her standing there and she wasn’t about to move it seemed, as I sighed a big sigh and looked her right in the eye.

      “Miss Wang...” I started as she informed me it was Mrs. and I nodded in response.”whatever...” I said and for a second she smiled, but only for a second.

      “Please, have a seat somewhere, this might take a while and I need some space to work.” I added as she gave me a serious look and a minute later stepped over and sat at my desk while I got everything ready. Many items can be used, but when there is a chance of Magical Interference....using magic to hide your tracks...then that was a different story. I added some more chemicals and carefully tested the mixture, and all that time she sat back watching, never cracking a smile, that I could see anyways.

      An hour later and it was done and my new pointer was finished, and she grabbed it out of my hands and threw me a wad of cash, and walked out, with her Team close behind. ‘I did well today,’ I thought, hell if the Council paid this well I’d work for them every day, and I went and paid my rent..well in advance.

      But now I was out of the chase, and happy to be out. Mrs. Wang took the lead and after a few hours running back and forth she was standing in front of an old warehouse and the crystal was spinning wildly.

      “Stay here...” She said as she got out of the car, and one man handed her a sword, as she chuckled and said it wasn’t necessary, and walked away leaving them behind.

      She entered and looked around and then worked her way up to the next floor, and there, in one corner was a makeshift little room, with a bed and chest of drawers, and someone very familiar sitting there smiling as she walked in.

      “Hello, Helen...” She said softly as the other woman smiled wide and welcomed her in.

      “I knew it would be you...” She said as Wang nodded it was a sure thing, considering.

      “Why do this? Why bring attention to our People after all this time? You’ve done an enormous amount of damage so far...” Wang said as the lady nodded sadly and Wang waited to hear.

      “They killed her...they killed my daughter Janice...” The lady whispered as even Wang looked sad for her.” they hooked her on that stupid junk they sell, saying it could help her remember the Old Days...and she tried and tried as I preached for her to stop, until one day she never returned, and they found her body floating in the river.” She said as Wang was forced to sit down herself. Dragons were rare these days, after centuries of being hunted they were just now making a comeback, and to have a child was just as rare, and could only happen once in a lifetime.

      “I’m sorry...but haven’t you gotten enough revenge for her by now? How many have died? 10-12 or more?” Wang asked as Helen broke out crying, and even now the pain of loss was evident.

      “There will never be enough for the crime they committed against me...against US...” She demanded as Wang looked sad for her and sat down to talk some more. In an hour she returned with blood all over her hands, and the men looked shocked but asked nothing. One handed her a handkerchief and she thanked him and wiped her hands as they drove away.


      Chapter 4: Recognition


      It seemed the danger had passed, and I got a letter from the Council thanking me for my help, and he had it mounted under glass and hung it on my wall. It wasn’t everyday I got recognized for doing my job, and anyone seeing it would only know I did something well, since many knew nothing, or very little, of the High Council unless they were someone from their community.

      I spent the next week taking it easy and things got back to normal, and just when I was starting to think my boring life was back, I heard a knock on my front door. I went to see and there, just outside was a good looking young woman, black shoulder length hair and bright red lipstick, and I had to smile seeing her in spite of myself.

      I gave her my best smile and stepped to the side and waited for her to enter, but she just fidgeted for a second and asked if I would invite her in...officially...now, to most people that might seem great, a pretty girl waiting for an invitation, but to me... in my City and time... that spelled a lot more, and it wasn’t good.

      “You wouldn’t happen to be...” I started as she looked embarrassed and looked around to see if anyone was listening in.

      “Cleo sent me...” She said as I bumped my head on the door for a second, and then again for good measure. “I assure you you’re perfectly safe, we need your help thats all.” She added quickly and now I realized why she looked so good and had this overwhelming sexy presence...she was a Vampire.

      “Dont let her in Erik, you’ll regret it...” I heard as Frank got his two cents in.

      “So you’re Frank, the cat? I’ve heard all about you.” She said looking over my shoulder.” you do know I can hear you, right?” She asked as he gave her a gruff...pfft...and she smiled wider yet.

      “Oh, I wanted you to hear me...” he said and I had to send him away before things got ugly.

      “So..what does Cleo want from me?” I asked as she waved towards the door...I was being ignorant not to invite her in... but vampires can not force their way into a home, thats why they are so very sexy and gentle looking...its all a trap.

      “I told you you’re in no danger, none of us would dare go against Cleo on these things.” She insisted as I finally agreed and left her in, and she stepped across the threshold to look very bothered, as she should, since there were Wards from many different civilizations and groups all over my walls and around the door. “Security is tight here...” She said and it was clear she was gritting her teeth saying it.

      “OK, you’re in, what do you need?” I asked, watching her closely.

      “Three members of my Team went missing this week, all at once, and thats very strange. I reported it and we sent out search parties and nothing...either they dont want to be found or something bad has happened to them.” She said as I nodded agreement, even Vampires have enemies.

      “So the job is to see if they went missing on purpose or something happened to them?” I asked as she agreed and laid a good sized stack of money on my desk.

      “Half now, half when we know something for sure...” She said and quickly went back to the door.” oh, and since you don’t seem to know I’ll tell you something, Cleopatra told us all...since you’re her friend... no one gets to kill you...but her.” She said and quickly disappeared out the door.

      That was reassuring...sort of...Cleopatra was a high ranking Vampire Leader, and like all Vampires she was gorgeous, and we had...history. Once when things were going badly and the Council might well have wanted me dead, we met, and she left me hide in one of her Clubs until the heat was off. It turned out we had a lot in common, and we...got along well...for a few weeks.

      All politics has a structure, even though it might not seem like it. Its a Ladder of Power with rungs from the bottom to the top, and Cleo was one step down from the Council itself, or I might be dead now. So, I owed her a favor...or two...and this was going to be one of them.

      The little Vampire she sent...Sherry...dropped off a note with the money, with several addresses...and I got my coat and went to work looking for clues about what might have happened. I found out quickly enough that Vampires were neat freaks...or someone was being very careful not to leave anything behind. The first two places were cleaned and polished to the max, not even fingerprints remained, but the third was someone after my heart, and I found DNA samples to use, and went home to cook it up.

      Now out into the night, not the perfect time to look for Vampires, but the only time. They aren’t out during the day...not often anyways...only the really powerful ones could stand the sun. It wasn’t like in the movies, they don’t burst into flames, but they are all but immortal and very good looking, and that takes a beating in the sun, so its avoided religiously. Its been said an hour in direct sunlight can strip away 50 years from their lives, so darkness it is.

      Up one street and down the next, getting further and further out into the slums, like my place was so great, but this area made mine look like Beverly Hills.

      I stopped by an old run down building way,way out towards the edge of town, and the crystal was going nuts, and a second later a big man with strong looking fangs was hanging on my door and demanding to know why I was there. I cracked the window just enough to talk better and said Cleo sent me because she was worried for them, and he looked thoughtful about that.

      “So, you didn’t get yourself killed or anything, thats good.” I said as he nodded and his teeth went slowly back into place. “All three of you here?” I asked as he looked oddly but admitted they were and I smiled and nodded back.

      “Then thats it..now that I know you’re OK, my job is done.” I said and waved, and he stepped back and left me go...and I breathed for the first time in a while. I started back into town and went straight to a large, brightly lit Club near the cities center. This was Cleo’s place. She had a few but this was her home turf and when I walked in the doorman gave me a sad look like he wasn’t sure my cloths were good enough, but he nodded and I went inside, to be greeted by an old friend.

      “Hello Erik...” She said and even after 2 years she hadn’t changed a bit...no surprise there.

      “Cleo...can we talk somewhere a little more private?” I asked as she smiled wide and waved for me to follow, and we went into the back and her office, and she asked if there was anything she could do for me as I smiled wider still.

      “This is business...like you don’t know...” I said and she looked actually surprised and waited for a second as a knock came on the door and the same little vamp was there explaining she had hired me, as Cleo looked a little upset.

      “I said not to drag Erik into our problems...” Cleo said as the little girl stepped back and apologized.

      “The search was going badly...we needed the help.” She whimpered as Cleo finally sighed a long sigh and agreed.

      “Watch and learn...” Cleo added as she dragged her inside and shut the door.” OK Erik, you took the job and came here, so you found something, right?” She asked as even her friend looked surprised it happened soo fast.

      “This guy...” I said holding up my phone with the picture on it and they both nodded seriously.” He told me they were all out there, way out in the suburbs in some old run down house, and when I asked if all three were there, he said yes, but it surprised him I could tell...I’d say there were more than 3 out there but you knew that didnt you?” I asked looking at the little Vampire while Cleo cleared her throat and asked her herself, and she shriveled up like a prune before her, apologizing every second or so.

      “You ordered them found and we couldnt do it, thats all I know.” She insisted as I asked about the drugs then, and Cleo’s eyes popped and her face grew red.

      “ What Drugs??” Cleo demanded as I told her it was obvious the second I cracked the window, the old house was cooking drugs, and she screamed and started throwing things. “I told them I will not deal that trash in my clubs, and anyone who does will pay!” She screamed and she turned to me and demanded I take her there, and after a few seconds with my back against the wall...quite literally...I agreed.

      It was a quick trip and when we got there she walked up and kicked the door off its hinges, and it flew across the room and one man went down from it.

      “You’ve been a bad boy, Clyde...” She said as the big man looked so frightened he might wet himself any second.

      “We weren’t selling in the Club, I swear it! We were just cooking a little for extra cash.” he went on and she nodded she understood, like that was going to help him now.

      “I told you how I feel about drugs...” She said as by now half a dozen more people were running in and when they saw her, to the man and woman they backed away. She grabbed the big man by the throat and slammed him down into a table so hard that it collapsed, and in a second laying in his own blood he breathed his last.

      “Now clean this place up and no more, you hear me?!” She screamed as everyone there nodded and ran to get it done, as I looked oddly at the dead Vampire and she asked me why.

      “I keep expecting them to burst into flames or disappear into dust...Hollywood... you know...” I whispered as her eyes rolled and she dragged me back to the car and a quick trip back to her place and my pay for the job.

      “Thanks for the help Erik, I appreciate it.” She said with a peck on my cheek and I just smiled and walked out...because anything else would be life threatening.


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      Chapter 5: The Response Comes Quickly


      I got back just as dawn broke and I was tired enough to sleep for a week. But as I parked my car and turned to go inside, Phillip was there and shaking his head sadly. He grabbed me by the arm and dragged me inside, with me demanding he stop the entire time, like he ever listened to me, but once out of sight he left me go and I asked why he was even here.

      “After all these years you did a job for Cleo...I swear...you’re becoming the Poster Child for bad judgment.” he said and dropped into a seat, looking disgusted, as I reminded him I did a job for Sherry, and until the last minute Clo didn’t even know, but it had turned out well anyways, as he nodded that he understood.

      “Well the Council was interested, so you were watched, and when she closed that dope factory, both of you got a big reputation upgrade with the Council. If it had gone the other way, both of you might be dead now.” He said sourly, just like normal.

      “And you think you can take Cleo?” I asked with a chuckle as he fidgeted and admitted he’d need help. “Good thing for us all that she did the right thing then huh? Cleo hates drugs, and her place will never be seen selling them, you tell the Council that for me.” I said and asked if he was done because I was up all night, and he smiled and walked to the door and turned around looking very serious indeed.

      “Just stay away from her, thats all I’m saying, there’s something odd going on between you two and you probably wouldn’t survive it.” he said and was gone, as I smiled and closed my door for the day, and went to bed. If Cleo wanted me dead she had more than one chance already, and I’m still here, and I fell asleep knowing that if I died, it wouldn’t be her doing it.

      Another day another few bucks, well maybe quite a few bucks actually. Sherry paid well...probably through Cleo...and the Council gave me high marks for helping close a drug ring, and that never hurts either.

      It was probably the best week I’d had for a while, and I was happy with that. My bank account had never looked better, and powerful people thought they owed me something, and that never hurts.

      Days went by and things fell back into my normal rut, and I happily accepted it. I was sleeping away at 11 one night when I heard someone banging on my door. Not the normal kind of banging, but a desperate kind. I had barely gotten into bed when it happened and I ran to see who it was. But by the time I opened the door, a dead body fell inside. A young woman, and her throat had been torn out and blood was everywhere.

      I had seen this type of thing before, and I didn’t like it, who would? I didn’t know wither to drag the body in or push it back out, but I knew the Police would frown on anything I did, so I dragged it in and closed the door, before whoever did this decided that I was a witness...not true.

      Knowing up front how the Police Department would act I did the next best thing, I called Phillip, and he showed up faster than expected.

      “You dared to call me at this hour?” He demanded as I pointed to the body laying on my office floor and he looked disgusted. “You do this?” he asked as I gasped at him and he looked away.

      “Its a girl, dead and half her throat is missing Phillip,” I screamed,” its messy, its animalistic, and its very possibly Demonic...and I don’t do Demonic... and you know it.” I declared as he thought about that for a while.

      “Yes...well maybe...” he whispered and got down and closely examined the body for a minute and after, he stood and looked disgusted to be dragged into this, even though this was his job, he never liked having to actually do it.

      He made a call and in minutes a van pulled up and took the body away, and in what looked like seconds, the blood stain was gone, right down to the last bit on my floors and carpeting.

      “Needless to say don’t report this to the Police.” Phillip added as the door closed and he left to go with the van to...wherever it was heading. I didn’t know, and I was really glad I didn’t.

      I closed my door, double locked it and went back to bed... like I was going to sleep now...and finally decided after much tossing and turning to just make coffee and eat an early breakfast.

      It had been an odd night, even for me, and as I was sitting watching the News as the sun rose, my door opened and in walked Phillip, and Wang...again.

      “Oh ****...” I whispered as Phil stepped back and Wang stepped in closer as my eyes nearly fell out.

      “Good morning Erik, sleep well?” She asked and jerked me off the sofa and dropped me into a folding chair that Phillip had provided.

      “Wait, wait!” I screamed as she did, just for a second, and I asked why I was getting the third degree...I did report the death as fast as possible... and she nodded it was true.

      “Its not been completely proven that you had nothing to do with the girls death.” She said as I turned to Phil who just looked away.

      “Come on Phil...this isn’t even close to being funny... tell her I did the right thing.” I begged, as he looked sad and said he had already sent in his report, and thats why they were here.

      “You moved the body in a murder investigation..” he whispered as I said that she fell right in my door, and was halfway in and halfway out, I had to do something, or maybe the person who did this might be the next one in, and even he nodded at that.

      “Hey!” Wang said loudly as she turned my head back her way.” when I’m here you look at me, Phillip’s report has been submitted so he’s here only as a witness.” She said as I rolled my eyes at that. It wasn’t like I was a threat to him, or certainly not Wang.

      “Come on...you cant think I did that...” I said softly as she finally stepped back a bit and smiled.

      “I never said I did,” She said as I looked shocked.

      “Then why is the Council harassing me so early in the morning?” I asked as Phil all but ground his teeth hearing it, and Wang back handed me one that nearly knocked me from the chair.

      “I didn’t know I needed a reason...” She insisted as I just looked more pathetic by the minute. “do you know who that girl was?” She demanded, as I said I didn’t.

      “She was an assistant to one of our Council members. Your place is listed as a safe house, in case of emergencies, fat good that did her...” She said sourly, as I reminded her that knowing these things up front might help, and she looked around at Phil who admitted he forgot to tell me, and she sighed and shook her head.

      “Terrific...” She whispered and stepped back to let me know that since I had worked with the Council once or twice now that they expected me to help them in emergencies, and being a safe house was one of those things, as I nodded and waited for her to go on.

      “Why was an assistant to the Council in my neighborhood at that time of night?” I asked as she decided the question was fair, so she left me know that a meeting was being held a few blocks away and that it had ended...badly. And I nodded and thought that maybe this meeting got the girl killed.

      “Demons?” I asked softly as she gave me a cold stare.

      “What is it with you and Demons?” She demanded as I just shrugged, when it came to evil and death they just seemed to jump into my mind. “No, no Demons, Lycanthrope.” She said as I rolled my eyes and she seemed ready to hit me again.

      “Are you prejudice against everyone?” She demanded and her eyes seemed to change color for a second as she said it, and I looked away quickly.

      “I’m not prejudiced at all, just thinking who was best suited to rip someone’s throat out...” I added as even she had to consider for a second. “Lycanthropes have the skills and physical abilities for the job, so they would be my second choice.” I added as she did nod it might be true.

      “You don’t, and don’t seem to have any motive either.” She hinted as I wholeheartedly agreed. “So, we’ll question these others and get back to you, so don’t plan on leaving town.” She said as I smiled wide and she gave me another dirty look.

      “Against the Council, where could I go?” I asked as she smiled and disappeared out the door. Every major city had a Council like this one, and some were less accommodating too. So running was a bad idea, if these officers didn’t find me others would, and dragging another city into anything bad made a whole lot of people angry.


      Chapter 6: Deep Trouble Begins


      Wang’s meeting with the Lycanthrope didn’t go any better than her friends, and as she ran back to report, Phillip called and left me know too, since I was the closest to the problem at the moment.

      “They attacked Wang? Are they nuts?” I asked, shocked, as he even nodded at that one.

      “We fought our way out of the meeting, several people died.” He said as I nodded sadly.” You know a lot of different people in the city...do you have any lycanthrope friends you can talk to? Maybe someone they know better can get some information they wont share with us.” he went on as I agreed it might be possible.

      “One or two owe me some favors...” I added as he nodded and he said to call the second I found anything and the phone went dead.

      Lycanthropes are not what you call ‘people persons’, unless you’re talking about dinner time. The famous werewolves of the past, they scare the Hell out of everyone, and that includes friends. I made a call and while no one would talk to me on the phone...an hour later a big burly looking man was standing at my door looking upset.

      “Hey Hugh...whats shaking?” I asked all smiles as he growled and refused to enter.

      “Your place gives me the creeps...” he added and that made me and my Ward Specialist feel a whole lot better.

      “You guys are scaring the Hell out of us here in the area, do we need to worry?” I hinted as he looked around to see if anyone was listening.

      “Not unless you’re a member of the Council you don’t...they messed with us one time too many.” He added sourly, as I agreed they were troublesome many times. “So now our local leader has decided that this part of town belongs to us...and we’ll decide who comes and goes... not them.” he hinted as I agreed saying that they were all rich people looking down on us, just what he wanted to hear, and he smiled and agreed wholeheartedly.

      “You’ll be fine here...just don’t cause us any trouble and we’ll leave you alone.” he said and walked away and I closed my door and double bolted it and went looking for that silver dagger I kept hidden. Lycanthropes were not known for having a lot of friends, and even though Hugh said so, didn’t mean that I was any safer than anyone else.

      I made the call right after, and as Phillip looked upset to hear it, I reminded him they might have sent the wrong person to do their negotiating.

      “It appears she made some comments that they took poorly.” I added as he growled a second too.” They think you’re looking down on them and forcing them into deals they don’t want, and they’re willing to fight to stop it.” I added as he nodded seriously. “Their local Leader has declared they will run this area themselves and ignore you all. So get the word out...any Council Members down here might well get attacked.” I added as he nodded again and the link went closed.

      I did my job, and now it was up to them, and I made sure everyone I talked to for a day or so knew I understood their fears, and that I was staying out of it.

      The Council itself had more than enough troubles, so they sent for a specialist in all things Lycanthrope, and when she walked into the next meeting things went a little better. She talked about past times and things we all had in common, and a few agreed that this all might be avoided, but not all of them. It appeared that fear and loathing had been gaining ground for a long time, and this gave some the reason they were looking for to get back at people that they didn’t like.

      “Stop this war before things get out of hand.” She declared and many agreed that might be better than a long fight against people they might not win against. But some younger males weren’t so easily pleased and even with the main body of older individuals agreeing with her, many would not, and it seemed like a standoff, at least for now.

      And as their meeting ended, she walked out with several people following her, and only fast action, and sheer strength left her escape into the city, while the gang searched for her to stop her meddling.

      But minutes later my door shook and as I ran to see, there stood a tall middle aged woman, and there was blood seen on her arm right through her blouse, and I rushed her in and closed the door.

      But as I turned to ask what happened she was in more pain than I’d imagine, seeing her wounds, but after a second I knew why. The wards in my walls were working overtime...and I just left a Lycanthrope into my home.

      “I’m a member of the Council..please help me...” She said, as I didn’t know what to do for a second. Letting an enemy in was sheer madness, but if she did represent the Council, not helping her would get me killed too, so I had no choice but to take the chance.

      I led her into the living room and sat her down on my sofa, and went for the first aid box. When I returned she was still looking bad and she pointed to the wards on all four sides of the pillar in the center of the room and simply said ‘please?” and I felt more conflicted than ever. But I turned the wooden signs around to face the pillar and reduce their effectiveness, and after a second she sighed a deep sigh and thanked me for it, as I sprayed the cuts on her arm and wrapped it in gauze.

      “Meeting go poorly?” I hinted as she just smiled and agreed, saying many wanted out of the war but the younger males were all fired up for a big fight. “Going against the Council is going to get a lot of people killed.” I added as she agreed, sadly.

      “The Council thought I’d negotiate better than some, since many knew me there.” She added and it was clear she wasn’t hiding anything right now. “The senior members are thinking about it seriously, so we might have a chance.” She said, as someone knocked at my door again and she looked scared for a second.

      “I’ll handle it...” I said and went back out and opened it a crack to see three young men standing there looking angry. “ whats up guys?” I asked, as one started in...gritted his teeth... and then stopped and backed away.

      “She cant be here,” He said softly as many nodded agreement.” if you see that Council dog let us know and remember...you live here too.” He said as they walked away and I thanked the Gods that I had so many Wards made when I had the chance.

      I returned to my living room to see an empty cup where my coffee had been and nothing else, and I was sure she escaped when she had the chance...so I called to report what happened... and Phil said he’d have people keep a closer eye on my place, since they had tracked her straight there, and I thanked him and the link went closed and I went back to turn the wards back around for another day.


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      not doing too well on this one, so there are some long pauses between chapters


      Chapter 7: The Alamo...in Central City


      For several weeks things were quiet, Stephanie, the young woman I met that night, shamed the younger members into submission for attacking someone of their own race, and many elder members agreed. Then she slowly started turning everyone towards Peace, and it looked like it might work.

      I never heard from anyone about my part in that night, but the Council has a long memory, and I knew somewhere I got credit for it. But my job as safe haven wasn’t needed for now, and that didn’t hurt my feelings one bit.

      My monthly income from the Council went up a bit, and my regular job went on unnoticed by many, just the way I liked it. But having things happening around me that scared even me to death left its mark, and I went around trying my best to increase my defenses, even against impossible odds.

      And...of course...then it happened, as Stephanie decided it was time to finish this job, and offered to bring Wang and several members of the Council to a meeting...to settle this once and for all. The elder members agreed wholeheartedly. Seeing Council members themselves leaving their ‘ivory towers’ to come into this part of town made them feel important, and many agreed it was a fine sign of faith. Right until the masses rushed the meeting hall and killed three Council members, and a riot started on the spot where Lycanthropes that hated the Council attacked even their own kind, and the fight grew into a terrible little war that stretched for a block any direction, and only the strongest among them managed to survive the holocaust.

      I was in the kitchen making dinner when my front door came nearly off the hinges, and I rushed to see why. There stood Phillip, carrying a sword with blood running off it, and Wang and Stephanie and two others that I didn’t know. And the second they rushed in he slammed the door shut and I could hear growling and screaming outside.

      “I just got that fixed from the last time you did that...” I said sourly as Phillip just smiled and shrugged as Wang and Stephanie were on all fours on my floor, and Wang slowly looked up angrily and whispered..’you added something again’ and I nodded seriously.

      “Times are tough...” I added and went to the door and took down a small dried plant and put it in my lab, and after a second she was back on her feet, and I led them into my living room and turned those wards as well and Stephanie looked like she could breath better.

      “We need to get the word out we’re here, and then we’ll need weapons.” Phillip added as one of his men agreed and looked everywhere for something to use.

      “Leave that to me...” I said as he looked less than convinced, but before I could get to the phone the power failed and I saw trouble coming. “They cut our lines.” I added as everyone agreed and I told the one man to come with me, and I waved my hand and lights came on, small blue lights from nowhere that lit our way and even Phillip looked impressed.

      I took them back into the other room and up to a tall closet type cabinet. I laid my hand on it and a blue looking ‘bubble’ burst, and what was once a nice looking closet was now an old, black looking cabinet, and I opened the door to show some old weapons, many antiques, and the man grabbed a sword and went back to the door with Phil.

      Wang stepped in to look too, and took another weapon out for herself, but as she did she saw something in the back corner, another sword, bigger and stronger looking and she reached for it but sparks flew from it and she nearly fell to her knees, and I saw the truth.

      “You’re not going to want to touch that one.” I added softly, as she looked up and she knew, that I knew her secret, that even in her current form, she could never touch a Dragon Slaying Sword...ever.

      “We’ll talk about this later...” She whispered and ran back the other way too, and Stephanie stood there with a crooked smile and I asked if she wanted anything, but she just shook her head no.

      “I don’t need a weapon, but you might...” She added while I smiled and closed the door and it became a new looking cabinet again. I walked back past her and into my living room, and as I walked up to my pool table, everyone looked around oddly at me. I took a case from under the table and put together my two piece pool cue, and after a second muttering to myself, I tapped it on the table, and icons, signs and hieroglyphics of all kinds lit up blue for just a second, all around the room and the outer room too.

      “Not too shabby,” Phillip whispered as I nodded and we stationed two men at the back door and we three stayed out front. “we still need to get the word out that we’re here, the phones are dead.” he said as I tried my cell too and it screeched and squealed from some odd outside source as he smiled back at me. ‘I said they were dead’ he hinted as I nodded too but a minute later sparks flew from my staff and flares shot up into the night sky, easily seen from a mile away and Phil asked what I did and I smiled and said that even cheap fireworks has its purpose, as he laughed and agreed.

      “You chose well...” Stephanie whispered to Wang, as she looked upset she mentioned it at all.

      “Don’t say a word, or his ego will go through the roof.” She whispered back and Stephanie looked away and tried not to laugh.

      First they tried forcing their way in the front, and the windows in my door went flying in a million pieces. Phillip and Wang slashed them back, cutting off one arm that now laid there on my floor,twitching as the person screamed in pain just outside. But they didn’t get in, and soon things got quiet again.

      Off in the distance sirens were screaming, getting louder every minute as I said our reinforcements had arrived, but they stopped far short of our building, and no one came to help us either.

      “They got them before they made it this far...” Wang said sadly and I agreed.

      “But you better believe it got reported, thats what those little radios they carry are for. By now the main station thinks there’s a riot going on, and the Captain is gathering men and women for riot control. They cant keep this up for long.” I mentioned as Stephanie added she hoped it was true.

      “The Council watches this location too...so all we need is a little time.” Phillip added as we all agreed, and the back door took a hit and almost was torn off its hinges,as Phillip rushed to help the men back there and get it closed once more.


      Chapter 8: Stalling for Time


      Another hour and no help, but the people outside knew by now that they couldn’t win. The word was out and many knew the Council would send an army soon, as well as the local police, and if the survivors wanted to live in this city ever again, they better not be Identified as being here when they came.

      It all came down to one thing...do it now or run away...and the people inside knew that was coming too. By now the windows were all gone, and both doors were being propped up by chairs and whatever they could find to keep them closed. One good push and they’d be in, and I knew they were going to try soon enough.

      I excused myself for a minute and went to my lab and there opened a volume that even I didn’t think I could use. It had some serious recipes in it for serious times and they couldn’t get much more serious than this.

      I grabbed a small pot and added some ingredients and stirred it up and when the dusty ingredients looked right, I took it back out with me.

      “What’s that?” Wang asked as I rolled my eyes and sat it down gingerly on my desk.

      “Don’t ask...” I said as even she looked a little worried about now. I asked for some time and they agreed I was covered, and I opened the book as even Wang’s eyes popped at the sight of it and I recited a spell that lasted for several minutes, covering three pages, and when I was done a cloud of mist arose and disappeared out the door and the pot was now empty.

      But just outside it looked like a purple whirlwind around the building as Phillip looked at me sourly and demanded to know what I did.

      “He pulled the entire building into an alternate space....” Wang said softly as I shook my head no and said she was wrong, as even she smiled at the technicality of it .

      “Hell no....” I added seriously,” do you have any idea how many ingredients it would take to do that for just 1 minute? I just put up a time/space field around the building. It wont last long but anyone trying to enter it has less than a 1/1 million chance of finding us. Everyone else will be wandering space and time forever. Even Lycanthropes aren’t that stupid...present company excepted.” I said as Stephanie chuckled and thanked me for saying so.

      “Still thats pretty impressive,” Stephanie added as Wang turned away and refused to say and Phil turned his back and kept watching outside as one soft scream was heard and he got a small smile no one saw.

      But outside things were not going as well as the young wolves had hoped. They wanted to rule this area, perhaps the city itself, but now their plan was on the rocks. This fog stopped them short and there were signs of an army approaching from the center of the city. The Council would never allow this to continue, and even the Police were massing in riot gear to stop the disturbance.

      They had a few minutes at best, and one group tried rushing the building, but just screamed and were gone. Where to was a mystery, but it was clear that they weren’t coming back any time soon.It was all going to Hell, and their plans might have to be put on hold for a future time, or many of them would not survive the night.

      They decided to hold this position as long as they could, in the face of these overwhelming numbers it would be a source of pride later, or something to brag about at least, and the second the Council Security Force arrived they’d scatter and regroup some other day.

      It was clear that this fog was a powerful spell and even those that knew about such things refused to touch it. They had under estimated the Council’s power and that was something they’d never do again. How long that fog would stay was still unknown, but it was a sure thing that they could do nothing while it was there, and the sirens got louder and soon a wave of heavily armed policemen came walking down the street, and they saw their time was up and many ran and disappeared into the night.

      As they left, the interference from the jamming device they used fell in power too. Now Phillip’s phone rang and he grabbed it saying they were alright for the moment, and told his people to not try and approach the building.

      “Help is just outside,” he announced as everyone looked relieved.”can you drop the barrier?” He asked as I looked at my watch and said ‘in another 5 minutes’ and he nodded and told them to watch and stay back, as Wang and her friend handed me back their weapons I lent them, and I put them away again.

      “You did well...” Was all Wang said as she walked away, and Stephanie smiled and said ,under different circumstances ‘this might have been fun’ and I agreed as they all gathered by the front door and the fog lifted, and the street was visible once more.

      “A repair team will be by later to fix the damage.” Phillip added as Wang agreed and as fast as this mess started they were gone, and I was left to handle the after math of their hiding in my house while an army tried to drag them out.

      I tried to think of any excuse for why they kept coming here but they all sounded like lies...which they were. So the best I could do was say nothing unless asked and then say I never invited them in they rushed the place to hide until help came, and many bought that, until the official announcement came out saying it was an official Safe House from now on, and the Council was protecting it and everyone should stay away.

      While saying that the Council protected it might scare a lot of people, it also meant that many would never go there again, and I saw my business dropping sharply after that. I tried to say that I was still the same young Sorcerer I always was and would help anyone, but it was going to take a while to let people forget...or forgive...after this last mess, so I had to accept the fact that my business was on the rocks..at least for now.


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      Chapter 9: Clean Up and Recovery


      By noon a construction company was on the scene, and by nightfall the place was better than it had been originally.The old wooden doors were now metal fire doors and the broken windows were replaced with what I could only assume were a much higher grade of glass, maybe bullet proof by now.

      The Council was as good as its word, and soon the place looked 10 years newer, and was a lot more secure. I sent a thank you note to Phillip and of course never heard anything back, but they knew I was there when they needed me, and would be again, like it or not.

      I spent 2 weeks sitting around with nothing to do and getting bored, until finally the Council called me in and gave me a job for them. It appeared one of their independent ‘Teams’ went missing, 6 heavily armed men and women out on assignment that never returned. It wasn’t unlike the Council to have these people on staff, if things cant be negotiated away then sometimes extreme measures are needed to keep these things quiet, or secret, and these people got the call.

      But 6 at once...that was heavy hitting, and it was my job to find...anything...and report it, and I looked less than thrilled, but it was work, and the rent was coming due. So out I went looking for some clues, and it took me a lot longer this time to find anything, because many people refused to help...or even talk to me...after that last fiasco.

      3 days went by and finally someone from my past called suddenly and said if the Council needed to find these people go to this address...and I thanked them even as they hung up on me. It smelled of a trap, but thats the way of things out here, so I stopped a block over and snuck in and looked around and as I stepped inside the old warehouse the smell was self-explanatory...and I found dead bodies laying all over... and hundreds of rounds of spent ammo, and blood everywhere.

      It had been a major battle and the Council’s team had lost, and as I turned to go a very well dressed man stopped me and the feeling I got from him was terrible,cold and violent, and I reached for my wand, and as I did, he grabbed it and it went up in flames from his fingertips and turned to dust.

      “Tell the Council sending them after me was a mistake that I wont soon forget...” he said and with a flick of his wrist he threw me across the room, in the general direction of the big door I came in. I got to my feet and ran...out to the smoldering ruins of my car... and I felt like crying. It took me months to find that and years to restore it, and now it was just a pile of ashes, and I ran out of the shadows and into the early morning light, and did my best to stay there while the sun came up, and I soon found myself just a few blocks from Phillip’s favorite restaurant, and I walked there slowly, wiping the blood from my cracked lip, and dusting myself off.

      This was going to upset a bunch of people, not the least of which was me. Now I was on foot because of this job, and I knew antique cars didn’t grow on trees, unless you happen to be rich, and I certainly wasn’t.

      I walked in and the manager left me know Phillip and his people were not there yet, but he knew they could arrive any time, and he took me to the back room they reserved to keep me out of sight of his regular customers if nothing else.

      He must have called because Phillip came busting in minutes later to see me sitting there, still trying to get my cracked lip and a few lose teeth to stop bleeding.

      “What happened?” He asked as I told the story and he looked more angry by the second.

      “I don’t know who this guy is...” I mentioned as he nodded back,” but my wand, gone burned in an instant, and my car too, I walked all morning to get here to report, since this is a secret room taking a cab might let it out too much.” I added as he just smiled.

      “Its a restaurant too...” he added as I rolled my eyes and saw trying to keep it a secret wasn’t helping.

      “Who the hell was that guy anyways?” I asked as he got me some first aid.

      “He’s a Hellion...” he added softly and smiled knowing I really, really hate Demons.

      Hellions are people that sold their souls to Satan, in exchange for certain...gifts. Like the ability to control fire or explosions, or protection magic of all types. Hellions were the worst nightmare for law enforcement, like they’d ever get that call anyways , but from time to time they find the aftermath and then the Council gets the call instead.

      Normally there’s an organized group headed by the Leader of all Hellions in the city. In order to not start a war, they had some agreements in place, and he polices his own people, obviously not too well.

      “All this happened on the Council’s dime...” Phillip added seriously as I just nodded agreement,” the cost of your car will be reimbursed, so get something new soon so we can call you for more work.” He added as I asked what he’d do now. “Retrieve the bodies...and go hunting...” he whispered as he pushed me out the door before any more of his friends showed up. But at least now I knew I wouldn’t be walking forever, and on my way home I got a few auto-traders papers and then went to see what else was available I might like.

      As far as I’m concerned all the newer cars look the same. Once they started making sports cars with 4 doors, the whole difference between Family Cars and Sports Cars got really blurred. So I like the older cars, when you could tell just by looking what it was designed to do. Family Car, Sports Car, Economy Car...and there were lines drawn and people knew it.

      My little Falcon caught my eye at an old used car sales ages ago. it needed work but it was nice and old and cheap to drive and still had room for lots of people, like I cared about that. But I bought it, fixed it up, and soon it became my trademark...sort of...but now I had to start all over again.

      I spent a day reading papers and going over online sites. There are always a few old cars around, mainly for sale by collectors...stay away from those...or in little car lots all over the City or beyond. I decided on a 75 Ford Mustang II...Cobra Edition. The economy/sports model for that year, 4 cylinder 5 speed stick in decent shape. I called and it was still there and grabbed a cab to go see.

      Once there the owner thought it was solid gold or something and we argued about it for a while until another cab pulled in and a young woman stepped out screaming not to sell it, because it belonged to her.


      “What??” I asked as she ran over and the cab left as fast as it came.

      “I was here a week ago and told you I’d be back to get it!” She declared as the man reminded her that cash talks, and bull**** walks, and when they were dealing...she had walked. But now she pulled out her checkbook and wrote the check on the spot and handed it to him and after thinking for a second, he apologized saying she did have a prior claim after all, and they went inside to do the transfer and left me standing there looking tired.

      Well that didn’t work, so I walked slowly around the lot looking at other things he had, some for the sheer laughter I got thinking he’d ever sell some of these, like a black 74 Lincoln Continental Limo...good luck with that, it was a tank on tires and gas milage? Forget it!

      He also had a 73 Dodge , a large 2 door family car with a huge V8 engine in it, yes it’ll get you where you want to go and fast too, but the gas and insurance would kill you, depending on how you worded it on paper.

      I was just walking past that, when something caught my eye, a small economy car that they had sold millions of in the 70‘s but since then got a bad reputation for not being very reliable. 75 Chevy Vega, 4 cylinder, auto on the floor, not in bad shape with 80k milage on it. They got great milage when tuned properly and it was the 2 door hatchback model, not quite a sports car but sort of sporty looking. The back seat laid down to make room to haul things and it had cloth seats, saving your butt on hot summer days. It was red with white interior and I was looking in the window when the Cobra came by and tooted and the lady laughed and then took off down the street.

      “Interested?” I heard as the salesman came back out again.” its a fine old classic car, small, economical and not in bad shape. I can make you a deal you’ll like too, I wager.” he added as I smiled wider at that.

      “Fine old classic car ...” I added as he nodded,” on Car and Drivers 10 Worst Cars Ever Built list 3 years in a row. Aluminum cast engine, and has 80k miles on it. Top speed of 50 or so if you don’t want the engine falling through the mounts.” I added, lying a bit, but then thats what dealing on cars is all about.

      “I had a collector call about it just today.” He added with a serious look as I chuckled.

      “Sell it to him then,” I said and walked away looking at something else.

      “2500...” He called after me as I laughed out loud at him.

      “500...” I countered as he nearly choked, on air alone.

      “2000...” he mentioned as I stopped for a second, he was trying at least.

      “1000...thats my final offer.” I said looking around as he shook his head no, he just couldn’t do it.

      “I need 1300 to get my money back from the auction where I bought it...” He said honestly, as I thought for a second and agreed, and I wasn’t walking any more.The cash the Council gave me was 3x this amount, they appreciated classic cars too, so I actually made a profit on this deal and got something I could get good milage with, and looked a little more sporty than my old one,so working wasn’t going to kill me taking cabs everywhere.

      Half an hour later it started right up and away I went, and it drove pretty well too. So now I was back to work and Phillip mentioned to stay at home for a while until they found this guy, and I agreed and went home to see if my new car needed anything, and maybe change the oil and filters, just to make sure.


      Chapter 10: Wasting Time


      I parked it in my spot beside my place and popped open the hood to check it out. It was running OK, but the wires looked almost original and the oil smelled of burned rubber...or something...so I walked down the street and came back with a box of little things I’d need and my tune up started after lunch. By evening it had new filters, new oil and a jar of Moly in it too, it sounded very smooth now and the new wires made it look like someone cared at least, and you didn’t even need to get in, just reach in the window and hit the key, and it started every time.

      Being an old car person you learn these things, and after a good wash, it looked a few years newer too. My own little red sports car...well almost...but I smiled at the deal I got and put away my tools and went inside to stretch out for the rest of the evening. If Phil was right then I wasn’t needed right now, and I had plenty of money left now to live on for a while, so sitting around reading or watching TV suited me just fine.

      Besides I had a little problem that I needed some time to settle, and after trying to get Murphy on the phone and failing, I made a trip to the 12th Precinct to ask why I never got paid, for 2 jobs now, and he looked tired to see me walking in and looking upset.

      “Don’t start...I don’t write the checks...” he said and tried to act busy as I declared I wanted to talk to whoever DID write the checks then, as he looked sad and refused to say.

      “Let him alone Rick, you know if he could you’d have been paid by now.” Burk, a young Sargent sitting a few desks down yelled as I had to agree, for now. “The mans getting ready to retire soon, cut him some slack.” he added as I looked Murphy over and finally smiled.

      “Really?? Retirement Murphy? Good for you.” I added as Murphy did smile for about a second there. “How long do you left?” I asked as he looked sad again and said 2 weeks... and I looked even more shocked.

      “Well thats great then, I hope you get to do all the things you’ve always wanted to do.” I said seriously and the whole room seemed to smile and a few others nodded along with my comment. as Murphy and I shook and I turned to walk out.

      “I’ll mention it to the Captain Rick, thats all I can do...” He called after me, as I waved over my shoulder and left the building. If Murphy was retiring soon I’d have to break in a new cop...because there’s no way the Captain was going to stop calling when the Weird hits the fan.

      I stopped at my favorite little truck stop on my way home and made eyes at the waitress for a while, we were good friends and she made sure I had lots of free coffee when I came in. She also mentioned she liked my little car and I offered to give her a nice ride later, and she looked embarrassed and just walked away. She was a nice person and we got along, and I was sipping my coffee and turned to look out the window, and as I did there stood my favorite Hellion, watching me from across the street.

      “Now what?” I asked myself as he motioned me out there and I wasn’t at all sure I should go...but I’d seen what he was capable of... and so I went out, like I had any real choice in the matter.

      “I gave them your message just like I promised...” I said even before I got close and he reached inside his coat, and pulled out an envelope and threw it to me and I checked to see that it was sealed.

      “See they get THAT too, and our business is finished.” He said and even before I could answer he turned and was gone, like he had never been there.

      I walked back to my car...very nicely left alone this time... and when I unlocked the door a heavy hand dropped on my shoulder and I nearly screamed, as Phillip smiled widely at the look on my face.

      “God damn it Phillip, don’t do that!” I screamed as he grabbed the letter from my hand and turned to open and read it right there. “What’s this all about anyways? You knew he was here didn’t you?” I demanded as he finished reading and put the letter inside his coat for now.

      “There’s been a deal made...we let him go and he gives us...certain...information on his boss.” He whispered and I knew right that second that I didn’t want to know any of this. The Boss mentioned ran the clan of Hellions that lived in the city, more than a dozen at any one time, maybe a lot more... and he also had a deal...and I looked tired trying to keep up.

      “I told you to stay at home until this was over didn’t I??” Phil asked loudly and I reminded him that if I wasn’t out then he wouldn’t have gotten his letter, and he looked less than thrilled that I talked back to him. “You’re in a bitchy mood today.” He added a little more softly as I left him know the Police weren’t paying my bills and that now my favorite cop was retiring and I’d probably get stuck with some mouthy new guy after he was gone, and Phil finally just smiled and told me to listen to him next time, and he walked back and climbed into a big limo and away he went as I went home with the last words of His Lordship Phillip ringing in my ears and for a minute there just wished he’d call while I was in this mood, so I could get it off my chest.

      But I went home and locked myself in...like that was going to stop any real enemies in this town. But I managed to get a good nights sleep and a good breakfast and was sitting around the rest of the day wondering how long my house arrest was going to last this time.


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      Chapter 11: Replacement... of a Sort


      Murphy had a nice dinner in his honor and I went and gave him a present and shook his hand as he smiled. 25 years on the Force and he had earned his retirement easily. He had been shot, stabbed and beaten to a pulp, but he got better every time, and went right back to work after, thats the kind of man he was, and he was a good friend too.

      But as the dinner closed and I thanked him for being my partner this last 2 years he just laughed and said that his name would continue even after he was gone...as I looked at him oddly for saying it...but just then a lady with brown shoulder length hair, in her late twenties or early thirties walked in... and waved as he got the biggest smile. She came over and he introduced her as Helen, his daughter and his replacement on the Force, as I looked a little surprised.

      “What? You’ve never seen a Family full of Cops before?” She asked, chuckling as her dad left me know she was second in her class at the Academy, and had been working her way up at a Precinct across town. But now that he was retiring and moving to Florida, she was getting his house, and his old job, a step up for her to Detective, something she had been fighting for for a while now.

      “And you are?” She asked as I introduced myself and she looked at me oddly for a second.” Oh...you’re that one huh?” And she looked away as her dad laughed out loud and I wondered what he had told her about me...as if I had any choice now...but she just smiled and shook my hand gingerly and I nodded with a grin and walked away, as father and daughter watched me go.

      “So..he’s the self-proclaimed Sorcerer huh?” She whispered as he smiled and nodded.

      “Don’t laugh, he helped me close a half a dozen cases in 2 years...he’s got skills...whatever that means in this town, and the Captain knows all about him, and he’s on our hot line for odd cases.” He added as I left the room and went home and she asked a few more questions about my work, and found out that her father knew next to nothing about it.

      “You’ll learn more about him than I ever did.” He whispered as she nodded seriously, that’s because of her friend Sylvia...a young girl she grew up with in her old neighborhood. They played and ran around together for years, right up until she turned into something frightening right before her eyes, and stopped a gang of young men from molesting them both. Now, after seeing many so called “Men in Black’ watching them after that, she was allowed to know a little more than most. Her best friend was a Lycanthrope, and had hidden it well. But now Helen knew about her family, and after a while had accepted them as friends anyways, something they all thanked her for repeatedly. It was an odd thing, they said, to know and not care, But Helen said that Sylvia was her friend and always would be, and so she was allowed to see things and talk to ‘people’ that many couldn’t, and that helped in no small way to get her promotion a lot faster than most.

      And now a Sorcerer, and she shook her head thinking this world was odder than she ever imagined when she was younger, but thats the way of things and she decided to just go with it, since her new Captain was in on it too, and that meant that this area of town was special in some way, or he might never have been told.

      It looked like I had a new partner already, and I wasn’t unhappy about it. Better someone who knew about me from the git go than someone new right out of some University that knew nothing.

      I went home and sat around the rest of the night wondering what she’d be like, this new cop, and if we would get along at all. But there was something about her that made me wonder, since she didn’t seem frightened or even upset at all when we met, and I knew for a fact her dad would have mentioned me when she got his old job. So...it seemed she was easy to get along with at least... and that would make my job easier in the long run.

      But across town there was a meeting that would change a lot of things, and I knew nothing about it...yet.

      “Yes...I have worked with Erik on a few, rare occasions.” Mrs. Wang was saying as the Council nodded agreement.” May I ask...what is this about? Has he done something wrong we need to investigate?” She ask as she was told that wasn’t the problem at all.

      “Were you there when he set up the Time/Space field to protect his domicile?” One old man asked as her face went white and she agreed.” That was an act of a Master, and to be honest we hadn’t given him that much credit for his skills.” he admitted as she looked shocked.

      “How long did it take him to set it up and set it off?” Another asked as she thought for a second.

      “After he got the materials and the book containing the spell, minutes at most.” She admitted as many whispered among themselves and they looked around and Phillip, standing next to her, agreed.

      “He’s always been a little surprising, even the Council knows that.” He added as someone cleared their throat and a few gave him dirty looks as his eyes dropped and he apologized for his comment.

      “We on the Council knew of his lineage and his skills...but this...is far above what we expected of him. Its obvious that his power is greater than we first thought, and in this time of turmoil in the city, knowing your options is very,very important.” The Chairman said as even Wang looked surprised and looked away. “We will continue to watch him and see what else he is capable of, but since we lost 3 Council members, including the one from his District, and a Council Assistant, there are openings that must be filled soon if we are to continue business as usual.” He said and even Phillip nodded... while grinding his teeth.

      Erik was being considered for a Council position, or Assistant at least, and Phillip knew that meant a major change for not only Erik, but the region as well. He was above all else a working man, and dressing nice and being fresh shaved wasn’t his priority at all. But he would go out on a limb, any time and any place, if he thought he was right, and that might end him if the Council didn’t agree.

      “Maybe a test is in order...” One said and even Mrs. Wang disagreed...for about a second. “If he has the ability then seeing it first hand would be very important. I want to know what our new member might be capable of myself.” The Chairperson admitted as both Phillip and Wang nodded seriously, and they both knew their opinion was not needed or appreciated, here today.

      The next day a man and women came busting into my place and slammed the door behind them. She was an older lady and had blood running down her arm, as I swore and made sure the door was bolted.

      “What happened ?” I asked and guided her into the living room and went for first aid.

      “We were on assignment and got attacked.” She said as the man with her nodded agreement.” Can you fix this? I’m a bleeder...” She said and I saw the problem right away. As a bleeder she not only would lose a lot of blood quickly, but the smell might well draw in others that were ‘into that sort of thing’ and in this neighborhood that wasn’t good.

      I ran into my shop and came out a few minutes later with some herbs, properly ground, and a book and whipped it open to the correct page. It was a Magical wound, probably from a Lycanthrope, and if I worked fast I had a chance.I laid the bandage I made across the cut on her arm, after ripping the sleeve off to get to it and then used that to wrap it up and tie it securely.

      Then on to the spell, and if done right it would stop the bleeding and help give her a chance at a faster recovery. I concentrated hard and after a minute the bandage glowed softly and she smiled and nodded saying the pain was gone. The big man with her pushed me out of the way and took the bandage back off to see the cut was closed, and looked like a week of healing had already occurred.

      “Nicely done...” he said and seemed to know what he was saying.” almost instantaneous healing, in these circumstances thats quite the feat.” He added as she nodded seriously then got a big smile and turned to me.

      “Erik Hanson...we on the Council are considering making you a full time ...employee...we need to see what your skills really are, and how we can best use them.” She said and the words ‘use them’ rang in my ears for some reason.

      “Thank you for the offer...” I mentioned with a short bow, as she smiled and nodded back,” but I’ll pass.” And her face fell and the man with her looked faint. “ I serve as I am, and I don’t need a lot of skill to do what I do. Please thank the Council for me on your way out.” I added and even opened the front door for them as they seemed lost for what to do...and slowly they left and got back into the limo outside and drove away.

      “He refused the Council position...” The lady said almost silently as the big man agreed, and slowly her face lit up and she looked at her arm, now almost completely healed. “I like him more every minute. We’ll let the rest of the Council know that our test was a success, and that I was satisfied with his performance.” She added getting comfortable as the big man called to report, and another member had been heard from.


      Chapter 12: Business Improves


      After that I got busy for a week or two. Its not that I didn’t need the money...hell...you never have enough of that. But the timing seemed oddly suspicious, and made me wonder. The lady from the Council seemed surprised that I didn’t want the job, and sooner or later I’d be asked why...in great detail I’m sure.

      My bank account had never looked so good, and my rent was paid well in advance...in other words...I was ready for a nice long rest, and I wasn’t getting it.

      The neighborhood was nice and quiet now that the little conflict had been settled, and I was glad of that. The word was out that I had little choice in helping the Council, and while some disputed that, others agreed that refusing them would always be a bad idea. So, things were getting better all around, and I hoped that it stayed that way.

      One job after another came in and got done, and people all seemed happy with the results, and after a while, I turned a few away, saying that I had other things to do, and got that nice rest that I wanted.

      It’s never a good idea to turn away business...or so I’m told...but sometimes a man just needs some time for himself, and this was my day.I left the phone ring off the hook and finally went out for lunch, leaving that damn thing go wild all alone.

      I ate slowly and talked to my friends there, who seemed happy for me since I could say that I got a better job offer, but everyone there smiled when I said I refused it...and some whispered that I’d be just a working class guy forever, and at that I smiled too.

      Heavy responsibilities weren’t my style, I liked being a normal guy with lots of time to goof off, but not everyone agreed and I knew that I’d be hearing about it sooner rather than later. But I expected to be ignored for a little while at least, and when I got home Phillip was standing there, not looking too happy either.

      “Now what?” I asked as I unlocked the door and he followed me inside.

      “People have been trying to get a hold of you all day...” he said as I just shrugged and said I was busy. “Sitting around the diner and ignoring your calls is not ‘busy’ “ He mentioned as I told him in no uncertain terms that it was enough...for today...it was my day off, as he just shook his head and sat down across from my desk.

      “It’s Wednesday...” he whispered looking sick admitting it, and then got serious again.

      “I know you’re not into heavy labor, but turning away business will come back to bite you.” he hinted as I reminded him I had done fine without the Council pushing business on me in the past.

      “I never wanted to be rich Phil you know that...” I hinted as he just nodded and looked sad. “tell them I appreciate the help, and will accept the work, maybe once or twice a week, but not every day its just not my style.” I offered as he smiled wider and nodded and asked why I turned down the position they offered earlier.

      “I think I just answered that one too...” I added as he got up to leave.

      “I’ve never seen such a lazy adult in all my life.” He said as he walked to the door.

      “Then you need to get out more,” I added softly as he grumbled and left, and I sat back shaking my head to think that they all measured success in dollar signs instead of how many people you helped, and then whined to me about being short sighted.

      I finished my day off in grand style, with the phone off the hook as I read one of my old books. If they were too rushed to wait a day, then they could find someone else, and that idea suited me just fine.

      “He gives new meaning to the term ‘laid back’” One of the Council members mentioned as everyone there agreed.

      “He’s refusing jobs and sitting around doing nothing,” Another added as they all looked shocked.

      “If his bills are paid and he has food on the shelf he considers himself successful.” Phillip added as many looked surprised at that.

      “He doesn’t plan for the future then?” One asked as Phillip shrugged and looked away.”He is a strange man for sure... but we have decided... and he will become the local Representative of the Council, technically an Assistant, and his neighborhood will become his area of expertise.” He heard as Phillip nodded and turned to go.

      Now it was his job to let me know, and to see to it that I didn’t embarrass the Council in my dealings. That alone was going to be a chore, and he saw that while I might be an Assistant to the Council, then HE was about to be the Assistant to me, and he wasn’t happy about it.

      I gave him a good argument about it, but he made it clear that the fix was in, and I had no choice in the matter.

      “There are monthly meetings...” he went on as he gave me a sour look,” you’ll be expected to clean up for those.” he added, as I looked sad about that.

      “Any local problems will come straight here, so remember that when things get loud. They expect to have you listen to their troubles and fix them, or refer them to the Full Council if they are too complex.” Phillip went on as I nodded sadly,” Now to get started...” he said as I looked up to see a crew walk in, and an hour later...an hour of yelling and whining on my part...I had a nice new dark blue suit, a new haircut and was clean shaved for the first time this week.

      “Now stay that way...” He declared and walked out taking his crew with him and I looked into the bathroom mirror and didn’t even recognize the person standing there,and it made me sad.


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      been watching a show called Full Metal Panic..its really funny but all I could think of was: these are mercenaries, and they aren't that serious...why? And there was mentions of 'whispers' that get information from some outside source to help advance Humanity, for good or bad..where does it come from? So making a new story, and mine will be more serious and very little mention of the special people, but some of where all this help is coming from.


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      Chapter 13: Playing the Judge


      Two days later and a group of people were pounding on my front door. I left them in, and after adjusting some wards for their comfort, I sat down and asked what we could do for them.

      “We need you to mediate a problem...” I was told as I agreed and waited.” This is my brother, and we share the Northern Area of this region. I run the western edge and he the eastern edge. In recent weeks we have started fighting amongst ourselves over business, while the Council has clearly left expansion to me.” One man screamed as his brother left him know that he was given the area to the east to run, and that he didn’t need outside interference in his businesses either, and they looked like it might come to blows.

      I checked the laptop and sure enough they both shared the business, and had been doing pretty well too. But suddenly around 3 weeks ago, they started bickering over it all, but it had never happened before. Some small fights between workers and others were happening almost daily along their common boarder and now even the Council had gotten involved.

      “What changed?” I asked suddenly as they both stopped dead from their screaming.”For ages you two have successfully run a business sanctioned by the Council...now suddenly... you cant get along any more...so what changed to start this feud?” I asked seriously as they looked sad for a minute.

      “I dont know what you mean...” One man said looking away as his brother looked angry and sad at the same time.

      “My daughter was assaulted by one of his men.” The other said angrily as they both started screaming again.” Now she’s pregnant to him and she refuses to have an abortion while she still can, and he hasn’t returned to make things right.” he screamed as his brother made sure he knew that it was REALLY hard to get a girl pregnant who didn’t want to be these days, and they jumped up and got right in each others face until I stopped them and made them sit down.

      “I think you’re missing the point here...” I said as they both stopped to listen.She’s obviously not a dumb girl, she knows what she wants, and my question is this: if he did come back around to see her would you let him??” I asked loudly as the man looked away.

      “I thought not...” I added as his brother looked happy that I seemed to be leaning his way. “Have either one of you sat them both down and ask what THEY want to do?” I asked as I was quickly told that it wasn’t their problem, but I disagreed.

      “It’s their lives and it’s obvious even to me she loves him or she would happily accept the abortion. She wants the baby, so lets see whats really going on shall we?” I asked and the two kids were brought in, and I had a hard time keeping the young man from punching the father in the face, as his daughter screamed for them to stop.

      The kids literally hung on each other and growled at their elders while I tried to get them to be quiet and answer some questions.

      “It seems to me...” I started loudly as everyone stopped yelling for a minute,” that they love each other, and want to be together. This entire thing was a problem that should have been settled by the Family, but Nooo...you had to escalate it into a Council matter didn’t you?” I demanded as they all looked sad and sorry.

      “He’s not good enough for my darling daughter, the swine...” The one man screamed as the two of them got face to face again and blows weren’t far away.

      “Shut up and sit down!” I screamed, jumping up, as they finally did.” Now...do you love this man?” I asked as the girl smiled wide and agreed.” And will you do the right thing and marry her and make her happy?” I asked as the young man smiled and agreed as well.

      “But he’s...” The man started again as I stopped him cold.

      “He loves her and will make her his wife and help raise the child.” I said as even he agreed.” In this day and age what more can anyone ask? You have started this out of some odd father - daughter love thing and I am pretty sure that no one would be good enough for her the way you’re acting...” I said as everyone in the room but him agreed.

      “He’s got you there dad...” She said right out loud as her father looked away.

      “You even started choking off an entire region to get your way, and never thought that as things got bad there, his wages would fall and he’d not be able to support his family either. What sense does that make?” I asked as everyone gave the man a dirty look and he finally apologized for what had happened.

      “Now get out of here and plan a wedding before things start to look too bad. I think these kids make a fine couple.” I said as she ran over and gave me a hug and her man shook my hand happily. “ And stop that feud between brothers, you’re only hurting your own reputation and the reputation of your entire family. If you want to help, get these two a nice place to live in, maybe right along the boarder so they can visit family on both sides...now everyone OUT!” I said loudly as a few chuckled and slowly they all left, some very happy and a few looking sad, but this settled things, as far as the Council cared, and I got a good report for my first job.

      “That was a good call...” Phillip said looking the report over before putting it inside his coat.” you saw it really wasn’t about business at all and made them admit it. You might be able to handle this new job after all.” He said and left as I closed the door and hoped that they didn’t get any worse than this,but somehow I knew they might.


      Chapter 14: Second Job


      For a week things got quiet again but one day around noon a big man was standing at my door and he refused to come in, and I knew why instantly.

      “We demand the Council Representative over see the naming of a new Leader of the local Lycanthrope.” he said as I asked what was needed.” Since time immemorial the two biggest and smartest males fight once every 5 years for supremacy, and the winner rules for another 5 years. That battle is this weekend, and we need you to be there to over see it all in the Council’s name.” he said as I agreed and the time and place were set.

      It was one of those jobs that was purely ceremonial, but it needed done and when Phillip found out what it was he and another of his men went along too...just in case.

      There was a circle made out of rope and people from the entire region were there to see the fight. The two men got into the ring, each making a noble comment about the other and the fight started, and as it did they both turned into their real selves and growling and snapping was seen all around, as their friends and families cheered them on.

      “Lycanthropes might look large and barbaric...” Phillip whispered as I nodded silently,” but they have a huge sense of Honor and Honesty. This fight might be ceremonial... but they take it very seriously.” he added as I thanked him for the info.

      But it became clear not everyone thought that way, as the men rolled around beating on each other, they rolled right out of the circle and into the crowd, as a whistle was blown and they stopped and returned to the center, as one man was limping badly.

      But the damage done was not from the fight itself, as I saw quickly, as they rolled into the crowd, one man got a few good kicks in before anyone saw, and that gave his friend an advantage from then on, and I called the referee over and mentioned it as he looked shocked.

      “Which one?” He asked as I pointed to a man with a yellow shirt on who saw right away and started sneaking into the crowd. “Stop that man!” he called as the contestants stopped to see what was going on.

      The referee had them come over and when I told them what I saw they both looked upset.

      “You should have said something,” The one said to the other, who huffed it away saying he could win either way, as they both got a huge grin.

      “The Council knows that Lycanthropes are extremely honest people, so I couldn’t just let a cheat go without mentioning it.” I said as they both smiled and thanked me for it.”If I might suggest...this should invalidate the fight for today, since interference from outside got in. How about rescheduling it for a week from today? Then he can get healed again and a real battle can take place.” I added as everyone agreed and the fight ended for the day and one man was dragged away screaming that he was sorry, and I didn’t even want to know what happened to him after that.

      I turned and went to the car and left for home, and as I did Phillip reported what happened and when the next fight would take place.

      “They agreed to his demands then?” He was asked as he agreed they had, a real miracle in itself. “He seems to get along with everyone.” Got mentioned as Phil left them know that I was a local and even with the war that just ended, the community had guaranteed my safety, as many there nodded seriously

      “It looks like he was a good choice then.” Another said and many agreed as Phil closed the link and went home himself. Lycanthropes are very serious and honest, but outsiders aren’t listened to lightly. Anyone sticking their noses into their business might well get it chopped off, but today they were more than happy with the suggestion, and that seemed to mean something to everyone but me.

      In a week we were back at it, and this time it was held inside at the local gymnasium. The crowd was forced to sit in the stands,and guards watched them carefully. The battle lasted over an hour but one man finally got the advantage and won. Now the local Lycanthrope had a new leader for another 5 years and I shook his hand and left the loser know that it had been a hell of a battle, as his friends and backers cheered even for the loser.

      “The Council officially accepts this new leader...” Phillip added loudly, and the deal was done.

      “And we accept the new Council member as our local representative.” The winner added as he shook my hand again, and the crowd cheered again.

      “Then let us live together in peace,” I added and many agreed and the thoughts of another war seemed far away as the room cheered, and the official ceremony ended.

      “You got that in there at the last minute...” Phillip mentioned as we walked back to the cars.

      “Peace is important to me,” I mentioned as he nodded seriously “If they like me and come to me for advise or help, then maybe we can stop these squabbles before they get started.” I added as he smiled and agreed, and that was it for today.


      Chapter 15: Final Decision



      The Council had been very serious about this, more serious than I was for sure. Phillip reported on my every move and word as well as a few others that I knew nothing of. The Community had made their decision too and the word of that got back to them too. It was a done deal...except I knew little about it.

      In a week another meeting, and as I walked in dressed in nice cloths and clean shaven, many smiled and a few waved and it felt like I had been there forever. I sat in the gallery with many others and as the meeting started, under new business was the appointment of several new members to the Council, to replace those that died in the riot before. I knew a few of the people they were asking to become full time members and as they were called I applauded right along with the rest. But to my surprise I was also called and I stood and mentioned there had to be some mistake, as some in the room whispered seriously and a few chuckled right out loud.

      “There’s no mistake,” The Chairperson said as I looked too shocked to speak. “chair 10...your mothers former seat...” He said with a wave as many applauded and I looked too scared to talk even now.

      “Wait...my mother was a member of the Council?” I asked as many nodded agreement.

      “She served with us faithfully for many years, and we hope you will replace her now that you’ve matured into a fine young man.” He said as I looked embarrassed and shocked even now.

      “If I may, your Honor...” Phillip added as the Chair smiled wide and nodded.” He’s a bit thick skinned and dense you need to prod him on a bit.” he said as I growled his way and he grumbled that even today I was dragging my feet when it came to more responsibility, and he walked over and grabbed my arm and dragged me on stage and slapped me into my mothers old seat.

      “Sit...stay...good dog.” He said as many laughed and a few Council members looked embarrassed it had come to this.

      “But I don’t want to be on the Council...” I whined as Phillip smiled wider and said ‘tough’ as the room roared.

      “We always knew you had your mothers blood inside you, and that eventually your skills would appear. In the last few months you’ve improved substantially and we saw it clearly. This is a time of tension between many groups and factions, and you seem to get along with everyone..no small feat.” The Chair went on as I looked sad thinking that being a nice person and getting along was why my nice quiet life had suddenly ended.

      “Your job as Council member will take much of your time, but fear not we get...substantially...rewarded for our time.” He said with a wink a few there giggled to themselves. “Phillip is now your immediate subordinate and bodyguard, and his people will move up one notch since he becomes your official council assistant.” He went on as I nodded seriously. If I was going to be dragged into this then I was glad that Phillip got dragged in too. It seemed only fair since he thought so very much of himself all this time.

      “I will do my best...” I said finally, since it was obvious that I had no choice in the matter, at least I’d get paid well and bills wouldn’t be a problem anymore.

      “Excellent, then this meeting is adjourned.” He said and we all went into the room next door for free drinks and food and as I stood shaking hands, Phillip walked up looking as bulletproof as always.

      “You did this to me...” I whispered as he looked happy to upset me further.

      “Shut up...its not like you didn’t see this coming... and the pays a dozen times more than you’d make hunting for missing persons.” he added while trying to keep a smile going.

      “I liked that quiet life...” I added a little sadly as he gave me a serious look.

      “You hid behind that life for long enough. You’ve lied to officers of the Council, refused to use your full potential for years, and even refused good work because someone might figure it out...talk about lazy...” He added with a little grin as I gave him a really dirty look.

      “It was fun while it lasted,” I whispered as he finally nodded agreement, and my new life started right there. Member 10 on the High Council...a job I never wanted, but they seemed to think I qualified easily. My quiet little life was over and both high pressure and high society awaited me now.
      It wasn’t what I hoped for for my adult years but it just goes to show...we don’t always get what we want but only what we deserve, on way or the other, no matter how hard we try and avoid it.

      FINISHED


    9. #9
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      never did figure out why I have to sign in every time, or after reading every page of a story. But thats just the way it is, was that way for Win 7 and now the same with Win 10...lol hmm ok I do clear my caches a lot so maybe thats it.


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