Everytime the Doctor gets pally with someone I have the overwhelming urge to notify their next of kin.|
-Rory, Doctor Who Season 6
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Pale yellow eyes raked over the all too familiar room. There were long tables lining the walls and even a few cluttered around the center of the room. Each one was covered with various gadgets and inventions; most were weapons but some were variations on hover-boards, shoes, and other such compact travel devices. Personally Sky preferred her bike; it was sturdy and easy to drive. Hover-boards relied on the slightest of movements and weight distributions; one slight change and you were flying into a dune of rock outcropping or a tree. Sky liked her control. A little too much, a part of her mind whispered. It was a part she usually tried to ignore. But right now she was just too exhausted and her nerves were just too strung out to ignore it.
The fox shook her head. Now was not the time to be comparing hover-bikes to hover-boards. She had thought these people worked for her father; but that just couldn’t be, not if they brought her here. Not if they brought Sky to her. A tall, slim, but curvy woman with long dirty blonde hair and tanned skin came into the room from the back; her violet eyes widening before narrowing.
“I told you not to harm her.” The woman sighed, removing her glasses, cleaning them with a handkerchief and replacing them on her nose. “Remove those at once; she’s not going to hurt anyone.”
Sky could hear the Bounty Hunter grind his teeth but did as he was told. She could imagine the thoughts running through his head; how she had tried to hurt him. But that’s what you get when you attack someone, Sky thought bitterly, rubbing at her sore wrists as soon as the cuffs were removed. She used what little energy she still possessed to flush her system with ice, bringing her body back to a manageable temperature. They may have gone indoors, but it was still too hot for her liking.
“And my friend.” Sky said with narrowed eyes, nodding to the still unconscious Chimera.
The man narrowed his eyes, and was about to object when the woman gave him a nod. Sky was close enough to see him roll his eyes behind his shades before releasing Kirin and shoving him into her arms before stalking from the room.
“So, you want to explain why you had me kidnapped Amelia?” Sky asked, idly stroking the feline’s head. It was to sate her urge to make sure he was alright. He had taken a pretty nasty hit when he rammed into that wall after all. The feline nudged her hand sleepily with his head, making a small mewling noise. Thankfully he would be fine after some rest. “After all, I didn’t think we were on such bad terms. I would have answered if you called and requested my presence.” Amelia Valentine was the scientist/engineer that created her Orion Infinity and pretty much all other hovercrafts. She was brilliant and talented, and a close friend of Kiah’s. Sky had made many deliveries to and for the scientist, so being kidnapped by the woman set oddly in the fox’s gut.
“I couldn’t afford having Kiah or Alabaster get wind of this meeting.” The blonde said simply, crossing her arms over her impressive bust. “I need you to do something for me, and they can’t know.” Sky took an involuntary step back from the woman, eyes narrowed. If she was asking Sky to keep something from Kiah and her Guardian then it must be bad, or dangerous, or very likely both. The fox now understood why Amelia had gone about this the way she had. Sky would have never agreed to this meeting under those circumstances. It went against her relationship with her Guardian to hide something like this from him. And based on the circumstances, Amelia knew that.
“Calm down Sky, I know this seems like I’m about to throw you to the sharks; but I’m not.” Amelia assured, holding her hands up in the universal “unthreatening” gesture. Though nothing aout this woman was unthreatening. “I just need you to retrieve my son. He seems to have gotten himself into some trouble and you’re the only one with the abilities to get him home safely.”
Okay, now Sky was simply confused. She knew Amelia had a son, but he was studying at the Academy so the fox had never met the man. His name eluded her but she knew he went by “Valentine”, preferring his surname. But what had she meant that Sky was the only one with the abilities to get him? Was he being held in Naliis? She was the closest ice creature and would be able to cross the borders without effect from the temperature change. But Sky couldn’t go back there. She wouldn’t.
“I need you to cross the veil, go into The Unmagic and bring Valentine back.” The woman’s eyes were pleading, as if the deed was a hop, skip, and a hover-bike ride away. But she was talking about a veil; crossing between the worlds; crossing dimensions. It wasn’t safe, let alone something the scientist should know Sky could do. Unless Amelia simply thought she could buy her way through the gate set up in Lumeira. But the fox didn’t have that kind of money.
The Unmagic was the world Averious ran parallel too. Years ago demons could pass between the veils as they wished. But when the Gods and Goddesses disappeared; stopped communicating with the daemons, the Counsel believed their kind had offended their deities. So the veils were all sealed off except for one. Some daemons, very few, needed the unmagics for their own survival. Vampyres fed off the souls of unmagics; Were-creatures fed off their hearts, and the Incubae and Succubae fed off the essence they secreted during mating. These daemons could barter for passage into The Unmagic for one night; but the price was steep.
Of course, hearts could be purchased on the black market. But souls and essence weren't so easily harvested and stored. The price of a trip to The Unmagic, however, was outrageous. Last Sky had checked it was a couple hundred gold pieces; three times the price of her Orion Infinity.
The fox took another step back; her head shaking as she processed what was being asked of her. She knew how to pass into The Unmagic without the Counsel’s gate, but it wasn’t knowledge she was willing to share. She wasn’t even supposed to know the truth. It was something her mother had taught her as a child. Well, not exactly taught, but told her stories of. So in truth, the fox didn’t even know if it was possible, and she didn’t have a couple hundred gold pieces lying around.
Amelia narrowed her violet eyes at the fox, her demeanor turning aggressive as she pointed a finger at Sky.
“Don’t give me that vixen. I know everything. I know where you’re from, the powers and knowledge you possess; everything.” Amelia hissed, taking a threatening step toward Sky. The fox’s energy was low and she was exhausted, she knew she couldn’t win a fight against the scientist. Not to mention the woman was a fire-user; that put a big “not happening” stamp across the mere thought of trying to fight her way out. “I know who you are; Setsuko Bidelia.”
Sky’s eyes widened and she almost dropped Kirin in shock. How did she know? Who could have possibly told her? The fox gasped for air as she went into full panic. If Amelia knew, someone she rarely saw, who else could have figured it out? Kiah? Maybe even Smoke? Alabaster knew of course, but as her Guardian his was sworn to uphold all her secrets.
“Calm down, I’m not going to ship you off to Adrian or anything.” Amelia sighed, her arms crossing over her chest once more. It didn’t go unnoticed by the fox that Amelia hadn’t used “King” in front of her father’s name. “But my son is everything to me. So you have a choice; you do as I asked and bring my son back safely, or I make an anonymous call to the Naliis Knights that I know where their princess has been hiding all these years. My son is more important to me than you.”
The threat was real, Sky couldn’t deny that. If she knew anything about Amelia, it was that the scientist kept her word. Her moral compass pointed at the direction that kept her and her son safe; it’s how it always was. For a second the fox thought about taking the job and running, disappearing again. But Amelia would be on her tail, and she wouldn’t hesitate to contact the Knights, and between them they would find her no problem. She wouldn’t be able to escape a second time.
Sky scoffed softly. She really had no choice; it came down to her freedom or whatever her father had wanted from her mother that now lied with her. “Looks like I’m going into The Unmagic.” Relief washed over the blonde immediately and she actually hugged Sky. It made the fox uncomfortable after being threatened just moments ago, but she stood stiffly and allowed the woman to express her joy.
“Thank you, I know I didn’t give you a choice, but I need him back safe, he’s all I have.” She breathed, Sky’s ears twitching at the ticklish feel of the woman’s breath. The fox couldn’t be mad at Amelia. She wasn’t a mother; she didn’t know what it was like to have her child in danger. But Sky had seen the love of a mother; her own had sacrificed herself so Sky could get away from her father and whatever the man was planning.
“I know Amelia.” The fox said softly, shifting so they weren’t squishing Kirin and patting the woman on the back with her free hand. “But you’ll have to give me a day to rest before I leave, I have no energy.” Sky added, pulling away from the woman.
“That’s no problem at all.” Amelia beamed, squeezing the fox’s shoulders before stepping away and over to one of the cluttered tables. “I have a few things I need to get together for you anyways. Your magic may be strong, but The Unmagic is justly named; it doesn't possess the natural magic our world does.. The Unmagic is all concrete, iron and noise. Forests are the only places that hold any magic there and the unmagics have affectively wiped most of them out.” The scientist explained, picking through a few of the devices, checking them and taking one or two while leaving the rest. “I know you’re well adept at glamour, so this device will come in handy. Think of it as your comm, but instead of power you charge it with your magic. It can hold a full glamour for twelve hours, but after that you have to charge it again.” The device she held up looked very similar to a thick metal bracelet. It had strange symbols carved into the metal; symbols similar to the ones Sky had around her room to keep unwanted quests out.
“You wear it and you’ll be completely glamoured. It’s not a good idea for you to use too many of your powers, you’ll become exhausted quickly.” Amelia explained, tapping a few buttons on a screen on the inside of the bracelet. “I’m programing a basic glamour; brown hair, no ears or tail; which of your features remains unchanged when you glamour?” The basic rule of glamour was: something must remain the same. It was the drawback of magic, you couldn’t change everything. So, one part of your appearance always stayed unaffected by the magic. For Sky it was her eyes.
“My eyes. I’ve never been able to change them.” She answered after a moment.
“Hmm.” Amelia looked at her eyes thoughtfully before shrugging. “It shouldn’t be a problem. They’re almost white so you could pass them off as some sort of contacts if anyone asks; it seems to be a fashion trend there. That won’t be a big problem. The main thing is your hair, tail and ears. You already have freckles from living in Kedagoratte when your skin is obviously made for Naliis, but the hair will just draw too much attention if left alone.” The scientist rambled on, finishing her adjustments before snapping the device onto Sky’s wrist.
The fox could feel the smothering tingly feeling of the glamour settling over her. Her normally white hair fell in soft waves over her shoulders, now a rich chocolate brown. She couldn’t feel her tail swishing behind her and looked over her shoulder at her rear. Nothing. Her tail was completely gone. Sky reached up and was met with nothing but hair, and on either side of her head were regular, fleshy ears; rounded with their curved cartilage and canal that led to the eardrum. They felt strange and Sky laughed softly. She had never taken her glamour this far before; always a simple hair color change or changing the color of the fur on her ears and tail; but never anything like this. It felt strange and freeing at the same time. To anyone else she looked like a human. Amelia reached over and tapped a circular symbol and Sky felt the glamour give way, her hair falling back in its long braid, her ears twitching atop her head and her tail swishing behind her.
“It has a full charge and will be ready to use when you go to cross over tomorrow night.” The scientist said before handing her a set of guns. They were long and slightly bulky. Sky looked at her strangely as she handed her a belt holster that would buckle around her hips. The holders looked like small metal cases.
“Don’t look at me like that. You need regular weapons, you can’t use too much of your ice.” Amelia scolded, reaching around her and showing Sky how the device buckled in the front. “And it’s more acceptable to walk around with a gun than carrying blades in The Unmagic. I have the proper paperwork so you won’t get fined or arrested. Now, the guns sit in theses holders.” The blonde let one pop open and slipped the bulky gun into a holder with a small snap and shut the case. “To draw it tap this.” Amelia pressed a small button at the top of the case and the mechanism made a whirring sound, the case popping open and the gun snapping up as if to meet the drawers hand.
“It allows for a quicker draw, the gun pops right into your hands.” Exactly what Sky had figured.
Amelia slipped both guns into the holders and unbuckled the hip holster and set it with the glamour device. She grabbed another set of pouches, these Sky recognized easily. They were ammo pouches and would belt around her ankles or thighs.
“Now, the clothing you will be wearing is going to be a lot different than you’re used to.” The scientist said slowly. “Mainly dresses, simple and flowy, most likely layered to make yourself stand out less. The best place for you to wear these are on your thighs.” Sky nodded and watched the scientist place the pouches with the growing pile.
“Most of the bullets are silver; they’ll do the most damage if you run into any Knights-“
“Wait, why would I run into Knights?” The fox asked alarmed. “I thought this was just to get your son and come back?” She knew this all sounded much too easy.
“Valentine went through the gate without paying, without permission. He’s been deemed rogue. If he’s caught by a Knight they’ll kill him.” Amelia said gravely, eyes pained. “He discovered a way to store unmagic souls, so they could be sold in Averious and Vampyres like us wouldn’t starve but the Counsel didn’t want to listen.” The scientist slammed a fist on to the table and growled. “They just didn’t want to give up their power over our kind. But Valentine was determined and snuck through, against my pleading.”
Now the fox understood. He was on a rebellious mission against the Counsel to save his kind. And now she was being drug into it. Sky rubbed a hand across her face tiredly. “Okay, fine. Just show me where I can rest and I’ll head out tomorrow.” She sighed. The sooner she started this mission the quicker she could get back and make a plan to get as far away from the scientist as she could. This was just one favor, but from the sounds of it Valentine was a loose cannon and as long as Amelia had this dirt on her Sky would become no more than her lap monkey. Even If that meant she and Alabaster would have to leave the Den. The fox didn’t relish the idea, but above all she was a survivor and she had something she had to protect that was more important than a few Vampyres having a political dispute with the Counsel.
Sky exited the showroom and immediately ran into the Bounty Hunter. She gave him a glare before attempting to step around him to find a place to rest.
“I see your manners have not improved.” The Hunter noted with a smirk. It took all of Sky’s patience not to rise to the bait; she was just too tired and strung too far for his jokes. “Name’s Jake by the way.” He added, pushing off from the wall and taking a few steps down the narrow hallway. “Amelia has Valentine’s room set up for you; you and your companion can get some rest there. He will stay when you leave tomorrow.”
Pale eyes widened in alarm and she held the unconscious chimera a bit tighter. There was no way she was leaving Kirin behind; this Hunter had to be completely mad if he thought that.
“That’s not happening.” She said with a growl, stopping in her tracks. “Kirin comes with me.” Jake sighed, hands sliding into the pockets of his long brown trench coat as he turned to face Sky.
“If it wasn’t obvious to you before, let me point out that Chimera’s are not common in The Unmagic. If you take the creature you’re just going to draw attention to yourself and jeopardize your mission.” Even at his very logical explanation Sky was shaking her head.
“Kirin is my partner, and I’m sure Amelia has a device that can glamour him as well. I will not abandon him here while I’m through the veil. It’s not happening.” The fox’s voice ground out like nails on a chalkboard. She wasn’t going down without a fight on this. Kirin had been there for her today and she wasn’t going to leave him with these people; not after seeing their true colors. They were being used as pawns; there was no telling what they would do with Kirin if he were left here while she was off finding the brainless Vampyre.
Jake visibly sighed, pushing up his shades with one hand as he rubbed his eyes. It was something she saw Alabaster do quite often and knew she had just won this argument. “Fine, I will tell Amelia that the creature is going with you. She will have the proper equipment ready, now go rest.” His voice was exasperated as he waved a hand toward the end of the hall where a door stood open. Sky figured this was the room he had mentioned before.
The fox nodded and slipped around him and down the hall quickly, shutting the door behind her after entering. The room was like a replica of the showroom she had just left excet for the obvious living arrangement; a bed, dresser, mirror hanging on the wall and a bookshelf tucked in the corner laden with hundreds of books. Sky didn't pay much attention to the colorful covers, her eyes grazing over the various gadgets and parts littering every surface. Most were simply unrecognizable piles of wires and bolts, others were just grease-covered things. She scrunched her nose at the smell of the Vampyre that wafted strongly from the closet and dresser. It wasn't that he smelled badly, but there was a spicy mix to his scent she didn't only smelt on the rare client that worked with scened oils and the like. But the concoction mixed with Valentine's scent was stronger, more like a spray than an oil.
"Don't worry Kirin, I'll get us through this safely." Sky vowed, giving the uncontious creature a kiss between his ears as she pulled back the covers on the bed. She tossed the comforter to the floor, leaving only the thin sheet.
Kirin curled peacefully on the pillow where Sky laid him so she could pull off her boots and socks before slipping under the sheet and wrapping her arm around the Chimera; her hand resting on his gently rising and falling stomach. It was a safety measure while she slept. Even in her sleep she would be uncontiously tuned to his breathing. If it stopped or he was moved she would wake up immediately. The fox did not trust these people at all.
Sky slept better than she had the night before, only waking when the harsh light of the suns beamed through the uncovered indo and onto her face. Kirin as still asleep on the pillow as she sat up and stretched, kicking the sticky sheet off of her. It was a thick material she wasn't used to and it had kept her warmer than she would have liked. The fox flushed her system before looking down at Kirin. Today was the day. She was leaving this realm. Or atleast attempting too. There was no guarentee she would even be able to do it. But there was no way she as going to tell Amelia that. If she failed she would disappear; end of story.
The fox pushed herself up from the bed and carefully scooped Kirin into her arms. He made an unhappy noise and snuggled into her chest before his soft contented purring started up once again. Sky retraced her steps down the hallway and turned into the showcase room. Amelia was already there with Jake and a smaller daemon; a female, one Sky didn't recognize by appearance, but she did know the scent. It was the daemon who had caught her off the day before and hit her in the head.
“Ah good, you're awake.” Amelia beamed. The scientist seemed a bit jumpy, as if she were running on nothing but worry. Sky couldn't blame her. “This is Loli.” The blonde added, nodding to the smaller daemon before gathering the things Sky would be taking.
“Nice to meetcha, officially I mean.” The little red haired daemon beamed, giving Sky a two fingered salute. “Sorry bout the head thing by the way.” Loli added a bit sheepishly.
“No worries.” The fox said with a forced smile. “I have a healing factor.” Amelia's eyes widened at that bit of information as she snapped a thick metal collar around Kirin's neck. This was news to her. But the scientist chose not to comment.
“This will glamour the Chimera like a regular house cat. Press this to activate it.” She explained, pointing to the same round symbol her bracelet possessed.
Next Amelia snapped the glamour bracelet onto Sky's wrist before fixing the belt holster around her hips and the ammo packs around her thighs.
“Do you have something to carry the extra ammo?” The scientist asked, nodding to a pile of spare ammo clips on the table. Sky's eyes widened at the amount. Surely she didn't need that much ammo for this trip. But the fox didn't obejct as she pulled out her small velvet pouch and unsealed the wards.
“It's enhanced, they'll fit,” Sky assured her at the skeptical look Amelia was giving the bag.
“Right, fancy witchy magic and all.” The woman muttered before loading the clips in. Vampyres weren't known to possess much magic beyond the ability to pull a soul from an unmagic. It's one of the reasons Amelia had become a scientist, to make things that made up for her lack of magic. “I don't know much about the veils, but I do know you need to be in the forest to enhance the natural magical energy, so Jake and Loli will drop you off in Willow-Wisp Woods and leave you to it.”
“No.” Sky said difinitively, shaking her head as she did. “I will use Maze Forest.” At the strange look Amelia was giving her the fox was quick to jump to an explanation. “It's closer, plus being closer to the set veil will strengthen any natural one.”
“Okay.” The blonde replied with furrowed brows, before nodding to the Hunters at the change in destination. “Then they'll drop you there. Just be careful. I want my son back, but I don't want you hurt either.”
“I'll be fine Amelia.” The fox said, wanting nothing but to leave and get this started.
“Awesome! Let's go!” Loli said energetically as she bounced toard the door; Jake following behind, shaking his head at the pilot.
The fox took one last look around the showroom before following after them. As soon as the smothering heat hit her Sky regretted agreeing to this. But there was no backing out of it now. Not if she didn't want to be hauled back to Naliis and submitted to her father's wrath. She took a deep breath of the sandy, dry air and climbed aboard the airship.