Over the next couple of days I might miss a post or two, since the final edit for “Blood Moon Yellow Sky” is back and I need to get that finished. But if I need a break from editing I can crank out the next part.
I hope everyone is enjoying this little serial, I’m going to start sending the parts that have been posted to my editor so that when I’m done with this we can get them all collected into a book quickly and start the next book in the series. Don’t feel shy about telling what you think, and although I have plots in mind, let me know if there are things you’d like to see in this or any of my other works.
Steam rose from the bubbling hot spring out behind The Lady’s Pleasure. Alchemy let the hot water soak into sore muscles. The backlash of over exerting his magic made every part of his body ache. The quick lunch cleared his head. After a little while in the spring, he’d feel like his old self again. Gavin eased in next to him. Without his tunic, the warrior looked more like a tall dwarf, minus the beard, than an elf. Muscles rippled as the big elf slid into the water.
“Looks like you’ve been working out some more,” Alchemy noted. He knew he’d never be as ripped as Gavin, it just wasn’t something most wizards worked at. But he was active enough that he’d never get the paunch that his old master Shamus the Magnificent had. Besides, he wouldn’t get the response from the ladies if he let himself go like that.
“Hey, got to keep up the body. Been working out with Buck for a few weeks now and it’s showing,” Gavin ran an appreciatory hand over his hard chest.
“You know I never figured you for the ursa sorta guy,” Alchemy chuckled at his friend.
“Hey, he’s a real bear. All that fur is fun to just get your hands into,” the warrior grinned.
“I think someone’s talking about me again,” a gruff voice said from behind them.
“Hey Buck, back so soon?” Gavin looked up at the big ursa.
“Yeah, Griz says thanks for the dragon meat,” Staghorn stepped down into the hot water. “Says stop by for dinner tonight. It’s on him.”
Alchemy smiled at the thought of fresh dragon steaks. “Sounds good.”
The ursa settled in against Gavin, wrapping a large arm across the elf’s shoulders. “You have no idea. Griz is a fantastic cook. And when you give him something exotic like dragon, man watch out, your taste buds aren’t going to know what hit them.”
“So Buck, it looks like we’re going to need to get to Manticore Hill on the ground. Can you help us out with that?” Alchemy asked. A frown crossed the furry face, or at least Alchemy thought it was a frown. He was still learning to read the ursa’s face.
“Man, I don’t know,” Staghorn began. “The more I hear about it the less I like it. First Manticores, and now you guys just proved that the rumors of the dragon are true.”
“There were rumors of the dragon?” Gavin asked snuggling in tightly under the ursa’s arm.
The huge fur-covered chest heaved. “Yeah, they’ve been coming in for some time. Folks that go out that way come back saying they’ve seen a dragon. I mean dragon’s are extinct or anything, but you still don’t see them every day. My motto is when you see a dragon, stay away.”
Alchemy looked into the ursa’s big brown eyes. “But with the goblins working for Doctor Gnome and using manticore venom, the mechanical snake had manticore venom and the strange artifact that Berryman found near there. Our best bet for finding Doctor Gnome is out there.”
“All the more reason to be careful,” Staghorn said.
Gavin reached up and playfully tweaked the ursa’s ear. “We didn’t say we wouldn’t be careful.” The elf smiled at his bearfriend. “Besides, where’s your sense of adventure.”
Staghorn stroked Gavin’s long dark hair. “My sense of adventure left when you two got chased almost back to town by that dragon.”
“Ah Buck,” Gavin ran his hands down the furry body, “What about going in by night? We could sneak in then get out while everyone’s asleep.”
Alchemy was torn between getting the guide’s help and giving his friends some privacy. Things in the spring could get really hot really fast the way the two were going.
“What about the manticores?”Staghorn continued to object. “You know they hunt at night just as well as they do during the day.”
“I’ve actually got something that can help with that,” the wizard said. “K sent it through with Ashton.”
Gavin smiled at Staghorn. “See, we’ve got that covered. All you have to do is get us out there.”
The ursa frowned down at the elf before he bent over to kiss him. “Fine, but we leave at midnight. It’s got to be good and dark and I want to be out of there by sunrise. No screwing around.”
“Agreed,” Alchemy said.
“Master Pond,” a female voice called out from behind them.
Alchemy turned and saw Gotta standing on the wooden steps leading down into hot spring area. He hadn’t seen her in the lobby earlier. But then, being as woozy as he’d been at the time he wasn’t surprised. Her unadorned tunic suggested she wasn’t working today. He waved her over to the spring.
“Miss Bagnato,” he smiled at her, “what a plesant surprise.”
“They told me in the lobby you were out here.” The brownie knealt by the side of the pond. “I was wondering if you were busy this evening. I have the day off and thought you might be interested in a little home cooking.”
Alchemy reached up and took the woman’s hand. He gently brought it to his lips and kissed her delicate fingers. “I’d be delighted. If you could leave directions for me.”
Gotta blushed, “I’ll leave them at the front desk. Will you be using the mount that arrived yesterday?”
Alchemy nodded. “Yeah, I think Ashton would enjoy an easy ride.” After this mornings flight with the dragon the griffon would find an easy flight almost boring.
“Good.” The brownie smiled. “I live in the jungle just a short distance from town. I’m easy to find.” She reached down and stroked Alchemy’s short blond hair. She kissed the tips of her fingers and laid them on his cheek. “Until then.”
Alchemy watched as she gracefully walked back into the rear door of The Lady’s Pleasure.
Gavin whisteled. “So those suave lessons K and I have been giving you are paying off.”
“I’m trying,” the wizard blushed. “It’s just like magic, relax and let it flow. Seems to be working. I’ve got Delphinia back at the office eating out of my hand.”
The warrior laughed. “Delphinia liked you before we started trying to make you more appealing. She’s the only one who objected, saying she liked the shy you.”
Splashing water at his friend, Alchemy rose out of the hot spring. He barely noticed a change thanks to the hot humid air of Buteamore. “You two enjoy the spring. I’m going to go get ready for my date. I’ll see you at the corral at midnight. Tell Griz I’ll get catch him some other time for the dragon steaks.”
“You have fun,” Staghorn said as Alchemy walked up the wooden steps.