Shiron 12th of Hotmonth
Riley, Gavin and Prince Hans looked over the carefully re-worked amulets. After a few minutes they decided that they were enough.
“Excellent idea Gavin,” the Prince said, “This should do the trick.”
“What are they going to do exactly, Gavin?” Riley asked, examining the beautifully worked mithril and platinum chain lockets.
“Well for starters, they are proof against that expunge spell Andrea was using to strip away Vanessa’s and Vivian’s defenses. They will also protect their minds from enslavement and control, and will keep most other forms of transformation magic from affecting them,” Gavin replied. He was very proud of what he had produced, the fact that they were also beautiful items of jewelry brought him great pleasure as well.
“And the rings?” the Prince asked, “they are conventional rings to protect against energy magic right?”
“Yes your Highness, they are indeed.” Gavin replied.
“Excellent,” the Prince replied.
Shiron 25th of Hotmonth
Michelle looked over at the tall, handsome Elf that known as Prince Hans. He was talking to Sister Rose and Cheryl. “I still cannot believe I am dealing with Elves for gods sake. How did I ever end up in a fantasy novel?” she muttered to herself. Of course she knew the answer. “Well Wes, I mean Gavin, at least you know how to show a girl an interesting vacation,” she chuckled.
She walked over and after curtseying, joined her friend Cheryl.
“So you and your friends are ready Cheryl?”
“Yes your Highness, we will be attempting to bring back Andrea’s victims this morning.”
“How can you be so sure?” he asked, curious about her bold confidence.
“Well your Highness, as gifted as your people are with magic, none of you has had to work in a psychiatric ward before. I spent almost a year working in one, and dealing with mentally ill people every day. I remembered my anatomy, Your Highness, and I had an idea.”
“She and the other two managed to restore the minds of several of Gregor’s most damaged victims last week, Your Highness,” remarked the matronly Nursing Sister, “we have learned much from this young woman.”
“Thank you ladies, I wish you well with this miracle. I will be grateful to you, as will the families.” the Prince remarked.
After another quick curtsey, both of the girls left.
“You’re sure they aren’t under Gavin’s control and really want this, Sister?” asked the Prince. He was fond of Gavin, but he took a dim view of long term slavery.
“Yes Your Highness, they really do love him. Especially Michelle and Sarah. Any of them would make a fine wife for him.”
“Good; I like them all too. I will have to get him to marry one when they rescue their friends.”
“Good luck, Your Highness; you took a while to remarry yourself, if you recall.”
The Prince chuckled at the chiding he was getting from the woman who had been the midwife for the birth of his children. “True.”
Looking sad for a moment, the Prince asked, “Could they heal Andrea too?” He hoped so, he had loved Andrea once also; a century of marriage leaves many old feelings after all.
“We can only hope, Your Highness. We can only hope,” Sister Rose replied, looking grimly resigned. Some things were not meant to be.
Los Angeles 4 PM
Paula and Grim walked through the mall. Dressed in California dressy casual, they blended in completely with all the other shoppers. Both had taken steps to magically alter their appearance to make them less memorable to anyone they met.
This time of day, only teenagers just out of school and a few scatterings of adults were shopping; in many of the stores the crowds were sparse. The pair stopped in front of the window at the lingerie shop, acting for all the world like they were genuinely interested in the lingerie that the mannequin was wearing, while Paula took great care to control her emotions on seeing her friend Vivian frozen into motionless plastic.
“This is definitely the place,” she whispered, “lets go buy some lingerie.”
Grim nodded and they walked inside.
A young teenaged girl was manning the register, while they could hear the voices of another girl and an adult woman discussing something in the back storeroom.
“You flirt with the young lady; act like you need to buy me something. While she is busy, I will deal with the pair in back,” Paula whispered.
Grim nodded again, and walked up to the young sales clerk, acting the part of a shy and embarrassed husband trying to figure out what to buy his horny wife. After a couple of minutes, the young girl was distracted with showing him flimsy lingerie and Paula slipped into the back.
She recognized Julianna at once from the description Jim had given her, and nodded to herself. Just as the clerk and the manager noticed her, she cast a spell at them and both were engulfed in a green light. In a moment, both were staring vacantly at her, slack jawed, and their glazed eyes stared blankly at nothing in particular.
Reading the name tag of the dazed young clerk, Paula whispered to her. “Mary Ann, I want you to go get that new mannequin that is in the window; you know, the cute Asian one? Well, you just remembered that the boss wants you to bring it back here, she wants to try out a few different things before she puts it back in the window.” Paula then snapped her fingers and the girl blinked as she regained awareness.
“Yes ma’m, right away,” the young girl said, and shequickly walked out of the room, looking more her regular self as she did.
Paula approached the other stunned woman. “As for you, Julianna; well, you are going to keep working today, but I have a new position for you.”
Paula pulled out a plastic doll, and touched the enchanted woman gently on the cheek with it. Julianna was a striking woman, with very large breasts, long legs. and a pretty face. Young, only in her late 20s, she looked good, with sun-streaked blonde hair and a California tan. She would look natural posed in the window of the store as a mannequin, replacing Vivian in the display.
Julianna felt something happening, but she was powerless to act. She felt like she was sleeping and dreaming, but she could not lie down. Her goddess was nowhere around, but this other woman was clearly her new master. Maybe the goddess had a new task for her? Soon, a feeling of blissful contentment was slipping across her ensorceled mind, and as the world became fuzzier and fuzzier, she felt herself slide into a contented peaceful dream.
Paula watched the woman transform, and within a couple of minutes her skin glowed with a sheen in the lights in the back storeroom and her eyes fixed in place before glazing over. She looked perfect, and would look good in the window. Taking a moment to strip her, Paula modified her pussy and anus, then her breasts to ensure that she looked properly like a mannequin, and not a life-like statue. Satisfied, she slightly altered the woman’s face as well, so that she was not recognizable as the manager.
The young clerk stepped back into the room carrying Vivian, who remained stiff as a board. “Ok Mary Ann, I want you to dress this new mannequin. I am taking this other one with me. You are going to remember that Julianna took the mannequin with her when she left a few minutes ago to go home. You thought it was a little strange at the time, but you figured it was none of your business. Forget about the Asian mannequin, or that anything happened here today. You will not remember me ever in your life. Do you understand?”
Mary Ann nodded and went to work, dressing the rigid figure of Julianna. She never noticed Paula shrinking down Vivian to doll size and placing her in her pocket, or of the other woman leaving. The spell was very effective at removing memories.
A few minutes later, the two teenaged sales clerks were chatting away about the weekend, not even noticing the new mannequin that used to be their boss posed in the window at the front of the store. They too had already forgotten all about the man and woman who had visited.
Shiron 7th of Harvestmonth
Gavin and Riley watched as the girls went through combat practice. They were good now, and Esmeralda, the combat magic instructor at the Shironin Scouts Academy, was putting them through their paces. They kept their concentration now, and no matter what she cast at them, they generally could counter it or deflect it. Only the fact that she had more raw power and experience allowed her to eventually overwhelm their defenses, which was fitting as she had almost as much power as Prince Hans and about the same amount as Gavin.
“Ladies, we are done for the day,” Esmeralda announced.
Michelle shook her head with relief; she was exhausted. That woman was tough all right, and she looked just like that head witch from that movie about the kid named Harry who was a wizard. Erect posture, steely eyes, a voice like a school teacher, and the sheer power she commanded!
The girls stood in a line, facing her, and waited to see what would happen next. Sarah and Michelle were on each end, with Beth in the middle and Kim next to Michelle, Brandi between her and Beth with Jennifer and Cheryl between Sarah and Beth. They were dressed in spider silk jumpsuits of blue and gold, made from the magically strong spider silk of the bear-sized giant spiders of the Sithian Jungles.
“Today you have completed your training,” Esmeralda announced, and the girls gasped in surprise, “and I wanted to tell you all how proud I am of your accomplishments. I have been given royal permission to award you each with honorary degrees and the rank of Sublieutenant in the Shironin Scouts.”
The girls all smiled, they were very impressed by the gesture. Gavin looked over in surprise as well, he never expected this, but Riley just grinned. “You should have known they would do just fine. Friend, you found some good ones in those girls.”
Esmeralda walked to each one, and pinned on the bronze stars of their ranks on their shoulders, handed each a parchment, and then hugged and kissed each girl, beginning with Sarah. When it was over, the girls broke ranks and Gavin walked to meet them, beaming with pride as he hugged and kissed each of the girls in turn.
“Umm, just out of curiosity,” Kim asked teasingly, “does this mean if Shiron goes to war we have to go on active status?”
Gavin grinned, “No, those are honorary ranks. Now I might have to, but not yourselves unless you choose to go.”
Jennifer, who had been sitting in the shade with the now obviously pregnant April, helped her friend to her feet and they joined their friends. “I am so proud of you all,” April said, and Jennifer beamed a proud smile as well, “Colin told me last night. You have really been honored you know. His cousin Gabrielle arranged it with her father Prince Hans, she really likes you guys.”
Michelle was a little shocked by that. Gabrielle, in addition to being Prince Hans’ daughter, was also the daughter of Andrea, and Gavin’s stepdaughter. She had been cool to all of them the entire time, and Michelle had assumed she was mad at them for taking her stepfather away from her mother.
“Wow!” was all Michelle could say.
Sarah stood back a little from the group, looking thoughtfully at the scroll. “How in the world am I ever going to explain to the kids that Mommy went to Witch School on another planet and has a diploma?” she thought. She smiled at the thought. “Now you better behave, or Mommy will have to turn you into a frog.” She giggled at the mental picture of it.
Gavin smiled at all of his girls as they hugged each other in relief that the training was over. He was proud.
Los Angeles Thursday 5 PM
Grim and Paula crept carefully through the sage brush behind the house that Andrea owned. It was way in the upper part of Beverly Hills, close to Mullholland Drive, surrounded by trees and tall brush on the back side, and well kept lawns to the front. Carefully, they found a position that gave them a good view of the house and grounds.
“This looks like the place,” Paula said. “I will mark out a teleport spot here.”
Grim nodded. “If she is home, we may have to get our asses out of there in a hurry. You understand, my love?”
“Yes dear,” she replied, mildly annoyed with his protectiveness, but she smiled back at him.
“Look, I know you are good. But she is damn good, as good as you in sneaking around, and she is a better wizard. She can fight almost as well as me too. I don’t want anything to happen to you. Besides, Gavin would kill me if you died.”
Feeling a little guilty for her annoyance, Paula replied, “I know, I am sorry. By the way, I love you too.”
She put on a pair of glasses that Wes (she just couldn’t remember to call him Gavin) had given her that would enable her to see glyphs and the like. Grim looked over to her and she nodded.
Paula marked out a place with a pentagram of blue and gold paint, and then after casting a spell, she nodded at Grim.
They moved forward quietly through the brush.
Somewhere over Utah 6 PM local time
Andrea slept lightly in the comfortable first class cabin seat of the large jet liner. She was almost home, and the endless traveling had finally forced her to sleep. She had rested some on the Concorde flight, but the flight from New York was her first real sleep in almost two days. She would be home soon, and ready to deal with the new threat.
Los Angeles 7 PM local time
It had been a careful and tiring two hour stalk, but they were finally at the house. Wordlessly, Grim pulled out a thermos from his pocket, and handed it to Paula. He motioned her to drink and when she handed it back to him he drank as well.
Paula made a sour face as the rather vile taste of the fluid she drank entered her mouth. She almost spit it out, but figured Grim must have some kind of plan in mind. A couple of seconds later, she realized something. She could only see his outline now, and for that matter only hers as well. She took off her glasses, and to her amazement, she and Grim were now invisible. “Well, isn’t that something. I thought only a spell could do that,” she thought to herself. She grinned, and noticed when she put her glasses back on that Grim had the outline of glasses on his face as well.
Carefully, the entered the house through a window on the first floor that had been left closed but not sealed.
They found themselves in a comfortable looking bedroom where a young man was changing clothes. He was oblivious to their presence and Paula noted the rather glazed look in his eyes has he put on an expensive suit. Grim shot him with a dart, and moments later Paula stretched out the sleeping man onto the bed. “A slave,” Grim whispered quietly, and Paula nodded.
They crept out of the room and moved carefully down a hall. Several women, of a variety of ethnic backgrounds, were moving purposively toward the opposite hall. They were same in some ways though. They were all at least pretty, and they all shared the glazed looks in their eyes and the same artificial cheerful smiles.
Carefully avoiding contact, Grim and Paula waited until they passed before following them.
Moments latter they came into a large parlor, and the pair noticed that the many girls were all sitting or standing attentively in a manner to best display their best features. Some with plunging necklines and thrust out chests to show off well developed breasts, others with gowns or skirts or cocktail dresses to show off long expanses of leg. Another woman entered, this time from a door that apparently led to the rest of the house.
She was an older woman, in her late 30s although very well preserved Paula thought, and she began inspecting the girls one by one. She would adjust their poses, or their outfit, or on occasion, send one back to fix their makeup or hair. In all, a dozen slave girls, and the madame were in the room when Paula finally had enough.
“Where is Timmy?” the woman asked; the various girls looked around and then back at her and shrugged.
At that moment, Paula cast her spell, and suddenly nine of the girls dropped to the floor, instantly asleep. Grim fired his dart gun, and the madame too collapsed in a heap. The other three girls looked on with disinterest for a moment before resuming their poses. Disgusted, Paula fired her own dart gun, joining Grim and all three girls were down a couple of moments later.
“That must be Catherine; we should take her with us.” Paula said in an urgent whisper.
“Ok, but remember, you need to be able to take Cindy as the first priority.”
“We will come back for Catherine then.”
“If we have time.” Grim whispered back.
They moved quickly out of the room, and within a few minutes had explored the entire first floor. So far, aside from fifteen bedrooms, several bathrooms, the parlor, and a large living room, they had not found what they wanted. Several more darts, and a cook and three assistants were knocked out, along with what looked like a butler and large man who was probably the bouncer.
A quick check in the kitchen and dining room was equally fruitless but they finally found some stairs in a hall leading from the living room.
“Time to go up” Grim whispered, and Paula nodded.
Shiron 19th of Harvest month
Michelle and Jennifer sat quietly together, drinking tea and watching the ships sail in the bay below.
“It is so beautiful here,” Michelle remarked, her voice husky. “I envy you for staying.”
“You could too, you know. Well, if you weren’t so completely in love with Gavin you could, I guess.” Jennifer replied.
“You are one to talk, you fell for Riley hook, line and sinker babe.”
Jennifer grinned, and looked at her friend. “Yes, well, what can I say. I always wanted a man who could sing.”
“Yes, well I have to admit, Riley is a pretty damn good Bard.”
Michelle squeezed her friends hand before pouring herself another cup of tea.
“I am not going back just for Gavin. I want our sisters back. And I want her gone,” she said, a look of determination on her face.
Jennifer looked at her friend compassionately. She loved Gavin still, but now as an old friend, and not as a lover. Michelle was different. She and Sarah were so in love with Gavin, or Wes as she liked to remember him, that they would stay forever with him if they could. They both agreed on one other thing, they hated Andrea for the pain she had caused Gavin, and more for what she had done to Vivian and Cindy.
“What if you heal her, and Gavin takes her back?”
Michelle shook her head, she couldn’t face that just yet. “I don’t want to think about that right now. Ok?”
“I understand, sweetie.”
Jennifer looked around the room. “Riley and I said goodbye last night. He left to get things ready. He and I talked, and we decided that it would be easier on us both if I didn’t have to sit here and worry for the next few months or even years.”
“Oh?” Michelle said, looking carefully at her friend.
“We decided that I should wait for him in storage.” Michelle’s eyes widened a little at that, “Wes and I said goodbye this afternoon, and I already said good bye to everyone else too.” Jennifer looked sad for a moment, “I will miss all of you, especially you Michelle. But I wanted you to be the one to put me in storage before you leave tonight. Can you do that for me?”
Michelle hugged her friend, nodded, and kissed her cheek. “What if we don’t come back?”
“Well you are going to, damn it, so don’t go there; but if you don’t Sister Rose or Prince Hans will take care of me.”
“Are you sure you want to do this?”
“Arrange me in a pretty pose Michelle; I want Riley to remember me while he is away. He will be coming by later to inspect your work.”
Michelle nodded, her voice too choked with emotion to answer. She followed her beautiful friend to another room. Jennifer removed the long silk dress she was wearing, and then beautifully nude, she stood on a dias and waited.
“Sure is a long way from Heartbreakers isn’t it?” she said with a grin. In spite of herself, Michelle grinned too. “Yes, I think you could say that.”
“Tell Wes I will always love him, and always thank him for all his kindnesses. Would you?”
Michelle walked to her friend, a piece of ivory in her hand that Jennifer had given her. When she saw Jennifer was ready, she caressed her back and her cheek to relax her, then touched her gently with the ivory.
Immediately, Jennifer froze in place. A warm golden glow enveloped her, and as it passed, her beautiful flawless skin began to fade in color, the light tan fading to porcelain white. Gradually, her silken light brown hair and her dark blue eyes began to lighten, then fade as well into gray before joining the rest of her body transforming into an ivory white.
Jennifer looked out into the room, feeling the light caresses then the warm glow of the spell. Blissful feelings slowly enveloped her and within a few moments as Michelle’s beautiful face faded from her view her mind slid into dream.
It was done. Michelle looked at her friend, now a flawless statue of Ivory, and as stray tears fell down her face, she reached over and kissed her friend one last time on the cheek.
“Good bye, Jennifer. I will see you again some day.” she whispered.
Los Angeles 830 PM
Grim and Paula had searched the entire upstairs, and after knocking out another bouncer while he was sitting on the toilet, they had found no one else mobile. But they had found two posed mannequins and Cindy, now a windup chrome toy. Grim looked on, his mouth a tight line (assuming an observer could see an invisible man), while Paula, fighting back tears, began the spells to shrink all three to a size that would allow her to carry them away with her.
A few more minutes and it was done.
“Let’s grab Catherine and a couple of others. I still have some energy left, plus enough to teleport us out of here if we have to.” Paula whispered.
“Ok, but move quickly.”
They dashed down the stairs, no longer bothering to sneak. Grim picked out the two women he had hit with darts and Paula quickly touched each with a plastic doll, and then after they transformed, shrank them down.
At that moment, they heard a car drive up. “See who it is, quick,” Paula whispered urgently.
Grim strode over to a window and looked over toward the drive. It was Andrea!
“She is here, it's time to go. Hurry.”
“Shit, I don’t have time to shrink her,” Paula objected, looking down at the now plasticized Catherine.
“It's ok we will take care of her later. Lets go, NOW!”
Andrea strode through the front door. Instantly she noticed something was wrong. It was too quiet, and no one was talking or moving about. It was nearly time for the girls to start working for the evening, for the paying customers would be arriving for their appointments at 9.
Pulling on a pair of glasses, she looked around the room. No sign of anyone, but something was wrong.
Andrea pulled out her wand, and then snapping her fingers, a submachine gun and a sword appeared on the table in front of her. Quickly, she placed the swordbelt around her lissome waist, and then cocked the submachine gun.
Moving quickly and quietly, she stepped through the house and within a couple of minutes of walking in the front door, she reached the parlor. To see all of her girls and Catherine lying on the floor. Glancing sharply, she saw the ghostly forms of Grim and Paula disappear at that moment out of the corner of one eye.
“Shit” she said, and fired off a couple of rounds at the fading figures, knocking holes in the wall behind their already vanishing bodies.
It was too late; they were gone.
Racing upstairs, she reached her study, only to find her toys gone as well. “You will pay, damn you, those are mine!” she screamed. Running to the balcony in her room, she looked out behind the house, looking for likely places for them to reappear.
She saw them reappear at that moment, on a hillside nearly a quarter mile away. Screaming implications at them, she hurled down the submachinegun to the floor at her feet, then pulled out the wand from her belt and uttered a spell. A little bead of red light popped into being, then moving at a blur, shot toward the hill.
Grim spotted it, and knocked Paula into off the top of the hill, diving after her a moment later. A massive clap of thunder, and a huge fireball appeared an instant later. The entire top of the hill burst into flames, an intense hot fire that completely engulfed everything remaining on the hill.
“Geez, I think we pissed her off,” Paula said breathlessly, “why don't we get the fuck out of here.”
They ran at full speed through the brush, as the fire began to spread down from the hilltop toward them. “Great! The wind is blowing our way,” Paula said as they ran, not realizing the sorceress had directed the breeze in their direction.
Andrea, meanwhile, was drawing a little doorway in the air in front of her and stepping through. A moment later, she was on a hilltop a couple of hundred yards from the fire closer to Mullhullond, looking for her prey. Spotting some movement, she fired off a lightening bolt and in less than a second, a small deer that had taken that moment to run from the fire was blasted to pieces.
Grim and Paula heard the explosion and saw the flash of light come from the angry sorceress. “Did you see her?” Paula asked. Grim stopped running, and snapped his fingers. Suddenly a crossbow the size of a hunting rifle was in his hand, cocked and ready to fire. “I need to slow her down.” he said as Paula looked at him with surprise.
“Remind me to ask later how you do that.”
On the hill, the fire had already doubled in size as the dry brush and trees quickly burst into flames with the intense heat of the original fire. Luckily, the wind was blowing the fire away from the area with homes and toward the unpopulated area atop the Hollywood Hills, but it was growing in size every minute.
Andrea looked carefully for them, annoyed that she had missed them again. Wildlife, particularly deer and coyotes, were bounding away from the fire already and their movement was making it difficult for her to get a fix on her prey. She wanted them badly; if she destroyed her toys while getting them, well, she could always make new ones she decided.
She looked toward the road, and after carefully searching, she finally got a good guess on where their car must be located. Smiling, she fired off another spell, and the spot was engulfed by another fireball, followed by a second one as the gas tank exploded shortly after.
“Let’s see you get away now!” she shouted.
At that moment Grim got the break he needed. He had been searching for her too, and spotting her right after she fired off her latest spell, the glow of the magic showing plainly through his magical lenses. He fired the crossbow at Andrea three hundred yards away. The bolt whistled through the air, and Andrea had a scant moment to try and leap to the side when the bolt swerved with her as its magic guided it, and smashed into her left thigh, knocking her to the ground.
She screamed in pain and anger as she fell; Grim grabbed Paula and they ran.
“Got her! That should keep her busy for a while. We need to get the hell out of here before the entire ridge catches on fire.”
Andrea lay on the ground in pain for a moment, before sitting up to inpect her wound. The heavy bolt, the size of quarter in diameter, had passed through her defenses and into the muscle and bone of her leg. Blood was pulsing out as her heart continued to pump blood through the femoral artery.
“Shit, that fucking hurts!” she screamed, before gritting her teeth and yanking the bolt from her leg with a shout of pain. Suddenly, the blood flow began to stop as magically her artery knit itself closed and she could feet the shatteredd bone in her leg ache as it tried to grow back together.
Andrea spent several pain-filled minutes forcing her leg to straighten, and then placing a splint and a bandage on the wound to keep the blood loss under control until the magic that was healing her could provide a permanent solution.
Grim and Paula ran to the top of the road, and seeing that their car was blazing wreckage, Paula shouted to Grim. “We have to get out of here, I have enough energy for one more spell. I am going to teleport us out of here, but I need a couple of minutes to focus.”
“We have time, she will be busy for a bit.”
Several minutes later, just as the first police cars and fire trucks were pulling up along Mullhulland Drive to deal with the now blazing fire that stretched a couple of miles in size, the two teleported away.
Andrea finally was able to stand as she saw the emergency vehicles pulling up, and realized that the hunt was over for now. They had surely gotten away, she decided. Cursing again, and limping from the pain of her fast-knitting leg, she drew another doorway in the air and popped into being a second later in front of the mansion.
“Well, on the plus side, at least the fire will chase off the customers tonight. I am not in the mood to deal with them right now anyway,” she muttered sharply.
It was time to take stock and see how much damage had been done by the intruders. She looked at the crossbow bolt, still in her hand after she had removed it from her leg. It was clearly Shironin work and more importantly, she recognized Grim’s work as well. A chill went through her. Grim was hunting her, and he was the best assassin she knew of. He could have killed her on that hill.
She would have to take care of him soon.