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Monster Party Book 3 
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Evil Genius
Evil Genius

Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:30 am
Posts: 632
Post Monster Party Book 3
Monster Party Book 3: On a blue Sunday morning lies a body just oozin' life.

Chapter One: It's a comedy of errors with the violence of Macbeth.

Half a dozen adventures strode through the otherwise empty streets of Vor Ziyden late one night. “You know Cal, you're an alchemist, and so is my dad... though of course he's not anywhere as good as you are...” Spoke the shortest of the group, a young man in a bright red jacket, with pants and shoes of a matching color.

He also had on a wide brimmed scarlet hat which covered his head near completely, though seen from the back it was possible to realize that his hair more or less matched the color of his clothing.

“You don't need to tell me James, nobody is as good as I am.” Boasted Callan “Cal” Wright a dirty blond haired man in his late twenties. His icy blue eyes were made even colder by the pair of lenses that they lurked behind.

He was dressed in a brown cloak with the top of a red tie just barely visible as well.

James Firecat continued his line of conversation undeterred by the mild verbal rebuff.

“Anyway, I was just wondering if you might have any advice for him in the latest letter that I'm going to send home...” James inquired.

“Don't mix saltpeter, sulfur and charcoal while enjoying your evening pipe.” Cal answered sardonically.

“You don't need to be so rude to my Kitten.” Huffed a beautiful woman with enchanting ruby eyes.

She was dressed in a white jacket, white shirt, white gloves, and black pants all cut along masculine lines, though the figure beneath was anything but. Her hair was midnight black except for a streak of solid white that parted it down the middle, and in better light one might notice that her skin was more than a touch on the pale side.

“Well excuse me Mirri for not wanting to have my trade secrets put down in writing and sent galloping across the Core.” Cal huffed.

Mirri Catwarrior didn't press the issue, besides other members of the group had suddenly noticed something much more important.

“Mists are rising Alex...” Announced a woman in a vibrant green leotard like outfit.

She had straw blond (and rather straw like) hair, green eyes, and her skin had an odd greenish tint to it. She gripped a stout wooden staff with one hand, while the other gestured at the curls of white fog that seemed to be rising to great them without any sort of visible source.

“You're right Florence, looks like we're going to have another of those months...” Reflected the group's leader Alexander Diamondclaw.

He was a tall man with long silver hair, a green left eye, and an eyepatch slung over the right. His outfit was a black coat cut along vaguely martial design with some manner of arcane silver runes emblazoned upon it.

“If it happens, it happens... not even worth bothering to try and run at this point...” Muttered Devi Skye.

Devi was a blue haired elf in a close cut blue dress along with blue gloves, with blue eyes and a flail coiled around one her right arm.

“Great lets just keep right on walking and find out what sort of delightful fun the Mists have in store for us this time...” Groused Cal.

Deep down he knew that it wasn't as if any of them had a choice in the matter at this point. Nobody on the Core could possibly know why or how the Mists rose, but more than a few of them were quite well acquainted with their implacable nature. You could no more outrun or hide from them than you could avoid a gust of wind while out in the middle of an empty field.

So, steeling themselves for the worst the group stoically pressed onwards. The only concession to this turn of events they made was that they quickly established various handholds on one another, not wanting to wind up separated by the ominous fog bank.

Before long it became difficult to see more than a few yards in any direction, and sounds began to change. Their very footfalls were different, as if they trod upon a road far more well furnished than the one they had been using a few moments ago.

As the sounds coming from the ground changed so did the ones which came from above, somewhere in the distance they could hear what must have been a gigantic clock sounding off

“Bong.... bong... bong... bong...” The sounds continued one after another, until they had fully chimed out either midday or midnight, in the fog it was impossible to be sure which.

Just as that final “bong” was starting to fade its echo was disrupted by a woman's shrill scream of terror. The cry however was cut short by some unknown action, though one could guess given that its termination was accompanied by a low gurgle.

The group's steady pace disintegrated into a mad rush as they all dashed forward as fast as possible. They burst through the fog and found themselves standing on well cobbled streets of a large town. Their surroundings were faintly illuminated by a distant street lantern, but it was more than enough to make out a black cloaked figure who was crouched before them.

Laying at his feet was an unmoving woman.

The figure in black was male, his face splattered with blood, and under a high top hat his wild feral blue eyes were matched by a tangled mane of black hair and a thick beard.

Lantern light flickered off the bloody blade he held in his left hand, a wicked looking knife with an elaborately carved oval guard. With a guttural growl the man made made an implausibly long leap into a waiting carriage.

Alexander's keen eye was just barely able to make out that the driver had a dark broad face with a drooping mustache and like his passenger the coachman was wearing a black cape and top hat.

Then with the crack of a whip the carriage was off and running, and so was Alexander Diamondclaw.

It is a well known fact that over short distances at least a very well trained man can outrun a horse. Certainly an adventurer, his body honed by a life of do or die struggles weighed down by only his trusted sword and an armor that was quite far from platemail could outrun a pair of horses who have to worry about pulling a carriage.

At least he might have if the bearded man hadn't emptied a bottle out the carriage’s window, its liquid contents splashing across the cobblestones in his wake. As Alexander's black boots trod upon the stuff his sure footing vanished and he end up falling awkwardly to the ground, rolling across the slick streets until he came to a stop laying in a heap against a the side of a building.

Florence Bastien having clearly seen the nature of this threat took the time to utter a quick incantation and headed over to Alexander's side. She walked at a calm sedate pace managing to avoid the treacherous liquid through the simple approach of walking across the air above it instead, her feet finding quite sure footing on nothing at all thanks to her mystical spell.

“Anything broken?” She asked tenderly as she provided him with something firm to hold onto as he regained his feet.

“My ego is a bit bruised, but it has been through worse.” Alexander replied dryly, as he worked his way back towards those parts of the street that hadn't been affected by the magic mixture.

“Whoever those two were... this wasn't a crime of passion. Nobody is lucky enough to just happen to have brought a Potion of Grease along with them on the night they end up flying into a rage and killing someone by accident.” The silver haired man growled as turned his attention to the corpse.

Before the group a young woman's body lay twisted on the cobblestones.

Her throat had been neatly slit, revealing the bone and muscle beneath. The deadly wound gaped like a second mouth. From the look on the poor girl's face she had been driven to the brink of insanity before death had finally freed her from all forms of suffering.

Alexander shook his head ruefully and his black gloved hands pushed down eyelids over a pair of green eyes frozen wide with fright, granting her a slightly more serene appearance. As he tried to adjust the pure blue scarf that she had been wearing to cover the wound it split apart in his hands.

“Well that could have gone better....” He sighed in a mix of irritation and genuine regret.

“What's the matter lad, lass not take kindly to your affections?” Inquired a voice from behind the group.

Emerging from the same direction the six had come (though the cloud of mist they had traveled through had vanished) were five figures. All of them were wearing chainmail armor and their outfits were far too uniform for it to be a coincidence.

The man who had spoken was clearly their leader, he was a well built human whose face might have been rather handsome if it was not for a disfiguring scar that ran across a broken nose.

His brown eyes were fixed quite pointedly at Alexander and the corpse at his feet.

“You know, being found leaning over the body of a recently murdered woman just so happens to be my favorite way to meet the local constabulary. Now then, why don't we talk this through in a calm and rational manner and nobody will say or do anything they regret later.” Alexander offered.

“Fair enough, how about you lot stand with your hands against a wall real still like while we search you for the murder weapon?” The scarred man insisted.

Alexander casually unstrapped the black sheath and longsword held within it from his back.

“Her throat was only slit, if I'd killed her with Wolf Claw here she would have been decapitated.” Alexander pointed out.

“Well of course, but all the same I'd like to make sure you don't have any smaller weapons on you that might have done the deed...” The brown eyed man insisted.

Alexander winced slightly. He knew that James carried a great many knives on him, and by sheer random chance one of them was bound to be more or less a match for the knife which had killed this woman.

That was when Cal Wright stepped forward and made a calming gesture in Alexander's direction.

“Don't worry Boss, I got this...” He promised before fixing their interrogator with a fierce glare.

“I'm going to tell you something important now, so listen up real close inspector Fancy Pants! It's one thing to try and kill me or my companions, lots of people do that. If you think that you're going to arrest us though... well once you get the law involved, that's another matter all together.” Cal paused for a moment and then dramatically tossed aside his brown overcoat revealing a seemingly simple blue suit coat on underneath it.

“My name is Callan Wright, son of the greatest defense attorney who ever lived, JUST WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK I AM?” He yelled loud enough for the entire city to hear.

End Chapter


Last edited by jamesfirecat on Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Mar 29, 2015 6:36 pm
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Evil Genius
Evil Genius

Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:30 am
Posts: 632
Post Re: Monster Party Book 3
Monster Party Book 3: On a blue Sunday morning lies a body just oozin' life.

Chapter Two: Well Mountie Bob he chased me, he was always at my throat...

Almost instantly two things happened.

The first was that James Firecat's brown eyes went wide with excitement and suddenly he was standing on tip toe practically fawning over his companion.

“Sweet Bastet's Tail Tuft, is that true Cal? I just figured that Wright was a common last name in Lamordia and...” He began to babble.

James never got a chance to finish though because of the other event.

The doors to a none too distant tavern began to fly open and people started to pour out to see what all the shouting was about. This late at night it had best be something very important (or at least very least interesting) to cause such a disturbance.

“What's going on Inspector Logan?” Asked a red faced man who had the sort of stolid body you got form preforming menial but heavily exerting tasks all day.

“Why I do believe I've finally captured the Bloody Jack himself my dear Mr. Van Render!” The scar faced guard declared triumphantly.

Cal casually removed his glasses, folded their legs together and placed them in the only visible pocket of his blue suit.

“If that is your contention inspector I'm sure you wouldn't mind telling everyone present EXACTLY what you think happened?” He asked invitingly enough.

It had been years since he'd left Lamordia, still more years since he'd last bothered to watch one of the many legal battles his family had been hired for, it didn't matter in the least.

Rule after rule cascaded down into perfectly into place in his mind. This sort of thing would work better with a proper judge of course (on the other hand he didn't have a prosecutor to worry about), but given that at least now they had an audience that should do well enough.

Rule number one: the city guards never ever, EVER, got things completely right. If they were smart enough to do that then they would have found a better paying and less taxing source of employment.

Inspector Logan drew himself up proudly and sheathed his blade, though his subordinates rather pointedly didn't.

“The first thing that I heard was a woman's scream. It was so loud that you could hear it even over the sound of midnight being wrung out by the clock. So I lead my men in the direction of the sound, and when we arrived we found these six standing here bold as brass. One good look at them was all I needed to be certain that they were the ones who killed her. One of you is responsible for slitting her throat and spilling her blood.” The Inspector explained.

Cal nodded slowly taking it all in.

“Thank you for those words inspector, they're all I need, well them and just a moment to clear my head. Devi create another partition in our bag of holding, I'm going to be needing it in a moment...” Cal began to explain.

XXX XXX XXX

Items of importance...

1: Phoenix: Don't get excited Dad I named it after the animal, what made you think I would I name something that always hits its target on the first try after you?

2: Alchemist Badge: My credentials as an official member of the Lamordian Guild of Alchemists, good for discounts in some places and not getting burnt at the stake in others.

3: Victim's Scarf: The scarf the dead woman was wearing. Pure blue in color. Slides apart easily enough into two smooth edged parts.

People Involved with the case....

Cal Wright: Myself, hansom, dashing brilliant, and all around great guy.

Devi Skye: My main girl, elf, loves to collect magical nicknacks.

Alexander Diamondclaw: My Boss, bad at finance and letting sleeping dogs lie, but great at killing people.

Florence Bastien: Dryad, my Boss' squeeze. I don't ask questions, he doesn't horribly horribly murder me, there are worse arrangements.

James Firecat: Werecat expert at hunting for rodents and traps. Little on the crazy side.

Mirri Catwarrior: Vampire, James' squeeze, lot on the psycho side.

Inspector Logan: Yet more proof that the law needs to focus less on having a long arm and more on not having a small brain.


XXX XXX XXX

There was a wicked gleam in Cal Wright's eyes.

“Okay I'm ready.” He declared confidently.

1: The first thing that I heard was a woman's scream.
2: It was so loud that you could hear it even over the sound of midnight being wrung out by the clock. <--- Press
3: So I lead my men in the direction of the sound, and when we arrived we found these six standing here bold as brass.
4: One good look at them was all I needed to be certain that they were the ones who killed her.
5: One of you is responsible for slitting her throat and spilling her blood.

“HOLD IT! You said that you could hear the scream even over the sound of midnight being wrung out. You could, but none of the fine people standing around us evidently did, that's convenient.” Cal pointed out.

The inspector looked left and right at the large crowd of people that were surrounding the group observing the proceedings with interest and then focused his gaze directly on Cal's not backing down in the slightest.

“Would you care to explain EXACTLY how you ended up standing over the body of that dead woman if you didn't hear her scream also?” Logan replied.

Cal couldn't help but wince, the acoustics of this city must be weird as all get out, sure enough he and the others had heard the sound of the scream over the clock also, otherwise they wouldn't be in this mess in the first place.

“Let's make sure that everything you've said is completely correct, then we can move onto my story.” Cal deflected.

1: The first thing that I heard was a woman's scream.
2: It was so loud that you could hear it even over the sound of midnight being wrung out by the clock.
3: So I lead my men in the direction of the sound, and when we arrived we found these six standing here bold as brass.
4: One good look at them was all I needed to be certain that they were the ones who killed her.
5: One of you is responsible for slitting her throat and spilling her blood.<--- Present: Victim's Scarf.

OBJECTION! Inspector Logan you may have taken one good look at us, but I don't think you took a very good look at the victim, her clothing in particular.” The alchemist turned attorney said with a smile.

He held out his hands clearly in the glow of the lamp light.

“As you can see I'm wearing gloves. You're wearing gloves also, that's good, no fingerprint contamination. Now then, I'm going to bend down very slowly and pick something up off the dead woman that I believe you've completely ignored up to this point. If you could kindly insure that I don't get stabbed to death in the process it would be greatly appreciated.” Cal explained slowly and carefully to make sure everyone understood what was going on.

Then he bent down, and grabbed the blue scarf. As he picked up its two halves they fluttered faintly in the otherwise still night air.

“Catch.” He commanded before tossing them to Inspector Logan.

The Inspector did and glared at the two pieces of fabric in appropriate constabulary confusion.

“What's the meaning of this?” He demanded.

“Inspector, there are two key factors about this scarf that you need to consider.” Cal began....

1: The fabric and the fingerprints.
2: The tear and the lack of blood. <---

“The thing you need to understand Inspector is that I don't just see the clues that are there, I can see the clues that aren't there also!” The alchemist declared proudly.

“Clues that aren't there? What foolishness is this?” Sniffed Inspector Logan in irritation.

“That's right.” Cal nodded confidently.

“There are two important things that are missing from that scarf.

Either of them on their own I could explain, but both of them together? Well that paints a very different picture! You see Inspector, if you'll notice the scarf is a wonderful blue color, without any untidy blood stains to speak of.

That's quite a trick considering the dead woman had her throat slit.

Before you start to argue about how it could have been torn off her in a struggle beforehand, look at it again. If that was true then when you lay the two halves of the scarf alongside each other, they should have a bunch of ragged edges like a Borcan contract.

Instead it's near perfectly smooth.

The scarf wasn't torn, it was slashed. It was slashed open by the same cut which opened up the woman's neck. So I must ask... why did you accuse us of spilling her blood when there's no blood to be found anywhere? Not on us, and not on her clothing. It's almost like she'd been dead for quite a while before any of us found her.” Cal concluded.

That last bit of conjecture was bullshit of course and he knew it, he'd had enough experience with corpses to be aware of the fact that people who had been dead long enough for their blood to evaporate didn't look like this woman did. On the other hand, he was certain that there was more going on here than met the eye. The Inspector was too sure of himself, Cal needed to gather more information...

“Want to play dumb do you? Well you certainly look the part.” Inspector Logan snickered.

“Everyone in Paridon knows that Bloody Jack does his killings at the stroke of midnight, and does them with some sort of magic weapon that causes the wounds he leaves not to bleed. Isn't that right Mr. Van Render?” He confirmed with one member of the crowd.

The man nodded in agreement.

“That's right, it's been this way as long as I can remember. My father said Bloody Jack struck like this, and so did my grandfather! It's been going on for over a century now... Sure enough we're only a few days away from it being exactly thirteen years since Bloody Jack last struck. This is how he does it, kills at the stroke of midnight, no blood left behind. He must know every street and alley in the city perfectly to keep getting away like he does. Though I've always heard that the bodies ended up being half chewed up and spit out by the time they were found.” The red bearded man explained.

Cal blinked a few times as he tried to make sense of what he'd just heard. “Inspector, would it trouble you terribly if I asked for that man to put his statements down in writing? If you think they're accurate of course.” Cal pressed.

“The bit about the bodies being half digested is nothing but an old wives' tail, the last round of murders took place before I became a constable and even I know that. He is correct about the timing and the nature of the killings though.”

Cal motioned to Devi who produced a sheaf of parchment and a magical quill whose tip was always wet with ink when put to page. He handed them over to the inspector who handed them to the man they'd been talking with who got to work writing. He omitted the bit about the nature of the bodies and then handed them straight back to Cal.

**Added Van Render's Statement To Bag of Holding**

“Now that we've finished with that unimportant detour perhaps we can get back to the matter at hand?” Inspector Logan harrumphed.

“The lack of blood which you thought would clear your names is actually the most damning evidence of all! If you had blood on you then you would be normal murderers, but only Bloody Jack can slay his victims without leaving any blood behind. Someone killed at the stroke of midnight, victim with no blood, six people who none of us have ever seen before found hanging about the body, it all fits together perfectly. I'm willing to bet with you sitting in a jail cell Bloody Jack won't strike again tomorrow night.” The inspector concluded.

Cal felt his predatory grin grow wider, why had his father always looked like he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown in court, now that he was in the swing of things this was easy!

1: The lack of blood which you thought would clear your names is actually the most damning evidence of all!
2: If you had blood on you then you would be normal murderers, but only Bloody Jack can slay his victims without leaving any blood behind.
3: Someone killed at the stroke of midnight, victim with no blood, six people who none of us have ever seen before found hanging about the body, it all fits together perfectly. <---- Present: Van Render's Statements.
4: I'm willing to bet with you sitting in a jail cell Bloody Jack won't strike again tomorrow night.

OBJECTION! If you think all the pieces fit together perfectly, then I suppose we should all be 'glad' you're a police officer and not a carpenter.” Cal mocked Logan.

The armored man might have launched some kind of rebuttal but the alchemist kept right on going, determined to spell his point out loud and clear.

“You said that you've never seen us before. I'm sure the people standing around watching us are in complete agreement with that fact? Have any of you folks seen us before?” He called out to the crowd.

There was a soft mummer of agreement that nobody knew who he was or had seen him before today.

“Looks like everything about this case is topsy turvy Inspector. Just like lack of blood isn't proof of innocence, never being seen before, isn't proof of guilt, it is an alibi so iron clad you could build a furnace out of it!

This Bloody Jack... he really has been killing for over a century?” Cal demanded to know.

Inspector Logan was clearly getting upset at Cal having managed to stay one step ahead of him so far, but surrounded by a crowd of onlookers he couldn't simply bash Cal over the head and drag him off to a jail cell.

“As Mr. Van Render said, Bloody Jack strikes six times, every thirteen years. During the period when he is active he will kill one victim every night at the stroke of midnight. This is apparently his thirteenth such killing spree. So yes, he's been active for over a hundred and fifty years, what is your point?” The inspector explained, being kind enough to practically fling himself into the trap Cal had set for him.

“Well then Inspector with those particular facts in mind, I have just one more question for you...”

1: How come you haven't caught him yet?
2: Why haven't you seen us before? <---
3: How do you know it's the same person?

“Why haven't you seen us before Inspector? If one of us Bloody Jack, that means we must have been living here for all that time. Like Mr. Van Render said, the killer must know the way around every twist and turn of this city, but if nobody has seen us out and about before, how could we? Look at how well made and more or less clean our outfits are. Take a good whiff, and see if we smell like we've been crawling around in the sewers for the last few decades.

It's pretty clear that we've been living fairly well, yet you'll find nobody from the city who recognizes us. In short Inspector, unless you believe that we have the power to become invisible at will, or are some kind of oogety boogety monster that can change appearance upon command, there's no way we can have lived here yet gone unnoticed for so long, and thus no way we can be the killer!” Cal declared triumphantly, casually wagging a finger just before his forehead for emphasis.

It was a good thing that the Inspector wasn't wearing a helmet because Cal was certain an argument that devastating could have blown it right off his head. Hell his final line had left Inspector Logan so shocked by its brilliance he looked as if he might start loosing clumps of hair like a molting bird!

“You raise a good point.” Inspector Logan finally spluttered after finally managing to swallow his pride.

Cal decided that it was time to deliver the coup de grâce .

“Listen to me Mr. Logan, when you want to put someone on trial, proof is everything. Without it, you have nothing. You ARE nothing. You have no eye witnesses to us doing the killing, you'll find no magical weapon on us that can cause a cut that won't bleed, and no motive for us to have done the killings.

In short, you have no case.

If arresting the first person you find near the body is how things are done around here, well I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised that you still haven't found a killer even with a hundred plus years to work at it.” Cal followed up that line with a bow to his audience.

There was a long silence, and then with a resigned expression Inspector Logan motioned for his companions to sheath their blades.

“Given that you've established I don't have cause to arrest you for being Bloody Jack, I don't suppose you actually have any information that might prove useful to finding him? I am after all only trying to keep any of my fellow citizens from being among his next victims.” The Inspector pointed out trying to rebuild a somewhat battered reputation with the crowd.

Cal bit down hard on his teeth. It would be easy, very easy indeed to keep hounding Logan on what a bad job he was doing on that particular front.

On the other hand, whoever Bloody Jack was, he'd made Alexander look like a fool, and that meant he'd also ended up making Cal look like a fool for following Alexander regardless of if the murder knew it or not.

Callan Wright was not a fool, and like so many other Lamordians before him, he had vowed to one day prove his genius to all the world.

“Well now that you aren't sizing up our throats for hemp neckties I'll be only too happy to fill you in. Me and my companions saw a man with black hair and a thick black beard who had blue eyes, wearing a black top hat and cloak crouching over the dead woman's body.

He had a fancy knife in his LEFT hand and IT had blood on it, the knife and his face, nothing else had blood on it. He jumped into a carriage and took off that way, dumping a potion of grease behind him.” Cal explained while gesturing in the direction of the still slick streets.

As he did so his eyes finally registered that Inspector Logan seemed to be the exception more than the rule as well over half of the men present had beards of some form of another and black was by far the most prominent hair color, while blue was likewise the most common color of eye.

As if realizing just how new to this land Cal and friends were the Inspector asked a quick question to the crowd.

“How many of your own top hats and cloaks? Don't be shy!” All the men who looked more than moderately well off raised their hands.

“I think we'll need a great deal more than what you've given us to find the killer.” Inspector Logan concluded, sounding amused at the fact that Cal was clearly no nearer to catching Bloody Jack than he was.

“Well we know that 'Jack' actually is a man, so that knocks half the population off the suspect list at least. Unless you're going to tell me that the reason you and all the constables who have walked these streets before you haven't been able to catch 'him' is because Bloody Jack is one of those oogety boogeties and can look like a woman if he wants!” Cal snickered.

Inspector Logan's hand began to twitch as if he wished he could draw his sword, but instead he produced a simple sheet of parchment.

“Bloody Jack is no laughing matter and he is far more real than any monster from a child's bedtime story. This sheet of paper will get you to my office should you end up discovering any more information on Bloody Jack you need to share with me. We all need to work together, citizens and constables alike if we're going to finally capture him.” The Inspector explained to both Cal and the crowd at large.

Cal took the signed piece of paper and nodded slowly.

**Added Inspector Logan's Letter To Bag of Holding**

“That's great and all, but as we have already established, we're new in town. If I want to find the building you operate out of should I just wander around at random or save myself the effort and start breaking street lamps until I get arrested and win a free cart ride there?” The blond haired alchemist inquired while feigning innocence.

“You shouldn't have too much trouble purchasing a map to our fair city from one the street venders in the morning. I don't doubt most of them are familiar with the Headquarters of the Paridon Guard.

For now you had best head on down to the Twilight Yawn Inn, it's not far from here, I can even show you the way.” He offered genially enough.

The crowd seeing that the show was winding down began to disperse back to either their homes or their the tavern of choice. Once the street was near empty Inspector Logan walked in close to Cal and drew himself up to his full height to glare down at him.

“Do try not to get yourselves killed. Bloody Jack hasn't remained free for over a century by leaving witnesses around for long. When he's around he always kills at midnight... but he doesn't ONLY kill at midnight from what I've heard.” He cautioned the shorter man.

Cal bobbed his head in agreement, but if Bloody Jack though that Callan Wright would be an easy target, well Cal would teach him what happened when messed with genius just as surely as he had to the Inspector!

XXX XXX XXX

As it turned out the Twilight Yawn Inn was kind enough that the even had proper suits that would let the entire group gather together behind one single door. That was a useful feature when it came to traveling around new domains where some of the locals might be anything but friendly.

“Florence, do you have enough magic left to put a snare or something on the door?” Cal suggested, figuring that why should you just lock your door, when you could lock your door and magically booby trap it as well?

Alexander Diamondclaw tilted his head to the side slightly and shot a sidelong glance in Cal's direction.

“Beta, did you just tell my Alpha Female how to use her magic?” Alexander asked in a voice that for the moment was luckily more amused than angry.

Cal turned to face the group's leader and the looked awkwardly around the room.

“Look, Boss, you're great at a lot of things. I don't think there’s anyone better than you at killing people for example, with only six victims every thirteen years I'm sure Bloody Jack isn't even a twinkle in your eye on the body count competition.

There are things that I do better though, I mean this place... it's kinda like home honestly, except without all the snow of course, hasn't been much lightning either come to think of it. You know how nobody, and I mean NOBODY can win a fight with Florence inside a forest? Well the legal battlefield is my forest. I practically imbibed this stuff with my mother's milk! So... with your permission Boss... I'd like to call the shots for this one.” Cal concluded.

Alexander winked a few times, but only because a man in an eyepatch doesn't really have the option to 'blink' anymore.

“I've never been to Paridon before and I'll admit this domain is a bit on the strange side. I'm not completely certain but I doubt Bloody Jack is the darklord, even if it might explain him being alive for over a century. Only six murders every thirteen years? I don't know a domain in the Core that wouldn't love to have a darklord that passive.

I'll admit that large cities have never exactly been my forte. It's an alpha's job to do what's best for the pack, not what's best for himself. Right now what's best for this pack is for me to give you your head.” Alexander decided.

“You mean that in the let me be in charge kind of way, not the decapitate me and lay my head on top of my body as a warning to others not to question you, right?” Cal further inquired wanting to make absolutely sure there was no confusion.

Alexander simply nodded sagely and then Cal pumped his arm in delight.

“Right then, okay like I said Florence, put a snare on the door. While you do that I'm going to figure out everything we should need to crack this case.” The alchemist promised.

“A suspect, a motive, the means, the weapon, and a witness?” James suggested eagerly.

“Yes those would be helpful, but I'm thinking more along the lines of what we need to find them.” Cal sighed heavily.

While he was getting his thoughts in order Florence reached into Devi's bag of holding and pulled out a length of rope. She made a few quick motions towards the inn's wooden ceiling which distorted and bent in on itself to create something like a coat hook, except emerging form the ceiling rather than a wall.

The dryad tossed one end of the rope around the hook, and attached another end to the door nob while saying a few carefully chosen words. Cal didn't bother to hide a smile, he was familiar enough with Florence's magic to know that anyone who tried to enter their room through that door before they disarmed the trap would have a magically uplifting experience to say the least.

“Now then, lets go about this as a slow methodical checklist. We have a brilliant legal mind, me, check. I have a lovely assistant, that's you obviously Devi, check. Boss not to put too fine a point on it, but if we need a proper bloodhound to help with the case...” Cal began, carefully dancing around a delicate subject.

Alexander emitted a theatrical gurgle and fell from the bed, landing on the floor limbs splayed in all directions.

“My ego, it is slain!” He declared with a level of sarcasm even Cal found impressive.

“Moving on, Devi can you see if you've got some magic doodad that detects metal? We might need one of those before all is said and done. We've already got ourselves a well meaning but obviously incompetent member of the local constabulary on our side so that's another great big check. We've got your bag of holding so that we can pretty easily keep everything involved in this case close at hand, check there also. Yeah I'm pretty sure that covers everything.”

James Firecat bounced up and down on his bed light an excited school boy.

“So you really have everything that your father ever used to used to solve a case?” James asked his blue eyes sparkling.

“Of course I do.” Cal declared confidently.

“Okay he did claim to have this magic rock which would let him know when people were trying to hide the truth from him. On the other hand, dad also told me that it was Father Solstice who brought me my first book on alchemy, that only once in his career did he defend someone who was actually guilty, and that I had better listen to my mother or she'd knock me out cold just like she did to him once.

So yeah, I'm pretty sure that 'magic stone' was just more pile of his patented fiery bird droppings. Anyway, we've got all the tolls we really need, tomorrow we start gathering evidence... well that and wait for the inevitable attempted attorneyicide.” Cal concluded.

“Inevitable attempted attorneyicide?” Mirri suddenly perked up.

“It sounds like trials must get a lot more interesting in Lamordia than I would have expected...” She noted while licking her lips in sudden anticipation.

Cal just shot her a confident smile.

“Yeah, I mean it's a standard rule of life. If you're so good at something that nobody can beat you at it, soon enough they'll realize it and start trying to... well beat you instead. Dad typically couldn't go five trials without finding himself in some sort of mortal peril at least once.

That said, dad never worked as part of a group that took down darklords so how bad can it be? Bloody Jack might be able to leave the cops confused, but there's an old saying in my family, 'A Wright can right any wrong'.” Cal reflected.

There was some loud snickering from several different directions.

“Hey, I only said that it was an old saying I didn't say anything about it being a good saying!” He protested.

End Chapter Two.


Sun Mar 29, 2015 6:39 pm
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Evil Genius
Evil Genius

Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:30 am
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Post Re: Monster Party Book 3
Monster Party Book Three: On a blue Sunday morning lies a body just oozin' life.

Chapter Three: I want to enforce the law, I want to wear normal clothes...

Once he'd woken up the first thing that Cal Wright did was take a moment to consider all the information he had on hand dealing with the case...

XXX XXX XXX

Items of importance...

1: Phoenix: Don't get excited Dad I named it after the animal, what made you think I would I name something that always hits its target on the first try after you?

2: Alchemist Badge: My credentials as an official member of the Lamordian Guild of Alchemists, good for discounts in some places and not getting burnt at the stake in others.

3: Memory of Victim's Scarf: Gave the real thing to Inspector Logan. No bloodstains yet was cut perfectly in half, suggests woman was killed with magic weapon.

4: Van Render's Statements: "My father said Bloody Jack struck like this, and so did my grandfather! It's been going on for over a century now... Sure enough we're only a few days away from it being exactly thirteen years since Bloody Jack last struck. This is how he does it, kills at the stroke of midnight, no blood left behind. He must know every street and alley in the city perfectly to keep getting away like he does."

5: Inspector Logan's Letter: "I am taking this man into my confidences as part of my latest investigation. " A form letter signed by Inspector Andrew Logan, Paridon City Guard.

People Involved with the case...

Cal Wright: Myself, hansom, dashing brilliant, and all around great guy.

Devi Skye: My main girl, elf, loves to collect magical nicknacks.

Alexander Diamondclaw: My Boss, bad at finance and letting sleeping dogs lie, but great at killing people.

Florence Bastien: Dryad, my Boss' squeeze. I don't ask questions, he doesn't horribly horribly murder me, there are worse arrangements.

James Firecat: Werecat expert at hunting for rodents and traps. Little on the crazy side.

Mirri Catwarrior: Vampire, James' squeeze, lot on the psycho side.

Inspector Andrew Logan: Yet more proof that the law needs to focus less on having a long arm and more on not having a small brain.

Hoag Van Render: Red haired man whose family has lived in Paridon for a few generations.

Bloody Jack: ???? Black hair, blue eyes, thick beard. Been blamed for killing people in Paridon for over a century. ????

XXX XXX XXX

After Florence took the time to disarm the snare trap she'd laid on the door (the fickle nature of magic meant it would activate if someone tried to open the door from the inside also) Cal headed down to breakfast with a spring in his step.

He ate an uninspired but filling breakfast and headed out into the streets of Paridon with the rest of what was for the moment HIS pack. No not his pack, they were his legal team now! Wright & Associates, okay make that Wright & Skye, yeah there was something that just "clicked" about that name.

Speaking of "clicking" he tapped his feet on the ground a few times tossing a small handful of golden coins up and down in his hand.

"I've got five gold to whoever gives me the most accurate and detailed map to this city!" He yelled to the city at large (well practiced and powerful vocal chords were an important legal tool, you had to make sure everyone at the trial could hear what you were saying not just the judge witness and opposing attorney after all) then waited for a response.

Sure enough like cockroaches coming out when the lights went off except in reverse, various street peddlers were drawn to him by the promise of payment.

In addition to maps he was also offered all manner of other brick a brack: there were bells to be rung in case of catching sight of Bloody Jack, padded metal collars that they promised would protect your throat from Bloody Jack's blade (money back guaranteed!), meat pies made of "genuine pig parts", and supposedly mystical rocks with the power to keep away large carnivorous animals.

Cal purchased what he wanted and took the necessary precautions to make the most of it.

**Added Map of the City to Bag of Holding**

Cal knew that the map was overpriced but more importantly it was accurate (Cal had memorized the seller's face, he'd be a lot easier to track down than Bloody Jack if the vender tried to make Cal Wright look like a fool).

"Were to next?" James asked, exuberance leaking from his every pore.

Cal was fairly sure the that the last time he'd seen the werecat so excited it had involved Mirri beckoning him into her coffin with a white flower held between her fangs.

"Well that's obvious James, you can't solve a crime without an autopsy report." Cal answered without a moment's hesitation.

"You really think we need to get it in writing to know that the woman died from having her throat slit after we found her body so freshly dead we got accused of doing the job ourselves?" Devi deadpanned.

Cal refused to allow himself to be shaken from his course of action though.

"If the human eye was a perfect instrument then nobody would ever need a lawyer..." He paused just long enough to properly suppress a shudder at the thought.

"Yeah I know it looks like she died from having her throat slit... and it sorted of sounded that way also. Still, just about any argument no matter how insane has to be treated as at least a possibility if there's no evidence against it. Right now for all we know she was frightened to death! Also Devi if you insist on being a drag on my investigation I'm going to promote James to being my official assistant. He's got the right temperament for it." Cal reflected.

Devi sent Cal a truly withering look.

"Yeah do that. After all, I'm sure Barrister Wright will wind up proving his skills as a master debater to one and all with an assistant like James helping him solve the case." She replied, hiding a ballista behind her smile.

"Kidding, kidding, kidding!" Cal held up his hands appeasingly.

"At least about the assistant rearranging thing I mean. About the funeral home though, I'm still dead serious. Every piece of evidence you collect is like another weapon in your legal arsenal. Right now we may only half a few scraps, I intend to acquire one piece after another until I manage to piece together this puzzle!" Cal vowed before striking out boldly.

Then he paused, double checked his map, and struck out just as boldly in the opposite direction.

XXX XXX XXX

Cal wrapped on the door to a shop whose sign proclaimed it to be "Morton's Funeral Home. Morton von Keller proprietor."

There was no immediate response so he simply began tapping his foot on the paved streets again wondering how long he should wait before knocking again, and how long after that he should wait before heading off to see Inspector Logan about getting some very carefully worded document that basically gave him the right to knock the door down and poke around as much as he wanted.

"Morton von Keller... ghee it's like the guy was destined to grow up and do something involving death." James noted with his traditional blunt earnesty.

"Just because someone's has a weird name doesn't mean that they're destined to grow up to resemble it. Parents can just be horrible people sometimes. I mean dad once cross examined a guy named Shelly de Killer." Cal made casual conversation to pass the time.

"Why?" Florence interjected.

"Because he was a self admitted assassin for hire and dad wanted to know who had hired him for one of his recent jobs." The alchemist answered at once.

Then after a slight twitch of the eyelid he amended his statements.

"That said, he also knew a restaurant with a name that was fancy Mordentish for 'very good' but served terrible food. Then there was a guy named 'Meekins' who insisted on shouting everything as loudly as he possibly could. Listen, arresting random people with strange names pertinent to the crime at hand is no basis for a legal system!" Cal ranted.

Just as he was finishing up the door swung open. They were greeted by the sight of a sallow faced man with blue eyes, a black hair and bushy sideburns (but an otherwise clean chin). He was wearing a top hat and black cape, which caused Cal to twist his head and squint slightly. That must outfit must be REALLY popular in Paridon if even an undertakers wore it!

Then he mentally backtracked a few paces, and reminded himself not to get carried away with his assertions not matter how reasonable they might seem.

"You're Morton Von Keller proprietor of this established correct?" He inquired.

Morton Von Keller nodded briskly.

"That's right, and who exactly are you?" He demanded straight away.

"My name is Callan Wright, I and my companions are new to your fair city..." Cal began to explain.

He could get no further though before Morton cut him off.

"You could have come from the Moon for all I care. Look, I usually only get two kinds of visitors, those who are here to see a cadaver and those who have brought one with them. You don't look all that much like the second type..." He concluded after carefully examining the six adventurers.

Then he did a minor double take and opened the door a little wider and leaned in to take a closer look at Mirri.

"I take it back, veins gone red from lack of oxidation, pale skin, no noticeable flaring of the nostrils or movement of the lips, unless I am much mistaken this woman is dead. I don't think I've ever seen a corpse blink though... ahh of course!

Let me guess, you're here to sell me some sort of golem for advertising? Have your loved ones interred at Morton von Keller's Funeral Home and their divine form can be preserved for all eternity! I will admit she's the best looking corpse I can recall seeing in all my years, but since I've got no place to properly display her I'm afraid you've wasted a lot of effort my good man." The mortician noted getting ready to slam the door in the group's face.

Present: Inspector Logan's Letter.

"HOLD IT!" Cal protested pressing forward the piece of parchment he had been given last night.

"We're actually the type of visitors who have come to look at one of your cadavers. As you can see, Inspector Logan has already taken me into his confidences in regards to the newest round of Bloody Jack killings. I'd like to know everything you could possibly tell me about the woman who was murdered last night." Cal explained as fast as he possibly could.

"Why the golem then?" The funeral director asked scratching his sideburns.

Cal thought as fast as he could and then faster still, when all the evidence in the world was against you it was time to resort to baffling with bullshit instead.

"It's part of my plan to capture Bloody Jack. I can't be sure yet of course, but if it's true that he likes to kill pretty women, well I present to you the perfect bait. Put her in a fancy dress and once it gets dark out you won't even notice that she's not properly alive. If Bloody Jack tries to slit her throat, well as you yourself noticed good sir, it is not as if golems need to breath!" Cal vowed with a conspiratorial grin.

Morton von Keller contemplated this possibility and found reasonable enough.

"If you have enough money to pay for your own golem then you should also be able to pay for my time." He reflected with a twinkle in his eye.

Cal sighed.

"Devi lets shift some of my savings into the section of our bag of holding related to this case." Cal ordered.

**Shifted Bag of Funds into relevant section of Bag of Holding**

Present: Bag of Funds

He then reached in and pulled out a handful of golden coins.

"For this I want to get everything that that the city guard got, and I want it in writing as well." Cal insisted.

After taking a few moments to confirm that while the coins might have strange markings, that didn't make the gold they were made out of any less pure Morton opened up the door for them to follow him.

Before Cal could go inside though, Mirri Catwarrior had some choice words for him.

"You know, they say given enough time a golem will come to hate its creator. The process can take place over days, months, or possibly even years. Don't know why they're such slowpokes about it though, I pulled it off in less than sixty seconds." She whispered making sure that their host didn't hear her.

Cal decided that was already pretty much par for the course where Mirri was concerned so no point getting too upset over it. Besides, considering that this entire mystery seemed to hinge around bloodless corpses, so much the better if other people was sure she was a golem, it would leave no room in their minds for the possibility that she might be a vampire.

Morton lead them through a rather dark but clean parlor and meeting room down a flight of stairs into an even less illuminated room where it was clear most of his real work took place. As opposed to welcoming wood this room's walls were made of cold and unfeeling stone.

Laying out on a table before them was the woman with a slit throat from last night, without her clothing, though she did had a thick white sheet wrapped around her body to preserve her dignity.

"Well now lets get down to business, the sooner you start asking questions the sooner I'll be rid of you." The mortician grumbled to himself.

"I'll try not to keep you from your work for too long. So to start with does our victim have a name or should we just talk about her as 'dead girl in a sheet'?" Cal started his inquiry.

"The preferred term for a deceased female without a known name is 'Jane Doe' I believe. Luckily we do have a name. She was a miss Beatrice Bump." The funeral home's owner explained.

"Well that's something. What do we know about her?" The alchemist pondered.

"She was a seamstress." The pale faced man said dispassionately.

The blond haired Lamordian thought about that for a few moments and double checked his map.

"What, you mean like needle, thread, ripped clothes and all that? Which stitchery did she work at there's more than one on the map here..." He further inquired.

"She was a seamstress... hem hem..." Morton von Keller coughed.

"Yes, and I asked you what sewing shop she worked with, or was she completely self employed?" Cal asked, making sure to talk extra slowly and just a bit more loudly than before to make sure he got his question across.

"She was a gentlewoman who made her living by the prick of her needles." Their host informed him.

"Yes, we've established the fact that she was a seamstress. Unless this has some important bearing on why she was out late at night I don't see why you need to keep telling it to me over and over again." Cal bristled.

Morton exhaled very heavily and then leaned in close to whisper a few choice words in Cal's ear.

The alchemist's face took on a distinct reddish color.

"Ah that... that clarifies things immensely." Callan Wright half stammered.

"Both on the matter of her source of income and why she would be out on the streets late at night. Just to be completely clear, Bump really was her actual last name...?" He couldn't quite keep himself from asking.

Morton Von Keller fixed Cal with an emotionless stare.

"I supposed the Bumps are a very old, established family then." Cal muttered before deciding to change the subject.

"Do we have a definitive cause of death?" He needed to know.

"Getting her throat slit wasn't exactly good for her health. Cause of death was either lack of oxygen, or general lack of blood. Though I do admit, this doesn't seem to match up with Bloody Jack's victims from his last round of killings." The mortician reflected.

**Added Beatrice Bump's Autopsy Report to Bag of Holding**

Cal's eyebrows instantly shot up.

"Oh really? Tell me more, omit no detail." He insisted.

Morton took a moment to run a hand through his hair and sigh deeply.

"Keep in mind, you can confirm everything I'm about to tell you with the records of the Paridon Newsbill. None of Bloody Jack's last six victims had their throat slit. Instead, they'd have two pinprick sized holes made in their throat. The only thing she has in common with them is the lack of blood and the expression." Their host recalled.

"Given the lack of blood, I'm assuming that the bodies are beheaded, filled with holy water, and then buried at a crossroads to keep them from coming back as vampires?" Cal predicted.

"Please, we here in Paridon have outgrown any such superstitious means of dealing with the undead. We simply cremate them." The funeral director noted dryly.

"So they all have the same expression as this woman did?" Mirri wanted to know.

"You mean the one suggesting that they had never been more terrified before in their lives? Yes that's part of Bloody Jack's signatures all right. In the thirteen years since he last struck Beatrice Bump is the only corpse I've come across with such a ghastly expression." Morton vowed.

"Thirteen years ago Bloody Jack may have left behind victims without blood and two pinpricks holes in the neck, but Bloody Jack isn't a vampire. Vampires, don't leave people looking like that. When people die due to having their blood drained by a vampire, their expression is blissful bordering on orgasmic! Just bury this woman, and if you dig her up three days later she'll still be just an ordinary corpse." She declared with the utmost of confidence.

Morton von Keller paused for a moment, then decided to address Cal rather than Mirri.

"Your golem is strangely knowledgeable about matters concerning vampires." He noted with a slightly confused expression.

It looked like the fact that James was now was practically rubbing his body (the back of his neck in particular) up against Mirri's was the only thing keeping her from upending the table corpse and all.

Callan Wright meanwhile knew that there was only one thing that he could possibly do at this particular moment.

It was time to lower a pretty damn big bucket into the well of completely insane theories that somehow ended up getting treated as strangely plausible. It was a well that he'd seen his father go to so many times he should have built a pump next to it! Luckily regardless of if it was nature or nurture that helped lead one to that hidden well's location, Cal Wright had grown up in the right type of family.

"Golems aren't cheap, if you're going to create one then you might as well make sure that they've got a good brain to work with. Her's comes from a famous female undead slayer of my homeland. She met with a terrible fate, but enough of her remained to still be of some use." Cal "explained", being careful to keep his face as natural as possible.

Morton von Keller considered this particular possibility for a few moments, then weighed it against it against the alternatives, or at least the alternatives that he could think of. Cal desperately hopped none of them bore much resemblance to the truth.

Somewhere somehow a mental switch got flipped and then the man nodded slowly.

"Good materials, for a good product. A sensible approach that anyone should be able to agree with.

Now on the subject of if Bloody Jack is a vampire or not, I've got nothing to say. For a few more pounds I could probably hire some layabouts to sit around in shifts outside my incinerator watching the dead body, and if it shows any signs of starting to move they'll turn it on.

If it hasn't tried to escape in, three days I believe, that will prove for certain that whoever killed this woman wasn't a vampire at least." He offered.

Cal wasn't certain why the people of Paridon had decided that "pounds" was a good name for gold coins but he didn't especially care.

He decided to go ahead and apply a little more grease to the Morton von Keller's palm. It wasn't that he didn't trust Mirri's intuition when it came to dealing with vampires, it was just that her word alone wouldn't be enough evidence for anyone else.

"So to sum everything up, we have a dead 'seamstress', with a slit throat. Her body is nearly drained of blood, but we have reasons to suspect that it wasn't done by a vampire. The facial expression and cause of death matches Bloody Jack's prior murders, but not the previously noted throat slitting. Does that about cover the high points of our situation?" Cal reiterated.

Morton barely had time to nod before Devi provided him with paper and her magic pen to copy the stuff down and sign it.

**Added Morton Von Keller's Statements to Bag of Holding**

Now that they had some additional information and another lead to play around with the group headed out.

Cal came out of the dank funeral home first, as he opened the door the sun's shining rays instantly blinded him.

"You are meddling in things that are none of your affair!" Hissed a deep voice.

Cal was knocked backwards through the door landing in a heap, a dagger dripping some strange milky white substance having easily pierced the collar of his blue suitcoat.

End Chapter.


Wed Apr 15, 2015 9:00 pm
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Evil Genius
Evil Genius

Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:30 am
Posts: 632
Post Re: Monster Party Book 3
Monster Party Book Three: On a blue Sunday morning lies a body just oozin' life.

Chapter Four: He lays it down with perfection and grace, done by noon, he goes home to his place, where he sleeps, and he waits for the night.

"Ouch." Said Cal Wright, for lack of anything more appropriate.

Then he grabbed the knife and pulled it free.

"You know... it would take a fool of the highest caliber to think this thing would protect them from Bloody Jack." Cal coughed as he loosened the neck of his suit coat.

After that he carefully removed a padded metal collar that he'd purchased from a street vendor.

"I mean... there's no way this thing would hold up to a magic knife. Still, magic blood sucking knives aren't exactly all that common.

Since Bloody Jack had a coachman I figured that means he must have accomplices. Accomplices who probably don't have magic knives." He declared proudly examining what remained of his purchase.

It'd been a much too near thing, a MUCH MUCH MUCH too near thing, the blade had penetrated about three fourths of the way the collar. On the other hand close only counts in horseshoes and plea bargains.

** Added Ruined Metal Collar to Bag of Holding **

** Added Assassin's Blade to the Bag of Holding **

"You certainly seem chipper considering that if he'd plunged that knife into your guts instead of your neck then you'd probably be turning all sorts of interesting colors right about know." Devi reminded him.

Cal tried then failed to hide a smile.

"Well it so happens that I've just broken one of dad's records, we've only just got the autopsy report and already somebody is trying to kill me! In your face dad! By the way, given that I was only one who actually got outside before he stabbed me I'm guessing none of you saw which way he went, or what 'he' looked like?" Cal asked, his final sentence turning suitably dour.

There was a chorus of head shakes.

"Okay, well I can live with that. Bloody Jack and friends have to get lucky every time to get away from us, we only have to get lucky once and then we'll put his ass in a sling, and then on a docket also because that's how Callan Wright Alchemist of Truth rolls." He promised them.

For a response Devi just bent down and wordlessly helped him to his feet.

XXX XXX XXX

"Not that I was going to say it in front of anyone else, but I promise all of you Bloody Jack isn't a vampire." Mirri vowed once they had put the funeral home.

"Heard his heart beat last night in the alley?" Alexander suspected.

Mirri replied with nothing more than a quick curt nod.

That rather definitively eliminated vampires from the list of suspects alongside women and beardless men. In fact, lack of a heartbeat removed the entire category of undead: Bloody Jack was not a ghost, a lich, an ancient dead, or a zombie.

Lycanthropes were probably out on general principle that they wouldn't bother using a blade to do their killing, magical or no.

So of the most common monster types in existence that left only one still in the running.

Bloody Jack might or might not be a golem (Cal would admit he wasn't completely certain if their hearts beat or not) but nothing they knew so far argued strongly against the possibility. Nothing seemed to argue strongly for it though either.

"Well I guess that's another possible lead for us to consider, seeing if anyone has records of somebody creating a golem that ran amok a hundred and fifty some-odd years ago." Cal contemplated.

With that particular discussion out of the way he was free to take a moment and review everything he knew about the case currently...

XXX XXX XXX

Items of importance...

1: Phoenix: Don't get excited Dad I named it after the animal, what made you think I would I name something that always hits its target on the first try after you?

2: Alchemist Badge: My credentials as an official member of the Lamordian Guild of Alchemists, good for discounts in some places and not getting burnt at the stake in others.

3: Memory of Victim's Scarf: Gave the real thing to Inspector Logan. No bloodstains yet was cut perfectly in half, suggests woman was killed with magic weapon.

4: Van Render's Statements: "My father said Bloody Jack struck like this, and so did my grandfather! It's been going on for over a century now... Sure enough we're only a few days away from it being exactly thirteen years since Bloody Jack last struck. This is how he does it, kills at the stroke of midnight, no blood left behind. He must know every street and alley in the city perfectly to keep getting away like he does."

5: Inspector Logan's Letter: "I am taking this man into my confidences as part of my latest investigation. " A form letter signed by Inspector Andrew Logan, Paridon City Guard.

6: Map of the City: A fairly standard map of Paridon, no secret passages or hidden treasures, but at least I won't get lost.

7: Bag of Funds : You know dad, if you didn't keep taking one charity case after another some day you could have a big pile of gold to loosen people's lips with!

8: Beatrice Bump's Autopsy Report: Woman's throat was slit, body otherwise unharmed. Death probably caused by the fact that the blood was somehow drained to a degree far beyond what the wound alone could explain.

9: Morton Von Keller's Statements: The facial expression and cause of death matches Bloody Jack's prior murders, but not the previously noted throat slitting.

10: Ruined Metal Collar: Not going to get anymore use out of this thing, maybe I can find another one for sale someplace, though I doubt Bloody Jack's friends will fall for the same trick twice.

11: Assassin's Blade: Was dripping some kind of venom that lucky for me must work through contact with the blood rather than skin. Some smudges on the handle, fingerprints?

People Involved with the case...

Cal Wright: Myself, hansom, dashing brilliant, and all around great guy.

Devi Skye: My main girl, elf, loves to collect magical nicknacks.

Alexander Diamondclaw: My Boss, bad at finance and letting sleeping dogs lie, but great at killing people.

Florence Bastien: Dryad, my Boss' squeeze. I don't ask questions, he doesn't horribly horribly murder me, there are worse arrangements.

James Firecat: Werecat expert at hunting for rodents and traps. Little on the crazy side.

Mirri Catwarrior: Vampire, James' squeeze, lot on the psycho side.

Inspector Andrew Logan: Yet more proof that the law needs to focus less on having a long arm and more on not having a small brain.

Hoag Van Render: Red haired man whose family has lived in Paridon for a few generations.

Morton von Keller: Owns the biggest funeral home in Paridon, mainly because he owns the only funeral home in Paridon.

Bloody Jack: ???? Black hair, blue eyes, thick beard. Been blamed for killing people in Paridon for over a century.
????


XXX XXX XXX

After checking out Morton von Keller's funeral parlor the next major stop for the group was the town's only printer's shop which also doubled as the headquarters for the Paridon Newsbill, its paper of record.

In order to get into the building they had to muscle their way through a small crowd of youngsters either arriving to pick up bundles of papers or departing with them in hand.

"EXTRA EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! BLOODY JACK STRIKES AGAIN FOR FIRST TIME IN THIRTEEN YEARS! ELSEWHERE IN CITY WOMAN CLAIMS SHE WAS MURDERED DESPITE STILL BEING ALIVE!" Loudly announced one youth whose face was smudged with soot while shoving a paper's in the group's direction.

"Only five pence guvnor all the news that's fit to print!" He promised with great enthusiasm, holding the paper with one hand and a small money pouch with the other.

Cal began the age old routine practiced by many of lightly patting down his pockets while striving vigorously to forget about all of the currency he currently had on his person.

He didn't get a chance to complete it though because James promptly pulled out a silver coin and tossed it into the money pouch.

The werecat snatched the paper from the boy's hands and buried his head in it completely ignoring the lad's protests about how he needed to make change which unsurprisingly were none too energetic to start with.

Inside the shop the group members had to step carefully due to the place being filled to the brim with clattering presses, vats of ink, and stacks of paper. Its proprietor was an elderly blue eyed man with a long gray beard, a white skullcap, and an an apron that might have once been white but was now so splatted with ink-stains it was anyone's guess.

"What can I do for you?" He half shouted above the noise of the machines.

"We're here about Bloody Jack!" Cal answered back with even greater volume.

The owner waved a hand around in the general direction of one of the walls.

"If it is about the reward don't talk to me, you'll need to get in touch with the vigilance committee!" He protested.

"We're not here about... there's a reward?" Cal noted his tone of voice going from agitated to interested halfway through the sentence.

"Yes, a five hundred pound reward! Let me just finish up this run and then I'll tell you all about it!" He promised.

Since they didn't have much else to do, the group stood around leaning against the walls where possible. After about ten or so minutes the machines stuttered to a stop and the room became much calmer.

Then he walked over to a wall that had so many sheets of parchment attached to it that it that Cal couldn't be completely sure that there actually was a 'wall' underneath all of them.

"Here we go..." He muttered after finally finding what he was looking for.

"In the wake of the killing last night the citizens of Paridon are forming up a vigilance committee. They've already promise a five hundred pound reward for information that leads to the capture or death of Bloody Jack." He explained.

Cal looked the man over one more time and coughed slightly to clear his head.

"I'm as much a fan of large monetary rewards as the next man, more in fact! Still, I do have a few other things I need to worry about more at the moment. To start with, I don't believe I know your name, I'm Cal Wright..." The alchemist offered thrusting a hand forward.

The printer took it, his own gloves leaving a small blank ink stain on Cal's.

"S. H. Willby." The printer introduced himself.

"S. H.?" Cal repeated somewhat confused.

"As best I can recall I wasn't named so much as initialed." Explained S. H. Willby.

"Parents can be real bastards some time." Cal commiserated.

"Anyway, we were talking with Mr. Keller earlier and he said that the Paridon Newsbill would have some information on the last round of Bloody Jack killings?" Cal explained while attempting to get the conversation back on track.

"That's right. The last round of killings, and the one before that, and even the one before that! Sadly since I've been the one printing the paper we don't have records that date back fifty two years. Luckily, I make sure to keep at least one copy of everything I've ever printed around the place. It's like my own little library..." S. H. chuckled to himself.

"So can you tell me what condition the bodies were found in during the last round of murders?" Cal pressed.

"To tell you the truth, that's rather the other reason I try to keep at least one copy of everything I print on hand, my memory isn't quite what it used to be. Give me a moment to consult my copies and I'll see what I can find for you..." The white haired man promised before he wandered off into a backroom of his print shop.

After a great deal of puttering around he returned carrying a stack of newspapers so big it was a wonder they didn't leave him bent over double.

"Here we are, I managed pull everything we had on Bloody Jack. It helps that the papers with stories about him in them tend to be among our best sellers.

Anyway, lets see now... thirteen years ago the victims bodies had twin puncture marks on their throats. Twenty six years ago the victims were all shop clerks, but since pence, shillings, and pounds were left scattered all over the place robbery clearly wasn't the motive. Finally, thirty nine years ago, the victims always had their arms and legs severed from their torsos.

Frightened faces, and bodies which don't bleed, that seems to be all that's really consistent about Bloody Jack. Well I suppose he's consistent in his inconsistency, he'll do something different every thirteen years, though he does tend to stick to a pattern for all six days." S. H. reflected.

**Added S. H. Willby's Statements to Bag of Holding**

"So the smart money is on him trying to murder another seamstress at the stroke of midnight tonight?" Cal ventured.

The printer nodded sagely.

"Right on the money that is, right on the money. Granted if you'd ask me, not that anyone does, I doubt Bloody Jack's any sort of a monster. No monster would be powerful enough to not even be identified by the city guard after so long! No, the way I see it 'Bloody Jack' is nothing but the royal family's favorite sport.

It's like fox hunting, except we're the foxes. A chance for their latest scion to go out and make a name for themselves, and of course the city guard is all bribed to look the other way while they have their fun!" He half rambled.

Cal considered this theory, the fact that could be described as "not impossible" was its strongest selling point.

Actually...

"Do you have any recent printings that involve drawings, or at least descriptions of the royal family?" Cal wanted to know.

Another very thorough search of the Paridon Newsbill's archives proved that there was no one in the royal family with black hair, blue eyes, and a thick beard at the moment.

In short, it would seem that the Printer's theory held about as much water a sieve.

Still, it wouldn't do to openly insult someone who had been kind (or senile) enough not to ask for money in exchange for their help.

"I appreciate the time you've given us, S. H. If nothing else, when the story eventually breaks about how I managed to capture Bloody Jack, I'll make sure you get a choice interview to go with it. In fact, I'll also probably buy plenty of copies to bring back home with me!" Cal promised.

"We do have a special on bulk rate sales!" The printer informed him eagerly.

XXX XXX XXX

After their interview with the printer the group returned back to the Twilight Yawn Inn to further plot their strategy for the night.

"Okay, for the moment I'm going to assume that Bloody Jack, the killer we saw last night is some kind of golem.

I know they usually look a little less human than he did, but we're going to table that for the moment. The sort of bizarre behavior we're seeing... six murders every thirteen years, the six victims are always killed in the same way, but that way changes with each group. That sort of sounds like what you'd expect from a golem that has misinterpreted its creator's orders.

I'm not married to this theory, I'm not engaged to it, in fact the only reason I've gotten frisky with this theory when I was left alone with it in a dark room is because all the other theories I've met are too stupid to even consider being worth my time..." He explained stretching the metaphor slightly.

"So, lets keep that possibility in mind as we plan for what might happen next. Devi, no lightning bolts. Mirri, don't expect your charm gaze or energy drain to work. Florence... you know how your magic works on constructs a lot better than I do, so do what you feel is best. Boss... you're going to be my ace in the hole tonight. Because if Bloody Jack strikes tonight... well I'm sure we all know exactly what I want you to do..." Cal Wright suggested with a smile.

"Can I help? Can I please help also?" Pleaded James Firecat.

Even Callan Wright didn't have a heart small enough to refuse those pathetically big brown eyes.

XXX XXX XXX

A chill wind blew through the streets of Paridon.

People knew that Bloody Jack was about and they took what precautions they could: many of them were curled up in bed with every door and window locked tight, members of the city guard stood about at many of the city's street corners looking for anything suspicious, and various men of fighting age armed themselves with whatever makeshift weapons they could find to likewise keep an eye out for the city's most famous murderer.

As midnight approached people waited with baited breath, all but certain that soon someone else would soon be slain.

One man (or at least one man who wasn't Bloody Jack) walked the streets without any sort of fear.

That was probably because he didn't do it alone.

There was a quite noticeable "clack, clack, clack" that accompanied the man. That sound emitted from a score of claws that clicked against the ground, belonging to an animal that the man was leading on a leash.

It was around the size of a small horse, and in the the dim street lighting one could possibly make out that it had silver fur. Someone had been kind (and brave!) enough to hide some horrible injury the creature must have suffered in the past by hanging a black eyepatch over its left eye.

Given its unretractable claws, rounded ears, and prominent muzzle you might assume it was a dog.

Granted if one looked closer there were a few minor hints that this wasn't quite the correct conclusion: the claws were a uniform dark color without any trace of pink, the one visible eye was a deep orangish yellow color, and the silver tail (which remained completely straight as it walked) had a black tip.

For those who hadn't spent their lives studying the physical differences between domestic and feral animals there was also a handy sign hanging about the animal's midsection.

"Official Crime Scene Investigation Wolf." It declared proudly for all to see.

This was probably why Callan Wright more or less had the entire street to himself.

The only other occupant keeping pace with him and his lupine companion was a red furred housecat. Much like the wolf it seemed to be larger than the the breed standard, though realistically few people would notice when there was the wolf to focus on.

"Bong... bong... bong..." The chimes of midnight began to be slowly rung out for all the city to hear.

"And... here... we... go..." Cal whispered to himself as a wisp of mist brushed past his blue suit coat.

"Bong... bong... bong... bong... bong... bong... bong... bong... bong..." The chimes continued on.

"AHHHHHHH!" A pained scream suddenly exclaimed.

It wasn't as close by as the scream had been last night, but that wouldn't stop them.

"The game is a foot, or at least a paw. Let's kick some ass..." Cal commanded.

The red furred cat twitched its ears slightly and then took off racing.

The alchemist and the wolf followed in hot pursuit, trusting that the cat's superior ears would be the best tool for locating someone based on their dying scream.

Soon the cat lead Cal to the opening of an otherwise unremarkable alley. Cal's wolf promptly yanked the leash out of his hand and dashed on in.

Spread out before him was a dead woman with her throat slit.

That wasn't too important though, not compared to the fact that balanced carefully on her stomach was a small glass bottle with a flickering flame inside of it.

Aided by a lifetimes worth of experience in alchemy there were few people around who could dive for the ground faster than Cal Wright.

He hit the pavement just before the mixture went off, filling the air with the sharp (and to him quite familiar) sound of an exploding glass container.

"If that was supposed to be a booby trap it wasn't much of one... I mean who tries to kill people with exploding glass?" Cal wondered right before he regretted his words as an indescribable scent began to fill his nostrils.

"Oh f**k!" Cal muttered while rubbing his nose in a vain attempt to drive it away.

Since at this point, he'd already been pretty definitively got, Cal stood back up and made his way forward to the dead woman.

Her eyes were wide with fright and her throat had been slit wide open, Not only that, but there were a number of deep cuts in her stomach, far too wide to have been made by shards of exploding glass.

What Cal found most interesting though was a piece of parchment held against her dress by a pin. Seeing that it was more or less addressed to him, he picked it up and began to read.

"Dear Mr. Fancy Pants Alchemist. This bottle contained a mixture of oil of aniseeed, oil of rampion and oil of scallatine. I'll be leaving such bottles behind with each of my next four victims also. I hope your furry friends enjoy. - Bloody Jack." Cal just stared blankly at the piece of paper for a few moments in horrified amazement.

"Oil of scallatine? Oil of scallatine? OIL OF SCALLATINE? He used oil of scallatine for something like this? Ball Lighting! I've heard that simply BRINGING that stuff with you into Verbrek is a guaranteed a death sentence!" Cal exclaimed to no one in particular.

** Added Bloody Jack's Letter to bag of Holding**

He cast a glance backwards in the direction of his two animal companions and saw them doing exactly what he was expecting them to; wolf and cat alike were laying pathetically upon the ground paws held futilely against their nostrils, their body language suggesting that they were currently suffering more profoundly than any of Bloody Jack's slain victims ever had.

"This... this could have gone better..." Cal admitted, sighing heavily and unslinging Phoenix from his back.

He fired off a shot into the air, figuring the crack of his weapon would be sure to get people's attention even if the exploding bottle hadn't. Being found examining one dead body was suspicious enough, better make it clear that he had intentionally called for help upon discovering the second.

End Chapter Four.


Thu Apr 23, 2015 6:36 pm
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Evil Genius
Evil Genius

Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:30 am
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Post Re: Monster Party Book 3
Monster Party Book 3: On a blue Sunday morning lies a body just oozin' life.

Chapter Five: Everybody in this room wants to make a big fool out of me.

"So Mr. Wright it would seem the 'fancy' is on the other pair of pants today. Now then, why don't you tell me all about your 'Official Crime Scene Investigation Wolf' while we wait?" Asked a far too amused Inspector Andrew Logan.

He and Cal were seated in the parlor of Morton von Keller's funeral home at the moment while the undertaker did his work.

It hadn't taken Inspector Logan and the few guards he'd been patrolling with long to find Cal after he'd fired off Phoenix. That done, they'd taken him, his animal companions, and the dead body off to where it could be properly inspected.

At the moment the lupine in question was curled up into a ball of silver furred misery. Likewise a somewhat oversized red housecat was splashing desperately around in a very large bowl of water, for the moment faced with a scent so horrendous that using its tongue to bathe was right out of the question.

Not that it was having much success, the oil of scallatine had fully evaporated back at the crime scene, and its three victims now smelled perfectly normal. They smelled perfectly normal to anyone else at least, all they themselves could smell at the moment was oil of scallatine.

"I said he was official... it's not as if I made any claims that he was an 'Official Paridon City Guard Crime Scene Investigation Wolf'..." Cal pointed out, knowing that in some matters you should never use the whole truth when half of if it would do just fine.

"So with what group exactly is he an 'official' member?" The Inspector asked wryly.

Present: Lamordian Alchemist Badge.

"I would have expected you to be able to figure that out on your own Inspector, he's an Official Lamordian Alchemist Crime Scene Investigation Wolf." Cal replied with the widest smile he could manage while his own nose was basically threatening to leap right off his face every time he forgot to breath in through his mouth (it helped that he'd spent a fair amount of time in the Twilight Yawn Inn yesterday forging some official looking documents just to be on the safe side).

"What would an alchemist need with a crime scene investigating wolf? I'd have thought being an alchemist would be a job mostly about mixing various substances together and seeing how long it takes for them to explode." The Inspector noted in a voice filled with equal parts suspicion and mockery.

"Well I'd have thought that being a seamstress would be a job mostly about mending ripped shirts or repairing worn out socks. Words from one place don't always have the same meaning in another, even if the languages seem to line up perfectly.

Once upon a time in Lamordia being an alchemist meant what you thought it means. Over time however, instead of being a job about mixing together ingredients to create an explosion or some sort of highly caustic mixture, it became our way of describing a job about mixing evidence and testimony to create the truth." Cal explained while giving Inspector Logan his very smuggest smirk.

It was smirk that said that he was lying, the smirk that said he knew Inspector Logan knew he was lying, the smirk that said that he knew Inspector Logan had not one single shred of proof even if the truth was hopelessly obvious all the same.

To the Inspector's credit he didn't try to call Cal's bluff which would have lead to an amusing but pointless game of making up as many unverifiable facts as necessary, since clearly you couldn't get from Paridon to Lamordia unless the Mists wanted you to. If the Mists themselves felt like handing out favors to Cal's enemies then he was screwed even if he told the whole truth every hour of every day of his entire life.

Instead, Logan decided to simply nibble around at the edges of it.

"It's one thing to have a Crime Scene Investigation Wolf, but I suppose that red furred beast you insisted we bring along with us and never let out of your sight is a Crime Scene Investigation Cat, though you refrained from bothering to give him a sign pertaining to that particular fact." Logan noted.

"He's big for a housecat, but not large enough for me to hang a sign on him." Cal answered readily enough.

"They're shockingly well behaved, I will give you that..." Logan pondered in the sort of voice which suggested that he very much was not about to "give" Cal anything.

"It's a well known fact that wolves and cats get along better than dogs and cats do. With the wolf still being half wild, he and the cat, which anyone who is familiar with the nature of will tell you are still half wild themselves, have much more in common than it would with a fully domesticated dog.

So the cat treats the wolf like another cat, because cats don't let little things like size determine dominance, after all as far as they're concerned they have dominance over us! In turn the wolf treats the cat like an overly exuberant pup since it's about the right size and temperament. For best results of course you should raise them from birth together. It may sound strange, but believe me, these two get along to the point that they'd be willing to groom each other under normal circumstances!" Cal promised.

This was going dangerously close to verifiable statements, but he doubted anyone nearby had spent a great deal of time doing comparisons on the behavior of 'domesticated' wolves and how they interacted with cats as opposed to traditional dog and cat relationships.

"You know, when we first ran into each other, I think I would have remembered if you had a very large wolf with you at the time. So tell me, where exactly were your keeping this domesticated duo that night?" Inspector Logan wanted to know.

A lesser man, a man who was being held back by things like fear, uncertainty, shame or morals might have blinked in surprise at this point. Callan Wright was a better man than that though!

"Please, you think that I'd walk around town with these two all the time? Hardly. I save them for very special occasions. When you caught me that night they were being kept in a magical Bag of Tricks I own. Sadly the bag has only so many charges so I can't just go showing it off willy nilly.

Still, you trust me don't you Inspector Logan? I mean I've proved quite clearly that I'm not Bloody Jack when we first met.

Not only that, but nobody... nobody in the world would be willing to put themselves through the experience of getting two nostrils full of oil of scallatine just to provide themselves with a little extra proof. Remember, we all need to work together to catch Bloody Jack." Cal reminded the other man.

"Yes we have to work together..." The city guard replied while half grinding his teeth together.

"Also, speaking of who you choose to walk the city streets with, I'm surprised that you were foolish enough to do it last night without any more intelligent friends at your side. A man could meet a very grizzly fate wandering around Paridon alone in the night." Inspector Logan insisted.

"I've had more trouble in the daylight honestly, in fact, when we leave this place, would you mind going first?

As for last night, with these two to protect me I was more than safe enough. Take this very moment for example, I'm sitting here, you're sitting there, Phoenix is is slung over my back in a less than easy to draw position and you've got a sheathed sword.

Lets assume you suddenly went insane and tried to murder me. Well, I wouldn't even need to lift a finger to defend myself!

You see, before you could even cross half the distance between us, that cat would have scratched your eyes out, or at least blinded you, while the wolf tore off which ever arm you care to hold your weapon in." Cal boasted proudly.

Inspector Logan took another moment to closely examine the silver wolf and the red furred cat, both of them glaring right back at him.

"I'd just as soon not take you up on that particular offer at the moment, I've found myself strangely attached to the prospect of having two eyes and four limbs, it's a hard habit to break.

Though speaking of having two working eyes, care to explain why your wolf has an eyepatch?" Andrew Logan demanded abruptly.

"Same reason any other officer of the law might wear an eyepatch, he suffered a grievous injury in the line of duty, and wearing that patch helps keep what remains from getting infected." Cal answered straight away.

When inspector Logan didn't press the issue the alchemist returned his attention to the man they were both trying to chase down.

"Anyway, I'm not sure how much I had to fear, so far all Bloody Jack has proven himself to be a master of is killing the nearly defenseless and running away with great celerity. If he and his accomplices would simply stand and fight it'd make both of our lives a great deal easier don't you agree?" Cal pointed out.

"I don't think that's quite all that Bloody Jack has proved himself a master of. Tell me Mr. Wright, did you truly believe that you were the first person in over a century and a half of Bloody Jack's crime sprees to think about using a bloodhound, or at least some manner of a bloodhound to try and track him down?" Inspector Logan asked mockingly.

Cal hung his head slightly and sighed.

"I suppose I should have actually read those issues of the Paridon Newsbill rather than just getting the summaries. Still, how in the name of a thundersnow did Bloody Jack know in advance that I'd be using animals against him tonight?" Cal pondered, unable to wrap his head around it.

Inspector Logan shook his head sadly.

"I suppose I should have warned you, but I somehow doubted that you'd have believed me when we first met. It's rumored that Bloody Jack has ears everywhere... no it isn't even that. It's that Bloody Jack isn't so much a person... that he's a sort of... extension of the city itself.

Anything anyone says ANYWHERE in Paridon, he knows it. I always though it was just a silly rumor, but... I'm afraid tonight's events seem to suggest that they might be all too accurate." Inspector Logan warned him.

Cal thought about that for a bit.

He thought about it long and hard and really tried to force himself to consider it. Really tried to see if he actually had seen, heard, or otherwise gained some evidence which argued against that particular possibility.

"I'll try and keep that in mind. If it's true then Bloody Jack is doubtlessly the strangest sort of monster that I've ever run into. For now though, once we get our autopsy on the latest victim, I'm going to gather some more clues.

I have a few leads I want to follow up on... none of them on their own point to who or what Bloody Jack is, but if I can just be sure of a few more things that Bloody Jack isn't... I'll be that much closer." Cal promised.

There was a gentle cough from the door to a downwards leading stairway which had silently swung open while he'd been talking.

Morton von Keller stood there with three sheets of paper in hand, one for Cal, one for Inspector Logan and one for himself.

"As luck would have it, I've finished my examination of the deceased. She was a Miss Annie Smitters. Same profession and cause of death as our first victim, but the wound pattern had a few key differences this time.

Ignoring the slit throat she and Beatrice Bump share and the superficial wounds caused by shards of glass, there's something both of you need to be aware of. Miss Smitters' stomach was cut open, and then someone removed one of her kidneys, along with her gallbladder."

Cal heard, but he didn't understand.

"One kidney and the gallbladder? From what I know of human anatomy loosing either of those wouldn't kill her, are we sure that she didn't have them extracted well before her death for some reason? I doubt... seamstresses keep detailed records of every surgical procedure they've had done to their bodies." He pointed out.

Morton von Keller held up a palm, making it clear that Cal's argument had no truck with him.

"I know what it looks like when a person who has lost those organs dies some years after the surgery. This woman's body shows none of the signs of having had a chance to adapt to the loss of the two previously mentioned organs." He insisted.

Cal wasn't about to argue the point, Morton von Keller might not quite be Victor Mordenheim (a fact Cal was extremely grateful for) when it came to human anatomy, but it was clear that he knew his way around a cadaver. So instead he just meekly took his copy of the autopsy report.

**Added Annie Smitters Autopsy Report to Bag of Holding**

"How carefully were the organs removed?" Inspector Logan wanted to know as he eagerly grabbed his own copy of the report.

"I could have done a better job of it, but whoever did this... they were no amateur. They weren't mindlessly digging around yanking things out for fun, they had a goal in mind and they accomplished it." He informed them.

Cal blushed slightly for not having thought to ask that particular question himself.

"Sounds like we might have a few ideas about exactly what Bloody Jack is then. Soldier, physician or possibly mortician, no offense Mr. von Keller of course." Inspector Logan reflected.

"If it's one 'person' he's been alive for over a century long that Bloody Jack would have had plenty of time to pick up a few hobbies in between murder sprees." Cal pointed out.

"Whoever, whatever Bloody Jack is, he has some rich friends though. There's no other way he could possibly afford enough oil of scallatine for five different scent bombs. Granted I suppose he might stick to just aniseed and rampion now that he's made his point." The alchemist added.

"Well, good hunting to you and your pets. I have to see if I can't convince the people of this city to just stay inside for one night. Sadly it seems like the more strict I am about such things the more they want to go wandering off just to spite me..." Inspector Andrew Logan muttered to himself as he headed for the door.

When no cackling madmen plunged poisoned knives into his body Cal followed shortly after with the cat and wolf in toe heading back to the Twilight Yawn Inn.

XXX XXX XXX

"Zum Kuckuck! Blutige Sau! Was zum Kuckuck? Scher dich zum Kuckuck!" Callan Wright exclaimed as those expressions finally wrapped up a several minute long tirade including every single proper bit of Lamordian cursing he could possibly think of.

Having completely run out of expletives Cal finally stepped out of the group's suit.

"There I'm done." He told the other five who had been kind enough to wait in the hall.

"Good, that makes it my turn." Alexander Diamondclaw stated bluntly before shoving Cal aside and forcing his way into the room.

From behind the closed door it was possible to hear the sound of someone clearing their throat. Alexander did it several times over, then once he'd got his vocal chords all warmed up he poured out a raging river, a surging sea, a veritable outraged ocean of profanity.

Much like Cal in his moment of 'privacy' Alexander had abandoned the version of Balok spoken in this domain for something that probably felt a bit more natural to him.

There were a lot more words and Alexander somehow managed to make it sound as if he was so utterly and complete incensed that he might end up spewing out his own lungs along with the all the bile he was clearing from his body.

"Devi, something tells me Boss is going to be busy for a while. James isn't in the best of shape, Mirri has started to draw a lot of attention, so would you mind keeping me company? You know Boss' rules, in an unfamiliar land don't ever go it alone." He suggested to the blue haired elf.

Devi paused for a moment as if she was honestly intrigued at the sheer strength of the invectives which the door did precious little to hold back before sighing slightly.

"Do you have a clear idea of where you're going?" She inquired.

Cal nodded at once, he not only knew where he was going, he was certain he knew the next three places he was going!

Though first he wanted to take a moment to review what else he knew...

XXX XXX XXX

Items of importance...

1: Phoenix: Don't get excited Dad I named it after the animal, what made you think I would I name something that always hits its target on the first try after you?

2: Alchemist Badge: My credentials as an official member of the Lamordian Guild of Alchemists, good for discounts in some places and not getting burnt at the stake in others.

3: Memory of Victim's Scarf: Gave the real thing to Inspector Logan. No bloodstains yet was cut perfectly in half, suggests woman was killed with magic weapon.

4: Van Render's Statements: "My father said Bloody Jack struck like this, and so did my grandfather! It's been going on for over a century now... Sure enough we're only a few days away from it being exactly thirteen years since Bloody Jack last struck. This is how he does it, kills at the stroke of midnight, no blood left behind. He must know every street and alley in the city perfectly to keep getting away like he does."

5: Inspector Logan's Letter: "I am taking this man into my confidences as part of my latest investigation. " A form letter signed by Inspector Andrew Logan, Paridon City Guard.

6: Map of the City: A fairly standard map of Paridon, no secret passages or hidden treasures, but at least I won't get lost.

7: Bag of Funds : You know dad, if you didn't keep taking one charity case after another some day you could have a big pile of gold to loosen people's lips with!

8: Beatrice Bump's Autopsy Report: Woman's throat was slit, body otherwise unharmed. Death probably caused by the fact that the blood was somehow drained to a degree far beyond what the wound alone could explain.

9: Morton Von Keller's Statements: The facial expression and cause of death matches Bloody Jack's prior murders, but not the previously noted throat slitting.

10: Ruined Metal Collar: Not going to get anymore use out of this thing, maybe I can find another one for sale someplace, though I doubt Bloody Jack's friends will fall for the same trick twice.

11: Assassin's Blade: Was dripping some kind of venom that lucky for me must work through contact with the blood rather than skin. Some smudges on the handle, fingerprints?

12: S. H. Willby's Statements: Thirteen years ago the victims bodies had twin puncture marks on their throats. Twenty six years ago the victims were all shop clerks, but since pence, shillings, and pounds were left scattered all over the place robbery clearly wasn't the motive. Finally, thirty nine years ago, the victims always had their arms and legs severed from their torsos.

13: Bloody Jack's Letter: "Dear Mr. Fancy Pants Alchemist. This bottle contained a mixture of oil of aniseeed, oil of rampion and oil of scallatine. I'll be leaving such bottles behind with each of my next four victims also. I hope your furry friends enjoy. - Bloody Jack."

14: Annie Smitters Autopsy Report: Throat slit, death due to loss of blood beyond what wound alone should have caused, stomach opened up and gallbladder and one kidney removed.

People Involved with the case...

Cal Wright: Myself, hansom, dashing brilliant, and all around great guy.

Devi Skye: My main girl, elf, loves to collect magical nicknacks.

Alexander Diamondclaw: My Boss, bad at finance and letting sleeping dogs lie, but great at killing people.

Florence Bastien: Dryad, my Boss' squeeze. I don't ask questions, he doesn't horribly horribly murder me, there are worse arrangements.

James Firecat: Werecat expert at hunting for rodents and traps. Little on the crazy side.

Mirri Catwarrior: Vampire, James' squeeze, lot on the psycho side.

Inspector Andrew Logan: Yet more proof that the law needs to focus less on having a long arm and more on not having a small brain.

Hoag Van Render: Red haired man whose family has lived in Paridon for a few generations.

Morton von Keller: Owns the biggest funeral home in Paridon, mainly because he owns the only funeral home in Paridon.

S. H. Willby: Printing, evidently his parents were so cheap that they could afford to give him an actual first or middle name.

Bloody Jack: ???? Hate, let me tell you how much I've come to HATE you since I began this case... ????

XXX XXX XXX

"S. H. I need all the stories that you've written on Bloody Jack!" Cal screamed to make himself heard above the general din of the print shop.

"What? Sorry! Can't be done! If I were to make copies of them for you, I'd need to be constantly reordering my machines again and again and again! There is no money in doing a single run of anything! Not to mention how long it would take!" The printer protested.

Present: Bag of Funds.

"You said that these printings were like your own little library. Well a good library is willing to loan its materials to other people, for a reasonable fee of course...!" Cal pointed out holding palm filled with glittering golden coins.

**Added Bloody Jack Printings to the Bag of Holding**

XXX XXX XXX

"James if you still want to help..." Cal began slowly not quite sure what sort of reaction he was going to get to that particular statement.

Considering that James had ended up suffering nearly as badly as Alexander from Bloody Jack's trap it might have soured him somewhat on the principle of being fully involved with the investigation.

"What can I do to help? You just name it!" He cried out defiantly.

Cal Wright probably shouldn't have worried in the first place, since when would a little thing like having one fifth of his senses more or less obliterated get in the way of James Firecat's optimism?

"Great. In that case I need you to read these... and these... and these..." Cal began pulling one bundle of papers after another from the Bag of Holding.

"Then when you've done that, I need you to give me a summary on all the important information in there about Bloody Jack. I expect you'll have a lot more clear view of what I want to know than some half senile printer." Cal informed the werecat.

James threw him a salute and fell upon the stack of papers with a conviction that Cal honestly found a little frightening.

XXX XXX XXX

"So Father Chadswick..." Cal began slowly and carefully.

"Brother." Corrected "Brother" Edward Chadswick of the Temple of the Divine Form.

It was the only temple in the entire city of Paridon and thus an obvious starting place to look for information on any golems that might have been created in the city's past.

People might like to think that every golem in the world had been created by some cackling mad scientist in a lightning struck tower, but Callan Wright knew better. In point of fact, at least as many of them had their roots in various religious rituals gone awry in some way.

Since there wasn't a castles or mansions on his map marked as "Crazy Old Man Loves to Craft Flesh's Place" he'd decided to check out the obvious possibility of a religious golem first.

So he'd gone to the temple and now was meeting with the blond haired green eyed Edward Chadswick who was giving him a crash course in the local theology.

"You need to understand this simple truth, we are all brothers and sisters joined together in our grand quest to express the truly divine inner nature of humankind." The priest went on.

Cal found this sort of thing silly, but no more (or less) than any other faith he'd ever bothered to pay much attention to the tenets of.

"Don't you mean Demi-humankind?" The his elven companion interrupted.

Edward blinked a few times and for a moment as his eyes helplessly focused on Devi's pointed ears.

"Well... if they are willing to make an effort. I mean we don't have many of them in Paridon so it's not something that comes up much. It all gets a bit complicated. To put it in simple terms... many demi-humans like, say, elves, lack that proper temperament to embark upon a search for the divinity that may or may not be within their souls.

They prefer to while away their days sitting in trees composing poetry, rather than putting their long lives to use in matters of industry and productivity!" The priest blustered awkwardly.

Devi was kind enough to throw him a lifeline at this point.

"I can't stand those kinds of elves personally. Given that we live so much longer than you humans do, it doesn't make sense that my fellows insist on being so insular and lazy about our centuries of life. There's no reason why we should allow ourselves to be seen as second class citizens when everything but pure numbers favors us. Their idleness is a curse upon us all." Devi noted pithily.

Still not quite sure how to take that Brother Chadswick returned his attention to Cal.

"So you said there were some aspects of our teachings that you wished to learn more about? I am always happy to council those who wish to gain knowledge and hone their minds." He offered and if the words sounded like he'd learn them from a script, there was some real sincerity lurking beneath.

"Was does your organization think of golems?" Cal finally managed to ask.

The look on Edward Chadswick face made Cal suddenly realize that even bringing Devi on this trip was far preferable to say, bringing Mirri.

"Soulless monsters! They are among the most debased creations imaginable! To craft something so alike in nature to the perfect human form, yet leave it empty of the noble human aspirations!" He decried most vehemently.

"I don't suppose this hatred for golems might go back about a century and a half to when the church had a bad experience with one?" Cal couldn't help but ask.

"No. These teachings have been at the core of our dogma since the faith was first founded. There is a reason that among this Temple's most holy relics are rings which can guard one's thoughts against being seen by another through magical means, for it is within the brilliance of our innermost thoughts that the divine form truly shows itself!

To allow a monster or another man to borrow one's thoughts is to allow the creation of something that is like unto the mind as a golem is to the body, a hollow copy, ultimately devoid of any hope of brilliance or beauty." The priest explained.

"I don't suppose you can give me that in writing?" Cal asked.

"Oh I'd be happy to give you some pamphlets on the matter!" Chadswick promised his eyes alight with proselytory delight.

**Edward Chadswick added Religious Paraphernalia to your Bag of Holding**

Cal immediately regretted that he'd asked that last question.


Sat May 23, 2015 11:24 am
Profile
Evil Genius
Evil Genius

Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:30 am
Posts: 632
Post Re: Monster Party Book 3
Monster Party Book 3: On a blue Sunday morning lies a body just oozin' life.

Chapter Six: Today could be the day I finally make a difference, and all the grateful citizens will say to me...

"Well that's that, we now officially have a fingerprint set of that bastard who tried to stab me in the throat..." Cal announced proudly.

"Does that actually help us catch the even bigger bastard who did utterly unspeakable things to my sinuses?" Alexander Diamondclaw demanded.

The alchemist's face at once became a bit less triumphant.

"Well not really, fingerprints only help you catch someone if you have a set to match them against. Still, this is something..." He awkwardly trailed off.

**Added Fingerprint Results to Bag of Holding**

"I've got something also!" James announced happily holding up the copies of the Paridon Newsbill he'd been going through with such determination that Mirri had needed to literally dangle a half dead rat under his noes to lead him over to her coffin when she'd gotten bored with not having anything fun to do.

Nine eyes quickly turned in his direction.

"Bloody Jack is smart... like really smart.

I mean the scent bombs that he used tonight, he used them before when they were planning to track him with bloodhounds. One night when he was killing clerks the guards had every single clerk they could find stay home, and instead put a guard in their place.

So instead, Bloody Jack murdered one clerk at home in his bed." James read before tossing aside that paper he'd been reading from.

"Not only that, but another night they handed out cloaks that made people who wore them invisible, but that same night Bloody Jack decided to start sprinkling caltrops all over the city. It's like anything that anyone tries to do, not only has he already thought of it, but he knows exactly what night they plan to do it on. Oh and I wrote all of this down for you to!" He concluded proudly.

**Added James' Summary to Bag of Holding**

Cal hung his head and thought, and thought hard.

"Okay, there are a couple different ways to read that. I mean, I could almost believe that that the Paridon City Guard themselves are responsible for all of this shit.

Passing it down as tradition from one generation of guards to another would explain how the pattern could exist for over a century after all. I mean, if you have a seemingly unstoppable series of murders, people are going to make sure that the city guards remains quite well funded.

Granted with only six killings every thirteen years they don't happen so often that said guards end up looking like complete idiots.

It would be like why Baron Aubrecker only agreed to pay firefighters based on the number of fires they put out for a very brief and arson ridden period of our history.

The problem with this theory is that it only gives Bloody Jack access to what the guard members know. It doesn't explain how he figured out ahead of time what I planned last night. If one of the five of you are plotting against me, well then I'm more or less already screwed from the get go.

No... there has to be something more going on. I mean the removal of seemingly pointless organs from a body... that could easily be a golem gathering parts. It could be that... or it could just be Bloody Jack adding a new meaningless wrinkle to the plot for the express purposes of screwing with me." Cal reflected.

"Look this is all getting way too complicated... if you just gave me a moment to check my notes..." The dirty blond haired man pleaded.

XXX XXX XXX

Items of importance...

1: Phoenix: Don't get excited Dad I named it after the animal, what made you think I would I name something that always hits its target on the first try after you?

2: Alchemist Badge: My credentials as an official member of the Lamordian Guild of Alchemists, good for discounts in some places and not getting burnt at the stake in others.

3: Memory of Victim's Scarf: Gave the real thing to Inspector Logan. No bloodstains yet was cut perfectly in half, suggests woman was killed with magic weapon.

4: Van Render's Statements: "My father said Bloody Jack struck like this, and so did my grandfather! It's been going on for over a century now... Sure enough we're only a few days away from it being exactly thirteen years since Bloody Jack last struck. This is how he does it, kills at the stroke of midnight, no blood left behind. He must know every street and alley in the city perfectly to keep getting away like he does."

5: Inspector Logan's Letter: "I am taking this man into my confidences as part of my latest investigation. " A form letter signed by Inspector Andrew Logan, Paridon City Guard.

6: Map of the City: A fairly standard map of Paridon, no secret passages or hidden treasures, but at least I won't get lost.

7: Bag of Funds : You know dad, if you didn't keep taking one charity case after another some day you could have a big pile of gold to loosen people's lips with!

8: Beatrice Bump's Autopsy Report: Woman's throat was slit, body otherwise unharmed. Death probably caused by the fact that the blood was somehow drained to a degree far beyond what the wound alone could explain.

9: Morton Von Keller's Statements: The facial expression and cause of death matches Bloody Jack's prior murders, but not the previously noted throat slitting.

10: Ruined Metal Collar: Not going to get anymore use out of this thing, maybe I can find another one for sale someplace, though I doubt Bloody Jack's friends will fall for the same trick twice.

11: Assassin's Blade: Was dripping some kind of venom that lucky for me must work through contact with the blood rather than skin. Some smudges on the handle, fingerprints!

12: S. H. Willby's Statements: Thirteen years ago the victims bodies had twin puncture marks on their throats. Twenty six years ago the victims were all shop clerks, but since pence, shillings, and pounds were left scattered all over the place robbery clearly wasn't the motive. Finally, thirty nine years ago, the victims always had their arms and legs severed from their torsos.

13: Bloody Jack's Letter: "Dear Mr. Fancy Pants Alchemist. This bottle contained a mixture of oil of aniseeed, oil of rampion and oil of scallatine. I'll be leaving such bottles behind with each of my next four victims also. I hope your furry friends enjoy. - Bloody Jack."

14: Annie Smitters Autopsy Report: Throat slit, death due to loss of blood beyond what wound alone should have caused, stomach opened up and gallbladder and one kidney removed.

15: Fingerprint Results: The fingerprints of the guy who tried to kill me.

16: James' Summary: Seems that anything anyone has ever thought of to stop Bloody Jack, he's always one step ahead for some reason...

People Involved with the case...

Cal Wright: Myself, hansom, dashing brilliant, and all around great guy.

Devi Skye: My main girl, elf, loves to collect magical nicknacks.

Alexander Diamondclaw: My Boss, bad at finance and letting sleeping dogs lie, but great at killing people.

Florence Bastien: Dryad, my Boss' squeeze. I don't ask questions, he doesn't horribly horribly murder me, there are worse arrangements.

James Firecat: Werecat expert at hunting for rodents and traps. Little on the crazy side.

Mirri Catwarrior: Vampire, James' squeeze, lot on the psycho side.

Inspector Andrew Logan: Yet more proof that the law needs to focus less on having a long arm and more on not having a small brain.

Hoag Van Render: Red haired man whose family has lived in Paridon for a few generations.

Morton von Keller: Owns the biggest funeral home in Paridon, mainly because he owns the only funeral home in Paridon.

S. H. Willby: Printing, evidently his parents were so cheap that they could afford to give him an actual first or middle name.

Edward Chadswick: Priest of the Temple of of the Divine Form. He's enthusiastic about his profession if nothing else.

Bloody Jack: ???? There are roughly 38,744 cobblestones that make up the streets of Paridon. If the word HATE was engraved on each and every single one again and again by powries... ????

XXX XXX XXX

"I'd have exactly as clear a picture of what was going on as before I did..." Cal openly admitted.

"While you were working we received a letter from Inspector Logan. He wants to meet with you in front of the Headquarters of the Paridon Guard at eleven bells." Florence informed him.

Cal took a moment to check his timepiece.

"Huh, proper fingerprint analysis and that nap took a lot longer than I would have expected. Well lets not keep him waiting."

XXX XXX XXX

The entire group was there to meet Inspector Logan, they were all also wearing scarfs stretched across the lower half of their faces.

"While I luckily remain quite certain that you're not Bloody Jack, you certainly do look as if you're about to commit some manner of crime." The Inspector noted dryly.

Cal adjusted his scarf slightly.

"Inspector Logan, have you ever gotten two nostrils full of oil of scallatine? Because I have, it is not an experience I intend to repeat." The alchemist explained.

The Inspector looked them over again and probably thought back to what condition he had seen Cal's "animal companions" in earlier this morning.

"Do you have an extra?" He finally brought himself to ask.

"I made one in case something happened to James'. If something still does end up happening to his then you're going to have to give it back." Cal warned him before passing Inspector Logan a damp scarf.

Andrew Logan had to do quite a fair bit of adjusting to make it sit comfortably and aggravate his scar,

"How did you get that thing anyway?" James finally couldn't help but ask.

There was a strangely long pause and Inspector Logan turned his head sorrowfully down towards the ground.

"It is a most unpleasant and unhappy tale, one that I would rather not recount for you at this moment." He finally answered.

"Oh, um sorry for bringing it up then." James apologized.

"Anyway, today while I was thinking about the situation and I realized something.

You and your companions bring some unique skills and talents to the hunt for Bloody Jack, but at the same time I know this city far better than any of you. So tonight, I think it would be for the best if I lead you through some of the streets that seamstress tend to favor to try and catch Bloody Jack in the act." The Inspector suggested.

"So what you're saying, is that you don't think you can catch Bloody Jack on your own... you think you need my help." Cal pointed out, trusting that the scarf he was wearing would keep his smug expression from showing too much.

"I think that we all need to work together to catch Bloody Jack." The Inspector declared, though Cal couldn't help but notice that the Inspector seemed a great deal less sure of himself than normal.

"I suppose we could use you help. One thing is for sure, if we keep sitting around arguing until the clock chimes midnight then the only one who is going to get anything actually done tonight is Bloody Jack." Cal reflected.

XXX XXX XXX

Inspector Logan lead them up and down several of Paridon's more dingy alleys, but there was no sign of anyone about in a top hat or black cloak. Eventually the clock began to strike out midnight with its usual lack of subtly.

Sadly exactly as before the final gong was punctuate by a scream of pain and suffering.

The six adventures and the one Inspector took off running.

To his credit Inspector Logan managed to keep up with Cal and the group eventually headed down into the alley that they were quite certain the sound came from. Sure enough, they found a body laying before them with a glass bottle propped up on her chest.

"DOWN!" Alexander commander and the entire group did just that.

There was a sharp retort and then a dark cackle from up above.

"Tell me, do you enjoy my master's work so much that you really have to be the first ones to see it?" It mocked them.

Slowly raising his chin from the cobblestones Cal caught sight of a man in a black cape and top hat, he had a long narrow face with a drooping mustache. He was standing on top of one of the buildings and with a dramatic leap descended down into the alley.

Cal rolled over hoping to get Phoenix into his hands as quickly as possible when suddenly there was a series of ominous sounds.

"YARRRROOOOOW! WEEEEEEEEEIII! YAAAAAAAA!" Would be about the best Cal could do to describe them.

He refused to worry about what the sounds meant though, he was finally getting a chance to line up Phoenix and take a clean shot. He would have preferred his target to be Bloody Jack himself, but he'd have to make to do with his coachman for the moment.

Phoenix cracked and the man in black screamed in pain, clutching his shoulder as he half stumbled out of sight around the alley corner a slight tearing sound following in his wake.

No sooner had he felt joy flood through his veins than Phoenix was knocked from his hands by a large brown and very angry canine shape.

Cal found himself gazing into a pair of amber brown eyes and felt his entire body growing listless and tired. He couldn't do anything, he could only lay there and wait for the creature murder him in some no doubt painful manner.

"Down... fiddo...?" He suggested helplessly.

"Doggies should be put on leashes..." Announced a female voice.

XXX XXX XXX

Alexander Diamondclaw lived for moments like this.

He lived for the life and death and struggle, and for far too long it'd been denied to him this 'civilized' domain. He'd known that there had been something wrong about this place, it wasn't safe, he'd been able to sense danger in the air from the moment they arrived to the one where he lost his sense of smell.

So when he saw four brown shapes giving their hunting calls, his own gloved fingers began to twitch in excitement and delight.

"About time that someone had the decency to try and kill me to my face." The silver haired man declared.

Sure enough one of the brown beasts hurled itself down at him. Wolf Claw slid from its sheath.

Flesh met metal and as one might expect, metal won.

There were two "thunks" as what was left of the animal collapsed to cobblestones.

A moment later there was a loud "TWUMP" as one of the beasts landed on James Firecat who was still trying to get back up.

The beast went for his throat, but before its teeth could close for the kill a white gloved hand closed around its own throat.

"DON'T..." A voice demanded.

"TOUCH!" It added immediately after.

"MY!" The female voice intoned before slamming the beast against a wall.

"KITTEN!" Mirri Catwarrior finally concluded.

Then there was nothing more to be said, she simply mashed the beast against the wall again, and again, and again until there was nothing left of its body but a bloody pathetic pulp.

"AHH, NO, GET OFF ME!" Screamed Inspector Logan who had been tackled by yet another of the beasts.

It began to savagely scratch away at his back, and only Inspector's Logan's armor was keeping him from being completely torn to shreds.

"Find an uneven section of the road and hold on." Intoned Florence Bastien as she made a few brief hand motions in their direction.

Inspector Logan did as he was told out of pure reflex and it was a very good thing he did since a moment later he was struck by a severe case of vertigo. That was the first thing he noticed, but in reality it was the least of his problems, given that he now felt an extremely powerful force trying to pull him away from the meager handhold he'd managed to secure thanks to an uneven stone that didn't quite fit with all the others.

On the other hand he no longer had to worry about the beast that had been on his back a moment ago. In fact it he could barely even see or hear its cry of confusion as it went rocketing up into the sky.

The fourth beast was promptly pulled from Cal Wright's prone form by Devi Skye's flail.

"Hold him steady..." Alexander commanded and his blade flashed one more time.

"It's no magical dagger that drains blood from people's bodies, but some days all you want from a blade is that it cuts things." Alexander declared proudly as he sheathed his sword.

"Thanks for that Boss, and thanks even more Devi, but lets not get the back slapping started quite yet... we've still got a coachman to track down." Cal reflected and ran in the direction that the top hatted man had vanished while the others carefully extricated Inspector Logan from the area effected by Florence's spell.

What he found was nothing, the man must have used his cape to staunch the bleeding and avoid leaving a trail.

"Nothing... damn it.. nothing... all that hard work... and I still have nothing... nothing to..." Cal paused and lifted his shoe.

"Wait... a moment..." He reached down and pulled up something he'd just stepped on. It was a small black scrap of cloth.

"If this is 'nothing' then I must be Bloody Jack..." Cal chuckled to himself as he twisted the thing over and saw that not only did he have a scrap of black cloth, he had a scrap of black cloth which had some kind of mark on it.

He wasn't sure what it meant, but it had obviously been put there intentionally.

"I'm afraid I need to confiscate that cloth so that the Paridon City Guard can properly examine it." Inspector Logan insisted.

Cal glowered at him.

"You can't be serious. I found this thing so I get to check it for fingerprints and other clues first!" He demanded.

Cal was well aware that "firsties" was not exactly the the established protocol for this kind of thing, but it beat out the alternative.

"You can have your turn to examine it once we are done with it." Andrew Logan promised him.

Cal wasn't about to let the first real clue he'd gotten slip through his fingers.

"No I won't. Bloody Jack has been running rings around your entire organization for over a century. I'm not letting this out of my sight unless it goes into Devi's Bag of Holding until I'm done investigating it. I'm not going to give Bloody Jack a chance to steal it away form you. Look, we all need to work together to catch Bloody Jack let me hold onto this thing for just a few hours." He pleaded with the Inspector.

"Bloody Jack knew what you were planning last night just as surely as he knew what we have in the past. There's no reason to think that you'd be able to hold onto this evidence any better than we could.

I am the official Inspector on the case and I've been willing to tolerate your foolishness up to this point but no further. Give me the scarf or I'll have you charged with obstruction of justice!" Logan demanded angrily.

Cal was painfully aware of the fact that right now Phoenix was empty. On the other hand it wasn't like Wolf Claw ever got "empty", but no matter how the deed was done you couldn't unring that particular bell. Even if they could somehow manage to make Logan' death look like another of Bloody Jack's victims there would be repercussions.

Still there had to be a better way, there had to be some way he could hold onto this cloth, he couldn't afford to let it slip through his fingers...

He had to think of something soon.

He had to think of something!

He had to think...

"HOLD IT!"


There was complete and total silence in the alley.

Cal turned in the direction of the voice.

Inspector Logan turned in the direction of the voice.

Alexander Diamondclaw turned in the direction of the voice.

James Firecat coughed slightly to clear his throat.

"Inspector Andrew Logan, what happened to the glove?" He asked in a surprisingly solemn tone.

"What glove?" Logan spluttered in confusion.

"During one of the killings six years ago, a glove was found at the scene of the crime. It was mentioned in the Paridon Newsbill and verified by several eye witnesses named in the story. The glove then vanished from the Headquarters of the Paridon Guard the next day without a trace and no explanation was ever given.

The loss of that glove is definitive proof that Bloody Jack has managed to steal evidence from the Paridon City Guard in the past. Unless you can name something important that Bloody Jack has stolen from us, that scarf is safer with us than with you." The red haired youth explained.

In the wake of his proclamation there was once again silence.

"I'll expect that scrap of cloth on my desk before noon..." Inspector Logan growled before pushing past Cal and departing from the alley removing his wet sash in the process.

Once he was gone. Cal grabbed James Firecat and promptly hoisted him up onto his shoulders.

"That... that couldn't have been made up... otherwise he would have called our asses on it! That missing glove story was really in there?" Cal gasped in amazement while trying to preform a combination piggyback ride and victory jig.

"It wasn't anything special, I'm a librarian's kid, you told me to read the newsbills so I read them. By the way, does this mean I can be your assistant now?" James asked excitedly.

A brief moment later the werecat slid from Cal's shoulder to land in a heap.

"Look I love getting first crack at clues, but I love... love more. Also it's only a clue to one of Bloody Jack's henchmen, find one for me dealing with Jack himself and then we'll talk." Cal concluded.

End Chapter.


Tue Jun 09, 2015 7:49 pm
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Evil Genius
Evil Genius

Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:30 am
Posts: 632
Post Re: Monster Party Book 3
Monster Party Book 3: On a blue Sunday morning lies a body just oozin' life.

Chapter Seven: Who is this man, what sort of devil is he?

"So Boss, what were these things anyway?" Cal pondered as he prodded one of the corpses with Phoenix.

"They were way too aggressive for dogs, but they're the wrong color and too small for wolves, not to mention what would wolves be doing in a city like this?" He added, not that he really expected Alexander Diamondclaw needed his suggestions when it came to identifying four legged predators of a canine or lupine persuasion.

"They're were not dogs or wolves... they're the worst of both. They were jackals." Alexander answered as he swept out of the alley.

XXX XXX XXX

"Excuse me Miss McMoran? Given that it would seem that you're the most well known seam... the most well known mender of garments in all of Paridon I was wondering what you could make of this..." Cal asked the brown haired woman who ran the Winking Eye Stitchery before handing over the scrap of cloth.

He'd already given it a complete fingerprint analysis back at the Twilight Yawn Inn while waiting for the rest of the city to awaken from slumber and been lucky enough to find a set of prints on it. Not only that, but they'd been a match for the ones on the knife, which told him... exactly what he already knew, that the man who tired to murder him outside of Morton von Keller's funeral home worked for Bloody Jack.

Still, at the very least he no longer needed to worry about the cloth getting contaminated by having other people handle it.

The woman took it, giving Cal a bit of a stink eye for his slip of a tongue before turning the object over several times as she examined it.

"I was particularly wondering about that strange white marking on it. Do you have any idea what it is?" He inquired.

"It's a maker's mark. Tailors sew them into their creations so that people can know who was responsible for some particularly well crafted bit of clothing." She explained and Cal felt his heart rise.

"Do you recognize who that mark belongs to?" He asked having to resist the urge to do something as silly and pointless as crossing his fingers.

That was good because he needed to have his hands free when she practically threw the thing back in his face.

"Please! There's no way I couldn't recognize it, it's mine!" She declared proudly.

At that news even Devi lost some of her normal stoic detachment and quickly began to fish for more paper and her magic pen.

"Well, you'll be proud to know that it doesn't implicate you in the slightest. We got a decent enough look at the person who wore this and he was definitively male. Still, this was part of a black cape that a man was wearing, a man who I have every reason to believe is a servant of Bloody Jack.

Do you keep a list of everyone whose bought one of these cloaks from you?" Cal asked for once finally feeling like something was going right with this case.

"I can't have a strange man going around pestering my customers just because they bought a black cape from me! Black capes are very in style this season!" She protested.

Present: Bag of Funds.

"What if I was willing to pay you in advance to cover any momentary bad word of mouth my investigation might cause?" Cal offered.

"One hundred pounds?" The tailor (tailoress?) asked warily.

Cal started pulling out coins and at the sight of him doing so Miss McMoran all to readily accepted pen and paper from Devi.

"Seeing as you're being so gentlemanly about it, I'll give you the lists of everyone from the last six months or so. Women as well as men, after all one of them might bought the thing as gifts for their husbands or fiancees so you might want to get in touch with them all the same." Ire McMoran noted as she began to write.

In exchange for the money (Cal took solace in the fact that the last night the city's Vigilance Committee had decided to raise the reward for Bloody Jack's to five THOUSAND pounds) he got himself a list of forty four different names. Forty four was a great many suspects to work through, but it was a hell of a lot smaller than the number than basically every single person in Paridon.

**Added Customer List to Bag of Holding**

Somewhere in that list was a person who worked for Bloody Jack, who knew Bloody Jack's true identity, he was sure of it!

This, this was how it was supposed to feel, when you did this s**t. Not only that, but considering that at the moment it'd been less than sixty hours since they'd found Miss Beatrice Bump's body, he could still wrap this whole thing up inside his father's traditional three day time span.

"Miss McMoran you've been able to tell me more than I could possibly hope for. When this city is ready to hold a parade in my honor for catching Bloody Jack I'll make sure to let you design the outfit I wear during it!" He promised her.

Cal was so exuberant about his new found information that he didn't even bother to feel offended over the way she rolled her eyes in response to this comment!

XXX XXX XXX

Present: Customer List

"I've got your scarf and I've also got a list of people who might be, or at least personally know Bloody Jack's coachman!" Cal declared proudly the moment he encountered Inspector Logan.

That moment did come just a touch sooner than expected since Andrew Logan had evidently decided to park himself in the public waiting room of the Paridon Guard's Headquarters rather than his office this morning.

Then realizing that his statement didn't quite make sense on its own he clarified it somewhat.

"That fellow who attacked us in the alley last night, he looked just like the one who was driving Bloody Jack's coach on the first night we saw him." Cal explained for Inspector Logan's benefit.

"Congratulations, while you were off gallivanting about I was paying a visit to Morton von Keller." Logan pushed a piece of paper across the table he was seated at.

"Since you and your companion were kind enough to be here with that scarf I so graciously lent you all of five minutes before noon, I suppose I might as well give you this. The deceased was another seamstress named Sandra Bartello. She had her throat slit, deep incisions made in her stomach and her spleen and appendix remove." He reflected sardonically.

**Added Sandra Bartello's Autopsy Report To Bag of Holding**


Now Cal was actually rather certain that Bloody Jack was just trying to mock him, what other reason could there possibly be for taking such a useless mishmash of organs?

"Well, thank you for that then. I've been running myself ragged doing fingerprint analysis and trying to get information about the scrap of cloth we found, then making a copy of the list we got just for you and in the end didn't have time to pay him a visit. Now I'm going back to the Twilight Yawn Inn, if you figure out anything let me know." Cal suggested.

XXX XXX XXX

"You certainly took your time to open the door. Part of me wondered if you were planning on sleeping through tonight's murder." Inspect Logan grumbled.

"Sorry, this would be a lot easier if Bloody Jack would be willing to commit his acts at the stroke of noon instead of midnight. Anyway, it's still three hours till then, what did you come here to talk with me about?" Cal wanted to know.

Inspector Logan managed to force a smile to his face and then handed a small slip of paper to Cal.

**Added Logan's List to Bag of Holding**


"I took your list of forty four names, and narrowed it down to a list of the three most obvious suspects.

At the very top of the list is Doctor Wolfgang Arturus, a physician who has black hair and a black mustache, just like how you described Bloody Jack's coachman. He's also known for spending a great deal of time in the more unsavory parts of town.

The second is Treech Gallant, a red haired man with a mustache. He's said to be quite high up in the city's criminals, and a skilled knife fighter.

The third is Gorst Barkrant, a brown haired butcher with a well known pride in his mustache. He's in a well known rivalry with Mr. Hoag van Render and as you may have realized we found Miss Bump's body within spitting distance of Mr. van Render's place of operation.

Since of the three of them Doctor Arturus is the only one to match the hair color you described our suspect having, I've drawn up orders for him to be arrested and his house searched for further evidence that might link him with Bloody Jack.

Given your success during the fracas last night I thought it might be a good idea to bring you along for the arrest. The six of you seem to be worth several dozen of my normal constables in a fight." Inspector Logan explained.

Cal blinked a few times.

"You know, I think that's the first truly sensible speech that you've given me since we met. Okay guys, you heard the man, we've got some arresting to do!" Cal cried out with delight.

The various members of Cal & Skye & Associates were spread about the suit in various states of relaxation.

To pick one example not at all at random, a black coffin lid popped open and a rather perturbed Mirri Catwarrior emerged from it.

"Do we have to?" She wined like a petulant child.

"I hate to be a wet blanket, but we were sort of in the middle of something important!" James Firecat added as he climb forth from the coffin in her wake, a somewhat noticeable trickle of blood working its way down his throat.

Now it was Inspector Logan's turn to blink a few times.

Cal took a few steps forward and promptly slammed the door shut behind him.

"Look, there's a very simple rule to getting along with people, you don't ask about what kind knitting related techniques or supplies they might have an interest in, and they don't tell you.

It is none of my business where or how they care to thread the eye of the needle. Some people like to use chains and others don't. So people double crochet and others prefer to knit stitch through the back loop. Still other people like bar increases, that's where you knit a stitch in the front, and after that do one in the back.

The important fact is that you don't, DON'T ask questions because you just might get answers. After you get answers before you know it you end up shopping for a spinning wheel yourself because you've heard that they save time and make the whole process much more enjoyable.

So, Inspector Logan, lets not go down that particular road, because believe me, we'll still be busy going down it three days later while Bloody Jack is slaying his last victim." Cal pointed out.

There were a lot more blinking and still no words.

For his part, Cal was just glad that he'd managed to pick up that book on tailoring terminology while he'd been at Winking Eye Stitchery. If nothing else, he figured it would be good for a laugh, and sure enough from the expression on Andrew Logan's face he'd been right.

"So do we have a gentleman's agreement not to discuss what you might have thought you saw, but upon reflection quite clearly did not see going on beyond this particular door?" Cal offered.

"Quite." Inspector Logan mumbled in agreement, clearly deciding that sure enough, on this matter ignorance was bliss.

XXX XXX XXX

It was only after that particular boondoggle had been sorted out and they were on their way to the Doctor's place that Cal realized Inspector Logan had taken the precautions of strapping a crossbow to his back in addition to his short sword.

Clearly after the jackal attack last night he was sensibly going loaded for bear into anything that had a whiff of Bloody Jack into it.

"So, exactly how long has Doctor Arturus been living in Paridon?" Cal wanted to know, still trying to figure out a sensible theory for Bloody Jack's hundred and fifty year long series of killing sprees.

"Less than ten years, but he was apprenticed to one of the city's most famous physicians." Inspector Logan answered straight away.

That still didn't quite seem to fit, but it certainly fit better than hearing he'd just shown up one day out of nowhere with no connection at all to the city like how Cal and his companions had.

XXX XXX XXX

To the alchemist's surprise when they reached Wolfgang Arturus' home it proved to be a two story mansion, but the windows on the first floor had all be constructed with heavy bars to keep people from breaking them.

Not only that, but a on second look Cal also realized that there was no obviously wooden parts of the exterior to the house meaning it would be hard to put to the torch.

This building wasn't very a large house, it was a very small castle!

"I trust you are beginning to have some inkling of why I requested your help? The Doctor does not have a reputation as a violent man... but he does have one for being very cautious." Andrew Logan took the time to warn them before he pounded forcefully upon the mansion's front door.

Half of Cal expected to have a pot of boiling oil poured on them in response, but after a few moments the door swung open to reveal a very surprised servant of some kind.

While he'd been waiting for someone to respond Inspector Logan had drawn his crossbow and now aimed it right at the man's stomach.

"Don't make a sound. Step outside slowly with your hands raised high..." He instructed.

The servant half whimpered some meaningless noise but otherwise obeyed orders.

"Which room is Doctor Arturus in?" Logan whispered.

"The drawing r-r-room sir... it's j-j-just off the main hall..." The manservant stuttered clearly not in the habit of having deadly weapons pointed in his general direction.

"Good man, I'll keep that in mind when getting all of this sorted out, now then, you lot follow me." Inspector Logan commanded softly motioning to the others.

The group crept as softly as they could through the mansion, not that they especially needed to though, soon enough the sounds of music filled the air and would probably have muffled any missteps they made.

Inspector Logan lead them to the drawing room in question and they found Doctor Wolfgang Arturus alone playing a large well made chello.

"Oh Inspector... is something the matter?" Wolfgang asked in confusion, still gripping the bow in one hand.

Cal took this opportunity to take a good long look at the Doctor. His chin was bare but he has a large prominent mustache and a somewhat drawn face.

Cal tried to sort his sort through his memories as easily as he could his physical evidence. He'd only ever seen the coachman at a fair distance unlike Bloody Jack... nothing in the Doctor's face disagreed with Cal's impression of how Bloody Jack's servant looked, but he couldn't get a clear enough mental image to be confident based on that alone.

"I'll say something is the matter." Inspector Logan explained as he began to brandish the necessary paperwork relating to his plans to arrest the Doctor.

"It's... it's such a shame that you had to interrupt me right now. I was just about to do a little singing, I've heard a great many people compliment me on my voice. Whatever this matter is about it surely isn't so important that there isn't time for at least one song?" Wolfgang suggested.

"I think your situation much too serious for singing." Declared Alexander Diamondclaw calmly as he entered the room.

Doctor Arturus took one look at the silver haired man and the bow fell from his suddenly limp fingers.

"You are right of course Grand... good sir. What may I do to be of service?" He offered gently leaning his instrument against the couch and standing up.

"You can go stand directly in front of one of your own bared windows with your eyes focused tightly on it. Mr. Wright if you reach into the right hip pocket of my outfit you will find a pair of handcuffs.

If you would care to show your skills as an 'Alchemist' by restraining Doctor Arturus while I make sure he doesn't do anything foolish I'd be much obliged." Inspector Logan explained.

Cal followed the instructions. The handcuffs they used in Paridon had slightly different design than those he was used to seeing in Lamordia but not enough to be troublesome.

There wasn't much trick putting the things on someone after all, at least so long as you were smart enough to make sure to do it while they held they had their hands behind them.

If you put handcuffs on a man with his hands behind his back you were limiting his range of motions, if you did it to someone who was holding them straight out in front of them you were putting several pounds of metal on their wrists or, to put it another way, their arms just had just become a hammer.

Simply sitting around in court watching how the bailiffs restrained people had taught Cal that much!

The Doctor took this particular turn of events with surprisingly good graces.

"Now that you have me completely at your mercy would you care to explain why I am supposedly implicated in such heinous crimes?" He asked, mustache bristling slightly.

Inspector Logan held up the copy of the list that Cal had given him.

"During one of the killings a servant of Bloody Jack left behind a scrap of cloth belonging to a black cloak purchased from Ire McMoran. The man in question was described as having a black hair with a mustache just like you Doctor.

Not only that, but your habit of hanging around with seamstresses is an open secret. So, me and my companions will be preforming a search of your house to see if any additional evidence turns up." Andrew Logan explained.

"Oh now really! If you must know Inspector Logan the reason I spend so much time in areas of the city that others might consider beneath of a man of my stature is because I can either treat one sick seamstress or expected to have at least three men with the exact same illness show up sooner or later. Not only that, but the black cloak I bought isn't torn in the slightest you can find it in my dresser!" Doctor Arturus protested.

Inspector Logan motioned towards Florence, Devi and James.

"You three come with me, the rest of you stay here and make sure the Doctor is still here when we get back!" He ordered briskly.

Florence raised an eyebrow towards Alexander but the silver haired man nodded and so the four of them soon departed leaving Cal, Alexander, and Mirri alone with the suspect.

Granted some of them clearly found him more suspicious than others, since Alexander promptly made himself at home on the couch that Wolfgang had been using a few moments before.

"Cal, when Inspector Logan gets back I expect you to defend Doctor Arturus to the best of your capabilities, there's no reason to think that he's involved." He declared decisively.

The alchemist furrowed his brow slightly.

"Um, Boss no offense but I'll trust that a lot more when it's coming out of his own lips after Mirri is done with him." He suggested knowing how a vampiric charm gaze tended to work wonders for getting people to spill their secrets.

It really was amazing just how fast Alexander Diamondclaw could move when he wanted to, before Cal knew it he found that lone green eye gazing down at him pitilessly.

"This is my Courtroom Beta. Did you just second guess my judgment?" He growled.

"Wouldn't even dream of it." Cal mumbled quickly.

"Good." Alexander replied, having returned to the couch just as swiftly as he left it.

"Terribly sorry to be getting you folks involved in all of this." Wolfgang offered as he either tried to test the strength of his bindings or find the most comfortable position for his restrained hands.

"Is it true that you weren't born in Paridon Doctor?" Alexander asked in a friendly enough manner.

"You're correct, but since I arrived I've done everything I possibly can to make the city my home. I've gotten quite attached to it." Wolfgang admitted.

"What can you tell us about the man who taught you medicine? If this theory about you being involved holds much truth it is probably going to involve claiming that he also helped with at least one round of Bloody Jack's killings." Cal inquired trying to gather as much information as he can.

Wolfgang's arm shook with barely suppressed rage all of a sudden, much like Alexander it was clear that he had a few buttons that it was best not to push.

"Doctor Louis Fericks was a good man, a great man! If you want to accuse me of being involved with the murders, fine, do it... but I won't here a word against him!" Wolfgang Arturus insisted.

Cal wasn't sure what to make of that, but decided not to worry about it too much. After all, if the Doctor was as innocent as he claimed to be then how much evidence could Inspector Logan possibly find against him?"

XXX XXX XXX

"That's a lot of evidence." Mirri Catwarrior noted wryly not so long later.

Cal wasn't about to agree with her out loud but she certainly had a point. In fact there was so much f**king evidence he was surprised it hadn't started having little baby evidences!

The black cloak had been found, and though it was in one piece, it also had a great many noticeable new stitches in it, as if someone none to skilled at such things had hastily repaired it recently. Beyond that, there was a set of oddly shaped knives, several with dried blood still on them, there was a scrap of bright cloth which Inspector Logan was certain matched the outfit that Annie Smitters had been wearing, and finally there was a bunch of what looked like human ribs with some quite noticeable teeth marks upon them.

In short, everything except a blood splattered top hat and jars full of preserved seamstress organs.

Cal took a heavy breath and wondered just how Doctor Arturus could possibly convince anyone other than Alexander Diamondclaw of his innocence?

End Chapter


Tue Jul 07, 2015 8:32 pm
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Evil Genius
Evil Genius

Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:30 am
Posts: 632
Post Re: Monster Party Book 3
Monster Party Book 3: On a blue Sunday morning lies a body just oozin' life.

Chapter 8: I'll use the samurai dogs to save my case in the end!

"You are serious about this?" Inspector Logan demanded as he and Cal once again found themselves explicitly at cross purposes.

The Lamordian alchemist nodded slowly.

"That's right. There's a famous saying in my homeland about how no one deserves a proper defense more than the guilty. That's how you prove the strength of your legal system after all, the very best argument possible can be made for someone's innocence and yet the evidence will still prove them helplessly guilty. I admit that you've got a lot of evidence to work with, but lets do this anyway just to be certain. Think of it as a time saver, you'll know exactly what you and the prosecutor need to say in court when it goes to trial." Cal offered.

Inspector Logan furrowed his brow mightily.

"Do you have an explanation for everything that we've found if he isn't guilty?" The leader of the Paridon Guard demanded.

"That theory is still a work in progress, but remember the defense doesn't need perfect proof of innocence or to prove what actually happened, just to point out every single flaw possible in the prosecution's case and prove that they lack enough evidence to warrant conviction. So go ahead hit me with your best argument and lets see what happens." Cal suggested.

Inspector Andrew Logan coughed to clear his throat and began.

"I can't believe we even need to go through with this farce! Back when we first met you said that evidence was everything, well now we have all the evidence we could possibly want! Look at all of these knives your companions found in the Doctor's basement. Don't tell me that you don't recognize at least one of them as being like the knife you saw Bloody Jack wielding!"

Cal cleared his head and prepared to think very, very hard, he didn't want to upset Alexander Diamondclaw, bad things happened to people who did that.

XXX XXX XXX

Items of importance...

1: Phoenix: Don't get excited Dad I named it after the animal, what made you think I would I name something that always hits its target on the first try after you?

2: Alchemist Badge: My credentials as an official member of the Lamordian Guild of Alchemists, good for discounts in some places and not getting burnt at the stake in others.

3: Memory of Victim's Scarf: Gave the real thing to Inspector Logan. No bloodstains yet was cut perfectly in half, suggests woman was killed with magic weapon.

4: Van Render's Statements: "My father said Bloody Jack struck like this, and so did my grandfather! It's been going on for over a century now... Sure enough we're only a few days away from it being exactly thirteen years since Bloody Jack last struck. This is how he does it, kills at the stroke of midnight, no blood left behind. He must know every street and alley in the city perfectly to keep getting away like he does."

5: Inspector Logan's Letter: "I am taking this man into my confidences as part of my latest investigation. " A form letter signed by Inspector Andrew Logan, Paridon City Guard.

6: Map of the City: A fairly standard map of Paridon, no secret passages or hidden treasures, but at least I won't get lost.

7: Bag of Funds : You know dad, if you didn't keep taking one charity case after another some day you could have a big pile of gold to loosen people's lips with!

8: Beatrice Bump's Autopsy Report: Woman's throat was slit, body otherwise unharmed. Death probably caused by the fact that the blood was somehow drained to a degree far beyond what the wound alone could explain.

9: Morton Von Keller's Statements: The facial expression and cause of death matches Bloody Jack's prior murders, but not the previously noted throat slitting.

10: Ruined Metal Collar: Not going to get anymore use out of this thing, maybe I can find another one for sale someplace, though I doubt Bloody Jack's friends will fall for the same trick twice.

11: Assassin's Blade: Was dripping some kind of venom that lucky for me must work through contact with the blood rather than skin. Some smudges on the handle, fingerprints!

12: S. H. Willby's Statements: Thirteen years ago the victims bodies had twin puncture marks on their throats. Twenty six years ago the victims were all shop clerks, but since pence, shillings, and pounds were left scattered all over the place robbery clearly wasn't the motive. Finally, thirty nine years ago, the victims always had their arms and legs severed from their torsos.

13: Bloody Jack's Letter: "Dear Mr. Fancy Pants Alchemist. This bottle contained a mixture of oil of aniseeed, oil of rampion and oil of scallatine. I'll be leaving such bottles behind with each of my next four victims also. I hope your furry friends enjoy. - Bloody Jack."

14: Annie Smitters Autopsy Report: Throat slit, death due to loss of blood beyond what wound alone should have caused, stomach opened up and gallbladder and one kidney removed.

15: Fingerprint Results: The fingerprints of the guy who tried to kill me.

16: James' Summary: Seems that anything anyone has ever thought of to stop Bloody Jack, he's always one step ahead for some reason...

17: Customer List: A list of forty four names of people who have bought black cloaks from Ira McMoran recently.

18: Sandra Bartello's Autopsy Report: Throat slit, death due to loss of blood beyond what wound alone should have caused, stomach opened up then appendix and spleen removed.

19: Logan's List: A list with three names on it Doctor Wolfgang Arturus, Treech Gallant, and Gorst Barkrant.

20: Box of Knives: A bunch of knives some with blood on them.

21: Repaired cloak: A black cloak with Ire McMoran's maker's mark on it, has obvious stitches from where someone repaired it recently.

22: Stolen cloth: A piece of cloth supposedly taken from the second victim's dress.

23: Pile of bones: A bunch of rib bones with what look like human teeth on them... I got nothing.

People Involved with the case...

Cal Wright: Myself, hansom, dashing brilliant, and all around great guy.

Devi Skye: My main girl, elf, loves to collect magical nicknacks.

Alexander Diamondclaw: My Boss, bad at finance and letting sleeping dogs lie, but great at killing people.

Florence Bastien: Dryad, my Boss' squeeze. I don't ask questions, he doesn't horribly horribly murder me, there are worse arrangements.

James Firecat: Werecat expert at hunting for rodents and traps. Little on the crazy side.

Mirri Catwarrior: Vampire, James' squeeze, lot on the psycho side.

Inspector Andrew Logan: Yet more proof that the law needs to focus less on having a long arm and more on not having a small brain.

Hoag Van Render: Red haired man whose family has lived in Paridon for a few generations.

Morton von Keller: Owns the biggest funeral home in Paridon, mainly because he owns the only funeral home in Paridon.

S. H. Willby: Printing, evidently his parents were so cheap that they could afford to give him an actual first or middle name.

Edward Chadswick: Priest of the Temple of of the Divine Form. He's enthusiastic about his profession if nothing else.

Ira McMoran: The most well knowing woman who actually uses a genuine needle and thread to do her work on clothing in the city.

Doctor Wolfgang Arturus: Suspicious as all get out but Boss seems to think well of him for some reason. In other words probably a bastard, but for the moment he's our bastard.

Bloody Jack: ???? It would not equal to one billionth of the hate that I am feeling for the killer at this second. For you. Hate. HATE. ????

XXX XXX XXX

"Hmm..." Cal bit his lip for a moment hoping that little pain would also help stir his brain to brilliance.

1:I can't believe we even need to go through with this farce!

2:Back when we first met you said that evidence was everything, well now we have all the evidence we could possibly want!

3:Look at all of these knives your companions found in the Doctor's basement.

4: Don't tell me that you don't recognize at least one of them as being like the knife you saw Bloody Jack Wielding! ← Press.

"HOLD IT! Inspector Logan before we go running wild with accusations, everything needs to be properly grounded, not just evidence but the facts as well. How much do we know about Bloody Jack's knife other than that it magical sucks the blood out of any cut it makes? I only got a fairly brief look at it myself and one fancy knife looks very much like another." Cal explained.

"Since you asked..." Inspector Logan replied before reaching into a pocket of his jacket.

"While you've been conducting your investigation I've been going through the history records of my organization looking for any clues they had dealing with Bloody Jack. It just so happens that one of my forbears managed to catch sight of Bloody Jack's knife one night as the criminal was escaping.

He was doing it with his back to the Inspector so his face remained a mystery but he noticed quite clearly that Bloody Jack's knife had a two prominent rubies embedded in the hilt..." Inspector Logan explained.

**Added Copy of Former Inspector's Testimony to Bag of Holding**

"That is why this knife in particular drew my attention." The Inspector continued holding up an elaborate looking knife with two rubies in the hilt.

Cal gazed at the knife.

"What if I could prove that the knife you're holding right now isn't Bloody Jack's knife?" Cal insisted.

"Can you?" The inspector shot back at once.

Yes

No ←

"Well I can't prove that it's not Bloody Jack's knife, but I know someone in this room who can!" Cal promised.

"Who would that be and how do they intend to prove it?" The Inspector wanted to know at once.

Present: James Firecat!

"James can do it... all we need to do is is have him..." Cal began before abruptly realizing what a fool he was being.

Yeah if he was free to work this case with just the other five it would be easy to have James take off his hat, prick one of his ears with the knife and see if it managed to overcome his lycanthropic resilience to harm or not, but with Inspector Logan there... not so much.

"I don't suppose you'd be willing to step out of the room for a few minutes and trust me when I said I say I know the answer but can't repeat the steps I took to find it out in front of you?" Cal pleaded.

Inspector Logan just glared back at him frostily.

**PFFF!**

**Inspector Logan's Tolerance For Your Bullshit down to 80%**

"I repeat myself, who would that be and how do they intend to prove it?" Inspector Logan demanded again.

Present: Florence Bastien!

"Florence, since we're dealing with magic here and that is sort of your forte do you think...?" Cal began.

"Detecting sources of magic is among the most simple of mystical abilities that is why its quite widespread. I learned how to do it right after I learned how to purify food and water." She raised a hand, pointed it at the box of knives and concentrated.

She kept right on concentrating for about six seconds before turning her head away from them. "There isn't a single knife in that box that has so much as a trace of magic." She declared confidently.

"So I'm supposed to just take her at her word?" Inspector Logan replied still far from fully convinced..

"Since you asked, you're sword is magic. So is Alexander's, and Cal's gun after the enchantments I placed upon it to make it more durable. Would you like to try hiding them somewhere in this mansion and see how long it takes me to locate them with my powers?" Florence offered.

Inspector Logan abruptly shook his head, obviously realizing that the dryad was far too confident to be bluffing.

"Then for the moment we will refrain from arguing that Bloody Jack's weapon of choice has been found. The fact still remains that there is no reasonable explanation for why we found so many bloodstained knives." Logan persisted.

"Well he is a Doctor." James Firecat contributed helpfully.

Logan picked up one of the knives that had dried blood caked on it and held it out for him to get a good look at it.

"If you look close you'll notice that these knives have crossguards, who needs a crossguard when preforming surgery? People have accused the Doctor of many things, but none claim that he fails to follow proper sanitary procedure for his instruments after surgery. At least after any legal surgery he preforms." The Inspector explained.

"I don't think we really need to beat around the bush here do we? The only reason that there would have been a bunch of knives for your red haired companion to find is because the Doctor was using them for some illicit purpose. Even if he isn't keeping Bloody Jack's knife with him he's clearly using these ones for some fowl deeds!" Logan concluded.

1: I don't think we really need to beat around the bush here do we? ←Press

2: The only reason that there would have been a bunch of knives for your red haired companion to find is because the Doctor was using them for some illicit purpose.

3:Even if he isn't keeping Bloody Jack's knife with him he's clearly using these ones for some fowl deeds!

"You'd be surprised how much can be accomplished with a little lawyerly bush beating. For example...

1: Where were these knives bought from?

2: Who were these knives used on? ←

3: How exactly were they being hidden?

"If you contend that there's blood on these knives because they've been used on someone related to the Bloody Jack killings, I'd appreciate it if YOU would stop beating around the bush and amend your statements to clearly say who!" Cal insisted.

"If that's what you need I'll give it to you.

I don't think we really need to beat around the bush here do we? The only reason that there would have been a bunch of knives for your red haired companion to find is because the Doctor was using them for some illicit purpose. Even if he isn't keeping Bloody Jack's knife with him he's clearly using these ones for some fowl deeds! Why it's obvious that these were the knives used to remove the organs from Bloody Jack's victims!" Inspector Logan declared.

1: I don't think we really need to beat around the bush here do we?

2:The only reason that there would have been a bunch of knives for your red haired companion to find is because the Doctor was using them for some illicit purpose.

3:Even if he isn't keeping Bloody Jack's knife with him he's clearly using these ones for some fowl deeds!

4; Why it's obvious that these were the knives used to remove the organs from Bloody Jack's victims! ← Present Sandra Bartello's Autopsy Report

"OBJECTION! My, my, poor Inspector Logan, you seem to keep making the same mistake over and over again about thinking about this as a simple ordinary case. You've yet to master the art of learning how to turn your thinking around when you need to! Your contention at the moment is that the Doctor isn't Bloody Jack, but a servant of Bloody Jack's who removed the organs after Jack was done killing them?" Cal gloated.

"Exactly right!" The Inspector Insisted.

"Exactly wrong!" Cal corrected.

"The autopsy report makes it all quite clear that the the victim was drained of blood by Bloody Jack's dagger! In short, if they were used on the victim after they had their throat slit there would have been no blood left to get on these ordinary daggers!" The alchemist pointed out decisively.

Inspector Logan's face was a study in contradiction as he squinted and struggled to figure out how he could possibly respond to that.

"Then the knives were used on the victim before Bloody Jack killed them! Before or after the seamstress' died, does it really make a difference?" He eventually insisted.

"You're half right, it doesn't make a difference, because it was impossible either way, and I have the evidence to prove it." Cal replied.

Present: Beatrice Bump's Autopsy Report!

"TAKE A GOOD LOOK AT THIS!" Cal bellowed while tossing the Inspector the very first autopsy report that they had gotten.

"That night was when we came the closest to catching Bloody Jack in the act. He only had time to cut his victim's throat, not remove any of their organs. When he gets more time to himself though he does both.

If the normal knives were used first by Doctor Arturus then Beatrice Bump would have had her stomach opened up but not her throat slit! In short Inspector, whatever the providence of those bloody knives, they have no actual relation to the Bloody Jack killings!" Cal announced while giving his very best dramatic finger point in Inspector Logan's direction.

For his part Inspector Logan was kind enough to flinch backwards and actually drop the box just to make things as dramatic as possible.

"Okay... okay, lets put aside the knives for the moment. Instead lets talk about the cloak! All it takes is one good look at the section around the maker's mark, and you can be certain that it's been repaired recently. It's a real pity, the Doctor might have learned enough about stitching to sow up bodies and mend wounds, but his work on fabric is fairly obvious, wouldn't you agree?" Inspector Logan asked.

1:Okay... okay, lets put aside the knives for the moment. Instead lets talk about the cloak!

2:All it takes is one good look at the section around the maker's mark, and you can be certain that it's been repaired recently. ← Press

3:It's a real pity, the Doctor might have learned enough about stitching to sow up bodies and mend wounds, but his work on fabric is fairly obvious, wouldn't you agree?

"HOLD IT! Inspector Logan there's something about those obvious repairs that doesn't seem quite so 'obvious' to me at the moment...

1: The maker's mark. ←

2: The thread used to do it.

3: The needle used to do it.

That maker's mark it's quite good isn't it?" Cal pointed out.

"Of course it's good, like I said, as a Doctor, the suspect would know how to sew things up tight, just not how to be subtle about it.

"The problem here inspector is that as things stand... you're telling me that Doctor Arturus is both great and terrible at sewing. That's a clear contradiction if I ever heard one." Cal boasted.

"One can be 'great' at sewing things to that they are tightly bound and yet not be able to hide the needlework in the cloth or have any clear idea of designs and patterns." Inspector Logan replied.

"Designs and patterns, that's a funny way of putting it. Because the right now the hole that you need to sew shut in your argument is if Doctor Wolfgang repaired this cloak himself... how did he do such a good job replicating the Ire McMoran's maker's mark?" Cal pointed out with a smirk.

Once again Inspector Logan was left without an answer.

"Since you seem to be out of theories for the moment, let me tell you one of my own about how that maker's mark wound up there..."

1: He's skilled enough with a needle to recreate the mark.

2: He bought an extra cloak and used the second to repair this one.

3: Someone is trying to frame the Doctor. ←

"Someone is trying to Frame Doctor Arturus!" Cal suddenly realized.

"Are you serious?" Inspector Logan demanded.

"Think about it! It all fits together, just like this repaired coat! Bloody Jack has been ahead of both of us from the start. He and his cronies might make little slip ups now and again, like the scrap of cloth we found, but all of this evidence, and this easily found?

Think about the cloak... if they simply tore a section off and ran away with the missing section then they'd need it to be a near perfect match to the missing scrap of cloak we found last night. That'd be a bit of a risk given that it got torn off at random.

If you repair the cloak though, then the obvious needlework hides the underlying shape of the tear! So I say we start pulling this thread and see what we find underneath!

Then we can match the shape its tear against the one I gave you at noon. Unless you're going to suggest that the Doctor somehow managed to sneak into the Headquarters of the Paridon Guard, steal the cloth away from you, sneak back here and sew his cloak back up in one afternoon without anyone seeing him?" Cal asked.

"It would have been a very, VERY busy afternoon since I'd also have to squeeze in time for a session of surgery down at the Temple of the Divine Form. I was there to help one of the clergy who had been complaining of stomach pains." Doctor Wolfgang Arturus added helpfully.

Once again Cal fought the urge to pump his fist in victory.

"Speaking of ironclad alibis, I don't suppose you were busy preforming surgery at midnight one of the last three nights?" Cal quickly interjected feeling like a fool for not having bothered to ask that question sooner.

"I never preform surgery at night unless it's an emergency and for better or worse there haven't been any of those over the last three days. I prefer to spend my nights here alone playing my chello and singing." Wolfgang answered.

So much for the hope that he might have been doing all this complicated arguing for nothing. At least it didn't turn out that Doctor Arturus liked to visit seamstresses around 11:00 PM and be out the door after half an hour or so of getting his inseam adjusted.

"Back to the point at hand, unless you can explain to me how and why the Doctor got or created a maker's mark to replace the one that I tore off of the cloak belonging to Bloody Jack's coachman, I think we can discount the cloak for the moment.

Inspector Logan did not look pleased, not in the least.

"Lets move onto the next item of evidence then. There's the little matter of the torn dress fabric. This item is a perfect match for a missing section from the the second victim's outfit. It's a good thing I gave Morton van Keller instructions to keep the outfits of Bloody Jack's victims in storage at his funeral home, so that we could compare them against any evidence we found. " Inspector Logan insisted.

1: Lets move onto the next item of evidence then.

2: There's the little matter of the torn dress fabric.

3: This item is a perfect match for a missing section from the the second victim's outfit. ← Present: Annie Smitters' Autopsy Report

4: It's a good thing I gave Morton van Keller instructions to keep the outfits of Bloody Jack's victims in storage at his funeral home, so that we could compare them against any evidence we found.

"OBJECTION! On the second night I was there with you from the body being found to when Morton von Keller brought out these autopsy reports. He never mentioned her outfit being noticeably torn in a way that Miss Bump's wasn't as if someone had taken a souvenir!" Cal insisted.

"Sorry, when I was getting the third autopsy from him it also turned out that there was an update in the second autopsy, he originally thought it was just damage due to the exploding glass bottle but after taking a closer look he realized that there was a particular part of her outfit that was clearly torn from it intentionally." Inspector Logan explained.

Cal hung his head in irritation, updated autopsy reports, why was it always f**king updated autopsy reports?

"So as you can clearly see the truth is as plain as day. This piece of clothing perfectly matches Miss Smitters' outfit. It was found in the Doctor's house. What possibly reason could there be for how it got here unless he was the one who took it?

1: So as you can clearly see the truth is as plain as day.

2: This piece of clothing perfectly matches Miss Smitters' outfit.

3: It was found in the Doctor's house.

4: What possibly reason could there be for how it got here unless he was the one who took it? ← Press

"HOLD IT! Look we already have been over this before with the cloak. Someone could very easily be trying to frame Doctor Arturus, either to make us complacent or to keep us too busy investigating him to properly pursue Bloody Jack. The fact that he was out of the house conducting surgery would give someone a chance to sneak in." Cal warned.

"That's an interesting theory you have, but one bizarre occurrence does not prove anything. Can you think of any other evidence else that might prove that Doctor Arturus is being framed?"

Yes←

No

"Do I have evidence? Of course I have evidence!" Cal blustered.

"Show it to me." Insisted Inspector Logan.

Present: Box of Knives.

"Since you felt this box was of such great importance to the matter at hand, I think it's worth going back to it."

"I thought we already agreed that none of these knives had anything to do with Bloody Jack killings. That was the point you yourself ended up jumping through so many hoops to prove! Do the knives have something to do with the killings or not?" Inspector Logan demanded to know.

1: Knives are involved with the killings

2: Knives are not involved with the killings ←

"The knives aren't involved with the killings, it'd be silly to argue anything else at the moment. That doesn't mean that they aren't involved in the frame up though! Especially when you consider..." Cal pointed out.

1: The knife design. ←

2: The number of knives.

3: The blood on the knives.

"But Inspector, you showed me that one knife that was designed along the exact same lines as the one Bloody Jack uses. It's a very unique design, anyone could go out into the street and buy a bunch of knives... but to wind up with a knife that looks exactly like what little we know about Bloody Jack's favorite tool? That's quite a coincidence, and two coincidences at the same time seem more like a pattern to me." Cal declared confidently.

Inspector Logan paused for a moment and then launched into a new attack.

"You know I'm quite certain you delight in wasting my time. Think about the bones we found with teeth marks on them in the kitchen! Since you love to talk about how much time you spent doing finger print analysis lets do a match up of Doctor Arturus' teeth to them! If they match then it will prove he's been eating people!" Inspector Logan half screamed.

1: You know I'm quite certain you delight in wasting my time.

2: Think about the bones we found with teeth marks on them in the kitchen!

3: Since you love to talk about how much time you spent doing finger print analysis lets do a match up of Doctor Arturus' teeth to them!

4: If they match then it will prove he's been eating people!"

Cal blinked a few times. Everything else, the cloak, the knives, the dress scrap, it all spoke directly to the Bloody Jack case.

These ribs though, they didn't seem to have anything to do with the case at hand. Yet, if they had nothing to do with the case at hand, that did seem to lend them a strange sort of believability in just how strange they were.

They were too unexpected for anyone to have brought them here as part of some kind of frame up. What was he going to do what was he going to say?

"HOLD IT!"

Cal turned in the direction of the voice.

Inspector Logan turned in the direction of the voice.

Alexander Diamondclaw turned in the direction of the voice.

James Firecat turned in the direction of the voice.

"Count the number of ribs." Doctor Wolfgang Arturus said calmly.

"There are twenty four bones in the human rib cage. There are twenty eight bones in a pig's. Before you go flying off the handle and accuse me of cannibalism just because of my peculiar dining habits I would appreciate it if you would consider the obvious Inspector Logan.

How many rib bones were you able to find? Do you think I've been eating two people and threw twenty two of their rib bones away for no reason?" The Doctor inquired dryly.

Inspector Logan just stood there, still as a statue, though would swear that he could see veins popping on the other man's forehead.

"Well then I think we've come to the end of this particular matter. Doctor Arturus I have a very comfortable jail cell with your name on it." Inspector Logan insisted.

"What the are you talking about? Did you not notice the part where none of the evidence we've found adds up properly? It suggests that Bloody Jack hates this guy a lot more than that he employes him!" Cal demanded angrily.

"You have a reasonable point, but for an 'Alchemist' you seemed to have missed one crucial fact Mr. Wright.

The the amount of evidence needed to arrest someone is substantially lower than the amount needed to convict them of a crime. Why with the right paperwork filled out you could arrest a ham sandwich!

We have established that these knives are probably not related to Bloody Jack's murders but there is no reason to allow the Doctor to roam free until we've managed to get to the bottom of where exactly he got them from and what use they have been put to recently!" Inspector Logan insisted.

Cal rapidly shifted his gaze back and froth between Alexander Diamondclaw and Doctor Wolfgang Arturus wondering if he'd managed to live up to his Boss' expectations or not.

Alexander didn't seem about to draw Wolf Claw and start claiming heads so he figured he'd probably passed the test. The black haired man was lead out of his home with Inspector Logan keeping his crossbow aimed at his back the entire time.

As they were exiting the Doctor's mansion they were met by two more members of the Paridon Guard. One of them was quite noticeably on the plump side, while the other looked only vaguely more human than Florence did.

He must have been some kind of Caliban since it was hard to imagine that he could be anything else. He was about the height of a dwarf but without any of those people's stoutness and his face was completely devoid of facial hair. His skin was too pinkish for him to be a goblin, but all the same Cal couldn't help but wonder if maybe he just invested heavily in certain dyes?

The two immediately rushed to Inspector Logan's side and began to babble into his ears. A rushed (and hushed) conversation took place leaving the Inspector looking even more exasperated than he had been beforehand.

"I'm afraid I must personally attend to an urgent matter, a member of the nobility is involved in... well never mind. Could you help my good Sergeant and his Corporal escort our prisoner to his cell in the Headquarters of the Paridon Guard?" He asked evenly enough.

"Might as well, wouldn't do to have him fall down some stairs while he was on the way to his cell." Alexander replied.

"That'd be quite a trick indeed... because the building in question is only one story tall." Cal noted.

"Yet people somehow still seem to manage it now and again..." The shorter of the two newly arrived guardsman reflected before breaking out into a tuneless whistle.

XXX XXX XXX

"Not again, the Inspector took the key to the cells with him!" Muttered the sergeant as he patted himself down looking for said key while the stood in front of the cell that the Doctor was supposed to be sent to.

"I didn't steal it!" The corporal added apropos of nothing.

"Don't worry about it I've got a way with locks, just give me a chance to..." James Firecat began.

One light buffet from Mirri promptly changed his tune.

"By which I mean I have a way with normal locks, the kind that bad people put on their chests of treasure. I'm sure I'd be quite hopeless at trying to pick an important lock like those on a jail cell." James declared in a not entirely convincing tone.

"Inspector Logan keeps a spare key in his office. Granted if he figures out that any of us actual guards have been in there we'll be forced to do midnight shifts in the boneyard till Bloody Jack starts his next round of killings! Maybe one you could take care of it for us?" The plump guard suggested out.

"Wouldn't the Inspector lock his own door though?" Devi Skye pointed out.

"Well yeah... but the city pays for the locks on these cells, they're supposed to be unpickable. The lock on the Inspector's door, well he says he just bought himself a new one, but he still needs to pay for it with an Inspector's salary. A clever fellow might be able to get in there and get out without anyone being the wiser." The Corporal explained.

"Well lets go get the key, it beats standing around waiting for him to show up." Mirri Catwarrior suggested feeling tremendously bored with how tonight was going and desperately hoping that another half a dozen or so jackals would show up to try and kill them again sometime soon.

XXX XXX XXX

Inspector Logan fished the key to his office out of his jacket and put it in the lock. It clicked opened a bit more easily than he expected and the door swung open.

He promptly discovered that his small office in the Headquarters of the Paridon Guard, was much more cramped that usual.

"TAKE THIS!" A voice demanded.

A piece of paper was tossed into the air, a moment later it a dagger struck it sending it sailing across the room, and impaling it against wall just barely within Inspector Logan's peripheral vision.

It was list of the forty four people who had bought black cloaks from Ire McMoran in the last six months. One name now had now been circled in black ink, underlined, and then someone had rewritten it half a dozen times in an increasingly bolder and more infuriated hand.

"A. Logan"

Sitting on his desk exactly where he left it was his cloak, several quite noticeable stitches in it where he'd worked hard at repairing it since he'd gotten the missing piece back.

"You know Inspector... I think it really is time for you to tell me the story of how you got that scar." Insisted Callan Wright who had decided to seat himself in the Inspector's chair.

"Really now Mr. Wright? I'd like to think our relationship might finally get a chance to grow beyond telling one another lies just because they can't be disproved." Inspector Logan replied with surprisingly good humor.

XXX XXX XXX

No sooner were the words out of Andrew Logan's mouth though than his body began to twist and transform. His muscles bulged and burst as a lupine howl echoed forth from his lips, and his body started to grow claws and sprout gray fur.

"No." Said Alexander Diamondclaw quite simply.

Moving with that same quite blinding speed that Cal had noted earlier, he was out of his chair an instant.

One good kick from him was all it took to send Inspector Logan's desk airborne. It passed right through the office door and slammed into the wolf-man monster that the Inspector had been transforming into.

It knocked him against a wall and the cloak slid off to land poetically atop his body.

"Inspector Andrew Logan, or whatever your actual name is... you really need to learn when to STOP, PISSING, ME, OFF!" Alexander Diamondclaw growled.

"Also you need to buy a new lock, your old one didn't even have a poison needle trap to make it interesting!" James Firecat added in what he considered a helpful and necessary contribution.

Inspector Logan's body twisted and writhed and he returned to human form slipping out from under his desk and drawing his sword.

"Like the green bitch said, this sword is magic! Not only that but I coated it in wolfsbane before tonight! I intended it for the Doctor, but I'm sure it will work equally well on you!" He roared in anger.

"Really? Good I wouldn't want this to be over too soon, not after all the bullshit you've put me and my pack over the last few days." Alexander promised him as Wolf Claw slid easily into his hand and he charged forward.

CLANG CLANG CLANG!

The hallway was soon filled with the sound of the pair's blades bouncing off one another in a complicated series of strikes, blocks, dodges and parries.

Alexander Diamondclaw was clearly the superior swordsman, yet Inspector Logan always seemed to be able to know what his foe was about to do the moment before he started to do it, giving him time to counter it and launch offensives of his own.

Not only that but the Inspector's body was a constantly changing mass of flesh, arms, legs and other features shifting back and forth to always make his body just short or small enough to dodge a blow or arms just long to put his blade in reach of Alexander at unexpected times.

Given the narrowness of the hallway none of the silver haired man's companions could possibly push past him to effectively join the fight either.

"Wolfgang, it seems the situation is now exactly serious enough for a song!" Alexander cried out as he jumped backwards buying himself a few precious seconds of freedom.

He used them to alter his grip on Wolf Claw and with one very careful motion sliced through the band of his own eyepatch. One shake of his head later sent the piece of cloth flying away revealing what lay beneath it.

Alexander Diamondclaw's right eye was a deep golden yellow color that reflected the light which fell upon it in a way that his left did not. The sight did not seem to surprise Inspector Logan at all and he began to press the attack thinking Alexander's retreat suggested he had gained and advantage.

"I would not be so foolish as to disappoint you Bedstefader Ulv!" The Doctor announced and then he began to sing.

"Through the chill of winter, running across the frozen lake...

Hunters are out on his trail, all odds are against him.

With a family to provide for, the one thing he must keep alive.

Will the wolf survive?"

The words and their haunting melody reached out throughout the entire police station, bringing with them a sense of clam and serenity. Wolfgang had a beautifully rich deep and melodious voice, the kind that makes it hard to do anything other than simply sit back and bask in the pleasure of listening to it.

"Drifting by the roadside,

Climbs each storm and aging face,

Wants to hunt some honest prey,

Loosing to the range war..." The doctor continued to croon.

As he did so the fight between Alexander and the creature that had been Inspector Logan began to alter slightly.

The Inspector was still swinging his sword about expertly but his body seemed to be settling down into one single form instead of frenetically shifting about with every passing second.

"He's got two strong leg to guide him,

Two strong arms keep him alive.

Will the wolf survive?" The doctor continued as James began to lazily search through his pockets looking for his harmonica with which to accompany the black haired man.

CLANG!

Now that the Ex-Inspector was no longer able to constantly change his body to help counter Alexander's greater skill with a blade the fight was starting to go against him. The next blow from Wolf Claw almost knocked his sword right out of his hand.

"Standing in the pouring rain,

All alone in a world that's changed.

Running scared now forced to hide,

In a land where he once stood with pride..." The doctor belted out the lyrics with unrivaled conviction.

SLICE!

While the Inspector managed to bring his blade back into something approaching the proper position fast enough not to be mortally wounded by Alexander's next attack, the sword strike still cut deep into his palm disarming him.

"But he'll find his way, by the morning light..." The Doctor promised.

Out of something that was quite clearly not a sense of fair-play Alexander decided to drop Wolf Claw at this point and bull-rushed his foe.

"Sounds across the nation, coming from young hearts and minds..." Wolfgang's voice easily outran James' attempts to play along with it, probably because the werecat's eyes had a droopy half asleep look to them.

He wasn't the only one though, Inspector Logan looked as though he was barely even able to comprehend what was going on around him, even as Alexander slammed him against a wall.

Then the silver haired man delivered a point blank range headbutt which surely did the inspector's mental processes no favors.

"Battered drums and old chellos, singing songs of passion..." The voice continued drone on, its enchanting memory leaving all who heard it but Alexander Diamondclaw and Mirri Catwarrior spellbound.

Alexander made good use of his advantage as he delivered a knee to the inspector's pelvis resulting in a wince inducing "CRACK" sound.

"It's the truth that they all look for, something they must keep alive..." Wolfgang continued.

Alexander let go of the Inspector whose body no longer had the strength to support his own weight and began to topple to the ground.

"Will the wolf survive..." The Doctor sung on.

Alexander caught Logan by the back of his neck, slammed his head against the wall for good measure, and began to drag him off towards the jail cells.

"Will the wolf survive?" The doctor finally concluded after seeing that the fight had come to a quite decisive conclusion.

End Chapter


Tue Jul 21, 2015 11:56 am
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Evil Genius
Evil Genius

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Post Re: Monster Party Book 3
Monster Party Book 3: On a blue Sunday Morning lies a body just oozin' life.

Chapter Nine: When I think that I can't do this, you promise me that I'll get through this, and do something right, do something right for once!

"Why is Inspector Logan and your friend in the cell but not the prisoner?" Asked the plump Sargent as he sized up the situation that James had summoned him to observe.

The Sargent didn't seem quite as put out by this as one might expect, though on the other hand he was just one man and with most of the other members of the Paridon Guard out looking for Bloody Jack, it was clear that a direct confrontation was unlikely to end well for him.

"I've got a few questions I wanted to ask your boss and I thought it'd be important for you to see what happens. Anyway, tell me Inspector Logan, is the reason you don't try to transform into a cockroach and scuttle out of there because you know that MY Boss would stomp you into a greasy smear on the floor, or because you can't?" Cal asked their captive.

"F**K YOU!" Spat back the monster which for the moment was still wearing the shape of Inspector Logan.

"Permission to treat the witness as hostile?" Cal asked no one in particular.

"Granted." Alexander Diamondclaw agreed.

"Mirri get in there and see if you can't work your feminine whiles on Inspector Logan. To start with, I'd like to know just what the f**k was actually going last night with 'him' and those jackals that were trying to kill us." Cal instructed.

No sooner had Mirri placed a gloved hand on the jail cell door than Inspector Logan suddenly threw his head back and laughed.

"I don't know what's more pathetic, the fact that you think your little monster menagerie actually intimidates me, or that the others would let me live if they did!" He promised before suddenly fishing some small unimportant bit of metal from his jacket.

One moment it was a harmless nothing, the next it was a metal ring which he brought up to his own neck before Alexander could stop him. Almost instantly Inspector Logan began to froth at the mouth as his eyes rolled back in their sockets and he collapsed.

A moment later his entire body began to twist in upon itself, but it was clear that this was little more than a death spasm. His hair (even eyebrows) vanished, his hands became wickedly long and lean, his teeth all grew pointed, while both his nose and mouth moved higher upon his face. His nose grew broad and flat and his eyes became underscored with creases that had not been a moment ago. Finally, his skin became ash gray in color, and his ears grew points that bent out away from his head.

When all was said and done the corpse that was left behind was utterly devoid of gender, an expression of impotent rage fixed upon its face.

"That's... that's something all right." The Sargent reflected unable to find any other way to describe what he had just seen.

"That must have been one of those 'death rings' I've heard about. A single sharp point, and enough poison for one person, either as a weapon of last resort... or a way to escape interrogation." Devi reflected.

"He said 'others'..." Cal gasped, blinking a few times in shock.

"He didn't want to tell us anything but that... he said 'others'. Whatever he was... there have to be more of them. That.. that's why Bloody Jack has been able to do this... he really is an Oogety Boogety!" The alchemist gasped, his voice growing more strained with every word.

"They don't have these things in the Core, or if they do I haven't seen one." Mirri huffed in irritation.

"All things gravitate back to their true form in death. This must be what 'he' really looked like..." Surmised Florence Bastien.

"Guys... this... this changes every... AGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!" Cal Wright attempted to keep his wits about him, but the words ended up trailing off into a cry of pain and rage.

"This... this isn't fair! This isn't fair! This isn't fair! I can't! NOBODY CAN...! HOW COULD...? I... I quit." Cal gasped before hanging his head in defeat.

"None of this matters... not the evidence we've gathered, not the people we've talked to! None of this could ever possibly matter! The only reason we got Inspector Logan was because he made the mistake of trying to be somebody important! Not just that, but trying to be the same person again and again and again!

If Bloody Jack wants to pretend to be a different looking street vendor every day, then that's exactly what he's going to do! I'm... I'm going back to the Twilight Yawn in to sleep." He gasped, darting for the door before any of his companions had a chance to follow him.

XXX XXX XXX

The entire walk back to the Twilight Yawn Inn Cal was constantly spinning about this way and that, Phoenix in hand.

Every single person he ran into might end up being another fake after all!

Luckily those few residents of Paridon who were still up and about seemed to realize what a poor idea it would be to try and approach a well armed man with rapidly twitching eyes.

XXX XXX XXX

No respite awaited him upon reaching the Twilight Yawn Inn though.

Instead, he came face to face with Koth Rigsby the proprietor who was wildly pacing about the foyer. He held a double bladed axe in his hands, a few smaller ones tucked into his belt and his eyes looked even more haggard and wan than his guest's.

Up until now, Cal hadn't payed Koth too much attention. The only thing worth noting about him was that he was yet more proof for Cal's theory about how there were two kinds of people who ended up wearing eye-patches. There were those like Alexander Diamondclaw (tabling the issue of why he wore one for the moment) who looked dashing and dramatic, and then there were people like Koth Rigsby.

The injury that had cost him an eye had also damaged the nerves on the left side of his face giving him uneven expressions and a tendency to slur his words.

"YOU! You're the reason she's dead!" He demanded as soon as Cal entered.

The alchemist was almost glad to actually have something concrete to aim Phoenix at, it slid easily into place against his shoulder as he looked down its barrel.

"Listen I've had a very shitty night, so I suggest we have this conversation while standing on opposite sides of the room." He warned the innkeeper.

"My wife Mariel went out to visit some friends tonight! I warned her, I warned her that she needed to be careful! The moment that she heard eleven bells she needed to come running right back here at once!

Except that she was so sure she'd be safe, since Bloody Jack is only targeting seamstresses and my Mariel always did right by me! But it didn't matter! Evidently the Inspector in charge of the case gave orders not to have the bell run tonight! He thought it might confuse Bloody Jack, but instead all it did was make it so nobody would realize what time it was!

She never heard eleven bells, she never heard it start to chime twelve! She's dead! She's dead because you haven't caught him yet! Aren't you constantly going around flapping you lips about how you're going to be the one who finally catches Bloody Jack? If you actually had done it then my wife would still be alive!" Koth Rigsby practically exploded.

Callan Wright emitted a half strangled moan, lowered Phoenix and fled from the Twilight Yawn Inn.

He hadn't even realized that too much time had gone past since he'd last heard the bells being sounded, never realized that while he'd been busy with Inspector Logan, Bloody Jack had been busy claiming his fourth victim.

He couldn't sleep, he couldn't think... he needed a drink, he desperately needed a very strong drink!

XXX XXX XXX

Callan Wright stared deeply into a mug of Paridon's least expensive liquor. Just looking at it he could tell it would taste like something that came out of a horse, and not necessarily the front end.

"Cal you shouldn't be doing this..." A voice came from behind him.

Only knowing that he'd have to pay for the mug along with the swill that filled it kept Cal from hurling his drink away in rage.

"How did you even manage to find me in the first place fuzz face?" He muttered angrily.

"Luck." Answered James Firecat casually tapping his nose as he did so.

It seemed that the effects of oil of scallatine had worn off and so the werecat was once again able to track Cal by scent.

"Well good for you. Anyway, why the hell can't I? Why are we acting like this really even matters? It is like Boss said when we first got here, only six killings every thirteen years... Whoever, whatever, Bloody Jack is, what difference does he make in the grand scheme of things?

There are darklords out there who actually oppress entire nations around the clock every day of the year! Vlad Drakov probably has at least three of his subjects impaled every day, just so he can have some 'music' with breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

This isn't like Dad's cases, in those there were only so many people associated with each case and a lot of the time it was more about figuring out how than who. Here though... there's an entire city worth of people and Bloody Jack could be any of them!

I still don't know how he found out about my plans for the second night, since it's not like I talked with the Inspector about them, but it doesn't matter. Bloody Jack can look like whoever he wants, whenever he wants.

How can I, how can anyone convict a criminal like that? This case is doomed. I don't believe that anyone could solve it, not me, not even my Dad. So I'm going to drink till I pass out, and whenever midnight gets near I'll curl up someplace safe with as many booby traps between me and the door as possible." Cal explained.

"Don't believe in yourself... believe in me, believe in the James Firecat who believes in you!" James vowed solemnly.

"What the hell does that even mean?" Cal spat bitterly.

"It means the worst of times are when lawyers have to force their biggest smiles." James declared in the tone of voice he usually only used for offering up heartfelt prayers to Bastet.

Cal lifted the mug he'd been gazing into off the bar and rounded on the werecat, ready to bash it over his head, not caring about what damage he might do (after all, it would take much more than a iron mug to dent James' insufferable optimism) to property or person in the process.

"I hate that stupid saying of Dad's! I hate it! I mean do you know how many times I had to hear it growing up? Why do you think I never say it?" As soon as the words were out of his mouth Cal at once spotted the contradiction.

"I never say it... I never say it, how the f**k do you know something my Dad says if I've never said it?" Cal gasped in shock.

There was a very long pause in their conversation as the other patrons glanced cautiously in the pair's direction, then after making sure that violence was no longer about to take place, went back to their own drinks.

"Not... not in here..." James suggested.

Cal put his drink back on the bar and headed outside, for the moment he was more intrigued more than angry.

"Look... do you recall a case of your father's... it took place around twenty five years ago?" James asked, his brown eyes wide and pitiful.

"Please, you honestly expect me to recall one single case of my Dad's based on only how long ago it was? He has like, one trial a month, at least!" Cal exclaimed.

"Don't worry, I've got more details. This case... it involved a woman named Martha." James began.

"Keep going whiskers, you've got to give me something more important than that." Cal demanded.

"Your father was the only one willing to even think about serving as her defense attorney." James added.

Cal buried his face in his hands.

"That's.. that's the most useless piece of information I can possibly imagine... I really, REALLY can't imagine any of Dad's clients would ended up going to him if they had an alternative. Well granted he does have the entire thing where he almost never looses a case, but still!" Cal sighed.

"She was accused of murder." James kept going.

"Second verse same as the first." Cal reiterated, it was always murder with Dad, ALWAYS!

By the law of averages there really should have been a couple of grave robbing cases in there eventually, but NOPE, his father couldn't take part in a trial without somebody ending up dead before long.

"Well the reason that Martha couldn't find another defense attorney wasn't a matter of money. It was a matter of her being a werecat."

"Wait you can't honestly be saying..." Cal began, but it was one of those rare times when James Firecat had his dander up and wasn't going to let anything stand in his way.

"She was a werecat. Somebody had been found dead with roughly cat sized claw marks all over their body, and they'd caught Martha transforming from hybrid to human shape after slaughtering a cow. So, everybody was certain that it was an open and shut case. Everyone was certain she should die... except for one man, one lawyer, named Phoenix Wright.

He only needed to ask Martha one question, and then he promised that he'd do everything in his power to make sure that NOTHING happened to her. He took her case, and he refused to let anything stop him, no matter how horrible it got, no matter how guilty the evidence made her look.

He was just an ordinary human being, but in the courtroom Phoenix Wright was like a golem carved from the wood of a hundred judges' gavels, a legal juggernaut! Do you know what he eventually discovered to be the reason why the victim had cat sized claw marks in them?" James finally asked.

Cal searched his mind, he wasn't that much older than twenty five all things considered, still, even for his father having a lycanthrope for a client wasn't a common occurrence.

"I think... I think he talked about that case once. The real killer, it was a paka... some freaky creature that looks like a a mix of man and cat, while having the temperament of a cat in heat trapped inside a wet sack." Cal slowly exclaimed.

"Yeah... it was a paka that was behind the killings, not Martha, Phoenix Wright proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt." James agreed.

"Okay but... but... why do you know about one of my father's relatively obscure trials? I mean do you have some kind of freaky legal fetish or something?" Cal demanded to know.

"You know Mr. Wright, if you were presenting that particular theory to a judge then you'd get laughed out of the court. Come on, this isn't that hard, why do you really think I know this case by heart?" James insisted a strange knowing smile on his face.

“Yeah... there's a simple explanation. A simple explanation that I don't f**king believe. I mean, you're seriously telling me that..." Cal began slowly.

James Firecat nodded solemnly.

"Yeah... that's right. Like I said, Martha was found innocent, but all the same, as a werecat she wasn't exactly welcome in Lamordia. So... she decided to go somewhere else. In particular, she wanted to go someplace where she'd never have to be worried about finding something to eat. The werecat equivalent of the land of milk and honey, a land overflowing with rats to eat, a land called Richemulot." James finally concluded.

Cal just sort of stared at James for a moment, and then shook his head.

James just nodded.

Cal felt his jaw going slack. He mouthed the words "No" as his head swiveled on his neck.

James didn't change his demeanor in the slightest other than to mouth the word "Yes" right back at him.

"Wait... you mean... you seriously mean..." Cal began spluttering and stuttering his way through each word.

"Phoenix Wright is the not the reason I am alive today, Phoenix Wright is the reason I was ever even given a chance to exist..." James vowed, his eyes starting to moisten.

Cal felt his own eyes starting to get wet also and he couldn't remember the last time he'd cried. There was something... something strangely profound about it.

He knew a great many people who'd be spared from death or prison because of his father... but James was the first he could think of that he'd ever talked to who wouldn't have even existed without his father's legal skills...

"So wait... this entire time, you seriously thought that 'Wright' was a common name in Lamordia, and that I have gun named 'Phoenix' by pure random chance?" Cal gasped.

James shrugged helplessly.

"That's what you said when we first met. I asked where the gun's name came from, and you told me it was named after the bird. I figured there's no way you would say that if you were Phoenix Wright's son so I just put it down a coincidence." James explained with his usual air of unflappable innocence.

"I need... I need some time to think about this..." Cal gasped and collapsed on the cobblestones.

"Try to think about it fast, there was another clue waiting for us back at the Twilight Yawn Inn. Mr. Rigsby wasn't in any condition to give it to you, but I checked our mail box there while following your scent. This must have been delivered after we left to arrest Wolfgang..." James explained pressing the small sheet of paper into Cal's hand.

Blinking his eyes clear Cal took a moment to read it.

"Dear Mr. Alchemist, I think it is time that we had a nice long talk together. I've been watching you for the last few days and it seems that you might be the only man in this entire city with a chance of stopping Bloody Jack. To get that chance you'll need my help though. If you don't think I'm worth talking to, you should know that I'm the one who murdered Penelope Downing. If you want to meet, use the sewer entrance nearest to your inn and take the following turns. I'll only be waiting till noon tomorrow..."

The letter at this point trailed off into a long list of directions, and for a signature there was only three letters "Mr. S".

**Added Mr. S' letter to your pants**

Cal gazed at it, and blinked a few times in confusion.

"Wait, who the hell is Penelope Downing? I've been keeping a record of all the women who have been killed by Bloody Jack over he last few days: day one was Beatrice Bump, day two was Annie Smitters, day three was Sandra Bartello, and today it was Koth's wife Mariel!" Cal protested.

"Wow it really slipped completely by you? Penelope Downing was that woman who claimed that she'd been murdered! There was a story about her in the copy of the Paridon Newsbill I bought. See?"

James Firecat Presented Paridon Newsbill to you!

Cal read the story quickly, it was only about three paragraph's long.

"So you're saying that we've got a mysterious note from a self professed 'murder' who leaves their victim still alive, and yet somehow convinced that they've been killed, despite all the obvious evidence to the contrary. Obvious evidence such as most murdered people having trouble testifying on any subject all, let alone the fact that they had been murdered.

A note confessing to the 'crime' and saying that they want to meet me in some out of the way section of the sewers." Cal paused for a very long moment.

"You know what... for this case that sounds completely reasonable. By the way James... I don't care if I wind up sleeping on every couch in the Core from Mordentshire to Kantora, you are the best assistant that my family has ever had. Let's go pay Mr. S a visit and see what he has to say for himself!" Cal Wright declared proudly.

He had no f**king idea who was behind the Bloody Jack killings, he was unsure that anyone could possibly bring the criminal to justice, and the only chance he had left was to go so far out of a limb that birds should start building nests in his hair at any moment... in short he was finally well and truly following in his father's footsteps!

XXX XXX XXX

"So Doctor, I think now might be a good time to finally fully explain yourself." Alexander Diamondclaw noted dryly.

He, Wolfgang Arturus, Mirri, Devi, and Florence were once again back inside Inspector Logan's office. They hadn't been able to find the key to Wolfgang's handcuffs so Mirri had simply decided to rip them apart, finally giving her a chance to let some of her never ending flow of aggression out.

"Well before I start, I'd like it if you could answer just one question for me. I've heard rumors about the six of you, how you showed up out of the mists a few days ago. Is it safe to assume you're from the Core also, or were you sent here from some place I've never heard of?" The Doctor wanted to know.

"In turn, would it save us some time if I were to suggest you're from Kartakass?" Devi ventured.

"Yes, but please don't go waving it about. Not that most people from Paridon would have much clue what it meant of course. Still, one moment you announce that you're from Kartakass, then people notice that you've got a lovely singing voice, and the next thing everyone is all up in arms looking to melt down the family silver." The Doctor reflected.

"Not that silver weapons scare you very much of course Doctor. Werewolves are actually rather thin on the ground in Kartakass... they have a hard time competing with all the wolfweres." Mirri reflected as she casually leaned against the back of Wolfgang's chair, leaving her mouth quite close to the back of his neck.

"That's not a word I especially like to hear said aloud." Wolfgang insisted.

"You can keep rubbing your wrists all you want, it isn't going to change the fact that any normal demi-human who was in handcuffs for as long as you were would have chafing marks." Devi informed him.

"These are strange companions you've chosen to run with Grandfather Wolf, if I agree to tell you how my story began, will you tell me how it ends first?" He pleaded.

Alexander had dragged Inspector Logan's desk back into the office and was now laying atop it as if to further cement his victory over its previous owner.

"How do you think it ends my dear narrulve? Do you know what my greatest trick is Wolfgang? It's the trick of being able to walk peacefully among those who would turn on me the instant that they had some inkling of the truth.

To go beyond that, and wind up being rewarded and treated like a hero by those who will only love me so long as I lie to them? Do you know what the great secret to that particular trick is?" Alexander asked while he sat up and gazed deeply into Wolfgang Arturus's eyes.

The silver haired man had gotten another replacement eyepatch from James before the werecat had left to make sure that Cal didn't get into too much trouble.

"The secret to that particular trick Grandfather Wolf, is that you need to actually mean it." Wolfgang answered at once.

"Very good." Alexander nodded in agreement.

"Anyway... as for my story, it was simple enough. I was a normal... well I'd prefer not to say, words that people don't know can't cause them to form up into angry mobs. I was born, I grew up, I moved away from my parents, I hunted with my lesser lupine cousins when the need arose and by myself when it didn't." He began to explain.

"That's the key difference you know. Between wolfweres and werewolves.

It's not about what shape they were born in, or if they fear silver or cold iron... it's the fact that werewolves, those who are aware of their condition at least, will establish packs for themselves. They develop their own complex social system and rituals. Wolfweres on the other hand tend toward a much more solitary life." Alexander casually explained.

"I suppose it would have been nice to have had someone smarter than an ordinary wolf watching my back. Maybe then I wouldn't have gotten into this mess in the first place.

One day I was trying to... well I shan't mince words, I was trying to first woo and then eat an attractive lass.

Except that then I discovered she and her friends were also hunting me, and had put far more forethought into it. They all had magical blades, and even brought along a bard with an enchanted lute to drown out my song.

Somehow, to this day I'm not quite sure how, I managed to survive their trap.

Not unwounded of course, I was clinging to life by a slender thread when I made it back to the forest, I couldn't even find the energy to return to my natural form. In the end, what probably saved me was charging headfirst into a strange patch of mist that seemed to spring up from out of nowhere just as he began to black out.

When I woke up I was in Paridon, the home of Doctor Louis Fericks to be precise. I was... I was shocked at what had happened. He had found me laying in the street with my clothing half torn to shreds and no idea who I was, but he took me back to his home all the same and did what he could to tend my wounds.

When I asked him why, he told me that it was because it is the true duty of a doctor to treat any wound he laid eyes upon, not to focus on minor matters such as how or why the wound came to be or if the patient could pay him back.

It was... it was the most selfless... the most stupid... the most insane thing I'd ever heard.

So I figured that as soon as my wounds were fully healed, I'd eat him, that's what humans were for after all.

The problem was that there weren't any wolves in Paridon for me to summon to aid me, there weren't any forests for me to hide in at night where humans would not dare to tread.

In Kartakass it was very easy for me to run away from anyone who wanted to chase me. In Paridon... I had to learn an entirely new way to live.

That was going to take a very long time, and so... eventually I decided that I'd just run away from Doctor Fericks rather than murder him, he was too well respected in the community for his death to go unpunished. Then I decided that I might as well at least learn some of what the Doctor had to teach me, knowledge of human anatomy can be a very handy thing in a fight, it helps you know exactly where to strike to do the most damage.

Then I decided that I might as well preform a few operations myself, because I could use the money to purchase... well whatever I felt a desire for.

The people of Paridon know a great many things that can be done to insure that someone survives surgery, but there is one rather problematic area they have yet to make much progress in. People tend to react in a dramatic manner when you start poking around inside them with a knife, even if they know you have the best of intentions.

So, I did what came naturally when dealing with a human who was struggling against me, I sang.

It was an unorthodox use for what had previously only been a hunting aid, but it worked. Patient after patient later stated how the sound of my singing helped lull them into a relaxed state where they could not even feel my scalpel.

Then, then one day Doctor Fericks died and I discovered that since he had neither wife or child, he'd left me everything he owned. At which point I realized that I now had enough money that I never actually needed to hunt for food ever again.

It all, it all always seemed so simple and innocent, so harmless. Every step of the way I was so certain that I was just about to discover a way to go back to my old way of life and I was just playing along till then. I was so very sure of it, until one day I found myself looking into a mirror and wondering why I even wanted to go back in the first place? So, as I told you, I made Paridon my new home." Wolfgang explained.

"Truly innocent people are such horrible manipulators aren't they?" Mirri muttered wistfully, continuing to breath down Doctor Wolfgang Arturus's neck all the while.

"I suppose that clears up most of your story. The only gap is the part where for some reason you decided that calling yourself 'Wolfgang' was a good idea. At least James keeps it to his last name..." Devi pointed out.

"It's pronounced Fir-ey-cah, it's Mordentish, elf maid." Mirri interjected at once, not wanting to hear someone speak ill of James even when he wasn't present.

"Names... didn't really come easily to me. I didn't used to need one. I was myself, wolves were wolves and prey were prey." The Doctor admitted.

"Still, if you think you're going to survive here as long as I have in Paridon it's important that I share with you what I know about the predators who actually CAN hunt here successfully." He began...

End Chapter.


Sat Aug 22, 2015 10:31 pm
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Evil Genius
Evil Genius

Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:30 am
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Post Re: Monster Party Book 3
Monster Party Book Three: On a blue Sunday morning lies a body just oozin' life.

Chapter Ten : You know the happiest day of my life, I swear the happiest day of my life, is the day that I die.

Callan Wright and James Firecat followed the note's instructions explicitly.

Cal let James lead the way of course, the werecat's genius for spotting traps would make sure that the two didn't blunder into a tripwire or something similar, while his recovered sense of smell would warn them if a great many people seemed to be drawing near (a sewer might not be the ideal place for such abilities, but after oil of scallatine James' nostrils were in a pretty resilient state).

In short, Cal was as safe as he possibly could be while following the instructions of a self professed murderer. On the other hand, why would "Mr. S" have admitted to killing someone if he was trying to lure Cal into a trap?

"So you finally came..." A voice hissed.

Their host had been "kind" enough to hang up a single lamp to illuminate himself. Cal had never seen someone so ugly, say better he'd never seen so many someones, all of them so ugly.

Cal wasn't sure what he'd expected "Mr. S" to be but this wasn't it. In fact, he couldn't even say for certain that Mr. S was anything, it was more like he was everything.

The longer Cal watched him, the more frequently "his" body shifted from one form to another: animal, human, something in between, male. female, there was not one single feature about “him” which remained constant.

"Well here I am, so what's on your mind?" Cal inquired trying not to look directly at Mr. S, it was easier on his eyes and brain that way.

"There's a small legal matter that I wished to see resolved, and I want the son of the greatest lawyer who ever lived to serve as my prosecutor." Mr. S explained, his voice changing slightly with every word he spoke.

"I don't work for free. What kind of payment can you offer?" Cal demanded out of pure reflex.

"I can show you a way out of Paridon..." Mr. S promised.

"A way out of Paridon?" Cal repeated, squinting slightly.

Mr. S tried to say something else, but he couldn't, his body had begun changing too rapidly for him to shape words properly. When he finally regained some modicum of control, all he could do was laugh and laugh and laugh.

It was a terrible sound, the sort of noise that monsters lurking under beds made.

"No wonder you wear glasses... you truly are blind to the world around you! You've been so busy with your little game that you never even tried to leave! Never seen how the streets cycle back upon themselves! I know of a way out, but without my help you and your friends will be trapped here forever!" Mr. S warned.

Cal wasn't so sure of that, "forever" was a long time, but once Bloody Jack finished up his latest murder spree things were likely to get very dull in Paridon.

"Fine, for the moment I'll take that possible payment into consideration. Tell me the details of the case you want me to prosecute..." Cal demanded.

"Theft... heinous theft of an extremely powerful magical artifact. It is a dagger, a dagger with ornate rubies engraved upon the hilt, called the Fang of Nosferatu. It's a horrible thing to have loose upon the city, because as gruesome as the wounds the dagger can inflict are... the wounds its prevents are even worse." Mr. S 'explained' to him.

"The wounds it prevents are worse?" Cal repeated, unable to believe that he'd heard that correctly.

"It has the power to make someone invincible. Not forever, not easily, and not even truly invincible, but still as near to invincible as to make little difference. It requires a ritual, and the murder of six people..." He began before Cal cut him off.

"Let me guess, this dagger, it drains the blood right out of people's bodies? Oh, I'd also be willing to bet the six people have to be killed at the stroke of midnight on six consecutive nights. Oh, and since you said the invincibility doesn't last forever, I bet it lasts for... just a stab in the dark here... thirteen years?" Cal predicted.

"It seems that when you actually bother to think the results are somewhat impressive. I trust you're interested in the possibility of bringing Bloody Jack to justice and returning the dagger he stole to me?" Mr. S inquired.

"There is nothing I'd love more than to make Bloody Jack suffer, but... the entire him being some kind of... whatever... put a damper on things.

You can convict a vampire, you can convict a lycanthrope, you can convict a golem, they've all got standard set of finger prints and a standard appearance in human shape after all. How can anyone hope to convict a monster like Bloody Jack?

If you find a set of prints he leaves in one shape, he just changes to another and they're completely invalidated. The same with witness testimony, just keep changing shape, he could look different after each and every single one of his crimes! It's not possible..." Cal admitted hanging his head in sorrow.

"What if I were to tell you that conviction was not necessary? You simply need to detain Bloody Jack so that he is not able to complete the ritual with two more midnight killings. That alone will be enough for me." Mr. S insisted.

You simply need to detain Bloody Jack so that he is not able to complete the ritual with two more midnight killings.

You simply need to detain Bloody Jack so that he is not able to complete the ritual.

You simply need to detain Bloody Jack.

You simply need to detain Bloody Jack!

Detain Bloody Jack!

All of a sudden it happened.

Cal wasn't sure exactly what "it" was, only that he had seen "it" before.

Several times before to be perfectly honest.

One moment his father would all but whimpering on the bench, both his elbows planted firmly atop it, his head buried in his hands, gazing downwards in defeat. It was clearly all over at this point, all that remained was for the judge to bring down the gavel and make it official.

That was how it always looked, and then "it" would happen.

He'd suddenly stand up straight with a manic energy in his eyes and figure out how to turn the whole case about with one well placed question.

It was as if Cal's entire mind suddenly blazed with fiery thoughts scorching his every synapse, burning trails of brilliance across his brain!

He knew... he knew all the questions now... compared to that, finding the answers was almost an after thought.

"You know, if you could hold a bipedal and female form, something vaguely attractive wouldn't hurt either, I'd kiss you! Barring that, Mr. S I can't help but notice that you keep changing shapes. I think it'd be an impossible coincidence to believe that you're not in some way related to the... 'whatevers' Inspector Logan turned out to be and Bloody Jack undoubtedly is. I want you to tell me all your race's powers and weaknesses.” Cal insisted.

"FOOL!" Screamed Mr. S, shifting so fast that he ended up having a different mouth for every letter of the word.

"Do you truly expect me to give up the secrets of my people to you that easily?" Mr. S demanded before once again letting loose with that horrible laugh.

Cal wasn't phased in the least.

No, the fact that Mr. S had openly admitted to the connection was exactly what Cal wanted to hear.

Now, now all Cal needed to do was think this through logically...

Mr. S. is a shapeshifter who can't control his shape that makes him...?

1: Paridon's darklord. ←

2: Under a terrible curse.

3: Completely innocent of the Blood Jack killings.

MR. S IS PARIDON'S DARKLORD!

Alexander had been so sure that Bloody Jack couldn't be Paridon's darklord when they'd first gotten here. Everything Cal had seen since then had agreed with that theory, darklords were never allowed to get what they wanted most, but things just kept going Bloody Jack's way.

The only shred of possible argument against that theory was the limit of only six murders every thirteen years, but that was neatly explained away by the needs of the dagger.

No, if you wanted to find a realm's darklord you needed to look for who was suffering in the most soul crushing way imaginable! What could be more embarrassing, more humiliating, more horrific than Mr. S's morphological incontinence?

If Mr. S was the darklord and he used to have the Fang of Nosferatu but Bloody Jack stole it that meant...?

1: Bloody Jack stole it a hundred and fifty six years ago.

2: Bloody Jack stole it fifty two years ago.

3: Bloody Jack stole it less than thirteen years ago. ←

THE FANG WAS STOLEN AFTER THE LAST ROUND OF KILLINGS!

Even darklords weren't immune to being killed if you tried hard enough. There was no way that Mr. S could have survived for long given how debilitating his curse was unless he had something else going for him.

Something else like... being invincible.

It all fit together perfectly, the Bloody Jack that Cal was chasing couldn't be invincible, if he was, why wouldn't he have stood his ground and fought?

No, Jack must have stolen the knife after Mr. S completed the last invincibility ritual thirteen years ago!

But how could Mr. S commit the ritual?

His body changes shape too frequently for him to hold onto a knife for a long and people would have been bound to noticed a creature like him moving around the streets sooner or later, so...?

1: The Fang stabilizes Mr. S' form.

2: Mr. S had the victims brought to him.

3: Mr. S used someone else to do the killings. ←

MR. S WAS NEVER BLOODY JACK! SOMEONE ELSE DID THE KILLINGS!

Any dagger that was mystical enough to have a ritual requiring you to kill people at a particular time of day was mystical enough to grant invincibility via some special manner other than just giving it to whoever did the killing.

Maybe you had to stab yourself with it at midnight of the night after you made your sixth kill?

It didn't matter, what mattered was that the murders might have been completed for Mr. S, but they were not done by Mr. S!

But how could Bloody Jack have stolen the Fang from Mr. S?

1: By impersonating Mr. S.

2: By not stealing it. ←

3: By pretending to be one of its victims.

BLOODY JACK IS AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN BLOODY JACK!

Mr. S. had been using one of his servants to do the Bloody Jack killings, but that servant got fed up with being second fiddle to the darklord.

After all, it was very hard to steal something from someone who was invincible, but very easy to just take something they'd already given you and run away!

Then, once he was invincible and Mr. S decidedly vincible Bloody Jack would be able to finish the job! That was why Mr. S needed to make sure the killings couldn't go through, because Bloody Jack already probably knew most of Mr. S' favorite hiding places!

Okay, just one last piece of the puzzle, Miss Penelope Downing... Mr. S must have visited her in person, he must have been the one who 'killed' her, it was too bizarre a detail for him to lie about.

Still, if he had taken the risks and made the effort to kill her, why was she still alive?

1 Mr. S can't kill anyone. ←

2 He never intended to kill her.

3 His mind changes as quickly as his body.

MR. S IS LITERALLY INCAPABLE OF KILLING PEOPLE!

"EUREKA!" Exclaimed Cal Wright with a triumphant smile on his face.

"James, I'm about to do something stupid, really really, really stupid. I don't care how stupid any of the stuff I've done since we got here has been, this is even stupider. It is, just, that, stupid, but it's also brilliant.

So I want you to promise me, whatever happens, just sit back and watch it. If you absolutely have to, run away. Run back to Boss and tell him what happened, can you promise me that?" Cal pleaded.

"If... if that's what you want." James stammered sounding strangely unsure of himself.

"Great, now then, Mr. S, what would you do if I were to say that you were nothing but a piss poor pile of pathetically powerless primordial protoplasm..." Cal began, but never got a chance to finish.

Mr. S leaped across the distance between them, his form flickering between various different shapes with each passing moment. The most coherency he was capable of maintaining was that every shape he took had something approaching a vaguely human pair of arms, arms that were soon wrapped around Cal's throat and starting to throttle the alchemist.

Cal couldn't breath, he couldn't get so much as a single ounce of air into his lungs.

He threw his lips wide open and struggled with all his might not to laugh with wicked delight as a sensation of solemnity and delight flooded his body.

Everything went dark.

XXX XXX XXX

Everything went light.

Cal coughed once or twice and smirked at Mr. S who had withdrawn away from him, his body still constantly transforming.

"Yeah... that's what I thought. The Mists really did a number on you... they made it so your own body constantly generates some kind of resurrection field that you can't shut off! That's why you could murder Penelope Downing yet she'd still be alive afterwards!

No matter how hard you want to, you can't kill someone and make it stick!

So, lets review the situation again... you have only a few days left until the immortality you got from the last round of killings wears off. You're utterly incapable of defending yourself in any meaningful way. You're utterly incapable of hiding yourself or blending in above ground for extended periods of time because you change your shape more frequently than a seamstress changes her bedsheets.

You can show us a way out of here, because you're Paridon's darklord, and you can stop sealing the borders any time you want! If Bloody Jack manages to become invincible and decides to start hunting me and my friends down while he's invincible, you're the thing that's keeping us trapped in this city with him.

The long and short of it is, if we don't defeat Bloody Jack before he can strike twice more, you're the one we start aiming for as a conciliation prize and a ticket back home.

So Mr. S, I think you need to ask yourself, which are you more afraid of... Telling me the secrets of what you really are, or the possibility that Bloody Jack will succeed? Keeping in mind of course that if he does, you'll have to worry about him and us..." Cal inquired while giving a finger point so dramatic that a sorcerer could have killed someone with it.

"YEAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Mr. S threw back his head and let loose with an bestial scream of pure rage that Cal found much less frightening than his laughter.

"We doppelgangers can read minds you single shaped fool! That's how Bloody Jack knew what you were planning, that's how me and my clan have always been able to take the place of anyone we wish.

Our skin is not all we can change, any item that we keep close by, within five feet or so, we have the power to change that as well. We can not alter it as drastically as our skin, while we can turn tattered rags in to finest of dress clothes, but not metal armor. Such a change will also only last for as long as the items are kept close by.

Whatever we turn into, it must go upon two legs, we can be any person imaginable, but only with the aid of additional magic can we become animals. Whatever the shape we take, it will make us no faster or stronger than we truly are.

Do not think that you will survive long in Paridon if you choose to put this information to use outside of dealing with Bloody Jack, I am still served by many members of my own clan, one of them delivered the letter that brought you here.

Finally, be aware that whatever you do, do not lay a bare hand upon the Fang." The doppelganger warned him.

"I always wear gloves anyway." Cal noted, brushing aside that last bit of advice.

"A normal glove will not be enough. It must be a glove made from the skin of a shape-shifting creature." Mr. S insisted.

Cal's eyes momentarily flicked in James direction, then he had a much smarter and less insane idea.

"I'll take care of it, and trust me Mr. S you'll get to lay your hands upon your magic dagger within the next 48 hours." Cal promised, and this time more than simple bravado backed those words.

End Chapter


Sun Aug 30, 2015 7:48 pm
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Evil Genius
Evil Genius

Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:30 am
Posts: 632
Post Re: Monster Party Book 3
Monster Party Book Three: On a blue Sunday morning lies a body just oozin' life.

Chapter Eleven: The boys are back in town!

"Brother Chadswick can I ask you for a favor?" Said Cal Wright.

XXX XXX XXX

"Mister Von Keller, can I ask you for a favor?" Said Cal Wright.

XXX XXX XXX

"Miss McMoran can I ask you for a favor?" Said Cal Wright.

XXX XXX XXX

"So, what does everyone think of their newest accessory?" Cal Wright asked cheerfully.

"Do we really need them?" James Firecat pleaded, for the first time looking relatively uncertain about something dealing with this case.

"Yes we do Omega, and as for you Beta, remember, once we leave Paridon, you don't talk of this, ever." Muttered Alexander Diamondclaw who now had a golden earring, meaning he was approximately only one cutlass and a black flag away from officially being a pirate even if Paridon was completely landlocked.

"Thanks, for that vote of confidence Boss. Now then, I'd like to be honest with all of you, well at least more honest then I normally am.

When all of this started I was treating it like a game, I was doing it to make myself look important. Now however, now I've realized that there are bigger things to worry about.

This isn't about making myself look like a hero, its not about showing people how smart I am, its not even about that reward they're offering, shocked as I am to say it.

This is about making Bloody Jack suffer in ways that even the Mists themselves will find excessive!

We are going to grind him under our collective boots like the cockroach that he is. So grab your wet scarves and lets get to work, it's time to hunt." The alchemist concluded.

XXX XXX XXX

The city's clock once again loudly signaled midnight, there was a scream, and a soft tearing of cloth.

"Five of six... you know I think I'll take a lung this time..." Muttered a man with blue eyes and a thick black beard.

As he began to bend down over the recently slain woman there was another soft sound.

It was almost comforting in a way, something like a gentle gust of wind, except that this somehow sounded like several gusts passing improbably close to one another.

The sound that followed in its wake was not reassuring in the least though, it was a hard mechanical "click" sort of sound.

XXX XXX XXX

Callan Wright really didn't want to think about how he was thinking right now.

The human body had a preset solid shape and it tended to want to maintain both that shape and that nature.

He was still more or less the right shape, but he'd given up solidity, sailed right past liquid, and ended up diving head first into pure gas.

He couldn't put aside the worry that any moment now an errant breeze might not somehow be able to distinguish between what parts of the air were part of him and what parts weren't.

When he'd told Florence what he wanted and she'd told him she had just the spell for it. That was ever the way of dealing with mages though, you went to ask them for something, they said they'd take care of it, and before too long you wound up wishing you'd never asked.

Chasing down Bloody Jack on foot had proved a fools game, so tonight the members of Wright & Skye & Firecat & Associates were trying a slightly different approach.

The upside was that it gave Cal access to an incredible amount of speed, something close to twice the rate of most horses, and also allowed him to completely ignore the city's twisting terrain.

The downside was that he now was fairly certain he knew exactly how it would feel if he ever died and became a ghost.

A white vaporous outline of Callan Wright drifted above the city of Paridon, still able to hear and see despite the fact that what passed for his body only had vague representations eyes and ears at the moment.

Reminding himself that this was magic and he really should stop trying to apply logic to it, Cal was almost relieved to hear the first bell of midnight ring.

As always the final one came with a scream of pain that he could hear quite clearly, and took off zooming across the sky.

Now that he was no longer inhibited by his feet or his lack of knowledge of how to maneuver through the city properly he soon caught sight of a figure in a black cloak leaning over another prone one.

The alchemist zoomed to the top of a nearby building and devoutly wishing he had fingers to cross, concentrated.

There was a sound he couldn't describe and one moment he was simply a swirling white mist that only vaguely resembled a human body, the next he was his normal solid self.

An understandable moment of brief nausea accompanied the transformation but he managed to fight it down and flipped off Phoenix's safety, announcing that the fun had begun.

He looked over the edge of the building and smiled down at Bloody Jack and the group of about a dozen hanger's on he'd brought with him.

"Throw down your weapons and stand very, very, still if you ever want to see the sun rise." Cal insisted.

A thick bearded man with blue eyes turned his attention away from the woman he'd been crouched over to glower up at the one who had interrupted him.

"You think you can stop us? You and what army?" The man cackled.

There was a series of "FWOOSH" like sounds as James Firecat, Alexander Diamondclaw, Florence Bastien, Devi Skye, and finally Mirri Catwarrior materialized on top of the buildings which surrounded the alley.

"People say you're so smart... yet you go and ask that question to man who already used magic to catch you by surprise! Now then, lets see that pretty dagger you're so proud of, hold it out real slow like." Cal suggested causing his foe's face to twist into a grimace of resentment though his hands remained still.

"Has the gravity of your situation hit yet? Unless you can outrace the wind itself none of you are getting away from us this time.

You and your friends are covered from an elevated position Jack! I'm not going to ask again..." The dirty blond haired man ordered.

A moment later a man who hadn't been there a second ago suddenly came into being.

It was the proper "from out of nowhere" also, not the halfway version of it Cal and his friends had preformed, there had been no sign at all of the man's existence until he showed himself.

He had a black mustache and a long face, and in his hands an item that filled Cal's heart with hatred. The newly arrived man began to move his mouth rapidly and Cal adjusted his aim even quicker and fired.

Halfway from Phoenix's barrel to its target the man completed his spell. White mist spread out from his free hand enveloping the entire group in a massive rolling fog bank.

It takes something a great more substantial than a fog bank to block a bullet however, and there was a loud "CRACK" as Cal's round hit home.

He could no longer see clearly down to the street but his ears could still hear quite well.

To pick an example very far from at random he could hear a great deal of screaming and cursing going on down there.

Having a glass bottle with oil of scallatine in it shatter while you were only a few feet away was not a pleasant experience, Cal could attest to that plenty well.

On the other hand Paridon's most famous serial killer was now learning the ancient Lamordian lesson about how you shouldn't create something unless you were ready for the possibility that it might turn against you.

He'd been audacious enough to go about the crime his face bare to the world foolishly. By comparison, even while standing overhead with a wet scarf covering the lower half of his face Cal could still catch a few whiffs of the stuff.

He worked Phoenix's slide rapidly reloading it while Alexander James and Mirri leaped down and plunged into the fog bank ready for battle.

Cal on the other hand stood back and kept his eyes open, no reason to over-commit.

"Florence if you see their mage again...!" Cal called out, knowing that if you wanted to take care of someone with innate magical powers then typically the best way to do it was send a magic user of your own against them.

Then as he was surveying the unfolding chaos the alchemist noticed how the fog seemed to have just barely reached the end of the alley and a figure with black hair went darting out of it. Cal couldn't see his face, but he could see two shinning dots of red on the knife he was holding.

That would have to do for now at least.

Cal took a step off the side of the building, and began to fall.

Halfway to the ground he went from being a plummeting man of flesh and blood into a soaring spirit of mist and air. He zoomed away just above the fog bank, traveling faster than the fastest race horse, let alone a foe on foot.

He blew past his fleeing target, position himself before him and then returned to normal raising Phoenix in the process.

"Did you really think it would be that easy?" Cal asked with a smile.

Bloody Jack spat some kind of curse in his true monstrous tongue and all semblance of humanity fell from his body as he took on a shape that as best as Cal could tell was identical to the one Inspector Logan had assumed upon death.

The doppelganger charged him with the Fang of Nosferatu. His rage lent him speed and he was able to cross the distance between them before Cal could reposition Phoenix, forcing the alchemist to shift his grip at the last second.

The knife scratched a line along the stock of Cal's weapon but if he'd been expecting to seriously impair Phoenix, well Florence Bastien had a way with hardening wood.

A way that the doppelganger became intimately family with as Cal's grip kept shifting and what had started out as a block transformed itself into swinging Phoenix like a club slamming its breach into the monster's skull.

The hairless freak fell back its eyes momentarily filled with pain and confusion.

The fight might have been over then, but the barrel was pointing the wrong way leaving Cal with only one choice.

He let go.

Phoenix dropped towards the ground and Cal's foot came up to meet it.

Now Florence's magic worked against him, not to mention it was never exactly a pleasant sensation to kick your favorite firearm.

Thankfully he'd always treated her right she didn't choose that particular betray him.

Having avoided shooting himself in the foot (or possibly someplace more vital) Phoenix flew back upwards. Cal's hands reached up and found a familiar grip, and his right index finger slid neatly around the trigger.

Without words or pity Cal applied pressure.

BLAM!

The doppelganger dropped the dagger and fell to the cobblestone streets, the bullet having punched right through its nose, the back of its skull, and anything unlucky enough to have been between them.

They might look only vaguely human but clearly they stored their brains in the same place as everyone else.

Then seeing no other creatures of any kind around, Cal bent down and picked up the dagger.

It didn't feel special in the slightest, that might just have been because he was wearing the right kind of gloves, but... it might mean something else entirely.

Best to test it and make sure... something about this had been a little too easy.

Cal dropped the knife to the ground and loaded Phoenix again. He drew careful aim (wanting to minimized the chance of a ricochet striking him) and fired.

The dagger's blade shattered into a dozen or so pieces from the force with which Phoenix's round struck it.

"Damn it." The alchemist growled to himself.

He was fairly sure it took a lot more than a single lead bullet to destroy a magical daggers which could grant invincibility.

A moment later a new theory formed itself in his mind.

Inspector Logan had been able to find one normal dagger with rubies in the hilt to try and frame Wolfgang with, Bloody Jack must have had several of them already.

Once the magic fog had rolled in he'd ordered one of his fellow doppelgangers to take his favorite shape, then sent him out to act as a decoy. With Cal distracted he'd probably be able to get away, most likely using another of those invisibility spells his mage had been under before revealing himself.

"Well played." Cal grudgingly admitted as he worked his gun's breach yet again then headed back to the alley where the main fight had taken place.

Said fight had wrapped itself up by the time he got back, there were more dead doppelgangers, but also much to his surprise some prisoners!

"What's the deal with those four?" He gestured at a quartet of men who were all laying on the ground curled up in fetal balls, a truly universal symbol of defeat and submission.

Alexander grabbed one of them and then pulled him to his feet glowering at the black haired man.

"None of these four fought back. I think they've got a keener sense of smell than the doppelgangers, when the oil of scallatine hit them..." He let the rest go unsaid.

There were very few times that Cal had ever seen Alexander Diamondclaw truly helpless, the way he'd looked after getting two nostrils of that stuff was the closest he could recall in a very long time.

"If they're not doppelgangers, what do you think they actually are?" Cal inquired.

"I have a theory." The silver haired man answered, his one visible eye alight with ideas for how he could test that theory.

"Well then, lets get them to the Headquarters of the Paridon Guard and into some jail cells. We'll also bring the body with us and take it to Morton von Keller when we get a chance. Before we move it though I'm gonna do a quick inspection and see if anything jumps out at me." Cal explained before getting down to work.

The dead woman had her throat slit and was wearing a brightly colored dress. Her skin was even paler than Mirri's (after all, at least the vampire had other people's blood in her) was. Her eyes were frozen wide open in an expression of terror and pain. Her hands were clenched tight in fists... with a small bit of black emerging from one of them.

"Well now... what do we have here?" Cal asked aloud as he worked the hand opened.

Before she'd died the woman had evidently torn at her killer's cloak. She'd ripped a piece off, a piece that must have contained a pocket because she'd also managed to tear off a section of a letter that Bloody Jack had been too busy escaping to take back.

It was torn along jagged lines which obscured most of the message but not quite all.

"... personally. …. diversions have been …. this year's entertainment …. are fine performers. And so I can assure you, Mrs. Elsworth, that my party will be as splendid as always. My servants have done up each room in a different theme. The event promises to be even more spectacular than the gala I held last year, which I sure you remember to be …. event indeed, marred only by …. unforeseen incidents. …. will not dissuade …. year and ….." Was how it read.

On the back of the scrap of paper was some kind of strange seal that Cal didn't immediately recognize.

That last part hardly mattered though, because even ignoring the four prisoners they'd taken, this letter alone might tell him where Bloody Jack planned to be soon... and it might even tell him a great deal more than that!

"If I believed in something as saccharine as a paradise beyond death I'd wish you all possible speed on your journey there." Cal reflected somberly before turning to his companions.

"Mirri kiss this girl!" He suddenly ordered.

"Why?" She demanded crossing her arms in irritation.

"Because it'd be necrophilia if I did it." Cal explained with a shrug of his shoulders.

XXX XXX XXX

"I abhor torture..." Announced Alexander Diamondclaw as he walked back and forth before four cells in the Headquarters of the Paridon Guard.

"It corrodes the soul, both of the torturer, and the one who is tortured. Even worse than that, torture is inefficient. A man simply has no way of being sure if the information he's being told is correct or not.

The person you're torturing may just be saying something to make you stop doing it and waste your time disproving their lies, they may not even have the information you want to know in the first place." He paused for a moment, then as he strode past each of the cells he held up a blade.

"One of my companions makes a habit of collecting knives, because you never know what type of knife you might need in any given situation, I asked him to lend me two of them. This is a common every day sort of knife that I'm holding in my right hand. It's made of a combination of various metals to make it is as strong as possible." He let those words sink in, then did an about turn and held up another blade.

"In my left hand I'm holding what is generally known as a 'cold iron' blade, a knife that's made purely from iron without being alloyed in the process. It's weaker than the other blade, it will break first, but cold iron blades are said to be quite effective against all manner of supernatural creatures.

Possibly it is because they represent man's mastery over nature, or... well to be perfectly honest understanding magic was never my strongest suit. Still, the point I'm trying to make here, and I want you to think about deeply, is, which knife are you more afraid of, and why?

Since torture is so unreliable I'm not planning to keep you lot around for long, after all the way that you reacted to oil of scallatine proves that you've got a keener sense of smell than any human, so I'm sure you're all monsters of some sort of or another.

Hell, that doesn't even really matter, just the fact that you were in league with Bloody Jack was enough to get Acting Inspector Nayth ready to sign off on your death warrants, though of course its taking him a while to get all the proper paperwork filled out.

Normally it is hanging in Paridon, but what with him only being Acting Inspector and Bloody Jack still being on the loose everything is up in the air, which means we don't have time for anything so fancy. Don't worry though, I'll do a clean enough job of slitting your throats, you can trust me.

You won't be my first, that's for sure, I can open up someone's neck even wider than your friend Bloody Jack does if the need strikes me."

Alexander paused for long enough for this to sink in, even momentarily stopping his pacing.

"I abhor jackals also." He added suddenly, seemingly talking to himself rather than any of the prisoners.

"Nasty things, scavengers always found trailing in the wake of true killers. The only thing that I have to say in their defense is that you can always trust a jackal to be jackal.

When a jackal finds itself all alone without any friends who could possibly help it, forced to limp its way along with an injured leg... and then winds up face to face with a wolf pack, everyone know what is going to happen.

The jackal is going to roll on its belly and show the alpha wolf its throat, because its only hope to survive is to convince the wolves that it is too pathetic to even be worth the effort of killing.

Now, if the jackal in question knew something the alpha wanted, like where it had last seen some more interesting and filling game, that might end up earning saving its life." Alexander paused again, stopping as he walked past the final cell to switch his eyepatch from his right eye to his left.

Then he did another simple stroll past the four cells, giving each of the captives a very long look at his golden yellow eye.

"You lads aren't jackals though, are you? I bet you're made of sterner stuff than that. I bet you'll go to your deaths proud defenders of whatever sort of warped god Bloody Jack is worshiping.

Yes, none of you are jackals... so I think I'll be killing you with the knife in my right hand.

It lasts a lot longer than the cold iron one you know... like I said, steel will keep its edge no matter how many cuts you need to make with it. I trust none of you have a problem with that?" Alexander asked flippantly, his voice full of false sympathy.

He gave them all another chance to watch him walking back and forth, this time going so far as to run a tongue that seemed just a little too long, a little too flexible, to be truly human along the flat of the blade invitingly.

"Well I appreciate you lot listening to me ramble on, next time we meet it'll be to see which one of you takes the longest to die." Alexander explained and then began to head away from the cells.

He only got about six steps before all four prisoners rose to their feet and promptly began shouting over one another for the chance to spill their guts, clearly they'd realized that their only alternative to that was to... well spill their guts.

"Bardan! It was all Bardan's idea I swear!"

"He's the huntsman for Bloody Jack in more ways than one!"

"He's the reason we're working with the doppelganger, none of us would do it otherwise!"

"We are jackals I swear!"

"DON'T KILL US WITH A STEEL KNIFE!"

"He's in charge of all us, because he knows magic!"

"He said that doppelgangers don't eat those they kill so why shouldn't we work with them!"

"WE'RE THE MOST CRAVEN COWARDS YOU'VE EVER MET, I PROMISE!" The prisoners screeched at Alexander's back.

XXX XXX XXX

"You are one scary motherf**ker Boss." Cal Wright reflect.

Alexander Diamondclaw flashed him his very own smuggest smile.

"You're only just now noticing? I must need to try harder.

Anyway, once we're done testing what our guests said against what they tell us after Mirri's had a chance to work her magic on them, we should have some reliable new information to work with. After that, I trust you've got a plan for what we're going to do with it?"

"You could say that. Now if you'll excuse me, there's a favor I need to ask from the Acting Inspector..." Cal admitted.

End Chapter


Sun Sep 27, 2015 7:43 am
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Evil Genius
Evil Genius

Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:30 am
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Post Re: Monster Party Book 3
Monster Party Book Three: On a blue Sunday morning lies a body just oozin' life.

Chapter Twelve: We're going hunting, we're gonna kill something and I don't care what it is!

"Acting Inspector can I ask you for a favor?" Said Cal Wright.

XXX XXX XXX

"Ms. Chadswick we've never met before but can I ask you for a favor?" Said Cal Wright.

XXX XXX XXX

"S. H. can I ask you for a favor?" Said Cal Wright.

XXX XXX XXX

"I trust you're not here to arrest me this time?" Doctor Wolfgang Arturus was kind enough to greet them outside his house when a wagon of the Paridon Guard (the kind with barred windows) rolled up before it.

Alexander Diamondclaw jumped down from the passenger's seat, a simple iron key in his hands.

"Not in the least, think of this as more of a... what was the term Cal used... ahh yes, a work release program. I happen to have four recently captured criminals who are very interested in trying to turn their lives around." He unlocked the door and four men emerged, their hands bound behind their backs by some of Devi's extra supply of rope.

The Doctor took one look at the four of them and then recoiled in shock.

"You can't be serious. You expect me to let Jackalweres into my house?" He exclaimed with a mix of horror and revulsion.

"Good honest work is a balm for the soul." Alexander noted in an offhand manner.

"Besides, it turns out the jackalweres and doppelgangers of this city have an interesting 'symbiotic' relationship of sorts.

The doppelgangers kill simply for the pleasure it brings them, and the power that they can gain by taking the place of those they have slain. The jackalweres on the other hand, they can pass for human, but not meld their shape precisely enough to look exactly like someone else.

Now, the doppelgangers would like nothing better than to make sure the bodies of those they kill and replace are never found, after all, it might raise some some questions if they were walking around the street and laying dead in an alley at the same time.

So the doppelgangers get their evidence disposed of and the jackalweres get a meal.

These four lads however have betrayed that relationship, so now every doppelganger in the city is going to be aiming for them regardless of if if they support Bloody Jack, Mr. S, or only themselves. After all a lesson needs to be sent, if jackalweres start thinking for themselves, terrible things might happen!

Which means that the only way they're going to survive for long is if they find someone new to work for. That someone having a house you'd probably need a siege weapons to force your way into is also a nice little side benefit.

If it helps ease your worries, they know better than to kill you in your sleep. If they do then while they may no longer have to worry about you, in turn they'll have to worry about ME.." Alexander explained, his face transforming from jovial grin into a barring of fangs as he spoke the final word.

"I'm not as young as I used to be, but I think I can keep these four in line even without your help. I suppose I owe it to Doctor Fericks to at least give them a try. All right then what are your names?" He inquired.

"Jack."

"Al."

"Omega."

"Lasty." The prisoners sounded off in turn.

Wolfgang just sort of stared off into the distance for a bit.

"Your name is 'Jack' and your name is 'Al', did I hear that correctly?" He repeated.

"We're brothers." The two answered at once.

Doctor Wolfgang Arturus buried his face in his hands.

"Please tell me you haven't introduced them to anyone else yet?" He pleaded with Alexander.

"Their names are entered on the forms that were filled out when they were taken prisoner. That said, my alchemist told me he could forge copies of those with a tree that's been dead dead longer than you've been alive, some unusual sea life, and half a potato." Alexander reassured him.

"Well enough. I can see a lot of long conversations in my future." The wolfwere ruminated.

"They were originally going to call themselves 'Hey' and 'You', so they've at least made some progress.

Apparently only the jackalwere leader actually bothers to give himself a name. At the moment that jackalwere's name is Bardan." Alexander explained.

Wolfgang motioned for the prisoners to enter his home while his visitor swung back up into the carriage and with a crack of the whip in Devi's hand they were off. Certain matters had to attended to before the sun went down.

XXX XXX XXX

"Seriously? Seriously I am... I am offended!" Cal exclaimed in anger from the passenger seat of the police wagon next to Devi who was once again driving.

"I mean, I showed that fancy symbol we found to the woman mentioned in the letter. She says that it belongs to Bloodsworth family, who are throwing a party tonight where every room has a different theme. Not only that but there's only one living member of the family at the moment, Sir Edmund Bloodsworth.

Bloodsworth!

We really could have avoided all this nonsense if the first thing we did was just rounded up all the people with weird names possibly pertaining to the crime at hand then let Mirri charm gaze them into admitting if they knew anything about Bloody Jack!" Cal shouted to the sky in frustration.

"Some people are thankful for the follies of their foes." Devi noted dryly.

"That's another thing, most of the people I've talked to say that Sir Bloodsworth more or less looks like what I think Bloody Jack looks like, not that I pointed that out to them.

What kind of idiot doppelganger would wear the same shape for both interacting with the city's upper crust and committing their crimes? By the way, to even ask that particular question, it forces you to table the issue of them wearing the same face while committing several different crimes on several different nights!" Cal protested.

"They're getting close again." Devi reflected with a touch of worry.

Cal stopped ranting for a moment to half lean over the side of his seat and fired off a round from Phoenix.

An awkward half yipping half yowling sound abruptly terminated along with the life of the creature making the noise.

"Huh, stayed down, must have been an ordinary jackal. Now then, where was I?" Cal commented while reloading Phoenix.

"You were just on the subject of how Sir Edmund Bloodsworth wasn't bothering to give Bloody Jack a different face every night." Devi reminded him.

"Yeah that's right. So with that in mind, I'm revising my earlier theory, Bloody Jack has not been the same Bloody Jack for the last hundred and fifty some odd years.

Mr. S probably rotated who did it, it was just that when Sir Edmund was told this year would be his turn and he was given the dagger, he decided to put it to personal use instead.

If he'd had enough experience with committing over a dozen strings of murders there's no way he'd be making such a rookie mistake. You know what I think?" Cal continued barely even pausing long enough to let someone else get a word in edgewise.

"They're coming closer on my side this time." Devi interjected.

Cal awkwardly leaned across her body and despite the fact that his head was left all but directly laying upon her lap, kept his wits about him and blasted another jackal into a state only Mr. S could undo.

That done, he resumed his normal posture, for one of the few times in his life having something more important on his mind than Devi's shapely body.

"So what do you think?" Devi prompted him.

"I think that for whatever reason, either Sir Edmund is in league with the doppelgangers somehow, but not actually one of them... and I don't have a clue how that could actually work... or he's... he's attached to his current shape for some reason.

I don't have a single solitary clue how that would work either, but lacking contradictory evidence what can you do? Maybe... maybe because Sir Bloodsworth is so rich and powerful it makes him feel more secure and confident to be in that shape?" Cal lamented.

Their entire journey had been more or less like this.

They'd gotten into the wagon shortly after ten bells, and then discovered that Blood Jack's jackalwere allies seemed to stirred up a small army of jackals to chase them. Living up to Alexander's expectations, the jackalweres had decided to let their expendable animal servants lead the charge.

Every time that one of them got too close Phoenix made a convincing argument for why the rest of the group should consider backing off for a bit.

The force of jackals were spread out in a semicircle behind them, and so far showed no signs of trying to complete the group's encirclement. They seemed vastly more interested in chasing the group than catching them, which suggested that while the jackalweres might be willing to follow the doppelgangers, they were in no great hurry to throw there lives away.

There was a none too faint snarl from the back of the coach and the jackals dropped back even further.

"So, if this plan of yours work then we're finally going to come to grips with the foe? Corner him in his den with no hope of escape?" Asked Alexander Diamondclaw as he poked his head out from the back of the wagon.

"Your lips to the clockwork's gears Boss. I know it must be a real burr in your fur to think you can spend an entire week in a domain the Mists hand picked for us to visit without its darklord trying to murder you. Don't worry though, I'm done playing my father's game." Callan Wright vowed.

His silver haired commander shook his head and sighed.

Then he looked backwards through a barred widow.

"You know, the first one to catch up with us, he gets to fight me." He advised the chasing jackals, as always trusting that he wouldn't be misunderstood.

There were a lot of yips, yelps, and other decidedly hesitant sounds.

Up front Cal shook his head mournfully.

"You know... those guys really need to find themselves a new line of work. I mean, everybody who tries to fight Boss is going to wind up suffering a horrible horrible death... but I don't think I've ever seen anybody quite so keenly aware of the fact beforehand." The alchemist mused.

"Gate is coming up ahead of us, also the trigger mechanism seems to be off on the right." Devi advised.

Cal nodded in agreement and sighted in Phoenix in preparation for the shot.

BLAM!

A single chain link was ruptured by the bullet.

A single chain link was ruptured, and without it, the link attached to it became unanchored. That meant the link above it was unanchored also.

Link after link shot upwards, and a few moments later a portcullis came slamming downwards.

It hit the ground just as the wagon rolled past, and the group of jackals "chasing" them were cut off.

"Great shooting Cal!" James Firecat added helpfully sticking his head out of the back of the wagon.

"James, I'm always a great shot. On the other hand if this is the officially the 'lets give Cal Wright compliments he doesn't need hour', well that does happen happen to be my favorite hour of the day!" The dirty blond haired man pointed out playfully.

"You're can be every bit as good a lawyer as your father when you set your mind to it!" James proclaimed enthusiastically.

"You snore, but between the fact that I sleep in a coffin and that James' purrs it never keeps me up at night." Mirri Catwarrior promptly informed him.

"You show surprising skill for mixing potions considering how little appreciation you have for the natural world." Florence Bastien pointed out.

"Whatever your other faults as an Alpha may be, you haven't managed to get any of us killed yet..." Alexander contributed cheerfully.

"You know... these compliments are starting to get decidedly less complimentary." Cal couldn't help but note.

"The evenings that we spend together are on average, above average." Devi informed him.

"Above average? That's all I am to you, above average? Devi be a dear and do me a favor, I've got a pistol or three attached to my belt at the moment. Take one of them, cock back its hammer, and end my suffering." Cal suggested.

Devi shot him a look, then shrugged and reached a hand towards Cal's waist.

"Hmm... I'm not finding one at the moment." Devi muttered in irritation.

"Right... right.. just keep going right till you feel something hard, it might be locked in there pretty tight though so you may need to yank on it a couple of times..." Cal suggested eagerly.

Devi's hand went left and pulled out a pistol, before whacking Cal over the head with it.

"Huh, guess I was mistaken." The alchemist admitted.

Devi pulled their vehicle to a stop as they saw a large carriage house before them.

"Well, I guess at least now we've got some place to tie up the horses. Cal, unless you think that you can climb up over this place we're probably going to have to go through it to get to the main house." She suspected.

Cal looked up towards towards one of the carriage house's window.

It was just possible to see the outline of a man with a long face and mustache for just a moment before he blew out the candle that had been illuminating him.

"I think someone is waiting for us, it'd be a shame to disappoint him." The alchemist reflected.

XXX XXX XXX

SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAK! Every single step the group took through the carriage house seemed to generate more sound than the last.

"Jeez, you figure a guy as rich as Edmund Bloodsworth would be able to afford getting his place repaired now and again." Cal pointed out, keeping his eyes open for any sight of their target.

"They're not decrepit, they're nightingale floors. You see them a lot in jail cells or mansions, at least the ones that have wooden floors. They're designed so that anyone who walks across them without knowing them by heart will make noise..." Devi warned.

"I suppose that means Bardan knows where we are then. Who knows how many secret passages you could build into a place like this..." Florence suggested.

"Hey may know where we are, but there's only one of him, if we stick together he'll have to take all of us on sooner or later. That, or we're going to get out of here and go pay his boss a visit!" Cal declared that last sentence particularly loudly, wondering if he could goad their stalker into revealing himself.

The jackalwere refused to take the bait though.

"Bouteille fabricant de laisser la jeune fille morte aller dernière." Suggested Mirri in Low Mordentish.

It was entirely possible that Bardan could be listening in on the conversation, it would be a lot harder to believe that the jackalwere would know how to speak a language which came from a land that had no physical connection to Paridon.

Cal blinked a few times, honestly he'd prefer to have Mirri in the exact opposite position. On the other hand, if she had some sort of plan he'd be a fool not to give her a shot at it.

"Surgeon de sang de votre souhait est mon plaisir." Cal replied and began to take several steps forward picking up the pace while Mirri drifted back slightly.

XXX XXX XXX

Step, step, step, he watched the half a dozen fools walk through his home thanks to an impossibly well camouflaged hole in his hiding place.

He licked his lips as they approached a small doorway that would require them to pass through in single file.

With a silence that was completely at odds with the how noisy the floors were Bardan slid the door to his closet hiding place (which of course was connected to a secret passage from upstairs) open. He walked across the specially prepared floors whose nature he had memorized to the point that he could do it while blindfolded.

Just as a black haired woman was about to step through the doorway he seized her right upper arm firmly and spun her around.

"Look deep into my eyes..." The man commanded before he quickly mouthed the words to a spell under his breath.

A copy of the girl he held in his hands walked through the door, that would keep her companions from suspecting anything until too late.

"Look deeply into my eyes..." The woman repeated eagerly enough.

"You are feeling very sleepy." Commanded Bardan.

"You are feeling very sleepy..." She whispered breathlessly.

"Close your eyes and go to sleep..." Bardan instructed slowly.

"Close your eyes... and go to sleep..." The woman gasped as her own eyes began half lidded but for the moment still open.

They stood there silently no further words being needed, then two eyes fell closed.

Their owner never even had a chance to scream.

XXX XXX XXX

WHUMP!

Mirri Catwarrior dropped the carcass of something that was unmistakably canine in nature on the floor behind the rest of the group.

"I've won staring contests with hags, snake women, basilisks, medusas, and in one memorable case a kizoku. Remember what you helped a peasant do to that bastard afterwards Florence? Good times... Anyway, it's time for me to add another tally mark to my coffin, I think he was one of those types who mistook me for a damsel, they're my favorite." The vampire declared with relish.

Alexander silently drew Wolf Claw and beheaded the corpse, just to be on the safe side.

"So, now that we've finished the appetizer, who is ready for the main course?" Mirri noted smiling with bloody lips.

End Chapter


Tue Oct 06, 2015 7:18 pm
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Evil Genius
Evil Genius

Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:30 am
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Post Re: Monster Party Book 3
Monster Party Book 3: On a blue Sunday Morning lays a body just oozin' life.

Final Chapter: The man in the back said everyone attack and it turned into a ballroom blitz!

"All right, is everyone still properly dressed for the occasion?" Cal reminded the group as they stood just outside the Bloodsworth Manner.

"This is gonna hurt... probably more than with Mirri... Cal do you have some healing potions I can use when all is said and done?" James Firecat asked, his face looking far less chipper than normal as he prepared himself for what came next, but refused to let a little thing like the prospect of pain get in the way of doing his best.

"Feel free to choose your cure when the time comes, I'm pretty well stocked potions wise at the moment." The alchemist admitted.

"By the way, given that you said I was your assistant, can I take part in the next phase of the plan? I mean if things go the way you expect they will, there might not be another one after it..." The werecat pleaded.

The alchemist pondered that question and decided since they were about to show Sir Edmund Bloodsworth a meaning of "full court press", that had nothing to do with judges, he could afford to be magnanimous in victory.

"You know what, by Ball Lighting, ALL you guys can join in on the next one.

That's what Dad always did after his big cases, invite everyone important to him to join in. Something tells me that this particular case is never going to go to trial though, so we might as well have fun while we can. All we need now is to wait for the right moment..." Cal reflected.

XXX XXX XXX

Sir Edmund Bloodsworth surveyed a room full of smiling faces who were happy to see him, happy to be here.

Likewise he was happy to have them here, because it meant his entire mansion was packed full of perspective victims.

He only needed one of them, one of them at the stroke of midnight and then he'd be invincible for thirteen years! The best part was that the power of the blade concealed within the folds of his jacket recharged faster than that.

He could start the next batch of killings before his invulnerability expired!

Tonight he would seal his place as the most powerful "man" in all of Paridon, after all how could you get more powerful than invincible?

Not only that, but all of his other targets had been gutter trash, having established that 'pattern' who would expect Bloody Jack's final victim to be one of the city's elite?

This entire plan had been brilliant and its execution (he allowed himself a mental chuckle at the word choice) had been all but flawless.

Edmund forced a vapidly inoffensive smile to his face and climbed onto a chair. A hush settled over the room as he tapped a silver spoon against the champagne glass he held in his right hand.

"To my dear friends I need no introduction. But to some you who are attending my annual party for the first time and thus may not know my face, I am your host, Sir Edmund Bloodsworth." Edmund declared to the fools before him.

The wickedly truth of course was that not a single one of them knew his face of course!

He raised his glass high in a toast to all those present.

"To a long life for all of us. I hope that we are always to enjoy the bounty of life as much as I have enjoyed having all of you here with me on this festive occasion. Now let us be about some merriment, for I have made sure that this party will lack for nothing." Sir Edmund concluded.

People began to applaud but then a cacophony obliterated all other noise in the room.

Applause and acclamations of praise alike were smothered by the a single surely magically amplified word bellow from multiple throats at the same moment.

"O-B-J-E-C-T-I-O-N!"

A moment later Sir Edmund Bloodsworth was left to gape in shock as a not insignificant chunk of his mansion's wall collapsed inwards.

Through the newly made hole scrambled an oversized tree, except it looked vaguely human in shape if not size. Its fists had easily smashed a hole which allowed still more creatures to pour in.

Next was a ferocious howling silver furred wolf creature, a lupine monster far larger than any of the occupants of the room had ever seen before.

Not content to have one dangerous animal on the loose a fully grown lioness followed in through the opening next, roaring its wrath at all present.

In its wake came some sort of vaguely feline abomination with fur the color of blood that hissed and spat.

Then a fifth monster entered into the ballroom.

He was a lunatic dressed in a brown cloak with ice cold blue eyes.

He ran a hand along the length of the red furred creature's body as calmly as a normal man might pet a kitten.

He held himself with a terrible stillness amid the writhing insanity, a wicked looking slender firearm held in one hand.

"As I was saying, I object to such foolish proclamations. How can you have a truly great party without Paridon's greatest celebrity in attendance? You folks all know me of course, my name is Jack... Bloody Jack."

Edmund's blue eyes went wide with shock... this wasn't, this wasn't part of the plan! Why would someone else be claiming to be Bloody Jack?

"It's been a great pleasure stalking through your streets, picking you off one by one, and you've always been such obliging targets! But tonight, tonight is the final murder of my latest spree, the thirteenth of my thirteen year sprees, I think that calls for something special.

So ladies and gentlemen, tonight I thought I'd try something different. No more miniscule murder by retail, tonight the time has come for wholesale slaughter!"

He worked some strange aspect of his weapon producing an unquestionably lethal sound.

"SIR EDMUND BLOODSWORTH AS THE HOST OF THIS PARTY, YOURS WILL BE THE HONOR OF DYING FIRST! AFTER THAT, WELL LET NONE SAY I DISCRIMINATE! ONE GUEST IS AS GOOD AS ANOTHER! LET THE BLOOD FLOW! SCREAM MY NAME IN TERROR, FLEE AS FAST AS YOUR LEGS WILL CARRY YOU! NONE CAN OUTRUN ME BUT IF YOU ARE LUCKY YOU MIGHT JUST OUTRUN YOUR FELLOW CITZENS!" The madman proclaimed.

"Oh f**k." Thought Sir Edmund Bloodsworth, then he thought it again, and again, and again.

XXX XXX XXX

Cal Wright had considered various possible plans for how to make sure Edmund Bloodsworth did not kill anyone at the stroke of midnight.

There were all manner of clever plots and schemes that he might have employed to try and keep the doppelganger occupied at the crucial time or to keep others away from him.

Except that Callan Wright had also decided that this particular case had gotten complicated enough, and it was time to have a screaming madman simply start kicking doors down and promising to kill people. Since Sir Edmund had refused to play that particular part Cal had fallen back on the old saw about how if you wanted something done right, you had to do it yourself.

Sure enough, Edmund's guests were already fleeing in every direction.

If anyone stuck around after seeing a madman with a small army of monsters under his command crash their party (in the most literal sense of the phrase) then they must have had an ulterior motive for attending.

"Ah that's better." Cal reflected as he surveyed the fewer than two dozen people who remained in the ball room less than sixty seconds later.

"First some good news, I'm not Bloody Jack and I don't intend to kill any of you, and these aren't raving monsters. My name is Lance Constable Callan Wright of the Paridon Guard and these are members of the Royal Initiative of Controlled, Highly Trained, Exceptional Nightmares, also known as RICHTEN.

The member of the organization with leaves is Special Constable Lisardggy. The one who is currently purring is Special Constable Obeerg. The one who is growling is is Special Constable Allimrac. Finally, the one with the earring is Special Constable Argon Ark.

There are things that go bump in the night, Sir Bloodsworth. Make no mistake about that. And we are the ones who bump back.." Cal declared with the utmost of confidence.

"Now, the bad news though is that you are all under arrest for seventy seven counts of murder or being accomplices to previously mentioned seventy seven counts of murder!" Cal informed the party guests and host.

"What madness is this?" Spluttered Sir Edmund.

"It's quite simple really, thirteen years per a series of killings, six killings for each series, minus the sixth victim who should be killed tonight. Bloody Jack can be confirmed to have killed seventy seven people. If you can't do such simple math I'm afraid the rest of this might fly right over your heads..." Cal warned him.

"WHAT? THIS IS INSANE! WHERE IS YOUR PROOF?!" The noble demanded.

Cal flashed his most winning smile.

"There's a slight mistake in the foundation of that question Mr. Bloodsworth. You see, the amount of evidence needed to arrest someone is substantially lower than the amount needed to convict them of a crime. Why with the right paperwork filled out you could arrest a ham sandwich!

All I really need at the moment is a reasonable suspicion: say the fact that you happen to have exactly the same face as Bloody Jack when I saw him murder Beatrice Bump, that you're rich enough to afford the chemicals Bloody Jack has been using to literally try to keep us off his scent, that we've been attacked repeatedly by a man in a black cloak from the Winking Eye Stitchery, and you just so happened to have purchased one within the last six months, and Bloody Jack's last victim was found with an invitation to this party on her.

I'll be fair and not even count the fact that your personal huntsman proved to be a jackalwere and we've been getting attacked by them on more than one occasion while hunting Bloody Jack, because I made this decision before that happened..." Cal openly admitted.

If Bloody Jack was a shapeshifter, then indeed it was impossible to find perfect evidence against him, but Cal had decided to stop playing his father's game and start playing his own.

"Do you know who I am? The Bloodsworths are a noble family that date back to the founding of Paridon itself! I'll have your badge, your head itself for making such an accusation!" Edmund screamed.

Cal whistled, and a moment later Devi entered in through the hole Florence had made for the group, Bag of Holding in hand.

The alchemist thought about what he wanted, reached into the bag of holding and pulled it out. It was a huge sheaf of papers, or to be exact several sheaves of papers held together by bent bits of metal.

"I'm afraid sir Bloodsworth that properly prepared bureaucracy can trump nobility any day of the week. Don't worry, I made a visit to Mr. S. H. Willby's printing shop before I came here, he has very reasonable prices for bulk orders, so I've got enough for everyone!

To start with, you'll first find my orders bear the official seal of office belonging to Acting Inspector Nayth, the man who deputized me..." Cal began to explain his smile somehow growing wider.

XXX XXX XXX

(Flashback)

"Acting Inspector, I'd like a favor." Cal asked in his most sincere voice.

"What is it?" The haggard man asked wincing slightly.

"Can you put me in charge of the Bloody Jack investigation?" Cal said as if he simply wanted to borrow a cup of sugar.

"What? Are you insane! I barely even know you! You could be a doppelganger just like Inspector Logan!" He spluttered in shock.

Cal sighed heavily this was the part where that old saying about the impossibility of proving a negative came in. Luckily this was an argument he'd also come prepared to face.

"Yes I could. Also from where I'm sitting you could be a doppelganger.

Maybe deep down inside we're all actually doppelgangers and there aren't any humans left in Paridon, but we don't realize it! That'd be embarrassing for all of us to say the least!

I think it behooves you to assume that I'm human, because lets face it, the Paridon Guard's efforts to capture Bloody Jack during this spree have been undermined from the very start by the fake Inspector Logan.

If you're going to have any chance of catching him, you're going to need outside help. If I'm a doppelganger you've got no chance no matter what you do, but if I'm human then I might just be able to pull it off." Cal insisted.

The Acting Inspector looked him up and down slowly.

"Look, I'm not saying I disagree with you on that front. Still, it can't be done.

To make someone even ACTING Inspector would requires the approval of the royal family. I got it because I'm next in line and have spent my years walking these streets, even if I don't feel up to the task. You'd have to start at the bottom just like everyone else. I could deputize you sure enough, but that is the limit of the authority I could grant you." Nayth insisted.

Cal paused for a moment and then decided it was time to play his trump card.

"Let me lay a few more of my cards on the table then.

I have a plan in mind, for it to work, I don't need to be Acting Inspector for the ability to order you and your men around but I do need the Official Paridon Guard Seal, the one used to mark arrest warrants the like. If I could have that... then I'd be able to give Bloody Jack a shock the likes of which he's deserved for a very long time." Cal promised.

"You expect me to give you this seal? Do you know what kind of trouble I could get in for loosing it? If any orders wind up being marked with it that go against my wishes then I'll be out of a job inside the week!" The guardsman exclaimed, his jaw going slack.

"Yes, you could wind up in a great deal of trouble... if this station wasn't already in a disarray following the revelation that Andrew Logan was a doppelganger.

I mean lets face it, you can't be guarding this room all the time, not when you've got to be out on the streets looking for Bloody Jack. A doppelganger could easily sneak in and take the stamp if they wanted to further hamstring the department.

If things go wrong for you, the worst that will happen is you'll get the Inspectorship you didn't really even earn taken away. If things go right on your watch though, like finally having Bloody Jack finally stopped... well there's no telling just what sort of heights you might rise to. I wonder if the Royal family needs a new Captain of the Guard?" Cal pointed out.

Nayth paused for a moment.

"If a doppelganger could sneak in and steal the stamp they could also sneak in and put it back without me ever realizing they've done it.

Once a document is marked with that stamp it's legal until proven otherwise, a process that can take some time. If a doppelganger managed to steal it, then they could stamp a blank peace of paper and fill in whatever details they wanted later!

The very thought gives me a case of the chills! I'm going to go for a brief walk through the streets to clear my head. I'll be gone for about an hour Mr. Wright, I expect my office to look exactly the same as does now upon my return." He "warned" Cal before departing.

The door wasn't even done swinging closed before Cal was already happily singing to himself.

"Stampity, stampity stampity!" The alchemist chuckled.

XXX XXX XXX

So as you all can see, as a member of the Paridon Guard conducting an arrest we had every legal right to gain entry to your premises by any means I found necessary. Don't worry, if you're found innocent then you will be more than compensated for the damages.

Having done that, we then have the right to arrest all within whom we suspect of being accomplices of Edmund Bloodsworth, that would be you fine people minus Sir Edmund himself.

I'll admit my method for clearing the area of innocent civilians was a bit unorthodox, and it is a matter that I'm sure Acting Inspector will want to talk with me about back at the station when all is said and done. Feel free to bring it up during you trial as evidence against conviction. Still, if nothing else it wasn't as if anyone got hurt.

You see, you be may be aware of the old saying about how the guilty will flee when no one pursues them?

I just so happen to have another take on it; the only people who aren't afraid of a someone pretending to be a mass murdering psychopath, are the people who know he's lying because they are or are the supporters of the real mass murdering psychopath.

Which brings us to my next point, I'd greatly appreciate it you lot stand with your hands against a wall real still like while we put you in handcuffs and search for the murder weapon. Don't worry I made sure to bring enough for everybody!" As Cal concluded his speech he spread his brown cloak wide revealing a belt that had several pistols attached to it, and at least as many sets of handcuffs as James usually had knives.

"This is preposterous! You can't arrest us... because... because..." Sir Edmund Bloodsworth began, and then just trailed off.

"What's the matter? Afraid I'm not showing you the proper deference your station deserves? Here let me give you an ancient gesture of utmost respect from my homeland." Cal yanked off the glove he wore over his right hand, then raised his middle finger in "salute" of Edmund Bloodsworth.

Nestled around said finger was a ring of unusually fine workmanship wrought from heavy gold.

XXX XXX XXX

(Flashback)

"Brother Chadswick can I ask you for a favor?" Said Cal Wright.

The priest of the church of the Divine Form took a moment to look Cal over very slowly.

"What sort of favor do you require?" He inquired in a skeptical tone of voice.

Well if nothing else at least he clearly hadn't forgotten Cal after their last encounter.

"You said that the most holy relics of your faith are rings which can guard one's thoughts against being seen by others, correct?

Now, when you say that these are holy relics, are we talking about the kind of holy relics that are out there somewhere in the world, but you need a great knight to go out on a long quest for them, or are they the kind of holy relics that are kept locked in a box somewhere in case of an especially rainy and or pious day?" Cal asked trying to be polite, and distinctly aware of the fact that he was probably not succeeding.

"No one would speak of these rings in such flippant terms, but they are real concrete things that we are in possession of at this very moment." Chadswick answered.

Well that was doubtlessly a more promising answer than any which involved telling Cal he'd need the help of the gods (or the god within in this particular case) to find the rings.

"I and a few of my companions would be very interested in borrowing them..." Cal explained.

Chadswick looked at him like Cal had just declared he intended to piss in the sacramental wine.

"No." He declared most definitively.

"Honestly I'm not surprised that you said that. Still, if it is at all possible Bother Chadswick, I'd like you to take a quick trip across town with me, because there's something I need to show you. Trust me when I say you'd never believe me if I just told you about.

If what I have to show you does not strike you as being of great importance... you know what, on second thought..." Cal spied a nearby collection plate and then constantly reminding himself that there were some things that even money couldn't buy, he pulled out a platinum piece from his pocket and flipped it into the plate.

It wasn't exactly the most pious thing to effectively be bribing a priest for an hour of their time, but paying for things upfront was how you got good service.

XXX XXX XXX

(Flashback)

"Mister von Keller, can I ask you for a favor?" Said Cal Wright.

"Who is your new friend?" The undertaker responded neglecting to answer the alchemist's question.

"This is Brother Edward Chadswick of the Temple of the Divine Form... I'm taking him into my confidences in regards to certain matters pertaining to the case.

Now Brother Chadswick as I'm sure you've already heard Inspector Andrew Logan died last night, killed by one of Bloody Jack's servants? That's only half the story though... the other half is currently laying underneath this funeral shroud. Mr. Von Keller if you would please...?" Cal suggested

Morton von Keller lifted the white cloth that had been laid out atop "Andrew Logan's" body.

"WHAT IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HUMAN IS THAT?" Brother Chadswick blurted out in shock.

"That, is a doppelganger, though I'm sure a man of your faith could doubtlessly find a more colorful term to describe them.

When it was alive, it had the capability to make itself look human. Not just some random human either, it can look exactly like whatever human it wishes. This creature did not kill Andrew Logan or if it did, it happened years ago. Until last night... this creature WAS Andrew Logan, and believe me I have a number of witnesses, including a member of the Paridon Guard who can vouch for that startling fact.

This is a creature that cloaks itself in the skin of a man, while its soul, if it even has one, is devoid of anything but deception and malice,

To complete its imitation, it can read the thoughts of those around it.

Brother Chadswick this doppelganger, it was just a flunky. Its master is still out there wreaking havoc in the city, we both know him by the name Bloody Jack.

I have a plan for how to deal with him, but I need your help. A plan's chances of success go down dramatically if it becomes known to the enemy, yet how can I hide a plan from a foe who can read my mind?" Cal pointed out and then quite pointedly left the question hanging.

"The rings of mind shielding..." Brother Chadswick answered in what could only be called a reverential hiss. "

That's right. Now, I understand that the rings in question, I'll be needing four of them, are of great significance to your order. So, to help balance the scales, I'll be willing to deposit a few of the holy relics from my own personal faith with your organization for as long as we need them, it should only be about two days at most." Cal explained.

"What faith is that and what sort of religious object do you have in mind?" Brother Chadswick wanted to know.

"The church of the Golden Rule... we have a simple doctrine, those who have the gold make the rules." Cal replied.

Then he turned his attention back to the undertaker.

"By the way, Mr. von Keller,... once you're done sorting out as much of that doppelganger's anatomy as you can, I'm going to need two things. The first is to be told if you find any convenient weaknesses in their physiology, you know, places that you could target to kill them more easily.

The second, is that I'm going to need you to flay that bastard for me, I need enough of his skin to add an extra layer of outer fabric to oh say, six pairs of gloves." The Alchemist explained.

XXX XXX XXX

(Flashback)

"Miss McMoran I'd like to ask you for a favor." Said Callan Wright.

"What kind of favor? If you want to get your inseam adjusted I'm afraid you need to talk to Ms. Felicia Sweet who lives a few block down..." She replied.

Cal decided not to take offense at that.

"Nothing so scandalous. I've got six pairs of gloves, they're fine gloves, all of them quite sturdy. The only problem with them, I've had some complaints about how rough they are from people I've been shaking hands with recently.

So, to fix that I'd like it if you would take the time to apply a layer of... kidskin that I've acquired recently to them." Cal explained.

The garment stitcher looked at him and then at the gloves.

"I suppose I can do that, but it'll take me about a week." She declared without much in he way of enthusiasm.

"I need this work finished by eleven bells tonight." Cal insisted.

"Can't be done." Ire McMoran insisted firmly.

"What sort of fee were you planning to charge me? I'll play three times that much to get it done by eleven bells." Cal offered.

"Well look at that, I think we're finally talking the same language." She reflected.

XXX XXX XXX

Cal turned his arm left and right making a great show of displaying the finger and the ring for all to see.

"I can tell by your stunned silence that you're all quite impressed. What do you know? I guess you doppledicks aren't half as smart as that fake Inspector Logan was. Well it might be that... or maybe it's the fact that so long as we're wearing these ring, you guys can't read my thoughts and use that throw my own arguments right back at me?" The alchemist explained.

Echoing his words the red furred cat creature raised up its left front paw showing a golden ring slid neatly around something that was almost a finger, surrounded by patches of slightly discolored and spotty fur.

Devi removed one of her gloves showing off a similarly colored ring, and the wolf monster gave its head a shake once again prominently displaying the golden ring embedded in ones of its ears.

"Yep, instead you have to think for yourselves, poor unfortunate souls!

Luckily we've also discovered an ingenious method of testing for doppelgangers that works with surprising speed and accuracy!

It simply involves stripping the suspected person naked as they day they were born and carrying all of their possessions out of the room. If so much as a single stitch of fabric tiny bit of metal changes into something it didn't used to be then BOOM we have proof that the person is a doppelganger!

Now, that doesn't prove that they're guilty of a crime... but sadly I understand that the Brothers of the Divine Form have some very interesting ideas they want to try out on a captive doppelganger or two, or twenty.

They want to discover a way to make it so they turn into just one person and then stay that way without any special powers for the rest of their lives. You know, make them live as a normal human being, no better than anyone else.

I've heard that Acting Inspector Nayth has a soft spot in his heart for men of the cloth so he'll probably hand over any doppelgangers we manage to catch to them, at which point they'll experiment on them till they're either killed or permanent transfigured.

It's a terrible thing when... well I'd call them god botherers, but there's not really a god they're bothering now is there, get involved in what should solely be secular matters.

But seriously folks, I'm not joking, against the wall, hands behind your backs, it's a long walk to the Paridon Guard Headquarters from here, probably something like half an hour and by my time piece it's already quarter to midnight, I'd like to be in bed by one if possible." Cal delivered that last line with oodles and oodles of fake sincerity.

"I... I... I refuse to take part in this charade, this mockery of justice!" Sir Edmund demanded.

Cal sighed heavily and shook his head, his expression one more of sorrow than anger.

"So you intend to resist arrest then?" He asked almost casually.

"DAMN STRAIGHT WE DO!" Sir Edmund bellowed at the top of his lungs.

Cal reached into his bad and pulled out still more papers tossing them at Bloodsworth and his guests.

"That's a real shame, you see, Acting Inspector Nayth also gave me EXPLICITE instructions in writing, you can see the seal mark at the bottom, that because of the threat that Bloody Jack represents to the citizens of this city I have permission to use lethal force if anyone directly related to the crime resisted my attempts to arrest them lawfully.

I guess he somehow got it into his head that Bloody Jack must be connected with the doppelganger who murdered and replaced his superior, so he really wants to bring the hammer down on them, then the anvil also for good measure.

So for the good of society I suggest you just surrender, let yourselves be taken to a jail cell and we'll sort out this horrible misunderstanding in the morning. Your party is already ruined, what could you possibly have to do in the next few minutes that more important than helping the people of Paridon sleep soundly in their beds?" Cal asked with a smile so smug he dare not give it near a mirror lest he end up with glass shards in his hand after trying to punch his own face.

"ENOUGH OF THIS, KILL THEM!" Screamed Sir Edmund.

"Assaulting an officer of the law is a serious offense! Your families may face considerable fines in addition to your regrettably lawful demises!" Cal called out as the remaining party guests drew forth small innocuous serving knives which suddenly became battle ready blades in their hands.

They charged forward, in a human(?) wave, and promptly came to an abrupt stop letting loose with countless cries of pain.

The ballroom floor's rug soon found itself being dyed red with blood leaking from feet which had been pierced by astoundingly sharp stones.

"Would you look at that." Cal mused.

"That must be some pretty shoddy workmanship you had done on this place Sir Edmund. I mean your stone floor seems to suddenly have grown spikes sharp enough to pierce leather boots let alone skin. Guess we had all be better watch where we walk..." Cal suggested.

Then he and every one of his companions of took a step forward, and their feet stayed firmly planted on the air as if they were walking up an invisible staircase. All six of them stood there defiantly, their feet hovering a few inches off the ground.

"Well I guess you had better watch where you walk, we can go wherever we want. Also while you can't read my mind, lets see if I can't at least guess the general outline of yours at the moment? I suspect some of you are probably thinking about running, or at least hobbling away..." The alchemist noted before snapping his fingers.

All of a sudden every single door leading out of the ballroom was blocked off by sudden growth of plant life. To be exact it seemed to be a tangled brush of needle sharp thorns, each one as long as a human finger.

"That, my friends is a solid ten foot thick wall of the most painful thorns magic can summon. Doesn't matter what shape you are, if you try to force your way through it without the strength of a dragon you'll get more pricks than a five pence seamstress." Cal warned them, his expression quickly shedding any traces of its prior feigned innocence.

"So I'll give you one last chance to surrender. Sit down on the floor and SLAM your heads against it you knock yourselves unconscious or die." Cal commanded.

Then he casually turned his gun in the direction of one of the party guests who was trying to work his way closer through the maze of spikes that Florence had transformed the floor into. Phoenix cracked and the guest dropped dead, reverting to an ash gray doppelganger before he hit the floor.

"I wanted this to be professional, efficient, adult, cooperative. Not a lot to ask. Alas, it seems one your guests did not see it that way Sir Bloodsworth... so he won't be joining us for the rest of his life. This can go any way you want it. You can walk out of here or be carried out.

But have no illusions. We are in charge. So, decide now, each of you. And please remember: we have left nothing to chance." Cal vowed.

"Catch me if you can Alchemist." The noble replied suddenly transforming into a bat.

That was not something Cal had expected. It really should have been, after all the dagger he was hunting was called the Fang of Nosferatu! Still, when the base plan was as genius as his current one there was always room for a little improvisation.

"You guys take care of his accomplices! When I'm done with that bastard the only shape he'll be able to take is that of a man who has had six kinds of shit kicked out of him!" Cal vowed reloading Phoenix as he ran forward pushing himself "uphill" to gain a few extra feet off the ground.

The bat soared over the thorns guarding all the exist, but Cal walking on air was able to pass above them with equal ease.

There were a distinct lack of bats native to Paridon and so Sir Edmund wouldn't be able to loose Cal among a convenient flock of creatures that looked just like him this time.

"You've used up all your luck when it comes to brilliant escapes last night you fool! You were just in a room with Boss in his wolf form for several minutes! One way or another you're going to get caught, now it's just a game of which lets us find you first, my eyes or his nose!" Cal pointed out before he aimed Phoenix and fired.

The bat jinked at just the right time and thus avoided having most of its insides becomes its outsides when the bullet struck it.

The round still managed to tear a pretty gaping hole in one of its wings though, leaving it no choice but to awkwardly flutter in circles as Cal drew ever closer. Realizing that its current form would no longer aid him in escaping Bloodsworth dropped to the ground next to a large pool and returned to his human one.

Cal raced back down to the ground, hoping that the Fang of Nosferatu wouldn't allow Sir Edmund to transform himself into mist like most vampires... if he could... then Cal would think up a plan for how to deal with it once he did.

Thankfully Bloodsworth did not turn into mist.

He did however abruptly transform into a rhinoceros.

"Huh... vampires usually can't do that." Cal reflected as the beast pawed at the ground before lowering its horn ominously.

Cal looked at the pool, there was no way that a rhino could get to him in there. The problem was that if he jumped in there he'd get all of is guns completely soaked.

The mighty beast charged.

Cal jumped.

He jumped straight up... then opted not to come down.

Florence's spell was good for a little over two hours it wasn't likely to expire on him any time soon.

Cal turned and aimed Phoenix at the beast, he'd probably need a bigger, a much bigger gun to take it down with a body shot. On the other hand unless this was a flying rhinoceros there wasn't much he needed to worry about as he tried to set up an eye shot.

Well nothing except for some external time constraints...

"BONG!" A loud clock announced out the first of what would doubtlessly be twelve chimes.

Cal let his grip on Phoenix start to loosen as he locked eyes with the thick skinned beast.

"BONG!" The second bell rang.

"Sounds like you've got less than a minute left to midnight. Unless you've gotten a hidden hostage around here, and I doubt you're really that clever, I guess I've just promoted myself to position of sixth victim.

Somehow I doubt it'll count if you gore me to death with that horn... you need to do it with the Fang of Nosferatu itself. Let's make it sporting though... I promise I won't shoot." Cal walked down to the ground and dropped Phoenix at feet as he stared down Bloody Jack in the animal form he had taken.

"BONG!" Went the third bell.

The rhino's shape soon began to twist and writhe returning to the shape of Sir Edmund Bloodsworth a mystical dagger gripped tightly in his hands just in time for the fourth bell to ring.

"You have no idea just how much I hate you..." Sir Bloodsworth growled.

"BONG!" Went the fifth bell.

"Right back at you false face." Cal replied.

"BONG!" Went the sixth bell.

"Why... why do you have to do this? You're not from here, no one cares about the people I was killing... This is a power struggle that has nothing to do with you humans!" The doppelganger informed him.

"BONG!" Went the seventh bell.

"I cared about them. Granted I used to care for seamstresses in an entirely different way before I met Devi, but lets not quibble over semantics. Besides, right now... I'm doing this just for the chance to f**k with you." Cal pointed out.

"BONG!" Went the eight bell.

"You know... there is a reason that my old master loved this blade so dearly. When you stab someone, it doesn't just steal their blood, it also steals their emotions. It summons up all the terror and pain they've ever felt in their entire life. I'm going to enjoy using the Fang of Nosferatu to feel your suffering for a very long time..." Bloody Jack promised.

"BONG." went the ninth bell.

Bloody Jack charged.

"BONG!" Went the tenth bell.

Cal had handcuffs hanging from the inside of his coat, and he had pistols attached to his belt. Both of those were options, but they were not the options that he wanted to use at the moment.

No, for the fight, the item that he wanted as a simple bottle he'd positioned roughly over his heart, the lid designed to allow him to open it with ease and speed.

He drew it out and with the same single smooth motion dumped its contents out on the floor before him.

"BONG!" Went the eleventh bell.

As Bloody Jack's feet struck the substance his fearsome charge abruptly transformed into a pell mell scramble for purchase that simply would not come. Cal leisurely jumped aside and Bloody Jack went sailing past to land in his own pool with a loud splash.

Not so loud of course that it could drown out the sound of the "BONG" of the twelfth bell.

Cal then stood back up again, picked up Phoenix and casually walked over to the the poolside.

"Need or hand or should I just stand here in my completely dry smarty pants? After all that's who I am... Mr. Smarty Pants Alchemist.

Maybe if you had remembered that, you would have realized that you aren't the only asshole in this entire city who owns a potion of grease." Cal mocked his foe as Bloody Jack tried to use his free hand to climb out of the pool, but was promptly discouraged with a firm stamp from one of Cal's boots.

"You... you..." Bloody Jack babbled unable to find the words.

As Cal withdrew his leg the doppelganger waved the Fang of Nosferatu impotently in his direction, the gap between them was far too great and even if he did manage to kill Cal, midnight had already passed them by, he'd remain mortal no mater what.

"I think it's time to wrap this particular case up, so let me just give you one final piece of evidence to consider..."

Present: Phoenix!

"We've reached the end the end of your crime spree Bloody Jack. You can't outrun yourself, its time for you to confront your guilt head on with your own true face!" Demanded Cal.

"My... own, true face...? No... I... I am Sir Edmund Bloodsworth, that is who I am, that is who I was born!" The doppelganger screamed back at him.

"Well either way... it is time for you to pay for your crimes, TAKE THIS!" Cal declared before pulling the trigger.

Years of experience had taught him about how ineffectual firearms could suddenly prove themselves to be when you aimed at a target who was underwater. So no center of mass this time, no Cal had made sure to zero in his sights in on Bloody Jack's head before he fired.

As the bullet punched through his warped mind, his body transformed from that of a human to a doppelganger.

"So... that is how I really look...?" He just barely had time to mutter gazing at his reflection in the water before his corpse sunk into the pool.

End Chapter.


Last edited by jamesfirecat on Fri May 06, 2016 10:56 am, edited 2 times in total.



Mon Oct 26, 2015 10:41 pm
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Evil Genius
Evil Genius

Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:30 am
Posts: 632
Post Re: Monster Party Book 3
Monster Party Book 3: On a blue Sunday morning, lies a body just oozin' life.

Epilogue: When I tell you, about Mack the knife babe, it's an offer, you can never refuse.

"Do you have what I asked for?" Mr. S rasped.

He hadn't left Cal instructions for how they could meet a second time, but the alchemist had decided to have them simply retraces their steps back to where he and Paridon's Darklord first met face to face, though this time he had the entire group with him and not just James.

"Please, I am the son of the greatest lawyer who ever lived after all. Before we get down to business, we brought you a little present..." Cal offered.

He made a slight hand motion to Alexander who tossed Sir Edmund Bloodworth's corpse (or at least the corpse of the doppelganger who had been impersonating him) before their host.

"So far every doppelganger whose true face I've seen has looked exactly the same, but maybe our new friend is an old acquaintance of yours? Hopefully you can tell who he was even with that new bullet hole messing up his face, I'd hate to think all the time and effort I spent fishing around in his pool was for nothing." The blond haired man admitted.

Mr. S took one look at the dead body and then let loose with his horrific laugh again.

"Roja, you fool. You could have been great as Bloody Jack... but those who refuse to play the game by my rules have no place in this city." He gloated.

"So now that you've got proof of death, here is proof that we got your dagger also. I trust you'll be willing to show us a way out of your city in turn?" Cal pointed out as he drew forth the Fang of Nosferatu from his coat.

"Let me hold it..." Mr. S demanded.

"What, you can't tell that this is the real deal just by looking at it?" Cal inquired with a playful shrug of his shoulders.

"Hah, I've heard stories of how Roja had at least a dozen other blades made to look exactly like the Fang of Nosferatu! Let me feel it with my own hand and then I will know the truth of the matter." Mr. S insisted.

"Tell you what... I might be willing to take you up on that offer, if you had hands at the moment." Cal shot back.

Indeed Mr. S was at the moment a quite geographically displaced dolphin, or at least vaguely dolphin-like creature.

"You have no idea just how much I hate you." The doppelganger spat, somehow still managing to talk more or less coherently.

"I seem to be getting that a lot tonight. No idea why." Cal reflected whimsically.

Eventually Mr. S managed to shift himself into something with more appropriate appendages and held one out for his dagger.

"Give it to me, now before my patience with this foolishness runs out. Whatever else you may think, remember I am still invincible." Mr. S reminded him.

"Seeing as we were only just getting to know one another, I didn't make an issue out of that claim the first time around, but would you mind terribly if I tested it now?" Cal asked evenly enough.

"Go right ahead." Mr. S cackled.

"Cool, try and make sure whatever shape you turn into your eyes stay in more or less the same place..." The alchemist replied as he took Phoenix into his hands and aimed.

BANG!

Clink.

The bullet had hit Mr. S right in the eye. It had then flattened out as if it had struck a brick wall and dropped to the ground.

"Yeah, that's pretty invincible." Cal admitted.

"The Fang." Mr. S requested with surprisingly calm tones for someone who had just been shot in the face.

"Since you were so kind a few seconds ago, what's an incredibly evil and probably cursed ancient relic between two people who have both now tried to murder the other?" Cal quipped whimsically as he tossed the Fang of Nosferatu to Mr S.

It wasn't like they could very well do anything else unless they wanted to spend the rest of their lives in Paridon.

"Yes... yes... this is the true thing, I can feel screams of those dead women, their last anguished cries!" Mr. S practically oozed with delight.

"There, now you've got your knife, are you going to show us the way out?" Cal insisted.

"Follow..." Mr. S instructed.

He lead them down a series of twisting turns until eventually he found the one he wanted. It was a secret door, disguised to resemble part of the sagging rick wall. It swung open and behind it lay a chamber partially filled with dark stagnant water, perhaps fifteen feet wide and fifty feet long. Wisps of fog curled out of an arched tunnel at the far end of the chamber.

"If you pass through that archway you pass out of Paridon." Their guide explained.

"That's great, since my lovely assistant Devi was kind enough to make a list of everything you just did so we'll be able to come back here after I go topside again and get all the praise, money, and other rewards I have coming to me from the grateful people of Paridon for stopping Bloody Jack." Cal explained.

"I don't think you'll be coming back. I don't think you'll be going either. You see, I said I'd show you the way out... but I never promised you would live to use it..." Mr. S rasped as his form altered between a human, elf and dwarf all greedily clutching at the Fang of Nosferatu.

As he spoke three full score of men entered into the room behind the group of adventurers from countless different hidden passages, a quick glance showed they one and all seemed perfect duplicates of the now very late Sir Edmund Bloodsworth.

Callan Wright shot only a single glance behind him and then fixed his gaze straight ahead.

"Funny story, I said I'd let you lay your hands on the Fang of Nosferatu, but I never said you could keep it." The alchemist noted in kind.

In one sweeping motion his brown cloak was sent flying at Mr. S wrapping around the doppelgangers eyes blinding him.

As he struggled to figure out what shape to take in order to deal with this sudden attack Cal's hands were already rising up from his belt. In each one he gripped a well crafted pistol, both weapons already loaded primed, awaiting only the pull of a trigger.

BANG!

Mr. S's grip on the Fang of Nosferatu, never very stable to begin with due to his constantly changing shape was shattered completely as Cal's first shot struck the dagger's blade and knocked it up into the air.

BANG!

As it spun through the air Cal's second shot slammed into its hilt. The Fang of Nosferatu was sent sailing through the air and into the misty portal that Mr. S had revealed to the adventurers.

As amusing as further dialogue might have proved not even James Firecat placed it above his continued existence, thus it was in complete silence that the group hurled themselves forward down the tunnel past ever changing shape of Mr. S who was now so livid with rage he seemed to be little more than a writhing mass of misshapen limbs.

One moment they were in the depths of Paridon's sewers, the next they found themselves hip deep in much cleaner water with a beach before them. Mirri quickly rushed ashore and as she did so bent down to pick up a small sparkling object.

"Hard to imagine so many people getting killed, and so much backstabbing going on over one simple piece of metal. On the other hand, since it's called the Fang of Nosferatu I suppose it only makes sense that it winds up in the hands of a proper..." She began, but never got a chance to finish that particular thought.

Alexander grabbed Mirri by the scruff of her neck, and heaved the vampire back into the waters they had just emerged from.

Instantly she let go of the mystical dagger to focus on her "favorite" hobby when she found herself submersed in water, splashing about and cursing voraciously. The water was far too still to wash away her essence, but that didn't mean she found the experience anything but horrific. Housecats tended to take the experience of being bathed with more grace (and less clawing) than Mirri did being submersed in any kind of water.

Before she'd even managed to win free of the small waves Alexander had seize the Fang of Nosferatu for himself.

"I'm not saying I don't trust you Mirri, well except for the part where I really don't trust you with a mystical dagger that offers people invincibility in exchange for killing others, for you that'd be nothing but quibbling over the price at this point." Alexander declared before he hurled the dagger with all his might.

It went spinning out to sea, vanishing below the depths of whatever body of water they had just wound up on the shores of.

"If you want it, go fish." The silver haired man suggested.

Rather than further perusing the dagger Mirri instead floundered (swimming does not come easily when death has atrophied your lungs and thus much body's buoyancy, not to mention you generally refused to get any practice at the skill for reasons of self preservation) her way ashore looking extremely aggrieved.

After a few seconds and a few well chosen invectives she regained some of her customary cool.

"Ehh, I'm probably better off without it. After all, we saw what it did to those girls didn't we? What's really so great about a dagger that drinks blood? It'd be silly to give my weapon first dibs on the stuff that I spill, that belongs to me, not to mosquitoes, not to other vampires, and not to some stupid hunk of rock."

"Atta girl." Alexander congratulated her.

"All things considered that could have gone worse. No innocent people died at midnight, Bloody Jack didn't become invincible and Mr. S isn't going to be able to do so either, in fact the Fang of Nosferatu probably won't be causing anymore grief for at least another century or two." Alexander reflected.

"Except for the part where because we had to leave Paridon right after we accomplished all that, we don't any get reward money. We're gonna go further into the red just to pay for all the red ink it will take to keep track of how this adventure went!" Cal grumbled.

"Well we still have all the evidence at least." James pointed out.

"Yeah the evidence..." Cal groused taking the bag of holding from Devi.

"It'll be good for giving me some visual aids if I ever wanted to drop in on dad and tell him the story face to face, but other than that I don't really see much need for..." The alchemist paused for a moment, thought about a piece of evidence (telling the bag of holding to give him one at random) and reached in.

"A golden gem encrusted candlestick ?" He gasped in confusion, certain that there must be something going wrong either either his hands, eyes, or brain.

"Oh right, we never got around to telling you about the extra evidence! Since we were going to try and make the Acting Inspector look good, while you were busy dealing with Bloody Jack, after we took care of his followers I suggested we gather up as much of Sir Edmund Bloodsworth's possessions as possible so that we could dust them for finger prints, bloodstains or whatever, no way to tell what might possible help provide us with just a bit more evidence that he was Bloody Jack after all." The werecat exclaimed.

"So you took evidence from his mansion... how much of it?" Cal gasped.

James just stood there, removed his hat and scratched his own ears for a moment before answering.

"All of it...?" He eventually settled upon.

Cal did some brief mental calculations concerning the approximation of how much money a noble family that dated back to the founding of a city at least a hundred and fifty years old would have tied up in furnishings for their home. Once he was done with that he abruptly scooped James up in a rib shatteringly tight hug.

"You really are the best assistant my family has ever had." He weeped through tears of financial joy.

XXX XXX XXX

Dear Dame Renier

This week I learned the importance of gathering evidence. To start with you have to find out all the facts before you accuse somebody of of doing something, because if you don't you could end up blaming somebody for something they never did! Doing that is a surefire way to make enemies out of people and possibly lead to one of those "wrongful arrest suits" Cal talks about sometimes, though I'm not sure what clothing has to do with it. Also we spent the week tracking down a bad guy named Bloody Jack in a city called Paridon which I think you can only get to if the Mists want to take you there which is a shame because otherwise they might make interesting trading partners!

PS: When you get right down to it, everything we know, we know because of evidence. Every night before I go to Mirri's coffin I think about two pieces of evidence. One of them is the statue of Bastet my mother gave me, evidence of how much my family cares of me and how I need to live up to their expectations. The other one is that dire rat tail you gave me to wear as a bracelet when I finally return to my homeland, evidence of how much you and the entire Renier family trust me to do my duty as an extraordinary citizen of Richemulot.

PPS: Paridon claims its the biggest city in the world, and it was pretty big! I of course was only too happy to tell them that size isn't everything about a city of course, but I wish you could have let me come visit you in Pont-a-Museau at least once so everything I know about our capital didn't come second hand...

PPPS: The other nice thing about evidence is that once the crime is over and done with... it's still useful as... well whatever it was before it officially became evidence. For example, we found this really great silver chalice with rubies in the handle. Do you think that you could use one of those at Chateau Delanuit?

Your Faithful Servant

Longhair

XXX XXX XXX

Dear Dad

Hey, I know it's been forever and a day since I last wrote you... primarily because I've never bothered to write a letter to you since I left home.

So, as I'm sure you'll be glad to here, I am very much still alive, and as a bonus still have the same number of limbs and eyes as you did last time we saw one another.

With that out of the way, I did want to get one or two things off my chest. I want to thank you... for being you. For being there to support me when I said I wanted to be an alchemist even though I never bothered to tell you the reason why and both you and mom know I could have easily (and possibly much more safely though given your track record I'm not so sure) made a life for myself in court.

So, I suppose I owe you an explanation, even if I should have already told it to you a decade or so ago.

I could never be happy with life as a lawyer... because I know that even if I am a genius, I'd still never be good enough at it to go down in history as anything but a footnote next to you.

That's why I decided to do something completely unrelated to practicing law, even if it ended up taking me halfway across the Core and beyond to places no civilized person should ever have to go.

Also... I think I've finally realized... that there really is something to be said for having the support of someone who is loyal beyond a fault and refuses to know when they should give up or back down. That, that's probably why so many people come to you, because you have this aura about you that makes them feel like the trial is already won before it starts.

This world is unquestionably a better place because it has people like you in it.

PS: I'm still not forgiving you for naming me 'Callan' though. Also you should look into this thing one of my friends told me they sometimes do in Richemulot where a son will inherit his mother's last name. If you had to saddle me with such a stupid first name the least you could do would be allow me to introduce myself as Mr. von Karma.

Your Son

-C

End of Book.


Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:38 pm
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