Part 10 in it’s entirety will be placed in my public folder, but for now here’s another part. About 1,300 words worth to be exact. Again let me know in the comments if you guys prefer the smaller sections over a few days rather than the usual 1,500 to 2,500 word BOSS stories.
Part 10, (2) — Lady Tusche
Running errands for Culvir hadn’t exactly been high on his list of things to do. Especially when the city was in a tizzy about the Vampires. Nikidas passed by a few of his fellow ‘prisoners’ as he walked. They had made the adjustment back into civilized life well.
Personally, Nikidas had found being vampire cattle more tiring than anything. Blood had been taken from him three times a day, but life had been comfortable otherwise. He had eaten better as a captive than he had his whole life. Being freed meant going back to being penniless.
But things were turning around. Now a man grown, he could join the military, the city guard or even joining the Association. That would mean being close to Nell.
He clenched a fist and pressed on to the city center. He still had work to do. Finishing Culvir’s little errand might be the foot in the door to joining their ranks… and sorting out Nell’s ‘debt’ to Sonnie would end up helping him in the long run.
I can completely relate to that. Nikidas had worked his fingers to the bone helping settle a debt to a practitioner of the light. His mother had fallen ill and with his father passed away, it fell on him to see her well. Then, mere weeks after her recovery she remarried. Thus Nikidas stepped aside for her happiness and got himself caught by vampires to be used as food.
His mother didn’t even know he had been caught, it was tempting to keep it that way.
“Peanuts! Fresh and hot!” A barker broke his concentration. Oh right… at least I’m working.
Nikidas sagged his shoulders and offered a coin for a bag. While he waited his eyes caught a glimpse of a familiar woman.
The regal standing of Lady Tusche had not been one easy forgotten. Her colorful uniform, her sterling sabre at her side, there could be no doubt. It was her. Or him rather.
The merchant held out the bag of roasted nuts, but Nikidas’ attention stayed fixed on the woman across the way. The merchant gave he bag a second shake until he claimed it.
Tusche held a pair of glasses, trying them on.
“You don’t have anything darker do you? This is a gift. For a friend,” she said.
“Darker?” The glassblower rubbed his chin. “I don’t know what good tinted lenses would do him.”
“It’s a matter of preference.” Tusche said, handing the glasses back.
“Hey!” Nikidas hurried over to Lady Tusche. “What the hell are you doing here? You sent me out to investigate–”
“I’m sorry. Who are you?” The noblewoman narrowed her eyes at him.
“Don’t mess with me. You know very well who I am. I’m Nikidas. You just–”
“Oh. Nikidaaas.” She smiled coyly. “Culvir mentioned you. He told me to expect you. But I wasn’t expecting a dashing young man such as yourself. He described you as some ‘annoying kid’ as his exact words said.”
Nikidas’ stomach churned. Being called dashing by a guy in drag hadn’t mean the highlight of his week. “Yeah. Whatever. If ‘Culvir’ wasn’t going to send me out here… I don’t know why ‘you’ bothered showing up here. Seeing as ‘he’s’ wounded.
“Wounded.” Lady Tusche’s face fell to a frown. “How dreadful. His letter only mentioned a few scrapes. How typical of him.”
“Here’s your damn peanuts by the way. I’m not carrying them around since you’re right here.” Nikidas shoved them towards her.
“Oh heavens no. Those things are terribly bad for you. Fattening you know.” Lady Tusche politely pushed them away.
Oh you want to play games do you…?
“Look. I don’t have time for this. You– er… Culvir… sent me to find out the source of–” Nikida’s eyes drifted and settled on Sonnie Daie’s towering form. Nell stood next to him, her hand draped calmly on his arm. They chatted quietly with the people surrounding them.
“You stay here. I’m going to ask Nell something. She’d know about that loud noise.” Nikidas shuffled away, leaving Lady Tusche no time to protest.
“Nell!” Nikidas pushed through the people gathered around them.
“Nikidas.” Nell narrowed her eyes at him.
“Look I had to ask you a question. When Culvir and I– Uh… I mean… When I brought back Culvir lunch this loud noise went off in the city. Do you know anything about it.”
“Yes.” Nell slipped her arm away from Sonnie. “I was the one who made that disturbance.”
“It was quite grand wouldn’t you say?” Sonnie chuckled. “Why Culvir’s room is on the otherside of town. That’s impressive.”
“Sonnie. Do you mind if I talk to Nikidas a moment? Alone.” Nell glanced back at Sonnie.
“Of course not. Meet me back at my room in a few hours. We’ll sort out our plans then. I have a few appointments anyway.” Sonnie gave her a casual wave, slipping into the crowds.”
“Where is he?” Nell placed a calm hand on Nikidas’ wrist. “Where is Culvir?”
“He’s… at his room.” Nikidas squirmed. Nell’s gentle touch had been more unnerving than any threat.
“You can tell me the truth. I saw Wisp on ‘Lady Tusche’s’ rapier. ” Nell glanced around. “He’s close isn’t he.”
“Y…yeah.” Nikidas’ expression softened. I didn’t want to lie for that asshole anyway. Not to my Nell.
“There.” Nell moved away from Nikidas, pushing into a focused stride.
The lingering effect of Nell’s touch delayed him, as well as people closing around her as she moved. by the time he made his way closer, Nell had settled in front of Lady Tusche. She had gone back to trying on glasses.
“What are you doing?” Nell tightened her hands into fists.
“Oh. You must be Nell.” Tusche said setting down her current pair of glasses.
“Yes. And I believe we’ve met before.” Nell frowned.
“Met in person? No. But I’ve heard a few things about you,” Tusche said, eyeing Nell appraisingly. “I work with the Association on occasion, and when I do I am told the most amusing stories. Some of them have included you. Regardless, that is a moot point. Your competence as a hunter is the important part.”
“I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to level with me Lady Tusche.” Nell raised her arms, preparing a spell. “I have means of dispelling your lies.”
Tusche folded her arms, watching with an amused expression. “Go on then. I’ve been at least mostly truthful.”
“W…wait! You can’t do that here.” Nikidas stepped between them. No matter how much I dislike Culvir, I can’t watch as another guy gets embarrassed like this.
“Do what now?” Tusche reached to her throat. “It’s so stuffy in the city. I was hoping she would conjure an icy wind or something. If you’ll excuse me a moment.”
Tusche unraveled her ascot and loosened her collar. The moment her neck was exposed, Nikidas had seen something amiss. He had heard from friends the fool proof method in exposing a cross-dresser. Though without the ascot, Nikidas could only see a smooth sensual neck. His eyes focused there, he failed to immediately notice Lady Tusche had removed the top button of her uniform blouse. Nikidas’ eyes drifted downward out of instinct and saw the top of her breasts.
Nell’s arms lowed slow and deliberate, a single brow raised.
“Much better.” Tusche fanned herself casually.
Nikidas tuned his eyes away quickly, blood rising to his cheeks. He’s a woman. No. It’s not Culvir…? Then who?
“I’m not at liberty to reveal my real identity, not here anyway,” Lady Tusche said. “But why don’t we talk about this over a cup of tea. I know a great little inn that serves a mean cup. The Gilded Peanut was it?”
Nell gave a curt nod.
-To be concluded tomorrow!-