Deals and Breakers 3

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Later that evening, in our nice room, Holly and I cuddled in bed. “You have a good time?” I asked.

She smiled and laughed. “This is all so cool. I say that a lot, but I mean it.”

“Still cool after all that time with Max?” I asked.

She kissed my cheek “Jealous? He was fun. Sam’s fun. You’re fun.” She ran her hand over my belly, rubbing it.

“So when are you going to take me home to meet your parents?” I teased, turning my head to see as much of her face as I could out of my peripheral vision.

She cringed. “My parents had me kidnapped to become less of a problem a long time ago. They might have a heart attack if they found out my girlfriend’s a pregnant trans woman supervillain who murders people. God, and if they thought the baby was their grandkid…” she traced a finger over my belly. I heard the smile in those words at the end.

“I remember something about your parents not approving of your lifestyle choices,” I said.

“Mostly they focused on the drugs. I picked up a habit living up to their high standards, no pun intended. I wanted something to take me away from them and everything. You know, my mom actually told me in high school that being Homecoming Queen was like being royalty, and that I needed to set a higher standard? That’s such bullshit!” She laughed.

“Huh… in the alternate reality Venus made, she had me be the alpha bitch, but lose out on being Homecoming Queen because of our rivalry.” I shook my head. “I mean, I guess it’s interesting when you’re in it, but…”

“Yeah,” she agreed. She sat up. “Did you hear that?”

We both swam for the edge of the bed. I nearly fell on my face getting out, but I turned into a flip and landed on my feet. Holly hit the floor hard on the other side. “I meant to do that!” I made my way toward the door, grabbing some knicknack off of a table next to the sofa. I hefted a small metal statue of a fish shaped like a boomerang.

I put my ear to the door. Someone was moving around outside. I stepped back out of the way and pulled it open. I expected someone to jump, but instead a blonde woman fell in. The human companion traveling with the Mobian. The Mobian joined her, stepping over her and helping her up. “Brilliant, thank you,” he said to me. “Oh, you’re…”

I glanced down. Right, naked. I closed the door and glanced out. “What’s going on?”

“Right-” Mobian started

The woman started. “Someone’s out there with a huge sword! They killed someone! Oh dear, you are naked.”

I closed the door. Holly walked over, pulling her robe around herself and handing a gown over to me. I slipped it on. “Thanks.”

“Are you going out there?” she asked.

“I don’t know that I should. We’ve got guests now. We should probably grab some refreshments for them. They seem quite shocked.”

Holly started for the mini fridge in the room but I silently waved her off while heading over for it. “We only have whatever came with the room. It looks like water, algae soda, peeper juice, and Scla. Doesn’t even say a flavor, just Scla.”

“I think water would be best,” Mobian said. He walked over to the door to listen out. I noticed him glancing at myself and the boomerang statue, then over at Holly. “You guests for the celebration?”

“Yes, I don’t believe we met,” Holly said, putting on her accent again. “I’m Holly Snyders, of the Snyders of Hanover. And this is my servant, Delilah.”

The human woman laughed just once when I handed her a water. I set the statue down as well. “Snyders of Hanover?”

“Shh,” the Mobian said. He was listening out. “I think they’ve gone.”

“What was it you saw?” Holly asked. “A murder?”

“I saw it. Someone in a big hooded robe, like a member of a cult. He, or I guess she, was talking with someone and then pulled out a huge sword and slashed the other person with it. I started to leave and then I ran into the Mobian.”

“I was looking for her. I thought she might be in trouble. And you two? Late to be attending your mistress, innit?”

“It is my custom to be available to her in the middle of the night,” I responded.

“Riiiight,” Mobian said. He looked to the side, toward the fireplace. We had a little bit of a fire going, not so much for the heat as the ambiance. Our nightly activities began on the carpet in front of it. There wasn’t anything left to see over there, but hopefully the fire helped with some of the other smell in the place. “We shouldn’t bother you long. We’ll just be going. You have a lovely time at the party. Come on, Lily. We don’t want to interrupt them any more than we need to.”

“Pish posh,” Holly said. “She’s obviously upset. Feel free to stay and calm down a bit.” She leaned down to pat Lily on the shoulder. “You’ll be alright here.” She stood back up. “Delilah, be a dear and check the hallway for the Butler?”

I nodded.

“I’m not sure you should, “ Mobian said, moving in front of the door. “You’re pregnant!”

I slapped him across the face. “Oi! The cheek. A woman puts on a little weight…” I muttered, before pushing him aside and opening the door. I smiled when he couldn’t see me anymore. That was hilarious.

“I’m sorry,” I heard behind me.

Holly laughed. “She is pregnant. That was her idea of a laugh.”

Lily joined in. With the laughter, that is, not the slapping. I shut the door and stepped out, becoming silent on the floor. I looked down the hallway. It ended not far to my left, and across the way was a section of wall between two other doors. To my right was a longer section that I traveled down until I came to a side corridor to my right. I didn’t see anyone, around, but I could smell some blood. I made a note about the blood smelling similar to a human’s, and the possibility of whatever bleeding having a similar composition due to the similar atmospheric conditions. There wasn’t a lot of difference between the air here and at home. A few ratios slightly off, like having more oxygen and less nitrogen, but not enough to kill. So it couldn’t have been the air accounting for the body I saw having crawled part of the way up some stairs. Whatever it was trying to get to was upstairs, not downstairs with all the guest rooms.

I knew that per my role, I should scream. That’s how the story goes, but I decided to do something cheeky, to use old timey servant language. I grabbed a clean portion of the victim’s outfit and gave it a bit of a drag. I put him right at the top of the stairs, then headed back downstairs to scream at the sigh to of a trail of blood having been dragged along the floor.

Of course, that made me the person to keep getting questioned by everyone. Morigoth did it, the Mobian did it, even the Butler did it. I was whisked away to this study, a large, grand room full of books and various recording media with an impressive desk before me made of a rich, dark hardwood. I didn’t tell the story about Mobian and his companion, just that I heard something and my lady told me to go out and check for the Butler. These were true statements, even if there were gaps in between. Mobian’s questioning was the shortest, and really seemed like a way to end my interrogation. Morigoth shook his grey head toward the Butler. “Get the dear some refreshment to help her nerves. The poor thing’s pregnant, after all.”

Mobian winced at that, but I did nothing. Coincidentally, we both took a look around the spacious study.

“My, but you’ve got a lot of stuff,” Mobian noted.

I was curious about the shelves around us. The wall behind the desk and across from that one were both clear of shelves. Behind the desk was a large window and a short liquor cabinet; on the opposite side of the room were paintings and a door we came through. The other two sides were floor to ceiling shelves for the books and so on, with one side even having them angle to create a pair of half-hexagonal nooks with tables and padded chairs.

That part with the nooks seemed like the most obvious section to have something behind it, which meant the better place to hide it was in the other side. Even better would be if the window was fake and a hidden section was back there. And probably the least-suspected place would be the wall we passed through using a door to get into the room. I’d be impressed if he pulled that one off. He deserved to keep a secret if he managed that.

“I own everything on the planet. It’s all mine,” Morigoth said. Groaning, he reached into the desk and pulled out something like a cigar. He took a couple of tries to tear a tab on the end that caused the cigar to light itself.

“It made you some enemies,” Mobian said. “That woman at the party, chief among them.”

Morigoth snorted, blowing a puff of smoke out over his cigar. “Everyone here probly’ has something against me. ‘Cepting yourself, this woman, and that Hanover woman.” He gestured to me in reference to the second in the list. “That woman was Eribelle Dawn. She’s been rallying the other natives of the planet to outbid me after the default on the planet’s debt. Sir Reginald owes me some serious clams from gambling debts. And then there’s the Burgess of Meredith.”

“Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re not dead. Who was the actual murder victim?” I asked.

Morigoth eyed me. “You can go now, miss.”

Mobian helped me up and ushered me toward the door, whispering, “She was a household servant. Ah, here you are!”

The Butler returned then, with a tray. He looked to Morigoth, then to me, then nodded. “Wait outside, dear, I’ll show you back to your room.”

I indeed did wait, making sure to pick a good spot for the marker before the Butler came back, tray-less. “You’ve upset Master Morigoth,” he said.

“He talked about a threat to his life. All I wanted to know was who actually died,” I pointed out.

“She was one of the servants. The personal laundress of the master. She knows… she knew much of the happenings here.”

We’d gotten a short ways down the hallway when the door slammed open. “Help, hurry!” Mobian called. We came rushing back, with the Butler pulling out a device and pressing a button. We ran back to find Morigoth in his chair, foaming at the mouth and twitching. The Butler attended to him, trying to see what was wrong. He grabbed the device and pressed something else before calling out. “Send a doctor!”

Meanwhile, the cigar rolled lazily away. The Mobian stopped it and picked it up, giving it a sniff. We both turned at the sound of rushing boots. In ran a doctor and a pair of guards, pink-skinned like the Butler who pointed now at Mobian. “What did you do?!”

“I think it was the cigar that did it. Who had access?” The guards pulled swords and surrounded the Mobian, who looked around wide-eyed and lowered the cigar. “I don’t suppose they believe in Due Process on this planet, do they?”

“Put him in the cells!” the Butler ordered. Cheeky bastard, doing the ordering. He calmed down somewhat, brushing a hand over his bald head. “Until the new Mistress determines what to do next, of course.”

The guards led the Mobian off. As for me, I wondered about the popcorn. With everyone preoccupied, I had to show myself out to get back to Holly and Lily. I informed them of the situation and Lily went running off.

“You want to follow her?” Holly asked. “We’re supposed to stick close.”

“Eh, you can if you want. I’m going to work on some alternative ways to get him loose, if need be. Not sure it was the cigar like Mobian things, but its’ not really our business solving this. Still, wish I knew who all’s here an what grudges they had against that guy. He even had something he was holding over the head of the fish, and I don’t mean food.”

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2 thoughts on “Deals and Breakers 3

  1. Pingback: Deals and Breakers 2 | World Domination in Retrospect

  2. Pingback: Deals and Breakers 4 | World Domination in Retrospect

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