tagSci-Fi & FantasyA Lazy Mage Quests (Un)EZ Creds Ch. 07

A Lazy Mage Quests (Un)EZ Creds Ch. 07

bytisoz©

Damon Rev Spector completed what was almost a bi-daily ritual of summoning spirits. The summoning went well, and Spector recovered from the drain after about half an hour of rest. As Spector said good-bye to Mara, he promised to call when he got to the clinic.

Spector went through the list of things he wanted to get taken care of. Bind the free ally spirit but to do that he needed to upgrade what the magic community called his lodge but what he referred to as his den. He would also need to do an astral quest for its name. The ally had not attacked last night, therefore, it had not drawn the attention of his own spirits, or been delayed. It had left the scene before Spector had an opportunity to match its astral signature to the overlapping cacophony of sigils. Spector matched the other true names to the spirits from last night as he released them in turn from the confusion power. All of them but one would require upgrading his den. Upgrading the den would take most of the day. Getting rid of the weapons and vehicles was on the list. The weapons worth was insignificant compared to the other tasks on the list; they could wait.

That meant selling the weapons got put on the end of the list. One spirit did not require upgrading the den. Of the spirits requiring the den to be upgraded, he desired the ally the most and it required an astral quest. The vehicles might be getting tracked down already, it depended on how quickly the gang he took most of them from got out of custody or thought to put someone else to recovering them. If they were not already stolen to begin. They might already have people looking for them and it was not like they were well hidden. So Spector decided to address disposing of the vehicles as soon as possible.

Spector cleared a space in the den to try to bind the Earth elemental, the only spirit that he could try to bind without upgrading his den. He dressed in his defensive gear and loaded his pistols with the correct capsule rounds, then gave instructions to his spirits. Spector completed the preparations for the binding ritual and spoke the spirits name 3 times, forcing it to appear before him, a humanoid shape of earth and rock. When it appeared Damon was reminded of the last time he had seen it, waving a limb in his direction. Spector stood his ground and bound the spirit to his service.

Spector said, "Spirit these are your new standing orders. You are not to act, speak, or conspire in any way to harm me, or through inaction allow harm to come to me. You are to actively and immediately warn me of any plots to harm me that you discover. You are to never reveal your true name. Karma I get for you will not be used until I instruct you how to use it. I need to do this to use a karma multiplying ritual as long as possible. I do not plan to keep you bound forever. Most likely it will be a period of two years. In that time I hope to get you an average of one karma a day. At the end of two years, we can keep going or you may take your leave at your option. If you find something repulsive you should let me know so I can try to avoid it in the future. This probably isn't the best footing on which to start a friendship, but perhaps we can become friends. Let me know if you have some desire or goal and I will decide if I will help.

Do you have a name by which I may refer to you? A nickname?"

"No," the spirit said.

"Well," Damon said, "think about it. I may just call you Stony until you decide on one for yourself."

"As you wish," Stony said.

"Okay," Spector said, "I have lots to do and I'm sure you will come in handy in doing it."

Spector looked at the list of fences again. He wanted to get rid of the vehicles first, noted the closest place on the list and drove to it. When Spector arrived at the address, the place looked pretty quiet. Circling the boarded up building, he saw no sign of activity and nothing looking like an accessible door. Parking the car, Spector astrally projected and entered the building. The place was empty, not just of life, but of about everything but trash and detritus. Spector returned to his meat body, found the address of the remaining two chop shops/car fences, noted that one had gang ties and the other had Mafia ties and went with the gang tie one as perhaps less likely to pull him into an unwanted association. After plotting a course to the address thinking of landmarks or counting over streets, too bad you couldn't just follow the street signs in astral space thought Spector, he once again astrally projected and went to check the address, hoping to save time and gas.

Seeing Stony accompanying him, Spector asked, "Did you pick up any new abilities after going free?"

Stony said, "I can materialize as any type of metahuman and I know how spells work, like I could learn them or write out their formula if I tried."

"That sounds like you picked up the Sorcery skill," Damon said.

After almost getting lost once, Spector found the place, checked it for wards or spirits, then went inside through the roof. The place was packed with vehicles and several people were present. Spector left, retracing his route to his meat body and drove to the building in Auburn he had just scouted.

Locating a man size door, Spector knocked on it. Moments later it was opened a crack.

"Yeah," a voice from within said, "what d'ya want?"

"I was hoping to interest you folks in a few vehicles that came my way," Spector said.

After another few moments the door opened a bit further for Spector to enter. As soon as Spector stepped through, the door slammed shut behind him and something hard jammed him in his back. A bit alarmed, but not yet worried, Spector raised his hands in a non-threatening manner, thinking they were just being cautious as they had no clue who he was. He got led further into the building and over to four men having a discussion around a table. All of them drew weapons at Spector's approach.

"What's this about?" one asked.

"Guy just showed up at the door saying he had some vehicles," the guy with the gun in Spector's back said.

One of the seated men quickly got up and hurried to a shaded window, pulled aside the shade and checked outside. "That your Honda?" he asked.

"Yes," Spector said, "but that isn't one of the vehicles I was interested in getting rid of."

"But that's the car I'm interested in taking off you," the man said.

"It's not for sale," Spector said.

"I wasn't planning on buying," the man said. "Put the keys on the table, along with that duster. It looks like it's my size."

"You sure you want to do it this way?" Spector asked, wishing he had channeled a spirit and come expecting a lot more trouble than a simple business transaction.

"I'm sure enough," the man said, "now peel."

Spector took the keys from his pocket and tossed them on the table, then started removing a few thing from the duster before relinquishing it.

"All that stuff, too," the man said.

Spector shook his head in partial disbelief, cursing himself for his stupidity. When the duster came off, a couple of the seated men let out muffled cries of surprise as Spector's holstered pistols came into view.

"Just who are you?" one of the seated men asked.

"Nobody," Spector said, "just a fool who was trying to sell a few vehicles he took from the last guys to try and rob him."

A couple of the men laughed.

"I don't think we're trying to rob you. I'm looking at it as you stuck your nose in the wrong place and now you are paying for your mistake. You can leave the guns, too. May as well empty those pants pockets. I'm sure there's a credcard in there somewhere." Spector did as told, giving up not only his but the ones he had acquired the night before, then the one directing the fleecing told the one who had led Spector back, "Get him out of here."

One of the seated men who had been silent spoke. "I think we should just kill him and be done with him."

Spector had assensed the group and not noticed any magical ability among them. He called his spirits to him, readying them if things got worse. He'd delayed starting anything while under the sights of five gunmen. Spector didn't like those odds and was waiting for the odds to shift more in his favor. Way more in his favor. But talk about ending the meet - and Spector - had Spector on the verge of ordering the spirits to materialize and attack. Best to get away from as many as possible and maybe closer to cover Spector thought.

"No need for that," Spector said and started walking with raised hands toward the door he had entered through, half expecting a bullet in the back at any moment. Maybe the move surprised them with its air of reason because the bullet hadn't come as Spector passed through the door and heard it slam behind him. Damon looked back at the cinder block building, saw no one and hurried around it's corner, ran out in front of the only moving car as he crossed the street without looking, and didn't slow down until he had rounded the corner of the next building. He only slowed down when he felt pain in his side brought on by the exertion.

Spector started checking his surroundings and considering his next move. He came to an alley between two brick buildings devoted to businesses, decided it didn't look too filthy or cluttered, and turned down it. Near the middle of the alley and the cross alley were dumpsters. One pushed up near a utility pole with a fire hydrant a few feet the other side also flanked by a dumpster. Spector checked between them for any squatters, then positioned himself out of easy sight between the pole and hydrant, using both to protect anyone from ramming the dumpsters into him, and astrally projected.

The alley lost all color and became about fifty shades of gray, like walking into an old 2D movie. Spector backtracked to the chop shop, along the way seeing vivid color in stark contrast to the lifeless gray. Bits of life here and there where a weed grew up through a crack in concrete, or a neat row where grass grew through a crack along the joint between sidewalk and curb. A car passed along the street Spector hovered above, a glow of the driver behind opaque gray glass. Colorful weeds grew in the cracks between pavement and the wall of the chop shop. Spector glided up to the roof, passed through it and drifted down to the trusses. The men below him were bright glows of color against the gray of their surroundings.

Damon could hear the men chuckling and replaying the event that had just transpired. He called his spirits to him and ordered them to manifest in the rafters, he ordered the ones with the ability to conceal to use the power on all the spirits. He ordered the ones with the power to confuse to use it on the men in the building other than him. Spector then ordered the spirits who did stun damage when attacking to subdue the confused men. The laughter and smiles ended.

The fight was brief and one sided. The men subdued, Damon had Stony line up the men face down on the floor with ankles crossed and hands to sides almost touching the next man in line. He left the spirits with the order to subdue any man who tried to talk or get up, along with anyone besides himself or those accompanying him who entered the building. Spector retraced the route he used when he had fled the building, came back to his meat body and easily reintegrated himself, luckily before an inquisitive rat got up the courage to taste this latest thing to land in his alley.

Spector got up, shooed the rat away and with the tinge of pain that action evoked, worked out the stiffness resulting from exerting his muscles then abruptly stopping. He made his way to the shop on foot, noticing the plant life he had overlooked in his flight but that had been such a contrast on the astral plane compared to the man made lifelessness of this world. It seemed much further than when he had been leaving, and by the time Damon eventually got there he was developing a sore on one foot. As Spector approached the building, he noticed his car wasn't where he parked it upon arriving. He hadn't even noticed it while on his astral visit.

Deciding to be a bit more careful this time, Spector cast a catalogue spell to try a little reconnaissance. No weapons showed up within range of the spell and Damon cast an improved invisibility spell on himself and entered the building. The men were still on the floor much like he had left them. He walked to where a couple of them had dropped their weapons trying to bring them to bear during the brief fight. Not the easiest thing to accomplish when you were confused, trying to figure out who was attacking you, or your friends if the spirits hadn't yet ganged up on you to put you down, when they were hard to perceive due to being concealed. Spector picked up a silenced pistol and a knife big enough to filet a behemoth, thought about where to put them and decided on a work bench for the time being.

Damon went along the work benches looking for a few items and soon found them. He walked to the nearest man, knelt with a knee in the man's back, took the shop rag by diagonal corners and spun it around in a makeshift blindfold. He fitted it over the man's eyes, but there was hardly enough material left to tie it behind the man's head, so Spector used the duct tape he found to hold it in place. Next, he looped duct tape around the man's wrist, drew the man's hands behind his back and ran several loops of tape around both wrists. Spector reversed position on the man's back, bent the man's legs at the knees, and made a few turns of duct tape around the guy's ankles. Damon got up and observed his work, decided to stuff a rag in the man's mouth and ran duct tape around the man's head to hold it in place. Then he assensed the man and the rest of the gang looking for any tell tale dead spots in the aura of their bodies that would indicate cyberware. Satisfied that none of the dead spots looked like weaponry or entire cyberlimbs that could rip through the tape, Spector repeated the procedure on the other four men. With all of them blindfolded, Spector quit sustaining the invisibility spell.

Wondering what guys working in a chop shop or stolen car ring were doing with so many weapons, Spector went ahead and searched all the men. Three pistols, a submachine gun and four wicked looking knives later, Spector was even more confused why they were so heavily armed. One even had a taser along with a maglock pass key. Spector pocketed both and took the other weapons over and set them on the nearby workbench. He turned up phones, pass keys for vehicles and personal credcards on all of them, and two of them had been carrying certified credcards, one on the first and two on the other.

Having disarmed and restrained the men, Damon retrieved his belongings then went to the table he had found the men sitting around upon his earlier visit. Spector reclaimed his possessions, partly distracted by an open Playork® as he donned his gear. Deciding to see what his catalog spell would reveal, as well as how many items would come up unknown, Spector tried the spell. Yes, lots of unknowns Spector thought as he went through the information the spell revealed. Then he noted several credcards. The bankroll for the place? Spector wondered. Where would someone hide a pile of credcards? Spector asked himself as he looked around the building.

Most of one wall was devoted to workbenches. Toolboxes and tools set atop them, parts, more toolboxes and bigger tools were stashed beneath them. Near the air compressor sitting in the corner was a good selection of shelved paint cans ranging from mere ounces to a couple drum sized sitting on the floor. On the other side of the air compressor was, Spector estimated, a 100 gallon air tank then an overhead, double width, garage door. On the other side of it was a man size door. Open top metal drums flanked the big door, and the small door was near the corner. A large floor fan sat just outside the arc of the small door. Cars were parked along almost the entire length of the wall. Here and there an engine hoist or a tire changing machine was interspersed, but the cars and motorcycles were parked two and three deep, almost filling the building. Along the remaining wall were a few doors.

Spector investigated and discovered a filthy bathroom and quickly closed the door. The next door opened on a room with shelves filled with car parts. Looking up, he saw automobile body parts, like fenders and hoods, hanging. The last door opened on a small office. A metal door laid across a pair of short, two drawer, filing cabinets passed for a makeshift desk. There were some sagging shelves lined with auto manuals and assorted crap as well as toy cars and a trophy or two. A chair with the seat ripped to shreds and the padding mostly missing flanked the desk. Behind the desk was a swivel office chair with arm rests in much more serviceable condition. On the desk was a computer and typical stuff you'd find in an office. Spector looked behind the door and found the obligatory, half nude, tool girl calendar.

Damon tried the file cabinet drawers. The ones nearer the door opened and contained paperwork. The opposite cabinet's drawers were locked. Spector went into the main room, soon found a good size pry bar and returned. The drawers locks didn't stand a chance. In the top drawer, Damon found the credcards. Not just credcards but certified credcards. The computer had a credcard reader, he checked the amounts, whistled softly and pocketed them. Spector summoned watcher spirits as he crossed to where his car had been brought inside. Damon got in his car and locked himself in, found the address for the third car ring located in Tacoma, plotted a route and astrally projected.

As Spector cruised along through the astral, half his mind was on the certified credcards he had just found. They could change his life. They could also bring on more trouble than his life was worth. If I keep them, I would be well on the way to amassing enough money to buy back the family land Damon thought. The land that had been in his family for untold generations dating back to when his distant ancestors had roamed it. Hunted it. Long before his European bloodline had married into the family. Long before he, as the lone remaining heir, had lost it to his ex-wife in the uncontested divorce. If I can sell all the vehicles, I'd be even farther toward getting it back.

Which reminded him of his daughter and how nice it would be to give her the Porche he had seen in the building he had just left. Damon was reminiscing about one of the few joys in his life and almost overshot the building where he was heading. Spector reconnoitered the building, decided he likely had the correct place by the abundance of automobiles and considered how he wanted to enter. Spector sent a watcher to the man nearest the door.

"Sir," the watcher said, getting the man's attention.

The man flinched slightly, but asked, "What?"

"My master would like to discuss business with your boss."

The man quit what he was doing and walked to a closed door and knocked.

"What?" came from within.

"There's a thing out here asking for his master to discuss business with you."

"What kind of thing?"

"A magical whatchamacallit thing," the man said.

There was a pause while the man behind the door considered, then said, "Sure."

Spector watched it all from astral space and continued to watch the man behind the door to an office as he checked a pistol and put it beneath a folder on his desk.

For appearance, Damon decided on non-descript and veiled, also a bit taller, thinner and better looking than real life. He chose to manifest outside the office door wearing boots, jeans, long coat, Santa Claus beard, shades and a Stetson pulled low. Having no way to open the door or knock, Spector said, "Knock knock."

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