tagSci-Fi & FantasyConceal Me What I Am Ch. 09

Conceal Me What I Am Ch. 09

byStultus©

***************** CHAPTER NINE

When I awoke fairly early on Monday morning the hotel rooms were quiet but I was not alone in bed. Sometime during the night Miranda had crept in and joined me and was now more or less awake herself, with her left arm wrapped around me and her head lying upon my chest. The fact that she was still clothed didn't really help to mitigate the situation much. Sensing that I was now awake as well, she snuggled up to me even tighter, if possible.

"Hold on there, Princess Tiger!" I muttered. I'm never at my best in the morning and it takes me forever to really wake up. "You realize if anyone barged in and saw us snuggling together, they'd haul me off in handcuffs and throw me down every set of stairs along the way to the federal pen, and I'd piss blood for at least the next month."

"Oh, don't get so excited!" She giggled. "We're both perfectly respectable and of course nothing happened, yet... but if the moment is right for you, I might be willing!" My young little temptress was indeed quite in the mood, and her hand started to slide under my covers to softly probe at what was hidden underneath. There was quite a lot to find actually, since I invariably sleep in the all-together unless it is unusually cold.

"Miranda! Now stop that, and let me get up and get dressed. We need to get to Bel's office early this morning... and without distractions. Besides, you're still a child, legally up here anyways, and I don't think I'd like at all what your father would do to me if I returned you home not entirely in the same condition in which you arrived."

"Silly goose! I'm not a virgin, and besides I'll be eighteen this summer. Isn't the age of consent just sixteen in Texas anyway? They say wherever a Texan's boots step, they mark it to become a part of Texas, so just pretend you're back at home! Besides, I think daddy really likes you. He's already decided that I'm going to return home with you, to be apprenticed and learn real magic, just like you offered!"

Actually, I hadn't offered myself to be her master for apprenticeship training, but it didn't help my feeble early morning thinking one little bit when her probing hand evaded mine and she reached down just far enough to quickly grab my semi-hard cock and give it a tight squeeze. Yes, she was really cute, but more than anything I needed to take a wicked piss. I think she liked what she'd found there because she coo'ed into my ear and snuggled up even closer and tighter, and now prepared to start kissing me.

Faced with this formidable assault, I chose rapid retreat. I leaped up out of bed and grabbed my clothes hung up on a nearby arm chair and skedaddled to the bathroom to dress. This gave her a pretty good view of all of my particulars, front and back, but it couldn't be helped.

"Oh, you're no fun at all!" She pouted and kicked her bare feet a bit on the bedcovers with frustration.

"Tell you what." I compromised, mumbling through the closed door while I relieved my achingly full bladder. "If you are convinced on your eighteenth birthday that I am not a deranged pyromaniac and an insanely reckless wizard unsuitable even to be trusted with so much as a burned out match, we can have this conversation again. Later. Besides, it's considered extremely bad form for a master to take unsuitable advantage of his apprentice."

"But I'd be eighteen then, and able to make my own choices then!" She persisted.

"You would and could then... but I'd really advise you to set your sights a bit higher. Back home I'm neither rich nor famous, or even held in any particularly good esteem. They sent my ass up here to this land of barbarians because I was extremely expendable and no one would miss me while I was gone. Your eyes are a bit clouded as to my virtues, I fear."

"Maybe they are and maybe they aren't, but a young woman is allowed to maintain her fantasies and fixations. You win... I'll grant you a six month reprieve from my affections, but trust me, you're going to kick yourself later for waiting!" She giggled and I heard her hop off the bed and dance off into the sitting room and loudly ask Sean what had become of her shoes. She must have found them, because when I emerged from the bathroom more or less ready to face the day, she was all ready to leave with her large oversized purse hung over her shoulder and waiting impatiently for me to also be ready to leave. She then made a moderately humorous remark about women always having to wait on their men to get ready to go, but I ignored it.

We snatched a quick breakfast downstairs in the hotel restaurant, but even eggs and a few paltry slices of bootleg bacon (outrageously expensive) couldn't quite bring my spirits up into a particularly happy place. I hoped that after this morning, once Bel's boss Mason Probert was subjected to some suitable menaces, that he'd be ready to spill his guts to the FBI, and my job up here would be done. I didn't much like Chicago and cared even less for the insane and draconian laws up here. I wanted to be able to eat a big Texas steak, half a dozen eggs and an entire side of bacon if I wanted to without pissing off some malevolent governmental 'Big Sister' that feels it is their right to make me eat gruel instead, in the interests of public health.

I was also still getting my head around the improbable notion that I was at all a suitable person for instructing a young and very impressionable young lady. Back home, my bosses and acquaintances at the BMA would laugh themselves silly at even the suggestion of this. Maybe with this minor success things there might be different, but I didn't think so. An old Army sergeant told me once while I was doing my obligatory military service right after school, that it only takes one "Oh Shit!' to wipe out a dozen 'attaboys', and I didn't have many of those... and far too many of the previous.

"Be not afeared lad!" Sean murmured inside of my head. At the moment he was invisibly pillaging the breakfast trays of some of the other diners and quite rather pleased with himself at the moment. "She does much look up to you and she'll mind what you tell her. Her mind is a good one and her talents are not quite so hidden as they were when you came along. She'll prove to be worthy, of that you'll see."

"That's not really the problem." I mentally replied back. "She's never cracked a book and has only learned what she does know from either accident or trial and error. She's what we'd call back home a 'maverick', a walking piece of wild magic without a bit of the proper training necessary to let loose amongst society."

"Just like your own 'proper training' prepared you?" Sean laughed. Well he did have a point. There weren't many magical laws or rules that I hadn't bent or actually broken, and a great many people believed I was already a walking menace to society.

"Aye lad. She might even teach you a bit about responsibility, caution, preparation, planning or even forethought!" Ouch. Now that was really just rubbing it in!

***************

With our early start, we made it to the FBMR office in the federal building a bit before eight. This was nice and early as the rest of the staff wasn't expected for at least another half hour. The boss, Probert, would probably be along sometime later. He usually was. Maybe sometime after nine in the morning he'd arrive at the office, but we couldn't rule out an earlier appearance for some reason. Bel and Janice were already waiting for us downstairs and their faces looked happy but tired. Undoubtedly due to a long night of passionate wrestling under the covers.

I ought not to have felt that sudden stab of jealousy that briefly passed through me, after all it was true that I'd had a romantic offer of my own this morning, but had rejected it. They certainly didn't feel anything towards me that was even close to what they felt for each other. About some things, especially emotional ones, I just seem to be an extremely slow learner.

Janice already had in readiness a team of FBI agents, with more than a few senior ones 'supervising' from the rear, but the actual takedown of Probert had been left entirely to our own hands. There was nothing like a FBI team assaulting an entire room full of rival governmental employees, especially magicians, to spark some serious immediate carnage, and make an already bad bureaucratic war at least ten times worse afterwards. Bel and I assured anyone who would listen that we could safely handle it, and we were going to leave Janice and Miranda in the client waiting area, to pretend that they were waiting for a scheduled appointment. If Bel and I couldn't handle Probert, then we were suddenly in a lot more trouble than we could ever hope to cope with.

As we waited for the next hour, the rank and file employees began drifting into work after their weekend. Most of the staff, which I had largely met earlier, was composed of Adepts, or 'Magician 3rd Class' as they called them in the FBMR. There were a few odd magicians other than Bel, but with Desmond dead, and Norman probably already a concrete shoed fixture at the bottom of Lake Michigan, the rest of the top shelf talent didn't pose much of a significant threat.

As employees all arrived, Bel and I latched a hold onto them and directed them into a nearby sufficiently large conference room for them to cool their heals until we were ready to deal with them. We wanted to explain the situation carefully and present the facts of the matter, but we really only wanted to do this once. So we politely but rather firmly kept directing everyone to sit, shut-up and wait. At about a quarter till nine, Bel figured that she'd gathered just about everyone, and we braced up our courage to face the rather annoyed mob. They weren't all that much happier once we'd finished our report either.

For the most part, everyone accepted our conclusions that Probert and several of the most senior wizards had been heavily involved in organized crime, but the shock that this organization had been supplying armaments to Deseret was considerable, and few of the more astonished magicians kept us busy with questions of proof for some time until Bel and I were nearly out of patience. No one was happy that the FBI would even be setting foot onto their premises, but the official designation that this was going to be a joint FMBR and FBI operation, faintly soothed some of their objections.

At the end, we solicited volunteers to assist us with our enquiries and about half of the staff did raise their hands to cooperate, albeit some of them didn't seem particularly enthused. There remained a slight but vocal party of opposition, led by Probert's executive secretary, a Ms. Holcomb, which was hardly any surprise to either Bel or myself. The one quality that all executive assistants possess is abundance is excessive loyalty to their boss, with the concerns of the company falling to a far distant second place in their hearts, assuming they have any. The fact that her boss was an evil, felonious traitor to her own nation was entirely secondary of importance. Malevolent criminal bosses tend to be excellent strong administrators anyway, very much a plus in their opinion.

Also still missing from the proceedings was the mentalist adept, Ingrid. We had been certain that she had been the one conducting all of the mind-wipes for the organization, and Norman had quite confirmed this to us when we questioned him, but we still wanted some additional proof and we really needed to lay our hands on her. Bel did say that Ingrid kept odd hours and was often absent from the office even under normal circumstances. Now with a major gang war engulfing the city, of which the outcome was far from certain, it seemed likely to us that she'd be involved with that mess somehow, although Bel thought that her actual combat skills were rather slight. So we waited and waited and waited.

By about ten o'clock we were all fairly certain that Probert and Ingrid were both going to be no-shows, and we gave up and summoned in the FBI to dismantle Probert's entire office and everything in it. Bel and I hadn't found any clues to anything, other than we easily confirmed that it was his personal photocopier that produced the smudged message we'd found earlier. The intrusion of the FBI into her private domain certainly did not improve the mood of Ms. Holcomb, who was now charging about like an enraged bull, fighting to prevent the government agents to remove so much as a scrap of paper from her boss's desk. Naturally, she soon lost that war and retreated to the sanctum sanctorum of her large workstation in front of his corner office and visibly fumed at everyone. As she didn't possess even a lick of magical talent, her curses could be very safely ignored, but I had to admit that they were quite explicit and colorful. Sean was giggling up a storm and I could tell that he was taking mental notes of a few of the choicer oaths to recycle in the future.

For the lack of anything meaningful to do, I sat myself into a corner of the office and kept a watchful but oblique eye upon her imperial majesty, Ms. Holcomb. If she even possessed a first name, no one knew it... or certainly no one would have ever been permitted to utter it. In my vast experience dealing with dysfunctional bureaucracies in both military, government and civilian service, I've learned this fact as a gospel truth: 'There is nothing that the boss's secretary doesn't know'. Naturally, she wasn't about to tell any of us lesser unworthy mortals a thing, but actions always speak louder than words and for the next quarter hour I watched the middle-aged surly bitch like a hawk. At a quiet moment when she was sure that no was directly around her or watching, I saw her carefully slide something from out of a desk drawer and into her open purse in her lap. Then she got up and started to sidle with haste towards the ladies restroom. Like a falcon nabbing a fat pigeon, I was on my prey. She beat me there, but not by much.

She'd just entered the ladies room and was in the process of starting to dump something into a toilet when I tackled her and then wrestled away a large paper object from her fingers. The object was a thick rolodex of business cards and other important written information, and I'd rescued it from destruction by barely a moment. Ms. Holcomb was still battling me for my prize when Bel then arrived to assist, and I tossed her my trophy. The timing was fortuitous, because the old battleaxe was really more than a handful and she really fought dirty!

"Bel!" I shouted, as the furious secretary tried her best to claw out my eyes. "The stupid bitch tried to make off with this and was starting to destroy it. I saw her grab it from her desk before she sidled off. Oh, and check her purse too, for other goodies!"

With the large rolodex now safe secure, we dragged our kicking and screaming captive back out into the open office area and started to look over the seized goodies. Bel dumped the entire contents of her purse out onto a nearby desk so that we could peruse everything in some sort of context. Meanwhile, with two FBI agents mostly keeping the thrashing secretary restrained, I forceibly managed to pry open the clenched fingers of her right hand and discovered two wonderfully lovely little gems of evidence that had been but a moment from being flushed down the toilet. With a telling jerk of her head, Bel signaled the pair of helpful FBI agents that the faithful and devotedly loyal Ms. Holcomb could be taken into custody as a material witness and charged with obstruction of justice and the attempted destruction of evidence. I won't admit that I had needed rescuing, but she'd scratched me up with her talon-like nails very nicely and was even at the very end trying to bite my entire arm off while I tried to retrieve her concealed evidence.

The two crumpled rolodex cards I'd rescued had made the entire operation worthwhile and a complete success. Not only did Mason Probert have a weekend farm just outside of Rockford, but he also owned a rather interesting property, Probert Warehouse and Storage right on the outskirts of the same town. This was much too much of a coincidence!

"Bel, how do you feel about a nice drive out to the country to take some fresh fair?" I asked.

"What, and leave the luscious smell of burning cars and torched buildings? I don't think the city has seen this much fire since the big one, not to mention the lovely smell and sounds of gunfire in the morning!" She laughingly replied, but in a few minutes she'd gathered up our corps of semi-faithful co-workers, who were now in a much more civic minded mood after watching Ms. Holcomb being hauled off in chains literally kicking and screaming. But still they weren't at all happy about taking orders, especially from me! Even the most pissed of the magicians was now starting to see the way the wind was now blowing, and in the interest of making this a truly joint FBI/FBMR operation, everyone was now more or less willing to cooperate. The hint was none too subtle that anyone that wanted to stay and home and pretend things were business as usual might instead spend a lot of quality time under FBI arrest as material witnesses... and also very likely suspects themselves.

Given the alternative of being under federal custody or joining my posse, they unanimously all agreed to come to Rockford with us... and I'm sure every single one of them later regretted the decision!

"Look folks!" I shouted as Bel and Janice corralled our meek and surly lot of not particularly voluntary volunteer magicians. "This is war... war with Deseret, whether it's official or an act of congress or not, those bastards want to kill us all... and using your own guns to do it! Alright, so I'm from Texas! Yep, I got the boots, the big belt buckle and duster coat. So what... get over it! This just means that I'm the one that needs to stand up tall and fight for what is right, and when things are at their worst! As someone reminded me earlier today, wherever a Texan plants his boot, that ground then becomes a part of Texas and should be defended as such. Now my boots are marching over to Rockford to seriously kick some Deseret ass, and I would be much obliged if I could count on more than just your company, but also your willing and able cooperation. If it would soothe your consciences, I'll swear you all in right now as honorary Texas Rangers, if it will make your heads stand taller on your shoulders with your chins held high instead of the shameful bunch of defeatists I see now before me. Ok, your boss was a crook -- deal with it! Shit happens, now dust yourselves off and let's show those FBI folks that you can do what needs to be done and not just ride along playing the weak sister! Now, will you ride with me?"

Now this speech had them cheering and even Bel and Janice exchanged a pair of amused looks and then positively smiled at me, and for the first time in quite awhile. I couldn't resist to carry forward with the spirit of the moment and really bind them wholly now to our cause.

"Good! Now repeat after me and swear..." I shouting, and began to repeat the Oath of the Lovett Rangers, with a few minor creative alterations. No, I've never been one, but I'd met more than few out near the sharp end of things in my military days and respected the hell out of each and every one of them. I wasn't sure a normal Texas citizen, let alone an Adept with a suspended license could swear up a real posse, legal-wise anyway, but for some reason it really seemed like a swell idea at the time!

"I Swear that I will bear true allegiance to the Republic of Texas, and that I will serve her honestly and faithfully against all her enemies, and observe & obey the orders of the stupid bastard appointed over me, for he just might accidentally know what he's doing.

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