tagSci-Fi & FantasyMagic, Mischief and Money Ch. 03

Magic, Mischief and Money Ch. 03

byAdder4321©

Authors Note: This one took me a bit longer than I expected, but I got it done. The chapters are mostly going to be longer and more story driven now, but that's no reason not to have some fun sex scenes.

Also, I would appreciate any feedback on how I can improve.


*****

The next morning, Anikara stretched and rolled onto her back, yawning at the morning light that was streaming through the partially open curtain that divided Denzik's wagon in two. She reached out with one arm, expecting to feel Denzik still asleep next to her. Instead, she found a pile of discarded bedding sheets. She sat up, glancing around and finally noticed a creaking noise coming from outside. Still yawning, she climbed to her feet and walked to the back of the wagon, sitting on the bench there.

"Morning Ani," came Denzik's voice, straining a little.

"My name is Anikara. And you could have woken me," said Anikara irritably, looking in the direction of his voice.

He was hanging from his arms from an oak branch that stuck from the trunk of a massive tree about three meters from the ground, wearing only his leather trousers and boots. He was pulling himself up so that his chest brushed against the branches rough bark, then slowly lowering himself back down. As she watched, she saw him stop his pull ups and roll his body upside down. He then hooked his legs over the branch and started pulling himself up using his legs.

"Yes, but Ani sounds much cuter," he continued once he had gotten used to the new exercise. "Also, you looked tired. I figure you could use some sleep. Breakfast is on the fire."

"Fine. But you can only call me that in private," she said as she walked over to the fireplace.

As she had found the night before, Denzik was a superb cook. He had toasted some leftover bread from the night before with some finely cut pork and cheese. She watched Denzik as she ate, marvelling at the complete ease with which he moved, no matter how difficult the repetition he did. She was a little disappointed at his lack of a tattoo though; apparently that existed only in her fantasies. Instead, his skin was covered in scars and marks from fights and other questionable activities. He finished with a flourish, backflipping from the branch and taking a bow as he landed.

"You are such a show off," Anikara said, shaking her head.

"I only show off when I have such an attentive audience," the burly man replied, grabbing a cloth and wiping the thin layer of sweat from his forehead.

The elf replied with a "harumph" and went back to eating and trying to look disinterested. Denzik walked over to the fire and threw on a black shirt with silver thread woven through the collar and sleeves. He then sat down next to the fire and began eating his own breakfast.

After a few minutes of awkward silence, Denzik sighed and said, "You really need to learn to relax once every now and then."

"I know," she said quietly. After another awkward silence, she continued much more professionally, "There's one thing I want to ask you. What is wrong with your magic?"

"Ah, that," he said, a little mischievously. "Honestly? I have no clue. It was pretty normal until about seven years ago. No clue what exactly happened, but I woke up in a huge crater where a mountain used to be. My memories from before then were really hazy, until I was eighteen. Actually I'm not even sure how old I am."

"After that, I travelled around for a few months, suffering from a very unusual condition where I would occasionally release massive bursts of magical energy. I heard about the Monks in the Northern Mountains and how they were experts at controlling magic, so I went and found them. Best thing I ever did; they taught me how to control the energy I released, as well as just about every other thing I know."

Anikara was fascinated by his story, especially by his description of the strange bursts of magic he experienced. She asked him to hold his arm out, while she pressed her fingers into it. She worked her way up his arm to the elbow, poking and prodding at his muscle and bone.

"Well, that is interesting," she said, lost in thought. "It seems that the nodes that release magic from the body are completely closed, which is supposed to be impossible."

"I take great pride in my ability to do things that are supposed to be impossible," he said with a grin.

She took no notice of his comment, instead she pulled out her book and began writing, commenting, "The nodes are completely closed, but it also seems that they can be completely opened. That would explain the massive explosions of power. Also, the build up of magic would explain his superhuman strength. Still, I'm going to need to look into this further."

"Anyway, hurry up with your breakfast, I want to get to Copper Cliff as early as possible," He said, standing and stretching.

"What are we in such a hurry for?" she asked, finishing the last of her bread.

"Clothes shopping," he said, whistling to call Nirak.

*

At midday, Denzik's massive wagon and Nirak's massive body rose to the top of the final hill before entering the town of Copper Cliff. Here, the ground was rocky and the trees were short and thin. Patches of shaggy grass burst through the grey stone along the path, which was mirrored by the dull grey sky above it.

"Woah," gasped Anikara at the hamlet before them.

She was right to be impressed; while Copper Cliff was called a town, it was almost a small city and was extraordinarily wealthy due to the enormous reserves of copper ore and gemstones buried in the mountain behind and beneath the village. The city itself was built along an old multilayered quarry that cut into the stony hills that surrounded them. The buildings were placed along neat streets and a collection of canals cut into the rock, which fed into a huge collection of factories and forges at the south end of the town.

The buildings themselves were made from cypress wood and the grey rock that surrounded them. Between the buildings walked a variety of people, mostly dwarves and humans, though Anikara also saw an elf and a group of orcs.

The wagon rumbled down the hill and they stopped by an inn a little way off the main road. Climbing from the vehicle, Denzik took off Nirak's halter and patted him on the shoulder. Instead of leaving straight away, Nirak snorted and turned his head to look at Denzik.

"I know, something smells fishy," Denzik said, looking over the city.

Pleased that his friend had understood him, Nirak thundered out off the city, quickly disappearing over the nearby hills.

"Wait, what do you mean "fishy"," asked Anikara, evidently worried by Denzik's words. She glanced around her, expecting to see bandits and thugs appear from the shadows.

"Something's off in the city. I haven't the foggiest what, though," mused Denzik. "Anyway, no point in worrying about it. Let's get to work."

He collected a small bag from the back of his wagon and carried over his shoulder. Anikara quickly followed him, still glancing over her shoulder every few seconds.

"Aren't you worried about someone breaking into your wagon? It doesn't even have a door," Aniakra said.

"Trust me, that wagon doesn't need a door. If anyone tries to enter without my permission, I have the mother of all security systems ready to deal with them," he said as they rounded the bend and came to the canal.

As they walked along the waterway, Anikara saw that it was quite wide, almost six meters, but not very deep and occasional high, arched bridges crossed it. She wondered why they were so tall, until she saw a small boat laden with copper ore float down with the current, the dwarf controlling the craft fitting neatly under the bridge. She presumed correctly that these canals served the double purpose of transporting the ore to the forges and supplying water to the same factories.

They soon found the tailors, a short, but very wide building with a bronze plaque engraved with a picture of a pair of scissors and thread. They entered, greeting the thin dwarf who was sitting behind the counter. They strolled between several aisles of clothes hanging from mannequins and hangers.

Denzik looked more excited than Anikara had ever seen him. He raced along the rows of clothes, grabbing any he liked and holding them against the elf to check their size.

"Now," he said with wicked grin, "Let's head to the changing rooms."

*

"Ow," Anikara winced, "I had no idea changing clothes could be so rough."

"Sorry," shrugged Denzik, "I just love clothes shopping. And you have to admit, I have great taste."

She did and he did. She now wore a very tight, yet comfortable deep green jacket with copper buttons and thread along the collar and the ends of the sleeves. Two rows of polished copper buttons held the coat in place across her chest, but she kept the top few buttons open, exposing an ample amount of cleavage. Her pants were the same shade of green, with a thin copper coloured strip along the side of each leg. Her boots had no heels, but they were beautifully made from supple leather and copper plates and rivets.

Denzik was also wearing new clothes, only his were pitch black with no sleeves and a very simple grey linings. He also had a new cloak, black to match the rest of his clothes with a silver clasp.

"So, what are we going to do know?" Anikara said, fiddling with the bright buttons of her coat.

"Now, I want you to take these posters and put them on the any important buildings or notice boards in the north part of town," he said, pulling a stack of small paper posters from the bag he carried. "We'll meet back at the wagon once you're finished."

Anikara took the paper and looked over the first one. It was simple enough; a neat drawing of a shirtless Denzik, with some rather sensual writing describing his services. Nodding to Denzik, she took off towards the cliff at the north side of town.

Her first stop was a large board covered in sheets of paper and parchment, news, warnings and requests. She pinned one of posters in place with one of the metal pins stuck to the board, then walked on. She left more than a dozen posters all over the north part of the small city, before reaching the cliff after which the town was named. It was a wall of grey stone, peppered with green ore, so tall that it looked like it reached the sky. Miners were scattered across the scaffolding that covered the cliff's surface, digging tunnels and holes into it, while others carried the ore that they recovered down a series of pulleys and winches to the base of the cliff. There, the rock was placed on small barges and boats floating on a canal that ran past the cliff face.

She realised that Denzik was probably finished by now and started walking back to the edge of town. She found him in the centre of town, not far from where they had split up, laughing with a bald, bearded dwarf who was carrying a pickaxe. He was also covered in rock dust, meaning that he had probably been walking home from the cliff face.

"So his wife and his daughter? Both came to see you?" said the dwarf, barely containing his laughter.

"Yep. And then I found out that he was the boss of a local mercenary gang," chuckled Denzik.

With that, the dwarf roared with laughter, slapping his knees. Then, seeing Anikara, he said, "Speaking of business, it looks like you have a customer."

Turning and seeing the blonde elf, Denzik exclaimed, "Ah, so you've put up the posters?"

Seeing Anikara nod, he continued, "In that case, let me introduce you to a friend of mine. This is Orthar, and Orthar, this is my new work partner, Anikara."

The miner held out his calloused hand for her to shake. She took it and firmly shook his hand, greeting him, "Pleasure to meet you"

"Likewise," Orthar answered, a grin appearing behind his long, black beard.

Standing back, Anikara looked closely at the short, stout person before her. Unlike the descriptions of dwarves she had heard as a child, Orthar was not a short, fat old man, covered in hair and grime and carrying a pot belly. Instead, he was more like a very muscular human man, only he was half as tall. He was also very neat and tidy. His beard was neatly trimmed and braided into a point near his waist and the only dirt on his body was the rock dust and sweat from the day's work. On top of that, he had a wide, rugged face with a pair of bright blue eyes twinkling above his beard.

"So how are you friends with Denzik? I thought he never stayed in one place for too long," asked Anikara, her curiosity evident.

Orthar glanced at Denzik, before saying, "Well, long story short he saved my marriage the first time he passed through here. My wife went to him to try and hire him. Somehow he worked out that she was married. Then instead of taking her money, he brought her back to me and using that pink crystal of his, he forced us to be honest about our fetishes and saved our sex lives. Four years on and we've never been happier together. Also, I tried to kill Denzik when I first met him, so I figured I should be nice to him after he helped me out."

"And just when I was thinking that you were just a really good fuck," said Anikara to Denzik, smiling and shaking her head.

"I'm a man of many talents," shrugged the burly man.

"That's a bit of an understatement, ain't it?" said the dwarf.

Denzik threw back his head and laughed, "True. But after seeing you with your wife, I have to say that you have some skills of your own." Both of them laughed at that and Anikara found herself joining in, their humour was so infectious. Soon, though, Denzik continued much more seriously, "Anyway, didn't you say earlier that you had something important to tell me?"

Orthar folded his arms in front of his chest, saying, "Well, two things actually. The first is something that I found in a merchant's cart half a year ago." He pulled a small metal bar from his jacket. It had a strange purple lustre and seemed to emit a dull light.

Denzik almost danced with excitement, carefully taking the metal from his friend. He quickly slipped it into his coat, glancing over his shoulder as he did so.

"Secondly," the dwarf said in a dark tone, "There are some bad folks around. Been a few muggings and robberies around the area over the past few months. It started small; a few sheep disappearing, some bars of copper going missing from the warehouses, a coin purse being pickpocketed. Then a house got broken into. After that a group of bandits started holding up the north road. Since then, three people have shown up dead. Two were workers from the mines and the other was a trader who was passing through. All had their throats cut and everything on them taken."

"Sounds like a couple of regular thugs. I know that the guards aren't exactly top soldiers but they should be able to take care of something like this, shouldn't they?" shrugged Denzik, gesturing towards a building nearby that must have been the barracks.

"Well they probably could, if they could find them," Orthar said with a roll of his eyes. "Me and the boys from the mine went looking after the first body turned up. We even hired a ranger from over near the Oaks, but he couldn't find anything either. All we know is that they mustn't be far from town, because we searched everywhere outside it and found nothing."

"Alright, I think I get the picture. What did the people who were mugged say about them? Also, is there a bounty on them?" Denzik said, with a slight nod of his head.

"All of the muggings happened in the middle of the night and the thieves all wore black cloaks with hoods, so no one got a look at their faces. At least a few of them must be dwarves though. As for the bounty, yes. The Guard Captain is offering 20 bronze pieces for any of the members of the group, dead or alive. If someone can bring in their leader and find all of the stuff they stole, they get 5 silver pieces," Orthar said with a shrug.

"Pretty standard then," Denzik nodded. "Well we'd better be on our way. I'll probably be working all night but I'll try and catch up with you tomorrow."

The dwarf grinned and turned to walk towards the eastern side of town, disappearing around a bend in the street. Denzik waved back, before turning and walking back towards where he had parked his wagon. Anikara followed him, noticing the lengthening shadows that surrounded them.

"Are you really going to try and track down those bandits?" Anikara said incredulously. "I know you're tough but there's no way you can take on a group that big on your own."

Denzik smiled at her, "Well it's a good thing I've got you with me, isn't it? Besides, that's tomorrow's problem. Tonight we'll work my other job."

With that they rounded the corner and found themselves in front of the wagon. Denzik took his bag back, then put it in the front of the wagon with the rest of his gear. They then entered the Inn, which Anikara now saw was called The Eleventh Barrel. As they entered, Anikara was hit by a wave of noise, smell and light. Even this early, plenty of miners who had finished work for the day were enjoying a drink of ale, beer, wine or rum. Not that miners were the only people here, of course. Anikara saw a number of dwarves, both male and female, as well as several humans, a group of orcs who all wore an emblem in the shape of skeletal arm holding a dagger, two elvish traders and what appeared to be a demonic soldier.

A very buxom, but plain dwarven barmaid noticed their entrance and after recognising Denzik, she shouted over the din, "Denzy! Long time no see."

Her shout attracted the attention of the rest the bar's patrons, who responded to the name with a variety of looks, including those of shock, excitement, confusion and in the case of several people, disgust.

Ignoring everyone else, Denzik waved at the young woman, replying, "It sure has been, Ralaer. Nice to see that you're as beautiful as ever."

Behind the bar, a much older female dwarf poked her head out from inside the store room. She laughed as she saw Denzik chatting with her employee, greeting him in a rather gruff voice, "Nice to see you again, Kid. Just make sure that you wait until Ral leaves work before you two go at it this time, won't ya?"

With that, most of the people around the Inn laughed alongside her, before going back to drinking, talking and generally enjoying themselves. However, three dwarves and one man looked less than happy with Denzik's presence.

A very angry, very big dwarf led the group and it was he who first stood and walked in front of Denzik and Anikara as they entered the room, snarling, "You might actually have some balls after all, coming back here after the warning I gave you last time."

Denzik looked this new comer in the eye, smiled and said, "Look, I don't want to start any trouble. I'm just here to work and to meet some of my old friends."

Anikara was shocked by the four individuals in front of them, she had assumed that Denzik was on good terms with everyone here. She stood to the side and a little behind him, her body tensing up, expecting at fight to start at any moment. The proprietor had also noticed the situation and she fiddled with the heavy club that she kept under the bar for such situations. Only a few other people in the building had noticed the disturbance and those that had were eyeing the group suspiciously.

"There's no way I'm letting you get away with showing your face again after what you did last time, you fucking bastard," the enraged dwarf growled, his face red behind his thick black beard and hair.

"Don't tell me that you're still angry over that? You're the one that started that bet. And it's not my fault that you bet your whole years earnings on that match," Denzik said, clearly not impressed by the dwarves performance.

The dwarf nearly exploded at that, his face turning purple now, "Don't you dare try and make me look like the bad guy here, you freak. There's no way you didn't cheat in that arm wrestling competition. Besides, that isn't the problem here. The problem is that you got my fucking SISTER pregnant." It was at this point that the woman behind the bar took note of their argument and she nonchalantly grabbed the iron bound club.

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