Raphael quieted… Something large, and powerful, was pulling at him – insistently drawing his attention.
The room faded in around him in a sensory overload. EVERYTHING was broader-ranged, and more acute, than normal – and he… had senses that his mind had never been designed to handle, burning through unfamiliar channels in his local brain. Magnetic fields, magical influences, low-frequency vibrations in the earth, an enhanced sense of smell that let him scent his own scales and musk and the fear of the insignificant quasi-human family who’s apartment he had taken over… He nearly tripped over a wing, as information from new appendages flooded through his mind as well.
Dizzyingly, a local identity rose that was… used to all this, from a lifetimes experience, and h which pushed his human persona aside with a casual arrogance.
He was Philsantias, and might one day – as a currently-adolescent silver dragon – aspire to be one of the Elders of the Galaxy!
Should he survive adolescence and the challenges to come as a free dragon of course.
He was… here, sneaking around in the (remarkably large!) territory of another adolescent at the behest of some of the clan elders – who had offered him some rather NICE benefits to go and keep an eye on “Ailill’s” establishment and bring back as much information as possible… That was a job that required considerable caution! Intruding on another dragons territory, and spying on him or her, WAS sort of asking for it!
It had taken quite a lot of careful divination to find a way to slip into this “Ailill’s” territory! For a red adolescent his security was remarkably good!
As a young red dragonslave dipped into view in the sky outside the window – thank goodness for the privacy coatings and his concealing spells! – he was reminded of his current problem…
One of Ailill’s security patrols, consisting of several well-equipped red dragonslaves – fortunately, no older than he was and doubtless somewhat less powerful – had apparently come to suspect his presence, and were out hunting for him! The apartment building was a good hiding place for the moment, and the terrified occupants of the apartment he’d taken over a week ago were no threat – but if Ailill’s security patrol found him, at five-to-one odds they might well be able to drag him off to Ailill’s personal holdings and throw him in a cell. The results of THAT would be unpleasant indeed; Ailill WAS a chaotic evil red dragon!
He would have to erase his presence from the resident’s minds and make them think that half of their apartment was being renovated… He looked at them. This was a job for telepathy spells and holodeck projectors!
(Residents) “Nooo! don’t eat us!”
(Raphael) “How silly; I would not eat you! Your absence would tip my location off! Now hold still while I rewrite your last week of memories!”
(Residents) “Aaaagh! Don’t eat my brain! DRAGON ZOMBIE FROM DIMENSION X!”
(Neighboring Voice I) “What’s all that yelling in there ! Shut up! There’s dragons outside, and they might come in here! You know what reds are like!”
(Neighboring Voice II) “Don’t talk like that about reds! They’re our rulers! You might bring in the secret police!”
(Neighboring Voice I) “Oh come off it! Not even the Emperor can expect everyone to be happy! He’s Chaotic Evil for the love of the twelve gods!”
Philsantias sighed, and cast his spell. Humans! Hysterical over the least little thing!
(Neighboring Voice II) “Yeah, but Ailill is WAY worse than the Emperor! If you don’t ACT happy, he tweaks your brain until you are!”
(Residents) “AAAAAAAAA… why is my throat sore? My cereal tastes like plaster… Why are our feet tied together?”
(Neighboring Voice I) “That’s better! We dont’ need all that fucking screaming!!”
Philsantias sent them to sleep and did a quick wipe on their last minute or so of memories – and threw in a patch about just having gotten up before throwing up a pocket dimension so that he could get out of sight and stretch his wings a little – all while carefully hiding the mystic signatures.
As he was starting to wipe up the traces, he heard a small group coming down the hall.
Freeze it! Now what? Secret police?
Drat it! And a swarm of Unseen Servants to get the mess out of sight!
Meanwhile, a red dragon had landed on the roof – and, from the scraping sounds, was coming down the side of the building to look into the apartment windows…
There was knocking on the door.
(Neighbors Voice III, accompanied by assorted arguing kids) “Hey, Kargath! You’ve had that holovid for a month now! Give it back, for gods’ sake!”
There was a crashing sound two levels above, as a window gave way, and a female human voice screamed something about “Not the baby! For the love of the twelve, don’t eat my baby!”
Still, his Unseen Servants were cleaning up swiftly! They might make it in time!
Philsantias was – most hurriedly – slipping into his pocket dimensions as the Unseen Servants finished up, taking a frantic last look around for anything that would reveal his presence…
(Neighbors Voice IV) “Damn it. Hergethos, break down the door. That was a collector’s item!”
As someone started banging on the door, a red dragonslave stuck it’s head in through the window…
Philsantias just barely managed to pull entirely into his pocket dimension in time, thanks to his temporal warping.
Then he felt a pang of guilt. Blasted conscience! The baby – and the various apartment-block residents wouldn’t be in any danger if he hadn’t used the place as an observation post.
Meanwhile, the group of four reds had stuck their heads into the apartment through various windows and had begun searching the place. They weren’t ransacking it – yet, but it would make it hard to leave.
Worse, they seemed to have a variety of magical boosts to their already-impressive sensory abilities running – and were using detection magic and thought-sensing amulets on the terrified apartment residents.
Fortunately, few spells were as effective at making a normal apartment-dwellers mind go blank as being confronted with multiple angry dragons.
Freeze it! He’d like to save the baby – but fighting a group of dragons, each almost as powerful as he was, in a crowded appartment building was not likely to save the baby… or leave very many other people alive.
Sartheri – the Thrall in the security detachment – frowned… If there was magic about it was well hidden – beyond his divinatory skills to discover – but his technological sensors said that there were plenty of traces of a dragon about! Small things of course – but a trace of DNA here, a bit of scale-edge embedded in one of the occupants shoes, and a few other bits were quite enough… A young male silver – and one skilled enough in several fields of magic to wipe out the occupants memories of his presence with some (very recent!) memory-patching.
One skilled enough that he might actually trouble Lord Ailill! Catching a minor intruder, and getting him to the cells to await Ailill’s pleasure, had just jumped a long way up the priority scale!
Meanwhile, Philsantias was working up some more magic… Adding “transdimensional” to a construct-spell would make it really hard to trace – and he could add some nice flovor to the ectoplasm to make it taste better than babies. A cheesy little psychic construct wasn’t going to stop even a young dragon – but it might be able to annoy it into eating it instead.
That might reveal his presence, but it looked like the leader there was pretty that there was a target around somewhere anyway.
It was certainly a distraction…
Fortunately, the security patrol wasn’t actually eating the baby – after all, it was one of Lord Ailill’s tenants/properties too – although the mother had fainted when an annoyed young dragon stuck it’s head in the window, opened it’s mouth, and snarled at her to “SHUT UP YOU IDIOT!”
The sudden appearance of a tasty snack diverted it nicely though! It had been thinking about accepting its later punishment and eating the mother AND the baby, just out of pique!
(Siobhian) “Something weird’s going on here, guys! Keep scanning! Master Ailill will want to take his trophies if it’s another dragon!”
Gah! How dedicated were these pests? Ailill might really have something! Slave-adolescents out on patrol looking for more dragons who were out to challenge their master were rarely quite so… dedicated! In fact, most of them were pretty resentful!
(Ranleth, the one in charge, puffed up his chest.) “If anybody is in here, come on out! You’re only putting off your enslavement at Master Ailill’s claws!”
Ranleth had been a son of the previous Emperor before said Emperor had been overthrown by that blasted squirrel and his equally weird friends. It had been quite a comedown for all the youngsters in the imperial household when the new Emperor had ordered them all disposed of as slaves – but it hadn’t really been unexpected. That’s why so many of them had made attempts to flee as soon as the news came in – and had run into the secret police, and been restrained. He still remembered how to act as if he was important though!
Philsantias was busy making a large dragon shaped construct using creation magic to make a body out of white colored water, using imbuement to hold it together and make it move, adding in invisibility, and sending it out to run for the hills on the Ethereal plane…
It took a little while.
The slaves were still looking around though.
(Hergethos) “Hey, I see him! After him!”
Philsantias sent out a blue dragon construct in the opposite direction a few moments after the patrol had left chasing his first construct. This time he left it far more visible, so that people could point out where it had gone.
Sartheri, however, had concealed himself with his own magics rather than pursue. The silver was clever! It might – in fact, it probably was – just a decoy!
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