The Case For A Female Detective 3
Welcome back to the ongoing adventures of Emerald and Zinfandel. In our last adventure the lady detectives had started out for a distant castle to find the dragon seeking to become a lich only to be attacked along the way. But the pair pulled through to continue on with their journey. Now things are really going to heat up as yon castle is their goal.
Will they find and defeat Onyx in time, or is it too late and will the lich defeat them both as Ziff’s nightmare predicted? And will we ever find out why Emerald has undergone her own transformation? Read on to find out in the conclusion to The Case For A Female Detective!
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When Is A Dragon Not A Dragon?
Knowing Onyx was the lich didn’t exactly fill me with cheer. I didn’t want to fight the mate of one of Emerald’s friends, though Emerald seemed puzzled as well. “What I still can’t get is why Aggie lied to us.” She said as we rose on the last morning of our journey, not far from the castle.
I shrugged. “She loves her, Em. She most likely knew it was Onyx all along. I think she’s torn between protecting the dragon she loves and saving her from becoming a lich.” I said and Em nodded, though she still looked upset. “I’d do the same for you. Maybe the are convinced Onyx will be the first lich to remain as she was. She had to be a good dragon or-” I trailed off and from the look on Emerald’s face the truth hit her at the same time.
“Ziffy,” She said quietly. “For Onyx to be alive I would have met her on my visits to Aggie. I swear up and down and sideways I never met her or even heard of her until our visit.” She looked miserable. “I don’t think there ever was an Aggie. I think we’ve been duped into giving Onyx the time she needs to complete her potion.”
We both looked at the distant castle and Emerald mumbled a frustrated curse. “How could I have been so stupid?” She asked. “Another dragon and she fooled me.”
“Maybe, maybe not.” I said slowly. “I feel like we’re missing something. The dragon I saw in my nightmare was a huge white dragon, she could have hardly fit in that cottage unless she was human at the time.”
“Or a statue.” Em said grimly.
To The Castle!
We still tried the castle, finding it empty. I sighed. We’d lost. “I’m so sorry, Em.” I said. “I should have recognized something was off.”
“How?” Emerald asked from under the window of the tower room where she’d slumped down in defeat.
“She saw my weakness. She knew I needed you. As soon as she called me your partner my brain shut down. Sorry.” Emerald looked at me. “I- From the moment I first saw you in the library, and on the path, I just knew you were the one.” I looked away, aware Em was still staring intently at me.
“Well, well.” She purred and batted her eyes at me. “You do know how to talk to a lady.” We both laughed then stood at the same time, and I could feel our excitement for the case returning. “Well, what are we waiting for?” Em asked, her eyes flashing. "We have a lich to stop!”
The Only Good Lich...
We decided to chance visiting the dragon guild to send us back as they were not far from the castle and the elder looking at me smiled kindly. “Off on an adventure, are we? I remember my days as a detective.” He said wistfully.
“Then would you come with us?” Emerald asked and he looked pleased with himself and with a nod he’d gathered us close and teleported us to near her cottage. Sure enough smoke no color known to dragon or man was pouring out of the chimney.
I stared at the cottage uneasily. “Why does that cottage suddenly look like it has a face?” I asked and as Aggie stepped outside I got my answer. The cottage shifted to a white dragon, and from her cadaverous appearance I knew we were already too late.
Aggie came towards us. “Please! She’s still my Onyx! She doesn’t want to hurt anyone!”
Onyx came to loom over her protectively. “I have no wish to fight you. It’s why I sent you away. When I got ill we knew I didn’t have much time. With just a little more time I was certain I’d prefect the spell to have a clutch of our own. No males needed. I wanted to have my mate’s offspring.”
I felt my heart melt but was still wary. “So you became a lich to buy yourself time?” I asked and she nodded. “What about the part about needing to feed on other dragons?”
“Stuff and nonsense. I figured you’d protect your partner and mate. We thought if we frightened you you’d turn the case over to the council and nothing would be done about it. We both knew from Emerald’s coloring she’d chosen you.”
“That is news.” I said looking at Em who blushed.
The elder with us tilted his head thoughtfully. “You’ve committed no actual crime as stealing the eggshells I wager you couldn’t beg doesn’t count among dragons, though becoming a lich...” He trailed off and shrugged helplessly. “You’re one of the undead now, Onyx. We simply would not know what to do with you. It would be a pity if these detectives failed to catch you in time.”
Onyx smile gratefully then she and Aggie simply vanished.
A New Beginning?
The elder looked at us. “I really shouldn’t have done that. They’ll sack me if they ever find out. Still, they have too many rules and regulations. I don’t suppose you ladies would like a partner, perhaps form our own agency?”
“We’d be a thorn in the concil’s side.” Emerald pointed out happily.
“They already dislike us, Em. We’d just be a bigger thorn.” I said and she snorted happily. “All right, an agency it is.” I said and it was so.
A Happy Ending
We got set up in my library, and ideal place for a detective agency if there ever was one. Cobalt, as the former elder was known, enjoyed working there, and the people we helped through the library kept us in food and needful things. But we also had cases, which generated more good things for us, though we’d refuse payment from the truly poor. In time our agency became known as the last hope of those turned away by human and dragon help alike and we became famous in our own right. But what we always loved most of all was going on cases. Never again did we have such a happy ending as with Onyx, who kept her end of the bargain and never harmed a soul, but we did have adventures. Though that is a story for another day.
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Originally there was going to be an epic battle, but a lich (the fantasy type) in essence, is a really studious mage who seeks immortality to gain further time to study. Although traditionally seen as evil in the sword and sorcery genre, most, strictly speaking become liches so the earthly shell no longer gets in the way of magical research. So I wondered if they’d all be temperamental corpses who attacked anything that moved, or could one or two be buying more time to study, and not always with evil ends in mind?
In Onxy’s case she retained her goodness because her intent was pure from the start. Already a powerful mage she needed to buy herself more time to try for that clutch of eggs. Her story was really one of love and devotion and wanting to give everything she could to Aggie. Aggie, in turn, protected the dragon she loved because she saw it as the right thing to do.
Hopefully you enjoyed this and if you have any comments or questions I’d love to hear from you!