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The Case For A Female Detective Short Story
The Case Continues
Welcome to the first short story for my fantasy detectives Emerald Jones, admittedly the dragon world’s worst detective and a bumbling klutz who’s ineptitude has already killed multiple partners and her partner, the adventurous scholar Zinfandel. Obviously this isn’t the most serious fantasy story you will ever read but hopefully you’ll enjoy seeing our detectives in action.
We come into the tale with the partners having finally found an actual clue. Can the sleuthing pair find out whodunit, or will Ziffy end up roasted alive or meet some other dreadful fate? If you haven’t seen the first adventures of Em and Ziffy you can find them here.
As always, all writing and photography are my original work. The video below is included for enhancing your reading pleasure only. If you own the copyright and want additional credit and links or something removed please let me know. Honestly the amazing artwork and music was spot on for Em and Ziffy’s relationship.
This Tale's Musical Accompaniment
To The Cottage!
Emerald and I had recently found our first clue in our first case together. A white iridescent scale that was a first for both of us as she was the worst dragon detective ever by her own admission. But as we approached a rustic cottage, Emerald walking by my side I could feel her excitement. “So you’re telling me some dragons like the one who left this scale live with humans, Em?” I asked and she nodded.
“We all come out different colors, Ziffy. You can get a rainbow in a single nest. But scales like that iridescent one are pretty rare. You notice my scales don’t gleam, no dragon’s do, it would be impossible for us to hunt. So you could say it’s likely some dragons depend on humans.”
I nodded. I’d become her partner to learn more about dragons and was learning more about myself and other humans to be honest. Scholars like me were fascinated by them, mages wanted their scales and various other parts and farmers hated them, though the number of actual dragons who poached livestock was rare.
Usually our two species lived side by side, ignoring one another. Dragons, after all, didn’t actually collect treasure, though they could be territorial especially at nesting season and where young were involved. We came to the door and I knocked politely. The door was opened by a crone dressed in a black robe who looked at us both and then laughed in delight. “Emerald Jones!” You found a partner at last!” She said, hugging Emerald.
I raised a brow to this as Emerald gently wrapped a wing around her. “Erm, yes, yes I did, Aggie. We need to know if you’ve see a dragon with scales like this in the area?” Emerald said and I showed Aggie the scale. It glimmered in the light, throwing back a rainbow of colors. I watched her face and thought I saw recognition but she went on cheerily.
“Can’t say as I have, but dragons don’t always look like you expect them to. Come in, come in!” She enthused after hugging me as well. I wanted to point out that Emerald was bit too big to fit inside but somehow she managed, bumping head head on the top of the doorframe with a muttered curse in the process and I followed.
A Statue And A Discovery
Aggie put water on, promising us a refreshing tonic as she added herbs. She smiled at me as I seated myself at her rough table. “I always knew she’d find a partner, and you are such a lovely young thing.” Aggie said and it took a moment but it clicked when she went on. “How long have you two been a couple?”
“About a month.” I said, covering for Emerald and she smiled gratefully at me over Aggie’s shoulder. “I’ve never met another dragon like her, she’s a keeper.” I said and it was true. Some dragons had ignored me as her partner as we followed our leads, one had nipped at me and one had asked, politely enough, to eat me.
Aggie nodded. “It’s a big thing to some people, but I say love is love. My Onyx Black was a dragon herself.” She said, then brought down a small carved figure. It was made of onyx I guessed and very intricate in detail. Holding it I could see why she’d loved Onyx so much. There was just something about her.
“She was very beautiful.” I said and Aggie smiled at me as I handed the statue back.
“She was. She passed, trying for a clutch. I told her it was impossible for two females but-” She smiled fondly at the memory of her beloved partner. “She was always a stubborn one, determined to do right by me and prove females didn’t need males.” She laughed and shook her head then saw to tonic for all of us.
As she did I looked at Emerald. My partner had changed over the past month. The small dragon had gone from a light forest green with a pale white belly to a dark emerald green with a vivid yellow underside. She caught me looking at her then seemed in a hurry to push the investigation forward.
“Aggie, we were wondering, you make tonics, what possible use would a dragon have for the shells of dragon eggs?” Em asked as we sipped our tonic.
“That’s easy.” She said after a long draught. “Immortality potion. You be looking for an old timer, determined to hang on and build up their magic and keep on studying forever. The legend has it that a thousand dragon eggshells when mixed with a few other things will make a dragon immortal, but there’s a downside.”
“Which is?” Emerald asked. Aggie got up to get a leather bound book and brought it over to the table, flipping through it to find an old entry.
“Here.” She stabbed the page. We looked over her shoulder and both gasped. If the potion worked the dragon would remain immortal, but there was a terrible cost. They would become highly territorial and ever hungry for more power, which would lead to them hunting their own kind to suck out their life essences.
“Basically you’ll have a dragon trapped between life and death, the potion will nearly kill them. Indeed their body will die, but the soul will remain in a container, hence needing so many dragon shells. Some for the potion some to power the phylactery. ” Aggie explained. “And what rises up will really no longer be a dragon exactly.”
“You mean it will be a lich?” I asked and she nodded. I sighed. This case just kept getting better and better.
A Dragon Of A Different Color
There was something bothering me as we bedded down for the night in the forest after visiting several mated dragon pairs to see if they’d noticed a white dragon in the area. They’d all looked at us strangely and clammed up. “Em, did you ever meet Onyx?” I asked as I curled sleepily into her side.
“No, come to think of it and I’ve known Aggie a long time. She is over eight centuries old though, why?”
“The statue had a fleck of white paint on it. Like it had originally been painted white.”
“I see. But why lie to us?”
“She recognized the scale, I know she did.”
“But Onyx passed, she told us that.” Em said sleepily. “I know you’re excited to be on a case but I don’t suspect Aggie would lie to us for an instant. You’ll see I’m right in the morning.” She promised but I wasn’t sure I would.
Nightmares and Dragons
That night my dreams were terrible. We were in a castle where the white dragon had holed itself up. We’d arrived too late and the lich had arisen, terrible to behold. As white as it was from the disease that had made it so, it was extremely gaunt now and it’s skin was moulded to its bones.
Neither of us stood a chance against the powerful mage and I watched helplessly as it advanced on Emerald. Em fought bravely, slashing with her teeth and raking with her claws, but the lich seemed to not even feel her attack. Instead it opened its jaws and Em struggled as her lifeforce flowed from her into the lich.
And as she’d slumped lifeless to the ground the lich had turned it’s attention to me. I woke up screaming, and Emerald was instantly awake and soothing me. She listened attentively as I described having traveled in my dream from where we were to a distant castle. “Then that’s where we go.” She said. “But I don’t plan on dying there, Ziffy, and neither are you. You were sent a dream to scare us off, but we’re too brave and smart for that.”
“Is this your "We’re women so we have to dig deeper, be braver and fight harder." speech?” I asked and she nodded.
“Yes, yes it is. You remember that. Being women means it will be twice as tough on us, but we can do it. This lich made a mistake you know.”
“Leaving the scale?” I asked sleepily as she wrapped her wing around me.
“No, she threatened my partner and best friend.”
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Those two are adorable together but their adventures do need your help. If you’d like to see more of the daring pair please comment below or vote in the poll above. After all there’s a lich to find and defeat. And why did Em change to a snazzy new color scheme? Only time will tell. And please feel free to Pin, Facebook, Tweet or otherwise share their adventure.