Eagle City, Chapter 2

The next morning, Victor woke up, just as nude and even stickier than last night, brought back to the world of the living by the nigh-intoxicating scent of his girlfriend’s home-cooked bacon and eggs.    

“Mmm… “ Victor muttered, still half asleep, but nonetheless about ready to push himself out of bed to brush his teeth and take a quick shower before the feast to come.

Unfortunately, the initial euphoria of the scent of Julia’s cooking was swiftly drowned out in the ocean of sharp pains he’d obtained from his little escapade the previous night.

“Gah! Shit… shit…” he cursed, the dull throbbing of his injured forehead and sharp, stinging hangover working in tandem to make his morning as miserable as possible. Not to mention his whole body was sore from his little tumble onto the Red Oni.

“I left you those pain relievers on the nightstand, Vic!” Julia called up from the kitchen, apparently able to hear the man scrambling around and groaning in agony.

The human unfurled himself from the blankets before yanking the medicine off its place on the nightstand, looking at the small bottle as if it were the cure for cancer, “Praise fuckin’ be.”

Shitty fucking child-proof lid…” the human snarled, simply ripping the top off with brute force and quickly shaking 3 pills into his mouth, swallowing the bitter things the instant they fell on his tongue.

Victor breathed a sigh of relief as the pain assailing his body faded away yet again, now replaced by a dull soreness.

That’s the stuff…” he said, forcing the cap back onto the bottle and slamming it back onto the nightstand… but out of the corner of his eye, he noticed the framed photograph on the nightstand was shaken from the impact and was about to fall.

Swiftly lashing out his hand and managing to catch the picture before it fell and the frame cracked, he breathed yet another sigh of relief. Placing it back upright where it belonged, Victor took a good look at it once again. How long okay was that taken…?

He’d had to figure around middle school, or a little before then. He looked around 13, and his nose was still nice and straight. Julia looked younger and far more petite as well… if he was about 13, she’d have to be 16 or so.

“Yeah, this was taken a year after we first met, I think.” Victor muttered to himself, tearing his attention away from the photo and returning to the task at hand. Breakfast… but first, he needed to shower and brush his teeth.

Of course, he liked to do both of those at once. Saved both time and water. And a nice shave wouldn’t hurt. Julia preferred his cheeks as smooth as possible, although he didn’t give a damn about whether or not he had any scruff.

“Victor? You alright up there? Your breakfast is getting cold!”

Snapping back to reality, Victor twisted the faucet and stymied the flow of the hot water cascading down his body, having washed and brushed. A little scruff wouldn’t kill him.

Quickly rubbing himself dry with a towel, the damp human quickly slapped on his casual attire- a pair of black sweatpants and a plain white t-shirt. He never did have much of an eye for fashion.

Stumbling out of his of his room, he took a good, hard look at the stair’s banister, thinking about making his usual entrance on it… sitting down on the thing, sliding down, then rolling off the ground and launching himself into the kitchen.

“Vic, please don’t try to do that little banister stunt again!”

“Alright, Julia…” he called back, the slowly hobbling down the stairs, his body still numb.

Julia had already taken a seat at the dinner table, her left tentacle nibbling at the eggs and bacon on her plate while her right was gingerly sipping on a cup of coffee.

“Sup, Lefty?” Victor asked the left tentacle, gently guiding it away from its eggs and giving it a quick peck on its lips.”

“Victor, you know my tentacles aren’t sentient, right?” Julia asked, taking another sip of her coffee without looking up from her newspaper.

“Of course I do. But I just wanna make Righty jealous.” Victor said, and Julia wasn’t sure if he was being sarcastic or not. It was hard to tell most of the time.

“Who the flying fuckin’ fish sticks is that, this early in the morning?”

“It;s probably Mr. Porter. He did say he was going to pay us back for helping him.” Julia suggested, both she and her tendril mouths looking up towards the red-headed human.

“Really? Didn’t think the butterball had it in him.” Victor sighed, pacing towards the door. He really didn’t wanna have to deal with the fat man’s incessant congratulations… but the money? He’d take that, easy.

Swinging open the door, it was indeed the pudgy businessman that he and Julia saved last night.

“Hey, Mr. Porker. Sup? C’mon in.” Victor invited the man in with a smile, although that was probably more a smile of greed than happiness at seeing a new friend.

“I-it’s uh… it’s Porter, Victor. Mr. Porter.”

“Tomato, potato, pot-a-toes. Whatever. So, ya here to give us our reward, er…?”

Ah. Yes, of course… here you are.”

Reaching into his pocket, Porter pulled out a fat wad of bills, rolled up and held together with a rubber band. With a grateful smile, the pudgy man gingerly handed the cash over to Victor.

That’s a lot of money…” Julia said, waltzing up behind victor and taking the final sip of her coffee.

Well, let’s just see about that.” Victor said, ripping off the rubber band and unrolling the dosh. While Victor wasn’t exactly a mathematician, he knew how to handle his money well. As soon as the cash was flattened out in his hand, he noticed two things. One, there was about a hundred bills in his hands. The second was that it was topped with a hundred dollar bill, the stern, yet caring face of former President Luna the Mermaid printed on the front.

An ugly sneer soon found it’s way on Victor’s face. He began flipping through the bills, but put more of his attention on Mr. Porter.

“Oh, real nice, buddy. Like I haven’t seen this shitty trick five gajillion times. Put a hundred on top, then just stack a bunch of ones below to make it loo-l-l-l-l-l- HOLY FUCK TAKE A LOOK AT THIS JULIA!”

Each and every one of the hundred bills had President Luna on them- in other words, Porter had just given them around 10,000 dollars in physical cash.

A bead of sweat dropped form Julia’s forehead, quite overwhelmed at the reward before her, “M-Mr. Porter, I appreciate the offer, but… 10,000 dollars? In cash? This is ridiculous. We couldn’t possibly accept all this.”

Despite the young dragon’s protests, Porter pressed onward, “No, young lady, I insist. You and your friend here saved my life last night; 10,000 is an underpayment if anything.”

“E-even so, are you that rich? Just to able to give this kinda money away?”

Hehehe… not right now, but I’m a shoe-in for that promotion I worked overtime for. Pretty soon, 10,000 will be chump change compared to my yearly salary.”

Grabbing the portly man under his armpits, Victor lifted him up into the air and began spinning him around and around, his joy superseding his pain-racked body. After spinning the businessman around, Vic gave him several kisses on each cheek, “THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!”

“You’re…. urhm… welcome?”

With Porter gone once again, Victor and Julia resumed their breakfast, neither of their eyes breaking contact with the massive amount of money in the middle of their table.

“This is unbelievable, Victor… this could be a huge jumpstart in paying for our house.”

“Yeah, and until we can find some work, we could use half of it for food and bills and all that other boring shit.” Victor almost giggled ecstatically. Honestly, he had trouble believing his own luck sometimes… despite all the shit he had dug through and will probably still have to, he couldn’t deny Lady Luck tossed him a fat, juicy bone every now and again.

“Oh, you’re just happy now that we won’t have to dig into your savings.” Julia playfully teased.

“That’s definitely a plus…” muttered Victor as he shoveled some more eggs into his mouth.

“Victor… you realize we’ll still have to get jobs, right?”

With a small disgruntled mumble, Vic swallowed his mouthful of egg and answered, “Of course I do! Jeez. I’m not some deadbeat, Jules.”

“But there’s the problem… this crime-ridden hellhole barely has any jobs.” the downtrodden Julia sighed, taking the final sip of her coffee with her true mouth.

Perhaps they were too eager to get away from their families. They didn’t have enough money to move out of the city, but the cramped apartment they were planning to move into uptown would cost almost 5 times the rent money in a single year as the modest house they just purchased.

They both worked various odd jobs throughout their lives, but the meager salaries weren’t just cutting it anymore. Victor would sooner eat his own kneecaps then move in with his parents or ask them for money, and Julia’s own family was out of the question as well.

Victor was used to the grime of the city, it molded him into the man he was. So moving to their current abode was no problem for him. And while Julia had a very affluent upbringing, she was a tough girl, probably even tougher than him.

But the lack of career opportunities never crossed either of their minds before the move. They needed money, then secure jobs, then a place to settle down.

Damnit… we just earned 10,000 fuckin’ dollars from saving that tubby guy last night… if only we could do that for a- hold on a cotton-pickin’ second!’

“Wait, Julia… I have an awesome idea!”

“Victor, I’ve told you 1000 times, you can’t just take a picture of a lightbulb for an infinite flashlight.”

“No, even though that could totally work one day! We can be mercenaries!”

Julia nearly dropped her empty mug when she heard that, “What?”

“You know, just take on dangerous jobs that require some muscle. Collect bounties, work as bodyguards, that kinda thing. I mean… we made 10,000 dollars from saving that businessman’s life! Think about it. You said yourself this city is crime-ridden. Where there’s crime, there’re people in need. In need of folks who know how to knock some sense into people!”

Biting her lower lip, Julia shook her head back and forth, “Victor… I don’t want that kind of life for us. I don’t want to have to fight and kill to just to pay the bills…”

“It doesn’t have to be forever. We’ll just do it for 2 or 3 years before we can save up some serious money. Then we can move outta this dump somewhere nice, and you can go to med school. You’ve always wanted to be a doctor, haven’t you? Shit, you’re so used to patching me up you’re probably already half way there.”

Julia couldn’t help but laugh at the grim joke, even as it brought back horrid memories of the grievous wounds Victor had suffered in his life.

“It’ll be dangerous…”

“I know. That’s why I’m asking you to help me out. I can’t do it all on my own.”

“Oh, Victor…” Julia muttered, standing him up and pulling him up for a hug.

“Alright, it’s decided. From this forward, you and I are mercs!”

Four days after Julia and Victor’s decision, their wounds had healed up, and Julia had done some digging in the meantime. She had discovered a certain business that would able to help them out…

And so the dragon lead the redhead across a cracked and weed-infested sidewalk at the border of the crumbling downtown and comparatively affluent midtown. Many teenagers journeyed here to ‘get a taste of the real city life.’ It made Victor want to vomit whenever he crossed the path of one, no doubt hammered with a group of buddies.

The clouds that hung over the city for the past few days had retreated, paving the way for clear night, the bright crimson moon casting its rays across the city.

Walking down the illuminated road, Vic and Julia eventually reached a moderately sized building wedged between a larger grocer and a humble little tattoo parlor.

“’Sunken Skull’, huh? Sounds pleasant.” Victor chuckled, taking a good look at the purple neon sign, the cursive letters sitting next to a cartoonish skull lit up with the same neon glow. Loud dance music blared from within.

“Yeah, well, you’re the one who wanted to be a mercenary. This is the only place in town I could find that we could pick up some jobs that didn’t involve helping scumbags who sling drugs to kids or becoming assassins who kill people that don’t deserve it.”

“Well, the world doesn’t have a shortage of scumbags that deserve a bullet to the brain, that’s for sure.”

“That’s a pretty cynical world view, Victor. Besides, I’m sure a lot of people would file you under ‘scumbag that deserves a bullet to the brain’.”

“Pssh, not if they got to know me. I’m a pretty swell guy, in my humble opinion.”

Vic hopped over a broken beer bottle in his path, causing the machete that hung at his side to smack against his hip. While it still showed clear signs of age, he’d polished and sharpened it with great gusto, reviving it to a usable state.

“Ah, so that’s what you needed that whetstone and rust remover for. Did you get that machete from the gun shop you visited yesterday?”

While Julia was off looking for work, Victor was getting prepared for whatever mission would come their way. After all, he wasn’t a stupidly strong dragon girl like Julia, so he would need a few… tools of the trade.

“Sure did! Got it for a steal, too.” Victor revealed with a wide grin, obviously quite proud of himself.

‘The Blazing Bullet’, was what the gun store was called. But it wasn’t just firearms that lined its walls. Blades of all shapes and sizes, a medley of blunt weapons, and even a few explosives were proudly put on display.

Behind the glass countertop of the front desk, which showed off a collection of combat knives and handguns, there sat a dwarven woman atop a wooden stool.

As one could guess, the dwarf was a rather diminutive woman. Despite that, she had a certain maturity to her… aided by the fact she was currently gnawing on a cigarette. She also wore a tiny ragged pair of jeans and a t-shirt, both covered in various greases and oils.

“How’s it goin’, hot stuff?” the dwarf asked, leaning against the counter top and staring up at the young man, “Can I help ya?”

“What can I get… for 20 bucks?” Victor responded, reaching into his pocket and yanking out a crisp 20 dollar bill with the first slime president, and her famous goofy grin, proudly printed on the front.

The dwarf woman shrugged, reaching under her countertop and pulling out a dull, slightly rusted machete, “You can have this old thing…. and I’ll even throw in a free bullet of your choice.”

“DEAL!” Victor excitedly exclaimed, slamming the 20 dollar bill onto the dwarf’s counter before snatching up the machete and the single shot of ammo and running excitedly out of the store.

“…wait, you only had 20 bucks? I thought you said you were taking half of your savings to stock up on a gun or two and as much ammo as you could.”

I did.”

“…but last time I checked, you had close to a grand in your lockbox. What happened to the rest?”

“Oh, don’t worry about that. I just made a few… investments, is all. But after that, I only had around 40 bucks left.”

…I swear to all that’s unholy, Vic, what did you invest almost a grand into?”

…a celebrity dead pool.”

Julia’s eyes snapped open in shock, “Seriously, Victor? A fucking celebrity dead pool?!”

“Hey, don’t mock it. I have a good sense of whatever celeb is going to dirt nap next. Don’t you remember last time?”

Julia slapped her hand against her face, “The last celebrity that died was Samantha Silk. She was the retired musical artist and an Arachne. Who you guessed would die was NMBA star Suzy ‘Dunkin’ Dullahana’ Shepherd.”

“Ah!” Victor exclaimed, “But they’re both blonde and both their first and last names start with an ‘S’. So I was onto something, wasn’t I? Trust me, Jules. Mary Baldwin isn’t long for this world.”

“Vic, I know Houlstaurs aren’t the strongest of mamono, but still… Mary’s a famous actor in the prime of her life. What possibly makes you think her out of all celebrities would die?”

“My gut.” Victor said, poking himself in the stomach, “I know all my other predictions were off, but trust me… this one has gotta be right.”

“Ah, crap… I just hope you at least split up the money on multiple bets so there’s at least a small chance you might get some money back…”

“Pfft! What kinda pussy shit is that? If I put all my eggs in a single basket, I won’t have to lug around a bunch of worthless extra baskets and get home to make omelet even faster.”

“Victor… you know I love you, and nothing could ever change that… but holy shit, you can be the stupidest motherfucker on the face of the planet sometimes.”

“Well, I can’t argue with that.” Victor said, he and his dragon girlfriend finally reaching the Sunken Skull, standing outside the club to finish their conversation.

“I-I’m sorry, Vic. You know I didn’t mean that… you’re not an idiot. You just never think before acting!!”

“Sure, whatever Jules.” Victor sighed, folding his arms over his chest and breaking away from her gaze, “Let’s just head inside, alright?”

Pushing open the door to the Sunken Skull, Victor wasn’t sure what he expected… he always saw the roughneck bars where grizzled mamono hung out in movies, but he didn’t know what to expect with a club.

But… it looked just like any other club. A  disco ball rotated endlessly around and around overhead, lighting up the dance floor and it’s patrons with a melody of colors. It was filled with a multitude of men and mamono, some together, some mamono with other mamono, some men with multiple mamono and some manono with multiple men.

Never being one with a large attention span, it all blended into a large mass of sweat, flesh and pheromones writhing about in the smokey darkness. Could he handle bloody street fights and being beaten to the brink of death? Yes. Large crowds? No.

“Come on, Victor. The girl we’re looking for is at the bar over there.” Julia told him, pointing through the mass of writhing flesh to a bar at the other end of the dance floor.

“Gah… fine. If it’s the only way…”

Vic pushed forward, cutting through the dance floor. He nearly slipped on a slime girl, barely dodged an orc swinging around her boyfriend in a mad dance, and bumped into an Elf and Vampire locked in a sloppy kiss, just to name a few of his mishaps. Victor got enough dirty looks in that short minuet to last him a lifetime.

But somehow, he and Julia made it through.

A Kraken stood behind the bar, her arms folded across her generous chest as she busily washed glasses and served up booze to her patrons. Like any other Kraken, she had pale white skin that turned a dark violet at the tentacles. However, unlike most, her hair was curly jet-black, which she kept cut shoulder-length and tied back into a ponytail.

As they approached the bar, she cast her violet eyes towards them. Walking up the small set of stairs to the bar, Victor couldn’t help but noticed the jewel-encrusted scimitar hanging behind her.

“Hows it going?” she greeted the couple, an accent Victor recognized from the land of Eire, a frigid place with fine drink and spirited people with fair skin and fiery hair. Victor’s grandfather was a native, if he remembered correctly.

“Name’s Geneva. And who would you happen to be?”

“I’m the girl you talked with yesterday, remember? Julia.” Julia reminded the bartender.

“No, I remember you, sweetheart.” the Kraken laughed, turning to the human accompanying her, “But I haven’t met your friend here…”

“Name’s Victor.” the human introduced himself, taking a seat at the bar, “ And I’ll take a scotch on the rocks, but you can go ahead and hold them rocks for me.”

Well, you’re certainly an… interesting character.” the Kraken giggled, quick at work pouring Victor just drink and presenting it to him.

“I’ll take that as a compliment. Usually do when people insinuate I’m retarded.” Victor sighed, downing his shot before slamming the empty glass back down on the table, “The alcohol helps numb the pain.”

“Well, isn’t that nice.” the Kraken giggled, taking his empty glass away with one of her many tentacles, “Say, Victor… let me take a gander at your eyes.”

“…alright, but I really see the point in… THAT!”

As he leaned over to the Kraken, she grabbed him by the chin with her human hands, pulling him closer. Using two of her tentacles, she slapped them on Vic’s face and spread his right eye wide open, his pupil on clear display.

“Hey! Get your filthy hands off him you skank!” Julia snapped at Geneva, stomping forward. But the Kraken held up one of her tentacles to Julia’s chest, keeping her at bay.

“Calm down, sweetheart. I’m not going to hurt him, I’m just checking something.”

“I could’ve used a little warning…” Victor muttered, trying not to flinch under the Kraken’s stare.

Seeming to be dissatisfied with his eye, Geneva pulled her tentacles off his face, “Hmph… I see. You’re not even close to becoming an Incubus, are you?”

“No, I guess I’m not.” Victor grunted, rubbing the fresh sucker prints planted on him, “Ya could’ve just asked…”

“My my. Even though you’re still just a puny little human, you’re still going to go fight big, scary mamono? That’s awfully brave…”

“Hey, give me some credit. Not to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty tough.” Victor claimed with a grin, jamming a thumb towards his own chest, “Besides, not every mamono’s crazy strong like you or Julia. When I’m armed, I’m certain I could handle a few on my own.”

“Maybe you could. Maybe you couldn’t.” Geneva said with a smirk, “Still, becoming an Incubus would help you out, wouldn’t it?”

“Look. I’d like to become an Incubus as much as the next guy, but it ain’t exactly like you can becoming one by drinking plenty of juice and doing lots of sit-ups. It’s pretty fuckin’ hard, I hear.”

“Of course it is. It takes a monumental amount of demon energy to turn even a single man to an Incubus… Isn’t that ironic? Now that the world’s covered in demonic energy, its harder than ever to become and Incubus.”

Victor blinked in surprise. Neither Julia or Geneva had said that. Someone new had joined the conversation. Taking a look to his right, he found a curvy woman in a skimpy black dress. Her skin was a light green, her long, wavy hair a deep shade of azure. She was a Wight, a powerful undead mamono.

“W-who are you?” Victor stuttered, shocked at the woman’s sudden intrusion. She defiantly wasn’t sitting down when he and Julia came in. Did she sneak over while they weren’t looking?

The Wight offered the stunned dragon and human a soft smile, “Ah, I’m sorry for butting in. It’s just that I’m far older than I look…. and I still remember back when human women started dying out. Incubi were everywhere. Nearly every man on the planet was one.”

Getting over the shock of her sudden appearance, Victor settled back into his seat, “Yeah? So what happened?”

“The opposite of what everyone expected.” the Wight sighed, “Instead of every man being born infused with demon energy, they started to grow a resistance to it. It started becoming harder and harder for men to become Incubi as the years went on. Nowadays, there’s only around 10000 Incubi out of the 3 billion human men on the planet, and that number will keep on shrinking.”

“So? Whats the big deal?” Julia asked, “It’s not like humans weren’t affected by the demon energy. They live longer lives and have greater potential to grow stronger than before the great war.”

“Maybe so, but the first Demon Lord’s original design for this world was one populated by monsters and Incubi.” the Wight responded, “Don’t you think its quite sad that after all the blood spilled for that goal, only half of her plan came to fruition?”

“When you put it like that…” Julia muttered, tapping the tips of her claws against the bar, “I guess it is kinda sad. But who are you anyway?”

The dragon turned back towards the undead, but just as quickly as she had appeared, she had vanished.

“W-what the fuck?! Where in the Goddess green earth did she go?!” Victor gasped in shock, running over and waving his arms around the empty space the Wight just recently sat, “We turned away for a split second and she just poofed out of existence! A warp spell would make some noise or light, wouldn’t it?!”

“Not to mention it would take more than that one second we looked away…” Julia added, just as perplexed as her boyfriend.

“Yeah, she does that a lot.” Geneva explained, “Quite the mystery, that one. She’s been coming here for about five years, and I still haven’t the foggiest clue of who she is… not even her name. She just drops in every few months, grabs a drink, sometimes takes a high-risk, high-pay job and vanishes when I blink.”

Julia raised a brow, “Five years, and you don’t even know her name? Haven’t you ever asked her?”

“Wouldn’t dream of it. Shes obviously a woman who keeps to herself. If she wanted me to know, she’d have told me.” the Kraken stated, “Besides, she’s a very generous tipper. Wouldn’t want to take even the slightest risk of driving her away, now would I?”

“Well, that’s all well and good, but we didn’t come here to learn about the weirdos who hand out around your club, we’re here to snag a job.”

“Ah, aren’t you eager?” the Kraken chuckled, running a tentacle across his cheek, “It’s kind of cute.”

A grimace now on her face, Julia pushed Vic away from the Kraken, standing between them, “I’ll take it from here, Victor.”

“My, my… are you his mother or something? I think the man is plenty old enough to talk to me on his own.”

Julia’s eyes narrowed at the aquatic bartender, “I don’t like your tone.”

“You don’t have to, sweetheart. I’m not your boss, I’m just the middleman.” with a chuckle, the Kraken lifted up a shot glass with one tentacle, a set of ice cubes in the second, and a bottle of whiskey in a third. Mixing the ingredients together, she held the glass up to Julia.

“Drink this, sweetheart. It’ll help calm your nerves.” 

Julia was not amused. Folding her arms over her chest, she continued to glower at the squid woman.

“It’s on the house?” she added with a small smirk.

Snatching the drink away and quickly downing it, Julia slammed the glass back against the bar, “Whatever. Just let me see about that bounty for the gangster you were talking about yesterday.”

The Kraken lifted up a small wanted poster, featuring a Grizzly mamono with a scared face and a mean frown.

“Her nicknames ‘The Gouger’. Don’t know how she got that little moniker, but I’m guessing it wasn’t from snuggling puppies.”

“What’s she wanted for?” Julia asked, studying the photo.

“She and her small gang have broken into nearly every pawnshop this side of town, stealing all the jewelry they could get their mitts on.”

“Hmm… but why only pawnshops and jewelry?” Julia pondered, folding her arms and tapping one finger against the opposite claw.

“Don’t know, don’t care. All we need to know is that shes worth 3000 dollars if you capture her alive.”

Victor seemed displeased at that, “Only 3000…? That’s a lot, but to go up against a whole gang…”

“I wouldn’t worry about that.” Geneva said, “I said her gang was small, but I meant small. Reports say it consists of about three or four other mamono, and not particularly tough ones. I’d bet good money they’d just scatter if you beat Gouger.”

“Alright! Our first mission.” Victor said, pleased once again.

Julia nodded towards him, “Let’s do it, Vic.”

It took them the entire night to find her, but the next day, Victor and Julia were snooping around near an abandoned box factory downtown. Apparently, this is where Gouger and her gang had set up shop.

“You sure she’s here?” Victor asked, crawling under the torn up fence, right behind his girlfriend.

“If that hobo we found wasn’t lying, there’s a good chance that this is the place. He did say that he saw a Grizzly and a few others hanging around here a few days ago, didn’t he?”

“He did, but to be fair, he looked like he took meth on a fairly regular basis.” Victor said, continuing to sneak around behind Julia through the dead grass outside the factory’s right wall, “Not exactly the paragon of trustworthiness.”

Peaking around the corner of the building, Julia turned back to Vic, “Come take a look at this.”

Taking a gander for himself, Victor caught sight of a Redcap mamono, looking rather bored and leaning against her oversized blade stuck into the ground.

“Looks like she’s guarding that back entrance.” Julia said, pointing to the door the Redcap blocked.

“Alright…” Victor said, taking out a handgun from its holster and a silencer from his back pocket, screwing them together, “She’s not just standing in front of the only entrance to this dump that isn’t boarded up for fun. I guess Gouger is here then.”

Taking aim at the Redcap, Julia quickly stopped him,“Wait, Victor, what the fuck do you think you’re doing?”

Fiddin‘ pop a cap in that Redcap.”

Pulling him back, Julia shot an angry look at her lover, “Victor, no! I told you to only use lethal force only when absolutely necessary.”

“Fine, jeez…” Victor muttered, unscrewing the silencer tucking the handgun back away, “So, what do you suggest we do, Jules? Redcaps are tougher than they look, and they’re quick little fuckers to boot. If that one’s on guard duty, she’d probably let all her friends know we’re here before we can beat her.”

“You’re right.” Julia agreed, “What we need to do is take her with one quick, quiet strike.”

“Yeah… alright, a Redcap might be able to dodge you in a fight, but if we lured her over here, you could take her out while she’s focused on the bait.” Victor muttered in thought.

“But what kinda bait would she bite…?” Julia wondered before her face turned red as she heard Victor unbuckle the belt holding his weapons and unzipping his jeans.

“This is a horrible idea, Victor…” Julia groaned, trying one more time to stop her mate from the insane stunt.

“A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do, Jules.” Victor grunted, continuing to ogle her chest as he stroked his cock to a full erection, “-and if that means I have to use my dick for espionage, so be it.”

“You’re trying to distract some random punk on guard duty with a boner. I wouldn’t exactly call that espionage.”

“Well… you can just sit behind that crate and watch the master of tactical stealth at work.”

Putting his hands to his mouth, Victor let out a loud wolf-whistle towards the Redcap, “Hey, sexy! Yeah, you! With the red cap!”

“Huh?” the Redcap grumbled, suddenly awoken from her daydreaming and whipping her head towards the intruder.

“Could you please come over here and help a fella out? I’ll make it worth your while~”

Most of the time, Victor’s erect cock standing tall and proud would fill Julia’s body with a lusty heat, but his cringe-worthy acting skills pretty much killed any eroticism the scene had.

Well, for her at least. The Redcap either hadn’t had a good fuck in quite awhile or a fetish for corny acting. Either way, she instantly took the bait.

Pushing off the large blade she was leaning against, she launched herself forward with speed that would make a gold-medalist Centaur envious.

“Whoa, calm down there for a second-”

Victor’s words fell upon deaf ears as the Redcap tackled him to the ground. After the rough landing, Vic raised his hands up in some vain attempt to get the Redcap to back off, the crazed mamono already rubbing her clothed slit up against his erection.

“U-uh, alright, I know I was coming on a little strong back there, but couldn’t we at least see a movie first…?”

“Oh, don’t be such a pussy tease! Now sit back and-”

A quick chop to the neck from Julia knocked the Redcap clean out, the tiny woman slumping over on Victor’s chest, a lusty, hungry grin still plastered on her face.

Kicking the Redcap off her boyfriend’s chest, Julia offered a helping claw to him, “Wow. That actually worked.”

“See? Not all of my ideas are that bad.” Victor said with a smile, placing his hands on his hips and turning towards the back door of the factory, “Now, let’s try to sneak in and… MMF!”

Suddenly feeling a warm, wet mouth take in his cock, Vic cried out in pleasure… well, he tried to. He was muffled by Julia’s claw before he could let it out.

“Calm down, Victor. You can’t go sneaking around with an erection, can you? And I can’t let you scream and give away our position.”

You could try to gimme a little warning, first.” the human muttered through the dragon’s claw, staring down at the tentacle slurping on his cock.

“Ah, but that’s no fun~”

His knees starting to buckle, Victor was quickly caught by Julia’s other claw wrapping around his waist. The dragon then quickly put her other tentacle to work, the odd thing licking and fondling his balls with its skilled tongue.

Victor didn’t know why Julia got like this. Every time they’d fuck, her personality would take a considerable shift. Sure, she kept her soft, caring, and motherly disposition when they made love, but when it came down to hard, dirty sex, she’d usually grab the Minotaur by the horns and take control… never to the point of BDSM or anything, but it was still a far cry from what he was used to dealing with day to day.

Victor’s thoughts were broken when as he felt a familiar swelling within his groin. Letting out a low groan, Julia kissed his earlobe and whispered, “Just let it out, Vic. We’re still on a mission here. We’ll have some more fun after we get paid~”

Following his girlfriend’s advice, the human gave a final thrust into her tentacle’s throat, blowing several sticky wads down its gullet.

Swallowing every last bit, the mouth popped off, giving his head one last hard suck to get out any remaining cum.

“Fuck…” Victor grunted as Julia released him, the human dropping to his knees after having his sensitive head sucked after such a hard, unexpected orgasm.

“S-sorry Vic. I don’t know what came over me…” Julia swiftly apologized, helping her lover back to his feet.

“You don’t have to apologize, Jules.” Victor sighed, quickly tucking away his saliva-covered cock. It wasn’t the most comfortable or sanitary course of action, but it was the only one he could really have taken.

Well, he could’ve wiped it off on the unconscious Redcap, but that was a line he wasn’t willing to cross. He’d blow her brains out, but wiping his cock on her unconscious body? He wasn’t a complete asshole.

“Let’s get moving.” Julia said, pointing to the now unguarded backdoor. Hastily strapping his pants and weapons back on, Victor nodded towards her and they made their way inside…

As expected, the factory was barren and desuetude, the assembly lines long since inactive and whatever boxes remained lay rotting in a giant pile in one corner.

But in the center of the room, three mamono sat around a table… well, a red-headed Kobold sat. The other two, a Giant Slug and a Centaur, lounged at the other empty spaces a chair would sit. All three looked to be playing some sort of card game and enjoying a cold beer.

“So, would you rather have to eat your own fingers or your own toes?” the Kobold said, her tail wagging behind her.

“Umm… I don’t have any toes.” the Giant Slug replied.

“Yeah, you idiot. You’re the only one with toes here.” added the huffy Centaur

The Kobold rolled her eyes, “Jeez, fine. Would you rather eat your fingers or your hooves?”

“What kinda question is that? Of course I’d rather eat my fingers. I’d break my teeth on my hooves.”

“Just tryin’ to make some conversation…” the Kobold muttered, taking a sip of her beer, “Don’t need to get so moody about it…”

“Alright, good news: they’re inept fuckin’ idiots.” Victor whispered to Julia. After sneaking in, the duo made their way to the second floor, which consisted only of walkways to survey the first floor below them.

The dragon nodded, “Yeah, and they all look pretty scrawny. I could take all three of them on, easy.”

“Then we just need to find The Gouger, right? If we beat her, the goobers down there will scatter.”

“You’re probably right. But let’s just keep our eyes open… there could be one or two more lurking around.”

“Like me?” a gruff voice from behind the duo snarled.

Both Julia and Victor jumped out of their skin, spinning around to get an eyeful of some woman made of iron. Victor grabbed the handle of his machete while Julia reared back her claws, but both were interrupted when the iron woman burst forward far faster than expected, the walkway shaking with each stomp.

Grabbing both Julia and Victor’s heads, she slammed them both together before tossing them off the second level, down to the ground floor below.

Having no time to right herself and float to the ground, Julia quickly grabbed hold of Victor, wrapping her wings around him to act as a shield. The dragon crashed into the table where the three mamono were seated, breaking the wooden structure and sending a rain of beer and cards into the air.

“EEK!” the rather meek Giant Slug screeched, slithering backward.

The Centaur and Kobold had similar reactions, grabbing hold of each other and letting out an ear-splitting shriek of shock.

“Oh, calm down, you bunch of sissies.” the metal woman said, jumping from the second floor and crashing like a meteor to the first, leaving a small crater in her wake.

“B-Boss!” the trio of mamono all stuttered at once, quickly shuffling out of her way.

Unfurling her wings and spilling the beer and soggy cards gathered atop her, Victor picked himself up and offered a helping hand to Julia, who quickly accepted it. Pulling her up from the broken table, they both turned and squared off against the boss. Victor’s wound from his latest barfight had opened back up a bit, but besides that, both of them were fine.

She was even taller than Julia, and if that armor wasn’t a size too large, even more muscular. And Victor was fairly certain she could literally split him in half from the waist with those armored thighs.

“So, if you’re the boss…” Julia began, “…then that must make you The Gouger, huh?”

“That’s right.” she chortled through her iron mask. The woman wasn’t some metal golem after all… she was a Grizzly in a custom suit of armor… which wasn’t that much better, all things considered. Its dark-gray metal looked thick and heavy, covering the entirety of her body. The only openings were two small eye-holes and a series of even smaller ones around her mouth, giving her air to breath.

“The Gouger, huh? Ooooh, that names pretty edgy, lady. How’d you get it? Did you steal it from a metal band from 30 years ago?” Victor taunted.

“No, it’s cuz I gouged some bitch’s womb out after she tried to cheat me outta fifty bucks.”

Victor blinked, that not being quite the answer he expected, “Oh. Well… uh… that’s nice.”

“You dumbasses… I caught word some human and Jabberwock were snooping around to find me.”

Julia looked surprised at this, but kept her angry glare fixed on the Grizzly, “So you were expecting us all along, huh?”

“That’s right… now I’m going to beat your brains in,” she growled from behind her cold, iron mask towards Julia, “And then take that little cutie of yours for myself~”

“Oh yeah?” Victor smirked, grabbing the hilt of his machete, “I’d like to see you try!”

Looking back, the Grizzly pointed to a large, raised platform, extending half way to the second floor, “Let’s take it over there.”

“Why? Because a tight space with no little room to dodge for us would ideal for you to fight in?” Julia said, quickly seeing through her ploy.

“Psh. Aren’t you a little smarty? Fine then. It’s either the platform, or you can fight down here where there’s plenty of room to dodge… for you and my crew.” she motioned back to her gang, who indeed defiantly weren’t that tough-looking, but could surely provide crucial backup for Gouger.

“Alright, fine.” Julia sighed, “Platform it is.”

Now finding themselves facing off against the armored Grizzly atop a raised platform, Victor and Julia shifted into fighting stances, the gang standing some few yards away from the battle and jeering up at the human and dragon that dared challenge their boss.

“Hey, you. Human.” Gouger snarled at Victor, “You sure you wanna fight me? You’re not going to last very long. If you were smart, you’d sit back and let your girlfriend handle this.”

“That right?” Victor grinned, “Well, I’m not very smart.”

Bursting forward, Victor lashed out with a mighty roundhouse kick… but when the attack connected, all it accomplished was send a wave of agony rolling throughout Victor’s leg.

“Shit, shit, shit…” Victor cursed in pain, hobbling backward on one leg while he grabbed his other one, which nearly broke upon kicking the armored armor of the bear mamono.

“You certainly aren’t.” the Grizzly chuckled… but her laughter quickly ceased when Julia appeared in front of her, lashing out her tail and knocking Gouger for a loop.

Quickly catching herself, Julia and the Gouger began trading blows, the Jabberwock’s fists flying far faster, but the Grizzly’s landing with far more power. But due to the Grizzly’s armor, she was taking practically no damage.

The dragon and armored bear continued to exchange rapid, powerful punches with each other for a few more seconds, but in the end, Gouger came on top, breaking through Julia’s defenses and landing a powerful gut shot, sending her skidding backward.

“Fuck.” Julia spat, grabbing at the fresh bruise on her stomach.

“I’m not through with you yet!” the Grizzly snarled, rushing forward with a claw reared back.

“Stay away from her!” Victor intervened, bursting towards the armored Grizzly with his machete drawn. Despite his brave attack, he was easily swatted to the side by Gouger, landing roughly on his back.

“Just stay down, cutie. It’ll be easier on everyone.”

“Alright, fuck this.” Victor grunted, flipping to his feet. Slinging his machete back into its sheath, he used his opposite hand to pull out his handgun. Aiming it towards the Grizzly, he smirked at her before placing his hand over the trigger and pulling the hammer back, “EAT LEAD, BITCH!”

Quickly unloading the entire clip at the mamono. Victor’s wrist stung from recoil and the stench of gunpowder filled his nose, but a grin still made its way across his face as he saw the Grizzly double back…

…doubling back in laughter, that is.

After the empty shells clinked against the platform beneath his feet, Victor’s blood ran cold as his ringing ears picked up her mocking laughter.

There wasn’t even so much as a ding in that armor of hers.

“What the fuck?!” Victor snarled in a mixture of frustration and fear, “D-did I fucking miss or something?!”

“No. You got me. Every shot connected, kid.”

E-every bullet hit? But there’s not a single scratch on that armor of hers. How is she-‘

Out of the corner of his eye, Victor spotted a tiny hole punched in the platform, smoke rising out of it. Spinning around, he spotted several other smoking holes in the wall.

“T-they just bounced off?! What kind of metal is that?!”

“You’re lucky none bounced back to hit you, boy… but to answer your burning little question, this suit is made of iron. Demon realm iron, that is.” the Gouger proudly stated, tapping one of her armored claws against the chest-piece with a series of loud clangs, “Cost me my favorite boy toy, but it was well worth it.”

“Is that all men are to you? Just walking dicks to be used and thrown away when you’re finished?”

Spinning around, Gouger had just enough time to parry a hard jab from Julia.

“Heh. Maybe you shouldn’t have pissed away your element of surprise with that little impassioned speech.”

“Maybe.” Julia sarcastically agreed, “Not that it would’ve mattered, with that armor you’ve got on.”

“Hehehe… true, true. Nothing can break past my armor.”

“Oh? Then I’ll just have to find a different way to beat you.”

“Will you now?”

Rushing forward, Gouger swung a claw out at Julia, but the purple dragon jumped right over the bear’s head, spreading out her wings for a brief flight, then landing gracefully next to Victor.

“You alright, Vic?”

“Nothing hurts too bad… well, everything but that constant feeling of meaninglessness inside. But that’s usually always there.”

“Alright… well, I have a plan. But for it to work, we’d have to get that mask off her head.”

“And how exactly are we gonna do that?”

A cocky smirk appeared on Julia’s face, “Follow my lead.”

Rushing forward once again, Gouger mirrored her opponent’s actions, and they both met in a clash, both grabbing the others shoulders, grinding their clawed feet into the platform below them, and pushing against the enemy with all their might.

“Heh… you’re stronger than you look, you overgrown lizard!”

“Same goes for you… but this fight is over, you honey-gargling dipshit!”


Julia’s tendrils peeked out from under her arms, grinning right in the Gouger’s masked face before spraying their pink breath point blank, the pink cloud pumping through the holes in the iron armor. A Jabberwock’s breath might have been an aphrodisiac, but it was still a gaseous cloud, and if sprayed in a large, thick dosage, it would have the same effects on a person’s lungs and eyes as any other.

Releasing a series of loud coughs upon the pink cloud being forcibly pumped down her throat and in her eyes, the Grizzly tried to double back, but could find no room. Julia had not only sunken her claws into her armored shoulders, but had her tail wrapped around their waists, trapping them together.

“Victor! Now! Get it off!”

“Right!” cried the human, dashing towards the pair of mamono and hopping onto the base of Julia’s tail. Launching himself into the air, the young human flipped around and stuck a landing on Gouger’s back.

“G-get offa me!” she cried between coughs, attempting to shake Victor off. But with Julia holding her firmly in place, that wasn’t quite possible.

Her mask may have been made of demon iron, but it remained just that- a mask. At the side of the iron plate on the face, there was a small latch that connected the pieces connecting the back and front sides. Quickly pulling the latch, Victor grabbed the helm and yanked it right off of the Grizzly’s head, freeing her short brown hair and cute, round little ears. Defiantly a far cry from her mature, scarred face- which was currently flushed red, drool running from her lips and her eyes fluttering.

Victor quickly hopped off the Grizzly’s back, rolling out of his girlfriend’s way before things got ugly.

“Thanks, Victor.” Julia growled, releasing her grip on the grizzly, but keeping her tail behind the bear. Stumbling backward, the unmasked Gouger yelped in surprise as she felt Julia’s tail press against her back.

“Get over here!” Julia snarled, sending the Grizzly stumbling back towards her, delivering a fierce headbutt and breaking Gouger’s nose.

Grabbing the broken appendage, Gouger let out a string of pained curses, staring at Julia with venom in her eyes. But that couldn’t matter less to the dragon.

Rearing her claw back, Julia burst forward and delivered a fierce uppercut to the Grizzly’s chin, sending her sailing above the safety railing, off the platform, and crashing into an empty crate below.

“Oh, shit… they… they kicked the boss ladies’ ass!”

Jumping off the platform, Julia landed, the concrete beneath her mighty feet cracking as she landed.

“So, anyone else want some?” Julia snarled, cracking her claws and slapping her mighty tail against the ground in a show of force.

“A-actually, I think we’re pretty much done.” the Centaur muttered, raising up her hands and slowly backing away.

“Yep! W-we’re done with our lives of crime! Honest!” the Giant Slug swore, her cold sweat mixing with her slime and soaking the ground beneath her with a sticky fluid.

“Don’t get so cocky!” the Kobold cried, bearing her fangs and extending her claws, despite the fact she was shaking like an autumn leaf in a strong breeze, “I-I would beat you down, but… uh… I left my refrigerator running at home! Yeah! That’s it!”

“I’m pretty sure that’s ‘water running’.” Julia corrected with a heavy sigh.

Not responding, the Kobold spun around and bolted away, her Centaur comrade trotting right beside her.

“W-wait! Where are you going?! Don’t leave meeeee!” the Giant Slug sobbed, slowly slithering after them, leaving a trail of sweat, slime, and tears in her wake.

“Oh, you ain’t going nowhere!” Victor shouted, dashing up to the mollusk, quickly stepping into her path and spreading his arms out wide.

“W-what are you going to do to me?” she sniffled, slime falling off her body as she quaked in fear.

“Whats the opposite of pepper?” Victor asked with an evil grin, pulling out a handful of tiny paper packets.

“P-paprika?” the slug girl sniffled, wishing that she had a shell to retreat into.


Ripping open the tops of the packets all at once, Victor aimed them at the slug, who ducked back and covered her face, sniffling and sobbing as her life was about to come to an abrupt end.

“SALT!” the deranged human roared, rearing back the open packets and hurling them forward.

“No!” the slug wailed as the deadly substance hit her skin…

“Ha, gotcha!” Victor laughed.

“W-what?” the slug girl muttered, taking a look at her arms, which were covered in not salt, but sugar!

“Vic, wasn’t that just a bit too cruel for a prank?”

“This wasn’t a prank Jules, it was a lesson.”

“Oh, thank the Goddess…” the mollusk breathed. It was just sugar! While her slimy little heart still thumped against her chest, she had never been more relieved in her whole life.

“Like I said, let that be a lesson…” Victor “Don’t waste away your life stealing and mugging. I know it’s exciting and fulfilling at first, but trust me… it never ends well. Trust me. What if I actually had doused you in salt?”

“M-my skin would dry out and I’d die.” she whispered, nervously avoiding the human’s gaze and tapping two gooey pointer fingers together.

“Exactly. Now… get the heck outta here. Go find a nice little moist hole, and don’t ever let me catch you being a fuckin’ asshole again.”

“A-alright! I promise!” the slug grinned, giving the human a slimy hug before slithering away

“Agh, that’s just fucking grody…” Victor muttered, wiping the slime off his clothing and walking up to Julia, “Can’t believe she fell for that. What kinda moron just carries around twenty packs of salt?”

“No offense, Victor, but what kind of moron carries around twenty packs of sugar?” Julia shot back.

“This one, that’s who.” Vic replied, “Anyway, what’s up with Gouger?”

“Take a look…” Julia said, pointing down in the wreckage of the crate, where the red-faced Gouger, with blood running down her face, was struggling not to burst into tears.

“What’s wrong with her?” Victor asked.

“I think I overdosed her on my aphrodisiac.” explained Julia,“When someone breathes in too much of a Jabberwock’s cloud, they won’t just become so aroused they can barely move, they also become delusional.”

“Well, since she can barely move, let’s just get that armor off her and tie her up before she tries gouging our wombs out again”

Approaching the beaten bear with the intent of stripping her of armor, both the dragon and human doubled back as she began wailing.


“Who the fuck is Johnny?” Victor blurted, stunned at the fact this giant, battle-hardened thug of a mamono was crying like a little girl, even if she was high on Julia’s breath.

“H-he… he wasn’t just my boy toy… he… was my BOYFRIEND! I LOVED HIM! JOHNNNNY!”

Julia was just as surprised as Victor, “I-I thought you said you sold him for your armor!”

“N-no! I’d never do that! I-I sold his mom’s wedding ring to get the last bit of money I needed to buy before someone else did! A-and… and he got mad and left me! I WANT MY JOHNNY!!!”

“So that’s why she’s been trying to steal jewelry from pawn shops…” Victor muttered, “You were just trying to get back his mom’s ring?”

“Yesssss!” she cried, grinding her thighs together in an attempt to relieve the burning itch in her loins.

“Geez,” Julia said, “Even though she stole thousands of dollars worth of jewelry to rectify her own dumb mistake and tried to kill us, I can’t help but feel a little bit sorry for her…”

“Not fuckin’ me.” Victor grunted, “Let’s take off her armor and turn her in.”

With the sniveling Gouger bound and gagged and cops called, all Julia and Victor had to do was wait.

Sitting on the curb outside of the old box factory with their prisoner behind them, Victor popped a cigarette in his mouth, offering another to his girlfriend.

“Thanks.” she said, putting it between her lips, “Got a light?”

Patting his jeans, Victor let out a long sigh, “Shit. Must’ve left it at home.”

Patting himself down once again to make certain he didn’t have a lighter, he did feel something else, and it gave him a bright idea…

Taking out the extra bullet he got with his machete, he loaded it into his previously empty gun.

“Victor…” Julia scolded, “Are you sure that’s a good idea?”

“Sure I’m sure.” Victor said, taking the cigarette out of his mouth and holding it up into the air, placing the barrel of the gun against it’s tip, “When have I ever been wrong?”

Firing off a final shot, the cigarette’s very edge was blown off, but the bulk that remained quickly caught fire. Shaking the small blaze off, Vic was left with a lit cigarette.

“What did I tell ya? Nothin’ went wrong.” Victor smirked, popping the cigarette in his mouth. Just as he did, a pigeon fell to the road in front of him, a smoking hole in its throat, “See? I even nagged us some dinner.”

A small smile spread graced Julia’s face.

“You’re a dummy, Vic, but you’re my dummy.”

Pulling him in for what Vic thought would be a kiss, Julia instead pressed the tip of the cig in her mouth against his own, lighting hers up as well.

The two both took drags on their cigarettes in unison, blowing rings of smoke into the air that conjoined together and floated to the beautiful sky above…

A few minutes later, Victor and Julia’s smoke break was ended by a squad car pulling up next to them. They tossed their cigarettes to the ground, grinding them into the pavement.

Stepping out were two officers of the law. One was a human man, not nearly as muscular as Victor, but nonetheless well-built. He had dark skin around the same shade as Julia’s and curly chocolate-brown hair, and inquisitive little eyes. While he looked around the same age as Victor and Julia, several freckles covered his nose and cheeks, making him look far more youthful than he was.

He wore the standard Eagle City officer’s uniform… blue collared shirt, pants of the same color, and a similarly blue peaked cap with a black bill off a different material. And of course, a shining gold badge pinned in front of his heart picturing a fearsome eagle holding a banner with ‘ECPD’ engraved on it.

Stepping out of the passenger’s seat was his partner, a Hellhound who’s long black hair ended with orange tips. Her uniform, however… well, it was hard to believe it was uniform for an officer of the law. While she shared her partner’s cap and badge, her pants were cut so short they were almost like a bikini thong, her shirt completely exposed her midriff and was unbuttoned to the point it showed off an impressive amount of cleavage, and it was quite clear she wasn’t wearing any sort of underwear.

Still not quite comfortable around cops, Victor shifted uncomfortable as the two approached he and his girlfriend, but looked back up in surprise when he heard what the male officer had to say.

“Victor? Is that you?”

“You know this guy, Gill?” his Hellhound partner asked him.

Blinking in surprise, Victor looked at the curly-haired man, “Hold on a second… is that you, Gilbert?”

“Yeah, it’s me! Shit, man, I haven’t seen you since middle school.”

“I’ll go ahead and arrest Gouger while you two catch up.” the Hellhound said to Gill, tapping a fuzzy paw on his shoulder.

“Thanks, Lucy.” Gilbert nodded to her, the Hellhound waltzing the bound Grizzly and began dragging her back to the car.

“So, how ya been?” Victor began.

“Ah, you know. Joined the force. But you… dear Goddess, I know you were bigger than the other kids back in school, but you’ve turned into a fucking giant.”

“Hehe. Well, my dad was pretty huge, too. Not to mention my mom was a Minotaur. And it didn’t hurt that Julia here made me work out and kept me feed.” Victor said, forking a thumb over to his girlfriend.

“Ah. Aren’t you that prep school girl that caught you dumpster diving behind her cafeteria?”

“Very same.” she confirmed, looking over to where Lucy was struggling to shove the Grizzly into the back of her patrol car, the bear mamono angrily thrashing about in resistance, “Uhm… how about you boys keep catching up. I’ll go help out Lucy.”

“Well, I’m glad you kept Victor here outta trouble. I’m sure Lucy would appreciate the help.” Gilbert thanked the Jabberwock as she walked over to his partner. Adjusting his cap, Victor’s old friend went on “So, no offense, Vic… but what the hell happened to your nose?”

“What? You mean the fact it’s bent, or big ass scar?”

“Nah, man. I remember when you broke your nose and it healed wrong… where did you get that scar?”

Letting out a nervous chuckle, Victor placed his hand over his scar, “Well, Gill… when I dropped outta highschool, I did some shit I’m not proud of. Honestly, I deserve much worse than this scar.”

“Damnit Vic…” Gilbert muttered, reaching under his cap and running a hand through his curly hair, “You always were a troublemaker, weren’t you? What did you do?”

“This? This was just from a random knife fight with some drunk asshole.” Victor explained, “But what I’ve done? A lot of awful things. And I got away with most of it scot-free.”

“…you’re not going to tell me?”

“That depends. Would you try and lock me up if I did?”

Gilbert let out a long sigh, “I don’t want to arrest you, because I know you wouldn’t go down without a fight. And I don’t want to fight you. Mostly because you’d probably kick my ass, but you being my friend doesn’t hurt. But if you don’t want to tell me, well… it’s your own business.”

Letting out a small snicker, Victor smiled up at him, “Thanks, man. I could always count on you.”

“Just stay outta trouble, Vic.” Gilbert said, “And we’ll both do our parts in cleaning this city up.”

“That’s right, I’m a mercenary now, aren’t I?” Victor sighed, “Speaking of which, the bounty…?”

“Now that I’ve confirmed the arrest, the city should send someone to pay you in a day or two.”

“Alright, we got her in there.” Lucy gasped, hands on her knees, “Damn. For a bitch with a tied up with a several broken bones, she sure put up one hell of a fight.”

Julia patted the Hellhound on the back, “Sorry. My breath must have worn off. That’s the only reason she’d start freaking out like that… well, aside from getting arrested.”

Standing up tall, Victor couldn’t help but smile as his old friend extended a raised fist.

“I’ll catch you later?”

Tapping his own fist against Gill’s, a happy grin spread across Victor’s scarred face, “Count on it.”

While it was a long, hard day for many in Eagle City, time flowed just as it always had, and the bright crimson moon appeared in the cool night sky.

Despite most of the thugs fleeing the scene after the Gouger’s defeat, one remained… the Redcap, who woke up and made a quick escape before the cops could catch her, shortly returned after they had gathered up her former boss’ armor and stolen jewelry.

But the Redcap knew something the others didn’t… she kept all the jewelry separate from her cash, which she buried in a suitcase behind the factory, the upturned earth hidden under an old, rusty oil drum.

“Hehehe… did that honey-munching retard really think she was being sneaky, coming out her every other night to bury her cash? What an idiot.” the Redcap snickered. While she was denied her rightful fuck and barely avoided arrest, her day was going to end on a much more pleasant note before morning came.

“Yes!” she cried, tossing away her tiny shovel as it hit the luggage. Pulling the thing out of the ground and shaking it free of dirt, the little mamono let out a mad cackle as she cracked it open and saw the fresh stacks of green laid out before her.

“You must be very inept, if you haven’t noticed me by now.” a voice suddenly rang out from behind her.

Stumbling forward in shock, the cash spilled from the briefcase as the Redcap landed on her rump and looked up, getting an eyeful of a cloaked figure standing before the crimson moon, her amber eyes inspecting the Redcap before her.

“You work for the Gouger, yes?” the cloaked woman’s accent placed her as an Easterner, but the Redcap wasn’t sure which land in particular.

“I-I used to. She just got tossed in the slammer… so… so I thought I might as well help myself to her secret stash, ya know?” the Redcap said with a sheepish chuckle.

The hooded woman was not amused.

“W-we can split it…” the intimated Redcap stuttered, a bead of sweat running down her forehead.

The cloaked woman burst forward, a claw hidden in the darkness emerging from her cloak and hauling the Redcap into the air, “I don’t want any of your blood money… I want to know who defeated her.”

“Look… all I remember was some redheaded guy seducing me and someone else knocking me out from behind. When I came to, I saw him with a Jabberwock talking to a cop. Said he was a mercenary now, came after her bounty. I think he said his name was Victor…”

“Victor, is it…?” the hooded figure asked more to herself than the redcap, tossing the little mamono aside. The terrified Recap quickly swept as much cash back into the briefcase as she could before slamming it shut and darting away.

“I’ll have to pay him a visit.” the woman growled, her razor-sharp claws glinting in the moonlight…

“…no sis, I’m fine. Trust me. You don’t need to send any money. I know your husband is still working overtime to pay off your house, and your baby is due in a few months, right?”

Julia laid across her and Victor’s old, beat-up couch, resting her tail on the nearby coffee table with a phone held up to her ear and staring up at the muted television screen, watching some old black and white movie.

“I know, Julie, but… I still can’t help but worry about you. You’re my only little sister, y’know? Just the thought of you lost, cold, alone…”

“Ah, don’t talk like that, sis. I’m perfectly fine. Not to brag, but Victor and I just stumbled across a ton of money, and we just scored some pretty well-paying jobs…”

Victor entered the scene, his worn laptop tucked under a single arm, “Who’re talking to, Julia?”

“Jayde.” Julia answered, breaking away from her conversation for a moment.

Victor grabbed a beer from the fridge and sat the dinner table, popping open both his laptop and bottle and sitting back in his chair.

“…when are you going to dump that moron?”

Julia’s eyes sprung open when she heard that. Making sure Victor didn’t hear what she was about to say, she held the phone closer to her face and hissed into the mic, “How can you saw that, Jayde? I know Vic hardly ever thinks things through and doesn’t have a proper education, but he’s not an idiot, and he always tries his best for me…”

“’Trying your best’ doesn’t mean jack shit when your as much of an inept moron as that guy. Trust me, he won’t be able to hold on to whatever job he managed to find for much longer.”

If looks could kill, Julia’s angry glare would be burning a hole in the ceiling, “I’m not going to sit here and listen to you shit talk him for another second, Jayde.”

Julia’s sister’s tone took a sharp change, “Julia, c’mon, you know I-”

“No. I don’t want to hear it. And don’t you dare call me back until you can learn a little respect!”

With that, she ended the call, slamming the phone on the coffee table. Shortly afterward, she grimaced and held her face in her hands as she realized what she had just done.

“Well, that’s just great.” Julia groaned, “I might have just cut off my only family member that still loves me…”

Unleashing another loud groan and sinking deeper into the couch, Julia was jolted from her sullen mood when she heard Victor loudly whooping from the kitchen.

“V-Vic? Is something wrong?” the dragon asked, sitting up and looking into the kitchen.

Bursting into the living room, Victor held up his laptop, a wide grin plastered on his face, “Guess which celebrity just died from a freak milking accident…?”

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