Pix’s Note: This Friday Fiction is brought to you by our dear Amber of I Like Bubbles. One of our regular Friday Fiction characters has a nice cameo in this story – we’ll see if you can spot it. Take it away, Amber!
Poor Pixie Stix has been whalloped with RL aggro, so I offered a “guest Friday Fiction”. It’s a silly and short stand alone story, but I hope it’ll tide you over until the next official instalment. Enjoy!
The problem with startling a shaman like Ilarra is that she tended to react explosively-which was to say, with lightning.
The problem with not startling a shaman like Ilarra was that her partner Malina was a rogue, and she tended to do it without meaning to. Let’s face it, a draenei is not used to dealing with stealth. Hooves just make noise on things in a way that human feet do not.
The issue that plagued their career together (oh Light, that time in Scarlet Monastary!) had ironically, also been the one to start it…
Ilarra and Malina had both been hired by the same woman, a notoriously tempermental mercenary named Lyestra. “I need you to do a few things for me,” she’d said to Malina. “There’s a particular regular in a particular tavern in Stormwind that carrys out some shady deals I need information on. He passes off an identical packet of papers every time. Do you think you could exchange his papers for a similar, but blank, set even in the middle of a bunch of people?”
Malina snorted. “What, do you think I only pick the pockets of solitary people in empty rooms? Of course. It’s easier that way, actually, but why not get him out on the street?”
“He comes in a different way every time-and has guards with him. They stay outside the tavern, though. The owner hates weapons in his bar.”
Malina frowned. “I should be able to handle it. What the hell is she here for?” The human woman jerked a thumb at the pale, willowy draenei.
“Ah, she’s a shaman I picked up. I’ve yet to meet a rogue who wasn’t damned near suicidal, so she’ll be along with to make sure you don’t die. Somehow.”
The frown deepened to a scowl, but the shaman just shrugged. “Hey, don’t screw up and I’ll be getting paid for nothing. This works for me.”
Malina glanced up at the Kaldorei warrior and debating arguing about it. On second thought, arguing with a woman who looked like she could snap you in half might not be wise, even if she could get in a good cheap shot first. She may have enjoyed a risk or two, but she wasn’t that suicidal.
The problem wasn’t with the initial switch-they’d come in the night before and watched the guy’s switch, so Malina knew what she needed to do. For all the man’s paranoia outside, with the shaman’s help it had been easy to set up a ruse. Ilarra had drunkenly stumped into Malina, and Malina had drunkenly fallen into his lap. “Well hello there. I don’t know how I got here, but I’m not complaining!”
But the time he had irritably shoved her out of his lap, the switch had been made. He didn’t notice. They lingered for a few minutes, pretending to flirt with the bartender. They may or may not have both done a poor job of merely pretending to drink, which may have had an impact on the events that followed.
Malina, ever the opportunist and possessed of a petty streak, decided to lighten the pocket of a man who’d leered at her too hard. He didn’t catch her at it-no, he just noticed that she was close, and decided it was a brilliant idea to grab her. “Hey there, pretty thing.”
“Don’t touch me,” she said coldly, jerking her hand away and stalking off.
Or she tried to stalk off, anyway. Ilarra had been hovering nearby, unused to this kind of work, leery of hanging around their mark, and quite frankly disturbed by the drunken stares she was getting. Malina walked straight into her, causing the draenei to yelp, jump and…
…send chain lightning everywhere.
This went over about as well as could be expected. “Oh, fuck me,” Ilarra said. Cuss words in a foreign tongue always came so easily to her lips.
Malina did what most panicked rogues tried to do, which was vanish out of sight. She bolted for the door, a wide-eyed draenei behind her as patrons jumped up angrily. “Slow them!” She hissed.
Ilarra snatched a chair right out from under someone and flung it at the angry, drunken fools stumbling for them.
“Not that way!”
“Oh,” came the belated reply. She glanced over her shoulder and made a strange gesture with her hands. Somehow or other, the people behind them slowed, and they escaped out the door together.
“Split! Meet you at Ly’s!” Malina bolted one way, Ilarra the other. The shaman actually had to leap clear over an innocent gnomish bystander, who hollered something at her and to all appearances set the draenei’s tail on fire. Literally.
When they reconvened, Ilarra was unhappily looking at a healed but tender tail. Lyestra was taking swigs out of an unmarked bottle of…whiskey, from the scent of it. “What the hell, you two,” she growled.
“What?” Malina blinked innocently. “I didn’t do anything! It was her!”
“Because you startled me!”
“Enough!” Lyestra took the packet and handed it to a man behind her-Malina’s eyes met him briefly, and one rogue acknowledged another. Hey, why couldn’t he have done it?
She’d never have an answer to that question. Small pouches of gold were handed over and the Kaldorei shooed them away. Malina pocketed her gold with a shrug and carried on her merry way. She was used to not having the answers, really, and it was fine by her. The answers were sometimes dangerous.
After awhile, she wondered why she heard the clicking sounds of hooves on cobblestones following her for several turns. “Can I help you?”
“I thought you’d need the company,” Ilarra flashed her a smile.
“Need the company? You damn near ruined it all back there!”
“But I got us out of it!”
Malina rolled her eyes. “I don’t need some lightning bolt happy shaman with me.”
“I’m not just lightning bolt happy. I can heal!”
“I don’t. Need. You.” Malina growled and decided to ignore the tag-along. She
managed this for halfway to the Auction House before the clicky-clicky-clicky noise made her snarl over her shoulder, “I told you, I don’t need-oompf!” She ran into a particular burly guy and almost bounced off.
“Hey, hey. What was that for?”
“Sorry,” she muttered. “I was telling the over-sized farm animal there that I don’t need her around and wasn’t looking where I was going.” The guys eyes narrowed and Malina started to get the sense that her apology wasn’t quite working. She started to dip into an awkward curtsy, murmuring more apologizes, when a couple of lifted wallets fell out of her inner pocket. Fuck. Hadn’t she fixed that thing?!
The guys eyes narrowed further. She scooped her her ill-gotten goods and started to book it down the street. The rogue heard, rather than saw, Ilarra scurry off down the road herself and the man’s frustrated outburst.
“I slowed him down again! See, you do need me. You can’t blame me for that.”
“Sure I can. I wouldn’t have run into him if I hadn’t been trying to make you go away.”
“Obviously it’s easier to just let me tag along rather than to try to get rid of me!” Ilarra beamed.
Malina’s palm quietly met her face. How was she possibly going to manage her work with this seven foot tall goat tagging along?
“I can use the element of air to make you attack with greater speed! You’ll be far more efficient that way!”
…she’d figure out some way.