229 A Clear Message part one
"Nix!" Shana charged across the room and flung herself at him. Her curly brown hair covered her face as she hugged him tightly.
Nix picked her up and sat her on the counter. He turned to face Lela who was walking in from the backroom. "What's going on here Lela?"
"Wait please." Lela walked to the front door and put up the closed sign before shutting all the blinds in the display windows.
Nix leaned against the counter, Shana had an arm around his neck. He noticed right away that Lela seemed gaunt and stressed.
Lela stood in front of him a moment later, gripping her hands tightly together. "It started a few weeks ago. Some bad people started hanging around in front of our shop, scaring customers away."
"Provost Marshal didn't do anything about it?'
"They did, but they can't be here all the time." Lela's eyes stared at the floor. "It was my idea to pay them, we were making lots of profit. Only..."
"Only they wanted more." Nix frowned, it was nothing more than a classic shakedown.
Lela nodded. "Mom refused to pay any more and said that she was going to report them."
"Any idea where I might find them?" Nix spoke calmly. He'd already decided his course of action.
"I don't know much about them Nix." Lela's voice shook slightly when she spoke. "One of them seems to know one of the women who run a Day-Shop in the market."
"I see." He picked up Shana and set her on the floor. "Do you know this woman Shana?"
Shana nodded. "Yes. She yells at the other merchants a lot."
The blue-haired Water Witch appeared with a small smile. "Hi, Nix."
"These are my Jenzi friends Ducky, we are going to help them." Nix grabbed Shana's hand and pulled her forward.
Ducky smiled at the little girl, she loved all things cute and Shana was very cute. "We'll definitely help you."
"Don't worry, I'll take care of this." Nix smiled slightly, "well... I suppose examples have to be made." He pulled Shana toward the door. "Maybe it's time you guys moved to Glory."
A few minutes later Nix, Shana, and Ducky arrived at the market. The Day-Shop owners were getting ready to close up after a long day of haggling. Shana stopped at the edge of the market and pointed. "That's her, The blue pants and white shirt.
Without asking Ducky moved forward, Nix and Shana held back although the little girl wanted to get closer.
"Aren't we going to help her Nix? What if there's a fight?"
"Ducky is very formidable, no one ever wants to fight her."
Shana stared at the blue-haired girl, Ducky had already struck up a conversation with the merchant. It was only a few minutes before she returned.
"Does she know where Maye is?" Nix noticed immediately that Ducky seemed irritated.
Ducky nodded. "She's not a nice person Nix, none of them are. There's a compound 15 minutes east of here. That's where they took her."
"Let's bring Shana back and then I'll deal with them."
Ducky nodded before letting Nix and the little girl move ahead of her. The Water Witch turn back toward the woman with who she had been conversing with and nodded her head slightly. The merchant pulled a dagger out of her belt and plunged it into her own throat.
"Everything okay Ducky?" Nix turned to check on her only to find she had been lagging behind a bit.
"Yep. I was just noticing some of the nice clothes. Perhaps you'd make me some new things."
"Of course, whatever you like." Nix considered his options while they walked back. "You said compound? That means money, maybe even power."
"The compound is owned by Qellis Vinter, his Dad's uncle is the King of Escavar." Ducky smiled sweetly like she was discussing flower arrangements.
Nix shrugged. "Probably be easier if it was the King himself. In the end, it doesn't matter. Maye is like my own Gram, I will teach them regret."
After arriving back at the boutique, Nix told Lela to start packing up. "We'll figure something out. I want to make sure this never happens again."
"You're leaving us? What if they come back?" Shana squeezed his hand tightly. "They might try and take mom."
"I suppose some protection is required. How about a bear?" Nix noticed that Ducky clapped happily.
"A bear?" Shana's cute face seemed unsure. "Is he friendly?"
Nix nodded. "Very friendly."
Shana looked at her mom who was staring at Nix. "Is he cute?"
"Not really, but he is really fat." Nix glanced around the boutique before turning to Ducky. "Think he'll fit in here?"
Ducky shook her head. "Nope."
Nix walked outside and waited until the street was fairly clear.
Morti appeared a moment later, his big head turning from side to side. "Where we at Nix?"
"Jenzi, I have a vital mission. Part of our family has been taken, you have to protect Shana and her mom until I get back."
"Protection? I'm the best bodyguard." Morti sat his big butt on the cobblestone sidewalk. "Where they at?"
"In the shop behind you." Nix pointed to the boutique door. Shana's little face was plastered against the glass, her eyes wide with shock. "Don't let anyone hurt them."
"Is she part of our family?" Morti stuck his face closer to the window, his breath fogging it up.
Morti turned back toward Nix, even sitting down his head was higher than the top of the door. "So, I'm like a big brother."
Nix nodded in agreement. "A big fat brother."
[You've assigned a Titan to a protection mission, half of his health has been added to theirs]
"Holy crap..." Nix glanced through the door to make sure neither of the females exploded.
"I promise to take good care of them." The bear scooted backward until his butt was against the door.
Nix sat comfortably on his demon mare, he let Ducky use Flash for this mission. "Do you understand your part?"
Ducky nodded. "What's your horse's name? She's pretty."
"I haven't decided yet. I'm leaning toward Deidra." Nix had stopped at a small hill overlooking the compound. It was comprised of a half dozen smaller buildings and a very respectable-looking mansion.
Ducky pursed her lips. "Like the Lady Dragon? I don't like that name very much."
"That's kinda the point." Nix laughed at the face she made. "Go in and get Maye, Shadai will be here waiting if she needs to be healed."
Ducky nodded and turned Flash toward the compound.
The Silver Drakon seemed surprised to be in Colonial. She knelt slightly and let Nix mount up.
Nix patted her shoulder. "We're gonna burn stuff Fey. There's no need to hold back."
Fey's sleek silver head turned toward him. "My favorite thing."
[Summons: Shadai, Cal, Tor]
The three Arch Winds hovered in the air, a small cloud of dust was pushed up by the gentle flapping of their white wings.
Tor bowed, "at your service Nix."
"An old woman will be here in a few minutes, she made need some healing. Protect her until I get back." Nix watch while Ducky approached the front gate, one of the guards challenged her but a few seconds later they let her in.
It was less than five minutes before Ducky left again, from the distance Nix could tell she was riding double.
"That's my girl. Let's go." Fey powered off the ground with a spring of her legs, strong wings flapping hard as they climbed upward. "Stealth up Nix?"
"No. Let them see us coming."