“I am just calling to let you know that we have issues without how your comported yourself with our business deals and your actions have set us back in some of our investments. In time, we will come and…….Susana lets out a low, sultry evil laugh, “….collect. I will enjoy your fear.” followed by a click as the phone goes dead.
“Um, yeah, the, uh, number you have reached is like, no longer in service. If you feel like there’s been an error or something, check the, uh, number … "
A definitive click interrupted Bobby’s feeble attempt to mislead Susanna into believing he was already two steps ahead of them. Fucking vampires! Why did it have to be vampires? He was having flashbacks to Guatemala in the late 80’s, and the memory of the blood of all the children he couldn’t help blinded him.
He pulled the RV over and checked his stocks. Hemlock. Sulfur. Thanatos mushrooms. Fool’s gold. Heavy water. He had enough to mix up a potion that would fool even a adept of the Red Court into thinking he was already dead. Vampires won’t touch dead prey. As long as nobody actually buried him for 2 weeks, he might be able to live through it.
He began the potion, but the blood from his broken nose dripped into mix spoiling it.
“Goddamn motherfucking son of bitch!” he exploded with rage, throwing the ruined remains of the potion against the back door. His injuries and exhaustion, the news of Allison Harper’s death, the belly dropping fear induced by Susanna’s phone call, and the failure of his own magic had pushed the mild-mannered alchemist nearly to the brink.
“Tut, tut, Bobby. What happened to the laid back seeker I met all those years ago?” Bobby turned around to see Puck lounging carelessly on a seat. “You know what will happen if you lose your temper again.”
Bobby finally noticed the touch of cold bronze on his wrists and looked down to see the faint outlines of fairy manacles binding him. He took several deep breaths to calm himself. The manacles faded into nothing.
“Now, of course, I have no interest in seeing you held in chains in ”/wikis/winter-court" class=“wiki-page-link”> Mab’s court. You’re much too amusing to be fettered like that. I can help you with your current predicament, but only if you listen very carefully and do exactly as I say."
“Why would you do that?” asked Bobby. “I don’t have anything left to trade you.”
“Suffice it to say that my own interests would be advanced considerably should you succeed.’ Puck continued “The Red Court is insatiable and even more indefatigable than Mab’s minions. If you wish to escape their attention, your only hope is to convince them to turn on each other and pray that you remain unnoticed in the fallout.”
Two vials appeared in Puck’s hands. “I have here two elixirs, one of which engenders the imbiber with overwhelming ambition, the other with hyper-aware suspicion. If you give the latter to Carlos Ortega and the former to his lovely consigliere Susanna, I’m sure you will find that the vicious nature of Red Court vampires will take its course.”
Bobby’s eyebrows raised skeptically and Puck erupted in laughter.
“Well, of course there’s a catch. In order to function, each elixir will need to be taken by a willing subject who is fully aware of its effects.”
“Oh, and this skulking, sneaky, back alley drug dealer vibe you have going on is just not going to cut it.” As Puck blew warm summer air into Bobby’s face, the alchemist found himself feeling more confident, aggressive even. “That ought to do the trick.” The babyfaced fairy pressed the bottles into Bobby’s hands “Now, my boy, you’ve got a job to do.”
Puck disappeared with a insouciant grin, once again both amazed and delighted at how easy it is to manipulate mortals.