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05 October 2015 @ 07:20 am
_Gods and Princesses_ part 6  

The god was looking much more fierce, after all the spell breaking spells they could layer on through the remaining bubble.

Gauge looked at him smugly. "Let’s see. At ten thousand to one, these three months of testing spells has felt like oh, probably less than fifteen minutes to the fellow. Do you think he’s figured out we’re helping him?"

"I don’t know. It’s a bit odd how he’s reaching out like he’s feeling for something. I’m surprised he’s moving so fast, now." Quick frowned at the living statue. "I assumed he was double layered, since he hadn’t moved appreciatively in almost fifty years."

"Oh! Maybe he’s peeled off one layer already! I wish we could get someone to help us with the other one." Gauge exchanged glances with Quick. "We could ask the Director. He’s been experimenting with bubbles."

Quick drummed her fingers. "Or Ajha. I think that young man knows more than he ought."

"Well of course he does. I’m going to ask the Director to step down here. He’s less . . . fraught with potential." Gauge started tapping keys on her comm.

"Huh. According to who?"

"Director? The Comet Fall God has started moving more quickly, we think he may have removed one of his layers of bubbles. Would you like to attempt to remove the other one, or shall we just leave it to him?"

A long silence. Then Izzo snorted. "I’ll be right down. One forbid he should let himself out some night."

Gauge clicked off. "The Director will be right down."

It was only a few minutes before both Izzo and Ajha walked in.

"Umm, well, he does seem to be looking for something." Izzo walked around the statue.

Ajha poked the statue’s chest. "When he whipped those bubbles on, they closed right across here, in . . .

The bronze peeled away and left him poking the chest of a rather ordinary man.

" . . . front of him. Whoops." Ajha flinched back. "Err, hello?"

"Who the hell are you?" The God stood, staggered a bit unsteadily. "Where am I?"

"I’m Ajha Clostuone, this is Director Izzo, Princess Gauge and Princess Quick. Are we correct in thinking that you are Barry Virtue?"

"Sigma. Barry Sigma, the God of . . . but it’s not working here? Is it? How interesting . . . The comet, what happened? I was shielding from the comet strike."

Izzo nodded. "We’re aren’t sure which comet you mean. The planet was struck, despite all efforts of the gods, in the year 2854. Then another comet was mostly averted in 3493. Or by the new calendar, 1376."

"Do you mean to tell me I’ve been stuck in bubbles for a thousand years?"

"One thousand and seventy-two, now."

"Christ! I need a drink!" The fat man looked around the bare room in frustration, then his voice softened and an expression of concentration crossed his features. "And some clothes." An illusion of clothing sprang up around him. It wasn’t detailed, just a mental suggestion that he was dressed and not worth studying.

"I would be honored if you would be a guest in my home." Izzo nodded politely. "I suspect we can outfit you, as well as feed you and provide that drink you wanted."

Barry Sigma eyed him, and nodded. "And we can study each other."


Gauge eyed the unfortunately low level of the wine in the bottle and scowled. She wasn’t going to impress Barry with this. And then Quick would be the one to get him talking, take all the credit.

She stuck her head out the door. The corridor was empty. She could hear masculine tones from the right. She slipped out and scuttled to the next door to the left. Knocked and entered. Queens wasn’t home. Gauge headed for her liquor cupboard.

Qeez is three months pregnant, she can't drink. So I'm doing her a favor, removing temptation.

No wine. One, she should have nipped down to the wine cellar earlier. She grabbed a bottle of brandy, half full and uncorked her wine. Spotted a little funnel and carefully poured a cup or so of brandy in.

"It’ll probably taste awful." She poked deeper into the cabinet, aha! A bottle of wine on its side. It had been opened, but looked full. She uncorked it and filled her bottle. Good enough for a little get to know each other, come over for a drink, eh? She looked at the remaining half bottle, but corked it and returned it to the back of the cabinet. I don't want to get so drunk I lose control.

She put Queens’ cupboard back into shape, and slipped back out.


"I thought you might want to come by for a drink." Gauge felt her smile going flat, as she noticed that Barry already had a glass in his hand.

Quick shot her a smug look. "Barry was just telling me about the history of their world. It's fascinating how it diverged from ours."

Barry snorted. "I've been bubbled so long, I suspect you know more about it than I do." His gaze dropped to the bottle in her hands, and he held out his glass. "Come in, the more the merrier."

Gauge spotted the empty wine bottle on the table and smirked herself.

She poured her, err, fortified wine into Barry's glass, then looked at Quick. Quick grudgingly fetched another wine glass. Gauge filled it and, wanting to look magnanimous, Quick's.

"Well. Here's to your new life." The wine burned all the way down and she was still gasping for breath when Barry slung an arm around her and kissed her. She returned it with interest, and didn't even mind when Quick horned in on the action. She did reach a toe back to kick the door shut. They were definitely going to need some privacy. Right. Now.

Sometime in the small hours of the morning she woke up enough to give herself a hangover cure. She collapsed back onto the grass. Grass? She looked over and recognized the warm body cuddled up to her as Quick. My! What fun they'd had. On the floor. In bed. Outside. In a car. Across . . . a gate?

Gauge realized she was stark naked, just laying here under the full moon. She stood up and looked around. How many gates had they gone through? There were two in sight. Glowing slightly. She staggered to her feet and walked over to the nearest. A daylight scene not much different than where she was standing. A double row of crushed grass led from that one, to the orange sunset gleaming through the next.

Barry had disappeared. Escaped.

"Quick? I think you'd better wake up."

"Wha?" A sleepy murmur from Quick. "Oh, Barry!" A long pause, then Quick joined her. Stared at the car tracks leading from one anonymous gate to the other.

"We could try to capture him ourselves." Quick sounded wistful.

"He has a car."

"Drat!" Quick turned and stepped through the gate that had the long grass crushed away from it.

Gauge followed, hoping there was a clear back trail. All the way back to One.

"You know. It wouldn't be nearly so embarrassing to report this to Izzo, if only we had some clothes on."

matapampamuphoff on October 5th, 2015 12:27 pm (UTC)
Knowing you people's refined sensibilities I left out the expedition to Rip Crossing and resulting orgy, from which Qeez returned with a sample of that wine . . .

Edited at 2015-10-05 02:14 pm (UTC)
hollybambolo on October 6th, 2015 04:26 am (UTC)
Ooh! We have refined sensibilities now?

Don't mind me much: my husband gave me two glasses of wine tonight, which is one more than sensible behavior.

Can you update your sidebar links, please, to include the recent releases?

Also, next Barton book? Please? Don't you want to save me Christmas shopping decisions?
(Anonymous) on October 6th, 2015 01:01 am (UTC)
Oddities from another time
I have been poking into your archives, and a thought occurs.

1. it would be neat to know all the places you have notes about something that happens but never intend to publish. I don't really expect you to post such a list, but it would be nice to know.

2. If you were to post such a list, it might make it easier for us to associate details that haven't been published yet with the story we're reading at the time.

3. again, if you were to post a list, we could indicate which ones interest us most, giving you pointers about where to write more details.