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Clara Belle.

When dealing with other dimensions it helps if you have a good relationship with most species.




The Crumpled Horn was a shifter bar, at this time in the evening full of bulls and heifers in biped form. My presence as a centaur would cause interest, none of it good.

“Hay bag, get in line!”

This from the Minotaur bouncer. I flashed my recovery agent I.D. Trying to be reasonable I continued.

“Don’t give me any Bull Shit.”

The idiot mountain of muscle did not move, blocking my way. I almost gagged on the testosterone and musk of bull.

“You don’t want to do this.” Normally I don’t give warning, but he was only doing his job.

“I know you, Epona’s pet. You have no authority here." Yes Epona, Goddess of Horse and Hound is my boss.

I turned as if to walk away, bully dropped his guard. Laughed with the sweet young heifer next in line. My back was turned for a reason, another of my little toys from earth. A metal baton pulled from a holster under my leather jacket, bully reacted but not fast enough. The good news of four hundred thousand volts from a modified cattle prod, did the job. Another banned device if Epona got to hear about it, plenty more where that came from. The meat mountain fell backward, the prod unseen by the line of cattle.

“So glad you saw sense.” That more for the line than bully who was on his back twitching, easy enough to step over him and down the ramp into the bar. If I had been back on earth, I would say the mood of the club switched to me being as welcome as a positive test for TB, at least my one ton of draft moved aside any in my way. The bull at the bar was not exactly attentive, let’s say his customer skills required a refresher. As did his housekeeping, a nasty sodden cloth wiping the bar down.

“I don’t serve your kind.”

I admit my warped sense of humour kicked in.

“Thank the Goddess for that, personally I only serve mares. Whichever way you swing, I don’t judge.” A heifer at the side of me snorted into her drink, tough crowd.

“Tell Belle I have a lucrative job offer for her.” That got a grunt as he turned away from the bar touching a crystal on the wall, only speaking when it stopped flashing. He returned only nodding at me and went back to serving customers.

I tracked Belle’s entrance down the stairs, the clientele parting as she passed by only stopping to pass comment to a select few. Her frame stocky, dark hair covered her body. Blonde hair in a cowlick, the glasses completed the look.

“Follow me.” A command not a request, which lead to a back area and a large goods lift. That made sense as a security feature, well how else could I get access to her private office. Once inside the slap surprised me.

“That’s for dropping my door staff.” She sat down behind her desk.

“I guess I deserve that, only the big guy would not listen.”

“Don’t worry he won’t make the same mistake again; I reassigned him to the kitchen.” A smile.

I knew the rumours yet continued.

“I have a job that requires your unique skill set.” I recovered a folder from a jacket pocket and passed it over.

“Usual fee.” A pause.

“Plus, a bonus on completion.” Easy to offer an incentive.

“Fine. You sure you won’t dine with me?”

“I make it a policy not to eat meat I’ve talked to.” At that point I was escorted out, operation Octopus was set in motion.


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