“What is she good fooooor?” Gungnir began to sing, pulsing the beat in my hand, “Absolutely nothin!”

  “Not right now,” I growled across our mental link, “Definitely not right now.” Sweat beaded on my forehead, the anticipation of combat fought my flesh sorcery’s innate control over my body. Last time we met, it wasn’t that fun. One mistake and I was toast. The little hole let me see out just enough to make out parts of her face while her voice definitely confirmed that it was her.

  “We don’t have time for this! Open the cursed door!” she screamed, banging on the stone then taking a step back. With a bit of distance, I was able to make out some more detail, the sorry state she was in tugged at the remnants of my human decency. Her silvery battlesuit was torn and shredded along her shoulder, her weapons non-existent. Blood was everywhere, streaming down her arm. “By all the gods and nameless Deeps, I swear eternal loyalty if you’ll just let me in!” Her pride began to break at her last words, her bloody but functioning arm slapping the door, nails scraping in desperation.

  The shrill fear in her voice freaked me out. What the fuck scares a soldier from an magically advanced civilization that storms worlds and saves entire populations just so they can fight in a far-flung war? Whatever was out there definitely scared me a lot more than her.

  “Oh hell yeah!” Gungnir raved, “Exactly what we needed! A lady to take care of all your worries so you don’t have to mess with me! Life is still within my grasp!”

  “That’s not good enough!” I yelled back at Reeanth, taking full advantage of my position, “I need more than that!” Always negotiate from a position of strength, and this moment definitely qualified. I widened the peephole just enough to shove Gungnir through. [Stall whatever it is so I can do this right] I commanded the floating weapon. It zipped off mentally yelling back at me, [Only if you don’t take me apart you bastard!].

  Incoherent snarls of curse words not invented by humanity tumbled through the hamster wheel that was my brain. I needed more time, more time to think. I knew Gungnir couldn’t actually run from, since I could just summon it back, but it is a serious liability as well as the most powerful tool I had. It could probably delay just about anything we’ve encountered so far as long as it’s careful.

  Now Reeanth on the other hand. She didn’t look like she was faking and that amount of blood with that lovely wound requires a fuck ton of dedication to go through with it to fool someone. A familiar roar shook the bolthole I was in and all the trees outside. The roar was accompanied by a strange thud then almost instantly followed by the crack of thunder. I expanded my magical senses to feel around the area, a familiar sensation greeting the magical pulse. I knew exactly what was scaring her. Grinning just out of her sight, I called down the enlarged peephole, “Not good enough bitch! I remember your last greeting!” I began forcing the stone door to slowly contract the peephole with my earth sorcery, the promise of her salvation creeping closed.

  “What do you want? Money? Power? Tools?” she begged sticking her arm in the peephole to grasp towards me, “I have it all!”

  “Not on ya,” I replied, the tiny tunnel ever so gradually filling in, “The only thing you bring to the table is a fucking mess.” I didn’t want to be cruel, but this opportunity wouldn’t come by again.

  “You can have me! Anything you want you can have.” Her sobs began to make her harder to understand.

  “Nope, already taken,” I replied, obviously leaving out that my woman was a tree. Using flesh sorcery to tamp down on my sex drive was doing wonders for my thoughts process. Being able to think was such a wonderful gift after an offer like that. “What else ya got, cause I don’t have time for whiny baggage.” She did have something I wanted, but the chances of her giving it to me willingly were small.

  “What else is there? Anything, I’ll do anything!” she wept as she fell to the ground just out of sight. I looked through my mental connection with Gungnir, she was curled up at the base of the door, cradling her left side. Her left arm was clearly broken, and maybe her collar bone was too. A gnarly slash under her arm was bleeding profusely, her strength going with it. The angular runes on the remnants of her suit were pulsing red in time with her breath. “I’ll even be your slave,” she gasped, her voice getting softer.

  Not what I wanted, but close enough to get me to what I did need. “Swear it!” I yelled, urgency filling my voice. I could tell through Gungnir’s sight that she was bleeding out. I could fix that easily, but not without a guarantee that she wouldn’t turn on me or give me what I needed. “Swear it or I’ll let you get eaten! I know what’s out there, and trust me, he’s always hungry.” [Come on, come on], I thought to myself, [Take the fucking bait!].

  I barely made it out, her gasping breaths, “I, Reeanth Le’Talv, do swear by the honor of the Alpha Centauri Prime, the guard of the lost throne of Atlantis, and by my soul’s wizard binding, to serve you and your cause in all ways until I am released by your will.”

  Not how I would have phrased it, but I guess good enough for the circumstances. I banished the stone keeping her out and dragged her in by her leg, using flesh sorcery to knock her unconscious. This woman needed to live and I had the feeling that maybe she wouldn’t be the most cooperative prisoner, even with her oath. I started working on her wounds not even worrying about the stone door. Gungnir could handle Kong.

  Now that I wasn’t listening to a dying woman’s pleas for help, I could hear the giant ape’s roars just after the crack of thunder, Gungnir playing the role of fast floating taser to keep Kong away. Gungnir’s thoughts were off in the background of our mental link as I focused on healing Reeanth. I took a second to scan her with my flesh sorcery, one hand on her wounded shoulder while the other was on her forehead. Her insides were a mess. If anyone were here, I’d put money that she tried to take on the giant ape out of sheer arrogance.

  Fixing her was actually easy. My sorcery easily overpowered her body’s inner magic as it was obviously drained from her fight with a three story monkey. Closing the veins causing her internal bleeding was the top priority, then I conjured blood to replace what she lost. Then, I took my time slowly banishing the pieces of shattered bone from her collarbone and shoulder while healing the total body bruising. Thirty minutes worth of work had her out of the woods, but I didn’t heal all of her body. I left her complete left side in such a way that she couldn’t move her left arm at all. I mean, I could easily have fixed it, but I wanted to make sure that her oath was bind. All of humanity has heard of oaths or the concept of swearing by whatever. Our stories and myths tell us the folly and danger of agreeing to contracts with magical beings. My guess was that magic made oaths a little more permanent than what modern humans are used to.

  Gungnir whipped back into the entrance of the bolthole. “Yooooo! You did it!” it celebrated, bouncing around in the air, “Got yo’self a woman!”

  My glare shut it up. “All right, all right,” Gungnir said, floating back a few feet, “I’ll leave it alone. By the way, Kong left, minus a few patches of fur. Tasing him in the balls worked wonders! His hollerin scared the crap outta this bitch. So, how’d it go? What’ya get out of her.”

  I stared down at the unconscious woman, her seven and a half foot tall body sprawled at my feet. “Nothin yet,” I answered, “But if this goes well, shit might actually start going on our way.”

  “Does this mean you don’t need to take dissemble me?” Gungnir asked, pleading tones bleeding through our link, “I mean, without me, you wouldn’t have a space-faring combat wizard begging for your help. Kong would have finished the job without ole reliable me zapping him off.”

  “Fine,” I snapped, not looking forward to the next couple days, “But you’re the one who gets to add her data to Rath’s brain vat.”



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