Undercover Part 2 of 2

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“Undercover”

Part II

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I looked into the mirror and frowned at the image. My makeup wasn’t quite right and I knew it needed to be perfect this morning.

“Will you hurry up?!”

I glanced over at the tall, dark, handsome, figure of Grigori as Billie buckled his belt.

“Easy for you to say, you don’t have to put on your ‘face.’” I said making air quotes.

“It’s not that hard. Bree’s been doing it most of her life, just relax and let her skill guide you.”

I wanted to snap that the last time I’d let Bree’s ‘skill’ guide me I’d found myself riding Grigori’s cock. Instead I removed my makeup and focused on letting Bree out of her ‘box.’ This time it was like my hands had a mind of their own as they quickly and skillfully applied the minimal amount of makeup needed. Tasteful to the point where you had to look closely to see that I was wearing anything yet every flaw (such as they were) was covered.

I stood up feeling Bree retreat and looked at myself turning sideways. The light blue sundress with the flower print was perfect. It showed off a bit of cleavage and some leg, advertising the best aspects of my figure without saying ‘slut’ and was quite comfortable. I picked up the sandals with a respectable two inch heel and slid into them.

“Ready?”

“Hey, beauty like this is worth waiting for.” I did a little twirl and heard Billie chuckle.

“Well, either your channeling Bree now, or there’s a part to you I never knew existed.”

“Oh, shut up.”

It was just before nine as we headed down the great stairs to the main room and I saw that Bernard was already waiting for us.

“Good morning Mister Antipov, Miss. Luga, did you sleep well?”

“Yes, Bernard, I’d say that I haven’t . . . slept so well in years. Thank you.”

I wanted to hit Billie in the arm for the little emphasis he put on ‘slept’ and the implication that we’d done more than just sleep. In fact Billie had tried to see if I was interested in a little exploring last night after we were back in bed. I’d shut that down by telling him I’d already scratched that itch and put my back to him.

“I’m glad for that, since I must bring you bad news. It seems that Master MacQuaid has been delayed again. He sends his regrets and asks for your patience. He will get in touch with you as soon as the current situation has resolved itself.”

“Oh, in that case, should we change back into our other clothes?”

“Of course not! Those outfits are Mr. Macquaid’s gift to you along with an apology. We are also happy to bring you breakfast before you leave.”

At this point we both wanted to get back to our TOC and report in and find out if the IC had come up with any ideas for what was going on. Still turning down breakfast would have looked suspicious. We ate as quickly as etiquette would allow and then headed out to the Hellcat.

“Dibs on driving.” I said, heading for the driver’s side.

“I don’t think so. It’s my car and it would look weird if I let you drive it.”

I felt a pout form on my lips and I looked up at Grigori through my eyelashes. Then guided by some instinct I tugged on the connection between us, “Why would it look weird for you to let your girlfriend drive your car?”

I watched as Grigori’s mouth opened and closed and I could feel Billie struggling with his desire to drive the Hellcat and a new compulsion to make me happy. I stepped close so that my breasts were almost touching his abs and looked up at him.

“Please?”

“How can I say no to that gorgeous face?”

Before he could change his mind I darted a hand into his pants pocket giving his cock a light brush as I pulled out the keys.

“Thanks!”

I spun around and clicked the button that unlocked the Hellcat. As I did I wondered what exactly I’d done to change his mind. I’d been able to sense Billie’s desire to drive the car and his desire to tease me by not letting me drive it. But his resolve had vanished as I’d used my feminine charms on him. He’d tried to resist them but the male body had responded just as I’d wanted it to and he’d given in. This new kind of power excited me and I wondered how far I could push it. Then I started the car and once again felt all of that horse power as it growled to life.

I glanced over at Billie, “You’d better figure out how Grigori used that charm.” I nodded toward the crystal hanging from the mirror.

“Why?”

“Because otherwise we’re going to have a hell of a ticket. Hehehehe. . .”

With that I put my foot down and felt the Hellcat take off.

“Son-of-a-bitch!” Billie cursed and lurched for the hand grip on the door. He didn’t waste any words instead he closed his eyes and then reached out to touch the crystal and muttered the activation spell under his breath. “You could have given me more of a warning.”

“Yeah, well, I think you stayed at the TOC longer than you had to and forced me to become Bree!”

I don’t know why I blurted it out, but I was convinced of it and when I glanced over at Grigori I could see Billie smirking.

“You bitch!”

“No, you’re the bitch; I’m a doooog; if you want to stick with that analogy. Hehehehe . . .” Then turning more serious, “You’ve been procrastinating about going undercover for six months. I was tired of taking all the assignments. Besides, you look cute in a skirt.”

For a second I was too stunned to respond and then my attention was pulled back to the road. We were just getting to the highway and I wanted to see what this thing could do.

“There hasn’t been an assignment to swap into a guy until today! Why do you think I’ve been avoiding it?!”

“Pfftt . . . guy, girl, jobs a job and you’ve been shirking. Besides, a big strong guy like you can learn a lot from being such a cute little thing.” He gave me another leer.

For a moment I thought about reaching into my Chakra-well and showing Billie exactly what kind of a “cute” little thing I was, but I reigned in my temper. And focused on what I was doing. For the next few minutes we drove in silence and then Billie broke it.

“I’ve been sorting through Grigori’s memories. He’s got a couple of errands to run and then a jujitsu class to go to tonight. Mostly delivery boy crap, nothing the Guild will care about.”

I nodded and didn’t take my eyes off the road. “Bree needs to get changed and then head over to Evelynn’s she’s supposed to be working this afternoon as an escort. I’m guessing my client is a Hound?”

“It was supposed to be Eric. He won’t be making it, I’ll find out who Captain Miller wants to substitute.

“Okay, when Devon calls, are you going to come get me?”

“I don’t know. It’ll depend on the situation. Now that we’ve got both Bree and Grigori we should be able to catch these guys.” Then Billie shook his head, “If Devon wasn’t such a prestigious figure in the local community we could just take him in. But we need proof, plus we’re still not sure who the other members of the clutch are; when we move we need to get them all.”

“I’m not a rookie, Billie, I know the drill.”

I abruptly braked and cut across three lanes to make an exit slowing down hard the whole time.

“Fuck, a little warning, please!”

“Hey, a car like this needs to be driven.”

At this Billie muttered something under his breath about not wanting to die in a fiery car crash. It only took a few more minutes to get to my building and as I looked up at it I had a nagging feeling in the back of my mind. Why was Bree living there? I was sure that she wasn’t living there just because Grigori was paying the bills. I regretfully shut off the engine and handed Billie the keys.

“I guess all good things come to an end.”

“I’m just glad we survived!”

“Alright, who do you have on over-watch now?

“The Captain is still getting it sorted out. For now you’ll have Lori and I’ll have Steve.”

I nodded, standard procedure was going to have the Captain scrambling to get us two replacement hounds. This was compounded by the fact that we were in the middle of a live operation.

“Alright I’ll check in as soon as I’m back upstairs,” then I allowed my voice to turn serious. “Grigori, good hunting.”

He nodded, “Good hunting, Bree.”

I climbed out of the car and waited for Grigori to walk around and then he grabbed me and before I knew what he was doing he kissed me. I felt my pulse quicken and I felt my foot come up off the ground. Then he let me go. For a second I was out of breath.

With a smirk he said, “I’ll see you tonight. Wear something sexy and I’ll take you to a nice place for dinner.”

I stumbled back a half step before I caught myself and then I glared at him, “You didn’t have to do that! There’s no one around.”

“Got to keep up the right habits, babe!” Grigori opened the driver’s door and slid in, “Besides, that was fun.” Then he slammed the door shut and started the engine. I stepped back and couldn’t help reaching up to touch my still tingling lips. I watched as he pulled out, smoking the tires before merging into the light mid-morning traffic.

“I’ve got half a mind to show him!” Before I let that thought fully develop I headed up to my building. As I climbed up the steps to my floor I once again had that odd feeling that this was wrong. The rancid smell of spilled wine and vomit wasn’t as strong today and the building felt almost quiet.

I pushed open my warped door and after locking it set up the ward. Then I moved to the bathroom. I needed a shower and then I changed my mind, Bree had a tub, a long soak before showing up for work sounded just right. I moved into the bathroom and started running water into the tub and then on a whim added some bubble bath I saw sitting to one side.

I stood up and went to the mirror and took another look at the little hot blonde. There was something nagging at the back of my mind. There were just too many things about Bree that didn’t add up. Slowly I stripped and I knew that I didn’t do it with the grace or sexiness I’d used last night. When I saw my naked body I had to pause as the sight sent a thrill coursing through me. Turning from side to side I realized that I didn’t want to be this sexy little thing, I wanted to fuck her. I closed my eyes and spent a few seconds compartmentalizing those feelings. When I opened them again I took another second to examine this body. Bree was in extremely good shape. I tightened up my abs and noticed that I could see a defined six pack. I turned from one side to the other looking closely at my legs, arms, and shoulders ignoring the obvious assets that had taken all of my attention before.

“There’s no way she maintains this conditioning by doing a little yoga a couple of times a week.”

The tub was filing slowly so I started a systematic search of the bathroom and then the bedroom. I had to return to the tub and turn off the water before I was done but I was at last rewarded when I found a loose floor board. When I tried to pry it up my fingers started to tingle. There was a ward here, one set to discourage anyone from pulling up the board.

I sat back on my heels and thought for a second. In theory, I should be able to access all of Bree’s memories. I ought to be able to figure out the Key that would release the ward. I focused on Bree’s memories it was like there was some kind of invisible barrier preventing me from accessing this specific memory. For a minute I considered forcing my way in, and then I remembered my psi-mage training. Forcing your way into someone’s mind normally had significant negative consequences. I could always do that as a last resort, but it would be better to figure out a way to get to that memory without breaking part of Bree’s mind.

I returned to the bathroom and slid into the tub. The hot water felt wonderful and for the first time since landing in this body I was grateful not to have my cock and balls. Water this hot on my sensitive male parts would have left me standing to one side of the tub for another twenty minutes until the water had cooled down enough for me to get in. The heat was so relaxing that I leaned back and closed my eyes and felt the tension drain away.

As I relaxed I felt my mind just sort of drift. At first I thought about Billie’s duplicity setting me up to become a Tantric-Adept. For the time we’d been together we’d never had to swap her into someone with these skills. I knew her well enough to know that this was something she was finding very funny. She had also been right. I’d been avoiding going undercover. My excuse had been that all of our assignments so far had been to use females to get the information we needed. Now as I lay there I realized that there was more to it. I hadn’t wanted to give up my body. I had a fear, perhaps irrational, that if I gave up my body I’d never get it back.

I’d put a lot of work in on that body and it was in great physical shape. But that wasn’t everything. The other part was that I was afraid I’d lose my magical gifts. Being a Magic-User and a Hound of Heaven was more than a job. Those things defined who I was. If I were stuck in this body I’d lose my status as a Magic-User and I wouldn’t be able to be a Hound any more. Now that I was thinking about it I realized that if I planned to keep working as a Hound of Heaven I’d have to get over this and learn to BE the person the Guild needed me to be, in any situation.

I let out a sigh and for a moment and wished I had brought a glass of wine with me to the bathroom. ‘No, don’t be stupid, you’ve still got to work tonight.’ I thought. I settled deeper into the tub and let my mind drift. What was Bree’s story I wondered. Here she was, a gorgeous girl, living in this dive and clearly able to do better. I had no doubt that she slept with most of her clients and that she used her Tantric-magic to draw power from them. She was very careful. She never did it with a Magic-User; someone with the skill and training to resist what she tried and the power to arrest her. That explained the class of clients. People with minor magical talents were the obvious choice. This didn’t explain why I was having so much trouble with her mental blocks. It was obvious to me that part of what she did was psi-magic, part was also spirit-magic, and based on the fact that I still had a connection to Billie now that she was in Grigori’s body told me there were physical-magic elements as well. That made this very sophisticated magic. Most spells fell into one of those three categories and sometimes drew upon one of the other elements. Only the most sophisticated spells used all three elements.

I suddenly had a burst of inspiration and focused on the memory of opening that warded floor board. I felt the blocks but this time I looked for threads of spirit and physical energy and instantly found them. The knot of spell energy was tied to this body with physical magic locking the very cells of my brain that held the knowledge. The part tied to spirit magic had been severed when the artifact had put me in this body but the cut threads still needed to be dealt with. In fact I suspected it might have been those threads that had caused my initial leakage.

I moved into the full lotus position the hot bath water sloshing around me and closed my eyes. I was very skilled with psi-magic, but I was also a fully trained Magic-User. I could use all three elements and I could build my own spells from scratch if needed. I put this knowledge to work and used the well of power Bree had built to fuel the spell. When I finally released it I felt my whole body tingle and then the closed doors of my mind burst open.

“It worked!”

I’d taken my earrings out before getting in the tub and deactivated them. I wasn’t comfortable enough with Lori to have her watch me bathe. Besides I wasn’t a hundred percent sure it would be Lori on the other end. I was sort of glad for the privacy.

I thought about the ward and instantly I knew the key. Suddenly excited I climbed out of the bathtub and hurriedly dried off. I was barely aware of my female parts as I quickly returned to the bedroom. I’d wrapped a towel around myself tucking it just below my arms and I rushed to the loose board.

I knelt next to it and channeled a bit of power into the symbol I drew in the air. For a second it glowed and then faded. This time when I pried up the board there was no resistance or tingling. Under the floor board was a single red crystal. It was completely round about the size of a golf ball. I picked it up and channeled a trickle of power into it and said, “Invoco!”

As soon as I activated it the crystal flared and there was a click behind me. I turned around to look at the blank wall opposite the bathroom by the bed. A door had been cleverly concealed with magic and craftsmanship. Now that it was open I could see the outline of the door but I figured with it closed even without magic it would have been hard to spot.

I stood up and when I faced the door I felt gooseflesh shiver down my back. I looked down at the towel I was wearing and realized I need something better suited for exploring. I quickly climbed into some of Bree’s underwear, jeans, and a comfortable T. Then I moved to the door.

The door concealed a set of stairs and I followed them up. Bree’s apartment was on the top floor of the building so what I quickly discovered was what would normally have been a large storage area that ran the whole length of the building. Except that it wasn’t a storage area. The pentagram set into the floor, the books, and a long table covered in various magical equipment told me this was actually a ‘sanctum.’

“Why does a Tantric-Adept need a sanctum?” I wondered, and then saw the body.

“Shit!”

I opened my third-eye and moved cautiously into the room. I scanned it for traps and then slowly approached the body. It was stretched out in the center of the pentagram and when I got close I realized it was in some kind of stasis field. I was tempted to run my fingers over the edge of the spell but I refrained. I looked down at the man lying on his back and it took me a second to figure out he wasn’t dead and being preserved. There was a pink flush to his bearded face and I didn’t see any wound or indication of injury.

“He’s alive. But why is Bree keeping a guy in a thousand dollar suit in stasis in her sanctum? Hell, why does she need a sanctum? How does she even know this spell?”

I shrugged my shoulders and then went back down stairs and tried to sort through my new memories. There was something odd about my blocked memories. Even though I’d unlocked them and they shouldn’t have been blocked, period. They also felt . . . . choppy . . . and unnatural. Like they’d either been tampered with or implanted?

“I wonder if more was done to her head than I originally thought.”

Back in the bedroom I picked up my earrings and slid them into the holes in my ears. “Lori, can you hear me?”

There was only silence. ‘That’s a little odd,’ I thought. Normally anyone undercover had someone on over watch, 24/7. Well maybe the Captain is still setting up the new rotation. I went over to Bree’s cell phone but there were no messages or missed calls. That was actually normal. Calling an undercover agent’s cell would only have been done in the event of an emergency. Cell phones were just too easily compromised. I felt a little relieved; at least there wasn’t an emergency. I slid it into my back pocket.

What should I do? This was the kind of thing that needed to be reported. I was a Hound of Heaven not a magical researcher. I needed to get a team over here to look through that room. Unfortunately I couldn’t call it in until whoever was on over-watch checked in.

I pulled my cell out and checked the time. As far as I could tell Bree didn’t own a watch. I still had a couple of hours until my ‘date’. If everything had been handled properly my date would be with another Hound and if worse came to worse I could pass on my information to him. Except that I had a feeling I was missing something and that I couldn’t afford to wait. Then I realized I had another option and sent a quick text.

Me: Grigori – I miss you. When you get this message, call me. I really just need to hear your voice.

I figured texting my ‘boyfriend’ would be pretty normal and once Billie called I could explain what was going on. With nothing better to do at the moment I went back up to the sanctum and started looking around.

“Well, this explains why Bree likes this apartment. She gets to use the whole attic as her sanctum.”

As I looked around I noticed that most of the items could have been found in a Magic-Users sanctum. The spell books alone were worth quite a bit and the subject matter ranged to almost every specialty. Could Bree really cast any of these spells? Then I noticed a set of books bound in black leather. When I opened the first one I almost dropped it.

“Sorcery?! What the fuck is a Tantric Adept doing with a sorcerer’s grimoire?”

Just then my cell buzzed and I saw I had an incoming call from Grigori.

“Hey, lover, can you talk?”

“For a couple of minutes. I just dropped off a package and now I’ve got to go met with Tony. I saw your text, what’s up?”

“I need you to come by my place. I think I’m sick. I’m canceling my client and I need you to take me to the acute care clinic.”

That last part was code. Not an emergency but I had something important enough to risk going into the TOC.

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. I’ll be by in a few minutes.”

I hung up the phone and tested my earrings, again. Still no answer from over-watch. Next I called Evelynn’s Escort Service. The girl that answered the phone had an annoyingly bright phone voice. I got a flash of memory, light brown hair cut page-boy style, lithe little body, and really perky tits.

“Dani? This is Bree. I . . .”

“Oh, Bree, I’m so glad you called. I was supposed get in touch with you but then we got busy. Your client for today cancelled. Do you want me to try to find you another job?”

“Uh . . . no, I was just calling in to say I’m not feeling too good so I’m taking tonight off.”

“Oh, well I hope you’re feeling better. Hey, I gotta go, the other line is ringing. Bye!”

I hit the end button and didn’t know what to think. Why would they cancel? Well the answer was obvious. Eric was supposed to be my client. They’d had to cancel that appointment because Eric was dead. But why hadn’t they booked a new appointment? I looked around the sanctum as if the answer was lying here somewhere. Why did Bree have these things? I moved over to the guy in the stasis field and took a picture of his face and then sent it in a text to Billie.

Me: Do you recognize this guy?

It took a few minutes for Billie to respond and when he did it was my phone ringing again.

“Jack, where did you get that picture? Do you know who that is?”

“From the sanctum above Bree’s apartment, and no. That’s why I sent you the picture.”

“Damn it Jack, you should recognize him. He’s one of the Guild’s ten most wanted! That’s the Sorcerer Jarlath Blackstone!”

For a second time seemed to stand still. I’d heard what he said but my mind felt like it was wrapped in cotton.

“Did you hear me? Jack, say something.”

“Uh . . .”

“Jack, don’t do anything that might disrupt the stasis field. I’ll be there in less than five minutes.”

“Okay, I’ve got my wards up so you’ll have to text me when you’re here.”

“Fine, don’t do anything stupid.”

I heard the line disconnect and I slowly lowered my phone. The guy sleeping under the spell looked so . . . normal; dark hair with a little grey and a well-trimmed beard. He didn’t look like the infamous Master Sorcerer who’d helped Silas attack the St. Louis Guild Hall.

“Why are you here?” I heard the words slip out and I knew that was the real question. “Or are you here?” My mind was now spinning, “What if that’s your body and your soul is somewhere else?” Then things started to click, “Son-of-a-bitch!”

I grabbed my phone and dialed the TOC emergency number. The line went straight to a voice mail service. “Shit!” I hit end and then I dialed the FOB number; again right to the service. “Oh, fuck.”

I turned and raced down the stairs. When I got to the bedroom I grabbed the crystal and re-sealed the door and stuffed the crystal into my pocket. By the time I got my shoes on and my purse together with the things I thought I’d need my phone started to vibrate. I raced to the living room brought down the wards and threw the door open. Billie was standing there and when he saw me he blurted out, “What’s wrong? What happened?”

“We need to get to the TOC, now!”

Rather than ask a bunch of questions Billie followed me down to the car. I didn’t try to drive, we didn’t have time for an argument. Billie slid into the front seat activated the crystal and punched it. As soon as we were rolling he asked, “What’s going on?”

“I don’t think it was Bree in this body when we did the swap. I think it was Jarlath. I think we were set up at Devon’s house. I think those assassins were supposed to kill me and Grigori. I don’t know what the end game is, but we’ve got to get to the TOC before the sorcerers take it down.”

For a second there was silence as Billie focused on his driving. “Why attack the TOC? Even if they take it down they won’t infiltrate the Hounds. At most they might get a dozen agents but that will only make this personal. We’ll simply hunt them down.”

Just then the building we’d been using as a TOC came into view. It was a single story building, sort of a mini-strip mall, in that it held four small stores. There was a sandwich store and a beauty salon at one end and we’d taken over the other two stores using the cover of a real-estate office when in reality it was something very different. From the end of the building we were using black smoke billowed. As Billie pulled into the parking lot I could hear the distant wailing of an emergency vehicle.

Before the car had come to a stop I was out and moving forward. I could see that the fire was pretty intense so I activated the best shield spell I knew powering it from Bree’s Chakra-Well.

“Bree, wait, you can’t go in there!”

Even in an emergency Billie was staying in character. At this point I didn’t care if I made anyone suspicious. I needed to know what had happened. I was through the door ducking low to find clearer air. My spell was protecting me from the heat but not the smoke. The buildings sprinkler system was working but the water wasn’t really slowing the spread of the fire.

“Steve!”

I saw the first body, sprawled to the left of the door. My eyes were tearing up and I didn’t know if it was the smoke or what I was feeling. Steve’s entire chest was caved in, as though someone had hit him in the chest with a large hammer. I could see broken ribs poking through the shirt and a lot of blood. I moved through the outer room involuntarily identifying one body after another. CPT Miller’s head had been severed and was lying next to his body. Then I saw the door that had been reinforced with steel and wards it was crumpled and twisted lying to one side. It had been blown open from the inside.

I moved around the wreckage, now almost crawling as I tried to find breathable air. The smoke was so thick I could hardly see. I pulled my t-shirt up and used the bottom of it to cover my nose and mouth. Through the door I saw the operations center. It looked like a tornado had raced through it. Bodies lay like twisted parodies of what a human should look like; furniture had been tossed about and smashed to kindling. I made myself look at each body. I’d found the rest of my team plus the tech staff that ran the TOC.

‘Why are they here instead of at the FOB’ I wondered moving to check one pulse after another. Then I spotted Lori, laying across the threshold to one of our two makeshift holding cells. When I reached her side and checked her pulse I felt my first surge of relief. It was faint but still there. I used more of Bree’s power to augment my strength and then I scooped Lori up and moved as quickly out of the TOC as I could. Just as I got to the front room there was a loud crashing sound and the ceiling collapsed right in front of the door.

Now the smoke was so thick I couldn’t see anything. My shield was still protecting me from the heat and falling debris, but it was draining my Well at an alarming rate! With a growl of rage I used most of Bree’s remaining power and blasted the wall to the left of the door with telekinesis. Bricks and drywall blew out and in rushed fresh, cool, clean air. The fire around me instantly blazed up in response and I felt my shield falter but it remained up, protecting Lori and me from the heat. I rushed through my make-shift doorway and stumbled out onto the parking lot to the side of the building. I managed to keep my feet moving and put several yards between me and the building before looking back. Thick black smoke was pouring from the hole I’d made and I could see flames now shooting through a hole in the roof.

Suddenly Billie was next to me. “Bree, are you okay?”

“Yeah . . .” I had to stop as a coughing fit hit me. My eyes were streaming tears and it felt like I had a fountain of snot coming from my nose. I sat Lori down and stepped back.

When I could see more clearly I watched as Billie administered first aid to Lori. After a second he looked up at me, “Did anyone else survive?”

“No.”

Just then a fire truck pulled into the parking lot. Lori started coughing and her eyes fluttered open before she rolled onto her side and retched. When she was done Billie draped her arm over his broad shoulder and then lifted her. I could tell he didn’t have to augment his strength to do it and I felt a flash of jealousy. Then we were moving toward Grigori’s car. No one stopped us and this surprised me until I realized that Billie was using a veil that was stretched thin to cover all of us. Because he was in the body of a physical adept he was relying on a ring he’d brought as part of his gear. I was suddenly very glad he’d thought to use it. He deposited Lori in the back seat of the Hellcat and we eased out of the parking lot. Once we were a block away he looked over at me.

“What happened in there?”

I shook my head and then realized he wasn’t looking at me. “It was a mess. There was some kind of fight. It looked like everyone had been killed before the fire started. Lori was the only one alive. All the records, computers, and monitors were destroyed. Steve and Paul are dead as is Captain Miller and the techs that were running the TOC.”

After a few minutes Billie pulled into an empty parking lot. We both turned around to look at Lori, she was breathing evenly but I could tell that she was hurt.

“We should go into the local Guild Hall and report.” I said.

“How will we do that?”

I glanced over at Billie, “I don’t understand. We’ll walk in and use an office and call all of this in.”

Billie shook his head, “You’re not thinking clearly. We are in deep cover. We have nothing that identifies us as Hounds. Neither of us has the power of a Magic-User. If we go to a Guild Hall they won’t believe us.”

“They will if we call Colonel May.”

“Sure, what’s his number?”

I paused feeling confused. “I don’t know.”

“What’s the number of the Ops Desk at the Camp?”

The Camp was our nickname for the training center and HQ of the Hounds of Heaven.

I opened my mouth to answer his question only to snap it closed. “I don’t understand. Why can’t I remember?”

Billie sighed, “I forget you’ve not been undercover before. One of the spells used on you before you were transferred into that body was a spell to block specific pieces of information. If your cover was blown you wouldn’t be able to give some things away even under torture.”

“So how do we prove our identity?”

“Normally that isn’t a problem. Most undercover teams use one or two of the really advance shape-shift spells or even one of those new masks the Guild has developed. If the spell isn’t renewed you’d just shift back or you can take the mask off. I our case we’ve always had a team working with us who could vouch for us. If things got really desperate there were the records at the TOC. The mission logs, daily SITREPs, and admin records would have been enough to prove who we are.”

“Except that we didn’t use a shape-shift spell or a mask, our team is dead, and the logs have been destroyed.”

For a moment I just sat there trying to think through the enormity of it. “Doesn’t this mean Bree and Grigori can impersonate us?”

“Yeah, I’ve been thinking about that, normally, no. The artifact doesn’t give the person access to the host body’s memories. That’s why we were chosen for these missions. Our Psi-magic training allowed us to access them. Even if the two people walking around in our bodies aren’t Bree and Grigori, even if they’re sorcerers, they’d still need psi-magic skills to access our memories. So, no, I don’t think they can impersonate us. Although, I’m starting to think we’ve been had from the very start of this op.”

I shook my head, “I don’t know. Bree put some very sophisticated blocks on her memories and it seems like some of her power is psi-magic based. I wouldn’t assume she can’t figure out how to get to some of my memories.”

“I thought you said that Jarlath Blackstone was in your body?”

I shook my head, “I don’t know. I mean at the time it seemed like it fit. But sorcerers don’t study mind magic and there is nothing in the record about Blackstone that indicates he’s trained as a Psi-Magi.”

“So where’s Blackstone?”

I just shook my head. Nothing made sense. For a few minutes we just sat there trying to think through the implications. If Bree could access my memories then she’d be able to pull off a very convincing impersonation of me. Shoot, we might even find ourselves being hunted by the Guild. The idea left me feeling stunned. Just then there was a moan from the back seat.

“Not all of our team was killed!” I said, and turned around. Lori had rolled onto her back and was now settling back into a fitful sleep.

“Okay, we need to get to someplace safe and do what we can for Lori. Once she’s recovered we can ask her what happened and she can report in to higher headquarters.”

Billie nodded, “I think I know the perfect place.” He pulled out into traffic driving slowly and carefully.

Then a thought hit me, “Do you think they took the artifact?”

Billie glanced at me and shrugged, “You were the one inside. What do you think?”

I slumped back into my seat. “I didn’t see it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.”

***

I looked over the dingy room and shook my head. “I thought Bree lived in a dive. This place makes her apartment look great.”

From his cot on the other side of the room Billie lifted his head to look at me. “Beggars can’t be choosers. Besides a storeroom behind Big Tony’s liquor store is the last place anyone is going to look for us. And it was big enough to pull the car into.”

In a way it made sense. The Hellcat was too distinctive a car to just park and not expect it to get noticed. This room with its garage door had been perfect. Billie had even managed to dig up three cots. But it still smelled like exhaust and I was pretty sure it had mice. Not that I was some delicate flower, but I could tell Bree hated them.

“I feel like we need to be doing something.”

Billie grunted, “We are, we’re watching Lori. I used our medical crystal on her and now she’s sleeping. When she wakes up we’ll find out what happened and then go to the Guild.”

I’d been lying on my back but now I sat up. “That’s one plan, but we know that there are two people out there in our bodies. They’re running around doing God knows what and we’re just sitting here.”

Billie grunted and sat up swinging his legs over the side of the cot so he could face me. “Fine, what would you like to do?”

“Let’s go back to Bree’s apartment and look at the sanctum. We might be able to find a clue.”

“Yeah, or we could be walking into an ambush. Let me ask you this, how much of Bree’s power remains in her Chakra-Well?”

I frowned and concentrated for a second, “About a third of what she had.”

“So you’re down to one third power and when you run out of stored power what can you draw?”

I grunted, “About enough to light a couple of candles or boil a cup of tea.”

“Do you really think it’s a good idea to go looking for a fight?”

“What about you? You said Grigori could draw more power than you’d expected.”

“Yeah, he’s just under the range needed for a third class. But this body has been trained as a Physical Adept. I’ve been trying to break down the barriers but so far I can’t cast a single damn spell. I can use the magic that is the same as the physical adept’s magic. I can become stronger, faster, harden my skin and improve my senses. But assuming we have one sorcerer and one tantric-Adept now in our bodies. They have the power of a 2nd Class Magic-User and a 3rd Class Magic-User. Plus their sorcerer’s powers and you think we can take them?”

At this I felt defeated. Billie was right. There was no way we could take those two in our present situation. “So we’re going to sit around and do nothing?”

“No.” Billie stood up, “We’re waiting for Lori to wake up. But we could also work on recharging you.”

I glanced up at Billie and my pulse quickened. There was no mistake. Bree was very strongly attracted to Grigori’s body. I felt my face flush and my nipples started to get hard. A part of me instantly rebelled at the idea. I was a man! Billie was really a woman! Us having sex just seemed wrong on so many levels. Besides that we were partners, colleagues, friends and everything in me said that sleeping with a friend was a bad idea. Never mind the fact that we’d be doing it from the wrong side of the gender fence.

Billie moved over to me and as he approached he looked huge, for some reason this seemed comforting instead of intimidating. He sat down next to me and we were close enough for me to feel heat coming off his body.

“Uhm, this probably isn’t a good idea.”

Billie reached out to stroke my thigh and I put my hand on his to stop him. “We’ve been partners for over a year. If we had sex it would ruin things between us.”

“Why?” As Billie said it he reached over to cup my chin, tilting my head up to look into his eyes. “Why would it ruin things? We’re not in our normal bodies. I’ve never been a man before and would like to know what it feels like for a man. You’ve done it as a woman, with this body, and you need to recharge. This makes perfect sense operationally and personally.”

His large brown eyes looked into mine and for a moment I couldn’t think of a good reason to say no. As if sensing my uncertainty he leaned in and brushed my lips with his. They were warm and soft and I felt a warmth start in my belly. I opened my mouth and it was all the invitation that Billie needed to dart his tongue inside. My senses seemed to explode; all of a sudden I was very aware of him! I could feel my tantric power swelling and then Billie cupped my breast. The sensations traveled from my nipple to my clitoris to my stomach and suddenly every cell in my body felt alive. I opened my mouth further and I felt energy flow into me. Grigori’s body was practically bursting with masculine power. In that instant I knew why Bree was so attracted to him. His Physical Adept training brought his body into perfect balance with his magic. Tapping into him was like mainlining coke and the great thing was he’d recover in a matter of minutes.

As his energy flowed into me I felt him reach down to stroke my pussy and I felt myself get moist and the ache to be filled became a demand. My body wanted his and my tantric power wanted more of him and it wanted it now.

“Enough foreplay, fuck me!”

The voice was mine but I knew that it was Bree’s personality coming to the fore as her tantric power was now fully active. Billie didn’t waste any time. He unzipped his pants and pulled out his already rock hard cock. I wiggled out of my jeans and underwear and then he was plunging into me; the feeling of being taken so roughly shot pleasure from by clit through my belly to my nipples.

“Ahhhh . . .”

“God, Jack, you’re so tight!”

I wanted to tell him to call me Bree but then I got a flash of memory. ‘I was sitting on a hotel bed looking at a man’s back’ . . . Billie pulled almost all the way out and then plunged back in . . . ‘there were fresh scratch marks on his back, I felt a sense of satisfaction at having marked him’ . . . Billie pulled back and now moved down to take my left nipple into his mouth before pushing back into me . . . ‘the man was talking, but I couldn’t hear what he was saying. Then Bree responded, “And what’s in all of this for me?”’ . . . Now when Billie pulled back he used his thumb to stroke my clit before driving his cock back in I could feel his balls slap my ass cheeks he was so deep . . . ‘“Power. More than you can imagine . . . and never again having to submit yourself to a man for pleasure!”’ . . . Billie was picking up the pace. He’d moved both hands so they were under my ass, holding me steady as he rammed his cock violently into me. For a moment I felt like I was riding lightning. Power flowed into me and I couldn’t help screaming as my orgasm approached . . . ‘“Once I’m in his body we can start the operation. Then we’ll find you a suitable body, your choice!” Bree nodded, “Agreed, but I want to be a man.” At this the guy stood up and turned around. Jarlath Blackstone looked down and grinned. Black motes floated around in his eyes as he laughed. “Perfect. Now call your boyfriend over, we have work to do.”’ . . . Ahhhhhhh the orgasm crashed through me and I felt power flow into my Chakra-Well. For a moment all I could do was lay there. My mind and body overwhelmed my sensations, magic, and knowledge. The after effect of the orgasm left my body humming but my mind was trying to piece together what I’d just learned. I felt Billie’s dick start to get soft and he rolled off of me with a little popping sensation.

Billie climbed to his feet his flaccid cock glistening with our juices. “Damn, that was fantastic. I think I could really get the hang of this.” He then started pulling on his boxers and jeans. I wanted to tell him what had just happened. The vision I’d had but I was having trouble making my voice work. I could feel his seed leaking out of me and down my ass cheeks. Billie glanced at me and grinned, “I’d say you enjoyed it too by the freshly fucked look on your face! Hehehe.”

I felt a flash of anger at the jib, and pushed myself up onto my elbows. “I just saw one of Bree’s hidden memories.”

The statement stopped Billie cold. He gave me an intent look, “And?”

“And we need to get over to Bree’s sanctum, NOW. We can’t wait for Lori to wake up.”

“Uh, if you two would stop shouting my head would appreciate it.”

For a second we both froze. Lori hadn’t moved but it was her voice. I quickly climbed off the cot and grabbed a tissue from my purse. I did my best to wipe myself before climbing back into my clothes. In the meantime Billie moved over next to Lori.

“Hey, how are you feeling?”

“Like I was hit by a freight train and then stuck in a smoker and left to roast.”

Now dressed I moved over to Lori’s other side, wincing at the scent of fresh sex. “Do you remember what happened?”

At this Lori opened her eyes and looked up at Billie and me. For a second she seemed confused and then memories returned. “Jack? Billie?”

We both nodded and I reached down to take her hand squeezing it reassuringly. “Yeah, we’re here. Do you remember what happened?”

At this she closed her eyes and her cheeks suddenly flushed. “God, I’m such a fool!”

“Lori, if you know what happened at the TOC you need to tell us. All of our lives may depend on it.” The concern in Billie’s voice caught Lori’s attention. She nodded and then looked at me.

“It was you . . . or rather, Bree in your body.” At my confused look she sighed and continued, “I went into the holding cell to bring him some food. We were shorthanded with everyone focusing on setting up to run a double undercover Op. So I went in by myself.” Lori glanced at me and shook her head. “I know you don’t know this, but I’ve always thought you were cute. I put the food down in front of you, I mean Bree, and he caught my eye. Did you know your eyes are blue with flecks of green?” I shook my head and she continued. “Anyway I was looking into your eyes when you, I mean Bree, held up his hands. He asked if I would un-cuff them so he could eat. It seemed like a reasonable request. Once his hands were free he reached out and touched my face.”

At this Lori looked down and away, “I’ve never felt anything like it. I was suddenly so horny. All I could think of was how much I’ve wanted you. How much I’ve always wanted you . . . and now was my chance . . . I . . .”

“Okay, we understand, Bree used his tantric magic on you. Did you have sex?”

Lori nodded, “Only once we were done I couldn’t move. I didn’t have the energy. Then you . . . he . . . laughed. He thanked me for the energy and then took my blasting wand.” Lori looked over at Billie, “He also took my set of keys and ducked out of the cell. I think he released your body. Once he left the cell things get a little fuzzy. I remember hearing them attack; I think they got everyone by surprise. Oh, God, I’m a fool! How many?”

The look of horror and the pleading for it not to be bad almost broke my heart. I opened my mouth to speak but Billie beat me to it.

“They’re all dead. The TOC is destroyed. The records are gone as is the artifact.”

“We don’t know about the artifact.” I said.

Billie glared at me, “Don’t be stupid. Of course they took it.”

Lori pushed herself up, I could tell she was still weak but recovering. “What should we do?”

“You need to call the Camp and arrange for an immediate extraction. Colonel May wasn’t at the TOC so ask for him. We’ll need to establish our identities and then we’ll hunt these bastards down and make them pay; even if it takes years!”

“Why wait years?” I said, “I know where they are, or at least where they will be.”

At this both Lori and Billie turned to look at me. I felt a grin stretch across my face. “I told you, I just accessed the memories that Bree didn’t want me to have.”

***

I hate stakeouts. I always have. Over the years I’ve trained myself to endure them but I still hate them. Particularly now, sitting here next to Billie, I could feel the connection between us and with the tiniest tug I could have made him so horny he wouldn’t be able to see straight. I check my Chakra-Well, two-thirds full. A quickie would top me off. Then I dismissed the notion. With my luck our targets would show up just as I got Billie’s cock right where I wanted it. Being interrupted during sex wasn’t something I wanted to experience tonight.

I touched the bracelet and then the ring I wore. The ring was the third item I’d gotten from the Hound’s armory before taking this mission. It would likely prove useful tonight.

“You’re sure they’ll be here?”

“Yes, I’m sure!”

Just then I felt more than saw movement. A powerful masculine energy was moving under a veil. I grabbed Billie’s arm and pointed. “There they are, under a veil.”

There was a slight distortion of light moving through the parking lot toward the apartment building’s main entrance. We both switched to the Third-Eye almost at the same time. Now the distortion was much easier to see. Billie grabbed the radio mic.

“All Hounds, this is Birddog, tally-ho. Bandit is approaching Corona. All Hounds are cleared to engage.”

The words sent a chill through me. I didn’t want a full out engagement. I wanted to subdue and question. That and to force them to return my body. I flew out of the car using my Chakra-Well to fuel my speed and strength spells. Apparently a Tantric-Adept was as versatile in magic as a Magic-User. I felt Bree’s distinctly feminine magical energy flow through me, “Autem!”

The bracelet on my wrist responded transforming into a Wakizashi and dropping easily into my hand. There was a screeching sound and from overhead and a pair of Hounds in full battle-rattle dropped from the sky landing with an earth shaking force between the pair and the entrance to the apartment. As this was happening I heard the squeal of tires and knew that a cruiser was pulling into the parking lot to seal off the exit.

With my enhanced strength and speed I practically flew over the ground crossing the street in a blink and racing toward the pair. As I approached the veil fell apart and Jarlath in Billie’s petite body raised the wand in her hand.

“Rigéscunt!”

A cone of cold energy blasted from the wand striking the first Hound in the chest. The wards on her armor flared and she stepped through the spell, the frozen grass breaking under her feet.

“Is that the best you’ve got?”

Bree in my body stepped forward and laughed before pointing a finger at the Hound.

“Dolor!”

I could feel the blast of Psi-Magic from where I stood and knew that the Hound didn’t have anything to counter it.

“Ahhhhhh . . .”

She dropped the M-4 she’d been holding and grabbed her head with both hands dropping to her armored knees.

“Exonero!”

I shouted drinking deeply from my stored power. The spell lashed out and I could feel it smash into Bree’s spell cutting it apart with brutal efficiency. He spun around to look at me and when he saw me a look of surprise crossed his face quickly followed by glee.

“So, you’ve come to play? I was hoping that you’d stay away. I didn’t want to ever see that body again, but now, I must admit, I was one sexy bitch!”

As he spoke I could feel him sending a wave of tantric power at me. I was more than ready for it and my own tantric power rose up. For a second colored light sparkled between us and then Bree staggered back.

“You’ve learned a thing or two! Well, no matter, I’m stronger than you and am more than able to bring down a tiny thing like you!”

Bree lashed out with a glowing magic missile attack. I used the power from my Well to fuel the shield that stopped the attack. But at the rate I was being drained I knew I didn’t have much time, even using my pathetic gift to draw power into my Well, I’d be out in no time. I focused on defending and closing the distance. The battle narrowed down to just Bree and me. I deflected a fire ball next and then slipped under a telekinetic strike using a front shoulder roll. By the time I was ten feet away my Chakra-Well was almost empty and Bree sensed it.

“Ha, I’ve been hitting you with what I could channel! I still have the energy in my Well!”

“Immobilibus!”

I felt the power of the spell wash over me. Suddenly it was very hard to move my arms and legs. I was now five feet away. Almost close enough to use the Wakizashi!

“Why are you laughing? You’ve lost!” As Bree spoke he moved closer and I activated my ring. The third item I’d taken when I accepted this assignment. Power flowed into me, burning like the sun. The ring wasn’t all that sophisticated. It was an energy storing ring.

“Discutio!”

Energy lashed out and Bree’s shields flared and then broke under the power of the strike. I shook off the effects of his spell and took a step forward bringing my Wakizashi up to high guard.

“Surrender!”

Bree’s face had gone pale and I saw him hesitate and then just as he started to lower his wand a small red dot appeared on his forehead. An instant later I heard the crack of the high power rifle. Then as if in slow motion I saw the back of his head explode away as the bullet exited. For a second time froze. I couldn’t move. My mind refused to accept what had just happened. Then in slow motion I turned to look at the cruiser that had blocked off any retreat. Lying over the hood was Lori behind the M4 that was set up over the hood on a tri-pod with a scope. She lifted her head and gave me a fierce grin before sighting in her next target. Only there was no need. Jarlath was on the ground, the pair of Hounds he’d been fighting having gotten the best of him.

I fell to my knees next to my now dead body. I didn’t know what to do it all just seemed so surreal. Then I felt a strong set of hands on my shoulders and I looked up into Billie’s face.

“Jack, take it easy. It’ll all be okay.”

***

THE END PART II

***

***

Epilogue

***

I looked down at the documents on the table. There significance wasn’t lost on me. My whole life on paper, or rather a fake life, invented to give me a place on the teams and in modern society. Jacklyn Carter or Jackie for short was a five foot one female. Trained as a 3rd Class Magic-User, even though I lacked the power, well sortta lacked the power. I touched the driver’s license and thought that it had to be the best photo I’d ever taken for a license. The bright white smile actually showed off my dimples.

“How are you doing?”

Billie slid into the chair across from me her long blonde hair styled to show off her cheek bones. ‘Funny,’ I thought, ‘I never noticed it before. Hell, we could almost be twins!’

“I’m doing . . . okay.”

Even my voice sounded depressed and Billie reached over to squeeze my hand. It was such a simple feminine gesture intended to offer support and comfort. It made me want to lash out. I suppressed the feeling and nodded, “Thanks.” Then to change the subject, “So what did the judge say?”

Billie let go of my hand. “The Guild Judge gave Jarlath the maximum sentence. Although, we’re no longer putting prisoners in pocket dimensions, instead he’s going to the new maximum security Guild prison on Alcatraz.”

I nodded feeling a little better at the news.

“Look, Jack, Lori feels horrible about what happened. She thought you were about to be killed, or she wouldn’t have taken the shot.”

“About to be killed? The only reason her damn bullet hit Bree was because I’d just destroyed his shields!”

After a second Billie shrugged, “Yeah, well, that may be true. But your body is gone. You should try to move on.”

“Fuck, Billie, I’m trying.” Then I let out a sigh. “How’s Grigori doing in the Metal-Witch’s body?”

At this Billie laughed. “Not good. None of his magic works. He has to relearn magic and he lost twenty years. So he’s pretty much out of the organized crime business.”

I nodded, thinking that Colonel May had made the right call there. After we’d retrieved the artifact from the car that Jarlath and Bree had been using Billie swapped with Jarlath and got her body back. But after that COL May had vetoed any more swaps. Jarlath in a Physical Adept’s body was a bad combination for him since his power was based on spirit magic and Grigori’s body was trained in physical magic. Jarlath was still dangerous since he could draw power from the souls bound to him; but much less powerful than if he’d gotten his metal-witch body back.

I had to smile a little at the memory of waking up the body that had belonged to Jarlath in the stasis field. Grigori had freaked out when he’d discovered who he now was. He’d complained bitterly about being stuck in an ‘old guy’s’ body and the loss of his Physical Adept power made him useless to the Mob. He’d have to go legit now, at least until he learned to use his new abilities.

The only thing that would have made it better was if he’d ended up in this body. Unfortunately, COL May wanted me right where I was. Since my body was dead, they wanted me to research this new ‘Tantric’ magic. The Guild had always written it off as morally questionable. But now after showing what I could do with a full Chakra-Well and the fact that my Well appeared not to have an upper limit . . . they wanted to know more. COL May wanted to know more about it and his Guild superiors had agreed with him.

“So when will we be assigned a new team?”

“Officially we’ve got thirty days of R&R. Then we’re to report in, back at the Camp. Colonel May indicated that he’s got something new for us.”

I nodded and started collecting my documents and packing them into my purse.

“So, what are you going to do for the next thirty days?”

I glanced over at Billie, “I was thinking Hawaii. Want to come? Girls only vacation.”

“Hehehe, sure why not!”

***

THE END

***

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