Golden Dragon: The Quest

Chapter Nine: And It's Name Was...Clarence?!
by R.W. Lander

When that was finished, half an hour later, Brimstone said, "Hey, how about some lunch?"

"Sure, but I need to pick up my wife and daughter. You haven't met them."

They got into the Cadillac and thanked the officer, who was still staring in shock. Then they drove to the hotel to pick up Mary and Kim. He wasn't terribly surprised to find Dave and the Teacher in the same hotel.

In fact, when they got there, everyone was in the room Kim had rented. They were debating where to go for lunch when Dragon walked in with Brimstone. Brimstone shook Dave's hand and they greeted each other. Then there was an uncomfortable silence.

"Kim, this is Brimstone. He's the detective who's helping me out. Brimstone, this is my wife Kim, my daughter Mary, and my teacher...uh, the Teacher."

Brimstone shook Kim's hand and did the same for the Teacher. "Good to meet you. Dragon's told me a lot. So we ready for lunch?"

As they walked out, Brimstone took the lead with Dave. Kim yanked on Dragon's shirt and said, "He's a demon!"

Dragon nodded. Kim looked a little stunned, and then said, "Okay, as long as we're clear on that."

The Teacher came up next to Dragon and said, "Again you neglect your lessons. You must learn before the Wyrm finds us."

They all got in the elevator and Dragon said, "I am not neglecting my lessons. The skills I learn from Brimstone are every bit as important in finding the Sleeping Dragons. You and I must begin practicing at different times."

"As you wish, Golden Dragon," the Teacher answered.

Everyone got off and they walked over to a nearby deli. It was a fairly uneventful lunch, although things got tense when Frank dropped by for coffee and Kim learned that he was a vampire. It all got sorted out by the time they got their cheesecake.

When dinner was over, Dragon took Kim and Mary back to the hotel, but the Teacher and Dave insisted on coming along on the investigation. After assuring himself that Kim would be alright alone (by checking her taser and armor), Dragon reluctantly agreed.

Brimstone took them back to his office, where Dolores sat filing her nails. "Any calls, Dolores?"

"No, boss."

Dolores had the radio on, listening to the fire department radios. They seemed pretty quiet, but suddenly, there was a great deal of action. Brimstone listened intently and realized that there was another warehouse fire going on.

"Let's go," he yelled, and everyone piled into the car outside. Dolores shrugged and turned the radio back to a classical music station.

When they got to the site, the fire trucks were just arriving. The whole warehouse was on fire, and the trucks begin hooking up their hoses. Brimstone looked at Dragon and said, "Let's take a look around."

Dragon changed into his costume. He and Brimstone walked to the edge of the waterfront a few blocks down and dove in. They swam up underneath the burning warehouse and entered after Dragon punched a hole in the floor.

Dragon flew up and lifted Brimstone in. They started investigating as flaming timbers fell all around them. There was a lot of smoke in the air, but both of them could see well enough with all the light that flame was giving off.

"See if you can find anything interesting over there," Brimstone said, pointing at one side of the burning warehouse, "and I'll check this side."

The two of them split up. Dragon walked through the flames, patting out the few that caught on his uniform. He looked around for any reason the fire might have started, but couldn't find anything. He heard Brimstone yelling and ran back to the other side.

"Forget it," Brimstone said as Dragon reached him. "I had some guy cornered, but he teleported."

They kept poking around until water started to pour in, and then left through the hole in the floor. When they got back out, Dave and the Teacher were waiting for them.

"Well," Brimstone said, "not much more to go on. I didn't get a decent look at the guy, and there wasn't anything new in the warehouse."

"Yeah, but that had to be a metahuman. He survived in there and he teleported away. Either that or something supernatural. You got any files we can look at?"

Brimstone smiled. "Yeah, I got files."

Dragon, Dave, the Teacher and Brimstone all sat in the flaming section of hell that was Brimstone's office as he went through the bookshelf.

"Let's see, demonic possession, exorcism...brrr, scary thought, ghosts, hauntings, how to get ectoplasm stains out of 1001 things, here we go! Known Creatures that frequent Earth!"

Dragon looked up and saw Brimstone pull out a book that was the size of an average paperback. The only difference was that it was bound in black leather.

"You're kidding," Dragon said.

"Nope." Brimstone opened the book and started flipping pages. Dragon watched as he flipped through at least 1000. The book was a lot bigger than it looked.

"Here we go!" Brimstone stopped the book on a page marked, "Teleporters- Flame Proof" There was a whole page dedicated to see also, listing various other powers that could be ascribed to different beings. Then there were pictures with names written under them in arcane script.

Brimstone flipped through slowly, mumbling to himself. Dragon and the Teacher sparred with their swords, and Dave watched Hell around him. "Boy, I hope those nuns were wrong," he said.

After what felt like an eternity, Brimstone closed the book and shook his head. "Nothing. Whatever I saw, it was not like any of that stuff."

"Well, then maybe it wasn't supernatural," Dragon said. "What did it look like?"

"It was a fat guy, dressed in white. He was balding, looked to be in his mid-fifties, and he had this dumb smile on his face. Oh, and he had some sort of gold nameplate on, but I couldn't read it."

"What did he do?" Dragon asked.

"He just stood there, pointing at things. Then, when he saw me, he said, 'Oh, dear' and disappeared in a flash of white light. And he was definitely from this dimension. I got a sense of extra-dimensional beings, and he wasn't one."

"Sounds like an uncatalogued super," Dragon said.

Dragon stood up and walked out into the office. Dave and the Teacher followed him, and Brimstone was hot on their trail. When they got out of the office and onto the street, Brimstone said, "Hey, where we going?"

"Government tax office. I want to find out who owned those warehouses."

"Good thinking." Brimstone smiled. To Dave he said, "It took him a little longer than I thought, but he caught on."

When they got to the office, they were faced with a short man wearing glasses and a brown sweater that was too big for him. He directed them to the computerized files. Dragon entered the warehouse addresses and both came up with the same ownership.

"Xavier. Why is he involved in everything I do?"

"What were the warehouses for?" Brimstone prompted.

"I don't know, all it gives here is ownership and property value. Hey, these weren't insured."

"Well, we know Xavier isn't behind it, then," Dave said.

"No, Dave," Brimstone said. "What Dragon's saying is that we're investigating these fires on the basis of insurance fraud. Maybe we better have a talk with my clients."

They drove straight over to the offices of Rosen and Stanford. The office was on the twenty-third floor of one of the downtown skyscrapers. Dragon and Brimstone got in the elevator and went up, leaving Dave and the Teacher to guard the lobby.

They got off on the twenty-third floor and walked onto a dusty floor filled with wooden beams and unused construction supplies. The windows were all painted black from the inside, and the only light came from naked light bulbs screwed in at odd intervals. They started looking around as Dragon questioned Brimstone.

"When did you get this assignment?"

"They came to Ziggy's and offered it. Only contact I've had was with Rosen, some guy who contacted me. Real boring, average type. Only other person I've met was the investigator who came back saying the prayer. And I met him at home."

They kept poking around until Dragon found a box of miscellaneous electrical junk. The box was labeled "Xavier Enterprises."

"This doesn't look good. I'm beginning to wonder if we've been set up."

They stopped as they heard a hissing sound coming from somewhere in the room. Both of them looked around, expecting to see gas jets or poisonous snakes. What they saw was a tight beam of light at one of the windows, slowly cutting a hole from the outside.

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