The heat was the part she couldn't quite get used to – and the itching.  

"That shiny!  IT's /mine/!"  The snarl at her ear made her jump – and she remembered to snarl back.

"Get yer own.  I found it first!"

The thing bared teeth at her – and she bared hers back and thought big thoughts, and -hoped- that this one wouldn't lead to a tussle — an early encounter had already cost her one of her two remaining fel disguises, and led to a bit of pyrotechnics in the hallway that still had all of the workers in the place wary and spitting.    Luckily, this one didn't – the other tinker-thing backed down, leaving her with the glittering pommel of some broken sword scrounged up from the shore.  Absently, she stuffed it into a pack – and went back to sorting through the crates in front of her.

She felt fatigue making her paws… claws ache, and she wanted nothing more to sleep, but she still had three hours to go before she could use the potion again.  She worked, instead, snarling at anyone that passed, grovelling obsequiously when the inquisitors swept through, and staying out of the way of both bigger and lesser demons.  Truthfully, she never suspected a demon's life was just so… boring.

A few hours later, she broke away, padding up along one of the service corridors in the great oppressive ship, glancing furtively each way – making sure she was truly -alone – before she dragged a claw through the pouch at her waist – coming up with one of the blue anti-fatigue potions, as well… as a stone.

Her Waystone.  Closing her eyes for a moment, she gripped it tight in her palm – letting the warmth of it remind her of her real life, outside of the stupid ship and its neverchanging lights and twisting corridors and constant roar of fel and crashing crates.

That's when she found herself sprawling on the deck, the fatigue potion clattering away one direction, and her waystone skittering another.. and her disguise dissolving around her like a bad memory.


"MINE!  MINE MINE MINE!"  The demon that had struck her stood over her overfull pack, howling and gloating – "No more you take.  MINE.  Slagging…. PANDAREN!  PANDAREN ON THE SHIP!  PANDAREN!"

…. she twisted, rolled – and brought up a paw, purple energies coalescing around her claws and her eyes… twisting space to slam the demon into the ship's wall.  Chanting to hold the spell, she quickly drew a strange prism out of another pouch – thanking the Celestials that the pirate hadn't noticed her swiping it out of his rooms on the ship.  Even as she heard the slapping of feet and swish of robes in the corridors behind her,  she twisted the crystal, pointing its glowing end at the demon – and then… she was there.

Or, rather, her face was.  She swapped seemings with the demon, already yelling in his voice – "THERE!  THERE!  PANDAREN!"  POinting and hopping and letting the chant end so that it, as her, went sprawling breathless to the floor.  

She felt, rather than heard, the inquisitor rise up behind her, whisperingwhisperingwhispering – demonic words clawing at her ears, promising madness and more.  The "Pandaren" shrieked, pleaded – "No!  You have the wrong…"   And then erupted with flame, eyes and mouth gouting green fel energies, body shrivelling as the inquisitor's hand rose.

She /felt/, rather than heard its voice – "… go and search the ship.  If there is one, there may be more.  Quickly!  It may have warned others."

Already, the tinker-demons howled and spread out, padding away – as the inquisitor turned its attention on her.  She grovelled, of course, "… this one found it, master!  Look!  This one has done well!"   No sense not bragging, right?

It reached for her – "Yes – you are to be commended – " … and then it turned away, the grovelling thing beneath its notice.  "Go and find others.  I will have shining things for you soon."  It focused instead on the stone… and the bottle.   

Petal scuttled away, "Of course.  Yes, great one.  Yes…"   Mentally cursing – and already looking for another place to be.

Behind her, the inquisitor gathered both.. but left most of its attention on the stone.

Author Aunne
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