Dragon Rider – Part Four

Chapter Three Continued

Willow

Drake closed his eyes and exhaled deeply.  ‘Don’t be stupid, if you’ve got to go-’

‘And so said the Faery,’ replied Gizmo, his eyes still glued to his computer screens.

Drake winced at Gizmo’s reply, but tried, all the same, to ignore it.  For now.

‘No,’ said Willow unclasping her legs, ‘we’re not going anywhere.  We’re going underground,’ said Willow, the conspiratorial defiance clear in her voice.

‘We’ve been keeping an eye on the Authorities,’ said Gizmo pointing to his screens, ‘I use this to track their movements so that we can stay one step ahead.’  Gizmo began to flick at the screens in front of him again.  Once he’d found the one he wanted, he tapped a code into the virtual keyboard.  ‘Say hello to Ailsa.’

Drake opened his eyes.  There was a crackle in the air in front of him, a flicker of blue light as a small child-like figure appeared in three-dimensional form.

‘Wow,’ said Drake, his eyes wide as he leant forward to run his hand through the holograph.

‘Do you mind?’ said the figure, its nose pointed in the air, its arms firmly crossed over its chest.

‘Sorry,’ said Drake, jumping back in his chair.

‘She’s Gizmo’s creation,’ said Willow, ‘Ailsa is an Artificial Intelligence.’

‘We use her to munch through the Enforcerer’s Systems.  She searches for any information we can use.  But we’re having trouble,’ continued Gizmo, ‘The Enforcerer’s Department has installed some new Demon-ware that’s doing a damn good job of keeping us out.  We should have it sorted soon, there’s bound to be a back door-’

Ailsa spoke to Gizmo, her eyes still locked onto Drake, a distinct look of disgust on her face.  ‘Route 2267 is blocked, we need to try another path.’

‘Okay,’ said Gizmo, ‘we’ll try route 3345 now.  Report back as soon as you can.’  And with that Ailsa disappeared.

‘And how do I fit into all of this?’ asked Drake.  Just as he had expected, this conversation was beginning to go down a long road that he had no desire to travel on.

‘We need you to help us find something-’

‘Willow, I-’

‘Just hear me out,’ said Willow putting her palms up to pacify him.  ‘We need to find a book for a friend-’

‘How’s finding a book going to help?’

Gizmo stopped flicking through the screens and finally looked at Drake.  ‘My father is friends with the Chief Law Enforcerer-’

‘The guy who runs the Law Department?’ asked Drake.

‘Yeah,’ said Gizmo nodding.  ‘He approached me a few days ago, said that he knew what we were up to, but he promised he’d keep quiet if we did this little favour for him and find the book-’

‘Must be some important book,’ said Drake, unable to keep the scepticism from his voice, ‘if he’s willing to protect you in exchange for it.  You know, a man in his position wouldn’t usually help if there wasn’t something really good for him at the end of it.’

‘Funestus isn’t like that,’ said Gizmo.

Drake rubbed his hand across his chin, the desire to tell the rich kid – in his expensive leather jacket and designer glasses – the truth, was almost too much to bear:  Men like Funestus were always out for themselves.  ‘The guy is in charge of the Department that is kicking you out of Devilsgate and blocking Ailsa with Demon-ware-’

‘To be honest Drake, I don’t care, I just need to find the book because I’m not leaving Devilsgate,’ said Willow, her face full of steely determination.

‘I’m not a treasure hunter Willow,’ said Drake.

‘I know, but I thought you might help…you know…for old times’ sake.’  Willow stared off into the distance as she said this, and Drake was sure he could hear a trace of bitterness in her voice.

‘I don’t know.’

‘We’d let you have a percentage of whatever we make; 60:40.’

Drake laughed.  ‘I don’t think so.’

‘Please Drake,’ said Willow, but it was not a question.  ‘I’m going to find it anyway, with or without you-’

Drake crossed his arms over his chest.  ‘This isn’t what I came back for-’

‘You’re more experienced than us at finding things-’

‘Yeah, people and creatures, not books.’

Willow looked straight into Drake’s eyes.  ‘Just meet the guy and talk to him.   He’ll be able to explain what he wants better than us, and then you can make your mind up.’

Drake rubbed his forehead.  This conversation had definitely had gone down a route he didn‘t want to take.  He hadn’t come back for this, to take on other people’s problems.  He’d got enough of his own and doing this for Willow would only delay him.  But there was something pulling him towards her.  Guilt for leaving her alone in Devilsgate all those years ago?  Shit.  What the hell was he going to do?

Drake leaned back on the sofa and ran his hands through his thick black hair. ‘Okay, let me ask you this; if everyone else in this City is in Fenrik’s pocket, what’s to say Funestus isn’t?  I mean, chances are he’s the same as everyone else who gets in power; they turn into greedy, power-hungry gits who’ll do anything to make more money and get more power-’

‘No, he isn’t.  I’ve known him for most of my life and he’s not the power hungry type.  He hates what’s going on here as much as we do, he’s just trying to change things from the inside out, that’s all,’ said Gizmo.

‘Just meet him?’ asked Willow.

Drake sighed loudly.  ‘Okay, but I’m not promising anything, right?’

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