It resembled a childhood memory twisted into a trauma, this shambling mound of shaggy brown fur. What sort of primal fear did it tap within me that caused me to tap magical energies that had laid buried within me for decades?
The air around me rippled as I spoke syllables that Reality tried to hide. Pulses of kinetic energy erupted from my open palms and sent the beast tumbling over the bench where I had almost been lulled into the Embrace. Its head flew clear of its body. I dropped my guard as I stared in disbelief. "Ash? What are you doing dressed like a mascot?" My creation quickly rose to his feet.
"In a word, Darien...disguise." He scooped the head up with a clumsy-looking paw. "And where are your clothes?" He stepped over the bench that had fallen apart due to inferior construction. That's when I realized...
"[EXPLETIVE!] peri just saw me...!"
"One of Qli's old friends, she was working undercover for Dr. Steel and rescued me." I pointed to the destroyed Doll at his furry feet. He scanned the destroyed construct, then turned back to me.
"Where are your clothes? And the bloodwine sample we concocted?" I covered my mouth in shock. We blew up one of my venues for that formula, it better still be here! I dashed to the cabinet that peri had just rifled through before she jumped out of the thrash chute. I found my briefs and my leather satchel...but the vial that was securely padded inside was missing. I bit my tongue and slipped on what little clothing I had before I launched into another tirade unbecoming my tender age. "You are lucky," Ash continued as she pulled some ruffled squares of colored fabric and lace from inside his suit. "I just destroyed three Blood Dolls after I accidentally spilled some of the house vintage. I felt guilty smashing them without a chance to defend themselves, but as long as they were distracted by lapping up the fluid from the bar, the bar stool and the floor..." He stacked a slightly stained collection of pink, violet and black Doll outfits in my arms. "Now we can both travel in disguise." He planted a blond wig with pink ribbons and lace on my head and began to adjust it. I looked at him in stunned silence.
"I...I have an idea. Howabout I wear the bear suit..."
"This bear suit is far too big for you, Darien. Furthermore, I would need to find a construct built from a Loli-Oni to recover a dress big enough..."
"Let's...just not go there, Ash. You're still wearing clothes under that suit, right?"
"Correct. But they would still be too large for..."
"The outfit is from Bare Rose, right?"
"Yes Darien, it was your gift from..." I tossed the dresses over my shoulder.
"Then it's transferrable and adjustable. And to be honest, you don't even need clothes. Now hand. It. OVER!"