Chapter 2 "Snakes" 3

His lips softly brush her ear, her long, dark, silky hair splayed across the pillow allowing access to the earlobe. Traveling slowly down her neck to her bare shoulder, he feels the quiver of anticipation radiate across her, absorbed by the mattress beneath her back. As he passes lower, softly kissing the tender flesh where the collar meets the sternum and then moving down between her bare breasts, her breathing quickens. Her arms rise, hands encircling his head, pulling him closer to her as fingers comb his hair and travel to his bare back and shoulders. He knows that she is his at that point, another conquest of a daughter of a great house.
The lack of memory of how he captured her or the inability to place her house or even her name seems not to bother him as he draws the tip of his nose down her belly, softly kissing the navel and working lower, ever so slowly. Her legs rise, knees bent and thighs cradling his head as her fingers trail off his hair and grip the sheets, shaking. The early morning birdsong mixes with her soft moans, finally drowning all else, causing him to jerk his head upwards and open his eyes, the dream terminated.
Dion lays in a bed, alone. Quickly scanning the room, he reacquaints himself with Grand Master Pak’s guest room. Still quite dark but approaching false dawn, the birds sing their song of anticipation of morning, the sound passing through ill-fitted windows.
“Alas, poor dear. Perhaps we will have the chance to meet again on some future night without interruption by our avian friends,” he reflects sadly as memory of the dream fades.
The god frees his legs from a light blanket, rising in cut precision from the bed.  Whispering a simple spell, he brings fire to a candle seated on a nearby table next to which his clothes lay, folded neatly and magically cleaned and once again mended, all part of his nighttime ritual from the previous day. The single light source bathes the room with a warm, golden light and cleanly outlines a shadow of his naked, muscular form against the far wall.
Pacing the short steps to the table, Dion lifts the clothing and dresses himself quickly.  The previous day’s events unfold before him followed by vaguely predictable events of the current day.  As he fastens the remaining buttons on his jacket, he steps into the adjoining hallway, retracing his steps from the night before. Passing the small kitchen, he spots the elder already sitting at the table, sipping a green tea.
“Good morning, Guardia,” the Grand Master softly speaks as if a louder tone would somehow disrupt the serenity of the morning.
Dion, coming to a sharp halt in his step, assumes a formal stance before the master and bows appropriately. “Good morning to you, Master Pak. With all the commotion of yesterday, I realize now that I never formally introduced myself. I am Sergeant Gwydion, but please call me Dion.”
The elder raises his tea cup slightly, in a salute. “Sergeant Dion. I hope you slept well.”
“Thank you, master. Your home is most pleasant and aided in my rest. But, as I have much to accomplish before the start of this day, I must ask of your leave to begin my tasks.”
“It was an honor having you stay for the night, Sergeant Dion, as my dojo will be honored with your presence going forward twice weekly. “
Bowing again, Dion responds. “Kamsa hamnida, Master Pak. You have my word. I shall return for your instruction as you order in no more than three days hence.” Rising again, Dion steps quickly through the small dojo and into the street.
Reestablishing his bearings, Dion meets the main street leading back towards the Guardia station. Still in the pre-dawn dark, he extends his senses to better familiarize himself with the area. That extension brings a sound to his ears from a nearby crossing alley. A scuffle is occurring with short, sharp words being uttered quietly. Stepping into the alley opening, he passes an archway leading to an inset doorway where three figures are barely visible in the grey darkness. Two of them have their back to Dion and are facing a third who Dion cannot see clearly as he is shaded by the others.
“We told you not to cross into our territory!” a hushed voice from one of the figures with their back to Dion. “Looks like you need another reminder.”
The figure shifts and a muffled grunt is heard as the one facing Dion slumps against the door, having taken a punch to the belly. Attempting to plead his case, he cries out, “I needed to get the medicine for Grandma. I’m sorry I had to cross the street.”
“Don’t care your reason, scum. You’re going to need more than medicine when we’re through with you.” And as the first figure goes to strike again, Dion steps forward from the grey darkness, intercepting the arm and freezing it. Quickly assessing the opponents, he concludes they must be teenage youth gang members., the one he’s holding being the largest of the two and shorter than Dion though slightly heavier.
“Wha–?” the gang member starts in surprise, suddenly finding his arm restrained.
With a quick shift, Dion pins the teenager to the wall, driving his knee into the gang member’s paunchy stomach. Swiftly turning, he sees the second gang member, slighter in build and wearing a mock military uniform, quickly evaluate the change of situation and flee down the alley, now followed by the first, clutching his stomach and limping quickly afterwards.
Dion considers following them to make an arrest, but is stopped when he hears “Thank you, mister.” Deciding that mortal crimes are best left with the Guardia Popula, he turns his attention to the victim, another teenager. Probably from a rival gang, he thinks.  
After a quick exam finds no real injury, Dion responds, “Go finish your task, but next time, be wary of boundaries.”

The teen stumbles out of the doorway and down the alley towards the main street.
Now alone, Dion exits the doorway only to suddenly find himself roughly pivoted and slammed against a wall.  Before he can react, a pointed blade is placed against his neck.
The lookout! he admonishes himself. The gang would have a lookout!
Peering down the blade in the improving light of true dawn, he sees a familiar feminine face, the kunoichi from the previous evening’s bar incident, whom he had disabled through the use of a temporary love spell. With one hand at his throat pressing him against the wall, she holds the blade in the other, touching his throat slightly above her hand. Her eyes are wide, fear laden, hunting side to side as they focus on his left eye then right.
As Dion attempts to speak, she silences him by pressing harder with her hand on his throat, the light improving to the point where Dion can see that her body is shaking.
Suddenly, she pulls the blade away from his throat, and grabbing the back of his neck, pulls him down to her as she rises to her toes and meets his lips with hers, kissing deeply. Quickly pulling away, she flees down the alley in the direction of the first two assailants and probably the gang hideaway.

Dion stands stunned and watches the kunoichi disappear around the alley corner.  Finally breaking free of the moment, he laughs, shaking his head with disbelief over the morning’s events. “Can this place get any more interesting?” he wonders. Turning, he meets up with the main road before concluding. “Maybe I don’t want to know.”

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