The Dragon Dimension – Caught in the Dragon Cove

Chapter Three:

Another thirty or so minutes went by and just as Iax was about to have a shit-fit, they rounded a corner, and there it was! Finally! Wait. This can’t be right. With a small frown, she decided to make sure Gemma hadn’t taken a mental detour and gotten them lost, taking them to the wrong ‘small building.’

“Gemma, I thought you said a ‘small building,’ so what the fuck is this? Not a small building, that’s for damn sure.” Continually scanning their surroundings while trying to check out what Iax could only call a large and beautiful cabin, which stood right before them, she couldn’t wait to get inside, if this was even the right place. A soothing, hot bath sounded heavenly at the moment. Iax sighed.

“Yes, Iax, of course this is the correct place, and it is small, look at it. Another thing, we are going to work on this language you insist upon using all the time. It is not proper for a lady to speak in such a manner.” She lifted her chin in a dignified fashion and walked straight toward the cabin.

Opening the front door and entering the place, Iax was awestruck. Open structured, vaulted ceilings adorned with massive, wooden-beams; everything was the epitome of luxury.

“Well, girlfriend, you git ‘r dun and lemme know how it works out for ya,” she replied absently to Gemma’s declaration about her language. Knock yourself out trying, and good fucking luck while you’re at it, she thought, amused. “Better women and men have tried, all have failed. I tells ‘em like I sees ‘em, and I sees ‘em in my own way.” She couldn’t help chuckling at her friend’s perturbed expression.

Looking sadly defeated, Gemma shook her head as she walked over to a long hallway. Figuring the bedrooms were in that direction, Iax, still slack-jawed and only paying half attention to where she was walking, followed Gemma’s lead hoping to spot a bathroom with a nice Jacuzzi tub along the way.

There were old, crude-like tiles where woodwork was absent, and where those two were missing there were rough, clean rocks; both in all different sizes, shapes and colors. Everything was rustic such as an old wood-burning cookstove, hand-pumps for water, and stuff like that. But it was still luxurious, especially compared to the alternative of sleeping outside.

It’s such a gorgeous place, I could live here! Well, except for those flame-thrower dudes who would find and destroy me in no time, Iax conceded.

“Here are our bedchambers; we can each have our own. I hope you like this place. As I said, it is small but quite nice,” Gemma said.

Shaking her head, Iax was in disbelief over the woman thinking this place was small. Crazy broad must be used to a fucking palace. Iax sighed, missing her own place, or rather, her places. She didn’t realize she’d made the rather rude remark out loud until Gemma turned and scowled at her. “Sorry, just kidding,” Iax attempted to appease her friend; her much too sensitive friend.

Iax had been making bank since right out of high school. Somehow, someone had told someone else, and on down the line about Iax’s ‘mad-skillz’ in hand-to-hand fighting, as well as strategic combat, tactical planning, and her unnatural abilities with every weapon known to man. She had this nasty little habit of never missing her mark. Ever. After a few so-and-so’s had learned of her talents, they tracked her down and hooked her up lickety-split. Of course, it hadn’t hurt any to have Dear Old Dad working there, too.

She’d completed the required training everyone else had, which nearly killed most of the others also vying for positions in the C.I.A., causing a large number of them to dropout or be relieved during the process. It had been like watching flies drop.

But not Iax. She’d kept up, no problem, and excelled in each new trial much to the dismay of most the women, and all of the men. She hadn’t exactly made many friends—not that she cared—that’s not why she had been there.

It probably hadn’t helped when she openly laughed at those who were rudest to her, when their own exercises would go south. They would make utter asses of themselves on the daily, and sometimes even hourly. Which, or course, never failed to make her giddy and impossible for her to not poke, prod, and just in general, make fun of them. Quite openly. It had made for great fun, at least for her. So who cared?

She had passed every test and graduated top her class, and with the highest marks anyone had ever scored. Man or woman. Oh yeah, Iax was quite pleased with herself over that accomplishment.

Since then, she’d traveled the world many times over, even traveled to other Realms in the various Dimensions multiple times. Any time she traveled in her own place and time; Planet Earth—the here and now—she did it like anyone else, but in high style. Fancy helicopters, private leer jets, things like that. First-class all the way, baby.

She’d always been drawn to certain things, so that and her OCD issues had turned into high-dollar habits. Iax truly spent a hefty, or if she were to be honest with herself—but on this front she preferred to tell herself one white lie after another—an absurdly, asinine amount of her boodle to pay for her expensive fun and taste.

The important things in her life when, or if, work allowed her any time to enjoy them were things such as hi-tech toys, home decor, badass clothes, all the accessories to match; shoes, handbags, jackets, jewelry, etc. Of course, there was also her all-important coffee habit, Iax was always discovering and trying new gourmet coffees she found in shops and online. Can you say a-d-d-i-c-t-i-o-n? Iax certainly could, and in twenty-four different languages, too. Something else she was damn proud of.

However, when it came down to her away work—jobs away from Earth—things weren’t always so posh or fancy, nor were they easy since she didn’t get one single fucking clue about the job before taking off through that weird link thing.

Traveling to Realms and Dimensions was a surprise-a-fucking-minute. Her bosses, the bastards, knew she’d dig deep and do as much research possible to make a game plan well in advance. Problem was she would leave a trail, a digital footprint at the very least. Nobody could ever know we had peeps slipping in and out of alternate Dimensions and unknown Planes. Or so that was always the excuse they used for never giving her advanced notice. She would just find herself in a new location on another lovely O.W.O. vacay.

What-eve, no skin off my ass, Iax mused. She undoubtedly was one of, if not the best in the biz. Fast, smart, tough, along with a few other talents nobody else knew about. She even discovered a new one occasionally. Hey, a girl’s gotta have at least a few secrets, right? And Iax had secrets aplenty.

The O.W.O. Unit, aka: Outer Worldly Operations Unit, was a branch of the C.I.A. dedicated to intervening in any war already taking place, or preventing wars of an imminent nature, if possible. Somehow, they had found a way to communicate with the other Realms and Dimensions, but unfortunately, technology didn’t work in any of them. It would’ve been fantastic to have some tech-help each time.

Iax always wondered how she got to all the places she’d wound up in, especially since tech-goodies were of no assistance in any of them, but she still had no clue. She just simply ‘appeared’ and then ‘disappeared.’

The O.W.O. Unit had always treated her right. Iax had always painted herself with a patriotic, loyal, proud American brush. Yet this ‘Outer-Worldly-Shiz,’ fun as it was, still chapped her ass.

Wasn’t like the trusty old U.S. of A. didn’t have enough of their own troubles without always going balls-to-the-fucking-wall to help out so many other countries and causes. When, instead, they should be cleaning out their own closet first, before jumping ass-deep into every Tom, Dick and Harry’s problems.

There wasn’t much that pissed Iax off beyond all reason. Okay, that’s a lie, but this was one of her biggest hotspots. Everything was just so ass-backwards, not to mention the financial burdens; the entire situation made Iax a little bat-shit-crazy. It also never assuaged the deep guilt she harbored over her substantial personal wealth, even though she had earned every red cent, and then some.

Still, it made her feel guilty, with her strong feelings about wanting, or rather, needing to be able to help her own country before running to the rescue of everyone else. This was why she anonymously donated large chunks of cash to many deserving, American organizations. How could she not? Someone had to.

She didn’t require much in her personal life—if you could even call it that—other than her little secrets and wants. And she had more junk than anyone needed, so she’d slowed down on buying stupid things she didn’t need. Then she’d even found an incredible investment broker to manage her funds. With her employers covering all her expenses, she was financially able to help, so why not?

Women needed to run everything, Iax had long decided. Everything in the world would go so much smoother; people could hold their heads higher and stand taller because women would make it a much better place. It would be a life of all people thriving and being rightfully proud of their accomplishments, instead of how it had all become. What a shame. Aggravating, Iax owned.

Again, it always led back to those fuck-tard-loons, otherwise known as; typical men. The whole reason—or maybe the excuse?—she used and blamed for the kibosh always weighing heavily on her so-called social life. Okay, another lie. She’d never had one of those. Not really. She has a few awesome girlfriends in both of her places of residence.

Her particular group of bff’s in Manhattan, New York was the kind who gathered once or twice a month for their girls’ night, which was always hosted by a different person in their little group. Iax wouldn’t mind having them at her place, but she’d rather they be elsewhere. She never knew when she may disappear, and that would be impossible to explain to her friends. Thank God it hadn’t happened yet.

Still, she wished she could host the gatherings, her place was hella-cool, and it had cost her a pretty penny. She had written a check—payment in full—at the closing, and garnered a whole a lot of strange looks from everyone in the room. It was more than rare for a woman so young to do such a thing, and all on her own. But she had, and owned her pad outright. Something she wouldn’t give up for any amount of anything.

I’ll be one of those flame-throwing-Dragon-fuckers before that day ever comes, she vowed.

Iax’s family had lived all over the U.S. due to her dad’s C.I.A. job. It had been difficult especially for her poor mama who hated moving, but knew going into the marriage that relocation was inevitable. Still, you didn’t have to ‘like’ something even though you knew what you were signing up for. They loved each other immeasurably, and that was enough.

At the ripe, yet still firm age of twenty-four, Iax had already lived more than most. She currently resided part-time in her stunning Manhattan pad in New York, USA, and spent the rest of her time in her cozy cabin in the small Colorado Mountain town of Pitkin. The place of her fondest childhood memories. No matter where her family lived, they had always taken the time to visit every summer for at least a week, sometimes two. That was, until it had to be sold when times got tight after her dad’s health had declined.

His health insurance was topnotch, but not enough for all the expenses he incurred. He was collecting his pension now and Iax’s folks lived a comfortable life, but the loss of the family cabin was a sadness. At least the money they got for the sale covered what his insurance didn’t, so they weren’t in debt. Still, Iax had always wanted to repurchase it, but either she didn’t have the funds, the time, or whatever; something always stood in the way.

Fortunately, after her first two years of being employed by the C.I.A., she’d finally made enough green to buy the cabin back. She loved it there more than anywhere else; the summers were better than most, and she would know. Winters, on the other hand, were harsh and almost unbearable, and when she did much of her traveling.

When she wasn’t traveling she lived in her fancy, plush, sickly expensive Manhattan Brownstone after having it entirely renovated. She had spared no expense on either place, each having the latest of everything. The best of the best. She could afford it, so why the hell not? Being in the position of either knowing ‘the man’ to fix things, or able to hire ‘the best’ for her security and electronic needs. She had a ‘station’—she called them—in each of her digs which made her feel more professional at home.

Iax had become so regimented and self-disciplined over the years, structure had become a large part of her life. If she didn’t have something to do, she made stuff up.

Her stations consisted of six separate computers with large screen monitors, stacked in two rows of three which hung over large, handmade desks. All of her stuff was state-of-the-art and allowed her to do anything one could ever imagine, tech-wise. She was also a tech-genius, which always came in handy.

She loved staying up nights just to check out things like weather patterns all over the world, or learn about different foods and things in different cultures. It boggled the mind, the many differences there were just in the basics such as how people dressed; something she always indulged in wherever she went.

Being excessively anal and a total perfectionist, her coworkers, friends, even her family had always given her shit about it. But really, what’s wrong with being organized? She never had quite understood their main malfunction regarding that.

Losers, they’re just jealous, she always told herself with a laugh, knowing her love for them couldn’t run deeper.

She hated downtime, one of the worst ‘four-letter-words’ in her opinion, and did everything in her power to stay busy. “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” her mama had always told her, so her hands were only idle if she slept. Even then, she’d always been a fitful sleeper, when she did, so maybe her hands were on the move then, too.

That was another thing, she didn’t sleep much, just couldn’t, she always had too much on her mind. When one travels as much as Iax, even though all the travel plans, hotels, rental vehicles, and anything else one needed was already taken care of by some unseen entity, it still leaves one to worry over stupid shit: Are the flights all correct? What kind of room will I get once I arrive? Will I arrive at the correct location? And, on time? Will I like the food there? What about the language?

She’d found out firsthand how easy it was for an itinerary to go south when some dumb-fuck had made even the tiniest mistake in booking. Or through language barriers; sometimes words incorrectly interpreted could make for an extremely bunk travel plan. You never knew if you were going to end up where you were actually supposed to be.

Traveling as she did, she learned something new everywhere and every day. Some places were five-star resorts, and some were flee-ridden, half fallen-down shacks. Ya just never knew till ya got there.

She’d found herself sleeping on sidewalks pretending to be a street-bum more than once. A couple times she’d even had to take refuge in a park inside one of those jungle-gym do-dads. Not real comfy, but out of sight and doable. Anything to remain invisible.

And, the food? Seriously, she could not believe what some people considered ‘food,’ ‘delicacies’ even. It was easy to locate food vendors in the small, dusty, overcrowded foreign streets when she needed to. She would happily load up on fresh fruits and veggies before she’d even consider putting some of that nasty shit inside her body. Our body is our temple, or so she’d been told.

Language was never an issue, either. Since junior high school, Iax had always been extremely interested in other languages. She had taken a variety of available courses and after graduation when the C.I.A. had contacted her, they required her to learn more. Not a problem, since she loved learning new ones, anyway. She’d become fluent in twenty-four languages, including her own, English, and it was one of her most pride-filled accomplishments.

Well, that and all her mad-skillz, which she was more than thrilled to possess. Especially, since she’d started this whole hop-scotching-through-time thing about a year ago. Apparently, the C.I.A. had enough faith in her abilities to send her on the weirdest, most high-risk assignments they came across. Who-da-thunk there were actually whole other Dimensions out there? It had never crossed her mind.

Every time she would show up somewhere, Gemma was already there to guide, help, and keep her ass alive. She owed much to the woman and genuinely cared for her. Too bad she didn’t live in Iax’s real time and place; what a trip that would be for everyone. Although Gemma was somewhat of an anomaly, she definitely had powers and a vast knowledge of times, places, and histories pertaining to the various creatures, Realms, and Dimensions. Luckily, all the odd languages were covered in the woman’s arsenal, too. Even though Iax was wholly fluent on Earth, she knew they didn’t teach any other languages anywhere. Another awesome asset in having Gemma on her side.

The first time Iax had gone to another Dimension, upon her return she ‘landed’ on her own couch in her Manhattan pad in front of her superiors. She’d been frantic to locate Gemma, searching each room, under every piece of furniture, hoping and praying she’d find her. The woman had saved Iax’s ass and she wanted to thank and introduce her to her superiors. But she hadn’t been there, not a single sign of her was to be found.

Her main boss, Fred Travett, thought Iax had lost her mind. He’d even ordered her to see the company shrink to verify that she was still mentally stable. He feared that she’d been so traumatized by the whole thing, she may be useless to them after the incident. Thank God he had been wrong.

Fred was a close friend of her parents, and like an uncle to Iax. He’d always been extremely protective, always worrying and fussing over this and that. She knew he and her dad worked together for several years and even though he was at least twenty-years younger than her dad, they’d always been super close so she trusted him. But, in this particular case, she had to keep Gemma to herself even if the lie, or rather, the omission made her feel bad.

Iax had finally calmed down and realized that Gemma was from the other Dimension, and had obviously remained back in her own time and place. She had convinced Fred she’d just been so rattled upon returning home, she was simply confused. She never brought up Gemma around anyone ever again. Well, except for her folks; she knew she could trust them, and besides, they seemed to be genuinely interested in her O.W.O. Work—more so than she ever understood—and were able to keep her secrets.

When Iax had gone on her second trip, which was to the Amethyst Faerie Dragon Realm—one of her favorites so far—of course Gemma had been there waiting again. Iax had asked about her origins, abilities, and how and why she’d happened upon her both times. Gemma had brightly expressed that she was somewhat of a “Guardian Angel” for Iax. Stating wholeheartedly to Iax, “Someone has to do it, as you are far too careless for your own good.” They had already worked together eight-times, and Iax had come to trust Gemma with her very life; would trust anyone or anything she held dear to the woman.

Iax wasn’t exactly supposed to be out making friends on her away jobs so, in theory, that meant Gemma could be considered the enemy, or at least in league with them. No one was supposed to have knowledge of Iax, and since Gemma had plenty, it made her a target. By existing in the often unstable and dangerous alternate Dimensions during such tenuous times, such knowledge could be used against Iax. Another reason she still kept Gemma a secret; in case she was ever given the order to kill Gemma, taking her friend out was not an option.

Leaning back against the doorframe, Iax watched as Gemma drew the curtains back in the bedchamber she’d claimed. Always one to gravitate to all-things-nature, it didn’t surprise Iax that Gemma would want the curtains open so she could look outside often to see everything outdoors. Iax suspected it was a built-in mechanism to aid the woman in continually scanning their surroundings and always knowing what was doin’ and where.

Gemma reminded Iax of the mythical fey. She could picture her as a tree sprite, albeit an unusually large one, she was just so elegant, gorgeous, and lethal all at the same time. Having those magical powers may have added to the illusion a bit, too.

“So, where’s the bathroom, and what’re we gonna eat? I’m still starving,” Iax pointed out again. Her stomach was growling and starting to cramp. She hadn’t eaten since dinner the night before this little trip, and it was also contributing to her feeling almost out-of-body-like. She didn’t like not being in complete control of her body and mind. In this weakened state, mistakes could be made, accidents could happen.

“Of course you are hungry; it has been quite a long day for you. I have just the thing to bring you back around. Cop a squirt in the dining area and I shall be right there to fix you up.” Gemma beamed proudly.

Shaking her head with a small laugh, as she didn’t have the energy to do anything else, Iax was amused by Gemma slip-up again. “Babe, it’s cop a squat, but you’re trying and I respect that.” Still laughing, Iax turned back and went to find the ‘dining area.’

Iax was also always amused by Gemma’s old-world way of speaking and what she called things. At least here and now they didn’t have to whisper, although that was always a bucket-o-fun, it didn’t always cut it for her.

After eating a large bowl of tasty herbal-something-or-other soup, fresh bread Gemma had effortlessly and quickly whipped up, along with several kinds of fruits and nuts, Iax’s previously empty stomach was pleasantly full. The two cleaned the kitchen and then parted ways, going to their respective bedchambers.

Soaking in a steaming hot bath, Iax reflected on the day’s events and tried to figure out first, why the ‘bad-beastie’ had stolen Yoren from the Gordell-Dragon-Dude. It could be, just like at home, the dude was simply jealous and wanted the female for his own. Or, there could be a more nefarious plot afoot. Next, what was she supposed to do about any of it, in either case?

One thing Iax had learned well and at a very young age was, there were politics in every race, religion, age, country, time, and Dimension. Another thing she’d learned well was, politics always brought out the sheer worst in people. Since the Dragons were shifters, they obviously had a ‘people’ side, at least in some capacity, so there could be any number of reasons for this incident.

Now, she just had to find out if any of her thoughts were factual; tomorrow, after this decadent bath, and after a full night’s sleep. Both of which she felt she thoroughly deserved.

 

 **Contents Copyrighted 2011 by Theressa Branham**


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