“Blame Mila if the size is wrong, but each of you have one suit for the moment.” I stated once most everyone had gathered in the ballroom.
“Man-slave, this isn’t remotely cute.” complained Emma.
“Come on… looks kinda badass to me.” argued Brandon.
“Only you would think that.” stated Brenna.
Staring at me intently, Portentia said, “I prefer my other suit. What are these even for?”
“They’re prototypes of enhancement technology designed by Jarod and enchanted by me. They should make each of you faster and stronger. Alma, Jarod, Mila, and Aurora have already tested their suits and found them quite satisfactory.” I explained.
“Who’s Aurora?” asked Emma and Brandon nearly simultaneously.
Oops. I needed to focus more instead of letting my mind wander. I had been wondering what Alma was doing that she’d miss this and considering when Jarod and the twins would be back from their honeymoon. “Aurora’s a student through Best Friend For Hire who has a great deal of potential. For those of you who are willing, I’d like you to get changed and meet me out back afterward. You’ll find getting there much quicker, but please don’t injure yourselves or anything else goofing around.”
“What does Aurora look like?” inquired Emma with a grin.
“A girl.” I stated, frowning at her. “No, Emma, you can’t date her, and I’m fairly certain you wouldn’t be interested.”
“But man-slave…” started Emma.
“No, woman-slave. This really isn’t up for discussion.” I told her.
“Woman-slave? Are you calling me some sort of tramp who sells out her body and mind to the highest bidder?” she teased with a grin.
“Sharing a profession that started your nickname for me, I thought it appropriate. Just go get changed if you’re willing.” I told her.
“We could all just change here.” she suggested. “I’m sure no one would peek.”
Raine had been using her suit as a pillow, but Emma, Raine, and their suits were now gone. Arguing with Raine when she’d had enough was difficult, so I didn’t really think Emma would pursue her course any further.
Cosette giggled and said, “Raine’s so adorable. I sometimes wish she’d stay a kitten all the time, but then she does something so cute as a human.”
“Can you become a kitten?” I asked.
She winked and asked “Wanna see?”
“I was merely thinking that would give you another way to bond with Raine, given that she really does seem to adore cats.” I explained.
“You’re no fun.” she pouted. “But yes, I can become many sorts of cats.”
“I hope the suit’s effective for you. If I figure out how to tweak the enchantment’s design a bit, you and Brandon should be able to transform while wearing it.” I told them.
“Cool. Why aren’t you wearing one if these are so great?” asked Brandon.
I sighed before saying, “The magic gets cancelled out by my innate abilities.”
“Ouch. Sorry, dude.” he replied.
Cosette’s form seemed to melt and then jump into her suit where she became her normal self again.
“This… James, this is amazing!” she exclaimed.
“Huh? You’re just standing there.” stated Brandon.
“You’ll see!” she exclaimed, suddenly darting to him.
She was much faster than she had been. The suit worked on vampires! I had thought everything should work fine, but I was very pleased that it did.
“Whoa.” stated Brandon, leaning back from her.
“I’m convinced. Brandon, you should forget about yours. You don’t need one.” teased Brenna as she hurried out the door at a jog with her suit under her arm.
“Psh. She wishes. I’m totally trying one of these things.” he replied as he followed after her.
After seeing Cosette move, Portentia seemed to be caressing hers.
Moving to her, Cosette said, “You need to try this. The difference is too incredible to miss.”
“What if it doesn’t work?” she muttered.
I stepped over to her and waved my hand to get her attention. “What if it does?” I asked. “I assure you that we can make one to suit your nightly activities.”
Her smile was beautiful. I knew that was bothering her. Portentia absolutely adored her Calamity costume.
Mila appeared across from Portentia on the mirror and started signing as she said, “The enchantment works for me. If something’s a bit off, the master can always tweak it further until everything’s working as it should.”
“Let’s be off then.” I told them.
Cosette quickly grabbed my arm before saying, “We’ll be a bit. I need to feed if we’re going outside.”
“Yes. Sorry. Good point. I’ll tweak the lighting a bit out there for when you arrive.” I assured her. “Meet us when you can.” Then I paused again, turned to her and said, “I think I have an idea that might help. I’ll see about making the next version for you count sunlight to some extent. I don’t think I’ll be able to make one that won’t cause an odd visual effect, but we’ll see.”
Smiling, she told me “Thank you, James.”
“I’m going to go take Marco his.” I told them, before grabbing the suit and walking off.
Marco was in the kitchen, working on something that smelled of lemon.
“Ah! Boss, sorry I did not make the a meeting, but I cannot stop in the middle.” he told me.
“I understand completely. Mila had told me that you were indisposed. I’m not sure if you’d be interested, but Jarod and I did some interesting things for enhancement technology. I think you could get use of it as well.” I told him.
“Oh?” he asked, looking up.
“You’ll be able to move faster, which might allow you to work on multiple things with even greater ease. You also won’t need to use a potholder ever, since there are spells that will protect you from heat. You’ll just have to be careful not to break anything, since the increased strength is substantial. If you decide not to keep it, I’ll dispose of it for you. I just thought everyone might get some use out of it.” I explained.
“Sounds impressive!” he assured me. “I will be sure to a give it a test.”
Smiling, I said, “Thank you. Feedback would be appreciated. If you have any trouble with it, I can attempt to adjust the enchantment on it. Jarod can probably make some more adjustments for a better fit if necessary.”
“No problema. I am always grateful to be here. You have made a wonderful home.” he told me, grinning.
“I’m glad. The rest of us will be out back if you finish early and care to join us.” I told him.
He nodded and thanked me again, so I headed out. When I stepped outside, Raine jumped up from the ground, her suit was shredded on the fresh snow. I walked over to her while watching Emma do acrobatics across the yard.
“I-I’m sorry. I-it… c-couldn’t… k-keep up.” she told me.
“No need to be sorry. Looks like your fur did a number on it when you transformed. I should’ve guessed.” I assured her, patting her shoulder.
“S-sorry.” she stated.
Smiling, I said, “Don’t be. Really. I wouldn’t have troubled you with it, but I didn’t want you to be left out. Mine didn’t work out for me either.”
She nodded, saying, “I-I heard.”
I wondered how far away she was by the time that was mentioned. Her hearing was so incredible.
“So why did you take Emma away earlier?” I asked, feeling curious about her motives.
Raine blushed as she mumbled “I-I… s-she… B-b-but w-what s-she… N-no. W-we c-can’t.”
“Don’t panic. I was just a little surprised. I can try getting her to restrain herself a bit more around you.” I suggested.
“B-but… s-she w-wouldn’t be Em-Emma.” muttered Raine.
“Fair point, I suppose. I just don’t want you to feel uncomfortable.” I told her.
“G-good luck.” she told me with a small smile.
Emma ran over and hugged us both, saying, “You two are adorable! I mean, Raine’s obviously more adorable, but you’re really not so bad yourself, man-slave.”
“Thanks?” I asked.
“Don’t mention it.” she told me with a wink. “I’m loving this suit. I obviously can’t keep up with you still, but I feel sooo fast!”
“Care to do a little exercise while waiting then?” I asked.
“Only if Raine’s up for it.” she replied.
Raine fidgeted, obviously uncertain of what she wanted.
“Please, Raine. You need to practice too.” claimed Emma.
“F-fine.” agreed Raine.
The two of them started play-fighting, and I dimmed the light in the area for Cosette’s arrival. Anyone who was able to see them clearly could tell. Even with Emma enhanced by the suit and Raine in her human form, Raine wasn’t putting in any effort. I was happy to see that she was implementing proper technique for the most part.
Plants started growing up through the snow in a large area around the two, and Raine started giggling.
“N-no f-fair!” she exclaimed as she laughed. She fell to the ground.
“Emma, what did you do?” I asked.
“Would you believe someone spread Nepeta cataria seeds every few feet throughout your yard?” she inquired.
Staring at her, I said, “Huh? What’s that?”
“Catnip. There happens to be a number of other plants with similar effects as well. I wonder who would’ve done such a thing?” she asked.
“Gee. I wonder.” I stated, trying not to smile. Only Emma would have tried catnip on Raine. I turned around to see who was coming out, and found Brandon and Brenna looking nervous.
“Sorry, man. We kinda goofed.” stated Brandon.
“Sorry, James.” muttered Brenna.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“We kinda broke a wall.” explained Brandon.
“Don’t worry, master. Replacement panels have already been ordered, and both culprits will be docked pay until the expense is covered.” stated Mila from my phone.
“Oh. I’ll cover the replacements. I could’ve been more clear about needing to be careful.” I told them all.
“As you wish, master.” replied MIla.
“You really don’t need to!” exclaimed Brenna, waving her hands as if to tell me to stop.
“It was our bad.” stated Brandon.
“I’m not worried about the money. Everyone slips up occasionally. Just come out here and start really testing those suits out.” I told them.
“Thanks, man!” exclaimed Brandon.
“We really are sorry.” stated Brenna.
“Relax and have some fun. Oh, and try not to step on Raine.” I warned them.
“What happened to her?” asked Brandon.
“Emma’s using biological warfare.” I explained.
“Come on… she’s enjoying herself!” exclaimed Emma, now tickling Raine.
“S-stop, y-you b-bully!” exclaimed Raine, though she didn’t even attempt to push Emma’s hands away.
“James!” exclaimed Portentia as she ran out of the house. “It works! Can you have my new suit ready for tonight?”
“That may be a little difficult. I need a little break before I enchant another one. The spells were a bit complicated, and I… I really just don’t feel up to it at the moment. Sorry.” I told her, unwilling to mention that I didn’t want to think on how I enchanted most of them.
“Oh. It’s okay. I might do something with this one for now.” she told me, obviously disappointed.
Cosette put her hand on Portentia’s shoulder and said, “Don’t feel bad. You’ve already taken out so many baddies without the suit, so the city can wait for bit.”
“I’ve also been late at times. Even with Mila guiding me, I’m just not fast enough all the time.” complained Portentia.
I lifted her chin and said, “I can’t be fast enough all the time either. We can’t save everyone, but be thankful we can save some.”
Just keeping the ones closest to me safe helped make my world a better place.