Hidden oracle

Submitted into Contest #233 in response to: Set your story in a bar that doesn’t serve alcohol.... view prompt

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Adventure Fantasy Fiction

Drunk Dragon is one of the most known bars not only in the small town of Korake but in the whole region. A hidden jewel surrounded by an emerald forest in the countryside, only for a very selective clientele.

You see, Drunk Dragon is not an ordinary bar. From Vampire Elders to Werewolf Alphas and from Centaurs to Fairies, this place is the best if you want to find creatures outside of the norms of our lives.

And that’s exactly the reason I’m here tonight.

Supernatural beings don’t get along well with humans. Their soft mortality makes them look at us with disgust. Worst, if your mortality is graced with a bit of their world. They like hybrids. But fully supernatural hybrids. The human factor is not an option.

And being a necromancer by one-tenth is not very welcoming. On the contrary, I expect many death stares at me the moment I step into the bar.

But I guess I have to blame my clients for that.

I keep my presence secret, further into the forest, at least from those who can spot me only by sight. The air turned from a comfortable breeze to chill as the sun dipped below the horizon.

Climbing a few rocks, I find a vantage point of the bar’s entrance. My waiting is not long as the first patrons make their appearance. Giggles fill the crisp air when a group of fairies appears, flying in a circle towards the entrance of the bar. A tall and slender man stands next to the entrance. His hair is pure white and falls like a silk curtain around his head. A small horn pierces out of his skull, where his third eye is.

A unicorn.

Or ‘time bombs’ as I call them. They seem kind and symbolise purity in many folklore stories but there’s also a darkness inside them and when it’s unleashed, nasty is a very low word to describe them. Statistics back this up. The most hideous murders have been made by unicorns.

A cacophony of high-pitched voices breaks free once they meet the unicorn bouncer. The latter whickers a few moments later, opening the door for the group to fly in. Other species show up as time passes. Turning my wrist the screen of my watch illuminates softly. It’s nearly ten and no sign of them.

I tighten the coat around me, hoping the closeness will give me a bit more warmth. Where the hell are they? The night progresses and still not a single sign of them. I lost count of all the times I checked my phone. No calls. No texts.

These people will kill me from the cold before we meet in person. Stupid supernaturals.

It’s nearly midnight and still nothing. My patience is way past low. They stood me up. Anger boils in my chest, but is not enough to heat my limps that are so cold I started to lose the feeling of them. As I stand up, my feet wobble a little but I manage to get a hold and master my balance.

I’ve been avoiding this for too long. Stepping in there after my clients was the safest option. But when we make plans, someone above the sky laughs. That’s it. I’m going in.

Abandoning my hiding spot, I cross the path covered with light snow and head for the bar’s entrance. I give a curt nod at the unicorn bouncer and make a move to open the door, pretending I’m someone regular who doesn’t need formalities.

I try to play it cool, avoiding his watchful gaze. But I should know better. 

An arm extends with impossible speed, blocking my way and catching my wrist before it lands on the door handle. The sharp movement makes me freeze instantly, turning my head slowly to meet the rest of the body where the arm belongs.

“I can smell the failure in you.” the bouncer spits with disgust. “No humans allowed” his voice leaves no room for discussion.

I cringe, pulling my hand away from his tight grip. “I’m not only human.” I clench my teeth. The last thing I want is to attract attention.

The unicorn bouncer gives a deep inhale, his nostrils dilate until they resemble two massive turbines. “Death’s cohort” he pouts in annoyance, “Pathetic servants of decayed flesh.” His lips part into a sinister smile, “Even worse.”

The grip around my wrist tightens, blocking my blood from reaching my fingers. Faint numbness tickles my tips as the hold around my arm reaches the edge of my suffering level. I could almost picture the sound of my bones, snapping like a pencil under the bouncer’s hold. My heart constricts violently at the sight of the joy painting the bouncer’s face.

“If you want my next drink to be directly out of your vein, I suggest you return our guest in one piece.” a calm voice slithered behind me, and I enjoyed the way the bouncer’s smile froze before it disappeared.

However, his grip remained with the same intensity. But a low growl sent a wave of shivers down my spine and made the unicorn open his palm, releasing my arm. Catching my wrist gently with my other hand, I stretched and bent the fingers to ease the return of circulation.

A gust of hot air brushed the back of my neck. Slowly, I turned around, until I found not one but two people standing behind me. The differences between them were speaking volumes.

The man to my right had a tall and lean physique, dressed in a plain dark blue suit. His hair, a crew cut of ebony hair, was neatly stylised. His eyes reminded me of dark grey clouds with a hidden violet shine of his irises. There was an air of calm and collected person—one who knows the power he holds but doesn’t make imprudent use of it.

On the other hand, the man standing to my left was much more built. His dirty blond hair was a bit longer but still standing neat. The white t-shirt was clinging to the muscles of his torso and the checkered red shirt that hung open was filled by his biceps. A pair of dark blue jeans and muddy boots completed his outfit. But what drew my attention were his bright amber eyes.

“Evelyn, I presume.” the suit guy said with the same calmness that made his threat a few moments ago. With a curt nod to the bouncer, the latter opens the door. “Apres vous.”

A sweet scent of apples and sugar hits my nose as I take the view of my surroundings. Waves of warmth gently brush my skin, making my shoulders relax. Exactly what the purpose of this place is.

Small round wooden tables occupy most of the space of the room. To the right, a large wooden counter extends to the far end of the room. Three elves, dressed in white shirts and dark green vests, are busy serving drinks to the customers sitting on the stools across the counter’s length. There’s also a small circle in the far corner, where a band of leprechauns plays jazz music.

Most of the customers don’t pay attention to me. And those who do turn back their heads, minding their own business once their eyes fall on the two men behind me. Although I didn’t ask for more information, I could tell these people were standing at the top of the hierarchy in the supernatural world.

Amber eyes takes the lead, passing in front of me and heading towards the round tables. Finally, he stops in front of one. The dim light of the lanterns floating was not enough to illuminate this part of the bar, giving cover and the idea of privacy.

I take my seat and the two men push their chairs back, taking their seats opposite me. My eyes wander around the room. I spot the giggling group of fairies, getting high after consuming a tray filled with water bubbles from Lake Isla. A vampire couple sits on the stools in front of the wooden counter, consumed in conversation and taking sips of their drinks that have dark red colour and are a bit thicker than a regular drink.

An elven waiter approaches us, handing to each one a drinks menu. Browsing through the list I notice that none of them has alcohol, in the human sense at least.

Royal red

Moonlight kiss

Lucky glover

Nectar’s delight

The list goes on, all drinks contain ingredients with no alcohol, but their effects on them were similar to the high a few rounds of shots would bring to a human.

“What you’d like to have?” the waiter asks returning to our table after a few moments.

“A Royal red for me.” The suit guy responds, handing back the menu to the waiter.

“I’ll have a Moonlight kiss” Amber Eyes states.

“Nectar’s delight for me please,” I say giving back the drinks list to the waiter.

With a nod, the waiter gave us a soft smirk returning to the back side of the counter and started preparing our drinks, leaving us in our invisible privacy.

“So,” I clear my throat getting the attention of the men back to the subject of our meeting. “Can I now have more details of the reason you wanted to hire me?”

I keep my posture, looking them straight in the eyes and trying not to show any sign of intimidation. The two men share a glance between them as if they mentally ask if this place is right for the information they’re going to share. Finally, suits decides to make a start.

“As I told you over the phone, we’re looking for something rare, a stone in particular. This stone, however…” he pauses turning slightly his head and looking over his right shoulder, “we have information that could be located in the spirit realm.”

I drop back to the chair, crossing my arms to my chest. “Well, that’s work for a necromancer, but I’m afraid you should have reached for another one. A whole at least. I’ve already told you, I’m not more than a tenth of their nature and the abilities it brings with it.”

“We know” Amber eyes get into the conversation, the bass of this voice unnaturally low, making my skin crawl. “But we also know that you share a blood connection with someone who can tell us where exactly it is.” He leans forward “And only you have both the things we need.”

A blood connection? As far as I know, I’m the only one possessing supernatural powers – even in this small proportion. No one in our family had ties with any being which is not entirely human, except for my mother.

The waiter arrives, pulling me out of my train of thought. My fingers slowly wrap around the glass and a fruity scent reaches my nose as I bring the drink close to my mouth. I sit back and let the strong sweet taste and aroma consume my senses, enjoying a good sip from my drink.

Suits gives me a studying look at his drink, his grey eyes focused on the movement of the dark red liquid into his glass as he fidgets on it. “At the moment I cannot disclose more. But we can sit and enjoy our drinks until the time is right.” With that, he takes a generous sip of his drink.

“Perhaps you can answer this”, the words leave my mouth with caution. “That stone you’re looking for. It must be very important to put a vampire and a werewolf work together.”

As if my voice had the effects of Medusa, the two men, instantly froze, eyes pinned on me. “Excuse me, do you think I wouldn’t know? Please. I would be blind if I couldn’t tell.”

Suits opens his mouth to speak but amber eyes gets him. “You’re related to Pythia.” A spray of fruit juice exits my mouth violently and I manage to turn my head to the side in time, otherwise the two of them would be bathing in nectar.

Suits reaches for his chest pocket, retrieving a handkerchief that offers to my direction. Amber eyes just looks at me with caution. “It can’t be. Pythia is thousands of years old. How do you know and my family doesn’t?”

“We have our ends.” Suits states.

Amber eyes looks around. The customers are feeling more relaxed, their drinks getting them. Some are laughing, others leaving the place hand in hand or with their heads planted on the wooden table surface, passed out. “It’s time.” He blurts out finishing his drink in a long sip, making his Adam’s apple bob.

The two men stand un in perfect synchronicity and I quickly mirror them. I let them lead the way full of curiosity of what lies beyond the bar’s end. But as soon as I make a couple of steps, I stop short.

Something is… different.

Although I don’t feel dizzy my feet feel strange. More like walking in fluffy cotton or clouds, you name it. What the hell? It was just nectar.

The two men have already noticed that I’m not following them and their eyes scan me from head to toe, trying to figure out why I’m standing there like my feet stepped on superglue. Amber eyes approach, offering me his elbow which I take thanking him with a nod. I wrap my arm around him, resting my hand on the base of his bulky bicep. Suits is a few steps ahead, going for the end of the wooden counter.

He leans over the surface motioning a waiter to approach. “We want to see her.”

The waiter nods and presses something behind the counter that creates an opening in the wall next to a ceiling-to-floor painting.

The sudden change in temperature wakes me up. A gust of cold air hits me in the face, making me blink twice, sending the cold down to the rest of my body like a bolt of electricity. I cling to Amber eyes and thank him. There’s a strong heat that emanates from him, which I gladly receive.

The air is thick with herbs. I catch rosemary and daphne. We keep moving ahead until we reach the end of the corridor and to my surprise there’s nothing a contraption, like an elevator but without the walls.

Suits steps in first. Amber eyes helps me get in and before we know it the elevator sets into motion, pulling us down. The more we descend, the colder the air becomes. It feels like entering a freezer and my coat doesn’t do much to warm me.

A few moments later the elevator stops, making me lose my balance and take a step forward, hitting on suits. Amber eyes pull me back and we lower the iron barrier heading out of the contraption. Light mist covers the floor, the scent of daphne and rosemary much stronger.

The humming gets louder. A chanting of it the language I cannot distinguish. Suits walk casually in front. Still feeling like I’m walking in the clouds I follow in tow. Suits stops. Picking a look as I tilt my head, I see a heavy wooden door.

“Here we are.” Suits glances back at me.

“This is up to where we can go. You must go inside alone. She’s confused when many enter.”

Amber eyes turn to me, holding my shoulders with his strong hands. “Remember, we need to find the exact location of the Moon Bloodstone. Repeat.”

Taking a look over my shoulder at them, I push the wooden door.

There’s the sweet warmth again, dragging my steps forward. Looking down I can’t see my feet. The mist is concrete dense. I slowly move forward halting before a large circle made by young women, dressed in plain white sating dresses with their long hair reaching the floor as they sit on their knees. Their faces look slightly up and to the centre, eyes closed as they chant without noticing my presence.

In the centre, Pythia sits on an iron stool, her eyes wrapped in a dark blindfold, inhaling the fumes of a large bowl containing rosemary and daphne leaves. In the sacred silence, her strong voice makes me jump from surprise.

“Blood from my blood, come closer.” Pythia extends her arms towards me. “Tell me what you seek.”

The whole event makes my heart racing fast and my arms tremble. “I’m looking for the Moon’s Bloodstone,” I say gathering as much strength I have in me.

Pythia hums looking to the void, considering my words. Then she reaches towards the bowl and takes a deep breath of the burning herbs. A cry makes my blood freeze and my eyes grow wide as my heart threatens to escape my ribs from the speed it beats. Pythia chants loudly followed by the rest of the sacred choir around us. Her arms rise in the air, resting her hands on each side of her temples as all continue chanting in ancient Greek.

Pythia gets up from the stool, swirling around in circles until she stands still. “I know the number of the sand and the measure of the sea. I understand the signs and hear the voiceless. Those who have perished guard it, beneath the willow’s entrance, in the border between life and death.”

With that, Pythia walks back, taking her original place on the stool. That must be all. Thanking her, I turn and walk back.

Back at the freezing tunnel, I find suits and Amber eyes looking at me with anticipation. I would love to extend the suspense but they seem as guys, that they won’t take such shit, especially with the urgency of the situation.

“Come on Evelyn,” Amber eyes finally snaps. “Don’t make us wait.”

Repeating Pythia’s words in my head, I double-check if my assumption is right. “I know where it is”.

January 18, 2024 19:36

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4 comments

Kacie Foos
21:25 Jan 24, 2024

This was a very creative use of the prompt. I enjoyed your story.

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E. Roux
18:29 Jan 29, 2024

I'm glad you liked it, thanks for your feedback!

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David Sweet
15:25 Jan 22, 2024

Fun story. It seems like you have shared a chapter from a much longer narrative? It would be cool to see the before and after of this scene. Perhaps you are working on it? Who knew unicorns had a nasty side? Haha. I have never really visualized them in this form before. Interesting. Thanks for the intriguing piece.

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E. Roux
18:34 Jan 22, 2024

Thank you very much for your feedback! I'm glad you like it. Yes, I started writing it but then it developed to something much longer and I'm working on it to be a short story or novel. As for unicorns, they always appear as pure and kind but I wanted to give them a twisted side :)

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