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danzilla3

Faithful Companion

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It was time.

Jackson had spent most of his adult life secure in the confines of his underground safehouse; a sanctuary specially designed to allow him to live without his power inhibiting mask. For many years he had been satisfied in the isolation of his home. He communicated with clients through video calls and emails; and he could have anything he needed delivered to him. The extranet provided him access to all the entertainment he could ever need; with access to millions of films, games, books, and more. If he ever felt the need for fresh air, he could take the elevator to the roof, where he could look out upon the cityscape of Hells Gate. It seemed he had everything he needed. 

Or so he had thought.

Loneliness had always been in the back of his mind; but for a long time it had been negligible enough to ignore. But over the past few years the feeling had been intensifying, along with his curiosity about the outside world. Now he had come to a conclusion that was impossible to deny.

It was time to leave.

But he knew virtually nothing of the outside world; and he knew he would need both a guide as well as someone who could aid in his defense should the need arise. To that end, he had put out an advertisement for a bodyguard. The time he had given in the ad was nearing, and he soon hoped that his intercom would buzz with someone looking to take the job.

@Houndy Poochykins

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Through word of mouth, many different kinds of information traveled. In particular that someone was looking for a body guard. Pyrrah figured that this would be an easy job. So she traveled to the home that said word of mouth had advised anyone looking. The beastly woman wore a cloak over her form. It was ragged, tattered, and looked as if it had weathered great challenge. Unfortunately it only fell to her ankles, so her large clawed feet could be seen if one had any semblance of perception. Under this cloak she didn't exactly wear much. It was difficult, getting sleeves, and trouser legs over large claws like her own. She supposed some kind of wrap around skirt or top might work, but it also left to question on how she'd don it. After all, her claws were not tools, they were weapons. 

She approached the home, looking around the front entrance. This wasn't an inn, or a bar, or tavern... she couldn't just open it and walk in could she? That seemed rude anyway. She noticed however a small intercom, or as she called them, wordy boxes. With a small bit of nervous anticipation, she reached forward, a large claw pressing against the button. She didn't know what was supposed to come of that. But she certainly hoped this would all conclude with some work. Mostly because work meant money. Money meant food. She waited for some sort of reply from the intercom. 

She'd come from somewhere outside this realm. A realm called Erebus, where the dead went to roam. Her father was a king, and charged with ruling a specific sector of this hellish landscape. Namely, its gates; the entrance to the plain. He could proudly boast of his success in the career. Pyrrah herself... not so much. As hellspawn went she was actually of a lower class.

 

@danzilla3

Edited by Houndy Poochykins

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Home by Carsten Stueben

 

Jackson's PDA pinged him as someone on the ground floor pressed the button for the intercom. Retrieving the device from his jacket pocket, he pulled up a feed from one of the multiple cameras that surveilled his front door. A figure stood at the entrance, the cloak they wore obscuring most of the details of their form; though he was able to make out the clawed hand pushing the button on the intercom. Guessing they were there for the bodyguard position; since it seemed unlikely anyone wishing him harm would ring his doorbell, he tapped a few keys, and allowed them in.

Upon walking through the door, Pyrah would find herself in a long hallway with florescent lights lining the floors and ceilings; the walls clad in polished tile. What she could not see was the vast array of sensors that analyzed her as she made her way inside. Mostly they were looking for things like weapons, electronic devices, and other items of interest. Jackson was surprised that his visitor seemed to have none on her. When she had reached the end of the corridor, an elevator would descend and open. There was only one option available to her, and when she pressed it, she would be whisked up to the penthouse floor.

When the doors opened, Pyrah would find herself in a tastefully decorated living room. Jackson stood in the center of the room, beckoning his guest inward.

"Hello," he greeted, "I assume you are here for the bodyguard job? May I get you anything? Food, a drink?"

@Houndy Poochykins

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If the sensors had any kind of sensitivity, they'd find she was pretty unclad beneath the dingy cloak. As she walked, she was wary of the surroundings. It was new to her. Her claws clicked on the tile floor. The elevator startled her slightly. Once at the very top she'd walk cautiously into the penthouse living room. She didn't care much for decorating. She followed his beckoning inside. Looking around she figured it was safe enough to relax. "F-Food?" She asked quietly. She was indeed hungry. She often thought of food. When he mentioned it she was already interested. "Name... is Pyrrah" She said. "Was told... you needed protection" She said. "Pyrrah strong" She said. 

Her stomach would growl softly. "We are... hungry..." She said quietly With almost a tinge of shame. She sniffed the air. "This one smells strange" she said. "This one mentioned food" She added. "We are.... very hungry" she explained. "We haven't eaten today..." she added.

 

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Well this was unexpected.

Jackson had expected to be interviewing a potential bodyguard; someone who could protect him when he journeyed outside of his home. But looking at the cloaked figure in front of him, he suddenly felt the urge to take care of his would be protector. He wasn't sure if she was truly bodyguard material, but they could assess that after she'd had something to eat. 

"Come this way."

Leading her into his simple dining room, he gestured for her to take a seat at one end of the small dinning table. Once she was seated, he went into the kitchen, and assembled the materials he would need to make his guest a meal. Having cooked for himself as long as he could remember, he had become quite good at it. After twenty minute, he had perfect golden brown pancakes, tender, juicy sausage, and scrambled eggs all arranged neatly on a plate. Not sure whether Pyrah could use silverware, he brought some to give her the option as he placed the plate in front of her. He then sat down at the other end of the table to watch his guest eat her meal. 

"My name is Jackson, by the way. Jackson Hale."

 

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She waited patiently.

Pyrrah herself was not much a cook beyond lighting something on fire to kill anything that she didn't want to eat. She often ate uncured meat, thus was prone to illness should she not cook it thoroughly. It usually ended up black as rot water and about as flavorful as... well. rot water. She was certainly hopeful that he had work for her, as it was made obvious; Pyrrah needed food, and for food she needed money and for money she needed work.

As he presented the food. She nearly salivated. She of course, politely waited for him to finish setting up. But the moment it was appropriate she dug in. In minutes the food was gone. "We... give thanks" She said quietly. "We... do not eat often" She added. "Pyrrah is willing to work." She said. "We are told... you need help" she said further. Her tail would swish causing her to blush and shift, to sit on it. After he introduced himself, she stood. She'd slide the cloak further, two large canid ears perked up. "Our name... Pyrrah" She said shyly. "Our father... is King Cerberus..." She explained. She then bowed her head. "We would be happy to be of service" She was clearly not well versed in the human basic languages. 

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Jackson knew Pyrrah wasn't lying.

Two of the most basic abilities afforded to him by his curse allowed him were incredible visual acuity, as well as incredible hearing. By focusing he could listen to the girls heartbeat and watch her pupils as she spoke. Lying caused a physical reaction that his enhanced senses would easily be able to detect. Pyrrah showed none of these signs; and her appearance and seemingly limited knowledge of human culture corroborated her story. 

A hellhound would indeed be a mighty protector; but he himself would have been lying if he had said that was the only factor influencing his decision. Something about the girl made him want to help her. Perhaps she reminded him of himself at one time; a lost soul looking for a ray of hope in a dark world. Or maybe he just thought she was cute. Either way, he knew he had made a decision.

"The job comes with an apartment in this building, on the floor below this one. Once you accept the position, you will be given full access to the elevator. The pay is two thousand a month."

Jackson got up and walked to stand next to Pyrrah, "If you accept, I will show you to your new dwelling."

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The hound tilted her head. She honestly didn't know what she'd do with an apartment. But a place with a warm bed, and amenities sounded like it would be nice. Especially considering that she lacked in almost everything. He also stated it was two thousand a month, but two thousand what? Could she buy meat with that? She could go for a juicy steak right now. Even though she just ate, she was always hungry. Largely, she was motivated by food, and trying to be nice. He seemed like he needed the protecting, being as old as she was, and having felled as many foes as she had, Pyrrah had learned to size people up. The man would die without her help if he was seeking someone like her as a body guard. Or so she thought anyway. "Pyrrah will accept" She said in no uncertain terms.

She rose, and bowed politely. Pyrrah thought for a moment. "Pyrrah has no where... to keep things" She said. "Like gold" she added, in reference to the pay. Of course she didn't understand what the currency was, nor any complicated currency. Especially considering the most she'd ever experienced with currency was plundering it from her fathers enemies.

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"You can keep anything you desire in your apartment," Jackson assured Pyrrah.

The masked man led the hellhound back into the elevator, numerous buttons lighting up on the display as it registered it's owners presence. Jackson pressed a button just underneath the top floor, and the elevator began to descend. As it moved, he spoke to the hound.

"Gold? I usually pay in credits, but if you prefer hard currency I can arrange that as well."

A minute later the elevator stopped, and opened up onto a spacious, but dimly lit apartment. The space was practically spotless; yet the furniture still appeared comforting and inviting. 

 

hipinion.com • View topic - step into my comfortingly dark cyberpunk apartment

"This is your new dwelling. Feel free to redecorate as you see fit," he retrieved a small plastic card from his coat pocket and handed it to Pyrrah, "This card will give you access to a discretionary fund, separate from your pay. Feel free to use it to order food, or anything else you require."

Before the hound could explore her new home, Jackson asked the question he could no longer keep to himself, "Can I... may I scratch your ears?

 

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She followed him. Observing her surroundings. "Dis...cresh...unn...ary" She repeated. "What is... discretionary?" she asked. Though he popped a rather odd question. She honestly didn't put together that it was a dog thing, or about her ears. She just supposed it was some odd human request. She nodded slowly, tilted her head and presenting her ears for him. She wasn't really sure what the fascination was, they were just ears. She thought back, he mentioned credits. "we... don't know" She said. "We... are unsure of masked mans... money" She said, trying to imply and communicate that she didn't really understand how money worked in different factions and cultures. She remembered fondly, a man named Toby whom she'd outlived. He was similar to this man, in the professional relationship. Something of a mutual benefit. Of course, she also really liked Toby. She just didn't know this man well yet.

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As gently as he could, Jackson reached down and scratched the spot behind the hellhound's ears. He wasn't sure what she thought of this action, but if she found it annoying or painful she didn't make those feelings known. Soon he became aware that what seemed rather innocent was, when looked at objectively, him touching a scantily clad woman. The thought made him pull his hand back, and then put both into his pockets.

"Discretionary means the funds are available to be used at your whim."

Pyrrah's next question left the masked man at something of a loss. How should he explain the concept of intangible assets without giving an entire lecture on economic theory that would only confuse the girl further?

"Credits are like gold. Every credit you have is like a piece of gold in your pocket, but the credits don't have a physical form so you don't have to carry them around. You access them through cards like the one I just gave you. If you went to a bank, they would convert some of your credits for tangible currency."

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She would blush, her eyes closing. Embarrassingly enough, her tail began to swish rapidly. This actually felt nice. She breathed a tad more slowly than onlookers would be comfortable with if there were any. But that aside, she stopped, looking at him as his hands went to his pockets. She would look away in embarrassment. Grabbing her tail, ceasing the involuntary reflex finally. 

She understood now, well she didn't But she got the jist of discretionary funds. She figured it was like just paying her extra for miscellaneous reasons.

As he explained the credit system, one could swear she entered the blue screen, dial up internet, flatline heart monitor stasis. Of course that was in jest, she shook her head. "It is money, but invisible money?" she asked. They didn't have banking where she was from. Your currency went with you. "Where is... bank?" she asked. She had desire to find and purchase good food, already. So shortly after eating indeed, but hounds like her had copious appetites for things like food. "We, would like to buy" She said. "After work." She added, where she was from, you did work then you ate.

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"There is a bank down the street. I can take you there, if you wish."

It would be the first time he had left the peace and security of his safehouse in many years; and the mere thought of it made him nervous. But the entire point of hiring a bodyguard was so that he could venture outside. Besides... he found himself wanting to spend time in the hellhound's company. Something about her made him want to teach her; to help her understand the world she found herself in. Perhaps it was his imagination, but she seemed to be lonely like him.

"Perhaps you would like to have lunch on the way?"

Jackson would lead her back to the elevator, and hit the button to take them to the ground floor. On the way down, he would scratch her ears again if she would let him.

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She tilted her head. But she understood lunch. To which she nodded. She would donn her cloak and set out again. She blushed as he scratched her ears. Her tail swishing slightly. On the trek to wherever they were going (because she honestly forgot) they'd happen by a butchery of sorts. A place of high quality meat. Delicious meat too. She'd stare intently, always thinking with her stomach. She approached the window, seeing all kinds of great meats. She'd sniff, easily picking out what each was. There was all kids of avian like duck, quail, turkey, and all kinds of beef and venison. She wasn't a fish lover... but she did like pork. And there was currently a whole spit roasting pig on display. She seemed to let her heart race. "It smells good." She said quietly.

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Jackson had lived in this neighborhood for years, but this was the first time he had walked its streets since the day he'd moved into his penthouse. As soon as he stepped out of the front door, he remembered why. Even with his mask on, he could still feel the thoughts and voices of the citizens of Hells Gate pressing in on him. It was like being trapped in an ever-tightening space; unable to escape as he came closer and closer to being crushed. It took all his self-control to keep from bolting back inside the safety of his home; but he kept walking. 

Noticing that Pyrrah had stopped walking, he looked to the Hellhoud; her mouth moving, but he couldn't quite make out the words over the hum that threatened to overwhelm him. Still, looking between his bodyguard and the butchers shop, it wasn't too hard to figure out what she wanted. Reaching into his jacket pocket, he produced a credit chip that he handed to Pyrrah with shaking hands.

"Go... pick out whatever you like," he practically gasped, 

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