It is in a world much like ours this story takes place. A modern world with modern inventions, but unconventional minds and forms. All forms of creatures live and work alongside one another. From the simple humans, to the mythical, and mighty. From angels, demons, and titans, to simple creatures of common stock.
In this world magical power is not unheard of but has long since been tapped dry in most bloodlines. The thinning of mythical bloodlines over the years leave even most mythical creatures magically inert. Sirens sing their songs, but no longer have power over men’s minds to drive them off the decks of ships. Dragons still roam the land but no longer commune with the primal elements as they once did.
And our story’s main character? He is nothing special. In fact, he is perhaps an over abundant species in some areas of the southern states. A simple deer. No fangs like a water deer. No control over electrical power like the mythical Kirin. Just an anthro deer. His hooved feet are one of his more unique traits, showing his more pure bloodline. His 3 fingered hands another sign he was relatively pure in blood.
You see, bloodlines where everything now. So much so that some nations had adopted a caste system to control the breeding of their citizens to stop the weakening bloodlines any further. To preserve heritage. Others had simply adopted eugenics. Where the females passed down the pure blood of their clan should they choose to marry outside of the approved species and genetically pure families.
In this world; there are things valued more than in our world. The eggs, and embryos of pure blood mythical creatures for instance, are a thriving black market. As is slavery in general. It is commonly overlooked in some nations for pureblooded clans and leaders to own slaves. Either as breed stock, bought from other families. Or as workers who are often turned eunuchs to prevent breeding with their owner’s harems.
Our hero is born into a free clan of deer, and chooses early in his life that he no longer wants to be part of the cast systems. That it is unfair and unjust. But what he didn't know is that by running away; he would set himself on a path that he could never come back from.
“Jin! Have you finished with that ‘02 yet!? Owner wants to pick it up. NOW!” Called out a large hybrid dog from the loudspeakers of the automotive shop, a loud squelch heard as the transmission cut off. Jin the lithe buck was young sure. But he knew his way around cars like the back of his hand. He didn't always fit in the smaller ones with his antlers, thankfully relatively small yet, but when it came to custom ones made for larger species like his, he was always first in line to jump on it.
He pulled his head from under the hood of a silver car and wiped off his hands before grumbling to himself and slamming it’s hood shut. He had finished the repair job right before the call for him went out, sure. But it was untested. He didn't know if it was truly repaired or just patched. But, as often happens, his boss had kept such close tabs on his workers and micromanaged to the point they’d called the owner in without the car even being totally done. He took pride in his work, if not his appearance. His antlers dingged and scuffed, his white beard untrimmed and scruffy. He was filthy, sure, but it was expected in this environment. But the lack of care shown on his hooves, and nails of his fingers.
He walked up front to where his boss window was sliding it open before speaking in a polite tone. “Sir; the repairs are done but i need to tes-” “Don't you give me none of that lip. Keys, NOW.” Jin slammed the keys down on the inside sil of the window before saying plainly with no hint of anger or mallace; “I refuse to sign the work order as my work is not finished, here are the keys. You sign the release forum.” And then he shut the door quickly but not harshly.
He was use to this, being walked all over. Even if he was relatively pure blood, the commonality of his species made for a low ranking in the world. His boss? Even as a mutt, he had noble blood lines. That is to say, rare blood. Even if he was a thoroughly mixed species, he still had traces of the ancient wolf goddess “Morrighan’s” blood. Such strong mythical blood meant that he was treated well and afforded him status. The ability to wear her insignia on him was one such thing.
As he walked back to the car he was stopped by Nile, the shops resident gashead girl. “Jin; I know you like doing a good job but you’re taking too long on these simple fixes.” He turned to face the mixed breed feline opening his mouth to speak but only getting out the odd syllable before being cut off. “And don't you worry, i know he gives you a hard time. I have royal blood too, but he still treats me like shit because his is pure enough to be considered a true descendant. Just take a breath. Relax. Besides, that’s the last order for the day anyway.”
“Yea, I know Nile. But, im tired of putting my name on cars that always come back because im rushed.” With timing as if he’d been listening there came a call over the intercom, the unceremonious digital screech at the start this time “Jin! Last second emergency. Since you did the least cars this week, you’re staying overnight to fix it. Customer will bring it around 45 after closing. And Jin! Make sure it's taken care of RIGHT, he is a noble.”
This was enough to finally get a true response of anger from him where he growled and tossed the wrench he’d been holding onto into the toolbox. “Great... Just great. Some crackin’ bigwig calls in a favor with his nobility and I am the one one stuck here after hours!” Nile just shook her head and knew when to call it quits. Besides, she needed to finish her last call up within the hour, and had work to do. “Jin, go get yourself a cappuccino. You’re going to need it. Use my code.”
Jin sighed and nodded before slowly turning off and soon doing just that, inputting Nile’s code for the coffee machine using one of her allotments to allow himself to get a cappuccino. This had less to do with his bloodline and more to do with his recent joining of the company. The more expensive food was restricted to higher paid employees. And since employers where responsible for feeding their employees during work hours, foods where sectioned into pay and loyalty brackets.
He sat there sipping his sweet french vanilla drink as he sighed, closing his eyes and even getting in a wink of sleep as he had nothing to do but to wait. Once the crew all came in for closing to grab their personal items he woke up, stretched and shook his head. “Here we go.” Before stepping outside and starting to clean up the shop.
He cleaned his bay, and as a courtesy to a few of his coworkers like Nile, even touched theirs up too. After all, cleanliness was a grade that determined their pay per week. Their work not being seperated into hours worked, but instead per job done and overall quality of their work done and the quality and presentability to customers.
Time flew as he did this and soon enough there it was the large black SUV pulled up in front of the bay and he started to open the door for him. Nosooner than it had opened all the way in pulled the SUV with blacked out windows, and somewhat larger than normal, all terrain tires.
Out stepped a dragon. An honest to blood dragon. Even their non-noble lines often lacked this one’s stunning appearance. He looked different than most dragons though, being furred and feathered instead of simply scaled. He wore a suit, with a long coat that had a simple golden pin on it, which denoted his noble lineage. “You. You will remove all 4 wheels. Then demount the tires from the rims CAREFULLY. You will not speak a word to anyone about this job. You will be paid by me to keep quiet understood? Also, i don't want to hear a single word out of you, and I want this done as quietly as possible.”
The young buck was taken somewhat aback by this all but simply nod and moved to position the lift arms under the chassis of the SUV as to start. As he worked, the dragon, leaned back against another car and lit a cigarette from the corner of the deer’s eye.
Jin turned to speak to him about it, opening his mouth to speak, but remembering the specifics of it before looking to the floor and thinking for a moment before holding up a single finger as if asking for a second of the dragon’s time, and then pointing to the large signs that read “No smoking, flammable liquids and gasses present.”
It was only when jin looked back from the sign he pointed at that he noticed it wasn't a cigarette at all. But instead a very old, highly ornate meerschaum pipe. The dragon inhaled deeply from it before blowing smoke from his nose,... and fire. He was clearly very VERY pure of blood to have that ability. And to flaunt it before the deer was a form of intimidation.
Jin simply nod, bow politely and returned to his work, having done all he could for the situation. As he did so, he heard a simple click, and one last exhale. Unable to tell what was going on he snuck a peek back to see the dragon putting the pipe back into his pocket. Apparently his message had gotten across.
This brought a smile to his face. One that was however very short lived. The moment he opened up the tire from the rim, he noticed something wasn't right. There was no air pressure. Or rather not nearly enough. And these tires had come in fully inflated, and looked brand new... but...
Once he started to de-rim them he realized, they where run-flats. Solid rubber honeycomb core tires that didn't need replacing at all. But instead, the honeycomb core of the interior had been partially replaced with metal segments that all held vials. But... vials of what?
“I,...” He spoke without thinking before turning to try and look back at the dragon. But as he did, he felt a large tallon wrap around his snout and clamp his muzzle shut, and another tallon at his antler keeping his head looking towards the tire.
“Not. A. Word.” Spoke the dragon in his deep almost demonic tone of voice. “Remove each vial. Place them in this case. They will not harm you if broken, but I will. Each one is worth more than your life.” He spoke before releasing the buck’s snout and antler before patting him once on the shoulder and letting his large powerful hand slide off. The dragon then set a metal briefcase on the table and opened it up. Up popped rows of holders all with frost condensing on them.
The buck was trembling where he stood. He was alone, and easily half the dragon’s size. And never mind his ability to control fire where as the buck could barely control his own mind at times. He worked slowly, methodically. Every step of this process was done with a painful slowness that felt more like defusing a bomb, or freeing a wild animal from a trap. Every move, measured, and paced as if he was a robot.
The most unnerving thing? The deep rumbled chuckle that came from behind him. From the smirking dragon who seemed to take great pleasure in the buck’s unease. He even tormented jin from time to time, speaking in slow deep flowing tones, “That's it. No no no, don't drop it. Hehehe, That's right. Nice and easy eh?”
The vials where seated in sections of the tires that where hard to access, and apparently had been cooled by a brick of dry ice in each one, hence the light amount of air pressure in the tire as the dry ice had sublimated back into co2 inside the tires.
It took one long hour to finish the first tire. Perhaps the single longest hour of Jin’s entire life. And he had 3 more to go. Once done. He remounted the tire back on it’s rim, having not even been given instruction to doso by the dragon, simply deducing what needed to happen. “Oh? Putting the wheel back on are we? Good boy. You’re a smart one aren’t you?” The buck didn't reply, only shivering more and blushing a bit at the oddly phrased almost insulting compliment.
Several more hours of this tension passed, slowly getting faster with each tire. And once the final one was done. The dragon walked up behind him, slammed the case shut, and quickly locked it. “Get that wheel back on my vehicle, and we will part ways. Your payment for cooperation will come over the next few days. I’ll make sure your boss gives it to you.”
Jin couldn't be any happier to see the SUV finally backing out of his bay. And no sooner than the bay door had closed had he collapsed nexto the pillar the door was framed in. “Crush this job....” Said the shaken deer as he curled up there against the freezing cold metal pillar and frigid concrete floor. He was averse to swearing and got inventive with his wording, but the sentiment was always the same.
After locking up, Jin had started his long walk home in this bitter cold. He didn't like the cold. His species was a warm climate species for sure. He’d moved farther north in his self appointed exile from his family. A decision he regretted tonight more than normal. His gut churned and his mind raced... What had he just taken part of?
When he got back to his mega complex, he keyed himself in and walked the many flights of stairs up, soon getting to his assigned cube. And cube it was. More like a jail cell, these minimum wage cubes where designed with single person efficiency in mind.
At least his had a walled in toilet, and showering area made by the last tenant. On initial construction you where often only afforded the shower curtain that went around it for privacy. The showerhead stood just over the toilet all rigged onto the same piping, along with the sink built into the bowl of the toilet that used your gray water to flush it.
Yea, there was not much to these cubes. A murphy bed that doubled as a work space where the brace for the bed was a desk when upright against the wall. And a small kitchen consisting of a small fridge, a 2 eye stove, and small convection microwave. Aside from that there was not much else there.
He opened the door, and as soon as the door closed he threw his coveralls into the corner, having been bare back under them. He slip into his shower and quickly cleans off the grime before toweling off and simply flopping into bed face first, and not bothering to move an inch until his alarm went off only a few hours later. He does his normal morning routine, heats a premade meal, and then dresses before shutting and locking the door behind him off on another lightless morning to open shop.
He opens shop and for the first hour everything is fine, that is until his boss gets there and gets a phone call. “What!?” you could hear shouted from the head office. Followed by only his name over the loudspeaker in a stressed and clearly angry tone. “JIIIN!”
Jin had no idea what was going on, and made his way into the office with a clearly worried and pained look on his face, not knowing what had gone on, but knowing all too well what was coming. “JIN!” Shouted the mutt of a wolf dog across the room at him. “You’re fired! The client from last night said you fucked up his order! He EXPRESSLY told me to END YOUR CONTRACT!”
“W-What sir!? N-no I-I-I... I did exactly as told! I promise sir!” Jin all but begged for understanding, not knowing how this was ‘payment’ in any way for his services rendered last night. The dog barked at him “I DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT! GET OUT!” And with that he was all but shoved out of the office before standing there weak kneed, and heartbroken. He looked around for Nile to at least tell her what happened. But... she was nowhere to be seen. “Why is she late.... Today of all days, I needed her.” He said barely knowing her in truth but knowing she’d at least have some idea of what's going on.
He never did see Nile again. And slowly walked his way back to his cube, not knowing what he’d do for work now. His mind swam with what had gone on the night before and what had just happened. Looking for a reason to it all, looking for meaning as he climbed those stairs once more.
But when he got to his cube, he found that his code wouldn't open it. And when he punched in the code a red error flashed on the door. “Status: Evicted”. And just like that. He’d lost his job and his home.... All because of that ‘nobleman’ the dragon. What had he done to deserve this?
Pain consumed his very soul as he made his way down the steps, tears now rolling down his cheeks as his mind raced “Its not fair.... I did everything right... its not fair....”