It was a bit of a miserable day. A sky packed with gloomy grey clouds, chasing each other on the wind and every now and then releasing a dreary drizzle of rain upon the land below. Streetlamps were already on by mid-afternoon, storefronts lit and cozy with colorful lights, but hardly anyone on the sidewalks to take notice of them. The land of Minnaluna was going through its autumn moods in preparation for winter, and the small coastal town of Fandago was feeling it in the worst way possible.
Between flurries of leaves being blown about by sudden gusts of wind, a large salvage truck pulled into the yard of Heavenly Auto Repairs, a garage that was ran by a large female Mry. She was one of the very, very few Mry who had traveled away from the island of Nezinoma Salis and settled down on the Minnaluna mainland. And as if she didn't already stand out enough as being a Mry, and a quite large one at that, her fur made her stand out even more. Clear blue in color, with darker blue and white accents, white fur on the chest and tummy of her quadruped lower half, and small, wavy markings in the same darker blue and white that resembled light cloud cover adorning her cheeks, the bridge of her muzzle, her ears, the shoulders of both her anthro upper body and her feral lower body, as well as the hips and rump of her feral lower body, and her tail. She had incredibly long, flowing straight white hair that came down all the way to the joints of her feral forepaws, an almost walrus-like set of white whiskers, light grey eyes, and light blue skin on the pad of her nose, the pads of all her paws, inside her ears, and anywhere else that showed bare skin between the fur. All those distinctive markings and colors had earned her the quite celestial name of Heavenly Sky - even though her burly build and size somewhat belied the lightness her name implied. Therefore she was mostly referred to as just Sky.
Her anthro upper torso was clad in a dirty blue denim mechanic's overall that ended at the point where her anthro waist blended over into her feral shoulders, several spanners and wrenches sticking out of the pockets. Standing with her paws on her hips, she looked at the salvage truck pulling into the yard of her garage. Both doors opened, letting out the driver, a somewhat burly half-human, half-Flamelin man on the driver's side. He was dressed in simple jeans and a leather jacket over a plaid flannel shirt, the hair on his head as well as the fur on parts of his face white with patched of red with tabby markings in them. From the passenger's side of the truck came a short yet quite curvy young mouse woman. Her fur was rather plain, light brown with beige running from her cheeks down over her front, but her auburn hair was impressively long. The thing standing out about her was the thin ribbon tied into a bow around her fur-less tail, and she was wearing tight jeans, a light jacket over a blue plaid button-down blouse, and a massive pout.
"A'ight, whattawe got 'ere?" the large blue Mry asked when both people had gotten out of the truck.
The driver motioned at the car on the bed with a hand.
"Not too sure, she was kinda vague. Noise from engine bay, and won't start anymore."
There was a note of disdain in his voice. His dislike of females having no clue about car-related problems could almost be heard. The blue Mry smirked a bit and waved his comment away with one of her own paws.
"I'm sure she c'n talk perfectly well f'r 'erself, buddy Joe." She turned to the mouse. "So do tell, babe, what be the problem?"
The mouse girl looked rather helpless, turning a bit to look at the car sitting on the bed of the salvage truck. It was a quite magnificent 2002 Jaguar XJ8, in deep dark metallic blue. Strapped down to the bed of a salvage truck was a sorry sight for such a stately car.
"I... I don't know, really. I bought that car yesterday, it was a really nice deal and I've been saving for that model car for ages, it's totally always been my dream car. But it made all kinds of noises when I drove it home... rattling, grinding, clanking... I was afraid the engine would fall out. And this morning it wouldn't even start at all anymore."
"Hmmm." Sky started slowly stepping around the back of the truck, looking at the car from all sides. "What'cha pay f'r it, 'oney?"
"Five thousand, six hundred..." the mouse said. "They said they'd done a top end rebuild, so it really looked like a great deal." She motioned at the somewhat battered alloy rims the car was sitting on. "I was even willing to overlook those wheels looking kinda crappy because the deal was so good."
"Hmmm," Sky hummed again, leaning over a bit to glance under the car.
"Can you... can it be fixed?" the mouse asked hopefully, and a bit nervously.
"We'll 'ave a look-see." Sky turned to the driver of the truck. "A'ight buddy Joe, ya c'n lower 'er down."
The driver shrugged and stepped to the back of the truck, undoing a few chains and straps before manipulating a box of controls behind the cab to lower the back end of the truck to the ground. Letting off on the winch next allowed the stately car to roll off the truck slowly and into the garage building with some creaks and groans that made the mouse girl shudder and bite her lower lip. Sky merely gave a nod at the truck driver as he finished and said his goodbye, stepping behind the car and easily pushing it over between the posts of a car lift further in the building.
She tried the driver door; it was locked.
"Ya got the keys, 'oney? C'n ya pop the hood f'r me?"
"Oh! Yes, of course, sorry."
The mouse girl dug into a pocket of her jeans, fishing out a set of keys so she could unlock and open the driver door. Leaning in, she pulled the small lever to unlock the hood, which the blue Mry lifted and put on its support, tilting her head as she swept her eyes over the four-liter Jaguar V8-engine that was revealed. It had been cleaned almost suspiciously well, even though that could not mark the rust on the block and the dingy state of most parts visible.
"Damn 'oney, tha' motor is hashed!"
The mousette let out a squeak, holding her paws over her mouth.
"Is it... is it really that bad? They said they did a top end rebuild on the engine."
"Sure they did," Sky smirked, pulling a screwdriver from one of her pockets. "Le's jus' see jus' 'ow true that is."
The Mry popped off the coil covers on the engine heads. The cleaning and polishing that had been done of them could not disguise how scratched and scuffed they were. Disconnecting each coil of the electronic ignition system, Sky pulled them out one by one and smirked again as she looked at them. They had merely been cleaned, where almost all of them had clearly needed replacement. Next came the sparkplugs; each one coming out as a sooty, burnt black mess.
Tossing the sparkplugs aside, Sky took a wrench to unbolt the left valve cover. With a shake of her head, she rose up and turned to look at the mousette.
"A'ight 'oney, I'mma stop right there. Top end rebuild me 'ind foot, tha' motor's a piece o' junk. Hate ta be the one ta tell ya, 'oney, but ya got shafted, an' pretty damn bad."
"Oh... no," the mousette squeaked softly. Her pouting lower lip trembled; she was almost on the verge of tears. "Is it... is there... really no way it could be fixed?"
Sky took a cloth to wipe her paws, stepping over to the mouse girl. She couldn't help feeling sorry for the poor girl.
"Two ways, 'oney; replacement engine, or a rebuild on this one." She placed a paw on the mousette's shoulder. "I can prob'ly fix tha' piece o' crap, but I'll 'ave ta strip it down to the bare block, fix what's salvageable, an' replace what ain't. An' 'oney... tha's gonna cost more'n the fifty-six 'undred ya lay down f'r tha' car. Ya be better off sellin' it f'r partin' out."
"Awww... but, but..." the mousette almost whimpered. "I... I love that car. It's always been so much my dream car... and I was so happy I finally found one that looked so good and I could afford."
"So ya wan' me ta fix it, then?" Sky asked with a soft smile.
The mousette twirled her fingers into each other, looking at her feet and swishing her thin tail a bit.
"I... I would, but... if it's going to be that expensive, I don't think I could afford it."
"Well... I could do li'l bits atta time. Tha' soun's good?" Sky offered, really wanting to help the mouse girl out.
"That... that's very nice of you," the mousette said softly. "But... that would take really long, wouldn't it? And... like, having it standing here in your garage all that time would get expensive too, wouldn't it? Taking up space and all..."
She trailed off and shook her head a bit, still twiddling her fingers and looking down at her feet. The large blue Mry gave her head a light shake as well, running a paw over her impressive set of whiskers for a moment. She was really feeling for the mouse girl, and she was quite ticked off at the practice of anyone ripping off people by selling them crappy cars that were made to look good with just a bit of spit-polish. With her paw still on the mousette's shoulder, she leaned in her head a bit and lowered her voice somewhat.
"Tell ya wha', 'oney. I'll make y'a deal." She let out a light chuckle. "An' wha's yer name, anyways, 'oney?"
"Uhm... Ily, Ily Soulit," the mousette said softly, lifting her head a bit and looking up with a slightly wondrous expression. "What... what's the deal?"
"Right," Sky nodded. She calmly led the mousette over to a corner of the garage where a few chairs were grouped around a low table. "'Ave a seat, Ily. Now then." The large Mry lowered her feral lower body down into a laying position next to the chair the mousette sat down in. "F'r one, I 'ate when people rip off others like they did ya, 'oney. F'r another, it's a criminal offense. Now, unf'rtunately, ain't much ya c'n do yerself; they's gonna say ya shoulda checked the car over better or 'ave that done b'fore buyin' it. I c'n do more, though. So 'ere's a deal. I take tha' thing apart ta the bare block an' take pics along the way to show ev'rythin' tha's wrong with it; ya get me all the info ya 'ave, any receipts, written agreements or wha'ever, name and address o' where ya got the thing, anythin' ya may 'ave or can think of, yeah? I put it all t'gether, make a case 'gainst them crooks with clear proof'n all. An' then I'll rebuild the thing, an' ya can do work f'r me ta pay f'r the parts'n all. Ya any good with yer paws, 'oney?"
It took a while for Ily to respond. She had been listening to the large blue Mry talking to her with ever growing surprise, hardly able to believe her big round ears. That all... it almost sounded too good to be true!
"Uhm..." she eventually stammered. "I'm... I'm decent, I guess? I mean, like, I'm not very good with cars or anything." She sighed and smirked a bit. "If I had been, I wouldn't have ended up with a five and a half thousand dollar boat anchor in the first place."
"Tha's a'ight, 'oney," Sky smiled, giving the mouse a gentle pat on the shoulder. "I got lotsa work 'round 'ere ya could really help me out with. Ya like tha'? As an idea? If ya even can, o'course, if ya don' 'ave a job of yer own already or anythin'."
"Uh... no, no... that's alright. I, uh... I work from home, and I don't have much going on, so... I would have the time," Ily said slowly. She thought it better not to mention her 'work from home' meant she did erotic webcam shows. "Uh, what, uhm... what kind of work would we be talking about?"
Sky gave a light shrug.
"Answerin' the phone, cataloguin' inventory, cleanin' up 'round the place, cars I restore or client's cars I fixed need ta be washed'n cleaned b'fore they pick'em up; ya could do things like tha'. If ya wanna, o'course."
"Well... yeah..." Ily slowly perked up and managed a smile. "Yeah, I can do that. It will be a big help in paying for all that work on my car, and it will be a lot quicker than if I have to save up for it first with what I make currently." She smiled wider. "Thank you so much, miss Sky, it's so very nice of you to help me out like that. I gladly accept." A soft giggle escaped her. "Who knows, I might even learn things about cars, too. It'd be handy if I know how to at least change the oil or something."
"Le's start with tha', then," Sky smiled, rising up to her four feet. "Yer firs' job; bring me tha' drain pan there."
She pointed at what looked like a canister on wheels, with a bowl on the top and a tube coming out the side. Ily nodded with a smile and stepped over to the thing, wheeling it to the car lift where the large blue Mry had pushed the supports under the car with one of her feral forepaws and was now lifting the car up into the air. Coming closer underneath the car when Sky beckoned her, Ily looked up at the parts the Mry was pointing out.
"Tha's yer oil pan there. Drain plug at the back. Ya get some kinda container ta catch the ol' oil an' put it under there, then get a five-sixteenth's an' undo tha' plug."
She illustrated her words by doing what she was saying, screwing the drain plug out of the oil pan. The black goop that oozed out didn't even look like oil - more like liquid tarmac.
"That's... not good, isn't it?" Ily remarked, spotting Sky's smirk.
"Nope. New oil's golden in color. When it starts gett'n brown, it should be changed. When it's black like this... ya shoulda changed it sev'ral years ago already." She shrugged. "Anyways, once it's all out, screw tha' plug back in so ya won' lose it, nor f'rget to put it back in. An' then refill with new oil from the top. I won' be doin' tha' yet though, seein' as 'ow I hafta take the whole motor apart anyways."
Ily nodded, wheeling the drain pan out of the way.
"Anything else I can do?"
"Yeah, go over to me office there," Sky pointed at a door. "Near the computer on the desk, there's a digital camera. Grab tha' an' shoot pics of all the stuff I come across when takin' apart tha' motor."
Ily nodded again, walking to the office. She easily found the small camera the blue Mry had mentioned, taking it back to where Sky had lowered her car back down to start disassembling the engine and shooting pictures by the Mry's directions.
It had been such a damper, the day already being so gloomy, her car not starting, and then hearing that her so badly wanted dream car was in such a terrible state when she got it towed to the garage. But things were certainly looking up for the mousette now, thanks to the helpful and friendly Mry running the garage. And she even had an extra job of sorts to pay for all the work her car was needing. Things could only look up from here on out.