Xelloss stepped out of Sairaag's police commissioner's office, and carefully closed the door. Zelas had told him that the silly human politicians had finally conceded to one of the various political factions in Sairaag...and were making her hire a Golden Dragon.

Zelas had made sure she got to pick which Golden Dragon she hired, though; she wanted a nice sheltered one, who was, in either the practical or literal senses, a rookie -- but one which was qualified enough to be used to join the homicide department from the start. She had settled on a young lady named Filia Ul Copt, who was a complete rookie, but had taken top honors at Savita's police academy and in Savita University's criminology courses.

A bonus to this was that Savita was one of the few settlements that was completely inhabited by Dragons -- and mostly Golden Dragons at that. This meant that it was largely peaceful -- it didn't even need a homicide department, as homicides that actually required much investigation were incredibly rare.

Xelloss didn't think he was going to have to resort to drastic measures to get rid of her; she'd probably leave of her own accord after the first messy case. He'd not even need to have been ordered to make sure that neither Zelas or he could be blamed for her departure.

From other, older, Mazoku Xelloss knew that once he'd never had to be too concerned about ever having to work with a Golden Dragon, no less having to cover up any involvement in his getting one to either quit, retire, or die. But that was before the disastrous war, when he was still a young Mazoku, and part of Shabraningdo that had been in Rei Magnus had been awakened. Nobody was sure what the Water Dragon King had done -- and the Water Dragon King's subsequent insanity made any information from him suspect -- but as a result large numbers of Mazoku and Dragons had been sealed into humanoid forms, with few or none of their previous skills, that would mark them as more then just unusual-looking humans or elves, left to them.

Very few Mazoku had been created since then in what had once been the usual way, of using a piece of the 'parent' Mazoku to create a new one. It was rare for any Mazoku who could still do that to have the power to spare. The secondary method that, due to its time-consuming nature, had until then been used rarely, of two Mazoku (or, as experimentation since then had proved possible, a Mazoku and a member of another race) could 'pool' their resources to reproduce; the process was much less costly for both, even for the one who was the 'mother', as the cost in power was spread out over a longer time.

Xelloss himself wasn't old enough to join in whenever a group of the older Mazoku got together to talk about the good old times, when they didn't have to work within the humans' rules but were free to do whatever they wanted or, rather, whatever their masters had ordered them to do. His earliest memories were of being strangely...smaller, in a way he knew the human languages had no way to truely describe, and of Zelas training him in what were then expected to be his future duties on Wolf Pack Island.

The first time he had really been off the island was during that disasterous war.

Zelas had been the first of the Dark Lords to adapt; she decided that she could satisfy both her own personal desire to hunt and fill some role in human society which would also make it easy for her to gain access to what she considered to be the luxcturies of human contact.

She ended up taking up police-work: she reguarded it as a hunt, and the rules just made it all the more of a challenge -- and more fun.

Filia looked up at the building that served as Sairaag's police department's headquarters. It stood near to the far edge of the Shahzadeh ward of Sairaag: still part of the downtown cresent that Shahzadeh formed around Flagoon, but far enough away from Flagoon itself that Mazoku and those with some Mazoku blood in their veins wouldn't be bothered by the long-term effects that being too close to Flagoon might cause them.

She nervously adjusted her uniform with her free hand, the other holding up an umbrella. The stiff white blouse and dark navy miniskirt weren't very practical; she wished she had taken the advice of the lady from whom she had picked up her uniform the week before and chosen the male-style one, of a dark navy shirt and matching slacks. She was all to aware now that she looked more like a not very good secritary then a police officer.

She walked into the building cautiously. She was all too aware that Sairaag was not Savita. Sairaag not only had a higher population of people, but it had humans, elves, and even...even Mazoku among its citizenry. The High Elder had told her, when she had gotten picked to be the first Golden Dragon officer to work in the police force, that she would need to be wary of her new Mazoku boss: she was to expect attempts to kill her, most of them disguised as accidents.

She quickly checked with the directory posted on the wall. She was to report to the homicide department...which was located several floors up. Filia briefly considered teleporting though she knew that, as few Dragons or Mazoku could still teleport, she should keep the fact that she hadn't been gotten by the seal a secret. She looked at the elevators beside the directory, and mentally shrugged.

She pushed the call button, and stood waiting for the elevator to come down. As she waited, a short young-looking girl wearing a large white raincoat ran in and started scanning the directory, muttering, "Homicide, homicide, homicide..."

Filia looked at the floor indicator on the elevator, then tapped the girl politely on the shoulder. "You looking up the location of the homicide department, miss?"

The girl looked up at Filia, blue eyes shining. "Yes, miss...I'm new here -- this should be my first day -- and I was assigned to the homicide department..."

"Oh! So am I! My name's Filia Ul Copt."

"I'm Amelia...Amelia Chantel. Nice to meet you, Filia-san!"

The elevator finally arrived, an the doors opened. "I already found what floor we want on the board...will you please come up with me, Amelia-san?" Filia said politely.

Amelia smiled, and they stepped onto the elevator. They were joined by a man wearing a form-concealing beige raincoat, and Filia hit the button for the 5th floor. They all rode quietly up, and when the doors opened on the 5th floor they all filed out. Filia looked at the man in the beige raincoat; there was something not right about him.

The trio walked into the homicide department. The whole section of offices were empty except for a lean purple-haired man who was wearing a cream shirt and loose black pants. Filia paused when he looked up with a grin; all her senses were screaming 'Mazoku!' about this man. Was she expected to work in the same office as a Mazoku?

The man waved to the man in the beige raincoat. "Hello, Zel! I see you've brought two ladies with you!"

Zel quickly tossed his raincoat onto the coat rack that stood beside the door; Filia stared a little at the chimera, but Amelia seemed to take it in stride. "They just followed me here, Xelloss. I think at least one of them's the new hire..."

Amelia took off her raincoat, revealing that she was wearing a quite new-looking man-style uniform, and carefully hung it on the coat rack. "We're both new hires, sir. I'm Amelia Chantel."

Filia had hung her umbrella on the rack already, so she was prepared to introduce herself too. "I'm Filia Ul Copt."

"Ahhh...Zelas-sama told me that you two'd be arriving today. Zelgadiss, Zelas-sama decided that it's time I stopped following you around all over the place...so she's ordered the both of us to break in these two."

"Xelloss!" Zelgadiss exclaimed, "you mean Zelas-sama only promoted me because she didn't want you getting too attached to me?" Amelia and Filia looked from one man to the other, not sure what to make of the exchange.

The tension was broken by Xelloss's laugh. "No, Zel, she just decided it was time to kick you out of the nest, but she doesn't want you to be lonely...and I think she wants to punish me for my antics at the last party she took me to..."

"You've yet to tell me why you decided to take the worst drag-queen you could find there." By this time, Zelgadiss had taken a seat at a nearby desk.

"That's because I don't know! I was drunk!" Xelloss turned slightly and grinned wolfishly at the two surprised young women. "Amelia, Filia, may I introduce you to Zelgadiss Greywords, who really needs a girlfriend?"

"Hey!" Zelgadiss cried, blushing. Xelloss snickered at that, then turned business-like.

"I'm Xelloss. Amelia, you've been assigned to Zelgadiss here. Filia, I'll be training you."

Amelia nodded and walked over to the desk Zelgadiss was sitting at, and Filia walked over to Xelloss.

She looked him up and down.

"You're a Mazoku, aren't you?"

He nodded, with a grin. "And you're a Golden Dragon. You're a rather pretty one, too."

Filia looked stunned.

The partner she had been assigned to was a Mazoku.

As the shock from that wore off, its place was taken by the next shock in line:

She had been complemented by a Mazoku.