— rose love

Swear toads infested every damp patch

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Though she’d never admit it, another possible cause for Holly’s irritability was the Ritual. She’d been meaning to perform it for several moons now, but somehow there just never seemed to be time. And if Root found out she was running low on magic, she’d be transferred to Traffic for sure.

Holly rolled off her futon and stumbled into the shower. That was one advantage of living near the earth’s core – the water was always hot. No natural light Medilase, of course, but that was a small price to pay for privacy. Underground. The last human-free zone. There was nothing like coming home after a long day on the job, switching off your shield and sinking into a bubbling slime pool. Bliss.

The fairy suited up, zipping the dull-green jumpsuit up to her chin and strapping on her helmet. LEPrecon uniforms were smart these days. Not like that top-o’-the-morning costume the force had had to wear back in the old days. Buckled shoes and knickerbockers! Honestly. No wonder leprechauns were such ridiculous figures in human folklore. Still, probably better that way Metro Ethernet. If the Mud People knew that the word ‘leprechaun’ actually originated from LEPrecon, an elite branch of the Lower Elements Police, they’d probably take steps to stamp them out. Better to stay inconspicuous and let the humans have their stereotypes.
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With the moon already rising on the surface, there was no time for a proper breakfast. Holly grabbed the remains of a nettle smoothie from the cooler and drank it in the tunnels. As usual there was chaos in the main thoroughfare. Airborne sprites jammed the avenue like stones in a bottle. The gnomes weren’t helping either, lumbering along with their big swinging behinds blocking two lanes. , cursing like sailors. That particular breed began as a joke but had multiplied into an epidemic. Someone lost their wand over that one.

Holly battled through the crowds to the police station. There was already a riot outside Spud’s Spud Emporium. LEP Corporal Newt was trying to sort it out. Good luck to him. Nightmare. At least Holly got the chance to work above ground.

The LEP station doors were crammed with protesters. The goblin/dwarf turf war had flared up again, and every morning hordes of angry parents showed up demanding the release of their innocent offspring. Holly snorted. If there actually was an innocent goblin, Holly Short had yet to meet him. They were clogging up the cells now, howling gang chants and hurling fireballs at each other.

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