Chapter One: The Missing Gold

I suppose the day that it happened was a nice enough day. A faint breeze, a warm sun, flowers and little children singing along to nursery rhymes, my father had won the chocolate lottery, someone had found a cure for some undecipherable disease, and a supermodel had asked me out to dinner.

Sorry, I suppose I should mention that I'm more than a little sarcastic. But that's me. Dilem McDermott, smartass extraordinaire.

The day that the incident had occurred was most likely one of the worst days in my 175 year existence. It had been raining for three straight weeks in May, the stock markets were plummeting, and I had just been informed that my favorite soap opera had been cancelled.

I believe that it was May 27, but I wouldn't bet my life on it, though us leprechauns are known to gamble, and I was going in for a hard day of work.

That work being a bookie for one of the more predominant wealthy leprechaun families. The McBrides, they were called, and they had the small underground leprechaun city of Maevre under their tiny green thumb. Almost everyone in the land worked for them, or feared them. Either way truly worked, and the family was suspected in having some illegal and black market dealings of the upper world.

The upper world being that where the humans lived. Filthy, foul-smelling place, if you ask me. It was never the right temperature, always too hot or too cold, piles of trash or dung everywhere you looked, and perhaps this is my own personal vendetta, but the flowers people populated in their gardens disgusted me. Stupid irises, chrysanthemums, and especially roses.

God, I hate roses.

Anyways, leprechauns, or our cousin race, the faeries, were forbidden to have any connection to the upper world. Why? Well its embarrassing. Humans have a tendency to exaggerate or romanticize supernatural creatures.

Except for leprechauns.

Oh no, the leprechauns weren't to be praised, made handsome, or have any real skills. To the Humans, we were nothing more than petty bagpipe, or flute, players who trick little children into loosing their money.

I must ask, what's so bad about us? I mean, we're far more interesting than dwarves, yet even they get the limelight in some of those ridiculous fables. We aren't necessarily redheaded, and we don't wear green. That'd be stupid, considering how our own natural skin is green. I mean, you don't see humans walking around in nothing but flesh-colored jumpsuits, do you? Of course not, we don't wear green, and that's all there is too it really.

Sorry, where was I? Oh yes, the McBrides. There were three of them, Neil, the father figure, was the oldest. Neil was probably the most brutal and cheapest leprechaun of the city. An older leprechaun, at 567, about 50 in your human years, he had one of the most foulest reputations in the area. Known to cut off limbs for a few gold coins, or to bet on illegal death matches, nothing would come between him and his cash.

Well, nothing, besides his wife. That would be Moira, a 200 something tart of a second spouse. Neil had remarried after his first wife, Tabitha, had suffered an 'unfortunate' accident after Neil had discovered some missing weaving funds. Moira was spoiled rotten. She got whatever she wanted from her husband, who constantly bought her affection. Cars, shoes, handbags, or whatever else those leprenesses want.

Ya, there are chick leprechauns. Their traditional species name was leprenesses, but most leprechauns simply referred to them as lepras, or my personal favorite, Lepra-chicks. Ha. See the wit in that one?

And then there was Lyra. What a hot one she was, the 150 year old daughter of Neil and his first wife, and almost as foul-tempered as her father. But, she had looks, which easily got her what she wanted without any incriminating slip-ups.

Anyways, I worked for them. I collected betting money, or whatever else they needed done. Why? Cuz I need the cash, I suppose. That, or my personal fetish with gold was enough to drive anyone to servitude for a family of criminals. Or to put it simply, I was a thief, a dropout, and recently was kicked out of my parents' house for some fairy dust that I swear wasn't mine. I remember the exact words my da had said:

"Son, you've been a failure and a mockery to this family your entire life. You're out. Get off your fat arse and make something of yourself."

So I did, and now I was one of the top-ranking assistants to a criminal leprechaun family. Kind of ironic, no? I mean, I followed my da's advice, and now I was even more of a mockery to the family name of McDermott.

I realize now, that you probably don't need me to explain the irony.

Anywho, it was a rather terrible day, that I somehow knew was going to get worse.

I went into the large building made of glass, signed my name in, punched in the time clock, poured some steaming cabbage water, straightened my hair, thanked the academy, my family, goldfish, and tress for being oh-so green, you get the picture.

Anyways, I was carefully minding my own business in my office..

Which was playing a rather intense game of darts.

My eyes narrowed in concentration, and sweat beaded down my forehead. Concentration was the vital key. The vital key, of the vital plan, of the vital life. Just aim careful and-

My internal prompting was rudely interrupted by the phone ringing shrilly off of its hook. Naturally, I was slightly startled, and gracefully collapsed out of my comfortable swivelly chair.

My hand searched desperately for the receiver. As Neil McBride's personal lackey, it was not wise to keep him waiting.

"Top o' the mornin' to yeh laddie!" I cried humouredly into the phone.

"Cut the crap." Was my rather rude and less-than-enthused response.

I cleared my throat awkwardly, "Sorry sir." I mumbled.

Ya, sorry that your such an asshole.

"We have a situation." Came Neil's tight voice, "Get to my office immediately."

I nodded, and an awkward silence followed.

"Hello?!" Growled Neil.

I then realized that one couldn't see a nod over the telephone, "Er sorry, I'll be right down."

"Hurry up, I don't have all bleedin millennia!" he bellowed before slamming down the phone.

"Hurry up, I don't have all bleedin millennia, bla bwa bla bwa bla," I mimicked childishly after I had set the phone down.

I suppose I should mention that I'm not exactly the most mature person in the lepre-world.

Now I would really like to say that journeying up to Neil's office was extremely complex. Full of intricate networks of underground tunnels, heavy doors made of some metal alloy not even legal in the country, retina scans, bodyguards who knew 50 different kinds of Kung Fu, puzzle boxes that needed to be solved in under a minute or an explosion would occur, some weird kind of counter-curse that needed to be recited before you were turned into a newt, all of course, with their own suspenseful theme music.

But no, instead I walked up a flight of stairs, and politely knocked on the door.

It was opened by Rena, Neil's secretary. One glance at her would definitely prove that she wasn't hired for brains or typing capabilities.

Short , even for lepra-chick (see there I go again, I'm so witty) with doe eyes and chestnut hair, one would have thought she was a being of extreme beauty, poise, manners, and charm.

That is, until she opened her big, obnoxious mouth.

"Hiy-lo there, mista McDermy." She said, her voice shrill and piercing. I had to resist the physical urge to cover my delicate, pointed ears.

"Nice to hear you-er, see you again Rena." I muttered, hoping Neil would get the hell out here.

She let out a nasal laugh that made me cringe, "Ahahahahaha. Yoiy so funnay!" she said, motioning with her acrylic finger-nailed hand, "Roit this way, mista McDermy." She spoke, gesturing to Neil's office.

I followed after her, and shuddered every time she spoke. I believe she was trying to tell me about an amusing mix up over her Christmas vacation, but all I heard was nails on an obnoxious chalkboard. She pushed open the heavy wooden door to Neil's office and I stepped inside.

"Seeh ya lata, mista McDermy." She called as she left.

"Boi-boi now!" I said, tinkly waving her back, trying to mock her.

Instead she got a confused look on her face, laughed really loud, and then left.

I turned to the figure behind the large desk.

Neil McBride was an elder leprechaun, his skin, instead of being a vibrant chartreuse like yours truly, was a pale shade of jade. His copper-colored hairline was receding and he was currently chomping on a Dragonscale Cigar, no doubt imported from the Dwarves.

He stood up abruptly, and began pacing back and forth in front of his bay window, "Thank go you're here, McDermott, crazy things, crazy, Ludacris, ideas!" He spoke incoherently, gnawing on his cigar the entire time.

"Um, English, S'il vous plait?" I asked him politely.

"Stupid, when I get my hands around their neck-" he grumbled, acting as if I wasn't here.

"Por favor?" I tried again.

His head snapped up, and for once I saw something totally out of character for Neil.

He looked worried.

Normally, he had a haughty sneer plastered on his wrinkling face, but today, he looked terrified.

I cleared my throat and tried for the first time in 5 or so years not to be a smartass, "What's up?" I inquired casually.

"There's a situation." He muttered between clenched teeth, going over to his chair behind the desk.

"And that is?" I was really restraining now not to make a wisecrack.

"My gold has been stolen!" he roared.

Wow, talk about climatic.