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“How did you find me?” I asked a half hour later. We were scoping out the sugar factory, checking to see if the site really was abandoned and therefor safe to inspect. It was a nice neutral question, touching on none of the icky emotional sap that had been hovering just out of sight since our conversation a bit ago.
“Juniper bushes don’t usually go wandering around,” Mooney answered dryly, not taking the binoculars from his eyes. I clamped down on the urge to slap myself in the forehead. Yeah, kind of didn’t think about that. Binding my scent to something was pretty straight forward, even if it wasn’t the easiest spell to cast. To cast it, I identified something I wanted my scent to mirror and then set my sweat glands to actively release chemicals already in my body that mimicked the chemicals released by that item. It had to be something organic because I didn’t have the right kinds of stuff in my body to mimic plastic, rock, or metal, but it was a very effective scent mask. I had good reason to expect most shifters would have been tricked by it—no one else had caught on to that ‘things wandering around that shouldn’t be’ thing before. Then again, Mooney had already proven that he was an excellent investigator and that would be the type of anomaly a trained investigator would notice.
“You were right; they are long gone. No fresh tracks in the snow at all,” he said, pulling me out of my reverie. “I don’t feel the wards, either. Are you picking up anything passive?”
“The wards were likely destroyed in the fire,” I replied. “A flood might deactivate permanent wards, unless the wards anchors were moved too far by flood water to make a connection, but fire flat out destroys them. No point rebuilding wards for a location you’re planning to abandon.” I stopped and did a quick scan of the area. “I don’t sense anything passive, but there might be something subtle that’s being shielded by the snow and debris.”
“Can you do that scent thing for both of us?” Mooney asked. I looked over at him and saw him worrying his lower lip with strong white teeth. NO! No more thoughts like that about the Moon-dog, I sternly told myself.
“Yeah, it’s pretty easy. What do you want me to bind our scent to?”
“Not plants,” he said quickly. “The Yakooza may or may not catch on to that trick, but it’s just too obvious. Can you make us smell like humans?”
“I would need an article of clothing or something,” I said, nodding my head vigorously when I caught on to his plan. “Actually, two articles of clothing, since we’d be leaving two sets of tracks. It’s a mimic spell, so whatever the spell is set to mimic needs to be fairly close to the person or item it’s supposed to be masking.”
“Perfect. Let’s go back to the truck. We can run over to the Pleasure Club and see what’s available in the lost and found box. Then we can drive right up to the sugar factory already disguised as humans. I’ll go picking through the rubble looking for salvageable stuff, since this is just the kind of wreck scrappers would hit, while you look for whatever you need to look for,” Mooney said with a grin. Damn, I sure did like working with a fellow professional!