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Marshall sighed as Cake giggled girlishly at something Chrome said. He rolled his eyes as he thought how ludicrous the pair could appear at times. Cake was hopelessly attracted to the over-muscled talking horse. Marshall really didn’t see the appeal there. Cake herself was mostly humanoid, but sported a more feline figure complete with ears and a tail. She could transform completely into a cat, changing her form from that of a small housecat to a raging lioness. She was someone you really did not want to piss off.

Marshall tightened his arm around the human girl’s shoulder as he steered her away from the odd looking individuals loitering around. They knew that humans could easily come back stage, yet they rarely ever did anything to hide their true forms. Hanna Abbadeer, Marshall’s mother, would surely chew them all limb from limb if she were to show up.

He led the blonde to a sofa at the back of the lounge. He gestured for her to take a seat, and she quickly plopped down on the cushions and ran a finger along one of the lush pillows. She laughed as she did this, and Marshall was certain she was wasted. Good, a talking horse may not seem that weird.

He smiled down at her and effortlessly grabbed a card from his pocket with two of his fingers. He held it up and then levitated it above his open hand, spinning the object around until it became a white blur above his palm. She watched in amazement as he then slowed it and levitated it to land softly in her lap. She hesitantly laid her hand over the object and then drew the card up. It was the ace of spades from the performance earlier that evening.

“For you my dear.” He said as she looked at him with wonder in her eyes.

“How do you do that?” She asked as she glanced at the card again. He sat down next to her and plucked the card from her grasp. He closed his hands around it, and once they opened the card was gone.

Marshall leaned in closer as he said, “Now, if I told you then where would the magic be in that?” He asked. She glanced down at his lips and a small smirk fell upon them as she came closer to him. He closed the space between them and brought their lips together for a quick lustful kiss. He then pulled away and held up the now visible card in the small space between them. She took the card and set it down on the arm of the couch. She rested a hand on his waist as she smiled at him.

“Do you have any more tricks you could show me, magic boy?” she asked in a challenging tone as her eyes locked onto his lips once again.

“Of course.” He replied confidently as he leaned in and pressed his lips to hers once again. He pulled back and continued, “where is a magician without his tricks.” He then kissed the side of her face and continued down her neck. He felt her shiver in anticipation, and heat traveled to his stomach as she dug her nails into his side.

He pulled away and gently laced his hand through her golden blonde hair. “But, my dear, some of my magic is better suited for a more private location.” He said as she tried to pull his body closer.

“I’d love a private show.” She said as he leaned in and planted a kiss on her shoulder. When he pulled back a small frown tugged at the corners of his mouth. His eyes instantly locked onto the glaring figure that was residing across the room. He sighed and the girl offered him a somewhat worried look.

“As much as I would love to, I am needed elsewhere.” He apologized as a bout of annoyance hit him. “I truly do apologize.” He said as he stood.

“But-“ She started as Marshall shushed her and gently cradled the side of her face.

“I assure you, it is nothing you have done. You are perfect. Enjoy your evening.” He said before turning and walking away. He heard the girl gasp and didn’t care to look behind him. She had most likely discovered his number that had been ‘magically’ appeared on the back of the card.

He stopped at the bar and told Beemo to show his guest out. She nodded and then he stalked off to find his mother by the stage entrance. Her arms were crossed across her chest and her posture was rigid as she emitted a very inhuman stance.

“Now, Marcie, you—“ Hanna began.

“Mom!“ Marshall interrupted in a defensive tone, but he was quickly cut off.

“You listen to me, child of mine, I know you are aware of the crisis at hand, and I expect you to be making an effort; not fraternizing with witless humans.” She seethed. Marshall clenched his fists at his side as his anger flared.

“Come, perhaps you can put your charm to good use. I have an assignment for you.” She said as she sauntered away. Marshall silently followed her as they came to the private room attached to the theater. A portal resided inside a closet door, which his mother opened and gestured for him to go through. He stepped through the portal and then appeared at ‘the lair’.

Cake and Chrome were at the bar making some drinks and food. Silkworm was sweeping the floor while her mind-controlled lackeys dusted the shelves. His mother stepped out of the portal behind him, and he paused as he momentarily considered pouring himself a drink rather than listen to his mother discuss politics for the remainder of the evening.

“Come, child.” She said as they continued into an office. She sat down behind the desk and he took a seat on the opposite side. She grabbed a folder from a drawer and set it on the tabletop.

“The Ice Court is trying to sabotage our territory again.” She said as she pulled a paper from the file. She placed it on the table before him, and he picked it up and read over it.

“Gunter’s Bistro?” Marshall questioned as he glanced up at his mother. “I am sorry mother, but I do not see how this is rele-“

“Gunter’s Bistro. It is owned and operated by members of the Ice Court. The chain is quickly growing in numbers, and all locations are within our territory.” She said. “I am not sure what they are playing at, but I know that it cannot be anything good.”

“Are you suggesting that the Ice Court is trying to take us down through fast food?” He mocked as he tossed the file onto the desk.

“Do not play games with me, child. They are plotting something, and I would like to know what.” She said in a serious tone.

Marshall leaned back in his chair as he studied his rigid mother. She was serious all the time, and it drove Marshall nuts. He could hardly stand his mother and her constant need for control and power.

“And, you want me to gather this intel.” He asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Yes. You do seem to enjoy the humans a little more than necessary.” She said with a glare. “I have provided you with a list of all the heavy hitters in the corporation. I trust your judgment and knowledge to find out as much information as you can.”

“Ok. Yeah, sure thing.” He said as he grabbed the file, ready to get the hell out of his mother’s office. “I’ll go look over it.” He lied as he turned and started to walk away.

“Son, do not do anything careless.” She said in an honest tone. He paused and acknowledged her use of the word ‘son’.

“Of course, mother.” He replied before exiting the large office.