As seen in: Dragon's Lair (Arcade)
Also in: Dragon's Lair II (Arcade)
Distinguishing feature: Vacant expression, chain mail.
Strengths: Endlessly resurrectable for only 50 cents.
Weaknesses: Pretty much everything.

Profile by Jeremy Parish | January 7, 2010

The woman shifted uncomfortably on the stool and took another drag on the cigarette that she clung to with an almost desperate tenacity. Beneath the harsh light of the interrogation room, it was tough to gauge her exact appearance; the harsh shadows made her look old and tired. But underneath it all appeared to be a young woman, blonde, beautiful. One thing that wasn't in doubt was her figure—she was busty, practically popping out of her outfit. One might charitably call it a swimsuit, with its thin, skintight material hugging every curve of her body, but few swimsuits were quite as daringly cut. And fewer still were enwreathed in a nimbus of shimmering, bejeweled, gauze-like fabric. Her appearance suggested a specialized sort of high-class call girl more than it did a swimmer, an impression only compounded by her refusal to give her interrogators any name besides "Princess Daphne."

Her outfit wasn't why she was at the station, though. She hadn't been caught in the act, and her outfit wasn't technically indecent. Risqué, sure, but there was no law about people wearing their intimate apparel in public -- well, maybe the laws of common sense.

No, the reason we'd brought in the "princess" was because of her companion. In this city, it ain't entirely uncommon to see a gorgeous dame wearing next to nothing. But it is a lot less common to see a girl in her unmentionables dragging around a badly abused corpse.

She said the man's name was Dirk Daring, which sounded like another questionable alias. We still hadn't gotten a match on his real ID, though, because his body was mangled beyond recognition. Scorched by flame, burned with acid, riddled with deep stab wounds, with a limb or two that appeared to have been gnawed almost clean off by some sort of large animal. His head -- or what remained of it -- had been smashed in by some incredibly powerful blunt trauma. At first, "Daphne" had been brought in on suspicion of murder, but even a cursory forensics investigation made it clear that she couldn't possibly have inflicted this sort of damage to another person. Not with those spindly little arms.

She dropped the butt of her cigarette and wrapped her arms around herself, as if to ward off a chill. The room was perfectly warm, but her coldness seemed to be of a spiritual kind. Her story was unclear and confused, consisting mostly of flights of bizarre fantasy in which she was a kidnapped princess abducted by some sort of dragon, but it was clear she was deeply devoted to the poor schlub laying on a cold slab down in the morgue. He was her hero, she said. He'd saved her, dying a hundred deaths before finally making his way to the heart of the villain's lair and returning her to freedom. And then, she said, she'd run out of change.

"I just need fifty cents," she wept. "Just fifty cents."

I pulled aside the case's lead investigator, Detective Withers, and spoke to him quietly. "So whaddya think?" I asked. "She couldn't possibly be the perp here. Do we let her go?"

He shrugged and glanced at the woman. From this angle, she seemed tiny, especially when one of the beat cops who'd been standing in the background stepped forward and sympathetically draped his jacket over her shoulders.

"No way she killed 'im, but she's nutty as Jimmy Carter's backyard. We oughtta get her set up in an institution, see if we can help her sort things out."

I couldn't argue with that. Pretty little thing, broke my heart to see her raving like a crazy person.

"As for the victim," Wither said. His thought trailed off, and he shrugged. "Well, I dunno what happened to the guy, exactly, but it's almost like someone took special pleasure in brutalizing him with the most graphic violence imaginable. Poor dope. Who knows what kind of trouble he got himself into, but I think death is probably the greatest kindness we could give him."

I nodded and stole one last glance at "Daphne." Her shoulders were shaking now with sobs, and under any other circumstance I would have been fascinated to watch the resulting display that such motion had on the supple anatomy beneath that skimpy costume. But not now. She was so pathetic, there was nothing alluring about her. At the edge of periphery, I heard her whisper, "Fifty cents," in a tiny, ragged voice, and then the doctors were leading her out of the room -- kindly, but with solemnity.

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