The Succubae Seduction: Chapters 25-29

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Chapter 25
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“The furniture is all set up, sir. I just need your signature here and here.” A large, burly man hands me a clipboard, and I pretend to look over the documentation. We still haven’t heard from Jewkes about Becky and Lisa’s place, but once the funds came through, I was easily able to sign and move into a much larger house in only a couple days.

“What’s this?” I ask the man, when I notice him staring at Brooke, lounging by the pool in a skimpy bikini in the backyard.

“Um . . . that’s the fee for having us assemble everything,” he tells me, trying to hide the fact that he was staring, and swallowing noisily as he glances at Murasame on my hip. I knew that of course, I just didn’t want him ogling one of my women. I know that seems petty, but I’m not in the mood to be generous. Angela’s leaving, and my father’s death, still weighs heavily on me.

I sign the papers quickly, and send him and his crew of two men out. As soon as they drive away, I yell, “It’s safe to get in now, Brooke.” With a squeal of delight, she rips off her skimpy bottoms, and dives into the clear water. A second later, I see her tail break the surface. Thankfully there aren’t any neighbors close enough to spy on her.

Becky and Lisa are both out of the house, the former still trying to convince her professors not to drop her from their courses, and the latter working hard at her dojo, giving free lessons to make up for the time she’s spent away. Areth is gone to Gaia’s court in order to prepare the way for us this coming weekend.

You should go join her in the pool, son. You could use the time with her, and I have a feeling she would welcome the attention.

Looking up, I can see Brooke smiling at me from the edge of the pool, and know that Shemhazau is right. Even after Areth’s attentions that first night back, I’ve been ignoring the women. I really just don’t have it in me to give them what they deserve. Yes, I’m still hurting over Angela leaving me again, but it’s more than that. I killed my own father. Sure I have him with me still in sword form and with a different name, but that will never erase the image of the two blades piercing his heart, and destroying his body.

Turning away, I head up the stairs, and flop down on the new bed. It’s bigger than a California king is, and I’d been lucky they had something this large in stock at the furniture store. The next few hours are spent with me attempting to sleep, to forget about the world around me, and failing miserably.

Someone knocks on my door, but I ignore it. They knock again, with similar results. I can hear the door open, and a moment later someone joins me on the bed, then someone else, and someone else again.

“What do you want?” I ask the three women, without opening my eyes. The old me would have suspected an attack—the me that had been influenced by Muramasa—but I know that assassins wouldn’t have knocked first.

“Some attention would be nice,” Lisa says, and I can just hear the pout in her voice. Odd to hear that from the normally upbeat woman.

“I know I’ve been unbearable, lately,” I start to say, and hear Brooke snort. “Okay, maybe a bit worse.”

“Worse?” the redheaded mermaid asks in mock surprise, and I finally open my eyes, rolling onto my back. “I don’t know why you would think that. It’s not like all you’ve done since we’ve been back is hang out in your car, or mope around all day hardly saying two words to us, or—“

“Okay, okay!” I say in defense, interrupting her. “I’m sorry, but what do you want me to do? I ki—“

“Killed your father,” Becky pipes up. “Yes, we know. And lost one of your girlfriends. If you don’t want to lose the rest of us, we could use some attention.”

“Maybe you should go,” I tell them, the words costing more than I care to admit. “You’ll be safer then, and I won’t have to worry so much about you.”

“While I’m glad you still worry about us,” Lisa says angrily, “I think we can handle ourselves. We’ve done well enough so far.”

“Well enough?” I ask, sitting up and staring at them incredulously. “Brooke, you were tortured and maimed because I asked you to warn the other Pillars. You almost died last time!”

“You didn’t ask me to,” she replies back, “and I’m fine now.”

I ignore her, talking over the top of her protestations. “Lisa and Becky, both of you have come under that monster’s control, and you can’t even go home now, because we’re afraid that Aldol might attack you there.”

“That’s not—“ Becky starts, but I don’t give her the chance to speak.

“Every time we go to the Shadow World, or up against Aldol, something bad happens. Quite frankly, I’m surprised that the only death so far has been my father. We’ve been lucky, but luck doesn’t last forever. One of these times, I’m going to lose one of you for good, and I don’t think I can live with that! I love you all too much, to risk losing you!”

Silence greets my statement, and I realize this is the first time I’ve spoken these words to Becky and Lisa.

Lisa is the first to break from her shock. “We all love you, too. I think Areth has the right of it, though. You are a dolt!” My eyes open wide in shock at her words. Not at the fact that she loves me, I think I’d already figured that out, but rather that she would call me a dolt. “Let me lay it out for you, Lyden. Aldol takes control of those around them, and removes their free will. Well, it’s our free will that says we want to be with you! We know the risks, and all of us are willing to take them. Would you control us as well?”

“No, I—“ I try to protest.

“I’ve been in danger before,” Brooke forcefully informs me, placing her hand on my leg and gripping it to emphasize her point. “What do you think it would do to us, to know you’re going into danger, and we weren’t there to help protect you or watch your back?”


“I may not have quite the fighting history as Lisa or Brooke,” Becky adds in her two cents next, “but thanks to that demon, I can handle my own with a sword now. Don’t you dare for a moment think that I’m willing to let you go into danger, without me at your side. It was you that said you needed me for my mind. Now that mind is telling you that you need us with you. I love you, Lyden, and like they said, we’re not leaving you that easily.”

“But I. . . .” I stop as I realize I have nothing to say to them. They’re right, each in their own way. I need them, each for different reasons. Lisa, because she never lets me down, and constantly pushes me forward with her can-do attitude. Becky, because of her bright intelligence and her ability to understand things with ease. And Brooke . . . my childhood protector and friend. I don’t know if I can even see my life without her in it some way. I love each of these women for diverse reasons, and each of them love me for some inexplicable reason.

Or is it just some reason?

“It’s because I’m a generator,” I say out loud, then have to clarify when they give me confused looks. “Your love for me isn’t real. It’s only the result of me being a generator.”

Call me naïve, but I don’t expect Brooke’s slap across my face or Becky’s along my opposite cheek a second later. Even Lisa’s blow to the gut catches me off guard.

“Don’t you dare trivialize our feelings like that,” Brooke demands, and there is no doubt about her anger.

“We love you,” Lisa states, and I can see her blue eyes sparkle with irritation. “You being a generator is only a part of who you are, not all of you.”

Of course, it would be Becky who puts it into terms I can’t argue with, “Does it really matter why we love you? Yes, we may be women, and constantly ruled by our emotions, but in the end, all that matters is that we love and care deeply for you. Don’t try and pretend that it’s just because of what you are. I might not be able to speak for Lisa and Becky, but I love you because of the way you’ve always treated me. When you met me in the bar, you could have had your pick of any woman, and you chose me. After that thing controlled me, and I almost killed you, you chose to not only defend me, but not push me away. You being a generator didn’t do those things. You did.”

“I’ve had my fair share of assholes,” Lisa adds in next. “I’ve seen how you treat not only Becky and I, but everyone around you. Your heart is invested in everyone, not just the three of us, but you care about everyone. People may be attracted to you because of what you are, but they follow you because of your actions. Hell, do you think Thomas follows your lead because you’re a generator? As far as I know, you’ve never swapped a portion of your soul with him.”

Thinking back to when I first met Becky and Lisa in the bar, I remember how all the women were interested in me, and the men were getting jealous. She said I attract people to me, but I think my abilities attract women, while my actions attract and keep friends.

“You were a teenager when I first realized I was falling in love with the man you were becoming, before you had any special abilities,” Brooke finally tells her side. I wish she would have told me then! “Since then, you’ve only grown into a man worth loving. You saved Ondine from a terrible fate, and at the time she could have been an enemy. You can’t help but help those who need it. Your heart is too big for your chest, Lyden, and that’s just one more thing I love about you.”

I stare from one to another, as their words sink in. They really do love me for me, I think. I might not be the biggest or strongest person around, but that doesn’t mean anything to them. Even more than becoming more attractive to the opposite sex after being with Angela, they want to be with me because of who I am, not what I am.

“I can’t promise to keep you safe,” I say, then hurry when I see anger flashing in their eyes, “but I won’t send you away again. You’re correct in that I have no right to take away your choices. I love each of you, no matter what kind of a pervert that makes me. If you want to stay with me, then all I can say is: I love you, and losing even one of you will be too much.”

Prepared to be attacked again, I’m pleasantly surprised when all three women hug me instead.

“Does this mean you’ll stop ignoring us?” Becky asks, her head nuzzled against my neck.

“I’ll try,” I state. They all make a great point, but that doesn’t touch the issue with my father.

Get over it, he tells me. You’re not to blame, and you really had no choice in the matter. I don’t blame you for my death, and I’m not truly gone, either. You need to get on with your life, son, and not dwell on what you had no say in.

Words aren’t enough to assuage that pain, but I recognize he has a point.

“Prove it,” Lisa’s words reach my ears a moment before her lips reach mine, and I mentally stumble as I have to remember what I’d said to them a moment before. The dirty-blonde’s tongue presses against my teeth, and I don’t have to think long. Opening up, I let her in, and realize I’m letting them all in, in a way that is irrevocable. I’m more comforted by that thought than anything else. My arms go around the three women with me, but my heart goes out around all of them, Arethusa, Angela, Sheila, and even Ondine, Jennifer, and everyone else who’s helped me over the last couple months. With faithful friends like them on my side, Aldol really doesn’t stand a chance.

My mind comes back to the present as I feel two sets of hands go for my crotch. They battle for dominance for only a moment, before one moves for the zipper and the other goes in to fondle my nutsack. A moan burbles from my chest as the second hand gets a firm grip on my hardening rod.

Lisa pulls away from me, and I can see that it’s Becky who has her hands deeper in my pants. The martial artist grabs the hem of her shirt, and pulls it up over her head, then reaches behind her, undoing her bra and releasing her beautiful breasts to the open air.

“Hold him still, girls,” she tells the other two women, then grips the bottom of my shorts, and pulls them off while Becky and Brooke hold my arms above my head.

Lisa trails her fingertips back up the insides of my legs, but her eyes are locked on mine. A small portion of my brain notices that they’re clear of any external influence, but the majority of my focus is absorbed into their desire filled blue depths. Her soft lips turn up in a delicious looking smile as she slowly brings her lips to my rod, and then open as she takes me into her mouth. Her eyes never leave mine as she slowly takes my conforming pecker deep into her throat, until her chin rests on my scrotum.

“That is so hot, the way she’s looking at you,” Becky whispers into my ear.

“I agree,” Brooke says on my other side. “It’s getting me wet just watching her.”

Both women are still holding my arms down, but right now I don’t have any desire to break free. Lisa lifts her blonde head up slowly, and I moan again as I feel her esophagus sliding up my length. When just my head is still in her mouth, she slurps noisily, until I audibly pop out of her lips. She opens her mouth, and sucks in a deep breath, letting drool dribble down and coat my schlong. Her hand moves up and down, rubbing her lubricating saliva in, and still her eyes are locked on mine.

“Mmm, I’d almost forgotten how good you taste,” she tells me, then finally breaks eye contact, and swallows me whole in one quick movement, going at it with gusto.

Released from the spell of her eyes, I let my head loll back and moan at the pleasure she’s giving me. I hear moans on either side of me, and open my eyes to see that my arms had been released, and my hands are between the women’s legs, rubbing their crotches through their clothing. When had that happened?

Moving my hands up on each woman, I move them under the hem of their clothing—a skirt on Brooke and pants on Becky—and into their panties. Brooke leans over and claims my lips for her own, while I feel the short brunette undo and remove her lower garments. I slip my middle two fingers into Becky and a couple seconds later feel Lisa’s hand join mine, and she starts to go wild as we both finger her wet pussy.

Brooke loudly mewls her pleasure as I find her clit, and rub it in time with Lisa’s bobbing head, until she grips my wrist and shudders in orgasmic delight, biting my lip almost painfully in the process. Becky cums a second later, gripping the headboard and shoving herself hard against the two invading hands.

Lisa pulls up as the two orgasms’ power begins to wash over me, and pinches me off almost painfully at the base of my phallus. “Not yet,” she tells me. “You have some time to make up with each of us.”

I can only nod, knowing that she’s right. They all deserve better than I’d been giving them, and silently I vow to do better. With the new strength in me from Becky and Brooke, I can hold off my own orgasm, but decide not to tell her that.

“Brooke, you’ve known him longest, so I think you should go first,” Lisa announces, and for a moment I’m shocked I get no say, but keep my mouth shut. They deserve this, and I’m really in no position to argue.

The redhead nods, her curls bobbing as she gets up and strips off her clothing. She straddles me, facing me, but Becky stops her. “Turn around. We can turn and face him when we’ve forgiven him for the way he’s been acting lately.”

My longtime companion looks at me, and I can see that a portion of her wants to argue, but then she nods and turns away. I feel hurt at this, but understand that I’m going to have to earn their forgiveness one by one, that it won’t just be handed to me. How well Becky knows me, though! With her freckled back to me, I can’t see her small breasts, my favorite physical part of any woman. Becky gives me a sad look with her dark brown eyes, and I nod that I understand what she’s doing.

It wouldn’t matter anyway, for a couple seconds later Lisa sits on my face, and all I can see is her back and bum as she leans forward toward Brooke.

I can feel Lisa’s hands help guide my dick into the mermaid’s ready slit, and moan into the wet lips on my tongue as she slowly slides her tight hole down onto me.

I move my hands up to Lisa’s chest, but she pushes my hands away, and I can only guess that Becky takes my right hand. Lisa twists on top of me, keeping my left hand in hers, and grinds herself against my face.

Well, if they want me to prove myself, then by golly, I’ll do it! Swiveling my hips, I continue to work my way into Brooke, while simultaneously sucking in Lisa’s labia, and swallowing her tangy juices as they pour out of her.

I can feel something slip around my wrists, and a second too late I realize what’s happening. My whole body freezes as the women tie my arms to the bed, and it takes a great will of effort to relax. Their eyes had been clear, and I know this isn’t a trap, but I still have nightmares about my incarceration with TanaVesta.

Once my hands are completely secure, I can feel Becky looping a soft cloth around my separated ankles, and tying them down as well. Remembering the bonds TanaVesta had tied me down with, and how easily I’d broken those chains, I’m not too worried about these flimsy constraints, but if it helps them, then I’m willing to put up with it.

Brooke’s cunt tightens around my tool about the same time I feel something brushing my balls.

“Oh, that feels great, Becky. Mmm, he feels so good in me while you lick me. Oh, yes, right there. Yes, keep twisting my nipples, Lisa. Oh, YES!”

Her coochy clamps down on me as she cums, and I can feel her wet fluids soaking my balls as her orgasm washes over me, and I feel myself getting stronger.

I begin to nibble on Lisa’s nether lips, occasionally nipping at her clit, as Brooke climbs off me. A moment later I can feel Becky’s tongue cleaning me up, licking Brooke’s juices from my still rock hard member. Part of me wants to cum, to shoot my load all over her face, but I concentrate on keeping it in. My work isn’t done yet.

“Your turn, Becky,” I hear above me, and a moment later I can feel the woman’s feet on either side of my hips. Once more, Lisa helps guide me into the other woman, and part of me can’t help but notice the difference between Brooke and Becky. Both are tight, but Brooke is definitely the wetter one, while Becky feels hotter inside.

“I love you,” Brooke’s voice whispers close to my head, and then I can feel her curls tickling my chest before her tongue joins mine. Lisa doesn’t stand a chance against our combined onslaught, and it only takes a few seconds before her fluids are dribbling down my chin and neck. Neither of us let up, however, and soon she’s coming again.

Becky has been making slow rotations on me with her pelvis, but as Lisa’s second orgasm washes through my system, I concentrate my energies on the brunette’s enjoyment. I can almost feel the energy slightly drain from me as Becky suddenly locks up tight, and my expenditure of power is returned to me with interest.

Lisa climbs off my face, as Becky topples over, still in the throes of her own climax. Brooke wastes no time in pressing her lips to mine, kissing me passionately.

“I think it’s time you’ve earned Lisa’s heart back,” Becky says as she brings her head up near mine. Her voice is a bit shaky after her powerful climax.

As the blonde martial artist straddles my hips, once again facing away from me, I watch as the two women I’ve already been inside reach for my cock, and hold it pointing to the ceiling. I watch as it slides easily into Lisa, appearing to vanish between her firm cheeks.

I want to reach down and massage her rear, or reach over and play with Brooke’s tiny nipples or Becky’s over-large ones, but my hands are tied and I’m not willing to break free yet. It doesn’t help when the two other women get on their hands and knees, pussies facing me, and tilt their heads around Lisa’s body to suck on her pert breasts. Both cunnies are slick and shiny with their cum, and I want so badly to just reach down and shove my fingers in.

No! I tell myself, instead concentrating on Lisa’s pleasure, as I begin to move my hips in counterpoint to hers. She leans back, giving the other two women easier access to her teats, and letting her hair light tickle my chest while her hands support her on either side of my chest. Remembering how Brooke had once reacted to a kiss, and how Becky had just reacted to me concentrating on her bliss, I do the same for the martial artist, throwing my hips up into her, and concentrating on driving her pleasure even higher.

“Oh damn!” she cries out suddenly, and I feel a lot more of her fluids than normal soaking my balls.

“Oh my God,” Becky says in awe. “Lisa, you just squirted!”

“I’ve . . . I’ve never cum like that before,” she says, her voice wavering.

“Am I forgiven, ladies?” I ask, hoping desperately that I am.

Becky turns her head to me slightly, and then the three of them huddle for a moment. As one they turn, facing me, and I know before they speak what their answer is.

“We do,” they say in unison, and we share a four-way kiss, Brooke on my left, Lisa on my right, and somehow Becky ends up on top.

I don’t even hesitate, before breaking my insignificant bonds, and holding the three of them against me. They squeal in surprise as I hug them tightly against me.

“You were faking!” Becky accuses me, lifting her head and looking accusingly at me. I laugh as I look into her clear brown eyes, a real laugh that isn’t tainted with any other emotion.

“You wanted me constrained,” I tell her when I calm down, “so I remained.”

“We really can’t be angry with him,” Brooke comes to my defense. “Couldn’t you tell how much he wanted to be free? But he didn’t, because it was what we wanted.”

“You’re right, of course,” Becky concedes. Then I feel her hand on my still hard phallus and she grins happily. “So, who gets to finish this off?”

I’ve held back long enough, and since she’d been the instigator to my punishment, I decide she should get the prize. With ease I reach around the other two women and slide Becky’s tiny body down. Her hand remains on me, guiding me straight for my destination. As soon as I’m fully seated within her tight crevice, I let go, firing my ejaculate against her womb, my entire body wracked with shivers of ecstasy. Somehow I encompass everyone in my bliss, wanting to share my happiness with them, creating a bubble around us and we all cum together, feeling closer than we ever have before.

* * *

I come awake as someone rings the doorbell. I don’t remember nodding off, but I feel refreshed and happy for the first time in what seems like an eternity. Getting up, I quickly find my clothing and don them. I try to be quiet, but the women wake up anyway. I head back downstairs, while the three women start getting dressed.

“Captain Jewkes!” I state in surprise as I open the door. “I didn’t expect you here. What can I do for you? Do the police want to talk to me again?”

The other man grimaces as he steps through. “Please, call me Richard, and I’m not here entirely on business.” I glance at his uniform, but say nothing. “Are Becky and Lisa here?”

“What can we do for you, Richard?” Becky asks as she comes down the stairs. Her hair is a mess, and it’s obvious she’d just come out of bed. Since it’s only late-afternoon, it’s also easy to guess why she was in bed. Lisa follows her down, hair equally mussed, and I can’t help but blush slightly when the officer whistles softly. I can’t hide my grin either, when Brooke comes down a moment later, just as rumpled as the other women, and Jewkes’s jaw drops open.

The consummate officer; he quickly regains control of himself and clears his throat. “Is there somewhere we can sit down?”

“That bad?” I ask, afraid of the answer.

He studies the floor as I lead him back to the family room, and to the new furniture there. “I have bad news, and worse news,” he says sadly as he sits down

I look at Becky and Lisa, but they wait patiently for him to continue.

“As promised, I had officers watching your place for the last few days,” he tells them, and I notice he’s unwilling to meet their eyes. “They reported that nothing appeared out of order, and so today I sent two of them in using your key.” He grows silent, and I’m shocked to see tears begin to leak down his cheeks.

Becky notices too, and I hear her gasp. Lisa goes to comfort her.

“What happened?” I ask, trying to fill my tone with comfort.

He shakes his head slowly, and for a moment I’m afraid he’s not going to answer. When he does, his voice is choked with emotion. “Approximately two minutes after they entered, the entire place went up in flames.”

“The officers?” Brooke asks, coming and sitting next to me, gripping my hand in hers.

“One is in critical condition, but isn’t expected to make it. The other. . . .” He can’t finish the sentence, and we have our answer.

Becky and Lisa break down into tears, and I wave them over to me. They collapse into my arms, sobbing.

Was it only a few moments ago we were all so happy?

“My condolences for your officer,” I say, and then stop as something occurs to me. “Do you think I can get in to see the other one?”

“Why would you. . . .” He trails off as he looks at Brooke, and then back to me. I can see hope spark in his eyes, and I hate what I’m about to say.

“I don’t know if I can help him,” my words don’t even seem to affect the other man. “I’ve never tried healing someone I don’t know.”

“A chance is more than Johnathan had a few minutes ago. Should we take my cruiser?” Richard gets to his feet and is already halfway to the door.

“The Orange Bubble will be faster,” I say as I get up and follow him out. “We’ll be more comfortable in it as well.”

“We?” The officer stops and looks at the other women. “Do you need to, um . . . I mean to say. . . .”

I know what he’s getting at. “No, I think I have enough energy to take care of him, if this works. I’m just not willing to leave anyone more alone than they have to be. Between your shades, and my colorblindness, Aldol won’t be able to affect us.”

“You think this may be a trap?” Becky asks as we lock the front door.

“One of them left alive? If so, then I want you with me,” I tell the ladies quietly. From the gratitude I can see in their eyes, I know they realize I took what they’d said earlier to heart.

“Speaking of shades,” Jewkes states as he quickly heads to his patrol car. He pulls out a bunch of small bags, and hands some to the ladies. “If that thing does show up here, put these on.”

The three beautiful ladies each pull a pair of Blublocker shades from their bags, and place them on their faces. I have to stifle a laugh in this serious situation, as they don’t do the women justice. Thankfully I’m able to hide my mirth, as I get into my old VW Beetle.

“By the way, where’s the fairy?” Jewkes asks me as he climbs into the passenger seat after the women. “I have a pair made special for her as well.”

“Setting things up with Gaia for this weekend. Which hospital?” I ask, and Jewkes guides me downtown, to the same hospital that I’d been in after my accident with Angela. Thinking back on that causes a pang in my chest. Looking around the Orange Bubble, I realize that while I may have lost a lot, but I still have a lot as well.

You’re wiser than some of the oldest beings I know. Shemhazau compliments me.

“You mentioned more than one bit of news when you first showed up,” I ask, not sure I want to know what else could be considered bad news and whether he’d given me just the bad news or the worse news.

I can tell the seasoned man becomes uncomfortable before answering. “I was hoping to get some more information before telling you, but I found out just after we got back. Agent Miranda Olsen has vanished.”

“Vanished?” I ask, my stomach sinking at the thought of the deranged woman at large.

“You now know as much as I do,” he tells me, shaking his head. “Every time I tried to figure out what happened, someone above me put a stop to it. ‘There are more important things to spend department money on,’” he quotes to me. “There’s no surveillance or record of her ever having been in custody. She has literally vanished.”

I really don’t like the sound of that. Who has that kind of power, to tell a police captain what to investigate? “What did you tell them about your three week absence?” I ask next.

He laughs uncomfortably for a moment before responding. “I haven’t. They keep hassling me for a report on you, but every time I sit down to write it, I stop. They’ll never believe what’s really going on.”

My car stops before I can think of what to say. Getting out, I’m greeted with the sight of a towering tan building and the red ‘Emergency’ sign over the entryway.

“Will you be okay in here for a bit?” I ask my sword as I remove him and his sheath from my hip.

Just call for me if you need me, my father replies.

“He’s on the fourth floor,” Richard states, heading in.

“What are we going to do about Agent Olsen?” Brooke asks, and I can hear fear in her tone.

“I don’t know,” I tell her honestly. She’s a member of a group called the Daughters of Respite. Do they have enough pull to spring her and hide it? Or was it that other group Marchosias had mentioned, the Paladonic Knights? Either way, it doesn’t bode well for us.

The elevator dings just before the door opens, and we step out into a quiet hallway. A woman comes rushing up to us, crying, and hugs Jewkes.

The man is obviously uncomfortable, and I realize this must be the wounded officer’s wife. “There, there, Amy,” he tells her soothingly. “I’ve brought a, um, specialist to look at your husband. He might be able to help.”

The woman turns to me, mascara staining her splotchy cheeks, and her auburn hair disheveled. She gives a small self-conscious laugh, looking at me from head to toe. “You must be some kind of genius. You’re so young.”

“Where is he?” I ask, not sure how to respond, and not wanting to lie to the grieving woman.

“This way,” he says, and leads the way. I know Amy must be wondering about the three women that follow us, but she doesn’t make a comment.

Two police officers are stationed outside a door, and it doesn’t take a genius to know that Johnathan is behind this one. They are on their feet when we approach.

“How’s he doing?” Jewkes asks the one on the left.

The other officer glances my way, and I know he recognizes me. This might turn sour.

“The doctors say he only has a couple hours to live, and he’d be best served to be put down peacefully, as if he were some kind of dog.” From his tone, I know he doesn’t like the idea.

“There may be another option,” Jewkes says evenly, staring straight ahead at the door now.

“Him?” the other officer snarls. Apparently he recognizes me too.

“Look at it this way, Anderson,” Richard faces him squarely, “if we help him, then all the better. If not, then he’s no worse off now than he was before.”

The two guarding officers stare at each other for a moment, before Richard pushes his way past. The two officers don’t try to stop us as we follow their captain, though they glare fiercely as the five of us head into the room.

We walk through in single file, and the captain turns back to close the door. “No one enters as long as we’re in here,” he states to the guards before turning back to face us. “Do what you need to do.”

I see so much hope in his eyes, that I’m determined not to let him down.

Turning back to the bed further in, I notice for the first time the stench laying heavily in the air. The sickly sweet scent of burned flesh. Machines beep in one corner, and the wounded man is covered in bandages from top to bottom. The news plays quietly on a small TV on the opposite wall.

Standing by his bedside, I look down, and can barely hear his rattling breath escaping around a tube in his mouth. Filling my lungs, I concentrate on the unconscious man, willing him back to health.

Nothing happens.

Placing my hands lightly on his bandaged chest, I send out my will again, but with the same results.

“What’s wrong?” Becky asks me.

“I don’t know. Nothing’s happening,” I tell her.

“What did you do when you healed me?” Brooke asks.

Thinking back, I remember holding the redhead in my arms, crying over her inert form, and bending down to kiss her.

Something tells me the kiss was merely the catalyst, and there must be something more. Thinking of how Shemhazau had healed her. . . .

Just that quickly, Murasame is on my hip.

You have to be emotionally invested, he informs me.

That makes sense. He had been angry with the assassin mermaid that’d helped kill his wife when he’d restored her fingers, and I love Brooke.

But I’m neither angry, nor in love with this man.

Any emotion works. The stronger the feelings, the more powerful the healing.

“Tell me about him,” I order Jewkes, my voice growing firm again.

“What?” he asks in confusion, and I repeat myself. “Well. . . .” The police captain begins to tell me about how hard working Johnathan Stokes is, about his third wife Amy and their one child, a daughter, and other aspects of the cop’s life.

This man had been hurt while doing something for Becky and Lisa. He didn’t know who the two women were that he was checking the house out for, and was just an innocent bystander in this war Aldol instigated. He shouldn’t even be here, on the verge of death, I think. Anger at Aldol’s interference with regular mortals, and at TanaVesta, because I know she had a hand in this as well, enters me, but it’s not enough.

His wife is out there grieving, his daughter at home, wondering if she’ll ever see her father again. Sadness augments my anger, but still it’s not enough.

I feel a hand on my shoulder, and know I have Lisa’s support. Her emotions flood into me at the touch, and I can feel her grief that this officer might die because he went into her house. Becky’s hand twines her fingers between mine, and her emotions mirror her roommate’s feelings, but I can sense compassion in her as well. I can’t help but wonder if this new ability to feel their emotions is tied to how close we all became earlier.

“You can do this,” Lisa says softly, and I nod.

Wrapping all of our emotions into a tight ball, I hear the two women gasp, but pay them no mind. Brooke calls my name, but I shove her voice to the back of my mind as I concentrate. Bending forward, I press my lips against the bandages on Johnathan Stokes’s head. Simultaneously I will the bundle of our mixed emotions into the man, mentally commanding him to live.

My eyes are closed, but I can see a bright white light as my knees sag, and the three of us slump to the floor, exhausted.

Jewkes rushes over to the bed, and I open my eyes to see one of the two guards enter the room to see what the noise is.

“Captain?” A weak voice asks from the bed, and I have a feeling Johnathan Stokes is going to be alright.

The guard that’d come in, dashes from the room, screaming for the doctor, and all I want to do right now is drift off into sweet oblivion. “Thank you, ladies,” I mumble, already feeling my eyelids droop. Who cares if I’m on the floor? “I couldn’t have done it without you.”

“Lyden, you might want to see this,” Brooke’s voice breaks through the fog surrounding my brain with its fear.

“Can it wait?” I ask, my whole body feeling lethargic. Wool has more clarity in it than my head does right now.

“No, I think you’d better hurry.” Opening my eyes, I have to struggle to get to my feet. Healing that officer really took a lot out of me. Good thing I’d had that session with the three women earlier. I don’t know if I’d have been able to do it without that strength already in me. Becky and Lisa are snoring softly on the floor.

It takes me a second to find the mermaid, my eyes are blurry with weariness. She’s standing under the TV, raptly watching whatever is going on.

I have to lean heavily on her, as I look up at the screen. What I see brings me fully alert.

“Once again, if you are just joining us, this is the scene live from downtown. Some kind of monstrous beast is rampaging through the streets. No one knows where it came from, but so far the damage it’s caused as it breathes fire and tosses cars around keeps mounting.”

The report goes on, but already I notice something else that the news anchors seem to be missing.

The dragon, for that’s what it obviously is to me, isn’t randomly attacking the city.

It’s chasing after a tiny golden glow, trying to eat or fry it.

Areth is in trouble.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Chapter 26
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Blue and the Grand Meister

I waste no time in running for the elevator, wishing I had the strength left in me to super speed. Healing Johnathan took almost everything I have. I almost knock over the doctors as they rush into the newly restored man’s room.

“Lyden, what are you going to do?” Brooke asks me as she catches me before I tip over from dodging the doctors. “You’re too weak to stand up to that beast! Hell, you’re barely able to stand at all.” I spare a glance back at the mermaid, and see that Becky and Lisa are groggily trying to follow us. Because I’m not looking, I slam into something soft and go down hard. I don’t worry about the doctor I just bowled into as I regain my feet, rushing for the elevator.

The image of Areth frantically dodging the dragon’s attacks flits through my mind, and my resolve doubles. “I don’t know,” I tell her, “but I can’t just leave her out there!”

By the sounds of the footsteps behind me, Becky, Lisa, and Jewkes are hot on our heels. I feel sorry for Becky and Lisa, knowing they haven’t gotten nearly enough rest, after the energy they gave me to heal the wounded officer.

Reaching the elevator, I frantically mash on the down arrow, willing the conveyance to go faster. I can’t help but wonder if the stairs would have been faster, I’m so impatient. Of course, I really don’t have the energy right now for that, anyway.

“Lyden, listen to me,” Brooke’s voice is pleading now. “I once saw over seventy five of my people take on a water dragon. When it was over, only two lived. They’re not something you can take on alone.”

The doors open and I freeze in shock, not at the mermaid’s words, but at the sight of the woman in the square box.

My hesitation costs us, as the very plain looking Miranda Olsen whips out her pistol, and points it at my chest. “Get in,” she states, twisting the wrist with the weapon in it to emphasize her point, “all of you.”

“I don’t have time for this,” I mutter, but I see her eyes narrow, and her hand tighten on the pistol’s grip. She looks over my shoulder for just a moment as more doctors go rushing down the hallway we’d just come from, but it’s not enough to give me an opening. I do as she says.

The doors close behind us, and I realize just how crowded this elevator is. The barrel presses against my chest, and I know I don’t have the energy or the skills to dodge this bullet.

“What are you doing here, Miranda?” Jewkes asks, and I notice he’s dropped the honorific ‘Agent’.

“I had a feeling you wouldn’t be able to resist killing off the other agent that entered the house,” she says through gritted teeth, but I can still hear the anger and loathing behind it. “I should just kill you right here and now, but my superiors want to talk with you first, and trying to explain your death in here would be too much hassle and paperwork.”

I can feel Lisa tense on my right at the same moment Brooke moves on my left. Their actions are quick and fast, as the martial artist strikes the gun holding hand up, and Brooke drops to kick our antagonist’s feet out from underneath her.

The pistol goes off, and sparks fly as one of the lights extinguishes. There is a short scuffle in the small room, and I have just enough energy to get jostled around as the Lisa, Brooke, and Richard subdue the mad agent just in time for the doors to open.

“I don’t know how you managed to escape last time, or make all the evidence disappear,” Captain Jewkes says as he cuffs her hands behind her back, “but this time you’re not getting away.”

“You don’t know what you’re dealing with,” Miranda screams, and then spits on me. Luckily her aim is terrible, and her saliva lands on my shirt instead of my face. “He’s a monster. He should be put down like the beast he is! My superiors will never stand for this.”

“Come on, let’s go,” he says, ignoring her comment and shoving her towards the exit while giving her, her Miranda rights. We get a few odd stares, but no one questions the sight of an officer in uniform arresting a yelling and screaming lady.

Once in my car, Richard pulls out another set of cuffs, and uses them to secure her to the bottom of one of the benches in the Orange Bubble.

“We don’t have time to take her to the station,” I tell the older man, wearily.

“I’m not taking her there again,” the hook-nosed man replies evenly. “Someone high up let her go last time. I’m not willing to let that happen again.”

I can already feel my car in motion, as I plop down on the soft bed in the back. Maybe I have enough time to take a quick nap, I’m so tired.

Hands fumbling at my pants brings my head up slightly, and I see Brooke’s determined sea green eyes looking back at me. “If you won’t listen to reason, and wait until you have enough energy, then I’m just going to have to give you some,” she states testily.

“Um, what about. . . .” I trail off as I nod to Jewkes and Miranda. Considering the fun earlier today, I know she’s not concerned about Lisa and Becky.

Her cheeks go bright red, but I see her resolve strengthen before she answers. “They can watch if they want to. I’m not willing to lose you, because I was too shy.”

“We’ll help, too,” Lisa says, coming over to the bed.

“No,” Brooke states firmly as she pulls my pants down and off. “You’re both too weak to give much after helping that other officer.” Despite the redhead’s hands frantically working my cock, I’m not getting very stiff. The mood just isn’t right for this sort of thing, and having Richard Jewkes and Miranda Olsen both staring wide-eyed at us doesn’t help. “Come on,” Brooke pleads with my flesh between her fingers. “We don’t have much time.”

I watch as her cheeks go red, and a moment later she turns back to my other two women. “I guess I’ll need your help after all. Get undressed,” she orders them, then stands and does the same. Richard’s eyes nearly bulge out of his head as all three women strip without any modesty. “Don’t touch him,” she continues to give commands to Becky and Lisa, “I don’t want you getting too drained, but do what you can to turn him on.”

“This is disgusting and vile!” Miranda spits venomously, but as the brunette and dirty blonde crawl onto the bed on either side of my head and start rubbing their crotches next to me, I finally begin to stir down south. A moment later when I feel Brooke’s warm wet mouth encompass the head of my penis, that stirring becomes a storm. It only takes a few seconds before she’s deep throating my conforming length, and she wastes no time in lubing me up with her saliva.

“This should be hard enough, now,” she murmurs, looking me in the eyes again. Lifting her body up, I can’t help but admire her sleek form as she straddles my hips, reaches down to aim my tool, then impales herself on me in one quick motion. “Sorry there’s no time for foreplay, ungh,” she grunts as she lifts herself back up, and lets her slight weight bring her back down, “but we need to hurry.”

I nod that I agree, and can see that Lisa has two fingers in her coochy, while Becky is still rubbing her clitoris and tweaking the overlarge nipple on her right breast. Surprisingly I see Richard has his cock out, and is stroking it in time to Brooke’s movements. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but decide to worry on it another time. I’m more surprised by the look on Miranda’s face, a cross between disgust, hatred, nausea, longing, and lust. It would be comical, if the situation weren’t so serious.

And pleasurable.

“She’s taking the whole thing. . . .” I can barely hear the captured agent mutter in awe.

Looking back to my current lover, I know I need to get her off fast, and lean up to grab the back of her neck, and pull her down into a passionate kiss. Her tongue darts into my mouth with force, and I drop my left hand to her right tiny nipple, thumbing it, and making her moan into my mouth. Her vagina feels fantastic as it slides up and down my length, and I move my hips in time with hers, trying to bring her closer to the edge.

“You can’t cum,” she whispers into my ear, breaking the kiss. A moment later she grabs my head and guides it to her left breast, and I latch on hungrily. I understand what she’s telling me. This is a time where I have to take, and give nothing back.

Well, not entirely nothing, I think, and concentrate on her pleasure, trying to drive it even higher. “Oh, Lyden, ungh, you shouldn’t be doing that!” she moans above me, and I feel a slight dip in my already slackened reserves, but don’t let up. “Oh, oh, oh, I’m . . . Ungh, I . . .” Her pussy clamps down on my phallus and I feel her energy flow into me, rejuvenating my limbs. The exertions of healing Johnathan Stokes aren’t entirely washed away, but I no longer feel like I need a weeklong nap.

Releasing her small breast from my mouth, I see that one side of me is vacated, and I roll Brooke over so that I’m on top. Looking down at the gorgeous woman, I can see that her chest is flushed, and her breathing labored. A slight sheen of sweat beads her brow, and her hair is still a mess from earlier, but she is still one of the most beautiful creatures in the world to me.

“I love you,” I state, then drop my mouth back down to hers, and piston my hips back and forth, driving myself into her as deeply and powerfully as I can. From the way her fingernails dig into my back, I suspect she’s still sensitive from her last orgasm, but I don’t let up.

A dual-toned moan on my left makes me look in that direction, and I see that Becky and Lisa are locked in a passionate kiss, their legs scissored together, hips moving against one another. I have to look away, too turned on by the sight, and concentrate on getting Brooke off again.

I almost lose it when I feel the two loving women’s orgasmic power flow into me, weakened without actual physical contact. A grunt from Jewkes, and a bit more strength, tells me Jewkes is blowing his load, allowing me to bring myself back under control. Never thought I’d get this type of help from him, much less any man.

Just in time as I sense the Orange Bubble come to a stop, and Brooke cries out wordlessly, soaking my crotch and the bed at the same time.

I have to use the mental image of Areth in trouble to goad myself into pulling out of the mermaid with a wet squelching sound, and redress to the sound of Miranda calling us all disgusting perverts. Despite the mood I’d been in when I’d gotten into the car, I have to painfully stuff my sloppy but stiff prick into my pants, before rushing out the door to see where we’re at. There will be plenty of time for hygiene later. At least, there’d better be plenty of time!

Two blocks away I can hear screaming and the sound of destruction. “Get back in the car,” I tell whoever had stepped out behind me. “Be ready to get us at a moment’s notice.”

“You’re really going to fight that thing?” Jewkes asks me.

“Are you crazy?” I ask, but don’t wait for a response before tearing off down the street in the direction of the noise. I don’t use my super speed, though everything in me cries out that I should. I’m going to need all the energy I’ve got to get away from the dragon once I’ve safely nabbed the troublesome little fairy.

“What can you tell me about dragons?” I ask the sword on my left hip.

Some of them are intelligent, and some are barely more than mindless beasts. Their scales are almost impenetrable, no matter their intelligence. The assassin is correct, however, in that you shouldn’t try to take this one on. Shemhazau’s voice in my head informs me.

“Does its color mean anything?” I seem to remember in some novels that color depicted a dragon’s abilities.

No. Color is no more important than skin color is in a human. Abilities come from within, not without.

There’s no more time for conversation, as the dragon comes into view, its large light blue body chasing after a small golden speck.

I use my super speed now, moving to Areth’s side and grabbing her out of the air.

“About time you showed up,” she pants, and I can tell she’s almost out of endurance. “A couple more minutes, and I would have had to take care of the thing myself.”

An anger-filled growl behind me spurs me up into super speed again.

“Dodge left,” I hear the small woman in my hand yell. I move without thinking. And almost get singed by a gout of flame for my trouble. “I meant my left, dolt!” If I hadn’t been on super speed, I’d be extra crispy right now.

“Well, how was I—“ I cut myself off as I hear the dragon sucking in to attempt another attack. Placing the fairy on my shoulder, I scream, “Hold on!” Shoving hard off the ground, I launch into the air in time to feel a heat wave blast beneath me. Windows on the buildings next to us zip by as the force of my jump propels us higher and higher.

“Brilliant!” Areth titters next to me, her hands tightly holding onto my dark hair. “But how are you going to land?”

Smiling, I call forth my wings, the pain of them ripping through my back and shirt minimal compared to what landing without them would feel like. I also note that the energy required to summon the brown leathery extensions is less than in the past.

“Um, the dragon is still coming to eat you,” Areth announces, and I look back to see that the beast has taken to the air behind us.

Well, that didn’t work out as planned.

“Fly!” the pixie screams, taking to the air and tugging on the remains of my shirt.

“I can’t!” I yell, desperately flapping my too-large wings and spinning us both about.

“What kind of—“ Areth shakes her head as I right myself and begin to fall back towards the monster below us. “We’re dead.”

Not if I can help it, I think, as I see the blue dragon’s toothy maw open up, easily large enough to swallow us whole. I just hope I have enough energy in me for this.

Closing my eyes tight, I concentrate on what I want to accomplish, and feel my body conforming to the image.

A surprised squeal sounds below me and I open my eyes in time to see the blue dragon frantically trying to get away from my plummeting bulk. Spreading wings that are no longer too large for my dragon’s body, I’m able to guide our descent.

I spy a park off to my right, and carefully turn in that direction.

“Where am I, and why can’t I control what I’m doing?” Areth’s voice seems to speak directly into my mind, and I look around for her, but can’t see her. I do, however, notice something that makes my blood run cold.

The only other time I’ve transformed into a dragon, I was brown, similar to the color of my hair and wings. I’m still brown, but now there is an unmistakable hint of gold to my scales.

“What the heck?” I ask no one in particular as my hands—paws? Talons?—touch the rich grass of the park. Speaking of which, the long talons on each finger are striated with shiny chrome and dark ebony colors. “What the heck?” I ask again, glad I’d formed a human tongue, and not the dragon’s usual forked one.

When you change shape, you use what’s around you, my father’s voice says. The mass has to come from somewhere. Thus far, you’ve been using what matter is in the air around you. You probably didn’t notice, but there was a small shockwave when you changed, as air and other particle rushed towards you.

“Shemhazau?” Areth asks in my mind. “Is that you?”

“But my clothes didn’t transform last time!” I protest, remembering how I’d woken up naked, and afraid I’ve lost both the fairy and my father in my ignorance.

Did you concentrate on your clothes being there when you changed back?

Thinking back, I realize that I hadn’t been conscious when I’d changed back. I’d better not take a nap before transforming back to my real form, I think.

The ground shuddering reminds me that I’m not out of danger yet.

The blue dragon looks at me speculatively, and I know he’s trying to evaluate the change in me. Hopefully he’ll decide I’m too much trouble and retreat.

“That’s a female,” Areth tells me, “and from the looks of things, she’s interested in you.”

“Interested?” I ask. “As in. . . .”

“She wants to mate,” comes the all too happy reply. “She wants to do perverted thing with you!”

But I’m obviously not a dragon. Well, that’s better than fighting, at least.

Not really, my father dashes my hopes. She doesn’t look like the intelligent kind, and their mating habits are a lot more violent than the smart ones.

Remembering how violent TanaVesta could be, I shuddered. This really wasn’t turning out like the rescue I’d hoped it would be.

“Is there any way to convince her I’m not a good mate?” I ask, hoping to avoid fighting this monster.

Dragons respect strength. If you let her kill you, she won’t be interested. But I don’t think that’s a good plan to follow.

I can’t help but agree. So, it’s either play her game and fight for my life, or rather our lives considering Areth and Shemhazau, or try running again.

I’m sick of running.

Be very bursa escort careful of using your claws. I don’t know what might happen.

The female dragon lunges forward at the same time I do, her teeth going for my long throat. Ducking my head just in time, I bring it up hard, slamming a horn on top of my head into her jaw.

The blow does her no harm as she accepts it and moves away for a brief second, before coming back at me, this time standing on her rear legs, fore claws extended. Whipping my body around, I bring my tail to bear and feel it smack satisfyingly against her side.

I realize my mistake too late, as my tail isn’t enough to knock her bulk aside, and now my back is to her. I can feel her talons dig into my sides, my scales barely slowing them.

“Ow, ow, ow,” Areth yells into my brain.

Screaming in pain, I rear up, craning my neck around, and bite one of her legs. My counterattack catches her off-guard, and she disengages before I can really sink my teeth in. Warily we circle each other, and I can hear the sounds of police sirens and choppers flying overhead. We’re going to be on national news after this.

“Then my plan worked,” Areth says, and I’m so shocked that she’d actually intended for something like this to happen, that I miss the blue dragon’s next attack.

Her head bowls into my chest, knocking me onto my back, and I can feel one of my wings get wrenched, as she climbs on top of me and goes for my throat again.

Instinctively I inhale deeply, and bellow at her, flame pouring from my open mouth, and burning my human tongue.

“Ouch, that hurt!” Areth screeches in my mind.

Better not do that again! At least it got her off me. We circle around again, and now I see that cops have the park surrounded, weapons drawn and ready.

The female watches me warily, head low to the ground and tongue snaking out occasionally to taste the air.

Any advice? I ask mentally, my tongue hurting too badly to try to actually speak.

“Don’t die,” Areth responds helpfully.

She’s taken your measure now, son. Her next attack will be in earnest.

No sooner are those words in my mind, than she launches herself at me again. I can hear gunfire, loud pops that almost sound like popcorn popping, and I can feel rounds bouncing harmlessly off my tough hide. Sparks fly from her blue scales as well, as we come together, teeth snapping and claws trying to gain purchase.

Pain flares across my abdomen as she scores a strike. Using my long neck, I get my head behind her, and latch onto one of her wings where it connects to her body.

Suddenly she’s trying to get away from me, but this time my jaws are locked, and I can feel her hot blood begin pouring into my mouth, cooling my scorched tongue. Thankfully I can’t taste it. She darts her head in, snapping only inches from my snout, but somehow I know they’re just feints now. She tries to pull away a couple more times, then stops, and lies flat on her stomach. An odd noise fills the air, and it takes me a moment to realize she’s crooning softly.

Carefully I release the muscles in my jaw, groaning at the pain after having held them so tightly clamped. The dragon just lays there for a few moments as I carefully back away, then I jump back as she rolls onto her back.

“You’ve won!” Areth screams into my mind, inducing a sudden headache. “I can’t believe the pervert won!”

Why did she act like that? I ask my mental guests. She had me pretty well beat, until I got her wing.

Dragons use their wings to protect their eggs and incubate them, Shemhazau informs us. I’m afraid things might actually be worse off now than they were before.

How can they be worse? I wonder, confused.

The blue dragon is watching me again, and I swear I can actually make out a smile on her face. At least the cops have quit firing at us.

By attacking her wing, you declared that you would protect your young by her, and by her behavior, she is now completely submissive to you.

Great, just great! What the heck am I going to do with a submissive big blue dragon?

“Lyden?” a male voice asks. I turn to see Jewkes slowly approaching me, hands held high and empty, though his pistol is still on his hip. Further behind him, parked on the grass, is the Orange Bubble.

As soon as I turn my head, the blue dragon snaps at me, and I quickly nip back, catching her nose and making her yelp.

I open my mouth to respond to Jewkes, but only a gargling noise issues from my throat. My tongue is too damaged to speak. I’m surprised to see him shy back, but when I nod my head, he visibly relaxes.

Around the park, cops and SWAT are still pointing their weapons at us, but it seems like they’re willing to wait and see how things play out with Captain Jewkes.

The older man slowly approaches closer, and the blue dragon begins to growl, until I move in front of her, blocking her view. The captain stops, sensing the tension in the air. I feel the other dragon begin to rub her head against my hind end, and her crooning increases. Did I just prove to her that I’m willing to protect by getting in front of her? I’d meant to protect Richard!

“You’ve got the entire town terrified of you right now, young man,” he tells me, and I nod, unable to speak. “You can’t talk in that form, can you?” he asks, already knowing the answer. “Well, at least I won’t have too much difficulty in convincing my superiors when I write this report up.” He glances at the helicopters overhead.

“That was my plan!” Areth announces. “I brought the dragon here to make a spectacle and clear his name.”

Throwing my head back, I roar with laughter. I can’t help it. Trust the little pixie to come up with a plan like this to save an ally’s reputation. For such a small woman, she has some big ideas.

“Why, thank you,” I hear her say self-satisfied in my mind.

You realize you’ve just changed this world forever, right? Shemhazau admonishes her. There were better and less grandiose ways of helping the officer of the law.

Bringing my head back down, I can tell that I’ve terrified the very same officer with my outburst. Turning back to the blue dragon, my mirth dissipates. What am I going to do with her?

“Send her back,” Areth informs me.

How do I talk to her, if she’s not one of the intelligent kind? I wonder inwardly.

Perhaps I mislead you a bit on that, my father states. If you can talk to her, then she’ll understand. All dragons are smart, but not all are as smart as say, the Pillar of Fire.

But if I change back in front of her, how will she react? I get no response to that question.

For good measure, I tower over the blue dragon, and move my head to her neck, squeezing it carefully between my jaws, before pulling back. She makes no move to resist or pull away.

Closing my eyes, I picture Areth on my shoulder, Murasame on my hip, and my clothes whole and in one piece on my human body, then have to gasp at the amount of energy that drains from me in the process.

Opening my eyes while firmly gripping Murasame, I look at the dragon, but she just looks back at me complacently. Apparently she’s not surprised, and I realize she’d seen me transform in the first place.

“I can move again!” Areth crows as she launches herself from my shoulder. The dragon’s eyes follow the golden woman, but she makes no other movement.

“What do I call you?” I ask, or try to. It comes out as barely more than a mumble.

“What happened to you?” Jewkes asks, coming up behind me.

The dragon reacts quickly, rolling back over, and growling menacingly, until Jewkes backs away.

“Okay, okay, I’ll stay back,” the man says, doing just that.

“He burned his tongue, and can’t talk,” Areth speaks for me.

I remember talking telepathically with Angela when I’d first become a dragon way back in Egypt, and concentrate on doing the same with the dragon.


She blinks at me a couple times, before turning her head and rubbing her muzzle across her blue scales.

BLUE? She seems to accept this, and I chuckle lightly, turning it into a groan at the feeling of my burnt tongue. I nearly jump out of my skin when I feel her forked tongue brush lightly across my body. Somehow I know she’s offering comfort for the pain she’s caused me, and tentatively I reach out and place my hand on her snout. She suffers my touch, but backs away when Areth tries to do the same. I can’t help but laugh again at the way the fairy pouts.

“It seems you have some control over her,” Jewkes states. “Can you safely get her to leave?”

The man’s words bring me back to the present, and our current circumstances.


I’m not certain I want to finish our business, but I don’t know if Blue will leave without that guarantee.

ARETH, HELP GUIDE HER BACK, I order the fairy, before turning back to Blue. PLEASE DON’T EAT MY FRIEND, I tell her. BUT YOU’RE WELCOME TO SCARE HER A BIT.

The dragon seems to enjoy that thought as she takes off after the fairy, smoke trailing from her nostrils. How had the dragon and fairy come to Earth? Blue is too big to fit in that elevator.

“You’re bleeding,” Richard states, and I look down to see that my shirt is soaked in blood. Lifting up the bloody cloth, I’m happy to note that there are only three deep scratches across my abdomen, plus a few more on my sides, none of them life threatening.

Waving my hand to the Orange Bubble, I indicate that I’m ready to go.

“You are all under arrest,” a new voice sounds, and we spin to see a very large black man in a SWAT uniform carrying an equally large shotgun in his hands.

“What’s the meaning of this?” Jewkes asks indignantly. Placing his hand on his holstered pistol.

“Remove your hands from your weapons,” the man intones emotionlessly. “By the power entrusted in me by the Order of the Paladonic Knights, I remand you into custody.”

Something invisible grabs a hold of me, and I topple over, unable to move.

“Lyden?” Becky’s fearful voice reaches me, but I can’t turn to look in her direction. From a grunt next to me, I can only assume that Captain Jewkes is in the same predicament.

With an unsettling feeling in my stomach, I’m hoisted into the air with invisible hands, and follow the dark man, the letters S.W.A.T. painted in white on the back of his body armor. Two more men join us, neither as large as the first man, and both are dressed in casual clothing.

When I see Becky, Lisa, Brooke, and somehow Jennifer join us, floating over the ground like me, I begin to struggle against my bonds, but to no avail. Somehow I’m able to breathe with no problems, but my arms and legs refuse to obey.

We stop only long enough for a self-satisfied Miranda to plant herself in front of me.

“You are a sick and disgusting creature, Mr. Snow. I will not be sorry to see you die.” Her full-armed slap across my face stings more than normal, as my face can’t move to dissipate the pressure. Then she turns and walks away.

The man closest to me chuckles, until the large man in front turns to look at him. “Put them to sleep, wizard. I’ll deal with our audience while you transport them back to base.”

“Where did their car go?” I hear another voice ask, right before I lose consciousness.

* * *

Horrific pain in my mouth wakens me, and I sit up screaming. Or trying to scream. My tongue feels like it’s still on fire, and nothing I can do blocks out the pain. Dimly I’m aware of people coming in and striking me, but compared to the pain of my burned tongue, I barely even notice them. How long I lay here in agony, I don’t know, but the moment something pours into my mouth and the pain abates, is when I become fully aware of my surroundings.

A balding man in tan corduroy pants and a flannel shirt, looking like he belongs back in the early eighties, is bending over me, a plastic cup in his left hand and my head in his right. By the gray brick walls and dark metal bars, I figure I must be in some sort of prison.

“You burned your tongue pretty bad,” the man is telling me softly. “I’ve seen this in burn victims before, where you don’t feel the full pain right away, but after a bit, the agony is horrendous.” His voice is calm and soothing, almost kind even. “What I gave you won’t heal you, I’m afraid. None of us have the skill to heal a wound that bad, but we can mitigate your pain at least. I’m afraid your tongue is nothing more than a blackened husk. Normally I’d recommend having it removed, but you’ll likely be dead soon enough anyway.” He sounds almost sad at this news.

I nod that I understand him, moving my mouth, and noticing that it feels large and empty inside. I can’t even feel my teeth or cheeks.

“Is the bastard done yelling Emmet? I was getting sick of the sound of his girlish screams.” The new voice comes from the other side of the bars, and where Emmet’s tone is kind, this new guy’s inflection is cruel.

“Yes, Brock, he should be able to rest peacefully now.” Emmet heaves a heavy sigh as he gets to his feet, and walks to the barred door.

“That’s Paladin Brock to you, Emmet.” I notice that he gives no honorific to Emmet. “And I could care less if he gets any rest. Just as long as he quits that infernal yelling. He was driving the other prisoners into an uproar. I don’t understand why we haven’t already killed him. He’s obviously not human.” I catch a glimpse of the ornery Brock as he opens the door to let Emmet out. A large man with broad shoulders, and a perpetual scowl to his otherwise ugly face. His hair is cropped close to his head, with a little more on top in a military fashion. I dislike him immediately.

His mention of other prisoners reminds me that Becky, Lisa, Brooke, Richard, and Jennifer were also captured. Where had Jennifer come from? I’ll have to figure that out later. Looking around my small cell, I see a toilet in one corner, a small cot without a mattress, and nothing else. The women must be in a different cell.

My first order of business is to relieve myself, before I lie down on the cot. I try to fall asleep in order to see if I can find anyone else’s minds, but the sound of my cell door opening brings me alert.

“On your feet, monster,” Brock orders me, pointing a shotgun at my chest. I swing my feet around, off the cot, and I don’t miss the large man stepping back quickly in fear. “Slowly now. I’m not afraid to shoot you.”

I raise one eyebrow at him, questioning the quaver in his voice, but otherwise move slower. He backs away as I approach the door, and he indicates with the weapon where he wants me to go. The man follows behind me, and I can feel the barrel press between my shoulder blades as we go.

“Just so you know, this is loaded with silver buck shot, blessed by our priests.” He shoves me forward, and I stumble for a second before catching my balance again. “Move faster, the Grand Meister doesn’t have all day.”

I pick up my pace, trying not to curse at the opposing commands he gives, all the while trying to look into the cells we pass. I don’t see any of my companions. In fact, I don’t see anyone else in any of the cells. I’m guessing that they don’t take many prisoners. The walkway is large, with occasional choke points that I assume would be good for defending. The point when we leave the detention area, and enter the more functional places is obvious by the decorations on the wall, and the change from solid gray brick walls, to painted white brick walls. We pass by a series of offices, before Brock stops me in front of a set of massive double doors. The doors are solid wood, probably oak, and at least twenty feet tall. Two guards, dressed in ceremonial medieval armor shined to mirror perfection, stand on either side of the doors. At our approach, they lift two long spears, and slam the metal butts hard against the floor in unison. The sound echoes down the hallway we’d just come down, and a second later the big doors open.

I don’t need Brock’s prodding with his shotgun to tell me to start walking, and I can’t help my eyes growing large as we enter the new room. If I thought the doors were huge, then this room makes me think they’re too small. The ceiling is high above us, hidden behind bright lights. Large round pillars, at least six feet across and spaced thirty feet apart, line a long walkway. The walkway floor is made of dark marble, shined to reflect the ceiling. I can’t see the far end.

I swear we walk for at least a couple minutes, before Brock stops me in front of a raised dais, atop which is a white chair. Sitting in the chair is a man obviously past his prime, but in no way do I suspect him to be weak or feeble. A massive sword sits across his knees, which seems odd considering he’s in a very expensive looking business suit.

He’s not the most important thing to me now, however, as I see my friends on their knees facing the Grand Meister, each with a guard behind them.

Brooke looks up at our approach, and I see her eyes grow large as she sees me, but her guard makes a threatening gesture with his shotgun, and she fearfully turns back.

Anger begins to boil inside of me at the treatment they must have received, in order to make her act so cowed. I reach for Murasame, and my hand closes on empty air.

For a second I’m overcome with shock. My sword isn’t there. Mentally I try to summon him, but a sharp pain in my skull makes me stop. Brock’s shotgun shoves me forward again, and numbly I comply.

As soon as I’m parallel with my companions, Brock uses the butt of his weapon against the back of my knees. “Bow before the mighty Grand Meister, beast.”

I still can’t believe I’ve lost my sword. How often have I wanted to be rid of the thing, only to feel naked now that it’s finally gone?

“You may leave.” The power of command behind those few deeply spoken words is astounding. My friends have said that I’m a leader, but if I live to a hundred, I’ll never be able to sound as the Grand Meister does in that one simple order.

I can hear footsteps moving away from us, as the guards follow the command. We sit in silence, me because I can’t speak, my friends because of fear I think, and I have no idea why the big man on the dais stays silent.

Finally after what seems like an eternity, but is likely only a few minutes, he breaks the silence. “Please, stand.” While the words themselves are polite, his tone is still a command, and I find myself obeying before I think better of it. Is his voice magical in some way?

Growing daring, I look up at the Grand Meister, and am surprised to see kindly brown eyes looking back at me.

“I apologize for the rough treatment,” he states, remaining seated. “Unfortunately there are protocols that must be followed, set down by centuries of tradition, and I’ve already broken as many of those as I can.”

I’m completely thrown off guard by his attitude, and find myself shaking my head to try and catch up.

“Why have you taken us?” Jewkes asks, stepping forward.

“Some of you are human, and I apologize for that, but some of you aren’t.” His eyes land on me, and even if I could argue, I know there’s no point in it. It’s pretty obvious after I turned into a dragon that I’m not human. “Technically we kill any non-humans we find in our world almost immediately. Of course, not many are as obvious as you, Lyden Snow. Even fewer are willing to put themselves in danger to stop a rampaging dragon.” He steeples his fingers beneath his chin as he continues to examine me. “You are a conundrum, young man. That Daughter of Respite would have me put you down immediately. She tells some interesting stories about you. I must say I’m a bit interested in exactly what you are. At first I thought you were an incubus by the way she describes you, but an incubus can’t transform into a large dragon, and quite frankly, they’re not known for being altruistic.”

I remain silent, not just because I have little choice, but I don’t trust this man. Marchosias had said that the Paladonic Knights were more dangerous than the Daughters of Respite.

“And the rest of you.” The man transfers his gaze across the rest of the group. “Captain Richard Jewkes, I’m fairly certain you just got caught up in Lyden’s machinations, but you don’t seem surprised by the fact he isn’t human. This makes me suspect that you are a collaborator with the monsters of the other world. The rest of you each have a long history here on Earth, and all but one of you has a birth certificate. Of course, Lyden has a birth certificate as well, so I guess that doesn’t mean much.” He shakes his head, and actually looks sad. “So again, what am I supposed to make of you?”

It’s obvious that he expects an answer, and just for show I open my mouth as if I’m going to speak, and then close it.

“I don’t know what you mean by a collaborator,” Jewkes says, speaking for the group again, “but I learned that Lyden wasn’t human just a short while ago, when Miranda Olsen tried to murder him and me.” I’m surprised to see the Grand Meister flinch at this statement. “I have since been to that other world, what he calls the Shadow World, and saw that we’re all in great danger from a creature called Aldol.”

“I am sorry for Miranda’s overzealous attack. The Daughters tend to act first, and think later. As far as this other creature, this Aldol, what danger does he pose?” I almost want to believe that he is truly sorry, but the way he moves right on to talking about Aldol makes me cautious.

Richard looks at me for a moment, before turning back to the Grand Meister. “I don’t know much about him, Lyden has already faced him a few times, but from what I understand, he wishes to destroy the Pillars of the Shadow World and destroy it.”

“And Mr. Snow can’t talk to tell us what he knows. Hmm.” The man on the dais ponders for a moment, before turning back to Jewkes. “It sounds as if we should be helping this Aldol. If he wants to destroy the other realm, your Shadow World, then why should we stop him?”

“Because if that world falls, then every creature from there will be forced back into this one,” Brooke states, stepping forward and glaring at the large man. “It doesn’t want to just destroy the other world, but all worlds.”

“It? Why would it want to destroy both worlds? Where would it live?” He sounds skeptical now, and I really can’t blame him. If I didn’t know that the thing existed outside of our dimension, I would wonder the same. Unfortunately, it looks like I’m the only one with that knowledge, as everyone looks at me worriedly. “I see that the one with the answers is the only one unable to speak.” He stands up, and for the first time I realize just how large he is, well over six feet. He plants the tip of his large blade on the floor, and he glares at us for a moment before speaking again. “While your story has plenty of holes I’d like to have filled, I’m afraid you’re too dangerous to leave alive, Lyden Snow. You will be executed in the morning. As for the rest of you, you will be tested tonight, starting with you.” He points at Brooke with his weapon, and I see her shudder under his glare. “Any of you that are found to be nonhuman will be executed with him.”

The Grand Meister turns his back on us, and suddenly our guards are back, shoving us from the massive audience chamber.

Hope abandons me, as we’re separated, and I have no idea where my friends are taken. Brooke is the only other nonhuman, but I can’t shake the feeling that they’re not just going to let the others go after this.

Unable to talk, and too weak after my battle with Blue, I collapse on my cot, and try to get some sleep before tomorrow.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Chapter 27
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Dreaming of Escaping

“It hurts,” Brooke’s soft voice reaches my ears, and I sit up, looking around. “Oh, how it hurts!” The familiar blankness of my mindscape surrounds me, and I see Brooke sitting down, her knees drawn up to her chest as she rocks herself back and forth.

Walking over to her, I place my hand on her shoulder, and she jumps away from me, before looking around in surprise. Apparently she hadn’t known she’d come here. Did I bring her here? If so, I hadn’t done it consciously.

“Oh, Lyden,” she cries into my shoulder as she flings her arms about me. “They were horrible. I was able to fool them, until they threw me into a tank of saltwater. The way they jeered at me, and beat me. . . . Oh, Lyden, what are we going to do?”

I open my mouth before remembering my destroyed tongue.

Then shake my head, realizing that in here I’m whole.

“You’re okay, now,” I whisper, thankful to hear my own voice. Slowly I pat her head and back, until she calms down and pulls away from me.

“You don’t understand. They broke my feet and knees, laughing as I screamed for mercy!” She shudders as she hugs me again.

Anger boils up deep inside me at this revelation, and I send my mind out for my other friends, hoping to pull them in here as well. To my surprise, my father appears.

“Shemhazau?” I ask, not entirely comfortable calling him Dad out loud.

The man looks down at himself, examining his hands and chest, before looking back up at me, and laughing uproariously. Brooke stays huddled to my side, as she looks worriedly at the man.

“I guess whatever spell they have me shielded with doesn’t apply to this place,” he says, strolling forward and pulling Brooke and I into a hug. “Ah, you have no idea how good it feels to be in my old body, even if it’s in the Mens Mundi.”

“Mens Mundi?” I ask, not understanding.

“Mind world in Latin,” he explains. “That’s the name of this place. Oh, I know you call it a mindscape, and that works too. Either way, I already feel myself growing stronger. I was afraid I was going to expire in their little lab.”

Part of me feels guilty about forgetting that he has to stay in close proximity to me, or risk fading away, but I’ve had a lot on my mind lately.

“Is there any way you can break free?” I ask hopefully. If he can get out, then our escape will be assured.

His crest fallen face gives away the answer. “I’m being held by some sort of spell that keeps me locked in. I’m afraid you’re going to have to come get me.”

“Dang it!” I curse, stomping my foot. Is nothing going to be easy?

“You know, son. I find it odd, considering your current lifestyle, that you draw the line at properly swearing,” Shemhazau says critically of me. “A well placed swear word, or curse, can go a long way.”

“It’s a respect thing,” I tell him off-handedly, not wanting to get into it now.

“What’s going to happen to us?” Brooke asks, and the fear in her voice tears me apart.

“Come on, assassin,” my father says, surprisingly trying to build her up, “It’s not like one of your kind to give up that easily. You’re not dead, yet.”

I feel the redhead stiffen at the rebuke in his tone, before pulling away from me, and straightening her clothes.

“You’re right, Shemhazau, but my knees and feet are broken. I’ll be no help to you.” Her tone is formal as she addresses the man she’d once been ordered to kill.

Her injuries are going to make things nearly impossible to manage.

“And you’re going to let that stop you from trying to save the man you love?” he replies cheerily. If it’s possible, Brooke’s spine stiffens even more.

“No,” she replies in icy tones. “No I won’t.”

“Where am I?” a new voice breaks the air, and I turn to see Jennifer strolling forward, fully nude. Once again, I’m shocked by the sheer size of her chesticles, as they hang heavily on her chest.

“Very nice!” my father whistles at the sight of her.

She merely looks down at herself, and shrugs before striking a pose. “You like? Well, you can’t afford me, old man.”

I can’t help but laugh at her brazen attitude, or at my dad’s shocked expression.

“How did they treat you?” I ask, hoping she received better treatment because she’s human.

“Eh, a little roughly, but nothing I couldn’t handle. The bath at first was rather nice, and I didn’t mind all those men leering at me.” She leans in close as if to share a secret, but talks loud enough for everyone to hear. “Got me quite wet, to be honest with you. I was half-tempted to diddle myself when they finally returned me to my cell, but didn’t want to give them a free show. . . . Well, more of a show than they already had,” she finishes, looking down at herself again and hefting one of her large melons.

“You know,” Shemhazau says solicitously, sidling up to Jennifer, “I used to be the ruler of the succubae. I’m certain I could show you a thing or twenty.”

“Dad!” I shout, before I can think better of it.

“You’re his father?” Jennifer says, trailing one finger down his chest seductively, before pushing him gently away. “Sorry, I don’t do families.” She laughs as she turns back to me. “Thank you for giving me this body, Lyden. It’s so much fun!”

“Ahem,” Brooke clears her throat. “I think there are more pressing matters to attend to.”

“Right,” Jennifer states, becoming serious, “how are we getting out of here, Lyden-Pooh?”

Lyden-Pooh? Really?

From her laugh, I know she’s just teasing me. Apparently she really was treated better than Brooke was.

“Are you kept together, or separate?” I ask, trying to get the conversation back on track.

“Separate,” Brooke replies.

“How did you end up getting captured?” I ask Jennifer, remembering that she hadn’t been there when I’d gone to save Areth.

“I saw the news reports, and thought you might be in the middle of it, so grabbed my rifle. When I saw your car, I went for it. They caught me just as I was getting ready to open the door.” That figures, I think. At least Ondine and Areth escaped. Ondine wasn’t there, and Areth should be safe in the Shadow World. Well, as safe as anyone is there.

“None of this tells us how we’re getting out of here,” Shemhazau states, making no secret of his ogling Jennifer. It doesn’t help that she notices and keeps posing for him. What a tease I created!

He’s right of course. Mentally I summon a chair, and sit in it, as I try to figure things out. We‘re all trapped in separate cells, no idea where the others are, and to make matters worse, two of us will be executed in the morning.

“I’m sure you can come up with something,” Lisa says, stepping into view. Trust her to be confident in me, when things are hopeless.

By the time Becky and Richard show up, no one else has any ideas, and I still haven’t come up with anything.

Thankfully, Jewkes’s mind had been hard at work, and he has a plan in mind that’s so crazy, it just might work. Okay, I know that saying is a bit cliché, but as we hammer out the details, I have to admit it’ll take a miracle to pull it off.

The only other option is imprisonment and death.

* * *

The rattling of my cell door wakens me, and groggily, I sit up. My body is stiff from having lain on the cot wrong, and being in the Mens Mundi all night doesn’t help. Despite this, a nervous energy seeps into me, as I contemplate what I need to do.

Of course, it would have to be Paladin Brock’s grinning ugly mug that I wake up to.

“Get out of bed, thing,” he greets me with an uneven grin. “I’m in a particularly good mood, wanna know why?”

I glance at him groggily, as I head for the door. I can feel my tongue is whole in my mouth again, but I’m not willing to let him know. My stomach rumbles, and part of me wishes that the Mens Mundi would feed me as well as heal me.

“Oh, that’s right. Your tongue doesn’t work anymore,” he mimics sounding sad about that, but his quick grin is back in a second. “I’m in a good mood, because it’s not every day that we get to kill two of your ilk. Too bad the one is a mermaid. I’d love to have a go at her, even if her titties are a bit small, but at least the one with the massive knockers is human. We’re going to have fun with her after we put you down.” He’s treating me more like an animal, than a . . . well, okay, so I’m not human, but I still don’t deserve this treatment. I know he’s just trying to goad me into attacking him, though his words still anger me.

I do my best to act defeated and downtrodden, shaking my head as if I’m despairing. I catch myself tapping my fingers on my leg as we walk, and have to forcibly stop. So many things can go wrong, and my palms are growing sweaty as empty cells pass by.

“Quit dawdling!” Brock shouts, shoving me with the barrel of his shotgun. Stumbling forward a few steps, I have to catch myself against a wall, before I can continue walking again down the wide hallway.

Part of me wants to turn and yell at the paladin for his behavior, but I resist, only letting a grunt escape my lips as I pick up my pace.

So many things can go wrong, I remind myself. Stick to the plan.

My heart is thumping so loud in my chest; I’m surprised that Brock doesn’t chew me out for that. By the time we exit through a new set of large metal doors—not as large as the wooden ones outside the audience hall, but still bigger than normal—I’m a nervous wreck. Any moment now, I’m certain that Brock will know that I have something planned, and shoot me between the shoulder blades. I know his finger is just itching to fire.

What if the plan doesn’t work? Maybe the prophecy is wrong, or about someone else? Perhaps my life, and Brooke’s, ends here.

“How was this one?” someone asks my guard while I attempt to get my eyes accustomed to the sudden sunlight.

“I’m surprised it hasn’t pissed itself, it’s been so scared,” Brock laughs, and it takes some serious effort not to laugh with him. He thinks I’m afraid of the execution! “Move it!” he tells me again with another harsh shove.

My eyes have adjusted enough to see that we’re in a large courtyard. A walkway is open before me, lined by men of every size and description. Men in business suits stand next to fully armored knights, which are chatting with men dressed in everyday clothes. I realize that the Paladonic Knights have infiltrated every aspect of society. I even see a man in rags that looks like he might be homeless. No wonder they were able to get Miranda out of jail. There are probably a number of judges and politicians here as well.

I can hear the pathway close behind us as we walk towards a metal pavilion in the middle of the courtyard. Brooke is already there, her red curls sitting lank on her head in the sunlight. She’s been strapped to a makeshift carry, keeping her upright. Shouldn’t she be healed up after last night, like I am? Our plan doesn’t call for her to be healthy, but looking into her green eyes, I’m worried that she’s still suffering.

Someone jeers as I slowly climb the steps, and I can sense Brooke’s hopeful gaze on me. More jeers follow, but my eyes are locked on a very large man, his hairy chest bare to the sky. A black hood covers his face, and a long shiny sword is in his hands. I have little doubt that the blade is made of silver. As far as I know, I have no aversions to silver, but a sharp blade is still a sharp blade. Another much smaller man is leaning over the weapon, muttering something and pouring water along its length. I can sense an aura of power around him, and I’m surprised to recognize Emmet.

Two loud thumps break through the sound of the crowd, and I look up to see the Grand Meister on a platform leaning out over the crowd, up on one wall. The sight of the rest of my friends with him is comforting, despite their worried looks. Unfortunately, my sword isn’t with them. How am I going to find it? Neither is Miranda.

“Lyden and Brooke,” the Grand Meister intones, and his voice carries across the open space with ease, “you have been found guilty of entering this world that humans rule by right. Of creating havoc and chaos, and of causing the deaths of numerous true humans.” He pauses for dramatic effect, before asking, “Do you have anything to say for yourselves?”

I open my mouth, and try to gargle angrily, not an easy thing to do, before shutting my mouth. I have to keep up the ruse about my tongue.

Brooke tosses her head defiantly before responding. “You call yourselves human, yet act like animals. Those deaths were not our fault, and we’ve done nothing to be condemned like this, without any true trial. You’re all a bunch of bigoted fools, killing us only because of what we are. Racists of the worst kind—“ Brock steps forward, cutting her off with a sound slap to the face.

This is my cue.

I don’t have to feign anger, as I roar, stepping forward, and throwing the man off the platform with a little too much zeal as he flies ten feet and crashes into a group of knights in armor. Emmet tries to grab hold of me, as I grip the ropes holding Brooke up and snap them with ease. Finally, I’m able to let my strength show after being in the Mens Mundi for so long with everyone else. I shake the healer free of me, as Brooke takes a step away on perfectly healthy legs.

“I thought I’d never get them to interrupt me,” she says, dazzling her beautiful smile at me. I hadn’t liked this part of the plan, but understood its necessity. First impressions of the event would look like I’d gone crazy at her being attacked, and our other companions should remain fairly safe for a bit, but the next step in our plan is the trickiest. We need to act fast.

Hugging the mermaid to me, I concentrate on the form I want, and hope this works. Jewkes and Shemhazau had been pretty sure last night, stating that since I could pull out just my wings, I should be able to partially change into a dragon in other ways.

The only thing telling me there is a change is that I suddenly feel heavier. Opening my eyes, I look down, and see that Brooke is gone. So are my clothes, and my human skin. Solid brown scales, tinged with blue, shimmer as they cover me from head to toe, I can feel the weight of my wings on my back, and for some reason I feel taller and heavier than I think I should be. I ignore that, as I look up to the balcony that my friends and the Grand Meister are on.

The ruler of the Paladonic Knights meets my eyes, and what I see makes me hesitate for only a moment. He is not afraid. I squat down, ready to leap for the balcony as guns fire in my direction. My scales are proof against them, even Brock’s blessed shotgun, as I launch myself into the air, spreading my wings to help guide me.

Terrible pain lances through my right foot, and I look down to see the executioner with his blade coming back around to swing again if he gets the chance. Blood trickles from a clean slice along the bottom of my foot.

“What the hell is happening?”a male voice rings out in my head, filled with pain.

“Who are you?” Brooke asks worriedly at the same time I ask, “Emmet?”

I thought I’d shaken him off me, but he must have grabbed me at the moment I changed forms. Dang it! I don’t have time to change back, kick him away, and change again. I guess I have one more passenger than I intended.

I land carefully on the balcony, cautious of my wounded foot, in time to see the Grand Meister grab Lisa, placing a dagger against her throat. Everybody else rushes to me, doing what he or she can to touch me in some way. Naturally, Jennifer grips my large scaly cock in one of her strong hands.

“You surprise me, Lyden,” my enemy says, his voice still calm despite me towering over him. “I’ve never known a creature from your world to care about humans enough to risk themselves to save them.”

“Let her go, and I won’t kill you,” I say, trying to match his calm voice, and failing miserably in my fear for Lisa and my anger at the way we’ve been treated. Lisa’s eyes are large, and I can see a trickle of blood seep from where the blade is pressed firmly against her throat. He means business. As talented as she is as a martial artist, I can’t see how she’s going to escape this on her own.

“I’m afraid that’s not possible,” the man continues to talk evenly. “You see, I know that if I let her go, then you’ll either break your word and kill me, or flee. Either way, I can’t let that happen.”

Thus far, we’ve been mostly alone up here, but I can hear knights yelling and clamoring as they try to reach this spot where their Grand Meister is in trouble.

The pain in my right foot lets me know that I’m not immune to all their weapons, and I realize the powerful man is stalling.

Lisa realizes it as well, and as our eyes meet, I can see her intentions.

“NO!” I scream, lunging forward at the same time she twists in his arms and thrusting an elbow into his gut. The movement also causes the sharp blade to slide across her throat, and her life’s blood seeps out while the Grand Meister doubles over, coughing.

Thankfully everyone else lunges with me, having been prepared for anything, and as I pull the dying blonde into my arms, I finish my transformation into full dragon, tongue and all.

The platform shudders as I furiously step forward, and with a quick snap of my jaws, I swallow the Grand Meister’s head.

“No!” another voice echoes in my mind, and I mentally shut Emmet away, fashioning a metal prison in my mind for him. After so long with Muramasa, trapping the man’s consciousness away is an easy thing.

My throat hurts, and I can feel a trickle of warmth slide down my chest, but I know that Lisa’s wound won’t kill me. What had been a deep cut for her, is but a shallow scratch in my present form.

“Lyden . . .” Lisa’s voice sounds sweet in my head, “how?”

“This is so weird,” Jennifer says. “I know how good it feels to have you in me, Lyden, but I have to admit it hurts to be in you. My neck and foot are killing me.”

I mentally block the voices out, as I see someone coming into the back of the platform. Sucking in deeply, I bellow out flame, immediately burning to a crisp whoever was there, and setting the whole wall aflame.

Son! My father’s voice fills my mind, and I look around, thinking to find him close.

“Where are you?” I try to ask, but a dragon’s tongue isn’t designed for human speech.

I’m still trapped, but my mind is free somehow. I can sense you above me. It must have been the Grand Meister, or something about him that was blocking communication with my father outside of the Mens Mundi.

Without hesitating, I launch myself from the balcony, smiling as little knights scatter before me. Bellowing out more flame, I clear a path to the doorway, and I’m thankful for the large doors and pathways as I barrel through, following my father’s guidance.

I have to slim down a bit to make it through two flights of stairs before I finally burst through a brick wall, into the room with Murasame. Four men in robes who honestly look like wizards, surround the sword, chanting in a singsong voice. A bluish glow surrounds the two-toned blade as it floats above the ground between the wizards. As the dust settles from my entrance, none of the wizards move, or stop their chanting.

“I had a feeling you’d come for your evil weapon, monster,” a tenor voice rings out, and I whip my head to the side to see Miranda standing there, with nothing less than a double bladed axe on her shoulder. The edge of the blades reflect the light of the room, and I’m afraid this weapon might hurt me, much as the executioner’s sword had. “Move a muscle, and I won’t hesitate to kill you.”

WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? I mentally demand of her. LET ME TAKE MY SWORD, AND I’LL LEAVE WITHOUT HURTING ANYONE ELSE. She might be able to hurt me with her axe, but not before I fry her.

“Ha, like your promises can be trusted.” She raises her weapon high, and charges at me. “Now die!”

Pursing my draconian lips, I do my best to control my fire, regretting the fact that I have to kill her. She has been a nuisance in my side, sure, but that alone isn’t enough reason to end her life. Molten hot flames engulf the woman, draining my energy some, and to her credit she doesn’t even scream.

In fact, a second later, I have to dodge quickly to avoid having my skull split in two.

“What the fuck?” I hear Jennifer demand mentally, reminding me that there are passengers in my head.

“The Sisters of Respite are immune to most otherworldly abilities,” Emmet’s voice states a moment later. I remember having difficulty reading her when she’d interrogated me, and now I know why. “I have no problems dying in here, if it means your death too, monster.”

Somehow his voice doesn’t sound like he really means it. In fact, it almost sounds like he’s saying it, only because he knows he’s supposed to act defiantly.

Miranda swings at me again, and I lose a talon on my right paw as one of her blades severs it cleanly off.

Howls of pain echo in my mind, and I flip around, catching her with my tail. She only stumbles back from a grazing blow. How has she gotten so agile?

She stops attacking long enough to look at the other wizards. “Well, come on. Help me kill it!” She doesn’t waste any time in seeing if they obey, but a moment later a chunk of ice slams into my flank, knocking me off balance, and I barely avoid having my neck opened wider than it already is.

“You can’t leave the circle,” one of the wizards bellows. “This sword is too—ungh!”

A flash of light precedes a small explosion, and all the humans are knocked flat from the shockwave.

Ah, it’s good to be free! Shemhazau’s voice rings loudly in my head. A purplish spot interferes with my vision from where the blast had been, but I know the sword is no longer trapped. A quick glance at my remaining talons shows that they’ve changed to reflect the chrome and midnight black coloring of the blade. Apparently the sword’s magic allows it to join with me, without me willing it. Muramasa had been like that.

Deciding that now is as good a time as any, while everyone else is laid out flat, I turn my bulk around, and head for the exit.

Somehow, Miranda beats me there. Agile and fast, she must have some serious training to be able to fight like this with her weapon. Why had it been so easy to capture her when she’d tried to assassinate Jewkes and me? She’s still holding the double-edged weapon in her hands, blocking my path.


Grimly she holds her weapon ready, tightening her grip, and I know I have my answer.

I inhale deeply, knowing my fiery breath can’t harm her, but intending to blind her with it before my attack, when unexpectedly she crumples to her knees.

I stare at her innate form for a moment, unsure of what just happened, until I see a golden glow zoom in and pick up a large rock by the unconscious woman’s head. Well, large in Areth’s hands, at any rate.

“Ya miss me?” the tiny pixie asks cheerily.

“Areth!” I try to say, once again forgetting my forked tongue.

She flutters over to the axe, and I see her place her hand on the shaft. To my utter amazement, it shrinks down to her size, and then she blurs towards me, landing on my head, before stating, “As much as I’m enjoying this reunion, I think we’d better get out of here. I can’t fight everyone with this enchanted axe.”

Enchanted axe? That explains Miranda’s prowess as a fighter.

I do my best to step over Miranda, but between missing toe, the pain in my right foot and the cut along my neck, I accidently nick her with one of my chrome and black claws. An odd shiver runs up my body as a spot of blood wells up where I scratched her arm.

“Oh, that’s good!” Shemhazau moans into my mind, and I feel a new flood of energy course through my veins. This isn’t like the energy I get when someone has an orgasm, but something entirely different. The sensation settles into my scales, and almost makes them feel tighter, like I’m too big for my skin.

Shaking off the sensation, I rush out of the hole I’d made in the wall, around a corner, and directly into a knot of knights. They’d obviously heard me coming, or were just that prepared, as the front row has a shield wall up, and long lances poke out above the barricade. They begin to slowly advance towards me, and I bellow an experimental gout of flame at them. Their tall tower shields block and deflect my fire, and I have to back up, to refrain from getting poked.

Then I notice the heat coming from the metal blockade, and blow harder, heating up their shields as they continue towards me.

“You’re going to kill them!” Emmet shrieks from his prison in my mind.

“If we don’t kill them, they’ll kill us,” Brooke angrily informs the man.

“No, there’s another way!” I can tell he’s desperate now, but I don’t relent on my attack, until I have to suck in more air. Their shields are a cherry red color now, but they’re not stopping. “You can put them to sleep,” Emmet continues to call to me. “I know the spell, just repeat after me.” He begins to make a series of sounds consisting of hums and ahhs, reminiscent but different from the spell that’d kept my sword in limbo.

“You’re just trying to get us killed,” Brooke snaps at the man, and I hear a mental sound like someone slapping bars.

“No, this is the spell!” he pleads with the mermaid and continuing his strange song.

Ignoring them, I put all of my effort into my next flame breath, but feel winded and tired.

“Stop it!” Jewkes cries out, and I can hear him yawn. “You’re putting us to sleep!”

I have to blink to clear my head, but the man does as he’s told, and just in time, as my tail bumps into a wall. I’m running out of room to retreat.

“Any other bright ideas?” Areth asks me, hefting her new axe, unaware of the battle inside me.

SING, I command her, mentally sending her the sounds Emmet had been making, and doing my best to make the sounds in my own throat. Luckily my tongue’s not needed for these sounds, and I see the knights stop in confusion as Areth’s and my voice comes together. Micro-moments later, they slowly slump to the ground, some of them even snoring softly, overwhelmed by our combined power.

KEEP SINGING, I order the fairy atop my head as I leap over the knights, and start heading up the stairway. No one else appears, until we exit back into the large courtyard.

A line of men, seven wide, stands before us, dressed in casual clothing.

“It’s the seven!” Emmet wails piteously. “We’re doomed!” Apparently he doesn’t want to die after all.

Ignoring him, I pick up the sleep spell/song with Areth, concentrating on putting these men to sleep.

“It won’t work. Three of them are casting spells already to stop any magical attacks, three others will be preparing an attack, and the last one gives the orders,” Emmet informs me, and I stop singing. A well organized attack unit. Marchosias had been right when he’d said they were dangerous.

Just to test the theory, I send a column of flame at them, and then stop immediately when a powerful gust of wind sends it back at me. Luckily I appear to be immune to my own flame. At least, externally.

I don’t see any swords, spears, or for that matter, any type of weapon that can pierce my hide, and decide to charge right at them.

Something tingles along my body and eyes open wide in shock as I knock them aside like bowling pins. Four of them go down, and only one gets back to his feet, but by this time I’m already climbing the sides of the courtyard, the open sky above me.

That had been easier than I’d thought.

Lightning crackles, and fireballs fly past me, but their aim must be off, because none of them strike me. I must have scared them more than I thought, for them to be this bad, I think.

“It doesn’t make sense,” I hear Emmet say in confusion. “They are the elites.”

“Lyden’s not a bad guy,” Becky says in my mind. “He doesn’t want to hurt anyone, but you people won’t leave him alone. All the deaths and injuries today are on your head!”

Emmet clams up, and it only takes me a couple more moments to reach the top.

Looking around, I’m surprised to see trees and mountains in all directions. Looking back at the courtyard I’d just climbed from, I’m shocked to see it’s vanished. Rocky ground covers the spot where I’d just climbed up. Tentatively I reach one paw out, but a needle of ice flies out of the ground, and I jump back. Not gone then, but an illusion to cover it. How much of this forest is illusion, covering the Paladonic Knight’s Base?

Without wasting any more time, I crash down the hillside, knocking trees out of my way, and leaving an obvious trail behind. I’d seen a road off in the distance, and an unmistakable orange dot parked on it.

Lisa, are you there? I ask inwardly, as Areth cheerfully cries “Wee!” on top of me.

“I’m here, Lyden,” she says softly, almost sadly.

Are you okay? Is there anything I can do for you? Relief that the blonde is all right floods through my system, happy that I’d been able to get to her in time.

“Maybe not,” Becky says to me.

What do you mean? I demand, knocking over a rather large tree in my headlong run. My right foot is throbbing, and I can feel the muscles growing stiff around the wound, but I refuse to slow down. I might be out of their base, but I’m not safe yet.

“We’ve been talking,” the petite brunette informs me. They had? Was I too busy fighting to hear it? “When you brought us all in, we shared the pain of her throat. Even now, we know your neck is bleeding. When we separate—“

No! I scream at them. I won’t let that happen.

“Lyden, we know how weak you’re already growing. We can feel your fatigue.” Lisa’s words are soft and cajoling. “We can feel everything you’re feeling. Even your love for us.”

Her words are unfortunately true. More than just my rear paw is growing stiff. I’d expended a ton of energy to transform all bursa escort bayan of us, and then kept it up as I attacked and defended my way to Murasame, and then escaping. Even now, I can feel my pace growing slower as I try to reach the Orange Bubble.

“When you changed back yesterday, the wounds you received from that blue dragon were still on you.” Lisa sounds as if she’s on the verge of tears. “My wound will be there when I come out. I knew what would happen when I elbowed him, Lyden. I was trying to give you a chance to get away without me. To save yourself.”

No! I won’t accept that! I can’t leave anyone behind. My eyes grow bleary with tears, but I refuse to stop. I won’t lose you!

“I can feel how much you love me, Lyden, and I thank you for that. We knew the dangers of this plan last night. Let me go, Lyden.” Her voice definitely hitches at the end, and I see my car not too much farther ahead of me. I also hear helicopters coming up on us from behind.

But shouldn’t you be healing up while in me? I ask, desperately hoping for something.

“It’s her body’s mass you absorbed, son,” Shemhazau’s voice breaks in. “Our souls aren’t mixing right now.”

Dammit! I swear angrily, trying to pour all my anger and hurt at the situation into that one expletive. Dammit, dammit, dammit! I repeat, still not feeling any better.

Can I spread the wound around, so that it doesn’t kill anyone, when we separate? I ask, needing a better answer.

“If it had happened while we were together, then yes, but. . . .” he trails off. He doesn’t need to finish the statement. The wound in my foot can be split up among us or given to one, but her throat had been slit before we joined together.

As soon as I reach my car, I realize I have a problem. I’m too big to fit through the door. Not only that, but I’m so tired from using my strength and from the loss of blood, that the act of changing back will knock me out. I don’t even know if I have the strength in me to shrink my mass down enough to go in.

I hesitate for only a moment, hearing the helicopters growing closer, before screaming out in anguish, my head reared back and white-hot flame shooting into the sky. Closing my mouth, I drop my head in defeat and change back into a human. My last thought before passing out is making sure that Emmet takes the full wound from my foot and hand.

* * *

“You really like to sleep, don’t you?” Lisa’s voice floats over me, and I open my eyes to look up into her beautiful blue orbs.

“You’re alive!” I gasp, sitting up and pulling her thankfully towards me.

Laughing, she collapses into my arms and hugs me tightly.

“Oh, Lyden, I’m so sorry. I love you so much, but I only have a bit of time before I must go,” her words are half mumbled into the side of my neck.

“Huh? I don’t understand. Go where?” I ask, thoroughly confused.

She pulls away from me, searching my gray eyes, and I see a tear break free from hers. Only then do I look around, and realize that we’re in the Mens Mundi.

“But how are you here? Are you still inside me, or did you come out with everyone else?” I can feel a lump forming painfully in my throat as I try to control my voice.

“Does it matter?” she asks me, pulling me back to her. “We’re together for now, and that’s all that matters.”

“But won’t you heal, since you’re here?” I ask, still not willing to accept the facts.

“It’s already too late,” she tells me softly, shaking her head. Suddenly she pushes me away and looks fiercely at me. “Are you going to sit here and waste what little time we have together moping over what can’t be changed, or are you going to take advantage of it?” She pauses for a brief second before raising one eyebrow and adding, “Or of me?”

“But I am—“ she presses her fingers to my lips, silencing my protest, and then uses the pressure against them to shake my head.

“You need to move on, Lyden,” she informs me firmly. “I won’t have you moping around like you did after Angela left, or your father died. Do you hear me?” I open my mouth to reply, but she keeps her fingers against my lips. “Do you hear me?” Her fingers force my head to nod in agreement, until I grip her wrist, and pull her hand away.

“I love you, Lisa,” is all I can get out before I choke up, and that painful ball lodges fully in my throat, cutting off anything else.

“I know,” she tells me, pulling my head to her chest. “I love you too. You have always been so kind to Becky and me. Take care of her. She’s going to take my passing really hard as well. You two will need each other over the next while. You need to be strong, Lyden. Promise me you’ll be strong.” It’s not a question, but an order, and I nod my head, still unable to speak as tears copiously pour from my eyes.

“Good!” she continues. “Now then, I really don’t want to waste any more time. Get naked.”

Shocked, I pull away, swallowing hard to try and speak. “I-I don’t think . . . Now really isn’t the right moment. . . .”

“Haven’t I taught you anything?” she demands of me, standing up and removing her shirt. “If you always wait for the right moment, it’ll never come. You have to make it happen; and quite frankly, the last thing I want to remember us together by, is you making me scream out your name in ecstasy. Now are you going to get undressed, or are you going to ignore my final request?”

Even though my heart is still heavy with the thought of losing her, I can’t help but smile at her uplifting attitude. Trust Lisa to be able to cheer me up, and push me on when I’m down. The world is going to be a darker place without her.

Shaking my head to clear it of the gloom that I know will only disappoint the martial artist; I stand up and remove my shirt, before remembering that I can just think my clothing away. Lisa giggles as I become suddenly nude, and I find her mirth infectious. I just can’t help but smile as I see her beautiful blue eyes twinkling with a combination of joy, desire, and an undeniable pleasure at just being with each other.

“Things are controlled with our minds here, right?” She asks me, and I have to look up from her firm breasts to answer her.

“Yeah, we’re in our minds, so imagination seems to be the only limit,” I tell her, thinking of her body slowly floating through the air towards me and grinning at her shocked expression as her feet leave the blank floor.

“And this is what you picture?” she asks me, recovering quickly from her surprise and waving at the emptiness around us.

Blinking, I realize I’d never really thought about it before. My surroundings have never been that important to me, always more concerned with whom I’m with.

Lisa lands softly in my arms, and I tilt our world so that she’s lying on top of me. Laughing, she kisses me softly on the lips, but the kiss doesn’t stay soft for long. Hungrily, I press my tongue against her lips, until she opens up for me. I can feel her cheeks turning up in a smile as her arms slip under my neck and she straddles my hips, pulling us tighter together.

“How’s this?” she asks me, breaking the kiss but still holding me with her slender body.

“You’re an awesome kisser,” I tell her honestly, not entirely sure of what she’s asking me.

“Well, thanks, but I was referring to around us,” she giggles again, and she feels delightful, our nude flesh pressed against each other.

Looking around, I see what I should have seen when she pulled away. A large tan tent surrounds us, and we’re lying on a blow up mattress with red blankets. I can hear running water in the distance, and the clean scent of nature fills the air.

“My dad used to take me camping all the time,” she answers my questioning look. “Since he died, I’ve never been back, but I miss it. I’ve never told you this, but you remind me of him in some ways, with how kind you are, and how respectful you are to everyone. I just thought. . . . I just thought it might be nice.” I don’t know what exactly to say in response, touched by her words, and I see her growing uncertain at my silence. “I’m sorry, it was a foolish—“

I cut her off with a firm kiss, pressing our lips together, before pulling away. “It’s perfect,” I tell her, smiling. I almost add that I wish I could have had the time to take her fishing, but decide not to ruin the moment.

The air mattress squeaks as Lisa molds her body fully to mine, her cheek presses to mine, and happily I hug her to me. I truly feel at peace for a few moments, as we do nothing more than hold each other tight. I know that the future will come, and more hardships will happen, but right now, right here in this tent in the Mens Mundi, I’m at peace.

“Lyden?” Lisa’s voice is soft as she speaks directly into my ear, her sweet breath tickling my earlobe.

“Yes?” I ask, my eyes closed and enjoying the sound of the running water outside.

“Make love to me,” her request shocks me only by its simple sincerity. She’d already made it clear she wanted to have sex, but the way she asks me this time, I know what she’s after.

Gently rolling us over, I plant soft kisses along her neck and up her jaw line, until I reach her tender lips. Her hands slip between us, until she can grasp my hard phallus, and I moan quietly as her fingers begin a steady rhythm up and down my length.

Moving my hands around her sides, I use my elbows to support my weight, until my fingertips brush along her nipples. Breaking the loving caress of our mouths, I slide down her body, and squeeze her firm breasts together, using my thumbs to turn the nipples inward, and latch onto both stiff rubbery nubs.

Her hands move to the back of my head, her fingers digging into my hair, as I tease her sensitive areolas with my teeth, tongue, and lips. Her hips start to grind against my stomach, and I press my torso against her to give more friction, enjoying the increase in the volume of her moans.

Her breathing grows heavy, and I know she’s coming close, so I release one breast, and move my hand down to her already wet crotch. Her clitoris is easy to find in her aroused state, and the second I apply pressure directly to it, she gasps and shudders, climaxing.

Lifting my eyes without letting go of her nipple, I smile at her, and slip my middle finger into her tight hole. She sucks in her bottom lips at the pleasure I’m giving her. Transferring to her other nipple, I slip my ring finger into her, and she begins to buck against me, closing her eyes and moaning softly. I use my thumb to rub her clit, and just as my wrist starts to get uncomfortable in this position, I feel her inner walls clamps down, and her voice fills the tent with her wails of bliss.

While she’s still shuddering from her orgasm, I move the rest of the way down her body, until I can plant my mouth on her still quivering sex. My tongue immediately delves into her pouring hole, tasting her juices from the source, and driving my own levels of lust higher.

Wrapping my arms around her legs, I suck hard on the sensitive nub at the top of her vagina, and pull her body back, while simultaneously getting into a sitting position. Her shoulders are now resting on my calves, her back pressed up against my chest, and her ass under my chin, while I sit and continue to taste her pussy. Moving my hands down, I massage her breasts, enjoying their soft firmness, while I continue to alternate between shoving my tongue as far into her as I can, and nibbling gently on her clit.

“Oh, Lyden! Holy shit, you eat me out better than a woman! Oh, oh, oh LYDEN!” Lisa cries out. The power of her climax and the strength in her core muscles is such that she’s able to force me to lie back, and we end up tumbling off the air mattress.

Laughing, we pick ourselves back up, and I go to hug her, but she pushes me back onto the mattress.

“Enough foreplay, my love,” she tells me hungrily, crawling up the mattress over me. “We need to fuck, and I need to feel you inside me.”

“Anything for you,” I tell her honestly.

When her face is above mine, she drops her head and pelvis while arching her back, both sets of her lips making contact with me at the same time. Her tongue dives forcefully between my lips, and I meet it with my own as they dance playfully at first, but growing more insistent as her slit slides up and down my cock without penetrating her.

Timing her movements just right, I tighten my lower muscles and drop my hips, then drive forward and penetrate her to the hilt.

“Ungh, oh fuck,” she grunts, breaking the kiss, dropping her slight weight fully onto me, and hugging my head to hers. I drop my hands to her tiny rear, and pull her up slightly, while dropping my hips again. I hold like this for a couple seconds, only a couple inches inside her, then shove her down and thrust up, making her grunt again.

Her arms tighten around me, and I move mine up around her waist, but keep up the movement with my hips. Our bodies are tightly pressed together, only a slight sheen of sweat lubing us as we slide against each other in our lovemaking.

“I’m coming close, Lyden,” she moans to me. “Cum with me, please. I want to feel you fill me up.”

“Anything for you,” I repeat, a tear breaking free from my eye.

Picking up my pace, I concentrating on her pleasure, and trying to drive my own enjoyment higher. I feel that familiar tingling in my stomach, and know I’m about to explode. Just because I know it no longer matters, I also think on making my sperm potent and virile. I want to give her everything I can in these final moments together.

Her velvety inner folds alternate between caressing and gripping my cock as she cries out incoherently, and I let loose with rope after rope of my semen, pouring it into her along with my love, and sorrow at her passing.

Bittersweet are my feelings, as I convulse beneath her, my scrotum tightening, forcing out my seed, into a slowly fading Lisa.

“Don’t be sad, my love,” I hear her whisper to me from what seems like a great distance. “You have made me very happy, and I need you to be strong, because there are still many others who need you now.”

That painful lump is back in my throat, and all I can do is nod. I refuse to blink as the martial artist that has always cheered me on and been able to lift my spirits slowly fades away.

Not until she is completely gone, do I close my eyes, roll over, and weep.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Chapter 28
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The Earth Mother
A slight buzzing sound becomes insistent, growing steadily into alternating noises, which in turn become voices speaking insensibly. After a bit, the voices become understandable.

“. . . been asleep for over a day.”

“The Pillar of Earth is expecting us.”

“I tried to see if he’d let me into his mind while sleeping, but instead I just had nightmares about that mountain stronghold.”

“He needs to recover from saving us. It took a lot out of him. I don’t know how he’s going to handle Lisa’s. . . .”

I’m not ready to hear the rest of that yet, and force myself deeper into my own consciousness.

“You need to face it sooner or later,” an unknown, but slightly familiar, voice informs directly in my mind.

“What the—“ I sit up, looking around. It takes me a bit to recognize the inside of the Orange Bubble due to a couple changes. A burbling fountain is new, and there is now a large metal cage in one corner, Emmet huddled up in the bottom, hugging his knees, his foot heavily bandaged.

“You’re awake,” Brooke says carefully, leaning over me in the large bed, and placing the back of her hand against my forehead. “How do you feel?”

A piece of something I’d heard floats through my mind, and I answer, “Like I’ve been asleep for over a day.” Gently I brush the assassin’s hand away, and begin rubbing my temples. My whole body aches, and my head throbs, but I force myself to deal with it. I have more important things to do right now.

“Lyden. . . .” Brooke’s voice trails off hesitantly, and she refuses to look at me as I crawl out of bed. Someone had at least seen fit to put me in a pair of boxers.

“I know,” I tell her. “Lisa’s gone.” Walking over to the wardrobe, I’m glad I decided to restock it with some normal clothes, as I get dressed. “Areth, when does Gaia expect me?”

“She told me to come when you were ready,” the pixie states, poking her head out of the pool at the bottom of the fountain. Even she seems to be walking on eggshells around me. Is she worried that I’ll be angry about her changing my car even further after I’d told her not to? Angela abandoned me again. As long as the only changes are necessary, then I can’t find it in myself right now to object. Part of me wonders what the succubus felt when the fountain was created inside a portion of her soul.

“Look everyone—“ I start, but Brooke cuts me off.

“Lyden, you need to grieve. Acting like this isn’t healthy.” Brooke’s hand grips my shoulder and she tries to pull me into a hug.

Pulling away, I hold her at arm’s length.

She’s right son. You need to take some time—

“I’ll grieve when I have time,” I tell her firmly, and mentally cut off the voice of my father. “Lisa asked me to be strong. I know I’ve been a bit down and hard to live with, but thanks to Lisa, I realize how selfish I was being.”

“Lyden, no—“ Jennifer states, stepping forward.

“Stop, all of you, just stop,” I state, raising my voice, trying to stamp down the emotions that are threatening to overwhelm me. “Inside I’m torn up and empty at losing Lisa. I loved her, just as I love all of you. I’ll deal with that loss when I have the time. Right now, Aldol is trying to destroy both worlds, and I need to meet with Gaia in order to get her help in stopping it. What is it, Areth?” The whole time I’d been speaking, she’d been trying to interrupt.

“Gaia wants all of us to go, not just you,” the golden fairy informs me, taking to the air and dripping water below her.

I glance at those around me, noting that everyone who’d been a part of the ordeal with the Paladonic Knights is here. Jewkes and Jennifer are standing next to the cage with Emmet, guarding him. Brooke is slowly moving her hand through the water in the fountain.

“But the laws against humans going to your world,” Becky states, talking for the first time since I woke up. Her eyes are bloodshot, and it’s obvious she’s been crying a lot. Walking over to the short brunette, I pull her into my arms. Her arms pull me tighter to her, as she presses her face against my chest. Brooke frowns at me, and I realize I’d turned away her hug. I know I’m going to pay for that later. As Becky cries silently, I look to the fairy, waiting for an answer to Becky’s question.

“Gaia said she wants all of us,” she says, surprisingly landing on Becky’s shoulder, getting it wet and patting her head consolingly. What’s gotten into the fairy while I was asleep? When did she begin caring? “The Earth Mother even wants these giant humans for some reason.”

Becky actually laughs slightly at the fairy’s remark, and pulls away from my arms. For a moment the emptiness had been a little less empty while she’d held me, but as she steps away, my emotions threaten to overwhelm me again. I stamp them down, locking them away for later.


“What are we going to do about him?” I ask, looking to Emmet and ignoring Shemhazau.

“You might as well kill me and get it over with,” the man states, lifting his balding head and glaring at me.

“I’m not going to kill you,” I tell him firmly. “You helped me escape and we’re not sadistic monsters, no matter what your order might think.”

“But you’re a monster from the other world. You killed the Grand Meister, and were going to kill my brethren,” he protests weakly.

“They were trying to kill me,” I remind him. “When given another option, I spared them. I might be able to turn into a monster, but that doesn’t make one.”

Emmet turns away from me, ignoring my statement.

“He’s been like that ever since you released him,” Jewkes says. “We can’t leave him behind while we’re gone, and we can’t let him go. He’s too dangerous.”

“Have you been able to go home?” I ask him, and then turn to look at everyone. “Have any of you?”

“No,” Richard answers my question. “They know who we are. We figured it wasn’t safe, and since there’s enough room here, even if it’s a bit cramped, we’ve kept on the move.”

“What about your wife?” I ask him, worried for the older woman that Angela had once mimicked.

The man grimaces, and I notice his eyes dart towards Jennifer before looking back at me. “I told her I was on an extended stakeout. Hopefully that’ll hold off on anyone looking to get to me through her.”

“We’re not evil enough to attack the innocent!” Emmet protests indignantly from his cage.

“Lisa was innocent!” I yell, suddenly enraged, and then have to calm myself as I see the man’s eyes open wide in terror. “She was completely human, but that didn’t stop your Grand Meister from using her as a hostage or slitting her throat.”

The captive man works his jaw for a few moments, trying to come up with something to say, before spinning around, and sitting back down. Apparently he has no argument. The healer can’t even claim it was in self-defense, because he’d been inside me, and knows that my promise to leave without harming anyone had been sincere.

Turning back to Jewkes, I ask, “Ready to go on another adventure, then? Sounds like you’re all invited.” I likely sound happier than I really feel, and hope it doesn’t sound as forced as it is. I hate having anyone else going into danger with me, but I’m beyond trying to fight it anymore.

“Not going to ask me?” Jennifer asks with an edge to her tone. “How sexist of you, Lyden.”

A laugh bubbles up from my chest before I can stop it. “Like you’d pass up the opportunity to grab my monster cock again!”

She stares at me for a moment before laughing, and soon everyone with the exception of our prisoner is smiling.

“It was quite the monster in your other form, too!” Jennifer chortles.

“I assume we need to use the elevator?” I ask Areth, glad to have had an actual reason to smile. It’s not often I can get one past the large-chested woman.

“The elevator?” she repeats, lifting up from Becky’s shoulder and heading back to the fountain. “Do you really think I was able to get a dragon through that thing?” She laughs, splashing herself merrily. “You are a dolt! No, Gaia made me a gateway closer to her home when I first went to go see her.”

Well, at least she’s no longer tip-toeing around me.

“Hey, how did you find me back there, anyway?” I ask, wondering about the fairy’s fortuitous arrival at the Paladonic Knight’s base.

“Well, after I helped make arrangements for your dragon girlfriend, I came back and sensed you up in the mountains.” I wonder if she could sense me, or the portions of her soul that reside within me. “When I realized you were partying with those wicked knights, I knew you’d need a dashing heroine to come save your giant arse!” I can’t help but smile at her attitude, and even have to stifle a laugh when she sticks her tongue out at Emmet.

I notice even Becky breaks a tremulous smile.

“If you’re done saving my massive hind-quarters, then let’s get going,” I tell her with a not-quite-forced smile.

“Sure, we just have one stop to make first,” she tells me, but I turn to face Brooke.

She tries to walk away from me, but I catch her and turn her to face me.

“It’s okay,” she tells me, her green eyes blazing in contradiction with her words. “She needs you more right now. I understand.” She pulls away from me, and I try to turn her back, but Becky grabs me, hugging me tightly.

I know my childhood friend is hurt, but she’s right. Becky does need me more at the moment.

We hold each other for a bit, imparting what comfort we can to each other, until my car comes to a stop.

“So what’s this other stop we need to make?” I ask, finally getting curious.

“Master?” a familiar voice asks, as my car door opens. “Master!” Sheila is suddenly next to Becky and I, prostrating herself on her knees and hugging my legs.

“We needed to get her?” I ask, uncomfortable with my ex-boss’s behavior in front of everyone. I catch Emmet sneering from his cage.

“Have I displeased you, Master?” Sheila suddenly wails. She lets go of my legs, and prostrates herself on the floor. “Punish me, Master! I need to be punished.”

“No,” I quickly tell her, blood rushing to my face in embarrassment. “I would rather you stay safe here, than going back to the Shadow World,” I reassure her, placing my hand under her chin and guiding her to her feet. “No punishment is necessary.” I see her eyes drop in disappointment. “Yet,” I add, with a light tap on her rear to appease her. I try my best to ignore the knowing looks I’m getting.

“Personally, I could use an excuse to get out,” Thomas says as he steps in, Ondine directly on his heels. For some reason, the mermaid doesn’t look too pleased as she stays in the older man’s shadow. “Sheila, your replacement at work is ugly, and I swear he only bathes once a week.”

“Is AnnaBelle coming too?” I ask, wondering if everyone who’s had any part in this adventure will be along for this trip.

“I called her,” Thomas states, giving Emmet an odd stare in his cage, “but apparently her Reverend has disappeared, and she’s had to step up to cover for him in his absence.” The older man turns to me, and gives me a significant look. We both know who Reverend Michael Chilton really is, and I suspect I know why he’s really vanished. AnnaBelle refused to accept that the man is truly the demon Marchosias. I still don’t understand why a demon would pretend to be a man of God.

“Well, if this is everybody, then we’d better get moving,” I state, heading for the driver’s seat. Even though I can’t really drive the Orange Bubble anymore, sometimes I just feel more in command when sitting here. “Where to, Areth?”

The four-inch woman lands lightly on my shoulder, soaking it, and I follow her directions out of town towards the portal. We pull over by a large farmer’s field as the sun begins setting, and the pixie grabs something, zooming out the door.

Through the distortion of my windshield, I can make her out placing a shiny object in front of my headlights, and a moment later, the air in front of my car begins to shimmer and brighten. The Orange Bubble moves forward and the late evening light becomes full daytime as we pass through the portal. Areth re-enters the car, and I see she was carrying a prism. That must have been what caused the shimmering.

“I’m glad we had your lights,” she tells me, landing on my opposite shoulder. Thankfully she’s dry this time. “We would have had to wait for morning, otherwise.”

“Where have you taken me, beast?” Emmet demands from his cage, fear staining his voice.

“Over the rainbow,” I tell him, smiling at my own little joke. He apparently doesn’t like my sense of humor.

“You have a promise to keep,” the pixie states, and I groan as I realize what she’s referring to. Despite the distortion of my windshield, I know what creature is in front of us.

“Aren’t there more important things we need to be about?” I ask, not liking this one bit.

“Do you really want to go face Gaia with a broken promise in your heart?” the golden woman asks me a bit too merrily. She’s receiving too much enjoyment from this. “Besides, your dragon girlfriend is right there waiting for you.”

Looking out, I stare at the massive blue object, and know that it’s the female dragon Areth brought into. . . . Wait a minute. . . .

“Areth, this is all your fault!” I proclaim, glaring at her indignantly.

“Perhaps,” she concedes, not seeming in the least bit apologetic, “but that doesn’t change the fact that you need to go out there and do perverted things with your newest girlfriend.”

While I admit that she’s right, I don’t let up on my glare until I get out of the Orange Bubble.

Blue looks down at me, and somehow I can tell she’s not happy. Considering she stands about twelve feet tall, and has a mouth full of very sharp teeth, I feel a little unsettled. It takes a great deal of effort to change forms—still worn out from yesterday and nothing to fully recharge my system—and I leave a small crater behind me, using the mass of the ground for my current shape. Odd, how I hadn’t noticed that the first time I’d changed. Luckily every time I make the change, it gets easier.

The less said about the next few hours the better. Suffice to say that it was violent, slightly bloody on both ends, but I did my duty and have plenty of energy. As Areth had said, I did a lot of perverted things to Blue. For her part, Blue was surprised to find herself fully healed after the culmination of our mating.

For my part. . . . Naw, nevermind. I’m going to just block out those hours from my memory.

I am however, surprised when Blue follows me back to my car, and sticks with me after changing back into my usual human body with clothing. Thankfully I have plenty of energy for that!

“I did what I needed to,” I state, wondering if there was something I had missed. “Why is she following me now?”

“We know you did,” Jennifer laughs lewdly. “We could hear it from here. I didn’t realize she was a growler . . . or was that you?”

Despite myself, I can feel my cheeks blushing at the bawdy woman’s remarks.

“Dragon’s don’t lay their eggs for at least a couple months after mating,” Ondine states, talking for the first time, her voice subdued for some reason. What’s happened to her over the last few days? She’d been so happy when Thomas agreed to take her in, but she seems withdrawn now. “It looks like you’ve gotten yourself another loyal follower.” Her melancholy tone makes that sound like a bad thing.

Looking back up at Blue, part of me is happy to have her on my side. The more rational part of me wonders what on Earth, or the Shadow World, I’m going to do with a dragon.

Knowing that there is little I can do about it at the moment, I get back into my car. Continuing to follow Areth’s directions, my car jounces as it travels over rough ground. By the time we come upon a large city, a lone mountain peak rising out of its center to tower into the clouds, everyone with the exception of the wounded Paladonic Healer is ready to get out and walk.

“Gaia has promised us safe passage,” Areth states, as we step out, and look at the buildings that make up the city. Every building looks as if it was carved straight from the ground. Solid rock walls with veins of marble, gold, silver, and every other rock and mineral, surround windows and doorways. Grass grows on almost every building.

“What do we do about him?” Jewkes asks, tilting his head towards our prisoner.

“The Earth Mother requests that he come along as well,” a new gravelly voice states, and I spin around, hand on Murasame’s hilt ready to do battle as Blue growls menacingly behind me. I become a little hesitant when I see the speaker. “Relax generator, I am sent to guide you to the Earth Mother.” The thing is made entirely of rocks, with what appears to be mud or clay for joints, and stands an easy ten feet tall.

“Golems are Gaia’s elite force,” Brooke says, placing her hand atop mine, and I have to force myself to let go of my sword’s hilt.

“Awe, I wanted to see who would win,” Areth pouts, but gets over it quickly as she flies up to the thing’s head and sits down. “George here, is Gaia’s head general.”

“George?” I ask. The thing doesn’t look like a George.

“He doesn’t have his own name, no golem does, so I named him George,” the fairy informs me haughtily.

“You couldn’t have come up with something like Rocky?” Jennifer asks, sizing up the golem.

“Hmph,” Areth grumps, before turning and pointing the way into the city. “Onward, George.” She commands, and the golem obeys her. Despite his large size, the being walks silently.

Jewkes quickly unlocks Emmet’s cage—where had he gotten a key?—and pulls out a pair of handcuffs, cuffing the man’s wrists. “No funny business and I can guarantee you won’t have any problems from us,” the officer informs him. Richard has to help the wounded man walk, until Areth notices and commands George to carry Emmet.

The man squeaks in panic as he’s hoisted into the air, and I can see him trying desperately to scramble out of the Golem’s arms, but George implacably keeps a hold of him—holding the man much as an adult carries a small rambunctious baby—until Emmet calms down. The whole scene is rather comical to watch, and I even catch Becky smiling smugly at the wounded man.

Until now, I’d never considered how she must feel, having one of the order that’s responsible for her friend’s death with us, but from the almost malicious glee she’s receiving while watching Emmet struggle, I wonder if I’m going to have to protect him from her, or if I’m even willing to. We all know Emmet wasn’t responsible for Lisa’s death, and we likely wouldn’t have made it away if not for his help, but that doesn’t make him a friend, either. Who knows what dark acts he’d performed in the past against creatures from this world?

“Come on, Blue,” I state, turning to face the dragon. “I’ll feel a lot safer with you at my back.” She lowers her large head, nuzzling my shoulder as we begin walking. When she keeps doing it after a few steps, I realize she wants me to ride her. It takes me a couple minutes to figure out the best way to climb safely onto her back, but once up here, I get a good view of the city. George isn’t the only golem in sight, as they can be seen patrolling many of the streets. As I’ve noticed in other populated places here in the Shadow World, there are more creatures than I know how to describe or recognize, all around us. I spot two large orcs at one point, but they shy away from our group, giving sullen glares to George and Blue.

“Where were you the last time I crossed paths with orcs?” I ask the dragon beneath me sarcastically. Whether she understands me or not, she just continues crawling after the golem.

We receive a number of stares as we pass through the busy streets, and I hear a number of mumblings about humans, and curiosity about what’s going on, but every creature we pass gives George and Blue a wide berth, and we pass through the streets unmolested on our way to the mountain peak. I receive the most stares, and comments; apparently someone riding on the back of a dragon is unheard of or very rare.

“Is that how you mounted her earlier?” Jennifer asks me, arching one eyebrow. “No wonder she was making so much noise. I figured that after your skill at mounting me, you’d know how to mount such a large and magnificent creature.”

Jewkes gives the woman an odd look, a cross between confusion and shock. He probably has no idea how large she used to be.

“You were no easy conquest,” I shoot back at the large breasted woman, “and you bucked a lot more. But I seem to recall your only complaint being how sore you were afterwards.”

She laughs loudly, enjoying our little back and forth. I see Richard approach Thomas and ask him something, and from my coworker’s hand gestures, he’s describing what Jennifer used to look like. The officer gives me an odd look afterwards, and I can only chuckle inside, wondering what he must think of me. I don’t miss that Ondine is directly behind Thomas, head down and sullenly walking. I’m going to have to ask Brooke to find out what’s going on with her.

After about half an hour of walking, the ground noticeably slopes upwards, and the golem leads us towards a doorway in the side of a brown rock building.

George turns to Blue, addressing the dragon directly for the first time. A series of growls comes from the rock creature that Blue seems to understand, and she turns to indicate I should climb down. As soon as my feet touch solid ground, Blue picks up Emmet up with her teeth as George proffers the balding man, and begins to climb the outside of the mountain. The poor healer becomes apoplectic, and hyperventilates before passing out. I’d feel bad for the man, if Lisa’s death weren’t still so fresh in my heart.

“Your girlfriend is taking him up,” Areth announces, “to where we’ll meet Gaia. I know the way from here, George. Thank you!”

We follow the fairy inside, and I can immediately see why Blue had to take a different route. The hallways are just too small for the female dragon. For that matter, even the golem would have a hard time walking down this hallway.

Glowing moss adorns the rock walls, providing an eerie green light—at least, I think it’s green—and we walk in silence. I can’t speak for the others, but I actually start to feel a bit claustrophobic, as though I can feel the weight of the Earth all around us. The floor gently slopes upwards, and at least it’s smooth.

I note that I’m not the only one to breathe a sigh of relief when we enter a large round chamber, numerous doors around the outside, and a balcony with Blue sitting contentedly sunning herself. At her front paws, Emmet lies unconscious.

“Gaia will be with you shortly,” a voice rings out. It takes me a moment to identify the source of the speaker, and I have to shake my head once I finally do. What I had at first taken to be an ugly statue in the center of the room, is in reality a gargoyle. The thing stands so still, that even though I know it was the one that talked, I have a hard time believing it. “Please rest in your rooms, someone will be along shortly to see to any needs you may have. Your rooms are marked with your names, and no one but the owner may enter.” The stone creature stretches its wings and waddles off.

“What now?” Becky asks, coming to my side, and holding my hand.

“We do as the gargoyle suggested,” I state, already seeing a door with my name on it. ‘Lyden’ is written in quartz atop one door, and looking around, I see the names of my other companions on other doors. Everyone except Annabelle’s name that is. I find that peculiar, though. How did she know Annabelle wouldn’t be with us? For that matter, how did she know Emmet would?

“I’ll come with you,” Becky says, following me, but when I step through, she lets go of my arm. I turn to see what’s going on, and notice that her hands and arms are pressed flat against an invisible force, keeping her out.

“What’s going on?” I ask, stepping out and noting that nothing tries to stop me.

“The gargoyle said we can only enter our own rooms,” Brooke states as she comes out of her room, and tries to enter Jennifer’s room next to hers. She is stopped before she can pass the threshold.

“I don’t want to be alone,” Becky wines, and I can feel my heart break for her.

“Gaia wants us split up for a bit,” I say, wondering what the Pillar of Earth’s motives are, but knowing I’m right. “She promised us safe passage. Stay out here if you like, but I could use a shower. I can’t remember the last time I felt clean.” I hug the short brunette to me briefly, enjoying the feeling of her arms tightening around me.

I notice Thomas glaring angrily at his doorframe, as Ondine’s unable to follow him into his room. He’d better be treating her right, I think to myself, pulling Becky tighter to me. I know I could treat the short brunette better right now, but I really want to wash away the day’s events.

“I love you,” I murmur as I pull away, and smile reassuringly as I pull away and enter my room.

Closing the heavy door behind me, I head straight for what I had seen upon entering: a very modern looking standup shower. The walls look to be made of smooth gems, and I wonder how much wealth resides in just this one shower.

Stripping off my clothes, I turn on the water, and then groan in delight as steam begins to fill the open space. A porous rock sits on a shelf, and I guess correctly that it’s there for cleaning. I begin to scrape off what feels like years of dirt and debris from my skin and soul.

“I can see why so many women follow you,” a rich feminine voice states confidently, startling me, and making me drop the cleaning rock. “Hmm, it’s a good thing this isn’t one of your prisons, or you’d be in trouble for dropping that soap.”

“Who are you?” I gasp, trying to cover myself, until I see she’s only gaining more mirth at my attempts, and I finally just stand there, letting her get an eyeful. Looking at her, I can’t deny she’s attractive, with her dark rich skin the color of newly turned earth, and eyes equally as brown. She’s not exactly skinny, but well-proportioned nonetheless, with broad shoulders and wide hips.

“Didn’t the gargoyle inform you that someone would be along to see to any needs you might have?” She has on a slight smile, and I realize that the statue had mentioned this.

“Well, I’m fine,” I state, not missing the fact that she keeps looking at my package. “You can see to the others, if you want.”

“Oh, I can, can I?” she chortles. “They are being seen to already, young generator. I was the one lucky enough to be able to service you.” The way she says that, makes me think the wrong kind of thoughts, and I can’t help but grow a little hard down below. Naturally she doesn’t miss this, either. “I could scrub your . . . back, if you like.” Her hesitation makes me think she was going to offer to scrub something else.

Part of me wants to accept her offer, if only to wash away what transpired between Blue and me earlier, but I feel guilty after having turned Becky away, even if I really didn’t have much choice.

“Thank you,” I try to let her down gently, “but I can manage on my own.”

“Interesting,” the woman states, tapping her lips with one finger. “The fairy said you were quite the pervert, and grew stronger through sexual interactions, yet you turn me down. Am I not pleasing to you?” She emphasizes her question by removing her earth-toned clothing, revealing ample breasts topped by dark nipples that are already hard. Her crotch is clean, except for a small patch of. . . . No way. . . . Looking closer, I have to admit that there is a slight patch of very short grass just above her pussy lips. Is this some kind of Earth nymph?

Realizing I’m staring, I look back up to meet her laughing eyes. There is no hiding the reaction my cock is having to the sight of her luscious body.

“Apparently I am pleasing to you. Could it be, then, that you aren’t just a sex crazed creature of incubus origins?” As she continues to talk, she walks over to the shower, and steps in. “Well, just because you don’t want me to wash your back, doesn’t mean I don’t want you to wash mine.”

There really isn’t enough room for the both of us in here, and as she turns her back towards me. Her soft rear presses against my cock, and I can’t stop from moaning at the touch.

Despite the lack of blood flow to my mind at the moment, I can’t help but wonder at the way she’s acting and her choices in words.

“You’re Gaia,” I state, knowing I’m right. She is too knowledgeable for some simple servant.

“Oh, you guessed it,” she states, turning and winking at me. “Now then, I’m serious about you washing my back.” She wiggles her rump against me, my schlong nestles between her cheeks feeling great, but I don’t yet move to do as she demands.

“But why?” I ask. “Why the act, the subterfuge?”

Sighing heavily, she rests her forehead against one rock wall before answering. “I needed to know that you aren’t someone controlled simply by his cock. Some incubuses are nothing more than sex-crazed creatures, and while you’re not truly an incubus, you share a lot of traits with them, your father having been the king of the succubae. If I’m to help you battle against the creature from outside our dimension, then I needed to know more about you. Thus far, you have satisfied me that you, as a person, are worth helping.” She begins to grind against me in earnest now, and I have to plant my feet and grip the walls to stop myself from tipping over, or ripping into her. “Now I need you to prove to me that you’re strong enough to fight the outsider, as a generator.”

Her knees are bending and straightening, causes the two globes of her glutious maximus to slide up and down the length of my manhood. I understand what she’s after now. Having sex with her will mean she’ll get a portion of my soul, and know my worth, but it also means I’ll get a portion of hers, and her power.

Becky and the others will just have to understand.

Despite how good she feels right now, and how much I undeniably want to just shove my phallus directly into her, I decide to play along with her original ruse. I begin to wash her back. Using the rock soap, I dig my fingers into her supple skin, massaging while I clean.

“Mmm, that feels wonderful,” she tells me, her already deep feminine voice growing deeper with desire, “but wouldn’t you rather clean me in other places?” She wiggles her rump again, making sure I understand her meaning clearly. “Inside me, maybe?”

“I’ll get there,” I try to tell her smoothly, but ruin it with a slight moan at the end. She really does feel good. My hands go to work on her shoulders, and I note with some small surprise that she doesn’t have any knots in her muscles. Regardless, I work my way down her arms until I reach her hands. There is an unmistakable heat growing between us, but I try to ignore it as my hands go to her hips.

“Yes, just shove it in me,” she moans, but it turns to a groan when I push her slightly away from me in order to turn her around. Her eyes meet mine, and there is no mistaking the lust and desire behind the brown orbs, but I do my best to ignore it, while my hands go to work on the tops of her ample breasts. Our eyes remain locked, as her hands go to my groin, and once again I can’t stop the groan that escapes me as her hands grip my hard length, and begin working up and down. One hand rubs the sensitive underside of my cock making my legs twitch in pleasure, while the other works the shaft, and without realizing it, my thumbs are working on her stiff nipples, each of us moaning, each of us wanting more, but somehow I still hold back. I have no idea where I gain the willpower, but I continue on with the massage.

With great effort, I move my hands down to her stomach, and even use my finger to sensuously clean her deep belly-button. She’s not fat by any means, but she does have some nice curves, and I allow my hands to explore them. She ups her game, by removing the hand that’d been working my knob, and moving it to my scrotum, gently massaging the two orbs inside.

I’m the one to finally break eye contact, as I squat down in the small space, and begin washing her legs. My eyes are now level with her crotch, and there is no mistaking the fine grass growing at the top of her swollen lips. More than just water streams down her firm legs, and there is no mistaking how aroused the Pillar of Earth is.

My fingers dig into the strong flesh of her thighs as I continue to wash her. Even though my own thighs are growing stiff while squatting down like this, I take my time, drawing out the tension that is still building within her.

When I can no longer pretend to be washing her, I move my hands to her hot pussy. I start by lightly tickling her grass, and enjoying the throaty moan she lets out. I then move to massage her outer labia, making the Earth Mother moan louder. Using my thumbs to press them together, I quickly pull them apart and press my lips against them, making her gasp, and this time it’s her that has to grip the walls to hold herself up as I suck hard on her inner lips, and run my tongue between them. She tastes like a fresh mountain stream, crisp and clean, though definitely warmer and thicker.

Shoving my tongue deep into her hole brings forth more moans and gasps, before I press firmly against her sex, and lick my way up to her clit. As soon as my tongue touches that magical button, power and strength crash into me as she has her first orgasm. The cramping in my legs vanishes, as I have to fight hard to remember who and what I am. I’d forgotten just how powerful the orgasms of the pillars can be, and I have to wrestle with the new energy in order to keep from being overwhelmed.

Standing back up, I place two fingers of my right hand against her pussy, and vigorously rub her clit, while latching onto her left nipple with my mouth, and my left hand reaches around to grab her delightful rear.

“Oh, you are good, young man,” Gaia croons, her fingers digging into my hair and pulling me tighter to her breast a moment before a second orgasm overtakes her, and once again I’m struggling to stay in control of my sanity. Thankfully it’s a little easier this time, as I have the strength from her first orgasm to buttress myself. “Oh, you aregood!”

As soon as she comes down from this one, she pushes me out of the shower, grabs my wrist, and hauls me out into a sitting room. She leads me over to a low bench, climbs on top on all fours with her ample hind end facing me, giving it a wiggle. “Enough foreplay, I want the whole thing!” she demands with a look at my raging cock, and I’m no longer in any mood to delay.

Stepping forward, I slide my entire length into her in one motion, moaning loudly as my balls slap against her cunt and my pelvis against her cheeks. Her insides writhe around my conforming length, and for just a few seconds I stay motionless, enjoying how good she feels around my shifting member.

“What are you waiting for?” She asks me, pulling forward, and then slamming herself back against me. I take the hint, gripping her hips, and guiding her next movement, slamming even harder into her tight channel. With each powerful thrust, I can feel the tip of my cock hitting her womb and making her grunt.

Lifting my right hand, I can’t help but smile as I realize how tightly I was gripping her, leaving behind light marks in her dark skin where my fingers were. Placing my thumb against her anus, I slowly apply pressure, until I’m in to the knuckle. I can feel my cock separated from my digit by a thin piece of flesh as we continue to screw.

“Oh, that feels good,” she moans, throwing her head back, and slamming against me even harder. A slight sheen of sweat replaces the moisture from the shower on her dark skin, and I can tell she’s getting close to another orgasm.

When it comes, I’m prepared, and don’t even slow down as I drive into her quivering quim. What I don’t expect are the images that begin to flood my mind with this orgasm. I see creatures from all over both worlds, some frightened as earthquakes rock the ground and volcanoes go off, and some rejoicing as previously fallow fields suddenly sprout food, trees blossom, and a farmer walks out to find his corn stalks standing almost twenty feet tall with corncobs to match.

Wondering if what I’m seeing is happening because I’m in the middle of making the Earth Mother scream in ecstasy, or if these are past events, I pull out.

Gaia flips onto her back, and begins to vigorously rub her coochy with abandon. “Oh, you know how to please a woman, but I think it’s time you finish before we affect the world anymore. Shove it in my ass, young generator, and let’s see how long you can last.”

Knowing she’s right, and also knowing that I really want to get off, I place my legs on either side of the bench, and aim my rod for her puckered back hole. It takes me a couple of tries before I get the angle just right, but when my head slips past her sphincter, we both stop, delighting in the sensation. She is incredibly tight, and if she hadn’t been so wet from her orgasms, as well as her fluids dripping down from her pussy, I don’t know if I would have been able to make it inside this orifice.

I know she’s ready for me to continue when she slips two fingers into her cunny, and I slip the rest of my length into her. Perceiving that I need to finish quickly, but wanting to make sure that she gains the most pleasure possible, I use my ability to amplify her enjoyment, placing my hands on her breasts and rubbing her stiff nipples.

Her eyes roll back in her head as I slide my entire length up her colon. Her insides writhe against me, and I moan in delight. Her hand picks up its pace, heatedly frigging herself, and I can feel her insides quiver as she starts to come close once again. Knowing that I’m not far behind, I pick up my own tempo, pulling out, and then slamming back into her rear, twisting her nipples and mauling her breasts. Sweat drips from my brows as I lose myself in the pleasure of her grasping anal cavity and soon find myself shooting deep into her bowels, while she cries out in her own heaven. Our mutual orgasms crash against each other, building and climbing until I can no longer tell where mine ends and hers tries to overwhelm me.

Reality begins to surround me once more, and I find my head resting on something firm but soft. Looking up, I see Gaia’s dark eyes smiling down at me.

“Well, I must say that went better than I expected. If you fuck all your women that well, no wonder they stick with you. No, I know they each love you dearly as well. It’s part of you being a generator,” she tells me as I sit up. She grimaces slightly as I pull out of her, some of my cum following my cock’s exodus and staining the bench. “I don’t know if you’re strong enough to face the outsider, but I think you’re our only hope.”

We get dressed in silence, as I ponder her words. She’d called Aldol an outsider, and I guess that makes sense, seeing as how it’s not from our dimension. Her words about not knowing if I’m strong enough bothers me, but I know I’ll do my best no matter what happens.

“Meet me back in the lobby,” she states as she walks directly for one wall. “We have a lot to discuss.” Without stopping, Gaia walks through the rock wall and vanishes.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = escort bursa = = = =
Chapter 29
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Putting Out Fires

I can’t believe I just had sex with Mother Earth, and now I have to go out there and have a meeting with her in front of everybody, I think inwardly as I walk to the door leading from my room.

Pausing before opening the door, I rest my head on my arm against the wall and freeze.

“I don’t know, she won’t talk to me either,” Brooke’s voice comes to me loud and clear. Somehow I can sense everyone except Jewkes, Thomas, and Ondine on the other side. I can’t see them, precisely, but I know where they are in the lobby outside. Apparently Gaia hasn’t made it out there yet.

Gaia. . . . Is this a new ability, after screwing her? If so, then that would mean she also has this ability, and nothing we say will be private from her. In fact, her ability is likely a lot stronger. That’s something I’ll have to keep in mind.

“I don’t like it,” Sheila says firmly, surprising me with her vehemence. “She was never what I’d call happy, but she’s acting like a beat puppy.”

“You’re one to talk,” Jennifer scoffs. “I remember how you used to treat your employees. You were harsh and unforgiving.”

“That’s how I recognize the behavior in Ondine,” my slave defends herself. “Besides, Lyden changed that in me. I don’t know why I never understood that about myself before, but with him, I can really be myself.”

“We all can,” Becky speaks up, and I sense her pacing back and forth in the other room. “Have any of you ever noticed that Lyden treats each of us differently, and yet he is always true to who he is? He never comes across as fake.”

“You mean how he tries to act smarter around you,” Brooke states, “or like a master with Sheila. It’s hard not to notice, but like you said, he isn’t being false with any of us.”

“Or how he tries to act tough with you, Brooke, while at the same time be caring,” Jennifer says. “I think I still make him feel uncomfortable at times, but he’s a good solid man. Don’t you dare tell him I said that!” That’s an understatement, I think, about her making me uncomfortable. I’m getting better at handling her lewdness, though. “He’s getting better at dealing with my powerful sexual wiles, though. I may have to up my game with him.”

The women laugh, even Becky, and I smile inwardly. What am I going to do with the large-chested woman? She’s quite literally more than a handful.

“What are you going to do about your pregnancy?” Brooke asks. Do I sense a bit of wistfulness in her tone? “Have you even talked to him about it?”

“Master made it clear that it’s my choice,” Sheila responds, and I perk my ears up. “I never really saw my life with kids before, and with all the craziness going on right now, I really don’t know what to think. Is it even a good idea to bring kids into this world right now?”

“I know Lyden will love them no matter what,” Becky says confidently.

“But what if they turn out to be real monsters?” Brooke interjects. “That’s the problem with having mixed race parenting. As long as it’s human with human, or mermaid with mermaid, there isn’t a chance of something freakish coming out, but when a generator and human, or mermaid, or whatever else. . . .”

“Stop it!” Becky shouts, startling even me. “Can’t you see what you’re doing to Sheila?” I sense that my slave is crying, and wonder what’s going through her mind at the moment.

“I’m sorry,” Brooke states, as she walks over to Sheila. “I wasn’t thinking. To be honest, I wish I was in your place. I’m a bit jealous, actually.” The redhead bends over and hugs my ex-boss. It’s quiet for a moment.

“None of this addresses what’s going on with Ondine, or what we’re going to do about him,” Becky states, and somehow I know she’s referring to Emmet. The man appears to be awake now, sitting on the opposite side of the room from the balcony where Blue is still sunning herself.

“Lyden won’t let him be harmed,” Jennifer says quietly.

“Perhaps we should just take care of him while Lyden’s getting cleaned up,” Brooke adds in with anger. “After the way they tortured me, I see no reason to let him live. We could toss him off the balcony, and claim it was an accident. Maybe he woke up terrified, and ran in the wrong direction.”

It hurts to hear the redhead speak like this. I know they hurt her, and many of them paid for that in our escape, but Emmet isn’t the one to take that out on. Surprisingly, I’m not the only one to feel that way.

“No, Lyden would know the truth, and as much as I hate him and his kind, Lyden was right when he said that he wasn’t to blame.” Becky’s voice is soft yet firm as she speaks; surprising me, as I’d expected her to be the most vehement in killing the Paladonic Healer. “The one responsible for killing Lisa is dead, thanks to Lyden. From what I’ve been able to gather, this man is a healer, not a killer.”

“Just because a shark doesn’t bite and eat you, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clear out any that come into your grotto,” Brooke says, and I realize it’s about time I went out there.

Opening the door, everyone looks my way. Becky smiles tremulously, while Brooke looks embarrassed. Jennifer just gives me a once over, then winks suggestively.

Walking over to Brooke, I surprise her by pulling her into a hug. She tries to pull away, but with my current strength after being with Gaia, she doesn’t stand a chance and finally gives up.

“I’m sorry,” I whisper to her. “I know they hurt you, and I haven’t really been much support since they did that to you. There is no excuse for me not treating you better, and I’m truly sorry.”

Brooke’s arms tighten around me, and I can feel my shirt growing wet with her tears. “Areth is right,” she mumbles against my neck, “you are a dolt. You had a lot of other things to worry about and deal with.”

“Yes, many other things to worry about,” a new voice chimes in, and I immediately recognize Gaia’s earthy tones. “Things like the destruction of everything we know, and how on my Earth you’re going to stop a being made of pure light that can control almost anyone it wants.”

Brooke uses my distraction to pull away suddenly, straightening her clothing as though she’d been caught doing something she wasn’t supposed to be doing.

“Gaia!” Areth yells excitedly, zooming over to the Pillar of Earth and fluttering around the dark-skinned woman’s head. When had the fairy entered the room?

“Ah, to be as carefree as the fairies,” Gaia says wistfully, before turning back to face Brooke. “Young mermaid, things may well get worse before the end. I have no doubt, however, that you’re strong enough to handle it.”

“Thank you,” the mermaid says, bowing to the Pillar of Earth and blushing deeply enough to match her red hair at the powerful compliment.

Doors open and close as Thomas, Ondine, and Jewkes come out to the main room, as though there had been some kind of signal.

“I’m glad you’re out here,” Thomas states officiously to Gaia. “Would you be so kind as to get me a glass of water? I’m a bit parched.”

Everyone stares at the older man as if he’d lost his mind. It takes me a moment to realize that Mother Earth must have appeared to him as a servant as well.

“That’s the Pillar of Earth!” Ondine hisses in shock.

Thomas turns to glare at Ondine, before his eyes grow wide and he looks around at everyone else. Realizing his mistake, he turns and begins apologizing.

The entire scene bothers me, though. Has he been mistreating the mermaid and that’s why she’s so sad? I’m going to have to watch them.

Gaia laughs easily, before stating, “Relax, Thomas. You had no way of knowing who I was when I visited you. The generator and the officer both figured it out, though.” The way she says that last part is almost like a rebuke to the older man, and I see him grow sullen under the Pillar’s mirth.

“Everyone’s here as you asked,” Areth says, oblivious to the tension in the room.

“Yes, all except the religious one,” Gaia replies, her gaze roving across all of us. “She must step up into Marchosias’s role as the leader of her church. She has great power with her faith, but I don’t think you’ll need it for your next mission.”

“Next mission?” I ask, stepping forward. I don’t like the sound of this.

“There are a great many things we need to discuss,” Mother Earth replies evenly. “The least of which is what you’ll do for me, in order to garner my aid.”

“But if you don’t help us,” Becky argues, “then you’ll die as well. Aldol wants to destroy the Pillars in order to destroy both worlds.”

Gaia pierces the short brunette with her dark gaze for a moment before replying. “Says the one that came the closest to killing our prophesied savior, the generator.”

Becky’s cheeks burn with embarrassment, and I feel my anger begin to rise.

“That wasn’t her fault!” I nearly shout. “Aldol was controlling her.”

“I didn’t say I blame her,” Gaia says evenly, though it had sounded exactly like that. “I’m just making it clear that everything isn’t black and white. You require my aid, but I have a task for you. Completing it, will help us both, and hinder the outsider.”

“What do you want us to do?” Brooke asks, stepping up beside me.

“You?” she responds, arching one dark eyebrow. “I expect nothing from you for the moment. You can’t go where I’m sending him. I asked you to all come here so that I could protect you, while Lyden and my agent go to save the Pillar of Air. ”

Shocked silence echoes around the room for a moment, before Brooke gasps, “But TanaVesta killed Fujin!”

Gaia purses her lips for a moment before responding. “You are correct, but also don’t understand the nature of the Pillars. Fujin is dead, but his power remains.” Her voice comes out as though she is trying to educate little children, which I guess compared to her, we are. “You call the six of us that created this world, the six pillars, but that is only a small part of it. For obvious reasons that I won’t go into, we let you believe this. The truth is, our powers are more than just what we are. We wear the pillars as a mantle, much as you wear a shirt. In other words, my power as the Pillar of Earth is not because of what I am, but because I wear something that grants me the strength to keep this world whole.”

Becky whistles softly, understanding the import of Gaia’s words a moment before I do. If it were common knowledge that the power could be stolen, and that anyone could become a Pillar simply by obtaining one of the mantles, then chaos and wars would be fought constantly to get them.

“So, you want Lyden to recover the mantle of air for you? You want the extra power,” Becky states suspiciously, and I’m glad she’s thinking straight. I’m still trying to grasp the import of Gaia trusting us with this information.

“I don’t want it for myself,” the Pillar of Earth states softly. “I have another in mind for the power of Air. Someone who is with us now, but unknown and invisible to you at the moment.” For some reason her eyes rest on me for a second, and I shiver. She can’t be talking about Shemhazau, can she?

No, everyone here knows about me. She is referring to someone else, he tells me.

I look around the room, and notice I’m not the only one. Is she referring to whoever her agent is in this? She’d mentioned sending me with someone, and I don’t see anyone else here.

Then something else she’d said sinks in. Everyone else will remain behind, under her ‘protection.’ I wish I would have known some of this before our little entendre in my room a bit ago.

“What kind of protection are you offering my friends while I’m doing this for you?” I ask the dark-skinned woman.

She sighs heavily before answering. “I see you have the wrong idea. I know that the Knights and Daughters are both after you, and that even in our world, there is danger to them. I truly mean them no harm, and they’re not my prisoners. I simply don’t want you to be worrying over them, while recovering the Mantle of Air.” She must see the incredulity on my face. “To show I mean no harm, I’ll make you an extra deal. Recover the Mantle of Air, help bestow it on a new Pillar, and I will ensure Sheila’s children are not born monsters.”

My slave’s hand hovers over her stomach for a moment, her eyes wide as she looks up at Gaia. “You can do that?” The amount of hope or desperation I hear in her voice lets me know just how worried she was over the prospect, but my ears had picked up something else.

“Children?” I demand, emphasizing the last part.

“Twins,” she answers my question first, then turns back to Sheila. “And yes. I am Mother Earth, after all and have some little say in these things. But I warn you, I can only control to a small degree what they are when they’re born, not what you raise them to be.”

Tears spring to Sheila’s eyes, and there is no mistaking how much this means to her. I guess I know what her answer is concerning the children she’s carrying. My children.

Children. . . .

Shaking my head, I can’t believe I’m really going to be a father, and that it’ll start out as twins. Something inside me twinges at the thought, but Gaia’s knowing eyes bore into me and I realize she already knows what I’m about to say.

“Who is this agent?” I ask, both of us already knowing that I’m going on this dangerous mission.

“Lyden, you can’t!” Brooke states, turning me to stare into her green eyes. “It’ll be too dangerous. Why can’t she send an army in to get it? Have her send in a bunch of her golems, but don’t go alone into her realm!” By ‘her’, I know she’s referring to TanaVesta. “I’m sorry, Sheila, but you don’t know how dangerous the Pillar of Fire is.”

“Because this requires precision that an army of golems can’t perform,” a mellifluous voice states. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking forward to working with a human-lover either, but Gaia says I can’t do it alone.” Turning, I see a thin woman standing next to Gaia, long chestnut brown hair pulled back into a ponytail drapes over one shoulder. Her clothing looks to be made out of supple tan leather showing her midriff, and there is a longbow strapped to her back along with a full quiver. The most striking part about her, however, besides her unearthly beauty, is her long pointed ears.

“I thought all the elves died centuries ago,” Ondine states, and then closes her mouth when Thomas looks at her. I’m definitely going to have to have a talk with her later to find out what’s going on.

“I am the last,” the woman states, her voice somehow both sad and at the same time, full of conviction.

“How are you going to be able to help Lyden?” Becky asks. I detect a strange note in her query, and turn to see that she appears to be slightly taken with the elf. Remembering how she’d acted the first time she’d directly met Brooke, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

“I know where the Pillar of Fire is keeping what we seek,” she answers evenly. “I will guide him there, and then he can do whatever he needs to, to get it.” The way she refers to me, makes me think she already dislikes me greatly. When her eyes land on me, I have to revise that statement. She doesn’t dislike me, she loathes me. I can almost feel the hatred pouring from her.

She’d called me a human-lover. Sometimes I forget that I’m not human, despite all of my abilities. It’s hard to ignore decades of growing up believing something.

“I don’t like this,” Brooke and Becky say at almost the same instant.

“I know,” I tell them, then look past her to look at Sheila. If I hadn’t already decided to do it, the look of hope my slave gives me then, would have decided me. “We don’t have much choice, and if we can create a new Pillar of Air and stabilize this world, then I have to try.”

Blue raises her head, growling softly. I turn to face her, wondering what she must think of this whole thing.

“I agree,” Gaia says thoughtfully, before turning back to face us. “That’ll make an excellent disguise.” She laughs softly before clarifying, “Your dragon has agreed to escort you there, provided you—let me see, how did she put it?—return to your more attractive form.”

I immediately see the benefit in this. As a dragon, I’ll fit right in, in TanaVesta’s demesne. Then I look at the elf, and have to ask, “What about her? She’ll stand out.”

“Oh, I’m sure you know what to do,” Gaia says evenly with a gleam in her eye, and I do.

It takes a moment before the elf realizes, and I wonder if she’s going to mutiny, before she finally drops her head, and nods. “The mission is more important than one person’s aversions,” I hear her mumble.

“With that in mind, I have a gift to help you on your way,” Gaia states, waving her hand to the side. The ground begins to shudder, and a moment later, a bright shiny metal substance breaks the surface, rising to stand as tall as Blue, and almost as big around.

“That can’t be!” Brooke gasps, looking at the pile of metal ore. “Adamantium?”

I can almost feel the energy pouring from the pile, wondering what I’m supposed to do with it. It’s too large to carry, and too unwieldy to do anything with.

“Use this for your mass when you change forms,” the Pillar of Earth informs me, “and I don’t think you’ll regret it.”

Walking forward, I tentatively reach my hand out, and it feels like a bolt of lightning courses through my arm as I come into contact with it. “What’s adamantium?” I ask my redheaded girlfriend, yanking my hand away from the power of the metal, and sucking gingerly on my tingling fingers.

“The rarest of materials,” she answers in awe. “A handful is enough to buy every government on Earth, with enough money left over to build bridges across the oceans. I didn’t know this much existed.”

“That’s because this is all that has ever existed,” Gaia states calmly. “I’ve been saving it, and this seems like a good excuse to finally pull it out.”

“But why?” I ask, awed by this immense gift.

“Because I can,” she responds placidly, and I look back up to meet her dark eyes. “Now, get going. You have a lot to do, and I have preparations to make for when you return.”

Stepping forward, I let my hand hover over the powerful metal, not wanting to touch it, until I have to. Turning, I hold my hand out towards the elf. “What’s your name?” I ask as she reluctantly walks towards me, a sneer across her beautiful features.

“I’m on this mission to accomplish something,” she tells me coolly, “not to become friends.”

It takes some effort not to roll my eyes at her behavior.

At least she’s good looking, Shemhazau says to me.

Leave her alone, dad, I mentally reply back, knowing he’ll be able to interact with her after the change.

As soon as the elf’s slender fingers touch mine, I close my eyes and lower my other hand to the adamantium, willing my body to transform. At first I think nothing has happened. Not only is there no drain on my energy levels, but I actually feel more energized. When I open my eyes, however, I find that I’m towering over everyone else in the room.

“Areth!” Brooke states annoyed, for some reason looking right at me. “You know you can’t go with him.”

Craning my long neck around, I try to look for the little fairy, but don’t see her. I notice that my scales shine a little more than usual, and chalk it up to the adamantium that must have supplied the energy for my transformation.

“Oh, drat!” the pixie’s voice sounds in my mind. When had she. . .? Shaking my head, I close my eyes again, and force her out of me. “You’re no fun,” she complains as she flits back over to the Pillar of Earth.

“You won’t last in TanaVesta’s domain,” Brooke states consolingly. “It nearly killed me to be there for more than a few hours.”

“But he needs me!” She complains. “Think of all the trouble he’ll get into, if I’m not there to help.”

“Like bringing a dragon to Earth in the middle of a city?” Becky asks solicitously, making the golden woman blush prettily.

“This is eerie,” the elf’s voice sounds in my mind, drawing my attention back inward.

Make yourself at home, I tell her while walking to the balcony where Blue is waiting for me.

“Two last things before I forget,” Gaia says, walking over to me. “It’s about the outsider and your succubus, Angela.” Why do I have a feeling she didn’t really forget?

“Yes,” I ask, or try to, remembering too late my forked tongue.

“That trick you used to scare the outsider away while rescuing the mermaid was a very dangerous thing to do.” I raise one scaly eyebrow at her, not quite sure what she’s referring to. “You attempted to absorb some of its power. Instead, you were absorbing it. Had you succeeded, the outsider would have taken over your body with ease, and you’d no longer be here.”

I shudder, remembering the desperation I’d felt as I’d begun to black out down under the water. Instinctively I’d reached for the power coming from the light creature, and suddenly it’d gone. I hadn’t understood why at the time, but now I do. Mentally, I tell myself I’ll never do that again.

“And Angela,” Gaia continues, “she’s working for TanaVesta. I don’t know what her motives are, but she went to the Pillar of Fire after leaving you, and abased herself, asking for forgiveness. I’m not altogether certain why TanaVesta took her back into her graces, but I think it’s safe to say that if you run into Angela, don’t trust her.” Even with the speculative way she talks, I know she’s certain about her facts. “I take no joy in telling you this, but you need to know. TanaVesta is working with the outsider, as you know, but Aldol has taken an interest in the succubus’s sexual prowess. It has been interested in sex ever since it tried to kill you through sex.”

Looking around the room, I see sad eyes trying to console me. Brooke and Becky step forward, and I can easily see their intentions in their beautiful loving eyes.

I can’t take their pity. Turning away, I dash past Blue, spreading my wings wide and leaping from the balcony. The Earthen city passes below me in a blur, either from my speed or the tears stinging my eyes, I’m not sure, and I don’t really care. I’m not even concerned if Blue is following, just wanting to get away from those pitying eyes.

I can’t fly, though I desperately wish I could, and the ground eventually comes up to meet me just outside the city walls. A thump besides me lets me know that Blue has followed. I refuse to look at her, as I move in the direction of TanaVesta’s demesne. I don’t know what I’ll do if I run into the succubus, but I’ll face that event if it happens.

“What’s the deal?” the unfriendly elf asks me.

I thought you didn’t want to be friends, I mentally snap back at her.

“I don’t,” she replies coolly, “but if I’m going to be working with you, then I should know what to expect.”

Don’t worry about it, I snarl, and proceed to ignore her as I crawl over the terrain, using the strength granted to me by the adamantium to cover the ground quickly.

Blue keeps taking to the air, looking back at me, and then landing before repeating the process. It’s obvious she wants me to fly.

I CAN’T FLY, I telepathically send to her.

I expect the dragon to laugh, or ridicule me in some way, figuring it would be par for the course today, but instead she simply lands and walks next to me for a while. After maybe moving a half mile, she nuzzles the wing on my right side and then backs away. When I ignore her, she repeats the gesture, this time spreading her wings and flapping them for a second.


Blue snorts, sending out a gout of smoke in the process.

“Maybe a dragon can teach you what you couldn’t teach yourself,” the elf’s voice says soothingly. Her attitude is so different from her behavior from before, that I actually listen to her this time.

What could it hurt? I ask myself, not expecting a response. Besides, it’ll take my mind off other issues.

“Your pride, but I’m guessing you don’t have much of that left right now.” And there she is, coming back with her usual hatred.

I’m not sure if I do it just to spite her or for some other reason, but I spread my wings feeling the slight wind move across the thick membranes, and push hard off the ground.

Air moves across my body, and I flap my additional appendages powerfully to keep me aloft. Unfortunately, that sends me into a spiral, and it’s only with the last minute aid of Blue that I don’t pile drive right into the ground.

Echoing laughter rebounds in my head, but I ignore it. The other dragon lands gracefully next to me, and thankfully she isn’t laughing. At least, I don’t think she is. It’s kind of hard to tell with her draconian features.

Blue spreads her wings, flapping them gently, and I know she wants me to mimic her. I do so, but when she growls at me, I stop. She repeats her previous gesture, and this time I try to time my movements with hers. Up, one, two, three. Down, one, two, three.

It dawns on me, that I’d been flapping too hard. I remember what Angela had tried to teach me the first time I’d become a dragon, and shake my head. Maybe flapping strong and fast works for a succubus, but it’s different for a dragon.

Or had she been working for the Pillar of Fire back then, making sure I never learned the proper way to fly? Was everything she’d done an act?

NO! I can’t believe that. Something had to have been real, between us.

Careful, son. The mind of a woman is never an easy thing to read. The voice of Shemhazau reaches me. The mind of the ones we love, even more so, but I have no doubt that she truly loved you.

Loved. Past tense. . . .

“Where did you come from?” my other passenger demands. “Why are you looking at me like that? Stay away from me old man!”

I chuckle inwardly, knowing the elf can hear it, as I picture the shade of my father hitting on the ornery elf.

Another growl in front of me reminds me of what I’d been doing a moment before, and I meet Blue’s large eyes for a moment before shoving hard off the ground, wings tucked tightly to my body. As soon as I reach the apex of my leap, I unfurl my thick leathery wings, and slowly, gently, flap them up and down on a three-count. I can feel the air catch beneath them, and even though I wobble a little bit, I stay aloft. Another careful movement of my wings and I actually rise a little bit.

Blue joins me in the air a moment later, and this time there is no mistaking her grin. Even though it shows her sharp fangs, I find myself grinning back at her, giving a strong beat to my wings in my joy, and then frantically trying to recover from my mistake, before whooping—well, it comes out more like a joyous growl—in joy as I regain my lost altitude.

Over the next hour, Blue shows me how to use thermals to lazily gain altitude, before gliding over to another, saving on energy. With the adamantium in me, I don’t feel a need to conserve energy, but I know she does, and it would look odd for a dragon to fly nonstop in a straight line. I still have to pretend to not be Lyden Snow the Generator, but a regular brown dragon instead.

Well, a regular brown dragon, carrying the last elf in existence, and all of the adamantium to boot, into the lair of the monster that is helping an even worse monster try to destroy two worlds. Did I mention that one of my girlfriends was working with the monsters? Why are things never easy?

We make better time now that we’re airborne, and when we cross the border into Fire’s domain, it seems like we are in one nonstop thermal, making even better time.

Almost too soon, I spot the top of TanaVesta’s mountain, the flaming roof of her pavilion standing out with its four thick pillars and stadium seating.

We land off to the side of the seating, and I’m glad to note that the Pillar of Fire herself isn’t here now. My eyes land on the spot where TanaVesta and I had had wild sex in front of her entire court, and shudder, remembering what had followed afterwards.

Where to? I ask internally.

“Go through that opening over there,” she tells me, and somehow I know she’s referring to a large hole off to the side. Walking over to it, I see that there is a ramp leading deeper into the mountain peak.


To my surprise, she nuzzles my neck for a moment, before nipping playfully at my snout, and then turning away.

“We could use her to watch our back,” the elf states.

I won’t use her, or anybody else, I reply sternly. She volunteered to help us, and I don’t want her in any more danger than she needs to be.

“I still think it’s a mistake,” she responds, but there is a note to her tone that I don’t recognize. It almost sounds like respect, but I know that can’t be true.

Stepping onto the ramp into the mountain, I’m glad to see torches here and there, lighting the way. Following the directions coming from inside my head, I soon begin to recognize our surroundings.

My suspicions are confirmed when we enter a large chamber that is unmistakably TanaVesta’s. A large boulder still sits on the far wall, covering a hole that leads to the bed where I’d been raped countless times. To my right is a large opening, leading out to the open air and freedom.

“What are you doing?” the elf demands of me. “The Pillar of Air’s mantle is behind that boulder, not out there.”

She doesn’t understand, though. I know what’s behind that boulder. Torture. Pain. Horror. Humiliation. Bliss and pleasure almost beyond any I’d ever experienced before those horrible two days.

“Whoa, whoa!” the feminine words come to me, but I can’t seem to focus on them. “I didn’t know. What she did to you was wrong, but she isn’t here now.” Her words of compassion seem so wrong, that it finally breaks me from my daze. “All we need to do is go in, grab the mantle, and we’ll be gone before she ever knew we were here.”

Yes, I think I can do that. Just get in, and get out. I had no idea that being back here would affect me so much, but I’ve been through a lot since then, and I can do this.

Slowly, as though at any moment the Pillar of Fire is going to leap out and start forcing herself on me again, taking bites out of my flesh, I approach the blocking boulder. I let out a deep breath of relief when nothing happens when I place my chrome and black tipped paw on the boulder and give it a gentle nudge. It moves easily, though I cringe at the noise it makes as it moves out of the way, revealing a dark opening on the other side.

The thought that it still smells like sex strikes me, but I shrug it off as I poke my head inside.

“You see Angela, I told you someone would come to take the mantle, and here is the thief now.”

The new voice exudes raw power, and I can feel the solid rock beneath my paws crumple as my talons dig in, pure fear filling my veins.

“You were right, my Queen,” an all too familiar voice says, and I can feel my heart break at the sound of obeisance in it. “What should we do with them?”

Slowly, as though I’m afraid of what I’ll see, even though I already know I’ll see her, I pull my head out and turn towards the voices. TanaVesta stands proud in her red dragon form, about three times my size. Angela, in her true Asian-black form is standing next to her, eyes locked on me.

I see recognition enter Angelica’s brown eyes, as they grow large, and know that at any moment she’s going to give me away to her current master.

“Thieves must be made an example of,” TanaVesta states, and at least for now she doesn’t recognize me, “but not before we find out who he is working for.” The way her forked tongue licks her lips sends shivers down my long spine. In my fear, it doesn’t even occur to me to wonder how she can talk with a forked tongue.

“Let me out!” the elf screams in my head. “I’m no use to you in here. Let me out so that I can at least die fighting.”

Die? Somehow the word triggers a response in me, allowing me to unclench my claws. Fighting is the only option right now, not dying. I’ll never let her treat me like that again! NEVER!

The ground cracks as I shove off of it, jaws open wide and aimed for TanaVesta’s throat. I know I should have gone after the succubus first since she’s weaker, but I can’t bring myself to do it. Even though I know I’m leaving my flank open to her attack, I’m hoping to be quick enough, to surprise them both.

A large red blur catches me from the side, as TanaVesta effortlessly bats me aside; laughing at how easily she’d defended herself.

“Pathetic,” she scoffs at me as I use my tail to regain my balance, and land, sliding along the floor. My talons dig furrows in the ground as I slide to a stop. My head is ringing, and my right wing won’t move right. “I don’t suppose he’s willing to give us any information. He looks to be from the dumber kind of dragons. I hate to even think of them as the same as me.” Her tone is level, as though she’s just talking about the weather. “Or is he even a true dragon? Oh well. Watch, Angela, as I burn him to a crisp.”

The large red dragon inhales deeply, and I look to the opening on the far wall. To reach it, I’ll have to go through the Pillar of Fire, but to reach the entrance I came in through; I’ll have to go through Angela.

I know the decision I should make, but can’t. Why hasn’t she given me away yet?

Just as I’m about to leap at the red dragon, her flame breath catches me, pouring from her sharp-toothed maw with enough force to blow me backwards. As the flames and heat surround me, I scream, knowing that I’m already dead. Even though there’s no pain, I assume that my nerve endings have already been fried.

It only takes me a moment more to realize that her flame isn’t touching me. Or more accurately, the flame is all around, but the heat of it isn’t affecting me.

I don’t stop to take stock of why I’m still alive, or why I’m immune to her immense magical blaze, but instead restart my leap, heading straight for the source of her fire. Inhaling her heat as I go, I turn it back against her, breathing my own fire directly down her throat.

TanaVesta screeches in agony, falling back and staring at me in shock. I land hard on the flooring, unable to guide my decent with a bad wing, but keep my eyes on the larger dragon. Unfortunately, she’s still between the large exit and me, though the smaller one is now clear, with Angelica behind me.

The succubus!

Realizing I’m in a bad situation, I lash my tail out, hoping to come into contact with her. I hear an, “Oomph,”, and a moment later the succubus vanishes, her mass added to my own. She’s impotent to hurt me physically now.

“What are you?” my powerful enemy demands, and I can see fear in her eyes now. “What have you done with my bed servant?” Her voice is a little raw.

Bed servant? What the hell? Then I remember Gaia’s words about Aldol using them for sex. Apparently TanaVesta hadn’t minded it so much.

“Lyden?” Angela’s voice sounds internally. A moment later I can hear the elf and succubus fighting, my father happily cheering them both on.

It takes only a spare thought to form my human tongue. “You once kept me locked up for your own pleasure, beast. I’ve come back for revenge.”

“The generator?” Her eyes grow large as she comprehends who I am, and then to my surprise, she starts laughing. “I’ve missed our time together, generator. Tell you what, give yourself up to me, and I promise to let you live. Who knows? I may even be gentler with you this time.”

“Lyden, who is this woman?” I hear Angela grunt in my mind, but I ignore her.

“I have a counter-offer,” I state, trying to mimic the elf’s tone of derision that she’d kept using on me. “Give me Fujin’s Mantle, and I’ll return the succubus to you.”

TanaVesta’s eyes narrow as she regards me for a moment. “No.” The word is a simple one, but filled with finality. “I’ve grown fond of her over the last little while, while Aldol has forced me to use her sexually, but if I lose the mantle, it’ll mean my death.”

Her words confuse me for a moment—I didn’t know she could grow fond of anyone!—and the red dragon uses that to her advantage as she launches herself towards me. I have just enough time to move my neck out of the path of her fangs, but not out of the way of her talons. They sink into my sides painfully, easily piercing my tough scales, and I scream in agony. Desperately I claw back at her, and barely note that my dual-toned claws easily part her hide as well.

New energy floods into me, as my Murasame augmented talons absorb her soul. Unfortunately, she’s powerful enough, that the strength pouring into me isn’t enough to counteract the damage she’s causing me, nor is it enough to drain her before she kills me.

I can hear the elf and succubus screaming out in shared pain, as I try to redouble my efforts, but even with the adamantium in me, I can feel my strength slackening. I’ll be long dead before I take enough from the Pillar of Fire to kill her.

When I feel her teeth sink into the back of my neck, I know all is lost. I barely even notice the loud shriek that echoes off the cavernous walls of her chambers, as blackness begins swallowing my vision.

My body grows lighter as I mentally release the elf and Angela. I won’t take them down with me.

“Lyden, no!” someone screams, as I feel my blood seeping out in a pool around me.

Odd, I think. Even in the realm of Fire, I’m surprised I can feel so cold.

* * *

Water from the nearby stream burbles happily as I sit in a cloth camping chair, and stare at the trees around me. The tent where I’d spent those last precious moments with Lisa sits behind me. The scene is almost the exact same, except that the sun is setting, and someone has built a fire.

It seems fitting, that I should see this, I think, before I finally pass away. It’s peaceful out here.

I wonder if Lisa will come for me? The thought sends a stab through my heart, but I remember her telling me to be strong, and I try to hold my head up higher. No one can say I hadn’t been strong after her passing. I’d done all I could, and it hadn’t been enough, but I’d still tried.

A twig snaps behind me, and I spin around. Blonde hair vanishes behind a tree, and I jump to my feet to chase after Lisa. I’m confused at why she’s here, but maybe it’s to take me to the afterlife.

“Lyden?” A different voice states right then, and I turn to see Angelica standing on the flowing water’s edge.

“What do you want?” I demand, wondering if she’d been killed too. Despite my feelings of betrayal by her, I’m saddened that she hadn’t been able to escape TanaVesta’s wrath.

I can see that my tone hurts her, but I do my best to ignore the tear that breaks from her left eye. Probably just another ploy of hers. How could I have been so stupid, as to believe she loved me? She is a demonic creature. As soon as she’d left me, she’d gone back to the Pillar of Fire. The one person who had tortured and hurt me the most, and if TanaVesta is to be believed, the succubus had gone and become her sexual plaything. Even though Aldol had played a part in that, I’ll bet the succubus enjoyed it.

“I’m so sorry I hurt you,” she tells me, but I turn away, trying to catch sight of where Lisa had run off to. Why had she run away? “Shemhazau explained what had happened,” she continues, her tone imploring me to turn and face her.

“I told you if you ever left me like that again, we’d be done,” I state firmly, refusing to turn around.

“You don’t understand,” she cries out in anguish.

Angrily I turn to face her, rage fueling my words. “I don’t understand? I don’t understand? I loved you more than a demonic creature like you will ever understand, and you spat on that and abandoned me. Not only that, but you went to fuck the one person that has caused me the most pain and grief since I met you.” Tears pour from her eyes at my venomous tirade, and I can tell she’s shivering, but I don’t relent. “So tell me, succubus, what exactly don’t I understand?”

She’s remains silent under my glare for a moment, before she takes a shuddering breath and answers. “I still love you.” I scoff, but she continues. “I didn’t go to TanaVesta to hurt you, Lyden. After you killed my, or rather, your father, I didn’t know what to do. I knew you wouldn’t take me back, and I’m terribly sorry for the pain I caused you. But I still wanted to help you.”

“So you went to work for my enemy?” I yell out in disbelief.

“I went to spy on our enemy,” she counters me. I don’t miss the fact that she calls TanaVesta our enemy.

“And what, sleeping with her was all part of the plan?” I try to load all the derision and scorn I can into that statement, and I’m still surprised when her hand flies out and slaps me across the face.

“I’m a succubus,” she reminds me, “but I had no choice in the matter.” I raise one eyebrow in disbelief, while rubbing my sore cheek. For being dead, that slap had hurt. “I found out that ever since Aldol had controlled Becky while the two of you screwed, it’s been obsessed with sex. Apparently it had never experienced anything like it before. The thing would control one of us, and force us into having sex. It was never my choice, Lyden. You have to believe me. I never betrayed you!”

I turn my back on her again, but this time because I don’t want her to see that I’m starting to doubt my own arguments. Everything she’s saying could make sense. How useful would it have been to have a spy on the inside?

“I thought you could resist Aldol’s control,” I state, remembering how she’d been able to hold back from attacking me while we’d rescued Brooke. I’d thought it had been because she’d loved me at the time.

And maybe it still was.

“I can resist harming you,” her voice reaches me softly, and I can hear her footsteps crunching the ground behind me. I can’t bear to turn and face her yet. “I guess I just wasn’t emotionally invested enough to resist doing things with TanaVesta.”

Despite myself, I chuckle slightly at that. I’ll bet she didn’t struggle too hard. Like she’d reminded me, she is a succubus, after all.

Her dark-skinned hand rests lightly on my shoulder, but all I can do is bow my head.

“I tried so hard,” the words seem to pour from me, without any conscious effort of my own. “I wanted to protect everyone, but I failed. I’m sorry I couldn’t save you, as well.”

“Lyden,” Angela’s voice has an odd edge to it. “You’re not dead, at least, not yet. You saved us, though I don’t know what’ll happen now that two pillars are dead.”

Confused, I finally turn to face her fully. Despite all my misgiving and fears, I know her words are true.

“But how?” I ask, gripping her slender but strong shoulders in my hands.

“A blue dragon came in from nowhere, and wrapped her tail around TanaVesta’s neck. She was able to strangle the Pillar of fire and pull her off of you. Apparently you weakened her enough, that the other dragon was able to finish her off. I don’t know how you were able to get a dragon to follow you, but you never cease to amaze me.” She places her hand on my cheek, gazing lovingly up at me.

The touch feels so wonderful, and the look in her eyes so inviting, that I know I have to pull away, or be lost to her again.

Stepping back, I say, “Angela, I can’t. Not again. When you left, it tore me apart. I lost something inside, and it hurt terribly. I can’t risk that again.”

“What if I promise it won’t happen again?” she asks me, and I can almost hear the desperation in her voice. Or is that just me, hoping to hear it?

“Like last time?” I ask, hating myself for saying the words, but also knowing that they must be said.

“I understand,” her voice is soft, and barely reaches my ears. “Shemhazau explained to me what happened to you since I left, and I know the pain I caused can’t be easily forgiven.”

Something doesn’t seem right with that statement. This is the second time she’s mentioned talking to my father.

“When did you have time to talk to my father?” I ask. “You weren’t in me long enough, and I pushed you out as I was dying, or passing out, I guess.”

“After you passed out, and I convinced that elf—I didn’t know any of them were left in the world—that I wasn’t a threat and perhaps the only one that might save you, I came here. He stopped me before I could approach you right away. He was very disappointed in me.” I can see that those words cost her, and remember that she’d seen him like a father. “He explained everything that’s happened. He didn’t know how you’d react to me, but I had to try.”

I remain silent for a while, thinking everything over. She had kept secrets from me, but looking back now, I realize most of them hadn’t been hers to reveal. She’d abandoned me when I needed her, but what I didn’t think about at the time was how badly she’d been hurting. She hadn’t betrayed me by going to TanaVesta, but had hoped to help me in some way.

I can’t forgive her for everything, but I can’t punish her for everything either.

Apparently she’s reading my thoughts, for suddenly she’s hugging me tightly, her tears staining my shirt. “I’m so sorry, Lyden,” she repeats over and over again.

Wrapping my arms around her, I pull her to me, the hole in my heart suddenly a little less empty.

“I take it you’re here to help me heal?” I state the obvious after a bit, the sound of the stream burbling in the background is the only other noise.

“That elf is holding a dagger to my throat,” Angela says evenly. “If you die, then she’s vowed that I’ll follow.” Angela laughs softly, before adding, “Your dragon seemed to agree.”

I’m shocked that the elf would feel so strongly about my life. I wonder what’s changed?

“Well, then I guess I’d better wake up, and greet the world.” Letting her go, I stretch out my arms, as if just waking up.

“Do we have to so quickly?” she asks me, holding to me even tighter, refusing to let me go just yet. “I think we should make sure you’re as healed as possible first.”

I have to laugh, knowing what the dark skinned succubus is driving at, but I turn sober a moment later.

“Angela, look—“ I start to say, wanting to let her down easily, but she cuts me off.

“I know,” she says, pressing a finger against my lips. “You won’t take me back, and I don’t blame you. We hurt each other pretty badly, but . . . but are you really taking me back, if we do it one more time for old time’s sake? Even if it’s only in our minds?”

“Would it only be one more time?” I ask, trying to hide my smile.

“I promise not to make you do anything you don’t want to,” she states while stepping back and I see that her clothes have already vanished. She hefts a breast in one hand, her nipples already stiff and poking out, while grinning at me mischievously. Her other hand traces down to the juncture between her legs, and she gasps slightly, seductively, as her fingers begin to rub against her sex. “In fact, you can just stand there and watch, if that’s what you want to do.”

My cock strains painfully against the front of my pants as I watch the seductress masturbate before me, until I remember I can mentally adjust myself. Even so, I can feel my willpower draining, as Angela begins to moan, pinching one nipple between forefinger and thumb, and slipping the middle two fingers on her other hand into her snatch. She drops her head while lifting her breast up. Her tongue slips out, flicking her nipple and making her moan again.

“Oh, Lyden, I’ve missed you so much,” she croons, her eyes closed and her head tilts back slightly as she enjoys her own ministrations. She bends her knees, spreading her inner lips, making sure I have a great view of her pink flesh. “Wouldn’t it be so much better if you came over here and replaced my fingers with your tongue, or better yet, that hard cock in your hand?”

Surprised, I look down and see that at some point, I’ve become naked, and began to slowly stroke myself.

Would it really be so bad, to be with her one last time? I ask myself. As long as it’s clear it is the last time, I think, knowing I’ve already lost the battle. I should have known better than to try and match wills with a succubus.

In the blink of a thought, I rip her hand away from her pussy, dropping to my knees in the soft Earth and replacing it with my lips as I taste her sweet nectar.

“Oh, Lyden, YES!” she screams, her knees buckling as her juices pour from her honey pot, and I have to wrap my arms around her legs to keep her up.

“This is the last time,” I state as I gently let her down, laying her onto her back. She gives me a look that betrays the lie, but for now I have to believe it.

Deciding to return to my previous task, I brush my lips along her inner thigh, relishing the way she quivers in anticipation. Kissing my way up, this time I avoid her crotch, as I place my lips all around her sex, but not quite on it. She hunches her hips up, trying to get me to make contact with her sensitive labia as I kiss her crinkly pubic hair, but I resist. I know it may seem small, but for now it’s the only revenge I can get for her seducing me.

I allow the backs of my fingers to tickle up her sides, until they reach the swell of her breasts. She moans in frustration as I gently blow across her coochy, my hands tracing circles around her nipples, but not touching them.

She’s panting now, and I know she’s on the verge, her fingers grabbing my hair and trying to force my mouth where she wants it to go. I relent, finally, going straight for her clitoris, while simultaneously grabbing at her nipples.

Her back arches as she screams in relieved bliss, her hands gripping painfully at my hair, but I continue sucking and nibbling on the sensitive nub between my lips, until she pulls me away, her eyes blazing with desire and lust, but her breathing still heavy.

“I love . . . what you’re doing . . . down there,” she tells me between pants, “but if I don’t . . . feel your powerful . . . cock in me soon, I’m going to lose it!”

“If you ever try seducing me like that again,” I grin at her, as her juices drip from my chin, “I’ll make sure to stop before we go all the way.”

“I thought this was the last time?” she asks me, her eyes twinkling with mirth.

“Shut up,” I growl, as I crawl up her body. She has the sense not to tease me further, as I press the head of my prick against her sweet opening. With only a little pressure, I feel her flower open up to me, and let out my own moan as her velvety insides slowly enfold my member. My penis conforms to her tight canal, and in this form, hers doesn’t try to match mine. Still, it feels like I’m stretching her, she feels so tight. When my scrotum finally presses against her rear, I stop and look down at the half Asian, half black woman beneath me. She looks so innocent and sweet, her eyes wide and full of love, her lower lips sucked between her teeth, and her ample bosom pressed against my chest, but I know the succubus is anything but innocent.

“Oh, you’re taking all the fun out of it,” she pouts, reading my surface thoughts.

For answer, all I do is pull out all but the tip, then drive back into her with enough force to move her up slightly on the beach, the sound of our skin slapping together lost in the sound of the water in the stream.

“Oh, fuck I’ve missed you, Lyden.” Her arms wrap around my neck, pulling my head down, and our lips meet, her tongue forcing its way between my teeth.

Our moans are slightly muted now, muffled by our kiss, as we continue to screw. Our hips find a rhythm, me pistoning into her, while she moves in counterpoint. I allow my weight to rest on her, so that I can bring my hands back to her breasts, rolling her dark stiff nipples between my fingers.

Her legs suddenly move around my thighs, holding me in place with unexpected strength, and she shudders beneath me, her whole body locked in powerful waves of ecstasy. The muscles of her pussy ripple along and around my schlong, driving my own passions higher with how great she feels, but I can barely move with her legs around me. Knowing there is more than just one motion at my disposal, I tighten my own nether muscles, making my rod jump inside her.

“Oh, God,” she cries out, breaking the kiss, but pulling me tightly to her body.

I continue making myself twitch inside her, until she relaxes her grip on me, and I pull out of her. She tries to keep me in her with nothing more than the strength on her kegel muscles, making every inch that slips from her depths feel like heaven, and making me want to shove myself back into her. I resist the temptation though, and finally I slip from her, the squelch of her empty cunt is covered by the sound of her disappointed moans.

Rolling onto my back, I’m slightly surprised that I’m slightly out of breath. I hadn’t realized how much willpower it took to pull out of her.

“All aboard the Lyden Express,” I say to the woman next to me, and she literally blurs, she moves so fast. There is no mistaking the feeling of her labia sliding around the tip of my cock, or sliding down every inch, as she impales herself on my manhood, however.

Lifting my head, I latch onto one of her dangling breasts, my arms going around her to pull her tighter to me. Angela’s hips are moving against my groin at a frantic pace, my phallus whipping her cum into a creamy mess as it coats our genitals.

With nothing more than a simple thought, I concentrate on her pleasure, willing it to increase exponentially, until she’s quivering, moaning, and cumming non-stop above.

It’s then that I finally drop my seed into her sucking cunt, making sure it’s as potent as it can possibly be.

Author’s Note: This completes the next five. As stated originally, I will post all but the epilogue here. The next batch completes that promise.

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