Fresh out of Marchosias’s maniacal fantasy world, Lyden is heartbroken and worn out, but of course, life goes on, and so too must he. Plans have to be laid, and obstacles overcome if Lyden is going to have a chance at stopping the evil Aldol.
I waste no time in getting to my feet, but my balance is off and I tip over, landing hard on the carpeted floor.
Head swimming, I look around to see that I’m the only one awake, though Areth’s tiny form is starting to stir. Brooke, Ondine, Lisa, and Becky all lie motionless. Flashes of witnessing their deaths flit through my mind as I try to regain my feet.
Brooke’s body severed in two bloody pieces.
A spear thrust through Becky’s torso, pain contorting her pretty features.
Angela’s head flying through the air, cut from her body.
A sword thrust through Ondine’s stomach, her face still full of rage at Thomas’s death.
Lisa’s neck snapped from a kick delivered by Brooke’s foot.
A broken sword thrust through Jennifer’s neck, her eyes open wide in surprise and confusion.
No! I shake my head, trying to clear it. They can’t be dead! It had all been a dream. Oh, please let it all have been a dream.
If it had been a dream, then why am I still naked? And why is Muramasa bundled up with my pants?
A shudder runs through me, as I contemplate my fate with the cursed sword. Why had Marchosias been surprised by it? Hadn’t he given it to me in his dream reality?
I don’t have time for that right now. Getting back up to my hands and knees, I crawl over to where Brooke is slumped over on the floor. Placing my fingers against her neck, a heavy sigh escapes me when I find her pulse. Feeling solid again, I get to my feet and this time stay upright. I keep my pace regular as I walk over to Lisa and Becky; I’m still a little unsteady. Relief washes through me as I find strong pulses on both their necks. From here I can make out the normal rise and fall of Ondine’s chest.
Moving back to the tiny Areth, I pick up her small form in my hands, and she begins to stir. Grabbing her clothing, I hand it to her, and she quickly gets dressed, somehow getting her top on around her wings.
“How are you feeling?” I ask, concerned for the four-inch woman.
Running her hands down her dress, she gives herself a quick check, and then looks at me curiously.
“Better than I thought,” she states, wonder in her eyes. “I thought I would feel empty, or something, but I actually feel more alive than I have since coming to your world.”
“Well, that’s something at least,” I tell her, still sad that she no longer has a soul of her own.
“What’s going on?” Lisa asks groggily, sitting up and rubbing her eyes while I get dressed. The other women also begin stirring, and looking around in wonder, appearing muddled.
I leave the cursed sword on the floor, not wanting to touch it, but mentally knowing that I’ll have to put it on at some point, or it’ll put itself on me.
“What do you remember?” I ask the women, when they sit up.
Each woman tells me in turn about their experiences. Becky and Lisa are astounded to find out that they still remember their skills with fighting, though I notice they didn’t get to keep their blades. Why was I so unlucky?
Ondine and Brooke look at each other sheepishly, as they remember battling each other, and the curly redhead keeps apologizing profusely to the other mermaid for killing her.
It takes a bit to sort everything out, by which time Angela arrives, still in her Amazon guise. She remembers just as much as Brooke does, shuddering as she recalls being the demon’s thrall, with no will of her own.
“When I woke up,” the succubus says, “I was in the back of an ambulance. Apparently someone saw me collapse in the grocery store, and nearly fainted when they saw me change into this form. I had to leave the EMTs in quite a horny state, just to get out of there.” Knowing just what the woman is capable of, I almost feel sorry for the medical workers. Hopefully no one gets pregnant out of the ordeal. “They wouldn’t let me leave until they’d done a thorough examination, but I felt I needed to get back here as soon as possible.”
Remembering that Sheila, Thomas, AnnaBelle, and Jennifer had also been in the fantasy world, I think to call them, but Becky stops me. “If the police know about your connection to them, their lines might be tapped. If you call them, we’ll have the police here within minutes.” I’m glad Becky’s thinking straight right now, my mind is still a mess.
I look back to Angela to borrow the police woman’s phone, and groan when I realize she’d probably lost it when Marchosias forced her into the Amazonian semblance. My anger with Marchosias’s meddling is really beginning to rise.
You should have let me taste him, more. He was so sweet!
Shuddering, I try to push the wicked blade’s words from my mind. I may hate Marchosias pretty badly at the moment, but I’m not sure he deserves that kind of death.
“How long have we been out?” I ask, looking around the room. I was supposed to call the police station back the following day, but we’d been in that dream for about two days.
“Not long,” Lisa says, looking at her phone. “Maybe an hour.”
“That would explain why I was still in the ambulance,” Angela states. “Um, Lyden? Where did you get that sword?” The succubus points to my hip.
With another groan, I look and see that Muramasa is securely fastened to my left side. At least he’s quiet now. “A gift from Marchosias, I think,” I state uncertainly. The demon had been surprised I had the blade, and even appeared to be afraid of it. “It’s name is Muramasa.”
Angela, Brooke, and Ondine all flinch and back away from me, fear in their eyes.
“Do you have any idea how dangerous that thing is?” Angela demands worriedly of me. “That thing will corrupt you, until you’ve killed everyone around you.” She looks around the room to emphasize her point. “The only way to break the curse is to. . . .”
“To die,” I finish for her. “I know, but what else can I do? I didn’t choose the sword. I had it when I woke up in Marchosias’s fantasy world.”
“Break the curse, of course,” Areth says, landing on my shoulder. We all look at her, none of us understanding. “Oh, come on! I can’t be the only one to know how to break the curse of that katana.” When none of us answer her, except for a few shakes of the head, she continues, “I guess I am. Well, it’s simple, really. All we have to do is find Masamune. The blade is oppositely cursed. Put the two together, and he’ll be fine. The two curses will cancel each other out.” She pauses, before sitting daintily on my shoulder. “Now, who knows where that blade is?” Did she have to ask that so happily?
“No one’s been able to find that blade in centuries,” Brook protests at the same time Becky asks, “How is it cursed differently?”
Surprisingly, it’s Angela that answers the question. “Masamune is peaceful, where Muramasa is the epitome of evil. Only the most wicked can be harmed by Masamune.” She turns to face the fairy and me, before adding, “The opposing forces of the two swords would tear his mind apart.”
“Maybe, maybe not,” Areth replies cryptically. “Either he goes mad and kills all of us, commits suicide therefore dooming both of our worlds if the prophecy is true, or tries this one chance to counteract the curse.”
“But we don’t know where the other sword is,” Ondine reminds us.
“I do,” Angela says quietly. We all look at her, shock apparent in our faces.
“How?” Brooke demands. “It’s been lost for centuries.”
Angela only shakes her head though, before answering a different question. “It’s in the Pillar of Light’s realm.” She drops her eyes to the floor. “I can guide you there.”
“How do you know this?” Brooke demands again, but I can see that the succubus doesn’t want to answer.
“That’s not important right now,” Becky says, coming to the succubus’s rescue and getting everyone’s attention. Angela shoots her a grateful look, but Brooke glares at the short brunette, obviously not willing to let this go. “We’ve got a lot on our plate, and how someone knows something isn’t as important as how we’re going to get things accomplished.” Facing Angela directly, she holds up her pointer finger and says, “We need to get a phone that won’t be traced back here, but I don’t think we want to get anyone innocent into trouble.” Lifting her social finger, she looks to the fairy still perched on my shoulder, “We need to make that appointment with Gaia, but we should have plenty of time for that.” Third finger rises. “Since Marchosias was kind enough to give us all weapons skills, we need to get weapons.”
“Ondine and Brooke, I’m putting you on that detail,” I pipe up, seeing where the smart woman is going. “Stay on Earth if you can. I don’t want you taking any unnecessary risks.” Turning back to Angela again, I add “You’ll need to guide Areth and me to this other sword. Unfortunately, also thanks to Marchosias, the fairy and I are permanently tied together.”
Everyone gives us a pitying look, until Areth sticks her tongue out at them. At least the tiny fairy’s attitude hasn’t changed. It seems to be just the trick, as the mood noticeably lightens.
“Let’s get that phone and call Captain Jewkes. I want to get my name cleared as soon as possible,” I inform the room. Angela takes off immediately, I think as much to escape Brooke’s demanding glare as to be useful. I plop myself on the couch to wait.
It’s late, and everyone decides to go to sleep, but after the two sex sessions in the fantasy world—had that really only been an hour long?—I’m too wired up to rest.
You can’t trust them, Muramasa whispers in my mind. Sooner or later they will betray you. The succubus. The mermaids. Even the weak humans and tiny fairy will lead you to disaster, unless you let me feed on them. None of them truly care about you, only what they can get from you.
I try to shove the insidious voice away from my mind, but the part about Angela sticks. Why wouldn’t she say how she knew about the location of Masamune? It’s not as though she’s ever. . . . No! I mentally think. Angela can be trusted. She has her reasons, and she only wants to help.
Why is Muramasa laughing?
Concluding that an idle mind will only give the cursed sword more fodder to play with, I check on Becky, and find she’s still awake, so I ask for one of her legal books.
“Sure, any particular topic?” she asks.
“I don’t know,” I tell her. “I keep hearing about all these laws that we’re breaking in the Shadow World, and just want to see what I can think up.” It’s a lie, but I don’t want to tell her that I’m working to fight the sword’s influence.
The sound of Muramasa’s continued laughter echoes in my head, but I ignore it. I can trust them, dammit!
“You realize none of my books will cover the other world, right?” Becky asks, concern in her tone.
“That’s okay,” I tell her, getting an idea. “Maybe just something on immigration laws, or marriage laws? Those seem to be the ones I keep running afoul of.”
I realize my mistake in mentioning marriage as soon as the words leave my mouth. I see the short brunette mouth the word ‘marriage,’ and her cheeks go a deep red color, before she turns away wordlessly. She returns a moment later, with a thick book in her hands, refusing to meet my eyes as she hands it over.
“I’m not sure if this will help, but here.” She shoves the book into my hands, and flees before I can explain. I wonder what she’s thinking.
I spend the next little while giving myself a headache, trying to read all the legalese on various marriage laws. Thankfully the fairy gives me some space, and even the katana keeps his whisperings down to a minimum.
Hands start rubbing my shoulders, and I look up into Brooke’s deep green eyes.
“You were looking a little stressed,” she tells me.
“Thanks,” I reply appreciatively, placing my hand on hers. “There’s just so much that needs to be done. Sometimes it feels like I have a mountain to climb, but no gear to climb it with.”
“You’re not the only one here,” she reminds me. “You aren’t carrying this burden alone. Let us be your gear.” She smiles at me, but her brows knit together for a moment. “Come with me,” she says quietly, pulling me to my feet.
“Where are you taking me?” I ask with a smile, trying to hide my sudden unease. I see Arethusa asleep on the couch, and guess that the other women are asleep around the house.
She just returns my smile, though, and leads me out to the backyard.
“You know, growing up in the Shadow World, we didn’t have stars,” her tone is wistful.
“I didn’t know that,” I reply, looking up at the night sky. The stars are hidden behind a layer of clouds. “Did you grow up in an area that had night?”
She holds my hand, and turns to look at me. “No, but sometimes I’d visit the border of where the Pillar of Darkness’s realm enters Varun’s.” Her statement doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Maybe I’m going to have to see if there’s a map or something to the Shadow World.
“Even in the city, there aren’t many stars,” I say, slipping my arm around her waist.
She turns her slender body to face mine, and what little light comes from the house illuminates her beautiful features. Silence reigns for a few moments, as we just take in each other’s features, and the peaceful night. Even Muramasa remains silent, which I’m thankful for.
“I love you,” she whispers self-consciously.
“I love you, Brooke,” I reply, bringing our faces close together, and kissing her tenderly.
Her arms slip around my neck, pulling me tighter into the kiss. My hands roam her back a little, before I finally drop them to her small rear. We kiss like this for a bit, before she drops her hands to my shirt and lifts it over my head.
Our eyes meet as my shirt comes off, and I see her bite her bottom lip in thought. “I want you, Lyden. We . . . we haven’t been together, at least not really, and I wanted to have you before you talked to the police, or go on find the other sword, or meet with Gaia, or some other crazy thing happens.”
I’m surprised as I hear her say that, realizing that she’s right. Every time we’ve been together, has been in one of our minds. This will be the first time we’ll be together in truth.
Smiling gently at her, I start to undo my pants, letting them and Muramasa drop to the grass.
Our eyes meet for only a moment before her hand goes to my groin, fondling my manhood and bringing me to full hardness, while her lips press back against mine and our tongues dance. We’re only kissing for a short time, before she drops to her knees, and sucks my rigid phallus between her soft lips. Dropping my hands to her red curls, I moan, as I feel her tongue go to work around the sensitive rim of my cock’s head.
“Oh, Brooke,” I moan, as she starts to move her head back and forth, slowly swallowing more and more of my turgid prick down her throat. It doesn’t take long before I feel her tongue slipping out to wash my scrotum, her nose pressed into my pelvis, and my compacted prick nicely ensconced within her trachea.
She holds like this for a while, and I begin to wonder if she can breathe, until I move her hair aside, and see her gills fluttering. I didn’t know she could use them in the atmosphere, but as she continues with my rod firmly ensconced in her throat, I can’t complain.
Feeling myself start to get close, I gently pull her off me, wanting to be with my childhood friend completely.
She seems to know exactly how I’m feeling, as she lies back and lifts her hips to take off her pants. Words are unnecessary, as I drop between her legs, planting a tender kiss on her crotch. Deciding that I need a break in order not to blow immediately, I suck in her inner labia, enjoying the sounds of her light moaning at my ministrations.
Her love fluids, already lubricating her hole, start to flow in earnest, and I lap them up hungrily. Sucking hard on her clit makes her squeal, and her strong thighs squeeze my head as she cums, sending waves of delicious energy into me.
As soon as her thighs release their grip on my skull, I kiss my way up her body, spending no small amount of time on her small sensitive nipples. The tip of my cock bumps against the slim woman’s vulva, making us both moan in anticipation. Reaching down between us, I rub myself against her slit, prolonging the moment of completion.
“Umm,” the beautiful redhead whispers, and I look up from her small breast at her, “It’s been decades since I’ve been with anyone physically.”
I understand immediately what she’s telling me. Her hymen has grown back. I wonder if it takes seven years for mermaids like it does for humans?
Moving my mouth over to her other tit, I place my cock at her delightful entrance. “Ready?” I ask.
“Just get it over with already,” she mutters. Taking that as my cue, I slowly work my way inside her, my penis conforming to her undeniably tight canal. As soon as I bump up against the thin barrier of flesh, I hold still, and look deep into her eyes.
“One. . . . Two,” I throw my hips forward with force, tearing apart her hymen and sinking fully into her. “Three,” I say belatedly, as she bites her knuckle to keep from screaming.
“That was worse than I remembered,” she tells me, when she has full control of herself again.
“I’m sorry,” I apologize softly into her ear.
“Don’t be,” she replies back, hugging me tightly to her body. “It was long overdue.”
My lips press against her neck, and ever so slowly, I begin to pull out. Her maimed right hand drops to my buttocks, squeezing it, and urging me back into her.
Every inch of her slippery cunt feels like heaven as we complete ourselves, our souls in sync. My lips travel up her neck to her ear, where I nibble lightly on her earlobe.
Her hips pick up a rhythm in time with my own, and soon we’re both grunting, panting, and moaning as I bring my lips back to hers.
Suddenly her inner walls constrict as she cries into my mouth in bliss, driving my pleasure higher as her delicious energy pours into my soul. Without any other warning, my orgasm hits, as I fire my non-fertilizing ejaculate deep into her.
“Thank you, Lyden,” she mumbles, as we hold each other.
This was a much better distraction than those law books, I think to myself.
We lay like this for a bit, before we decide to dress, and head back in.
A knock on the door startles me, and I find my hand on Muramasa’s pommel before I even realize I’m on edge.
Lisa rushes out of her room and waves me to hiding. I realize the merit in it, heading into the kitchen, when I hear a mature woman at the door and at first think it’s AnnaBelle, until I hear the woman swear.
“Dammit, lemme in, Lisa,” the woman at the door states firmly. “I got what Lyden wanted.”
“Angela?” I ask, coming around the corner.
Standing in the doorway is a slightly pudgy older woman, gray lightly sprinkling her otherwise light brown hair and a smile pulling at the corners of her mouth. In her hand is a flip phone, which looks ancient compared to modern cellphones. While there is a matronly beauty to her, this is the oldest I’ve seen the succubus.
“About time you got back,” I grouse, suddenly ornery with the woman for making me worry. She blinks at me, the smile fading from her face, and I realize how I’m acting. “Sorry,” I mutter, feeling ashamed. Why was I suddenly upset? I’m still a little euphoric from being with Brooke. “Whose form is that?”
“I figured the only person that Captain Jewkes would trust, is Mrs. Jewkes,” she says, and I can see that my attitude has dimmed her inner light a bit.
“Great thinking,” I try to say cheerily, trying to make up for my prior grumpiness, but it sounds hollow, even to me. “We’ll call first thing in the morning. For now, I think we should all get what rest we can.”
Despite being full of energy, I decide to lie on the couch again, and actually awaken to the matronly looking Angela, the sun shining behind her as she leans over me.
“Morning Sleepyhead,” she grins at me, and I can see I’m the last to wake.
Angela flips the phone open, and calls the captain’s cell phone, since it’s stored in the memory, placing the call on speaker so we can all listen in.
“Hey, Hun,” I hear the officer answer in moderated tones on the other end, “I told you I was busy waiting on something. Is it really important?”
I feel bad for deceiving the man, but shake it off. “Sorry for the deception, Captain Jewkes,” I say, keeping my voice firm. “We copied your wife’s phone to make this call.”
“What have you done with my wife?” the man demands angrily, and I realize what it must seem like to him. He probably assumes we’ve kidnapped her and stolen her phone.
“Nothing,” I protest, trying to sound as innocent as possible. “Honestly, Captain, I have no idea where she is, and she has no idea that we’ve cloned her phone.”
“Hmph,” he snorts, “I guess Jenkins really is innocent.” I can hear him taking a deep breath, before proceeding. “You wanted to talk, so talk, Mr. Snow.”
“Did you listen to the interrogation with Miranda?” I ask first.
“That’s Agent Olsen to you, and it seems there was a problem with the recording instruments. There was nothing we could do,” he informs me, and I wonder if he believes his own likely story. “Why don’t you tell me what it was about?”
“I told you yesterday,” I state, growing angry at the man’s cavalier attitude. “All she cared about was making sure I was guilty, and threatening to kill me.”
“She tells a slightly different story,” the man’s voice stays calm and soothing, and I realize he’s trying to play me.
“I’m sure she does,” I say, trying to moderate my own tone to match his. “Look, there’s only one way to prove my point,” my mind races fast, settling on a location. “I’ll text you a location shortly. Meet me there, bring whatever law enforcement you want, but please understand I will come unarmed.”
“You realize that I’ll have to place you under arrest, Mr. Snow,” he tells me smoothly. “You’re still considered a suspect.”
“Do what you have to do, Jewkes,” Becky snaps at him, intentionally avoiding his honorific. “Just make sure Olsen isn’t there.”
“Who’s that?” The other man demands, but I ignore him.
“Like I said, I’ll be unarmed, and I don’t want to try to defend myself against her zealotry,” I add in.
“She’s on administrative leave,” he tells me, and then I hear his teeth click. I don’t think he meant to tell me that.
“Wait for the address,” I tell him, and close the phone.
Turning back to the room, I have to fill my lungs deeply a few times to calm down. I don’t want to take my anger at the captain out on these women. Muramasa doesn’t help, trying to rile me back up, but I push his voice away.
“Brooke, Angela, I want you both with me,” I tell the two women, “and of course Areth will have to come too, though I want you to hide in my shirt.”
“Can I hide in your shirt too?” Angela asks, a smile starting to creep onto her weathered face.
I smile back at her, but can’t find it in me to really feel it. That fantasy world of Marchosias’s really affected me. At least, I hope it’s that, and not because Brooke is standing right next to her. The last thing I need is to start worrying about pissing off one of my girlfriends.
“I want the rest of you with my car,” I tell the other women. “At the first sign of trouble, I want you to get away.”
They look at each other, and I already know that my last order will be ignored. Oh well. Told you, they’re loyal, I tell Muramasa.
Unless they’re staying close to make it easier to betray you, he replies, and I curse the blade.
I tell them all where we’re going as we pile into the Orange Bubble, and lay out my plan.
It’s just starting to lightly rain, and I can’t decide if that’s a good omen, or bad. It’ll help Arethusa, but might hinder negotiations.
I wait until we’re at the park, before texting the location to Captain Jewkes.
I remove Muramasa from my hip, promising the blade I’ll don him again when I’m done. I hope it’s good enough. I’d promised to come unarmed, and Muramasa is likely the most dangerous weapon I could show up with.
We head into the park, finding a good open spot by a pond.
I’ll say this for the local police force: they’re fast. Within minutes a chopper is hovering overhead, and police surround the park. Areth is hidden in the back of my loose shirt, Angela on my left and Brooke on my right, our backs to each other in a triangle as we wait for Captain Jewkes.
“I must admit to being surprised to find you here,” I hear the captain’s voice ring out clearly, and I spot him walking to us.
“I came unarmed as promised,” I yell to him holding my empty hands out. “Will you hear me out?”
I get my first good look at the man. The light rain splashes against his bald top, short but thick white hair above his ears and neck. Thankfully he isn’t one of those men that feel the need to do a comb over. He moves with ease, and looks fit for his age. His hooked nose sits below shrewd eyes, and I know not much escapes his notice.
“I thought you said you didn’t know where my wife was,” he states, anger in his deep voice as he looks at Angela.
“Watch,” is my only response, as I send the image of her as a jogger. Jewkes’s eyes grow large, and I know what he’s seeing without looking. Brown-gray hair lengthening and turning blonde. His wife’s older body slimming and her midriff becoming visible below a sports bra, and more, as the succubus changes into a different woman. “Are you willing to listen, yet?” I ask, trying to mimic his usual tone.
His sharp eyes narrow as he considers us. “And what can she do?” he demands to know, gesturing at the redhead, “Pull a rabbit out of her hat?”
I laugh, and for once it feels good to laugh. A true one that bursts out, and the man looks worriedly at me. Okay, so maybe the laugh was a little too much or too strong.
“No, she’s a mermaid,” I tell him, bringing myself back under control. The man arches his eyebrows, but Brooke runs to the nearby pond and jumps in. She breaches the water a second later, launching into the air, her tail flicking water as she does a flip and dives back in. A few moments later, she crawls back onto the shore, and we watch as her tail splits into two legs before she stands up.
“You’re ogling her,” Angela laughs quietly to me, and I realize I was indeed enjoying the look of Brooke’s lithe body, her clothes plastered to her.
I smile at the succubus, before replying, “So are you.”
Before she can reply, I turn back to the captain. The helicopter is still hovering overhead, and I wonder what they must be thinking.
“Okay, that’s a neat trick. You’ll have to tell me how you did it from behind bars.” The man reaches behind him, and I tense until he pulls out a set of cuffs.
“You really don’t want to believe,” I say sadly. “Areth?”
The tiny golden fairy leaves the back of my shirt, and flutters up to land on my shoulder. If I’d thought the man’s eyes had bulged at either Angela’s or Brooke’s demonstration, they veritably pop now.
“Captain Jewkes, I’d like to introduce you to my friends.” I hold my hand out to each woman as I name them. “Angela the succubus, Brooke the mermaid, and Arethusa the water fairy.” On the pixie’s name, she leaps from my shoulder, fluttering over to the nearly apoplectic man.
“Your head is shiny,” she says with her usual aplomb, floating around his head, before returning to my shoulder. “Also, don’t call me Arethusa. I hate that name. Everyone just calls me Areth.”
“As you can see, things aren’t what you thought they were, Captain. That fire wasn’t my fault. I was being attacked by another creature—“ I cut myself off as I feel Muramasa materialize at my hip. Captain Jewkes notices, too. “Fuck!” I swear, pissed at the blade for its timing.
“Lyden,” Angela says, fear in her tone.
“I thought you said you came unarmed,” the captain says, obviously glad to latch onto something he understands, even if he can’t understand how the sword suddenly got there.
I open my mouth to reply, but notice a red dot reflecting off the older man’s pate. “Sniper!” I yell, charging the police officer, and tackling him to the ground. The man is tough, though, and somehow gets a handcuff latched around my right wrist, while I’m covering him on the ground.
“Don’t take me for a fool,” the man growls at me, pushing me away from him. Then his eyes grow wide, as he sees the red dot moving on my chest. “What?” he has just enough time to wonder, before I summon my wings, pain ripping through my shoulders as they tear the back of my shirt to shreds, and I feel my energy levels drop slightly. Some small part of my mind notices that forming the new appendages doesn’t require nearly as much energy as it once had, and I thank the sex from yesterday for the energy to bring them out now. I wrap the tough wings around us both just in time, as I feel something impact the thick membrane. “What are you?” he screams at me.
“I’m a generator,” I tell him, knowing that doesn’t really answer his question. “Look, I’ll explain later.” Raising my voice, I shout to the other women, “Where are the shots coming from?” Another bullet hits my wings, but the dragon hide is thick enough to stop it, though it doesn’t exactly feel good, either.
“From a tree a little ways off,” Brooke shouts, and I realize they’re taking cover behind me.
“Areth, can you shield us?” I call out.
“What do you think—“ Jewkes tries to take control, but I ignore him.
The rain stops falling, and I know the little fairy is protecting us. Opening my thick brown wings, I survey the scenery, and see cops running for us. They likely think I’ve attacked the captain. This adventure just keeps getting better. . . .
“Dammit,” I scream in frustration. “Which tree?”
“I think I see her in that one!” Angela yells, as something sparks off the golden tinged shield.
“I can’t hold this forever,” Areth shouts, and I can see the strain in her face, arms outstretched. Even with the light rain, she can’t pull enough energy to protect us for long. “Hurry up!”
“Hold on,” I tell Jewkes. Waiting for the next round to ricochet of our protective barrier, I grip the older man to me, and charge for the tree in question. As soon as we are free of the fairy’s shield, I spread my wings wide, and leap. I still can’t properly fly but I can glide.
We arrive at the tree just in time to see Agent Miranda Olsen drop out, a small caliber rifle with a laser scope in her hands.
“STOP!” I shout in my most commanding voice, and to my surprise, she does. Her eyes turn on me, wide and full of horror.
“What is the meaning of this?” Jewkes demands. “Agent Olsen, explain yourself!”
Angela and Brooke catch up to us, with Areth not far behind. I realize that I could have killed the fairy, as quickly as I moved away from her. Hopefully the distance between us wasn’t too much. I’m going to have to be more careful in the future, and figure out what our range is.
Kill her! She tried to kill you. Destroy her! Let me taste her sweet blood. Please let me taste her. You know you want to. I can feel your anger. Just a quick movement, and I’ll be free to feed. Almost, I draw the cursed blade, but Angela’s hand on top of mine stops me.
“Don’t give into it,” she says. Anger at being thwarted rushes up to me and for a second I’m tempted to shove her away and let her be the first one Muramasa snacks on. Shaking my head, I shudder as I realize how close I’d just come to drawing the evil katana.
“They’re evil, vile beasts,” Miranda is screaming at Jewkes. “They must be put down before they kill us all!”
She raises her rifle to point at Brooke who has stepped to the side, and I know I can’t spread my wings enough to protect the redhead. I start to shout for Areth to protect her, but before I can, she’s tackled to the ground by two men in black tactical gear. A moment later Angela and Brooke are tackled as well. Only Areth, flying above us, Jewkes and me are still standing. We’re surrounded by men in tough gear, weapons drawn and mostly pointed at me.
“Now would be the point where you tell them to stand down, Captain,” I murmur to the man I’m handcuffed to. Muramasa is screaming that I take vengeance on everyone here, but I shove him out of my mind, trying to concentrate on staying calm. This moment is too sensitive to do otherwise.
“What?” the man looks at me in confusion, and I begin to wonder if it’s his favorite word, or if the last few minutes have completely unhinged him. I nod to the SWAT team, and he blinks a few times, the rain falling on us once more, before giving the order. “Stand down.” Again his gaze wanders over us, before looking up at the falling sky. “Is there anywhere we can talk, out of this blasted rain?”
I glance at the SWAT team, still surrounding us, though their weapons are lowered, and then to the very plain looking Agent Olsen. Weapons are still pointed at her. Angela and Brooke are getting back to their feet, when I turn back to the captain. “I think my car will work.”
“Your car?” he splutters. “I’m not letting you drive away just yet, Mr. Snow. I still want an explanation.”
“I’m not trying to escape,” I tell him impatiently. “You’ll understand when we get in the Orange Bubble.” When he still seems hesitant, I add, “Bring some of your SWAT along, and you might as well bring her too,” I finish with a nod to Miranda.
“We’re not going to fit in that burnt out car of yours,” he states, and by the way he’s no longer keeping a calm reasonable tone, I know he’s close to cracking. “Or did you bring a large van out here?”
“Like I said, you’ll understand when we get there.” I turn to walk away, but get blocked by the men in black. Turning an impatient stare on Jewkes, he waves them away, an aggravated expression on his face.
“Johnson, Wilson, grab agent Olsen there, and you’re with me.” I hear the average looking woman start to scream obscenities as they haul her to her feet, but otherwise ignore them.
My car is right where we left it, and I hear Jewkes mutter something about how this can’t be the same car that’d been in the impound lot, and wondering why none of the choppers seemed to notice it before now.
Opening the passenger door, I wave for everyone to get in. The mermaid and succubus head right in, but Jewkes hesitates.
“You two stay out here with her. If anyone leaves before me, they’re to be arrested immediately,” he orders the tough looking men.
“We’ll all fit,” I say, exasperated at the man. “Tell you what,” I add, seeing a way to get this man to lower his disbelief a bit, “Send one of these fine men in first, and let him tell you.”
The police captain looks at me shrewdly for a second, before nodding to the one with ‘Wilson’ on his name tape.
Wilson climbs through the door, and I hear him gasp, before he pokes his helmeted head back out. “Um, Sir, you’re not going to believe this, but we’ll all fit with plenty of room to spare. Hell, the entire SWAT team would fit in here.”
Muttering imprecations under his breath about what’ll happen to the man if he’s wrong, Jewkes climbs in, and I hear him gasp, “It’s bigger!”
“You might as well follow me in with her,” I tell Johnson, before climbing in out of the rain. Miranda is pushed through after me, and a second later the SWAT team member clambers in. Only Areth stays out in the rain. She still looks a little weak after her expenditure of magic, and I don’t blame her for wanting to recharge.
Lisa and Becky are looking at the two SWAT men, fear in their eyes, until Brooke explains the situation to them.
“You see!” Miranda screams hysterically. “This is what I’m talking about. This isn’t natural!” Johnson tries to quiet her, but she shakes him off. “Captain Jewkes, I demand you arrest them all for conspiracy to overthrow our way of life.”
Johnson finally gets a solid grip on her, covering her mouth with a gloved hand and ending her tirade.
“What does she mean?” Jewkes asks, turning to face me.
“Please, sit down,” I say indicating one of the couches, “and I’ll explain everything I can.” The shrewd man takes one final look around the large interior of my car, before shuddering again and taking the proffered seat.
Three hours later, as the sun is just starting its descent to the west, I finish explaining everything. Captain Jewkes still has a skeptical look on his face, but even he can’t deny the evidence all around him.
“What am I supposed to do with her?” he asks, referring to Miranda.
“She tried to kill you,” I state simply. “Let her take the stand, and she’ll condemn herself. Should be no problem getting her locked up in a mental institute.”
“Listen, Mr. Snow, I’m not sure I believe everything you’re telling me, or even want to believe. It’s a lot to think about. Creatures of fantasy trying to destroy their world and come here? I don’t know.” He shakes his head, before turning his shrewd eyes back on me. “Will you be around if I have any more questions?”
“I’m not sure,” I tell him honestly. “I have to get the curse of this damned blade lifted. I don’t know how long I’ll be gone.”
“He can get in touch with us,” Becky says, and we all look at her. “What? You weren’t planning on taking us with you anyway, so he might as well talk to us here on Earth.” I see Lisa nod in agreement, and I accede.
Jewkes lets us go, and we head back to Lisa and Becky’s place.
“Who was that older guy in the fantasy world?” Ondine asks me on the trip back, and I realize I haven’t checked up on anyone else from Marchosias’s nightmare.
“I work with him,” I tell her. “His name’s Thomas, same as it was in the nightmare.” I remember how she’d acted around the man in the fantasy world, and decide I’d better take her with me when I check on my workmates. Checking the clock, I realize there’s no time like the present.
We drop off everyone but Areth and Ondine, and I direct my car towards work.
It doesn’t occur to me until I get there that they might have taken the day off after the events of yesterday, but Jennifer meets me at the entrance, her giant tits barely contained in her guard uniform.
“Why am I not surprised to see you after my nightmare yesterday?” she asks, taking one look at my face, then looking to Ondine. Areth is once again hidden in the back of my shirt.
“Jenny of the Large Pennies,” Ondine murmurs, taking a defensive stance next to me, at the same time Muramasa begins whispering to me, Let me taste her this time. Don’t let her go to waste like last time.
“I’m going to guess that wasn’t a nightmare, after all,” Jennifer says laconically.
“No,” I tell her quietly. “Are Sheila, AnnaBelle, and Thomas here today as well?”
“Well, that would explain why Thomas avoided looking at me this morning.” She looks closely at Ondine. “You’re that little slip of a girl.” She shakes her head, before turning back to me. “Did you ever find Thomas’s daughter in that place?”
“Yeah,” I tell her, smiling. “She’s hidden in my shirt at the moment.”
Jennifer gives me an odd look, and then says, “Well, I hope you at least got to fuck her.”
I flinch when I feel Areth’s small hands pinch my back in response to Jennifer’s crudeness. The large breasted woman laughs, likely thinking my reaction was due to her words.
“Well, come on. I suppose we’d better all go up to your office and get this sorted out.” Jennifer leads the way, passing us all through security and then up to my floor.
Sheila gasps when we walk into the office, and I see Thomas go pale when he sees Ondine. I have a feeling this day just got a bit more interesting for everyone.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = Author’s Notes:
Garbonzo really outdid himself editing this chapter, offering great advise, and catching quite a few things that I missed as the author. Sometimes with this whole story in my head, I tend to gloss over things that my wonderful audience doesn’t already know. So once more, THANK YOU!
Also, seeing as this is the 20th chapter, I’m kind of curious. Who is your favorite character? Lemme know in the comments!