Gender: N/A Age: N/A Location: N/A
|Introduction: Not my story.|
"I think you do have a chance at pulling this off, Ron, but it is going to be quite risky. Do you truly understand, you have a very limited window of time in which to make this work?” Lars, Karen, and Linda were sitting with Ron as they discussed his plan for saving Kumiko.
"Yes, I understand that, but it’s the only option we’ve got left. Everyone says I can’t beat Mordreon alone. The Guardians are willing to help, but only if we have a plan that will work. This is the best chance we’ve got. Hell, it’s the only chance we’ve got.” Ron was pacing the room like a caged animal. Now that he had a plan, he wanted to get after it. But, his first plan had failed because he’d not considered it long enough, he was sure. He could not afford for this plan to fail as well. As things were going, Kumiko had maybe 2 weeks left, if that.
"Can we do it, Ron? I mean, can we really beat him?” Karen wondered.
"No, Karen, we can’t beat him. He’s too goddamned strong for that. But, hopefully we can trick him. The Guardians should be able to beat him back after he’s lost interest, but I can’t guarantee anything.” After getting no response, Ron added, "So, we’re agreed? This is what we go with.” There was consent in the room. "Fine. Let’s make this thing work. Linda, I need you to get one of the bedrooms ready, I’ve written down everything you’ll need to do. I’ve got something I need to do.”
The group split up to get things ready for their mission. That’s exactly what it is, too. A mission. This is our last chance at obtaining our objective, and we’ve got to make sure the planning stages are all done right.
But he had a short task to finish first. He just couldn’t leave it alone.
He pulled into the driveway and shut off the engine. He knew she was home, though there was no sign of life in the house. He walked up and rang the doorbell. It took a long time before the door opened, and there she stood.
"Yes? Oh, it’s you. Did you come to get your jacket back?”
"No.” Ron handed her a card, which she took, and looked at quizzically. She then looked back to him. He explained, "In the near future, you may need a place of safety or refuge. Go to the address on that card, and give it to whomever opens the door. They will let you in, and protect you. I cannot tell you more than that.”
She was stunned, and all she managed was, "But… why?”
"Because as much as you needed me last night, I needed you. To help me remember what it was all about. I know none of this makes any sense to you. Someday, it will. I’ve taken as much of your time as I should. Have a good evening, ma’am.” Without another word, Ron turned and walked back to his truck. Well, that’s out of the way. At least she should be safe when the fighting starts.
Ron returned home to find that preparations were well underway.
"I need to go back to the Spirit Realm. We’ve got to make sure the Guardians will agree to this," Ron told Lars.
"Would you like me to come with you?” he asked.
"No, they don’t know you, and I’m not sure how they’d react. Besides, I’m going into friendly territory, I hope.”
Ron settled into a recliner, and leaned back. He settled his mind with a breathing exercise, and focused on moving beyond the body. As his mind began to float, he turned all his energy back in upon itself, and suddenly found himself in the Plane of the Watchers.
"Hello, Master," Jessica said. Ron turned to see her, as beautiful as ever. He opened his arms, and she came to him. They stood like that for some time, until Ron realized that he didn’t really have time to waste.
"Jess, I need to get back to Guardian Hall. We think we’ve come up with a way to save Kumiko and the baby.”
Jessica nodded, and turned to lead the way. It was only a short distance to Guardian Hall from where he had appeared.
"Jess, why didn’t I appear at the seashore? It’s where you had me leave from.”
"Master, the seashore is where the Watchers spend most of their time. You can appear anywhere in the Plane. Most likely, you appeared where you did, because that was where I was. Now that you know the way, you can appear there anytime. Sir, we are at the gate path. I am not allowed to go up there, so you must leave me here. I will wait for you.” She gave him a brief but warm kiss, and then sat down upon a large rock.
Ron turned and headed up the path. He was met at the gate by a large guard. This was new to him.
"Your name and business?” the guard demanded.
"Ron Chaffey, I am here to see the Three Sisters. They invited me to return.”
Though the guard gave him a very odd look, he summoned a young girl to take him up to the Hall. The girl was very quiet, and did not volunteer a conversation. Ron was lost in thought, and so didn’t really notice. Not until he had entered the Hall and noticed the strained atmosphere, and the look on Calliope’s face, did he think something was amiss.
"Ma’am? Is something wrong? Has something happened?”
Calliope’s face darkened with grief. "Yes, Ron. And I’m trying very hard not to blame you for it. You see, Valeria and Callista were taken by demons while they were out patrolling the Spirit Realm. The demons were part of Mordreon’s band. We can only conclude that Mordreon is trying to dissuade us from helping you.”
Calliope’s pronouncement hit Ron like a hammer. He staggered, and struggled to catch his breath. "How… how long? Why didn’t you have Jessica tell me?”
"It’s been two Earth days, which is nearly a year in our time. I can only imagine the horrible, disgusting….” Calliope broke off, tears running down her face. Ron wanted to go to her, to comfort her, but she composed herself. "We thought to tell you, but Jessica told us you were in the middle of devising a plan to save your friend, Kumiko, and we didn’t wish to distract you further.”
"Damn it," Ron said. He sat in a nearby chair. His voice was deathly quiet, but then he nearly shouted, "Damn it! Why is it that everything I touch falls apart!” This time, it was Calliope who went to Ron. She wrapped an arm around him until his mood quieted. Ron felt a strangely warm attachment to this woman he didn’t know. Then something struck Ron. "You said Val and Callista… what about Minerva?”
"Minerva was not with them. She was still here, at Guardian Hall. She is punishing herself for not being with her sisters. I have been unable to get her to eat or sleep since it happened. She flies into a rage anytime anyone comes near her. I fear the situation is hopeless.”
"May I see her? I need to apologize. You were right to blame me, this is my fault.”
Calliope led him down a hallway, and then another. She pointed him to a door. "She’s in there. I don’t want to seem cowardly, but I can’t bear to see my daughter like that. Please, help her!” The pleading in her eyes tore at Ron’s heart. He nodded, and headed for the door.
The door was massive. It was carved with a battle scene, with creatures Ron didn’t even want to guess at. He thought to knock, but knew instinctively that was not the right approach. He quietly opened the door and walked in.
Minerva was standing resolutely, staring out the window at the sky. As he walked toward her, she showed no sign of noticing him. Once he was within range, however, she turned and struck at him wildly.
"This is your fault!” she screamed. Ron ducked and twisted away from her attacks. He didn’t dare to hurt her, and he couldn’t find a way to stop her until she’d vented on him. She swung on him repeatedly, missing in her blind rage, screaming epithets and telling him what she thought of him, and humans in general.
Eventually, the rage started to burn itself out. Ron had stood and taken the abuse, partly because he agreed with her assessment of blame, but mostly because he knew she needed to lash out at something, anything. As she stood there, beating against his chest, he quietly reached up and grabbed her hands. He pulled her hands together and up, holding them against his chest, so she would look him in the eyes. The hurt he saw there was enough to break his heart. But he had to get her back to a better frame of mind first.
"So, it’s my fault. Okay, so what? Does that fix things? You’ve been standing here for a year, blaming me. Has that accomplished anything? No, it hasn’t. Your sisters, my friends, are in trouble. What are we going to do about it?” He saw the defiance flare in her eyes. Good.
"What did you expect me to do, go up against Mordreon alone?”
"There are who-knows how many Guardians in this place. Take some troops and go get them!”
"I can’t. A decision like that has to be made by the Judges.”
"And?” Ron prompted.
"And what? They have not made a decision like that in eons. Why would they risk that kind of trouble for my sisters?”
"Did you bother to ask?” He didn’t let her answer when he saw the look in her eyes. "I didn’t think so. Never assume the worst, or that’s exactly what you’ll get. I learned that lesson the hard way. Can anyone ask the Judges?”
"Yes, but it’s a very formal thing. You’ve got to know the rules, and the procedures, and… and I don’t know them.” She began sobbing against his chest. Now was time for support.
"Can we learn them?” he asked kindly.
"There are books," she sobbed, "But it will take too long to memorize it all…" Her entire body was shaking now.
"Not for me, it won’t," he said, "It’s a skill I’ve mastered. It will only take me as long to learn it as it will to read it. We’ve got to try.”
Minerva looked up at him, her eyes rimmed with tears, but with a glimmer of hope. "Do you really think… do we have a chance?”
"There’s always a chance, Minerva. You can’t ever give up trying. Once you’ve given up trying, there’s no chance at all. Until then, there’s always some hope of success.”
She melted against him, and he let go of her hands. She wrapped her arms around him in a warm embrace. Again she looked up at him, with a look he had long come to recognize.
She led him over to her bed. It was very Spartan, very much less decorated than the room he had first been brought to. As she walked, she undid the sash around her, and dropped it to the floor. Upon reaching the bed, she turned to him, her robe unfastened.
"It was unfair of me, of us, to blame you for this. After all, we brought you here, you didn’t ask to come. It’s the noon hour, so the books we need are not available just now. Please, lie with me, and let me apologize properly.”
Though Ron was a little dismayed by the formality of her statement, her body had most of his attention. Her robe wasn’t open very far, and so revealed nothing, but his imagination was filling in most of the details. He embraced her, and she tilted her head up to meet his mouth. As their lips touched, Ron reached inside her robe at waist level. He moved his hands around to her ass, and pulled her gently to him. Once again, her body melted into his. Ron slowly edged his hands up and to the sides, parting her robe away from her body. As his hands reached her shoulders, she shrugged the garment off, allowing it to fall to the ground. The young woman was now completely nude, but Ron was still fully dressed. This would soon change, however.
Minerva broke the kiss, and pulled Ron’s T-shirt off him. She worked her way down his chest, kissing and nipping the flesh as she went. When she reached his nipples, she tongued each one extensively, setting Ron all a-tingle with pleasure. She continued on down, past his navel, until she got to his belt. She unfastened his belt and pants, and pushed them down and off his legs. She took a more careful hold of his briefs, and slowly peeled these off his body. Now they were both nude, and Minerva took Ron’s dick gently in hand. She blew a warm breath over its length, watching it twitch and lengthen. She flicked her tongue gently along the underside of his shaft, seeing it stiffen as she played. She placed sloppy kisses from the base all the way up the shaft until she reached the head of his dick. Then she engulfed him, all the way down her throat, full length until her nose was buried in his pubic hairs.
Ron was in so much pleasure it was painful. Minerva began sucking him off with all her strength. She eased him out of her mouth slowly, and then plunged him back in to the full depth. Ron was shuddering with the ecstasy of it. He rested his hands lightly on her head, but she needed no encouragement, she was fully into what she was doing.
Minerva continued this treatment for some time, Ron doing his best to hold off his impending blow. But he just wasn’t able, and finally he spurted his load down her throat, and she took it all, and kept sucking, as if to find more.
When she finally pulled off him, he was fully hard once more. She stood up, took one long look at his rock hard cock, and then she jumped onto him, wrapping her arms and legs around him. His cock was nestled in her pussy fur, ready to enter her. She said, "Enough with the formal crap. Fuck me, dammit!”
Ron reached down, and adjusted himself so his dick was properly positioned. Then Minerva allowed herself to sink onto his rod. She let out a loud "Oh!” as her body fully engulfed his member. Ron staggered over to the bed, and dropped down onto it, Minerva still wrapped tightly around him. He started humping into her, pumping himself in and out of her warm, tight hole as fast as he could.
Minerva was screaming and thrashing in the pleasure of the moment. She pushed him to higher and higher levels, with her voice and with her body. Suddenly, her body exploded in orgasm, her voice resounding through the room as she shrieked her climax. Ron held on for dear life, and kept pounding away, extending her orgasm as long as he could.
Once she started to come down from her peak, she looked at him lustfully, and kissed him hard on the mouth. Once they broke the kiss, she said, "I want you in my ass. Now.”
Ron pulled himself out of her, and flipped her over roughly. He positioned himself at her rosebud, and started to press in slowly. He was too slow for her, however, and she began to push back as hard as she could. Very quickly, Ron was fully buried in her ass, his stomach resting against her ass cheeks.
"Fuck my ass, you stud! Fuck me good!” Minerva growled, like a cat in heat. Ron began rutting into her ass, moving in and out as fast as his body would take him. He reached up and grasped her tits, mauling them as he fucked her ass.
He was not far from his own orgasm this way, and she was quickly approaching another. He took hold of her nipples and twisted lightly, sending a twinge of pain and pleasure through her body. It was enough to send her over the edge, and once again her shrieks of pleasure filled the room. Her ass clamped down on his prick, and that was enough for him. He shot his full load deep into her ass.
They were both exhausted when they came down, so they lay down on the bed for some rest. They both fell asleep, resting in each other’s arms.
"These books read like… well like law books, I suppose," Ron said, chuckling. "Of course, that’s exactly what they are, so I don’t see why I’m surprised.” He’d been reading for the better part of two Spirit days, and was almost through the information he needed to have to confront the Judges.
"Yes, but you’d better make sure you get the formalities right, otherwise they won’t even listen to you," Minerva warned. She’d been with him for the entire two days, passing him books to read, and pointing out the relevant passages. "A Guardian hasn’t been in front of the Judges to make this kind of request in my lifetime, which is a pretty long time.”
"Well, I think I have the procedures down. I’m looking for… ‘arguments for the prosecution’, I think it would be called. I’m looking for stuff that will convince them we’re right.”
She passed him another book. "This is the only book on demon law we have.” It was a very small book. "There aren’t very many rules that demons will follow.”
Ron glanced through it quickly, looking for sections that might apply. "Ah-ha! Found it!” He read through the section speedily, and then went back and studied it carefully, memorizing every word. Then he turned to Minerva. "I think we’re ready. How do we get to the court, anyway?”
"We walk, how else?” She smiled at him. "Come on, let’s go get Mother. She’ll want to go with us.”
They entered the great hallway of the Council of Judges. Standing before them was a massive Spirit, nine feet tall.
"He’s a Centurion," Minerva whispered. "He guards the Council. You’ll have to start by telling him your business.”
The guard stared down at the three of them expectantly. Ron stood erect and said, "Ronald Chaffey, representative of the Guardian Society and the Earth Realm, requests an audience with the Council of Judges to discuss an issue of importance to both Earth, and the Guardians. Will you please inform them that we are here?”
The guard was unimpressed. "Wait here," he said, his voice booming through the hall. He walked off, leaving them standing alone. They said nothing as they waited, all of them too nervous to talk or joke.
When the guard returned, he was accompanied by a much less imposing individual. "Hello, my name is Jarvis. I understand you wish to see the Judges. May I ask what the issue to be brought before the court is concerning?” The man had a sniveling expression, and walked quickly and quietly, shoulders slightly hunched. He reminded Ron of a mouse.
"I wish to discuss with the Judges… An act of war.” Ron was gratified to see the terrified look on the man’s face.
"Oh! Please, come this way.”
As they walked , Calliope put her hand on Ron’s arm to get his attention. Seeing the questioning look on her face, he gave her a reassuring smile and a wink. She shrugged, and they continued to walk.
Jarvis led them to a set of double doors, closed and guarded by two more Centurions. The Centurions parted at Jarvis’ approach, and pulled the doors open. The four of them entered the Council Chamber.
Jarvis drew himself up as straight as he could as he announced, "Your Honors, there appears before you a representative of the Earth Realm who wishes to speak with you about…" Here, Jarvis’ voice stumbled. He cleared his throat, and continued shakily, "About an act of war.”
The Judge in the center of the large bench before them spoke, his voice sonorous and clear. "Let him speak.”
Jarvis quickly motioned them forward as he disappeared into a corner to be away from them all.
Ron stepped up, glanced at his two companions, and, seeing their support, began his speech.
"Your Honors, my name is Ronald Chaffey. I come before you as a representative of the Earth Realm and the Society of Guardian Hall. I come before you today to speak of a most serious matter, committed by a band of demons against the Earth, and Guardian Hall. This act was the kidnapping of two prominent Guardians, known to you as Valeria and Callista Calliopis. These individuals, while performing their normal duties, were abducted by a group of demons under the leadership of Mordreon, an eighth-level demon presently affecting the Earth Realm.
"The request being made of the Council at this time is that your Honors would release the Centurions and the Guardians to assault the stronghold of Mordreon in the Demon Realm, and to rescue our comrades, Valeria and Callista. I know that the Council will not make such a decision lightly, or in haste, so let me please outline for you why we believe that this is the proper course of action at this time.
"First, the rule of law states that an armed assault may be used to remove a destabilizing influence to the Realms, either Earth or otherwise. Your Honors, in that these two individuals are great supporters of the Earth Realm, and have invested a great deal of energy into protecting its positive course, anything that bars them from continuing their work by its very nature destabilizes the Realm. Further, as I have been told that I am an important part of the future of Earth Realm, I must speak for myself. I consider these two individuals friends, and, as such, I feel compelled to rescue them at any cost. Since I would certainly be destroyed in such an attempt, and my destruction would be a serious disruption to the stability of Earth Realm, I ask you to consider this in your decision.
"Second, the law states that anything having a severe negative impact on the Earth Realm directly is liable to a forceful resolution. As I have pointed out already, these individuals were staunch protectors of the Earth Realm, and there is serious negative impact being done simply by their absence. We cannot know how many humans have already been harmed by their absence over what has been only two Earth days. I would remind you, respectfully, that you have an obligation to the positive course of the Earth Realm, and that this affront has caused a serious negative turn.
"Further, the law states that any action that causes a severe negative impact on any Spirit Society requires a forceful response. Your Honors, if you had been to Guardian Hall in the last Spirit Year, you would have seen how distraught their society is. You would have noticed the increased vigilance, the overwhelming security precautions they have been forced to take. The very nature of the Guardians’ task requires an optimistic outlook, and this has been severely damaged by the loss of their two comrades. In the name of the Society of Guardian Hall, I am stating a formal request for assistance at this time.
"Continuing, it should be pointed out that, by holding these two Guardians for an extended period of time, which the law states as any longer than two Spirit Days, the Mordreon band has broken Spirit Law. Valeria and Callista have been held for an entire Spirit Year, your Honors! That is nearly 200 times as long as the law allows for. Since the order of any society is kept together not only by its laws, but by the enforcement of those laws, it behooves us to take action in the upholding of this law.
"It should also be noted, your Honors, that, by taking prisoners in any form of battle or contest, the Mordreon band has executed an act of war, as established by the code of the Demon Rules, section 12, which states that under no circumstances are prisoners to be taken and held captive, but are to be destroyed or driven off in any hostile action or unprovoked attack. Your Honors, the Demons have disdained your authority, and have chosen even to ignore their own rules in attacking the Guardian Society in such a cowardly manner. Since they have chosen to conduct an act of war, it is only appropriate and right for us to respond in kind. I would ask again for your permission to send forth the Centurions and Guardians to take this matter in hand.
"Finally, your Honors, and I know your time is valuable, so I will take very little more of it, I would ask you to consider one last point. According to the book of Spirit Law, the job of the Council of Judges is to preside over the positive flow of events in all of the Realms. The Earth Realm, The After Realms, and, of course, the Spirit Realm. Your Honors, how can you, as fair and honest guarantors of justice, attempt to preside over the positive flow of these other realms, when there is a serious negative flow in your own? I mean no disrespect by this, I only intend to show you how inequitable the present situation is, so that you may have all the facts before you as you make your decision.
"Your Honors, as the representative of the Earth Realm, and the Society of Guardian Hall, I thank you for your time, and we await your judgment.”
Ron stepped down off the speaking platform, but remained beside it in the event of questions. There were none, so he returned to his seat. The central Judge intoned, "Thank you, Mr. Chaffey, for your passion and your eloquence. This Council will recess to chambers to discuss the issues before us. Please wait here for our return. Jarvis will provide you with refreshment, if you so desire. Court in recess.” The Judges rose silently, and walked to the side door leading to chambers. None of them looked at him as they left, which caused Ron to worry.
"It was a great speech," Calliope said.
"But was it enough?” Ron responded.
"We’ll have to wait and see.”
They waited for only a short time, before a young lady approached them. "Mr. Chaffey? The Judges would like to see you in chambers, please.”
Ron looked to his companions. There had been nothing in the law books about this. Calliope said, "I don’t know what they want, Ron, but it’s best not to keep them waiting.”
Ron followed the lady through the side door into the Judges Chamber. There, all the Judges were seated at a table, a little less formally than they had been in the Council room. The head justice spoke up.
"Mr. Chaffey, please sit down. Would you like some refreshment?” Ron indicated that he did not, so the Judge continued, "It is very unusual for a human to make a request of the Judges. Actually, anymore it is unusual of anyone to make a request. I think sometimes that we have been ruling too long. Anyway, that is neither here nor there. We had a couple of questions, of a more personal nature, to ask you, and we didn’t want you to be hindered by the presence of others.”
"I appreciate the thought, your Honor. What would you like to know?” Ron replied.
"How long have you known about this problem with Callista and Valeria?”
"Two… no, three Spirit Days, sir.”
"Really? You learned the full formality of the request procedure in just that short a time? Impressive. But tell me, why do you really care what happens to those two?”
"Well, sir, there are two reasons. First of all, they saved my life just a short time ago, and I consider them friends. Also, It was they who promised me the help of the Guardians in saving a young lady’s life from this demon, Mordreon. Oh, and one more thing, sir, is that Mordreon would not have bothered with them if it had not been for me, so I feel extremely responsible for the position they are in.”
"I see," said the head justice, "Well. Ron, I’ll be honest with you. Until forty-five minutes ago, the Council knew nothing of this problem. Had it been presented to us as early as nine months ago, we would have responded favorably to a request for assistance. To have it brought to us by a human tells us that we are woefully out of touch with the Spirit Realm. For that piece of information more than any other, we owe you a debt. We have sent two scouts to find out where they are holding Val and Callie, and we will see what strength of force must be fought. I assume you will want to go with the assault force?”
"If that is permitted, sir.”
"Normally, it is not. However, we are going to make an exception in your case, because you have a vested interest in the outcome. Also, you may be of some help in leading the ladies away from the battle. You will take orders from the Centurions, however. Is that understood?” The voice was stern, and not to be argued with.
"Yes sir. My only interest is in the safety of those two girls. To that end, I will do whatever your warriors tell me to.”
"Very good. Go join your friends in the chamber. We will come out to you when we have the scouts’ report.”
Ron was led out of the chamber and back to his waiting companions.
"What did they say?” Minerva asked. Ron could see that Calliope was just as anxious to know.
"Well, they said they’ve sent some scouts to find where Val and Callista are. It looks like it’s a go.” Amid their smiles, Ron decided not to tell them the other part of the conversation. If the Judges wanted them to know that, they would tell the Guardians themselves.
After a couple hours, the Judges came back to the Council Chamber. The demeanor of the Judges was returned to its somber state. Ron wasn’t sure if they’d received bad news, or if this was just the way they looked when in an official role.
"We call this court to order," intoned the Judge. "Mr. Chaffey, would you and your companions take the podium, please?” After they did so, the Judge continued, "Mr. Chaffey, I have sat on this Council for longer than the United States has been in existence. And in all my time, never has a human come before this court. To have done so, and spoken so well and so succinctly to plead your case speaks well of you, and your people. I would like to enter official thanks into the record for bringing this matter to our attention.
"Calliope Sarenis, Minerva Calliopis, I tell you now that this matter should have been brought before the court a long time ago. As the ruling family of the Society of Guardian Hall, it is your responsibility to lead your people. When you show a reluctance… or even a fear to come before the Council, it reflects rather poorly on us. However, in light of some of your past dealings with this Council, I understand that you may have felt that a negative response was a given. In light of that, I will render no decision on this matter at all, but set it aside. I ask that you consider more carefully your actions in the future. You have chosen your spokesperson well: the lad is either very well trained, or has a good heart. I choose to believe the latter.
"In the matter before this court, the Council has already taken steps. A short time ago, a scouting party returned from Demon Realm. The two sisters are alive, and all right, but somewhat worse for the wear. They are guarded by twelve demons, of a moderate strength.
"The Council’s decision, therefore, is this: We hereby order the second brigade, Centurion battle force, to send out an expedition of no less than 36 men. They will be accompanied by Mr. Chaffey, who will serve in an observer’s role only, unless otherwise directed by the Centurion leader. Their only objective is the safe recovery of the two Guardians aforementioned in the plea before the court. Upon the safe extraction of the two Guardians, the assault force is to return to the Centurion Garrison, with the exception that Mr. Chaffey and the two ladies may return directly to Guardian Hall. Mr. Chaffey, if you will wait outside, you will be taken to the Centurion leader. Ladies, I suggest you wish him luck. As for me, I don’t think he needs it. May the future favor you, Mr. Chaffey. This court is adjourned.”
Ron was taken to meet the commander of the attack force. Ron stared up at the nine-foot giant, glistening in his battle armor, his sword sheathed at his left side, and some sort of staff across his back. The man noticed Ron’s discomfort, and quickly sat down to be closer to eye level.
"My name is Marius, I am colonel of the fourth column of the second brigade of the Centurion battle force. I am told that you are the human responsible for our mission.”
"Well, sir, I did bring the issue to the attention of the Council, but it was ultimately their decision.” Ron was horribly intimidated by this man.
"Aaah! Let’s cut the crap, shall we? I know Valeria. She’s a damned fine fighter. Any mission aimed at saving her cute little butt is just fine with me! So, have you any thoughts about how to deal with this scenario?”
"Sir, with all due respect, the only time I’ve fought a demon, I had my head handed to me, so I don’t think I’m the guy to be asking for advice.”
Marius’ laugh rolled out of his body. "Yes! Quite so. Oh, humans are so much fun! Now I know what the Guardians get out of their job. Well, come then, and we’ll show you what we’ve cooked up.”
Ron was flabbergasted at the mixture of the old and the new. He was riding on… no doubt about it, it was a hover-chariot, self-powered, but with no visible means of propulsion. Yet his companion was wielding what was described as a lance. It didn’t look much like a lance, at least not the ones he’d seen in cartoons, but the soldier with him had told him it was an energy weapon, not intended to be used for actually striking an object.
They were at the tail end of a formation of 50 such chariots, just now entering the Demon Realm through the gateway guarded by a full company of Centurions, fully geared and ready for battle.
"Are they our backup?” Ron shouted over the din of the moving vehicles.
"No," replied the soldier with him. "They guard that gate permanently. They cannot leave that post unless they are relieved by another company. The Demon Realm is a nasty place, and we don’t want their kind in the Centurion Garrison.”
They rode on in silence, his driver keeping in tight formation with his comrades. As they approached the objective, the column slowed, and spread out across a larger front. Finally, the column stopped. The hover-chariot settled to the ground as Marius approached.
"Ron, the encampment is just over that rise. We intend to make a frontal attack, across a wide front. If there are indeed only 12 of them, they will be very preoccupied with us. You and Buran here will slip around behind them, and find our friends. Once you’ve got them untied, get them into the chariot, and get the hell out of Dodge, understood?”
"Yes sir!” They both chimed.
"Good. Buran, when you’re halfway to the gate, let off a signal burst, and we’ll disengage. We’ll keep them from following you back. Good luck!" Buran snapped a salute, which Marius returned. Then Marius strode off to his chariot, while Buran moved them off to the left end of the line.
Marius gave the signal, and the line of chariots roared into life, riding over the ridge like a cavalry charge of old. Ron watched in fascination as the demons came out to fight, quickly finding cover from the bursts from the energy lances.
"I count about twenty demons, Buran!” cried Ron.
"Twenty, a thousand, it doesn’t matter at this point!” he shouted back, racing the chariot over the rocky ground, moving to get around the formation without being seen.
Marius crouched behind the protective framework of his chariot. The demons were using grenades, which he had not been ready for. He didn’t expect them to be so well armed. To his right, Vernon rose, fired, and fell, a large hole punched in his chest from a burst from a small energy cannon. My God! Where the hell did they get that from? He moved his right flank forward cautiously, hoping to pull the demons’ attention away from his left side, where Ron and Buran were just now moving past his line.
"Fuck!” bellowed Buran. "Where in all the After Realms did they get THAT?” He pushed the throttle on his chariot to full power, accelerating so fast that Ron nearly lost his balance.
"Michael! Jeremiah! Lob… NOW!” ordered Marius. His two mortars launched an amazing blast of plasma into the middle of the demons. Three fell to the ground, wounded or dead. Two more jumped clear of the blast. The rest just kept firing. More grenades fell into the midst of the Centurions. And more Centurions kept falling.
Ron and Buran reached the back of the demon camp. "I can’t see anything, Ron," Buran said. "One of us will need to move forward while the other covers him from here.”
"Let me go, Buran.” Upon seeing the look Buran gave him, he said, "I’m smaller than you. They’re less likely to see me. Plus, you’re likely a better shot with that damned thing than I’d be.”
"Okay, GO!” Buran yelled. Ron raced forward, sprinting from tree to bush to rock, moving steadily forward, all the time praying that he wouldn’t be seen.
Marius saw his opening. "Left flank forward!” He’d seen Buran and Ron head past some time ago, and knew it was now time to keep the enemy’s attention focused forward.
Ron was now at the edge of the clear area. He crept slowly around the perimeter, trying to find the two girls. Finally, he saw them, shackled against a stone wall, their legs had to be cramping. Even spirits have got to get tired after a while… He gave a signal to Buran, and moved out carefully.
Marius’ troops had closed to half of their original distance. He was down to 35 troops, though, and that wasn’t good. Come on, you two… Let’s get this over with!
Neither girl had their eyes open when Ron got to them. He immediately felt for a pulse, then felt foolish. Do spirits have a pulse? He was surprised to find that he did, indeed, feel a pulse. As he touched her, Callista stirred. She opened her eyes as Ron looked at her chains.
"Ron! My God, what are you doing here?” Then she heard the battle raging in the background. "What’s going on?”
"You didn’t think I was going to leave you here to rot, did you?” Ron said.
Callista shared a look with Valeria, who was now awake also.
"We’d almost lost hope, but I knew you’d find a way," Valeria said.
"Yeah, well I came as soon as I knew about it. You know, you’ve only been here a little over two Earth days. It’s a good thing I showed up when I did.” His voice was strained as he tried to pry the shackles off them. He focused his mental energy on them and, with some effort, managed to get Callista’s hands loose, at which point she gave him a furious hug.
As Callista let him go to free her feet, he spotted Buran behind him. "Maybe this will be faster," Buran said, removing his sword. Ron could see the energy pulsing through the blade, and Buran merely flicked it against Valeria’s shackles and they fell apart. Ron finished freeing Callista, who fell against him as she had to support her own weight.
"Buran, can you carry Val?” Buran nodded, and nearly flung her over his shoulder. Ron lifted Callista into his arms, and then ran for the hover-chariot.
"Charge! Full Frontal Assault!” screamed Marius, urging his men forward. They had reached the compound. He had only 30 men left now. But the demons only had 5, and were falling back quickly.
Buran was racing the chariot at breakneck speed back toward the gate to the Centurion Garrison. He slowed down only momentarily to fire off a blinding burst of energy into the sky, then revved his speed back to maximum.
"Okay, troopers! Fall back! Fighting retreat! Move, move, move!” Marius and his team ran back for their chariots. Two more demons lay dead, but there were now only 23 Centurions. The demons pursued them to the edge of the compound, but, not knowing their prize had been stolen, they didn’t follow.
"They’ll be after us soon enough. Rear flank, keep your eyes open! Full speed! Back to the Garrison!” The chariots roared over the rise, out onto flat ground, tearing up the distance to the gate.
Buran and Ron waited for the returning force at the gate. The two girls slept in the chariot, exhausted from their ordeal. The company of troops around them tensed at the sound of approaching engines, but relaxed when they saw who was at the front.
Marius came over to Ron after reaching the gate.
"Did we win?” asked Marius.
"See for yourself, sir," replied Ron, gesturing into the chariot. Marius leaned over and looked in.
"Indeed we did. Good work, Ron!”
"Sir, I’d like to thank you and your men for this. You lost a lot of men out there, for just two women. I’m not sure how that’s fair…"
"Son, we’re Centurions. Nothing makes us happier than to die in battle. Dying to save a Guardian, well… legends will be written about those who fell today. Buran," he turned to the soldier. "Take these three back to Guardian Hall. After that, get yourself a shower and some rest. We’ve all earned it today.”
There was a small crowd gathered as the chariot pulled up to the Guardian Hall main gate. Dozens of Guardians cheered the return of their comrades, and their hero, Ron. The two ladies were helped out of the chariot by a slew of people, but when it was obvious that they needed to rest, and weren’t up to such a gathering, the crowd quickly backed away, allowing them the space they needed. Each in turn embraced their mother, and then took the arm of another Guardian to help them off to rest. Calliope and Minerva remained, waiting for Ron to climb down. He turned to Buran.
"Great work out there, man. Glad to have you, all of you, along on this one.”
Buran bowed slightly. "Always here to serve. And you didn’t do half bad yourself. Now, I really need a shower, so why don’t you go take care of the ladies who are waiting for you, hmm?” Buran gave him a smile and a wink, and Ron shook his head ruefully as he clambered down off the chariot. He waved as Buran pulled away.
"You don’t look too banged up, I guess," Calliope said.
"I had the easy part," Ron replied. "The Centurions did all the work. I hope those two are going to be okay.”
"There’s an old saying in Guardian Hall. ‘If you make it back from the battle, you’ll live.’ They’re here thanks to you, Ron.” Calliope’s voice left her. Minerva, who had been quiet to this point, merely gave him a fierce hug, a soft kiss, and then turned to go where her sisters had gone.
Calliope regained her voice. "Minerva’s still a little shaken. Now she blames herself for not having the courage to go to the Council herself. And I, too, should have done it. Thank you, Ron, for showing us the way.” They were walking toward the Hall, and entered just as a rain shower began. "Uh-oh. Looks like a heavy one today. We get occasionally heavy storms of rain here. It keeps the plants healthy, but it gets us soaked. Come on in and take a rest before you head home.”
Ron and Calliope retired to a small sitting room. Ron revealed what he had been thinking since she had thanked him. "You know, I didn’t exactly help them entirely out of the goodness of my heart. I have my own problem, and I need them to help me with it. Without them, I don’t think I can do it. Or, at least without someone to convince the other Guardians to help me.”
Calliope rose and went to the window, staring out at the rain pouring from the sky. "I don’t think you’ll have any trouble finding volunteers now, Ron. Do you think any Guardian doubts your motives? Not very damned likely. Besides," she said, closing the curtains and turning to him in the now dimly lit room, "You’re forgetting that I’m still here. I have more authority than they do.” She had moved over beside him, and settled onto the sofa, facing him, only an arm’s length away.
"Yes, ma’am, but-" she stopped him.
"My name is Calliope. If you’re going to call everyone here who is older than you ‘ma’am’, you’d better start calling everyone that.” She chuckled at his bemused expression.
"Okay, Calliope. What I was going to say is that, well… I guess they have more of a connection with me. For all the reasons you know about already.”
"Yes, I do know. And you know what else I know?” He shook his head. "I know that it is unfair for them to have all the fun.” She slid over to him, pressing her warm, soft body up against his. She kissed him urgently, her tongue forcing its way into his mouth, swirling and twitching, and then she sucked his tongue into her mouth, encouraging him to explore.
She had pressed him back against the sofa. He could barely move, not that he wanted to get away. This woman was hot, and she was also beautiful. Her blonde hair spilled over her shoulders and down her back. Her large, soft breasts pressed into his chest, the nipples burning little points into him. Her strong legs rested on either side of him, her crotch a pool of warmth in his lap.
She broke the kiss long enough to pull his shirt off of him. She loosened the ties on her robe, but did not pull it off. Her mouth re-engaged his as her hands worked at his belt and pants. Once she had his pants fully undone, she rubbed her robe-covered pussy up and down his crotch, getting him fully hard. Once she felt he was ready, she pulled his dick out of his briefs, holding him firmly in her hand. With her other hand, she lifted her robe up out of the way, and impaled herself on his cock. She let her robe fall back down, covering their joining.
Ron regained enough of his senses to reach up to her tits, and knead them gently, feeling her nipples pressing into his palms. She started moving herself on his dick, sliding faster and faster as her excitement grew. Soon her movements were so great that remaining lip-locked was impossible. Ron engaged a tit instead, sucking on her nipple until it was rock-hard. He switched to the other nipple as she continued to ride him, bucking furiously in his lap. He started bucking back up at her, and she grew even more frantic, moaning out her lust for him.
Very soon, her body was wracked with pleasurable spasms, her body seizing in the joy of orgasm. Her mouth was locked in a silent wail of ecstasy. She continued bucking on his cock until she came down from her peak.
Suddenly, she climbed off him, leaving him unfinished. But she wasn’t done with him yet. She knelt and took his manhood into her warm mouth. She slowly sucked him into her mouth, caressing his balls with her hands while her tongue danced along his dick. She ran her tongue all the way around the head, and then slid her mouth back down his length, all the time sucking and licking and caressing as she went. Ron couldn’t take much of this, and soon was blasting the back of her throat with his cum. She sucked it all down, and kept right on going.
When she had him fully hard again, she pulled off her robe. With a clear view of her body, he knew she was damned good looking no matter how old she might have been. She grabbed his cock gently and held it in place. She turned to face away from him, and settled down into his lap, his cock sliding slowly into her ass. Once she was fully impaled, she wiggled in his lap, sending shivers through his engulfed cock. He reached up for her breasts, cupping them, and tweaking her nipples lightly. Each time he did this, she shivered, and he could feel the sensation all the way down his cock.
Once they were both ready, they began a steady rhythm. Up and down she went, faster and faster. Soon, they were rutting into each other hard enough that the slapping sound filled the room. So did her screams of bliss. Their bodies hurtled toward the peak of pleasure; nothing would stop them now. Ron reached down and started plucking her clit. Her body was wracked with a massive orgasm, her body thrashing up and down on his prick. Her ass was gripping his cock in waves, and it was more than he could take. He spewed his seed deep into her ass, and the sensation shot her even higher. They were both groaning out their pleasures, giving voice to the inner animal that they had let loose.
Finally, they came down. They lay back on the couch, Ron’s dick still buried in her ass, slowly shrinking from its aroused state. She turned her head to face him, and they shared a long, sensuous kiss.
"Now," she said, "I know what the girls were so happy about.” She smiled at him. It was one of the most beautiful smiles he’d ever seen. "Thank you for giving me back my daughters. Why don’t you rest now? I’m sure the girls will be able to talk to you in an hour or so.”
Ron was in no shape to disagree. She laid with him until he fell asleep. He never felt his cock slip from her as she rose and covered him with a blanket.
Ron awoke to a gentle urging.
"Ron, the girls are ready for you to talk to them. But I must warn you, they are not ready for action yet.” It was Calliope, quietly urging him to rise and join the rest of the worlds.
"Okay, let me get dressed, and we’ll go.” Ron quickly put his clothes back on, no longer embarrassed in front of her. Just before they left the room, he gave her a quick kiss, and a light caress on her ass. He whispered, "You’re just as good as any of them. Maybe even better.” She smiled at him, and led him out of the room.
After making sure the two were really all right, Ron outlined his plan.
"This is the only shot we’ve got. If you can’t help me, then we’re dead in the water.” Ron stared at them plaintively.
"It’s a good plan," Callista said quietly, "But right now, we’re just not up to it.”
"How long will you need to recover?” Ron asked.
"A couple of years. Say, four or five days in Earth Time," Calliope answered for them. "If you want them in good shape to fight. And we’ll need to get others on our side. Of course, that’s not really a problem. You’ll have as many Guardians as we can spare, Ron. We might even convince the Centurions to help out somehow.”
"How? The battle is in… well, it’s in Kumiko’s head. Isn’t that in Earth Realm still?” Ron asked.
"Yes, but there are other ways to have an effect on Mordreon other than a frontal attack. Let us worry about that part of it, I have to see if I can convince them to help out, anyway.” Calliope said.
"Okay, so we’re agreed?” Ron asked. He got nods. "I’ve got to get home. I don’t think they expected me to be gone this long, even if it is only a couple of hours. I’ll be back in five Earth Days. That’s cutting it closer than you know, but I think I can keep her going for that long. Get well, please. And, for God’s sake be careful! I can’t take too many more of these rescue missions.” He smiled at them, and each one of them gave him a hug and a kiss. Minerva was the last of the sisters to approach him.
"Thank you. For everything.” She kissed him warmly, "Especially for not letting my stubborn attitude get in your way. You be careful, too. You’ve got more things to worry about than we do.” She embraced him, and then turned away. Calliope led him out of the room.
"In all of Minerva's thirty-three hundred Spirit Years, she’s never managed to give in to anybody until now. Thank you again for all you’ve done.” They were standing now at the gate leading out of Guardian Hall. "I will miss you while you are away. Be safe.” She kissed him warmly, and embraced him. This time it was he who had to turn away.
"I will be back here soon," he said. "I promise.”
"We’ll be waiting.” She waved as he headed through the gate.
True to her word, Jessica was waiting on her rock.
"Jess, didn’t you get wet? You didn’t have to wait for this long.”
"I had nothing better to do, Master. Besides, it does not rain here. Only in there. Things are quiet at home, but they are concerned about your extended absence.”
"Well, we should get going then. There’s no reason I can’t leave from right here, is there?”
"None at all, if you can find the way.”
"I think I can, I think I can, I think I can….” They both chuckled at the joke.
"I’ll be waiting for you when you get there.” She kissed him lightly, and faded off into the distance, into nothingness. He focused his attention, turned it in on itself, and tunneled his way back to reality.
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