Gender: N/A Age: N/A Location: N/A
|Introduction: Not my story|
The Battle, Reprise
Kumiko flinched as Mordreon’s anger washed over them all. Standing there were two of Mordreon’s henchmen, having obviously lost a battle. Kumiko didn’t know what to make of this, but she knew Ron would need to know what was going on.
Megan appeared at Kumiko’s side as she tried to sit up. "Settle down, Miko. You don’t want to get yourself all upset again.”
"Megan," Kumiko gasped, "Go get Ron. Quickly.” Kumiko slumped back onto the bed as Megan raced from the room.
Ron returned in a matter of seconds. "What’s wrong, Kumiko?”
"Ron… the demon… there are others with him, inside my head… talking about a battle…" Kumiko was exhausted from this little exertion.
Ron sat on the edge of her bed. "Okay. It’s okay, Kumiko," he comforted her. "Just lie back, and let me tap into your thoughts…" He held her hand, and allowed himself to see what she was seeing. Though not dangerous to himself, done this way, it was distressing to be back at the spot of his defeat.
"WHAT!!!” screamed Mordreon. "How in the Realm could you allow that puny little turd to defeat you?” His voice thundered across the stone circle. The demons cowered before him.
"Sir, please! He wasn’t alone. He brought Centurions with him! They attacked us, and kept us busy while he freed the Guardians!”
"FOOLS!” Mordreon swiped his hand at them, sending them flying into the fountain. "I told you he was clever. He is a weakling, but he knows how to use that mediocre human brain of his to get what he wants! I told you to post as many guards as you could afford!”
"Sir, we did! If we had left any more of us there, we would not have been able to complete the other tasks you gave us!” The demons were quivering on the opposite side of the circle from Mordreon, hoping to avoid another attack.
"Blunderers! Just because I cannot leave this place, you think you can get away with incompetence? When I finally kill this girl and return to the Demon Realm, I will make you pay for this failure!”
The demons quaked as Mordreon’s voice lashed over them. "Sir… what should we do now? The Guardians have gone to full alert, sir. There’s no way we’ll be able to recapture them now.” They cringed as Mordreon seethed in rage.
"It matters not now. In essence, you have done what needed to be. The human was distracted. What can the Guardians do? They do not have my strength, they cannot help him. I can handle a hundred Guardians, a thousand! And I have beaten this human before. He is no match for me. I will crush him if he comes here again!”
The demons hesitated before continuing. "Sir, there’s… there’s another problem.”
Mordreon was instantly enraged again. "WHAT NOW?”
"Sir, it’s the Centurions. They’re amassing an army on the other side of the gateway. It would appear that they are readying for an attack on the Demon Realm.”
"Bullshit! The Centurions do nothing without the Judges’ stamp of approval, and they haven’t authorized offensive activity in longer than I can remember.”
"Except, sir, that they must have approved the assault to get back the Guardians. Our spies say that there was talk in the court of war, sir.”
"Horse-hockey! That’s unmitigated balderdash! You and I both know that the Judges don’t have the balls for that sort of thing. Get out of my face with this crap!” He gestured with his hand, and, before he could do more, they scurried out of sight.
Mordreon turned to Kumiko. "Don’t you worry, my pretty one. Soon, this will all be over. And I’ll have you for eternity.” He leaned back and let loose a cackle that echoed through the world.
Ron gasped as he pulled out of Kumiko’s brain. He opened his eyes to find the whole family waiting for news.
"Well, Mordreon knows about us freeing Callista and Valeria. He doesn’t seem too happy about it.”
"Can you blame him? Geez, he’s probably never been beaten by a human before," Nikki said.
"He still hasn’t been, Nik. The Centurions beat the other demons, but the only time I’ve faced Mordreon, I got my ass handed to me.”
"Anything else? Anything we can use?” Karen asked. Ron noticed her hair was hidden under a baseball cap, which was unusual for her, but he had other things to worry about.
"Well, it sounds like the Centurions are getting ready for that distraction the Guardians were talking about. Other than that, no. Mordreon feels confident that he can’t be beaten. Maybe that’s good for us; maybe he’ll be overconfident when we face him.” And maybe his confidence comes from knowing that we can’t beat him. Shit, I hope not.
Ron was taking a few moments out to relax and actually watch TV for the first time in two weeks, when Megan interrupted him.
"Sir, there’s a man at the door, he says his name is Jeff Durant. He says he’s a friend of yours. The last ‘friend’ I let in…" she let the sentence die.
Ron chuckled at her, "At least you learned your lesson. Yes, Jeff is a friend of mine, show him in here, please.”
Megan left, and Ron rose, turning off the television as he did. Megan returned with Jeff, asking him if he’d like something to drink.
"No, thank you.” Ron also indicated he didn’t need anything, and Megan departed.
"So, what can I do for you, Jeff?” Ron asked.
"Ron, how serious were you when you told me about the trouble that’s coming?”
"Serious as a heart attack. I’ve been getting ready for it over the past year. Sooner or later, we’re going to have a major problem. According to the CAMP Committee, there has been a steady attack on American psionics, not all of them part of CAMP, either. They’ve discovered a name: The Filitov Council. And, get this, it’s supposedly led by this crazy woman, named Zinaida something-or-other. Yeah, this is a big problem, Jeff. Why do you want to know?”
"I’ll be honest with you, Ron. I don’t trust CAMP to keep our lives safe when the shit hits the fan. All I’ve seen from CAMP is that they like to say how we shouldn’t do this or that with our Ability. Like there’s anything they can do about it anyway!”
"Except send me after you," Ron said, chuckling. "Right, I get your point, but why come to me about it? I am CAMP, remember?”
"Aw, shit. You’re not CAMP. Sure, you might work for ‘em, and all, but there’s no way you’d have told me what you just did if you were really one of ‘them’. I trust you. Furthermore, I’ve made friends in CAMP, and some who are in other organizations that I found out about after CAMP. They know about you, and they’re willing to follow your lead. Ron, if the Russkies are coming, I don’t want to depend on CAMP to save my ass. I don’t think they’re capable of it. I’ve gotten together about thirty people or so, and they’re all willing to follow you. We’ve got to defend this country; it’s all we’ve got. And who the hell wants to live in a goddamned communist country? Or whatever they want to try to turn us into.”
"I don’t think you’d have to worry about it. Their goal seems to be eliminating all the other psionics in the world. But, Jeff, I don’t know shit about defending a country. I have all I can do to keep my own family safe. I’m no Schwarzkopf, that’s for sure.”
"Look, Ron. I had to read your bio, remember? I know what you’ve been through. If there was ever a natural born leader for this thing, you’re it. I know you can’t be responsible for everything, but, well, we’ve got to give it the best shot we have. And we all believe that’s you. When the fur starts flying, we’ll be here, ready for you. And we’ll follow you to the bowels of Hell itself, if necessary.”
Ron rose, a little shaken. Well, fuck. If you’ve gotta fight, might as well have backup. "Okay, Jeff. One of these days, I’ll call you. When that happens, I’ll need you to get all of your people here, just as fast as you possibly can. And one more thing, Jeff?”
"Yeah, Ron?” he said as he stood to go.
"There are worse places than Hell. I’ve been there.”
Jeff had no reply to that as Ron left the room.
Later that evening, Ron was once again relaxing in front of the TV, when he felt frustration somewhere in the house. Being attuned to everything around him, he was instantly aware that someone was really aggravated about something. He got up from his chair and started roaming the house, hoping to find the source.
At last, he came to Nikki’s room, and the frustration on the other side of the door was almost physical to Ron. He knocked softly.
"What!” came the old reply. Ron would have smiled if he didn’t know how upset she was.
"Nikki? Can I come in?” The door quickly opened, and Ron stepped inside, shutting it behind him. "Something bothering you? You seem upset.”
She moved back over to her desk. "It’s just this damn math test tomorrow. I’ve been going over these notes for the last four days. Mrs. Brimly said that our final was going to be a quarter of our grade. If I don’t get an A or B on this test, I’m dead meat!” She scowled down at her notebook and the pre-algebra book on her desk.
Ron did a quick mental scan of her mind. Hell, she knows it, she’s just nervous. "Nikki, I think you’re working at it too hard," Ron said. "If you keep going like this, you won’t be able to focus on the test tomorrow. Why don’t you take a break, and just relax for a little while? If you keep pushing like this, you’re going to freak.” Ron pulled her away from her desk, and sat her down on the bed. He knelt on the bed behind her, and began rubbing her shoulders.
"Mmmm," she purred, "That feels good…"
"It’s been a while since I’ve given you a back rub, hasn’t it?” He moved his hands down her back, pressing and kneading out the tension. He could feel her starting to ease into a more comfortable posture, so he kept going. He moved back up to her neck, where he could feel a big knot of stress. He firmly massaged her neck and shoulder muscles, dispelling the tension there.
Nikki was fully at ease now, her body and mind quieted from the apprehension she had felt just a few minutes before. She leaned back, pressing herself against her brother’s strong hands, feeling him caress her neck and back. Slowly, she turned and lay down on the bed, looking up at him invitingly.
Ron moved beside her, allowing his hand to rest on her stomach, just below her breasts. He took a moment to notice that his sister really had started to become a woman, her curves were filling in, and her dark brown hair framed a gorgeous round face. He enjoyed how her pert little nose was slightly upturned, and how her mouth would purse just so, like she was doing now. Her wide eyes looked up at him lovingly, and he just couldn’t resist her when she looked at him that way.
"Have I told you how pretty you are, Sis?” Ron asked.
Before she could answer, he leaned over and pressed his mouth to hers. She opened her mouth to admit his tongue, and they remained like that for some time, their tongues intertwining, their mouths mashed together.
Ron moved his hand to his sister’s breast, not breaking the kiss. He tweaked her already-hard nipple through her T-shirt, and caressed her tit. He moved back and forth across her chest, giving both breasts attention. He pulled her shirt up over her chest, and allowed his hand to roam over her now bare breasts.
Nikki was moaning into his mouth, and her body was heating up to the attention. She began pulling his shirt off over his head. They broke their kiss only long enough to remove both of their shirts, and then they mashed together again, their bodies now sliding one over the other, her tits pressed into his chest, her arms wrapped around him. Ron slid his hands down to her firm ass and fondled the wonderful flesh there. Nikki slid her leg in-between Ron’s, and lightly rubbed his crotch with her thigh.
Ron broke their kiss, and reached to undo her pants. He slipped them down and off her legs, exposing her to him completely. Nikki, like the rest of the women in the house, wore underwear only when necessary. Ron quickly shucked his own pants, and crawled between her legs.
Ron began at her knees, placing feathery kisses along the inside of her thighs, switching from one to the other, not hurrying. He was driving Nikki insane with lust, and her body was pleading for more direct contact. The closer he came to her pussy, the more her body arched and bucked. Finally, he flicked his tongue lightly across her pussy lips.
Nikki groaned as her body jerked with a minor orgasm. Ron let it pass fully before he continued his torture. His tongue flitted repeatedly across her cunt lips, driving her toward orgasm once again. He avoided her clit, licking only along her slit, then plunging his tongue into her hole. He kept this up until he knew she was ready again. Then, he moved up and took her clit into his mouth, sucking it hard, while lashing it with his tongue.
Nikki’s mind exploded with the wonderful sensations of it. Her body arched, and spasmed as the orgasm wracked her body. Her moan of pleasure filled the room. Ron continued sucking, prolonging her orgasm for as long as he could. He inserted a finger up her cunt, twisting and turning it to give her the greatest sensation possible. Her pussy clamped down on his finger, milking it and trying to suck it further into her.
Finally, she started to come down from her peak. But he knew she was far from done. Nikki never wanted to stop at just one. She pulled him up to her and kissed him, allowing the taste of her juices to coat her tongue. She rolled him onto his back, and said, "Now it’s your turn.”
Nikki kissed her way down his chest, stopping only for a moment to play with his nipples. She reached his cock quickly, and took it into her hand. Ron was almost fully hard already, so Nikki engulfed him with her warm, tight mouth. She sucked him all the way into her throat, then slowly eased him out, inch by inch, keeping up the suction as she went. When she reached the head of his cock, she licked around the tip, then ran her tongue along each side of his cock, from the base up. Then back into her mouth it went.
Nikki kept this up for only a few minutes before Ron was ready to blow. He placed his hand lightly on the back of her head to warn her, and she drove her mouth down onto his cock, until her nose was buried in his pubic hair. She began to hum.
The extra sensation shot Ron right past pleasure into complete rapture. His head swam as he shot his load down his younger sister’s throat. Spurt after spurt of his hot cum shot down her throat. But even when he stopped coming, she did not stop sucking. She continued to hum on his cock until he was fully hard again.
Without a single word, Nikki removed her mouth from Ron’s dick, and then plunged her twat down onto it. She let out a long "Oh!” as she impaled herself to the full depth of his cock. She smiled down at him as she began riding him, sliding her pussy over his shaft faster and faster.
Ron bucked back at her, trying to keep pace with her hunger. He had learned what Nikki really liked, and it was time for him to give it to her. He formed his mental extension into two branches. He always tried to surprise her with this, and this time it worked.
As Nikki was thrusting down onto Ron’s cock, she felt something pressing at her asshole. She barely had time to smile at that, when she felt something else forcing open her mouth. She opened up to let in the intruder, which, this time, she couldn’t see. It filled her mouth and ran itself down her throat. The invisible intruder poking at her ass penetrated, and expanded to fill her rectum. Now, all of Nikki’s holes were plugged, and she was as content as she could be.
Ron fought for control as the sensation from all three penetrations began to overwhelm him. He sped up the movement of his extension, plunging into Nikki’s ass and throat just as fast as his dick was moving into her pussy. He saw that Nikki was approaching her orgasm, as was he. He reached up and fondled her tits, using his mental strength to support her weight now.
Nikki fought off her orgasm just as long as she could. She did not want this to end. Her body betrayed her, though. The stimulation of all three of her holes was more than she could take. Her body began to buck wildly, her screams of joy filling the room. Her cunt gushed out her cum, and her vision began to blur.
Ron felt Nikki’s orgasm begin. He moved his extension even faster, and plunged his cock into her harder, deeper to drive her higher, ever higher. Finally, he could stand it no more, and he gave his cum to her, pouring it into her pussy. Though his dick was beginning to soften now, he didn’t let up on her. He kept his extension plunging into her, keeping her orgasm going for as long as she could take. Finally, she passed out from the exertion. Ron lowered her gently onto the bed beside him, and cuddled her into his arms, his softening dick still inside her. He kissed her forehead, and they fell asleep.
By the time Ron awoke the next morning, Nikki had already gone to school. She had left a note on the pillow beside him. It read simply, "Thanks, Big Brother. I needed the distraction. Love Ya! Nikki.”
He got out of bed, starting his day off with a smile on his face. At least he was still able to bring happiness to someone these days. As he stood under the shower, letting the hot water warm him up, he felt someone enter the shower with him. Soft hands encircled his chest, and a head rested lightly on his shoulder.
"Good morning, Sweetheart," whispered Linda. "How are you today?”
"Mmm," he said. "The day is going well for me, but shouldn’t you be at school by now? You’re going to be late.”
"I called in sick. I’m feeling sick to my stomach today. Don’t worry, I’ll be okay.” Seeing the concern on his face, she gave him a smile and a soft kiss. "Mind if I shower with you?”
He replied playfully, "It’s a little late to ask now, isn’t it? Turn around, and I’ll wash your back.”
She turned away from him as he grabbed the soap. He lathered the bar in his hands before applying it gently to her back. He softly maneuvered the bar up and down her spine, covering every inch of her back and shoulders. He knelt down to begin lathering her legs, allowing the spray to wash the soap off her back.
Linda leaned against the wall to help her stand. She had a hard time thinking through the wonderful feelings Ron was giving her, but she needed to ask him something.
"Ron, do you ever miss Nathan?”
"Hmm? I’m not sure I understand the question.”
"Well, he’s your son. Don’t you ever miss him?”
"Sometimes. Every once in a while, I regret letting Dawn take him. I don’t really know why, though. I didn’t spend that much time with him while he was here.” Ron moved back up her legs as they talked, making sure not to miss anything.
Linda shuddered with the pleasure as she continued, "Do you think you’d spend more time with him now? I mean, now that you know that you miss him?”
"Well, yeah, I think. Only, there’s so much that’s about to be going on, so much that is going to take all my time.”
"But you’d give him whatever time you had," she concluded.
"Yeah, I think I would. You know, a lot’s happened since Nathan was born. I wasn’t ready to be a daddy then. ‘Course," he continued, "I’m not sure I’m ready to be a daddy now, but I wouldn’t mind giving it a shot. Say, why all the talk about Nathan? Did Dawn say she wanted to come back or something?”
Ron stopped soaping her up as she took his hands and brought him to his feet. She looked deep into his eyes to make sure he was telling her the whole truth. What she saw there left no doubt. "Ron… Sweetheart, I’m pregnant.”
Ron nearly fainted at the pronouncement. He steadied himself against the wall. "Wh- ho-… Are you sure?” he stammered.
"Dr. Brown confirmed it yesterday afternoon. I didn’t want to tell you until I was sure you would want the baby.”
Ron hugged her furiously. Tears were streaming from both their eyes. He said, "Of course I want the baby. How could you think otherwise?”
"Well," she said, pulling back from him, "You didn’t try all that hard to keep Nathan, and I worried that…" She couldn’t finish the sentence.
Ron just pulled her to him. He held her like that, under the running water. They held each other until the water grew cold, and they started to shiver.
"We should get out now," she said, "Or I’m going to catch cold.”
Stepping out of the shower, Ron grabbed a towel and began to dry her off. As he gently wiped every part of her body dry, she moved to give him access to her body. As he toweled his way down her body, drying her, neither of them spoke. The ritual had been done before, but never was the emotion between the two so intense.
When he had dried her feet, he quickly dried himself off. As expected, she had not moved an inch since he had finished with her. He picked the baby oil up off the counter, and led her out of the bathroom and down to her bedroom. As she lay down on her bed, Ron raised the shade on her window, allowing the sunshine to fall across her naked form, keeping her warm. Ron walked over to the bed and knelt over her, his butt lightly resting on hers as she rested on her stomach, her eyes closed, a serene smile playing on her face.
He squirted some of the baby oil into his hands, warming it before he applied it to her upper back. She gave out a quiet "Mm" as he began to massage the oil into her skin. He moved his hands up, across her shoulders and neck, kneading the muscles there and letting the baby oil soak in. He added more oil as he moved his hands down her back, coating her lower back and sides.
He continued his caresses down across her ass, stopping only momentarily to savor the softness of her curves. Down her legs he went, massaging out little knots of tension as he covered her skin with the oil. He continued all the way down, until he had reached her feet, rubbing them and manipulating them to work out the kinks.
Without a word, she turned herself over so that he could continue. This part always reminded him of his first time with his mother, which was maybe why he enjoyed doing it so much. This time, he began at her feet, massaging his way up.
He bypassed her private areas on his way up her legs, instead moving on to her stomach, making sure the skin there was well coated with the moisturizer. He moved his hands up to her breasts, lightly caressing them, and kneading them gently in his hands.
Linda was writhing gently on the bed, enjoying the ministrations of her young lover. They had done this only twice before, and she enjoyed it more each time. When he finished up with her breasts, he rubbed the front of her shoulders, and worked up her neck. Once he had her head in his hands, he kissed her passionately. With all the sensations and emotions of the moment, Linda came in a powerful, but silent, orgasm.
Ron broke their kiss, and looked deep into her eyes. "I love you," he whispered.
"I love you, too," she responded, and kissed him lightly on the lips.
That evening, they told the rest of the family about the baby. Everyone was happy for them, and the mood was light.
Later at night, as everyone was going to bed, Lars and Karen were walking in the hallway toward his bedroom. She was still wearing the baseball cap, which he found very annoying, but he said nothing about it.
"So, the Dragon’s Heart didn’t really know what happened to us, either?” Karen asked.
"Not really. They said that it has happened once or twice before, in the last four or five hundred years, but that they did not know what caused it.”
"Oh. Well, did they say whether it did anything bad to the people it happened to?”
"According to the archives, it had very little effect on them at all, except for being able to communicate so easily with the other person.”
"Oh. Okay. Say, what’d you think of the news about Linda?”
"Ron is awful young to be having a child," Lars replied.
"It’s not his first," said Karen.
"Oh? I did not know he had more family than was here.”
"His older sister, Dawn. She had his firstborn. And, don’t forget that Kumiko is pregnant, too. So this will be his third, assuming Miko’s baby lives.”
"Where is his sister? Why does she not live here?”
"It’s a long story. When the Russians attacked, she sort of freaked out, insisting on leaving the house. So, Ron let her go, under the protection of a friend of his. She took Nathan, their son, with her.”
"Oh. I see," Lars said, as they reached his door. Without asking, she followed him in and closed the door behind her.
"Well, what are we doing tonight?” asked Lars.
Still without speaking, Karen disrobed, but still had her damnable hat on. Lars stood agape, his mind taking in the first nude female he’d ever seen in person. He reached out hesitantly to touch her, and she pressed herself into his hands.
"I don’t… have much knowledge about these things," Lars stammered.
"That’s okay," she said, reaching up and pulling off her hat, "I’ll teach you what to do.” Lars was stunned by the sight as she led him over to the bed. "Just follow my lead…"
The next morning, Ron was walking down the hall as an unfamiliar girl stepped from Lars’ bedroom. What? Did he borrow one of the facility’s girls for the night? The young lady had flowing black hair down to the middle of her back. Though her breasts were small, her body was lithe and agile as it moved against Lars, kissing him fully on the mouth. As they disengaged, and the girl moved toward Ron, his mouth gaped in astonishment. That’s Karen! his mind shouted.
As she passed by Ron, seeing the look on his face, she whispered, "He likes it better this way.” She flashed him a quick smile, then slipped away down the hall toward the facility.
Ron looked back to Lars, who had the silliest expression on his face. Ron remembered that look: it was the way he had looked after the first time with his mother. Well, good for them. It’s about time Karen showed interest in someone.
The family sat down to a quiet meal that evening. The mood was light, the conversation was carefully steered away from anything unpleasant. Nikki had come home exuberant, having aced her math final. She had thrown her arms around Ron and given him a big kiss.
But the festive mood would not last. Suddenly, Ron had a splitting headache. And so did Lars, and Karen.
"Guys?” asked Sandra, "What’s the matter?” There was fear in her voice.
Without answering Sandra, Ron got up, a look of cold hatred on his face. "You two stay here," he said to Karen and Lars. "If they come here, I don’t want the family unprotected. I’ll go take care of this.”
They all got up as Ron marched out the front door. As he lifted himself off into the sky, Lars commented, "He looks like Superman up there.”
Karen replied, "That’s only because you can see him. Wait a second.” Just as she said it, Ron winked into invisibility. "Have you ever tried doing a hundred and twenty in rush hour traffic?”
Sandra could take it no longer. "What in the hell is going on?” she demanded.
"Sorry, Sandra," Karen apologized. "Jeff is in trouble. He called for help telepathically. As strong as the call was, he’s either very close, or in severe trouble. Can we all go back inside now? Standing out here is making me nervous.”
The family headed back into the house to wait for Ron’s return.
Ron hurtled through the air toward campus. Even before he got there, he could see the battle going on. As he touched down, still invisible, He could see that Jeff was valiantly protecting the girl Ron had met earlier. He was faced with four Russians, and was holding his own, but he was weakening.
The Russians began to spread apart, hoping to weaken him by widening the arc of their attack. They were not expecting, nor were they ready for, an attack on their flank.
Ron slipped into visibility and focused on the nearest Russian. The tall blonde was attempting to burrow through Jeff’s defensive shield. His attention was much too centered on his task. Ron flung a haphazard blast of mental energy at him. No need to waste energy on control when the guy wasn’t looking anyway. The Russian flew sideways, hitting a tree and snapping his neck.
The others, now aware that it was three on two instead of four on one, linked hands to join their energies. This made their attacks more powerful, but it also led to inherent vulnerabilities. Ron communicated with Jeff, Jeff nodded and took up position directly opposite from Ron. The Russian trio lobbed a psionic blast at the two, but both used their mental shields and ducked out of the way of the directional attack. Ron concentrated his energy on the center of the group, which had formed a triangle, facing outward. He lanced a burst of energy right into their midst, where they had no defenses waiting. He allowed the energy to burst like a grenade, throwing the three a dozen feet or more before they landed hard on the ground.
Quickly, they were back up. They would not make the same mistake. The three channeled their energies at Ron exclusively.
In response, Jeff formed a wall out of his extension, and slammed it into the three. He pushed them into a real wall, keeping them pinned. Ron, who had only been mildly diverted by their attack, grabbed one of the Russians through Jeff’s extension. He used his own extension to drive the man high into the sky, and then pulled him into the ground. The body collapsed, all life gone from it.
Jeff couldn’t hold the other two long enough, though, and they managed to escape his grip. It was now two on two, but it was clear the Russians were overmatched. They turned to flee, but weren’t given that option.
"Grab ‘em!” screamed Ron, and reached out with his mind, holding one in place. Jeff quickly secured the other one. They dragged their prisoners back, kicking and screaming, trying every trick they knew to get loose. But Jeff had been well prepared for this, and Ron was barely exerting himself, so the captives had little chance for escape.
Ron slammed his prisoner against the wall, stepped within inches of the man’s face, and bored into his mind. It was a dark, evil, twisted place. Ron searched into every nook and cranny. He got names, and a few plans, but no faces. That’s odd. Ron moved on to Jeff’s prisoner, because Jeff was not capable of this level of mind probing. Again, no faces. But there was a code phrase: Challenge the ivory tiger. Interesting. I wonder what it means.
Ron pulled out, glad to be in fresh air and open spaces again.
"What do we do with them?” Jeff asked.
"We kill them. Or would you rather let them go so they can try to kill you again?”
Jeff agreed it was their only course of action. Ron reached in and mentally stopped each man’s heart from beating, squeezing it until it could no longer pump blood. The men slumped over, dead.
"Shit! Crystal and I were just having a picnic, and Boom! Here they come, trying to frag my ass! What the hell is this shit?” Jeff was badly shaken.
"Those," Ron answered, "Were the Russians from the Filitov Council. I fear that the war I have been waiting for is a lot closer at hand than I thought. I’d better wrap up my business with Mordreon quickly.” Jeff stared at him quizzically. "Never mind. Is she okay?” Ron gestured at the girl.
"Yeah, I think so. They never got to her, but then I don’t think she was really a target.”
"Probably not, but they used her to distract you. Well, take her home, give her a nice warm bath, and relax. I doubt they’ll be back tonight. But they will be back, so get ready.”
"Yeah. Thanks, man. I wasn’t sure if you could hear me or not when I was calling.”
"Shit, Jeff, they probably heard you in fucking Siberia. You nearly gave me a migraine!”
"Sorry about that.” He shook his head ruefully.
"It’s alright. Look, my dinner’s getting cold, so I’ve got to get back home. You take it easy, okay?”
"Sure. Thanks again, man.”
Ron nodded and winked out of visibility again.
Shit. I’ve got too much to worry about now. I don’t need the Russians bugging me just yet. And now, with Linda pregnant… Aw, shit. Sometimes life just gives you a shit sandwich and says ‘Eat it’. Well, if we must, we must. One way or another, the thing with Kumiko will be over in the next couple days. Then I can devote my full attention to getting ready for the Russkies. They want to play hardball? Fine. Batter up.
The family was relieved to have Ron back home. He filled them in on just what had happened, and assured them all that he had not suffered any injuries.
"Anything at all happen here?” he asked.
"Not a thing," Karen said, "Except that Megan ate your dinner.”
"Oh, sure!” she retaliated lightly, "Blame me for it! How come his fork’s on your plate then?”
"How did that get there?” Karen responded with an "aw-shucks" grin. The family laughed at the exchange. A little levity was needed just now, and it was warmly welcomed.
"Hmm," Ron said thoughtfully, "Maybe I’ll just have to um… punish, yeah that’s it… punish Megan later for her thievery.” He gave her a wink and she blushed.
The next morning, Ron was taking his usual shower, letting the hot water wake him up and give him energy for the day. As he stood under the warm jets, he let his mind wander. Maybe that explained why he didn’t catch her coming in.
Suddenly, he felt a small warm hand fondling his balls. Had he been expecting it, it would have been a very enjoyable sensation. As it was, his heart leapt into his throat, and was hammering away at a furious pace. He swallowed hard and turned to find Valeria standing before him, as naked as he was. Before he could say anything, she leaned up and kissed him, full on the lips, letting her tongue slide into his mouth and caress his palate.
When she broke the kiss, he tried to catch his breath. "Not that I’m not happy to see you, you understand," he said, "But what in the hell are you doing here?”
She giggled lightly. "Well, I didn’t get a chance to thank you properly for saving us from the demons. After all, a Guardian is supposed to be polite, and isn’t it polite to say ‘thank you’?”
"Well, yes, I suppose, but…" His sentence, and the thought, trailed off as her tongue began to work along the length of his cock. Her tongue slithered side to side as she moved her lips along the side of his shaft. Reaching the head, she allowed her tongue to play around the tip of his dick, absorbing the precum it found there. Then, sensing his readiness, she slowly sucked his length into her mouth, taking it inch by inch. She worked her mouth over his cock, applying suction as she pulled back, and running her tongue along the underside as she advanced. Each time, she took a little more in, until at last he was fully inside her. She remained there momentarily, fondling his balls gently as she allowed her throat to relax.
Once she had adjusted, she began sliding her mouth over his dick, trying to suck the cum from his balls. Her tongue lapped the bottom and sides of his dick as she sucked, sending tingles of joy through his cock. Her motion did not stop, did not slow down as she kept up this furious cocksucking. Ron was soon on the edge of his climax. Val knew this, and lightly scraped his dick with her teeth. The extra friction sent him over, and he blew his load down her throat, while she sucked at him like a cum addict.
Ron realized, as he came down, that she had continued sucking him to keep him hard. She stood up and looked him deep in the eyes. "I need you in me. Now.” She didn’t wait for an answer as she took hold of his dick with her small hand and attempted to stuff him into her cunt.
Realizing that her height was a problem, Ron picked her up, and pressed her against the wall. She positioned him at her opening, and he let her slide down onto his shaft. She immediately began bucking up and down on his cock. Ron knew he couldn’t hold his balance, so he simply lifted himself off the floor of the shower. He floated them so that the hot water would spray over their bodies, adding to the sensations. Valeria was thrusting with all her might down onto his member, and Ron plunged up to meet her every move.
Again, their mouths locked, and their tongues danced. Her arms and legs were wrapped tightly around him. He molded her ass cheeks with his hands, fondling the athletic body that was trying to melt itself into him. As Valeria continued pummeling herself down onto him, Ron got an idea. He formed his extension into a long, thin dildo, and began to press it against her asshole. Valeria’s eyes widened with the sensation, realizing that it was not his finger pressing into her. With gentle pressure, he eased himself into her.
Once he was fully inside her, he began pulsing his extension. To Valeria, it was as if someone had electrified her nervous system. The pleasure this caused her was so intense her orgasm began instantly. She bucked and cried and thrashed herself around on his dick. The sensation was incredible. And Ron wasn’t letting up. He kept up the feelings, kept pushing into her cunt with his dick. Then he reached down and tweaked both of her nipples. It was simply more than she could stand. With one final, ear-splitting scream of ecstasy, Valeria went limp.
Ron eased them down to the floor of the shower. He removed his extension, but left his still-hard cock inside her, pumping himself every so often to stay hard. Slowly, lazily, Valeria came back to him.
"That was incredible. How did you do that?” she asked.
"I’ll tell you later. I still have a little… problem," he reminded her, gyrating his hips slightly to remind her that she was still impaled on him.
"Oh, dear! Well, we can’t have you going off… half-cocked like that, can we?” She laughed at him as she began to move her hips in circles on his dick. Slowly, she began sliding herself off of him until just the tip of his cock was inside her. Then she relaxed her muscles, and let her body slam back down onto him. She repeated this over and over, driving them both to a highly aroused state.
Ron used his mental energy to stand them up, and he twisted her around without pulling out. Now, he was behind her, thrusting into her furiously. She steadied herself on the wall, and Ron remembered to keep his Ability ready in case they lost their balance. He continued pushing into her, faster and faster. He reached around and caressed her tits, lightly twisting her nipples. It was all she could take, and she came yet again. Her cunt muscles pulled on Ron’s dick in all the right ways, and he also came, sending his load deep into her.
They stayed that way for a few minutes, kissing each other while his cock slowly softened inside her. When he finally slid from her warmth, she turned around and they continued kissing. Finally, they had calmed down from their workout, and stepped from the shower to dry off.
"There was another reason I came here," Valeria said. Seeing she had Ron’s attention, she continued, "The Guardians and the Centurions are ready to help you with your plan. If we’re going to go, it needs to be soon.”
"Okay," he said, "Later today, Earth-time then. Give me another… sixteen of your days, and we’ll be all set.”
"Okay. I’ll tell the others.” She wrapped her arms around him and gave him one last, long, soul-burning kiss, and then, as quickly as she had appeared, she vanished.
"Must be nice to pop in and out that fast," he muttered to himself as he got dressed.
They gathered in the bedroom that had been prepared for the purpose, and Ron laid everything out for them. "Okay, Karen, I want you to stay here and keep a close eye on Kumiko. Linda, Megan, I want you two to get anything Karen might need. Lars and I are going in. When we contact the Guardians and enter Kumiko’s MindRealm, I’ll make contact with Kumiko. Lars, you’ll come back out here, and do what needs to be done. We have a very small window of opportunity once everything is set in motion, so we can’t screw this up.”
"Ron, I am not at all skilled at manipulating human biology," Lars said. "How am I to keep the control of Kumiko?”
"Let Karen help you. She’s mastered the medical arts. I understood you to say you could tap into a person’s abilities for a limited time?” Ron asked.
"Yes, but that only really applies to psionics, not to normals. I’ve never been able to drain a normal, it’s too hard to pin down their mind.”
"I can help him, Ron," Karen interjected. To Lars, she said, "I can control her, but I can’t remove her life energy.”
"Okay," Ron concluded, "It sounds like we have a team effort here. Since it’s easier for you to do it your way than the way the book suggests, we’ll go with your way. Failing that, fall back on the ideas in the book. Once you’ve got her life energy drained, I’ll know it, and we’ll have to press the attack quickly. Hopefully, Mordreon will be fooled. We’ve only got about, what?” he thought, "about sixteen Spirit Hours to make this work. That’s not a lot of time if he’s as ready as I suspect. Okay, is everybody ready?” Receiving affirmative nods, Ron sat himself back, and indicated to Lars to do the same.
"You been in before, Lars?” Ron inquired.
"Only to the Demon Realm, it was a very unpleasant experience.”
"Yeah, well Guardian Hall is a lot prettier. Just follow me in, okay?”
They sat back, linked up their thoughts, and began to float…
The sisters were waiting for them at the gate to Guardian Hall.
Callista greeted her friend warmly. "And who is this?” she asked, gesturing to Lars.
"He’s another psionic, and a friend. He’s going to help with the Earth side of the operation.”
"Okay. Buran!” Callista called. Buran appeared quickly, signaling a greeting to Ron. "Tell the Centurions to get their asses in gear! We go now!”
In a flash, the sisters, Ron and Lars were transported to Kumiko’s MindRealm.
Buran ran to where Marius held the Centurions at the ready. After saluting, he reported, "The Guardians report ready, sir! They invite us to begin our attack at our earliest convenience!”
"Why do I think you cleaned that up a bit, Buran?” Marius said, then slapped him on the back. "If the ladies want us to fight, then dammit, we fight! Centurions!” he cried. "Forward!”
The Centurion armies flowed through the Demon Gate into the Demon Realm. Here was a world of desolation, of destruction. Nothing grew in Demon Realm. The ground beneath them was a charred black, sterile of all life from the literally millions of battles fought on this territory. The sky was blood red, streaked by pale blue lightning. A constant roiling thunder deafened the soldiers, even over the whine of their chariots. Thousands upon thousands of soldiers flowed through the gate, whooping and hollering battle cries, urging themselves and their comrades onward into battle.
Ron and the others quickly covered the distance to the unholy temple of Mordreon. Entering the circle of stones, Ron appeared before him in defiance.
"What? You back again? And alone, I see! What impossible arrogance!” His laugh bellowed across the stone.
"Not this time, Mordreon. This time, I brought help.” With that, the sisters and Lars stepped into view.
"Ha! You expect to challenge me with but three puny Guardians, and another human? You fool! I can take a hundred Guardians! A thousand Guardians! And a million humans!”
"So, you can take a thousand Guardians, eh, Mordreon?” quipped Valeria. "Lucky we brought a few more than that.” Suddenly, lining the tops of the stones in the circle, and filling the skies beyond, and the grounds behind them, were fifteen thousand Guardians, ready to do battle, armed with the fiercest of their psionic and energy weapons.
"You are all fools!” cried Mordreon. "You shall die here today!”
"Better to die on my feet than crawl in your filth, demon!” Cried Valeria. "Guardians, HO!” And the entire group of them burst forth in shouts. Before they had the opportunity to attack, however, Mordreon vanished, to appear outside of their encompassing circle.
"Is that the best you’ve got, little Val? Come, show me your warrior spirit!” Mordreon taunted her.
"Stand still and fight!” shouted Valeria, "Or show yourself to be the coward you are!”
As Mordreon began leading them on a chase, Callista turned to Ron. "Go, meet up with Kumiko. You need to let her know what’s happening.” Then she, too, was gone, after the demon.
"Come on," Ron said to Lars. "Kumiko is right over there.”
Mordreon’s band of demons awaited his command in the Demon Realm. They ambled around, feeling bored and irritable. One said, "Damn that Mordreon! He tells us to wait here. For what? We could be having so much fun in the Earth Realm! I hear the Russians are just about ready for their attack. I can’t wait for the chaos and carnage that will bring!”
Another demon interrupted him. "I think you’re going to get your carnage a little earlier than expected. Look!” He pointed to the ridgeline. Spilling over it were chariots. Dozens, Hundreds of them, and they kept coming.
"Sound the alert!” cried the demon leader, Queros. "Prepare for an attack! Damn those Centurions! There’s been no declaration of war!”
"Like that matters now?” cried Prysion, a lower-level demon. "Ask those bastards if they have one with them!” He lowered his battle lance and fired.
Marius and his men slowed as they approached the demon’s position. Unlike the last battle, this one was better fortified. He called out, "Left and right flanks, circle! Back them to the river! We don’t leave unless they’re all dead! Move out!” He led the charge, firing his lance from the hip, standing tall in his chariot, unafraid, welcoming the threat.
Buran and his men circled right, coming around behind a small hill. There they encountered a well armed band of demons. Caught off-guard, Thirty of Buran’s chariots were immediately destroyed. The surviving Centurions caught rides from the others as Buran led a fighting retreat. "We can’t let them fight us back, men!” he shouted. "We’ve got to hold our ground!” The Centurions fell back to a low ridge, where they had a good field of fire on the demons. The demons tried once, twice, and even a third time to force them off the ridge, to no avail.
But the Centurions didn’t see the troops coming up behind them.
"Ron! Master, what are you doing here? Mordreon will kill you!” Kumiko cried.
Ron moved next to her and said, "Kumiko, let me worry about that, okay? Now, pay close attention. In a few minutes, you’re going to be released from your shackles. When that happens, you must stay by my side. No matter what happens, no matter what you see or hear, stay by my side. Do you understand?”
She gave him a frightened nod. Ron turned to Lars. "Go on. Tell them to start immediately. I don’t want to make the Guardians fight any longer than they have to. Move out!” Just before Lars left, Ron grabbed him. "One more thing, man. You’ve been a big help over the last few days. Thanks.”
Lars nodded his understanding, then turned and left.
Lars opened his eyes inside the bedroom in Ron’s house. He sat up quickly and turned to Karen. "Let’s get moving. They’re ready.”
Karen took Kumiko’s hand and began burrowing into her mind. Karen slowly, carefully, set up physical controls and bonds inside Kumiko’s mind. Finally, she was ready.
Lars pushed his way past Karen’s control network into the deepest reaches of Kumiko’s mind. Normally, the disorganized nature of a normal human mind would not have permitted him to follow this path long enough to reach his goal. With Karen’s help, Kumiko’s mind was stable for now. He reached the central core of her being, her life energy. He reached out for it with his mind. He began to unravel it, like a long string. He absorbed it into himself, pulling it away from her. Finally, he had absorbed all of it. Kumiko’s life energy was fully gone.
Karen sent out the telepathic message to Ron, who acknowledged her communication.
Karen’s message hadn’t really been needed. As soon as Kumiko’s life energy was taken fully from her, She had been released from the bondage of her chains against the stone wall. She wanted to wander toward the sun, felt compelled to move in that direction. Ron grabbed her arm and held her in place.
"Kumiko. Kumiko! Listen to me! If you go that way, you will die! I can’t let you go that way! Stay here with me. Sit down!”
Kumiko turned and sat on an overturned stone. And they waited.
Mordreon had led the Guardians on a merry chase. Occasionally he would turn and fire a burst of mental energy in their direction. One or two of them would fall, but a dozen more would hurl bursts back up at him. He managed to dodge most of them, and the ones that connected were mere stings, but enough stings can kill as certainly as a gunshot.
Mordreon reached a high bluff and decided to make a temporary stand here. He felt a nebulous shift in the nature of this MindRealm, but ignored it for the time being. He blasted a full wall of menace at the Guardians. A dozen fell from the sky, disappearing as they hit the ground, no longer in existence. A hundred more were wounded, falling back out of the line to take some moments to recover. Others, however, blasted back at him with their full force. Several managed to connect. The power of one Guardian was as nothing to him, but dozens at once began to have an effect. He decided that this standoff required a retreat. Again, he turned to flee.
Buran was caught completely by surprise. Suddenly, fifty of his men were down, from shots he had not seen coming. Now, he had to fight a battle on two fronts. Quickly, he reorganized his men. They had to hold this ridgeline: it was a critical landmark for the battle plan.
Buran’s second in command led a charge toward the new attackers, only to stand into a line of lance fire. His body was transfixed by the glowing hot blast, jerking and twisting as it finally fell to the ground. The Centurions fell back into their defensive positions, and Buran knew he was in trouble.
The left flank of Marius’ army was led by Kryton, a man of small stature for a Centurion, but an expert tactician. He divided his men into a dozen companies, enabling one half to overwatch the other half. He moved his men forward in echelons, standard chevron formation. The demons facing Kryton and his men might as well have been using peashooters. Taking full advantage of the cover here, and the lay of the land, Kryton and his company commanders pushed forward toward the enemy stronghold.
Marius held his position, hoping to keep the enemy’s attention focused on the main attack group to their front. The job of the frontal assault group was to make a good target, but they hoped to give as good as they got. Marius moved along his lines, encouraging his men, instructing them to conserve their ammunition, to keep their heads down, and to remember that the enemy deserved no mercy. He moved back along his lines, checking fields of fire, and worrying about what was happening to his two sub-units.
Dr. Olivia Brown was hurriedly ushered into the bedroom of the Chaffey house. "I’m sorry I’m late, but you didn’t-"
Karen cut her off. "Shut up, sit down, and keep out of the way. If you’re needed here, you’ll be the first to know.” She immediately turned her attention back to the young pregnant girl in front of her, who was now, by every appearance, dead.
Mordreon stopped again and again, turning to fight the horde of warriors chasing him. Again and again, he was able to take out a few, but dozens and hundreds more waited to sting and run, moving in swiftly to fire their salvoes, and then moving back out of range, or moving behind objects, or other attackers, to keep out of his line of fire. He was growing enraged by this. He turned back toward the stone circle. Strangely, they did not move to intercept him. They chased him onward, spurring him toward the circle.
"Come on, this way, Kumiko. We’ve got to leave this circle.”
"Alright, Master, I will follow you," she replied. Ron led them quickly away from the circle. He was concerned for the Guardians’ safety, and was well aware that their time was nearly half gone.
Buran forced himself to choose a course of action. "If we can’t beat them both, then we use them against themselves!” He led his men in a fighting retreat toward the first set of demons. Soon, the demons and the Centurions were close enough together that the second team of demons could not distinguish them at a distance. Soon, the first and second teams of demons were shooting at each other, without even knowing it.
"Cease fire!” Buran called to his men, hoping the demons would not hear him. "Now, move out toward the main line! Keep your heads down and your weapons silent! If we play this right, we can move around behind the ridge, and they’ll continue to kill themselves for us! Now march!”
"Okay, Kumiko, just a little bit longer. How are you holding up?”
"I’m all right, Master Ron, but I am feeling very weary.”
"This will all be over soon.” I hope, Ron added to himself.
Buran’s plan almost worked to perfection, but just as they reached the ridge, the demons realized what was happening. They all turned toward his men, but now he had high ground, and an enemy on only one side.
"Dural! Rear guard! I don’t want any damned scout unit sneaking up and fucking us in the ass again!”
"Yes sir!” Dural led off with a unit of a hundred men to secure the rear.
"Engage the enemy! Drive them to the river! Kill the bastards!” Buran was not foolish enough to stand tall as he gave the orders, but he did not cringe either. Lance fire was burning past his head as he returned it, shot for shot. The Centurions did not attempt to move their position forward. It was only necessary for them to hold here for now.
Kryton’s lovely plan was turning to dog shit very quickly. A special warfare unit of the demonic forces penetrated deep into his lines before he even knew about them. Suddenly, their was lance fire and energy sword crackle from within his units, and all control was lost. Centurions were scattering to save their own hides. Demons picked them off as they raced from rock to rock, trying to find cover and get away from the enemy in their midst.
Kryton waded through the bodies toward the enemies in his formation. His energy sword drawn, his lance in his left hand. Swinging and blasting, he took two dozen of them down before he himself was cut apart by an energy cannon blast that disintegrated his body.
Mordreon entered the circle and noticed at once that Kumiko was gone. "Ah, so that’s your game! You think I will fall for the oldest trick in the book? I am not so foolish as you are! I will find the girl, I will have my prize!” He tried to ignore the Guardians as he began his search, but they were relentless. Every time he turned his back, five hundred psionic blasts would pummel him, bowing him, nearly taking him to the ground. When he would turn to lash out a vicious mental attack of his own, they were already out of sight. He was furious, and frustrated, and he was growing desperate. It looked as if he might actually lose this battle.
< Let the doctor worry about that, you two have your hands full already. Tell the doctor to be ready just in case there are any problems here.>
Buran and his men received orders from Marius: the left flank is in trouble, chase the enemy back into their stronghold.
"Alright, men! Charge! Chase them back into their hidey-holes! Make them cower under their bunks!” Buran led the charge down the hill. The demons had suffered massive losses, and were severely outnumbered. Beaten, they ran for the cover of the fortress.
Mordreon grew more and more frustrated in his search. The Guardians were beginning to wear him down. He decided it was time to call in the reinforcements.
"DAMMIT!!!” shouted Mordreon. "So that was your game plan! Fuck Me!” Mordreon realized just how much danger he was in, now.
Buran and his men drove the demons from the battlefield, killing dozens of them as they fled for the safety of their fortress. But they found no safety there, as the demons inside had tightly closed up the fortress, and weren’t about to let anyone inside. Buran’s troops slaughtered the remaining demons outside their sanctuary, killing mercilessly the demons.
Having purged the life from the last of the enemy before him, Buran called back for orders, which came down: hold the siege until the Guardians report in.
Mordreon continued his search, enduring the painful blows of the Guardians, turning to retaliate now and again, but knowing he was losing.
Finally, he found them, sitting in a small alcove of rock, mostly hidden from the battle.
"So! You thought you could fool me, whelp? You cowardly piss-ant! I will crush you for your impertin-"
His sentence was interrupted by a sharp hammer-blow from behind. He turned to see a thousand Guardians formed up, blasting away at him. He could tell, from the pain he was now feeling, that he was losing this battle. But he vowed that he would not go alone.
Struggling, fighting for every movement now, Mordreon turned to face Ron and Kumiko. The pain and rage on his face were frightening. He snarled at them both, "You may have won this battle, human, but you shan’t have her!”
And with that, Mordreon blasted his full energy in their direction. Though Ron tried to block it, he was thrown forcibly away from Kumiko, who absorbed the entire impact of the blow. She was flung against the rock and held there, as her spirit-self was permeated with the energy. Kumiko’s form became fuzzy as her spirit started to dissipate. She let forth a terrifying scream as her form vaporized into nothingness.
Ron screamed in terror, "NO!”
Suddenly, Lars and Karen were both whipped across the room. Both of them were stunned momentarily, but were back up in a flash.
"What happened?” Karen asked.
"She’s gone. I don’t know how. We’ve got to save the baby now.” Lars answered.
"Dr. Brown, get your ass over here!” Karen screamed. "We’ll help you however we can, but we’ve got to save the baby now. Don’t worry about the mother, she’s dead, there’s nothing more that can be done for her. You have only-"
Dr. Brown interrupted, "Minutes. Yes, I know. Now step out of my way, this is going to be messy if I have to work quickly. Karen, you seem to know medicine, so you will be my assistant. Scalpel.”
Karen slapped the scalpel firmly into the doctor’s hand, and they began the procedure. Lars, who didn’t much care for the sight of blood and operations, stepped away from the scene, trying to collect his thoughts after the violent tearing away of Kumiko’s life energy from his mind. It was a very uncomfortable experience, and he was still quite shaky.
Karen, on the other hand, had gotten used to sudden problems, having lived with and trained with Ron for so long. She and the doctor completed the C-section in what must have been record time, although no living mother would have wanted them to have done it so quickly, or in such a frantic fashion. However, they got the baby out in time, and Dr. Brown took him over to the corner to wrap him in a blanket. She sat down with him, and cuddled him close.
Mordreon laughed. "You see, boy? I win, after all!”
Ron’s fury bubbled within him. He allowed it to pour forth out of his hands and fingers. What looked like lightning, only more intense, shot from Ron’s hands and enveloped Mordreon.
Mordreon was shocked at the awesome energies flowing from this human. He was also writhing in agony with the pain of the event. Mordreon was certain that, if he could not find a way out, the barrage from both sides would certainly destroy him.
Ron howled his rage as he continued to lash his fury at the demon. Suddenly, he saw the demon’s body begin to discorporate. He kept up the onslaught as the demon’s body sizzled out of view under the assault of Ron and the Guardians. Having completed his task, Ron slumped to the ground, worn out and very disappointed in himself.
"Centurions! Saddle up! Return to base, mission accomplished!” Marius’ cry was echoed down the line until every Centurion got the word.
Buran called to his troops, "Job well done, troopers! Now let’s go home! Hey! You in there!” he called to the castle, "I hear your boss’s ass is ash now! Have a good one!” Buran laughed heartily as he led his men back to their chariots. What a glorious day! Won one for the good guys! He could not know that he was both right, and wrong.
"Dr. Brown, how is the baby?” Karen asked after she had made sure that Lars was okay.
"He’s fine. He’s surprisingly healthy for being six weeks premature.” She stared down into his clear blue eyes, and she could swear that he was actually looking back at her. Then their eyes connected, and his mouth curled up in what could only be described as a smirk. The look chilled Dr. Olivia Brown to her very core. She quickly looked away to change the subject. "What is his name? Do you know what they decided?”
Karen and Lars looked at each other blankly. Karen said, "We have no idea if they talked about it. We don’t know what he will be named.”
Dr. Brown glanced down at the baby again, but now he was just a normal infant. She looked back to them and said, "You never expected it to go this way, did you?”
"No, Doctor," Lars answered, "We didn’t.”
"I’m so sorry, Ron," Callista said. They were now standing back on the grounds of Guardian Hall. Ron looked up at the simple architecture of the place, noting the simple swing-out windows, and the clean lines of the balconies and columns. The only real adornment were two eagles guarding the steps up to the front entrance, arranged in a striking pose so that one would have to walk between their talons to enter, their eyes gleaming with some internal energy, as if daring you to approach. He reflected that the building was one of the most beautiful he had ever seen, with its simple elegance. He also knew that he was looking at the building to avoid dealing with his emotions.
"I can’t believe she’s gone. I just couldn’t stop him. She’s… I can’t believe I’ll never see her again.”
The girls huddled around him, and were soon joined by their mother.
"Calliope," Ron said when he realized she was there, "I don’t have any words that can express my gratitude to you and the Guardians, and the Centurions for your sacrifice today. To have chanced so much, and gained nothing, it seems woefully unfair.”
"Ron, my dear one. Even if your words were true, it would have been worth it to help a friend. However, you forget that, because of you, we are rid of Mordreon. He has caused us endless grief in the past, and now we need no longer worry about him or his band. Once leaderless, the rest of his band will disperse, becoming no more than a minor annoyance. Yes, we have risked, and lost, but we have come away with the greater gain. My only sorrow is that we did not succeed in saving the young lady. I am deeply sorry.”
She embraced Ron, and waited for the tears. When the tears did not come, she released him. Though he said nothing, the look he gave her expressed it all. I will not grieve now. I am far too angry. I will grieve later. Each of the girls, in turn, embraced him and turned away. Except Callista, who walked with him to the gate.
"If you need us again, Ron, we stand ready to help you. I am sorry that you lost your friend. I, too, have lost friends in today’s battle, but they pale in comparison to your loss. Time will heal. I promise.” She kissed him softly, and hugged him again, then turned away, to walk back up to the house. He looked again, at the vast expanse of green lawn, and the colorful flower gardens. He listened one last time to the breeze blowing across the land, sounding almost like a chiming melody.
I doubt that I will ever set foot in Guardian Hall again. Thank you for all you have given me. Thank you for believing in a mere human.
Ron found Jessica waiting for him outside the gate. Though he had dimly hoped that Kumiko would be waiting with her, he was not surprised to find that this was not the case.
"Master, I am so sorry.” Jessica embraced him, and they remained that way for some time.
After the moment had passed, Ron drew back from her. "Kumiko didn’t deserve this, Jess. She was a good friend, she deserves better!”
"Master, there is nothing I can say to lessen your grief. But we should at least be consoled by the fact that she is no longer in pain.”
Ron looked at her blankly, and then turned from her. "I suppose you’re right, Jessica, but I can’t see it that way. Unfortunately, I also have to go back and tell the family what happened. I have to go now.” Without another word, he walked away from her, vanishing from the Spirit Realm.
Ron awoke slowly from his journey. When his eyes focused, he saw everyone there, waiting for him to return. Nobody spoke for a long moment, no one wanting to say the wrong thing.
"Kumiko," Ron said, "Is gone. Mordreon destroyed her spirit. I couldn’t stop him.”
Dr. Brown quietly said, "The child is fine, Ron. But he needs a name.”
Ron looked over at the little baby boy lying on the bed. Just looking at the child tore his heart in pieces.
"Dr. Brown… I can’t care for this child. Every time I look at him, I will think of Kumiko. Every time I look at him, I will remember my failure. I do not think that I will ever be able to love him. It would be unfair to force the child to grow up with that sort of emotion around him. I would like you to put him up for adoption.”
Though there was a stunned silence in the room, both Linda and Sandra came to Ron’s side. Sandra said, "Are you sure this is what you want, honey?”
"Mom, remember how you felt about having Marinda in the house? I don’t think I’ll ever get past the way I feel about that little guy. And I don’t want that to spoil my feelings for the other new baby coming to this house.” He gave Linda a tight hug. "I just don’t think I can handle it, and it wouldn’t be right to make him put up with my discomfort at what he reminds me of.”
"It’s okay, Sweetheart," Linda said. "I think you’re probably making a good choice. Doctor, how likely is it that the baby will be placed quickly?”
"An infant? Are you kidding? Assuming he’s as healthy as he looks, he’ll be placed in a good home within a week. Ron, for once I see you acting human. And I agree with you on this. You obviously had strong feelings for Kumiko, and, while you could obviously raise the child materially, I’m not sure it would be good for either of you emotionally. If you’d like, I’ll take the child with me, and I’ll bring back the forms later.”
"Thank you, Dr. Brown. Please do that.” As the doctor left, Ron said to Lars, "Man, thanks again. You did the best that was possible. It wasn’t your fault. Mordreon just... zapped her away, and then she just… wasn’t anymore.”
"Thank you, Ron," Lars replied, then quickly got up and left the room. Karen followed after him.
"You need to sleep, Ron. You look terrible," said Nikki.
"Thanks a lot, Sis," replied Ron wearily. "But I’m not in the mood to sleep just now. I want to go out to the garden, where Kumiko liked to sit, and just think about her for a while.”
Megan helped Ron to his feet, but just before he shuffled out the door, he turned to the three still in the room. "I’ve lost enough family. I don’t know what’s going to happen now, with the Russians coming, but I promise you, I will protect you, if it means my life. Nobody else dies.”
Now, he thought as Megan helped him out to the garden, If I can only live up to that promise.
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