Abu van Wong was a sturdy young man with a thin frame but wide shoulders. His skin was naturally swarthy, burnt dark by the vicious and unforgiving Sun above. It had been charring him to its preferred color over the course of Abu’s life. Narrow eyes were shielded by eye-pockets and an ever so slightly protrusive brow. His cropped short hair was the color of aged bile, and it patched his face and the underside of his jaw and neck. It was something he refused to shave in a juvenile attempt to look older. He, like most peoples in regions such as this, was a mutt of mutts. Long ago, many peoples converged in the middle eastern regions after jettison from their native lands. The diaspora of many peoples from all corners of the Old World created an admixture of phenotypes and cultures in most every part of the world. Here in the Jade Archipelago, one of the regions bordering the three continents of the Old World, this was especially so.  Despite staggering the march of globalization, interracial breeding had been an inevitability. This was as inevitable as the interbreeding between humans and their mortal enemies, the pokegirls.

This young man trudged through the sweltering desert. The desert was the arid island of Wadjet, Jade Island League. It was a craggy pile of mountains and dust wrapped in wind and and blistering heat. Abu had wrapped himself in baggy white robes, secured a shemagh around his head, and a widebrimmed hat. Peering out from behind a pair of goggle-like sunglasses, he shuffled down the mountain slope. The setting but still cruel Sun wrung sheens of sweat from his skin, soaking his cotton robes which thankfully kept the moisture against his skin longer before it evaporated away and took its cooling properties with it. Were this any other day, Abu would have waited the day out. Instead, he would have traveled at night to avoid the heat, venomous snakes, and the equally dangerous Naga. But, on this day he had an important appointment to keep.

Within a pace of him was a Saguara named Tifawt, and she was his. Tifawt had hair the color of wilted grass spilling over her shoulders like a jade curtain. Bronze skin devoid of blemishes slid over her musculature attractively as she walked. She was pear-shaped, and there was a gentle sway to her wide hips as she dutifully followed her trundling master. She was stark naked and seemingly unphased by the sunbaked earth or the furnace-like air. Both would wither and sear the flesh of anyone fool who failed to shield themselves with protective clothing and ointments.

Momentarily, Abu fell behind her; his pace tapered off. At first, Tifawt failed to notice his hang up, having begun daydreaming some hours ago. Once she had passed him, and Abu forced himself to resume previous pace so as to not fall behind schedule. Still, he was only human, a man at that, and Abu's gaze locked with  at the toned muscles of her back. Each step she took sent a quiver through her body, sending the highlights from the bright Suns dancing along her skin. Not much later, he followed the lines of her body down the dip of her waist, and he landed on the real show. Down there, Tifawt's bottom flexed with each step, sending a jiggle through luscious flesh. Soon, Abu began to feel himself begin to long for her despite the impracticality of taking her now. His gate fumbled to deal with uncomfortable change in his lower body. Then, he almost felt like crying when she stopped a bit ahead of him and bent over at the waist to inspect something on the ground. Her behind rounded out, and from between her thighs, a glorious view of her peach peaked at him. It was then that he noticed she was glancing back at Abu sideways. Tifawt was doing this to him on purpose!

A hard swat came down on Tifawt’s rump, leaving a big but fading handprint on the soft skin. She squeaked, and her stooped posture rocketed straight up and more erect than she had while walking just moments earlier. “Don’t tease me,” Abu grumbled. There was a slight rasp to his voice from dehydration. His chapped lips, sucked dry by the desert air, ached as he spoke. Out in the desert, one could only get away with the amount of exertion he wanted to perform right now at night. The frustration his Saguara had just gave him would not fade any time soon. His dull, half-aware state had been ruined. At least Tifawt had the decency to look somewhat apologetic.

“Mr. van Wong, Sir,” she addressed formally, “I’m sorry. I thought it would cheer you up.” She paused a bit before adding, “You look haggard.”

At that, Abu laughed a dry, somewhat croaky laugh. “Tired and thirsty, sweet thing,” he told her. The truth was he was not at all happy about it. Now, the only thing he could focus on was mindlessly rutting into her the moment that blasted sun sank over the horizon . Already, he could see himself throwing a blanket over the dirt and pinning her to the ground to mount her. Still, he tolerated the broiling cauldron of lust flooding his veins and heading south. He did so because he both liked Tifawt and knew her playfulness was well-intentioned. She often had a hard time wrapping her mind around how bad the heat was for others. Right now, Abu was keeping the rest of his harem inside their ‘balls, sparing them the heat. They got to sleep the day away in comfort. Somewhere in the back of his mind, Abu envied their ability to hide from deadly nature in there. However, the persistent awareness of loveballs being a constant threat to his life and humanity kept him from getting too envious.

Tifawt was Abu’s first ‘girl. She was sweet, which is what attracted him to her. Back when he was first starting out, Abu had gone through the stock of the many a poker, a pokegirl salesman. Abu had not trusted the poker as far as he could through him, but Abu just so happened to spot Tifawt as she had been discretely brought out for inspection. Half-concealed  behind a haphazardly drawn curtain,  Tifawt had been in the midst of a "hands-on" inspection by another pokegirl. Abu had zeroed in on her immediately, and identified the beauty as a Saguara. The poker had known Tifawt was a fine catch. Voluptuous and pretty, Tifawt would be prized by anyone despite being an easily obtained breed. The poker had not wanted to sell, saying he could get more for her than he could from some greenhorn tamer. Eventually the poker had relented after Abu’s pressing, but not before wringing an extra bounty point from Abu. It was more than Tifawt was actually worth, but beauty was actually useful in a starter pokegirl. If a tamer was enthusiastic in their taming, chances of bonding successfully increased. This was to mention that the amorous first few weeks of any new taming career was tradition and one of the perks of the job.

 Abu had been allotted a handful of extra bounty points as an incentive for scoring well on his exam and completing survival training. These bounty points were basically a pseudo-currency given as compensation to tamers for various services rendered.  It was difficult to get much else out of the League government as they did not like giving up the real money. The silver lining was that it spent well enough unless you wanted to eat something better than trail rations or sleep somewhere more comfortable than a pokecenter. Fortunately, the fiat value of points awarded for turning in ferals is often more than you could get from hawking it to a poker or ranch on the open market. He had plenty, and it seemed he was getting his money's wroth.

Still, Abu had insisted on speaking with Tifawt before the sale was final. The poker had been reluctant as often a pokegirl’s mouth could dissuade a buyer, but the poker lucked out. Tifawt had a soft personality and a sweet, respectful voice that sent goosebumps over Abu’s skin. The deal was sealed  immediately. In hindsight, the poker probably had arranged for Abu to just so happen to spot Tifawt. It was an illusion that Abu saw something he ought not have. The poker said no repeatedly to Abu's offers, and the young man talked the price up himself while his blood was not in his brain. Abu quite frankly had not figured this out until he was a bit more worldly and had spoken with some more experienced tamers that he had bumped into in his travels. While somewhat upset at being cheated, Abu did not regret buying Tifawt. Besides being gorgeous, even by pokegirl standards, she was dead useful. She always knew where the nearest water source was, and out in the desert, that’s where everything useful was. Her ability to store enough water to hydrate herself, Abu, and his other pokegirls was a literal lifesaver. The fact that all that stored water went straight to her curves was not disagreeable either.

It had been a learning experience. Pokers had a shady reputation, especially when dealing with “used” or secondhand pokegirls, but they were a necessary evil. Breeding ranches were not even on every island in Jade and there was at most only one ranch worth mentioning on each of the islands that did have one. Obtaining a breeding license was no cakewalk, and most simply lacked the mindset for it. Many would-be breeders often quit or just maintain their licenses soon after obtaining them. Most breeders had to work at an existing ranch for years before so much as thinking of starting their own, and even so, no ranch could afford to hire breeders to hawk their wares for them. There was too much demand, and breeders had better jobs to do such as actually breed and manage the day-to-day operations. That’s where pokers came in. Independent contractors and middlemen, they filled the gap between the ranches and the consumer, but poking was one of the few non-taming jobs a man could aim for without needing to get scraped off of Jade’s glass ceiling and tossed back down with the rest of the mere mortals. That said, pokers oft exploited any sympathy quite ruthlessly if they so much as caught a whiff of it.

Tifawt was still beautiful, and although, they had only been together a short time, he had taken a shine to her. Abu eventually lulled behind a bit just so he could watch her. She took notice immediately and put a  swing in her hips which steadily grew more exaggerated as they continued. It made Abu uncomfortable, but now that his motor was going, it was preferable to having no such stimulation at all. Encouraging her to do this was unwise, but at the moment, he did not have the mind to care. Trapped in the moment, the time actually began to speed by.