Chapter 25: Going Visiting
(06/07/99 1400 Blue Continent, 0700 Windy Shores, Sunshine League)
“I really think this is a bad idea.”
Shikarou sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. “Branwyn, if it’s any consolation to you, so do I.”
“So why are you going to do it?”
Elizabeth put her hand on her alpha’s arm. “Because he said he would.” She gave him a glance filled with a multitude of different emotions. “And because I want to do this and he wants me to be happy.”
The Unicorn sighed. “I can’t talk you out of it, can I?”
“I will not be foresworn.” Shikarou chuckled quietly. “And while I did not swear an oath to Alexia, I will not ignore my obligation to complete what I said I would do. Besides, there are some people that need to be punished for their stupidity or cruelty and the Davenports are both stupid and cruel.” He gave her a wry smile. “On the other hand, she’s not my pokegirl and I’m not going to take any major risks.”
Branwyn gave him a long look and then nodded. “All right, what can I do to help?”
“I want you to take all my other pokegirls and gear. This is going to be hard enough for me and if I screw this up I don’t want to give the authorities the opportunity to take my ladies from me while I’m working on escaping from their clutches.”
“I’d be glad to. Windy Shores isn’t known for welcoming pokegirls or men with large amounts of pokegirl traits. How are you going to do this?”
He grinned. “Magic.” He quickly shed his backpack and other gear, handing everything to his wife as he did so.
She stuffed everything inside his pack and draped it over her shoulder. “I want to see this spell.”
He nodded and cast it. A slight glow surrounded him and when it faded he’d become a normal looking Caucasian human male with short blonde hair and icy blue eyes. “How’s that?”
“Impressive.” Branwyn gave him a quick once over. “Can you take the shape of anyone?”
“If I’ve seen them, yes. Why?”
She grinned. “That means I’ll get to have sex with my favorite vid stars.” She gave him a coquettish look. “You will help a poor girl’s fantasies to come true, won’t you?”
Shikarou gave her an amused look. “I’m sure we can work something out.” He turned to Elizabeth. “I suspect they will scan anyone entering the city. Considering how paranoid they are, it’s something I’d do. So, what I want to do is enter the city without you and call you when I’m ready. Then you can teleport in to where I am.”
She nodded. “You do realize that this sort of thing would be easier if we were delta bonded.”
“It will happen if it’s meant to.”
“I know. I just find it frustrating. I want to be one of your favorites.”
Branwyn patted her on the shoulder. “You’re doing a good job of it; you just need to give it a little more time.” She turned to Shikarou. “So what’s my role in this?”
“You are my escape route. While I’m very lucky to have had the opportunity to welcome Elizabeth into my life, I didn’t really enjoy the whole jail experience other than that, so you are the leader of my rescue team if I end up there again. If I have to escape on my own, I won’t guarantee a zero fatality rate.” He flashed a grin. “I won’t even guarantee that I’ll try for one.”
“That sounds like a reasonable plan.” Branwyn gave him a quick kiss. “See you later.” She vanished.
Elizabeth shook her head. “I’ve heard horror stories about what happens when you are left alone.”
He snorted. “You are one of those stories.”
She giggled. “Oh, yeah. Well, be careful.” Wrapping her arms around him she hugged him tightly. “Send for me as soon as you can,” she whispered to his neck.
“Just as soon as it’s safe.” He hugged her back and then stepped away. “Now you need to go.”
She nodded and vanished as he turned and briskly walked towards town. He would have enjoyed the opportunity to stretch his legs, but he was supposed to be human and while the transformation spell redid the way he looked, he wasn’t interested in using it to limit his natural abilities. He suspected that running at more than twenty kilometers an hour would be slightly out of character.
This meant that it was after 0900 when he’d covered the nine kilometers to the outskirts of Windy Shores. Located on the site of San Diego, California, Windy Shores had survived the years relatively unscathed physically. In part that was because its soul had been damned early on by the Wolcott family. It boasted a population of over a million persons and while most other cities of that size would use the word ‘bustling’ to describe itself, Shikarou could feel a psychic miasma that acted to drain the vitality of the populace.
Legend had it that sometime during their reign over Windy Shores, the Wolcott family had been cursed, and considering the magical ambience, Shikarou could believe it.
Windy Shores also proudly held the distinction of being possibly the most virulently anti-pokegirl city on the planet. Here pokegirls were considered subhuman at best and beasts at worst. They had no rights whatsoever and anyone who consorted with them on anything more than the most basic level was suspect. There had even been one wit on the city council several years ago who had tried to get an ordinance passed that would have prosecuted anyone taming pokegirls under the old bestiality statutes, but it had died in committee. The official reason was that pure-blood humans couldn’t be expected to perform the menial jobs that were the only employment pokegirls could get but Shikarou suspected it was more that the powers-that-be didn’t want to give up their sex-toy pets.
Most Tamers went out of their way to avoid the city entirely.
Unfortunately the kind of prejudices seen in Windy Shores had a tendency to become self perpetuating in a generation or so and the ones here were deeply entrenched indeed. By this time, he suspected that the best way to root out the problems here would involve the use of large amounts of poison gas or a tacnuke. On reflection, however, he decided that anything like that would probably be blamed on a pokegirl or group of pokegirls and the survivors would become even more repressive.
So, while the city was filled with people, there was a distinct lack of energy in the air. Instead, there was a sort of gritty dismay that seemed to slowly coat the edges of your soul and bleed the joy from your heart.
Every block had cameras stationed, looking in all directions. Shikarou knew that these constantly scanned the passersby for pokegirls and compared them with a central registry. These systems worked automatically and scanned for both mobile pokegirls and occupied pokeballs.
Any discrepancies and the WSPD would be dispatched to bring the pokegirl (or suspected pokegirl) in for questioning. Often they were never seen again. The ones that were released nearly always showed signs of physical abuse or were heavily drugged as part of the questioning process. Often they also showed signs of sexual assault. In any case only the owners might be outraged and they had no real recourse under the city’s laws.
Considering that most pokegirls knew what was likely to happen to them at the police stations and were therefore often less than eager to go with the authorities, the WSPD was one of the most heavily armed police forces on earth and tended to deploy in assault squads for everything from serving warrants to issuing tickets for jaywalking.
Shikarou was in no hurry to make their acquaintance.
In short, he thought with a smile, Windy Shores was the antithesis of everything that Caomh Sith stood for. It was fortunate for the denizens of this fair community that they were so far from the Blue League or Shikarou would be very tempted to make the destruction of this place his own personal project for the next century or so.
He stopped off in a small shop and purchased an electronic map of the city along with a news download to his handheld, being careful to use only coins. The Davenports lived in an area called The Heights and he wasn’t quite sure where it was located.
Another shop yielded a cheap backpack and some fluffy bath towels, which went into the pack.
He pulled up the map on his display and charted a route to the Heights. As he walked, Shikarou pulled up the news for a review. Apparently there was a district somewhere around the old naval base where the police wouldn’t go. It was being reviled by the mayor as a haven of pokesymps. He suspected that meant pokegirl sympathizers and Aggie soon confirmed it.
It also appeared that pokegirl rights groups tended to travel to Windy Shores to agitate against the establishment. Most of them were apparently working to try to convince the entrenched hierarchy that they were in the wrong. It wasn’t working, especially since the other groups that came here to protest seemed to have a lot of free time as well as access to homemade explosives and thermite which they seemed to use liberally on the local buildings. Unlike the protesters, the terrorists had managed to create an effect; they’d polarized the city against the pro-pokegirl groups. It made him wonder if the terrorist groups were legitimate since it was entirely possible that the local authorities had created and used them to justify their draconian policies.
His reading had taken him into The Heights proper and he stopped at a street corner to look around. The place was full of old money mansions surrounded by ubiquitous three meter high walls and automatic gates. Security cameras were visible at the gates and he was sure that more discrete systems guarded the walls themselves. He smiled slightly and began walking again. Where there were security systems there were computers and where there were computers Aggie could go.
What have you got for me?
Your shirt is ugly. That being said, all of the security systems here have emergency codes for the local police station. I have entered the local police station computers and used them to backtrack to here. I’m ready to suppress all of the security systems for the whole area if necessary, but it should only be necessary to erase you from the data streams as you cross them.
Aggie injected field of view markers for the security cameras in his line of sight. One wall on a property down the road a little way flashed blue three times. That is the Davenport estate. I’ve downloaded the plans on file at the police department, but it is four years old. I’m in the process of building a more current plan from the security cameras on and around the property. They appear to have only non-organic security because financial records do not show them paying any living guards.
That will certainly make things easier. I’ll leave the area and return and at that point make me invisible to the electronics on site. Give me a path.
Here is your path. A jagged line appeared on his vision. It traced around as many of the security camera viewing zones as possible. Shikarou noted it but didn’t follow it. Yet. Do you want to do this in the daytime or at night?
In the daytime I can always claim to be admiring the mansions. At night the police will presume that I’m a thief casing houses and that’s always much harder to explain. Of course, once I’m on the property itself I suspect that I’ll be out of reasonable excuses.
An hour later he was back, following the path Aggie laid out for him to the section of the Davenport property that had the least security coverage. He looked around casually and hopped over the wall as soon as he assured himself that he wasn’t under observation. Once on the other side, he went to ground and waited: looking and listening. This form he wore was annoying in that regard; his ears wouldn’t train properly and didn’t hear as well in general.
A few minutes later he rose and sniffed the air carefully. Nothing. No dogs, no pokegirls, nothing. He moved silently through the sculpted lawn and circled around to the side of the house.
It was a nice mansion, set well back inside the estate. The landscaping was done to create the illusion that nothing was around for miles and that meant the house wasn’t visible from the road.
Security recordings indicate that the parents left earlier today in separate limousines. Rick has a meeting in town and Yvette is going to a spa. All of Alexia’s siblings are grown and only one is still living at home, a brother named Clint. He is currently downtown at the Windy Shores University where he is a pre-law student.
What about staff?
Two maids, one downstairs and one upstairs. There is a cook and two chauffeurs. None of them live on the property. All were hired right after their daughter Kiera went missing over a year ago. None of the staff is present after 2200 hours. The last to leave are usually the chauffeurs.
The maids and the cook. Where do you want to enter the house?
The second floor is usually the best entry point. Once I’m inside, the attic is often nice and empty and a good place to wait.
He jumped onto the porch on the second floor and peered inside the French doors. A murmured spell and the lock clicked. He pulled lightly and frowned when the door didn’t open. He murmured the spell again and once more the lock clicked. He tried the door again and glared briefly at it when it silently opened to his touch. “Idiots. Them and me.”
He carefully shut the door behind himself and looked around slowly. “This must be the master bedroom. Maybe I’ll skip the attic.” It was richly furnished and the personality it displayed was about as warm as a glacier. A quick search revealed that there really weren’t any good hiding places here. “Attic it is.”
He slipped out into the hall and cocked his head, listening. He made a quiet disgusted noise and rotated his head slowly to compensate for his ears. There was quiet singing from downstairs and muttering from up the hall to his right. “Now to find the attic.”
He slipped down the hall and quickly found what he’d been hoping for, a narrow stairway that led up and ended at a door. He tried this one first and found it was locked, so one opening spell later he was in the attic.
It was the cleanest attic he’d ever been in. All the boxes were stacked neatly and even the eaves had been swept down recently. “What is wrong with these people?” he muttered.
He muttered the spell that changed him back to his normal appearance and wiggled his ears happily before settling down cross-legged. He pulled out his handheld and activated it. “Elizabeth.” The AI accessed her records and called her.
The holographic display lit up with nothing but a huge eye. It blinked and a deep sepulchral voice said “Wwwhhhaaatttt?”
Shikarou chuckled. “I’m calling to let you know that I’m settled and if you are ready for the Urufu School Secret Technique number one, you can join me now.”
The eye blinked. “I hear and I obey.” The display died when she killed the connection.
Suddenly Elizabeth was standing next to him. She looked down and dimpled. “Oh, I like you down there.” Smoothing down her tight crimson dress she settled down next to him. “Where are we?”
“The Davenport’s attic.”
Elizabeth looked around the room in disbelief. “This is an attic? But it’s clean.” She shuddered. “It goes against nature. These people have got to go.” She gave him a thoughtful look. “Think we can keep the house?”
“Let’s see. There are several siblings who don’t live at home, so we’d have to find them first, and this place is located in Windy Shores. Here they don’t believe that pokegirls can be housetrained. Do you want me to have to take you outside on a leash so you can relieve yourself on the lawn?”
She snickered. “And every time you went outside people would be throwing pokeballs at you, like at Sadie Pokens.”
“That guy was an idiot.” Shikarou unfolded the wire stand on the back of his handheld and set it up.
“What are you doing?”
“I got a message from Thai the other day and since we’re just waiting right now, I figure this is as good a time as any to reply.”
“You seem to like him a lot.”
“He reminds me of me when I was younger. Painfully determined. I think that sort of behavior should be encouraged.” He settled back. “Aggie, message for recording. I want you to strip the surroundings out of the data packet and put in a forest glade instead.”
“I want a brook.” Elizabeth grinned. “One that babbles.”
Shikarou gave her a flat look. “I’ve already got a babbler.”
“I resent that. My name isn’t Brook.”
“Point taken. Aggie, no brook.”
Aggie appeared in the holographic field. “Very well. I will put in a forest glade, sans brook, in the early afternoon. I will also slug the transmission with an address header from somewhere in the Blue League.”
Elizabeth frowned. “Isn’t that lying? I thought you couldn’t lie.”
Shikarou shrugged. “I’m not doing it. I don’t want anyone to later be able to put us in this attic, so the fake background.”
“Oh, that’s not right.” She grinned. “But it’s perfect.” She frowned slightly. “So what if a policeman asked you if you had ever been in the Davenport’s house?”
“I’d almost answer the question. That usually works. Or I’d answer with a question of my own, say, ‘do you have any proof that I was there?’ and when he said no, I’d respond with ‘so there you go’. So instead of lying I’d be clever.”
“Clever gives me a headache.” She pursed her lips. “However, it may be worth learning how to do.”
“Trust me, it is.” He turned the handheld so that both he and Elizabeth were in the field of the video pickup. “Begin recording.”
Before he could say anything else Elizabeth grinned and waved madly as her fangs flashed in the light of the attic. “Hi! Sorry we didn’t get to meet, but I’m Elizabeth.” She gave Shikarou an amused glance. “And here he is, the man of mystery. I present without further ado, Shikarou!” She gave a big grin as she drew his name out slowly.
He gave her a slightly exasperated look and she grinned wider before leaning against him and draping her long black hair over the front of her crimson dress as she gave him an innocent look. “What?”
Shikarou sighed and gave a tiny shake of his head. “I’m sending Thai a message, so please stop that.” He looked into the video pickup and smiled slowly. “Sorry about that. As she’s already said, this is Elizabeth and she’s my Vampire.” Elizabeth waved again. “So to begin. Hello, Thai. How are you? I am well.” He grimaced. “Now that’s over, I’m glad to hear the potion helped and I’m pleased you were thoughtful enough to give what you didn’t need to the other refugees.”
“I’ve kept an eye on the village when I can and I’m glad to be able to report that everyone seems to be doing well. The construction is proceeding rapidly and it looks like everyone will have some kind of permanent shelter before fall. Hidden Bra Village isn’t a bad name, especially since I just left a place called Blowjob.” He smiled slightly. “I know I shouldn’t make fun of it, but I just can’t help myself.”
He took a deep breath. “Anyway, yes, I gave the money to an orphanage. Frankly, they need it more than I did and I’m glad they sent you a thank you. I must, however, correct you in that you are wrong as far as not knowing anyone who’d just give away a million credits. You see him every time you look in the mirror.” He grinned. “After all, the money I got came from you now, didn’t it?”
“I’ve got a friend who works for a local pokegirl ranch and she was nice enough to tell me how much your bounty had been.” He flicked his ears slowly. “You haven’t asked for this piece of advice, but I’m going to give it anyway. When I was not much older than you, I got a very nice bounty for some monsters I destroyed. I gave some away and wenched some away and even bought some presents for those around me. It didn’t last nearly as long as I thought it would.”
“You won’t be a Tamer forever and if you invest some of that money now, when you are ready to hang up your pokedex you’ll be able to afford to live quite comfortably. It’s great to give to charities and such, and since you have a Cherry, I’m sure you’ve heard about the karmic rewards involved; but you can’t eat karma and it won’t keep the snow out.” He shrugged. “What I’m saying is, don’t forget you deserve some of that reward and you are a needy person too. Besides, if you don’t reward yourself, then you might lose the next big fight and if you’d won it, you’d have another bounty that you could use to help others.”
Elizabeth smirked. “And you might be dead. That wouldn’t be any fun either.”
“Elizabeth, hush.” He paused for a moment and then continued. “My brother has a Megami-sama who likes to spend other people’s money and he eventually ended giving her some and changing his access codes so she couldn’t get the rest. She was allowed to spend her money on whatever she wanted. Surprisingly enough, she did manage to spend some of it on trinkets for herself, so I believe she’s not completely beyond hope.” He snorted. “I’ve got a Seraph myself, and while I wasn’t comfortable with the concept in the beginning, we’ve worked out a strong relationship. She makes suggestions instead of giving orders and I keep her around.” A smirk played around his lips. “I don’t buy into that whole Celestial superiority claptrap and just because some pokegirl has the word Celestial attached to her pokedex entry does not mean she’s my boss.”
“Thanks for the compliment on my harem. I think I’ve worked hard to make them happy and I’m proud enough that it shows that it’s probably a sin.”
Elizabeth grinned. “He works very hard to keep us happy and it motivates us to work hard to do the same for him.” She patted his groin and he smacked her hand away as she giggled.
“Who’s sending this message?”
She blew him a kiss. “We are.” She winked at the video input and heaved her chest at it. “If your nasty Celestial gives you trouble, try spanking her.” She gave Shikarou a sly grin. “They all seem to like that.”
“They do not!”
“Thai does not own Svetlana. He’s got a Cherry, not a Megami-sama.”
“Hey, what does Dorothea like?” Elizabeth gave him a curious look.
“That is none of your business.” He sighed and returned his attention to the pickup. “Sorry about that. Elizabeth has this obsession about my Seraph.” He rolled his eyes. “She’s a horny Vampire and I think she’s got the hots for Dorothea.”
“I can clear that up right now. I do.”
“May I finish my message to Thai?”
“Since you asked so nicely, go right ahead.”
“Thank you. I’m glad to hear you’re doing well on your journey and I hope you’ll take the time to continue corresponding with me. Most of the messages I get are paperwork from one of my ElfQueens
or some cute messages from a couple of pokekit sisters who don’t like each other very much right now.” He sighed again. “I love children, but budding teenagers are the worst part of them growing up.”
“It’s nice to hear from someone who just wants to say hi and I’ll even try to cut back on the lectures.”
“Oh, and it’s not the number of pokegirls you have in your harem, it’s the quality of the relationship you have with each of them. Take Elizabeth here. She’s young, vivacious, annoying and she drinks my blood every day and I wouldn’t trade her for Sexmet and Bastit.” Elizabeth hugged him hard enough to make him squeak.
“May the random factors align in your favor and good hunting.” He sighed. “I’d try to record this message again, but this is the probably the best version I’d be able to get.”
“Sayonara Thai. Shikarou clear.” The recording light went out. Shikarou folded up the wire stand and slipped his handheld back onto his belt.
Elizabeth traced a finger up his leg. “So what do you want to do while we wait?”
“I’m not sure, but I do know that I don’t want to leave big puddles of DNA for anyone to analyze. The rule for this kind of operation is ‘leave nothing you bring, take nothing you find’.”
“Oh.” She looked disappointed. Suddenly she brightened. “Would you read to me?”
“I know you can read.”
“Yes, but I just like to hear the sound of your voice.” She smiled. “It’s nice and deep and rumbley.” She curled up against him and rested her head on his chest. “Or you can tell me a story, since we don’t have any books.”
He chuckled. “That sounds like fun.”
(06/08/99 0630 Blue Continent, 06/07/99 2330 Windy Shores, Sunshine League)
Shikarou stood at the top of the stairs to the attic and his ears rotated slowly as he listened. Slowly he moved to the hallway and once more he stopped and listened. Elizabeth waited patiently in the doorway to the attic, her eyes moving constantly around the area she could see. The hallway was dimly illuminated by tiny lights set in the ceiling, but to her it was more than bright enough.
Finally Shikarou waved her down to join him. She floated down the stairs and hovered just behind his back, close enough he could feel the heat from her body. He cocked his head and whispered to her. “I sense three people. Two are in the master bedroom and one is somewhere downstairs. The one downstairs is moving around and is likely to be awake.”
Elizabeth nodded. “That one first.” Her teeth flashed in the low light. Shikarou nodded and headed silently down the stairway to the first floor with the Vampire drifting gently behind him.
The house was richly furnished, but like the master bedroom, the mind who’d planned out the whole house was one with little warmth. Everything was hard and straight lines predominated with a limited range of color. Furniture tended to be white or black and the decoration were expensive but austere. The place smelled almost antiseptic.
Light flared to their right and both of them flattened against the wall as a door swung open and a figure appeared, carefully balancing a plate of food along with a bottle of some kind. Shikarou’s nostrils flared as the light cut off. Ham, bread, cheese, beer, human, male. He watched as the man headed into another room and kicked the door shut as he went past it.
Elizabeth tapped him on the shoulder and spread her hands in a questioning motion. Shikarou shook his head as he made a mental note to start teaching his harem the nonverbal battle language he’d been taught in the militias. He moved his hand in a ‘wait here’ motion and eased down the passage to listen at the closed door.
He frowned and glanced back to see Elizabeth watching anxiously. He grinned at her and tapped his chest before taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly. She blinked and then a joyous smile slowly bloomed on her face.
He slipped back to where she hovered and she hugged him suddenly. “You felt me!” she whispered excitedly.
His eyes narrowed. “Mind on business,” he hissed. She blinked and sobered, nodding somberly as she released him. Still, her eyes danced with glee. “He’s alone. I want you to phase us through the wall while invisible and I’ll take him down with sleep.”
“Ok.” Elizabeth lifted and cradled her Tamer before drifting down the hall. Shikarou readied himself and nodded once. They became invisible and drifted slowly through the wall.
Clint Davenport was chewing noisily on his sandwich when the sleep spell sent him into a slumber. He slumped forward, falling face first into his plate of food as he began snoring softly.
Elizabeth pulled his head back with a grin. “Wait.” She blinked as Shikarou shed his backpack and pulled out a towel. “Use this to catch any stray blood.”
“Is there anything you didn’t think of?” Elizabeth asked with a slight frown.
“I certainly hope not.”
The Vampire draped the towel around Clint’s neck before pulling his head to the side and sinking her fangs into his throat. She swallowed once and lifted her head. “He doesn’t taste that great.”
Shikarou checked Clint’s throat. “He looks infected.” He healed the wound.
Elizabeth wiped off the man’s throat and handed Shikarou the towel. “He is. I gave him enough venom to infect ten humans.” She smiled briefly. “Don’t worry, I still have plenty.”
He squeezed her hand. “Are you all right?”
She shrugged. “I haven’t fed from anyone but you since we met. His blood isn’t sitting well.”
“Do you need a quick nip of mine?”
She hugged him suddenly. “Thank you, but I want to rinse well before I bite you again. Don’t want to accidentally turn you into a Vampire.” A quick grin. “I like you being male.”
He smiled. “I’m immune.”
“Are you sure?” She looked confused when he nodded. “How do you know?”
“I was never treated after we left the prison.” Shikarou smiled at the sudden flash of fear. “My choice. I noticed that I had none of the signs of transforming and decided to test my theory that I was immune.”
“What if you’d become a Vampire?”
“I wouldn’t have let it go that far.” He grinned. “If I had started to show any signs of changing I would have gotten treatment immediately. In fact, Branwyn had a team that specializes in treating Vampire infections on standby for two weeks. It cost a lot of money, but it made us both feel better to know it was waiting for me.”
“Oh.” Elizabeth cocked her head. “Then I would like a drink. Maybe it’ll settle my stomach.”
Shikarou offered up his wrist. “Enjoy.”
Elizabeth gave him a slight smile and sank her teeth into his artery. She made a happy noise and drank deeply before licking the bite until it closed. “Oh, much better.” Her pupils dilated slightly. “Ambrosia compared to his drivel.”
“Come on, we’ve got two more to do.”
She giggled. “Ok.” Elizabeth scooped him up, phased through the door and headed up the stairs, still cradling her Tamer. She set him down on the landing and grinned. “Lead on, lover.”
Shikarou headed back to the master bedroom and listened. “Ok, they’re in here.” He blinked and frowned. “Elizabeth?” She was nowhere to be seen. “Crap.”
Suddenly she stuck her head out from a wall. “Over here,” she hissed.
He went over to her and grabbed her arm. “What are you doing?”
“Come on.” She phased and pulled him through the wall. “I need your help.”
The room they were in was decorated in pinks and reds and still somehow it was done in a very clinical fashion. “Where are we?”
“This was Alexia’s room.”
“Why are we in here?”
Elizabeth sighed and took his hand. “The only thing I miss from before I became a Vampire is a couple of my toys. Alexia and I spent some time talking while you were inspecting the Hina House ranch. She really missed two things, her diary and her Elsie, who is a cow doll.”
“Do you remember what I said about taking stuff?”
“Yes, I do, but this is important.” She frowned. “Alexia kept her diary behind a loose board in the wainscoting. Nobody knew she had one. Help me find it.”
Shikarou muttered a spell and a section of the baseboard glowed blue. “There.”
Elizabeth kneeled and stuck her head through the wall. “I need a light.”
Shikarou summoned a light globe. “Here.” Elizabeth grabbed it and shoved it through the wall before following with her head again.
“I found it.” She reached her free hand through the wall and pulled out a small diary. “Here.” She dropped it into his hands before reaching into the wall again and pulling out a small brown plush cow. “And here’s Elsie.” She pulled her head out of the wall and grinned. “I’ll bet her parents tore this room apart looking for it.”
“Why would they do that?”
“It’s from a milk company that existed before Sukebe came along and is quite rare. Bordeaux, I think. No, Borden. It’s very valuable.” She grinned. “Alexia wasn’t supposed to ever touch it.”
“Let me guess, it was her favorite toy.”
“How did you know?” Elizabeth looked surprised.
“I’ve had children of my own. Trust me, it makes perfect sense.”
“Ok.” She stuffed the toy and the diary into her backpack. “I’ll make sure these get to Devon with a note explaining their significance. It would be better if they came from him. She’ll know we gave them to him in the first place.”
“Ok. Can we finish infecting her parents now?”
Elizabeth smiled sweetly. “Sure, why not.” She carried him through the wall and into the hallway again. “Where were we?”
He sighed and pointed at another wall. “In here.” Elizabeth grabbed him again and they passed through this wall to enter the master bedroom.
“Oops.” They were standing inside Yvette Davenport. Elizabeth moved out of the bed as Shikarou cast another sleep spell on the already sleeping couple.
Elizabeth looked them over critically as Shikarou pulled out the towel again. “Boney bitch, isn’t she?”
The Davenports had kicked the coverlet and sheet off the bed. Elizabeth was right, Yvette was one of those women who dieted her way through life and it showed. Her face was all hard angles and planes. Rick was the same way.
“Yeah, but not enough to worry about you breaking a tooth.” Shikarou handed her the towel. “Thigh?”
“Yeah, I’d be afraid she’d bite me back if I did the neck.” Elizabeth sniffed Yvette’s leg. “Well, at least they haven’t had sex tonight.” She grinned up at Shikarou. “I wonder who gets to be the Tamer and who gets to be the pokegirl?”
“Who cares? I’m not interested in doing her. Bite her already.”
Elizabeth nodded and sank her teeth into Yvette’s thigh. She drank and pulled away, making a face as she did so. “Damn, I think she poisoned me.”
Shikarou snorted and healed the wound as the Vampire moved around the bed and repeated the process on Rick. She snickered. “He got a boner when I bit him.”
“I really didn’t need to know that.” Shikarou healed Rick. “Let’s get out of here. I’ll have Aggie keep an eye on the place and let us know if it doesn’t look like it took.”
Elizabeth snorted. “If they don’t turn, it’s because they are already too much Vampire for me to affect them.” She wrapped Shikarou up in her arms. “Can I have another drink?”
“At the tent.”
Elizabeth laughed quietly as they vanished.
(06/08/99 0800 Blue Continent, 06/08/99 0100 Windy Shores, Sunshine League)
Shikarou stepped away from Elizabeth and looked around slowly. They were roughly fifteen kilometers outside of Windy Shores, in a grassy clearing that was dimly lit by the slender moon. Branwyn was supposed to have set up camp somewhere around here and now they had to find it.
While he had considered heading straight for Caomh Sith, Shikarou had also taken time to ponder the fact that the Sunshine League had a magic school and therefore it could be presumed that most of the officials had at least a passing familiarity with magic, unlike most other Leagues. If the Davenports suspected for any reason that they had been attacked, a very competent mage could track the attackers to their destination, ergo they had decamped to here to wait for a little while. If someone did track them to this location with magic, Shikarou was prepared to lead them a merry chase around the world until he reached the spot he’d picked to discourage his pursuer from following him any further before returning home.
Of course, if it came to that, he intended to be very firm in his discouragement and it was quite likely that someone wouldn’t survive the encounter. He had no intention of allowing his efforts to help Devon destroy what he was building on Caomh Sith, even if it cost Shikarou his life. However, while a year ago he would have been ready to die, the fact was that he had become rather fond of this life once more and wasn’t quite ready to enter the reincarnation cycle just yet or turn Caomh Sith over to Faelan.
There was a pokegirl rights group in the Sunshine League that was little more than a front for a gang of thieves and cutthroats, and he and Branwyn had carefully assembled a selection of clues that they would just happen to drop during their flight that would shift the blame to the Coalicion de la Liberacion del Pokegirl for what had happened at the Davenport residence. The CLP did more to hurt the cause of pokegirl freedom in the Sunshine League then advance it and their destruction would be applauded by other, more legitimate groups.
His musing was interrupted when a bright light exploded across his face. Instantly his pupils contracted to pinpoints in order protect his eyes against the light. Dimly he could see Elizabeth covering her eyes and hissing.
“Identify yourself!” A rough male voice barked harshly.
Shikarou mind raced as he blinked in the light. “Turn that off!”
The light dimmed and others came on. Shikarou could now see that he’d been hit with a jeep mounted spotlight and now the operator had activated the headlamps and running lights. There was movement in the shadows. A uniformed man stepped into view and snapped his fingers. “Id.”
Shikarou offered up his pokedex. The letters WSPD glinted from the man’s chest as he reached for it. “Windy Shores Police Department? You’re a long way from home.”
“Quiet.” The man scanned the pokedex quickly and began pulling up the Tamer entry.
The pokedex suddenly went dead. Naughty boy. He is outside Windy Shore’s jurisdiction and has no police power here. It is an ongoing problem between Windy Shores and the rest of the Sunshine League that the city tries to enforce its laws outside the city’s area. However this does explain his presence, the Windy Shore’s authorities have been trying to expand their influence beyond the city proper and have been conducting random patrols of the areas around Windy Shores.
I wish you’d mentioned that earlier. Shikarou flicked an ear. “Did you just break my pokedex?”
The man glared at him and almost threw it back. “No. Who are you?”
Shikarou put the pokedex away carefully. “You are outside your jurisdiction. Windy Shores has no authority here.” He smiled. “Go roust someone else.”
The man pulled a pistol and leveled it at Shikarou. “Here is my authority. What do you have to say now?”
A thought flickered through Shikarou’s mind and he smiled coldly. “This: The human heat slows/ the base root withers and falls/ Behold the seed dies.”
The man screamed and dropped the pistol as he clutched at his groin. Elizabeth blinked at the sight. “What happened to him?”
“Senryu curse of impotency.” Shikarou glanced around and didn’t see anyone else. “I think we need to be leaving.”
“Where to?” Elizabeth squeezed his hand tightly.
Shikarou leaned over and whispered, “Has Branwyn taken you to the desert isle yet?”
“You want to go there?”
“Yeah. Branwyn can meet us there.”
“Ok.” They vanished.
(06/09/99 0800 Caomh Sith, Blue Continent)
“So how was the Sunshine League?” Faelan poured syrup over his waffles and handed the bottle to Svetlana.
Shikarou shrugged. “It was ok. The ranch needs a lot of work, but they’re determined to make things right.”
“Devon came back before you.”
Shikarou grunted and focused on his plate.
Svetlana looked suddenly curious. “So what did you do during your extra time there?”
Faelan received a look from his brother that suggested that he should watch his back for the next couple of weeks. He gave Shikarou a weak smile in return.
“You’re ignoring me again. It was something nefarious, wasn’t it?”
Shikarou chuckled. “Nefarious. Now that’s a good word. Yes.”
Svetlana sighed. “Are you going to tell me what it is?”
“I’m not planning to. I discussed it with Dorothea and she had only minor reservations about what happened.”
“I don’t know if I can trust her judgment.” Svetlana gave him an unhappy look. “You seem to be a bad influence on her.”
Faelan suddenly grinned. “Pay up.”
Svetlana blinked. “What?”
“Our bet. Sadie Poken’s day, remember?”
She turned red. “That’s not what I meant. Dorothea’s not corrupt, she’s just misguided. It’s only temporary.”
Shikarou frowned. “You two made a bet about me and Dorothea?”
“Svetlana bet me that Dorothea would put you on the straight and narrow as Celestials perceive it, and I said you’d bring her around to your way of thinking.” Faelan smirked. “I think we can call the issue settled.”
“I don’t know if I should be amused or very angry right now.” Shikarou’s head swiveled back and forth as he looked from one to the other.
Faelan put his fork down and slowly straightened up as he said in a very soothing voice. “Remember that you like this inn and you don’t want to level it. People live here that you would miss afterwards. That includes us.”
“I’m remembering that.” Shikarou had slight smile. “But it’s good to remind me. It’s interesting, though, that you would be worried about my anger. What have you heard?”
Shikarou blinked and his ears went flat. “Who told you about that?”
“Ah.” Shikarou took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “He would be the one.”
Svetlana looked at her Tamer. “What happened?”
“May I tell her?” Faelan’s ears flicked slowly as he watched his brother.
Shikarou considered for a moment. “She won’t give either one of us a moment’s peace otherwise, so I suppose so.”
Faelan nodded. “When Shikarou was younger he was sent on a mission to order a colony of Tengu to move away from a human village. They had a village on the side of a nearby mountain near a pass and it was deemed to be too close to the humans for safety.”
“He took a younger member of the Royal Guard along with him, the son of a friend.” He frowned. “I never heard any names given, would you care to fill in that missing bit of information?”
“Oh. Ok. Anyway, they arrived at the Tengu village and were well received by the village elder. Shikarou explained what they needed to do and they informed him that they would move before a moon had passed.”
“They were invited to stay the night and agreed. During the night, Tengu warriors lured the young kami away from Shikarou with the promise of a woman and murdered him. The next morning they presented the head to Shikarou and informed him that they didn’t care who he represented, they were not going to move. It turned out that they were working with the humans to ambush travelers and eat them.”
Svetlana made an unhappy noise. “What happened?”
“During the night the warriors from the human village had been summoned and the Tengu elder thought he had enough strength to cow a single samurai from the Empress’ court. If it hadn’t been Shikarou, he might have been right.”
Svetlana held up a hand. “I want to hear this from him. What did you do, Shikarou?”
He looked at her levelly. “I leveled both villages, killed everything that lived in the area and cursed the land for a century.”
She gaped at him in horror. “Children too?”
“Children, infants, everything down to the mice in the granaries.”
“You have that much power?” There was a touch of fear in her voice. “I’ve never seen anything like that here!”
“I don’t know if you are aware of this, but I am supposed to be allowing my pokegirls to do the fighting here. It’s part of my cover.” He leaned back and gave her an amused look. “Besides, I’m usually an adherent of the school of minimum application of force in the right place.”
“What did you do to atone for your actions?”
“The Empress said it wasn’t necessary. I did her will.”
“Just how powerful are you?”
“I’m a two hundred and fifty year old combat mage who’s been training since I was six years old. I’ve also been keeping up my samurai skills as well as my martial arts.” He cocked his head. “I think the best answer to your question would be ‘enough’.”
“Have you been training here?”
“I have. In part my training has been teaching members of my harem some of my magic, but I’ve also been spending some of my free time in actual training.”
“What do you want to do after things settle down?”
Shikarou smiled slowly. “I’d like to teach. I’ve been kicking around the idea of some kind of magical school, but I don’t know if Faelan would be interested in it and so far I’ve only got one prospective instructor, me.”
“I’ll also have to teach the family martial art. Faelan knows a lot, but I’m a master.” He shrugged. “So in a couple of years I suspect I’ll have both feet nailed firmly to the ground right here in Caomh Sith for at least a decade, if not more.”
Svetlana frowned suddenly. “How can you have a cover here? You freely admit both that you are a kami and an offworlder.”
“Yes, but most people won’t believe me and the few that do have no idea of what I’m capable of.” He snorted. “Of course, right now I wonder about that myself. Pythia says I have to accept who I am and master my innate powers, but I seem to be developing more of them and I don’t know when this will end.”
Faelan shrugged. “Father is still developing new powers and he’s how old?”
“You are so full of good news these days.” Suddenly he brightened. “Maybe it means that someday I’ll learn how to fly.”
“You know, I’ve never understood that. Don’t you know any flying spells?”
“Several, but they don’t work for me. I can teach others how to fly with magic but the best I can do is levitate.” He sighed and leaned back. “My one real dream, denied to me. I guess it keeps me motivated to learn in the hopes that someday I’ll find a way to soar in the sky.”
Faelan started to reply and paused. His eyes lit up and a smile slowly spread across his face as he looked past Shikarou.
He sighed. “Alright, so what has just made you so bleeding happy?”
Faelan gave him an amused glance. “Derdekea, Branwyn and Molly just walked into the bar and they’ve got a visitor with them. I guess they want the Lord’s justice.”
He got a grimace back. “I’m going to turn this over to you eventually and then I’ll get to smirk at your antics.”
Shikarou listened to the group halt behind him and sighed. His nose twitched at a familiar but unknown scent. His brain was still processing the newcomer’s smell when Faelan grinned broadly. “Father!”
Shikarou whirled around in his chair to see the pokegirls gaping at the newcomer, who smiled warmly at Faelan. “It’s good to see you.” His expression changed to surprise as he shifted his gaze to Shikarou. Ears flicked. “So this is where you went. That’s going to complicate things no end.” He swept Shikarou up in a hug. “I’d been worried that you’d died, but this explains why I couldn’t contact your shade.”
Faelan got hugged too before their father turned to the pokegirls. “So is someone going to introduce me to your very protective friends?”
Shikarou chuckled as his shock faded away. “Father, this is Branwyn, my wife and alpha, Molly, who is the commander of the guard and Derdekea, who is a member of Faelan’s harem. The lady sitting with Faelan is Svetlana, another member of Faelan’s harem and his alpha. Ladies, this is Kerrik, our father.” He frowned slightly. “So how were they protective?”
Kerrik bowed to the pokegirls. “It’s a pleasure to meet you all.” He gave Branwyn another bow, this one much deeper. “And greetings and welcome to the family. I’m very pleased to see that such a beautiful and obviously intelligent woman was willing to look beyond my son’s faults and realize he has some value.”
Branwyn flushed. “Thank you, sir.”
“Sir? You are my daughter. Kerrik is fine.”
Shikarou caught Svetlana giving Branwyn a look of undisguised jealousy and hatred. Father, greet Svetlana as well, as Faelan’s alpha she ranks with Branwyn and she loves him very much. I suspect they will marry before too long. If not, I’ll just marry them as lord of the land.
Your telepathy has grown stronger. Later this harem and alpha business will have to be explained to me. Kerrik turned without a pause to face Faelan and bowed to Svetlana. “So when will the two of you marry?” He included Shikarou in the next mental conversation. Shikarou included Branwyn. Faelan, do you love her?
I do, father. I intend to marry her when I can.
I don’t see anything wrong with right now. Trust me, the first marriage is the hardest. Don’t worry, I’ll arrange it. Remember this technique for your own children.
Svetlana look startled and then turned beet red. “We haven’t talked about it or anything yet. It’s really not that important.”
Kerrik’s ears flicked slowly. “You have spent a great deal of time with my son and you haven’t learned that you cannot lie to us? Your love for him is obvious for all to see and even though he’s probably unworthy of it, I insist that the two of you marry and soon.”
I see where you got your tendency to act like a force of nature. Branwyn gave her husband an amused look as Svetlana turned white.
Faelan ducked his head. “As you command, father. Svetlana, will you marry me? I love you very much.”
Svetlana stared at him. “Yes.” Suddenly she burst into tears and ran out of the bar.
Faelan got up to follow and paused. “Is that normal behavior?”
Kerrik gave him quick smile. “It’s well within normal human parameters, yes. I suspect that she’s very happy right now.” Faelan nodded and hurried away.
Shikarou turned to Derdekea. “Why don’t you keep a surreptitious eye on the two of them?”
She nodded. “I will. If there’s any trouble, I’ll send Amy. God, it’s about time. I hope she calms down now.” The Fallen Angel left quickly, pulling her com from her belt as she did.
“Thank you, Molly.” The Denmother nodded and left. “She’s a woman of few words.”
Kerrik nodded. “Some of them are, but it doesn’t make them any less.” He settled down in Faelan’s chair and watched as the two of them joined him. “So. Care to explain?”
“Care to explain what?”
“Oh, how about how you came to be here before me when it took me forty seven years to relocate this universe, a stolen base seed that turns up here, why Faelan gave you half of the rights to this world and me none and all about pokegirls.” Kerrik smiled. “Let’s start there. Or would you rather talk about just how angry your mother is at you right now?”
Shikarou looked interested. “She’s angry?”
He grinned. “Good.”
Kerrik looked surprised. “Actually it’s not good, but why are you happy about it?”
“Pallaius left a diary. I found it after her death and it turns out you were right, she was sent by mother to bring me to Japan. Mother wanted access to my power.” He sighed. “I still love her, or at least her memory. However, I’m not sure what I would have done if I’d discovered this while she was still alive.”
“You’d probably have let her talk you into believing that what it said was harmless. She was very good at that, but then her powers ran towards making people agree with her.”
Branwyn looked startled. “His own mother and his wife manipulated him? That’s appalling!”
Kerrik nodded. “Amaterasu is not one to let blood get in the way of politics. That’s why I don’t go to court that often. She may have found Shikarou repulsive when he was young, but once she realized just how much his power could help her, she also realized that the very things she didn’t like would help her to cow both her enemies and her allies.” He looked at Shikarou. “She’s determined to return you to her service, which is why I can’t stay long. If she finds out where you are, she’ll send members of the guard to retrieve you and I’ll have to kill them. I suspect she won’t like that very much.” He shot a glance at Branwyn. “And you being married to a gaijin, no matter how good a person she might be, is not in her plans.”
Branwyn stared at her husband. “Did he just say your mother is Amaterasu?” She blinked and turned to Kerrik. “Did you just insinuate that his mother would have me killed?”
“You are a very clever woman.” Kerrik gave her an admiring smile. “I suspect I’m going to enjoy having you in the family.”
“Yes, my mother is Amaterasu.” Shikarou gave the Unicorn an unhappy frown. “I didn’t mention it because this is how I figured you would react. And how Yushiko and Fumiko would respond does not bear thinking on.”
“Your mother wants to kill me!” Branwyn’s voice began to rise.
“She doesn’t know you exist yet,” Shikarou disagreed. “When she does is when she’ll want you dead.”
Kerrik touched Branwyn on the arm. “And that is why I can’t stay long. As long as she doesn’t know Shikarou is here, she won’t try to come here to collect him.” He sighed. “And I won’t have to openly confront her over our son.”
“Um, correct me if I’m wrong, but she’s part of the religions here, too. We are talking about the goddess Amaterasu, right? Just how could you confront her?” Branwyn gave Kerrik an incredulous look. “She’s a bloody goddess. That’s like trying to confront Typhonna.”
Kerrik’s ears flicked unhappily. “Yes, she is a goddess and yes, I’ve reached my limit in regards to her behavior as far as Shikarou is concerned. If she does come here, I will stop her.”
“Oh, and are you a god too?” She blinked when Kerrik tugged at an ear and looked away. “Are you?”
He shrugged. “I’m a mage.”
“You didn’t answer the question.”
“You are a bright one. No, I didn’t and I’m not going to.” He smiled. “Usually if someone asks if you are a god, it’s wise to say yes, but if it’s not the truth, …” he trailed off.
Branwyn gave him a stern look. “You can’t fool me. That only sounded like you’re not a god. You never did answer the question.”
Kerrik beamed at her. “Oh, you’re going to be fun.” He turned to Shikarou. “So what exactly is a pokegirl?”
“They appear to be human or mostly human organisms that have otherworldly DNA infused into their line. Usually the DNA is pokemon, but there are some that I’ve never heard of as being pokemon. Some are Celestial in nature and others are Infernal.”
“Excuse me, but I have a question that I’d like answered.” Branwyn interrupted. She glared at both of them. “I seem to remember having the floor.”
Kerrik glanced at Shikarou. “I’m sorry.” He turned to Branwyn. “Forget all about Amaterasu being my wife and his mother. Forget your suspicions that I am a god.” He looked puzzled. “What was your question?”
Branwyn blinked. “Now let me get this straight. Shikarou’s mother will want to kill me if she discovers that I am his wife?”
“Yes. I’ll do everything I can to keep her from finding out he’s here and if she does, I’ll protect you if you need it. Now I believe you were telling me about pokegirls?”
“There’s not much more to say. They have been engineered to need to have sex on a regular basis or they will go feral, which means that their intelligence will be submerged beneath a shell of animalistic behavior. I’m not sure how taming keeps them sane, but it works.”
“They manifest a variety of abilities and some can be taught magic.” Shikarou shrugged. “The problem is that they are all female, which lowers their value to Tirsul.”
“What is the population of males?”
“Ten percent of the overall population or less.”
Kerrik blinked. “That is worse than Tirsul. And the Tirsuli women would not take it well if their males started migrating to here. Not that we need more attention.” He frowned. “I presume that if you’d known about this, you’d have found somewhere else to travel?”
“Yes, but it’s been ok.” Shikarou took Branwyn’s hand. “I found love again, and frankly I thought that unlikely, if not completely impossible.”
“So, am I likely to get grandchildren out of this marriage?”
Branwyn grinned as she turned red again. “Lots.” Shikarou blinked in surprise and her smile broadened. “I’d have told you at the right time.” Her smile faded slightly. “I’m unlikely to be his only wife and some of them will look less human than me.”
Kerrik grinned. “I doubt they’ll be more beautiful.”
“You know, Shikarou, you might want to take notes on what your father says to me. He’s very nice.”
“Great. Thanks, dad, just raise the bar that much more.”
“Glad to help. Seriously, Branwyn, not all of my wives are human, so if you and Shikarou bring others into my family, I will welcome them all.” Kerrik smiled again. “I suspect that with your guidance, he won’t be tricked again and all of his wives will be worthy of the family name.”
“Hey, what is the family name?” Branwyn frowned. “Shikarou had no name and Faelan is a Wolf. What are you?”
“Right now, I’m a Wolf, but I wasn’t born with a surname. I take them and discard them as needed. However, we are all members of clan Tsukiken and I am the clan’s founder.” He smiled. “We’ve never bothered to keep to any specific formulas. People have learned that impersonating family has its own hazards and over the years the incidences have tapered off to almost none.”
Branwyn looked thoughtful. “Branwyn Tsukiken.” She shook her head. “No, I have enough problems getting them to spell Urufu correctly. That silent T would be a killer.” She turned back to Kerrik. “So how long can you stay?”
“For several hours, maybe a day.” Kerrik leaned back in his chair and stared at the ceiling. “Shikarou’s mother has agents everywhere and while she won’t know that I’ve found him, if I start importing a whole lot of merchandise from here to Tirsul, she may start asking questions that could prove awkward to be truthful to without giving away your location.” He frowned. “Especially since you are listed as one of the co-explorers in the beacon record and that will become public record as soon as the information on this dimension is published. Suppressing the news about this place means that I can’t do any business here, at least not for a while.” He glanced at Shikarou. “Unless you want to face your mother right now?”
“I’d rather try to pass shards of glass.”
Kerrik nodded. “I understand. I’m beginning to wonder just how much longer she and I are going to stay together.” He shrugged. “But that is neither here nor there.”
He leaned forward. “So, how about a pokegirl battle?”
Branwyn chuckled. “Do you want to be in one or do you want to watch one?”
Kerrik looked surprised. “Me? Fight pokegirls? Surely you jest. Watching will be just fine, at least for this once.”
“Not much of a watcher, are you?” Branwyn teased.
“I prefer to be a participant.” He replied loftily.
“Then we should get you your Tamer’s test right away and your first dozen or so pokegirls. If you’re like him, you’ll need that many so they’ll all survive your attentions.”
“I’m sure I’d love the experience, but sadly I suspect that a group of unusual women who follow me around asking to be tamed would be a pretty sure sign that I’d been somewhere new.” He smiled slightly. “However, when Shikarou’s mother has found something else to obsess over, I think I’ll be back.” He nodded to Shikarou. “As the eldest, you are in charge here, or at least I presume this to be so?”
“I am as much as any of us are.”
“I’ve got some supplies for you then. Odds and ends, although I presume you do want the other base seed I brought. It’s a scientific facility as opposed to your warehouse.”
“I grabbed the first one I found. You didn’t mark them well.”
“I didn’t expect anyone to steal them. How rude of me. If I were a better person I’d rush right home and correct that immediately.” He flashed a quick grin. “Sadly, I just increased the security on them. I’m such a bad person. I’ll leave you a way to get in touch with me in case of an emergency and I’ll send you more supplies if you need them. Otherwise you probably won’t see me again for another decade. The time differential between the universes is one for ten, so a century will pass on Tirsul. Your mother should have another project by then.”
“The soil here is salty due to the ocean. Could you provide us with some crop seed that will thrive here? We’re slowly improving the fields, so eventually we’d also need one that also does well without the salt.”
“Several multipurpose crops come to mind. Some fruit types as well. I’ll get you a sampling along with information on their care. Would you also like some livestock? The information on the beacon hinted that animal meat is a luxury item here.”
“Yes, I would. Most people eat only fish and some poultry. I’d also like a full set of educational records for the teachers in the bases.”
Branwyn cocked her head. “If we are wishing for stuff, do you have any flowers that would thrive in this soil?”
“They’ll be my wedding gift to you.”
The Unicorn flushed slowly. “No one has given us any wedding presents. Thank you.”
“You are quite welcome, daughter. Anything else?”
“How about a military grade weaver?”
Kerrik blinked. “Are you planning on conquering this planet?”
“Someone keeps trying to kill me and my family.”
Branwyn blinked. “Done? No thinking about it?”
“I have two sons and one, soon to be two daughters. Shikarou is one of my most independent children and I know he wouldn’t ask me for help unless he thought you were in danger. He never worries about himself, so I’m afraid you are going to have to do it for him. However, if he can bend enough to ask for help, I will most definitely give it.” His smile hardened as he looked into her eyes. “I will provide him with the means to protect you because, if nothing else, when I return here in ten years if I find that someone has killed my family without cause and no one was able to exact the death price from them, I will do it myself and sometimes I can be a little over enthusiastic in my smiting.” Branwyn shivered at the look in his eyes.
His features relaxed and so did she. “Now I believe I was offered a battle?”
Branwyn looked at Shikarou and her face held an expression eerily similar to the one Kerrik had shown just a minute previously. If you get Faelan to agree to this, I want Svetlana. Win or lose, I’m going to enjoy kicking her around for a while. “We’ll try to give you a good one.”
Name: Urufu Shikarou
Residence: Caomh Sith, Blue Continent
Security Clearance: Eta
Master Tamer Y
Species Name Level
Alaka-Wham Circe 71
Unicorn Branwyn 58
Milktit Helen 56
Seraph Dorothea 49
Ria Kebi 47
Armsmistress Urufu Yushiko 46
G-Spliced Pythia 45
Vampire Elizabeth 43
Sphinx Lorelei 42
Blazicunt Marzia 39
Mini-Top Nanu 39
Hun Hanmei 28
Badges: Scotland: Stornoway, Rum Island, Glasgow
Wales: Magicunt Village