(06/27/99 0100 Blue Continent)
“Report, Germanicus.” The whisper echoed in the darkness. It seemed to fill the room with sibilant echoes that grew in power and slowly faded.
“Master, I have but returned from the island of South Uist, now named Caomh Sith. As you directed, I explored the area for the presence of the Sidhe.”
“And did you find any?” The whisper was softer, but a tremendous rage filled every syllable.
There was a deafening silence. Finally there came a reply. “Perhaps.”
“An interesting answer. Elaborate.”
“Master, I sensed the presence of something. In part it had the flavor of a Sidhe, but also another flavor as well, as if a Sidhe had crossed with something else to produce offspring.”
“No Sidhe would deign to sully its blood with lesser races.” The whisper mused. “Do you dare to speculate?”
“No, master, I have never tasted its like before.” The silence stretched for an unknown time.
“I should have gone myself. Did you find anything else?”
“Master, there is also a Celestial pokegirl there. They can be quite formidable.”
“You state the obvious, Germanicus. Perhaps it was a mistake to rely upon you.”
“Master, I am your loyal servant.”
The whisper became musing again. “Of course you are, Germanicus, for you have no choice in the matter.” Another pause. This time the whisper was stronger and more decisive. “The bitch would not try to breed with mortal blood. They are of no import.”
“For the time being I will ignore them. Ygerna will have to retrieve the Grimoire for me and if she can’t do it on her own, I may have to force her hand.”
“How shall we proceed, master?”
“Contact my agents inside the Order. The time has come for me to take more direct action.”
“Germanicus, I grow tired of your ‘yes, master’. You will become more useful or I will dispense with your services. Now, contact my seneschal within the Order and summon him to me.”
“As you command, my lord.”
(06/27/99 0600 Caomh Sith, Blue Continent)
Branwyn stepped through the portal and looked around as she moved aside to make room for the others. The bright moonlight showed that the pier was empty except for a single figure wrapped in a heavy cloak against the morning chill. She frowned at the unexpected intruder and began to gather energy. “Hello?”
Kasumi dropped the hood and smiled. Branwyn relaxed. “Welcome back. How did it go?”
“He didn’t get married again, if that’s what you are concerned about. How did you know we were here?”
There was an amused chuckle. “I’m Kasumi and I know things. Since I don’t see Ranma, I can presume that it was his world?”
“It was.” The Unicorn watched as Yushiko came through. “We took him all of the way to the Tendo hall and stayed there for a few days before coming back.”
“So his father did have an agreement with that world’s Tendo. I thought that might be the case. Was everything successful? How did Ranma do there?”
Branwyn gave a tired shake of her head. “I’ll let our husband tell you about it. I need a hot bath and some sleep.”
“Were there problems?”
“Things were actually fairly uneventful. We spent the whole time expecting the bottom to fall out, which means we were under heavy stress. Now that we’re back, I can relax. She looked surprised. “Suddenly, I’m very tired.”
Shikarou came through the gate and it closed behind him. Suddenly Kasumi was in his arms. “Hello, Shikarou, I missed you very much. It’s good to have you back here with me.”
He kissed her gently. “It’s good to be home.” He twisted slightly as Yushiko pulled the pack off his shoulders. “Thanks.” The Armsmistress smiled and nodded before heading off with her alpha.
Kasumi snuggled against him. “So, this was the right world after all. Tell me what happened.”
He shrugged. “There’s not a lot to the tale. When we arrived, maybe half an hour had elapsed since Ranma had been brought to this world. Genma was in his cat form and he’d bitten the Jusenkyo guide. The guide had captured him and in an ironic twist Genma was about to be sold to the Amazon village as husband material. It was an interesting form of punishment. Anyway, after a brief discussion, we rescued him and headed for Japan.”
“Genma and Ranma had a disagreement over who was in charge but eventually Ranma agreed to his father’s wishes, at least for the most part.”
“We took a ferry to Shimonseki and caught the train to Tokyo.”
“While on the train, we talked about what to do at the Tendo residence and I gave Ranma some advice on dealing with women. He did a passable job at the introduction, choosing Akane to be his fiancé.”
Kasumi cocked her head. “He chose her? What about Kasumi and Nabiki? Did they force her into it?”
“They didn’t get the opportunity. Ranma announced almost immediately that he wanted the prettiest woman there and indicated that Akane was his choice.” He smiled. “Her sisters seemed a little put out.”
“I can guess they would be. That was very sweet of him. Was this part of your advice to him?”
“Yes, it was. Akane was, of course, stunned. Nobody had ever been serious when talking about her being pretty. I do admit she did look nice with the long hair.”
Kasumi wrapped his arm around her. “Yes, she was very lovely with long hair. So, what happened next?”
“I have a recording of the entire encounter.”
“I’d rather hear it from you.” She smiled. “It helps to put things into their proper context.”
“Ranma told her that they were both very young and he wanted to take it slowly, but that if they were going to be a couple they had to start working together right away. He told her that he realized that this was a shock to both of them and asked her help in working through it.”
“At that point he also indicated that he had some secret information to give her and asked her to be understanding of his shortcomings since the only socialization he’d had was in the company of a confirmed jerk.”
Kasumi blinked. “He said that? In front of his father? How did Genma take that statement?”
“Poorly. He frothed for a moment and then Ranma threw water on him and turned him into a cat.” Shikarou smiled. “I popped the old man into a bag and he hissed for a while but eventually calmed down.”
A peal of laughter rang out from Kasumi. “That’s incredible. How did Akane feel about this?”
“She was flattered that he was trying to be understanding and intrigued by the idea of his confiding secrets to her. Her sister, Nabiki, was beside herself with frustrated curiosity the whole time we were there since Ranma took great pains to make sure that only Akane heard what he had to tell her.”
“So what was this secret?”
“He got her alone and explained about pokegirls, harems and taming.”
Kasumi came to a stop, pulling him to a halt. “Are you telling me that Ranma explained about having sex with his pokegirls?”
“Part of my advice was to be up front with Akane about the things that were part of his life, including his harem.” Shikarou’s ears flicked. “She was shocked, but after he introduced her to his harem, she was actually happy to find them friendly.”
“Ok, mostly friendly, with one distant pokegirl. It didn’t hurt that they are all around the same age she is, and Ranma had stressed to them that Akane was going to be his wife someday and everyone had to learn to get along.”
Kasumi’s eyes went wide. “He actually said the word wife?”
“Akane looked pretty stunned after hearing it.”
“I’ll bet she did. No one expects a sixteen year old to say that.”
“He’s seventeen, but yes, Akane definitely didn’t. Ranma took her out to the park and they spent the day getting acquainted.” He sighed. “The next day was a bit more catastrophic.”
“Ranma had to go to school. It turns out that was part of the agreement that Soun and Genma made. So he went and he took his pokegirls.”
“Did you know that Rain knows hydro pump? She used it to clear a path to the school through the collection of idiots that were waiting to fight Akane so, as she put it, ‘Ranma’s fiancé didn’t have to get mussed’. Akane was very flattered.”
“Not long afterwards, Kasumi shredded both Kuno’s sword and part of Kuno until he fled.” He smirked. “Nabiki has been learning how to pick pockets from Kebi and she got his wallet. She took them all to dinner out with his cash.”
“Ranma’s harem was so protective of both him and Akane that he didn’t have to lift a finger the entire day. By the time he knew something was happening, the members of his harem were already dealing with it. Of course, they were a little hard on the school.”
Kasumi grinned briefly. “That’s hilarious. What did you do?”
“I stayed close enough to get involved if there was any trouble they couldn’t handle, but otherwise far out of the way, like a smart kami.” He shrugged. “When we left, Ranma and Akane had some mutual enemies at the school, some mutual friends in the harem and the start of a solid friendship.”
“Well, you are quite the matchmaker.” Kasumi snuggled against him. “Our children won’t have a chance, will they?”
“My children will be allowed to find their own loves,” He commented absently as he glanced around.
“Of course they will. It’s just our job to send them at the people they might love.”
He suddenly focused on his new bride. “I see some marital strife in several years, don’t I?”
“Not if you agree with me.”
Ears flicked. “Right. Marital strife it is.”
(06/27/99 1100 Caomh Sith, Blue Continent)
“So you looked for the evil presence you felt, as well as any traps or spells it might have left behind. What did your search reveal?”
Faelan shrugged. “Nothing. No magic, no traps and no monsters. There was a scent of herbs and dry dead things.”
Shikarou frowned. “Dry dead things? That’s interesting.” He looked thoughtful. “Any mummies from around here would be peat bog mummies, not dry mummies. The climate and terrain don’t promote their creation.”
“Maybe it’s a tourist mummy here with her family.”
Shikarou gave him a look. “You couldn’t get a laugh with that if you used Smilex mist on the crowd.”
His brother winced. “Ouch. Tough audience. In any case, I need your help.”
That got him a raised eyebrow. “What for?”
“Whatever it was, malevolent was its middle name and I would like to be able to access any possible powers I have in case it decides to come in for tea next time.”
“You still haven’t answered my question.”
“I want you to teach me how to access my kami powers.”
Shikarou regarded him solemnly. “Are you sure? I’m asking because you’ve got a shrine and worshippers. Acknowledging your kami gifts would make you more aware of them as well as more responsible for their wants.”
Faelan gave him an odd look. “Midori does that for me now, she can continue doing it.”
“I disagree. She’s doing it right now because you can’t. If you access your powers, part of the price may be dealing with your own worshippers until you can set Midori up as your agent once more.” He frowned. “By the bye, just what kind of kami are you?”
“I’m a protective spirit. I’m only responsible for a few hundred meters around my shrine.”
“That’s going to be fortunate. I have a little more responsibility as a spirit of death and of life.”
“I don’t understand how you can be both.”
Shikarou flicked an ear. “I came here as a death spirit. My responsibilities were simple; I protected the newly dead while they crossed the river. This gave me a place in the family shrines, albeit a very small one.”
“However, when Yushiko’s mother prayed to me and became pregnant, some other women started praying to me as a spirit who breathes life into their bodies.” He shook his head. “The fact that I had nothing to do with Nakamoto Nobuko’s pregnancy is beside the point. The other women believed I possessed the power to cause pregnancies, which gives me the power to cause pregnancies.” He snorted. “Now it appears that they may also be praying to me to jazz up their sex life and it’s playing hell with mine.”
“Why does that name sound familiar?”
“Nakamoto is Yushiko’s family name. Her mother, Nobuko, is the daughter of Yoshihara Noriko and Keiichi.”
Faelan grimaced. “So belief does make it real.”
“Yes. One of the prime tenants of magic works in religion as well.”
“It doesn’t matter. I may need all of my available power, which means being able to use my kami powers.”
Shikarou nodded. “I know it does, but I wanted to make sure you knew what could happen. The shrine isn’t important. What your worshippers think of you is.”
“Ok, now I know. When can we start?”
Later that afternoon, Shikarou stood at the top of a nearby hill and watched his brother run to meet him.
Faelan skidded to a halt. “Sorry. We had a small emergency.”
“I see. So do you need to return to deal with it?”
He shook his head. “No, everything is as under control as it’s going to get.”
Shikarou nodded. “Good. Once we start, I don’t want you getting distracted.”
He rubbed an ear tuft idly. “I don’t know just how hard you expect this to be but actually it’s not. Accessing new powers is like learning to do anything else that’s new and all I’m going to be able to do today is give you some of the basics. As you age, you will undoubtedly develop new abilities that you will have to learn to harness. Some of them I will be able to help you with, but others will be unique to you and will depend on several things.”
“What kind of things?”
“First of all, father is a wolf kami. My dam is a human kami, but she has shapechanging abilities. So far I’ve only manifested the ability to change into a wolf and a hybrid form, both of which are heavily influenced by father’s bloodline. If my dam’s powers will show in me is currently unknown.” He shrugged. “My mother is Magdalene, but we don’t share any blood in common.” He smiled briefly. “I used to wish we did, but that’s typical for a kid. I wanted so much to be a Kirin.”
“We share the same father. However, your dam and mother is Tanika, who is a cat spirit. When you begin to manifest metamorphic abilities, you may be a wolf, a cat, both, or an admixture of both or even some combination of all of these. We have sibs who can’t shapechange at all, but none of them come from our dams. All of Tanika’s children can change form, even those that weren’t sired by father.”
“I don’t have to be concerned about that yet, since you are probably too young to begin shapechanging, at least by using innate power. Transformation by spells, of course, is an entirely different subject.”
Faelan nodded. “Mother said my sibs typically don’t begin to change form until they are at least fifty years older than I am now.”
Shikarou nodded. “I’ll make a note of that and we’ll start experimenting in about forty years.” He frowned. “Where was I? Oh, another thing that may affect your powers is the fact that you are half kami while I’m three quarters. Of course, you are half Sidhe and I’m not, but that didn’t prevent me from being able to access the Grimoire.”
His ears flicked. “While I could talk all day, we’ll start with the one ability that has remained constant in any of our sibs. I want to teach you how to summon your weapons and armor.”
“Armor? I’ve never seen you wear armor.” Faelan gave his brother a puzzled look. “Can you summon armor?”
“I do think I mentioned that all of our sibs could do this and I didn’t leave myself out of that, did I?” He grinned. “I can summon it, but I don’t like armor. My style of combat stresses speed and flexibility. Any armor, no matter how light, interferes with that.” A light shrug. “I did wear it for most of my service to the Empress, but finally there was an episode where there was this huge oni that kept hooking its talons in my armor and then smashing me into hard objects like walls and rocks. After that, I decided it was easier if creatures like that were to grab my clothes or ribs, because I could pull myself free.”
Faelan blanched. “Did you ever have to do that? Pull your own ribs out, I mean.”
“Once. I was fighting a demon right at the edge of a volcano and the bitch stabbed me in the right side with a kusarigama. Then she jumped into the volcano, but kept hold of the chain, intending to drag me over the side with her. I ripped it free along with most of two ribs.” He shrugged. “It hurt more than I liked, but it beat being dragged over the side and burned to charcoal. I’ve never experimented to see if that much heat would kill me.”
“Um, why did she jump to her death?”
“She was immune to heat.” A nasty smile flitted over his face. “But, as it turned out, she wasn’t immune to arrows.”
Suddenly Branwyn appeared and let Kasumi go. The Unicorn looked at her. “Over there looks good. She pulled out her wand and created a small table and two chairs along with some snacks and drinks.”
Kasumi smiled at Shikarou. “We just came to watch the show.”
Faelan gave his brother an odd look. “Wanted witnesses to my humiliation, did you?”
“I didn’t tell them what was going on.” Shikarou raised his hands in a placating manner. “I wanted this to be private.”
Branwyn smiled beatifically. “Aggie did.”
Branwyn has standing instructions for me to contact her if you seem to be getting into a dangerous situation.
Shikarou’s eyes took on a dangerous glitter. “Oh, does she? I can fix that right now.”
Kasumi cocked her head. “Now, Shikarou, you know that Aggie was just trying to make sure that you stay healthy. As your new bride, I can appreciate that.”
His ears went flat for an instant and he forced a smile at his brother. “Do you want to continue?”
Faelan considered for a moment and turned to the women. “Make another chair, let Svetlana join you and remain quiet or Shikarou and I will go somewhere where we will not be disturbed.”
Branwyn snorted. “There’s no place you can go that I can’t find him.”
Shikarou blinked and a dangerous smile appeared. “Is that a challenge?”
Branwyn grinned and opened her mouth when Kasumi grabbed her wrist. “No, she was not challenging you, husband.”
Branwyn frowned at Kasumi, but said nothing. A moment later Svetlana appeared. “You called, Branwyn?”
Kasumi motioned to the two gentlemen. “Shikarou and Faelan are working to give your husband access to his kami abilities and we thought you might want to watch.”
Svetlana looked the two men over. “Why is Shikarou pissed?”
Branwyn smiled. “We didn’t ask if they minded.”
Svetlana touched Shikarou’s arm. “May I stay? I would like to see how this works, if only because I’ll be carrying your brother’s children in a year and a bit.” She dropped her voice so that only he could hear. “I hope that you will be there to teach my children, but we both know that both you and my husband may be taken from me without warning and I may have to do this myself.”
Shikarou’s eyes softened. “Thank you for asking. I wish you didn’t have a point, but you do. However, if we do die, I know father will make sure you are taken care of.”
She shook her head slowly. “I’m sure Kerrik will, but I would rather have my husband. If not him, then you are my second choice.”
He smiled suddenly. “You do me great honor. Please, stay and observe if you wish, but I don’t know how much it will help.” She nodded and joined the others. Shikarou looked at his brother and chuckled. “You know, she just became ok.”
Faelan smirked. “Yes, we are screwed, but it’s a pleasant sort of feeling. Shall we?”
“All right. You showed me how to access my Sidhe side through opening myself to the land, right? Well, becoming acquainted with your kami self is different, but similar. You have to meet your beast.” He scratched an ear. “Some kami families have traditions where their young have to wrestle their beast or fight it or something like that, but it really isn’t necessary. You have to face your beast and accept it.”
“How do I do that?”
“First, all you need to understand is that your beast is inside you and that you will be meeting it in an arena that only exists inside your consciousness. Once again, some families have very complex rituals involved in opening yourself to your beast, but there is one thing that all have in common.” He flashed a smiled. “That’s because it’s the only thing that is truly needed. At some point everyone consumes the charged blood of a kami. Who gives the blood doesn’t matter, and in fact you can drink your own charged blood if no one else is around or willing. The older the kami who gives the blood, the more power that can be charged and the better it is for the youngster.” His ears flicked. “So, you will be drinking mine.”
Faelan frowned. “Why does age have anything to do with the amount of power you can put into your blood?”
“The amount of power that can be charged into blood is a strict percentage of your overall power level. Older kami have more power, in general, and therefore can add more absolute power before that limit is reached.”
Shikarou’s voice took on a ritualistic tone. “Faelan, open your mind and your heart to the things that surround us. Smell the wind. Feel the life around you.”
Faelan’s eyes drifted shut and his face went still.
Shikarou spoke again. “Let your mind be unfettered by any concerns and unlock your power.” Faelan’s hair began to slowly twist in an invisible wind as Shikarou sank his fangs into his right wrist. Blood climbed up his arm and pooled in his cupped hand. He raised his hand to Faelan’s mouth. “Drink and begin the hunt.”
Faelan shivered as he sucked the blood from Shikarou’s hand. His skin began to glow a soft white and the movement of his hair became more pronounced. Tiny balls of energy began to swirl around him, with more appearing each second. Soon, they formed a sphere of white stars that slowly rotated around Faelan.
They slowed and stopped, hovering for a heartbeat and then the sphere collapsed inward, the energy rushing inside Faelan’s body. He cried out and dropped to his knees.
Faelan opened shiny blue eyes and slowly looked around as the glow of his skin faded. He smiled as Shikarou offered him a hand and allowed himself to be pulled to his feet. “That felt incredible.”
“Yes. So what is your beast?”
“I am my mother’s son. My beast is the demon cat.”
Shikarou hugged him. “Congratulations. Are you ready to proceed to the next stage?”
“I am.” He smiled slowly.
“Good.” Shikarou smiled. “Now pay close attention.”
“I have a question. Don’t we have to have our swords made before we can summon them?”
Shikarou shook his head. “Some clans do, but our line forms the swords from the magic that surrounds us. We can summon two types of swords and armor. One type is fairly mundane. It doesn’t dull or break easily and if it does, all you have to do is dismiss it and summon it once more for it to be sharp and whole.”
“We can also summon enchanted weapons and armor, but to do so, we must give up some of our personal energy for the item, just like when we charge our blood. The amount of energy dictates just how powerful its magic is, and once again there is a strict limit on the amount we can give, roughly one tenth of our total power. Yes, again that is proportional instead of absolute, so if we both created swords with a tenth of our power, mine would be vastly more powerful than yours.”
“Now, I’m going to summon a mundane sword. Pay attention. When learning how to do this, often it is helpful to say the name of the item you are summoning. I would caution about giving your items personal names because that can lock your mind into a specific pattern and if you need to summon a different type of sword or other weapon, then it could prove difficult. Later we’ll worry about summoning things without vocalizing.”
“We can summon more than one type of weapon but only to our hand. However, distance is no matter in dismissal so, if you needed to, you could summon a bow and arrows and then dismiss the arrows after you used them. Guns are more problematic because you have to understand modern propellants and once the propellant is burned you cannot get that back. Remember, use as little power as you have to because you never know when you will need it.” A flash of teeth. “I always seemed to need it at the worst possible time.”
He held out his hand. “Feel the energy matrix around us as I do this.” He focused his will. “Sword.” A broadsword appeared in his hand.
He offered it to Faelan as he continued in a lecturing tone. “Examine it and note the construction. One of the tenants of magic is that you can create things you don’t understand, but if you understand them you can create better items. Any unlettered kami with our gifts can summon an iron or steel sword, but what you are holding is the work of someone who’s taken some metallurgy and engineering classes. The blade is a composite alloy and the structural composition is a honeycomb matrix that gives the weapon superior strength while keeping it light.”
“It can also help in other ways.” He summoned another sword and the one in Faelan’s grip wavered and vanished. “You can summon more than one weapon at a time, but if you return the one you created, you get a significant portion of the energy you expended back. Oh, and remember there is a maximum on the energy you have. If you summoned swords and then waited a few days to dismiss them you wouldn’t get any power back because you’d already made up the shortfall.” He flipped the weapon and, grasping the blade, offered it to his brother. “Try this one.”
Faelan took it and gasped as Shikarou released it. “Gods! What is this?”
“It happens to be my practice sword. The outside of the weapon is several layers of the honeycomb steel you saw earlier while there is an inner core of the material found on the surface of neutron stars. That sword weighs half a ton.” He shrugged. “We are much more powerful than just about anyone else and if you make a weapon like this, then your successful strikes do more damage and if you lose it your opponent may be unable to wield it against you. However, using a weapon like this takes a lot of training.” The sword vanished.
Faelan staggered as the weight disappeared. “I’ll bet. It probably takes a whole new series of techniques. Now I try?” He grinned as Shikarou nodded. “Great! I know just the sword I want to create.”
“Shikarou,” Svetlana called softly. “Does Aggie know how this is done?”
He glanced over at her. “Yes, but she can’t do it. She can help if you have to walk someone through it.”
Shikarou smiled and turned back to his brother.
In the meantime, Faelan had put his hands together in front of him and concentrated. As Shikarou turned his attention back to him, he spoke. “Sword!” A greatsword appeared, growing out of his hands with the blade extending out to its full length. It grew right through the center of Shikarou’s chest and out his back for several centimeters.
Shikarou’s eyes blinked owlishly at his little brother.
Faelan froze as Kasumi leaped to her feet. “SHIKAROU!” She whirled to Branwyn. “GET CANDACE!” The Unicorn vanished as Kasumi rushed over to her husband.
Shikarou’s mouth opened and blood poured out and down his chin. Grasping the sword blade with two fingers, he shoved hard towards his brother. The sword slid backwards and Faelan stumbled with it as Kasumi grabbed his hands. “No, if you pull the blade out, he’ll die.”
Shikarou’s teeth flashed in a soundless snarl and Faelan blinked and pulled the sword completely out of his brother’s chest. Blood ran from the holes.
Dropping the sword, Faelan grabbed Kasumi as she lunged for her husband. “Wait.” She smashed at his hands, but he refused to let go.
“You really should be careful where you point that thing.” Shikarou’s voice was low and raspy.
Kasumi froze for an instant and wriggled free of Faelan before almost throwing herself at her husband. She started to ease him down to the ground. “Lie down. Branwyn will be back in a minute with Candace.” Her voice was tight with fear.
“I’m not seriously hurt.” He let Kasumi ease him down to the grass. Svetlana helped her get him prone. “I’m not,” he protested.
He gave her an exasperated look and pulled up his shirt. “The one time I decide to dress local and wear a t-shirt. Completely ruined. Look at my chest.”
Kasumi watched as his wound visibly shrank. She wrapped herself around him and held tight. “I was terrified you were going to die.”
Branwyn appeared with the NurseJoy
. Candace kneeled and looked him over quickly. “Talk to me, Shikarou,” she muttered as she used a khukuri to split his shirt up the middle. She dropped it and placed her hands on him. The wound started to glow and fade as she began healing his injury.
“I’m healing on my own.” His voice was returning to normal. “It’s mostly my fault, although I must admit I expected Faelan to point his sword somewhere safe when he summoned it.”
Kasumi helped Shikarou to sit up. He looked her over and smiled. “Since you’re already covered in my blood, this won’t hurt.” He pulled her in and held her tightly. “I’m glad you were worried, but I’m a lot tougher than you think.”
“Don’t ever frighten me like that again,” she whispered to him.
“It’s going to happen. I fight with my pokegirls and sometimes someone gets hurt. Sometimes bad guys think they can take me and my harem.” His voice was gentle. “Thank you, Candace.”
kissed him on the cheek. “I agree with her. I know you have to take risks, but I still don’t like it.”
“I was the one with his lungs stapled to his spine. I didn’t enjoy it, either. Let me up, Kasumi.” Candace helped her pull him to his feet. He sighed and peeled off the fragments of his shirt.
“Thank you, everyone, for your prompt response. Now I need to get back to helping Faelan.”
Kasumi touched his wrist. “Can we keep watching?”
Branwyn took Candace’s hand. “I’ll be right back.”
“You can if you want to.” Branwyn and Candace vanished as he turned back to his brother. “Now turn to face that way and dismiss your sword. Once it’s gone, I want you to summon it again. We’re going to keep doing this until you have it cold.”
(06/28/99 1000 Caomh Sith, Blue Continent)
Flakes spun off the slab of stone in a long line as Shikarou focused his magic. The slab measured two meters tall, eight meters long and was six centimeters thick. He’d used his magic to carve it from what looked like an old quarry and then transmuted the rock to obsidian and armored it against the elements. The slab had been then lifted to its new home on a bluff overlooking the town and settled into a notch he’d prepared yesterday afternoon.
Behind the slab there was a trail that headed down the bluff and stopped in an open area that yesterday had been scrub. Today the locale had been completely cleared and was now freshly turned. Faelan had been doing the labor down there and now he could be seen bounding up the trail towards his brother.
He grabbed the water bottle. “I’m all finished and Svetlana is ready to hurt both of us if we don’t tell her what we are doing. When are you going to be done?”
Shikarou cast one last spell and the carvings filled with a silver material. “I just finished.” He wiped dust from his face. “It’ll last for a thousand years.”
Faelan moved next to him. “It’s so empty. Do you think we’ll fill it all?”
“I do. Call your wife. She should see it first. Then, we’ll get the others up here and start laying out the garden.”
Faelan stopped at the slab and ran his fingers over the lettering in the upper left hand side. “Does it ever stop hurting?” He glanced back at his brother.
“I couldn’t tell you.” Shikarou sighed. “That question, you should ask Svetlana.” A tiny smile. “Or perhaps you could ask Ygerna.”
Faelan’s ears flattened briefly. “That isn’t funny.”
“You two are the last of your kind on this world. She has the right to make that request.”
“And I have no obligation to agree to it.”
“I agree. But what happens when Svetlana finds out about it? Will she insist that you never see Ygerna again or will she instead decide that you need to help save the Sidhe race?”
Faelan shook his head. “Are you going to tell her?”
“No. I figure she’ll find out eventually and Ygerna isn’t one of my subjects, so her needs aren’t my problem.”
“Then I’ll go get her.” He bounded down the bluff and headed for the road into Peacetown.
Shikarou looked over the town from here. A few new buildings were under construction. Both he and Faelan had decided where they were going to put their homes and started construction on them. Faelan was carving rock from the quarry while Shikarou was growing his from the rocks in the field where he intended to put his crops. It should mean that there would be less stone in his fields when it was time to plant, but he wasn’t sure the percentage removed would turn out to be significant. He suspected that he’d still be building lots of stone walls after he plowed.
Frankly, he was beginning to wonder how much dirt would be left if he got rid of it all.
Svetlana appeared and let Faelan go as she turned to look around. “So what is this huge secret?”
Faelan took her hand. “It’s not a secret; it’s just that we had to do this ourselves up to this point. Now you can help.”
He frowned. “We don’t bury our dead. We cremate them and inter their ashes in a clan garden that is specifically set up for that purpose.” He gestured down the trail. “That is going to be our garden.” He nodded towards the wall. “That is where we inscribe the names of the dead who are put in our garden. Shikarou is the local elder and clan leader so he has the right to allow or forbid non-family members to be interred in our garden, based on whether or not he feels that they have made some kind of a contribution to the clan.”
Svetlana cocked her head. “There are already names there. Whose?”
Faelan nodded. “Azumi and Kajimi are there, along with some others. Take a look.”
The Megami-sama gave her husband a puzzled look. “Who else could be there?”
She slowly approached the slab and peered at the lettering. A look of stunned surprise crossed her face as she reached out and traced the letters. “Ron? This is my old harem and Tamer.” She looked over her shoulder. “But why?”
Shikarou smiled slightly. “I don’t like the idea of destiny and I try to avoid it if at all possible but, according to Dorothea, they died so that you could meet Faelan. I thought that sacrifice should be honored.” He glanced down the hill. “So I went and dug them up. Their remains have been mixed into the soil down there, along with the remains of the twins.”
She gave him a sad smile. “Thank you.”
“You are quite welcome.” He frowned slightly. “When I disinterred him, I kept his pokedex and used it to get his personal information. I took the liberty of informing his family that he was deceased.”
Svetlana turned white. She whispered, “We never told them.”
“They’d presumed he was dead when he didn’t contact them again, but they were relieved to have confirmation and to know where and when.”
“Thank you, Shikarou. Your kindness surprises me, and it shouldn’t.”
“I do that sometimes.” His ears flicked. “So, now we have to put in the plants for the garden. I thought that you, Branwyn and Kasumi would like to help design what goes where and perhaps even with the actual planting. We’ll bring Misaki up here and make the soil fertile while we’re planning.”
Svetlana nodded. “I don’t know about the others, but I want to help. I am a Wolf after all.”
(06/28/99 1600 Harris Conservatory, Blue Continent)
“I’m more hurt than angry.” Poppet twisted to face him. They were sitting on the bench in the garden where she’d given him Branwyn a lifetime ago. “Do you love her?”
“No, I don’t. Someday I will, but no.”
“Then why did you marry her?”
He paused for a moment. “There are certain actions that have a feeling of rightness to them. Making Kasumi my wife is one of them. It’s something that needed to happen.” His ears flicked. “No, I’m not sure why.” He grimaced. “Gods, I sound like Dorothea.”
That got him a slight smile. “I was about to mention that. What about me?”
“I love you and I want to marry you, Poppet.”
“Then let’s get married right now.”
He blinked and nodded. Reaching for his belt, he pulled out his com and activated it. “Father, I’m sending you this message to let you know that Poppet and I want to get married immediately. It is June 28th, 299 AS about sixteen hundred hours. We’re at the Harris Conservatory and I’ll give you ten minutes.” He closed the com.
“What exactly was that?”
A voice sounded from off to the side as a strange man stepped into the little clearing. He was almost two meters tall and had white hair that hung down to his ankles. “That was my son keeping his agreement with me.” He bowed to Poppet. “I’m Kerrik Wolf and I’m Shikarou’s father and sire.”
She folded her arms and got an obstinate look. “Why didn’t security contact me about your presence?”
“I’m sure they would have if I had let them know that I’m here.” He smiled slightly. “I wasn’t really in the mood to deal with their excitement so I let myself in. I hope it doesn’t cause too much inconvenience.” The smile faded. “I’m altering the datastream your systems are getting to edit myself out. It’s a fairly complex spell that has come in useful before. Therefore, electronic systems don’t know I’m here and I avoided the patrols. Unless the intruder is someone like me, your security is pretty good.”
Poppet got a firm grip on her anger. “What agreement?”
“Shikarou was thoughtless enough to not invite me to his other weddings. I was hoping you’d either let me officiate or at least observe yours.”
“You’re a priest?”
He gave her a broad smile. “I have been and I still retain the authority to marry people.” The smile widened slightly. “To each other, of course.”
She looked startled and then chuckled. “If Shikarou will have me, I would be more than willing to marry him.”
Kerrik nodded. “Well, Shikarou?”
He took Poppet’s hand. “I want to marry her now.”
Kerrik smiled. “Poppet, do you need to prepare for this in any way? Shikarou and I would be willing to wait, if that were so.”
She stood, pulling Shikarou up with her. “No. Marry us.”
The ceremony was short and pretty. When it was done, Kerrik looked at Shikarou. “Will you accept my blessing, son?”
Shikarou’s eyes widened. “Yes, father.”
Kerrik kissed him gently on the forehead. “May you be strong and healthy and your children as well. Be fertile to those who want it.” He turned to Branwyn. “Will you accept my blessing, daughter?”
She nodded. “Yes, father.”
His lips were cool against her skin. “May you be strong and healthy and your children as well. I grant you the status for which you have long wished.” His eyes glowed with an inner light. “Your human daughters will never know threshold and all of your children will be beautiful and filled with the power that life brings. You will be fertile and your children many.”
Poppet felt odd for a second and then it was gone. She shivered. “Thank you. We will try.”
“I welcome you to my family and to my clan.”
She cocked her head. “Does this mean I get access to Shikarou’s technology?” Her new husband made a choking sound.
Kerrik grinned. “Indeed it does. Make me a list and I’ll see if I’m willing to let you have it.”
Her eyes narrowed slightly. “But I don’t know what’s available.”
“No, I don’t believe you do. Perhaps you should talk to your husband and your brother in law.” He turned to Shikarou. “If your other wives wish my blessing, let them know I will be listening. I would appreciate it if you also told Faelan and Svetlana.”
Kerrik nodded. “Then I have only one thing left to say to you. Poppet, I suggest you bond to him immediately. It might be useful in the near future that the two of you be able to locate one another whenever necessary.”
She grinned. “Just as soon as I can get him alone, I intend to.”
“Then I will be going. After all, I wouldn’t want to keep you two apart.” He turned and disappeared down the path.
Poppet shook her head. “That is an odd man.” She slipped into his arms. “Where to, husband?” Her eyes gleamed.
“You will delta bond with me the next time we make love, right?” He smiled when she nodded eagerly. “Then, let’s get that out of the way and then we can go to a nice island I know about and jump back in time about a week. Kasumi wants to meet you today, but I still want time alone with you.”
“Ok. My room it is.”
(06/28/99 1900 Harris Conservatory, Blue Continent)
“I’m glad you and Shikarou got married.” Kasumi helped herself to a roll as Branwyn looked shocked at her words. “It means that we are meeting as equals and I hope that will keep us from having difficulties in the future.”
Poppet smiled at her. “Thank you. For myself, I’m pleased that you aren’t upset.”
“Now that there are three of us, perhaps we can keep there from being a fourth, at least for a while.”
Branwyn chuckled. “The actual count is probably much higher than that. There are a several members of the harem who would like to join us and a couple who probably already consider themselves to be his wives.”
Shikarou reached for the wine. “She’s right.”
“Just how many wives do you expect to have?” Poppet raised an eyebrow.
“Less than father does.”
Branwyn gave him a look. “I know a little bit about Kerrik. That doesn’t mean much.”
Shikarou smiled. “I don’t want that many. Now, can we get to the actual reason we’re here? I don’t think it was ‘now that we’re married to him let’s jump all over Shikarou’ either.”
Kasumi gave him an innocent look while Branwyn and Poppet laughed. Poppet finally got it under control and nodded. “Kasumi, you’ve gone through the database. Do you think there are any pokegirls here you might want?”
“Actually, yes. I’m interested in Giselle.”
Branwyn’s eyebrows rose. “Giselle? If you really want her, you can have her. She’s of no real use to me.”
“I can make good use of her.”
“So, who’s Giselle?”
Poppet smiled. “How about we just meet her after dinner?”
After desert had been cleaned up, Poppet took them down to central storage. “This is where we keep the pokegirls that are going to be transferred somewhere else, sold or are just surplus.” She glanced at Kasumi. “Giselle is surplus and has been for several years.” She shrugged. “She’s too powerful to be a starter pokegirl and I couldn’t justify sending her to an experienced Tamer because one of our breeding Pegasluts keeps getting these mild infections that made me keep her just in case Ana died.”
Kasumi nodded. “Your records indicate that she knows some magic spells.”
“That’s right. She tested quite high in magical capability.” Poppet pressed a finger to a pad and the system powered up. “That will warm up in a minute and I’ll be able to retrieve her from storage.”
Shikarou frowned. “So, where is Devon?”
“He took Letitia and Christopher to see Florence for a week. Tobias went with them.” She smiled. “Now that Christopher’s colic has passed, thanks to you, they are willing to inflict their son on other people.”
Shikarou nodded. “Anything else I need to know about?”
Poppet frowned. “I don’t know if you need to know this, but it’s got me puzzled. Xantha’s been getting some visitors. Unusual ones, too.”
“Are you aware of the demand she’s made to the other ElfQueens
about ruling the Blue Continent?”
“No. What has she done?”
“She told Lynn that she is the true ruler of the Blue Continent and that all ElfQueens
owe her fealty and tribute.” He grinned. “She wanted me.”
Poppet blinked. “You are off limits.” She shook her head. “Xantha doesn’t seem to remember who actually rules around here. It may be time to remind her. How did Lynn respond?”
“Lynn sent Gwyneth as an emissary. The two of them want to take the land north of Caomh Sith and turn it into an Elf Preserve with Gwyneth as the queen. The meeting was inconclusive but it did let Xantha know Lynn’s not going to play her game.”
Poppet looked unconvinced. “The fact that she’s become expansionist is interesting, but I’m not sure that explains all of Xantha’s visitors. I’ll take a look into it when I have time.” The console gave a beep. “Ah, it’s ready.” She began typing commands into the system. “Shikarou, now that we’re married, could I get you to repair the neural command system that’s in place here? When it worked it allowed me to operate a lot of the equipment here by telepathy.”
Kasumi chuckled softly. “At least I waited a day or two before making demands.”
“I don’t really think that’s a good idea,” Shikarou commented quietly. “I want you to move to Caomh Sith and making your life here more comfortable is counterproductive to my wants.”
Poppet stopped what she was doing to stare at him. “I suppose you are right, but it is very difficult to even imagine living somewhere else. I’ve been here for so long.” She smiled slightly. “However, I am excited about coming to live with my husband and my other wives.”
“Even me, mother?”
“I don’t have to tame you, so, yes.” A pokeball materialized on the stand. “Here she is.” She glanced up. “Kasumi, I’ll need your pokedex.”
Kasumi produced it. “Here.”
Poppet updated it and the records of the pokegirl. “Ok, the Pegaslut Giselle now belongs to Kasumi Urufu.”
Branwyn frowned. “How is Devon going to feel about you giving pokegirls away?”
Her mother chuckled. “I told him about your visit and he said you could have any pokegirl or girls that you wanted. He really likes Shikarou and the rest of you as well.” She smiled to Kasumi. “I think you’ll like him.”
“Shikarou usually shows good judgment in his choice of friends.” She turned the pokeball in her hands before activating it. “Giselle, come out.”
There was a flash of red and Giselle appeared. She was a little shorter than Shikarou, which meant she was several centimeters taller than her new Tamer. Tight curls of silvery blue hair framed her face and her furled wings rustled slightly as she looked around. Her golden horn flashed in the light as she looked slowly at Poppet. She was slender and her D-cup breasts looked alarmingly large on her nude form.
Poppet motioned towards Kasumi. “Giselle, this is Kasumi Urufu and she’s going to be your Tamer.”
“Hello, Giselle. I am Kasumi.” She smiled reassuringly at the Pegaslut.
Giselle dropped her head in a nod. “Mistress, I am pleased to meet you.”
Shikarou’s ears flicked. She spoke English well but there was a definite accent and he couldn’t place it. Aggie?
Her accent is Noir. That would be French to you. Her records indicate that she was born inside the World Alliance Pokegirl League as a Ponytaur.
Kasumi took the Pegaslut’s hand. “I’m going to try to be a good mistress to you, but I’m kind of new to this, so I’d like your help in defining our relationship.”
Giselle cocked her head. “The rest of your harem might want to help in that.”
“I don’t have any other pokegirls. You are my first, and by default, my alpha.” She squeezed Giselle’s hand. “I will be relying on the advice of my husband’s alpha, but that doesn’t change the fact that you are mine and her advice will only work so far. We are going to have to decide how we want to get along.”
“I’m not interested in going on a journey, instead I want to learn magic and pass that knowledge on to my children. I may also end up teaching magic in a more formal setting and I will want your help.”
Giselle looked stunned and then faintly happy. “I think I would like that, mistress. Battling has never excited me.”
“That’s good, because I don’t find it all that interesting either.” She frowned. “I suspect that it will still be part of the curriculum at the school we’re setting up, but we’ll find other instructors for that.” She gave her husband a significant look. “This is Shikarou and he’s my husband. You already know Poppet, and this is Branwyn. They are my wives and you’ll be seeing a lot of them in the future.”
Giselle bowed to each of them. “Mistresses. Master.”
Branwyn nodded back. “The first thing I recommend, Kasumi, is to evaluate Giselle’s education.” She glanced at Shikarou.
He nodded. “She was born a Ponytaur, so it’s likely she hasn’t had any formal education at all. Giselle?”
The Pegaslut nodded. “I can do my numbers and if there aren’t any big words I can understand simple writing.” She smiled proudly. “I can write my name.”
Kasumi looked shocked. “That’s nice, but you will have to learn much more than that. Shikarou has some T2s that will improve your literacy and I will work on your education.”
Poppet nodded. “Kasumi, whether or not you like battling, I would recommend that Giselle train with Shikarou’s harem. She is a very rare pokegirl. You will be challenged for her and since you are a basic Tamer it will look very bad if you turn down any challenges for a while. You’ll probably want a more specialized combat pokegirl in your harem as well.”
Kasumi gave her a chilly expression. “I am a Tendo by blood and an Urufu by marriage. I may not like battling, but I intend to be very, very good at it, if only so others will get the idea that it’s a good thing to leave me alone.” She gave her husband an oblique look and relaxed at his approving smile.
“Branwyn, could you take me home? I would like to introduce Giselle to where she’s going to be living.” She colored slightly. “Then I have to tame her into my harem.”
Branwyn smiled. “My pleasure. You’ll need to return Giselle to her pokeball for the trip.”
Kasumi fumbled with the pokeball for a moment and sighed. “Branwyn, what am I doing wrong?” The Unicorn gave her a hand and, quickly, Giselle was put away. “Thank you. I still have a lot to learn.”
Branwyn took her hand. “You’re not from around here, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Besides, plenty of people will be more than willing to help.” She looked over her shoulder at Shikarou. “Should I come back?”
Poppet shook her head. “I’ll bring him back in the morning.”
“Please don’t keep him too long. Helen gets bitchy if she doesn’t get her morning attention from him.”
“I’ll keep your suffering in the back of my mind.”
“Somehow I don’t believe you.” She vanished with Kasumi.
Poppet chuckled. “Smart girl.” She slipped her arm through his. “Will you make my hair as long as Branwyn’s?”
“I’d be happy to.”
(06/28/99 2300 Blue Continent)
The room was cold and water could be heard dripping in the darkness. The man knelt. “You summoned me, my king?”
“I wish to know what the state of our affairs is within the Order.”
“They are dissatisfied with the Queen’s orders to avoid Caomh Sith, your majesty. They yearn for vengeance against the Tamer who has bested them twice.”
“Dissatisfied? Surely you can do better than that. I want you to fan the flames of hate against your queen. Strengthen the rumors that she takes orders from me, her king, and let it be known that I am tired of letting a woman’s whimsy keep the Order from its destiny.”
“Do you intend to do that, your majesty? Your followers will want to know the truth.”
“I do. She has vacillated too long and I grow tired of waiting. Direct action is required and apparently she is unable to do such. Pave the way for my ascension.”
“There are still many who would be loyal to the queen, my king.”
“Once again you state the obvious. Where there is rot, I will bring flame. The Order will be purged as necessary to remove the weaker elements. The queen will be taken into custody to await my will.” There was a raspy chuckle. “My will.”
“It will be as you command, my king. When will you act?”
“When? Why, as soon as you are ready. Tomorrow, if possible.”
The man cocked his head in the darkness. “We can be ready by tomorrow at noon. Will that be sufficient?”
“It will. I look forward to giving that bitch her comeuppance.” There was a hiss in the darkness. “Finally, she will be mine.
(06/29/99 0130 Harris Conservatory, Blue Continent)
Warm breath on his cock roused Shikarou from his meditation. His cock stirred and a tongue gave the head a quick lick. He frowned. That wasn’t Poppet’s style. His eyes opened and he raised his head to look just as he got licked again. “Nanu?”
The Mini-Top gave him glance. “Hi.” She licked his cock yet again. “I’m your guard.”
“Where is Poppet?”
“She had to get up. She said something about an emergency call from one of her spies.” Nanu kissed the head of his cock noisily. “She told me to keep an eye on you.” Her teeth flashed in a quick smile. “I don’t really think she knew what she was ordering me to do.”
“I don’t think this is oh god.” His head flopped back as Nanu sucked his cock into her mouth and rolled her tongue around it slowly.
Her eyes flicked to meet his as she worked his cock to the back of her mouth. She sucked hard as she raised her head, dragging his cock out of her mouth and then plunged her head back and drove him into her throat. She did it again, working him deeper each time until her nose touched his belly.
Saliva pooled on him from her distended jaw and she made a muffled noise. At the same time he heard her whispered thought. Tada.
He suppressed a chuckle, which turned into a gasp when she pulled her head back up and sucked him hard. Fabric popped beneath his claws and she grinned around him.
Her head bobbed rhythmically as she worked his cock around in her mouth and he groaned as he felt the fire growing in his loins. She alternated licking with sucking until she heard him make the noises she was looking for and then went back to sucking him hard until he exploded in her mouth. She swallowed quickly but there was too much and it ran down his cock and over her hand. He received a glare and she licked him clean. “You made me look bad.”
“I won’t tell.”
She flashed a toothy smile and swirled her tongue around his head. “Ok. You’re forgiven.” She sucked him into her mouth again and he gasped. “Did Candace take pictures as part of your baseline?”
He blinked at the sudden change of topic. “I think everything was videoed. Why?”
“I think the Edo housewives are having size issues because I’m sure this thing is bigger and I want to know for sure.” She slid up his body and kissed him as she rose up. “I know I usually blow you at least once more before we move to this but I don’t know how long Poppet is going to be.” She hissed as she dropped down on his cock. “Oh, yes, it’s bigger.” Her hips rolled in a slow circle as she worked him deep inside herself. “Mmm, but not too big.”
Her eyes slid shut as she rode him hard and fast. Her pussy muscles milked his cock as she rocked up and down and her breath came faster and faster as her orgasm built. She moaned with each stroke and gasped when he reached up and twisted her nipples hard with his fingers.
Placing her hands flat on his chest she began to bounce on his cock as fast as she could until she froze suddenly. Her body trembled and Shikarou grabbed her hips and thrust into her as rapidly as possible. She went into convulsions as she came and her nails raked down his chest, leaving thin lines of blood. He kept thrusting and she exploded into a series of multiple orgasms, her teeth snapping in the air as her ears flopped around them.
Shikarou gathered her ears in his hands as he felt his orgasm build and pulled her head savagely back, bowing her spine as he drove up into her. Her pussy clamped down on his cock like a vise and she screamed in pleasure/pain as he spilled into her.
Nanu collapsed limply on his chest, her breathing harsh and ragged. She twisted her head slightly and began licking the blood from his skin.
Name: Urufu, Shikarou
Residence: Caomh Sith, Blue Continent
Security Clearance: Eta
Master Tamer Y
Species Name Level
Alaka-Wham Circe 72
Unicorn Branwyn 60
Milktit Helen 58
Seraph Dorothea 50
Armsmistress Urufu Yushiko 50
Ria Kebi 47
G-Spliced Pythia 47
Vampire Elizabeth 48
Sphinx Lorelei 45
Mini-Top Nanu 43
Blazicunt Marzia 40
Badges: Scotland: Stornoway, Rum Island, Glasgow
Wales: Magicunt Village