Chapter 34
(06/29/99 0430 Harris Conservatory, Blue Continent)
                Poppet nodded to Nanu at her guard post and slipped into her room. She shimmied out of her dress and slid silently between Shikarou’s legs. His eyes opened and he cocked an eyebrow as she rubbed her cheek against his groin before sliding up and kissing him gently. “Now you smell like me again.” She ignored his stiffening erection and made herself comfortable on top of his chest.
                “So you know about what happened?”
                She chuckled. “I may not have your nose, but when I left you reeked of sex and me. When I came back, you smelled clean.” She kissed his nose. “Nanu couldn’t keep her hands off of you which,” she gave him an arch look, “I was hoping for after a solid week of having you to myself.”
                “I’ll give her your gratitude,” he said dryly.
                “You will do no such thing. I wanted it this time but I know she takes as much as she can and a little bit extra, so you will do nothing to encourage her.” She gave him a big-eyed sad look. “Please.”
                He turned away. “All right, you win, just stop that.” She snickered quietly. “So, was it really an emergency?”
                Poppet frowned. “I’m not sure. One of my contacts in,” she paused and looked around carefully, “you know where, sent me an encrypted message. Unfortunately when I decrypted it, the damned thing didn’t become much clearer.” She sighed. “It’s damned annoying but you work with the tools fate gives you.”
                She is probably referring to Sanctuary. Most people won’t refer to it by name because the rumor is you never know who is in their employ.
                Shikarou made a face. “So did this cryptic message happen to say anything useful?”
                Poppet grimaced. “In April, someone torched a large chunk of the Kuno estate. They tried to make it look like an accident, but the head of the family actually hired some competent investigators and there were some serious discrepancies about the locations of various family members during the night. The eldest son, Tatewaki, was seen in at least two places at once.”
                “Interestingly enough, some of the automatic fire suppression systems didn’t activate like they were supposed to and it’s suspected they were compromised.”
                Shikarou rolled his eyes. “Kuno? You mean to tell me that there is an analog of that lunatic here?”
                “Yes, now let me talk.” She shook her head and her floor length golden braid slithered over her shoulder to smack him in the face. She giggled as he sputtered and fought his way free. “Oh, that’s funny.”
                 He spat hair. “You were saying?”
                “If you had been listening, you would know that I was saying that the message hinted that ‘they’ were involved somehow.”
                Shikarou wrapped his arms around her. “Hold that thought, love.” Aggie, I’m tired of her hinting about Sanctuary being able to monitor our conversation. Sweep her computer network for anything that doesn’t belong.
                Just a minute. There was a pause. It turns out that she’s got three separate tracer programs in her systems. One of them I can’t remove without corrupting her operating system, it’s built into the primary executive files. The other two are more recent and both go to false mailboxes. One of them monitors the in-house surveillance system at all times.
                His arms tightened. “It turns out that your caution is commendable.” He met her eyes. “And Aggie says it’s also warranted. Your house has some leaks.”
                Poppet’s eyes widened. “Can repair work be done right away?”
                “Apparently one of them is in the foundation. Massive renovations may be in order.” Aggie can you write a patch what will feed them false information?
                It is very likely that they’ll know that the surveillance is compromised. Are you sure you want that?
                “It may be possible to patch the leaks from the outside, but water will pond and be visible to guests.”
                She blinked and nodded slowly. “I see. It’s a risk I’m willing to take if your contractor can get in for the renovations right away. Is that possible?”
                I will have to spend a few hours in her computer systems before I can build her a new system. Does she want a copy of the old one without the flaws or one that is Tirsuli standard?
                “My contractor will want to know if you want the work repaired with local materials or if you want some of the stuff I have at home.” He frowned. “You may also want his number for yourself, like Branwyn does and Kasumi is going to get.”
                Poppet’s eyes widened. You know we could talk like this, but this conversation is fun. “I think that a fence from your stuff might be better, but local materials are fine for everything else. And I would like that number.”
                My redirects will ready in a few minutes. One pristine copy of her system and an excellent security program should be ready by morning. You’ll have to take care of the twee.
                “I suspect my contractor will be able to start work first thing in the morning, although some temporary patches may be in place in a little while.” He grinned. “I’ll get you a phone from home today as well.”
                He kissed her lip. So you think Sanctuary was involved in the attack on the Kuno estate?
                My agent indicates that it is a distinct possibility. However, none of this information has been confirmed and is still tentative.
                Shikarou nodded. Is it important to us?
                Everything those bitches do could be important. Her eyes narrowed speculatively. I think you should talk to Stroak. Some rumors connect him with them from the years he was missing. You might be able to catch him with his guard down since last month his town was raided for the first time in several decades and I understand he’s still angry about something that happened. Pirates sacked the town and his lab, but they suppressed a lot of the information about the raid and he’s not supposed to be talking about anything associated with it. Take Circe and Stardust and you may get some information we can use.
                Shikarou shook his head. Whipping out powerful psychics would be a dead giveaway that I’m suspicious of him. However, if you think I need to talk to him, I will and I’ll see what I can find out. I’ve already got an invitation to drop by when I can. Maybe he can use some help or needs a shoulder to vent on.
                I suppose anything is possible. Be careful. Poppet killed the lights and curled up with him. You’ve made me very happy. Not even Jamie was willing to marry me.
                If he’d have been able to look beyond his prejudices, I’m sure he would have dragged you into the nearest wedding chapel. He paused for a moment. I don’t expect this to make an honest woman out of you. After all, I don’t expect those kinds of miracles even from my father’s blessing.
                Poppet shifted slightly. I’m glaring at you in the dark. He projected love across their bond. Stop that. He snickered and pulled her close. She made a contented noise and drifted off to sleep.
(06/29/99 1100 Blue Continent)
                Sir Gregory glanced around the dining room as he checked his watch. The only person around was Sir Kenneth, one of the research specialists for the Order. Perfect. He’s one of the ones I want to talk to.  He grinned to himself and settled down across from him. “Sir Kenneth.”
                “Lord Gregory.” Sir Kenneth bowed his head in the proper amount of deference to a superior ranked knight. “Good morning.”
                “I’ve been looking for you, Sir Kenneth.” He smiled slightly. “I understand you’ve been working on a program to tighten our security and I want to know how it’s proceeding.”
                “Quite well, sir. I expect to have the final results within a couple of days and I’ve determined a number of avenues that will make the Order much more resistant to outside penetration as well as increase our internal security.”
                “Excellent. These have been troubling times and that will go a long way towards easing the fears of the rank and file.”
                Sir Kenneth bobbed his head in thanks. “I am here only to serve, Lord Gregory.”
                They were quiet for a couple of moments. “Sir Kenneth, have you heard about the King of the Order?”
                Sir Kenneth gave him a curious look. “Who, Lord?” He picked up his knife and began cutting his steak.
                Sir Gregory smiled. “There have been stories circulating about the existence of a king who rules the Order and uses the queen as a proxy for his commands. There’s a new one about how he’s going to come out of the shadows and take direct control of the situation. Have you heard any of those stories?”
                Sir Kenneth frowned. “Yes, sir, I have.”
                “What do you think of them?” There was a just barely detectible edge to Sir Gregory’s voice.
                Sir Kenneth shook his head. “I think, sir,” he drove his knife into Gregory’s throat, “that they are true, considering I started them on his orders.” He went back to his steak as Gregory tried to stand and collapsed sideways in a spray of blood.
                He reached into his pocket and pulled out a pokeball and a com unit. He released a Bondage Queen from the pokeball. “Kim, search him carefully.” Then he activated the com. “We are go. Go. Go. Go.”
                The Bondage Queen quickly searched the dead knight, removing some jewelry and three pokeballs. She held them up. “Sir Gregory, you’re only supposed to have two pokegirls. He’s been hoarding again. Naughty knight.” A sly grin slipped across her face. “What will you give me for them, Kenny?”
                He picked up his glass of water. “I won’t douse you and make you miss the fight of your life while you beg me to tame you.”
                “Prick.” She pouted prettily and tossed the pokeballs at him. “Let’s go start killing people.” She watched as he tucked the balls into his pocket.
                He motioned to Gregory’s chair. “Sit. I’m not finished with lunch yet.”
                Kim glared and settled gracefully into the chair. A slight smile appeared. “His blood is in your food.” The smiled grew. “Isn’t that gross?”
                Sir Kenneth wiped up some of the blood and licked it from his finger before wiping up more and offering it to her. She sighed with pleasure and sucked his finger deep into her mouth, making happy noises as she did so.
(06/29/99 1145 Blue Continent)
                Ygerna leaned back in her chair and sipped at her wine as she mentally composed a message for the Indigo outpost. There were indications that the personnel there had been becoming complacent in their intelligence gathering efforts and she wanted it to stop immediately.
                She jumped when someone hammered on the door. Morgan hissed and stomped over to crack it. She jumped back and pulled the door open to let two figures slip through and Ygerna’s eyebrows rose as for the first time in her guard pokegirl’s life, the Dragoness barred the door.
                The two figures rushed forward to reveal a woman wearing the muted colors of a squire and a girl wearing a blood covered cocktail dress and slippers. Incongruously, the girl had a sword stuck through the belt of the dress. She was missing her right arm at the elbow and the stump had been tied off with a crude tourniquet. The woman dropped quickly to one knee as the girl moved to stand next to her. “Your majesty, we are under attack from within. There is fierce fighting in the halls and you must take charge of our defenses.” She gave the queen a frantic look. “I am but a squire, but I will lay down my life to protect you.”
                Ygerna blanched and looked at Morgan, who gave her a grim nod. “The hallway smells of smoke and other things, my queen. I suspect they are looking for you and the fact that you changed your routine and came here without informing anyone is the only reason we haven’t been attacked yet.”
                The queen shot to her feet. “Summon my guard. This will end at once.”
                The girl bowed. “My queen, I am Barbie and I am one of the Templar pokegirls.” She had a look of stunned shock on her face, but her voice was even. “My Tamer was the only Templar to support you and he is fallen. The rebels have ice pokegirls and they hit your guard first. Morgan is the only survivor.” She swayed and the squire grabbed her quickly. “I met Judith here on the way to find you and she told me the servants had brought wine here, so we fought our way to you.”
                Morgan and Ygerna exchanged a look of shocked disbelief.
                With a thunderous roar, the door exploded inward in a spray of ice and wood. Sir Kenneth peered in cautiously. “Knock, knock.” He grinned. “There you are. I’ve been looking everywhere for you, your majesty.” He tsked as he stepped into the room, followed by one of the Templar and two other knights. Their pokegirls spread out across the back of the room behind them. Most of them showed signs of recent combat. “You really should keep to your schedule. It would make my job a whole lot easier.”
                “Surrender now, Kenneth, and I may be persuaded to be lenient.” Ygerna announced in a ringing voice. The squire, Barbie and Morgan moved to stand at her back.
                He smiled slightly and tapped his cheek thoughtfully with a long finger. “Most of the resistance has been crushed and all you have is a human, Morgan and a beat up Magic Battle Angel. I know. How about you surrender and I’ll put in a good word for you to his majesty. He sends his respects and he’s willing to help you repopulate the world with Sidhe.”
                “And who is this king? Gregory?”
                Sir Kenneth smirked at Kim and smiled softly at Ygerna. “I’m afraid Gregory never made it through lunch.”
                The Bondage Queen grinned. “But he tasted pretty good.”
                Ygerna gave them a disgusted look and clapped her hands. A wall of softly glowing light sprang up between Kenneth and her group. Morgan was already pulling the tapestry aside and opening the concealed door. The Sidhe waved her hand at Judith and Barbie. “Get in there right now. We don’t have much time before they breach the barrier.”
                Once inside the small room, Morgan shut the door, which wavered and vanished, leaving a stone wall behind. “Where do we go, your majesty?”
                Ygerna reached into the ley line that ran through the room and opened a portal. “I don’t know how deep the rot runs or if any of my loyal knights survive. We’ll have to go to Shikarou and Faelan and beg for their succor.”
(06/29/99 1130 Caomh Sith, Blue Continent)
                “I really want to thank you for adding Josephine and Midori’s names to the memorial, but I thought it was only for those who were actually interred in the garden.” Faelan sipped at his tea.
                Shikarou nodded slowly. “It is. I went back to the day after you killed the Giantess and gathered up some of the ashes from where you burned their bodies.”
                Faelan stared out the window of the inn for a long moment. “Thank you. I didn’t have Josephine in my harem for long, but I still miss her. There was something special about her that I haven’t seen since,” he said quietly.
                “That’s why you didn’t want to take the other Sabretooth Tigress I caught into your harem.” It wasn’t a question.
                His brother gave a jerky nod. “Yeah. It didn’t seem right.” He smiled slightly. “However, if you run across a set of twin Espea like the ones I had before, I’ll take them in a heartbeat. Taming them was fun.”
                “I really don’t want to know about it.” Shikarou picked up his mug and took a deep swallow. He only drank tea out of cups for formal occasions.  Informally, he tended to drink out of a beer pint. He snorted. “There are a lot of things I don’t want to know about right now.”
                Faelan flicked his ears. “Like what?”
                “After talking with Nanu and Branwyn, Candace took another baseline when I got back this morning.” He gave a snort and drank more tea. “Things are growing that I have been perfectly happy with up to this point.”
                Faelan started coughing. “Sorry,” he grimaced. “I tried to breathe while swallowing. Care to elaborate?” He flashed a grin. “Or are you unwilling to go off half cocked and talk about this before you know more?”
                “Not particularly.” Shikarou gave him a flat look at the bad pun. “The growth has been slow, but Candace found definite differences. I’ve told Yushiko to have a long talk with my priestesses and to be rather firm about my wants.”
                Faelan snickered. “At least they aren’t praying to reduce your virility.” He blinked at the look his brother gave him and raised a placating hand. “Whoa there, Tex. I haven’t said or done anything to deserve the predatory killer look, so tone it down a touch. Angry psychopath maybe, but not that.”
                “You are so lucky you are my brother.”
                “I know. If I weren’t, I wouldn’t dare to even offer to break bread with such an august personage as yourself.”
                Shikarou fought a smile and Faelan grinned when he saw it. “That’s better. I like a happy wolf kami much more than a wolf kami who’s ready to hamstring me and eat my liver.” He cocked his head. “Do I need to get Kebi over here to scratch your ears? You are still her puppy, right?”
                A growl came from his brother but quickly died. “That’s her nickname for me, not yours.”
                Faelan looked startled. He glanced around quickly and dropped his voice. “You like it, don’t you? Don’t worry; your secret is safe with me.”
                Shikarou looked embarrassed. “Kebi and I have been going out at night. I turn into a wolf and she rides on my back while I practice that form.”
                “I’m sure you’ve made her very happy.”
                Shikarou looked into his pint. “I really hope so. She makes me happy and I hope I’m giving some of it back to her. They all do. I hope I’m being good back to them, I really do.”
                “You are.” It was Pythia. “I’m glad to see the two of you together. Ygerna is coming and she is being pursued by part of what you came here to destroy, Shikarou.”
                He blinked and drained the pint. “Faelan, gather your harem. Pythia, show Svetlana where she needs to go.” He grinned. “Finally, I get to see my opponent.”
                Faelan put a hand on his arm. “If it’s what came before, it doesn’t know about your presence; I’d suggest letting me deal with it first. You can be standby.”
                Shikarou grumbled. “Tactically, that’s wonderful. Personally, it stinks; but ok, we’ll do it your way.”
                A short time later, they were perched on the hilltop where Faelan had been enspelled by the Sidhe queen.
                Shikarou glanced at his brother as he took up station on the other side of the area. “Branwyn, with me. Pythia, Yushiko, you have overflight with Faelan’s pokegirls. Lorelei, Kebi, Marzia, you are the reserve unit. Lorelei, you are transport for the other two.” She nodded and shifted to her battle form as he activated his com spell and quickly outlined his plans to Faelan.
                “Sounds good,” Faelan responded, “since our pokegirls aren’t used to working with each other. I’m putting Zorione in as my reserve. She’s in that stand of trees and keeping out of sight. Send your girls in there too.”
                Branwyn cocked her head. “Reserve unit, you heard him. Move.” She turned to Shikarou as they headed off. “Grates, doesn’t it? Faelan being in charge.”
                He gave her a sideways glare before nodding. “Yes.” His eyes unfocused. “She’s coming.”
                Faelan watched as the ley line sprang into visibility and the portal opened. He glanced at Svetlana. “I wonder if Shikarou has figured out how to do that yet.”
                She shrugged as she kept her attention on the opening portal. “We’ve got four people emerging.”
                Ygerna, Judith, Morgan and Barbie stumbled from the portal as it closed. Judith collapsed and vomited loudly. Barbie stopped and helped her back to her feet.
                Faelan muttered to himself. “We’ve got wounded. Branwyn, Pythia, I want you to medivac the human and the non-dragon pokegirl.” He waved to Ygerna. “Get over here! Someone is following you in!”
                Ygerna looked up and began to run towards him as Pythia and Branwyn teleported in and grabbed Judith and Barbie before teleporting away to the clinic. The Sidhe ground to a halt. “Where are they being taken?” Morgan lumbered up and took her place as the queen’s guard.
                “Medical. You’ll all end up there later.” He looked up. “Derdekea, you have overflight responsibility with Yushiko.”
                The ley line began to sputter in and out of visibility and a glowing green form stepped out of it. Svetlana glared. “That’s the thing from that night.”
                The skeletal figure looked around slowly as the glow faded. It was clad in rotting remnants of some kind of armor and the remains of a cape graced its shoulders. Thick gray hair was pulled back in a loose braid. “Ygerna.” While the creature was over a dozen meters away, its voice seemed to surround them. “You should not have fled. My master is most displeased with your behavior.”
                The Sidhe queen turned and glared. “I am not yours to command.” She blinked and looked more closely. The blood drained from her face. “Germanicus?”
                “You remember me? Good. Then you know who I serve. He wants you to come to him so that the two of you can rebuild the Sidhe race.” It gestured around. “These opponents you’ve fled to are but annoyances and they cannot save you.”
                Faelan stepped forward. “You will leave my land immediately, lich.” He summoned his sword and it burst into flames as he raised it. “Or you will die again, right here.”
                Shikarou sighed from where he crouched. “He talks too much. Attack already or give the command to flee.”
                The creature seemed taken aback for a moment. “So there is a mixed blood Sidhe warrior here? Ygerna, my master didn’t think you’d sully yourself with a mortal. He will be so disappointed to hear about your infidelity.”
                Ygerna spat on the ground. “That to Eoghan and to you. I am not his to claim. To be here now, he must be as undead as you.”
                “He is much more than that, my queen to be.” Germanicus nodded to Faelan. “I will leave, but first, a gift.” It clasped its hands together and made a tossing motion into the air. “Seek the most, avoid the queen.” It bowed. “I leave you a promise of things to come.” It wavered and vanished as a glowing ball sprang into existence and darted away in a straight line. The ball disappeared into the grove of trees where the reserve unit waited. A heartbeat later, there came an explosion that leveled the grove, and sent fragments of trees careening in all directions.
                There was a shrill scream, cut short as Shikarou raced into the still settling dust and debris. “Branwyn, Pythia, get back here immediately.” He pulled up short and sighed. “Never mind.” Fragments of bodies were strewn about aimlessly. “We only have one survivor.”
                Svetlana appeared as she teleported in with Faelan, who turned pale as he surveyed the damage. “Shikarou, I am so sorry.” He sighed and knelt next to a piece of his pokegirl. “Zorione.” Tears began to run down his cheeks. “Forgive me,” he whispered.
                Shikarou slowly searched the wreckage until he found Lorelei’s head and most of a shoulder. Branwyn watched as he picked it up and moved to a clear space. “Shikarou, let it go.”
                He shook his head. “Lorelei is bound to me by blood. She can only die if I do or if I let her. I can’t save the others, but she was mine before this happened.” He laid the piece down and sank his teeth into his wrist. Blood spattered on the body. “Lorelei, I need you. It is not time for you to sleep. Rise and serve me.”
                Branwyn stared as Lorelei gasped and shuddered. Blood poured from the part of her that remained; a flood that was far more than could ever be in her living form. It took the shape of her missing body parts and the fur and flesh rose up through the blood. In seconds, she was whole. The remaining blood sank into her skin and was gone. The Sphinx opened her eyes. “Master.” She rolled to her feet and stretched her wings. “Was I dead?”
                “Not really.” He turned and sighed as he watched his sobbing brother. “Faelan.” His brother looked up. “If that creature returns, I will kill it. If it does not, I will find it and kill it. Do you wish to hunt with me?”
                Faelan’s eyes narrowed to slits. “I do,” he hissed. He bowed his head. “Can you forgive me for what happened?”
                Shikarou cocked his head. “No. This was not your fault and you are not to blame. Germanicus is and if this Eoghan ordered this, then it as well. They are the ones I will seek vengeance from.”
                Lorelei touched his shoulder. “I would hunt with you. They took my sisters and almost took me.”
                “Husband.” Shikarou’s eyes narrowed as he turned to Branwyn. “We do this together.”
                His eyes narrowed. “You will not be my shield this time for I will fight as well. A lich is a formidable mage and it sounded like it may have a master, who is likely another lich.”
                Ygerna stared at Shikarou. “Only the greatest Sidhe mages could raise the dead. What are you?”
                He smiled slightly. “Me? I’m Shikarou.” His ears went flat. “I am many things but today I am death and Germanicus and Eoghan will find that they have only delayed death by becoming liches, not stopped it.” His eyes closed and he took a deep breath. “But first I must care for my dead.” Pain filled his eyes. “Marzia and I were still getting to know each other. Kebi,” his voice broke. “Kebi was mine and,” he stopped. A snarl ripped the air. “No one kills my pack,” he whispered. “No one.”
(06/29/99 1500 Caomh Sith, Blue Continent)
                Shikarou released the spell and the bodies flashed to ashes and smoke. The vapors swirled around him and Faelan before being dissipated by the breeze. Faelan released his spell and the ashes sank into the ground of the garden and were gone. He looked up at his brother. “So, when do we leave?”
                “There are some things that need to be done first.” Shikarou stared off into the distance. “We may not leave for several months. We still don’t know where we are going, or who our opponents are. Not knowing those things will only get us killed. Remember, we also have a responsibility to the living, to our wives and harems.”
                Faelan ground his teeth audibly. “Why didn’t you tell me this before?”
                “Two reasons. First, I suspected you didn’t know this, but I wasn’t sure and I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. Second, you are now committed to hunting with me, which means you have my experience to draw on.” He turned to face his brother. “That experience tells me that if you rush off in a rage, even if you knew where to go, which you don’t, the only reason I might not end up having to breed Svetlana myself would be if she died with you. I have seen too many kami killed by haste than by anything else and you are not going to fall prey to that mistake while I live.”
                His eyes softened. “We will learn our foe and we will either thoroughly plan an assault on their stronghold or, and much more to my liking, we will devise a way to draw them out to a killing ground of our choice.” His ears flicked. “Or do you want to lose more of the women you love to them?”
                There was a muffled crack as one of Faelan’s teeth shattered and he winced. Shikarou nodded. “It’s frustrating, but we must act carefully unless we want more deaths on our side.”
                “So how do we find out this stuff?”
                “Aggie is researching everything she can find online about legends of Celtic undead and other horrors. It’s doubtful they stayed in place the whole time they’ve been plotting whatever they want. Any scrap of rumor, legend, or anything will get plotted in time and space as best we can. We may also have to follow up any leads of hers with work in libraries and any other archival sites she discovers may hold something we need.” His ears went still. “We also have another source that may shorten our searching. But you are going to have to remain calm while we investigate.”
                “What is it?” Faelan asked eagerly.
                “Ygerna recognized Germanicus. From her reaction, I suspect she knew him while he was alive. She may prove invaluable if we can persuade her to talk.”
                Faelan’s claws flicked. “She’ll talk.”
                “Hold that thought, but a more conventional interrogation may prove more useful. Torture works and I’m not adverse to it, but eventually your subject will tell you anything that they think you want to hear just so the pain stops. That is usually unreliable information.” And if you torture her, my brother, she’ll never mate with you. Shikarou carefully guarded that thought from his sibling.
                Faelan nodded. “You have the experience and I yield to it.”
                “Good. Now we need to add three names to the memorial.”
(06/29/99 1630 Caomh Sith, Blue Continent)
                “How is she?”
                Candace shrugged. “They’re all exhausted. Ygerna said that having to rush things and not being able to cast the portal spell properly created stresses that made the trip very rough and tiring. I put them to bed and they’re all asleep.” She pursed her lips. “It turns out that neither one of the pokegirls has their pokeball, so we are going to have to put them into new ones. The necessary protocols are in a containment system computer, which we don’t have yet. Also, the Magic Battle Angel doesn’t have a Tamer anymore.”
                “She may end up with Judith, so I wouldn’t worry about that just yet. As for the new pokeballs, I’ll have Molly do it with the one in Lairg tonight. I’m not sure I want them anywhere near the Conservatory.” He sighed. “You need to leave and take Maude with you.”
                Candace gave him a suspicious look. “What are you planning?”
                He gestured around at Circe, Stardust and Pythia. “Ygerna has information in her mind that I need to hunt that monster and I’m not willing to play whatever games she may want to beforehand, so we’re getting it tonight.”
                Candace gave him a direct look before nodding. “I’ll send Maude out on an errand with Amy and we can do it while she’s gone.”
                “We?” Circe looked amused.
                “I want that thing destroyed as much as you do. Kebi was my friend and Zorione was one of my patients. I’ll monitor things while you four work.” She shrugged. “Maybe I can head off Svetlana or Dorothea if they come by.”
                “That couldn’t hurt.” Stardust looked briefly thoughtful. “Welcome into our conspiracy.” Teeth flashed. “You don’t have to worry about Dorothea; she’s on the roof watching for Svetlana.”
                Candace nodded. “Give me five minutes and I’ll get rid of Maude.” She kissed Shikarou on the cheek and bustled off.
                Stardust nudged him. “You’re staring at her ass.”
                “She’s got a nice walk.”
                “That is not her walk.”
                He gave the Alaka-Wham an irritated look. “Drop it.”
                She leaned her head on his shoulder. “How can you want more tamings? That thing is going to get worn to a nub.”
                Circe snickered. “That’s it. He’s unhappy that it’s growing and he’s trying to wear it down to keep it a proper length.”
                Candace came back a minute later to find them still chuckling. She gave them a cross look. “What’s so funny?”
                Shikarou gave Circe a bland look. “I was just asking the same question.”
                Stardust twitched an antenna and Candace frowned and then grinned. “Oh.” She gave him an amused look. “I was thinking that maybe we need to add a libido entry to the Tamer information database. What would yours be?”
                Pythia’s nose quivered. “What’s higher than extreme?” She blinked and sighed. “I miss her. She would have found that very funny.” Suddenly the room was filled with somber faces.
                Shikarou took a deep breath. “Yes, she would have. And I’m sure she does.” He forced a smile. “Kebi would want us to be happy. Maybe we’ll throw a wake for her and the others.”
                Candace blinked. “I think that would be a wonderful idea. There aren’t usually memorial services of any kind for pokegirls. Once again, let’s set tradition on its ear.”
                Pythia nodded. “I’ll talk to Helen about it.”
                “No.” Shikarou shook his head. “I’ll take care of the food and drink. Helen needs this as much as the rest of us do. If she insists on cooking, fine, we’ll work something out, but she needs to participate. My cooking only takes seconds.”
                “Um, so does hers, now.”
                “I said we will work something out,” Shikarou snapped. He sighed. “Sorry. I’ll talk to her and see what she might want to do.”
                Candace hugged him with all of her strength. “We understand.” She clung to him for a moment before letting him go. “I’ll use that sleep spell you taught me to make sure no one wakes up, especially Morgan.” She headed out the doorway and stopped to look over her shoulder. “Shikarou?” When he looked up, she shook her rump. “Just keeping the blood flowing.” She grinned and winked before leaving.
                “That’s a good nurse. She keeps your well being uppermost in her mind and doesn’t even think of her own needs,” Pythia said in a deadpan tone.
                Shikarou joined in the quiet laughter. “Ah, yes. She is dedicated. Now we must go to work, ladies.”
(06/29/99 1900 Caomh Sith, Blue Continent)
                Circe levered herself out of the command chair and ran her fingers through her hair. “I’m glad my twee is working now. I didn’t like getting knocked out for memory downloads. I’m the last, right?”
                Shikarou nodded. “Yes. Selene?”
                The holographic Egyptian woman turned to him. “I’m compiling everyone’s memories of the trip through Ygerna’s mind now with what we already knew.” A door slid open. “If everyone would move to the conference room, I can begin the briefing.” She vanished.
                Svetlana sighed as she and Faelan entered the conference room and chose chairs. “I still have problems with a computer as smart as I am.”
                Selene gave Shikarou a pained look and he nodded. I know. You’re not a computer, you are a life form in your own right and you are much smarter than Svetlana is. She winked an acknowledgement.
                He looked around the table. Faelan had brought Svetlana and Derdekea while he’d brought Branwyn, Pythia, Circe, Stardust, Candace and Bellona. Kasumi was also present with Giselle. Poppet was staring around at everything, this being her first visit to Alexandria.
                Selene surveyed the room. Commander, you have an interesting command staff. “All right, this briefing is to discuss the mental interrogation of the Sidhe Queen Ygerna. The interrogation team consisted of Shikarou, Pythia, Circe, and Stardust. In addition, a teacher was used to download everything in Ygerna’s mind. I am still exploring what was acquired with it and it will not be covered during this briefing.”
                “Per Tirsuli law, personal recollections are off limits without express permission of the original memory holder, which has not been given in this case and is unlikely to be given since these memories were forcibly acquired. Commander Shikarou authorized the acquisition as an exigency of war; otherwise he would be in violation of Tirsuli law.”
                “Commander Shikarou has authorized me to release some of the personal memories involving Eoghan and Germanicus, but even then I am limited to a summary. Please note that this briefing is available in the teacher network for personnel unable to attend this meeting.”
                She clasped her hands behind her back. “Ygerna met Eoghan and Germanicus in approximately 1000 BC, in what would become northern Scotland. That’s 3300 years ago for some of you who don’t know when BC took place. Eoghan was a druid and had Sidhe blood. Germanicus was another druid and had been Eoghan’s friend since childhood. There is an unfounded rumor that Germanicus was Eoghan’s half brother, apparently his father was popular with the ladies.”
                She cocked her head. “It should be noted that neither Eoghan’s father nor Germanicus have any Sidhe blood, so it’s likely that his father was not his sire. Therefore, while he may have been popular with the ladies, he may not have been so with his own wife.”
                Several snickers sounded throughout the room.
                Selene let them die down before she continued. “Eoghan came to her attention because of her role as one of the mages of the northern Sidhe court as pertained to testing possible Sidhe. He wanted to be recognized as Sidhe enough to join the court and she was appointed to oversee his testing.”
                “He arrived during the spring festival along with an escort that included Germanicus. Ygerna met both of them there and, in fact, slept with Germanicus during the festival.”
                “Eww.” Bellona looked embarrassed briefly at the outburst until there was a murmur of agreement.
                Branwyn frowned. “How many courts were there?”
                Selene considered before answering. “Unknown. Courts formed and dissolved as political alliances changed and families of Sidhe grew and lost power. At the time of Eoghan, there were at least five that Ygerna knew of for certain and several others that she had heard of but never met anyone from.”
                “Eoghan failed his tests and was declared unfit before being banished from the northern court. His leaving was apparently filled with acrimony and included death threats, but nothing was thought of it at the time and eventually he and Germanicus disappeared into the mists of time as mortals do.”
                Svetlana frowned. “What did the tests consist of?”
                “They were varied, depending on the testers and what they wanted to see, but the one test that had to be passed involved accessing Sidhe power. Eoghan couldn’t do it and, in fact, attempted to pass off his druid magic as Sidhe.” Selene’s lips thinned. “It didn’t work.”
                Kasumi looked curious. “Would Shikarou and Faelan pass?”
                “They have already accessed their power, so yes. Faelan has a higher percentage of Sidhe blood and would therefore be considered of higher station than Shikarou but both would be Sidhe.”
                Faelan grinned. “So there.”
                Selene looked amused. “Indeed. During the mortal lifetime of Eoghan, several attempts were made to steal the Grimoire of Danu, which had been created by Ygerna approximately a thousand years before. It was hidden to prevent its loss and later was lost to the Sidhe, although this loss wasn’t actually discovered until Ygerna went in search of it.”
                “The next time Ygerna had contact with either druid was today when Germanicus appeared in pursuit of her.”
                Selene frowned. “However, there are some other interesting things in her mind that she didn’t put together. There was a gathering of the Sidhe at some kind of event that was supposed to culminate with a casting of a spell that would increase their power significantly. Every Sidhe that could be was there and Ygerna was as well.”
                “During the casting of the spell, something went wrong. Except for Ygerna, there were no survivors.”
                “It turns out that there were two other Sidhe that were unable to make the rendezvous, a Sidhe male and his pregnant wife. Interestingly enough, they died on the very same day that all the other Sidhe did. Ygerna investigated the deaths and the devastated area bore a remarkable resemblance to the blast area of the spell that Germanicus employed today.”
                “That is all the information that Ygerna had that is pertinent to the investigation of Germanicus and Eoghan.”
                Selene smiled. “Now we enter the realm of speculation and blind guesswork. Legends that date back for thousands of years tell stories about a sect of druids who managed to conquer death. Some of these stories are obvious retellings of tales from other regions recast in Celtic clothing, but other stories are more interesting.”
                “Some of the latter stories talk of a small group of druids who almost died but didn’t end. These druids have a specific goal, to defeat life itself and become as gods.” She shook her head. “Unfortunately, the stories were fragmented to begin with and much was lost first when the Celts abandoned their tradition of oral histories and again when Sukebe destroyed the world.”
                “There does exist, however, a series of stories that date from after the Isles became Christian. In fact, they are the only druidic stories from post Christianity and almost all of them are Irish.” She paused to let that sink in. “Sadly, at this point I cannot narrow things down any more than that.”
                Giselle raised a hesitant hand and blushed when Shikarou smiled and motioned for her to speak. “Do you know where Ygerna came from?”
                Selene smiled. “That is an excellent question, Giselle. The answer is no. The knowledge of the location of the Order of Pendragon’s holdings are locked in her mind with a spell which I cannot override.” She nodded towards her commander. “Shikarou believes that the spell is keyed to destroy her mind if the information is forced from her, and was unwilling to try to remove the spell himself. He hopes that Faelan can get her to tell us where it is.”
                Svetlana frowned. “Why Faelan?”
                “Ygerna thinks that Faelan Wolf may be a suitable breeding partner.” There was a tiny smile on Selene’s face. Shikarou could just see her thoughts. Take that.
                Svetlana turned pale. “Why not Shikarou?”
                Shikarou was giving Selene an annoyed look. “I’m not as pure of Sidhe blood as Faelan is and frankly I’ve already got three wives while he’s only got one. I’m up by two and it’s his turn in the box.”
                The room rocked with laughter. Even Svetlana had a chuckle. “All right, she wants my husband, which only shows her good taste. Faelan, are you up for this?”
                He met her eyes evenly. “Yes. That information is the first step to destroying Germanicus and Eoghan. Remember, if they did intend to wipe out all the Sidhe except Ygerna, then it’s likely I’m next.”
                “I never thought about it that way.” A determined glint appeared in her eyes. “If it’s us or them, then they go.”
                There was an angry growl of agreement.
(06/30/99 0030 Caomh Sith, Blue Continent)
                Shikarou slowly began worming his way out of the pile of pokegirls. Branwyn had let him know that the others had requested that they all sleep together. Marzia had been making herself a valuable part of the harem and had made several friends while Kebi –
                She had been Kebi and had been loved by everyone in the harem. She’d always been friendly and willing to help. Being feralborne and never domesticated until she’d decided to give herself to Shikarou, she’d started way behind everyone else and raced to catch up.
                Both of them were missed and since they were the first fatalities in Shikarou’s harem, it had hit everyone very hard.
                That had included Shikarou. He knew that Branwyn suspected he blamed himself for Kebi’s death. She was wrong, of course. Germanicus had been Kebi’s murderer and Shikarou knew that he wasn’t at fault.
                No, he blamed himself for failing Kebi. She’d placed her life in his hands and he’d let her die. He knew that he wasn’t responsible for her death, but he also knew that he was responsible for the fact that she was no longer alive.
                He stopped briefly in his room before slipping out of the tent. The moon was up, but it was a new moon and cast no light, which suited him perfectly. The stars were bright enough to see by and he glanced around while deciding where to go. His ears rotated and his face set. “Dorothea, you are supposed to be asleep right now.”
                Her voice came from behind him. “My lord, thou leaving woke me and I followed. On this night, thou should not be alone.”
                He glanced back. She was still wearing the cotton shift she slept in. It shone ghostly in the darkness and highlighted her legs. “You know, you are sexier in that than if you were nude.”
                She stepped closer. “I had hoped that thou would think so. Since none of the others wear clothes in bed, I had hoped it would set me apart for thee.” He smiled as she became more visible. She had remembered her sword and dagger and they gleamed in the starlight. “You are nude, my lord.”
                He shrugged. “It didn’t seem important. Are you going to accompany me?”
                “Then hold this.” He handed her a small leather pouch and scooped her up. She squeaked with surprise but didn’t struggle. “You trust me?”
                “I do.” She pressed her lips lightly against his for a brief instant before tucking her weapons close against her body. “Where are we going?”
                “Away.” He bounded into the forest. Several minutes later he stopped in a clearing and carefully let Dorothea stand. “I’d like you to be silent while I do this.” She nodded and handed him the pouch before stepping away.
                He opened the pouch and shook out Kebi’s lightball. Placing it on the ground, he bit into his wrist and dribbled blood over it. “Kebi.”
                The air shimmered and she appeared. Dorothea gasped. Kebi laughed soundlessly at them and reached up to pat his cheek. “Puppy.”
                Shikarou dropped to his knees. “I’m so sorry I failed you.”
                A warm hand cupped his cheek and raised his head to look at her. “Not your fault. Kebi’s time.”
                She rubbed her nose against his softly. “Kebi not mad. Puppy no hurt.”
                A whisper against the night. “I miss you so much.”
                She kissed his cheek. “Kebi make promise. Come back. Puppy be happy. Kebi want Puppy happy.”
                He stared at her for a moment and nodded. “However long it takes, you will always have a place with me.”
                “Kebi come.” She picked up the lightball and offered it to him. “You keep for Kebi. I come, I want.”
                He cradled it against his chest. “I will have it when you come back.”
                “Good Puppy. Give raspberry.”
                Shikarou blew her a wet raspberry and she giggled and faded into nothingness. He stayed kneeling for several minutes, head bowed, his breathing slow and even. Then he smoothly rose to his feet.
                Dorothea wiped her tears on her shift. Her eyes gleamed wetly in the night. “Shikarou.” He cocked his head with an interested expression. “How long do thou think it will be before she returns?”
                His ears flicked. “Reincarnation is an odd thing. She’ll come when she comes.”
                “And thou will be waiting.”
                He nodded. “I will.”
                She took his hand. “And I will wait with thee.” She nodded firmly. “However long it takes.”
                His ears stilled. “Are you sure about this?”
                “I am. My lord.”
                His hand tightened on hers. “So be it.”
                Energy shimmered around the two of them and Dorothea sighed happily. “I serve thee, my lord and god. Forever.” She frowned. “I hear laughter.” The frown became a smile. “Kebi’s laughter. She’s pleased at what we’ve done.”
                Shikarou gave her a wistful look. “I don’t hear anything and she did have an odd sense of humor.” He frowned slightly. “I can sense that you served my father.”
                Dorothea nodded. “He gave me purpose. Now, thou are my purpose and my life.”
                He shook his head. “Very well. We need to be returning to the tent.” He blinked as the terrain changed and they were standing outside the tent. “Um, Dorothea?”
                “I have been studying teleport with Circe and Pythia that I might serve thee better. I still have a lot of work to do on my range and power, but this was within my current capabilities.” She gave him a shy look. “Are thou pleased?”
                He grinned. “I am surprised, pleased and delighted.” The smile vanished as he shook his head. “In some ways I dread the next Sadie Pokens day because you, Kebi and Helen have been so wonderful that you have probably caused me to set my expectations so high for the pokegirls that might follow you. Possibly too high.”
                Dorothea smiled and opened the tent flap. “Thou should have high standards, my lord. Thou are a god and gods should not be satisfied with every pokegirl that comes along.” She gave him a slightly annoyed look. “Although the reverse seems to be true and thou seem to want to satisfy every pokegirl that comes along.”
                His ears quivered with excitement. “You’re jealous.”
                “I would never presume to be jealous of thee.”
                He blinked. “I didn’t think you could lie.”
                She gave him an innocent smile. “Me, my lord? Perhaps there are still things that thou can learn about even me.” The smile faded. “Thou need rest, my lord.”
                “Are you going to keep me company to make sure I get some?”
                She flushed slowly. He watched with growing interest as it spread down her throat and beneath her shift. “If I must, my lord, then that sacrifice I will indeed make for thee.”
                “You are too good for me.”
                She shook her head gently. “Perhaps in the beginning, my lord, but slowly thou have changed that and made me just good enough for thee.” She gave him an amused smile. “Svetlana does not know what to make of the changes thou have wrought and does not see the changes that have been wrought in thee by our association.”
                He chuckled. “I want to remember that phrase. Just good enough for me.” He looked at her out of the corner of his eye. “Does that mean you’ll start sleeping nude with me?”
                She sighed. “My lord, is it not true that every time thou sees me in my shift, thou wishes to remove it and ravish me?” She gave his groin a pointed look.
                He grinned. “Yes.”
                Dorothea’s gave him a smile that women have given men since the dawn of time. One full of mystery and promise. “Then, I shall continue to wear it for thee.”
                Shikarou stared at her, completely speechless.
(06/30/99 0600 Caomh Sith, Blue Continent)
                “Show me.”
                Nanu quickly assembled the M107. “And done.”
                Shikarou nodded. “Not bad. Well within the US military time requirements.” The Mini-Top preened until his next words. “Now, if we account for the fact that you have five times the speed of a human, then you are woefully slow.”
                “That’s not fair.”
                “Life isn’t fair. Kebi learned that yesterday.” His voice was grim. “I’m going to work the survivors until we have the strength to force life to be fair, even if we have to do it over a pile of dead bodies.”
                “Is that fair to them?” Nanu gave him an amused look.
                “Who gives a shit? As long as none of mine are in the pile, I call it a win.”
                “I can live with that.” They shared an evil smile.
                “Now you get an exercise. Put in your earplugs.”
                Nanu carefully lifted each ear and inserted the custom hearing protection. It was designed to protect from loud noises while allowing normal conversation. “Ready.”
                “Here’s your scenario. The rest of the harem is away when you get an emergency message from Selene. Her sensors have picked up an unknown vessel entering the harbor. You have to investigate and control the situation to the best of your ability until help can arrive. You don’t know how long that will be, so as far as you know, you are on your own.” He shrugged. “I know it’s not realistic; with your twee, you can yell for help anywhere on this planet, but we’re going to go with it. I’ll go along and give you pointers as we go.”
                Nanu nodded. “I’m ready.”
                Shikarou gave her an amused look. “We’ll see.” He gestured and the door to the arena opened. “Go.”
                Nanu pounded through the door and threw herself flat, carefully setting the .50 caliber sniper rifle’s bipod stakes in the ground. She peered over the weapon and blinked. “What the fuck is that?”
                “Pause exercise.” Shikarou cocked his head. “That is the same kind of vessel that hit Phallus town last month. Why did you set up where you did?”
                “It was the first area I came to.” She looked around. “Shit. You didn’t make the best cover right in front of the door.”
                “It never works that way. Where do you think you should be?”
                “In those bushes?”
                “That does seem to be a better place to find a rabbit, doesn’t it?” That earned him a glare. “Right now you have a big problem.” He indicated the galley where it floated well offshore. “There’s someone in the crow’s nest that will be able to see you before you get off your first round.”
                He sighed. “The crow’s nest is the little platform on the top of the mainmast. It’s the middle mast.”
                She looked through her scope. “Crap. There’s someone up there.”
                “Exactly. Move into the cover. Remember to use all the cover you can, but don’t limit your view if possible or it will bite you in the ass and not in a fun way.”
                Nanu settled into the bushes deep enough to be invisible from the shore but not so far into them that she couldn’t see the ground in front of her. “Resume exercise.” The ship began moving again. “What do you think you should do next?”
                She peered through the scope. “I see a pirate flag and they aren’t trying to contact anyone on shore. I don’t want to let them land if possible.”
                “Where will you start?”
                “The, um, crow’s nest?”
                “That’s where I would start. Range?”
                Nanu picked up her binoculars. “1200 meters.” She made an adjustment on her scope. “They’ll be moving so I need to keep that in mind.” She glanced up at him. “Ammo?”
                “Use the purple tips. That’s the same as the original armor piercing explosive incendiary rounds but uses Tirsuli explosives.”
                “When will I get to use Tirsuli weapons?”
                “After you master these. If you learn to snipe with Terran weapons, then any rifle you find becomes that much more lethal.”
                She nodded. “Should I be worried about their cannon?”
                “Not at 1200 meters. They’d be just about as useful if they picked them up and threw them at you.”
                “What about a modern ship?”
                “One of mine would detect your first shot, backtrack with radar and burn this hill to glass before two seconds had elapsed. One with a combat AI on it would shoot down your first bullet, too. Now, I suggest you get busy with your job.”
                Nanu slipped a clip into the rifle and charged it. “Firing.” She held the image for a few seconds and squeezed off a round. The rifle boomed and gas shot out of the muzzle brake on either side of the weapon. Downrange there was a flash and a body was catapulted out of the crow’s nest from the impact.
                Nanu shifted her aim and fired again, killing another crewmember. “Pause.” She looked up at him. “You need to consider threat assessment, Nanu. Killing random members of the crew won’t do your job. Look for high value targets. Priority targets are the people in charge or people who are linchpins to the operation. Sometimes they are the same person, and sometimes they aren’t. Look and tell me what you see.”
                She frowned and looked through the scope, moving it up and down the length of the ship. “I should kill the pokegirl at the ship’s wheel. She controls the movement of the ship and it looks like she was bellowing an order when you froze the exercise.”
                He nodded. “Good. Another thing to remember is that usually humans are higher value targets than pokegirls. And if someone is much better dressed than anyone else, they are a good choice too. However, try not to kill hostages. That tends to annoy the people on our side.”
                “Let me guess, threat assessment is a learned art?”
                “That’s right. You have all the training you need thanks to the teacher, but you need to learn to use it and the more you do, the better you get. You can practice this at any time, in any place. So do so.” He glanced down at her. “Resume.”
                She returned quickly to her scope. The sniper rifle cracked again and the ship’s pilot flew sideways in a spray of blood. Nanu waited a moment and fired again, killing a pokegirl that was trying to reach the ship’s wheel. Shikarou nodded. “Good choice.”
                The ship began to turn into the breeze and the sail went flat as it swung around to face the land. Nanu cursed. “I can’t see the back of the ship.”
                “It’s called a stern. Don’t worry, once they have someone at the helm, they’ll be nice enough to turn it for you.”
                A moment later, the ship began to come about and as it did so, they could see that the cannon had been run out to battery. Nanu fired and cursed. “Missed.”
                “You didn’t allow for the ship’s movement in three dimensions. It moved forward, drifted to the side, and sank into a wave trough. You’ll get better.” He cocked his head. “How many rounds have you fired?”
                “Five and I’ve got four left.” She fired again and the new navigator was blasted away from the ship’s wheel. “Three.”
                A cannon fired and then another. Neither of the rounds came anywhere near them. Shikarou nodded. “Panic fire.” He grinned. “Pause.”
                “What!” Nanu glared at him.
                “Big picture time. Always look around once in a while. What do you see?”
                Nanu looked around and cursed once more. “There are some pokegirls on the shore. They must have swum to it and they’re headed towards me.”
                “Yes. If you don’t think you can drop them all, you need to evac to another site. Now you know that the panic fire wasn’t. It was to distract you from the shore party. Someone is still in charge over there.” He nodded. “Here’s something you’ll need to practice as well. Give me the rifle.”
                Nanu stood and handed it to him. He held it carefully. “Don’t try this yourself, this weapon needs the right recoil to reload and too little can actually damage it. Resume.” In a smooth motion he raised the rifle, paused for a heartbeat, and fired. Nanu looked through her binoculars and watched as the ship’s wheel exploded into fragments. “Now you can retreat and they’re still screwed. If the vessel is stern on to you, put your round into the rudder. Also remember that this rifle will penetrate any wall on that ship, so if you get bored and the ship is drifting or stuck, potshot into the cannon deck. You might hit some powder and have a nice fire brew up.” He smiled. “It will also penetrate just about any wall on a ferry too, so keep that in mind if they come in something a little more modern.”
                He glanced up as the pokegirls pounded up to them. “End exercise.” They faded away. “Keep an automatic weapon as a backup. This is not a machine gun and rapid firing will burn out the barrel or jam the weapon, turning it into nothing more than an ungainly club. Also remember that in a situation like this, where you are the only defender, your job is to avoid direct contact, so retreat and set up another ambush. Kill them in ones and twos over and over and they’ll become a little nervous.”
                He grinned. “And if they come out with hostages, I would recommend ignoring them. They are likely to kill the hostages after they kill you, if you turn yourself in. Oh, and shooting the people holding the hostages, while intimidating, tends to piss the bad guys off royally. Once they kill a few hostages and realize you aren’t going to give in, they will usually stop. If they don’t, they weren’t going to anyway.”
                He handed the rifle back to Nanu. She grinned. “Two rounds remaining.”
                “Excellent. Now let’s go outside and you can clean it.” He eyed her thoughtfully. “Later we’ll run a similar exercise with a Tirsuli rifle and I’ll show you the differences.”
                “Like what?”
                “Oh, like the fact that you could have engaged them at 3000 meters easily. A Tirsuli sniper rifle could engage them at 10000 meters, but then there are other issues, like the fact that every shot raises a pall of dust around you and gives away your position.” He shrugged. “Flying pokegirls will find you very quickly in a situation like that and it gives teleporting pokegirls a target. Your best bet at that point is to employ a remote sniping weapon and you go do something else, like sit a hundred or so meters behind it and kill anyone who teleports in.”
                Nanu grinned. “That’s wicked.”
                “Nope. That’s fair.”
Name:                                                     Urufu, Shikarou
Age:                                                       250
Residence:                                             Caomh Sith, Blue Continent
Region:                                  Scotland
Status:                                                    Active
Rank:                                                      60
Security Clearance:                              Eta
                Tamer                                     Y
                Master Tamer                       Y
                Researcher                            N
                Watcher                 N
                Breeder                  Y
Active Harem
Species                  Name                                      Level
Alaka-Wham                         Circe                                       72
Unicorn                  Branwyn                                60
Milktit                                    Helen                                      58
DragonQueen                       Bellona                   55
Seraph                                    Dorothea                               50
Armsmistress                        Urufu Yushiko      50
Vampire                  Elizabeth                                48
G-Spliced                               Pythia                                     47
Sphinx                                    Lorelei                                   45
Mini-Top                               Nanu                                      43
Alpha                                     Branwyn
Beta                                        Bellona
Badges: Scotland: Stornoway, Rum Island, Glasgow
                                Ireland: Belfast
                                England: Plymouth,
                                Wales: Magicunt Village