Standard Disclaimers apply. Written by Micah Hakubi at feynman dot project AT SPAMOHMYGODHELPUSALL gmail dot com. You can guess the drill regarding contact.
The story is mine, the setting is not. We all give thanks to Metroanime daily for putting up with us messing around his in awesome world. Ahmen.
To quote Kerrik Wolf, "You should not read this work if you are under the age of legal consent wherever you reside. This work may or may not contain any and/or all of the following: death, dismemberment, violent acts, implied sex, explicit sex, violent sex, rape, cannibalism, blasphemy (depending on your religion), BDSM, torture, necrophilia, mimes, and just about anything unwholesome that you could consider."
Feedback welcome. I probably need the syntax abuse.
Major thanks to Kerrik Wolf for proof-reading and offering spelling and grammer abuse corrections for this chapter. All corrections are his, all mistakes are still mine.
Wilma quietly tried not to fidget as she manned the receiving station at the London Aerodrome. The Ingénue was involved quietly cursing the completely male idiot that had come up with the stupid uniform requirements. These thrice-damned high heels were enough to make her fervently wish she had him, a Dildo Queen, and three hours in a soundproof locked room, and damn the consequences. Worse, she was having to handle the most recent airship flight, which was from the bloody Noir League, of all places. If the pains in her feet weren't enough, she had to deal with a bunch of ponytaur eating arrogant bastards who couldn't quite seem to grasp that they were in bloody well god-blessed England, which meant they were supposed to speak some god-forsaken bloody English! It was only by the grace of long practice that kept her pleasant expression on her face as she navigated through the seething horde of foreigners that she had to process before letting them into London proper.
She saw the next group in line, and stifled another groan of pain. The center of the trio, a blonde-haired apple-cheeked, blue-eyed boy looked pleasant and well-put together enough, if you had an eye for a male that young(and she knew some pokegirls that did), but his two attendants made her wince. The girl holding tightly onto his arm looked to be slightly older than the boy, but her softly glowing eyes made it clear that she was not even close to human. The final member was clearly their keeper, a blonde-haired woman who might have been mistaken for a human until you saw her bright gold eyes. Another pokegirl, and worse, old enough Wilma would guess she was nearing to the point where she'd been past her second puberty.
Two pokegirls, neither of them giving the impression of being common, owned by a boy who just looked to be nearing puberty. All of which pointed him to being one of the worst kinds of spoiled rich, who had enough money even at a young age to treat pokegirls like water.
And French, to boot.
She kept her expression mild as she smiled professionally at him and asked simply, "Your papers, sir?"
The reply surprised her. "Yes, ma'am." Not English, but the words were clear and concise without a hint of Noir accent. The boy dutifully handed her a prepped stack of documents for him and his entourage.
Wilma blinked, only slightly rattled, wondering if perhaps he had mistaken her for something human. "Thank you, sir. Sir, I'm a pokegirl." Even as she said this, she was processing the documents, blinking curiously in surprise. His accent hinted at it, and the paper worked confirmed; he wasn't from the Noir League - instead, he was from Indigo. But the name 'Michael Coldsmith-Briggs III' seemed to hint he was as rich as she had first suspected.
Michael Coldsmith-Briggs III nodded promptly. "Yes, ma'am. But my mother taught me to treat all women fair and equal, no matter what, or else she'd have my hide as a trophy."
Wilma's professional facade cracked slightly, her smile containing a measure of confusion mixed with honest humor. "Yes, sir. Was your mother a pokegirl?"
Michael Coldsmith-Briggs III shook his blonde-haired head. "No, ma'am. But she could see when people were going to die and could strike them down from afar with her hatred alone."
"I... see." Slightly confused, Wilma handed the documents back, appropriately marked. "Enjoy your stay in the Blue League, sir."
Michael smiled in return. "Thank you, ma'am."
Once they had acquired their luggage and were situated on a bus heading into London proper, the older, golden-eyed blonde leaned over to her charge and murmured softly, her curiosity getting the better of her, "Was that true?"
Michael Coldsmith-Briggs III leaned back and murmured, lips barely moving, "So she said. I never got firsthand experience with these abilities, but she only mentioned them once or twice."
Thirty minutes later saw the blonde trio dropped off at a stop, still carrying their luggage. Entering one of the more upscale hotels, they signed in, acquired their key, and entered their room on the fourth floor. Had anyone been watching them, they would have seen the trio exit their room several minutes later, sans luggage, the interior of their room as empty and untouched as it had been when they arrived. They then promptly entered the elevator and toggled for the ground floor.
A minute later, the elevator pinged and opened into the hotel's main hall, with no one inside. A bellhop nearby saw this occur, shrugged, and simply passed it off as a minor electronic glitch.
Had anyone been observing the hotel's roof, they would have seen a pool of darkness manifest, tendrils licking upward as Illya phased herself and her two companions through the building's mass, depositing them safely. Anya gestured, her two Cards flaring with the show of power, and Michael Coldsmith-Briggs III, aka Micah Hakubi, reassumed his proper age and appearance. He promptly resisted the urge to stretch out his wings, reminded of the last time he'd done such a stunt and the fallout, and desperately tried not to think of the time under the effects of Anya's Small and Illusion Cards. He wasn't certain if the changes had been actively physical or the magic just made it seem that way.
He resisted a small twinge of paranoia as he let a bit of magic flare, resolving into a voluminous cloak that could hide his wings and a hood loose enough that his horns could be passed off as a trick of light and fabric folds. His tails... well, he'd have to be very, very careful. He shook his head, considering his current lot. The Blue League. Where the Order of Pendragon was known to operate, where the BLSF was known to utilize magic, where the Celestial Alliance seemed to take a great deal of active participation in local events, where Poppet 'Queen Bitch' Harris had taken a large interest in politics and policy for over three centuries, where several different supernatural creatures had been known to be active, never mind the Legendaries. Kerrik Wolf's own stomping ground. All in an area that was just slightly larger than the state he had grown up in. If Micah stopped to consider just how many different ways this could go off the tracks in a spectacular fashion, he'd start screaming and not stop.
He gritted his teeth as he felt the wind, having the sudden urge to just take a single leap off the edge of the roof, spread his wings, and -fly-...
He shook his head, pulling his hood up. "Excellent job, ladies. Let's get to work."
Several teleport jumps later saw the trio enter one of the ruined areas of London. The city itself before Sukebe unleashed his war had upward of 6 million people in residence. Today, the number was roughly half a million, and ruined areas still littered the city where ferals and other unsavory elements lingered. Dropping to street level, Illya and Anya both discarded any pretense of civilian clothing by changing into their 'official' uniforms - Anya with her miniskirt and coat/blouse with knee-high flat soled boots and a cloak thrown across her shoulders, the Lucarda in her adult form and wearing a miniskirt short enough to be illegal in most Leagues for a human female to wear, a black great-coat thrown on top and a white spaghetti top keeping her modest, her feet contained by a set of knee-high gothic platform buckle boots. Micah, for his part, simply looked as inconspicuous as possible, or as inconspicuous as one is able when they're wearing a voluminous cloak and looking ready at times to become the next hunchback of Notre Dame due to an uncontrolled twitch of something beneath the cloak.
At a particularly uncontrolled twitch of his tail, Anya leaned in close and murmured softly, still scanning their surroundings as she commented, "Nervous much?"
"Just a little," Micah replied, trying not to grit his teeth.
Anya smiled quietly to herself, and murmured, "Just consider. It could always be worse."
Micah gave her a look that was mildly incredulous. "How, pray tell, could it get worse?"
Anya's smile broke into a delighted grin. "You could always stumble across a lost and forgotten Sidhe Princess who's looking to marry an obviously supernatural entity, now that none of her kind is left."
Micah gave a full-body shudder at that consideration, wings and tails included. "Please don't even joke about that."
"Someone's coming, Master," Illya stated with a flat scowl.
The new arrival was a blonde female, wearing a mish-mash of disparate and well-worn clothing that had seen better days. The Tigress trailing behind her marked this new addition an actual human female tamer.
The smile she gave him was less than kind. "Well, now. Look at this. A bunch of new people coming in here with their fancy costumes as if they owned the place, with our main boyo here looking as if he's trying to be some fancy new Lord Crimson or something. I think I've stumbled across a few honest strays, that I have."
Micah stirred faintly, feeling the unsettling whispers of anger running through his brain, thankful that his cloak was good enough to hide his face unless she took it upon herself to invade his personal space. "And if we're just passing through?"
The smile fell. "I don't care if you're god's own bloody angels come here to deliver some fucking judgment, this here is Hammersmith territory, and that means our very own bastard Spring-Heeled Jack has the final word on everything that happens within." The smile came back. "Which means you and me, boyo, are going to take a walk here for a spell, I think." The smile slowly stretched into a grin. "And if you refuse, me girl Sally here is going to have something to say on that."
For a moment, Micah couldn't think from the sudden spurt of anger in his brain. He struggled with his breath, acutely aware that if he so much as dared to open his mouth, what would come out would be something he would dearly regret, if only for a minute or so.
Ludmilla teleporting in took the matter out of his consideration, the Dire Wolf swatting the Tigress aside telekinetically as if she was a common catgirl and slamming the human girl down with a mental attack that actually drew blood in the form of a bleeding nose.
Micah let out a shaky breath, resisting the urge to turn the air blue with a long spate of cursing, tear at his hair in frustration, or start yelling. Loudly. If every half-assed idiot that pissed him off caused him to freeze like that, well... he'd end up dead in quick order, likely. And as gratifying as it was, he couldn't simply have Illya rip their throats open and eat the evidence. For that matter, -he- couldn't simply rip their throats open and have Illya eat the evidence.
A quiet sigh. "Thank you."
Ludmilla smiled. "You're welcome, Master." She glanced down, and in a showy flourish, telekinetically picked the female tamer up and began telepathically rooting through her brain. "So, are we going to go visit this Spring-Heeled Jack fellow?"
"Why bother?" Micah shrugged even as Illya snuggled up to his side, Anya on watch to make sure no other surprises popped up. "I don't care who he is, the bastard can go fellate himself for all I care. He isn't even a consideration in my plans."
"She," Ludmilla noted.
Micah blinked. "Excuse me?"
"She," Ludmilla elaborated. "Spring-Heeled Jack is a she."
Micah glanced heavenward. "Ah."
"Shall we eat the evidence?" Illya murmured at his side. "It has been a while since... would you like to have her first, Master? Succulent woman meat, even if she is of lesser quality..."
Micah only spared a momentary glance at Illya, then directed his attention at Ludmilla. "Wipe their memory of the encounter. Did you gain anything useful from either of their memories?"
Ludmilla grinned, wolfish, triumphant, tail flicking behind her. "A few things. I believe I have a good spot to secure a teleportation point. Shall we?"
Ludmilla stepped into Micah's private research room - his Sanctum Sanctorum, as he had jokingly murmured to her in one quiet moment of observation. She resisted a sharp pang of jealousy as she regarded the spread-out accumulation of books, tomes, and papers, all of which had been scribbled on liberally with his notes, annotations, and various observations and ideas. Euphemia was really the only one in the harem that had access to this place in any meaningful capacity; Micah had made it strictly clear that none of the harem was to bother the materials barring an emergency, with the only exemption being the red-headed G-splice.
Micah was quietly working on something whenever she entered, so the Dire Wolf indulged in her stubborn curiosity, peering at some of the more curious notes she could pick out from discarded sheets of hand-made paper. Several lines of scribbled text caught her eye, with curious notations of along the lines of 'Summon Lavos', 'Summon Ragnarok(which one?)', and 'Summon Metal Gear(Metal Gear!?)'. Her eyes flicked to another paragraph with a number of selections such as 'Pregnancy Spell', 'Forced Parthenogenesis', 'Pokeboys!? Shouldn't work.' and 'Punch Gorgo in the gonads when I get home.'
Shaking her head, her long, blonde hair absently brushing against her white-furred tail, Ludmilla stepped over to her Master. "Busy?"
Micah leaned back, wings shifting absently as his tails wafted languidly behind him. Blearily, he reached up to rub at his face, looking slightly tired. "Only slightly."
"What are you working on?" Emerald eyes blinked as she leaned closer to him, her plush breasts pressing against his back.
Micah leaned into her gratefully. "Cursing myself up, down, and sideways for being a loving idiot after our encounter yesterday."
Ludmilla blinked. "What about it?"
"I've been too focused in some of my magical studies, and I wanted to alleviate that." Micah closed his eyes, emitting a gust of a sigh before continuing. "My fault, really. I got tunnel vision regarding the spells that I wanted to have knowledge on, when their applicability could be said to be dubious, at best, really."
Ludmilla quirked a blonde eyebrow. "What spells have you been focusing on?"
"Among others? Offensively, I've been developing several theories on artillery-grade long-range blasting-type spells," Micah replied.
Ludmilla blinked again. "How could those be of dubious use?"
Micah smiled faintly. "Ah. Now we get into a long and interesting discussion regarding the tactical considerations to be made whenever a Tamer joins the battlefield." A minute shrug, careful with Ludmilla pressed up against him. "Realistically, it isn't a wise choice, to me. In a situation like this when we're up against a dedicated foe with a full-time militia and, theoretically, an intelligence agency, knowledge getting back that the 'squishy male' can fight on-par with a pokegirl somehow would simply escalate threat levels to a point I'm not sure we're willing to deal with." He glanced at Ludmilla, checking to see the Dire Wolf was following along. "Right now they're still stuck in a certain paradigm, whether they realize it or no. That is, the male of the species is considered weak and harmless. Disregarding my outward appearance, Sanctuary likely is still following that paradigm, and I'm not sure if I want to knock them out of it yet."
"Why haven't I seen any of these spells of yours?" Ludmilla's ears flicked in minor confusion.
"They're mostly theories at this point. Solid theories, but theories regardless. And they're only one-half of the equation. If I make myself into a feasible tactical target, then I need to make sure I can survive being a target." A small smile. "Which means I need to develop all my protection spells first. And those are the ones I'm hesitant to do so, as some of them... well. Risk, rewards, and all that."
Ludmilla's ears fell back momentarily against her skull. With effort, she pulled them back up. "What does this have to do with yesterdays little encounter?"
Micah's face soured in disgust. "Because, as I said, tunnel vision. I've been concentrating on methods that basically come down to hitting a problem with the biggest thrice-damned stick I can find."
Ludmilla glanced over at the stack of notes. "'Pregnancy spell'?"
Micah laughed. "Ah. That. Well, that's more of a tactical spell, more than anything."
Ludmilla's green eyes blinked. "You're seriously considering a spell that gets pokegirls -pregnant-?"
"Why not? It's a relatively harmless way to remove a pokegirl from battle for nine months. Longer, really." Micah quirked a grin. "Let's theorize. What would you do if you discovered you were pregnant with a human child?"
Ludmilla blinked. "I... I..." For a brief moment, her expression resembled a 'deer in a headlight' look, then dissolved into rueful admiration as she tousled his hair. "Point taken, Master."
Micah nodded. "Exactly. Getting a large amount of Sanctuary Goths knocked up, well, it would throw a wrench into the matter, let's say." He shook his head carefully. "Where was I? Ah. Yes. Spells. Yesterday reminded me that, sometimes, a hammer isn't best. Occasionally, I need a scalpel. Even if it's a really sharp scalpel. So I'm re-evaluating some tactical ideas, and one of the things I'm working on is a fear-effect spell."
Ludmilla considered this, nodded. "That could be useful." She blinked, as something occurred to her, and the Dire Wolf smiled. "Like the S-Goths Aura of Fear attack?"
Micah blinked, then made a face. "I hadn't considered that." He flicked a glance at his notes. "Probably for the best. I'm planning to have the effect range and potency be more variable, and not, necessarily, centered on fear itself."
Ludmilla giggled. "I'll wait to see what evils you come up with." Leaning forward, she wrapped her arms around his neck, enjoying the closeness. "As much as I'd like to indulge in some free time, this isn't the real reason I'm here."
"Ohoh?" Micah didn't look up at her as he reached and gripped her clasped hands.
She nodded. "Yes. I came here to discuss Gally."
Micah smiled faintly. "What about her?"
"Tactically, she doesn't fit in well with the rest of the harem," Ludmilla noted clinically. "While the majority was assembled through sheer serendipity, your combat girls function through high-speed maneuverability combined with crushing power that gives them superb battlefield control." A wry smile graced the Dire Wolf's lips. "If I do say so myself. Nunnally, myself, Cornelia, Anya, all are capable of extreme high-speed flight as necessary with a high degree of maneuverability and teleportation capabilities. Illya is the only one who doesn't, yet she carries the role of close-quarters fighting to a near superb extreme. And she still has phasing and teleportation for evac."
Micah nodded. "Any suggestions, then?"
Ludmilla's tail flicked behind her as her ears canted sideways. "I had given thought to pairing her up with a Grim Angels Fireteam," she replied, referring to the smallest division of fighting personnel she could divide her Company of S-Goths, which was effectively four people. "And turn them into something akin to a special operations wrecking squad. Drop all five of them on a target, let them do what they do best."
Micah smiled. "Very good." Ludmilla flushed from the praise, tail wagging. He nodded, continuing on, "I'll trust you with the details."
"More on that," Ludmilla went on, forcing her tail to keep still. "Have you considered taming any of the Grim Angels?"
"I hadn't planned on it, no."
"If we put this special team together, you might want to consider doing just that." At Micah's curious look, Ludmilla went on. "Sukebe's original forces were specifically loyal to him. How he managed that is anyone's guess, but he was definitely the focus of morale in his armies. I've been attempting to engineer a similar sort of loyalty to you with the Damsels, but, I'm hesitant to say if I've seceded or not. Taming, naturally, would reinforce that, and help mitigate conflicts between Gally and her Fireteam."
Micah made a face. "Logically, I can't fault that kind of thinking." He frowned. "Give me a week or so to consider it."
Ludmilla smiled. "Fair enough." She canted her head to the side. "Actually, why haven't you been taming any of the pokegirls you posses outside the harem?"
Micah chuckled softly. "What, like Fiera?"
A soft growl emerged from Ludmilla's throat. "Question withdrawn."
Micah's chuckle grew into actual laughter. "Despite the assumptions of a few people I knew back home that I was some sort of lascivious, insatiable sexual fiend, I'm actually fairly picky about whom I'm going to have sex with."
Ludmilla chuckled softly. "A lascivious, insatiable sexual fiend? That sounds pretty nice." She placed a kiss atop his head.
"I'll keep that in mind." Micah kept his tails still, having the urge to wrap all three of them around one of Ludmilla's legs. "Anything else?"
A brief whine escaped from her throat. "I'd like to say 'no', but there's the original reason I came here. You mentioned that we should get your input regarding unusual FarFuck'ds we stumble across?"
Micah nodded. "I did indeed."
"There's one we came across you might want to talk too." They'd been working on processing the FarFuck'ds they'd acquired from the cache program - 53 in total - to S-Goths, which involved releasing them, talking for a bit, knocking them unconscious as needed, injecting them, and then returning them to their pokeballs. The problem with FarFuck´Ds is that pulling them into Dreamtime would be less than useless - they'd still have their quirks that made most of them go into storage in the first place. That, and as powerful, skilled, and old as Ludmilla was, going through a FarFuck´D's mind was similar to attempting to tread quicksand. "She claims to be a powerful and experienced mage, so..." A shrug of bare shoulders.
"Really? Well. Let's go talk to her, then." Micah picked himself up from his workspace and followed along, enjoying the sight of Ludmilla's tail wagging above her bare bottom.
They found the FarFuck´D discussing things with Euphemia, and Micah tried not to frown thoughtfully when he caught sight of her. She was petite, for one, edging more toward Gally's size than Euphemia, her hair a shade of brunette that caught the light with flames of scarlet as she moved. She turned to watch Ludmilla with a measure of frustrated embarrassment mixed with jealousy at the pokegirl's nude state, then froze as she caught sight of Micah. Her eyes, he noted, were a darker shade of red that made him think of dried blood. She immediately pointed a finger at him in an accusatory manner. "Ah! A demon!"
Micah laughed. "Not quite. I'm perfectly human. I just had an... incident, you could say. My name is Micah. And you are?"
"Oh, yeah." She bounced on her feet, fists on her hips as she regarded him frankly. "I knew a guy like that. And I..." She pointed a splayed hand at her modest chest grandly, "Am the marvelous, gorgeous, sexy, powerful, knowledgeable, and all-round incredible mage and master of black magic, Lina Inverse!"
Micah couldn't keep the smile off his face. Apparently, the Sailor Moon manga wasn't the only media that had survived to this age. "It's a pleasure to meet you." Tangentially, the image of a bunch of FarFuck´Ds thinking themselves Sailor Senshi running around the pokegirl world flitted through his brain, and he shook it off before focusing on the pokegirl. "How did you arrive in this world, then?"
'Lina' blinked, even as Euphemia and Ludmilla both looked at him as if he was crazy. "You know about me?"
"Of course. Should I not?"
"Er, well. Of course you do!" Lina brightened, smile beaming on her face. "You're the first, though. This place is so weird! Um," she stole a glance at Ludmilla. "People here are... really friendly, and the last guy who I talked to expected me to, uh, to..." Lina abruptly fidgeted, twirling her fingers together in front of her face turned beet red.
"Have sex with you?" Micah replied.
Lina blushed even harder, and nodded, not looking at him.
"Well, I certainly can't fault his taste," Micah noted simply. Lina gaped at him, looking as if she was about to pass out from the blood rushing to her face. "But it's a common mistake, here. People tend to assume powerful female mages have certain requirements. Do you know how you arrived here?"
Lina swallowed. "Uh, no. I went to sleep one night, and then woke up in this crazy place."
Micah nodded thoughtfully. "Then perhaps we can assist one another. I, too, am from a different world. My studies of magic are amateurish, at best. And while I have access to instructive tomes..." Micah spread his hands. "They can only do so much." A smirk. "From what I understand, your knowledge and power is quite likely second to none in the arena of magic. At the very least, you could claim to be unequaled in the art of magical combat."
Ludmilla stood off to the side, trying not to gape in stupefaction at her Master's words. Then she caught the look on the FarFuck´D's face and tried not to let a shiver of fear run down her spine and directly to her tail. She wasn't sure if the FarFuck´D herself knew what she was expressing at that moment, as in those eyes was a gleam of raw, hungry lust mixed in with knifes-edge keenness of blatant insanity.
Her tone showed none of that as Lina grinned, all trace of earlier embarrassment gone. "That's right! You -have- heard of me."
"As you say," Micah noted. "Given our similar circumstance, It would be wise to pool our resources, don't you think? I'm already working as fast as feasible to acquire the knowledge I need to formulate a spell of some kind that would allow me to travel the various worlds. Your assistance, likely, would help speed that up." A feral grin. "Not to mention, any of your own magics I could convince you to teach me would be a near god-send."
Micah quirked an eyebrow at something in Lina's posture, his wings shifting idly as he watched her. "You have something to add?"
Lina glanced at him, then downward, arms behind her back as she whistled nervously and then mumbled something.
Micah tried not to laugh, even as he glanced heavenward. Nothing was ever easy, was it? "Your magics don't work."
"HEY!" Lina blurted out. "That's not my fault! I didn't ask to be stuck in a screwy world where people want... want... want stuff, where magic is completely at odds with how it's supposed to work!"
"Then perhaps I can help you more than you realize," Micah replied. "I do, after all, have access to teaching information in regards to magecraft. You are a prodigy and genius when it comes to the sorcerous arts. Mastering another type of magic should be child´s-play for you."
Something glinted in her eyes as she grinned at Micah with a feral smirk of her own from over one shoulder. "You know what? You're right. I think I -will- help you. You've got yourself a deal!"
Roughly an hour later, Ludmilla finally managed to get Micah's attention and mentally asked, /I thought you said you didn't want to to get personally involved with a FarFuck´D pokegirl?/
Micah blinked back, his unnatural blue-on-black eyes liquid, wide, and innocent - quite the feat, given his overall appearance. /I did?/
/In a round-about manner. I specifically recall you -thinking-several times how you professed a fervent desire to stay away from FarFuck´Ds. What changed your mind?/
Micah glanced at Ludmilla, nodded absently. /As frustrating as it is, I can't ignore the fact that I've had an odd effect on pokegirls in my close proximity. Witness Euphemia and Nunnally./ A careful shrug. /For all I know, I may have a specific affinity for pokegirls that I had a direct hand in dealing with before... before. Now?/ Micah smirked. /Now, I came to realize that I don't care one whit how the other Legendaries react if I inadvertently cause a FarFuck´D to evolve to a Neo-Legendary./
Ludmilla was starting at him in horror. /...you? You created a Neo-Legendary? That could evolve from a -FarFuck´D-!?/ The volume of that mental shout nearly made Micah stagger. The Dire Wolf went on, heedless of the effect she was having. /HOW!?/
Micah absently rubbed at his forehead. /Technically, I did not. Well. Technically. You could make an argument that I inspired a good amount of said Neo-Legendary entry... anyways. But, no, the person who created said entry was a friend of mine./
"Like you?" Ludmilla spoke, ears canted forward curiously. "Another author?"
Micah gave another careful shrug. "After a fashion. I knew him a good deal before pokegirls started, and I consider him one of my closest friends. He even helped me through a really bad spate of time in my life, though I doubt he realizes what he did." Micah let out a brief chuckle.
Ludmilla blinked. "Do you think he was summoned, like you?"
Micah was silent, staring at a point two feet in front of him. It stretched out long enough that Ludmilla thought he might not have heard her, before he murmured softly, "I've been trying not to think about that. I really hope they didn't."
"What if they did?"
Micah looked at her, and something in those eyes caused a brief shiver to run down her spine. "You recall what I mentioned to Wendi and her friends, about genocide?"
"I heard, yes."
"If I knew they summoned my friend here, I would seriously consider re-evaluating my decision," he murmured softly, then gave a sharp shake of his head. "But that's neither here nor there."
Ludmilla nodded slowly, and switched back to telepathy. /So you're planning to evolve her to a Neo-Legendary?/
Micah blinked in stupefaction. /Oh, hell no./ He put a finger to his chin. /My, whatever can I do with a FarFuck´D who thinks she's a natural-born savant and prodigy in the magical arts the likes of which this world has never seen? Well, I suppose I could pin her up against a wall and fuck her brains out, for one. That's always an option./
Ludmilla looked to be trying not to smile, and failing. /Smartass./
"It's a talent," Micah spoke aloud, chuckling, then went back to telepathy, trusting Ludmilla's link to him to do the majority of the work for him. Telepathy wasn't one of his strong suits. /I don't really have a trained magic-using pokegirl in my harem. Euphemia's doing much of what I am, training on the spot and developing what we need as things come up, though it helps that she's a literal genius. Having Lina on-call will likely help in my own magical study, and I won't have the pangs of guilt that I do dealing with Jericho. And no, she's not going to be in the harem proper. I'll manage her directly, as needed./
/Good,/ Ludmilla noted wryly. /Given the little insane spitfire seems to think it's right and proper to run around like a mobile hurricane, if I had to manage her directly I'd likely end up biting her face off./
"I'll keep that in mind," Micah noted aloud in a wry tone.
It was several hours later, after dinner, when Nunnally canted her head to the side, walking past one of the rooms that had been made livable in their little outpost at the end of the world. From the noises she could hear coming from inside that particular room, there was obviously an issue that needed to be dealt with. Nodding in decision, the Arkhangelsk decided to do the pragmatic thing; go talk to Ludmilla, whom would then go talk to Micah.
Several minutes later, Micah arrived at the door. He paused only briefly, considering the notion of knocking before entering, before he caught hint of the sounds within and decided to go for the blunt, direct approach. Tucking his wings in tightly so they wouldn't bang up against the door(an annoying occurrence that happened frequently, much to his dismay), he opened the door and was promptly greeted with the sour-sickly smell of fresh vomit.
Lina was tucked up on her bed, looking as if she'd been crying for a good while, dressed in nothing but a dirty t-shirt that came down to her mid-thighs. She yelped in embarrassment, grabbing for her blanket as she tried to cover herself completely. The motion jarred to a halt as a pained expression crossed her face, her body making it clear that quick action would be severely frowned upon.
"Problems?" Micah flicked a glance toward the bathroom where the smell was the strongest.
Lina looked as if she was about to start yelling at him, before she thought better of it from the ominous gurgling of her stomach. "Y-yeah. I don't think dinner agreed with me."
"You ate enough of it," Micah noted wryly. "You near single-handedly finished off all the sausage."
Lina got a dreamy expression on her face in memory. "Yeah. It was so good, too." Something in the memory seemed to trigger a rebellion in her stomach, the FarFuck´D's eyes widening as she tried to stumble out of bed and race for the bathroom. Earlier bouts of this had already weakened her to the point where she only had the energy to stumble forward, and ended up vomiting on the blanket.
Micah said nothing, ignoring the smell as he settled on the bed and pulled her hair back so it wouldn't get messy, rubbing the back of Lina's neck as she ran out of things to vomit up and began to dry-heave.
Lina didn't look at him or move from her hunched over position once her stomach stopped trying to void itself, her fist a tight ball against his thigh. Weak as she was still, her could feel her petite frame vibrate as she stubbornly pushed back the urge to cry. Micah squeezed her shoulder, saying nothing, feeling the tension go out of her as she gradually calmed down.
Once he thought it safe, Micah ventured aloud, "It's possible the dimensional translation effect that brought you here had some unintended side-effects. Given that your body doesn't seem to react well to meat," he paused in speaking when the word 'meat' drew a pained moan from Lina and another ominous gurgle from her tummy, but no further vomiting seemed about to happen, so he went on, "You might want to skip eating it for a while." Micah knew what had happened, of course; FarFuck´Ds were herbivores. They couldn't eat meat. At least, not in the quantities that Lina had gleefully packed away earlier.
Lina made a sound that came suspiciously close to a sniffle. "My magic doesn't work. I can't even eat properly anymore. Mooouuuu, I hate this place." She tried to make that last come out as a frustrated scream, but it only reached the level of an elevated whine. She paused. "Dammit, I need to clean up the bed..."
"I'll take care of it." Micah carefully scooped up Lina into his arms, the FarFuck´D making a soft 'eep!' of surprise, yet lacked the energy to protest. "And you can sleep in my bed tonight. You'll be fine."
Once he had Ludmilla help Lina clean up and get a hot shower before tucking her into bed, Micah returned to clean up. He glanced at the mess critically before gesturing, a small ribbon of ideogramatic script forming around his hand as he focused power in a simple spell that he had developed more as a test-bed for some of his theories than anything else. Instantly, the smell died as the room was near-perfectly sterilized. He then focused again, applying another test-bed spell that swept up the vomit from fabric and floor alike, leaving no trace behind as he pulled the disgusting remains into an orb of digestive juices and things best left un-thought about. Micah pulled it along with him as he moved into the bathroom and did similar there, before sending the entire mess down the toilet for disposal.
Micah chuckled softly as he surveyed his work. "The power to deform reality itself, and with a pine-fresh scent, to boot. Mr. Clean has nothing on me." Washing his hands out of habit, he considered the slight problem of where he was going to sleep, now that Lina was occupying his bed. He tangentially considered the notion of sleeping there anyway, but he didn't want to antagonize the FarFuck´D any further, as amusing as teasing her might be. Micah considered a moment, smiled faintly, and made a choice. Heading out of Lina's assigned room, Micah made his way to one of the other rooms his harem had made livable, knocking quietly and receiving a quiet "Come in" in reply.
Gally was curled up amid a pile of blankets, dressed in sedate pajamas with bandages peaking out where he body was still undergoing her changes, even if her face was fully converted to the Gunnm's breed standard. Her blood-red eyes glanced up from the book she was reading in surprise when she realized just who it was. "Master?"
"Good evening," Micah replied with a grin, peaking at the book in question and somewhat pleased when he found it was one of the magical introduction textbooks Gally had brought along. "I was wondering if you wouldn't mind me sharing your bed for tonight, as mine has gotten occupied by one exhausted and tired FarFuck´D."
Gally blushed deeply. "Um, Master, I, I'm still..."
Micah waved it off. "I said sleep, not sex. Given everything, I can see why you'd be less than interested in the act of taming."
Nodding reluctantly, Gally had to agree. "I... I'm sorry."
Micah smirked. "Oh, woe is me. I have to actually have some... what's the term? Patience. Yes, -that-. God forbid I have to display some patience before I get the opportunity to fuck my gorgeous and nubile Gunnm senseless."
Gally blushed even further at the praise, even as she giggled.
Micah laughed softly. "Quite. Apologies aren't necessary, given something you have no control over. So. How about it? Do you mind being adventurous and sharing your bed with someone for the night?"
"...okay," Gally replied, trying to hide behind the book she was reading.
Stripping down to his underwear, Micah and Gally began the curious trick of settling down to sleep, made more complicated by Micah having his set of wings. Eventually, they figured things out enough to the point where Micah was snuggled up next to Gally, one arm thrown around her middle and a wing acting to cover her as a blanket.
"Um." Snuggled as they were, Micah could feel the hitch of breath as Gally made an aborted motion to the lamp that was near her bed. "Do you want me to-"
"Keep reading," Micah murmured, not opening his eyes. "A little light isn't going to kill me."
"I can't believe this," Cornelia muttered as she and Micah finished the teleport, Ludmilla appearing shortly afterward as she followed the telepathic link she shared with Micah. Not a Delta Bond, no, but it was enough for the Dire Wolf to work with for near everything else.
Micah quirked an eyebrow, manifesting a voluminous cloak with a flourish of one hand, pulling the hood up until all but his chin was obscured. "Which, what we're doing or being back in the Capital League?"
"Both," Cornelia replied. "For all we know, that bitch Linda has a spell that let's her know whenever you enter her League." The Demon Goddess' one good eye narrowed. "Not that I wouldn't mind a crack at her. But if we're going to do that, I'd like to do it in her sleep, so she doesn't have a chance to strike back, or get Mister Cranky Pant's harem after you!"
Micah chuckled faintly at the description of McMahon as 'Cranky Pants'. "If she knows I'm operating in her League again, then let her know. Hopefully it'll give her a few nightmares. She could do with a few." A careful shrug, mindful of wings compressed down uncomfortably.
Ludmilla's ears flicked, the Dire Wolf glancing curiously at Micah. "Why are we here, anyways?"
A brief rustle of cloth, hinting that Micah was looking at her, then another shrug. "You're the one going through my brain at your leisure. You should know by now." Pulling out his PDA even as he felt that ghost-whisper sensation of Ludmilla trawling through his brain, Micah considered the information displayed. "There. Roughly three miles down that path." He pointed. "Let's get moving."
For several minutes, the walk down the path was uneventful, Cornelia and Ludmilla both on watch duty. Then the Dire Wolf's eyes widened, and the blonde-haired pokegirl abruptly spun and hugged Micah tight enough he could feel his bones grind together.
Micah's voice was slightly strained from the pressure as he asked calmly, "Not that I can complain, but...?"
"I'm sorry," Ludmilla murmured. She reached up and pushed his hood back so that she could look at him in the eye.
"Ah," Micah sighed. "Found that memory, did you."
"It wasn't your fault," Ludmilla murmured. "Master, you were fourteen years old."
Cornelia glared at both of them. "-What- wasn't his fault?"
"I'll tell you later," Micah replied to Cornelia. "It's not a fun memory to recall." He directed his attention to the Dire Wolf. "And, Ludmilla, quite frankly, -I don't care-." A faint sigh. "If nothing else, it was an educational experience. I refuse to live with that sort of regret, again. So. Let's get moving, shall we?"
Wisely, nothing bothered them as they made their way to their destination. The camp itself wasn't something that you'd find in Indigo, what with their pretty little campsites with walls and sonic-fences, but it had seen enough use to mark it as a good place to stay for the night. Thankfully, it was only occupied by a single Tamer; more presence might have made this entire situation slightly more difficult.
"Gregory Breckinridge?" Micah called out, not that close to the setup camp itself, as a Pidgy was acting as watch and glaring at the three of them.
"Yes?" The Tamer pulled himself up out of his tent. The first thing that struck Micah wasn't his age, but instead his overall manner of seeming innocence. He lacked the hard edges of a professional Tamer that had been on the trail for several years, having in its place and overall freshness to his mannerisms. Micah resisted the urge to shake his head in amazement.
"I was told you have a Witch in your harem that I might be interested in," Micah went on. "And I was wondering if we could make a trade."
"I have a free Shadowcat to trade, for one."
Gregory blinked. "A Shadowcat? For a Witch? Hell, yes. You've got yourself a deal."
Micah had to force himself not to glance at Ludmilla, wondering which part of that was his original enthusiasm and what part was the Dire Wolf subtly pressing on his mind to make him more agreeable. "Well. Let's not waste time, shall we?"
They were well away from the camp when Micah glanced over, and the Dire Wolf shrugged helplessly. "I didn't have to do anything."
Micah let out a bark of laughter as Cornelia snickered. "Oh, that was painful to watch," Micah said. "But, at least nothing blew up in my face." Activating his PDA to check on the condition of the pokeball's content, he was gratified to see that the Witch was neither injured or feral. "We'll give it another mile before we discuss things with her."
Once they had located a suitable clearing, Cornelia hovered out to overwatch, focused on the pokegirl Micah was about to let out, Ludmilla close to him to teleport out if anything untoward occurred. Grinning wryly, Micah toggled the release.
The brunette Witch wasn't changed that much since Micah last saw her, though he thought there was a little less fear in her overall manner, time and distance having put some of the abuse behind her.
"Good evening, Bernadette," Micah spoke aloud, causing her to whip around in surprise, as she hadn't heard someone call her by her birth name in a while. "I know I've undergone some changes since we last saw one another, but I'm curious if you remember me," he went on, pushing his hood back to regard her calmly.
Bernadette Laver stared at him in shock when his more inhuman features were revealed, then let out a soft gasp as comprehension clicked, recalling the Tamer that had taken her away from her abusive father in that forest logging camp so long ago. "You! I don't, what..." She looked around in confusion, remember the Demon Goddess in a dim fashion, but the nude, blonde-haired catgirl was new. "Where am I? Why are you here?" She blinked. "You... you got me from Master Gregory?"
"Traded, actually, fair and square," Micah noted, rubbing at his chin. "Tracking you down was relatively easy enough. I was glad to see you hadn't been level fived, as that would have made this more difficult."
Bernadette's mouth hung open in dumb shock. "You... you actually tracked me down? Why?"
"One of life's many cruel lessons that it has taught me is to live with no regrets," Micah noted. "And one thing I regret is not being able to do more for you when we first met." He smiled faintly. "Granted, taking you into my harem at the time would have been dangerous for you, but now I'm in a good position to correct the tragedy that your life became when you thresholded."
The Witch was still staring at him dumbly in shock. "You went to all that trouble just to get me into your harem? Back? Back into your harem, I mean," she realized she was stuttering, and abruptly shut up.
Micah grinned, showing a hint of fangs. "I'll do one better than that. Tell me, have you ever heard of the secret, hidden breed of pokegirls called Sanctuary Goths?"
One long explanation, one enthusiastic agreement, and one quick application of a safety medical syringe filled with S-Goth Serum later, Micah pocketed the pokeball containing one S-Goth-to-be. "Now," he began, but was abruptly cut off as Cornelia hovered down and kissed him, hard.
"Woof," Micah let out once the Demon Goddess let him breath again. "Not that I'm complaining, but what was that for?"
"For being you," Cornelia murmured, her one eyes suspiciously wet as she snuggled up her plush body against him, petticoat ruffling. She then paused, and glared up at him. "And a promise to keep you away from all your Sanctuary Goth fangirl hordes if you keep this up. You're going to have blowjobs-in-thanks to go with your breakfast, lunch, and dinner, every day, for the rest of the year, and I'm not going to have them suck out all your hormones through your dick and leave none for me."
"I can't help but agree with Cornelia on this," Ludmilla noted with an element in her voice that sounded suspiciously like a laugh.
"Oh, heaven forefend I get more blowjobs than I know what to deal with," Micah replied in a sotto tone. "Good thing I finally mastered that hormone spell."
Cornelia and Ludmilla both blinked. "You what?" Cornelia asked, brushing away an errant bang of dark blue hair from her one eye.
Micah quirked a grin. "A spell to ramp up my sex drive and responsiveness. All of you seem to enjoy sex a great deal, and despite all the practice I'm putting in, it would be a shame if I couldn't keep up, now, wouldn't it?"
"I think this deserves a personal demonstration," Cornelia murmured, breath suddenly hot against his neck as she leaned close.
Micah chuckled softly. "Normally I wouldn't mind, but given all that I've planned for today, we've got a few more miles to go before we can sleep the sleep of the wicked and just."
Ludmilla quirked an eyebrow. "You mean, the good and just."
"I do not believe I stuttered," Micah replied, grinning, given Cornelia a final hug. "Now, let's go visit Jericho and that horde."
Micah dismissed his cloak whenever they teleported into the Manor's grounds; rather than teleporting into the Manor itself, they had arrived roughly five hundred yards away from it, walking the remainder of the distance. Paranoia, after all, had it's uses, and it wouldn't be good to teleport into the Manor itself one day and find that the entire thing had been rigged with explosives set to go off via motion sensors.
They found Ekaterina at the door, the NurseJoy having noticed their arrival from well-away. The pink-haired pokegirl smiled in greeted, stopped, and then stared at Micah, having just now noticed the differences. "Uh..."
Micah smiled faintly, his three tails wafting slowly behind him. "Good to see you're up and aware, Ekaterina. In fact, I wanted to discuss something with you, as well. Do you know where Jericho is?"
Ekaterina blinked, her expression a clear 'Me?' look to them. "She's in the study, I think, along with Delilah."
"Well. Let's go see her then, shall we?"
When Jericho caught sight of Micah where she had been sitting behind the main desk, she stared, mouth open. "Oh, god," she squeaked out. "You've gotten bigger." She blinked, as if realizing what she just said. "Taller, I mean. Taller!" Upon noticing one of his three tails that drifted into view, she emitted another squeak. "And you've got tentacles!"
Micah let one of his tails drift into view, eyeing it, then whipped it back around. "They're tails, not tentacles, thank you very much." Ludmilla's own tail was wagging in mirth while Cornelia gave the magic-using Catgirl a flat glare.
"What happened to you?" Delilah moved from where she had been sitting on the desk, the blonde Archangel moving to stand close so she could get a look at the black triangular slashes that now marked his face.
Micah smiled back. "It's a long story."
Delilah glanced at him curiously. "Are you going to tell it to me?"
"I'd honestly rather not," Micah admitted. "It's a bit private, and slightly awkward to explain to people outside of my harem." He paused, realizing how that could be taken, shook his head, realizing that he honestly didn't care. "Anyways. It's good to see all of you assembled, as there's something I'd like to discuss."
Ekaterina strode over and set herself down on the large desk that was the focus of the study. "Well, if it's not to show off that you can now make a Dildo Queen jealous, what is it?"
Micah gave her an odd look askance, even as Jericho and Delilah blushed. Why, he thought to himself, does the conversation go completely off the tracks whenever I visit? Discarding that line of thought, he went on, "I'm reasonably certain I haven't elaborated on this matter before, but, to be clear, Ekaterina, Delilah, Jericho, do any of you know of the secret breed of pokegirls called Sanctuary Goths?"
Once Micah had finished with his explanation, the NurseJoy was the first to speak. "So let me get this straight," Ekaterina noted dubiously. "You're telling me there's a secret breed of pokegirls that don't require taming and don't go feral that we've never heard of that can evolve from any pokegirl using a supposed Ebony Stone, that we've also never heard of?"
"I'm leaving out a large breadth of information for brevity's sake, but, yes, that's it in a nutshell," Micah said.
"What does this have to do with a catgirl getting tamed in Edo?" Ekaterina went on.
"Because I've managed to fashion a transformative serum that replicates the effect of the ebony stone evolution, albeit over a slow, seven day period, and I came here to offer a dose to you and Jericho," Micah replied. Not waiting for the two of them to recover their shocked looks, Micah glance at Delilah. "I have a serum dose for you, as well, but I'm hoping you'll at least wait until you've helped me with my other issue, first."
Delilah smiled faintly. "I'm almost beginning to think that Rachel had the right idea when she said you needed a Celestial minder. If I don't have to make the decision today?"
Micah nodded. "Of course."
That managed to break Jericho out of her shocked stupor. "What issue?" the catgirl ground out, trying to stifle a low 'rrrrrr' sound in her throat, tail lashing behind her. If she was being perfectly honest with herself, she was still terrified of someone managed to steal Delilah away somehow, free pokegirl or no, and, quite frankly, Micah scared her because of it.
"I'm going to make a proposition to a Megami-sama I have in my possession. I have a few theories I need to explore, and her help would assist that," Micah said.
Ekaterina was staring at her hands. Slowly, she clenched them, and looked at Micah, unshed tears in her eyes. "Never going feral. Never needing taming. I... I can be human, finally." She swallowed. "Why?"
Micah gave a wing-rustling shrug. "Because I can." At their expressions, Micah smiled faintly and went on, "There's a large number of reasons I'm doing this, naturally. But that's one of them. Because I can. Because I want too."
"There is... no possible way I could -ever- repay you for this," Ekaterina stammered.
Micah waved it off. "Perhaps. Given your healing skills, I'm sure you can find employment as an apothecary somewhere. Get married. Have a family. Hell, have lots of kids. Oodles of them. The only thing I ask is that you not reveal what you are or how you got that way to anyone else. I'd rather not be swarmed by desperate pokegirls aiming to become Sanctuary Goths." A quirked grin. "That doesn't mean I won't be asking you for a list from time to time, but it'll be on my time, not other peoples."
Ekaterina swallowed, and choked out, "When?"
"Right now," Micah said as Ludmilla set her compression backpack down.
Once Ekaterina and Jericho had been injected, Jericho eyed Micah for a long moment, then burst into tears and ran out of the room. After a moment, Delilah followed, clearly concerned.
"...hmmm," Micah noted, rubbing at his chin thoughtfully. He could think of several reasons for that, but... Turning his attention back to Ekaterina, he noted, "Seven days. That's the maximum. It'll take place even if you get put into a pokeball, so don't worry. Don't-" he cut himself off, realizing that they hadn't experimented yet how the serum would react to anti-venom treatments. "Chills and fevers should be natural," he went on instead. "Your body is undergoing a severe physiological change. Try not to overdo any treatment meds or application of healing abilities, alright?"
Ekaterina nodded slowly, then stepped close and hugged him tightly. "Thank you," she whispered, then stumbled away and ran out of the room.
"Well, that's three lives I've altered irrevocably for today," Micah noted even as he rubbed at the bridge of his nose. "For my next trick, I'll have the Legendaries sit down and have a calm political discussion over the pros and cons of parity."
Ludmilla burst out giggling. "I think you just perform miracles, Master, not do the impossible."
"Do the impossible, break the unbreakable, row, row, fight the powa," he muttered under his breath, much to the confusion of Ludmilla and Cornelia. "Never mind," Micah replied cheerily at their expressions.
"So what -are- the other reasons you didn't want to mention to them?" Ludmilla asked, sitting down on the spot on the desk that Ekaterina had vacated. "I know why you're doing this, but from the way you were speaking, it sounded like this actually had application to our fight with Sanctuary itself."
"I have to take the long-view in things," Micah replied. "Sanctuary Goths have existed for roughly two hundred years, did you know that? Yet in all that time, there's been no recorded instance of a pokegirl thresholding into an S-Goth that I'm aware of. The genotype hasn't been introduced into wild yet, so to speak." He nodded toward the door. "Assuming the best case, with Ekaterina, Jericho, Charolette, and Sam all surviving to have children," He hadn´t made the offer to Sam and Charolette yet, but Micah couldn't see the Drag King or Milktit refusing, "In three generations, who knows? We could see teenage girls thresholding harmlessly into S-Goths, hell, maybe even new male bloodgifts and curses developing because of the new blood."
Cornelia and Ludmilla blinked.
"But that's neither here nor there," Micah went on, "And not an immediate concern. I want to get the discussion with Esther out of the way as soon as feasible. If I have to track down a Megami-sama to assist with my research, I'd prefer to get it out of the way as soon as possible." He paused as an errant thought occurred to him. "Huh. No, that would be silly. And slightly scary. And disturbing."
Cornelia canted her head to the side, leaning her Key-staff against her shoulder. "What is, Master?"
"Megami and Megami-sama seem to operate at times as if they're guided by a higher power, going where they need to be or following the lure of their own prognostication abilities." Micah smirked. "I had the amusing mental image of metaphorically reaching up, gripping whatever higher power that was by the metaphorical throat, and telling it to do what the hell I told it to and give me a co-operative Megami-sama right the hell now."
For a brief second, both Cornelia and Ludmilla felt a chill run down their backs.
"But, as nothing just happened, I'm going to scratch that plan off my 'feasible' list. Let's get the harem assembled."
The area selected for their plan was a large field on the Manor's grounds that afforded a lot of space in case the worst occurred and they had to deal with a rampaging Megami-sama hell-bent on killing the lot of them.
Ludmilla frowned at Micah. "I still say you should be wearing your armor."
"Normally, I would agree with you," Micah replied, nodding to Rachel and Delilah both as the Angel and Archangel approached their gathering.
"But, there's one slight problem with that."
The Dire Wolf blinked emerald eyes, white-furred ears twitching. "Which is?"
"My armor makes me look like a video game endboss."
Ludmilla's lips twitched slightly. "Who's fault is that?"
Micah frowned, the set of his lips looking as if he was resisting the urge to grumble. "I'll note, I know nothing about armor design. The spell itself handles that function, and I'm not sure if it's accessing the Akashic Record or doing actual side-dimension computation on the fly. As a result, I tend to trust the spell itself to design something fitting, rather than risking me trying to tinker the hell out of it's appearance and ending up looking like a loving idiot."
Ludmilla's smile grew. "In other words, it's not your fault. It's just magic being magic."
"Yes. No. Wait," Micah paused in mid-breath, closed his eyes, and changed his tactic, "Point being, I'm trying to get her to co-operate, not terrify her."
Ludmilla eyed the tea spread. "I think the setting's wrong if you want to terrify her. For one, this dialogue would have to take place in a taming room, she'd have to be strapped to an x-cross taming restraint, and you'd need more sex toys. Of course, she'd probably faint before you could get your first question in."
Ludmilla smiled, tail wagging. "What? Just noting some Celestial's approach toward sex can be a little off."
"As opposed to being sensible and enjoying a nice hard fuck," Cornelia muttered from where the one-eyed Demon Goddess stood.
Rachel's expression firmed, looking ready as if she was about to level a retort, when Micah cut her off with a discrete cough. "Ludmilla, Cornelia, be nice," Micah noted. "You shouldn't tease others when they could take your words as something more serious." Gratified as the three of them breaking off from the minor rebuke with various expressions of chastisement and gratification, Micah went on, "And it's time we have a talk with the Megami-sama." Picking up the pokeball containing said pokegirl, Micah then promptly pitched it into the target release area.
Combat did weird things to one's perceptions. Micah had found that certain moments he could recall with stark clarity whether he wanted to or not, while other things ran together into a indistinct blur. Such as it was with the Megami-sama; he honestly couldn't remember a thing about how she looked. He wondered why, now; her short, feathery hair was a stark, bleach white of such intensity he guessed it to be antiseptic, and her mismatched blue and green eyes seem to almost glow with power.
Confusion flickered across the Megami-sama's face as she realized the scene had changed; she couldn't managed much more beyond that before Anya's Sleep Card slammed down upon her at full power, simultaneous with Ludmilla hitting the Megami with a crushing psychic attack, even as Cornelia utilized imitate to copy Ludmilla.
The Megami-sama hit the ground like a sack of wet cement, blood streaming from her mouth and nose. Ludmilla teleported in, affixing an anti-teleport/anti-psychic manacle around the Megami-sama's neck, then immediately teleported back out, leaving Rachel and Delilah to advance and pick the Megami-sama up, applying just enough healing energy to cause her to stir, heterochromatic eyes blinking groggily.
"Good afternoon, Esther," Micah noted aloud, his deep voice pitched to carry the distance between them without being loud. Esther blinked muzzily between Delilah and Rachel, trying to figure out what was happening. "It's been some while since I last saw you, and I was wondering if we could have a discussion, you and I." He quirked a smile. "But first, would you like some tea?"
"You monster," Esther whispered, struggling to her feet with no little help from Delilah and Rachel. "You killed him. You killed my Brett." Her brain caught up with her surroundings like a car hitting a concrete embankment. She wasn't in a taming center somewhere, and while this... thing's harem was arrayed in a defense posture around her, none of them had an expression of exultant gloating of the likely pain that would be arriving shortly if he was about to torture her. She recognized Rachel, of course, and while the proper treatment could break any pokegirl to someone's will, she had to admit with a private wince that her fellow Celestial looked better put together than she had been under Esther's care.
Then there was her love's murderer, sitting calm as you please behind a table spread with various finger food and tea pots, looking positively genteel in the suit he was wearing. And how, with wings like he had, did he manage that? Distant as she was, her nose caught the rich scent of freshly steeped tea, and she felt herself blush hotly as her mouth began to water.
"Yes, I did," he agreed readily. He gestured. "I do not, however, have any plans to harm you or yours. And I think we can work out something that's mutually beneficial to the both of us."
Some of her strength was returning. Esther regarded him from where she stood, not moving. "And how can I know to trust you?"
Those unnatural, freakish eyes regarded her levelly. "You're a Megami-sama," he stated. "A powerful Celestial. Harnessed together and working in concert, a group of your kind can rival even the Legendaries, properly applied. That limiter manacle keeps you from making a sudden move to kill me, but you're far from helpless. -Tell me I'm lying.-"
Esther's mouth dropped open. Slowly, she began to tremble. "I hate you," she whispered. "You monster."
"But I'm not lying, am I?"
"No." She sniffled. "You're not."
With Rachel helping, Esther slowly shuffled over to the table, sitting tenderly down in the seat offered to her. It was then she noticed that there were places set for Rachel and Delilah, as well, whom settled to flank her. A Milktit she didn't recognize began serving the three of them, and she found herself suddenly famished as she restrained herself to slowly and calmly begin filling her stomach from the sample finger foods there were. When she dared glance in Micah's direction, she had to resist a jerk of startlement. He wasn't ignoring her totally, but it was clear that his focus was on the book he was reading.
For the next thirty minutes, surreal didn't quite cover it.
It didn't take that long for Esther to begin thinking. She didn't dare ask questions for her fellow Celestials in front of... him... but the food and tea had their intended bracing effect, and she could stomach the silence no longer. "Where is your Limbec Crew?"
Micah flicked a curious glance from the book he was reading. "The Lost Chance was never mine. I was hiding out on a transport ship whenever they arrived with intent to pillage; once I secreted the transport ship's crew away safely I forcefully coerced the Limbec ship into taking me to the Forest League. They were in the process of doing so whenever you and yours found me and attacked. And before you ask, I gave them my word that if they did as I told them, I wouldn't kill them. After our encounter, the Lost Chance was ruined, so I offered them an opportunity, and they let me capture them. I'm now slowly parceling them out to sell via auction or to give them to Tamers I can trust."
Esther's eyes narrowed. "Why did you attack us when we made to capture the Lost Chance, then?"
"Because your Tamer attacked me with lethal intent and I responded in kind," Micah noted. "I gave him the opportunity to retreat. He did not take it."
"No, he wouldn't have," Esther whispered, and lapsed into silence. Micah, seeing no questions forthcoming, went back to reading.
It took another five minutes before Esther finally lost her internal struggle and asked the obvious. "What are you going to do with me?"
Micah glanced up. "I have no intention in taming you or having you join my harem. To clarify things, I'm neither taming Delilah," he nodded to the blonde Archangel, "Nor Rachel," he nodded to the brunette Angel, "And I never have, so please keep that in mind whenever you hear their opinion. I approached Rachel to see if you and your harem would be amenable to being released and leaving me and mine alone. Whenever she said that this was unlikely, I originally intended to release you and yours whenever I left this world. To clarify, I am a dimensional traveler, this world is not of my origin, I was summoned here against my will, and I wish to leave. My appearance was not originally like I am now, so please don't think I'm attempting to breach a rift into Hell or something silly like that."
"However," Micah went on with pause, "Things have changed, and I would like to request your help."
Slowly, Esther took a sip of her tea, using the motion to cover her brain furiously trying to assimilate the glut of information. "Why," she measured out slowly, "Would you need my help?"
"I want to study your capability of Blessing pokegirls, granting them the Blessing Template," Micah replied, earning a look of surprise from Rachel and Delilah; he hadn't told them this beforehand.
Esther's look was now one of complete confusion. "Whyever would you want to do something like that?"
"The Blessing Template is an oddity in regards to the effect it has on a pokegirl," Micah replied. "Specifically, the fact that the application of an Angel Stone causes the pokegirl in question to evolve into an Angel. Regardless of the breed. This implies there is a method of information transfer or altercation that takes place during the Blessing itself. I want to study this, to see if I can somehow alter this effect, granting a pokegirl a Template that would force them to evolve into a Sanctuary Goth via the trigger of certain stimuli." Micah glanced at her. "I assume you know what a Sanctuary Goth is?"
Esther sucked in a sharp breath at their mention. "How do you know of them? For that matter, what makes you think such a concept is possible?"
"I don't," Micah replied. "That's why I need your help. As for how I know of them, they are the ones whom summoned me to this world. They believe me to be an individual whom created this place, and thus attempted to summon and bind me so they could apply my capabilities of annihilation and creation to fashion a world better suited to their liking. And no, before you ask, I do not claim to be one of the creators of this world. And before you question my sanity, keep in mind that Linda McMahon viewed me enough of a threat and/or asset to attempt to forcefully recruit me. Which I disagreed with."
Esther gave herself several minutes to assimilate all of this. "And why," she murmured at last, "Should I help you?"
Micah grinned. "Ah! Now, we get to the negotiating phase of our agreement. I have something that I think you and your fellow Celestials would be interested in." Pulling a brief that Esther just now noticed closer to him, Micah pulled out a sheaf of clipped together papers and handed the assembly across to her, with help of Charolette. "Here."
Esther stared at the stack of papers dumbly. "I... I can't read."
Micah stared. For a brief moment, there was an emotion the Megami-sama would never have expected; pity. She felt herself flushing with shame even as Micah gestured to Charolette to hand him back the stack of papers.
"My apologies," Micah replied. "I wasn't trying to embarrass you." He set the bundle off to the side, absently thankful once more for Euphemia; after all, she had done the bulk of research that had put it all together. "In a nutshell, it's a legal plan that would allow Pokegirls to self-emancipate themselves if necessary."
Esther blinked, even as Rachel and Delilah reacted with startlement. "That's impossible," the Megami-sama replied.
Micah smiled faintly. "Not quite. It's an interesting legal precedent; Businesses can legally own pokegirls, did you know that? From a legal standpoint, most laws treat businesses, corporations, and LLCs as individuals. That isn't an absolute, mind, but it's still interesting. The entire chain of law is a bit more involved than I'm making it out to be, but in a nutshell, there's nothing preventing a pokegirl from owning a corporation that subsequently owns the pokegirl in question. In effect, the pokegirl becomes her own owner through the Corporation entity."
"But pokegirls can't own businesses," Esther tried to reply before Micah cut her off.
"Not quite," Micah went on. "Pokegirls can't own property. They can't handle money, in some leagues. They can't pay rent. But corporations are none of these. Even if it's treated as a legal entity, all a corporation needs to exist is a yearly fee to wherever they're incorporated at and a filing of a piece of paper." Micah grinned. "And pokegirls -can- own that. There are legal precedents set in the Capital League; they have special zones in some of the more ultra-liberal cities that have pokegirls running their own businesses through legal proxies. Coupled with intra-league sovereignty laws... Now," Micah swept a hand over the stack of papers. "There are flaws and ways to get around this, yes. But it's a step in the right direction. Careful and -quiet- application of this process in, oh, say, the Capital League would net quite a benefit to the Celestial Alliance and their goals as a whole, yes?"
"Yes, I know of them. Please don't ask me how. You may not like the answer."
"Are you allied with Sanctuary, then?" Esther murmured softly. "Is that why you're doing this?"
Micah gave a snort. "No. When I first arrived, Sanctuary treated me... less than kindly. If they knew where I was, they would likely attempt to capture me and kill all of my harem and all that know of me."
Esther slowly closed her mouth. Even Delilah and Rachel looked surprised and somewhat shocked at this information; neither had thought to inquire about what level of danger Micah was in, and he had never hinted at it before. "If that's true," Esther queried, confusion silencing what hatred she had of him, "Why are you interested in making more of them?"
"You confuse the group with the individual," Micah noted. "Even if you are presumably a member of the Celestial Alliance, say, you are still your own woman with your own feelings, ideals, and wants. If I can successfully devise a method that can mass-convert pokegirls breeds into S-Goths, it would assist in helping to solve the feral issue." A careful shrug, mindful to not shift his wings any. "How would you like to live in a world where feral attacks didn't happen, Esther? Where a girl could grow up confident that the schooling she was investing time in wouldn't be rendered worthless by a fluke of genetics the next day, as her owner would be more interested in her oral skills as opposed to how well she could calculate derivatives? Where a human girl thresholding into a Chickenlittle had another option as opposed to devolving into a subhuman creature who's entire purpose is to shit out food?" Micah glanced heavenward. "I swear, when I get back, I'm tracking down the person who wrote down that thrice-damn entry and whacking him over the head with a Nerf bat."
All three Celestials stared at him. Even Ludmilla, having been attentively nearby the entire time so she could teleport Micah out if things somehow went south, was surprised at the vehemence in his tone.
"Anyways," Micah finished. "You see my point." Taking a sip of his tea, Micah picked up his book and resumed reading.
Esther stared, at a loss for what to do next. Lacking anything better, she sipped her tea, and had to admit - this was really good tea. After a moment, she asked, "Well?"
Micah glanced up from his book. "Well, what?"
"Are you going to say anything else?"
Another careful shrug. "You have a brain and your own opinion on matters. I'm not going to pretend that further discussion would really sway your decision. You're an adult, you can make your own choices."
Esther opened her mouth, closed it, opened it again as her brain struggled to find something to say in reply to that. She was, regardless how much some Megami and their evolutions tried to ignore it, a pokegirl, and that ultimately implied a set of similar responses to various stimuli. And while Megami were obscenely independent compared to most other pokegirl breeds, they still desired a Tamer whom either accepted or supported their actions, as well as directed the majority of their lives. And freedom, true freedom, when looked at from a certain perspective, was utterly terrifying.
Worse, was his overall treatment of her. He hadn't tried to force a taming, assume that just because she was a pokegirl she was required to do whatever he told her too, or threaten her in any way, shape, or form. Granted, she had been treated rather abruptly upon release from her pokeball, but another part of her brain whispered that if all he wanted to do was talk to her, he could have decided that she didn't require her eyes, for instance. Or legs. In fact, Esther privately admitted with a wry grimace, he was treating her like she... well, had a brain, which was a good deal more than some of her higher ups could have said to have done.
She was disturbed by her thoughts when Rachel reached over and carefully squeezed her hand. "I think we should help him," Rachel murmured. "Exempting our first meeting, he's treated all of us with nothing but respect and kindness."
"I've known him longer than both of you have," Delilah noted in a quiet tone. "He's had plenty of opportunities to abuse us. Some things, others would say would be an assist, not an abuse." A brief smile. "In fact, I've found he's treated pokegirls better than he does actual humans."
Across the table, Micah gave Delilah an odd look.
The blonde Archangel quirked an eyebrow in return. "It's true, isn't it? You would have ripped that Tamer's throat out for what he did to us if Nunnally hadn't stopped you, wouldn't you?"
Micah grunted. "Getting back to the point?"
"Ripped his throat out?" Esther blurted. "Why?"
"A Tamer had captured mine and converted him into a pokegirl via a loveball," Delilah replied before Micah could say anything. "While Micah didn't arrive with that in mind, he still saved both I and my Tamer." He gaze hardened. "And before you say anything, I had spent several days being tortured by the Tamer, his Demoness, and his Mazoku. So -don't- say Micah lacked provocation to deal with him!"
Esther blinked, and looked over at Micah. "Is this true?"
Micah gave a shrug, not caring how his wings rustled. "More or less."
"I see." Esther let out a gust of a sigh, coming to a decision. "Yes, I'll help you." The look she gave him wasn't quite hostile, but it was close to it. "What do you want me to do?"
"Right now, I want you to go and get some sleep," Micah replied. "You've had a big day, and I imagine you'd prefer to discuss things with Rachel while I'm not present." Micah set his cup of tea aside and stood, taking his book with him. "Ladies." Bowing slightly, he took his leave, Ludmilla following as his harem escort slowly broke from their ready assault positions.
Micah made sure he was well and clear away from the Megami-sama before he quirked an eyebrow at Ludmilla. "Well?"
The Dire Wolf gave him a level look in reply. "She isn't planning to betray you immediately, nor cause you harm. She's more confused than anything at the moment, given all the conflicting information she has to deal with."
"Good," Micah replied. "Keep a watch on her. I want to know immediately if she changes her mind. Or, chaos forbid, she decides to get some of her other Megami friends involved."
Ludmilla smiled faintly. "Two hundred S-Goths to manage, and now a Megami? You slave driver."
Micah smirked, reaching over to grip her bottom, being sure not to bite down with his claws. "You love it and you know it."
The Dire Wolf said nothing in denial.
Fear was something that Micah had grown accustomed to dealing with. But even so, this was beginning to task his reserves.
What's worse, it was all so -easy-. Once Euphemia had the floor plans and schedule, access to the security systems, it was simply a matter of time to watch and wait, making sure you had your fingertip to the pulse of how things worked and operated in the deep archives for the British Library. A high altitude overflight of the building hosting the archives via Nunnally, a teleportation point gained atop the building itself, and all was left was for Illya to make her way slowly inside via use of Invisibility and Phasing. The archives themselves lacked the sort of security measures that would make such a thing problematic. After all, who would go to that much trouble just to get access to a bunch of books?
Micah had to wonder. Was it because everything was about to go completely snafu, or had he and his harem honestly gotten that good when his back was turned?
He kept a firm grip on Illya's hand as the Lucarda guided him through the completely dark halls of the archive warehouse. Below ground and climate controlled, the entire assembly was sub-divided further into individual rooms where the pertinent lots were stored. Once pass the main door with it's security lock, the rest was simply a matter of finding the right room.
There were a lot of rooms.
Abruptly Illya halted; with a jerk that displayed the inhuman strength the chibi pokegirl could display when she was of a mind too, she pulled Micah along as she phased them both through the locked door and into the storage room.
"Here, Master," Illya stated, the only thing visible in the darkness those two lambent, blood-red eyes. Micah wondered if he should be worried that he found them more reassuring than disturbing.
Micah summoned a ghost-light to give him proper illumination as he worked; the black flame cast the cool storage room into something that crawled out of someone's nightmare. Methodically, he started at the first book at the top of the shelving and began to work his way through them. Illya waited patiently, watching him, even as the shadows near the edge of his illumination seemed to roil and seethe as if hungry.
He felt the tome even before he got to it, even before he caught sight of it. His research into spellbooks and tomes had driven him to look up the topic in the Grimorum Astra. The Grimorum had been very informative; even when casually noting spellwork and notation down to paper, the more powerful the mage and spell it was, the more intense impression it made into the material.
When he senses caught the impression of the tome, Micah could only wonder how anyone had ever simply put it aside as if it was a mere book. It literally radiated power to his awareness with such intensity he thought he felt himself being pushed back by it's aura. A minute scowl of irritation dispelled the effect, only partly sure it had been all in his mind as he picked the tome off the shelf and slowly, carefully, began leafing through it.
Almost twenty minutes later, Micah slowly closed the tome, letting it rest against his chest. He wasn't sure what to think, and at best he felt... numb. Some of the spell notations were currently beyond him, and the suggested power requirements and skill were on a level he hadn't attempted before, but... the main spell contained therein was one designed to 'sunder the boundary of the world' and travel to another.
He felt Illya wrap her arms around his neck as he took a deep, shuddery breath, considering all that it had taken him to find this book. If he hadn't thought to research in Alexandria. If he hadn't had Euphemia to help organize all the information. It would have remained, locked away and hidden, until some stupid accident rendered the tome destroyed, and the spells therein lost.
His expression firmed, his grip on the tome tightening. Later, he'd return with a dummy replacement, but for now... A careful shake of his head, as he ordered Ludmilla to move everyone from action positions, and told Illya to get him home.
"So, what are we going to do now?" Anya asked Micah curiously. The StarMystic had her Shield card out, the magical focus not active yet as she, Micah, Ludmilla, Cornelia, and Lina all watched Euphemia put the finishing touches on the inscribed magical circles and inscriptions in the scoured clean ice in a spot Euphemia had located. Ludmilla, Cornelia, and Lina were all bundled up against the elements; Euphemia and Micah were not, utilizing magic to keep the worst of the elements at bay in the Antarctica weather.
"Take over the world," Micah replied.
"...you're joking," Cornelia pointed out.
"I'm joking," Micah replied in a prompt tone. "No, what comes next... well, several things before I can apply some of the spells in the tome to anything useful."
"You said this one of those things?" Cornelia asked.
Micah nodded. "I did indeed. Euphemia and I both came up with the idea to start with, information from Alexandria refined the notion, and Euphemia believes she's finally put together the finished product. The issue with magical artifacts is you need good base materials to start with, and one of the better metals to utilize is gold. Which is what this spell should solve." Even as he spoke, Euphemia flashed a quick smile as she placed a small gold flake amid a focus circle, then floated over to the activation circle behind where Anya had been directed to manifest the shield whenever Euphemia began her spell.
"Look," Lina glared up at Micah, the diminutive mage regarding him with her fisted hands on her hips, "Just because my magic is all screwy and I'm learning stuff from scratch, doesn't mean I've forgotten all my magical theories. It's impossible to create gold from nothing."
Privately, Micah wasn't so sure about that, given the experimentation he'd been putting into applying the matter manifestation spells that allowed him his clothing and armsmistress-style armor, but he really wasn't up for the magical debate at the moment, and instead replied, "Normally, you'd be correct."
As the group watched, Euphemia took her spot, the inscribed circle and inscriptions flaring with power as she began channeling magical energy into them. Anya, knowing that to be her cue, activating her Shield Card, encapsulating Euphemia and the rest of them in a barely-there shell of force.
"But that isn't what we're doing," Micah noted in a softer tone, mindful of the G-Splice working her magic. By now the entire inscription mass on the ice had been activated, glaring with power as a constellation of holoscreens surrounded Euphemia, flicking in and out at a machinegun pace as Euphemia focused, eyes tightly closed. "It isn't even technically a summoning, either. In actuality, it's more akin to an exoteleportation effect - remotely transferring matter from one space to another via teleportation. So, once you understand that, all that's left is finding the matter you want, which requires both massive scrying efforts and computing power. Euphemia has computer power in spades, and the precepts of sympathy and contagion can be utilized to negate some of the scrying requirements. Hence the gold flake."
"But where the hell are you getting it -from-?" Lina demanded.
"The earth's core, of course," Micah replied.
Sweat was pouring down Euphemia's face, her eyes screwed tightly shut in concentration. The flicker of holographic screens had tapered off, each one flicking into existence, hover there momentarily, the blip out at a much slower pace than before. Beneath the G-Splice, the outpouring of magic had peaked, the sound coming off of the inscription like a jet turbine slowly opening up. Abruptly, the holographic screens ceased flickering, then solidified into a single pane of information in front of Euphemia. With a sharp gesture of one arm, she let out an indefinable noise of exclamation as she swept her arm across. Within the primary circle that was the focus of the entire spell a sphere of light erupted into existence likely a newly birthed star, there and gone with such speed that if you blinked you would have missed it. The globe of molten mass hung there, ignorant of gravity, before gravity reminded it how things were supposed to go and the entire thing impacted the ice in a screaming hiss of boiling water as the temperature differential made itself known, splashing molten droplets everywhere, a few hitting Anya's shield.
"And that's why we needed Anya for protection," Micah noted unnecessarily.
The entire group watched curiously as metal cracked and steamed, water boiling off in a voluminous torrent of steam. It was too cold for the metal to sink down into the ice, as ice was constantly being frozen and melted by the heat as it bled off into the atmosphere. Once the exterior had cooled enough to harden, the entire thing gradually solidified into one unholy amalgamation of ice and metal, like some demented gieger-esque sculpture.
"Well, I guess it makes a nice lawn ornament," Lina scratched at her hair, looking slightly confused. "How the heck are you gonna get it unstuck?"
Micah carefully checked over Euphemia, making sure she wasn't showing any of the more deadly signs of magic exhaustion. The G-Splice offered a weak but reassuring smile in return. "That's not a problem," Micah replied to Lina. "Euphemia and I already devised some experimental spells that allow us to manipulate matter on the micro scale." Similar to his telekinesis spell that he had studied from the Grimorum, it was simply a matter of applying it with the right control and finesse. It was that spell that had made the cleanup of Lina's slight mishap so painless. "Now that we've got it, we'll be able to extract and collect the various metals into their individual elements."
Lina glanced at him skeptically, deciding to take his word at face value. "Haaaa."
Euphemia giggled faintly, even as she gratefully leaned against Micah. "What's your favorite gemstone, master?"
"The ruby," Micah replied. "Why?"
Euphemia smiled faintly. "The artifact you want me to construct includes some gemstones that'll act as a focus point."
"Why the ruby?" Cornelia asked.
Micah let his wings wrap around Euphemia in a loose hug. "I like the color red."
"I never would have guessed," Ludmilla replied in a wry tone, surreptitiously glancing from Lina to Euphemia.
Multiple personality disorder wasn't quite the apt term to describe how a FarFuck´Ds brain worked. That denoted that there was some clear division between two separate personalities, and that simply wasn't the case. There was, however, at least some divide between the portion of Lina that made up 'herself', and the portion that effectively governed her obsession. The latter portion tended to act in subtle nudges to craft her overall external appearance in a manner that best fit with her idealized conception of who and what 'Lina' was. So while 'Lina' herself let the comment pass without really thinking about it, the part of her brain that governed her obsession decided that her already auburn hair and eyes could use a bit more red in their definition.
Cornelia snorted. "Can we get out of the cold, please, Master?"
"Excellent idea," Micah noted. "I think some hot drinks all-round could do us some good."
Micah regarded the tropical foliage as he teleported onto Wendi's private island, quietly marveling at all the traveling he was getting as of late. It was the customary 'entry' point onto the island that they had used when they first got invited. Micah didn't want to get the small group of renegade S-Goth used to his arrival. It was likely a futile hope, but at least playing at the attempt to keep things 'professional' would restrain some of their excesses whenever they cropped up.
With Nunnally and Ludmilla falling into escort around him, Micah also made another mental note to not let these small requested visits become a regular thing. While access to an Ebony Stone was insanely invaluable, it was beginning to get time where the payout for that investment was winding down. Perhaps, he mused, it was time to start pressuring his allies for more concrete things, such as maps to the Dark Continent and location of their infrastructure.
Micah quirked a smile as Wendi came down the path at an angry pace, in her adult form. He was beginning to figure out a slight pattern; she tended to favor her adult form when pissed off. Which made a modicum of sense, after all; there was little more unsavory than a ten-year old having a tantrum. Tangentially, he wondered if there were other circumstances she preferred to utilize her adult form, and made a private resolution never to find out.
The Chibi-template S-Goth finally got within arms reach; an aborted motion toward his horns made it clear she was about to reach up and yank on them, but a glare from Nunnally cut her off. Instead, she planted her feet shoulder-width apart and glared at him. "What's your secret?"
Micah canted his head to the side. "Pardon?"
She folded her arms together angrily. "I refuse to believe it's because you've got a dick hanging from your crotch that let's you manage your harem so well. And... other things?" She caught sight of his tails, then finally clicked to his additional height and facial markings. "What the hell happened to you?"
"I learned a valuable lesson," Micah replied. "Never combine seventeen Damsels, a Mini-top, and a tub full of lard."
Wendi's expression went through multiple stages as she processed that imagery. "...really?"
"No, not really," Micah replied. "Trouble in paradise?"
She glared at him for an entirely different reason, then went on reluctantly. "...yes. My DrowZee and Guntit are having a bitch of a time getting along with one another. The only time they calm down is whenever I'm taming them or using an Aura attack. It's driving me nuts!"
Micah quirked a faint smile. "You're asking me for Tamer tips?"
"I want to know what the hell is your secret," Wendi replied. "Is it anal sex? Oral? Maybe I'm not taming them enough..." The S-Goth fell into momentary thoughtfulness as she considered that.
Micah shook his head slowly, picking through what feasible advise he could possibly throw at her. "Might I suggest more training? Pokegirls are naturally aggressive, and it sounds to me like they have energy in excess if they have enough to bicker."
"Mmmmm," Wendi made a noise in the back of her throat. "Well. Maybe." She shook her head. "Come on, Udiya and Tamar are waiting for you."
Upon arrival at a veranda that Wendi had setup, Udiya blinked at Micah's appearance. She and Tamar had apparently already served themselves tea. "What happened to you?"
"I learned a bit of wisdom," Micah replied. "Never combine a Psi-Dyke, a Milktit, seventeen Damsels, and a tub of lard."
"...really?" Tamar asked.
"No, not really," Micah replied, offering a seat for Ludmilla and then carefully settling down himself, Nunnally standing off to his side.
"...are you going to tell us?" Udiya inquired once tea had been served.
Micah smiled. "No."
Once it became clear that Micah wasn't going to go into the matter, the group fell into discussion over small talk, though Wendi, Udiya, and Tamar supplied most of it, with Micah making the occasional question or two. It was both entertaining and disappointing, in a way, watching the three Sanctuary Goths remark on trivial matters and make mention of several people they knew in the Dark Continent. A part of him couldn't help but be let down that being privy to casual Sanctuary Goths discussion didn't impart some vital or key facet of their society or psychology.
Instead it was all so... bland.
"Wendi mentioned that you had been making a number of Sanctuary Goth Venom doses," Udiya spoke to Micah after a while. "I was wondering, how many Sanctuary Goths have you evolved so far?"
Micah frowned thoughtfully as he began thinking. "Huh." Absently he began tapping off fingers as he mentally counted.
"Two?" Udiya blinked when Micah didn't stop counting. "Five?" When that elicited no response, she swallowed, her voice coming out in a squeak. "Ten?"
"Uh, two hundred and five total, currently," Micah replied as he nodded to himself.
Wendi's tea cup slipped from her fingers and shattered on the ground.
"Oh." Udiya nodded. Paused, re-ran those words over in her head as she realized what he had appended to the start of that number 'five'. "WHAT!?!"
"Blood and Abyss," Tamar murmured softly. "The Council is going to track us down and kill us all."
"WHAT in all that is HOLY could you be doing with over TWO HUNDRED SANCTUARY GOTHS!?" Udiya's voice rose to a high-pitched screech at those last words as she abruptly stood, sending her seat crashing off to the side.
"Really awesome orgies," Micah replied in a mild tone, taking a sip from his tea.
"Answer me, demon," Udiya's voice became a hiss, her tone flat and demanding, the psychic pressure building as she began charging up an aura attack. "I do not have the patience for your friv-" And stopped, when the sensation of cold steel pricking the back of her neck became evident and the three realized that Nunnally was now behind them, blade drawn, ready to impale Udiya through her neck.
"Sit down, please," Micah replied.
Udiya swallowed at the lack of casual frivolity in his tone, suddenly acutely aware that he really would order his freak of an Armsmistress to kill them all. Carefully, hesitantly, she fumbled for her chair, awkwardly putting it back at the table and sitting back down. "We're allies," she began.
Micah cut her off. "Allies do not threaten another with psychic aura attacks. Now." He set his tea aside, leaning forward. "Have I refused or stonewalled any request for a vial of S-Goth Evolution serum?" He glanced at Wendi.
Wendi had, at some point, reverted to her Chibi-form. The diminutive pokegirl shook her head slowly. "No."
"No," Micah repeated. "I haven't. Have I mistreated any of your number in any manner whatsoever?"
Udiya licked her lips. "There was Celosia-"
"Shut up, Udiya," Tamar hissed, eyes closed as she rubbed her forehead.
Micah quirked a small smile. "I'll take that as 'no'. Now, as I am not married to any of you, none of you are my girlfriend, and I'm not sleeping with any of you," Udiya blinked in mild surprise at that last addendum, glanced at Wendi, and then glanced back. Micah went on as if she had done nothing, "My obligation to all of you has a cutoff point. I am deeply thankful for access to the Ebony Stone. I have shared -all- of my magical research regarding that artifact. Do not think to treat me like some pet." He couldn't throttle it back; the last word came out as a snarl. He nodded to Nunnally, and the Arkhangelsk teleported from behind Udiya to resume her place off of Micah's side.
"Now," Micah stood, and smirked faintly. "Thank you for the tea. But I do have a number of things that need to be done today, so if you'll excuse me." A nod, and Micah had Ludmilla teleport them both away, Nunnally following a moment later.
Udiya tried to control her breathing. "We... this can't go on. We have to turn him into the Council."
Tamar was looking at her tea as if she could transform it into something far, far stronger by sheer force of will alone. "Udiya. I like you. Please don't make me hurt you."
"Two. Hundred. Sanctuary Goths. Tamar, what could he be doing with them!? Do you honestly think he needs -any- of us any more?" She visibly shivered. "Only a few of us have any harems, we've only evolved three others total into Sanctuary Goths - he could go through us without even trying! And you," she whirled to face Wendi. "What do you -mean-, he's not taming you?"
Wendi threw her hands up in the air, and for once, sounded disturbingly like an actual ten year old girl. "That's what I said! Why didn't anyone believe me when I said that!?"
"Because if he's -not-, then why the hell is he staying around to help us?" Udiya replied, a little frantic. "It doesn't make any sense!"
"Because he gave his word," Tamar mused, absently pushing her tea cup around the table. Then sighed. "Udiya. You're not going to do something stupid, are you?"
"Because, if you -honestly- think there is any feasible way we can separate ourselves from him by this point, you have -lost your mind-," Tamar went on, the Battle S-Goth fixing Udiya with a flat glare.
"Then only way that would work is if we somehow killed him and all of his harem in one blow," Wendi murmured softly.
Tamar raised an eyebrow. "Are you suggesting that?"
"What?" The Chibi S-Goth looked as if she just now realized what had come out of her mouth. "What!? No!"
"Good." Tamar glanced at Udiya, her expression softening. "Udiya. He's not a demon sent to end the world. He's not a monster. You shouldn't be scared of him. And you need to stop listening to some of the rumors going around Sanctuary."
"Kind of hard to reconcile someone willing to sit down and have some polite tea with a slavering beast that would rather bite your head off and fuck the hole, yeah," Wendi muttered, slurping at her own cup.
"I'm... -not- scared of him," Udiya, glaring at Wendi. "I would just feel better if I had a firmer grip on him, is all."
"I've never known a man to refuse a good hand job before now, so why don't you try that next time?" Tamar replied, smiling for the first time the entire get-together.
Udiya just stuck out her tongue.
Micah eyed the entire setup. The room had been redone up with thick curtains obscuring the metal walls of the Scarlet League research station, thick carpet hiding the floors. Everything that the video gain and audio would pick up would hint nothing at the specifics of where this location was. Which was the entire point.
"It's almost time," Euphemia noted, "I've got all the security elements in place and running. Unless they have a Video Girl Upgrade on their side, there's no feasible way they could locate us, and I'd see -her- coming miles away."
"Good," Micah replied. He was wearing a military-cut suit to give the entire matter the needed measure of gravitas; a business suit was entirely too casual. He forced down the tangentially nervousness in his stomach; despite everything, no matter how much experience one has, there's always that sliver of a remnant of nervousness when speaking in front of other people. He settled in a custom-made seat that allowed for his wings to spread freely and his tails to be unencumbered; the backrest looked nothing less than like some inverted question mark, letting an elbow rest against the small table next to it.
"Connection signal from both of them," Euphemia announced. "Connection made. They've both got a holding pattern. And right on time, too."
Micah took a deep breath, let it out slowly, ignoring Ludmilla and Anya watching this from off to the side. "Big O, It's Showtime," he muttered under his breath, then signaled to Euphemia to let the connection through, his expression slipping into a carefully nurtured one of neutral pleasantness.
Two large flat-screens had been arranged on the 'set', one for each of the other two individuals. Those blazed to life now, showing on one the wizened face of Lady Cologne of the Amazonchan Preserve of the Joketsuzoku, and untouched, youthful face of Lady Yukii of the Ice Maiden Preserve.
"Good afternoon, ladies," Micah spoke aloud, and couldn't keep back the feral pleasure in the grinning smirk he wore. "It's good to see that you're both on time, as well. You'll excuse my arrogance if I presume that both of you know of me, so we can dispense with the introductions?"
Yukii spoke first. "Micah Hakubi. Author. As with others of your kind, currently at-odds with Sanctuary. Last known area of operations, Capital League. Current area of operations... unknown." One pale, frosted eyebrow arched. "My information sources had lead me to believe that you were... human. They are apparently in error."
Cologne chuckled. "I hope you didn't call up two old women just to talk about your accomplishments, boy." She made a show of settling back more comfortably. "I've heard enough screaming about your kind recently to get the gist of things. So? I doubt this is just a pleasure call."
Micah's smile didn't falter. "As I understand things, the two of you have a sort of correspondence with Sanctuary from time to time."
"You would not be in error," Yukii stated flatly. The Ice Empress's tone showed little inflection, but Micah couldn't help but suspect a measure of irritation in her overall manner. At whom, he wasn't sure.
"I'm disappointed," Cologne noted, "Thinking of emulating one of your fellows and passing along some promises and threats? And here I thought you were such a nice boy."
"On the contrary, ladies," replied Micah. "It's come to my attention that Sanctuary is a... less than satisfactory ally, at times. A very... demanding one. Giving little in return. So I thought I might offer you both the opportunity to... balance the tally of karma, so to speak."
He had both their attention, now, sharp gazes boring into him as if they could feasibly reach through the screens and snuff him out. "And what," Cologne said, "are you proposing?"
Micah couldn't help it; he grinned broadly, teeth showing in excess as he gestured with a hand. "The finest deal you could imagine, ladies. The opportunity to evolve a hundred of your preserve residents into Sanctuary Goths. Each."
A/N: The method for pokegirl self-emancipation isn't an origional idea; the first I saw of it was in Charlie Stross's book, Accelerando.
Also, I feel obligated to point out that the title of 'Grim Angels' is either taken from the jrpg Rivera, or my brain came up with it whole-cloth and I only noticed the similarity in retrospect. But the title is to apt to change.