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Loose Threads

Forty Five


            The alarm on his phone began playing bagpipe music and Iain glanced at it. “Time.” He examined her work. “You did a lot better this time.”

            Wendy looked at him in disbelief. “How is this supposed to help me get over the war?” They were sitting at a table outside and on one side of them there was a collection of bread, meats and cheese along with some condiments while on the other were piles of sandwiches. “We're making sandwiches.”

            Iain pulled out a pile of paper towels and put them down between him and the Megami sitting with him. “Start wrapping them, please.” He glanced at her. “Do you know where these sandwiches are going?”

            “You haven't told me.”

            “You're a Megami. Don't you have precognitive powers like the rest of them?”

            She glared at him. “They're not to be used for amusement.”

            “So you find what we're doing amusing?”

            “Stop twisting what I'm saying, Iain.” She'd started out by calling him Mr. Grey but, him being him, that hadn't lasted very long.

            “I'm not. We're making these sandwiches to give to children at Cassidy's Orphanage.”

            Wendy had been in the middle of starting to say something and stopped. “Isn't an orphan someone whose parents are dead?”

            “Yes. Cassidy runs the orphanage for Austin and the surrounding area. He doesn't keep the children for long since so many women are infertile and want children, but he does get them in a small but steady rate due to feral attacks and other problems. He even gets the occasional pokegirl child. Children need a lot of resources and so his supplies are always stretched thin and because of that he's always grateful for the donations.”

            “We are making food for children.” Wendy looked at the sandwiches. “They need more stuff in them.”

            “You made them just like I told you to and the caloric count is fine, missy.”

            She chuckled. “Be careful with that informality, Iain. We both know that your women will start worrying if you don't.”

            “You aren't even remotely interested in me, Wendy, and we both know it.”

            She frowned. “I know that. How is it that you know it?”

            “The fact that I have a Y chromosome doesn't make me a complete idiot,” he replied. “Are you interested in finding a male of your own?”

            “I am a Megami, Iain, not a nun. Would I like someone permanent in my life? Yes. Will I find someone?” She shrugged. “I don't know.”

            “Nuns take their vows as a sign of their devotion to God and to Jesus Christ,” Iain said quietly. “Megami are just as devoted to their ideas of goodness.”

            Wendy scowled. “Is that why two of them are plotting to murder our leaders?”

            “They're both Megami-Sama, who are blind to the evil that they're planning in the name of the greater good that they'll just happen to be in charge of, unlike now where they're just trusted lieutenants. They are well aware that what they're doing is more for the betterment of Raphaela and Prastara than humanity or anyone else,” Iain pointed out. “And you are not like them. You're more like Pandora than anyone else. Scarred and bent but not broken and as determined as hell to die and take your enemies with you so as to leave the world a better place than it was while you were in it.”

            Wendy put her hands down flat on the table and stared across it at Iain with eyes full of a dreadful intensity. “What made her not do it?”

            “Nothing.” Wendy blinked at finality in his voice. “She fought evil wherever she found it and eventually fought an Infernal who made her Fiendish before escaping. Then other Celestials hunted her down and killed her.”

            Wendy gave him a confused look. “But she's not dead.”

            “Pandora went to the lands of the dead and was prepared to spend eternity there,” Iain said quietly. “I had to go there to question someone and opened a portal that connected the two realms. When I came back, the portal didn't close immediately and Pandora slipped through it back to the lands of the living. She took me hostage and made me promise to take care of her forever and that led us to today where here we are.” He smiled sadly. “The odds are pretty good that won't happen to you too.” He went back to wrapping the sandwiches. “If you're interested in a good man and you respect Eve, ask her to introduce you to Martin Stamper.”

            “Who is that?”

            “On the world we came from, Martin was a man in Ireland that Eve almost let herself love. She held back out of her love for Lucifer and he was killed when his village was wiped out by feral pokegirls. We approached his village and he's our factor there. Right now he’s still single.”

            “What do you think of him?”

            Iain shrugged while still packing sandwiches. “He's definitely not me and if he's what she was interested in then, I sometimes wonder what changed her so much that she'd find me worth loving. But I can see the goodness in him and I can understand why he might interest a Celestial pokegirl with high standards.” Iain grinned suddenly. “If nothing else he thinks I'm fucked up, which shows he's a good judge of character.” He packed away the last of the sandwiches. “Want to come with us for the delivery?”

            “I should wait for Belldandy and the others.”

            “They aren't supposed to be here for hours yet and if they do arrive early and find out where you are the worst they'll feel is jealousy that you're out doing good deeds and they're not. They won’t leave you. They’re coming to see me and if you’re with me then they will wait for you.”

            Wendy smiled and helped him pick up the baskets of sandwiches. “Eve warned me that your ideas sometimes sound seductively good and that's when I should be the wariest of them.” She shrugged. “You're not trying to seduce me. I feel you are as little interested in me as I am interested in you.”

            “True, but let's keep that a secret. The idea that I might not want to screw any woman around me seems to worry too many of my women.”

            “That’s amusing since sometimes they go to great pains to be careful not to give you opportunities to be alone with strangers.”

            “Sometimes they're not that good at it,” Iain pointed out. “Other than some drones, we're alone.”

            Wendy looked surprised. “Are they trying to get me into the clan?”

            “No, they're not. It's just that while they want me to be sexually interested in every female, they want me to exercise self-control at the same time and, from time to time, provide me with opportunities to show that control.” He eyed her curiously. “You never said if you were coming to the orphanage or not.”

            “I didn't, did I,” she said with a smile a she tucked some of the baskets in his arms and grabbed others for herself. “So when we get there if I'm still with you I guess you'll know my decision.”

            “Since you're carrying a bunch of the food for those poor little tots, you'd better make the trip or I'll send Pandora after you since she’s taking both of us to Cassidy’s,” Iain said with a smile. “Now let's go.”


            Lucifer led Belldandy, Skuld and Urd away from the arrival point where Eve had brought them. “I hope that you are going to enjoy the food,” she said quietly as they headed for the tables laid out near stands of torches that threw a strong flickering light over the area.

            Belldandy smiled. “Whatever you are cooking smells wonderful.”

            “Daphne is our chef tonight as far as the meats go and several other women handled the preparation of the rest of the food,” Eve said. “There will be a large assortment of food laid out tonight and dessert afterwards.”

            Urd was looking around in amazement. “You didn't have to do so much for us,” she said.

            “Other than the extra barbecue items, this is not that out of the ordinary,” Eve replied. “We feed over sixty people every meal and Iain decided he didn't want us to do anything resembling the mess halls we all had to eat at during the war. The leftovers will get turned into other meals depending on who has cooking duty for the next couple of days.”

            Skuld smiled at Eve. “When is your turn,” she asked in a teasing voice.

            “I had lunch duty today, but I only prepare and cleanup. I can't cook anything more complicated than sandwiches and those only if I'm not the one slicing the bread.”

            A trim brunette wearing comfortable looking cargo pants and a heavy woolen shirt joined them. “We love Eve very much but we think she learned how to chop on the battlefield and never learned anything involving even slightly more finesse.”

            Belldandy gave her a broad smile. “Good evening.”

            The brunette smiled. “Good evening to you as well. I'm April and I'm one of your hosts.” She smirked. “I'm just not part of the local Celestial host.”

            Urd giggled. “That's funny. Celestial host.” She grinned at April. “But I can tell that you're a good person.”

            April chuckled. “I have no choice. Iain needs to be around good people.”

            Skuld eyed her. “What happens if he's not?”

            “I don't know and I'm not going to arrange an opportunity to find out,” April replied. “There has only been one Infernal girl and a small number of Fiendish ones in our harem and nobody sees a reason for there to be more Infernal ones after Irena was killed in a surprise enemy attack.”

            Belldandy frowned. “What about the Fiendish ones?”

            Lucifer smiled. “Our first Fiendish pokegirl wasn't evil and since she's an Infernal because she's Fiendish, she can make others Fiendish. We have turned it into a blessing, like Blessed is supposed to be and use the Fiendish abilities against our foes. There are some disturbingly amoral pokegirls here in the clan and family, but no one who is actually evil.”

            “I am surprised you'd allow the Fiendish curse to be spread in your harem,” Skuld said.

            “I can't stop others from getting something like that,” Lucifer said. “We all know that pokegirls strive to become more powerful all of the time. Being Fiendish brings an assortment of powers and abilities that can be rather useful if applied properly. I merely caution those who are Fiendish about the deleterious effects of improper use of their powers.”

            Belldandy looked puzzled at Lucifer. “Deleterious effects? I wasn't aware there was a negative cost to using those abilities.” She looked thoughtful for a moment. “Or is it because these pokegirls are not evil?”

            “No, the effects involve me and other people like me kicking their asses until their bad attitude improves since we are well aware that Fiendish girls do not have to be evil,” April said with a laugh. “I'm the training officer for the clan and I am more than capable of adjusting team or individual training to give anyone who needs one their comeuppance. If it doesn't work the first time I'll just apply more and more severe training episodes until the lesson sticks.”

            “Does Iain have a problem with you showing favoritism?”  Skuld shrugged when April gave her a curious look. “He's your leader after all.”

            “Iain understands that I do not show favoritism when I am doing my job,” April said evenly. “I wouldn't be doing a good job of making sure that my sisters are trained well enough to keep me and Iain alive in a fight otherwise and I will not let them shirk if it puts him in more danger. Even if I were willing to consider doing so, my assistant wouldn't allow me to and she is more than willing to report me if I'm skiving off on training for anyone.”

            “What about Iain,” Belldandy asked teasingly.

            “I'd get in the most trouble if I was letting Iain off lightly,” April replied, “and I'd deserve it. And then I'd get in trouble from him.”

            “You'd get in trouble from Iain?”

            “If I go easy on him while I’m not doing so for everyone else? I most certainly would. Iain insists on training as hard as he can and he won't settle for any less.” She smiled. “Compared to most pokegirls the scores he posts are not impressive, but compared to the scores he posted two years ago, he has improved markedly.”

            “I am looking forward more and more to meeting him,” Skuld said. “He sounds impressive.”

            “He'll say he's just trying to do the best he can to stay within shouting distance of us,” Lucifer said.  She looked at April. “Is he back from his personal study yet?”

            She shook her head. “He should be returning in half an hour. If you want, I can send him a request to expedite.”

            “No, that's not necessary as he will have returned well before dinner starts,” Lucifer replied. “Thank you, April.”

            “You're welcome, Lucy.” April headed off.

            Urd looked at Lucifer curiously. “Lucy?”

            “As you are no doubt aware,” Lucifer explained, “on and off over the years my name has been a source of difficulty when dealing with humans. I am not ashamed of being Lucifer but sometimes it was easier to have a nickname from it when working with others. And if necessary, as Lucy I can pass as a human since if I cover my facial markings I look completely ordinary.”

            “I see,” Urd said. “That makes sense.”

            “Since I know you're waiting to meet Iain,” Eve said, “how about we spend the time until he gets out of his studies with a tour of the area around the house? I think you'll like what we're doing here.”

            “I was hoping to see Prometheus' headquarters,” Skuld said.

            “Then you should have let me know beforehand,” Lucifer said. “The Prometheus offices were deliberately sited in Port Arthur to allow us regular interactions with the people we're trying to save all around the world.”

            “If we're waiting for Iain we could go to Port Arthur and see the building while we're waiting.” Skuld gave her a hopeful look.

            “We could but we are not,” Lucifer said firmly. “The office is closed right now and I have a rule that I don't do Prometheus business after hours unless it's a legitimate emergency. While I freely admit that your visit is critically important, visiting the offices can wait until our regular hours. If I go there for anything other than an emergency it becomes too easy to justify the next little bit of afterhours work the next time by saying it's almost as important as an emergency and the next will be a little less important and then soon I'll be there full time trying to save everyone on the planet. I did that for too long with the Sisterhood not to have learned the hard lesson that the lives of family and friends are at least just as important as saving the lives of complete strangers. I had litters grow up without me knowing them but in the slightest way and I won't do that to Iain and the people I love.”

            “And there's the glaring fact that we would not let you do that to yourself again,” Eve said. “Even if you were willing to ignore my warnings, Iain would come to get you and if you ignored him he'll do something drastic.”

            “What can he do,” Skuld asked curiously.

            “I happen to know most of Lucifer's weak spots,” a male voice said from behind Lucifer. Everyone turned to look as he stepped up next to Lucifer and wrapped an arm around her waist. She leaned against him happily as he continued. “And I am more than willing to shamelessly exploit them to make sure she spends the proper amount of time with me and the rest of her family.” He smiled. “I'm Iain Grey,” He held out his hand and chuckled. “I still can't do that rainbow spell for absolute truth in a statement, but welcome to our ranch and dinner.” He gestured behind him at the two women following close behind. “I believe you've already met Ganieda and Canaan.”

            Belldandy laughed and took his hand. “I am Bell and this is my sister Skuld and my other sister Urd.” She blinked and her eyes went wide as she stared at his hand in hers.

            Iain smiled. “No, I am not a nice person, as you've no doubt snuck a peek and discovered. I do, however, behave most of the time and my heart isn't quite pitch black.”

            “I found it hard to believe that Lucifer and Eve would love someone like you,” Belldandy said as she covered his hand with her free one. “Yet I feel the love you have for them and it is like a raging forest fire in to comparison to the strongest I had imagined.”

            “That's because while you love your sisters,” Iain said gently as he tugged his hand free from Belldandy's, “you have not experienced the gestalt of the love between a man and his women. It's much more powerful than the sum of its parts and you do yourself and the man you might share such a love with a grave disservice by denying it to yourself and your sisters.” He held out his hand to Skuld and Urd. “Please see what she did. Just remember if you hit me I'll probably break. Eve found that out when we met.”

            Urd smiled. “Eve is blushing. May I ask what happened?”

            Eve gave him a fond glance. “I crushed his hand like I'd crush a grape. It shattered the bones and made a huge mess. Fortunately, he managed to be understanding enough to look past my mistake and give me another chance.”

            Skuld took Iain's hand and went rigid. “The life you've led,” she whispered. She shook her head. “I can only see glimpses, but it's a miracle you're not barking mad.”

            “Woof,” Iain said loudly. Skuld jumped and he smiled. “Sometimes I wonder if I'm not already quite mad. Fortunately, if I am, I am imagining some wonderful women to be with me.” He cocked his head. “I doubt I'd be barking mad though, since I don't have rabies. I always fancied I was in a horrible wreck and everything that's happening to me is taking place on an emergency room operating table while doctors and nurses frantically try to relieve the pressure on my brain and keep me alive and fail.” He shrugged. “But what's happening to me is real. I love and am loved by way too many women of strange moral judgment and I'm happy with it most of the time.” He held out his hand toward Urd.

            She shook her head. “I don't have any special abilities in regard to physical contact with people so I don't need to touch you.”

            Iain chuckled. “Then how about we shake hands hello and prove we aren't hiding any weapons from each other?”

            “Oh.” Urd shook his hand with a smile. “Sorry.”

            “No problem. I'm actually not big into touching strangers and this is practice for me too. Family and close friends usually hug.”  He smiled. “Now while you might have come to see Prometheus and you might have come to see the ranch, we all know that you did come here to see me and to ask questions about this coup that you recently discovered that you had no idea was developing right behind you.” He looked at Lucifer. “Dinner isn’t for a little while yet and I think this should be a private discussion that needs to be held in my office.”

            “I agree.” Lucifer looked at Belldandy. “Please come with us.”

            Ganieda looked at Iain. “The rule about your office doesn’t apply for this meeting.”

            “I don’t agree, but I won’t argue about it this time. However, this is not going to become a regular occurrence.”

            “I wouldn’t try to insist it would,” Ganieda said mildly.

            “Good.” He pointed. “The house is this way.” A few minutes later everyone except Ganieda and Canaan were seated in his office. Iain ignored his desk to sit with Lucifer and Eve while Ganieda and Canaan took up places on either side of the couch all three were comfortably ensconced on. He looked at the three almost identical Megami-Sama sitting in comfortable chairs in front of him and nodded. “I’d like to start with a quick synopsis of certain events of ours and hopefully those will allow you to the opportunity to put together the questions you’d like to ask that will help with events of yours that seem to be unfolding unseen around you.”

            Belldandy settled back and crossed her legs. “That sounds like a good place to start.”

            Lucifer patted him on the arm. “Please be thorough.”

            “Are you sure? While these ladies might not be our enemies, Prastara and Raphaela might catch and torture them for information.”

            “I am willing to take that chance, Iain.”

            “All right, I’ll do it for you.” Iain took a second to try and organize his thoughts. Fat chance of that happening, his twee whispered to him. He ignored it. “For simplicity’s sake I’ll start by numbering the worlds I’ll be referencing during this discussion. It’s how we keep track of them too because otherwise things can quickly become confusing.”

            Skuld looked surprised. “Worlds?”

            “We’re from one world as a group, I’m from a completely different one and Shikarou, Kerrik and their groups are from a third. One of the reasons they can get confusing is that two of the worlds that will be mentioned tonight had very similar histories.”

            “I see.” Skuld put on polite expression on her face, but Iain could see the disbelief behind it. “Please, continue.”

            “Actually, it would be please begin,” Iain said with a smile. “This world is One. The world that we came here from is Four and the world that Shikarou and Kerrik came here from is Three.” Urd raised a hand and sat silently. “Yes, Urd?”

            “I noticed you skipped Two.”

            “I did. Two has no relevance to this discussion.”

            “May I ask what that world is?”

            “Please wait until the question and answer part of the discussion,” Iain said. “I’ll take non-relevant questions at that time because they might take us way off topic.”

            She nodded politely. “I will.”

            “Thank you.” Iain continued. “And finally you need to know that I come from yet another world, which is Five. Five is a little interesting because it is the only world in this discussion that didn’t have a timeline almost identical to that of Three or Four. Up until Shikarou’s arrival from Three, One had followed the timeline of Three and Four almost perfectly but they changed that. Also to be remembered is that Three and Four continued their timelines until after the year twenty three hundred AD, or CE if you’re being politically correct. The leagues are firmly established in both worlds and are at least part of the reasons that both Shikarou’s and my groups decided that is was necessary to move here.” He paused and got up, filled some glasses with water and handed them out before sitting back down with Eve and Lucifer. “On my world there were no pokegirls and if there is magic it isn’t commonly known. But what is pertinent is that there is a small group of individuals who would meet online to discuss an imaginary concept called pokegirls, those being genetically modified women created by an asshole named Scott who have to have sex or they go feral. It turns out that what we were discussing actually exists in other worlds and that at least some of us could see events on those worlds. I say that because the timeline we drew up for the base world, called Prime as well as the timeline I made for One are frighteningly accurate as are the people I depicted in my stories.”

            Belldandy frowned. “Stories?”

            “Without commenting on my sanity, I have voices in my head and they tell me stories. I learned at an early age that if I wrote them down the voices would shut up for a time. Eventually these stories turned to pokegirls and their worlds. This led to me and other writers being targeted by a group on Four called Sanctuary, which was composed of a group of pokegirls called Sanctuary Goths who ruled the government and other pokegirls under the Goth’s control. Sanctuary Goths don’t go feral and they had aspirations of leading the world into an age where pokegirls weren’t slaves to humans. Unfortunately, the plan as envisioned would have only made pokegirls and humans the slaves of Sanctuary Goths instead.”

            “So Sanctuary Goths were humans with pokegirl powers,” Belldandy said.

            “No,” Iain replied. “They are pokegirls and we know that because they cannot take a pokegirl from feral to aware, they reproduce parthenogenically in the first stage of their lives and when they do they always produce more Sanctuary Goths. No pokegirl can awaken a feral and almost all pokegirls reproduce parthenogenically in the first stage of their life. The few that don’t have babies of their own breed usually reproduce in less savory ways, like by turning humans and pokegirls into their species or by implanting their eggs into surrogates or hosts.”

            “What’s the difference,” Urd asked curiously.

            “Surrogates survive the implantation and birthing. Hosts do not.”

            Urd paled slightly. “Oh.”

            “Yeah.” He took a drink of water. “So when I was targeted by Sanctuary, I was kidnapped by them from my world and captured by an ally of theirs called the Limbec Pirates. I was informed I would be cooperating with Sanctuary from then on and when I declined I was tortured to the point of insanity. Others of the so-called Authors were treated in similar fashions. With the help of a pokegirl who would later be the first member of my harem, I escaped both Sanctuary and the Limbec Pirates and went to ground hiding in the Blue League, which quietly controlled England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.”

            “Later I learned that the Sanctuary Goths weren’t the real instigators of what had happened. They thought they were, but everything they’d done had been set up secretly by another group, the Celestial Alliance.” Belldandy jerked as if stung. “Understand you three were long dead and none of this was your analog’s fault. Sanctuary believed and the Alliance encouraged an idea that we Authors had the power to reshape reality. The funny thing is that the Alliance just said that to get Sanctuary to try and use us to turn the world into what they wanted. I’d have loved to have heard the tumult in the Alliance meetings when it turned out the lie they told to interest Sanctuary was actually discovered to be, unknowing them, true. Later they set out to catch or kill us, which led them into a war that went pretty badly for them.”

            Skuld frowned curiously. “If the Alliance didn’t want you for these abilities, why did they want you?”

            “They didn’t. They wanted the program to travel the dimensions and used Sanctuary’s resources to secretly perfect that program. The Alliance had the resources to do the work without Sanctuary, but Sanctuary could perfect the process without the leagues finding out about it. You see, while Sanctuary wanted to reshape the world into the image of what they felt would be perfection from that point on, the Alliance wanted to do the same thing, but they wanted to do it in the past where not even Sanctuary could stop it or in the past on the world next door where they could then move. Their goal was to influence a pivotal event in the world’s past and make the world uninteresting to us Authors so they could run it without interference as they saw fit, making a perfectly peaceful world where all animals are equal but some are more equal than others.”

            Belldandy and Skuld looked confused but Urd grinned. “Animal Farm!”

            “Exactly. Although they didn’t believe we individually had any power, the Alliance felt that as a group our writings were directing the events of the world instead of merely recording them and they wanted us to lose interest and let them set the narrative, which would mean, for one thing, Sanctuary would never exist and also that the Alliance could take over and make everyone’s lives perfect from the Alliance viewpoint.” He took another drink. “The problem was that they never reckoned that the Authors would be a threat to them. By the time we left for One, the government of Sanctuary had undergone a coup and become much more freedom loving, the Celestial Alliance’s plan had been shattered by another Author and their numbers had been decimated but they were still around and I’d escaped. Two other Authors I’d been in contact at the time disappeared and I have no idea what happened to them but I hope they escaped or went down fighting.”

            “During my misadventures I met Eve and that led me to meeting Lucifer and the Sisterhood of the Thorn coming here. Composed of Celestials, their tamers and like-minded pokegirls, they are the most powerful organized group on this planet. Fortunately, they do not seek dominion, only peace. However, the Alliance from Four snuck some agents into the Sisterhood and they made contact with the Alliance here and have tried to kill me at least once.”

            “We knew nothing about this,” Belldandy said. “Well, we knew about the sudden existence of the Sisterhood but we thought they were a military force from the war which had stayed together and settled here until Lucifer approached us.”

            “The Alliance agents in the Sisterhood undoubtedly went to the people they knew were in charge on their world, which was Prastara and Raphaela,” Lucifer said. “They were planning to overthrow you here too, but the arrival of such a powerful group controlled by Celestials made them wait longer than they did on Four while they tried to determine which way we would jump during the coup. After being contacted by the Alliance agents, they came up with a new idea, and what they want now is to invite over the Alliance from Four to help them reshape this world. They think that the Alliance of Four, having languished for three hundred years, will jump at the opportunity to try again with their full resources in this world’s present day.”

            “We’d never stand for that,” Belldandy’s voice was outraged.

            “That’s why you’d have to die,” Eve said, “and the Alliance would have to be purged of all the elements that supported your ideals and wouldn’t shift their loyalty to the new leadership. We would also have to be neutralized somehow.”

            ‘The funny thing,” Iain said with a cruel smile that made Skuld blink in shock, “at least to me, is that I’m almost certain that inviting the Alliance from Four here would be inevitably eventually end up with this world’s Prastara and Raphaela ending up dead as the older and more powerful analogs moved to incorporate this world’s Alliance into theirs. Extra rulers who looked just like them would not be part of their agenda.”

            “Iain briefed me on the events of Four,” Lucifer said quietly, “and they meshed perfectly with what I knew of the Alliance. I went to meet with your leadership in the tenuous hope that we could find common ground for cooperation, for while I will remove the traitorous stain from the Sisterhood, I’d hoped that somehow Celestial would not kill Celestial beyond that. Imagine my surprise to find you three still alive and in command of the Alliance. Unfortunately, as you are aware we also discovered that the coup was still going to happen and you were all going to die.” She smiled warmly. “My dreams, my hopes and my goals can so easily be meshed with yours that we could be sisters and so we want to help you stop the coup and have you retain the leadership of the Alliance.”

            “That brings us to the question and answer portion of this meeting,” Iain said.

            “Why do Prastara and Raphaela seek to remove us,” Belldandy asked immediately.

            “They’re ambitious and they have always disagreed with your methodology. They could probably live with your desires for at least a time if they were in charge while you ran the show for them, but that isn’t going to happen and so you’re slated for the headsman’s axe.” He raised a hand when she started to protest. “If you think back to command meetings with them, you may remember them always subtly pushing you to take a more direct role in the lives of the humans you touch. It may have been that more direct advisement was their methodology or perhaps they would suggest you intervene directly more often than you are comfortable doing in situations where you didn’t feel it necessary.”

            Belldandy looked surprised and turned to Skuld. “He’s right.” She looked back at Iain. “How is it possible that you know these things?”

            “Because of my writing I know things is the way I explain it. A writer often has to do a lot more research about a story than ever enters the story and so I created backstories about the Celestial Alliance because they are in many of my stories in various roles. Founders of such organizations often leave their stamp on it for the long term unless something in the leadership makes a deliberate attempt to destroy the legacy they leave, as Prastara and Raphaela did in at least two other worlds.”

            “What is Two,” Urd asked.

            Iain chuckled. “It’s another world of pokegirls. Siobhan and a lot of pokegirls living in and from Haven come from there. A city was wiped out by some human mages from a place called Vale when a spell they used caused all of the pokegirls there to become walking undead. The pokegirls who were in storage units and pokeballs were not killed and Shikarou and his people brought several thousand of them here.”

            “Is that the flying citadel that appeared not too long ago,” Skuld asked. “We know little about it but I have heard the name Vale used in relationship with it.”

            “Yes, they’re here too,” Iain said. “I want to contact them since they’re supposed to be apolitical but I haven’t had the time. Besides, nobody is really apolitical. Calling someone that just means you don’t know what their politics really are, which in this case is probably pro-Vale at the very least.”

            “Why do you want to help us,” Belldandy asked.

            “I don’t. I don’t care about you but Lucifer does and I’m willing to help her help you. And if she’s right and you’ll lead a Celestial Alliance that’s more like the Sisterhood in philosophy, that’ll prevent a lot of future headaches and a general war between Celestials which could take some people I love from me. That I want to prevent.”

            Skuld scowled. “You would go to war with the Alliance,” she asked Lucifer bluntly.

            “I had already planned to. The meeting where we met was to see if there was any way to avoid such a happening. I cannot allow anyone to do here what the Celestial Alliance did to my world and this time I have the power to make sure they cannot. If it turned out to be exactly like the one from our world I intended to destroy the Alliance and incorporate anyone worth keeping into the Sisterhood or let them go free if they chose.”

            “What did the Alliance do on your world,” Urd asked half curiously and half in fear of the answer.

            “They had infiltrated the governments of the world and worked to bring them under Celestial rule because they believed that only Celestials could lead humanity and pokegirl to true equality in a world of peace, harmony and goodness. While doing that, their wetwork teams were quietly eliminating anyone who would oppose them as well as any Infernal or Fiendish pokegirls that they could. I have proof that at times they engineered disasters or just stood and watched without stopping them and in both cases the results were that the Alliance was positioned such that they could provide assistance but that aid would require some group or critical individuals to pledge themselves to the Alliance. I also have proof that they practiced magical control of particularly important people to get their way. That was the plan here for Iain if I could not assure them that he was under my subjugation so the same pattern is already emerging amongst the Alliance personnel who are in contact with the Alliance agents who came over with the Sisterhood from Four as well as the Sisterhood’s traitors.”

            “What are you going to do with the Alliance agents?” This question was from Skuld.

            “They are enemy combatants and will be treated as such under clan law unless they fraudulently enlisted in the Sisterhood. They and the Sisterhood traitors all swore solemn oaths on their lives to uphold the goals of the Sisterhood and to obey my orders. We are an all-volunteer organization and those who took the oath knew the price they would be called upon to pay if they betrayed that oath and I will execute them all. The Sisterhood will require it even if I was not willing to do so.”

            “Most of them took other oaths when they joined the clan,” Iain said grimly. “Those oaths alone would damn them to death for their betrayal. Sadly, some of the traitors are women that Lucifer has trusted and mentored for centuries and the betrayal has hit her hard.”

            “My duty is clear,” Lucifer stated calmly as tears glittered in her eyes. “The Sisterhood will be tempered anew for the trials to come and those who weaken it will be eliminated, no matter how much I love them.”

            “So speaks the Great Betrayer,” Urd said solemnly. “This is the woman who wisely chose to stand against the Creator when we didn’t.”

            “You stand against him and his beliefs now, my sisters, and that is what matters,” Lucifer said, “for now you stand with me. Join with us or let us join with you and let our strength be yours and yours ours. If what Iain says is true, Prastara and Raphaela and those who follow them walk the path of the Creator more than they walk our path for they seek to enslave humanity far more than they seek to share love with it. Iain tells us that they have set themselves against you and therefore against yours and our beliefs. We must find the truth and, no matter how unpalatable it may be or how much it rends our hearts, we must stop them if he is correct.”

            Belldandy, Skuld and Urd all looked at each other before taking each other’s hands. Their eyes glowed brightly and faded. Belldandy looked at Lucifer. “We agree. How do you think we should proceed?”

            “Do Raphaela or Prastara know you are here,” Iain asked.

            “They undoubtedly do,” Urd said. “Evelyn is still in our guard and she knew where we were coming. In fact she tried to come along as our security.”

            “I wonder why,” Canaan said sarcastically. She looked at Iain. “They need to see the truth. Your words are awesome but they don’t know you like we do. Only seeing will make it real for them.”

            “What do you mean,” Lucifer asked.

            “They need to see what the Alliance will become if they are removed,” Canaan said. “They need to experience what the future without them holds. Only then will they have the understanding to harden their hearts to what they have to do to those they still hold dear.” Her antenna twitched. “And they need to see the Celestial Alliance at its height of power, not after their encounters with the Des Moines and Kelvin weakened them so much.”

            “I presume you already have an answer to how we can do that,” Iain said.

            The Splice grinned savagely. “Take them to Three and let them see the Alliance there. And then we can raid Caomh Sidhe and they can see what happens to Celestials who oppose the Alliance and its minions.”

            “Caomh Sidhe likely doesn’t exist there,” Iain said. “They only established the prison for the Celestials who would help us after we became an issue.”

            “I am certain that something very like it has existed under another name since the Alliance became a power,” Canaan said.

            “You’re probably right,” Iain said thoughtfully, “but there’s an easier way.”

            The Splice regarded him curiously. “I’m a genius, remember? I’ve thought out all of the possible permutations.”

            “Does that include sharing memories with our guests? You, me and Eve were all there and we all remember what we experienced and I can copy them for the ladies here.”

            Canaan stuck out her tongue and blew a raspberry at him. “No, I hadn’t considered that.” Urd looked surprised and then grinned at them.

            “It’s much safer to share memories with our guests than going to another world with them could be,” Lucifer said calmly. “And I was there too before you arrived. My memories of that day still haunt me from time to time.”

            “If you share memories with then,” Canaan said, “then it should be my memories instead of yours.”

            Iain didn’t look convinced. “Why?”

            “I had just joined you and had not yet adopted your ways, Iain. When presented with so many weak minds I eagerly explored them all as completely as I could. I have in my mind all of the knowledge that those Megami and Sama held, including how they were captured, what happened to their tamers or families in the cases of the children, the interrogations that some of them underwent and how they were treated during their imprisonments.” She looked at Belldandy, Skuld and Urd in turn. “I do not wish to sound arrogant in this but to be honest, I’m not sure their minds and hearts can handle all of the pain those memories hold, but we can treat them here with dreamtime until they are functional again if necessary. But they have to know because Urd wonders if they cannot simply let Raphaela and Prastara and similarly minded Celestials leave the Alliance and form their own organization to avoid bloodshed and she and her sisters need to learn and understand just how impossible that is. Mere words will never give them the truth.”

            “I will want that knowledge too that it will harden my heart against what must be,” Lucifer said.

            “As will I,” Eve stated firmly.

            Iain looked around the room and took a deep breath before standing. “Belldandy, Skuld and Urd,” he said formally, “Megami-Sama, sisters and leaders of the Celestial Alliance, I am Iain, the Grey, and the leader of my clan. I stand before you this day and offer you the aid of my clan against your enemies, both seen and unseen. And in the same breath I caution you in accepting that aid, for with it will come knowledge that may break your hearts when you learn the depths of the betrayal of many that you currently love and trust. But think long before deciding to refuse our aid, for I fear that the lives of all three of you and of others in the Celestial Alliance are in peril because of the threat we believe exists and that we believe you currently ignore.”

            Belldandy stood, followed by her sisters. “And if we refuse your aid, will you move against us and the Celestial Alliance?”

            “We must purge the clan of traitorous elements,” Iain replied as he felt Eve and Lucifer stand and move on either side of him. “We already know that they have received assistance from what we hope are rogue elements inside the Celestial Alliance and we will move to eliminate those who sought to wrest control of our clan away from its legitimate leadership. If that leads us to the personnel of the Celestial Alliance and therefore places us at odds against you and yours, then we will do only that which is necessary to protect ourselves and hope that if you survive this that one day we can again no longer be enemies.”

            “But understand this,” Lucifer said quietly. “If there is a successful coup and Raphaela and Prastara come into the leadership of the Celestial Alliance and if I determine that they are of a similar philosophical bent as the ones from Four, I will destroy the Celestial Alliance. I must protect my people and I will protect this world, my adopted home, from the travails that they would bring to her.”

            Belldandy looked back at her sisters. They met her eyes and she turned back to Iain. “Show us what happened to your world.”

            “All of us,” Urd said. Skuld glared at her and she glared back. “Youngest I might be but I am no child, Skuld.”

            Iain walked over to Canaan. “Collect the memories you want us to use.”

            She smiled down at him and leaned towards him. “I have them ready for you, Iain.”

            He nodded. “Belldandy, Skuld and Urd, I ask that you use whatever magic you have to detect lies if you are not already employing it.”

            “We are already doing so, Iain, as you surmised.”

            He smiled without looking away from Canaan. “What you will see, Belldandy, is that I will remove a small globe the color of gold from Canaan’s forehead. In it will be the memories she wants you to see. Then I will copy it again for each of your sisters, Lucifer and Eve. It gets pushed into your forehead so that the memories will be copied into your mind. This process will not be used to implant spells or other types of control.”

            “That suggests that this process can be used to do those things.”

            “It can, but as of this point in my life I have not learned how to do that.” He touched Canaan between her antennae with an index finger and she responded with a purring sound that made his smile widen. “Wench,” he murmured.

            “Only for you,” she murmured back as he pulled a small gold ball from her forehead. “That tickles you know.”

            He chuckled and walked back to stand between Lucifer and Eve. He touched the ball with his other index finger and it divided in two. “Do you accept this, Belldandy?”

            She leaned towards him. “I do.”

            Iain pressed one of the globes into her forehead and stepped past her as her eyes went wide. Again he divided the globe. “Do you accept this, Urd?”

            “I do.” He pushed one of the globes into her forehead.

            “I do,” Skuld said quickly as he copied the globe a third time. He nodded and pushed the memory into her.

            He copied the memory again as he returned to Lucifer and Eve. They were watching all three of the other Megami-Sama as they wept. “Are you sure you want this?”

            “You didn’t ask them that particular question.”

            “I don’t love them and their pain is necessary if it saves their lives. I’m not sure yours will be.”

            “I must know the depths to which they will sink if not stopped,” Eve said firmly.

            “Then you know what I’ll do,” he said quietly.

            Eve sighed. “I do and I’d plead with you not to, but you wouldn’t not do it and be the man I love.”

            “And I knew what you would do from the beginning,” Lucifer said. “And I love you.”

            “I love you both.” He copied the globe again and pushed it into Eve’s forehead, copied it again and pushed it into Lucifer’s before pushing the last globe into his own. He watched five Megami-Sama crying and turned to Canaan. “You and Ganieda please take them into dreamtime so they can work through this before dinner.”

            “What about you,” Ganieda said curiously.

            “As you can feel through your bond, the misery and betrayal of strangers by other strangers doesn’t make me emotional.”

            “Lucifer and Eve will heal faster if you are in dreamtime with them,” Canaan said quietly. “You bring them strength.”

            “Shit.” He sighed and began pushing the Megami-Sama gently down into their chairs and back onto the couch in the cases of Lucifer and Eve. Then he sat down between his two women and carefully made himself comfortable. “The last time this happened I wasn’t quite ready and woke up with a huge crick in my neck.” Theodora, let Ninhursag know what’s going on.

            I am telling her now.

            Thank you.

            “I’m waiting,” Ganieda said amusedly.

            Iain just shook his head and finished getting comfortable. “Do it.”


            Iain opened his eyes with a groan as he asked a question of his twee. Two hours and six minutes, it told him. Dinner was not held for you but after Theodora informed Ninhursag and April they made sure to put aside plenty of food and dessert for everyone here. “Oh, fuck but I still hate dreamtime. My brain is on fire.” He yelped when Lucifer stood and jerked him to his feet with her as Belldandy, Urd, Skuld and Eve got up and wrapped him up in a group hug.

            He reached out through his twee to Canaan and Ganieda. This is creepy.

            He felt Canaan’s vast amusement back. Considering that you gave all five of them your strength as they needed it after Eve asked you to help Belldandy and her sisters and then took away the worst of their pain into yourself you should be glad you do not awaken to find yourself somehow bound to them.

            Iain did a quick check of the links coming into him and was relieved to see there were no new ones. True.

            Belldandy looked into his eyes. “Thank you for your help, Iain. I know it cost you dearly and we are glad that you are our friend.”

            Iain smiled and hugged her tightly as people started disengaging from the group hug. “And you know it means I’d like to meet Prastara and Raphaela now.”

            Urd grinned. “So you can kill them for us?”

            “I don’t have many friends. I try to help the ones I do,” Iain said. He shrugged as he released Belldandy. “Besides if they have anything planned like what the others did, they need to die.”

            “I agree,” Belldandy said in a voice filled with anger. “But I command the Alliance and I must determine their guilt and then, if guilty, I will sentence and execute them.”

            “I’m sorry we had to show you that the war isn’t over,” Eve said.

            “We had to know,” Skuld replied. “Our war will never be over as long as such evil, whether it understands it is evil or not, continues to plague this world. Purge the Sisterhood of the taint of that evil and then help us to cleanse the Alliance of it too.”

            Lucifer nodded. “We will.” She looked at Iain. “I’m sorry this took so long.”

            “I had Ninhursag notified and they put food aside for us.”

            “That was very nice of you,” Urd said.

            He shrugged again. “I didn’t think it polite to serve guests nothing but jerky and baked potatoes.” He rubbed his eyes. “But if we don’t hurry, everything will get colder.” He took a step and paused. “On the other hand, you ladies go ahead and enjoy dinner. My stomach just informed me that if I even smell food I’ll be throwing up.”

            “What’s wrong,” Urd asked him curiously.

            “Iain reacts badly to dreamtime,” Lucifer answered her as she looked into his eyes. “Sometimes it’s better than others but this time looks like a bad one.” She smiled slightly. “You’re not bleeding out the nose this time.”

            “Yet. Last time I felt this shitty it didn’t start for a little while and this time I cranked my healing up as soon as I realized how badly I felt.” He rubbed his temples. “I have some of Eve’s healing milk in my room and I’ll drink that.”

            Eve chuckled. “What, you don’t want fresh?”

            “I’d love it but you need to eat and you five will be plotting through dinner. My head isn’t really going to explode, it just feels like it.”

            Eve looked at Lucifer as she began unlacing her blouse. “I’ll be along in ten minutes or so.”

            Belldandy looked confused. “She produces milk?”

            Lucifer took her by the arm and led her out of Iain’s office, motioning with her free hand for Skuld and Urd to come with them. “We do have a Milktit in our family and so we can lactate as needed, but what Eve is talking about is the fact that she started out as a Cherry and she retained the ability to lactate as she did while a Cherry through all of her evolutions.”

            “That’s interesting,” Urd said, “and it is very useful. What about you?”

            “I have always been a Megami-Sama, or were you asking about something else,” Lucifer asked curiously.

            “I’m sorry, I forgot you were the first of us but I was really wondering how you feel right now?”

            “I saw the prisoners when they were released and to feel them dying as I looked at them was terrible enough but I had no idea that their treatment was so,” she paused, “I’d say callous, but there is no way that was an accident. Celestials mandated that treatment of their own kind for political and philosophical differences and they had to know that some of the old, infirm and young would certainly perish under that lack of care. I feel a great deal of anger towards them that I am trying not to transfer to those who live now and bear the same names as those from my world who had to have ordered their abuse. Should I return to Four one day, I fear I will seek out Raphaela and Prastara and execute them for these and other crimes that they have most certainly committed over their centuries of ruling the Alliance.” She glanced behind them. “And I fear most that if Iain goes there with me, he will murder them as quickly as he can so I do not have to.”

            “I don’t understand. He did not seem upset at their treatment.”

            “Iain doesn’t feel the pain of others as we do,” Lucifer said. “But you felt his love for us and because of that he would move to kill them before I could try and execute them because he knows that, no matter how heinous their crimes, I will feel pain at their deaths and he would spare me that if he could.” She sighed. “He does not care that with each death he blackens his own heart just a little more if by doing so he can lighten our load.”

            Belldandy looked directly into her eyes. “You know that if he is truly that way then someday he may do something that you cannot forgive and you will have to deal with him as one of our enemies.”

            “He listens to us so as to avoid that final act,” Lucifer said. “And he seems to be aware of where our limits with even him are. He speaks of things that would cross that line, but he has ever been cautious of going even near it.”

            “Is it safe to leave him in your care? Can you act if need be?”

            Lucifer smiled. “I am the Great Betrayer. I stood against our Creator because of the actions he would have had me and us do. Even if I one day cannot do what must be done with Iain, between me, Eve and Pandora I have ensured that there will always be someone who will.”

            “I trust Lucifer,” Urd said. “She has always walked the proper path.”

            Skuld looked thoughtful before nodding. “Keeping in mind that this is not the Lucifer that we secretly admired, I agree with Urd. I would seek the advice of our Lucifer just to confirm what we feel, however, to be safe.”

            Belldandy nodded. “You said that Lucifer of,” she hesitated. “One is alive.”

            “She is. We have met and will meet again in a few weeks.”

            “I would like to meet her.”

            “I will speak with her and seek her permission to bring you to the meeting with her.” Lucifer raised a hand warningly. “However, I will not let you bring security that my people have not vetted for reliability.”

            Urd smiled. “Is it not true that all we need do is to bring them near to Canaan?”

            “She cannot read dark types, but if you bring someone who cannot be read at all, then that is a warning in itself,” Lucifer said.

            “I do not always have security,” Belldandy said. “It will not be a problem.”

            “Bring some here on whatever pretext you need,” Lucifer said. “You are under threat until we confirm or deny the plots against you and until this is resolved one way or another each of you needs security that you can trust.”

            “Raphaela heads security.” Skuld growled. “She assigns our guards.”

            “We will conspire together and find a solution,” Lucifer said confidently as she led them to some tables loaded with food. “And while we do, we eat.”

            “Should we wait for Eve to arrive?”

            Lucifer smiled. “Eve said she’d be back in a few minutes but she intends to seduce Iain if she can and she is usually successful. Pandora is our other Celestial and she is on her way to join us. I will brief Eve on what we discuss later and we will all meet together again a few more times before acting against the Alliance.”

            “Oh.” Belldandy grinned. “Then luck to Eve and let’s eat.”


            Kasumi paused and looked around the coop. “Does Theodora have sensors in here?”

            Iain nodded. “She has sensors in all of our buildings but there is higher coverage density in here than in many other places. While the carnage if an Eva or something like that got in here would be horrific, it would actually be harder to detect a snake, fox or small possum entering at night with all of the small warm bodies that are supposed to be here. But she keeps to the regular privacy rules if you want to talk about something you don’t want her to hear.”

            “I see.” She went back to collecting eggs. “When are the incubating eggs due to hatch?”

            “There’s a schedule on the wall,” Iain said as he filled another feeder, “outside the brooding room. If a hen doesn’t show up with chicks within a week of the due date we investigate. We have buyers lined up for all of the chicks we can produce so we usually have some tank grown chicks waiting in stasis to be added to the hen’s brood so they can learn from an adult like the other chicks.”

            “Could we automate all of this?”

            Iain nodded without looking up as he threaded his way through the chickens around him. “We could automate the whole thing, but as much as I hate to admit it, we need chores. We’re all going to live a very long time and these sorts of things ground us in the reality of the world around us. And considering some of the mental issues that our family is hiding from things they did during the Revenge War, I want them to see chicks hatch and grow up under their care before we just slaughter the cull cockerels and barren hens. If nothing else it’s a sound investment towards their future care of children. We’re doing something similar with the other livestock.”

            “I thought everyone rotates through child care already.”

            Iain looked up. “They do. The secret is that we are careful who gets assigned to work together with who so someone who loves kids is on watch all of the time. And that is a secret that most of the outer harem does not know and, frankly, some of the inner harem hasn’t been made aware of either. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t share it with anyone. For example, Zareen is great with her infants and kind of derelict with anyone else’s so she never watches the kids with Daphne, who can be short with them.” He went back to filling feeders.

            “I thought April sets up the schedule.”

            “She does and I approve it after Theodora reviews it for hidden landmines. We all monitor the mental health of everyone here and almost all of us have some hidden issues. You are likely to be overprotective and mothering because you feel you neglected Kozakura. That’s great up to a point but we want to encourage all of our children to grow up feeling loved and still independent so you won’t get paired with anyone you can dominate, like Lynn. Seraphina and Olivia are great older sisters in that regard because they can help the adults do it right.”

            Kasumi paused and looked thoughtful. “I can see where that might be a concern and my twee agrees to help me keep that under control as much as I can.”

            “We all will.”

            “What is your issue, if you have one?”

            He glanced up again. “I’m too prone to transmit my mood to the children and I can have an issue mistaking a bad attitude for being independent. And sometimes I come down too hard on a problem child because of my temper issues. And I still have problems where I lose track of time and can miss snack times and necessary rest periods for the kids because I’m not paying attention.”

            “That’s from your torture on the ship, isn’t it?”

            “It’s from that and from the time later when I was kidnapped by the person who tortured me on the ship. The first time was magical torture and the second she vivisected me and then had me healed between sessions.”

            “It’s remarkable that you can even discuss what happened.”

            “No, it’s not because getting to this point has taken a lot of work.  Even now I carefully never go into detail about those periods and I use dissociation to keep from falling apart when I deliberately think about those times. It’s the nightmares I can’t keep from causing problems. They’re the reason I don’t sleep with the children outside of Seraphina, Olivia, Myrna and Saoirse. I’m supposed to make them feel safe, not terrify them awake at night.”

            “I didn’t know that.”

            “I don’t go announcing it. It’s not necessarily something I’m proud of.”

            “Iain,” Theodora said from the phone in his belt, “you have a call from Major Raymond Stratton, Indigo League Army to the number for Major Drummond. The call has been marked urgent but nobody is speaking when I try to take a message.”

            Iain straightened and pulled his phone from his belt. “This is new, so I’ll give it a shot.” He activated the phone and spoke in Drummond’s voice. “Hello, Drummond speaking. If you wanted to talk to someone else you have a wrong number.”

            He blinked at the female voice he heard. It was only a little above a whisper and strained with fear and other emotions he couldn’t identify. “Major, I didn’t know who else to turn to. Please help us.”

            He frowned as the voice niggled at a memory. “Nicole?”

            The voice didn’t sound relieved. “It is, sir. I desperately need your help. We desperately need your help. Please help us!”

            “What’s wrong?”

            “The general has been arrested and I’ve been given to some major to be his girl. They’re going to kill him, sir. Please help him.” The whisper went quieter. “He’s coming. I’ve got to go.” The phone went dead.

            Iain looked at the phone and tucked it into his belt. “Theodora, locate that phone.”

            “It’s in the BOQ at Fort Polk. I’ll narrow down the exact room in a moment for when you need it.”

            “I heard about them,” Kasumi said. Apparently, she was close enough to hear the conversation with her better than human hearing. “Are you going to help her?”

            “Golding is an enemy,” Iain said. “But he didn’t lie to me or break his word.”

            “You put him in this position.”

            “I did, and if Nicole hadn’t called I wouldn’t care.”

            Kasumi’s face lit up with her smile. “But she’s cute and she said please.”

            Iain chuckled. “My weakness is known by too many, I see.” He looked thoughtful. “Rescuing Golding could prove problematic if I’m identified. I’ll have to come up with a completely new identity to use for this little escapade with security that I’ve never used around the area of Fort Polk.” He smiled. “This could get interesting. Theodora, pull up my dossier that the Indigo League put together. I’ll have to review it to make sure nothing leads back to us.”

            “It’ll be ready in a few minutes.”

            “Thank you.”

            “What’s BOQ mean,” Kasumi asked curiously.

            “It means Bachelor Officer’s Quarters.”  He looked at the chickens and back at her. “I guess I have time to finish this chore with you.”

            She smiled again. “Good. Family should always come before outlander prisoner rescues. Are you concerned that this could be a trap?”

            “It’s always a trap,” Iain said, “and as long as I consider every visit to see Golding as such, I’m much more likely to take my safety seriously. Being a prisoner of the Indigo League is very likely to be a very short period of very light physical labor and I’d like to avoid that if I can.”

            She frowned. “I don’t understand.”

            “There’s not a lot of labor involved in turning around so you can be shot in the back of the head or lying down on a table to be locked in place for interrogation,” Iain said. “As opposed to twenty years breaking big rocks into little ones or plowing a field with a hoe while under the threat of feral attack. Most people, after thinking about it for a few seconds, would choose the latter option since there’s no being shot or tortured in it. As long as you’re not dead, there’s hope.”

            “Oh. You have a different way of looking at things.”

            He chuckled. “That’s because it’s very possible that if you get shot in the back of the head you’ll just get angry. I’ll end up undead.”

            “We don’t know that for sure anymore,” Kasumi said. “It depends on how much of an actual fey or kami that you becoming a dragon has made you. You may now survive such injuries without perishing.”

            Iain frowned before nodding. “True. The problem is that I’m not willing to test the idea that I can be shot in the head and not die. If we’re wrong,” he shrugged.

            “I become a widow,” Kasumi said gravely. “I am not ready to be your widow yet.”

            “That’s good because I’m not ready for you to be my widow ever.”

            She smiled again. “I suppose you do have a slightly more vested interest in me not being your widow than I do.”

            He gave her a flat look, but the laughter in his eyes ruined it. “You think?”


Iain Grey


Inner Harem

Ninhursag Grey - Elfqueen & maharani

Eve Grey - Megami Sama

April Grey - Duelist & beta

Dominique Grey - Blessed Archmage

Pandora - Fiendish Archangel

Canaan - G Splice (Hunter Amachamp & Alaka-Wham)

Zareen - Nightmare

Raquel - Fiendish Rapitaur

Sofia - Ria

Vanessa – Evangelion

Lucifer – Megami Sama

Ganieda – Snugglebunny Splice

Heather - Elfqueen

Dianthus Barbatus - Elfqueen


Outer Harem

Allison – Umbrea (Outer Harem Alpha)

Daphne - Whorizard

Lynn - Growlie

Chuck – Doggirl

Ryan – Unicorn

Winifred - Rack (German)

Rosemary - Mistoffeles (Uruguayan)

Silver - Pegaslut

Joyce – Milktit


Outer Clan

Melanie – Iron Chef

Siobhan – Nurse Joy (Glasgow)

Golden Cloud – equine unicorn


Queendom / Outer Harem

73 Elves

Dionne - Elfqueen

Adrianna - Elfqueen

Heltu - Wet Queen

14 Wet Elves



Dead Harem

Eirian - Silver Dragoness

Aurum - Gold Dragoness

Skye - Blue Dragoness

Emerald - Green Dragoness

Beryl - Red Dragoness

Julia - human

Ling - Cheetit

Matilda - White Tigress

Liadan - Twau

Sorrel - Armsmistress

Natalie - Blazicunt

Maria - Slutton

Rhea Silvia - Chimera

Geradine - Human



Mother            s & Children






     Dorothy: Duelist

     Meara: Duelist

     Regan: Duelist


     Hannah: Huntress

     Rebecca: Huntress


     Lisa: Milktit

     Sherrie:  Milktit

     Harriet: Milktit


     Olivia: Megami-Sama

     Seraphina: Megami-Sama


     Caltha: Nightmare

     Kim:  Nightmare

     Xanthe: Nightmare

     Epona: Nightmare

     Philippa: Nightmare

     Nott: Nightmare

     Nyx: Nightmare