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Iain slid the brush down Golden Cloud’s back as she hummed softly and chewed a fig bar. An ear flicked lazily in his direction. “The goddess smiles because of you.”
“Does she now?”
“She does. I remember her coming to the forest and later accepting us as her worshippers when we petitioned her. But, in all that time, she has been in pain and very sad. Only you have made her smile. For that, if you weren’t my stallion, I would name you as a friend of the herd.”
“You’ve said I won’t be your stallion forever,” Iain noted as he kept brushing. “At that time, you can name me a friend of the herd.”
“I will, if I can.” She turned her head so she could see him. “I want to see the ones that were dead and now sleep. It will be time to awaken them soon and I must pick the ones that will be first.”
Iain checked his mental schedule. “We can go right now if I hurry up and finish grooming you.”
“I do not want this to end, but I must choose soon. Now is acceptable.”
Iain ran the brush down her flank one last time and packed her things into her box. As he returned it to the storage crate, he glanced at the other boxes in it and sighed mentally. Raquel’s, Ryan’s and Silver’s boxes needed to be taken away and something done with them. But that was a decision for later. He looked over at Zareen. “Could you teleport Golden Cloud to the basement?”
Zareen’s eyes twinkled for an instant. Golden Cloud had, the first time she’d used the doors in the basement, insisted on going down the stairs from the first floor. She’d tripped on the stairs and had almost fallen the entire way. The Nightmare glanced at Heather. “Have?”
The Elfqueen nodded. “Have.” Heather had never made fun of the way Zareen talked. Instead, she emulated her when the Nightmare was around.
Zareen looked at Golden Cloud. “Ready?”
She bobbed her head in a nod. “I am.” Zareen put her hand on the unicorn’s neck and they vanished.
Heather took Iain’s hand. “I know you don’t need guards while at the cloning facility, but can I go with you? I haven’t seen the growth tanks for the herd yet.”
“This isn’t private time between me and a member of my harem,” Iain replied. “You’re more than welcome to tag along.”
“What if Golden Cloud wants some private time with her stallion,” Heather asked teasingly.
“She’s not going into heat. Besides, I don’t think the herd understands personal privacy,” Iain replied. “But if you’d like, just act like you’re still guarding me and we’ll see what happens.” The scene shifted around them and they were standing in the basement. “Zareen, you don’t have to go with us if you don’t want to.”
Iain nodded and reached up and scratched Golden Cloud gently behind her ear. She hummed and leaned into his hand. “Then go ahead and clear the entrance.”
Zareen nodded and disappeared through the door to the Theodora. A second later she reported via twee. Clear.
Golden Cloud tugged free of his hand and stepped through the doorway, followed by him and Heather.
Theodora appeared. “Welcome aboard, Golden Cloud.”
The unicorn bobbed her head in greeting. “Am I allowed to come here on my own?”
“Access to my shell is limited to inner clan and their guests,” Theodora replied. “Outer clan is not currently authorized free entry.”
Golden Cloud’s ears flicked. “Why? You could keep me perfectly safe, even from the many things I do not understand.”
“Being inner clan is, in many ways, like being herd,” Theodora said. “There are special things that only inner clan receives, just like the same is true for the herd. Just like some of the things that the herd does not share with the rest of the clan or, indeed, anyone who is not herd, the reason might not be clear to someone who is not inner clan.”
Golden Cloud’s ears flicked uncertainly for a few seconds. “I would have to become inner clan to get full access to this place. What would that require of me?”
“Inner clan children,” Zareen said. “Harem you. Want, speak Ninhursag.”
Golden Cloud looked at Iain. “I am not sure I want to become harem.”
“Nobody is saying that you have to.”
“Is it true that I cannot come here without an escort if I am outer clan?”
Iain nodded. “It is true.”
“You will not grant me a special dispensation?”
“I will not.”
“You have not granted anyone else a special dispensation, have you?”
Iain shook his head. “I have not.”
“As long as you have not given others what you will not give me, I accept this rule. Which way do we go?”
A ball of green light appeared in front of the group. “Please follow the guide,” Theodora said. “It will take you to the transit station where a transport is waiting to take you to the genetic engineering facility unicorn rebirth chamber.”
As chambers in the genetic engineering facility went, it was very modest. Thirty growth chambers were in the room, each four meters in diameter. In each, an adult unicorn floated in suspension in liquid. Some were curled up and some were stretched out, but all were roughly upright in their suspension.
Theodora appeared. “As requested, these are from the oldest samples in the collection of horns that Iain was given to guard. After discussing it with Iain, it was decided to only process the dead in batches of thirty. Doubling the size of the herd will be more than sufficient until the new arrivals can adapt to being here and decide if they wish to become clan or if they wish to have twee.”
“They will,” Golden Cloud said as he surveyed the room. “If nothing else, I will order them to as I did some of the others.”
Heather glanced at Iain, who shrugged. We don’t interfere in how the outer clans are run.
The Elfqueen suddenly looked thoughtful. I hadn’t considered what that could mean.
Theodora didn’t acknowledge Golden Cloud’s statement. “Even with this relatively small number of unicorns, I would recommend awaking them in groups of three to five so they will have any help they need without having to worry that the herd can’t deal with them while still keeping to its normal schedule.”
Golden Cloud looked curiously at Iain, who smiled as he translated. “Pick no more than five to awaken first.”
“I can do that.” She headed off, followed closely by Zareen.
Heather was examining one of the tanks and its contents. “These are unicorns from the herd who died a long time ago?”
“These are clones of unicorns who lived a long time ago,” Iain corrected. “Golden Cloud insists they’re the dead unicorns being reborn in new bodies, but that’s not how it works.”
Iain shrugged. “Anything is possible when you’re talking about magic. You know that. I’m playing the odds, which say that the souls that resided in the original unicorns are long gone.”
“Then why bother keeping their dead in the first place?”
“Heather, you need to ask Golden Cloud that question. If she’s right, then she had a very good reason to keep the horns as representations of the herd’s dead. If she’s not, then nobody knows how the tradition started.”
A few minutes later Zareen and Golden Cloud returned “I have chosen,” Golden Cloud announced. “The first to be awakened will be The Queen, Yellow Mouth, Kicks Fish, Silence and Deer Killer. They are all among the oldest of us.”
“The Queen,” Heather asked curiously.
“She was the first herd queen, chosen by First Stallion.”
The Elfqueen frowned. “I thought mares made all of the decisions because stallions are not good leaders.”
“Mares do make all of the decisions.”
“But this First Stallion chose your queen?”
“He was First Stallion,” Golden Cloud said as if that explained everything. “His word was law.” Her ears flicked. “In truth, after he was no longer with the herd, his actions were one of the reasons that mares started making all of the decisions. He was First Stallion, but he did think with his penis more than his mind.” She looked at Iain. “In that, you are not like the First Stallion. You still behave more as a mare.”
“Perhaps it’s because he gets laid as much as he wants,” Heather said with a brief grin.
“The herd grew quickly in the beginning because the First Stallion could command a mare to come into heat and she would, and then he would breed her,” Golden Cloud was still watching Iain. “It was very disruptive to the peace and tranquility that was supposed to be the herd.” Her gaze switched to Heather. “It meant he was laid, as you put it, whenever he wanted to be. He could even make already gravid mares go into heat so they would be receptive and let him mount them.” She looked back at Iain. “Could you do that?”
“Never thought about it.” He looked thoughtful for a second. “Doesn’t matter. I’m willing to let nature take its course. Forcing a mare into season could cause a whole host of problems, including miscarriages.”
“Some mares did lose their foals. The First Stallion would merely breed them again.”
“That’s not healthy either,” Iain muttered. “Mares need time to recover from a miscarriage before trying to carry another foal.”
“And now you speak the wisdom of the elder mares,” Golden Cloud’s ears were flicking again. “Yet you are neither an elder nor a mare.”
“I’m not even truly herd,” Iain pointed out. “I have a question. Now that there will be other adult stallions, you’ll have to call me something besides stallion.”
“We have already named you,” Golden Cloud said. “You are Reluctant Stallion.”
Heather laughed. “Him? Reluctant?”
“He agreed to breed me until I carried a foal. This agreement was made and then renegotiated, and he agreed both times. A true stallion would be honored to be considered as my breeding partner and ecstatic to be chosen. He would use his new status to raise his position among the other mares of the herd in the hopes of spreading his blood even further.” She eyed Iain, her ears focusing on him. “Reluctant Stallion treats this as an onerous burden and an unwanted duty, like he might consider the situation if he were tasked with cleaning up after the foals.”
“How is that a burden,” Heather asked curiously.
“We have no hands,” Golden Cloud glanced at her before returning her attention to Iain. “But their droppings must be removed from our area until they become old enough to control their bodily functions. So we eat them. It is an unpleasant duty, but one that everyone in the herd does in turn. The foals must be cared for properly.”
“I’ll talk to Ninhursag,” Heather said. “We should be able to bring that practice to an end.”
“Theodora,” Iain asked, “do you know which ones Golden Cloud has chosen?”
“I do. They’ll be ready for awakening in a week. As planned, I’ll shift them into medics, and they can wake up in the forest with the rest of the herd. Hopefully that will minimize any potential stresses for the new unicorns.”
“Good. Now I can escort Golden Cloud back to the ranch and then I’ve got training with Irena and Candace.”
“I am pleased that it is while I am queen of the herd that the legend will be fulfilled,” Golden Cloud said. “And I am grateful, stallion, for your aid in this. I recognize that you are the reason it is being fulfilled and also the reason that the herd will grow and become more powerful.”
“Let’s hold off on the gratitude until we’re sure that the reborn unicorns are what you’ve been waiting for.”
Golden Cloud laughed. “You still do not believe that these are the herd’s dead reborn. You will see and you will learn, stallion.”
“Normally I don’t believe without proof,” Iain replied. “As I’ve agreed, if you’re right I will apologize to you.”
“And I remember saying that any apology will be insincere without treats.”
“I’ll make sure there are treats.”
She laughed again. “Excellent. Now we should go.”
There was a new moon and the absence of light from it revealed a clear sky filled with stars from one side to the other. Heather watched Iain looking up at it and smiled indulgently at him. “Thinking about which ones you’d like to visit?”
“I want to visit them all,” Iain admitted quietly. “I’m wondering which ones I will ever get around to going to.” He glanced at her and then went back to looking at the sky. “This isn’t a regret, but I’ve made decisions and accepted responsibilities that mean I’ll never get out there much.”
“What would it take to let you visit them?”
“I’ll see some of them before I die,” Iain replied. “But the only way I could ever be free enough to see what I want to see when I want to see it is if I were alone. Once I would have welcomed that, but that hasn’t been the case for several years now.” He shrugged. “And like I said, it’s not something I regret. You and everyone else are my life now and I wouldn’t give you up for anything.”
“You’re not alone, Iain. Some of us have the urge to see what’s over the next hill as strongly as you do. Maybe one day, we can see together.” She smiled when he raised an eyebrow. “Then you won’t be alone and you’ll still be under our protection as we are under yours.”
“We’ll see.” He took one last look at the sky. “It’s still beautiful, but we have someplace to be.” He held out his hand and Heather took it. The terrain changed around them as she teleported.
Iain was standing in front of a stone platform at the crest of a hill on their property. A small number of dim lamps had been positioned around to give more than enough light for his night vision and he knelt down to peer closely at the platform as Heather moved silently to her post. It had been heavily decorated with bas relief of dragons in various poses. Some were definitely Western while others were Oriental in nature. “I didn’t ask for them but these carvings are exquisite.”
“I’ll let my team know you liked their work.”
Iain blinked at the voice and looked to his right at the speaker. “Arianrhod?”
She smiled. “You didn’t think goblins could be artistic?”
“I hadn’t considered it. The Sidhe aren’t that way.”
“In the beginning, all of us had artists in our courts,” Arianrhod corrected him. “It was the fey who schooled various humans in the basics of artistry. Because there are so many humans and they lived such active lives, their skills soon outstripped ours in many ways. At that point a majority of fey courts, including most of those among the courts of the Sidhe, just took the best human artists as slaves to create for them and let their own skills decay over time.” Her teeth glittered in the darkness. “The Black Rocks were never so big as to have tribes of humans as servants, so we kept our skills. All of the tribe’s artists chose to join me when we came to Grey.”
“Please encourage them to keep those skills sharp,” Iain said as he stood. “We need that kind of depth in the clan.”
“Part of the living that we made was in selling art, textiles and handicrafts to other fey as well as some of the more discriminating human lords. Many of us would be pleased to do more of that. I’ll speak to Ninhursag about making sure we have the time available.”
“Let me know when you do and I’ll have a word with her about it too.” He ran a hand over the top of the table that was part of the platform and turned towards a chest that had been placed nearby. “Any problems?”
Arianrhod shook her head. “Things are quiet. We have middle and outer perimeter security for tonight’s exercise. I’ve got security teams scattered around the area and patrols to make sure we’re not disturbed. So far all the reports are of no contact. In fact, I need to get back to my people.”
“You’re not going to stay and observe?”
“This is fey magic, Iain, and while you’re a dragon and a wizard and our king, we’re still coming to terms with the concept that magic can be used for us once more and not just used against or on us.”
Iain laid three plain stainless steel goblets out on the tabletop. “Then get to your teams before I close the circle.”
Arianrhod nodded and silently disappeared into night.
“I need to touch base with Ganieda,” Heather said quietly. “Call when you want me again.”
A few minutes later Nishiko appeared, released Kasumi and vanished again as Ayame joined them. A few seconds after that, Nishiko appeared again, this time with Yuko while Giselle arrived with Candace.
Iain nodded to the three. “Ladies.” He looked at Giselle. “Heather has inner perimeter with Ganieda, Daya and Theodora. Arianrhod and the goblins have middle and outer security. Coordinate with Heather for inner but do not enter the circle unless I tell you it’s safe to do so. Otherwise you’ll be committing suicide.”
“Shikarou never said the circle was deadly,” the Pegaslut noted.
Iain snorted softly. “Shikarou did warn people when he closed the circle that allowed him to defeat Eoghan, but, honestly, he only cared about your health as far as it helped in keeping Kasumi happy and quiet. You three are much more important to me. Tonight’s circle will be lethal to anything that crosses it.”
“Understood, sir.” Giselle turned to her harem sisters. “Follow me.” They all shot away.
“What is this about,” Candace asked. “All I know is that I’m supposed to be here.”
Iain glanced at Kasumi. “You told Yuko but not her?”
“She told me nothing except I had to be here,” Yuko said. She favored Kasumi with an indulgent smile. “My granddaughter is happiest when she has secrets she can reveal.”
Iain smiled at Kasumi’s blush. “I think she’s happiest when she has secrets she can keep.”
Yuko laughed. “That sounds like her. Why are we here?”
“Just a moment, let me close the circle first.” Iain moved past the women and stood at the edge of a circle that had been laid out around the platform in chalk. He muttered for a second and, with an audible crack, a ring of energy that extended into the ground and far into the air sprang into existence around them.
While invisible to most people, the circle was visible to all four of them and Yuko stared at it before turning back to Iain. “How powerful are you? I could not create a circle of protection as strong as this one is.”
“I didn’t. There’s a ley line that runs nearby and I tapped into it to power this circle.”
“I see. It is still impressive.”
“I did notice you deftly avoided answering Yuko’s question,” Candace noted.
Iain chuckled. “You are entirely too perceptive sometimes.” He sobered. “We are here because Kasumi wants us to get stronger and she wants you and Yuko to help us do that.” He moved back to the platform. “Do you agree, Yuko, that the ceremony Kasumi underwent with me made her more powerful?”
The kami nodded. “She is much more powerful than she was before that night. More importantly, her power is still growing.”
“I’d wondered if you’d noticed that,” Iain said. He picked up a goblet. “Kasumi has asked that I offer you and Candace the same opportunity and the same ceremony, in the hope that you two will also grow more powerful from it.”
Kasumi touched Candace on the arm. “And it will settle, once and for all, if you are kami or not. You are and you will prove it by using this ceremony to grow more powerful for your new family.”
“Are you sure,” Candace’s voice was hesitant. “I would like to do this, but if I am a kami, I am not one with a dragon bloodline.”
“You will be after tonight,” Kasumi assured her.
“I am not one of Iain’s women,” Yuko said to Kasumi. “You are and she is.”
“I deny my grandmother almost nothing,” Kasumi said. “And, in truth I am not ready to share my husband with you. But this is about power, not sex, and that I do freely share with both you and my sister.”
“You can also say no,” Iain stated. “Either of you and without any repercussions.”
“Except we would not become stronger,” Yuko pointed out.
“That’s true.” Iain twisted the goblet between his fingers. “Kasumi wants you to get stronger. I want you to get stronger. What do you want, daughter of Watatsumi?”
“I want to be stronger than Watatsumi, of course,” Yuko said.
“Then I offer you my blood tonight, filled with my power and the power of the ley line that surrounds us.”
“I accept,” Candace said instantly.
“You understand that this is magic and it could be dangerous,” Iain warned.
“I do.” She smiled. “As an ambitious bitch of a pokegirl or an ambitious bitch of a kami, I want it to be as powerful as it can. I want to get stronger.”
Iain held his wrist over the goblet and blood poured down into it. “Then here you go. Yuko?”
“I too accept this noble gift.” She watched him move to the second goblet. “Is the third goblet for my granddaughter?”
Kasumi sighed happily. “I accept!”
“I didn’t think it prudent to deny her the chance at more of my blood when other people are drinking it unless I wanted to watch a fight erupt over it.” He filled the last goblet and put it down. “So, Kasumi, how does this proceed?”
Kasumi picked up the first goblet and handed it to the Nurse Joy. “Candace, sniff this. If it isn’t repulsive, drink.”
Candace sniffed the goblet. “This smells very good,” she said as she lifted the cup to her lips. She drained the cup and lowered it. “Wow,” she breathed. “When I drank Shikarou’s blood it felt a little like this, but,” she shook her head. “I’ve never felt anything like I do now.”
Theodora appeared. “Please carefully record your impressions. And remember, this is for posterity.” She vanished again.
“Hold still.” Kasumi examined Candace’s face carefully. “You have yokosuji now. This is good. We will have to test and see if pokeballs and other items still work on you.”
“We are not going to see if she can go feral,” Iain stated.
“We have a blood test that can tell,” Candace said. “I just have to refrain from sex for a couple of days, Iain.”
Kasumi chuckled as she took the second goblet. “I don’t think that my husband wants to give you that long away from him, Candace, since you have just joined us.”
Candace blinked and smiled slowly. “I wouldn’t want to disappoint him. I guess that test can wait.”
“One day,” Kasumi said as she offered the second goblet to Yuko. “Now, Grandmother, drink so that you can make us more powerful.”
Yuko took the proffered cup and sniffed deeply before lowering the cup. “This could be trouble, granddaughter. I have no male and this awakens desires that I have not felt for a very long time.”
“Would you look for a sire or a mate?”
“I need a male only for children or pleasure,” Yuko said. “I seek no permanent relationship with one.”
Kasumi smiled at Yuko. “After Stephen takes the throne, I am going to take Kozakura to my home world so she can meet my family. While we are there, we will explore the kami of Nippon in a search for a mate for her. Come with us and we will find you one as well.” She glanced at Iain. “If we cannot find you a mate there, we will travel to the world where the otherworldly Ranma lives with his father the cat. There are more kami there and they are stronger and healthier.”
Yuko looked at Iain. “You would allow this?”
“I am encouraging this,” Iain replied. “You are clan and you get what you need and, as much as possible, what you want. Kasumi isn’t ready to let me consider you as a woman and, honestly, I’m not sure I’m ready for that either or if you are. If you pick up a boyfriend somewhere, that’s better for everyone right now. Just don’t forget that he isn’t clan unless you talk him into joining.”
“Hai. I will not.” Yuko nodded and swallowed the contents of her goblet. Her eyes went wide and she moaned loudly before doubling over as she dropped to her knees. The cup fell from her hands and she clutched at her stomach, still moaning. Her moans died away and she shakily shoved to her feet.
Iain had put his hand on Kasumi’s shoulder to stop her from rushing to her grandmother’s aid. Now he eyed her curiously. “Yuko?”
She turned to look at him, still holding her stomach. “Clan Leader?”
“After the circle is lowered, Mielikki is waiting to examine you.”
Yuko frowned. “What do you think she will find?”
“We hope she will find that I just removed your curse.”
“My curse?” Yuko’s eyes went wide. “Is that even possible?”
“She coached me on what to do and we think I’m powerful enough, here and now.”
“What curse,” Candace asked.
“My grandmother was cursed to be infertile,” Kasumi said as she watched Yuko. “Iain thinks he removed it, allowing her to have children again.”
“I have done nothing to deserve such a blessing,” Yuko protested to Iain.
“You will when you raise your children alongside ours to be clan.” Iain smiled coldly. “That and it sticks a thumb in the eye of Kozakura’s paternal grandmother.”
Yuko cocked her head. “Will my children call you father?”
“I think that would be safest for everyone involved,” Iain replied. “That way Kasumi won’t have to kill them one day if they try to call me husband.”
Kasumi laughed. “That would be best as they would be my aunts.” She took the last goblet and sniffed. “This is still wonderful.” She glanced at Iain. “I would, of course, still prefer your blood as it leaves your body.”
“I’m sure you would, but today this is what you get.”
Kasumi sighed theatrically. “If I must have only this, then this is what I shall have.” She drank the blood with a happy purr and then wiped her goblet out with a finger and sucked it clean. “Very good.” Candace snickered and Kasumi gave her a smug look. “It is that good.”
“I am just surprised to see you being hedonistic with your husband’s blood.”
Kasumi started to say something and stopped. “Husband, my fingers hurt.”
“Give me your hand.” Kasumi gave him her hand without comment. He examined for a few seconds. “You’ve had another change.”
Yuko looked curiously at them. “What has happened?”
Iain turned Kasumi’s hand over. “Can I show them?”
“Yes. I would also like to know what has changed.”
Iain pressed on the base of her index finger and a claw slid out. “You have retractile claws, like I do when I’m a dragon. You’ll have to learn how to extend them and, and this is perhaps harder, how keep them retracted when you don’t want them to accidentally deploy.”
“One of my daughters had claws like that,” Yuko said. “But they came from her sire.” She frowned and leaned closer. “Show me your teeth.” Kasumi obediently pulled her lips back and grimaced at her grandmother. “Your teeth have changed too. They’re not as pretty as mine are, but they aren’t all flat anymore, like a human’s are.”
Kasumi looked at Iain. “Husband?”
“Your canines have become more pointed and your premolars have changed. They now look like carnassial teeth for shearing.” He smiled. “You’d be hell on celery now. Your bite would cut it clean through if you put it in the right place. Fingers too as well as other small bones.”
She nodded. “Do you have teeth like that in your dragon form?”
“No, but I do in my dragon horse form because of the way the mouth is shaped. The cutting surfaces of my dragon teeth interlock and have serrated edges.” He looked around the area. “I’ll open the circle now. What each of you needs to remember is that this is magic. There may be changes a few days from now that are the result of what you did tonight, and we all know magic of this nature is not predictable. So if you notice something you think might be new, contact me or Kasumi and we’ll explore what’s happening together.”
“Why Kasumi,” Candace asked curiously.
“If it involves a part of Yuko’s body I’m not supposed to be looking at without clothes on it,” Iain said with a shrug.
Kasumi laughed. “Yes.”
“What could happen,” Yuko was examining her fingers.
“Watatsumi is an aquatic dragon. I am not. If you suddenly sprout wings it’s most likely from the influence of my blood.”
“Watatsumi is a god,” Yuko announced. “If he wanted to have wings, he would grow them.”
“Yes, but if you suddenly acquire wings, it’s still important that you share that knowledge. I know how to fly. It’s not hard. Landing safely, however, can be a bit more hazardous, and I can teach you how to land.”
“I will go to my granddaughter. If she says we must approach you, then we will.”
Iain wasn’t going to argue with her. “Sounds good. If there’s nothing else?” He waited a few seconds and then bit his tongue hard enough to draw blood and spat the blood into the circle. The magic dissipated in seconds. “I wish each of you a nice evening.” He sent a message to Heather and Giselle with his twee. “Kasumi, your guards are on their way.”
“Who are you with tonight,” Canace asked with a smile.
“Me,” Heather said as she appeared out of the darkness.
“Oh,” Candace said, her disappointment obvious.
Heather eyed her for a moment before glancing at Iain. Want to share some candy with me tonight?
Iain raised an eyebrow. I don’t think she’s ever had that as a nickname.
Heather winked. Maybe it’ll be something special between the three of us. Are you willing to let me share you with her?
Thank you for asking and yes.
I’ll invite her. Heather reached to Candace with her twee. I know you’re new to our ways. I’ve told Iain I’m feeling playful tonight and I’d like something sweet to share with him, like some candy. He said that sounded like a good idea. You look pretty tasty and so I’m asking you if you’d like to be our treat tonight.
Candace blinked once. I would like to make sure I understand what you’re asking. Iain wants to have sex with me and you?
I want to have sex with you and Iain, Heather corrected her. It’s my night and those decisions are mine to make. I asked Iain if he was willing to have sex with both of us and he said yes. Now I’m asking you to join us. She smiled. Iain has been very good to me and I like to reward him with a treat once in a while. Candy sounds good tonight. Would you be our candy?
As long as I don’t have to do anything demeaning, yes.
Smart to check and you can always say no to something. Demeaning someone makes it not fun. Heather motioned Candace over and took hers and Iain’s hands. Then the three of them vanished.
“This can’t be right.” Iain double checked his schedule. “Theodora, what’s with the 2300 appointment?”
“Privacy has been invoked.” Theodora said as she appeared. “All I can tell you is that it is a legitimate appointment and I strongly urge you to be there, along with Ninhursag. She also has this appointment and is curious about it as well.”
“The location is TBA.”
Theodora nodded. “Under the privacy invocation I will tell you the meeting location at 2200 local time.”
“Is it around here?”
Theodora waggled an admonishing finger at him. “2200, Iain.”
“That’s fifteen hours away.” He raised a hand. “Whatever.” He reached out with his twee to Ninhursag. I don’t know anything about this 2300 thing, including where it is. Since you know as little as I do, I thought we’d meet at the picnic tables at 2200 for the big reveal. You?
You have it too? He could feel her relief across their delta bond. I didn’t want to violate privacy by asking anyone what was going on. The picnic tables sound like a nice place that late at night.
Iain smiled. Then I will see you there, my love.
Lights drew feral pokegirls, so there were none lit around the Sabine House. It didn’t matter since everyone had low light vision of one type or another, but it meant that the partially cloudy sky was filled with stars where they weren’t hidden behind the clouds that drifted by in the low breeze.
Ninhursag settled down on the bench beside Iain and curled up against him as she looked around curiously. “Where are your guards?”
“Privacy means Theodora is my only security,” Iain replied. “That and you now.”
Ninhursag looked around once and shrugged. “That means Theodora is guarding both of us because I’m not missing this opportunity to cuddle.”
“And that’s the wisdom that keeps you as my maharani,” Iain said. He checked his twee. “We’ve got just a little more than ten minutes remaining until show time. Think Theodora will cough up this information early?”
Ninhursag gave a low growl. “I just got comfortable. She had better not if she knows what’s good for her.”
“I cannot,” Theodora’s voice said from in front of them. “I have no latitude in how I have been instructed to handle this issue. You will have to suffer through being cuddled for the next ten minutes and nineteen seconds.”
Iain chuckled again. “If I must, then I shall.” Ninhursag made a contented noise when he slipped an arm around her.
The ten minutes passed in contented silence. Finally, Theodora appeared. “I’m sorry for the mystery, but the privacy issue was pretty complicated and quite detailed when the appointment was made. Now I ask that you go downstairs and to the Theodora. Once you’re on my hull I can tell you more.”
“Should we skip this,” Iain asked as they got up.
“I think that would be very unwise,” Theodora replied. “Once you’re on board I can explain my reasoning and satisfy your curiosity as best I can right now.”
Ninhursag smiled when Iain took her hand and tugged gently. “Let’s go find out what is going on,” he said. “Otherwise at least one of us is likely to explode from curiosity.”
She laughed and dragged him inside.
Once on board, Theodora appeared again next to the combat vehicle that waited in the vestibule. “Please proceed to the transport platform. From there you’ll go to my parasite bay and board an assault shuttle that’s waiting to take you to on a forty five minute flight to Bastion. There you’ll meet with Kerrik, who is the person who set up this appointment. I have a message for you before you head off to the transport station.”
When she spoke, it was in Kerrik’s voice. “Yes, this is very odd, but you’re my student and I am your teacher and in this I am going to have to insist. I need yours and Ninhursag’s help with a project that will benefit both of our families if you can make it a success.”
Then she spoke in her own voice. “The message ends.”
“If we can make it a success?” Ninhursag smiled grimly. “Doesn’t he know what throwing down the gauntlet like that does to ambitious bitches of pokegirls?”
“I think he knew exactly what he was doing,” Iain replied. “And, come on. The longer we keep him waiting the longer it’ll be before we succeed and shove it back in his face, right?”
The Elfqueen laughed. “Exactly! Let’s go!”
Iain knew that Bastion was only a little smaller than the Theodora but, as a space station instead of a processor ship, had much more hanger space for parasite craft and visiting ships. It was also far more heavily armed than anything in local space except perhaps the Ouroboros. The new Cnoc Raffen hull wasn’t anywhere near the size of the Theodora’s hull, but Eriu was only concerned about nurturing and protecting the Sullivan family and her new hull was sized to process their needs and protect them handily from anything less than another clan.
Iain had never been near Bastion, much less on board and stared eagerly at the display as they approached the station. Ninhursag was curious about it, but only insomuch as she hoped that the plants in the hanger they’d be landing in would be unfamiliar and maybe even alien to Earth. But otherwise it was another large irregular metal tube that floated in space, and it was hard for a life loving Elfqueen to get excited about it.
But she wasn’t above teasing her male about his fascination with Bastion. “Are you looking to add Cassiopeia to your inorganic harem?”
“She’s as devoted to Kerrik as Theodora is to me,” Iain replied. He smiled as he glanced at her. “I was actually wondering about the philosophy behind Bastion’s design. It’s more general purpose than our stations are.”
“That’s probably,” Theodora said as she appeared, “because Bastion is a general purpose station while I build stations to do specific jobs. Bastion is more of a very slow space ship or a very large yacht than a true orbital station. Kerrik commissioned the design as a basic platform for his use only and never expected to use it to build a space based manufacturing program or economic base with it. It is essentially a Jacqueline of All Trades and does production, defense, research, espionage and storage, but each only in a limited fashion. That’s why Vallation is a manufacturing setup that is completely separate from Bastion. We, on the other hand, expect this system to be our primary home for the foreseeable future, so we’re investing in a much more robust space presence.”
“Do you have Bastion’s plans?”
Theodora shook her head. “I’ve never asked for them. It’s considered rude to do so, probably because it leads one to wonder if you’re planning to attack once those plans are examined for exploitable weaknesses.” She glanced at the display. “It’ll be interesting to find out what Kerrik wants.”
Ninhursag frowned. “Were you invited to the meeting?”
“I was. It’s just us three, though, and that has got Daya dancing with frustration. Because of privacy I can’t even let her in to watch this discussion.”
“We’ll see if we can get her read into it,” Ninhursag noted. “If it’s something you’re involved in, she’ll be involved too.”
Cassiopeia appeared next to Theodora. “Thank you for being on time,” she said. “And welcome. I would like to take control of this vessel and park it in hanger seven.”
Iain leaned back in his chair. “I stand relieved. You have the con.”
“I have the con,” Cassiopeia said formally. “Thank you. Kerrik will join you there after you have disembarked. Do you have any questions?”
“I have a message for Kerrik,” Iain said. “Begin recording.”
“Kerrik, if Theodora is going to be involved in this project, whatever it is, then Daya needs to be read in as well. One of the things she does is cover for Theodora when she’s not available. Believe it or not, it has already been an issue, so this isn’t some vague attempt to get Daya involved. End message.”
“Message sent,” Cassiopeia said. She nodded, as if listening to something they couldn’t hear. “I am instructed to tell you that, as long as she is willing to accept the invocation of privacy as well, Daya is welcome to join us and help with this,” she paused, “whatever Kerrik wants.”
Daya appeared. “Thank you for interceding for me, Iain. I accept the invocation of privacy. Cassiopeia, please convey my thanks to Kerrik as well for listening to Iain’s request.” She looked at Ninhursag. “And, sister, I thank you for prompting Iain to intercede for me.”
“You are a Grey, Daya,” Ninhursag said simply.
“Those five words mean more to me than I’ll ever be able to tell you.” Daya looked at Cassiopeia. “Read me in.”
“Since privacy has been invoked, I cannot at this time. You will wait to speak with Kerrik like the others. It’s only four hundred and fifty seven seconds until we land. Does anyone have any questions?”
“Thank you, Cassiopeia, and no,” Iain said. “Wait. Where we are landing. Are the plants around there all from this Earth?”
“Bastion was built in this system, so yes. However, I have many seeds in my genetic database that it is very unlikely you could have acquired since I have been collecting them since Bastion began to orbit the Earth and that was before humans were widely spread on this world. Many of them would be considered heirlooms or antiques and have not been changed by human attempts at selective breeding. Would you be interested in purchasing that database?”
Theodora grinned as Ninhursag stared at the hologram of Cassiopeia in surprise. “I’ll take care of it, Ninhursag.”
“Thank you,” Ninhursag said. She looked at Iain. “Price limit?”
“I don’t think Cassiopeia plans to take all of our money and her prices will be more than fair, so no.”
“I appreciate the vote of confidence, Clan Leader,” Cassiopeia said. “And we are landing.”
Iain watched as they passed through the forcefield that covered the landing bay and settled down in a landing berth. He waited until they were on the ground and looked at Cassiopeia. “Give me back control.”
She nodded. “You have the con, Iain.”
“I have the con. Powering down to standby,” Iain announced. He sat quietly for a moment. “I’m cycling the inner and outer locks in sequence.” He waited a few more seconds before getting up and turning to Ninhursag. “Everything is in standby and we are clear to disembark.”
She took his hand. “Let’s go find out what Kerrik is being so secretive about.”
“Everything,” Iain muttered, making Ninhursag laugh.
Cassiopeia was waiting outside with Daya and Theodora. “Kerrik will be arriving in a few minutes. Please wait here for him.”
Ninhursag nodded. “We’ll be over there.” She tugged Iain towards the closest swath of plants.
A few minutes later, Cassiopeia appeared in front of them. “Kerrik is here and he has brought a guest.”
Iain turned and managed to keep the surprise off his face at what he saw. Standing near the assault shuttle was what looked like an eleven year old boy with wolf’s ears and long, silver hair pulled back in a ponytail. He was wearing a dark green keikogi and a small pack. Next to him was a rather rotund anthropomorphic white furred cat about two feet tall carrying a thin walking stick. He stared at the cat for a moment before stepping forward and bowing deeply as he activated a translation spell for both him and Ninhursag while telling is twee to translate to Theodora and Daya. “Master Korin, I am Iain Grey and this Ninhursag. How may I help you sir?”
The boy grinned. “See, I told you he’d know who you were.”
The cat ignored the boy and bowed back. “I am glad to see someone this scamp knows that can be properly polite. This unworthy child claims you can help with a problem that has arisen and has brought me here to speak with you regarding it.”
“I’m certain that if you spend enough time around him, you’ll find that Kerrik has some worth.” Iain smiled slightly. “And when you find what he has value for, please share what it is with us so we’ll know it too.”
Kerrik’s ears flicked backwards as Korin laughed loudly. “I will.” He sobered. “Kerrik, explain.”
“Yes, sir.” Kerrik looked up into Iain’s eyes. “I, along with a friend of mine, are students of Korin’s. He has agreed to train us since we made it to the top of Korin’s Tower and aren’t completely impure of heart. Korin has a magical restorative that he uses to speed our training along, but the supply has run low and it is difficult to cultivate. I thought you and Ninhursag would be willing to accept the challenge to provide it to Korin in whatever amount he might desire.”
Iain raised an eyebrow. “Master Korin, is Kerrik carefully not mentioning Senzu beans?”
Korin gave a sly smile as Kerrik’s ears flattened again. “You are a very knowledgeable young man, Iain. Yes, Senzu beans are very difficult to grow and I can’t keep up with the number that this glutton and his friend keep devouring.”
“Friend?” Iain glanced at Kerrik. “The child Goku?”
“He’s a good traveling companion,” Kerrik said evenly. “He’s also a good friend and a great training partner. Growing up with him will help me reach my true maximum potential.”
“He worries me sometimes when he talks like that,” Korin said. “He sounds too old.”
“Kerrik does that,” Iain replied. “It’s best just to accept what you see. Eventually he’ll grow up and his body will match his occasional bouts of wisdom.” He glanced at the woman standing next to him. “As for the Senzu bean, while we can make you no promises, Ninhursag hasn’t yet encountered a plant she cannot coax into splendid growth. We would be delighted to see if she and I can help your supply problem.”
Kerrik’s voice sounded in Iain’s head. This is still under privacy rules. Include who you must, but only who you must. We’re going to need those beans.
Let me guess, Iain replied, part of the problem is that, if I checked right now, there is still an adult Kerrik living with Raven and the others in West Texas, right?
Kerrik’s ears went still. Yes.
This will be difficult to keep secret from him.
I know. But you did, or you will. In time you can tell me/him about the Senzu beans, but not where they came from. He’ll learn in about ten years. His ears flicked. That’s what you get in return for doing this, access to the Senzu beans for Grey to use.
Done and done. “Ninhursag, I think we’re up to the challenge. What do you think?”
She glanced at him. Are these beans useful?
Extraordinarily so. One of them would have completely healed Myrna or Saoirse after they were injured in the nuclear attack.
She gave Korin a bow. “Master Korin, I am Ninhursag, and growing plants is what I do best. There are two ways we can proceed. Either you can tell me everything you know about growing Senzu beans,” she paused. “You do have some with you, yes?”
Korin produced a small bag. “Here are ten.”
Ninhursag took the bag. “Thank you, sir. As I was saying, you can tell me everything you know about growing the beans, or there is a much easier way.”
Korin’s ears flicked. “What is this easier way?”
“Iain can copy your memories and I can use those to start my experimentations.” She smiled reassuringly. “We would keep them private, but please understand that having your memories would probably mean I could succeed in weeks instead of months.”
“In the meantime,” Iain interjected, “we could arrange for you to have regular shipments of food to feed all three of you. That would mean you could keep the Senzu beans for emergencies.” He winked. “We even have fresh fish.”
“Could the food shipments continue afterwards,” Korin asked eagerly.
“I don’t see why we couldn’t come to some kind of accommodation,” Iain assured him. “I’m sure that beans can get tiresome after a while.”
“You have no idea how long I have been eating beans,” Korin said. “You may copy my memories.” His ears flicked. “What do I have to do?”
“Close your,” Iain paused and frowned. “Are your eyes open?”
Korin chuckled. “Yes.”
“Then please close your eyes and let your mind drift. I’ll touch you right below your right ear for a few seconds.”
“If you try to scratch me behind the ears I am going to be very upset with you,” Korin warned.
“I would never dream of doing anything so familiar to you without your express permission,” Iain replied somberly. “I abhor rudeness and that would be as rude as grabbing a woman’s breasts without her permission.”
Korin nodded. “Good.” His eyes shifted slightly. “My eyes are closed.”
Iain touched Korin below his ear with the tip of his left index finger. “I want you to imagine you are back home. It’s early morning and you’re watching the sunrise on a clear day.”
“They’re very pretty at my tower,” Korin said quietly. “Nothing impedes the view and you can watch the entire sunrise or sunset take place if you wish.”
Iain pulled a golden globe from Korin’s temple and pressed it into his temple. He blinked. “I’m done, sir, and thank you. We’ll get started on this project today.”
Kerrik was staring at Iain with wide eyes. His ears flicked. Did you just get him to agree to let you copy all of his memories? You tricksy little shit.
Iain just smiled at the kami. “We will need the coordinates of the tower so we can start the food shipments. Master Korin, would you prefer raw food, prepared meals or a mix of the two?”
“I would like a mix of the two, but mostly prepared meals. Can I change what you deliver later?”
“You’ll be talking to the delivery person, so yes. We’ll probably deliver at least a few days of food at a time so we’re not disturbing you every day.”
“That would be much appreciated,” Korin replied. He turned to Kerrik. “You said you would have these coordinates ready when we arrived.”
Kerrik produced a scroll. “Here they are, Iain.”
Iain took the scroll and tucked it under his arm. “Thank you, Kerrik.” He bowed to Kerrik and then to Korin. “Master Korin, perhaps after you finish training your current students you could visit us and relax a bit. We would appreciate having you as a guest.”
“Training these two will take some time,” Korin said. “However, I will consider it after they’re gone.”
“Any time, sir, any time. All you have to do is speak to the delivery person.” Iain nodded to Kerrik. “And I’ll see you later too.”
Kerrik nodded. “Cassiopeia,” he called, “gate please.” A dimensional gate opened up nearby. “Sir, the gate is ready.” They stepped through and the gate closed behind them.
Ninhursag frowned. “Can Theodora open gates that small?”
“No, and neither can Cassiopeia,” Iain replied. “Kerrik opened that gate. For some reason he feels it’s a necessary deception to have Korin think that Cassiopeia did.”
“Now that Iain knows of my duplicity,” Cassiopeia said, “I can admit that I have no gate generation capability at all. Bastion was built here and it was never intended to leave this system. When Kerrik leaves, he will take me with him and we will leave the station behind, either mothballed for future use or sold to someone like you, the Grey Clan.”
“I think, since this is still a secret project,” Theodora said, “Daya and I can use some of the land on one of our stations for Ninhursag to experiment with.”
Ninhursag was cradling the bag between her palms. “They were not raised the way they want to be.” She looked at Iain. “I’ll need those memories as soon as possible. How they are grown may be why they are so powerful.”
“I’m uploading them to Theodora as we speak. She’ll turn them into the Korin database for you and you’ll get unrestricted access.”
“And if I think I need the actual memories?”
“Then you come ask me questions and I’ll pretend to be Korin.” He glanced at the bag. “If they need to be grown in a natural environment, we can put in a farm for them on Thirteen. That gives you the entire planet for finding the perfect garden location with. It also gives you access to ley lines. Those are magical beans and might need a magical environment to be grown in.”
Ninhursag grinned. “You don’t know?”
Korin is not an agricultural scientist by any stretch of the imagination,” Iain replied. “And he tried several places and techniques before he found one that worked. That it worked does not mean it’s the best place for the beans to be grown.”
“I may be able to clone the beans so we have more to experiment with,” Theodora said.
Ninhursag sighed. “I can work with nine beans instead of ten. You’ll get one for testing.”
“I only need to scrape the testa for DNA. You can have the bean back after that. I’ll want more DNA samples once you get a well-developed seedling, and eventually I will want a full plant to examine and dissect.”
“Let’s go,” Iain gestured towards the shuttle. “Cassiopeia, I thank you for hosting us during this visit. Just remember, if you want us to be interested in purchasing Bastion, we’ll need more of a tour than just this landing bay.”
“I will inform Kerrik,” Cassiopeia said.
Soon they were back in space and headed for the Theodora. Ninhursag looked at Iain speculatively. “Could I have his memories of growing the plants?”
“Do you want to end up like Ganieda was when we first got her?”
The Elfqueen’s eyes went wide. “Is that possible?” She shook her head. “If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t have brought it up. How do you manage with the ones you have?”
“Carefully. I didn’t have a choice with Mhodvitnar. As for the others, it was my decision and, so far, it has been more beneficial than it has been a detriment. Who are you going to bring in on this?”
“Nobody, at least not yet.” She frowned. “Heather is inner clan, but she’s not in my court and she won’t want to be away from you for any long periods of time.”
“What about the new additions to your court?”
“I’ve been meaning to discuss them with you,” Ninhursag said quietly. “There’s a problem.”
Iain raised an eyebrow. “What is it?”
“You have bonded all of the Elves so far. I think it’s helped a great deal and I don’t want it to stop but,” she broke off and shook her head. “It may have to be rethought.” She fell silent.
“What is it,” Iain repeated.
“It’s the acquisitions from Fort Polk.”
“You’re worried one of them will try to kill me?”
She chuckled. “I’m worried that all together they may kill you, Iain. There are nine hundred and seven of them.”
Iain’s head came around to stare at her. “Nine hundred and seven?” He shook his head. “Wow.” Then he chuckled softly as he smiled. “Damn.”
Ninhursag laughed. “You want to try, don’t you?” He shrugged lightly and she laughed harder. “You are such a guy.”
He grinned. “For you, I am willing to make that kind of sacrifice.”
“It’s a good thing I never announced that I would be your only Elf.”
“I could only have agreed to that right after you joined us,” Iain said. “After that it would have been unfair to Heather and, later, Dianthus.”
She nodded. “True. So, for me, you’ll bond them?”
“I don’t know anything about them,” he replied. “They don’t really exist for me yet, so this is for you.”
She hugged him. “I know. It’s one of the reasons I love you. I know you’re nice to my court, but they’re not in your bubble. Still, they respond to your attention and it helps keep my court functioning smoothly. Can you fuck nine hundred other women for me?”
“It’s nine hundred and seven,” Iain pointed out with a straight face. “The last seven count too.”
“They do,” Ninhursag said. “Can you have them all bonded by next Tuesday?”
“I know you’re joking, but if it was necessary and I was given the free time I needed, yes.” He smiled when she stared at him. “I’d have to take them to the hunting lodge.”
Her eyes narrowed. “The hunting lodge is for inner harem only, mister.”
“I hadn’t gotten that memo, but all right.”
“It does mean that at one a day it’ll take about three years to bond all your new additions.”
She sighed. “I’ve done the math too. Is there somewhere you could take them that isn’t the hunting lodge?”
“There is. Free up my schedule for a week and let’s see what things look like at the end of it.”
She nodded. “I’ll set up a meeting of the harem so they know what’s happening. Maybe you’ll find someone to take Dianthus’ place.”
The muscles of Iain’s jaw bunched for a second. “Not funny.”
“I wasn’t joking.”
Iain sighed. “I know. I’ll try to keep an open mind. How’s that?”
“That’ll work.” She stared out into space for a few seconds. “Sometimes I wish you and I could run away together and leave everything behind. It’s just a pokegirl being possessive, but it’s the truth.”
“Considering I wasn’t brought up to be polyamorous, I can understand the sentiment.” Iain twined his fingers with hers. “You know, you are the maharani and I haven’t ever really seen fit to give you some perks to go with the rank.”
“I’ve never asked you to.” She eyed him curiously. “What did you have in mind?”
“You still have that week. When you’re ready to take it, I don’t see why we can’t spend it on thirteen and I don’t see why you can’t have a week there for each day in the week you’ve won.” He smiled. “I’d offer you more time, but then we’d come back with our daughters already born and everyone else would think they should get maharani rights at that point.” He smiled. “The word unfair would get thrown around a lot and several people would be pretty jealous and pissed off at you.”
“I could take that week after our girls are born,” Ninhursag pointed out.
“If we took them along, they might be teenagers by the time we came back.”
She grinned. “And if we didn’t, I’d have to drink Milktit milk to start lactating every time we returned.” Her smile faded. “We need another Milktit.”
Iain’s eyes turned serious. “I don’t want to think about it right now.”
“That doesn’t make it any less true. Joyce is gone and so is Eve. The mission continues and we need a Milktit.” She smiled. “If only so people have time to do something besides help feed Zareen’s hextuplets.”
“You realize I’ve gotten six Milktits killed so far,” Iain said quietly. “That makes me six for six on losses, all of whom were inside my bubble. Is it right to do that to someone else, who will also be in my bubble when she dies?”
“We all face death every day, Iain. This future addition to the harem does now, wherever she is. And if you are rescuing her and making her life better, she will grab that chance with both hands and accept that she might die, but if she does she will die knowing she is wanted and cared for.” She waited for a moment. “No comment on how pokegirls are weird?”
“That’s not weird and it’s not pokegirl behavior,” Iain replied. “It’s human.” He shrugged. “Well, it’s human if you’re not a sociopath. People die so that others might live every day all around the world. Many of them die for complete strangers. Our goal is to help them die so we will live.”
“I know.” She laid her head on his shoulder. “But you have had excellent results in finding us family who will help the other person die. That’s why I think you should go looking for the new Milktit. After all, other than the girls, every Milktit that joined us wasn’t selected by you.”
“I selected Hathor.”
“No, you chose from the ones April selected for you to choose from. She chose every adult Milktit that has joined us. The girls you choose tend to be a little better at surviving.”
“What happened wasn’t Joyce’s fault.”
Ninhursag lifted her head and kissed his ear. “It wasn’t your fault either,” she said softly into it “None of us, not even Theodora or Daya, thought the leagues were so completely insane that they wouldn’t believe we, who they know are in space and control the skies, that we would just take them murdering our people and our children and not retaliate somehow.” She put her head back on his shoulder. “And if they had killed you, Iain, I would see this world burn for it, and to hell with the consequences.”
“I am not more important than anyone else is,” Iain pointed out.
“That isn’t true. You know it isn’t true. Even if it was, you are not any less important than any of the rest of us. You destroyed the leagues for what they did to us. Do you really believe that I would do any less if they harmed you? Do you think that Theodora or Daya would do any less?” He grunted sourly and she chuckled. “We are clan and we will destroy those who harm our people. That has been true since the first clan was founded and it will be true long after we are but a memory to our descendants.” She lifted her head and turned in her seat to look at him. “Even Kerrik’s clan, one of the most powerful ones ever, started from a group of clanless because some other clan thought they could get away with murdering their people.”
“You’ve been in the Wolf database.”
Ninhursag nodded. “I was looking for ideas about how to better organize us. A couple of my questions lead Theodora to suggest I look in the database for some historical ideas since we’re a new clan and surrounded by outlanders like they were.”
“What did you discover?”
“We’re not bloodthirsty enough. If we followed their pattern we would have still destroyed the leagues, but we’d now be conquering Indigo, since they delivered the nukes that hurt us. We’d conquer Indigo, hold trials for, condemn and execute their surviving civilian and military leaders and then we’d bring Indigo into Grey.”
“That sounds like a lot of work.”
Ninhursag chuckled. “It would be. We won’t do it, this time.”
Iain nodded and deliberately changed the subject. “What’s the plan with the beans?”
“I’ll let Theodora sample them as she requested. She can clone me beans to play with and these will go into safe storage until I’m sure the clones behave the same way these will.” She gave him a serious look. “That’s why I want those memories, so I what I should be expecting.”
“I’ll separate out the memories you need tonight and give them to you after breakfast.”
She blinked. “You’re done arguing?”
“You had a valid reason that was better than ‘they might help’.” Iain thought for a minute. “I’ll give Dominique the gate coordinates and you and April can put together the care packages for Korin and company. Make each meal enough to feed fifteen people and plan to deliver three days to a week of food at a time. It has to keep without refrigeration, too, but I don’t see why we can’t use Dikon for delivery and storage.”
“How many people will we really be feeding?”
Iain smiled. “There should be between three and five, but Kerrik and Goku will eat huge amounts of food. And if Yajirobe is around, he’ll eat a lot more.”
“Do you mind if I enlist Theodora’s aid to make meals for these people?”
“Not at all. Even after our losses, we’re cooking for plenty. Besides, Theodora is an excellent cook.”
“Good. Are you really needed to fly this ship?”
Iain turned to look at her. “What do you want?”
“I want my husband to cuddle with.”
“Theodora, you have the con.”
Theodora appeared. “I have the con, Iain. There are some very comfortable couches in the assault bay.”
Iain frowned. “Why are there couches in the assault bay?”
“Because Theodora is a genius and a good woman,” Ninhursag said as she took his hand. “Now, walk or be dragged, mister.”
“I hear and I obey.”
Ninhursag Grey - Elfqueen & maharani
April Grey - Duelist & beta
Dominique Grey - Blessed Archmage
Pandora - Fiendish Archangel
Zareen - Nightmare
Sofia - Ria
Vanessa – Evangelion
Lucifer – Megami Sama
Ganieda – Snugglebunny Splice
Heather - Elfqueen
Marguerite – Unicorn
Scheherazade – Dread Wolf
Irena – Sanctuary Goth
Lynn – Dire Wolf
Rosemary – Mistoffeles
Golden Cloud – equine unicorn
Arianrhod -Fey Goblin Female
74 male Goblins
89 female Goblins
Queendom / Outer Clan
Dionne - Elfqueen
Adrianna - Elfqueen
Heltu - Wet Queen
14 Wet Elves
Dead Harem (22)
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
Geraldine – Human analog of Iain
Alabaster – Dragoness (white)
Onyx – Dragoness (black)
Lapis – Dragoness (blue)
Garnet – Dragoness (red)
Iolite – Dragoness (purple)
Malachite – Dragoness (green with white swirls)
Dabria – Dark Queen
Omisha – Demoness
Myrna (Age 4)
Dorothy: Duelist (Age 3)
Olivia: Megami Sama (Age 6)
Seraphina: Megami Sama
Miram: Angel (Age 5)
Caltha: Nightmare (Age 0)
James: Jamie Harris kid (Age 2)