“Is Sasha going to be visiting again?”


It was the middle of Autumn now and pre-academy was on another long break for the harvest season. Isaac was drying the dishes Chandrakanta handed to him after washing. “No, we… We broke things off a while ago. I just didn’t say anything.”


“What happened?” Chandrakanta’s lashes flicked as her eyes left the pot in her hands to focus on Isaac. She had liked Sasha, or Aleksandr by his full name. He was a kind and smart boy with gorgeous green eyes and made Isaac happy.


“I don’t know.” Isaac said reflexively. Even though he actually did want to talk about it to someone. “We… He felt like I wasn’t into it.


“He noticed that I was glancing at him in class and that’s why he asked me out. He thought I was curious and I guess a lot of boys experiment during pre-academy before they get their first ‘girl. I did think he was cute.” Isaac trailed off for a while. Chandrakanta had finished washing but Isaac was still holding the same dish. He had stopped wiping right before he started his explanation. The Megami grabbed a second towel.


“I just realized how young he was and that I’m… not. Whenever we talk it’s just so obvious and it makes me feel… wrong. I couldn’t help feeling like I had manipulated him into this somehow. I thought if I let him initiate everything it’d be okay but I guess he… thought…” Isaac resumed silently drying the dish in his hand. Chandrakanta wiped her hands off and replaced the towel she had used to its bar and then gently hugged Isaac without saying anything.




Elena put the massive wooden slab down on her table with a heavy thud. It was nearly long enough to span the entire width of the intimately small piece of furniture. The top was covered in chiseled scrollwork accenting a complex geometric pattern containing four sunken, circular impressions at the corners. She frowned at the tablet. “I saw someone from the Wolf Institute use what I feel is a superior spell for determining magical aptitude at a conference once, but I could never find the time to try to see if they were willing to teach me before the original faculty vanished and the Blue League nationalized it.”


“What does it do?” Isaac could have projected the question with a clearer and louder voice, but he was fascinated following the lines of the spellcraft carved into the surface and not paying attention to his speech.


“Well, we place our hands here,” she indicated one of the impressions by touching it, “and you will meditate. I activate the magic and it should show you a vision that you describe to me.”


Isaac was interested in learning magic, to say the least. After growing up only able to imagine it, now there was a chance to experience wielding it firsthand. He’d asked Elena about teaching him and she had brought out the tablet granted to her by the Sapphire Conservatory of Witchcraft for measuring potential. His hands were in place as before Elena had finished her explanation and she smiled at his enthusiasm. The pursuit of knowledge was one of her highest passions, after all, and she loved to see the same desire in others. As she placed her hands on her contact points she gave further instruction, “Now, close your eyes and clear your mind as well as you can.”


Elena could perform this magical task in her sleep by now so she focused on observing feedback across the delta bond. It was an interesting tool to learn about Isaac and how he thought and felt. Right now he was struggling to enter a mindful state. Anticipation, excitement, and anxiety fluttered and zipped through his mind. A chilly gloom descended on his psyche like a blanket of fog as doubt born of frustration set in and Elena wondered if it would be responsible to teach magic to someone with such difficulty calming their mind when a vast well of determination flowed up and pushed all else aside. Isaac’s mind was still.


“I see- I see a woman. She’s sitting and… doing something with her hands. It’s not very clear and I’m far away. Maybe she’s writing.”


Elena nodded and waited for him to continue. At this point it was a success but she hoped he’d perceive more. “She’s… muttering to herself. She’s you. It’s your voice.” Elena straightened up in her seat at that. She’d never heard of someone’s vision accompanied by anything audible. It could be Isaac’s imagination trying to provide more context. To be safe she cut off her magic from the tablet to end the trance.


“I’m closer now, I can see what you’re doing. You’re writing on a notepad. It looks like math, or magic. You keep saying, ‘You’re not him,’ over and over.” Elena’s stomach tightened as she waited for Isaac to return to normal consciousness.


“You’re really frantic. Something’s wrong.” Isaac’s voice matched the distress she felt over the bond. Something was indeed wrong and Elena’s mind raced as she tried to think of the safest way to dispel the effects of the tablet’s enchantment. The shadows under Isaac’s hands grew in intensity and the walls seemed to stretch in their height as the room grew.


If she dispelled the enchantment by diffusing all of its magical energy back into the environment it should end the spell without harming Isaac. It’d make the useless hunk of dead wood even more useless, but some graduate student in Kyiv could make a new one.


“Stop.” Isaac muttered. “Stop, stop it. STOP HURTING HER!”


It was time to act. Elena cast the dispel and the wood split in half. Darkness consumed the room and they were left sitting at a crystalline white facsimile of Elena’s table resting on a white stone circular platform surrounded by black sea and black sky. There was now a clear pool of water in the center though, and there were white crystal copies of other portions of Elena’s home as well. Her couch and phantoms of her coffee table. Her bath with its faucets and shower curtains. She did not recognize the bed, but she supposed it looked like the sort with which dormitories were furnished. Isaac’s ethereal alter-ego was now sitting across from her.


This other Isaac now looked like a specific person, although more like the afterimage of a backlit photograph of one. She couldn’t focus on him or the forms and colors seemed to bleed away but she could see that he was a handful of centimeters taller than her, with apparent old human blood too. The thought that she just hadn’t seen a face like his since moving out into this rural part of the league kept resurfacing in her mind like driftwood tumbling in a storm. His hair was shaggy like the lesser Isaac’s and he had intense eyes, though she couldn’t perceive what color.


The image of him tore like a badly calibrated display and a tremor shook through the entire universe they occupied. Curls of mist were rising from the surface of the black ocean, which was dancing with intersecting ripples. A suppressive fog started to fill the air when the other Isaac seemed to slowly and purposefully breath in and out, and on the exhale the mists were blown away to dissolve in the blur where the horizon should reside and the waters went still as one taller wave leveled all others.


Elena got up and went over to place a comforting hand on his shoulder. “Isaac what happened, what’s wrong?”


A lighter tremor rumbled beneath their feet but with a smaller breath it too was banished. “I- Isaac, he, no we… I had to figure out how time worked.” He suddenly stated.


“You had to figure out how time worked?” She asked hoping he could explain more thoroughly.


“Whatever happened to me to make me like,” he gestured to himself, “that brought me here. I was stuck and couldn’t move, only think, but more like how you think when you’re dreaming. And I finally figured out that part of why I couldn’t move is that wherever here is, it was lacking the concept of time. So I had to come up with a working model of time in order for anything to be able to change.”


Elena thought she comprehended the meaning of his nonsequitur but that left the original question he was attempting to answer. “What does that have to do with…” She couldn’t think of a good way to differentiate his states either, “the small you?”


“I told you-” He stopped and his image flickered and resumed the appearance it had when he had started to say ‘I.’ “I think I told you that the boy me isn’t all of me. He had to be human to exist with you. I don’t think humans can know what I know and he started to know some of it from the vision he was experiencing. It was how I made that form, I had to copy the model I had which was,” he paused and she could feel discomfort and embarrassment from him, “you.


“If I had to try to describe what he saw succinctly, it would have looked something like the flesh being melted and stretched away from your body and forming into himself. The connection also started causing my influence on your world to resume, so I had to intervene to sever it. And I knew I had to because you called out to me.”


Elena’s ears bounced up for a heartbeat. “I did? I don’t remember doing that, I was too focused on trying to regain control over the situation. What did I say, how did I call out to you?”


The projection of Isaac’s self tore at the shoulders and they climbed up severed from the body before his form snapped back whole and shrugged. “It’s like something I heard before waking up. I just know it was you, you were calling for me, and you needed me.”


Elena sighed with mild disappointment. It would be ideal if she could discover more about these occurrences. There were still too many unknown variables to set up a reliable experiment though so she would have to content herself with observations and speculations for a while longer. She supposed she would be expelled from this empty, fascinating dreamscape in short order as she had twice before.


Isaac’s countenance scrunched with focus and concern. The white stone shifted under Elena’s feet, the edge of the black water creeping closer as Isaac seemed to float away. He looked intently into Elena’s eyes. “I can’t send you back.” His words and the sensations across the delta bond carried an edge of worry.


A surge of contradictory emotions flooded Elena’s mind, spurring her to take action but not informing her, in the least, in what action to take. Her body and the primitive components of her mind wanted to flee from this environment and its evidently powerful and unstable occupant. It wanted to lash out against the very idea of being imprisoned against her will. It wanted her to find a dark corner or crevasse to retreat into and wait for the emergency to pass. It wanted her to throw herself at his feet and beg for salvation because he clearly held more mastery over this place than she did.


She knew none of those choices would likely help her though, so she rejected all of her initial impressions and thought deeper on the matter. “How did you send me, us, back before?” She needed more information. Now it was vital, not just preferable.


There was a sound of grinding stones that rumbled up through the floor as the projection of Isaac tensed up. “I just withdrew. Like taking a step back and you wound up back in your world. I tried but it wasn’t working.”


Isaac didn’t understand either, which she anticipated. He had offered her one new piece of information though, and that was how he perceived the action. He withdrew. That was a motion. The implication was that his influence on her world was tied to how he navigated his. No, she had to think more precisely. Her world was the Earth. Isaac was not speaking of planets. What was different between her universe and his?


Like trying to see one raindrop that’s falling, or a single glimmer from a cluster of stars…


Those things were difficult to focus on with the naked eye, but humanity had developed tools to allow them to see more precisely than their natural evolution allowed. Technology, or in the case of Elena’s speciality, magic.


Elena focused and cast a simple scrying spell that didn’t require any ritual preparation. It granted her farsight and was roughly comparable to a man-portable telescope. She saw a tangle of twisted dead branches coiled into a pillar that were stained green. A creature of alien proportions was climbing the pillar, scaling the tightly bound husks with gripping claws on the ends of eight legs supporting a bulbous body and long narrow head.


“A dust mite…” Her focus was broken by Isaac’s muttered observation. He was gazing into the pool in the center of the white stone island. Reflected on the surface of the pool was the same image from her scrying spell.


“How did you do that?”


Isaac looked at her and she could feel confusion across their bond. “I don’t know. I just wanted to know what you were looking at and it appeared there.” Elena allowed herself to be distracted from the urgency of the moment to explore this some more.

“You said that’s a dust mite? How do you know? I’ve never seen anything like this before. I can’t even tell where it is.”


“Well, that’s a thread from your curtains it’s climbing on.” Elena’s ears jigged. She had a sudden urge to burn her drapery. She made a hand gesture and the image pulled away from the horrible little creature. The entire room was in view and she could see Isaac and herself sitting calm and still at her table with their hands still on the wooden tablet. They were too calm and still; imprisoned in the trance brought on by the run-away effect of the magic. She spoke a supplemental incantation and the image changed to show her only the magical energy flowing through the room. She studied the currents for several silent minutes as Isaac waited patiently.


“Somehow,” she began ponderously, “the magic from the tablet has been overwritten. It’s maintaining itself by drawing from the ambient magic around us. It’s not very stable and rather weak. I should be able to dispel it easily enough.” She stood up straight and cast the spell with the accompanying incantation and gestures. It was good to go through the full motions when precision was more pressing than expedience. Her scrying spell dissipated and nothing else happened. Elena clicked her tongue in annoyance.

“I was afraid of this. I can’t dispel the magic from here, I would need to be able to act in the room where it’s happening.” She recast the scrying spell and stared at it and ruminated on her attempt. How could she project her magic there when her will was entrapped here?


“Is it something you could teach me to do? Do I have the ability to do it?” Elena thought about the answer. It wasn’t a task she’d choose to give a beginning student but that was more due to focusing on fundamentals rather than lack of ability. Her colleagues would describe Isaac’s magical aptitude as, ‘enough to write a scroll,’ which was to say that while he lacked any particular affinity for the craft, very few people truly lacked an affinity entirely and most who were dismissed simply possessed so little inborn talent it wasn’t worth the time and effort to train them. There was a somewhat uncommon trait that made magic antithetical to the individual who possessed it but Isaac wouldn’t have seen anything if that was the case.


Elena nodded. “I can. That may be the only way.” She let out a small, grumbled ‘hmm’ as she reflected on the idea. “I teach better with visual aids…” She was surprised when water from the central pool shot into the air and formed a flat surface and some sort of stylus. Isaac gave the impression that he was smiling and motioned towards them with a hand. “Very well then.” She said, and got to work giving Isaac his crash course in counterspelling.


There were an infinite number of ways to interpret magic which is why its study, documentation, and education were particularly difficult. It was and always would be an art subject to the subjectivity of the human mind. When she had come into the world it was song, which was typical of most magic wielding Elves and Elf-types she knew. Her role as an instructor for Sukebe’s armies meant she had to quickly adopt a more easily grasped model, which became the mathematical, particularly quasi-geometric, one she used to this day.


Isaac, she noted, had an excellent mind for recognizing patterns, especially numerical or visual patterns. This made her instruction easier than she feared it may be and it did not take long until she was reviewing the full process, pleased when he could articulate it back to her in its entirety. He still wanted to rehearse, however.


“Isaac, there’s nothing more for you to understand. You can do this.”


Isaac’s luminescent form trembled and dimmed some. Elena pushed back against the doubt he was projecting across their bond with confidence she held in him as an experienced instructor. “I’m worried about you though. I don’t know what will happen if you’re still in here when I go back to,” he gestured helplessly, “my body? What happens if this all disappears if I’m not here to maintain it?”


“Are you maintaining this right now?” He answered with a no after some hesitation. “Then we have to have faith it will stay.” A sour, gut-clenching distaste fouled the delta bond. Something about the word faith had made Isaac feel deeply unhappy for a moment. “Why don’t we do a test? You can leave and come right back to see if I’m in any danger.” Isaac took nearly a full second to complete the single nod to express his agreement. His image froze and faded, the white light falling to the ground like drifting dust. Seconds stretched out while Elena quietly watched the empty spot he had occupied.


“Are you alright?” She jumped and whirled to see Isaac’s projection seated at the table once again. He looked a little surprised he was there himself.


“Surprised,” she said as she fought to still her heart, “but everything remained just like it was. It got a little colder, is all. I’ll be okay. Go save us.” She offered him her most winning smile. Warm light pulsed across his being.


He vanished again.


This wait was much longer. Elena occupied herself with studying the additions to the environment. First there was the pool in the middle of the island. Frost started to form across its surface and soon was frozen over. The ice sheets had almost formed like two eyelids closing together. Then it did nothing so she went over to the duplicate of her table. It was detailed, even recreating the grain pattern of the wood in front of where Isaac had been sitting. She noticed the details lost fidelity the further from Isaac’s chair she looked. It must be something to do with his memories. She sat in the chair he had been sitting in and could hear feminine murmurs. They were the voices of herself, Chandrakanta, and Astoreth. They didn’t form words but they made her feel a warmth that kept the chill of the void surrounding her at bay.


She got up and wandered over to the couch next. She could smell Chandrakanta’s perfume. She sat down on the cushions and felt a gentle tug on her shoulders to lie down. She did so and the unmistakable sensation of the Megami’s breasts pressing up against her back filled her. She was embarrassed by it but at the same time she was being lulled into a deep tranquility.


She stood and moved to the shower next. The steam made her skin sticky. She pulled the curtain aside and stepped under the water. It was hot and she felt the impact of droplets on her bare skin but no moisture fell on her clothes. The curtain was pulled aside again, without her pulling it closed she idly noted, and she was now experiencing Isaac’s panic as Astoreth had joined him back on that first day. That woman and her mind games…


The last object to investigate was the bed. She sat on the edge and could feel the weight of someone else on the mattress with her. She could smell someone else, someone male. Invisible hands gripped her shoulders and the smell intensified. Her mind called for her to fight against the advances of this unknown man but then as she felt lips touch hers she recognized the smell as belonging to Sasha. This was either his or Isaac’s bed in the dorms. Sasha’s unseen weight pressed against her more. The boy was a bit of a sloppy and passionate kisser, it seemed. She could feel how Isaac felt then, a mix of confusion and thrill.


Suddenly it all ended and Elena slumped in her chair as the weight of reality found her once again. Color returned to the world and the air was that of a crisp mid-September afternoon. Chandrakanta and Astoreth were standing across from her on either side of Isaac, who had an expression of great relief on his face.


“Candi, Star, what are you doing here?”

“We felt something was wrong and weren’t in the middle of anything more important.” Astoreth offered. “When we arrived Isaac was working through the dispelling process.” The infernal looked down at the boy and a prideful grin stretched across her face. “Candi wanted to take over for him but he got it done.”


“I was just worried about someone getting hurt.” Chandrakanta interjected, placing her hands on her hips as she lifted herself up to challenge her friend. It was impossible for her to not jiggle given her proportions and was part of what made her movements so delightfully animated.


“I’m glad he was successful and I’m glad you two were here to help.” Elena rose and pulled all three of them into a gentle embrace that drained the tension from all four of them. Her mind was already considering the steps she’d need to take to continue ensuring their safety; covering up the destruction of the school’s tablet and studying these phenomena surrounding Isaac more, but that could wait until after they were all assured of each other’s well being.


And after she washed her curtains. Thoroughly.


(-[|]-) End 2.1 (-[|]-)

Isaac had asked to come along with Elena while she engaged in her side gig of teaching magic fundamentals to some nascent pokegirls at the local ranch. It had surprised her because he had stayed to himself whenever she was out of the house up until now. But she approved of the change. She had provided him with an extra copy of the book the league approved for education within the ranch systems. An assemblage of half-realized, recycled ideas and trite garbage written by a kissass student who got by on social connections more than merit until he was burrowed in deep enough to receive tenure.


She would find a better book on leading fundamentals education when she had more time to examine what she had access to from the school’s library. No one could tell her, ‘no’ in there.


He would need the book to follow along with for today though. Before she could begin teaching she had to sort some things out with whoever was in charge for the day, so she left Isaac near the entrance. He’d waited patiently until he heard an enraged woman yell, “Speak English or Ukranian, Edo whore!” A small black haired girl was thrown from inside one of the barracks style sleeping stalls and she scrambled to her feet to spit a curse in a foreign tongue back at her evictor.


A weary looking blonde woman stalked out of the door with something in her hand. The young girl made a dash for it but received a kick to the gut, heedless of potential for internal injuries. The paperback book lit up in the older Witch’s fingers and the small girl wailed in despair at seeing the destruction. The woman kept burning and gloating until Isaac’s glare triggered that primal part of her brain that always kept watch for focused eyes. She threw the book down and conjured a splash of water to douse it and the target of her abuse.


Isaac went over to try to help the girl up. She didn’t react though so he lowered himself down to see if she was injured.


She was in the grip of her impotent rage. Body trembling and teeth bared to the world, clutching the partially ruined and waterlogged magical tome that was an edition from a decade ago. Even before the fire damage it was rather compromised in its bindings. Isaac thought to relieve her of it and she made to shield it and flail at him, so he backed away and held up the version Elena had given him. “I wanted to trade.”


She blinked and her anger broke as her eyes focused on his face, his hand, the book, his face, and then transfixed on the book. She stretched out one hand to take it and once she had a firm grip raised her own offering which dropped to the ground so she could snatch away the new book Isaac had loosened his hold on. Then she smiled like the burst of a firecracker. Right up until she flinched at the shout from her assailant to get inside. “They want me to use their words so they know what I’m saying, but they stole my tongue with their T2s and replaced it with this clumsy foreign one.” There was the smolder of hatred in her eyes and Isaac was alarmed to realize he knew a familiar burning in his heart. He felt like he was choking on it just from the sympathetic reaction.


“You!” A younger version of the woman whispered harshly from peeking her head out of the door. She looked Isaac in the eye and wilted immediately but then focused on the dark haired girl Isaac had given the book to. “Just get inside quick before mom comes back with your pokeball.”


“Thank you for the book.” She bobbed her head, which made her long, straight, and black hair dance in the air wildly, and she shot inside.




Elena was displeased but not surprised to learn that Mr. Borysov, the elderly ranch owner and son of its founder, had not been in. His health was failing and his time was being spent away from this part of his legacy his children wanted nothing to do with. All of the ranch hands that had been hired on personally by Mr. Borysov had also moved on, leaving the first hire of his inattentive children to claim seniority.


She avoided him for entirely pragmatic reasons.


So it was time to begin her lessons without any of the resources she was promised, resources Mr. Borysov would be saddened and angered to know had not been delivered. Delivered as promised to her at the beginning of every course to prepare his stock of Witches and other magic using breeds. He made this contract with her thirty years ago and had honored it without fail up until the beginnings of his struggles with old age. She’d adapted by now and spent her personal money to buy used books to circulate among the girls but she had hoped to raise a more emergent issue with the owner as well.


Half a dozen identical blonde heads sat waiting, along with a gaggle of brunettes, one redhead, and a very isolated raven black. Her hair and clothes were clean and neat which meant Albina had been beating her again and ran her through a healing cycle before anyone could see the damage. The emergent issue at hand.


It had emerged somewhere in the wake of Jarek’s ascension. Jarek was the senior ranch hand. Elena only had managed to gleen that the girl Albina was abusing had been an exchange with an Edo ranch and that Albina’s favored daughter had been this ranch’s offering. To add insult to injury the little Edo Witch was a natural who made Albina’s remaining daughters look like the results of neglect that they tragically all were becoming, and rapidly. If Elena went to Jarek, he would not make a proper correction and Albina would just be furious she’d been caught and snitched on.


Something was immediately recognizable as different, though. She was relatively beaming with a radiant happiness Elena only caught a glimpse of when the young Witch was left to pour herself into the pursuit of magic. Elena eyed the book clutched to her chest. It was restored, a book so restored it had even updated its print edition. She had one answer and had discovered new questions, although Sphinxes riddles these questions were not. Of course he would run into this one. Elena shook her head and ducked her face down until she could smooth the smile from her lips and then pushed her hair back into place behind her ear before starting her lesson.




There was a knock at the door and the sun had set, which meant whoever was at Elena’s door was likely going to be an annoyance to her. Even if it was Chandrakanta or Astoreth. Or Isaac locking himself out absentmindedly again.


It was Jarek. This was far worse than annoying, especially since Isaac was living in her home now. “Elena, I heard you were looking for me at the ranch today? Anything I can help you with?”


Elena froze her face to prevent her from scowling. “I was looking for Mr. Borysov, sir. I’m afraid you couldn’t help me with the issue. Unless my teaching resources you assure me you ordered will finally be arriving.”


Jarek always did a poor job of hiding his nature and Elena took some satisfaction in coaxing it out of him. She imagined some day she could get him to slip up when another human was paying attention. It was part of a long and complex fantasy she kept revisiting ever since meeting him. Rage flickered across his face at the idea of a pokegirl holding him to his word and then he stretched his lips wide to show his teeth in his liar’s smile. “No. No. They’re still back ordered, I’m afraid.”


“Of course they are, sir.” Elena suspected there was no company to begin with and the money had been used to settle debts or purchase vices, but someone else had to hold Jarek to account for that. It was outside of her legally granted power.


“Well since I’m here is there anything else a lonely pokegirl like you could need from a man like me? I heard you’re taking care of that orphan boy who was housed with the Vasylks. I hope you aren’t mistreating him in any way, Elena. I’m here for you if you need anything.”


“I need nothing from you, Jarek.”


“Lena,” Elena never told him he could use that name. Elena didn’t want him speaking any version of her name. “You’re a pokegirl. You need a man. I just don’t want you to get hurt. I don’t want that boy…” He dropped the act and revealed the feral animal behind the mask, “to get hurt.” He pressed into her personal space and her heel touched a chair leg as she unconsciously stepped back to open up space. The timbers of her house groaned loudly and the dark from the hallway that led past the kitchen to the bedrooms started to writhe and stretch out graspingly.


Isaac don’t!


Elena didn’t know what he was going to do but she felt a growing, frightened impulse to take some sort of action from across their delta bond. The shadows peeled away and returned to normal. She still couldn’t see where Isaac was. “Jarek.” The man recoiled from the frost of her voice. “Leave my home. Now.” Jarek sized her up a bit longer but while he was still dumb enough to harass her like this, he unfortunately was not enough of a fool to cross the line where her pathetic right to self defense would be recognized.


“I was just trying to be friendly, Elena. We both know I’m going to take over the ranch completely soon. It’d be better if we worked together. For the girls.” He was walking for the door, but taking his time and was putting purposeful effort into lingering as long as would be seen as reasonable. She stared icily until he was gone and the door was bolted behind him.


She sighed to release her nerves and then went to the hallway to deal with Isaac’s. She found him just around the corner, fingers shaking around the handle of her longest kitchen knife held in reverse grip to hide the blade. She reached out her open hand for it and Isaac offered the grip after studying her face for a moment. She turned it over in her hands and reached out to pet Isaac’s head. “He wouldn’t have tried it. He knows I would kill him.” She put the knife back in its drawer.




Isaac sat with the plank of hardwood and the woodworking chisels Elena had provided for him. There was a lot of rough cutting to do before the intricate work could even be sketched on the surface, so she had joked about making him an apprentice and tasking him with the work. He apparently had missed the humor in it and still insisted on helping this way when she explained she had said so in jest.


Jin was evidently the name of the Edo Witch Isaac had given Elena’s book to. Not that Elena minded; she detested everyone involved in the production of that book and the school would replace it with no charge to her. It was charming to see her trusting someone else though and letting more of the fire in her heart shine through. Elena had not expected her to be such a chatterbox though.


Weeks’ worth of withheld words seemed to pour out of Jin’s mouth when she was around Isaac. She was around him any chance she could get, even if it meant tempting the wrath of Albina. Isaac, for his part, seemed to enjoy listening to her and asked a question or shared a little something about himself to help the little Witch maintain her pace.


“What happened to them?”


Jin looked sad and cast her eyes down, but then jerked her head up and set her gaze firmly. “My mother and father left to defend the city from raiding Annts. They did not return and I was retrieved by representatives of the city. By Edo law I was sent to my uncle but he did not even release me from my pokeball before trading me here. He always did talk about wanting a big titted, foreign blond.


“Jarek released me and Albina held me down so he could apply the speech T2s. I shocked her with my magic while I was fighting so I think she knocked me out. It was only after I woke up in my cot that one of her daughters explained things to me.” She fell quiet and her head started to hang, but she watched Isaac working for a minute and something sparked a new line of thinking and she was happily chattering about all of the missing pages she was able to read now thanks to the book Isaac gave her.


Eyes poisoned by envy watched the two from across the ranch complex grounds.




“That little twerp Elena keeps around for dick access because she’s afraid of finding her place in the world. He’s gonna nab that little Edo cunt I traded your girl off for. Hey hey hey, teeth bitch. Teeth.” Albina’s jaw had clenched to bear keeping her face still. She had to if she wanted to keep up this panting Bytebitch look Jarek adored while she deepthroated him. That’s why her teeth had pressed against the shaft for a bit. She spat it and all of the viscous saliva out so she could respond.


“Why don’t you just sell the bitch before he gets his voucher from the Voronas?” She wished he’d have brought another girl so she could gag him with her own flesh. They all did it for one another because otherwise he’d just keep trying to figure out words to wound them as he thrusted. It’s what made him so much more of a man than those stupid twerps that were going to own this place after their dad died. She went back down on the shaft before he got testy with him for stopping. It was a hard pace to keep.


“Can’t. No one looking for a pet wants problems like she’s got. So I gotta wait to when the next ranch season starts, but that’ll be after that kid’s off with her at academy.”


Albina had hoped he’d have taken the bait and started looking through his little book for contacts. That would give her time to actually get done with this blowjob. “Baby, I know you got someone who will buy her. You just want the whore for Edo partho-stock anyway so it doesn’t matter if they expect you to buy her back used.” He laughed and slapped her on the shoulder so she was thrust forwards without time to brace her gag reflex. He ejaculated at the same time and it came out of her nose. She coughed and sputtered and wretched.


“Oh, bitch. Nasty. Go change out the sheets.” He snatched up the cheap vodka he always had stocked and took a long drag. Another reason it was important to get the goodnight head done quickly. “But I love the way you think! That will teach Mizz Elena Hrandelf-Vrach a. Thing! Or! Two!”




“Enough!” Elena’s voice rang out and the two combatants stopped the match, even though only one of them was standing. “Edo-zero wins the match against Albina-four.” Elena hated using this dehumanizing language. She knew Albina called her fourth daughter Lera and now also knew that the girl represented by the file Edo-zero was named Jin by her parents. But the ranch had its system and she was contracted by the ranch.


She was overseeing sparring matches between her students. Jin was terrorizing all of her peers as was usual. None of them could match her raw talent and half of them sharing the face of her greatest tormentor ensured Jin was always motivated to fight hard. The small black haired Witch was at the point where Elena was matching her against the remaining girls from last year’s stock and she still brought them to a draw or occasionally won just as much as she faced defeat.


This did not mean she was shaping up to be a strong combatant though. Jin was sharp and studied all of the matches when the other girls took the time they weren’t fighting to pursue leisure. This meant she understood all of their habits to a far greater extent than anyone from her ‘class.’ She hammered their vulnerabilities with overwhelming force and calculated precision to win within an instant of Elena starting the matches. It was causing her to become strategically stagnant from lack of sufficient challenge and was also demoralizing Albina’s girls in the absence of their mother’s encouragement.


“Four,” the blonde Witch looked up to the Grandelf. “Go sit with your sisters.” Lera did as she was told and a young NurseJoy performed a quick check for any serious injuries. “Ji-” Elena stopped herself from using the Witch’s name, “Edo, would you like to duel against me?” Jin practically jumped to her starting spot and took a ready stance. Elena’s heart felt warm from seeing that she could still bring out the same passionate light that’d been shining mostly for Isaac lately.


The spectating ranch girls started to chatter excitedly amongst themselves and the small social pockets merged into a ring of onlookers. They were anticipating seeing Jin finally lose, some were even whispering about how they’d like to see Elena inflict the same humiliation on her as they felt from being defeated at the smaller Witch’s hands. Unfortunately for their collectively bruised ego Elena wanted to see Jin stronger. She suspected that Jin was going to be Isaac’s starter, and therefore protector when Elena couldn’t be there with him.


Elena stood as if she was lecturing rather than anticipating a fight, but she took her spot opposite of Jin and shouted, “Begin!”


Jin did not launch her typical supercharged Mana Bolt against Elena. She knew from experience the three-and-a-half century old Grandelf would just redirect it back at her. The first six of their duels had ended that way regardless of Jin’s aim or timing. And that was what these duels were really about. Pushing Jin’s limits and forcing her to adapt. Elena took no aggressive actions until Jin either failed to try something new, or dropped her guard too much while deliberating. It was a game that was a dance and a lesson rather than a competition.


Speaking of dancing, Elena fired a Mystic Bolt at the ground under Jin. The little Witch avoided the impact burst, but tripped as she backpedaled away. Elena fired a measured burst of three more Mystic Bolts as Jin sucked in some air while sitting on her butt. Typically Elena never followed through like this but Elena was in the mood to push the girl harder. The Witch threw up her palms and projected Reflect from one and Aura Barrier from the other, layering the two defensive measures so that Reflect robbed the first shot of enough energy it couldn’t penetrate Aura Barrier. The second shot broke the Reflect field and was nullified by Aura Barrier as well, but it retained enough of its strength to break that field as well. The last Mystic Bolt connected with the Witch’s solar plexus and drove her to the ground outside of the dueling arena. The same young NurseJoy rushed over to check on the stunned magic type.


Elena noticed a skulking presence watching from the corner of a barn-style building. “Albina,” the magic tutor called out to the watching breeder, “care to go a round against Edo when she can fight back?” Albina made an ugly face as she retreated out of sight around the corner. She could beat Jin. Elena was confident in that, but could she do so without Jin realizing Albina was nowhere near the level she should be given her age? How long could she continue to overpower Jin once the young and ambitious Witch discovered that?


Elena dismissed the rest of her students who were all excitedly discussing how they could definitely beat Edo too if they could fire a burst like their teacher had. If only Elena could teach them to be brave enough to try, but some qualities could not be learned from a tutor.


Elena went to the main building to return the practice staves and rods to the training locker. Jarek was occupied with an audio call where he sat at the main desk and so didn’t notice her; to her relief. The ear closest to the vile man twitched as she picked out the words he was saying. “I’ll have her ready for you to pick up next week.” He was arranging an out of season sale. Elena’s guts knotted from the suspicion of who this client might be and the grief that there would be another girl from this ranch she failed to protect from Jarek and his personal friends. Jarek rose from his chair and groaned loudly as he stretched. “Oooh man. I feel great. I gotta find something to get my dick wet!” Heavy booted footfalls, then the door hinges, then the door closed shut. Elena listened intently until he heard Jarek shout out the name of one of the other breeders. Then she darted into Jarek’s office to ascertain who at least was going to be sold off. Her heart hardened into glacial ice and she shivered from the chill in her veins as she looked over the estimate that had been worked up. He was selling Jin.


(-[|]-) End 2.2 (-[|]-)


Elena sipped at the tea Rahela had brewed for her visit. The Clydesdame wasn’t happy to see her, in fact all of Denys’ women sat with unhappy expressions directed towards her. Their master, the sheriff, merely looked apologetic. “I wish I could help you, help that girl, Elena. But Jarek’s not doing anything illegal in selling a pokekit to someone licensed to own one and his client is outside of my authority to investigate.” His client was some city bureaucrat from the Sewick family. Jarek worked closely with some of the Sewicks but his character failings made him too much of a liability to officially bring into the family.


“What if you took her in? Or you could help Isaac receive emergency authorization for early pokegirl ownership. We can’t just let him-”


“The sheriff can’t be seen playing favorites, Elena. Denys and the rest of us have already stuck out necks out for you in the past and besides, there’s no rational justification for anything you’re suggesting. If you weren’t a contracted employee of the ranch we’d have to arrest you for even coming to us with this.” Elena scowled. She couldn’t match Marta in a legal debate. The only person she could think of who could and wasn’t also an OfficerJenny was Astoreth, and if Elena told Astoreth about what was going on she wasn’t sure her friend could refrain from taking things into her own hands. By her own methods. In a way that was sure to draw a lot of attention.


“Look, Elena. I appreciate what you do for this town and if Mr. Borysov wasn’t taking a turn for the worse I’d say bring this to him. I can make up an excuse to be at the ranch when the creep is supposed to pick her up. See if I can spook him into backing out of the deal. I can’t do anything more though.”


“I understand, sheriff. Thank you for taking the time to hear me out.” Elena rose and was seen out by Rahela. Another possible solution proven unviable...


As for other solutions, in the very least, Elena knew how to avoid drawing attention.




Last night Jarek had been wandering the ranch grounds drinking and had dropped his bottle of vodka on the ground. He did this every once in a while and never bothered to backtrack to find it. It was why he bought the cheap vodka.


This always meant good fortune for Albina though because now she could have fun and drink. She was staggering around blissfully numb when she saw the Edo whore and the little twerp she was turning into her sucker. Edo was prattling on about the differences in forming Mana Bolts and Mystic Bolts. Those two were so stupid and had no idea how the world really worked, but Albina could explain it to them. “You!-...” she burped and had to fight down a bit of heaving, “...rrrrrr both sho- so stupid.


“You think you’ll be happy uh-way from herr-ere?” She stomped a beeline over to them as they eyed her warily. She kicked a clump of sod at them for being little shits. “You have no- n-noadea. Tamer girls die. Tamers die. Breeders,” she poked her thumb into her chest hard enough to leave a red mark, “haf-hab, have th’good life. We don’ get… We don’ die. We just…” She wobbled in place as the drunken grin melted away to show a deep sorrow that she drowned away by tipping the bottle straight up and taking a long pull. “Ehhh-nywehh…” She kept repositioning her feet to steady herself even though she was not moving.


“Please leave us alone.” The twerp said in a low voice staring at her with those judging eyes.


“I don’ gotta listen to you!” Albina thrust the drink out accusingly, splashing some of the contents out of the neck and onto the ground. “I don’ gotta listen to- to,” she started to giggle. “You’re not going to want her when Jarek gets her back.”


“What do you mean, when Jarek gets her back?”

Albina wanted to lean into their space but had to jerk herself backwards to keep from falling. “Jarek has friends. Real… rilli peesah, piece-a-shi’ friends who like…” She giggled and spun in place, “who like to rent liddle girls like Edo. Then they bring them back and… and they’re just not the same. That won’ madder though… We don’ nid Ed...doh. Jus… Jus’ her babies.” Her giggling became unhinged twittering as she started to tromp away. “Jus’ yer babies! Jus’ yur baae-beees!” Dread filled Jin’s eyes and she gripped Isaac’s sleeve tightly. It was a bright and warm day, so the growing shadows and cold air weren’t really noticed as Isaac’s eyes bored into the retreating, drunken adult Witch.




“Nell!” Chandrakanta’s embrace pulled the Grandelf’s face down deep into her cleavage. “I brought you something. Remember when you had that orphaned feral Doe who kept getting into your herbs and vegetables? Well since you’re a contracted ranch employee I asked Star and she said you’re cleared to own pokekits. So she gave me one of these to give you in case she wanders into your plots again.”


“Candi, that was two springs ago and I haven’t seen her since. What am I supposed to do with a pokekit ball?”


“I don’t know Nell. Keep it just in case.”


Elena sighed and motioned for Chandrakanta to come inside her home. Isaac had gone into town to work on some virtual coursework assigned over the break and the stoic Grandelf was feeling uncharacteristically lonely. She had been brewing some herbal tea and wouldn’t mind having someone to share it with.


They sat together, lounging intimately on a small loveseat occasionally taking sips and Chandrakanta recounted a dream she had. She had been pleasuring the lordly dream-figure she’d become enamoured with ever since that first day with Isaac when he said to her, ‘Look down at the realms below.’ So the Megami did and she had seen two rivers flowing together into a lake. One was clear, beautiful, and flowed over lush glacial hills while the other was muddy and slow. It’s waters were polluting the lake and it threatened the purity of the other river. Then she saw Elena on the banks of the lake planting trees in the clay deposited by the fouled river. “It was so silly because you were using that long knife you keep in your kitchen as a trowel. But that’s what dreams are like sometimes.” Chandrakanta put her tea cup down and snuggled deeper into the cushions and her lover. “I need to go in a few minutes, Nell. Can you just hold me for a while?” ‘Nell’ smiled and wrapped her arms around the waist of her sweetest friend.


After Chandrakanta had to take her leave Elena was washing out the teacups, saucers, and kettle when she saw the long, slender kitchen knife that she had been misusing in the dream Chandrakanta had shared. It wasn’t her best knife but it was her largest. She had pulled it out of a pile of trash and restored it using magic as little more than an experiment and hadn’t found much use for it since. The last time she had held it was when she had relieved Isaac of it the night he was ready to bring it to bear against Jarek. She plucked it out of the knife holder on her counter and studied the blade.


The reflection was darker than the room’s lighting and the Grandelf jumped when she thought she saw a stranger’s eyes in their reflection, but it was just her own distorted face. Then the frame of her house shook and all of her ceramics and glassware clinked as the shockwave from a distant explosion pushed by. It had come from the direction of the Borysov compound. She thrust the knife into a loop on her belt without thinking and grabbed an ornate, wooden walking staff leaning by the door. She jumped onto it as if she were riding side-saddle. The staff lifted into the air and raced above the treetops towards the fiery glow and column of smoke.


When the Grandelf touched down right by the gate Grigory, a junior ranch hand, ran up to her while shouting orders for the older girls to corral the young pokekits away from the fire, or either join in fighting it with water techniques or as part of the bucket line. “Elena, thank God you’re here. Jarek vanished an hour ago and he took Albina and some of the other girls with him. I have no idea where he is now but Albina’s the ones that usually fight the fires. Can you do something?” Elena nodded and galloped to the building that was ablaze. One wall was blown out, the remaining three and the roof were engulfed. She bellowed an invocation and made full sweeping arm gestures to conjure a deluge that hammered the fires out with heavy rain. Soon there was nothing but smoke, steam, charred timber and ashen mud. Elena sensed more magic than her own and the other fire fighters though. She picked through the splintered planks thrown by the explosion and found part of a blackened sigil etched into a piece of siding. Amateur, fire evocation, timed delay. Someone with a knack for magic could have designed this crude spell with the information found in any beginner level text book. It also showed signs of having been overcharged slightly, leaving it more potent but less stable. The hallmark of one of her students from this season.




Jin and Isaac were running together through the woods; away from the ranch and in the approximate direction of Elena’s home. Jin hadn’t expected her distraction to have caused quite so much damage, but there was no time to worry about that now and she had been delighted to witness the burst anyway. Now she was going to be with Isaac, to hell with Jarek and Albina and whatever evil they had planned for her. The black haired Witch stumbled as she snagged her foot on something so they had to slow down for a few steps for her to regain balance. The second set of Rune Chains managed to complete their snare and yanked Jin’s feet out from under her.


The young magic pokegirl twisted midfall to protect her head from the blow and Isaac wheeled around to try to catch her. Rune Chains bound him as Jin worked to break free of hers. She didn’t know the proper dispel chant but that didn’t matter. Jin poured energy into the magical bindings and they shattered with a crackling arc and incandescent pop. Angry red burns were revealed around her ankles where her threadbare socks had been scorched away, but she was on her feet and facing down their attacker. Albina.


“You really hate me this much, baka-kijo?!” The brash Witch from Edo shouted at the older breeder. Albina answered with a snarl and a Force Bolt that Jin managed to raise a Reflect field in time to mitigate. The attack from the matured Witch still sent her somersaulting backwards but she sprang to her feet just like every other time Albina had lashed out against her. The start of a manic grin was crossing the little Edo Witch’s lips and the fire in her eyes were like twin beacons. Jin crudely aped Elena’s triple burst of Mystic Bolts from their most recent bout. Albina slapped the projectiles out of the air but Jin saw how she flinched on contact and favored her offhand when casting her counter. Her grin started to grow but a blow to the gut lifted her off her feet and drove the air out of her lungs.


The new attacker had come from the side and delivered a powerful kick into Jin’s abdomen. She was one of the fighting type breeders at Borysov’s. A Pri-mate younger than Albina by a handful of years. Two other pokegirls emerged from the dark forest around them as well. A Dildoran and the NurseJoy who had been acting as medic during Elena’s training were also there. The Pri-mate and Dildoran started to kick and stomp the downed Witch, with Albina stomping over to join in while the NurseJoy watched with a shocked and fearful expression.


“Ladies,” a man’s voice rang out from the dark under the trees. “Don’t break my goods.” Jarek sauntered into view as Albina put her foot down to press Jin’s face into the moss and the other two stepped away. “Besides…” The senior ranch hand squatted in front of the struggling form of Isaac. “It’s this little shit who was stealing her away from me.”


Jarek yanked the chain up and pulled Isaac into a sitting position. “I’m going to make a deal with you, kid. We’re going to play a game.” Jarek pulled a collapsible knife out of his pocket and flipped out the blade. “I’m not going to kill you, see. I’m going to use you to get that pine fresh cunt to finally give me what I want. A pokegirl like that is wasted being free. She needs to belong to a man who can really use her right. She’ll see that eventually, but I might have to be a little cruel in the beginning for her own good.” He stood up and walked most of the way towards Albina and the other waiting ranch pokegirls. “You two, make sure he doesn’t run but don’t touch him otherwise. Beans, lose the chains.” Albina looked at him with uncertainty but he raised the knife towards her and repeated himself. “Get rid of the fucking chains so he can stand up.”


The chains vanished and Isaac rose to take an anxious, ready stance. “Now, here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to take some swings at you with my little knife here. Nothing that will kill you and maybe if you’re quick I won’t land anything before I feel better. But for every cut I do, I’m going to make the same cut on Elena every night I’m fucking her until she breaks. Sounds fun, right?” The savage ape with the countenance of a man stretched his lips wide to show all of his teeth. “Looking at you though, I think I’m going to be slicing that whore all up.”

He lunged, Isaac dodged away. Jarek swung in a wild horizontal arc and Isaac jumped back again but was shoved forward by the Pri-mate who moved behind him. The knife cut through Isaac’s sleeve and upper arm, cutting deep enough into the skin that all of the capillaries drained into the night air. Jarek hooted like a celebrating chimpanzee at the sight of red.


The older man kept up slashing and stabbing with joyful malice and Isaac lost more blood to his blade. Jin glowered from under Albina’s boot and received harsher and harsher beatings to keep her down as she watched Isaac bleed. The Pri-mate was hooting along with Jarek and the Dildoran was feeling herself up. The NurseJoy was trembling like a leaf in a storm. None of them were paying any heed to the mists rolling in from all directions.


Jarek stopped to gloat when he heard wooden groaning all around him. The earth bucked under his feet and black topsoil exploded everywhere as roots ruptured forth and seized him and the four ranch girls he had brought with him. The tight constriction from the tree limbs threatened to dislocate joints and break ribs. Elena stepped into the clearing from the direction of the ranch.


She ignored the alarmed protests from her captives as she strode towards Isaac and healed all of the cuts and punctures he’d suffered wordlessly. “Go wait under those trees.” She said with a voice far softer than the expression on her face. Isaac did as instructed and the Grandelf made her way to the prone form of Jin.


“Jin, sweety. I want you to know I was here the whole time. I just had to see what you would do and I’m very, very proud, okay?” Jin grunted sourly and jerked her gaze away to hide her reaction to the praise. Elena didn’t need to spend as much time healing the young Witch as she had expected and quickly had her back on her feet. “Go protect Isaac for me, I need to have words.”


The earth churned and timbers groaned as the four helpless pokegirls were pulled together in a line. The two breeders and taming assistant yapped angrily while the apprentice ranch medic looked on the cusp of swooning. “Ladies.” Elena began. “I’m not unsympa-” Elena glared as they raised their voices over hers. “I’m not unsympathetic to…” She clicked her tongue as they raised their voices even more and continued making their demands and threats. “I am not unsympathetic to why you all are out he-” She growled through gritted teeth.


“Then let us go, you frigid Elf cun-” Albina shrieked in primal fear as the ground swallowed her up and the roots pushed the dirt overtop of her. The abrupt end of the scream and silence in the night air was haunting.


Elena pushed a strand of hair behind her ear and took a deep breath to even herself out. “These are the tap roots of the trees around you. That means our friend Albina was pulled just as far down as the trees here are tall. Now that I have your attention, I’m going to ask some simple questions. Before I do, what I have here,” she pulled out a scroll case and removed and unrolled the contents, “is a truth spell prepared by my friend. She’s a Megami and she’s very good with truth spells.”


Elena stopped in front of the Dildoran. “Iryna, I understand you’re bonded to Jarek. Did you object to this plan of his at all?”


“Yes- yes I didn’t want to be out here at all!” Motes of light danced from the pattern on the scroll. Elena looked down at it and frowned deeply.


“You just lied to me.”


“No- No I didn’t I swear!” More motes of light. “You have to believe me I never would have wanted to-” The earth swallowed her up and choked away her scream as well. Elena moved in front of the Pri-mate.


“Please don’t lie to me like she did. First of all, I don’t know your name.” The monkey pokegirl spat in Elena’s face and was dragged down to her death as well. Elena wiped her cheek on the back of her palm and moved in front of the NurseJoy who was staring at the turned soil next to her with paralyzed horror. “Olena.” The NurseJoy didn’t respond to her name. “Olena, look at me.” The healing pokegirl did so. “Olena, I just want to know the truth. Did you speak out against what Jarek wanted you to do at all?”


Olena trembled and stuttered out a shaky no. “N-n-n-n-no. I-I-I-I n-n-knew I-I should-should have b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-,” tears started streaming down her face. “But I didn’t because no one else said anything and Jarek he-”


Elena made shushing noises and Olena dropped her head and sobbed. “I understand.” Elena said with no intonation. “I need you to look at me.” The Grandelf waited until the exact moment the girl’s eyes met hers. “I’m going to kill your master.”


Olena was struck dumb for a moment but then thrashed violently. She screamed in fury and made several lunges towards her captor. Elena’s heart started to sink seeing that Jarek had managed to ruin even his latest victim when she heard a bone pop loudly and Olena froze. A curious noise escaped her throat, and more followed it. The NurseJoy broke down into a blend of laughing and crying.


“I didn’t want to be his,” she whimpered through the hysterics. “I didn’t want to be a pokegirl. I didn’t want to be sent to the ranch. Albina said she wanted to show me something but it was just Jarek and they held me down and- and I’m just a pokegirl I didn’t want to be his. I didn’t want to be his.” She looked Elena in the eye with frantic desperation.


Elena knocked the wretched girl out with a sleep spell, hiding the relief she felt as she rounded to face Isaac. “You, you are already rescuing Jin. You do not get her. Chandrakanta does not get to even know about her. I know the shelter she’d be sent to after that Megami wasted all of our time fussing anyway.”


The Grandelf spun sharply on her heel and marched towards where she was holding the last of her prisoners. ““I swore to myself that if I ever had proof of what you were doing to those girls I would go straight to Denys so I could finally see you get what you deserved. Those people entrusted their daughters there, blindly trusting you to treat them not even well, merely professionally. I wanted to see you dragged through the center of town so that all of them would finally open their eyes. Turns out justice isn’t going to be so poetic.” She shook her head, causing her hair to fall from its place once again. “And you thought you could get away with this in my woods?”


“These aren’t your woods you crazy bitch, these are the ranch’s! I didn’t do anything wrong, I was tracking down a thief!” Elena kept slowly marching towards him wordlessly. “Let me go you psychopath! Let me go! I get it I get it! I was wrong. I’ll- I’ll give you money. I’ve hidden away a lot of money if you let me go. I’ve got I’ve got T2s! Really nice ones from the ranch! I can introduce you to some people that will help you out, I promise!” Elena kept slowly marching towards him wordlessly. “Christ you fucking mad woman! Calm the fuck down I wasn’t going to kill him! It was for your own good, your own good! You’re a pokegirl you need a human!” Elena was half a pace away from him and finally spoke.


“You hurt my boy.” Jarek died with the dawning look of comprehension still on his face. The tip of the kitchen knife snapped when it connected with the back of his skull; the handle still sticking out from his right orbit. The corpse and the knife vanished under the ground as the roots returned to their proper depth.




It was one minute before midnight in the early spring. Elena had captured Jin in the pokekit ball Chandrakanta had serendipitously supplied her and then sent her off to lie low at Astoreth’s home in Svyatlysche. She’d stay there until the beginning of the academic year when all girls in the ranch system had their birthdays observed. Now it was seconds before both she and Isaac were recognized as of age by the state and were both kneeling facing each other on Isaac’s bed in Elena’s home. Both were stripped naked and watching the clock face of the device the Vorona Corps had sent to Isaac along with his uniforms. Their fingers entwined tighter with each passing second.


Elena, Chandrakanta, and Astoreth had them both swear to wait until the proper time.


The clock rolled over and the date updated. Cinderella’s enchantment ended and they threw themselves into each other’s embrace so they could finally begin to know one another.


(-[|]-) End 2.3 (-[|]-)


Isaac’s device read out 12:03. He and Jin were collapsed in a heep on the sheets panting together. Jin giggled flutily. “That was so bad… We came so quick. Want to do it again?”


Isaac lifted his head to grin at her. “Soon as I can.”