Gregor Melnyk lived where the Bazavluchek and Bazavluk rivers joined at what used to be the Sholokhivske Reservoir. The artificial lake didn’t survive the Revenge War, now there was only a slow, swampy stretch of slow water before the Bazavluk continued to flow south past where the village of Sholokhove used to stand.

Gregor Melnyk and his Ursine pokegirl stood on the banks of the former lakebed near the sheriff Denys Kohut, Tanya his Rapitaur alpha, and Marta his OfficerJenny pokewoman who was pregnant once more after giving birth late last year. They were studying the impact crater Gregor had reported. It was small and the impact had come from a very shallow angle into the bank of the old reservoir. Dirt and rocks had been thrown out over a fan a few meters long and a short trench was cut into the dirt, but nothing besides scorch marks at the very end of said trench gave any clues as to what could have landed there.

Denys pulled out his device and tapped at the screen until a gallery of out of focus and dark photos were brought up. He handed it over to Gregor to study. “Did it look like any of these? And you said it was going East to West?”

Gregor paged through pixelated blob after pixelated blob. Most of the photos were nothing more than a distant out-of-focus object against open sky so on top of not being able to distinguish their form, estimating the size of the pictured items was also next to impossible. “Nah, there was a lot less to this. These all look like they could be vehicles. This was almost the size of a man, I want to say. And yeah, it was flying or falling East to West. Sorry I didn’t think to take a picture, sheriff.”

Denys nodded sagely and hummed thoughtfully to himself. He fished a clear sided baggy out of his pocket and studied it in the morning light. Nothing more than a blackened, twisted sheet of metal he had pulled out of the dirt of the crater. Despite his instincts screaming that there was more to this, all he knew for sure right now was whatever had fallen from the sky was man-made. Or possibly by someone else’s hands...


Neasa laid back against the warm glacial boulder; her naked skin soaking up the heat the stone had absorbed from the midday sun and exposing her front to the same radiance. This could be the last day of the year with a sun warm enough for this.

There was just the faintest traces of moisture on Neasa’s body from cleaning herself up after Elena’s attentive ministrations. She looked over to the Grandelf who was wiping herself off on the same partially unearthed, flat monolith.

The rag seemed miraculous to Neasa. Elena had produced it and explained it was a gift from a friend she named as Chandrakanta. It was two layers of terry cloth, the weave most often used for bath towels, sewn together in a ring with a half twist. This made an abrupt seam where the two different layers had been stitched together. What was incredible about this cloth was that when pulled through the loop of the fingers, when one’s hand passed over this seam, it suddenly became soaked with clean and warm water, as well as freeing itself of any dirt material that had built up. Passed the same way through the hand again, which had the added effect of wringing it out, it became dry once more and again was freshly clean.

Elena tossed it on top of her pile of clothing before settling on the massive slab to bask. Elena had explained while walking to this meadow that she had cultivated it herself after moving there. Queen Vershnyk’s magi would have been able to pull up such a boulder from the earth just as Elena had, but not on their own and not with the whimsical attitude the Grandelf adopted when describing completing the task in a single afternoon.

It was a meadow filled with long soft grass and wild steppe flowers, surrounded by tall pines that would have come from the mountains to the west originally; all situated on the geographically disruptive hills that made up Elena’s property. Elena’s confidence in the security of her meadow was comparable to an Elfqueen’s in her forest. Neasa asked the question that was gripping her mind still. “They really won’t intrude on you here?”

Elena answered assuming ‘they’ referred to the humans of the community Elena belonged to. “It’s in the very center of my property and although they don’t always admit it, humans are territorial by nature and that means recognizing the territory of others. They almost always travel overland as well, so my perimeter of sensor plants would give me plenty of warning. The only time a human managed to bypass my security network, it was the local sheriff on his Terra Bird,” Elena used the variant breed name for Chocoboob, “who had done a gliding jump over all of the trees in her haste to reach me. She regretted it too, because I was out here sunbathing just like this and didn’t see fit to cover up just because she brought her man along. They have been particularly respectful in how they approach my property since.” Elena turned to prop herself up on her side, “Your mother loved humans, how have you become so hateful of them?”

“It was the queen’s love for outsiders that got her majesty killed. Man and Elfkind alike. Samodiva and her retinue came to us in the guise of unjustly persecuted pokegirls and their loving tamer. Queen Vershnyk offered them shelter openly and after using the time to gauge our strengths and poison some of the court against the queen they struck, taking me hostage to force the queen to accept Samodiva’s treacherous challenge.”

Elena was concerned by how firmly Neasa had stated her rationale. “How long ago was your mother slain?”

“It was during the waning gibbous of the last quarter moon of the spring, last year.”

Elena converted Neasa’s reckoning of time into the Gregorian calendar. It could have been during the time after the full moon from June of last year, which was on the 6th all the way up to the last quarter moon of the 14th of June. A little less than a year and four months ago. “You were still being held by Samodiva this entire time?”

“I escaped with my two retainers the night of the last quarter moon before the Autumn.” That was the thirty-first of August. Autumn would begin on the upcoming twenty-third of September and there was going to be a full moon the night before. “I had to bring them with me or she would have tortured them for what I did.”


“It was how I escaped. Her favorite consort wanted me, so I seduced him away. She let him have his way with my retainers and he was always asking for the same indulgence with me, but she denied him because I was more valuable to her as a healthy hostage than him as a sexual plaything. It only made him want me more and I took advantage of that. Then, after I was sure I had the most time I could to make it here,” Neasa stopped talking abruptly. A stalk of grass shot up from where it was growing from the soil displaced by the edge of the stone. It formed a finely tapered stabbing blade similar in profile to a stiletto. She twirled her variation of a common plant type technique between her fingers. Then she dropped it from her dextrous grip and it rotted and dried to a dusty husk before it hit the ground. “If he’s still alive, it’s because Samodiva stopped to heal him rather than pursue me. So why do I still feel like he’s the one that took advantage of me?” Neasa pulled her arms and legs towards her chest and tucked her head towards her knees.

Elena pushed herself close enough to gently touch the hand of the Elf whose defenses had suddenly wilted the same as her grass blade. Elena’s intuition now was that Neasa needed some sort of contact even if the Grandelf wasn’t a natural in comforting others like her Megami friend. “I would have hated that he would have the satisfaction, even once.”

“I have to let it happen again,” Neasa said with despair heavy in her voice. “You said it yourself. I don’t get what I want anymore. I go to be a slave to your man or I go to be a slave to another.”

“Isaac would not make you his slave.” Elena tried very hard not to let her anger through as Neasa continued to insult his character.

“No, he would only tame me. Then I would make myself his slave after my will was broken.”

Elena stopped trying to conceal her anger so much. “Isaac is not the sort of man who breaks the will of his pokegirls. I would have nothing to do with him if he was such a man.”

“All men are such men.”

“You have never even lived among them and yet you’re still so certain. Yes, there are horrible men. There was even such a man living here up until recently.” Neasa looked to the Grandelf with interest in hearing that, so Elena decided to share the story. “He was hired by some careless humans to run the ranch their aging father owned. He was vile and took pleasure from the power he had over the girls there and expected that same power over any pokegirl he encountered. Even one like me.

“No one would correct him, even though his malice and apathy were doing real harm. Isaac though, when this man came over to my house again, seemingly with intent to force me to accept him, Isaac was ready to fight him for me. He was ready to kill Jarek with a knife for me. And I risked losing him…” Elena’s lips let slip that last sentence without her intent.

“You risked your man? How?”

Elena hadn’t wanted to share this but Neasa seemed the most receptive she’d been so far. Nothing to do now but press the initiative and seize the opportunity her guilty feelings had accidentally created. “Jin belonged to the ranch that Jarek was placed in charge of. Because it would hurt me by hurting Isaac, Jarek was going to sell Jin off to be abused.” Horror and then lines of rage etched themselves across Neasa’s face for a compulsive moment. Elena smiled in understanding when the Elf then flickered between surprised and apologetic before returning to attentiveness.

“While I was busy trying to work within the rules of the humans to save her, Jin and Isaac discovered the plan as well and made a bold escape. Jarek knew somehow and caught them and I let that monster hurt both of them so I would be justified in finally killing him.” Elena sighed deeply and tried to fix her hair but after pushing the third or fourth strand in place and having it rebel she gave up and continued her story.

“While I told myself at the time I was in control, that I could act before anything dire happened, I’ve realized that was a lie I told myself for the sake of my hate. I shouldn’t have waited. I shouldn’t have considered. I should have followed my instincts. Hateful men aren’t rare in this world, Neasa. Men who thoughtlessly accept what they are told is right, or do not care what is right or wrong and act only in their selfish interest. There are so many of them. There are too few men like Isaac, men as they were brought up long ago…” Elena slid off of the stone. She felt as if she had only brought herself down rather than elevate her Elf guest.

Neasa, though, spoke in a voice that was the most open in tone yet. “I will watch him. Your Isaac. I will see if what you say is true.”

Elena was surprised by Neasa’s sudden receptiveness, but buried that to not gamble with the success she’d found. “It is. You’ll see.”


Isaac. Man. Tamer. Alleged predisposition towards benevolent engagement towards pokegirls. Alleged willingness to aid in taming requirements. Possible future asset.

The Martian Reconnaissance Agent filed away that string of data and shut down her broad scan of the area for interpretable signals. She hadn’t intended to land here but interference by the Office of Security Hunter-Killer team had forced her to crash land 4180 meters to the south-southeast. She’d engaged the self-destruct mechanism of her atmospheric entry pod so there’d be nothing for the Terrans to glean from the wreckage but it was still a catastrophic start to the Zeromer’s mission.

The coup had robbed the Colonial Council of Frontier, the former lunar outpost. This had cut off Mars from receiving intelligence on the developments of Earth twelve years ago. All three colony sites on the moon, Mars, and Venus were suffering from overpopulation and the Colonial Council had determined further expansion and development were the keys to solving the issues. Part of their plan was heightened capture attempts of Terran pokegirl breeds but that necessitated an acceleration of construction on the staging areas of Frontier. The Office of Security protested that the Terran leagues would seek to subvert Martian autonomy and ultimately lead the entire sector of the Martian civilization, including the entire lunar outpost itself, into revolt. Venus quickly became a hotbed of conflict and now all three extraterrestrial colonies were in even greater peril but meteorically rising hostilities meant the danger only grew as leadership quarreled ceaselessly over outrageous demands.

Agent Beru, the Zeromer from the Martian Office of Science, had been tasked with reaching Sapphire League territory and gathering intelligence for the sake of negotiating with one of the few Terran leagues that showed an interest in space away from the blue planet’s immediate orbits. While contact with the natives was to be minimized and revealing her mission was forbidden, nevertheless she was to explore economic and technological exchange opportunities for the future when the Colonial Council would reveal itself to the Terran nations.

In order to perform her duties though, she would need a means to contact Mars and the only radio powerful enough had been in her entry pod. She could construct a transmitter that could reach any Furia teams that would be deployed into Terran space but they only made a trip bi-annually. She was on her own until then, and the Hunter-Killer team from Frontier could still be in pursuit.

The Zeromer powered down all unnecessary subsystems and activated her optical camouflage as she continued northwards.


Jin cradled the three centimeter tall sprout in the palms of her hands. Its roots were stretched across her skin and caused an itchy, tickling sensation wherever the feathery pale structures grew out. It was a Leech Seed created by Elena, modified to be crippled so it could not break the skin to feed on vitals but instead draw magic from the host to sustain itself. The Grandelf tutor had tasked the young Witch with feeding enough energy into the plant to sustain a homeostasis. Too little and it would wilt, too much and it would bloom. So far Jin was succeeding with only one shortcoming. As soon as Elena told her she’d completed the task successfully, the Witch’s magical output would jump and the magical Leech Seed would explode in a mess of tiny petals as a part of Jin’s personal celebration.

While it was endearing to witness, it also defeated the entire point of the exercise which was to acclimate Jin to putting out the minimal amount of magical energy necessary. Isaac kept searching through the discussion board dedicated to tamers with magic practicing pokegirls for relevant topics while Elena moved on to having Jin shoot off Mystic Bolts at conjured target dummies while keeping one of Elena’s modified parasitic plants on each hand.

Neasa stood and watched for a few minutes by herself from a distance but couldn’t understand what was being done and not knowing was more frustrating than having to ask for an explanation. “Man,” she started as if that was Isaac’s name, “What are the three of you doing? You said you would work on your Witch’s magic training. How does this teach her magic?”

“We’re doing this to work on Jin’s control,” Isaac responded.

Neasa scowled at his answer. “You don’t control magic, Man. You make requests of it. ‘Help this plant grow, hide me from my foes, spill the blood of my enemies.’ If the magic finds you worthy, it responds.”

Isaac put down his device and focused on the Elf glaring at him. Her expression was still hard but Isaac was starting to notice she displayed varying levels of hardness. Right now the aggressive set to her face was minimal. “I’ve never seen someone use magic that way. All I’ve learned is from Elena and the academy.”

Neasa hadn’t expected her statement to be met with interest. She was mentally preparing herself to argue. Now this human was watching her expectantly. “I don’t know why Elena wouldn’t show you proper Elf magic. It’s what everyone learns first.” She wasn’t going to squander the gifts of magic showing off to him.

“Well, Jin is learning differently and I’m basically just making sure I can keep Jin on track with her studies. Make sure she doesn’t develop too many bad habits.”

“You need to control her that much?”

“What? No I-” Isaac was honestly confused and offended by the insinuation. “She’s hurt herself before casting too hastily and I want to make sure she doesn’t do worse some day. There’s some spells she won’t be able to learn at all unless she develops finer control over the magnitude of her spells so what sort of tamer would I be if I didn’t… She wants to learn magic more than anything.”

Neasa scoffed and watched more Leech Seeds violently convert into showers of petals after each bolt of mystical energy was loosed by the subject of their conversation. “Oh, if you’re such a wise tamer then what do I need? What would you do to fix all of my problems, great and powerful Man?”

Isaac initially wanted to respond with just as much bile. The alien wisdom of his past experiences from before he was a part of the pokegirl world informed him of a different approach. He knew this sort of resentment and suspicion. “I think you need somewhere to feel safe. I don’t know if I-” Isaac aborted the thought as Neasa whirled and stomped her heel to face him squarely with a wide and aggressive stance.

“You know nothing! I don’t need anything! Not from you!” She sprinted for the trees and was lost to everyone but Elena thanks to the wild nature magic concealing her. Elena shook her head and sent the sort of impulse across the delta bond that suggested a sense of resigned acceptance.

Neasa didn’t run very far, just away from the perceptive human who was displaying far more kindness than a human was supposed to. If humans were really so kind then why did such an evil Elfqueen come from their world and destroy hers?

Her anguish and exhaustion overwhelmed her and she slipped into a standing trance under the sunlight cascading down about the tall old pines.

‘You think I’m cruel here? You know nothing about what the humans are like, girl. You’ve only met their unruly children.’ An apparition of Samodiva appeared before her. She had the soulless, rigid expression the black haired Elfqueen thought passed for concern. Her eyes were open to show whites above and below her colorless irises, giving her a maddened sort of aggression no matter what she tried to show Neasa.

‘They have entire institutions set up to keep us enslaved to them. Their laws say we’re nothing but property. Most of us are born as livestock in ranches. The most popular breeds are turned into nothing but brood stock and live two decades experiencing nothing but child birth only to see every daughter sold away or groomed to take her place. The least popular breeds are claimed by their rulers and quietly culled, one way or another.’ She would lecture Neasa like this for hours. Then later she would make Neasa say it back or she’d punish Neasa by hurting one of her mother’s former subjects. Always making sure Neasa would witness, or later learn if obvious enough marks could be left.

'They teach us that we need them. That we’re nothing but animals without their divine intervention. They teach their children the same so that they believe they’re doing what is best at the same time they rape our bodies. They’ve created an entire breed enslaved to their laws to use as soldiers in their campaign of oppression.’ She would always act as if she were doing it out of compassion. That she was doing what was best for Neasa. That she knew the truth and her enlightenment would save the younger Elf.

‘That is the sort of brutality we are up against. That is why your mother was too weak to rule. She couldn’t protect us the same way I can.’

“Don’t talk about my mother.” Neasa’s enraged hiss broke through her delusion for a brief moment.

‘We need to think about what is best for her people. Everyone she left behind.’

“Do not talk about my mother.” Now Neasa’s voice rose to a full throated growl.

‘The humans only know power. We have to communicate with them the only way they know. Your mother, the late queen, never would have been able to do it. The tragic deficiencies of her early life. The habits she still had.’

Neasa roared in fury and drew an arrow made of living wood from a quiver pulsing with life. In a single motion she knocked, drew, and fired straight for the wretched, lying, usurper’s heart. The missile dove through the hated Elfqueen’s chest and the fear of knowing her death entered her eyes.

The apparition vanished and Neasa was left with only the company of the trees and the living weapon in her hands. Where did she get this from? No one in her mother’s court knew how to draw one forth.

In response to her unspoken question she heard a new voice from behind her. A new voice that was also the first voice Neasa ever learned to recognize. It was a single word burdened with the solemn weight of everything that could never be spoken. “Neasa…”

“Mother-” The Elf turned to the voice and was pulled into a hug by her mother. Her tall and beautiful mother who always looked so kind and content. There wasn’t even enough time to return the embrace before the vision ended and Neasa was truly alone save for the forest around her.

Despair overwhelmed the Elf and she fell to her knees to weep when she felt a promise from the very earth she knelt upon. It would return something to her. Not her mother, not a violation of death. A boon of life.

The weapon that had been in her hand.


Elena and Jin had resumed their training but Isaac was distracted with worrying about the sad girl who ran off into the woods by herself. It was a sentiment that was likely to get him killed in all likelihood but that reasoning was only enough to keep him from acting. Not thinking.

He violently flailed for half of a breath when Neasa walked back to the clearing that contained Elena’s house and loudly shouted his name. “Isaac!”

She was standing naked with Jin’s old academy uniform clenched in her balled fist. It was the only thing that would have fit her tiny frame. Her eyes were joyless with a determined set of her brow. Her legs and arms were scrawny but seeing her nude revealed the strength and definition of her slender core, muscles developed from constant running and archery. “Well?” She arched an eyebrow at him when he didn’t react as she apparently expected.

Isaac had no idea what was going on in Neasa’s head and so responded by helplessly asking, “Well what?”

Neasa kept her stance wide but she shifted slightly as she too found herself unsure of how to proceed. “The only other time I did this… All I did was show myself naked to him and... It ended with me stabbing him in the neck. I shouldn’t have thought- I shouldn’t have-”

“Would you like to go inside?” Isaac asked the plant type who was turning bright red.

“Can we go to Elena’s meadow instead?” Elena nodded in pity to the poor girl and so Isaac walked over to guide her there.


(-[|]-) End 6.1 (-[|]-)