This work is fiction. The work is presented under fair protection where applicable.
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You should not read this if you are not of legal age where you reside. This work can contain rape, BDSM, cannibalism, and probably anything else my sick, twisted mind can come up with.
The low light in the room flickered as the sitting man manipulated the device he was holding. His eyes flicked across the screen as text scrolled past, interspersed occasionally by static images.
Andrew set aside his Pokédex when he heard the door open. To his surprise Gale stepped in, closely followed by Aella and finally Daria, nervousness plastered across the Vampire’s face. “What’s with the party?”
Aella shook her head slightly and pushed Daria forwards. “We’re just here in case something goes wrong.”
Daria stumbled forwards, her focus failing as she got closer. “Can I...”
Wordlessly Andrew held out his arm, barely flinching when Daria wrapped her lips around it and bit. She sucked for a second before hissing and increasing the pressure to an excruciating level.
After a few moments she released him, blood welling from the bite wound. Daria’s breathing was heavy as she glanced up at him and Andrew frowned at what he saw in her eyes.
“Are you alright?” He asked quietly, doing his best to ignore the throbbing pain. “What’s wrong?”
Daria took a shuddering breath and licked where she had bitten. “It tastes different.” She let out a surprised noise when her tongue encountered smooth skin under the drying blood. “You’re healed?”
“I know a minor healing spell.” Andrew replied. “Well, it looks like you didn’t infect me. I appreciate that.”
Daria laughed quietly as she licked the last of his blood from his arm. “That would defeat the purpose.” She trailed off, her eyes glazing over as something crossed her mind. “I’ve... I’ve fed from a few in the harem, but... your blood, tastes... stronger. Is it because you’re male?”
“Maybe.” Andrew took his arm back and wrapped it around her shoulders. “But we can experiment later.”
Aella and Gale stood when Daria suddenly went limp but didn’t move forward, allowing Andrew to guide the trembling Vampire to the bed. Daria moaned, her eyes rolling in her head as her nearly feral mind fought with her iron will. Finally she took a shuddering breath and sat up, panting as she stared at him.
“It’s something more.” She whispered, her eyes wild. “You are something more.”
Andrew glanced behind him, receiving shrugs from the other pokegirls, and turned back to Daria. “We’ll experiment later.” He repeated, sliding his shirt off. “Do I have to restrain you?”
Daria’s eyes flicked from his bare chest to the sides of the bed and she hesitated. “...not this time.”
Andrew chuckled while Aella and Gale returned to their posts. “Experiment later.”
Daria shivered. “Later.” She let out a breathy moan as he continued. “There… will be more.”
Aella lounged back as she watched Andrew carefully remove Daria’s leather corset top, snickering when the Vampire’s erratic movements caused him to fumble with the laces. “Hey Gale, this was also a betting pot, right?”
The Night Nurse barely glanced over at her Alpha’s whisper. “It was.” She muttered back.
“What was on the line? I never bet.”
Gale smirked slightly. “Torture days.”
Aella had to quickly smother her laughter but still let out a quick snort, playing it off as a reaction to Andrew failing to free Daria’s breasts for the third time. She waited for him to turn back to the bed before looking over at Gale. “How many?”
Gale shrugged. “I took second place and bet four against a few members. I believe there were two bet against me that I’ll be taking as well.”
Aella chuckled. “Nicely done. Who won?”
Gale frowned and ticked days on her fingers. “I was off by a little over two weeks. I believe Nevaeh actually came the closest, she bet three weeks after me so her date would have come about a week ago.” She did some more calculations before nodding. “Yea, I think Nevaeh won.”
“That should be interesting.” Aella settled back as she watched Andrew finally remove Daria’s top and begin rolling her leggings down. “You gonna watch?”
Gale slid a bit closer to Aella and placed her hand on her Alpha’s shoulder. “That’s not why we’re here.”
Aella started and yanked her hand out of her pants guiltily. “I just... was remembering our first.”
Gale gently patted the younger pokegirl on the shoulder. “As long as we do our jobs right now, you can remember it with him later. Daria should be feral by now, so the fact that she’s not isn’t a good thing. It makes her unpredictable.” She let go of Aella’s shoulder and moved back to where she had been standing. “Masturbate later. Protect him now.”
Aella nodded and sent the Night Nurse a silent thank you, clearing her mind as Andrew began thrusting.
Andrew gazed up at the night sky, letting the sounds of the forest wash over him. Daria was somewhere nearby, celebrating in the light of the full moon. The same moon that had lit the way for Camiel and Albia now also marked her reawakening and acceptance into the harem proper.
He still wasn’t sure how he felt about having sex with her, but he had enjoyed the experience. He sighed, losing himself in the sound of the night. She’d spent the better part of a year fighting what she had become. He’d ignored that. Somewhere in that time she’d joined the family, and now she had officially joined the harem.
A smile tugged at his lips as he remembered Daria’s first actions when they had stepped outside into the full moon. How her face had lit up when she saw the world, not only on a night that fed her strength, but also without the haze she had been living with for so long. How she had flown, disappearing into a misty cloud and racing through the trees before swinging back around towards him and reforming in midair to fly into his arms, her face a fusion of laughter and tears.
Andrew sat up when he heard movement in the trees beside him, nodding when he saw the new figure approaching. “Greetings, my Queen.”
Kuu laughed and collapsed beside him. “Good evening, my King.” She nuzzled his arm for a moment before laying across his lap. “So, what brings you to the forest this late at night?”
“I tamed Daria tonight, so she’s letting off some steam.” Andrew began running his fingers through her hair. “I figured I’d sit out here while she did. What about you? What brings you to seek me out tonight?”
Kuu gazed past him and into the sky. “Tonight is just over one year since I met you.” Her eyes sparkled in the moonlight as she spoke. “On that anniversary you talked about how I opened your eyes to the way you had been neglecting us. Even if I disagree that you had been, the last few days have shown that you truly are looking to make amends.”
Andrew shrugged. “And?”
Kuu turned so she was looking into his eyes. “And you have grown because of it. Whether or not you had been neglecting us, you had neglected yourself. Something within you has awakened, something important. Something potent. I can’t have been the only one who has noticed.”
Andrew’s lips thinned. “Daria mentioned something similar. She said my blood tasted different. More powerful.”
Kuu blinked and laughed softly. “More powerful than mine? And here I thought we had something special.”
Andrew smiled and returned to stroking her hair. “I’m sure you still do.”
“Hmm.” Kuu leaned into his touch with a sigh. “Did you know I am a queen without a proper weapon? I have no bow.”
“I think we’ve had this conversation before.” Andrew replied. “You were waiting for us to create something as beautiful as Ninhursag’s Omega tree.”
Kuu took hold of his free hand and squeezed it tightly. “I believe we can make that beautiful thing tonight.”
Andrew grunted. “You’ve been waiting for the moon.” He gazed up at the sky. “And me. Alright, as long as it doesn’t involve sex right away.”
Kuu smiled and rose to her feet, offering a hand to him. “It won’t.”
Andrew took it and got up, brushing dirt from his pants as he did. “What do you have in mind?”
Kuu reached under her dress and withdrew her sheathed knife. “I thought the weapon that had already helped me through my new life would make for an excellent sapling.”
Andrew looked at it with a frown. “Is that possible? I thought you needed a natural sapling for your first bow.”
Kuu smirked. “You call the Omega Tree natural?”
Andrew rolled his eyes. “It also wasn’t her first bow. Can livingwood even grow into a tree? What would that even be like?”
Kuu grinned and began pulling him along. “Whatever it becomes, I think it will be beautiful.”
“Is that the only word you know?” Andrew called, laughing. “Beautiful this, beautiful that.”
Kuu abruptly came to a halt and pulled him into an embrace, her grinning face inches from his own. “Why don’t you try it?”
Andrew pretended to think for a moment before stretching up to kiss her nose. “I think you’re beautiful.”
Kuu blushed and quickly returned to running, Andrew keeping pace behind her. A few minutes later they emerged into a clearing, Andrew slowing when he saw their destination. “Hey, this is...”
Kuu slowed, walking up to the memorial stone and pressing her palms against the cool rock. “You did something here, didn’t you.” She whispered. “This is where I sang. This is where they came. This grove is at peace, safe, protected by something I can not understand.” She gazed back to him. “There is power here, and I wish to add my own.”
Andrew was gazing over her shoulder at the spectral Kyuubi that watched them, bringing his attention back at her words. “That also happened the night of the full moon.”
Kuu blinked. “So you did do something.”
“Azhaara’s spirit watches over our dead.” Andrew replied. “That is the power you feel but can’t pinpoint. I bound her here, out of guilt, out of love, out of selfishness. But she is this garden’s guardian, and if you truly wish to add your power to hers, I suggest you ask.”
Azhaara’s mouth popped opened into silent laughter as Kuu whirled, her eyes searching for the presence she had finally felt. “She’s here.”
“She is always here.” Andrew replied with a smile. “Ask her.”
Kuu glanced around, oblivious to the still laughing form floating around her. “Az... Azhaara.” She focused on the monolith and raised her knife ritualistically. “I am a Queen without my bow; a defender without a weapon. I protect the forest, and everything within it, but have no way to protect you. Will you allow me to add my strength to your own?”
Andrew felt the cool breeze as Azhaara brushed past him, her form growing until she stood as tall as she had in life. “Kuu.”
Kuu whirled, her eyes widening as she saw the figure walking past Andrew. “I... I can see you.”
“You offer me quite a gift.” Azhaara called. “I know of your Queendom, of your work. I was there when you blessed this place with your song, and when you drew upon its power to make your Call. I have watched you and it grow to encompass the entirety of this land east of the mountains. You offer me the protection of your people, in exchange for the power to better protect them. I accept.”
Kuu let go of the breath she had been holding and bowed. “Thank you.”
“Come.” Azhaara walked towards the stone. “I will not interfere with what you do tonight, but I will show you where it should be done.”
Kuu glanced at Andrew as they followed. “Interfere?”
Andrew chuckled softly. “She likes meddling in anything she can.”
Azhaara glanced back with a small smile. “As much as I can, to still be a part of your lives.” She turned back. “Kuu, thank you for thinking of me. Even if you didn’t know it at first.”
Kuu’s face slowly brightened and she laughed. “I could say something similar. It’s good to see you again.”
Azhaara stopped behind the monument and shook her head slightly, any emotion on her face hidden. “We are all happy to know you live on.” She finally turned and gave Kuu a nod. “Here.”
While Kuu walked forwards to the spot Azhaara was indicating Andrew moved up beside the spirit and touched her arm. “Who has yet to move on?”
Azhaara didn’t look at him as she replied. “They are my concern, not yours, Master.” She finally glanced to him and gave a reassuring smile. “They hurt, but your life comforts them. The best you can do is to live.”
“Here?” Kuu called, staring at a small hollow behind the stone. “This is kind of close to the monolith.”
Azhaara nodded. “Let it be close. That is the true center of the grove.”
Kuu’s eyes widened. “I understand.” She knelt, placing her knife in the slight depression. “My Lord.”
Andrew sighed and gave Azhaara one last smile before stepping forwards. He felt her presence vanish as he knelt with Kuu, watching the ElfQueen expectantly. “So?”
Kuu was mumbling under her breath and stroking the dagger. Slowly it lengthened, the sheathe vanishing to reveal a sharp double edge. She glanced up at him and took a slow breath. “Are you ready?”
Kuu lay the knife against her palm and reached for his right hand. “To give your power.”
Andrew winced but held out his hand. “More blood? Really?”
“Some blood, yes, but more importantly your magic.” Kuu grasped his hand with the knife in between their palms. “Are you ready?”
Andrew snorted. “Of course not. Let’s do it.”
“Give whatever you wish.” She whispered, leaning over and kissing him fully. She held the pose for a few seconds before gently breaking the contact. “Just let it flow.”
Andrew’s eyes slid half shut at her words. Kuu leaned back to her own position and opened her mouth, humming softly before transitioning into song. No words echoed within the music she sang but it still rang out, sad, lonely, aching. Andrew felt a pressure around him before he suddenly saw the world through Kuu’s eyes, her magic intertwining them both within a single being. He felt something within himself too, something that joined Kuu’s magic and began to shape it in ways he couldn’t anticipate. The night grew still as the glow from the full moon focused in on the singing EfQueen, bleaching her clothes and skin and making her hair explode in silver. Slowly she added words to the song, echoing in a language Andrew vaguely recognized but couldn’t understand.
“Ed' celeb me'a en' ithil, sana lye templa ar' alaa.” Kuu sang, clenching her hands around his. As she finished the verse she pulled the dagger free, coating it in blood and letting their wounds drip into the hollow.
Andrew twitched as he felt the feeling rise inside of him but kept his eyes half shut and relaxed. From his hand the trickle of blood slowly turned silver, mixing with Kuu’s and filling the pool with a swirling silver thread.
Kuu tightened her grip and raised the knife, plunging it deep into the ground. The liquid seemed to part to allow her hand access to the ground before swirling back over the embedded wood as Kuu continued to sing.
“Ten' i' taure, ten' he` gwaith, ten' he` tira, alaa.” Kuu called, tracing her finger over the now fully silver liquid. Andrew felt her grip slacken slightly and he opened his eyes to see her staring at him, her eyes blazing with silver light. With a start he realized the continuing music was no longer coming from her but from him, his mouth moving on its own.
“Ten' lye tura, ten' lye eska. Alaa beleg ar' vara lye, o Aman orn.” Kuu called, placing her hand flat against the pool. “Alaa ar' natula beleg…”
The light around them rose until it was searing his eyes, the note Kuu held continuing for an impossibly long time before she snapped her mouth shut and the blinding aura vanished. Andrew watched as the light slowly faded from Kuu’s eyes and her skin color returned, the harsh moonlight softening until the night had returned to normal. A moment later he coughed as he felt how dry his throat had become. “That was interesting.” He croaked.
Kuu released his hand and glanced down at where she had cut herself. The line was sealed, the same silver that had come from Andrew’s wound shining along her hand. “What have you done?”
Andrew took a deep breath and began coughing. Finally getting it under control he shook his head. “I don’t know.”
They both looked at where Kuu had buried the knife but the liquid had drained, leaving only the tip of the handle above ground. “I feel... different.” She whispered. “What did you do?”
Andrew shrugged. “I... I’m not really sure. We probably have to wait and find out.” He slowly got to his feet. “I feel drained.”
Kuu remained kneeling. “So do I.” She took a few steadying breaths. “I’ll be alright.”
“What, no sex?” Andrew half-heartedly joked, giving up when Kuu just stared at him tiredly. “Right. I’m going back home.”
Kuu nodded slightly. “You should probably find Daria.”
Andrew sighed. “Oh yea, she’s out here somewhere. If she wants me, she’ll find me.” He groaned and stretched. “I promised Constance I’d find her tonight. And then I have to figure out who’s on the taming rotation.”
Kuu giggled and collapsed on the ground. “Ever the Tamer. I’m just going to lay here.”
Andrew laughed. “Good idea.” Something about her appearance itched at his memory but he shook it off. “Good night.”
Andrew watched Constance as she ran forwards, her hands igniting to bolster her strikes. She managed two hits on Fu before the fire abruptly vanished and she collapsed, chest heaving.
“Again.” Andrew called, prompting the Tank Vixxen to struggle to her feet. “Your idea is an excellent one, but you need to train until you can maintain it on all four limbs for an extended battle. We will move on to the next step then.”
Constance sucked air and nodded, her face twisted in pain as she recovered. Fu stood patiently and waited for her harem sister to compose herself before settling into a ready stance. With a shout, Constance dove in again, this time only managing a single hit before her legs gave out.
“Alright, that’s enough.” Andrew checked his Pokédex. “Half an hour of mild training. Your stamina is severely lacking.”
Constance groaned and pushed herself to her knees. “I... know...”
“We’re all out of shape, Sir.” Fu called. “We’ve gotten lazy.”
“Fix it.” Andrew got to his feet. “I’m sure I’ve decayed just as much. I’ll be fixing it too.”
Fu gave him a curt nod and pulled Constance to her feet. “C’mon, girl. Let’s sit you down.”
Andrew walked out of the gym and made towards the mess hall. He could barely remember his short meeting and demonstration with Constance the night before, let alone the hour he had spent with Shamira afterwards. Two tamings and Kuu’s tree had left him ravenous, so getting back to where he had been before Fu ambushed him that morning was foremost in his mind.
The handful of pokegirls inside ignored him as he loaded a plate high, nearly drooling as he found a seat. He was halfway through the plate before he took a breath, finally feeling strength trickle back into his limbs. He took a moment to silently thank Lyn and Gale before reaching to dig back in.
Andrew looked up to see Nami approaching him, the Sharptits sporting a perpetual surly expression. “Good morning, Nami.”
Nami grunted and fell into a chair, watching as he took another bite. “I don’t ever do this.”
Andrew blinked and swallowed. “Hm?”
Nami glanced around sullenly before turning back to him. “I’m sorry.”
Andrew’s jaw dropped. “Excuse me?”
Nami ground her teeth. “I said I’m sorry. For hiding what I was. I will understand if you don’t want me anymore.” She growled when Andrew abruptly began laughing and just as quickly started choking. “What the FUCK.”
Andrew gasped as he cleared his throat. “I- shit. Nami, you are fine. I don’t give a rat’s ass if you were a pirate, or a terrorist, or a criminal. You are you, and I accepted you into the harem.” He took a drink and forced himself to swallow. “As long as you are loyal and happy here, I will not force you away.”
Nami frowned. “Alright.” She quickly stood, her tail swaying behind her as she turned away. “Then... Thank you, Master.”
Andrew chuckled and waved at her back before turning back to his food.
He had almost finished when Aella wandered in and made a beeline towards him. “Andrew, have you seen Kuu today?”
Andrew frowned and shook his head. “Not since last night, no. Why? Were you meeting with her?”
“She and I were starting a defense strategy meeting every week. She didn’t show up today.”
“That’s odd, but she’s probably still resting. We performed a ritual last night in the grove and we were both pretty exhausted.”
Aella looked at him strangely. “Did you plant a tree?”
Andrew blinked. “Yes?”
“So that’s why I couldn’t see the garden from the air.” Aella muttered. “I flew over the forest to look for her but that landmark was missing.”
Andrew stared at her for a few moments before pushing his plate away. “We planted a tree last night.”
“On the night of the full moon.” Aella replied drily. “By performing a ritual. With an ElfQueen. Yea, makes perfect sense to me that it’s already as large as the clearing.” She rolled her eyes. “That’s probably where she is.”
“I need to see this.” Andrew stood. “I left her lying in the center of the grove, I need to make sure she’s alright.”
Aella smiled and gestured. “Then lead on, Sir.”
The two exited the cave and began swiftly walking down the hidden path towards the memorial garden, Aella pitching some small questions to Andrew as they went. It only took a few minutes for them to reach the edge of the clearing.
Andrew looked around. The garden was lit as if it was still open, but glancing up showed him that it wasn’t. The tree towered over the forest, its canopy glistening with golden light. The memorial stone was still visible but sat dwarfed, inset into the gigantic trunk that had appeared overnight.
“Kuu?” Andrew called. “You here?”
“Over here.” Andrew looked towards the voice to see Kuu sitting cross-legged next to the trunk. “She’s as beautiful as I could have hoped.”
Andrew and Aella walked over, waiting for Kuu to get to her feet. “I missed you at our meeting this morning.” Aella teased.
Kuu blinked and blushed scarlet. “Sorry, Aella.” She turned her attention back to the tree. “I must have lost track of the time.”
“So what have you been doing?” Andrew approached but stopped when the leaves began rustling. “Uh...”
“She recognizes you.” Kuu reached out to touch the smooth white bark. “I’ve been talking with her, telling her about us. She wanted to wait for you to find us so she could meet you herself.”
“You keep saying she.” Andrew glanced away from the tree. “Who is ‘she’.”
Kuu smiled and gestured for him to come closer. “She can introduce herself.”
“Kuu.” The ElfQueen started at his tone. “I am asking the woman I already know and trust. Magic is a funny thing, and from what I saw last night, I did some really strange shit. Who is ‘she’.”
Aella stepped closer to him as the canopy rustled, leaves falling to the ground. “The tree is laughing.”
“She is the tree.” Kuu replied. “She calls herself Telpëlass. I think it’s because I used livingwood as the sprout, but she is alive. Truly alive, not like the rest of the forest lives.”
“And what about you?” Andrew gazed at Kuu’s hair. “You used to be blonde.”
Kuu reached up and stroked the silver strands. “This one is your fault.”
“Wonderful.” Andrew glanced at Aella. “I don’t think you’re getting your meeting today.”
Aella chuckled. “I think you’re right. Go do elf things, I’ll catch up with you later.” She stretched up and gave him a quick kiss. “See you.”
“So,” Andrew turned back to Kuu when Aella teleported away, “what does she want?”
Kuu extended her hand again. “She wants to meet you.”
“I don’t speak tree.”
Kuu made a frustrated noise and beckoned. “Just trust me.”
Andrew sighed but reached out to take her hand.
He blinked. Nothing had changed around them, but instead of a tree a large, female figure stood in the center of the clearing. The Ent bent down, scrutinizing him, before beginning to laugh in a deep, yet bright sound.
“I am Telpëlass.” She said, her voice a low rumble. “It is my pleasure to meet you, Onessa.”
Andrew blinked. “What did you call me?”
“Name-giver.” Telpëlass replied. “As she is life-caller. My purpose has been explained, and I am honored to tend this grove.”
“That’s... great.” Andrew glanced at Kuu. “She grew up fast.”
Kuu laughed. “Telpëlass is hardly grown at all, but I’ve explained that she needs to stay small or enemies might find us.”
Andrew gaped at her. “You call her small?”
“I’ve never seen a tree of her kind.” Kuu replied. “But she says that if she was allowed, her trunk would fill the clearing and more. We both agree that with the current power of this land and her purpose, this is all she needs for now.”
“Huh.” Andrew looked back to Telpëlass. “Will you be willing to allow Kuu to sing her bow from your trunk?”
The giant figure smiled and bowed low. “It is my purpose, name-giver. I only wish I had a gift to present to you.”
“That’s... quite alright.” Andrew bowed his head slightly. “It was a pleasure to meet you.”
“Perhaps next time, I will come to you.”
Andrew blinked and started to ask what she meant before he realized Kuu had broken the connection. “What.”
Kuu burst out laughing and embraced him. “Thank you.”
Andrew awkwardly patted her head until she let go. “You’re welcome. So, are we going to talk about this?”
Kuu took his hand and pulled it away from her hair. “You bled silver. Some of it mixed in my own cut, and now whatever power you gave to Telpëlass, you also gave to me.” She reached down and picked up one of the fallen leaves, showing him the silver side. “You have done something. We will need to discover exactly what.”
“A good thing, I hope.”
Kuu smiled and kissed his hand. “It came from you. It has to be good.” She dropped his hands and turned back to the tree. “I am ready.”
Andrew sat back as Kuu stepped forwards and lay her hands on the trunk. A few minutes passed without her moving or making a sound before she plunged her hands into the tree, pulling them free a moment later with three objects clutched in her fists.
Andrew waited for her to begin walking back to him before speaking. “You didn’t sing.”
Kuu slung the quiver over her shoulder, seeming to grow taller as she did. “There was no need to ask for her help.” Kuu smiled. “She had already given me her permission.”
Andrew inspected the bow she clutched. It was a recurve bow, made primarily of the white wood that formed the tree trunk, but with an ebony black grip and inlaid gold running the length of the bow. Kuu saw him staring and held it out for him to inspect. “Her leaves form the decoration, and her heart is my grip.” She pulled an arrow from the quiver to show him. “Tipped with her livingwood heart, fletched by her silver leaves, with a shaft of white wood.”
“What about that?” Andrew asked, pointing at the black staff in Kuu’s other hand. Kuu held it out, showing off the silver and gold etching along its length.
“A weapon made of livingwood, infused with her strength.” Kuu replied, the staff shifting in her grasp to a sword, then a dagger, and back to a staff. “I am whole at last.”
“Excellent.” Andrew’s hand hovered over her staff before he pulled away. “I’m jealous.”
Kuu gazed at his face sadly. “You will never be happy, will you? Not until you find yourself.” She slung the bow over her shoulders so she had a hand free to touch his cheek. “Can’t you see how much you do for us? Can’t you be content with being our everything and more?”
“If I could, do you think you would still love me?” Andrew replied quietly.
“Mm.” Kuu gave him a small smile. “No, I don’t think it would be the same.”
“Then why do you ask?” Andrew sighed. “I don’t even know where all of the things I do come from. By all accounts I’m a mediocre mage, and yet I can do things like... like that.” He gestured at where Telpëlass towered over the clearing. “I don’t know how. I don’t know why. So in the end I’m just an average human, no different than any of the ones from your world. And that... that infuriates me. I want to do more, to be more. To be able to give just as much as you all do.”
“Nothing that we do would be possible without you.” Kuu cupped his cheek and gazed into his eyes. “Why is that not enough?”
“You can’t understand.” Andrew gazed back and held her hand tightly. “I don’t blame you for that. I went from a big fish in a big pond to the smallest fish in a bigger pond. I can’t just give up what I was, and now I have all this room to grow. But it doesn’t matter what I do, because even my best is nothing compared to all of you. I could pretend, when I first was pulled into your world, that I was still the big fish. I had a still emerging magic power that was powerful enough to hold me above the first few pokegirls I found. I had training, and physical strength to hold me above the first few humans I found. But that was as far as I got. I’ve stabilized now, no more outbursts, no more cheap fights. So now I’m nothing. Average.”
“You still do amazing things, you’re our world, you’re-“
“IT’S NOT ENOUGH!” Andrew roared, twisting out of her grasp and taking a few steps away. “It is WONDERFUL and AMAZING that I have this life now but I can’t be satisfied letting others carry me around. Maybe somebody else could but That. Isn’t. Me.” He tensed his body as he fought down the rage, keeping it directed away from the ElfQueen in front of him and inwards, as it was supposed to be. “I can’t stand it, Kuu. Do you know what happened this morning? I said something, to Fu and Constance. How I had decayed so I had to strengthen myself again. And you know what Fu did? She smiled. Not a prideful smile, not an accepting smile, but the kind of smile you give someone when you’re just humoring them. I don’t think she did it intentionally but subconsciously she looked at me and didn’t see a serious threat. She saw... I don’t know. But not what I want her to see.”
“I...” Kuu trailed off helplessly. “I don’t know what to say.”
“I know you don’t.” Andrew took a deep breath, letting his emotions flow back to the cloudy normal he maintained before letting out a defeated sigh. “I don’t think anyone does.” He shook his head and stepped back in to embrace her. “No matter how I feel about this, it’s not your fault, ok? Don’t blame yourself.”
“O...Ok.” Kuu hugged him back. “Thank you for sharing how you feel.”
“It felt right.” Andrew held her for a few more moments before pulling away. “But now that I’ve been recorded saying all of this, I should probably talk to the command structure about it.”
A low sigh echoed around them and Cortney manifested. “Good morning, sir.”
“Morning.” Andrew replied with a smile. “I know you always keep my pokedex’s equipment running.”
“I do.” The Videogirl cocked her head at him. “Shall I send a message now?”
“To the entire upper command, please.” Andrew patted Kuu’s arm. “You don’t really need to be there if you’d rather get used to your new equipment.”
Kuu smiled but shook her head. “There’s no need for that. I’ll be there.”
“Alright.” Andrew glanced to Cortney. “I need to shower and actually get ready for today. Would you call the meeting in half an hour?”
Cortney bobbed her head. “Of course. Room A?”
“Sounds good.” He nodded to the two. “Ladies.”
Constance roared and dove into Fu once more, her arms a blur as she sent strike after strike into the Warvern’s guard.
Nearby, Furia stood conversing with Shamira, the two canid pokegirls gesturing as they outlined techniques. Various other pairs filled the training arena; Nami swam tight circles in a sphere of water Melody maintained, the Sharptits jumping in and out of the levitating orb, her muscles rippling from the exertion. Camiel stood near the bleachers next to Nova, the Blazicunt seeming to have let her excitement overcome her fear. The two talked normally, Camiel motioning occasionally to punctuate her words.
Lucina lay panting near the door, but glanced up and quickly rolled out of the way when it opened. Cristina glanced down in surprise before looking back up and taking in the room. “What are you doing down there?”
Lucina’s chest heaved as she caught her breath. “Break.” She croaked.
She groaned when Cristina grabbed her arms and pulled her to her feet, the Ophanim keeping a firm hold of her so she wouldn’t fall. “Let’s get you to the stands.” She laughed, helping the exhausted Shadowcat to a seat and calling over her shoulder. “There’s a free spot on the other side!”
A few heads turned at Cristina’s shout and a low murmur began to build when Andrew walked in, Gale and Lyn trailing just behind.
“And how can I help?”
The murmur died when the wall above the door darkened, the shadows merging together to reveal Daria crouched above the three. “Come down and stop showing off!” Lyn yelled up to the grinning Vampire. “Cristina says there’s a free spot on the other side.”
“Well, alright.” Daria fell in behind them. “There’s quite a bit of activity here today.”
Cristina glanced in their direction before turning back to Lucina, a guilty smile flickering on her lips. “So, what were you doing...” she blinked as she felt something brush past her, catching a glimpse of a figure as it slipped out the door. She glanced back at the group following Andrew as they approached the canine pokegirls, noticing Aella’s absence before turning a forced smile back to Lucina. “Well?”
“Good morning Master.” Shamira gave Andrew a bright wave and grinned at the others. “Ma’ams.”
“Don’t let us interrupt you, Mira.” Aella inclined her head to the pair. “Furia.”
Furia’s ears twitched. “Alpha.”
“Anyway, why’d you call me?” Daria pressed. “I’m still trying to get used to having a clear head again, so...”
“I wanted you to be a part of this.” Lyn slowed as they arrived at their destination. “Andrew is unhappy with his current training.”
“Not quite.” Andrew glanced back and scowled at the Archmage. “Don’t go trying to increase your lesson time.”
Lyn smirked. “Can’t blame a girl for trying.”
“Well, then what is it?” Daria floated up so she had a clear view. “Andrew?”
“I’m not satisfied with what I can consciously do.” Andrew jabbed his thumb at the direction of the main entrance. “I seem to perform huge magical acts and just forget about them the next day. I’ve had it.”
Daria snorted. “Does this have to do with the massive tree that sprouted overnight?”
“Alright, we can try to work something out.” Daria landed and walked towards the nearest wall. “I want control of your new training program.”
Lyn glanced at Andrew and grimaced. “Fine.”
“Good.” Daria raised her hand and traced through the air, runes writing themselves on the wall. “You see the target?”
Andrew frowned. “It looks like a normal bullseye.”
“So you do.” Daria stepped to the side. “Hit it.” Andrew shrugged and took a step before Daria spoke up. “From where you are.”
Andrew stopped and stared at her. “That’s over twenty feet away.”
Daria raised an eyebrow. “Twenty whatsits?” She giggled at Andrew’s look. “Seven meters or so. Should be easy enough to make something last long enough to at least touch it.” She gestured. “Go on.”
“I have no ranged spells.” Andrew replied. “All I can do is heal, light, some augmentation things.”
“Then you should probably figure out how to, shouldn’t you?” Daria gestured. “Lyn, please hit the target with a mana bolt.”
Lyn nodded and raised a finger. The spell speared out, causing a small point next to the bullseye to glow green. “Pah. Missed.”
“Good enough.” Daria looked back to Andrew. “I’ll reset it. I want to see some part of this target glowing green by lunchtime.”
Andrew scowled. “If I don’t know how to shoot in the first place...”
“Then I suggest you figure it out quickly.” Daria curled her legs up underneath her body and pulled her hood over her face. “I’ll be waiting right here.”
Andrew glared at the motionless Vampire for a few seconds before turning to the target.
Back before he had discovered that there was a second person in his mind, when he had thought he had killed Morgana, he had seen what he could have been capable of. In the end none of the abilities his fragmented mind had shown him were real, but the feeling they had left... he slowly closed his eyes, searching through the murky memories. If he could just remember how they had formed...
Daria shifted slightly, her blood red eyes glinting beneath the hood. “Lyn, Gale, back up.”
Lyn quickly stepped back at the warning but Gale frowned. “Why?”
“He’s about to do something incredibly stupid, and I’d rather you be more than a few inches away from my barrier.”
Gale glanced at the motionless man but stepped back to where Lyn stood. “What do you mean?”
“He’s trying to find the answer in his past. His magical signature is rapidly devolving, and what he doesn’t realize is that before he can find any answers there, he’s going to-“
Andrew’s eyes snapped open, the defensive barrier Daria erected flashing to white as it contained the explosion. The flare swirled for a few moments before it vanished as abruptly as it had begun, revealing Andrew on his knees
“That power wasn’t yours in the first place.” Daria called in a bored voice. “You’ve got the reserve to make that work one day, if you really want to, but right now your skill is so far below what she could do you’d never be able to control it.” She snorted. “Look forward, not behind.”
Andrew panted, glancing up at the target. “...sorry.”
“Hurry it up.”
Andrew winced and climbed to his feet. If he really was starting from a clean slate, maybe he could emulate Lyn’s bolt.
Daria nodded approvingly when he held up his hand. “That’s better.”
He slowed his breathing, focusing only on his outstretched hand. Imagined the same energy he used to maintain the light spell but left it blank, unformed. Slowly he willed the energy into his palm and pushed it together until he could feel the sphere hovering between his fingers.
A few minutes later Andrew opened his eyes and gave Daria a guilty look. “How do I make it shoot?”
The Vampire burst into laughter. “Shoot? Make what shoot?”
“The...” Andrew trailed off when he looked at his hand. “...I could have sworn I made a sphere.”
Daria continued laughing at his empty hand. “No, but you had a good idea. Keep going, you’ll get there.”
“His energy is all over the place.” Lyn muttered from her new seat on the ground. “You know, at least when I was teaching him, it was stable.”
“That’s because you were telling him what to do.” Daria returned to her relaxed pose. “That works fine for basic control, but he wants to move on. Either he figures out how to shape his energy on his own, or he never will.”
Lyn frowned, raising her voice slightly so Andrew could overhear. “Shape his energy?”
“Spells are pre determined forms of magic.” Daria held up a hand, blue flame dancing in her palm. “For example a flame is simple, and has so many variations it’s nearly iconic at this point. But his aptitude isn’t suited for destructive magic, or even enhancement and defense. Oneiromancy is a dead art in your world, not because it doesn’t exist, but because pokegirls have forced the climate of magic to prioritize combat and defense spells over anything else. If Andrew wants to fight with his power, at least to the extent he wants, he’s going to have to create his own spells. To somehow take a purely supportive aspect of spellcasting and make a weapon out of it.”
Andrew frowned at her mention of a weapon. He already had made a weapon, hadn’t he? The image of his pistol flashed across his eyes and he nodded slightly. He had made weapons. The pistol, the armor and swords. When he had barely entered the world he had done what he wanted now.
“Hm?” Daria looked up as she felt the flow of magic around Andrew shift. “That’s new.”
Lyn watched the shimmering around his hand. “He’s doing something.”
Andrew’s brow furrowed in annoyance. Why couldn’t he do it? He’d created his pistol before he knew what he was trying to do, in a nearly delirious state. Why couldn’t he do it now?
More minutes passed until Andrew opened his eyes again. “I have no idea what to do.” He called dejectedly. “It’s there, but it’s just out of my grasp.”
“Why don’t you ask for help?” Lyn asked curiously. “Before, you had those… other things, right? Didn’t you go on some sort of adventure in your head with… you know.”
“I wouldn’t know where to look.” Andrew slowly closed his eyes again. “I haven’t visualized my mind in weeks.”
“Did the woman not count?”
With a start he opened his eyes, a figure flashing past before he stared at the almost forgotten place around him. The wispy memories were more numerous now, the few that represented his stories and ideas joined by vibrant figures and objects. Unlike when he had first been here, nothing was without color.
“I figured you’d come looking for me eventually.”
Andrew blinked, one of the glowing figures coming into focus. Grace gave him a small smile and saluted. “Hey.”
“Grace?” Andrew gasped. “No, it can’t really be you.”
“It’s not.” The image chuckled softly. “I’m dead. But you still treasure me, don’t you.”
Andrew blinked. “Treasure you?”
“Look around.” The image of Grace gestured at the scattered memories. “Everything that you hold close to your heart makes its way here. Your treasure vault.” She dropped her hands. “It started small, didn’t it? And now it’s grown into this.”
Andrew took a few moments to gaze around them. “How are you here?”
Grace smiled. “I’m your memory of her, the pieces you treasured the most.”
Andrew smirked. “So you’re not going to be able to give me much advice, are you.”
Grace laughed. “Probably not.” Her smile faded slightly. “Why did you come looking for me? What were you hoping to find?”
“I...” Andrew trailed off. “I don’t know. I wasn’t reaching for you. I didn’t even know you were here. I was trying to find a weapon, something I could use to fight.” He glanced at the image of the Mini-Top. “I’m weak, and I refuse to let the others do everything for me. So I need to grow stronger.”
Grace grinned. “That’s just like you. Never content, always trying to be a bit better than yesterday. Well, we’re here for you, whenever you’re ready.”
“What do you mean by that?”
Grace blinked. “Didn’t you tell me to say that?”
Andrew opened his mouth to question further but closed it when he remembered that the projection in front of him couldn’t know more than he did. Obviously some part of him knew the answer he wanted, but it wasn’t going to be handed to him. He’d have to find it on his own.
He was starting to search for his next step when a thought occurred to him. “What did you mean, ‘did the woman not count’?”
The image of Grace shook its head. “I never said such a thing.”
Andrew blinked at her. “Then... who?”
One of the wispy memories shifted slightly, revealing a silhouette. The figure watched as Andrew began searching around him, conversing with some of the scattered memories, meditating in front of others. It smiled. “You’re doing it.” Its eyes shone with love as it watched him. “I’ll help.”
Gale looked up from her exercises. “How long has he been standing like that?”
Lyn cocked her head in thought. “Just over an hour, I think. Daria, how’s he looking?”
“He’ll be waking up soon.” Daria shifted slightly to get more comfortable. “Whatever soul searching he’s been doing is coming to an end.”
Lyn didn’t bother asking how she knew that, simply returning to measuring Andrew’s magic power.
True to Daria’s word Andrew stirred a few minutes later and opened his eyes. “How long?”
“An hour.” Daria gazed at him. “So?”
“I’ve got some ideas. How long do I have left?”
“Mmm, technically lunchtime started a few minutes ago, but noon isn’t for another hour or so.” Daria smirked. “I’ll be kind and give you half.”
Andrew gave her a wry look. “You were never really a teacher, were you?”
Daria snickered. “Oh, I was a teacher alright. But I didn’t teach in the school, I taught the invisibles.” She rolled her eyes. “Shit, sorry. Don’t need to use those terms anymore. I was a battalion commander under my mother, so I was the one who taught the platoon leaders what they needed and fielded any questions. I have my specialties, they had theirs, and between us we knew more about magic than most of the researchers.” She stretched. “So I know how to squeeze water from a stone. I’m squeezing.”
“Can you actually squeeze?”
Daria choked and began coughing. “I beg your pardon?”
Andrew gazed at his hand. “It’s been years since I was in basic, but it’s where I learned to jump without asking how high. Can you do the same?”
Daria caught her breath. “Oh, that’s what you meant. No, this isn’t something I can do for you. Sorry.”
“Pity.” Andrew steadied himself. “Because I was hoping you’d help this not hurt so much.”
Daria raised an eyebrow when she read the sudden change in his aura. “Ooh, yea, that’s gonna sting.”
He needed to reach out and hit the target. Just once, that was the test. He wasn’t allowed to move. But they could. “Grace, lend me your strength.”
Andrew grit his teeth as he felt the call sap at his energy, bracing for the wave of pain as his life force was ripped away. Around his outstretched arm a weave of energy spun, the form flashing a few times to look suspiciously like fur.
“You get one for free.” The memory of Grace grinned at him. “Only because I like you.”
“Fuck off, you’re making me pay out the nose for this.” Andrew spat. “If you didn’t look like her, I’d figure out a way to kill you.”
The specter laughed. “You’re paying for it. But I’m doing it.” The energy stabilized and Andrew felt the familiar heft of a pistol in his grip. “And in the end, so are you, even if you don’t know exactly how yet. We’ll be waiting.”
Andrew’s focus wavered as he felt another presence suddenly surge in his outstretched hand, the painful draining vanishing and leaving a soothing glow in its place. “What-“ he started to ask before a new voice engulfed the last of the specter’s presence.
Daria’s eyes widened as she felt the surge but was caught off guard. Andrew took aim and pulled the trigger, a bolt of light spearing from the gun into the center of the target.
The raw energy painted a green spot above the bullseye before the runes flared and vanished, their absorption limit failing in under a second. The bolt drilled into the solid rock behind, finally dissipating when Andrew clutched at his arm and fell to his knees.
“GALE!” The Night Nurse was already on the move even before Lyn’s panicked scream, her armor formed across her entire body.
“Eyes up, look at me, hello.” She chanted, firmly grasping Andrew’s head and supporting him. “Eyes on the finger, there we are, I’m talking, you’re reacting, breathe in, still on me, breathe out, and hold, breathe-“
Andrew suddenly spasmed and screamed, the forced breaths turning into a panicked gasping that only slowed when Gale slammed her palm into his solar plexus. “None of that, stay awake.” She slowly sat him down and began inspecting the panting man. “Nothing broken, what’s 2 times 4?”
Andrew wheezed and pushed his head down in an attempt to recover from her blow. “Eight?”
“No, keep that head up.” Andrew grimaced when Gale pulled him back into a neutral position. “Keep that airway open.”
Lyn had stayed just long enough to make sure Gale had him under control before she had run over to where Daria lay sprawled out across the floor. “Daria, are you ok?”
The Vampire let out a sigh. “I’m going to stare at the nice ceiling for a while.”
Lyn pulled her up and looked at her quizzically. “Are you ok?”
“I was centimeters away from that blast. I felt it through every shield I have.” She turned to look at the clean hole. “I’ll be ok.”
“Did you see…?”
“Mmhmm.” Daria glanced over at where Gale was still fussing over Andrew. “I expected him to do something like that, but I was not prepared for him to pull that much power. He’ll have to control it.” She grinned, the excited look slowly turning evil. “We start tomorrow.”
The after hours lights barely lit the corridors, giving little assistance to the figure that quietly made its way through the cave. It paused at a few intersections, searching, before it wandered down a door-lined hallway, avoiding where a few still trained in the gym.
“You’re up late.”
The figure stopped, watching as a shadow detached from the wall ahead. Aella stepped directly under one of the lights and nodded at the figure. “Looking for something?”
Albia sighed. “Looking for you, I suppose. I know you were doing the same this afternoon.”
“I hear everything that goes on around here.” Aella folded her arms. “I was wondering what felt wrong about you yesterday.”
Albia winced and glanced away. “This is the main hallway, right? Shouldn’t we do this outside?”
“Worried about someone other than yourself? That’s rare.” Aella sneered. “I knew one of your kind intimately. You don’t give a flying fuck about him, do you? He’s just another tool for you to use.”
Albia’s eyes flashed. “And what about you? You’re going to claim you’re different? We are what we are, sister. And believe me or not, I want him. Desperately. He is the first breath of stability I have taken in years of pain and suffering. I won’t let anyone, even you, stand between me and him.” She subtly closed up her stance to match Aella’s movement. “You’re talking about your mother?”
Aella glared. “And who would she be?”
“The Thundnaga Alia. 41.” Albia pointed at herself. “I am 44.”
Aella’s eyes narrowed. “How did you know my mother?”
“She was my peer. For a time, my friend. We went our separate ways during the war.” Albia shifted her weight as Aella tensed. “I won’t argue that it’s rare for one of us to find love for anything other than our mission. But you have. Why can’t I?”
“She only loved one thing, and that was my father.” Aella spat. “I see how you watch the angel. There isn’t enough left in your shallow heart for another.”
Albia’s body tensed with her hidden anger and she began to growl, the sound ripping past her clenched teeth. “Do. Not. Insult me.”
“The truth hurts, doesn’t it?” Aella hissed back. “It hasn’t even been a day and you’re spouting bullshit about how you love him. Don’t. Insult. ME.”
Albia was glaring death at the Shinryu but she slowly responded. “Fine. You’re right, I don’t love him. Yet. I know it will change, because he will open my heart. Like he has opened yours. You, the daughter of my greatest rival, with power enough to rule a force that would match any unit I’ve been with. You have all of her strength. None of her weakness. You hold the refinement of centuries of experience that I can never hope to match.”
“Flattery will only hurt you.” Aella jabbed her thumb over her shoulder. “Outside.”
The two kept their eye contact even as they teleported simultaneously, appearing in the clearing outside the front of the cave. “This is still a bit close.” Albia murmured.
“There’s a good area a kilometer west.” Aella broke eye contact for a moment to gesture. “We’ll meet there.” She turned back. “I will not acknowledge you until I rip apart your veil. I will know who you really are, Hunter.”
Albia gave her a grim smile. “I would have granted you the respect you have no doubt earned, but this suits me much better anyways.” She grinned. “I will know your power… Alpha.”
Andrew yawned as he watched the two zip into the air and begin flying away from the clearing. “Do you have anyone following them?”
Cortney paused the recording and nodded. “Kuu has two scouts in the area watching them. They started fighting a few minutes ago.”
“Thank you for letting me know.” Andrew stretched. “Even if it meant waking me up.”
Cortney chuckled at his resting place. “I’m sure that’s quite comfortable.”
Andrew smiled slightly and leaned back against Ishara’s slumbering body. “She’s got some big pillows.”
Cortney smirked. “Orders, Sir?”
“I’m not stupid enough to get in between them right now.” Andrew yawned again and nestled against Ishara’s bare skin. “As long as they don’t kill each other, leave them alone. I’ll review the footage and speak with them in the morning if necessary.”
Albia glanced at the Falcongentle as she landed behind them. “We have an audience.”
“That’s one of Kuu’s commanders.” Aella stretched. “From the elf court.”
“Recording us, most likely.” Aella braced. “He doesn’t miss a beat, my Master.”
Albia smiled. “I see.” She settled into a ready stance of her own. “You may have the first move.”
The Falcongentle hissed and slipped backwards into the treeline, abandoning her recording equipment as she felt the power in the small clearing. She quickly winged off, landing above where the other scout crouched.
“Hannah, did you place your node?” She whispered.
The crouching Avariel glanced up. “I have, madam. Permission te’ retreat?”
“Join the vanguard.” The Falcongentle steadied herself against a trunk. “I will stay on Her Majesty’s orders.”
The elf blinked her acknowledgement. “Be safe, Mikay.”
“And you, Sergeant.” Mikay grit her teeth as the two figures clashed again, feeling the impact even at the safe distance she had taken. “It’s like watching when Generals fought.”
The Avariel glanced back. “You didn’t hear? They are Death.”
Mikay blanched at the Avariel’s words but held her ground, allowing the Avariel to retreat safely. “Death.” She whispered. “I will watch and do no more, my Queen.”
Aella grunted as she felt the impact against her side and pinwheeled away, her scales sparking as they deflected the magical barrage Albia was spewing. With a snarl she reversed her direction and blitzed through the storm in an attempt to grapple the splice.
Albia waited for her to commit before her form blurred, dashing away and dodging each of Aella’s counterattacks.
Aella sneered and teleported. “Lyn tried the same thing!” She thought triumphantly, smashing her clawed hand into Albia’s head. With a curse the illusion shattered, another barrage blowing her away. Albia glanced around, spitting when she saw the handful of identical images. “BITCH!”
Albia’s expression didn’t change when each projection fired an identical barrage at the livid Shinryu. Aella dodged, lightning sparking around her fists before lancing out to fill the arena. The splice finally smiled as she watched her images get destroyed, the low power attack barely registering as it hit her. “You think well.”
Aella snarled and teleported again, seeking to hit the stationary splice. Albia countered with a gesture, an object flipping off the ground and crashing into Aella’s stomach. Aella’s eyes bugged out as her breath was hammered from her lungs, the rock zipping past her before looping and rocketing towards the stunned Shinryu’s head.
Aella screamed, her eyes bleeding red as she finally shifted, the rock shattering against her coiled body. The dragon glared at Albia before screaming her challenge, the Roar technique doing little to break Albia’s resolve. She grinned, two rectangles hovering from behind her. “Die.”
The air around Aella shuddered and the Shinryu crashed to the ground, her body straining as she fought the increased gravity Albia had caused. Albia wasted no time, activating her second card, causing Aella to scream in pain as the ground beneath her turned into lava.
Albia took a step but swore and teleported as the ground beneath her exploded, Aella breaking free of the spell and taking to the sky with ugly burns running the length of her body. Albia started to run but froze, her eyes darting around the clearing. “When?”
Aella let out an ugly laugh and vanished, appearing next to the frozen splice and hammering her with her body. Albia’s eyes bugged as she felt the blow and tried to defend, but couldn’t dampen the impact enough; as she spun away she felt several stabs of pain as her ribs fragmented. Aella didn’t flinch as Albia heaved, a mixture of bile and blood highlighting the internal damage the splice had received.
Albia winced, her body beginning to glow as she healed herself, but Aella hadn’t paused her assault. Albia had to dodge backwards again, screaming as another explosion ripped up her leg, sending her to the ground in an undignified sprawl. She quickly levitated, the stump of her foot hanging uselessly behind her.
Albia caught her breath as she felt the internal damage heal enough for her to return to the offensive, blocking out the pain from her mangled leg and raising her hand again. “DARKNESS!”
Aella swore when the sphere of inky black swallowed the clearing and immediately climbed, breaking through the spell and lobbing a ball of electricity at the focal point.
Her eyes narrowed when the explosion went off but the sphere remained unchanged, quickly blitzing to the side to avoid a spear of crackling red lightning that burst from a different part of the bubble.
“So it’s not coming from you.” Aella called, dodging another spear from yet another different location. “Tricky bitch.”
Within the spell Albia crouched and glared at her still shattered leg. The healing had fixed the punctures, breaks, and skin, but the technique did nothing for the missing bones and severed tendons that peppered her body. She glanced up at the hovering Shinryu, teleporting away from a near-miss and sighing.
Aella was readying a carpet bombing when the darkness vanished to reveal Albia. Aella gazed down at her before smiling slightly. “You’re just full of surprises, aren’t you, Splice.”
Albia glared up at the hovering dragon, her newly tauric body scraping as she fought to stand still. “You did well breaking my leg. I would have lost.”
“How’s the ribs?” Aella goaded, laughing when she saw Albia wince. “HAH! I knew I hit them well.”
The Cheetaura form bent down as Albia tensed. “You fight me at your best, so now I WILL DO THE SAME!”
Aella twisted backwards as Albia launched herself into the air, her body flaring as she Ignited and giving the screaming girl a hellish appearance. Aella had to duck as fire blasted past her head, Albia bringing her head around to chase the fleeing Shinryu with full strength Fire Blasts. Below them the techniques impacted among the trees, sending explosions of flame high into the air.
Hannah twisted and began shouting orders as the fire caught. “Water types, begin to douse! Nayrea, is Juniper here?”
The unnaturally tall Golden Elf pointed at a small group of pokegirls and one towering Gardelfwhor that was running towards the flames. “I have already sent her with some elves to show the forest how to survive.” She lowered her hand, her eyes shining as she began to connect with the trees around them. “Our Queen has been notified.”
Mikay twisted and watched the explosions with horror, but calmed when she saw the first flames vanish nearly instantly. The vanguard was doing their job. She turned back to the battle in time to see Albia crashing to the ground, a gaping hole in her stomach that the splice was desperately trying to close.
Aella twisted and spat, viscera arcing across the clearing. Her face and upper body were painted red but she moved easily, clearly showing how little of the blood was her own. Below her Albia slammed into the ground, a small furrow digging up as she slid.
“That’s… new.” Albia managed to gasp, air bubbling from her wound. She coughed as the blood leaked into her lungs, only managing to coat the clearing floor with slightly more liquid. “How?”
Aella landed, sliding slightly and wincing as the movement tore open the wounds she had received early in the fight. After a moment she shifted back to her human form, staggering but remaining upright. “A dragon’s teeth are sharper than you give them credit.”
Albia chuckled, the motion quickly turning to an uncontrollable cough as her lungs filled with blood. Aella watched her dispassionately. “You’re drowning.”
Albia’s form shifted back to her own human form and she surged to her feet, doubling over and expelling the blood from her lungs so she could breath again. Aella watched her collapse, the movement ruining any hope she had had of closing the hole Aella had created. “I admit. You nearly had me. If you had realized what I was doing and taken advantage of it, I would have lost.”
Albia gasped, the dirt around her slowly turning crimson. “I… could never… My… Alpha.”
Aella smiled slightly and raised her hand, a few muffled thuds emanating from around them as dirt sank into the holes her mines had occupied. “Recall yourself before you die.”
Albia didn’t look up as a pokeball levitated out from where it had been thrown into the tree line. “I…”
“I see you laid bare, Sister.” Aella whispered. “Be proud. We will protect him, together.”
Albia smiled, though Aella couldn’t see her face where it was pressed into the dirt. “Thank you.”
Aella collapsed to her knees after Albia triggered the recall, the pokeball falling to the ground as her psychic hold vanished. Aella raised a trembling hand to her side, pulling it away and staring at the blood that covered her fingers.
“You got me.” She muttered, the wounds slowly knitting back together from her healing. She snorted. “Got me good. Next time, don’t hold back.”
“Rest, my Alpha.” Aella glanced to the trees to see Kuu standing there, holding her bow at a ready position. “We will watch over you.”
Aella slowly sat. “Was there any damage?”
Kuu shook her head. “A few trees sport new scars, but they will heal. Just as you need to. Rest.”
“Just… a few…” Aella trailed off, her eyes slowly closing. Kuu gestured, forms breaking from the trees and spreading out across the clearing. Nearly all eyes were on the slumbering Shinryu until they swiveled outwards at Kuu’s silent command. The ElfQueen took up her own post directly next to her Alpha, her bright eyes scanning to ensure no threat would make it to her charge unchallenged.
Col. Andrew Ranger
(Tech Ops) Maj. Cortney
(Strike) Maj. Aella
(Logistics) Maj. Lyn
(Advisor) Cpt. Nevaeh
(Defense) Cpt. Kuu
(Beta) Cpt. Cristina
(Medic) Cpt. Gale
(Council) Cpt. Rein (Ret.)
Sgt. Yang (Ret.)
Daria – Vampire
Aella – (Hunter) Shinryu – Alpha
Cristina – (Blessed, Fiendish) Ophanim – Beta
Cortney – (Upgraded) Videogirl
Fu – Warvern
Lucina – Shadowcat
Nami – Sharptits
Constance – Tank Vixxen
Gale – Night Nurse
Shamira – Goldina
Nevaeh – (Blessed, Fiendish) G-Splice
Melody – Wet Queen
Ann – Ice Empress
Nova – Blazicunt
Furia – (Fiendish) Wolf Queen
Rein – Myobu
Ishara – Romanticide
Kuu – Elfqueen
Lyn – Archmage
Yang – Nereidame
Camiel – (Paragon) Archangel
Albia – (Hunter) G-Splice
Matías Miller – Human
Clara – Tengal
Jessie – Sword Dancer