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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.







Chapter 46



         Andrew stood and watched the Celestials pack their bags. “Thank you for your time, lieutenant.”


         Mary Lou bobbed her head. “It was our pleasure, colonel. Your force is a bit rough, but I would be happy to work with them again.” She smiled. “I wish you good luck and good fortune. Command is yours. I look forward to the day we may fight together.”


         Andrew waited until the last one had teleported before turning and walking back into the caves. Ducking inside his bedroom he grabbed the packet of papers and stuffed it in his pocket before allowing just a bit of his anger to bubble to the surface.




         “Yes, Andrew?” Cortney replied in his ear.


         “I’m calling a command meeting.” Andrew strode through the halls towards the main conference room. “I am calling a full command meeting. I do not care how tired they may be, they will be there.”


         The hesitation was evident in her voice when she replied. “Some are recovering, and-“


         “I don’t care.” Andrew snapped. “They have fifteen minutes. Shower, dress, eat, whatever they wish to do as long as they are there in fifteen minutes.”


         “Who should I contact?”


         “You need me to list? Maybe I should just get them myself.” Andrew stopped. “You. Aella. Lyn. Nevaeh. Kuu. Cristina. Gale. Rein.”


         “Not Camiel?”


         “For god’s sake Cortney, stop double guessing me right now and just do it!” Andrew slammed his hand against the wall. “I am calling a meeting of the command staff of this harem. Camiel is not one of them. Do it.”


         He waited for a response. When he got none he pushed inside the room, withdrawing the stack of handwritten notes and placing them face down on the table.


         “What is this about?”


         Andrew took his seat, gazing at where Cortney had manifested her body. “It’s about time I start holding people accountable for their actions.”


         She winced. “Wasn’t that what bringing in Mary Lou was supposed to do?”


         “No.” Andrew replied grimly. “That was a wake up call for the entire combat team, not just her. We’re getting soft, and we’re breaking apart. I will explain more when the others are here.”


         Cortney quieted, waiting for the other leaders to arrive. Eventually they filtered in, Rein arriving last and perching on her chair expectantly.


         Andrew took note of the wet hair that graced most of their heads. “Thank you for leaving your personal activities to attend this meeting. As I have called it, I will hold the floor. Any questions may be posed when I open the floor.” He looked around, nodding at the silent faces. “After I have made my opening statements, I will go over the agenda.”


         “Before you do.” Rein crossed her hands in her lap. “Are there any others you wish to be here?”


         “There are not.”


         “Camiel and Daria are both outer harem that assist the command staff regularly.”


         Andrew shook his head. “Thank you for your input, Rein, but as you said they are outer harem. That distinction is on my agenda today, and I will explain more when we get there.” He waited, continuing when nobody else spoke. “I have called this meeting today because there are some of you who are not doing their jobs appropriately. That includes myself, as I am meant to be the coordinator of each of your efforts and have been heavily slacking in my duties. Additionally, I have called this meeting to discuss certain policies that have been implemented behind my back, and to clarify various points of contention within the harem. This will include our future, my future, and the responsibilities of each of you.” He gazed around the table. “Are there any questions.”


         “Why have you waited so long to do this?” Gale asked. “You’ve been fighting it for a long time.”


         “I have waited because I held out hope that the pokegirls I chose to lead my harem would be able to without my direct intervention. That has not been the case.”


         When nobody spoke Aella looked at him. “What is the agenda?” She asked quietly.


         “Item one. Status and classification of each member of this harem. There are some who have grown, and there are some who have not. Item two,” he glanced down at his sheet, “Duties and scheduling. I am sick and tired of being at the beck and call of anyone who wants me. I have made light of it to avoid conflict, but it ends today. Item three. Expectations. First and foremost this has and always will be a combat harem. Soon we will be gaining new objectives, but our primary focus will never again leave combat preparedness.”


         He glanced at Aella. “Politics and power jockeying is unacceptable. Soon this family of ours will be growing, and I refuse to fail my children because my wives are busy fighting over who loves me more.” He looked back to his notes when Aella gave a jerking nod. “Item four. Respect and abuse. Some of you have been leveraging your position to create unfair situations for others. This includes me, and it has happened against me. Item five. The future. We have been hiding in a hole and hoping the world ignores us. It has not. We have unknown threats that we still have not uncovered, we have allies who depend on us for assistance that we are currently unable to give, and we have a growing presence that is only going to get worse as Kuu continues to claim the mountains to our west. How many incursions have you steered away now, Kuu?”


         “Half a dozen that have made it far enough to be tailed by my patrols.” Kuu replied. “Three of those wore Sunshine uniforms.”


         “I have more items but I will either save them for a less important meeting, or incorporate them into my current agenda items so as to hopefully be done with this meeting before bedtime.” He looked around expectantly. “The floor is open. Are there any items you would like to add?”


         Gale nodded. “I motion to add an item after item one. Your biology.”


         Andrew grimaced. “There is no discussion there. I have my answers waiting for me out in the forest. If I do not, I will have to find them myself.”


         Gale shrugged. “With the understanding that we will assist you with or without your consent on that, I withdraw my motion.”


         Andrew sighed. “Acknowledged. Any other motions?” When nobody spoke he nodded. “Item one: status and classification. I will begin with classification; after this meeting, the harem will be cut in half.”


         There were some shared glances at the announcement. “Combat and non-combat harems will be classified.” Andrew continued. “To put it another way, inner and outer harems. The inner, combat harem will consist of the pokegirls I know I can rely on to form an offensive. The outer, non-combat harem will consist of the rest. I will not show favoritism between a member of the inner harem and a member of the outer harem, and I will not casually move pokegirls between the harems if they are injured or otherwise are unable to perform their duties. It is simply a way for me to differentiate between the pokegirls I fight with, and those I only live with.”


         “Permission to speak?”


         Andrew turned. “Yes, Rein?”


         “Who will be in this outer harem?”


         “Obviously you and Yang.” Andrew replied. “Additionally, Ann and Shamira after their demotions from the combat team. Beyond that, it will be Ishara, Daria, Camiel, Albia, Kuu,” he turned to where Cortney sat, “Nevaeh, and Cortney.”


         Cortney started to speak but Nevaeh beat her to it. “Am I being demoted?”


         Andrew gazed at her. “In a manner of speaking. I hope that you can rejoin the combat team at a later date, but you have been terribly distracted with your own issues lately. You also have not been acting in your capacity as my advisor, so I am removing your status.”


         Nevaeh let out a sigh of relief. “I never wanted that. Thank you.”


         “Andrew?” Kuu caught his eye before Cortney could interrupt again. “Why am I in this outer harem?”


         “I can’t use you on a deployment.” Andrew replied. “You’re sworn to your court. This is no different from what you’ve been doing as our home defense.”


         He looked away from her and finally to Cortney, missing the calculating expression Kuu had grown. “Cortney, you have a question?”




         Andrew sighed. “You don’t train with the others, and your job is too important to have you distracted.”


         “I can fight just fine!”


         “I know you can.” Andrew replied. “Do you think I believe Nevaeh, or Ishara, or Kuu can’t? You can’t deploy with us. That’s why you are being placed in the non-combat harem.”


         “You claim that you won’t play favorites but-“


         “You want to play that card?” Andrew snapped. “You have enjoyed the benefits of being one of my favorites. I openly admit that I enjoy the presence of some of you more than others. I try to keep it fair, but it would be impossible for me to like each and every one of you, for the same reasons, equally.” He glanced around. “Want to hear a secret? If you make yourself the one who can do something best, you’ll be able to get more of my time than anyone else. Cortney is the only Videogirl here, which means she is automatically the best damn intelligence gatherer we have.” He pulled out a sheet to stop her protests. “That addressed my concerns on status around here nicely. How about we take a look at item two? Before we do, are there any further issues with item one?”


         “I want to be part of the active harem.” Kuu stated.


         Andrew stared at her. “You have an obligation to your court. Am I wrong? That’s the whole reason you asked me to take Furia into my life. So you could focus on them.”


         Kuu nodded. “I do. Do you intend to leave this land, or continue to live on it?”


         Andrew frowned. “I intend to stay here.”


         “My court has already grown large enough that I need to delegate to subordinates.” She raised an eyebrow. “You’ve met them. Am I wrong?”


         “You’re still their Queen. You still need to be with them.”


         “They will have no problem functioning without me every once in a while.” Kuu waited while he thought before snarling, baring her teeth. “Very well. If you will not grant me this, I will remove Furia from your harem. She belongs to me, after all.”


         Andrew blinked in shock. “Kuu-“


         “You propose to grant her a status above my own.” Kuu snapped. “I would sooner remove her entirely from your presence than accept that my King favors her over me.”


         Andrew’s mouth worked. “Kuu, that’s not what this is at all, this is...”


         “When we are done here today, I will notify Naiscia that she will be taking the role of my direct subservient queen, and Furia will be returning to head my personal guard.” Her eyes challenged him with every word. “You claimed there was an obstacle between my status with you and my obligations. Naiscia will rule in my stead, and I will rule with you.”


         There was utter silence in the room until Andrew bowed his head. “Furia will be a part of the outer harem, acting as your voice in Naiscia’s council. Naiscia will act as your proxy, and you will join the combat harem.”


         “Thank you.” Kuu sat. She waited for him to continue with his meeting but shifted nervously when he continued staring at the table. “Andrew?”


         “I thought to control you. You’ve shown you are not to be controlled.” He smiled slightly. “Apologies, Kuu.”


         “My place is by your side.” Kuu replied gently. “If I must force that to happen then I will. At the end of the day I serve you, not my court, and so if I must renounce my role one day and travel with you, I will do so gladly.”


         “I hope it never comes to that.” Andrew replied, looking back up at her. “Alright. Item two. Scheduling.” He handed the paper he had been holding to Gale. “Pass that around.”


         The Night Nurse peered at the colored segments. “What is this?”


         “I catalogued my daily activities for the week before last.” Andrew smiled grimly. “I believe it doesn’t take much to see the point I will be making.”


         Gale handed it off to the next person. “I can guess.”


         Nevaeh gazed at the schedule for a few seconds before shaking her head and passing it to Lyn. “Fuck.”


         Andrew waited for the paper to make its rounds, taking it back from Rein. “Cortney, as you can see you already have more access to me than every other girl combined.”


         The Videogirl winced. “I see that.”


         “Almost every day I spend hours with you, going over plans, discussing activities, and most importantly,” he pointed at two bright red streaks that ran the length of the week, “querying you about my day. I rely on you to schedule both my daily activities,” he pointed at the one that ran across the morning, “and my nightly taming schedule.” He tapped the paper. “I am not angry that you are essentially my secretary at this point, but I think you are intelligent enough to agree that out of every girl in this harem, you have the least to stand on when I talk about giving time to others.”


         Cortney nodded. “You’re right.”


         “You all will also have noticed how little blank space there was on that schedule. I have a harem of some twenty pokegirls. I understand that. This means that there are a lot of women jockeying for my time. I understand that. What I am now going to insist is that I will have time to myself, where I do not have to worry about being set upon by a random pokegirl who wants me to herself. I may choose to spend my time with someone, but if I do, it will be my choice. Not theirs.” He withdrew another sheet. “Here was my schedule the four days before Mary Lou arrived. Go ahead and tell me what is different.”


         This time he handed it to Rein first. The Myobu ran her eyes over the paper, nodding when she saw what he was referring to. “Your lunch period was empty each day.”


         “That’s right.” Andrew watched the paper make its rounds. “I have my proposed schedule here as well. Basically, from midnight to revelry is blocked. No activities are allowed, as that is sleeping time. Daily training starts at 0800 and will last likely one hour. After that, I will go with whomever I am learning from for the day until noon. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays will be Fu’s days, and Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays will belong to Daria or Lyn, whomever I’m working with that week. Sunday after PT will be free. I will likely set up some sort of weekly event for that time, just so I don’t get bored.” He nodded when Cristina raised her hand. “Yes.”


         “That time may be good for personal pursuits. I wouldn’t block it out just yet.”


         Andrew blinked. “Alright, I won’t.” He thought for a moment. “How about Sunday, as a whole, can be an open access day? No hard training, but I will make myself available for anyone who wants to do something with me.” He glanced at Aella. “The Alpha would probably form a schedule for that.”


         Aella shrugged. “Who’d that be?”


         Andrew stopped writing their ideas to look at her. “I beg your pardon?”


         “You’re going to do it sometime. Get it over with.” Aella grumbled.


         Andrew stared in confusion for a few seconds before realizing. “Oh.” He glanced around the table. “Well, this is awkward.”


         “There’s nothing awkward about it.” Aella snapped. “Demote me and get it over with.”


         “Aella, I have no plans to demote you.” He gazed at the other elements of the command staff. “Do any of you?” When the most committed response was Cristina’s shrug, he turned back to Aella. “Doesn’t look like it. Nobody was thinking of demoting you except for you.”


         “You brought in those- those soldiers, and...” Aella trailed off. “You’re obviously unhappy with what I’ve been doing. Why are you lying now?”


         “I’m not lying.” Andrew replied evenly. “But you have been. A lie of omission, leaving me out of the loop for months as you lost control over the harem. Am I unhappy with what you’ve been doing? Damn straight. Am I unhappy with your goals as the Alpha? No. Your methods are terrible, but your intentions are good. Actually,” he frowned, “that’s a good point.”


         Aella watched him. “What.”


         Andrew glanced at Cristina. “Are you willing to take a more active role for a month or so?”


         Cristina frowned. “Maybe? What do you mean.”


         “Aella, the entire point of Cristina’s recommendation was to offset your inexperience. I threw you into a situation that experienced Alphas would have struggled with. She was there to help you survive long enough to learn.”


         Aella’s eyes flicked to the Ophanim. “They said the same thing.”


         Andrew raised an eyebrow. “Hm?”


         “One of... one of the soldiers, had me training with her in private.” She looked back down at the table. “She said some of the same things you are.”


         “Then let’s do this.” Andrew pointed at Cristina. “Cristina, I am suspending Aella until such a time when an evaluation deems her competent once again. You are acting Alpha until that time.”


         Cristina grimaced. “What does that mean?”


         “I want Aella making the decisions, but you have the authority for now. If you feel the need to override her, you may. In public you are the Alpha. In private you will be coaching her the best you can.”


         Cristina gazed at the Shinryu. “I can do that.”


         Aella had her face pressed against the table. “So I’m done.” She mumbled, her words nearly absorbed by the wood.


         “I never said that.” Andrew shook his head and went back to his notes. “I’ve made my decision. Now, I haven’t outlined my plan for afternoons yet.”


         “After three o’clock?” Gale asked, keeping her gaze from where Aella slowly sobbed. “Perhaps we can designate those times as harem activities.”


         “That’s a good idea, but I was going to suggest that the afternoons before dinner can be taken up by individual training or pursuits. As long as the members of the combat harem are meeting expectations, I don’t see why they can’t be allowed to have a loosely scheduled afternoon.”


         “That’s a better idea.” Cristina said, her voice slighter louder than she needed so as to speak over Aella’s noise. “If that is what we will be doing, what will you be doing?”


         “Well,” Andrew replied slowly, “I still have many weeks of commitments from the tournament to honor. I assume they will take those slots for a while. After that, I’m not sure yet. Perhaps command meetings with each member, such as my intelligence meetings with Cortney, or my walks with Kuu. Or that time will be put aside with the understanding that in about a year, I will start to have many, many children to worry about.” He smiled when Cristina glanced away in embarrassment. “But I think the best way to allocate it is as ‘family time’. Time that I expect to be taken by someone, we just don’t know exactly who yet.”


         “Are you going to form schedules for us, as well?” Lyn asked.


         “I see no reason to.” Andrew shrugged. “I still hope that each of you can take care of yourselves and your duties as functioning adults. I’m just using today to lay the ground rules that should have been explicitly made a long time ago.” He frowned at his sheet as Lyn purpled and sat back. “Right. Any major scheduling events that I am unaware of?”


         “I will notify you when I have one.” Cristina gave him a small grin when Andrew looked at her questioningly.


         “...Alright,” he flipped a page, “now we get to the tough bit.” He looked at Aella. “This was supposed to be when I addressed you, Aella. Along with all the others. You didn’t have to take the blow alone.”


         She still had her face against the table. “Why didn’t you stop me?” She slowly looked up to him and Andrew was surprised to see how red her face had gotten. “I love you. Why didn’t you tell me that I was doing it wrong?”


         Andrew pursed his lips, watching Cristina reach over and draw the sobbing girl into her embrace. The size difference made them look like a mother and daughter as Cristina gently consoled Aella. “I didn’t stop you because you never gave me a chance to.” He replied. “I trusted you. I didn’t realize how far the situation had deteriorated until I started seeing the problems in everyone’s interactions with me. You did an excellent job hiding what was going on, and if you had been doing the right things we’d never be having this conversation. But your closest advisor told me one day that you had begun to get worse. So I acted.”


         Aella pulled away and stared up at Cristinas face. “You?”


         The Ophanim continued stroking Aella’s hair. “You’re one hell of a fighter, Aella.” She laughed. “But you’re young. All you’ve known was your mother’s violence. It raised a wonderful pokegirl, but you weren’t quite ready for this large of a role. Then again,” she glanced at him, “neither was I. There were no good choices, were there?”


         Andrew cracked a tight smile. “No.”


         “So we make do with what we’ve got.” Cristina let Aella return to crying against her chest. “We’ll get through it together.”


         Andrew sighed. “She’s not alone. Cortney with her manipulating, Lyn with her obsessive research, each of us are guilty of something that wasn’t for the good of the family.” He looked around. “We all need to be better. Gale, for another example, I understand you’ve been stretching the truth a bit when girls come to you for help after a training accident.”


         Gale grimaced. “I don’t want my sisters getting hurt.”


         “So teach them how to train safely, don’t make them afraid to train at all.” Andrew rubbed his eyes. “I’ve kind of left item three and entered item four. Let’s just smash them together and understand that we all have power over others. We can’t betray their trust. And we have been, while not malevolently, betraying that. We’re all fighters. Even the non-combat harem is filled with rabid fighters. Yet we posture and preen and pay lip service to the people at our side.” He shook his head. “That was the wake up call I asked Mary Lou to bring. We’re soft. We haven’t taken work in months. We need to return to what we were.”


         “If I may?” Rein glanced around the table. “I have seen an upsurge in visits these last few weeks. Our sisters are struggling, trying to reconcile their wants with the current attitude here. Andrew is correct. We all, as pokegirls, require something with which we can burn off energy. The fight tournament was a good start, but we need to create constant events for them to be thinking about. Without goals, they will simply fall back into today’s slump.”


         “Wreckball!” Gale blurted out. “We can start a Wreckball league.”


         “We could start a team, but nobody else on this earth knows Wreckball rules.” Andrew paused. “Actually, that’s not true. Iain surely does, as would many of the pokegirls on Haven. That’s an idea.”


         “It would help keep combat readiness from falling off.” Rein mused. “I second the idea.”


         “We will look into it.” Andrew jotted down a note. “Alright. Aella, have you recovered?”


         Aella had returned to her chair and she nodded slightly. “Yea.”


         “We’re at the easy part now.” He smiled. “The future.”


         Cristina had been blotting at Aella’s tearstains but spun her head to look at him when he said that. “Hold on now.”


         The table erupted into laughter at the look on each of their faces. “Oh, we know the future.” Lyn leered at him. “You’re about to be inundated with horny pokegirls. Cristina’s only opened the floodgates.”


         “How many of us are considering it? Be serious.” Gale raised her hand, her own grin widening when almost every hand at the table went up. “Sucks to be you, Sir.”


         “I’m so screwed.” Andrew breathed.


         “Were there any actual issues you wanted to discuss?” Cortney asked to forestall the rising conversation. “Perhaps we can talk about the supply issue you’ve hinted at before.”


         Andrew breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank you.” He grabbed his notes like a drowning man grabbing at a piece of driftwood. “Supplies. Yes. We’ve finally begun to run out of luxury items, like the markers I used to make these charts. Our supplies from the other world are running thin.” He shrugged. “Short term, I’m sure we can find what we need in Texas. I’ve also talked with Carmen and she says that Iain is able to procure just about anything if you know how to ask. The thing is, I don’t want to ask.” He frowned at the paper. “It’s bad enough that I’m indebted by his generosity to move us here in the first place. I’m too proud to ask to purchase silly things like markers, or shampoo, or whatever it is that’s not readily available on this world because there is no manufacturing.”


         “So we go without, or change our habits?” Cristina asked.


         “We don’t have to.” Andrew snorted. “Daria wants to visit her mother at some point. It’s another one of those things we both understand as fact without it ever having been brought up.” He looked around at the suddenly silent pokegirls. “What?”


         “Two questions.” Kuu asked. “Does that mean you’re going to want to go back to our world, and who else do you have these unspoken understandings with?”


         “I have absolutely no desire to return.” Andrew replied. “On the other hand, Daria does. She most likely has designed or already knew a dimensional travel spell, but hasn’t used it because she respects our privacy here. If she goes back, someone can scan her and figure out our dimensional coordinates. It’s a very low risk, but it exists.”


         “Does she want to leave?”


         Andrew shrugged. “I don’t think so. But she misses her mother, which I can appreciate.” He looked around the table. “As for the other question, yes.”


         Kuu’s brow furled. “I asked who.”


         “And all you get to know is that there are others.” Andrew gave her a thin smile. “If it was a matter of your own privacy, you’d appreciate me not revealing this kind of thing out of hand.”




         “That’s an interesting issue, but not all that vital.” Nevaeh grumbled. “What about our now?” She glanced around. “Look, I know I’m about to be kicked out of the council but I’d like to meddle when I still can.”


         Before Andrew could answer Gale and Kuu were exchanging a glance. “You’ve got your next conquest lined up.” Gale replied, jabbing a thumb at Cristina. “And the rumors are already flowing. Aella... or, Cristina, I suppose, has suddenly been handed information that puts our current training to shame.” She smiled. “And most importantly, I have a new test subject.”


         Andrew pinched the bridge of his nose. “Not again.” He gazed at her. “It’s not happening. I’ve shown you the maximum I’m willing to use.”


         “That’s bullshit and you know it.” Gale replied cheerfully. “You may have shot down my agenda item, but it doesn’t change the fact that you have something to discover. After the meeting, I want to run some more tests.”


         “Actually,” Kuu cut in, “I wanted to take him for a walk.”


         Andrew covered his face with his hands. “And to think I was excited whenever I heard about pokegirls fighting over me.” He peeked out at them. “The meeting is over and it is about one o’clock. That means according to the new schedule you have agreed to, I am not beholden to any of you.” He quickly got up, ducking through the door before Gale could argue. “Bye!”


         “That was a pretty stunt you pulled.” Cortney watched the door stop moving before she focused on where Kuu was stretching. “It almost worked, too. Stay in your forest.”


         “We should leave.” Rein hurriedly got to her feet and fled, followed closely by Nevaeh. Cristina hesitated but headed for the door as well. “I will not use this temporary promotion to push you, Cortney.” She waited for Aella to leave before continuing. “But I will warn you. Find a compromise, or you will have another enemy here.”


         Cortney watched her go. “Why is this so hard for you all to understand.”


         “Because we are nothing but flesh and blood.” Kuu replied with a curt snap. “You are purely analytical. To you, his safety is your only priority. To us, his happiness follows.” She looked at Gale. “I know you’re only studying him this hard so you can have specifications for his guards.”


         Gale grimaced. “I don’t want to have this conversation.”


         “It must be had.” Kuu replied. “Cortney, he trusts you. Forcing your will on him will break that trust. Work with him. Stop going against him.”


         “I will not stop doing what is best for his protection.”


         “Even if he orders you to? If your Alpha orders you to?”


         Cortney shook her head. “Aella agrees with me. And he will never make that order if I never give him the reason to do so.”


         “Then I will have to make sure our Alpha will act to protect his interests above our own.” Kuu gave them a stiff bow before sweeping from the room.


         Gale waited a few seconds before speaking. “That’s not how Kuu usually acts. What’s happened?”


         Cortney was staring at the door. “I don’t know.” She ground her teeth together. “I don’t know, and it worries me. She’s stronger than she should be.”


         Gale glanced at the Videogirl. “Really, strength is what you’re worried about?” She shook her head. “You heard him. He’s finally had enough. That means he’s going to be trying to slip away more often, and she’ll help him.”


         “As long as she is with him, he is safe.” Cortney sighed. “That, at least, I accept. It is what she might insist when she is not with him that worries me.”


         “Why couldn’t he just be a regular Master and sit in the background while we do the work.”


         “Because he would not be our commander if he was.” Cortney replied grimly. “It makes our lives harder, but we will still protect him. We have to.” She glanced at Gale. “No matter how loudly our sisters may protest.”








         Kuu chased Andrew through the caves, bursting into the forest and looking around worriedly. “Where is he?


         The trees obediently fed her information, allowing her to begin to relax. He was in the clearing. He was safer than even she could make him.




         A mile away the ElfQueen heard her call and turned to press her hand to a tree. “My Lady?


         “I need to meet you. Now.


         Naiscia blinked, breaking her contact and turning to the pokegirls around her. “Our Queen requests my presence. Protect her.”


         Kuu watched her guard appear seconds before Naiscia walked into view and bowed. “My Queen.”


         “Good afternoon, Naiscia.” Kuu waited for the ring of pokegirls to expand and give them enough room for a semblance of privacy. “I have just come from a meeting with Andrew, one in which he has in no uncertain terms defined the relationship he expects with his harem. This included me.” When Naiscia didn’t react she continued. “He attempted to place me in a secondary group within it.”


         Naiscia finally frowned. “That doesn’t seem right, my Queen.”


         “It was not his intent to insult me, but I used it as such to advance my own standing.” Kuu grinned. “And in doing so have increased your own.”


         Naiscia gave her a quizzical look. “How?”


         “Furia will be returning to her post.” Kuu explained. “I will be joining him in her place. This means I will be away from my lands on occasion.” She lowered her voice with a smile. “The court will still need a Queen.”


         Naiscia stared at her in confusion before her eyes widened and her jaw dropped. “Y- you-“


         “ElfQueen Naiscia.” Kuu’s voice droned with ritualistic power. “I hereby name you my Regent, to rule in my stead when I am otherwise disposed. I trust you will protect my people and my holdings just as I would.” Her hands hovered over Naiscia’s head as the ElfQueen fell to her knees. “Do you accept your duty?”


         “I do.” Naiscia whispered.


         “Then-“ Kuu paused when a thought struck. “-accept the forest’s power in turn.”


         Naiscia stiffened when Kuu’s body glowed, the shine growing and beginning to spread from her hands down the kneeling elf’s body. It lasted a minute before Kuu stepped away, Naiscia smoothly rising to her feet.


         “I serve and obey my Queen.” Naiscia intoned. “I reaffirm my pledge and swear to uphold her rule in her stead.”


         “Then it is done.” Kuu grinned, embracing Naiscia. “Thank you, sister.”


         Naiscia hugged back. “There is no greater honor.” She whispered. “I have no words to express my gratitude.”


         “You may express it with your actions.” Kuu replied gently. “All you need to do is stay my dear friend and I will know your thanks.”


         Naiscia blushed slightly and bowed. “Yes. Thank you.”


         “I must go join him.” Kuu kissed Naiscia’s forehead. “You may return to your activities. I will send Furia to you again soon.”


         Naiscia nodded, watching Kuu vanish into the trees.


         She pushed onto the path that led from the caves to the memorial clearing, slowing as she approached. He was sitting, resting against the stone. “Andrew?” She waited for him to look in her direction. “May I join you?”


         Her heart swelled when she saw his pleased smile. “I would like that.” He waited for her to hurry over. “Thank you for asking, though I’m willing to believe that I have never had to worry about that with you.”


         Kuu settled down next to him. “No. You never have, and you never will.”


         She had learned long ago that he didn’t like to directly confront issues, instead allowing the people he was discontented with to know his worries without causing conflict. So she immediately understood the message in his next statement. “I’m tired of people materializing around me.”


         “I find you because you are my joy.” Kuu replied quietly. “And I am proud of my queendom. If you would rather I do not stay with you while you are in my forest, I will stay away until called.”


         Andrew shook his head slightly. “No. That wasn’t directed at you.”


         “Not fully,” Kuu agreed, “but I am guilty of it just as they are.”


         “May I ask you a rather personal question?”


         Kuu blinked. “Of course.”


         “Have you realized that you have changed?” Andrew gazed at her. “Ever since that night, you have cast aside the old person and become something completely different.” His eyes dropped. “I’m afraid that I’ve stolen who you are. We still don’t know exactly what I did to you, and the way you act makes me believe I... replaced who you should be with something I wanted.”


         Kuu’s expression was unreadable as she tried to form a response. “You think...”


         “I allowed a quiet, learning ElfQueen to come with us to our new home. Then we grew your tree. And you changed.”


         Kuu’s eyes were filled with understanding. “You’re wrong.” She beamed. “I did not change because of anything you did that night, Andrew. I changed because I decided I needed to become more than the quiet, timid woman you knew me as.” She winced. “The day you tamed me for the first time was not fully my idea, after all. The women who were a part of your life already had nowhere else to turn. They asked me for help, and I-“ she stopped when she felt his growing anger. “What?”


         “I did not know they pressured you.”


         Kuu’s face twisted in confusion. “Who did what?”


         “You’re telling me they pressured you into having sex with me.” Andrew hissed. “I warned them repeatedly to stay away from you. I will be having some very strong words with whoever did this.”


         “You misunderstand.” Kuu tried. “I’d wanted to approach you for a while but never found the right reason. They thought that if I did then, you would be more willing to accept me.”


         “No, they did it so they could manipulate me into doing what they wanted, and you got dragged into the crossfire.” Andrew’s face abruptly lost its anger. “But that’s not what we are discussing. Please continue.”


         “Please don’t be angry with them.”


         “Kuu, you can no more apologize for their actions than they can apologize or control yours. I was very explicitly clear of that when I formalized the chain of command here. They have no right to order you around.” He waited for a few seconds and his eyes narrowed when he saw the look hidden in hers. “They’ve done it again, haven’t they. That’s why you exploded in there. What are they doing behind my back?”


         Kuu dropped her gaze. “Are you angry at me for sharing what we did together?”


         “If you’re referring to how you started spreading rumors about me running in the forest, no. I’m pissed that it got out, but I’m not pissed at you for it.”


         Kuu nodded slightly. “I can understand that.” She looked back up at him. “Cortney tried to order me to stop talking about it.”


         Andrew was winding up to scream when he realized what she had said. “Wait. Tried?”


         Kuu was smiling. “Tried. I am not the ElfQueen that came with you on that spaceship. Whether or not you directly changed me, I have grown because of you. It is true that the Kuu that first came with you would have folded under their pressure. She apparently did. But she has grown and become the true Queen of this forest.” Her silver eyes held his blue. “And she does not bow to them. She bows to one man alone.”


         “How did she take it?”


         “Poorly, as you expect.” Kuu replied. “And she will continue to take my actions poorly as I have stepped into my rightful place at your side. She needs another voice to oppose her chokehold.”


         Andrew gave her a strange look. “Is this my pokegirl I hear talking, or my Queen?”


         “Your Queen.” Kuu replied. “I may not be the queen of your harem, but I am still your Queen.”


         “Then, my Queen, what do you mean when you talk about Cortney’s chokehold?”


         “You already know.”


         Andrew sighed. “I’ve guessed, but I have no proof. Especially with Aella’s issues. There hasn’t been anyone to ask about it.” He snorted. “Even if I got a lie back, at least I’d have a better idea as to what’s going on.”


         “They think they can hide their actions from you but they are wrong, aren’t they? You know even more than you are letting on with me.”


         Andrew smirked. “Maybe.”


         “And revealing what you know to me might jeopardize your knowledge, as I am a part of that same harem.” Kuu laughed when he shrugged. “You plot like one of us.”


         “I am going to celebrate that compliment.” Andrew replied smugly. “Now. What do you mean?”


         “She believes you can not take care of yourself, so we have to be with you.”


         Andrew grimaced. “Yea, figured as much. But you disagree.” He chuckled at her startled look. “You disobeyed her when you were spouting how amazing I was. Obviously that means you don’t believe what she does.”


         “I want to protect you,” Kuu explained slowly, “but no, I do not believe that you are defenseless as she does. I am happier when you have one of us with you, but I also trust you to know when you are doing something that does not require our protection. Cortney does not. She is only happy when you are being guarded, no matter where or why.”


         “It’s a holdover from her military service, I’d bet.” Andrew grumbled. “And her being a pokegirl. I’ve done my damndest to keep a hold of my privacy whenever I can, but I haven’t helped my case by continuously flipping out and hurting those around me.”


         Kuu quieted. “You have survived things that would have destroyed lesser men.”


         “Well, I am no man.” Andrew proclaimed, waiting a moment before chuckling and pulling her close. “I have. And so have you.”


         Kuu nodded. “We all have.” She patted his knee. “And at last some of the wounds are healing. I would not have been able to stand up to you a few months ago, and you would not have been able to listen to me either. We have finally reached a place where we can be honest with each other.”


         Andrew smiled into the distance. “You’re right. Were you being honest when you teased me a week ago?”


         Kuu nodded. “I love you, Andrew. I am not interested in children with you, not now. I have too many people relying on me to fight for and with them. But I want you to be my King in more than just name. I want to be your wife, your Queen, not just your ElfQueen.”


         “What if I said I wanted the timid Kuu?”


         Kuu stiffened. “Then I will love you anyways. But I will not be that person ever again.”


         “That’s good.” Andrew soothed. “Because I like the person you are.”


         Kuu relaxed at his words. “Now that I’ve officially said it. Where am I in line?”


         Andrew chuckled. “Pokegirls. You are currently fourth.”


         Kuu cursed under her breath. “I waited too long. Who got there before me?”


         “After Cristina Fu found an opening. And a few days later Constance cornered me. She also isn’t looking for children, but she recognized the status it would convey and I’ve already expressed my feelings to her.” He frowned. “Technically you’re fifth, but Rein decided she would wait for the furor to die down a bit. Honestly I’m not sure if I’d marry her. She is an outstanding woman but she still struggles with the deaths of her friends, even as she helps the rest of you move past them. Maybe it’s for the best that she doesn’t have my last name to create extra baggage.”


         “You expect more.”


         “I expect nearly every woman in my life to entertain the thought.” Andrew replied seriously. “So I’ve put a lot of thought into it myself.”


         “Good.” Kuu replied with satisfaction. “The more you think of us, the less likely you are to be ensnared by an outsider, like this bird woman who has arrived to do exactly that.”


         “And she will fail.” Andrew agreed. “Thank you for joining me.”


         Kuu got to her feet. “Of course. I will let you get back to your private time.”


         Andrew chuckled, standing with her. “You don’t escape that easily, wench. I need my guard, since I’m about to go chase that bird woman we’re talking about.”


         Kuu’s eyes widened in surprise. “You are?”


         “I’ve figured out the questions I need to ask. And one of them is about you.”


         Kuu’s demeanor shifted and she gave him a crisp nod. “Have you discovered how to find her?”


         “I have an idea. More importantly, I believe I know why she was scared of you.”


         Kuu blinked. “Yes?”


         “This is all supposition until I can confirm it with her, but I believe she was worried because on that night, when you told me to do what I would, I performed the equivalent of gifting my magic to you. That is why your body has changed the way it has. The eyes, your hair, it’s what I likely look like when I embrace that power. She didn’t see a human, or in her case I suppose she would see one of Sukebe’s weapons, she saw a woman that radiates my power. It was only natural that she would be nervous if she had dropped in on what could be an equal foe, instead of an uniformed hybrid.”


         “What do you think this means?” Kuu’s stunned expression flickered and she gasped. “Oh no, Andrew, before I came to find you I declared Naiscia as my regent. When I did I had this impulse and declared that she would receive the forest’s power as well.” She shook her head when he didn’t react. “The forest’s power is Telpëlass. It’s you.”


         Andrew winced. “We will have to be careful and discover exactly what you may or may not have done today. However, my vows still stand. You are my one and only ElfQueen.”


         Kuu deflated as the tension left her body. “I am glad.”


         “Come on.” Andrew started to walk away when the branches around them rustled as if hit by a strong breeze. “Huh?”


         Kuu’s eyes snapped up. “She’s speaking to you.”


         “You both know I don’t speak tree.”


         Kuu’s expression was strange as she replied. “She says you do.”


         “And I say,” Andrew paused. “I say I am willing to try.”


         Kuu didn’t react when he stepped past her and placed his hands on the great white trunk. After a few moments she blinked, looking at him as he stepped away. “She stopped talking to me.”


         “She said she wants to give me the gift she was unable to give when you accepted your bow.”


         Kuu frowned. “What kind of gift?”


         “She didn’t say.” Andrew glanced up into the leaves. “But she said that it was important if I was to go meet the ‘one like you’.”


         “I trust her.” Kuu immediately replied.


         “I have no reason not to.” Andrew muttered. “The problem is she doesn’t know how she’s supposed to give this gift to me. Maybe my race can accept whatever it is, but as a human I can’t.”


         Kuu blinked at the subtle anger to his voice. “What is it?”


         Andrew shook his head. “She’s not doing this intentionally. The tree loves you just as much as Kuu does. As much as any of them. She only wants what’s best for you.” He began mumbling.


         Kuu waited for him to stop before shaking her head. “If you are unable to accept her gift, I am not comfortable taking you to the bird woman.”


         “You would say that.” Andrew grumbled. “Alright. Fine. This is probably the safest place I could do this, considering both of you are tied to me and could likely pull me back.”


         Kuu didn’t bother asking what he meant, only watching him as he sat. The minutes passed before his presence abruptly vanished.


         Kuu blitzed to his side. “ANDREW!” She cast about for a moment before stopping and pushing across their bond with all her strength. “My King, come back to me!


         She was knocked away when he jerked, his eyes wild as he gasped. “Fuck. That worked.” He grunted when Kuu impacted against him. “Yea, hi. I assume it worked.”


         “You vanished.” Kuu desperately ran her hands over his body. “Never do that again.”


         “I shouldn’t have to.” Andrew replied. “It was an experiment.” He shuddered. “Thank you for calling for me. I would not have been there forever but it would have taken me longer to remember why I should return.”




         Andrew glanced into her desperate eyes. “Okay.” He shook his head. “I call it the Dream. Usually I can only walk it when I am already unconscious or trying to be, when my mind is free to wander without my body. But I figured that if I can do it then, I should be able to do it consciously.” He gazed off into the forest. “It was interesting, to say the least. I think I was taller.”


         “If you’re going to keep doing things like that I might start advocating for a full time guard.” Kuu joked.


         Andrew chuckled. “And how would you have stopped me, hm? You didn’t even know what I had done.”


         “Please don’t.”


         “I won’t for no reason.” Andrew replied. “Can you help me again?” Kuu nodded. “Do the same thing. Keep me grounded.” He gazed into her eyes. “I trust you to keep me human, no matter what I’m about to do.”


         Kuu hesitated only an instant before she bowed. “As your priestess, it is my duty.” She waited, glancing up when he didn’t argue.


         Andrew wasn’t smiling, but he nodded. “I still won’t have you treat me as a god. One of the things I intend to get an answer for is what rites, if any, are real between my race and a worshipper. I assume there is something, considering they have been worshipped before and are magical beings in their own right. So for now, act to protect me.”


         Andrew jumped when he felt their bond expand until he almost thought he was the one staring up at him. “You will not fade.” Kuu’s voice filled his mind. “I will not let you go.


         “Thank you.” Andrew whispered. Hesitantly he reached for the pieces of himself that he still feared. This could be dangerous. He should ask Eywa before doing anything.




         She was here for her own ends. If she believed she could exploit him to bring him back and please Bjorn, she would. He couldn’t trust her. But the woman whose entire existence currently was focused on him, and him alone, she he could trust.


         “Don’t let go. No matter what.” He whispered to her.


         Slowly he allowed his walls to fall. To let the power flow through him. He slowed as he reached the point that he was comfortable with, gazing out through silver eyes. There was still so much more he could do. He knew that. He lied so Gale wouldn’t push but he knew there was more. He was still holding it back, still clinging to his humanity.


         Kuu braced herself when she felt Andrew begin to draw more power. She couldn’t tell if he was moving fast or slow but she firmly held the image of him steady, even as on the outside Andrew’s entire form began to shimmer and fade. Silver poured from his skin as he continued to allow the power to suffuse him.


         Andrew nearly lost his concentration when a new voice joined them. “I see you, name-giver.” Telpëlass’ presence surrounded him, drawing Kuu in as well before forming a seal. “Release yourself. I will ensure you are not lost.”


         Kuu winced when Andrew complied, doggedly focusing on the form of her Master and future husband. It didn’t matter to her what was happening around them, only that in his mind, he remembered who he was.


         “Stop that.” She blushed at his gentle chiding. “I do not look like that and you know it.


         “It is how I see you.


         Andrew mentally sighed. “If I wake up and find out I’ve been turned into my ElfQueen’s ideal man, not only am I going to be rather put out, but there are going to be many angry pokegirls who will see it as blatant favoritism. And rightly so.


         Kuu reddened but allowed her picture to stabilize back to what he had been. “I’m sorry.


         “If I truly am a shapeshifter, I will learn how to take that form for you.” The psychic connection echoed with his laughter. “Is this satisfactory?


         Kuu’s blush began to burn for a different reason. “Yes.”


         Andrew felt the power stabilize and finally opened his eyes to see the humanoid version of Telpëlass staring at him. “Welcome, Great Lord.”


         Andrew frowned. “I thought I was your name-giver.”


         She nodded. “You are and you are more, Great Lord. I see that now that you have accepted who you are.” She bowed her head. “My only regret is that now I believe my gift to be of little consequence to one such as you.”


         “Considering I have no idea what you are referring to in any sense, I will be the judge of that. What is it?”


         Telpëlass held out her right arm and Andrew watched as it began to twist. “To my Queen I gave my strength.” She quietly watched as her arm withered and fell away from an ornate staff. “To you I give my soul.”


         Andrew stared at her disfigurement before shaking his head. “I refuse.”


         Telpëlass jerked as if he had hit her. “What?!”


         “I have no interest in tearing a piece of you away. I would rather go without than see you harmed for my sake.”


         Telpëlass stared at him for a long time before her arm regrew, swallowing the staff as it did. “I offer myself freely.”


         “And I refuse. You are needed whole, not crippled. Grant me your boon if you must, but do not believe that your being is yours to give away.” A crooked smile crossed his lips. “You belong to the forest, Telpëlass. None may harm you. Even me.”


         Her eyes glowed with relief and a burning fervor before she bowed. “Yes, Great Lord. Will you still accept a gift as I have given to life-caller?”


         “I will.”


         Telpëlass waved her hands, the same staff as before forming between them. “Without binding my soul to it, it will be nothing more than a tool, Great Lord. A powerful tool, but a tool nonetheless.”


         “You don’t believe I am able to properly use the tool you give me?”


         Telpëlass jumped, staring at him in a panic before she saw the humor in his smile. “I... No, Great Lord. You will use it well.”


         Andrew chuckled, reaching out to take hold of the staff. “I will. I thank you for your gift. Kuu, it is time.


         Kuu grimaced when the pull began to lessen, slowly breathing easier as she felt the suffocating magic around them fade away. Finally she heard Andrew clear his throat and she opened her eyes.


         His body was the same, that she could see. But she slowly covered her mouth with her hands when she saw what had happened.


         Andrew sighed at her reaction. “I didn’t seal it all the way, did I.”


         She slowly shook her head. “You are radiant.” Andrew’s short black hair was now a bright grey, bordering on white. His irises no longer were blue, instead a solid silver that highlighted his pupil in a brilliant contrast. “It is as you thought.”


         Andrew pulled out his pokedex, ignoring the staff he clutched in his off hand. “Look at me now.” He muttered, staring at the camera. “I really hope Cristina likes silver eyes. Because I have no idea how to go back.”


         “How did this happen?”


         “The walls are well and truly gone.” Andrew replied quietly. “I tried to rebuild them but it seems it was too late.” He shook his head. “I doubt I’m human anymore. Not even a little bit, like I was pretending to be before.”


         Kuu drew her gaze to the staff he held. “Is that her gift?”


         “It is.” Andrew admired the wood for a few moments. “She said it was a gift like she gave to you.” He frowned. “I wonder...”


         Kuu watched as the staff shuddered in his grip but nothing consequential happened. “Do you believe it can change form?”


         “I will have to find out.” Andrew glanced at the tree behind him. “Thank you, Telpëlass. Your gift is more than satisfactory.”


         “You seem the same.” Kuu said. “Whatever you were worried for, it has not come to pass.”


         “Without you grounding me I doubt that would have been the case.” Andrew whispered. “I felt things calling to me, imploring me to just let go.” He jumped when Kuu strode forwards to embrace him.


         “And you have conquered it.” She whispered in his ear. “Now you know. No matter how loudly they may cry, you can ignore them. You are stronger than they are. You need not fear them. They fear you.”


         Hesitantly he hugged her back. “I hadn’t thought about it like that.”


         “You must, if we are to meet with this bird woman.” Kuu replied quietly. “She will cry for you just as your voices did just now. Remember me. Remember us. Abandon temptation.”


         Andrew smiled at her. “You speak from experience. When did you have this situation?”


         “Every day, as I make the decisions for my court.” Kuu replied. “Through it all, I must do what is best for them, instead of falling to the whispering. That is what it means to be a Queen.” She gazed into his eyes. “That is what it means to be a King.”


         “Ready to go?”


         Kuu grinned. “Yes, my King. I will protect you.”








Smoke Devils Chain of Command

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.)

GySgt. Constance

1stSgt. Fu

GySgt. Ishara

SSgt. Nami

SSgt. Shamira (Ret.)

Sgt. Lucina

Sgt. Ann (Ret.)

Sgt. Melody

Sgt. Yang (Ret.)


Cpl. Furia

Cpl. Nova




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

Daria – Vampire

Camiel – (Paragon) Archangel

Albia – (Hunter) G-Splice