he Life of Charles I:

            Charlemagne Fitzmolyneux was born into the Appalachian Molyneux family. It was a powerful, political family with strong, pure stock. From a young age, he wondered why he was Fitz rather than any of the other common incarnations of the Molyneux name. He never really knew why until he was much older.

            Born December 31st, 50 AS in the middle of a particularly cold winter on the Island of Appalachia of the Tropic Confederation, Charley was a big child weighing nearly 4.5 kilograms at birth having inherited the good looks that got his father into the seat of power he enjoyed. The one downside of being born into such a privileged family was that his parents were hedonistic, selfish, egotistical, and avaricious. They did not care for child rearing.

            And so, Edmund Molyneux, the once underestimated nephew of Roderick Moliniaux, left his son to be cared for by a nanny he had purchased so he may enjoy the life of a wealthy man with a high office in the Appalachian provincial legislature of the Tropical Confederation. Maid Yvettes were one of the first synthetic breeds of pokégirls, and everyone knew that were extremely docile. Edmund believed that he could get away with ignoring his uncle and father’s advice and leave his… son alone with one. After all, he wasn’t the son of his current wife, and she’d get jealous if he took too much time to baby him.

He would however be expected to follow his duty as a Molyneux and be his teacher, his paterfamilias, as required by the unwritten rules of Molyneux, enriching the boy and preparing him for life. However, even the few hours Edmund would be required to tutor the boy made his wife grind her teeth. She was such a selfish creature but beautiful and delightfully devious.

Then again… he did have a demanding job and it wasn’t unheard of for a child to be trained by an uncle. Fredrick! That’s right. The big softy had a weak spot for kids. Yes, his little brother would do. He always was a bit of a sap. Perfect. The little bastard would be out of his hair, and he wouldn’t be punished by the family. It worked out in everyone’s favor.

            His brother Fredrick was just too pleased to know that he would be allowed to teach multiple children. After Edmund dropped Charley’s education in his lap, others took notice of Fredrick’s willingness and joy in the arrangement and added their children to the mix as well. Fredrick had studied for most of his youth in the teaching methods employed by the Molyneux family. He wanted the best for his offspring. It looked like he would have the joy and burden of bringing up his son along with Charley and some of his other nephews.

            Before he was three, Charley had daily piano practice and lessons. It was slow going at first, but he picked up on it soon enough. Training in musical theory from a young age was an old Molyneux secret. It was not common knowledge, but musical training at a young age rewires both sides of the brain mathematically, emotionally, and visually. The younger they start, the more advanced this rewiring is.

            Why do talented musicians turn out to be womanizers, even the ones who aren’t rich? It’s because the rewiring gives the individual a keen sense of empathy and how people’s emotions work. It even goes so far as too throw the facial recognition center of the brain into overdrive allowing the individual to notice even the subtlest of muscle twitches changing the face into any one of  the over 10,000 expressions that ghost their way across the human face. These talents were great for the social manipulator. Every Molyneux grew up to enjoy the perks later in life.

            Yes the Molyneux family safeguarded many pieces of meaningless trivia as well as priceless knowledge from before Sukebe toppled the world powers over. It was what had allowed them to become very powerful in the short time since his fall. True, they had been wealthy before but nowhere near this level. The elite hoarding the knowledge may have stagnated the rest of the League, but the Molyneux were on top because of it and that was all that mattered.

            Secret knowledge was very special to the family. Many of them were lawyers, judges, and policemen in the past interspersed with the odd psychiatrist or biochemist, not exactly world changers but when the Red Plague emerged and started to wipe out mankind, the survivors of the Molyneux name were smart enough to hunt down and record everything they could, from both their own areas of expertise and from those who did not have the luxury of the resources necessary to properly distribute their knowledge. Those with college education of any sort fervently recorded everything and rescued books that would benefit the family in the future. Textbooks, what had been hated by many first world students, became more valuable than gold when humanity’s knowledge base began to disappear.

            Others with more practical educations left their memoirs and skills in the written word to enlighten future generations of Molyneux in case of an early demise. Policemen left old training guides on how to spot a concealed weapons, one neuropsychologist created a teaching guide meant to be one of many stepping stones along the path to his craft as well as passing his entire craft on to his firstborn like an old world master and apprentice.

            It became Molyneux tradition to drill their male children in various things that would lay the foundation for their lives designed by the survivors of the family that had gathered in Tropic after the fall of Sukebe, all bringing their most valuable possession with them, knowledge. Their education began at ages that most would consider too young, but for the three generations of Molyneux since the fall of Sukebe, it had not failed yet.

            At age two, it began. First, music like mentioned before, to properly nourish this most valuable part of the brain. Second, reading and mathematics. There was nothing stopping a child from learning this early. Granted, the going was very, very slow and tedious, but the extra years gave them an edge. Third, was the physical aspect of education; a martial art developed by a Molyneux who was obsessed with three particularly nasty fighting styles known as Silat, Eskrima, and Krav Maga was drilled into them at a young age which helped get rid of silly little nuisances like hesitation and any aversion to violence in the face of saving oneself; it was something that helped instill ruthlessness above all things in anything a Molyneux might choose to do.

            Does this all sound impossibly hard for a two year old? You would be correct in that assumption, but through these trials, they would be tempered and fortified. Music would reprogram their minds appropriately, reading and mathematics would pave the way for everything intellectually important, and the fighting would naturally hone aggressive instincts and keep the children from going soft in the belly.

            For eight hours of day- at least until he got older when the children’s workload would increase- Fredrick would fulfill what would normally be his brother’s job as paterfamilias and personally teach Charley as well as his son and a few of his nephews these base skills that all Molyneux had. To be a Molyneux was to be empowered and raised above the masses. All children of the family would be great, and their greatness started here.

            They say it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an ‘expert’ at something. That’s two hours a day every day for fourteen years. If all goes according to plan, all Molyneuxs by age 16 will have their core education in music, reading and math, and their fighting and exercise down to expert levels. As they aged and reached adolescence, they would also be able to access the grand, hidden libraries of Molyneux and learn anything that interested them and enabled them to become the titans of the Tropical Confederation that the family represented in everything every member did.

            It was around age six when things began to truly shape children into what begets a Molyneux. In addition to the areas of study that begins at age two, they begin to learn mind games. At least that’s how they were presented to the children, games. In reality, these simple games based on deception and manipulation practiced on fellow liars and manipulators would prepare them for the real world. Each would be pitted against each other and other Molyneux children and adults to show give them practical experience in subtle domination of others and the price of being beneath someone else as well as being stabbed in the back or stabbing the wrong person in the back. Yes, this was the world of the Molyneux family. Treachery and violence was learned from the early beginnings of youth and innocence. If you could not cope with this, you would be cast out. It was harsh, but it weeded the weak and useless from the family.

            Charley was given access to the other stepping stone to greatness when his reading skill reached a sufficient level, the private Molyneux library that the family had secreted away at an undisclosed location with valuable history tomes and personal memoirs from highly trained or important people throughout history. For Charley, this was his sanctuary. He loved this place.

            Granted he wasn’t able to truly access some of the history books that only the adults were allowed to see, but he was able to view the hastily compiled data about the mysterious pokégirls. Many were cross-referenced with various salvaged textbooks and memoirs of people that managed to work in that field. As he was only seven, most of it was beyond him. His mathematical abilities were barely up to trigonometry at that point unlike some of the more mathematically gifted of the family who were on their way to lambda calculus.

            Some of the information was bizarre but seemingly conclusive. For instance, in one personal journal written by someone who was a friend of a Molyneux born some eighty years ago, it detailed the processes of ‘taming.’ Why did pokégirls suddenly become sane, thinking beings when raped to their senses? No one knew, but it worked for whatever reason. One would think the solution would be found on a chemical level, but no experiments had ever even been drafted. Odd. It seems that that Icarod fellow was not a scientist by any means.

            When Charley had been caught reading that particular notebook he had been explicitly threatened by an old man- probably some granduncle or something of the like- with dire consequences should he breath a word of it to anyone but a trustworthy member of the Molyneux family or one of its branches. Never before had Charley been so terrified. The Maid Yvette that his parents left to see to his needs had comforted him later. It was strange, being comforted by a lesser being such as this. He could see why pokégirls were subservient to humans through her example, docile, dim, and eager to please, but it felt good to have some sympathy.

            His relationship with Yvette- that’s what he called her because that’s what she called herself- was hard to define. She was his caretaker and yet his servant at the same time. He pitied her unfortunate draw in the genetic lottery but did his best to remain aloof and distant from her lest she get the wrong idea and become attached to him in a way that did not befit his status.

            And yet, things got very, very complicated when he reached a certain age.

            “Charlemagne!” his father called out to him jovially. He was in a good mood. It was his son’s thirteenth birthday today after all, a time worth celebrating. Celebrating was something Edmund Molyneux did best.

            Charley went to his father immediately. Despite his hedonistic nature, the man could be a cruel task master. Charley didn’t understand half of his motives, but Edmund promised that it would all be clear in the future. Still, even when he was smiling, there was a hollow look in Edmund’s eyes that deeply disturbed him.

            “Yes father?” he politely addressed him.

            “Do you know what day it is?” Edmund asked rhetorically before snorting at the stupidity of his own question, “Of course you do. Who wouldn’t? Happy birthday, son.”

Charley gave his father a tight smile, remembering to crinkle the corners of his eyes so that it would look at least somewhat genuine to anyone who cared to make more than a passing inspection of his face. This was one of the few times a year that his father was truly pleasant; Charley was unsure how much of it was real but would enjoy it while it lasted. And, it didn’t last long. Without so much as another word, Edmund was off to do god knows what.

Charley sighed. His ‘father’ was never really much of one. He only cared to chastise him whenever he was afraid something Charley might have done something that reflected poorly on him or the Molyneux family. It was a shoot first sort of arrangement. Frederick was much more of a role model to many of the children than most of the adults in the family and had a much more active role in many of their lives. It was rather depressing when one grew up preprogrammed to desire certain things from people whom they had a genetic connection to yet had no reciprocity. Regardless, you had to grow up and move on quickly. It was not befitting to sit and mope about trivial things that were meaningless in the long run.

            He was done with his education for the day. It was late, and he was exhausted mentally and physically. His muscles had started to develop, and he already had a ripple here and there. But, most of it was just sore from either that day’s or the previous day’s work. Maybe he’d get his servant, Yvette, to rub his back for him. Yeah, that sounded nice.

It was an uncomfortable moment in his life when the day came that Charley first noticed Yvette’s… squishiness. She truly did look human, surprisingly so. Although, when he was younger Charley thought all women were pokégirls. It had been confusing at the time for him to understand what human purity was.

Yvette was about thirteen years older than he. Charles was still thirteen years old himself at this time, so that would make her 26.  His ignorance of sex was starting to weigh down on his thoughts. Oh, he knew how it was done alright, but he only had vague generalities that had been passed around the grapevine and through a couple explicit texts and magazines that he had come across once upon a time.

He was horny. What could he say? He was a freshly minted adolescent and he had sex on the mind. Yvette wasn’t old enough to get pregnant from sex with a human, and he wanted some nookie. But, there was an issue. He didn’t know if he should. Would his father be upset with him? He didn’t know. Yvette was for all intents and purposes, his. She was his personal servant now that he was old enough to think for himself- at least partially.

There was one issue. How did she stay tame? Pokégirls need sex to keep from going feral. Now that he thought about it, he was pretty sure she was sleeping with some of the other pokégirls that his family owned. It had to be. His father’s wife would go on the warpath if she caught her husband sleeping with a pokégirl even if it was to keep her from becoming a mindless animal.

The question came down to whether or not his father would be angry with him. He had said that children birthed by pokégirls were impure. Charley knew that. He also knew that many people slept with them and even kept them as sex toys, something that seemed to be socially acceptable so long as they didn’t reproduce. Hell, he had heard stories being swapped by some older relatives of his about steamy nights spent with exotic pokégirls.

What was stopping him? What was the worst thing that could happen?

Charley went to go find Yvette. He remembered having sent her off to go do laundry. It hadn’t taken long for him to find her. She was happily humming as she finished folding the last of the laundry.

“Hello Yvette,” he called out to her eliciting a startled squeak.

“Master!” she cried out, “Yvette didn’t see you there.” She hurriedly finished her job and came to his front. “What can Yvette do for you?”

Her eagerness never failed to amuse him. She was pleasant company, like that old world cat that never left his aunt’s side and kept her company. Of course, a cat couldn’t talk like cat-type pokégirls can.

Yvette was useful though. She could follow directions even if she did make errors and imperfect judgments from time to time. She would do her best to do whatever he asked. However, he still felt nervous for some reason.

“Come with me, bring the laundry,” he ordered casually.

Yvette picked up the laundry and followed along behind him with a skip in his step. He subconsciously gulped. His heart began to slowly beat faster as they approached his room. When they arrived he almost couldn’t breathe.

Meanwhile, Yvette was oblivious to his discomfort. She was merely soaking up the silent company while she went to work folding and hanging up his clothes. Charley stood behind her and turned her to face him. She merely looked at him in confusion.

Yvette was only a bit taller than he, a head maybe. Charley had always been big for his age. Sucking down his trepidation, he pulled her close to him and craned his neck to kiss her.

It was his first attempt, so it was clumsy and unsure. Yvette froze unsure of what to do. By the time Charles pulled away, she still hadn’t moved. “What’s wrong?” he asked feeling slightly emasculated.

Yvette opened her mouth to respond but no sound came out. Anger flooded through Charley’s veins not at Yvette but at himself. He knew he wouldn’t be any good at this. After all, he’d never done it before.

Yvette looked fearful momentarily before she noticed Charley deflate and sit on the side of his bed. “Master?” she questioned timidly. It was not her nature to be bold or questioning, but something inside of her made her sympathize with the child she watched grow up. She knew what he wanted but was unsure of how she felt about it.

On one hand, she had taken care of him all hours since he was barely toddling across the floor. On the other, he was her master and he was very good to her. He merely sighed in exasperation and had her fix her mistakes rather than beating her like his father did.

Yvette sat down next to him and held him to her stroking his hair like she did when he was young. “It’s okay, Master,” she whispered, “I know what you want.”

Charley chuckled quietly. “I have no idea what I’m doing,” he admitted not knowing why he did.

Yvette brightened for some unknown reason. Charley was in the dark as to the reasoning that went on in her head. “I can help you,” she uttered in wonder. “I can help you with that,” she said louder this time and with more confidence, “You can learn this just like you learn everything else. After all, you can learn anything, Master!”

Charley looked up at her and raised an eyebrow at her exuberance. She seemed genuinely happy to help. Although, it was rather demeaning to be taught be taught by a non-Molyneux and a pokégirl at that. Whatever, it’ll be fun. Besides, there were plenty of valuable texts written by non-Molyneux kept in the family collection that could compliment this ‘hands-on’ education nicely.

Yvette stood before him and undid the simple, unflattering clothes that were given to her to work in. They fell to the ground pooling around her. It was the first time Charley had really seen her bare flesh. His heart began to race again as his eyes drank her form in.

This by far would be his favorite thing to learn about.