Alone in a Tent

The wind. An empty, dry howling, beating upon fabric walls. A tent, nestled against exposed rock and bolted to the ground as it was, still buckled under the force of the wind, though it did not collapse. With each screaming gust of wind the walls were pushed in, the bottom  edges fluttering wildly, tugging up against the ties and stakes holding the tent to the ground. This was unfortunately letting sand spew in, scraping over the two bodies that lay within. One of them had the misfortune to be laid across the ground facing the side of the tent that was taking the brunt of the wind’s force, and was thus rewarded with a face full of sand carried in on the cold night air.

His face scrunched up as the chill and sand splashed against it, his mouth parting slightly, furthering his misfortune as sand promptly flew down his throat. He immediately shot upright, coughing and sputtering, hand clenched to his throat as he tried to hack out the sand. The wind fanned the flames of the crackling fire that sat behind him, unimpeded now by his body. He winced as the flames picked up and grew with the gust, as did the heat they gave off. Truthfully, it was a welcome reprieve from the chill.

“Quit all that noise. I’m trying to get some sleep.” A clearly annoyed voice snapped at him as the wind died down.

His coughing fit finished as he managed to eject the last of the sand, he glanced across the fire to the tent’s other occupant who had spoken. He saw her laying there, half-hidden behind writhing flames. Sitting up, his arms now lowered behind him to help prop himself up, he couldn’t help but stare at her. She was laying on her side as he had been, facing away so that her back was presented to him, though most of that too was covered by her long, dark hair. His eyes strayed along her hair, until they came to rest on a pair of pointed, wolf-like ears atop her head, which she was resting on a large, fluffy paw in place of a hand, its fur the same color as her hair.

Admiring her from behind for but a moment, he failed to notice the subtle signs of her shifting, turning her head up to glance over her shoulder. Their eyes met, and deep red orbs went wide.

“I-I told y-you not to look over here!” she snapped. Barked, rather.

His reaction was immediate, falling back to his side, facing away from her as she so desired. A moment later, he heard her shifting again, presumably facing away again herself, assured that he wasn’t going to look over at her again. He let out a sigh that he hadn’t realized he’d been holding in, weary, heavy eyes scanning the shuddering fabric of the tent, dreading the moment when the wind would pick up and deliver another gust of cold air and sand for him.

Laying there, his back warmed and his front chilled, he could not find sleep, no matter how much he desired it. And so for the moment, free of the threat of sand cascading down his lungs, he was left with his thoughts. He thought about the creature that lay just behind him across the fire. Why had she seemed so upset at his indiscretion? Why had she stuttered so? Was it the cold? And had it been his imagination, or did her face look a tad redder than usual, for the brief glimpse he had been granted? Soon though, he thought back to how he’d wound up in such a rotten situation in the first place.


 

The sun was high overhead, not even mid-day yet, beating down upon the heads of a dozen men. They were invariably tanned, dark haired, and dressed in simple cloth wraps around their waists which reached down over their thighs, plain sandals covering their feet. Otherwise, they varied quite greatly in terms of age and features. The youngest of them couldn’t have been older than fifteen, with a slender, light frame and short, wispy hair that was more of a dirty blonde than the darker shades the others had. The eldest, by comparison was at least twice as old, heavily built from a life mostly spent labouring, and with a shaven head, but a rather thick beard.

The group of men, who would have normally been hard at work with chores and duties at their different jobs by now, instead found themselves loitering under the heat of the late morning sun, waiting. Between them rested a large, covered carrying seat, painted in noble regalia and even inlaid with gold. Even the covering, a luxury regardless, was made of finely dyed cloths. Even the chair itself looked to be luxuriously cushioned, crafted from the finest wood, like something out of a noble’s office. A bit off to one side of the seat, two pack mules were tied to a post, both loaded with a variety of sacks filled with supplies. The entire gathering stood beside the gates at the border of the city, beyond the pillars marking the gate was a road which led out into the open desert.

None in the group knew why they were gathered. It had been the first question on their minds when they had met that morning, but none had the answer, their tales of how they’d arrived there the same. They had been stirred by knocks on their doors unusually early in the morning, waking to find messengers in regal attire on their doorsteps, who had then told them to gather at the desert gate before noon. They’d not been told more than that, and had found the chair already waiting there. Another messenger had brought the mules only a short time ago, but when pressed for answers, he had simply told them that they would be departing soon, and then departed himself.

And so there was very little for them to do but chat amongst themselves. About their jobs, how they’d usually spend their days, those who were unmarried about women they had their eyes on, a couple who were in fact servants to noble families even reminiscing about a recent chariot race they’d both had the privilege of viewing. As they were beginning to wonder if there was even a reason for their gathering there, they were interrupted by the sound of metal stamping down on stone, and a booming, feminine voice echoing over them, silencing their chatter.

“What exactly do you think you all are doing? Why are you not ready to depart?!” She snapped, stamping her staff down to accentuate the point, the scales mounted atop it shaking up and down from the motion.

The men she had interrupted simply stared silently for a moment at the woman before them. The staff-mounted scales she used to garner their attention looked to be made of solid, shimmering gold, standing out all the more against the fluffy black paw she clutched it in, the other resting against her slender waist. The fur covered all of her forearms, with lighter grey, extremely fluffy tufts around her elbows. She was dressed rather exquisitely when compared to the male’s simple cloths. Baggy, airy pants, dyed a deep burgundy, covered all of her legs, but for her feet, fluffy black paws like her hands, and openings at her inner thighs, helping to cool her. These openings also had the effect of exposing her dark, creamy thighs. A tight, black, leathery thong covered the crux of her legs, connected to her pants with golden bangles and inlays, the golden hilt of a sword hanging off one hip. Her slender, toned and tanned stomach was left entirely bare, her dark skin interrupted only by a pair of curious, lighter markings to either side of her navel. Her modest chest was held tightly by a top similar in make to the thong clinging to her hips, while her neck was covered with a complex golden necklace, painted and decorated with lapis. More golden decorations garnished her hair, all of the metal upon her making her seem to glow, shining like a ray in the bright desert sun.

She was shorter than all but the youngest couple of them, though her height was helped slightly by a pair of pointed ears, twitching attentively atop her head. Long, straight black hair cascaded down her back, her bangs cut short and neat just above her blazing crimson eyes. Eyes of a deep, scorching vermillion which they now realized were staring back at them, a slight twitch in one eye relaying her annoyance. Slowly, they all comprehended it. They’d been gawking at an Anubis, an advisor to the Pharaoh herself. Practically royalty. Gears turned, and the group of men quickly worked themselves into a small frenzy, quickly settling into a line-up before the regally dressed Anubian.

“Y-Your Highness! Apologies!” The eldest of the men spoke for the group as they all dropped down onto their right knees, hands to the ground, bowing their heads to her, “We were not expecting one of your standing as the reason for our being called here.” he explained, his voice slightly panicked, rushed.

The Anubis was clearly not amused by their fumbling. Her elegant, refined features locked firmly in a frown as she gazed at the dozen men bowing down before her, furred arms crossed over her chest, her golden staff tapping lightly against her shoulder. Finally though, she let out a sigh, shaking her head wearily as she relaxed her arms, moving to walk around the men to the chair behind them, “It is alright, I suppose.” She spoke, motioning for them to rise as she passed the line-up, “I did instruct the messengers to summon you all quickly as possible. I shouldn’t be surprised the literal fools wouldn’t slow to explain things properly.”

Speaking dismissively, she stepped up onto the carrying chair, turning to seat herself on the cushion, one leg crossing over the other, her staff resting against one foot-paw and her shoulder. From her seat, she looked back over to the twelve men, now standing and turned to face her. She waved a paw in the direction of a nearby building, “There were to be weapons prepared for you in that guard tower. Go fetch them, there should be a sword for each of you.” She instructed, each man nodding dutifully, “When you get back, you, you, you and you-” Three of her large, fluffy ‘fingers’ tucked themselves in, leaving one with an extended claw to point to four of the men, all of similar heights and builds, “Will carry my seat.” Her eyes glanced over the rest of them, pointing to them, “You and you, will handle one of the mules. You and you shall keep hold on the other.” The next four nodded as well, “And the last of you shall arm yourselves with spears, and act as primary guards.” She finished, turning her gaze away from them.

Reaching a paw to a small bag at her waist, the Anubis tossed the eldest man a key without so much as sparing a glance, before shifting to rest an elbow on an armrest, her paw raised up to cushion her head as she waited. The men quickly retrieved the stashed weapons from the guard tower, locking up behind themselves. Armed as the jackal-eared task-master had commanded, the four she had selected earlier moving to grasp the four poles of the carried chair, grunting as they hefted it up and onto their shoulders. The chair itself was not very heavy, nor was the noblewoman who sat upon it. Thanks to the men’s similar builds, they found it easy to balance between them.

“Erm…forgive me, Your Highness…” One of the two front-carriers spoke up, looking back towards her upon the seat, “But, where exactly is it that we’re taking you?”

The Anubis looked down upon him, briefly holding him in a disdainful, annoyed glare. She quickly closed her eyes though, and when she looked down to him again, seemed to have calmed herself, as though having corrected herself of some inward fault, “A place known as Akhetaten.” She stated, the dozen men scattered about beneath her glancing to each other, confusion evident as they looked to one another. They soon turned back to the leader who had gathered them when she released a noticeably loud sigh, “I would not expect you to know of it. But it is a place of current importance to the Pharaoh, understood?” They all nodded in response, rapidly and plentifully, “We march half a day east, until we are at the far shore before the Nile curves northward.”

The men steeled themselves for the march ahead, beginning to depart out the city gates onto the dusty road ahead out into the desert, before the royal advisor spoke up again, “And then five days north.” She stated plainly, not even flinching as the men all ground to a halt, the momentum almost throwing her from her seat. She raised a brow slightly, eyes flicking over the twelve males, all now staring up to her, wide-eyed, “…is there a problem?” she asked dryly, her eyes ablaze, as though daring any of them to speak up. She nodded when the only response were mutterings of “No Your Highness”, as they resumed marching. It was not their place to question one of her standing. Better to just suck it up and do the job they’d been so abruptly hired for.

And so they marched. They marched on along the road. Marched out into the desert. Marched over and around dunes. Marched under the scorching hot sun. They did not stop nor rest, those designated ‘Guards’ passing around food and water for the others to eat and drink on the go, keeping up their strength. They left sight of the mighty Nile before the sun had reached the horizon, making good time as they turned north to continue their trek.

The sun was beginning to set over the horizon, casting the desert into a glowering dusk when the Anubis called out to the group after hours of silence, “We’ll continue an hour longer, then stop to make camp.” She bellowed, the otherwise stoic creature stifling a yawn going unseen by the men, who were simply relieved at the prospect of rest. That relief was short lived though, as the Anubis soon spoke again, “…Gods, what is that?” She muttered, her voice just barely audible to her party.

The twelve looked up to her, seeing her leaning forward in her chair, eyes narrowed at something in the distance. They followed her gaze out into the desert, off in the distance, over and across the dunes, and soon they saw the only thing she could possibly be referring to. Each pondering what the object might be.
“Some strange rock formation?”
“Maybe, though it seems a tad big. You’d think the sand would’ve covered it more.”
“Perhaps it’s an entrance to a cave? I think I can make out a curve to it…”
“No no, it looks solid to me.”
“…I think I see something sparkling on it! What if it’s some giant treasu-“
“Why would someone leave a giant pile of treasure in the middle of the desert?!”
“Perhaps it’s simply a mirage?”
“I know we’ve been out here a long time, but I don’t feel quite that out of it…”
“It looks real to me.”
“Actually, I think I see it…flickering. Maybe it is a mirage?”
“…t-this might just be me, but…umm…is it actually…moving…?”
“…Oh Gods no.”
At that moment, the ‘object’ off in the distance was surrounded by a great gush of sand erupting into the air. As the sand fell back to the ground, obscuring the ‘rock’ entirely, everyone watching it was certain that yes, they had seen it move. They knew for sure when the sand had settled, and there was no sign of it at all. Silence dominated the group, the Anubis had stood up atop her carrier, her staff clutched in one paw, the other reaching up to grasp the chair’s covering to steady herself as she looked around at the sand dunes surrounding them. She tried not to show it, but nervousness was written across her face. Across all their faces.
“…do…d-do you think it’s gone…?” The youngest amongst them finally dared to break the silence.
He would later be regarded, unanimously, as being at fault for what followed. Immediately after the word “Gone” had left his lips, they all felt it. The ground was shaking beneath their feet, sand shivering and shifting all around them. It began as a faint shuddering, but within moments the desert was outright quaking under them.
“Everyone, run!” The Anubis called everyone’s attention to her as she leapt down from her chair, rushing away from it.
Her escorts did not need to be told twice. The four who had been carrying the chair shrugged it off, letting it drop heavily onto the sand as they fled in four different directions, the rest of the group also scattering. Not more than a second later, the regal carrier was utterly destroyed as sand exploded out from under it, sending it flying into the air, before it was smashed to pieces as it slammed back into the desert floor.

Looking back over their shoulders as they fled, the group of thirteen all saw the cause of sand eruption. Looming far above them was a massive creature, looking like a gigantic, vast pillar of solid stone, spotted with gigantic gems along its sides. As they trailed their eyes up the great body towards the top, it curved downward, and at its end was a great, gaping maw, full to the brim with oversized teeth that could have been swords for all it mattered. Anyone who lived in the desert knew one simple rule to life. Do not go anywhere near a Sandworm.

The beast twisted on the spot, body writhing through the sand as the thirteen travelers fled from it every which way. The shimmering pink jewels along its body watched all of them, and when it had apparently had its fill of watching, the worm released a deafening roar, loud enough to make those that fled from it wince, as it dove back down, crashing into the sand with a mighty splash. The massive monster cut through the dunes like they were water, swimming within the sand, vast quantities of earth sent awash like waves with every move of its greatness. It circled to and fro, playing with its prey. It was futile, trying to run from it. Their legs could only carry them so far so fast, and this monster could cross the desert like it was taking a stroll to the market. It was hopeless.

But still they ran, losing sight of each other, only to spot one another again the next moment. The sand shifted, wavering and thrashing around them like turbulent waves, disturbed and shaken by the sandworm cutting a swath through the dunes. Minutes bled into hours, time seeming to lose meaning as they fled under the dimming light of the dusk sun. Somehow, scattered as they were, the Anubis managed to meet up with two of the men she’d summoned to take her across the desert, the youngest of the group, and another who looked to be several years his elder. She instructed them to follow her, continuing to flee, none of them even remotely sure of what direction they were running any more.

Time passed, the sun now but a sliver on the horizon. The sand beneath their feet had stopped shaking, and footing was easier to find. It would have seemed as though they had successfully fled away from the beast. There was a moment of silence, mourning for whichever of their comrades may still yet have the attentions of the Sandworm. Then he spoke again.
“I-I think we got away!” The young worker declared, his voice full of optimism.
Seemingly summoned by that optimistic tone, the ground began to shake again. Both the Anubis and the older man simply looked at the young boy, almost identical expressions of exhaustion, annoyance, and sheer disbelief written across their faces as they watched his joyous face contort as though he were about to cry.

They peered over his shoulders as some part of the Sandworm breached the sandy surface, surging towards them. Slowly the boy turned to face the sight as well, just as the worm’s great, gaping maw emerged. The toothy gullet opened wide, a mass of writhing, crimson-pink tendrils coalescing between the blades as it lunged towards the three. The Anubis and older man saw no more, both lunging away in either direction to try and escape. The younger man, however, was seemingly glued to the spot in fright, tears welling up in his eyes as he stared into the abyssal mouth. The last thing either of his companions could later recall, was his shrill scream, and an even louder shout. A declaration, echoing across the dunes, a cry of “Husband!”. The Sandworm crashed back into the desert, swallowing the lad whole, the force of it diving back beneath the sand like an explosion, sending the two who had tried to dodge flying with the sand. That was the last either of them recalled, before they were knocked unconscious from the impact.

The Anubis was the first to awake later in the evening, whimpering as she felt a cold wind blow over her body. Shaking from the chill, her fur seemed to ripple as the sensation passed over her, slowly opening her eyes as the cold subsided. Her vision was dark at first, slowly coming into focus as she blinked her eyes. The first thing she saw was the man who’d been knocked out with her. Somehow, they’d landed just a couple of feet apart from each other, both up on their sides, facing each other as they lay unconscious.

Feeling sore from the fall, and tired from being knocked out, the Anubis lay there for a moment, her eyes roaming over the unconscious man. As all the others had been, he was dressed in a simple white cloth skirt around his waist, leaving most of his heavily tanned body bare. She noticed he didn’t look as muscled as some of the others she’d summoned. More lean, someone who worked hard, but nothing particularly grueling that would build much musculature. Despite herself, she found that she cracked a grin, snickering as she observed that he had a fair amount of dark brown body hair, from his chest, to a short, somewhat neatly trimmed beard, to a thick head of curly hair. She pondered that he must get swelteringly hot underneath it all.

At the mere thought of heat though, she again felt a chill run down her body. Tired still, she raised her head up, gazing around until she caught sight of the sun. The very last sliver of sunlight as it disappeared beyond the horizon, a dark pall falling over the desert as the last vestige of light vanished. She felt the wind pick up, sitting herself up to wrap her paws around her arms, clutching her shoulders in her furred hands for warmth as a cool wind blew over her.

“D-Damnit…it’s only going to get colder…” She muttered to herself as she shook from the cold, “Gotta-gotta find shelter…” She told herself.

Shifting over onto her knees, she began to stand up, stopping to glance at the man off to her side. She eyed him for a moment again, still unconscious, occasionally tensing as a shiver of cold passed through him as well. Finally, she let out a sigh, shuffling across the sand to close the short distance between them, kneeling beside him as she reached her large paws onto his side.

“Hey. Hey.” She repeated, rocking his body back and forth lightly, “Hey…you.” She stopped for a moment, contemplating that she had no idea what the names of any of her escorts had been. She quickly pushed the thought out of her mind, shaking the man before her harder, “Hey, wake up already!” She barked out, her voice emitting something like a growl for the briefest moment.

That somehow seemed to trigger a response, as the young man’s eyes suddenly shot open with a gasp, something like a shout that fell short of a scream. His body flinched away as he sat himself up, panting heavily as he stared at the Anubis for a moment, before looking off in every which direction. He seemed panicked, at first at least, but she paid it no mind. Now that he was awake, she moved to stand up.

“Come on.” She told him dryly, “It’s getting cold, and it’s only going to get colder. We should find some shelter, try to keep warm for the night.” She explained to him calmly, turning to begin walking up a nearby sand dune.

The man remained for a moment longer, watching after the Anubis as she strode up the sand. He couldn’t help but find himself staring at her sculpted behind as she walked up away from him. She must not have noticed, but her tiny undergarment had, at some point, wedged itself between her buttocks. It almost made it appear that her perfect, pert little desert peach was fully exposed by the holes in her pant legs. Rapidly shaking his head to and fro, trying to dismiss more lurid thoughts, he calmed his breathing, moving to get up to his feet as well. He kicked and pawed at the sand for his first few, brief steps as he turned to follow her up the dune.

Cresting the sandy peak, the two looked out over the desert in search of some reprieve from the cooling night. At first, they saw nothing but the darkened expanse of sand, but the Anubis eventually pointed out something else. Something scattered some distance away. Walking to it, the two found supplies, littering the ground, half-buried in sand already.

“Some of this looks familiar…” The man pointed out, crouching down to dig a bag out from the sand already covering it, “Think the mules might have fled this way? Dropped their load?” He suggested, glancing back to the Anubis.

It took him a moment, as she was no longer behind him, but instead off to the side, digging some more supplies out herself, “Perhaps. See if you can find a tent. At least a tarp. It’d be better than nothing.” She instructed.

Nodding, he went back to searching through what scattered supplies they’d found. He didn’t notice her looking over to him, a hint of red coating her cheeks as she made sure he was focusing on his task, before she reached a paw back to fix her wedged underwear, having apparently noticed it by then. The two eventually managed to dig up a tent, along with some kindling for a fire, and some rations. Now there stood the problem of where to set up the tent. With no sign of the Sandworm that had threatened them before, the two decided it would be safe to split up and scour the surrounding area. They tried to stay within sight of each other, looking over dune after dune in search of something. Finally, the man cried out in success this time, waving to signal the Anubis over to him.

He pointed her towards a contorted rock formation, jutting and twisting out of the sand. They ran down the dune they stood atop, hands raised to protect their faces from the growing winds of the night, blowing cold air and sand against them. The outcropping acted as something of a buffer already, but still their bodies were assaulted by the desert night. They were quick to pull out the tent, finding it damaged and missing several supports and stakes. The Anubis was quick to think up a solution, instructing her companion to help her in securing half of the tent to a solid part of the rocky outcropping, using it to help support the tent, rather than just to buffer the wind.

The end result was rather messy, a tent half-raised, bound to the rock with rope, the other half hammered into the sandy ground with what few stakes they had been able to find. But it was better than nothing, and both were quick to seek its shelter.

“Get a fire going.” The Anubis commanded, her voice shaking just faintly as she rubbed at her shoulders with her paws, walking over to seat herself in a small niche within the rock contained in the tent, using it like a seat.

The man with her simply stared at her, a confused look on his face at her order, “A…fire? You want a fire? In here?” He asked, dumbfounded.

She frowned, seemingly upset at his questioning rather than obeying, her paws still clutching at her opposing shoulders, rubbing them up and down to try and generate some warmth, “Yes. What is so confusing about that?” She scoffed.

“Well it’s just…” He glanced around, “Wouldn’t the tent get full of smoke?”

The royal adviser’s eyes narrowed on him, “Of course not. Even in this state, this tent was designed, and then further enchanted, to filter smoke out through there.” She removed one paw from a shoulder, pointing to a small, square section at the top of the tent, raised up and covered by an additional layer of fabric, the night sky barely visible through the opening between the two layers.

The man grimaced, staring up at the slight opening, clearly doubtful of its design and intention. Looking back down, he winced back, finding himself met with an intense glare from the Anubis. Tensing up warily, he quickly relented, digging the kindling they’d found out of their supplies. He quickly dug out a little fire pit, placing the kindling neatly inside it. Luckily, the a piece of flint to light it hadn’t been lost, and he soon had a fair fire going to warm up the tent, the smoke wafting upwards and out of the ‘vent’, just as she had told him.

For her part, she practically leapt out of her rocky seat, kneeling by the fire with her paws outstretched, her features softening as she let out a blissful sigh at the heat warming up her chilled form. In the day he’d traveled with her, he’d only known the Anubian to be a stone-faced stoic. He couldn’t help but grin, chuckling at her relief. She was quick to notice his amusement, blinking in confusion for a moment, before realization hit her, her body tensing up as a blush warmed her tan cheeks.

“And…just what’s so funny?” She muttered, looking away from him, mostly to hide her own embarrassment.

“Ah, nothing Your Highness, nothing at all.” He insisted, still grinning to himself as he gave a dismissive shrug, raising his own hands to be warmed by the flames.

The two sat in silence for some time, simply glad to be protected from the night chill, and warmed by the fire. It wasn’t too long though before the silence began to feel awkward, stifling. Alone in the tent together, they both felt as though they needed something to talk about, though neither seemed all that ready to breach a subject.

“So…do you think the others escaped? Think they’re safe?” The hairy male finally spoke up with a subject.

His camping companion raised her head, having been simply staring into the fire. She stared at him for a moment now, the flames flickering, reflected in her eyes, as she looked back down into the fire, “…I don’t know. I think I heard…something, when the Sandworm charged us. Most of them are probably safe.”

“…you mean except for…” He voiced what they were both thinking, a trace of guilt evident in his tone.

“There wasn’t much we could do honestly.” She apparently picked up on his tone, and tried to sound reassuring. Her steady, almost cold tone didn’t help much, “I’ve heard being swallowed by a Sandworm isn’t all bad. Some apparently learn to enjoy it.”

The man frowned, blinking wearily, staring at her for her attempted reassurance, “…well, that still leaves the others.” He continued, rather half-heartedly.

“Mmm. One can hope they found shelter as well. I hear digging a hole can work quite well.” Her tone was rather half-hearted as well, or more along the lines of disinterested. She raised a paw to cover her mouth as it stretched wide in a yawn, shifting to place her staff and sword on the ground, curling up with her back to the fire, “I’m going to try and get some sleep.” She stated, wiggling about, trying to get comfortable in the bed of sand.

Giving a slight shake of his head, the man began to shift down onto his side as well, stopping when a gust of wind blew against the tent. The loosely restrained bottom fluttered up, admitting a cold wind, the chill and the sand it carried battering against his back, making his entire body shake. Seeing the Anubis seemingly unaffected on the opposite side of the fire, he moved to shuffle around to join her. He was quickly stopped as, in the blink of an eye, she had rolled over, sat up, drawn her sword, and pointed the golden blade’s tip at his throat. He stopped instantly, holding both his hands up close to his head, eyes wide as he looked down to the sharp tip of the sword.

“What do you think you’re doing?” She spoke quickly, fierce eyes narrowed on him.

“Erm…moving around the fire…?” He responded slowly by comparison, his eyes not leaving the sword threatening him.

“Why?!” She snapped, her tone demanding an answer.

“I-It’s cold over here! With how we weren’t able to secure the tent entirely right, it seems like strong enough gusts can get in under it. You seemed to be okay over on that side, so I just thought I’d-“

“So you were watching me try to sleep?” she interjected, her voice cold as she glared at him, if less intensely than a moment before.

“…excuse me?”

“You said that I ‘seemed to be okay over on this side’.” She repeated, a faint hint of annoyance in her quick-paced tone, “Thus, I would be led to believe you were watching me as I tried to slumber.”

“What? No I-…I just don’t want to have the win-“

“No.”

“But I jus-“

“I said no.” She repeated simply, shifting forward, just barely poking at his neck with her blade, making him shuffle back slightly, her eyes narrowing on him again, “I’m not comfortable with it. I don’t want you sleeping so near to me. You’ll remain over there. Understood?” It was an order. There didn’t seem to be any room for a response, not in her voice and certainly not in her eyes.

He could only give a very slight nod of acknowledgement. Her eyes grew less intense, and she pulled her blade back, letting him release a deeply relieved sigh, “And one more thing.” She said, sheathing her sword. He perked his head up to listen, “Face away from me when you sleep. I don’t much care for the thought of you watching me either.” She stated, not even looking at him as she rolled back down to her previous resting position.

Groaning and frowning wearily, the servile man was left with few options but to do as she said. He slowly, hesitantly, turned away, lowering himself onto his side. He rested his head on top of one hand, nervously eying the wavering side of the tent he was facing. He wasn’t sure he’d be able to get any sleep like this.


 

And he’d been right, after all. He’d lost track of time, how long he’d been in the tent, trying to fall asleep, and how long he’d been failing. At the very least, he’d figured out a way to keep the sand out of his face, wrapping one arm around his head to protect it, with his hand resting over his mouth. It was far from comfortable, felt rather contorted in fact, but it was better than a face full of sand every few minutes. It did not, however, help with the chill that came with the sand.

Across the flames of the fire, despite what her companion might have thought, the Anubis was not faring much better. She might not have been facing a weak tent flap, and she had her furry limbs to warm her, but all the same, she still felt a chill with each gust that entered, despite his earlier observations. Slowly, quietly, she rose up, turning her head to glance across the fire. She saw him laying there, head wrapped up in his arms, noticeably shuddering. A slightly amused grin of her own blossomed on her lips. She grasped her staff, shifting around the fire a bit to prod at his side.

He immediately flinched at the poke, his entire body reacting and retreating from the staff, his arms moving to free his head as he looked at it. He had clearly thought it her sword for a moment, and breathed another sigh of relief when he saw it wasn’t. Glancing up at her, his confusion and curiosity were evident. Seeing this, she stiffened up, her face flushing again as she looked away from him.

“Ah…you umm…you looked…cold…” She mumbled, one of her ears faintly twitching.

He blinked his eyes at the odd statement, quirking a brow as he eyed her with further curiosity. It was then that a thought sprung to mind. It might not have been the most appropriate, perhaps even dangerous, but he couldn’t help himself. It was too easy, “Oh? Is that so? Watching me sleep were you?” He asked her, possibly the smuggest smile he’d worn in his life painted across his face.

She immediately stiffened up, eyes going wide as she stared down at him, face bright red as she inhaled sharply through her nose, “I-I-I-What?! N-No!” She stammered out, rapidly shaking her head, jabbing him roughly in the side with her staff.

“Gah-Sorry, sorry!” He apologized quickly, a hand moving to massage the spot where her staff had jabbed him, “I just couldn’t resist…teasing you a bit.” Telling her this, his expression changed to more of an amused, playful grin, “So…what is it then? Why the poking?”

She winced back, blushing still as she clutched her scales-staff in both her paws, hugging it to her chest. Swallowing, she calmed herself, regaining a measure of her composure, “A-As I said…you appear cold. I am not…as warm, as I would like to be either.” He nodded along slowly as she explained, “I’ve simply heard that…that sharing body heat can be…” Her face was growing redder again with every word she spoke, “Useful…in times like…well, like these…” She murmured, shifting to hold the scales in front of her face, obscuring her embarrassed glow.

Leaning back in the sand, the man’s face was glowing rather red itself. He averted his eyes, grunting a bit as he took a moment to mull over, process what the Royal before him had suggested. He certainly couldn’t deny the logic behind it. And as much fun as the momentary teasing had been, who would ever say no to as beautiful a Princess as she? And of course, he was still rather cold as well. Swallowing nervously himself, he returned his eyes to her, flinching back when he saw her peeking at him through her scales. It was almost too adorable to take for him, “I-…if that is what you wish, Your Highness.” He stated, moving to get up, “I…would be happy to keep you warm.”

She let out a little eep, quickly retreating back around the fire, “O-Of course you would! You should be! It’s an honor far above your station, so be grateful!” She was practically shouting at him. He couldn’t help but chuckle, following her around to the other side of the fire, facing the safety of the rock formation.

“So…where would you like me to lay then?” He asked her, glancing around the space between the fire and the rock. There was a fair amount of room, she could be as far from him as she liked really, he’d still be fine simply being further from the cold breeze.

She glanced back at him, eyes flicking to the spot by the fire where she’d been laying before, “…lie yourself down there.” He did as he was told, finding the spot had a comfortable warmth to it already, the sensation bringing a smile to his face, “Now…stretch one arm out…the one you’re laying on top of.”

He looked confused for a moment, but did as he was told, stretching the arm straight out in front of him. A split second later, the Anubis had flopped down atop his arm. He blushed heavily, looking at her back with wide, confused, yet happy eyes, “Erm…”

“Not a word…” She muttered, still clutching her staff to her. She shifted slowly, seemingly getting comfortable, the soft skin of her side caressing his arm, sending pleasant shivers through his body. She stopped after a while, having slid up a bit further along his arm. He could feel the leathery fabric of her top against his upper arm, which was now nestled underneath hers, “…now wrap your arm around me…” Her voice was nary but a whisper.

“I’m…sorry, wha-“

“You heard me.” She almost growled out the response.

He couldn’t see, but her face was burning red, his own turning a fair crimson as well as he moved his arm up and around her. His forearm pressed into her belly, hugging her a bit closer to him, as his hand came to rest on her hip, “…like this?” he questioned, able to simply whisper right in her ear now, his eyes watching the two twitching jackal ears mere inches from them.

“…yes…” She whispered back a moment later.

The two lay there, utterly silent, still unable to get any sleep, though neither of them felt the slightest bit of the cold now. The silence that hung over them now was once more awkward, but far more than before, and for far different causes. This time though, it was she who broke it.

“…what’s your name?”

“Ah? What?” He asked with a start, not having been expecting the question.

“Your name. I don’t have a name to call you by. I never bothered to remember any of your names…” She told him quietly, her voice more subdued now, regaining a measure of calm.

“…Johan, Your Highness.” He told her after a staying quiet a moment longer.

“…Layla.” Her response came after a slight hesitation.

“What?”

“Layla. It’s my name. I’d rather you call me that than ‘Anubis’ or ‘Your Highness’ or some such…Johan.” She stated, her cheeks blossoming faintly again.

He nodded his head slowly, repeating her name, “Alright then, if you’re alright with that…Layla.” He repeated, blinking as he felt her shiver in his arms the moment he said the name. They were quiet again for a time, before he spoke again, “If you don’t mind me asking…why were we crossing the desert in the first place? What was your reason for going to this Akhetaten?”

She responded with silence at first, her ears twitching slightly. He thought he could tell that perhaps, she was thinking over her answer. What to tell him. Eventually, she responded, “…Pharaoh wished to build a new palace there. Expand her Kingdom.” She explained, “As her closest advisor, and overseer of such projects, I was to go there to oversee its beginnings.”

“I see…it sounds to be a grand undertaking.” He replied. He had a feeling there was more to it, but it was a satisfactory answer at least.

“And what of you?” She spoke up, tipping her head back a bit.

“What about me?” He replied, a bit confused by the vague question.

“What is it that you do?” She elaborated, chuckling softly to herself at some slight joke, “When you’re not being dragged into the desert by an annoyed Princess in a rush.” She could joke at her own expense? That was a surprise. Even to her, perhaps.

“I’m a scribe’s assistant.” He told her, “I spend my days running about the archives, sorting, copying, running errands, occasionally a trip to another town or city.” He explained to her.

“Ah, so you’re the assistant scribe…” She mused, nodding her head a tiny bit.

“What does that mean?”

“Well, I may not have memorized your names, but I did pick each of you for a particular reason.” She began to elaborate upon what she’d said, “As I told you, I was to help construct a new palace. A new city around it even. I’d need different people to fill certain roles to get things started.”

“Including a scribe’s assistant?”

“Including a scribe’s assistant.” She repeated with a chuckle. Or perhaps, more of a giggle? That could’ve been his imagination though, “I would’ve needed someone to help me sort through and draft plans and such.” She further elaborated.

The two chatted together, gradually feeling more comfortable in the warm embrace. The awkward air between them dissipating as they discussed their daily lives. All the while, Layla slowly slid up his arm, bit by bit, until her back was pressed to his chest. It was such a subtle change, neither of them really noticing. Nor did they notice Johan’s other arm moving to wrap over her, his hand becoming like a cushion between her hip and the ground. What he did notice was her tail, lightly wagging back and forth between them, brushing, wapping against his stomach, legs and crotch. It was a curious sensation, he didn’t even fully comprehend how pleasant it felt.

Until, that is, Layla’s rear slid back to match the rest of her, and her firm behind pressed against the far firmer hardness that was causing his cloth wrap to rise like a tent. He hadn’t even realized how hard it was until she pressed into it. She let out a little gasp of surprise, both of their eyes widening, cheeks flaring, their conversation abruptly dying. Johan immediately loosened his hold, shifting his hips back, pulling his second arm back over her, trying to return to just the single arm as Layla had original asked. However, he found his wrist grabbed by her paw. Looking down, he watched as she silently moved to tuck his hand back under her hip. Silent still, she reached behind her, and he felt her soft paw press down on his hip, gently pulling him back closer to her. She didn’t stop until his bulge was nestled right against her ass.

Her tail fell, the fluffy appendage rubbing softly against his waist, warming his side as she wiggled about. As she got more comfortable in his hold, he found himself tensing up, feeling her full, plush bottom grinding back against his crotch, his bulge nestled neatly between her cheeks. Her eyes were shut tight as she snuggled into him, her actions emboldening the poor man holding her. His eyes trailed down along her nape, as though searching out a target. The heavy necklace she wore covered most of her neck, and so he was left to lean his head in, planting a tender kiss upon her shoulder. Even that simple contact sent a shiver through her, a hot gasp, something like a whine, something like “Wan”, escaping her lips as she went limp in his arms. She tensed as his lips made contact again, going limp when they left, the motion of her tensing and relaxing making her rear rub up and down the bulge of his simple cloth.

Johan felt like he was burning up. He couldn’t bear it much longer, the grinding, writhing, beautiful creature nestled within his hold. Caught up in the sensation of his lips on her shoulder, Layla took a moment to notice he had pulled his hand from under her hip again, moving to reach between them. He tugged away at the fabric of his cloth covering, trying to unravel it, move it aside. A moment later, the Anubis’ eyes shot open, as she felt the heat of her companion’s raw meat against her peachy soft bum. Her entire form quivered, vibrating with a mix of nervous excitement, and anxiousness, feeling it rubbing her skin.

Slowly, he shifted his hips back, managing to line himself up, pushing his manhood between her thighs. He was extremely thankful in that moment, to whoever made her pants, and included the holes in them that exposed her thighs, letting him feel their soft, squishy flesh squeezing him. The both of them were panting heavily, hotly, Johan burying his head in the back of hers, inhaling her scent, as Layla glanced down between her tightly clenched legs. She could feel his hot shaft, squeezed between her thighs, almost so hot as to feel like he was burning her flesh. She gasped out again, feeling it rub up against her crotch, the heat easily penetrating the slight fabric she called an undergarment. More than that, she was immediately aware of how damp she felt, her juices seeping through the leathery material. She was sure he could feel it too, her juices, drooling onto his hard flesh.

She could see it now, her face turning deep, burning crimson as her eyes fixated on the head. The rounded little mushroom-y head of the cock resting snug between her thighs. She stared at it for the longest time, the two seemingly content for a moment, wrapped in each other ever more. Slowly though, she moved one of her paws, reaching towards it. Johan gasped out, shaking as he felt it. The softness of her paw pad pressing against his cockhead, the tip of his penis gently caressed by it. Smiling softly, seeming to enjoy the simple act, Layla gently squeezed her fluffy digits around his tip, wrapping it in an unbelievably soft paradise of fur.

Shaking from the pleasure even as he held her, Johan moved his mouth from her head, making the Anubis gasp out, her digits squeezing down harder, as he wrapped his mouth around one of her ears, suckling on the tip gently.

“N-Not fair…” She whimpered, whining almost as she gasped for air, her thighs wiggling, rubbing his shaft side to side in their wonderfully cushy embrace, her paw still caressing the head.

“You’re not playing fair either…” He whispered in her ear, his words coming out in hot pants, thick with lust.

He gave her ear a little nibble, drawing out a sudden moan from the desert beauty, her entire body quivering against him. Steadying herself, she began to retaliate, squeezing her thighs tighter around his hardness, as she began to twist her paw around the head, rubbing and caressing it from every direction in her plush, wondrously soft grasp. It wasn’t an assault he could last long against, bucking his hips as best he could, grinding against her rear as she tightly held his member. Feeling himself nearing his climax, he moved his free hand up to gently nudge Layla into looking over her shoulder. He met her gaze for a moment, saw her blushing, dazed expression, her warm eyes locking with his. They held each other’s gaze for but a split second, but it felt as though it could have been hours. Then, Johan pressed forward, mashing his lips against hers passionately.

She returned the kiss, her mouth opening to welcome him deeper, tongues rubbing wet, hot trails along each other. They pressed their lips together, sharing in each other as Johan felt himself let go, Layla stopping the gyrating motions of her paw as he felt his thick, hot cream spurting up, soaking into her fur. She held him, and he held her, their lips locked until finally, they had to pull back to each suck in a deep breath, a chain of mixed saliva linking their tongues together, breaking when they both managed to stop panting. Groaning a bit as the Anubis released her grip on the tip of his manhood, he watched as she raised the paw up to her face, opening her ‘hand’, to see the thick ropes of his milk clinging to her fur.

Both of them shuddered, flush at the sight, Johan glancing away for a moment, a bit ashamed to have dirtied her so. When he glanced back though, his eyes widened at what he saw. The Royal Advisor, Task Master of the Kingdom, Lady of the Dead, a Princess to the Pharaoh she served, was lapping at her dirtied fur. Her mouth opened, and she stuck out her tongue, lapping and suckling at the filthy fluff, swallowing down his spunk in the process of cleansing her body of it. Or maybe, if he dared to think so, it was not that she was eating it to clean herself, but cleaning herself so she could eat it? The thought sent a pleasant rippling down his spine, both arms holding her again, clutching her to his chest.

He watched her ‘cleaning’ herself for a time, his eyes feeling heavier as time passed. He felt so comfortable. So content. Yes, surely now, he could sleep. Even if this were all a dream, it would be the best he’d ever had. Before he could nod off though, Layla spoke up again.

“Johan…let me go.” She spoke, her voice carrying a slight panting to it still, but she seemed to have recovered almost entirely.

He awoke from whatever daze he was in, squeezing her tighter for a moment, not wanting to let go. That earned him a growl from the Anubian. Perhaps, he thought, the dream was indeed over. Slowly, hesitantly, he relented, removing his arms from around her waist, allowing her to pull away. He groaned sadly, suddenly feeling very cold without her back against his chest, or her legs wrapped around his groin. His suffering was short lived though, as he felt one fluffy paw pressing into his shoulder, forcing him onto his back. He looked up, watching as Layla moved to straddle his waist, her thighs hugging his waist, her damp, leathery thong kissing the underside of his cock.

If he’d been growing flaccid at all, he was back to full mast in an instant. Both from the sensation against his shaft, and from looking up at her expression, her face sending a shiver down his spine. Her face was nigh entirely scarlet, mouth parted slightly as she sucked in slow, heavy breaths. Her eyes were glazed over, staring down at him, gazing deeply into his own. Her every breath caused her perky chest to rise and gently fall, restrained enticingly by her tight, curve-squeezing top. Johan almost swore he could make out the hard tips of her nipples, poking out against the fabric.

“Johan…” He was snapped from his thoughts by the low, lusty whine, his attention turning back to the beautiful being sitting on top of him. He watched as she reached one paw down, displaying a surprising level of dexterity as she managed to pinch the tiny, soaked-through fabric of her underwear between two claws, tugging it aside slightly, “I. Need. You.” Each word was more seeped in desire than the last.

As much as he might have wished for it, he could not make out her womanhood. But he could feel it. The soft, hot mound, pressing into him, wet lips kissing, grinding along his girth. Slowly, she worked her hips, her succulent lower mouth rubbing, kissing up and down his length, drooling over him, readying him. Her paws reached out, padding their way, step by step, up his chest, caressing his hairy body, until they reached his shoulders. She held him, grasping gently, as she leaned over him, her chest pressing down onto his, her head resting just below his. Johan could feel her ears twitching, rubbing against his chin and cheeks as the Anubis nuzzled into his neck. His arms shook at his side, wanting to wrap around her again, hold her close, never let go. But would she allow it? Or would she wish to move again any moment now? His answer came mere seconds after he thought of the question, as he felt her hot pussy lips suckle at the head of his cock.

“Johan…take me…” She whispered, her words seeming to shatter a silence that had consumed his mind.

He needed to hear nothing else. His arms swung down, squeezing her tight as he bucked his hips up, driving himself deep inside of her. Layla tensed up, her eyes clouded over as she lay her head against his chest, staring off to the side aimlessly, her mouth hanging open after she let out a pleasured cry, a bit of drool leaking down the corner of her lips. Her paws clung to his shoulders, claws digging into his flesh faintly, as she wiggled her hips back against his shaft, her tail flapping back and forth rapidly atop her backside. She felt herself stretched, torn open, filled by his hot, throbbing meat, and he felt her wet, warm, velvet insides clamping down on him, caressing every inch of his shaft.

They lay together, bodies locked as they grew used to the feeling of each other, of being so intimately linked. Slowly Layla managed to push herself up, her claws teasingly raking across Johan’s chest as she sat up on top of him. She clenched her stomach, eliciting a groan of pleasure from her new found lover as her insides squeezed around him in turn, “Good boy…you’ve done just as I asked, haven’t you?” She cooed, complimenting the man beneath her, one paw reaching off his chest to pet and caress his cheek, the other making sure that his hands found new purchase on her hips, “Now…I think you know what to do next~”

She wore a grin as she said it, raising her hips, sliding herself up along his cock, before bucking back down, moaning deeply as she felt herself filled up anew. Her grin was wiped away as he responded in kind, squeezing on her hips as he bucked his hips up, thrusting deeper inside of the desert princess, stuffing her full until his tip pressed to the deepest core of her body. Neither had ever conceived of such pleasure, the feeling of being filled, of being caressed so, of being united.

Layla’s paws went back to resting on Johan’s chest, claws raking over his body as she leaned forward, trying to find a better position to work herself back down onto his shaft. Her tail abruptly snapped upright on-end when she found it, feeling his hard cock grind hard against just the right place inside her. Her tongue lolled out of her lips as she panted and moaned out, louder each time his cock was thrust back up inside of her, his hands squeezing hard on her belly as she rode him.

Neither of them knew how long they were like that, the Anubis wildly riding atop her servant, filled with his meat over and over, his flesh coming to be soaked through by her juices. Her eyes were glazed over, yet still stared into his, even as he found himself helpless before the desire to let them wander over her body, admiring every inch. Sweat dripping down chocolate-cream skin, round, restrained breasts still managing to bounce as one with each thrust up inside of her depths. Her lewd expression, lost to lust, her wide open mouth, begging to be filled. Though a kiss would suffice, the thought of something else only drove his hips harder, her tail wildly smacking against his legs, one after the other as it wagged to and fro.

Finally, they both felt themselves reaching a peak. Their limits, drawing ever closer. Johan’s hands released her waist, one finding and pushing down on that perfect desert peach, forcing her hips closer to his, until his cock was sheathed inside her fully, the tip kissing at her womb as he came. He groaned deeply, his body quaking, lost in the sensation, as she threw her head back, a moan slowly turning to a howl of pleasure as she felt his thick, hot seed splattering against her womb, staining her insides. She wasn’t even sure when she came in the midst of it all, the pleasure rippling through her mind constantly as she felt herself filled. Her next fully conscious thought, was his other hand, grasping at her neck and cheek, pulling her down until their lips met again, their moans echoing within their mouths as they sucked at each other’s lips.

Eventually, their taut, sweaty bodies relaxed, going limp against each other, the Anubis fall to rest on her lover’s chest, paws trailing up to again clutch his shoulders. Both of them were panting for breath, chests heaving and rubbing against each other, bodies still tied together at the hips as their sweaty forms were tickled by the cool night breeze filtering into the tent. Layla shifted about slowly on Johan’s chest, just ever so slightly, making no move to get off of him, her head resting just below his chin. Instead, she spoke, quietly, at last beginning to lose herself to sleep.

“Please…hold me, until the morning comes…” She whispered to him, her voice soft, barely audible.

The feeling of his arms wrapping around her, hugging her to his chest, was all the assurance she needed. She closed her eyes, completely at peace, drifting off to sleep with a smile on her face.

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4 thoughts on “Alone in a Tent”

  1. Tsundere-ness at it’s prime. 🙂

    This was cute and sexy beyond words, although for some odd reason, I imagine Layla speaking with the voice of Horo… maybe I shouldn’t read that much Spice and Wolf, hah.

      1. Heh, how nostalgic~ I was the one who bought, scanned and translated that.

        Want the Author’s commentary that I finished and never had a chance to add to the dōjin?

        Commentary on the setting

        Worm-type mamono musume

        Called the Sandworm, AKA the Sand-Creature*, they live in dry areas, mainly deserts.
        It’s the largest worm-type monster, their size could even be comparable to that of a dragon.
        Their entire body is covered in an incredibly strong carapace, which also functions in such a way that the Sandworm can “swim” through earth and sand, through the use of peristalsis.

        During the old Demon Lord’s reign Sandworms were carnivorous and humans were a staple of their diet; but after the new Demon Lord took power they became omnivorous. Now humans are seen as potential partners rather than potentially edible.
        For the worm species, their intelligence isn’t high overall; this characteristic hasn’t changed even after the ascent of the new Demon Lord, it’s thought that it’s just a peculiarity of the race of worms.
        For this reason Sandworms are incredibly straightforward in their thinking: if they see a man they fancy as a potential partner, they’ll attack mercilessly.

        Even though the Sandworms use their large outer bodies to hunt down humans, most prey are received by the woman shaped inner-body and are met with a welcome full of lust. Inside the main body resides the inner female-shaped body: this human-shaped organ’s entire surface has the texture of a tongue. If her captured prey is worthy as a potential partner, the Sandworm will use her inner body to cover the man in her saliva; by doing so she marks the man with her own pheromones, which then act as a precaution against other mamono poaching her new suitor. Thus, the Sandworm marks the human as her new partner. This act, in and of itself, has very strong feelings attached to it by the Sandworms and also acts to deepen the intimacy between her and her partner at the same time; this new intimacy will often develop in to the couple’s first mating in most cases.

        Sandworms are an oviparous family of mamono, the eggs being created within the the outer body of the Sandworm. After hatching, the young Sandworms grow by repeatedly moulting. Moulting is generally repeated about 30 times, through this process the Sandworm’s outer hide becomes tough and strong. When the young Sandworm, through repeated moulting, has grown too large to comfortably ride within her mother, the young Sandworm will leave her mother’s embrace and exit into the wider world. The newly independent Sandworm is now considered an adult. To become truly independent the now adult Sandworm leaves her mother (indeed it would be physically impossible for the daughter to again fit into her mother’s outer body now) and begins her own journey in search of a husband, never to set eyes on her mother again.
        It should be noted, that in some very rare cases the Sandworm’s father will accompany his daughter on her journey.
        Normally Sandworms aren’t social mamono and rarely act in groups, however if multiple Sandworms were to act in concert, they could be willing to share a single mate.

        *Translator’s note: Sandworm throughout the dōjin is rendered as “Sandouōmu” in katakana, in this instance the author takes the opportunity to render it in kanji which more or less transliterates to “sand-insect”. So it’s a bit awkward in other words. If you want to have the Japanese transliterated to romanji it’s rendered as “Sunamushi”, pretend that’s what I chose to use if you prefer it.

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