Cut and Run Chapter 22
They all lived happily ever after.
When I was a kid that fairy-tale ending always left me feeling good about life. That’s because the Heroes always managed to vanquish the scary Monsters just before the end of the story.
Then as I got older, imagine how horrified I was to discover there were in fact monsters running around in real life. It was only when I became older, that I learned that the evilest of them looked just like humans. That’s because they were.
What made those evil humans evil, was that they did everything they could to fool me to make me think that they could be trusted. I have to admit that for a while, I was fooled. It didn’t help that many of those ‘others’ that they pointed at, did in fact look like those storybook monsters.
Like any other kid, I didn’t know any better at that time. So, I just ‘knew’ that all of those ‘obvious’ monsters wanted to capture me so as to ‘eat me up’. It was only after I hit puberty that I discovered just how they intended to do that. Afterwards they didn’t seem quite so scary anymore.
Was I still intimidated by them? Oh hell yeah. But not to the point that I wouldn’t have minded to be captured by one, or more of them. Oh, there still are a couple of them that I would hate to have been captured by, but I’m not allowed to say which ones nowadays.
To us adult guys with plenty of experience under our belt; the premise of a life worshipping the Great Maou through sex, is indeed an alluring one. According to the Monster Girl Encyclopedia, its premise is such that once you’ve been nabbed by any one out of the hundreds of different Mamono, all your problems in life will be over.
Yeah, right. I may have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night.
I’ll give you the inside scoop: It didn’t matter if I was a human back then, or a Dragon-Incubus now, I always get myself a shit-ton of curveballs thrown in my direction, and not necessarily always of the sexual variety.
I’ll ask you this: how do you use sex to fix a problem? Particularly, when that problem you’ve got isn’t sexual in the first place?
Confused? Read on.
Because over there, sitting on a footstool was that lady who was laughing. She, was a six-and-a-half foot tall, statuesque platinum-blonde succubus of the first order. (Pardon the term).
“Oh my Maou!” I shouted in surprise, as I jumped to my feet, as did Hanzo and Kato when they recognized their Mistress. Noticing our actions, she then removed her hand from in front of her face, where she’d been covering her mouth all lady-like.
“Hello Boys!” Lady Mara replied to us all, with a sultry smile that promised much.
“Lady Mara! You’ve arrived early!” I exclaimed, baffled by her uncharacteristic behavior. According to everyone I’ve talked to, Lady Mara had the reputation of being on time. She never once had ever crashed an event early before. This change in her behavior left me wondering, and worried.
Instead of answering, she tilted her head and turned that sultry smile over in my direction. There, in that moment I became aware that Lady Mara exuded more than just the casual sensuality that every other Succubus held (super)naturally. She radiated an Aura of uber-sensuality worthy of a God. It was so strong that even as a Dragon Incubus I not only wanted to ‘fall’ but eagerly plummet. Sans parachute.
I soon became aware that my heart trembled with that unspoken promise of hers; hopeful that she would gift me with more than just her attention. Unbidden, my eyes took in the entirety of her succulent form, beginning with the way her hair was braided into a double pony tail that highlighted her long pointed ears, that were just below her characteristic Maou style head-horns.
Wandering south from there, I noticed that she wore a black deep V-neck dress that was trimmed with an intense red that matched her blood-scarlet eyes. That wide V-neck contrasted nicely by exposing a goodly portion of her mouth-watering alabastrine cleavage.
Following that V-cut downwards with my eyes, I became aware of the hills and valleys of her washboard tummy, (Innie!). Next to there, I found myself squinting hopefully at the V-point that ended tantalizingly just above her the region of her pubes. Assuming she had any.
When my eyes stopped at that V-point, she moved her arms to cross her hands and placed them atop her forward knee. Which left me feeling momentarily bereft at the loss of viewing, but gave me an urge to apologize. For what, I had no idea.
Then something occurred to me.
‘Waaaaiiiiit a second!’ I thought in sudden realization, with my eyes widening. ‘Since when does so much un-scaled skin entice me?’ I wondered as I froze my head in consternation.
‘Charm spell?’ I wondered, as a sneaking suspicion washed over me, and I made an annoyed frown while I drew my head back. Suddenly, she didn’t seem quite so interesting nor so delectable then.
“Lady Mara?” I asked once more. “To what do I owe the pleasure of your early arrival?” I demanded, chiding her mildly. She held my gaze momentarily, and then she smiled once more. But this time it was more of an indulgent smile of amusement. One that an adult would bestow upon an impertinent child.
“I give you greetings, Lord Karrakthel.” She evenly replied. As she allowed that smile to ebb she looked back up at me from her position atop the barstool.
“My reasons for my early arrival are my own.” She continued with a purr, her eyes holding mine with a slight frown on her face.
“Even in this day and age, I still have to worry about assassination attempts.” She finished, as if this alone explained her sudden change in behavior. She then turned her attention to Hanzo and Kato. With a lift of one her eyebrows, she asked them both a question that I couldn’t hear.
“Yes, Mistress.” Hanzo answered, bowing, “Everything is in readiness for your arrival. All is well here.” He reported stately. Mara turned her attention to Kato, who merely nodded his agreement of Hanzo’s assessment to her. She seemed satisfied.
“Some would apologize for these untoward actions, Lord Dragon.” Mara stated then, returning her attention back to me. “But as Queen of this realm, I’m not in the habit of making any kind of apology.”
“But of course milady.” I replied with a bow, letting the subject go, “Since you are here now, may I introduce to you my fellow attendees?” I asked. She then nodded her assent as she got to her feet.
When she did, she stretched out her wings and tail as if they’d been scrunched uncomfortably underneath herself for far too long. I smiled knowingly, as that was something I was all too familiar with.
To my surprise, she insistently inserted an arm under one of mine, determined to be escorted like a lady. Which she was. Starting with my father, I then introduced everyone else in the room to her.
“Lady Mara, this is my father and sire, Alonzo Belushi.” I stated, as I turned to him. After a couple seconds of my watching him practically drool all over himself at her, I brought him back to reality by slapping the tip of my wing to the side of his head. At which point he jerked in shock, and then he had the decency to look at least a little bit embarrassed.
He then bowed as he stammered out an apology for his behavior, much to Lady Mara’s bemusement. Her easy going manner told us all that she was used to such attention from every male, and probably no few females.
Continuing on, Jamal demonstrated a surprising amount of self-control by being the perfect gentleman. Despite that stellar performance of his, I knew deep down that he was probably slaveringly eager to ‘check-off’ the Lilim box, on his ‘Monster-Poke’ scorecard. Several times no doubt. But then, who wouldn’t?
And so it went. Thankfully, most of the remainder stayed courteous enough to keep a level head, including my mother. She curtsied demurely while holding her mini-skirt in an approximation of a lift, as far as her lack of an outfit allowed. Through them all, Lady Mara behaved graciously and remained the preeminent Lady, so like the nobility she was born into.
Then I introduced Reussel to her.
That’s where things became,…well, ’interesting’. Why? Let me spell it out for you.
We Mamono can smell many things that we couldn’t when were uncorrupted. One of my biggest surprises after being ‘turned’; was my discovery that Virginity is akin to the sweetest scent that any of us Mamono can detect. We can ‘sniff-out’ virginity like a blood-hound would with an escaped con.
Naturally, we’re all drawn to it like a bee to a nectar laden flower, or like a Moth to a candle flame. Why? Because of the Great Maou’s influence. Instinctively, we all seek to corrupt that innocent person and ‘bring them to the fold’. It’s akin to that urge that humans have, when they hike out to a picturesque scene and feel the urge to carve their initials into something. Just to mark that they’d been there.
Poor Reussel, was not only a Virgin, he was of such an uncorrupted character that he was practically ‘pure as driven snow’ scent-wise. Which, no doubt, was the primary reason why Teal the Unicorn was attracted to him in the first place. How he’d managed to survive in this ‘blessed’ state for as long as he had, is beyond me.
Lady Mara on the other paw, most certainly wasn’t even close to being in either of those ‘blessed’ conditions. If there was anyone in the Demon-realm of California who could claim to be the Antithesis of Virginity, Lady Mara would be that anyone.
But then, that’s what Lilim are. According to the rumor mill, it’s been suggested that Lilim are already born ‘not-a-Virgin’. Don’t ask me how, it’s just a rumor, mind-you.
And unthinkingly, I’d just put the polar opposites of virginity together.
“Why HELLO there!” Lady Mara stated hungrily, her eyes lighting up like torches, as she started to lean forward towards Reussel. I noticed with alarm that her tongue was blepping all unladylike, ever so slightly out of her mouth. He was left embarrassed, and more than a bit turned out by Lady Mara’s change in behavior. But even so, he still managed to stammer out a hesitant ‘hello’, while trying to not be obvious about shying away.
Even with her change in attitude, I thought that he was being unaccountably nervous. A quick glance downwards indicated to me the reason why: his pants were suddenly looking uncomfortably tight.
Looking back up at Lady Mara then, told me that she’d not only seen his physical reaction, but she was interested enough to try and take advantage of it.
“Oh don’t be coy.” Mara stated then as she reached out a hand up to extend towards Reussel the Quivering-Virgin. It was in that moment, that my Dragon Ki-sense went into a sudden alarm. I sensed that the Lady Mara had pulled up just enough energy to form a Charm & Seduce Spell, just for him.
‘Holy shit!’ I silently exclaimed, ‘She’s getting ready to corrupt him!’ I thought fearfully, as I realized her despicable intention. I had to act fast if I was going to maintain my role as ‘best-man’ to him.
“Excuse me Milady!” I shouted suddenly to Mara’s annoyance.
“But Reussel here, is the groom that Teal the Unicorn,” I emphasized, “will be marrying tomorrow.” I insistently stated a little too loud, as I dared to tighten my arm’s hold on hers, while I simultaneously I blocked her outstretched hand with my own.
She stiffened angrily when I did that and she turned her head to glare at me. She was furious enough thento make her already red-eyes burn even redder. Suddenly, I was awash in fear when I realized that I’d violated that Cardinal rule: “Never get between a Lilim, and her prey.”
In that moment, I then noticed two other things.
The first involved Hanzo and Kato. Upon my blocking her hand, they then both stiffened themselves and reached for,…something on their belts.
What? I had no idea, but whatever it was they were touching, I instinctively knew that they’d be sharp enough to slice through Dragon hide with ease.
The other, was Reussel giving off a soft gasp of surprise and dismay, when my Mom grasped him firmly by his shoulder and protectively drew him away from Lady Mara’s vicinity.
“Excuse me, Dragon!” Lady Mara hissed icily, as she yanked her arm forcefully away from mine. “I was just about to make the acquaintance of that delicious young morsel!” she growled at me, as she returned her attention to Reussel. When she saw that he’d been moved away, her eyes widened with indignation.
“Where are you going?!” she demanded then, “What’s more important than greeting your Queen?!” she huffed, as she flounced her way over to Reussel. It was at that point, that my Mom did her best to interpose herself between the two.
“Stand aside Dark Mage!” Mara commanded indignantly then, her teeth flashing. Mom to her credit, refused.
“I will not.” My Mom stated defiantly then, as she remained firmly in place, her arms stretched out to either side protectively. “I am in charge of insuring that this one remains uncorrupted, at least until such time as he is married to his intended.” She stated. Mara’s eyes then flashed intensely enough to cause them to go full crimson.
“I tell you again, Dark Mage,” Mara stated coldly, as she raised her hands up in a threatening manner. I noticed then that there were small sparks of dark energy discharging from her well-manicured nails.
“Stand Aside.” She ordered, and then with a flick of her fingers, My Mom was suddenly shifted ten feet to her left. Oh, I knew that my Mom was a powerful Dark Mage, but even such as she couldn’t hold a candle to the bonfire that was a Lilim.
Mara continued speaking.
“I will brook no interference from anyone else who gets between me, and my next meal.” She said quietly, finally making her intentions plain. She turned to Reussel and smiled triumphantly as she took a step towards him. Reussel’s already pale skin, paled even further in his sudden fright.
It was then that he looked beseechingly to me. Under a cloud of regretful disappointment, I knew that I had to do something. I didn’t want to. But I had promised that I would do what I could to help keep Reussel ‘intact’ for his nuptials.
“Lady Mara!” I shouted then, as I interposed a wing between her and he. “He is not yours to take!” I continued as I forced myself to stand in between the two of them, both of my wings held resolutely out wide on either side.
Mara stopped her advance towards Reussel, and at first looked disbelievingly up at me through her platinum white eyebrows, her lips scrunched up to a point. Then she lifted her head to take me fully in.
“Stand Aside Loknarr Karrakthel!” she yelled at me, her perfect set of teeth flashing. “I will not be stymied by the likes of you!” she snarled.
“Stymied?” I demanded angrily. “What are your intentions concerning Reussel?”
“Oh come now Loknarr! Surely you can figure it out! He practically reeks of innocence and virginity! The journey from my home in Los Angeles has been a long and tiring one. He’s so backed up with Spirit Energy now, that he’s practically bursting with it! He would make for an excellent snack from which I could replenish myself with!” she stated then. Every word she spoke then, disgusted me by the way she so casually disregarded both his needs, and his desires as a person.
“He might, but he won’t, not for you.” I replied quietly, not giving in the slightest. Lady Mara’s face then relaxed into an icy resentment.
“You would deny your Queen, a simple snack?” she demanded quietly then, crossing her arms. I nodded.
“Where does that attitude come from, oh Dragon? What gives you the right to deny the Queen of your realm her choice of men? Particularly one who has already shown an interest in me?” she smiled then, but it wasn’t a pleasant one. It was more akin to a Tiger’s Smile. I shuddered by what it promised. But even then I held to my guns.
“He shows an interest because he’s both a human male, and because of the fact that you used a charm spell.” I pointed out.
“He’s supposed to be getting married tomorrow morning. But even if he weren’t, I’d still deny you the opportunity. Because charm spells override a man’s better judgment.” I replied. Mara heaved a mighty sigh then as she retreated a step back away from me.
“Allen Belushi, you leave me disappointed.” She replied unhappily, blowing out her breath disbelievingly as she shook her head a time or two. “I had expected better of you.” She sighed again, this time with her eyes closed. “Am I not a guest in your House?” she asked, as she opened her eyes and looked up at me.
“You are.” I replied, disturbed at this sudden change in manners.
“I hunger Dragon. Will you not feed a guest? If so, then I demand that you give me Reussel to feed mine hunger.” She stated quietly, triumphantly, her eyes boring into mine. When she finished, I could feel a sinking sensation in my gut.
‘Fuck.’ I thought to myself unhappily, as I grimaced. She saw it and smiled. ‘Bitch.’ I thought. ‘Taking advantage of the Laws of Hospitality like that!’
“No.” I replied. Her eyes widened in abject surprise when I said that.
“What?!” she demanded.
“I said no. He is not yours to play with.” I informed her.
“You are powerful Dragon, I can sense it.” She sort-of complimented me then with a sneer. I silently allowed that compliment to slide off of my hide like water off of a duck’s back. I then waited to see what she’d do next.
“You are no match for a Lilim of my caliber!” she yelled, as she raised her arms up from akimbo to summon,…something. I didn’t know what it was she preparing to cast, but I could tell that it was powerful.
In my peripheral vision, I could see a black sphere in each of her palms, they started to crackle with an eldritch power that made my Ki-sense tremble.
‘So that’s the way it’s gonna be, huh?’ I thought to myself sadly. I then summoned up a Plasma-Sphere in the back of my throat. She gaped when she sensed what I’d done.
“I am powerful enough to not only destroy you and your House, DRAGON!” she cried fiercely, “Should you survive, I will have you exiled. Yes, EXILED!” she shouted loud enough then to have her voice echo around the room, and out into the hallways.
“Stand aside now, and I will forgive your behavior! You have done enough to satisfy even a Dragon’s notion of honor! Step aside and allow me to play with him!” she howled at me then, holding my gaze with hers.
In that moment, my heart was beating furiously with fear. I was scared of losing everything that I’d ever worked for. Scared of losing my home, my friends and lovers, and most of all: my family. I realized in that moment, that I was standing on the edge of a knife, and I so desperately didn’t want to lose any of them. And in that moment, Maou forgive me, I wavered in my resolve.
But only for a moment.
Looking away from Lady Mara then, my eyes drifted around to look at each and everyone else there in that room; Jamal, Carl, my Dad, my Mom. They all looked at me silently, some with desperation, some with fear. But the one person that my eyes locked onto- was Reussel. He was scared. He looked so young and vulnerable then, almost as if he were a child.
With my Ki-sense, I could sense his emotions, all of them. I could feel the lingering effects of Mara’s charm spell, he still wanted her in that moment. I could feel the fear that was making his own heart beat a rapid staccato. But most of all, I could feel his love. I knew then, that he loved Teal with all of his being. It was her, and only her that he wanted to cleave to. That, allowed me to make my decision.
“I…,” I hesitantly began with my voice wavering, my breath panting with the fear that I felt all through the core of my being, Lady Mara gave me such a look of triumph then.
“I will not allow it.” I stated simply. I was prepared then to let loose that Plasma Sphere of mine at her. Then to face the consequences thereafter.
Mara coldly held my gaze for what seemed the longest while, almost as if she were looking into the depths of my soul. Then she did something that I didn’t expect.
She smiled, with pride.
She then stepped back a step, and lowered her arms to discharge whatever that spell of hers was harmlessly into the floor.
“I see that you have enough heart to back that up.” She stated quietly then. “Good.” She smiled happily as she relaxed and turned herself away from me.
She then walked to the entrance of the room. As she did, she glanced momentarily at Reussel with a longing look directed at him and smacked her lips once as she sighed.
“My lord Dragon!” she called out, as she returned her attention to me. “Walk with me.” She ordered me quietly, and then stepped out into the hallway, her bodyguards following discreetly behind. She didn’t go far.
‘Me?’ I thought, as I heaved a few breaths in consternation, quivering from the adrenaline rush. I was utterly confused by whatever the hell had just happened. I felt that I had passed some kind of test, but what I had no idea.
“Allen.” My dad said then. I snapped my head up to look at him, and saw him doing something I’d never seen him do before- he was looking back at me while beaming with pride.
“Don’t keep your Queen waiting.” Was all that he said. Looking around the room, I could see admiring looks from everyone else there. It was all so confusing.
My Mom, had herself a maternal version of Dad’s look on her mug, and Reussel was giving me a tear-strewn look of thankfulness with his lips pressed tightly together I nodded at him, he nodded back at me with his wetted eyes.
I went out, my feet stomping fretfully at the stone floor. Looking up I saw that Lady Mara was facing away from me with her arms crossed, waiting for me to come out. Once I had done so, she began walking slowly down the hallway. I hurried to keep up.
After a few steps of silently walking alongside her, I decided to say something. But, just as soon as I opened my mouth, Lady Mara held up a single well-manicured finger to shush me. I kept my peace.
We walked for a while in silence. We passed various open doorways around the Cave. All the while she quietly admired the stonework, smiling now and again. But never once saying a word. We passed the same rooms at least twice, as we walked the circumference of the curving hallways of the Cave, with Lady Mara leading every pace. Even as emotionally exhausted as I was then, I still took the time to admire the way her spade ended tail swayed rather enticingly every step of the way.
On the last go around, I looked inside one the meeting rooms to see all of the Ladies in the Cave standing together, Frazziss, Angelique, Teal, and the others, they were all there looking apprehensive.
They seemed most surprised, yet accepting that there was a Lilim flouncing around the place. Frazziss gave me a lifted eyebrow, wondering what the hell I was doing. I gave her a nearly imperceptible shrug.
After that, Lady Mara changed course, and led me outside through the front entrance. I continued to keep my peace, as I followed her across the front yard and over to the gate in the fence that separated the yard from the steps that led down to my ‘skipping spot’. We then came to a stop before that gate.
There, we stood together as she looked up to the heavens and took it all in. It being night and all, it was fairly dark. But, due to the lack of clouds and it being the time of a gibbous moon, it meant that there was plenty of moon light to admire the granite hills and cliffs that surrounded us. She looked long and quietly at the sight above us.
“Stars.” She said finally, gazing at the heavens with something akin to adoration. “That was one of the biggest surprises to me when I came here from Royal Makai. I had little idea that they existed.” She sighed, and then looked over at me, and then pointed up at something in the air.
“Tell me Dragon, what is that?” she asked, sweeping her arm in an arc. I looked, and smiled cautiously.
“That,” I said firmly, “Is the Milky Way.” I finished cautiously, confused.
“Don’t they have stars where you come from?” I asked, curious. She bowed her head.
“Yes, and no.” she replied, and then inhaled to take a deep breath. “A Dark Demon Realm’s sky is often covered with clouds. Most of the time, we only see the Moon, and occasionally the sun in an event called: ‘A Whisper of Dusk’. Which itself is an omen of doom.” I couldn’t say anything to that, it left me surprised so. She then continued.
“Are there any folktales concerning the,…what do you call it? The Milky Way?” she asked. I nodded.
“Some claim that it refers to the ‘Milk of the Gods’.” I replied solemnly, wondering why we were going down this track of thought. Then I smiled.
“What?” she demanded, after having noticed that smile.
“That supposed ‘milk’ of the Gods, is sometimes thought of as being their,…Semen.” I finished with a shake of my head. When I said that, Mara snapped her head upwards to the heavens once more, and then started laughing and shaking her head. I joined her. Then, after a minute, Lady Mara said something then that left me flabbergasted.
“I apologize for that display of mine back there, milord Dragon.” She said humbly.
“Huh, what?” I replied oh so smartly. She smiled tightly then, blinking her eyes as if to avoid laughing at me.
“You’re probably wondering what all that was about.” She stated, not asked, as she leaned forward and placed her hands on the stone fence that overlooked the Cliffside to the reservoir below.
“Yes.” I replied. She looked over at me.
“When we first met, it wasn’t very far from this spot, was it?” She asked as she waved an arm around her, indicating the valley.
“Indeed.” I nodded.
“You stated then, in amongst other things, that you hoped that you could eventually attract a Ryu Dragon to take up residence here in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, correct?” she asked.
“Oh yes, I remember that now.” I smiled, recalling that conversation. ”Frazziss and I don’t have anyone in particular in mind. If that’s what you’re asking?” I shot back.
“No,” she replied as she shook her head while looking at the ground. “It’s not. It could soon very well be, that I will not be the one to decide such.” She stated cryptically.
“Who then?” I asked. Mara just looked back at me and smiled. Instead of answering, she then asked me a question.
“Wouldn’t you agree, that a Ryu in residence here would do well not only for the residents of San Francisco, but also help keep the mountain snowpack seeded well? So as to allow water for the ever thirsty farms and mouths of the Valley?”
“Yes, it would, very much so.” I replied, still confused, “But the Zipangu residents of California are reluctant to allow one of their Kami to transfer herself here.”
“Indeed, I am well aware that they are afraid of such.” Lady Mara nodded. “The reason being that, is that the descendants of Zipangu have long memories. They still remember the unjust internment of their kin during the American war with Zipangu in world war two.”
“Yes, as I recall, I mentioned such to you when we first met.”
“As do I.” She grinned then. “I remember it well. I also recall what you said you’d do to help prevent such another occurrence of their unjust imprisonment.” I turned my eyes up in my head as I tried to call those words back to the fore of my memory.
“Uhmmm, I think I said, that I would,…” I began and then stopped in sudden realization.
“That you would not allow it.” Lady Mara finished for me. “Just like you just did for Reussel, a few minutes ago.” She stated as she folded her arms and looked admiringly up at me.
“You,” she began, “were filled with such honor, that you were willing to risk everything for him. Your cave, your family, even your children, all to protect one person from the depredations of your Realm’s Queen.”
“I,…uhhmm,…that is to say,…” I began hesitantly, all embarrassed and unsure of myself. Then I fixed my gaze over at Mara and came to a decision. “And I’d do it again.” I finished resolutely. She didn’t get angry.
“Yes!” she replied with a laugh. “THAT, is what I’ve been looking for!” she stated then, pointing a finger directly at me. I looked back at her questioningly.
“Soon, I will tell you my reason for my looking for that kind of person. But for now, I will tell you this. All too often in the past good people, both humans and Mamono, have chosen to step back and allow evil to occur. They’ve done so, simply because their leaders ordered them to. It is as if being ordered, was enough of an excuse for them to absolve themselves of responsibility of doing what was right.”
“Yet you, did not.” She beamed at me. “You chose to do the right thing!”
“Why is that so important to you?” I asked.
“Because of life Loknarr. I may be the Queen of Southern California today, but there is no guarantee that I will still be that Queen tomorrow, let alone a hundred years from now. Who knows what kind of person will step into power after me?” She stated sadly, frowning with worry. I kept silent.
“I don’t know.” she continued, “But I do know enough to be aware that there will always be demagogues who will try to sow fear and distrust amongst the people, so as to try and grab power. Often times they will choose to target the very people that I as Queen, am sworn to protect.”
“I know of those kinds of folks.” I replied, “They always choose to target the weak and defenseless. Thus, making it easier for them to be exploited. That’s what happened with the Zipangese immigrants during the 1940’s, and the other ‘illegal’ immigrants, with their children nearly eighty years later.” I replied, answering her. She nodded.
“But that’s just one thing, Lady Mara. I’m just a Dragon who wanted to build a home and have a place for my family to live in here at Yosemite National Park. It’s not like I’m a ruler of anything.” I replied.
“You could be.” She shot back quietly.
“What do you mean?” I asked, confused. By answer, she cupped her hands in front of her and chanted something. Looking down to her hands, I noticed a small glowing yellow sphere appear out of nowhere. She then looked up at me.
“Dragons,” she began, “are supposed to be Rulers of the Earth, Yes?” She stated.
“Yet I rule nothing.” I shot back.
“Not yet.” She replied, looking meaningfully down at the sphere, and back up to me. I didn’t get the point of hers then.
“This,” she stated as she transferred that sphere to one hand and held it up before me, “is a Spell of Stewardship. Stewardship for the area you see all around you.” She stated as she extended out her other hand and did a little pirouette that caused her to move in a circle.
“If you accepted it, you would become the Ruler of the entirety of the Northern Half of Yosemite National Park, and well into the Sierras to the north.”
“But why me?” I asked, aghast at such an offer.
“Because of what you demonstrated a few minutes ago. But also of everything else before now. I’ve been keeping an eye on you Allen Belushi. Not only of how you’ve been building your home, but also how you’ve been conducting your affairs. I’ll have to admit, that your scorching of that truck that belonged to the friend of your father, left me feeling most disappointed in you.” She replied as she looked at me with stern look, I could feel myself blushing with embarrassment at that childishness.
“But, your willingness to part with your Semen to help your Mother’s efforts, despite your embarrassment at doing so, did help to provide enhanced healing potions for those who needed them. That action of yours helped me to come to a decision.” She stated as she held out that citrine colored sphere to me. I took it.
“That is a lot to think about. Do I have to decide right now?” I asked. She shook her head, and then held out a hand.
I looked at it quizzically.
“Take my hand.” She ordered me quietly. After a second or two of hesitation, I did. She had a surprisingly warm and strong grip.
“Wait for it.” She said suddenly. I was about to ask, ‘What for?’ But then was when it happened.
Instantly, I became aware of everything. Everything in Hetch Hetchy Valley, and points beyond. It was like I had suddenly been ‘joined’ with the Land, and all of the living creatures there as well. I could feel the flow of the stone underneath me. I ‘knew’ the composition of every rock and pebble in that Valley. Casting my thoughts out, I could feel the history of every tree, every animal, every single crack of rock, and every drop of water! It was wondrous!
Then, I beheld energy. Both Magical and Elemental! And others that I had no name for! They flowed like streams, they bobbed and rose like the waves of an ocean, while others stayed nearly static in one spot. It was all so confusing as they flared with colors I couldn’t name. I diverted my eyes to avoid the glare.
Looking down, deep into the Earth, my already fiercely beating heart started beating even harder- when I ‘sensed’ the motherlode of gold that lay so many miles deep beneath. I could ‘see’ what its being there was for, and how necessary it was for the stability of the mountains, and what it did to prevent earthquakes.
I then looked up and around and became aware of all of the animals in the valley, and what they were doing. Some of them were fornicating, others were engaged in courtship behaviors. But most of them were raising their young. I could feel all off their equivalent of love and devotion they demonstrated to each other then.
Carefully, I felt ‘another’ next to me. Soon, I could tell that it was Lady Mara who that other was. She was telling me without words what this experience was.
It was, my being an actual Ruler of the Earth, as only a Dragon can be. Then just as suddenly as it began, it was over.
“Holy Shit!” I exclaimed, once I was back. I had to sit down, the experience had been that intense. Yet, in a way, it wasn’t. I was still me, but it hadn’t destroyed me. No, in fact, it made me feel more whole.
I began to ask Lady Mara questions. She answered as best she could.
As it turned out, I could hold onto the gem/sphere for as long as I desired without my accepting Stewardship. She told me the rules, the responsibilities, and yes many of the benefits, including financial, of Stewardship under her auspices. Along with how to make it happen. It was surprisingly easy. But the ramifications for my doing so were very long term.
After telling me of all that, she asked that I escort her back inside. She was tired and wished to find a place to sleep. I was able to rustle her up a spot, but only after I extracted a promise from her, that she’d leave Reussel alone. She did so reluctantly. But she did it with a bemused smile on her face.
Naturally, when I finally went to bed, Frazziss wanted to know all about what had happened between Mara and I. Oh the way her eyes lit up, when I mentioned the Stewardship spell-stone.
“Accept it Allen!” she said eagerly, practically quivering in her glee. “Take the stewardship!” she stated breathlessly as she pressed herself against me excitedly. She was practically humping me lustfully then, in a way that she’d not done since, oh,…the day before yesterday. Her doing that was not helpful to my decision making process, because by that point the last thing on my mind were spell-stones.
“Frazziss.” I replied, blowing out a breath of exasperation. “What’s the big deal?” I demanded.
“In Dragon society, only those who have stewardship of the land they occupy, are considered nobility!”
“I don’t understand. We’ve got land, here with this house that Lady Mara bequeathed us.” I shot back.
“It’s not the same thing Allen!” she cried with dismay. “When my mother disowned me from the House D’Aragon, I lost more than my family rights. I also lost access to our ancestral lands, and the right to brood upon them. If you accept that spell-stone, then that would give you and me access to these lands, permanently! We’d be more than just simply a pair who settled down to make a temporary nest. These lands would then become such, that we could pass them on down to our descendants, forever!”
Even with her explanation, I didn’t quite understand the gravity of the situation. Taking pity on me and my ineptitude, she reached up and took ahold of my head with both her paws and kissed me on the lips. She then looked deep into my eyes.
“I can accept the fact that you may not wish to accept responsibility for these lands, it is a lot to be responsible for. But, I wish you’d consider the needs of your children.” She explained. I opened my mouth to speak, but that was when she silenced me with another kiss.
“Hush, let me finish.” She asked, taking in a deep breath. “Let me put it another way. As you are probably aware, we Dragons are supposed to be ‘Rulers of the Earth’?” she stated, putting up her hands and air quoting with her claws.
“But, you probably don’t know what that means, exactly.” She rolled her eyes up in thought, and then came to a decision.
“You’ve transformed fully into Dragon form, haven’t you?” she asked. I nodded. “How long were you able to hold it?”
“I could only hold onto it for a few seconds, not even for a minute.”
“How did you feel afterwards?”
“I was wiped for days after. You remember right?”
“Yes, I do. I also know why you were so tired.”
“And that is?”
“Because you don’t have any land.”
‘Huh?’ I thought. “I don’t get the connection.” I replied, she smiled patiently and continued.
“The Earth is where we Dragons get our power Allen. In a way, Dragons are Elementals. Extremely powerful Elementals with a great deal of independence, but still Elementals. Dragons need land to draw upon that power from.”
“But what about Sea Dragons?” I asked, she huffed at me with a roll of her eyes, then.
“They have the land under the sea to draw upon.” She replied patiently.
“Oh. I never thought about it that way.” I replied, ‘That does make sense in a way.’
“Well, how do you think it is that you can mold-stone, Allen? Stone is an earth element and you’re attuned to Earth. Ryu Dragons are more attuned to rivers and lakes, and thus they can ‘mold’ rain, fog, and the like.” What she said then, left me utterly dumbfounded with the realization at what it all implied. But after a while, I was able to get my thoughts in order.
“Oh Maou, I never realized that I’ve got so much to learn about being a Dragon.” I stopped, and then looked at her. “I know you want me to accept this stewardship right now, Frazziss. But could you please be patient with me? I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed, what with the responsibility accepting such power would mean.” She then smiled sweetly at me and hugged me close.
“Of course Loknarr!” she said into my scaly ear. “Take as much time as you wish!” she stated, as she then began to playfully nibble on my ear. I had to admit, that that was a rather enjoyable sensation. We started ‘discussing’ other more pleasant matters then.
Even after making love several times that evening, I stayed awake for hours after, thinking about the implications of that Stewardship. All the while I listened to Frazziss snore softly, as she stayed snuggled up. Even in her deepest slumber, she always refused to let go of me. It was like I was some piece of treasure to her, or something like that.
What I found to be the most annoying was the way she’d latch onto me in her sleep and not let go. Even now, every morning I’d wake up with her drool puddled on my chest.
I suppose that I should keep a supply of Drool Towels next to the bed anymore.
Even with my lack of a decent sleep for the previous couple of nights, I still got up a couple of hours before the usual time. I did so in preparation for the long day ahead.
So, naturally I waltzed into the kitchen and began making preparations to make some breakfast, starting with a cup of beef broth. A few minutes later, I was surprised to see that Lady Mara had managed to shuffle her way in without my having noticed her arrival.
‘I guess that all that Ninja-stuff has been rubbing off on her.’ I thought to myself insouciantly, pondering about her choice of ‘male’ ninjas. She then let out a mighty yawn as she almost stumbled herself into a chair next to the main table. I could see that she had managed to scrounge a hotel bathrobe somewhere. It fit her well, even though it was two sizes too big.
“Snerk!” I went, covering my mouth with a paw, when I saw her fully on. I couldn’t help it then. She had the worst case of ‘bed-head’ I’d ever seen on a person before. Her horns didn’t help in that undignified display.
“What?” Mara demanded with a huff and a sniffle, snapping her head around to glare at me.
“I would have never guessed that even Lilim get ‘bed-head’.” I replied, forcing down a laugh behind a fist.
“Hush you!” she shot back an annoyed tone, “Or I may decide to have you exiled for your impertinence.” She stated commandingly, but with a half-smile. She then drew her hand through her hair in an attempt to tame that cloud of hair, and failed utterly.
When she realized that she failed, she grimaced in frustration and tried again, and then again. But every time she did, it didn’t make things any better, only worse. Until finally she gave up after a dozen tries. After that, she gave her fingers a rueful look, looking annoyed at the hair strands that stayed there. She then yawned again so widely that her jaws cracked.
“Ouch.” She stated when she finished, wincing. She then reached out for something, her fingers flailing. It took me a second of wondering what, and then I realized. Without a word, I poured some already warm broth into a mug and handed it to her. She accepted it gratefully, took a sip and then blanched.
“Hey! That’s not coffee!” she accused, glaring at me with disgust in her eyes.
“It’s broth. It’s the only thing we Dragons can stomach, as coffee is a plant.” I explained.
“Enough talk, Mr. Documentary. I as the Lilim in charge of this Realm, demand coffee!” she growled with slightly unfocused eyes.
“Yes, milady.” I replied with a bow, which brought me a smirk.
“it’ll take me a few minutes to get it ready.” I replied as I began the preparations. Thankfully until the time she got a ‘proper’ mug, she managed to suppress her natural urge to seduce me.
Even with no effort on her part, I had to admit it was rather enticing for me to see a Lilim with her hair uncombed. It felt strange to see one of them at something less than her personal best. At something less than their Demi-god status, perhaps? Since she was being so casual, I decided to ask her about her lack of hair care tools.
After she looked at me disbelievingly for a moment, she informed me that brushes were often in short supply from where she hailed from. Apparently many years ago in Makai, someone had started the ‘rage’ of using them for not only brushing hair, but also for spanking people with.
“Apparently, in my haste to come here, I picked up my ‘spanking’ brushes by mistake, as opposed to my ‘hair’ brushes.” She replied idly, her chin in her hand as she watched me brewing coffee.
It was an odd sensation, to see the Realm’s ‘Queen’ slouched over the edge of my kitchen table with just an oversized bathrobe covering her. She did nothing but patiently wait for her morning cup of joe. All during that time, I fought the urge to scope her out, and I won. But not decisively. I have to admit that it was touch and go there for a while.
But at the last when I cautiously approached her with a full mug of steaming coffee in my paws, I couldn’t help but notice that her robe had fallen open! Enough so, to reveal that that robe was the only thing she was wearing!
The result of which, I got a grand view of her cleavage and parts south. Yep! She had pubes. Yes, they were trimmed, and yes ‘the carpets matched the drapes’, if you catch my drift.
As I handed her the mug, our eyes met momentarily, and then mine automatically strayed down to her exposed chest. I then looked away hurriedly. As I heard her take a sip, I went to prepare the stove for making a bigger and more satisfying meal.
“You’re an odd one.” she said suddenly from behind me. I looked over at her when she said that, her still sitting at the table. I could tell that she was smiling at me. I quickly looked back at the stove.
“How so?” I asked over my shoulder, noncommittally
“What you didn’t do just now. Most males I’ve met, would just keep staring at my breasts in the hope that I’d take the hint.”
“So, I take it that you’re not insulted by my doing that? My not staring at your breasts?”
“Why would I be? I am a Succubus after all. I get stared at all of the time, but not just by men. I’m just curious as to why you looked away, and more importantly, why you were so embarrassed about it.” She asked, her voice strained with puzzlement.
“Embarrassed?” I asked aloud, thinking. “Maybe so, but I guess that I’m still acting the way I did when I was human.” I replied, still not looking at her, while getting the stove ready for omelette making.
“What do you mean?” she asked as she got to her feet and ambled closer to me, genuinely curious as to what I was doing.
“I mean,” I stated, as I began cracking and dropping eggs into a bowl. “Is that even though I’m a Dragon now and therefore a Mamono, I’m still human enough in the core of my soul, that I still react the same way I was as a kid.” I replied, as I started mixing the eggs whites and yolks together with a fork, being sure to get some air fluffed in.
Mara, didn’t reply then. Instead she leaned on the counter and watched what I was doing. She seemed to be mesmerized by my actions.
“I still don’t get what you mean.” She stated after a couple of seconds. I sighed.
“What I mean, is that yes even when I was a human male, I fantasized about finding a succubus of my own, and doing what came naturally.” I replied as best I could then.
“You mean fucking her brains out.” She said casually. I couldn’t help it, I blushed when she did.
“Oh, my Mother!” she cried out then in surprise. “My saying that, embarrassed you!” she finished, utterly delighted by my reaction.
“Yes, it did.” I said as paused and tapped in some spices into the egg-mix. Mara tilted her head when I did, but she didn’t say anything immediately. Instead she pondered a thought that occurred to her. Then she spoke.
“But you’re an Incubus now!” she ‘helpfully’ pointed out.
“A Dragon-Incubus, yes.” I replied. “But even now, there are some things I like to do that don’t involve sex.” Mara got an odd look on her face, she seemed perplexed.
“But that’s what every male I’ve ever encountered, tries to do. Make love, screw, fuck, whatever they want to call it, as often as they can. It seems that everything men do in their lives, is geared towards seeking sex.” She replied.
“They might be, but I don’t necessarily.” She looked at me then, her eyebrows furrowing. “When I saw your chest back there, with your robes opened up, I felt like that I was taking advantage of your situation. My doing THAT, is what I found to be embarrassing.” I explained as best I could. I then poured that bowl of egg-mix into the oversized pan and watched as the translucent mixture of yellow and clear began to turn white as it bubbled.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw that Lady Mara had stepped up to stand next to me close enough for our wings to touch a time or two. But I did’t feel she was trying to ‘seduce’. No, instead I noticed that she was staring intently down at the egg mix too.
We did so silently together for a couple of minutes, her robe still open enough for me to see her boobs, and if I wanted to push it- further south. I chose not to.
“I noticed that you haven’t accepted the Stewardship yet.” She stated suddenly, still watching the eggs.
“Umm, yeah. I’m still not sure if I want to.”
“Why?” she asked, turning her head to look up at me.
“Because the way Frazziss, my woman, made it sound. It sounds like a helluva chore.” I replied, as I reached out with the spatula and started testing the firmness of the omelette by tapping its surface.
‘Ugh, still wet.’ I decided with a sneer.
“It is.” She replied softly. I looked over at her. She moved and tilted her head back to give me a sidelong look. I lifted an eyebrow. She smiled.
“But, if you decided to take the Stewardship that I’ve offered you, it would help me in many ways.” She replied.
“How?” I asked.
“That Stewardship of Northern Yosemite, is but a small part of the burden I have with the rest of California. Every ability you would gain if you accepted it, is the same ability I have with my kingdom.”
“So how would my accepting it, help you?”
“You would lessen my burden.”
“Wait! Are you telling me you’re subdividing California?”
“Not exactly, but close.” She replied, and then leaned forward. “I’ll still be in overall charge, but you’ll be the one who has to take care of the immediate area. It’d be like the difference between you being a Governor of a State, versus my being the President of all fifty-three states.” She paused, as she wrinkled her nose to sniff at something.
“I think you’ll want to flip the eggs now.” She suggested. I glanced down at the mix and I saw that she was correct. I easily slipped the spatula underneath and flipped it. It was a good call on her part, as the bottom was just beginning to scorch, and told her so. This compliment elicited a small smile from her.
“The fact that you were nervous about ‘taking advantage’ of me just now, tells me again that you’re a good choice to be a Ruler.” She stated, changing the subject.
“What do you mean?” I asked, as I turned down the heat to the pan. I did this to allow the ambient heat to cook the remainder of the omelette. After that, I spread some of the grated cheese on one side so as to allow it to melt. Mara continued to watch everything that I did. Finally, she spoke.
“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” She replied.
“That sounds familiar. Shakespeare?” I mused. She nodded.
“Indeed. Henry the fourth, Part two.” She smiled tiredly. “As a Lilim, I was expected to rule one kingdom or another, even before Mother succeeded in her Grand Plan. At first, I thought it would be fun, like it supposedly was for my elder sister: Druella. Now, I know that it’s anything but.” She sighed with a sad shake of her head.
“So, if I may ask, Lady Mara. What is it that you want?” I asked. My question seemed to shock her. She jerked as if in surprise and then turned to look at me with widened eyes. A smile grew on her face then.
“No one’s ever asked me that before.”
“Then it’s overdue.”
“Agreed.” She sighed. “But, what I want,…” she began saying it to herself, tapping a finger against her chin. Finally, she had an answer, “Is for someone to share my burden with.”
“That sounds a lot like a marriage proposal.” I quipped, she laughed and punched me in the arm. I grunted when it connected. It actually stung, she was so strong! She didn’t seem to notice my grunting.
“No, it’s not!” she giggled. “Though I like the way your mind works.” She grinned. “Is that omelette done yet?” I looked at it, and judged it was so, and told her the same.
“All right, move over!” she ordered me after I transferred it onto a waiting plate. “It’s my turn to try making one!” she stated as she her bit her lower lip in anticipation.
At first, I was confused and then I became surprised when she told me that she’d never cooked before. I asked her why.
“No one would ever allow me to!” she complained. “Are you going to deny me the opportunity?” she asked me plaintively, looking up at me with her irises dilated, her lower lip on the verge of almost quivering.
‘That’s a well-practiced look.’ I thought as I rolled my eyes and sighed.
“If you wish.” I grumbled, as I reluctantly handed her the spatula. She then let out a gleeful yelp, that mournful look vanishing instantly.
“Great! Let me make you an omelette!” What could I say to that? I said yes.
“So?” she asked after she got done, her eyes alight. “How is it? Is it any good?” she demanded after I took a bite of her first omelette attempt.
I nodded a ‘yes’, with my lips firmly pressed together so as to fight down the retch.
“Really?!” she asked hopefully, her mouth widening into a grin. I started to nod, then she continued. “Tell me the truth!” she demanded.
‘Ah crap!’ I thought. Then I shook my head.
“Awww.” She replied with a pout, crestfallen. “What’s wrong with it?”
“Well, to be honest.” I replied, thinking after I forced myself to swallow that first chew without making a face. I knew enough then to not insult the Lady of my Realm by spitting it out. Which is what I really wanted to do.
“It reminds me of an Armor-clad Order knight.” I replied, she gave me a perplexed look. “It’s way too crunchy on the outside, and runny on the inside.”
“Errrrmmm.” She whined then, with a look of frustration crossing her face.
“Here, let me show you how to do it.” I offered, stepping forward so as to guide her. She took me up on it. Eventually, she got it right, but only after the first dozen or so of her attempts being either burned or undercooked. But that last one- it was perfection and I told her as much. Oh, she was so happy then.
I had to admit, it was rather cool to do kitchen work with a Lilim like that. All during our ‘lesson’, not once did the subject of sex come up. Well, not too much at least.
“Why are you so eager to learn how to cook?” I asked her afterwards, after swallowing a right jim-dandy mouthful of fluffy omelette. “Surely you’ve got,…” I began as we got started, but she interrupted me with a finger placed over my mouth.
“Ssshhh!” she shushed me, looking left and right. Once she made sure that there wasn’t anyone else around, she leaned forward and whispered into my ear.
“Eventually, I will find myself a male who will indulge me in my sex fantasies.” She said to me conspiratorially. “Promise not to tell anyone?” she asked, looking at me in the eyes.” I was about to say ‘cross my heart’, but I decided that that wouldn’t be appropriate under the circumstances.
Instead I simply nodded, eager to hear what kind of sex fantasy a Lilim would have. She smiled.
“It’s something I’ve called into and talked with,… what do you call them again,…Phone Sex operators?” she asked, I nodded my head. She continued.
“Sometimes, I fantasize about my being just a regular woman, with a husband who will take me out on dates to places like Panera Bread.” She stopped and looked around to make sure there was no one around. There wasn’t.
“so that we can,…” she stopped and looked apprehensive, suddenly unsure of herself.
I just looked back at her, and then I nodded at her to go on. Instead of continuing, she gave me such a look of vulnerability that I felt protective of her. I then gave her an indulgent half-smile. That seemed to do the trick.
“dress conservatively.” She whispered all in a rush. “and,…” she gulped, “just hold hands in public.” I couldn’t help it, I jerked in surprise when I almost laughed.
‘You eat with that mouth?’ I snarked silently at her then.
“Oh, don’t be so shocked!” she admonished me in that moment, misinterpreting my reaction. I just waved a paw at her outraged reaction.
“Actually,” I replied, trying to come up with a suitable cover for my stupidity. “Frazziss and I hold hands, errr, paws all of the time when we’re alone together. Sometimes, even in public.” Mara’s eyes went huge when I shared that with her.
“Really?” she whispered, her mouth agape. “Do you two do anything else,…you know,…out of the ordinary?” she asked me hopefully, waiting on my every syllable.
“We also like to do nothing but lie in bed and,…” I looked around to make sure no one was there to listen. Looking back at Mara, I noticed that she was just about vibrating, waiting to hear the rest of my confession.
“snuggle.” I finished quietly.
“Oh! My MOM!” she squealed then, bobbing up and down enthusiastically with her fists clenched. She then went on a bit more about what she really wanted to have and do in life. Things like Bubble-baths with scented candles, tons of fore-play, then sex in the dark for the sole purpose of procreation….
“and eventually get ourselves a pair of fraternal twins to cook and clean for.” She whispered, longingly. Then she blew out a long breath of frustration.
“Yeah, I know it sounds silly, but it’s something I’ve always dreamed about having.” She finished. I had to admit, that such a scenario left me feeling both flabbergasted and honored that she would trust me with that information.
But, once I started thinking about it later on, the more it made sense. After all, we all fantasize about that which we feel we can never have.
Afterwards, other folks started to filter in, and I ‘casually mentioned’ that cooking an omelette for them would be valuable experience. To my surprise, she readily agreed.
So, that’s how Lady Mara decided to cook up an omelette breakfast for everyone involved there. Once her bodyguards, Hanzo and Kato, showed up, they merely took it all in stride. Never once making any commentary. As well they should.
After that, Lady Mara got herself washed and dressed. She even insisted on lending a hand for the preparations for Teal’s wedding.
Her helping to set up all the overhead white trim, while she was dressed in her black Vee neck, made for quite a set of memorable contrasts. During which, many of the dudes there made every excuse to be nearby, so as to lend her a hand when she was atop the ladder.
Even Reussel managed to get himself smacked on the back of the head a couple of times, when his eyes lingered too long on her. Mostly by my Mom, but sometimes by me.
“With the way things are going Mom,” I asked her at one point, “Will Teal still be a Unicorn, this time tomorrow?”
“Yes, she will.” She replied quietly, back at me, all the while frowning at Lady Mara.
“But if the wedding gets held off any longer, then all bets are off.” She sighed in exasperation, shaking her head at Reussel’s latest less than innocent leer.
It was after we started getting the living room ready for the wedding reception, that I heard Lady Mara give out an ear piercing yelp. She squealed loud enough to cause Hanzo and Kato to leap to her side and surround her with their black Wakazashi blades. Naturally, everyone else in that room started backing away from the trio, on high alert.
“Milady?!” I asked, while nervously looking at her bodyguards. After a second, she waved at them to stand down. They did so reluctantly.
Stepping closer, I noticed her standing in front of the gifts table in a position that left me befuddled. She was holding her arms and wings in tight, with her fists bunched up before her mouth. All the while, she was staring all wide eyed at something on the table in front of her.
“Oh my Mom!” she breathed in excitedly. “It’s adorable!” she squeed in a tone so high pitched it made my ears tremble.
“What is?” I asked as gently as I could manage, still eyeballing her Shinobi nervously.
“That!” she awwwed. “I LOVE it!” she stated as she pointed out at something. I looked, and I saw what it was: Teal’s Tea-Set that I’d made.
“Oh that?” I asked, she nodded. “I’m glad you like it. I made it for Teal.” I informed her. Lady Mara got such a look of wonder then as she held her gaze at it. Finally she looked once over at me and spoke.
“I’ve always wanted my own Tea-Set! Ever since I was a little girl!” she explained as she looked at it longingly. “Mama would never allow me and my sisters to play with hers.” She pouted.
I thought that was odd, as I would have never guessed that a young Lilim would ever wish to play something as simple as ‘Tea Party’ while growing up. I couldn’t help but notice that look that formed across her face, when she told me of that childhood frustration of hers. I smiled knowingly as I let out a soft sigh.
“Since you like it so much. Perhaps I could make you one too.” I suggested. Her head shot around to look at me.
“WOULD YOU!?” she not-quite-begged, then. I nodded.
“What color motif would you like?”
“Black and purple!” she answered instantly.
“What kind of stone would you prefer?”
“I’ll leave that to you.” I then went on and asked her about a few more details of what she’d like, and she answered them all. Finally, I had one last question.
“What kind of Tea Set would you care for? Western, Eastern,….?” I asked, leaving it hanging.
“A Makai Tea Set!” she replied in a hurry.
“Ok!” I replied with a nod, “I can do that!” I promised, not thinking.
“Thank You!” she almost squealed then, and then she did something completely unexpected. By way of thank you, she gave me a chaste kiss on my cheek.
‘A Chaste kiss?’ I blinked, dumbfounded. ‘From a Lilim?’ What can I say dude? You’d be left as bewildered as I was under those circumstances.
Later on, I finally stopped and thought about what I’d committed myself to.
‘A Makai Tea-set?’ I realized in sudden alarm. ‘What the Fuck is a Makai Tea-Set supposed to consist of? Ah well, that shouldn’t be too difficult to find out.’ I mused.
As it turned out, finding out would prove to be much more of a challenge than I had originally thought. But that is a story for a different day.
After getting everything set up for the Wedding and letting the caterers do their job, everyone else went on to get ‘dressed up’ properly. Which meant for most of us guys, combing our hair and putting on a Tux.
Since there weren’t any Tuxes that would fit me, I was as happy as a pig in,…well,…something. All I had to do was comb my hair and put on a clean loin-cloth. I got to enjoy myself a big ass smile, all the while the other dudes there just grumbled at me and my good circumstances.
Once everyone was dressed and ready, the Big Event arrived. And no, I wasn’t talking about the Wedding. That would come later. Instead, I opened the front door to the Cave, so as to slowly allow inside that bit of civilization that celebrities have always held a love/hate relationship with.
As it turned out, I would’ve have had a better chance of holding back a wave of Black-Friday shoppers, than I did with those scoundrels. Somehow, they all managed to ooze their way in at once, despite my best efforts at controlling their flow.
Luckily, Lady Mara was prepared for that Tsunami like rush of reporters, camera-mamono, and TV personalities. She handled them all with aplomb and grace. She even managed to keep them fairly tame during Teal’s wedding.
That wedding, consisted of a combination of an Order Marriage, as had been requested by Reussel’s side of the family, and a Mamono Marriage. The Order Marriage rite was conducted by a Priest of the Order, a Father Mulcahy by name. He managed to keep his disgust with everyone, even Lady Mara, to a distinct minimum. Which was just as well, as any of us wouldn’t be too terribly inclined to put up with his ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude any longer than necessary.
Teal, on the other hoof. (Har!) Had chosen to have the Mamono Marriage performed by an Apsara named Tilottama, representing Eros! (Yay!).
Of the two ceremonies, I know which one I enjoyed the greater! The Order ceremony left me feeling half-depressed, he so freaking cheerless. That depression was dispelled, when the chocolate skinned Apsara began to sing and dance to the accompaniment of her musical band!
Oh, I loved the way her arm and leg Amrita-Pearls flowed and waved in turn to her wondrous performance. Even Lady Mara, let down her hair for a bit, as she sang and clapped in tune with everyone else there. Naturally, the Paparazzi had to record that for posterity.
At the last, the Apsara had Reussel and Teal drink from a chalice that was filled with her Amrita. And then, they were One! Naturally by that point, all Teal was of a mind for was to head straight off to her nuptials! Every one else there grinned when she came to the realization that she still had some responsibilities to perform before-hand.
But, she took it all in stride and was the model of grace and charm. During the post wedding reception, with her looking over of her gifts she seemed to be most shocked about the fine quality of the Tea Set I’d made her and Reussel. She ended up giving me many a stammering thanks. I so beamed under the glow of her approval.
I wasn’t there for the tossing of the Bride’s Bouquet. I was told afterwards that it almost turned into a brawl. I was too busy working with Mom and a couple of other folks, making sure that there weren’t any other nasty surprises waiting for Teal and Reussel in their honeymoon suite. Not surprisingly, Mom’s Dream-Catcher spell worked well enough, that we ended up having to evict yet ANOTHER Night-mare from the vicinity. Sheesh!
It was all a lot of hard work, but it was worth it. In the end, Teal got to keep her single horn.
After that, things got interesting as we got the place ready for our ‘House-Warming’, Lady Mara stayed as she’d promised. Since she did, so did more than a few reporters. Naturally, they wondered much about the Cave.
Namely, where had it come from, who made it, and why?
Once they learned all they whys and wherefores of that, the Mamono-Human Integration League reporters decided to do an interview with everyone who lived there. Each of us did. First with Frazziss and myself. Then with Angelique, then Pirin, and finallymy Dad; we were all given an opportunity to be interviewed. We all accepted.
But mostly, they did up a ton of photos of Frazziss and I standing together in various spots, inside and out of the Cave. If you ever see that pic-spread, you’ll probably notice that in every photo I’m in, it looks like I’m wincing
That’s because I was. Wincing that is. I was doing that, because every time that camera went ‘click’, Frazziss had latched her paws onto me with a Death-Grip.
Later on, when we received our copy of the MHIL glossy magazine, I looked at each and every one of those photos of us. In them, I noticed that she had herself a fearsome look on her face. One that stated in no uncertain terms: “MINE!”
It did, and still does, give me the willies every time I see those photos.
In the end, Frazziss was Happy. Happy, to show off her Cave. Happy to show off her MALE Dragon-husband. And most importantly, she got to display how happy she was to have her Eggs.
Strangely enough, she even allowed the photojournalists the opportunity to take a few pics of her holding those eggs. Including a close-up of the obvious ‘male’-scaled egg.
All too soon, we discovered that being such a show-off hadn’t been that good of an idea.