Cut and Run Chapter 23
Occasionally, I catch myself looking at my mirrors reflection. Not because I’m conceited enough to think that I’m good looking or anything, far from it. No, the reason I do is that I still can’t get over the fact that there is a stranger there staring back out at me.
Oh yeah, he looks familiar, a lot like I did when I was a human. But, I’ve changed. And it’s more than just the physical. When it comes to that, I’ve noticed that my teeth are a bit sharper from what I remember. In fact, my teeth are a lot whiter and more even as well. I would imagine that Dentists everywhere, are griping about the loss of business that a dude’s conversion into an Incubus has brought about for them.
And my Scales? Yes, they’re great to have when it comes to protection when I’m out flying and I hit a swarm of bugs at speed. And I have to admit, they’re stylish enough to make me look cool.
But they also make it a pill for me to stay properly groomed. Why? Because of something called: Ecdysis; Since I’m a ‘quasi-reptile’ now, that means I shed my skin on my more noticeable Dragon body parts, such as my scales, wings, and tail.
Skin shedding, it’s not just for Lizard-Men and Lamias anymore.
It’s also a pain in the ass. Unlike Lamias who tend to shed big patches of their skin all at once, mine does it in flakes over a week’s time. I always know it’s coming up, when my Dragon-skin starts itching.
What’s even worse? My scales collect dirt and other gunk underneath and between them, including my shed skin. This means that there is a whole bunch of extra spots and crevices for me to have to keep cleaned and washed out properly. Now I understand why Frazziss is such a Shower-Hog.
But, all in all I have to admit that being a Dragon is way cooler than being a human. That’s because I gained a lot when I became one. It’s now approaching a year since I agreed to become Frazziss’ Incubus. In retrospect I’m glad that I did. It has certainly come with a lot of benefits, but it also came with some liabilities as well.
So, what are the upsides? I’m stronger than I was when I was human, I can have a whole lot more sex, and I can last a lot longer at it too. But then, it’s the same for any other Incubus.
But I can do something no other Incubus can do: Fly. And that my friend, really is the shit.
It’s everything it’s cracked up to be. There’s a certain freedom that I cannot describe properly that comes with it; I say that as a former ground-pounder. But try not to judge me too harshly when I say that even that comes with its own shares of ups and downs, and no I’m not talking about flying in bad weather. Which I do get to do. A lot.
Flying, requires wings and a tail. Which means that I’ve got a little bit more of extra body mass that needs cleaning and maintenance.
You know that old phrase when it comes to taking a whiz? The one that goes something like: “It don’t matter how much you wiggle and dance, the last drop always falls into your pants?”
I’ve got the same problem when it comes to drying my wings after a shower. It seems that there’s never enough room in a human-designed bathroom to flap-dry my wings properly. If I try to carefully stomp my way out someplace to where I can, I invariably leave a trail of water drips along the way.
They’re doubly a pain when I’m trying to find a comfortable position to sleep in. Usually this means that I end up sleeping on my side, or my tummy with just the occasional lucky time or two on my back. But even that is dicey, particularly when I’ve got my tail.
It’d be great if I was a sound sleeper. You know, someone who didn’t roll around in his sleep. Frazziss is like that. She falls asleep in one position, and that’s the same position she usually stays in all night long.
But, I’m not. Which means that way-too-often I fall asleep and I end up cutting off some circulation in a wing or my tail. Which means it goes numb. You think the pins and needles of your arm waking up is bad? Try an entire freaking wing!
For another upside, I would include the whole ‘breathing fire’ thingy. Which is a misnomer. We Dragons don’t actually ‘breathe’ fire. We just spit it out. It’s a lot like hocking up a loogie. Only one with a lot more ‘oomph’ to it, The best part? I never have to worry about post nasal drip.
Forget the movies and the stories, I can’t shoot fire like it’s some sort of laser beam. It all comes out in a spurt. The size of which I do have some control over.
But, anything larger than a golf ball sized nugget; I end up torching my tongue off. I’ve found that the downside to fireballs is that if I make them too much or too often, I end up losing my sense of taste and smell for a couple of days.
Here’s a tip: Never tell a Dragon she’s stinky. If she is stinky, that means that she’s been using her fire weapon a lot, and thus can’t smell herself. Which means she’s probably stressed out about something. Thus she’ll have an ‘itchy-trigger-finger’’ if you catch my drift. Be warned.
Now, what do I feel is the biggest downside to my being a Dragon?
I feel like I’m losing my humanity. For every bit of Dragon-Magic that I pick up, or new Dragon ability, I feel like I’ve lost a little bit more of my original human soul.
You know what’s almost as bad? I don’t look at humans the same way anymore. For example, just a few days ago I caught myself sneering at a ‘mere human’. True, he was being a loud and obnoxious jerk in the check-out line at the grocery store, but that wasn’t the point. I hadn’t thought of the dude as a fellow ‘freaking asshole’ of a human. I had dismissed him with the thought that he was instead an obnoxious ‘fruit-eating dirt-monkey’.
And that’s when it hit me; I realized that my thoughts had gravitated to the point that I distinguished myself from him. It frightened me in that moment to realize what I’d become.
Even more annoying is the fact that I’m still changing every day, losing just a bit more of my ‘humanness’ along with. It used to be to me that Gold-paint was just a nice shiny bit of metal-coating I could apply to something as a highlight. Now, I find myself hoarding cans of it Don’t ask me why, it just seems ‘natural’ for me to want to do that.
It’s scary, frankly. But, I don’t know what to do about it all. If I hold back on becoming a Dragon, my wife and kids could suffer for it. Yet, if I rush head on into it, what will I become? Will I forget myself?
The House-warming party turned out to be a nice little intimate soiree for us and all of our friends. I got to give everyone a grand tour of the place, and surprise, surprise! Goldara showed up! I hadn’t expected her to put in an appearance, and according to Frazziss neither did she. But, I played the good host and showed her good hospitality.
Who’s that? She’s Frazziss younger sister. She, is a slightly shorter version of Frazziss, but instead of having purple hair and eyes like my woman, she had gold hair and eyes, hence her name. More differences between her and her older sibling, was that her horns spread out almost straight up, ending in a slight forward curl at the ends.
And of course she had herself a hefty pair of tits. They were nicely accentuated by her (lack) of flying dress. I had to admit that she was a rather eye catching little number. All smiles, flirts, and scaly tail. But, I made sure to never eyeball her when Frazziss was watching.
Her Housewarming present turned out to be an old D’Aragon family heirloom: A Silver-Samovar that was perfect for brewing coffee. Which I found to be odd, as I was under the impression that we Dragons can’t drink coffee. It being a vegetable and all; non-animal food tended to taste nasty-shit like. I should know as I’ve tried some of my Old Man’s coffee.
But, Goldara insisted on giving us a demonstration right then and there, using the coffee beans that she’d brought along with. I’m sure that a grimace passed over my face as I tried the first cuppa she made. But that grimace evaporated once I tasted the first sip.
It was great! It was just like the way I remember coffee tasting when I was a human. Oh it was a joyous homecoming then!
“Wow!” I exclaimed, after I rapidly finished that cup. “That was fantastic!” I complimented her. “Is the Samovar the secret to making a delicious cup of joe?” I asked her. Goldara simpered and blushed a bit when I did.
“Actually,” she smiled, “it’s in combination with the brand of beans.”
“Which brand is that?” I innocently asked.
“Kopi Luwak.” She replied, to which I gave her a dumb look. When she saw it, she elaborated. “Civet Coffee.” She finished.
“So what the hell is Civet Coffee?” I asked. Then she told me. When she saw my face when she got done explaining, she laughed really hard when I immediately looked mournfully at the last few remaining puddle of coffee in my mug, and grimaced again.
For those of you not in the know, Civet Coffee is where an animal by the name of a ‘Civet’, eats raw coffee beans. After its gone through the Civet, is where some joker picks those beans out of its poo, then processes it and sells it as ‘Kopi Luwak’.
I’m guessing that a long time ago, some fool must’ve been really desperate for his coffee fix. Particularly if he was determined enough to assume that Coffee beans taken from Civet’s shit, was acceptable.
The freaky thing? Somehow, somewhere along the way from a Civet’s mouth to my cup of joe, it made it palatable to us Dragons.
Too bad it’s so damned expensive. Otherwise I’d be slurping away at that,…ahhhh…shit? Every single freaking day.
You know what I just realized right now? That I’ve absolutely no desire to find out if any other animal can make coffee beans taste good too.
It was many hours later, just after the housewarming party had ended and Lady Mara had taken her leave; That it was when my Dark-Mage Mom took me aside to thank me for my help.
“Thank you very much Allen.” My Mom said to me gratefully, as she was stuffing some of her clothing into her satchel. Looking at it, I decided that it must have had an extra-dimensional spell on that bag. What with all of the stuff she had crammed in, I’d have sworn that that bag should’ve burst by now.
“I enjoyed the party, and I hope that you and Frazziss will enjoy many years here together!!” she smiled, as she picked up her satchel and put it over her shoulder. “I also appreciate everything you did to help me out when it came to ensuring that Reussel stayed pure for his bride.”
“You’re quite welcome Mom, I’m glad to have helped.” I replied with a growling sigh, as I glanced back in the direction of the bedroom where Teal and Reussel were undoubtedly still getting down to business.
When I looked back at her, I noticed that she’d been looking in the same direction that I had. When our eyes met, we both smiled knowingly. We then started making both our way to the Cave entrance.
“I noticed that you growled slightly just now.” She observed, “Care to tell me why?” she asked, tilting her head slightly. I looked back at her and sighed again.
“It just gets my goat.” I replied with a shake of my head.
“The assholes. The jokers who thinks it’s funny to corrupt a Unicorn into a Bicorn.” I sighed. “I mean c’mon. Unicorns are Mamono already, why do so many dipshits feel the need to turn one of them into a sex fiend?” I asked grumpily.
“Who can say why, Allen? I have to admit that I find it strange for people to want to do that too.” She shook her head sadly, and frowned. “Were you aware that once a Unicorn becomes a Bicorn, she loses her ability to purify things?” she asked.
“No, I didn’t.” I frowned, “Yet, doesn’t surprise me either, it does stand to reason.” I shrugged. “Is it safe to assume that a Bicorn wouldn’t be able to heal people anymore either?” She shook her head somberly.
“Damn!” I replied angrily.
“Which is the main reason why I hired myself out to help with Reussel’s protection.” She replied, “I felt that I needed to step up in that regard.”
“Why’s, that?” I asked, intrigued.
“Mostly because when she can, Teal still volunteers to heal folks at health clinics.”
“Really?!” I replied, impressed.
“Yes, really,” she shot back, “it doesn’t surprise me that you’re unaware of it though. What with that Shoggoth Doctor you’ve got there in Yosemite Valley, what’s her name?”
“Dr. Mitzi.” I answered.
“Oh yes her, thank you. Unicorns and Shoggoth don’t mix well I’m afraid.”
“Geez, I learn something new every day. Why is that?” I asked.
“It’s mostly due to their origins. Shoggoth were created by the Lords of Chaos, and the Unicorns were created by the Lords of Law.”
“I’ve never heard of those folks before, Lords? Chaos? Law? Who the hell were they?”
“It would take a long while to explain them out properly but suffice it to say that they were the two most powerful factions of semi-Gods that used to run existence. Naturally, they opposed each other.”
“Two most powerful? There were others?”
“Yes, there were also: Lords of Light and Darkness; Heat and Cold, Fire and Water, Earth and Air, the list goes on.”
“So what happened to them?”
“Most of them are dead, and at least two of them fled.”
“Fled? Where’d they go?”
“Out of Existence, or whatever exists outside of the Multiverse.”
“Damn! That must’ve been someone really powerful, who could do all that!” I exclaimed.
“Indeed it was.” She replied.
“So, who was it? Who was powerful enough to kill nearly all of the Gods of old?”
“Man.” She said with a smile crossing her face. I gave her a skeptical look, but she just kept projecting a smug smile at me.
“Ok, my brain hurts.” I mused, shaking my head in dismay. About that time was when we both arrived to the Cave entrance and stepped out to the Porting spot out front.
It was then that a thought occurred to me. “Mom?” I asked. She looked at me and raised an eyebrow in expectation, just as she was getting ready to teleport herself away.
“Is there a connection between Teal’s ability to heal, and your desire to make healing potions?” Mom gave me a toothy smile then.
“Of course there is Allen,” she replied with a nod of her head. “One of the main reasons I got into Dark-Magery, was the opportunity to affect positive changes to the world.”
“So your becoming a Hot-Babe, wasn’t your original intention?” I asked snidely. She laughed hard enough then for me to see her teeth flash in the light.
“Well, not entirely, no!” she replied, closing her eyes momentarily as she chuckled, and then her face turned sober.
“I’ll admit that I did have a few selfish motivations, at least at first. But, in the end when I discovered just what exactly I was capable of as a Dark-Mage; I decided instead to pursue my dreams of helping people Allen. After all, that’s what power is for, isn’t it?” she replied. “To help someone else who isn’t so lucky.” She paused, and then continued, “To those who are given, much,…” she began to quote.
“Much is expected.” I finished for her, and then we shared a moment of companionable silence. Then the moment passed.
“Now, you and Frazzis be sure to give me plenty more Grandchildren!” Mom leered at me then.
“Ah Mom!” I whined then with a roll of my eyes, and then I gave her a wink.
Mom just nodded at me once, smiled fondly, winked back, and then teleported herself away.
But, I stood there staring at the spot that she’d been at, thinking about what she’d said. ‘That to those of whom much are given, much is expected.’ Why?
Because I’d still not made a decision about whether or not to accept that Stewardship role of Northern Yosemite.
‘On one hand, I’d gain a lot power and authority, not to mention a monetary stipend. But on the other hand, I’d be losing a bit more of myself.’ I realized. How much more of myself was I willing to give up? There was a lot for me to lose.
So why even consider it, if I was afraid of losing myself even in the tiniest bit? Because of what Lady Mara had told me earlier.
“But why do you want me to do this? Surely you could’ve chosen someone else?” I had asked her outside my Cave, underneath the starry sky the previous night.
“Because of some promises my Mother, made of Old. It hails back to the time when my Mother was making deals with the previous generation of Male-Dragons.” Lady Mara replied as she leaned back against the stone fence and crossed her arms.
“What can of deals were those?”
“She made many promises to them, that when she finally overcame the Chief God, she’d allow them some autonomy in the new Demon Realms to come.”
“Why would she need to do that?”
“Because it wasn’t as easy as the history stories say it was, now. Back then in order for her to obtain the power to become the Great Maou, and to strike the first blow against the Chief God, she needed aid from many Monster factions.”
“She succeeded, didn’t she?”
“She succeeded yes, but only just barely. Even so, without the help of the Dragons behind her, she wouldn’t have made a dent against the other Monsters and Demons who were also vying for the Throne.” She paused and thought about It for a while, squinching her red-tinged eyes in thought. Finally, she started up again.
“The D’Aragon Succubus-Nostrum, for example, was just one of many such promises she committed herself to. My allowing the first Male Dragon of the new regime to become a ‘Ruler of the Earth’ again, would do much to advance my mother’s plans, and to help her keep the promises she made. But, if you choose to not do so, then it won’t invalidate her plans. But keep in mind, that your doing so would make things more difficult for her, and by extension every other Mamono in existence.”
“So, what is it exactly that I’m supposed to do?” I demanded.
“Exactly what I told you. Become a ‘Ruler’. As such, you’d also be helping in regards to converting California from its current status as a ‘Bright-Green’ Demon Realm, into one more suitable for all Mamono.”
“And what kind of realm would that be?” I asked curiously.
“A Dark Demon Realm.” She replied. Her reply gave me a lot to ponder.
Later, after going to bed and making out with Frazziss, and then with Angelique, I lay in bed with my Were-Cat for the longest while. Even as tired as I was, I couldn’t fall asleep. After an hour of staring off at the ceiling, I gave in to the inevitable and got up.
Well, first I had to disentangle myself from Angelique that is. Times are I think she’s got some Tentacle-Tree somewhere in her ancestry, she’s so clingy with me in her sleep.
After that, I silently stomped my way over to the kitchen, if anything else I could try and get some broth to help me settle. But as soon as I showed up, I was surprised to discover that there was someone already inside. Dad.
“Hey Allen!” he stated upon my entering.
“Hey Dad, what are you doing up so late?” I asked. He turned a pair of bleary eyes at me, looking at me from the position of in front of the stove.
“Probably for the same reason you are. I’ve got a lot on my mind.” He grumbled. When I stepped up next to him. I saw that he was getting ready to make himself some coffee, using the French-Press that Angelique’s father had sent over as a present.
“What the hell? Making coffee this late?” I demanded. “Tell me you’re not drinking that Kopi-Luwak stuff, are you?”
“Why? Are you afraid that I’ll be depriving you of it?” He stated as he leaned back and waited for the water to almost boil.
“Nah!” I denied, shaking a paw. “I’ll probably not drink so much of it now, considering where it came from.” He turned and looked at with a smirk on his face.
“What?” I demanded.
“Where do you think the eggs for your omelets come from?” he grinned.
“That’s different!” I shot back.
“How so?” He asked, raising an eyebrow. I opened my mouth to reply and then stopped to think about it, and I did think, and think some more. Finally, I sighed.
“Ok, fine. I can’t really think of much a difference. Besides, I looked it up online. It’s damned expensive.”
“Well, there is a possible work around on that.”
“What do you mean?” I squinted.
“If think about it, there’s a very good likelihood that there could be some Civet Mamono running around out there in the world.” He joked. I gagged when I realized what he was getting at.
“OH MAOU! DAD!!! EEEEWWWW! Don’t joke about that!” I stated as I covered my face with my paws and shuddered with disgust.
“Or if anything else, you may try getting yourself some coffee beans.” He then said quietly. When he said that I looked out at him in between my hand-claws and noticed that he had himself a straight face.
‘Oh, that doesn’t bode well.’ I thought. But I couldn’t help myself, I had to ask.
“Why?” I asked him cautiously.
“Well,” he began, “The Civet is supposedly a Cat.”
“Annnnnd?” I asked quietly as I leaned in and tilted my head at him, still suspicious.
“Well, you’ve got yourself a Mamono wife who’s a Were-Cat, right?” he asked, oh so innocently. My eyes bulged when I realized where this was going.
“STOP!” I yelled at him then, but he didn’t.
“A Civet Cat can’t be that far away biologically from a Were-Cat, can they?” he asked smarmily, as he added the coffee ground/almost boiling water mix to the French Press pot.
“DAD! PLEASE STOP!” I begged. He relented finally, but he kept himself a shit eating grin on his face. (Har!) Pardon the pun.
“Ok Allen. Just to answer your question from earlier. I also drink coffee now to help me to relax.” It took me a couple of minutes to reply, as I was suspecting that he setting me up for yet other asinine joke.
“Most folks I know, use it to keep awake.” I pointed out.
“Yeah, well it was a habit that I picked up when I was in the Marines. Long before you came along.” He stated idly as he slowly pressed the Press-plunger.
“When exactly?” I asked, curious.
“About the time that lump of a President, was finally incarcerated for his collusion.”
“Oh, that long? Damn.” I replied, not really paying attention.
“So what’s eating you? Other than Frazziss or Angelique?” He snarked, as he finally poured himself a cup. I didn’t give him an immediate reply, as I smelled the wonderful aroma of fresh coffee filling the kitchen’s air.
“I’ve got a bit of a problem.” I started, hoping for some sort of advice on the subject. “It’s something that Lady Mara chose to gift me with.”
“What’s that?” he asked, now in seriously frowning Dad-Mode. I then went on to explain about the Stewardship spell and what it would mean for me, both the benefits for California, and the personal ones. Upon my finishing the tale, I half expected him to congratulate me something fierce. Instead,…
“Hmmph!” was all that he had to say, as he lifted up his coffee mug to take a sip. I noted that he took it his usual way, black and no sugar.
“Just ‘Hmmph’?” I shot back. He glanced over at me and smirked.
“Well, what do you want me to say? He asked me with a half-smile and a sigh of coffee contentment.
“I dunno, maybe some advice about what I should do, should I accept it or give it back?” I asked, stricken with indecision. He sighed and shook his head, then looked at me straight on.
“Well Allen, I’m not gonna tell you what to do. You’re an adult, you’ve demonstrated your own ability to make decisions, and to live with the consequences afterwards. But,” he stated as he raised a finger, I paid firm attention to him then. “if you decide to give it back to Lady Mara, she might take it as an insult.”
“Your refusal would be telling her, that you don’t trust her judgment.”
“What? How do you figure that?”
“Well, how long has she been Queen of Southern California?”
“There you go.” He replied, pointing at me with his coffee mug for emphasis. I gave him a dumb look. He saw it and sighed.
“She’d not be the Queen, if she wasn’t capable of governing this long. You have to admit Allen, California has prospered under her. After all, it takes more than bravado to be a good ruler. In her case yes, sure she looks nice. But, beyond her hot bod, she’s proven herself both a leader and a manager. Not to mention that she’s also got herself loads of insight. After all, she’s chosen someone good to be Steward: You.”
“Since when do you know so much about Mamono?” I asked, skepticism lacing my voice. He just glanced at me with a smirk.
“Well, I did get more than just a little experience when I was banging several hundred of them.” He tossed out. I then gave him a look. “I had ample time for some pillow talk.” He added.
“Really?” I asked drolly.
“Yes really.” He shot back. “Tell me how long was it for me? Between the time your Mother and I divorced, and the time I got snatched up?”
“At least a decade.”
“Exactly, there’s a reason why I didn’t get ‘raped’ by a Mamono during those years Allen. Despite the fact that I was alone for the bulk of that time.”
‘Odd, I’d never given that much thought.’ I decided. ‘Even such as he should’ve gotten snatched by someone.’
“So why exactly?”
“Because of one sad simple rule Allen: there isn’t much difference between Human Women, and Mamono when it comes to seeking a mate.”
“No fucking way!” I scoffed. He smiled.
“Funny you put it that way.” He replied. “But here’s the truth, if a guy can’t get along with a human woman, he’s not going to have much of a chance with a Mamono no matter how horny she is.”
“How do you figure that?”
“Well, take the Orderites nowadays.” He pointed out. “Invariably, just about every guy who’s a follower of the Chief God, tends to act like a dick with either human women, or Mamono. As such, he doesn’t get to have sex with anyone other than himself. I should know.” I looked at him and realized something.
‘Yeah, you’re right Dad.’ I thought silently. ‘You should know all about being a dick.’ Then a thought occurred to me.
“But, according to the stories of Old, entire Armies were captured by the Mamono!” I brought up.
“Yes, yes!” he replied quietly, nodding his head. “But, if you took the time to dig into those stories, you’d discover several things that don’t normally get mentioned.” He paused to slurp his coffee, made a face and muttered something I couldn’t hear.
“First, that those who were captured right off the bat, were ‘converted’ into husbands fairly quickly. Those guys were often the foot soldiers or conscripts, and as such they didn’t know any better about being in the Army. They already either had themselves a girl at home, or they were desirous of having one. Thus, they didn’t want to fight and die. They wanted to be husbands.”
“Since many of them thought they were going to die a horrible death after being captured, they were quite happy to discover what the Mamono really had in mind for them.” He paused again for a second, and took a sip.
“Secondly Allen, keep in mind something else. How often did you hear about one of those foot-soldiers getting more than one Mamono wife?” he asked. I opened my mouth to reply, and then it hit me.
“Lots.” I said quietly, surprised by the realization.
“Exactly!” he smiled, “The Mamono had the choice to grab a lone guy for themselves, and instead they passed some of the men over, just to fight amongst themselves over sharing that one guy. A lot of those catchable guys, often ended up with two, three, four, and sometimes as many as five wives!” he smiled. “Ask yourself, why was that?” I just shook my head, wondering where this was going.
“It’s because they’re built to pick up on the kind of guy who’d be the most suitable for them.” He stated, as he looked down at the cup in his hand and swirled its contents around.
“After their eyes, ears and nose, Mamono also have got a deeper sense of ‘insight’ that allows them to pick up on a suitable match for themselves. Someone, who’d they’d get along with in the years to come.” He paused.
“Now yes, to be fair there were more than a few stragglers who didn’t get claimed by a Mamono immediately. They were more often than not the Officers, or Non-Coms. Of those, eventually a Succubus or two was necessary to,…uhhhh, ‘rape’ them to bring them around. What you don’t hear about, are those who were left behind after the Mamono had departed. Those were the ones who were invariably the psychopaths, or eager-murderers.” He sighed and took another long sip.
“Nowadays, Mamono aren’t as desperate for a male, and they can afford to be pickier. After all, there are a lot more guys for them to choose from. But, even back during the lean times then, most females weren’t inclined to put up with the immature selfish pricks, or at least not for very long.”
“I just find it amazing that even in the here and now, what with all of the Mamono being upfront about what they want from us males; there are still a lot of men out there who think all they have to do to qualify for a Mamono-wife, is to own a dick.” He finished, as he slurped up the last drops from his mug.
“So, what’s keeping you up this late?” I asked, hoping to change the subject.
“Coffee.” He stated flatly.
“But I thought you said that it helps to put you to sleep.”
“It does. I’d just gotten into the habit of drinking it this late at night. Good night Allen.” He yawned as he put the now empty mug into the sink.
After he left, I sat around for a bit, thinking about what he’d said. About women, both Mamono or not, and suddenly I realized that what he had said, sunk into me.
‘Lady Mara must see something within me, that I can’t.’ I mused.
It was then that I’d made my decision; that I was going to accept the Stewardship. But I wasn’t going to do it right then that instant, I wanted to sleep on it a little more. There’d be plenty of time for it in the morning.
So, I made my way back to Angelique and her warm furriness.
Mid-morning the next day, I was on top of Kolona Rock after seeing Reussel and Teal off. I’d chosen that spot because it was a great spot to see Hetch Hetchy Valley, and also because it afforded me a grand view of my Cave, not to mention I’d gotten up their early, to beat the climbers.
I had made my decision. I was going to accept the Stewardship. But I was going to make damned well sure, that I was going to hold onto my humanity. What had made me make that decision?
Dad. Even though he’d changed into an Incubus after banging several hundred Dragons, he was still himself. Oh sure, he was still a bit of Prick, but he was also more open-minded about a lot of things. And that, gave me some hope for myself.
‘If he got to keep himself, then I can too. I will make sure that I do!’ I decided, as I raised up that yellowish Stewardship spell-stone to my face, and activated it with the appropriate incantation. It flared for a second when I did, as it generated an internal black light that was mixed with a golden one.
The effects were instantaneous. It was something that I wasn’t prepared for. Honestly, I don’t think anyone ever could be.
Immediately, I became aware of everything! I mean- EVERYTHING! It pushed me beyond my limits, it was so overwhelming! All of the energies that flowed throughout the entirety of Northern Yosemite, every living being, every undead one too, everything that was under my purview- I became aware of it all. All in one big rush.
I could feel every one of the waterfalls falling, their collective coolness chilling my bones! I felt every peak, every mountain, every last single rock, boulder, and granite exfoliation heating in the sun, making my skin burn. When I inhaled, I could feel ten thousand breezes rushing through me, echoing the howls I was giving off.
I screamed, and rolled around the granite surface in agony as my every sense was assaulted by the onslaught of new information. Suddenly, I was everywhere!
Then, I blacked out.
When I sort of, ‘came to’, it was in Darkness. But it wasn’t absolute. Over to one side at a fair distance, I could see someone sitting in between a campfire and me. I felt,…worn out. Like I was a piece of butter spread out along too much bread.
When I looked up above me, I couldn’t see any stars or any other forms of light. It was just me, the Darkness, and that campfire. Looking down, I could feel the roughness of the granite rock underneath.
“Hello?” I called out. I noticed that that person sitting at the fire, turn their head to look at me. But, due to my position, I had no idea who it was. The fire’s light blotted out their details.
Pushing myself to my feet, I ambled my way over to the fire. When I was there, by the light of that fire I could see who it was that was sitting there. I gaped in awe, as she was just as regal as the last time I’d seen her. She smiled back.
“Uuhhhh, Great Maou?” I stuttered, “Ummmm, Chief God?” I asked, unsure of what to call her.
“Yes?” she asked back.
“Which should I call you?” I asked, dumbfounded almost.
“Any of those, or the Chief-Maou will do.” She smiled then, as if at some unseen joke, “The Great God, wouldn’t though. As many would undoubtedly object.” She replied dryly, while making a moue.
I had to step back for a second, and I gave her a once over. She looked the same the last time I’d seen her, back during that period of unconsciousness of mine after I’d drunk the Succubus Nostrum.
‘Nice legs.’ I decided finally.
When I thought that, she shifted herself in such a way that her short dress exposed more of her shapely muscular thighs. But, since she was my height now, there wasn’t any chance of my getting a peek up her skirt.
“If you like, I can always lift my skirt up a bit to allow you a better view.” She stated as she stood up, and then she grabbed a hold of her skirt’s hem.
‘You can read minds?’ I asked silently, somewhat embarrassed at being caught.
“Of course I can, it’s one of the perks of my being the Chief God, now. But it’s both more, and less than that.”
“How so? Where am I? What is this place?!” I demanded.
“All your questions will be answered in time, Loknarr.” She replied, as she settled herself back onto a seat that hadn’t been there a second before. “Now, I will answer you in reverse order. This place doesn’t technically exist,” she began, and held up a hand when I started to object.
“It’s a Dream-Sending locale.” I gave her a dumb look. She continued
“It only exists in dreams. Of which you’re doing right now.” She explained as she tapped the side of her head with a well-manicured finger.
“In a manner of speaking, yes. Where you physically are, is still at the top of Mount Kolona, where you’re currently passed out. And it’s where you will be when you finally wake up. I also control the horizontal and I control the vertical in this Dream.”
“Why push the Outer Limits? Why do I warrant a Dream with you?” I asked, curious. “And will this dream become,” I hesitated, “uhhhmm,…wet?” I finished finally. She raised an amused eyebrow at me.
“To answer the first two parts, there are a few things you and I will need to discuss concerning your being Steward of Northern Yosemite. To the other part,…” she stopped speaking and raised two fingers to me sticking straight up, peering at me with a questioning look. It took me only a second to figure out what she was silently asking.
“Uhhhmmmm,” I smiled, “Sorry, but my Frazziss is STILL better looking than you are.” I replied, smiling nervously the entire while. She just lowered her hand, and gave me a disbelieving look.
“Then no.” she almost growled at me, but then she smiled indulgently and shook her head slightly
“Uhm, Ok.” I replied, not really too terribly upset at the denial.
“The reason I’m here with you now, Loknarr.” She started up again, this time all business like. “Is that I felt it necessary for you to understand why exactly, I chose you for the position.” I was taken aback.
“You chose? Not your daughter, Mara?”
“Yes, I did. Even now, though I’m no longer taking such an active hand in this world.” She emphasized by pointing at the dream-ground, “I’ve been relying on my daughters to have them take care of the more-worldly matters, while I’ve been attending to other more theological ones.”
“Theological? But didn’t you already triumph over the Chief God?”
“Yes, and no.”
“Uh, thanks for clearing that up.” I replied dryly. She sighed, and then she rolled her eyes as she pressed her lips into a thin line.
“Yes, I did indeed triumph over the Chief God.” She answered me again, this time much more patiently. “However, that was the Chief God of my world. But, prior to her defeat, she instigated a number of events that made the combination of your world and mine, an absolute necessity.”
“Wait, wait, wait!” I shouted, “What’s this about a Chief God of Your World?! You make it sound like there’s another.”
“There is another, of the original technological world of Earth. When your world and mine were Merged into one, He endured. But only barely.”
“Really? Damn! I would imagine that He’d be rather pissed about that!” I smiled, then frowned. “But, wait a second, if He was the ‘Chief’ God of this world, then how did you manage to garner so much power here?”
“You are correct. He, and yes I do mean HE, was blindsided by the Merging. As such, He was most wroth at the loss of so much of His Dominion. Since then, He and I have been at loggerheads. The Merging gave me the upper hand, or at least it does for now. But there is no guarantee that it will remain that way. That’s where you come in.”
“Yes, you.” She smiled again. “I have need of loyal people in key positions. People who want to maintain the status quo of Humans and Mamono coming together, and combining together the way your world and mine did.”
“Why don’t you have one of your daughters take over?”
“Because, even as numerous as they are they’re not enough. The reason being, is that the sheer number of humans is far greater than what I expected. But, despite the fact the more humans there are for me and mine to corrupt, it also means the uncorrupted ones give more power to the God of this world. Right now, we’re fighting uphill. Even my daughters have their limits.”
“I take it, that He’s not interested in becoming a Fallen God?”
“No, He’s not.” She stated wryly. “Not in the least. Which I find to be odd, considering how many people He allowed to choose to turn away from Him, prior to my arrival.”
“Why would he care about that?”
“All Gods need mortals to believe in them. That’s because Gods live on the power of human belief. If they don’t have it, then they start to wither and eventually they will die. Which is a fate that is possible even for me, in the here and now.” That shut me up for a moment, as it was a rather sobering thought.
“So, why exactly do you need me? To help spread the ‘Gospel of the Chief-Maou?”
“No, I need you to help transition this section of the world from its current status of a Bright-Green realm, into another Darker Realm.”
“A Dark Demon Realm?” I asked. “Surely, one of your Daughters would’ve been better suited for that task?”
“In my pre-merging world, yes. However, I’ve decided that many of my daughter’s ‘talents’, for lack of a better term, would be more suited to other tasks in this Brave New World.”
“Yes you. Take Druella for instance, in the old world she had dominion over the entire kingdom of Lescatie! It’s a nation that she herself caused to be conquered through corruption. Now, she’s owner and operator of a number of Home-Improver stores, along with numerous low-income housing units.”
“That’s a helluva step down!” I observed. “Pardon the pun.” She smiled at my inadvertent joke.
“Her choice, and mine as well. Oh don’t’ get me wrong, she enjoyed the power and prestige of it. But eventually she got tired of being the power behind the throne, and she desperately wanted to do something more suitable with her talents.”
“Something more hands on?” I snarked. She grinned then.
“Something like that.”
“Wait a second, that’s what you want me to be in Northern Yosemite? A seat warmer for one of your Daughters?” I demanded.
“No.” she said firmly. “Once it’s yours, it will remain in your family for as long as they’re willing to hold onto it. But I do want you to develop it into a Realm that is thoroughly under my Dominion, as opposed to being under the Chief-God of this world.”
“So what kind of realm do you demand?”
“I don’t demand. I only request. You could if you so desired, make Northern Yosemite into a Dragon Realm.”
“A Dragon Realm?!” I yelped in surprise. Then paused. “That does sound intriguing.” I admitted, more than half-sold.
She and I then talked for a long while afterwards. She detailed pretty much everything she expected out of me, and gave me further details of what I could expect in return. It was a lengthy talk. When we were done, she posed me with one question.
“So, do you accept the Stewardship?” she finally asked me with gravity lacing her words.
“I accept.” I replied instantly.
I then woke up. Looking around myself I found that I was back in my original sitting position, the one that I’d been when I first activated the spell. But, the yellow gem that I’d been holding, was gone. Instead I was surprised to discover that there was a Blue Ribbon lightly tied to my uhhh ‘ahem’,…dicks.
It read: “Matrimonial Loyalty, 1st place.” Which made me harrumph and then smile, despite the implied insult. Thankfully, the ‘Dreaming’ I had had with the Great Maou, or the Chief God, or whatever the hell she wanted to be called; stayed perfectly dry. This time at least.
Setting down, I then began ‘exploring’ my abilities. The first thing I allowed myself, was to become aware of my ‘Dominion’. There was a lot to it.
From as far west as Groveland to as far east as Lee Vining, to the north as far as Highway 108, and as far south to Fish Camp, I became aware of everything. It wasn’t as overwhelming as it had been the first time. The Great Maou had taught me how to filter the inflow of chatter.
The first thing I became most aware of?
Mamono. There were hundreds of them all over the place. And what were most of them doing?
Do you really have to ask?
Oh you do? Ok fine then, they were fucking. Fucking around like a Nun released from her vows. All over the place, in every conceivable position and spot. They were either banging their Incubus guys, or they were engaged in the process of okasu/rape of an uncorrupted dude. Or each other. All power to them.
The best part? I could ‘see’ the Demonic Energy they created when they fucked. Which was to convert Spirit Energy into Demonic Energy. But, what they weren’t aware of, was the fact that they also dripped off a bit of their excess Demonic Energy, out into their surrounding environments. There, it slowly but surely seeped into the waters and the earth to accumulate.
But, when it did it just sat deep down there in ever slowly growing lumps, inert; As opposed to actually doing something useful. Such as corrupting the Earth.
‘Why is that?’ I wondered, perplexed. I tentatively reached out with a ‘psychic feeler’ I guess you could call it, and gave one of the lumps a poke. When I did, it bounced and jiggled. I did get a sense of it, but according to what my sense told me, it was waiting. But for what?
Then it hit me.
“It’s waiting for me.” I said aloud. “Waiting for orders.” I realized. “My orders. Orders to convert this section of California into either a Demon Realm, or a Dragon Realm.”
‘But, I’ve got no idea on how to make either of those happen.’ I realized silently, as I got to my feet. But then I also realized, that such could wait for now. Rome wasn’t built in a day after all.
Instead of acting like a responsible adult, I did something completely kooky then. I got the urge to start running. So, holding my wings in tight, I started running. Straight towards the cliff’s edge.
And once I came to it, I jumped out and over. But I didn’t spread my wings at first. Nope, I kept them in tight to me as I plunged downwards to the reservoir below.
After a few heart pounding thrill-filled seconds of seeing it come flying up to me….
At the very last second I spread out my wings with a ‘snap’! And with a sharp exclamation of joy, I started cruising along the surface of the reservoir. It was so fucking cool then, to feel the wind under my wings! I easily made minor adjustments to my course with my tail or horns.
Then, I arched my back ever so slightly and started to gain altitude. After a few seconds, I found a thermal that I just ‘knew’ was there, and I allowed myself to settle into its embrace. After that, it was just a sedate twirling around to gain even more altitude. But I wasn’t totally idle.
Nope, I became aware of the entirety of Hetch-Hetchy Valley and everyone within it. There was so much to be aware of! And then, I heard a curious sound that carried its way to my ears. It was the sound of a faint buzzing that seemed directed towards me. It was low, yet persistent. Cocking my head back and forth, I soon triangulated its source.
It was coming from my Cave. Intrigued, I altered course and after a few minutes I landed at the front entrance. Listening carefully, I could still hear the buzzing calling out to me, but this time it came from within. I then extended out both my Ki-senses and my Stewardship-Sense to check if there were any trespassers.
They both told me the same thing. That the only people in the Cave at that moment: was Angelique and she was were-cat napping (again), Pirin, and my Old Man. It didn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out what those last two were up to.
But, I didn’t get any sense of danger from the sound of the buzzing. Curious, I stomped my way in. It took me a few minutes, but eventually I found the source of that buzzing. It was coming from my workshop room. Once I was there, I looked to and fro and within a couple of seconds, I finally realized what that sound was coming from.
Awhile back after my naming ceremony, I received an odd book that had my name inscribed on it in phonetic Dragon-language. Since it was made of stone, its creation ensured that only a male Dragon would’ve been able to read it. Remember that one? It was the source of that strange buzzing.
Carefully I picked it up and held it in my paws/hands. When I did, the buzzing stopped. Projecting my Dragon-Ki sense, I asked it the same question I had had before: Is it time for me to read? Where before that answer had always been- no, not yet. This time, the answer changed.
Now, it was: Yes.
So, I sat down and did. More or less. I started idly flipping through the thing. I soon figured out, that it would take me hours just to read it all. It was definitely a page turner as I could swear the more pages I flipped, the more pages seemed to pop up near the back.
Then I went to the very first sentence of the very first page, and there I read: “Luke, I am not your Father!” it began. Which made me immediately sit back in dismay.
“What the fuck?!” I said aloud, surprised about reading a Star Wars reference in a book older than, well,… dirt. After a second or two of hesitation, I pressed on.
“I bid you greetings allen belushi of the future! Perhaps, at some time in your future, you and I will have the opportunity to discuss who exactly this luke is, and why it is important that his father’s identity be a revelation to him.”
‘Whoo-boy’ I thought, almost overwhelmed then. ‘Meet? How in the hell am I supposed to manage that? Even if I could, I’d have to lug along some of the Star Wars films for this Dragon to see. But only episodes four, five, and six. I don’t think he’d be pleased with seeing those obscenities that pass as one, two, and three.’ I rambled. Shaking that thought off, I continued with my reading.
“Allow me to introduce myself. my name is loknarr. And I am pleased with your choice of adult name. for I am the very one you chose your name from.”
“Holy shit!” I said aloud, as I paused for a second.
“You are undoubtedly wondering how it is that I know so much about you. Suffice it to say, I chose to develop what you would call ‘my mojo’ towards forseeing the future. I did this out of necessity. the greatest necessity I quickly discovered was that all dragons should throw in their lot in with the one you call the great maou. “
“what this book is, is a compendium of what you humans would call ‘tips’ and ‘tricks’ for an adult male dragon; or what a male dragon would have learned had he grown up during my time. I foresaw the need for this book, after consulting with the great maou.”
“I imagine that you are wondering Why did we dragons join forces with a succubus? Because I saw that if we did not, then all of dragon-kind would be in danger of extinction.”
“Why extinct you ask? The forms that we have held for countless generations, have remained static. Thus, Our greatest strength from the ancient times, had become our most deadly weakness in the present, which is- stagnation. even though dragons are superior to humans in many ways, humans can do something we dragons cannot do anymore. Which is: evolve. “
“Now you loknarr ne allen belushi, are proof positive of the rightness of our throwing in our lot with the great maou. For you, as the first male dragon in many centuries, have the ability to bring us back from our self-created genetic stagnation.”
“Unfortunately Allen Belushi, I must bestow upon you a burden. By now you will have learned of your ability to sire male dragons. It is something that I urged that the great maou allow to only you. But, within this book you will learn how you can lend that ability to others of your choosing. The burden is thus- you must decide which dragon breeds are worthy enough to be allowed to continue. If they are not worthy of it, then you must not allow it.”
‘Not allow it? What in the fuck does that mean?!’ I demanded angrily.
But, as I skipped and skimmed ahead he made no further mention of it.
‘Damn it!’ I groused, ‘this doesn’t really help me much!’ I complained. Then, suddenly I stumbled across the details of how and what exactly I needed to do, in order to meet up with him.
It was surprisingly easy. I would just have to step outside, summon a Gate to the Dragon Realm and pass through. All the while keeping in mind the notion of meeting him, and the mechanics of the Seventh Path would allow it.
I set that Dragon-book down, and then I ambled my way outside. This time, I could hear a few extra sounds echoing through the hallways. They were the sounds of a pair of folks making love. Extending my new found Stewardship ‘sense’ outwards, I quickly discovered that it was Pirin and my Old Man going at it in her bedroom.
‘Sheesh!’ I smiled, shaking my head. ‘It’s not even noon!’ I mock grumbled with a smile on my mug. Using that ability some more, I swept it around the Cave and swiftly ‘discovered’ Angelique’s presence.
She was snoozing away still in her Were-cat nap. I thought about going in and snuggling with her, but I decided against it. She’d been getting fretful the closer she’d been getting to term. It was then that I was surprised, when I ‘felt’ our kids within her tummy.
Before I had to chance to scale it back, I instantly became aware that there were just two were-kittens within her. A boy and a girl.
‘Another case of fraternal twins?’ I thought in wonder then. ‘How odd! What are the chances?’ I mused. Probing carefully deeper into Angelique, I discovered that both of our kids were developing nicely, and that they were quite well along development wise. Best yet, there were no signs of any birth-defects that I’d been secretly worrying about for some time.
“Whew!’ I audibly blew out a breath in response. Then my breath caught in my throat when I realized someone else: Frazziss’ babies. As quick as thought, my Stewardship Sense immediately sought out, and latched onto them.
Holding my breath, I carefully sensed them and then I slowly relaxed as I found that they were doing ‘just-fine’. Both had their full brains, and both were getting slowly closer to their chirping stage, which would indicate their desire to break through their shells. Though as far as I could tell, they still had at least a couple of weeks left before that stage would come along. I felt myself sag in grateful relief.
‘Oh Thank You Great Maou!’ I silently prayed in that moment. ‘My babies are gonna be OK!’ I decided, then I went outside the Cave to take in a blessed breath of fresh air. Eventually I found my way over to the staircase to the ‘Skipping Spot’ that my Old Man had created. There, I took a moment to breathe and relax.
‘Finally!’ I thought, as a snuffle threatened to overwhelm me in that moment, ‘Finally at last! I can know that I didn’t sire another brain-less baby!’ I realized as I hugged myself, and I shook with relief as the tears started to finally flow. I stood there quietly for what seemed the longest while, staring blankly out onto the reservoir.
Then, it happened.
The first instance of when it all started to turn into shit. In that moment, I ‘sensed’ the presence of another Dragon nearby. She was close whoever she was. Right then the possibility of being caught crying was unsettling. So, I quickly dried my tears, and turned to face this stranger and I opened my mouth to say “Hello.”
But I didn’t. Instead, I just stared out at: Nothing. There was no visible sign of any Dragons nearby right then.
Yet, my Stewardship sense, was screaming at me that there was a Dragon standing stock still in front of me about ten feet away. Yet to my eyes, there wasn’t a soul around!
‘What the fuck?’ was my first thought. At first I thought that there was something wrong with new ability or my eyesight. Because the evidence was quite clear; that there was no one there. But, double-checking with my Ki-Sense, there was. I was all set to dismiss my concerns of my newly found Stew-Sense, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw a small pebble on the ground, move.
It wasn’t much, but my eyes latched onto it. What’s the big whoop you ask? Pebbles move all of the time, right? Yeah, they do. But they don’t move a couple of inches- uphill. Someone invisible, had accidentally nudged a pebble while carefully moving.
‘Someone doesn’t want to be seen. Why?’ I asked myself, as I turned my back towards ‘Ms. Invisible.’, and returned to look at the view of the reservoir. So, as nonchalantly and quietly as I could manage, I summoned up a fireball.