Eggs of Time
Fourth part. Song of rebirth
Messhral could no longer move, during her flight her belly and tail had continued to expand and she’d been so hungry that the stores in this repurposed ruin of a bitu had all but completely vanished. She belched even as she rolled onto her torso’s back and gently probed the pink dome. It was full of eggs by the feel of it, as were the egg-pockets in her tail. How could this be? She’d been a virgin before, despite her efforts to nab a man. Another belch escaped her lips as the eggs took up more room inside.
How could this have happened to her? She was alone in a cruel world where an even more cruel fate had robbed her of her heart’s true parents by placing her into the distant future. She would die, she had no idea how to rid herself of the damned eggs that might contain just about anything. More than that, she had slugged that commander and by the sounds of it his troops were out there, looking to kill her. She felt so heavy, so utterly abandoned and so miserable that she broke down in tears.
When the door opened she saw a figure shuffling in, blurred by tears. “Mama?” Gentle arms embraced her and a familiar if blurry face smiled at her. “Hush, everything will be all right.” She returned the embrace fiercely. “They lied, they must have! You’re here, it can’t have been centuries.” Her hair was stroked and the voice spoke again. “I’m here for you, but you’re full of eggs, right? We’ll need to get them out of you quickly or you’ll all be in danger.” She shook her head, feeling the modest bosom above slide over her scalp. “I don’t know how… It hurts and I didn’t even get a guy yet… How can I be pregnant?” She could feel the Ureonggaksi shrug. “Stranger things have happened, but don’t worry, your body will know what to do once you stop fussing over it. Relax and try to roll onto your side.”
She did manage to do that and then felt those gentle hands stroke her belly. Something inside went click and Messhral entered into a trance. Her internal muscles started moving the eggs down her body and soon the first one rolled out of the specially designated slit on her tail. She was only dimly aware of other forms moving through the bitu and gently taking those eggs, moving them to a safe place. Only the gentle strokes on her body and the encouraging sounds made by her mother pierced the trance somewhat.
It took most of a day for the eggs to stop exiting her body and Messhral slid into sleep as her tail coiled around the last two protectively, her hand holding onto a warm dress that was her only anchor in this world. Miho smiled and covered that hand with her own even as she looked up at the person standing in front of them. “She’s asleep.” Clover nodded and smiled in return. “You will stay with her?” Miho nodded, pouting as if mildly offended that Clover would even consider her doing otherwise. “Then I’ll send over some food and warm blankets immediately. You haven’t eaten all day and I’m not up to the task of explaining why you turned into a dried emaciated snail to our family.”
They shared a giggle, if quietly. Clover knew the girl was in good hands, though she would need all the help in the world to cope with her unintended sojourn through time. As Matrika of all Mamonme, Clover felt responsible for each and every one that was so alone… She sighed. Ever since the cure had been made and given to all Mamonme earlier that year she had felt… somewhat lost, as if the Demon Energy had left a hole in her that could not be filled after it had gone. On the other hand, Eiraiha did try to slip her some Divine Energy from time to time, calling it good practice for later.
Clover loved her sisters, and the rest of the gigantic family that they had become a part of, but Eihy’s impatience with the ascendancy bit… She’d almost ascended Clover and Erien on the spot after deciding to install the Meritocracy. Clover had begged her not to, for three reasons: Eihy had still been pregnant and ascending even one person was very taxing, it would have caused a riot with the less progressive Celestials and she did not yet have anyone to replace her as Demon Lord. Still Eihy being Eihy, only more so through the hormones, meant that Licci had to help convince her as well.
Meanwhile Miho ate her meal and pondered how the rest of the Saerti clan would react when they heard that the quest of many generations, to learn the fate of Saerti’s first daughter, was now at an end. The girl, Miho could not think of her otherwise despite that she was an adult Lamia, had been so lonely and in need of her family that Miho dreaded having to reveal the truth. She gazed around the bitu in wonder. Thirty-two eggs in total had come out of Messhral, the last two clutched protectively in the coils of her tail.
Miho giggled as she reflected how maternal instincts could kick in quite easily. She pulled the blankets over both her and Messhral and went to sleep, quietly grateful for the spell Eiraiha had taught her to… remove bodily waste without going to the toilet. When morning came Messhral heard gentle snores coming from beside her, interspersed with sleep-talk about rice and mochi made from it. She felt drained, sore throughout the length of her body and yet happier than she had been since being freed from the Egg of Time. Had she seriously passed… so many eggs? The two clutched by her tail felt so wonderful there.
Presently soft footsteps and a whispered conversation seemed to be getting closer to them. “Think we can wake mom?” | “Hmhm, maybe if we keep quiet?” | “Wow, look at all these eggs. How are we gonna get past them?” The second speaker hummed softly. “Well, you fly over with Metala an’ I’ll jump.” | “No Rukia, then they’ll get scared from the noise. Emmy, grab her other hand and we’ll fly over together.” A soft sound reached Messhral’s ears and two sets of wings flapped with effort, accompanied by girlish grunts. Soft footsteps sounded again and Messhral barely managed to open one eye slightly to see two taloned feet daintily step around her while four feet in cute shoes turned this way and that.
“No Emmy, mama says no cookies before breakfast, remember?” | “But its a bit of my last night cookie.” An exasperated sigh followed. “You need to eat those b’fore its morning again. Mama an’ our aunties get grumpy if you can’t eat breakfast.” Messhral was bumped slightly as the girl behind her shook her mother. “Mom, wake up… c’mon wake up. Dad burned breakfast again.” Presently inquisitive grey eyes presently peered at Messhral’s open one. “Metala, she’s a-wakin’ too… I think?” The grey eyes were joined by ones that were a rainbow riot of colours and a small nose sniffed.
“She’s a-wake. She smells awake and a bit grumpy.” A small hand reached out and opened her other eye. Two girls were squatting in front of her and she had never seen any like them before. One had a thin doglike tail and long floppy ears covered in honey-blonde fur with hair of the same colour while the other had white hair and brown furry ears with a fluffy tail in the same hue. Their smiles had a hopeful hint to them and blossomed into grins when behind her a sleepy Ureonggaksi finally woke. “”Mmhmh? Metala?” A tremendous yawn followed as she sat up.
“Hi Rukia, Emmy… Please be quiet as Messhral is still sleeping.” The whitehaired girl shook her head, revealing a green ribbon tied to a small braid on the back as it swung into view. “She’s a-wake aunty. Just tired I think an’ a bit grumpy.” She scratched one ear. “Can we give her the miracle cure?” Messhral frowned slightly and tried to speak. “Who are these?” Gentle hands helped her to a sitting position and two eyestalks peered sleepily at her from above. “They are my youngest daughter Metala and my nieces Rukia and Emmy.”
The one who had to be Metala walked into view, small wings stretching out as a tail meant for swimming swished from side to side. “How are you feeling? I didn’t snore too loudly I hope?” Messhral shook her head. “No… I’m still tired though.” She put a hand on one of the eggs held by her tail. “It wasn’t a dream then… Laying all these?” A gentle sigh sounded and the eyestalks retracted slightly into themselves. “I was hoping those questions could wait a bit longer. You’ve had such a trying time, haven’t you?” The three girls now peered at her eggs. “Wo~o~ow, look at the size of it.” | “Hmhm, they’re big.” | “Mom, will I lay eggs this big when ‘m grown up?” A titter of laughter sounded behind Messhral. “Maybe, or maybe somewhat smaller Metala. We’ll climb that hill when we get to it. For now though, could you three help me warm her a bit? I think this cool room isn’t helping too well with her recovery.”
Metala nodded and her cousins immediately latched onto Messhral’s tail before the little girl burped loudly. Instead of just gas, she breathed fire along with the burp. The room was instantly a lot more balmy though the flame had a hint of fish to its smell. Afterwards she sat down next to Messhral and proved to be an excellent warmer. Messhral began waking up in earnest. “Thank you. All of you.” They shared a laugh. “No need to thank us. We’ve still got quite a bit of explaining to do, but for now I want you to know that we’re your family. You are not alone, okay?”
Messhral nodded again. “Now, you’re still pretty sore I guess-” | “Granny Ba-la-say is coming!”, “Oh, well your ears are better than mine Emmy. As I was saying, you’re still pretty sore so Granny Balase is going to give you a check-up and she’ll examine the eggs as well.” Swift strides approached, clomping loudly against the floor. Messhral goggled as an apparently small girl jumped lightly over the ring of eggs and landed on her hooves. “Hey kids, so… This is Messhral then?” A paw with three opposable digits brushed her hair aside.
“Hello there, I’m Balase Stock-Lamont, but you can just call me Granny. Just about everyone does these days, though I’m not complaining.” She giggled. “For your reference, I’m a Baphomet and the authority on magical phenomena. Not too shabby as a healer either, so just relax and let me help you.” Balase checked both her eyes, listened to her pulse and finally examined her womanhood and egg slit. “Sheesh, you’ve been put through the wringer. I’ll give you a little medicine that will help you recover and something for the soreness.” Her paws glowed briefly and Messhral felt a healing spell enter her body.
Balase held her nose while she poured a rather unpleasant potion down Messhral’s throat. “It tastes bad, but you do need it.” She then turned her attention to the eggs. Each was lifted and thoroughly examined. Special attention was given to the ones Messhral had held with her tail. “Huh… They seem normal enough, though different from normal Lamia eggs with these nubs on the tip.” Balase’s eyes glowed. “Definitely viable too with seemingly normal development. I do not know what will hatch from them, but at least they won’t explode. Hmm… I think she’s well enough now for you to fill her in.”
“Shall I take the kids along?” Messhral felt the emphatic shaking above. “Very well. Clover and Eihy want to have a word with her later but Licci’s keeping them busy.” With that she sauntered out into the radiant sunlight. “Well, I’m guessing that the medicine may have… stymied your appetite, but you’ll need to eat soon. Eggh though, I need to stretch my foot a bit so just lie down for a moment.” Messhral nodded and lay down as shuffling sounds did a circuit of the room. She only saw the hem of the dress but it was enough to make her want a similar one.
Her hopes were shattered though when she was hauled upright again and she got a good look at the Ureonggaksi who had helped her so. It was not Saerti, though there was a resemblance. Wise brown eyes looked at her with gentleness. “Who are you? Where’s my mother?” Miho grasped her hand and gently held it. “Messhral, I want you to listen carefully to me. My name is Miho Humblestone-Saerti, of the Saerti clan. Technically I am your mother’s descendant.” Miho used her free hand to pull Metala onto her lap.
“Saerti was one of the first Ureonggaksi to be born as such on Praxis and she was the most prominent one to shape our culture. From her time until today each girl or boy born to our family has been instructed to do their best to find you…” Miho sighed and patted Metala’s head between the ear-fins. “Now as you can see we still have a very diverse family.” She looked a little astounded as she reflected. “Even more so than in Saerti’s day, but we all hold true to her ideals.” Rukia nodded sagely. “Ev’ybody care about family. An’ Praxis. Aunty Miho an’ cousins Lena an’ Chichi are ‘Gakksi, Rukia an’ mom are Azzyban, Metala’s a Dragon an’ Emmy is Hai-nu.” Emmy nodded shyly.
Miho chuckled. “Yes, though you need to work on the correct pronunciation Rukia.” She shrugged in response. “But Messhral, if you feel up to it there are a few people who want to meet you as well, is it okay if we call them over?” Rukia grinned. “Aunty Eihy an’ aunty Clover. Maybe aunty Licci an’ Aered as well?” | “Sure Rukia, but-” Miho gulped as Rukia used a gate-spell and suddenly was half-gone. When she pulled back out she was not alone. “Aunty Eihy’s comin’ an’ aunty Clover is with her. Aerdayasêr needs a new nappy.”
Even if Messhral had not seen it, Rukia’s grin was practically audible. What surprised her though was the baby boy in Rukia’s arms, small wings jutted from the romper on his body. “Metala, Emmy, come~! Its nappy time~!” The three busied themselves by disrobing the tyke and swiftly replacing his dirty diaper with a fresh one. “Oh dear.” Miho giggled. “They do love their baby cousin, and giving him fresh nappies.” The light was temporarily blocked when two tall women entered, both bearing large wings.
“Rukia, you really should be more careful, what if you’d dropped him?” Rukia’s ears drooped. “Sorry aunt Eihy, but Rukia never drop him.” The woman smiled at them and lifted the little boy in her arms before sitting down. Messhral blinked, where had she seen this woman before? “Pardon me, but… Are you an Angel?” She was met with a chuckle. “Something like that, yes. I’m Eiraiha and this is Aerdayasêr, my baby boy.” Messhral gulped. “Eiraiha?! That Goddess those crazy Mamonme-hating humans follow?”
A small grey cloud formed over Eiraiha’s head and she pouted. “I am indeed the Principal Goddess and the Luminaire… well they once followed me. But they became corrupt and most of them want nothing to do with me anymore. I do not hate Mamonme though, most of my family are Mamonme for one and many of my friends and friends of friends are.” The other woman sat down as well and smiled gently. “What my dear sister said is true enough. I’m sorry you had to go through all this. My Erien is a gentle man, but he could have told you those things in a less blunt fashion.”
She flipped a lock of brown and milk-white hair over one large horn. “I am Clover Meadlowry, the current Matrika of Mamonme.” Messhral looked puzzled even as Eiraiha’s cloud lightened and parted to show a rainbow as she played with her baby. “Sorry, but what is a Matrika?” Clover smiled. “Well, before the whole… issue with demonic energy was fixed, the title was Demon Lord. But do not worry about it. You’re literally surrounded by family that honours Saerti’s memory and we’ll help you get your life back on track.” Messhral smiled then, crying tears of mixed joy and grief.
Epilogue. Song of Remusia
Messhral cradled her two special eggs in her arms as she prepared for the meeting. Remusia’s ruins were now largely cleared of sand and debris as Mamonme, humans and Celestials worked to rebuild it enough to lets its people begin anew. Its future, and that of her eggs, would depend on the outcome of negotiations with the Sulleimaan Empire. As she sashayed into the tarbasu that she’d re-discovered, she was surprised to see an old man sitting there in a seemingly simple jellabah.
He looked tired and sad somehow. “Hello sir, is something bothering you?” He shrugged and turned dark eyes on her. “Only the ache of my heart, young lady. A man I trusted let greed blind him and turn him into one most evil. Had he but shown repentance then I would have forgiven him… For he had been a good man once.” She shifted her eggs gently to her tail and placed a hand on the man’s shoulder. “I’m sorry to hear that. But perhaps he will come around later, my family has taught me that there is always hope.”
He grinned at that. “I see. And your family lives here?” She shrugged. “For now. Remusia’s future depends on what the meeting I was heading to will bring.” She folded her arms. “The eggs I laid might contain the souls of those who once lived here or so my new cousins think. Bar these two.” The eggs chimed slightly together as her coils gingerly shifted them. “I do not know what my children will want to do, or if the others will consider them family, but it depends on this Sultan if Remusia will have a future for all of them.”
The old man laughed. “And those Ou-reon-gaksi? There are so many of them now, one might think they have designs on the country.” Messhral chuckled. “They love visiting this place, though they love visiting any place they have not been to. Even if they have visited before they do like to visit places all over. But they do not have designs on any country save planning trips there, or settling if the locals are friendly enough.” They shared a laugh at that. “Well, I do not know if my courtiers will like it, but I believe I have heard enough. As Sultan of the Sulleimaan Empire I choose to allow Remusia to be rebuilt. Once its people have erh… found their legs as it were we can negotiate future relationships.” Messhral had been stunned so often lately that this barely surprised her.
On a different continent Pahdan Effein sniffed. One indiscretion (to his reasoning), one alone and he had lost his standing in the Sultan’s court. No matter, he had his wealth and a new ally who would help him claim the Sultanate soon enough. The Darklands though were really beneath him and his destination looked rather outlandish. “No matter, I shall be Sultan instead of the Sultan, or Dark Lord if all else fails. Yeeeessss.”