Mors Funebris Ch. 2 P 3

Mors Funebris Chapter 2 Part 3

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“Hello Arawn.” The Courier replied sultrily as she held up her ‘identifier stone’ that she’d been using previously to identify Arawn. While keeping her eyes firmly set on him she shifted her grip upon it, and then with a slight grunting effort she broke it apart into two pieces. Almost instantly Secundus piped up.

‘I have detected an enormous surge of Dark-Energy! It is coming from that ‘courier’!’ (2) he cried shrilly!

 The erstwhile courier then made an unusual gesture with her right hand, one that looked all too familiar to Arawn. All around him he heard the sound of the room’s cabinets and doors, close and latch themselves firmly shut. With a chill running up his spine, Arawn turned and faced the ‘Courier’ as she began to speak in a triumphant tone.

“You and I have much to discuss concerning our impending union.” She purred as she made another gesture, this time with both hands. Arawn felt a sinking sensation as that two-handed gesture of hers, caused her plain courier outfit to change into the purple togs of a Dark Mage.

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‘I knew it! (2)’ Secundus crowed.

 ‘Uh, Primus!’ Quintus stated fearfully. ‘Every nearby door and cabinet has indeed shut and latched themselves closed. Judging by the amount of Mana utilized, I would venture that our attempting an egress, would result in heavy damage to both the building and its contents. (5)’

‘I concur.’ Secundus chimed in. ‘Every avenue of normal escape, is now so well warded that it would take a significant portion of our mana-reserve to penetrate them. Assuming of course, that our Courier would simply stand by and allow it. (2)’ Secundus reported unhappily.

“Faex.” Arawn stated firmly pursing his lips, as he glanced down into the box that contained one of those annoying chocolate dildos; as given to him by the ‘courier’.
“Well played, whoever you are.” he continued, staring unhappily at the now rather fetchingly half-dressed Dark Mage.

“Why thank you, Majin Arawn.” The not-courier simpered, as she undid her hair-tie to allow her maroon colored hair to drop freely about her shoulders.

“Allow me to introduce myself,” She began, “You may call me Rowena. Under the strictures of the Hunt, I hereby formally state my intention to make you my husband.” She paused momentarily with a toothy smile.

“What say you?” she then demanded in a satisfied tone. Arawn’s immediate reaction was to blow out a breath of frustration, which made Rowena’s smile widen slightly. He then took a moment to give his feminine-adversary a thorough once over.

She barely wore an animated diaphanous dress, one that billowed out into the air in a manner akin to her being underwater; its lengths flowing and shifting in an un-seeable current.
Normally, it took Arawn only a half-moment to ‘scan’ an adversary properly. But the gentle swaying of Rowena’s dress, combined with her alluring body curves that her outfit didn’t quite cover, caused him to falter in his perusal. Involuntarily, he found that his eyes chose to rove over the entirety of her beauty, instead of gauging her tactical capabilities.

Try as he might to the contrary, Arawn found himself admiring Rowena’s form more now, as opposed to the obnoxious persona she’d adopted a short time previous. Whilst her preceding drab outfit had muted her figure; her current state of (un)dress both enhanced, and accentuated her ample physical assets in ways that inspired his libido. Somehow, they drew all of Arawn’s attention away from her radiant face and directly down to her succulently heaving bosom.

 ‘Uhmm,… Status Report? (1)’ Arawn/Primus requested hollowly, after finding that he couldn’t quite pull his eyes away from her alabasterine cleavage. He didn’t receive an immediate reply like he would normally, but neither did he care much then either.

 ‘Uhhhh,…..Quintus? (1)’ Arawn requested again after several seconds, as he vainly attempted to force his eyes away from Rowena’s chest once more. Alas, he soon found that despite his best efforts to the contrary, he couldn’t quite manage to tear his gaze away from that tiny gap between her considerable breasts.

‘Any port in a storm. (5)’ Quintus replied finally in a dreamy tone, his attention glacially drifting towards Rowena’s other bodily attributes, that were tantalizingly being flashed by her dresses’ perambulations.

‘I pine for the Fjords! (2)’ Secundus cooed then, which left his fellow not-brothers momentarily confounded. Luckily, Secundus’ confusing appraisal did have the unintended side effect of bringing Arawn back to his senses. Shaking his head to clear the increasingly creative thoughts Rowena’s cleavage inspired in him, Arawn rallied himself enough to regain his mental control.

“I would say that you have demonstrated an enhanced level of craftiness.” He replied evenly, valiantly forcing himself to stare back at her eyes with a feigned coldness. She smiled happily as she touched her left hand to her face, and blushed.

“Why thank you for the compliment, my intended.” She replied, looking demurely away for a second.

“But you didn’t answer my question.” She continued, blinking her eyes back up to his. “What say you? Why would you try to resist my obvious plentiful charms,” she stated with a sweep of her arms to indicate her buxomness.

In response to her gesturing, Arawn found himself involuntarily looking down to the chasm between her breasts again, mostly in response to her animate dresses’ slowly retreating hemline. When he did, he slowly became aware that he had begun to perspire. If Rowena could see the effect her body had on him, she gave no obvious sign.

“I have so much love to share with you. Oh,” she paused and looked at him warmly, “I suppose you could manage to mount a resistance to my meek efforts; I do rather expect you to try, after all.” She paused, licking her lips softly.

“Yet, it won’t avail you much.” She whispered casually, looking about herself and glancing at each window and door in turn, as if to double check their locking. She then allowed her gaze to linger at the wall-clock momentarily, and before he was aware of it she stepped forwards to close the distance between them by a considerable margin.

Arawn had been so enchanted by her body, that he was quite startled by her sudden nearness. He then stumbled in alarm and nearly fell, as he stepped to one side in an effort to avoid bumping into her. Somehow, he managed to fumble a convenient table in between them. At which point, Rowena froze in place and frowned.

“Oh come now Arawn.” She replied, in a hurt tone that made Arawn feel slightly guilty.
“Are you going to continue to resort to something so puerile? Something, so easily thwarted?” she demanded, as she flicked a finger.

Immediately the table between them slid off to one side, then bumped into its neighbor, which started a small chain reaction of tables bumping together with a resounding loud ‘clunk, with the resultant effect of having a portion of every table’s contents spill off every time.

Placing her hands atop her hips, she then flounced her way towards him. Walking in a way that somehow managed to highlight the mesmerizing valley between her breasts, with every turn.

“Careful!” Arawn complained. “These Automaton parts are something that Makai is highly interested in! Damage them at your peril.” He warned with a smile directed at her, grateful for the distraction.

Rowena hesitated then, looking over at the multitude of mechanical components strewn before her with a disinterested eye. She then reached out a single well-manicured finger, and tapped one of the nearest Automaton’s armor casing lightly. It made a slight ‘clunking’ sound when she did.

“Hmmm.” She smiled indulgently with a raised eyebrow, looking down at it haughtily as she pulled her hand back.

“What a curiosity.” she murmured, turning her attention back to him while placing a hand on her ribs just below her breasts.

“What is?” Arawn demanded, confused by her reaction, looking alternately between her and the Automaton casing she’d just tapped.

“You.” She stated simply, as both her hands then started to reach up and cup the bottoms of her breasts. “You appear to fixated upon these Automatons, which are so cold, so unyieldingly hard,…” she began in a husky tone, looking at him through half-lidded eyes.

“,…and inanimate.” She inhaled heavily as she leaned forward, and took a firm hold of her firm, yet supple breasts, grasping them firmly with her fingers, while the tip of her wetted tongue blepped out between her lips.

Arawn swallowed distracted, as he felt his attention implacably drawn towards that tongue, that began playing upon the inner side of her lower lip. Blinking but once, he became aware that she was suddenly standing next to him, her pendulous breasts not quite touching his shoulder.  

‘Yet I,” she sighed, ‘Am so animate,…” she promised, “So warm,…” she spoke in a whisper that warmed his ear, ‘and so very very,….soft and yielding.” She finished, as she gently pressed her breasts into his side.

Every last bit of Arawn’s attention was drawn to her in that sweet moment, as he felt himself drifting into the fullness of her warm femininity. He yearned to drown himself into the entirety of her twin orbs that were pressing themselves into his chest. His head swam as he felt her body heat melt into and mingle with his.

Somewhere far-away, he dimly became aware that she’d gently taken ahold of his head with her hands and was slowly directing his face towards hers. Inhaling deeply then, he became aware that her scent was a slightly sweet lavender-musk.

Arawn couldn’t speak then. Why should he? Speech seemed so vulgar in that moment, as he began to feel her tantalizing breath crossing the gap in between their respective lips.

“Accept me.” She implored him quietly with her eyes closed, as his entire being commenced to resonate with her subtle demand. Arawn, found himself starting to lean, so as to allow his lips to contact with her inviting mouth.

Then, something unusual occurred. Over there, a goodly distance away from them both, one of the Jenny Unit’s component parts- gave off a slight sparking. It wasn’t much; just on the level of being audible.

But it was enough. Enough for Arawn to realize just how very close he had come to being lost.

“NO!” he shouted with his eyes widening. He pushed himself away from Rowena precipitously, using both hands. He stumbled backwards several paces, until he came at last to a standing halt. Arawn found that he was breathing heavily in that moment. The chief reason being the rather obvious bulge his kilt had sprouted in the front. Looking up, he espied Rowena glowering back at him from her original position next to the Automaton table.

“Well done.” He muttered angrily, shaking his head to clear his thoughts. “That,” he growled finally, “was one of the most subtle Charm-Spells that I have yet encountered in this world, and a damned near effective one too!” he snarled.

“Not effective enough, obviously.” Rowena replied, glaring at Arawn from several feet away, an indignant frown on her face. “I worked many a long night, researching and creating that spell, with you in mind.” She huffed lightly
“So I will simply have to be more devious in my next approach. Be warned Arawn. Your talented ability for resistance, will not prevent me from my endeavor. Instead, it will only delay the inevitable.” She inhaled deeply.

“AAaaaah.” She breathed in lustfully, her eyes rolling back in their sockets. “Even from here, I can smell the wellspring of Spirit Energy within you!” she stated with her eyes closed. She opened her mouth slightly as she began to slowly lick her lips with her cute tongue.

“It is vast! So much more than a regular human male! I feel like I’ve been dying from thirst and have stumbled across a river!” she stated huskily as she opened her eyes and moved herself closer to him once more. To which Arawn raised his arms defensively, Rowena stopped and mirrored him.

“Do not think you can use your ‘Blast-punch’ or ‘Force-shield’ on me with impunity Annwyfn!” she stated with a snarl after glancing at the clock. “I am no amateur concerning such as you! Submit!”

“Why should I?” Arawn demanded.

“Because you are under just as much a stricture as I am!” she smiled. “Any damage done to these Automaton parts, including this building, you will be held liable for!”

“As will you!” He pointed out.

“Yes,” she nodded, “but can you afford to pay the resultant fines?” she asked archly, taking another step. “I can. Easily.”  Nervously, Arawn licked his lips in sudden remembrance of his own scant finances, which made Rowena’s smile turn into a grin.

“I have extensive financial holdings.” She began in a satisfied tone. “You, do not. Consider instead what we could accomplish together, Arawn! Between your talents and Spirit Energy, combined with my knowledge and riches, we could begin a long and lucrative career!” Her words made Arawn glower.

“So, that is what you are attempting to seduce me with now? Monies?” Arawn replied disgustedly, curling a lip.

“Hardly!” she scoffed, turning to her side nonchalantly. “I’m merely pointing out that if you chose to spend your life with me; we need not live as paupers!” she replied, changing tactics.

“I have lived long enough to become aware, that riches are not what many make them out to be.” He replied, tilting his head and leaning over to look behind her.

“Wait, what are you doing?” she asked suspiciously, stopping short as she looked askance at Arawn. Who by then, was leaning far enough over to require to lift a leg for counterbalance.

“What are you trying to accomplish?” she demanded archly in a confused tone, as she looked behind herself sharply. “There is no one behind me!” she stated as she turned to one side, standing in silhouette.

‘Well, that stance makes her geometry more appealing. (2)’ Secundus admired.

‘Hush! (1)’ Arawn/Primus replied.

“I am not looking to see if there is anyone behind you. No, I was instead checking to see if you were sporting a Danuki tail.” Arawn replied in a deadpan tone. Rowena gave him a withering stare in response and lowered her hands.

“Ha-Ha.” She replied unamusedly. “Very funny. I assure you that I was indeed born a Human, but I will die a Dark Mage.” She smiled with her lips pressed together, as she took a quick glance at the wall clock once more. Seeing something she didn’t like, she made a moue as she walked back to the table that held her satchel.

‘Why is she concerned with the time?’ Arawn asked silently. Then he realized something. ‘Perhaps she is under a time limit? (5)’ Quintus asked.

“What is it that you truly want?” Arawn demanded loudly, stepping forward towards her.

“Have I not made my intentions plain?” she shouted, as she reached into her satchel and pulled out a small coiled rope. A rope that glistened with a shining silvery gilt in the light of the room.

“I want you for my husband! Between your variegated talents and ability to tap into manifold Mana sources; we would end up with a productive alliance between us. The result of which, I would be able to carve out my own Kingdom. No! My own Realm!” she grinned fiercely.

“What makes you so sure of this?”

“One of my abundant talents, is that I am a Scryer of the future! Allow me to demonstrate!” she demanded archly, with her eyes widening maniacally as she began to raise both her hands.

But then her grin faltered, when the sound of knocking came from the laboratory door. She looked at it with desperation in her eyes.

“No!” she whispered fiercely, “Too soon!” She cried, as she turned her attention back to Arawn.

“Answer me now.” she yelled with a warble in her voice, as the pounding at the door became stronger, fiercer.

“Will you submit to me willingly?!” She demanded imperiously, Arawn shook his head.

“Very well then!” she yelled again as she began to utter a spell, “Lamia-ut Funem!”

That coil of silver-rope began to give off an ambient shining-glow then. Rowena then flicked that Silver-rope out smartly. When she did, some white sparks flew off the far end of it as it uncoiled with a small crack. In response, Arawn instinctively raised up his Force-shield in his left hand, and formed a sword with his Blast-punch in his right.

Rowena noticed his preparations in a flash, and as the two of them faced off, both became aware that there was three meters between then. Noting the distance, Rowena grinned eagerly in anticipation of her prize.
Neither of them turned their head from each other in that moment, despite the sound of pounding on the door becoming powerful enough to shake it with every impact, almost as if someone were attempting to batter their way inside.

“Why delay the inevitable Arawn?” she asked somberly, as she flicked her rope directly towards him once, testing his limits. Arawn easily blocked that magical rope with his Force-Shield. When his shield intercepted her rope, two things happened. First, it caused her rope to give off a slight sizzling sound; Secondly, it caused his shield to flare momentarily in overload.

“Tunc Cess,…” he intoned by way of reply, but was prevented when she flicked her rope at him once more. This time, she managed to twist her wrist just enough, to get its tip underneath his shield. Which allowed it to impact his forearm hard enough to elicit a yelp of pain.

“Damnatus!” he shouted fiercely back with a grimace. Rowena merely smiled and flicked her rope at him again.

“Aaaahhh!” Arawn cried when the rope connected once more.

‘What is that thing!? (1)’ Arawn/Primus demanded, his Force shield flickering.

‘Unable to identify! Still working! (5)’ Quintus replied desperately. Even as Quintus spoke, Rowena lashed out with her rope again. This time it made a sizzling impact to his left knee that left a slightly smoking scorch mark. That mark appeared to be burn intensely for several seconds, then it slowly disappeared.

“Arrrggghh!” He screamed, while clenching his teeth with the pain, distracted enough to cause his force shield to flicker, and then it dissipated with a flash when it blocked another snap from Rowena’s rope.

“YES!” Rowena cried out in triumph as she pressed her advantage; lashing out at him several more times in rapid succession, every lashing leaving a temporary smoking scorch mark on his clothing or skin. Arawn valiantly attempted to block that rope with his Blast-sword, but with his every move that damnable rope flowed around it with contemptuous ease.

“No!” he cried at the last, when he discovered that Rowena’s rope spontaneously started to extend itself by several lengths then shot to his ankles, entwining them. Then it began to wrap itself snake-like around his legs.

 “NO!” he shouted again, as he fell to the floor with his legs tied together below his knees. Arawn’s rage grew by leaps and bounds as he felt the cordage bind him above his knees, and then to his hips. Futilely, he began to try slapping at that cable with his bare hands. But, all too quickly the match ended, when, within a few more seconds, he found himself bound completely. The now impossibly long rope now having wrapping him in his entirety.

“YES!” Rowena cried then, her eyes dancing gleefully in delight, while she pumped her right fist that held the rope’s far end, in triumph. Just as Rowena announced her success, the room’s door exploded inwards with a loud bang, which then fell off its hinges with a large clattering crash.  

There, standing in the doorway, Arawn noticed that there were a pair of large Red Oni brandishing their kanabo. Behind them stood Lieutenant Jinks, who had a severely annoyed expression on her face.

“Guards!” Jinks shouted, “Arrest that person!” she ordered, pointing at Rowena. “Use whatever force you deem necessary!” The Red Oni pair, nodded their heads once in acknowledgement, as they advanced towards the Dark Mage with an angry expression in their eyes.

“There is no need! I surrender!” Rowena yelled back happily. “I’ve achieved what I set out to do!” she crowed, holding up her end of the rope. Arawn noticed that Jinks looked stricken when she observed Arawn at the other end of that Silver-rope. ‘No.’ she silently mouthed in shock.

“Under the rules of The Hunt, as set by General Scathach! I hereby declare myself the successful captor of Annwyfyn Arawn!” Rowena yelled gleefully. She then began cackling madly, which caused her hair to quiver and shake.

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“Fraudster!” Jinks yelled then, interrupting her mirth. “You are still under arrest! Guards, take her!” she began, but then she looked at Arawn with fearful eyes, refusing to believe the evidence before her.

“Fine! Fine!” Rowena yelled as she didn’t fight against the Red Oni pair, who roughly seized her by her arms. “I relent! But nevertheless, Arawn is still MINE!” she grinned happily, looking at him hungrily.

“NOT YET!” Arawn shouted red-faced, still struggling against his bonds. Rowena turned as best she could towards him in that moment, not quite managing to, seeing as the Red Oni pair were doing their best to pin her down.

“I do not,..!” he yelled, as he began to tap deep into his mana reserves. In response, Rowena, Jinks, and the Red Oni pair were shocked into immobility when Arawn’s eyes took on an intense white light that shone forth like the noon-day sun.

“Care to be,…!” he continued to yell, as the air in that and the next room became so charged with ambient Mana that every loose object including Arawn himself, began to levitate up from every surface upon which it lay. Upon seeing it, Jinks leapt to Rowena.

“CAAAAAGGGGEEEDDD!!!!!” Arawn howled in a resonant voice, that made everyone else in that room wince in pain. As he continued to cry out, silver and white sparks of St. Elmo’s fire began to leap from one separate Automaton component to another, each making a discharge that left a strong scent of ozone in the air.

“Let go! Let go!” Jinks shouted then at Rowena, pounding on her with her fists, attempting to get her to release Arawn.

“Let GO of HIM!” she screamed. For her part, Rowena had been scared into immobility with the realization of what she’d created.

Arawn continued to mount an ever increasing resistance to his bonds, attempting to build up a massive enough charge that would allow him to escape from his phobia filled confinement. All the while, the Silver-rope
fought him at every step, sparking furiously with its own mana-energies in response.

“I had no idea!” Rowena whimpered, shocked, as she began to cower away. “I had no idea this would happen!” she continued, shaking her head disbelievingly. Finally, Jinks gave up trying to convince Rowena. Taking note of the mesmerized Red Oni pair, she correctly assessed that they were unable to respond to any orders from her in that moment.

‘His Mana matches his Essence, that’s for sure!’ Jinks’ realized in horror the predicament in which Rowena had put them all in. Looking up, Jinks’ dared a glance and noticed that Arawn’s attention had turned to her. He was still scowling fiercely, but she sensed that he was just barely controlling his manic desire for escape. Just for a moment, their eyes met and she heard something strange.

‘Release.’ She heard/felt as it echoed in her mind, not her ears.

‘Enough! It’s time to act!’ Jinks decided. Within a half second, Jinks made her choice and reached into one of the pockets of her ass-less chaps, to retrieve a souvenir she’d picked up from a previous escapade. She then pulled out a small metallic cylinder, which she activated with a flick of her thumb on one of its ends.

Within a second or two a small blue glow sprung from the other end, akin in appearance to a welder’s torch-flame. As soon as she deemed that it had become hot enough, she began to press the edge of that ‘Force-Blade’ into the golden metallic rope that bound Arawn. The effect was instantaneous.

Cerulean and Argent-Silver sparks flew out from where the mana-enhanced rope and Jinks force blade made contact. The power mismatch caused Jinks’ hand to feel as if it were on fire. Yet, it also had the immediate effect of causing the rope to convulse wildly.

“Arawn.” Jinks replied in a whisper, blinking, and it was then that she knew that she had to continue in her course no matter the cost. Jinks then set her brow and bowed her head to continue in her self-appointed task, doing her best to ignore the shower of sparks that singed her face, hair, and hands.

Meanwhile, Rowena continued in her near-catalepsy, unaware of her current situation. Instead, she kept her whole awareness fixated solely on her prize: Arawn.

“Mine, Mine, Mine.” Rowena kept muttering, over and over. Gritting her teeth, Jinks did her best to ignore her. Finally, after a too-long interval, she managed to cleave through the Silver-rope, and when she did, several things happened.

The rope gave off one final sizzle and spark, then it fell to the ground quivering loosely. Arawn’s first response was to expand his mana-force outward rapidly to shed himself of its hateful coils, but he barely, only barely, forestalled that damaging force explosion. 

Instead, with a careful shaking he allowed the now slackened rope to fall away from his person. When the last strand had finally fallen away, he allowed himself to gently settle himself down to the floor.
Setting his eyes, he concentrated heavily on rebuilding his self-control once more. As he did, every single other levitating object in that room, slowly began to drift back to the surface from which it had previously arisen.

Even though Rowena was only now able to bring herself back to a semblance of reality, she still refused to let go of the rope end. At first, Jinks found herself at a loss about what to do with her.

‘Arawn’s been taken!’ Jinks mourned, frowning unhappily with the thought. But then she noticed that Arawn still stood facing Rowena with his eyes aglow, his stance defiant.
‘Or perhaps not.’ Jinks thought, the corners of her mouth starting to rise at their ends. She spoke.

“Majin Rowena, I hereby place you formally under arrest!” Jinks intoned. “I do this, under the charge of your forging General Scathach’s command seal!” Jinks finished, and was surprised to hear what Rowena had to say next as the Oni pair took ahold of her.

“I confess.” Rowena said simply, not struggling in the least against her Oni captors. She then turned her attention to Jinks for a second.
“That I have indeed forged the General’s Seal.” She smiled. “I will face my punishment accordingly. But once I have, I will depart Fort Eequor in the company of my newly acquired mate!” she cried gleefully, her chin raised as she smiled happily.
“Wouldn’t you agree, my husband?” she demanded then, looking at Arawn square on. Jinks looked to Arawn and noticed that he didn’t reply, instead he only looked back at Rowena with a baleful expression. His eyes inner-lights fading, as he drew in the remainder of his Mana back into himself.

“No, I do not agree.” Arawn replied, which made Rowena’s eyes flare angrily at him.

“I have fulfilled the strictures!” she shouted then, “The very strictures that you have agreed to. I have captured you, you are mine!” she breathed through clenched teeth. “Do you forswear your oath now?” she demanded.

“No.” Arawn said simply, shaking his head. “There is still a small matter that we need to attend to.”

“What is that?

“You mentioned that you were a Scryer?”

“Yes! What of it?!” she demanded.

“Then Scry the future, show us all what the future will be if I submit to you in the here and now.” He returned coldly, as he looked meaningfully at Jinks.

Jinks caught his look and looked puzzled for a second, then she noticed Arawn glancing at both the Red Oni momentarily as way of explanation. Jinks then ordered the guards to release Rowena. They did so slowly, reluctantly. But they obeyed Jinks authority, and finally released her. Arawn stepped forward and faced the Dark Mage directly.

“Do it then.” He challenged, with a resentful stare Rowena moved to obey. Soon, before her there appeared a floating silver-sheened sphere, a third of a meter in diameter.

“My Scrying-globe.” Rowena explained, looking at it with a lilt in her voice, then she made a motion that caused the globe to slowly expand enough to engulf them all. To that erstwhile quintet, they all found themselves standing together in darkness, unable to see anyone or anything else.

“What is this!?” Rowena demanded shrilly as she looked around herself, mightily confused.

“It appears to be night time, and therefore,…” Arawn observed, looking over in the direction of Rowena’s voice with an unseen smirk on his face. Jinks and the Oni pair chose to remain quiet.

“It’s not supposed to be like this!” Rowena barked back in frustration “It’s supposed to be the middle of the day! I’ve always scried events in daylight, this has never happened before!” she cried, wringing her hands.

“When? When is this supposed to be?” Arawn demanded, as he reached out to grasp her. After a second or two he succeeded, and when he did he discovered that Rowena was shaking violently as his eyes grew used to the darkness.
All around the group for kilometers distant, there was nothing but a blasted plain, with massive half-melted granitic slabs jutting out of the ground, and immense fields of scorch-marks surrounding glowing pools of lava.

“Answer me!” he shouted. Instead, he felt Rowena turn and grasp at him in desperation, her breathing catching in her throat as she began to sob.

“I don’t understand what’s going on! This didn’t happen the last time I scried a future between you and I!”

“What do you mean? You have done this before? When!?”

“Last night!” she began, “Last night I was curious to see what our future together would be like! What I was shown was wondrous!” she cried into his chest.
“You, me, and our kingdom! It was the kingdom that I, no!” she stopped, panting. “That WE,” she emphasized, “had carved out in the swamps south of Cynosure! It ran for leagues upon leagues it did! All of the land from Cynosure down to the Cold-Steppes, it was all OURS!” she wailed in frustration.

“But this!” she exclaimed as she stepped away and spread her arms out to indicate everything around them. “This is NOTHING like what I,…” Rowena stopped, and then her eyes widened considerably, as she stumbled backwards and fell on her ass onto the ground. When she did, she started to point at something in the air and began moving her mouth, but no sound came out.

“What is that!” she screamed finally, pointing up at something high in the star-lit night sky. What Arawn saw up there in the night blackened heavens, chilled him. Even as jaded as he thought he was, nothing could quite prepare him for the sight that was poised above them both.

“The Moon.” He gasped.

‘It has been cracked, pierced by something immense, perhaps an asteroid?’ he thought in despair as he watched this planet’s Moon slowly continue to spread apart in its cataclysmic wreckage.

‘Negative Primus.’ Quintus injected then, ‘The dispersal pattern is consistent with one thing only: We cracked this Moon. We did this again, somehow. (5)’ Quintus whispered ominously.

“The Moon! The MOON!” Rowena cried, blinking her eyes over and over, shaking in her fright. “What has happened to the Moon!?” she demanded. Arawn looked up at the same place that Rowena, Jinks, and the Red Oni guard-pair was staring uncomprehendingly at.

“It tires.” He said simply, as he reached out and pulled the unresisting Rowena to her feet. All the while recalling from an archaic memory the last time he’d beheld such a cursed event.

“Soon it will be so tired, that it will fall back into the Earth. Ultimately all will perish.” He whispered knowingly, his own face paling. Rowena then flung her arms down to her sides, cutting off her scrying spell. The entire tableau then returned to the interior of the R&R Laboratory. With an inarticulate cry she flung herself to her knees, and began to weep.

“No.” she denied. “No, it cannot be!” she whimpered. “This cannot be the future!” she cried, tears starting to fall down her cheeks. “I scried our future together, yesterday! I didn’t foresee this then!” she denied.

“There is no such thing as, the future, Rowena.” Arawn began, gently looking down at her. “There are many futures. If you choose to force me into marriage in the here and now, it will precipitate the future that we have just seen before us.”

“Noooooo!” Rowena screamed in frustrated anger, her cry echoing in the room. “It isn’t fair! I did my research! I investigated you ever since just after you built your Tower!! It was only after you had defied a chamber full of Lilim, that I knew that you were suited to belong to me!” she whined, as she curled her hands into fists, then pushed herself upright.

“There must be something that we can do together to prevent this!” she stated suddenly, as she looked over at him with a light going on in her eyes.

“Work with me on this. Please.” she begged, as she turned her attention to Arawn and reached out beseechingly to him.
He stared at her in mute witness, but he chose to not reach back to her. Rowena looked at him pleadingly for several more seconds with her arms still outstretched, hoping against hope that what she’d seen was a lie. Finally, Arawn shook his head and replied.

“I am sorry Rowena, I am in Cynosure to fulfill a purpose, yes. But, it is one that does not involve you.”  When he finished, her face fell when she comprehended the meaning behind his words.

“So, Mote it be.” She moaned then in her despair. But, even in all of her power of a Majin, she could not deny everything that they both had witnessed. Setting her lips together resolutely, she lifted her head and looked at Arawn longingly.  

“I relent.” She replied hoarsely then, her whole body wilting as she spoke.

“I withdraw my suit.” She finished quietly, as she stood up and presented her hands to the pair of Red Oni guards. As the guards began to lead her away with Jinks in attendance, Arawn chose to speak. Perhaps to give her some form of condolence.

“Rowena!” he spoke, getting her attention. Rowena turned her head to face him and looked back at him miserably. “I am sorr,…” he began, but was interrupted.

“DON’T!” she shouted, her teeth flashing. “Don’t you dare pity me! I will not countenance it!” she growled as she firmly turned herself away from him, then allowed herself to be led away by her arresters.

Jinks looked curiously at Arawn for a moment, and seemed about to ask him something. But instead, she changed her mind. Momentarily, she looked over at the broken door with a thoughtful frown which made her grimace.

“Yokai Basic Arawn?” she asked out of the side of her mouth, not looking at him.

“Yes Lieutenant?”

“I’ll be indisposed for a bit, as I have to take Rowena away to the Stockade. Do you think you’ll be,….” Jinks stopped and thought about it for a second. “Oh never mind, of course you’ll be all right. Now.” She stopped, and thought about it for a second more.
“Instead while I’m gone, inspect the Automaton parts and see if there’s been any damage done, due to your and Rowena’s antics. Also, see what you can do about fixing that door, would you? There’s a good Yokai!” she grinned, as Arawn began to salute; to acknowledge that he’d heard her orders correctly.

“Yes Lieutenant.” He replied as evenly he could.

“Oh, and Arawn?” Jinks grinned at him as she moved to leave. “After I get back from that, you can give me your ahh,….,” Jinks hesitated and looked at him full on. ‘Oral’ report” she said while licking her lips, “on what happened between you and Rowena while I was away.” Jinks smiled saucily. 

“I look forward to the opportunity.” Quintus replied in a cheerful tone. Jinks smacked her lips in anticipation, as she motioned to have the Oni guards take the now thoroughly subdued Rowena away.

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Firstly, after he had meditated enough to calm himself down from the recent events; Arawn insured that the main door to the Research and Recovery office was secure. Whereupon, he went about locating and then scheduling a Mason to come in and repair the now rather thoroughly pounded inner door. 

The CQ in charge of the building, wasn’t particularly happy with him when he explained why he had showed up on her doorstep.

“I see that you’ve not been taken yet!” she growled deeply. “Was it necessary for you two to damage my building so!?” The Anubis CQ demanded peevishly, as she lay her ears flat back onto her head. Arawn opened his mouth to reply, but was interrupted.

“OH NEVER MIND!” she complained, her black tail held stiffly out behind her, as she stood up from her desk.
“Just get out of my sight for now, you thrice-bedamned bachelor!” she snarled, with more than a few teeth showing.

After he had returned to the R&R’s laboratories, he then began to assess the Automaton components for any damage, that might have been inflicted in his and Rowena’s Mana-conflagration.

‘Quintus? Do you detect anything amiss? (1)’ he asked as he stared unhappily at the now massive number of piles of thoroughly mixed parts. Parts that were now all askew.

‘Other than the fact that our previous organization efforts are now a total shamble?’ Quintus growled for a second, causing Primus to clench his lips. ‘Nn–. Wait!’ he hesitated. ‘Yes I do detect something amiss. Standby (5)’. He finished with a pregnant pause. Arawn/Primus waited as patiently as he could for several minutes, until finally…

‘Confirmed!’ Quintus replied nervously. ‘It appears that between our Mana discharges, coupled with Rowena’s rope-weapon discharges, we have managed to somehow charge up a number of Automaton components. (5)’

‘What?! (1)’ Arawn demanded, surprised. Quintus sighed with frustration.

‘It appears that, despite the antiquity and the ferocity of that ancient battle between the Chthon and the Automatons, some of the Automaton components were still intact enough to absorb Mana. Potentially, they could initiate their own self-repair routines. In short, I estimate that if we do not intervene in a timely manner, we might very well end up with one, maybe two, Automatons repairing themselves into full operation. (5)’. Quintus reported.

‘Can you drain them of their Mana? (1)’ Arawn asked.

‘Yes, but I doubt that I will be given sufficient time to do so. (5)’

‘Why is that? (1)’

‘Because Lieutenant Jinks has returned, and judging by the amount of sex-pheromones she is currently emitting, she will not be inclined to allow us to conduct a proper inspection. Well, an inspection of anyone other than herself that is! (5)’ Quintus quipped, which made Arawn look over his shoulder nervously.

“There you are!” Jinks yelled triumphantly as he finished turning around. “I realized on my way over to the Stockade, that I’m really much hungrier for your Essence, than what I thought.” Jinks grinned as she embraced him, her cat-like ears twitching with her desire. Arawn put his hands on her shoulders in an effort to forestall her. Which soon became problematic when she started to grind her crotch up and down on his thigh.

“Uhhm, Jinks, is this really a good idea?” Arawn asked nervously, trying to fend both her and Quintus’ desire to take control, off at the same time.

‘Of course it is! (5)’ Quintus griped, mentally frowning.

“Of course it is!” Jinks griped with a frown, as she continued to rub herself on him, while simultaneously attempting to shove him against a wall. “You’re freed of having to deal with the Hunt for today! Since Corporal Tia will be mentoring you at her apartment tonight, I’ll need to insure that my needs are met right now!” she purred deliciously, as her hands made their way under his kilt once more.

“Uhmmm, there’s no clear spots for us to engage in coitus, other than the floor.” Arawn pointed out weakly to her. Jinks stopped short when he said that, then looked around to double check his assessment.

“So there isn’t.” she admitted, after craning her head around for several seconds. Setting her mouth firmly, she stomped her way over to the nearest table and grabbed it by its rim with both hands. Setting her feet underneath her, she then lifted that parts-laden table and tilted it just so. With a number of small crashings, every part on that table hit and bounced upon the floor noisily. Jinks then set the now-empty table back down with a loud slam, then turned back to Arawn with a resolute smile on her face.

“Come here, you!” she ordered, waving her hand up and down in a Zipangese ‘come hither motion. With a smile, Arawn/Quintus obeyed.

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“Are you sure that you wish to do it this way? It does not appear to be safe.” Arawn/Quintus asked, surprised at Jinks’ sexual ingenuity.

“Of course I do, I wouldn’t have suggested it if I hadn’t done it before!” Jinks smiled/frowned at him then. It was hard for Arawn to be sure if she was either smiling, or frowning at him in that moment. That was because she was lying on her back, on the now cleared table top, with her head hanging over the edge before him. From his perspective if she smiled, the corners of her mouth curved down in relation.

Watching him, she then licked/smacked her lips invitingly. Arawn felt his already stiffened manhood, stiffen even further with the unspoken promise she’d made. He then tilted his kilt and swiftly removed his small-clothes.

“Aaah”, she sighed in eager anticipation as the glans of his penis neared her moistened lips. Arawn felt a small thrill as he felt the heat of her breath warm his penis, ever so slightly. Cautiously he leaned over, just enough for her to tilt her head forward and take ahold of his penis end with her lips.

When she had, he could feel a minute amount of his blood forced into his glans as she began to suckle him invitingly into her mouth. Yielding control, Arawn/Quintus felt himself quickly drawn into the depths of her mouth, feeling the inherently natural pleasure of having his manhood be engulfed by her warm, inviting oral folds once more.

But, unlike their previous night’s oral sex configuration, wherein her tongue was on the ventral side of his glans in the optimal ‘pleasure-spot’. This time, her tongue played along the dorsal side of his shaft, far from that ‘spot’. Yet, her tongue still somehow managed to elicit a series of pleasurable sparklings along his length, the deeper he plunged into her.

Slowly, he allowed himself to penetrate her oral cavity to the extent that she had allowed the previous night, and no further. Even in the lust of the moment, Arawn was gentlemanly enough to be mindful of not damaging her unduly.

Holding himself there in her depths for a moment, he allowed himself to become at one with the immensity of the sensation of his penis engulfed and massaged/suckled by her undulating throat.

‘What is this position called again? (1)’ Arawn/Primus asked distantly.

‘I believe that she referred to it as: Skull-fucking. (5)’

‘A rather apt description. (1)’ Arawn/Primus mentally grinned.

Finally, after several seconds, his pleasure increased once more as he began to withdraw in preparation for another plunging. Yet, for some reason he noticed something odd about her behavior.

‘What is she doing? (1)’ Arawn/Primus asked dreamily, over Jinks’ pleasured moans and humming.

‘It appears that she is suckling harder, it is almost as if she does not wish for us to withdraw. How odd. (5)’ Arawn/Quintus replied as he reversed his course and slowly began to plunge into Jinks’ mouth once more.

This time, when he began to slow near the apex of his previous penetration, Jinks reacted differently. Where before, she had meekly allowed Arawn to retreat, this time she reached out with both of her hands and slapped them onto his buttocks. Clenching him tightly, she then hugged his hips closer and closer to her. This had the effect of her maintaining control of how far he penetrated her mouth and throat.

Deeper and deeper he managed to probe, far beyond what he’d previously thought possible, until at the end, his staff’s base reached and then pinched her lips up against her teeth. Even then, she still suckled and rolled her tongue against him, seemingly trying to get him to penetrate her still further.

“Jinks.” Arawn gasped. But he couldn’t continue, how could he? Even as deep as he was then, thinking became nigh on impossible. In response, Jinks redoubled her suckling.

Arawn’s eyes went round in surprise, when Jinks’ efforts were paid off as he felt his scrotum begin to be drawn in after his penis’ base.

“What?!” he half shouted at the last, wincing mightily as the entirety of his scrotum and its contents, were suddenly suctioned into Jinks eagerly inviting mouth.
It took every ounce of his control to keep from ejaculating in that eternal moment. Slowly, dimly, he became aware of her heart beating close to the glans of his penis. he realized that he was that deep, and that strange sensation was just enough to throw him over the edge of control!

“AAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!” Arawn and his not-brothers spasmingly screamed, echoing into the emptiness of the R&R’s laboratory rooms. He reached out and grabbed Jinks’ legs, so as to press himself still further into Jinks’ body, uncaring if anyone heard him or not. In a deep part of his mind, he slowly became aware that he was shooting off seemingly endless amounts of ejaculate down her esophagus. All of which was readily accepted by her down into her stomach, there to be absorbed and digested and thus become a part of her forever.

Shuddering with the after-shocks of his pleasure, he carefully withdrew himself from Jinks’ mouth. Even then, she was reluctant to let him go. Arawn wasn’t sure if she was frowning or smiling up at him when he finally managed to pull himself fully out, he noticed a small bridge of his ejaculate swaying in tune with his pulse, hanging between his glans and her mouth. Looking down in his momentary weariness, he saw Jinks’ eyes focus on that bridge. With a quick flip of her tongue she lapped it into her mouth, then swallowed.

She then opened her mouth to speak, but before she could, the sound of Corporal Tia’s voice called out from nearby. Both Arawn and Jinks shot their heads around to the source.

“My apologies, you two.” Tia said with pursed lips, facing them both from her position of the now empty door frame with both of her arms crossed.

“But I’m afraid that I have to interrupt, as Arawn and I need to have a highly overdue counseling session.” She frowned mightily, as Arawn began to notice that all of her eyes had taken on an angry reddish tinge.

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After Jinks and Arawn had cleaned themselves up from their ‘nooner’, Arawn reported to Tia as per her instructions. He attempted to explain his behavior concerning his and Jinks improper fraternization, but Corporal Tia waved him off with but a single word.

“LATER!” she hissed while waving a dismissive furry hand, as she positioned herself in front of Arawn and glared at him.

“Yokai Basic Arawn,” she began meaningfully. Arawn’s eyes widened when he heard her say that. His immediate reaction was to swallow, which he did.

“I just got done with a most interesting conversation.” Tia stated in as an even a tone as she could manage. “With Ikiniz.” She paused and leaned forward until her nose was centimeters away from his.
“Remember him? He’s the one you ‘accidentally’ managed to stumble into, at the Prancing Cadaver, several days ago, didn’t you?” she asked, breathing through her mouth. Arawn could feel the hotness of his expirations against him then.

“Well?!” she demanded after several seconds. Arawn found that he could only nod his head once in response. Tia narrowed her foremost eyes at him, as she began to pace herself around him. Arawn remained where he was, standing at full attention.

“Fine.” She replied. “Do you have any idea, what kind of conversation he and I just had?” she asked, but didn’t wait for Arawn to reply.

“A most unusual one. He apologized for his boorish behavior to me, many times over. All in front of his attending friends, there at the Gazebo. Of which, I had no problem with. But then,” Tia spoke as her face darkened, “He begged me to release him from my spell.”

“My spell, Arawn. My spell! Can you imagine him asking me about THAT?” she demanded, quivering with indignation.

“As if I were capable of spell-work somehow. HA!” Tia shot out mirthlessly as she stopped and faced him. “I have to admit that I found myself rather perplexed when he begged,… BEGGED me. He BEGGED me to release him, and at first I had no idea what he was talking about.”

“Then I remembered you Arawn.” Tia inhaled menacingly. “I remember that you seem to be quite capable of an extensive use of magic, in ways that I can’t even conceive of. And then, I remembered that you had somehow managed to ‘accidentally’ stumble into him back there, then.”

“As I recall, I asked you immediately after if you had cast a spell on him. I also remember that you answered to the negative. Isn’t that so?” Tia looked at him again with her side eyes.

“So, I ask you again Arawn,” Tia paused quietly for a moment. “Did you cast a spell on him back then? In direct violation of General Scathach’s Orders concerning civilians and the magics of the Great Maou’s Army?”

Arawn hesitated for several seconds, looking fearfully up at Tia.

“Uh, no. I did not cast a spell on him,…” Arawn answered truthfully. Tia raised a questioning eyebrow at him, waiting for him to continue.

“,…at that time.” He quickly added, shaking nervously. Tia’s eyes flared redder then.

“What. Is That. Supposed, To Mean?” she enunciated forcefully, yet quietly.

‘“It means, Mentor,” Arawn began, “that technically speaking I neither cast a spell, nor did I do so by the time that you had asked.” He tried to explain.

“WHAT?” she growled deeply as she leaned her face towards his. Arawn continued quickly.

“Aaaaah,… technically speaking, uuuhhhh,… what I did cast upon him later that night, is not, uuuhhhh,….. was not a spell.” He stammered, shaking nervously.

“And what ‘Technically’,” she paused, “did you cast on him?” Tia asked, stepping back and crouching herself down as if she were making ready to Pounce. Arawn opened his mouth, but found he couldn’t speak.

After several seconds, Tia reached out and curled her fingers around the lip of his shirt underneath his throat. With a rapid yank, she pulled him forward until their noses touched. Arawn noticed then that Tia had left her mouth open, and that her first pair of venom teeth were extending down beyond the level of her lips.

‘Her teeth are dripping saliva. (2)’ Secundus observed.

‘No, that is not saliva, it is venom. (5) Quintus pointed out. All of his not-brothers gulped then.

“Speak.” She ordered.

“A,….uhhhh, a,…uhhhh,” he began trying not to swallow again. “A,….uhhhh,….curse.” he finished quietly.

“A what?” Tia asked quietly with a blink of her eyes not quite comprehending, as she reached out with her other hand and took ahold of his shirt from the other side near his throat.

“A curse.” Arawn repeated again. All of Tia’s eyes focused themselves on his face.

“YOU CAST A CURSE ON A CIVILIAN!?” Tia yelled resoundingly into his face, enough to make Arawn wince as she tightened her grip on his shirt. Tightening enough to restrict his neck’s blood flow.

‘WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!!!?” She screamed, panting. “ANSWER ME!” She demanded harshly. Harshly enough to raise Arawn’s ire.

“I DID IT IN DEFENSE OF YOU! BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT TEAMMATES DO!” he shouted back, incensed and slightly hurt.

“How do you figure that?!” she demanded, caught off guard.

“Because you are my mentor, and he hurt you badly! I could see your tears, and I could feel your pain because I have been,… where you were then!” he continued vehemently. Vehemently enough to make Tia pause.

“Between my outrage at his boorishness, and your tears that I felt dampen my shirt, I was outraged enough to lash out at him.” He finished. Tia began to reply.

“You lashed out at him methodically. After you had had time to calm down!” she shot back.

“Yes I did. When no one else would step up in your defense!” Arawn admitted. “Why Tia?! Why are you more outraged with the way I treated him, than the way he treated you!? Why your cold double standards?”

“Because you’re older than he, and you should’ve known better!” Tia countered, letting him go.

“I do know enough, to take action when an injustice has been done!”

“Fine, fine, fine!” Tia countered, waving her hands dismissively. “You felt that you were coming in to counter an injustice against me?” she demanded. Arawn nodded.

“Yes. For that, I will not apologize. But, for what I have done to him I will.” Arawn replied contritely. “And make amends if need be.” He added quietly, not looking at her.

“All right.” She continued, lowering her voice and stepping back away from him. “Consider yourself as being on report.” She stated with a glare directed intently towards him.

“I’ll still have to file the report of your actions.” She pursed her lips at the thought of that paperwork she had to do. Growling softly, she moved over to a handy desk, then pulled open one of the drawers and began rummaging around inside it.

“First,” she began with a grimace on her face while she concentrated on the interior of that desk drawer. “Tell me what kind of ‘curse’ you cast on Ikiniz. Damnit, where are those forms?” she growled absentmindedly, her focus not on him. Arawn sighed.

“I cast, a Veni-Vomitus.” He replied simply. Tia froze for a second in her drawer search, and then she tilted her head up to stare at Arawn through half-lidded eyes. She then raised up her hand and flipped it over in an ‘and?’ gesture. Arawn continued.

“Essentially the effects of the Veni-Vomitus are as follows. Every time he will ejaculate, he will also vomit.” He finished quietly. Tia flinched when she heard that.

“WHAT!?” she yelped then, confused and surprised. “Explain!” she barked, leaving her mouth hanging open slightly, as she continued to stare at him in incredulity. Arawn took in a deep breath in preparation.

“What is, or shall I say, has happened. Is that every time Ikiniz has engaged in sexual activity, more than likely with another, his bed-mate will have been rather surprised when he expelled more body-fluids than what they expected him to.” He stopped when he saw Tia gaping at him. He coughed.

“Ahem. That is to say, when a male has reached the point of ejaculation, it has become involuntarily to him.” He began to explain, “He has no control over it. What the Veni-Vomitus curse makes happen, is that when a male involuntarily ejaculates, he will also involuntarily vomit.” Arawn paused and thought about it for a second. “A lot.” He added. Tia found herself staring back at Arawn for several seconds, not quite believing her ears. Finally, she blinked.

“So what happens to his bed-mate?” she asked, curious. Starting to like what she heard.

“I would imagine that she or he, as the case may be, will find their post coital afterglow to be spoiled by the sudden appearance of Ikiniz’s vomitus, all over themselves.

“How much vomit?” Tia asked, hollowly. Still curious, she noticed that her righteous anger was starting to dissipate.

“As I recall from memory, it would be best described as: Projectile Vomiting. In effect, a massive amount. Largely, the vomitus-bolus is whatever meal Ikiniz will have consumed last.” Tia hesitated for several seconds with a thoughtful expression, as she began to mull over the information. Finally,…

“What if he say,…I don’t know, refuses to eat anything for a while prior?” Tia speculated.

“The human body is capable of producing a surprising amount of watery-white frothy mucus, for just that eventuality.” Arawn replied. Tia sat back and blew out her breath.

“And that’s it?” she asked, looking at Arawn, “Nothing more?”

“Well no.” he admitted. “For that is just the first stage of the curse.” Tia tilted her head and nodded at him to continue.

“Stage two, is where Ikiniz has probably found himself unable to gain any more sexual partners easily. By that time, he has probably managed to figure out his limitations, and has taken some steps to accommodate for it. At which point, the curse would outmaneuver his machinations by making him vomit prematurely.’

 “Prematurely?” Tia asked, inhaling deeply, while fighting the smile that threatened to overcome her control. “How so?” she asked, her mouth twitching.

“Well, at that point, Ikiniz will discover that merely opening his mouth to proposition a potential partner, is enough to cause him to vomit upon that person. Also involuntarily, and also in a massive amount.”

‘Snrk!” Tia grunted, pressing her lips together and forcefully closing all of her eyes shut, while quivering slightly. After several seconds, she relaxed and slowly opened her eyes.

“Is that all to it?” Tia asked, not allowing herself to look directly at Arawn, somehow successful at keeping her face passive.

“Negative.” Arawn replied shaking his head. “After that, Ikiniz will discover that even his masturbating alone in private, will not be enough to protect him from the curses’ effects.” Tia giggled involuntarily then.

“I bet THAT, will make quite the impression on his housekeeper!” Tia exclaimed happily, grinning. Then she caught herself and pursed her lips when she realized what she was doing.

“I’m still upset with you Arawn!” Tia angrily pointed a furry finger towards him. “Don’t think that just because I like what you,…” she stopped when she realized what it was she was saying. Licking her lips, she paused to reorder her thoughts.

“Can you lift it?” she demanded in an attempt to divert attention, tapping her fingers on the desk’s surface.

“Yes, I can.” Tia blew out a relieved sigh.

“When?” she asked idly.

“Whensoever you desire. I can return to my apartment immediately, to make haste with such.” Arawn stated as then turned to go.

“Wait!” Tia half-shouted, raising up a forestalling hand. Arawn paused, confused. “Don’t be in such a hurry.” She continued, letting her hand drop with a sigh.

“I think maybe, that we shouldn’t be so hasty in that.” Tia stated, not quite looking at Arawn, lightly clapping her hands together.

“Instead,…ummmm,….” She continued, then smacked her lips once. “Perhaps this is unwise, but I’m thinking that you should probably wait a short while,… before proceeding with that.” She replied, looking over at nothing at the far wall, her hands clenching and unclenching.

“After all, you’re still dealing with the day to day stressors of The Hunt, along with the pressure of Jinks’ ‘orders’.” Tia continued, as she began tapping one finger onto the desk’s surface. Then she looked at him square in the eyes.

“I take it that it’ll be costing you a significant amount of mana to reverse the effects of that curse?” she asked archly.

“Well, not that much actually,…” he began.

“Close enough!” Tia barked, interrupting him. Then she sighed. “I think it would best if we all waited a short while for you to lift Ikiniz’s curse. I’m thinking that, ohhhh,…. another month will be sufficient, don’t you?” she asked. But before he could answer, she spoke once more.

“Good! That’s settled then! Another month!” she not quite smiled, one corner of her mouth trembling..

“Oh, don’t get me wrong Arawn, I’m still very much vexed with you!” Tia’s voice changed to a more menacing one then.
“Don’t you EVER cast any kind of spell against a civilian again, without going through me, first! Do I make myself clear?!” she shouted. Arawn found himself nodding involuntarily.

“Well then.” Tia began, shaking all of her legs up and down one by one. “I think that’s been a productive counseling, don’t you?” she asked turning her head about, looking at nothing in particular, and then she continued without waiting for him to answer.

“I would imagine that you’re probably hungry after your and Jinks’ rather vigorous activities while I was away.” Tia smiled briefly.
“Right! Off you go! Go and get something to eat, I’ll finish up with my paperwork in the here and now.” Tia replied, blowing her furry cheeks out and jerking a dismissive hand at him.

Quietly he turned and left, not wishing to risk anger her anymore, and after having completely forgotten about the Automaton parts charging. As he left, Jinks insisted upon, and received a ready acquiescence, for her to accompany him to the Mess Hall.

Just after he’d shut the door to the Research and Recovery’s offices, he thought he heard a loud guffawing resonating from within. Momentarily, he thought about asking Quintus to doublecheck if he had heard correctly. But he decided that the question was moot. Smiling, he took up his proper walking position alongside Lieutenant Jinks on their way over to the Mess Hall. Soon, he found that he had to fend her off along the way, only a mere half dozen times.

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Unnoticed to all in the following hours, after having had its internal power capacitors recharged, the sole remaining intact Automaton memory core switched itself fully on. Slowly at first, but with an ever increasing rate, it began the arduous task of reinitializing the Jenny-unit’s self-repair mechanisms.

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