Lying back, leaning against the softness of the petal wall, her body slid down as she found herself sinking back into the syrupy pool, exhaustion all too clear on her face. An adamant refusal to intake what was offered to her all around in the roomy bulb. Though the petals of the large flower were closed tight, the inside was bright. The heat was comforting, a huge difference from the strong snow storm outside she could barely remember now. What was the last thing she remembered outside of this place anyways? Where… exactly was she again?
That’s right, she was trapped. Struggling out in the blistering cold of the snow storm was now a distant memory, and in a series of events that were too close, too rapid, she ended up here. She and… Her emerald eyes looked slowly to the left, looking back at the center of the large flower, the lighting within pulsating in and out slowly. A shadow stood, her hips bucked back as her impressive bust leaned into another shadow, her face buried with his own.
Two individuals, one of which was her brother. That’s right, it was all beginning to come back to her now. What happened to them, how they got lost, and how they were trapped by a dangerous alraune. Her eyes lowered, her body sinking into the thick warm pool from exhaustion. As soft as the flower petals were, they were strong, it was impossible to break out, impossible to escape. She lied against the soft wall, watching as the older woman had her way with her younger brother, knowing there was nothing she could do.
Monster Girls, they were described by the Order as being the daughters of the demon lord, the Monster Lord the current ruler was called. Though the actual daughters of said monster lord were beings known as Lilim, their local Order hierarchy in the town of Arbomont, said that all monster girls were as dangerous as the predators of the sea, air and forests.
As of late, Monster Girls had been becoming more of a common sight around the outskirts of the city of Arbomont, and the local Order of their area had quickly been losing funds due to the lack of of local men paying taxes, thanks to monsters taking them away. Arbomont hadn’t been the only town affected by the varying Monster Raids. Though men that were happily married to wives of their own were not touched, many of the men or young boys were without companionship, and open for the monsters to claim as their own husbands. It was safe to say that Arbomont in particular had few young men around, and those young men, if they weren’t working a business, were quickly drafted by the local Order.
That was two years ago…
Brown boots with a white fluff at the opening walked down the streets, purple spats which hugged her legs making their way up to her hips which was covered by the white fluffed ends of her brown jacket. Her emerald eyes looked up energetically as she walked down the street during a cold winter evening. Her silver hair was cut short at the front, but the back of her hair was almost a party, separating into a V-shape just short enough to not be pony tails.
She kept a brisk, but slow pace. A cough sounding behind her, she looked back, making sure that the one who was following her stayed close. Behind her was a similarly dressed, but smaller individual, a boy. His hair was a pale blond color, taking more after his late father than his mother. The boy was smaller than she was, younger by six years, compared to her eighteen, making him her twelve year old brother.
It was her duty to take care of him, she couldn’t really depend on anybody else to. Not mom, not the Order, and certainly not them. She stopped in her steps, turning back towards the younger boy, whose green eyes widened as she crouched down.
“Are you feeling okay? Do you want me to take you back… home, Meshi?” The young woman almost bit her mouth upon saying that word. Home. It almost slithered off of her tongue, such a bitter phrase. The young boy kept his big eyes looking at her own. His chin sank into the large scarf around his neck, and he slowly shook his head from left to right, telling her his answer. “I’m… glad to hear that.” A soft smile came to her face.
The small boy then perked up, a clogged voice coming from him. “I want to stay with you, big sis Kibora.”
As he finished, he began coughing more and more. The older sister, Kibora, quickly took him into her arms as he began coughing more and more. Her eyes lowered solemnly, another coughing fit. How much longer must he endure this? A retched sickness he had been born with. She hugged him close, the streets nearly empty, the few people who were walking passing the two by, merely glancing before focusing on their own business.
Kibora closed her eyes, hugging her brother tighter until it seemed as if his coughing was starting to subside. She hoped that maybe before they left town, they could stop by the local shop and buy some honey. The place she had in mind was always a good store, and their honey was the best, surely it would soothe the poor throat of her sickly brother.
After making sure he was okay, and able to walk, she patted him on the head, and once more lead the way, Meshi keeping a close pace behind her. Leaving town, on a cold winter night, it was a stupid decision, especially for Meshi, but what other choice did she have? It was either brave the wilderness, or endure that sick man that took over her home.
Their home life, it wasn’t what one could call a peaceful one. It was either silent or there was yelling all the time. All the time. After their father had died, their lives only slowly got worse and worse. Mother had fallen into a depression, and the rest was history after that. Before long, she had exhausted all their father’s hard earned savings into drinking and feeling sorry for herself, until she met him one day at their local tavern.
A glass was slammed into the wall, causing it to break, Kibora wincing as she watched the pieces scatter. An angry voice yelled back to her. “That ain’t my fucking beer, you damned brat!” The well built man slammed his fist down the desk next to him, looking at her strongly. “You’re pretty, but you ain’t too bright, I said to get the Radiant Dawn brand, not that cheap Veil shit.”
“Veil is the only brand that is sold in any of the stores now, Danny,” Kibora said back to him. Each time he looked at her, he yelled at her, it upset her, and it scared her. She couldn’t fathom how her mother “fell in love” with such a motor head.
SMACK! The sting of a red palm burning against her face, the pop resounding across the dark living room. Kibora stepped back, her head looking towards the floor as her emerald eyes looked back at the man who stared back at her. Danny’s hand was extended outward. He narrowed his eyes at her. “You done burned my food again, you little shit.” His voice was rough, gross… bitter. “Go do it again, and this time do it right.”
Kibora’s eyes looked over to a young woman who looked to be in her mid to late thirties, the woman’s red eyes looking over at her, almost condescending. “Do what Danny says, sweetie. He’s the one who pays the bills, and keeps a roof over our head.”
The young, silver haired woman looked away, only nodding slightly. “Yes… mom.” Kibora turned away, tying back on the apron she had just got finished taking off. As she shuffled her way back into the kitchen, she could hear the sound of a can opening, the smell of beer flooding the living room.
“Hey bitch, give this shit food to the little one over there, he needs to eat; I ain’t eating that garbage.” Danny’s voice echoed.
“Of course honey,” Kibora could hear her mother’s voice answer back. “Meshi, your sister made you dinner…” She couldn’t understand it, how could her mother have “fallen in love” with such a… terrible person.
Kibora’s eyes opened wide, gritting her teeth as she looked towards the wall, feeling herself being entered. She could feel the tears threatening to fall down her face as his hand roughly gripped her bare butt. Her voice let out an agonized huff, taking in what the older, much stronger man, forced into her.
Her head sank as she felt her body move back and forth with each thrust that was forced onto her.
“God damn,” Danny’s voice echoed behind her. “You feel so fucking fine, you know that? Nothing beats a young girl, your mom ain’t worth a shit. That face, this ass, and those rockin’ tits.” Kibora’s eyes closed from the agony that was upon her, feeling his grip tighten around her buttocks. “Now come on, moan for me you little slut.”
She gripped the bed, closing her eyes tightening shut as he did not stop with his thrusts, forcing all he could inside of her. A pop resounded, the man spanking her hard. “Just…” Her voice struggled. “Stop this… please…”
“What was that?” Called Danny’s voice? “What, you want to stop?” The man’s face turned away, looking at the pack of cigarettes that lied on the bed. “Well, if that’s what you want to happen, I guess I can get back to smacking around the little one some more, he could probably use a few licks upside the head, you know what I mean?”
Kibora’s eyes widened, recalling images of his fist going into Meshi’s face and stomach. Her eyes calmed, knowing what she had to do. “Please…” Kibora began, catching Danny’s attention. “Pound… me harder.”
“Now that’s what I like to hear,” smiled the man. “Tell me you want more of Daddy Danny’s Dick. Say it loud and clear as you’re cumming!”
She could feel him take a rough hold of her hair, pulling back as far as he could. It stung, her head stung, and it hurt. So much pain, and one pain did not overshadow the other, they complimented one another and worked with each other in harmony, putting her in as much agony as she could bear at that moment. She couldn’t understand why? She had always asked the great goddess why? Mostly however, she could not understand how her mother could have “fallen in love” with such a… monster.
The couple of brother and sister walked slowly down the dark streets. Even if it was possible for her brother to return home, she however, could not. It would only be a matter of time before her mom and that man woke up, and they’d quickly put together that she had drugged them. She hated Danny, she had thought about taking his life many a time; maybe in the earlier days, she could have, but she certainly didn’t want to be one responsible for ending the life of another, not with them whom have taken the place of the rather ill-funded Order, making the rules in Arbomont.
The two then stopped at a shop which was located on the side of a busy intersection, it was a rather popular place, though small. She knew the shop owner, a rather young boy that was close, if not the same age as her. A small honey shop owned by a boy named Sacchen Alyeiris. Her eyes widened a bit, surprised by how dark it was. Kibora looked around the door, trying to get a peek inside. It was dark out, but not late enough to close up shop for the day. Due to the winter season, the day light disappeared around six or seven.
“Why is it closed?” Kibora asked herself, there was no other place to really get honey, and though the honey was said to be produced by monster girls, these monster girls were tamed and produced excellent quality honey. “What happened?”
A voice then came behind her, a young man looking up at it. “Oh, Alyeiris Honey, yeah, it got shut down a little under a month ago. They say Tsenkara came and shut it down himself.” The young man had dark blue eyes and jet black hair, a small blue shine radiating from the moon’s light. He looked to be in his mid twenties, a brown scarf around his neck, a dark colored coat and matching pants. He looked to be on his way to take care of business of his own.
“No way…” Kibora said, looking back at the shop, almost dumb founded. “The leader of MASK himself came and did it?” A nod came from the young man.
“Yep, if you’re looking for honey, the only way you might be getting it is to go to one of the neighboring towns, or go to the city and shop at one of the MASK stations.”
“No way, I don’t have the money for that…” Kibora said lowly. She looked down, feeling the hand of her brother tightening around her. She looked back at him, then back at the young man, his black eyes looking back her, knowing she had something she wanted to ask him. “Do you… know where the shop keeper went? Sacchen?”
The young man looked up, thinking to himself. “You mean that Alyeiris kid? If he went anywhere, I would think he went back Alcrueastuea. I recall that MASK wants Alraune Nectar, and that’s kind of why they targeted this place, don’t know what they’re going to do with the honey bees they took from here, but knowing those guys, it’s nothing good for the town or it’s people. It’s all hear-say, but you know how the stories about those guys go: they don’t mess around, and whatever stories you hear are most likely true.”
Kibora looked aside, a sad look on her face.
“I heard that Alcrueastuea was abandoned, the scent of the Alraune that inhabit Alcrueastuea Forest just got too strong, and the entire village was condemned.” He looked down at the boy. “You two the Karikisa children?” Kibora nodded. The young man sighed. “Seeing how you have him with you, I’m going to guess you don’t plan on returning home?” Kibora shook her head in response. The young man looked aside, scratching his chin. “Well, I’d love to take you in, but you know they’re going to report the two of you missing, and if MASK finds you both at my place, I’ll be in a world of shit.”
“It’s okay Katoro,” Kibora said lightly. “I understand, besides, it was my plan from the get go to get as far away from this place as possible.”
“Well,” the young man, Katoro, replied. “If you’re looking for somewhere to go, I’d try Alcrueastuea- no, actually, better yet, you’d have much better chances if you were to go through the forest and make your way to the city of Tritia. It’s a place not under MASK influence, it’s pretty far, but with how far and wide Alcrueastuea Forest is, MASK will never bother to look for you there when you’re reported missing. I have a friend that can front the two of you until something more stable can be figured out.”
Kibora’s eyes lit up. “Wow, really? You’d do that for us?”
Katoro shrugged. “I was good friends with your dad, and he told me that one day his children might need my help. I owed him a favor, and I told him that come that day, I’d be there for you.” He looked back. “In fact, I can help the two of you out in more than just one way. I may have just left my own home on, well… business, but I don’t mind going back, not if it means helping you both out.”
“Thank you!” Kibora said lightly, bowing before the man. “Thank you thank you.” Katoro could only wave his hands slowly.
“It’s no problem at all. Come on.”
At the house of Katoro, the two children sat at the table, watching as he shoved food stuff after food stuff into a thick bag. Sitting beside him were two more bags, one larger than the other. Her attention looked down at them, knowing he had prepared them some necessities for the trip. “I know it isn’t much,” started his voice, dragging her attention back. “But I want to do as much as I can. There’s quite a bit of stuff I can just re-buy, but after putting that idea in your head, I do feel somewhat responsible…” He groaned as he put the last of some snacking items inside the bag.
“It’s not much for food, but people your age live off of sugary and salty stuff anyways, a couple of days without a proper meal won’t hurt you too much as long as you got something to snack on.” He handed her the food bag. Kibora reached out and took a hold, looking down at it. “My kids can live without some snacks for a couple days. I prepared the two of you some sleeping bags in these packs right here, the bigger one is for you, Kibora.” He looked solemnly at her. “I still got a quick call to make to my friend, and I’ll take you as far as the condemned village, but after that, I got to get back focusing on my own family.”
“I understand,” Kibora said. “Anything is better than what we were living in up until now. You’ve already done so much.”
“No,” Katoro said. “I’m just… repaying an old debt, from one friend to another. You sure you want to do this? Once you do this, there’s no turning back.”
As he finished his sentence, he could see that the young woman had already placed the bag around her back. “I’m already past the point of no return.”
A sigh came from Katoro. “I see, alright then, I’m going to call my friend, just give me a minute.”
Kibora nodded, watching as he picked up the phone which was upon the kitchen wall. She looked back at her brother, who sat down beside her, eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She smiled softly at him. Placing a hand upon his head, he stopped his munching and looked up at her. “Are you ready to go back out into the cold?”
Her brother looked at her, his mouth open as he seemed to be breathing through it. Lowering his head, he nodded.
“That’s good, no matter what happens, Meshi, I want you to stay close to sister. Understand me?” The boy again nodded in response, this time faster than the first question. “Good boy.” She then turned and looked back at Katoro, who appeared to be having a positive response.
The sound of him hanging up the phone chimed, and he looked at the two siblings. “Alright, it’s all set. Let’s go. Remember, I’ll accompany you to Alcrueastuea, but after that, you’re on your own.”
The sky of the winter night was dark, and the path to the village was a long one, long enough to keep a man out for almost an hour. Kibora was worried, the drugs she used on her mom and that man were strong, strong enough to keep them sleeping until late in the night, but if any of Danny’s friends were to get the idea to drop by, then that would quickly end. Still though, they were far enough way to hopefully get out of MASK territory. Not that Danny was part of MASK, thankfully enough, they would still search for the children out of an obligation to the more better funded sects of The Order. Once they were out of MASK territory though, they were no longer the so-called “mercenary group’s” problem.
“There it is,” Katoro said, pulling Kibora out of her thoughts. “Alcrueastuea, the condemned village.” As the three looked down the hill, it was easy to see, even in the darkness of the night, thanks to the shine of the bright moon, the village was in disrepair, the forest working to take it back.
Kibora sniffed the air, even though it was winter, the sweet fragrance of the Alraune was as powerful as the spring.
“Even during the Winter, the Alraune of this forest don’t seem to sleep. Though it’s not as potent as during the spring, the Alraune are still frightening monsters, don’t get close to them, and do not approach any flowers, especially large ones. Mandragora, wild bees, grizlees, all sorts of dangerous monsters are in that forest, and they would all have their eyes on your kid brother.” Kibora nodded slowly.
“Thankfully however, it’s Winter, so most of the monsters in that forest will be inactive. Bees will be working in their hive all season long, sleeping; grizlees will be hibernating; mandragora will not respond to stimuli unless you uproot them; arachne will be resting in their dens; and the alraune will have their bulbs closed. Of course,” Katoro looked back at the two. “You disturb them and make yourselves known, they’ll wake up, they’ll look for you, and they’ll get you.” Kibora again nodded slowly, taking in his words of warning.
“Remember, the alraune of this forest are much more potent than most other places, there are reasons why not even MASK’s landscapers will come out here. You get close to any of those flowers, and the fragrance they emit will be as powerful as a normal alraune’s when they’re wide open, so be careful. You smell something exceptionally sweet, you don’t go that direction.” He tapped at his nose. “Use this, it will be your greatest tool when you’re in there. And lastly, don’t forget your compass, it will tell you which way you’re going.”
He reached into his pocket, pulling out a thick and heavy tool, placing it in Kibora’s hands. “Sometimes you’re going to have to go directions that are not East, and it’ll be easy to get lost. The red dial on this, it will always point to the north, take your time when figuring out which way to go-”
“I know,” interrupted Kibora. Katoro looked at her, concern on his face. “Thanks for everything, but I think you need to get back home, your wife will worry.”
A sigh came from him, and he nodded in agreement. “Alright, it’s all you from here on out, I can confidently say that I have fulfilled the promise I made to your father; I can only hope you make it to my friend on time. Her name is Sherry Wilcomb, and she’ll be waiting for you at the super market on the second day, and every day after that for three or so days. If you don’t show up there in five days…”
“I know,” Kibora replied, looking back at the forest. “But if going through this place means my brother and I will be free of… everything. Then I think it’s worth it.” She looked back at him. “Good bye, Katoro.”
He waved at her. “Take care, there’s a flash light in your bag, I suggest you use it.” The man turned away, departing from the sister and brother.
Kibora looked aside, and knelt down, placing the smaller of the bags upon the cold ground.
The word ‘sis’ came from the mouth of the one beside her, causing Kibora to stop her rattling in the bag to look at him. Meshi stared back at her, to which she smiled back. Looking back at the bag, she began once more digging through it. Sure enough, there was a flash light. Pulling it out, she pushed the button, and it came on bright.
Pointing the device at her brother, she checked to make sure he was nicely wrapped; nightfall was only getting more intense, and it was getting darker. Looking up, she could see clouds rolling in the sky, one large enough to disappear past the light of the moon. A small wind could be felt, and seeing they were close to forest, she could only assume that the trees were blocking most of its force. A storm.
There was no turning back either way, within hours her mother and that monster would awaken. It was now or never. She looked over at Meshi, who stared back at her with his wide, green eyes. Holding a hand out, she ushered him to take it.
“Stay with sis, she’ll protect you, okay? I won’t let any of the monsters of the forest get you. Don’t you worry.” Kibora smiled softly at him. “I’ll make sure you’re okay.”
Three days. Three days out here, when he needed to be inside where it was stable. His body was so weak, she was certain she’d have to carry him at some point. If need be, she’d abandon her own sleeping back in exchange for carrying her brother, his bag and their food. She’s been through worse. She’s endured worse.
The two took each others hands, and walked down the hill, approaching the desolate village. Kibora kept a pace that was fast, but just slow enough so that Meshi could comfortably walk through the snow that was beneath them. One foot after the other sank into the cold white. Personally, she hated snow. It was not fluffy and fun like all the cartoons of the morning made it out to be, it was messy, it froze and got everywhere, and it always made life hard. And now a snow storm was coming. It was almost as if fate itself was against them.
No no, Kibora, don’t think like that! That’s what she told herself, things like this always happen, she’s sure there were plenty of other people that were traveling around the same time she was, and all of those people too are inconvenienced by a snow storm. Still though, how many people were walking through a forest filled with monsters at this time?
The pair shuffled past the ruined houses one at a time. Each house had its own front yard and space, and outside of the wear and tear, looked to have been well built. Evidence of large alvearies, or bee houses, were plain to see under the snow, the large nine-by-nine meter foundations of such hives distinguished by the difference in height from the ground, and most notably, the raised square.
Her eyes then looked up to the forest ahead of them, she could smell such a sweet, alluring fragrance. Right away she felt as if her head would go fuzzy. Realizing what was happening, she shook her head from the left to the right, and popped her face. Hearing the commotion, Meshi looked up at her in wonder.
Feeling his eyes, the girl looked back at him. “It’s okay Mesh, I’m just, uhh…” She put her focus back on the forest before quickly double taking back to him. “I’m getting myself fired up! Yeah! Let’s go, come on Meshi, cheer with me. One, two, victory! One, two, victory!”
The younger brother watched her movements, before he began raising his hands and repeating after her. “One two wictory!” He then waved his mitten covered hands, keeping a cheerful gaze at his sis. Kibora stopped her movements, and placed a hand atop his head.
“Breath through your mouth, okay? Don’t sniff the air.” Meshi could be seen nodding to her affirmation. Kibora looked back ahead of them, once more staring down the forest. Alcrueastuea Forest, the wood known for how powerful its alraune are, alraune whose fragrance and ability to emit such scents are so powerful, they’re even known to break their closed up bulbs, and emit from the forest. Scents so powerful, that an entire village had to be evacuated, the lives of many bee keepers ruined.
Now that she thought about it, she could recall an experiment being performed on this village, an experiment where the children that were born here were to be exposed to the air and scents of the alraune of the forest, to get them used to it… perhaps immune to it. She wondered, since this place was under MASK jurisdiction, was it the Order that put together such a stunt, or was it MASK’s doing?
Regardless if the experiment was a thing or not, it didn’t change the fact this place was abandoned because of the alraune, and she was about to march through a forest that was full of them. Realizing the task before her, she lifted her foot, and planted it deep into the snow, taking the first step inside the dark foreboding forest.
The cold was intense, snow slowly falling through the thick canopy above. Kibora pushed on, they had been walking for quite a while now. Although she told her brother to breathe through his mouth, she wondered if maybe she should have taken the same advice. Her nose was runny, face freezing from the cold. Wrapping her face more in the scarfs that were provided for her, she looked to see if her brother was okay.
He was bundled up as best as could be, only his eyes and the top of his nose could be seen underneath the scarfs and snow hat on top of his head. She could tell he was miserable though. How could he not be, she was certainly miserable. Perhaps, maybe it was best they go back.
“Hey, M-m-m-… Meshi,” Kibora’s teeth chattered. “Are you… o-okay?”
Though her brother was clearly shivering, he nodded. “As long as… I’m with sis.” He could be seen burying his face into his head into the scarfs. “I’ll be okay.”
Whatever the case was, his body was smaller, so the thicker clothes were having a better effect on him, and his small body generated as much heat as her own did, so he’d be fine. She just had to make sure he stayed close. The storm will be getting worse, but right now the snow fall was manageable.
Though her nose was runny, snot running down her face, such an unsightly image, she could still smell just fine. The scent of the alraune in the forest overpowered the snow storm, even though it snowed, even though her nose ran, all she could smell was that scent. That sweet, pungent, syrupy scent. Her head was again feeling fuzzy- no, it’s been felt that way. Ever since she took in the first whiff. She had no choice though, she had to keep a close watch on how strong the fragrance was, the stronger it got, the closer she was getting to an alraune. That meant with every ten steps they took, she had to take in a good whiff.
Feeling an itch in her nose, she doubled back, and sneezed hard. After the motion, she immediately felt her arm being tugged. “Kibora, Kibora!” called her brother. “You’re getting sick, you’re sneezing. Here.” He began to take off the scarf around his neck until she held her hand out.
“No,” she said, causing the boy to stop. “No, you keep it. You need it more than I do.”
“But sis,” Meshi continued. “If you get sick, how are we going to get anywhere?”
She then lifted her arm and wiped her nose with the sleeve. “If I get sick, I’m going to be inconvenienced, but I won’t be going down. A runny nose and a cough will not do me in, I refuse. If I didn’t lose to that man, I won’t lose to this storm.”
Meshi watched as Kibora got back on her feet and once more made way. “But a storm is more powerful than a man…” He said lowly to himself. He then quickly caught up with her, remembering that what she told him was important. He knew that if he didn’t keep up, he’d get lost. Though she meant well, he could see his sister had a lot to keep track of, and she probably wouldn’t notice if he was left behind or not. So in order to make things easier on her, he had to do his best to keep up.
It had been a little while now, she didn’t really know how long it had been, but they had been walking for a while. She peeked back to see that Meshi was enjoying a spicy meat stick; though she had told him it will only make his mouth uncomfortable, he insisted on eating it. Unlike her, he probably took to spices better. Kibora wiped off her nose once more, taking to sniffing the air. The scent was thick, stronger than before.
Though she wanted to try different paths, each direction lead to a stronger scent than the last. Probably just because the two were getting deeper and deeper into the forest, so the fragrance would immediately get strong. Even though the snow storm whistled high above, one would not be able to miss the howls of passion that would fill the night air, monsters crying out to the moon in what she knew was their time of naughty deeds.
Luckily, her brother would mistaken those howls as the sounds of a beast looking for its meal; she could quickly assure him however that such beasts slept through the winter, they would not be eaten. All they had to make sure they did was make it through the forest. She looked down at her compass, seeing the needle pointing to her left. At least she knew they were still going the right way.
Another sneeze escaped out of her mouth, causing the girl to recoil. Wiping her nose once more, she looked back down. The scent, she could not get that scent out of her nose. The forest was just thick of it, perhaps after several hours of walking, they were now in the middle of many alraune at least.
Closing the compass, she pointed the flash light ahead, and continued. She looked back at her brother, to see he was smiling softly. She knew why, the boy had been sniffing in the scents, the fragrance of alraune was like a powerful aphrodisiac, and incited adrenaline rushes. Though she was aware that it was only truly potent when one would take in the nectar that they produced. In any case, it didn’t stop it from being cold.
She then saw a clearing come ahead, no more trees. Narrowing her eyes, she could see there was no more dirt, or at that, no more ground. “Meshi, stay put. I need to see something.” Hearing a peep of acknowledgment, Kibora walked up to the clearing. Her eyes widened, seeing that she was now standing at the edge of a sheer, steep cliff.
Shining the flash light about, it was a long trip down, and an incline that went deeper into the walling, meaning there was absolutely no way to climb down… or up if needed. Shining the light to the right, the cliff went on for some way. Shining it to the left though, she could see that there was a sloping incline not too far. Though the canopy was thick, it was close enough for the light to illuminate and close enough to make out that the trees seemed share a similar height.
From this though, she was able to get a clear view as how how powerful the snow storm was. The forest thankfully seemed to be on their side, in that it protected them from a majority of the storm. Time was of the essence, they had to find a place to set up a small camp, and call it a night.
“Hey, Meshi, we’re going to take a detour,” Kibora looked over at the sloped forest incline. “There’s a cliff ahead, and we aren’t going to climb down. Luckily, there’s a way to walk down not too far. After we get to the bottom of this thing, we’ll set up camp and go to sleep, okay?”
Meshi looked up at her, seeing her struggling to smile at him. She was trying so hard to make sure that he could have confidence in her. Although she struggled, he knew that smile was genuine. He nodded at her. “Yes… s-sis…”
A bag was placed against a thick tree, followed by a sleeping bag. Meshi laid out his bag, looking back at his sister to see her huddled against it, holding herself as best she could. He couldn’t blame her, he was cold too, freezing. She hadn’t had a chance to eat anything, but with it as cold as it was, she insisted she wasn’t hungry. It was because she’d rather stay warm and snuggled up, not in the cold digging into a bag of chips or peanuts.
He crawled into his own bag, huddling into himself, getting close to his sister. He hoped she’d be okay; she was working hard, for their sake. Perhaps more so for her own. Actually, he believed he would be more happy if she said she was leaving because she would be happier if she were away from that house. He always watched how that awful man treated her, always slapping her and calling her names. More often than not, she always had some kind of bruise on her, and sometimes she’d smell really bad. A smell that would not go away even after a shower.
He was glad they were out of that place, his sister had to do something to make a better life for herself. Him on the other hand, he couldn’t do anything for her. If anything, he probably gave her more reason to leave. Still, if anything, she probably might have had an easier time leaving if he wasn’t around. He wondered if she was even glad he was with her. Looking at her, he could see she was shivering.
“Sis…” Meshi called out lightly. Her eyes opened slowly, looking his direction. “Are you okay?”
A sniffle came from her. “I… I-don’t know… I’m cold…” She could be seen hugging herself more. “I shouldn’t have-” another sniffle. “I should not have brought you out here… this was a bad idea…”
“No, sis-” Interruption. Coughing, he was coughing again. A yelp of concern came from the older girl, looking at him in worry. He could feel the hacking subside, allowing the boy the relax. His eyes looked softly at her. In a way, he wished he wasn’t out here either but… “I’m glad we’re here, I’m happy you are away from that mean guy mommy brought home, and-”
“This was so stupid,” Kibora said lowly to herself. “We’re going to- to… freeze… out here, and you don’t have your medicine.” She sank further into her bag. “It’s only the first night, and we have at least two more days out here… I’m so sorry I brought you out here…”
“Sis, sis. Look, I’m warm. See?” Meshi snuggled deeper into his bag. “You just need rest, it’s this stupid snow storm.” He looked around himself, seeing the food bag sitting nearby. Looking back at her, he looked at her own bag. “Didn’t that nice guy pack you stuff?”
“K… Kind of. I don’t know-”
She was cold, way too cold. She needed his help, pulling himself out of the sleeping bag, his comfortably warm and snug sleeping bag’s absence reminded him of the coldness of the snow storm. He walked around his sister. It wasn’t cold enough to send him back into the bag immediately, but endurance would only get one so far. He looked around inside her pack, his mittens not helping in allowing him to grab things. Seeing some cloth, he pulled it out, quickly putting it over his sister.
Kibora could be heard gasping in surprise, in which he reached back into the bag and pulled out another, as well as a backup scarf, this one larger than the other. Was expecting it to be cold, but they didn’t initially dress for a snow storm. Pulling out whatever he could, he quickly situated himself back to his sleeping bag, quickly being reminded of the warmth his new bed provided. Getting nice and snug once more, he pulled his thick toque down over his forehead more so, almost covering his eyes. He could feel his sister’s body next to him calming down, the shivering now stopping.
That was a plus, her stopping her shivering meant she was now starting to warm up. Now all they needed to do was find a way to rest. Going to sleep would probably be the best thing, they were warming up, and as long as they stayed buried in their sleeping bags and blankets, they’d be okay. No beasts, no monsters, no danger. He was tired anyways, and he guessed it was well past his bed time.
Their situation wasn’t favorable, it was cold, and the ground was hard underneath the sleeping bag, making it uncomfortable. But… His eyes glanced over to his sister, hearing her breath, listening to her now sleeping. He was glad she was safe, and away from the home. He was glad he was with her, she’s doing all she can to protect him and take care of him, until he was old enough to take care of himself. Now, the best thing he could do for himself right now, was to get some rest as well.
He closed his eyes, and got himself as comfortable as the situation would allow. His nose ran due to the cold, but at least it smelled nice. Hmm… The air smelled very nice tonight…
Wind… a howl of the wind. Almost a somewhat stinging sensation- Her eyes popped open. Again, the cold. Did she fall asleep? No! She fell asleep! She couldn’t remember anything from the past several minutes. How long was she asleep? Was she still alive-
Wait, of course she was alive… she was panicking. Yes, she was definitely alive. She reached up, pulling down at the blankets that were over her head, hearing the distinct howl of the snow storm. Snow fall, darkness and snowfall was all she could see. Unlike she last remembered, the storm was now fast, snow zipping past her face. She only now realized how cold she was, feeling herself shiver.
Kibora tried as she could to move, finding the foot and butt area of her sleeping bag drenched, covered in the snow. As she moved, she fell over, shivering all the while. Her head looked about, searching for any way to get warm. She felt a wetness moving down her cheeks, realizing that she was silently crying.
“M-m-m-m-m-Meshi..! W-w-wake up-!” She struggled out. Looking to where she was lying, she realized she was actually lying on Meshi’s sleeping bag. Her eyes widened. No, he couldn’t have!
Pulling herself out of the damp bag, she reached over, touching and prodding his sleeping space. It felt damp, cold, and empty. No Meshi. No Meshi? Her eyes shrunk. No Meshi! “Meshi..?” She looked around, seeing nothing but the cold. “… Meshi..!” She struggled out.
No, she could not sit here, she had to find him. He was out here in this cold, wandering around, there was no way he could have gotten far. Why did he just get up and leave? Without telling her, without waking her up?!
Pulling herself together, she looked around, wondering which direction he would go. She smelled the air, a strong, pierce fragrance, her face dropped and her eyes widened, almost as if under the influence of a powerful drug or hallucinogen. Almost as if guiding her, she found herself shuffling her way into the aimless dark, locked under the control of a powerful, intoxicating aroma.
“Meh… shi…” Her voice struggled out. Her eyes shivered as she looked on aimlessly, feeling her body move on its own. She wanted to find her brother, but… the fragrance, it was strong. How long had this pollen been in the air, and how long had she and her brother been breathing it in. No wonder it took over her mind, she must have been breathing in the pollen, even with the blankets and the scarfs, the whole time she was asleep. That meant her brother was breathing it in too.
This whole time they’ve been out here, they’ve been breathing in the aroma of the alraune in this forest, and now, she was under the plant’s spell.
Must… look… Her feet moved on their own, going a direction she did not know.
Must look… for… Her eyes did not gaze away from the unrelenting dark behind the snow storm.
Look for… Meshi… Her body moved against her will, she did not have any control.
A hopelessness fell upon her face. She was not going to be able to find her brother. Her body shivered, she was cold, she was sick. They both were, and now she was under the spell of a powerful alraune. If this happened to her, a girl, surely the same thing happened to Meshi. She only hoped that if the same thing happened to him, he didn’t pass out before getting to the monster, and that he was under the spell of the same one that had ensnared her.
Her feet shuffled, carrying her forward. She willed it not, but could not stop herself. She was cold, but her body cared not for the unrelenting assault of the snow storm. She wanted to search for her brother, but no matter how badly she wished for the freedom to do so, she could not. She was ensnared, like a fish to a hook, and now she was being drawn in, bound to a new fate.
She was right. They should never have come out here. Alcrueastuea Forest was a forest known for how powerful its alraune were. Alraune which grew so ripe, so well nurtured that their numbers were vast, and the scent of their entrapping aroma spread even outside of the forest, pouring into nearby settlements like the village of Alcrueastuea. A fragrance so powerful, it forced the denizens of the village to abandon everything, and move out of range of the forest.
The alraunes’ scent was so powerful, not even the MASK landscapers came out here to do their work, or collect alraune nectar which was sought by the hired organization. Now she knew why the owner of Alyeiris Honey did not come home. If he came to this forest, he was never going back to Arbomont. She knew this because both she, and possibly her brother, were going to suffer the same fate.
The cold of the storm was powerful, her hypnotized body slowing down in the wake of the overpowering darkness. Her eyes began to close, her body beginning to shut down. In the shadow of the dark, an orange light began to make itself known, a brilliant well of light whose rays were intense enough to make out the pattern of what emitted it. A somewhat star like pattern she was seeing, such a beautiful light, everything else did not matter.
There was however, one thing that mattered. Finding her brother. She knew what that light was, she knew what it belonged to. It belonged to the flower, it belonged the alraune which had ensnared her. Her feet struggled, the distance she was able to cross quickly being cut as her body finally began to succumb to the power of the storm. Her eyes glazed over, able to make out the shadow of an individual being cast by the powerful orange glow.
No, she could see two. The shadow of what looked to be a woman leaning over the opened petals, large black shadows which would close the moment the monster got what she wanted. Though she felt she was on the verge of losing herself, she could recognize the shadow which was climbing into the flower. It was a small boy. Her eyes widened, her hoarse voice struggling to let out a gasp.
Her body fell over, falling flat into the snow. All she could see was the dark, save for a little bit of snowfall, the right half of her freezing face buried in it. Despair clear to be seen on her features, she could at least take solace in one thing: her brother was safe. Still though, for it all the end like this. The memories of her life flashing before her. Her birthdays, her brother’s birth. Her father smiling at her.
She endured so much to keep him safe, and it was finally her turn for victory. At least it was supposed to be. Was this her victory? To get her brother out and herself as well, only for him to be captured by a monster, and her to die in this cold. Well… at least in way, it was a victory. They got away from Danny. They got away from Arbomont, from MASK. They got away from the constant fear, the struggling and the abuse. They got away from everything. That in and of itself would be a victory. She wondered… would… daddy be proud of her?
Her body lied in the snow, the power of the storm gradually covering over her, the light of the alraune slowly disappearing as the bulb began to close.
Her eyes shot open, tasting a very fruity air in her mouth and nose. Trying to sit up, she saw that she could not. Looking around, she noticed that her movement and senses were highly restricted. She could feel herself shivering. Even though the cold was now gone, her movements were still slurred, and couldn’t really feel up from down. She moved her eye around, the place she was in roomy, but very dark.
Reaching out, she could feel her left arm moving, struggling to do so. A hoarse cry sounded from her mouth, her blurred vision slowly focusing in. She never had eye problems before, but now she couldn’t make out clear shapes or fine details. Maybe it would wear off soon. Looking down, she could see a dark orange light pulsating in and out on the flooring, organic flooring.
She could not move her right arm, finding herself struggling with her right leg as well. Kibora looked down at her arm, finding many vine-like growths around it, pink flowers budding from the vines. She focused down further, unable to make any of the finer details hidden within the warm nectar. Her leg appeared mostly the same, covered in vine-like growths which wrapped around her leg.
Now that she took notice, she could feel her left ankle had been snared, as well as a larger vine growth around her waist. Move… come on… move. She looked back at her arm, it listened not to her demands. She was trapped, ensnared by the dangerous alraune of the forest. This was it, she was being held here as food or even worse, a sacrifice to the monster lord.
Just thinking on this made her once more begin to tear, salty water struggling to find its way down her face. Help. She wanted to say, her mouth simply hung open, the left end of her face barely listening to what she told it to do. Help. She tried once more, still nothing. She closed her mouth as best she could, swallowed. A weird feeling, she felt as if the right side of her body had went numb.
Another detail she now took notice of, each time she blinked, everything went dark, and she could really only feel her left eye closing, not taking much heed to her right. Closing her left eye, nothing came to sight, all darkness. What? Please… no… Kibora reached up with her left hand, touching at her face, no vines she could feel, nothing but her face. A somewhat odd texture than what she was used to.
“Help…” She muttered.
Her voice was coarse, hoarse and dry. The right side of her body would not respond, and the working left half was too weak to do anything.
“Help… me.” She once more muttered, feeling herself break down. “I’m… trapped.”
Once more she tugged and pulled at the thick vine around her waist, as she got her fingers under it, she could feel it tightly against her.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” said another voice, female. “That’s there to keep you from sinking and drowning inside me. I would hate it if that were to happen.” Kibora’s eye closed halfway, pulling her hand out from the vine, giving up. That must have been the voice of the alraune. “Look up, I know you can hear me.”
Her eye looked around, the place such a dark pink. If she listened closely, she could almost still hear the snow beating against the thick petals. Kibora looked back down at the pool, watching the dark orange light which lit up this place dimly blacken back out, complete darkness every ten or so seconds. At its brightest, it was almost as if a bright, yet dull light shined. A lot of what was under the nectar lit up somewhat, but the surface lit up just enough to make out silhouettes and any close by details.
Looking up ahead of her, she could see some bright purple-pink eyes looking down at her. The alraune. Within her arms, she could also make out another shadow, smaller. A boy. Her brother. Struggling to reach out, Kibora did as she could to extend an arm. “M… Meh… shi.”
“Poor thing,” said the alraune. “You need to rest, don’t worry, your brother is safe, he’s just fine. See?” The alraune pulled him away, showing her his shadow. “He’s sleeping right now, I’ll take care of him, I promise. What I’m more worried about is you, though. You must be Kibora.”
Her eye widened. She knew her name? This monster knew her name? How was that?
Seeing this, the alraune lied the boy down inside the warm pool, more moist vines taking him and helping him against the petal wall. Knelling down, the plant mamono placed a hand on the girl’s face. “How are you feeling, you must feel awful, but I’d like to hear from you.”
“What…” Kibora’s head looked around, trying to process everything. “What happened?”
“You passed out,” replied the mamono. “You were actually out there for quite a long while see…” She looked away, not wanting to make eye contact with her. Kibora only blinked at her, she then used her eye to look around at the pool around her. “I’m sure,” continued the alraune, catching her attention again. “That you can feel the effects of your being out there for so long.”
The girl shook once more.
“I’m sorry,” the alraune then bowed. “If I had known sooner, then I would have-” the alraune’s eyes opened a bit more, unable to look the girl in the eyes. Her eyes gleamed a bit. “You’re safe, regardless.”
“What happened… to me?” Kibora asked. “Why can’t I move my arm and leg? Why can’t I… feel anything?”
“I’m Aia’easu, that is the name this forest has blessed me with. Aia’easu of the Alcrueastuea Branch. That is the name the care taker has given us.”
“Care… taker?” Kibora said lightly. “Who…”
“An ancient being, said to have been the husband of the first alraune in this forest. He gave it this name, it means strong aroma.” Aia’easu leaned to her. “You just sit there and rest, I’ll take care of you until you’re better. For your sake, don’t try anything.”
“What happened..?” Her voice once more became raspy. She could feel a pain in her chest as she raised her voice.
The alraune, Aia’easu, knelled down into the pool, now chest deep, reaching in. She then stood back out, pulling out a thick vine. “Here, this is some of the sweetest and most rich nectar in the whole region, it’ll help you feel better.”
“No…” Kibora pulled her head away, looking away. “I… know all about you… monsters. You trick, you take people away from their homes, people you… get never come back.” She swallowed, taking another wheezing breath. Aia’easu pulled back, keeping a concerned look. “Others that do… are turned into… monsters.”
Aia’easu sighed, a soft smile coming to her face. “Honestly, more of that gibberish the humans who cling to the old ways have taught you. They pollute your mind just as they do this world. Tell me, if I was a thief and a trick. If I were truly a monster, would you be in here right now? Would I be helping you where it is soft and warm?”
Kibora’s head dropped slightly.
“Please, I beg you, drink.” Aia’easu held up the vine, nectar slowly pouring out of it. “If you don’t, you’re going to die.” Kibora’s head perked. She turned her head back to the mamono, looking back at the purple eyed woman. “You see, you’re not well. What happened to you out there, is not easy to fix. Aside from what the weather did to you, well, that’s much easier to fix than what has happened to you, on the inside.”
“What do you… mean?”
“What has happened to your body, what the weather did to you is horrendous. You were buried out in the snow for a long time. You can not feel your right arm, and you’re struggling with your legs. Your arm has completely frozen. Being frozen is not like the way it is in the cartoons, your body slowly shuts down, your blood abandoning your limb, and it dies. You can not hope to regain your arm. The same can be said for the right half of your upper body, including your face. As you are aware, your body has decided to let go of your eye in favor of more important functions.”
Kibora let out a raspy gasp, unable to believe what she’s hearing. Her left eye then began to water as she began to cry once more.
“Your leg, it looks as if your body did what it could to save it. There is no human on this earth who can help you.” Kibora softly cried, her throat only allowing whimpers to come out. “But please, do not fret. You can be helped, you can get your arm and even your eye back.” Kibora looked back up at her. “A human can not help you, no mage or magician. But I can.” The alraune narrowed her eyes at her, Kibora’s shivering in disbelief and fear.
“That’s right,” continued Aia’easu. “If you want your body to return to as it was before this storm, you must accept help from the monster you have been taught to hate so much.” She tilted her head, keeping a stern look at her. “Are you willing to part with everything you’ve believed in so strongly for all eighteen years of your life?”
“I…” Kibora’s body shook, was she still freezing? She looked down at her arm, seeing the shadow of many vines around it. She looked back up at the alraune. “I…” she lifted her hand up, looking at it, a blur. Everything was blurry. Not only did she lose one eye, she was on the verge of losing another. It was hard to think about.
“Don’t,” Aia’easu said, rather aggressively. “Do not touch your eye. Do not.” She sighed. “It’s the only condition I have for you if you wish to remain here where it is warm. Anything else, is done voluntarily, and out of the goodness of my heart. Now, your answer?”
Kibora looked back down at the pool.
“Will you part with everything you’ve believed in? The Chief Goddess will not help you, the Order will not help you, and has told you that monsters only do bad for the world. Should you part with all of those beliefs and teachings, I will introduce you to a whole new world. A world where people care, a world where people love you.” She narrowed her eyes. “A world where you can walk and see again.”
Another sniffle. Aia’easu smiled softly, placing a hand atop the girl’s head. “Here, you don’t have to tell me.” She lifted up the vine, nectar falling out like a broth. “Show me.”
Kibora looked up at her, then at the vine. It was almost like staring into an abyss. Deny the Chief Goddess? Deny everything about the order… just to walk and see again? The Order. They didn’t help when MASK took over Arbomont. They did not help when her father disappeared. They did not help when Danny moved in, and they did not help when she was suffering. Suffering for so long. Nobody did.
Nobody helped. Nobody in the Order helped her or Meshi. She looked back at the vine, watching the nectar. She then looked up at the alraune, who wore a soft smile, loving eyes looking back. Kibora took another swallow, such a bitter taste. She opened her mouth.
A sigh of relief came from the alraune, who pressed the vine in. “Don’t move now, I’ve got to get it in deep, don’t breath.” Kibora’s eye widened as she looked around, feeling the moist mass of flesh go down her throat, deeper and deeper. She closed her eye partway. “And there, done. You can breath now.”
Kibora looked around, then at the vine.
“With the state you were in, you weren’t going to be able to swallow that safely. But soon you will. What you’re taking in is alraune nectar, a very potent and very highly sought after natural produce. Naturally, we develop it strictly for our husbands, but bees also make good use of it. It is also brimming with something called demonic energy, have you heard of it?”
Kibora slowly nodded.
“You see, demonic energy, I’m sure the Order has taught you in your early years that it will change and transform you into a monster. Well, that is true. The Order has not lied to you about that.” Some whimpers came from the girl, to which Aia’easu held up a finger. “But… it only does so if the monster giving it wishes to. What the Order neglected to tell you, is its incredible medical uses.” Kibora could be seen calming down.
“This energy I will use to heal you. It’s going to take time, but you will start noticing improvements. Parts of your body that your brain has decided to go without, this energy will force life to come back to them, even if they’re frostbitten and frozen like your right eye. Only as long as it is still there. Which yours is. As for your arm, that’s a bit of a more touchy subject. Your arm is not the same as your eye, your arm can be completely separated from your body by the brain alone. You can’t feel it yet, but I have already went ahead and put some of myself into your arm. The whole time you’ve been resting here, your arm is slowly recovering from its frozen and dead state. Within a couple of days, you should feel your arm again.”
A smile came onto Kibora’s face, happy at the news. Though she had forsaken her beliefs, though she had forsaken the Order, it meant she was going to get her body back. It wasn’t that bad, being helped. Monsters weren’t bad, not as bad as she thought they were going to be. This alraune was actually kind, and nothing like what she heard in school. Nothing like that. She was even going out of her way to help her.
Kibora lied back, looking aside as she just floated in her mind, soaking in the luscious pool. In a way, she had always said she didn’t care where she ended up should she leave, anywhere was better than there, that home. Though she always knew in the back of her mind that there were always worse places she could have ended up, worse places which would have done much worse. MASK and Danny would have been the least of her problems. That being said, stuck inside of this bulb, at least for the remainder of this storm, was not bad at all.
She was warm. She was safe. She could call herself fed, though she much rather would have taken her food which was outside. She would be okay. She looked down at her body, her clothes soaked. The reality of being unable to use her body, both her eyes, was sinking in, dawning on her. She never really knew just how much vision she’d lose until it actually happened. She hated it.
A sigh, she could breath, her throat still felt a little coarse, but not as bad as when she initially woke up. The shaking stopped, the shivering stopped. Now all that was left was the exhaustion.
“Aia’easu,” Kibora called out. Her voice was tiny, so weak and petty. She could feel the whole of her mouth at least, and her throat, but the rest of her dead body stayed pretty much that, dead. Teetering between the realm of the living and the dead, she kind of wondered how the monster felt having a zombie in her flower. “Ai… a’easu…” Kibora weeped more, this time catching the sleeping mamono’s attention.
The young, green skinned woman sat up, rubbing her eyes, looking back at her to find the teenager looking at her. After rubbing her eyes, a smile crossed her face. The alraune leaned over to her, her bust mostly hidden inside the nectar bath. “What is it, sweety? Are you in pain?” Kibora shook her head slowly. “I see, well, should you start feeling any, just help yourself to some of the nectar, it will ease the pain when you start to recover feeling in your frozen parts.”
“I’m half way in the grave,” Kibora said lightly. “I’m practically polluting your… home. I’m dying, and you know it, so…” Kibora looked away. “Why do you…”
The smile left the alraune’s face. “I’m sorry you think that, a near death experience like that I’ve heard often carries with it a looming, impending sense of doom. There’s nothing more frightening. Perhaps you are dying,” the alraune looked back at her. “Perhaps you are, but I’m not going to just let you leave. If death truly wants you, it will have to take you from me.”
Reaching out, the vines holding Kibora in place let go of her, Aia’easu taking her into an embrace. “Poor thing, you’re scared. But it’s okay, I have you now. The grim reaper may be looming over, ready to take you in the eternal slumber, but I won’t let that happen. Not when you have so much ahead of you. So be at rest, you’ll be fine.”
The two lied back, Kibora resting on top of the flower woman, she rubbed her hair, the human girl allowing her hand to sway back and forth in the moist nectar pool.
“I can feel it,” Aia’easu whispered. “I can feel the beating of your heart, I’m so deep inside of your arm and leg now, I feel as if part of myself is covered in your blood. Normally, I draw the nutrition from the ground with these roots, and take them into the beautiful form you are currently resting on.” She continued to rub her hand through Kibora’s hair.
“But be restful, I’m giving to you life. My roots are now yours, my nutrition is now yours. Though you may feel yourself leaving, you can also feel yourself holding on. You can feel it, can’t you?”
Kibora nodded slowly. She couldn’t feel much, but her head felt light, she felt as if she was about to float, and when she closed her eye, she felt as if she was watching herself sleep. Death had its grip on her, and yet… She tried to turn her head, to which a forceful hand would just force her cheek back onto her bosom, and returning the gesture of running her hand through her hair.
“Shhh… You don’t need to look. Looking will only make it more painful.”
“But I don’t… feel anything.” Kibora’s eye watered once more.
Aia’easu continued to rub her hand through the young woman’s white hair, soaked in the juices of the nectar. She hugged her against her body more tightly. “There’s more to pain than the sting. Sometimes it’s much better to not know.”
Kibora’s eye gleamed as it widened, realizing what she meant. Accepting this, she focused back on the pool once more. “You’ll… take care of me… won’t you?” The alraune nodded at her, a hum of affirmation. “Cross your heart?” Another hum of a similar tone. Her eye glimmered. “Until I die?”
A pause in speech. Aia’easu’s movements didn’t stop, she just kept moving her hand through her hair. Kibora could feel her breathing. The alraune, at least she thought, was having trouble answering that question. She could understand why, Aia’easu had vowed to save her, and agreeing to this would essentially be breaking that vow, wouldn’t it? It was cruel in a way, but maybe that was just part of human nature. To be cruel.
“Yes. Until the end, I’ll be here.”
Once more, she found emotions going through her head. Her head felt so light, like she was flying. Her stomach felt like there was a big hole inside, butterflies flying within. She felt so empty and yet… what was this feeling? It was almost as if she was…
A flash, a fleeting thought. A man whose eyes she could not remember. Dressed in a slate, black suit, black tie. A rough face, yet one full of love, experience and wisdom. He rubbed her head. He smiled softly at her. “Until the end.”
Aia’easu rubbed her head softly, looking down at her pale face. She continued to rub her hand through the girl’s hair, watching. Though the pale, light blue iris closed not, she could feel that Kibora had now began to drift off. Sleeping once more. She slept, she slept a lot. Aia’easu looked up, wondering how long it had been already. Since the winters were harsh, it was hard to keep up with the days. She couldn’t tell when the sky was dark and when the sun shined. It was easy to tell that the storm was not over.
She looked over to her side, the young boy sitting nearby, watching. He certainly appeared much better, health wise anyways. Aia’easu only smiled softly at him, to which he responded, he then focused his attention back down, watching his sister. Lifting up her other hand, she placed a finger in front of her mouth, to which Meshi again only nodded silently. Aia’easu looked back down, rubbing her hand through her hair, a solemn gaze. She then stopped, pulling her hand away. She looked down sadly at her hand, a small clump of hair within.
Kibora’s eye opened once more. The last thing she remembered was resting on a soft cushion. Now that she thought about it, softness was beginning to be the only things she was starting to remember. It was beginning to be all she knew. She looked around, always how she started her time awake. How… many times had she fallen asleep now.
Awakening and falling asleep, resting, being fed, being cared for. She moved, finding herself unable to move from where she lied. It was something she was used to. She looked over to her right, finding vines around her arm. Whatever wasn’t green and lively, was pale and blue. She wondered, were those pale bits her? Was that her arm?
That was it then, at least she now saw clearly. She looked back at the vines, now able to make out the fine lines and details. She could see the leaves, and she could even see the vines and tendrils which snaked their way into her arm. She figured it was the same for her leg. She could see the vines pulsating slowly, most likely pumping nutrients into her.
How long had she been here, how long had she been hooked up and sucking up this plant’s resources? She looked around the dark plant, hearing the sloshing sound of the nectar in motion. How long had she been asleep, just taking? How long had she been taking… from everything?
She had helped others. She helped others plenty, and now she was being helped. But… for how long should she take other peoples’ help? How long before it was time to decide that she was beyond it? She didn’t know how long she had been here, but she was willing to believe she had been here for more than a couple of days already.
Try as she could, she could not stand up. The vine around her stomach would not allow it. She moved, feeling her right leg bend, now listening and responding to her commands. So much tension though, it was hard to move. Though her leg seemed to have healed, the rest of her body felt otherwise. Her right arm hadn’t moved in days, and she still could not see out of her right eye.
The vines pumped, almost every other second they pulsated and pulsated again. She was taking so much from this plant which had saved her brother. Her brother was safe, he was okay. The alraune, above all things else, wanted her brother, that she knew for certain. Her, on the other hand, she was in the way, she was a parasite.
More sloshing then sounded, earning her attention. Kibora looked over to the center, no less than a foot from her, she could see two pairs of glowing eyes watching her. One set was a bright pink, belonging to the alraune, the other was a crystal green, belonging to… “Meshi…”
“Hi, sis,” came his voice in response. Kibora looked back at her arm, then back at Meshi. He was against the plant woman, pressing his body into hers. Vines wrapped around the two of them, keeping them almost as one. Though she couldn’t see too clearly in the dark, he had long abandoned his clothing it seemed like.
She looked down at herself, seeing that though her jacket was gone, she was still dressed in the clothes she wore long earlier. They were probably already really bad at this point.
“Did you sleep well?” Meshi’s voice came, taking her attention. She looked up at him, almost surprised. Through the darkness, it was safe to say that he was smiling down at her. “Are you in pain? Do you hurt?”
“I… I don’t.” Her eye looked around. “I don’t- know.”
She didn’t know. She really didn’t know what she felt. Emotions were again going through her head. She felt heavy. Did Meshi really say those words to her? Did he ask her if she was okay? She… didn’t really know. She couldn’t remember the last time somebody with her blood asking her the same thing. Not since dad.
“I don’t-.” She looked left and then right. Her eye then focused back on. “I don’t… know.”
“Well,” came Aia’easu’s voice. “I’m glad to see you’re feeling okay.” Kibora looked over at her. “You must be tired, you must be hungry.”
“Tired?” Repeated Kibora. “But I just… I just woke up.”
The shadows of the vines could be seen unwrapping, Meshi pulling away from the alraune as she fixed her hair atop her bosom. Aia’easu then knelled down, placing a hand on Kibora’s head. “Yes, tired. You’re working so hard, I think you deserve a bit of a break, don’t you?”
“I’m not…” Kibora looked back over at Meshi, he sat back in the shadows of the darkness, his glowing green eyes looking back at her. She looked back over at the mamono. “I’m not doing… anything.”
“Shhh, don’t stress yourself. The time you’re not spending resting,” Aia’easu rubbed her shoulder. “That is time you should be spending getting better. Tell me, how do you feel?”
She looked back over at Meshi. “I feel…” How did she feel? Her eye drooped, looking back down at the pool. “I feel tired.”
“Good, good. And your leg? How does that feel?” Aia’easu reached down into the pool, taking a hold of her right leg. Kibora could feel it, a grip. Her leg felt somewhat bloated, full. Probably because of all the roots… reverse roots… inside of her. “Do you feel me moving?” Kibora nodded slowly. Aia’easu looked down at her leg, she then once more made eye contact. “And do you feel me moving… inside?”
Another nod. Aia’easu smiled. “That’s good,” she refocused her eyes back onto her leg. “My my, you’ve sure worked hard today. I feel like you probably haven’t rested that good in months, but it’s still not good enough sweetie.” Aia’easu shook her head. “So here is what I’m asking of you now. Remember when I asked you if you were willing to let go of your beliefs and trust in the Order?” Kibora nodded once more. “Now I have another request for you, and like before, I don’t expect you to answer me. I want you to show me. Can you do that for me?”
Again, Kibora nodded. “That’s good,” Aia’easu continued. “Your job for the next couple of days is to sleep, and I don’t mean just sleep, I mean sleep.” Her eyes looked back into hers. “I want you to try to get the best rest you’ve ever had in your life. It’s going to take some hard work, but I know you can do it. You have…” She placed a hand on her face. “You have so much to let go of.”
“To let go… of?” Kibora asked lightly.
“Yes,” Aia’easu said slowly. “So much weight to let go of. I’m giving so much to you, and in order to keep receiving, I want you to give back to me.” She continued rubbing her face. “I want you to sleep, to rest, and I want you to think about the many things you have done for your family, for your brother. I want you to think about all the good things that are to come, I want you to think about all the good you’re going to do come the rest of your life. I want you to dream, to dream and release all of your sorrow, so that you can rest peacefully.”
“So I can… rest peacefully,” Kibora repeated. She felt her head fall back. Closing her eye once more. “So I can rest… rest…”
Aia’easu looked down at her. “Your father, he loved you… very much.” Coming up behind her, Meshi wrapped his arms around Aia’easu, both of them now looking down at Kibora as she once more rested her back against the petal wall, the light of the bulb underneath pulsating in and out.
The alraune rested herself against the boy, her arm resting around his neck and shoulder, the two just watching the youth.
Clouds, drifting clouds. A sea of darkness, a sea of warmth. She couldn’t recall where she was, or the when, only the now. Only the dark.
A light, a strong light piercing the dark. A hand then reached, a large, strong, warm hand. It rested atop her white head of hair. Looking up, her emerald eyes looked into the face of a man who smiled down at her. He was dressed in a black suit, face calm, white hair.
His hand continued to rub her hair, around her, around them, lied her accomplishments. Trophies, awards, certificates. First grade academics, best of the class award. Second grade best in show. Perfect attendance every year, up to the fifth grade. Arts and crafts. Any kind of creative reward one might be able to earn in a year’s worth of time, it was hers, and her father couldn’t be any more proud.
That is… until the fifth grade.
Almost as if walking through a faceless world, her young form walked side by side with her father, her smaller hand in his larger. Guiding her, protecting. His mouth moved, as did his fingers, pointing out dogs, pointing out birds. Making known to her the beauty of the town of Arbomont. The gentleness of his hand against hers, the love that was sewed into each word. It made her smile at the thought.
As the two walked, others passed by, others she did not recognize, others she cared not to recognize. As figure after figure passed her, there was one duo that did catch her attention. A pair of eyes in the distance, in the dark. Her father pulled her along, turning her back, she could see a pair of amethyst and emerald eyes watching from afar, sifting and swirling as her world changed.
The gentleness left her hand, and she stood alone. Grown. Her head lifted, looking behind her to find two men dressed in well padded military uniforms, faces covered in opaque visors. One walked past her, as the other lifted a small folder, reaching inside and pulling out a form. Underneath that form, was a picture of the man who was holding her hand earlier.
Kibora looked and looked, watching the other soldier appeared to be having a verbal argument with her mother. Her mother was pushed out, a younger boy following behind her. The other soldier took a step aside, allowing herself passage as well. As Kibora stepped out, she could see her mother now hugging against another man who stood outside of their house. A well built man, clearly larger than her father, black hair, black eyes. A malicious grin. He looked down at her, knowing he liked his girls young… her age.
A smack, a pass, a knock, a punch, a shattering of glass. Yelling, lots of it. Lots of name calling and roughness as he did to her body and mind as he wanted. That man was no man. He was not worthy of love, neither receiving nor giving. He was incapable of that. It was the man that replaced father. That man was no man, he was a monster.
She felt herself on that bed, her bed. His bed. Mother’s bed. Brother’s bed. It didn’t matter whose bed, it didn’t matter where, as long as mother was gone, it was time to pay. And he made her pay hard. She felt herself curse back at him, and he used his superiority to hurt, he used his superiority to get what he wanted. He was bigger, he was stronger, he was more than she was, and it hurt. It stung.
Her voice cried out to the heavens, to the dark, dim orange of the liquid roof, two sets of glowing eyes, amethyst and emerald, looking back down at her. Emerald eyes. Those were not father’s eyes though. Father was gone, and now all that was left was mother, brother, and monster. The monster that used her. The monster that abused her. The monster that assaulted her. The monster that broke her.
Kibora’s eyes opened slowly, feeling the tears rolling down her face. The same atmosphere, the same warmth. The darkness of the bulb, the light that shined past the thick pool of nectar was strong enough to light a good chunk of what was beneath the surface, and part of the bulb’s roof, but everything else was dark.
Most of her clothing had melted away, leaving her with some ripped leggings, pants which were now loose shorts, and a tattered shirt that looks as if she were on spring break. She looked like a delinquent now, but considering the damage that was done to her body, she didn’t want to think about how exactly she looked, especially the dead side of herself.
How long had she been sleeping? How long had she been here? Tired? She didn’t know how exactly to feel. Dying, knowing you are, wasn’t something that was easy to accept either… but now? She guessed she was making peace with that thought. Her eye looked around, only the one eye, she could only see out of one eye now. She only had the use of one of her arms. Even after days of being in this place, taking the alraune’s nutrients, taking everything she had to offer, and it still wasn’t enough.
Her body started to bounce, her shoulders buckling as her tears fell into the warm pool she rested inside of. Rustling then sounded, her eyes widening as the owner of the bulb turned about, looking over at her. The alraune, Aia’easu. A smile graced her face.
“Hello there, Kibora,” Aia’easu clasped her hands together. “How are you doing this fine day? Did you rest well, it certainly looks like you did.”
“How long was I…” A yawn escaped Kibora’s mouth. Her head felt heavy, still waking from the sleep. A moment, and another, and another. Her eyes blinked, lifting up her free hand, she rubbed the sleep from her eyes. “Sleeping?”
Aia’easu smiled down at her. “Five days. You slept soundly for five days.” The alraune crossed her arms. “That sleep did you a lot of good too, you look much better than you did that day you fell asleep. Color has returned to your skin, take a look at your arm.”
Looking away from the flower woman, Kibora looked to see that her right arm was no longer a pale color, but somewhat lively. It was close to a color she was used to seeing. A smile couldn’t help be found on Kibora’s face.
“You’re so beautiful,” Aia’easu told her. She then placed a hand on her head. “You’re no mamono however, you’re still you.”
Kibora’s eyes wavered, her mouth quivered. She didn’t know what to say. She didn’t know how to feel. She looked back up at the alraune, she had a soft look on her face. A gentle smile. “Thank you…”
“It is my pleasure,” Aia’easu replied. “You’re the sister of my husband, I’d do anything to help you.” She then sank herself into the broth, coming at eye level with Kibora. Kibora didn’t pull away, clearly trusting the alraune. Aia’easu put a hand on the girl’s cheek, and wrapped the other around her waist.
“As you can feel, I have removed many of the vines that kept you in place, you’re doing much better than you were before, so much better.” She then pulled Kibora against her. “But you still have a long way to go, I have news for you, good news and bad news.”
“I don’t care…” Kibora’s head rested atop the alraune’s bosom. “As long as… I’m with you, I don’t care.” She closed her eyes. “In my whole life of living, you’ve been more of a mother to me than my own…”
Aia’easu rubbed her hand atop her head, a light giggle escaping. “Well, isn’t that something? The love of a mamono can make a human feel that way. All we want to do is to love, after all. We’re not like you, we don’t have ambitions, those are what make humans… humans. We live to love, and humans live to progress. But, there are many who are like us, humans who want to love, to be loved, but are unable to find it. That is the curse humans have inherited.” She hugged onto Kibora tighter. “I’m glad that you feel the way you do about me. That means I’ll have the blessings of the one person that matters as I take your brother as my husband.”
Kibora could only nod, if that is what her brother wanted, then she’d happily let them be together. “As long as my brother loves you… that’s all I care about.”
“Yes, of course,” Aia’easu replied. “But we’re not talking about Meshi, we’re talking about you. You are what’s important right now.” Releasing the tight hug, Aia’easu sank herself into the warm pool. She then moved Kibora, earning a yelp from the eighteen year old, as she sat on top of the older girl’s waist. Kibora felt a blush coming onto her face, looking around.
“Now now,” Aia’easu calmly told her. “No need to feel so self conscious. It’s only the two of us. Your brother is sleeping right now, it’s night time. Not that you’d be able to tell from the storm outside.”
This took Kibora by surprise. “It’s still storming?”
“Yes, yes it is,” Aia’easu replied. She then nudged her head. “Take your shirt off, what’s left of your shorts, too.”
“Huh?” Kibora looked back down at her. Aia’easu again nudged her head. “You want me to… take my clothes off?”
“It’s part of your treatment,” Aia’easu smiled up at her. “Trust me.”
“I don’t… I don’t know,” Kibora looked aside, embarrassment flooding her face. She then looked back at her as she could feel the alraune giggling, hearing her laugh in amusement.
“That’s a good look on you, Kibora.” Aia’easu rubbed the left side of her face. “That’s the first time I’ve seen you look something other than sad in the past three weeks you’ve been here.” Kibora’s eye shimmered, looking back into the alraune’s amethyst eyes. A smile then graced the green woman’s face. “You told me that as long as you’re with me that you don’t care what happens.”
Kibora could feel her head heat up, blood rushing through her body. “I…”
“You should know how this works by now,” Aia’easu told her, a stern voice, demanding that she follow the rules. “Don’t tell me, show me.”
The younger girl looked down at what remained of her top, she looked back at her right arm. The vine covering around it was much lighter now, just a few shadowy threads now connected to her. Looking underneath her arms, she could see that the sides of the top had already melted away, she may as well had been wearing a towel at this point.
A heavy blush came onto her face, her hands reaching up over her head, and taking hold of opposite ends of her shirt, now pulling it over her head. She could feel her head slip through the neck hole, her hair following as she undressed herself. If it was with another person, with Danny, he’d just rip her clothes, but with her. She was doing this herself.
“That’s a good girl,” Aia’easu said. “Now, the shorts.” Her head again nudged, this time more a nod, clearly motioning to her lower half. Kibora nodded, and pulled at her bottom, noticing the clothing just easily pull apart. Soaking in nectar for three weeks, of course, those clothes were done for. The remainder of her pants, now shorts, floated inside the nectar pool, leaving Kibora with only her leggings on, what was left of those anyways.
She felt nervous, embarrassed even. What was going to happen to her? What was the alraune planning to do? The alraune kept calling her beautiful, kept telling her about love. An awkward smile was on her face, did she… like this? Like the idea of being desired by a… a monster- no, this alraune was no monster, far from that. She was a mamono.
“That’s much better,” Aia’easu smiled up at her. “Oh wow, you look amazing, your recovery is good.” The alraune’s hands then placed themselves on the sides of Kibora’s waist, causing the girl to jerk slightly in surprise. Another giggle left Aia’easu’s mouth. “How does it feel? The hands of an alraune appreciating your body.”
Kibora could feel the alraune’s hands slowly move their way up and down her sides. From her hips, up to her waist, up the sides of her stomach, forcing their way beneath her arms as they moved up to her arm pits. The mamono explored her bare body as she saw fit, Kibora having lifted a hand up to her mouth, lightly biting down on the side of her finger. She didn’t know what to think, how to feel.
Another giggle, Aia’easu taking in the sights. “I said I have news for you, so I will now give it to you, having done as I asked.” She then used the tips of her fingers to rub at Kibora’s stomach. “I’ve told the other alraune of the forest about your presence, about how you need help. I told them since the day I found you. Like myself, they too have been sending their blessings, their nutrients and their energy. It’s not just I who was keeping you alive, but the even the forest itself, sends you its regards.”
Kibora nodded, strongly breathing, her chest expanding and contracting with each heavy breath she took. Her face was a bright crimson.
“You’re quickly becoming a legend among the mamono community, the girl who froze out in the snow storm, and gave up everything she believed in if it meant being loved, if it meant knowing the truth of the world: that love exists. The girl fought tooth and nail to make sure her brother was okay, the girl who accepted the help of a being she was told was the most terrifying thing in the world. The girl who is still, to this day, fighting hard… to stay alive.” Aia’easu’s eyes looked up at her. “Do you know how inspirational your tale is? You’re so famous now, that news of you has even reached Royal Makai.” Aia’easu told her. “Not Lescatie, but Royal Makai, do you know what that is?”
Kibora shook her head. Aia’easu smiled back at her, her hands now rubbing against the sides of her chest. “Royal Makai, is the home of the Monster Lord herself, Lilith, the one who made the world what it is today. They’ve heard your plight, and know of your condition. One of the daughters of the monster lord is coming, as of this very moment, to get you, and take you to Royal Makai.” She then took a hold of Kibora’s chest, grabbing a handful of her flesh. “Congratulations, Kibora Karikisa, you’re going to meet the monster lord herself.” A moan came from the girl as the alraune groped her. “There, in Royal Makai, they have access to much better medical equipment, spells, and potions. You’ll be free of the dreadful things the winter has regrettably done to you.”
“You mean…” Kibora again moaned at the work the older woman was doing. “You mean… I’m going to be able to see… again?”
“Much more than that,” Aia’easu then wrapped her arms around the human girl’s back, pulling her to rest against her. “You’ll be in much better health than you’ve ever been in your life.”
Kibora smiled, resting her head against the alraune’s bust. Just more and more good news. She still couldn’t see out of her right eye, but she could feel her face now. She could feel her arm now, her legs. This alraune… she gave her life. She gave her life where she thought there would be none. “Thank you… you’ve… given my life back to me.”
She felt so happy as of now, she didn’t know what to do. She didn’t know what she could do to repay her. She was going to a place not even some of the highest members of the Order would be seeing in the whole of their lives, and now she was just… going there. All because of the love, the work and the care, of one alraune. Kibora placed both of her hands on Aia’easu’s shoulders, pushing herself up. Her strength was weak, she had a bit of a hard time with even that action, but she felt she had to. She needed to make sure she could see the alraune’s face.
“Thank you, so much for everything. What about you? Is there anything I can do… for you?” Kibora asked.
A smile came onto Aia’easu’s face. “I was both looking forward to and dreading such a question.” She closed her eyes, taking in a deep breath. “It… kind of pertains to why I had you take off your clothes.” A blush then came across Aia’easu’s face. “Now- I am not the kind of person who would use another, I wasn’t lying when I said it’s part of your treatment. I just…” Now it was her turn to be nervous. “Before I’m female, I’m a plant. Your brother is too young, much too young right now to fertilize my seeds, and being a plant, my pollen can’t fertilize my own seeds, but…” She looked back at her. “My pollen can… fertilize… yours.”
“Fertilize… my… seeds?” Kibora looked back at her. “What do you mean?”
A huff came out of Aia’easu mouth as she turned her head away, her chest perking. “Don’t make me say it,” her eyes narrowed, looking towards the wall. “The original plan for your treatment regarding this is mental therapy. Every time you have your clothing off around another, it’s just… pain.” She looked back at her. “I wanted you to get comfortable, having your clothes off around another, but then I keep looking at you… mesmerized.” Another breath. “I want to… love you.”
“You can… do that?” She could feel her breath heighten. “You’re going to… make love with me?” A swallow. “You’re going to… make me pregnant?” A nod from the alraune. Kibora blushed heavily, looking down at her partner’s sizable chest, feeling the strength of the arms around her that held her waist. “Can you… show me?”
A smile came onto Aia’easu’s face, one of her hands reaching up. “There…” Kibora could feel the hand rub against her face. “Now you’re talking like a mamono.”
Kibora could feel Aia’easu’s legs move in between her own. Her legs then parted, forcing Kibora’s own to spread. Kibora rested herself atop the alraune, letting her do the work. She could feel the plant woman’s hands take a hold of her butt, pulling and groping. She closed her eyes, a moan eliciting. She could feel the woman’s movement exposing her pussy, feeling her chest pressing into the alraune’s.
She wasn’t going to fight, she wasn’t going to resist. She was going to let the one who saved her life do with her as she would. If the best way to repay Aia’easu for everything she done was to do this, she would allow it. If she had to be honest about it, normally she wouldn’t even entertain the idea of letting a woman do something like this, but… This wasn’t just any regular woman. This was a mamono, an alraune. The alraune that’s been taking care of her, feeding her, keeping her warm, keeping her alive, for over three weeks. If she had to be honest… she liked the idea.
A yelp came from Kibora, feeling a hot, round mass now poke at her vulva. She pressed herself even tighter into the alraune, feeling the mass of muscle now glide its way across her slit, rubbing up and then rubbing down, working her. Her chest was already hot, she didn’t know what the alraune was planning, but she could feel the awkward smile on her face getting wider, the hearts in her eyes growing. The feeling of somebody teasing, not just shoving themselves inside. She didn’t want to look down to see what it was, tentacle? Maybe a vine, some kind of external reproductive organ that was probably beautiful beyond belief or perhaps the ugliest thing ever? She didn’t want to know, she didn’t care what it was, either a penis, tentacle, tulip, whatever. As long as it was hers, that’s all that mattered. She then felt the strong mass of muscle place its tip at the entrance of her vagina, excitement clearly pulsating. Kibora could tell that Aia’easu was struggling to hold herself back.
“Are you ready?” the alraune asked her.
Kibora nodded, her heart racing. “Yes, yes please. Put it in me, whatever it is, put it in me.”
She felt her hand grip the alraune tighter, feeling the mass of muscle shove its way in, parting the tight muscles of her vagina as it strongly thrusted, all the way to the deepest part. She could feel the walls of her pussy being stroked, the muscular appendage inside of her working and touching every part of her, exploring and filling every crevice, every curve. She could feel something leaking out of the mass, pre-cum? Nectar? Pre-pollen?
She’s felt sperm dump inside of her, cypers fluid from Danny. Danny’s junk. Danny’s sperm, but pollen? Liquid pollen, a pollen slurry of some kind? She’d never have felt that. It made her excited. This plant, anchored to the ground, though she chose to stay in one place, this plant was superior to Danny, that monstrous man with the strength of a train, in every way. Aia’easu’s strength was more, as was her care.
Sounds came out of Kibora’s mouth that she never heard before, she could barely recognize her own voice as the mass of flesh and plant innards shoved its way deeper and deeper into her vagina, pressing against the wall of her womb, feeling sticky fluids fill her pussy like a web. Kibora could feel her body move against Aia’easu’s with each thrust, feeling the alraune’s chin against her neck and shoulder as each powerful thrust sent her further into the alraune’s body, cementing that she was hers.
It felt wonderful, this feeling. Unlike back at home, each thrust she was sentenced to sent her down a spiraling pit of torment that she felt she wouldn’t be able to escape from. Danny snatched her purity, snatched her womb for himself, and dumped himself inside when he wanted, never giving her a choice. Then forcing her to take birth control and pills to keep herself from getting pregnant. The hospitals in Arbomont were run by MASK, and if their doctors had to deliver an eighteen year old’s child with no proper father present, they’d start asking questions, and they’d quickly find out this or that.
But here, with Aia’easu, each thrust of her muscle did not feel like a death sentence, no, each thrust, she felt life coming. She felt alive, she felt happy. Connected to the one who cared for her more than anybody else since her father disappeared. She felt more love in just one thrust than she ever felt in every hug her mother gave her through the entirety of her life. This alraune, she was going to be Meshi’s wife, and if Meshi were to find out about this, she knew he’d be just fine with it.
“I…” Kibora started. “I feel…”
Aia’easu’s arms wrapped around Kibora tighter, Kibora then looked up at the older woman. Hoisting her up, Kibora and Aia’easu were now at eye level. Kibora could feel so many words coming up her throat, but her voice left her, seeing Aia’easu’s smile. She felt the alraune’s hand leave her back, now taking a hold of her chin. She then pulled the girl close, and Kibora could feel their lips locking. Kibora’s emerald eyes rolled up in ecstasy, closing as she fully embraced the gift the mamono had to give her.
The walls of her vagina twitched, her hips bucking, feeling the muscle inside of her thrust strongly and rhythmically. She could feel the pollen now beginning to coat her vagina, her womb, the last thrust pressing against her hard, Aia’easu keeping their lips locked. She could feel her world being rocked as the orgasm took over her mind and body. Kibora felt herself floating in a world of pure bliss and pleasure.
This is what it was like to be held by somebody who loved you. This is what it felt like to be loved. Her eyes closed as she pulled her face away from Aia’easu’s, mouth opening as she continued to feel the pollen pour in. Filling her with pleasure, filling her with life. Kibora, as much as she wanted to look and see, decided against it. When she opened her eyes, she looked back at the face of pleasure on Aia’easu. She could feel the alraune’s breath hitting her bare chest as she propped herself over her partner.
It was bliss. Alas, the pumping stopped, the pollen coming into her ceased. She could feel its thickness, its flavor taking over, coating her womb and the walls of her vagina. She could feel the mass of muscle and flesh leave her cavity, her vagina squeezing the thick pollen slurry, mixing it into the folds of her tissue, filling each crevice. Her womb was full, full of a perfect happiness that was comparable to nothing this world or the next could offer.
Aia’easu’s face relaxed, smiling back at Kibora, the pink of her tongue lightly sticking out. Kibora lost the strength in her arms, once more resting atop the alraune, to which the mamono held her in a gentle embrace.
“I feel…” Kibora’s breaths were slow, heavy. Her face melted in happiness, the hearts in her eyes very reflective of the feelings of the one in her chest.
“Me too,” Aia’easu sighed, the smile on her face very clear. “I’m so conflicted. I love your brother, we’ve been making love for the whole of our time here, it’s what we do, joined together as husband and wife, this should be the ultimate happiness for a mamono, and yet…” Aia’easu’s eyes swirled, watering. “And yet, I’m more happy than I think I’ve ever been. Why?” It was hard to tell if she was saddened or joyful. “Your brother is going to be my husband, and yet, you’re going to be the one to have my first child. I don’t understand, was I looking for him, or was I looking for you?”
She could feel Kibora breathing heavily as she recovered from the pleasure, still listening as evident by the sounds. Aia’easu wrapped her arms around Kibora once more, holding her head. “This child, that we have made together, this is my last gift to you.” She could feel Kibora nodding. “I want you to go to Royal Makai, get treatment, tell them of this; they’ll be glad to hear of this.” She then pulled away. “You’ll be given housing, people who go to Royal Makai, end up staying in Royal Makai.” She then rubbed Kibora’s head. “When your treatment is finished, you’re going to raise this child, and she’s going to be happy. When she asks about me, tell her about the alraune that saved your life, in more ways than one.”
“I will,” Kibora nodded, tears rolling down her face.
Aia’easu rubbed her face. “You lived for Meshi all these years, now you’ll live for the sake of this child. You have a hard, but wonderful life ahead of you. I think I speak for both humans and mamono when I say there is no greater joy in the world than to have a child.”
“What will happen to you?”
Another smile, more solemn than the others. “I’ll be right here. I grew up in this forest, your brother and myself are going to die in this forest.” She then rubbed her face. “When the representative from Royal Makai arrives, it’s safe to say that we might never see each other again.” Kibora’s face could be seen sinking a bit, a melancholic smile as she accepted those words.
Aia’easu pulled her close, having Kibora rest her head against her bosom. “You’ll be happy, you’re going to be fine, and so is the sapling. You and our child will live a good life in Makai, I can see it now, a small cottage, somewhere shady. White fence, a porch, swing. Trees, and a garden. The inside will be cozy, blankets and cushions everywhere as you and her live a simple, but fulfilling life.” Aia’easu’s eyes sank somewhat. “You’ll be happy…”
She could feel Kibora nod softly. Feeling the strength beginning to leave once more, Aia’easu could tell that Kibora was exhausted, that activity took a lot out of her. But, come the day the representative arrives, if it meant anything, she’d always have a piece of her with her. She was right when she said that she’d give Kibora life. And she was right when she told her that she loved her.
Kibora’s eyes drifted from closed, to open, back to closed. Drifted from awake to twilight. She was dazed, a near fault of happiness, she could feel Aia’easu’s hand slowly rubbing up and down her bare back.
Despite her constant bouts of exhaustion, despite the drifts to and from sleep, she could always feel the hint of a smile on her face. Every time she went to sleep, Aia’easu was right there, and every time she woke up, Aia’easu was right there. Waiting. Waiting, for her.
It was weird, an unfamiliar feeling, to have somebody desire you, to have somebody wish for you, not your body. She had graduated from sleeping against the walling of the pool to sleeping in the arms of she who grew the pool. She who kept her warm, and happy. Every moment she felt the alraune’s hand rub up her back, and rub back down, she felt so much delight. It made her shiver from just how much euphoria her hands were filled with, giving it to her.
Aia’easu’s body was so soft, yet so firm. Being a plant, she didn’t know the exact science behind how the “human part” of Aia’easu worked, did she have bones, a stomach and organs like the rest of us? Or was the being whose hand held so much care made purely for the sake of expressing love and receiving it? The questions made Kibora’s head work, but she never uttered them around the alraune. Like with earlier, she felt she was much better off, not knowing.
Kibora’s eyes watered, closing in bliss, her body resting atop the alraune’s, gripping hard at the petals of which acted as their resting spot. Her body jerked with each second, feeling the power behind each thrust of the muscle that had anchored itself inside of her for the moment. Aia’easu said no words, the only sounds coming from her being the grunts and moans of pleasure as she once more filled Kibora’s womb with more of her pollen.
The young woman shivered in pleasure, feeling the sex organ do its work. She kept her mouth buried against Aia’easu’s neck and shoulder, the tears falling as she took a harder grip of the flower petals.
“Oh Kibora…” Aia’easu moaned. “This is ecstasy.” The white haired girl let out a yelp of pleasure, unable to properly speak. “I feel like I could do this… all day. Pollinating you.” She kept both arms wrapped around the girl’s back. “I don’t ever want you to monsterize, never.”
Kibora’s eyes rolled, losing herself to the feeling, the power. Losing herself to feeling everything inside being taken over by the alraune. Her body moved not on its own, purely by the love and strength of the partner she was bound to.
“I want you to stay… as you are.” Aia’easu smiled down. “Human… human and mamono, no changes, no becoming mamono… no changes… except our love.” She then kissed Kibora’s cheek, tasting the salt of her tears. She rested her head once more against Kibora’s, watching her move as the muscle continued to thrust and thrust. “You wouldn’t be you… if you changed.”
Another moan and whimper, Kibora’s head nodding in agreement. This only made Aia’easu all the more happy. “I want to treat and take care of you… forever, Kibora. I want you to be with me, forever…”
Kibora slept, she was tired. Aia’easu could tell she was, after all, being the lover of an alraune, of a mamono, was not easy. Each day was filled with love, tender care, emotions, and sex. Lots of sex. If it wasn’t for Kibora’s poor health, she was sure that the girl would be more active inside the bulb, she’d be able to talk properly, tell her about things like secrets or dreams.
She wished it was like that, but this was good too. This was just fine. She kept a close hold onto Kibora, running a hand down her back while the other kept a good grip of her butt. Aia’easu’s bust was half inside the hot soup of nectar while Kibora was neck deep, her sleeping head resting against the alraune’s bosom.
A smile, a soft smile. Aia’easu smiled down at the young one, she could feel that the pollen that was given to her was highly effective in doing its job. She exhaled in pride, though it made little sense, Kibora had become pregnant.
This would be a first, a human girl, pregnant with the child of a mamono, and no sign of monsterization. Though it would better the girl’s health over all, Aia’easu meant it when she said she didn’t want Kibora to change. Most other mamono, when they get their hands on a female human, will change them up and down until their personalities melt away and they become just like them. The same with human men too, except when a human man was adopted, they become their husband, and are forever joined.
Her eyes looked over to see the emerald eyes of Meshi, who sat nearby, a hand propped on his knee, watching the two of them. She lifted her own hand and lightly waved at him. He lazily lifted his and waved back, continuing to watch.
Her eyes lifted to the top of the flower dome, looking at the darkness of the petals. The winter, she figured it was almost a third over. “Winters were long, the nights were always the longest.” Kibora was probably having thoughts like that running through her head right now. Looking back down, she used her index finger to clear some of the hair that had brushed down between the girl’s eyes. She wanted to be sure that she was looking at the sleeping face of her girl.
Kibora’s head lied against Aia’easu’s chest, both simply looking into the dazzling light that shined from deep within the recesses. Their days, or nights, were spent like this, huddled together against one another, watching the pool. Relaxing.
“…night,” Kibora’s voice whispered.
Taking her attention, Aia’easu looked back down at her. “What is it love?”
“It’s always night,” Kibora repeated, her voice a little louder. “When does the sun come?”
A giggle came from Aia’easu’s mouth. “Of course, of course. I’m like you, I desire the sun too, actually, I would think it’s right for me to say that, as a plant, I desire it much more.” She looked down at her. She then hoisted the younger girl, bringing her closer. “You see, during the whole of the winter, save for very special conditions, we alraune tend to keep our large flowers closed, just like this, so we can keep ourselves warm. That means this body, the person that’s holding you right now, will not see the sun for about two or three months.”
“Oh… so it stays like this, dark and warm, for that long?”
“Yes, yes it does. A lot of people would see it as a loss of productivity, a loss of time, but many animals and plants tend to take the time of the winter season to rest. People have this preconceived notion that if you don’t do something with your day, you’re wasting time. Perhaps in your culture, you probably are, but us mamono, we’re more attuned to what nature wants for all life, and not what those who are ‘successful’ wants.”
Aia’easu rested her head atop Kibora’s. “You’re going to live life like a mamono now, so when I say that the Winter, the time you spend in this flower just sleeping and relaxing, the whole of these three months that make the season, don’t think you’re wasting it.”
Some pause, Kibora listening to her words. Winter is the time to relax, not to worry. Winter is the time to sleep, not to work. She nodded slowly, a hum leaving her.
“Good,” Aia’easu repeated. “I’m glad you understand. So what will you do here with me?”
“I will… relax… with you.” Kibora moaned. “I will… sleep… in your arms.”
Another giggle. “Yes, love… yes you will. That’s exactly what I wanted to hear. When you are ready to fall back to sleep, please do so at your own whim. I will be looking forward to your next awakening.”
Kibora stared down into the bright dark of the nectar pool, watching the rhythmic pulse of the floor dim in, and dim out. It was so intoxicating, everything about this was just… She closed her eyes, letting herself lean against the alraune.
Moans of pleasure filled the flower, Kibora keeping herself propped up as she bent over as best she could. She could feel the weight of her partner alraune support herself on her. She looked back as best she could, only able to see Aia’easu’s arms and catching glimpses of her butt as she moved. The alraune’s green hands gripped her cream toned chest.
Her elicited yelps couldn’t be held, feeling Aia’easu work inside of her. Pollen coated the entirety of her crotch, the mass of muscle moving inside of her just as excited as it was when they first started quite a while ago. She had long lost track of time, but she didn’t care. Though her face showed weariness, she was in expressive euphoria.
“My body is so hot…” Aia’easu sighed, joy in each syllable of her voice. “I’ve been ready for you ever since last night.”
“We don’t know… how long ago… last night was.” Kibora moaned, her head dropping as she felt the muscle work her more and more.
Aia’easu took a tight grip of the girl’s bosom, pressing her body into the girl’s back. “It was…” Another exertion of force, another exhale of pleasure. “Long enough.” Another thrust, another moan. “For me.”
More time had passed, more pleasure, more sex. Aia’easu had sensed the weariness coming to her partner, and allowed Kibora to take the top mount. Kibora’s body now lied atop the alraune’s, the muscle moving and moving, threatening to burst at any moment, filling her partner’s body with more of her luscious pollinating slurry.
“I feel like all I do now, is just wait for you to wake up, so that we can be joined like this once more.” Aia’easu sighed, running her hand through the human girl’s hair, the other wrapped soundly around the back of her waist, keeping her mate anchored. “I love you, Kibora.” She rubbed her cheek against the girl’s hair. “I love you…”
“What about… Meshi?” Kibora could feel herself once more getting lost in the pleasure, the hearts in her eyes once more showing the bliss she was in, the euphoria taking over.
Aia’easu kept a strong hold onto her partner. “That… day. It feels like so long ago now… I was with him, I thought myself the most lucky alraune in the entirety of Alcrueastuea Forest.” She then removed the arm that was around Kibora’s waist, and placed both of them on her face, the muscle halting its movements inside of her. Aia’easu stared into her eyes. “I am… the most lucky alraune in this forest. I fell in love, but it wasn’t until much later that I realized I fell in love with the wrong person. I asked myself a question earlier, was I looking for him, or was I looking for you?”
Kibora then felt herself get pulled into a kiss, Aia’easu exploring the weaker girl’s mouth with her tongue, sharing a passionate kiss between human and plant. Finishing, she pulled back, allowing her lover to breath. Not able to hold back any longer, Aia’easu again resumed her work on Kibora, not allowing her a break from the pleasure.
“I know the answer to that question now,” Aia’easu told her, feeling a powerful climax coming. She gritted her teeth, watching the connection between them becoming more and more intense. “I was looking for you, Kibora. I was looking for you.”
Kibora’s arms could felt shaking, almost as if she was losing herself to the words. The muscle of the plant’s fleshy organ thrusted inside of her with passion in each movement, it was begging to deliver more pollen, and Kibora eagerly awaited it. She lied atop the alraune, letting her do with her as she would. Each time the two had sex, it felt like her world had been painted over with pleasure and bliss when the climax arrived.
Sex? With a human… never again. She would never be able to go back. If there was any sex to be had, it had to be with an alraune, it had to be with Aia’easu. The rhythm stopped, the activity slowing. Kibora focused solely on the feeling of the hot ooze that was Aia’easu’s pollen slowly fill her, losing her mind and body to the sensation. It was unreal, this had to be a dream, a fantasy. A dream that she knew would not disappear.
Aia’easu rested herself inside the nectar bath, holding and keeping the sleeping girl close. She moved one of her hands, placing it onto Kibora’s chest, feeling her heart beating. Her eyes closed softly, looking down at her. Rest and sleep, that was all Kibora did, but she was so happy when the girl slept in her arms. How long had it been now, four weeks? Five? She didn’t care, she stopped keeping count. All Aia’easu cared about was how much longer she’d be here. It wouldn’t long now before the representative from Royal Makai arrived, and took her away.
“How is she?”
Turning around, Aia’easu smiled over. “Hello, Meshi. How is your morning?”
“Okay,” Meshi looked down at Kibora. “She going to be okay? Is she still dying?”
“No, no silly, not anymore.” Aia’easu twirled her finger on Kibora’s cheek. “But she is not getting the help she needs from me. So all she can really do is rest for now, rest and sleep.”
Meshi looked from her to his sister, his mouth moved a bit in concern. “She’s looking just fine to me. How much longer is she going to stay here?”
“Until the representative picks her up.” Aia’easu answered, tilting her head as she played more with Kibora’s locks. “Isn’t her hair wonderful? It’s so silky, and I love the white color, how contrasting it is to my pale blonde.”
“It is cute,” Meshi looked down at her. “She’s cute.” His eyes looked on at her, a moment later, focusing back on Aia’easu. “But she’s not me.”
Aia’easu stopped her playing, looking over at him. He wore a belated smile, his emerald eyes looking back into her amethyst. Over the month of being here, he didn’t grow much, but it was clear a change had taken place, the boy now part of the plant. A little bigger, a little stronger. A playful smile came to her face. “What’s that I sense? Do I sense a hint of jealousy?”
“I guess,” Meshi looked back at his sister. “When she’s sleeping, you’re holding her all the time now. Why isn’t she against the wall like she was back then?”
“Because she needs more than food and warmth, she needs love. Like you.”
“Yes, but I’m the one who needs your love, I’m the one you called, not her, she just…” He looked back at Kibora’s sleeping body. “She’s just… She’s baggage, Aia’easu, a lost cause.”
“I don’t think so,” Aia’easu moved another one of Kibora’s locks, lightly making a kissing motion before giggling.
“She’s taking nutrients from us.” He looked towards the walling of the petals. “I’m ready to see the sun, many storms have come and gone.”
A laugh escaped Aia’easu’s mouth, looking back his direction. “Yes, yes, I’m ready for the sun too, but Winter is not something that we can decide when it ends. I’ve been a plant much longer than you have, I’ve endured many more Winters than you.” She then looked back at Kibora, lightly poking at her cheek. “I’ll know when the Spring has come.”
“I wish it would hurry and get here, I want to see what you look like bathing in the sun.” He kept his eyes on the ceiling, imagining the image. “It’ll be such a wonderful sight.”
Meshi’s eyes looked back at the alraune, who kept a light gaze on him. He simply smiled back at her, to which she returned a gesture. The next moment though, his smile disappeared as he watched the alraune again turn away from him. His focus looked down at his sister, who was now taking his wife’s attention once more. His eyes narrowed. “Stop that.”
“Hmm?” Aia’easu’s eyes once more looked back his direction. “Excuse me?”
“I said to stop that.”
Her amethyst eyes looked from one direction to the other before focusing back on him. “I’m sorry, stop what?”
“You know, that.” he pointed down at his sister. “My sister, stop…” He searched his mind, searching for the words he wanted to say. Searching for the right words to say. “Messing with her like that.”
Aia’easu looked down at the human girl in her arms, then looked back at her husband. “What’s wrong with what I’m doing?”
“Everything, Aia’easu, everything. You’re…” He pointed his finger at her again, and again. “You’re paying her way more attention than you do me now.” He pointed at her again. “You keep… it’s not like it was in the early days. Before Kibora, you were attached to me, you wanted me.” He looked down at her. “And now, now all you do is take care of her. She’s the one in your arms when it should be me. I should be the one in your arms, not her.”
“Meshi, I don’t understand what you’re trying to say, I-” She looked down at Kibora, then back up at him. “I thought you wanted me to save her.”
“I did, yes. And you know what,” Meshi looked this direction and that direction. He then looked back at her. “You did. Congratulations, Aia’easu Alcrueastuea, you saved a girl. Congratulations…”
Aia’easu looked over at Kibora, then back to him, and again back to the girl. A solemn smile came to her face, she then looked back over at him. “What would you have me do? What will make you happy?”
Meshi shrugged his shoulders. “Getting rid of her, I guess. We don’t need her.” He looked over, making eye contact. “You, being a woman, certainly don’t need her.”
“But she needs me…” Aia’easu looked back at her. “If I were to put her out of this flower without the proper people to care for her…”
The image of the early days inside the bulb played in her mind. Seeing Kibora sit against the walling of the bulb, soaking. Fading. Half of her body was pale and gray, frost bitten. She looked miserable, her good eye closed, face stricken in anguish. She was on the verge of losing everything, everything that mattered. Her sight, her ability to walk, her ability to touch. Her life. It was her fault.
It was Aia’easu’s fault that Kibora had even been out there in the first place. That day she found the boy, the younger of the Karikisa’s, she had gotten tired of being cooped up in the flower all by her lonesome, and even in the brazen brass of the snow storm, her body cooled slowly. She simply wanted some fresh air, and because of that, she found a husband. It was almost by instinct probably, that she knew others were near when she opened her flower. The instinct of a mamono was both a story of love and of tragedy.
This exchange was proof. All she saw was the younger boy stalking up to her flower, and she paid only him her mind. Why wouldn’t she, it was only natural after all. He was freezing, and she was there, she had the ability to provide him with warmth, with comfort… If only, if only she had paid more attention, she would have noticed the other silhouette that struggled out of the forest thicket.
She would have noticed the freezing body of another child, the one who was fighting to make a better life for both her brother and herself. She would have noticed, but she was only thinking with her desires, and by the time she realized there was a voice tugging at her in the back of her mind, the damage had already been done.
She was a foot in the grave. Kibora had been left out there, forgotten to freeze. She’ll be alright, one may have thought. Somebody else will save her, another may have thought. But the voice tugged and tugged, was somebody else truly out there? It tugged and prodded at her until she once again opened her flower, and indeed saw a girl left out in the storm, dying.
Kibora didn’t deserve that. She did not deserve to be forgotten, after everything she done for her brother? After everything she had went through, the torture, the pain, the abuse the torment the tyranny of their home! She sacrificed everything to come out here to try to make a better life for not only her brother, but herself! Herself! She paid the ultimate price, because of her. Because of herself, because of Aia’easu Alcrueastuea, Kibora was dying!
She had already killed her once. And though her hand may have taken hold, Kibora was not out of the maws of death just yet, no, she was still holding on. Toss her out!? No, she refused to kill her again.
Aia’easu’s eyes narrowed, gritting her teeth. “No.”
“What did you say?” Meshi looked back at her. “No?”
“That’s right, I will not toss her out. You want my love, you want my attention, you can wait until the representative arrives.”
Meshi leaned forward, somewhat dumbfounded. “Wait until the representative arrives… Aia’easu, it’s been long enough!” He gritted his teeth. “If the representative was really coming, don’t you think she would have been here by now!? The ‘news’ of Kibora reached Makai and got back to us faster than the representative could get here. What the hell does that say?!”
“It says you care more about your boner than you care about the life of your sister,” Aia’easu cradled Kibora closer, now taking a protective stance. “And if you continue with this train of thought for much longer, in order to protect Kibora’s life, who I swore I’d protect, I will have no choice but to throw you out of this bulb.”
“Throw me out…” Meshi leaned forward more. “Throw me out? We’re already ‘one’, I’m part of you, rooted in. You toss me out, that’s automatically a death sentence.”
“As is tossing her.” Aia’easu kept a stern gaze onto him.
Meshi took in a deep breath, nodding his head somewhat, looking between her and his sister, from one face to the other. Another deep breath. “I think I get the picture… I think I see what’s going on here…”
“What?” Aia’easu asked.
“You… you and her, huh? You think that,” he pointed at the two with both of his hands, then crossing and criscrossing them, back to back. “You think that you and her are going to… heh, no. You’re wrong. That can’t happen. She can’t love you.” His head bopped back and forth a bit. “She can’t love you, like I can love you.”
“What, so a little more than a month in the flower, and you think you’re a man now, is that it?”
A nod of affirmation coming from the boy. “Yes, yes I do.”
Aia’easu rubbed Kibora’s head. “You want me to tell you what you are?” She looked down at Kibora, seeing her still knocked out. She grimaced, looking back at him. “You… are just like that man that abused your sister. You don’t care, all you care about is what she can do for you, and now that she can’t provide for you anymore, you don’t care about her!”
“I do care-” He yelled back.
“No you don’t.”
“I’ve cared about her my whole life!” He screamed back.
“No!” Aia’easu’s voice was high, feral anger in her words. “No. You. Do. Not!” Venom tipped her tongue. Her face was contorted, almost terrifyingly so. Her eyes furrowed in a way that was unbecoming of her. The person who was subject of this look would not be far off the mark to say that she did, in fact, look like a monster.
She bared her gritting teeth at him anger. Her nose taking in deep breaths as she held Kibora close, her chest huffing. “You don’t care about her!” Aia’easu screamed at him. “She gave up everything for you! She told you she was sorry when she made the two of you come out here!”
Her hands shook. “She told you… everything she said to you she meant it. When she told you she was sorry, when she told you she wished better for you.”
Aia’easu squinted her eyes. “When she told you she loved you.” Her body shook, so much anger, so much discontent. Was this is the real Meshi, the being that was warped by the constant exposure to that Danny? Probably so. Was this the person that she had taken in as her husband-to-be without so much as personality test? Probably so. Most importantly however, was this the kind of person who was capable of doing away with his own blood?
“She’s your sister!” Aia’easu cried out. “She’s your sister, and you want her gone!”
Meshi wore a stern gaze, his head falling to the nectar, staring deep inside it. The glow of his emerald eyes reflected off the dark pond in waves. The frown on his face only contorted even more. Taking steps back, he fell back against the walling of the flower, and sank down until most of his torso was above the surface.
Aia’easu narrowed her eyes at him more, taking herself a seat. “What was that?”
“You two, you’re together a lot, when I’m sleeping. I hear the sounds, I hear the voices.” He threw his hand up lazily, a second later that same hand sploshing back in the nectar pool. “What’s your relationship?” He finished the question as if he already knew the answer.
Taking in a deep breath of air, Aia’easu looked over at him. She opened her mouth, but a split second later, closed it. Pondering her choice of words. She closed her eyes, taking in another deep breath, before looking back at him, eye to eye. “I love her.” A disinterested laugh left his face. Aia’easu lowered her head, not breaking eye contact. “She’s pregnant with my child.”
“Figures…” He looked aside, a sigh of discontent coming from his plainly upset demeanor. “You’re supposed to be my wife, you told me yourself you’d be, and yet here my sister is pregnant with the child of my wife. That’s hilarious.”
“It’s true.” Aia’easu replied.
The alraune kept a firm gaze onto him. He simply watched the wall, his head moving up and down slowly, but yet rapidly. His eyes occasionally shooting from here, to there, to another place. Perhaps he was coming to terms with how things were, perhaps he was finally accepting that this is just how it is. He shook his head, clearly agitated by it. Aia’easu stroked Kibora’s hair, she was hoping this would resolve soon, it was coming time for her to awaken.
His eyes looked back at her. “I’ll allow it.” Aia’easu’s eyes looked back at him. A scowl on his face. “I’ll allow it.” He nudged his head back. “Be sure to tell the representative from Makai what you did, how you betrayed your husband.” He looked away from her. “She can keep the baby, but when Kibora’s gone, you’re mine.” Aia’easu only closed her eyes, taking in a deep breath. Meshi’s movement could be heard, he walked back over to his usual spot, taking himself a seat against the wall. “I’m sleepy, so I’m going to sleep. You however,” he pointed at her. “You enjoy your time with my sister, because when she’s gone, I’m going to be right there.” He lightly thrusted his finger at her. “Forever.” He bopped his head as he looked away. “Forever… that spot belongs to a man… it belongs to a man…”
His head fell back, the boy now sleeping soundly against the petal walling.
Kibora’s head rested next to Aia’easu, watching the nectar move slowly. The bath was warm, warmer than usual she wanted to say. Kibora’s left eye looked towards the alraune, she could see that the alraune was in a state of deep thought. Her hands, usually stroking her head with so much love and care, were now robotic, making the same motions, over and over.
“What’s wrong?” Kibora asked lightly.
Aia’easu didn’t seem surprised by this question, her robotic movement continued. The white haired girl then felt the plant woman take in a deep breath, it was easy to tell she was perturbed, perhaps even upset. “I’m just thinking about what I’m going to do when you’re gone.”
“I keep thinking the same thing…” Kibora replied. “I don’t…” her eyes closed halfway. “I don’t want to go back to the way I was before, without somebody who loves me.”
“I’m the same way,” Aia’easu replied in a melancholic tone. “I’m the same way.”
Kibora moved herself as close to Aia’easu as she could, the two staring into the pool. “I don’t think I can fall in love with another person like I have with you…” Her eye shimmered, trying to hold back the emotions in her voice and behind her eyes.
“I know…” Aia’easu replied. “But I made my bed… I made both of ours.” She looked down at her. Using the hand that was around her, she brushed Kibora’s hair aside. “You’re going to be fine, I’m sure there’s somebody in Royal Makai who will be happy to have you…”
“And you?” She looked up at her. “Do you really love my brother?”
Aia’easu took in another deep breath, this was one of the few times Kibora had seen the alraune without a smile on her face, more so a look of discontent, of worry. Loss. Aia’easu then turned her head to look at her. “I guess we both just have to take second best, don’t we?”
Kibora struggled, trying to sit herself up, Aia’easu let her do as she could, keeping close to make sure that if anything was needed, she’d be right there. The girl looked over at her. “You can come with me… to Royal Makai.”
“I can’t do that,” Aia’easu smiled softly at her.
“And then, we can be together,” Kibora struggled with her emotions, looking at her with her emerald eye and pale blue eye. “And we can both name our child, and… and…”
“I’m sorry, I can’t,” Aia’easu again placed a hand on her face, brushing her hair to the side. Aia’easu watched her movements, taking the thick strands of hair, placing them behind Kibora’s ear. Such a melancholy face.
Kibora could only look at her in dismay. “Why..?”
“Because, they’re only sending one person. That person is here, for you.” Aia’easu smiled back at her. “They’re here for you, not me. You’re the one who’s been admitted into Royal Makai. I’m…” She closed her eyes solemnly. “Staying right here.”
“That’s not fair…” Kibora couldn’t hold the tears back, she wasn’t crying, but they flowed. “It’s not… fair.” Her breathing was heavy. Aia’easu wrapped her arms around her, once more pulling her close. “It’s… not fair,” Kibora again repeated. “Aren’t mamono always about love? If what you told me is true… you should be allowed passage… too.”
“I’m an alraune, Kibora.” Kibora slowly looked back at her, the tears in her eyes falling. “That means I’m rooted down. Yes, I can uproot myself if I needed to move, but for the most part, most alraune stay where their seed grows. It’s home.” She looked back at her. “I can’t just… leave my home.”
“I am.” Kibora looked at her. Another sniffle. “I am…”
Aia’easu again moved her hair to the side, clearing up more of her face. “Yes… yes you are.” She motioned her head to the side. “I made mistakes, in the whole time you and your brother have been here. I made more mistakes in this one winter than I ever have in the whole of my life. Now, I have to pay for them.”
“But why should I-” Kibora’s voice was silenced, feeling Aia’easu’s hand on her stomach. Kibora looked down, looking at her hand.
“That’s… why.” Aia’easu tilted her head. “For their sake.” Kibora turned back, sitting herself back against the center mast of the flower, resting herself right beside the mamono. The two continued to stare into the warm pool, Aia’easu keeping her arms around Kibora once more.
Stirring awake, Kibora looked around herself, feeling, touching. It was dark, more so than usual. Her eye pulsed, panic setting in for a brief moment, until she touched her skin. Calming, Kibora quickly remembered where she was: inside the flower, not that room. A sigh of relief, she looked around briefly, then gave her focus to the plant girl who rested beside her.
This image surprised her, Aia’easu, asleep. The alraune was asleep. Kibora sighed lightly, happy to finally be able to hear the sleeping sounds that the alraune made. She rested her head lightly against Aia’easu’s bosom, feeling her breath in and out.
She was happy. She was happy, where she was. She couldn’t see out of her right eye, she felt weak. Barely had enough energy to do anything other than to be somewhat lively during her and Aia’easu’s sessions, but… she was happy. And she was sure that Aia’easu loved her back, despite the flaws, despite the weakness, despite being part dead perhaps? She didn’t really know what to call herself.
The inside was still strangely warmer than before, she looked around, a little warmer than usual. She looked over at Aia’easu. She was asleep, she’d let her sleep. Her eyes then looked over to where Meshi usually sat, anchored down. He too was asleep. She could barely recognize him now, he changed, becoming one with the alraune, while she did not.
“I don’t want you to change.” Aia’easu’s voice from back far when echoed in her head. She reached down, rubbing at her stomach. No visual changes, but she felt changed. “You wouldn’t be you… if you changed.”
A just reason, a good reason. Kibora rubbed Aia’easu’s cheek. She looked so tired, worn out. Was taking care of her putting that much stress on her body? Or was it something else. She couldn’t tell, Aia’easu wouldn’t hide something from her, not like that, there was no reason to. Sitting herself up, Kibora looked down at her legs. How long had it been since she stood up on them anyways?
She placed her hand on the center mast, and pushed. It was hard, she struggled, but she felt herself rising. If I can’t walk. If I can’t move. If I can’t do anything. She placed her foot down, planting it into the soft bottom of the bulb. Then everything that Aia’easu’s been doing for me. She began to push with her leg, lifting herself up. She could feel herself struggling. She looked at it firmly. This was the leg that was frozen. Will all be for nothing.
She grimaced, feeling needles shooting up her leg and through the right side of her body. Anytime she moved, she had taken Aia’easu’s help. The alraune was the one that moved her, provided her with strength and with energy. The alraune was the one who helped her live. If she couldn’t do something. Anything. One thing. On her own, then how could she ever expect herself to carry and take care of… Aia’easu’s child?
Her teeth gritted, now straightening her leg, she then balanced herself with her other leg, looking down at Aia’easu as she slept. A smile then broke onto Kibora’s face. She was standing, with both her good leg, and her bad leg. “Aia… easu.” Kibora said lightly. “I’m… standing, see?” She smiled down at her, joyfulness. Thankfulness. “I’m standing, Aia’easu. I’m standing, for you.” Aia’easu’s form slept soundly, a peaceful expression on her face. “For you…”
Aia’easu… she was beautiful. The alraune was beautiful. Perhaps the most beautiful thing in her life. She saved her life. This woman of green skin and pale blonde hair. She was just a huge flower on the outside, but on the inside, she had a heart larger than a human being. She loved more than anything, anybody, she ever met.
She was thankful. This plant, this alraune… helped her see love in a world where she thought there was none. She was thankful.
“I love you…” Kibora said lightly. “I love you, Aia’easu.” She leaned forward slowly, propping herself to keep from falling. She could feel her legs shiver as she moved in, and planted a kiss on the plant’s cheek.
As Kibora pulled away, she smiled down softly at the alraune. Her smile only got wider as she saw the plant woman’s mouth turn into a smile as well. She did it. She finally did it, she said the words she wanted to say for so long now. She finally gave the alraune a kiss. A kiss, on her own. With the strength that she instilled into her. With the care that she instilled into her. She did it. “I love you.” Kibora said in a whisper.
“I…” Aia’easu’s voice started, her eyes opening briefly. “Love you… too.”
“Aia’easu,” Kibora looked down at her. “I didn’t mean to wake you.”
“No, no… you’re fine,” the alraune smiled at her. “I see you’re standing.”
“Yes,” Kibora nodded. “I am. You did this.”
A giggle. “I’m glad,” she then stretched, the sleep in her system being pushed out. “Mmmm, I’m ready for the day, is it just me, or is it warmer in here?”
“Very much so warmer,” Kibora smiled lightly at her, taking to sitting back down in the nectar. “But the nectar is a good warm, I don’t mind it.”
“Well, I’m glad you feel that way, I suppose I should open the flower, get some fresh air in here, don’t you agree?” A nod of agreement from her mate. “Good, opening in three, two…”
Creaking could be heard, the swaying of thick petals motioning and now taking to move twisting and pulling open. As the petals parted more and more, layer after thick layer being undone, Kibora could only be amazed by how well protected from the elements the bulb actually was. As another layer of petals twisted and pulled back, light finally seemed to break through. Kibora closed her eyes tightly, surprised by the sudden assault of sun light she had grown very used to not seeing anymore of.
The sun shined brightly, shining down into the bright clearing. Though not quite spring, it was clear that this was one of the better days of winter, a day which was most likely very precious to Aia’easu in the fact that it was one of the few the sun shined bright and strong.
Kibora pressed herself tightly against the center mast of the flower as the alraune lifted her hands and stood up high, exposing the whole of her upper body to the sun’s radiant glory. Her eyes then opened in comfort, taking in the warmth, feeling much of built in heat vanish. Kibora thought that the air was somewhat chilly, but had a comeliness to it that didn’t exactly push her away either. She hid most of her body inside of the warm nectar, letting her face cool down.
Aia’easu’s radiant amethyst eyes trailed to the forest area, watching the white of snow falling off the green lively leaves of thick trees. Her eyes then looked over to the opening which lead into the thicket where many of her alraune companions thrived, most certainly basking in this gift of sunlight. Her eyes then trailed over, looking down into the luscious pool, and laid on her.
“Wow, Kibora,” Aia’easu’s voice sounded pulling the youth’s attention. “So that’s what you truly look like, in the light, outside of the dark.”
Kibora looked down at her shoulders, seeing the lively peach and cream colors that made her skin. She then looked up back up at the bright green skinned woman standing before her, pink petals and dark green forming what appeared to be gloves which climbed up to just beneath her shoulders, and leggings which rode up to her thighs. She looked so…
The word sounded from both of their mouths. Kibora blushed, hiding herself somewhat inside of the thick pool.
“What are you doing?” Giggled the alraune. “Please, show yourself to me, please.” Her smile then took a less mischievous appearance. “I want to see you. This may be the only chance I get.”
Kibora looked down at herself, once more feeling self-conscious. She slowly began to stand up, feeling her legs struggling once again. She kept her eyes on Aia’easu, the alraune standing over her, watching over her.
She rose out of the pool, looking down at herself. For the first time, in a long time, she felt comfortable with herself, with seeing herself. With somebody else seeing her. Giving Aia’easu back her eyes, she could see the huge blush on her face, and the smile that was spreading. Reaching down, the alraune grabbed Kibora’s arm, taking her by surprise, and pulled her close. Within moments, Kibora was against the alraune, resting on her, the two standing against one another. Together.
“You’re mine, Kibora,” Aia’easu whispered down to her. “You’re mine. Your love belongs to me.” She then planted a kiss on her forehead, causing Kibora to look up at her. “And mine…” Another kiss on the cheek. “Mine belongs to you.” She then closed in, the two once more locking lips.
“What an interesting show,” called a male’s voice.
Pulling away, Aia’easu looked behind her, watching as a dark green skinned boy chomped down on an apple, looking up at the two with glowing emerald eyes. Kibora was taken aback. She recognized him, but at the same time, did not. Like Aia’easu, he had green skin, his somewhat darker, and his body was well toned despite being much younger than herself. Like the alraune, he wore pink petals which covered his lower body as if he were wearing a tight set of sports wear, his legs and arms clothed by smooth green membrane gloves.
“Meshi,” Kibora said.
A huff. “Look at you, sister. You look no different from the day we left home, well, other than being more of a mess than usual.” He took another bite of the apple. His eyes looked from one woman to the other, a smack of his jaw as he licked his top lip. “So… what’s this about love?”
“You already know how I feel about her,” Aia’easu began. “Don’t make me do something I might regret.”
“Like what?” Meshi said, anger, resentment, clearly in his voice. “Fuck me again? Please, you already fucked me when you and her,” he waved his hand rapidly at them. “Did it.”
Kibora looked at Aia’easu, then back at him. She could see there were definitely problems between him and Aia’easu. Did something happen during her time asleep that she didn’t know about?
“Meshi, I…” Kibora looked from one to the other. “What’s wrong?”
“Don’t bullshit me,” Meshi looked at her, slamming the apple into the pool of nectar. “What the fuck, you think it’s cool to take my wife from me?”
“We’ve already had this discussion,” Aia’easu leaned forward. “I will not allow you to talk like that-”
“Or what?” Meshi interrupted. “You’ll toss me out, is that how you monsters are? What, you use what you can and toss out when we’re not good enough anymore.” Meshi looked at Kibora, then at Aia’easu. “I get it, you love her. Great. So what was I, huh? A temp, a fuck toy?”
Aia’easu looked aside, looking up towards the trees. “I swear, I didn’t think things would end up like this…”
“Well they did,” Meshi sternly replied. “You pulled my sister in your flower, and you fell in love. Whoopty fucking do.”
“Meshi,” Aia’easu looked around. “There are… plenty of other alraune in this forest, I-”
“Yeah,” He interrupted. “There are plenty of other alraune, but they’re not you. Just like how she,” he pointed over at Kibora. “Those… damaged goods, are not me.” He pointed back at himself. “You’re telling me, you’d rather take that used and damaged woman, over a perfectly healthy, strong young man, who is going to grow into a great husband, trust me when I say you know that for a fact, look at what you did to me.” He leaned forward even more, his eyes widening.
Aia’easu could be seen unable to hold her tears of frustration back. Her head looked about. “I’m sorry.”
“You’re sorry,” Meshi repeated. He then laughed to himself. “She’s sorry, well.” He looked back at her. “You be sure to remember our deal, when she’s gone, you’re mine.”
Aia’easu shook her head slowly. “I’m…” another sniffle. “I’m sorry. I can’t do that. My heart, it belongs to her.”
“Your heart, belongs to me.” Meshi sternly replied.
Kibora looked from one to the other. Who was this? What… what happened to her little brother over the past… how long? That did not sound like the Meshi she came into this forest with. He sounded possessive. He sounded demanding. He sounded… like him.
“What are you going to do?” Meshi asked, his voice demanding an answer. “What are you going to do, Aia’easu Alcrueastuea… or should I say, Aia’easu Karikisa.” He then scoffed, hating the sound of it. “Which Karikisa, me or her. Probably her I bet, Danny’s dumpster.”
Kibora looked aside, she didn’t know exactly how to feel about those words, she never heard her brother talking like that before. “You still haven’t… answered my question, Meshi.”
He stopped, looking back at her. “Huh?” He then leaned over. “What did you say?” He then grimaced. “What’s ‘wrong’ with me? Look at me! Things don’t get anymore wrong than this!!!” He stared back at her. “What’s ‘wrong with me’, you! You, Kibora! You!… are the thing…” His finger shook. “That’s wrong!”
“I don’t… understand…” Kibora replied. She could feel her heart sinking. “What did I do?”
“It’s nothing,” Aia’easu looked over at him. “It’s nothing. Don’t… pay attention to him.”
Meshi bopped his head a bit. “Sure, sure… go ahead, say those things. At least I’m, being truthful.” He looked over at her. “Kibora, I think it’s appropriate for me to say… you’re a thorn. You don’t belong, I’m the one… she wanted. Not you.” The sister blinked at him, at a loss for words. His eyes then shifted towards Aia’easu, glowing dimly. “As for you, well… you know how that goes.” He shrugged. “Where’s the representative?”
“She’s right here, actually.” Spoke another voice.
Floating high above the ground, a pulsing black shadowy mass of liquid dark stood in the air. A low popping sound, akin to a whisper, filled the air, a low hum. Jutting from her head were inwardly curved horns. Upon her torso was a black tight skin suit, large shoulder bundles which clearly signified royalty, white flowers arranged in a rather irregular crest, adorning the right. Though the shoulders appeared roomy, her arms were tightly wound, from shoulder base to bare hand, with cloth that triangulated to a ring on the ring fingers of both hands. Adorning her lower half, a cut skirt revealing a swim-suit like bottom at the front. Her leggings were white, tight around the feet and legs, but opening near her thighs.
A thick tail trailed, covered in part by the skirt, a white color, the end tipped in the shape of a heart, black shadowy liquid oozing out. Upon her back were thick wings, the top bending being tipped with large horns which easily outsized a full grown man’s fist. Her eyes a deep garnet color, a piercing gaze.
Her eyes looked from one being the next, a pressure seemed to exert from her. The alraune took to a light bow, to which the being waved her off, causing the alraune to once again stand. “That’s nice and all, but I’ve waited for quite a little while now…” She leaned back on her ball of shadows. “Only recently did the snow storm end, and snow storms aren’t exactly too nice to fly in.” Her eyes looked from one being to the other, landing upon the human who stood in the center. “Are you Kibora Karikisa?”
A nervousness crept its way up her back, she didn’t know how to respond. “I-”
“Yes,” came Aia’easu’s voice. She lifted her head, looking over at her. “She is. That is the girl that word has spread of.”
Kibora looked over at Aia’easu as she spoke, she could hear a drop in her voice. Her eyes then widened, looking back over at the winged being who sat over them. The representative. She was the one that was that was going to take her to Royal Makai… She looked back over at the alraune. “Is that?”
“Yes,” Aia’easu spoke lowly, a melancholic tone accompanying her voice. “She is the one who is going to…”
“She’s the one who’s going to give my wife back to me,” Meshi’s voice sounded.
The winged being’s eyes looked over his direction, then back at them. Kibora looked back over at Aia’easu, who only looked down somewhat. “Kibora,” Aia’easu began, “Allow me to introduce you, this is a being that’s known as a Lilim. She is one of the daughters of the Monster Lord, the one who made us mamono what we are now.”
“Yes,” the lilim confirmed. “I am a lilim. We do the work of our mother.” She narrowed her eyes into a piercing gaze, a smile crossing her face. “Did you know that all it takes is one lilim to turn an entire nation from a progress-filled corporation into a paradise of lust?” She giggled to herself a bit. “But that’s just semantics. I may be the daughter of the Monster Lord herself, but there’s so many of us, it’s hard to really keep count. How are you?”
Kibora looked over at Aia’easu, then back over Meshi. “I… don’t know.”
“That makes sense,” the lilim replied. “Every moment you stand outside of that nectar, your body begins shutting down. You see, while your body was being supplied, you weren’t actually getting better. All that was being done, was that the demonic energy from the alraune, from Aia’easu Alcrueastuea, was keeping you from dying, from your losing your eye, or your arm and legs. That’s why even right now… you’re still struggling.” She leaned back. “Without proper treatment, you’ll die, and that’s why I’m here.”
“To… save me?” Kibora asked. To which the representative nodded.
“I’m Shuelna, by the way, two-hundredth and fourth daughter, of the Monster Lord herself,” She looked over at the boy, to which she nodded. He only motioned his head to side, signifying he was ready for all of this to be up and over with. She looked back up into the sky, Winter wasn’t quite over yet, she looked back down. “By the way,” the lilim waved her hand. “Not that we don’t mind nakedness, but that’s going to be no way to fly into Royal Makai, so…” throwing her hand down, a high note sounded, a bright light appearing on Kibora’s body, her back up clothes popping onto her body. A smile came onto the lilim’s face. “Take a good look, Aia’easu Alcrueastuea, this is what your ‘wife’ looks like proper.”
Kibora looked herself up and down, dressed in a dark blue uniform, blazer with a white t-shirt underneath. A red and hazel skirt adorned her waist, and jet black leggings now covered the majority of her legs. Lastly, Kibora reached up to her hair, touching to feel a light knot tied on the back left of her head, a crest she couldn’t recognize now on her.
“That looks beautiful,” Aia’easu smiled at her. “You look wonderful, Kibora.”
Kibora looked over at her, unable to hide her smile.
“Humans are wonderful, aren’t they? They look so good in so many different things. Really, I guess most of us aren’t exempt, but I love them anyways.” Shuelna replied. “And at the same time, they’re terrible creatures.” She motioned her head. “Ever heard of MASK?” Silence seemed to befall the area, Shuelna looking from left, to right. The silence was a clear indicator everyone did.
“MASK?” Aia’easu asked.
“If you don’t know,” Shuelna looked over at her. “Then chances are you don’t need to.” She then looked as Aia’easu was staring at Kibora, the human girl looking up at the lilim, then back at Aia’easu, and back to her brother. She looked at Aia’easu’s eyes, how she looked at Kibora, how she watched her. She sighed. “Aia’easu, I hope you get a good, long look at her.” The alraune gave her attention to the lilim. “Because, well, you know how this works, I’m fairly certain.”
A sigh of discontent left Aia’easu’s mouth. Judging from the look on her face though, while disappointed, the note that left her mouth, and the way she simply sat back, that told the lilim all she needed to hear. “Take it in, remember her, as she is. Once she enters Royal Makai, there is no turning back for her. She’s going to meet the Monster Lord, she’s going to meet my mother. You know what that means, correct?”
Again, Aia’easu slowly nodded.
“That’s good, I’ll give you both a minute or two. Under this Aia’easu, the only reason I don’t give you two much longer to say your final good byes is for her sake. Not because I’m evil or some preconceived notion.”
“I know,” Aia’easu replied. “I… I know.” Her eyes looked back Meshi’s direction, then back at Kibora. “I’m sorry, I wish we had…” A pause. She could feel her throat locking, her tongue straining. It hurt. Her heart… it hurt. “I wish we had more… time together.” Aia’easu took a hold of Kibora’s shoulders, making the smaller girl yelp. “I wish…” She then brought her close, giving her a tight hug. For them, a final embrace. “I wish… I made the right choice… so long ago.”
Kibora lifted her hands slowly, and put them around Aia’easu’s back. Her eyes closed halfway, glazing. Her cream hands rubbed up the green of Aia’easu’s back. Her back… the back of the one who… gave her life. “I want you to…” Kibora’s eyes shimmered. “I want you to let me stay…”
“I’m sorry…” Aia’easu’s voice dropped.
“Please,” Kibora buried her mouth and nose into the alraune’s shoulder and neck, just like she did when they were making love. “Please…”
Aia’easu could only shake her head. “I’m sorry, you know I can’t…”
“Please…” begged the girl. She closed her eyes, not wanting to believe it. “This can’t be good bye… not after everything we’ve… been through.”
Another deep breath. Kibora could feel Aia’easu’s chest expand, how powerful she was. How soft she was. How loving she was. Each movement the alraune’s made, it made her feel alive.
“It’s because of everything,” Aia’easu began. “That we’ve been through, that this has to be good bye.” Aia’easu took in another deep breath, and exhaled. I made so many mistakes. “If you don’t go, everything I did will be for nothing.” She shook her head. “Please… don’t make all my efforts, all of my hard work.” She then pulled away, smiling down at her. “For nothing.”
Kibora couldn’t stop the emotions from pouring through. They showed on her face, but her mouth was silent. No crying, no bawling. Just tears. Tears and words. Words that found themselves locked in her throat, the only words being “Please.” Her eyes then widened, her left eye shimmering. Looking down, she could see that Aia’easu’s hand was resting on her stomach.
A smile came onto Aia’easu’s face. “You’re going to be fine,” She began. “I’m sure there’s somebody in Royal Makai who will be happy to have you…” Her voice sounded as if she were about to shatter.
To shatter? For her, she may as well have been shattering. The only happiness, the only happiness she was ever going to have in her life, and now she had to just… leave? It wasn’t fair. This alraune gave her happiness, she gave her life. She gave her… everything. And not once, not once at all, did Kibora ever give back. It made her feel like glass. It made her want to just break. She felt shattered. “And you?” She looked up at her. “Do you really love my brother?”
Aia’easu lifted a hand, placing it on her cheek, unlike last time, a melancholy smile. Not just Kibora’s loss, but Aia’easu’s loss too. Her loss. Their loss. Aia’easu’s eyes wavered. “I guess we both just have to take second best…” She felt her mouth quiver. “Don’t we?”
The lilim watched, she closed her eyes, feeling surges of emotions going through. It was hard. Stuff like this, certainly hard to watch. She could say for certain that they loved each other, at least that’s what it looked like. Alraune were some of most unlucky of mamono, if only for the fact that they don’t choose their mates. They can’t, they have to take the card that is handed to them. Take what life has to offer. Take what fate has given. The die had been cast, and it landed on snake eyes. She again sighed. Whoever made this world, whatever gods were watching. They were cruel, and she was sure they were just sitting, pointing, laughing. Telling jokes, and having a good time about everything that was going on here.
“It’s almost time to leave,” Shuelna enforced. “Any last requests? If you do have any, voice them now.”
Aia’easu pulled away from the embrace, and looked over to Meshi, who simply stared back, eager to return to his proper place at her side. She then towards Kibora. A light smile grazed her face, she then looked back at the lilim. One last promise to fulfill, and then her work would be complete. “I ask that Kibora be treated as a human, and that she leaves treatment as a human. Lastly, I ask that Kibora live in Makai, as a human. Don’t monsterize her.”
“Easy enough,” the lilim crossed her arms. “Consider it done, anything else?” The alraune simply smiled, and lightly bowed. Nodding, the lilim smiled back, and then gave her attention to the human. “I see, very well then. Well miss Karikisa, are you ready to go?”
“Wait,” Kibora said, looking over at Aia’easu. She then looked back at the lilim. “Can… can Aia’easu come with me… to live in…” She swallowed, nervous. “Royal Makai?”
The lilim looked over at the alraune, who blushed, looking away, then back at Kibora. She then slowly uncrossed her arms, the smile departing from her face. “You know, Miss Karikisa, do you know what the greatest joy for a mamono is?” Kibora slowly shook her head. A small laugh was the lilim’s reply. “That’s kind of funny, because you have the answer.” She then pointed at her. “It’s this. Love. To be with the person she loves. To be with the person that loves her. It’s not children, it’s not the future, all of that comes next. It’s just as important, but it’s not what is wanted most. It’s to be with their loved ones. And for her, that is you.”
She then looked over at Meshi, who stood nearby. “But, that isn’t a joy that is afforded to all people. There are some who make mistakes. There are some who make big mistakes, and more often than not, the mistakes must be paid for. You see, we live in a world where every little thing a person does, more often than not comes around, and hits them hard, like a curve ball. It’s cruel, this thing, and this curve ball, it’s meant to affect the others around them. And now, the ball has struck, and all those who are involved… pay the price. No matter what.”
“No…” Kibora’s eyes shimmered. “It’s… not fair.”
“I’m sorry,” Shuelna looked aside. “I’m… sorry.” She then gave her the focus on her garnet eyes. “Please, say what you truly want to say. Make your last words to each other be… the most meaningful ones.”
Kibora’s eyes opened in disbelief. She looked back over at Aia’easu, who lightly smiled at her. She then opened her arms. It couldn’t be like this, it couldn’t just end… like this. Kibora’s arms shivered, shaking. She then felt Aia’easu’s hands take her, and pull her into an embrace.
The lilim watched as the two gave each other one last hug. Kibora rubbed her face against Aia’easu’s upper chest, the alraune feeling the top of her head underneath her chin.
“I love you,” Kibora said lightly.
Aia’easu lightly grabbed a hold of Kibora, pulling her away. “Please, Kibora. You know how this works…” A light smile came to her face. “Show me…”
Kibora nodded slowly, feeling the alraune draw her near, and then the warmness of her lips. She felt as if she was floating. Feeling the love pouring in with each second they remained connected. Each tug of the strings at their hearts. This feeling, it was love. And this love, this feeling. It was also the feeling of an equally painful truth. It was the feeling, of loss.
The two pulled away. Aia’easu smiling down at her. “Now that… was a kiss.” She smiled down softly at her. “Good bye, Kibora.”
Kibora’s mouth quivered. Why did it have to be like this? Why? It wasn’t fair. It… it wasn’t fair. Why do bad things… always have to happen? Why did she have to suffer losing her father? Why did she have to suffer losing her purity? Why did she have to suffer Danny? And now? Out of all the would be things that brought her happiness and joy? Why? Why… why.
Why did she have to lose the one thing that brought her bliss?
“I’m going to miss you…” Kibora felt the tears start to fall. The sniffling.
“No, no no… please.” Aia’easu smiled back at her. “Let the last thing I see of you, be your smiling face. That’s the Kibora I want to remember. I want to remember the sick girl, the nearly frozen to death girl, that I pulled away from Death’s embrace. I want to remember the girl who could barely utter any words until my care took hold. I want to remember the girl… who fell in love with the plant that not only saved her life… but is also the one responsible for dooming it.” Kibora softly wept, listening to the alraune’s words. “I want to remember the girl who’s face was full of ecstasy, and euphoria when I gave her the ultimate pleasure, the ultimate happiness. I want to remember the girl… who I gave bliss.”
It was hard, they had to leave. Saying final goodbyes, and now she found herself… smiling? She smiled… smiling at the words of the alraune, at the words of her lover. At the words of the person who doomed her, but at the same time. The words of the person who blessed her.
That… that she showed, her smile of melancholy. It showed.
Glazed eyes looked outside the window, looking into the bright orange of the setting sun. She sat back, lying inside of her hospital bed, looking out the window. Staring. Staring into the emptiness. How long had it been now since the treatment? How long had she been here, being helped by the Sabbath Branch.
Royal Makai was no MASK. There was no MASK presence at all, so their medication techniques, their technology, their medicines, potions, procedures. It was much, much vastly different. She could see. She could see very well actually. She saw… everything.
Every night she closed her eyes, she could see her face. Every morning she woke up, she thought she was inside the bulb once more, feeling the warmth of her arms around her body. Holding her, comforting her.
But not anymore. No more would she every experience the warmth of those arms again. The tender care of those hands, the love. A deep sigh. It was almost ridiculous when she thought of the words in that particular order. She fell in love with a plant. A plant… A plant with a human shape on the inside of it, had more love in one hand, than in any person that she ever knew. Kataro was okay, but all he did was give them the direction they needed. He wasn’t the one that lead them into that life or death situation.
She looked down at her hand. Everybody pays. Pays for what? What did she do? What did she do to deserve losing the one thing that made her happy? Why did she have to lose… She gripped her fist, her body starting to shake. As she shook, she then began to cry. Silent fits, silent whispers. As she moved in her bed, men dressed in robes entered the room, and did as they could to calm her down.
The sun shined brightly, though it shined bright, the air was cool. Somewhat damp. She knew this feeling, it was the feeling of the late fall. Amethyst eyes stared up to the deep blue of the sky. A cloudy day, not too cloudy. How long exactly? She didn’t know. She stopped counting the moons as they passed by. She had a rough estimate of how long it had been, as far as the seasons.
Aia’easu’s eyes moved to the forest, though mostly unchanged, the clearing was certainly more colorful than before. The result of her and husband no doubt. He had grown, and he grew well. Sitting out in the sun was the grown form of the eighteen year old Meshi, looking down at the ground. He took to his changed form very well, it didn’t take too long for him to grow accustom to it.
If she had to be pretty clear about things, she’d say he was very happy with how he turned out. She looked aside. Of course he was happy. No more of that place that he had left so long ago, no more of the yelling. No more of his mother. No more of anything he didn’t understand. He got what he wanted.
She looked up to the sky. She loved him. Of course she did. She loved him… that was something she told herself every day when she thought about it. Every time she thought about it. Thought about love. She always had to tell herself that. “I. Love. Him.”
A constant reminder almost. Perhaps a constant reminder of what though, exactly? The reminder of the sun? Not really. The reminder of his love for her. Perhaps the more accurate term was his lust for her. Their seeds never really sprouted, they never bloomed. He couldn’t really figure out why, but for her. Well, she knew. She was saddened that there were no sprouts, there were no other flowers. She was saddened, but she knew why.
It was because sapling, little flowers. They needed love. But for that to happen, there had to be love between both. As far as this couple went. There was no love. She didn’t feel any anyways. She looked towards the ground, simply looking down at the small patch of flowers in a particular area, feeling a slight chill in the air.
The chill. It reminded her, reminded her of something, the event which both made and broke her life. It reminded her of Winter. It reminded her that the time was drawing near to close the bulb, and to let the fragrance out, let the heat build. The time of rest, and the time of sleep. The time meant for those who rest during the winter to be with their loved ones. To rest with them in their arms, and to enjoy being in theirs.
The Winter. Such a melancholy season. The winter, a season which reminded her of the girl she gave her heart to. A season which reminded her of the biggest mistake she made. She stared down at the ground. Hoping. Just hoping, that the image of a young adult female would be laying right there, waiting for her to pick her up, and pull her within. It was so long ago now, that it felt like that was just a dream.
“It’s starting to get cold,” Meshi said, taking a bite of a fruit. “I think it’s time to pack it up. Winter’s coming.”
A hum of acknowledgment from Aia’easu, she stared and stared at that spot. She looked down, entertaining the fantasy before it was time to close up.
“Hey,” Meshi’s voice started. “Do me a favor, and don’t just randomly open the flower this time. It gets cold really fast, and that makes it hard to rest.” He looked up to the sky. “It looks like it’s going to storm soon.” His eyes were shielded by his hand. Looking over at her, he could see that she was just standing there. Blinking somewhat, rubbed his eyes a bit. “Babe?”
Her head perked a bit, looking back his direction. “Yes?” She then quickly looked back ahead of herself, nodding somewhat. “Yes, yes… I’ll be sure to do that. Of course honey.” She looked far into the clearly, her mouth neither smiling nor frowning. Her eyes shimmered somewhat, hope dazzling within.
The darkness of the thicket before her returned not what she wished. No person. No girl. No Kibora. She took a hand and wiped her nose. “I’ll be closing up the bulb in just a little bit.” She sat down inside of the warm pool of nectar, allowing herself to bask inside of it. Her eyes sank. “It is starting to get a little chilly…”
The sound of metal hitting a wood board sounded, a knife cutting through a pepper, cutting through two, a chili pepper and a bell pepper. Her hands worked slowly, cutting the peppers into small cubes. The sun shined brightly through the windows, colorful drapes hanging over as they ambiently changed the color of the light into varying colors of green, red and blue. It was nice, the atmosphere.
A head of white hair then moved, taking the chopped up peppers, and tossing them into a light soup that was now cooking. A chili recipe, something she formed herself. The form of Kibora took in a big whiff, it smelled wonderful. Her eyes lit as she looked down at the lunch she was preparing. Upon her was a light shirt and a beige dress, a cooking apron over her clothes as she was preparing herself and her family their lunch, and most likely dinner as well. She smiled to herself, it was turning out well. Turning about, she looked into what other ingredients she might have needed. It was probably time to go out into the back garden. Making sure her tools were put aside, she then proceeded out of the kitchen, walking towards the back door.
Walking to the edge, a rush, and then came, a strong knock which threw her off balance. Being taken aback, fell back, landing on her butt. Looking down, she could see a small, light green skinned girl hugging against her, her hazel eyes looking up at her.
“Hi mommy!” She said loudly, brightly smiling up at her.
“Ai’kari,” Kibora moaned. Leaning herself forward, she took a hold of the little one, checking for any injuries. She then looked around proceeded to pick herself up. With some struggling, she managed, her right leg roughly stomping down on the wood flooring. A sigh of exasperation. She looked over at the young seedling. “How many times do I need to tell you?” She looked back at the door, then back at the young girl, a light smile coming to her face. “No running in the house.” She then stood up. “Outside is where you play, where’s your brother and your sister?”
“Fall’sha is in the living room,” she pointed over. Kibora leaned over, looking past the door frame and into the living room to see a lightly green skinned boy watching a program on the television. “And- and, Aal’bora is-”
“Right here!” Announced another voice, slamming her body into Kibora’s legs as well. Again, this caused Kibora to fall over, landing hard on her butt. This time, the young woman now lied on her back, taking in deep breaths. She breathed heavily, another light green skinned girl looking up at her. “Hi mommy,” her voice sounded nearly identical to her sister.
Some more feet then sounded, another coming by. Upon stopping at the door frame, her voice called. “Ai’kari, Aal’bora-” A gasp then sounded, the two children moving aside as white leggings passed by, the form of the lilim knelling down. “Oh my goodness, Kibora, are you okay?” She asked, taking a hold of her arms.
Nods of affirmation, more so dismissive, came from Kibora’s mouth. “Shuelna,” she started. “I told you these girls are tricky, they’ll fly out of your sight faster than you think.”
“I know, I know, I’m sorry.” The lilim replied, her head lowering in embarrassment.
Shuelna, the lilim from Royal Makai, came to pick up Kibora since that dreadful day out in the forest. Royal Makai is now where they lived. Because of Kibora’s bad health, her time out in the snow on that fateful day. Fixing her was something not even the magic of the best the Sabbath researchers had to offer, could fix. Shuelna was assigned by the Monster Lord to watch and take care of Kibora, and in the place of the one who gave her children, to help with the raising of the triplets. Because of a lilim’s long life span, this wasn’t really much a problem for her, just another event in her life.
“Are you okay?” Shuelna helped her up, Kibora simply nodding. The lilim looked back at the two girls. “You two, go sit down and watch TV, play in the garden or something…”
The two girls nodded, now taking to walking out of the kitchen. Even though the responsibility was thrust onto her out of nowhere, she accepted it. After all, they were just children, and it wasn’t as if the father had any real say as to whether or not she came or went. It wasn’t her decision. Being an alraune, a plant… she couldn’t just uproot herself and move, especially not to Royal Makai.
Despite everything, Kibora was happy that she was there. And in a way, Shuelna was happy to be there too. She got out of the dark red of the castle walls that made up the Monster Lord’s Citadel. She was able to do whatever she wanted, and out of all of that, made a friend. Kibora was what she wanted to call a friend. Somebody she could talk to.
The triplets. Two girls, one boy. Those were the children that Aia’easu had given to Kibora. She didn’t know exactly how the pregnancy between a plant and mammal worked, but thanks to the guidance of Makai’s local Sabbath branch, and several of the neighboring Sabbaths and mamono-allied towns that lived in the area, she was able to safely deliver all three without much complication. The children, though plant based, didn’t require a flower or a bulb to live in. As hybrids, they enjoyed the benefits of being both plant and mammal.
Though because of how unique their situation was, the Sabbath Branch of Makai wanted to do bi-monthly check ups on the children, make sure nothing unforeseen was going to happen with their health. It wasn’t the first time same sex couples had children, of course not. Alps were very much a thing, so men and men having children was no issue in regards to their specific classification needs, but children between a human and plant? No monsterization? That was unheard of.
She looked back at Kibora, who was now staring out the window. “Do you need anything from the garden, you looked like you were heading that way?” Kibora head didn’t move. Noticing this, Shuelna walked over towards her. “Kibora?”
Reaching over, she then stopped, looking out the window too. Dark clouds rolled in the horizon. “Winter…” Kibora’s voice muttered.
Pulling her hand away, Shuelna took in a deep breath, and lightly patted Kibora on the shoulder. “I’ll… give you some time alone-”
“No…” Kibora said, her voice wavering. “Please… just… stay.” Shuelna looked at her, blinking somewhat melancholic. She looked back at the clouds as the horizon beyond the tree line was dark. She could see Kibora’s mouth didn’t quiver, but she didn’t make any effort to hold back the tears either. “Please just… stay.”
Once more, Shuelna nodded. The two stood, watching, and watching. Kibora’s eyes only looked on, staring deep into the darkness of the clouds. Maybe, maybe if she closed her eyes, and closed them for long enough, she would open them back up… and be inside of the bulb once more.