“Look out below!”
The boy rose up to the surface of the water, only to be immediately splashed in the face by his companions. He laughed, splashing the other boy and their Umi Osho friend with some water as well.
The pond behind the Covet Corner Hotel was lively around this time. The warm summer air, along with the occasional breeze made the waters seem all the more refreshing, especially when it was in the shade of the towering building they called home, but that would come later.
The waters were filled with children, both human and mamono alike, along with their parents and others enjoying themselves. Some were like the Flow Kelp, just simply relaxing as they waded along the surface of the water, while others were like the Mucus Toads, hopping in or out of the water and occasionally deciding to climb the nearby stones and boulders to dive in.
Those who didn’t want to get in the water waited on the shores, playing with the sand or bathing in the sun.
Above them all, sitting on a lone stone with a wooden chair facing the waters was a single Mucus Toad glistening in the sunlight whilst she vigilantly watched over those in her care.
Who were those in her care?
Why, everyone here of course!
She was a member of the hotel’s staff, specifically a ‘lifeguard’.
Her duties were to watch over those in the pond as well as those around it, and to ensure that no one got hurt or drowned.
It was a relatively easy job to do, especially since more than half of the guests were capable of breathing underwater. Really the only worry was if one of them forgot that their companions were the ones that were incapable of doing the same.
Why these waters weren’t enchanted like the ones on the 2nd floor were beyond her, but if that were the case then she would be out of the job. And even worse, she would’ve never known about his adorable uniform that she was required to wear while on duty. This deep red one-piece attire was given to her when she took the job. At first, she thought it looked stupid, clashing with her green skin. But that changed when she got home to her husband, he in fact loved it on her. He said it really made her stand out and complimented her tight little behind. And even though she knows she shouldn’t, she’s been sleeping with him while in uniform ever since. She’s had to get a few extra just to make sure she doesn’t come to work wearing one with a stain on it.
Today seemed like it would be another slow day, just like yesterday… or so she thought.
Her attention was drawn to the center of the water, noting that it was beginning to rise along with a stream of bubbles. Like a hot spring, the water erupted upward into the air but quickly subsided, but the flow did not stop as was evident by the rising water reaching the those by the shore.
This was her second duty that her job required.
Rising from chair, she stretched out her legs before bringing her fingers up to her mouth. She took in a deep breath and whistled out to the crowd as loudly as she could. The slimy mucus that coated her body and fingers causing the high-pitched sound to roll.
“Everyone! Clear out from the center! Anyone who doesn’t want to get wet, pick up your stuff!”
After making that announcement, she reached her arms out to the sides and bent her knees. She subconsciously muttered ‘Ribbit’ under her breath just as she leapt into the air so as to dive into the waters of the pond.
The water stung her upon entering, although her splash was minimal. It seemed that something else in the water was bothering her, but that had to wait.
Opening her eyes, she looked around in the depth of the pond due to translucent lens her species shared. Spinning in place, she eventually spotted the source of the trouble.
A lone man was flailing in place, the weight of his clothes keeping him from rising any closer to the surface, only to be moved by the current made by the open gate he most likely caused. Her webbed feet propelled her towards him with great ease, allowing her to grab him in one fell swoop so as to pull him up to the surface.
Below her she could see a pair of Mersharks pushing the gate to close.
In a matter of seconds, the two made it to the surface, the unknown man gasping for air whilst coughing up some water he had taken in. He tightly gripped his savior, as he was certain he’d sink down below if he didn’t.
Seeing that he was breathing, she proceeded to swim the two to shore, where several onlookers curiously peeked at him as he was panted on dry land.
“Who is that?”
“Are they alright?”
“This again? Swear this is the third time this week.”
“Everyone please,” announced the Mucus Toad, “Give the man some space.”
The crowd opened up, allowing for some extra space to form in the center, but refused to leave until their curiosity was satisfied.
“Jeez…” She sighed, licking her lips before-
Why were her lips salty?
Better yet, why did her arms feel and look dry even though she just came out of the water?
’That would explain the stinging’
She took a mental note of that before squatting down to the man who was sitting on the sandy shore of the pond.
Once more, she involuntarily let out a ribbit, grabbing the newcomer’s attention just as she was about to begin.
“First thing’s first, are you alright?”
The unknown man was still breathing heavily, but was able to nod between his pants to her question.
“Good. Secondly, what happened?”
“I-I don’t know. One minute I’m fishing, next minute a goddamn whirlpool is sinking the boat I’m on with everyone in it!”
A few murmurs could be heard from the crowd along with a jingle from coins hitting each other as they fell into the hands of a smug danuki. It appeared that she had correctly guessed this man’s response…
“Whirlpool? Hmm…ri-” she caught herself before croaking.
It was a childish habit of her species to croak, one that she never fully grew out of.
“Ahem… Excuse me. Now, you said a whirlpool, correct?”
“Yes. A whirlpool.”
“Hmm… that’s odd. You’ll probably have to talk to Gramps about that. Sarah!” she said, turning her head to the crowd as she yelled out the name.
The bikini clad raccoon-woman jumped in place, the coins she had just poured into her purse audibly rattling at her sudden motions.
“Y-yes?” she stammered, quickly fumbling her purse into her tail as she stepped towards the two.
“Could you take him to get dried out and then show him to Gramps?” the lifeguard asked, standing back up whilst readjusting her one piece to properly cover her behind.
“O-of course I can do that Sam!”
“Good,” she responded, extending a hand out towards the newcomer, “if you could please follow her. She’ll get you dried out and have you talk to the boss so that we can sort everything out and hopefully get you back if that’s what you’d like.”
The man wasn’t entirely sure what to think of the situation. It’s not everyday you nearly die and somehow end up somewhere else.
Taking a hold of Sam’s hand, he pulled himself up, shaking off as much as the sand as he could that was stuck to him before thanking her and following the racoon woman.
The danuki didn’t say a word as he followed her to the mysterious monolith of a building before them. Her back was as straight as an arrow, and her lips sealed tighter than a coffin. It wasn’t until the two were no longer in direct line of sight of pond that she breathed a sigh of relief and relaxed her shoulders.
“Phew… I thought she was gonna take my purse for betting by the pond again.”
Not really knowing how to react, he just blinked at her.
“By the way, I’m Sarah.”
“Hi… I’m Allen.”
The two continued to walk down the stone path, passing the man-made creek that led towards the hotel. As they continued closer to the hotel, the wall along the creek grew taller and taller until abruptly ending, the creek continuing its path as an underwater tunnel of sorts.
“Where does that go?”
Sarah leaned over the edge to look down at the water just as a lone Kappa made it to the wall and dove under the surface into the tunnel.
“Ah, that goes to… the second basement level? I think… might be third. It’s one of the lobbies the hotel has. It’s really more to accommodate aquatic mamono since they can’t just walk in through the front door like the rest of us.”
“It’s quite surprising in all honesty. I, myself, have never seen a place that would do something like that. Especially since it isn’t something you’d normally think about unless you see it happening.”
“Yeah. I know by where I lived, it was usually Nereids or some species that could manage to go on both land and water that would usually get something for one of their more fishy friends.”
“I know my sister would occasionally sell to merfolk. Since they couldn’t get out to get what they wanted themselves, they’d pay her a bit extra just to get what they wanted.”
The two arrived at a small attachment by the giant building, seemed to be about the size of small home. By it were two doors, one which led into the attachment whilst the other led into the hotel, and in between the doors was a single woman dozing off in the shade.
Now, she was more dirt and stone than woman, but the gnome wasn’t really concerned with what anyone else was thinking at the moment. The only portion of her that seemed human was from the neck above, as for the rest of her seemed to have been buried under a mound of dirt.
Sarah cleared her throat, loud enough to make the dirt woman shift in her spot and crack open an eye.
Upon seeing the two she let out a yawn, the mound shaking and falling apart as she stretched out her arms which were made of stone. Her shapely body no longer covered in the blanket of soil she had made, it could be seen that she was sitting on a stone seat (whether it was made from her or was a chair that was always there, no one could really tell).
“Morning Ana, your cousin not working today?”
The elemental nodded, yawning one last time while rubbing her eyes.
“Yeaaahhh… she said she was feeling a little muddy this morning. I said I’d cover for her,” she yawned, “I wish I knew last night though… would’ve gone to sleep earlier…”
“Good night… rough morning.”
Sarah chuckled under her breath before nodding towards Allen.
“He needs to get dried out.”
The gnome yawned once more, opening her eyes as wide as she could as if though it would help wake her up and pointed to the ground in front of the door.
“Just stand right there. The door will open and everything will start going automatically. Just don’t try to interrupt the girls inside.”
“Just stand still and don’t do anything.” Sarah responded.
Allen stepped in front of the door, his clothes still dripping with water onto the ground.
“I’ll meet you on the other side.” Sarah told him, walking towards the other door.
Allen was cut off by the sudden jerk of the ground moving on its own. The door in front of him swung open, and he was brought into the new room.
It was… oddly empty.
The attachment consisted of a mostly open space, save for the very center of the room which held a table along with four women seated at it. Three of these ladies held a set of cards in their hands, the last one held the rest of the deck, all while a large stack of what seemed to be coins were piled in front of them all. An Undine was the first he saw, to her left was a regal-looking woman made of ice known as an Ice Queen, and to her right was fiery inferno known as an Ignis. Across from her, seated on a stool so as to properly reach the table was a greenish girl better known as a Sylph. What were they doing here? Were they gambling?
He wanted to know more but was distracted by the odd sensation running down his leg. Looking down, he saw a stream of water coming from him and moving towards the group in the middle, specifically towards the Undine. But, a fair distance away from her was a large linear drain running across the floor, in which all the water leaving his clothes fell into.
He wasn’t exactly sure how, but it was as if though she were wringing his clothes dry without actually doing so.
The floor continued to inch him along the borders of the enclosure, where he was greeted by a wave of heat. This was most likely the Ignis’ doing. Even so, what struck him as odd was the fact that it seemed that the fire woman didn’t seem to be doing so on purpose, as for she was too concentrated in the game to have even noticed him. What was worse was that he was too far to even see what exactly was going on.
Allen felt as if though he were being boiled alive, the air becoming dryer than a summer day without any wind. As he began to fan himself with his hand, the heat had suddenly intensified in a matter of seconds.
Looking towards the Ignis, he could see the girl beside her reaching out to the center of the table, pulling in the large piles of coins that had accumulated from their game, leaving everyone else with very meager funds. Perhaps that was the reason for the rise in temperature, she had likely gotten angry with herself for losing.
Luckily, he would only have to bear with the heat for a few moments as the floor continued to move him. Between the Ignis and the recently richer Sylph, the heated air began to blown towards and past him. Allen had to close his eyes for this, for the wind was too much, even if he squinted. While his eyes were closed, it felt as if though he were spinning in place as the heated wind began to blow from all around him.
Soon the temperature returned to normal, but gradually became colder as time went on. A rather welcomed change from the desert-like heat from before. The air also had stopped blowing like a storm, allowing him to open his eyes once more to see where he was in the room. He was almost to the exiting door of the room, this section of the room being noticeably chillier than the rest, but nothing too unbearable.
Turning his head to look back at the group, he could see the Ice Queen dealing out a new set of cards to everyone so as to start the next round. Right when the round was about to begin, the door in front of him opened and he was led through it to meet the awaiting danuki.
“There you are. You dry enough? Or do you think you have to go in for another run?”
Considering how odd the entire experience was, Allen hadn’t exactly noticed that he was actually dry now. He patted his clothes down to check for any wet spots but couldn’t find any.
“I think I’m good.”
“Perfect. Now please follow me.”
The two walked down the hall finally heading towards the lobby.
The lounge was busy as usually, families and individuals coming in and out through the several doors that lined the far walls, the succubi all happily chatting in their designated spots, husbands and roommates making it out of intensive treatment after a particularly rough night… for a few, the first of many.
Gramps was finishing up with the group of guests that felt the dire need the express their dissatisfaction at the lack of a bedwarmer, many of which did not appreciate the joke of having extra blankets delivered to their rooms.
After a few heated responses from them, they eventually left.
Things were always lively here.
He reached over to the end of the counter where a plate of snacks sat, one of the restaurants in the hotel had made too many and decided to leave it in the lobby rather than have it go to waste. That, and it was free advertising for them. Knowing that this moment of calm wouldn’t last long, Gramps decided that now would be the best time to try them out.
Turning to face the source of the voice, Gramps was greeted with the sight of danuki in swimwear leading a man he had never seen before.
“Hey Sarah, what’s up?”
“We got a new guy come in through the back. Sam told me to take him to you.” She responded, gesturing to Allen.
“Ah, I should’ve guessed as much. Alright, I’ll handle it from here. Thanks Sarah.”
Sarah nodded to both Gramps and Allen before returning in the direction she had come from, leaving the two alone at the front desk.
“So, welcome to the Covet Corner Hotel. It’s not that common for regular joes like us to come in through the pond entrance, so do you mind telling me how that happened Mr…?”
“Allen, alright. I’m Gramps.” He greeted, extending his hand out to the newcomer.
Allen shook his hand, almost feeling frail at his iron grip.
“Ah yes… I’m not entirely sure how I got here.”
“Well, just explain what you remember.”
Allen explained how he had been fishing when the boat with everyone on it had been taken down by a sudden whirlpool. The boat was torn apart, he and the rest of the men were taken underwater by the current, and by the time he was able to see what was going on anymore he was here.
“Hmm… what were you fishing?”
Allen froze stiff when he was asked that.
“U-uh, nothing worth noting. Just fish.”
Gramps expression grew stern as he repeated himself.
“What were you fishing? Mermaids?”
“No! That’s disgusting! They’re our top customers! Even if we were desperate for their blood, it’s not hard to come by. We’d never do that!”
Gramps relaxed his expression a bit but asked again nonetheless.
“As glad as I am that you weren’t doing that, I still need to know what you were looking for. It might explain how you got here.”
Allen was nervous but leaned in over the counter to whisper what it was.
“Golden Dragon Carp.”
“Keep it down! Golden Dragon Carp. You know! That fish that people say used to be able to turn into a dragon. We found one a few weeks ago. It was huge news around town. An Otohime even came up and offered to buy it for a small fortune. But the damn town officials confiscated it from us saying it was illegal to fish an ‘endangered’ species. Bastards probably sold it themselves.”
“Golden Dragon Carp?”
“Shhh! Don’t just say it out loud. But yes. We didn’t even think it was real, since no one had ever seen it. We wouldn’t have found out if it wasn’t for one of the merfolk telling us about it. So, we decided we’d go back to the same spot and try to get another one or two and just sell it directly to the Otohime before anyone else could find out. Once we did, we’d pack up and leave town just in case, with enough to start a new life anywhere we’d like.”
“… Golden Dragon Carp? That yellow koi looking fish with a blanket for a tail?”
“Ye-yeah? How’d you know?”
Gramps let out a laugh when he heard his response. Holding his stomach as he did so, making several guests look towards the counter for a brief moment until continuing with whatever it was they were doing.
“Pfffhaha! You’ve been duped!”
Gramps kept laughing, unable to hold himself from what Allen had told him.
“Golden Dragon Carp, that fish isn’t valuable. At all. Haha. It’s a common pet for Otohime and other deep-sea dwellers. I mean, it’s pretty rare to spot them in any regular old fishing spot, but those guys are everywhere.”
“But how? What the hell are you talking about.”
“Hahaha. Just give me a second.” Gramps calmed himself before continuing, “Okay, I’m good. So… you guys were duped. I will bet you anything, ANYTHING, that that Otohime that just conveniently went up and offered a small fortune for that fish was probably part of the whole thing. Likely that she just got some random one and had one of her servants to go put it in with your catch. When you came in with the whole announcement, who else was ready to put down that much money for a fish?”
“That’s insane. What about the whirlpool? How do you explain that?”
“She can make whirlpools on a whim.”
“That’s… no. Can it?”
“J- Bu- Why though?”
“I can only guess… but probably to get a few guys for her girls. It’s pretty common for Scylla to snatch a few guys taken under by a Charybdis, she probably just used the same method. Not only that, but who’d go after a group of fishermen that tried to break the law and catch another endangered fish to sell?”
Allen was stunned.
Had he and his group really been tricked that easily? Why hadn’t any of the other merfolk told them anything? Were they in on it or did they really not know either?
“I know this is a lot to take in… but I don’t think you’ll be able to go back either.”
“Well, mostly because as soon as you get back people will probably ask what happened to the ship and everyone else on it. And I doubt ‘We went to try to catch that fish you told us not to catch’ isn’t going to bode over very well with them. In fact, some of the officials may have known what was going on, and you showing up again would definitely give them a problem.”
Allen gripped the sides of his head as he rested his chin against the countertop of the front desk. What was he going to do now? He was prepared to leave once they caught the damn fish, but now it didn’t seem like he had a choice to begin with. Worse was the fact that he wasn’t given a cut of the profits he was expecting in order to fund it either. Was there anything he could do?
For Gramps, this wasn’t new territory. He could tell what Allen was thinking, as it was the same expression that befell several others when arriving.
“Look on the bright side.”
“How is there a bright side to this?”
“Well, you ended up here. And luckily for you, we have more than enough rooms open for you to stay in.”
Gramps raised a finger just as Allen was about to interject.
“Before you say anything, you don’t have to worry about payment. First night is free. And if you’d like to stay longer, we can help you get a job right here to cover for your room.”
Allen blinked in surprise.
This was… an oddly generous offer. He almost wanted to ask if Gramps was working for the Otohime, but even if he was, did he really have a choice?
“Thank you. I’ll take you up on that.”
Gramps reached for the box of clear cards, pulling one out and handing it to Allen.
“Your room key… and before you ask, just give it a second.”
“This is a room key?”
As if though waiting for him to ask, the key card exploded in color, shifting and changing with each passing second in random order, making it impossible to guess which color it would become next.
Unbeknownst to him, a small crowd had begun to form behind him. To Gramps, it seemed odd not having either the Minotaur or the red-haired Succubus in the crowd anymore, since their reactions were his main source of entertainment during the usual room selection process.
Gramps couldn’t help but sigh as he reminisced.
That was the way of the hotel… eventually everyone finds someone.
Turning to check on the newcomer, he could see Allen still holding out his card, stiff as a board and red as an apple. Not that anyone else could tell, mostly due to the towering cyclops standing directly behind him whilst resting her ample bosom atop of his head. The crowd was forced to split in order to keep the card in view, upon which they could see why the usually reserved cyclops had finally stepped forward.
Her room card, which was peeking out from her the chest pocket of her overalls, was a pristine white, meanwhile Allen’s was jumping back and forth between white and a few other colors.
Things never do change.
Her eye stared down intently on his card, waiting for it to finalize its decision. If he were assigned to her room, she would waste no time in wrapping him in her arms and taking him up there immediately… but if he wasn’t… she would at least enjoy the temporary relief of having used him as a table. Her back was killing her.
The card continued, removing one color at a time, reducing the size of the crowd little by little until it was only himself and the cyclops left. In this time, he had not moved a muscle. Gramps wasn’t entirely sure if it was out of fear or embarrassment.
With one final shift, the card finally stopped on pink, its color becoming dull to signify that it had settled to that assignment.
A heavy sigh could be heard escaping from the cyclops towering over Allen, but no other signs of her displeasure could be seen. Lifting herself off of him, she left without saying a single word.
As soon as she left, Allen stretched his neck to one side and then the other, audibly cracking whilst doing so.
“Jeez, a bit top heavy, isn’t she?”
“If you had turned around, you would’ve seen that she was actually more bottom heavy.”
Gramps chuckled at his reaction.
“Either way, good news. We found you a job.”
“Wait, what? I thought you said you’d help me find one if I wanted to stay any longer. The card just stopped changing colors 10 seconds ago!”
“Normally… yes. But, you got assigned to a special floor, where the rules are a little different. I’ll explain on the way. Lilly!”
Off in the distance behind Allen, he heard the voice of a girl respond.
Turning around, he spotted the young Alice known as Lilly, her golden hair swaying in the wind as she flew above the crowd in the lobby. In a matter of seconds, she landed behind the counter right beside Gramps, smoothening out the wrinkles in her blue dress before looking back up at the old man.
“Could you please stand by the counter for me while I show this gentleman to his room?”
Lilly placed a finger to her cheek and looked to the side.
“I don’t know… maaaayyyyyybbbbbbeeeee.”
“Hmph, Lilly. Pleaaaassssseeee.” Gramps responded.
“Of course silly!”
As Lilly dragged a stool to the center of the counter, Gramps came around towards Allen.
“Please follow me.”
Allen obliged, allowing Gramps to lead him to the side of the lobby where he pressed the button to call for the elevator.
“How do I explain this… Here in the hotel it’s actually quite normal for us to give residents the first night free, mostly because the majority of people end up here by accident and don’t have enough to pay for the night to begin with. Oh, elevator’s here.”
This wasn’t the first time Allen had seen an elevator, but it was a bit of a surprise that he was able to see another one in his lifetime. The two entered the empty space as Gramps continued with his explanation after pressing the button labelled ‘5’.
“Now then, as I was saying, those who want to continue to live here tend to get a job here in order to do so on any of the floors. The floor you were assigned to is a little different from the other floors. In that most of the rooms on that floor is the work area for most of the residents. So, if you have a room up there, you automatically have a job. Makes the whole process a lot easier.”
“How does that work? No one’s even asking me if I’m good at whatever this job I’m getting is.”
“Eh, don’t worry about that. I’m certain she’ll make up for anything you’re lacking.”
The elevator doors opened, the cool air becoming warm and heavy. It wasn’t overwhelming, but rather just surprising, since it felt as if though he were outside again.
Stepping into the halls made Allen realize that not only did it feel as if though he were outside, it even looked like he was… in fact, he was pretty certain that he was indeed outside again. But where were they?
The scenery was that of a decadent garden, one that could be compared to that of which was owned by the royal family themselves. The marble topped walls that reached just below the hip separated the paved stone pathways before him and the evergreen which seemed ready to overflow at any moment.
The skies, although cloudy, were sunny, allowing for a white ambient light to fill the area. It was one that would neither prove itself to be blinding, nor allow itself to be considered dim or dreary, almost serene in a sense.
If one did not deviate into the smaller paths along the way, continuing straight ahead, a large circular fountain could be found at the center of the main crossways. The image of an Undine was carved into stone standing above several others, their jars feeding water into the basin below. Assuming one could tear themselves away from their beauty, they could spot the several other ceramic pots that sit at the center of the fountain, between them all. But, only the truly attentive would notice the hidden detail left behind by the artist, as for one of the jars held a pair of eyes peeking through its open lid.
A work of art such as that would easily cost a fortune, if you could even find someone capable of producing it.
How in the world did they end up here?
“Welcome to the fifth floor, also known as the gardens. Now, to your room… I actually don’t remember asking for it. Do you mind filling me in?”
“Woah woah woah! Now I know I saw more floors in that elevator, how is this on the fifth floor? We have to be on the roof or something.”
Gramps chuckled at his reaction.
“Never gets old… Alright, normally I wouldn’t say this, but go ahead and touch one of the plants.”
Allen raised a brow at his statement, but nonetheless reached his arm out to reach for one of the several ferns that lined the sides of th-
Retracting his hand and grabbing a hold of his finger, Allen felt as if though he ran it straight into a wall.
“Probably should’ve told you to go slowly.”
Allen looked questioningly at Gramps, but complied, reaching his hand out palm first towards the plants, slowly this time. Right as he was about to reach the closest plant, he could feel something pushing up against his hand, as if though there were an invisible wall in place. He ran his hand against the wall he could not see, showing that it was consistent with its placement.
“What is this?”
“It’s a wall.”
Allen turned to face Gramps with an annoyed expression, causing him to let out a chuckle.
“Hehe, well I’m not lying. It is a wall. It’s just charmed to give it the appearance of anything we decide. Basically, just an illusion.”
“Just an illusion? This looks too real to just be an illusion…”
Back in town, there had once been a travelling illusionist that had passed through and put on a show to help fund his travels. He had shown everyone all sorts of tricks, such as changing the color of his clothes, making flowers appear out of nowhere, and putting on a play using shadows no normal man could conjure. But regardless, if one closely watched his tricks they could easily spot that something was not quite right with it, as if though a cloak had been thrown over where he was casting his illusions. This was not on the same level, this was visually indiscernible from reality itself. How was this possible?
“Don’t think too hard about it. You won’t have time with everything else. Now, your room number please. I’ll explain everything I can along the way.”
“Oh…” Allen was still captivated by how the hall seemed as if though it were real, but managed to follow Gramps request, “212.”
“That should be close. Alright, please follow me… and stop touching the wall. If you leave a smudge it ruins the whole effect.”
Tapping it one last time, Allen stepped away from the oddity and followed Gramps down the garden path.
First Day On The Job
“And this is where you’ll be working for now.”
The two arrived at a set of double doors with a sign stating “Entrance” above them. There were no other doors near it, all the ‘residential’ doors seeming to have been placed another hallway over.
Gramps had shown him where his room was located, it was along Fern and Tulip. The halls were lined with a single variation of plant life for every row and column, it seemed to have been organized in that way to make it easier for others to find whichever room they were looking for.
He didn’t have much time to look at his room, but he did manage to question why the floors in the room were covered in grass to which Gramps replied with “Guest requests.” This hall in particular was lined with bramble…
“You probably won’t be coming here too often, but we won’t know for sure until we get your assignment.”
“And what would my assignment be?”
“I don’t know.” Gramps shrugged.
Opening the door, Gramps gestured him to enter before following him in.
The room was small and fairly bare. It seemed like a waiting area of sorts, having a few chairs up against the walls, and a desk where a small bug-woman with golden plating was busily organizing papers.
“Oh, hello. How are you t-” she paused for a moment when seeing Gramps, “Gramps? Hello. It’s a surprise to see you up here.”
“Hello Tammy,” Gramps greeted with a smile, “just dropping off a new employee is all.”
“Oh, hello there. I’m Tammy. Welcome to the Garden’s Distribution Center. I take it that you were assigned to live on this floor?”
“May I see your room card please.”
Allen was a little confused about the process but pulled out his card and handed it to the olive-skinned Khepri.
Laying the card down on the table, she grabbed a stack of papers and began searching through the pages for his room number.
“2…1…2… 212… 212… Here we are. You are assigned to… Fera.”
“Remember that flower we saw in the middle of your room?” Gramps tuned in, “That’s her.”
“Yes, Fera, she isn’t due to be pulled for a few more days. She’s already set but we’re just trying to see what the effects overripening may cause as well as if they’re consistent and it would be best wait until the scheduled day.”
“So he’s set?”
“Almost… since we can’t have him do his main duties we’ll show him some of the other rotating duties that he may have to do.”
“Alright then,” patting Allen’s back, Gramps turned around to head out, “take care of yourself. If you need anything, I’ll be in the lobby. And welcome to the Covet Corner Hotel.”
With that, Gramps left the two alone.
“Now then, I didn’t catch your name. What was it?”
“Oh, I’m Allen.”
“Allen…” she murmured, scribbling his name down on the list besides Fera.
“Very well Allen, if you could please follow me. I’ll show you around the facility and then we’ll see what we can assign you to.”
Placing a note on the desk stating that she’d be back shortly, Tammy led Allen to the door besides the counter. Stepping through, Allen wasn’t quite prepared for what he saw.
On the ground, in the air, all around there were insect women busily going about with their duties no differently than if they were in a hive. Most of them were going back and forth between the shelves or stands to pack these items away in large boxes. These boxes were then moved to the opposite wall and labeled.
“Welcome to the shipping area. Here we pack our products according to our customer’s needs and then have it either shipped to them or picked up here.”
It reminded Allen of port, but they never had workers who could fly around to complete tasks. Although mamono were common were he lived, there weren’t many harpies nor insect-girls that lived in the area, let alone frequent the port.
His eyes were too busy staring above that he failed to notice himself walking right in the way of one of the workers.
“Hey idiot!” an angry honeybee yelled, pushing him aside with the box she was carrying, “Get out of the damn way!”
Although her wings were buzzing, she did not lift herself off the ground, rather she continued to stomp past him and continue on her path.
“Oh don’t mind her,” another bee chimed in from above, “she used to be a hornet not too long ago.”
“Come along Allen, lets not get in their way.”
Tammy showed him the several areas of the facility, such as the refinement center, the mills, the boilers, the candy making area… wait, what?
“You guys make candy?”
“Yes, amongst several other products.”
“Honey, roots, syrups. Our main exports are candy and honey.”
“… I know nothing about the two. What am I supposed to be doing here?”
“Oh don’t worry, you won’t need to know too much, and your coworkers will help you out with your duties.”
“And what exactly are my duties?”
“Whoever is in charge will explain. Speaking of which…”
The two arrived in another office, where a dark-haired human woman in long-sleeved attire could be seen organizing her own mess of papers.
“OH!” the woman jumped, “Tammy, don’t surprise me like that. Good morning… who is this?”
“This is Allen. He just assigned to this floor earlier today. I was hoping you could have him do something easy so that he could get used to it and explain how the shifts work.”
“A new hire? Actually, this is perfect timing! I had a double callout for delivery and I’ve been trying juggle around people to get it done.”
“Good, I’ll leave him to you then. Welcome aboard Allen.”
Saying her goodbyes, Tammy left back out the way the two had come.
“Will Gina please come to the assignments office, will Gina please come to the assignments office.” A familiar voice echoed across the facility.
Allen turned around to see that Cheryl was speaking into an unknown device that made her voice heard to everyone.
“Oh yes, I forgot to introduce myself. I’m Cheryl, I am one of the managers here in this facility. Now, your name was Allen, correct?”
“Good, let me just write you down here… and what room are you in?”
Pulling out a list of her own, the plump little woman began to scroll through the numbers until arriving at the one he had stated.
“Hmm… Fera. She isn’t due for a few more days.”
“Yeah, Tammy said the same thing.”
“Oh did she now? That’s no surprise. We both need to be aware of these things in order to make the proper assignments. Now then, for your first assignment.”
Pulling out a basket from behind the counter, she placed it in front of him revealing that it was filled with treats of all kinds. Lollipops, jawbreakers, mints, syrups, hard candy, jelly beans, and other sweets that he could not recognize.
“You will be delivering these to a very important… guest of the hotel.”
“Are you sure I should be delivering thes-” he began, being interrupted by the sudden realization of how heavy the basket really was.
“What the-?” Grabbing a hold of the basket with both hands he was able to comfortably lift it. “This thing weighs as much a small child; how much candy is in this thing?”
“Oh just the usual amount.”
Allen almost wanted to question how this little woman managed to lift this basket up onto the counter with such ease… let alone with just one hand. Before he could do so, the door besides the counter opened, allowing a red-haired woman made of mud and stone to step through.
“Ah, perfect. Allen, this is Gina. Gina, this is Allen, he is a new hire which will be accompanying you for the delivery.”
The golem made no facial remark, simply nodding towards Cheryl and then turning to face Allen.
“Good morning. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
Her tone was dry, lacking any sort of emotion behind it, as if though she were incapable of it.
Stepping forward, she approached Allen and extended her arm towards him, opening her hand up to him.
“Would you like me to carry that?”
“Oh, yes!” Allen replied, managing to position the handle into her hand.
She firmly grasped the basket and lifted the great weight from his arms, carrying it with relative ease as if though it were empty.
“I assume that I will be responsible for instructing him on regular duties that are assigned to those on the rotating shift as well as any questions he may have. Is that correct?” the Golem asked, turning towards Cheryl for the answer.
“That is correct Gina.”
“Very well. Please follow me Allen.”
“Alright… bye Cheryl.”
“Bye-bye for now.” She waved, returning to her papers.
Gina led him to the third door within the room, showing that it was connected to directly to the halls outside. After he had stepped through, she turned and pointed at the keycard slot beside the handle.
“This is the primary entrance used by those on the rotating shift, as when you are on duty you will have to report to Cheryl for your tasks as well as your group assignment. You will use your room key to unlock the door.”
She retracted her hand, raising it to her forehead so as to slide her bangs of her short hair aside and prevent them from obscuring her vision.
“Our current location is at the northern end of citrus hall. The facility takes up the entirety of the Northwestern corner on this floor. It begins at the corner of Citrus and Bramble. Now, we will be returning to the lobby and heading outside to make this delivery, please try to maintain a similar pace to mine.”
Gina began to walk away with Allen in tow, explaining the general function of the rotating shift, as well as how this floor and the facility functioned with one another. In essence, each room had a residential plant-woman, primarily Alraunes and Mandragoras, but there were others. He asked if there were any Dryads on this floor, to which she said no. When asking why, she simply responded by asking if he had ever tried moving a tree…
She continued explaining that the primary duty of those assigned to this floor is to help promote growth and production of certain materials that these girls naturally make.
They had passed several Honeybees along the way, all differing in one form or another. Allen knew of the typical black and yellow pattern, but some lacked this pattern at all, replacing it with a solid black or with gray stripes instead of yellow. Some were pale, some were tanned. Tall, short, lively or dull, Allen didn’t know there were so many variations.
Spotting his interest, Gina continued with her explanations, primarily about his coworkers just as they arrived to the elevator.
“As part of the rotating shift, you will interact with several others on this floor as well as those from third floor. Primarily Honeybees and Hornets.” She paused to select the button designated for the lobby floor, “Honeybees have a natural affinity for assisting in the production of what we require. They are also a highly efficient workforce when accompanied by others.”
“What about Hornets?”
“Security. They are less distracted than Bees during the extraction process and ensure that no one steals any of our products.”
The elevator doors opened, revealing the bustling lobby. A man and a Kakuen that were standing in front of the elevator stepped aside to allow the two to leave before entering the elevator themselves.
“We will be heading outside.” Gina stated, walking towards the front door… whichever one it was amongst the several doors.
“But, aren’t we supposed to be taking this to a guest in the hotel?”
“Incorrect. We are taking this to a guest OF the hotel, but she does no live IN the hotel. I will explain once we are outside and on the path.”
Gina walked past the groups of people and mamono, many of which began to sniff the air as she passed by them, prompting her to cover her basket with a cloth that with it as she continued for the front door.
Stepping through the doors and making it down the steps of the entrance, she immediately turned left, following the stone skirt that bordered the hotel. Allen had to pick up the pace in order to keep up with her.
After making it to the side of the building, she finally stopped, turning her head to face Allen and he jogged up beside her.
“Sorry, I should have warned you that I would be increasing my speed when passing through the lobby. Many of the mamono that reside here have a fairly sensitive sense of smell and can get riled up with all the items we have on us.”
“That would’ve been nice knowing beforehand.”
Before them was a stone path leading away from the hotel and towards the trees. Gina began to walk on the path, turning around midway to ensure that Allen was still besides her.
“The guest we are delivering to is a Gremlin known as Cassidy.” She began, continuing down the path.
“Gremlin? Never heard of those.”
“They are a rare species amongst mamono, incredibly intelligent and crafty monsters that are known for their adept skills with technology. They are also known for their diminutive size along with their short tempers.”
“Why is she all the way out here?”
“Gremlins have been known to ‘short out’ items when they are suffering a tantrum, which is fairly common. The hotel has several tools and items that are integrated into it, making a Gremlin a very dangerous entity that one would have to handle with the utmost care unless they wish to cause a great deal of chaos.”
Allen listened wide-eyed to the Golem’s explanation for this creature.
“Please tell me there aren’t more of these around.”
“Yes… and no. Currently there are no other Gremlins near the hotel, but there are a total of three Gremlins that do stay within the vicinity. Cassidy is the only permanent resident, the other two will visit on occasion.”
“Why are they even allowed to stay here?”
“Cassidy is in charge of implementing any new form of technology that becomes available into something useful for the hotel. If a nation creates a new item, vehicle, or tool she is responsible for determining how it was made and attempt to recreate her own version of it. After which she will explain it to the concerning parties so that it can be used in the hotel.”
“Wait wait wait. You’re telling me that if some guy in freaking Zipangu makes a flying carriage, she’ll somehow figure out how they did it and make one herself?”
“In essence, yes.”
“How would she even find out!?”
“Usually word of mouth. The hotel receives several visitors from around the world. If there is something they claim to be unique to their place of origin, the hotel staff will likely investigate what it is and bring back a sample if possible. There have been several occasions where the guest has a sample of what they are describing with them and are more than willing to cooperate by allowing us to study it.”
“Perhaps, but it has proven effective.”
The two continued down the path in silence, eventually arriving at a small cottage.
Gina stepped forward, loudly knocking on the door before opening it and stepping inside.
“Cassidy, we are here with your paycheck.”
Stepping inside Allen could see that the residence was in complete disarray. Used plates, cups, and utensils were piled high on the sink, any flat surface was covered with mounds of paper, books, and other items. One could see that there was even a visible layer of dust on clinging to the wall. Who knows when the last time this place was cleaned.
Beyond the landfill that was the entrance was the figure of a small girl, murmuring to herself as she was furiously scribbling some sort of diagram on a chalkboard.
Stepping over the papers and tipped over glasses, Gina approached the scruffy haired Gremlin.
The Gremlin snapped in her direction, looking at her and then the basket with eyes that had not met sleep in days.
“You’re here!” she exclaimed, jumping over the piles of junk she had accumulated around her area and lunging towards the basket.
Gina simply lifted the basket upwards, keeping it from being crashed into by the crazed mamono who promptly hit another pile of items she had left around. Rather than allowing the Gremlin to throw herself again, Gina pulled out a bottle of syrup from the basket and called out to tiny beast.
“Cassidy. Catch.” She stated, tossing the bottle to her.
Like an addict, Cassidy caught the bottle, her hands shaking as she pried the lid off with haste before bringing it up to her lips and drinking straight from it.
Allen leaned away in disgust as he watched her hungrily swallow the heavy syrup as it reached her mouth. He had always enjoyed a spoonful of honey on occasion… but to simply drink a syrup straight… uggghh… he quivered at the very thought.
She gulped down as much as she was able to in one breath, leaving less than a quarter of the bottle left before letting out a satisfied sigh. Her shoulders relaxed, her shaking subsided, and her eyes were no longer that of a crazed madman.
“Thank you. I haven’t had a rush that bad in a while.”
“Rush?” Allen muttered.
The Gremlin tiredly looked over to the source of the comment, the bags under her half-opened eyes now more pronounced than they were a few moments ago.
“So,” she asked the Golem, “who’s this limp-dick little bitch?”
Before Allen could even say anything, Gina responded.
“This is Allen, he is a new hire. Cheryl believed it would be best to bring him along for the delivery.”
Cassidy eyed him over once more, turning around and heading to one of her piles by the chalkboard.
“Bet he’s too small to even get a fairy off.”
Setting the bottle down precariously on a pile of papers that should’ve tipped over long ago, Cassidy grabbed a blanket out from the mess, shaking it to remove the dust it had collected until placing it over one of the piles on the floor. She promptly grabbed her bottle and proceeded to sit down on the pile she had just covered, taking a sip from it while she did so.
Gina walked over and set the basket besides her, allowing the Gremlin to lean over to see what was inside.
Allen looked around the room as Gina proceeded to list out what they had brought her, taking particular interest in what Cassidy had been scribbling across the board. There were all sorts of diagrams and illegible notes scattered about, even a sort of arcane circle. This was obviously something related to magic.
“Never understood this stuff…” he muttered.
“You’re not supposed to.”
“Huh?” Turning around, he could see that it was the Gremlin who was responding to him.
“Magic. You’re not supposed to understand it. That’s why it’s called magic. If you could, it would be a regular science.”
“Wa- How does that make any sense?”
“Magic IS a science. It is simply one that lacks explanation, thus why we call it magic.”
“But, we have to know something about it. People use it all the time.”
“Does every person that gets on a boat know how to use one? Does every prince or noble know where their fancy little plates came from or how they came to be? Alchemy is the art of applied magic, that which we don’t fully understand, and making it useful. It is simply noticing a pattern to get a result they’re expecting. It doesn’t mean they know why it happens, just that it does.”
“What about the wind? Or why the sky is blue? That isn’t magic, and we don’t know why it exists?”
“Nature! Ha! Nature is magic! It is simply one that we’ve accepted as a fact of life. Give it time, and we’ll prove why it exists. We’ll make it into a science!”
Allen wasn’t sure how to respond, making her smirk as she reached beside her to pull out a pair of goggles.
“That’s enough fun, now get out.” She told the two as she strapped the goggles around her head and pressed a button on the side, causes the lenses to instantly darken to a pitch black. “I need to catch up on my beauty sleep.”
Gina simply nodded, walking to Allen and nodding to him so that he would walk towards the door. By the time they reached it, they could hear her snoring loudly with the bottle of syrup still in her hands.
As the two exited the cottage and closed the door behind them, Allen couldn’t help but say it.
“What a bitch.”
“As I said before, she has a short temper. That combined with her less than polite vernacular would easily cause others to argue with her. There’s a reason why she lives out here.”
“… I guess that makes sense. But considering how she lives, she might actually NEED someone to take care of her. But good luck dealing with her.”
“She is… particularly irritable due to stress.”
“An upcoming meeting that she will be attending. Once a year, several Gremlins from many different regions will meet together to share ideas and collaborate as well as reveal new creations. She has taken great pride in being the one with the best invention for the last few years. To my understanding, she does not have anything for this year.”
“That doesn’t sound good.”
“For her, it is not. Due to the stress, she has been consuming her pay at an increased rate and you saw how that leaves her when she runs out. As she has described it, a ‘Reverse-Sugar-Rush’… I don’t believe that it is a very accurate description.”
“Why is that her pay?”
“Originally it wasn’t, but she would simply use it all up on sweets anyways, so Gramps had it changed. It was also to keep her from coming in to make an order, it would just be better for everyone if she just received the sweets right away.”
“… man that’s weird…”
Meeting the neighbors
Returning to the fifth floor, Allen was promptly assigned another duty.
Extraction and collection.
He had no idea what they were extracting but was put in a group with two Honeybees along with a Hornet and was told that they would explain.
“You got the tour of the place, right?” the Hornet asked as she looked over a clipboard.
The two of them were walking behind the pair of Honeybees that were in their group who were busily chatting about their current queen.
“Yes, a brief one.”
“Alright, so you probably saw that our main thing is honey and candy, but we also get roots. The honey is from Alraunes, the roots are from Mandragoras. Those are the things we’re getting.”
This would explain the large empty bag he was told to carry along with the transparent cylinder that she had strapped to her back, but that still didn’t explain the pendant he had to wear.
“So what exactly do I do?”
“Our first stop will be an Alraune. I’ll show you how to use this pump and then I’ll stand guard while it starts to fill up. In fact… hey, we’re here!” she called out to the bees.
The two turned around and immediately walked back up to the room the Hornet was referring to.
She checked the clipboard and the room number once more before nodding, pulling out a key card that was attached to the clipboard by a string into the room’s card slot. The door unlocked, revealing an oddly cramped space with barely enough room for them to fit in. In all honesty, it looked more like a large utility closet, if it weren’t for the giant flower at the center of the room.
Inside the flower was a green skinned woman lazily napping in a shallow pool of golden nectar. She peeked at the group entering her room, yawning and stretching before smiling to them whilst leaning forward onto one of her petals.
“Ooh, someone’s happy to see us.” One of the bees cooed.
The Alraune eyed Allen, licking her lips at the newcomer.
“No no no, he’s not for you,” the other bee chimed in, causing the Alraune to frown, “he’s here to watch.”
Before he was able to ask, one of the bees leaned in onto the flower, planting a kiss onto the Alraune. The Alraune simply kissed her back, wrapping her arms around the bee as she pulled her into the flower with her. The other bee crawled in from behind, pulling her back by her hips until her buttocks was right up against her. The Alraune turned her head around only to be greeted with another kiss by the second bee.
What in the world is going on?
He watched as the bee from behind ran one of her hands down her thigh, the other going up the side of her waist reaching up for the Alraune’s breasts. From the front, this bee was sensually kissing the Alraune’s neck, licking her skin as she began to travel down her free breast until making it to the nipple where she began to suckle it.
The Alraune blushed into a deeper shade of green, letting out a gasp as she felt one of the two girls rub their hands against her crotch. Nectar began to pour down her thigh and collect in the pool below, gradually making it grow in volume.
Spotting Allen staring at the three, the Alraune winked, pointing towards him and beckoning him to join.
Both the Honeybees looked at him and began to giggle.
“It looks like someone’s been enjoying the show.” One stated, eying the tent he had formed in his pants.
“I don’t think he’s the only one.” The other mused, nodding towards their Hornet companion who was blushing a deep red whilst biting her lip from watching the scene.
She cleared her throat, trying to maintain her composure and proceeded to turn around whilst taking off the pump on her back.
“Here, let me show you how to work this thing.” She said, trying her best to keep herself from watching the girls go at it and from looking at his erection.
“Yes! Let’s do that!”
The Honeybees giggled at their actions, continuing their advances on the plant woman.
“O-okay then. So, this here is the hose… and umm… what you do with this is place it in the flower when the nectar starts to get high up. When it looks like it’s going to overflow soon, you need t-”
A moan from the Alraune interrupted the flustered Hornet whose wings fluttered in response.
“Uhh… umm… W-when the flower starts to fill, y-you tap the top of this container right here. L-like this.”
The hornet tapped the lid of the transparent container, causing the lid to partially open and release a blast of air up between them. The hose in return began to suck air in equal amounts to that which was being released, causing it to almost whistle.
“To turn it off, just tap the top again!” she yelled, tapping the lid and causing it to stop.
“When the nectar gets about a third of the way up, stop. We need to make 2 more stops.”
With that, she stood up and headed to the door.
“Hey! Where are you going?”
“I’m going to stand guard outside.” She said, trying her best not to turn around. “Remember to keep watch of nectar.”
After saying that, she stepped out into the hall, leaving Allen alone in the room with the panting trio…
“You gotta be kidding me…”
The group could be seen walking down the hall, the blushing Hornet looking to the side carrying a golden ooze filled container beside Allen with the two Honeybees walking ahead of them once again.
Each time they had gotten to a room with an Alraune, the Hornet was adamant on staying out in the hall to act as guard and make sure no one tries to wait out by the door to take the nectar. Each and every single time, he was left in the room alone with the threesome going on in full view. In one room, some lucky bastard was already with the Alraune and had the two bees join them. He had tried to join on the first one, but the bees told him that he couldn’t and continued without him.
If the same thing was going to happen in the next few rooms he was going to tell the Hornet that it was her turn to just stand around and watch while he stood outside.
“Oh, we’re here.” The Hornet announced.
She took the key card from the clipboard and unlocked the door, letting one of the bees enter the room.
“Could you please turn around.” The second bee asked him.
Allen obliged, even though he wasn’t in the best mood with her since she kept teasing him earlier.
Once he had done so, she opened up the empty bag he had strapped to his back and held it open as her fellow bee companion returned with a small jar. Opening the jar, she poured the contents into his bag and re-entered the room.
“What was that?” Allen asked as the bee closed his bag.
“Mandragora roots. The residents assigned to these girls are responsible for harvesting these and leaving them somewhere for us to pick up later. Usually they’ll leave it by the door, but some people leave them on the table or counter.”
“… we don’t need to go in there and ‘help’ them, do we?” he asked, his eyes pointing to the bee duo who simply giggled.
“Thankfully no,” the Hornet responded, “but that doesn’t mean they don’t. There’s no real benefit in doing so, so it isn’t necessary to do so. But occasionally if they catch someone in the act, and if they’re in the mood, some of those assigned EC duty have been known join in.”
“Extraction and collection.”
The group continued making their rounds, stopping at four other rooms to take the Mandragora roots as the Hornet crossed their names out from the list.
“So… why exactly do they let us do this?”
“Hmm? What do you mean?”
“I mean, why do the plant girls let us take their nectar and roots? I mean, I know why we’re doing this since we apparently make stuff from it, but what about them?”
“Rent. The nectar and roots are their rent for staying here. Sort of.”
“It’s not quite that straightforward, but essentially that’s how it works. In exchange for their materials, our facility pays the hotel the rent for each of the rooms that houses its employees, including the plants. They also provide food and fertilizers for the plants since many of them aren’t freely able to move about.”
“But why do it in the hotel? I mean, it feels like we’re outside and all, but it has to be expensive.”
“Ahh, that’s probably true. It would be cheaper to just have everyone outside, but the hotel offers a lot of… benefits. Like shelter, protection, and convenience. I mean, there’s never been a day any of us have been forced to call out because of the weather, since it never really rains or snows in here. That and we never have to worry about the Alraune’s accidentally luring in some fire-prone lady’s husband because of the whole roommate thing. So, I guess that those little conveniences make up for it.”
“Huh… that’s crazy…”
“Maybe, but you get used to it.”
The group soon finished their rounds, making it back to the facility where the bees left the group to clock out, leaving the Hornet and Allen together to drop off the materials. The Hornet showed him to the ‘Drop-Off Station’, another little office in the facility where they leave everything they gathered. The Hornet stated to the Mantis clerk which group they were before telling Allen to hand her the pendant along with the bag of roots he was carrying. Lifting it up to the side, taking note of the bag number he had not noticed before and then tossing it down a chute attached to the wall. Allen asked where it lead, to which the Mantis replied by with only one word.
“It’s a locked room where we send everything,” the Hornet explained, handing the Mantis her canister of nectar, “eventually someone will pick it up, count it, and take it to be refined.”
The Mantis wrote down the number written on the side of the lid, removing the straps that were attached to the container, and then placing it on a wire rack attached to the wall. Lifting a small door in the path of the rack, the container rolled down the wire path into the next room, disappearing from view as the Mantis dropped the door down.
“And we’re basically done here, just go up to see Cheryl to clock out and you’ll be good to go.”
“You’re not going to do the same?”
“Not yet, have to finish up a few things before I do. See you around.”
“Alright. Thanks for everything.”
Leaving the Mantis and the Hornet, Allen left to find Cheryl.
The two sat in silence for a brief moment, until the Hornet let out a heavy sigh leaving the Mantis with a subtle, but knowing, smile.
The Mantis let out a small giggle under her breath.
“You don’t understand. You know how I always get a little bothered when the girls do their thing with the Alraunes. It’s never too bad, but with this one around. Phew, nearly tackled him to the ground and put on a show for the girls when I saw the bulge in his pants.”
The Mantis never stopped smiling at the blushing Hornet’s remarks.
“I swear… I need to get a roommate. They can’t just be dangling these single cuties in front of me like this anymore…”
“I hope so.”
Making it back to his room, Allen was ready to call it a night. It had been a long day, one full of surprises most people would not expect.
Opening the door and stepping into the apartment, he spotted a note standing atop of the counter with his name written on it. It was from Tammy.
While he was working for the facility it seemed that she had a few provisions made and sent to his room for him to have. A welcoming gift of sorts, mostly just groceries and necessities so that he would have something when he finished the workday as well as the morning after. Trying to figure everything out on the first few days in the hotel can be overwhelming, especially if you’re hungry.
He appreciated the gesture, and he would’ve checked what it was that was sent to him, but sleep was at the top of his list right now.
Walking past the flower on the ground, he entered the bedroom, discarding his clothes onto the floor, and falling into bed where his eyes shut for a good night’s sleep.
Yawning as he stretched his arms, Allen was still dead tired.
It was still night time.
Why was he up at this time?
Smacking his lips after yawning once more, noting how dry his mouth felt.
Finally, he realized that he was thirsty.
His mind might not have fully woken up, but at least now he knew why he was up.
Grumbling as he made it out of bed, he slumped his way out of the bedroom, and into the kitchen. Making it to the sink, he turned on the faucet and placed his mouth down by the cold stream falling into the sink. He didn’t know if there were any cups, and he wasn’t going to start looking for them now.
Shutting off the faucet, and yawning once more, he began his journey back to bed now that his thirst was sated. In his sleepy daze, he hadn’t noticed the strong scent that had invaded the room. It was an odd mixture, similar to that of apples, with a hint of peppers and copper. A smell that was not quite pungent, but not quite smooth either, one that both relaxed and excited the body. What in the world was it?
Although Allen was a bit curious to what it was, his mind wasn’t completely there, only wanting to go back to sleep. His body moved on its own, making it way towards the bedroom so to return back to its slumber… or so he thought.
Without realizing where he was going, Allen realized that he was nowhere near his bed, but instead crouching besides the large flower in the living room with his hands around its base.
’What in the world am I doing?’
He jerked himself in surprise upon seeing where he was, causing him to lose balance and fall backwards. His hands tightened around the base of the plant, hoping it would be enough to keep him stable, only for it to be uprooted by his weight.
Although not much was actually pulled up above the ground, Allen blinked at the sight of the head and neck that continued down into the ground that he managed to pull out. The Mandragora yawned, blinking her eyes a few times until finally looking to him, frozen with his hands still gripping the flower attached to her head. Upon seeing him, her eyes instantly widened and she let out an ear-piercing shriek.
Several hours later…
His body was moving, even though he himself wasn’t the one moving it. Something else was doing it for him, gently thrusting his hips back and forth, in and out, his engorged member sliding into the moist folds of the one under him. He couldn’t get himself off the person he was atop of, she was holding him against her soft plump body, her heavy breasts pushing against his chest, all whilst panting into his ear as her legs seemed to wrap themselves around his waist and force his hips to slammed against hers.
Why couldn’t he pull himself up? His body was tired and sore, hell even his cock and balls were worn out, as if though he had been doing this for hours. In fact… he probably had been considering how wet her thighs were.
Allen’s could hear his balls slapping against her wet skin, the repeated motions for the unknown amount of time that had passed being the likely cause of why they felt numb to him. His arms had fallen asleep under the weight of the two as he had them wrapped behind her, his fingers just poking above her shoulders. The way she held him, her arms wrapping around him by his elbows made it too tight for him to pull his arms out to the side. And even if she wasn’t holding him, he doubted he had the strength left in him to do so.
Her arms were tightening around his body, her moans were silenced as she bit onto his collar, her legs were shaking as she continued to force him as deep as he could go inside of her. He knew she was going to reach an orgasm soon, likewise he could feel himself attaining one soon as well. With each thrust the two inched closer and closer to their climax, gradually building up until neither could no longer hold back. Releasing his seed into her, he moaned as she convulsed from her own orgasm, shaking him as she did so.
The roots that wrapped his body loosened along with her grip, but Allen did not move. He was tired, covered in sweat, and sore throughout his entire body. He laid there, atop of the panting plant woman, who still had her arms wrapped around him as she began to drift into sleep for she was finally satisfied with her fill. He should be trying to get out, but it hurt to move, and the Mandragora was so comfy… so soft… before he knew it, he was already asleep.
Two days later…
Two bees can be seen walking down the hall lined with tulips, heading towards a single room in particular.
“Which room are we going to?”
“Isn’t that where the new guy went? And where they were testing out something new thing with Mandragoras?”
“I think so. No one has seen the new guy in a few days and the girl was due to be pulled yesterday… or was it today? I can’t remember. Either way, we have to check up on them to make sure they’re okay.”
Arriving to the room, one of the bees slid their card into the slot and unlocked the door, opening it to let out the sound of moans into the halls.
Both bees looked at each other for a brief moment and then peeked their heads inside. Besides the door was a large box, overfilled with roots to the point where it seemed that some had spilled onto the ground, but as impressive as that was, something else had their attention.
On the floor of the living room they could spot the legs of a man under the body of a shapely Mandragora facing towards them, her ass cheeks slapping loudly against his groin as let out another moan. Lifting her head up as she moaned, she spotted the two girls peeping and let out a yelp, covering her face in embarrassment.
Sitting up to see what was happening, Allen spotted the two bees staring at them and chuckled. He leaned himself forward, letting one hand slid down to his lover’s clit as the other went up to pinch her nipple, causing her to let out another moan.
“So,” he directed to the bees, “you two just want to stand there? Or do you want to join?”
END OF CHAPTER