Time for a showdown. I was really glad that I could give some love to the Hornet. I hadn’t seen too much fan art or stories based on her, so I guess it was up to me. Be sure to comment on your thoughts so far. It always helps me.
“What are you doing, dumbass?” I thought to myself as I hurried onto the scene like a knight in shining armor, ready to fight some, uh, knights in shining armor. You were actually safe for once. You could have just stayed in that barrier and you would have been sitting pretty. You’ve seen what a horde of mamano could do in a fight. There wasn’t anything to worry about. So why, pray tell, did you feel the need to climb up that branch and jump over that magical wall, damn near breaking your neck in the process? Even some of the mamano who witnessed my graceful crash landing called me a ‘crazy fool’. Maybe that was the answer; a ‘crazy fool’. I’ll accept that
It made sense. What other reason would it be. Why get myself involved in this war between the Order and the Demon Lord? This wasn’t my fight, or even my world. I’d stayed clear up to now. But that was about to change. Stupid move by a stupid fool.
As I approached the riotous scene, I realized just how much carnage had taken place. The bodies of five Hornets lay scattered about, dead as can be. Someone must have had one hell of a big can of Raid to do that. I figured they had been the queen’s bodyguards. She shouldn’t have spared the expense of a little extra security. Speaking of the queen, she was still being pinned down by the mage’s lightning, Star Wars style, not too far away. She screamed even louder as one of the knights drew his sword and held it to the snooty guy’s throat. I wasn’t the only one cutting it close.
I had to act quick, before they made their way to their nearby horses and took off. So let’s activate our little helmet and do a little target practice.
Before I was detected, I fired a few shots at the Hornet’s subduer. Nailed him in the shoulder, chest, and neck. He flew backwards with a gush of blood. The queen was free from her magical torture rack, but she wasn’t in good shape. Burns covered her body and she struggled to even move.
Before my new adversaries got a chance to react, I tossed a vile from my jacket. The vile hit next to the wounded Hornet Queen and thus a shield bubbled around her. Impenetrable or so I’m told. That’s one of my three barrier elixirs gone. Too bad I didn’t have the other two on me right now. Hope I can make this count.
“Hey, ass-wipes! Why don’t you try picking on someone my size” I asserted in a badass voice. I didn’t have a clean shot at the son of a bitch holding Mr. Fancy Pants hostage. Even the other four attackers were a little too close to him for my taste. So I had to talk my way toward a clean shot.
The biggest of the knights stepped forward; a foot taller than me and clad in a formidable mini tank that might look like armor if you squint. He held a large, heavy-looking sword over half his height long. Can somebody say, ‘overcompensating’? His armor was decorated different from the other Order soldiers with him. With his dark green, yellow accented color scheme, and elaborately decorated armor, he sure stood out like a muddy elephant in the snow. It also had a bit of a glow to it. I hadn’t seen any knight that looked like him before. Now the sneer on his face, that I’d seen many times before.
“Who are you to trifle with me, peasant!?” he said with a would-be mighty voice. I think it was just for show. “You just killed one of the Order’s mages”
“Yeah, that hit him in the throat? I’m sorry… I was aiming for his penis. But I didn’t have a shaft to throw that Palpetine cosplayer down. Besides, there seems to be a lot of death going around, so I thought I’d join in” I retorted as I gestured toward the bodies of the Hornets behind me.
The smallest of his knights stepped up behind him, pointed at me, and said “That’s him, commander! That’s the one I told you about; the stranger that murdered my men”
He looked familiar. Wait… could it be?
“Well, well, well. Look who crawled back out of the shitcan. It’s Sir Shits-for-Brains. How’s that arm doin’?” I mocked, reminding him of our previous encounter.
“Beware. He summons energy from those devices he holds in his hands” the little weasel said to the ‘commander’.
“So, you are this infamous stranger that murdered my comrade’s soldiers? You’re no bigger than a scribe” he scuffed at me.
“Funny. You look like you should be in the Super Bowl or at home abusing your wife” I scuffed back.
“Insolent scum. That barrier potion is not something available to purchase for peasants like you. So you’re a murderer, a scoundrel, and a thief. Worst of all, you’re a mamano sympathizer”
“You’re taking a piss. I’m not with them; I’m a solo act”
“Defending a mamano that you care nothing for? You must take me for a fool”
“Oh, I think much worse of you than that, Sir Lifts-A-Lot. But Spiderman never needed much of a reason to punch out a two-bit killer”
That was just my way of covering up the fact that I still didn’t know why I was sticking my head out for these two bleeding hearts. I didn’t trust mamano or the Order. Maybe I just felt like punching someone and they were the closest assholes around.
“Enough of your rambling, you filthy dog. You’ve impeded my mission. For that, you will die” he hissed as he signaled his remaining mage to attack.
Round one. Fight!
I was so busy with my insults that I didn’t notice that cross-dresser building greenish energy around his hands. Instantly, he raised his palms and launched a large, green ball of death at my head.
Barely managing to roll away from the attack, I fired back with my handguns. To my surprise, the mage still stood with a green haze emitting from his right hand. My attacks were easily deflected by his magic ‘shield’ with another ripple effect.
Goddammit. Not this again.
He began to fire again with his left hand while still hiding behind his magical safeguard. I began to sprint while exchanging shots with my attacker, hoping that one shot might slip through the holes in his fence, so to speak.
Crashing through a nearby window into a nearby restaurant, I used my little lunch break to regroup, check my ammo, and curse myself for getting into a mess that was well over my head. How the fuck was I supposed to fight an enemy like this? He had solid defenses and a hell of a lot of firepower. And here I am with two handguns that might as well have been peashooters and a few gadgets in my coat. You never have a BFG 9000 when you need it.
I pulled myself to my feet and peered outside. I saw that fucking mage who strangely had halted his attack. Why would he do that? What was he up to? Was there a giant anvil forming over the top of this place? As I pondered all of the possible scenarios, I noticed something.
Where was the third kni-, I thought before another crash came from behind me. Instantly I fired off my babies before completely turning around, hoping to catch this guy off guard the way he caught me off guard. I was still fresh out of luck since the asshole possessed a massive, dark blue shield that damn near hid every inch of him from my sight. My shots hit but didn’t make too much of a mark in his mobile wall he called a shield, which coincidentally was closing in on me at an alarming rate.
Now I know what a club sandwich feels like. He pinned me against the wall with the force of a runningback hitting the line on fourth and ten, before lifting me by the torso and tossing me across the room through a table. Ow. I couldn’t even get all the way back up before he was on me again.
Barely sliding away from an ax to my head, I turned up my guns’ power level to near max. Time to see how his shield held up against a little more juice. Firing some more shots, his shield was damaged significantly more. Bingo. I keep this up and I’ll eventually turn that shield and him into Swiss cheese.
But by the sound of my guns clicking, my gameplan had sunk like a rock. Fuck, no more ammo left. Yeah between all the low-powered shots I’d spent and the few high-powered shots I just fired, my magazines had run out of energy.
I began to reload my weapon but was cut off by the shield-bearer ramming me again, this time sending me through another window back outside. Getting to my feet, I began to run while trying to get the magazine into my weapon. Yet again, I was interrupted by that damn mage shooting another magical wrecking ball in my direction. I barely managed to slide behind a wagon that I knew wouldn’t hide me for long. Now can I reload?
My answer was that of another ax swipe that smashed the wheel of the wagon to pieces after I sidestepped it… kind of. My armored back got clipped but was still holding up. Motherfucker! I couldn’t keep up this up for long. This handicapped fight was beginning to overwhelm me.
I couldn’t even get my weapon reloaded with this Spam Can and his barrage of ax swings. Even if I did get some distance, that Hogwarts student would just unleash some more Merlin piss at me. He only stopped when his chop-happy teammate would try to give me the mobile guillotine. With no time to reload, I had no choice but to change tactics… for now.
Since zoning was out of the question, I holstered my guns and moved in for a rush-down. With his huge shield and armor, I still had the speed advantage over him; so it was time for some footsies.
Taking another swipe at me, I ducked and grabbed his shield arm. I quickly hyper-extended his elbow in a sloppy but effective jerk. He let out a groan of pain, which for me was as satisfying as an ice cold beer. Sure his armor was great against impacts, but not against a grappling hold.
With his grip loosened, I grabbed the shield from his hands. Holy shit, this thing was heavy. He retaliated with another ax swing, which now was easy to block with my newly upgraded defenses. He wasn’t too pleased with me fingering up his toy, since we continued exchanging blows in a struggle to be the shield-bearer.
Trying to reclaim his shield, he swung me hard, winging me off to the side. Since I held the shield by the handles, I maintained my grip on it, but he had me cornered against a wall. Without hesitation, he reigned down all hell on me with his ax along with a furious roar that were both equally pissed. Blow after blow, he hammered down on the shield, the only thing standing between me and coming out looking with the haircut I thought Naidy was going to give me. Between the weight of the shield and the force of his blows, I was starting to get a bad case of noodle legs. I had to get out.
Fortunately, he was also showing signs of noodle arms. Thus his strikes became slower and slower. I seized an opening and flipped the shield up, clipping him in the chin piece of his helmet. He staggered backwards, more stunned by the impact than hurt by it. With a new burst of energy, I charged at him, Captain America style, and rammed the bastard with all my might. I owed him that; now he knows how it feels.
He dropped his ax as the force sent him flying. Bingo. I picked up his ax and was filled with a sense of cockiness and superiority. My how the tables have turned. Too bad this new sense of privilege was misplaced.
Through my peripheral vision, I caught a glimpse of an impending doom in the form of another green fireball coasting at me. Dammit, I backed up too far again. I’m getting fed up with this shit. If I could get some of that magical flamethrower to be used on Sir Chop-Chop, that would be great. With the shield now limiting my mobility, I decided to turtle behind the ACME shield and hope I would have better luck than Wile E. Coyote.
The force of the blast hit me like a freight train. I was knocked off my feet straight back with the shield and ax flying out of my hands. Damn, I didn’t even get a chance to revel in my moment of glory before I lost them both. Landing on my back, I started to shake the cobwebs out of my head. Pulling myself up to my hands and knees, I suddenly felt something solid slam into my stomach, knocking the wind out of me and flipping me onto my side. Well hello, my old steel-bound friend. He’s come back to turn this into a simple brawl, beginning with a well placed kick to my ribs. Good start on his part.
Not getting much of a chance to grasp my newly agonizing stomach, the big lug mounted me and began to pummel my head with heavy fists. All I could do was cover up and try to figure a way out before my face was fully tenderized. Even with my armored arms and helmet mask, his blows still hurt like hell. And if you think that I was too preoccupied to notice that a big bastard clad in full-body armor was putting all his weight on my realigned ribs, well I should be so lucky.
Eventually he caught me with a sharp hook to my jaw, throwing off my guard. He used the opening to grip my throat with his big meaty hands, robbing me of even more oxygen. I tried in vain to punch him in the face, but my hits were ineffective against his helmet. I couldn’t even break his arms’ grip. Those extra pounds he had on me, I guess, weren’t just added weight. I needed to break this war horse’s grip on my throat before he turned me into a flamingo. Fuck I would have resorted to a Three Stooges eye poke if I could fit my fingers through his helmet slits.
There was nothing nearby to aid in my escape, except for some little flaming residue left from the mage’s magic. If green, flaming syrup wasn’t a thing yet, I’ll be sure to contact the executives at Channel Warner Brothers; they’ll promote anything to kids. But when life gives you lemons in a bar fight, you squirt that shit at your enemies wounds.
Grabbing a handful of that magical toxic waste, I chucked it at my strangler’s face. Bullseye. It slipped right through his helmet slits and into his eyes. He instantly released his death grip and screamed out in agonizing pain. He made a hasty retreat and attempted to rub the crap out of his eyes. Hopefully he wouldn’t turn into Daredevil.
Gasping and coughing, I sprung to my feet and jumped behind him as he pitifully lumbered around with a bad case of pink eye, or green eye, I don’t know. No way was I going to leave myself open to another shot from that pain in the ass mage; this knight was a better shield than the actual shield, but not for long. This figurative, and literal, human shield was only a temporary solution. Even though I had a chance to reload my firearms, I didn’t know how to break through that mages magical defenses. He would only drop his defenses if he was feeling generous.
Well maybe I could coax a little charity out of him…
With the knight hopelessly blind and beaten, I grabbed him from the back and began to charge toward the mage while simultaneously reaching into my coat. I could see the bewildered look on his face as I conga-lined the knight toward him. He was unsure of what to do. By the time I was less than two yards away from the mage, we were nearly at a full blown sprint. I suddenly stopped myself, letting the Tin Man fly and land right next to the Wizard. Cough up a heart for this jackass.
I began to back off with nothing left to use as a shield. The mage’s confused expression turned to malicious arrogance.
“Not a wise move, you insolent fool” he boasted while holding up his magic shield in one hand and readying another hadouken in his other hand.
I answered his gesture by raising up my own hand, gripping a small control pad. I also threw in a middle finger for good measure.
“Geronimo, motherfucker” I said in my best Bruce Willis voice impression and hit the button.
A little beep sounded from the little payload I had tactfully planted on the still screaming knight. That was then followed by a loud BANG as the explosion sent the mage soaring through the air, landing not too far off to my left.
I approached the shell-shocked mage who was finding it hard to even begin getting to his feet. Best of all, the impact had caused his magical defenses to cease, thus leaving him vulnerable. Fancy that.
He noticed me standing above him with my gun drawn but was in no condition to retaliate.
“How do you like some of my magic tricks?” I glowered.
One blast to the head and, to my surprise, his head completely exploded, splashing red goop and grey matter like an overfilled water balloon.
Oh… I forgot I had my gun turned up to maximum power. But I guess he had it coming.
After my moment of overkill, I arrogantly turned first to the smoldering wreck that was once my armor-clad opponent, then to that damn commander and his little secretary knight. The look in his eyes was that of surprise and self-contained rage.
“Impressive” he growled with more contempt than admiration, yet was frighteningly calm in his tone. “Your weapons are almost as effective as magic yet you don’t display any form of spellcasting”
“I prefer to use my mouth to trash-talk, not to quote Harry Potter, metal-head. Speaking of which, why don’t you disappear before I put you down”
He then unsheathed his big ass sword and pointed it at me saying, “You killed three of my men. For that you will die” he said as he hid his face with his helmet. An intimidating looking helmet at that.
“Bring it, ya oversized can of shit” I growled as I gripped my gun.
“I will enjoy watching you suffer” he snarled as he approached me, entering into a battle stance.
Round two. Fight!
Easy enough, I’ll just pull an Indiana Jones and shoot this big, sword-wielding clown.
I fired a few high powered shots at his chest. Worked once before, even without my guns set at their highest setting. So why didn’t they tear through him like a knife through butter? They just bounced of of his armor which gave off an even brighter glow.
That can’t be good.
“My armor cannot be broken by the likes of you, insect. It has been forged from the scales of the very Wurm that I slayed and reinforced with my mages’ finest anti-magic spells. Have any other tricks?” he mocked at my great expense.
Now that he mentioned it, I didn’t have another plan.
So much for my firepower advantage. Even though my guns weren’t magic by any means, they must have still qualified as a pure energy-based attack. I’d have a better chance of breaking his armor with blunt force than breaking through that magic.
Okay, Houston. We’re gonna need a bigger boat.
In a flash, I took off in the opposite direction. With my guns and the magic syrup having been benched for the remainder of the game, the only weapons I could rely on were the ax and shield. Luckily I could still outrun him and retrieve my last line of defense.
Picking up my medieval solutions, I turned to find him much closer to me than I expected. Why do I get the feeling that he’s faster than I though? I went into a battle stance to mimic him. The shield was still pretty awkward to handle but I doubt my armor compared to his. So I could use the defense buff. Even though he didn’t have a shield, he still probably had the edge on me.
I expected him to make the first move, but instead he stood in silence. Gulp. Well, a war isn’t won through a staring contest, so I guess the ball was in my court. Time to shoot.
I lunged at his stomach with the spiked top of my ax. He easily deflected it and steered me to the side. I rinsed, he repeated. Both times, however, he didn’t follow up with an attack. Next, I threw a high slash which he caught with his sword. Deflecting me again, he slashed with a slow downward thrust. It was easy to catch with my shield. Now, maybe I got knocked in the head a few times, but he didn’t seem to put much effort into that strike. But that didn’t stop it from knocking me back with considerable force. It even took a noticeable chunk out of my shield. Going back to Captain America again, I retaliated with a shield charge. Only this time, it felt like I hit a brick wall, sending a shock wave through my skull. I looked up and saw his fierce helmet staring back at me. Without even a chance to load up a good, loogie filled spit-bomb and fire it at him, he flipped me around and gave me a sharp kick in the ass, sending me face first into the pavement.
Enough denial. It wasn’t my badass Dark Souls skills that was keeping me alive; the big cheese here was toying with me.
I began a scan through my visors. If there was a weak point in his magical defenses, I was hoping to find it. After I pulled myself up, my test results came in… with a very sound negative. His anti-energy armor had no cracks to take advantage of. Fuck me, it didn’t even look smudged.
“You lack real training, stranger. Do have any last words before playtime ends?” he said pointing his sword at me.
“Yeah. Can I get a refund? Cause you suck at entertaining”
“Fine. Joke before you die”
With that, he charged forward with alarming speed. In an instant, he had batted the shield out of my hands and probably halfway down the path. Instinctively, I gripped my ax in both hands, and swung it as hard as I could at his shoulder. He intercepted my ax with a balled up fist. A loud smash rang out. God I hoped that was that sound of his hand breaking into pieces and clattering onto the street at my feet. But if the lack of weight now in my hand was any hint, that may have just been wishful thinking on my part.
Oh yeah. Looking down, I confirmed that it was in fact my ax that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men had to put back together again.
Gripping me by the throat, he yanked me in for a face to face meeting.
“Perhaps your execution can be delayed… for a time” he growled with a slight cheerfulness in his voice.
One hard body-blow to my stomach later and I was on the ground with a hell of a bad cough. Come on. Lay off the ribs, will ya? I managed to pull out another explosive mine from my coat. With a quick flick of the wrist, the time-bomb was planted on his chest and I was diving away like Batman in the comic panels.
A few seconds later, the explosion went off. I couldn’t help but smile at the image in my head of King Kong here, roasting inside a steaming pile of armor like a ham in an oven. However, my excitement was murderlized as the smoke cleared. He stood in the same position as I’d left him. No burn flesh and no cracked armor. Oh come on, his armor still didn’t even have a smudge.
I heard a low chuckle echoing out of that tank of his. Wonderful, I managed to tickle him.
As he approached me, I sidestepped my slightly slower opponent and caught him in a grappling hold to his arm. No energy weaponry and no blunt force could hurt him, so my only choice was to disarm him.
For once, history didn’t repeat itself. Goddammit. He easily yanked me about, preventing me from getting a good enough grip on his arm. I tried some other impromptu moves, but whenever I tried to slide around and out-maneuver him, he was always right there, ready to counter me. Clearly this guy wasn’t your run of the mill grunt. This guy knew technique and patience in combat. I’d only seen veteran soldiers reach that kind of level.
Oh shit. That means I’m now trying to wrestle with an opponent much bigger and stronger than me, who is armed, who has way better defenses, and who’s probably had much more experience on the battlefield than I do.
How did I get myself into this dumbass predicament?
Even so, I tried to stay a few steps ahead of him as we tangoed. Taking a few blows at his armor here and there, hoping in vain to find a weak spot or at least catch him off guard like I did in my first round.
As I was able to slide around back of him, I made a move to grab his helmet. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t yank the damn thing off; it was sealed on there tight. I couldn’t even turn it around to blind him.
My punishment for such a stupid move was a sharp headbutt to my face, followed by an elbow-right hook combo. My helmet got most of it but damn that hurt. As I tried to get my bearings, he delivered a hard shoulder block right into my sternum. I flew back into the nearby wagon. If there were a crowd of spectators, they could tell that the back of my head made pretty good contact against the wood.
Well asshole, got any ideas left? You got yourself into this mess, and now it appears that it wasn’t as easy as you thought it would be. I internally shamed myself.
Oh wait. I never thought it would be easy. So why the fuck did you even get involved!?
My internal struggle was cut off by a familiar someone grabbing me by the shoulders.
Wait your turn! I haven’t finished kicking myself!
Like a toddler with a rag-doll, the big oaf began to repeatedly slam me into the wagon. My armor was tough, but the previous rounds had started to take their tole. Now I was really starting to hurt.
After being slammed into the wagon an unknown amount of times, I lost count after the eleventh time, he pulled me back and delivered a well-placed uppercut to my face. I think I saw some stars as I began hit the ground and rolled.
Even though I didn’t see any way of beating this guy, I strangely found myself crawling back to my feet. Why? I don’t know. I didn’t have another strategy in mind. And I didn’t feel like I had a second win in me. In fact, I looked like I was in the twelfth round and he looked like he just got into the ring.
Maybe a few more blows to the head might inspire me with an idea.
“You still bring yourself to stand. Commendable…” he said as he approached me with his sword drawn “…but foolish”
“I can go all night. And the sun hasn’t even gone down yet” I mocked, trying to mask my ‘Oh shit’ face.
“You will not be remembered, stranger” he said as raised his sword for the killing blow.
I readied myself to dodge his blade… maybe. I really wasn’t sure what I planned to do or what I even could do. I was leaving it to luck… again.
Suddenly, his blade was halted by the shouts coming from Sir Shits-for-Brains. Dammit, now I’ll never know if I was able to dodge that strike.
“Commander! The mamano forces have spotted us!”
In the distance, I could see a small army of Hornets swarming toward our vicinity. Must have got wind of our little brawl from my gunshots and explosions. Being Hornets, they were no doubt pissed. Well, more pissed than Hornets usually were.
Well if I could hold these two off long enough for the reinforcements to arrive, I might just get out of this. Though it wouldn’t take long for Mister Commander here to run me through. And the only thing that I had smacked into my brain so far were stars. Stars…? That’s it! Stars!
I quickly reached into my coat and threw out a homemade flash bomb. The blinding light left the big guy momentarily stunned, giving me a chance to rush by him toward Sir Shit-for-Brains and his hostage.
Luckily, yeah finally some fucking luck when I needed it, when Sir Shits-for-Brains shouted of the incoming Hornets, he had moved away from his well-dressed hostage. This gave me that clear shot I was looking for.
While in my sprint, I popped out a few shots at him, dropping him after I nailed him in the leg. In retrospect, I probably should have finished him off as I breezed by. But I was probably running on fumes at that point.
Reaching the semi-conscious rich guy, I quickly grabbed him by the shoulders and hulled him toward the barrier that still enclosed the Hornet Queen, who appeared to have barely made it back to her feet.
I dropped him off in back of the bubble and readied myself in a cover-position. The tyrant had recovered and stopped about twenty feet away. I didn’t need to see his face to know that he was seeing red while staring at me.
“You got off easy, stranger. We will finish this another time” he snarled.
“I’ll bring the beer and knuckle-sandwiches. All you need to do is show up, ya big Order bitch” I spat back. We had a silent moment of glaring at one another. Just to seal the deal that we would be gunning for one another in the future. Maybe I had an advantage in that sense.
He and his limping second-in-command then mounted their nearby horses and took off. Finally, I was able to deactivate my helmet and get a moment to breath a sigh of relief. I may have not really won that fight… well okay I got my ass kicked, but at least the two prisoners and I got out okay. We were beat to hell and back but we were alive and the reinforcements were nearly here. In fact, I could hear the buzzing of the Hornets incoming. I mean really incoming. Almost like they were-
Upon turning toward the incoming swarm, I was slammed by a large yellow force crashing into me with enough force to send me sliding toward home plate, so to speak, along the ground. Good, my brains had already been knocked out of the park.
“Hey! W-what are-” I blurted out.
I looked up and, sure enough, a Hornet was sitting on top of my chest and shoulders pinning me to the ground. She wore armored gauntlets on her hands and armored shin guards on her legs. A yellow sports bra covered her top, contrasting to her dark eyes. Her light wings and antennas flickered combatively, both capped off by her fierce expression. And I’m willing to bet that her second ass stinger was pointed at my stomach. With her spear aimed right at my neck she said, “Who do you think you are to put your filthy hands on the Queen and King, you scum?”
Now there’s the kind of luck I was much more used to.
“Ease up there, ya two-assed pest. I got your point, well not yet at least, but you got the wrong guy” I insisted, trying to take her seriously despite my close-up view of her London and France. Is that where they store the honey?
“Don’t kill him! He is not one of them!” the Queen Hornet commanded, finally feeling well enough to step out of the barrier bubble and tend to her husband.
My subduer lowered her spear yet didn’t dismount.
“Well go on. Get off” I requested.
“I apologize, there big guy. Since you aren’t one of the Queen’s kidnappers, I guess I’ll just take you for myself. After all, the way you talk and… feel, it would be a shame to let you go. Hope you like it rough, Sexy” she purred with a blush as she leaned down toward me. I could feel her stinger lightly rubbing across my chest plate.
Nothing like a little sweet-talk from a Hornet before she gets her point across.
“Buzz off! I’m Veina’s guest”
“And that means what to me?”
Fuck, I’m gonna have to say it to identify myself, aren’t I?
With a heavy sigh I finally relented and said “I’m Veina’s lover”. Bloody hell, that stung worse than this girl could.
“Dammit” she cursed as she shot me a disappointed frown and promptly got off of me. It was nice to have Veina as my “Get Out of Bed Free Card”.
Now that there were several Hornets surrounding the area, it finally felt safe. I approached the Queen and her husband.
“How is he?” I asked the Queen.
“He very injured, but he’ll live. Farro, fetch me my healing potion” she commanded a nearby Hornet.
“So what did that posse want with you?”
“They ambushed us so they could take us hostage. Without Gamerton’s leader, they could take control of this entire region”
So that explains Fancy Dan here. He wasn’t just some guy in a spiffy get-up, he must have been a wealthy noble, or mayor, or whatever. Shit, that means I just broke up a major boon for the Order. Wonderful.
“Thank you for rescuing me and my beloved. I promise, you will be rewarded”. She then began to softly whisper to her wounded husband as she lovingly held him in her arms.
Being the suspicious asshat that I was, I broke the mood in my usual way.
“Does this mean I get a free jar of honey whenever I want? Though with you Hornets, I’d say that kind of stuff is bootlegged, right?”
“You can have much more than that. You saved the love of my life. For that, I could never repay you”
She began peppering him with affectionate kisses, “You’ll be fine, darling. Tonight, I’ll make sure you forget all about this”
Cue the 70s porn music.
Eventually, her Hornet subordinate arrived with the healing potion. The Queen quickly uncorked it and helped her husband drink it.
“Where’s yours?” I questioned, seeing as how she was covered in burns and cuts, maybe even more so than he was.
“It was the last potion I had and I care about his well-being more than my own. He will be healed first” she asserted with stubborn determination.
Uh-oh. Veina’s words popped back into my head.
“I’m no sentimental Romeo, but someone with your kind of looks and money, wouldn’t it be easier just to find another guy to replace him?” Yeah it was a dick thing to say, but Dick Tracy didn’t get to the bottom of things by asking soft-ball questions. I was just probing.
“How could you say that!?” she shrieked. “I love him, more than all of my wealth, more than all of my power and authority! I’d give it all up to make sure he lives!” Either she’s a fantastic actress, or those were real tears in her eyes.
“Alright, alright, I’m sorry. You’ve got a major sweet-tooth and he’s you’re own personal sweetheart. My mistake” I said backing off. “Do I still get my reward?”
“Yes. Name it and it’s yours”
“Nice, but… give me some time to think about it. I’ll know where to find you when something comes to mind”
While she kept consoling her husband as he regained his vigor, I paced around trying to think about what my reward should be. It had to be something useful, like potions or explosive powder or something. Or ice cream. Yeah, I’d take some ice cream if they could figure out how to make it.
Though I found it hard to focus on these thoughts because my brain was still distracted by Veina and mamano in general. I couldn’t shake them out. Not even getting another prize was able to take my mind off them. I think I feel a headache coming on. But that could have been from a number of things.
It was Veina swooping down out of the sky and landing right in front of me.
“Well speak of the devil and she shall appear. Looks like we both ended up kicking some ass. But I had the bonus of also having my ass kicked” I joked before she bolted forward and snatched me in a tight embrace.
“Thank Maou you’re alive…” she mumbled.
“I guess so” I mumbled back.
“Jason, you’re hurt!”
“Meh, just some bumps, bruises, and a little scrape here and there. Nothing unusual”
“I need something to sooth those wounds! Seeing you injured is something that I won’t stand for!”
“Geez, relax. If you’re concerned over a little roughing up, you’re gonna wind up clinging to me every second of the da-“. I stopped talking.
“Nevermind” I shuttered.
“I told you to stay in the Witches’ barrier. Why did you leave?” she pleaded with a mix of anger and fear in her eyes.
“Well, I got bored. Thought I’d go for a stroll” I jeered
“He saved our lives!” the noble spoke up after the healing elixir apparently had repaired his glass jaw. “The Order would have kidnapped us both if he hadn’t interfered”
Veina turned to me with a bewildered look on her face.
“Oh yeah. And… that” I said as I turned my gaze away from hers, embarrassed.
Veina quickly glanced around the crime scene, then back to me.
“You fought Order knights and their mages? They’re extremely dangerous to battle against. You could have been killed!” she pleaded as she hugged me again. “I don’t want to risk your safety. Please, don’t ever do that again. Promise me” she said as she hugged me again.
I was caught off guard by her compassion. I was expecting more of a tongue-lashing; like going into an older sibling’s room without permission. Lots of screaming and yelling and maybe a clip in the head or two. But a loving hug followed by extreme relief that I’m okay? I wasn’t prepared for that little bit of insanity.
“Well after what I went through, you don’t need to convince me that they were dangerous. Mind if we go home now?” My favor from the Queen and King of Sting could wait. After crashing parties and crashing through buildings, the next thing I wanted to crash into was my own bed.
“Of course, my love. But first we need to bandage your wounds” she said as she gently grabbed my shoulders and began walking away.
“Hey, forget about it. You don’t have to worr-“
“No, Jason! I won’t see you injured like this! Please let me ease your pain”
Okay. I guess you’ve got to do what the doctor tells ya.
After a few bandages and salves from the local Unicorn, we made our way back to Vallick. Veina was clutching my arm and almost nuzzling my neck as I drove. Now, I was taught to pay attention to the road when I drive. And Veina probably didn’t count as a “hands-free-device”.
“I told you I’m fine. Stop worrying” I said, finally deciding to interject some speech into our ride back home. Also I was getting bored, something that I usually wasn’t when I was around Veina.
“It’s not fine. I failed” she sadly muttered after a brief moment of silence.
“Why, what’s wrong? Gamberton’s fine and so are it’s two, utmost citizens”
“I’m don’t mean Gamberton; I mean you. I failed you”
She sat up and gazed into me eyes. No way. I think I see a tear. In Veina’s eyes?
“I brought you here to forget about your troubles. To cheer you up. And above all, to keep you safe. Yet you ended up right in the middle of an Order attack” she grieved as her voice began to crack.
“Yeah, so? You kicked their asses, I kicked their asses, well sort of, and they ran off. Big deal”
“But that doesn’t change the fact that you were almost killed”
“Oh come on. You couldn’t have known they would have attacked. It wasn’t your fault. On top of that, you didn’t get me involved. That was my choice” I assured, giving her a pat on her hand.
“Yes but…” she sighed “I’m still scared. I don’t know what I would do if I lost you. I would rather endure the wrath of the entire Order than lose you. If they had killed you, I would have lost control and hunted down every last one of them, unleashing a fury that the land has never seen before” she said in an angered yet disturbingly monotone voice.
Wow. I actually believe she would have.
“Well you didn’t lose me. I’m right here. And I don’t plan on going down at the hands of a couple of stooges like them. So… just calm down” I consoled, trying to defuse her.
After a prolonged silence, she finally spoke up again.
“So why did you interfere?”
Oh shit. Right between the eyes.
I gave a simple shrug, but kept quiet. If she pushed on, I’d just tell her my only theory: I was a dumbass.
“Mmm. Yes. I forgot how strong you are. That just terrifies me more to think that you were almost taken from me”
“I’m not that great” I scuffed.
“You’re better than you think. I meant it when I said that your heart beats strong. There are so few humans who would willingly engage with the Order like that. Your boldness is one of the many things I love about you. I’m sorry you’re now involved in this war. And I’m sorry that you hated being at this festival. I thought you would enjoy it”
“Who said I hated it?”
“I don’t remember that. Today was actually pretty fun. You did cheer me up”
“Oh… That makes me happy” she said meekly.
“It’s true, you did make me feel better. Not always through conventional means but give yourself some credit” I said as I tried to cheer her up.
“But you were quite angry, remember? I’m sorry”
Aww shit. I forgot about that. But she’s sorry? After what happened between us before the Order attacked, I felt I deserved a good slap in the head. Well I guess I actually did end up getting that.
“Look Veina, about what I said earlier, I… I was just being an ass. I still have things on my mind. But I’m the one that should be sorry”
“Forget about it, my love. Yes, you do have many things weighing on your mind. You have problems that you intend to fix. You’re so noble. Just… let me help you through them”
“Don’t you think it’s better to leave the stupid stuff to me? Why would you want a part in that?”
“You weren’t stupid. You did what you thought was right”. She interlocked her claws with my fingers. “I find that sexy” she said with a slight smirk.
“Now there’s the Veina I know” I said copying her slight smirk.
She rested her head on my shoulder.
“Tell me about your world” she whispered.
“Why would you wa-“
“Please. I want to know”
She wanted to know about my world? Funny, but I don’t think she was in the right state of mind to hear the uncensored version of it. With a Demon’s life of debauchery, she would find my Earth as charming and comforting as the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Best to hold my tongue on certain matters. Save that for a dark and stormy night.
I talked about the basics of my world. Just broad, broad strokes. Of course I had to tell her how there was no magic or monsters for that matter; only in folklore. She might have been bothered by that. Damn. I also gave her a taste of the kind of bullshit I’d encountered back on Earth. Not too nitty-gritty, I didn’t want to scare the shit out of her.
Thanks Veina. I wasn’t bored anymore.
We arrived back in Vallick late at night. What a day. And what a date.
I found it difficult walking into my apartment. Not just because of my little UFC qualifying match, but because Veina was still clinging to my arm.
“We’re home; safe and sound. You can let go now” I said anxiously.
“I know, my love, but I don’t want to” she said timidly. Uncharacteristic for her.
“Well how else am I supposed to get some sleep?”
“Jason… can I sleep with you in my arms? Just for tonight?”
Uh-oh. Incoming intimacy. Heavily armed with temptation.
“Why? You think that an Order ninja is waiting in the shadows?”
“Please, Jason! I’m still terrified that I almost lost you forever. It will help me sleep better if I know you are safe”
She was either a strategic genius or a lucky little duckling because she always came to me with these requests when I was too pooped to put up a shitstorm. Damn another crappy joke. Oops there’s another one.
“Fine. But just for tonight” I asserted firmly. Oh well. She gave me a treat today, so I’ll give her one.
She answered with a calm smile.
Making our way to the bedroom, I managed to crawl into bed with Veina as my sidekick. I couldn’t undress even if I wanted to. But I didn’t want to of course.
Finally getting comfy, I closed my eyes. I figured it wouldn’t take long given my state. But Veina just had to keep me up a little longer, as she switched from hugging my arm to wrapping her arms around my torso and tangling her legs around one of mine. I don’t recall calling a cease-fire on the bedroom rules.
“Hey you asked to sleep with me in your arms. Not become one of my arms” I quipped.
“Jason. Just give me this one time. We’ve not made love yet and you were almost killed. Don’t you know how much that affected me? I’ve yearned for you for so long now” she pleaded as she snuggled into me more than my nighttime rules would allow.
Okay, I was going to give her one last chance get fed up with me and leave. For good. Otherwise, I would have to do something stupid.
“Sure. Get it out of your system. Even just a sample of a fuck-buddy is enough for someone to figure out that it’s not for them” I sneered.
“Please stop saying that!?” she exclaimed as she quickly cupped my cheeks in her claws and peered deep into my eyes. This time there was no mistaking it; she was actually crying. I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t see it.
Before I could respond, she continued but in a more subdued way, “Do you have any idea how much that hurts me? To be constantly rejected by the one you truly love?”
“Veina, I’m a loner with serious trust issues. Why would you love me?”
“Do I need a reason why I fell in love with you?”
“It usually helps”
“My feelings for you are stronger than anything I’ve ever felt before. Here…” She pulled my head and pressed my cheek into her breast. “Listen to my heart, my love. It beats like this only for you; no one else. Only you have that effect on me. Do you still doubt me?”
I could feel her heart. It pounded loud and clear in rapid succession. It also felt warm, and soft, and wait! That was something else. Don’t think about that.
“My womb constantly aches for you. Here, let me show you…” she said as grabbed my hand and began to move it below her hips.
“Woah there! I’ll take your word for it!” I said as I pulled away from her.
She caressed my cheeks tenderly and looked at me with a face more emotional than I’d ever seen her give me before.
“I care more about you than anything else in this world. I was more scared today than I’ve ever been before in my entire life when I realized that I may never have been able to embrace you in my arms again. To have never indulged in my passion for you. There is nothing in this world that I wouldn’t do to please you. So I will never give up on you. I will be the best lover I can for you”
“Veina-” I stuttered, trying to avoid eye contact.
“Why don’t you believe me?” she begged as she forced me to look her in the eyes. Those sharp red eyes of hers. So alluring and seductive yet were now filled with such love and desire.
I know crocodile tears, and this wasn’t the case.
Go on, asshole. Admit it. You don’t have a reason anymore. You’ve just been fooling yourself into thinking that you’re being smart. But really, all you’ve been doing is being overly paranoid and idiotic. Admit that today was the first time in a long time that you actually laughed and actually had fun; all thanks to her. That, despite her tricks and antics, you never truly hated her for it. That she’s shown you more compassion than you ever thought you deserved. That, despite your scornful outlook, her affection for you actually… might have… somewhat… touched you…
Well it was true. I had never seen someone care about me as much as her. No matter what I did, she always answered me with more adoration and passion than I knew what to do with. Leave it to me to treat love and affection with suspicion and snarkiness. But for some reason, that I actually knew but pretended that I didn’t know, I… I actually believed her. The look in her eyes tells me how genuine her words were. She really meant everything she said. The longing look in her scarlet eyes echoed her devotion to me and my happiness. But that also means that… someone that looks as beautiful, voluptuous, sultry, sensuous, erotic, enticing, and any other sexy words you can think of, really did want to sleep with me. And not because she was scheming something, but only because she was crazy about me? I don’t quite know how to react to that. But I bet little Johnny down under knows…
What’s this? Am I actually feeling something in this hardened heart of mine? After years of toughening myself up to the hardships of reality, did Veina actually find a crack? Dammit. She was both the best and worst person to do that to me. But I wasn’t about to tell her that. At least not yet. I wasn’t even entirely sure how I felt about it. Right now though, I had to do something stupid.
I held out my arm and gave her a slight smirk. “Go on. Secure the area”
She responded with a smile as her tears changed from tears of fear to tears of joy. After re-cuddling up next to me, I placed my arm around her back, eliciting a contented exhale.
I answered her with an emotionless sigh, since I didn’t know how to feel, it was the best I could do.
“Come by my lab tomorrow. I’ll let you in on the loop and give you a little tour” I whispered.
Like I said, ‘something stupid’.
“Thank you. I’m the luckiest Demon in all the land. You make me so happy when I’m with you, my love” she whispered back, her voice slightly giddy with excitement.
“Do I?” I asked in a dry tone. However, seeing her this happy actually did tickle a little soft spot in my broken down heart.
“Yes, indeed. In fact, I know of a way you could make me even happier…” she cooed lustfully as she began caressing my already stiff member
“I said we could cuddle tonight. But no fondling each other or ourselves for that matter” I retorted as her handiwork did more wonders in a short amount of time than I thought was possible. Holy shit, how could she do that in less than two seconds? Just how lewdly talented was she?
“I think this and your heart say otherwise, my love” she murmured lusciously.
“Look, let’s just enjoy each other’s company for the night; in silence”
She let out a aroused moan but gave a slight grip on my manhood before letting go.
“I love you so much, Jason” she whispered tenderly.
Oh no, not that. I wasn’t ready yet.
We spent the rest of the night silently cuddling. It was nice for a change after a day like that. I had a lot to think about. Well, even more to think about; all because of a few crazy hours. I guess when it rains, it pours, and then zaps you with lightning. Whether I wanted to admit it or not, there was more to mamano than I originally thought. Based on what I’d seen that day, Veina’s promise of no master-slave “couples” was true. None of the guys sounded like zombies or submissive bitches. They were right where they wanted to be; with the woman they loved. Veina, and by extension all mamano, claimed to truly care for their mate more than anything. Maybe they really did love them. It still seemed unbelievable to me that mamano could fall in love with someone in a millisecond and without much reason. But everything I’d seen up to this point supported that. Even if one of those giant monster chicks decided to rape a guy enough that he fell in love with her, I guess what matters, in a way, is if it ends with legitimate feelings. A fucking non-politically correct way of going about it, but hell, some guys probably found that quirk rather adorable.
Well hooray for them, but this cynical prick wasn’t broken that easily. Just because I was wrong about them doesn’t mean I support their cause. As kickass as that fairytale, which the Demon Lord wanted to make a reality, may have been, I knew for a fact that if there was even the smallest bit of wiggle room for power to be abused, you could bet dollars to donuts it would end up starting the Hunger Games. That Demon Lord bitch wasn’t to be trusted with complete power. Her crusades were still for conquering as far I was concerned. She and her monster squads weren’t exactly a band going on a tour.
All that said, the Order was still just as bad. Though I may have had a little more salt for them, for obvious reasons. As a human, myself, I couldn’t blame the Order for not exactly unzipping their pants and offer all these monster babes endless nights of “free refills”. Especially considering how monsters were in the past. Who wouldn’t be hesitant? But their mass extermination mentality was clearly turning into the goddamn Salem Witch Trials. No doubt that was literal in some cases. That was like blowing up a neighbor’s house because of their wild, late-night sex parties. There had to be a middle ground; like a privacy fence, if you will.
But fuck me if I knew what that middle ground was. Nor did I want be the one to figure it out. Despite what Veina told me, I wasn’t planning to get involved in this war. I still had my own war to fight with the Skarliks. That was a full time job. Still, I had to accept the fact that the Order now had eyes out for me. Well, if they showed up, I’d just have to put a laser right between those eyes. But I had my own work to do.
As for Veina, well, I was still playing that part by ear. I was finally able to tolerate her staying with me, but I didn’t want her to help me with my problems. It would only make matters worse if things got even more… complicated.
For now, I just took the time to enjoy a little peaceful intimacy with an extremely beautiful woman. Nothing else. But boy did she feel good. Her blue skin felt exhilarating like usual. That rich, sweet scent she carried practically had my taste buds watering. She was arousingly warm, and even her breathing seemed intoxicating. Oh momma…
That wood in my pants was definitely going to last until morning.