“Good work today, Lady Tama. That was the last of the worshippers for the day.” As the Shirohebi shrine maidens congratulated their deity in unison, said deity didn’t seem too pleased.
“Ugh…finally…” Tama Mitsuyuki. A Ryu revered as a deity, spoke in an absentminded tone. While she genuinely loves to help others, this eagerness to help others has mentally drained her. Not because the prospect of helping others bothers her.
“Lady Tama, perhaps you should retreat to your humble abode for the day.” For the convenience of her followers, the temple shrine they converged at was at the center of their village at ground level. Tama’s home was at least three miles away on a mountain.
“What? There’s still the matter of meeting the chieftains…”
“We mean no disrespect, Lady Tama. But your tone of speech says otherwise. Please, let us-” Cutting off one of the Shirohebi maidens mid-sentence, the front door of the shrine suddenly flung open. In seconds, the Shirohebi maidens lined up in front of the hall with weapons made out of blue flames at the ready.
“Halt! Who goes there!” Silhouetted by the sun behind the perpetrator, it took their eyes a few moments to adjust before they realized who it was.
“Ah…ah…Ta…Tama…you still here?”
“Reiss?!” Moving out of Tama’s way, she got closer to Reiss before seeing her out of breath with her fur all messed up. “Why’re you still here, and what happened to you?!”
“I…fuck…I’m fine! More importantly…” Running back to Tama’s shrine as soon as she got back to Zipangu, Reiss took deep breaths until she managed to catch her breath.
“What, what’s so important that you run yourself ragged to get here?!” As for why Reiss was in such a hurry…
“Trisha…she’s…” Triggering alarm bells in her mind, Tama immediately panics before she puts her claws on Reiss’s shoulders.
“WHAT, WHAT HAPPENED TO TRISHA?!”
“She’s…” With her heartbeat rising in proportion to her anxiety, Tama was near her breaking point.
“T-Trisha’s Pregnant!” Near instantaneously, Tama’s anxiety had changed to a different kind of anxiety.
“…ladies…” Referring to the Shirohebi maidens, they collectively knew what Tama would say next. “I need a favor…” As if representative of the dread of work to come, their weapons made from azure flames withered away along with what little color they had left on their faces.
“C-come again…” Three days after finding out I got Trisha pregnant, it was time for Trisha and me to tell my mom and dad. And while I held Trisha’s left hand for moral support, she was also doing the same for me.
“Um…I got Trisha pregnant, Dad…” As I expected, Dad didn’t take to the news too well. If I could describe the look on his face as accurately as I could, it’d be that of absolute befuddlement. Dad wiggled his fingers with his palms open and stammered to find the right words to say. I knew I’d be getting the scolding of a lifetime once Dad got his bearings.
“Pfft!” Then, there’s mom. With both her hands on her lips, I’m sure Mom was exaggerating for comedic effect. I couldn’t tell whether she was ready to squeal in joy or burst out in… “Bwahahaha! Ah…like mother and son! Like your dad, you have some strong swimmers in those little testis of yours!”
“M-MOM! TMI!” Their reactions further proved the anxiety I felt coming here in the first place. Though if I had to say who had it worse between Trisha and me…
“Trisha, I hope you understand what this entails moving onward…” Uh-oh…he’s using the dad tone in tandem with his arms crossed. “Markus barely started with his college courses. While I won’t stop him from being a Father, I can’t say I’m comfortable with that idea until he finishes his courses and has a good-paying job. Raising a baby is not only time-consuming but costly. Between the stress of attending college and raising a child, I think the best course of action is to-”
“Hey, now hold on just a minute, Dad! I’m just as much at fault here. You can’t pin the blame on Trisha alone.” I didn’t want to pull the gender card since Trisha’s more experienced than me. But it’s the only thing I know Dad will listen to. “I know I just turned eighteen, but I’m a man now.”
“Ah, yes. You’re a man who’s solely dependent on his girlfriend’s wealth. The problem isn’t just about having a kid, Markus. How can you focus on your studies while taking care of an infant?! And Trisha, you’re still working at TMRC, right?” Trisha didn’t hesitate to nod, but I could tell from how she squeezed my hand that she was apprehensive about answering. “It’s not healthy for an infant’s development if you two aren’t around to raise it together.”
“Now now, dear. I agree with you to some extent. But everyone tackles those experiences differently. In fact, I remember two individuals who went through something similar. But toughed it out…” If there’s one thing mom always is, it’s being punctual.
“I…uh…” To top it all off, Dad often finds himself at a loss for words whenever Mom points something out to Dad.
“Honey, you remember how happy I was when I was pregnant, right? I know you wanted me to abort at the time, but after seeing me being so happy when I found out, you didn’t tell me how you felt until I was six months into my pregnancy.”
“Of course I remember, but this is different…”
“Different how, exactly?” It’s rare, but when mom puts her foot down, not even dad can stop her. “That Trisha’s much older than Markus? Things happen in the heat of passion, Doyle. It’s their choice whether or not they want to abort.” Staring at Trisha’s belly, there weren’t any signs of a bump just yet, but Mom reached out and rubbed it anyway. “Besides, they made up their minds before they got here. The best we can do as parents is support them wholeheartedly.” It was reassuring to have Mom at our side.
“Now, putting that aside, Doyle does bring up two important factors. One is money. But I’m fairly certain that’s mundane compared to the other factors like time. Who’ll care for the little one when Markus is out for college and Trisha is working?” Admittedly, we hardly talked about it.
“We did consider that. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t counting on the idea of you two lending a hand…” So bold, yet so nervous. That’s the feeling I got from Trisha just now.
“I don’t mind doing it every once in a while. But Doyle and I work at similar time frames. So there will be occasions when we can’t help.” When Mom took Dad’s side in this case, he crossed his arms and nodded with her. He always does that when Mom agrees with him.
“She’s right, Markus. The idea of being grandparents at our age is already baffling. I’d rather leave it to you two to explain how her mother is older than her grandparents!” We laughed it off for now, but that would be a hell of a conversation with our daughter at some point.
“I can pull favors from friends like Fae Fae or Faulkner if I need to find a babysitter.” After meeting them both, I could easily see them agreeing to babysit if we needed them to. It could be a good experience for him, Reiza, and Karika.
“Faulkner and Fae Fae, huh? Those two are certainly dependable. I guess you two already had things under control…” Dad looked back at Mom for a moment. After she smiled at him, he did the same for her before looking back at us. “I just wanted to be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. Sorry if I came off as being insensitive, Trisha.” Swallowing his pride, Dad bowed in apology to Trisha.
“It’s fine. Honestly, I hadn’t anticipated I’d get pregnant. As a semi-demon class monster, my chances of getting pregnant are low at fifteen percent. I wanted to get married before getting pregnant…”
“Why’s that? There’s nothing wrong with getting married mid-pregnancy, you know? Though, Doyle and I had to take the cheapo route and get a courthouse wedding…” Every time mom brought up how she and dad got married, she got all gloomy and depressed since, in contrast to how grandma and grampa reacted to the news of them getting pregnant, Trisha and mine went smoothly.
Suffice it to say, they were poor and couldn’t afford a proper wedding.
“I’m…sorry to hear that. We might have to do the same thing.”
“What?! You don’t have to follow in me and Doyle’s footsteps that much! Why?! I thought you had plenty of money to spare, Trisha.” Mom’s face of dread quickly changed to concern after hearing what we had planned.
“I do. But. I’d rather be safe than sorry and keep that money for the medical expenses and materials for our baby. Besides, I’d rather not get a photo op while I have a baby bump. I don’t want to look fat when I wear a wedding dress…”
“We’ve talked about this, Trisha. You’ll always be beautiful to me, even if you’ve got a baby in your stomach.”
“Hah! Say that to me again when I’m six months into pregnancy!”
“Ahaha…you two were just like us! To watch love blossom as spectators is almost as nice as experiencing it yourself!” Of course, Mom would bring that up now…
Before Dad could say his piece, the table suddenly started shaking. Soon, everything that wasn’t tied down started to shake.
“Wh-what’s going on?!” Mom and Dad huddled together for comfort as the shaking got even more violent. It’s like a commercial plane flying a few feet over the house. At this point, the picture frames on the walls started to fall off.
“…” I only noticed it now after looking around, but Trisha was the only one who didn’t seem surprised. Instead, her face turned pale.
*An hour earlier…*
“Hey, slow down, will yah?!” Holding on for dear life, Reiss accompanied Tama as she flew in the direction where she felt Trisha’s energy signature. With Tama’s body stretched over five hundred meters from her snout to the tip of her tail, she ripped through the skies in her dragon form. Her emerald green scales shone beautifully in the moonlit sky while the light purple hairs on her dragonic body fluttered with the wind.
“Don’t worry! You won’t fall off no matter how fast I’m going due to the magic binding spell I cast on you!” Tama’s magic was second only to Lord class Demons, Vampires, and Demi-gods. So Reiss never doubted Tama’s magical abilities.
“If you’re still doubting me, you can hold onto my horns!” For the context of how far away they were from where Tama felt Trisha, the portal from which Tama and Reiss came back to Earth was in Tokyo, Japan. Due to the abruptness of her arrival and her overeagerness to leave for Earth, Tama had dragged Reiss into the wrong portal back to Earth. If they had left for the portal designated for California, they would’ve been at their destination before Trisha and Markus had left their home. Because of Tama’s blunder, they ended up at the portal designated for Tokyo, Japan. Rather than take a plane to the US, Tama opted to fly there with Reiss in tow instead.
“I can’t believe I took the wrong portal! Why couldn’t I just go back from that portal from Zipangu, then go to the right portal?!”
“You know why! There are regulations you have to follow. If you go back and forth between the portals like that, you’ll arouse suspicion no matter who you are!”
“Tch! How tedious…” At the moment, Tama had just finished climbing the proper altitude commercial planes fly over thirty-six thousand feet. To protect Reiss during flight, Tama erected a barrier that protects Reiss from extreme winds, altitude pressure, and temperature.
“It’s your fault for getting too excited and telling the staff to hurry up, you know?”
“Yeah, yeah! Listen, at the speed we’re going, it’ll take forever for us to get there! I’ll use telepathy to communicate with you from now on.” Though she had an idea of what Tama had planned, Reiss couldn’t help but ask what Tama had planned anyway.
“Because with how fast I’ll be going, I won’t be able to hear you talk aloud. California’s about five thousand miles away. I have to follow the stupid flight path the other commercial planes take. But they never said anything about my speed. And I plan to get there in an hour.” All the hairs on Reiss’s tail and ears stood on the ends as she felt her heart skip a beat from shock.
“H-hold on! To get to where we need to go, you’d have to move as fast as a Dart AE…”
“Here we go!” Looking back at the length of Tama’s body, Reiss knew she was serious when she pulled her body in like a spring coil.
“HEYHEYHEYHEYHEY!!! STOP STOP STOP STTTTOOAAAAAAAHHHHHPPPPPPP!!!!!!” Then, breaking the sound barrier seven times over, Tama slices through the skies in her hurry to meet Trisha.
As soon as we left the house, I knew something was wrong since it seemed dark out. It was nighttime, but there was a full moon tonight.
“Ah…n-no way…” When I turned to look at Trisha, she simply had her mouth left open in astonishment.
“Wh-WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?!?!?!” Mom and Dad were freaking out at whatever it was they were looking at.
But when I looked up to see what it was, I could only see a long, serpentine being as the head of it was descending towards us. Getting close enough for me to get a good look at it, I knew it was a Ryu.
But not just any Ryu.
“Ah! There you are! Trisha, Hi!”
“L-Lady Tama?!” That voice didn’t fit Tama’s serpentine dragon from appearances alone. Her light brown horns were each the size of a semi-truck. Each separate scale was at least nine feet in length. The purple hairs that lined her body looked soft compared to her scales.
“What’s going on?!”
“D-dragon!” Even when I was highballing it, I never imagined Lady Tama’s dragon form being this big. With her giant size, it was only natural that the neighbors would notice. In a matter of seconds, the whole street filled with people coming out to see what was happening.
As her approach slowed, I saw another person clinging to her right horn.
“G-GET ME DOWN, NOW!!!” With how loudly Miss Reiss yelled out, she could deafen the whole neighborhood. From how hard she was clinging onto the horn, she must’ve gone through hell.
“Okay, okay. Let me shrink my size down first.” Through some form of magic, Tama’s body starts shrinking. By the time she was ten feet above the ground, she had shrunk down to three-fourths of her original size. Jumping off on her own accord, Miss Ress landed on all fours before she took deep breaths.
“A-are you alright?” Instead of giving me an answer, Miss Reiss held her right pointing finger up. She’s probably asking me to wait until she’s gotten her bearings.
When I turned back to look at Lady Tama, she had already transformed into her human hybrid form.
Trisha described and showed me pictures of Lady Tama many times. To see her up close…those pictures don’t do her beauty justice. Her resplendent beauty radiated most brightly from those eyes of hers. Rather than a striking gold like most Ryu’s have, hers were a clear blue color. The reflection of the clouds and moon in her eyes was like a mirror image of Earth. As for her clothes, she was wearing a white kimono with blue clouds and mountains sown into its design.
I purposefully left the details of her…abundant bosom for obvious reasons. Her chest was the main attraction for most guys there. Judging from the silence in the once-bustling neighborhood, I’d say I wasn’t the only one left awestruck by Lady Tama’s beauty.
“Tama, what are you doing here?!”
“Oh, Trisha! I came here as soon as I heard you got pregnant!” Coiling around Trisha before she could even react, Lady Tama showered her with kisses on the cheeks before smothering Trisha’s head between her chest.
“O-okay! I ca-hhhmmppphhh!!!” I’ve seen Trisha hurl boulders half her size like a shot put. The fact Trisha couldn’t pry her way out of Lady Tama’s grip shows just how strong she is. “Ah, whoops! I’m suffocating you, aren’t I?” Staggering backward, Lady Tama used her tail to catch Trisha before she fell on her back.
“I…*gasp*…you came all the way here just for that?!”
“What do you mean just cause?! Trisha, your pregnancy is a moment of celebration! Listen, we have to-” While Lady Tama was talking Trisha’s ear off, I felt a breeze pass by. Moving so quickly that I could only see its shadowy silhouette, the figure jumped high with its fist held high.
“DON’T YOU EVER…” Clenching her right fist, Reiss swings her fist downward onto Lady Tama’s head. “MAKE ME GO THROUGH THAT EVER AGAIN!” Landing on all fours, Lady Tama had put her hands on her head in slight discomfort while Reiss clutched her right wrist in pain.
“Ow! What was that for, Reiss?” Lady Tama’s ‘Ow’ sounded more sarcastic than genuine. As for Reiss, the hairs on her tail were all puffed up with a pained expression on her face.
“I-if it was anatomically possible, my heart would’ve exploded with how fast you were going!”
“What’s the big deal?! I used my barrier, didn’t I? You were well protected and everything!”
“Doesn’t matter when everything in front of you looks like a fucking blur!” During their argument, the sounds of people mumbling brought them back to reality.
“Okay, seriously. Why did you feel the need to tell Tama about my pregnancy, Reiss?”
“While second-guessing myself thanks to her little stunt earlier, I’m still glad I brought her here. I think it’s important that she be here when the baby comes.”
“Yeah, in nine or so months! I don’t even have a baby bump yet!” I was so busy listening to Trisha and Miss Reiss’s conversation that I hadn’t noticed Lady Tama staring at Mom and Dad.
“Hmm…are you the one who got Trisha pregnant?” With things calming down, Mom and Dad let each other go while Lady Tama shook her head. “No…it couldn’t be. I can sense that you two are a couple. Which means…” Turning her attention to me now, Lady Tama moved around me and inspected me at every angle.
“I…um…I’ve heard so much about you from Trisha. You’re like a sister to her, right?” I guess hearing the fact Trisha calls Lady Tama her sister made her really happy since she immediately went for a hug.
“Indeed I am! She and I are closer than most blood-relative families out there! And you must be the handsome man who knocked her up!” Thankfully, Lady Tama knew her strength and hugged me tightly enough to be slightly uncomfortable. “I mean, I didn’t expect you to be so young, but oh. I can tell just from a glance that you’re for her! Though I wouldn’t have been surprised if she ended up with Faulkner. I wonder how he’s doing?” Just as Trisha mentioned, she gets off track quickly…
Before I could say anything, her ears perked up like a cat before she looked up.
“Hmm? Is it just me, or am I hearing the sounds of wind being sli-” Without warning, the sky suddenly lit up, blinding everyone within the vicinity of the neighborhood.
“Freeze! Everyone’s hands in the air, NOW!” I’m not entirely sure how I didn’t hear the swarms of helicopters and police cars closing in on us, but they’ve surrounded the neighborhood. Before I knew it, the place lit up with sirens and helicopters.
“Aww…shit…this is bad…” Reiss seemed to be the only person who knew what was going on. But, to be honest. It doesn’t take a genius to know why they’re here…
“That’s right! Keep your hands up! I don’t want to see anyone move until I say so!” Whoever it was on the speakerphone, they sounded mad.
Standing behind the lights was the woman speaking through the speaker earlier. An Amazon of a woman both by stature and race, she walked up to Lady Tama and sized her up before looking down at Reiss.
“Well, well, well…you couldn’t follow the standard air travel procedures, couldn’t you?”
“…I know what it must’ve looked like. But I swear, Lady Tama only came here to greet a close friend.”
“Oh, I know. I heard the reports from Tokyo airspace. But why did you two violate airspace conduct after going from barely Mach one speed to Mach seven? You got clearance and permission to fly the airspace! But why would you fly that quickly?! I’m getting phone calls all over this stretch of the neighborhood alone.”
MACH SEVEN?! Did I just hear that right?
“Okay, yes. We broke several…laws from that alone. But I promise Tama, and I will explain what happened in detail to put the public at ease…”
“Then you’d better start explaining now.” The rest of the night was…eventful. Once things died down, the cops questioned everyone on-site to get an accurate foretelling of what had happened. Reiss had to plan for a public announcement the next day to explain what had happened. When the cops finally left, Mom and Dad sighed together in relief.
“Uh…Doyle and I are gonna head back home for the night. We need some time to process everything that’s happened today…” Mom was surprisingly calm after all that. As for Dad…
“M-make sure you get home safe…” With the news of Trisha’s pregnancy, the sudden appearance of Lady Tama, and the Police that came soon after, Dad was just about done for the day. “Again, it is a pleasure to meet you, Lady Tama. We’ll…uh…talk again soon.”
“And I you, Mister Doyle.” Heading home after bowing to each other, Lady Tama turned to Reiss. “Hey…I’m really sorry about…you know…” With a taxi cab ready to pick her up, Reiss seemingly ignored Lady Tama when she opened the front passenger seat but stopped to glare at her.
“I’d normally say not to sweat it, but you caused me a big headache tonight. You’d better be ready to bow in apology for the whole day tomorrow.”
“Yes, I promise to clear things up…”
“Good. I’ll see you tomorrow at eight in the morning…” After trying to comb her puffed-up tail into a manageable shape, Miss Reiss left home to prepare for tomorrow.
Aside from a few nosey neighbors, Lady Tama, Trisha, and I were the only ones left outside. Looking at one another, we were waiting to see which one of us would speak up first.
“So…I guess with all that behind us for the time being…we should probably get back home…” Trisha decided to be the one to break the silence before she pulled out her car keys and unlocked the car.
“Yeah. It’s been a long day…”
“Alright. Trisha, I’ll meet you the-”
“Ah! Wait!” Lady Tama was about to fly upward when Trisha cut in mid-sentence. “Look. Why don’t you change into your human form and join us in the car?”
“Right. Good idea.” With a deep breath, Lady Tama’s body lets out a faint yellow glow before her lower half shrinks. Seeing the scales shrink as her tail splits in two, the waist skirt she wore in her hybrid form conveniently covers her crotch. Looking more human than a monster, the features she had left were her dragonic horns, eyes, and tail.
“There. How’s that?”
“Perfect. Now come on.” Walking past me, Lady Tama gave me a wink before she took the front passenger seat. “You too, Markus.”
“Coming!” Taking the back passenger seat, we drove out of the neighborhood with a few people still staring.
“Alright. Well, I knew you would show up at some point. I was just hoping it’d be when I gave you a call after I had a few days to process it all…”
“To be fair, Reiss was the one who came rushing over and told me about your pregnancy…”
“Yes. And I’ll have a nice long chat with Reiss over that later. I AM glad that you’re here. But did you have to break several laws just to see me sooner?”
“I’m sorry! I was so excited about the news that I forgot the rules here.”
“Don’t give me that excuse! Miss Reiss was with you the whole time, wasn’t she?! It’s a good thing you have Miss Reiss’s backing! Otherwise, your royal status wouldn’t save you from getting arrested.”
“They could try. Unless they have another Ryu or a dozen Dragons at their beck and call, there’s nothing they could do to restrain me…”
“See, this is exactly why I can’t trust you to be alone here! The people of Zipangu spoil you too damn much! They need to teach you about accou-” Rather than getting time to catch up and talk, Trisha and Tama spent the time it took to get home arguing. Trisha spoke so highly of Tama, so I was shocked to hear her talking to Tama so bluntly and harshly. Maybe it’s due to her mood swings from pregnancy. Or it’s the sense of familiarity the two share.
Regardless, I stayed quiet rather than try to jump into their conversation. When we did get home, it was after Trisha had brought tea and cookies that we had time to talk properly.
“Please tell me you left Zipangu in good graces…”
“Don’t worry, Trisha! Yumiko and the other shrine maidens have things under control while I’m gone!”
“Right. And how long do you plan on staying here? A week?”
“A week?! Do you plan on getting married AND popping that baby out within a week?! Nonono. I’m staying until your wedding day AND the day you give birth!” Caught completely off-guard, Trisha nearly spat her drink. She managed to stop most of the liquid in her hands, but they did leak out from her hand and onto the coffee table.
“Ah…are you serious?! That’s basically a WHOLE year without you!”
“It’s not like I’m the only Ryu in Zipangu! Besides, Yumiko and the other maidens can pull off what I can together. They can make it rain when the people of Seisha Village need it.”
Seisha Village. It’s the village that Lady Tama governs. Apparently, Trisha does have a small home there to this day.
“I don’t know if I should feel bad for Yumiko and the others. Their loyalty to you is admirable, but they have families…”
“DON’T remind me! I get so jealous every time they bring it up! As their master, I’m happy for them. But why is it that I haven’t found that special someone yet?! I’m only in my early three-hundreds!”
“You haven’t exactly been looking around, you know?”
“Hey! I just figured out how a phone works, okay? These dating apps feel similar to the offerings I’d get back home. I just want a chance encounter with the man of my dreams!” Putting her hands together, Lady Tama looked up at the ceiling as if praying to the Gods. Then, her dragonic pupils shifted to me before she smiled. “Like Markus over there! Yes, Reiss only told me your name. Oh, and speaking of.” It hadn’t occurred to me during the chaos earlier, but Lady Tama and I never introduced ourselves properly. So the moment she got up from the couch and turned toward me, I knew I had to reciprocate her gesture and do the same.
“My name is Tama Mitsuyuki. I’m a Ryu at the young age of three-hundred twenty-four. I’m the guardian deity of Seisha Village. While I’ve had many bodyguards that came and went, Trisha is the only one I view as my younger sister! It’s nice to meet you.” For someone who carries the status of a ‘Deity,’ I felt nothing but sincerity and familiarity in her tone. She didn’t sound like someone who knew their status would carry them. She was like a proud sister who was genuinely happy to meet a new family member.
“M-my name is Markus. Markus Grish.” Tama and I bowed in unison before she clapped her hands with a smile.
“Now that we got introductions out of the way. I want to know how you two met. Don’t leave any details behind!”
“I…we met each other at Correlia Park.”
“Ah, the park Noire opened up? I hope she’s doing well. And how did this meeting take place?”
“I saw Markus painting on his tablet and was reminded of you when I passed by him. I felt like striking up a conversation with him to destress after a conference we had for TMRC.”
“Wait, you paint too, Markus?!” I guess finding out I could paint was more important than the details of how Trisha and I met. “Show me! I want to see your paintings!”
“Y-yeah, give me just a sec.” Running back to the master bedroom, I grabbed my tablet from its charger before I showed Lady Tama the paintings I drew.
“Oh! These are electronic canvases, right?”
“It’s called a tablet, Tama.”
“Ah, right!” Flipping through the different paintings, I saw a grimace on Lady Tama’s face as they got worse with every canvas she flipped through.
“A-are you alright?” Instead of saying something, Lady Tama hands the tablet back to me before stretching her arms up into the air.
“Ah! Well…I don’t know about you two, but I’m tired. I think I’ll go get some sleep for the night…” I-is she….
“What, already?! I thought you were more of a night owl, Tama?” Overtly laced with sarcasm, Trisha knew what she was doing.
“Oh, that?! I mean…I DO have to meet Reiss early tomorrow, and I need my…uh…beauty sleep so I can look good for the cameras! Ehehe…goodnight!” Walking past Trisha, Tama made a run for it upstairs.
“Did you have to egg her on like that?”
“What? You have to admit it was funny. Based on her reaction, I’d say Tama’s painting skills haven’t improved much.”
“I’m only a few skill levels above her.”
“I know. It’s still funny that it bothers her…” After laughing for a few seconds, Trisha suddenly froze up before the color on her face faded. “Oh shit! The bedroom’s still messy from what we did this morning!” Fuck, she’s right! We both sprinted as fast as we could upstairs. When we saw the door to our bedroom open and the lights on, we stopped and looked at one another. We kept quiet, knowing how Tama would react…
When we got past the door, Tama sensed us coming in and turned around with her arms crossed.
“Well, you two sure got frisky here, didn’t you?” It was incredibly subtle, but I could tell Tama was smirking at what we did here rather than acting surprised.
“S-should we clean this place up? I mean…this is YOUR bedroom, after all.”
“Trisha, how many times do I have to tell you? I gave you full ownership of this house. I’m your guest here. I don’t mind sleeping in one of the other two bedrooms. Besides…” Tama embarrasses us more by sniffing the air. “It’s a bit…musty here. The scent of lovemaking oozes here. It’d be wrong of me to intrude in your love nest…” Moving closer toward Trisha, Tama gave her a pat on her shoulder. “Oh, and don’t let my staying here slow you two down. Make love to your heart’s content?” As soon as she left the room and closed the door, Trisha’s face reddened before she turned to face me.
“Markus…we’ll probably have to rent hotels for a while…”
“Look, I know it’d be awkward to have sex in the house while she’s here, but is that necessary?”
“Markus, she can sniff out what we did here. What makes you think I want her to hear me moan while we fuck? You could soundproof this whole bedroom, and Tama could still hear us.”
“F-fair point…” Today was exhausting, so Trisha and I decided to sleep for the night after a quick shower.
Tama and Reiss were front and center on the local news channel the following day. Thanks to Reiss’s connections and Tama’s status as a deity, the charges she’d get for disrupting the peace from the night before were dropped. Tama also announced her extended stay here on Earth to host a wedding party for Trisha and me.
That’s right. Tama decided to host, pay, and announce our wedding without asking us first. We had to replace the coffee table afterward since Trisha completely smashed it.
Tama had joined Reiss’s lunch meetup with Welhemia after. When Tama finally got home, she planned on hosting the wedding in Welhemia’s garden. Instead, Trisha and I suggested we wed at Correlia Park since it was where we first met. Agreeing to our proposal, Tama started her plans right away and would only tell us key details to keep it as much of a surprise for me and Trisha.
“Ugh…Markus! Come here and give me a shoulder massage, would you?!”
“I’m coming, Trisha!” Who knew carrying a baby for five months inside your belly would be so stressful?! The stomach cramps, cravings, and mood swings were more erratic than I expected. I really should apologize to Fae Fae once this is-
“Eowch! D-dammit!” If I relax even for a little, the stomach pangs hit me. It’s like getting hit in the stomach with a baseball bat.
“Trisha, do you want another icy hot pack for your stomach?”
“Markus, I already went through two of them this morning. I’ll lose feeling in my stomach if I use it too much.” It wasn’t much, but Markus’s gentle massages were one of the few things I found that helped distract me from my pain. I felt guilty calling for him whenever I felt like it. Still, he balances the time he spends with me and his studies. He’s no straight-A student but slightly below that. I’m sure that wouldn’t be the case if he hadn’t been bothered with me.
“Ah, am I hurting you?”
“No. I…I feel bad you’re wasting time comforting me when you should focus on your studies!” Coming seemingly out of nowhere, the guilt of possibly bogging Markus’s grades down due to me got me tearing up. And thinking about it, didn’t I promise Doyle I wouldn’t do anything that would impact Markus’s chances at succeeding? “Markus?” I tried to look him in the eyes, but the tears coming out of mine made it hard to see his face! No, it’s a good thing I can’t see his face! What if he’s looking at me in annoyance?!
“Wh-what is it?” I-I knew it! His passive-aggressive answer just now! I really am a nuisance to him.
“S-should I just shrink and disappear into the abyss?” It was hard to see with the tears in my eyes, but I swear I saw Markus’s jaw was wide open in shock.
“Ah…come on…this again?! Trisha, we’ve been through this six times this month alone. Trisha, you are not a waste of space or an annoyance. And you certainly shouldn’t shrink into an abyss to disappear for all eternity. You’re my wife to be carrying our baby girl in your belly.” Before I could say anything, Markus put his magic fingers to work. It didn’t matter what he used them for. Markus always knew where I needed them most. Applying just enough pressure to mold my sore shoulder muscles into place, I felt all the anxiety brewing melt away.
“Ah…I guess I don’t have a choice but to believe you…”
“Of course you don’t. How was work, by the way?”
“Stressful. The new TMRC locations Reiss plans on requiring tons and tons of paperwork on my end. I’ve reviewed over a dozen applicants and recommended them. Some are in person, but most are through online chat meetings with Reiss. Putting my usual duties as the President of TMRC on top of all that’s been a real pain.”
“At least all that work’s worth it with how fat your paychecks must be.” That’s about the only silver lining for doing this job. Getting paid in the upper thousands every week has been a blessing.
Within the next month or so, our wedding will take place. I’ve sent all the invites to all my friends. My parents died some time ago after I became independent, so it’s a bit sad I don’t have a single relative coming to see my wedding.
Aside from the invites, I got Markus his wedding band a month prior to this one. Forged using Demonic Mythril, the primary colors of the greenish blue Mythril with the purple engravings on it should help him use magic once he becomes an Incubus.
And speaking of his incubization, according to Tama, Markus’s transformation into one will take at least another year if we leave him the way he is now. I could hasten the process if he ate foodstuffs native to Faelinth. But he doesn’t need that right now.
“Trisha? Do you want me to keep going, or are you good now?” Crap. I forgot that Markus was massaging me the whole time.
“Ah, no. I’m good now. Your massage skills were so good that I completely forgot about the pain. Thank you.”
“Hehe, don’t mention it!” From an emotional standpoint, seeing Markus smile so proudly helped to put me in a better mood. I’m still not looking forward to the paperwork tonight, but at least I feel rejuvenated before doing them.
“Hmm? Markus, what’s wrong?” Markus’s face was as red as a tomato. Following his gaze, I hadn’t realized my breasts were leaking milk. “Ah…I must’ve been more relaxed than I realized.”
“I’ll go get your pump.”
“Thanks, it should be in the bedside drawer on my si…wait. Scratch that. I don’t need it.”
I just got a great idea…
“Rather than the breast pump, I want you to use those magic fingers and milk me with them.”
“Wh-WHAT ARE YOU SAYING! I-I-I-I-I can’t do that!” From waving his arms in denial to screaming at the top of his lungs, Markus did everything he could to oppose the idea. But I know better than that.
“Come on…don’t be such a spoilsport. It’s not like we officially agreed to abstain from fooling around, you know? The only reason we hadn’t done anything was so neither of us would stay up too late. Having Tama around doesn’t help either.”
“I know that…but…”
“Come on, please…” It didn’t take much pouting before Markus relented to my demands.
“F-fine.” Markus had me sit on his lap so he could milk me from behind. My bulging belly would’ve made it awkward to get milked any other way.
“I’m not too heavy, am I?”
“I wouldn’t have suggested this position if you were Trisha. I’ve been working on my leg and arm muscles, you know?” I couldn’t see it, but I could tell he was flexing his arms and legs to prove his point. I’m not entirely sure why he’s been obsessed with working out lately, but It’s good he’s keeping himself physically fit.
“Okay, tough guy. Still, you need to work on your nerves next…” To prove my point, I pulled my shirt off. Tossing it aside, I cupped my boobs in front of Markus while he was still looking. “I’ve had you drink my milk from a glass or in a cereal up until now. This time, you’ll drink it from the tap.” Even with the nursing pads in my bra, it’s not enough to stop all the milk from leaking through my bra. It doesn’t help that I keep milking myself rather than leaving it alone.
“I-it’s embarrassing enough knowing I’m drinking your milk. To drink it right from the source…”
“I don’t see what the problem is. You’ve sucked on my nipples before, so why would it matter now?” Unclipping my bra for me, I put it away next to my shirt before Markus put his hands under my tits.
“Because…our baby girl will be drinking milk there.” With a light squeeze, milk starts to spray out from my nipples. I’ve missed having him grope me like this.
“Ah…unless we had twins, which we know isn’t the case from the ultrasound a few weeks ago, you can still suck on the other tit.” Squeezing my tits harder, he starts to knead them in a forward motion. When his fingers pinch my nipples, he’d twist them lightly between them before pulling them, causing milk to spray out every time he squeezed them.
“I…I don’t need that kind of imagery in my head…” I know Markus calls himself a man, but to me, he’s still the same baby-faced dork I met at the park. He’s gotten bulkier and almost as tall as me now. But I can’t help but tease him when he gets like this.
A small part of me’s going to regret having to clean up the milk that’s spilled all over the coffee table and floor, but the cathartic sense of relief I got from being sexually repressed for so long pushed all those thoughts away.
“Isn’t it all the better to do it now? I know how much you enjoy drinking my milk…” Taking a break from squeezing my tits, Markus brought his soaked right hand next to his mouth. With a bit of my milk pooling on his palm, he stuck his tongue out and licked it clean.
“It’s warm. And more than that, it’s somehow sweeter.”
“Ehehe…I’m surprised that you’re surprised, Markus. Everyone knows that drinks typically taste more flavorful when it’s warm.” While he’s distracted with my milk, I manage to slip my hand under my crotch to the zipper on his pants. Shimming my fingers through the slit of his boxers, grabbed his dick and pulled it out in the open.
“Yes, I can’t wait anymore…” I couldn’t take my pants off while sitting on him, so I got up for a moment and turned around to face him. “Stay right where you are…” Taking my pajama pants off, I felt relieved to see Markus still find me attractive even while pregnant.
He wasn’t just looking at my leaking breasts. Following his gaze, I could tell he was admiring everything.
And right now, where I want him to look at me the most from…
“Look here, Markus! It only took a bit of groping, massaging, and squeezing to get me this wet!” Just as I wanted him to, Markus’s eyes were all on my crotch. I tugged on my panties to tease him, but my knees nearly gave in from the stimulus alone.
“C-careful! Trisha…go on and sit on top of me.” Despite being pent up, Markus prioritized my well-being and had me sit on his waist.
“Are you sure you can handle me like this?”
“Like I told you earlier, I can handle it.” Putting my worries aside, Markus grabbed my asscheeks and pulled me closer to himself. “Besides, you’ve plumped up from pregnancy, so there’s plenty of cushioning here.” The little bastard even gave them a couple of squeezes to prove his point.
“Asshole! You know a lot of women could interpret that as being called fat, right?”
“Maybe, but you’re not most people, are you?”
“Nope…” Bouncing up and down on his cock on the couch, I would’ve loved to see the look on his face if my stomach wasn’t in the way.
Putting his training to good use, Markus had no problem swinging his hips. He even held me up with his arms alone by holding onto my asscheeks while he was doing all the work. In and out, his hips slammed against mine until I felt his arms start to shake and wobble.
“Ah…Ma-Markus…you can stop moving now. I’ll take care of the rest…”
“No, I can keep going.”
“Maybe, but if your grip slips, I might fall backward onto the coffee table…” That wouldn’t be a problem if I could held onto the couch, but I needed to give him a convincing argument to make him stop. More than anything else, I’d rather not hurt him by pushing him too far.
“O…okay…” As soon as he let go of my ass, I held onto the couch for support so that I wouldn’t drop down on him all at once.
“I know you’ve gotten stronger, Markus. But I can’t have you do all the work…”
“Don’t push yourself too hard, okay? You have a growing baby in you.”
“It’s my body, Markus. I’ll be careful.” To reassure him, I gave him a light peck on the lips. “I’m happy you’re so considerate of me and the baby, though.” Moving onto a full kiss afterward, I grabbed his dick while we kissed and positioned it back inside me.
Using my legs to propel my hips up and down on his dick, Markus had his arms wrapped tightly around my back to make sure I wouldn’t fall backward while kissing.
I shouldn’t be as exhausted as I should be, but I already found myself gasping for air in between kissing and moaning.
“Hey…*Smooch* do you need to take…ah…a break?”
“No. I can keep…ahhh…going!” I have to keep going. At least until one of us cums. And I’m determined not to be the first to do so.
Picking up the pace, we broke away from our kiss so I could put all my attention to moving my hips. While I was doing that, Markus kept his hands and mouth busy by groping and sucking on my tits.
“Ah! I thought you said it was embarrassing drinking my milk like this?”
“Considering your boobs are bouncing and leaking milk right in front of me, I can’t very well ignore them. Besides…*suck* you were right about drinking it from the source. Your milk tastes even better this way.” I guess the fucking we’ve been doing put him in the mood. He doesn’t even care how he looks now. I can feel his tongue licking and lapping up the milk coming out of my nipples.
It only took another minute before Markus reached his limit. Cumming inside while suckling on my right tit, I came shortly after him before I relaxed on top of him.
I’ve heard from Fae Fae that sex during pregnancy was a good thing. I doubted her at first since I figured the baby would jostle around my belly during sex, but it turned out she was right. I feel even more relaxed than I usually do.
Maybe a little too relaxed. I could feel myself falling asleep.
“Oh my! I didn’t think you’d be bold enough to have sex in the living room!” Sending both Markus and me jumping off the couch, we turned around to find Tama smiling at us.
“T-T-TAMA?!?!?! Why didn’t you go through the front door?!”
“I did. You two were so engrossed in fucking each other than you didn’t notice? Besides, I didn’t want to interrupt your guy’s love session…”
Interrupt? Wait a minute…
“Ah…when did you get here…exactly?” While Tama was humming in fake contemplation for suspense, Markus had zipped his pants back up before he handed me my shirt.
“I got here while you were on top of him. You really put your leg muscles to work with how violently you bounced on top of Markus! I’m glad the couch I got could handle it! Oh, and don’t worry!” As if seeing us fucking wasn’t bad enough, Tama pulls out a phone from her shirt pocket. “I made sure to record the whole thing! I’ll send the video on your phone so you two have something to commemorate this occasion!”
For fucks sake! She’s even replaying the video for Markus and me to see!
We both turned to face each other. Our cheeks turned red while our jaws hung as low as they could. Then, slowly turning back to Tama, she gave us a peace sign and a smile before Markus and I screamed at the top of our lungs.
“I can’t believe she saw us…” After Tama’s abrupt return, I cleaned the mess Trisha and I made in the living room. I’ve never heard Trisha sound so angry and embarrassed at the same time. She gave Tama a good scolding before she ordered Pizza for dinner. Then, after a quick shower, Trisha called it a night and went to bed first. Tama watched TV in the living room for an hour, then went to her bedroom to sleep. As for me, I was finishing the last of my homework assignments for my college classes in the computer room. When I looked at the time on the computer, it was eleven and a half before midnight.
“Phew…thank god I didn’t stay up past midnight this time.” Just as I was done with the computer room to join Trisha in one of the guest bedrooms, I heard the door to the computer room open before I saw Tama. “L-lady Tama? I thought you were asleep?” Wearing a green and pink floral Kimono nightgown, Tama had a cup of what looked like tea in her hands.
“I tried to sleep, but I guess I’m more awake than I thought. I had a feeling you were still awake, so why don’t we have a little chat to tire ourselves out?”
“Yeah. There are some things I’d like to talk to you about. Are you too tired to have one with me?” Now that I think about it, this is the first time I got a chance to talk to Tama alone.
I probably would’ve spent an hour on my phone before I fell asleep since I’m so used to sleeping in late, so I should probably take Tama up on her offer. Her tone made it sound too important to pass up anyway.
“No, I’m still awake enough to talk.”
“Great. I’ll set us up some tea and dessert on the backyard balcony.” Following Tama closely, she brought two cups, and a kettle of freshly brewed matcha tea. She picked sweet dango to pair with the tea. “Alright, we’re all set…” Changing her lower half into her dragon form, she stretched out her winding tail outside to bathe in the moonlight’s rays.
“I’m going to stop you right there. From now on, I want you to drop the ‘Lady’ when addressing me, alright?”
“Huh? B-but that sounds too familiar…”
“Really? I’d say we’re familiar enough, don’t you think? Besides, you’ll be my little brother when you marry Trisha.” Arguing won’t get me anywhere, so I relented and nodded.
“Alright, T-Tama. The night sky’s pretty and all, but I imagine there’s something important you want to ask me?” Hearing her grumble in disapproval. Did I say something wrong?
“Geez, you’re so upfront and straight to the point! You and Trisha have that in common. I just want a one-on-one chat with you…” Tama really was a sight to behold. The clear night sky with the waning moon exposed was nothing compared to her beauty. “Hey Markus, what exactly made you choose Trisha?” Talk about a loaded question! Where am I supposed to start?!
“I…can you be more specific?”
“Ugh…what I mean is. There are lots of young Monster Girls around your age you could be with. Trisha’s much older than you by comparison. With the generational gap between you two, wouldn’t your relationship be a rocky one?” So that’s what she meant.
“I can see where you’re coming from, but I’m not THAT in tune with my ‘generation.’ You could say that from a modern person’s perspective. I’m the odd one out. Hardly any girl paid attention to me because of my hobbies, and I didn’t have the physique most of them looked for. I don’t have a lot of friends either, but I am close with those I do have.”
“Hmm, but you look pretty strong now, young man. The way you carried Trisha earlier is proof of that.”
“Uh…well, that’s because I want to be strong enough to carry Trisha Bridal style when we walk down the wedding venue, you know? I know it’s silly…”
“There’s nothing silly about that, young man. If I were in Trisha’s situation, I’d cry tears of happiness. I say go for it, no matter how much Trisha protests. She can pretend to hate it all she wants, but I know deep down she’d love it.” Of all the people Trisha is close to, Tama was always the closest to her. So I reflexively sighed in gratitude, knowing she approved of me.
“And I know a thing or two about being the ‘odd one out.’” Taking a sip of her tea before elaborating further, I saw vulnerability in Tama’s eyes. No matter how powerful or influential you may be, you’re never too powerful to be left vulnerable. “Tell me, how much did Trisha tell you about me?”
“Oh, well. Trisha told me her hobby of painting came from you.”
“Ah, yes. I almost regret that.” Seeing her puff her cheeks in jealousy, I couldn’t help but chuckle. Something Tama found unamusing before she gently pinched my left cheek.
“She also said you’re like a sister to her. And that while her duty to protect you came from being your bodyguard at first, she threw that duty aside. Instead, she protects you because she genuinely loves you.” That brightened Tama’s mood as her cheeks had turned red.
“Sheesh. I knew that already, but hearing someone else point it out is kind of embarrassing.”
“Lastly, she told me how you diligently carry out your duties as the Rain Goddess of Seisha Village.”
“Ah yes…of course…” Unlike the other two times when she reacted in embarrassment and jealousy, Tama’s tone this time was more melancholy.
“Lady…excuse me, are you alright Tama?” Staring intently at the moon, Tama finished her first cup of tea before setting it down.
“Remember how I knew a thing or two about being the ‘odd one out.’? Unlike my fellow kin, I actually hate my role as a Rain Goddess.”
“You didn’t know? I guess Trisha didn’t feel the need to tell you. Either that, or she wanted me to tell you myself? But yes, I hate my role. Ryu’s typically have their husbands chosen for them. And naturally, with their role as a Rain Goddess, they’re bound to whatever village or land they rule over. While I genuinely love to help people. And they shower me with gratitude in turn. I never asked me what I wanted…” I refilled her tea cup while Tama was talking. I guess having an easy life isn’t always a good one if the responsibilities that come with it outweigh the benefits.
“I want to leave the confines of my village and find a man on my own. Who in their right mind would want their life set for them? I was envious of the very people who worship me because, for all the power I possess and the gifts given to me, they all had one thing that I didn’t…” I hadn’t noticed it until she moved her head down to look at her teacup, but there were tears in her eyes. “Every one of them had a choice. They were free to go where they desired and marry those they truly loved. I was honored and duty-bound to Seisha village, and I never got to pick out a husband for myself.” Hearing Tama’s voice fade in and out from crying was heart-wrenching. I could almost feel myself crying for her.
“But…when I found Trisha when she visited Seisha village, she was the only one to treat me differently from the other bodyguards I’ve hired. She supported my wants and needs rather than assuming them. Thanks to that, I was given a sense of independence since being around Trisha felt like I was with a close friend rather than worshipers.” It was an almost instantaneous change. Tama went from crying to smiling after mentioning Trisha. With how Trisha changed my life, I can’t say I didn’t expect it.
“I see. You two really care for each other.”
“Indeed.” Sitting up, Tama pointed right at me with her right hand before I started to float. With a snap of her finger, she brought me toward her while she wound her tail like a spring behind me. She then had me sit on her tail. “Markus, do you have a wedding ring ready for Trisha?”
“Ah…I would’ve loved to have given Trisha a ring of my choosing, but I don’t have the cash for it. My mother already knew that was the case. She’s giving me the family wedding ring passed down to her by Grandma, who’s no longer with us.
“I see. A hand-me-down ring is charming. Now, another question for you. Do you notice something different about the jewel nestled above my chest?” Referring to the jewel on her chest, all Ryu’s have a Tomoe-shaped jewel there. Only Tama’s jewel wasn’t the usual color most Ryu’s have.
“Your jewel…it’s silver…with a bluish tint?”
“Correct. The Tomoe jewel unmarried Ryu’s have bluish silver in color, while married Ryu’s have reddish gold. Most people assume the color difference indicates marital status, but the color also indicates the Jewel’s effects. Reddish Gold Tomoe Jewels are used to store excess magical energy. Bluish Silver Tomoe Jewels convert environmentally derived spiritual energy into usable magical energy. Married Ryu can store excess magical energy in their jewels since they get their spiritual energy from their husbands. But for unmarried Ryu like me, our jewel draws spiritual energy around us to supplement our need for magical energy.”
“I can’t say I expected that’d be why your jewel was a different color. I would’ve guessed the difference in color is through genetics. Like how some people have blue eyes, while many have brown.”
“Right! Well, do you know where this jewel would look better on?”
“No…what?” Bringing her right hand in front of me, the surface of her skin turned into scales, changing it into hybrid dragon claws.
“I bet it’d look great on a wedding ring!” Using the tips of her claws, she skillfully pried the jewel off her chest before presenting it to me. “Use my jewel as the gem for your wedding ring gift to Trisha.” I was at a loss for words. Both for the gift she gave and what she did to do so.
“I..uh..but…you already did so much for us. Hosting the wedding, paying for the reception, the food, the cake…”
“No, I did a lot for Trisha. I’m giving this jewel to you.” Refusing to take no for an answer, Tama hands the jewel to me. “Tomorrow, you and I will go to a craftswoman I know and get that ring made, okay?”
“S-sure…but don’t you need this jewel to convert magic?” I took this moment to get off Tama’s tail before examining the jewel up close. Aside from its pristine appearance, it gave off a luminous glow inside the jewel.
“Don’t worry. The jewel on my chest will grow back in a few days. And it’s not like I don’t have magic energy in reserve. So don’t worry about it.” Changing into her human form again, Tama sat on the porch next to the tray carrying our tea and dango. “Now then, let’s spend the rest of the night talking and finish off the tea and dango before we turn in for the night.” Patting the spot where I sat before, Tama and I spent another thirty minutes talking while finishing off the dango and tea she brought.
“…” Today’s the big day.
“Why do you look so nervous? Come on, you look great!” Helping me get dressed was Denise. Denise came wearing a dark green Kimono with white and black spider webbings.
“Please! Everyone’s going to stare at my bulging gut. I just know it! My first wedding’s about to be turned into a freak show because of it!” Having heard the same song and dance plenty of times, Denise shook her head with her arms while sighing.
“You’re exaggerating, Trisha. Everyone’s already out there and waiting.” I chose a traditionally white strapless wedding dress with a large and frilly skirt for my wedding gown. I’ve never worn a skirt this big before, so walking around with it was a pain in the ass.
“Well well well, don’t you look beautiful, Trisha?” Coming into the room with us was Tama. Wearing a white and blue kimono with a silver dragon design, she has two ceremonial gold plated bands in her claws, one for each horn on my head. She’ll be the one to walk me down the aisle in her hybrid dragon form. My parents died back in Faelinth, and I don’t really care for my siblings, so Tama’s taking my place as my mother even though we see each other as sisters. Denise will play the role of my younger sister since we bonded in our interactions with Tama.
“What do you mean, you too?”
“Just ignore her, Tama. Trisha’s being overly self-conscious is all.”
“Ah. It’s so surreal to see Trisha act like this. She normally doesn’t care about how others see her.”
“I know, right?” I’d almost feel offended if they weren’t the closest thing I had to a family. “Well, let’s get going. I’ll hold your left arm, and Tama will hold your right.”
“Okay.” Following their lead, we left my house to Correlia Park. I rode in Denise’s car while Tama flew above us.
Everyone I knew and a couple I didn’t know came to see my wedding. From several students and all the staff members of TMRC to friends and acquaintances, I was genuinely surprised that many people showed up for the wedding. Notably, I saw Faulkner, Karika, and Reiza waving at me. And front in center, I saw Markus waiting for me next to Father Joseph, who volunteered to be the wedding officiant overseeing the ceremony.
I could feel Denise and Tama dragging me along as I suddenly got a bad case of cold feet. It felt like time had stopped as I saw everyone looking back at me. I couldn’t bear the idea of them staring in disgust, so I shut my eyes as hard, nearly breaking into tears.
“TRISHA!!!” Then, as if his voice forced my eyes open, I looked back at Markus as he called me out with his hands on his face. “You’re absolutely stunning!” He didn’t say that much. The others around him looked at him in approval. While Faulkner, Missus Butters, and some others smiled and nodded.
Shortly after, the others started clapping and cheering for me. Calling out my name, telling me I’m beautiful, and so on…
I realized how stupid I was for being so self-depreciative. I shouldn’t shun my appearance to meet a preconceived notion of beauty and expectation! My enlarged belly carries the boon of our love, and my swollen chest is there to nurture our boon once she comes into the world. I feel so stupid for thinking my appearance would be off-putting to everyone. Even if some did feel that way, I should feel proud of what I am now because of Markus’s love.
But, above all of that. Markus’s smile was all I needed to put my fears away.
With that in mind, I clung onto Denise and Tama’s arms before I walked with them down the walkway. And while the people cheering and congratulating me as I passed them were comforting. The only person I could focus on was Markus. I could tell he was eyeing me the whole way there.
“H-hey…you s-sure took your sweet time…”
“Uh…yeah…I-I wanted…to make sure I looked my best, you know?” She hid it well with her smile, but Denise was staring daggers at me beneath them. Tama, on the other hand, found it amusing and giggled.
“Well, I guess it was worth the wait then. You’re absolutely stunning, Trisha. The gold bands on your horns are a nice touch.”
“That’s right, you don’t know, do you?”
“I doubt many Oni’s follow this tradition anymore. But those who get married in Zipangu wear gold bands on their horns during their wedding ceremonies as a sign of purity and good fortune. The groom then gets the honor of removing them as a sign of one losing said purity…” The slight seductive tone I gave in the end was enough of a hint for Markus to get what I meant by the blush on his cheeks. “Putting that aside, you’re quite handsome in that suit, Markus.” While Markus’s wedding suit was as plain as could be since it was a flat black colored tuxedo with a white undershirt, the fact he had his hair styled to stand up made him stand out from his usual appearance.
“Hehe…thanks.” After briefly greeting each other, Joseph began the wedding ceremonies by reading out the story Markus and I planned out. It was admittingly touch and go since while a couple of people in the wedding knew how Markus and I met, many of the guests didn’t.
When that was out of the way, the readings came next. And while most are what I expected, I was particularly invested in what Faulkner had to say.
“I’ll make this brief…Trisha. At first, I pegged you as an annoying, know-it-all drunkard. And while you’re still annoying and a mess of a drunk…” Ouch, you sure know how to hit below the belt, Faulkner. “You are no doubt the closest friend I’ve ever had. To say my encounter with you was a blessing is an understatement.”
Wah?! Why would he say something so embarrassing with such a straight face?!
“A few examples of the joy you brought to my life come to mind. It was thanks to you the years I spent in college studying weren’t in vain. I also want to thank you for getting me a job at ‘The Mamono Reformation Class,’ where I met Karika and Reiza, two women whom I love dearly. And while I feel somewhat embarrassed that an old hag like you is getting married before I do…”
I know you’re just fucking around, but did you really have to say that?! I swear, I’m going to chokehold you and drag you by your ears later, Faulkner!
“Seeing you smile with your Husband Markus by your side puts my heart at ease. With someone as reliable as Markus, I won’t have to worry about you causing problems. I hope I can be as reliable when it’s my turn.” Even though parts of his speech were poking fun at me, I knew the rest of it came from his heart. I didn’t know he thought so highly of me. I almost feel guilty picking Fae Fae as my best woman.
Thinking about it, I wonder when Faulkner’s going to get married. It’s probably too early for him since he’s only been dating Karika for a little over two years and barely a year with Reiza. I can’t help but worry for him from his speech. He sounded like he still had doubts. He’s told them everything about his life, and they accept him regardless of that. What else is bothering him? I’ll have to ask him later.
Getting through addressing Markus and me, it was time for our vows. We discussed who’d speak first, so I had Markus go first.
“First, I’d like to thank you all for coming today. I didn’t expect this many people to show up. Some of you are close friends, while others are coworkers. And two in particular who she considers family. With all those here, it really humbles me knowing I’ll have the honor of being part of her life.” Unexpectedly, Markus addressed the crowd first before he turned to me. And while I had my eyes on the crowd, I noticed Emely recording us with her phone while Doyle crossed his arms and smiled like a doting father should. Tama was recording on her end, and so was Faulkner.
“Trisha, words aren’t enough to express how grateful I am to be part of your life. When our baby girl is born into this world, I’ll make it my solemn duty to watch and raise our daughter. Of course, I’m only human, so I’ll probably make mistakes. Thankfully, my partner in life isn’t human, so I’m sure you’ll pick up after my slack.” Cheesy as it was, I couldn’t help but chuckle at his joke. “I love you, Trisha. I’ll work hard to be a man deserving of your love.” Even with the people cheering and clapping at Markus’s speech, the beating of my heart drowned it all out.
We’ve said ‘I love you’ to each other more than I can count. Yet, hearing Markus say it on this day and in front of all our friends and family. I nearly fell into tears from how heartwarming it felt.
But no, I can’t cry yet. I’ll do that after my speech.
“Um…I’ll follow Markus’s lead on this and start by thanking all of you for coming today. I had planned a smaller church or even a court wedding due to the abruptness of my pregnancy. But a certain someone HAD to blab about it to Tama…” I stared daggers at Reiss, who scratched her head with a smile. “So now, I’m holding my wedding here at Correlia Park, where I met Markus for the first time. It’s funny how things panned out for the better when I didn’t plan for it. Most people would’ve hated that, but as for me. I can’t express how grateful I am to both of you for giving me this opportunity. I thought I wouldn’t mind an unceremonious wedding. To see what I have in front of me now, I’m glad I was wrong. So again, to all of you here, I’m thankful.” With that out of the way…
“Markus, I’m mostly to blame for the circumstances that first led us here. In my haste to…uh…you know…fulfill my pent-up emotions, I let them take over my rationale. I felt anxious and guilt-ridden during the first half of my pregnancy. Our finances, how to take care of our baby girl when I’m busy with work while you’re busy with College. Even if my hormones weren’t all over the place, I still would’ve wallowed in regret. Through your patience and love, I managed to look past that. If there’s any regret left in me, it’d be the fact that you beat me to what I’m about to say. I love you, Markus. I can’t say it enough to justify how much you mean to me. I’m a mess of a woman, and I’ll never stop drinking when I can. So be patient with me, okay?” A second round of applause fills the park while Faulkner flashes a thumbs-up. Now that the mushy speeches are over, it’s time for the ring exchange.
As for the ring bearer, neither Markus nor I had relatives or friends with a son under ten. Instead, the ring bearer was none other than the person who made both of our rings, Kendra.
“Yah know, it’s pretty demeaning for one of the finest gem artisans to take the role as your guy’s ring bearer.” Scratching her head in irritation, I couldn’t help but chuckle at how ‘dapper’ she looked wearing a tuxedo. Even when I tried to stifle it, Kendra gave me the stink eye before letting out a sigh. “Never mind. I got your rings for you. So first.” Turning to Markus, she handed him the ring box.
“I was a bit surprised when you came to my shop with this jewel. It wasn’t the easiest thing to work with. But I managed.” I thought the ring Markus would give me was a hand-me-down from Emely’s side of the family.
“Trisha. I made sure to refine and sandblast this wedding band for Markus. You can thank a certain someone here later.” Handing the ring box to me, Kendra went back to sit with the others.
Before Markus opened the ring box in his hand, he turned to Tama before she smiled and nodded at him. Why did he feel the need to do that? Before I could contemplate it further, he cleared his throat and took a deep breath.
“Trisha. The ring I’m about to give you isn’t what you think it is. While the ring I originally was going to give you holds a lot of meaning to my family, I wanted to give you a ring that holds a lot of meaning to you. With that in mind…” Opening the ring box, the iridescent blue sheen it gave off was immediately recognizable. Cut to have jagged edges, Kendra did a marvelous job fitting the jewel into the gold ring.
“Tama! Is this your jewel?!” To answer my question, Tama pulled down the collar of her Kimono before I saw a tiny jewel in place of her old one. “But why?”
“I wanted to make sure this wedding was perfect for the both of you.”
“But! You already did so much for us already! This wedding and everything-”
“No…I did so much for ‘you’. I gave the ring to Markus…” Talk about a roundabout logic! “This is your big day, Trisha. Oh, excuse me. This is yours and Markus’s big day. Gotta make every part special.” With her point made, I shook my head and smiled back at Tama. I shouldn’t question her reasoning. I should just appreciate what she did for me.
Watching Markus slip the ring on my left finger, Tama’s soothing aura within the jewel spread through me like the cold mountain winds.
“Thank you, Tama.” After saying thanks, it was my turn to give Markus his wedding band. “Here, Markus. I’m not sure what your taste in jewelry is, so I opted for something more practical than pretty.” Markus’s eyes lit up when I opened the ring box for him before he took the band out of the box.
“Wow, I love the color on it. And the engravings on them. They’re glowing.”
“I had the ring enchanted by Welhemia. Consider it like a pair of training wheels that’ll help you grasp the concept of magic once you familiarize yourself with it.” I found it really cute how much Markus’s hand trembled when I slipped his wedding band on his ring finger. Deep down, he’s still a shy little man.
“Even though it’s been a very long time since the last time I’ve done my role as a wedding officiant, the warmth I feel swelling in my chest is always comforting when I have the honor of asking this question…” With a deep breath from Joseph, he turned to Markus first.
“Markus Grish, do you take Trisha Sekigawa as your beloved wife? To be her shining light in her darkest hours? To hold her dear in your heart even in your grievest moments?”
“I do.” With a nod of approval from Joseph, he turned to me next.
“Trisha Sekigawa, do you take Markus Grish as your irreplaceable husband? To guide him as both his instructor in life and in love? To cherish every moment you spend with him till the day you two die?”
“In that case, I announce Markus Grish and Trisha Sekigawa husband and wife!” Grabbing my hands with his, Markus was the first to lean for a kiss before I did the same. Short but sweet and symbolic, I pulled away from our kiss, chuckling in happiness before the crowd cheered for our union. I was so happy that I couldn’t stop grinning like an idiot. I even tried to hide my face with my hands. Markus took advantage of that while I wasn’t looking before he slipped his arms around my waist.
“Eh?” Markus swept me off my feet effortlessly before carrying me bridal style. “M-M-M-M-Markus?! What’re you-”
“Come on, you shouldn’t look so surprised, Trisha. You knew I wanted to do this.” I’m not sure what I should do here! Should I keep my hands to my chest to look cute and innocent for him, or should I reach for the back of his neck and hold onto him while nuzzling my head on his chest?! “Phew…I’m glad I bulked up enough for this.”
And…he ruined it…
“Huh?! Are you calling me fat?!”
“Wh-what?! No! I-I just said that because I’m a skinny-” I knew he wasn’t calling me fat or anything. Honestly, I just wanted an excuse to make him blush in embarrassment. After all, I’m probably as red as a tomato.
“Just walk me down already. You’d better not drop me until we pass everyone by.” Sighing in relief, Markus nods before kissing me on the forehead.
“I won’t! Just make sure you either hold still or hang on tight.”
“Okay then…” Acting out the second thing I planned earlier, I hold onto the back of his neck before kissing him on the cheek. “I think I’ll hold onto you like this. That way, I can shower you with kisses while you carry me.” With our wedding ceremony done, we spent the rest of it celebrating.
If I had to pick out anything special that happened after that, it’d be the part where I tossed the bouquet of flowers where Karika and Reiza plowed through everyone else before snatching the bouquet together. The two cursed and bumped heads against one another before Faulkner swiftly reprimanded them and apologized for the trouble they caused. I found it funny personally, and thankfully, everyone else was in too good of a mood to stay upset.
The wedding day went by longer than I expected. It helped that there was plenty of food courtesy of Lenore, Vinny, and other food vendors. There were also stories everyone exchanged with one another.
A month after that, the time finally came when our baby girl came into this world. Markus and I pondered what we should name her months in advance.
The name of our precious daughter is…
“Vey, calm down, please!” Three months have passed after Trisha gave birth to their daughter Vey Sekigawa. Inheriting Markus’s vivid green eyes, Vey was born with asymmetrical horns, with her right horn an inch and a half longer than her left.
“Trisha, is everything alright down here?” With Tama returning home after witnessing Vey’s birth, Markus and Trisha have the house to themselves again. While they got their privacy back, the price they had to pay was Vey. She was just like any other baby.
Loud and fickle.
“Markus! Help me! I tried singing a lullaby to help her calm down, but she kept crying! I’m sure she couldn’t hear me singing because she’s crying so loudly.”
“Here, let me have a go at it.” Surprising everyone who has witnessed it, Markus was incredibly talented at calming Vey down. In fact, it only took a few seconds in Markus’s arms for Vey to calm down. Cooing and giggling back to her happy self, Vey got a habit of chewing the temples of Markus’s glasses, often requiring a new replacement every few weeks.
“Man, If it wasn’t for you holding Vey in your arms, I would’ve headlocked you and scruffed your hair. Seriously, how are you so good at calming Vey down?” Markus tickles Vey’s nose before she snaps Markus’s glasses in half. He sighed in slight annoyance before looking back at Trisha.
“Vey probably picks up on your anxiety. If you want to calm her down, you need to calm yourself. Your first instinct is to panic when Vey starts crying.”
“Of course! What kind of mother wouldn’t panic when their baby cries out like that?”
“I know where you’re coming from, but babies always cry, Trisha. They’ll cry when hungry, grumpy, tired, and so on. That’s why staying calm is that much more important. Is Vey crying because she needs her diaper changed? Does she need to get burped? I find it funny how you’re normally calm and rational, but when Vey starts crying, you become meek and restless.” Gaining confidence as a man and a husband, Markus couldn’t help but tease Trisha, who, in comparison, panics at the most basic responsibilities of a parent.
“Don’t patronize me, Markus. I bet Vey’s just rowdy because she’s full of energy and vigor from all the milk she’s been drinking.”
“I’m not patronizing you. I think it’s cute when you panic since I don’t often see you like that. Besides, Vey will cry regardless of who carries her, you know? I can’t recall how often she cried in my arms while you were at work.”
“Hey, speaking of work, I managed to get a week off from TMRC. I had it synced with your College semester break. You said you caught up on all your work, right?”
“Yup. I can spend the whole week relaxing. Did you have something in mind?” Getting bored with Markus’s glasses, Vey threw them to the ground before she stretched her little hands out toward Trisha. “Ah, looks like she’s hungry…”
“Ah! My baby needs me!” Passing Vey along to Trisha, she twirls around in glee with her baby daughter in hand. Seeing the joy in her mother’s face, Vey smiles and giggles.
“See? There are things you can do for Vey that I can’t. I say she’s happier when you dote on her like this.” Receiving kisses from Trisha on her cheeks and forehead, Trisha soon opens her buttoned blouse to breastfeed Vey.
“Hehe, I guess so. Anyway, back to what we were discussing. Since we both have the week off, I wanted to spend that week on a honeymoon with you. We agreed to hold off on one until Vey was born.”
“I don’t have any problems with that. But we need to hire a babysitter while we’re gone.”
“Oh, I already have that planned out…”
“You do?” With a somewhat nefarious smile, Markus had an idea of what Trisha had in mind.296 Views