Wormhole Ch.13


Check out the commission I had done for Chapter 6 (Updated) and the second commission for Ch 11 (Updated). You need to click on the story to find the second commission..

Enjoy and be sure to comment.

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I followed the sign to Crimdale for a little over an hour before I eventually arrived. It was about time, too. I hadn’t had my breakfast yet, and it was closing in on noon. Yeah, I let myself sleep in for a while.

Going through the forest green torii gate at the entrance, I took in the scenery. And right there is your first clue as to what kind of place this was. It wasn’t the biggest town I’d visited in this world, but it was probably the most distinct. Somebody cranked up the ancient Japan dial on this place. A pair of three-floor pagodas at both sides of the village which overlooked several minkas of varying sizes. There was a large dirt path leading down the center of the minkas, with a few smaller paths branching off of it. At the end of this big path across a bridge was a fancy shinto shrine with an accompanying temple. Every bit of architecture was designed with the same forest green as the entrance was.

I’d never been to Japan on Earth, but who needs it? I’d seen animes, and I bet this place is stuffed with waifus.

But before civilization got too out of hand, however, there was plenty of colorful nature to keep things from getting too “man-made”. Among the plentiful plants and foliage were lots of light pink trees. The wind would sever the leaves from the branches and carry them across the path in a swirl. Obviously the preferred decorations were pots of long, dangling plants.

What a place to visit. Scenic views, calming atmosphere, big breasted girls looking for some hanky panky. What more could a tourist trap ask for?

Parking my cart and hopping off, I walked along the center of the path. As you’d expect, there were mamono around. I spotted a Kejourou brushing her hair, a Nekomata watching me from a roof, and a couple of Kitsune-tsukis mingling around. I could also see a Raiju through an open door. If she goes to a barber shop around here, I want to go scoop up her shavings. I’ve been dying to see what kind of power I can get out those big static balls.

But that wasn’t my priority right now. I was here for one person; Sateen. The ridiculously stunning but equally timid snake girl who saved my ass from becoming roadkill. Now that I wasn’t on the warpath, I got to thinking that I hadn’t properly thanked her for that. In fact, I gave her a quick blowoff and then hit the road. It was kind of douchey move, so here I am. No, I’m not going to give her a quick “in and out” like a slutty negotiator, but she deserved something from me.

Shit, I never even told Sateen my name. I at least owed her that much. Doing something good for her would hopefully make me feel better; as per Dessy’s advice.

An Inari approached me, her tails fluttering into knots behind her. “Greetings” she welcomed me, her voice soft and inviting, just like her face.

“Hey there, Tails. I’m new in town, so can you tell me where Sateen is?”

“Are you the mysterious man Sateen mentioned? Regardless, it’s an extreme pleasure to meet you”

How about that? Sateen’s a bit of a gossip. I wonder what else she told the town about me. Hopefully it wasn’t verbatim.

“Sure. Just don’t hug me. You’ll stick to me if you do” I joshed. I didn’t pick all of Dessy’s feathers off of my slop-happy just to replace them with hair. That would be even harder to get off.

“Okay. Sateen is currently in the temple at the end of this path. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

My stomach growled. “Actually, yeah. Is there a place I can get a bite around here? To eat, that is”

“Why yes. Follow me please” she lit up as she extended her hand for me to grab it. I took it begrudgingly and was then led into one of the minkas.

The term “minimalism” came to my mind when walking inside. Plenty of unused room, unlike houses back on Earth. Now that I was closer, I could see that the minkas were built from wooden supports, porches, and thin cloth-like sliding doors. A glowing bonfire sat near the center of the room. There really wasn’t any furniture except for a few tables with the tiniest legs you’ve ever seen. Must have been to accommodate the lack of chairs, or even beds for that matter. Instead, there were merely pillows or blankets on the floor to plant yourself on. Speaking of plants, the fondness for nature stretched indoors with more plants accompanied by paintings and other designs emulating nature. Geez, now they’re pushing it. I mean, why even have a walls at this point?

As I expected, I was sat down, on the ground, and was given a menu by the Inari. There wasn’t many normal dishes on the small menu so I pulled out my ‘fuck it’ card and made a quick selection. Anything had to be better than the rations I’d been eating for the last few days.

Not long after the Inari left, three hazelnut colored blurs rushed into the room bringing a wind with it. Before I even figured out that the breeze wasn’t from an open door, the table was set and three progressively sized girls with hazelnut hair were preparing the my meal at the indoor bonfire and grill right in front of me.

These were called, Kamaitachi, I think; one short, one medium, and one tall. They each possessed giant blades protruding from their forearms, like a Mantis, which they used to slice up the ingredients, then roast over the grill. Their movements were almost too fast to see, let alone make any kind of cohesion from moment to moment. From what I made out, they acted as a three-way team. Tossing bits to each other, dicing them in mid air, catching them in pots, and finally landing them onto a plate in front of me before it even registered that my nose was smelling the dish right under my nose. Impressive. Imagine all the shit they could fuck up in a battle.

The whole meal took roughly two minutes to prepare. Afterwards, the three girls lined up and bowed in front of me. Then, they vanished without a trace, leaving a breeze throughout the room. Wouldn’t it be neat if said breeze cooled off my food for me?

Shit, it seemed like a shame to eat such an expertly prepared meal. But oh well, time to dig in. Hopefully I wouldn’t embarrass myself when trying to use the chopsticks.

—–

After my meal, I paid up and left for the temple. Naturally I left a good tip. One for the Inari and one for the Kamaitachis to split that three ways.

Once I reached the bridge to the temple, I saw a sparkling stone pond with a branching stream just off the beaten path. It was littered with lush green bushes, moss, and more pink trees. The shoreline looked like a great spot for relaxing… or just go nuts like the pair of Kappas splashing each other.

The shinto temple was up a short flight of stairs. Once I reached the top, I got a closer look at it. There was a smaller but fancier torii gate to walk through with an assembly of stone torches greeting the guests. Lots of wooden verandas were surrounding the base of the temple with lanterns and foreign art decorating it’s thin walls. Right outside the front door was a stone fountain next to a well. Several smaller structures were sitting around the main temple which were used for… uhh, to answer that, first you’d need an expert on Japanese culture, then you’d need someone who cares.

Along the way, it occurred to me that there were no castles in sight. Perhaps that means that this place wasn’t locked down with security.

But as usual, I had spoken too soon. I wasn’t through taking in the sights when I heard a peculiar dead pan, female voice. “Stop right there!”

Coming from both sides were four fiercely fit, bone-covered chicks called Ochimushas. Their yellow eyes were scanning me thoroughly along with the blazing lights in their skull armor. They closed in with their hands already on their badass, boned-themed swords. Their faces were cold and serious, but not in a menacing way. Sort of dead looking. “State your business”

Dammit. I really wasn’t here to start a fight, so I kept my hand off of my guns and my head cool. Besides, I didn’t want to cause a scene before I found Sateen. There will be plenty of time to do that later, haha.

“Hey, take it easy, Skellington. I’m just a traveler visiting a friend” I held my hands up for them to see.

“Who is this ‘friend’?”

“Her name is Sateen. Big white snake chick with a knockout rack and a conflicting shy nature? She met me during a bad hangover on the side of the road” I joshed.

A little levity never hurt, but it sure did fuck all to make a crack in their dead-like faces.

“Hmmm. You’re much more vile than Sateen mentioned, however, you do dress and feel like the special one she spoke of” she affirmed while motioning for the other three girls to sheath their swords.

Man, my reputation has preceded me. Must be a good reputation for them to put away the artillery.

“What can I say? For better or worse, I leave an impression” I scoffed again. Not quite sure where this upbeat persona had come from. I guess I took the Ochimushas’ stoic nature as a challenge that was worth trying to break.

“Sateen has given us explicit orders to let you pass if you showed up”

Now I’m starting to feel like a guest of honor, and I haven’t even gone through the door yet. Will Sateen give me a care package… containing another sandwich?

“At last, something easy. Alright, lead the way, Skullgirls”

“However before we let you through, we’ll have to strip you down”

Red alert…

“How far down?” I asked, suddenly turning a bit suspicious.

“Just your weapons. Now stand still while we search you”

“All right then. Get a bucket of water ready. You’ll need to wash up after this”

All four Ochimushas proceeded to frisk every corner of me. Normally, I wouldn’t let a mamono touch me when I was outnumbered; too many bad scenarios… at least from a certain point of view. But if Sateen had given these sexy Skeletors clear orders to let me through, then I trust they’re not allowed to “examine” me like those judges at the festival. So I suppose I had nothing to fear.

And besides, it was rather enjoyable having all four of the scantily clad chicks surrounding me like an Axe Body Spray ad.

Each of the Ochimushas were pretty professional with me, for lack of a better term. No extra fondling, groping, or kisses on my bruises. Not a hint of a pervert in them. Well, maybe a little bit. They may not have changed their hard expressions, but the pale blue skin on their cheeks went red almost immediately.

Once the shake down was done, I was minus my guns, gauntlet, catapult, bombs, dagger, and whatever potions I had left on me. I felt naked, but at least I didn’t feel that naked. Nevertheless, they let me proceed to the temple.

I almost knocked but didn’t see a point as the door was paper thin. So I pulled a bell that was nearby, hoping that it didn’t signal a mating call or some shit in these parts.

When the door opened, I was greeted by white scales. I almost greeted them as I would Sateen, until I realized that it wasn’t Sateen; just another Shirohebi. She had the same uniform, and the same curvy body, except with slightly smaller tits. Lucky me, I suppose. They might have even been sisters as I think there was a family resemblance.

“Welcome, traveler” she bowed with a bolder smile than Sateen ever muster up.

“Well, well, well, another albino peepshow” I muttered. “I’m looking for your coworker, Sateen. Is she here?”

“Yes, I can go inform her that you are here. Who shall I say has come to visit her?”

“Uhmm, just tell her that the wet, toasty, road-side weirdo she cuddled with is back. She’ll know who I am” I confirmed, though not too proud in my identification.

The Shirohebi gave me a quick scan from head to toe and visa versa. “Mmmm, you’re definitely the one. I know she’ll just be ecstatic to see you again. And judging by your looks, you two have a lot to talk about. Please wait here while I inform her of your arrival.

Apparently she knew me too. Geez, did Sateen tell the whole damn town about me? Including my dick size?

She started slithering off, but looked back one more time. “Oh my…” she murmured in a husky manner.

I stood there waiting for about forty-five seconds before I heard a slight racket going on in a nearby room. With these paper-thin walls, it was inevitable.

I can’t be sure, but it sounded like a table had been knocked over along with other objects. There were also some words said, though they were too unclear to make out. A heavy movement left the room and traveled down the hallway at breakneck speed before puzzlingly stopping just around the corner beyond in my line of sight. A few seconds later, Sateen glided around the corner with all the grace that I remembered from her. Already, I felt more relaxed seeing her sway again.

Her beasts were sticking out a tad more than usual. If she made some last minute adjustments to her appearance, she either missed a spot or was greeting me with something familiar.

Once she reached me, I saw the breathless happiness under her red blush. I smirked back at her, instantly recognizing that same pure-hearted charm of a loving mother which accompanied her everywhere. She bowed and said, “Welcome to the Temple of Lady Cheishu. I’m glad you could- Oh dear, what happened to you?” Sateen shuttered with her hand touching my coat.

“Do you want to hear it chronologically or alphabetically? Either way, too much has happened”

“Well, please come in. Let me make you more comfortable”

“Are you sure? I’ll probably leave a mess”

“No, you deserve to relax. Come” she pleaded, now throwing caution to the wind and laying her arm on the back of my sticky shoulders, damning the consequences.

Sateen lead me through the main hall and into a foggy open area. Upon opening the door, the steam hit me full force. It was a sauna, or at least that’s what I would call it. But in truth, it was a large hot spring.

Really? Right here in the temple? I was joking about the whole tourist trap thing but maybe I was right.

Sateen began to slip my coat off before I grabbed her hand. “What’re you doing?”

“Please, the hot springs will do you well. Just undress and allow the warm waters to soothe your injuries”

“I’m not sure I want to get naked around here…” I peered around. I already felt a little awkward being here, so undressing was big step. Especially since the idea of peep-holes kept bouncing around my head.

“Oh, uhm, well if do not you wish to use our hot spring, I am willing to embrace you again to help you heal…”. Sateen reddened a bit as her fingers knotted and her lip was bitten. Her tail even twitched behind her. Presumably, it was her preferred choice, but not mine. Sure, in some way, it would be my choice over the hot spring too, but holy fuck, I didn’t need the temptation or any more injuries from Sateen’s busty cuddles.

“Nevermind, I’ll take the hot springs” I answered and started sliding out of my sticky coat.

“Very good” Sateen said as she continued with my coat. I backed up when she went for my armor.

“I can manage, alright? Just give me some privacy”

“There’s no reason to be embarrassed. I’ve seen you naked before and it would be my honor to see you naked again”

Urgh, she was right… and man did that annoy me.

“Oh great. You just had to bring that up, didn’t you? Nevermind that fact because I haven’t given up my right to privacy”

“Very well” she said delicately as she backed out of the room and shut the door.

Now free to undress, I pulled off my armor. And, holy shit, that was an experience. I’d been through so much that it felt like I was ripping my skin off along with my wardrobe. I inhaled through my teeth in seething pain as my aching limbs didn’t make the process any more pleasant. It was even worse when I had to peel off my bandages still with some Alraune nectar welding them to my skin. What a world of pain…

It’s a good time to note that once my mind was less chaotic, the adrenaline had worn off, and I wasn’t tipsy from Dessy’s festival, it realized that I had some serious injuries; worse than I initially thought. Not much had improved since I left Wonderland, and a good night’s sleep wasn’t good enough.

Eager to dip myself into the steaming hot pool of liquid relief, I dropped down all the way up to my neck and sat down. Holy crap on a waffle iron, it was fantastic. Lovely, lovely steam rushed through my body, giving me the best comfort I’ve felt in days. It was great. After about ten minutes, I dozed off.

—–

No kinky dreams this time. Maybe I just needed more time for them to kick in. But I’ll never know because I woke up when my head slipped under the water line.

According to my nearby watch, I’d been asleep for about two and a half hours. That was nice, but I wasn’t ready to get out just yet.

While sitting there for a while longer, I thought about what choices were available for me to take. How am I going to fix my little portal problem? There might be a chance that I could assemble something in my lab. After all, I did get some Skarlik radio comms as well as some other miscellaneous tech off of the dead Skarliks. Long shot but… fuck, I just don’t know yet. However, if that plan went up in smoke, maybe I could pick up on some of their conversations. Great plan, now all I would have to do is somehow learn Skarlik talk.

Goddammit, right back where I started. I feel like this mission is turning into a merry-go-round.

If these portals end up escalating, then I might not have enough time to work on more tech. Not to mention that I’m already burning the candle at both ends when it comes to battling them. During our last bout, I was beat up and shot in the shoulder. I got more limbs, but only one life; part of one anyway. On top of lab time, It’s possible that I wouldn’t have enough time to recover between battles. And that could spell certain doom down the line.

Plus, it could become harder coming up with excuses to run out on Veina- Oh shit, Veina! I ran out on her without an explanation and disappeared for about three days. Now all of the sudden I’m just going to show up out of nowhere, battered like a drunk who got bounced out of a Starbucks. Fuck, I may just deserve another ass kicking. I’d better come up with some kind of a story… or maybe a reservation at a hospital.

Well, that does it. As much as I wanted to get treatment at this “spa” for the next week, I couldn’t afford to relax anymore. I’d better finish up my business here and get back to her.

I got out of the spring but, to my horror, found that my clothes were missing. Fuck, did Sateen grow little devil horns since the last time we’d met? It was already a growing concern of mine that Sateen and her coworkers might be spying on me taking a steam bath, and this just doubled those concerns.

Luckily, Sateen left a towel for me. But un-luckily, it wasn’t big enough to cover my whole waist. So after donning the white kilt on my front half, I ventured out into the hallway to find my proper garments. I didn’t care if they were gooey as a cinema floor, they were better for concealing my dignity than this stupid towel was.

Before long, I came across an open door and found Sateen sitting inside with my clothes.

“Ah-ha!” I shouted as I burst in, surprising her enough to drop my coat back into the bucket of water.

“Oh dear! You startled me” Sateen shrieked. Her lower half adorably recoiled and tucked in near her.

I thought I had caught a pervert, but before I made with the accusations, I saw the bubbles in the water and on the sponge-like piece in her hand. Was that what I think it was?

“Are you…?”

“I’m washing your clothes. They were far too filthy for you to wear”

Jaw support: disengaged.

“Errr, boy do I feel like a jackass” I muttered under my breath. “Sorry, I though that y-, uhh, I misplaced them”

Good, Jason. Play nice while you’re here.

“I do apologize. I had hoped that I would have been done before you got out, but they were exceptionally messy” she held up my undershirt with an icky yet apologetic face. Her frantic fingers were trying to rub the stickiness off of each other.

“You don’t have to tell me that” I chuckled.

“Is there something you need?”

Just then I felt a draft goose me in the ass. “Yeah, could you give me a bigger towel? This doesn’t really cover me from all sides”

“I’ll retrieve it for you soon. And I’ll try to have your clothes done for you as soon as possible”

“That’s fine, take your time. As long as th-”

Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted three other Shirohebis watching me not too far away at the end of the hall. All blushing and tittering like little school girls at my full moon around back.

My eyes bugged out and I gasped. “Hurry up with those clothes!” I squawked at Sateen before bailing back down the hall into the room with the hot spring. It was such an embarrassing situation that I dived straight through the paper-thin door and dived back into the water. There I would stay until my room service returned with my clothes.

In time, Sateen arrived with my clothes and armor. They were now clean as a whistle, as was I, so it was a fine fit. Sateen even gave me a few new bandages for my shoulder, and was vigorous in helping me patch it up.

Sateen was adamant about me not paying her to wash my wardrobe or to use the hot spring. Good, I hadn’t brought much cash on me when I went to the last portal site; just weapons.

The best part of all of this was that all evidence of my recent excursions had been scrubbed away. Keeping up a strong front had become somewhat easier, thanks to the hot springs. That would help me hide some details from Veina.

Once dressed, Sateen walked me off. On the way, we passed some of the Shirohebis from earlier. They giggled to each other like before. You would think that I’d be the most embarrassed, but nope, I think Sateen was more affected. She gripped me closer as she hurried us past them. She was even caressing my elbow around her voluptuous chest. Whether it was intentional or not, you decide. Because I really don’t care why she did it.

Our destination was in the center of the temple; a square grassy clearing containing a handful of fancy trees accompanies by some stone formations and lanterns, all topped off with a pond in the corner. There was also a large tablet-like thing with a crude carving depicting a serpentine entity in the center of a storm. Must be the lady of the house; emphasis on the ‘lady’.

Funny how they made sure to carve the bosom very clearly. Too clearly.

“That your boss?”

“Yes. Our great Lord” Sateen smiled as she sat down next to me on a stone bench.

What a boss.

“Did that Lady Cheek Soup give you an extended lunch break to visit with me?”

“That’s ‘Lady Cheishu’. But no, it is my duty to tend to your needs. Our Lady adores visitors of all kinds and we, the shrine maidens, are expected be by your side for however long you wish to stay. Do you require anything, mister?”

The term “mister” annoyed me but I’ve got no one to blame but myself, quite frankly.

“Oh yeah, that reminds me. My name is Jason. I was too preoccupied with my own crap to tell you last time”

“Thank you so much” she gushed as the tip of her tail twitched with enthusiasm on the ground; almost like it was wagging. It must have really meant a lot to Sateen to finally know my name. “What do you desire from me, Jason?”

I wonder what services are not offered here.

“I don’t really need anything right now”

Sateen’s gaze dropped with a solemn glum. I could see the spirit in her eyes leave her right there. “Then I suppose you’ll be leaving then”

“What? Who said I’m leaving right away? Sure, I’m was embarrassed as all hell for showing off my rear end in the hall back there, but I’ve gone through too much to let something like that bother me for long” I chuckled.

Sateen shot me a quick, uncomfortable glance, then looked back down toward the ground. I don’t think she got over the other girls seeing my bare ass barreling down the hall like an asshole. She must have treasured her exclusivity in that regard. But she composed herself and responded. “Well, if you plan on staying for a time, what are your plans?”

“Plans? I don’t really have any plans”

“Oh… then why did come here?”

Good point.

“Uhhh, hehe, I really don’t know. I happened to be nearby when I remembered you mentioning Crimdale. So I guess I just needed a place to crash for a bit?” I shrugged.

“Indeed, you needed a place to rest. You were quite a mess. What happened with you and that Dragon? I hope things went peacefully”

I didn’t come in peace, but luckily, I left in one piece.

“Not exactly” I laughed dryly. “That Dragon meeting me while I was unconscious was just the beginning. Things got pretty heated between us, but in short, we both walked away. Some better than others”

“That’s wonderful. Is she okay?

“Just dandy. After our fists stopped flying, we talked things out. But seeing as how lasers, rocks, fire, brimstone, and all kinds of other shit were raining down on us before we got to that stage, I’d say things could have gone better. Still, in the end, I got my armor back and she got a good workout and a roaring bonfire to munch on, both supplied by yours truly. So who am I to complain?

“Oh, I’m so happy to hear that” Sateen sighed with joy.

“Yeah, yeah. At least justice was done… as sloppy as it may have been” I brushed off any kind of praise. “By the way, that advice you gave about tackling her in her lair was great”

“It was? Ah yes, I hoped it would be”

“Yup, it was definitely the right call. Until I assemble a War-Horse assault tank, I’d rather deal with her smaller self”

“I’m more glad that no one was seriously injured. I prayed for the safety of you both. And that we would one day meet again” she said as she trained her lovely peepers on me. She even took my hand in hers, gripping it ever so delicately.

Sensing the intimacy rising, I changed the subject. “I’m sure all the soot and ashes that you scrubbed off of my armor told how fortunate I was”

“There was much more than that on your armor. If you don’t mind my asking, what happened to you?”

“Plenty”

“How?”

“I ended up in Wonderland; enough said”

Sateen nodded. “Did it involve other girls?” she asked with a gulp.

“That and much more unpleasant circumstances. Look, I may have gotten my armor back, but other fights and bullshit happened to me that I really don’t want to get into right now. My methodology in handling it all didn’t turn out too great and it’s only a matter of time before it starts all over again” I sucked in a deep breath.

More memories to be made…

“Yes, I know. Combat is the only thing to explain your new injuries. If your future doesn’t look too bright, then perhaps it would help if you talk to someone about it”

“No, I don’t think that would help me much at all. But it would cause plenty of problems for other people. Like borrowing money from a friend to get yourself out of a fix. Things gets volatile and then the body count begins to pile up”

Even though I threw in a smirk to derail this course of conversation, I could tell that my blow off didn’t work. Sateen tilted her head at me like a curious puppy.

“What?” I asked.

“Jason, I can’t make you tell me what happened, but I can sense a pain within you” she consoled, now cupping my hand in both of her hands and holding it to her chest. She was practically pleading me to open up.

But that’s never been my strong point.

“It doesn’t take a PhD to know that. Getting thrown through a rock pillar will do that to someone”

“No… a deeper pain”

“Okay, so my choice of lunch was a mistake. The Mandragora-Humpty Surprise sounded good on the menu. Besides that, I’m fine”

“Please… I feel that something is troubling you. Something that you cannot control, no matter how much you try. Your injuries are a clear indication that all is not well in your life… sorry” Sateen said with an apologetic frown.

There I go, fumbling another bluff.

“Ah-heh, well, it’s a tough world out there. Who doesn’t have problems, huh?” I spat more harshly than I intended. I hoped that she wouldn’t take it too hard.

Sateen patted my shoulder.

“I mean no offense, Jason. But I can sense more than that”. Rubbing my shoulder offered some comfort, but I simply shook my head arrogantly while she continued. “There’s a turmoil inside you. It’s bothering you worse than any of those injuries or what caused them. It’s an uncertainty, a lack of trust. Fear regarding something or someone. Whatever it is, it terrifies you more than any physical injury”

“You sound like a first-year psychology major. Is it part of your duties to document a visitor’s mental profile?”

“Sorry, however this is not the first time I’ve seen you in a dreadful state. I’m just concerned about your well-being” she implored. She sounded a bit like my mother. I quickly drowned out the idea as it I realized how fucked up it would be if I was aroused by someone who reminded me of my mom. She’s a caring friend who just so happen to be sexy as hell, and let’s just leave it at that. Simple… somewhat.

“I appreciate that; I really do. But I didn’t come here to have my fortune told, nor to try and magically make my problems disappear because I don’t want to talk about them. The only one I talk over my problems with is myself”

“Everyone needs help sometimes and talking seemed to help you last time, didn’t it? If I may be so bold, I deduce that your injuries were only made worse because you fought alone. Going into battle without someone to trust seems like a stupid thing to- Oh, I’m sorry” Sateen recoiled from her own statement and bit her finger. Likely hoping that I didn’t explode at her insult.

“You’re doing that ‘sorry’ thing again” I glared a bit at her.

“Darn, I’m s- uhh, s-sure to remember next time” she stuttered.

“Nice recovery; you’re learning”

Her snake eyes sparkled as she smiled timidly. “Thank you. But I shouldn’t have said ‘stupid'”

“Trust me, after spending my college years in bar rooms, I don’t think you could ever insult me. Hell, I’ve been on the receiving end of worst insults during a game of Mario Kart”

I might even agree with her on choosing the word ‘stupid’

“Really?”

“Sure, but just the same, let’s drop the discussion about my issues. I’m here to take a break before tackling the dark days ahead of me. So I just needed some bedtime before waking back up to harsh reality, alright?”

Sateen dropped her smile.

“Then I’ve disturbed you when you wanted to recover? Oh goodness, you came all the way here to have sex and now I’ve ruined your mood”

What? How did she- oh man, I said “bedtime”, didn’t I? Here we go again.

I leaned down, groaning in frustration and burying my head in my hands.

“See? Oh darn it, I shouldn’t have been so foolish” lamented Sateen above me as she placed her arm over my back.

“No, I’m not-” I started as I sat up. However, I underestimated how much Sateen was leaning on me. As I turned, my face ran right smack into her deep cleavage. It took me a second to realized what had happened. Fond memories from our last encounter came roaring back which caused me to pause before slowly backing out. In that brief second, Sateen gently embraced my head right back into her heavenly valley. Even her tail wrapped around one of my ankles.

“There, I can still please you. Enjoy yourself, Jason” she cooed, cupping my head closer.

Oh that amazing softness, that invigorating scent.

Despite my instincts screaming at me to stay put inside the place of most men’s dreams, I managed to pull myself back out. Sateen even tried to hold on.

“Come on, temptation is the last thing I need right now! I’ve been through more shit then Michael Moore’s septic tank, and I don’t need more hell brought down on me!”

Veina already had enough reasons to rip out my lungs and tie them around my neck for a bowtie. I better not add to that list.

“Do you-?”

“No, I haven’t become a goddamn eunuch since we last met. Your tits still kick ass but now is not the time”

Sateen’s expression started off delighted, but then abruptly changed to puzzlement. “Well, I’m not sure what to do. If you didn’t come here to have sex or to talk, then why did you summon me when you arrived?”

“No, I did want to talk. But uh, actually, not really. Well… yeah, I just… Damn, just listen to me. Half the time, I can’t think straight anymore. I can’t even give a clear answer as to what I’m doing here”

Noticing my ever rising anxiety, Sateen was quick to act.

“Is it that you don’t know how to say ‘thank you’?”

“…Uhm yeah, let’s go with that. I mean, I really was hoping to see you again, since you didn’t even get the name of the dumbass you saved. So, I came here to sort of make it up to you. Just not like that

“You’re so sweet” she smiled. Her gratefulness was all wrapped up in her grin.

I gave bashful nod. Now realizing that I didn’t quite know what to do now that I had confronted Sateen, the only thing I could muster up to say was, “Is there anything you need from me?”

Just listen to us. Going back and forth asking if one needs something from the other. How did we get to this point!?

“Very well. Are you okay with telling me what it is that’s bothering you?”

“Is it really that important for you to know?”

“I still feel there is more that I can do for you. Last time I helped heal your body, but I did nothing to ease the burden on your mind”

Yup, last time she did wonders for my body, alright. All kinds of wonders. That titillating figure of hers and all of it’s interactions had never departed from my memory banks. Nor had it forgotten how she went out of her way to “Good Samaritan” my ass to safety. Part of me believed that she could help me mentally. But my own damn stubbornness kept that vault in my head locked tight.

“Maybe. But, like I said, I don’t want to lay my problems on you. I’ve had to lie enough to protect people”

“Perhaps not being honest has only made things worse… for everyone”

“Or maybe it’s made things easier. That’s the fun part, right? Not knowing which”

“I can see how troubling that might be for you”

“Damn right”

“But during hardships, at least you would have someone you can rely on. Our great Lady Cheishu has taught us that honesty is the first step to a better life”

Very ‘Saturday-morning-cartoon’ of Sateen. All she needs now is a sponsor.

“Look, I’ll think about it, okay?” I huffed as I pinched the bridge of my nose. “But no promises”

“Good. I know it will help you. Don’t be afraid…” she said with an affectionate smile. She really did look like a saint on a charity call. Hell, this place is a temple. Do they make a stain-glass window of the workers once they move on?

I scoffed and facepalmed a little. “There you go, helping me again. I was supposed to do something to repay you”

“But you already have repaid me, Jason”

“How do you figure that?”

“Because I was hoping to see you again and now I have”

“Are you kidding? How could seeing me be good enough for anyone”

“Seeing that you are alive and unharmed is better than a crown of jewels. Well, mostly unharmed” she smirked with a shy shrug as she brushed my coat off a bit. Oi vey, this girl just couldn’t help being adorable, could she?

“Sateen, you’ve done enough for me already”

“When it comes to helping others, I don’t think that I could ever do enough. I’m honored to have another chance to serve you. Last time was such a thrilling experience for me to help someone important such as yourself. To hold you close and comfort you. To give you everything I have to offer…”

The soft tender gleam in her eyes was soothing but also arousing at the same time. Easy to see her unknowingly using that Lamia-charm on me. However, I knew something else was up when I felt like I was sitting in water again. That calming, warm-cool hybrid that I had felt last time filling me with the desire to sleep; either alone or with someone.

“Sateen…” I say calmly.

“Yes, Jason?”

“It’s not cold enough in here to have to hold me again” I joshed as I signaled to Sateen that her thick scaly lower half had stealthily wrapped around me. Her upper half wasn’t too far behind as she had embraced me, too.

“Oh my-” she squeaked as she shimmied off and nibbled her finger again like a worried child. “I hope you’re not angry”

Screw it, I might as well take advantage of the situation. No, not in that way.

“It’s fine, I came here for a little relaxation after all, and this feels just as great as last time” I smirked at her. I welcomed feeling that strange sensation from her pristine scales again. Though, it did feel weird to have a saint near me and be thinking un-saintly things.

“I’m glad to be of service to you, Jason” she beamed back at my assurance and wrapped around me again.

“Well besides this, is there anything else I can do to repay you?”

“We could still have sex while you’re here, if you wish…”. I guess my smile was a little too much of a confidence boost for her so she resumed the peer pressure. I may make a slut of her yet.

And I still got the feeling that some of those other Shirohebis may be watching us.

“Hey hey hey, now don’t start that ‘relief’ stuff again. My mind hasn’t changed on that subject” I asserted. In an effort to hammer my point home, I tried raising a finger to her, but she had tightened up too much for me lift my arm.

Obviously, Sateen giving me that kind of ‘relief’ would be fantastic but that’s beside the point.

Sateen looked disappointed as she stared at the ground. Shit, there goes that little quivering lip of hers. I felt I’d better do something before the water-works started.

“Yes, you’re still beautiful! But trust me, it’s for your own good”

She could woo any guy, but I don’t think she’d be able to woo Veina.

“Sorry, I just thought that since we are so close again, sex is something that you would rather… enjoy” Sateen said with a little bit of a husky element to her voice. Her body tightened ever more slightly.

What the hell are you supposed to do with these mamono? You simply ask a snake girl to wrap around you to so you can relax to the feeling of her body and all the sudden she wants to get all snuggly-cuddly so my ‘snake’ can meet her snake and… hold on, I’m not going to win that debate.

“Look, just try to think of something else. What else would you want besides that?”

“Well… would you like to attend Lady Cheishu’s ceremonial shower, today?”

“What’s that? A peepshow or is somebody expecting?”

“Neither. As part of our devotion to the people of this region, Lady Cheishu has accepted a request to perform her rain ritual. It is our Lady’s blessing to us and to help the land prosper”

I think Welmor has had enough water for a month but oh well.

“Alright, how much is a ticket?”

“That’s ridiculous. There’s no ticket needed, Jason. Lady Cheishu welcomes all visitors”

Yeah, first into her temple, then into her ceremony, then probably into her bed. Always room for one more.

“Sounds like a lady of the people. Is there any request ol’ Bubble Chest won’t accept?”

Sateen’s eyes widened slightly and she gave an awkward smile. “You may ask her yourself” she motioned behind me with the tip of her tail.

I looked in back of me and found someone there. “Hi there, how are y- …Oh geez!” I did a double take as I recognized the person standing next to me as a Ryu. One who looked very similar to the carving on the tablet. Guess who?

I tried standing up, but couldn’t with Sateen still holding me tightly in her coils. “Do you mind?” I sneered at Sateen.

“Oh! Yes, of course” she obliged releasing me.

Now standing up and looking at her directly, I found her scales were a forest green with a reddish hair running down her body. The same green scales composed her clawed hands and forearms as well as her ears below some brown horns on her head. Her turquoise kimono-like outfit was bursting with more cleavage than Sateen. In terms of how hot she was, her lavender hair, strikingly graceful face, and awesome physique pretty much summed up her godly glamor.

Deceptively stealthy, ain’t she?

“Apologies, my Lady. I shouldn’t allow myself to be distracted from my duties” Sateen begged for forgiveness. Her face was radiating a sharp red from getting caught in an intimate position with me. Granted, I can think of a lot more suggestive positions, but I should have known that. Arguably, that position the the favorite among Lamia types.

“All is forgiven, my dear Sateen. It is a perfectly natural and beautiful thing to do” the big breasted MILF assured her ashamed subordinate who perked up afterwards. “However, next time I ask you to introduce me to a visitor sooner”

“Yes, my Lady”

That must be my cue to rescue her for a change.

“Well, you must be Lady Ch-, uh, the head woman around here” I babbled, digging up a small bit of decency to not butcher her name in front of her. “My name is-”

“-So you are Sateen’s mystery man. Welcome, Jason” the Ryu cut me off. Her voice was friendly; friendly enough to sound calming but alluring.

At this point, I’m not shocked that my name traveled fast even through the temple, despite Sateen being the only one that I revealed my name to. I reiterate, I feel like we were being watched for some time now.

“Alright then. So… nice place you got here”

“Thank you”

“Plenty fancy, but don’t you think that this overly minimalist style clashes with the rest of the towns around these parts?”

“Naturally. Why else would we bring the beauty of the great Zipangu region to these parts?”

Zipangu? Well, I’ll be damned. Now that she mentioned it, this place does sound like the Zipangu region; at least from what I’ve heard. Typically, a nature-obsessed Asian style land filled with exotic mamono. Only one problem…

“Haven’t you strayed a bit from the home base? That Zipangu place is miles and miles away. It’d take over half a month to get there from these parts, so how’d you manage that?”

“Such difficulty to move here is meaningless compared to what good fortune we bring to this troubled land” Cheishu boasted.

Sounds like an embassy to me.

“That means that you must have some cash. What kind of charity work do you and your band of missionaries do for a crazy world like this?”

“Everything we can. Assisting farmers, offering travelers shelter, educating children, finding husbands” she tittered, her mouth forming a knowing grin at, likely, her favorite request. “We take any kind of request that’s within our capabilities”

“Now that you brought it up, I could use a drink. Could you conjure up a drinking fountain for me?”

Talking with your stomach again. Real smooth, idiot.

“I’ll fetch you one” Sateen stood up behind me.

“One moment Sateen” Cheishu motioned to Sateen before she raced off.

Her large green hand came to rest on my shoulder for a moment. Then she raised it and graced my cheek with her massive claw. Last time a claw that big neared my face, it left a dent.

I didn’t know what to say, so I cocked an eyebrow at her. She chuckled quietly. “Now I see what you were talking about, Sateen. Retrieve him a drink and then bring him to the cerimony. And ensure that he is comfortable”

“Yes, my Lady” Sateen obeyed eagerly and hurried off. I didn’t know she could move that huge body of hers so fast.

“By the way, how do you get to Vallick from here?” I asked, remembering that I was in uncharted waters.

“Let’s see…” she pondered. “If you take the trail North of Crimdale, you will come to a crossroads. Take the West path and eventually you will come to a village named ‘Narvit’. At the entrance, there will be sign post that’ll point you toward Vallick. It’s about fifteen miles from Narvit”

“Good, sounds like I can make it back before evening”

“I do hope you have enjoyed your time in my temple”. She didn’t seem like the type to be fishing for compliments, so it came off more sensuous than it should have been. Though she still maintained her ‘lady-of-quality’ quality.

“Ups and downs. Mostly ups” I answered, blunt as ever.

“That’s good to hear”. Cheishu returned with a confident smile. She then quickly scanned around if Sateen was on her way back before resuming. “Sateen is a wonderful girl, isn’t she? I knew she would discover wonderful things in life, but she’s just so bashful. Thank you for helping her”

Kind of a strange change of subject, wasn’t it?

“Oh please. She’s been the helpful one. I haven’t done that much in return”

“You’ve done more for her than you realize. I appreciate that immensely. And thank you for attending my ritual. I hope you enjoy it” she cooed while turning away. “I will see you soon”

I would say that she sounded slutty, but instead her tone struck me as more fairy godmother. As if to say, ‘Thank you ever so much for showing my big-breasted surrogate daughter a good time’

After Sateen returned with a cup of water, she led me toward the ritual room, or whatever it was, behind the main part of the temple. Several rows of cusions lined in front of a fancy, symbol-covered altar located below a large opening in the ceiling. Dishes and urns hung below the opening. Behind the altar, a massive stone statue of Lady Cheishu posed facing the heavens caught my eye.

Reminded me of a church. But even though I hadn’t been to a church in over a decade, I sure don’t remember there being this much sex appeal going around, that being the busty statue and the seven other Shirohebis already coiled into a sitting position on the cushions.

If this was how church actually was, I never would have stopped going.

They spotted me as I walked in, snickering among each other. Sateen sat me in the back and as far away from the other gals as possible. I thanked her with a nudge and a half grin as the thought of all of those girls ogling my ass during the ceremony was fun but way too distracting.

Sateen must have been even more relieved than I was. How overprotective.

Before long, Lady Cheishu slithered onto the altar and shot me an amorous eyeball from across the room.

“When does she perform the rain-dance?” I asked Sateen sarcastically.

“At the end of the ceremony” she responded.

I gawked at her in mild shock. I was right? Oh boy, this’ll be amusing.

As her sermon began, Cheishu inevitably got onto the subject of courage and honesty. This naturally led into talking about fear, echoing my little talk with Sateen earlier. Sounded like a lecture for juveniles, which made it hard for my mind not to wander. I guess not much had changed since my church days as a kid. In any case, I still say that it was the right medicine but the wrong patient.

Bringing me back into the moment was catching Sateen peering at me from the corner of her eye, face filled with sympathy. I simply shrugged and tried to ignore her.

Finally, came the promised rain-dance. And oh boy, if church had this kind of stuff, there’d be a lot more converts. I couldn’t understand what she was proclaiming, but that was of no consequence. Her dancing skills were passionate to say the least. She made strip clubs look like square-dancing. ‘Jiggles’, that’s all I’ll say on the matter.

Once the dance climaxed, maybe literally, Cheishu reached toward the skies, which I could see clouding up through the opening in the ceiling. Almost immediately, came the clattering of heavy rain. Of course it came right through the hole and into the room, but Cheishu didn’t give a damn. It gave her that ‘wet-shirt competition’ kind of look. Even soaking into her kimono, causing it to sag a little past her shoulders. Hehe.

That concluded that ritual. By the end, Sateen’s tail was wrapped around my ankle. I didn’t even notice it… neither did she.

After the ceremony was done, I hung around for a little longer since I didn’t want to get drenched. But Sateen dragged me outside into “Lady Cheishu’s blessing”, as she called it, so I got drenched anyway.

A half an hour later the rain stopped, I prepared to leave until Sateen stopped me. Aw shit, is she going to stop me over and over again?

“Here Jason-” Sateen said, handing me a bag.

“Another sandwich?” I asked.

“Indeed. Did you enjoy the last one I made?”

“Pretty good”

I was speaking for my horse.

“I’m glad. Here’s something else”. She handed me a water canteen.

“Thanks but I’ve got some water already”

“But this is different. The water inside is a special therapeutic mixture”

I sighed. “Look, don’t ask why, but you should know that magic doesn’t work on me. So this stuff will go right through me”

“Oh… well no worry. This mixture is made from special herbs native only to the land of Zipangu. It’s not as powerful as a healing potion but it will assist in healing your wounds”

Hopefully it does more than cure headaches.

“Thanks, cream-puff”

She then hugged me. “Be well, and please think about what I told you”

“I said I would, alright?”

Backing up, she smiled. “It was an honor to serve you”

Deja vu, anyone?

“I’m sure it was” I sneered.

After retrieving my crap from the Ochimushas, I walked out, down the road, and up to my cart. As I hopped into the driver’s seat, I checked to see if Sateen was still wrapped around a part of me before I departed. Nope, I think I was free.

I also made a check of my cart to make sure I didn’t have a stowaway on board.

Then I headed out the gate and back to Vallick. Cross your fingers for when I get back.

—–

A few hours later…

Riding into Vallick felt awesome. Really awesome. Felt like working up a hardcore sweat and then downing an ice cold beer. That reminds me, I should stop off and get some booze from the tavern. But anyway, after all of that mayhem and chaos, it felt good to be home, or at least as much as home could feel in this world.

The butcher was outside his shop while wiping some blood onto his apron, the traveling merchant was haggling with a customer, an orgasmic scream came from a hotel room window. Nope, not much had changed since I left.

I had parked outside and walked up to the door of my hotel when the thought had occurred to me that I hadn’t yet come up a lie or any kind of a plan ready to tell Veina. Aw, fuck me running, I forgot to think of something. I was clean now with no trace of the battles, except for my wounds hidden underneath. Now I could make up anything, so what shall I tell her?

How about the truth?

The truth? Where did that come from? I didn’t even know that was in the cards. I’ve lied to her before, so what’s with this change of course? Just think of something anyway. Now let’s see…

Before I could determine anything, I was suddenly snatched up by someone from behind. Their arms were wrapped around front of me, yanking me straight into the air and carrying me off with alarming speed. It was like I was riding the ‘Rocket Locket’ from Universal Theme Park. And just like that ride, I screamed shitless.

It was too terrifying to even think about who was carrying me. Though in hindsight, the options were limited.

Swooping down toward the ground fast, I was then dropped off in the dirt outside of my secret workshop on the out-skirts of Vallick. My lunch almost came back up as I laid on the ground for a second, regaining my bearings. I stood up and turned around. Then I saw her…

Veina. Oh sweet merciful shit, did I have some serious ASMR running through me.

However, from the looks of it, she wasn’t too chippy. The panting Demon looked relieved but also cross, and that had me worried. Mainly because I knew she had a damn good reason to be. Her laser-trained eyes were bursting with shock and antsiness. That spaded tail was like an angry whip cracking around behind her.

Well asshole, you might just get another ass-kicking right here.

The incredulous Veina was uncharacteristically less slick in her appearance. Her hair was a little fluffed, her wings kind of wrinkled in parts, and her wardrobe less pristine than usual. My impression was that she hadn’t slept well over the past couple nights; you know, that ‘tossed-and-turned’ look. But I got her beat on that front. She should see me when I wake up with a holiday hangover. I’m lucky if I’m not stuck to the bedsheets with beer keg on my head.

Regardless, it was all too clear what my absence had done to her. What’s that I’m feeling? Oh yeah, guilt; hard guilt.

Despite her slightly disheveled appearance, she still looked utterly amazing. I forgot how beautiful Veina was. Oh hell, that’s a lie. I never forgot that she was sexy as fuck, but I’m always surprised at how utterly stunning she could be. No matter how much I remember about her, actually being in her presence always goes beyond my expectations.

I was comforted but also kind of scared to see her again.

With all of my shame and anxiety coming to a head within me, all I could spout was, “Hey, Veina… I’m back”

Veina immediately began to stomp toward me. Oh shit, I think I just sealed my doom. She was closing in fast. As per my reflexive nature, I tried to soften the blow that had to be coming. “Now, now Veina. I know what you’re thinking but-”

Now right up in front of me, Veina cut off my words by seizing my face and yanking my lips into hers in a deep, hard kiss.

Holy fucking hell! I didn’t see this coming. Before I could process what was happening, the electric touch of her lips rushed from my head to my feet, threatening to turn my legs to jelly. Luckily, the shock of it kept me froze enough to not fall over. The absolute exhilaration coursing through me was more stimulating than one hundred of those hot springs in Crimdale. In particular, I felt my blood starting to pump faster than ever before. It felt like I almost hardened up to full mast within first contact.

I thought my eyes had closed, but no, I must have had a mini black out. It was like I was soaring in the heavens again, circling the globe backwards and forwards in less than a second. If you had asked me, I couldn’t have told you left from right, up from down, or politics from scatology. It was that trippy.

But then I came back into the moment. Despite the length of my small existential moment, it seemed like somehow I was still aware that less than three seconds had passed since I went black. And thank God we were still kissing, it’d be a shame to miss any of this.

Veina’s hands switched places between my cheeks and my neck in the most tender of techniques. She kissed harder and harder with each passing second, moaning softly and lulling me into getting more and more drunk by her kiss. Somewhere along the line, my instincts drove me to press deeper into her lips. It was like I was answering her affection with some of my own. I just couldn’t pull away from her… and I think I was okay with that.

The stimulation almost drove me insane until she finally broke the kiss and exhaled in a low throaty moan, sounding something akin to afterglow pleasure. Then she opened her beaming red eyes directly into mine. The sensation left my vision blurred as light-headedness swept over me, causing me to take a few small steps to keep my balance. Once it passed, I stared back at her, stupefied.

Though I still felt something stimulating me; something soft and curvy. It was on my hands. By no conscious effort on my part, they had found their way onto her glorious waist and hips, emulating the way she caressed my face. And there must have been glue on her because I couldn’t get them off… oh wait, that’s just my rebellious hands not wanting to let go.

Truthfully, being a guy, I naturally had wanted to dig into that tight torso of hers for a while now, among many other parts. Now that I had it literally at my fingertips, her smooth blue skin and contors were even better than my male fantasies had hoped they would be. It made me feel ready to burst. Yep, in that way.

“You owed me that, Jason” she whispered, still slightly out of breath.

“W-was that with or without the interest rate?” I whispered back and released her waist, still kind of light-headed, but not enough to shut off the wise-cracks.

After taking in a deeper breath, Veina resumed, now subdued enough to ignoring my levity. “That’s only one of the three things you owe me”

“Alright. I guess I did owe you that. As horribly unpleasant as that just was, I survived it” I joshed again to no response. “So… what else do I owe you?”

“An explanation. Where were you, Jason!?” That wasn’t a gentle request. It was a harsh demand for answers.

You should have seen that coming, you shit-struck Sherlock.

“Hehe, boy have I got stories to tell you” I quavered.

Wait, I wasn’t going to lie to her? It would save everyone a lot of trouble if I just conjured up some little white lies, wouldn’t it? Just tell her that I went off, got drunk somewhere, and had to go track down where I left my cart. But for some reason, I just couldn’t do it.

Veina folded her arms under her bust and waited. I guess that mild glare was her ‘story-time’ face.

I told Dessy that being scared is no reason not to act. Now it’s time to live up to those words.

So the stories began. From the morning that I left to go track the portal, to the moment before Veina snatched me up, Veina was hooked on my every word. I gave a good detailed description of all of my encounters with the Skarliks, at least in this world. I even mentioned the roadblock that I now found myself at. She didn’t interrupt once, but her expression did change along with the story. Worried through the combat bits and captivated by the hunting bits.

“And now, here we are…” I concluded my story, leaving out certain things from my journey.

Veina huffed. “Is there anything else you want to tell me about?”

“Like what? I told you all the good stuff that happened to me”

“How about telling me about the other mamono you met?” she fumed as her eyes narrowed. Even her tail twitched in agitation.

“What makes you think that I pranced around with other girls?”

“Dear Jason, mamono are very passionate creatures. We can rub our mana off onto someone else’s mana for a time the same way odors can rub off onto your body for a time. And I can smell many other girls on you right now” Veina smiled in a not so sweet or patient way. “Tell me why”

Gulp.

“I guess the bath I took didn’t help- err, but now that you mention it, I did come across some other people”

Hey, I didn’t lie to her… I just left out some parts, that’s all.

“Do tell, Jason”

“Now don’t go all Hulk-smash on these girls. Nothing happened below the belt, okay? Some more than others, but they all helped me get out of big trouble”

“You think so, huh?” she intoned with a sinister smirk.

Well, they helped me out of most trouble, I suppose. However, there was no way around this now.

Here we go.

Not to bore you readers with overly repetitive details, but I walked through everything that I had been through with each of the girls. Both the kind and the not so kind stuff done to me. Just the bullet-points, and not getting too specific to piss her off. Veina was particularly interested in Karvale and the little sizzling skirmish we had. I could tell by her eyes that she was restraining herself. Though for a moment, I thought about how fun it would be to see Veina and Karvale wrestle each other.

By the end, Veina prattled her claws on her crossed arms and wore a frown not too pleasant; deep in thought.

“Veina, you don’t have to worry anymore, alright? I’m back here in one piece and my little soldier down there didn’t explore behind enemy lines” I asserted with a point down below my waist. “It was a dumbass move not to tell you where I was going and I’m sorry for that”

“Let’s go home, Jason” she huffed.

I didn’t complain or resist when she hooked me from behind and flew us both into the air again. It was more than I felt I deserved.

We had arrived back in my apartment, through the window, before she put me down. But instead of granting me complete freedom, she grabbed ahold of my hand and sat me down on the couch. Still standing and looking down at me, through her cleavage that I’d unconsciously missed watching her through, her striking eyes never left me. Barely even blinking.

“Take off your breast plate” she ordered.

Was it inspection time?

“What do you have in mind, Veina?” I asked with a little tilt of my head.

“Please…!”

“Okay, but that’s as far down as I’m going to let you dig”

Once my chest armor was removed and I sat in my undershirt, Veina was quick to plop on my lap, wrap her hands around my neck, and snuggle close to my chest without asking. Her wings folded down; one in front of me and one on my head. Still being in the dark as to what she was planning, I was a little suspicious. But regardless, I didn’t have the heart to object. I felt I should give her this. At least to put her mind at rest.

However, my dick was anything but ‘at rest’. Just smelling that deliciously sweet scent again could pitch a tent in my pants faster than anyone.

I loved having her voluptuous body so close to mine but I winced quietly in pain. Regardless of my time in Crimdale, I still wasn’t sure of the specifics on how damaged I was. Too much on my mind to really check myself out, but at least I knew that my down-stairs plumbing was all good.

However, Veina had the time to check. Her warm hand lightly felt it’s way around my core and chest in a scanning manner. When she touched a particularly sore spot near my stomach, I flinched, giving away my ruse that I wasn’t injured.

Veina gaped up at me, jaw slack and eyes overtaken by fear. “You are hurt”

Goddammit, I didn’t want her to know.

“I’ve lived through worse than this. I’ve already patched myself up and I’ll get some fresh bandages later. So just relax for now. If I can do it, you can do it, right?”

Though Veina was hesitant, at least she complied with me and held me close without causing any more pain.

For the next several minutes, we sat in silence. She gently rocked us both back and forth. I couldn’t tell if she was letting intimacy or awkwardness build to unbearable levels before she hit me with her next move. Honestly, I could believe both.

“My love…” she whispered, possibly to herself.

“What?”

“Hm?” she peered up.

“Weren’t you asking me something?”

“Why do you ask?”

“I just thought you were addressing me. I mean, that’s what you call me, isn’t it? Even though it annoys me” I said, sort of baffled.

“Yes. It is the name that only I may call you by” she affirmed. From her tone, I think she may have been smirking a bit. Veina tightened her grip on my neck firmly but not enough to cause pain. “I cannot tell how agonizing it was to be apart from you for that long. Even worse that I didn’t know where you were or if you were safe”

“Yeah, I know I shouldn’t have done that. But I thought it would be better for you”

“It wasn’t!” she exclaimed. Though she quickly settled down and composed herself. “Just… please don’t do that again”

“Again, I was a shithead for not telling you. So, consider the case closed”

“Not yet. While we’re asking each other questions, I want you to tell me about the girls you encountered”

I got a bad feeling about where this is going.

“Which ones? I met a lot of gir- errr, shit!” I uttered in aggravation as I bit my blabbering tongue too late.

Great job, Jason. Why not just make things worse? Like telling her how many tits had been shoved into your face that were not hers?

“Start with the girls who you spent the most time with. Something must have transpired between you. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to still smell them on your mana”

Clever girl.

Let’s see now… minus the fly-by, quick-to-fuck gals I crossed paths with, that left four girls.

“Remember, I didn’t plant my flag-pole into anyone I came across. So I don’t want you going all ‘Terminator’, alright?”

“Don’t worry, I won’t do anything to them. Unless they show up at our doorstep, that is. Now indulge me, my love” she demanded, not having as much sensual arousal with the ‘my love’ part as she usually did

Fair trade, all things considered.

In a way, I welcomed talking about this. Or rather anything to distract me from how turned on I was to have Veina nesting on me again.

So there I was again, explaining my stories to Veina. This time, going into even more detail about my meetings with each of the girls. Even then, I left out certain spicy moments so not to provoke her any more. However, I sensed that she suspected there to have been more intimate moments with the girls. Must be a mamono thing.

Only occasionally would she interrupt to ask a specific question about them, such as their wardrobe… or their breast size. Sexual competition remember? But Veina was adamant about me describing their personalities, my interactions with them, and what not. It seemed like a strange thing to do, considering how she claimed to not be planning on gutting them like a fish. Maybe she was just scoping them out for a counterattack in case they did show up.

However, thinking back on everything that had happened, I was really appreciative of those girls. Sure, I was crushed, punched, wrestled, fried, flattened, tricked, and many other things, but things would have been far worse without them. If not for them, I probably wouldn’t have made it back here in one piece; physically or mentally. Sateen gave me some much needed TLC when I needed it, Niko helped me locate the Skarliks in Wonderland, Dessy brightened my day when my Wonderland plan backfired, and Karvale took out a few Skarliks for me. Sure, Karvale almost put me in the hospital but so what? The point stands.

Before I completely finished talking, Veina suddenly sprang to her feet and skidooed to the other side of the room. I think I heard a low sniffle. Like a game of High Striker, I hopped up immediately, ignoring the pain, and hurried right behind her smoldering ass.

“Come on Veina. I didn’t seal any deals with them. So what’s wrong? You can’t be that jealous”

After all, no one else ever called me “my love”

The Demon turned her head to me. Her inhuman beauty a stark contrast to the morose frown donning her gorgeous features. She wasn’t crying, but behind those devilishly striking eyes, she was struggling to hold back the water-works.

“Tell me this honestly Jason. While you were away… did you miss me?” she lamented before her breath halted. Her body froze like a plank, even her tail.

My heart shrank a little from that hard-ball question. But it was time to step up to the plate.

“Well, maybe” I sighed. “Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t understand why you cook a gourmet meal for a jerk-off like me every night. Nor do I get why you treat me like royalty, pick up my bills, or provide me with enough entertainment for one thousand bachelor parties. But still, don’t look a gift horse in the face. It’s pretty damn good to be back with someone who doesn’t want to switch my insides with my outsides. And such a hot someone too. Basically, I suppose I did miss you”

Yep, you folks read that right.

Veina exhaled her prolonged breath and smiled more warm than I’d ever seen before. She turned all the way towards me and gave me a quick but jolting peck on the side of the mouth. ‘I may get used to this’, I thought to myself. But then I noticed Veina’s gaze had wandered off into a sorrowful but focused thought.

Hmmm… I thought she’d be much more excited hearing me admit that I missed her. Like having a parade float ready to launch for such an occasion. Oddly enough, something was still bothering her, but what could she possibly be that upset over? She knows that I didn’t sleep with any of them. Was it my wounds? No it couldn’t be that. They’re… on their way to fully healing. But if that was the case, she’d be dragging me down to the pharmacist and pumping me with so many antibiotics I could piss a neon fountain of youth. It must be something else. What is it?

Veina murmured something indistinct that I couldn’t make out.

“What’re you thinking, Veina?”

Her eyes jumped back to me. “I’m thinking that we should give your new injuries some attention”

I guess I spoke too soon about her tending to my wounds. However, I’m still not convinced that my physical condition was what had her preoccupied. But I’m not going to postpone some much needed relief. In fact I’m going to down that water bottle Sateen gave me. And if that doesn’t work, booze always does.

We went to the bathroom and began the reconstruction surgery. I thought of how amusing it would be if I looked like the bandaged Invisible Man by the end. The doctor’s report: Cuts and scrapes were nothing that some good salve couldn’t handle. But I found the most severe pain came from one of my legs, my shoulder, parts of my head along with my neck, and various points on the front and back of my torso. Not a fractured skull, but maybe some cracks in my shoulder as well as some broken ribs. I also found a little internal bleeding, but the rest were just brushes with a sprain here and there. The springs in Crimdale had done my body some good but they could only do so much, especially in such a short time that I’d spent there.

Between Karvale and Wonderland, I was as dandy as a stunt-double for a wrecking ball.

“You know, I still owe you one more favor” I nudged Veina as she worked.

“And I will remember that, Jason” she glanced back while dressing a bandage.

I’m sure that she’ll think of something down the road. Probably when I least expect it, as most favors usually do.

Veina had finished wrapping some gauze around my hamstring when she spoke again. “What will your next move be in tracking down your query?” she coaxed, trying to get some more business out of me.

“Oh, that. Heh, shit I have no idea. It’s not going to be that easy to locate them. Clues don’t just pop out of thin air. If I could just find a trace of them. Just a lead to go off of, then I might have an answer for you. For now, I’m in the dark”

It hurt to say, and hurt even more to be honest with myself.

“Are you going to keep me in the dark from now on?” She didn’t even try to hide the forewarning in her voice.

“After all of this, I’m not going to pull any more disappearing acts on you. You deserve to know where I am and where I’m going”

“I’m very grateful that you will entrust me with that, my love” she smirked gratefully.

That smirk carried over to when she stood me up and started to lead me toward the bedroom.

Oh fuck, there goes the alarm in my head.

“Veina, no. Don’t force this on me. Now is not the time to settle this part of our relationship” I argued, not even minding the fact that I said ‘relationship’. Fuck, it was hard to believe that I was glad to see this hot woman again, but didn’t want to bang her. I mean I did want to bang her, but you know what I mean.

“You’ve had a busy day, and you’re going to sleep while I watch over you” Veina attested sternly and yanked me harder.

“You mean to actually sleep, don’t you?”

“Yes, you need the rest”

Oh thank God. I thought she was planning on ‘relieving’ me in another way.

“Well, good. I know I still owe you one more thing. But that is definitely off the table.

I crawled into bed with Veina crawling after me. Shortly after, that black barrier sphere formed around us again. Veina took care to not be rough with my battered body as she snuggled up against me like never before, even grabbing my adjacent hand and resting it on her waist. She must have quite enjoyed it from earlier.

Not the first time I’ve landed in this situation with Veina, but re-runs can be fun.

Just keep it in your pants, got it Jason? Yeah, I was sorry for what I’d put her through, plus that kiss was better than any drink that I’d ever had, however I didn’t relinquish myself to the whole hanky-panky thing. I’ve learned a lot of things about mamono recently, but the demonic energy debate is a tough nut to crack.

We were not going to have sex. But… even though it was never easy, it seems to be getting harder and harder to stay this course. Fucking hell on Earth, this Demon. How could a dude think about anything else with a girl like Veina?

“My love…” she whispered to herself yet again.

For some reason, a little lump hopped into my throat when I heard her this time. But why? She’s said that to me countless times.

I reflexively caressed her waist a little, but I gritted my teeth and cock-blocked myself from going any further. To try and tune out her vibes, I closed my eyes… only for the imagination to kick in. Son of a bitch.

“…It’s been far too long” she continued.

Just go to sleep, you would-be Romeo.

—–

As usual, morning came too early. Bringing me back to the real world where my aching body waited to taxi me through the day.

It wasn’t too long until I noticed that there was no arousing warmth engulfing me. Unlike the last time when Veina clung to me all night after that tough fight with the Order, this time she was gone without a trace; not even one of those message orbs. But I was still staring into the black abyss surrounding my bed. With not many options to speak of, I stood up and stuck my hand into the void. It didn’t get far as it stopped against a wall about an inch in.

I guess it was a ‘no one gets in, no one gets out’ kind of thing. How nerve-racking.

Still, I could live with Veina sticking me in here. Considering what I had done to her, this was getting off easy. All she did was basically ground me to my room. And I did trust her enough to not leave me in here to rot. It’s just to keep me out of trouble.

Oh well. I felt like sleeping longer, anyway. And it gave me more time to think.

However, that turned out to be harder than I thought it would be. As you all know, the predicament with the Skarliks sucked hard. But that’s not what had me occupied. Often on a hangover-less morning, I can think pretty clear. Comes in handy when I need to regroup from an ass-kicking. However, this time, my brain wasn’t getting any place fast; something was unsettling me. On top of that, I felt fidgety. Like standing in a cashier line with that one asshole who insists on writing a check instead using a credit card.

Stress has been known to cause that kind of mental subterfuge. Since my stress usually came from the Skarliks, I always countered it by doing something productive; such as building weapons. But this time, it wasn’t them that was picking at me. Whatever it was, I couldn’t identify it, let alone deal with it. As a result, my thoughts just devolved into a random mess of thoughts with no beginning or end. No wheel to steer, no brake to stop, and no wipers to clean the windshield. No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t come up with enough solid thoughts to be three cents richer.

No, it couldn’t have been some kind of magic vexing me. But something undefinable was giving me a really off day. And whatever it was, it really annoyed me.

Finally, sleep came back to me, freeing me from the turmoil.

Later on, I was shook awake. “Jason, wake up”

It was Veina kneeling on the bed and looking down at me. Looking ravishing as always, she had recovered some of that lascivious flare that she loved to sport when around me.

“Did I finally make bail?” I joked, noticing that there was no black sphere around us anymore.

“No time for nonsense right now, my love. I may have a lead on your targets” she begged urgently as she pulled me up.

“The Skarliks!? Where?” I sprung to life.

“By an outpost about thirty miles South of Vallick”

“How did you find them?”

“I’ve been informed of some bizarre looking individuals matching your descriptions that were sighted there. I figured that when I go to investigate, you’d want to come along”

“Damn right I do! Let’s go!” With that, I jumped to my feet and ran for my utility belt and coat. Veina was right behind me as we bolted out the door. I didn’t even care that the door to my apartment was left open.

—–

Later…

We came upon a twenty foot, round, wooden watch tower with a non-descript fort attached to it. Not fortified much at all with it’s open balcony and simple log barriers surrounding it. The thing gave off the impression of a lookout point, but that’s all it did.

Veina and I were quick to jump off of my cart and hurry to the sentries posted outside; two Dark Elves. They greeted us like we were expected.

“Commander Veina-” one Dark Elf addressed her.

Commander, huh?

“What happened?”

“Perhaps we shouldn’t divulge information in front of him?” she suggested while glancing my way.

“His concerns are my concerns. Anything you have to say to me, you will say in front of him. Now tell us what happened” Veina ordered with a ‘no nonsense’ authority that I’d seldom seen in my military days.

“I see. I apologize, my Lord. Miss Selep will show you” she replied and called for someone.

‘My Lord’? She doesn’t even know who I am or what my status is- Wait… was that code for saying that Veina and I were soulmates? Oh, who am I kidding? Of course it was.

We were escorted behind the fort by an Alp who stopped us near some wagons. Immediately, I recognized the light blue cinders and smoke smoldering out of the wood. A huge chunk of one of the carts was blown away with entry points in the side that had already sizzled out.

There was no mistaking it. Especially when the smell hit me.

“This is where it happened” the Alp informed us.

Veina took a quick scan of the area and said, “Go on”

“We were unloading supplies from this wagon when we were approached by five strange looking people. We’ve never seen anyone like them before. They were-”

“-Six foot or more, ugly as sin, edged teeth, white skin, wide ears, dark eyes, and all around nasty brutes with even nastier dispositions” I filled in her description for her. “Does that about cover it?”

“Indeed it does”

“Looks like my hunch was right” Veina chimed in.

“No doubt. Even a moderately armed scout group can do that kind of damage. Besides the smoldering debris, their filthy-ass stench is still stinking up the area” I answered, contempt growing in my voice with every word.

“They surprised us and stole several crates of food. The only time they even addressed us was when they shouted at us. Then they attacked us like savages”

When it comes to Skarliks, that kind of insult was child’s play.

“What direction did they head?”

“I’m not sure. We had no choice but to take cover. Then they vanished with our supplies”

“Dammit. I guess we’ll take it from here” I griped as I walked past her to look for tracks.

“Take me to her” I heard Veina say to the Alp behind me. The two walked off, but I didn’t care.

I felt like a fresh out of school detective when inspecting the crime scene. Tracking and hunting wasn’t really a specialty of mine in the military, so basic 101 observations was all I had to work with. However, that didn’t prove to be enough. No clear trails or prints or anything that could help me deduce where they went. According to eye-witnesses, there were at least five of them. If one of them was Turos, I’d never know.

Motherfucker, I wish I still had a tracker.

What I did know was that they were packing more firepower than just pistols. It may have not been an artillery unit, but anything that could pulverize a wagon without needing a mounted weapon on a vehicle was not to be underestimated.

Were there more of them than I realized? Just how armed were they? Would the portals stop opening any time soon? Shit, here we go with another Q&A, except no A.

Nothing more to get from here so I went to look for Veina so we could bugger off. I spotted her about twenty feet away off with the Alp, so I walked on over.

But once I closed in, I stopped dead in my tracks and froze. Veina was overtaken with silent grief as she kneeled down and rested her hand on someone’s head next to her. It was a Succubus lying on the ground halfway under a blanket. She would have been lovely if not for the gaping laser holes in her head, shoulder, chest, and neck. Blood had run it’s course and dried up upon her fine flesh after seeping from the holes. Also, one of her wings was fried off.

Dead as can be.

“What the… hell? Was she-?” I fumbled my words.

“Her name was Ketry. With no reinforcements at that moment, she had no choice but to fight back and give us time to retreat during the attack. She battled valiantly, but their numbers overwhelmed her before the others could arrive”

Veina sighed solemnly. “She will be remembered defending those who she cared about”. She pulled the blanket over the Succubus’ head and stood up. “What did you find, Jason?”

I wanted to answer but found that I couldn’t. My lungs felt short of breath despite only standing around. My heart must have been skipping every other beat. Dread was beginning to sprout all around my face and I was left too baffled to do anything about it. I didn’t know what was wrong with me.

Somehow, I got words out.

“N-nothing… I guess. I, uh, there’s nothing left for us here. We’d better go” I quavered in such a way as to plea but to not make it sound like a plea.

“Yes, right away” Veina complied, I think picking up on my underlying message. Thank God.

Veina bid the other mamono farewell and we left in a haste.

The ride back felt a bit more morbid than usual. I managed to drive okay on the way back but the same can’t be said for handling my nerves. The reins shook so hard in my trembling hands that you could use them for jump-ropes. My heart was pounding something awful and I think I felt an eye twitch coming on. I’m not one for panic attacks, but from the moment I saw that Succubus dead on the ground, something had stirred within me. That same kind of agitation that I’d felt earlier that day, only ten times worse. But why the hell would that have affected me? I’ve known that this kind of thing would happen if the Skarliks weren’t stopped. Fucking hell, I’ve seen tons of people killed by the Skarliks. My time as a soldier had conditioned me to deal with this stuff. And here I was acting like a snot-nosed rookie who skipped biology class in highschool.

Veina was talking, but I wasn’t listening. Soon, she caught on to my tight face and lack of witticism.

“Are you alright, my love?” she nudged me. Her face leaned curiously into my view. That way I could see the collectiveness vanish from her expression with every passing second.

“I’m… I’m fine” I lied, not feeling like talking.

“You not fine. Something is bothering you. What is it?” she consoled me as she gingerly grabbed my forearm.

“Look, just be quiet for now, please? I’ll be alright in a few minutes”

Not that I knew if that was true, but you likely know where I’d place my money on that bet.

Later, we arrived at my apartment. Veina walked right next to me the whole way upstairs, not willing to leave my side for a second. Her tail could feel each time my heart thundered as it wrapped around my wrist. She held my arm close to her bosom, but I was too rattled to get horny.

After entering home, I walked ahead as Veina shut and locked the door behind us. I saw the sofa and tried to reach it. Somehow, all of the power in my legs was going from one hundred to zero in an instant. Every step felt like I was that much closer to collapsing. Could I make it? Guess not, as I gravity struck and my legs gave out.

But the ever reliable Veina caught me from behind. “Jason!” she gasped and gave me a lift the rest of the way to the sofa. “Jason, you can’t hide it any longer”

The anguish in her voice did nothing to make her demeanor less sexy. Extraordinary.

“I said I’m fine”

“No you’re not! You said you were going to be honest with me from now on. That’s why you need to tell me what’s wrong with you”

She was right.

“Yeah? Well, the truth is that I don’t fucking know what’s bothering me. I was trying to figure it out the whole ride home but… nothing. Or, I don’t know, maybe it’s the fact I’m no closer to finding them than before. And people are starting to pay the price for it” I raged a bit. It wasn’t out of anger at Veina, it was just out of frustration due to unknown forces. To my disbelief, my eyes actually teared up a little bit. Not full on crying but way more than I had done in the last fifteen years.

Why all of the sudden anxiety? What’s changed?

“Shhh, calm down, my love” Veina shushed me. Her hand touched my cheek while her thumb rubbed under my eye. The warmth of her hand was ironically like water to my fiery mood. It provided me with much needed comfort. My dampening eyes found their way up and met hers, melting with tender sympathy.

As per reflexive action or primitive instincts to being emotionally spent, my head came to rest on Veina’s shoulder. She only encouraged me, wrapping her arm around my back and scooting even closer. It felt so good to have Veina sitting with me right now, but not in a arousing way. As seductive as Veina was, her maternal skills were equally fine tuned.

“It was seeing that dead Succubus, wasn’t it?” she soothed, her voice soft and merciful.

“At least I know that things took a turn for the worse when I came up on her”

“Just settle down, Jason. Seeing her hurt me too. It’s a tragedy, but there is nothing you can do for her now”

“Except find the Skarliks and do the same thing to them. But threats don’t matter much if I can’t even find them”

“We’ll figure something out, my love. Together”

At that moment, I choked up a bit but thought nothing of it.

We sat in silence for a while longer as I contemplated. What would I do from here on? I’ve asked myself this question countless times but still haven’t come up with an answer. Making matters worse was how, recently, the situation now felt like it carried much more stakes than before. And guess whose shoulders the increased burden would lay on?

The pain in my body didn’t matter anymore.

Upon reflecting, I did figure one thing out. And I guess Sateen was right, after all. I was afraid; deathly afraid. But of what? It wasn’t of facing the Skarliks, as I’m quite used to that. This was a new type of fear. Something that I’d never encountered before, something I felt powerless against.

But even so, it remained shrouded in mystery. Just out of arms reach. I could drive myself to another breakdown just trying to identify it. Instead, I let Veina’s harmonic breathing lull me to sleep in her arms.

Who can tell what the future will hold? Because I’m just going to wait and see.

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4 thoughts on “Wormhole Ch.13

  1. wow, how I prayed for this chapter to come.

    It looks like the great wall Jason is starting to give way and fall apart.

    I feel that Veina, Kalavarne, Sateen, and Niko will be the future pillars that needed to sustain this worn wall.

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