Wormhole Ch.15

Author’s note: Well, I’m back. Hopefully the wait wasn’t as long as it felt to write. Seriously, this was undoubtedly the hardest chapter that I’ve written. A literal Hell. But at last, here it is. Enjoy!


“Destiny dressed you this morning, my friend, and now fear is trying to pull off your pants. If you give up, if you give in, then you’re going to end up naked with fear just standing there laughing at your dangling un-mentionables”

-The Tick


A few hours had past. In that time, I switched back and forth between planning for battle and beating myself internally for my confrontation with Veina. It goes without saying, but these few hours didn’t do a damn thing for my mental fortitude. That clash should have been the end of it. But it didn’t feel like it was over. Why?

Whatever the case, it had to wait because I stopped just short of a mile away from Cavoline Stream. I packed up all of my available weapons and equipment before continuing on foot.

Time for a little recon.

I explored around the forested area, always taking the precaution to scout ahead with the scope in my helmet visor before moving on. Wouldn’t want to stumble upon the Skarliks camp and blow my cover out of nowhere before I could plan my attack.

Eventually, I caught some noise up ahead in a clearing right on the edge of the stream. Sounded like a jeep, or at least something more technological than the birds and bees. So I climbed a nearby tree to get a better view with my visor.

It’s time for some good new and bad news. The good news was that I’d found my target; a camp of Skarliks. The bad news? It was bigger than the previous camp that I’d raided a few weeks back. Besides the usual tents, crates, and turret guns, this time they had a better setup with full flood lights, two makeshift watchtowers, reinforced dugouts, perimeter fences, and multiple vehicles; including an armored “Shredder” car and three combat hover-jeeps. If I lost track of any previous Skarliks back in Wonderland, they must have met up with this new contingent.

By my estimates, there were twice as many Skarliks this time. Aside from the Shredder and hover-jeeps, they were packing the usual infantry armament of assault rifles and small-time explosives, along with other typical survival gear. This was a bigger combat unit than I preferred, but at least it wasn’t of the heavy assault class.

Scanning along with my visors, I noted multiple energy beacons, meaning they had multiple terminals and generators. I perked up once I spotted a Skarlik carrying an assault rifle; from Earth, that is. It would be better than my Skarlik rifle which only has so much ammo left in it and wasn’t compatible with my solar ammo. Makes me wonder what other pieces of Earth may have dropped here.

At least I hadn’t wasted too much energy finding them. But, salty Chicago shit-sticks, how does this keep getting worse for me?

The camp was packed with Skarliks, which made it unfeasible to take them all out with stealth alone. Even if I wasn’t spotted, they’d notice something was up before I finished and then lock the camp down tight. There were no trees or hills close enough to take advantage of. How I wish I could fly.

That left me with no choice but the direct attack. My first instinct was to blow them to kingdom come and then to infinity and beyond. But I couldn’t exactly call in an air raid from Earth’s military and then call it a ‘crater’. While I’m on the subject, they did have plenty of useful equipment that would be a shame to destroy.

Me as the solo commando again? Oh well. Over these past months, I’ve been between a rock and a hard place so much that it’s becoming my new ‘home-away-from-home’. I’ll just have to be as careful as possible. Aim for the alien shit-heads, not the tech. At least as best I can.

However, there was no reason why I shouldn’t prepare in advance. My points of interest were the two watchtowers, the sleeping quarters, the turret guns, the parked hover jeeps, and the Shredder. It would advantageous to take them out first, but I only had three remote bombs on me. Shit the fuck, I can’t focus on all of them and fend off the Skarliks at once. Bugger all.

After some deliberation, I made the decision to place one bomb at one of the towers, one at the sleeping quarters, and one near the hover jeeps. Those were the easiest to reach through stealth, only because they were located near the outskirts of the camp. But I needed more than just some fireworks once I attacked, which is why I had my eye on the Shredder car. Its powerful combo of double turret guns and armored shell could help even the odds.

But they were stationed near the center of the camp, about fifty yards away. Helluva walk, and helluva lot of ways to get myself eviscerated along the way. I’ll just have to hope my bombs are enough of a diversion for me to get there before things got loud… well, louder.

First things first, I had to set the bombs. Night would fall soon, then I could use the cover of darkness to hide my movements.


Hours later…

Making my way through the camp proved difficult with the guards on duty. But this time, I made sure to scout all of their lookout points before moving in. With that said, having spent most of the night sneaking around to each of my targets had left me a bit pooped. Yeah, it took much longer than expected since I had to wait at length for the right moment to move past the security. Even though I said these were the “easiest” to reach, it felt as tedious as separating fly shit from pepper while wearing boxing gloves. A teleport potion would be useful right now.

There were a couple close calls but I got all three bombs planted. It would be dawn in less than an hour, so I couldn’t rely on darkness when I struck. Surprise was my only asset now.

After I positioned myself away from the primed bombs and planned my course to the Shredder, I gave a final check to all of my ammo, potions, and grenades. Then, I pulled out my detonator.

Nothing left to do but hope for the best. A ‘Hail Mary’ without a prayer.

All three bombs went off simultaneously, echoing for all to hear. Several of the tents in the sleeping quarters went flying in the air, as did two of the hover jeeps The tower collapsed soundly onto a dugout for a welcomed bonus effect. The camp jumped into high alert with all of the soldiers clamoring to see what happened. I had no way of knowing how many Skarliks were killed in the explosions, so why dwell on it? Just assume there are still too many left.

Once enough Skarliks had moved toward the explosions and out of my path, I took off running toward the Shredder. My assault rifle in one hand and my fingers crossed in the other hand.

Though, I hadn’t made it thirty feet before I was spotted by a group of three Skarliks remaining in the area. It was no surprise that there was still resistance nearby, even with the diversion, thus I had to play it by ear. How much resistance would remain was a variable that couldn’t be predicted.

I got the draw on them first and opened fire with my rifle. Two of them went down but the third one got away behind some supply crates where I couldn’t reach him without detouring away from my goal. He was shouting in his Skarlik tongue and signaling to everyone within ear-reach. Little pissy, piece of shit.

The first to fire back at me were the two Skarliks on the second watchtower with a turret mounted on it. The route I chose had some cover for me to use, so I took cover behind some crates. Safe for now, but they were keeping me from moving while the clock was still running. I had to think fast.

Loading a grenade from my belt onto my hand-catapult, I fired it at the tower which blasted it apart in an instant. Now I was clear to move, but my cover was already blown. Soon the whole camp would be closing in on me. I had to get to that Shredder but I had to hold them off long enough to get there.

By this point, I’ve got to say that I was really starting to feel just how short of one-hundred percent my body was. Simply running was arduous enough and I’d faced only a handful of Skarliks at this point.

No turning back, ass-wipe, because there was much more fun to be had today. Oh, happy, happy, joy, joy.

More shots were fired at me from some incoming Skarliks on my side of the crate. I hustled around to the other side while blindly firing my rifle back at them, hoping that I nailed a few. There was no time to grab ahold of another Skarlik weapon, so I rolled a grenade toward them to act as cover for my escape before I could be properly surrounded.

Once the grenade went off, I bolted down the path once again. I left various puddles of my electric elixir in my wake. It was like leaving a series of live wires in case I was pursued. Always pays to cover your ass.

Several seconds later, laser shots began whizzing past me as I sprinted, tearing through the tents, tables, and light equipment.

Somehow, I made it through with no new holes in my hide. Once I got past a set of computer terminals, I found myself wide open to a cluster of Skarliks hiding behind cover. Thankfully, I was running adjacent to them and not directly at them. That provided me enough time to slide behind a support structure before they could tear me to shreds. I grunted in pain as I slammed into it. Ouch.

Pinned down again.

Some Skarliks were making their way around toward my side. Getting quite close to surrounding me. There was no safe way to run out of this. However, there was a small opening that led under the support beams I was hiding next to. With no time to consider my other options, I fired off some more blind shots in both directions, scurried under the supports, and began to crawl as fast as I could.

The Skarliks hadn’t seen me disappear, which was perfect as I came out behind their position before they could close in on me. It didn’t look like there were any more to worry about, at least on this side, so I sprayed a hail of lasers through all of them, courtesy of my rifle. When all was said and done, five more Skarliks were dead and I picked up another Skarlik rifle to replace my damn near empty rifle.

It wasn’t too much farther to the Shredder, but I was coming up to an intersection, of sorts. The issue was that I had no way of knowing if Skarliks were lined up on both sides waiting to blast me down. Even if I did find cover from one side, I would still be vulnerable to the whatever may be on other side.

This had to be my final sprint.

To begin, I uncorked fire potion and splashed it around behind me in an arcing fashion. My trail was soon covered in flames and the tents were burning out of control. That’ll block any Skarliks coming up behind me for a bit. Now for the intersection. With the last two grenades I had left, I tossed them on both sides of the intersection and prepared to move. As the commotion ensued, I continued on.

It felt like years before I reached the Shredder, even though I was sprinting. As I approached, I found a Skarlik trying to slip inside my Shredder, like a creepy little bastard trying to ruin my plan. I blasted him with my rifle without stopping. Couldn’t afford the time as more Skarlik shots were coming my way. After he was dead, I hopped up and dropped into the opened hatch and into the hull, bypassing the ladder.

But before my sore muscles had a chance to absorb the impact from the drop, I was grabbed from behind by an unknown assailant. It was another Skarlik.

Great, he must’ve got inside before I made it here.

His big arms squeezed down tight, preventing me from using my rifle while wreaking havoc on my injuries at the same time. I struggled hard to break his hold around my arms and chest, but there was little chance of that happening. I needed a weapon but my rifle was pinned down. However, my forearm was free enough to reach my LAD-42 handgun.

It all happened so fast. I fired and hit him in the foot. He then grunted and whipped me against the armored interior like a ragdoll in a fit of rage, all before I could even process what was going on. What I did know was that my handgun and rifle flew from my hands and I was on the ground, discombobulated from the impact. Meanwhile, he was limping and growling in pain.

There was one handgun still on my side which I tried to retrieve before he overpowered me. Too bad he was faster. The first thing he grabbed was my hand which he slammed repeatedly against the armored interior until my grip loosened and the handgun flew off like my other guns. Then he started pounding me in the head with his heavy mitts. I’ve been in this situation before, but this time I had less strength to fight back with against a much stronger opponent.

It would have seemed hopeless if not for the fact that I had one more weapon he didn’t know about…

During his assault, I latched onto one of his arms, staggering him for a moment. But that was all the time I needed to drive my fist into his exposed face. Did I mention that it was the hand with my gauntlet on it?

The explosion that followed knocked him off of me and right into the back of the hull. The explosion from my gauntlet was condensed enough to not damage me or the interior controls. On the other hand, no pun intended, the Skarlik was dead, for sure.

Having to get up on my feet wasn’t feeling like an inviting prospect at this point, but adrenaline drove me up and ready to make up for lost time. The rest of the Skarliks would be on me soon, so I raced for the driver’s seat. It felt good to rest my aching body but I wasn’t here to relax.

Fortunately, I did acquire some knowledge on controlling a Skarlik vehicle after Earth managed to capture a few during the war. So I could pilot this… not very well, but I could get it moving. Though, with no co-driver, I couldn’t take advantage of all of the Shredder’s offensive weapons, but I could control the double-mounted auto-cannons just fine.

Once all systems were ‘go’, I took off and began shredding up the area in a furious laser storm. While I remained protected inside, I saw lots of Skarliks either attacking or fleeing in a panic. But I didn’t give a fuck as I cut down anyone in my path. Besides the cannons, I plowed through a few tents and hopefully some Skarliks, too. I know I said that I would have to be careful not to damage the tech that they had, but when you have this kind of ordinance at your disposal, things get messy.

It was going good. But that time was short-lived because a Skarlik had targeted me with an RPG.

First came the thundering impact, and then the world outside began to spiral. His rocket slammed into the left hand side and overturned the whole Shredder almost entirely upside-down. Meanwhile, I should have paid attention in school and learned to buckle my seatbelt.

Crashing head-first onto the armored ceiling, other equipment inside the Shredder followed as they crashed onto me. Armor or not, I was left groggy with quite a bit of weight holding me down. But at least the Shredder didn’t blow up.

There were, miraculously, no broken bones as far I as I could tell. I’ve been through worse pain in my life but that wasn’t going to help me push off all of the heavy junk now piled on top of me. My strength was already low in quantity, and now this.

Through a combination of my arms, legs, and leverage, I had damn near dug myself out when the last piece of was lifted away for me. By who? Well, it wasn’t human and it wasn’t a mamono. Yeah, I was under so much pain and strain that I didn’t notice another big Skarlik enter the Shredder and come at me.

If you think that it was a kind gesture on his part, then your IQ is probably no higher than room temperature.

“Crosh…” he snarled while seizing my throat and yanking me up. I hadn’t retrieved my guns before I had went to the driver’s seat and my gauntlet had been damaged in the tumble. There wasn’t even enough spit in my mouth to pop a good one in his face, much less fight back. Now, I was pretty much helpless.

They dragged me out of the flipped Shredder and back into daylight. I was greeted by other Skarliks who put me on the receiving end of various punches and kicks, accompanied by various Skarlik curses. With my armor on, it was no worse than a rough night in seedy bar. But once they let up, my coat and helmet were removed and my wrists were cuffed behind me.

I was led, or rather shoved, off into the camp where another group of Skarliks were waiting for me. From the looks of it, I’d done a bang-up job of ‘un-organizing’ the camp.

A whack to the stomach with the blunt end of a gun dropped me to my knees.

“Look at me human” a Skarlik ordered while snatching my jaw. I hadn’t really expected to find an English-speaking Skarlik. “This must be the ‘crosh’ that Turos mentioned. You have a lot of nerve coming here”

From what I could tell, this motherfucker must have ranked between a Sergeant and a Lieutenant. Lucky me, I get to meet the boss without an appointment.

“This seemed like a good place for a little target practice” I sassed with my ever free-spirited tongue.

“After what you did, I should have you gutted slowly”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Pain and misery and all that Jazz. Where’s Turos?”

He leaned down at me. “First, you are not here to ask questions, crosh. Second,” he yanked me by my hair to look him in his grey eyes. “you are only alive to answer my questions”

I grinned with contempt. “I can tell you exactly where to stick your head. How about that?”

Why not a little foreplay before the torture begins?

“Filthy crosh” he spat, the ire building on his face. He must not be someone whose authority was often belittled. “You’re at my mercy with nowhere to escape to. But if you talk, then your death will be quick and painless. If not…” He gave a silent order to a guard behind me.

I was unprepared for a surge of pain as a stun baton was driven into my back. It felt like a million needles penetrating every centimeter of my body at once. However, the power left me with no voice louder than a stiff grunt.

The guard left the baton in me for around seven seconds, give or take. Slumping down, a brief moment of numbness swept over my whole body. Make no mistake, it hurt worse than a salt-covered cheese grater, but I knew that it was just a warm-up for them. Nothing more damaging than a hard-hitting jolt to my system. No paralysis intended, since they wanted me to still be able to talk.

The Skarlik leaned down again.

“Now do you want to obey?” he warned.

Out of breath, it took me a moment to answer.

“You’ve got a lot of questions, and I’ve got a middle finger for every one of them” I goaded him and his subordinates. This jackass has no idea of the impudent, sack-of-venom motherfucker he was dealing with.

Angered even more, he signaled again. Then the sparking pain returned with a vengeance, this time lasting almost fifteen seconds. Now down on my face and panting into the dirt, I checked to see if I had swallowed my tongue.

I was turned onto my back by the lead Skarlik’s foot who then locked eyes with me, upside down.

“Tell me how many Earthlings are still alive?”

Not knowing when to quit, I figured that I could at least fuck with their minds by keeping them on edge.

“A lot more than you. And you’d shit a brick if you knew the kind of firepower they’re packing”

Sure I lied, but let that little threat keep them up at night.

“How many attacked us here today?”

“‘How many’? Ha! News flash, I came alone today, shit stain. That’s all it took to wreak havoc on your ranks. Shit, Turos is going to be pissed when he finds out that I did all of this by myself under your watch” I chuckled bitterly trying to embarrass him.

When it came to making mayhem, intentional or not, I was a heavyweight.

“Don’t lie to me, crosh. I know that you could not have pulled this off by yourself” he stomped his boot onto my chest. Clearly, he was getting tripped up by my game of truth and lies.

“Couldn’t I? Go ahead. Search as much as you want, but you’re not going to find anyone else. If I’m not alone, then may a guardian angel waste your ass-”

In a move, too blurry to see, the lead Skarlik was scooped off by an unknown entity before I even finished my sentence. It was like a passing train snatching a catcher pouch on the fly. The perpetrator left a heavy wind whisking around us as it retreated with the Skarlik into the air.

“He does have backup!” another English-speaking Skarlik declared.

I do?

Then all of us caught wind of a commotion happening near the up-ended Shredder. It was too obstructed to make out but it looked like a maelstrom of fire was going on. Skarliks were sailing around like they were shot out of cannons along with other ‘pieces’ from the camp. Some of the Skarliks not guarding me began closing in on the trouble.

Meanwhile, behind my back, there was ‘poof’ sound and then two more Skarliks went down. No culprit could be seen but both of their throats were torn out with visible claw marks. Then another Skarlik was swooped into the air.

That left only one Skarlik directly on top of me; the asshole with the stun rod.

As he broke out into survival mode, he decided that I’d make a terrific shield. Now with his arm around my throat and his gun lining the temple of my head, he shouted something to me in Skarlik language, but I got the message. We began walking toward cover.

By this point, the camp had erupted again with erratic gunfire going everywhere, accompanied by screams and grunts. I did notice what seemed to be a flamethrower spraying about, turning the camp into a proverbial hell.

None of the flames were close to me, but that didn’t mean that things were calm around us.

With so much chaos, it was impossible to process everything that was happening. From what I could make out, some Skarliks were taken out by some strange, dark purple energy balls. Where they came from, I don’t know, but they were as effective as any laser. A few other Skarliks got blasted off into the air by a dark purple explosion, leaving a crater about eight feet in diameter on the ground. One more Skarlik was impaled by half a dozen dark purple daggers like a bad knife-throwing act.

Off the top of my head, I’m guessing that this purple stuff must be some of that dark magic, or so I’ve heard.

As the Skarlik forced me off toward a dugout, my hands brushed up against his belt while cuffed behind my back. Even without seeing it, I could feel that one of his energy grenades was within my grasp.

There wasn’t really any time to think it over, so let’s just say that it was a great idea.

But timing was everything. So after I armed the bomb, I left it clasped onto his belt but held the switch down. Just waiting for the right moment…

We closed in on a dugout when we spotted two more Skarliks near a dugout who were stuck in a dark, sticky ooze that radiated a purple mist. Like it had a mind of its own, it reached up in tendrils and seized their arms and legs, pulling them to the ground. Within the messy substance, I could see some pointy teeth beginning to form on other tendrils.

Before I saw the climax, another Skarlik nearby fell with his throat ripped open. The Skarlik holding me turned his head with a low gasp. That was my cue to headbutt him with the back of my head in an effort to release his grip on me as I released the switch. I was loose but the stunned bastard held on for a few seconds. I did finally break free once he turned his attention to the activation sound on his belt. Now free, I bolted away from the live grenade.

He was too slow fumbling to find the beeping grenade before it went off. But, unfortunately, so was I. Two seconds wasn’t long enough to escape the blast zone. The explosion incinerated him, but the force of the grenade whipped me through the air in a violent spin.

I landed on a tent. It softened some of my landing but being handcuffed made it hard to brace myself as I crashed inside the tent which then folded down on top of me. Wasn’t so bad, if not for my muscles that were still vibrating from the explosive shock, as well as aching from the stun rod. There wasn’t much weight on me this time, but I was really dazed by my drastic move. So crawling out was harder than it should have been.

But that was it. As soon as I got out of the collapsed tent, I tumbled over from exhaustion. I really needed a minute to recover from that impact. So I closed my eyes on the ground and took five before I would continue with the brawl.


Needless to say that my break lasted longer than five minutes. But even with my eyes closed, I didn’t fall asleep; though I almost did. Listening to the battle going on not too far away kept me awake. Even though my ears were still ringing from the blast, I could hear enough to know that it sure sounded badass, whatever was going on. And I did start piecing the clues together. The dark magic, the fire, the ‘poof’ sound? Even a numb-skull without a good night’s sleep could cobble together all of the clues.

A ritzy fiend, a temperamental iguana, and a thrill-seeking furball; that was my “backup”.

Interrupting my thoughts was a thick, cool mass that snaked its way around me. Gently, I was lifted up and carried away, still holding my eyes shut for the hell of it.

Well, add Sateen to the party list.

After some distance was put between us and the fight, I was laid down on some soft grass. A delicate hand felt it way around my chest, eventually taking an interest in my jaw line.

A few minutes of this went by when a small gust of wind swept over me. Almost like something just landed next to me. The feathers tickling along my face hinted that they may have just dropped from the air…

There we go. With Dessy, the band is now complete.

I still refused to open my eyes. Since I didn’t know if I should be glad or happy that the girls were here, it was easier to believe this was just a dream… even if I felt awake. If it was a dream, then maybe I would wake up having defeated the Skarliks single-handedly.

If it’s not a dream, then my problems are only beginning.


Who knows how long I laid there listening to the battle while contemplating how I should react once I felt like reopening my eyes. Maybe once or twice I dozed off for a few minutes, but who’s counting? Slowly the battle died off and things went fairly silent. With my hearing coming in better, I could hear five individuals muttering amongst each other.

Alright, I have two choices: I could just fall asleep for some much needed rest and solve this “mystery” later, or I could suck it up and open my eyes now.

For the sake of interest, let’s go with the latter.

Creeking my eyelids up, I was met with an image more powerful than the sun itself. Veina, Sateen, Karvale, Niko, and Dessy were looking down above me in a circle. Their inhuman grandeur and voluptuous appeal weighed down on me more than the entire Skarlik army could. Their expressions ranged from alarmed to sullen, and everything in-between. I could tell that each girl was processing the events in their own ways. However, they all shared one common trait; an unwavering interest in how I was doing.

From what I can tell, this wasn’t a dream… Or was it?… There’s arguments for both hypotheses. Maybe this was Heaven… which means that I was dead.

“What’d I miss, girls?” I said in a flat tone. I was thrilled to have the girls kicking ass on my behalf, but I was also pissed that this wasn’t a private war anymore. After contemplating, I’d went with both feelings at once.

Matil zetu! Eros be praised!” the fervorous Dessy was the first to burst. She dropped down next to me and pulled me up by the shoulders, draping me in her feathery coat. Oh, that softness pressing up on me again… And that smell! Good enough to fill in for dessert.

There was no longer a bandage on her shoulder.

What followed was an onslaught of quick kisses all over my face, particularly on my lips. But that didn’t stop her verbal zest. “My heart (kiss) sings with (kiss) all the glory (kiss) of the goddess (kiss) to find (kiss) you (kiss) safe from (kiss) the jaws of (kiss) death (kiss)!”

Yep, definitely not a dream! At least not in the traditional sense.

“O-okay, okay! Alright, Dessy! I get it!” I sputtered under her rampant flurry of feathers and wet affections. Of course, it was anything but unpleasant to get that kind of awakening from someone as charming as Dessy. However, I was too preoccupied in the brain to enjoy it. So I pried her off of me and started to get up.

But there was a weight on my lap holding me down. And the ear-to-ear grin right in front of my face exposed the culprit as someone other than Dessy.

“Hi there, kook. How long has it been?” jeered Niko, already hitting me with a double entendre. She was mounted on me and wagging her tail in excitement. “I wondered if I was going to have to resuscitate you…”

Oh man, that tail of hers had a fetish for a puckered anus, like it did back in that Humpty egg.

“Don’t even think about it! I’m fine!” I stammered and wiggled my way out from under her so I could stand up and give myself a quick check.

Damage report: I wasn’t bleeding or broken up, but I was damn sure sore.

Now that I was up and about, with Dessy and Niko both mashing my arms into their chests, I noticed that Sateen was too overcome with relief to say anything at the moment. But her shy smile showed enough to know how joyful she was that I’d been rescued. Karvale stood with her hands on her hips. Some smoke huffed out through a stern frown like a displeased parent after finding their kid who had wandered off. Furiously grief-stricken, but with a certain unspoken alleviation at finding me alive. Even if she was trying to hide any kind of rapture, she missed a spot.

Then I turned to Veina. I almost shit a brick and pissed an oil well when I imagined what she would do to Dessy and Niko who were fawning over her “property”.

However, to my surprise, the Demon remained fairly neutral. She wasn’t smiling or frowning as she tapped her fingers in her crossed arms. I say “neutral”, even though she must have been restraining her rage. And after deducing what she did to the Skarliks, that’s saying a lot. But thank the Lord she kept herself under control, because we didn’t need any more bloodshed.

Out of all the girls, she must have had the most on her mind. Well, she wasn’t the only one. I had plenty of things going on in my head too.

Getting down to serious matters, plus to not antagonize Veina’s patience any further, I relinquished myself from Niko and Dessy’s affections.

“That’s enough, girls” I ordered them off of me.

Once they let go, they moved in back of me. Effectively, they formed a circle around me with the other three girls.

We must have been half a mile away from the camp, or at least what used to be a camp. Having felt the wrath of a mamono scorned, the camp was pretty destroyed. The flames hadn’t even died down amongs the torn tents, smashed dugouts, and scattered debris. The girls successfully salvaged the one and only thing from the camp that they cared about; me. But I wasn’t so lucky. Maybe I could still scramble some things amongst the wreckage later.

No, I wasn’t going to give them hell for destroying the camp. Right now, we had some nastier business to attend to. So I sucked in a hard breath and exhaled just as loud, ready to dive in to this.

“Thanks, all of you. I appreciate what you just did, I really mean that. And it’s not that I’m not glad to see you but… you just don’t understand. I, uh… look, you four and I have got some very important matters to talk about later. But first, I need to discuss something with you” I pointed toward Veina, the one with the most answers.

“Hmm?” Veina hummed with the tiniest sly grin. Quite a bit different than the last time I saw her. Though no less slick and sizzling in terms of her unrelenting affect on men.

“What are you doing here, Veina?”

“Isn’t it obvious, Jason? You needed to be saved from the Skarliks”

Good point.

“And you remember, damn well, what I told you in no uncertain terms. You were to get out of my life” I growled, narrowing my eyes at her.

Veina sucked in and went downcast, reflecting on that ugly altercation from hours ago. Her somber expression reminded me of how bad it got.

After what felt like an eternity, she spoke. “Yes… you did”

Without a single word, I glanced back and forth in glaring dismay as I demanded an answer from her.

“But…” Veina brought her focus back up to me. However, the somber look was gone. Instead, she sported a sudden boldness written across her expression. “-my mind was not changed. That was your choice. This is my choice” she declared with a hardy gleam in her eyes. The brazen Demon turned so unexpectedly resolute that I was taken off guard. I suppose my plan at this point was to scold her like a superior officer. Basically, be the dominant one like I was in our previous encounter. But I’m afraid that plan just went up in flames because she wasn’t having it.

“Change your mind? How blunt do I have to be!? I told you that I didn’t want you here in the middle of this shit!” I snapped, coming off more aggressive to match her nerve.

“And I told you that you are the man I love” Veina defended, not to be intimidated.


“I…I told you to ‘fuck off’, remember?”

“I remember, indeed”

“And yet here you are!” I barked to which Veina scoffed in smug confirmation. “Oh, for sweet fucking sake! Look, let me tell you something-”

“No, Jason!” Veina boomed out of nowhere. Not in an angry way, but in a firm, no bullshit way that seized the dominance from my hands mid sentence. “This time, I have something to say and you are going to listen”

What the literal fuck? How did Veina take full control of this conversation in the blink of an eye? I stood at attention, almost like I was addressing a general.

“Fine then. I’m all ears” I replied. Not that I was submitting to her, but… call me cordial.

“I did not ignore you. In fact, I did stop and think hard about your words. And, like you, I drew my own conclusion”

“You don’t say…” I chided in my most sincere sarcasm.

“Absolutely. My passion for you remains true”

I returned her scoff because, now, I was the one not having it.

“Jason, before I met you, I worked to accomplish many great things in my life. Serving as a commander is no easy task, and I am proud to have achieved that. But you, Jason, are my true purpose in this life. You may not believe that fate brought us together, but I damn well do. When I discovered you, my life became complete, at last. And I never wish to part with you, the most precious of all gifts. I have neglected my duties for your sake and kept the Maou’s attention off of you. I desire every second, day and night, to be spent with you. Even though… your words pained me deeply, I swore my life to you and I intend to keep that vow until my dying day” Veina asserted. I don’t think she blinked even once during her little speech.

Damn, even I found it difficult to deflect that.

“You still cared about what happened to me even if I hated you?” I asked, my brain searching for a logical answer to her actions.

“With all of my soul. Even with the risk of facing your wrath again, nothing could keep me from coming here today”

Find another horny guy or risk her life for a cranky war dog? It seems like the choice would be much easier to make.

“There’s no way that the life of a single, salty, grouch-pouch of a dude could mean that much to a BDSM commander like you” I insisted.

“Please, you needn’t address only myself. All of these ladies deserve to be included in this topic” Veina motioned toward the titilating circle around me. Her spirits seemed to be growing like her confidence when addressing the others.

“Oh no you don’t. You’re not going to bullshit me into thinking that I’m more important than I actually am. My purpose here begins and ends with these portals. If you just let me go, then your future and their futures will be better off” I argued, wagging my finger at her. Doing all I could to shame her and her dirty tactics.

Here comes that inner voice to nag me again. Well, that voice is just as wrong as Veina is.

“Actually, you are quite important because you have made a difference here, Jason. Not just to me, but to them as well”

“No, no, no, no, no. That’s a lie! I only met them once… you twice” I pointed toward Sateen who blushed from being put on the spot. “I won’t hear it!” I stared into the sky and rambled in my bullheadedness. Hoping to God that I could prevent this situation from getting knotted up even more.

“It’s the reason that they are here right now, Jason. And I think you know why”

Shut up, inner voice.

“How the hell could I? I don’t think they even know why they’re here. None of them know where I live or where I came from. Most of them have never even seen freaks like those before” I gestured toward the post-war smoking in the distance.

“You come from a place called Earth” Karvale interjected into my babbling.

Oh… fuck.

“What a crazy story that was!” Niko chirped behind me.

No arguments here, but she knew my history, too?

“I thought it was pronounced ‘Earf'” admitted Dessy.

Okay, Dessy may still not know what was going on around here, but the other girls sure do, including Sateen. Shit. The cat was out of the bag which I’d still been carrying like a dumbass.

In my incredulous state, I turned my attention on the timid snake girl who was keeping her mouth shut. Hanging my jaw agape so to prevent the grinding of my teeth, I didn’t need to use words get something out of her.

She pointed toward Veina, sensing what I wanted to know.

I creaked my head back toward the Demon who was awaiting me with a full smile at this point.

There’s another knot…

“How much did you tell them?” I inquired.

“Enough” she replied back.

“I knew you were withholding more secrets back when we fought those ‘Skarliks’, you conniving rogue” the haughty Dragon huffed, dragging the tip of her tail around the ground like she was carving her irritated initials into it.

Ignoring Karvale, I focused on Veina. “You just couldn’t help but implicate others in this affair, could you?” I chided her.

“If they were going to help you in your endeavors, don’t they deserved the whole truth? Especially since you have touched their hearts too”

Aw, fuck-balls. Not this again.

“You’re starting? You’re starting with that sappy crap again? We haven’t spilled a big enough bucket of emotional beans yet? Love has nothing to do with this!” I fumed, spurred on by that nagging inner voice that wasn’t letting up in my head.

“Doesn’t it? What do you say, ladies?” Veina urged the other four girls for backup.

“Yes!” confirmed Sateen who recoiled afterwards from her uncharacteristic outburst.

“Very, very true indeed” Niko simpered, raunchy thoughts bouncing around in her head, no doubt.

“Mm-hm” Karvale affirmed, deep in thought.

“…Huh?” uttered the ditzy Dessy, as clueless as ever as her mind likely wandered off.

“See?” came Veina’s voice again.

“All I see is that you’ve been filling their heads with wild ideas of romance. It’s just hormones, nothing else. So why don’t-”

“Jason, if you don’t believe their feelings for you, then why don’t you put it to the test? Let these ladies tell you what they’re feeling. Maybe then, you will understand”

“Alright, then” I agreed, still denying that I was even in denial. But truth be told, I wasn’t as confident in my claims as I let on. But I couldn’t let Veina know that. So I put on the bold front and called her bluff. If I was wrong, then I hoped that I could poke enough holes in their feelings to dissuade them. I mean, come on, it’s me we’re talking about. My disposition gets me slapped by girls, not laid.

Of course, I recalled the ‘rumor’ that when mamono fall for someone, they fall hard. But love can be broken, especially when lust is a major factor. It happens all the time… on Earth.

“Let’s start with you. What’s your story?” I demanded, turning toward Sateen first. It was a little cruel for me to begin with the most mousy girl of the quintet, but I wanted to start off strong.

“O-okay” Sateen shuttered. She found it hard to look me in the eye. But nevertheless, she spoke. “Since I was a child, I have desired to help others as much as I could. It is my calling in life. And you want me to be honest, so I will. When I found you on the side of the road, I never imagined that your troubles were so vast

“So? If I were in your place, I’d probably wouldn’t want to get involved in something so ‘vast’. Particularly if it’s someone else’s affair”

“Not true. I have dreamed that, one day, there would be a grand cause that would call upon my service. After learning that there were so many lives are at stake in this conflict, I could not resist answering my calling” she attested, now mustering the courage to look at me with her mellow red eyes. It didn’t have that fierce resolve that Veina had. More like a martyred charity worker.

“Being a public spirited citizen doesn’t mean that there’s anything between us. You can find your dream another place and another time”

“But I’ve discovered two of my dreams”

“Two? What are… oh…” I stopped. Mamono and ‘dreams’ usually mean one thing.

“When I said ‘grand cause’, I’m not only referring to those invaders; I speak of you, Jason. As righteous as your quest is, it has left a tremendous strain on you. Someone so magnanimous as yourself should not need to agonize alone for their whole life and… I… It would give me no greater joy than to join you. Therefore, I have chosen to serve as your aid any way that I may in your quest”

“So you’re saying that-?” I asked, reading between the lines.

“Precisely. Your valor inspired me to come here, no matter the cost. To serve the common good of mankind and mamono-kind together. My heart is belongs to you now, beloved” Sateen poured out her passion as her dreamy eyes sparkling bright. Without even knowing it, she had leaned in and laid her hands on my chest. If I told her, her face would go redder than any of my injuries.

Pretty cut and dry, isn’t it?

She made me sound like some kind of guardian angel or some shit. True, I wanted to stop the Skarliks from wreaking havoc on the inhabitants of this world, despite the fact that I wanted to stay clear of this world’s problems. No world should have to be decimated like mine was. But I’ve got lots of other reasons for hunting them; some not so altruistic. However, if that’s what she thinks of me, then that’s that. Though, if she tells me that I’m some kind of ‘Chosen One’, I’d just assume chomp down on one of my grenades. I can’t stand that whimsical shit.

In my annoyance, I averted my eyes from Sateen’s. I should have taken more action and tried talking her out of these ‘feelings’ she had for me. But something stopped me. For some strange reason, I just… decided not to argue it out right now, despite my plan to dissuade them. Instead, I moved on to try my luck on the next girl, Niko.

She was gaily staring off into space and muttering to her herself. She was also giggling at her own mutters.

“What the hell are you doing, furball?”

“Oh, I was just fantasizing about all the lewd things we’re going to do together” simpered the floating feline.

“Keep it in your panties. Now tell me why a screwball like you ventured outside the Wonderland asylum. Don’t tell me you’re going sane” I coaxed some answers out of the purple pervert. She remained floating innocently in the air with her legs not so innocently crossed.

“Now, that’s no way to greet a fellow screwball. Not after all of the fun we’ve had together. Remember, kook?” Niko smiled as she began rotating, which presented an eyeful of her sleek figure before ending with her heart-shaped ass pointing at yours truly.

“That’s not answering my question” I fumed, ignoring her flirting and growing in impatience.

“Alright then, kook”. Niko landed and began playfully rocking back and forth on her heels. “I’d been thinking…”

“For you, that could be scary” I gibed.

Niko chuckled. “Like you said, going out to battle against daunting odds is crazy; the craziest thing I’ve ever heard! Anyone who would throw themselves into that must be absolutely mad”

“I already told you that I do this for amusement. Come to think of it, I down-right hate it”

“And yet, here you are. Right?”

“…Huh?” I quizzed. Don’t tell me I’ve been outsmarted by this wacko.

“You dropped out of the sky all the way from another world. And the first thing you want to do in our foreign land is chase fugitives from yet another world? Now that’s crazy! Not even Wonderland has that kind of madness!” her ears twitched and her raised paws clenched with excitement.


“I told you that it’s my duty! The job may suck but it’s the choice I made”

“That’s just what make it all so crazy. Your chosen job is crazy, don’t you agree? After all, what must the world look like to man with an upside-down head who does a handstand?”

More fucking riddles.

My translation of that was if you do something nutty long enough, it can start to seem normal. Okay, I guess she had half a point, even though my profession wasn’t exactly my first choice. This whole situation was goddamn bonkers so it must have taken some kind of a nut to create it. At least that’s the humorous way of looking at it.

“Uhh, well, it’s not just crazy. There’s logic behind my decisions, you know? Doesn’t that just pop the big ol’ bubble in your three-ring circus?” I held my finger up toward Niko’s bubble-brained head.

“Not as long as you’re here to plug up the holes” she joshed with an obscene, mimicking my finger right back at me.

“Nevermind that!” I chided the ever vulgar feline. “Aren’t you afraid of this world making too much sense after you’ve left home?”

Niko’s grin faded somewhat. “True… I don’t like being away from my home”. She looked a tad nervous. Despite her efforts to stay upbeat, she must have been, to a degree, uncomfortable being outside of Wonderland. I could only ponder what it felt like for a denizen of Wonderland to leave the comforts of the Queen of Hearts’ demon realm. “But it’s also rather fun! You said that there was ‘crazy shit’ to discover out here, too, and I haven’t been disappointed so far. If someone like you can live out here, then so can I. You’re nutty enough to make life fun… To keep me warm” she licked her lips in excitement.

‘Mentally disturbed’? No. ‘Jaded’? Yes. ‘Nutty’? Well, I suppose I am, from a certain point of view.

“I thought you’d forget about me once the next poor sap wandered into Wonderland” I murmured with some wishful thinking. I mean, Wonderland had a mind-breaking buffet of… ‘stimulation’ available; among many other things.

“Forget you? How could I? You were amazing! I even kept a token to remember you by. Here, let me see…” she began rummaging around in her cleavage. “Ah, here it is-!”

In her paw was my shattered tracking device that I chucked at a tree back in Wonderland. It was sticky with cake and tea. Really sticky.

“You kept that!?”

“Your mana was all over it. So I pretended it was you at the party. Also at the, heheheh, after-party…” she intoned with a lascivious little snicker.

Sticky, indeed.

“Aw, man” I cringed.

“It made me think of you”

“I get it. I get it. Oh boy…” I sighed.

Yep, I got the message, albeit in her own insane way. Yeah, she was definitely mad alright; mad over me. This cat wasn’t fond of the world outside of Wonderland, yet she still decided to relocate here for me, more or less. I doubt she would do that for some other ‘fun guy’ because, in her demented mind, we were a perfect pair; I was the bats and she was the belfry. Just the fact that I thought I could talk some sense into her pretty much proved that I was nuts, myself.

“There’s some parts missing” I muttered.

“They’re probably in here. Do want to search?” cooed Niko with a claw tugging at her corset.

“No, I’ll replace them with something” I shoved the device into my pocket.

Niko kissed the air at me, to which I answered with half-hearted smirk.

My plan wasn’t going well. So far, three out of five haven’t told me to drop dead. And with each girl, I felt less and less urge to change their minds. Some plan, huh? Shit.

Well, Dessy’s next. And I’ve got quite a few questions for her.

“Alright, Dessy. What kind of-?” I started before I was assaulted by Dessy whose claws hauled my face in with her lips close behind.

“Oh my (kiss) Zyrse (kiss)! At last, (kiss) we can (kiss) have sex (kiss)” she peppered me with slick, wet kisses again. This time solely focused on the lips.

No fancy dialect or holding back. Just blunt, unfiltered fervor. That’s Dessy.

Wait a minute… she said “sex”?

“W-Wait I-, Wha-, Woah, hold on there, Golden Goose!” I exclaimed as I freed myself. Her puckered lips popping as I pulled away from her. “What do you mean sex?”

“Yes! Glorious, loving sex! We must celebrate the Goddess Eros’ blessing that shall unite our destinies forever in eternal joy!” chirped Dessy in her all-exotic accent. She gripped her arms in a butterfly hug. That criminally juicy body of hers giggled in all the right areas more than ever before. Giddy with uncontained bliss, she leaned back in to slam her lips against mine again.

Sounds overhyped to me but, regardless, she already has a husband. So she left that poor sap back in Welmor just to have an affair with me? Naughty, naughty. Well then, that’s my ace in the hole. Now it should be easy to drive her out of my life.

“Hang on, hang on, hang on! I thought the rule was that you couldn’t have sex with anyone but your husband?” I stopped her.

“Of course! My mother told me that sacred rule. One day I would become the loyal wife of a very special man. After we are married, I will have great amounts of sex with him to fill our lives with the greatest happiness of all. Then we shall pass on that happiness to our many adoring children”

“I’m sure glad we agree. So go on. Have at it with your husband. Bring a whip and handcuffs with you. Give out all of the blowjobs you want” I ordered with a shrug. It felt pretty self-explanatory.

“Okay then” Dessy agreed and then went for my belt.

I seized her hand. “What’re you doing?”

“What you told me to do”

“I said with your husband. Not me”

Dessy cocked her head. “But you are my husband”

Now I cocked my head back at her. “What? How?”

“I am your wife. That makes you my husband, does it not?”

Oh, man. So many more questions.

“Did you forget that you already got a husband?”

“Uhh, no I do not have one. I am sure of it. I could not have forgotten about something as special as that”

“…Then… then who was that guy you were kissing back in Welmor? You know, that ‘near and dear’ person you had to find?”

Did he only get a hand job from her or something?

She thought back. “Uhm… Let me see, prim opuq mi… oh, that man!? That was the husband of my dear sister”

Sister’s husband?” I gulped.

“Yes he is. You see, my sister was visiting another town in my place, since my wing was too injured to make it there. But when I heard of the great tragedy that was to befall Welmor, I remembered that my sister and her husband live near that village. So even though I was injured, I had to get there to help out the good people of Welmor and find out if he was safe. I was absolutely rapturous to find that no harm had befallen him” rejoiced Dessy while I started piecing things together.

“I know. I saw that kiss you planted on his head. That made me think that he was…” I paused as my mind drifted off. The kiss wasn’t on his lips, now that I’m thinking about it.

“If you do not mind me saying, I think you flew to the finish line”

“And I think you mean to say ‘jumped to conclusions'” I sneered. Nevertheless, she was right. “Your sister married that guy, you wanted to check on him, and you just so happen to meet me along the way. Right?” I added, now developing a nervous twitch in the side of my mouth.

So Dessy was single, after all…

“Yes! Is it not wonderful!? It was so valiant of you to help me save the people of Welmor. And I so dearly wished to find you after the celebration but you were nowhere to be found. It made me very upset to have lost you without showing my gratitude. Until today when my prayers to the Goddess Eros were answered and the songs of many Sirens sounded. That is when Miss Veimu offered to lead me back to you, Zyrse” she extended a grateful smile toward Veina who didn’t respond.

“There wasn’t anything else to do there. And you didn’t need to thank me because it wasn’t that big of a deal. So I left, alright?” I dismissed her overblown testimony. Praise wasn’t at the top of my priorities right now, much less sappy adoration.

“I have to thank you. I love you!”

“Love me? I’m nothing more than a taxi driver to you, only cheaper. There’s nothing more to it” I insisted, feeling that this whole ‘eternal love’ thing was really getting ridiculous.

“But you helped me save the people of Welmor”

“I, I did just it for a bite to eat?” I reasoned with a half-ass lie.

“Well… what about this!?” she held out her bandle. “You fixed my precious Chorulax!”

Uh-oh. Her beautiful round face, elated by untold joys, hinted where this was going.

“How did you find out?” I grumbled.

“One of the children saw you inside the shed and told me after you disappeared”

I had no control over my own hand as it face-palmed me and slowly scoured down, stretching my face with it. Done in by a tattletale.

“There is no need to cry” she reassured, somehow mistaking my irritation for sadness.

I answered with a groan and sigh combination.

“When I smelled your scent for the first time, I thought there was something special about you. Now I know for sure. Fixing my precious Chorulax was the most kindest deed anyone has ever done for me. You must be as devoted to the joyous message of Eros as I am. You must be a blessing right from the bosom of Eros herself, so I will devote myself you. And now that I have picked you as my husband, we can have as much sex as we wish! Is that not wonderful?” she gushed all over me. Her starry eyes proclaimed a wonder that I couldn’t even describe.

Me spreading joviality with a fist? That’s some pretzelled logic right there.

She’s overdramatizing me, that’s for damn sure. Like, under all of the alcohol and salt, there’s a bible-selling saint inside me? That’s one hell of a bubble that’s bound to get popped one day. But regardless, Dessy couldn’t have been making any of that up for cheap sex. She’s not that clever. It was legit what she thought of me.

So an impassioned, sentimental, romanticizing, sex-pot mamono with no husband to speak of. And my generosity only encouraged her…

Holy fucking sandy crap-sack. And here I thought Dessy had good taste in men.

“Look, just… stay there and… stay plugged up. You’ll have to wait” I turned away.

Like the other girls, I let her have her moment. On to the final girl; Karvale.

The big, intimidating, powerhouse Dragon stood stern as I turned to her. Her agitated tail having practically dug a trench in the dirt behind her as she impatiently waited for her turn to speak her mind.

At least I remember annoying all kinds of shit out of her last time, so it shouldn’t be all that hard to piss her off.

“So, Godzilla, did you come down from ‘Mount Brawn’ for round two?” I needled her while cocking my eyebrow. Already making with the insults.

Karvale huffed out another testy puff of smoke through her nose, sporting an expression just as hard as her muscle-bound body. She looked even more godlike as the sweat on her bulging muscles glistened in the morning sun. The same went for her non-muscled chest. “Just as I remember you; classless and scurvy. But to your question, no. To battle you again would be a waste, since I would not go as easy on you again”

And just as I remember her; pompous and ego-centric.

“Did you just need the exercise?”

“Enough babbling” she thumped her tail hard on the ground. “I have left the sanctity of my lair to pay you a visit, so hold your vile tongue while I speak”

I crossed my arms and stood soundly. Shit, I don’t see Karvale holding any feelings for me, so I didn’t feel the need to egg her on all that much. Some knee-jerk hormones spurred on from the first guy she’d probably seen in months wouldn’t outlast her patience living under the same roof with me.

“Last time, you were most fortunate. To have enraged a Dragon and still been able to walk away on your own accord is a scarce affair. But I predicted that your arrogance would not allow you to learn from the experience. And a rogue, such as yourself, would get into much greater trouble in the future. However, since your combat skills lack discipline, it would most assuredly not end well for you. Therefore, I chose to give a proper demonstration of my prowess and aid you” boasted Karvale, lifting her nose into the air in the most pretentious of ways.

My cheeky smile was followed by my thumb pointing toward a certain Demon. To remind her that Veina had put in that request, not me.

“Count your blessings that the Demon did reach out to me”

“I don’t count my chickens before they hatch. You got a good workout and a chance to show off. Dandy. That means you can get out of here” I knowingly deflected any sort of deeper meaning to her words.

“Does it? Your quest is not over” she scratched her chin, matching my arrogance.

“Sure, it’s not over. And it’s my quest” I argued.

“And you appear to be as ill-equipped for it as I suspected. True, your resourcefulness is admirable, but your warrior spirit lacks finesse. Perhaps, over time, seeing my skills shall improve your own”

“You talk to me like I’m some rookie with water behind the ears. This ain’t my first rodeo on the battlefield” I sneered with bitter grin.

“As adamant as ever. But if you had no potential, then I would never have offered you the role as my servant. Even now, I feel that serving under my tutelage would be best for you” she reckoned. While Karvale never dropped her bold front, there was a certain underlying message behind her eyes. Whatever it may have been, it wasn’t disgust.

Does this fiery, skull-busting behemoth with an Olympic-grade ego actually love me?

“I give you three days before a stuffy, hard-ass, lizard like you turns my intestines into a hammock. My acid tongue isn’t going anywhere”

The Dragon narrowed her eyes and a cracked a small but steely half-smile. “Your brashness would be a challenge to deal with, yes; as would all of the challenges that accompany you. But I’m sure you know that I rather enjoy testing myself against a worthy challenge”. Her huge clawed hand yanked me by the chest up toward her like a school bully. It wasn’t an especially hard jerk, just enough to pull me a little closer to her face. “And when I accept a challenge, I always conquer it, you cur” she asserted. The bullish mood on her face might pass for a tiny, lusty grin.

Yep… she loves me.

After she let me go, I groaned into a face-palm again. I couldn’t fucking believe it. Karvale’s words may have been filtered in order to preserve her domineering image, but her deeper feelings were coming through loud and clear. That “servant” role was more than just a sex slave; it was code for “husband”.

Man, all I needed her to do was tell me to ‘go to Hell’ and leave. Was that so difficult? But no, of course not.

“I told you that they felt the same way about you that I do. We have all loved you since the day you met us” I heard Veina gloat.

Five for five. Unbelievable. My problems only continued to get worse. But I never had any trouble driving women off before. Yet, here I am trying to cut ties with one girl and what happens? I end up with five of them. Like a Hydra; you cut off it’s head only to have more pop up in its place.

Now I started questioning why I made a piss-poor attempt at talking them out of this, including their feelings for me. I felt like a fucking pushover for crumbling like a card tower. But why!? My pessimistic mind didn’t detect any sort of sugar-coated manipulation, magic or not. Some more rough than others, but each girl was speaking from the heart. That should have made it simple for a vulgar, smart-mouth punk to break their hearts and shatter their romance-novel delusions.

But why didn’t I have the chutzpah to do it? How come my strength was depleting? And I’m not talking about my physical strength. Somewhere, deep down in recesses of my being, I felt something mysterious was weakening…

Speaking of mysteries, doesn’t it seem odd how Veina is not only allowing these other gals to romance all over me, but encouraging it as well? I’m really surprised that she didn’t bring me their heads on a platter. But we’ll get to that later. Because affections or not, there was still a bigger picture to consider here. I couldn’t dissuade them one at a time, so perhaps I can tackle this from another angle.

“Did you tell them just how dangerous it would be? This wasn’t going to be a jousting match with sportsmanlike rules to follow. Here, there are no timeouts and no pit-stops; this was cutthroat war. I’m sure you remember that these Skarliks will, no doubt, do the same things to mamono that they’ve done to humans. Now, you’ve put your own life at risk to enter this fight, and for what? A troublemaker that you’ve only spent a few hours with? What’s the matter with all of you!? If there was ever a reason for you to back out of a relationship, I’d say death is it” I managed to find a way to scold them all at once.

This whole thing had me frustrated. In the past, Veina had only partially convinced me that lust and love were intertwined for mamono; unbreakable, in their eyes. Sounded like another absurd lecture about ‘love at first sight’, only repackaged. I couldn’t swallow the idea that they all could have fallen for me so goddamn fast. And considering how high-risk my lifestyle is, it wouldn’t be a delicious ‘slice of life’.

Was it worth it? Seriously, at what point does the self preservation kick in for them? Even then, if they’re so lusty by nature, wouldn’t they fall in love with someone else just as fast?

Everyone went silent, including me. Maybe I scored a big point for my case, but something felt off. As the girls bounced their eyes between each other, I felt like I was the fool at the center of some kind of in-joke.

Veina broke the silence.

“Did you honestly think that the passion of mamono could be deterred so easily?” Veina teased me with a coy smile. She looked like she was trying to hold back a snicker.

“Sounds crazy to me. And I would know” Niko added, not holding back her snickering.

“Here I thought you understood mamono better than that…” came Veina again.

“Hey, I understand”

“Not the way I see it” Veina shook her head, rejecting my claim. “If you did, you wouldn’t bother questioning why we couldn’t let you do this alone”

Now lost it.

“Well, I don’t think you understand. This whole goddamn invasion happened because I fucked up and now it’s my job now to un-fuck it” I fired back.

Veina sighed a heavy breath.

“We know, Jason. We know. The mistake you made was grave. Some may say it was reprehensible. Such a grave misdeed would weigh most heavy on a man’s mind. Heavier than any form of punishment” Veina admitted, averting her eyes. Her voice grew more tense as her focus drifted off.

So, my crime really did sink into her since I left. And not just her. I could feel the vibe drop among the other girls. Maybe I can still guilt my way out of this.

I was just about to lay it on again, but Veina beat me to it.

“However-” Veina continued, catching me off guard with a renewed determination in her voice. “-we won’t allow you to be condemned to death. The mistake you made was great, but our devotion to you is far greater”

Well, there goes my hopes of using guilt to drive them off.

“Oh, fuck that. You’re that hell-bent on following someone who ran away during a critical moment?”

“We’re not following the scared man who ran away from a fight. We’re following a man who chose not to run away from his mistake… a noble man” admired Veina.

“I still don’t believe you. If I were so noble, then I wouldn’t have chickened out back then, would I?” I scoffed in contempt.

“Jason, you had an understandable moment of weakness. That’s not an excuse for what you did, but I can’t see you ever taking any easy way out in life. Nor can I see you staying down, either. You are, indeed, more noble than you think”

True, you could call me all kinds of things, but a ‘quitter’ wasn’t one of them. Even if it was the more peaceful route, I stood my ground on my own two feet in life. Some call it ‘determination’, some call it ‘bullheadedness’, and some call it ‘idiocy’. You decide, because I never bothered to.

“Hmmph” I grumbled, still not quite falling for her obvious flattery. “So I’m a duty-stricken son of a bitch who’s only ever laid down for hard liquor. That doesn’t make this your fucking war. Pardon my French” I mumbled with a quick glance toward Dessy. Since she must have been panicking from all of my swearing, I felt I owed her that.

“Jason, I do respect your selfless drive to spare others of this burden, but you’re making a grave mistake in believing this is merely your problem”

“We know how concerned you are with Earth and these Skarliks. But we only wish to ease that burden, not take you away from it” Sateen chimed in behind me.

“I don’t want help, and I don’t need help, from any of you! You act like-” I blustered before I was whacked in the back of the head by a massive green-scaled palm. Not too painful, but enough to jolt some humility into me.

“Ow! What was that for!?”

That’s for charging in alone without a plan!”

She whacked me again.

That’s for not heeding my advice to bring companions into battle”

A third whack for good measure.

That’s for trying to be a martyr”

“Alright! You’ve made your point!”

She paused for a moment and then whacked me for a fourth time.

“Oh, for shit’s sake. What now!?” I whined and backed away, hoping my skull could endure her list of grievances.

That’s for anything that I missed” she retorted, almost reading my mind.

Any hopes I had of reestablishing control in this debate was literally smacked away by this big hot-headed bulldozer. Now I felt as if I was standing at attention as my commanding sergeant laid into me. Which, in hindsight, was probably a good thing to beat some of the bullheadedness out of me. I say ‘some’ of the bullheadedness because the anti-quitter in me wasn’t done yet.

But… those good smacks still served to weaken me up inside even more.

I groaned. “Yeah? You missed the fact that this fight was far away from your territory. Which means that they’re no threat to you”

“Is it not my concern? After defiling me in my own lair, I have deemed all of them to be punished for such treachery. And if you have not walked away from this fight, then neither shall I. Sulk if you wish, but we have a common enemy”

I defiled her too, and yet, I get a reward? Funny how hormones work.

“Big, fat chance of finding them. You wouldn’t know where to begin”

“If I remember correctly, you only found this portal because of my informants. You really had no other way of finding your quarry, correct?” Veina countered with a sly smirk, refreshing my memory in the cheekiest of ways.

Damn, she’s got me tightly by the balls there. Still, there was some determination left over within me. But resistance continuing to wear down.

My mind went into overdrive as I tried thinking up my own counter. “I… I-I’ll think of something else to lead me to them. And even if you were right, I can handle the Skarliks on my…aw, shit” I blurted before catching myself. Goddamn pride.

“Ha! You stupid, petty, unreasonable, headstrong fool!” chortled Karvale. “I knew you were barbaric, but I would not have expected you to have such misplaced pride. After seeing your tactics today, it is most evident that you need more assistance than I initially believed. So be grateful that you have allies able to finish the quest for you”

“What do you mean ‘finish the quest’ for me?”

“Must I spell it out? I have seen first hand the danger that they pose and I say that this quest is more than the business of one human. Therefore, someone must take up arms to fight them, even if you fail” Karvale grit her teeth in ferocity.

Such as if I’m dead? Uhm, am I just dizzy from the blows upside the head or does that make much more sense now than it did before?

“I wasn’t planning on failing…” I mumbled, no longer looking Karvale in her volcanic eyes.

“You’ve already forgotten how we arrived just in time to rescue you here today” boomed Karvale with a tiny chuckle. She must have been able to read me like a book.

I pouted with a grunt but said nothing.

Forget? No. Denial? Maybe.

Taking a second, I pondered. I had survived up to now, even though there was a lot riding on this battle that I found myself in. Between my past experiences with the Skarliks and that dead Succubus, failure was not an option in my mind. After all, the portals couldn’t last forever, right? So, I had believed that, somehow, I would win in the end, no matter what.

That scenario made sense a few hours ago. But right now… I couldn’t make it add up.

“Perhaps I should strike you again for not showing any gratitude”

“Hey, I did thank all of you. But I just don’t-” I started.

But Karvale would not let me finish. “Try as you might, but you cannot deny how you need assistance with your quest. You may know more about these foes than anyone else, but there is no greater force in battle than the aid of a Dragon”

Was she right?

“Let’s hear you say that after you’ve met a class 4 ‘Pulverizer’ tank. None of you realize the caliber of weapons they’ve got”. Like she said, I’m the one who knows how formidable the Skarlik army could be.

“We all knew the risk in choosing to aid you. But we are far from helpless. As you’ve seen, myself, Miss Karvale, and Miss Niko have proven to be most capable in combat” Veina boasted with immense satisfaction.

Karvale frowned at Veina. “You were ‘capable’. I was flawless” fumed Karvale to which Veina locked eyes with the Dragon and reciprocated her competitive frown.

Ooohhh, the heat. I may yet get to see those two wrestle.

“Well, I thought it was even better than your tussle in Wonderland” Niko cheered, breaking the unsettling tension with her ever-bonkers glee.

I turned in disbelief at the surprising edge of Niko. “You know damn well that I don’t do this for fun”

“Not if you keep playing alone, so why not take us with you? Every adventure is better with companions”

“From what I’ve seen, I doubt that you’ve killed before”

“Well, no. But when I found out that your life was at risk, I felt like ravaging something, the same way you did before. And I would do much more than that because fighting for you turned out much more thrilling than I dreamed. Even now, I still feel like ravaging something, hehe” Niko grinned in lewd display.

There’s my answer. It seemed a tad on the psychotic side, however, that was normal for Niko. Besides, no one has to teach a cat how to use their claws, particularly an unhinged one. If she was really in love with me, then imagine what extremes she would go to for me.

Though I do relent. They did kick some serious ass back there. Which I suppose I found hot.

Then I peered at Sateen standing in silence. “What? Did you bring a pair of brass knuckles to the fight?”

“No. I don’t wish to engage in combat. I prefer to assist those in need. Instead, I carried you away from danger while these other ladies fought off the Skarliks. I also made sure that you weren’t mortally wounded”

Ah, the medic.

“My turn, again!” Dessy announced, raising her arm like an eager kid and bouncing that awesome, jiggly body of hers. “I brought back that coat and those music instruments that were taken from you! Oh, and that hat of yours, see!?”

Ah, she means my sidearms, my rifle, and my helmet. I guess her wing was healed enough to fly around now.

The support team.

Like it or not, I was caught dead to rights. I pinched the bridge of my nose in admittance that they all helped out in a big way.

“As you can see, we have all proven our worth to your mission” affirmed Veina, taking my silence as acceptance. “All of us understand the importance of what you do. It is your duty and we will not tell you otherwise. However, these Skarliks do propose a threat to everyone in this world and they must be stopped. If not by you, then by us. Like yourself, they are now a part of this world, and you must accept that.

I sighed with no emotion. Veina continued.

“-Just as you have your duty, we also have our duty. Not just to protect the mamono of our world, but, more importantly, to protect you. Yes, we may die, but just like you, we will risk our lives to protect that which we love. However…”

Veina walked up to me, making sure that I was looking at her before she resumed.

“-if you truly wish to be left alone…” She went stoic for a moment. “…then that is how it shall be. We will not live with you, visit you, or even speak to you, so you won’t have to concern yourself with us. We will have to love you at a distance. But know this and know it well, Jason. Even if you forbid our involvement, nothing in this world or any other world will stop us from fighting on your behalf. Wherever your battles may take you, we will be there…” she nodded as she stared me down hard. No-nonsense mode engaged.

Damn. Now that I was back face to face with the Demon, her resolve hit me full force. Even if I wasn’t immune to magic, Veina didn’t need any kind of spell to sway me. If I needed a blood transfusion, she’d give me her whole heart. I gave her my ultimatum, now she gave me hers.

The unblinking gaze surrounding me from the other four girls confirmed a similar vibe.

“You know that they share my sentiment” Veina declared, catching me peeking at the others.

“You still have hope for me?” I sighed as I turned back to Veina with a mild glare.

“We always will”

Still weakening inside.

“Why? Why spend your life with a walking health-hazard who’s got a big mouth? There’s lots of other willing guys out there for voluptuous creatures like you to snatch up in two minutes” I uttered, barely finding any words to say as my world-view continued to struggle with their nature as mamono.

“As I’ve said, it appears that you still don’t truly understand mamono after all this time. Which means that you cannot fathom how deep our feelings are. But once the heart of a mamono has been set, it’s nigh-impossible to deter it, no matter the amount of rejection or ill-mannered words on your part. But as endearing as your dedication to our safety is, we are the ones who decide whether or not to partake in this conflict. We decide, not you” Veina’s stunning eyes bore into me again like a bull with an spear stuck in it. As alluring as she could be, she could be as equally fierce.

At that moment, my nightmare popped back into my head. That goddamn nightmare. An ice cold shiver raced down my spine as my mind replayed the horrifying image of what could happen. She meant business, but so did I.

“God-fucking-dammit! I don’t want to see-” I roared in rage before restraining myself. After taking a breath I composed myself. “Nothing needs to happen to you girls for my sake”. My fists and jaw tightened in anxiety. Forget any sort of pride. Now, I was feeling fear; angry fear.

My erratic thoughts were interrupted by a cool, gentle hand touching my shoulder. It was Sateen, brimming with elegant sympathy.

“Calm down, Jason. It’s okay” she consoled me.

“It’s really not. I’ve had reality become nightmares and nightmares become reality” I fretted as I grit my teeth in bitterness.

“Listen, beloved, I understand that you’re afraid of losing others to these Skarliks. But that is how we feel too, just like Miss Veina said”


“Imagine the guilt we would suffer if we did nothing while you got yourself killed. The thought was unbearable, so we had to make this choice”

Fair point, I suppose.

“Do you really want the anguish of being left a widow?” I asked.

“Jason, you fear what could happen to a fault. That’s why you need more faith in life. You don’t know that it will end that way. And even with the possibility that any one of us may be lost, surely it would be worth the risk, wouldn’t it? Because the chance to live out our days together, even for a time, is too precious of a gift to pass up. The only regret to be had is if we didn’t seize such an opportunity. For us, it’s worth dying for. I know you carry a great many experiences, but please don’t let that bitter fear and anger soil your hopes for the future. Things could turn out better than you think” she beseeched with those oh-so-soothing red eyes. There’s that motherly effect that just pulls you in toward Sateen. She really was an entrancing sight to behold. The familiar, graceful sway in her nimble but busty figure only reinforced her talent in calming me down… somewhat.

The imposing shadow of Karvale loomed close by. “Your lack of conviction is staggering. That terror is what had your attention today, not the adversaries right in front of you. It almost defeated you before these fiends did. But today is not your time to die because there is much more for you to do” contended Karvale, though it didn’t come across as scolding somehow.


“Wet pants or not, I’m not the most charming person to be around, remember?” I replied back at them both, trying in vain to win with a different argument.

Dessy grabbed me from behind, draping my shoulders with a new batch of bothersome feathers. “How can you say that, Zyrse!? You have made my friends in Welmor very happy! You bring me greater joy than all of the operas in all of the land. And serving under you would fill us all with the bliss of the gods!” she proclaimed in all of her carnal enchantment.

Was she talking dirty with that last line? Yeah right. This is Dessy we’re talking about here. She’d be too dim-witted to realize if she was clever.

“Uhhh…” I uttered. As infectious as Dessy’s optimism is, I’m starting to feel overwhelmed here.

“What do you get when you value a lady’s own safety” Niko mused as she made a circle with her thumb and index finger. “-more than you value yourself?”. She then held up her opposite index finger.

I stared, unmoving as I’d had all of the riddles I could stand for the day.

“You get a lover, kook” Niko answered by placing her index finger inside the circle she created with her other hand, all while sporting possibly the naughtiest smile that I’d ever seen on her. Just how wide does her smile go?

My eyes rolled so hard they almost got stuck in the back of my skull. When it came to Niko, if it sounded lewd, then you’d be idiotic for thinking anything else.

“All the better to raise your… spirits” Niko added.


Still, between Sateen’s verbal medicine, Karvale’s bluntness, Dessy’s gushing, and Niko’s antics, most of my inner strength was now sapped away.

“It’s my job. It’s the way I want it” I murmured as a last resort from my pessimistic attitude. My willpower was beaten down. No solid arguments left.

“And if I could have my way, then I would never let you endanger yourself ever again. But that’s how life is. We may not always get what we desire. However, there are times when we do get what we desire” said Veina, using my own words against me. How cunning.

My attention returned back to the Demon. “If you could have your own way, then you’d have me all to yourself. Doesn’t all of this just grind your shit to ashes?” I called her out about the other girls. Even though I was mentally exhausted, I had put off this mystery for long enough. So I shifted the conversation because I just had to know why the possessive Veina had introduced four other romantic rivals into this equation.

Why did I need to know before the end of the day? Call me curious…

Veina’s tail flicked and twisted in a sudden burst of energy. Her confident face hardened, knowing that I caught her on the spot. She sucked in and exhaled a stiff breath, hesitating before answering.

“This was an urgent matter. During our spat, I saw how you were too overcome with grief and anger to being thinking clearly. If I did not act right away, I might never have seen you again. But knowing the secrecy of this affair, I could not use my mamono forces for battle, as the Maou might be alerted of your mission. However, I knew that these ladies did well by you… more or less” Veina conceded, glowering at Karvale who returned it. “If not for them, you may have never returned to me last time. That was enough for me to trust your life in their hands when they joined me to rescue you. And I’m sure that you can trust them to not divulge your mission to anyone”

She wasn’t seething or anything. At least not on the surface.

“So you wanted a helping hand in order to lend me a helping hand. That part makes sense. But I still don’t get why you’re suddenly okay with them pouring their hearts out to me after all is well”

A co-worker is one thing, but a co-wife is another.

“…Very true. You are my property and no one else was meant to have you. And once you told me about your misadventures with these ladies, I can hardly say that I thought highly of them. In fact, I was… furious” Veina scowled toward the others, eyes as sharp as red-hot razors. Ah-ha, it was just below the surface, like I suspected. “Therefore, I made it my business to track them down and… clarify matters”

Territorial instincts. That explains Veina’s absence from time to time when I would arrive home. Must have been tapping her sources in order to find the other four based on my descriptions. And I did blab out one or two names.

‘Meeting new and interesting people’, I thought back to what Veina told me.

“And then what?” I remarked, hanging on to her every word.

Veina had a faraway look in her eyes. “Once I confronted them, we… we came to an understanding. After I saw just how much you had touched their hearts, it was apparent how important your life was. Not just to me but to them as well. I tried to enlighten you before you un-ceremoniously stormed out on your own”

“Was it always your plan to have them help me?”

Veina tilted her head in an uncanny manner to my inquiry. “Perhaps. I did intend to bring all six together soon, but today only hastened our meeting. Which suits me well as now you’ve seen first hand just how valuable your life is”

I scoffed. “Funny, I expected you to jealously rip them to pieces after you found out that they put the moves on me. What changed your mind?”

Veina’s face meandered as she recollected her thoughts. Then she returned with a much softer expression. Almost pleading.

“Because… because I do love you, Jason. As the love of my life, I am willing to do anything for you. And that means that I cannot selfishly deny you what it is that you want” she confessed.

Me? I thought we were talking about what the other girls want. What’s Veina getting at now?

“Deny me ‘what I want’? Sorry but you never had a chance of stopping me from combating the Skarliks. But what does that have to do with any of this?”

“No. I mean what you truly want” stressed Veina, smile starting to form.

“What the hell does that mean? How would you know what I ‘truly want’?”

“Don’t you remember when I told you that mamono could sense things through a man’s mana? On the day that you returned, I listened to more than just your words. Something deep within you stirred as you told your tale. It was then that I… I understood” Veina explained.

“And that would be?” I pressed her for answers.

A full, self-aware grin took form on Veina’s face. “Oh, Jason. We have all spoken from our hearts here today. But now, it’s time for you to speak. Because only you can answer what it is that you truly desire. So, please…” urged Veina who was now perked up in anticipation. I scanned around to the other girls who were also eager, in their own ways, to hear my response. If not for the given situation, I might have been enthused by the prospect of having my own self-help squad.

“Well, I-I… What do I… fuck…” I cursed, becoming frustrated by Veina’s constant dodging of real answers.

“Let’s begin with something quite easy, just to get you started. After all of the time you’ve spent with someone such as me, I’m positive that you have a great many things to say. So why don’t you start there? Just let out as much as you wish” Veina suggested with a bold front; smile withstanding. There was not a lick of insecurity to be seen in her, despite her knowing full well how volatile I could be.

And her cockiness was just the kick I needed to fire up again.

“You want to know? You really want to know what I think of you!? Alright then. I think you’re the most aggravating, deceiving, pompous, teasing, braggardocious, motherfucking anomaly that I’ve ever met in my entire life. A living, breathing, pent-up teenage wet dream with ovaries for brains who looks like a consummate, anime-con golddigger working as a predator in a red-light district. But no matter how much I try, no matter where the fuck I look, no matter how much my pessimism whips me, I can’t, for the flying fuck-nut, find one single goddamn string attached with you. Every time that I think I might have you figured out, you prove me wrong. And that absolutely pisses the shit out of me! I hold you at gun point; you forgive me. I run my mouth off; you forgive me. I don’t tell you where I’m going; you forgive me. I tell you to fuck right off and still you forgive me. Why do you put up with me so much!? Why haven’t you slapped me yet!? How do you always have me figured!? Why can’t I get rid of you!? If I had shot you on that first day, you’d still have found a way to follow me! I just don’t get it! You drive… me… crazy!” I chastised her with the most aggressive finger pointing I could before sucking in a much needed breath of air. By the time my rant was done, I must have been no more than a foot from that bewitching face of hers.

That was the censored version. But if you were expecting Veina to tear up again, you’re sadly mistaken. She held the same grin for the whole rant. It may have even grew along with my tone of voice.

Then she leaned into to less than six inches from me. “I love you too, Jason” professed the smitten Demon in response. The energy fuming behind her unabashed beauty radiated with deep infatuation.

Her gall left me groaning, stupefied, and wishing that I had a wall to drive my fist through. How could someone adore you so much while mocking you at the same time?

However, I actually felt better having finally let that out.

“I can’t wait to hear what he thinks of me” Niko chirped. Her fluffy ears were perked up just from mention of the word ‘crazy’.

“That was a fine start. Now please, just open your mind. Think back to everything that you’ve learned today. We will be here when you’re ready” Veina entreated as tender as can be with a kind pat on my shoulder. Speaking from her heart, not from her loins, huh?

I was smacked once again in the back of the head by Karvale. “That is to ensure that you are in your right mind” asserted the big Dragon in her own special way. Nevertheless, there must have been a proven formula in her brand of ‘medicine’ because those stiff smacks jolted more clarity into me than the stiffest drink I’ve ever had. What a cure for all stupidity.

I gave one final scan around the circle. Each girl silently cheering me on like an adoring family during the big game.

Okay, there was a lot to digest here, so I’d better talk this over with myself before I let them know. And everything that’s transpired as of late provided me with a lot more clairvoyance now as opposed to a few hours ago. It was time be honest; lock stock and barrel. Not just with them, but also with myself.

During this time of reflection, my pessimism booted up again. Yeah, that monkey was still on my back. All of the hard lessons I learned as an adult shaped me and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Up to this point, it still sounded like a terrible idea to bring anyone else in to do the cleanup work. It felt like a tactless cop-out to me since I was the person that created this mess. So to subject others to this war not only felt unfair, but cruel. I was to blame so the fair thing was for me to bear it. As long as I was still alive, I intended to prevent the Skarliks from harming anyone in this world or mine.

Plus, working with others would only tie me down to this world. Not a good idea when my ultimate goal was to make it back to Earth where I belong. Nevermind the fact that trust was something of an Achilles heel with me, and the powers that be didn’t do much to improve it. The Order were a bunch of self-righteous, fear-mongering authoritarians and the Demon Lord was a would-be-overlord with a shady past and likely brainwashing power. Not exactly the shiniest coins in the fountain place a bet on. I doubted either side would be altruistic enough to let me claim the technology for my own purposes. Such paranoia and disillusionment made going solo on this mission seem the most sensible.

Some Skarliks would land in this world, but I would be there to wipe them out and snatch up their resources. By the end, I could salvage enough technology to find a way home. It would be a major pain in the ass but was the best case scenario. And it had to be done.

However, hindsight is 20/20. Now I can say that I’d been in denial about these portals, and maybe a few other things too. For the sake of keeping things simple, I hoped that the portals would eventually just stop appearing all together. End of story. But that dumbass wishful thinking was wrong. Because they weren’t stopping and they probably weren’t going to stop anytime soon. And it wasn’t just “some” Skarliks anymore; their numbers and weapons kept increasing with each encounter. Tough odds to beat. It’s amazing that I managed to pull through each encounter, albeit with some assistance.

Another concern was that as the situation kept growing worse and worse, so did my injuries. My body could not hold out forever if I tried to be a one-man army. Today was proof of that. And one should remember that Veina’s resources were now the only way I could find these portals.

True, in the heat of war, it’s not easy to tell who’s winning and who’s losing. But this is one time when I was pretty sure that I was leaning toward the losing end.

Though… none of that was the most important reason why I decided to stop denying that I was in denial and accept their charity. For the record, my pessimism was not entirely on board with this course of action. There were several reasons to accept their help. But for each of those reasons, my pessimistic mind could counter with five reasons, some petty and some not, why I should keep them out of this. Call me whatever you like, but that’s how I am.

There was, however, one reason which I couldn’t counter no matter how hard I tried. It was the fact that I… I… Well, there’s no other way to say it.

I loved them.

And this wasn’t just a delayed reaction to Veina’s affections. It wasn’t due to all of the intimate moments that I’d shared with them. Nor was it the simple fact that I was hanging around with the sexiest women I’ve ever seen in my life, who all wanted to have raging animal sex with me. Though perhaps that had been a small factor somewhere in there. But no, this was genuine. Not even all of my well developed cynicism or my brutal ultimatum could change that. Nor did I have the strength to contest it any longer.

Well, fuck me. I wouldn’t have believed it, much less admitted it to myself at the time But I’ve actually fallen in love. What terrible thing to happen to a man; especially a bachelor!

How and why did this take so damn long to surface?

This whole thing started with me being a paranoid cynic like usual. I thought it was just another group of mamono possessed by teenage lust at best, or brewing with ulterior motives at worst. Either way, I had more important matters on my mind. As a soldier, I had a job to do, which meant preventing the Skarliks from unleashing hell on mankind or mamono. I wasn’t afraid when the portals began to appear in this world; I was more pissed than anything. Plus, it was easier to think clearly when I operated alone using only my logic and instincts.

But I didn’t count on this. Somewhere along the line, I shifted from a soldier to a lover; and I was too stupid to realize it. Since I came back to Veina, I began to dread the portals much more. Because now, I stood to lose something else other than my own life. I could have lost those who I cared about. As subconscious as it may have been, my love of these girls only served to compound the guilt I’d been feeling this whole time. It was my fault that they could end up right in the line of fire and it didn’t feel right for me to be rewarded for such a fatal error.

Sure, I might have had my pride as a lone wolf, but that was ultimately just a cheap smokescreen to hide the fear that I was feeling. The fear that if I screwed up again, it would cost them. The Skarliks have taken people I’ve know before, and the thought of them taking these girls was too much to bear. It made me belligerent enough to lash out, hoping to drive Veina and anyone else away. They had to be removed from this equation. By force if necessary. Not that I wanted to tackle this alone, but for their sake, it seemed best to steer them far away from me and my problems; my feelings be damned.

God, I was such a fucking dumbass. Well, as they say, ‘love makes you do stupid things’, and here we are. What can I say? I’ve never been this much in love with anyone before. No way could I have anticipated this, much less know how to handle it. Who can prepare for the psychological conundrum of falling in love in the middle of a war? That’s not something a soldier gets trained for.

All in all, I guess it was much more of an emotional response than a logical one.

Even then, I gave Veina an easy way out. In fact, all of them had an easy way out of this. One way or another, I would just disappear without a trace. Simple. As for them, there was lots of fish in the ocean to be hooked by their inhuman charms. But none of the girls ever considered taking that route. Instead, they gave me the time of day when nobody should have; particularly Veina who possessed the ‘patience of Job’. All the more baffling considering the status she held.

Regardless of my decision, they clearly disagreed. And… it’s becoming more and more clear that they’re right and I was wrong. Before, I may have been able to handle it alone. But now, the game’s been drastically changed. I was blinded into trying to win this war all by myself, like some love-struck bastard pretending to be Rambo. Not focusing on actually stopping the Skarliks, but instead, on how to protect these five from the consequences of war. Selfless, if not idiotic for a trained soldier to ‘see the forest for the trees’, as the saying goes.

What if I failed? I was too busy worrying about them to remember that. It would become their problem at that point, which meant that there needed to be someone left to take down the Skarliks if my best wasn’t good enough. Granted, I think the Demon Lord’s army of mamono would be able to stop the Skarliks, albeit with massive casualties. But she was a last resort. There was no reason to cause an international incident by going around preaching prophecies of doom. These portals were unpredictable enough without two power-hungry regimes getting involved. This hasn’t blown up yet and I intend on keeping it under wraps for as long as I can.

So now, I have a team. I screwed up on a team before, but now I’ve got a second chance. So I figure that it was time to start acting like a proper soldier. And if I need more convincing, then Karvale will gladly beat it into my head.

Above all, I loved each of these girls, and Veina knew it. But I still don’t get how Veina figured me out before I even figured myself out. And if she figured me out, I’m willing to bet that the other girls did too. However they figured it, they called it right. Because I couldn’t forget about them. More often than not, I found myself casually thinking back to our times together. Not even mixing every type of alcohol I know into one mega, liver-melting cocktail could ‘cure’ me into forgetting them. Their safety was just as important to me as Veina’s. So important that I lost it at the thought of losing them, which made me almost throw them all out of my life for good. Again… dumbass. Never have I been so happy to have been so wrong.

Even so, my fear for their lives was very real. Of course it was. But so was the fact that I’d fallen for them hard. So what do I do? Follow my pessimistic instincts that got me this far in life or follow the new and thrilling signals from my rickety heart?

In regards to the former, living as a cynic had it’s downfalls, but it also has its upsides. In the end, it taught me to anticipate whatever shit Lady Luck chucked my way. Expect nothing, and you’ll never go disappointed. Maybe it was my cynicism that had kept me alive this long.

Though… I think it was time for a change. Through Sateen’s advice, along with the good-will of other girls, I now felt brave enough to trust in fate and put a little faith in my future. ‘Better to have loved and lost…’, I suppose.

Maybe it’s exactly what the doctor ordered; something somewhat resembling a normal life. Really, I didn’t think I could feel comfortable until I was back safe and sound on a Skarlik-free Earth. However, these ladies had resurrected a part of me that had to be buried for the sake of survival. But being at war for so long makes it hard to remember what normality was like. It’s tough being pessimistic and, well, not to get too pretentious on you folk but they had made me feel more alive than I had felt in years. Long overdue, but I guess I’ll take some of the doctor’s advice. Perhaps Lady Luck would shine on these girls better than me.

Of course I was still weary for their lives, but now that some of my optimism was risen from the grave, it felt awesome.

Yes, yes, it was a kickass feeling, but I still had something else to consider other than warm, fuzzy fee-fees. There was no one else to turn to when all of this began. The Order wasn’t going to help an ‘alien’ from another dimension without persecuting me as some kind of “sinner”. At the same time, the Demon Lord had delusions of grandeur that would turn the planet into one giant orgy. And don’t think that I forget about that suspicious demonic energy that she attached to every mamono. So did I warm up to that high-and-mighty ruler? Hell fucking no! In my eyes, it’s just a more inviting way to brainwash humans and take over the world. So no. I don’t like the Demon Lord, I don’t like the Lilim who spawned from her loins, I don’t like her methods, and I don’t trust her demonic energy one bit. With that said I was not too crazy about relying on the by-products of her power; namely mamono who oozed with her energy.

So why am I doing this? Well…

I trust Veina. I trust Karvale. I trust Sateen. I trust Dessy. And I trust Niko. I’d be a goddamn fool not to, considering what they all each did for me. Regardless if Veina worked directly for the Demon Lord, she would never lead me astray. I knew that she, along with the others, would never betray that trust and they would always be with me when I needed them most; nor would they hesitate to do so. I’ve, (ahem), known veteran soldiers who’ve buckled under the pressures of war. But they jumped head-on into danger and weren’t looking back. As far as they were concerned, no sacrifice was too much.

It still had me stunned that they would go that far. Even telling Veina to fuck off wasn’t enough. Incredible, but to go as far as to break her own exclusivity rights and bring in four more romantic ‘rivals’ into the mix? That’s some weapons-grade levels of shock for me.

And that sentiment went for all of the girls. Think about it. I didn’t spend nearly as much time with Dessy, Sateen, Niko, or Karvale as I had with Veina; much less quality time. Plus, I think they’ve helped me more than I helped them. But they all echoed the same claim. Though having a bad case of ‘love at first sight’ with an insolent, trouble-making, smartass always felt like such a trite notion to me. I mean, I didn’t really do much to earn their undying devotion. So… does that make it cheap?

Or maybe it’s best no to overthink this whole thing, like some dumb-fuck son of a bitch with too much time on his hands. I know that they’re legit, and I know that I legit love them back. It’s very simple.

In addition, all of this did, more or less, support the lesson that Veina had been trying to hammer into my head about mamono’s love. Not that I was totally sold on the idea of love at first sight as that was impossible for me to understand. Such a detail would never stop some of the more ‘forceful’ mamono from raping their way into a guy’s heart. Plus, the fact that mamono feed off of a man’s ‘baby batter’ made all of this still seem like a conflict of interest. Makes the love and lust argument harder to blend together. But… these five girls damn sure earned my trust. Even if I didn’t understand everything, they testified to it, and that was all I needed. Proof is proof and lust is love; at least for them.

Now, demonic energy was a big red flag still waving over my head. Add in the rape culture of some mamono and that red flag turns into a goddamn firework. It was hard enough to keep my sights straight and I don’t need the dreaded thought of becoming an Incubus fucking with it even more. Still… I do have an immunity to magic; at least, so far as I know. But there still exists the possibility of there being some kind of chink in my immunity for demonic energy to find. However, since I’m doing a whole lot of trusting lately, I might as well trust in my immunity, too.

Sure, I still resent the Demon Lord. Sure, I’m still suspicious of demonic energy. Sure, I still frown upon how forceful mamono can be on humans. Sure, I’m still afraid of what might happen to the girls in this conflict. Sure, I still want all the Skarlik technology for myself so I could get back to Earth. But all of that has to take a back seat now because I loved these girls too much. Time to show some… testicular fortitude. And if I’m going to do something about this, then I’d better do it right this time. If there was such a thing as Devine intervention, then this must be it.

Now what about marriage? Okay, technically it’s not a real marriage but to them it is. That’s a topic that I hadn’t taken into account for quite a while. I’ve barely kept a relationship for over a year. And that was only monogamous. Plus, as it’s well known, I’ve got quite a lot on my plate already. Am I ready for something like that? I really don’t know… but it doesn’t feel as unnerving a prospect as it once did. Yeah, it’s a big moment in a man’s life, but I think I’ve got the balls to tackle that kind of challenge. Literally.

Why not? They were among the bravest people that I’ve ever known. And, boy, could they kick ass in a war as much as they were salivating on the eyes. Sure, Sateen and Dessy did other things but so what? The point stands. Saving my life was definitely the sexiest thing anyone has ever done for me and these girls already drove me plenty crazy; the best kind of crazy. My guilt and paranoia had let me hold out against their wiles longer than any sane heterosexual male could have or should have. But that time has passed. Right now, fucking hell, I was turned on. There was no point in denying it. They knew they turned me on, I knew they turned me on, they knew that I knew that they turned me on, and so on and so forth. The blood was already migrating into my pants.

Spurring on the blood building in my pants was that, because of my prolonged dubiety, I now had five exquisite ‘wives’ on my hands all at once. Shit, when it rains, it fucking pours.

Here’s the bottom line, no bullshit attached this time. I’m thinking one-hundred percent clear, like a good soldier rather than an emotionally cross-wired hermit. I needed these girls because I couldn’t do this mission alone anymore. Not physically or mentally. And I was a shit-brained idiot for believing otherwise. I was wrong. There, I admit it. Much to my chagrin, the portals were not toning down, which means that, if I wanted to win in the end, I needed help, particularly in finding the Skarliks. And they had to be defeated at all costs because this world needed help as much as my own world did. And no way could I have asked for better allies in doing so.

Most importantly, I wasn’t just a soldier, I was also a ‘husband’… from a certain point of view. I cared more about these girls than even my own safety. If there was an incentive to succeed, than this was it. Like them, I’d give my life to protect theirs. But that’s not a reason to die, that’s a reason to live. And one way or another, I didn’t want to live the rest of it without them.

Then, with no more cynical arguments, fake pride, or snarky deflections left to hold me up, I dropped to my knees. Relief and exhaustion swept over me as the conclusion I made began to set in; in a good way. Now drained from the battle, overcome by my self reflection, and really not wanting to drag this pointless argument out any longer, I mustered up the only words I could say to them.

“Alright” I muttered. “You win…”


Author’s Note: There it is. I’m sure you all know what comes next. Sorry that you have to wait until the next chapter for the fun stuff, but it will be worth it. Stay tuned.

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3 thoughts on “Wormhole Ch.15

  1. Amazing! Completely amazing! Jason FINALLY understands and accepts a mamano’s love. I am so glad he ended up with all of them! Dessy too! I was worried she would not be included, but you did amazing author! I can’t wait for the next chapter! Great job!

  2. AMAZING, simply AMAZING.

    Well, the depression part is over, now Jason is going to become stronger and stronger, both physically and mentally.

    About his resentment towards the Demon Lord I understand, from a more “realistic” point of view, she really does seem like a power-hungry ruler, which she would make soldiers who have been through a war take a step back.

    But, I really hope that sooner or later he will meet up with a more “softer” Lilim, or the Demon Lord and the two will have a conversation about concepts and beliefs, and maybe Jason, although he’s still a little suspicious, will stop being so paranoid. .

    (After all, even with the help of his 5 wives, I doubt he can win a war against hundreds, maybe thousands of enemies, so he’s going to need a real army)

    The Order is out of the question, after all as Jason said “fucking hypocrites who could be worse than the ancient church of our world”, and their goddess is even worse (I’m still waiting for Kratos to go to this universe)

    The Demon Lord, she’s not evil, just kind of idealistic with a big dream of world peace, and these aliens are threatening that peace, so it’s only natural that when she found out about it, she would summon her daughters and all the Sabbaths in the world to research a way. to win this war, and with the help of Jason’s knowledge, do so with as few casualties as possible.

    Anyway, best chapter in history so far, and you managed to build a real human character VERY well

  3. I enjoyed this chapter, however, there was way too much introspection at the end in my opinion. It felt like a lot of what he said to himself could have been shortened. I skimmed through the last quarter of the chapter since he’s talked about a lot of this stuff already. Looking forward to more dialogue to help with thoughts.

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