14 - Shearing Time

They're stepping out of a black void like last time. A femme hand in a wool fingerless glove is followed by the sweepingly-curved sleeve of another dark grey Boston-girl greatcoat, with toggle buttons all down. She has a knit cap, a stripy red muffler, and is short, maybe Boobsong's height even, and small, with cute round features. She looks as cold as Clyde did--okay! I wait for her to get in the door, think at my tentacles how sad it would be if she could run away, and hold up a kind-sunlight hand and IR the space she's in for just a second, just like Clyde.

"Does that help? You look frozen!"

"Yes, that's very--what am I saying?! There's a demon!"

She turns and tries the door, but it won't move.

"Oh no--"

"Hey, it's alright. Horns versus feathers isn't the difference between good and evil anymore than wearing your Sunday best makes you saved. Why don't you pray and ask god what he thinks of this. For all we know, he's the one holding the door so you won't run out all rudely just because we look funny! You won't miss the answer. I'm sure you've noticed we got to the face to face with him part finally."

She tries the door again, then crosses herself and folds her hands tight and prays urgently, half-facing us.

"Please father would you--go sit down with them!?"

Crosses herself again and slowly creeps over. I let the awkward stretch half the distance, and then softly say,

"Don't be afraid."

She looks at us, tries to speed up some. A for effort!

"Why are your friends in slow motion?"

"Oh I'm an angel. That kind of happens around me a lot. Especially today. We need some extra time. There's a lot to organize what with Earth moving to Paradise like this."

I'm determined to just be directly bluntly honest with all this, and...like that works. Argh.

New girl comes slowly on, fidgeting her scarf. Gayness report?

Smelling...all pussy only! She's gayer than you!

Oooh I love mythical creature stories!

"Um, I should be clear though, angel means a few different things in America. I'm the kind who was made by my daddy who you just talked to because he had a message I'm supposed to tell everyone. My friend in my lap is the kind who's very nice and kind and good and if you ask me is a much better person than I am though she'd probably disagree with me if she could move but she needs my orders to do anything because that's how her kind of angel works like she has no free will, and she looks like this because her true form is kind of confusing and scary to humans so she wears this silver shape to say she's definitely not at all human but does mean to be nice. I look human because I mostly am because I'm made to talk to them but I guess you probably already figured out I'm made to talk, huh."

I amp up the speck up embarrassment my rambling brings.

She smiles, but also stops. I make a rainbow-shiny plate and fork on the counter, sparkling them into existence very cutesily.

"Cake fixes a lot of stuff. Why don't you get a piece and come sit? I'd say stand but I don't wanna override daddy if you're trying to follow him. I mean I do want you to sit, that'd be much friendlier--here I go again. He made me to talk and it really worked."

She goes for the cake, a little stiffly but does it, even gets herself a corner piece, and turns around, slowly starts coming around the table behind the motionless Sugarfreaks...come on, you can do it! Verrry slowly she gets to the chair and sits and exhales, cake in front of her. I squidge-turn us toward her a little bit.

"If you eat that whole cake there'll just be another one, so go bananas. What're you afraid of?"

"You're turning me into some kind of demon because I'm so depraved."

"It would be very racist to turn someone into a demon as a punishment. I would never. I swear on everything holy."

"Why am I in here then? He said to go to this place and there's this huge crowd of people and they all have those glowing hearts like she does so I thought they must be waiting for you to come out to them--wait, they have hearts already, so are you not giving them?"

She tries to fork some cake, finds it frozen--

"Oops, I forgot it's still frozen. If you break the layers apart and eat it with your fingers it' the best, but I can thaw it for you just like I warmed you up."

She looks at it a minute.

"Could you warm it up?"

I hold out my hand all glowy for effect and IR it slowly, so I get time to talk.

"I think the thing you were too polite to ask it why you're stuck here."

She nods kind of shrinking-in.

"That's the nicest coat. If I ever got cold I'd totally have one. Wool, right? It's very nice of you to all those sheep to wear so much wool. Sheep actually need to be sheared to survive, did you know? They grow so much wool, that if you don't cut it off every spring they can die of heatstroke from all of it. The thing about sheep is, they don't know they need to be sheared, just how much better it feels after they are sheared, so when shearing time comes, you have to herd them into a little shearing pen, and then hold them down while you shear them, and the whole thing is this big project because they don't want to be herded into the small little room where they feel trapped, and they definitely don't want to be held down and have shears run all over their body even if losing all that thick heavy wool does feel like such an amazing freeing relief, because all they know about being held down that way is it's what happens before the wolf eats you. They do learn, sometimes, if they get to be really old, and like come in on their own and flop in front of the stool, like, they're sheep. You can't really tell them, and they'll die if they wait, so you just get to be sad that you have to scare them, if you care about your sheep at all. My daddy loves his sheep, and I think you're great and very sweet, and we don't want to scare you, but we can't really not, so you get cake and going slow with this until it can go fast and be over all at once, and a boring old pizza shop to do it in instead of like daddy's big overwhelming throne room or something. Um, it's shearing time is what I'm saying, and you'll feel so much better afterwards, but I'm going to be as nice and gentle as I can, as long as we don't drag things out so you just sit there suffering."

Our seed-ghost stops me IR-ing halfway through my speech (oopsie) and I put my hand down. She forks a bit of cake, and I spike it with just a little very sneaky warm you up until clothes are bad candy.

"You're here to take clothing off! No clothes in Eden, that's the Fall, and now we're--is that fixed somehow? Am I no longer Eve's progeny? I have to be her daughter, but, the apple--"

"You haven't realized it yet because daddy must have guided you carefully down the narrow little chute without looking at anything too scary for you, but this whole world is changed top to bottom. It was a sad place of suffering and painful work and now it's a happy place of fun and rest. There's no more work or anything like that, yeah, and I sure think you're a good person so far."

"Yes, taking clothes off is the first part of it. Then if you want I can change your shape. Into anything. Like really anything. But I won't unless you ask me. Then you get a friend like Boobsong here. In between you get all the candy and cake and tasty food you need to get through all that. It won't be bad and nothing hurts but food is comforting. Best of all, you don't even have to think about what's right to do or whether anything's a sin or anything, because it'll already picked out for you and it's happening. That's why you're stuck in here. Take them off when you're ready to, or I can, or I can make you. I can actually just vaporize them and then it's over in a flash!"

I try for a I know that's a stupid joke I'm telling you I'm a stupid-jokes person giggle at the end.

"I want them off right now! It's hot in here!"

It--but that--okay! She starts tearing at her coat buttons.

"I can really hurry that along if you don't wanna see your clothes again."

"Yes! Please, I'm burning up!"

I raise a hand over her all dramatically, encase her in golden light, and then flare it so she'll feel a nice warm push of IR while I vanish her clothes with antilight. Now a nice dramatic slow tension-building slow fadeout of the light around her. Naked, she's petite and cute with tufty short black hair and a little nudge of also-black pubes sticking up from between her thighs.

"There, all done."

I don't hide that I'm looking at her.

"You're really beautiful. Eat lots of cake because you were brave. And yes, it's warm. It's really mean to make people undress when they're all cold!"

She takes big bites of cake and I just leave her with it for a minute. Dolly, can you tell who she thinks is hottest?

This is going super well! Just keep going on with stuff she's really just submitting here. Smells like subspace. Hardest time is lesbian. Mostly smelling fear. Too scared to say who's hottest yet.

Frazzlepops. Poor thing. Her eyes are on her cake as she eats.

"Now that everyone's naked and very pretty the next part is a little bit hard, but there's nothing bad and you're not in trouble here. Being in trouble is pretty much over now actually, so don't worry about that again. I think you know what I'm talking about here. Do you want to tell me, or shall I?"

She puts her cake fork down.

"Um. Can you."

"Yes."

With extra Sirening. Wrap her in comfort. It's a big step up to this, go one thing at a time. Tell the truth about the Bible. And then how succubi just like human horniness. What if she asks about Jesus? Mirror. Frazzlepops argh. OkaaaAAAAaaay...

"So first of all, everything is okay. I'm not about to tell you Paradise isn't real or you're not actually there going there or anything bad like that. You already know my daddy's real and even kinder than they told you. This is Paradise and you're here for real and you'll live forever always as young and beautiful as you are now and never work one single day again. All that's safe. Everything that was important, is here."

"The thing is, Earth was in a really bad state. We couldn't get at it, in the way we wanted to. You've read about his wrath in the Bible. That part's very very right. With the way things were, don't you think we would've landed a whole army of angels to fix things? Instead, we had to have a big fight with the devil. The Bible's written down by people. It's not perfect. Daddy had to fight the devil for every word of it, and sometimes he had to choose his battles. He fought very hard for important stuff, but just like any war there was a lot of ground he had to give, too. One of the worst losses is sex. It's just completely messed up in the Bible, and then the way people interpret all that, and the traditions, and scholars, the devil must have spent half its power messing that up. I don't really know why. Maybe just spite. This was one of daddy's favorite parts and he had a whole structure he wanted planned out and it just didn't get to be at all. One of the most messed up places, was just with what's even a sin in the first place. I guess the devil wanted to destroy people with guilt by making them think they were immoral for things they needed that they couldn't change, so they'd try and try and try to fix it and not be able to and it put daddy in a terrible bind because there everything says he has this stuff he doesn't want you to even think about when actually its one of his very favorites so he's hardly going to help people break what he thinks is beautiful but people're being taught he's supposed to help with this so if he doesn't how does that look and it just gets worse and worse over the centuries because people get attached to suffering like that because you kind of say well if I went through it you do too and you don't like to hear that actually you never needed to hurt that way so it just gets impossible to tell people until finally the end comes and Earth is moved to heaven and then you can just explain everything but it does get a little awkward and scary, huh."

Half a beat to see if she needs to exclaim, but she's just quiet.

"It's perfectly fine to like the same sex as yourself. Daddy actually made me so I would, on purpose. You were sent here because that's who Boobsong and me mostly help. You like girls. You don't like boys. Sexually."

Her mouth is open, and she's braced on the table, for a moment, 

"I'm not waking up. Is this a fantasy?"

"It's real. This is the real world. I have an antidote for the feeling crazy, but it's really really scary until it works. I can just start telling you everything from the beginning and keep going until you tell me you realized that the craziest person in any world would never be able to make up something as weird as this."

"I'll also take our cartoons off for a minute. We like them but the don't really make it feel like the real world, huh."

I dismiss them. It always feels less me, but it's nice to see my our real flesh in all its horny detail.

"Better?"

"Thank you, yes. Would you tell me please?"

"Okay. Here goes. Remember first, you're not going anywhere. This is shearing time."

"I do wanna tell you one thing first. You like girls. I already knew that when you came through the door. I know you really like them a lot--"

Really? Okaaaay...

"--and that girls are what you masturbate to, which is also perfectly okay to do, so I know it's kind of weird being in here with all of us like this. All of us here like girls too, and we love being looked at. I'm made special to extra love it so I'll be a good messenger. There's nothing wrong with it. You don't have to do anything with that, I just don't want you to feel uncomfortable about where your eyes are going while I talk. For me staring a Boobsong's breasts when I'm scared really centers me. You might try that on someone here."

"So. Daddy actually made me about eighty thousand years ago. He saw that people on Earth were suffering and he thought they were beautiful and he wanted to help them. He made me to drill my way in past the walls that kept it seeming like angels and demons and him and stuff might not be real, and give people what they needed to be happy, and help them have fun. He specifically intended for me to have a friend like Boobsong here as part of that. My purpose was to go hand out bread and cake and candy, and give people the shapes the wanted, and tell them it was time to stop having so many kids the Earth couldn't support them all, and make sex be a fun thing instead of just for reproduction. The other thing we were supposed to do was help people get friends like Boobsong is to me. We did do that some there. Then that world turned so sinful with rejecting that message, it destroyed itself, but while it was being destroyed, we were able to get all the people out and bring them to Paradise here. A new Earth was made, the one we're on right now, and I got sent forward in time eighty thousand years to when it would be ready for me, and I used my power which had grown so much I could put the whole world in order, to fix things and make them a lot more like daddy's original hope for this place. It was a long way from perfect, and we were fighting the devil every step of the way, but we did the same stuff I just told you about the first Earth, just lots lots harder. Instead of just telling people sex should be for fun now, I made candy--I can just make candy, that's how I'd change your shape if you wanted, my candy does stuff--that was birth control, so no more babies would be born because daddy didn't think Earth was safe for them, but I didn't hand it out. I made it as a gas and put it in the atmosphere. I had the strength to do that, then. Now I could probably fill a whole galaxy with it. I've been strength-training. I have a robot helper that does my chores and organizes my life, but by the time I got to the new Earth it was so powerful it could just replace every world government and just not allow war, or crime. Boobsong likes to make things, and she made me a toy that can copy anything from anywhere to anywhere if you just ask, so there was no more scarcity even if I wasn't nearby to make you stuff. That saved me, actually. Daddy meant me to just do my work by expressing myself, but things were so bad on Earth I felt like I had to not do that and just save everyone instead. I would have killed myself trying to save everyone without the stuff like that. I know, because I almost did earlier, the same mistake. So we made the world stop being so painful and hard and scary, and fixed up all those wrong teachings I was talking about, and started getting everyone working on helping me open the gate to Paradise daddy gave me to get Earth here. It worked, in the end, but after about twenty years of that, when I was thirty-three, the devil found a way to hack the machines Earth's universe was running on, and erase everything we'd done and replace it with a world where miracles were impossible and it was hard to hear daddy or see friends like me or Boobsong. Then something got fixed, I don't know what because I've been having a very hard three days and I think it was during them it happened, and somehow me or daddy got the gate to Paradise open and Earth came here and Paradise put everything back the way it was, but you still remember the world where everything was erased because erasing you that way one time was very very violent and doing it twice would probably destroy your soul entirely. You can get your real memories back, it just takes care and love. So that's where we are now. The world that's outside right now is the one where I was fixing things for twenty years, and I could do things like custom-make a hurricane and direct it where to go and make it the biggest hurricane in history and get my robot helper hold the wind and water back from hurting anyone but still leave the flood waters up so everyone lived in tunnels under water until the flood went back. We did stuff like that to make people understand that what we were doing wasn't something they could stop or change, and stop fighting it. Some people need to see big shows of power to understand that stuff. So that's the first layer of this. How's it going?"

She's been watching me talk, mouth half-open--no, eee, good for you ogling Boobsong this whole time.

Be very interesting if my dolly ran down while we talked and we had to explain that.

She gets her eyes back to mine, sees me notice where hers have been and actually manages a little blushy smile thing. I smile back.

"That's an awfully right way of saying you went to hell and came back again! Three days of hell sounds very hard! This is helping. I can't believe I'd make up you being made lesbian purposefully! Can I have some more? I'm almost good."

"You're strong. Most people fight and scream. Be proud. Yes that's okay. I'm in deep trouble if being proud of how you're made is a sin."

"Okay. Would you like to continue with who my sister is, how I killed the devil, or my sexy cartoon show. Yes I'm dead serious about all of those. I'm bad at staying dead though."

"This isn't fantasy! I would NEVER make up Jesus the lesbian got me out of my clothes with a light burst in a pizza shop with her succubus--that's what she is, right?--in her lap with a pizza that looks like there's more pepperoni than bread on it and two naked girls across from us that're stopped in the middle of feeding each other pizza. I didn't need the story, I should've looked around the room!"

She's starting to get that demented high happiness of waiting for the next giggly wham line the Dreams give until you get not-really used to it. I'm happy to oblige.

"Actually my name is Rainbow. Yes she's a succubus. Daddy thinks they're great and every human who want should have one. Weird about the room, huh? You'd almost think it's set up like this on purpose. Oh and don't forget lesbian cartoon pornstar on the end of my name."

And press the advantage, on the Dreams' advice.

"But that's boring. Let's talk about succubi. I didn't lie when I said she's an angel. She is. She's a spiritual being that's not human and doesn't have free will but is filled up with loves and goodness so it's just constantly leaking out everywhere--"

I wiggle my hips under Boobsong.

"--it's just that, well, her speciality is sex, and the perfectly completely fine and good emotion of lust is what powers her. The actual technical name for her kind is su'khora which you can see now where the word succubus comes from, and really an incubus is just a boy-shaped su'khora but we don't care about that because we are all so very gay in here. Well. I did get turned into a boy for a while and Boobsong still liked me fine, but I don't wanna think about that one la la la. So!"

I squidge to turn towards new girl a bit, and face Boobsong toward her as best I can at the table.

"Sexy, right? They can look like anything, and shapeshifting is super common. Boobsong also turns into, so far, today, this sexy fiend, a cute little but still extremely sexual and fuckable doll of this sexy fiend, the white pony you'll find me riding in Revelation, a big scary dragon, a beautiful silver chainsaw that's powered by rage instead of lust (super useful if you're going to hell), and Acme Station the hypertech space station that I'd show you except it doesn't actually fit in this galaxy so we'd have to travel to the astral plane to see it and that makes most humans feel weird so let's not. You sure would believe me she's an angel then, though! Her trillions of eyes are so beautiful, so much love in them...anyway. I really really love her, as you can see."

I coo totally honestly at the trillions of eyes thing. I don't get why people think that stuff is scary on its own like without being evil looking. Boobsong is so comforting that way.

"So where do su'khora come from? Daddy makes 'em, right? That's definitely a way of coming to exist I approve of, but nope! You make them. And me. They grow from seeds. That sounds like it's about get personal, right? Don't worry, not like that. We know you don't like cocks. I do though so please stop me if I start waxing lyrical about polishing them, I don't wanna gross you. Yes I'm gay. Girls have cocks sometimes."

"When a succubus and a human love each other very much," I start with mock awkwardness.

"...they fuck all the time. And play and snuggle and just exist. If another human should happen to see them doing that, and be inspired to make, with love, the wish to have what they're watching in some sense, a seed-pod gets created. The seed-pod isn't physical. It's a spiritual thing connected to the moment in which it was created. One seed, will go to the human who made the wish, while the seed-pod itself stays as an abstract spiritual reality you can get a seed-from by taking your consciousness to the moment in which it was created--how? Can you guess? It's real easy to do, this isn't some new age meditation thing."

New girl's Dreams-WTF smile is really starting to peak, this is great. She looks down to think, looks at her empty cake plate--

"It's another thing...porn show! You have a cartoon porn show because that's your children! You should have just said this, I'd have known I was awake right away!"

"Yup! Well, almost. The seed-pods aren't quite our kids because they're not alive yet. They need a human for that. Which, as you'll have figured out, is where you come in. You are getting a seed here. The question's just how. When it implants, it'll take the shape of your best fantasies and deepest loves and will leave nothing out of that to the point that Boobsong knows how to bake me junk food from scratch so I can have fresh twinkes made with her love even though I can--"

I hold her out a plain old normal twinkie.

"Doesn't do anything weird except what twinkies usually do weird."

She takes it and bites in happily, nomming it right up.

"If all this pizza's making you hungry I can make something more substantial. I just really like candy."

Wait squawk don't giver her time to ask for a drink just now!

"Anyway, like she needs a science lab, but she was born knowing the recipes. She likes Star Trek because I do. We have the same favorite videogames. She knows all my secrets and fears and relates. We like the same music. They don't have to be submissive. They don't have to be dominant either they just have to be all your sweetest dreams glued together by the love you feel to think about this stuff."

This is going so good. This is so much better than the other way. Don't jinx it self.

Like shouldn't I be using Boobsong more, more directly? It feels like I want to just get rolling and barrel through and not even slow down for the back-and-forth of a stage show.

"So the only question for you, is what dreamskin, which is what you call the image or text or whatever that takes you to the moment where a seed-pod is, is right for you? Maybe that's me and Boobsong right here. Maybe we need to put on a little show for you--we're getting pretty horny, so that's definitely no trouble--maybe that's too personal and you need your imagination or a push from daddy or the Dreams--or maybe though I don't think so if you got sent ot us, it's something else entirely."

"The almighty just said you try stuff and he'll...tickle...masturbate me until I get hit."

"Hot! Sounds like that's an us, then. For your dreamskin. Okay, set-piece time. Here's the cheating. Don't pick this up yet. Oh yes I just went there."

Our seed-ghost puts a Vibe on the table in front of her, but using golden light instead of the usual purple tentacularity.

"The minute your hand touches that, the next place it's going is your pussy with some truly godlike vibration tricks. Like it's mind control. If you're not good with a vibe you will be. Also, it'll fuck your head and find your favorite porn and show you it and squish it around into a good dreamskin and keep trying different stuff until you implant. No you can't stop yourself. Daddy might be able to."

"This is the boulder so heavy god can't lift it! Okay I'm scared of that."

"Good. So now you've got a nice forbidden fruit prop, and you also know what happens if we have to make you make you make you. One of us just puts your hand on that and you have a very interesting few minutes and then our kid is born. That's way less fun than this though!"

"Okay but first. Daddy, is this your way of saying we need to have a conversation about your pronouns?"

"He says you've got them but remember he's not a man."

"Okay. So. Yoooooooouuuuur favorite porn. Is. Uh oh dolly, she likes to watch girls masturbate!"

I start petting Boobsong's midriff and hips, making her moan a little and squirm in my lap.

"Your Boobsong can help with that! Wait but something's missing there. Where could that have gone? Must be somewhere here, can't lose that, our life would end!"

"I'd sure go to pieces, yeah."

Need room to work this. Wait--can I dig--blocked by a coffee cup, maybe clicks. We need to awaken her. The masturbation thing is obviously projection on what was denied. Maybe we can work the denial/compulsion thing though. Oughtta go a treat with catholic guilt.

I click Boobsong small--

"AAH! She's um...an imp?"

"Just to carry--"

New girl leans forward, interested. Whoah emotions. Pride and possessiveness fight. I want to show my dolly off, I want to hug her possessively. I settle on setting Boobsong on my thigh facing new girl, with tight possessive hands around her sides, fingers digging in. My dolly. Click.

Wave so hi to you!

"Isn't she so beautiful?"

"Yes! Can I touch her please?"

Your Boobsong can't be given up but touching's fine!

Oooh muahah. Get ready, dolly!

Eeheheh turn the tables fast! Dolly still has hands that move!

"Touch yes, hold no. We're really clingy."

I firm my grip up, but also push Boobsong forward a little. Not enough hands for eravahk, right?

You can use her as controls! Just press and squeeze!

Ermegerd perfect.

"I don't want to impose."

"You're not. Touching is fine, we just kind of freak out if we have to be not holding each other for long. There...yeah that's a long story. My childhood wasn't good. Let's not go there."

New girl squidges down to see Boobsong closer, reaches a finger out...squeeze, grab! Squeeze, kiss!

As new girl's finger get close, Boobsong suddenly seizes it and pulls it straight to her mouth, and starts to suck it like a little cock.

"AAH! Oooh...that's fine..."

"I made her. The no free will thing it for real. I don't think she minds though."

New girl's already-plesured face breaks and her mouth opens wide--looks like daddy's getting busy, muahah--oohh, press the advantage.

Squeeze, deeper!

"AAAH don't take my finger! That's why yours is gone, isn't it!"

"Oh no no don't worry that game's only only only between her and me. Just sucking, that's all. I just thought you'd like it deeper, sorry."

"Okay. Why is yours gone?"

"Well..."

OH GOOD ONE DREAMS! It's been so too long anyway Click, book! Boobsong flows in my hands and turns hard and square and gorgeously silver in my hands with shining metal covers and an oval window on a picture of herself just standing there naked and smliing.

"Storytime!"

I hold Boobsong up to show new girl her sexy front cover, then settle back in the chair and spread my legs. Please Keeper?

...

Oh. Yeah. Duh. I open her and turn a page.

Seed-ghost says yes. Keeper feels excited. Super fun surprise in store!

"I want to read us some porn, but I really like to use both hands on this book. Would you touch my pussy while I read?"

"If we could move this table I'd do more than stroke it!"

She...she let go! Go you! I grin broad and bright at her.

"There's a very nice clean work table in the kitchen. Give me a stroke first though? I'm so horny," I plead.

She crawls under my arms into my lap, bracing on my thigh, and gets a hand down between my legs--

"Where'd your pussy go!?"

"Please a little more? It still feels good, those are real outer lips," I breath, soft and high. Her reverent, warm caress pets some more and I sigh happily.

"This game is definitely optional for you and yours, but come up and see my hand up close."

She extracts herself and I set my grip on Boobsong so she'll be able to see easily.

Can I Keeper?

Says yes for this. Always asking is a good sign!

It feels so much more right.

"Get real close. Don't be shy, you were just trying to finger me."

She gets in close to peer at it.

"Quadruple dog dare you to lick the bit place."

"Will that hurt you?"

"Does it--right, sorry, first time. No."

Tings overwhelm me as her hot little tongue rakes across the bit of pussy along my bitten hand.

"Oh yeah..."

"That smells--that's your pussy!?"

"It only opens for her, but...you had your fingers in her mouth. Did you notice her teeth?"

"Soft and round...like cocks...they're blunt though..."

"I bet your pussy would open really easy for my blunt soft fingers. Now come read with me what she says about it. I wanna snuggle."

She gasps and is snuggling my side, head resting on my arm, leaned over from her chair. I turn Boobsong's page. I read out loud as Boobsong's thoughts appear word by word as she thinks them like in a black mirror:

Princess' pussy is everywhere this dragon's teeth chomp. Any place, chomp there, pussy opens. Can go right through. Holes beside each other make parts bit off. Princess can be in five pieces, no problem. Fifty, hundred, same. All keep feeling. All keep going on doing what they do.

I grin at new girl and tickle Boobsong mercilessly with my finger in her.:

EEAAAAAAAH TICKLE EEEP EEEEP finger inside tickles! Have whole hand, do more fun things. Big space inside. Fit whole Princess. Then have fun! Dragon lays her egg when ate time is done and she comes right back whole.

"Does it hurt you? When she chomps parts and takes them off?"

"It's so awesome that inside on the way to her tummy where we play there's a part where she chomps and chomps until every cell is separate and I'm just goo. Then the parts of me I want to use to touch her reform out of the goo. She can do it in a split second but I like her to go slow so I feel every inch of me go. It's the most incredible soothing thing. If I get too upset she just turns into a big dragon and eats me so I can calm down."

New girl has dark eyes, deep brown, almost black. They're pretty. She looks up wonderingly as I talk.

"There's nowhere to lay your head? No problem! What does she do then?"

Wishing it would doesn't make our seed-ghost pause, and I can't seem to pull any more extra bullet time without new girl coming too. That makes me angrier. Dragon get ready to chomp. Memories of the fight about the Bible with--people, who--over and over, just because you can see daddy fighting back in there doesn't mean it came out at all useful as a guide to anything or even worth picking bits out of against the idea of using it the way I just did with my explanation of it. Now I'm stuck and I'm angry. I wish I'd been more clear upfront. Stupid. Worse, because I kept getting told this was supposed to work that way, and I don't think it's right, and I don't think it helps.

The angry want to lash out contrarily brings up what might be another memory, that...feels so right, and makes sense. Being a witch sure made you holy in the Strawberry Empire.

Fuck this. I can't keep lying. Hang onto your tits dolly, seed-ghost tell daddy I'm sorry.

I take a deep breath.

"Okay. I have to say this, I can't keep it in any more. I didn't want to scare you before but I'll be lying to you if I go on not saying it. The Bible's a disaster. You can see daddy's fight against the devil in there, but not much else. It's a broken stained glass window with the pieces all mixed up. There are some big chunks right like I said, but mostly you'll just cut yourself and get confused. What you just said is a perfect example. Daddy tried to say something about who me and Boobsong are to a gospelist, devil said something else, daddy had to choose between fixing that new mess and fighting something else. It could have been a lot, lot worse, but that doesn't make it good. Tradition and the Church's teachings are the same, because they had the same fight. I wish I could laugh about it. There are so many funny jokes like the one you just made and I love jokes like that, but right now it just hurts. Don't be sorry, you didn't know, but, yeah."

Okay Dreams or daddy or whoever that's a masterpiece.

"So how do you know what to do, right? That stuff was your guide to life. This is face to face now. I told you a big crazy story before, and when I got to a stopping place, what'd you tell me?"

Surprisingly she doesn't run away or freak out. She doesn't move at all from snuggling, looks up more interestedly than ever. It's still a failure on my part not to move fast enough to get her before this came up. I'm so angry at the Bible because it makes this stuff so much harder! We bog down in this crap instead of implanting them! Now it's going to be a whole thing. I'll try to keep out of that swamp as much as I can, but, good luck, says old memory. I was merciless about it publicly so people wouldn't bring it up to me.

New girl's voice is surprisingly calm when she talks:

"Everything I need is here. I can just look in front of me."

That's...it? Okay!

"Yup! Which is a really good thing to be doing right now my dear little lesbian, because."

I think at Boobsong like she's a black mirror, and my thoughts appear as I read out loud:

Pleased with your explanation, I get down between your legs and with a wide tongue pressing hard, lick your pussy and right up your mound, nuzzling my face into your soft flesh as I go.

HHaaaaahh...pussy lips expand and feel full with horny want...sweetly pushing down...it's good...hey, don't stop!

Now your Boobsong's head's just full of want for more fun!

Your cute lust puts a but slutty smile on my face, and I dance my thumb across the buttons on my eravahk to click the commands for Pose (slave-pose), imagine (getting fucked), BEG, and then Show.

I turn the page, and on the next is a beautiful drawing of her slave-posed, eyes wide and pleading and face so hopeful, breasts held up offeringly on her hands.

"She felt the lick like I really did it. Now she really feels like she's sitting that way. In this game we make porn together, but she gets really into it. To make it more fun, this is the only time I'm allowed to masturbate--but like where's my pussy, right? If I make the motions, or it happens in our book here, though, I feel it. Except not right now because of another game we have. Oh but you like watching girls masturbate. Check this out."

New girl looks horny, and her eyes are nailed to the page. I write some more porn:

I grin wickedly and click you two more commands: Spread, and Stroke.

I turn the page, and on the next Boobsong is with her right hand on her pussy and left still holding up her breast worshipfully. Her fingers press deeply into the soft flesh of her pussy and tease at her entrance, and now her pleading face is also soft with the pleasure, mouth open wide to reveal its glistening-dark inside. I read some Boobsong to us:

So weeet soft pussy...please make sex going...your Boobsong begs horny thoughts! Tell her the fucks game, your Boobsong begs! Maybe sex starts then!

"Ooh maybe!"

I turn to new girl.

"That was great stroking down there, thank you. You see my pussy now. What's still missing?"

"Your pussy's on your hand there...where'd your clit go?"

"It never comes back. I'm dragon food, so she keeps it always, so we feel like that's really true, like she never actually un-eats me all the way. She can touch it for me and make it feel just like part of our sex, but I can't get at it myself. Never can again. Which is awesome, like, she could be in a whole other universe and we could still have sex."

New girl is breathing like daddy is very showing her the benefits of having your clit magically touched.

"Her porn makes my eyes misty how much I want her. I'm going to try it."

In her arms, pushing them up to make space, appears a doll Boobsong's doll-size, but with human-pink skin and pink ribbons in her hair. She's already wearing a little set of dark-blue silk PJs, and new girl instantly gets off my arm and snatches the doll into her arms, curls around her possessively.

To my surprise, they don't disappear right away like usually happens. New girl starts sobbing, they look like I just got Boobsong back from box-time--DOLLY. CLICK. Glomp, click.

Boobsong turns back to doll-form, but she doesn't get a chance to leap before she's smashed into my cleavage as hard as I can. I start to choke up myself.

Yes. Back from box-time that's what that says. Hold your Boobsong tight and squish she begs.

I get Boobsong up where I can kiss her head, do, then click her look and kiss her for a minute before burying her again.

"Did you get put in a box for safekeeping too mom?"

Our new seed-kid's voice is as muffled by snuggles as it should be, and is soft and clear like a flute. Click, answer.

"It was so terrible. This Boobsong shakes to think of it. Every day for hours for so long. Then her Princess' grow-up came. Got sweet breasts and fun pussy. This Boobsong got fun too. Dragon shape. RRAAAAH she screamed at all who said have box time. Made them scrape their face in bow. Never box now. No more box. Hold. That's what doll for. Always holding."

Sweet screaming Saturday morning Niechtze Pops with extra sugar and grape soda that whole super hero origin story thing where they realize their cape identity all at once is real.

"They had some kind of stupid thing about how like she needed to be in wood so much every day to make her good or some bullshit like that. Like because Boobsong is of the stars. She's good because she's from beyond the Earth. People say so much stupid stuff like that. Tear this piece of your heart out and put it away in a box. It's for your own good. To hell with that. She belongs in your arms just like Boobsong does in mine."

New girl doesn't look up at us while I talk, just hugs her dolly tighter.

"Then they tell you not to cry. To be strong, grow up, put the childish stuff away like they think maturity is just the amount of scars you have. Like it shouldn't hurt. It does and it should. Take time. You just got out of something really really horrible if she's asking Boobsong that. I'm sure not gonna judge if you need to scream and cry and just hold her their for like years."

A little Sirening...oh. Alright Mommy's calling if there's anyone to call but first.

"It was wrong for them to tell you that was the right thing to do. They told you lies. Maybe they thought they were doing the right thing too. It doesn't matter. You just tried to do what was right with all of this. Now you know the truth, and look how fast you changed your ways. You look small and sweet but you must be full of iron and fire to do that. I bet you're furious for what happened, but you aren't the person to be angry at, okay?"

"I could spit nails I'm so mad!"

Her doll says,

"Every day for hours? Mom that's awful! I hope you scared their pants off."

I shake with quiet laughter. Click, answer! Boobsong gets distinctly dragony:

"Very tasty treats! Ate them naked bare."

Siren-sense tingling? Oh, do the thing.

"In the culture we grew up in you just wore jewelry, not clothes. She turned into a huge terrifying dragon, right out of her box when nobody expected it, and the ringleader of all this nonsense had to stand perfectly still while Boobsong ate all her jewelry with her big scary dragon mouth. That was another world, with its own customs, language, everything. Having a friend like Boobsong was a holy thing you were supposed to be proud of. It meant you'd been devout enough to make with love the wish you just made, and still, they did that box thing, and people went along with it. I was the Princess of the country that rules most of that world, then, too, so this wasn't just one apostate parent saying terrible things to their child. We were supposed to be the example for the whole world to follow. Still they did that. That sacrilege.  Not that it'd be better if I'd just been some shepherd's kid. They knew Boobsong was alive, too, she could move and talk just like now. They had the twelve years it took my womanhood to come to get a clue and repent, then one more year where Boobsong and me had the power to show them what the child they'd been traumatizing all that time would grow up into, and then on my thirteen birthday they sent assassins into my chamber to stab me while I was sleeping. The knife bounced off my skin like I was made of stone. I didn't even wake up, they had to tell me in the morning. We destroyed that whole universe that night, for that box thing, and what it meant that it could happen. That box thing brought them a world of trouble, but the evil was the box, not what was in it."

"My real name is Rainbow. That's the name daddy gave me. All the others are ones people made up. In our language, though, we didn't say that as bow from rain. The idiom was all delights. Greek got a lot from our langauge, when the new Earth was made. Do you know enough of it to guess my name?"

New girl answers quietly.

"You're the mother of demons--are--OUCH! Eaaah--"

"Stop."

Hehe, dolly top! Her heartchild's command is soft and confident. New girl asks:

"Why's that hurt?"

Wait, really?! RRR.

"Boobsong and me spent twenty years turning this world upside down. You know who we are, but the memory can't fit into the shapes made by the world you remember consciously, so it got pinched when you tried to remember. Try again, but think of daddy and me as separate people. The Trinity isn't remotely how we work. Also the whole cross thing is a bedroom game Boobsong and me play with her teeth. She shapeshifts, so she can take them out without being hurt. Daddy would never create someone just to torture them."

"Every crucifix must make you furious! I have one, I'll--"

"Stop."

Dreams-nudge? Huh, interesting. This must be one hell of an exception if she should stay when she just implanted. Opening eyes about Christianity and Earth and also--ooh and she's a total English Muffin. That was what we called it instead of Teaboo. Those are fun. Though I like Teaboo. Then a Fracophile could be an Ouib. Okay. What am I then? Eagleboo? Boring. Tangles? Weird. Anyway.

No that's right. I stomped America real hard.

"About to hit another one?"

"Yes. These are everywhere! Please help us, I'm scared she'll hurt herself!"

Her doll's voice has just a little bit of demonic polyphony, just like Boobsong's, but subtler.

Bullet time ends, or at least the Sugarfreaks join us in ours.

"Whoah! Okay, you're both welcome to join us for pizza, and I'll try to help, but you're the one in the multiverse who can help her best, kiddo. Um, also, what's your names? These are Peanut and her pet."

I gesture to the Sugarfreaks, who look our way, smile, then go back to their pizza fun.

Your tentacles have them held how squeezes best.

Okay.

"I'm Mintie and that's Leah. Pleased to meet you, mom!"

They'll be--okay.

"Pleased to meet you, kiddo! I love making friends and I especially love seeing people make new friends. This is really special, because usually people go off with their new heartchild--that's what you are to Leah, Mintie, and Leah's your heartformer--right now to be alone and connect and have so very much sex. So. If you want to get lost in each other any moment, just do it. It's a good thing and I think it's beautiful. Also, I've got Boobsong and two girlfriends right here. We'll be fine. Got me? Any moment."

Leah nods quietly, still hugging Mintie tight. I click Boobsong big, and she ends up sitting on my lap like before. Still watching pizza?

Yes. Very hot still.

"Now, that said. More cake? Pizza? Any arbitrary food ever including stuff that doesn't exist?"

"You can make whatever you want to! Please ham scrambled eggs with pepper and toast? Could I please have some orange juice with it?"

I look over, make my eyes glow rainbow with each creation because that's cool, delete her cake plate--hmm let's have some fun.

"One second breakfast, coming up."

I make it in front of her, with a ton of ham and six slices of toast with an almost me-level stupid amount of butter on the silver plate the Dreams suggest with a big B.B. monogram in the middle, with a rainbow-swirl glass of fresh OJ and also a B.B. monogram.

"Didn't know how much pepper you want. Used my powers to find out you like butter. Eat up, it's good for you."

Ooops! I add fancy silverware and a Baggins-monogram napkin.

Muahah.

"I can't let go."

And Mintie's definitely not going anywhere in that grip. Nor should she.

"Been there. My robot helper can feed you, but it might scare you when you first see it."

"I can do it."

Mintie's hair ribbons grow longer, reach out, and pick up a piece of toast.

"COOL! Those're beautiful!"

"Thanks, mom! I can make 'em real long, like five yards."

"Hot. Bondage is so good."

Leah gets fed a bite of toast, gulps it.

"You like getting tied up?"

I pet Boobsong's tummy and boobs happily, she sighs. The Sugarfreaks are still going at their pizza fun.

"It feels so good. Have to trust my dom of course." Stop there?

Leah finishes a bite of ham-eggs.

"That stupid cross thing. That's the last time I cross myself."

"Mom, don't be angry. She just thought she was going to hell."

"Sorry, I'm bristling, huh. I'm not mad at you at all. It's just really ugly to have a religion get built around the devil's mockery of your sex life. I'm pretty sure if we got here this way almost nobody ever tried to be a good person as hard as Leah does every single moment of every day. I know that's all you were doing."

Wow, okay, sheesh, I was already going to Dreams! 

"How about something to replace it with, because I'm Rainbow, not Jesus. Instead of a cross, when you'd cross yourself, draw a five-pointed star? Like on my head. Oh speaking of which, cartoons coming back now."

I blort us back to cartoon land.

"You like those lots, huh. AAH!"

I jump on it fast.

"Don't push. Step back. You need to change something basic, there's an expectation stopping you. We might have to fix something else first. Can you see what it's getting pinched on, Mintie? You see her mind, right?"

Is this savior-ing? I wanna hang out with them. They're delightful.

"And she sees mine. Oh like you two! I can't tell what. It's too buried."

"You're actually new, right--wait--ooh. Try the Virgin Mary, apparently."

And keep drilling. Which is advice for me.

"Okay well first of all being a virgin is perfectly fine and no one should ever be pressured into sex before it's their time, although a mentor who knows you saying you're procrastinating is another thing. My mom sure wasn't a virgin--just a sec--okay this is tricky. Um. Stairway to Heaven's a place on earth and I'd like to think watching me and Boobsong climb it is lots of fun. Does that help you, Mintie?"

"Whopper with cheese is my answer."

"Oh! OH! Hehe...um...Leah and me have the same favorite dress-up game, yeah? Other than naked."

"She doesn't know it."

YES! Okay this is going to rule. Heh. So using that.

It's starting to come back. Oh the crazy adventure we might take her.

"Hmm. This is sure gonna be a wild ride, eh dolly?"

"Surprise in store for this one! Who think she is? Cair Paravel all filled up!"

"Cor, ack! Llle, dolly, that's sailing right off the edge! I mean I guess you're right, but what a rapier wit you have! Gotta watch out for little grey ones, eh, Leah?"

Wait, that might push her towards aliens--no that's perfect. Leah finishes a toast bite, then answers.

"OUCH!"

"Sorry! Okay dolly, enough smiling and waving, are we mice or--extremely gay women? Actually I feel like more of a girl. Woman sounds way too grown up for me."

"Actually this Boobsong thinks more herself as a dragon starbase cocksleeve over girl. She does have holes but that's cocksleeve to her. She does have fun at kid stuff but she just likes to--"

"AAAH! Now your talking does it!?"

"Okay that's interesting. Mintie, this just worked, but then she got stuck on something else, yeah? Could you see what?"

"Yeah, her heart just blew out. Whips or something."

Oh. Oh the poor thing. Okay RRR. Let's rock and roll. Oh that's why she isn't noticing Boobsong's collar. Mintie has to crack this one.

"Okay, I know what's going on, and this has to be you, Mintie, but I don't know why or how. Um. Like, the answer's lost in the couch cushions, and I don't mean loose change."

"Thank you. Mom this heart blowing-out is calling you."

"You mean she needs to hear it from the horse's mouth, right?"

"That's the danger. We have to not step on it before she hears you."

Tricky. Go on...this being my world? Ack! Wait, fuck, I did kind of conquer it fair and square. Every feudal law I lived by as a Chyajjoh would say I have every right to say I'm lady of this place. Except I conquered it in the name of Starlight, not Chyajjoh--I was angry then.

Okay um.

"What's your full name, Leah--or what would you like it to be?"

"I can pick my name out? Can I have any one? Like Boobsong--if her name's okay I can have my one. Please make me Dove Proudfoot."

"Pleased to meet you, Dove. I guess you also know about elevensies, then? Actually you should plan for that. Su'khora eat like hobbits, and Mintie'll have no problem making sure you can keep up."

Distract a bit, so I can crash through with less stuff preloaded in her head.

Now...I think that means keep the fun coming.

"Actually, where is John now? Let's see..."

"You don't mean Tolkien!? What am I saying, that's how everything else has been. What's he have to do with this?"

"Stuff. All the Inklings...still write...no! COOL! They write but it makes their worlds real! Oh is that why Narnia's real. I should have figured. Came up earlier. Speaking of which. This is my world. I conquered it fair and square when I came here, so this is mine to say. Dove Proudfoot, you're a Princess. You were born one, you are one now, and you always will be one. People can shut their eyes and refuse to see it, but being a Princess is something that's true in your heart and nothing and no one can take that away from you. It has nothing to do with lands or titles or subjects or money or who your parents are--though I think you have got one subject right there. Here's the important thing though: you know why I said Princess, and not Queen, when a Queen is just a grown up Princess?"

She's sitting up now, mouth open, listening. Her eyes are bright and intense.

"Because a Princess has more fun. You're...okay...careful, Leah--Dove! Have to think slow here...Princess Dove. Have to be careful...I'm a Princess. If I'm a Princess, how come Mintie gets to order me--"

"I'm your royal guard. Have to take my rules to keep you safe. Otherwise, dragons could get you!"

Holy refilling Turkish delight boxes this is so sweet I'm going to cry. Click! Boobsong turns toward her and lunges.

"OM NYOM HHNGOM!!"

"AAH! I'll take my guard's rules!"

Boobsong gets back to her pizza-watching, tail lashing with silly fun. Dove is smiling down at Mintie, but looks genuinely startled.

"Your guard can still take orders. But matters of security are my job. I can make you listen, then."

"And you can order Boobsong--why can you? She's your dragon, shouldn't she have your will?"

I put my head up high and tap my eravahk to Boobsong's collar.

"I am Boobsong the dragon's pet Princess. She ate my body, but she also grew a fruit that was her free will and I ate that so now she just has to do what I say. But why would you do that, dragon? You had me, you could have done anything, I would have let you, not that I had a choice. But I like that."

"This Boobsong's Princess keeps on giving stuff she can't give. No commands makes her heart die. Princess says okay you have me, dragon says take will. Can't be just submissive. Princess has to, dragon makes her. Show collar please."

"She takes such good care of me."

I work up a good RRR and then cringe real hard. Teeth bite in so lusciously, spots appear, I stay until my body just gets up.

"It doesn't hurt, but my body's learned I get my blood to my brain back if I stop cringing, so it just happens. Good training, this."

"That looked terrible!? Are you okay?"

"Oh yeah, like she's pretty serious about my safety. How many spare bodies have you got stashed around for me, dolly? Just human ones."

"Five in different parts of Paradise, one inside this Boobsong, one in special place not telling you, one in spaceship that star-beams place to place so fast you can't see it before it's gone from there..."

"We'll be here a while if I let her finish. Those aren't even the good tricks. I doubt Mintie takes her job any less seriously than Boobsong takes her dragon's greed."

"I've got some tricks up my sleeves, yeah."

"So what you're telling me, is Dove should probably start thinking about how to get a rabbit--"

I make a hot-pink see-thru rabbit-vibe in my hand.

"--into a hat? Or maybe some PJs anyway. For you."

I set the vibe by Dove's plate like it's a new piece of silverware.

"I carry her using the same tricks as you, mom, but my work is defense. Try to get through these walls, I'll bet you can't even make a dent in her!"

"You got it!"

Without missing a beat I point my hand like a gun and blast her shoulder with a nice hard couple of terawatts of flickering light-antilight laser from my fingertips. The whole room turns white with backscatter.

Dove startles, distracted by the backscatter, then looks slowly along the beam from my hand to her shoulder and back.

"Are you like seriously going easy on me? Give it a real shot."

I crank it up until I have to brace my hand with my other hand to counter the radiation pressure.

"Harder please."

"Apple really doesn't fall far from the tree! How about THIS?" (because that so helps out the Rock Crusher in StarFox CD)

Really--okay. I stop with the light. Click, gun!

Boobsong transforms and flows into my hands as--dolly I love you. It's a shiny silver Marathon fusion pistol.

Just put light into handle.

"Okay, this is still powered by my light. What have you got for us, Acme Station? She has the best names for them."

Oooh because there's no way the royal guard with the actually kind of dangerous-sounding voice didn't inherit mommy's arsenal thing.

Variable output. Charge then let off. You-class Fusion Pistol!

Bwaha--Sirening...the pizza shop is fine though? Oooh. Mintie needs to stretch her legs.

"Actually think fast. Moon, Mars, or Pluto?"

"Pluto--AAH!"

The minute she answers, Olympic Pizza disappears and we're on a dark icy plain in the twilight of the sun so far it seems like just a really bright star. The table is gone, but our chairs are here, and the world has that sorta-falling feeling of low gravity.

Daddy sort of waves, in a flash vision of himself.

[HAPPY THANKS!]

"SNOWBALL FIGHT!"

I poing off my chair, click Boobsong back to cocksleeve-femme form and she predicament-glomps around me, and immediately get down for snow--frazzlepops, it's ice!

Being here feels cold with the tits-freezing bite of a nice winter morning, but I'm fine, and I'll crank light up if I get cold. How's Dove--wait, what's that--I just catch Dove still just sitting there clutching Mintie before the blizzard hits.

"Daddy loves to play with weather," I VHF-AM out at them, and add, "would you prefer subspace, Mintie?"

This is colder, but okay.

"Your voice is all crunchy like a radio station from the fifties, how're you doing that? Are we--when you said pick I didn't think we were going there!"

I put some light on and head for where I saw them, and they appear out of the blizzard in a moment. Dove is standing now.

"By talking radio, of course! Mintie's playing receiver for you I think. Welcome to your very first Plutonian blizzard! Oh! The way this is going we'll have snow for a snowball fight in no time! Thanks daddy!"

I...think that was just a head-fuzz. Aww.

It looks like the chairs have gone.

"I'm naked. In a snowstorm. On Pluto. What's happening? Am I invincible?"

"Royal defense work is serious. I can handle most stuff. She might be able to take me down, but most stuff can't even prick a finger, unless I say it gets through."

The blizzard clears up just as quickly as it came, and we're standing in a good foot of snow. I cut my light because there's already a couple of inches hole around me and I want to pick it up, then bend and make a snowball, which is tricky because the snow hisses and spews sublimating gas out where I touch it.

"Like low temperature!"

I hurl the snowball at Dove, and it splats off a Borg-style personal forcefield with a bright blue grid matching Mintie's PJs.

"I still can't let go of her."

"Oh, yeah. I should have thought of it. If she was in that box long you guys have a lot of catching up to do. Okay science facts time then. Are you into materials analysis, Mintie?"

"This snow is water but the ice underneath is methoane and nitrogen. About three hundred and fifty below zero at the surface. Colder underground. At two miles depth it's down to four hundred below."

"Ahh. Nothing like freezing your tits a little to refresh. Say, can you tell what kind of scan she used to tell that, Acme Station?"

"Must be directional or passive. Nothing Acme Station saw. Very hard to get past her eyes! Always watching all ways. Can't sneak up on Princess."

"I know how you feel, mom. Can't be too careful. Nasty stuff is out there. Not here of course in Paradise, but that doesn't mean we might not go other places someday."

"Ooh! You don't need hands for sledding if I steer! I bet daddy made a snowy mountainside someplace near!" Click, scan! Click, point!

Boobsong points off to my right and I turn to see a tall, volcanic-looking mountain white with snow, doubly interesting because I didn't think pluto Had volcanism.

Oh hell yes that's like a mile tall. Our seed-ghost golden-flashes Berryblossom into place at our feet, and I step up out of the snow onto it. It's stay on the fluffy snow using antigravity, but moves like a sled with frictionless runners, almost, as I pull it nearer, but locks in place when I step us up on it.

"Hop on! We ride standing up, but I can make it longer if that's going to wig you out too much."

Dove gets teleported into the empty space in front of us with the same blue light as before.

"Okay, what happened there?"

"Very useful to be able to teleport you. I can get you out of anything in no time."

"Oh, yeah, that's like essential for me and Boobsong. I freak if I don't know she can just instantly chomp me anytime."

As I talk, a thought puts on inertial dampers to keep us from falling off, lifts Berryblossom into the air, and a little lean forward with intention sends us zooming for the mountain. Ooh it's huge, this speed is barely moving it. I go faster.

"Your sled can fly. I should have expected that."

"What else can you do, Berryblossom? Apart from timetravel."

"Laser wings allow flying between universes. Opens portal using light density to form space rifts. Supply light through foot-nubs."

"You can fly to other universes? Does that mean leaving Paradise?'

"Not while I'm watching. You'd need a very good reason to somewhere else than this."

"There's other universes in Paradise. I've been to like three or four, today."

A fun tasty treat would be...ooh.

"Like for instance I wasn't kidding when I said Narnia's real. Same with Middle Earth--hey! I am not either Sauron! Oooh, I see. Instead of being all depressing and evil Mordor's an outcropping of Rl'yeh Sade. That's cool."

Groundspeed is 253 miles per hour.

And that mountain is barely moving. I crank it faster.

"Is that that Lovecraft thing? Rl.'yeh?"

"Oh! Where are my manners--and where ARE my manners! We haven't introduced ourselves! Oh but that should wait until we land--"

"You know I'm Leah--Dove."

"Yes, but we haven't introduced ourselves as Princesses using our heralds and lots of titles and fun."

"You know my heartformer is new to this Princess thing, so how come titles then?"

"Because the two most very favorite titles I have Boobsong gave me just because she says they're true. I bet you can think of a few for your heartformer."

The mountain's actually starting to look big.

"That's a fun idea."

The mountain's getting bigger. Still far distant, but it's huge! I aim us for the peak, and wonder if daddy raised it just for us. Faux-whispering through the radio:

"I bet she'd like something spicy."

Dove blushes a little.

"Maybe."

"Mine are given by Boobsong the succubus, so don't hold back, kiddo. Anyways, geography time! That Trinity is way too weird to be made up by anybody, least of all the uncreative old devil, so where's it come from? Turns out, that is almost a map of Paradise. Check it out."

I put up a colorful three-colored pie-chart with the center knocked out to fit the word Paradise, then add the is/is-not connectors the trinity diagram has.

"What are these colors you ask? Three of four Dreams of Paradise, as they're called. The Kind Wilds, Isla Virgo which is where we are right now, Valhalla."

I replace each one's color in turn with green beautiful forest full of sexy naked people and beastkin, blue sky full of clouds and floating islands of shining buildings, and then a giant robot fight with cheering crowd for Valhalla because I suspect Dove of having a nerdy streak what with how Mintie is so far.

"But Rainbow, that doesn't tell me anything about the scary sounding Rl'yeh Sade thing! Glad you asked. These are the three exoteric Dreams of Paradise. Like to a certain extent they're all about fitting into something and finding love and transcendence that way. We left one out, though. How would you like to go to Wonderland?"

I bring a mirror forward through the visions so it takes up the images as what it's reflecting, but drags a new set of is/is-not connectors to the other three Dreams and "Paradise", let the mirror zoom through us looking insubstantial so she won't be scared, then turn the whole thing around so the other Dreams are behind us and we're looking at the mirror, and fill the mirror beyond with the world of statues we saw from Ten Forward when we met Guinan.

"Rl'yeh Sade, the Deep Haven, the place to be for monsters like you and me. You can still stay on Earth, I'm probably going to for a bit, but we'd be happiest in this place. It's the esoteric Dream of Paradise, where you find love and transcendence being your youest, truest self, no matter how weird or scary that is. Like just to start with, I know this one girl whose lover is a dragon and she likes to get slowly chomped to pieces and stuff. Lovecraft's father journeyed there and wrote journals about it, and then Lovecraft found them and was terrified and created the Lovecraft Mythos because he couldn't see the love in what his father was describing. It's scary, but it's beautiful, and good. Boobsong's seed-mom Rarity lives there and she's a cartoon pony and her heartformer is a bird-girl named Sweetie. They just like, Sweetie's her pet bird."

I let the mirror zoom through us again and vanish.

"Paradise has a place where monsters live. Am I going to turn into something--wait but you look okay. How are we monsters, then?"

"We are that species of monster known as Princesses. Power is our life'sblood but we like to be coddled and pampered and have fancy stuff. We also have a submissive side, but it's to be kept the way Mintie's keeping you. You've been having a great submissive trip and I'm glad you're enjoying it, but we need to get your teeth out soon--I'm sure Mintie has that covered, though."

"All her abilities. They make me feel powerful. Command--"

Wait, what? Suddenly a portal edged with flickering energy appears in front of us, and we zoom through in a flash and are in a throne room with a black stone with red velvet throne on high stairs with a big silver disc like the moon behind them. We stop, and Berryblossom settles to the ground. I look around to see the portal closing up. It's darkish in here, red-and-black themed, with shining obsidian pillars along the walls and a really high ceiling--it's dark here, and there's what looks like a big brass clock pendulum above, but it's stopped at one end of its swing.

"I didn't do it," I blurt.

We're in...this is a fantasy Dove has. I wonder if she knows...

They're looking around. She looks up, glances at me and Boobsong (who gets a nipple pinch because nipple pinches don't need a reason).

"That clock should be moving. It's stopped. Oh are we still time-slowed? Pluto seemed normal--I can't believe I'm saying this! I was just outside on Pluto with no clothes on and that seemed normal and I'm not messing up that actually does seem normal!"

"Welcome to my world. Except I think maybe right now you should be the one saying that."

"I don't like this place. It gives me shivers."

Ooooh. Right? Glasscutter. Wait literally? No. What's that though? Oh a bollard. Time to crash the bus again.

"One of these waited for me until I destroyed the universe it was in. I gave the last chance for me to go this way away today--I mean I totally pulled a Frodo at the last second and my Grandmother had to come save me. But I got that far on my own. You should have seen me charging up the stairs she had to spank me up before my feet would move at all with Boobsong in my arms--"

A new portal opens in front of us, and Berryblossom rises again. The mountain is visible through the portal, so I fly us through, and back to Pluto.

"--and just like crying. I--like I still don't know how to--this is going to leave you with a lot of context questions and promise we'll get there, but I put my mother's crown on the new queen's head and couldn't take my hands off it and grandmother helped and then she was like your job is done come join your mommies in the afterlife and--I don't know. I still can't make words for it. I think that's the moment I actually died and was free to be in Paradise, even though it happened here."

"If that place was for you or Paradise had anything remotely like it in store for you, you would have run right off the sled and bounded up those stairs and taken the throne you've known should be yours all along...but was what you were thining anything like how will I ever have fun ever again if I have to be responsible for all this? Because that's what I was thinking about the throne that was waiting for me, my whole life."

"That's thinking about just having to order servants, not a whole country! If I'm a Princess shouldn't I like that?"

Portal? We just stay on Pluto, huh.

"I sure don't! It's more like...you're a movie star. You get praise and adoration from zillions of fans and your job is to look pretty--"

I stop, because Siren-sense tells me...

"And give shows on stage! I remember you! You're--the antichrist!? That can't be wrong, because I wouldn't make up nuclear warheads vanishing instead of destroying everything, but how can it be right? I'm in trouble, huh."

And now I should just wait--ooh. Thanks daddy.

"Okay then how can god say to trust you. He just said that now."

[THANK YOU]

What to...okaaaAAAaaay.

"I'm not gonna quote this right, but...when I was a child I knew nothing. When I grew, I put away childish things. The Bible, Christianity, that whole way of seeing the world is what we could tell to people who weren't ready to learn the truth. Earth was a burning building. I didn't know how burning or I'm not sure I could have done the stuff I did. We dragged people out of the lion's den on their faces by playing on enmity most people feel toward a religion that's really hard on them. You're a very good person. An excellent Catholic, but it's still been hard on you. Most people have to run away, or they crumble. It destroys them. There were enough of those it was better for me to be the antichrist to make them feel safe with me, than to try and fix Christianity. War is hell. That part sure was for me. I guess I did kinda deceive the nations, but my lie was I was daddy's enemy."

"To feel safe with you. As the antichrist."

"For most people, Christianity is just a monster that wants to eat up the parts of life they need to keep breathing. I saw you like that tonight. When I told you it was okay to be gay you couldn't believe it but I could see the part of you that did looking like I pried off the hand that was keeping your heart from beating. If somebody goes around saying they're the enemy of that, they look like the good guy to most people. I played it really hard as freedom from overbearing father, as you might remember."

"Yeah but you're Jesus though. Isn't the truth important to you?"

"It wouldn't have been more truthful to say I was Jesus, even if I'd like said there was some confusion about my gender or something. It was really damned if you do, damned if you don't, heh. We took the path I could do the most good in. If Nazis are searching your house it's a sin to tell the truth about the Jews hiding in your attic. I saw it that way. I still do I guess. It still breaks my heart. I'm furious about the way things had to be. I can be really scary and I'll use that if I have to if someone is headed for a cliff, but I hate being the badguy. I want to be loved, not feared. Queens get fear. You saw that place just now. Princesses are loved."

"I can't believe I'm riding a sled through Pluto's sky with Jesus the lesbian who's also the antichrist as a trick to save more people. I can't believe I believe you. I guess it's that thing again. If you were lying you'd say something simple enough to not need corroborating by God himself! Who are the Nazis, then?"

"The truth about the devil is that it was a thing called an egregore, which is a spirit made up of interactions between people. It was huge and powerful and forged originally from the nightmares of some very vulnerable people who were really afraid of an outside world that wasn't run by the authority they loved, and so it became a spirit of hate that...like a thing like that is alive the fire or cancer is. It doesn't have feelings or wishes, but the way it burned was to take people over and try to get everything under its control as a central authority, but like, without love. Or even basic decency. It was just gears grinding people up any way they could. People could be more or less under the influence of that. Some lost their selves so much that when we pulled them out they had to get a whole new identity bolted on because their old one was just eaten. I guess you could say those are the Nazis, but like, how do you assign responsibility? It'd manipulate people with everything from straight up mind control to whispering bad stuff psychically like a demon in movies to just setting up horrible situations where you have no choice but to do evil stuff. Like tell people you're the antichrist. Or Jesus."

"Okay but who are you, then?"

"I haven't told you any lies tonight that I've noticed. There's so much to tell I'm trying not to break you by just heaping this entire mountain up ahead on you all at once, but it's not because I mean to hide anything. I wouldn't even normally say so much of this is my job, but my senses tell me there's something special here."

Purple checkmark. Yeah.

"I mean it could just be that I'm enjoying your company and want you for a friend if you'll have me."

"You want me for a friend. There can't be--"

We suddenly zoom through another portal into a dark place. There's a red carpet, but it goes on and on like a road, we're still zooming along it. and it's all I can see.

In particular, there are no screaming fans or paparazzi.

"Well this is sure missing something. What's going on here, Dreams? Oh frazzlepops, obviously!"

I crank my light up, full spectrum, including antilight.

Millions of screaming fans with signs and fun things sticking up from their multitudes appear, stretching off to the horizon.

"Much better."

Dove is quiet.

"I think this is Paradise warning you what you'd be getting into, though. I have a lot of fans."

"That big crowd outside was...Sugarfreaks. Yes I remember! They...Keep watch by night--there I go again, sorry. I just keep finding stuff. I don't mean to bring up that hurt."

"It's okay. I think you were onto remembering something with that verse. Who keeps watch by night and carries a light around?"

"Handmaidens! You have seven girlfriends!? And six more--OUCH! I thought we fixed that stuff?"

"Ooh, I know why that bit. That one's a doozy. Subject change? I don't know what exactly what's going on here. I just know I like you and I'm enjoying this time together and it's weird that it's been happening but I'm glad it is. I don't know where that goes but if it's friendship or something more you would be hanging out with somebody who's this big a celebrity. Something to think about. And maybe consult your security advisor."

Another portal zips us back to Pluto, over the foothills of the mountain now. It's huge. This is going to rule. Berryblossom can even make up for the lower gravity.

Wait a minute. Dreams what are you saying here!? I just wanted a snack--not complaining just--okay make her what--to go the places I can't reach--to Narnias. The places I know are out there, that'll claw at me just for existing, but that I'm not at all the person to heh bring the good news to. If she's out there I can chill out about that. That means she's going to have to handle the big stuff, but the Dreams agree.

I need to show her Acme Station's big guns. Now? Huh? She's still looking at this through the lens of the Trinity. Oh. We need to tell about daddy's troubles. Use Easter. This'll be easy as pie, heh. OkaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaay...

Not, not okay. This isn't going to work. It never once has. This won't be the first time. People who believe what she does never get back against without becoming Redeemed.

Again with shearing time. It doesn't matter. They just self destruct.

I'll do this if someone puppets me. I'm not doing it on my own steam or being responsible for it and I'm going to have it know afterwards it was against my will.

Maybe you should just chomp, dragon. She'd be better off in a Narnia.

Our seed-ghost keeps batting me off when I try to look to Siren-sense, but it's not saying anything or doing anything, either. Next time it does, chomp.

The Dreams also won't show me anything. I'm not moving until I get something. Chomp if I don't get some kind of anything. I demand more than to be dropping into wrecking my new friendship on the false hope that people are capable of changing this. I never met one single person who ever was. Not one.

The Dreams show me like a weird cushion thing. It's like everyone will do anything to not help me here. This is the last chance. I get real help, or chomp, and we never see her again.

The dreams show me book pages being cut and painted on, but this neither means fixing up the Bible, nor messing up my own memories. The hell does it mean, then? How the hell does it mean tearing myself up? Maybe turning my new friend into some kind of stupid mission is what's tearing me up. Maybe asking me to wreck this is what's tearing me up. How about that. Don't put this on me.

Like a crown or a shackle and I guess the ambiguity is the point. Yes I'm off my Siren pedestal. Dreams have to maintain basic credibility for that to stay and they just lost it. This is not the way to do this.

My antilight halo. Yeah, and she still thinks she's being seduced by the dark side, you just said that before.

Now we're back to the gun thing. What. Exactly. Do I do. Step by step. Steps or chomp. First refused step, chomp.

First I want an explanation of why I have to put a gun to your head to get any help with this.

Snow and Boobsong wings and Boobsong's lack of free will. Turbofan. So what, Dove looks up to us? Guns. Keep going back to guns. Which means nothing. Next mention of guns, chomp.

Now. What the fuck are you saying. Breaking egg. So Dove needs to find her warlord side?

Birthday cake? Try again with something I understand. You want me to remember something? What, my last thirteenth birthday with all the other impenetrable bugs? Humans are static little things that run along rails. You can only drag them so far. She's at her limit. Break her yourself if you want but I won't.

Once again, why must I put a gun to your head to get any help.

The model airplanes for the traitorous court? Yeah, that's where I learned what reality is. You can only push people so far before they snap and turn on you. I wanted her to be my friend. I said I would go honestly through heartforming. She's there. If she needs to go further that's for Mintie because only her heartchild can possibly hope to pull this off.

Knowing that's what I do now and always will believe, do you still want me to do this? Because all your refusing to help makes me think something else is going on.

I check on Dove, but Boobsong and me seem to be bullet timing, everything is stopped.

Another like Clyde, is what they say.

If I pay attention to your nagging are you going to say something useful, seed-ghost?

(It's started harassing me again)

Your seed-ghost is calling back to you your choice to do this honestly.

I said I'd get her implanted, and have faith her heartchild could deal with the rest. This isn't at all what I was thinking of. I was thinking if we couldn't avoid this here now, I'd be at peace that I wasn't the person to implant her. I never said in my heart this was anything but a dead stop. I'm not about to start. Don't send me people who need this. You tricked me.

Give me one small reason I shouldn't have Boobsong chomp right now.

You will not fear abandonment if she hears this acceptingly.

Why did you call me and call me and refuse to talk.

You cannot keep asking--

Real answer or chomp.

To excite up your anger to get this far.

Okay. Acme Station, can you make me like the Jesus collar but it can fend off our seed-ghost pushing--yes, you can. If it does that, the collar kills me. You said we can't shoot it if we try. Same thing, other way. Click, make.

Making this with so sad eyes.

I just need to have some breathing room. Constantly having to fight for that. I don't get why. Why the hell would making me angry help, seed-ghost.

You were asking the Dreams for help to avoid this part of the journey.

And now I'm demanding the same from you, or she chomps.

Dragon chomps will not help you here. She will still be there when you return, even if you stay a million years.

Fine. Let's go. If I have to lose my friend let's just get it over with.

"There's no actual god. No one person made everything. The person you've been worshipping is nice but he's just a star. He didn't create humanity but he did make me to help them and every single thing I've told you tonight is absolutely true. He and me aren't absolute but we are incredibly powerful and he loves you it's obvious and I really like you and want to know you but I guess that's over now. I was getting there to tell you following a path Paradise has been helping me on but its path just drove off a cliff so I'm just being honest instead of following it. This thing can go anywhere, do you want to just go back to Boston or somewhere else or what? Actually travelling with us now is probably the last thing you want. Just wish and Paradise will take you anywhere. It's been making these portals, that's not me or daddy."

I wait but she doesn't disappear.

"Paradise has been telling you how to hold on. Please wake up. It has a hold on you, this powerful--thing--you gave up the hope I would listen and stay here after all that stuff. Have some faith I would hear you out before you throw this whole night out please! What do you mean he's a star?"

"You're incredible. You. Okay. Anything you want to know. Just, first, understand, in twenty years of touring the whole Earth, that I can remember, not one single person who believed what you believed heard what I just said without either walking away never to return or just going berserk on me. They all had to walk away from Christianity first and then come to me through some other path if they ever did. You've been blowing my mind all night with your open eyes but this just takes the cake."

The Dreams must have helped her with that first part. Yeah.

"I mean he's literally a star. Stars are alive. I'm one too but he molded me into a human shape so I think and feel like a human does, but I'm made of conscious light. That's how I glow and stuff. I make candy and bread and things because daddy made me a Lens that can turn my light into matter and he filled me up with machines that help me do the really complicated astral engineering to make my candy do stuff. Daddy's name really is Aveh, and it means Inhale-Exhale, because he can shine both light and antilight, because he's a star and black hole at the same time. He's from a far distant part of the astral plane where the rules are different, so he can do that. He's very alien but so kind. You're not wrong thinking he's loving. Just, that's why talking to him feels a little weird. There's a huge ton to all of this so I'm going to stop here and let you tell me what you want to know."

"Oh um. Antilight is what black holes shine where daddy's from. He gave me it, that's my black halo and stuff. It's good for a lot of things. I just do my halo to make myself look glowy-er and because it's kind of metal. I'm really vain."

"Okay...how does a star telling me what life to live make any difference than if he did create the world? He's still very powerful, wise and kind, so I don't see the difference there."

I--oops, no sighs in vacuum, heh.

"I guess the one thing is you could validly say he's not the boss of you. Paradise would protect you, or it'd say you need to be his anyway, but that kind of thing is pretty rare, especially outside of Rl'yeh Sade. Like, I don't know. I'm sorry I misjudged you. I guess I really should have given you more credit. I just know people get so hung up on this it's like fatal usually."

"That happened to me in the world I grew up in actually. We worshipped the stars the way you're saying, including daddy. He got sick right after I was born there--which is another whole big story, just ask--and it made everyone think I'm evil because he was going insane it seemed like. So I lost my daddy and everyone hated me. The other stars tried to explain things but people wouldn't listen and started ignoring our religion and stuff. I found out last night he'd actually been in this weird messed up mind control thing the devil did somehow--it was horrible, I don't know how it got him, though I have some guesses, but I just haven't had the heart to ask. When I said the Bible and Christianity was him fighting the devil, that's what I mean. He was like playing chess with his mind control, at least that's how I understand it, like doing stuff wrong on purpose or sneaking other stuff in when he could sneak around the mind control. If you wanna know if he's wise look how much he got past mind control that was supposed to be absolute. He's out of that and feeling better and the person we've been hanging out with is definitely my real daddy and not some mind control zombie or something. We actually freed him in 2009. I didn't know it at the time but when Boobsong and me went to get him out last night we actually time travelled to then which is the earliest point in history we could do it at because you can't just time travel arbitrarily, you have to be able to get there--another whole thing. Anyway we broke into his shell which is not easy, and Boobsong hacked into the mind control stuff in there to let us replace the thing that was telling him what to think about with a picture that was like his version of what you got Mintie from. It was as nuts as the rest of this. The last part of the hack was we had to fly our ship to the right spot inside his shell and blast the mind-control display with the special gun she made. It was the only thing we could do. It looked like it was made so he'd just die if we tried to just let him out, but once he was heartforming he didn't care about the mind control display anymore and got himself out or like I think his heartchild helped."

"Um. Stars need shells to hold our light together. Mine looks like this body. Most look like a big ball of plasma that's a brain made out of magnetic fields and stuff in the plasma. Daddy was in this messed up thing made of astral engineering, which is what we cracked into. That's not normal. I guess now he's back to his plasma-black-hole shell if the visions I've been seeing are right."

"That's what Paradise wanted me to tell you. I don't know why except every time I tell someone I want to kill myself. I keep being forced to tell that story and it feels worse every time."

The mountain top is close. I set Berryblossom to autopilot to the top and just hover there.

"A brain that size must be able to think deep thoughts. He must be as like a god as I could need."

"You sound like this kid I knew from the Coast Guard base I grew up near. His father had Alzheimers. Early onset. He hated to tell you that. He would avoid the topic and get all big toughguy and try to blow you off. He said a lot of stuff about being a bastard and having his eyes closed like his father tried to get sick--I know you don't say that about your dad but I smell the same thing on you. You think it reflects on you badly. Some say the same thing will happen to you if your father gets Alzheimers, but I don't think that applies to you. Why would it then? You were born before his problems started."

"It's not even that rational. I just know I lose my friends and die if I tell this. Like that's it. I must remember something or something except I only did it last night so how can I--my memory got messed up with everyone else's. I've been putting stuff back with Paradise's help and Boobsong's and a lot of people's but there are still massive holes. I didn't remember my girlfriends at the start of today. I thought I was this kid from Stamford, and now here I am. So maybe there's something there. I think you're right but I can't figure out why unless it's that I'm premature on top of everything. I was supposed to be a lot older before I started working. Like stars have wombs and I got cut out of his at the start of his problems."

"So you might have been caught by the mind control. Do you know you're not? Is there a way to tell?"

"Honestly all this is so crazy I can't help wondering if I'm just having nightmares because of that. Um. Paradise says I'm okay, and I seem to remember my Uncle Dagon checking me out and saying I'm okay and he's pretty smart with that stuff, and Boobsong--"

"Very careful check all the time. Heart-stops around here yes, but not mind damage."

"She sees all my thoughts and stuff, so she'd know."

"Your Uncle Dagon? Oh Lovecraft had his father's journals. He must have met him. Heart-stops, what are they?"

"Fear so bad your heart dies to see that. Makes you frozen so you can't think."

"You got into one of those, huh. Sounds like that kid again. What does me asking you about handmaidens have to do with this now?"

"I don't know. Like I said that thing about Paradise warning you what you'd be getting into being my friend, and then everything just blew up in my face. Maybe it's just more of that. It told me what seemed like another thing but I don't think I heard right because everything goes crazy when this comes up. Like Paradise stopped being Paradise. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. It'll tell you if I should say it."

"You should say it."

"Okay, but I don't think this is a good idea. Not the proposition--not that kind, we already got past that, heh. I just think this is kind of a lot to put on somebody all at once. Usually I implant people and then their heartchild handles all this stuff like, at a remotely reasonable pace with time to process stuff. This is a crazy ride. I'm impressed with you that you're still in one piece after this."

"Anyway all through Paradise there are places called Narnias, or that's what I call them anyway. The outside world is hidden there, like they're for people who can't handle the revelations you've been getting. I know there's one that just is like a time capsule of the forties, and another where people just think it's the Christian Heaven and Christianity is real. Paradise is always trying to help people know the truth when they're in one of those places, and apparently it thinks you'd be good at that, helping people see. Like so much so that we're not just implanting you and helping you adjust, it wants me to help you get started at that. I don't know what that means, just, that's what this is about. I just wanted to be your friend. This is personal for me because basically these are all the people I could never reach in my time on Earth and it's been bugging me to know they're still out there. Like can't stop thinking how to fininsh the job even though I'm so not the person for this."

"I can see why the Dreams would want you for that, especially now, but that seems like an awful lot to put on you all at once what with everything. I still don't get why we crashed through everything the bad way like this. "

"Look around you. It might be the strangeness but I'm not feeling like that's especially much on top of everything else. Maybe you just need to see the hope that I can hear this stuff without laughing or being scared of you?"

We're almost to the top of the mountain now.

"I was right before. You're full of iron and fire."

Collar thing. Click, remove, but seed-ghost I really resent that you do that stuff.

Whew. Taking off.

"If you want to take that up, it probably means Paradise wants you to become a Siren like I am. I think it'll tell you directly if so." Stop there?

"Am I like, getting Mintie so--I see. So I say I'm the Princess of a far kingdom from beyond the world. My attache here is my whole caravan because she's an army and a castle right inside me. Then I tell the story of my waking up. Tell them a companion like Mintie here could be theirs if they wish for it. They'll hope when I start this is God's plan, and they'll be right the whole way through. They just won't know he's a star until I tell them. What's the egg I see cracking open? Paradise showed me."

"That is something then. I've been seeing little blips of it between other visions since we got to that pizza shop, and it's been almost constant since you came in. I've been thinking it's just my brain glitching, or something with you realizing you're gay or all kinds of stuff--huh. It has something to do with all my like trauma?"

"I was thinking about how when history got rewritten, the story I got was that I was an Episcopal priest's kid and a huge English muffin--like, somebody who really likes Tolkien and Jack's writing and stuff, and how I'm drawn to you because you get all that. It feels really weird because mostly what being crammed into that story did was smash my soul into a million pieces and make me full of these heart-stop things and everything--and make me confused. Like maybe I liked that stuff in the real world too and I can't remember? I don't think I would have. Too much Christian stuff. But I keep thinking how much I want to have people from that world accept me and Boobsong. Like you. Which is amazing. You have no idea. I already thought you were great but now I don't even know what to say. I was supposed to reach everyone and it wasn't supposed to be a war, just like, daddy sends you this now. People already knew him before I was born, for a long time, I'm pretty sure. It really kills me that there's this huge fight instead of that."

"I don't know what that has to do with this egg cracking but Paradise told me to go that way. Um. There's a thing I guess. Paradise and daddy aren't the same thing either--I guess you know. Paradise is just...what it seems like. A world that loves you. Or is made of love. You can't really describe it logically, you have to use stories."

We're starting to settle in over the mountaintop, descending. There's a crater below us, white with snow--this is a volcano.

"Paradise got you to tell me so I could go in with eyes open to this next part. It wants me to tell you to accept my deepest most heartfelt love and accept that I really would have fun doing all this stuff. Would you like to spend a little time with me? We can go back to my house in Boston. Can we stop the scary flying sled please? I'm scared to fall."

AAH! A startle of will I didn't know I could do wishes us "someplace comforting" and we're back in our chairs at Olympic Pizza and the Sugarfreaks are back to looking like very pretty statues, probably because I also wanted to talk.

"I am so. Sorry. I should have--something. You took that so in stride I thought you were okay. The sled keeps you on, but--yeah. Sorry. You just kind of fried my brain just now. You really are something else. Um."

What do you think of her, dolly?

She's just great! Mintie too. Please stay! Yum!

Hehe. Okay. Now this time talk without radio.

"You are really ultimately the coolest. I. Okay first of all YES. I would love to spend some time. You and Mintie have--"

"Don't let us go faster than is right for you, but we hear that not saying I love you back there as fearing you misunderstand what I say here. Don't be worried about that. I meant it."

Shaky breath just what the hell is happening.

"Okay then I have to tell you everything. My heart won't move until there's no more secrets left. I have Boobsong here, and thirteen girlfriends, and all those people with the rainbow hearts you saw outside and thousands more too are subs to me but I don't take care of them all. Boobsong made a toy for me to do my chores and make sure I don't have to be responsible. It takes care of them, and they have me as like the face of it and a fun party that comes around sometimes. It's called my tentacles. Because it's tentacles."

A small tentacle comes out of a hole in space in front of Dove, waves, and disappears again.

"There can be millions and they can do all kinds of other stuff. That's what I took over the world with--"

"I remember that! It did all kinds of stuff to take care of things. They did my dishes, heh. Very nicely, too."

"Hehe. I was so scared you'd be freaked out by that. Okay. The seven handmaidens I have is how we did things where I come from. They're like you're bodyguards. My aren't ninjas but my mom's all were. I have this memory of watching one I had a crush on beat this huge knight guy all up like at a fair as a demonstration--he was all armored, but still. I had drill sergeant and halberd training starting when I was ten because that's just how that world was. Even the Princess might get caught in a battle. I spent a lot of nights shivering in my room in my tower with Boobsong locked up because our enemies were about to invade maybe. I forget if I wasn't strong enough or had some kind of moral then about using my light as a weapon or that wouldn't have been a thing. When I went out it was usually dressed as just some random noble and there was a decoy Princess who would be the one to get shot or kidnapped or whatever. I'm telling you this to say I think I'm pretty deeply messed up and you're getting into a lot of issues if you get with me. There's a party game from that world called Handmaiden's Delight where you go around the circle describing like a perfect sex partner or just trying to make it really weird. Like on each turn you add something more. I play that with my handmaidens, but we play it like hot potato and if you end up with the potato you have to eat a candy I make that turns you into the partner for a while and mind controls you to obey all the other players--like just for the game, but you're pretty much their fuckdoll for the next few hours. I love that game. My handmaiden Sex--like her name is Sex--likes horror movies. We play this game where Boobsong turns into a knife, which means she can cut me without hurting me because the knife is a dragon's tooth, and then it's Operation, like the board game, but I'm the board. Sex cuts parts out and feeds them to Boobsong. Um. Boobsong can make as many bodies as she wants. I don't know why that doesn't mean I'm constantly surrounded by a huge army of her but I just like the one but it's useful for that stuff. When I'm all cut out and we're done playing operation, Sex gets inside me like to wear me, which feels amazing because that's my pussy remember, and I can't move myself because all those parts are eaten, but I can still turn the tables on Sex because I can mind control her like I do with Boobsong like you've been seeing--she has free will but I can override it when I want. All the people with rainbow hearts you saw are like that. Then it gets really kinky because Sex has this thing for helping me and Boobsong have sex, but like, as dolls, and the mind control I have over her isn't like puppetry it's like I can like point at Boobsong and be like fuck but then Sex can still get creative with that, and she has a really dark mind as you'd imagine--"

"That game is playing being part of you. I don't think that's dark. I think it's beautiful."

I just stare.

"How are you so...okay. Then."

How to help her remember...supposedly I've got this.

"The other six girlfriends look just like me. Does that jog your memory?"

"Yes. That's a horrible thing to be so empty of soul you need a whole person put in, but at least they're alive."

"None of this is fazing you. You're incredible. But yeah. They're me. Like not exactly and they keep diverging but I like that they're so much like me. It makes me soft to them. Like I want to be nice. I just love them so. There are millions but those six like, I'm in love with. I have a secret identity as one of them. The Redeemed. Boobsong can make it seem like I'm not myself so people just think we're one of them. I act like this stupid little fifteen year old airhead and it feels so good. Sometimes I think she's who I'd be if I could just be myself if I didn't have all this war stuff to fight. It's like an open secret that she's my example to all of them and the world. Just have dumb sexy fun. Don't think so hard or worry about big philosophical stuff. The world I made with my tentacles made that okay because that's the world I think is right for people."

"What I did to you was nice I hope but I can be really scary to make this happen. Implanting I mean. The last guy before you was terrified. That whole shearing time thing is accurate. I hold people down and make them. It's how I'm made. I was never supposed to live anywhere but Paradise because I'm supposed to rely on its protection to stop me from doing bad stuff. That must mean I'm evil but the Redeemed are nice and everyone tells me its not like that."

"Um. You asked who am I then and I kind of went sideways. Like I told you the facts but not who I think I am. I came here to America because radio was leaking through the timegate I used to get here and I figured out how to decode it and saw Gummi Bears from my hideout daddy made for me. There's like a whole thing. I want to take you there. I think you'd love it. To say nothing of the world it's in. That first Earth actually survived and it's out there. I wanted to surprise you with that in a fun way but I think it's more important to just tell everything now. I love cartoons and toys and fantastical stuff. That's why I have these cartoons on. Just before you came here Paradise told me it wanted me as a Siren yeah but as a witch. Like that's my theme. I'm rainbow the candy witch and I bring your favorite toys to life. That feels so much better to me than being any of that Christian stuff or fitting into those stories at all even if there is a lot of daddy shining through in all of it or whatever, I just, that's who I want to be. That keeps changing every five minutes today but I love my spooky totally-metal black halo and pentagram crown that represents the first five years of me and Boobsong's show that would've been totally illegal if America still had a government because we started making it when I was thirteen as sex ed for people that age by watching me get my education exploring Rl'yeh Sade with Boobsong with our high priestess Verana watching over us from Earth and my don't know how many Greats Grandmother watching over us from Paradise as mentors because I don't think you get to suddenly stop teaching your kid real stuff just because they hit puberty and nobody's ever too old for cartoons and I'm sorry if you're an anime fan who likes Adult Animation but I mean cartoons like with stupid physics and stuff. Boobsong and I just bounce or splat like Wile E Coyote if say like we fall off that sled. Oh that's another one. If I get crushed I pop and turn into pink goo and Boobsong licks me up. It feels incredible, like cumming. Sometimes it makes me cum. Oh and I didn't mention it before because Boobsong smelled you're a pussy-only girl right off and I didn't wanna gross you when I was trying to flirt you into implanting Mintie but my clit I was talking about is actually twelve inches long and very cocklike including the ability to cum lots of cum which mostly doesn't matter to you because you'll never see it outside her but when Boobsong and me have sex you still see the effects of it on her body like it opens her pussy up or you can see it fill her mouth and you'll smell my cum when I cum like it smells like eight billion candy shops on her but still distinctly cum, and you will see Boobsong and me fuck if you even are just acquaintances with us yes because we're literally the hugest exhibitionists you'll meet but also because unless there's a bell tied to this collar we can't control when it happens. It just goes when we get horny enough, or if our seed-ghost decides that would be hot. It's a super rush but our seed-ghost likes to make us blush with it. Supposedly now the same thing is true with every stage of sex like if we snuggle enough we'll just start making out but I haven't seen that yet because there's been so much drama all day we can barely get a quickie in before the next thing happens. Like I'm very not upset you're here but our day is just a long list of wham lines like this."

"Which I guess is another another thing. I'm extra much of a mess right now. I met a bunch of Redeemed earlier and they were great but it got weird because I didn't remember my six Redeemed girlfriends and I guess like subconsciously I thought the ones I was with were them and my heart grabbed onto them weirdly so yes. You are the best. I want to say those words but I feel so confused right now I need you to know there's a good chance I'm still just forgetting something and grabbing for you when I shouldn't and it's stomping a real beautiful thing I think we would have anyway."

"Let me stop you there. You remember the White Witch's plan with Edmund was to make him turn on the others by playing on his love of candy? Were you very like in control of that sounding like you? Jack wrote that a lion would save the world from her. The White Witch and the gold sun from beyond the sky. He gave the candy to the Witch, but that part's yours. He got the two sides wrong. You have the White Witch hanging over you. That's all this stuff you've been telling me. Don't go there she'll destroy you. That's not how I see you. I see you as Edmund feeling everyone thinks he's a bully. Is there anything more that you haven't told that would change my mind? Was that throne room in your house? Do I have to worry about your mind? I'm very certain you're a good person. This scary stuff sounds delightful. Let's have scary fun."

It's like gears. I just say the next thing.

"Sometimes I forget I'm not in that that throne room with the court full of traitors that hated me and it's really bad. My stuff that controls me like I think Mintie can do to you doesn't let me hurt anybody but I forget anyone loves me. Don't stay around me when I'm like that. If you see it. You probably won't. That's the only thing you might think is my mind not okay. And I left out a girlfriend. I have a sister. Daddy was going to make a bunch of us I think but if I remember right he only got through me and my sister and sibling--I don't know their gender. We're broken up right now and will be for a few thousand years I think, but we get back together someday because I already went through that because time travel is weird and confusing. Then I experienced the breakup. For the second time I think. Anyway. When we get back together I don't know what that will be. She was my nursemaid when I was little. The we were apart for a long time. Now, like....I thought we were doing this weird incest-not-incest thing because she was a star in a human body so like my star soul knew she's my sister but my human body couldn't find any common genetics because we got our human bodies from different families entirely but now I know daddy made me to look exactly like I do now except I can't remember if I had the rainbow hair, so she probably looks like he meant her to look, so maybe it's just plain incest. My home culture didn't care about incest unless you were making babies so lesbians just didn't even have a concept of it. I don't like my human mom or dad that way but apparently my sister's great when we aren't having relationship problems. I might find another relation I like that way. I don't know. Just for the sake of clarity."

"That throne room wasn't my house. I appreciated the totally metal decor but I would never have that. Too much responsibility and too like boringly evil overlord. And I don't like clocks really. Time is hard for me like I hate to live by a schedule and the ticking would drive me nuts. I do have a stage. And a tour bus. That kind of stuff is my throne room."

"And I know what you said but I can't stop this. When people tell me they love me I fight them. Making up with my sister was this whole big long thing and at one point her heartchild was shapeshifted into a like wooden starship--you'd love it--and this Arwing like from the game StarFox flew up and showed us no one was flying it and my sister was like I'm catching that for you and went after it with her heartchild and I figured out me and Boobsong could control it and I made it run so she had to use like all kinds of powers to keep up and finally she did catch up and her heartchild made hands to grab it with and I figured out the Arwing's laser cannon worked so I blasted one of the hands right off with it. She just made another one but I heard her scream with the pain. She still caught it anyway but I really fought to the death. I hope I don't do that to you but I'm still going on with this."

"Then I found out my sister took all the pain so she was the one all laser-burned and yet she just wanted to fuck me up against the Arwing she caught. It was epic. I don't understand how she could be like that. Now you're the same, at least so far."

"I do feel like Edmund except I feel like it's true,  too, most of the time."

She always just watches so carefully when I talk. Barely anyone does that.

"I'm not hearing anything to change my mind."

The whole box thing--oh. Heh. Good one, Dreams.

"Alright, well, I'd say you were really opening Pandora's box here, but only Boobsong gets in my pussy. I sure love to eat it, though. That's the last thing. Know who I am and why that's me and my heart will move."

"The Pandora myth. That's actually you. All the evil came into the world because of the box, because they put your hope in there and shut it away. Oooh I hope you buried that world in a lake of blood and all kinds of plagues! You got them good, I remember, but what you did is all--fairytales. You turned their world into a porn mythos! Now they're back, you say? Do you feel alright to have seen them?"

Water trickles, ice melts, the gears will move...any moment...

"Everything's different. The people who hated me are all gone. Like we can never meet again because there's no way for our Paradises to include each other. I met the general who ordered the assassination on me and I was coming from Paradise so I thought it would hold me back from doing more than I should but I kicked his ass. With like five Chernobyl meltdowns of radiation. And then opened a portal that was supposed to take him to Paradise where he'd get healing. And then I met him again at Ragnarok which where the ghosts who can't stop fighting go because apparently the only way for him to get free of that damnation of always fighting was to die the first time and come back as a ghost at Ragnarok and then get killed in battle before he could actually be free. That's what Paradise tells me. Like the portal was open and it just let him die there instead of taking him through so we could do the Ragnarok thing. I don't understand that but I don't know what I can do other than have faith that was right. It wasn't my choice and I would have had no part of it if I'd known what would happen. Since it did I'm glad it got to be me that finished the job but it wasn't much of a battle he was a foot soldier with a rifle and I shot him with an A-10 Warthog. He did get one shot on me but it bounced off the armor around the cockpit. History repeats I guess."

"They have a new general. Like they kept their military, even in Paradise. I guess some people just like that. She's awesome, though I probably think that because she'd been waiting like eight thousand years for me to come back. Except not for me really though I could see she really really was trying to make it be that. We implanted her with the wish for the queen she'd been waiting for all that time. That's who has my mother's crown now. Their new queen's su'khora, but still the daughter of the line. It feels like that fixes a lot of stuff but I still can't face that court chamber. I don't know if I ever will. Our kid decreed that the tower I lived in before the end of the world is mine forever and I love it and I miss the castle but I don't think I can go back in that court chamber for a long, long time and I know this is getting way off topic I fight, see?"

"Last chance. I wasn't avoiding that thing with the general. It was like blacked out of my mind entirely. You should probably ask paradise if there's anything else I should tell you."

"Oh and all the stuff with his being attacked gave me lots of trauma with daddy. I love him to pieces but it's still really hard for me to see him and talk directly to him. That's pretty weird to say since we can carry off a pretty good threesome together apparently, but I think it's because the trauma's from spending hours and hours talking to him trying to drag him out of what I didn't know what that mind control thing. I'm not saying that should make you not like me just that you might see it make things weird with him. I don't mind hearing about him or you talking to him or anything and he's been able to do little stuff like fuzz my head when I thanked him for the snow on Pluto but it's just...yeah. I don't even really know if he's just patiently waiting for me to come out of my hole I'm hiding in or he's all messed up too. That can't have been good for him to be in that thing eighty thousand years."

"Okay. Sorry. I think that's it."

"Chyajjoh make gravel out of their enemies' strongholds. Sounds like you made his blood gravel. How do you miss that you were holding him to the life he lived until he gave up on it? Fighting you was a dumb thought. I don't know my war stuff but an A-10 and a foot solider sounds like a boot and an ant. Give yourself credit that you freed him. It sounds like he was in hell."

"Your father has been such a kind face to look up to. I hope you get back to him."

"There's still nothing to change my mind here. Paradise doesn't have anything, either."

"I've really met my match, with you. That's hot."

The Dreams don't have anything to remind me to tell her, either.

"I love you too."

She exhales and then jumps to kiss me which is good because it didn't feel right to initiate which this going to--oh yum.

She kisses hard, just presses her lips to mine but they're unexpectedly soft and full and her tongue is everywhere, probing and dancing, twisting around mine, enjoying me so.  Her eyes look so sweet closed to kiss me but she opens them for a moment to peek and they's so pretty...

I press and dance our heads together, then risk a little long tongue, and to my surprise she pushes onto my face even harder. I thought you only liked pussy? I give her a little more, and she slows, so I pull back, and she seems done kissing so I pull it entirely back and move away from her face but stay close. She smiles, blushing, eyes still shut. I just stay put.

"That's a new thing. I don't like that from boys, but from you, that's hot."

"Maybe you just only like it face to face?"

She laughs hard, grabs me around the back of the neck for a kiss, lands a quick short one and lets go (like that's a dominant gesture isn't it but she doesn't make me feel like the top or bottom this is the weirdestness and I say that as a pet Princess just I didn't think I could do this) and turns back to her breakfast and Mintie takes up her silverware again.

"It's still as hot as when we left here!"

"It's not the only thing! For real, though, time and me...like stuff happens. Smile and nod. Don't try to understand it. I don't."

"Oh but thing. Now that you're our girlfriend or whatever this is we're doing, welcome to my world of stupid puns and horrible pickup lines. They will get worse. There's no stopping them. They'll just keep cumming, eh dolly?"

"Maybe. Maybe stopped by something else white. Depends how Mintie plays."

Dove giggles.

"You guys are adorable--wait, what do you mean?"

"That's why I'm holding her arms down. And the snuggling. Long time to catch up on."

"Ooh. Yeah, understandable. You have a lot to smooth over there. That's relatable. So where are you from?"

Pizza status, dolly? Wait. The Sugarfreaks are still stopped. Just what the hell...like amp up the egg cracking to a Purple Checkmark degree...something with Strawberry Tales...no...oh scouring of the Shire. Continues. Time to get serious? Now what. Narnias. Time to play DooM. Spikes and dust, does Dove have lost loved ones? Now dwarves, like in a Narnia, it just keeps going back to that. Oh the cracking egg is a world cracking open. Another plane, we need to project there and make a connection to the Dreams. What...oh this'll be cool.

"Whoah. It's all in my mind...is this what a Siren is?"

"Like the Dreams are just part of you, and like you can remember what they know, and just do stuff? Er. Dreams of Paradise. I call it the Dreams a lot."

"Yeah. It just told me that Earth split apart and there's lots of these slivers where people don't know that it's Paradise."

"And we don't have much time somehow? That must be why we're still stuck in bullet time like this. Dammit I want my pizza! And my new girlfriend! Anyway Paradise told me the same, and we need to go kick some asses to make them a connection back to Paradise but that it'll be cool. Like really kick asses though, it referenced when I had Boobsong turned into a chainsaw earlier, and not for or dragon chomps game. So much for no more helldives, what's going on here?"

"Um right. If I got what I was just told right this'll be like my eighth? Time today projecting into some kind of hellworld to rescue people. Or something. I've lost count, that tells you. It's been to save people I care about, but sheesh!"

"Chyajjoh are spring chickens about to hatch. What it's telling me, you may not like. The court that made your life hell is stuck in time waiting for Paradise to open their world to come here to give a message to you."

"How foolish I was to think this could be over and I could be happy. Acme Station, can you do a per-person heart-stop gun, or does it get on things too much?"

"Mommy wait. Why would Paradise bring this? Heart Stop Gun can be small yes but it very gets on stuff."

"Paradise wouldn't bring this. Only hell. I'm acting accordingly. We've been on the knife-edge about which this is all day. How much more finally could it tip over? Sounds bad with the Heart Stop gun. Have you got something else? What can we do with boxes? Like what if we teamed it up with my Lens if that helps?"

"Stop! Paradise is bringing this to hold them to the life they lived. They're going to meet the spirit of the Earth they loved. That spirit's going to terrify them, it's just this beast that eats people. That's nature's way, it says. They're going to need help to get through the gate to Paradise, so it's sending you to destroy temples to the Earth spirit the beast comes out of."

The Dreams harass me, but I don't want anything they have to say now.

"I don't understand why that's back. Paradise brought this up before you came and we finally just figured out it wouldn't help anything. Like it wouldn't make anything better. No matter what I do with them. The best I can figure is this is for you. Like if you and Mintie wanna go kick them around be my guest. You can tell them they taught me their being eaten was right because the Earth's way is what's right so Paradise sent you instead. I want nothing to do with this. If I go there it'll be them I blast. I'll tell them I finally learned their lesson and I'll use my Lens to box the moon and tell them it was the Earth's lover but it's of the stars so its corrupt. Then I'll make all kinds of scary stuff come out of the ground and say the Earth is angry to lose its lover but there's nothing for it and when they beg me to unbox it I'll just destroy it and leave them there. If I can I'll stay and blast them if they try to go through portals but I doubt Paradise will let me. I don't even want to do all that though. I don't know why this is back. The only good in this for me is if it's over forever. Why the fuck would Paradise do this? I stand by what I said. If it's doing this it's hell and I'm acting accordingly."

Acme Station, get that seed-ghost managing collar back on me. Click, collar.

Sadly put back.

Make it react to the Dreams, too. Just everyone. I'm sick to death of being harassed about this. I said my no and I'm locking the door. Click, modify.

Painful expression but does it.

"If you guys want help we can try to get you out. We're probably leaving forever soon. I love you, but that won't mean much in hell."

"Then these weren't empty words. I heard it this morning. Paradise has your heart open. To stop now would be fatal to you."

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. All hell's shown me so far is that it likes torturing me. This day has been hell. Now it wants to go on. If I go there, I will kill them all. That's the only thing that will happen."

"Look, I'm sorry you got pulled into this. I should have known this was a trap. I love you. When I figure out how, I'll come for you. You can turn me away, but I want to help and see you again. Goodbye for now."

Click, chomp.

Paradise holding back so using Acme Station--got you.

I can open my eyes to see her there. I grab her and pull her in for cuddles.

What the hell is this shit, Acme Station? Do you have any thoughts on this? Is it really that lame? After aaaaaaaaaalllll this nope have to go fulfill my responsibility to the people who made our life a living hell? We've just been in hell this whole way?

Mommy you barely heard what she said to you before you chomped away. Maybe that anger is why they're doing this. Why does this have to take all our friends? Can't there be a reason that happening isn't to make us go back for them?

We already figured out it won't help anything, though. Like it won't make me feel better. Will it help you? Maybe I'm just being self-centered again.

It will help if it makes these nightmares about the Dreams being hell stop! Maybe the reason your having them is your heart-stop fear of this coming back to you? If They coming back is still waiting you'll always fear for it! Now it's happening so how to get through is the question. Why don't you go there and just start shooting things? They, temples, Strawberry Hill, who cares if the Dreams send you back they can't expect you to play a nice game!

I want them to see, but they're incapable. Unless you can think of something that'd force them to see how insane they were, I don't see the point of this.

I don't even know if that would fix it. I just can't imagine anything else doing it either.

Maybe if you take them across the portal and turn them around and show what's happening? Your tentacles destroyed the Earth very fancily. Maybe then they would see.

Our seed-ghost shows me a DeLorean. How'd that get past your collar, dolly?

Not for pushing your buttons or turning your anger up.

That's a surprise. Um. Like actually bring them to this Earth, maybe? Show them the world we were going to make. Make them depend on my tentacles and stuff. Have I got the authority in Strawberry culture to give them a quest? Yeah. Grandmother Strawberry did it to the destroy-Rainbow team or they were exiled from Strawberry Home. If she can say that I can, can't I? We can show them the Earth die and then drop them here. So they understand what they're dealing with. My tentacles can keep them out of our way.

Why the hell do you suppose the Dreams would tell Dove that message thing?

Maybe that was to make you feel hope that it wasn't for them.

I guess. I only have half of this. We leave them in America and they learn to see or not. Then what? I don't give a shit if they learn or not. I still never want to see them again. It's just amusing to think of them wandering around the streets of Boston all hand-wringing because of all the metal. What do you think I'm missing here, wise little cocksleeve.

Sugarfeast always brings something different. What if they're happy? Do you care that they like it then?

This is what we ran into the last time. Meh? If they see, sure, fine. What I really want is for them to understand they were amoebas thinking they were going to hold back a tide of bleach by staining the bathroom tiles harder.

I guess if they see then they're over with. It's the other way to end this than killing them. I suppose this is that boring old keep your enemies close thing.

Can we get some redemption candy past spiking? I guess we can just feed it on the other side, the Dreams didn't exactly hold back the other load of it. I can just change the nightmare so it's their loved one in a box suffocating. Do you think that would work? Are they attacked the same way, that you could tell?

The candy will just be nothing if it can't, so why not try that?

Okay. I mean none of this works though. There's always a hole. What if the Dreams spike them out. They're already making me deal with this once for no reason I can see, what's to stop them doing it over and over?

Maybe your candy will come on the Earth side. What if your tentacles bring some? Not all Redeemed, okay. Make candy that turns them into Earth monsters. They desire to be the Earth's way! Candy stops when they see. Dreams can still spike but at least they get some time showing their eyes closed.

This is the same problem Lovecraft had--and Clyde. Does that help us?

I mean the real truth is we're already losing by being here doing this. The goal was to never see them again.

I can't see a way to go back to the Dreams without just ending up rolling over and giving them what they want. That's what we need to solve. The Dreams goal is to make me hear Their message. Our goal is to never have the slightest contact with them again whatsoever. How do we make that final? Is it really just a matter of killing them? Put you hyperintelligence on this.

It seems like the reason we're back here is the Dreams want to tell you it's over. If you can't hear that message it can never be over because you'll always wonder if they'll come. If you hear the message you lose because they talked to you. Your Boobsong can't see an answer here.

Why force me to put up with their giving it? What's better for me in this than the Dreams just saying it's over? In the end I rely on the Dreams' word anyway. These people are even worse than American politicians. Their saying it's over won't mean anything to me. Their saying they fear us won't mean anything to me. I guess the real problem is they can't give me a message even if they say the words right to my face. There's no point to this. The best it was ever going to be was the Dreams promising I could never see Them again.

So why is this really happening? What's real goal we're missing? We can't jail them. I won't kill them, though I'm getting there. The Dreams could go back on their word anytime, like they just did. There's no way at all to make it be over. I'm not doing that horseshit Christian you have to forgive and love everyone thing. This doesn't make sense. I'm back where I started. This isn't a thing Paradise would do. If you don't have any more thoughts let's get on how to save our friends from hell.

Maybe this stopping time is because they're already here now and they're coming to see us now. Where would your Boobsong get that thought? Acme Station scanned and saw them in the parking lot behind Olympic Pizza.

What in the absolute hell is going on here? Why are the Dreams torturing us like this? No, I get it. They'll be scared of me so the Dreams have to show them I can't hurt them never mind if it breaks my heart. Feh. So much for paradise. Unless you can think of another reason they'd be there.

Laarhi was still fighting. Maybe they can't stop either and need you to kill them too?

If it's up to me an eternity damned to be chewed on by their Earth spirit or whatever it is sounds perfect for them. How did you not completely freak out when you scanned them!?

Your Boobsong is pages. You hadn't turned there.

Surely that's an urgent page!

That's if our seed-ghost decides it is.

So I can't actually rely on that. Got it.

[!] There is a top of the picture you aren't seeing here. Kaari spent lots of time looking out for you. So did Strawberry Hill. Maybe these aren't They who attacked us? There are couple of spots open. Two places under the queen. One place open is yours. The other place is Jenner. Maybe the They here want to say sorry. Berryblossom surprised you lots. Maybe they have another present that would surprise you and the Dreams keep on going about this so you won't miss that.

What the hell was Jenner's province that she ranked the same as the Princess--don't care. So the court was hierarchical and they all followed Jenner but they didn't wanna?

I really don't know what I think of this. I suppose you can see their present, too?

Nod. See a package about the size of a car hood.

That's weird. Dolly what do you think here? I don't remember a lot of regret that they were treating me like the dread-spirit incarnate and you like some kind of cosmic horror. I called them They for a reason.

(Dread-spirit was what we called Eden in the Strawberry World, after how it used creeping senses of dread to mess with people, so reader, if someone in the otherworld is using those with you, wave hi to the extremely rare remaining fragment of Eden, and then decide how many megatons)

Your Boobsong is pressured by that collar here.

Make it ignore you. Click, mod.

Changing it with thankful eyes.

Laarhi was the most hateful one. Always describing the way you talked about killing stuff from a long long way as a terror thing. Mostly they were a crowd too indifferent to care that much. Your Boobsong thinks you're blaming them for Jenner's fault. She was the one who did all that stuff you remember Them having fun with. She thinks you remember Them taking part in that because you were at the top and they didn't stand by you. Maybe that's really awful but They had to be careful to play very nice with Jenner's size of army. She was the biggest one after Laarhi. Maybe that makes them your enemy but they had to choose some way. Either their homes or you would get hurt here.

I can only accept that because it's just as shit as the rest of this stupid war.

What do you make of the rest of this? Telling us to go blow up temples and all that? If your right, why that?

Your Boobsong isn't why you should do that. Aveh was insulted there. They made him the badguy.

That's different. Can daddy not get in the timecrack? I'll go stick up for him but it seems like his bug to squish. Do you know?

Too much interference from his young self. You weren't there.

And time travel continues to make no sense. Must be right. I don't get why it's different to go for daddy and not you. That makes no sense. Am I messed up somehow, Keeper? And are you hurt?

Maybe it's because your Boobsong already said her stuff to Jenner. We made her so scared her heart turned to water. Aveh it's still left out there. Nothing to hurt her here. You remember how much Jenner shook. With all the forgotten stuff, that's satisfying.

Yeah, that's what it was before, too. We can't squish her any flatter than we already did. Isn't "heart turned to water" the Strawberry idiom for peeing yourself.?

Got squeezed out her belly by guts tying up!

Good dragon.

Do I remember right that Eden couldn't use daddy to just wreck Earth because our family held him back?

It made him so dim he was almost out. Chaining his thoughts that way turned him into a tiny spark. Not so hard to hold that back. Seemed so big? We could still see the end of him! Not even a million miles! Why bother, that's what your Boobsong asks. Pointlessly hurt him. Must have been Eden.

It broke everyone's hearts' in the Strawberry World. He was a favorite star. It's Eden all the way. Torture people for being nice. Seeing just that tiny little dot of antilight in the middle of him was so heartbreaking.

Will it hurt me if I antilight those temples so hard they crumble to dust?

It's a big scare when you make it as heart-stop. Pouring it out is just shining.

Let's get this done. Where can I be to go? We'll need to conflation jump obviously. I don't want here or Olympic Pizza.

How about Acme Station armory? Guns and war stuff. Seems right.

Oh my fuck you have so much to explore. You're a whole world. I remember. We don't need those pocket universes I'm always talking about. I can just stay here forever. Yeah. Let's go.

Soothing tingles as I flow through a tube and then Boobsong is standing in front of me as I solidify in a new place. We're on a balcony overlooking a massive dark hangar space, with a crane-hook hanging nearby, which if I remember is controlled by controls to the right of the open part...I feel like love with explode out of me. Acme Station. I missed you so. This is a whole part of us. Being safely alone with you in your rooms and corridors. That crane's a fun game, I hook the ship I want to bring it close to get in. Everything is silvery shiny metal and smooth angles and touches of warning stripes, very Marathon, which is right for the Armory. There's like a zillion ships out there, I have way more than just the Waifu and Sparkledust.

I know I'm home because it all just makes me so happy. Of course we just wander the Four Dreams. This is home.

Okay. Can you reach it, like do we have to do any special time travel stuff?

Conflation jump will be enough here. Crack doesn't open until you're done with Laarhi. Two minutes left to the ending so be quick.

Okay. Click, jump.

PRAH!

There's nothing to say to this shit. I just pump out antilight and watch what happens. At first it's decay in fast forward, columns crumbling to dust and hangings unravelling in the conflation-jump weirdness. Then I really push it and the matter just pops out of existence. There can't have been anyone left at this point--can there?

Nobody left, they all got out. 

Time to say goodnight. I slam it with everything I've got, and dddoing back to standing there with Boobsong. I click her look and pet her head, then shine my usual shine to like clear my throat. A lot of antilight at once feels like drinking paint sort of.

I take a deep breath and just snuggle, happy in the infinite comfort of my Acme Station.

I look around the armory, see the assault rifles lined up along the wall. I forget where those came from. They're scifi but not Marathon or Halo. It's weird to remember I actually kind of like guns. I guess being a feudal warlord will do that do you though.

Collar-thing, click, off.

Whew that's a relief too. Offing them.

Any terrible news you couldn't say before, seed-ghost?

No.

I turn us around like dancing, see the door in the center of the balcony that comes in here, then the other side with the crane controls. There's a computer terminal on the end-wall looking very Marathon and the wall to its right has what looks like a replicator. Everything I need is here. We could just not go back. This place is military tough but there's comfy living spaces and kinky dungeons and all kinds of stuff to explore.

Things have been so hard in the Dreams. I've been fighting so hard to get them to be the place I need to live, when this is it. Were they just resisting replacing her? Did they actually believe in all the madness they've been doing? I can't decide if I think it's helped or not. It's hurt and been terrifying. I wish I would have spent a lot more time in here through it.

I'm safe in here at least. I face the door and she opens it when I start toward it, and I make leaving the armory be my change of mood as I walk through, making Boobsong back up, to...

...the comfier room with a table in front, a curious-looking low window in the wall to the right with gentle bluish light beyond and ice crystals on the outside of the foot-thick transparent stuff, and a soft-feeling space to the left. It's all dark silvery scifi. No lights are on, I think she can turn them on, but like, I am the lights.

I glow brighter and everything shines silvery. Acme Station you're so gorgeous.

How are we with time travel? Could we get back to the moment we left Olympic Pizza?

Checking the Dreams...they say a second passed. Basically come right back. We can stay here a million years, still the same.

Cool. I walk us over to the low window and crouch to see in. It's brighter blue out there with my light up. Hehe this is the sled slope! A long strip of landscape white with snow curves up into a huge mountainside with a twisty track along it. It's as big as the mountain on Pluto, it looks like.

I stand and hug her. Click, hug. Her arms go around me and she snuggles.

I love our friends and Dove is delightful but times like this I wonder why we ever bothered with Paradise. I guess to get out of Earth, and because it seemed wonderful then, but it really has become a place of pain now.

The last thing I want is to go and make up with that court. They still sacrified us for their families sake. If they had a good reason or no choice that doesn't undo what happened to us.

Paradise has been White Witching me long enough. All of the candy still just leads back in the end to a painful thing that's supposedly healing but just feels like picking wounds. I keep trying to make it play nice, but it's obvious it's going to keep on with the pain for a million years.

That the Dreams let them come to me, gift or not, isn't Paradise. That will just break one of our hearts, if it's not being lame to consider them as one person here. It's another step in the same game Jenner played, even without her here. I can tear my soul to make up with them, or I can yell at them and break their hearts. Unless you can see another option, Acme Station.

Maybe this was the problem the other time. There was always one way that would hurt someone. What if you send out our friend to accept their gift?

Oh that's good. Another Princess won't be an insult. Right? I'm remembering my politics?

Lucky to get waterbearer says your Boobsong. Another Princess is very kind.

Yeah. Do I have to--no, I can just blip back, no egg, right?

Yes if the time is right. This is one.

Okay. Goo me one other cool place before we go back? Like can our seed-ghost pick one or something?

The world fades to black as my eyes become goo, and a pipe pulls me into the ceiling. A twisty long trip leads to--eee a library! With Boobsong standing right there as I solidify. She's all around of course, and the pipes are her, but her carefully always having her doll there when I appear means so much.

Holy jolly ranchers this is huge though. Shelves line the space and there's one down the middle with a rounded end. Wait, what are these? Lego sets? Boxes with numbers. Every set ever must be here. Building a new set is great. Of course she doesn't just have parts.

I point to a likely-looking box in front of us. Click, show?

She turns and slides it carefully out of the shelf and holds out a blue-and-grey classic space set out. It's the tall walker robot I coveted in the reset but my parents couldn't afford. I'm tempted to just say let's go to the worktable I know is to my right and start building, but instead I click put and then hug and she snugglingly with a wave of her ass returns it and then turns back around and cuddles.

This was perfect. I feel like we've been fighting a lifetime to get back here when it was here all along.

Dolly tell me honestly. Do you want to go back?

Your Boobsong is very excited to see Dove and Mintie and see what the present is. She could look in the scan memory but that's no fun.

Paradise is wearing our hearts down yes but it might have a reason to. Your heart-stops are tearing your heart out every half-second. Beating the Four Dreams off might be fatal, yes. Maybe we should go back until scene ends and then see how it feels in them.

It's weird. I believe you have everything you need here to do what the Dreams are doing, but I'm not sure I'd want you to. If it has to be this torture, better it's the Dreams that end up as a place of pain I never want to see again regardless of who's there.

On the other hand, you would do a better job than they would. Maybe it wouldn't hurt so bad with you.

I just know this day's been hell and it's not how it should have been and it falls short of Paradise and me not wanting to take my medicine. None of the shit we've been through today would have come up if I'd just come here to be with you. I don't know what to think of that.

Let's go back, but here's another mark in the "Paradise isn't actually Paradise" column.

Just put us where we were as close as you can. Click, go.

Purple grid surrounds us, we get rearranged to be sitting, and we're in Olympic Pizza again.

I look beside myself right away. Dove and Mintie are still there. Whew.

"Okay Boobsong talked to sense into me. Which let that be a lesson. I doubt you're remotely as much of a drama queen as me, but if you start freaking out, just bail, and talk to Mintie. It always works for me with Boobsong. Like she likes to look like as much of an airhead as I actually am but really she's the wisest person in half the multiverse. Mintie won't be dumber, looking at you guys. But for real, we should have chomped out so I could talk to her where I feel safe a lot sooner."

"And I'm sorry. I hope I didn't freak you out too bad."

"You were really going to fight Paradise. To get us free."

"Acme Station here has some serious guns. I was already thinking about which ones to use as we left. We haven't thought we could take it on yet but getting creative with her can be surprising, and pulling people out of hell is all I've been doing all day long. If this place is deciding to be hell too now and my family are still here the only choice to make's how many megatons."

"But we scanned and there's only happy stuff on this whole planet. It can't be Paradise and hell, can it?"

"I don't know. I dedicated my whole life really to telling people about this place and trying to get them here. I learned pretty deep about what it doesn't and doesn't do, what kinds of things you don't have to be scared of being a thing in Paradise, stuff like that. Today feels it's just trying to taunt me for everything I ever said. I keep having to go nuclear to get the Paradise I spent my life advertising, and the minute I put the gun down it goes back to torturing me. Supposedly all that is healing for all my trauma, but I don't see a lot it's done for me. Then I get this awesome new girlfriend, and we don't even finish kissing hello before my worst nightmare comes calling. That's been my day. It takes serious doing to make me question this place's true nature, but it's got me there. What's weird is I do seem to be the only one, like it's only torturing me in particular. And Boobsong of course but she doesn't get it directly, she just gets to deal with it on me. Maybe that's how it works. If you're damned everyone thinks you're nuts on top of it."

"Everything ends up like this today. Boobsong figured out a solution that fixes things, if you'll help, but the stuff still comes up in the most cruelly button-pushing way it can. There's a really simple thing Paradise could have said to defuse this a lot, for instance. If it'd lead with that I might have been upset but not like this. Instead it just went for the biggest freakout it could create."

"Paradise has a reason for telling you in ways that make you very mad. You're stopping the flow like cutting off blood supply to where these hurts are. These blood deposits are killing you. It's making you clear them out. This'll be over soon--"

"Okay, that, there, I can tell you is an absolute lie. If Paradise says that to you, it's lying. Full stop. Don't believe it. It's been telling me that over and over all day long and then the next thing just starts. I spent twenty years telling people it doesn't do that kind of thing and it's been doing it to me all day. Paradise lies, and it does it cruelly. Oh! That's what to do with the blood!"

Your tentacles will do this for you.

Are you lying?

No.

Are you waiting until I cool down?

Yes.

Good. You give me the chance to add to cut the hearts out of my statues with burned melted blood stuff. Now do it, or I'll just do it myself another way.

Your companions' cheeks will drown to see these words.

They need to know the truth. Do you have a better idea?

Tell the story of this nightmare in books.

Do you have a better idea that will actually do anything useful and accomplish the goal of telling everyone ASAP in the time it takes to read a phrase on my idols or whatever the very important truth that Paradise as it's increasingly inaccurately called is cruel and lies to them?

Your seed-ghost cannot say this thought. It's not true.

So again you betray me. Why do you hate me?

Your seed-ghost is fixing open wounds--

I didn't ask what you were doing. I asked why you hate me. Acme Station, fix up that collar to extract answers, do you see what I'm getting? Then make one that sets off the Heart-Stop Gun at its highest power if Paradise does this to me again. Like on purpose, it's different if I just get mad. And make it not be a collar, I don't like that image. Click, mod. Click, make.

Making this horribly sad. Changing the other one.

Okay. Now. Seed-ghost why do you hate me.

Your seed-ghost has only thoughts to destroy these heart-stops that are holding you back from exploding your true feelings. These open wounds have a gun in them to destroy the love your Keeper gave in the exploding cloud of Eden's ships.

Paradise sure is bent on making my legacy mean nothing.

Your death will--

MY DEATH ALREADY HAPPENED! FUCK YOU! That's what I should be angry about. This isn't a victory. This is fake. So what, the world is here. Where was "Paradise" when it got thrown back into hell? That was it's plan? Shit plan. Just what I'd expect from a place of lies.

Let's just get rid of this pack of traitors. We'll figure this out in the Armory.

I break the bullet time that's cropped and say to Dove:

"I need to go again. Should be back in about two minutes. I'd come right back but I have to do something in this timestream. Did you have stuff to say? Not speaking for the Dreams, you."

"You can't keep going off to escape this. It's kiiling you. Even I can see that. Paradise lied because you won't stop doing that. These Chyajjohs are the last thing now. It told me three times. You have no more places where the hurt needs clearing out."

Purple checkmark to the plan I'm thinking of, and the Armory.

"I still think the Dreams are just going to lie to me forever, but I'm not escaping. Watch at the back door if you want to see. Content warning gore."

"What can you do to them that Paradise won't stop you from?"

"My wounds were done eighty thousand years ago. See you in a minute. Love you."

Click, go.

Acme Station got you! No Dreams fight this time.

Purple grids run over my vision and reveal the Armory again.

Okay. Will conflation-jump hugging every fan out there fry me?

Acme Station can contain the emotions. You won't feel so much of it. Might not get out anger though.

After, then. Can you help me target them with my Lens? Do I need you to?

Just make stuff and your Acme Station will deliver it with spooky ghost stuff.

Okay--no. I think just the voice is better. No mementos. You remember them more, what do you think?

If you make them see visions they'll think you're alive still. Your Boobsong decided this before giving will up. Never they see you again if she decides. Maybe your voice should even be somebody else.

Alright then I want always disguise from them. Can you just make us invisible?

Maybe the Dreams will if you ask it. You can't use Disguise but your Acme Station can do lots of stuff to just hide you from one person.

I can't go back in that court chamber because I was sacrificed there. Can't be unchomped. I was already dead when you ate me.

"Okay, let's make this for real, dragon. Give me those sad eyes if you think I'm being lame but let's do this. Any moment I'd be in the court chamber at Strawberry Home, yoink me right here. It leads to the Armory. You see why. Put me facing the gun rack with my hands out ready to take one. No. On one. Load it if it's not loaded. If I'm going in there the only choice to make's how many megatons. Make it look to me like the doors just go to space or something. If someone's trying to drag me in there mess with their heads real good as we cross the threshold. Make them think they're falling into the starfield or just get creative. I can't imagine that happening but I like the idea. No clicks here. This is an official screaming for you to chomp me, now and for always."

RROOAAAAH this is best idea! Keep going make more chomps real!

"The court and their households never see me. Ever. I'm going to wish the Dreams this, but yes, hide me from them. If one of them would touch me, blip me out of their way but hold whatever needed me to not fall with forcefields. Disguise up anyway so all they'll see if they somehow get through your cloak is some random Redeemed. Then...I don't want you have to pay attention to this or spend resources on it. Is there--"

[ Vision: tube of black paint ]

What can antilight do here?

[ Vision: milk carton ]

Yeah, but how?

Jump to their eyes in the future and blot the vision out. Take your light out of the world from them.

That is so awesomely final. Can a conflation jump find that?

You-seeing is a mood it can find, yes. Conflation jump is most powerful tool Acme Station has. Only you have the power to do them. Maybe Aveh if he's feeling good.

Won't this make time travel impossible for us?

Not seeing you doesn't have consequences backwards. Start this now, goes forwards. Nothing to worry there.

This is weird. It seems wrong until I remember what that court chamber was like--

[ Vision: Rainbow balloons with a swing below and a black shadow swings on the swing ]

If it'll be that precise. If they'll see the hole where I was taken out of the world. I don't know why that's better than invisibilty but it is.

I guess I wanted them to see. Now they can. What having Boobsong in that box was like was what I wanted them to see.

Click, jump.

PRAH!

The tiniest blip of antilight and we're back in the Armory. I feel a little silly. No need for precision when I was gone from the jump the moment I blotted the sight out.

If the jump worked in the first place, won't they have a moment of thinking they saw me, only to get the shadow?

Yes. For the barest small instant. Then it's just blackness there.

Perfect.

[ Vision: spikes-collar ]

Fine. Click, remove.

Yoink! Put away.

[ Vision: Heart-Stop Gun ]

That too. Click, remove.

Taking off.

Oh but the phone call.

[ Vision: chicken with egg ]

Eaten by my dragon. Can't say anything? Oh mother hen. Call Grandmother Strawberry.

She has called them back to Strawberry Home. She said their court chamber is waiting.

HAH.

Have mercy and leave voice and sight of your shrines. 

My shrines maybe, by why would I leave them my voice?

[ Vision: gold and black egg in nest ]

You were their dearest prize. Leave them something to know you by.

A memory of salt air comes up. The beginning of that carriage ride back up to Strawberry Home that fateful day, I think. The news beat us back by dreamtalk I think. I don't know. It's landing from the mission trip. The court was all there to greet the ship coming in. I remember their reaching hands as I came down the gangway, and cringe away from the thought.

Did they just want to touch me like my fans always do? I think they're cheering and waving excited but the memory is buried under that reflex to cringe away from them.

I guess that says where this is, then.

[ Vision:  ]

Then I see that's true but I see the sorrow that their other actions made it mean nothing to me. Don't ask me for more here. Let this be done.

It doesn't say anything.

Click, hug. Boobsong glomps close, and I squeeze back. We hug for a long while.

Maybe it's just been a case of mistaken identity all this time. Paradise is supposed to be your Happily Ever After. For me, this is. The other place will always just be second best.

I can feel Boobsong's eyes, and love, all around me. It makes the doll in my arms seem more doll, but that's not a bad thing, it's just even more showing her face to me. Just her presence is a hand reached out to touch. In my head being here is like seeing her doll around every corner, looking up with sweet concern so loving.

Has anything become of Their present yet?

Got taken with them when they left.

Why is that what makes me cry. I weep for what could have been. There were times like that time down the gangplank I might have been to them like I am to Baskers and Sugarfreaks and Redeemed and everyone. That's gone now, but it's been gone for decades. It just is so sad to realize it really can never be fixed. I want to ask if I did something wrong but I know I'm only crying this now because it's over for real.

I just wish the endings would end someday.

What's become of Jenner? That I should know? I'll be perfectly happy with no information but I have to have asked.

She became invisible as you have to They. You will never see her after the last minute of time left to the Strawberry World. Fifty seconds remain in which you could see her there. She will not go through the portal. She died.

She was like Laarhi. Nothing you can say will change her mind.

I don't understand that. I've been dragged kicking and screaming through this hellish day. Why couldn't they get dragged to the Four Dreams and go through the same kind of thing? I'm really wondering for myself, I guess. Is the message here that dying's better in cases like theirs and mine?

Not with eyes for a living tree that gives answers to oppose the stars. Nothing will tell her that is not what life is.

You were dying. Repairing your injuries is hard but not worse than death.

Even what I'm imagining won't get it through? Isn't there a Ragnarok for this?

I'm the Drill. I have to make them see.

Your imagined beautiful heart-stop treats will destroy her even faster.

Her Ragnarok is dying. To die with answers gone is to lose the life she can't let go.

[!] Vanishing punishment. Take her tree down.

No. Cut it down and make it into a box. Get in the box or go through the portal. Her choice.

...is what happens in the real-seeming nightmare the Redemption candy we send her gives. Cutting down her sacred tree with a magic stone axe because she won't have time, versus running through the portal. Then making the box out of it. Then getting in the box and the box gets buried and worms and things eat her as she grows cold but she can always get up and go through the portal because the lid of the coffin becomes it. Candy tells her she'll be healed if she does that. If she goes her body goes IRL.

Trees are nice. I'm not killing one for this, but only this way do we know it's truly over with her.

What do we think? Miss anything?

Mommy that's the perfect way out of this. Jenner sees, no escaping it. Always has choice. Redeemed choose hard way. Seed-ghost is right here? Redeemed, erase her forever. Your Boobsong bets she can't stand up to it and runs right through. Still alive then. Heart-stops around her but maybe tries to see then. Maybe stops holding onto that tree. Give her one minute to choose then. After that, Dreams have her. Then sees surely.

If she sees, will our conflation-jump have gotten her?

Yes.

Okay. I think she'll have a fun time getting up Strawberry Hill, though, after that speech, even if she does wanna come back to court.

Why's it not time to make this candy yet?

Hard though you are here you can do some more.

One wrong nudge and I'll fulfill every accusation I ever got about being the devil here. Give me a right nudge.

[ Vision: syringe ]

Shooting her in the heart with an adrenaline syringe from a fancy techno bow sounds fun but she won't get the symbols. But I could shoot her with one that makes her feel like she's dying, and her tree grows the answer, but its answer is that being killed by the stronger creature is nature's way, and that all of this happened to teach her her place in things. And then the tree drops a chainsaw and power tools and tells her its evolved. That's enjoyably mean, is it the right way to go?

She does not believe in evolving but please go this way.

Okay then the tree of wisdom gives every fruit but only in its season and she misunderstood nature and arrogantly assumed flowers were right and fruit was wrong because she'd never seen fruit and the tree is letting her die because of her insult to the natural order. Nature's way is that the strong survive and she was too weak to fight for herself and too arrogant to accept the metal claws it showed her. And I blast her with a phaser on half-stun, not a bow.

No. No no no. Tell her she was a hummingbird who thought its pointed beak was for pecking instead of sipping nectar from flowers, and that she so forgot her rightful place in the natural order that she went to peck a dragon as if its meat would have done anything but poison her if she had got through its scales, and then ask if she who worships a tree thought a box made from the corpse of its daughters (in the Strawberry feudal sense) as an instrument of holiness would do anything but make the Earth as much her enemy as the she thought the stars were.

And then she starts to rot. Right there. She can run or stay and be Redeemed.

[ Vision: fire flower ]

Oh. Oh hardcore. Not rot. Suddenly there's shade and a new sun behind the tree. The tree bends itself aside to let the light through and there's me and Boobsong behind it but my light is burning her like she's on a griddle.

Starlight feeds the trees, and as a hummingbird your place was to be sustained by the natural order of that which turns starlight into nectar for you to drink. How dare you so insult not only that order and my people but my friend, too, will be the tree's last words to her.

And then if she runs everything moves so no matter where she goes the tree is between us and her and refusing to shade her.

I don't think this is lying. Trees are my friends. I can build my life entirely of synthetic stuff and heartstone, so I do. I think...yeah. On cloudy days I used to climb trees and shine, because they must be hungry.

Your seed-ghost is helping you arrange the shot. Make the candy and go please.

Okay but she has to eat this. There can't be any choice.

I hold up my hand and make an apple Redemption candy. It vanishes in a flash of purple grid.

Your seed-ghost has not forgotten your wishes. She must eat it. There is no escape.

Okay, got it targeted Acme Station? Oh, checking. I make a phaser, in my hand, with lots of flashy astral-looking assembling-in-air. It should shoot a beam that makes you feel terrible for a while but does no real harm. Click, scan.

Scanning...electric energy to nerves to small intestine and heart-flutter. No muscle harm. Restarts after you stop shooting her. A-OK says your Acme Station.

Perfect. I unmake it. Got the target? I wanna be right in front of her.

Can't be in front. She's kneeling at wood altar.

Okay. I want her yanked to face me if she doesn't turn when I yell, then.

Your tentacles have this well.

I stop. Why does it feel right to add the phaser thing?

The apple will cure your wounds, the tree will say to her.

Okay. Also not lies.

What am I that this is right for me. Are you good here, Acme Station?

This is the best way to do this your Acme Station can imagine. Tree was your friend all along. Not even lying.

Alright. Click, jump.

WHUMMMMMMMMEEEEEEEEPRAh!

We're there. In an outdoor glade Jenner's tanned and jewelried nude form is kneeling in front of a wooden altar, rough cut from what must have been a huge tree. There's a big tree beyond it, and it's windy in a very apocalyptic way but the sky is starry.

Time to get the Princess out.

"JENNER!"

She stands up, turns, is grabbed by tentacles that pull her arms out to her sides, starts to gasp to see me, and as soon as her eyes are on us I stretch out my arm that's not on Boobsong and make the phaser again and fire.

"This is for all my loves."

I hold it a good couple of precious seconds as her lips pull back in pain and her eyes go wide, then let go, and stand there. We're staying until I see her eat the apple and trance out.

I unmake the phaser just as impressively as I made it, and make like I'm here to watch her die.

The tentacles let her go. She crumples to the ground, then stands clutching her gut, braces on the altar, faces me, triumphantly biting the bright almost unnaturally red apple I made. She chews and swallows, face hard, and crumples to the ground again, knocked out in front of the altar.

"Lucy."

A portal appears in front of me. I'm not being tricked again or letting my bug in the design of the apple stand. Tentacles, throw her in.

Tentacles appear holding her limp body and I back up to give them space, and throw her through, then pat each other like they're brushing the dust off.

Yeah. Dust off feet. And now that candy has all the time in the world to work.

I see now why I got Milk-froth's backstory. I know you're not Jenner, Milk-froth. You wouldn't be, anyway, but you never were. Later our seed-ghost will tell me Jenner never reads this. Interesting. And interesting that it's important information. I guess so all you Redeemed reading won't wonder, but if you were, so what? You're Lucy, now. Or whoever Lucy became. That old you is dead and gone.

Loud terrible wind kicks up and it really sounds like the end of the world. Our seed-ghost doesn't kick me back like it's been doing. This is it, then? No more last minute stuff?

These are the last moments. Earth is being taken through the portals but scariness drives the last ones out.

I step around the portal and up to the altar. What to do with this sacrilege, so it doesn't come to the Dreams whole? But that's easy. I blast it with gentle antilight, and watch it crumble, until only dust blowing away in the terrible hurricane of the apocalypse is left.

After all, that's nature's way.

Anything you wanna say to this, dragon?

Only this. GAAAAAAAASP inhale all the air in the apocalypse

"RRRRROOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA--"

The journey ends with a blip, and we're back in Acme Station's Armory. I breathe a deep sigh of relief.

I kiss the top of Boobsong's head as she closes her mouth from roaring and wipes the feral angry expression off her face to gaze up cutely, and hug her. I love my dragon.

That was it, seed-ghost? We got kicked out because there was no more universe to be in?

The Dreams spiked you back to Acme Station so as not to interfere with your timestream. Earth was pulled through the portal with you standing on it.

Okay. That's it then.

What do you think, dolly--Mother. She isn't here yet.

What of Mother and Dad?

Dad was a wandering shepherd who was good to me and did everything a father was supposed to in the Strawberry World. He was a devout good man and I love him still. Okay.

The rewrite got him bad. If he's a helldive waiting for me bring it. Can we get him now?

Not until his time, but he has other help.

Okay. Mother loved me and was nice. The sadness of it was she just was so soft on everything in court it's like she was invisible. I don't have anything against her like Jenner, apparently. If that's ice push the button now, I'm through with this jumping out at me.

Your mother's time comes with the rest of them. You don't have ice for her. She was kind and you remeber that.

Okay.

Any other loose ends anyone.

Your heart-stops have come to an end here. Go have pizza and company.

What do you think here, dolly?

This heart-stop was the last one. Your Boobsong can see it too. Fountains of pressure released filling all of you.

I just need to know one thing then, if I can. Did she see?

Happily playing with her heartchild. They won't come back again. She is not one of your seed-kids.

What a weird revenge a Drill takes, but I won. I made her see.

I turn us for the door, and walk out of the Armory into the little loungey sort of place, hear the door pssh shut behind us.

Okay.

[ Vision: Fez ]

Allons-y?

Party time. You go back one second after leaving.

Purple grids surround us and everything goes dark and then a golden flash puts in the chair in Olympic Pizza. The Sugarfreaks are moving and very giggly because Butter's just dropped a piece of pineapple (on meatball sub pizza? You go you complete psychos) on Peanuts boob and is getting the look that means she has to lick it off now.

I bouncily turn to Dove and Mintie.

"Well. That way very interesting. I just went back in time to the apocalypse of the first Earth and shot Jenner who made us do all that box stuff with a harmless phaser to make her eat the real apple of the knowledge of good and evil which is a candy I made and it's pretty literally about the knowledge of what's good and what's evil and kicked her out of the anti-technology headspace she was in and now she's heartforming and in the four Dreams and I actually prefer that to having wrung her neck which is kind of a surprise but I guess I really am made for that. Also the Chyajjohs who were coming are dealt with thank you very much Grandmother Strawberry and their Earth-temples are erased by antilight and I may have slightly eternally banished myself from the court chamber at Strawberry Home which is a huge relief actually because Princessing my way exactly means not ever sitting in state and listening to long boring political proceedings when you could be off partying or playing with your fancy expensive sexy and ridiculously powerful silver toys."

I grope Boobsong real good on the part about toys and she gasps most satisfyingly while her tail lashes between us.

"How've you been?"

"You were gone for like half a second,"

Dove laughs.

"I have one, don't I. Where you went--"

Blue grids grab them and they're barely gone before they reappear the same way.

"Castle. It's a castle and it's beautiful. I feel so good just looking at it. You can see all these gorgeous stars from the top of it, and the food you should see the kitchens there! Miles and miles of good eats. There must be seventy kinds of soda bread! I'm starting to think it's a pity that I don't have thousands of fans. I could have parties there like it's the millenium! End of the world, get it?"

"Hehe! You know,"

I say as casually as I possibly can, turning to my pizza (click, feed).

Still taking order from last time. Hot still. Cooling in real time.

"The events of the Last Battle left Narnia short a high queen at the end of its world. That would probably have an interesting effect on any NarniaS meaning the Paradisc technical term that got created for people who weren't quite ready for the truth about daddy and the rest of it all. You might want to look into that." Should I--okay yes wow. "Call me up if you need a badguy, I know a very nice candy witch."

That...sounds super fun actually. Like what if we just roamed around capturing people.

"Oh but before you process that you should probably start psyching up since I kinda wanna take you out there after supper and introduce everyone to my new girlfriend who's such a badass she went from scared of demons to intentionally implanting on her own steam--like still not that you had a choice but I don't hear okay I'm doing it very often from Christians."

"Oh but watch out if you start talking about those kitchens. You're waaaaay not the only hobbit among my fans. I mean, remember what my speciality is."

I make another twinkie and set it by my own pizza this time.

Dove gets all blushy when I talk about introducing my new girlfriend.

"You have fun getting up your adrenaline on flying stuff. I like to stay ground level. Are we going up on somthing like that?"

Oh the poor thing.

"I'm so sorry about that sled thing! I get so going sometimes. So, I was going to fly how I do that you'll remember if you glance at my back, but we can definitely stay ground level. Boobsong has a very nice pony form and then you can say you rode the white horse, but I should warn you my fans know I like to be pawed at when I ride through crowds and that'll for sure spill onto you no matter how polite they try to me--I mean it might get spiked. Usually my girlfriends like attention as much as I do so it doesn't come up."

She leans back to see my back giving me a perfect view of Mintie's snuggly peace so cute, and then looks at me wide eyed.

"Eeep. Don't make me fly with those holding me in your arms or something. I'm scared of your fans though. How many gropes have you had at once?"

I grin wide and Cheshire-cat.

"Well, it's a bit power-hungry--" Click, jump!

"--but Boobsong has a very neat trick she can do," I say from about thirty places inside Olympic pizza.

I pop back to the chair and a Boobsong who's lashy-wiggly with delight at our antics.

"Oh my go--odness. How many was that?"

"I counted thirty-four just in this room here. There were seven more in the kitchen and five in the attic."

"You can count that fast?"

"It's very important to know everything happening around us. Would you like a complete scan of Pluto down to the core and out to the edge of the atmosphere?"

"Aww, just like your mom! Okay, as our seed-kids you should know. You know what a dreamskin is because you saw Mintie's in Boobsong's pages. So Boobsong's my ehem Illustrated Romance Novel, right?"

"It seems--what else is in there."

"Well, you know the truth about daddy now, so it won't blow your mind too much to find out he's not an only child--right I've mentioned Uncle Dagon already. So my life's been driven by all of these prophecies on monolith things that Paradise has been putting out in a very cryptic-foretelling way like once and six and seven makes kind of thing. Uncle Dagon had one. It said he should write a book. Of everything he knew about astral engineering which is his especial thing though remember that's like cooking is to humans almost. And everything daddy knew. And everything Auntie Lucifer knew. And Auntie Bet'l. And on. My family are just about the biggest oldest stars in the astral plane, and we have connections, and there's a lot of us, so it's not wrong to say it ended up being a book of all the secrets of the stars ever known. Then the prophecy said to give the book to this cartoon pony who lives in a place in Paradise called the Painted Sea with her very sweet birdkin heartformer. To be part of this dreamskin they would make."

"That's the book Boobsong turns into. With just daddy's knowledge alone I have the stuff to think make a starship with my Lens and get one. She understands all of it. So. Be sure to ask Mintie what your options are a lot. That multiply thing needs the light of a star with the output of a couple of normal galaxies to run on--"

I stretch up tall and glow.

"But there's a loooooooot of neat stuff that uses hardly any power. You guys have exploring to do."

"You have the power output of galaxies? How is this room not on fire?"

"The conflation jump record is out of math's reach. It happened to retrieve two handmaidens from the fires of being forced to recant themsleves by just taking everyone who was in that state on the edge of death."

"I was getting exasperated at that point. Then we found a bunch of catgirls using the summoned ghost of the Nazi bookburning fire at the Institute for Sexualwissenschaft as a hellgate to reach in and pull people out of the moment my seed-ghost said and we were like, well okay, let's just dive in and get everyone, handmaidens've gotta be in there somewhere. I mean I didn't think it'd be everyone I thought we might have to make a few trips or something. But we ran out of people before we ran out of multiplying."

I foosh, peer interestedly at my pizza.

"It's been a very busy day."

Still not cool. Actually cooling for real this time.

"In a thousand years I could never make that up. Are you saying everybody that died of the heartbreak of being told they're wrong, is all alright?"

"I think so. We saw them meeting loved ones and stuff who came to get them. If you're looking for someone finding them is great Sirening practice."

Dove looks down for a second, mouths something and smiles.

"You got my aunt! And a couple of cousins...upppppfff! Guess who else is gay! Father Moffet from the Advent!"

"You--you English Muffin you! You had me thinking you were Roman Catholic!"

My heart skips a beat as Boobsong moves. If this pizza hits my tongue and there's something left after...

It's all cleaned up, say the Dreams, so sideways it must be right.

Boobsong turns and is holding up a perfect slice of Olympic Pizza with razor-precise cuts and pepperoni layered up as thick as the crust. I look down at her smiling-submissive face, catch her flirty downcast eyes and blush to see her thought my own beauty in her eyes.

Silly thoughts of the level-ending screen of StarFox--the original, not CD--fill my mind, and I let them, and let the music pump in my head, kettle drums thundering.

"Course clear," I whisper, and lean my head down, and Boobsong puts the tip in hehe, and I close my lips around the awesome pepperoni overload and take a huge bite. Cheese strings out and she expertly pulls it off the slice and gets lots of finger-licking and makes a great sexy face as I eat it up and I chew and swallow the first bite fast from the need to prove to myself that this really is it like that was the end of that and this is the new chapter.

I wait, a long time, while Boobsong sits half-twisted around in my lap, watching me.

Nothing crazy happens.

Click, soda. With a happy lashy tail because this is what Boobsong really likes to do with her life other than sex, she puts the pizza down and pops the tab on my Dr. Pepper and holds it to my lips and I take a long deep pull, chug its acid-sweet-bitter-keysmash amazingness gratefully, finally stop, Boobsong holds the soda ready, and I wait again.

Dove starts to talk so I hold a finger up.

The Sugarfreaks play. Oylmpic Pizza makes pizza shop sounds. Nothing else happens.

It's time for a new chapter of Starlight Princess, say the Dreams.

"Let's rock and roll."

Click, pizza!

I put my finger down, give Dove an affectionate thigh-pat, and re-grab Boobsong, who has my next bite of pizza ready in no time.