10 - Messing About in Boats

“Grab hold?”

“Okay, there’s going to be a chain, with handles, going fast. You need to grab the handles, because if you grab the chain it’ll just rip your arm off. Then squeeze the handles to slow down before you hit the end of the chain, and then you can take one of the ones that’s piled up on you to help you climb up the chain.”

Relax, it’s simpler than it sounds.

“It’ll make more sense when you see it. Get ready!”

In the time it’s taken her to say this and me to be confused by it, the ship has taken on the precipitously approaching aspect of a landing airliner. It’s moving too fast and Lyra is tugging at my hand too much to get a good look, but it’s maybe a hundred feet long, made of sea-green wooden-looking planks and black riveted iron hardware binding it all together, but it’s nothing like a sailing ship from Earth: the hull is long and thin, a tapering needle-pointed shape with a shorter taper at the stern collapsing the cross-section to a flat vertical rudder with a scalloped trailing edge and stylized ‘fingers’ reminiscent of a bat’s wing. Glinting Eyelight here and there seems to indicate the glass of windows. At the bow, a long, metal spike projects, still glowing white-hot from its adventure.

Lyra’s tugging at my hand, pulling me toward the edge of the raft, but I’m rapt, listening to the impossible song this design is singing to me: long, narrow hull, more conical than the thing it’s got to stay inside. Long spike at the front, to move the shockwave even further forward, still blazing white hot from aerodynamic heating. And it’s a sailing ship: it rolls as it dives, revealing a top-deck cleared of personel for the dive, massive leathery kites like dragon-wings lashed securely in place with elaborate knots that put me more in mind of bondage than seamanship holding them down.

A flying, submersible, hypersonic, sailing ship.

“Master!”

Fuck! Sheath! Where? There.

“Catch!”

Lyra tosses me Cleavage's sheath, and I instinctively throw the strap over my shoulder, still distracted by the design of the ship, trying to take it all in at once as I used to do as a kid watching planes on the approach to Logan.

“I expect we’re about to meet people. I’d offer you my shirt, but...”

“Heh. Not going to be a thing Master, don’t worry.”

Surprise level: 0.00+-0

Right, it’s a hypersonic sailing ship we need to catch. It’s slowing, as it passes over us, but still going fast, angled to dive cleanly to the sea on the far side of the raft. A spray of something wispy and silvery bursts from the stern as it passes over our heads, I suddenly I understand Lyra’s cryptic instructions, and, taking her hand, dive off the edge of the raft.

She pulls us under as soon as we’re in the water, diving deep. When the turbulence clears, I force my eyes open, startled to find them un-stung by the salty water, and watch Lyra swim. She’s graceful, on land, but in water, she’s a revelation, swimming with the easy, simple grace of a seal, toes spread and wings pumping, driving us downward with vertiginous speed, so fast it feels like—

A peal of thunder roars through the water, rattling the both of us, and then I see the ship ahead of us, not landing in the water but diving into it, bow pointing almost straight down, the sound of the impact reverberating in our bones like a rocket launch. It passes, perilously close as Lyra swims urgently for it, and I make out details as they rush past trailing bubbles: iron-rimmed windows glowing with a purple light, Infernal text emblazoning (I assume) the ship’s name, the unmistakable tapering shapes of hydrofoil fins folded flat against the hull, something large and flat and dully glinting held in place with chains, and then it’s past and Lyra is letting go of my hand and reaching for something: the chains that have blossomed, hundreds of feet long, from the stern of the ship. There are dozens, splaying out, evidently driven apart by some clever feat of hydrodynamics. They blur past, but I can make out fittings at intervals with projecting rings the size of dinner plates: the handles.

Lyra hesitates, waiting for me to take hold first, and I snatch at the next ring that comes near, catching it with a lurch. It slides along the chain freely, but there’s a lever like a bike brake along the inside of the ring, and when I squeeze the mechanism that’s sliding along the chain grabs hold gently and slowly begins pulling me up to speed with the ship. It’s the first time since this started I’ve been more than a few inches from Lyra, and the lack of her presence makes my heart drop, but when I look around she’s clinging to another chain, keeping pace with me and grinning wildly.

Further handles pile up against mine as the chain runs past me, helping me to brake, and then suddenly I’ve come gently to a ‘stop’, the water tearing at every part of me with the speed of our dive.

Use the ones that pile up to climb the chain? Oh. Grabbing a second handle, I alternate braking and sliding each one, climbing up the chain toward the stern of the ship, and as I realize with relief that someone inside is retracting the chain at the same time, doubling or tripling my progress, a touch at my elbow nearly startles me into losing hold or taking a lungful of Seawater, but it’s just Lyra: she’s been keeping pace and the splay of the chains has brought us near enough for her to loop her tail around my arm, affectionate, and then the ship is upon us, the chains winching us into an alcove at the stern, bright with golden-white pinprick lights. Brilliant calligraphic luminescent-purple arrows indicate a direction to go and a handhold to grab, so I take hold and pull myself toward the door, green-planked and iron-riveted, that they indicate, and then there’s a water-muffled bang behind me as Lyra closes the other door of the airlock, wrapping herself around me as soon as I turn to her, searching for kisses I return desperately.

Sade’s rope rack, that was what, like ten cubits apart? And if one of us had messed up the other would’ve just let go too? And it felt like the length of the Sea. I really hope we turn out to be able to do Hollow Heart Summoning, I don’t think I’m good at separation.

You’re not either, they way we’re kissing right now.

There’s a creak and a deafening gurgle and bubbles surround us as the airlock cycles, emptying of water in seconds, and as soon as the surface drops past our heads I break our kiss to take a gasping breath, realizing I’m grinning the same stupid grin that’s still plastered over Lyra’s face.

“Woo! That RULED!”

I hadn’t known that making out in an airlock while it cycles was on my bucket list, but it was, and motherfucking check.

“Hah! And that wasn’t even the interesting part. Come on, let’s...” Pfech, argh!

“I wanna get inside and dry off.”

As if on cue, there’s a clank of retracting deadbolts and hiss of breaking seals, and a strange, shocking-pink creature opens the door.

No. I’m in that one scene from Out of the Silent Planet. This is a human girl, age unguessable, strangely, almost inhumanly broad-featured and yet disconcertingly pretty, long black hair tied into neat, asymmetrical braids to accommodate the short-shorn patch on her left temple. Her skin is pale, but she’s not Caucasian or any other ethnicity I can make out, not even developed-world mutt, and as she leans into the airlock to mutter a string of syllables I can’t parse and rakes her eyes over the both of us while she talks, unabashed and appraising, it comes to me that she’s nearly as naked as Lyra, wearing masses of extravagant gold or silver (the monochromatic light makes it impossible to tell) jewelry, elaborate sandals that twine thin black leather straps nearly to her knees, and nothing else. There’s the sudden expected instinct to cover myself, but my hands are full of succubus, so instead we just kind of stand there, mid-makeout.

«Quietly, we seem to be overrun with aftercare. Welcome aboard!»

With this, she swings herself out of the entrance again and stands aside, gesturing us inside.

«Where are you two headed? I'm cruising along the Breath of Charybdis--this is my ship--right past the Throat.»

In the instant before I remember not to ogle I get an impression of a sort of trim grace, understated curves and small taut breasts. An expression of vague disappointment passes over her face when I look back to it, and then I turn to Lyra because she’s starting to respond in the language that I recognize on her tongue as Infernal, and the room goes sideways for a moment.

Right duh Master doesn't speak Infernal.

«Um, thank you, need to ask my Master-who-doesn't-speak-Infernal.»

I’ve been hanging out with a monster all night. It’s only been hours, but apparently that’s long enough to totally recalibrate my sense of beauty: I haven’t seen it for lack of anything to compare to, but now I have this human for comparison and though her features are strange and unearthly, she’s still just a very beautiful human, only looking so alien and unreasonably pink because I’ve gotten used to staring at Lyra’s unlikely proportions and pale-grey skin. A soft purple light the same color as the markings that light up the airlock glows from behind new girl, giving a her skin a lurid tinge that ironically softens the shock by making her look more alien.

"Master, where do you want to go? She's offering to drop us off near the Throat, which is this place that--"

«What if I let you aftercare along with everyone else until ve can think again? I'll come find you in a half-watch or so.»

Lyra...well. Her body’s beautifully impossible, proportions unreasonable, and now I realize her face goes just as far, goes further, as if it’s built around pegging the parameters of whatever in me measures prettiness rather than anything to do with biology or heredity. Those big impossible eyes actually are bigger than you’re going to ever get on a human. Those sweet fuckable lips aren’t something evolution was ever going to produce. It’s a beautiful face, but a fey face, magical and impossible, something ripped out of the best kind of hentai. The girl who’s answered the door has definitely hit the genetic-lottery jackpot herself, but Lyra’s something else, almost...crafted, a grammar-flouting poem about feminine beauty like animate artistic license. Just looking at her like this makes me want to pin her against the wall behind her and kiss her until we fall through because of proton decay.

The strange woman’s gesturing us in as she turns to clear out of the door breaks my reverie. There’s a susurration of quiet voices from behind her, the low noise of a quiet but crowded room, and I realize with a start that there’s no hint of engine noise or any kind of life-support thrum.

You know you’re a scifi nerd when you worry at the quiet your very first time stepping out of an airlock.

“What did she say?”

They’re speaking in hushed voices, so I follow the peer pressure.

“We should be quiet because everyone’s aftercaring, and then she asked if we want to like rest before she helps us figure out where we're going. Oh, and she's the captain of the ship.”

The stranger is stepping inside, casting a look over her shoulder as if to see that we’re following, and then smirking at me fractionally when she sees that my gaze has fallen to her nicely-toned ass.

I glance to see if Lyra’s caught me looking as well, but she’s looking, if I didn’t know better, in the same direction I was.

Man, they really are overrun with aftercare. I wanna curl up now too...

«You were on the Lost Virgin's Rest. What happened to you?»

«We just came from Earth - fucking...hell of a ride...never seen so many perfekti. The Shadows put us right next to it, like not even half an aslu.»

«Sade's Balls, the blessing actually works?»

«Apparently?»

«A lost planet. I thought your human looked newly abducted. And likes femmes? And by the way ve’s looking at me I’m the first native he’s seen?»

«Yeah, why?»

Yes, I'm wearing a Hollow Heart Amulet. Wouldn't you rather ogle my breasts though?

«I don't want to embarrass myself with a redundant greeting. You're both Hollow Hearts, yeah?»

«Yeah. Wait, fuck, don’t kiss, he’ll freak! Earth is mono-normative!»

Fucking traditionalists.

«Relax, I’m not going to get myself spiked or tangled up in a Hollow Heart I don’t know. I’m not a child.»

Lyra’s urgent and bristling--I even catch the English word ‘fuck’ in her exclamation--but the worry seems oddly to be directed at our interlocutor instead of me as I might expect in this situation.

The stranger turns to me, extending a hand as if to shake, but when I take it she clasps my hand warmly with both of hers and brings it to her lips, kissing my palm like...

Okay, I will say, Master needs a set of silver rings like that. Especially doing thin ones on the thumb so you can still fit two like on the fingers, that’s creative.

Creatively unf. Time to make with the music lessons.

Sorry, I’m fresh out of metaphors. I’ve never met something formally flirtatious before, especially not at a volume I can hear with any clarity. It’s actually weird, being touched sexually by a human, almost incestuously familiar after Lyra’s alien thrill.

«Welcome to the Deep Haven, fellow Sade.»

Huh. Shouldn't I be getting greeted too? Totally feels right having it like this, though.

I guess I really am a Pet.

When Lyra finishes translating, the alien human--girl? Woman? Her age is a lot more than unguessable and I realize that for all I know she might be thousands of years old--lets my hand drop, and then without transition pulls two (presumably, the monochromatic light now that we’re out of the airlock stomps all colors to shades of purple, red, or blue) deep-purple towels from a shelf, tossing one to each of us.

FUCK YES TOWELS NO MORE SOGGY UNDERBOOBS!!

The familiarity and mundanity of the artifact is surreal after the rest of the night. It’s just purple terrycloth, luxuriously thick and nice, no magic, no unreasonable overengineering, not even a weird material (right? Please let this just be cotton), the only interesting thing about it that it’s near big enough to be a bed-sheet.

«Enjoy the aftercare toys. Anything not being used or claimed is there for you to play with. I'll see you in half-a-watch-about!»

With this--and without waiting for Lyra to finish translating, our host strides off.

Toweling off instead of drip-drying again is almost orgasmic. It’s rather nice having some cloth to do something with.

“That was...interesting. Am I actually that hot, or is that some kind of formal thing?”

I probably should have expected etiquette to be a bit epic in the land of the kinky demons.

Tell me about it. Not that I’m disagreeing with her taste obviously, I mean I’m sure seeing the potential, but why be so intent on molesting my poor newbly and nectar-shy Master? Surely if you’re feeling homosubstantial there’s plenty of experienced...

Oh. Derp. I bet she lives for moments like this, that’s why she bothers to captain a ferry.

“It’s an old formal welcome for new humans, but you definitely just got hit on hardcore. I think she’s into virgins.”

What.

“I hope you’re not mad that I let her flirt with me like that. I didn’t really know what was...”

I’m actually glad there’s a Serious Relationship Issue to stop me falling into the endless abyss of ‘just missed that boat’ puns.

“Shh, relax. I know I’m yours. I’m sure you could figure out how to make me jealous if you really wanted, but that’s sure not going to do it. I know no-one’s going to displace me.”

So what if I am totally cheating on that one?

“Good.”

Unfff. Towel. I swear it’s even scraping off the salt. So good being back to civilization. Whoever said many waters can’t quench love hadn’t seen the shower I’m going to take when we get downstairs. It feels like I've never had one in my whole life.

“Anyway, I’m pretty sure she was trying to flirt with the pair of us, not just you. So.”

This last comes disinterestedly out of the towel that Lyra has draped over her head as she dries her hair. Really?

“You’re not sounding...that’s not weird here, huh.”

There’s an odd squeak: she’s polishing the salt off her horns.

Erk, ow. Need wax so bad.

Oh my fuck you hand me the best lines sometimes.

“Everything’s weird here. You get used to it.”

“Heh.”

“Make s...” Blech. MRF. Really? Umum. “The sea-salt is purifying, but now it’s going to be full of dust from Earth it drew out of you and it tastes gross to me. I’ll like it if you wipe off as much as you can.”

So awkward. This had better not be becoming a thing.

“Of course.”

When I open my eyes from giving my face a final wipe, Lyra’s drying her wings, folding them around herself and pulling the membrane through two fistfuls of towel. I throw mine around my waist, doubled up so it doesn’t drag on the floor, and am about to offer to help when she finishes.

Ahhh. Well, kind of unsalty, at least. Please let there not be any mirrors, I don’t want to know how my hair is doing.

Toss the towel...no? That fuzzy taste again? Oh. I get it. Dunno what Master wants, so gotta ask, even if I meant to do the slutty thing. Is the instinct always going to shout so loud? I can be Henchey on my own, I just need to get used to it, it’s not like it doesn’t feel good...

“Am I putting this on, Master?”

How optional is clothing here? I look around the room for the first time since coming in. I’ve gotten disoriented as we entered: from outside it’d looked like the airlock led into the belly of the ship, but we’re on top. This shouldn’t really be surprising: the deck is level under my feet, meaning we must not be diving anymore, and the only time the ship could have rotated with my noticing is while we made out in the airlock.

The timber curves around over our heads so that the hull is an arching roof, meeting the floor in sloping walls like an attic room, long and taperingly narrow with the pointed shape of the ship. It’s dimly purple-lit, the light emanating from the corners where the thick green timber ribs that line the inside of the green-timber hull meet the hull. Green and purple are complimentary, and the floor is black, with the result that the only thing that the purple light really illuminates is the furniture and its occupants, making us all seem to float in a black void. Other colors glow from the walls: the iron-rimmed portals I saw from outside, showing glimpses of some otherworldly glowing vista under the Sea.

The furniture is easily described, a riot of mismatching, gothically ornate couches, chairs, and scattered or piled cushions of all sizes up to and including good-sized mattresses, much of it worn or threadbare, but all lavish and comfortable-looking in the way Victorian furniture never is on Earth: we’re in a very old, very expensive, very well-used room.

The occupants of the furniture, not so easily. It’s as if we’re in the aftermath of some happy cataclysm. Almost everyone is comforting or comforted, wrapped in blankets and watched over by a solicitous caretaker or sleeping in someone’s arms or being held and caressed and spoken to with soft words. It should look like a roomful of refugees, but while there are tears or the obvious recent memory thereof in streaks of mascara or black (and maybe other colors? The light once again makes it impossible to tell) succubus tears here and there, these people seem to just feel safe, some seemingly unwinding from something terrible and intense, others glowing with the satisfaction I saw on Lyra’s face as we lay together on the raft before, but all happy and content and peaceful.

And of course, only about half the crowd is human, if that. It’s dim and many of the pairs or groups - collections of three and four obviously all together are common, and there’s at least one gang of five all resting in a pile - are under blankets or in shadowy corners or partly obscured by hanging curtains or all three, so it’s hard to see detail, but horns of various kinds, fur or scales, wings feathered or batlike, draping tails, even lazily splayed tentacles abound. Near us two masculine figures recline against one of the pillars that brace the hull, a big muscular one enfolding his obviously male but extravagantly made-up human in dark-feathered wings.

“Master?”

I blink out of my staring around. Lyra’s standing there, holding her towel uncertainly in front of her, sort of carefully not covering herself, a few steps away: I’ve wandered a bit further into the room in my reverie, trying to get a better look.

Right. How optional is clothing here? Really optional. More of the crowd is naked or dressed in what I’ll call the opposite of clothing, than not.

“Sorry. Nope, in the hamper with it.” There’s a bin beneath the shelf, an unfolded towel hanging over the edge, another incongruous island of normalcy poking out of the sea of madness.

In response, she balls the towel and tosses it expertly to the bin, and then slinks slowly up to me, clearly showing off for the passengers who’ve noticed us as much as for me.

Mmm exhibitionism. Yeah you all wish you were my Master, huh?

Whee!

Which is, I’ll admit, sort of my point, but it’s still a bit weird how much I enjoy it when I realize I’m succeeding in displaying her. I put out my hand as she approaches, and she takes it, but then raises it above her head and pirouettes as if we’re dancing, grinning cutely and then falling against me so that she’s facing outward, head lolled back against my shoulder, looking up at me with happy eyes, and lets out a mighty sigh as I put my arms around her.

The deck shifts under our feet with acceleration driven by a whispering susurrus that could just be the water rushing by outside.

“Almost home now.”

“I can’t wait to see it.”

Oh! Windows? C’mon windows. No, good windows, not the dinky round ones...

“There’s probably a window at the front, wanna go see?”

“Lead the way, and give me a show while you do.”

Getting hit on by a likely-millenia-old ship captain should probably bother me, but in truth it’s rather made my day (saying something, for an event to even register as good or bad, compared to the rest of today) and left me in a bizarrely playful mood.

Hehe. “Yes Master.”

Oof! Huh? Oooh...why are you giving me a download about the ship-captain, seed-ghost? Captaincy of Time? No way is she a timelord!? Is this ship her TARDIS? COOL! Okay telling--spike he's totally going to hear me squee umumum--telling Master as soon as I can explain seed-ghosts and heartforming for real.

When I let her go, she stretches spectacularly, arms in a knuckle-cracking square stretch, back arched, wings spread to their limit, and then sways off in the direction of the bow, tail lashing in rhythm with her steps. I’m tempted to catch up and grab her ass, but then I wouldn’t have this view.

Sure enough, this end of the room is dominated by a wide, almost floor-to-ceiling (though the ceiling is claustrophobically low, this far forward) plate glass window, sloping steeply with the slant of the hull like a car’s windshield. More impossible stuff, this time it’s material science that’s getting spanked: the window is unreasonably clear, inches thick but without the green tint of glass or the fuzzy distortion of acrylic. It’s flanked on either side by staircases leading down into the floor, railings against the wall.

When she reaches the window, Lyra settles onto her elbows on the waist-height railing that runs in front of it, bent over just enough to show me her pussy, and I’m little taken aback at myself when my reaction isn’t ‘shame we’re not alone’ but ‘I wonder if we’d disturb anyone having sex here?’.

Come on, you know you want to...mmm. Coo. Well, that’s a start.

And then I see out the window, and content myself with a hand on her ass, fingers trailing against her warm outer lip.

There are stars in the Sea.

No. But lights, yes, in all colors, pure whites and menacing reds and eerie greens and everywhere the fusion-flame purple that seems to be the trademark of this place. Some tiny, some wavering, some brilliant and almost blinding, glowing against mountain ranges and tendrils and filaments and thickets of dark shapes of every size that are too hazy with distance even in the impossibly clear water of the Sea to make out from here.

And it goes on out of sight, in all directions, fading away in the clear water.

Pretty cool, huh?

Arm around you, wing around you, tail up the arm that’s grabbing my ass, snuggle up and nestle into your hand. Sade’s Balls so comforting, getting felt up by someone who’s really into me tastes awesome. There really is a reason it’s never far enough for Hollow Hearts until it’s too far.

“Welcome home, Master.”

“This is amazing. Is it as big as it looks? How many of you are there?”

“Sade? We think maybe a few hundred trillion, give or take. Might be lots more. Nobody can really be fucked to count, even the Capricorns don’t organize stuff that big.”

“Holy fuck. I was expecting...I don’t even know. This is insane. It’s bigger than it looks, huh.”

Nod.

“Capricorns?”

“You know, spreadsheet fetishists, org chart sluts, people you really shouldn’t play first edition DnD with.”

Sure. Why not? It takes all kinds.

Wait, Lyra knows enough to make a DnD editions joke? Who is this girl?

"So what happens in half a watch, and how long is half a watch?"

Fuck, of course you don't know that.

"Half a watch is about an hour, Master, and she wanted to know where we want to go, and offered to show us homes we could claim with her scrying-table for if you don't want to wish for a new one, and then I guess decided we needed to aftercare before you decided about all that and said she'd come find us in like half a watch."

I consider this for an instant--

"I'm sorry Master she didn't really ask and she went so fast. If you want to go look at homes now we could try to find her--"

"No, she was right, I need a minute to think."

We’re quiet for a while, watching the vista before us inch closer, basking in each others’ embrace, and eventually the settling peace lets me start to process the strange way she seems familiar and new at the same time.

"So how did we meet? I know you were like, sharing fantasies with me, but...did you like, troll around Earth looking for someone you'd like, or what? How'd we get started--and how did you make it all this way without getting--duh. Your hymen regenerates like your wing did, right?"

She definitely didn't seem to find breaking it painful...

Turn to face you. Yay you get the hint.

"I'm your girl from Dreamless, and your new-wife fantasy, and the picture you drew, and that dream about the planet with the cool plants, but those are your fantasies, Master. You made them up, and I enjoyed them. My seed-ghost probably gave you inspiration lots when I was too new to muse to you, and I tried to muse you things I knew you would like as soon as I got solid enough to dream for myself, but Master I liked going along with your fantasies way better than suggesting them."

Subby face, downcast eyes downcast face then look up without un-donwcasting my face.

"I still like you making it up and me going along best, Master."

Fantasies, dreams, fragments, abstract things, faceless girls, the nights of my adolescence like a wave-function I never had the courage to collapse suddenly hurtling inward, becoming, shattering into wholeness like ice touched to supercooled water that becomes the twin rings of purple fire that now look softly back at me, luminous in the ship’s cozy gloom.

Pieces...

She told me. Said it to me flat out, in Limbo, and I was too addled to comprehend it.

"You said wishes can come to life if you focus on them right, and you said that's where you came from. Did I...did I wish for you like that?"

Kneel, head down, then allll the way down to the floor, palms up to worship.

Holy FUCK.

Pain again. I’m biting the same finger as before, much harder this time.

For a while, I'm speechless, unable to do anything but stand there feeling my face growing hotter. Objections and magnanimous declarations that she doesn't have to kneel even if I did create her, but my cock and the thundering rush in my heart and the way it's gone every other time I've tried to say something like that to her conspire to silence this instinct that, as I'm forced to stand there and face it, looks increasingly like the (heh) demon Prince Caspian faced in the minutes before the fateful battle at the end of his eponymous book, and like him it comes to me that if I flub this battle I'll flub all the rest, too.

"Look at me."

Looking.

Ulp. Tall.

Please keep looking at me like that forever.

When she bends her head back to meet my eyes with shouldn't-be-shocking flexibility, her eyes are...pleading. Pleading for love.

I’ll give it, little one, I promise. You’ve seen how I want you.

"You came out wonderfully. You're even better than I could have possibly imagined."

Snif...

The beaming, about-to-cry beautiful and naked smile this produces can't just be looked at. Something like the strange sense of rails in the sword-ritual bends my train of thought as I formulate the order to come give me a kiss and be felt up:

"Head down again."

Down.

"Worship a minute longer, then kiss my feet and get up here and get kissed."

One, two...cool I just know!? That's so useful!

Hehe you should teach me to cum on command and then I can be your sexy alarm clock.

Okay worship quietly.

Master...

As the seconds stretch and my face burns in the heat of the light inside me showing the entire room what kind of monster I am, it comes to me that she's of course taken 'a minute' literally and is probably counting it off. I won't relent and stop her. Maybe...maybe I'm not upset about this happy little accident.

Master.

This is so right.

...that's time. Up, kiss left, kiss right, reverently--now poing!

Hands back, present lips, eyes down.

I seize her by a horn and pull her face to mine to be kissed with the violent, desperate, consuming passion that is the only thing that can answer this moment.

...mmmmmfff oh my fuck okay I love you too...

The rush as I separate our lips so I can watch her face pounds with the obligate fury of an SSTO's winged flight: the options are Mach 5 or falling out of the sky.

"Look at me."

Still keeping my grip on her horn tight so she has no choice but to stay on tiptoe and look at me, I reach between her legs with my other hand, explore her cunt, find it dripping.

HHHhhhhooooh Mmmmaster...

I bring my fingers back up, hold them between our faces to inspect the nectar that stretches between them, threatening to drip.

"You liked that."

Eyes down, no look at you. RRR look at you.

Blush blush blush fuck.

"Lick my fingers clean and then kiss it into my mouth."

Okay lean in and liiiiick...lick...twist around to--yus thank you Master liiiiiick unf it tastes amazing already stay cool self this is a reverent scene, not feral liiiiiick....now look up stretch up gah so tall OOOH maybe you want me to f--

MMMF kiss ooohkay ppush my tongue into your mouth there Master I didn't swallow a drop, see?

There's enough to lick off her tongue and make a small, satisfying swallow before we get lost in the kiss for a few million years.

When it's done, I can't hold the questions back any longer.

"So what's a seed-ghost?"

“Well, building a soul’s pretty complicated, you’re smart but nobody’s that smart on their own, so there’s kind of a...so ghosts are like fragments of a soul, right? One really focused, like, thought or drive, right? It’s called the seed-ghost, and it’s like, smart enough to figure stuff out and think but it doesn’t really have feelings or think on its own, it just makes sure I get built right, makes sure you get what you actually want.”

“...actually want. It makes sure you come out how I want, even if what I want is something I could never imagine on my own. No matter what that means.”

All of the monsters we’ve just walked past look radically different from each other. Horns and wings are common, but not by far the only inhuman feature - they’re all over the map, stuff that couldn’t possibly all be one species. But...

“These are all succubi around us. The non-humans.”

“Yeah. I mean probably, but you never know, maybe some are actually humans or are transplanar or whatever. It's rude to assume unless you know or they're flagging in a system you can read.”

...oh. I’ve debugged some things in my day. I can tell when I’ve got a causal arrow facing the wrong way.