26 - Even Broken Hearts

I'm dead sure after what Sweetie said we'll find ourselves statuified, just like this, but no, I can turn and jerk my head come on at Copper and break into a run at where they're all coming through the big doors and Sis is there at the lead of them with arms reaching out to pick me up, or hug me, anyway, I'm bigger now anyway CHARGE SIS CHYA!

We collide and she does pick me up, and twirl me like a little kid, and I laugh like one, and she sets me down and pulls me down by my nipples oh hell yes and kisses me hard and all commanding and I just kind of melt in her hands and she fuzzes my head and her hair is changed its how she wore it as a nursemaid instead of pirate-style and she as a rainbow ribbon in her hair and okay Sis you got me here now or in your cabin or just keep teasing me or what.

Sis makes me feel so wonderful. I feel all soft and juicy good and I can feel the space between my ass cheeks inviting her come on just spread me out and have some fun come in I'll welcome you so warmly wet...

She stands me up and turns me around and pushes my ass with both hands so I take a step forward towards a huge rainbow-iridescent wrapped present the size of a refrigerator, with rainbow ribbon.

I grin back at her, let myself glow the every-wavelength I want to, and just reach out and claw the paper down, pulling until--oh really. Strong stuff, like some kind of mylar. Too reflective to burn I bet, at least without taking the whole club down.

Oh well sigh, nothing for it, dolly!

I hold Boobsong up against the present, glance back at everyone, then lllliiiiiick up her pussy--

HHAAAAH WOW YUS THAT WAS GOOD!

Hehe, already from that one thing? I guess I am real horny now. I wiggly nuzzle my face into one of her boobs and bite her nipple real good anyway--

EAAAH AWAKE DOLLY MOVES!

--hear Walt oof on her behalf, giggle quietly at Boobsong who knows she likes it anyway--

It's really fun to scream though!

[Food metaphor: snickers]

I mean what otherwise would the point be? Anyway, click.

Shing!

Click.

Hold out hand with knife fingertip. Princess careful that's close to you!

Grinning, I step back from the shapeshifted knife that's half an inch from my nose, take her off the present, and use her to score--hm.

Alright then, you asked for it. Thank you so much.

Click. Click.

Unshing. Pose like dolly.

I clutch Boobsong, facing out she can watch, get her tight with my left arm, and limber up my right one.

I'm the Mistress of StarFox. One of the reasons, is I can vibrate my fingers so that instead of pushing the fire button, I buzz it, which gives me twice the fire rate the game's designed for.

That, however, is the stub of something else. Light and anti-light. I can go insane putting other lights out, use anti-light to give myself a nice black field to draw pretty color lights on, or do this.

It could have been so ugly, an ultimate weapon to use in some war against Eden or something. Even using it in the place where Valkyries ride wouldn't have been as healing and wholesome as this.

I put my index finger out, hold it up, give lots of warning in case anyone wants to hide their eyes, and then vibrate.

At the tip of my finger, where I'm holding the light in a tiny flat dot, flickering doom makes the club look like it's rave time, even with the big lights on, as I whip between light and anti-light in the same spot tens of times a second.

I hold it against the nicely plasticky sparkly paper and smoke rises from the spot as it...does nothing at all. I'm just making iron smoke again.

I stop and put my hand on my waist.

"Sheesh! I guess I'm saving the paper then!"

I skip around it, looking for a seam by trailing my hand along it, but there's nothing. Huh.

Alright then, flumph!

Up on top, there's a bow of rainbow ribbon, and--seams, aha! I hover close, and pull the folded-over end of paper, and it comes free from under the ribbon, so I pull the bow, and it comes undone easily, and then I can pull up all the seams, which come easily, leaving me with a square silver tube around whatever's in there--wait, I completely forgot to look for a tag! Oh well, we'll inspect the wreckage afterward. I'm too curious. The club is high, but full of clockwork awesome stuff, but there's room to fly this up, I think. Can it come off? I clutch Boobsong underarm and grab either side and fly up and it does come right off, sliding up so silky-sounding. Bwaha, feel like I'm taking its stocking off!

Happy Heartwarming fun fills me as I get it the rest of the way, feeling so silly cute, and then it's free and I can fly back a bit and toss the paper aside and thoom down--ack breasts flap--okay can flare nicely and alight and look at the box in front of me.

There standing up in a huge replica of--is this the original one? It can't be, can't it? It's the crown jewels' display case from Mother's dressing room, where the crown lived when it wasn't on her head and the other things we had that cost as much as whole provinces, and at which I would stare and pine for the day when I could wear the crown and fix everything, but in it, is something so much more precious now. Standing up, just my height, big enough for me and so twice the usual size, is a rainbow-trimmed, black-with-sparkles, iridescent-steel Flexible Flyer sled. It'll carry me and Boobsong easily, even lying down face first with Boobsong on my back which everyone knows is the the fun way to sled.

I just stand there face trying to figure out which way to even blubber.

"I forgot sledding existed," I finally sob to everyone.

The sled is propped on a rainbow-iridescent starfleet blanket, perfect for displaying this.

There's a tag on hanging from the key, which is in the lock.

I unlock the door before I know what I'm even doing, like a dam a lifetime long is bursting, and then work the key out and open the tag.

The key is green with little ruby strawberries in the handle, and the tag is on white card with green ink and again little red strawberries. Strawberries in snow. That's what the white meant. Strawberries were supposedly delicate or something but we could take it. You'd see little pink dots all over the castle every snowy morning, catching our morning air.

It's not bravado. It really felt wonderful. I'm so doing it tomorrow and seeing which handmaiden wimps out first and begs for IR.

The writing is as elegantly swoopy and ornate as what the Power Suit showed, except that was military block-lettering and this is formal script for a Princess. It's in Strawberry:

For Princess Pandora Lucia Chyajjoh.

From the other side of Stargate, we heard this tale, of skis that bend like caresticks. We remember all those tales. Tell us more please.

The people of Strawberry Hill

I sniffle, and hold it in a shaking hand, glance my happiness back around at the family.

"Well dolly," I finally manage, "looks like we need to put one of the hardpoints back on Sparkledust."

"YEAH! Who will fly it, though?"

"Oh, I think I know witch one can help us out here."

As metal as that's going to be this this present is actually about Strawberry Home and the Strawberry Hill it's built on. Which is steep as fuck, which is why we put our castle up there. Aside from the stars planting a monolith up there. The twisty turny steep parade route down through the capital will make the most incredible sled run, and it's a solid couple of miles, and if--if--sob--if they really mean that on this tag here and anyone came back to live or is ever here for the party just we'll have an audience like that day coming back from the mission trip.

Oh this is going to be good. Flexible flyers really have gravel between their toes.

If you're from most of America, that probably doesn't make sense to you, or you know flexible flyers as the weird sleds that just sink into snow instead like, sledding, and stick to toboggans and saucers and stuff.

If, however you're from New England, where the fickle freezing and thawing weather turns every snowfall into an icy mess that's more skating rink than Thomas Kink-aide painting, even if it's feet deep just with a thick icy crust you can walk--or sled--on, you know Flexible Flyers as a wild and highly maneuverable ride (which is good, because they need to be, because if you're not consulting Calvin and Hobbes for your sled run selection you're doing it entirely wrong) down twisty turny rocky ice-packed sled runs facefirst at thirty miles an hour. The one we had in Stamford crossed two yards and a pile of rubble to send us halfway down the five hundred foot, ice-covered driveway after we got to the bottom of the hills. It's the perfect thing to unwind after a long day of actual literal Valkyriing.

Also riding with a su'khora on your back both gives you a nice speed and traction boost with the extra weight, and will come in handy when you inevitably need nectar really fast--but that's kind of the fun.

I feel like such a little kid right now I can't wait. First though, things to do! I grab the sled and hug it--okay wow getting inside this display case is a thing. I've wanted to for--eighty thousand years, it feels like!

I put the sled down, face everyone--oops, wings, um, move so there's room to turn--face everyone, and just smile. My game takes the key and card.

"You guys are so sweet. And Walt, don't worry. I'll take putting up Heartwarming decorations Walt fucking Disney over a surprise party anyday, you know that."

"I've been here with you, don't worry."

Pleiades, silent as always, points up to the ceiling with her cute little smile, and I look up.

Up beyond the clockwork fun, the ceiling is painted. It's an icon of me (like as in, religious painting), with Boobsong at my feet, and a golden sun behind my spread wings, candy and streamers coming out form me, in the art-deco style it now seems so obvious Disney's style is built on. The icon is centered in a broad opening in the black, gold-star-dotted ceiling, and my background is white, but...the whole thing moves. It's a clock, up there, currently set for Sugarfeast probably because I always do my very best to make making me cry from kindness a fun game for everyone. As the days turn, each of us will be up there when their holiday comes, but...Sugarfeast is...the New Year? Because things start then, new stuff, you hadn't seen before?

I think that's right.

The Dreams show me an Illuminati pyramid, with the light rays and the open eye on one side, reminding me of why they use those symbols. Don't be afraid to think I'm a big deal in this, is the message, I am.

Okay. Gulp.

Also this will get Copper's one last thing real good. Where'd she get to? I glance at Walt and Pleiades, then everyone else. The whole family's here, I could cry. Oh wait hehe.

There's Copper right there doing the little kid is being good thing.

Oh! Dolly do you like paper money?

Your dolly decides what value is by the people around her. If Copper thinks it's valuable your Boobsong can have a paper snack she hasn't had since nineteen ninety-two!

So am I not yummy when we're with people who hate me? (I know what the answer will be, but I want to hear it)

If one person values something, your dragon think's it's delicious! She might not care for gold or jewels much, but her Princess is everything! You're your Boobsong's whole world, you never stop tasting good!

I will let that get to me. I will.

...but jewels and stuff still make a nice snack because humans are a little bit dragon, like we're hardwired to always want the shine thing at least some.

Yes.

Okay here's to hoping this jogs her memory instead of misleading her.

Steve it's so awesome to see you again. Copper lost her memory. We have a chance to blow her mind before she gets it back. Just play along if you wanna help.

Just give me a place to stand.

Archimedes and his lever long enough to move the whole Earth. I love about Steve that he never lets me forget I'm not in a position to throw stones about being pretentious.

I grin at him (and Camphora there, looking so sweet in her beige).

"Hi Steve! You...you took it with you too, right? I remember that? Treasury-trade? Boobsong hasn't had dollars in forever."

I make a nice big diamond in my closed hand, and hold it out.

"Diamonds are pretty, but they aren't very expensive now that I make screen surfaces of them. Have any emeralds?"

"Oh, what am I thinking when I have one of those. Here."

I close my hand, unmake the diamond, and make a nice big square green dragon-treat instead, with a little ruby on one side, hold that out.

"Oops, got a passenger. Yours too to sweeten the deal."

Steve takes it, puts it away in his blazer, and nods to Camphora, who reaches down her shirt, comes back with a money-clip fat with bills, and peels off a nice sheaf of million-dollar bills (these were a real thing, some kind of limited-edition US mint thing or such nonsense). Click.

That smells incredible WANT reach arms grabby fingers yum!

"Thanks! Hehe, hang on, you." I take them, peel one off, and give the rest to Boobsong, who grabs them and stuffs them in her mouth instantly.

MUNCH YUM DELICIOUS GULP! Swallow before they don't taste good.

I fuzz her head and look at the last one, try to make it look like I still think this piece of paper is worth something, check it out. The Illuminati pyramid is there.

"Copper." I point my eravahk at the ground in front of me, she comes up nice and quick.

"Find any interesting details on this? It'll help answer you how I got Walt to make porn of us."

"She was very important, to my career at first. Always inspiring crazy stuff."

I hand her the million dollar bill, conspiracy-theory side up, and make some subtle godrays glowing up behind me, in case she needs a clue. She takes the bill with wide eyes, and holds it up.

Steve is trying very hard not to laugh, which is perfect.

"Wait a minute, an open eye, and rays of light, the Illuminati is your--GAH!"

Her eyes flick up to me, then she glares at the bill, thinking, then winces.

"Money's not--OUCH, HEY! I knew that one! Okay Boobsong could eat that. She's a dragon, eats fancy stuff. Jewels and things. How could she eat this, then?"

Her mouth moves quietly for a minute.

"You can only eat jewels...that are valuable...which a million dollar bill is if there's someone who values it...which I did when I saw what Steve's girlfriend had in her bra...but now you won't care if I do this!"

She rolls the bill into a thin cigarette, and holds it out to me.

"Would you give me a light, please?"

I grin and carefully laser the end of it, like Walt's cigarette all those years ago.

"One million dollars. That's what it cost me to make Cinderella, in today's money. Beauty and the Beast was one of my first uses of computer graphics, and that cost half again as much, just to follow them as they danced. Now it's as easy as popping one of Steve's toys out of my pocket and tapping an icon. Do you value that part of the movie, even though in an absolute sense, it's as easy to make as your smudge stick now?"

Copper laughs when she realizes what she's holding.

"What am I going to cleanse with dollar smoke? Wait actually this is a test isn't it? Of course I still value Belle breaking Beast's heart open! It's cheaper to make, so what? Like this dollar smudge still means something. It means...I'm burning the illusory value up...Dreams take the smoke and make a diamond out of it!"

The bill flares in her hand so she drops it, and it unrolls into a fiery rectangle and then is smoke that collects in front of her in a sphere--

Your game can make you precise enough.

Ooh! Fun. The smoke-sphere collapses to the size of an orange, and I put my hands out to cup it on either side, and a square of welding glass appears in front of Copper's eyes. I breathe in a little for drama and huff out a nice hard pulse of light, and the smoke becomes a shining speck between my hands. I cup one under it, and the diamond drops in my palm, glowing white-hot.

"Watch out, it's hot."

"That's for Boobsong, if she wants it now."

"What do you think, dolly?"

"Thank you so much, Copper! That will very good. Diamond so pretty and Princess made is a treat!"

Click. Boobsong grabs the diamond and noms it hungrily, eyes closed and face blissful.

Tasty treat yum! How about that key next, that looked good!

"We need that key, silly! Here."

I make a nice big square ruby, to make up for the crown she didn't get to eat, and put it right in her mouth. It's like a big cookie to her. Click, eat, and she grabs it, and bites a big piece off to crunch loudly.

NYOM! Crunch crunch munch...

"You made her hungry," I smile, and Copper smiles too.

"So the value of this copper floor, has nothing to do with mining it--or growing it, oops--it's what it means to the people who dance here, and it could be a gold floor just as easily--you want me to know my value! You don't want gold, you want copper, from me, my electric beauty, you called me! You said I was able to see what you were showing me like lightning, and that's really precious to you! Not one in a million, you said--and you could say that, because you had millions of followers, you pointed out, really constantly! I know you were just being nice to me, but I still--still really like that thought."

"Well you can go on liking it, because I was dead serious every time. Don't you think those people would be here right now, if there were more of them? It sure made me fall in love with you! Maybe there are more and I can't remember, but like...you did the thing tonight I always hoped everyone would do, and played the game with me. Hard, to the best of your ability, and even when it scared you--you looked in my face when I glowed the first time and just kissed me. I can't tell you what that means to me. To have somebody look at me with their eyes shining and go 'weird--MUAH!' and then it's somebody as cool as you--yes, you're Copper, because you're electric and flexible and shine that beautiful copper color that's all around us now--"

"That's the Starlight Princess theme! That song you ta-ta-ta-ed before! Bwahaha this is fairyland, Rl'yeh Sade is fairyland! It fits all the myths except with a kind twist instead of mean! You told me that with a mirror and bell when I met you, because my parents don't even have electricity, let alone TV! All the coven knew when we summoned you was we had a lightbringer calling us, and boy did we not get what we expected to! Sugarfeast coming to that world sure was breaking a closed system! You were already so weird and then you gave candy out, in bright plastic wrappers and neon colors, and the only one who dared eat any was--I did, but nobody else could stand it, they all ran away from the circle. You said I'm coming to the show you were putting on and I said okay. That was my first taste of what you are, when I saw the laser lights you sent up to say the show was here, from my house in the hills. I read cards to find you! I asked what the light-beams are, and--AAH! Okay the cards thing. That's important, look at me. You said you can't remember, but maybe--fizzbubbling star--"

She gulps.

"She's Charon. Your sister is Charon. And the others--I guess this is a holiday party! Am I asking them with the cards--no but I can be. I'm asking...myself? How can that--I'm just--a human with an A-10! You used that metaphor to describe how the cards work! They're a tool to extend your consciousness, just like a hammer extends your strength! Except they're an A-10, not a hammer. Very powerful."

She looks down at herself, proud.

"I want my cards back! I had all these decks--I suppose that's all gone, huh. No, it can't be! Your A-10 is here! Where are my cards, then?"

She looks far away for a second, then at her hands--

"Wait a second..."

Her hands move too fast to see, and she's holding a spread of tarot cards. They're unglossy, old and scuffed, the heirloom deck she grew up with. She looks at them in wonder a moment, then at me.

"Pick one."

I let my hand be drawn to one, point to it, and she cuts the deck there, flips the card faceup, and it's suddenly the only one she's holding on her upturned palms.

"They part of me. I have a card machine, like Boobsong's jump machine!"

"I will just fuck you right here," I grin.

[!] "Don't have the parts for that!"

"Definitely can leave a gap between desire and action alright I'll fingerbang you within an inch of your life up against my sled case while everyone watches including Charon, Walt Disney and Steve Jobs, but if and only if you can remember Charon's right title. Card first though!"

Her face is incredible. No blush, she just thinks this is hilarious, and hot.

The card is the Ten of Pentacles, reversed, at least to me.


"Look at the two dogs, white, like Boobsong is. Where's your other pet?"

"BWAHAHA--" 

"BWAHAHAHAHA--"

Click!

Look at you so much laughing!

[!] "It's really hoard not to laugh at that! Don't feel bad it's the perfect question here! This dragon is just very mouthful--"

"You're her pet! That's what the collar means! It's an actual pet collar! Heart Home is where you live if you're pet and keeper! Wait but you run her--because you're a--Princess care is--a Princess requires submission for happiness. You told me that."

[!] "It's essential! They get so sad they die, otherwise! You should never keep Princesses unless you want to be the ordered one. This Boobsong is happy to get pounded and fucked real hard and commanded to be Princess' slave, so she can keep one. Not recommended if that's not your kink!"

"But you don't have the part--okay that's scary. That's really...yikes. Okay, then have a scary card."

She flips the Ten of Pentacles away, and spreads a new deck in her hands. She move like a practiced magician, flourishing and sexy, but the new deck is spooky, with an hourglass and scythes as the back pattern. She raises them a little to say, pick. I let one magnetize my finger, like last time. The feeling's more vivid here in the Four--in Paradise (if Strawberries call it that that name works for me)--but it's the same basic thing as on Earth.

She does the flip-alll-other-cards away thing again, and holds out the new card.

A buck with huge gleaming antlers rears up with the moon in the background. There's a river behind it, blue with moonlight leading off like a road into the distance, and the horizon has black mountains in the distance. The name says:

VI. Horned Deer

"Horned Buck--wait, how the--it's like movies. My cards do weird stuff now, they change on me to suit the reading. AHAHAH I'm a real witch now! What else can I do? Aunt Gertrude would say...that's what that's for! All the witch stuff in movies is mine if I want it! Okay flame spell. Fire fire let's run higher make my fingers be a lighter!"

As she talks she takes the card in one hand and holds the other up and flicks her index finger across her thumb like a pretend cigarette lighter, and sparks and a little flame leap out. Her eyes gleam so beautifully with the power trip.

"Got another million?"

Camphora runs up with another one, held out with a smile. Copper lights it, then lets the lighter-pose--and flame--go, and takes the bill--

"Are these really your fortune?"

She's looking at Steve.

"Oh, no. They're the oddest trick Camphora does. Whatever I need for presenting, she'll have in her bra, every time. Don't ask me--"

"It just works!" The whole family choruses in the old joke, as Copper stares, firelit and frozen with hilarity, then looks down at what she's holding.

"Okay, what's the light of Uncle Sam burning down reveal here? Antlers like lightning-bolts! Okay! The moon is a golden sun in this light--you can touch live wires! Okay hang on a sec, um...liquid power I won't cower fill me now and thunder louder!"

Her hair rises up and the sound of a Tesla coil fills the room as lightning sparks off every part of her, annihilating what's left of the burning bill, but before I can lean in for the awesome kiss this will be, she stops.

"I forgot the floor is copper! Are you all okay?"

"Oh we're fine! None of it came this way."

"Okay you and me and Boobsong have a really high-voltage date with my hottub later but this is serious. That lightning was coming out of a deer. Aren't witches always--"

"Shapeshifting! Okay...um...I don't even have to--"

Her eyes go wide, and then a dark shape comes flapping out of where she was standing, buzzes my face so I think I catch a cute little snout and ears, and flaps leathery a lap around the club, drops from looking at the icon of Boobsong and me up at the ceiling to fly through the family and back to where she was standing in front of me, and then Copper the girl is standing in front of me, but only for an instant before a black cat is purrily and very silkily rubbing my ankles, making me giggle, and then she's back again, grinning a grin that doesn't need any lightning magic to be a million volts.

"I did all this stuff in journey work, and it's just like it was then! I just think bat, and there I am! What can you do, you must have more stuff than light powers."

"If you're trying to flirt it's totally working...but let's see how much you can remember--"

The Dreams show me a fireman's jacket.

"I'm fireproof and shockproof. What else can I handle that humans can't?"

"You can...you're impossible to tear apart. Your soul can get jumbled, but you'll never unravel. You have barely any reaction to dreamtalk that isn't conscious, very bad socially, but it saves you from Eden making you do stuff. There's a place on your back--your wing-slits, never touch those. Everywhere else makes you feel tingles and good stuff...really hard...you're a Fairy! That's a species of human! Only you get both that and your breeding as the daughter of...castle we were there just now--holy cumsoaked berry muffins that was Strawberry Home. You lost it, how'd you get back again!?"

"Oh she never lost it. It lost her, is more like it. They got her back though, with a well-placed offering and a missile base."

I though the offering was the missile base--ooh.

"Yeah they really knew where to kiss--um--I really don't understand the first twelve years of my life, huh."

"Worry about that after this one's okay. Almost there, I think she is!"

The Dreams show me a white dove.

Bleah. That should just mean peace and stuff, or have something to do with the Strawberry fashion for feathers, but of course my stupid brain just goes to Aveh something something subtargeted on all the stuff that makes me feel most crazy and gross about all of this. My game said before I blacked out when I remembered who I was because it was being nice, but what it meant was seeing my brother was so horrible and finding out I was Aveh's kid made me feel so awful I blacked out and had all kinds of fucked up nightmares I can't remember well. If that could be true, nothing could ever be trusted. It was all just a lie waiting to reveal the next delusion. It took every adventure I had with Boobsong up to that point and erased them. Cancelled it out entirely. Find out who I am, only to find out, I can never be her, because the only thing anyone will ever see about me is my father's shadow. It sends hell with me everywhere I go. It's completely divorced from who Aveh is or isn't. It destroys me as Starlight Princess. If that's who my father is, it's no wonder nobody listened, and I can't see how Copper here of all people managed to ever get her cards to reach for me that first night. One in a million, she sure is, but she's done enough dealing with this side of me, so if we're going here Dreams you'll have to drag me and you'll be fighting my dragon in no time. If I had my way of this, with my handmaidens safe I'd wake up with no memory in Boobsong's hoard in heart home, and think I was just some whose heartchild has a dragon thing, and my handmaidens could decide if they wanted to abandon their memory to be with me.

No place no matter how good will be paradise as long as I know this. The Dreams said they'd spike any trying to make me contact him, but I knew that would end as soon as I did my duty to my handmaidens. If I was ever going to any kind of good afterlife, the path there wouldn't have included knowing this after forgetting it. I've never been anything but cannon fodder. My job is done, so their care goes now.

All those snacks must really have your appetite up, huh dragon.

This is the worst time they could pick for this. Your Boobsong can't understand it. Dreams hurry before she goes EAT YOU RRAAAH, tell why that dove now!

I mean unless I'm about to forget, and this is my last chance to see some or all of my handmaidens.

The Dreams show me the Flash, which is back to the conversation with Uncle Dagon, but that doesn't tell me anything.

"Okay Copper, I'm getting a new crisis dropped on me. I need to go in a sec. Do you remember the others, my other handmaidens?"

"All the other--we were lovers! All of us! Oh sex by the armful how'd we keep up with that? Yes, I  remember. Are you sending me to see them? Oh in your chamber, right? Where Snowlight went. I remember! They were so great. They're all here, right? Have you saved them yet?"

"You were the last. They're all safe. Everyone else has their whole memory as far as I know, too, so they can help you if there's anything left you don't know. I think now that you're safe either I'm off to forget about Aveh now in which case you'll hear what to do next from the Dreams themselves I bet or I don't really get paradise because the concept is impossible for me and I'm off to my next battle. You can also stay with my family here if they don't mind, and go see the others after. I have to leave now, either way."

"I'm coming with you--"

"If I'm off to forget Aveh, that means you lose your memory too, and we get re-introduced like we never met or something. I don't know how the Dreams will do it. The others the same way. I'm sending you off so you can decide if you really want that without me here looking at you all emotional. I can't be in paradise until Aveh's forgotten to me, so if the Dreams won't let me, you'll be stuck in whatever hell I am, or kept from going with anyway. Waiting for me in my chamber is the best way to do this, so I'm sending you, unless you want to stay with my family and they'll have you. If there's a way and you're willing to give up the memories you have to lose, or join me in hell for eternity, you'll be able to, but I'm not commanding you and you're not making that decision this way. Anything else, I'd just take you, but not this time. What's your choice?"

She doesn't respond at first, but holds her arm and looks terrible, then falls at my feet and hugs my ankles.

"Mommy don't leave me here. Take me with you, I'm begging. I don't care where it is."

Between Boobsong and my other six, you'd think--but.

"Copper...I don't think you've ever called me Mommy."

I take a deep breath.

"Listen, because you might be in serious trouble. We might all be. I've said a lot about paradise, but...some people have things they need to forget, to be happy. For me, that's who my dad is. I can't be myself, and have him as father. That's awful, I know, especially since he was mind-controlled for the stuff that made it that way, and...it's that stuff I need to forget. I can't, though. As soon as you're safe, bam, they drag it back up for me. I was getting real good at not thinking about it. I thought if I did that long enough, some healing would happen, and someday I might talk to the star I can't remember but has the same anti-light trick I can do, and is big like me, and I bet maybe as emotional as I am. Maybe I'd like him. I wanted that choice. The Dreams, for whatever reason, aren't giving it. I have to live under that pall of all that bad stuff, for eternity, they just showed me. Maybe my final schema-break is that paradise is hell for me. Maybe this isn't paradise after all. All I know is, if the Dreams showed the vision they just showed me, they don't give the slightest shit about me, at all. I'm leaving to figure it out and hopefully see how I'm wrong, but right now either this is hell in which case it'll be just as terrible for you no matter what I do, or this is hell for me in which case the best place for you or anyone I care about is as far the fuck away from me as possible. Let your Mommy protect you. I wish I could do better, but this is what I've got. Sorry to fix your heart only to break it right away again, but that's kind of how my day's been, so it's no surprise we're getting collateral damage now. I love you, Copper. I'm going to miss you. Hopefully it won't be for long before you're back by my side again, but I stand by what I said. You need to be out of the blast radius, or the Dreams need to show me right the fuck now why I'm wrong--but they already ignored Boobsong on that, so don't get your hopes up."

The Dreams show me the big farmyard-light light on the barn of Plowstar.

Boobsong will get an urgent page if there's anything useful there. I sure can't see it.

[!] Big bright light to show up the outside of the barn you got geared up in. We're here for your handmaiden, what this say to her, the white dove?

It's not going to say a single damn thing, because she's had to deal with enough of this. If you have something to say to Copper, Dreams, you'll just have to spike it past me, becuase my decision is final. If it has to do with Aveh, it's not touching me or my handmaidens.

Not bad, though, dragon.

The Dreams show me a toolbox, though without what they're supposedly fixing it has no meaning. If it's for Copper, spike past me or not. You knew the dove would be a hangup button, Dreams.

"Mommy don't leave me here--"

She pauses--

"I saw their vision that made you go off like this. The white dove of the holy spirit, right?"

"Yeah."

"Well the white dove is messing with my head. Your father is Yahweh, doesn't that make you Jesus?"

Facepalm.

"Oh for shit's sake. That's since you got lost. Okay did we ever deal with weird spiked up symbol-monsters called perfekti, that you remember?"

"Yes, they were awful! The real nightmares, you called them. Only you could see them, but we all heard the words they said to their victims."

So why am I telling it out like this, instead getting to the point? Because I want to erase the idea from her head, to the last pixel.

"Could you see Uncle Dagon's workshop at all, while we were there? What was in there, how he made stuff? There's a style that runs in my family."

"Who are perfekti made by."

She's whispering, horrified. I get down, sit W-style, pull her in my lap, hold her.

"None of us. They're splinters of the true cross. Do you remember how musing works?"

"Dreamtalk, across time and space--Christianity is mused. From something stars did. You can see perfekti because they're star-machines. I didn't see a single thing in Dagon's workshop, only his star-form."

"We found my little brother earlier, Boobsong and me. He got cesareaned like me and my sister, but he must have been older, just enough--stars are like Boobsong. Machine life. We're supposed to make machines to make ourselves shells, usually big brains made of currents in plasma like Uncle Dagon has. Like how bees make hives, but it's conscious engineering. I'm that three hour ant Uncle Dagon was talking about. I have no clue how to do it. My brother was older, old enough to make a machine to support himself, but not enough to make it right. It was killing him. He was stretched out like on a cross, and his machine made defenses to keep us out because he was a terrified little kid, and when I blasted them, the wreckage kept moving and disintegrated into perfekti. You know how they're obsessed with Christianity, like, bent on propagating it?"

"Holy water and salt scrying. Help me get this, are you saying, he wants Aveh, and perfekti are just--trying to make him?"

"That's still too much intention. You can't read their message because they're smashed up, but going inside it the original machine...under every bit of his code which is what those symbols are was just this crayon scribble screaming daddy where are you. Sound familiar? The Dreams sent us there I suppose because nobody else would be able to find it, or beat his defenses and even see them, and Boobsong is one of the only su'khora out there who's a fully-functional star shell on her own. She picked him up out of his machine and we tried to comfort him and figure out what to do and before he could get hurt by not being in the star-shell right for him, he implanted off the dreamskin of us holding him between our four boobs as a little ball of light, and the last we heard of him was his heartchild saying to watch out because they were smashing his shell that'd been torturing him the whole time. All that said, I'm pretty sure Eden set all that up, so don't go slacking off with your Eden-was-a-big-dumb-meanie thoughts."

"Holy screaming clitwaffles, the real Jesus is heartforming!? What do you mean was. Say that last part, Eden was a big dumb meanie, that, again."

Nose-pinch.

"Oh fizzfrozen snarlygrape--ugh. Copper I'm sorry. Boobsong and me have had a very busy couple of days and it all seems unreal to me. Um, let's just say I did finally find a physical and very important part of Eden I could blast, and it really thought I had The Touch in its final moment--eh dolly?"

"That was the epicest! You should have seen her, Copper--wait maybe not. Eden saw her and now it doesn't see anything."

Nice touch with the spooky-voice on the end.

"You killed it. You actually killed it. You always said you would. Okay then--holy fuck I remember stuff but it can't possibly--did you get the Catholic church to--AAH!"

"Well, I guess now we have to figure out why we both have the same delusion--"

[!] "And your Boobsong!"

"You aren't the only ones! It's really real, the whole family remembers."

"Then how could his heartchild--wait Aveh is heartforming!? Is my memory broken?"

"We all remember."

"This all makes me feel so insane. The next place me and Boobsong went after my brother was to break into Aveh's shell, and show him the dreamskin we just made, which he needed, because his shell somehow got turned into a mind-control machine to make him obsessed with destroying paradise and su'khora. Don't ask me how and I don't want to know--"

The Dreams interrupt with Sparkledust's cockpit and then the Princess Calla dress she and Snowlight were wearing when we rescued them.

"Okay the Dreams just showed me the dress you were wearing when we rescued you. I guess...do you want to talk about where you were, or just forget?"

"We were at Disney. There was no Starlight Princess stuff, just this thing called Gummi Bears. We were super big fans of it. Very little magic worked. Reading cards was like wading through mud. Our--magic was opening up and then we saw Boobsong in dragon form and she licked us with that tongue of hers and next thing we know you're holding us on her back and landing at Strawberry Home. It was very sudden. The DIsney we saw...wasn't your Disney, Walt. It was strange, like a shopping mall more than a theme park. More stores than rides. We had no money, so we couldn't even buy candy, and the rides all cost money, so we couldn't ride them. It was getting dark and we just kept getting there as a ride would stop for the day, Very plastic, not the warmth I know here and the real Disney. And the strangest thing was, everyone wore those dresses. Not a single other thing worn. Not even shoes, we were barefoot. All the time we were in that nightmare I just kept thinking, we're the Starlight brigade, and the missiles would go up and turn my mind away with the racket--missiles kept launching outside but I couldn't see what they were shooting. That was how they were taking you out of us. Launching missiles and scaring us when we thought Starlight. It wasn't just hell, it was brainwashing. It felt like burning up."

I hold her close, click pet with my eravahk at her and Boobsong strokes her midsection very solicitously, Copper looks at me a sec and then burrows.

"That's horrible. If I ever regret anything about Eden it'll be that I didn't blow it up hard enough. We dove through the ghost of a Nazi book burning to get to you. It sounds like you were in one alright. I'm really sorry I said that about forgetting me! You're safe now. I know why the Dreams showed me that dove, though I wish I didn't have those stories to tell. I wish I could cut that whole Aveh thing out of my book--I'm getting selfish, sorry. My point is, you're safe, okay? You can stay here with me or back but you'll miss decorating then--though it's probably an orgy back there, heh."

She laughs a small laugh.

"I want to stay here with you. Tell me the story of how you turned Strawberry Home back to your side to take my mind off hell, please?"

"Oh we both know a good riddle will get you more than stories. I'll tell you this much: it involved Skeksis (except they were beautiful instead of horrible), me getting really metal with my whole dragon-food thing and then totally pulling a Frodo right here in paradise Grandmother Strawberry herself had to save me from, somebody's foot kink I'm pretty sure, and the reason why Metroid has the Samus raised and the Power Suit built by Strawberries, but it started with Grandmother Strawberry hijacking my red-pill/blue-pill scene to make some Gorean Starfleet doms take my girlification candy. Oh and I wore the true Strawberry crown but I don't have it now. I can tell you the rest now, or you can squirm until tomorrow and have a wham line a minute for Heartwarming. Oh and the galactic scale food fight. If they'd been five minutes earlier Sis and Isht Visht would have drowned in a custard mine accident."

"You were the Strawberry Princess and you had the crown and gave it up!? That was your Frodo, wasn't it. Grandmother Strawberry took it, to save you from--but you wanted to reign. You left because you could never be Queen because they wouldn't listen--wait a minute. You had a seed-pod earlier, with a whole army. Did you implant the Strawberry general and her authority commanded every solider to also implant and your Frodo was giving the crown to your successor who was also your seed-daughter with the general and her implanting was the foot kink because she kissed your toes to pledge fealty but it made her implant because Boobsong was there?"

"That was supposed to be impossible, you numbnut," I giggle, proud of her. "Yes. I got the crown onto her head and couldn't let go of it and Grandmother Strawberry came and took my hands off it and made me run out of the room and then took me to Strawberry Home and stuck me right outside my door which is the nicest aftercare I've ever had maybe."

"Okay but how does--did you really meet Gorean Starfleet. That part is made up, it has to be."

"I swear on the rocks that was totally real. Masc doms, femme subs, you're how I usually like to see my women from Admiral Riker. They were flying around in the USS Titan and I'm pretty sure there's like full-blown Gorean Starfleet out there, not just that one ship. They were playing some kind of 4X thing against the Skeksis. I promised them a heartforming seminar, so you'll probably meet them, though they'll all be trying on their party dresses now, I expect. They were totally nice, actually, at least Riker was, and like half the bridge crew were Sugarfreaks, which is weird since the other half including Riker had never heard of su'khora. My only regret really is I didn't get to really see what Captain Barclay of the USS Titan was like before he got statued."

She's looking incredulous.

"I'm serious! Come on, even I could never make up Gorean Starfleet."

She giggles, and the Dreams show me a vision of a comfy-looking couch--or it could be a first-class airplane seat. It's looking very American after a few hours in Strawberry Home. I can think of a lot of meanings, but one doesn't really stick out except that yeah, a chair would beat this floor, however kind it is.

"Okay the Dreams just showed me like, an easy chair. Do either--any, I guess--of you have a clue what that's about?"

"That's what my captain's chair was like on the way here! Time to hit the stars!"

"What about Heartwarming put-up? I want to make this place shine!"

"Hehe, well we have to go get some, before we can put up decorations!"

I grab Copper's hips, reach down for one of her live-wire kisses, then pat her up, and she climbs off and stands.

Click, capped.

Sigh. Warm happy snuggles.

I stand with her, go to fold my wings and find they stowed when I sat down, come around Copper and put my arm around her.

"I did promise you a wild ride through Rl'yeh Sade before. I can get the Waifu here no doubt and cram us in so snuggly but that's not going to be more metal than the ride we just got offered, if I'm understanding this."

Game, got my sled, right? Because I think I need it soon.

Your game has it. You can never remember and it will still always take things. It has your purse right now, and you forgot that a long time ago!

Heh, so I did.

"Oh, you understand, Boobswallow."

Holy squeezy rainbow gushers Sis just take me! I'm surprised I didn't do the other twenty-five glasses of that goo goal right now! No, wait, keep going, I'll just turn into girl-goo, I wanna know what that feels like! Then you can like use me as lube or something just as long as you fuck me.

I can feel it down my thighs. At least think of that while I walk. I sure will be!

I start toward her, but she stops me with an eravahk she wasn't holding a second ago, held out arm's-length. I don't dare suck it, but I want to.

I'll be holding you with heavy hands on your cheeks very soon, little kid sister. 

"Get your pony now. Here's the cartridge, and a special battery Isht Visht made you. Using lipos is cute but we have a lot to do."

Hell yes pony but like, for real, you win, squish, you got me.

Oh I got you with that ribbon when you were ten years old. We all could see it, Boobswallow, the Watch, army, the lot of them. You got me, too. You're a sticky goo-puddle, you are.

She gets out the power cell from Isht Visht's hammerspace cargo door while she dreams, and I squish Copper close (she grabs on and wraps around me, grinding, having obvious fun fucking my head with her submissiveness when Sis has me turned into goo like this) and take them, make sure our fingers touch real good. Puddle definitely describes me right now!

Sis looks so beautiful with her fit soft body and graceful moves but the way she looks at me like a Heartwarming roast is what's really melting me.

And also making me think of thick, Sis-flavored hardness in my mouth, and smoky maple warmth filling my midsection while I look up pleading to end up with some in my mouth too but not before she has her deepthroating fun, see I squirm real good on it, feels so good in there...um, the cartridge.

The battery is a tiny Galaxy-class warp care--so thoughtful, and nobody in this family ever shot where they could use grenades. It's heavier than a lipo by a long way, but Boobsong will be fine with it. It has big fat wires with an XT60 connector already on, which I just know Boobsong will have.

[!] Your pony can shapeshift her connector to be anything.

Oh, nice. Sis is handing the cartridge out. It's a silver SNES game with a picture of me riding Boobsong in pony-form on the label. I shift the battery to my other hand, take it, too, make sure our fingers touch again--

Pony time is fun to watch, little sister, but so is dolly sex! I'll be mashing your button lots, don't you worry now. I see you thinking let's get a quickie in before ponytime for a while. There's no need, I can promise that.

Gulp okay. Looks like here we go on this ride, dolly! I take the cartridge, and Sis takes out a huge bucket of popcorn and starts eating it expectantly. Hehe okay I get it. I'm as wet as that soda lake and horny as that buck on Copper's scary card, but also so dying curious to see what's up next...and what Sis pushing our buttons will be like, gulp...and anyway if Copper's wild ride through fairyland doesn't include a flight on a pony hellpegasus with her Lesbian Princess-domme, what are we even doing?

This is going to be incredible. Rada was so mad at Jenner. Just imagine what she does with this!

That's why I'm curious! Okay, hand stuff to Copper, confuse her good. We're all doing the touch hands real good thing, good. Unhug, and click.

AaaAAAAAAH BIG.

It's a little tricky getting at Boobsong's under-arm with our predicament, but that just feels incredible. This is the best, huh dolly? Maybe a week is just the time it takes to get us to say no, make it permanent.

YES. Super snuggly all the time is the way for us.

Okay underarm. With Boobsong facing out and my arm around her front and her clutching it (her hands get pulled there, lust or not), I can lift one of her arms until it's up and see her underarm. Probing around--

[!] EEEEYAAAAH TICKLES EEEP!

Hehe, poor dolly. I can feel her ribs if I push deep enough in her heartstone squishiness--and their bouncy bendability, just a little bit. We're cartoon characters. I can be splatted to Princess goo, and she can be flattened by a steamroller and just poing back.

There's no door-button or anything.  Look at commands...aha. Click, open.

Her flesh shapeshifts away from a rounded-rectangle space the right size made of her shiny silver, and when I bend down to peer I can see an SNES cartridge connector at the bottom, and the profile that tells me the label goes forward.

"Game," I look up at Copper, oh so matter of factly. She hands it over bemusedly, and I look at the bottom before installing it. Yup, definitely SNES compatible. I wonder what happens if I put an SNES game in here?

Definitely playing it but there must be more than that to this!

Oh, yeah, you could just tail up to whatever display. You can't tell what else?

Not very well except something big will happen. Very exciting stuff.

Cool.

"Alright, let's rock and roll." I line the cartridge up to put it in--

Accepting this cartridge now. Fill your sticker sheet to change it.

My hand shakes a little trying to line it up after that because I'm so like five to be excited at having a sticker sheet (though it helps that it'll be designed by Sis or Grandmother Strawberry or both of them), but whatever this is good. I have to get nice and intimate to line it up with my thumb on the rim of the slot, and then it's sliding so smoothly in as Boobsong's thoughts sigh out the penetration and slotting the last centimeter of extra friction of the connector in so satisfyingly and flush with the surface of the slot yeah I'm not getting this out.

Yummy sex feels good.

I love you so much. Her heartstone pours back over it but I keep my fingers there and it closes over them like water then pushes them up to be prodding her underarm. Boobsong's arm gets pulled down as soon as we're done, and onto mine that's holding her. No cheating at our predicament, after all.

When we finish the Dreams show me a Christian cross held in praying hands in front of a priest's cassock. The cross is weird, a thick white outline around a gold middle.

No drama this time. I just refuse to acknowledge it.

"So Copper, looks like the next--"

Copper looks at me, then down submissively.

"Starlight sauce and berry tiramisu, why is Paradise showing you and Boobsong as a cross with a priest using you as a rosary!?"

I sigh heavily.

"There must be something for you to remember there. Could it be that sainthood thing? I'm here to help you with it as much as you need, but only as your Mommy who cares about you. I'm tearing that whole page out of my book, so don't try to help me with it, that's an order, okay? This is still the helping Copper show."

"Yes Mommy. Are you making it tell me first? The visions are creepy that make me see you as Yahweh's kid."

This gets my best concerned mother face.

"I'm so sorry, live wire. I told it with the dove I didn't think it was suitable for you and I didn't want to hear about it for myself, so they spiked me by showing you, after all my drama there. I guess you see how this stuff make me feel but I can't imagine it makes you feel much better. I'm trying to take good care of you but the Dreams are overriding me here, so I guess let's just damage-control. I wish I could give you some good hints or something but I've got nothing. This whole thread of being Aveh's kid and my brother in that shell machine and now this Sainthood thing just seems so...I just can't see into it. We can talk about it till this club rusts out of the sky but that's all I've got I'm afraid."

"You don't want help with this? Because I've got the answer why they're doing this."

"Is it something other than Copper needs her memory back and Paradise and me disagree about how to get there so they're spiking me and trusting that my wanting to be there for you will make sure you get the help you need?"

She nods, and I Marge Simpson, trying to see the way through the trap.

"Alright, this is tricky. I've been in a fight with the Dreams because there's all this stuff that needs doing, I guess, and they won't let me leave it undone, but it's stuff that my doing it slowly turns my book from Starlight Princess into Doctor Normallove or how Lucy Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Cross if I don't very carefully cut it out afterwards. I suppose there's something to the fact that it's you with this, because you're the person I know most likely to understand the idea of Christianity as an imperialistic story, like one that takes over every other story its in. It's like cancer. You get one piece of it, and suddenly everything is about, well, whether I'm Jesus and Catholic Sainthood and stuff instead of you and me in the Four Dreams. It hasn't seemed to me so far like the Dreams actually care about stopping that. I keep telling them they're messing with my head because it seems like the reveal is coming that it's all just Aveh the whole time, but they never go there, just mess with my head about it. So I think...we need to lay your mind at ease about that Sainthood thing like with the dove and me being Jesus or what--oh. Here I go making everything so complicated. I renounce--"

"Mommy wait a minute. I know you're saying this to keep Starlight Princess a fairytale instead of Christian story, but what if we don't need to think like that? Aren't we the story of Sugarfeast making a racket you can't deny hearing that wakes you up? That's what you did with your brother. Why can't you do that here?"

"Everyone in the multiverse who can say stuff like that to me is in this room right now. If I wasn't the softie you said before, you'd be in trouble for ignoring my thing about not trying to help me with this."

I take a long slow sigh, try to show I'm not mad at her.

"Do you believe I can help you better if I understand what you figured out? I wouldn't usually ask a sub something like that but I'm trying to avoid grinding you in gears that have to turn, here."

She gets weirdly surprisingly grovelly, with her eyes down.

"Yes. Please Mommy."

"Alright, those are the magic words, but I need to say this first just to get it out. I'd like to believe I'm kind to people but systems are just canon fodder to me. They can prove their worth by being helpful to the people in them or die in fire. It's no surprise it was me who fried Eden. Some systems can change, even ones you'd think never could, like those Gorean Starfleeters who I'm pretty sure have already expanded their minds, but Christianity...I guess let's just own this. Looking out from that castle, I am the antichrist, because I'm the end of the world. I'd be totally unsurprised to find out Christianity was custom-designed to cancel out me and the rest of this family here. Sugarfeast coming to Christians looks like my other handmaidens asleep in my bed now, but Sugarfeast coming to Christianity just looks like a sea of glass where the Vatican was, and Boobsong's snow outfit. That system just can't change the ways it would have to. I don't have to tell a witch monotheism is poison, and what's left, if you take that out? Whatever is, I don't even want the gravel."

"There. Now hopefully I can listen and not be distracted by all my words. Full permission to ignore all of that, I just needed to say it. Why do you have to say, live wire?"

"Okay Paradise is doing this to tell you how to make two be holy in the Reichstag."

"So...it wants us to do something like the summoning we borrowed to get you back, is that what you're saying? I can take that a lot of ways, just give me a nudge--wait, thoughts, dolly?"

If we're two how can we ever be holy there? You Boobsong is there with you. There's no way to be ourselves and do that. What would be holy, then? Two hands with holes from the nails because Jesus? That's four though.

"Not four hands, dolly, two people with holes, but not you and me, me and my brother. The Dreams do want me as cannon fodder--not literally, but they want to sacrifice the Starlight Princess myth to save Christians now, by making me into a Christian figure somehow. Two be holey, two Jesuses. That takes me away from my existing fans but I guess the math works that it's more important to get my image into Christianity now. Christianity can't change that way, though, it just explodes--am I right, though, Copper?"

"What? I--no, that's not it a little bit!"

"I should be better at this after you just kicked ass at it all night. My heart's too cold right here, I can't seem to play the way you do with my riddles. Um...I just don't know. Two big leaders?"

The Dreams show me Kaari's shoulderpads.

"The Dreams say yes to that by showing me the rank insignia of the Strawberry general we implanted earlier, Christianity doesn't listen to its leaders like the army listens to her. Are leaders what you meant?"

"Only one big hand."

"Like the supposed hand of god from all the aces. Aveh's been helping us with you all when he can't, it's really nice of him. I hate that it doesn't just fix everything but it has been good to see there's a nice person on the other side of the wall Eden built between us. Like I said, if I can just not walk on the broken leg long enough maybe it'll heal--and no this isn't physical therapy. I don't even have the cast on yet. I think you know that though. Ummmm...like do you mean the Catholic Sainthood thing as making peace between me and Aveh, publicly? The problem with that is, there's still no Christianity after Sugarfeast. There's no way they could ever recognize the actual person Aveh is as the head of their religion. You'd have to know that, so what are you thinking here? Where is the Reichstag, the Vatican? Eeeh, unless you tell me so. Literally the Reichstag? Is that where that bookburning was? The thing I keep coming back to, is Christianity can't be changed. I play some games with it with my handmaidens, but you don't know about those unless the Dreams told you, and they only worked because my handmaidens wanted to remember me, so you can't mean that kind of approach. I can't imagine you think I'm burning books, especially when I've said I'm trying to just get to up the blank slate Aveh and me need to start again."

"If the cross we saw means my brother and his heartchild...no, still no good. Christianity's so pernicious because it's a simulacrum. It's really clever on Eden's part. There's just enough of a real Jesus to keep the religion going hearing his cries of pain screaming through the multiverse as musing, but not enough of a one to show up and have opinions any Christian would listen to. Aveh might be more of a problem to it, but the star that tried to give birth to me will just get told off for not being the absolute god of everything that ever existed if he tries."

"But your point here is how to get the Reichstag, meaning like Christianity, I guess, to accept Aveh and whoever can stand in for my brother well enough. The Dreams are implying that's me, but interestingly the sainthood blocks that out since I can't be both a saint and rule 63 Jesus or whatever, but even if it didn't, what can you or they possibly ever see that'd make that even theoretically possible? The one, single, defining characteristic of Christianity is that it's carved in stone. Even if minds change, it never does. Are we just looking for a short term win, a splinter-group to take? Is Earth even there for this to mean anything still?"

"More importantly, is Sis eating popcorn while she watches what kinds of suicide I try when we find out you can't eat me with that cartridge installed, dolly?"

Really Dragon: Boobsong can always devour you.

"Alright never mind but let that show how much into question those two visions throw everything if they're not about helping Copper feel better--wait, this is supposed to be. You said I could help you better if I understood this...so why are you making a riddle of it? Do you think I forgot something?"

She's doing the arm-holding thing again. I reach, slow, to pet her, in case she's scared of me now, but she doesn't flinch when I stroke her arm, even lets her arm go and comes closer.

"Hey. You're doing good. This is really hard and it's messed up that we even have to--do I just need to admit I'm not the one to help with this?"

I glance around at the family as I say that, but nobody answers.

"I did fight this originally not least because this isn't a place in myself I want to go with anyone under me but Boobsong. Yeah. This is tearing you up, that's clear enough. Dreams who can we get to help Copper with this part?"

They show me a rainbow, but I stay quiet. My name won't traumatize Copper, and I'm still making you drag me every step of the way.

"They say you're the one to help me here. You're the one I asked for."

"Oh Copper..."

I pull her for a hug and she's clinging with her arms around me instantly.

"Okay, but let's get out of here. If you really want me you already saw what a shit ride this is going to be, and this beautiful party hall is no place for trolling hell."

"Maybe we need the comfort of it. I would like that, if it's okay with you."

"I think...it's not this time. I'm sorry. We can go someplace comforting, but I'm done having these nightmares taint the sacred places of my life. I don't wanna think about all this stuff tomorrow when we dance here. I don't wanna look at this dance floor for the rest of time and think that's where I found out--whatever shitpill the Dreams are trying to feed me here. We should have left already but I always stupidly hope I'm going to actually tear the page out this time. Dreams please just take us someplace anonymous and comforting that's just like a random comfy coffee shop we've never seen before or something. Family please come with--unless you'd rather it's just us, live wire?"

"The family's fine. I like their presence."

"Why don't you get on Isht Visht. We've faced lots of scary stuff in her cabins."

"Sis that'd be wonderful. Anyway, Copper, don't you wanna take a--and then that can be your first ride aboard Isht Visht. Is it? Do you remember?"

"It's my first time being here...embodied...no...with my soul here entirely. No body elsewhere."

Yet another deep sigh.

"Alright well your first ride on Isht Visht isn't being this or it'd be like my minus-one'th choice. Just take us some comforting nowhere place, Dreams."

Nothing happens.

"Dreams?"

They show me a Venus symbol. For Copper. Fine. I'll sacrifice this place for her sake, but I want to know why you're campaigning against all my sacred safe spaces first.

Their answer is a cup of coffee. To wake me up. Alright, you want me awake, we're going to do this with open eyes. What benefit is this to Copper, to sacrifice this place so that I can never dance here happily again? If we haven't already done that.

They show me Sparkledust's teeth.

"Okay well that's a thing. Apparently whatever this is we're trying to help you with is only to be found here, and the Dreams are willing to sacrifice our ability to dance here without the shadow of the cross looming over us to get it. If it's that important fine, but if you have anything that can get us out of that, if anyone here does, I'm all ears--and no more riddling. I'm trying to tear this page out, so I don't want to remember on my own. Anyone? You don't have to be the first to talk, live wire, this is already hard enough on you."

She puts her head down and nods, but her back is straight with her strength.

There's a long pause, then Copper whispers.

"I guess, Mommy, um...the visions are that you've been all the healing that you can be and now it's time to heal yourself."

"Then I don't think you ever call me mommy, including now."

"Mommy yes I do! I'm a Little! When Big time happened I went Eeee!"

"That's why it's just you now, and not the others! Look at me."

She looks up, and seems so lost little kid. Her arm-holding thing is a littleness-tell, like calling me Mommy.

"Oh sweet live wire. You did good."

I gather her into a hug close with Boobsong, take the powercell (which my game instantly takes from me) and kiss her on the head, then look up at Sis like I'm going to cry because I am.

What the fuck, Sis. What was this. Why can't they ever just not torture me. Did I just fail by not saying that's too scary and calling for my big sister right away? I sure wish I'd done that!

Boobsqueeze try to imagine that those visions had a meaning you could see. Why would they show you that, in this moment, with me all watching you?

The only thing I see about this is that when I wouldn't listen the dreams punished my submissive for my not doing things their way. I think that outweighs anything they could have to say to me here.

She's a handmaiden. She's supposed to be there for you.

She was in little space! This whole stupid shitshow made me not even believe she was a little for a second when I of all people should see! Handmaidens are human! She can't be on all the time! Hell, even Boobsong statuizes and can have her pages darken! Make it Candy when she's all pissed off or Sex in one of her violent moods but not Copper in littlespace! Seriously, Dreams, what the fuck!? Are we just back in church that you'll sacrifice whoever's convenient to make me listen to whatever it is you wanna force me to listen about Jesus this time? Maybe there's a reason I keep thinking messing with my head every five minutes through this! What they would show for your entertainment is your Boobsqueeze sticking up for herself. Those visions can rot. The real Dreams wouldn't call me up then with that shit. The meaning I see in them is just some kind of thing to get my anger up, like that stupid Laarhi thing. Well, it worked. Anger's up. Let's get out of here. I hope you guys enjoy the dance here but I'm not coming and I won't be back for new years, either. Until they start respecting my wish to have sacred spaces where there are happy memories and shit like this doesn't get dropped on me, I'm ditching every place they do this in. If this was my club to burn I'd melt it to slag for this. I've made myself clear on this, over and over, so come on, let's go, ten million megatons. If this happens in my tower, Strawberry Home's gonna have a nice glowy postmodern accent. If it ends up that the only place in the entire Four Dreams for me is Boobsong's hoard then so fucking be it and if they fuck that up the only thing I can say is I'm pretty sure the Christian eschatology everybody'll be wishing they'd studied is that Leviathan thing when they all see what Boobsong does for that.

I want my homes but if they have to burn for whatever vague fake healing this is I'm not going to pretend anymore. No more fucking zombies left behind. If you want me in the hospital, dreams, send me there, otherwise, have some respect.

Sis you're going to ask what if they do it on Isht Visht and honestly that'd be the perfect place. I don't ride with the Openveil Witch because I think everything's going to be cutesey sweet. I felt that that very first night when I was blueized in the aftercare deck. Something makes all this comforting needed, I thought. Can you imagine how much less damaging that stupid flashback would have been if it'd been in one of Isht Visht's cabins with the family around? Anytime you have an inkling they're going to pull something like this please pick my ass up so I can do it with my big Sis and Isht Visht and feel like there's somebody in my corner versus this blind stupid doctor I seem to have in the Dreams.

Anything to add dragon or have we covered it about your hoard?

Your dragon just says HOARD IS A SACRED SPACE SEE WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU MESS THAT UP DREAMS SHE DARES YOU!

Yeah. So like, let's go please. Shall we get on Isht Visht, or am I transforming Boobsong and using that cool warp core, or both or what?

"I'm talking to my sister," I murmur to Copper, "we're playing a game where I can't talk out loud to her. I had a lot to say, sorry it's taking long."

She just nods, so I pet her hair.

We're going on Isht Visht, but we aren't going anywhere until you see what the visions are.

I try not to be too longersuffering in my sigh for Copper's sake.

Okay. This is like with Laarhi. The real Dreams would never send me those...so the question I missed, is where did they come from! It faked me out, that was really convincing, but it can't be the Dreams. I suppose you won't just tell me who sent those, Dreams?

The Dreams show me a fancy tiramisu with a berry on top--the fuck?

"Okay, Copper, sweetie, you're not in trouble, but the Dreams just told me you sent the visions of the dove and cross. Do you know what they could mean by that?"

She looks up very innocently.

"I wished for you to be whole again."

Sis there was one of them it hung by a thread with. I thought it was Pussy but I'm not buying her ageplay but I'm in a really dark place right now, please help me before I do something really horrible.

 Lucy Chyajjoh you get off that this minute! She really does love you and her littlespace is sincere I'm an expert and I'm sure. Pussy does too for that matter. You're having nightmares, Boobsqueeze.

Sharp hard dreamtalk smacks into me. Sis is so awesome I know she'll never hit less hard than I need. Oof Sis thank you.

I kiss Copper's head long and peacefully.

"Sweet little live wire, that was so kind of you, but you forgot I'm not supposed to be whole."

...but why in the world would the Dreams answer such an innocent goodhearted wish, with the things that take me apart entirely? Those are the very last things, to make me anything but--I can't even say pulp, because Boobsong can do something with that!

I'm really stumped, you guys, this is all nightmares to me.

The Dreams show me what could be the Skeksis ship, but...like that would have to mean Christianity being surprisingly able to listen to a new leader and so forth, not being the enemy, but that doesn't map at all. I was so angry with Them because They all seemed to follow Jenners apostasy blindly. Christianity was never anything but the enemy. The Strawberry army and court could just get kingpins with heads out of asses--Kaari built that masterpiece of a Powersuit, she was doing things the Strawberry way all along with our without me however much I love that she's a true royalist, and I'll say the same to the court if my party's back on--and everything would be right as rain. A su'khora on the throne should come out to "well, had to happen eventually".

Christianity...if it got a leader like Kaari, like who could get on the page it would need to be on to not be my mortal enemy...like I said that looks like a sea of glass where the Vatican was (can't do the image with American Evangelicalism because it's so Borgstructured), but not because I fried it. That's just...what would be left. Like I guess you could sell the art off to collectors who'd talk about its historical context very wisely, but that's it, that's all you're going to save. The people will be much better off, but they won't be Christians anymore, even if they follow a Pope and stuff.

More importantly, though, that system being my enemy was important. It was always necessary if I was doing anything religious-seeming to make it clear, like you'll get with most witches actually by their salting everything with a certain amount of one thing or another aunt Gertrude would just hate, that if you followed me there wouldn't be any religion the way you learned in Sunday school. Me having any kind of alliance or detente or anything but open war with either protestant or catholic Christianity would have been throwing all my other fans under the bus, and I would never do that. Christianity was the meat-grinder that made the enemies who so easily became my friends, is how I saw it. There's no way it could not be that, any more than a barbarian lord could put up green and white banners and stick his wife on the throne and call Grandmother Strawberry for advice and still call himself a follower of whatever barbarian god anymore.

So the Dreams are contradicting themselves. The dove and cross visions don't make sense for reasons a lot deeper than just seeming to allow a succubus up to the altar.

So the conclusion is the Catholic church sainted me or whatever, and I told them to stuff it, because if they thought I was anything but evil they would have leveled the Vatican themselves. Or maybe I pretended it never happened in a ruthless attempt to have both their worship and my fans' instead of picking a side. I feel something hot in my heart as I think this, but I can't tell if it's healing or just anger. It feels right to say I gaslit the Catholic church about the very existence of my sainthood, because I thought it was an empty gesture.

In which case what the hell does any of this even have to do with me. I should think Copper's wish for me to be whole would include helping me get past all this stuff enough to reconnect with Aveh some day but the delicate house of cards he and the Dreams were building if they were at all with his help with my handmaidens is gone now.

This is insane. The visions are meaningless, the challenge was for me to stand up for myself enough to say that, and I'm doing it. Let's go. Final answer. I'd be saying dragon eat me if anyone says otherwise but for Copper right now, but even that rope is limited to how long it takes me to decide this is keeping me from being there for here anyway.

I never even was a Catholic saint. That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard, and I don't remember a single thing about it. This is all just confabulation. That feels such a relief to say, like opening a window in a room that's on fire.

There, see? Memory nice and strong.

What's next, family?

The Dreams show me a messed-up trinity knot missing a side and kind of bent like it's jewelry that broke and with a weird mush of color in the background.

So I did blow up one of the three major sides of Christianity, meaning probably the Catholic Church since Evengelical Borg? I guess? I start towards Sis--

Pussytaste, you're not going until you see those visions clear.

I understand, Sis. I really did my best though.

"Hey Copper, you wanna play a game with me and Boobsong? It's called doomlyrics. I say something that's actually a song lyric from like an angry or sad song, like this: well dolly, here we are again. Guess we're stuck in this heart-shaped box for a week. And then Boobsong says something that also a doomy song lyric that's kind of related to mine--but she's out of lust right now so I have to tell you hers."

Just have to be where she wants us to be.

"She says we just have to be where she wants us to be, because that's another Nirvana lyric, but she could have make what the lyric is talking about connect instead of the band, or whatever. So then the next one is your turn if you want to play, just say a doomful song lyric that sort of makes it sound like a conversation with all three of us, and then I'll go. It doesn't have to make sense, it's just a silly game. Wanna play?"

She nods with surprising enthusiasm.

"You'll hear it coming leaving you imprisoned, how could it be this one?"

"Oh no dolly, if we have to rhyme, we'll be stuck for all time! There must be some way out of this."

You're really under the spell of that box of nightmares, Boobsquish. These aren't the Laarhi thing again.

The only nightmare I see here is the idea that any church ever got an email from me that wasn't measured in petawatts. The visions are meaningless, unless somebody has a big giant clue I missed.

The only card we need is a tarot card--DEATH!

Pussywillow, come back from this.

The only back that exists is the world where those visions are meaningless. That's the only way they can be something the Dreams would give especially in response to my sweet little handmaiden wishing for me.

"Good one, dolly! She Says the only card we need is a tarot card--DEATH!"

Instantly Copper has her favorite deck spread in her hands, and looks up hopefully.

"Okay this actually might be really useful, good girl."

"Pick."

I let one draw the finger I manage to lift off Boobsong, and she flips the others away and holds it up for us to look at:


Alright we know I'm super upset, so huh? I look at her hopefully.

"You're the ace of cups and you're pouring out what the Dreams gave."

"Good job! Can you see what they gave?"

She looks at the card all close. Copper's a very dramatic little and it's adorable. Do I remember that or is it just super obvious? Everything seems all insane right now.

She looks up at me and sort of forgets the card away.

"The...dove with...the cross..."

Headfuzzes for you. Glare for the Dreams keeping this farce going so long. Taking any actual clues anyone has. Otherwise this is just Laarhi on hard mode.

"Good girl. Your turn the game!"

"Um...I can't get this one, I'm sorry."

"That's fine. Just say pass if you're stuck. Uhm...actually that is a hard one. If I don't think of something we'll all be mad here, even with a deck of cards!"

"Oh I should have thought of SJ Tucker songs! That's actually a sad song, isn't it."

Hug you because yes.

Your Boobsong is mad already. She's ready to roll the Bones, the way the Dreams are acting here!

Dragon that's epic but I don't wanna tell poor Copper that one.

"Hang on a sec, live wire. I have to talk to my sister."

She nods.

Okay for real, Sis. I'm calling this as I see it. I get nothing from those visions. If this is really so important, and it's not Laarhi hard mode, can you give me anything?

I can give one hint, that it's rainbow rocks.

Weird. Like, Equestria Girls? If we were dealing with Starlight Princess fans that'd be a castration joke but I've long since learned that stuff like that is as invisible to anyone not showing up at one of my shows in nothing but them-colored (my crowds were rainbow because everyone wore their own colors, superbright, like Sex and her burgundy!) makeup that kind of thing is as invisible as Uncle Dagon's workshop, so it can't apply here. I'm a cis binary girl to every non-Sugarfreak who hasn't literally groped me to try to find my hole--and that doesn't even do it sometimes.

The Dreams show me a toolbox, which...like fix me? Fix Earth's blindness about stuff like nonbinary sex and gender? If that were possible we would have got out from the Strawberry World! Everything about this has the same weird emptiness, like it's all just made of shadows. That's why I'm saying Laarhi hard mode. There's no here here.

"Hey Copper, does your card machine give you a way to do spreads without a table?"

"Let me um...wait a minute! Doop. DoOP. DOOP! YES!"

Three cards hang in the air in front of us, which actually gets me to crack a smile of happiness for her. She swoops them back down and spreads her favorite deck in both hands, kind of facing out from our hug so there's room for it.

"What're we reading for?"

"The dove and cross only lead me to lies. I need to understand the truth I'm supposed to see so we can go on with our adventure right now."

She draws three cards, doops them up in front of us so each is a stairstep up after the last:

"The top step is unveiling the things the other two show us. The sticks have penis-heads so we're revealing penises except that card's reversed so we're revealing not-pensis which aren't pussies because that would be chalices so this must mean something else. The world reversed is incompleteness which is penislessness which your thing not pussiness, because your dragon ate yours up. So the hidden truth we're revealing is that you're not whole you're bitten. That's what you have to see to get past this."

Teehee alright I think I'm getting a sense of what little-stage you went to.

"Good job! Why would the cards tell me what I already know? Are they just saying I'm being dumb?"

She doops up another card, over the others.

  

"Not lingam and yoni--the symbol there."

She points to the red sexual metaphor on the shield, which is where my eyes went too, what with the context.

"It's not Boobsong having your clit. Something else bitten."

She feels at her deck, doops another card up:

 

"But we just...wait a minute...all the cards have something phallic. Swords, penis-sticks, the lingam, wands for the world. The only one that's right side up, is the Ace of Wands, that's bitten here. It's not your penislessness so the phallic symbol must mean a masculine entity...Yahweh. See the yods falling off the end of it."

The Dreams show me a really weird vision of a shiny golden sun with long pointy rays very Rococo or Art Deco maybe, with over it a brassy version of of the breach of the gun in From The Earth To The Moon or so. It'd go, aesthetically, in the club here, but I can't make sense of it in the context. If it's an answer to why the Copper keeps on telling me things I know it's as obscure as the rest of this.

"Think you can do at least one more card on this?"

She nods eagerly. It's like, not possible to expect how much Copper loves reading cards. I'm only surprised she didn't end up with the card machine on Earth.

"I know Aveh's bitten off from me. There's a huge wall between us because of all the bad stuff with Eden. Why are the cards telling me that again?"

She feels through her deck, doops another card up:

 

"You don't see the way he's bitten off. You have a shallow view."

Another card:

 

"Your relationship broke."

She feels her deck, doops another card up:

 

"He was distraught."

Another card, quick this time.


"Um...he got tangled up...oh this is the mind control thing."

  

"But you freed him with magic, you sent that dreamskin."

"Waitaminute. You're doing great, but...let me check something. My relationship with him broke, then he was distraught, then, AFTER he was upset for like ten minutes or a million years whatever, he got tangled up? Instead of like, our relationship broke and he got tangled up right next to each other? He cesareaned me and my siblings I thought because he saw the mind control thing coming and now you're making it sound like that's not what happened. Can you tell?"

"It...seems like he lost you first, yeah. Then he was heartbroken, then he got mind controlled."

"What in the..."

I meet Sis' eyes for a moment, but her way just seems to say keep going, like she's shooing me along.

"Keep going. This is amazing."

Another card.


"At first he resisted that, but the Wheel always changes you. Did you force him with mind control!?"

"He was already mind controlled. Boobsong herself could barely hack it just enough to put the Dreamskin in. We figured his shell would kill him if we gave it the chance--or us."

Copper silently puts up another card.


"Hehe...they played all night long."

  

"Then he came shouting out that the end was here."

 

"He stole--yellow--"

"Worship. Worship feels yellow to me. It set me back so much we didn't make it in time, must have been. Keep going."

Copper adds another to her wall of cards.

  

"So he said you were daddy's girl."

The Dreams show me a Pamela Coleman Smith style cartoon castle with a melted tower-top, sill glowing angry red, which makes no sense, but diverts my outburst of the rest of the story, long enough for her to get another card up.

  

"That freed someone...can you help me here?"

"I lost the Sugarfreaks and gained the Catholic church. It freed his followers to revere me as a saint--"

Pussywillow let Copper interpret.

Copper is fast, and gets the next card up while Sis is dreamtalking me. I shut my eyes so I won't see it until my memory is solid. Copper starts to interpret but I pause her with a raised hand.

"No. I'm supposed to stand for my memories, and I remember. Once the Catholic church did their whatever, it wrecked stuff. I lost most of our fans just by being Aveh's kid, like I don't mean narcissistically just like it was me they hated, not Boobsong. Remember all the how did she ever implant stuff? The Catholic church accepting me was the reason we couldn't open the worldgate in time."

I open my eyes, put my hand back to Boobsong.


"Okay. Go ahead."

"This just says to beat you there but I guess you were faster."

"That's weird...why would it say that?"

Another card.

 

"You hate Christianity."

"I'm not a fan of systemic child rape, no. For one example. Did you just have a feeling to avoid my rant? That's understandable."

"I guess...my instincts just said fast, now."

"Can you go on?"

In response she puts another card up.

 

"You got all their sons--this is the very first reading on the tower-top!"

 

"You weren't the Starlight Princess to them."

Or anyone else, either, after this shit hit the fan.

Pussywillow, that fire will consume you.

Sis with all due respect what am I supposed to do, pretend it didn't happen? Just tralala nope I never lost all my fans very painfully? I'm already ninety percent pretending all this did happen. We should leave it alone, like I was trying to, if the nightmares in this can of worms are bad for me.

Anyway, I'll take that risk if there a chance in the time between catching and Boobsong putting me out the page I'm trying so hard to be rid of will burn up.

Hell, I'd take the five seconds of being without it even if they were my last five seconds, but for Boobsong.

Poor Copper has the next card up and is waiting for me to look at her. Pet you, look at you go with this.


"You were very open."


"We're the end, was your story to them."

 

"Without your followers--AAH! Okay that...means take that instinct then...your fans stayed."

No, they didn't. They abandoned us in droves. Said I turned on them. thought I'd turned on them.

I try to look encouraging at Copper though.

 

"Sugarfeast took them out of their comfort zones."

  

"Lovers sprang up everywhere...I think that means heartforming."


"Yellow. Worship was weak. It wasn't strong enough to open the portal."

She stops and looks up, eyes big.

"The end?"

She nods, silent.

"That was really something, live wire. Well done."

"It's not what you remember, though."

"It's the truth you saw, faithfully reported. What I remember is my problem."

"Okay, well then, I thought the lovers were hearforming but I think they loved you."

"It's not your fault if the world makes no sense at all."

She looks proud, and I pet her head and face, and she leans into it like the cat she turns into, then swoops her cards away.

I look at Sis, take a deep breath. Are we good now? I'm really curious where you were taking us! I...don't know if I want to decorate here after all, though. This wasn't as awful a project as I thought but I still resent how the Dreams did it and I meant that about slagging places that aren't hospital rooms and get turned into them. If the whole point of this is just to get me to see I have a few centuries of sailing with the Openveil Witch before I'm ever home let's just go at least I'll be with family then.

What do you make of those visions, now?

(Okay, readers, hang onto your tits. To not spoil too much, I'll just say what happens next is one of those things where the verrrrrry tiny tip of a much huger iceberg comes up, and you don't see the whole thing even as you're floating it up)

To be honest, nothing, still. I can see Copper's story in them, but that's so...post hoc. I can't honestly say there was ever a way they could have brought me the story Copper just told, and...even that's just a story. I believe her, because she obviously tried to tell me what I wanted to hear and couldn't, and the Dreams are backing her up, but...I made a decision, to tear this page out, before I came here. Before I woke up in Happy Chains. I had a good reason. Seeing my brother and Aveh messed me up so bad I blacked out. I had a good reason for that. Yes I hate Christianity. I have very very good reasons to. It did cause the worldgate not to open in time. Maybe Aveh fixed that at the end but even with his help it wasn't enough. I don't know and I did that on purpose for a very good reason. This pressuring to go back on that isn't cool. All it accomplished was making me blame him for what Christianity did until Copper got the story out. We could have skipped all of that. I knew well enough he tried to fix stuff before we came in here. Nothing new was learned. All this was was picking my wounds. If this is going to be how things are in our family, I'm done with all of you. People who love each other don't grind the other's faces in their trauma to no good end like this. This wasn't healing. This was bullshit. I can't believe the Dreams would answer Copper's wish the way they did and I can't believe you supported them.

I changed my mind. I'm just going off with Boobsong for a while. You know nothing any of you can do can stop that. Dragon eat me and get the fuck out of the Dreams the minute its looking like I'm trapped. Heartwarming and my handmaidens will have to wait. This soda will statuefy any handmaidens who want to pause until I'm back. Got it, game? 

I make strawberry soda from my fingertip and it drains away to nowhere.

Your game has your soda. It will give it to handmaidens who ask.

Copper needs a helping hand I can't give, and I don't want her with the family right now, game. Can you take care of her?

It will take her back to your chambers very fast, then explain what is happening.

Perfect. Give her my love and see you soon after and reassure all of them. Let them out but nobody goes in but them. That's their safe haven. Pluck them back the moment they ask.

Game I suppose you won't but I really don't want the family watching me right now. Dragon, battle stations.

Grrrrrrr....

There. I believed in you all. What the fuck. If anyone has anything to say, I'm all ears. As I judge by my game's silence you all are, though that's a horror movie to me, now.

Pussywillow starting back with your seat empty will kill me. Can't you please try without the hatred shutting your eyes?

This really is just Laarhi hard mode, except none of you realize you're playing, do you? Hatred like I'm feeling is what happens when you push someone into a trauma they're not ready to heal, or that they can never be ready to heal. Some things only get better with time, if they get better at all. I felt this hate for Laarhi when we were doing that other thing with him and it fucking vanished entirely the minute I was sure I would never see him again.

I've been desperately trying to figure out what the point of that fucking flashback was, why do it in heart home, why do this here where we all dance on holidays. Even that Laarhi thing was fucking dubious. Every scene of supposed healing you have done with me has been cruel. I've been trying to excuse it and justify it and say they got results, but you know what, I finally realize? You all are so desperate to get the old rainbow back, you would go along with that flashback thing, because my game told you that torturing me that way would make it happen, right? That's what it said to you?

Yes. It said we were coming in with your heart broken open.

MY HEART WAS CURLED UP IN A LITTLE TIGHT BALL! THAT FLASHBACK WAS ONE OF THE WORST MOMENT OF MY LIFE! I'm not even sure being reset was more horrifying! Now this. And you defended it. And you still defended it. And you still defend it now when I'm begging you to give me an excuse not to break up with you all!

We ended up doing this here where we dance on holidays to tell the family things aren't okay with us. I don't know what you all went through getting out of Earth, but maybe you should have a look in the mirror. Maybe I'm just putting your stuff Sis on everyone. Maybe it's somebody else. I don't know. I just know, my family wouldn't have kept going to bat for this bullshit all this way.

Do you guys all get that? The flashback, the this, who knows what else my game's been telling you, it's all to get you to see, you've lost sight of me. You have old rainbow in your eyes and you're sacrificing me NOW every step of the way to get her back. I wanna remember. I want my candy swears and my stupid Bimbo fun and remember how Boobsong and me did stage shows and how we never stopped doing them and want things to be fixed with the Strawberry retainers.

That was the key, you know. Grandmother Strawberry played you all. I'll explain in a sec but if you wanna figure that out look at how it went getting me to not flare Kaari out of existence the moment I saw her, and implant, and give my crown away, and...Strawberry Home is not easy with me, and yet look, how smooth that went. The darkest hour was me coming to terms that's it's Earth that's a planet of pedophiles, not the Strawberry World, and Grandmother Strawberry fixed that with a hug.

Yes, we ended up here now because poor Copper here innocently wished for me to be whole again. When have the Dreams ever answered a wish like that, the way they did, immediate when it's a bad time, with visions I can't understand that freak me out and make my poor handmaiden who made the wish in the first place because she was sliding into little space and starting to think like a kid because she thought that was safe because she hasn't learned to have the constant undercurrent of wariness this whole trip has taught me? Doesn't the mere bare fact of how the Dreams did this worry you? Doesn't this whole setup with us just standing here this way seem wrong for this? I was in my hottub when my freakout about sex education got set off, and when I had to face giving my crown away, I was in the tactical lounge of the Strawberry Navy's flagship! Do you notice the difference between those topics and places and my bedroom in Heart Home with a PTSD flashback and our family club with my FUCKING DADDY ISSUES? In how those scenes played out and where they did? Yes I am fuckign belaboring this because it has been a shit day through which at any point one of you might have looked up and said are you guys sure this isn't like, fucking Rainbow up? IF NOTHING ELSE CHERYL SHOULD HAVE EATEN ALL OF YOU LIKE AN HOUR AGO! Where was that, Cheryl? You were there with the booze when it was us versus the world, but I think you forgot to look inside the chosen family for things that need Latchkey Day!

The Dreams answered my wish, to make this insanity stop, by answering Copper's wish for me to be whole in way that would finally wake all your asses up, instead of the way they normally would. That nobody said, now hold up, maybe this isn't the place for this or maybe we need to understand why the Dreams are acting so very unparadisical suddenly, is, is, unbelievable! Exactly once, have I not been alone in raising that question other than Boobsong, and it was Isht Visht, our seed-daughter. Every other time it's just oh there goes Rainbow being hysterical, Rainbow needs to let the hate go.

"I HAVE THE HATE UP TO PROTECT ME FROM ALL OF YOU!!!!"

Alright, game, and Grandmother, I talked out loud, how'd I do with this.

"Listen up, all you rabble. We played a game with all you, me and that thing Boobsong made. Isht Visht is the only one who noticed anything wrong with the way it was happening. You all made a pretty big mess of this one. I said takin' advantage, and you all thought I meant the Pussy with her tail held high. Nuh-uh. Every one of you took advantage every time she said ain't we doing this the wrong way, and defended without thinking about it. Very wrong choice to make. Here's the consequences. Rainbow is that dolly's chew toy, not anybody's. She'll tell you that so I'll stick to my part. You all got mighty much work before you're welcome in Strawberry Home. Be nice to Rainbow? Pshaw! Vision quests, the lot of ya! Come back enlightened or don't show your face again. As for you Fairy kids, you all should know better! Fairy screaming out that her Keeper ain't Keeping should fill you with rage and invitations to your Keeper's bed! What came over you? Did your heads go cold in Aveh's funhouse? Get Fairy help, post-haste. Keeper's up next, Rainbow if you don't mind."

"This Boobsong is so disappointed her face feel numb. How could you be that way? Grandmother Strawberry is right. Your heads went cold. Especially you, Rada! You know best what it's like to be a star child and so baby and delicate! Couldn't you say anything? How much did Isht Visht want to say that she couldn't? This Boobsong knows she was seething, she could smell it over all the times we were trapped and scared! All the other seed-kids your mother is very sad. She will miss you all, but there is no talking to her Princess until you get back from your vision quests, so there's no talking to Boobsong, either. Isht Visht and Rada, you're blood to us. This Boobsong's heart is holding out the deepest wish that you come back so soon we don't know you're gone, but you need help the most. Star child and fairy kin, and you still just lay down for this! Maybe your long time of freedom made your head get cold most of all. Fairies are meant to be kept. You have some Fairy in you. Maybe it's more than you think. Maybe the star-child humans Aveh made need a Fairy shell. It's just that way with your sister here, she can see your face. Does your game say it's waiting to help you see? Ask it again in a private place. It won't tell you here. This isn't the time. Freedom is making your heart get cold, this Boobsong can see that from here. This Boobsong is taking her cartridge now, and the ones you have, and giving the warp core back. Here is the key to your cabin, too, Isht Visht. All games of Mommy-stuff are done now. It's so sad doing this. This Boobsong can't believe this got here. She thought that first one thing would wake you up. Never believed helldiving would be what tipped you off the pedestal Princess made you! She went so black she almost killed herself to escape. Did you hear that part? Is Sis eating popcorn while she sees what kinds of suicide she'll try if she can't say dragon eat me? Why did that not stop you right there and make you all just cry? You just went on. Didn't even hear that word. Suicide. Very dark to say that that way. Scary thing to hear your heartformer say! Yes she can't. Does that make it good? Very bad if she's thinking that! Scary as anti-light putting mouse-ears out! You should see Aveh, when he gets mad. Then you would run from Princess' anti-light. Then you would think her heart is in the absolute darkest place when she did that. Now you see, putting parts together! In the van, that there, wish for death. That's the anti-light, when she wants to die. Now she's incredibly heartbroken and so is her Boobsong. We were looking forward to all that stuff you planned. We're going. Don't say bye."

"Mommy take me please."

How are we going, Keeper--or game--I can think as far as my tower top. Can we take--

Suddenly Copper is gone. Game take good care of her. All that syrup you give me, give her.

Your game said bye with a soda shot right to her bloodstream. She'll be waiting when you're back from this none the wiser.

Your game is sending you to your tower-top. Everyone is sleeping with sleeping drugs.

"Light it up, Acme Station." Click.

HuuuuuummmmmmeeeeeYYAAAAAAAAaAaAaAaPRAH!