"Look Melan~!" I heard her squeal in delight, pointing at the orange-streaked Tokyo sky. School was done for the day, and we were flying home.

"Isn't it beautiful?" she asked softly. I gazed briefly at the tiny, brown-haired girl in my arms and looked up at the sky again. I nodded in agreement.

The crisis between Earth and Brigadoon finally ended a few days ago. With both worlds stable and the next Day of Pasca a hundred years away, I decided to stay with Marin at the nagaya. This despite the protests of the Chairman for Life Improvement Committee. This despite my own fear that I'd be useless to Marin, now that there are no more enemies to fight.

But my fears proved unfounded. Days passed by and I become more and more comfortable with the nagaya's everyday, human routine. I now escort her to and from school on a daily basis, and sometimes accompany her on her paper route. I no longer see fear on people's faces when people see me, as if I have become a familiar sight, a part of their daily life. And some of them have become, slowly and inexplicably, a part of my own. Indeed, in this strange, peaceful planet I have found a small corner to call home.

"It was purple yesterday, remember? And the other day it was really red. I wonder what color it would be tomorrow...?" I heard her sigh dreamily. "Wouldn't it be really cute if it were pink? And then we'd fly lazily across it... Ahaaa~~ that would be so romantic!!!! I feel like melting already!" She squirmed, and I felt her tiny body slipping slightly from my hold. I adjusted my paws by sliding it upwards--

squish.

I heard her gasp, and her high-pitched scream followed.

"THAT'S MY BOOBS!!! DON'T TOUCH~!!!! MY BOOBS!!! MELAAAAANNN~~~!!!"


I pushed the shoji doors open with my paws and looked inside the kitchen. Nobody was there.

Marin hates me. Temporarily, I hope. With this afternoon's incident I decided it was wiser to stay out of the nagaya for a while. But I felt too agitated to stay at the rooftop like the usual. It was an unsettling feeling, of wanting to understand something and not knowing the explanation for it.

It has alway been a mystery to me as to why Marin gets upset at *that*. She doesn't seem to mind being held at the waist, but if my paws move precisely five inches above that point, she gets really angry. What is it, why that body part, is it just her or are all humans sensitive to it? There is only one person I know whom I can ask about it, someone who is knowledgeable about human anatomy.

"Looking for something, Melan?" I looked around to see Jun. She was holding up a large pot of uncooked rice, still in her nurse uniform as if she just got home from work.

"Ah... yes." I looked at her. "You."


Jun laughed. "So she got upset because of that?"

I nodded as I watched her bustle about, preparing for dinner.

"Just when I've almost forgotten that you're a monomakia, you start asking questions like this..." Jun laughed again, shaking her head. "Well.... how do I say this? Hmm..." She paused from cutting vegetables. "The human body, especially females, consist of very sensitive... um, parts."

I tilted my head to one side, curious.

It seemed as if she was going to say something else, but she stopped, and I noticed a very faint blush on her cheeks. "Well, why don't you ask Marin herself about it?"

"She doesn't want to talk to me." And judging by how this has happened before, it will be three days or so before she talks to me again. I felt a headache coming on.

"Is that so." she smiled, as if reading my mind. "Do you want to know how you can talk to her sooner?"

I gazed at her quizzically.

"I cannot tell you more about those *special parts*, but I've got something quite similar... it's a secret weapon you can use against Marin!" She winked, then smiled sweetly as she handled me the bowl of vegetables. "But... can you please cut these vegetables for me first?"


My eyes drooped sleepily as I drifted between waking and sleeping. I fumbled for my glasses, then gazed at the window and noticed that it was already dark outside. Looks like I've sulked my entire afternoon away.

I was trying to keep myself angry, muttering to myself about a stupid monomakia who touched my boobs that day. But it was pointless. I haven't talked to him the entire day and... I miss him.

Geez, he didn't even try to apologize!... but then again, I didn't really let him talk... well, anyway. I'll just go talk to him after dinner. I'll reprimand him!! Umm, just a little. I wonder where he is now? And what did he do the entire day without me?

I heard the sound of metallic footsteps coming from the hallway. The shoji doors into the bedroom slid open, and I heard what sounded like him clearing his throat.

"Marin."

I muttered and pulled the blankets tighter over me, my heart beating fast.

The metallic footsteps walked closer. "Are you still upset?" his voice sounded muffled from under the sheets.

When I didn't answer, he peeled a corner of the blanket off and repeated his question. "Are you still upset?"

"I'm not upset." I frowned as I curled against my pillow, not looking at him.


I lifted the blanket a little more with one of my paws and, just as Jun instructed, slightly poked Marin just below the ribcage with another paw.

"GYA~~!!" Marin yelped in surprise, almost jumping out of the sheets.

Was that it? I wondered. Before Marin could move, I poked the same spot again. Marin burst out into what sounded like a desperate gasp and laughter. She quickly scampered away from me, crawling on all fours towards a corner of the tatami-floored room.

"W-What are you doing Melan?" She gasped.

". . . . . . " I calmly stood up and walked to where she was, then crouched down to her. She cowered in the corner.

"About this afternoon." I raised my left paw, and I couldn't help but smirk when Marin immediately covered the left side of her body. Before she could react, my right paw swiftly went to the right side and poked her.

"UWAAA!!!"

...again. And again. And again---

"UWAAAAAAAHAHAHA HA HAHA Melan!!!!! M-Melan s-stop!!!! Ah! Wwwaah!!! Iyahaahah!!!!" She was squirming on the tatami mat, her feet kicking in the air.

"I wanted to talk about what happened." I went on. I can't stop smiling as I thoroughly enjoyed the sight of Marin coiled on the floor, laughing and crying at the same time. Jun instructed me to do this with a serious look as much as possible, but... never mind.

"MELAAAaaahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!! Melan!!! MELAN!!! STOP!!!!!! Uwaaaaaa~~~!!!" She waved her hands in the air, her eyes brimming with tears as she half-laughed and half-cried.

"We need to talk on a few things." I went on with my torture.

"No!!! NOOO!!! AAahahahaha!!!! LEAVE ME ALONE~~!!!! Nyaa~~nn!!!!!" Marin screamed and laughed and flailed below me.

I have been content with Marin ordering me around and telling me what to do most of the time. It never occurred to me to dominate over her. In fact, I don't remember ever having so much power over her until now.

I like this.

She tried to wiggle away from me, but I held down one of her ankles with one paw so she couldn't go anywhere. My two other paws remained poised in the air as I tried to decide which other spots to explore. I remember Jun saying something about the underside of her feet....

As if reading my thoughts, she shook her head furiously. "N-No no more...!! I can't...!! No..!!!"

I wanted to go on, but I took pity on her and lowered my paws. For a few moments I let her catch her breath. She laid on the floor, sniffling, her hair disheveled, her pajamas a mess.

"About this afternoon.... are you still upset?" I finally asked.

"Yes..." came her weak answer.

I raised my right paw, and she immediately shook her head. "I mean no..."


We were on the rooftop, gazing at the moon.

"... and that's what Jun told me. She said it was a "tickle spot"." He explained it with all the seriousness of a teacher explaining human anatomy.

I could feel a sweatdrop forming on my head. Jun, I'll get you for this!!!

"Also..... Marin."

"What...?"

"I'm sorry about this afternoon."

I blushed. "I... it's nothing!" I laughed as I waved my hand dismissively. "Don't worry about it~! it's just--"

"I never understood why you always got upset when I touch that part." He spoke slowly, deliberately. "If you tell me why, then maybe I can understand it better." He gazed straight at me.

I felt my face turning beet red, and I turned away. "I..... I thought you talked with Jun about human anatomy and all that? She... didn't she tell you?" I asked weakly.

"She told me it would be better to ask you."

The silence was filled with the humming of crickets as I struggled to come up with an explanation. I stammered. "I.... I..."

He must have sensed my uneasiness. "It's alright. If you don't want to talk about it with me--" There was a tinge of sadness in his voice.

"No! I.... I will.... it's... " In the cold night air I could feel the heat of my cheeks. "Y-you're my boyfriend.... And someday, you'll be more than just a boyfriend. I-- I'll be your wife and-- ahaaa what am I saying~~~~!!" I shook my head as if that would bring my swirling thoughts into order.

Melan looked at me quizzically as I took in a deep breath and tried to start again. "The circle between your wings..." I began, struggling to explain. "When that's pressed, you turn into an ampoule, right? That's your weak spot. You don't want people touching that accidentally, or just because they want to. It's a special spot." I went on, not looking at him. "Well, humans have 'weak spots' like that... and, and those spots are really, really special, you know?... You only let special people touch it, and..."

For a split second I think I saw his eyes squint, as if he was hurt. I frantically waved my hands in the air. "I-- I don't mean you're not special!! Melan, I..." I looked up to him, running out of words.

Silence.

My head bowed, I took a deep breath and spoke softly. ".... You have to wait for me to grow up a little, until I'm ready.... I.... i-it's really complicated... " I looked up to him. "... But I want you to know that... if there's anyone who can touch me anywhere, it would be you... Melan..."

We gazed at each other, and I felt a surge of relief when I finally saw his quiet smile, telling me everything before he even said it. "I think I understand." He answered. "I'll be careful next time."

"Melan..." My heart felt like bursting with happiness and love.

"...besides, I can always tickle you."