"Alright, everyone," Edge Maverick addressed his diverse crew, "It will take the Morphus three hours to bring through their troops and equipment, and get everything set up. So while we're waiting, use this time to get ready. If there is anything else you need, Welch is waiting at the item creation terminal. Otherwise rest up, have a snack, or even take a nap if you need to."

The other members of the Calnus's crew indicated their understanding. He walked past them, up the stairs and into his battered ship.

I proceeded directly to my room. Upon entering, I removed my armor, sword and boots, and sat down on my bed to wait, dressing in only the sleeveless shirt and loose pants I wore underneath my equipment. My eyes drifted to the window, taking in the grotesque landscape of Nox Obscurus.

"Crow, Faize," I whispered, "I hope I don't let you down... Calnus, close the shutters."

The computer beeped in compliance, and after a brief whine of metallic stress, the armored barrier slid down, blocking my view. I sighed and slumped slightly.

Though it felt like hours, it had only been few minutes when I started to wonder if she would be coming back. Just as I was about to stand up, the door slid open, and Meracle Chamlotte flounced into our shared room. The Lesser Fellpool wore an extremely satisfied look, with a plate in each hand and a turkey leg clenched between her teeth. I could not help but smile at her omnipotent appetite.

"I trust that drumstick didn't come from Sarah," I teased her. She looked at me, and her expression told me she would have stuck out her tongue out at me, if she could have. She set the plates down on her bed, and started to sit when I spoke again.

"Meracle, could you come over here for a minute?" I asked, my voice becoming more serious.

"Myesh," she answered through the turkey. She set it on top of her sandwich, and then skipped over to me. Because I was seated, we were eye to eye, and she leaned in close.

"What is it?" she asked curiously. I took a deep breath to steady myself. Then I gently took her face in my hands, and pressed my lips to hers. I did not close my eyes, but carefully watched her expression.

At first the cat girl did not react. Her eyes widened in surprise, but she neither joined me in the kiss, nor pulled away. Finally, after a few agonizing seconds, she closed her eyes, put her hand on my shoulder, and started kissing me back. I moved my right hand from her face to her back, and she crawled in closer, until she was kneeling on my bed, was straddling me. After a few more heartbeats, we broke apart. She opened her eyes again, and her wondrous yellow orbs were filled with confusion and a hint of worry.

"Edge, I..."

I cut her off, locking her lips with mine again, afraid what she might say. She joined me in the kiss immediately this time, and when I parted my mouth to touch my tongue to her lips, she responded instantly, entwining her tongue to mine. Her tongue was rough, like a cat's, but the feeling was not unpleasant. As we continued to taste one another, I lowered my left hand to her top. I unwound the top connection of the string that held the upper part of her 'protector' together. I carried the thread over to the other loop, loosening her clothing. Then I slipped my fingers under the reinforced leather, running them over her chest.

Her breast was small, as I expected; but held an arousing combination of firmness and softness. My digits played over its perfect shape, and already my partially stimulated penis became fully erect. As I slid my fingers towards her nipple, Meracle suddenly broke off our kiss. She regarded me sadly, tears running down her face, but she was smiling despite that.

"It's okay, Edge," she told me, "I can do this for you. I can make you forget for a while, or make you strong for later. I can help you feel not alone. It's okay, I'll be what you need..."

I exhaled sorrowfully. I gently removed my hand from under her top, and tied the string back into place. She tilted her head curiously, and looked even more surprised when I gently swept her into my arms, and then set her down, sitting across my legs. The position felt more intimate, yet less sexual.

"You're wrong, Meracle," I admonished her affectionately, wrapping my arms loosely around her, "I'm not depressed, and I'm not asking you to make me feel good. The only connection I want to feel is with you. I am trying to seduce you."

"And apparently not doing a very good job," I added in a lighter tone, and she giggled uncertainly.

"This fight might be making me move a little fast, because, should the worst happen, I want to be sure we have at least one night together," I continued, more seriously, "But I don't want this to be a one night stand. When we survive I want to spend many, many nights together with you. I love you, Meracle Chamlotte."

She smiled happily, then another thought overtook her. She looked away, and her ears drooped.

"What about Reimi?" the Fellpool asked quietly, "I thought you and her..."

"There is no me and Reimi," I shook my head sadly, "There was a time when I thought there would be, that we had been so close for so long that it was inevitable. But you remember, on our trip from Roak to Aeos? I was taking a nap, and you snuck in here and crawled into bed with me."

"That was the first time you touched my chest," she smirked at me shyly.

"And it sounds like you were only pretending to be asleep," I chided her fondly.

"Heh, heh, heh," she chuckled guiltily.

"Then Reimi came in and got so angry," I resumed, "I admit we were in a compromising position. But you were asleep, or at least pretending to be, we were both fully dressed, she came in without knocking, and frankly, she had no claim on me. I followed her, and even though she knew she was wrong, she wouldn't admit it. She kept being mad, just so she could pretend she was right. To get through to her, I had to say that I was angry too, and then go through a make up ritual from when we were little kids."

I sighed ironically, before continuing, "That was when I started to wonder if I was really interested in Reimi in any romantic sense. It wasn't the first time she had gotten angry seemingly out of jealousy, but when I tried to suggest we start dating, she always treated it like either a joke or an imposition. I decided I couldn't be with someone who was so out of touch with her feelings."

"And that was when you became interested in me?" she asked cautiously, hopefully.

"No," I denied again, and as she started to wilt, I quickly asserted, "I was already falling for you at that point."

"You were?" she met my eyes again, overjoyed.

"Back on Roak, when you stood up to Lady Eleyna," I remembered, "You challenged her for not living up to your childhood hero. She had the rest of us kowtowed, but you wouldn't back down."

"I was just being childish," she blushed.

"Everyone here can be pretty childish," I pointed out, "I have let my pride get us into all kinds of trouble. Reimi can't face her feelings. Bacchus insists that he's an expendable machine. Lym is... well, she's Lym. Myuria and Arumat both have their quirks. Sometimes I think Sarah might be the most grown up one here."

"But you were open with your feelings, and defending your beliefs," I told her, taking one hand from her waist to touch her cheek carefully, "It was very endearing, and I started to look at you in a different way. Then, the way you handled Sarah and Lymle, when we met Crowe and Arumat... By the time we left Aeos, I was thoroughly in love with you.

She leaned into my hand, and I caressed her smooth skin.

"You are kind, gentle, but fierce when you need to be. You can handle yourself in a fight. You are fun and you make me laugh, even if some times it isn't intentional, or you go to far. You are smarter than you pretend to be, and maybe even smarter than you think you are. And last, and arguably least, you are quite beautiful."

"Why?" she asked sadly, almost desperately, rubbing her jaw against my palm, "Why did you wait so long? After Aeos, we went to Lemuris so Lym could see Lutie. Then we went back to Roak so Sarah could get one of her spare pairs of glass, and we got talked into stopping that earthquake monster. And we spent all that time on En II, first waiting for them the refit the Calnus, and then waiting for 'Ex' to finish planning the attack."

"I was afraid," I answered softly.

"Afraid? Of what?"

"Two things really," I continued thoughtfully, "First, I was afraid that you would leave; that I was wrong about you being from Roak's future, that we would find your home world and you would stay there; or that I was right, and that meant it was inevitable you would leave us to live with Lady Eleyna."

She turned her head away from me again, but the glimpse of her expression I caught told me she was unsettled by my statement.

"Second," I sighed, embarrassed by what I was about to say, "is that I was afraid what people would say. You're not Human, and from what I learned on Roak, you have been an adult by Lesser Fellpool standards for almost as long as I have been an adult by Human standards. But from a Human standpoint, you look pretty young. I was worried people would judge me; they would think I was some sort of perverted hebiphile, only after you for your appearance."

I gently turned her head back to face me.

"But I decided I didn't care what people thought, as long as I could be with you," I told her, staring deeply into her incredible, yellow-green eyes, "And if you someday decide you want or need to leave the Calnus, we'll figure out what that means when the time comes."

Her reaction was not what I expected. She slid off my lap, and stood a few steps away, not facing me.

"How did you figure out, where... and when... I am from?" she asked quietly, a tremor of fear in her voice.

"There were plenty of clues," I answered, worried by her demeanor, "You said Roak smelled like your world, but not quite right. That could be because you were from a different continent, or from a time when there had been some sort of environmental change."

"Or both."

"Or both," I conceded her point, taking it as an admission, "Your species pretty much guaranteed you were either from Roak, or from some time in the future when the peoples of Roak had spread out into the star ocean. And you seem to be more comfortable with science and technology than Sarah or Lym, more than I would expect from someone with your past."

The muscles in her back tensed, and I could tell I had unwittingly struck a nerve.

"But, what really clinched it, were your stories about Lady Eleyna, the Holy Maiden," I continued quickly, "As I listened to them, it became obvious they were about you, Eleyna, and Sarah. Which meant that you had to have been born at a point where Eleyna had become a storybook hero, and history had distorted her personality."

"Have you known the whole time?" I asked her gently. She whirled on me, crying again.

"No," she yelled, diving forward to throw her arms around me and bury her face in my chest.

"I wasn't lying to you," she pleaded, "I really didn't remember at first. And then I was afraid you would make me stay there. Make me leave you."

"Merry," I said kindly, wrapping my arms around her, and then softly rubbed the back of her head.

"I don't know how far in the future I came from," she began, "Because we use a different calender, and I was never that good at history. Or most other subjects. That's part of how all this happened."

She paused, sobbing in pent up fear.

"You don't have to tell me, if you don't want to," I offered, affectionately running my hand up and down her hair. After nearly a minute, her breathing steadied, and she finally answered.

"But I do," she shook her head, and the tips of her ears brushed my nose, "I need to tell you. Otherwise it wouldn't be right for me to return your feelings."

My breath caught in my throat, but I didn't say anything.

"My Roak is closer to the Earth where you rescued me, than this Roak," she explained, "Some of our science is more advanced then those people were, but we aren't as industrialized. We have contact with people from other planets, and we trade with them. But thanks to some good advice in the past, we are careful not to try to grow to fast, and we protect our environment."

"I wonder who might have told us that?" she grinned up at me slightly, and I took my hand away from her head to scratch my cheek, mildly chagrined.

"Anyway, I grew up in a small farming village, on an island south of the Astralian continent. In my country, kids graduated primary school at age ten, then could either go on to secondary school, join the military, or go back home to learn a trade. My grades weren't good enough for secondary school, and though I was strong fighter, the army wasn't recruiting at that time. Which meant I would have had to be a farmer. And even worse, with no good marriage prospects, at fourteen I would have been consigned to the Mating Circle."

"The Mating Circle?" I interrupted in confusion. I had never heard anything like that mentioned during our time on Roak.

"That place is one part matchmaker, two parts prison," she answered darkly, "Once you reach your majority, if you don't already have an arranged marriage, you are sent to live in the Mating Circle. There, they teach you relationship stuff, like 'maintaining good communications', and 'pleasing your mate'. They fix you up on dates with other people there, until they find you a good match. Then you two are married off and sent back to the world."

She sighed, "I guess it works, because my parents and sister all went to the Mating Circle, and they were happy. But it wasn't what I wanted, none of it. I didn't want to be a farmer, forced into a marriage by a matchmaker just because of my age. I wanted to have adventures, to see other worlds, and to fall in love with someone on my own."

She looked up at me again, smirking conspiratorially, "And I was worried too, I might not look quite as young for a Lesser Fellpool as I do for a Human, but I still look young for my age. I was afraid might get stuck with some pervert."

She grew serious again, "So when I was twelve, I took all the money I had, my Iron Claws, and I ran away. I bought passage to Tropp, and from there I hiked to Tatroi. Tatroi is... or will be, Astral's primary spaceport. I spent three days, looking at all the ships, working up my courage. I really did pick the one that smelled best; by it wasn't an accident I went on board, I stowed away deliberately. And when they were too far out to turn back, and I had watched them enough to feel they were good people, I let myself be found. I lied, and said I was an adult, and they agreed to let me stay."

Her eyes glistened sadly, "I was with the Morphus for six months, before we encountered the anomaly. I learned all sorts of new things, ate all sorts of new foods. They even taught me some of their martial arts. But then we ended up getting sent to that other Earth, and crashing. They saved me, even though they all died; that part was always true, too."

"I'm sorry I lied," she added quickly, "Most of what I told you, I thought was true at the time. That Milla did things to me, things that were supposed to 'help me remember'. But instead they made me forget. When we got to Roak, I started to remember for real, but I couldn't tell you, I was afraid you guys would get angry, and make me stay there. I couldn't risk that, I finally had my dreams, to have real adventures in the great star ocean. And to really fall in love, naturally."

She suddenly kissed me, so briefly I didn't have time to respond.

"It's OK, Merry," I told her, squeezing her tighter, "I know everything you went through must have been hard on you. I promise, I'll never force you to leave."

"I'm sorry Edge," she said again, "For not understanding you, not trusting your intentions, for what I said to you. I should have known you wouldn't just use me for sex."

"No, I'm kind of glad," I told her, "It made us talk through all this. I think I understand you better now, and I feel closer to you. And I hope you feel the same."

She nodded brightly. Then her eyelids drooped suggestively and she placed her lips to mine, more firmly and lingeringly. Her hands ran back and forth over my shirt, tracing my ribs and muscles.

"It you still want to... want me," she whispered when we broke apart again, "I want to be with you. I want you to have my virginity."

She was trying to sound seductive, I could tell. But there was a nervous sincerity in her voice that touched my heart.

"Are you sure?" I asked, studying her expression, "If you have any doubts..."

"I'm sure," she said more firmly, "I love you too, Edge."

To answer her, I brought together our lips for the fifth time, teasing her with my tongue again. To test her certainty, I gingerly placed my hand over her right breast, this time touching her over her armored clothing. She did not flinch like she had the first time, but she did break off our kiss. She gently took my hand away, and for a moment, I was worried I had gone too fast again. But she released my wrist, and undid the cord holding the sides of the outfit together. She drew the thread back to each post, unwinding it from each connection. After she disconnected the first set of straps, her top began to part, giving me a better view of the modest swells of her bosom. She left the X-shaped brown harness on, and instead moved on to lower set of threads. When she reached the bottom, she did not undo the leather strap connecting the two sides, but reached under the armor and undid the snaps connecting the briefs and the leggings to her top.

"I know I'm not as big as Myuria, Reimi, or even Sarah," she said shyly, "but..."

"Don't do that," I told her, "Don't compare yourself to anyone else. You are you, and you are fine just the way you are."

She nodded appreciatively, and pulled the sides of her top apart. Though she did not take it off, her actions gave me a clear view of her breasts. Two small, tempting, perfect bulges, like matched droplets of condensation had been running down her chest and had frozen in place. And at their summit, her nipples were slightly larger than I would have expected for her build, and a deep crimson color that was unlike anything found in a Human. They stood out starkly against her alabaster skin. The exotic coloring highlighted her alien nature in a different way than her ears and tail, but rather than being off-putting, it added to her allure.

I brought my hands to her chest, and nervously traced the diameter of her breasts. I applied a slight pressure, memorizing the texture and shape of her chest. Meracle meowed endearingly, and resumed touching my torso in turn. I brushed my right thumb over her left nipple, and she shuddered in pleasure. I repeated the action, a bit more firmly, and she gasped, her eyes briefly losing focus.

"You are sensitive, aren't you?" I prompted, continuing to kneed her bust lazily yet painstakingly.

"Yea... yeah," she moaned.

"Then how about this?"

I moved my left hand around behind her, and gently leaned her back, supporting her as I bent down to put my mouth to her breast. I wrapped my lips around my teeth, and carefully clamped down on her tip, tugging it gently towards me.

"Oh, Edge," she groaned louder. I suddenly pulled back, and she looked at me with nervous surprise.


"Calnus, engage sleep mode, captain's authorization," I announced for the computer. The room grew silent, as the white noise generators in the walls dampened the constant hum of the engines.

"So we won't be interrupted," I told her.

"Yeah," she blushed even as she smiled. Without hesitation, I dove back down to her breast. I traced her areola with my tongue, and then flicked my tongue across her nipple twice. At the same time, I moved my supporting hand up and down her back.

Merry slid her hand the rest of the way down my stomach, and fumbled for my manhood through my clothes. She could not see what she was doing, and I kept distracting her, but still her inexpert attentions felt nice, and my already erect penis grew larger.

I decided to pay her back in kind, sliding my free hand down her toned stomach, and into her armored bottoms. My fingers slid unimpeded down her smooth skin, until I felt the top of her slit. I paused in amazement, and lifted my head to meet her eyes again.

"No hair?" I prompted in curious disbelief.

"In this form," she panted slightly, "no Lesser Fellpool has any hair from the neck down, except the fur on our tails. Are you disappointed?"

Her query sounded worried, and I smiled at her, reassuringly.

"Of course not. It was just something I didn't know about your people."

I kissed her again to reinforce my words, and pressed my hand lower, until I could cup her sex entirely. I shifted my middle finger side to side until it was nestled between her labia, touching her inner slit. Merry shivered and moaned erotically again, as I began to rub my finger back and forth, taking special care to apply extra friction to the tiny, hooded nub that was her clit. I could not help but feel relieved, both that she shared that part of anatomy with Human women, and that stimulating it had the same effect. I had studied for this moment, planning for Reimi to be the recipient, and I was glad my reading would benefit Meracle instead.

She began to rock her hips in time with my movements, pushing down on me, imploring me without words to go further, to make her feel better. She was so entranced, she forgot her efforts to free my manhood from my pants.

"Meracle," I called out to her softly, stopping my ministrations. She did not seem to notice, she just kept rubbing against my digits. So I said her name again. This time she slowed, and her yellow-green orbs cleared; though she did not completely cease stroking her vagina against me.

"Merry, are you absolutely sure? If you want to stop, if you have any doubts, now is the time."

"Edge, I don't have any doubts," she answered directly, with a hint of annoyance, "So don't you doubt me, either."

"Alright, if you're sure..." I curled my finger up, putting the tip inside her. Then I quickly yet smoothly thrust it in up to the second knuckle.

"Nya!" Meracle yowled in a mix of shock, pain, and mostly pleasure. Her head snapped back, and she began grinding against my hand again. I began slowly moving my finger in and out of her. Though she had already been wet when I had started touching her, now her honey was squelching out of her with each stroke, covering my fingers and filling the air with a pungent yet pleasant odor. I leaned in, and began suckling her other breast eagerly.

The Fellpool girl took a harsh breath, and ended her hips' movements. She focused her attention, and began struggling with my zipper again. The strain of my arousal against my pants made it more difficult for her, so she twisted her head around, to try to get a better view. As she did, I buried my finger in her all the way, and tweaked her clit at the same time. Her hands slipped off the fastener as she cried out in ecstasy, but then she glared at me.

"Edge," she complained, " I can't get to your thing if you keep doing that."

"I thought you didn't want me to stop?" I teased her a little.

"Well, I don't," she blushed, "but..."

I silenced her with my lips. At the same time, I slowed my fingering of her. When I ended the kiss, she looked at me with disappointment.

"Lean back a little more, and put your hands on my knees," I instructed. As she complied, I was able to take my other hand away from supporting her. I grasped the slider, and carefully unzipped my fly. Then I placed my hand into the small of her back and pulled her forward again. At the same time, I began moving my finger again, pulling it out slightly, so the end of my digit was hitting that certain rough spot on her front wall.

"Edge!" she shrieked, making me glad I had thought to engage the sound blocker. She gritted her teeth, bearing through the pleasure, and slipped her hands inside my trousers. Her eyes widened, and after a few few seconds of stimulating struggling, she managed to tug my manhood loose.

"Wow," she gasped as she looked down at my erection.

"What?" I asked. I could feel my cheeks glowing under her scrutiny, and again all but stopped my stimulation of her.

"It's a little bit shorter than a Fellpool's... thing," she answered almost absently, gently taking my member in her hands. She ran her fingers up and down it, and my mind blanked, and I nearly missed her next statement.

"But it's so much bigger around!" she looked up at me, enraptured.

"Really," I managed to control myself enough to speak, "I'm considered slightly above average in both respects for a Human. But how do you know that?"

"Health classes," she answered slyly, continuing to play with my penis, "plus some magazines I stole from my sister..."

"Well aren't you a bad girl," I pretended to chastise her, sliding my middle finger against her G-Spot again. She hissed amiably, and grabbed me tighter. For an unrecognizable period of time, we continued to 'assault' one another. It took most of my concentration to keep stimulating her, without giving in to her efforts. Our lips and tongue also sparred, and alongside my lust, that light, warm feeling in my heart grew as well.

"Meracle," I withdrew my hand, and stared longingly into her eyes, "can I?"

"Yeah," she whispered breathily. She released my sex, and stood up on the bed. She pushed her armored panties down, and stepped out of them. As she started to kneel again, I was possessed by a desire to grab her hips and taste her. Instead,I let her slit pass me. She reached down, and spread her lower lips for me, the fluid already covering my hand now dripping erotically down her thighs. I took my own organ in my hand, aligning it with her. She pushed down slowly, and my tip started to go into her. She was so tight, that even with just my head in her, I had to clench my hands into fists to avoid releasing. She stopped when I met her virginity, wheezing harshly. I looked into her eyes, and could see she was fighting against the pain. The pressure she was putting on my member was uncomfortable for me, but it looked like it was many times worse for her.

"Merry, are you OK?" I asked gingerly.

"I'm... fine," she was obviously lying, but I let her, "I fought dragons and Phantoms. This little pain isn't going to stop me, not from being with you completely."

"But," her facade faltered, and she added, "Maybe it would be better if you did it quickly. And could you kiss me, while you do it?"


I gently wiped a tear from her cheek. I brought my clean hand to her face, and drew her into a tender, passionate kiss. My other hand moved to her hip, and I waited. As we kissed, she relaxed, and the pain on my erection lessened. I moved my left hand to her waist as well.

'One, two, three,' I counted mentally, and then I pushed down on her hips as I thrust myself upwards. I could feel her hymen rip, and her head jerked away from me.

"EEYAAA!" she screamed in anguish, even as I finished penetrating her as deeply as I could. She slumped forward against me, sobbing. Sharp spasms of pain shot through her vagina, allowing me to share some of the hurt I had caused her. But at the same time, I hated myself for also enjoying the sensation of her pulsating channel. The liquid seeping out of her onto my pants took on a noticeable red hue.

"Meracle," I felt myself crying as well, "Gods, I'm so sorry. We have to stop. Maybe Sarah can help..."

"No!" she screamed even louder at the word 'stop'. She clamped her arms and legs around me, her nails and heels digging into my shirt.

"It's OK," she mumbled weakly, "I'll be OK. Just give me a little while. I have to get through this, to be with Edge."

"Alright," I said again. As much pain as she was in physically, after all the loneliness she had experienced and trust she had shown in opening up to me, pitying her and pulling away would have hurt her far worse. So instead, I kissed her. I ran my hands gently up and down the rigid muscles of her back. After our lips broke apart, I tried to kiss her neck, but her collar got in the way, so I moved lower, to her collarbone. And mostly importantly I kept control of my manhood, not allowing it to move, to grow, or to shrink in the slightest. It took most of my mental focus, and even a bit of improvised symbology, but I managed to remain steady inside her, even as I tried to ease her pain externally.

Again, a period of only a few minutes felt much longer to me. Her breathing settled, and Meracle relaxed her grip on me. The throbbing in her vagina subsided. The tautness in her spine also eased. Suddenly, unexpectedly, she lifted her hips slightly, and pushed back down. Her fingers dug into my back again, but she managed to avoid crying out. The convulsions inside her flared up again, but this time they were definitely less intense. She stayed that way for another half of a minute, until the pain had eased again. Then she moved again, this time a little further. As she completed the second shallow stroke, she exhaled, and there was something besides pain in her voice. And this time, I could barely feel the brief shuddering in her canal. Instead, she was starting to bear down on me in a decidedly different manner.

Merry grabbed my face and kissed me fervidly. Then she moved her hands to my shoulders, and started to move against me. She slowly lifted her butt, until I was about halfway out of her, and then she slammed herself back down. Her ass hit my thighs in a very stimulating manner, and unlike her previous, tentative thrusts, she instantly started moving again.

"Edge, Edge," she panted my name blissfully as she continued to grind against my member. I braced my left hand against her back to help steady her, while my right fingers started to trace her breasts again, and I went back to kissing her clavicle. But I still focused on keeping control, not letting the feeling of how her walls rubbed and squeezed my member push me past my breaking point. As I took in the sensations, I felt another rough patch on the front of her vagina. She seemed to gasp a little bit each time my head rubbed the spot. I grabbed her hips to cease her movements.

"Edge?" she looked at me in confusion.

"May I?" I asked, twisting my hips. She squeaked lustily, and then nodded her assent.

Holding her in place, I withdrew until I could feel the target against my tip. In that position, I was not able to perform deep or powerful thrusts, but that was not what I was trying to do. I began to roll my hips, continually rubbing my glans back and forth across her deep spot. The effect on Meracle was immediate. Her head snapped up, her back straightened, and her eyes glazed over in rapture.

"Oh, oh, oh, oh," she panted in ecstasy, first wordlessly, but then forming syllables.

"Edge, Edge, Edge, Edge, EDGE, EDGE, EDDDGGGEE!"

Her fingers dug into my shoulders, and her vagina spasmed around me. Only this time there was a different rhythm, a different feeling to the contractions. A clear fluid shot out of her, soaking me, and then a sharper noise emerged from her sex, along with a darker, more pungent liquid. As the two excretions spurted out one more time, Meracle's expression quickly changed from climax to one of chagrin, and she started crying. And despite that, she bobbed her hips for one last thrust, squeezing my member firmly.

"I'm sorry Edge," she sobbed around the words, "I peed. I felt so good that I came, and I peed on you."

She looked up at me, regretfully, and added, "And you didn't even cum, did you?"

I hugged her tightly, partly to comfort her, and partly so she would not see my grin. I had gotten so caught up in controlling myself, in not releasing, that when the time came to ejaculate, I missed it.

"It's OK, Merry," I told her honestly, "I'm happy that I made you feel so good you lost control. I'm not saying I want you to pee on me all the time, but you shouldn't feel bad about it either."

I released her, so I could see her face. She looked calmer, but she still was not pleased.

"And as for my orgasm," I told her, and she turned red, "We still have almost two hours, so we don't have to be done yet..."

Her yellow-green orbs lit up at the suggestion, first in joy to have another chance, then in lust. She nodded and kissed me. I gently pulled out of her, and then laid my hand across her belly, the tip of my finger just overlapping her slit.

"Healing," I built up my energy, and sent the recovery symbol into her. The last remnants of pain faded from her face, but she regarded me questioningly.

"I should take these clothes and sheets to the laundry," I told her, "Can I do that, and we'll continue when I get back?"

She considered that for a moment, and then nodded with a thoughtful expression.

I stripped off my shirt and pants, but fortunately my boxers had been spared the worst of Meracle's climax. I gingerly tucked my now less then fully ready unit back into my underwear, and pulled on a bathrobe. I removed the dressings from my bed, and told the computer to unlock the room. I peeked out in the hall, hoping that no-one was there. My wish was granted, and I hurried to the end of the corridor. I separated my uniform from the sheets as quickly as I could, and fed them into the automated cleaning system. Then I washed my hands quickly, just to be safe. I turned, and jogged back to our room, unable to resist one joyful skip. But when I opened the door, I froze in uncertainty. Most of the lights had been shut off, and my new-found girlfriend was not visible in the halo in the center of the room.

"Merry?" I asked tentatively, walking into the illuminated area. She wasn't on either of our beds, that I could see, though I did note that mine had been remade.

"Edge," she said my name tentatively, and I could barely see her outline in the corner of the room.

"Could you please lock the door again?" she asked quietly.

"Calnus, engage sleep mode, captain's authorization," I requested again. I was confused, but just happy I hadn't somehow driven her away. The entry sealed and the deafening quiet settled in. I could hear nothing but our breathing, and the anxious pounding of my own heart.

Meracle stepped tentatively into the light, fully nude. My eyes instantly absorbed the shape of her, and my flagging penis stood back at attention. She had even removed her headband and hair clips, and her cyan locks hung lower around her face and fluttered freely down her back her. It somehow made her look less like a teen and more look a slender, yet undeniably adult, woman. But what ultimately captured my attention were her eyes. Her normally bright amber orbs were shadowed and nervous.

"Meracle, what is it?"

"There's something else about my people I want you to know," she started quietly, "We don't view sex the same way you or the Featherfolk do."

"Don't get me wrong, we're not indiscriminate or easy or anything," she said defensively, and then returned to her anxious intonation, "But if I had gone to the Mating circle, I probably would have had three or four partners before I was married off. And if my parents were to somehow find out that I was still a virgin at sixteen, they'd probably think there was something wrong with me."

"For my people," she grew quiet again, "nudity, being totally unclothed before another person, that's far more intimate than sex. You are totally vulnerable, you have nothing to hide behind. Even when we go to the doctor, we usually have a necklace and bracelets we wear, just to have something. Before I ran away, my sister told me she still hadn't let her husband see her like this, and they had been married over a year."

"But I want you to see every part of me, Edge."

I walked over to her, and knelt down so we were at eye level.

"Close your eyes, Meracle," I requested kindly.

"Edge, what..."

I placed my right pointer over her lips to silence her, and took her right hand in my left.

"Do you trust me?" I asked, and then removed my blocking digit.

"Yes," she answered quickly.

"Then close your eyes."

She complied. I released her hand and took a deep breath.

I placed my fingers against the tips of her ears. Then I ran them down with a feather touch to her hair. I moved my hands down, lightly brushing her forehead, eyelids, nose, lips, and chin. Then I went back around, over her cheeks to touch the sides of her head. The blank spots where a Human woman would have had ears puzzled me briefly, and I chided myself for it. I ran my hands down, touching her neck, and then out to her shoulders. My fingers glided down the outside of her arms, and then back up the insides. When I brushed her armpits, she could not fully suppress a giggle, and I made note of her ticklish spot. I moved my hands to her breasts, and was unable to resist lingering for a few seconds. Then I moved on, back and forth between her stomach and her sides, until I reached her pelvis. I felt her hips, and then slid my right hand between her legs, again taking slightly more time to trace all over her labia. I continued down her slender, toned lower limbs, until I reached the floor. I whispered for her to lift first her right foot, then her left, and I ran my fingers over the soles of each.

I moved behind her, and gently swept her hair over her shoulders so I could have a clear view. Resetting at her heels, I caressed my way up the back of her legs, until I reached her slim, tight butt. I massaged it longer than I had her breasts or crotch, reasoning I had given it no attention earlier, but it certainly was no less deserving. Then I circled my right pointer and thumb, and gently drew them down the length of her tail. Next I moved up her back, noticing a small scar on her right shoulder blade. Finally, I moved up the back of the neck, up her skull, and back up to the tips of her ears.

My journey complete, I embraced her from behind, wrapping my right arm around her breast, and placing my left hand over her crotch.

"I have now seen and touched every part of you, Meracle Chamlotte," I whispered into her pointed ears, "I know you like no other, and you are now mine and mine alone. Is that acceptable to you?"

I held my breath. I had wanted to be forceful and possessive, but I was afraid I might have taken it to far. Meracle shook under my arms, and I could tell she was crying again. I started to apologize, but she spoke first.

"Yes. Only for you Edge," her response was joyful, and when I looked down, I saw a radiant smile through her tears. The fear and trepidation of showing herself to me was gone. I swept her up into my arms, and her eyes popped open. I carried her to our bed, princess style, and laid her out gently. Then I stepped back and removed my robe. Underneath, I wore only my boxers, and I dropped them and stepped out.

"It might not mean quite as much to me, but I want you to see me too," I told her, and she nodded gratefully. I laid down beside her, gazing at her. I reached over and gently grasped her right breast.

"This was were I touched you for the first time," I remembered, "even if it was an accident."

"Keep touching me, Edge," she entreated me, "again, and again."

"As you wish," I quoted, and then realized she probably didn't know what it meant. I propped myself up on one elbow, and leaned in to kiss her. She lifted her head to meet me eagerly, and I could taste the salt of her tears on her lips.

"I'm sorry I make you cry so much," I said, and she smiled and shook her head.

"If I cry because I'm happy, that doesn't count," she insisted.

"Still, let me make it up to you."

She tilted her head curiously, as I boosted myself up onto my hands and knees. I backed down her body, until I was even with her left breast. I kissed it, licked it, and tugged on it lightly again, and the sensitive girl started moaning. But her chest was not my final destination, and I trailed kisses down her stomach, towards her slit.

I carefully pulled her lower lips apart, studying her womanhood. I hadn't read as much about this as I had about normal intercourse, so I wanted to be careful not to hurt her. Of course, I was also entranced by the carnal beauty of her sex.

"Don't stare at me down there," she demanded timidly.

"I can't help it," I looked up at her, "you are so beautiful."

I ran my tongue over her labia minor, and she exhaled sharply. Though she was already partially aroused, her insides turned a deeper red, and her honey began to visibly flow out. Her clitoris also expanded, and seemed to be asking for my attention. I put my lips against it, and buzzed them lightly. Her whole body bucked, and she shrieked.

"Merry, are you okay?" I asked quickly.

"Yeah," she sighed, "That part is kinda tender, and even though that felt incredible, it also hurt a little."

"Sorry, I'll be more careful."

I pressed back in, and gently kissed her nub in apology, before moving down slightly to play my tongue against her inner lips. I circled around twice, taking in the taste of her. She wrapped her legs around my head, holding me in close. I hummed as I pressed my tongue shallowly inside her, and she began panting again. I withdrew my penetration, and licked all the way up her labia minor, before flicking her clit gingerly with my tongue.

"You know, we don't do this on Roak," she noted in exhilaration, when I paused to catch my breath.

"Really?" I prompted, "Why not?"

"Fellpool, Highlander, Lesser Fellpool," she rattled off the subspecies of cat-like beings, "we all have rough tongues. It doesn't feel good getting licked in a sensitive area."

I nodded, not having expected such a practical answer.

"Then I guess you lucked out," I told her.

"Yes," she purred absently, "I am so lucky."

The way she said it made me think she was not just talking about receiving cunnilingus, and my heart soared. I grinned, and then twisted my comparatively soft tongue around her clit again, drawing another erotic meow from her. I continued to play my tongue and lips against the different parts of her sex; licking, kissing, and buzzing, trying to determine would made her feel best. After the first minute, her tender nub grew less sensitive, and I increased my efforts towards it. She lifted her hips into my face, groaning happily. The speed of her cries increased, and her tail whipped back and forth across my chest. I wrapped on arm around her, both to help hold her up, and to massage her pert butt again. Her leaking honey became to much for me to lap it all up, and dripped down my chin. I stuck my tongue inside her again, and my nose brushed her clitoris. Her body went rigid, and she screamed in pleasure again, her vagina clamping down on my tongue. Fluid gushed out on me, but she grunted in effort, and this time it was only her cum, not urine.

I slipped off the bed, took the washcloth from the shelf over my desk, and wiped off my face. As her breathing steadied, I returned to to lying next to her, and she looked at me with satisfaction.

"Edge, I didn't pee. It felt so incredible, but I stopped myself."

"I know, Merry," I rubbed the top of her head, "I'm proud of you. And a little relieved."

She grinned. Then she appeared to think of something, closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Her luminescent orbs snapped open with renewed vigor and purpose.

"What about you?" she demanded, "That's twice you've made me orgasm, without having one yourself. It's not fair."

"Meracle," I chided her, "It's not about keeping score. We aren't competing here."

"I know," she admitted shyly, "I just want you to feel good, too."

I touched her cheek, and then ran my hand down to squeeze her left breast.

"Even though it might hurt you again?"

"That pain was nothing," she whispered, her eyes distant, "Not compared to being alone..."

"Besides," she continued happily, "once I got past the pain, it felt soooo good. And the more we have sex, the better it will get, until it doesn't hurt at all, right?"

"Supposedly," I answered uncertainly, not knowing if this held true for her like it would for most Human women.

"Then what are we waiting for? Put your thing inside me already."

"OK," I shrugged. Then I stuck my thumb in her mouth.

"Mwhat aa you doin'?" she mumbled around my digit.

"You said you wanted my thing in you," I answered spritely, taking back my hand.

"That wasn't what I meant," she pouted.

"Oh," I acted surprised, "Did you want my elbow in you ear?"

"NO!" she shook her head violently, and then I kissed her.

"Tell me what you want, Meracle," I prompted affectionately, "Use the words."

"Your dick," she smiled shyly, "Make love to me, Edge. Stick your dick in my pussy."

I didn't particularly like that slang, but I couldn't resist her anymore. I rotated my body, until our sexes where nearly touching. My 'dick' was still hard from the stimulation of giving her oral pleasure, and from touching her, and her 'pussy' was still wet. But to be careful, I held myself on three limbs and touched her clit with my free hand. I tugged gently on her nub, until I could feel her juices flowing again. Then I placed the length of my shaft between her outer labia, and began sliding it back and forth, stimulating her more, and also coating my member with her lubricant. Meracle was already started to breath heavily under me, and she looked up me, her eyes filled with affection and desire.

"Don't tease me anymore," she pleaded. I aligned my tip with her slit, and pressed gently inside. She was still tight, but nothing stopped me this time, and both her face and channel told me she was definitely feeling more pleasure than pain. But the tenderness, the hurt of being stretched out be me, was not entirely gone yet.

I counted to five, and then leisurely pulled out, and slowly pushed back in. She sighed pleasurably, but at the same time her back and stomach tensed. I waited four heartbeats, as her pain eased, and then I gave her another careful, deliberate stroke.

"Nya," she exclaimed, and this time her pain was slightly less, but any pain was still too much for me.

"Relax, Merry," I asked, "Just be with me."

Three moments passed before she was ready, and then I lifted my hips, rubbing her insides until I was almost out. This time I thrust into her a little more quickly. I instantly regretted it, as a glimpse of agony flashed across her face. I wanted to apologize, but knew it would be insulting to her desires and efforts. So instead, I waited for it to pass, and when she was ready, I gently pulled out almost to my tip, and then pushed carefully all the way in.

"Edge, don't worry about me," she read the meaning in my measured penetration, "Just do what you want."

"Never. I can't feel good if I'm hurting you, Merry. If the sex isn't good for you, then it's not good for me, either."

"Edge," the borders of her eyes grew wet, and she pushed herself up to press her lips to mine. I began slowly pumping, gingerly yet continuously moving in and out of her. I kept kissing her, to give her something else to focus on. I gradually started to increase the speed of my thrusts. I lifted my hips up slightly and pushed in faster; then lowered my pelvis, so as I pulled out more slowly, my glans hit both of her inner spots. Up and in firmly; down and out gently; I remained precise in my movements, but felt a growing strain in my testes. Her breathing was getting faster, and she started moaning my name again. She wrapped her legs around me, giving me a better angle of attack, and I started to lose control, pumping faster.

"Merry, I'm almost there."

"Me too, Edge. So good."

"You have to let me go," I told her, unable to stop despite my worry, "I need to pull out soon."

"No," she shook her head, and her calves and vagina both tightened around me, "Give me your seed, Edge. Fill me up."

"Merry, I... I..."

It was too late. Her walls began to convulse with orgasm, and it pushed me over the edge. My mind went blank, and I ejaculated into her. It had been a while since I had had any release, and my penis kept twitching, over and over, shooting more semen towards her womb. She came too, but after her last two orgasms, she did not appear to have as much fluid this time. Some of my cum leaked back out, spilling onto her hips and butt with my slowly weakening thrusts. Finally she unwrapped her legs and dropped back down.

"Edge's sperm," she said dreamily, "I'm gonna have Edge's baby."

"Merry, what?" I stammered, "But I thought it was safe, since you made me..."

Her eyes opened, and she smirked tiredly at me.

"I'm kidding, I'm kidding," she said, "I was in heat back on Lemuris, so we should be good for at least another month and a half. My people only get fertile three or four times a year."

"So that's why you were eating more than normal, and were so aggressive in battle," I remembered

"Yeah, I've had to find some other ways to channel my lust," she answered slyly, "But you'll take care of that for me now, right?"

"I'll do my best, if I can keep up with you."

"Heh, heh," she chuckled. Then her eyes drooped, and she looked sad, "And we don't even know if we're genetically compatible."

"I know we are," I told her. She smiled at me gratefully, and lovingly. I fell down beside her, the last of my energy taken by her prank. But I managed to roll over on my side, so I could face her.

"I love you, Meracle," I told her, "Thank you so much, for loving me, too."

"Edge," she kissed me. Then she turned away from me, and pressed her back firmly to my chest. Her tail curled around my right leg. I wrapped my arm around her and she put her hand over mine. And right there, on that planet born to extinguish all life in the universe, I felt more warm, safe, and contented than I ever had before. Her even breathing told me she was already asleep, and before I realized it, I had drifted off as well.

I walked down ramp slowly, looking over my crew, my friends. Reimi and Sarah both looked on edge. Myuria and Arumut were acting forcibly nonchalant about the surroundings. Bacchus was hard to read, as always, and Lymle seemed genuine unaffected by Nox Obscurus's oppressiveness. I decided for someone who had literally been to Hell, and brought back a pet demon, this was probably nothing to worry about. But the one person I wanted to see most was not present.

"Where is Merry?" I asked them, as I stepped onto the ground.

"Shouldn't we be asking you that?" Arumat shot back pointedly, "She's your roommate."

"She left before I did," I explained, "So I thought she would already be here."

"Sorry I'm late," I heard my lover call out from behind me, and my heart lifted.

"Merry, you changed clothes, 'kay," Lym said curiously, and I turned to look.

Meracle had replaced her Solid Protector with a tan leather vest that stopped an inch above her navel, and shorts of the same material and color that started an inch below her navel and clung tightly to her hips and legs until the middle of her thighs. She showed a short expanse of skin, and then her boots started just above her knees. Unlike her previous leggings, these covered her feet, but made up for it with Mithril toes and two-inch Mithril heels. Her gloves were the same as in her previous outfit, fingerless and reinforced over her wrists, though they stopped just past her elbows instead of connecting to her top, and were also the same color of the rest of her new clothing. Only her collar, headband, barrettes were the same.

She scrambled down the causeway, and ended up right in the middle of the group, with everyone staring at her. Now that she was in front of me, I could see a small hole in her pants for her tail.

"Sorry I'm late," she told us, not looking at me, "I had to have Welch help me get this ready."

"Is this some sort of ceremonial battle armor?" Bacchus asked.

"It's not for battle," she answered slyly, "But I suppose you could say it is ceremonial."

Then her voice grew nervous, and she added, "Covering up like this means I'm off the market."

"What do you mean, 'off the market'?" Reimi asked, a hint of danger in her voice. I stepped up behind Meracle, and placed my hand on her shoulder.

"She means that we're together. Romantically... We're a couple."

I started off strong, but as I struggled to be absolutely clear, I lost some steam. Merry bobbed her head triumphantly, and Reimi looked thoroughly shocked.

"Oh, congratulations," Sarah said happily, nodding to us.

"Well, boy," Myuria smirked, "I never suspected you had those sort of tastes."

Meracle's naked shoulder tensed under my hand, but I answered the Morphus tease with renewed confidence.

"It's not about types, or appearances," I said firmly, but without anger, "Meracle is Meracle, and I love her for her heart, not for her beauty."

"I was only teasing," the widowed symbologist threw up her hands in defeat, "Frankly, it was getting a little tiring, watching you two dance around one another."

Arumat nodded in agreement. Reimi had recovered enough to face me with determination.

"Does she make you... Can you make each other happy?" she demanded sternly.

"She does, and I will," I told her directly.

"Yeah!" Merry added brightly, "Edge makes me so happy, and I'll try my best for him."

"Then I guess that's all that matters," the archer smiled broadly, but I knew her well enough to see the sadness lingering in her eyes.

"Alright then, people," I switched to my 'captain's' voice, "Let's go save the universe."