Standard Disclaimer

Man its seems every week we get more snow and it takes so much more effort to get things done. Had another lovely Valentines Day of getting candy and fatter, but enjoyable. Back to writing this lil story and its nearing the climax of the second act so things will start getting wrapped up.

X-X

Wandering Pilot

Chapter – 20

So this was what love actually felt like, Shizuka thought. Snuggling her naked body up against Shinji's under the blankets, she moaned happily. The noon soon glared through the lone window in what was Alleyne and Nowa's room, they had been at it since Shinji snuck her up some breakfast. God he was good at making her feel bliss, best she ever had in her whole life. It wasn't that he was the biggest or thickest, but he knew how to use what he had and the emotional surge…well no faking for her today.

Half laying on the man, Shizuka kissed his cheek lightly. "As much as I'd want another go…I'm thinking that nun will start to suspect something if you don't get back down stairs," she nuzzled her nose against his cheek. Her hand went down and gave him a few strokes, Shinji's own hand was casually massaging her breast and rock hard nipple. That sensation of elation and electric joy rippled down her spine, "Keep doing that and you and I are leaving this town forever to find a nice house all our own."

"I-uh…oh sorry! I was a little absent minded for a moment," Shinji quickly pulled his hand away from its task. Sitting up abruptly, the sheet fell off showing his bare chest. Hardly the stuff to make women normally wet their panties, he did have a nice amount of definition after all his exercise and training. Gently rolling out from under her, Shinji drank in the sight of the lovely pale woman. Leaning in to kiss her, Shinji blinked when Shizuka gently held up a hand to stop him. She never let him kiss her on the lips if she could prevent it. Sitting on the edge of the bed, Shinji reached for his clothing, "So what will you do now?"

Do now? Well Shizuka hadn't really thought much beyond last night and her gentle push to Tomoe. Straddling the boy, his heat was intoxicating, she wrapped her arms around his waist and sank her chin into the side of his neck. "I can't just stay here and let you pamper me, I'll have to find something to do. Though being your woman is a full time job. You never do get tired do you," she could feel her womb tingling. Holy Milk, every time he went off it was Holy Milk. Did he not want to get her pregnant or did he just want her stronger, Shizuka didn't know. All she knew was the sensation was addictive.

Caressing her cheek with his hand, a mixture of adoration, respect, and affection, Shinji snaked what he called 'boxers' with his foot and pulled them on. His world did have some marvelous undergarments. "W-would you mind doing me a favor then, if you've nothing else planned?" Shinji just wasn't the type to ask for things. Even doing their many couplings this morning it was always what Shizuka wanted. Well not EVERYTHING, as Shizuka never would have asked Shinji to stick his tongue THERE of all places. Squirming as Shizuka's hands started wandering again, "If you don't want to I'd understand…"

"Love, you can ask me to do anything you want and if its in my power I'll do it," Shizuka fell back on the bed. Flexing her bottom, the memory of Shinji's tongue darting into it left her flush. She was the dirty one, not him, and yet he did such a depraved thing. And yet she saw him wanting to kiss her like a lover, she wouldn't let him sully himself. Though she got such a thrill those times he snuck in under her guard and did it. A man she'd kill for if needed, she'd truly do anything for this man. "You saved my life, actually you brought me BACK to life, Shin-chan. You have the saying 'the life you save you're responsible for' back in your world?" she ran a finger down his spine.

Tensing up and wiggling as she touched him, Shinji yelped and jumped off the bed. Finding his clothing, Shizuka threw it about in her mad desire to feel him when he first arrived, he started getting dressed. "I didn't save you to…to make you feel indebted to me! You saved me in that cave with her," the word was spoken with as much hate as he could muster. Synching the belt of elven make, "I care to much about you to…to ever force you to do anything. But Alleyne and Leina." He paused and looked down as if he did something horrible.

Sliding off the bed, the floor creaked under her weight but the sun felt marvelous on her naked skin. Her hair hung free and wild without the bandana, "Your world truly is an odd place, Shin-chan. What you and I did is natural here, even if you're married or with somebody else. Sex is just a part of life, though with you it is something special." She showed off her flexibility by picking up her own garments with her leg and stretched it up over her head. Letting her glistening and dribbling flower flash before his blushing face, she melted a little. "Or maybe you're the one that is to innocent and your world is like ours," she smirked.

"I'm just not used to it is all," Shinji bashfully looked away and finished dressing. A note fell out of his pocket and flittered under the bed, Shizuka kicked it deeper under. "In my world its one man and one woman, that's just how it is. And here I feel like I'm betraying all of you, leading you one or something," Shinji rubbed his arm as if cold despite the smoldering heat of the room. "A-anyway," he was quick to change the subject back, "they're doing things that they're keeping secret from me. Alleyne is hunting some crime boss and Leina…she's just keeping something from me and is with this woman I just don't trust. Could you, I don't know…watch after them?"

Hearing the trumpets outside blaring, Shizuka sauntered over to the window and bent over. Let him get another little peek at what he unlimited access too, Shizuka would always tease him. A spiritual sister to Misato, Shizuka just loved teasing Shinji as he was so easy to fluster. "I can keep an eye on my bed-sisters," she wiggled her bum. The yelp and fall made her laugh, how could he be so pure! After all that happened to him, the good and bad he was still so pure. And she…she would sully that and pollute him with her taint. Hiding her frown she saw the viewing orbs flare to life.

Nanael was in one of them and Airi was in another. Apparently the next match was demon versus angel. Aldra could come up with some odd pairings, but this would be good. The pair went right at one another in dangerous speeds, both seeming to want to end the fight as fast as possible.

Rubbing the back of his head, Shinji joined Shizuka at the window. "Thank you Shizuka-c-chan," she had ordered him to call her that in private. Shinji wasn't the type to deny it seemed. "So its Nanael-san and…" Shinji swallowed hard apparently recognizing the other woman. "Leina-san fought that one as did I a little," Shinji pointed at Airi, "I hope Nanael-san is safe. She's an odd woman, masks her insecurity with false bravado I think, but she's not bad at heart." Shinji's hand went to Shizuka's waist and casually tugged her garb down to cover Shizuka's pink flower.

As Nanael used her telekinesis to hurl her mighty blade at Airi, Shizuka twirled about and sat on the window sill. While Shinji had covered her lower half, her bust was still exposed as she hadn't adjusted her top yet. Yes, drink it in love, they loved his caress and she was still able to cut glass with her nubs it seemed. "You have so many interesting tales from your travels with Leina-kun. Think we'll have our own now that we're a matching set?" she threw her head back and puffed her chest out.

"I'd like to think so, I really do. If you want, I can take you back with me to my world. I'd like you to see it at least once before I come back," he didn't say his other fear of that though. What would happen if he couldn't come back, he'd not make the choice for them. Still watching the fight, Shinji hadn't noticed Shizuka's little show yet. "Nanael-san is spilling a lot of her milk. She'll be asking me to refill it I bet when she gets back," he sounded none to happy about that. Guess he wasn't totally selfless or maybe he was getting frustrated with Nanael's constant demands.

Let the angel try and force Shinji into something, Shizuka would put an end to that. Nanael might be the key to getting Shinji back to his world and saving it, but she'd not abuse him with her around. Shizuka's life had new meaning now, a new purpose. Up until Tomoe's sword pierced her, spilled her blood and ended her life, that had been Shizuka's purpose. To get Tomoe stronger, to push her friend to the heights Tomoe should be at. Then this boy, no man, came to her life. A naive and silly man, one she could beat effortlessly if she wanted. A man not suited for the harsh reality of this world, she had to protect him, keep him from hurting himself. And anything that tried to hamper or do wrong to her savior would rue the day. Melona would suffer, oh would that bitch suffer.

"You won't be able to keep me from going with you to see that world of yours. I have to see the place that created you, and those bitches that you lived with," Shizuka sighed dejectedly and covered her bust. He was to worried about that insipid angel getting hurt to fall for her tease. "Tomoe told me a lot about them, aside what you said, and those people don't know what they've lost," she flexed her fist. Was he perfect, hell no he wasn't, but Shizuka loved him and she realized it fully now. Hugging him from behind, she started watching again.

Airi was on the offensive now, wildly swinging her scythe and throwing off balls of fire. The uneven winged angel deftly dodged though from above, milk spilling on the odd crystals in the room they fought in.

Jerking in her hold, Shinji went stiff but not in lust. "T-Tomoe-san? A-are you going to ever tell her you're alive? She was so devastated at losing you. If she wasn't so broken by it, she'd have known I was lying. I-I can't lie well. And how does she know about my friends in Tokyo-3?" he still called them friends. His head dipped down a little, "She almost didn't let me leave this morning. But she said she had to train, asked me to come back and visit. She's so focused now it's a little scary."

Using her telekinesis, Nanael swapped Airi's scythe out of the infernal temptresses hands and went in for the kill. A flying dive bomb with her heavy gauntleted foot struck Airi in the head sending the red headed maid backwards and onto the ground. For a moment it looked like she was about to get up, but Airi fell back down after getting half up. One hand reached outward for her scythe and then fell. A brief second later Airi vanished completely, first her clothing, then her undergarments, and finally her. Nanael's cheer was loud and abrasive.

"I don't know how you can call those people friends, but I guess I can't say much myself. Tomoe was my only true friend until our paths crossed," Shizuka put a few kunai into their holders. She'd go out and see to ghosting those two as Shinji requested, if for no reason than to give her something to do. Kicking her sword back up and into her hand, "As for telling Tomoe, I'll have to wait until after the tournament is over. Wouldn't do good to spoil the progress she's made. Sorry for having you do that too. As for how she knew…I…uh…don't know?" Shit she wasn't supposed to talk about the spirit in that staff!

Not wanting to push the issue, Shinji just picked up the mighty weapon that contained his mother's soul and cradled it unknowingly. "Well I better get downstairs and help Melpha-san with the afternoon chores. Did I tell you I found out what Melona said was a lie? I spoke to her before I came up here, a few guided questions about what the pope and she did…well either she's the best actress your world has, or Melona was just trying to get under my skin," by how he was speaking Shizuka guessed the bitch had succeeded.

"That big titted nun won't have sex in her life unless you give it to her. And I think you should," Shizuka put he armguard on. "This world is full of vile men and women that would just take from everybody they can. But you're different, one of the few decent men here. Odds of her finding one she'd allow herself to be with is doubtful. And we can all see she'd spread her legs for you in a heartbeat," it was plastered over Melpha's face. God Shizuka wondered how the woman walked with such large breasts, and she had thought her own were fairly sizable!

Heading to the door, Shinji's face red with the little detail Shizuka dropped. "I've met a lot of good men and women in my travels here. I think you're being a little harsh. The farmers and people in the small towns are wonderful for the most part," Shinji defended those who couldn't defend themselves. Opening the door, he peeked out to see if anybody was there. Thankfully Alleyne and Nowa were apparently out hunting for Tomoe for some reason, and the other church people still hated Shinji for his powers so nobody was there. Leaning in to kiss her again, Shinji frowned when Shizuka pushed him back, "D…did I do something wrong?"

That hurt look on his face, it was so sappy it made Shizuka just shake her head. "You're right the simpler people are good. But I never knew those people, Love. The type I dealt with till I befriended Tomoe weren't good men and women. Hell until I proved I was as skilled as I am, I was just a simple retainer and a bed warmer for…Shinji, I'm not a clean woman. What happened to you didn't sully you because it wasn't something you wanted. I willingly did horrible things for those in my clan. I…I'm a dirty woman. I've killed, I've…I've…the things I did for my masters in the Kouma…I can't let you…" god she was crying! This wasn't what she wanted! He wasn't supposed to know this, he'd push her away, as she deserved.

Her parents gave her up at birth to the Kouma. A concubine for one of the minor heads of the clan. She willingly trained her body for the man, he had been kind when in a good mood so it made it easier. But still, she was at his beck and call whenever he felt the itch. But it kept her belly full of food, and clothing on her back. Not a bad life, just it made her feel cheep and dirty. Then she had showed her skill with the blade and her life changed. A bodyguard not a warm body to have whenever and however he wanted. It would have stayed that way had not a clan lead saw her practicing and promoted her to higher ranks and no longer needing to spread her legs.

"I don't want to…nobody knows of this…not even Tomoe," Shizuka felt horrible. Sniveling and crying like a little baby, but she just slipped! She gushed the whole tale to him, expecting this morning to be the only time he'd ever make love to her. And it had been making love, not just fucking like she did with her old master. "I willingly did such things, polluted myself, I can't let you k-kiss me. Its to pure a…" she found Shinji was quicker than expected.

Arms wrapped around her, pulling her in close, Shinji showed he didn't agree with the self abuse she was heaping on herself. Kissing her amorously, his tongue darting in her stunned mouth, he showed with actions not words his stance on things. He didn't find her dirty or wrong, he accepted her past just as she accepted his. They weren't gods of purity, they were just a man and a woman. Shizuka melted into the kiss, not the first he gave her but the first true one she accepted full heartedly.

After he separated from her, that bashfulness still fully blossoming on his face, Shinji just held her hands in his. "We're not perfect, Shizuka-san. You did what you had to in order to survive. I don't think anything less of you, never will. I don't understand things here, likely never will. But I know myself, and I know I l-love you as I do the others," it was so hard for him to say it. "N-now I better get going b-before I do something stupider," he went to leave but Shizuka pulled him in for one last chaste pressing of lips.

He just had a way with words sometimes, Shizuka felt her heart soar light as a bird. After he left, stumbling and lightheaded himself, she traced her lips with her fingers. "Who would have thought I'd be here like this," she never had. It was part of why she was so willing to die for Tomoe. What did she have to live for besides Tomoe? Well now she had a little something else. She could accept that.

"Now lets see what he was hiding," Shizuka pulled the papers Shinji had spilled without knowing. Damn it was in the odd language Leina wrote in and not her own. She could read it, a little, but it was broken and hard for her. "Never the sharpest knife in the lot," she did her best to read it. Something about marriage to a Vance? "So this is the papers to get Shinji and Leina officially married?! Why isn't…why hasn't he turned them in yet?" she balked.

Reading more, her brow creased with frustration at not understanding it better. "Married…Vance…Claudette? That's her sister…" she nodded. Ok so this was the paper to get Shinji and Leina married, and they were to be delivered to Claudette after being signed? "He's likely thinking he's done bad with sleeping with me and the others wanting a piece of him too. Well I can start paying him back now I think," she scrawled Shinji's name on the paper and rolled it up. "I think I'll make a little pit stop at the Vance abode before I go hunting Leina down," she smiled as she set about her plans.

It had been easy to find the Vance siblings, and with Claudette busy nursing Elina, Shizuka had no trouble adding the signed marriage certificate into a stack of other papers! Good deed done for the day, Shizuka got herself a nice bottle of sake, and went about finding Leina.

X-X

The day was not shaping up in any regard how Alleyne wanted to. Despite knowing where Shinji had slept last night, she had not slept well since he was not at the church. Always the nagging fear that maybe Nowa had been wrong about who had come to see him. But she had faith in her pupil so Alleyne didn't rush off to find Tomoe and just let it go. It left her sleep plagued with dreams and nightmares leaving her fatigued and logy. Her actions the previous day had born good fruit though, the type she couldn't let slip by unfortunately.

Deeper into the seething realm of the cities underbelly of corruption, all to root out the Crimson Sorceress. So while Shinji was off with Tomoe for whatever reason the sword maiden had for collecting her husband, Alleyne was being shown stock. Men and women of various nationalities and builds were on display. Some appeared cognizant and willing to be bought and sold to the highest bidder, and others had the deadpan and soulless expression that Tiina and Nowa had. Those poor souls, they were led into the viewing room with collars and chains about them. Prices were given to her, and Alleyne balked at how low some of them were. Living beings being sold for less than the cost of a high grade wine!

But she had made progress in gaining faith with those who ran the organization. She had 'sampled' one of the male slaves that she hinting she might exchange for Shinji. In reality she had just taken the mindless man into a room, stripped him, and had him run in place to get sweaty and then left him there. The woman that she was dealing with seemed to fall for the ruse, and had a note for her from 'her lady'. Today she was going to meeting with this owner about the higher quality and more expensive stock for sale, but she had to bring Nowa back with her. It was time to start showing Nowa to prospective buyers. So Alleyne needed to get Tomoe to the buyers block.

Walking through the forest that surrounded Tomoe's temporary home, Alleyne was trying to reign in her emotions. "Tomoe, are you here? I've come to talk to you about our plan," Alleyne called out with a hand cupped to her mouth. Shinji had returned to her that morning, looking bright eyed and bushy tailed. But he had been the barer of 'bad' news, he claimed Shizuka was dead. His face though, Alleyne knew her husband to well, and he wasn't telling the full truth. He had his reasons though, so she let it slide. The faint sounds of sword on wood were heard, Alleyne's senses prickled, "Tomoe?"

The call was answered with the a falling tree gliding towards the forest elf's location. Alleyne sprung backwards to avoid the mighty projectile that came crashing forward. Riding aside the falling tree, Tomoe sprung off the side of it and came down on Alleyne with a mighty overhead slash. Sword met staff in a furious blow, yet Tomoe's face was serene an peaceful. "Alleyne-san, you're early than expected and yet you don't have Nowa-chan or Shinji-kun with you," she seemed to pout.

"Nowa is waiting for me at a small bakery right now. I want to insure she isn't distracted and well fed for today," Alleyne grunted. Deflecting Tomoe's blade, Alleyne spun her staff brutishly at Tomoe's side to drive her back. Her opponent deftly twirled out of the way and sheathed blade with a small bow, it was a greeting! This woman had indeed changed since the last time Alleyne had met her. Still regal and poised, yet some of the innocence was gone. Tentatively putting her staff away, weary of a feint, Alleyne approached the woman with care. Seeing no hostile actions, "Would you be able to go to the bidding house today to go along with the plan? They work on bond payments, so you only need to promise to pay more than the others and you'd 'work' out payments later."

Tomoe's head bobbed just the slightest as she passed Alleyne on her way back to the shrine. "I shall assist in this effort. But I am adamant that Shinji-kun be removed from any plans you have for this. I have lost one of my most dear friends already, and he has suffered just as greatly. I shant see him pained again," Tomoe sat on the edge of it and set her sword at her side. A firmness with smoldering intensity creased her features.

"So he was telling the truth in his words. You have my sympathies for your loss. I know if I were to lose either Nowa or Shinji I would be troubled as well," Alleyne slowly sat down at Tomoe's side. Was Shizuka truly gone, was that why Shinji had that odd air about him, or had Tomoe pressed him in her weakened state and he succumbed to it. "He can never deny any of us when we ask…" she muttered as she played with the fringe of her tunic.

Leaning back on her hands, Tomoe's ears were just as keen as Alleyne's it seemed. "All I sought from Shinji-kun was emotional support in my time of sorrow. We shared a bed mat together, he was every the gentleman that we both know him to be. Neither of us were in any mood for romance, and at the moment my time is better spent training for my victory in the tournament. Though, if he be willing…he is a man I could easily care for in such a manner. Though it would make matters between Leina-san and me peculiar for a time," Tomoe sipped her tea.

Well that was one strike against Alleyne's thoughts regarding Shinji's mood. "Unlike the young Vance, I know my husband's feelings for me are true, and I've no qualm if you sought succor. Mayhap it just be my kind sees such differently. But I did not come here to dig into your issues. I shall see you tonight then," she bowed her head lightly and leapt off the shrine's ledge. As she moved to leave though, Tomoe's hand grabbed her staff and held it firm. Glancing over her shoulder at the firmly set expression of Tomoe, "What else might you need of me? I must go or Nowa might get distracted and head off on her own."

"He is precious to me, Alleyne-san. I cannot go to Leina-san until she is beaten, so Shinji-kun be my only true friend in this city of sin and secrecy. Do not bring him to harm needlessly. You seek danger with this issue with the slaver, do so carefully. We be not friends but comrades in arms, but I do not with harm to come to you either. That being said, I will side with him over you, as I will side with Leina-san over him. Please do not force me to show such allegiances," Tomoe then released her hold.

Nodding only once, Alleyne felt no need for words. Something truly had changed in Tomoe, the warmth of soul seemed to have drained from her. Losing friends and family, Alleyne knew that sting well enough so she didn't need to push. Over her years of life, Alleyne had seen many go to the great unknown before her. She had not been an only child, but she was the sole member of her family now. Tomoe was sick with grief, and her options for peace were limited. Leina was a rival at the moment, Shizuka was gone, and the closest person to her was Shinji. Alleyne would not prohibit a suffering woman from attempting to alleviate her pain. Though it seemed Tomoe was more focused on winning than anything, grief did make for a strong driving point.

"Master Alleyne! Master Alleyne they gave me extra today!" Nowa came running down the cobblestone street. Waving her arm about widely, the other was holding a crop of apples to her exposed tummy, Nowa scampered about with that delirious smile on her face. Handing over some of her extra lunch, "Are we still going to go to…that place?" That was as close to reluctance Nowa ever seemed to get with Alleyne, a questioning glance and reluctance to mention definite details.

Holding her arm out for Lou, Alleyne felt the creature's nails bit into her flesh as he crawled up to her shoulder. "Sadly we must Nowa, but this might be one of the last times you will need to undergo that dreadful condition. But I will not force you. If you are hesitant or reluctant to go we may abandon this quest of ours now. Speak now or finish your meal and prepare," Alleyne had to be firm. There was no room now for doubt, if Nowa wanted out they had to stop now as she would not force Nowa to act. Scribbling a few reluctant details down on a scratch of paper, Alleyne handed it to Lou. Since the last meeting with the slavers, she started making these precautionary notes. Things were going easy, almost to easy, so she wanted Shinji to know some of the details if needed.

"I'm ready to go, Master! I just don't like being unable to act is all. You don' t think they'll…touch me down there again do you? It was wonderful to sleep with Shinji and you like that, but I still feel funny when I think about it," Nowa handed Alleyne some apples. Happily chomping on the fruit she kept for herself, the girl had the heart of a saint. For all the abuse and work she had been doing all for Alleyne's sake, all Nowa wanted was just to sleep next to her favorite people. Well for now, Nowa was asking a few guiding questions again about the private sparing. Nowa was hearing things, likely from those church people, about what Shinji and she were really doing in the mornings.

Biting into the apple, tart just as she liked, Alleyne savored the juice and ate quickly. Wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, Alleyne wasn't above talking with her mouth full, "I pray you do not have to, Nowa. I doubt it will be necessary at this point. But after tonight's missions, we shall all have a nice sit down and talk about your wants. I cannot and will not forbid you from being with Shinji as such. But if you go into this as I have, know you cannot back out less you lose honor. Those spars…Nowa…are not martial combat, but marital pairings." There she said it, no more fibbing or lying about it.

The last of Nowa's apples fell to the ground with a thud as it hit the stone path of the upper class district. But it wasn't anger or reprisal on her face but wonderment and joy. "Oh Master I'm so happy for you! I was worried you were avoiding it because of me. I heard those church ladies saying Shinji was forcing you to bad things. But from what you said…and you'll honestly let us…if we want…" there was that enthusiasm and curiosity again!

"Kaishi," Alleyne saw people she almost recognized coming. It was time to put thoughts of Nowa and Shinji's approaching wedding night to the side. Nowa would jump in with both feet without hesitation, and Shinji did seem to care deeply for Nowa. It was friendship, a powerful and binding friendship, so he'd do Nowa well. He'd be the positive reinforcement to Alleyne's own strictness. An odd family, but Alleyne had been without family long enough. A husband, and soon sister/wife in Nowa, not a bad family. And in time a child, she cared not for being banished by the elders, she had no need for them anyway. "Now, Lou, do not take this to Shinji unless I do not return to you. Watch from up on that ledge," she pointed up at the nearby building, "and if by the high moon I have not left take it to him."

Lou screeched out his acceptance of his mission, but he had his own protest. Lou was Nowa's friend, not pet, and he didn't take much to seeing the girl as she was. Nobody did, Shinji had appeared quite agitated and angry when Alleyne had shown him the condition and how he could turn it on and off. After this meeting though, Alleyne was going to have Tomoe undo the damage. It was to dangerous to leave Nowa with that state.

Pulling her hood up, as well as Nowa's, Alleyne pushed that small nub of fear down. She was just being paranoid is all, that Tiina had left her feeling just a little bit exposed. Heading up to the mansions mighty double doors, the site for actual buying and selling, Alleyne performed the secret knock on the door. When the tiny window in the door opened, "I've come to see the tapestries." She thumbed back at Nowa with head flinch.

"Ah yes, the tapestries, you've been expected," a richly voiced man answered. Opening the door, the man was indeed finely attired with a thin mustache and expensive clothing Shinji would have recognized as butler's attire. Shutting the door behind the two, the man gestured with one hand down a hall. "You will find a fitting room for your companion, and my mistress will join you in the adjoining room. Help yourself to any of the amenities you might wish," he lead them down the lavish hallway.

Paintings of lurid and tantalizing subjects intermixed with more traditional art, Alleyne had no real appreciation for such. The nature ones looked nice to her, made her long for her forest and a life of ease in comparison to this craft. Others, the ones of men and women in acts of passion, left her more frazzled. Shinji and she had done many of acts on display, others she might inquire about. Her leaves were getting moist, not good. "Thank you for your time. I shall be able to see those wishing to buy her correct? As I told your mistress before, I won't let her be sold to any of my enemies," she didn't know if she could trust this man.

Opening the door for Nowa, the man was muscular but moved uncoordinatedly. Likely a purchase for his size and stature and not his fighting skills. "You will need to ask my master of that. I am not told of those matters, I'm afraid," he bowed and shut the door after Nowa entered. Moving to the door right next to that which he had shut, he opened it and gestured for Alleyne to enter. The room was full of lavish couches, a table with a feast upon it, and a small army of bottles of various sizes and colors. Quite the receiving room indeed. As Alleyne walked in, clearly amazed, the man smiled softly, "Enjoy your visit madam."

Seating herself a plush green couch close to the offerings of food and drink, Alleyne gave the man a condescending glance. He shut the door and she turned her nose up at the bribe. "They must think me a fool to take any offered food," she sniffed it for hints of potions. Nothing, they seemed legit and free of mind altering elixirs. But how was Nowa, the room had been empty when she saw her lead inside it. Pressing her ear to the wall, Alleyne heard nothing, so she sat back down yet tensely. She didn't have to wait long for her host to make her arrival. Alleyne had just took a nice plan of attack if needed when the door opened.

In a svelte dark blue gown with silvery bits, the woman had a very curvy with striking red hair and yet still wearing the white bunny mask. "Ah so you are the elf wishing to sell her daughter and get herself a high quality replacement. So nice to finally met you. Half-breeds are a rarity and the list to purchase her is quite long," the woman had common quality in her speech, not the elegant voice Alleyne expected. Sitting in the wooden chair across from Alleyne, the woman poured herself some wine and a glass for Alleyne.

"I won't sell her to just anybody. While I have no love for her, I won't have her exposing me to those who would use her against me," Alleyne took her glass and waited. She'd not drink until after this woman drank too. Eyes danced over the woman, evaluating her. From what Shinji said of the woman Jessica at Leina's inn, it was striking. The same large bust, matching hair, and the lack of elegancy and poise. Could he have been right? But Leina had said she'd played cards with the woman the same night Alleyne saw this woman at the last house. The woman drank, so Alleyne did as well, and nearly coughed at the potency of the wine, "This is quite good, Madam…?"

Not sipping but pounding down her drink, the woman threw her head back and laughed richly. "I only drink the best when I drink. No reason to hold back, Alleyne," the woman poured herself another drink. Moving over to Alleyne's couch, she gently went and pulled off Alleyne's hood. "There much better. I wanted to get a nice look at you. You're going to sell for so much, you and your little companion over there," and like that the woman jabbed a small needle into Alleyne's arm.

It had been so fast, the drink a faint to distract her, that Alleyne hadn't noticed how causally the woman used her name! As the prick registered in her mind, Alleyne could already feel her arm going numb. "You'll find me a dangerous opponent woman," Alleyne swung her paralyzed arm at the woman and struck her mask off. Green eyed and beautiful, just as Shinji explained Jessica to be…but how? Getting to her feet, she kicked at the woman's chest. The attack missed, but the woman had to dive for cover. "Even without my arm I can beat you, Jessica!" she would worry about the truth later.

The door opened again, Alleyne twirled to see the new foe, but she saw yet another deep blue gown with gold bits on it. "Sorry, elf, but I'm currently Jessica, my sister has the day off. We both wanted to be here to see to you though. The dumb elf that didn't know we've been playing her from the start. How stupid do you take us for? The Vance girl let slip about you and that cash cow you both fuck," the new woman yanked Nowa before her with knife to neck. "Now relax and stay quiet or we'll only have one for sale. Let the poison work its way into you, or we'll show you why they call us sorceresses," the other woman went to join her sister.

Identical twins…that's how they could be in multiple places at the same time! Making sole step towards Nowa and the woman, what their real names were Alleyne WOULD learn. "If you hurt her in anyway…" Alleyne stopped when she saw a trickle of blood again. The numbness spread from her arm to her chest and down. "You haven't…won yet…" Alleyne felt darkness creeping in. A bad day indeed, but she'd have the last laugh. Lou would do his duty, maybe even Tomoe herself, this wasn't a defeat!

"Hoping for your husband to save you? We have plans for him. Men are so easy to goad with promises of all the bodies they can have. And after you're gone, and Vance broken and sold off to one of her father's enemies…he'll fall in line," the twins stood side by side as Alleyne fell to the ground. Oh how they laughed and laughed, and all that did was infuriate Alleyne all the more. They used Leina to get information, but she had to admit, she had been quite lax in her plans. No matter, she'd have the last laugh. Then darkness overtook her.

X-X

Her body ached, her stomach was empty, and she was dog tired as Nanael slowly flew across the city. Unlike her opponent, she hadn't had the luxury of vanishing from existence! Some people had all the luck, Nanael wasn't happy in the slightest. But she had won her fight, so that meant she had some money coming her way, a good meal, and she was going to have her servant finally do his duties. No more procrastinating or excuses. She demanded pampering and spoiling, and Shinji was going to do so!

Lowering her altitude down to the doorway to the grand church, even Nanael's wings weren't doing well. Molting, she was molting! "Stupid fights, why did the high angel need me to do this anyway," Nanael whined as she tried to open the door. Her grumbling stomach countered much of her telekinetic powers, but slowly it did creak and sway open for her. "Melpha! Shinji! Your benevolent master needs food, wine, and my tunic fixed!" she called out noisily as she entered.

The trainees had left for outdoor drills, the worshippers mostly gone, and only a few devote pilgrims still in the grand hall praying. They all stopped to look at her, bowing in submission to the living embodiment of their religion. Of course Nanael let them worship her, and she waved at the few men that were of better looking quality. The women, well Nanael still wished for a world of just human men and their angelic betters. Human women were annoying, annoying and powerful! Not wanting to let the dirty humans touch her though, she took to hovering over them. If the men took baths, maybe she'd take them as vassals as well.

"Oh, holy angel, you've returned to us!" Melpha came into the room with food in her hands. It was one of those odd things Shinji made on a plate. Heading to the pulpit, Melpha set the food down as she clasped her hands together in prayer before the angel. Head bowed, speaking in reverent tones, "Congratulations on your victory over the demon. You again show your divine grace and power to us all."

Swiping the sandwich off the plate, Nanael didn't mind taking Melpha's lunch, what the nun owned was Nanael's. Taking a bite, her jaw hurt with the flavor overwhelming it. "Well it's only natural for a superior to win out over one such a dreg. Now where is my other vassal? I need a massage and my wounds treated," Nanael rotated her arm to work a kink out. How much longer would she need to stay on this plane, it was to much a punishment. Feeling her nearly empty jar of milk on her side, "And I need this refilled as soon as possible."

"Well, Shinji ran off after that pet the elves keep can over to him. I don't know when he'll return," Melpha reluctantly told. Her stomach rumbled in aggravation from being denied food, so Melpha moved her hands over it and did her best to suppress the sounds. Rubbing herself through her habit, Melpha added, "But I can see to your wounds if you need. It would be an honor to treat you. As for the Holy Milk, we do have some that hasn't been retrieved by the p-pope yet."

Seeing the last few bites of the sandwich remained, and the bitter pill of conscious took hold, Nanael handed it over to Melpha. Her graciousness and generosity would be the end of her someday. Flying down to the ground, "Well see to the pains then. I'll have to go and find Shinji after. He's likely with Leina, and I'm wanting to see her anyway." Her tiny wing flapped harder than before as she sat on the pulpit, a few feathers coming free. Squirming as Melpha started to touch and probe her with wandering hands, and then the large bust started rubbing against her back. Twirling around as the warmth seeped in, Nanael smacked those massive udders, "Keep those off me! Damn things are obscene!"

"I-I'm sorry, your grace. I just wanted to insure you were tended to," Melpha jerked back instinctively. Her hands went to the wound, the flesh still jiggling from the blow. Hoisting herself up, her habit splitting from the girth. "W-was there anything else I could do for you then? I-if you don't want me to heal you further. I could…" she trailed off without knowing how to continue.

Lost in the newly opened cleavage Melpha was showing, Nanael wasn't so sore anymore. "I'll want a bath this evening, and either Shinji or you will be scrubbing me clean. Just being in this city is making my tunic dirty and my wings smell bad," Nanael bristled and flew off the alter knocking over cups and candles. Flying away backwards, eyes still on her best female vassal, "Just keep those things away from me. Men might be stupid enough to fall for them, but they upset me! You better have some oils and soaps too when I get back!"

Deftly twisting in the air, Nanael flew off down the aisle towards the exit. Damn men were fixated on the stupid blond! So what if she had hug utters, and long blond hair! Nanael was superior to these human stock and yet they weren't watching her fly away. Well damnation for them then! She still had her little pet Shinji. He'd refill her jar, get her strength back, and then he'd pamper her like he did that elf! Nanael had watched the two in their morning 'training' and was quite envious. Shinji played that elf like a musical instrument, and Nanael wanted in! Nobody on this planet had the right to tell Nanael what to do, and she wouldn't let them do so any longer!

Going through the high vaulted arch of the door, Nanael took the sky. One of her greater joys in life, flying in the sky. When no other angels were around to remind her of her handicap, it was great sensation of bliss. On her own, or with just humans, her diminutive wing didn't bother her, didn't remind her that the other angels mocked and spurned her. Closing her eyes, she just flew higher and higher over the city. Nothing to worry about up here, it was her domain! She could just bask in the wind in her face and…she slammed her face into something hard and nearly fell down.

"Watch where you're flying up here you stupid…stupid…what are YOU?" Nanael finally opened her eyes to see who she hit. It hadn't been a building, to warm and squishy. What she saw was infuriating and confusing! A woman with a fish tail flying through the air, and her human half was more voluptuous than she was! Regaining her composure, Nanael flew circles around aerial intruder, "A fish, magic, and not knowing the rules of flight!" Well it had been her fault for flying with eyes closed, but only angels had the right to fly so casually!

Summoning a large ball before her, the mermaid wrapped her arms around it defensively. "I'm Tiina and I'm a mermaid, and I didn't know there were rules for flying. S-sorry. I'll just be on my way, I have somebody I must find and I finally have a good scent to go off of!" Tiina's tail swatted at the air and pushed her away from Nanael.

Spitting as Tiina flew off, the orb of water shrinking as she got further away, Nanael just turned her nose up. "Stupid woman not knowing how to show proper respect. Whatever, she's not worth my time anyway," she complained as she resumed flying. She had to find Leina first to gauge the competition for the remaining rounds of combat. And Leina had been with her when she saw that woman with the biggest breasts she'd ever seen. And maybe Leina might have a plan for dealing with what she had sensed in that arena. Those statues were created with angelic magic, but with the faint taint of demonic energy. A fallen angel was somewhere around them. That was something Nanael couldn't deal with on her own.

From her vantage point high over the city, Nanael eyed that familiar crop of blond hair and the mix of metal and flesh. "There she is! Why is she outside with a child?" Nanael quipped as she circled down in lazy circles. As she got lower, the heat billowing up was getting worse and worse. "Oh gods I hate furnaces, and I recognize that girl!" Nanael remembered Leina's last fight. The 'child' next to her was actually Ymir. "Leina! How have you been?" Nanael had to admit she kind of did like Leina. Girl was skilled yet easy to get to work for her.

"I was thinking of putting some dwarven runes on this. It'd increase the strength of the blade and allow you to channel energies easier," Ymir continued to hammer on her axe. Moving the repaired blade from the heat and into a waiting bucket of water, the seam went up in a plumb that surrounded Nanael.

Gagging and falling to the ground, she fortunately dodged the source of her discomfort, Nanael rolled on the ground and fanned herself with her hand. "You trying to kill me or something? You need to look above you before you do stuff like that!" she angel's tongue hung out of her mouth as she flashed the two her spread eagle legs. Her skin felt moist and itchy from the steam, she needed a bath something fierce!

Slowly approaching the downed angel, Leina had her sword in hand. "Nanael, what are you doing here? Shouldn't you be recovering from you fight against Airi?" she held her hand out to pull Nanael up. Dusting her hands free, she went back to Ymir and watched the blacksmith work. Casually teasing, "If you're here for food, sorry we ate supper already."

Her rump higher in the air, Nanael flew quite disgracefully as she rolled her eyes. "I'm here for my vassal. He is here isn't he?" she scanned the backyard for her man. After watching all the times Shinji and Alleyne had at each other, Nanael was ready to get in on the action. Humans did have a nifty way about breeding, and it seemed way to much fun. Not seeing him at Leina's feet, where a good man should be, "My servant at the church said he had left, where else would he go than to see you?"

"Stop talking so loud you're distracting me!" Ymir yelled. Moving the blade back to the furnace, her tiny body hammered with expert skill and massive strength. The concentration radiated out of the petite girl as her hair lost its curly nature due to the heat. After a loud clang of hammer on steel, "And her man was never here today. Just use talking about how I can modify her sword."

Leading Nanael away from the working dwarf, Leina fixed the straps as her armor started to slip. "Shinji's not been here right now, he was over for lunch though. Then Ymir and I needed to focus on my sword. He works part-time at a restaurant so we can enjoy some of the more expensive stuff in town though," Leina found the ground to be interesting to gaze at. Grabbing her sword, she gave it a few expert swings, some anger edging into her. "Oh, keep your voice down while Ymir is working. Since Cattleya left the city I need her happy so she can repair my sword. Never know, we might be fighting each other in the next round," Leina pointed the tip of her blade at Nanael.

Oh that was the blacksmiths name! Nanael couldn't remember it, it hadn't been important enough for her to care. "She didn't leave town," Nanael lowered her legs so she didn't flash everybody her polka dotted panties. Gently pushing Leina's blade away from her face, "I saw her and her son encased in crystal in the queen's treasure room. Which has me worried, as that's angelic magic. I thought I was the only angel down here right now involved with the tournament. Wonder if that's the real reason the head angel had me join and not that swamp witch."

Nanael hadn't been expecting Leina to suddenly grab her tunic and pull her down violently. Grabbing the straps of the holy tunic, Leina was intensely focused. "You saw Cattleya and Lana at the palace and they were imprisoned? Why didn't you save them?" Leina shook Nanael fiercely. Throwing the angel away from her, Nanael flying into the air away from the volatile human, Leina's chin dipped against her chest and her hands throbbed. "Just what is going on here? Things aren't as clear cut as I expected. It's not just us proving who is the best, treachery and deceit are everywhere!" she stomped her foot in frustration.

"Well it wasn't really my concern at the time. I was fighting that demon if you hadn't noticed. My milk spilled on a few crystals and they started to break. Proof that its angelic magic. I can't take on another angel, not after a fight and starving like I am," Nanael rubbed her belly. The sandwich had been good, but she hadn't had any real meal in ages! Slowly moving up and back to the skyline, "I'll need all of you to help me if it is an angel or worse a fallen angel. And I'll need my vassal to get me a lot more Holy Milk. Case your primitive ape mind didn't know it, Holy Milk is actually something that makes us weaker when we touch it."

Nanael never really knew the reason for it, but that was one of the few lessons she took to heart. While at her side it augmented and boosted her powers and strength, but if she was covered in it…well it sapped her in equal measure. It was funny how the humans and lesser beings coveted it so much, they were paying such money for their garbage and took care of removing it for them! It was a sin though that the Head Angel put the curse of needing the milk for Nanael to fight at full strength.

"Nanael get back here! You have to tell me all you know about Cattleya and this…don't run away!" Leina called out as Nanael fled. The mighty wandering warrior rushed along under Nanael for as long as she could, but eventually the angel went over some buildings and she was left behind.

Grumbling and rubbing her stomach, tearing one of the many cuts Airi had put into her clothing, Nanael was not happy. "I won my fight, but who cares! I give them important information, and they complain! Stupid humans, why can't they ever be happy for me!" she just couldn't understand humanity. With nothing else to do, and no way of knowing where Shinji was, Nanael went to her bookie and collected her winnings. At least they cared about her, cheered her even for making them so much money with what they said was an 'underdog victory' so she made a lot of money. "I'll get some food and then that nun will scrub me from head to toes!" Nanael thrust her fist proudly into the air.

And that's exactly what she did. She got a few coins worth of food, the gold colored ones as she liked the silver and copper ones better. After she stuffed herself with food and drank far more than she should have. But she hadn't collided with that fish-bitch again as she flew back so it wasn't an issue. Melpha was there waiting for her, and escorted her to a building not far from the church where a bath waited. The nun did her job well, very well, and Nanael found herself playing around with her. Those udders made great pillows too, and soon enough Nanael was sleeping on the woman murmuring into those flesh bags. Melpha had tried to object, but Nanael's orders were absolute, and when the angel spoke Melpha listened.

X-X

"Maybe I should go get Leina-san after all," Shinji started to doubt his plan. After getting Lou's missive and seeing his furry buddy in a very upset state, Shinji rushed off to help. He had been helping Melpha clean the church when it happened, and he left in such a hurry he'd have to apologize to the kind woman. Thank god Melona had only been trying to mess with his head regarding her. "I'd never forgive myself if something actually bad happened to her because of me," he again drew his hand back from the tent flap.

After that vile slime had hinted at abusing Melpha, Shinji had been horrified. But after a few carefully guided questions, his conscious was alleviated. Melpha looked at him strangely after his odd little request, 'how big of a bite out of this banana can you take'? But she did, she'd never refuse him it seemed, and she was so embarrassed and red faced just from that any notion of her having any real sexual contact was mute. Even if her chastity was intact, Shinji couldn't ask her to go out with him on this mission. What if she got hurt? If something was able to get the jump on Alleyne and Nowa, it had to be dangerous.

Taking a deep breath and closing his eyes, Shinji drew back the tarp to Menace's tent and walked in. It was dark, only a few low burning torches illuminated the large pavilion. "I miss electricity, I think I miss that creature comfort most," Shinji tiptoed deeper in. In a corner he could see a gaggle of humans sitting mutely and waving about, each had a talisman on their head. Whispering as he crawled over a few animal fur carpets, "Menace-sama's been recruiting again." She had done that little trick to both Leina and him, only with him it seemed his powers gave him an immunity. Maybe he'd heal them later, but right now he needed Menace's help.

"W-what do I do now…I'm…lonely," Menace's wispy voice wafted through the tent. Holding a new mace, thankfully not animated, in one of her bandages she swung it with frustrated energy. Stepping closer to Shinji, she stopped and adjusted her eyes, "I-is that you…you finally came to me my servant!" It took Menace all of ten seconds to recover from her shock, and to use her bandages to propel herself half-way across the tent and envelope Shinji with her actual arms. Rubbing her cheek against his, "I knew you'd come, I just knew it! I've been so lonely without Setora around!"

This was new, Menace was warm powerfully warm, Shinji realized as she tried to meld herself against him. If only he didn't have to worry about Leina's condition in that tournament he'd have gone for her instead. But with so many of the others having just fought, Leina was due and soon. If she lost because of helping Alleyne, well Shinji could kiss their ever getting along right out of existence. So he gingerly pushed Menace back, his hands on her shoulders, "M-Menace-sama I came with news for you. R-remember those men that t-tried to-to…you know." Why was it so hard to say these words!

If he had to guess, judging on Menace's actions, if she remembered those would-be rapist and slavers, he'd have gone with yes. Menace's bandages went out wildly, the new mace smashing into a support pole and splintered it. The other three held so the tent only deflated a little. "Where are they, my servant, where are those that need to be punished," back was the regal tone that denoted her true heritage. Oh she still held him close, and the look in her eye was a strange mixture of desire and rage.

Freeing himself totally from her, Shinji had to admit his gambit of leading Menace to those slavers was paying off. "Y-yes I know where they are. They have friends of mine and are hiding in a mansion. I can lead you there. B-but we have to be careful or they might escape," Shinji clarified. Taking her hand, it was smooth and soft, he started leading the woman out of the tent. Pulling his cloak over his head, he counted on Menace's beautiful yet exotic features to stand out to contrast him. When she shifted, moving to his side and hooking her elbow with his like lovers, he stumbled only to be caught by her bandages.

"You need to be careful, pet, or you'll hurt yourself. But if you hurt yourself you can just heal yourself with those lovely powers," Menace whispered in his ear hotly. Rubbing her body against his, Menace let him lead but just barely. After a small lick to his out ear, "After we finish with them, I think it is time you give me another hot oil massage. I'll enjoy it so much better with all of my senses back. And then we can plan the resurgence of Amara."

He'd deal with this little problem later, Shinji had to save Alleyne so he'd accept this hurdle. "I-if that is what you require Menace-sama, but lets get your revenge first. T-to get in I have a small plan," Shinji lead Menace out of the middle class and into the high class district. Rich men and women stopped to see the passing dignitary, her poise and grace on display despite her more ditsy nature. Now the hard part, without much time to think of a better plan, Shinji was just going to use a modified version of Alleyne's. Clearing his throat as he felt Menace's breast brush against his head, "I-I was thinking…we pretend I'm bringing you in to sell you. We get in and then attack."

Scratching at her cheek, Menace's brow and lips turned in confusion. "Why don't we just break in and kill all of them? Or I could burn down the building!" she sounded to really enjoy the latter idea. Literally lifting Shinji up with her bandages, she shifted him to her other side as they approached some high class men and women of the night. With on hand around his waist, Menace wasn't allowing anybody to look. Tickling Shinji's chin with a bandage she relented, "But you're smart so I guess if you add making me some food, I'll pretend. I love to pretend…it adds spice to the act."

"T-thank you for accepting my idea," Shinji went ridged. One of her bandages went to the apex of his legs and rubbed, the act she was talking about was infiltration of another sort! Seeing the details written about in Alleyne's note, a large two story building with a few men walking around as guards he pointed and said, "That's the building there. I think if we knock on the door, try not to raise suspicion…"

"I've found you, my prince!" a voice from the air called out. Menace twirled about, letting Shinji go as she readied herself for an attack. She wasn't the target though, as the flying blue and white bullet struck home in Shinji's chest and the pair crumpled to the ground. For a moment the woman appeared to have a fish tail, but it shifted to an elegant dress and legs. Pressed against the prone man, Tiina dry humped ferociously, "I've been hunting for you for days, my Prince…no Shinji! And I finally found you!"

What was this then!? Shinji's head boggled as the brick road smashed against it. Alleyne had mentioned she had been accosted by the mermaid they rescued, but Shinji never expected to actually see her again! "T-Tiina-san is that you?" Shinji had to prop her up. She was so exuberant, yet Shinji could see the jealousy in Menace was rising by the second. Trying to keep Menace from attacking or storming off, "Menace-sama, this is Tiina-san. I freed her from the same slavers we're going after now. W-would you like to get revenge on them too?" Oh god he hoped she did, but he didn't know this woman at all!

Grabbing Tiina's limbs, Menace ripped her off of her servant roughly. "Well anybody would want revenge against such scum. But will that change your plan for us getting in?" Menace held the timid looking woman and examined her. Pulling her in close, Menace's hand went out and cupped one of Tiina's full breasts like a fruit. Nodding she smiled, "You've a lovely body, not as good as mine, but lovely. Would you like to serve my kingdom of Amara?"

"Sorry I can't abandon my father's kingdom, even if I am out of the sea. I'm a princess you see," Tiina timidly confessed. The bandages holding her slipped off and fell to the ground with a wet splat. Walking shakily over to Shinji, she helped him off the ground and used him as a shield between Menace and herself. Draping her arms over his shoulders, "And I'd very much like teach that unsightly woman a lesson. And then we can…can…"

So both of them wanted him to fulfill duties that he hadn't expected or intended. "We can celebrate after we succeed, alright? They have two of my friends, and we have to be careful," Shinji filled Tiina in on the plan. Getting a good look at the mermaid, Shinji had to admit she looked every bit the princess as Menace did queen. Men should be treating these women as the blessings they were, but they just didn't. Maybe Shizuka was right and he just wouldn't ever fully understand how things worked. Fixing his hood again, Shinji nodded as Tiina agreed to the plan, "Just play along with me when we get to the door. When we get in we go room to room and person to person. We can't let them raise an alarm or they might hurt the others."

"Lets make a game of it Tiina," Menace took to royalty well it seemed. Taking Shinji's left arm she let him escort her, "Whoever kills the most of them gets my servant first. If we tie we have a spar between ourselves." She again tickled Shinji as she pressed her hand to her chin and smiled.

Summoning a small ball of water, Tiina's expression went dark. "While I don't agree on killing. One must be ready to accept such a fate the moment they try to steal another's freewill. I accept Queen Menace," Tiina took Shinji's right arm. Leave it to royalty to get along so quickly.

"Just be quiet and play along for the moment you two," Shinji pushed them off to his left side. Their would be no killing, he'd see to that. These men and women should face justice of law not death. But he'd let them remain unconscious and hobbled as punishment. Knocking on the door, he held his finger up for quiet, "Hello, I've two to sell."

The small wooden window on the door opened, and the same man Alleyne saw answered. "We don't do that here, you should know…shit you've the top two on her list!" the window shut and the door opened with a rush. The man grabbed Shinji's wrist and pulled him inside, Menace and Tiina followed close behind. Shutting and locking the door, the man let out a long whistle, "No wonder you're here. Sorry about the rude welcome. For the money each of these bitches will bring in, only she would be able to pay you. They must have sent you. Didn't they tell you the proper greeting code?"

His hand was numb from the firm grip this man had latched onto him, but Shinji shook it off. Moving to position the man between his heavy hitters and himself, Shinji blushed. He could see through Tiina's white water slick top in the light and under Menace's gold armor. Not the place to get aroused! Alleyne was counting on him, he had to act fast! "They didn't tell me any…" the man dropped as both women attacked, "thing." Menace had her bandages around the man's neck and mouth as Tiina's ball of water slammed against his back.

"And," Menace smirked as her bandages tightened until they heard a snap, "I score first blood." She shoved the body against the door with disdain and gave the body a good swift kick. "Nobody speaks poorly of the Queen of Amara," and just like that she was back to flighty, "Now how should I be rewarded after I win." She batted her eyelashes at Shinji and played with the clear cloth hanging over her panties.

Moving over to the man, Shinji healed his neck. "Now how do we want to go about this? Those stairs go down and those up. Three floors to go over," Shinji gestured to the stairwells. They didn't see him heal the man, he masking his intents by moving the man to a corner. Freeing his staff from his back, he was ready to do his own fighting too. That was part of why he didn't involve Leina as well, he shamefully accepted. He didn't want to always rely on them, he wanted to be able to solve problems on his own. Getting his own support and saving Alleyne, it'd be a point of redemption for him.

"Do we split up or stick together?" Tiina hovered over to the stairs down. Her feet didn't touch the ground, she was just floating an inch over the carpet. Peeking down the hallway, candelabra were lit and the rich wooden walls adorned with paintings was easily seen and for the moment empty. "I think we should stay together, just in case," she eyed Shinji with hope.

Rushing to the stairs going up, Menace's bandages smashed her mace against a large vase. "I'm going for the high score. I'll bring you souvenirs," she blew a kiss to Shinji. Vaulting up the stairs, she bounded using her bandages silently.

Following Tiina, Shinji hoped Menace didn't find anybody, he slide in front of her. "Sorry for this, Tiina-san. I want to save my friends. You've met them the other day," Shinji took the lead and walked down carefully. His staff was in both hands, as he swallowed hard. It was darker as they went down, the wood replaced with cold and damn stone. Tiina was sticking close, to close for comfort, "So have you been enjoying your time in the city since we saved you?"

Either she didn't know what personal space was, or Tiina might be afraid as she literally hung over Shinji. "Well I was looking for you mostly, my prince. I have to thank you for what you did. I saw some nice people, I sold some pearls for food, and slept in a really lovely pond. But I've dreamed of meeting you since that day. I came to the land of the ground walkers to find my husband," she preened as her hand went down his back. "You're a lot more handsome than I remember too," she teased.

Whispering softly, "I hear somebody, we can talk later," Shinji turned as she spoke. And he thought Rei was pale, Tiina was practically pure white! Living underwater must really put a hindrance on getting sun. And did she say she was looking for a husband?! He was already wed to Alleyne and soon Leina. He'd take the risk, not accept Claudette's request. It was wrong of him to marry a woman for anything other than love, convenience was a horrible reason. Getting off the stairs, Shinji saw a door open, one with a heavy looking lock and very thick. "Let's check that one first," he could barely hear himself.

The two moved in unison, Shinji peeked between his legs at Tiina and saw her floating again. She was letting him drag her hovering body along with him. Well it made it a lot quieter he guessed. He'd save them, he was done being just support to those he loved, he could help them! Inching closer to the open door, his foot not coming off the ground, he listened intently to the voices in the room. Men, two of them were talking.

"A half-breed, never had one of those. Shame we can't here her moan and cry out. I love it when they beg. But this one is just…its creepy looking. Think she'll even get wet?" the man asked his laughing buddy. The sound of clothing coming off, rustling and raucous laughter. "After this is the other one, after the Lady sees to her. Now THAT one will be fun. Big tits, tight ass, and that stoic and harsh expression, I love this job," he sealed his fate.

Nodding towards Tiina and the man on the left, a tall and muscular man with a turgid erections, he then pointed at himself and at the man that was busy unshackling Nowa. Offhandedly Shinji couldn't help but notice he was actually larger than both excited men. Holding three fingers up, he counted down to the combined strike. In perfect union, on the three count, both sprung, "You can't touch her!" Shinji's staff swept the leg. His target fell backward with a held, and gurgled as Shinji slammed the head of his staff on the man's chest. It wasn't hard enough to crush him, he'd learned enough control, but the man passed out in pain.

Tiina showed another unique ability of hers as she had just rushed in close and started singing a wordless song. It was somber and low, sadness permeated it. Just listening to it, Shinji found his eyes drooping, as the other man did in fact pass out and fall backward. Throwing the man's clothing over him, Tiina was flush, "M-my voice…my songs have powers it seems. I rather not hurt right now if I don't have to."

Finding Nowa's clothing and staff in the corner, Shinji quickly dressed the woman before saying the code word to wake her up. Gently tapping her face, "Nowa-chan, Nowa-chan are you alright?" Fate must have really wanted him on his back that day, as Nowa sprang out of her daze and toppled him to the ground.

She was crying, but happy tears, "I knew either master Alleyne or you would save me!" Nowa sat on his chest and dabbed at her tiny sparkles of tears. Accepting Tiina's help up, she was back to being smiles, "You! I remember you from the other day! The fish lady!"

"I'm not a fish lady, I'm a mermaid!" Tiina actually came off as indignant. Their hushed whispers filled the room with excitement. Pulling Shinji off the ground, and hugging him against her, "We should hurry up and finish our business here. With that other woman off doing who knows what, we might not have much time."

Watching as Nowa actually lingered over the man that was just put to sleep, Shinji wondered if she'd attack him. When she didn't, he knew Nowa truly was still innocent. "We'll get Alleyne-sama next and get out of here," Shinji walked along side of Nowa. He couldn't tell his sparing buddy, one he knew was better than he was, what to do. Nowa had ever reason to want to help. Shutting the door to Nowa's chambers shut, the trio shimmied over to the next. Cracking the door, he gazed inside and his blood ran cold.

Alleyne was strung up by her arms to shackles in the ceiling. Her body was fully exposed and covered with thin red lines. Sweat dribbled off her and mingled with her blood, but she didn't cry out as the whip came down again. "You will tell me how his powers work. And you'll give me the leverage I need to get Vance to break. Be good and I won't sell you to a brothel," the woman Shinji recognized as Jessica asked.

"I knew she was up to no good, I just knew it," Shinji pushed the door open more as the whip cracked again. It was strange though. Leina was with Jessica when Alleyne claimed to see her. But here she was now, claiming she had aims for Leina and himself. "Nowa do you want to…" Shinji turned to see if Nowa wanted to go with him, when he saw the truth. Behind Nowa and Tiina another woman looking like Jessica stood with crossed arms. Twins…that's how Jessica always had an alibi!

Calling out but holding her hands up, "Sister we have guests. He came earlier than expected. And he brought a gift, the mermaid." The woman clicked her tongue mockingly. Laughing out loudly, "Don't move, any of you or my sister will kill that elf in there."

"Shinji! Save Nowa and leave me! Don't let these women win!" Alleyne's voice called out. "I was mistaken, took them to lightly guh," a heavy thwack and a grunt of pain. Shinji saw the woman had slammed her fist into Alleyne's stomach.

The woman in the hallway, drew a small knife and held it out, "He can't do that. We both know it. He can't leave anybody to die. All those stories from your dear Leina are telling enough. You can't stand death, wouldn't even kill us for what we plan for all of the women here. The half-breed is already sold to a circus. I'll sell the mermaid to a friend of mine that loves fucking strange monsters. And for the bitch in there…" The woman's head burst open like a ripe melon, Menace's mace splintered her head right open.

"He might be to soft to deal with you as needed, but I'm not," Menace pulled back her bandage holding the mace. Picking up the body, of the woman, Menace broke into a run and hurled it at the other woman inside the room with Alleyne. "You're next!" she bellowed.

Following quickly behind Menace, Shinji felt his stomach loosen. He'd never get used to seeing such gore. "Alleyne-sama we're get you free in a minute!" he yelled as the body went flying. Not how he had planned, but it would work!

"No! Janice! You'll…you'll pay for this!" the woman called as she ran to a far corner. Her finger pressed against some hidden button and the wall shifted around her. Nowa ran off to try and find the way in, but couldn't. Shinji cured Alleyne as Menace took to smashing the wall with her mace breaking through. It took a few moments, but soon she was off running towards the escaping woman. Alleyne crumpled into Shinji's arms as he held her. He took a moment to heal the fallen Janice. She didn't wake up until they got her to the constable. After that though, nobody was in the mood for romance, tired both physically and emotionally, the quartet slept in a room provided to them by the sheriff. It was the least he could do, he said. The Crimson Lady was exposed now, it wouldn't be long until the other was found. For the heroes of the day though, they could relax.

X-X

Walking out of the forth hotel of the day, Leina didn't know if she should be happy or upset with the man at her side. On one side he had done something incredibly rash and dangerous. Alleyne and Nowa had been training since they could walk to defend themselves, Alleyne being one of the most skilled women Leina ever faced. Something that troubled them should have sent Shinji out to get her to assist in the rescue. Yet he didn't, he went to that mummy woman of all people! His excuse was good though, she was all pins and needles about her upcoming bout.

On the other hand though, Leina was proud of her man. He actually helped bring down a notorious crime boss! Sure judging by his story it was mostly Menace and this strange mermaid woman Tiina doing the fighting. But it had been his plan to get them inside, and his quick thinking that got to Nowa and Alleyne before anything permanent could have been done to them. However his little success brought to light something Leina had denied up until now, Jessica's involvement. Or whatever her real name was.

"I still can't believe Jessica had a twin and that both of them were…who knows what they were really planning," Leina bemoaned. And yet Shinji had suspected her, and rightly so. Leina missed it, and she felt ashamed because of it. Her shame came out in passive aggression though, and she was taking it out on Shinji. Keeping her arms crossed as she walked, not holding his as she was oft to, she pointed out at another of the potential living places. Hip bumping Shinji, she couldn't be to upset with him, "But you can see why I didn't believe you right off. Every time Alleyne said she saw her, I was with the other."

Stumbling from the rather forceful collision, Shinji accidentally put an inch wide hole into the street with his staff. "I have to admit I was astonished to see Anju coming up on our little raiding party," Shinji did stand close to Leina. He fumbled with his staff, a tell that he had something he wanted to ask but was holding off. Leading Leina closer to the church, either intentionally or not Leina couldn't tell, he let his hood fall back as the late morning sun graced his face. Seeing something off to the side, Shinji's head jerked for a moment before settling, "I was in such a rush though, I almost rushed them myself. But…Leina-san, they said they had plans for you. Did something happen you never told me about?"

He would ask about that now wouldn't he! Leina's pride swelled inside her like a tide upon a beachhead. Thinking back on all Jessica said now with the new facts in play, Leina could piece a totally new picture. "They conned me into a deep debt," Leina took a step away from Shinji. All her effort, all her suffering and work had been for nothing! Jessica would never let her repay her with those men and women she brought in. Those poor people that had just as cheated as she had been. What happened to them? Her hands trembled, Shinji took it, and she batted him off. "All those days of me running errands for her had been me working it off," she hoped 'Jessica' didn't hurt those she brought in.

"You-you could have asked me for help, Leina-san. You've done so much for me, I'd rather help you than anybody else," Shinji quickly replied. He was uncertain, every act he made to get close to Leina she just brushed it off or pushed him away. Yet he kept trying, unwilling to give up on making amends. Finding a bench, he gestured to it with a half-smile. It was under a blossoming tree with lovely floral bouquet at its base. When he sat, he audibly sighed in relief when Leina joined him, "I know I shouldn't worry. You can take care of yourself perfectly fine. But what if she tricked you into something…else?"

'Something else?' Leina's mind went dark as 'Jessica' had offered just that to her. "I'd never have gone off with those other men! Unlike YOU I'm content with just being with one person," her anger was rising. Shame and fears swelled together, but while she should have admitted it she just lashed out in frustration. Shifting away from him and the rather lovely setting he brought her too, she was beside herself! She wanted to apologize, to admit she had done wrong, but she just couldn't! Sniffing back emotion, "While you were off with other women, I've been going through muck and hunting for people. I wanted to pay my own way, not depend on you or anybody! I left my home to make my own way, not rely on anybody!"

A laugh cut off Shinji's aborted reply, thick and sarcastic as always. Echidna effortlessly sat between Shinji and Leina on the bench. "For somebody that was one step away from the whore house, she does prattle on doesn't she," Echidna let her fingers dance down Leina's arm. After her little caress of Leina, she wrapped an arm around Shinji and drew him in close. Leaning in close to the man, she spoke as scintillatingly as possible, "All they needed to do was spike her food or the wine she was drinking and gone are her aspirations."

"I'd have known!" Leina did not want to hear from Echidna of all people! How many sleepless nights did she have thanks to the depraved woman that was fawning over her man! Getting off the bench, she rounded on the two. Her eyebrow twitched in jealousy as Echidna all but pulled Shinji to her, Leina wanted to do that but was just too overwhelmed. Pointing a finger at Shinji accusingly, "She couldn't have gotten anything like that into my food. I was perfectly safe! And what is going on between you two now? Can't take my eyes off you for a few minutes or you'll drag another girl along. Maybe those church people are right!" Her face went pale after she screamed her accusation. His face…it just went sallow and hurt. Congratulations, mission complete. She made him feel how she did, but for the wrong reason.

Softly pushing Echidna away from him, Shinji stood up back stepped from the two. "Leina-san, I'm sorry. I only want you happy and safe. I'm not trying to put you down or say you can't protect yourself. You can, we all can see how skilled you are. Things have just been moving so fast. I went to Menace-sama for help because I didn't want to stress you while you've the tournament. Alleyne and I didn't mean to make Tiina-san so fixated. As for Echidna-san…she just likes to t-tease is all," the strength was out of his voice though. Just a hallow and listless comment.

Snapping her fingers, Echidna stood up and flinched her head towards Shinji. Standing with her bust pressed lightly against Leina's armor, the snake enthusiast didn't have her trademark grin. "I'll give you that little tirade, princess, because you're likely in shock. Just how close you came to losing your freewill. All because you have to have everything your way. I'm the same, I know how you feel. But even I know at times comrades and companions are needed. Both in and out of bed," she pressed her palm to Leina's cheek. Then a moment later she slapped hard, "But I also owe Puppy-kun, and he won't let me pay him how I want to. Isn't that right kitten?"

Leina hardly recognized the pain of the smack, she was deep within herself. One of his biggest fears, and she rammed it down his throat. "Shinji I'm so-," her voice caught went soft and evaporated like mist in the wind. Shinji was being held, but not amorously by a svelte woman with brown skin, blue hair, and pinkish-red eyes. One of the woman's foot hooked between Shinji's and kept his off the ground. An arm went painfully around his neck and another pushed his lower abdomen out.

"No-no-no Irma! I said hold him like a lover not a hostage," Echidna clicked her tongue. Moving Irma's arms to be a lot less painful looking, she nodded at her own handy work. It was a gross pantomime of a behind the back hug, neither involved appeared to be enjoying it in the slightest. Rolling her eyes, even Echidna wasn't buying it. "Irma, didn't I say you have to repay him for all he's done for you? We don't need to keep tabs on this one anymore, and the frigged ex-Virgin isn't playing detective, a little slap and tickle is an easy option. Some women realize that sex and love can go hand and hand," she cast a baleful eye at Leina.

She would not be mocked by this woman! "I know that! I'm just not sure I like the idea of sharing my husband with every woman we come across!" she shoved Echidna. Putting her hand squarely on Echidna's chest, she shoved hard, and then bore down on the frightened Shinji. "Your name is Irma, right? I saw your fight with Risty, it was good. But don't make me try you personally right now. Let him go now," Leina couldn't place the girl's emotion.

"Ikari, I will pay back my debt to you. But I don't believe Echidna's method is for me," Irma's deadpan voice sent chills down Leina's spine. Shoving her captive lad into Leina, who wrapped her arms protectively around him. Leaping to the tree, petals fell in a storm of soft pinks and white, she held the branch with one hand. "I do thank you for your efforts. Vance, you best not test Echidna further. She is not being as honest as she should," and like that the woman leapt away.

Gripping her own chin with her thumb and for knuckle, Echidna licked her lips. "That girl needs to be punished for speaking to much. Love, if she is too much hassle, my offer to take you as my new apprentice in ALL things is still open," then Echidna joined Irma in dashing away. Only when Echidna jumped, the tree was unaffected. The difference in skill between the two was obvious, Echidna was a spectral force while Irma was more focused chaos.

Left alone again with Shinji, after the sudden and disturbing visit from Echidna, but then again when did Echidna show up and now disturb, Leina felt like a heel. She reached out but pulled back her hand, "Shinji, about what I said before. I-I didn't mean it. Just with everything going on around us, my head is all mixed up. Nanael told me she saw Cattleya and Lana trapped, you mentioned what happened to Shizuka, and this whole Jessica mess…add it to the stress of the Queen's Blade." It was an excuse, but a good one she had to admit. It didn't make the shame go away though.

"You're right, and I know you didn't mean it," Shinji said with little enthusiasm. Falling in step with Leina as they started walking again, he didn't pick his head up. They stayed to the side of the walkway, Leina was getting a lot of looks from the populace. Cries of support and affirmations of support sprinkled down like a spring rain. "A lot of things are going on all around us," he trailed the braid with an odd bitterness. She wasn't the only one with stress, he seemed to try to say, "And I'm sorry about Echidna and Irma. You know how she gets at times. She's just teasing. Oh! I was going to give you back those papers of marriage to Claudette, but I lost them. I don't want to have a fake wedding to you…I want a real one. If I'm not to much trouble, n-now."

She heard it in his voice, that broken and worried tremor a miss-tuned piano, he wasn't used to the attention he was getting and Leina knew it. But he was to trusting! How could he trust Echidna to be just teasing him, Leina knew better. Looking down at herself, the unease of what that snake-woman had done to her burnt shame in her memories. If only she could just get Tomoe and Shinji and leave. There were other fights to have, to prove herself with. Maybe this was a mistake. She didn't want to be queen, but here she was aiming for it. And what was it costing her? Her girlfriend sat alone after slaying her companion, and Leina was pushing Shinji away with her frustration and misunderstanding.

"Of course I still want to marry you, ya silly lug. And I'm not that upset about the other women. I know you care for me, it's just strange is all. My father's…well they don't walk around the keep so much," Leina had to admit. She heard the talk, maids, servants, and a few that just stayed in a corner of the keep without being seen. Though just hearing Shinji say that despite all the better women flaunting themselves for him, Shinji wanted her. Finally reaching out for him, her hand stalled as the summoners appeared before them, "I guess you were right about my next fight. If I went with you I'd be to tired for this." Leina kissed Shinji's cheek, "Wish me luck?"

Without hesitation, Shinji grabbed her hand and kissed her knuckles, "As much as I can give you. I'll stay here and watch." Despite his accolades and words, that haunted aura just surrounded him. He held his hand out matching Leina's as she headed off to her next battle.

"I need this right now," Leina pulled out her upgraded blade. The runes and enchantments Ymir put into it began to glow. Oh this fight came at the best time, Leina had a lot of stress to work off, and her opponent was going to get her full wrath! Her boots felt the swift change from hard cobblestone to hard dirt and rocks. After the sense of vertigo left her, teleportation left her stomach queasy and feeling distended, she saw herself in a standard arena. No attendees were there, of course, with the suddenness of the battles it was hard to have an audience. Not that it mattered with the view globes, she saw herself looking at herself in them. "Now who will I test this on?"

Flying languidly and unevenly, Nanael had dark circles under her eyes and was scratching her belly. "I'm not ready for this. To much booze and where the hell was my vassal! My jar is almost…Leina?" Nanael screeched. Her legs continued to flow while her back didn't, so she spun head over heels. Pulling herself up off the ground, her face caked with dirt, Nanael pulled her weapon out and used it as a support to stand. Shaking her head like a dog, "Thank the Head Angel it's you. You'll give me some time to get prep HEY!" She flew backwards as fast as she could, her armguard sparking from the blow.

"I've been waiting for a chance to 'talk' with you, angel! Lording your position and knowledge over us," Leina didn't delay. Dust clouded behind her grieves as she rushed headlong at the floundering angel. Forcing Shinji to be her vassal, another word for slave, just because she was the only one that could help him. Extortion! That's what it was! Spinning to give herself momentum, Leina slash hard and precise, "Can't go easy on you either. The rules prohibit it! Submit or fight!"

Just barely bringing her mighty heavenly blade up to absorb the hit, but it pushed Nanael back to the ground. Dirt clotted her wings as she ground rolled with the impact. "Hey! Go easy on me, Leina! I had a long night with my vassal and my jar is almost empty! Two fights so close together, it's not f-" Nanael rolled as Leina pressed her advantage.

The blade felt light as air, and an extension of her own body! Leina loved the changes to her mother's cherished blade. "You can't fib! Shinji was off with Alleyne and those others! He wasn't with you!" Leina's leapt into the air. Nanael's greatest strength was her mobility and flight. If she could get off the ground, get back into the air, Leina doubted she'd win. Even weakened, an angel was a dangerous foe. Flying above her and sending that inhumanly large sword Leina's way, well it would make victory difficult.

Seeing Leina coming down on her, sword point aimed at her stomach, Nanael panicked and waved her arms about instead of moving. "Shinji? I meant that big titted Melpha! Don't kill me!" Nanael grabbed her jar of milk and curled into a ball. The blade buried itself three inches deep into the ground in the small gap Nanael's body made.

"Don't abuse that woman either! She's…she's innocent," Leina leaned forward. Taking the edge to Nanael's neck, she held it close. "Submit, angel, submit or be hurt," Leina was actually proud of how tough she sounded. It was a bluff, she'd never hurt a downed opponent like this, but she had to make Nanael believe it. The angel answered by fainting dead away. Holding her blade up high, Leina cheered, "That wasn't enough! Shinji, you best be ready!" Her smile went wide as she laughed. The momentary fear of Shinji being gone when she returned was for nothing, he was there waiting. And she worked off a lot of her stress in her new inn. It was a lot nicer than her old one, the bed was big and soft, and it was close to the church. Another battle down, soon it would either Tomoe, Claudette, or Risty against her.

Shinji would be with her though, she knew that. Stroking her hair in the moment after, her body was finally at peace. The fear of being unable to pay Jessica back gone, the nerves of her next fight diminished, and now just the reward. She'd make amends for how she treated him, her pride needed to be curtailed. For now, it was time to sleep.

X-X

Notes

And that for the most part is the majority of the Crimson Lady saga for now. I tried hinting at the fact that Leina was seeing 'Jessica' while Alleyne was hunting her, but I guess I went to subtle with it. And Leina is getting harder to write sadly. I still love the character but she's in such a bad spot. She's daughter of nobility, so she's custom to having what she wants generally, and here is Shinji who is conflicted…but nobody else they know is. He tries to be supportive, and Leina's pride and upbringing are making things hard for her.

So don't be to hard on Leina alright…she doesn't like sharing is all.

Anyway hope you liked this chapter, things get high octane as we move on towards the finale! Only three fights left till the grand championship!

Later

Mercaba