I think when the time comes and difficulty posting these happens, I'll be able to stockpile more stories in case this happens again. I think at the rate this story goes, V will be out and I'll be able to expand a wee bit more on the story, instead of finishing it and having to kick things off again. Expect some breaks in the plot, not necessarily filler, but things that just help explore some characters and things, like Falcom and the arc after that. That may be interesting due to who will show up, but I've already said too much.
I can't believe how high that feather sent us...this view is absolutely beautiful. The sun had a magnificent orange glow as it sank into the horizon leaving behind a glow that had a hint of red and faded into the blue night sky. The sea of clouds softly rolled under us with the occasional gap exposing the world below us, showing several familiar and new places. I felt my weightlessness fade as we slowly descended, and like earlier plummet shortly afterward.
I bet this is how Uni feels all the time when she flies...being able to soar through the sky without a care in the world. To be able to leave the ground and quickly go where she feels like...she must be suffering being grounded. Although...we're headed toward the ground pretty fast and we're showing no signs of slowing down.
"Um...Uni?" I called out to her but I think we were going down at such a speed I don't think she heard me. "Uni! Wh-what are we going to do!?" Falcom was still sleeping soundly and Uni was somehow sitting, huddled up a bit, as the familiar landscape of Planeptune zoomed into view. No matter how loud I got Uni didn't seem to hear me, she only looked at me and motioned for me to calm down and stand straight up. The basilicom was coming into full view and I couldn't help but curl up and panic even more. "Goodneeeeeeeeeee-Oof!"
I had closed my eyes when everything came into to view and waited for the inevitable...I was sure nothing bad was going to happen but I couldn't help but be surprised at how things were turning out. I landed on my rear with a firm thud and looked around to see everyone landing as gently as when I first used the wing. Falcom was still sound asleep as we landed, followed by Uni who still seemed to be a little bothered from before take-off still.
"Nice landing, my woolie sibling!" I turned around to see Neptune standing in the basilicom doorway with Noire right behind her. "IF said we should be expecting the both of you soon. I can't wait to hear what the two of you have been up to. Ooh, is that Falcom I see back there?" In a single bound she was already near us and took note of Falcom's neck almost immediately. "Hey hey Noire, come check this out!"
Noire came over with a hand on her hip and leaned over to get a good look for herself. Her tail waved about curiously as she peered down on Falcom with Neptune, who was humming to herself. "Would you keep it down, the poor girl is trying to nyap-ahem, nap." She gasped as she corrected her slip while my sister giggled.
"I...need a cold bath." Uni spoke up briefly as she headed inside, giving me a look that seemed to say what words couldn't. I'll have to wrap things up out here and try to find her as soon as possible. "Good night everyone, in case I'm too tired to do so afterwards."
"Did something happen between you and my sister, Nepgear?" Her tail slowed down as she turned to see me watch her sister go into the basilicom. "Nevermind, it's probably none of my business anyway. Mind telling us what happened to this girl though? Just looking at her makes my hair stand on end..."
They both turned to face me as I explained to them all what happened to Uni and I recently. Neptune seemed to be enjoying the story as Noire scoffed a little and started tugging at her neck ribbon. "...after we got the supplies back IF answered the call and here we are." Even though the sun is barely setting I yawn as I finish explaining everything to our older sisters.
"Ohoho, did you hear that Noire? Our little sisters are finally going on cool adventures! Aren't you proud of them?"
"Meh, a little... They managed to find a King Slime in one of their first missions, so what." She turned to face me as she nervously played with her ribbon still. "It's not like those are terribly difficult to handle or are incredibly tasty or anything. Did you...did you get a taste before it faded away at least?"
"Goodness, we...forgot to try." Getting a taste of the giant slime was one of the last things on our minds at that moment, we were just so focused on winning, but it did lose its crown. "That's it!" I pumped my fists as I remembered that. "I forgot to mention that while I was slamming the King the crown got stuck in my horn! But...I had Uni pull it out and we...kind of forgot it. Oops."
Noire breathed a sigh of relief and finally left her nearly undone ribbon alone. "Typical rookie mistake. Had Neptune or I been there we would've had a feast on top of something incredibly rare." It's almost as if she didn't want Uni doing something so impressive so early in her guild missions. "Anyway, it looks like you've been through a lot. You should wash up along with Uni, your wool is getting kind of dirty. No offense of course. We'll take care of your friend though, so don't worry about her."
I'll admit that now that things have calmed down I do feel a little dirty. I wonder what IF and Compa are doing...I thought they would want to greet us after two jobs well done. Hmm, maybe I'll bump into them on the way to bath. As a matter of fact where's-"Histoire!?" I was lost in thought wondering where everyone was and nearly bumped my head into her as I headed into the basilicom.
"I didn't mean to scare you Nepgear." She greeted me with a smile as she hovered in my face. "I take it you and Uni had a successful mission?"
"Yep. I'd give you the details but I'm on my way to the bath." I carefully stepped around her, making sure to not bump into her new wingspan.
"Very well, perhaps I'll get the details from you afterward. May I get your N-Gear back?"
I pulled it out and held in front of me wondering how exactly she'd carry it around. "Of course. I don't think there's anything wrong with it though, we took pretty good care of them I bel-"
"Hm?" I didn't even notice the N-Gear leaving my hand and facing up toward her with a faint glittery glow. "Oh my goodness how could I have forgotten about those!?" Between stopping Underling from wreaking more havoc and calming Falcom down I failed to remember we needed to return all those supplies. "Oh Histoire, what do I do!?"
Histoire giggled as the N-Gear floated under her, monitor facing down, as she took a seat on top of it. "Don't worry too much about it, I'll have Neptune take care of this, you probably need your rest. Although you should check in with her in the morning yourself for IF's sake. Now get along before you're too tired to clean yourself up."
I nod and quickly make my way past her deeper into the basilicom, through winding corridors and several of our rooms until I get to a closed door with steam coming out from underneath it. I knock gently, letting myself in as I call out to whoever was inside. "IF? Compa?" Wait a minute, can Compa even bathe with her condition?
"Stupid me...what was I thinking hitting redial at a time like that. So stupid..."
I can hardly see a thing in here but I could've sworn I just heard Uni. I take a few steps farther in and I can almost see her through the steam.
"Gear's finally getting out of her sleepy phase or...whatever they call it...maturing or something. She's finally getting more up and about and the one time she starts talking to me IF interrupts." Does she always talk to herself like this when she's alone? "Bah! I guess I'll have to wait for a chance to get her to myself again. Nnngh..." It looked like she was reaching for her back but she dropped her puffy loofah with a little splash in the process and let out a sigh. "Maybe it's better I just don't say anything. I mean, I'm fine with just being with her, and I don't want things to get weird if I actually say it but..."
I could hardly see the tiles on the floor thanks to the steam and bubbles but I think I felt the the loofah hit my foot. I instinctively picked it up and silently approached Uni, careful not to slip on the suds floating around. She could use a nice surprise right about now with the way she's treating herself. Slowly but surely I get closer to her and got on my knees, hoping to not cast my shadow down to where she can see it. Now to wait for the right moment...
"Ugh, I wish that square girl were here right now...I'd really like to get my ba-"
I thought about shouting surprise but decided against it and simply ran the loofah down her spine. Uni fought every urge to leap in response and arched her back as she tried not to scream. "Aaah, Noire!" She turned her head and froze when she realized it was probably the last person she wanted to see right now. "Wh-what are you doing in here you square girl!? I thought you'd still be outside!"
"It turns out I'm dirtier than I thought...well Histoire pointed it out, but I decided I should take care of it because it's been a while." I stood up to get in front of her so she could get a good look at my back. "How bad is it Uni?" I looked back to see her staring intently at me, grumbling to herself. "Hm?"
"Oh right. Your back is looking awfully dirty, I don't think washing it out will be enough." She stood up and dragged me backwards, towards the end of the room near where the bathroom accessories were at. "Let me dry my hands off for a second. Don't look. As a matter of fact close your eyes, you already got to peek on me."
"That's fair...I guess."
She grumbled something under her breath as she dried her hands and messed with the accessories on the wall. "...not like I can peek on you with all that wool covering you anyway..."
"What was that?"
"N-nothing. Now I'm going to need you to stand still." With a click the sound of loud buzzing filled the room as Uni placed a hand on my shoulder. "Sorry if I go too low."
"Go too low with whaaaaa-!" The source of the buzzing dulled as it came into contact with my wool, and cold metal pressed against my back. "U-Uni what are y-"
I must've thrown her concentration off when I tried to ask her what it was she was trying to do, the buzzing got loud for a moment and I felt her stumble a little. "Aah Gear! You messed me up. Now I have to cut low all around now." She didn't sound all that disappointed as she circled me, running the clippers down from the top of my stomach to just below the belly button, paying close attention to not go any lower. "There we go."
I looked down and admired my new midriff and rubbed it a little. "This...feels pretty nice actually. A little ticklish but I can get over that I think."
"Now as winner of the Slime herding...I demand you let me scrub you down and give me a proper sleepover!"
"W-wait, I thought we agreed on a tie. We both gathered the same amount of Slimes."
Uni guided me towards a seat and sat me down. "I-I got mine out there first. ...Yeah that's it, mine were out there before yours so you have do what I say. I'm going to wash you up real good and then we'll have a proper sleepover, got it? Maybe next time you won't take your sweet uh...time!" I didn't want to deny her that, it seems fair enough. Not only do I need a good washing she deserves to have her fun.
"Be gentle with me, my stomach feels pretty ticklish."
Now Nepgear looks more like the image for the cover of the story. No sign on the rest of the Nepus getting the monster treatment, but there's plenty of time for that to happen. Hope you liked this bit.