previous: Isekai ch12
I looked down the hallway, to where the trail of lights directed themselves to a very specific corridor. “What’s back there?”
“Supplies,” Becca explained, making her way to the area in question. “When shit hit the fan, the first time, I almost starved to death down here.” After that, I made it a point to add to my stash whenever possible.” The sound of glass bottles could be heard. She was looking for something. “We’ve got enough food and water to last at least a year.” She crawled back, holding two bottles. Judging by the smell alone, one was clearly vodka (or cleaning fluid.) “This is my special hiding spot; the only place I had that was truly mine.”
“Besides your lab?”
“No,” she said with a scoff. Becca reached for a cup, mixing the liquid from the two bottles together, creating a purple carbonated beverage. “I don’t take pleasure in that black magic crap.”
“Bullshit.” I had seen her consume potions on two separate occasions, one of which was infused with the hair of my (likely dead) sister. “You’re just as bad as Emma Amanar.”
“Oh, Fuck off, Marcus.” Becca rolled her eyes, raising a middle finger.
“Does it even disturb you that you’re her daughter?”
“That I can’t help, but you already know I’d never hurt you or your father.”
“But my sister is fair game?”
Becca shook her head, gripping her temples in pain. “You don’t have a sister. That man attacking us is not your father.”
“I didn’t say he was.”
“I already made that mistake; trying to fit in with people who shared my bloodline. My brothers were horrible to me and I live with the regret of trying to gain their favor.”
I crossed my arms to show distain but it wasn’t like I could easily escape this place. “So, you regret letting them kick my ass?”
“I know what my mother did to you. Now, picture doing that shit for your sibling’s friends.”
That response failed to satisfy my question. “That was your choice.”
Becca huffed, but did not form an actual reply.
“And if you have the nerve to say that I had a choice when Queen Emma found her way to my bed,” I shook my head, unable to finish. My mind raced with all the possible ways I could kill Becca. I’d start with her mouth, smashing the bottle in her face until I destroyed her jaw.
“You’re picturing how to kill me, aren’t you?” She took a sip of her mixed drink, before handing me the bottles. “Cups are behind you.”
“And yes; what I did was not as bad as what you went through, and I brought it on myself. I turned away from you and I tried to be a stupid poser. And I’m sorry.
I’ve replayed that moment in my head. I should never have let you leave.
“You didn’t let me leave.” Did she think I was a puppy?
“I didn’t try to find you. I thought you needed your space so I left you alone and focused on earning my place among the dragons. Update: I still don’t have a dragon form.”
“So, you admit it.”
“You’re more like Emma Rose than Jay.”
Becca nodded slowly, taking in the full meaning of my words. “I can agree to that.”
I expected her to add a witty caveat such as, ‘Just because I have her powers doesn’t mean I have her heart.’ None came. She simply left that statement hanging like a certain exposed body part flailing in the wind.
“You don’t have to trust me. But just remember who put your face back together. I could have easily; sold your body for parts.”
“Is this you showing off the power of your magical goddess cock?”
“If I had a magical goddess cock. I would have found my dragon form by now.”
I had more questions, but I didn’t want any more actual information. “So, what are the two bottles?”
“The magic one is an alcohol derived from fermented local weeds.”
I took a sniff, and was greeted by a familiar, somewhat pleasant smell. “The stuff we used to smoke?”
“It’s the miracle plant that serves many purposes.” She leaned back, sticking her hand in a box embedded in the floor. “Some might call it the fruit of knowledge.” She handed me a container of dried leaves and rolling paper. “And in case you were wondering, the other bottle is just ordinary water. For whatever reason, when the two are mixed the result is a refreshing carbonated drink with an enjoyably addictive after taste.”
I was actually more inclined to smoke, than drink. I rolled myself a cig and struck a match. The flavor was truly heaven. A unique sense of calm washed over me. “So, you don’t shapeshift anymore?”
“I’m kind of hoping that if I conserve my magic, I can find my dragon form.” She nervously fidgeted with her hair. “That, and I have bad memories associated with my ability to look like any nationality of sex doll.” She ended the statement with a forced chuckle, to hide her pain. “Your dad always encouraged me to stop shapeshifting. He said I was so pretty when I kept my normal face.”
“Normal face?” I had never heard her refer to herself as just normal. To me she was always special, someone who carried herself with the grace of a princess and the heart of a soldier.
“I think he saw his features as a curse; his blond hair and pale skin was the source of why he was forced to live a life of fear and persecution.” Becca blinked back tears. “Your dad was the first person to tell me I was beautiful just the way I am.
“What was your relationship with my father?”
“He was my best friend.” Becca’s eyes went blank, shaking her head with a smile at the sheer absurdity of the statement. “Even when he was dying. He was so sick he couldn’t get out of bed. We just talked for hours.”
“And he told you to keep his secrets from me.”
“He never judged me, so I never judged him.”
I took the opportunity to finish my cigarette in silence.
“When he died, I was meant to go with you.” Becca finished her drink. The final sip appeared to leave her with brain freeze. Sitting cross legged she pressed her tongue to the side of her cheek. “I was meant to watch over you, but I let him down.” She seemed truly remorseful, and I wanted so badly to believe her.
I reached out to touch her hair. Her dark curls looked a radiant shade of violet in the light of the room. “This is all you?”
“Yup,” she said pulling on a single curl. “No more of that pretend shit. I want to live and die in my own skin.” she took a step closer, sitting by my side. She placed her hand over mine.
Her dark skin was a stark contrast to my own, bringing me back to memories of my childhood.
“Can I read your palm?” I asked.
“Ok.” Becca moved closer. I could tell by her expression; she was resisting the urge to ask further questions, (when she really should have.)
“This is your life line,” I said stroking down the center of her palm.
“You will live a long life, but weather that’s a positive or a negative is determined by your heart line.” I walked my fingers along a randomly selected line, connected to her thumb. “You have the heart of a princess; a future ruler of a land made of sandcastles.”
My friend actually smiled. Her lips, her mouth, the way her cheeks puffed like a fish; it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.
“And this is the beach we’ll live by.” I spit on her hand, which was the butt of the joke. As a kid the offending saliva would be the color and consistency of water, but after a smoke (and a few years of not brushing my teeth) what came out was a little different.
Becca doubled over with laughter. “You’re fucking nasty.” She wiped her hand on her lab apron, mixing my disgusting spit with the body parts and various chemical elements.
“You’re one to talk.” She took off her apron, tossing it to the side.
That was when we kissed. Becca cupped my face with a sweet giggle. “You’ll always be the cute little boy with the chubby cheeks. Even though you’ve grown into a man your father would have been proud of.”
“He always loved you.” Dad always liked Becca. I was meant to be with Becca, but I can’t say I wasn’t afraid.
Becca removed her sweat covered work shirt, revealing a lacy white bra that had seen better days. Her clothes were stained with blood, chemicals and whatever else she had in her lab. She nervously looked at her body crossing her arms. There were scars on her neck and chest. She had been cut, burned and mutilated. “This is me.”
Did she do this to herself? Or was it part of her training (like a tattoo artist practicing on themselves?) Either way, there was nothing that would stop me from wanting more. “You’re so beautiful.”
She sat on my lap, resting her head on my shoulder. I placed my hand on her waist. She was thin but strong. Her stomach muscles were tight, with well-defined abs like an Olympic athlete. She kissed me once, then twice. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah.” I wanted her. I had to have her. “I’m good.” To describe the raw passion would’ve taken thousands of words over millions of years; it was a craving, a calling. Clothes were removed, bodies were loved, touched. I was inside her, but she was grinding me, riding me. We were two halves of a single soul. For the first time, I was at peace.
I closed my eyes, gripping her shoulders as we exchanged breaths. Her mouth felt soft, moist. I bit her pouty lower lip, holding on just long enough to coax out her tongue.
‘What was on her back?’ There was a cold, metallic growth, starting at her shoulders, moving down her back. Was this a body modification; built in armor, maybe a power source?
Becca was whimpering, her body trembling with a true intense orgasm. I knew she wasn’t a virgin, but damn did she know her way around a cock.
I was so close. All she had to do was keep going. And she did. As her legs spread, she somehow had me pinned down. Her muscles felt tense, heavy. Her limbs twisted in odd ways, but my body needed to finish more than I needed to open my eyes.
I felt my first ever orgasm; a ripple of energy gripping my core. Over and over, I let Becca’s power wash over me. And then I felt her hands.
Instead of fingernails, she now had claws. That was enough to open my eyes. What looked back at me was not human. The reptilian face had long snout with wideset eyes. (Something about them looked like Jay’s eyes.) Her expression was calm, confused. She opened her mouth to speak, but all that came out was a smoke-filled cough.
I was balls-deep inside a dragon. And yet, I didn’t want to move away. I wanted to be closer; to wrap myself in her embrace, and experience her true power. Maybe I could disappear into a place where I could be safe, warm, forever locked in a moment of passion. I wanted more. “You’re so fucking amazing.”
Becca laughed. As her neck stretched back, her face began to become more human. Soon she looked like a human female wearing a costume. Except for the wings. There was something very real about her wings. “Do you think this is it?” Her lips parted in a smile. “My dragon form?” She asked with a giggle.
“It’s ‘a’ dragon form.” It reminded me of the first time I’d met Jay; I assumed Jay could turn into a full dragon, but there was a mid-point look that kept just enough of his humanity present. ‘Why are you still thinking about Jay?
Suddenly we heard the sound of footsteps. “Rebecca,” said her father’s distinct accent. “Are you down here, love?” I had never before believed in the power of premonition.
Before I could call out, Becca reached for my mouth, cupping it shut. “Shit!” she muttered through clenched teeth. “What to do?” She reached for her clothes, but as expected they no longer fit over her body
“Maybe he’ll know how to change you back?”
“Not that we have much of a choice,” she said in a soft groan.
Jay knew we were here. The footsteps continued down a flight of stairs, then a small ladder. I decided, in that moment, the best plan was to hide my naked body under Becca’s wings. (Essentially doing nothing.)
Becca stretched her back, holding me close with her very flexible wings. “Hi, Daddy.” She closed her eyes, as Jay’s face appeared in the light.
Jay bit the inside of his mouth, pausing for a moment. “What happened here?”
I pushed myself up, placing my weight on my elbows. “We were hoping you could tell us.”
Jay turned away for a moment, fully realizing what he was seeing. “First,” Jay raised his finger. “The reason I came down here was to tell you that the attack has ceased.”
“That’s good?” I asked, while looking around for my pants. I already knew it was not. This was a recon mission, not an attack, but now that King Vladimir had ignited the fire in his heart he was likely to come back with an actual army.
Jay looked at the bottles, taking a long drink. “The good king left with his daughter’s remains. I think it’s safe to say you won’t be welcome back within their borders.”
“I take it, neither will you.” I sat up, crossing my arms over my chest.
Becca rolled her eyes. “Come on, Dad. Tell him what you did. He deserves to know.” She spoke as if it was not a big deal.
Jay took off his jacket tossing it to Becca. “You two are children.” His anger was evident, but he made no effort to leave. “Cover yourself.”
“I don’t think it’ll fit.” Becca clearly knew what he meant; use the jacket as a blanket to cover her naked chest, because eventually her body would revert back to her human form.
“Then go to sleep and take a nap, my darling daughter.” Jay moved the jacket over his daughter’s chest. Her body was still covered in shimmery metallic orange, pink and purple hues.
She pulled the coat over her shoulder. “Fine. Good night, Daddy.” Becca rested her head on my lap. For a moment it was not ideal; she still had horns and large ears that jabbed in my side.
I stroked her face, tracing her jawline. Slowly but surely, she was changing back to her human form. ‘Thank God.’ I wanted to reach for the smokes, but with Becca on my lap that was not an option. I leaned back, resting against the wall. This caused my stomach to growl.
Jay turned to a nearby supply cabinet. “What do we have to eat down here?” He pulled out a bottle, unscrewing the top. “Damn that’s strong.” He offered me a drink, but I quickly grabbed the plain water (that Becca had pulled earlier.)
“I’m actually more hungry than thirsty.”
Jay continued to rifle through the supplies. “We got dried fish, dried marrowbones.” The pale pink fish flakes looked appealing, but the bones appeared too human for my liking. “We also have what looks like fruit or maybe some sort of winter squash.”
“I think I’d like to try the fish.”
Jay nodded, tossing the bag. It landed on Becca’s head, causing her to giggle. She opened the bag, grabbing a piece before handing the rest to me. “Smoked Cavefish, so good!”
I took a taste. It was like a lighter, stringier version of typical beef jerky. Either because I was starving or because the product seemed to melt together like a savory cotton candy, all I was able to get from the bag was a single good mouthful of nutrients.
Jay removed a piece from the dried fruit bag. The red, round, leathery item was difficult to bite into (even for a dragon king.) “Yuck.” He put the food away, deciding instead to focus on the pungent, alcoholic drink.
I pursed my lips, contemplating the potential consequences of my next line. “What did you do to Leah?”
Jay nodded calmly. “May I start from the beginning?”
My response seemed to offer him a degree of peace. “I had been reporting back to Emma Amanar for some time. I knew where you were, and I have reason to believe she knew that information as well. Thankfully you were already in the prison dimension when she finally figured out the existence of the other Nordic civilization.
“Thankfully?” I asked with a chuckle.
“I knew where you were. That was how I was able to send you those supplies directly to your item box.” He took a long drink, finishing off the bottle. “I was at a loss on how to get you out, but you have to believe me, that was always my main goal.”
I nodded in agreement. I could easily picture Jay trying to bargain for my freedom. “Tell me, did you meet with my father or my sister?”
“I first met with your sister; the regal Viking Queen Emily the fearless. I’m sure she did not fully believe who I was.”
“What do you mean?”
“I had two choices; to come in as a beggar or as a threat. And she did not seem interested in an audience with a beggar.” Jay took a longer drink, forcing the alcohol down his throat until he started to cough. “Perhaps I came off as too much of a villain. Somehow they came to the conclusion that what I wanted was a breeding partner.”
“A wife?” I asked. “That was the word Leah used.”
“Yes, I do believe that term was thrown around.”
“I left her in the company of my surviving son, who made contact with Emma Amanar in an effort to gain favor.”
“Is that why you don’t mourn for them?” I immediately bit my tongue. That was perhaps the worst, most offensive thing I could have possibly said. “Sorry, that was out of line.”
Thankfully, he seemed drunk enough not to be offended. “I try to separate myself from cruelty. The key word being, try.” Jay laughed at his own joke. “I allowed Leah to get out. If she was going to die, it would not be at my hands.”
I wanted to believe him, I really did, but there was something about Leah’s raw emotional pain. Or maybe I felt like I owed it to her since my stupidity kind of guided her to her morbid fate. “Am I to trust that you never assaulted her?”
“No. absolutely not,” Jay replied in a tone that was abnormally calm for someone being accused of such corruption. “You know me and the value of my word.” He nodded, finishing off the bottle. “However, I cannot say the same for my children.”
“That makes sense. In the darkness all dragons look the same.”
Jay laughed, tossing the bottle against the far wall. The glass shattered with a clang, sending an echo down the corridor, possibly up to the main floor.
Becca groaned, “Jesus, dad!” She rolled on to her stomach, burying her face in my crouch.
My hand was drawn to her hair, stroking her curls like a warm fluffy cat. She was almost completely human, which made her nudity even more apparent.
Jay forced himself to get to his feet. “I’ll clean it up.”
“That’s not the point,” Becca groaned.
I had a sick feeling I knew what she meant; this would be an odd (possibly infuriating) sight for Queen Emma to walk in on. “What now?”
Becca sat up, quickly grabbing her clothes. “I wish I knew.”
Jay made his way to the entrance, looking up at the ladder. “I need to stay alive to protect the people I care about, even if that number is constantly dwindling.”
Becca chuckled. She was now completely dressed and managed to sweep up the glass before Jay could. “I love you too, dad.”
Jay kissed her on the cheek, smiling in a way that left no doubt of their familial connection. “You go check on your mom, let me keep Marcus company for a bit.” Becca agreed and left to the main floor.
And now we were alone. This was what I’d wanted from the beginning. I had so much I wanted to ask him, but no words came out.
Jay leaned back, resting against the wall. “These moments, years, all time is fleeting. What hurts the most is how I can only do so much.”
My mind searched for the appropriate words to say, but what came out was not. “Are you afraid of her?”
“Of Emma Amanar?” He reached for the smokes, leaning towards a previously unseen air vent. “I’m not the one she wants, but yes, I do fear her. She’s grown powerful.”
“Soon she will have no need for allies?” Was that what he was afraid of?
“The Queen has no use for allies, only worshipers, but for you she claims to make an exception. For whatever reason she sees you as a prize worth fighting for. And trust me, lad, she’s got a lot of fight in her.”
“Are you saying I have to pay her a visit?
“If that is what you choose, I only ask you not go alone.” There was a truth in his words. “I made that mistake once.”
“Do you think I could meet her in a public place.” I regretted the proposal the moment it left my lips. “You think she’d agree to that?”
“You never know until you try.” He placed his hand over mine. “Just know I’ll try my best to always have your back. Even if that means crawling out of the grave.”
“Thanks, I guess.” I couldn’t say I would have the courage to do the same for him. or perhaps I would?) “Can I ask you something?
“This is going to sound a little awkward, because part of me feels like I already know the right answer.”
“Then you do. There’s no reason to doubt your own instincts. They come from a place of truth.”
“Is Leah my sister? Is King Vladimir really my father?”
“It is what it is”
What did that even mean? “Are you saying he’s not my father?” It took a moment to ponder why my mind went straight to that conclusion.
“King Vladimir and his family are genetically identical to the family you lost. That was why you were able to establish a connection.”
That answer made sense, but how? “Are you talking about something like a time loop? Would King Vladimir exist if my father had not died?” They were (visually) the same age, having experienced similar timelines, while living in two very different locations.
“Are you asking if reality is linear or, if we’re all afloat in an ocean of forever splitting threads?”
“Yeah, I guess I am.”
Jay closed his eyes, stretching his legs. “Sometimes I can’t remember my mother’s face.”
“Is it because she died before you were born? Or because you, yourself are centuries old?” I did not know what was a worse fate; to exist forever like a vampire, watching the world go by, or to live with the pain of loss over and over. I gust of air blew through the room. I guess I was about to find out.
next: Isekai ch14