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Generated: Oct 18, 2022 8:18 PM
Post last updated: Oct 18, 2022 8:17 PM
the lord's escaped doll and the nice friendly tentacles
culture clash in the bell kingdom when Lily runs into Kamryn
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It's a beautiful day in Bell Kingdom, in a city far away from a certain Lord Maxwell.

Alas, Lord Maxwell does have staff capable of scrying; so the word has been passed along that one of his toys has gone missing. 

The local guards, however, have better things to do than chase some noble's pet. They're occupied with things going on outside the city...

 

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The behavior of the local wildlife is bizarre today.

A migration of leaf octopi startles many as the leafy tentacled creatures appear out of nowhere and cross one of the major roads just outside of town.

The fresh, slightly desiccated corpse of a huge wolf appears without explanation in the eastern woods, laying dead in what looks like a pool of its own cum.

There are three different Tentamole attacks, when one in a day is already considered frequent. And yet the Tentamole victims miraculously escape with only light tentacle molestation and no getting buried alive at all.

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Outside the city walls, Isabel sits in bed with a lap desk balanced on her knees. She's scratching down figures; Amira has been using her as an accountant to get value out of her before she's able to do serious alchemy. 

The landlords of this cheap bed and breakfast have never seen her, and never should. They live in a separate house in the noble quarter of the city and just rent this one to travelers. 

Amira has told her to stay in as much as she can, and given her a high-collared cloak that hides her ball-joints so she can pass as a free human. During the day she's expected to get her work done; at night she's expected to study herbalism and alchemy. Sometimes Amira brings her food, and slowly she's starting to accumulate coins and gems in a small cloth bag; Amira does pay her, though not much. 

It all feels... familiar.

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But it is different. It has to be different. Amira cares about her, she must, she's risking herself for her - 

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Maxwell "cared" about her too.

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She's her own. 

... But she's still learning, and she doesn't understand this world, and it would be rude to leave Amira without even saying anything.

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Still, late at night, when the streets are quiet and no-one is around, she sometimes takes her key to the bed and breakfast and goes for a walk out into the fields by the edge of town. 

This, at least, is something new. 

She could just walk out into the wilderness, and never come back. She doesn't need to eat or sleep or rest. 

Monsters would probably get her, though. They're real enough. 

And so she stays.

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Amira comes in the morning to check her facts and figures and answer her questions. They talk for a little while about alchemy and herbalism, and discuss the monster activity - more offhandedly than anything. Amira trusts Isabel to have a clear head.

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It feels real. It's comforting.

That could still be a lie, though. 

She hands over the books and gets her pay.

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"... Isabel, there's something I've been meaning to discuss with you."

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She goes tense, despite herself. "What is it?"

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"Your servant collar..." 

Amira crosses her arms. "I can't remove it; they're permanent. But if you want - and only if you want - I could composite it with a second tattoo that would... reduce its effects. It has significant side-effects, but I want to offer you the choice."

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"What would the side-effects be?"

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"It's called a faithfulness tattoo. It prevents you from being attracted to or aroused by people you're not in love with. In composite, it would prevent your servant tattoo from causing pleasure from praise unless you loved the person who was praising you." 

She folds her fingers together. "It also makes sex better with people you do love, but I expect you're less interested in that than the rest of it. You already have that resonance tattoo anyway, so..." 

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Isabel touches the heart at her throat. Another present from Maxwell. The tattoo that marks her as dedicated to her partner's pleasure, that made her feel good when she made Maxwell feel good - 

She didn't even know until Amira explained it. 

Of course, she could be lying. But... 

She trusts her.

"Let me think about it."

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"Of course. I'll see you tomorrow, Isabel."

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"See you, Amira."

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Another day, more strange behavior from the nearby life.

Something has got the Tentamoles stirred up. Four attacks today, even more than yesterday. And yet, again, not one of the victims gets buried alive. One of those victims reports that the Tentamole actually started to bury her alive, but something stopped it. She didn't see what. Just a shadow in the woods to the east of town.

Elsewhere, a woman gets caught by a Molester Plant while out gathering wood. She passes out, and when she wakes up the Molester Plant is gone, like someone dug it up. And she isn't impregnated.

A young man goes out to set rabbit traps, as he has done many times before, but this time he doesn't come back.

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Amira comes in the morning again. 

"The rumors are just getting worse," she says once business is done. "Something has the local monsters on edge... and there's a trapper missing. Please be careful; you're vulnerable outside the city walls, and even if the guards managed to extricate you from some situation, them getting a close look at you would be... bad. It would be bad." 

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Isabel nods solemnly. "I'll take precautions." She turns the key to the bed and breakfast over in her hands.

 

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"That's all I can ask. It's your life. Don't do something stupid like trying to collect your own herbs, though. I know it could be tempting..." 

She sighs. "I sound like Maxwell. I'm just worried for you. Our situation's bad enough with the guards, add in the tenta-moles and I'm on edge. I do worry." 

Amira cracks a small smile. "I don't want to lose my only apprentice after I've only had her for a month, after all."

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Isabel just nods thoughtfully.

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"Have you come to a decision about the faithfulness tattoo?"

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"... Yes. I think I want it. I don't want... anyone I don't care about to have the kind of - control - that Maxwell had, ever again."

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"I'll buy supplies at the market today and do the tattoo for you tomorrow, then. I won't even take it out of your pay."

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"You underpay me anyway."

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"It's true, I do." She shrugs. "I never claimed I wasn't getting anything out of this."

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Isabel nods. "Yeah, I guess not."

"See you tomorrow?"

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"See you tomorrow."

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After the last two days, today is conspicuously quiet and uneventful. No Tentamole attacks either.

The most remarkable incident is when a giant butterfly wanders into town and flutters around the rooftops a bit before leaving.

The trapper boy still doesn't return, though.

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Amira shows up the next morning with a frustrated expression. 

"Apparently you can't buy mage's tattoo ink unless you're a registered landowner in this town. It's alright, I'm working on it - my patron will get me a small supply no questions asked, it'll just take a couple days. I'm sorry for the delay."

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"It's alright. Any new rumors?"

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"Nothing interesting. Things seem to have gone quiet again. I'd still be careful, but these things come and go... It was probably nothing."

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Isabel nods, and hands over the books she's done for the last day. "Here's your numbers."

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Amira hands over a small gem in return. "And here's your pay. How are your lessons going?"

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They can talk about lessons for an hour or so, (Isabel is catching up quickly!) but then Amira has to go to market, and Lily's alone again.

She stays in for the day, as usual, but when night comes...

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A night walk would really help her feel less like she's in a box again.

She puts on her cloak, takes her key, and goes out into the fields at the edge of town.

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Nothing disturbs her as she walks quietly along the treeline.

It's a calm night, the stars are out, and there isn't enough of a breeze to make the trees rustle.

One of the trees rustles anyway.

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Apparently succulent fruit just grows on trees sometimes, this far west.

And there's much less likely to be anything nasty hiding in the branches, when one climbs a tree.

Kamryn darts up into the branches with ease, plucks a fruit, and enjoys the novel taste. Shortly, she finishes it, then lightly pushes off a branch and drops through the air, landing lightly on the ground with a soft thump-

-right next to a small colorful and cloth-coated girlish figure!

Kamryn gets over her surprise in an instant, and frowns. It looks like a person, but she doesn't feel any glow of lust from it; that's why she hadn't noticed it was there. What the heck? It is a person... she thinks? It's draped in something that isn't animal hide. Cloth, probably, Kamryn's heard about it but never seen it.

(Kamryn herself is entirely nude, her hair wild and untamed, her eyes piercing in the shadowed darkness of the treeline, reflecting lights from the town. Yet, thanks to her supernatural mutations, Kamryn is also clean, and her hair is clean and glossy, and her body is smooth with clear skin that reflects the starlight. The effect is rather ethereal, like she isn't quite real.)

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Isabel startles, but - 

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- something in her tells her not to run.

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So instead she stares at the nude woman who just fell out of the tree. (Mostly incomprehension, but with twinges of arousal and curiosity as well.) 

"I, uh," she says. "He... hello?"

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Ah, there is a little bit of glow.

Kamryn relaxes.

"Hi."

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"Um... Hi. Not to be... rude or anything... but what were you doing out at midnight in a tree with no clothes on?"

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Kamryn relaxes further, even as she rolls her eyes just a little. The beastmen they met along their journey rarely ever you-should-be-wearing-clothes'd at her. What is it with (other) humans. This girl is human, Kamryn thinks?

"Snacking. What were you doing out at midnight in a field with clothes on?"

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Lily relaxes a little bit too. "... Stargazing and watching the moon. If you... prefer to wear nothing... then I won't tell anyone."

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"Nice of you, but I don't think it would matter if you told people. It never has before."

Kamryn idly picks a bit of fruit skin out of her teeth, tilting her head as she looks at the girl.

"You live here?"

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"I'm staying here while my... alchemy teacher... does business in town... I guess I do live here, yeah. It's only been about a month though."

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Kamryn doesn't stand still much, and if Lily doesn't start walking along with her, Kamryn will sort of languidly orbit the other girl.

"My [untraslatabletentaclenoise] and I got distracted on our way through here, but we did want to warn people, if we could. Have you heard of the Red Queen?"

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"Your what? And no, we haven't. I'm... probably not a good person to talk to about warning people, I'm an outsider here... Though I could talk to Amira, I supoose."

She turns warily to keep the weird nude girl in sight. Only incidentally because it'a a nice view.

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"Amira, huh? Who's that? And what's your name? Mine's Kamryn."

Kamryn wanders briefly back into the shadow of the trees as she meanders.

"And, I don't know a word for          . My... sexual companions and found family and also assigned task ingroup?"

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... She shouldn't use her real name - 

Actually, double fuck that, Maxwell picked that name in the first place - 

"I'm Lily. Amira is my alchemy teacher. Um... I don't know a word for that either. It sounds like you have a lot of - people you're close to."

She looks away. "... I just have Amira, and she's... not really my friend, exactly. A mentor, maybe."

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Kamryn nods.

"There's only five of us. Including me. We've been debating, though, about if we should try to enter the city, to trade and to give our warning face to face and like that, or if we should just move on."

Kamryn pauses in her meandering to offer Lily some raised eyebrows.

"Another local's opinion might help us get off our asses about that..."

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"I..."

She pulls her cloak a little closer around her. She doesn't know this girl, and - it's a risk, any time spent with people is a risk - 

But she's a traveler, and she'll be moving on soon, and... she misses talking to people who aren't Amira.

"... I wouldn't mind talking to them."

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Kamryn stops orbiting and starts leading, heading eastward into the trees.

"Well, we're camped over this way."

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This is probably foolish, but... 

She follows.

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The mysterious gorgeous nude wild woman's hips sway, starlight gleaming off the curve of her ass as she leads Lily through the trees. Sounds from the town fade, but they don't go too far before a new light, soft and steady and the blue-white of raw mana, shines between the trees.

Kamryn skips ahead into the small clearing, where...

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A suit of armor sits beside the floating manalight, cleaning a battered old sword.

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A naked woman, as gorgeous and full-figured as Kamryn, almost identical in fact if not for the green hair and the different shade of skin, sits beside him, her legs spread, as a bluish tentacle pumps slowly into her pussy.

Also, her entire left arm is missing, and in its place are a dozen squirming red tendrils of flesh that glisten in the manalight.

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A lavender-skinned cyclops lounges nude on a pile of leaves. A half-dozen more eyes pop open on the ends of glistening dark purple tentacles and swivel to stare at Kamryn and Lily's approach.

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And finally, a soft, plush, shiny purple ass twerks up and down over the hips and cock of a human guy, his rigid shaft plunging in and out of a gushing purple pussy and making soft wet lewd sounds. The human guy might match the description of the missing trapper, though it's hard to tell with his hands and feet each bound in the tentacles of a pair of Molester Plants while the female figure that's riding his cock has his face and head completely engulfed in her monstrous slimy multi-flapped maw.

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"- okay yeah no goodbye!"

She turns on her heel and runs for it.

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At the sudden fleeing, Kamryn spins around with a hey-wait and reaches out on reflex, managing to snag Lily's cloak.

When the cloak comes loose and Lily continues on, uncovered but unimpeded, Kamryn remains behind, lacking a reason to actually chase the girl.

Kamryn glances between the cloak and each of her companions a few times, then at where Lily vanished into the trees.

"I think we scared her."

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Fuck, her cloak

Well, she's not going back for it. 

She runs for it as fast as she can, which is fairly fast given that she doesn't need to breathe. 

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She bolts the door behind her and flops into bed. 

Well. That... puts paid to her night walks. 

How is she going to explain this to Amira...

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... for a lack of anything better to do, she goes back to her studies. They're what she was supposed to do in the first place.

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And in the morning, Amria drops by. 

"Morning, Isabel."

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"... I've decided that I want to be Lily, actually. It's... less the name that Maxwell gave me."

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"Alright, Lily. So, how was your night?"

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"I... Well, I lost my cloak. There was a... strange girl with no clothes, and a bunch of... tentacled people..."

"She said that she wanted to warn us about something, a "Red Queen"... When I saw one of the tentacled things, uh, I am unsure if they were eating or fucking a guy, I ran away."

She looks away. "Kamryn - the nude girl who was with them - grabbed my cloak as I ran, and I lost it. I think she might have seen that I'm not human."

She looks down at the floor. "... What do we do?"

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"... This sounds serious. I can't go to the guards myself, obviously... They could have been luring you in, or they could have something genuinely important to say... Either way we need to know if they saw you without your cloak."

Amira taps her fingers against her other arm. "Let's get you another cloak, and we'll go out to meet them together tomorrow night. I have magic, I can get us out safe if things turn bad... But I want to hear what this strange girl has to say for herself, and make sure she won't say anything about you. The new cloak's coming out of your pay. Next time don't go wandering at night. Are we understood?"

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She winces slightly, but comes up with a smile. Of course Amira knows what to do. 

"Yes, Amira."

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"Now here are your ledger books. Absolutely do not go outside withour your cloak. I know you know, I just want to remind you because you seem to be having some trouble with caution."

She sighs. "I'll see you in the evening. Be safe."

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Lily accepts the ledger books with a slight nod, and settles in with her lap desk once again.

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And Amira leaves for market. 

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A day passes uneventfully, with the exception of a little girl who turns up at the city wall looking rumpled but cheerful and telling a tale of falling in a ditch and not being able to get out until this naked purple woman-monster with no face heard her yelling and lifted her out. The monster even helped her find her way out of the woods, the little girl claims.

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Amira returns that evening with a replacement cloak (black) and a serious expression. 

"Alright, let's go together. Show me where these people were."

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Lily nods, puts in the new cloak, and leads the way.

It's not too long a walk out into the fields and the forest beyond.

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The camp is right there where it was before.

And that is the missing trapper boy, actually, bent over and wrapped around the shiny purple woman-monster, humping into her ass and mauling her squishy tits as he rubs his face on her spine with a blissed-out expression on his face as his hips jerk forward over and over.

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The lavender cyclops is nowhere to be seen, until the faint lewd squelching sounds coming from the suit of armor stop, and the armor opens up to reveal her nestled among the squirming blue tentacles that fill the interior of the metal.

"So, you came back. And you brought a friend." Her voice is oddly inflected, and her accent is strange, but she's perfectly comprehensible in non-Tentacle speak.

She steps forward out of the armor, which closes up behind her and steps to the side, seeming to peer at Lily and Amira warily. She stretches and smirks at them.

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Kamryn is cuddling with Talance, idly watching the local boy fuck Uuloo, with her pussy full of a tentacle split off from Talance's leg.

"Lily," she says in mild surprise. She peers at the other one. "And your mentor?"

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"We have your cloak!" the changeling says. "I'm sorry if we scared you last time."

This comes across significantly less intelligible than the cyclops but Kamryn repeats it for her.

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"Her employer." Amira curtseys, and keeps a wary distance. "Amira, journeywoman witch of House Naraleth."

She looks at Talance and Kamryn seriously, keeping her eyes on their faces rather than the... rest of them. "I'm here because of two issues - one being my apprentice here, and the other being this... warning that you had to share."

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Lily stops just beside her mentor. "I'd appreciate the cloak back. And... I'd like to talk." 

Her gaze takes in the whole camp. Though her former master did instruct her that sex was... "special", his word was hardly trustworthy. 

Perhaps there's more for her to learn. And it is a nice view. 

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The trapper boy goes wide-eyed at seeing a pair of women from town in the camp. He kind of squeaks and goes still, but Uuloo merely takes over pleasuring him, getting a deeper squeak and a flush as he tries to hide behind the Seducer's jiggling body.

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Kamryn rolls to her feet and stands, Talance's tentacle slurping out of her pussy as she steps forward with the cloak, holding it out for them to take. The tentacle retracts and re-fuses with Talance's leg.

"What's the issue with Lily?" she asks Amira, sensing Lily's interest giving that interest room to grow by focusing on Amira.

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Amira frowns and bites the inside of her lip. 

"... Lily, shall I explain?"

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They might not know, but you've gone and given the game away already.

"Please explain. I don't think these people will make trouble for us."

Lily accepts her cloak back, and cautiously walks over towards Uuloo with it draped over her arm. 

"... Um, this might be rude, but... are you enjoying that?"

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Amira looks over at the boy from town. "Not with him here, I think. Just in case."

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"I'm talking to him! And I think he has, um, issues of his own."

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"It's your decision, Lily."

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Her gaze goes back to the boy from town. She hums contemplatively.

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The boy tries not to visibly show his reaction to Uuloo's pussy continuing to milk his cock as her plush ass rocks against his hips, but doesn't entirely succeed. Uuloo herself doesn't seem to react to Lily's presence... until Lily gets close and Uuloo gently holds out a slippery and soft-fingered hand, poised so that if Lily took exactly one step further forward, her pussy would rest right on Uuloo's fingers.

"They never say no," the trapper boy admits with a slightly defiant blush. "Uuloo's my favorite but they all let me do whatever I want whenever I want-  no, they don't just let me, they want it just as much as I do; they want it more, isn't that right?"

He roughly squeezes one of Uuloo's breasts, and Uuloo chirrups in approval.

 "I know I shouldn't have stayed so long, made people worry about me, but its so, so sexy and good... to know what it's like when my carnal desires are a gift and not a burden... Talance says its like that for everyone in the eastern lands..."

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Isabel - no, Lily - is experiencing some very conflicted emotions about this! 

On the ONE hand that is absolutely the kind of thinking that Maxwell loved. 

On the OTHER hand it seems... really obvious that these people are more like her than anyone she's previously met before. 

That outstretched hand... 

She takes a step back, and sits down on the ground. 

"... I want to talk to these people. Really talk, honestly. Amira..."

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"Even the boy from town?"

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"... less so."

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Amira looks at Kamryn. "You should really ask the boy to go talk to his family. They'll be worried sick, thinking that he's been eaten by wolves or some such. If he hasn't any clothes he can borrow Lily's old cloak."

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Kamryn watches the boy from town shrink into himself a little at Lily's comment, even as he struggles not to cum in front of the girl from town. She walks over and crouches in front of Lily, somehow perching on flat ground, blocking line of sight to Uuloo and the boy.

Uuloo's head bends down and flowers open, latching on to Kamryn's crotch. Kamryn's eyes flutter in pleasure for a moment but she otherwise ignores that to focus on their two new visitors.

"Yosaphen and I are the only ones who know how to 'talk' the way you mean that, but sure," Kamryn says to Lily. And then, to Amira, "He can leave whenever he wants. If this outlet for his sexual desires is more important to him than reassuring his family that he's safe, maybe his family should be more worthy of reassurance."

     "It's not like that," the trapper boy protests weakly.

"However it's like," Kamryn says, eyes still on Amira.

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Amira barks out a short laugh. 

"Ah, yes. Perhaps they should be..."

She looks seriously at Lily. "I think... I should leave you be. I don't think these people are dangerous, and your secret is yours to share."

And if this turns into an orgy I don't want to be here to witness it.

"I need to sleep. I'll be at the bed and breakfast. Enjoy yourself." 

She turns on her heel, waves over her shoulder, and starts walking away. 

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Lily watches her go. 

"... I still don't really understand her," she admits. 

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"So, you gonna take off those fake Clothes and join us for a convofuckersation or are you just gonna sit there like you think we haven't noticed you. Clue: we can see you." Six eyes blink at Lily in succession.

Yosaphen pauses at the looks she's getting from Kamryn and Talance.

"What? The whole reason I learned to word-talk is so I can be rude to outlanders without making them scream and run away. When they scream and run away that takes all the fun out of it."

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Now Lygos is getting looks.

Despite being metal, the way his shoulders drop is very expressive.

He opens up and blue tentacles lash out to yank Yosephen off her feet and into the confines of the armor. A thick tentacle slams itself down her throat as the metal closes up around her, sealing the Gazer inside with a muffled wet squelch and a pleased moan.

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"Sorry about her," Kamryn says with some affection. "Uuloo, could you?"

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Uuloo detaches from Kamryn's crotch and lifts her upper body. Her maw then destroys any illusion that there's anything like a human neck in there as it bends backwards and swallows the trapper boy's head.

The trapper boy cums immediately, spurting deep into Uuloo's insides.

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"He can't hear us now. Let's let Talance cradle us while we talk, how about, and you can explain the thing you don't want anyone from your town to know?"

Kamryn can relate, with what happened between her and her former tribe.

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Talance's human shape unfurls into squirming tendrils of slick red flesh, roiling like a thundercloud in slow, gooey motion.

She expands, growing out into a large blob of slick, glistening meat, before forming a soft, cushioned berth in her middle for a pair of girls to lay within. As her shape stabilizes, it reveals itself to be an oddly symmetrical and clean design, with suggestions of hips or butts or thighs or breasts pressing up in a suggestion of tangled humanoid bodies coming together to form the contoured fleshy bed.

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"Okay, that's weird. But I'm weird too, so..."

Carefully, Lily takes a seat on the bed. 

Then she takes off one of her gloves, and offers a hand to Kamryn. Her hands are one of the most complex and delicate parts of her body, with several overlapping doll joints of fine ceramic. They give her away almost instantly. 

"... I'm not human. I was created to be... a sex toy for a particular powerful man. I objected, and left, but he still technically owns me. So I have to hide."

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"What went wrong?" Kamryn asks, like someone who 'creates' life all the time and has never once encountered the concept that being human is somehow special.

Kamryn takes the hand and caresses it, then gently tugs Lily closer, offering skinship and physical affection as though to a skittish animal. Talance is careful to follow Kamryn's lead, about this, after the incident with the bunnygirl tribe. Kamryn herself doesn't really know what she's doing either, but her lust-sense and some deep-rooted instinct shows her the edges of the path she's navigating. She doesn't have to understand the novel danger zone present in Lily, to sense it and skirt around it. Somehow she just can.

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She shrugs away her cloak, and exposes the tattoos at her neck. 

"He marked me as a lesser than him from the moment I existed. He... lied, and took advantage of my not knowing better... and tried to fit me into the mold of his perfect lover. He never really saw me... he just saw the woman he wanted to have."

She touches the tattoos at her throat. "A servant tattoo, so I would leap to his praise and his happiness... and a resonance tattoo, so I would put his pleasure first and serve my purpose as his plaything. He never asked if I wanted to enjoy those things, he just decided it for me."

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"Oh, he built you? Like a spell?"

That's a fascinating concept, but it make sense. If you were good enough at fleshcrafting, why couldn't you build an entire person... Then another thought percolates and Kamryn frowns.

"Wait, he built you," Kamryn says with an entirely different emphasis. "If he was building his lover anyway why did he build you instead of the perfect lover he wanted? That makes no sense at all. Why would he build a different person and then try to force that other person to act like the person he actually wanted?"

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"He commissioned me; he doesn't have the ability to make people himself. I don't know why he didn't just make me... naturally the kind of person he wanted. He certainly made my body to his tastes. I think he maybe isn't good at knowing what he really wants, or maybe he wasn't willing to say everything to the person who made me... Or maybe it wasn't in their control in the first place. I don't know. But I was different from the person he imagined."

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"He didn't even... himself... what a... what did he think would happen..."

Shaking her head, Kamryn carefully assesses Lily's mood.

"I have two separate but related questions. Have you ever had sex with anything besides him? Have you ever had sex that required nothing of you and put no expectations on you?"

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"... no and no." She looks at Kamryn thoughtfully.

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"Want to?"

Behind them, the soft wet clapping sound of the trapper boy's hips against Uuloo's ass. The muffled squelching and moaning from inside Lygos. The slow, gentle rippling of the contoured flesh-bed as Talance quietly masturbates.

Kamryn herself speaks with utter sincerity.

"Every living being in this camp wants to make you have orgasms, wants to see you enjoy that pleasure, for no other reason than because we want to. The only reason we're holding back is because I can tell sex would upset you for some reason, right now. But if you decide not to be upset about it, you can have any Variety of sexual pleasure you want, right now, with no consequences, and nothing asked in return."

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"I..." 

Lily closes her eyes. 

"... the thought did cross my mind, but it's fraught, between the resonance tattoo and the... hurt Maxwell left me with..."

She presses in against Kamryn, and takes a deep breath. 

There is definite heat in her psychic signature, now, but her thoughts are confused. 

What does she want. Honestly. 

... she wants Kamryn to touch her. The tentacles are... too strange and alien, to her, but... she could start with something small...

"... Please hold me a little closer," she asks.

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Kamryn reclines into the contoured flesh-bed and gently pulls Lily onto her lap, allowing their bodies to lay flush as they meet each other. The feel of Lily's clothes on her bare skin is unpleasant, but Kamryn ignores that because she can sense that she needs to. She holds Lily in a gentle embrace, sliding her hands under Lily's clothes where that doesn't require awkward angles or noticeable amounts of force.

"I'd hope new sex would cleanse it, the hurt he left you with."

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"The resonance crest. I know of it. It, when you give someone else pleasure, it reflects that pleasure on to you. But if you're merely basking in the pleasure someone else is giving you, anything that comes through the tattoo is... aligned with what you're already doing, don't you think?"

Kamryn translates this the rest of the way into words so Lily can understand it.

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"... That does seem to follow...?"

She touches the hand on her waist, and - hesitates. 

She doesn't breathe, but the tension in her is... strong. 

She presses in her fingers between Kamryn's, and holds her hand.

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"Yeah."

A more worldly, well-read version of Kamryn might have better or additional advice at this point, but unfortunately this Kamryn doesn't know how to read and learned almost everything she knows from Tentacled who'd never been out of the Red before.

Kamryn merely squeezes Lily's hand, and waits, feeling vaguely frustrated that she can't understand or do anything to help with whatever deadlock has formed in Lily's head.

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Lily... isn't sure either what's wrong with her. 

It just feels scary. 

"I... feel like it can't be that simple. People... always want things, they never just... do things because they can. Sometimes wants like that can be good, but... the only example I have for sex is my former lord. So I can't... I..."

Her head falls forwards and she presses in harder against Kamryn. 

"... he - he touched me and I felt sick, and awful, even as he... made me feel good. And I - can't shake the feeling that you could be like that, that you could not care -" 

She shudders, but she presses in closer and stays there.

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Something is deeply wrong here, and Kamryn's inward frustration grows as she once more finds herself lacking the mental tools to see how it works. This isn't like the tribesmen who wanted to fuck her and pretended they didn't. This isn't like the tribeswoman who got disgusted about Kamryn enjoying things she wouldn't enjoy. This is something else entirely that Kamryn has no reference frame for, but the shape of it is crystal clear.

"If you want to know what I want... I want you, I want everyone, free to act on their sexual urges. Free from, from reasons not to, free from things exactly like this, where someone, where your former lord forced you to build yourself a cage around your inner radiance I mean lust, to keep it trapped and-"

It occurs to Kamryn that she knows important facts that Lily doesn't, and explaining her own motivations probably ought to be secondary. She cuts herself off and starts over.

"The others, all four of them, the Tentacled work differently than we do. They're all telepathic and their food is a kind of psychic energy. When you're feeling sexual pleasure of any kind, a Tentacled can read that pleasure in your mind. It's like, lust is sunlight for them, they're blind without it, but when it shines in someone's mind it illuminates and warms and nourishes them. I'm what Eydow called a 'Lust-Esper' so I can see the same light they do and understand them more easily than most people. So what they want is, truly, for you to enjoy the sex you want. Even if they didn't know better, which they do, and only paid attention to the light inside you, well, that would be as opposite from what your former lord did wrong as a thing can get, even if it too would be a mistake."

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"... little sparks." 

She nods to herself. "So you do get something out of this. You want things for me too. But at least you don't hide it. That's better. Like Amira..." 

She fidgets with her fingers against the palm of Kamryn's hand, and thinks. 

"I think... there's different kinds of wanting..."

Lily bites the inside of her lip. 

"... I just need to decide if... I want to be the person reflected in your eyes..."

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"... When I think about it that way it's obvious."

She shifts in, and chastely kisses Kamryn.

"Promise you won't try to keep me?"

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"I wouldn't even know how." This is sentiment more than literal truth, but even more true for that.

Kamryn kisses Lily in turn, just as gently but less chastely. Her free hand roams over Lily's backside.

"There's no rush. When you're ready, just take off your clothes, close your eyes, and let the cage around your inner light shatter. We'll do the rest. You won't have to do anything but want and feel, until you're satisfied."

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Lily sits up, and pulls off her shoes. Tossing them aside, she gets her socks next; then it's up a little to peel off her dress, neatly fold it, and set it aside. She's wearing simple cotton bloomers underneath, and no bra. 

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She hesitates. It's... not like with Maxwell... 

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She's not sure how to put this, but... 

"Whenever I was with Maxwell, it was always... his decision, on some level. I..."

She struggles for words. "I don't want to - be done things to... Well, no, that's not true... but I want to..." 

She frowns. "I don't know the word. Be the person who decides. Not just at the start, but, you know, the whole way through."

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That seems to somewhat contradict her desire to avoid triggering her Resonance crest---wait no, that's dumb, Kamryn is missing the obvious.

"Alright. I'll tell Talance to leave your mouth alone, so you can always speak. And what you do, is you give us orders. I'll translate for Talance. And we'll obey you. Think that would be a fun game? If you get to the point where you can't verbally keep up with what you want, you can always tell us to stop playing and just follow your light, and merely want and feel after that."

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"That seems like it would work. I, um..."

She lays back a little. "I'm not actually sure what Talance can do... but I think..."

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She stretches out an arm. "Let me feel what her touch is like, somewhere where it's not so... intimate. And then maybe I'll direct her a little more deeply. And you... can touch anywhere I'm not wearing clothes, right now, and I'll think about taking off my bloomers once we get a little further in."

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The flesh under Lily's knees gives a little, allowing her to sink a few inches in. Soft, slippery, dexterous tentacles with smooth surfaces sprout up and hug her calves with a gentle stroking squeeze, while more tentacles grow up to slide slickly around her thighs.

A section of flesh melts and roils like a gooey slow-motion thundercloud again as it pillars up to engulf Lily's hand. Each of her fingers feels like its slipping into a hot, slick hole of liquid warmth, even as something with the firmness and thickness of a lubed cock slides between the palm and thumb of her hand.

The entire flesh-bed shifts subtly, hinting at shapes the sight of which seem to stoke Lily's desire.

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At the same time, Kamryn sits up and grasps Lily around her waist, caressing Lily's belly with her nose and lips and cheek.

"I can touch you, but you haven't ordered me to..."

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My, that is a lot of new sensations. 

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... She grabs the tentacles back, firmly squeezing like she used to do with Maxwell. It's still good. 

Lily reaches down and buries her other hand in Kamryn's hair. "Kiss lower. Along the edge of my bloomers, but no farther. And Talance, give me a seat, I want Kamryn to be... lower than me, like she were on the floor at the side of my bed..." 

She scratches her nails softly against Kamryn's scalp. "... Maxwell never let himself be below me. Oh, he'd eat me out, but - it was always clear that he was the person who mattered, in the room."

"So I want you to beg, Kamryn. Shamelessly and earnestly. Tell me how much you want this. Convince me."

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At a nonverbal murmur from Kamryn, smooth slippery tentacles surge up around the backs of Lily's thighs and take on her weight, letting her legs bend and spread open to the degree that she isn't holding herself up. another pillar rises up to mold against her spine, barely wider than her spine itself but supported by numerous tentacles to shift with her every movement so that despite the thinness it never digs into her.

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It takes a moment for Kamryn to locate the right mental gear and there's a small thrill that accompanies finding it.

Kamryn starts kissing and licking at the edge of Lily's garment, allowing desire for Lily to spill out into her actions, pretending for a second that all of her desire and the fate of her entire future sex life lies beneath this fabric...

"Please Lily, your body feels so good to touch and I crave every bit of you that arouses me. I can feel the beauty of the radiance in you, please let me touch it, please let me touch you inside and out and bring you pleasure. I want to make you cum, please let me make you cum, it would be so hot. Please Lily, please let me in so I can let it out. Please let it out. Only you can let it out. No one else can break the cage and let that light out into the world, only you, anyone else trying to break the cage would just make it stronger, only you can decide to shine and grace us with the joys to be found in your flesh..."

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And she laughs, and she pulls Kamryn away with the hand in her hair, and she holds her there - 

"Well done. And you're right, I get to decide..." 

She presses Kamryn down. "Take off my underwear, but don't touch. I want you to watch me take Talance, and I want you to touch yourself, and I want you to be silent. Not even moaning. I've had to be quiet for far too long. You should understand what it's like. And no cumming either.

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Oh there is no way-

Okay, no. Lily doesn't mean it like that. This is part of what Lily's light needs, to be free. It's not real.

Kamryn slips Lily's underwear off, staring hungrily at the slit between Lily's legs like it is the only meal in the world.

There is a noticeable pause, quiet unintelligible monosyllables passing between Kamryn and Talance rapid-fire.

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Talance's flesh opens up and surges forward to half-engulf Kamryn. First, lifting her up in front of Lily, fleshy tentacles slithering around her legs and pulling her wide open to show her vulva off to Lily's eyes. Tentacles sprout in myriad shapes and sizes, winding around Kamryn's body, arms, neck. One tentacle latches on to Kamryn's face, covering her nose and mouth from below, sealing off her ability to make sound (or breathe).

Kamryn's breasts and pussy are untouched, emphasized and displayed, as Kamryn herself puts up a convincing struggle, her fingertips just barely able to reach far enough to brush at her nipples and clit.

Then,

A new pillar of flesh rises up between Kamryn and Lily, equidistant between their 'seats'. It soothes out into a thick, glistening, red phallus, visually detailed to be the most appealing-looking cock Lily has ever seen. It's form is perfectly to Lily's taste, having subtly conformed to what stoked her lust the most as it formed. It hovers now, pointed at Lily from between the two girls, bending away from Kamryn's lewdly exposed and needy loins to bump and nuzzle at Lily's more modest slit.

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Is she really doing this - 

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Well, she's already come this far.

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So she shifts her hips forwards, her ever-slick pussy lips parting neatly as she bears down on the tentacle-cock before her, falling a little out of her "seat" as she kneels over Kamryn. 

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... it feels good. She muffles a moan with one of her hands, and then - decides all at once that it doesn't matter, she can just fuck Kamryn -

She buries her face in Kamryn's sex, and starts licking. Her technique is a bit raw - it's the first time she's done this - but she's listening to the heat inside her the way she did with Maxwell but it's okay, she wants Kamryn to feel good - and with the guidance of her Resonance tattoo she quickly homes in on Kamryn's most sensitive places, and starts to tease her (not incidentally teasing herself too -)

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The cock-tentacle holds still to let Lily impale herself on it, then it thrusts firmly in, filling Lily to her deepest depths. The 'seat' tilts with her, still propping her up and letting her feel relaxed and languid in her new position. Talance reclines Kamryn's fleshy 'seat' at the same time, brining Kamryn's pussy upward so Lily can get at it while remaining 'above' Kamryn.

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Kamryn lays back and lets herself be helpless, be at Lily's mercy. Her hands stop trying to reach herself, Lily's earlier command to masturbate obviously discarded in favor of Lily's direct teasing. Kamryn's pussy is beautiful and juicy and silky-smooth and soft and just a very pleasant place for anyone with even a hint of attraction to the female form to put their face.

As for Lily's order to not orgasm, well, that's out of Kamryn's hands now.

(Also, she's not entirely certain she can hold back an orgasm and hold back her Lust-Aura at the same time. Holding back the Lust-Aura is tricky and she suspects most people wouldn't be able to control it at all. She's pretty sure the Lust-Aura is exactly where any orgasm she tried to suppress would immediately go.)

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Lily moans lowly as the tentacle presses deeper into her, and presses her tongue in in return, her hands grabbing firmly at Kamryn's thighs. The taste of Kamryn is amazing, in a way that's difficult to define - it's not exactly delicious but there's something raw about it that just makes her crave more. 

She pulls back a little after teasing the pair of them... she lost count of how many times. Five, six edges? She still feels surprisingly lucid, though this is far more intense than anything she ever did for Maxwell. 

She wants more. 

"Give me Kamryn's mouth, I want to kiss her."

 

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At her (super)natural baseline of arousal, combined with her familiarity with living in the cycle, edging doesn't really have much of an effect on Kamryn, but she can be completely uninhibited with every shiver, quiver, flutter, twitch, and moan that reflects what little effect there is, throwing herself into the role of being overwhelmed by what Lily's making her feel.

When Talance presents Kamryn's face to Lily, Kamryn meets Lily's lips in a hot, wet, eager kiss, shuddering and moaning into Lily's mouth. (One of those moans is stealthily directed at Talance to stop her from spoiling Lily's scene by immediately taking over and making Kamryn cum. The thick cock-tentacle that is buried deep in Lily's pussy but not moving much, wriggles just a little.)

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Lily takes Kamryn's hand as she presses in close, and kisses her again, and again, and finally -

"Together," she says. "You can tell Talance to stop holding back."

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Flesh roils and folds up, like a closing flower with the two girls in the middle. It doesn't cover their heads but it does squish Kamryn and Lily against each other, holding them in place for kissing as slick squirming tentacles of every size swarm over both of their bodies, molding to every erogenous zone either of them have and caressing them, warm and slippery.

The thick cock-tentacle in Lily's pussy suddenly swells, hardens, and thrusts, plunging in and out of her firmly and with steadily increasing speed as she adapts to the sensation. At the same time, a smaller, nubbed tentacle bumps up against her anus with a steady pressure that quickly overcomes the resistance of her hole and slides inside.

(A pair of tentacles plunge up into Kamryn's holes too, of course, pounding her hard and bringing her to orgasm in seconds, her body convulsing against Lily's.)

Tentacles wriggle around both girls' breasts, forming conjoined suction bulbs to tease and suckle both girls' nipples while also sucking a nipple from each girl into the same gooey lubricated mouthlike chamber. Massaging slickness ripples all around them both as they're nearly encased in Talance's amorous flesh.

Talance lets her own lust run free, diving into the glow of desire and pleasure and release in both Kamryn's familiar mind and Lily's less familiar mind, blissfully embracing her instincts and flowing with the raw carnal urges of her Lovers, feverishly touching and feeling up the pair of humanoid bodies within her mass.

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Oh, fuck -

Lily comes as well. She was close to the edge already after all the teasing her resonance crest offered. 

It takes her nearly a minute to crash back into something resembling coherence, but even after that she's not satisfied. She's never really been, before, Maxwell would always stop when he came - and he never used that hole before - 

Who cares about fucking Maxwell.

She grinds in hard against Kamryn and squirms in the tentacles, feeling them inside and out, heat and pressure and slickness, and kisses Kamryn again because she doesn't have the words to say thank you. 

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The gratitude is felt regardless.

The full-body lesbian tentacle-fuck only gets more intense as Lily's urges run free and blaze bright, rising to peaks of ecstatic intensity, falling to gentle massage for just a moment, before being driven back up to the next peak. An ever-rolling cycle from moments when craving exceeds stimulation, then when stimulation exceeds craving, then when satiation exceeds both, however briefly before craving rises again. Sometimes the peak is so brief there's no time for satiation before craving swells and they're being fucked to the next, sometimes Talance raises them up to the edge more gently, and then pounds and gropes and rubs and strokes with a fury that keeps them both at the peak of orgasm for minutes or more.

And it is both of them. No, it's all three of them: Talance climaxes when they do, recovers while they do, and builds up again right along with them, changing her approach each time. Always chasing the raw urges within them.

This is the cycle.

And eventually, they collectively allow satiation to dominate, and the little cycle of three beings finally winds down and stops. Or at least pauses.

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And Lily laughs, and relaxes back into the tentacles, and lets the tension in her limbs fade and warmth and satisfaction permeate her body. 

"Wow," she says. "That was..." 

She doesn't know how many times she's come, and frankly she doesn't care. She's still just as ready for sex as before, but the hunger has stilled in her a little, in a way it never has before. She feels... light. 

"... I don't have words. Except maybe thank you."

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"I learned something too, I think."

Kamryn pulls Lily into her arms as Talance slowly, slowly reassembles her human guise.

In the rest of the camp: the trapper boy has long-since exhausted himself, and seems to be asleep on Uuloo's back, draped over her like he passed out while still fucking her.

Lygos still has Yosaphen inside him as he prowls the edge of the clearing with an irritated air, murmurs and soft moans passing back and forth inside that helmet like a conversation.

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"Lily."

Kamryn has been thinking about this since they finished.

"What do you think would happen, if we tried to enter the city openly?"

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"People... Would be scared. They'd think you were monsters, especially if you were nude in public or had sex in public... You could maybe pass, but the rest of the group wouldn't. People back where I came from looked at me like I was something... other... even though I'm mostly human."

"You might have better luck with some people, especially the goblins, they're more open about this kind of thing... but I would expect you to be hassled by the town guards. You'd need... noble protection, to be safe. Is my best guess. I don't know for sure."

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"Hm."

They could always try to enter the city not-openly, but first...

"What's 'noble protection'?"

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"There are some people who are important because they own a lot of things. Including other people. Those important people, who are called nobles, get to say what happens most of the time, even if it's not good for anyone but them. So... if you could convince a noble that you were important somehow..."

She purses her lips. "Amira might be able to help with that, she says she has a noble sponsor."

 

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The mental image Kamryn puts together can't possibly be right.

Probably 'nobles' are one of those things that don't make sense until seen in action.

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"What if we posed as humans?"

Kamryn gestures to her palette-swapped twin, as Talance finishes reconstructing her preferred form. Then at Lygos, who's only really given away by the squelching sounds, not the way he looks.

"Lygos can look like a human in armor when he tries, and Yosaphen can sound human if she tries. They might be able to pass, working together. Talance can look completely human, she just can't talk very clearly. The only one who'd definitely stand out is Uuloo, and we could leave her to watch the camp."

Kamryn hums.

"Having inside help so we don't need to pull that off would be better, though. Would you ask Amira about that for us?"

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"Yeah, I'll ask Amira. You said you... had a warning you wanted to share? I think that that would be the kind of thing that might get a noble's attention."

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"The Red Queen."

Kamryn frowns at the name.

"It's complicated, but the Red Queen needs to be stopped, or the entire world might end up... worse than enslaved. The tentacle princesses have a plan, but the rest of the world needs to be warned against her machinations too, lest she use them against us."

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"Amira is going to want details. Vague warnings... aren't very useful. You might want to talk to the Adventurer's Guild, too, they're more likely to take that kind of thing seriously."

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"I've got details, though Lygos and Talance were the ones actually there for some of it."

Kamryn gives Lily a look.

"Do you want the whole story now, or do you want to wait for Amira?"

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"I think Amira should hear it from you... and honestly I don't feel like heading back to see her just yet. I'd like to... get to know the rest of you."

She looks over at the boy from town where he's sleeping. "And I'll take the risk that he says something he shouldn't. I can't live my life in fear forever."

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No one here, with the possible exception of the trapper boy, is going to do anything besides eagerly engage in any sexual things Lily wants from them. Sex never really entirely stops, among Tentacled. Even as they talk about serious matters in a deep extended satiation phase of the cycle, Talance is idly fondling one of Lily's breasts, and Kamryn's absently fingering Talance's reformed pussy, since, you know, it's right there.

Talance can grow a cock at whim, without otherwise altering her human guise, if Lily wants to have sex like a human, now. She's a little sore from the big shifting she did before but if Lily wants her to she can also totally turn back into tentacles as long as Lily doesn't mind it being a human-sized amount of tentacles.

Uuloo can extricate herself from the sleeping human boy and cuddle Lily against her slick, soft body, and run her slick hands all over Lily's own body, caressing and stroking her as much as she wants.

Lygos can disgorge Yosaphen, who will laugh in her face if Lily tries to get her to role-play, but the Gazer will haughtily encourage Lily to be more horny; maybe if she tries real hard and believes in herself she can be as horny as Yosaphen one day---though also she thinks the odd artificial jointing of Lily's limbs is really neat to look at even if it doesn't feel nearly as good to touch. The ball-joints are just a little bit like eyeballs, aren't they?

And Lygos himself, if Lily is feeling adventurous, can swallow her up and seal Lily into his tight tentacled confines for a thorough all-holes ravishing. He's getting tired of having Yosaphen's inside him all the time, and would be thrilled to engulf someone new.

The sex never really stops, not even when they've got other things to do, and are doing those things. Lily can just, join in, grab any of them, any way she wants, and slake her long-caged lusts however she likes. For as long as she likes.

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Lily is willing to sample most of this. Not being sealed in Lygos, not yet, and at first her interactions with Yosaphen don't go so well, but Uuloo and Talance and Kamryn are enough for her to have a very pleasant night. The trapper boy she'll let sleep. 

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When she reaches another moment of satiation and she can tell from the stars that it's nearing dawn, she disentangles herself and starts putting her clothes and her cloak back on. 

"I'l go talk to Amira and bring her back tomorrow night. For the day I need to work; I don't want to just drop my responsibilities to Amira without even talking to her. But..."

She stretches langourously. "I'm definitely coming back."

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"We'll wait for you. And thanks."

Kamryn sees her off with a hug-grope and a warm smile.

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And back she goes to Amira, hidden beneath her cloak. 

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Amira is asleep in the bed and breakfast's bed. Technically it's Lily's bed, but...

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Lily sits down at the end of the bed, gets out her lap desk, and reads. She still needs to learn more... And she doesn't want to disturb Amira.

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Eventually Amira wakes, and sits up in bed. 

"Morning," she says. "You look..." She considers Lily's face a little. "Faraway."

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"I spent the night with Kamryn and the rest of them. It was... good. Really, really good."

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"I'm glad you enjoyed yourself." Amira gets out of bed; she's still dressed, having apparently fallen asleep in her clothes. "Did she say anything more about this Red Queen?"

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"She said that it was complicated and hard to explain. I told her she should talk to you directly. Was that okay?"

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"It's a sensible approach. I'll think about it while I'm at market today." 

She hands over a slim book. "Here's the transactions for yesterday for you to go over while I'm away."

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Lily accepts with a nod. "Thank you."

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"And don't think of sneaking out to see Kamryn during the day. It's dangerous to both of us. Please be careful."

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"Alright." 

She takes the slim volume, sets it down on her lap desk, and gets to work.

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Amira lets herself out. 

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Lily is finding it a little difficult to focus on the dry transactions. Memories from last night keep wandering through her mind. 

It's not even just the sex, it's the - freedom. And the companionship. She's never really had someone she could properly talk to before. And she just... poured her heart out to this beautiful wild woman... 

She thinks - no, she knows - she doesn't want the faithfulness tattoo anymore. 

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... she is maybe going to take a small break from these transactions to... clear her head.

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Masturbation turns out not to really help, not with the memory of the real satisfaction she found last night still fresh in her mind. But it's something. 

She sets herself back to her figures with grim determination.

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And eventually, Amira returns. 

"My patron says he can get me tattoo ink if I want it, but... I wanted to check with you whether you still want the faithfulness tattoo, given what happened last night."

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"I don't want it. I... thought I had to leave this behind, but I don't have to, and... that's wonderful."

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"It's a good thing I didn't buy tattoo ink, then. There are still some hours before it gets dark enough for people to stop going about outside the town; would you like to use them to talk with me a little?"

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Amira's tone is... not exactly a request, Lily thinks. 

"Of course."

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"So, Lily... I'd like to hear from you a little more about last night. What happened? Leaving out the salacious details. Broadly. You seem to have changed your mind very quickly."

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"I..." She looks Amira in the eye. "I met people who saw me as an equal, who didn't judge me by my body or my tattoos, who coaxed me to... be more than Maxwell ever would have wanted me to be. And... We had sex, and for the first time I felt satisfied. In a way that never happened with Maxwell."

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"Do you love Kamryn?"

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"I... it wasn't like that -"

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"Answer the question, please."

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"... I don't know. It was... freeing. And she seemed to care about me. And she's beautiful. But, love..."

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"Some advice for you, then, as someone who knows something about tentacleds and their Lovers... It might have seemed wonderful, it might have been freeing, but overall... They don't treat sex and sexuality as seriously as we do. Love doesn't come into it, so much, compared to... companionship and mutual joy. You aren't special, to them; they'd do the same for anyone. And so long as you can keep that separation, it will be fine, but if you fall in love... well, you could leave for the Pink, but I don't think you'd actually be happy there. You care too much about learning and growing to dedicate your life to simple pleasure."

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Lily looks down at her account book. 

"... but am I happy here in the first place?"

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"Perhaps not yet. But with time you'll grow and blossom. You have the potential to be an alchemist, a scholar, a witch. You have a good head on your shoulders, a strong will, and a quick mind. In a few years, perhaps less, you could be a journeywoman like me. Run your own business, keep your own company. And with a proper patron and enough money, you'll be able to buy away your past as a slave, no matter what Maxwell wants."

"And then you'll be free."

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"I thought I was supposed to be free already."

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"It's more complicated than that, and you know it."

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Lily sighs. "I know."

Kamryn has never heard of nobles before. I saw the disbelief on her face; she thinks that can't be how it works. 

Maybe she's right and we're wrong. 

She doesn't say it.

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"There is an alternative. You could leave. Go somewhere far away enough that Bell can't reach you. Settle down in Relvos, or with the Tyrepts, or somewhere like that. But... you'd be all alone, out there. I couldn't come with you, I have responsibilities here in Bell. And the road is dangerous."

"But if you traveled with this Kamryn, you might be safe. From monsters, at least; nobles are the same wherever you go."

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"I hadn't thought that far ahead."

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"Something to think about, perhaps."

Amira taps her fingers together. "Now, shall we go over your alchemy and herblore of the last week?"

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"Of course, Amira."

She sets aside the figures and picks up her books. 

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And soon it's time for them to go. 

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Together, back down the path to Kamryn's camp, Amira leading Lily by the hand.

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"I don't know what you even think you're doing."

Yosaphen is straddling the trapper boy on the ground, riding his cock with a hand pressed over his mouth, paying him little attention as she focuses on the spectacle in front of her.

"Outlander customs are so pointless."

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"This part isn't complicated. You just have to cover anything that looks like red-glisten. Except in your mouth. See?"

Kamryn is standing there, not entirely nude for a change. She seems to have fitted a plucked leaf over her crotch and another pair of leaves over her nipples, tied in place with improvised twine.

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Standing next to Kamryn, Talance is likewise attired in a leaf-bikini, poking at the green leaf on one of her breasts with a nonplussed air.

Talance asks a question in hums and tentacle-noises, a bare few legible words scattered throughout: "Even if this lets Lily take us into the city, Amira's noble might not be the right important person. How are we going to find the important people without being able to sense their princess-authority?"

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Several eye-tentacles swivel toward the approaching pair of Lily and Amira, even as Yosaphen herself bites her lip in pleasure and cums, her lithe lavender body trembling as she makes a pleased noise.

"Mm, easy. They don't have princess-authority. So we'll just feel out whoever's the most important by how horny they are. Even Kamryn should be able to do that, right?"

She stands up, her fluttering, quivering pussy dripping a bit on the trapper boy's throbbing cockhead as she turns.

The boy groans in protest, looks around quickly, then rolls to his feet and hurries over to Kamryn. He grabs Kamryn's waist, pushes on her back to bend her over a little, and shoves his cock under the loosely-tied leaf and into Kamryn's pussy, pounding away at her from behind.

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Kamryn, unperturbed beyond a soft moan of pleasure, pats the boy's hand even as her attention follows Yosaphen's to the arriving Lily and Amira.

"I don't think the horniest person will be the most important person, Yosaphen. It didn't work like that in my birth tribe. It didn't even work like that in any of the beastmen tribes we met."

Kamryn gives the trapper boy a light push as she slides off his cock and steps forward to greet Lily with a casual wave.

(The trapper boy moves over to Talance and starts fucking her from behind instead, in the same position... until he sees that Lily has brought the other lady with her and gets shy again.)

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Amira looks over the assembled group. 

"Getting ready to meet the locals, I see. Well, it's better than nothing... Though real clothing would be better. Lily tells me you wanted to see me?"

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Lily stays behind Amira and holds her tongue.

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"We have a warning to deliver, and a mission that more people working at would be a good thing."

Kamryn peers around Amira at Lily for a moment, but elects not to go around Amira to welcome-back the doll girl.

"Do you want the whole story now, or do you want to take us to your 'noble' first?"

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"I want the whole story. If I think it has merit then we'll buy you some proper clothes to present you to my patron in. What you have there is a good set of clothes to get better clothes with."

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Kamryn grimaces openly at the prospect of More Clothes.

"Ignoring that for now."

Kamryn frowns.

"This would be easier if you could understand Lygos. I'll do my best but this is second-hand."

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"The Red Queen's motivations are unknown, beyond pure desire for power or dominance. She began as a Lover living in the northern Red. She was popular. And powerful. A few years ago the Red Queen found this place called the Wound, where a huge Heart had been torn out of the Red a long time ago. Whatever she did there gave her incredible psychic power over the Red and the Tentacled. Ever since, she's been consuming the minds of every red-dweller she can, turning them into puppets, and breeding Living Clothes and other Tentacled that are born puppets."

Kamryn's brow furrows in thought.

"If you've heard about attacks, about raids, about Tentacled coming in the night and stealing your people away to become playthings, that's her. That's the Red Queen. And the people she takes, they're not playthings. They're broken drones. The lucky ones are raped and brainwashed into blissful unthinking obedience. The unlucky ones get taken back to the Spire where they're... I don't have the words... they're turned into mindless mana generators. They're consumed by the Red Queen's tentacle pits and... they don't even orgasm. They're pushed so deep into climax that they stop feeling pleasure, stop feeling anything, just one continuous unending note of unbounded peak sensation that lets her feed on them to produce mana at the cost of everything that actually matters."

Kamryn shakes her head.

"The leading princesses in the south are keeping the Red Queen contained with a psychic barrier, but it won't hold forever. Our best hope is the missing Heart. That's our mission. To find it. To find out what happened to it. To find a way to make it able to return home, close the Wound, and take away all the Red Queen's power before it's too late."

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"... I see." 

Amira knits her fingers together. "And it's different, for the princesses in the south?"

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"Is what different."

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"I don't know how the nobility of the Pink work. Do they keep slaves? Is what the Red Queen is doing meaningfully unusual? I am ignorant, and my patron will think of this as... the opinion of one side in a more complicated conflict. If it really is as you say, I need to know why."

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"The Red Queen is an abomination who is only barely being held back from continuing her already-halfway-successful genocide of the entire Tentacled population. She's turned half a continent into little more than a sick imitation of life that is no more than a direct extension of herself. So yeah. I'd say that what she's doing is meaningfully unusual."

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"We don't have that 'nobility' thing back home, either," Yosaphen contributes blandly. "You utter shit-heel."

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"You do recognize that people say things like this about their political enemies even when they are false, yes?"

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...

Translated by Kamryn: "Lygos says that the Red Queen is not a political enemy. If she were, we wouldn't be here. The Red Queen is a lone individual with immense, unchecked, psychic and magical power who is using that power to destroy everything that is not herself. She is not conquering us. She is eating us. And soon, she will eat you."

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"I see." 

Amira sits down and presses her lips into her fist.

"Then... Assuming for the moment that I believe you, you must produce proof. You say she makes puppets - could one of these puppets be apprehended for inspection by a psychic? To see how their will has been dominated and subverted?" 

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"We don't have time for that crap. Did you miss the part where we're on a mission?"

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Translated by Kamryn, "Lygos says that if you traveled to the Deep-Heart-Glisten-Palace in the heart of the southern Pink, you'd be able to meet the thousands of rescued drones recovering in its most accommodating tentacle pits. Capturing drones and freeing them from the Red Queen's control is what Lygos used to do, before he was sent on this mission. He's seen them himself, first-hand."

Lygos says something else in a way that comes across legibly sarcastic.

Translated, "Obviously, we didn't bring any of them with us."

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"How many days' journey is that away?"

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Kamryn gives Amira a flat look.

"Many."

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"We'll have to find someone fast over rough country..." 

She sighs. "I don't have strong hopes, honestly, and I'm not too happy about it either. Even if this is just a normal war - and I doubt it is, to be clear - then it's worth sending someone to confirm. I don't see any reason why you wouldn't be telling the truth, but my patron won't be convinced, not even with my word backing you up."

She looks at Lily. "... We could ask for a sign from the stars. That would give us more weight. But it's not enough. It might be enough to get my patron to be willing to confirm, but not enough for him to stake his reputation and wealth on convincing others. But even then, it'll be slow." 

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"Why are we letting one random guy decide whether or not we tell everyone this incredibly important warning, again? We just need you to get us into the city in a way that allows us to warn everyone. Your people can all make their own decisions once they've heard. This may be more people than I've ever seen in one place before but even I know this is just one town among many."

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"You can tell whoever you like, Kamryn, but it matters who believes you. I want you to be believed. My patron is the best lever I have for that."

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"Why would anyone care what your patron says about us? We just need to not be mistaken for wild monsters long enough to tell everyone what we just told you."

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"... Because he's nobility, Kamryn. Like a chieftain of a tribe, but much, much bigger. What he says will influence the thoughts of many people, and most importantly the important ones."

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"Great. Let's go talk to him, then."

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"That is the idea, yes."

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"Then let's go now. We've been waiting days already."

Talance, Lygos, and Yosaphen come up to flank Kamryn, leaving the trapper boy standing there awkwardly. Lygos opens up and swallows Yosaphen, then moves into the middle. An androgynous suit of armor, with a beautiful woman in a leaf bikini on each arm.

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"Lily, you should go back to the bed and breakfast. I'll handle this."

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Lily nods, but hesitates to leave. It's... She doesn't want to leave Kamryn behind. Who knows when she'll see her next.

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"Lily, if you'd rather wait here with him," she gestures at the local boy, still standing there naked, "Uuloo is on her way back."

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"... I think I'd prefer that."

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Amira gives Lily a cool look, but doesn't say anything. 

"Alright then. I'll lead the way."

And she turns on her heel and starts walking towards town.

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The armored figure with the un-coifed leaf-bikini-clad beauties on either arm follows Amira to town.

A couple of suspicious squelching noises echo out of the metal before stopping.

"Gah. You don't have to be that still, Lygos."

The armor rattles lightly in reply.

"Fiiiine," Yosaphen sighs. "Let's do this. I am totally a human what-you-call-it, knight! I am totally a human knight."

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They get a few looks from passersby as they approach the gate, but Amira's confident presence and the apparent armored knight prevent anyone from approaching. 

As they approach the gate, Amira calls out. "Amira and a party of adventurers from the East."

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The guard looks up and nods to them, his gaze passing over the group. 

Some errant knight and his tribal beauties, huh. Above my pay grade. 

"Entry tax for three," he grunts.

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Amira reaches into her cloak, retrieves a small pouch of gems, and counts three out into the guard's hand. "That should cover it."

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The guard nods, and pockets the gems. "Welcome to Avira." 

He steps aside.

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"I feel so welcomed." Not sarcastic, but a little condescending.

And inward they proceed.

Her armored head swivels a bit as she stares around at all the... stuff. Her eye-tentacles are all squished into Lygos' flesh, so she's kind of obvious with her gawking, limited to just the one eye in her head. So this is how outlanders live in the west...

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"Mmhm. Mmhm? Hm! Hmm'mm. What hmm mn mm!"

     "I have no idea," Kamryn replies, peering at a wall made of bricks.

"Hmmn. They mm'muh. Hm'hm mm?"

     "Probably not."

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"Stay close. If we get separated in the crowd it could be a disaster. Talance especially." 

Amira leads them through the city and into the low market square, where she approaches a leatherworker selling fur-lined leather bikinis. 

"These two," she points a thumb at the leaf-bikini-wearers, "need some proper clothes." 

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"I can see that. There's a screen in the back to change behind if you pay up front." 

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Amira picks up a pair of bikinis and hands over a handful of gems. 

"Talance, Kamryn?"

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While Kamryn hesitates about accommodating local expectations, Talance doesn't even catch the implication and swipes away the leaves right there in full view of the market. She quickly replaces the leaves with the leather, maybe, just a little, cheating at human flexibility to do so smoothly.

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Well, that settles that. No point in going around back, now.

Kamryn also replaces the leaves with leather, somewhat more competently than Talance.

Settling the new garment into place, she shrugs inwardly. It's more tolerable than her old wolf pelts, at least.

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The merchant gives Amira a Look.

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"My apologies, they're from very far away and don't really understand the nudity thing."

She curtseys and starts leading the group towards the nobles' quarter.

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"The nudity thing is dumb."

Kamryn returns to Yosaphen-Lygos' arm and follows along as they make their way.

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Eventually, there's another set of gates, with a pair of more heavily-armored guards. 

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One of them steps forwards.

"Name and business."

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"Amira, journeywitch of House Halentry, and guests. We have urgent news for my patron."

Amira fishes in her cloak again, and comes up with a rune-stamped piece of parchment which she presents to the guard. There's a fairly good sketch of her on it, along with her name.

 

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"Are all three of them necessary?"

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"They are a party and do not intend to be split. I vouch for their peaceful intent."

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"Why is it necessary to meet this late at night?"

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"They intend to depart in the morning; if my lord is to hear the news from its source, it must be conveyed immediately."

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The guard nods.and steps back into the guard station, where he stamps three small passes for the group. 

"Here are three day passes for your guests. Stick to your business and don't stray."

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Amira nods, and pockets her identification and the day passes.

"Onwards."

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This is already a far more involved process than Kamryn was imagining, with multiple unnecessary steps.

...she peers suspiciously at Amira. Is all this unnecessary? Or is this rigmarole normal, with Amira doing the best she can?

It's disturbing to think it might be normal.

"Do the people living here like going through all this," she searches for a word, "ritual, every time they need to talk to their leader?"

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"Mostly they don't talk to their leaders; there's far too many people to make it possible for everyone to have the time of those in charge. But that's another conversation."

Amira passes a few manor houses, and finally knocks on the door of a moderately-sized one with well-trimmed hedges and an oak tree out front. 

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A long-eared maid answers the door. 

"Hello? - Amira! What are you doing here so late? And... you brought guests?"

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"I have urgent business for our lord, Mira. Could you go wake him?"

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"I, ah... If it's really that important. What shall I say to him?"

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"I have urgent news from the east, with political implications. And impatient guests to see him."

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"Alright. Make yourselves at home in the front parlor." 

She looks at the knight and the leather-bikinied girls on his arms. 

"... And please don't break anything."

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Amira leads the group in through a few doors and into a room with a pair of couches.

"... We'll probably have to wait a little while my patron prepares himself to meet. Please be respectful. That means you, Yosaphen. No swearing."

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The maid has already vanished off into the house.

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"Yeah yeah, I'll let Kamryn do the talking."

She goes over to one of the couches and sprawls out on it, her armored form taking up the entire thing.

"Hey Lygos-"

The armor rattles subtly and negatively.

"Ugh."

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Kamryn has additional questions about how apparently these people don't talk to their leader, but.

That can wait. It's going to itch. But it can wait.

"Amira, should we reveal our true identities or speak with your 'noble' as our guises?"

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"Your identities are important to your words being taken seriously. I think that it's better for you to speak as yourselves. Here on the estate, under my protection, with Mira as the only servant on duty... It's worth the risk."

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"Oh good. In that case..."

She raps a knuckle on her chest-plate.

The armor manages to express exasperation without moving.

Then a soft wet squelching sound comes from inside the metal, along with a pleased, muffled groan from Yosaphen.

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"... Please do not have sex in front of my patron."

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There's a muffled feminine noise, a wet slurp, and then, "You just said we should stop hiding our identities."

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Kamryn, meanwhile, tries to set aside her itching additional questions in favor of marshalling her words.

She needs to tell the story right.

"Amira," she interrupts whatever the woman was going to say to Yosaphen, "You misunderstood me when I first explained. The words I used weren't the right words. Can you tell me, what the right words are? Do you know?"

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"We'll need to go through it again for him. He'll probably have similar reactions to me, but a little less so because I'm here vouching for you. You should emphasize that there's no such thing as nobility where you come from - calling her the "Red Queen" is confusing, it makes her sound like she's just a noble when she's really a mindslaving witch with no actual subordinates, just drones. Stress that there is proof of the mind control, that it's on a massive scale, and that she's indiscriminate about what she takes."

She looks down at her hands in her lap. "State your case as clearly as you can, and do your best to be deferential even if he says something you find offensive. This isn't your world, and I have never known my patron to be an unintelligent man."

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Kamryn shoves her additional questions down again and focuses on just the immediate parts.

"So 'queen' means something different here. Alright. What is your word for, um, the entity that is a hive, then? What is 'deferential' and how do I be it? And what words would've made you understand that the Red Queen is 'eating' us, not just conquering us, without having to re-explain that part?"

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"It is queen, you have the translation correct, it just has two senses. Just clarify that you mean "queen" as in "ant queen." Deferential is - act like what he thinks is more important than what you think, I don't have time to teach you ettiquette. Tell him that the Red Queen absorbs others into herself through mind control, that she doesn't have subjects or slaves but that she has more of herself, stolen from those who once had those bodies. She possesses those she controls, like a ghost. That should express the difference between her and, say, the Blackthorns."

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Kamryn nods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"I think you need to explain 'deferential' again because I don't think I understood that part."

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"Bell Kingdom is heirarchical - slaves at the bottom, then farmers and hunters, then merchants and craftsmen, then adventurers and mages, then the nobility. So if you are a farmer and you are talking to a magecrafter, then you need to show you understand that their time is more valuable than your time - they could be making magical items that let people double their harvests, while you are just harvesting one field. So you don't waste their time, you use certain forms of language that show you understand that they're more important than -"

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A door opens, and Mira escorts in a goblin gentleman.

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Amira immediately stands and curtseys. "My lord. Please forgive my guests; they are from far to the east, beyond the reach of kingdoms, and do not understand our customs."

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"It's enough, Amira. Sit. I take it this is urgent enough to wake me; please explain the matter."

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Amira sits, and gestures to the group. "This group of tentacleds and their Lover have come from far to the east to warn of a threat to Bell Kingdom and the world. I will let Kamryn express it to you, though I may interject to clarify if need be."

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So 'be deferential' just means she shouldn't waste this guy's time, okay.

If the boy who stumbled into their camp days ago had been this helpful, that sure would've saved everyone's time from waste, wouldn't it have.

"We've been sent as advanced scouts to investigate the rumored Lonely Heart far to the west of here, because the... leaders in the Pink believe recovering the Heart and returning it to the Pink may be our only hope of stopping the Red Queen before she consumes the Realm. The Red Queen---and that is 'queen' like 'ant queen' not whatever it usually means in the west---absorbs all others into herself using 'mind control' and other methods that leave nothing behind but more of herself. She is currently contained to the northern Pink by a psychic barrier, but that barrier could fall at any time."

Half-second pause.

"The Red Queen has been raiding the lands west of the Fringe, taking people to be... mind-broken... into new drones. I don't know if her raids have reached this far west, yet, but they will soon, and the people here and beyond must be warned that those raids are not coming from the Tentacled, but from a terrible threat to all life posing as the Tentacled. The Red Queen wants us at war. We suspect the purpose of her raids is to fool you into believing the Tentacled peoples have united to attack you. To turn her enemies against each other so they, so we, can't stop her."

Kamryn takes a breath.

"This is the first major permanent settlement we've reached in our journey. Through chance we happened to meet Amira. She tells us that you are the best person we could talk to, to provide aid in spreading this warning among your people."

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Lord Halentry strokes his chin and nods seriously. 

"You were right to wake me for this, Amira. This is going to be delicate. There's already a certain level of mistrust of tentacled-folk, and if they were to begin to raid us then I'm sure the sentiment would only redouble. The natural reaction would likely be indiscriminate retaliation - which, if this report is true, would only make things worse."

He paces down the room, then turns. "Making our situation even less politically convenient is the distance to the Pink. Most people are unlikely to care until the Red Queen is at our doorstep. There are many awful things and people out in the less friendly corners of this world, and mostly they are content to reside in their own domains; Even the Hawthorns are willing to trade, on occasion."

He crosses his arms and hmphs. "I could bring this to a council of the nobility, but they'll be slow to act at best on the basis of a single adventuring party with loyalties that are elsewhere. Have you cast the stars, Amira?"

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"I haven't had time to. I do believe they'll confirm the story."

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"Best not to waste time, then. Go out to the garden and do so now. With a strong star-cast, I may be able to convince some of the more devout factions without needing direct evidence."

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Amira rises, curtseys, and exits the room with a glance backwards at Kamryn.

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Lord Halentry looks at Kamryn. "Do you have any experience of how leadership and politics work in the west?"

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Kamryn and Yosaphen-Lygos and Talance all exchange confused glances as the goblin talks. Kamryn starts to open her mouth to object to... she doesn't have the words.

She's not even sure she has the concepts, to go with what the goblin 'noble' just did.

"Clearly not, no. It was our intention to give the same warning we just gave you to as many peoples as possible, and I'm having trouble understanding why no one we've talked to seems willing or able to entertain the idea of spreading the warning to everyone instead of just a select few."

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"I'm gonna be so tired if it turns out we should've gone with our first plan: sneak onto the tallest roofs and just shout the warning over and over all day."

The armor makes a sarcastic rattle-squelch.

"That too."

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"You would likely be arrested for causing a disturbance, and on suspicion of being Red Eye cultists. I do intend to inform the general public, but few of them are likely to care beyond having one more source of fear in their lives... Well, we can hope for some adventurers or errant knights to take it seriously."

He sighs. "In the west... Well. My family made its fortune as magecrafters many generations ago, and by that ancient wealth I am considered more "worthy" than any commoner you should happen to pass on the street. My peers on the council include devotees of the Strict Master who believe people are meant to be bought and sold, goblins who think that humans are uneducated prudes, humans who think goblins are lecherous and dangerously unstable, merchant-lords who value gems over people, and people who happen to be in charge just because their ancestor was good at killing things. This group of fools is largely more interested in fighting for advantage over each other than the good of the country or the city - and they're the ones who control the magic and the warriors."

He folds his hands together. "I do what I can."

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Well. Good to have confirmation that they didn't waste multiple days waffling for nothing; the locals would have attacked them if they'd tried to openly deliver the warning.

"In what sense are they in charge if they don't... no, nevermind, I'll probably need to know this later but I heard Amira when she said not to waste your time. Do you have any more questions for us? Is there anything we can do to," Kamryn doesn't know the word 'expedite', "help this along?"

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"What evidence could be provided that might convince a fractious, squabbling council of fools that this is -" 

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Amira slams open the door to the room and stumbles in looking wild-eyed. 

She takes three strides, then trips over the hem of her own skirt and falls to all fours. 

"My - My lord, I - " 

She reaches up, draws a hand through her hair, and sits back on her knees. Tears stain her cheeks. She takes a shaky breath.

"... It's extremely clear. I've never heard such a cacophony."

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Lord Halentry's face sets in grim lines. 

"... I had hoped it wouldn't be." 

He exhales, and offers a hand to Amira. "I will do my best to convince the others. Such a clear sign can't be ignored - even those fools on the council should understand that this is serious."

"In the meantime, I will give you a letter to take to the Adventurer's Guild and the necessary fee to place it onto the Merchants' scrying network. Others will be able to confirm with the stars; we can spread the news faster than this party can travel. Some will still be suspicious, but at least in Bell my word will have some weight."

He turns towards Kamryn and the group again. "If you're travelling towards the Consumed, there is an issue. The Blackthorns are in your way - and they won't listen to anyone who's not a goblin, even if you could pass the Thornwall. You'll have to go around, or else risk being enslaved and subjected to magical experiments. I have a rough map of the continent, but I don't know the exact extent of the Blackthorns to the south - they don't share maps of their own territory outside their empire."

"Your best option is to pass as south as you can, skirting the mountains and the Autumnal Palace. You'll still need to be cautious of Blackthorn wolf-riders, but hopefully you should be able to pass south of the Thornwall. Can any of you read?"

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The tentacle squad exchanges glances.

"I saw a book, once."

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"You saw a drawing of a book, once."

Kamryn stands, roaming restlessly around the sofa.

"No, none of us know how to read. The advice about our route is appreciated, though. We knew there was another nation between us and the Consumed, but no specifics."

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"I have a book of hearsay information on the Consumed from adventurers' tales, but it's of no use to you if you can't read it. I could send Amira with you with a map, book and compass..."

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"I have responsibilities here, my lord..."

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"Responsibilities more important than this?"

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"... No, my lord."

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"Amira has been my eyes and ears for many years, and has had occasion to travel alone in the wilderness before. She should be able to guide you, if you will accept her aid."

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Kamryn glances between Amira and the goblin.

"Can she keep up?" The intonation here is probably lost on the locals but she doesn't just mean in travel speed.

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In reply, Amira wordlessly conjures a small bolt of force that flies over and taps Kamryn on the shoulder.

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"Amira has my full confidence in this matter. She is an experienced journeywitch and has survived in the wilds before. She has a keen eye for danger and knowledge of how to function both in society and outside it."

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Now that is a bald-faced lie.

Would calling him out on it be a waste of time?

Probably.

"We'll remain nearby until tomorrow. If anyone else wishes to join us, Amira knows where to find us."

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Lygos stands himself and Yosaphen up.

They and Talance resume their prior arrangement of two wild beauties on the arms of a knight.

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"That letter, my lord."

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Lord Halentry ducks into another room for a moment, and comes back holding a rune-inscribed scroll sealed in wax. 

He hands it to Amira. "I entrust you with informing the world at large and escorting these brave individuals in their quest."

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"I will, My Lord."

She stands as well, and takes the lead for the group in leaving the manor.

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Meanwhile, back at the camp...

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Uuloo isn't back yet, and Lily is left sitting next to the trapper boy without much to say. 

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He looks away, then back at her, then away again. 

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"... You can say whatever it is you want to say."

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"I... it's not my fault, I'm just... it's never enough. I've spent everything I have on visits to the local brothels and it's still not enough. It's just... always there."

He lays his head on his arms and lets out a strained noise.

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... isn't that familiar.

"... Yeah. I... know what you mean. At least a little."

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He just sighs.

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"... really. I don't think I'd ever been... satisfied... in my life before I met Kamryn and the rest of them."

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"Stop pretending to like me."

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Lily sighs. "I'm not - I barely know you."

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"Yeah, but you've seen me fucking them and so you - don't trust me - "

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"I've fucked them too. I honestly do not care."

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"... right." 

He lifts his head a little. "Please don't tell my family. I'll... figure something out to tell them."

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"Your secret is safe with me."

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He looks over at her for a long moment, then rubs the back of his neck and looks away.

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"I... know a few things about bad families."

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"It's not like they're bad, they just - don't understand what it's like. They think this is just me being needy or something, or that I've fallen in love with the brothel girl..." 

He shakes his head.

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"And you don't have the resources to leave?"

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"It's not that simple."

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"In my experience... it really is that simple."

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"What would you even know about it? You're apprenticed to a fucking witch!"

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"I..." 

She crosses her arms. "I had to fight for all of this. I'm still working to repay what I owe. It didn't just... come to me for free."

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"And I've been working since I was twelve and I'm still just a trapper."

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"You could learn -" 

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"Getting lessons from who, with what money?"

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"I..." 

She looks down. 

"... I guess I'm lucky, in some ways."

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"Yeah. You are."

He sighs.

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"... I'm Lily."

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"William."

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... There isn't really much more to say, is there. 

Lily pulls the hood of her cloak down and settles back against a tree.

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William stares up at the stars.

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"... I could teach you some of the names of the stars, maybe."

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"What would I do with them? I'm no astrologer."

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"... but you could be."

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"What, you're going to teach me out of the goodness of your heart? For free? Day in, day out, until I know everything? And besides, it's a woman's profession. I'd never be taken seriously. My family would laugh at me." 

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... Lily falls quiet again. 

Something feels wrong about that, but she can't really tell what it is.

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Uuloo is back! Just as promised.

She slinks into the campsite, her body glistening in the camp's manalight.

She makes an inquisitive chirrup as she sinks to her knees between Lily and William, reaching a hand out to each. What are their urges saying to her?

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Lily is largely content at the moment.

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William's aroused, with a slight sickly tinge of desperation.

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Well, now Uuloo is on her hands and knees, shiny purple ass and drooling vulva on display right in front of him.

She gently twerks her hips at William while trying to listen a little harder to Lily, just incase there is something there, just quiet.

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William looks from Lily to Uuloo, then sighs and starts making a go of it.

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Lily's gaze darts away. 

Okay, she's a little aroused now.

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Uuloo wiggles in happy pleasure as William starts fucking her again.

She chirps invitingly at Lily and holds out a hand toward he doll girl, shifting so her big soft glistening breasts jiggle appealingly with each of William's thrusts.

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She... takes the hand, largely because that is What You Do When Someone Offers You Their Hand. 

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William closes his eyes and tries to focus on the sex and not on the fact that he's being watched. 

... though the being-watched isn't precisely bad...

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What if Uuloo arches upward and pulls Lily into a squishy hug so Lily can feel every jiggle that goes through her as William fucks her. And what if she wraps her mouth flaps gently around Lily's neck to wetly squeeze and massage Lily's throat and spine?

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Lily blushes and goes all tense.

Why is she embarrassed. Why is she hesitating. 

... She doesn't want William to see she's artificial. That's still... a secret she doesn't...

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Why, precisely, is she hiding that, when instead she could be having sex?

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Because it would be potentially disastrous for her, that's why. 

She pulls away.

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Uuloo makes a confused, slightly sad, chirrup sound. Or maybe that's concern?

She's smart. She knows and understands full-well that humans have more to their inner lives than she can hear, and that this state they get into where they fight against what they say they want, is normal for them. But it is still confusing and upsetting when it happens. Kamryn never gets like that, so Uuloo isn't used to it.

All she can do is keep trying, keep offering, keep being an appealing sight.

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Lily steps back and leans against a tree and sits.

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William, meanwhile, is entirely occupied with pumping his cock into Uuloo.

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Lily closes her eyes and does her best not to listen.

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That's even more confusing and upsetting.

Uuloo wiggles sadly, and makes a low mournful noise to punctuate her orgasm, her pussy fluttering around William's cock, sucking and pulsing like it's clinging to him for comfort.

She'll just have to wait for the others to return, and hope they can help Lily with whatever's wrong.

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Lily presses her face into her knees and tries not to think too much.

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Kamryn, Talance, Yosaphen, Lygos, and Amira emerge from the woods into the small clearing.

Lygos spits Yosaphen out. The Gazer gives the Armor Mimic a pout. Talance shapeshifts out of her leather bikini and goes over to refresh the manalight.

Kamryn spots Lily, opposite where William is fucking Uuloo.

"We're back," she says unnecessarily, peering at Lily's curled-up form.

She sheds her own leather bikini, dropping it on the ground, then goes over to make sure Lily is okay.

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Lily looks up and manages a weak smile.

"... hi, Kamryn. How did it go?"

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Kamryn crouches down.

"I'm not sure? I think it went well. The 'noble' we met did promise to spread the warning for us, and gave us some advice, but then he told Amira to join us and, uh," she glances over her shoulder at Amira.

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"I'm not exactly happy about it either, but you need someone who knows something about the Consumed."

Amira sighs. "So, Lily..."

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"If you're going west, what's going to happen to me?"

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"I don't know. We'll have to talk about it."

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"She can ride inside Talance or Lygos?" Kamryn suggests off-hand.

She turns back to Lily, "You might slow us down but we can figure out ways to minimize that. If you'd rather stay with us than go off on your own."

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"I..."

Lily looks down at her feet. 

"I don't know. I don't want to slow you down if it's this important, but... I don't know what I'll do without Amira."

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"If you're okay with being inside Lygos for long stretches of time, I don't think you would, actually, slow us down? He might even be faster with a nourishing source of pleasure besides me. Talance might be slowed down if she has to fight, depending on what we run into, but there's no reason to assume that will come up often enough to justify abandoning you."

Kamryn frowns.

"How fast and for how long can you walk, run? Go without food? Water? Sex? Sleep? What are your actual limitations, in detail? Amira, same questions. We need to know, if you're coming with us."

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"I..." 

She looks over at William, then shakes her head. 

"I don't need food or water or sex or sleep. I can walk and run like a human - I do tire and need rest, but that's different from needing sleep."

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"I'm human, though in good shape for one."

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"Humans vary quite a lot, you know."

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When it comes to endurance specifically, Kamryn is the least human of the group, but she does know approximately what 'human endurance' entails, obviously. 

"That really sounds like Amira is going to slow us down more than you will, Lily, unless she rides inside Lygos or Talance."

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"I don't know anything about the wilds, though. And there are - creatures, out there..." 

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"I would prefer not to ride inside Lygos or Talance."

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Kamryn doesn't bother to conceal a flash of mild contempt direct at Amira.

 

"We don't know much about what sorts of creatures live west of here but nothing in the Grey managed to challenge us. And nothing will be able to hurt you if you're riding inside, Lily. Amira, do you know? What the most dangerous things we might run into are? It sounded like the Blackthorn Empire is going to be our biggest obstacle, not wild life."

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"It's Wastes all the way west till you reach the Consumed. Mostly bandits and wolves, along with giant insects. There are some rare tentacled creatures, but... nothing stands out in my mind, most of them are very rare."

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"I would rather not go on a dangerous quest where I'll have to live in a cramped space unable to control my own motions for most of the day for several weeks."

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"It's your decision," Kamryn says to Lily, gently.

To Amira, "We walk for six days and nights, then camp and rest for one, usually. Do you have your own way to keep up with that pace?"

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"No, I don't."

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"What do you suggest, then."

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"The balance says I should shut up and ride in Lygos, to be frank. It's... not ideal by any stretch, but it's the best option we have." 

She looks at Lily. "As for my apprentice... We should find someone to escort her south, to Relvos or further. There she'll be safe... Or safer, at least."

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Lygos says something brash and cheerful.

Translated by Kamryn, "Lygos says he promises that you'll be safe with him. That there's nothing to worry about. He chose to become Armor because he's all about the protecting."

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"I'm guessing that's not the problem you have with this," Kamryn continues dryly, pointing between Lygos and Amira.

"Do you know someone who Lily would rather go with?"

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Amira sighs. "Of course."

She looks over at Lily. "I don't know anyone in particular, but we can find someone with a good reputation who won't ask questions. The Adventurer's Guild is good at that kind of thing." 

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"Do I get a choice, here?"

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"You always get a choice. I'm just doing the best I can for you with what I have."

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Translated by Kamryn, "Talance says if you don't like Lygos you can ride her instead. She also says that we can try all traveling together for a little while, and if there are problems you can always turn back while we're still in the, what was the name, Bell Kingdom. Since it'll probably take us most of a day to reach the west border, from what's on the map your 'noble' gave you."

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"I don't know why you're acting like riding Lygos is some big burden. It's the cushiest spot in the party! I'm gonna have to walk on my own now. What a pain."

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Kamryn shakes her head at Yosaphen, with a sarcastic, "Do you want me to carry you?"

To Lily, "We probably wouldn't out-pace you or Amira while we're still in this kingdom. You can come with us tomorrow and turn back at the border if we don't find anyone you want to trust along the way."

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"I think I'll take my chances with the south. Not that it hasn't been fun, but..."

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Kamryn nods and touches Lily's arm, nonverbally offering to pull her into a hug.

"Alright, this 'adventurer's guild'. What is it, where is it, and if we can find someone there to keep your safe, can we also find other allies who might want to join us?"

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"Adventurers are a complicated lot. I do expect someone will be interested... perhaps more than a few someones if word gets out they'll be travelling with tentacled. 

Adventurers are... the kind of people who are willing to take dangerous, risky work out in the wilds or traveling between them. Warriors, mages, rangers... Some of them are canny, some are just reckless. There's a whole range. Some fight for coin, some for ideals... It's a mess. There's a guild in town for them."

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That just sounds like people, how would anyone not meeting that description not starve---oh right. Farms and walls and the whole... civilization... thing. That's going to take some getting used to.

"Would we make a better impression if we went there now or if we waited for sunrise?"

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"It's pretty early in the morning now... I think we should wait."

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In that case, Kamryn is going to take a nap.

It's been three days since she last slept, which is nothing, but she probably could fall asleep if she tried, and if they're setting out tomorrow, better to be fresh.

Kamryn goes over and flops on Talance, who unfurls into a small tentacle pit form to gently fuck Kamryn while she sleeps.

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"I'm going back to the bed and breakfast to sleep. See you in a few hours."

She looks over at Lily. "Coming with me, or staying here?"

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"I'll come with you."

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And at sunrise, the five of them (plus a despondent William) pack up what little of their camp there is to pack up, and head out to the edge of the woods to wait for Amira and Lily to emerge from the town and show them where the Adventurer's Guild is.

William has his clothes on, but the five of them aren't in disguise this time, so Kamryn isn't bothering to wear her new leather bikini.

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It's not too far of a walk into town. The guard at the gate seems spooked by the obvious tentacles, but Amira flashes her pass and he seems to decide it's not worth it.

As they pass through the market, William spots his family, flushes hard, and darts away towards them. Amira lets him go.

Amira brings them in to a large building that looks more like a bar than anything respectable. There are job postings on one wall and a few people eating breakfast. The room goes quiet when they walk in.

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Sitting at one of the tables is a girl with vibrant violet hair tumbling in gorgeous curls down to her chin in an asymmetric cut. Two fluffy fox-ears in dark violet fur sit atop her head, and three fox-tails swish behind her in a tone of casual interest. She's wearing a cleavage-baring crop-top made from the dark green hide of something scaly, a matching pair of trousers, and some heavy boots. A messenger bag hangs over her shoulder, and a rune-engraved sword rests at her hip. She's eating a scrambled egg sandwich, and looks up with interest when the visitors walk in.

Obviously-nudist tentacled, nudist human, merchant-garbed human, cloaked human, she notes. This is going to be interesting.

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She calls out a cheerful greeting. "Welcome to the adventurer's guild, conveniently also home of some of the best 'eat on the run' food in town."

The bartender, a busty shortstack of a goblin, flashes her a wry grin. "Which of us works here again, foxy?"

Sable laughs and shakes her head. "Anyway, are y'all here to work or hire?"

 

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"Both of those!"

Yosaphen peers around and frowns at the lack of soft, fleshy surfaces to sit on. This is scarcely better than bare dirt.

Her bare lavender body is humanoid enough, at least from the front, to add to the "naked woman" number.

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Uuloo is as she usually is, glistening lewd body luring and alluring, literally designed to trigger the "naked woman" response, despite the lack of face and head.

What are the fox-girl's urges saying? What are the urges of everyone else in the room saying? This is what Uuloo is interested in.

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Lygos glances around, more than a little interested in the equipment and weapons everyone is bearing. He's the only one who fights with a weapon, after all, so he doesn't get the opportunity often.

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Talance is in her human form, a palette-swapped Kamryn, bringing the "naked woman" count to three. She's hanging back, though, looking around with polite interest but not expecting to have much to contribute. She's also mildly interested in what everyone's urges are saying but less so than Uuloo.

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And finally, Kamryn, the fourth and actual Naked Woman, glances around in curious interest before regarding the fox girl.

"We're hiring first, I think."

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The other adventurers in the room — a brick house of a sternly smiling human woman, a goblin man with a roguish grin, and smirking catgirl — are all armed and armored.

The human, a redhead with a pixie cut, is wearing well-maintained but plain-looking heavy plate and has a greatsword at her side along with a kite shield strapped to her back. She glances at Uuloo's tentacle-maw thing and feels a flash of wanting that on her cunt.

The goblin has a wavy black ponytail and is wearing black leather armor, with daggers in his boots, at his belt, and tucked into his vest. He's eager to pound any of the girls (especially Uuloo or Kamryn) from behind, but the loudest and most immediate feeling off of him is a sense of being enveloped in tentacles and fucked hard while his cock is sucked.

The catgirl is wearing a very tight pair of shorts and a strapless leather band on top, and doesn't have much in way of weapons other than a small dagger and a set of lockpicks. She just feels a longing to get fucked deep and finally stop feeling empty.

The bartender doesn't show up to sexual-psychic senses at all.

And Sable thinks everyone except William looks delectable. She wants to shapeshift a bunch of tentacles and fuck all of the girls, especially Kamryn and Lily. She wants her cunt and face fucked, and has a mostly-unendorsed desire to swallow Kamryn whole and fuck her with tentacles at the same time.

Sable gestures welcomingly with a tailtip at the empty chairs at her table. "Apparently I've volunteered to be the greeter this morning, and I know 'most everyone here, so gather 'round and tell me what y'all need done. If anyone wants breakfast, Cora can make a spectacular variety of great sandwiches or a damned fine coffee."

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"We've got two jobs to offer today - one to go west into the Consumed with all the tentacleds and me, and one to escort this girl south to Relvos." She pats Lily on the shoulder.

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"Well, y'all came in at just the right time for the latter especially. I'm Sable Silver, the fastest courier this town ever sees short of the occasional portal specialist. For a single passenger and/or one bag's worth of cargo, I can get to Relvos same-day," she says with a bold grin.

 

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Uuloo goes right over to the human in armor, she bends over, sticking her ass out at the goblin in leather as she makes an inquisitive chirrup at the red-headed woman, reaching out to poke the dead metal she's incased in.

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Kamryn also, absently, moves around to where the goblin has a better view of her ass, barely even conscious of doing so. Mostly she's trying to remember where 'Relvos' was on Amira's map.

"That's fast. That's a lot faster than us..."

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Talance goes over to the catgirl, smiling at her in mute greeting as she sits down beside the cock-hungry cutie. Talance puts her hand on the catgirl's thigh and twists her mana to activate her Flesh Magic, feeling out the depth of the catgirl's pussy. Then, the flesh around Talance's crotch roils for a moment before flowing up to form into a phallic pillar of an erect cock perfectly sized to stretch the catgirl to her limit, and perfectly sculpted to appeal to her on a visual level.

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The catgirl's eyes get very wide at the sight of a cock that stretches most of the length of her torso, as does her grin. "Hello, gorgeous. That for me?"

The redhead quirks an inquisitive eyebrow at Uuloo and smirks a bit. "You're friendly."

The goblin man's jaw drops open a bit and he looks back and forth between Kamryn and Uuloo.

Cora facepalms and lets out a long-suffering sigh, then calls out from behind the bar, "Oi! We've plenty of rooms to rent upstairs. You'll not turn my pub into an orgy."

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Sable laughs brightly, nodding. "Marta, Corvo, Sasha," she says, looking at the human, goblin, and catgirl in turn, "y'all three wanna pool for one of Cora's bigger rooms and we'll just move this whole party upstairs and stop pissing off the chef? Something tells me our prospective new clients will be happier."

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Sasha nods, eyes still locked on Talance's enormous cock. "Mmhhh, yeah, I had a great gig yesterday. Put a suite on my tab, Cora. The others can pay me back later if they want."

The three adventurers all stand up, and Cora tosses a key across the room at Sable.

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Sable chuckles and catches the key without looking, popping the last bite of her sandwich into her mouth with her other hand before grabbing her coffee. "Shall we?"

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Yosaphen smirks. Clearly, whatever their mouths are saying, the fox girl the one to pay attention to.

Obviously. She's hornier than the rest, and therefore the most worthy of lead-following.

"We shall."

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She may not be acting like it, but she's definitely a roiling blob of lust behind that confident grin. And coincidentally she's also the one everyone seems to be listening to. Is Yosaphen onto something? Who knows?

Either way, Sable stands and leads the way upstairs, walking to one of the doors without so much as glancing at the key for a label. She unlocks it and holds it open for the group with a grand gesture.

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Inside is a sitting room with a couch, a table, and two chairs, and all of the looks very soft and comfortable. A washroom is visible through a side door, and at the back of the room is a door to a bedroom with two enormous beds.

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Amira sighs, but follows along.

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Lily tags along, because what the hell else is she supposed to do?

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The adventurers eagerly troupe into the bedroom.

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Sable closes the door behind them, turns the deadbolt, and tosses the key onto the table. Then she flops into one of the armchairs, dropping her back and sword beside it, sitting just a bit sideways to keep her tails from being trapped. "As sexy as everyone here is, I'm going to focus on business for now. Those three trust me to know what their skills are suited to, and I need to focus on making sure I understand all the particulars of the jobs before we get to negotiating. Y'all are welcome to be out here or in there as you wish, as long as someone stays out here with me to discuss what needs done."

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The tentacle squad is trying not to step on any Non-Lover Things, so while they'll eagerly go along with whatever the adventurers would like to do, they're refraining from initiating anything.

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But if none of the adventurers grab Kamryn, she'll take a seat next to Lily and at least pay attention, given that that is approximately Kamryn's comparative advantage among her Tentacled companions.

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The adventurers are giving the squad eager looks and radiating bright lust for everyone present. Sasha is leading Talance by the hand, Corvo and Marta are on either side of Uuloo, and nobody looks like they'd mind Yosaphen or Lygos joining in one bit. No one explicitly grabs Kamryn.

Once they get into the bedroom, the adventurers all strip down, revealing taut, muscled physiques. Marta reveals some serious musculature, along with full, heavy tits and a thick ass. Corvo's got an eight inch cock, and Sasha's got a medium-sized pair of breasts that bounce perkily when she pulls off her top, and both have slimmer, more wiry builds. Sasha pushes Talance onto the bed and climbs over her, slowly sinking down onto the enormous cock with a moan. Marta pushes Uuloo back onto Corvo's shaft and then sits down on the other bed, legs spread, and gestures invitingly at her cunt.

"You two are welcome to join in if you'd like," she adds to Lygos and Yosaphen.

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Lygos isn't really paying attention to Marta at the moment, but while the Armor Mimic is blooming-open-at Corvo, Yosaphen smirks and pounces.

The horny Gazer lifts herself up into the air on several of her eye-tentacles, curling them to keep an eye on all the sex going on as she plants her crotch on Marta's face and grinds her pussy into Marta's mouth.

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Marta moans happily into Yosaphen's cunt, and Corvo leans back into Lygos's embrace before continuing to fuck Uuloo.

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Amira takes a chair next to Sable. 

"So, you claim you can be in Relvos tomorrow. How?"

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Sable just grins wider at that and leans forward, violet ink pouring out of her back through concealed slits in the back of her top, swiftly forming two enormous wings.

"I can fly," she says smugly.

 

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"... I see!"

Amira smiles. "Then, I think, it's a matter of price..."

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And the haggling begins. Sable opens with a number of gems that all but the most absurd budgets would want to haggle down, but not quite so high as to be offensive based on her read of Amira.

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Amira counteroffers. "It's not like you're offering teleportation magic, be reasonable."

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Sable counters back up, smirking delightedly. "It's not like portal casters even come out to the border, nor could anyone else get her there in less than a week."

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Kamryn is eyeing the fox girl's Suddenly Wings.

Impressive? Yes. Neat-looking? Also yes. Sexy? Meh, but the implications. Anatomically?

Now she's peering at them trying to mentally map out how they work on a bio-mechanical level. It's not the kind of Fleshcraft she's usually focused on, but.

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Amira continues to haggle.

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Meanwhile, Lily is looking... a little distracted.

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The haggling gradually narrows toward an agreeable price, though Sable splits her focus to also pay attention to her other two guests.

If Kamryn thinks back on what she saw, the flow of ink was smooth and continuous, pouring into the overall shape of the wings, then gradually refining into sleek, off-black feathers. Now, they look to be entirely detailed, flight-capable feathers. When Sable catches Kamryn looking, she throws the raven-haired beauty a smirk and a wink, and lets a single droplet of violet ink fall from the end of one of her curls, where it lands on the milky-smooth skin of a breast and before being absorbed.

And then Sable turns a curious grin on Lily, an eyebrow quirked to invite interjection.

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Head-tilt.

The fox girl isn't a changeling like Talance. That's clear and obvious from the feel of her lust.

Well, whatever the fox girl is, Kamryn is curious, but also in the middle of figuring out how the wings work once they're formed, not how the fox girl is forming them.

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Lily guiltily pulls her gaze away from the orgy. 

"I, uh, what?"

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The wings appear to be large enough to provide sufficient lift, but they look perhaps a bit too thin to be sturdy, and she doesn't seem to have taken on any additional muscle in her shoulders or back or ribs to move them. Watching her shift them about as she leans forward and back, it's almost as though how they move doesn't depend on the rest of her musculature at all.

"You don't need to stay here if you'd rather be in there, nothing to be ashamed of. Alternatively, Amira and I can try to hurry these negotiations up and then we can all join in. That last price is acceptable, by the way, Amira."

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"Deal, then. But I'd rather abstain."

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"I... would rather not."

Her gaze is definitely lingering though. 

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She smiles and shrugs at the stated abstentions. "Nothing wrong with just watching, either. But you at least, Miss Merchant, probably want to get used to a more sexual life if you're planning on traveling with a crew of tentacled folk. Speaking of which, tell me about this westward mission?"

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Kamryn's conclusion about Sable's wings is that they're not wings. It's a shapeshifting trick all the way down. What the fuck.

Though. Even if they don't have an internal structure, they're still doing a thing in the air. Kamryn spends a few moments contemplating approaches for how to get a similar effect, before shaking her head and putting those thoughts aside for later.

"Lily," she says, gently admonishing. Kamryn turns and gives Lily's thigh a squeeze. "You're blazing with a longing to throw off your clothes and dive into that. And you know you can. You've already proven to yourself that you can. So why aren't you?"

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Amira sighs. 

"I..." 

She rubs her forehead. "Whoever goes westwards is going to the Consumed to try and retrieve a piece of the Pink that was stolen. They'll be travelling with me and the tentacleds past the Blackthorns and into unknown territory."

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Lily looks at Kamryn incredulously. 

"Because of what I already said about strangers?"

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"We were strangers. I was a stranger to you. I don't think that's the real reason."

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"I guess it's about a certain kind of trust."

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"What made you trust us in that way, then?"

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"... I think it had a lot to do with you not being from this kind of place."

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"I... don't think I've really seen enough of 'this kind of place' to really understand that. Which is sort of your point, isn't it."

Kamryn shifts in her seat reaching over to put her other hand on Lily's hip as she faces her.

"Trust us, then. Trust yourself. Trust that the desire I can feel burning inside you isn't... isn't..." Kamryn trails off, unable to find the words, even if the idea is so clear, so basic, it's literally painful that she can't communicate it. "Trust that the desire I know is burning inside you, is you. That when you turn yourself against it, you're letting that man continue to hurt you."

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Sable doesn't say anything to this whole exchange, just sits and smiles a slowly-growing, gentle smile, happy to see people helping each other.

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Amira gives Kamryn a flat look.

"You don't understand the risks she'd be taking. It's not so simple here in civilization."

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"Enough."

Lily's voice is hard. 

"I'm tired of people pushing me all the time. Learn this, fuck that, don't talk to them, do talk to them, fuck it.

She looks at Sable. 

"I want to leave. And get as far from these people as I can, as fast as I can. Maybe then I'll be able to have my own fucking life."

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There's a moment of duality (of fear, to be honest). Kamryn has never felt more kin to the Tentacled than she does in this moment, watching her own internal perception of Lily split, watching in her mind's eye as this agonized monster lashes out, tearing itself away from the beauty and light inside it, then seizing that light in its claws, the light screaming, crying out for help even as the monster's grasp closes in around it, ripping it away from all that it would embrace as it begs and screams to not be taken away.

Kamryn loses herself, for just this one moment, feeling this one thing, desiring nothing more than to bind the monster and free the radiant light. To PIN LILY DOWN AND RAPE HER UNTIL SHE STARTS MAKING SENSE.

The moment passes, Kamryn's perceptions realign and her Lust-Esper sense returns to being just another sense. Sanity returns, and Kamryn knows that any action here would just hurt Lily more, who is still herself, and who has made her choice.

Kamryn takes her hands off of Lily and turns away.

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Lily catches Kamryn's momentary expression, and - she can see the need -

She falls to the floor, scrambles to get her legs under her, and bolts out the door.

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Sable frowns at Amira's overprotective push and then nods when Lily interrupts and starts to speak. And when she bolts, the winged foxgirl shakes her head and gets up.

She pulls a guild-standard contract out of her bag and runs her finger across it, filling in all the agreed-upon details with her ink on all three copies, then hands them to Amira. "Sign this. Drop the money with Cora before you leave. You're going to want to hire Marta for your westward trip. She's got far more endurance and resilience than she should have, and she'll be a great help in a fight or a hunt. Try to recruit Sasha or Corvo if you expect to need a lot of sneaking. And loosen up before you head out, seriously."

She shakes her head at Amira, then turns to Kamryn. "You, you're interesting. I wanna talk with you properly at some point. Make sure this one accepts what kind of adventuring party she's in," she finishes with a tail pointed at the merchant woman.

Finally, while she waits for Amira to sign, she sticks her head into the other room to call, "Marta, you've got a job when you're done. Lily and I are heading out. Have fun, kids."

A muffled cheer erupts from the bedroom.

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Kamryn sort of deflates, after Lily has fled. Devastation isn't an emotion Kamryn's face does very well. It's not an emotion she does very well. But that... was a disaster. Kamryn failed. She failed utterly. Kamryn can't ever remember failing that hard before in her life. At anything. Let alone the one thing that matters most.

"You'll make sure Lily's okay, right?" she says to Sable, weakly.

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Amira is still staring at the door Lily left through. 

"... It wouldn't do any good for me to go after her," she murmurs. 

"How did I..." 

She leaves the rest of the thought unspoken, but her expression's not far different from Kamryn's. 

She mechanically looks over the contracts and signs.

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"Damned right I will," she says to Kamryn as she returns from the bedroom. Then she throws her bag and sword back on, grabs two contracts from Amira, and sprints out of the suite and downstairs.

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As Sable sprints into the main room, Cora points out the door. Sable nods, slaps one of the contracts on the bar, and sprints out the front door, calling as she passes, "Thanks hon. Merchant woman's dropping the money with you before she leaves."

And then she's gone.

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"Hey, Amira. That town Lily's from. Where was it again?"

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"You're going to do something reckless, aren't you?"

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"I'm going to hurt someone because I hate them. I'm going to do that. But reckless? No. I don't think so."

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Amira pauses for a long moment. 

"... You do understand that Lily's creator is protected, yes? Both by his personal bodyguards and by the law. If you touch him or anything he owns and it's traced back to you, you'll be imprisoned, enslaved or worse. You can't fight all of Bell Kingdom."

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Watch me.

If the Bell Kingdom would rather protect the monster responsible for what Kamryn just witnessed than protect all of the world, THEY CAN BURN TOO.

No, if it comes to that, Kamryn knows that the mission is more important. Even if the thing Kamryn just witnessed was as horrifying in its own way as anything the Red Queen's ever done, there's only one of it.

So far.

Now there's a disturbing thought. What if Maxwell builds another Lily, and this happens again?

"Yes. I know that."

Kamryn takes a breath. Calm. Cold. Think it through.

"You're blind to the monstrous thing that just happened, aren't you, what this Maxwell did to Lily just now. I'm a Lust-Esper. I have the same telepathic sense for desire and pleasure that all Tentacled have, and I'm really glad none of my companions were paying attention, because... You couldn't feel it, but it was... beyond evil. I'm going to make sure Maxwell never does it again. You can either help me or get out of my way."

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"I'm not blind."

Amira sighs. "If you must do this, be neat about it. Few serve that kind of lord by choice. Make it look accidental if you can. And don't get caught. If you're caught your word to my lord is instantly suspect and the entire attempt to get Bell to wake up will be hampered significantly."

She crosses her arms. "That said... It's Velria. What you do with that information is on your own conscience."

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"Velria."

 

 

"Thank you."

Kamryn takes a long, slow breath.

Then she gets up and lets herself into the bedroom, leaving the door open behind her for Amira.

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Amira... hesitates. 

She should get used to this, she knows that, but...

But nothing. She'll have sex if she has to to save the damn world.

Honestly, what is she thinking?

... She exhales, and goes through the door, clothes still on.

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The curvy, firmly-muscled form of Marta is sprawled sideways over the leftward bed, her back arched, her hips and ass suspended off the quilt by the grip of Uuloo's maw, which is latched tightly onto Marta's crotch.

Marta shivers and writhes at the inescapable grasp as the Seducer's tentacle-tongues take complete control of and furiously plunder her holes. Things that latch on to her groin and pleasure her no matter how she squirms are the hottest things ever.

She channels the excitement and pleasure into licking the fuck out of the delicious Gazer girl's pussy, gripping tight to those slick, slim, lavender hips and mauling that bouncy little butt as she feverishly eats the femme-Tentacled out.

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The compactly-built green-skinned young man that is Corvo has reached a truly undignified pitch of moaning, but he could not care less.

His hands are filled with the soft, slick, bouncy flesh of the most succulent ass he's ever seen let alone fucked. His hips are hammering into that ass hard enough to make a really satisfying clup-clap-clup, filling the room with the sound of flesh bouncing off of flesh. A thick, slippery, smooth, fleshy, thing is pistoning in and out of his ass, the slimy tentacle violating him deeply and squeezing the cum out of him like juice from a fruit. He cums, so hard he loses all control of his legs as Uuloo's pussy sucks the cum out of his erupting cock, but that doesn't slow anything down at all, because, best of all, Corvo isn't the one moving his hips.

The enthusiastic Armor Mimic is wrapped around him from the waist down, living metal pulled back and to the sides to expose the swarm of slimy purple tentacles coiled around his legs and hips, supporting him, fucking him, and controlling his thrusts.

His eyes briefly lift from Uuloo's delectable ass to find Yosaphen's cyclopean eye staring at him out of her upside-down face, the Gazer bending backward while riding Marta's face. His throat feels dry and hollow, the part of him that Tentacled can hear crying out for oral violation, and the Gazer's slimy black tongue shoots out, stuffing itself into Corvo's mouth and sliding down his throat, and he sucks on it like candy, swallowing convulsively.

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On the rightward bed, a petite catgirl is bouncing up and down on the gorgeous pillar of massive phallic fuckmeat that the shapeshifting tentacle girl made just for Sasha. The thing is bigger than her thigh and brutalizes the depths her tender pussy every time she slams down onto it to impale herself to her limit.

Her whole body is glistening with sweat and stops for a moment to shudder in ecstasy every time she bottoms out and her wildly stretched pussylips kiss the Changeling's mound. Talance has stopped having breasts or a face or legs, those parts of her body unraveling into dozens of slimy red tentacles that caress Sasha's body, steadying her as she bounces and coiled around her neck to help lift her on each stroke, gripping tightly without choking her, in a way reminiscent of a kitten being lifted by its scruff. It's perverse but weirdly wholesome and Sasha is just not thinking about anything but how good it feels.

Bridging the two halves of the room, Lygos' upper half has a pair of tentacle mouths latched on to Sasha's modest tits, sucking hard at each of her nipples, tugging one, then the other. Talance has several tentacles caressing Corvo's chest and wrapped around Uuloo's waist, too.

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Kamryn walks right into the middle of them without hesitation.

The glow of pleasure coming off of them draws her in, washing over her like a warm bath, and she sinks into it with relish.

The currents of desire flow around her and pull her toward Marta. Kamryn crawls onto the leftward bed where she can reach under Yosaphen and start suckling and fondling Marta's neglected breasts.

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Several tentacles peel away from Corvo to wind around Kamryn's thighs and waist.

A pair of thick, phallic tentacles slither out and then plunge into Kamryn's pussy and ass, driving their slick purple lengths deep into Kamryn's body and fucking her hard. Then harder, then harder, Lygos pulled by Kamryn's screaming need for overwhelming intensity.

Incomprehensible to the three Adventurers, "...hey, did something happen? You're in an unusual mood."

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Kamryn's body shakes with the force of Lygos' tentacles ravaging her holes, her body dragged up toward orgasm in seconds.

Even as she's rapidly forced into orgasm, Kamryn replies with an I-lost-flora-word and an it-was-bad, and then moans a failure-bad-enough-to-change-my-priorities, all while her lips are fastened around Marta's nipple.

As the peak of Kamryn's first orgasm recedes and Lygos' tentacles slow down to a more sustainable pace, Kamryn finally pulls her mouth off of Marta's tit.

"Alright so, Sable was supposed to negotiate on your behalf but the other job got, uh, urgent before we could talk about that," Kamryn says, to Marta, then turns her head toward Corvo and Sasha. "We want to hire on allies for our journey into the Consumed, and we want to be hired to undertake that journey on behalf of the safety of the world, if I understand how this works?"

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Marta makes a distracted, confused noise in Yosaphen's pussy.

Corvo's delirious gaze manages to meet Kamryn's, but he just makes a questioning noise around Yosaphen's tongue.

Sasha doesn't even hear Kamryn speak. Either that or she's ignoring it.

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Okay, to be fair, it took Kamryn weeks of living among the Tentacled before she learned to move her thoughts with the cycle of continuous sex instead of having pleasure and other thoughts competing for mental space. Kamryn is aware that she is probably more talented at that than most people, even most people who choose to become Tentacle Lovers.

Still, it isn't that difficult to talk and cum at the same time, is it? These adventurers do all seem relatively comfortable with, and open to, their own sexual desires. For outlanders.

"Sable had to leave," Kamryn repeats, speaking louder. "You'll need to hear us out, and decide, yourselves."

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Sasha's body rises slowly, her entire abdominal cavity deflating a little as Talance's massive cock slides out until just the tip is plugging up her pelvis.

"U-uh... N-Now?"

She drops, hard, eyes rolling up in her head, arms hanging limp, legs and body trembling and convulsing as the massive shaft plunges back in.

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"Apparently not," Kamryn deadpans, and goes back to sucking on Marta's nipple while Lygos' tentacles massage her insides.

It's annoying, that they can't pay attention, that their immersion in the lust is so shallow that a distraction would break them out of it. Kamryn's mind keeps replaying what happened to Lily's lusts, over and over, the horror of what Maxwell wrought. She can't relax, and put it aside, even though she knows she should. She wants to go now, even though she knows she can't.

The dissonance within herself cracks the control she has over her lust-aura, frustration at the delay adding pressure against her sexual desires, radiating those feelings out into the air around her. Rather than reign that in, Kamryn seizes on and feeds her own radiance, pushing it outward on purpose.

Her lust-aura spills out and fills the room.

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The non-Tentacled in the room all let out sudden whines of wounded need, and a moment later all the fucking accelerates significantly.

For the next several minutes after that, Marta, Corvo, and Sasha all lock up in orgasm simultaneously, shaking and convulsing as the intensity overwhelms them. Marta squirts into Uuloo's maw, Corvo floods Uuloo's pussy with cum as his eyes roll up in his head and his body spasms, and Sasha screams after a good forty-five seconds of total silence, impaled fully on Talance's massive phallus.

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Amira sits and watches, occupied with her own thoughts. The sudden surge of the lust aura... doesn't really help. 

It would be nice to not think for a little while. 

She doesn't get what she wants, though.

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Kamryn pulls her lust-aura back into herself quickly as Lygos' tentacles drive her to another orgasm of her own.

Following the sated mood, everyone but Yosaphen slows down, with the Gazer only following along mock-reluctantly a few moments later. Kamryn nuzzles Marta's squishy tit as she waits for everyone to settle into the lull.

 

"Alright, so. If I understand how this works, we want to hire on allies for our journey into the Consumed, and we want to be hired to undertake that journey on behalf of the safety of the world. Sable had to leave early, so you'll need to decide for yourselves if you want to be our allies on that journey."

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Marta shivers with an aftershock as Uuloo's maw sucks gently at her loins. She takes one of Yosaphen's pussylips between the lips of her mouth and worries it playfully.

"I'm probably in. But lets hear some details. What's the job, exactly?"

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"Oh, just a simple trip into the most dangerous place in the Realm where you'll have to help protect us from violently insane orgy-communities and possibly suffer permanent mental damage in the course of helping us investigate the mystery of the Consumed's stolen Heart, which is also violently insane for all we know, and fix whatever's wrong with it so it can go home."

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"Before even that, we need to get past the Blackthorn Empire."

Kamryn sits up so she can face everyone at once.

"We believe that the Red Queen is getting her power from the Wound, the place where the Heart was originally taken from the Red. If the Heart can be reclaimed, we believe it could be used to heal the Wound, which would take away the Red Queen's power."

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Marta gives Yosaphen's slender lavender butt a smack and a squeeze.

"Right. Amble on through the Blackthorns, somehow cross the Thornwall, trek through the Land of Mindbreak, find the godsforsaken Lonely Heart, which no one has ever seen inside and returned to tell the tale, do what literally everyone before us who's tried has failed to do and then some, and then carry something the size of a small mountain a thousand miles back to the Pink. Better pack a snack. This one might make us late for dinner."

Marta chuckles to herself, half sarcastic, less than half tempted, but intrigued despite herself.

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"It's going to be even harder than that, if you're right about no one ever coming back from the Heart before. We didn't know how many had tried to approach the lost Heart before us. How awfully delightful that you've heard such rumors about it."

Yosaphen also straightens up, sitting herself on Marta's belly, idly grinding her pussy against Marta's chiseled abs.

"We mean to establish a base camp in a safe location as near to the Heart as we can. I can Scry. So, once we find a place to set up I can talk to the Deep Heart Glisten Palace and let them follow my Scry back with a portal. I can do that as soon as we're through this Thornwall thing, if we need the reinforcements early. So. What Kamryn said. Your main job would be getting us into the Consumed. Once we're there we'll be on more familiar ground and won't need you as much."

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Talance has fully abandoned human form for the moment, leaving Sasha impaled on a gargantuan two-foot-long phallus in the center of what now resembles a slimy red flower, dozens of hips and breasts and butts and vulvae mushed together into the shape of petals.

"You've, you've got, nya~ahh, got reinforcements waiting to, nnh, waiting to portal in? W-What do you nyahh-eed us for, then?"

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Yosaphen rolls like eight of her eyes.

"The Consumed might be a mosh of the violently insane but at least its still made of flesh and not whatever this stuff is."

She reaches over toward the wall and knocks on the stone with her knuckles. Then she winces and shakes out her hand.

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"It's stone," Corvo helpfully explains.

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Yosaphen rolls all of her eyes.

"I know the word for it. But its cold and dead and harsh to touch and who knows where it even comes from when an Earth Mage isn't conjuring it."

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"Not the point."

Kamryn runs an idle hand over Uuloo's ass.

"The point is, we're exceptional at surviving off-flesh, and we're much faster than any larger group would be as a result. That was true even before we knew about the Thornwall and is extra true now."

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Translated by Kamryn, "Talance wants to know about everything anyone has heard about previous attempts to approach the 'Lonely' Heart. So do I, actually."

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Corvo flops forward over Uuloo's plush rump, laying his face against her spine as he meets Kamryn's eyes.

"The thing you've gotta remember. Is none of what you hear third-hand is trustworthy. A failed expedition. People are gonna lie and throw blame. But there is one bit that gets told consistently. There's a hypnotic song you start hearing in your mind, if you get too close, calling out and luring you in. How it got its name. Anyone caught that way, the Heart swallows them up and they're never seen again."

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"But what a way to go."

Marta lifts Yosaphen's hips and sets her aside, then sits up in a way that looks like it ought to be uncomfortable for Uuloo's neck, but Uuloo doesn't complain.

"It's a big ask, you know. But if we want to talk just about the job of getting you past the Thornwall, well that I can do. For a reasonable price, even. Since you're saving the world."

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Sasha shivers and softly moans.

"Okay but, why are, why do we have to, talk about this now?"

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"When else would we talk about it."

Kamryn slides over onto Marta's lap, straddling Marta's thighs and letting her own breasts squish against Marta's.

"And getting past the Thornwall is... enough. I think. We can start there."

Kamryn pauses and glances over at Amira questioningly. "Assuming we can, in fact, pay your 'reasonable price'?"

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"I believe so, yes."

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"Splendid."

Marta grops Kamryn's butt as she grins over the wild girl's shoulder at her fellow adventurers.

"What about you two? Want a cut? The three of us haven't been on a quest together in ages."

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"It would be nice to work together again."

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"I don't know about saving the world but I've missed you guys and also I am not done with the megacock yet! I'm in!"

Sasha then inhales sharply and shudders as her pussy flutters around Talance's giant flesh phallus.

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"Great. Let's get ready to run."

Kamryn unleashes her lust aura again, waits for Marta, Corvo, and Sasha to start fucking again, then activates her core and incants, "Sushhinva... zud!"

Everyone in the room except Amira orgasms hard and long, instantly forced over the edge by Kamryn's spell. The magic drags out their orgasms beyond the reach of their natural urges, leaving everyone spent and satisfied. Or as satisfied as insatiable sluts and horny goblins and Tentacled ever get, diving deep into the quiet phase of the cycle.

Bodies and tentacles disentwine, and the adventurers are sent off to prepare for travel.

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The new party of nine assembles and sets out to cross the Bell Kingdom.

Sasha is trying not to be clingy at Talance, but she does call dibs on being the one to ride inside Lygos. Lygos happily obliges and soon only muffled squelches and catgirlish moans can be heard from Sasha. Marta watches this with a smirk, and then a somewhat thoughtful glance at her own non-living armor.

Talance starts out back in her recolored-Kamryn form, levitating along a few inches off the ground, but Yosaphen whines at her until she gives in with good grace and shifts into a more ridable form. That form being a large pinkish leonine quadruped with slick rubbery skin and a full dozen sinuous rubbery tentacles forming a mane around her neck.

Yosaphen hops up onto Talance's back as soon as Talance is finished transforming. Corvo and Marta both stare at the imitation displacer-beast for several long moments.

Kamryn and Corvo take point, on foot, with Corvo feeling slightly overdressed in his chitinous leathers next to Kamryn who is still entirely nude and barefoot and yet able to out-pace him. Marta takes it upon herself to stick close to Amira.