A Nuclear Solution to a Shotgun Level Problem (GT)

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A Nuclear Solution to a Shotgun Level Problem (GT)

Post by i am insane » Fri Oct 16, 2020 6:06 am

This idea is, basically, the culmination of about twelve different other ideas and concepts mashed together with other stuff, some of which I"ve been nursing for years, and still might return to at some point. I'm kind of proud of this title, though. It amuses me.





We had been in this booth for almost twenty minutes now, and in that time Liana hadn't said much beyond 'Hi' and her food order, has yet to look me in the eye, and was actully eating her food rather than playing with it and hoping nobody noticed that she wanted it nowhere near her mouth. The waitress had taken note of the atmosphere and was now avoiding our table like we had the plague. I had been concerned by her initial message, but at this point that had turned into a fully formed dread. Taking a deep breath, I prepared to rip the bandaid off.

Gently grabbing her hands in my own, I brought them closer to me and finally, finally, she looked at me. Her eyes were full of guilt and I felt my heart begin to shatter.

"Liana. Are you... are you breaking up with me?"

I'm not sure what I expected to happen then: a tearful confession, maybe. Another man to show up. Hell, even an outraged denial. What I didn't expect was her face to freeze in a look of shock, down to her mouth hanging open ever so slightly. Half a minute passed before she seemed to pull herself together somewhat.

"Am I... what? Breaking up with you?" Liana shook her head. "No! I'm not breaking up with you, I'm just..."

Trailing off into a long, drawn out groan, she put her head in her hands, a perfect picture of misery. "I'm messing everything upppp...."

Straightening back up, she continued, more composed. "Alright, first off? No. Just... no. That's not what this is about, at all. Secondly... before I get into the real reason, where did that even come from?"

I leaned back, feeling reassured, at least to the extent that my girlfriend still wanted to be with me, anyways, even if there was this mysterious 'real reason'. "Well... you send me this cryptic text message saying you needed to talk to me about something 'important', " I listed, counting off on my fingers, "Then invite me here."

I adored Liana, but in many ways our tastes were dramatically different, and in this case I meant it literally. This was my favorite restaurant, a bar and grill that laughed at the very idea of anything like a vegan burger. The meal in front of me had three different kinds of animals that had had to die for it to be created, even before the maple syrup and raspberry was added. My girlfriend, on the other hand, was a hard core vegetarian, and though she never seemed to hold my 'carnivorous ways' against me, she hated this place. Us going her was a birthday event kind of thing, and honestly we didn't even do that because I didn't want to force it on her; it took some of the joy out of the food when the way she watched me eat it matched how she watched someone get killed in a slasher movie. Needless to say, her inviting me here, out of the blue, was more than a little alarming.

"And then you spend the entire time.... I don't know, cringing over there like you ran over my dog or something. I'm not sure what I was supposed to think but..."

Under her breath, I heard Liana mutter something like, 'I knew I should have planned this out more', before speaking up.

"Alright, when you put it like that, I can see where you're coming from. I'll admit, I'm handling all of this poorly but I don't really know how to explain it. The best way I've figured to talk to you about this without spending hours trying to radically change your worldview is a metaphor. A long metaphor that is probably going to fall apart in about a minute but just.... bear with me here. If nothing else this should be a good starting point."

She pinched her nose, and sighed. "Ok. So. You know how, sometimes in a movie, the heroes are cornered by a monster, unable to escape, but then they're rescued by another monster? Something that's bigger and stronger, but isn't out to hurt them in particular? Like... in the end of Jurassic Park, right? When the T-rex kills the raptors? It would be easy for it to kill them but it doesn't care about them, really, unlike the raptors, who really wanted them dead."

I nodded slowly. I had no idea what was happening anymore, but I was willing to see where this was going.

"So. Let's imagine that I'm the heroine of this story, and I'm trapped by a velociraptor, and there's no way out." She paused, and then dramatically put her hand on her head, falling back in her seat like a fainting damsel in an old film, before getting back up and continuing.

"My family and I, we're all stuck in a room, and the velociraptor is at the door, so we can't get out, but we can't just stay there, either, because eventually it'll break something down and get in their with us, and then we're dead. So we need help, and, in my desperation, I offer myself up like that woman in King Kong: I become bait, strategically ripped clothes and all, to draw another monster. But, you know, on purpose. And the monster I call? It's not King Kong, it's not even a T-Rex: it's Godzilla. And that's you."

Hamming it up again, she stared at me for a moment, arms up in a defensive posture that seemed to be abandoned half way through, a look of awe filled horror on her face, before getting serious once more.

"So I'm here, Oh Great and Terrible Godzilla, to beg you to please lend me your aid." And with that, she seemed to finish up and waited patiently for me to respond.

That was.... That was certainly something.

"Let's... let's just try to go through that one piece at a time" I said finally. "Like... the Godzilla thing. I'm going to assume that's part of the 'radically change the world view' thing, right? Because I'm many things, but I'm hardly the King of the Monsters."

And I meant it. I was in pretty good shape, I liked to think, but Godzilla was a creature of overwhelming power and that wasn't exactly the vibe I was giving off. I'm pretty sure the Rock didn't have half of that untouchable aura, but he was a damn sight closer than me, that's for sure.

Liana smiled, and I knew what she was going to say before she even opened her mouth: "Are you sure? After all, you are a king."

Another of the major differences between me and my girlfriend was the importance we put on names, or the fact that I put no importance to them, while she always seemed fascinated by what a name meant. My name, Rex, meant 'king' and it was the novelty of that name alone, I think, that had attracted her attention when had first met, and she loved to tease me with it.

"I'll take that as a yes. So, I have so many questions about that, but you clearly don't want to get into that right now. Putting that aside, then... trying to translate this metaphor, there's a bunch of you in a room, and one velociraptor. A good action movie hero can usually turn the odds on something like at the last minute and save the day. And in this story, you can't do that because...?"

She pondered that for a moment, before having a flash of inspiration. "Oh! That's easy. We're rabbits."

"Rabbits." I repeated. She nodded, seeming pleased with her choice of words.

"That's right, weak, cowardly rabbits, who eat only vegetables and are completely helpless against anything that might to hurt us." She huddled up in the corner of her booth, before looking up at me with big, watery eyes, her bottom lip sticking out just so in that way she knew drove me nuts. "There's no way for a little old rabbit like me to fight off a big, scary dinosaur, right?"

I had just taken a drink of my water, and choked on it at the change, much to her amusement. Suddenly this conversation seemed to be barreling in a new direction, and I forcefully had to check my libido as I had a vivid image of Liana gracing a playboy bunny outfit, her curves on full display, confidently rocking a cocky pose with her hands on her hips and that look on her face. It was.... an immensely distracting image.

"I'm not sure about a little rabbit, but you definitely are one sexy rabbit." I managed over my coughing.

Grinning, Liana sipped her iced tea as I recovered, graciously allowing me all the time I needed to clear my airways.

"The 'story'", I began, "So far is that you are a small, sexy rabbit, trapped with your family by a velociraptor. Translating that you're.... completely out of your league with this problem, so you need help. Right?"

At that point her cheerful mood had slipped, and she nodded, subdued. My little fit, though, had given me the time to think through this next question, so I continued on to one of the more confusing parts of her story.

"In this scenario, I'm Godzilla, and you're asking me to help with a velociraptor. Doesn't that seem a bit... much? Godzilla is the last option, the one when everything else fails, and there's no hope left. Godzilla brings all sorts of problems himself whenever he comes to town; there's a reason Tokyo hates him. You call Godzilla only when the destruction he brings is worth the problem he solves, because even if he takes Tokyo down in the process, the world itself is still saved when he's done. So, why are you pulling out a nuclear solution to a shotgun level problem? Why aren't you asking anyone else to help?"

And man, did it feel wrong to ask why she was looking to me for help, but the question had to be asked. Besides, the fact she was still asking me did help salve me ego.

"Because we can't." In that moment, Liana looked exactly like the heroine of her story: tired, worn, trapped. Desperate. "There's other options, of course, ones that don't come with as much baggage or issues, but none that we can reach. I can't call the action hero with his big guns, or the friendly creature that isn't as scary as it seems, or the robot, or the oddly handsome scientist, or the jaded cop with the heart of gold, or the military, or hell, even the T-rex. But I can reach you."

Gently, she placed her hand on my cheek, and looked me in the eye. When it dropped back to the table a minute later, the absence of it felt like a blow.

"Sure, someone will probably check on us, eventually, but by then we'll all be dead. And if the choices are certain death, or something where we only possibly die... we decided to look to the one with a chance of us surviving."

Ever since I first arrived, I had noticed something was wrong. Originally, I had dismissed it as part of her leaving me, but the feeling had lingered, and it was only now I truly saw it. Liana seemed grim. She seemed grim, and had become more so as this conversation went on. She acted like everything was normal, had joked around, did some bad improving, laughed at me a little, but it was just that: an act. No matter how cheerful she seemed, it didn't reach her eyes. The way she was talking, the things she was saying, the more this went on, the more it seemed real. Like she was really in danger, and only I, somehow, could save her. It was like some fairy tale brought to life.... but in the story, the princess in the tower never seemed as defeated as she was, as beaten down. Even in the worst moments, a princess still acted out of hope, not this fatalistic determination that there was literally no possible way for her to make things worse. There was a gritty sort realism to her reactions now that kept the more fantastical elements of her story in check. This entire time, the surreal nature of this had kept me from taking this too seriously; part of me had wondered absently if this was the lead up to some kinky new roleplay of hers, which that whole bunny bit hadn't really helped with.

Now, though. Now I was taking this seriously.

"Liana... in this story, I'm Godzilla. I'm big, I'm strong, I'm unstoppable: more than enough to fix your problem, if I wanted to." Which was still confusing me, in that same way the whole rabbit thing was, but there was a larger concern beyond whatever ability she seemed to think I had, and she didn't. "I'm also a monster."

In some of the movies, Godzilla was a hero that saved the day. In most of them, he was at least sympathetic. In all of them, though, he had a body count that probably surpassed some wars, and he never cared, even once, for the lives he destroyed. For Liana to be calling me that....

There were so many questions I didn't know how to ask, things I wanted to say, so many that the words twisted in my head, defying any attempt to put them in order and eventually I settled on just one word more, and I made it a heartfelt plea for... clarification. Reassurance. Explantation. Something, anything.

"Why."

She smiled, warmly, and it lit up her face, and just like that, hope flowed through me, like everything could be OK, that whatever this was.... wasn't. Like we could go home after this and watch a movie together and laugh, and this would all be over.

It made her next words hit me like a truck.

"Rex... you are a monster. But you're a kind one. You destroy, but you also care. You don't have to, but you do anyways, even if you can't help what you are. And I can't help what I am either. You are a monster... and I am the girl that loves this monster."

I reeled at that, and for a moment, she let me, her words echoing in my head as her expression settled into a solemn mask. Then she held out her hand.

"Rex. My King of Monsters. I beg you, will you save us?"

I opened my mouth. I closed it. I didn't have any more words, just raw emotion, pain swirling with hope and desire. I stared at her for a long moment.

Then I took her hand.

From that point of contact, there was a flash of green, a small spark that expanded out into an interactive pattern that surrounded us.

In that emerald life, all the weight she had carried in her shoulders, the pain in her expression, all of it was gone, and suddenly she was the Liana I knew again. Happy. Free.

"Rex."

From the circle, a noise begin, a sound I couldn't define that quickly rose to a dull roar that only part of me could comprehend. Around us, the patrons of the bar were panicking, and I could see our waitress on the phone, frantically called for help. They were probably screaming, but over the circle's sound, I couldn't hear any of it. Despite all of that, Liana's voice was still clear.

"When this is over. When you find out what this all really is...."

There were tears in her eyes.

"Rex. Please don't hurt me."

And then we were gone.
Last edited by i am insane on Sun Oct 18, 2020 7:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Nuclear Solution to a Shotgun Level Problem

Post by i am insane » Sun Oct 18, 2020 7:56 am

I woke up alone, naked, and with no idea where I was. Briefly, I entertained the idea I had been drugged and had hallucinated some or all of the evening, during which someone had robbed me blind before left me somewhere to die. The fact I was in a some kind of pit, though, seemed like a lot of extra work for what would have had to have been a relatively unprofitable robbery, and kind of half assed, at that.

Getting up, I realized that I was... thinner. I had lost some extra fat, but there was also more muscle, lean and compact, on my frame, and in some indefinable way I felt taller, and my limbs seemed to be longer as well. My hands, now, were that of a pianist's, slender and long. Some basic investigation proved that not only were my scars gone, from the cut halfway up my forearm I got from playing with scissors as a kid to the scrap on my leg a few years ago after a mild car accident, but so was my belly button, oddly enough. More than anything, I had this sense that I had stretched, just a little bit, and in the process some of my inferior physical characteristics had been lost, judged irrelevant when my body had adjusted itself.

Numbly, I poked my new and improved abs a few times and wondered if I was in shock. Or dreaming, or in coma. Or maybe dead. Eventually, though, I decided that no matter what was happening to me, things would probably improve if I got out of the giant hole in the ground.

It proved to be easier than expected: there were no walls, and instead I was surrounded by a slope, one that grew sharper and sharper as I proceeded on, but still far better then trying to climb straight up would have been. Most of the way I simply walked up, gradually leaning forward as I went and carefully keeping my balance as the footing became increasingly perilous. At the end, I finally was forced to use my hands and actully begin to climb, but even then my fingers and toes dug into the packed soil with ease, giving me all the grips I needed rise past the lip and onto the ground proper.

For a minute or two I just laid back down on the ground, staring up into the sky, and breathed. Part of me, a part that had been steadily cataloging odd differences ever since I woke up, pointed out that I was no mountain climber and that was almost certainly far easier on me than it should have been. Really, I wasn't even out of breath, even though I knew that I definitely should be after that. It was also trying to get my attention about something else it had noticed when I had finally left the hole, but the rest of me simply decided to enjoy the fact it was that easy at all and ignore it.

"Oh, you finally woke up. Great! I was starting to get worried, but if I tried to go down there I'm sure I would have fallen and broken something."

I bolted up at that voice so fast I almost ended up back in the damn hole, and at the last minute rolled and used the momentum to land on all fours, limbs splayed out to keep me upright. It was awkward, but also didn't fall, so I counted it as a win. As I took in the scene, several things became clear to me:

I was in a clearing of a forest, and in the trees in front of me was Liana, who had obviously been taken off guard my sudden movement. As I looked at her, she stepped back a bit, resting a hand on the nearest tree, as if she was thinking of hiding behind it.

Her skin, which had been nicely tanned, had become more of a brown, one that seemed to match the trees around her. She was wearing a pink dress that wrapped around her body in a spiral, starting from her right ankle and rising until it embraced her chest, leaving tantalizing gaps of skin exposed throughout and her shoulders bare as it stayed attached to her bare skin with impossible ease. It seemed to be, at a glance, made of flower petals, ones that matched the flowers that were scattered throughout her hair, which was now longer than it had been before, coming down to somewhere below her thighs, as well as apparently being green now. Dark purple strips clung to her legs, emerging from open toed sandals and securing her feet in place before ascending and vanishing somewhere under the dress, near her hips, with a heel that must have given her a good four or fives inches of height. Each of them appeared to be one solid piece that must have been assembled around her legs for it to fit her as perfectly as they did.

I had a visceral reminder of the fact that not only was my girlfriend sex walking when she wanted to be, I was, in fact, still naked.

The tree she was standing next to seemed to approach my waist in height.

"What the fuck." I said eloquently.

"Rex." She replied, in that tone everyone seemed to use for large, dangerous animals that they really didn't want to get killed by, and were unpleasantly aware there was nothing they could actully do about it, "Rex, just calm down."

Slowly she began walking forward, arms held out in front of her as if to show how wasn't planning to attack. I felt an urge to laugh at that, the idea she wanted to demonstrate how harmless she was when I could probably pick her up in my hand.

"Liana, what the fuck."

My pose was starting to strain me a little, so I decided to settle down to my hands and knees proper. As I started to move, she flinched, and when my knee hit the ground, she stumbled, as if the earth had shook under her feet. Liana flinched again as my new position brought my head much closer to her than it had been a minute ago. After a moment passed, she started walking towards me again, slower.

"Rex," she said my name again, a note of pleading present this time, "Please, be careful. You're very big now, you could hurt me."

It was at that point where I just had enough and.... reached. As my hand moved towards her, a look of utter terror filled her face as she tensed and for a moment I thought she was going to turn and run away from me. Instead, she deliberately stopped moving and let me grab her without a fight. Gently, I wrapped my fingers around her and lifted her up, barely feeling her weight as I did so. With her in hand, I settled back from my knees to sitting on the ground, one leg stretched forward, knocking over a few trees as it did so, with the other curled under it. As i moved, I braced myself against the earth with one hand while deliberately keeping the other, with its precious cargo, high up in the air and largely unmoving, and only bringing her closer to my head once I was done.

The entire time, I realized now, she hadn't moved once while I had moved her around and even now, she was staying ramrod still in my hand, and on some level I recognized what Liana was doing. Except for her hair, fluttering back in forth with my breath, she was staying completely, utterly motionless, in some sort of instinctive prey response to brain numbing terror. On that same level, I felt my attention lock on her, tuned to her movements, in a way that made me a little uncomfortable to think about.

"Liana, relax." I said soothingly. "I'm not going to hurt you."

Gently, I ran a finger through her hair. She shuddered at that, relaxing slightly and I had a sudden realization, as her body moved in my grip, that I had not only my girlfriend, but a very attractive, very adult woman in my hand. I felt an urge to explore the soft places I felt pressed against me, but repressed it with a monumental force of will.

'Don't do that', I almost said. Or, quite possibly, 'Do that again'.

"Rex..." she murmured, her voice softer than before. I wasn't sure it was out of fear or something else, but at least she was responding now. Impulsively, I stroked her hair again, slower this time, allowing myself to feel how soft it was, the impossible smoothness of it, the sensation of the small bumps against my fingertip, each of them a flower only the fraction of the size of my nail, layered with petals, some of which fell as I moved past them. By all appearances, the flowers seemed to be growing from her hair.

Was that...?

I sniffed, once, parts of her hair rising up for a moment before floating back down.

"Holy shit, Liana." It was! "You smell incredible."

There was some sort of subtle, floral aroma rising from my hand, better than anything I had ever encountered. Not artificial or cloying, like perfume or scented soups, but something that seemed utterly natural. It was, I guessed, from her flowers, which meant they, and thus she, just normally smelled that good.

I ran that thought through my head again as the the bizarre nature of it suddenly registered, and I snapped out the daze I had been sinking into as I examined my girlfriend's new appearance.

"What the fuck, Liana. What the fuck happened. I'm holding you in my hand, Liana." And then, because just saying 'fuck' all the time was unoriginal, I creatively added, "Shit!" instead, for the second time today.

"Would you do me a favor, Rex?" she contributed at last, with a calm voice that was only somewhat strained. "Could you loosen your grip for a moment, and move your top finger? My arms are trapped in your hand and I'd like to move them."

As I realized what else I would be releasing, I felt some reluctance I quashed before opening my hand. Before I could do more than start, though, Liara yelped, struggling suddenly in my hand. Instinctively, I firmed up my grip once more as I felt her slip down in my palm.

"Carefully, Rex! Please be careful and don't drop me!"

I tilted my hand back until she was almost horizontal with the ground below her, grabbing her legs with my free hand to help steady her as I unlocked my fingers.... and if I rolled them around a little, she didn't seem to notice, or mind, as she carefully freed her hands and stretched them out a little, before raising them above her head.

"Alright!" she called up. "I'm ready!"

I wrapped my fingers around Liana again, and after one last squeeze of those legs, I released them as I moved her back to my face.

She reached out towards me, and I automatically brought her closer to help. After a moment, I could feel her hand patting against my cheek, barely, before I moved her back into focus again.

"Thank you, Rex." She took a deep breath that I felt as much as I saw. "Alright. Let's talk."





So. I'm trying to push out chapters. I actully have an idea where this is going, which is nice... but, at some point, there may be some violence to small people happening, even if the small people aren't Liana, and I'm not sure if I should label that at some point or...? In many ways, this story is supposed to be as much an adventure story as it is a fetish story, and adventure stories usually have monsters, and people, die, to the protagonist.
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Re: A Nuclear Solution to a Shotgun Level Problem (GT)

Post by i am insane » Mon Oct 19, 2020 11:01 am

Edit: Basically rewrote this chapter. Honestly I rushed this out just to say I did and this feels a lot better now.




"When we talked about this at dinner, I couldn't really explain what I was talking because the foundation of it revolved around things like magic and alternate dimensions. If I had tried, you would have thought I was crazy." Liana snorted. "I take it that isn't a concern at this point?"

"Under the circumstances," I said dryly, "I'll accept that magic is, in fact real. Well, that or I've well and truly lost my mind. And, now that we've established that, you were saying...?"

"Before that, though, could you move your thumb a little?" she asked, shoving at the digit. "It's a little...."

I considered that for a second, taking in my thumb, which was firmly wrapped around her breasts and easily resisting all her efforts to be moved.

"No." I replied firmly.

Normally, I liked to think I wasn't the kind of asshole who wouldn't stop groping his girlfriend when asked. This wasn't a normal time, though. After everything that had happened, I felt entitled to squeeze her tits a bit. So sue me. And, to prove my point, I did just that, increasing the pressure, flexing my thumb against them, just because I could. Gently, of course, as gently as I could: I wasn't quite sure how delicate she was now, and proving a point or not, I didn't actully want to hurt her.

It was surprisingly erotic. If you had asked me before about the appeal of breasts the size of grapes, I probably would have laughed at you. Even ignoring the ridiculous nature of the question, more is better, right? And there was undoubtedly less to them than there had been before, and yet.... there was something about being able to feel the entirely of her chest with one finger, the sensation of her nipples rubbing against my skin contrasted to how soft the rest of them were, how easily I manipulated them.

I had planned on doing it for a second or two; I still had questions, after all. I'm not sure how long I actully played with her, but it was probably closer to two minutes. When I looked back up to her face, she was staring at me, a complicated expression on her face: amusement, the edge of fear that hadn't left her face since I found her, and a touch of what I swore was arousal. She huffed at me once she saw she had my attention again, annoyed, but let it go, which made me raise an eyebrow. Liana was many things, but she had never really been one you could call 'passive'. She could let things go if she wanted to, but if she cared? I doubt the fact that I was apparently fifty feet tall now would have stopped her from calling me out on it, even if she couldn't have actully stopped me.

Which meant, at the very least, she didn't care it all that much and had asked me to move my thumb more out of a sense of obligation than anything. I filed that thought in the back of my mind for further consideration as she started talking again.

"Imagine an ocean. That ocean is reality. Above it is the sun, the source of all mana, the foundation of magic, the engine of life. At the top of the ocean, the sun's power is felt the strongest, but it is largely empty, because the sun alone will kill. Below that though, with a layer of water to act as protection, is where life thrives: mana is plentiful, leading to no only numerous life forms, but many of them that don't actully work using Earth's understanding of reality. The mana around them, that they absorb constantly, from eating, drinking, merely existing, helps supports the existence of things like dragons, who fly with wings too small for their bodies, breath fire that emerges from no visible source."

Liana paused to hold up her hand to her eye level. "This is where we are now. "Above" us is a blasted land where magic runs wild and warps everything that it touches, and very few can can survive. But there are deeper levels."

She lowered her hand until it hit my hand, about chest level. "Then we start entering areas where things get dark. At this point, the light is so filtered that the things that live there live off less and less mana, forcing them to adopt more 'stable' forms. Dragons, chimera, unicorns, the things you would consider mythical creatures don't exist there because they would simply wither and die from the lack of light, of magic. It's at this point where the equivalent of those really ugly deep water fish start appearing, things that scrounge and devour the tiniest bit of maan to survive, that would explode if brought to a higher 'depth' like an over filled balloon; they can lock on the tiniest trace of it from miles away and will chase it relentlessly."

Liana pointed at the ground. "And there? That's the bottom. That is where Earth is. It is dark, it is cold, it is horrible, and it is empty. You aren't even one of those monster fish with giant teeth and glowing eyes and what not. You are one of those blind, eyeless things that people find in depths of caves that have never once seen the sun. You're one of the creatures that people make horror movies about."

She snorted. "Hell, you, literally you, a human, might be in some horror story somewhere, I'm going to have to look now when I get the chance. When people realized that Earth was a thing, that creatures lived there? You would not believe how the mages freaked out. Your existences spits in the face of our basic understanding of the universe."

For a moment, she managed to keep a straight face, "Oh god, if only I could see their faces if they knew about you. There would be such freak outs, you can't imagine."

I raised an eyebrow. "I don't feel blind."

Liana rolled her eyes. "And if you could ask one of those fish things, they'd say the same thing. Look, you know how there's five senses?"

I nodded.

"That's the thing: there's actully six. The sixth sense isn't, in fact, the ability to see the dead, but the ability to sense mana. You can't do that, no human can. Trust me, if you could, you would be blinding yourself right now. I had hours to try to adapt to your presence and I'm still having problems."

"Really? But I thought I didn't have magic?"

"Well, you do now, that's for sure." Liana tapped her finger against my hand for a moment, thinking. "Look, can you put me down for a minute? I'm getting a tired of this whole 'suspended in the air' thing.."

Honestly, my arm was getting a little stiff from holding it straight out for so long, so I didn't argue with her and just placed her on my upright knee, keeping my hands nearby incase she needed help. As I let go Liana wobbled for a moment, before she backed up, and higher, to get a more stable placement. After she felt secure, she sighed dramatically.

"Hilarious. Anyways, this is where the whole 'ocean' bit starts falling apart a bit. So, when it comes to dimensions, or the ocean, or whatever we're calling it for this, going down is easy. Gravity will just let you drop without issue, and with a little weight, you can just go down without any real issue. Survival is another issue, though: for what we did to bring you, we put a copy of my personality in a... diving suit, let's call it, something that protected it from the depths she sank to, gave her a few basic things to look for in her subconscious and let her work. Time works differently down where you are, so she had years to establish an identity and find someone who fit our criteria."

Her criteria. I remember again the weird fascination with my name, the sometimes probing questions into my life and history she asked sometimes. I had no living family to miss me, few friends, I was nothing more than a replaceable cog as far as my employers were concerned. Exactly the kind of person who could be taken away with minimal fuss, both from the one that was taken and those that were left behind.

I'm not sure what Liana saw on my face just then, but she paled slightly, before she started scrambling to explain. "Wait, wait! It's not what you think! Her feelings, my feelings, they're real!"

Liana reached for me, before clearly remembering where she was; for a second she flailed on my leg, but she was too overbalanced, and for a single, heart stopping second, she fell. I had lowered my hands before, but I had just rested them on the same leg, and that point they were already back up, cupped together to make a platform larger than she was, and Liana didn't fall more than a few feet, from her perspective, before I caught her. Neither of us spoke as I brought her to my chest, and carefully adjusted my grip to lay her against it and support her from below with my hands.

"Let's not do that again." I said finally. "Let's never do that again."

Liana laughed, somewhat hysterically, Silence fell again before spoke.

"You may have guessed at this point, but I went to magic college. Took a minor in dimensional study. That's not what we call it here, of course, but that's basically what it is. My teacher told me a story; I think everyone who went near that kind of thing got told this story, as a warning."

Liana squirmed a little, getting more comfortable as she laid against me, back to my chest and head faced up towards mine, and I was once again reminded that I was still naked, and that she was very soft, and very warm. Slowly, I moved my hand until I could stroke her hair again with my finger. She shuddered, once, before settling back into place, but she didn't seem to mind it, so I kept petting her as she talked.

"Years and years ago, someone brought up an ant from Earth, once, planning to run some experiments on it. Nothing special, just a normal ant you could find anywhere. Completely harmless."

She laughed again, sounding even more strained. "Harmless. It didn't even measure an inch, originally. The thing they brought back, once it got there? It was three feet tall, and it basically had two swords attached to its face. It tore through a reinforced wall like it was nothing, and shrugged off blasts that would have shredded an elephant. It killed a lot of people before they could put it down, starting with the poor sap who brought it in the first place. Eventually, they figured that, during the ascent, it picked up mana, a lot of mana, in amounts that should have killed it. I might have mentioned it before, but going up is harder than going down, and that's why: without precautions, whatever you bring up overloads and dies. That's what he expected to happen, that he would have just had a new sample to dissect but for whatever reason it absorbed it completely, instead. Built up all the structures that were already there."

In my hand, she began to shake, ever so slightly. I stopped moving, but before I could move my finger away she turned and grabbed it, holding it to her like she was hugging a pillow.

"Common knowledge holds that sentient creatures have an exponentially higher capacity for mana than the non-sentient, and the larger the organism, the more it can hold, as well as the more it can gather. You're a lot bigger than an ant, Rex, and a lot smarter. We knew, whoever, whatever we called up from the dark, that it would be big, it would be strong, and that we would absolutely have no chance against it, if it wanted to hurt us. This was always going to be a gamble. I knew there would be changes, I knew you would grow, but this?"

When she laughed this time, there was no humor to it, only bitterness. "This is so far out of our expectations that it isn't even funny. Do you know what, though? This actully makes things easier. I brought you here to kill a monster, and I knew you would have a massive advantage, but now? There's no way it can stop you if you're like this. Not a chance." She gestured at the entirety of me and grinned weakly before hiding her face back behind my finger.

"I'm scared of you, Rex. I really, really am. But I should be a lot more scared than I actually am. From the moment I saw you laying there, I should have ran, and ran, and never looked back and hoped you never would have known I was there. When you saw me, I should have screamed, begged for my life, prayed that you wouldn't hurt me, because you are that scary. I compared you to Godzilla before, but I didn't know how right I was."

Liana looked up at me then and stared me straight in the eyes. "But I didn't, because I know you. I'm as much the Liana you met on Earth as the Liana that lived up here her entire life. The emotions she felt, the emotions I felt, they were always real, she was just going to avoid people who were happy with their lives. If you had a big, sprawling family, a job you loved? She would have broken up with you by the second month. If we took someone away from their big, happy life, there was a much higher chance of us all getting slaughtered out of revenge, or even just abandoned and left to die. We were taking an enormous risk in doing this and we didn't want to be stupid about it. But you weren't someone with ties, you weren't happy, and it sounds horrible, but I'm happy you weren't happy, because that means I got to be with you. You're the guy I met at that dump of a bar, drunk out of your mind because your dog died. You always remembered to give me live flowers, not cut ones. You have never once hurt me in all our time together."

She knelt down in my hand, and I felt tiny lips press against my chest. "I know that, intellectually." She kissed it again, and I could feel her tongue lapping against my skin for a brief instant. "But that's not enough. I need something more, I won't be able to truly feel safe until I know that you won't hurt me, that you'll help me." A third kiss, and this time she bit down with teeth and pressure that probably would have drawn blood before, but now it didn't even hurt.

"And now, every time you look at my bare skin, every time your eyes stare at me with desire, every time you caress me, fondle me, grope me, every time you hold me close, a part of me thinks, 'Ah, I still have this. I can still hold this over him'. I'm not proud of it, Rex, but it's there and it won't go away. I've accepted that."

Liana looked up at me, and smiled that smile, ever so slightly biting her lip, her cheeks flushed, panting slightly. "If I have something you want, something only I can give to you? Something I can choose not to give you? That is control. I'll have a leash around your neck, and even if it's thread thin, even if it holds only because you choose not to break it, that will still be enough for me."

Still looking up at me, she started lapping at my chest, grabbing with her hands for leverage like she was about to start climbing a mountain, slowly creeping up with every lick, until she stood on tiptoes, unable to reach any higher on her own, her reach just below my neck. It felt like she had only a moved a foot before she had to stop.

I had never felt harder in my life.

"If I can have that control over you, Rex. If you let me ."

For a minute I didn't, couldn't say anything. Then I growled, a little madly, "Yes."

"Great!" Then she let go. "There's a monster attacking my village, Rex. It won't stop until everything and everyone I've ever known is dead. Would you be a dear and kill it for me? I'll be ever so thankful."

I almost howled. For a long, long moment, I almost kept going where we left off; she couldn't have stopped me. More than that, I don't think she would have wanted to stop me. Liana was a bit of an actress, but not nearly enough to hide the fact, or make up the fact, that she had been enjoying this, ever since I had picked her up. She had enjoyed it when she was kissing me, and it would be easy to keep going. It would be so, so, so easy. If I just grabbed her, and started having my way with her, I didn't think she would fight me, I think should would have helped.

The reason I didn't is that, even though she had enjoyed it, Liana was clearly just as worried as she was excited. She was acting confidently, in control, but it didn't reach her eyes, and I hadn't forgotten what she had been saying not even a minute ago. If I didn't let her have this victory, have this control over her circumstances.... I wasn't sure what it would do to her.

And I really did like to think I was a good boyfriend.

"Of course, Liana." I said at last. "I'd love to help."
Dancing the mad dance, singing the mad song.

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