Circuit Breaker

Is This All There Is To It? / New Love (Page Twenty Four)

by CyanidePrincess

Tags: #cw:gore #bondage #f/f #pov:bottom #scifi #sub:female #alien_invasion #bisexual_lead #dom:female #drug_play #Human_Domestication_Guide #mind_control #petplay #robots #sadomasochism #slow_burn #trans_egg #transgender_characters
See spoiler tags : #cw:protagonist_death
(Some Content Warning tags are spoilered. Click to show them) #cw:protagonist_death

Sorry for such a late chapter..... I have been extremely depressed and its really really really hard to work on anything when im depressed like that. But hey, heres this chapter. Hope all you gay people enjoy <3<3<3  Chapter title from "in the flesh" by Ecco2k!
--->(a bit of fantasy violence in this. And sex, of course.)

"You got that?" Aether asks, holding a big cooler full of prepared drinks on one arm, showing off her strength like an ice box full of ice and drinks and glasses weighs absolutely nothing.

"Ya, I'm good." I reply, spinning around and using my right wing to push open the door to the nerd cave. I’m holding a big stasis chest full of prepared snacks as well. Likely just as heavy, with plates and utensils. But we’re robots with hydraulic systems for forearms. We’re good. 

The moment we enter, there's a little chime sound from above the door. Everyone, like everyone, looks up at us at once. No one recognizes us yet, except Ceriza who’s bouncing up and down on her feet like a maniac. “GAY PEOPLE!!!!” She runs at us full tilt, crashing into the two of us, bouncing off, and landing on her butt before getting up to her knees to bounce around in front of us some more.

Aether and I just start laughing and laughing. Humans, especially human florets, are just the cutest things ever.

“Hey, you need a wing?” I ask, crouching down and extending out my wing for her to hold on to. She beams, and immediately rockets her hand out to start playing with my feathers. It tickles enough to make me nearly drop the stasis chamber, but I barely hold myself together enough to pull my wing away and pout. “Heyyyyyy! I was trying to help you here!”

She giggles, and jumps up to her feet. “I may be a clumsy floret but I don’t need no help getting up! How are you two?” I pout for a minute before I acquiesce.

“We’re good, I think. Got a new hab, new ship, and the bar is coming along nicely! Part of why we’re here today actually is to invite everyone over for opening night.” I smile down at the goofy human.

She smiles right back. "That's great! I'm so happy to hear that! I'm guessing these are treats you two are carrying?"

"They are." My fiance replies happily. "Sera's got the snacks, and I've got the drinks."

"Which is ironic!" I chime in "because I made the drinks and she made the snacks!" And then I giggle about it. Ceriza also giggles and nods along. Aether just does that little laugh thing where she blows air out her nose for a moment. It's cute.

"Here, come take the goods over here, then we'll get everyone setup. Sera, so you already know how to play, and I kept your character sheet from last time, do you still wanna use it?" Ceriza asks, guiding us over to one of the tables at the back of the room. 

"Yeah I think I would! You can probably tell… I happen to like angels." This earns me another giggle from the Floret and a scoff from my love. :)

"Great! Set it all down here." Ceriza designates a little spot. "I'll bust out the snacks about half way through. Anyways, Aether, right?" Ceriza asks, turning to her. 

She nods. "That's right. And don't worry, I'm well aware of how to play this game. I brought a sheet of my own actually, so we'll be ready to begin as soon as you want us to." 

I turn to look at her after setting down the stasis chest. "You've played before?" 

She smirks at me, but doesn't say anything. Ceriza instead leads us back to the chairs around the table. We sit in an open spot towards the back of the table. Next to where Ceriza sits. We can get an easy view on everyone here. All the same members, though it does seem that at least one of them has an additional accessory around their neck that wasn't there last time. It makes me smile and trace my finger across my own collar just at the implication.

"Okay everyone! Names and pronouns! We have a new member today, and an old member who has a big announcement! Okay! I'm Ceriza, the DM of this group, and my pronouns are she/it." Ceriza turns and looks happily towards the opposite side of where Aether and I are sitting. 

"You Guys Know Me! I'm Alix! My Pronouns Are He/Ze!!" Alix excitedly shouts. His new collar jingles loudly with each bounce in his seat for each first syllable of every word. Very excited. 

Aether sends me a side glance with a smile. {Yes, ze are always like this. This whole group is queer like this.} Aether smirks at my response and looks back towards the table. The round moves on.

"hello everyone. i'm chrysanthemum, and my pronouns are ze/zir." The fuzzy looking beeple tells the group. Ze speak through a voice modulator to properly communicate in the native Terran language. In a way, it almost conveys a kindof accent. One similar to the old land of Deutschland. Not that I've ever been there. 

[I think it's nice that there's a beeple here. You don't often see them outside of heavily Affini occupied zones.] Aether says, directly into my head. I just nod in agreement. {I love some extraterrestrial inclusion! I wonder how many other aliens are sitting at the table!} Aether looks at me funny. [At least one.] 

"I'm Maeve… my umm… my pronouns are She/they. This here is my… um… my partner Layla. Faer pronouns are fae/faer." The meek girl from last time speaks. They seem to be at least a little bit more confident since the last time I was here. Must be because they got a new partner! Good for them! A paired bunch!

Last but not least, the only floret I've ever seen regularly wear a suit. Theodore. "Theodore, they/them; a pleasure as always to be here." They have the slightly glassy eyes of a Floret, but they also seem to be sharp and inspective. The eyes of someone who's definitely smart and well put together enough to regularly wear a suit. They definitely kill it in style and presentation, that's for sure. Should talk to this one some time. 

Then, onto my fiancée. "Hey groupies! Nice to meet you all! I'm Aether, I'm a mechanic back further in town and my pronouns are She/They. Oh and by the way, the girl next to me is my fiancée."  There's a few happy gasps of surprise around the table when she mentions the word fiancée.

This causes me to look at Aether in a different way. {Wait, have your pronouns always been she/they?} 

Aether looks back at me, eyebrow raised. [Yeah?]

{Huh… I don't think I remembered that. I've been using she for you exclusively. Is that okay?} My fiance shrugs. [Well it's still a correct pronoun for me, so I don't mind. Plus, everyone's staring at you since it's your turn.] Oh fuck.

"Guh uhhh uh um uhh…." {Fuck!} "hi… again everyone… I think I'm the returning member with an announcement. I played with you all a little while back as the angel general lady or whatever… uh… I look different… I know… I like… so I found out I'm trans and my pronouns are She/Her now exclusively… also please call me Seraphim or Sera for short… thanks…" Holy shit I killed it (/s). That was worse than last time. 

I'm given several thumbs up from members around the table, and a quiet murmur over having 'finally cracked my egg' whatever the hell that means. But one member in particular tilts their head and looks at me with a gentle smile. 

"Well, Ms. Sera, congratulations on the self-discovery,” Theo calmly replies. “And on the lovely wings; is that a tradition of some sort? Because I used to know a Sara who had wings like yours.”

This line of questioning makes me just the slightest bit embarrassed, but I push on regardless. "A tradition? Maybe… my wings have a certain meaning to them that could be qualified as traditional in a way, but not likely in the way you're thinking." I giggle a little bit. "It's cool to know I'm not the only Sera with wings, though! Maybe I should start a club…." I say, pulling my hand to my chin in a mock thoughtful pose. 

Theo replies all too sincerely to my suggestion. “You certainly could! Though you’d probably have to scour the archives to find your counterpart, since it’s been a few years; when last I saw her, she was on the Telluria near the planet Trianon, if that helps you narrow your search.”

“It does! Thank you for telling me! I actually have a second announcement for the rest of the group as well. But, I think my fiancée would like to give that one.” I shoot her a look and she smiles and nods before standing up.

"Hello again to everyone at the table! My fiancée and I have an announcement! With the help of Ceriza… we've decided to open up a new bar and restaurant! It's held in a travelers ship that we had custom built for the two of us, and we'd love everyone to attend on opening day Friday. If you're all interested that is. We also have…!" Aether grabs my arm and pulls me up, instructing me to take over the announcement.

"Snacks and drinks for the party! We made some things, and we'd like for you all to try them!" I finish the announcement before sitting down again next to Aether. She grabs my hand tightly under the table.

"Very very amazing! I think I can speak for us all here when I say… we'd love to! Or at least I'd love to! I'll have you two bust out the snacks once we've gotten into playing for a bit and have worked up an appetite… but thank you for the announcement!" Ceriza calls to the table. "Are we ready to play!?" Big smile, huge. 

Many other big smiles join alongside. A resounding 'yes!'

I unfurl my wings. With a crouch and a powerful flap, I feel the smoke and hot air buffett against my body as I fly up to the floor above me. 

As I feel my momentum fade, I crest the large hole in the floor which had allowed passage just moments ago for my companions, who were now waiting for me. I land gracefully and turn around to inspect the handiwork of Bahamut, my stunning devilish companion. The charred wood on the edges was evidence enough that the hole was recent, as well as some still-smouldering pieces of the floorboards. I turn to Bahamut.

“Nice work.”

She laughs lightly, revealing two fangs. The gentle motion of her head makes the dark, fiery ring above her horns waver slightly. “Right back at you, darling. That landing was smooth.”

I turn to the rest of my companions. We’re looking a little worse for the wear; Beraxis’ rough gray skin is covered in cuts and scratches, our ranger, Dore, is covered in bruises and tattered clothes, and our healer, Laeyve, is splayed out on the ground, panting from exhaustion. Even Bahamut and I are feeling a little rough. 

I elect to take the optimistic and uplifting approach while talking to them, rather than the pragmatic one. “Listen, everyone. These floors have been a struggle. But we’ve still gotten through them. We’re all alive, and each of us are mostly still in one piece. All we have to do is defeat the thralls on this floor, and we’ll be able to make it to the last chamber, and destroy the Orb.”

The Orb of Zot is a legendary artifact, said to corrupt any living being that lays their hands on it. Being a merry band of upstanding citizens, we all elected to travel to the tower the orb was currently being kept in, destroy it, and give its current victim a stern talking to.

Beraxis is the first to respond. “That Is True. But Isn’t It Possible To Take A Rest?” Even though Beraxis is visibly tired, his sharp teeth are still visibly clenched together, and it seems like he has to force each word out of his mouth lest he devolve into a frenzy. 

At the mention of a rest, it’s hard for me to not visibly slump over. Ascending the tower has been no easy task, thanks to the army of zealots and thralls created both by the Orb and the Orb’s current ‘owner’. 

Dore quietly agrees with Beraxis, and Laeyve can only muster a weak “Woo!” at the thought of getting a much-deserved rest. Even Bahamut agrees, I can see it in her swirling eyes.

I deflate. Thank the stars; I wasn’t looking forward to going into our final battle with all of us exhausted. “Okay everyone, let’s take fifteen. I think we earned it.” 

I hear weak cheers from those around me, but my eyes are already closed. I fall forward while my wings give a single flap, gently guiding me to the ground. As soon as I make it there, I hear a voice boom from throughout the room.

“You think you’ve earned rest?! You destroy my tower, you destroy my thralls, and you think you can rest with all your heads still attached?!”

Oh, come on.

Mad King Wence certainly lived up to his name. As a recently deposed king, he was obviously feeling a little desperate for any power at all. Unfortunately, madness and desperation are rarely a good combination, and was corrupted by the ‘mystifyingly fabulous’ Orb of Zot, which he thought would give him ultimate power. Even though Mad King Wence had already been a despot, it was our duty to destroy the Orb, return him to his (relatively) sane self, and bring him to justice. 

The booming voice grows in volume. “Go, my pets!! Crush them, break them, do whatever it takes to stop their foolish pipe dream!!”

The voice falls silent, and is quickly replaced by the sound of clattering. Slowly, out of the dark corners of the room, appear scores and scores of wooden dolls. I guess the thralls and zealots were getting old.

As we all slowly stand up while letting out various moans and groans, the dolls slowly stagger closer. I turn to my companions, and I don’t even have to say anything; we’re all ready to fight. I take my place by Bahamut’s side, while Beraxis, Dore, and Laeyve stand behind us, facing the other direction. I draw my sword and effortlessly spin it around. 


I sprint forward, low to the ground. There are hundreds of dolls now, still pouring out from the corners of the room. Too many to take down with just a sword. I feel a familiar tugging at my soul as fuzzy darkness covers my blade. I arrive in front of the first doll of many in about three seconds flat, as I let loose a slash. The darkness on my blade erupts, cleaving about 30 of the dolls in front of me, leaving them tottering for just a moment before they come crashing down, lifeless and out of energy. That gives me enough time for a quick glance behind me.

Beraxis tears into several dolls around him, crushing two with his hands and biting the head of another, which sends up an eruption of splinters. Dore’s hands are moving almost too fast to see, as they load and let loose several volleys of arrows at once, taking down swaths of dolls. Laeyve, while not very proficient at battle, lets loose some holy fire, taking down even more of the wooden idols. Then, I see Bahamut. It doesn’t even look like she’s breaking a sweat. I can see her mouth move, no doubt uttering some profane oath, as her hands shoot out inky black fire at the dolls. Those hit by it are consumed by a burst of hellish energy, and are reduced to ashes.

I turn my attention back to the dolls in front of me. I begin to make quick work of the dolls, as several fall with each savage swing of my blade. It seems that the dolls have stopped spawning from the corners of the room, but it matters little; there are too many to count now, bearing down on our group from all sides. As they keep coming, I’m forced to take a step back. Then two. Then more, as the wooden menaces keep staggering toward me. I jolt when I feel my back hit something. I steal a quick glance, and it’s Bahamut. She grins at me for just a moment, until we fall into a familiar rhythm of fighting at each other’s backs. The air is filled with the sound of shattering wood as Bahamut and I make quick work of the dolls around us. I hear Bahamut yell, “Switch!” behind me, as she bends down. I roll across her back, and begin to cover my blade in darkness again. This time, I can feel the tugging in my soul grow stronger. Being this close to Bahamut must be making me stronger. As my feet hit the ground, I let loose another slash, and the darkness on my blade curves around with it. I can feel the darkness tear through the hundreds of idols in front of me with a silent roar, just as Bahamut releases her own spell. With our synergy, we reduce the remaining wooden dolls around us to ash and splinters. 

I look over at Dore, Beraxis, and Laeyve, and it seems that they’re finishing up with the dolls as well. After a few more volleys of arrows, and a couple more chomps, the room grows silent. 

The silence is short lived, as the voice from before booms through the room. “You defeated even my favorite toys… Very well. Ascend to the final floor so we may face each other!!!”

I can’t say anything other than “Rest.” as I fall forwards onto the floor, performing the same maneuver with my wings as when we first arrived. I hear “Woo” and “Good job, everyone”, but my eyes are already closed. I’m snoozing. I feel a familiar presence lay down beside me. I don’t even have to open my eyes, I know it’s Bahamut. She’s the first one to speak. “Thanks for the assist back there, I think we make a pretty good team.” I can almost feel the wink she makes afterwards. “Thanks, you were pretty good yourself. Nice work.” I smile silently as I feel us drift off together. It may only be for fifteen minutes, but it will still feel just as sweet.

“Break for snackies, everyone!” Ceriza calls from the head of the table. There's a few exhausted but satisfied sighs from around the room, and a quiet thump as Theodore momentarily loses their composure and sets their elbows on the table to rest for a moment. Then, they quickly pick themself back together and look around the room, quickly realizing that they're not the only tired one who's resting on the table, and go right back into slumping again. Elbows on the table is okay!

"Need help getting the snacks and stuff?" Aether asks, shaking herself off for a minute before standing up to help Ceriza. 

"I mean… maybe? They're your stuffs, so you might have to set them up in whatever way you want." Ceriza comments before stepping away from the game table and over to the snack table. Hell yeah, time for the surprise! I quickly get up and scamper over to beside my fiancée. "I'm here to help too:)" I offer. 

Aether takes the drinks container and brings it over to the game table. When she cracks it open, a little puff of cold white vapor leaks out. Then, she pulls the whole lid off, revealing a big but quickly vanishing cloud of steam or vapor or condensate or whatever it's called. The cold looking gas that comes off of dry ice. Which there is plenty of in the container for the exact effect of making the clouds. 

She gingerly digs her hand into the box full of dry ice without a care (since robots don't get freeze burn) and pulls out three big ornate drink containers, as well as some now chilled glasses. "Here we are, everyone! There's three different cocktails on tap tonight. Over here we got a blended margarita, which is a drink made mostly with lime juice and tequila. It's fruity, but don't let that fool you, it's also quite strong! Then secondly, we have a classic, rum and soda-flavored-like-the-old-terran-drink-cola or coke, if you will. That's a good one, the flavors mix pretty well and the taste of the sugary drink balances out nicely with the alcohol. Lastly, we have a virgin cocktail here called a bloody Mary. Why it's called that, you ask? Well because it has blood in it of course!" Aether happily shouts before pouring a small glass of the tomato drink and sticking a funny looking bendy straw in it. "Just kidding! It's tomatoes!"  She giggles and leans down to take a sip. [You know, not as nice as it would be with some real alcohol in it, but it's still spiced and seasoned well. It's like a different kinda tomato soup.] Aether messages me silently.

I nod {once we're back to the hab, why don't we make another for you but this time with a few shots in it?} She smiles and turns to me. [Sounds like a plan.]

Then it's my turn to start talking to the group. "Anyone can pick out any of the three drinks we prepared and we'll pour you a glass. For food, we have here~" I bring over the stasis chest full of ready meals and crack it open. This time there's no cool dry ice vapors, instead only a little bit of regular steam as I start to pull out the many bento boxes inside, setting them down one by one beside each other. "These are 'Bento' boxes, or lunch boxes! We made a few different varieties here… we have fried tempura vegetables, teriyaki salmon, and super thin sliced steak! All of them also come with some white rice, a few gyoza, and a little salad with a nectar based dressing. Pick any of the three, we have plenty for everyone!" I happily exclaim before setting out a few pairs of chopsticks. "Pick away!"

The groupies at the table all seem to crack their awestruck gaze at once, and all start reaching for boxes and empty glasses. Once everyone has their box and utensils, Aether and I make rounds of the table to begin pouring drinks. Aether takes the glass and raises it for me, and I pour in the drink at her command. Which in this case, is a subtle nod. 

"Oooohh! Steak for the big girl!" Ceriza calls out in a goofy tone as she breaks apart the sticks and begins digging in to her meal. Aether and I pour her a rum and coke/cola/brown soda. Because of course she wants the sweeter cocktail. "Thank you!" She says while looking up at us with a mouth full of food.

"It's really no problem Ceriza!" I chime before turning and tending to another table mate's drinks. 

"Yeah, really. It's really our pleasure, especially after you gave us that cookbook of recipes. It's your salad recipe we're borrowing for these boxes here, by the way." Aether comments with a gentle smile. 

Ceriza takes a big bite of dressed leaves before opening her mouth into a wide smile. "Omgosh! Itiz!!" She says with a mouthful before realizing it's improper, chewing, swallowing, blushing, and opening her mouth to comment some more. "It makes me really happy to see you using something of mine! I hope the bar works out nicely because these foods and-" she takes a sip from her glass, swallowing comically loudly "drinks are really really good!!!!"

"Well, as stated, we open for our first night this Friday!" Aether excitedly shouts.

There's a tap on my shoulder. When I turn, I see the beeple, chrysanthemum looking up at me with those big and sparkly beeple eyes. "ehhm… excuze me, mizz, but it'z very hard to… use these sticks." Ze show me zir hand, which only has three…. Fingers? Compared to a normal human (or robot's) five. 

"Oh! Pardon! I have just the thing…" I walk over to the utensil box and pull out a fork and spoon set with extra wide handles. "Here, this should be a little bit easier to hold. Or should I say, it should bee a little bit easier."  I smile smugly like an idiot. 

"um… what?" Ze respond, tilting zir head curiously.  

"Uh nothing…. Uh…. How's the drink?" I ask, noticing zir cup full of virgin bloody Mary. 

"it iz very good… but lacking when it comez to intoxicantzz…" ze emphasize with a little flutter of zir wings. My wings flutter in response almost automatically. "zats not to say it iznt good. It iz!"

"That's what I'm sayin too!" Aether comments from across the room. "Its just missing that extra zing!" Her little added banter makes me smile. 

"Well I'm sorry about that! I'm not exactly sure what I'd do yet to help out a beeple when it comes to getting wasted… you guys don't exactly respond to alcohol the same way humans do, do you?" I query.

"no, not exzactly. but i do have a zolution. would you mind if i added zomezing to ze drink?" Ze ask, buzzing a little nervously. I flap my wings gently and quietly in a calming response.

"I don't mind at all, whatever works for you."

I watch with a gentle smile as ze reach into a bag on the floor and pull out a little vial of a golden liquid. It seems to be attached to some kind of…. Vaping device? I tilt my head curiously, scanning the object. I get a response back that lets me know it's an average beeple vape. A device used to vaporize core-world-honey, also known as beeple honey, also known as the main ingredient in class O's. A very very strong Xenodrug capable of… honestly dangerous things in the wrong hands. I watch in rapture as ze undo the capsule from the vaping device, uncap the top, and dribble a few small drops into zir drink, using a chopstick to stir. Then I watch in still enraptured awe as ze just straight up drink something strong enough to practically brain-wipe the average human. My wings start to flutter a little nervously. Ze catch this.

"oh! you are worried of the honey? don't, don't, it izz safe for me to have. us ah beeple are very reziztant to what ze terrans call xenodrugz… it iz fine for me to have." Ze set the glass down, a small bit of tomato juice stains zir yellow fluff around zir lips. "ah, zorry if thiz is a little… rude… but you are ramet, yes?" 

I nod confusedly. "Ah, yeah. I'm digitized, why do you ask?" 

Ze smile in response. "you could try ze honey zome time. it could not hurt you if you are digitized, i believe." 

My jaw drops and I immediately look around the room to find Aether. I find her sitting down in her chair, sipping a blended margarita and staring at me with a hilarious look. She sets the glass down and shrugs with a positive undertone. [I don't see why not]

"Holy shit! That sounds awesome!" I exclaim loudly. Just about the entire room turns to look at me with a gasp. BIG letters invade my vision. Like REAL big. [Sera!!! Don't curse like that in front of florets! It's rude! Just because we do it at home doesn't mean it's okay to do in public in front of others. Plus, it reflects poorly on me as an…] I watch her as she looks down at her own hands. [Nevermind… just try to be careful.]

{Yes ma'am!} I shoot back. "Sorry about that, I forgot cursing has a stigma…" I rub my palm nervously across the back of my head.

"Again." Ceriza comments from the front of the table.

"Again…." I comment back before shamefully walking back to my seat and sitting down with a teriyaki salmon box and, of course, also a blended margarita. Aether wasn't wrong about them being tasty. Even though they're not traditional. 

There's a voice from in front of me. "Master Says I'm Not Allowed To Curse Either!" Says Alix, excitedly. "But I Think It's Fun! Fuck!!!" He shouts suddenly.

"Yeeaaahhh!!!!" I shout back. "It's very fun to curse! FUCK!" 

"Seraphim! Cool it!" Aether shouts from beside me, frowning displeased. I suddenly feel extremely guilty for disobeying her… but before I'm able to apologize to my better half, another voice breaks in. Quiet, floral, timid, and almost like a fairy. It seems to be from the person named Layla. "it's fun to curse sometimes…. damn!" Fae shout in an… honestly nearly silent whisper, but it's enough to shock the crowd. 

I stand up. "Yeah! You heard em! Just cuz most of us are florets, doesn't mean we can't have a bit a' fun with our language! Shit!" I shout.

"Shit!!!!" Alix shouts as well.

"Ummm!!! Crap!!!" Ceriza shouts as well before covering her mouth and flushing red. I turn and look at her. 

"Nooo, girl! C'mon you can do better than that!"

"But I caaannnt, Mistress says it's not nice to curse!" 

"Well she's not here is she?" I goad her on a bit more.

"I guess not…"

"That's right! Fuck!"

"...... fuck!" Ceriza shouts before covering her mouth again and giggling.

I raise my arms and flap my wings in victory. "Go team! This post was made by cursing floret gang!!!"

"Now what the hell does that even mean?" Aether asks, crossing her arms. 

"Look, you're a cursing floret now too, Aether!!" I nod my head excitedly.

"Whaaaaat. No? I'm not a Floret." She crosses her arms a little tighter.

"Don't you think you'd look good in a collar like this though?" I smugly comment back.

"Yeah! You'd look great in one!" Ceriza adds with a giggle.

"Oh shut up you two…" Aether says with a dramatic eye roll before whispering 'fuckin' hell' under her breath. Then she stiffens up straight all of the sudden to see me staring at her with the most *smug* of looks, knowing that I heard her when I wasn't supposed to.

"Gotcha." I say.

"Stars damnit!" Aether exclaims, mock angrily.

We all start laughing. 

Lunchtime progresses without a whole lot more eventfulness. Leftovers are wrapped up and kept with whoever wants them, the last of the drinks are served, and everyone's just a little bit tipsy when we get back into the game. 

"Everyone ready?" Ceriza asks.

"Fuck yeah!" Several of us shout, including Layla and Maeve now too. Ceriza just laughs loudly before nodding.

"Alright! Let's get it!"

Gradually, all of us wake up from our naps. It certainly wasn’t enough sleep to face a despot and a presumably large number of minions, but it’ll have to do. 

A quick glance of the room reveals that during our downtime, a large staircase had appeared at the end of the room. It will certainly save us the trouble of Bahamut destroying the floor of the room above and throwing a rope up.. but it still seems too easy. Our group moves towards the staircase, and with a couple of careful inspections, it seems like the staircase is safe. 

Our walk up is silent, but the air is filled with the quiet scream of tension. Finally, agonizingly, we reach the top without interruption. The surrounding area is dark, save for a glowing red light at the far end. 

A peal of thunder, and a flash of light. 

After my eyes and ears adjust, I realize that the room has been bathed in light, though it doesn’t seem that the light is coming from any one particular place. I can also see that the red glowing light is none other than the Orb of Zot. Beside the orb, stands a man who can only be Mad King Wence.

The Mad King stands at about 12 feet tall, clothed in a brown robe that ripples across the floor like it has a mind of its own.

His voice booms once again, “You made it! I was beginning to grow weary. Now that you’ve made it to my throne room, you have two options. The first is to swear fealty to me, and join me. The second is to be struck down by me. It is your choice.”

My companions and I draw our weapons and stand at the ready. It seems to be enough of an answer for him.

“Very well!!! You come in here, you destroy my toys, you waste my time, and now..” He flourishes his robe. “I will take your souls.”

The Mad King’s robe shifts and twists, and from underneath it springs a countless number of dolls. 

The room quickly devolves into a flurry of weaponry and splintering wood. Though we’re all tired, we’re managing to hold our own. 

I quickly come to realize that we aren’t making very much progress. The dolls are still spilling out of the King’s robes, and we haven’t even moved a yard towards him. I know how I can make quick progress; it will be a risk, but it will pay off.

I yell at Bahamut, “Going up,” before stepping a few feet back. I take a running start, unfurl my wings, and start to soar over the crowd of tottering dolls. 

Unfortunately, it seems like the dolls notice me. A few seem to move their hands towards the ceiling, but they quickly concentrate in a spot I’m going to be flying over in just a couple seconds. 

I strain my wings and push against the air as hard as I can. As I do, I see the concentration of dolls build up until it becomes a mountain of wood, quickly stretching towards me.

The mountain of wooden dolls climbs and climbs, reaching up to grab me and pull me back down.. but I’m too fast. The mountain collapses, and I touch down right next to the Orb. I flick my attention over to it, and time seems to



The Orb refracts, revealing infinite amounts of ever-twisting fractals, made up of shapes that shouldn’t exist. It’s equally as mesmerizing as it is horrifying. As I draw my sword back to put an end to its hold, I see Mad King Wence cry out and reach towards the orb, but he can’t stop what is about to happen. I swing, clean and true, and knock the Orb out of its place on the pedestal. It falls to the ground, and shatters with an impossibly loud sound that drowns out the fighting of my companions in the background. 

Nothing changes.

The wooden dolls keep pouring out from the robe, Mad King Wence’s face is still twisted up into its expression of horror and frustration.  

The Mad King screams out in a rage, but I’m too confused to understand what’s happening. The Orb shattered! Wence is by no measure a good person, but the hold of the Orb of Zot should be released. I ask myself aloud, “Why didn’t it work?”

Mad King Wence’s face twists as he speaks. “You don’t get it? The Orb isn’t real!”

I can only answer with a quizzical look.

He continues with a grin forming on his face; “The Orb was never real; it’s just a pretty crystal that costed a damn fortune. There was no magical control. I made it up, I paid off people to spread rumors about it. It’s the perfect excuse. Being a king is fun, it’s powerful. But having an excuse to do anything is so freeing. You can call me ‘evil’ or ‘mad’ or anything you want, but none of that is really true. I’m just hungry. And hunger is the most natural feeling for a human to have.”

I heft my sword and start slicing through the wooden dolls that threaten to overtake me. I know he may not be under the Orb’s control, but if anything, that makes this situation worse. “Wence, you say it’s natural, but everyone in this room knows that you’re wrong.” I pause to let loose another bout of darkness to swallow the encroaching dolls. “Yes, people hunger for many things. Food and water, rest and relaxation. Something to pass the time, and reasons to keep going.” Another pause to take down some dolls. “But the thing people hunger for the most is love. Love from our friends, love from our families, and love from the people we spend our lives with.” I cast a quick glance over to Bahamut, who offers a quick grin and wink while igniting wooden dolls.

Wence barks out a cold laugh. “Don’t tell me you really think that. There’s only one real love in this world, and it’s everyone’s love for things that sparkle. Gems and jewels and gold are the only friends anyone needs.” Wence almost spits out that line. “Everyone-- everything else is made of flesh and bone! It’s weak and malleable! Start to put some pressure on it, and it turns to dust!! If it can’t be used, it’s USELESS!!!!!” Wence bellows, sending a shockwave through the room. Laeyve and I are knocked back a little, but thankfully everyone else holds their ground.

I can tell Wence is getting winded. Whatever spells he’s using are clearly taking a toll on him, and the waves of dolls are gradually thinning out. 

I steady myself, and then I see it.

The winning path.

My wings unfurl once again, as I take one step, and then another, and then I take to the air.

I ready my sword as I hurtle through the air towards Wence. He levels a withering gaze at me, but it’s too little, too late. Even if he did overpower me with his glare, I couldn’t slow down now. I yell to him. “Okay Wence, then I’ll show you. I offer you the exact amount of love you deserve. The exact amount of love you earned. That love will reveal itself in the form of cold, uncaring steel.”

Quick as darkness, I stab my sword through his robe, and into where his heart presumably is. Wence makes a horrifying sound in the back of his throat, and crumples. The rest of his dolls follow suit, turning into nothing more than sawdust.

I gently flap down to the ground where Wence is lying. I continue talking. “You’re dying, Wence. All the regrets you have, all the things you think you could have done better.. they don’t matter now. I can’t even truthfully tell you I’m sorry. You got the Devil’s share. You did the things you did, and you got repaid exactly how the Realms said you would. It all evens out. Now, before you pass on, do you have anything left that you want to do?”

Wence wheezes, and shakily clenches his hand into a fist. He raises it to my face, and almost as if he’s in slow motion, tries to swing it at me. It gently lands against my cheek.

“Yeah, I didn’t think so. I’ll see you in the Forsaken Realm.”

As the light in Wence’s eyes fades, he slowly begins to disintegrate. All that magic must have taken a toll on his body.

And another sad old man passes. A king of nothing.

So it goes.

Aether quickly reaches under the table and grabs my hand, running a thumb over the back of my palm. My eyes feel a little wispy. Aether turns and looks into them. "You okay sweetheart? That too much for you?"

I shake my head a little bit, recentering myself. "No no, not too much. That just reminded me of something…or someone."

"I understand." She says, still holding my hand and giving me a little smile. It gets a smile out of me too. There's a little while of silence in the room while everyone packs up their things. After a while, Ceriza gets up to the front of the table to address us all again.

"Well everyone, I think we all enjoyed that, even if it got a bit dreary at the end but ummm! We have plans for a new campaign coming up if anyone's interested in joining?" A few hands raise. Mine and Aether's don't though, as we have plans for leaving pretty soon. Ceriza notices this and gives us a sad, curious look.

"I really enjoyed our play time today, but Sera and I have some plans off-world coming up. Including but not limited to… our marriage. We don't have a set date for it yet but when we put one together, we'll be sure to send out some cards to anyone that wishes to attend. It won't be on this planet though… so uh… we'll be a little too busy to attend." Aether finishes. 

"That's okayyyyy! When does your restaurant open?" Ceriza asks back. I take up the reins. 

"Two days from now actually. Friday. We mentioned this I think? Well uh… regardless. Thank you for inviting us, it was really nice to get to show off my new self."

Ceriza nods happily and sporadically before waving as we finally leave. 

Down the sidewalk, the late afternoon light is a bit too bright for me, so I dial back my sensors a bit. Aether seems to notice this, as I can sense… feel her copy over the tiny bit of subconscious code that influences my eyes to her own, adjusting them to the bright light as well. Stars, she's just so cute and perfect. Our walk, hand in hand, passes for a few minutes in silence before I look over and notice Aether a little glazed in thought, matching my own thoughtful demeanor. "Hey, hun" I say quietly. She smiles and looks at me. "What are you thinking about?"

"Oh just everything coming up I suppose. Whether or not our bar has everything we need. All that… oh, and that I picked up all our house stuff. The bed and table and stuff. But it all still has to be assembled. What are you thinking about?"

"Assembled? What do you mean?"

"Oh, you know Ikea right? The place we went to? Their whole gimmick is that you get the parts and pieces for what you want, then take it home to assemble it yourself. It's supposed to be this whole fun building thing. So I brought all the parts to the ship but I didn't assemble any of them yet. I was a little busy… you know, playing with you and your nerd friends~" she teases me with a smirk. 

"Hey! They're not- … … okay they're nerds. You're right."

She giggles. "You sure you can't think of anything for the bar though, right?"

It takes me a minute to collect myself before giving an answer. "Actually yeah, I can think of something, but I'm not sure how plausible it is. You know the projection system you have back in your workshop?" She nods. "Why don't we get one in the bar, as realistic and as powerful as we can so we can~~~" I wait for her to finish my thoughts, but she doesn't, instead she just stares at me and smiles. I decide to finish it myself instead. "Do magic! Like in the game today! We'll be magical vampire girls who use the projections like little magic tricks! Isn't that cool?"

She just continues to smile at me like I'm a silly little pet. Well. I guess I am. But- "That sounds great, sweetheart. Of course we can do that. We can do anything you want, my precious girl." 

I'm stunned for a minute from all the affection she just dumped into my robotic heart. "R-really?"

"Yeah, of course. Anything you need, always."

"No, do you really mean I'm your precious girl? 🥺" 

She smirks. "Of course I do. I couldn't lie to you about something like that."

"Well, Affini do seem to have a bit of hesitancy when it comes to lying in general, so I guess I'll believe you." I say, putting my other hand on her shoulder and looking her in the eyes, full to the brim with love.

"Well, as you may be able to tell… I'm a little different from the average."

"Yeah, you are." We stand in silence for a moment, just looking at each other in the eyes before a strong…. Feeling washes over me. Aether's face shifts, like she's about to ask me something when I grab her firmer, flip her around, and push her forcefully backwards down an alleyway between two buildings. Into a bit of a shadowed area. Not quite dark, but just enough to see our eyes gently glowing. 

"S-sera… what are-" she's cut off by me pressing her shoulders back into the wall, cornering her off, and holding her against it forcefully. She blushes.

"You remember what I was saying during our game?"

Aether is embarrassed and flushed and can't seem to put the words together, instead just stammering when she sees me bare my teeth, refusing to let her move away from the wall even a little. 

"I mentioned a hunger. A hunger for love." Her head tilts slightly downwards when I say this, looking up gently into my eyes. This little look of hers pushes me over the edge. I press her firmly into the wall, and press our lips together in a rough kiss. Drawing her shuddering breaths into my mouth, and biting slightly on her lips, sinking one of my teeth into her skin just slightly. It makes her squeak a little bit, which allows me to slip my tongue past her lips and into her mouth for a moment to do battle with her tongue. I win, and she melts into my arms like ice cream on a hot day, moaning quietly into my mouth involuntarily. I pull away after a moment, and look over my catch. Her eyes are still shut tightly, but she's bright red and shivering slightly. Panting short little breaths. Content to just allow me to take the lead. Fucking finally. My turn to top.

"Aether." She opens her eyes and looks at me. "Can't you see how cute you look when you're melting like this." She closes her eyes again and makes a little sound.

"Weehh…. Why are you being so… so forceful…" she asks.

"You know why. And aww, do you not like it when I take the lead?"

Her eyes shoot open again. "T-t-thats not what I- '' I shut her up again by reaching behind her head with one of my hands, and pulling on her hair just a bit. She squeaks a little bit. "Then let me take the lead." I whisper, leaning in close to her neck. The tips of my fangs gently graze her skin. Very very slightly, she leans her neck toward them just a little bit more. I take it as her consent, and sink my fangs into her neck. Oh, how I missed the feeling of penetrating her. Aether shudders and moans loudly for a moment. I quickly yank on her hair just a bit, before removing my other hand from the wall and pressing it tightly over her mouth. She moans into my hand a bit more. {Quiet, sweetheart. We're still in public, you know. Even if we're a bit hidden back here.} She doesn't respond, instead she just licks my hand. The sensation of her tongue running across my palm makes me giggle a bit and release my fangs from her neck. I'm almost viscerally disappointed that there's no blood dripping away from her wound. I really want to feed on her, just like she used to do with me.

Feeling a bit frustrated, I move my hand on her mouth from covering, to sticking my fingers in her mouth instead. I feel her fangs extended out, just like mine. They gently scrape across my fingers as her tongue wraps around them and pushes them around her mouth. It's so cute, it just burns me with more need. After another quick pull on her hair, at the sensitive part of the back of her head, I take my hand away and grip her side instead, pulling her body flush and tight with mine. There's something hard that presses onto the bottom of my tummy. {Is that a data pad in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?}   Aether squirms [sorry! I didn't notice my hatch came undone….]

{You're perfect, sugar. Maybe this is your body's way of telling you that you want more, huh?}

[yes… I think it is]

My hand moves, edging up her clothes, and runs gently over her soft tummy. I hear her gasp quietly. {You want more?} She nods, eyes shut again. {Then beg, sweetheart. Tell me how much you want it, my darling.} 

Aether whimpers and shakes her head. [I won't beg!] I take my hands away from her, and step back. At some point, my wings have shot out erect, displaying my raw emotions. [wait… come back Sera…]

{If you want me back, then you know what to do.}

[I won't beg!] I take another step back. [wait, no… Sera… I need you.] I just smirk at her words. [you're making me frustrated! I'll just! I'll just program you to come back here! I have admin on you, you know!] She says, flushed, stamping her foot very slightly. Awww, what a display.

I take a few steps forward, pressing her back into the wall, and locking my eyes intensely on hers. {but you won't do that, will you.} 

She whimpers and shakes her head no. 

{That's what I thought. Now beg.} Aether squirms again, before finally crumpling further into my arms. [please] 



{More, Aether. Beg like you mean it.} 

Aether moans nearly silently. Reveling slightly in giving up her control for a moment. [Please, Sera! Please touch me, I need it! I need you to touch me Sera, please please!]

A shot of gay euphoria floods my circuitry for a moment when I save our chat log. Locking it down and away into my memory banks. That's a keeper. Aether notices this and makes a complaining whine. {Don't worry, sweetie, that was enough for me.} I shove my hands up her shirt again, and grab around her chest. Aether gasps and presses further into my hands. Ugh, bra in the way. My fingers inch under her bra before moving it out of the way enough to fit a hand under. She's so soft… so soft. And sensitive, it seems, by how much she's writhing under my touch. Her nipples stand hard at attention when my fingertips brush over them, fitting them into a little pinch and tug. My other hand trails down her tummy, finding the nearly imperceptible indent where her chest hatch latches together. My finger digs slightly into her synthetic flesh before it parts and gives way. Gently, I pull it apart and open her up just enough to fit my hand between and into her flowering internals. Aether shudders hard, and has to bite her lip hard enough to break the skin with her fangs to keep from moaning too loudly when my hand starts to run all over the flowers, thorns, and squirming plant life that makes up her insides. I feel parts of her curl needily around my hand, pulling it this way and that. My fingers brush across her roses, tug tightly on her vines and roots, and get gently scratched at by her thorns. All the meanwhile, getting totally coated in sticky sap. More parts of her curl around me and up my arm. 

I pull away from her for a moment, up my hand and all the way to my elbow is a wreath of flowers and vines tugging onto me. Aether's face is red and flushed, eyes shut tightly. As well as, new development, several of her other hatches have opened along her arm, neck, and legs, spilling out plant life from every open space, covering her entire body in roses and vines. Vines and roots even start to spill out of her mouth when she opens her eyes and looks at me. She goes to try and say something but stops when she realizes her mouth is full of her own plant life. She shivers, and I feel a strong, heavy wave of her embarrassment wash over me. My wings ache to do something, so I push back to her and wrap them all the way around her. Cutting her body off from anything that isn't me. Two almost humans, held in an embrace that only our inhumanity can accomplish. There's something romantic about this, I think, as her vines continue to evacuate from her metal shell, parting through my feathers and around my body. 

A bit of access code hits me, and a few of my hatches unlock as well. Aether's hands are still pressed in place around her sides, but she's able to snake a few vines up my body and into me, wrapping around the parts of my own internals made of the very same plant life she's made of. I feel our soft petals brush together, lighting up my entire being with white hot pleasure, nearly knocking me over. But I stand still, continuing to let her tie herself up within me, until we run out of places to interlace further. Almost like full body hand holding. We stand there for a little while, basking in the glow of such a tight, soft, warm embrace. But I can feel that she isn't satisfied, and neither am I. 

But we take a moment to pull ourselves back apart, and I look down at her. Still covered in beautiful flowers, leaves, and the likes, spilling out all over her shell. "Come on. Let's get you home." I say. She just flushes and nods, allowing me to collect her up into my arms, and carry her limp body all the way back home. 

(End Of Page Twenty Four)

VERY IMPORTANT IF YOU ARE A CIRCUIT BREAKER READER ---> please give a huge shoutout to Luna Lipscomb for writing the fantasy/dnd portions of this chapter. I offered her a place to write so she can get started on her own writing skill, and I think she did fuckin' beautifully. Please, if you're in the HDG server, ping her and tell her she did a good job. @lunar_pumpkin   Thank you! She needs the affirmation!

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