A Big Shiny Blue Marble Ch. 14byTaLtos6©
***It can be a little startling, certainly. Sometimes, when you're in just the right place for it, geographically as well as within yourself, someone can just, ... get to you. It can be a lot of trouble, usually, but then, some of the greatest loves begin that way too. 0_o
Book of the Merren Part 7
Selena's jaw dropped as she looked around. It looked like a scene from far to the south. There were no geographical features like this anywhere near where they were and it was so warm and inviting. She didn't know for certain, but the air seemed to be even warmer here, though she felt cool little breezes on her face, as though there was just the barest sea breeze coming to her off the water.
She glanced up, "That's not the sun, is it?"
"No," the demon said, "it's nothing more than an approximation, just as the rest is only an approximation of a place on another world. The color of the light is a little different, and tends to be just a little more red, though it is hard to see. It looks like many places in the warmer parts of this world that I have seen."
"I feel as though I'm standing in the sunshine on a warm summer day," the rogue said, wiping the first beads of sweat from her forehead. At least her body had appeared to have decided about that, she thought.
"Well I suppose that in many respects, you are," Ny'Zeille smiled, "Tell me, are you going to stand there like that all day? You look a little out of place standing there like that."
"I don't have anything lighter to wear," Selena shrugged, "I came here dressed to travel through winter."
"Well, if your shame of your body bothers you that much, then remove everything but your undergarments," her friend suggested in a helpful tone, "You'll drown if you try to swim like that. It's not very deep here, but you'll be lugging around your wet clothing if you go in like that."
She smirked, "Really, Selena, if you were alone and had no one hunting you for something which you'd just stolen from them and you found yourself here on this beach, what would you do if you wanted to swim? Would you get all of your clothes -- and weapons and whatever artifacts and charms that you might be carrying soaked? I don't think that you would. And I don't think that you'd just sit in the sunshine and sweat, either, at least not for long, anyway. You're too bright for that."
"Well if I knew that I was alone and there was no one to see me, I'd take my clothes off and go for a swim, "Selena said a little nervously.
"And who is here now," the demon said with the barest hint of sarcasm, "someone who might lust after you or wish you harm? All that I see is a woman and her small granddaughter. We are all who are here, three girls who would be dressed in nothing if this were any of a thousand fishing villages on this world and we were washing clothes if we were human and if there were no males nearby. In many of those places, their men are forbidden to be there then -- if they want to have clean clothes to wear and do not want to have to do their own laundry."
She turned back to her granddaughter and they walked into the small waves, leaving the rogue to stand and sweat by herself.
She hadn't been completely truthful; there was another here, a young male Xer who sat on the rocks a way off, drying off in the light. But he'd hidden himself and sat there invisible. Ny'Zeille knew that he'd be leaving soon anyway. He came here every day at this time, wanting to feel a little as though he were back on his home world, instead of here on this lump where he'd been dragged by his uncle Arrax.
Xhan looked over, watching with the barest interest as the strangely-dressed female began to disrobe a little self-consciously. He'd wondered why they wore all of the encumbering fabric when he'd seen her earlier, but from the little that he'd learned of her, ones like this always seemed to need pockets to carry all of the trash that they wished to carry along wherever they went.
But two things came to mind for him in a few seconds. He did like her body somehow, as strange as it was to him, and the female was armed six ways from tomorrow. His eyes widened a little as he watched. She must have been carrying six blades, not counting the one that he saw strapped to her thigh under everything. What was all of that for, he wondered?
He'd ask Arrax about it later. For now, despite what the Esteemed One had said, they were not alone and he was intruding. He slipped off of the rock and stood on his long legs as he stretched languidly and ran the fingers of one hand through his mane for a moment as he yawned silently. He looked again and saw that she was bent a little to step out of her garments.
Xhan's gaze settled on her backside and he smiled, finding something about this one to like after all, even though she had no tail. He wondered how her kind knew how felt about each other without tails to tell by. Remaining invisible, he changed forms and padded away, just as Selena stood up and turned around, wondering why she'd felt as though someone had been watching her.
Ny'Zeille marked it. If the young Xerian hadn't made a move to go, she'd have been more pointed about it in her words, while still choosing them in such a way so that her friend would likely not catch on. She liked Xhan a great deal and she was aware that he wasn't happy here. He'd excelled at his studies and was more than ready for his first off-world assignment. The trouble had been a female, she smirked to herself, as it so often was. Xhan's eye had been caught by a sweet-looking little bitch back on Xer. Ny'Zeille had seen her and had to give her points for her efforts at landing a male from a prestigious family like Xhan's.
Arrax had also seen her, however, and there was no way that he'd allow the same thing to happen to the nephew that he loved so dearly as what had happened to him. True, they'd made the best of it, he and his first bitch, but it had been a rare thing, the way that his female had managed to charm his family into accepting her. He knew that it wouldn't happen twice, even though he knew exactly how the young lovers felt. He wasn't the only one who needed charming, after all, and the bitch that Xhan was so lustful for didn't have a tenth of the natural charm and grace which would be required to even get her paw into the door.
Besides, the young male had chosen to follow in his uncle's footsteps, and a life in that service carried more than enough hazards on the worlds of far-flung planes. Death could come in an instant from any of countless directions for ten thousand reasons which a newcomer wouldn't be cognizant of.
Ny'Zeille frowned. That's what had happened to her male's first bitch -- the one who'd been the right species for him. Death had come to her and their whelps in an instant while he'd been off to meet a dignitary. She loved the Xer that she'd taken as her male -- just as he loved her, but she'd known him before the tragedy as a friend and colleague. She'd met his female and played with their little ones.
He'd never been the same afterward.
She brightened, laughing a little at the way that her friend waded in so cautiously. "I know that a rogue must always be on her guard -- if she wishes to remain among the living," she smiled, "but there are no sea snakes or predatory fish here. You won't even find a stone to stub your toe against, Selena. There are clams and oysters over in that direction and a few star-shaped creatures who keep their numbers down, but there is nothing here to even cause you to worry about getting your lovely hair wet here, if you don't wish it."
Whatever Selena was about to use as a reply was cut short when Nahl'een suddenly jumped up from where she'd crept holding her breath to wrap herself around her sister's upper body. Selena toppled over backwards as Nahl'een's happy shriek filled her ears.
"And even if you don't." the demon smiled to herself as she finished the thought, "there is a young sea monster who will get it wet for you."
This was more like it, she smiled as she watched them splash each other. One almost wouldn't know that they'd only met recently.
Xhan walked to his own room and looked at the bed, trying to decide the way that he wished to sleep after his night of walking with the others. Unlike them, he had no duty to perform here, he only liked the company.
He could always remain like this and sleep either on the floor or on the bed, but that would limit his options for the way that he felt.
He closed the door and climbed onto the bed, lying down in his other form. He lay on his back and before long, his fingers slid around his scrotum, caressing it the way that hers so often had. He missed her, and as he felt his longing for her grow into the puddle of self-pity that he knew it was. His hand found his hardening shaft, seeking to make himself feel a little better by masturbating and remembering the way that she could coax his gushes from him so easily.
His uncle had told him what she was doing and why -- what her hope was when she moaned into his ear in the dark places they chose for their trysts. Xhan didn't care. He loved her and she loved him -- that was what he'd told himself anyway. He remembered the way that she could drive him to near-madness with the way that she rubbed her body against his in the darkness.
Xhan wasn't inexperienced. He'd had more than a few playful pairings with others, ones who hadn't laid their little treasures in front of him like bait to tantalize him into choosing them for a life together. But she had, always holding him off, telling him that she was serious about them and how she wanted him for their lives together.
He hated the way that his uncle had shown him the truth about her, using his connections to provide him with the proof and the way that she had poured the same honeyed words into the ears of another that he knew well. She'd gotten over Xhan in a week, and had quite obviously decided that her back-up plan would do just as well. From what he saw, it had already been decided, the male from a slightly less famous family filling her every chance that he got.
Xhan pushed the thought away angrily and settled back into stroking himself as he remembered how she'd pressed her mound against him so hungrily. The scene in his mind shifted a little, and he was amazed to find that it wasn't who he'd placed there in his little fantasy now. It was another, and the thought of her against him took him roaring to a sudden climax in seconds. He'd been completely unprepared for this.
As he laid there, the fur of his hard belly covered in his own semen, stroking on for a little while, he was flat on his back, staring at the ceiling of the chamber and wondering just where and how this had come to him. He shivered a little as his final spasm came to him and then he lay still, listening and feeling the thunder of his heart. He groaned, knowing that he'd need to wash now.
"How they know?" the little face looked up at her from where she sat in the water with Selena sitting behind her. Nahl'een loved the way that it felt to sit leaning against Selena and feeling the way that she was inside her arms while she told her another story. "How the thieves know you were there?"
"Well," the rogue smiled down at her, "they couldn't see me, since it was dark and all, but they knew that there was another thief there. Unless they're really stupid, a thief knows it when things go missing and other things happen to draw their attention somewhere else. We'd all know it if someone came to steal the things that we'd stolen away from us.
I was just using them. I was there for the same little gold statue, but I found them already there, so I just changed my plan. I let them face the problems of the traps and the guards. They started out as six -- which was too many. Only two were left by the time they got to their hideout. They kept looking to see if they were followed, but they didn't see me. I knew them anyway and I knew where they liked to lay low, so I was there waiting for them, that's all."
"What happened?" Nahl'een asked.
Selena looked over and saw that her older friend sat not far off, hanging on every word. It made her laugh a little, "I had a little surprise for them. I usually carry one or two. They're little packages with a small bit of flashing powder wrapped up very tightly in a paper covering. The tightness is important, because it will make a better noise. They had incense sticks burning all over the place to help with the smell of the sewers. I just used one to light the fuse of my surprise, and then I moved away before it went off. They go off with a bang then. But my surprise was even better, because I set it in a pile of their own. I knew where they kept them stored for when they used them.
When it went off, it lit all off the others, and in the noise and smoke, it was east to get away. So I had the gold statue that I'd been sent to get, and, since they'd been seen back in the big house, they got the blame. Best of all, I had my revenge."
Nahl'een was happy. She loved to hear adventures of any sort. "You show me how? I want to be like you, Selena."
"I don't think you'd want to be like me all that much, Nahl'een. You only want to now. Anyway, even you can't learn all of this in an hour, but I will show you the dances."
"What are dances for?" the little face frowned in thought.
"A rogue needs to be able to get out of the way of things which might be thrown or shot at them," her grandmother said, "and if you think about it Nahl'een, you might see that there is no time to try to decide what to do then. You must be able to let your body decide what to do all by itself. The dances are to teach your body to do this."
"Yes," Selena said as she lowered her head to press it against Nahl'een's affectionately for a moment, "Each one is a series of steps or movements. You learn one at a time, and practice them all endlessly, whenever you have a little time. You learn balance as you do them slowly while you learn the movements. Then, when you know a dance well enough, you move faster through it. If you work at it, your body will be able to move the right way at just the right time. Then you learn the next dance and begin again with that one."
"I've seen the way that it's done, little one," the demon smiled, "It teaches grace and when it is done a little slowly, it is very beautiful to watch."
"You show, ... "Nahl'een stopped as she remembered how she was supposed to ask, "Can you show me how, ... it looks to see?"
Selena smiled and got to her feet, walking out onto the sandy beach. She thought a moment, and selected something from her sizable number of dances and then she began. Her movements were slow and purposeful at first, but before long she sped it up a little, and the others sat with their mouths open in awe of the rogue's graceful movements. After a little while, she increased the pace, still performing the same fixed movements which she knew by rote, until at last, she completed the final repetition at blinding speed, a little sand flying from the movements of her feet.
She walked back to them and sat down in the water again.
It wasn't until the pair had finished their amazed praise of the beauty of it all that Selena realized that she'd done it all naked. She thought about it and decided that she could get used to it. It really didn't bother her at all with them here. She was a little surprised to suddenly find Nahl'een on her knees next to her in the water, hugging her neck tightly and begging to be taught.
Shaevre padded in a little later, and Selena was asked to perform again so that Nahl'een's friend could see as well. The rogue thought it was little more than a disguised attempt to get her to dance once more, but she didn't mind all that much. Shaevre sat on her haunches like a dog and nodded.
The thing of it was, that when Selena had finished her series of dances and the demon and the little girl had gone into the gentle surf to play a little, Selena felt herself being looked at. She turned and saw Shaevre watching her with interest. She felt a little silly, but she smiled at the creature, "They look as though they've forgotten me for the moment," she said as she watched them, "I'm sorry if you were dragged over to watch, and I hope it didn't bore you too much."
She looked back and saw Shaevre watching Nahl'een then. Selena shrugged and walked over to join them, not noticing that the hellhound stared at her for a few more minutes. The next time that Selena looked, she saw Shaevre already looking elsewhere.
"I'm almost afraid to ask, but what did you want to look at on me to know what you wanted to know?" Selena asked as they stood on the bottom about halfway out. Aside from Ny'Zeille, Selena had been forgotten for the moment as Nahl'een ran in and out of the water at the edge with her playmate.
"I really don't need to look anymore, my friend," the demon smiled warmly as she watched her granddaughter play, "From all that we have done, I can say that you are a mix of the two types of blood, the same as your sister and Dahlgren. You need to explore to find out the extent of what you were given from the pairing of your parents and then you need to develop it. It would be my pleasure to help in any way that I can. I wanted to find a way for you to stay to accomplish it, and so I found something very useful and valuable in bargaining to have you teach Nahl'een. Both of you will benefit."
"I understand your sly maneuvering," The rogue smiled, "but now I think that I'd at least like to know the physical signs. You never know, it could come in handy for me one day to be able to tell myself."
"Very true," her friend smiled, "but I believe that it might only be of limited value, since most of the ways to tell are details which are kept covered by clothing on most people here. I can show you if you wish, but this is not something to share with a human. I know what you are now, and if you were human, I'd never show you at all. It is knowledge which would only be misused by them."
"I'd still like to know, "Selena grinned, "even more if I'm allowed to know a secret. Do all people like me know it?
"Most do not," Ny'Zeille grinned, "and most pure demons do. They just don't tell. There are six indicators for females, only five for males, and only one of them is sure most of the time. One can be misinterpreted over a rather cosmetic practice among some people, two sometimes occur in humans naturally, one is a matter of preference which can also occur in a human now and then, and one occurs in three other types of being. The last is a little hidden. Am I tantalizing you now?"
"Oh yes," her friend laughed, "now more than ever. I must know now."
"Then come a little closer," Ny'Zeille said, "and I'll show you."
Selena took a few steps and suddenly found that the bottom dropped away under her feet. She sank below the small waves for a moment, but came up sputtering a little as the demon's hands slipped under her arms to pull her up and set her down where she stood.
"You knew that hole was there!" Selena laughed.
Ny'Zeille nodded, "Yes. I wanted to see if you wished to know so badly that you would abandon your usual caution -- which you did. I'm a little surprised. I didn't think it would be worth that much to you."
"Well I guess it is," the rogue said, laughing at herself a little, "now shut up and tell me please."
Ny'Zeille sighed, "There you go, thinking like a human again and wanting things which cannot be. If I shut up, then I can't tell you, can I?"
She read a little of Selena's sudden idea, "-And I can tell you that I am not ticklish at all. Now, in either of a demon's shapes, these things might be present. If all of them are, then it is almost a certainty. I have never seen a person where all of these are there, and they were not at least part demon, but I suppose that one must allow for the possibility.