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Passion & Lust

RSanon Mar 6th, 2015 (edited) 6,824 Never
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  1. Dropping the shovel again, Allen coughed into his arm. His throat burned with dust as he hacked up whatever had snuck in. I'm gonna be paying for this later, he thought. Should've brought some kinda cough medicine. This was the first time he'd devoted himself to such a dig, and after two days of going straight down, he'd still not uncovered anything. Granted, there's only so much one man can do in two days, and he'd never been the most athletic person, but his 25-year-old physique was serving him well enough. Looking up, he saw golden rays of sun crossing overhead, illuminating the abandoned building surrounding the hole. Must be getting late. I'll have to call it a day in another hour.
  2.  
  3. Grabbing the shovel, he set back to work, tossing as much dirt as he could straight out of the hole. If this went on much longer, he'd need to get a container of some sort and start lugging the dirt out. At just over six feet deep, not even his head was visible from the surface. Grunting, he devoted himself to digging, determined to make the most out of this last hour. His hands and shovel moved like a machine, shovelful after shovelful. Sweat covered his entire body and his muscles ached for rest. Not now, though. He should almost be—
  4.  
  5. With a roar, the earth underneath him gave way, like the maw of a creature opening to swallow him up. Allen cried out, grabbing for the sides of the hole, but the dirt gave him nothing to hold onto. A thousand images of his broken body and tragic headlines rushed through his head as he slipped into a freefall, dirt all about him. What a stupid way to die.
  6.  
  7. Luckily for Allen, the drop quickly came to a halt. His back and arm hit first, slamming into the ground with a dull thud. He yelled again, this time in pain, huddling over and clenching the arm he landed on. Slowly removing his hand, he lifted the arm to get a look at it. There was a nasty-looking bruise going all the way from just below his shoulder to past his elbow, but no skin was broken. He winced when he moved it the wrong way. Hurt like a bitch. He figured his back was in much the same state, but with it already being sore all day yesterday and today, it didn't bug him as much.
  8.  
  9. Realizing the place he had dropped into was much larger than the hole he fell through, Allen lifted his head and looked around. There wasn't an abundance of light leaking through the hole overhead, but it was enough to make out the boundaries of the room. It was a large, square room, big enough to be a dining hall or something similar, he guessed. The walls were mostly plain, but he could see the shadows of some strange markings in the middle of the walls all away around the room. There were two doorways, though one had long since collapsed from the looks of it. The other, however, was clear, a stale air blowing out of it. The sudden opening Allen made in the ceiling of this place must be allowing the old air to circulate again, he figured.
  10.  
  11. A grin grew on his face. This was what he'd been looking for! All that time invested in finding this place and getting to it was finally paying off! Stumbling to his feet, he started forward, then paused. I can't see shit. Looking back at the hole, he tried to find some way back up. Unfortunately, he hadn't accommodated for the ground opening beneath him. The hole was a good six or so feet over his head if he stood on the top of the dirt pile beneath it, and the surface another six feet higher than that.
  12.  
  13. "Hello? Hey, anyone up there? I need some help!"
  14.  
  15. No answer. Damnit. Not like he had expected one, anyways. The area he'd been digging was sparsely visited and the building in which he'd made the hole had been long abandoned. He rummaged through his pockets. Keys, wallet... damnit, his cell phone was still on the surface. He'd left it there to keep it from getting dirty. Rather have a dirty cell phone than none at all right now, though. Wait—he froze as his fingers closed around something. It was his lighter. He might've stopped smoking a few months ago, but still kept a lighter on him out of habit. It'd been so automatic he almost forgot. The flame it produced was dinky compared to the size of the place he was in, but light is light. Now he'd have an actual chance to look for something that might get him out of here. Maybe another exit, or an object he could climb.
  16.  
  17. "Who ever figured that habit woulda helped me some day?"
  18.  
  19. He chuckled to himself, but cut it off with a wince when pain shot up his back. Guess now wasn't the time for quips. Before moving on, he scanned the current room once more for anything that might be of use, but there was nothing to be found. Holding out the lighter in front of him, Allen clicked it on and moved forward.
  20.  
  21. The air smelled like dust mixed with sweat. Allen had to remind himself the sweat was probably his own. The lighter didn't illuminate much, but he could at least make out where to put his feet and silhouettes a ways out. The walls of the room must've been further out, though, because he couldn't see them. Every now and then, he paused to look behind himself, making sure he could still see the pillar of light in the previous room. His heart began thumping faster, a mix of expectation and fear rushing though his body. This could be the very room in which he found the jewel, the forgotten treasure of this city.
  22.  
  23. He came to a halt, almost bumping into a brazier. It stood just a few inches shorter than him and it was filled with something. Allen couldn't recognize whatever it was, whether it be due to the poor lighting or lack of knowledge. But if braziers were supposed to be lit, maybe, just maybe, the stuff inside was still flammable. Swallowing, he lowered his lighter into it.
  24.  
  25. "C'mon, I could use a little luck right now."
  26.  
  27. It wasn't instant, but after a few moments of holding his lighter to brazier, it filled with fire. Allen jerked his hand out, yelping in surprise. As light encompassed the room, he grinned like a fool, clapping his hands together before stashing the lighter away and patting it in his pocket. Maybe I should take up smoking again.
  28.  
  29. He succumbed to a fit of coughing, grasping at his chest and praying his throat would have some mercy on him today. When the fit passed, he rescinded his earlier thought about smoking.
  30.  
  31. Now able to make out the room, Allen took stock of his surroundings. This room wasn't as wide as the last room, but much longer. Markings covered the walls, images of various scenes all mixed with aged writing. The brazier itself sat just in front of a row of steps leading up to...
  32.  
  33. Allen's jaw dropped.
  34.  
  35. There it was.
  36.  
  37. Atop a statue rested a large jewel, drinking in the glow of the flame and glinting in the flickering light. Allen ascended the stairs as if in a trance, still unbelieving of what his eyes were telling him. If his research was correct—and he had spent months making sure it was—then that jewel was worth over a hundred million dollars. He'd be set for life! No more shit nine-to-five, no more dealing with assholes at the library, not another minute working under Jesse Kiss-My-Ass. All he had to do was take the jewel.
  38.  
  39. As he approached, he got a better look at the statue it lay on. It took the form of a woman, a beautiful woman at that, gazing down the center aisle of the room with a peaceful, passive stare. She had eight arms, all in some sort of gesture, kind of like a Hindu goddess. Her figure was intimidating like one as well. When Allen stood level with the statue it dwarfed his 5'10" figure by at least six inches, held up by long, flowing legs that ended in thick, smooth thighs and hips. She was depicted wearing minimal clothing, nothing more than a thin strip of silk over both her breasts and her waist. Allen could make out some sort of jewelry or other accessory on some of the arms and the wrists. He hoped for a second they were made of real gold, but frowned when he saw they were stone like the rest of the statue.
  40.  
  41. Still, the craftsmanship was breathtaking, truly worthy of the jewel it held. He brushed his hand along her stomach. The stone was perfectly smooth, like real skin, except it didn't give way and the was cool to the touch. The artist who did this must've had quite the stunning model. She's incredible. Her bosom bulged out with at least D-size breasts, maybe bigger. Running his thumb across the 'fabric' that covered the statue's breasts, he was surprised to find it, too, was life-like. He leaned in to inspect the arms closer. They were slender and graceful, like the rest of the woman's figure, but he could make out veins and hints of muscle as well. He rubbed his chin for a second. Given the impressive height, arms, and breast size, this was probably meant to be a figure of sexuality. A grin animated Allen's face once more. That fit in perfectly with his research: the jewel was supposedly a beacon of this figure's power and aided men and women with their sexual urges.
  42.  
  43. Those were just old beliefs, though. Certainly not based in reality.
  44.  
  45. "Hmmmm," said Allen, walking around the statue. Both his problems might be solved with this. If he could somehow get it to the hole, it was tall enough for him to climb over and escape. He got on his knees and checked the feet of the statue. They weren't anchored to the ground at all. Amazing it didn't fall over in all this time, but he wasn't complaining. If he was careful and didn't damage the statue at all, he might be able to fetch a pretty price for it as well. Granted, it'd be nothing like the hundred mil for the jewel, but the impressive skill put into this must be worth something.
  46.  
  47. First things first, though. Allen didn't want the jewel damaged while he moved the statue back over to the hole. Slowly, he moved his hands to the jewel. They shook with anticipation, palms sweaty from both the work they'd been doing and a rush of anxiety from being so closed to his goal. Carefully, as if the jewel were made of eggshell, Allen slipped his fingers between the jewel and the statue. It popped out without much protest, surprising after all these years. Allen's face hurt from smiling so wide as he brought the jewel in to admire it.
  48.  
  49. It glowed a fierce red, it's hexagon shape bordered by a silver casing. Up close it looked even larger, barely fitting in the palm of one of Allen's hands. The cuts and corners in it were clean and precise, something remarkable for the age in which it was crafted.
  50.  
  51. Allen slipped the gem in his pants pocket, then turned back to the statue. First, he'd have to figure out how much the thing weighs. As he reached forward, he paused, squinting at the statue's pristine face. Was it looking at him?
  52.  
  53. One of the eight arms darted out, grabbing Allen by the wrist. He whooped and stumbled back in surprise, tipping the statue's balance forward. He winced as it began to topple, but was shocked once again when it stepped forward to balance itself.
  54.  
  55. "Holy shit!" Allen had had plenty enough adventure for today. He yanked at the arm the statue held, but its grip was of cold, firm stone: impossible to break.
  56.  
  57. The statue squinted at Allen, it's face no longer gentle. Cursing, Allen grabbed the statue's hand that held him and pulled with all his might, trying to slip his wrist free. The statue retaliated by grabbing his other wrist and wrenching his arms away from each other. Its strength was brutal and overwhelming, its grip like iron.
  58.  
  59. "Fuck this!" Allen delivered a swift kick into the statue's crotch, but his foot gave way to the stone and he only ended up injuring himself. Frowning, the statue lifted Allen effortlessly by his arms, leaning in to get a better look at his face. It regarded him with a mix of fury and curiosity, probably wondering who was intruding and what they wanted. Allen rained down more kicks, desperate to somehow break the statue's concentration and release him, but he soon found his legs in its grip as well.
  60.  
  61. Using all eight of its arms to ensure it never released him, the statue turned Allen around so he was facing away. He tried looking over his shoulder to get a view of whatever the statue was doing, but couldn't make much out. With one hand on each of his wrists and ankles, the statue spread Allen's body out and began to probe it with its free hands. His pants and shirt were torn off and discarded. He winced once when they came off and again when his pants hit the ground, hoping the jewel was still intact. Of course, he'd have to get out of this alive if that were to really matter.
  62.  
  63. The touch of four cold stone hands made him gasp; one on each leg and two crawling up his back. They squeezed at and rubbed his bare skin, at times with a bit more force than comfortable. As they moved along his body, he was surprised to find they all felt like actual hands. Had they not been freezing cold, he'd never been able to tell they were made of stone from touch alone.
  64.  
  65. It was at that moment Allen began to realize that statue probably hadn't been crafted after any woman, but instead was a woman—well, one with eight arms—turned to stone. Is that what the jewel did? Turned people to stone and made them mutants?
  66.  
  67. His train of thought was shattered when the statue's inspection brought its hands to his underwear.
  68.  
  69. "Hey!"
  70.  
  71. Two of the hands tore off his underwear while the other two began circling his waist. They moved faster now, as if animated by some sort of hunger. The statue suddenly pulled Allen in against its chest. He could feel its rock-hard nipples against his back and its chest rise and fall as if breathing. The circling hands eventually made it to Allen's cock, one grabbing the shaft with a firm grip and the other collecting his balls in its palm.
  72.  
  73. "HEY!"
  74.  
  75. What the fuck was this thing doing? It was giving his privates a hell of a lot more attention than any other part of his body. Had it been searching for them?
  76.  
  77. The hand on his shaft began pumping, a slow, deliberate motion up and down from his base to his tip. The touch was delicate for a stone hand, but strong enough to fully stimulate every inch of his cock with each stroke. Allen began breathing hard, staring at the hand pumping him. In a weird way—a really fucking weird way—this made sense. The statue was supposedly a symbol of sexuality. If he had somehow awoken it by removing the jewel, then the first thing it would seek out is, well, sex. He couldn't help but moan as the hand hit a good rhythm. If this was all the statue wanted, then he might as well relax and enjoy it, then let it move on to whatever. Maybe it'd even go back to sleep.
  78.  
  79. Allen bit his lip. He very much hoped it'd be done with him after this and wasn't some vengeful guardian planning on fucking him to death then taking the jewel back.
  80.  
  81. The hand holding his balls began to play with them, giving a light squeeze before rolling them around in its palm. Allen went limp in the statue's grasp, trying to make the most out of what it was giving him. Taking this as a symbol of acceptance, the statue moved its two other free hands to his hardness and began stroking, all four working in perfect rhythm with the others. Eyes going wide with pleasure, Allen gasped, arching his back and lifting his head. His member was painfully erect now, drowned in the attentions of the statue's four nimble hands. Stone hands—hell, any hands—should not feel this good! The hands' grips fluctuated, keeping Allen on the edge of his arousal and ensuring no part of him was left unattended. Two hands worked his shaft while another kneaded his tip and the last cupped his balls. Then they shifted, two on his tip, two on his shaft. Every time Allen thought they were sinking into a pattern, they would move, electrifying his cock with pleasure.
  82.  
  83. Allen's thoughts ran a mile a minute. Setting aside the absurdity of the idea of a stone statue coming to life to make him come, what the hell could come next? Was this thing smart enough to realize what was going on? Or was it just some simple-minded statue that fucks everything it sees? His eyes went to his discarded pants where the jewel peeked out of a pocket. What was that jewel, really?
  84.  
  85. A surge of pleasure stole Allen's attention. His release approached and the hands moved as if they could sense it. All four went to his shaft and began a meticulous pumping, designed to milk the most out of his balls and bring him to orgasm as quickly as possible. Seizing up, Allen grunted and thrust his hips forward into the furiously-working hands. One moved to his tip to catch each burst of semen, and when the one couldn't hold all of it, another joined. The two remaining hands continued to masturbate and milk Allen until he collapsed into the statue's grip, spent from the explosive orgasm.
  86.  
  87. He stared at the ground, wondering if the statue was done with him, now. Stars dancing in his eyes, he shuddered, shaking off the post-climax feeling. Whatever the statue wanted, it wasn't done yet. It still held him at the wrists and ankles. Looking back at the statue, Allen saw its cum-soiled hands down near its nethers. One hand full of semen slipped into its folds and the statue closed its eyes as if in pleasure.
  88.  
  89. Wait. What? This thing can feel pleasure, too? And what the hell is it...?
  90.  
  91. Liquid began dripping out of the statue's pussy. It didn't look anything like semen, which would mean...
  92.  
  93. "The statue came?"
  94.  
  95. It pulled its first hand out of its pussy and stuck the other cum-filled hand in. Allen saw its mouth curl into the slightest smile as the hand dug as deep as it could. Just the fact it was able to stick an entire hand up there was incredible enough to him.
  96.  
  97. His observation was interrupted when the statue's three free hands went back to his member and started stroking again. Allen's hips twitched, his shaft still sensitive from the last assault on it.
  98.  
  99. "H-hey there, I'm not sure—"
  100.  
  101. Somehow, the hands were getting him hard again. He could feel the familiar burning of arousal rising up within his loins and energy seeping back into his body. This had to be some sort of voodoo or magic that the statue or jewel possessed. There was no way he'd be ready for a round two so fast.
  102.  
  103. Or maybe the statue was just that good.
  104.  
  105. The statue turned Allen around, never allowing those three hands to leave his member. It wanted him primed and ready for whatever was next. Allen groaned and twisted in its grip, but not from a desire to escape. The grace and dexterity with which each finger played across his cock made his head spin.
  106.  
  107. One hand went to Allen's chin, lifting up his head to face the statue's. It was more than stone that gazed down upon him; a calm, yet pleased face, intelligence plain in its eyes. Its smooth cheeks dimpled just a bit with its slight smile.
  108.  
  109. This isn't an 'it'. This is a 'she'. That's not some mindless sex statue in those eyes.
  110.  
  111. Two of her hands left his member, wrapping around his back and pulling him up against her body. In this stance, Allen truly got to appreciate how much taller the statue was and how much broader her hips were. Her stomach and chest fluctuated against Allen's with each breath, her stone skin smooth yet firm to the touch. She brought his legs around her waist, showing incredible flexibility with her arms as she locked his ankles together behind her. She directed the tip of his cock to her lower entrance, then paused to look at Allen. Swallowing, he shifted his gaze between her face and his cock. Was she seriously wanting to...? With a stone body? Would that even work?
  112.  
  113. She hadn't pushed him all the way in, though. Like she was waiting for something. Allen fidgeted in her rigid grip, wondering what it was. She motioned to his cock.
  114.  
  115. "You're... asking?"
  116.  
  117. She didn't acknowledge the question. Those stone ears of hers must not work. From the look in her eyes, and the way she hesitated, Allen figured he wouldn't be crushed by going for it. This is ridiculous. Fucking ridiculous! But his dick was aching with arousal and a heaven of pleasure was not even an inch away. Biting his lower lip, he nodded. Hopefully his trust wasn't misplaced.
  118.  
  119. Slowly, she pulled him in. Her lower lips kissed his tip with the hard, chilly touch he knew, but as his member disappeared inside of her, his entire body tensed up. A powerful rush of pleasure crashed into his body like a wave against the shore. Her insides were real! Flesh! And as tight as Allen could fathom! He relaxed his hips, allowing the statue to do all the work, moving his body as she saw fit with her eight arms. Her vagina alone could've sucked Allen dry—the muscle control she had over it was impossible. It pulsed and grabbed at his cock with impeccable strength and rhythm, as if it knew exactly how to stimulate him best.
  120.  
  121. Each thrust blurred his vision and forced grunts out his throat. His thoughts could keep up with neither her devastating pace nor the array of pleasures with which her body assaulted him. He watched her face become more animated, fueled by the intensity of his bliss. Any thought of escaping this place and returning to the outside world were lost. Allen devoted his willpower to holding on, suppressing that growing urge to come, and squinted his eyes shut.
  122.  
  123. The statue wrapped Allen's arms around her and pulled his head onto her shoulder, grip tightening where her eight hands held him. Working his hips faster, the statue constricted on his member with such force his eyes flew open. She matched her rhythm to his, gyrating her hips in such a way that he hit every angle of her dripping pussy. Allen knew he couldn't hold on much longer. He hugged her close, her stone skin now warm and soft beneath his hands. The shoulder he rested his chin on was heating as well, but Allen hardly gave it a passing thought. His grunts grew louder, her relentless thrusts finally bringing him to the edge.
  124.  
  125. Gnashing his teeth, Allen drove his stiffness as deep as possible into the hungry statue, crying out as a lightning bolt of pleasure shot up his body. Seed spurted into the statue's eager pussy, Allen now a slave to its milking motions. Wave after wave of pleasure rushed forth, filling the statue to the point she began to leak. Even Allen was surprised with how long she was able to make him come, but eventually he relaxed, sighing as his member softened.
  126.  
  127. But the statue was not yet satisfied. Her arms slowed the pace at which she moved Allen in and out, but they did not stop. After a short rest, her soaking inner walls began pressing up against his cock as well.
  128.  
  129. "C'mon, lady," muttered Allen, "I can't give you what I don't have."
  130.  
  131. His statement fell on deaf ears. Allen tried to detach himself, but the statue strengthened her grip and pulled him in harder. Allen's strength was no match, not to mention he'd been exhausted from the previous orgasms.
  132.  
  133. "This is pointless. I can't—I can't..."
  134.  
  135. As if by some miracle, Allen started hardening. The moment he reached full erection, the statue sped up again, sending Allen barreling toward a third climax. He could hardly believe what was happening, but his body couldn't lie. Of course, now that he thought about it, statues coming to life is a little stranger than three straight rounds of sex.
  136.  
  137. Bliss undulated his shaft, the statue's pussy still strong and eager. He had not the tenacity nor the willpower to resist the statue's workings. He squirmed in her grip—now warm instead of cold—but her grasp never faltered. His heart beat like a drum, one Allen feared would burst if this continued. Slapping sounds of Allen's crotch hitting the statue's mixed with moans and pants, echoing throughout the chamber.
  138.  
  139. The statue disarmed him with a sudden squeeze and hilting. He gasped as another orgasm rocked his body, feeding her what her body so viciously desired. Just as last time, she rode him through the entire climax, ensuring to drain every last spurt.
  140.  
  141. Utterly spent, Allen went limp in the statue's iron grip. Drool dribbled from his mouth and his head likely would've slumped off her shoulder had she not moved a hand to hold it in place. She also had the care to wipe the drool away, but to Allen's shock, she still wanted more.
  142.  
  143. Allen's protest was an incoherent mumble, his resistance nothing more than an errant twitch. But why would he want to escape, anyways? Her body was a perfected machine of ecstasy and she desired nothing more than to show him what it could do. Nothing Allen had ever experienced was like it and getting away was impossible. Why not enjoy it? The corners of Allen's mouth curled up into a goofy smile as he felt himself grow hard yet again. His eyelids grew heavy. His chest screamed for rest between his labored breathing and the strain on his heart. All he had to do was relax.
  144.  
  145. Coherent thought broke against the waves of pleasure that buffed his body. The slightest movement electrified Allen with rapture. Time slowed down in his heavenly prison. Each glorious thrust was like a million fireworks going off in his head and his member. When release finally found him again, all he could offer was a sigh.
  146.  
  147. Blackness took him.
  148.  
  149.  
  150.  
  151. ~~~
  152.  
  153.  
  154.  
  155. And blackness released him.
  156.  
  157. Light seeped into Allen's eyes as he lazily opened them. His first thought questioned whether he was still alive or in the afterlife. Groaning, he tried to sit up, but his back and elbow protested with shocks of pain. Nope, not dead yet. Grabbing the injured elbow, he brought it up for a look. The long, dark bruise was still there, reminding him where he was and how he got there. He cursed to himself and dropped his arms to his sides. Stupidity. That's what brought him here. And then greed made things worse. He checked his pocket for the jewel, but came up with nothing. He found it a second later on the ground next to him and picked it up, looking at it in the glow of the fire. It must have released some kind of hallucinogen and knocked him out, because he could've sworn an eight-armed statue of a woman—a beautiful one, at that—fucked him unconscious.
  158.  
  159. Scrunching up his face, he shifted to look at the top of the stairs he lay at the base at. No statue. He shook his head. I've had plenty of shit for one day. I need to get home, take a long shower, and take a nap in my nice, comfortable bed. Then all this will just seem like a bad dream. He paused to rub his chin, thinking about the sex hallucination. Okay, only sorta bad.
  160.  
  161. With no small amount of effort, Allen got to his feet and pocketed the gem. If the statue wasn't real, that still left him with the problem of getting out of here. He considered the brazier next to him. It looked to stand a little over five feet, which might be enough. Couldn't know for sure without checking first, though. As he walked back toward the hole, he considered what his first action would be after getting out of here and taking a nap. Might have to stop by the gas station and get a pack of Marlboros. A long, sweet drag in the parking lot sounded hella good right now. After that, well, business. There was one gem appraiser that he'd gone to when first researching this jewel. He had given Allen an approximate value, maybe Allen could give him the chance to tell him a more exact number. A little reward for helping him in the first place.
  162.  
  163. Allen stepped into the room with the initial hole in the ceiling, then froze.
  164.  
  165. Facing the wall on his right, a rather tall woman stood inspecting the writing Allen noticed earlier. Just like in his hallucination, she had eight arms; two at her sides, two resting on her hips, two crossed in front of her and two following the writing as she read. Instead of a stone person, however, this was a full skin, muscle and bone woman. The accessories on her wrists and arms were no longer rock, either, but reflected tints of gold and silver. With the brazier in the room behind him and very little light coming from the hole in the ceiling, Allen couldn't make out much more.
  166.  
  167. For a moment, he hoped he was still seeing things.
  168.  
  169. "Hello?"
  170.  
  171. The woman stopped, turning her head toward Allen. She smiled at seeing him and her arms all fell into a relaxed position at her sides.
  172.  
  173. "Greetings." She started toward him in great strides, those thick, tall legs of her carrying her quickly across the room. When she stepped into the light coming off the brazier, he could make out more detail. Her skin was darker, an olive brown of a woman from further south. Her hair was impressively long, extending down past her shoulders, a dark brown that shone in the weak light. The smile she wore accentuated her smooth yet broad cheeks. Her nose wrinkled just a bit and her striking azure eyes held a touch of hopefulness with the rest of her gentle yet formal disposition.
  174.  
  175. Of course, gentle disposition or not, a six-and-a-half-foot woman was still intimidating. Allen took a half step back, swallowing before speaking.
  176.  
  177. "So, hi and everything. I assume you're not just a figment of my imagination?"
  178.  
  179. She reached out with one of her slender arms and pinched Allen on the shoulder.
  180.  
  181. He winced and touched the aching spot. "Guess that answers that."
  182.  
  183. Two pairs of her arms crossed underneath her ample bosom, accentuating her breasts as they spilt over her arms. Allen assumed it wasn't on purpose, as her face was now business.
  184.  
  185. "I assume, given the fact you dug straight here and you took the jewel, you have some idea of what this place is, correct?"
  186.  
  187. He rubbed the back of his neck, looking about. "Eh, no, not really. I mean, I knew what I was coming for, but not much else." The woman would be a little easier to talk to if she wasn't so damn attractive, not to mention her breasts were just slightly lower than eye level. And she's practically naked. And she just fucked him. And has eight arms. Alright, she's not easy to talk to at all.
  188.  
  189. "And how much is 'not much else'?" She rested a pair of hands on her hips. From her tone, she wasn't so thrilled with Allen's incursion.
  190.  
  191. "Well, heh, you see, I knew this place was devoted to a symbol of, uh, sexuality." He gulped, watching her face for a hint of further anger. "And that it probably had a very valuable gem. I was after the gem." Pulling it out of his pocket, it displayed it like a peace offering.
  192.  
  193. The woman snatched it out of his grasp and jabbed him in the chest with a finger. "You have no idea what you've done! What were you hoping to get out of this? Money?"
  194.  
  195. Allen bit his lip, the jab at his chest fueling his anger. "Hey, it ain't my job to know what the heck old-as-hell shit like that gem is supposed to do! I'm not exactly living the life here, and that thing was my ticket to better days!"
  196.  
  197. She opened her mouth to rebuke him, but instead shook her head, lower her arms and sighing. "I'm sorry. I seem to be somewhat irritable at the moment. And I owe you an apology. Why don't we have a seat by the brazier as we talk? The cold doesn't do much to me, but I can tell it's already having an effect on you."
  198.  
  199. Allen regarded her a moment before realizing he had goosebumps crawling up his arms. Reluctantly he nodded, rubbing his arms. The woman gestured toward the flame, placing four hands on Allen's back and lightly guiding him back to it as they walked over. She sat down on the steps, touching the ground next to her, asking Allen to sit down. He complied, but not without putting a little extra distance between himself and the woman. She leaned back, putting four arms behind her for support, two in her lap and two at her sides. It was oddly fascinating for Allen to watch her function with the extra limbs. She communicated relaxation with the arms behind her, calmness with the arms in her lap, and a touch of curiosity and concentration with the arms at her sides. He wondered what it would feel like to have eight arms himself. Would certainly help with multitasking.
  200.  
  201. "I see my many limbs are an object of interest for you."
  202.  
  203. Blinking, Allen caught her eyes and shook his head. "Oh, sorry, no, I didn't mean anything by it. But yeah, it's not something you see every day."
  204.  
  205. "Relax. I took no offense. And, as I said, I owe you an apology." She shot him a smile, but Allen remained wary.
  206.  
  207. "Forgive me for not relaxing in this particular situation." He shifted around and took his lighter out of his pocket, twiddling with it. "What exactly were you going to apologize for?"
  208.  
  209. "My method of greeting you. When I was still made of stone. It was... abrupt, to say the least and not the most comforting of encounters for you. Please understand, I do not mean to make an excuse for myself, but had I not copulated quickly after—"
  210.  
  211. "Can you at least cut the 'proper' vocabulary? It's a little annoying."
  212.  
  213. "I'm sorry, I'm not what you might call adept with your language, yet."
  214.  
  215. The lighter stopped and Allen turned to the woman. "You sound pretty 'adept' to me."
  216.  
  217. She closed her eyes, crossing a pair of arms over her chest. "That leads me back to my apology. I'm sorry I—fucked? Is that the best word?—you so suddenly and melded with your brain."
  218.  
  219. "Well, I gotta admit—wait, melded with my brain?" Allen grabbed at his head, checking for holes. "What the hell did you do?"
  220.  
  221. "Again, I do not mean to excuse myself, but in order to return to the form I am in now, I needed to have sex with someone. I also recognized your attire was odd and my surroundings were nothing like when I went to sleep, so I chose to look into your thoughts to learn your language and 'get caught up', so to speak."
  222.  
  223. "So you brain-fucked me, too."
  224.  
  225. Her eyes rolled up, wracking her brain for an answer. "That... sounds accurate."
  226.  
  227. "Did you mess anything up while you were in there? 'Cause if I find I'm suddenly an Eagles fan..."
  228.  
  229. She waved a hand in dismissal. "No. I was merely an observer. I modified nothing."
  230.  
  231. "Well, shit." Allen leaned forward, bringing his knees to his chest and staring at the lighter. The sex, well, that could've ended a bit sooner, but he was still alive and it felt pretty damn good. No harm done. He found himself a bit more upset about the mind-fucking than anything else. She could've gotten into his memories, the more private ones, ones he wasn't so thrilled to dreg up. How much did she already know about him? How much of a disadvantage was he at? Shaking his head, he glanced over at her, seeing if she gave anything away in her posture. He saw a touch of hesitation, but nothing more. What really fucked with him was the whole situation. Statues coming to life? That jewel being something more than just a jewel? And who was this woman, anyways?
  232.  
  233. He rubbed his scalp with his hands. No, there's one thing he came here for. The rest didn't matter.
  234.  
  235. "Give me the jewel, and we're even."
  236.  
  237. "I can't do that."
  238.  
  239. "What kinda apology is it if you're not trying for forgiveness at all? What I came here for was the jewel. Any sort of inconvenience you gave me doesn't matter as long as I walk outta here with that thing."
  240.  
  241. Frowning, she brought the jewel in front of her, holding it tight. "You don't know what you've done by removing it. I have a duty to set things right again, and that includes the use of this. You cannot have it."
  242.  
  243. Allen gripped his lighter harder, flicking it on. "Well, why don't you enlighten me?"
  244.  
  245. She regarded Allen with narrowed eyes, then put the jewel down. "Yes, why don't I. But first I should tell you my name. It will help in explaining things. I am Nel-Vallae, though you may call me Nel."
  246.  
  247. "I like Val better."
  248.  
  249. A few of her hands twitched at the statement. "Very well. Val. In my time, many, many years before this age, I was Passion. I still am, though that title means little now. I governed the realms of arousal and sex with my sister, Lust. We were—are—like ying and yang, maintaining the human population by ensuring they always had healthy drives. I—"
  250.  
  251. "Okay, hold your shit right there, lady. I'll admit, I'm a little more open to crazy stuff after actually seeing you transform from statue to human and watch you operate those eight arms of yours, but you're telling me you're a... a god of sex? And you have a sister? C'mon."
  252.  
  253. "This would be quicker if I placed the knowledge directly into your brain." She moved as if to stand, but Allen scooted away, throwing up his hands.
  254.  
  255. "Hey! No! No more screwing with my head."
  256.  
  257. "Very well. But you are going to need to work with me."
  258.  
  259. Allen put a hand on his forehead and grumbled. "Fine. Fine. I'll go along with this for now. But you're still just a really old eight-armed woman to me. Who happens to be tall as a tower and used to be a statue."
  260.  
  261. Rolling her eyes, Val continued her story, though not without a hint of annoyance. "Earlier in humanity's lifetime, they were watched over by spirits—not gods or goddesses, as you suggested. I am the aspect of attraction involving character traits and intensity of arousal. My sister, Lust, is the aspect involving physical traits and flavor of desires. We cooperated for a long time, watching over everyone, tweaking things where necessary."
  262.  
  263. "'Tweaking'?"
  264.  
  265. "Yes. Some people would have unhealthily powerful drives which I could soothe. Some people would feel their relationships wither with dullness, and my sister would be able to instill new desires to breathe life into their union. I helped guide people to their best matches, Lust would ensure their bodies matched as well. We also, well... while we were seen as symbols, that did not mean we were without our own desires. In fact, our appetites were the strongest of anyone's. Luckily, the problem had worked itself out. Many would come to us and we would happily help them find relief." Val's head hung low. "That is, until Lust decided she wanted more."
  266.  
  267. "What did she do?"
  268.  
  269. "With the number of people coming to us, there was no need to seek satisfaction elsewhere, but Lust did so anyways. She would slip into a disguise, deceive people into having sex with her, and disappear. Now, had that been her only offense, there may had been a simple solution. But she began shirking her duties in favor of amusement. She would make partners suddenly crave more depraved flavors of sex. She dramatically shifted attraction to members of the same sex, which led to an alarming drop in births. She sought to explore her own sexuality at the expense of others, and I could not let it stand." Shaking her head, Val turned to Allen. "But we were equals. And not only that, one would not function without the other. I needed a way to stop her while allowing her role to be continued. The first thing I tried, of course, was to talk sense into her. Make her see what she was doing, appeal to what sense of selflessness she used to have, but it was to no avail. So I created this."
  270.  
  271. She picked up the jewel and held it to the light of the brazier. "The Binding Stone. Created of the heart of the Earth, of humans, of my sister, and myself. It had a dual purpose: imprison my sister, and broadcast the necessary urges into people in her absence. In order to imprison her, however, I had to act as an anchor of sorts and hold her in imprisonment. The Stone was our replacement. I tricked my sister, weakened her, and in her moment of weakness affixed this Stone to my forehead. Our bodies were turned to stone, our souls cast out into a timeless limbo." She stared into the jewel as if it might begin speaking to her. "I still wonder if I should regret it."
  272.  
  273. "If you ask me, she sounded like kind of an asshole."
  274.  
  275. She jerked her head in Allen's direction and narrowed her eyes, a grimace on her face. "She was my sister, regardless of her actions. Something had to be done, yes, but there might have been another way."
  276.  
  277. "Are you sure?"
  278.  
  279. "No, hence lies the difficulty." Val stood up, gripping the jewel in two hands while the others curled to fists. "But perhaps now you realize the dilemma you have created."
  280.  
  281. Allen flicked his lighter a few more times, pausing to cough several times into his sleeve. "She's free now, isn't she."
  282.  
  283. "Yes."
  284.  
  285. "Sorry if this seems like an obvious question, but can't you just put that jewel back on your forehead and trap her again?"
  286.  
  287. "No. I am still weak from the revival, too weak to form the prison again. That, and I would need to overpower Lust's will, which would not be possible unless I caught her unprepared or already weakened. She knows my plan now, and will take measures to ensure she is not."
  288.  
  289. Grunting, Allen tossed his lighter across the room. A fuckload of work for nothing. No hundred mil, not even the measly cash for a statue. The location of this structure, whatever it may be, might be worth something to someone, but likely nothing more than a pittance. And to top it off, he'd apparently released some malevolent sex-spirit or some shit. Allen got to his feet, hands forming fists as he walked over to his fallen lighter. This is so fucking stupid! Leaning down, he picked it up again to throw it at another wall, harder this time. Fat lot of help that lighter was. He would've been better of just yelling for help under that hole. He stomped on over to the lighter and raised his foot to smash it.
  290.  
  291. A hand darted out and grabbed his leg, halting his rampage. Another three went to his back to help him keep balance.
  292.  
  293. "Please, sir, you should relax. This isn't going to solve your problems." Her tone had changed from the all-business woman he heard earlier. She was gentler now, soothing.
  294.  
  295. "No, but it'll make me feel better. And don't call me 'sir'. My name's Allen." He tried stomping again, but Val's strength far surpassed his own. She moved him away from the lighter, picking it up with a spare hand and offering it to him.
  296.  
  297. "Things may not be as bad as they seem, Allen."
  298.  
  299. "Yeah?" He snatched the lighter out of her hand. "Care to explain how that might be? Cause things look pretty crappy from here. I've got a dead-end job to look back to, not to mention I'm sore and have some nasty bruises to deal with at work tomorrow. Oh, yeah, and it's in the dead of the night. I'm not gonna get any sleep. Now you're telling me I can't cash in on that jewel, the one thing I've been looking forward to for years, and there might be some ancient, crazy slut on the loose who could eventually bring the population to a standstill." Allen's eyes flicked toward the exit. "Can't forget the fact there's no way out of here, either, unless you've got the strength to toss a full-grown man up that hole."
  300.  
  301. Val took Allen's ranting without a slight frown, keeping her face even, eyes concerned, and arms crossed as he went on. When he finished, she took a glance at the hole. "I do, in fact. Easily."
  302.  
  303. He threw his head back with a roaring guffaw, slapping his thigh as he laughed. "You? Just 'cause you've got eight arms doesn't mean you have the strength of eight men. Or women, in your case."
  304.  
  305. "Oh?" An amused smirk grew on her face and she raised an eyebrow in challenge. "Why don't we see?"
  306.  
  307. "You're serious? Oh, god, this is great! Sure, sure, let's see. But I get to laugh as hard as I want when you fail. And you have to catch me when I don't make it out."
  308.  
  309. "Those are agreeable conditions. If I succeed, I gain the right to laugh at you."
  310.  
  311. Allen shook his head, walking over to the hole. He took another good look at it. The edge was still a good fifteen or twenty feet above his head. Nah, there was no way she'd be able to toss him that high. When her many hands grasped him and she leaned back in a throwing posture, however, he had to swallow down a rising nervousness. "Hey, uh, you sure you can catch me?"
  312.  
  313. Val only smiled.
  314.  
  315. With a "ha!", she lurched forward, throwing Allen at an alarming speed upward. Shit!He clenched his teeth, crying out as the hole rushed up at him. He cleared the top but didn't go much further. The power behind Val's throw was perfect. He landed without incident on his feet, standing still and patting himself to make sure he was still in one piece. The abandoned building was graciously familiar after all those hours stuck in the ruins. Shit. Spinning around, he leaned over the edge of the hole, making out a grinning Val down below.
  316.  
  317. "Uh, I'm okay. But how're you...?"
  318.  
  319. She thrust her arms into the air and they grew, extending a shocking length to where her hands could grasp the edges of the hole. Her knuckles went white as she pulled herself up, muscles animating with the effort. Just like Allen, her momentum carried her high enough for her to land on her feet safely outside the hole.
  320.  
  321. "Duuhh... how did—?"
  322.  
  323. She tossed him a playful smile and chuckle. "I am a spirit, remember? Did you not think I would have some freedom with this body of mine?"
  324.  
  325. "That's fucking cheating. And if you could just do the Stretch Armstrong thing, why didn't you lift me out of there like that?"
  326.  
  327. "Because you asked to be thrown."
  328.  
  329. Grumbling, Allen grimaced and bit his lip.
  330.  
  331. "I believe this is where I get to laugh."
  332.  
  333. Putting all eight hands on her hips, Val chuckled, a light and genuine laughter. It was a taunting melody, ringing throughout the building in a night that held little else. Allen turned around, crossing his arms and enduring it as best he could.
  334.  
  335. He decided her laughter was annoying.
  336.  
  337. Luckily for him, Val was not one to drag things out. She ended her laughter by placing two hands on her stomach, shaking her head and grinning. "I have not had a laugh like that in a good long while. Thank you for putting up with me."
  338.  
  339. "Eh, that was the deal, right?" Allen turned around, determined to be grumpy, but her grin stole his annoyance away.
  340.  
  341. Now back on the surface, Allen realized what a big deal an eight-armed woman would be. Extremely skimpy clothing, too. Not that he minded, of course. Her height was odd, too, but that was at least acceptable.
  342.  
  343. "So, do you have some way to hide those extra arms? 'Cause they're gonna stand out. In a bad way."
  344.  
  345. "Hmmm." Val brought up her extra arms to look them wistfully. She closed her eyes a moment, and Allen saw all six of them vanish. Looking over to Allen, she held up her two remaining arms, twiddling her fingers. "Is this good?"
  346.  
  347. "Y-yeah. Are they really...?" He walked over to Val and moved his hand to the place where her extra arms were a moment ago. At least, he tried, until six invisible hands all grasped his reaching arm. He jerked back, letting out a soft whoop. Val chucked at him and he shot her a sneer in response. "Okay, so still there, just not visible."
  348.  
  349. "Yes. I could retract them as well, but I'm used to their presence. Invisible is preferred."
  350.  
  351. "Whatever. It's your weird body. But you're going to have to cover up more than that. A cop sees you, you're in trouble."
  352.  
  353. "I can do that." Closing her eyes again, she waved her hands over her body and clothing appeared, a plain t-shirt and jeans like Allen was wearing. Val opened her eyes and presented herself for critique.
  354.  
  355. "Good enough. It's a little weird to see a chick like you in just a t-shirt, though."
  356.  
  357. "'A chick like me?'"
  358.  
  359. Allen gestured to her. "Well, yeah. You're pretty good-looking. Usually hot chicks wear stuff that shows off their bodies more. Dresses, or tops that hug their curves close." When Val raised an eyebrow at him, he shrugged. "I don't know. I'm not some fashion designer. Do whatever."
  360.  
  361. She batted her eyelashes at him. "You think I'm hot?"
  362.  
  363. He waved an arm at her. "Oh, come off it! You're a spirit of sex! Of course your body is attractive!"
  364.  
  365. "Ooo, I could use a strong man to hold this... alluring frame of mine," she said, drawing out her speech as she sauntered over to Allen.
  366.  
  367. He pushed her back, cheeks flushing. "Why are you all catty all of a sudden? Don't you have some business to take care of?"
  368.  
  369. Sighing, her face went back to the formal presentation he was more used to. "Sorry. The laughter got me a little loopy. As I said, it's been a while."
  370.  
  371. "It's not that I minded. Just weird to see you like that."
  372.  
  373. "Of course. And you are right. I do have business I need to attend to." She held out her hand. "It was a pleasure."
  374.  
  375. "Yeah, pleasure," Allen said, giving it a good shake. "So, good luck. With the whole evil sister thing."
  376.  
  377. "She's not evil."
  378.  
  379. "Tomahto. Anyways, later."
  380.  
  381. Allen spun on his heel and walked away, dragging his footsteps and listening for Val's own. The old building echoed his exit alone until another set of footsteps began pattering away. He paused at the door, leaning on it.
  382.  
  383. You know you've gotta ask if she's got a place to stay, right? And you know she doesn't so you have to offer yours. That's how this goes.
  384.  
  385. Allen clenched his fist. He didn't want to get caught up with all this spirit business. She'd taken that jewel away from him, too. And done the whole mind-fuck thing.
  386.  
  387. He hit the doorframe as if the pain could snap him out of his thoughts. She wasn't exactly unpleasant to be around, though. He'd been able to make her laugh and as annoying as it might of sounded, Allen had to admit he had a soft spot for girls who would laugh at his antics. With her being a statue for so long, she'd probably be lost on her own. She may have gotten something out of Allen's head, but that couldn't have been enough to complete her mission without running into trouble. Heck, she about ran off with all eight arms still showing. Allen couldn't help but blush when he thought about the sex. That was certainly something he'd never experienced before and would likely never encounter again.
  388.  
  389. Allen glanced back at her, watching her put more distance between them. It would be such a big risk to bring her home. She had trouble written all over her.
  390.  
  391. Oh, stop kidding yourself. You've known her for all of a few hours and you're already crushing on her.
  392.  
  393. Spinning around, Allen jogged off toward Val. "Hey, wait up!"
  394.  
  395.  
  396. http://i.imgur.com/wnzfCj9.png
  397.  
  398. CHAPTER 2
  399.  
  400. "This thing moves disturbingly fast," Val said, bracing herself against the dash and door with several of her hands.
  401.  
  402. "That's what the seatbelt's for."
  403.  
  404. "I am wearing it, as you instructed, and this is still most uncomfortable."
  405.  
  406. "These things are pretty safe. You shouldn't worry." It didn't help she was a tall, muscular woman. She hardly fit in the sedan front seat.
  407.  
  408. "It is not the prospect of injury that alarms me. This body can take quite a bit of punishment. I simply do not like not being in control."
  409.  
  410. "Well, maybe I can teach you to drive. Later. For now, stop fidgeting in your seat! It's distracting."
  411.  
  412. Her fidgeting lessened, but only slightly. Luckily, they were almost at Allen's place. Allen gripped the wheel harder and let out a long breath. Hopefully she wasn't disgusted or disappointed by the measly apartment he called a home. From the bracers and wristbands on her arms, she looked to be used to much more luxurious accommodations. It would make sense that a spirit of her station would get special treatment.
  413.  
  414. A hundred other questions ran through Allen's head. Where would she sleep? Would he need to find long-term lodging? How could he pay for food for two people? Would she be bitchy about the place? What if the apartment management stopped by and she was kicked out? What if the government found out? Allen forced the heavy thoughts from his head as he pulled up into one of the tiny parking spots in front of his apartment complex. A bout of rough coughs escaped his throat, giving him pause before getting out of the car. He'd deal with those things as they came.
  415.  
  416. Val wasted no timed escaping the small metal prison of Allen's car, taking a deep breath as she stepped out. The car door closed of its own accord behind her, making Allen wince. She must've used one of her invisible hands. Hopefully that was a habit she could break herself of before it got her—no, wait, them—into trouble. Allen was part of this now.
  417.  
  418. "C'mon, Val, my place is this way."
  419.  
  420. She walked alongside him as they made their way to his apartment. Val took in her surroundings like someone dying of thirst would water. "Each of these doors is a separate dwelling?" she asked.
  421.  
  422. "Yeah. Some are bigger than others, but the approximate size is the same."
  423.  
  424. "What sort of variations are there?"
  425.  
  426. Allen slowed, raising an eyebrow at Val. "Didn't you learn all this from me already?"
  427.  
  428. "I endeavored to only read what was absolutely necessary. I learned of cars and apartment complexes, for example, but I did not research many specifics, such as the layout of an apartment."
  429.  
  430. "There are just two types of layouts in this building: studio and 2-bedroom apartments. Mine's a studio, since I don't have a roommate. Pretty basic stuff. Here." Allen stopped. 212. Home sweet home. He fumbled with his keys, moving them toward the lock. Before he could get them in, though, he dropped them, cursing to himself. He started to bend down to pick them up, but found them floating up to his hand before he could. Val flashed a smile at him when he looked at her. Mumbling a thanks, he finally got the keys in and opened the door, hurrying Val in.
  431.  
  432. Quickly locking the apartment door behind him, Allen scrambled to clean up a few minor things while Val was looking elsewhere. This was hardly the way to introduce a lady to his place, but the circumstances were extreme. It would have to do.
  433.  
  434. The studio apartment boasted a long, albeit not very wide entry room doubling as a bedroom. To the right, immediately after the door, was Allen's aging double bed, covered with a thick, black comforter and white sheets underneath. At the foot of the bed lied a desk, one Allen had bumped his toes on too many times getting up in the morning. His dusty computer and monitor sat on the desk next to his 36" TV. His couch occupied the opposite wall, rivulets for three of Val's invisible hands forming across it as she walked by. It probably smelled of nachos; Allen knew he didn't clean it as much as he should. At the end of the entry room, a window let the moonlight and sounds of passing cars in. It was just high enough on the wall Allen had to stand uncomfortably on his toes to see out it well and sunlight hit his eyes when he got up in the morning. Allen never forgave the building architect that.
  435.  
  436. To the left were doors for his bathroom and kitchen, as well as his closet. His poor closet was stuffed with clothes, a mystery to Allen given he didn't have enough money to shop for clothes often and the closet itself wasn't really that small. It was almost like the clothing reproduced on its own.
  437.  
  438. Allen pointed at Val's invisible arms where they touched his couch. "You know you can't be doin' that out in the open. People see stuff levitating and they'll start asking questions."
  439.  
  440. "Yes, that wouldn't be prudent. I will try to avoid using my extra arms in public. And you're welcome about the keys."
  441.  
  442. Val walked around the small boding with a slow, even stride, rocking back and forth along the balls of her feet as she inspected the place.
  443.  
  444. "What is this?" asked Val, pointing into the kitchen.
  445.  
  446. "Refrigerator. Keeps things cold. That right there is the oven. Makes things hot. Sink, dishrack, cabinets, yadda yadda." He went over the kitchen tour quickly, then pulled her to the next thing. Might as well make this fast. "Bathroom. I hope you learned how to use that from your mind-fuck cause I sure as hell ain't laying it out for you. Toilet, sink, shower," he said, pointing to each as he spoke. "Over here is the closet. Clothes and other boring things in there. Then out here's the bed, the couch, and the TV."
  447.  
  448. "I am familiar with the TV as it functions, but not the significance of having one."
  449.  
  450. "It kills time and entertains me. People have 'em for different reasons. Sometimes, people come over and we watch it together. Social thing."
  451.  
  452. Val put a hand to her chin and nodded, staring at the TV a moment before looking to Allen. "Is this place private? I would like to relax my other arms. It is somewhat uncomfortable to hold all of them invisible against my stomach."
  453.  
  454. He walked over to the blinds on the single small window looking in and closed them, nodding to Val. "Now it is."
  455.  
  456. Sighing, Val allowed her arms to become visible again. The clothing on her disappeared as well, now back to the thin strips of silk that left little to the imagination. Allen caught himself staring wide-eyed at her figure and looked away before she noticed. He forgot what clothing—or lack thereof—could do for a woman, eight arms or not. Her long legs were like tree trucks, ending in astounding hips that Allen figured could break a door down if Val shook them at one. Her hourglass figure screamed femininity and salacity, almost as if it was asking for Allen to adore it. When he recalled how quickly and efficiently her body had gotten him off earlier, his heart began to race.
  457.  
  458. "So, listen, it's pretty damn late and I have to go to work tomorrow. Actually, in four hours. I'd love to be a more accommodating host but things just don't work out that way when I've got bills to pay. It's Friday, so after work I can help you with whatever, assuming you need help. I'm going to take a quick shower then I'm going to sleep. Questions?"
  459.  
  460. Val crossed three sets of arms under those bountiful breasts of hers, pursing her lips then shaking her head. "Nothing that can't wait."
  461.  
  462. "Good. Help yourself to whatever. I don't really know how much you know already. Don't break anything."
  463.  
  464. Allen rushed off to the bathroom, pajamas in hand, and closed the door a bit harder than he meant to. He scrambled to turn the water on and hopped in right away, not caring about the initially-cold stream hitting his aching body. Once the curtain was closed and the water warmed up a bit, he finally allowed himself some respite.
  465.  
  466. Looking down to his aching erection, he frowned. Living with her, no matter how long or short, would be hard, especially if she insisted on that silk 'clothing' that hardly covered anything and revealed those eight finely-toned, slender, dexterous arms. He could picture that moment, back in the ancient underground room, her four hands massaging and stroking his cock with perfect attention and skill. No handjob had any right feeling that good, sex-spirit or not.
  467.  
  468. Letting the warm water beat down on his back, Allen started relieving himself with his hand, leaning on the shower wall, eyes closed, imagining Val's hand down there instead of his. It was the quickest fap of his life. He erupted into the bathtub, stifling a grunt as he finished. Watching the warm clean his release into the drain, he thought about asking Val. Considering her position and the appetite she spoke of earlier, it seemed kind of silly for Allen to be masturbating when there was a woman—and absolutely stunning and well-experienced woman—in his apartment not ten feet away. She'd probably find a way to enjoy it even more than Allen would.
  469.  
  470. Shaking his head, Allen went back to showering. Sex was her damn job. She probably got plenty of it when she wanted to, and he didn't want her thinking she'd have to start 'taking care' of him that way. She was a guest.
  471.  
  472. When he came out of the bathroom in his pj's, he saw Val toying with the TV remote and the screen showing only static. He found himself grinning at seeing her try, with four hands on the remote, to fix whatever she'd screwed up. Hearing the bathroom door open, Val turned to Allen. She unsuccessfully hid a smile at his attire.
  473.  
  474. "What is that?"
  475.  
  476. "These, my dear Val, are fuzzy Batman pajamas. Don't be dissin'."
  477.  
  478. Her lips sputtered as a laugh forced its way out her mouth. "They are silly."
  479.  
  480. "I know jealousy when I hear it. Now off the couch, I'm going to sleep."
  481.  
  482. Val furrowed her brow in confusion. "Why would you not sleep on the bed?"
  483.  
  484. "One, because the couch is way too small for you, and two, because guests always get the bed, especially when they're women. Now up."
  485.  
  486. Val stood up, but didn't move away. "The bed looks large enough for the both of us."
  487.  
  488. "It probably is, but people who don't know each other very well or aren't otherwise involved don't sleep together on the same bed. So you get the bed, I get the couch."
  489.  
  490. She shook her head. "Nonsense. Your body is aching and there's plenty of room for us on the bed. Unless you would object to it?"
  491.  
  492. Oh, yes, my body is aching for something alright. Allen put his hands on his hips. "What are you, my mom?"
  493.  
  494. In a contest of hands-on-hips, Val easily won when she placed all eight on hers. She leaned in, using her height to her advantage. "Do you object?"
  495.  
  496. Grinding his teeth, Allen looked away, unable to defeat Val. "I guess not. But it's still not the socially—"
  497.  
  498. Val, quite tired with the discussion of what was acceptable or not, walked behind Allen, wrapped her arms around him, picked him up and laid in the bed with him. With her strength and her height, she had no trouble, though her feet hung off the end of the bed. She slipped a pair of arms over Allen's shoulders, letting them slide against his neck as her hands wandered down his chest. Another pair of hands felt up his thighs, coming to rest after giving them a light massage. Allen could hear his heart thumping like a parade inside his ears. Normally, he might object to being the small spoon, but in his current state and given Val's body size advantage, he let it go. He didn't want Val to see his throbbing stiffness, lest she think he was some sort of mindless sex-driven beast. Once was enough for tonight. He needed to gather his strength, anyways.
  499.  
  500. But her pillowy breasts were pushed up against his back, her smooth legs shifted back and forth with a quiet rubbing, whispering to Allen how it might feel to run his hand up and down them, or how it might feel to have his cock suffocate in their embrace. A pair of her hands rested right to the side of his crotch while another sat right above. Even her breath lured him in, a sweet, heavy scent against the stale air of his apartment. His cock begged for attention. He shifted his head, trying to get a look at Val. Could she see it from where she was? Or was she already trying to sleep?
  501.  
  502. Clenching his mouth shut, Allen put his hands over his member. No. Not tonight.
  503.  
  504. A tear fell from his eye.
  505.  
  506. Falling asleep took almost an hour.
  507.  
  508. ~~~
  509.  
  510. The alarm greeting Allen with its gracious, welcome blaring, a horn that pierced his throbbing head. With a most graceful groan and lurch, Allen got up to hit the snooze, hitting his toes on the desk in the process.
  511.  
  512. "Damnit!"
  513.  
  514. "Is your waking always so violent?"
  515.  
  516. Allen shot Val a grimace and hopped out of the bed. "Morning ain't the time for sass. I need my morning nectar."
  517.  
  518. "'Morning nectar?'" Val asked, rising as well and following Allen into the kitchen.
  519.  
  520. "Here."
  521.  
  522. Allen gestured to the coffee pot, filled with fresh coffee and piping hot. Closing his eyes, he hovered his nose over it. A wide, albeit drowsy smile covered his face. "Gift from the gods."
  523.  
  524. "But I told you they were spirits, not—"
  525.  
  526. "It's an expression, Val. And don't worry so much about being technically correct at six a.m."
  527.  
  528. "What is so special about this time of day?"
  529.  
  530. Allen held himself back, instead allowing a long, heavy sigh out his lungs. She's new here. She doesn't understand. Don't go ballistic. Looking through blurred, groggy vision, Allen spotted a mug and poured his coffee. The immaculate scent of life fuel filled his nostrils, giving him the patience to finally turn around and face Val.
  531.  
  532. She was smirking.
  533.  
  534. How absolutely fantastic. My new roommate is a tease in the morning. Allen's grip on the mug threatened to break it, his once-calm demeanor degenerating into a dark scowl. Try as he might, though, he couldn't bring himself to do anything more than stand there with coffee in hand.
  535.  
  536. "Had I the strength to throw a punch, know that it would have already landed right on your nose."
  537.  
  538. "Please, do try. The attempt would amuse me."
  539.  
  540. Taking a deep breath, Allen raised his gaze to the ceiling. You have coffee in your hand. Think about the good coffee, not the annoying prat standing in front of you. That's right. Coffee. Allen took a long sip from his mug, the bitter, fiercely-hot liquid sloshing down his throat. Energy seeped into his veins, giving him the concentration to nudge Val out of the way and walk over to his closet.
  541.  
  542. "I really hope you're not like this all the time. I may end up having to kill you," he said, rummaging around for some work clothes.
  543.  
  544. "It's odd to take someone in and then threaten to kill them the next day."
  545.  
  546. "Well, usually roommates are more appreciative. Especially freeloading ones."
  547.  
  548. Val said nothing, giving Allen the time to stumble around and get his clothes on. He checked the time. Five thirty. He'd make it in just in time. His boss preferred he come in a little early, but he hated making his boss happy. In a daze, Allen stuffed his pockets with keys, phone and wallet then chugged the rest of his mug.
  549.  
  550. "May I have some of that 'morning nectar' you seem to value so?"
  551.  
  552. Allen rushed by her, grabbing a thermos and filling it. "Yeah, I never drink all of it anyways. Just don't spill it on anything and if you burn your tongue, tell me so I can laugh at you."
  553.  
  554. "Thank you."
  555.  
  556. Allen buzzed back into the main room and threw his coat on. "Alright, I'll be gone for eight hours. Same as last night: do what you want, but don't break anything. And I really don't suggest leaving on your own. There's a ton of stuff you don't know about the world."
  557.  
  558. "Are you concerned for me?"
  559.  
  560. Allen's rhythm skipped a step and he almost stumbled. He hadn't really thought about that. Blushing, he turned away and made like he was checking his phone, hoping Val didn't catch that. "I'm part of all whatever this is with your sister now. I concerned about myself. You make yourself known out there, she'll find me and do whatever it is she'll do. I don't want that." Not allowing Val a chance to ask anything more, he ducked out the door, saying "Bye." before closing and locking it.
  561.  
  562. Today's gonna be a long day.
  563.  
  564. ~~~
  565.  
  566. Long didn't even begin to describe it.
  567.  
  568. "Five minutes late, Allen. You know I keep telling you to come in early because you never get morning shelving done before the morning crowd."
  569.  
  570. Lips trembling in an effort to keep from snarling at his boss, Allen continued to load the cart. Fucking morning crowd almost never needs it finished.
  571.  
  572. "And that sets you behind on the afternoon work, which sets you behind on end-of-shift work. Do you see the pattern here?"
  573.  
  574. Allen swore he could feel steam rising from his skin as his blood boiled. Through some inhuman means of self-control, he muttered a neutral, "Yes, sir." He knew better than to give Jesse lip. Last guy that did that was fired in a heartbeat.
  575.  
  576. "Oh! Great! I'm glad I'm talking to a person here. Then you should have no trouble keeping a schedule so we don't have to have this conversation again, right, Allen?"
  577.  
  578. His grip on the books tightened. Good thing there's not much a strong grip can do to books, else the library would be a seeing a lot of lost material from Allen. "Right." The smallest drop from his lake of fury dripped into his tone.
  579.  
  580. "I hope I didn't hear disrespect there, Allen."
  581.  
  582. Fucker even uses my name ever other sentence. I know who you're talking to, idiot!
  583.  
  584. "You did not, sir." This stress was going to take a significant act of vandalism to relieve. Maybe the building next to where he was digging last night. There were plenty of windows left to break there. Drywall, too.
  585.  
  586. "Good. I'll be checking up on you again in the afternoon to see how you're doing. Don't disappoint me, Allen."
  587.  
  588. "Yes. Sir."
  589.  
  590. Only when Jesse had closed the door behind him did Allen allow himself to throw the book in his hand at the ground. The little shitstain that was Jesse had been his boss for over two years now and part of the reason he'd begun researching the jewel. The only reason he had a job as manager was because his old man was one of the guys that ran the place. Course, large county libraries like this one were supposed to be public entities, but there was always someone at the top making mountains of dough off it. Had Allen ever gotten the chance to meet the guy, he'd probably hit him with a solid right hook, then kick his balls while he was down. Making money was fine, but hiring your dumbass kids just because they're your kids... Allen fucking hated that.
  591.  
  592. He started coughing, covering his mouth as best he could, wishing Jesse were still here. Maybe a few coughs his way would repel him for a little while.
  593.  
  594. He went about his work, rolling the cart through the never-ending rows of books, being as polite as he could possibly manage to everyone he encountered. Lucky for him, the library didn't get many visitors until eight or nine, giving him a couple hours of peace to recoup from the encounter with Jesse. Today was particularly nasty, though, given he knew the jewel was forever out of his reach and he'd be stuck here indefinitely unless he wanted to live out in the streets.
  595.  
  596. Stopping the cart, he looked down, despair holding his face. This wasn't the plan at all. He went to college to be something more than a peon shelving books and keeping records. Maybe he wasn't the most ambitious guy in the world, but he wanted more than this. He wanted comfort and co-workers who didn't walk all over him. That's not to much to ask, is it?
  597.  
  598. As he shelved the next book, he paused, looking at the section he stood in. 'History -- Superstition'. The same place he'd been visiting many times in his research on the jewel. It had taken him about a year to find something worth pursuing and another to narrow down its possible location. Maybe he could find something else worth searching for in here. Crossing his arms, he thought about Val. It's possible the books here could help her out as well, maybe figure out where her sister's stone statue was placed. Heck, if she was buried like Val was, there may not even be a way out. She could be stuck in a cage of earth and stone until Val and him came and put her back where she belonged.
  599.  
  600. Dragging his feet, Allen went back to the cart and pushed it towards its next location. It couldn't be easy for Val to do that to her sister, even as evil—yes, she was evil whether Val admitted it or not—as she was. A little help from Allen might go a long ways.
  601.  
  602. Somehow, Allen's wearied, numb and sore body managed to catch things up. When afternoon came around, Allen had just gotten back on track. Jesse still found something to be condescending about, but at least it was bearable. Had Jesse gone on another full rant, Allen didn't know if he'd be able to hold himself back.
  603.  
  604. He wondered what Val was doing back home. Messing with his remote? Weighing the option of leaving his apartment? Burning her tongue on coffee? Allen grinned when the thought of Val cooking entered his mind. With the limited utensils at his house, she'd probably either get halfway through it before giving up or burn the whole thing. He couldn't deny a twitch of nervousness, though, whether it was for the good of his apartment or for her own safety, he couldn't tell.
  605.  
  606. She was half-playful, half-serious, like oil and water that somehow mixed to make a coherent person. Or spirit.
  607.  
  608. Shaking his head, Allen got back to his work, scanning the books returned yesterday. He'd have to take a look in the history section before heading back home. Wasn't much, but it was all he had to offer.
  609.  
  610. ~~~
  611.  
  612. Just like in the early morning, Allen couldn't keep his hand steady as he moved the key toward the lock. He'd never had this problem before. Was it the lack of sleep? Grumbling, Allen set down the books he'd checked out and held the key with both hands. It wasn't much better, but it did the trick. The wonderful sound of his door unlocking clunked throughout the hallway and Allen smiled as he opened the door.
  613.  
  614. "Val?"
  615.  
  616. The scene that greeted Allen caught him between falling over laughing and dropping his books in shock. Val was on the computer typing something in with the strangest technique he'd ever seen. Instead of learning how to use the keyboard properly, Val had settled back on the old 'hunt-and-peck' method, hitting each key with her pointer fingers. Only, having eight hands meant she could use seven of them to hunt and peck while keeping one on the mouse. Val looked over and caught him staring, nodding a welcome.
  617.  
  618. "Good evening. You looked tired."
  619.  
  620. Remembering he didn't want anyone seeing Val with all eight arms out, Allen spun around and closed the door, sliding the lock into place before dumping the books on his bed. "What the hell are you doing?" he asked, walking closer to get a good look at her typing technique.
  621.  
  622. "I'm using the computer. You said it was alright."
  623.  
  624. "Yeah, yeah, it's fine. I mean with your hands. Why are you using seven hands to type? This thing was made for two."
  625.  
  626. She shrugged. "Is this not more efficient? And why should I not use the assets I have available?"
  627.  
  628. "You might be typing faster, but there's no way that's efficient. Here, do it like this," he said, pushing her hands away and placing his on the keyboard's home row. She stared intently at his demonstration. "If you do it this way, like it was designed, you can type just as fast and only need two hands for it."
  629.  
  630. He typed a few example words to show how to move her fingers, watching her nod in acknowledgement. As he continued, a few of her now-free hands wandered over to Allen's body, touching his stomach and lower back. Her purpose sat vaguely between 'comforting' and 'arousing'. Allen about told her to knock it off, but for all he knew she was just teasing him again.
  631.  
  632. "Alright, got it?"
  633.  
  634. "I believe so."
  635.  
  636. "Great." He stepped away, Val's hands leaving his body as he walked to the closet to hang up his jacket. "I brought something from the library. Something you might be interested in. I'm not sure on the specifics of your history with your sister, but those books could have some useful information, like where she was put after the imprisonment."
  637.  
  638. Val stood up, picking up a book in each of her hands and inspecting them one at a time. "Thank you. There are a couple here that may be of use."
  639.  
  640. "Welcome." Allen shuffled over to the kitchen. He rarely got to each lunch at work, both a combination of lack of time and lack of money, which left him starving.
  641.  
  642. "The library... I heard you mention it once before. Is it where you work?"
  643.  
  644. Allen frowned, pausing as he pulled out dishes. His job wasn't exactly a point of pride. "Yes." No need to go into details.
  645.  
  646. "Is it far?"
  647.  
  648. "Thirty minutes far. Though thirty minutes to you probably doesn't mean the same as thirty minutes to me."
  649.  
  650. "And that is where you learned about the Binding Stone, correct?"
  651.  
  652. This was drifting more from casual talk to an interrogation, though Allen couldn't tell whether it was from Val's lack of social awareness or her devotion to getting this problem fixed. "Yes. Book caught my eye while I was shelving. Happens every now and then."
  653.  
  654. "Is it one of these?" Allen heard the shuffle of turning pages in the other room.
  655.  
  656. "Would've been, if we still had it. Got lost a while back."
  657.  
  658. "That is unfortunate."
  659.  
  660. "A real bummer. Can we not talk about work when I'm not at work? I get enough of it as is."
  661.  
  662. A pause hung in the air. A book thudded shut.
  663.  
  664. "Of course. I'm sorry."
  665.  
  666. Allen smacked his face. He hadn't meant to snub her. "Don't worry about it. You couldn't have known." He opened up the fridge, pulled out leftovers from last night then threw them in the microwave. Leaning back on the opposite counter, he crossed his arms, sighing. Thank god he didn't have to cook tonight. Not that what he did could constitute as cooking.
  667.  
  668. "You hungry at all?"
  669.  
  670. "I don't need to eat, though I can if I wish," said Val, appearing in the kitchen doorway, filling it with her figure. "One of the advantages to being a spirit."
  671.  
  672. "Lucky you."
  673.  
  674. Val crossed two pairs of tanned arms, using the other to lean on the doorway as she regarded Allen with a touch of curiosity. He glanced at her from his heating meal, waiting for her to say something.
  675.  
  676. "I'm sorry if this is intruding, but you seem stressed."
  677.  
  678. "That obvious?"
  679.  
  680. "Your stride is off-balance, your shoulders are sagging and you've got bags under your eyes." She spoke without condescension, merely stating a few facts about his appearance.
  681.  
  682. "Well, I thank you for the appraisal, but I was already aware of it," he said, voice dripping with sarcasm.
  683.  
  684. "Was it work? Or something else? If my problems have burdened—"
  685.  
  686. His meal finished heating, but Allen ignored it. He instead stepped toward Val decisively, jabbing his finger at her. "Hey, I made my choice, and I'm not going back on it. I knew there'd be shit to deal with and I knew the answers wouldn't come easy. Don't talk like you're sorry for your problems because I won't hear it. That's not something for you to be sorry for any more." He punctuated his statement with a huff and grabbed his food. For once, he actually felt taller than Val. The urge to cough rode up from his chest, but he suppressed it.
  687.  
  688. Allen shoveled down his dinner, both from a mixture of hunger and a desire to dodge Val's questions. For whatever reason, he felt much more vulnerable with a plate of food in front of him. He knew she asked out of concern both for him and herself, but today he just didn't feel like it. He'd gotten hardly three-and-a-half hours of sleep, been hounded by his shit-for-brains boss and still worked a full day without exploding on anyone. His allowance of consideration for others was dried up.
  689.  
  690. Val finally got the hint around the time he started doing dishes and cleaning the kitchen. When she walked off to the bed to read one of the books he'd brought back, he leaned over the countertop and sighed as quietly as possible. Tomorrow. Tomorrow he'd have a full night of rest, he'd be in the mood to talk about himself and Val wouldn't be so worried or naggy. Tomorrow even Jesse's condescending, brow-beating, pointless little lectures could be shrugged off like nothing more than background noise.
  691.  
  692. After cleaning the kitchen, Allen collapsed onto the couch and switched on the TV. Val glimpsed up from her book as if considering another question, but ended up keeping to herself.
  693.  
  694. Network shows and the news captured Allen's attention for all of thirty minutes before his brain started turning into mush. Maybe all those studies about TV making you stupid were right. At least with a belly full of food, he was able to lean back without triggering long, noisy protests from his stomach. He still ached from the digging and the fall yesterday, but it was nothing he hadn't dealt with before.
  695.  
  696. In an effort to alleviate his boredom, Allen started stealing glances at Val, his eyes gradually settling on her for longer periods of time. She sat with her muscled, running legs over the edge of the bed, one over the other. Occasionally, she'd unconsciously rub them up against each other, her skin slick against itself as if oiled. She held the book she was reading in four hands, two on the covers and two to turn and hold the pages. The bracelets on her wrists would slide up and down her bare arms, sometimes clinking softly together. The other four hands rested on Allen bed, supporting her curvaceous upper body. Allen could make out her nipples pressing into that pathetic excuse for a bra with each breath. Her long brown hair clung mostly to her body, stopping just past her shoulder blades, drifting off whenever she shifted position or let out a larger breath.
  697.  
  698. Soon enough, the TV had completely lost Allen's attention. He kept his face toward it as not to alert Val to his gaping, but her body was all he could think about. Still engrossed in the book, she raised two hands from the bed to softly stroke her smooth legs, running her fingers in an agonizingly-slow motion up and down. It was then Allen felt the straining in his pants, his body leaping into full alertness for the first time since yesterday. His eyes darted back to the TV, his brain scrambling to think about anything besides the smoking hot woman on his bed. He even tried paying attention to the show. But every time he relaxed his concentration, even for a second, his eyes would drift back to Val, watching her nimble hands play across her bare legs or run through her flowing hair.
  699.  
  700. There was only one way to fix this.
  701.  
  702. After spending a minute shifting himself around, making sure his erection wouldn't be obvious when he stood up, Allen grabbed a change of clothes from the closet and walked into the bathroom. He told Val he was talking a shower before closing the door. The second it closed, he scrambled to get his clothes off and turn on the shower, just like last night. Images of her attending his cock last night were already rushing through his head, that glorious pussy crushing and draining him for everything he had until he passed out. He could practically feel her hands down there, lovingly stroking him into one of the fiercest orgasms he could remember. His own hand was a shit substitute, but it was all he had right now.
  703.  
  704. Tossing off the last of his clothes, he hopped under the stream of water, letting it hit his face and flow down his body. That alone was enough to send chills up his spine when it began flowing over his member. Sighing, he soaked his body before grabbing his cock to deal with the issue at hand.
  705.  
  706. It was then he heard a knock at the bathroom door.
  707.  
  708. "I could take this as an insult, you know," said Val, her voice muffled by the door.
  709.  
  710. "W-what?"
  711.  
  712. "I'm talking about your arousal. I can sense it from out here. You're drowning in it."
  713.  
  714. He loosened his grip on his hardness, sticking his head outside the shower curtain.The hell is she talking about? "My what?"
  715.  
  716. Val's exasperated groan was loud enough to hear from the other side of the door. "Your arousal. You're hard as a rock in there, I can tell. Spirit of sexuality, remember? I can sense these things."
  717.  
  718. Allen stood staring at the door, gripping the shower curtain, trying to figure out what to reply. "Uhh... okay?"
  719.  
  720. "I could feel it while you were on the couch, too. Did you think I was rubbing my legs out of boredom? I felt you respond to it." Her tone carried a growing irritation. What was she upset about?
  721.  
  722. "You could tell?" asked Allen, still struggling to find a way out of whatever was happening.
  723.  
  724. "Yes. I feel like I'm talking to a wall." She paused. "Okay, technically a door. This is ridiculous." The door burst open and Val barged in, shutting it behind her.
  725.  
  726. Allen jumped back, almost losing his grip on the curtain and falling over. "Hey! I'm in the middle of something!"
  727.  
  728. "Yes, and that's the problem."
  729.  
  730. He swallowed, taking in the fullness of Val's now-naked body, four of her arms crossed and four hands on her hips. Those bountiful breasts Allen often found himself admiring sat out in the open, as if inviting his hands to grab and hold as much as they could. Her eyes, while currently glaring at Allen, shone a captivating blue, enrapturing Allen even in their fierceness. He couldn't help himself from giving her a once over, his cock twitching in response to the view.
  731.  
  732. "Sorry, I'm not exactly sure why you're annoyed," said Allen.
  733.  
  734. "I am the origin of libido. The symbol for all things sexual along with my sister. This body of mine was built to bring men and women indescribable pleasure. I enjoy bringing that pleasure to whoever I can just as much as I enjoy receiving it. My sex drive dwarfs even your own. I'm annoyed because instead of coming to me with this," she said, a hand darting out and seizing Allen's member, "you want to take care of it alone in the shower. Yesterday, I could understand. You were tired and had work to do. But now?"
  735.  
  736. His legs began shaking, her hand's grip awakening erotic memories. "V-Val, I didn't mean it as an insult. But it was a bad time." Her hand began stroking, slowly moving from tip to base. Allen's knees about gave out and he gripped the shower curtain for dear life, but didn't move to stop her. That was the last thing he wanted.
  737.  
  738. Val's face calmed, watching Allen's intently as he spoke. His voice stumbled when her grip tightened. "I didn't wah-wah-want you thinking you had to take care of me, either." Mouth hanging open, Allen could manage to speak no further, Val's skill crippling his ability to talk. Another hand joined the first and Allen almost shriveled up into a ball right there.
  739.  
  740. "It's fine, Allen. I know I do tend to let my temper get the best of me sometimes. But here's what we're going to do. You're exhausted from a long day with little sleep, so I'm going to use these wonderful hands of mine to wash you off. I'll clean every last inch of your body, even give you a nice massage." He lost his balance, finally succumbing to her stroking, but Val was quick to catch him. "And then, when you're completely clean, those same hands are going to make you come harder than you've ever come before. Does that sound alright to you?"
  741.  
  742. He opened his mouth to reply, but Val squeezed his member when he tried to speak, and all that came out was a gasp.
  743.  
  744. "Good."
  745.  
  746. She stepped inside the shower with Allen, using her hands to turn him until he was facing away from her and toward the shower head. Each movement was poised and graceful like it'd been practiced a hundred thousand times before. Val sat down, carrying Allen down with her to where the hot, comforting shower steam hit Allen right below his face. Releasing the tension in his shoulders, Allen closed his eyes. Finally, he could allow himself some peace.
  747.  
  748. Val rested his head upon her bosom, giving her teats a nice squeeze and push just like a feather pillow. Two hands laid on his shoulders, fingers digging lightly into Allen's skin in a glorious massage. He felt washcloths at his legs, his back, and his chest, Val pressing them into his body with a light caress. He wondered how well they were really cleaning—not that it mattered. The hands at his cock slowed down, ensuring his sensitivity was peaked, but never beyond the point of orgasm. They played with his member and balls like a massage, kneading the skin over his shaft and tip.
  749.  
  750. Allen melted into Val's caress, feeling much like the shallow pool of water they sat in. All the tension built up at work, the stress of releasing Lust, the worry about bills and everything else in the world—Val coaxed it out with her dexterous fingers and sent it all down the drain. His breathing slowed to a near-standstill and a blissful grin grew on his face. He should've come to Val sooner. There was nothing like this in the world, not even close. Sure, you could get close with four women working in sync, but the way Val moved her hands, balancing the massage with the handjob and the cleaning, it was perfect, like she knew his body better than he.
  751.  
  752. Her voluminous legs and broad hips cradled his wearied body, those tree-trunk thighs fondling Allen's legs in fluid motions. Her feet snuggled Allen's, each toe moving distinctively, well enough to give a massage of their own. Even with his eyes closed, he could picture both of her feet's movements, as well as the mountainous, olive legs shifting subtly in the rocking water. Val's thumbs dug into the back of Allen's shoulders, the massage reaching deeper and becoming rougher. Allen moaned, surprised he could drown even further into her embrace. A stray thought ran through his head, wondering if she'd ever done this sort of thing back before she turned to stone.
  753.  
  754. "Huahmn," said Allen, trying to articulate the question, but Val placed a finger over his mouth.
  755.  
  756. "Shhh," she cooed, speeding up her hands on his member, "this is the time for you to relax and not worry about a thing." Her full lips descended to his forehead, giving a light kiss before withdrawing.
  757.  
  758. The cleaning hands grazed down his back and up his legs, moving as if they would never finish their task. Eventually, however, they gathered at his crotch, dabbing at his now intensely-sensitive member. His heart, which once beat at a pace so slow Allen thought it would stop, now animated, his thoughts on the inevitable orgasm ahead. His eyes struggled to open, barely making out the sight of six hands crawling up toward his manhood, not a single washcloth in sight. Their aim was clear.
  759.  
  760. "You're all clean now, Allen." Val's thighs clamped down on his waist, making sure he didn't move around. "Do you know what that means?"
  761.  
  762. "G-going to... to..."
  763.  
  764. "That's alright. You don't need to say a word."
  765.  
  766. All six hands descended on his aching stiffness, a hundred indistinguishable touches undulating Allen in pleasure. He moaned, trying to writhe under the attention, but Val's thighs had him secure. All he could do was shiver his feet and arms. Somehow, Val managed to put every hand to work, somehow touching or groping his cock. He tried to keep track of her hands and fingers, but soon everything blurred in a constant torrent of pleasure. From base to tip, head and shaft, she tenderly stroked. Even his balls were not ignored.
  767.  
  768. His breath haggard, Allen's hands found Val's smooth, round hips and squeezed. "Oooh g-god, please...!" No matter how wonderful Val's expert touch was, she still denied him release. She took Allen to the edge, holding him over it, letting him stare at the world or ecstasy that awaited him. "Val!"
  769.  
  770. "Don't rush it. It'll come."
  771.  
  772. I sure hope to god it does!
  773.  
  774. "You know... staring at that erection of yours has made me hungry. I hope you don't blame me for wanting a taste."
  775.  
  776. No! he thought, body finally finding some life. "Let me come first! Please!"
  777.  
  778. Withdrawing her hands, Val slipped from underneath Allen, holding him so his head didn't fall onto the hard bathtub floor. The instant her hands left his member, he cried out, trying to grab them and put them back, but Val took him by the wrists and held his hands helpless. Like a starving man would watch food, Allen followed Val as she descended toward his crotch, rubbing her body against his rock hard and frighteningly-sensitive cock. Val's handjob had ignited a desire like he'd never felt before, and all he could think of was the release. He didn't care how it happened any more, just that it did.
  779.  
  780. Looking up at Allen from his waist, two of Val's hands played with his length, running open palms slowly up and down its sides. He tried thrusting into it, but Val grabbed his hips and held them in place. He bit his lip, ready to hit her for teasing him so much.
  781.  
  782. But both of them knew he was loving every minute of it.
  783.  
  784. Pursing her lips, Val blew on his member, smiling as it twitched in response to the simplest provocation. She landed a kiss at the base, then another a little further up, then another, and another. A tear fell from Allen's eye, his teeth gnashing up against each other so hard he was sure they'd shatter. There was no longer any doubt in his mind: Val wasn't human and her skill was immaculate. One last kiss touched his tip and those gleaming blue eyes flashed their beauty once more at Allen. His eyes widened, his body bracing for what came next. Still locking eyes with him, she descended.
  785.  
  786. Her luscious lips flowed down his cock, stripping him of any last defenses he had and buffing his mind with pure bliss. She moved down so slowly he feared she might never swallow his entire length. A wet, hungry tongue smothered his head, making him thrash at the shock of pleasure which wracked his body. As her lips tightened and lowered, her tongue encompassed more and more of his manhood. It covered the sides with a rain of licks, some slow and long, others quick and exact. Allen had no reply, fighting to keep his eyes open and locked on the blue orbs that stared back at him. It took every last inch of will to keep from exploding the second her lips met his base and squeezed. Her slick tongue coiled around his cock, a feat he thought impossible, and she began bobbing her head.
  787.  
  788. The second her hands released his hips, he thrust with all his might. He had to feel that hot cave of pleasure that was her mouth as much as possible. His body demanded it. She took the thrusts in-stride, matching her head to his movements, watching his face devolve to a writhing visage of pleasure. Each time she swallowed and released his cock, a storm of rapture jolted him, stronger than the last. He fucked her mouth without mercy, and in return she showed none.
  789.  
  790. Orgasm came with such intensity Allen almost blacked out. His mind lit up like fireworks, a searing hot explosion of ecstasy rushing up his length. Thick wads of cum burst into Val's mouth and she swallowed without slowing her pace. Even as the climax rocked him, Val thrashed him with her tongue, bobbing up and down like her life depended on it. Spurt after spurt soiled her mouth, only to go straight down her throat like she was drinking from a fountain. What felt like an eternity later, Allen's body collapsed, nearly slamming into the bathtub floor had Val not caught him. She detached her lips from his cock with a soft pop, smiling at him. His eyes flickered, taking in the sight of her once last time before closing.
  791.  
  792. "Allen?"
  793.  
  794. No response. Val brought him in, hugging his unconscious body with all eight arms under the stream of water. She laid her head on his shoulder, closing her eyes and smiling to herself. Even cuter when he sleeps.
  795.  
  796.  
  797.  
  798.  
  799.  
  800. CHAPTER 3
  801.  
  802. "Allen."
  803.  
  804. "Mmm?" he mumbled, swatting at the air. "Who is it?"
  805.  
  806. "Val. It's getting into the afternoon. I suggest you wake up."
  807.  
  808. "Huh?" Allen opened his eyes, attention landing on the form of Val standing over him, nudging him awake. He squinted, adjusting to the light in the room. "Hey. What time is it?"
  809.  
  810. He raised his upper body, getting a good look at the clock in order to answer his own question. Noon. That was one hell of a rest. And before it... Flopping back into the bed, Allen smiled at the memory. That was not a night he'd soon forget, if ever. Val played his body like a flute until it had no music left to give.
  811.  
  812. Suddenly being woken up by the beauty looking over him didn't seem so bad. Throwing the covers off, he swung his feet off the bed, finding himself completely naked. Of course, so soon after waking he couldn't give too much effort to caring other than a blush in front of Val. She smirked at seeing his cheeks redden.
  813.  
  814. "You do know I've seen it all before. Much more than seen, in fact."
  815.  
  816. "Gah, you'll ruin my morning, lady!" Allen stumbled to the closet, throwing on some underwear and pants. It was starting off so well, too.
  817.  
  818. "Ruin? How so?" Her tone played with him like a cat would a ball of string.
  819.  
  820. "Sass has no place in the morning, and that seems like when you're most full of it."
  821.  
  822. "Oh, you love it. And besides, it's not technically morning any more."
  823.  
  824. "On a Saturday? Yes, noon is still in the morning." Allen walked over to the window, peeking outside. The sun broke through the shades like an unwelcome guest, making Allen squint and look away. "Fine, then, sun. Screw you, too." He'd get a look outside later.
  825.  
  826. Walking into the kitchen, Allen grabbed his thermos, hoping his Friday self had left him some coffee. Unfortunately, he'd really needed it yesterday, so there was hardly more than a swallow left. Shrugging, he downed the rest. Could be worse.
  827.  
  828. "So tell me, what is it you do on the weekends?" asked Val, leaning on the doorway to the kitchen.
  829.  
  830. "Depends. Most of my recent weekends involved a lot of reading and cross-referencing and other nerd-like things. I spent a lot of time looking for that jewel—the Binding Stone, was it?—and when I got close to finding it, I became a little obsessed." He looked away from Val, rinsing off the thermos, fighting to keep from saying anything more. He still wasn't sure if he forgave her for taking it. He understood why, but that didn't extinguish the part of him that wanted his due compensation.
  831.  
  832. "Anything else? Surely you have hobbies?" She stepped behind him, laying four hands on his shoulders with a light rub.
  833.  
  834. "Didn't you read this stuff from my head?"
  835.  
  836. "No. As I said earlier, I only tried to take what information I absolutely needed. I strayed away from more personal memories."
  837.  
  838. Allen wished he could believe that, but Val was smart enough to know how to play it right, how to fake knowing less than she did. He slammed the thermos down with a bit more force than he intended. Val had been nothing but kind so far. Why was he still doubting her?
  839.  
  840. He needed some fresh air.
  841.  
  842. "Let's go for a walk."
  843.  
  844. "A walk?"
  845.  
  846. "Yes. A walk. You know what a walk is, don't you?"
  847.  
  848. Val slapped him in the shoulder, crossing several of her arms. "Of course I do. And I thought sass wasn't allowed in the morning."
  849.  
  850. Allen grinned. "Only when it's not coming from me. Now get some proper clothes on and hide those extra arms. We're going to a park."
  851.  
  852. "That sounds wonderful. I've been cooped up here too long, and all those years as a statue did little for my joints."
  853.  
  854. They seemed to work fine last night.
  855.  
  856. Walking back to the closet, Allen put on a t-shirt and glanced at himself in the mirror. His short brown hair was starting to get away from him, partially because he was overdo for a cut, but also because he was too lazy to keep it nice. 'Presentable' had a vague definition.
  857.  
  858. "Is this acceptable?" asked Val.
  859.  
  860. Allen turned and at the sight of Val, tried to give a low whistle. He failed, but that didn't make the sight any less impressive. Val had adorned a red dress, one that sparkled in the subtle shifts in light. It hugged her curves wonderfully, almost as if it had been made exactly to her specifications. It ended just low enough to cover everything and a bit of her upper legs, but high enough to get any man's gears churning. Her shoulders and a small portion of her arms were covered, revealing part of her biceps that usually lay hidden beneath her golden brown skin. Not skimping on cleavage, her dress showed off her assets as much as possible while still staying legal for public wear. It was a dress true to Val's personality and her station.
  861.  
  862. "Hot damn, Val. If I was a cop, I'd arrest you for looking too good."
  863.  
  864. She rolled her eyes. "I know just enough to realize how corny that was." A grin broke through her irked expression. "But thank you." She offered an arm. "Will you be my partner in crime?"
  865.  
  866. "Goddamn. Yes, I would. As much as it pains me to say it, though, that might not be the best for walking in. Dresses like that are for formal stuff, like a nice dinner or ball."
  867.  
  868. "So I should change out of this?"
  869.  
  870. Allen bit his lower lip. He'd love nothing more than to parade Val around like that, but her height would already grab enough attention. Wearing that dress in the park would be like announcing their presence with a megaphone. He didn't want to take any more risks with Lust on the loose.
  871.  
  872. "Yeah. A skirt or pants and a shirt would do the trick."
  873.  
  874. As the dazzling dress faded away, another outfit slowly taking form, Allen sighed.Maybe later...
  875.  
  876. "When you change like that, where do the clothes come from? And shouldn't the sleeves be wider so they could fit your other arms?"
  877.  
  878. "Oh, no," said Val, watching her body to ensure the clothes formed correctly. "The clothes are an illusion. The only thing I've ever worn are the small silk garments over my breasts and waist. My arms are still hugging my stomach and chest, as to avoid accidentally bumping into things, but they come through this 'dress' just fine without larger sleeves."
  879.  
  880. "That's a neat trick."
  881.  
  882. Val now stood in a much more practical outfit: a basic pair of pants that hugged her legs and a button-up shirt with rolled-up sleeves. Not as nice as the dress, but it would have to do. Allen scrunched his lips, analyzing the outfit a moment before stepping up to Val. One little adjustment. He unbuttoned a few buttons from her shirt, revealing just enough of her cleavage to make him smile. "That's better."
  883.  
  884. Val snuck out a hand, grabbing the back of Allen's head and thrusting it into her tits. He struggled only a second, holding his breath and enjoying the motorboat while it lasted. Once free, Val smirked and said, "Better get that out of your system first."
  885.  
  886. Allen wasn't complaining.
  887.  
  888. The trip to the park went quick. Allen's apartment thankfully wasn't far from one, though being a Saturday they were far from the only people there. Val still commented on her nervousness of riding in a car, but Allen was able to calm her down easier this time. He hadn't made a real habit of going to parks as he usually found more stress than enjoyment at them. Maybe a couple would be walking on a trail and not paying attention, then he'd have to swerve to avoid them and the encounter would ring sour. Or there'd be kids whose parents decided to ignore their ruckus. Sometimes Allen would go off to find a private spot, only to have it constantly intruded upon by loud groups or the horns of far-off cars.
  889.  
  890. Today, though, the refreshing outdoors was exactly what he needed. Val, too. As they got out of the car, Val stretched, looking over the cozy park. There were several trails over the area, most covered in gravel and the more commonly-used ones paved. Some went off to the woods, others meandered through open fields and around the park lake. Allen spotted some pets and families out enjoying the weather. He almost felt envy before remembering what trouble a pet or a kid would be. He walked around the car to stand next to Val as she observed.
  891.  
  892. "I'd prefer a walk in the woods. You can ask me about whatever while we walk," he said.
  893.  
  894. "Excellent. I have quite a few built up." She clasped her two visible hands together, smiling at Allen.
  895.  
  896. He grinned back. I did put myself up to this. Waving for her to follow, he headed off toward one of the paths leading into the forest.
  897.  
  898. Val wasn't lying when she said she had questions. For the next hour she grilled him about almost everything. Quirks of society, history (what Allen could remember, at least), advances in science, recent events, famous people, sports, even Allen's favorite TV shows. Every now and then she would tend toward more personal questions, trying to delve into Allen's past, but he deflected them. As much as he had come to learn about Val in the past couple days, he still wasn't comfortable in divulging such things. Didn't see the use in it, either. Val seemed content with his choice, never nagging him about specifics.
  899.  
  900. For a short while, Allen turned off his mind and enjoyed himself. The questions still rained down on him, but most were benign or easy to explain. He listened to nature; the birds chirping, an occasional rustling of branches in the wind, the thud of footsteps on the ground. Val's voice made a soothing backdrop to it all, a light, whimsical yet collected tone that massaged his ears.
  901.  
  902. "Sports?"
  903.  
  904. "Huh?" said Allen, looking away from the trees to her.
  905.  
  906. "Favorite sports. I liked the sound of football."
  907.  
  908. Allen chuckled. "Well, I can't say that's the most, uh, feminine sport, but with a little work you could certainly have the build to play it. As for me, I like baseball."
  909.  
  910. "Why is that?"
  911.  
  912. "Well, in most team sports it's kind of hard to focus on the individual, and single-man or woman sports, like tennis, aren't as popular. But with baseball, just about everyone gets a chance to bat. So you've got your moment where everyone's looking at you. Your moment to prove to them how good you are. I like seeing how people deal with that, how they use it to their advantage."
  913.  
  914. "Do you ever put yourself there?"
  915.  
  916. "Eh," said Allen, scratching the back of his head, "I used to, until I realized how bad I really was. I can't bat for shit."
  917.  
  918. "So you gave up?"
  919.  
  920. "Val, there's times you should pursue something, and times you shouldn't. Just because I wanted to be good doesn't mean it'd be worth the time and effort to get there. It was a nice little thing to think about, but that's come and gone."
  921.  
  922. She moved in next to Allen, the space between their bodies evaporating. Her long, slick arm brushed against his, tickling his skin and arm hair. "Maybe. But it's never too late."
  923.  
  924. "Is it? I dunno if we get to make those kinds of choices." The smile he'd been wearing all afternoon dampened. In college he'd had other plans for life. Fought as much as he could to keep them. But things don't really work out that way. "We should probably head back."
  925.  
  926. "Okay. I enjoyed myself, we should try to come out here again."
  927.  
  928. 'We'? Don't you have a job to be doing? Allen kept it to himself, though. He'd hate to ruin that smile on her face.
  929.  
  930. Allen's legs were starting to ache by the time they got back to his car. Val's step had just as much spring in it as when they started off, though. He guessed physical activities had little effect on her. There was still much he didn't know about her body, it seemed.
  931.  
  932. They got in the car, and just as Allen was going to turn the keys, Val grabbed his wrist to stop him. He looked over, waiting for an explanation.
  933.  
  934. "I feel... bad about taking the jewel from you."
  935.  
  936. Allen blinked a few times, saying nothing. Okaaayyy. Kind of an sudden thing to say, but alright.
  937.  
  938. "There is something I have in mind. A small way to pay you back."
  939.  
  940. Allen watched as her extra arms became visible. Nervously, he looked around outside the car to see if anyone was watching, but they were in the clear. "Geez, Val, right here?"
  941.  
  942. "Hush." Her arms all moved to action, removing the various ornaments and bracelets on her arms and wrists. Allen's eyes widened when she collected it all in a bundle and presented it to him, her other arms vanishing as if they were never there. He tentatively reached out, picking up one of the bracelets. It looked like real gold, though he wasn't exactly an expert. There were several small gems inlaid as well. The piece was beautiful, certainly worth something on craftsmanship alone. Setting it back in her hands, he gripped the steering wheel and swallowed.
  943.  
  944. "That... looks like a lot. Are you sure?"
  945.  
  946. "It is a pittance to what you were looking forward to, and I have no need for such things. They will do much more for you."
  947.  
  948. "Geez," he said again, knuckles going white with their grip. "That's... those must be really freaking old. You realize I'd just go and sell them, right?"
  949.  
  950. "I am aware. If that is how they would serve you best, then that is fine."
  951.  
  952. Allen's gaze darted back and forth between her face and the jewelry. She looked and sounded sincere, almost pleading for him to accept it. Letting out a long breath, Allen raised a single finger. "Alright, I'll take it, but only if this isn't done out of pity or some kind of reconciliation for bringing me into this thing with your sister. Because I don't want any gift like that."
  953.  
  954. "No," she said, shaking her head. "It is compensation for the jewel I took. Not equivalent, but it is what I have."
  955.  
  956. "Okay. Set it all down in that compartment there between the seats and I'll take it to an appraiser. I've already got one in mind." He paused. "We can go there right now, actually, if you don't mind."
  957.  
  958. "I do not."
  959.  
  960. Try as he might, Allen couldn't keep from grinning. He hated boasting about such a prize, especially in front of the person who gave it to him, but this was a big deal! There could be fifty-thousand dollars worth in that! Maybe more!
  961.  
  962. "Then here we go!"
  963.  
  964. Allen jammed the car into gear and took off with a lurch. It did little to sooth Val's anxiety over cars, but Allen was riding high.
  965.  
  966. On the way to the appraisers, once getting over the realization of how much Val had given him, he started to think about the jewelry's personal significance. Val hadn't shown any real attachment to it, but that didn't mean she wouldn't miss it when it was all gone. Licking his lips, Allen glanced over to Val. She didn't look heartbroken. If anything, she was spirited. Maybe the act of taking the Stone of Binding weighed heavier on her than Allen had first thought and this gesture of compensation helped take some of that weight away.
  967.  
  968. Or maybe she was thinking about how she may be stone for the rest of eternity once she got Lust back in her prison.
  969.  
  970. The appraiser's place wasn't too far, a small, hard-to-notice shop stuffed between a dozen others like it. Diamond Eye, it was called. The owner said it was a clever pun, but Allen had never gotten it.
  971.  
  972. The two had actually come to know each other as familiar acquaintances. Over a year ago, when Allen was knee-deep in the search for the jewel, he'd decided to finally go out and figure what his haul would be if he ever actually found the thing. Books had only offered wild speculation about its worth or avoided the subject altogether. Allen wanted a concrete number, something to set his hopes on. A part of him also wanted to make sure the whole search was worth it in the first place.
  973.  
  974. After he'd gotten his appraisal, though, the appraiser shared a little information. Advice on going after old relics. He'd seen people try before, and none had even shown up in his shop with anything. He was a down-to-earth fellow, realistic, where Allen himself couldn't get the dollar signs out of his eyes. The two's personalities may have grated a bit, but Allen knew the importance of someone with realistic expectations, someone to even him out. So he would come by every now and then with new information in the guise of getting a new estimate. In truth, he wanted to share with someone else his enthusiasm about the hunt for the jewel, and the appraiser was the only guy he knew.
  975.  
  976. When the bell at the front door jingled to announce Allen's presence, the greeting he received was not unexpected.
  977.  
  978. "Allen! Come here to give me good news?"
  979.  
  980. Allen raised his hands in a shrug. "Good news and bad news, Taz."
  981.  
  982. Taz was a short man, though he often presented himself as even shorter than his true height, being hunched over most of the time. He wore the complex-looking magnifying glasses one would use to inspect any piece of jewelry closely. They fit his figure well. Sweat dripped from his brow, but Taz quickly grabbed a kerchief from his pocket to wipe it away. He had on a light Hawaiian shirt with several of the buttons undone. While inspecting jewelry may not have been the most physically demanding profession, it still had moments of intensity and concentration. Sometimes he'd be the bearer of good news, sometimes bad news. The latter more often than the former.
  983.  
  984. "I'd rather hear the bad first."
  985.  
  986. Allen walked up to the counter, Val not far behind him. "Well, I found the place I was looking for, but not the object. It's probably lost forever."
  987.  
  988. "Ooohh, that's a real bummer." His eyes flickered over to Val more than once, Allen noticed. Yeah, I know what you're thinkin', dude, and I agree completely. She's something else.
  989.  
  990. "But you said there was good news. How could there be good news?" he continued.
  991.  
  992. "Here." Allen laid out all the jewelry Val had given him on the counter. "I found this instead."
  993.  
  994. "O-oh, g-goodness," he stammered, looking between Allen, Val and the jewelry. "This is... o-oh this is wonderful! M-may I?"
  995.  
  996. "Sure. That's why I brought it here."
  997.  
  998. Taz was upon the jewelry like a mouse on cheese. He flipped down a magnifying glass and took a good, long look at the first piece, a bracelet. "So, i-if I may be so bold, who is your companion?"
  999.  
  1000. Oh, yea. The six-foot-five goddess of a woman. I should probably introduce her. Val's light slap on his side concurred.
  1001.  
  1002. "Sorry, I should've said something. Taz, this is Nel-Valley—"
  1003.  
  1004. "Nel-Vallae," she corrected.
  1005.  
  1006. "Yeah, yeah. Nel-Valley, but she goes by Val. Val, this is Taz, a buddy of mine who's been helping me here and there find the jewel. Er, look for it, at least."
  1007.  
  1008. "Pleasure," she said, extending one of her powerful, slender arms. Taz almost looked intimidated by it.
  1009.  
  1010. "S-sure." He quickly wiped the sweat from his hand on the kerchief and took Val's hand in greeting. By the shake, Allen could tell Val had the more confident grip. "Nice to meet you."
  1011.  
  1012. "Val helped me out with some other parts of finding the location and the excavation itself. All and all, I could've found it by myself, but I liked having someone do the grunt work."
  1013.  
  1014. An invisible pinch on his rear made Allen jump in surprise. He shot a glare at the grinning Val, then turned back to Taz.
  1015.  
  1016. "So, what can you tell me?"
  1017.  
  1018. "I, uh, wow. This is certainly an aged piece. There's more gold in it than modern pieces, so I would have expected flaking or melting, but this is extremely well-persevered. The gems are cut using some very old techniques as well. And the inscriptions... this is really something you have here, Allen. To tell the truth, I don't know enough about the inscriptions to give you a solid number range. I would have to do some research to know for sure, but if these are as old and as well-kept as I think, you could get maybe twenty to forty for the larger pieces, and ten to twenty for the smaller ones."
  1019.  
  1020. Allen took a moment to pick his jaw up off the floor. There were at least ten pieces in that pile. "T-twenty? As in, twenty thou? Each?"
  1021.  
  1022. "At the very least. I haven't included historical significance because I simply don't know that, but they could go for more. As a collection... well, it would be harder to sell all as one, but if you did, and had luck on your side, I dare say you could approach a million."
  1023.  
  1024. Allen had to lean on the counter to keep from falling over. He felt Val's hand on his shoulder as well. A... a million? A million dollars? He'd never so much as seen ten thousand in one place. A million was beyond comprehension. What he could do with that much money...
  1025.  
  1026. "You look like you may collapse, Allen. Are you alright?" asked Val.
  1027.  
  1028. "Y-yeah. Better than alright. Much better." The first thing he'd do with that money is quit his stupid fucking job. After that, who knows? A nicer place? A nicer car? Invest? Couldn't quite match the plans he had for a hundred mil of the Binding Stone, but damn. A million was a pretty fucking great start.
  1029.  
  1030. "This may be a bit much to ask, but could I maybe hold onto one of these while I research the value? It would make it much easier and I could get back to you with a number quicker."
  1031.  
  1032. "Oh, sure." Allen trusted Taz more than the average guy, and he wanted that money ASAP. Still didn't keep him from wincing when Taz pocketed the bracelet, however.
  1033.  
  1034. Before leaving, Allen made Taz vow to get that estimate as soon as possible and let nothing happen to the bracelet he was borrowing, lest Allen strangle him with his shoestrings. He let out a light-hearted chuckle with the statement, allowing Taz to chuckle along as well, but his eyes made sure to convey he wasn't without a certain element of severity. Taz nodded ferociously, saying all would happen as fast as he could make it.
  1035.  
  1036. Val smacked Allen right after they left in reprimand for the not-so-serious-but-serious threat. It was worth it, though.
  1037.  
  1038. With that taken care of, it was time for the ride home. Things were going as-expected, Val as tense as always in the car. She often shuddered and once let out a meep when they hit a turn a little faster than usual. The sound she made was so cute and out-of-character for the impressive figure that Val was, Allen had to give her trouble for it.
  1039.  
  1040. "I don't think I've ever seen a grown woman so frightened of riding in a car."
  1041.  
  1042. "As I said, I don't like the lack of control. These speeds are new to me." She tried keeping her voice even and matter-of-fact, but Allen caught it trembling.
  1043.  
  1044. "C'mon, I've only been doing the speed limit and I've been avoiding the freeways." Allen grinned. "How about we try that out?"
  1045.  
  1046. Glancing over, Allen saw her grip tighten on the middle armrest and the door. "I don't like the sound of that."
  1047.  
  1048. "It'll be faster, plus I'm sure you'll have loads of fun. The on-ramp's right here!"
  1049.  
  1050. "No!"
  1051.  
  1052. It was too late for Val. They were already fast-approaching sixty-five miles per hour. Allen heard thuds from her invisible hands bracing against whatever they could get a hold of. Val started breathing loud enough for him to hear, mumbling something incoherent to herself.
  1053.  
  1054. Now on the freeway, Allen fought to throw his head back in laughter. Each time he looked over, he saw Val pressed into her seat like she'd been hit with several g-forces. Her hands wandered around to different spots, nervously gripping anything and everything.
  1055.  
  1056. "This is uncomfortable."
  1057.  
  1058. Allen leaned over, sputtering into the wheel at Val's statement. Now, when she was absolutely terrified, her voice sounded like a squeaky toy, a complete contrast to her word choice. He expected 'terrified' or 'scared to death', but the plain statement of 'uncomfortable' was a hoot.
  1059.  
  1060. "Is there some way to get you to slow down?"
  1061.  
  1062. "Sure. Stop acting so silly. Or make another good argument. I'm all ears."
  1063.  
  1064. The freeway was slow at this time of day, and Allen had been on it a thousand times before. Whatever risk he ran was minimal, certainly worth it to see Val as she was: the tall, confident and sometimes domineering woman reduced to a ball of panic in the face of a little speed. Besides, she'd have to get used to it sooner or later.
  1065.  
  1066. Allen swerved when one of Val's reaching hands landed on his crotch. He shook it off. "Hey! Watch the equipment. Trying to drive here."
  1067.  
  1068. Val's arms froze. She raised her head, looking between Allen and his crotch. He could see those gears turning in her eyes.
  1069.  
  1070. "I don't think I like what you're thinking."
  1071.  
  1072. The sides of her mouth slowly curled upward into a devious smile. As she rubbed her two visible hands together, Allen felt three hands at his crotch, fumbling to get his pants down.
  1073.  
  1074. "H-hey! This is serious! I have to pay attention to the road!" He looked quickly back and forth from the freeway to Val, pleading with his eyes.
  1075.  
  1076. Her smile only grew.
  1077.  
  1078. Allen took a hand off the wheel and began tugging at the invisible hands now yanking at his pants. His swatting whiffed or only grazed her hands, as it was difficult to aim at something he couldn't see while making sure not to accidentally nut-check himself. Eventually, he got a grip on one of her wrists and started pulling it away, but Val's strength dwarfed his own and she continued unhindered. Allen frantically checked the rear view, hoping a cop hadn't seen his swerving. He didn't have the money for a ticket! Well, okay, he might have the money soon, but not n—
  1079.  
  1080. "Guuhh!"
  1081.  
  1082. He gasped when Val's hands finally undid his button and zipper, exposing his cock to the open air with a swift downward pull. Looking over to Val, he pleaded again, but she only crossed her visible arms under her breasts, propping them up, teasing him as her other hands began to stroke.
  1083.  
  1084. Again, he tried pulling her away, but this time Val decided to end his resistance. She seized his wrists, anchoring them to his sides. With the wheel unattended, he took a breath to shout at Val, but it died in his throat as he saw the wheel correct itself. She must've been holding it with her invisible hands. Allen hoped she had at least two on there.
  1085.  
  1086. "A-Are you sure you can drive like this? I thought this frightened you."
  1087.  
  1088. "Oh? Now you're worried about what frightens me?" she teased, leaning in to whisper in his ear. "The car is fine. All you have to worry about is getting hard."
  1089.  
  1090. Her hands, still unseen by Allen, continued to play with and stroke his cock, but he was still far from full attention. Usually, the mere sight of Val could get him going, but his desire to make it home safe overwhelmed his desire to enjoy some road head.
  1091.  
  1092. At least, until Val had something to say.
  1093.  
  1094. "Eyes over here, Allen."
  1095.  
  1096. His jaw dropped. Val's clothes had completely vanished, giving Allen a wonderful view of her assets. Those large, perky breasts he loved so much sat staring at him, bouncing up and down lightly with the motion of the car and Val's crossed arms underneath them. Her perfect, olive skin shone in the afternoon light, unblemished by a single strand of hair, hints of muscle on her stomach and arms. Allen's eyes drifted down to her hips, the impossibly wide and curvaceous things they were. In the midst lied her pussy, out in the open as if it begged for Allen to stare. It was wet.
  1097.  
  1098. "I love it when you look over my body like that."
  1099.  
  1100. His attention darted back up to her face, her wanton grin dimpling those round cheeks of hers, accentuating her smooth jawline. Staring back at him were two azure eyes, powerful as the woman herself.
  1101.  
  1102. "There we go," said Val.
  1103.  
  1104. Allen's cock was now fully cooperating with Val's groping, stiff and sensitive as last night in the bathtub. Images of that night flashed in Allen's head, eliciting a small grunt.
  1105.  
  1106. "Don't get ahead of yourself, hun. I want to enjoy this."
  1107.  
  1108. Allen hoped her 'enjoyment' didn't end up with them in a crash. The wheel seemed steady enough, even with Val not watching the road, but that didn't help his anxiety at all.
  1109.  
  1110. Val leaned over, her head now hovering right over Allen's crotch. Her invisible hands moved away and the two he could see went to work. One held him up straight while the other encircled his shaft in a firm grip, lovingly pumping up and down, sending shivers up Allen's spine. Spit dropped from her mouth, slicking his member for her hand. He attempted to move his hands to the back of her head on instinct, but Val would have none of it. In fact, a hand grasped his jaw and forced him to look up and ahead to where he could no longer see Val.
  1111.  
  1112. "One of us is going to need to watch the road. Won't want anyone getting suspicious," she teased.
  1113.  
  1114. More spit dribbled down, her hand now hitting a wonderful rhythm. Each stroke went from tip to base, a smooth motion that massaged his most sensitive nerves.
  1115.  
  1116. "Now don't forget, you need to control the petals. I only have the wheel."
  1117.  
  1118. "Remember for wha—"
  1119.  
  1120. Allen's question was answered when she swallowed his cock whole, her lips sealing at his base while her tongue began pleasuring him. Long, sloppy licks went up the sides of his shaft, followed by a flicking and teasing of his frenulum. Her tongue wrapped around his head, pulsing and caressing until Allen moaned in rapture. The worries of the road faded away, stolen by Val's skill and vigor. His foot began falling off the gas, and only when the car hit twenty and he heard a honk did Allen slam his foot back down. Val was too busy to comment.
  1121.  
  1122. Slowly, she raised her head, letting her tongue massage his tip while her lips caressed his shaft on the way up. Her hand took over where her mouth was not, that familiar, paralyzing grip encircling his cock. Mouth and hand both settled into a viciously-smooth rhythm, bobbing up and down, filling Allen's vision with stars. His foot laid on the gas a little too heavy, and Val had to steer them away from an accident. Somehow, she could sense the road without even missing a beat. The phantom grip on Allen's chin and wrists began to tighten and Val's speed began to pick up. Allen gritted his teeth, trying to hold out, but Val was far too skilled. Lips, mouth, tongue and hand all worked in symphony to deliver a perfect melody of pleasure. Allen's hips began jerking up on their own, allowing him to fuck that beautiful mouth.
  1123.  
  1124. With a sharp gasp and clenched teeth, Allen drove his cock as far deep as he could, rapture exploding up his shaft. Val accepted it without trouble, the first ejaculation going straight into her throat. She continued to bob up and down, sucking and swallowing as Allen came hard into her mouth. Again, she'd managed to coax an incredibly long orgasm out of him, but no matter how many spurts he gave, Val was able to swallow.
  1125.  
  1126. His cock limp and finally empty, Allen relaxed back into the seat, sighing and smiling. Val detached from his member with a pop, giving it one last good lick to clean it off before turning to Allen, grinning.
  1127.  
  1128. "It's all yours."
  1129.  
  1130. It took a second for him to realize she was talking about the steering wheel. With a shocked cry, Allen leap up and grabbed the wheel, jerking them back into lane. Only after triple-checking his mirrors to make sure they hadn't caused an accident, he turned back to Val, face animated with anger.
  1131.  
  1132. "What the hell, lady! We could've crashed!"
  1133.  
  1134. "I had confidence in you," she said, that stupid smile of hers growing.
  1135.  
  1136. "Well, I can't work miracles. Goddamn. Maybe you're not worried about a wreck, but what about me, huh? I don't have a special body like yours!"
  1137.  
  1138. "Calm down. I'm capable in special healing methods. I would also know how to protect you in such an event. Do not underestimate me."
  1139.  
  1140. Allen shook his head, looking back to the road. "I can't tell whether you're sex-crazy or just plain crazy sometimes. And what about not being in control? You're not holding the wheel any more but you seem awfully fine in the car now."
  1141.  
  1142. "That's simple. I know all I have to do to get control is grab this right here."
  1143.  
  1144. She reached over, laying her hand on Allen's dick and giving it a squeeze just hard enough to send shivers down his spine. Allen was annoyed enough to swat her hand away, though his cock still twitched in response to the touch. He worried being around Val was somehow making his cock insatiable, because there was no way he should've been ready to go again already.
  1145.  
  1146. Whatever. It wasn't entirely a bad thing. There were more pressing things to consider. Like who was going to give him a million dollars for all of that jewelry.
  1147.  
  1148. Or where Lust was.
  1149.  
  1150. ~~
  1151.  
  1152. The door to Diamond Eye creaked open, the bell at the front ringing as the newcomer stepped inside.
  1153.  
  1154. "Welcome, welcome!" said Taz, walking up to the counter. "I'm closing up in about five, but if you need something let me know."
  1155.  
  1156. "I shall."
  1157.  
  1158. The reply came back on a sweet, haunting voice, one that grabbed Taz's attention right away. He looked at his new customer, curious. Her appearance matched her voice perfectly—mysterious and imposing, but not frightening. She must've been over six feet tall from Taz's estimation, her stature casual but confident. Her skin was light, but not pale and attached to her head was a wealth of dirty-blond hair reaching down to her shoulders. Holding her up were two immaculate, slender legs, little covered by her short skirt. Her hips were hardly reserved, but her frame was rather skinny, her curves present but not exaggerated. Taz swallowed and quickly looked away, trying to keep himself from gaping, but her presence dominated the room. He couldn't help himself. The shirt she wore was far too tight for her, revealing midriff and exposing a generous amount of cleavage. As her arms and hips swung on her stroll around the room, Taz watched her shirt, wondering if it would tear or slip.
  1159.  
  1160. How often is it I get women like this in here? he thought.
  1161.  
  1162. Wait...
  1163.  
  1164. "You know, there is something I need."
  1165.  
  1166. Taz ripped his eyes off her form, pretending as if he'd been busy with something as the woman strutted up to the counter, leaning on it with her elbows and bringing her face and cleavage dangerously close. Sweating, Taz tried as hard as he could to keep looking at the random object he'd grabbed to pretend to work on.
  1167.  
  1168. "W-what was it you needed?"
  1169.  
  1170. "Well, you see, I've been looking all over town for something. A certain jewel. Very large, very valuable. I was hoping you might have seen it, as you run a respectable business here." She reached around behind her, grabbing a small photo that had been pinned to her waist by her skirt. In retrieving the photo, she let her skirt slip down just low enough for Taz to notice she had no underwear on. She laid the photo on the counter, turned it over to face Taz and slid it toward him.
  1171.  
  1172. Hands shaking, Taz put away the object in his grip and grabbed the photo to steady it. The woman slipped her fingers atop his hand, lightly circling her thumb over the joints on Taz's hand. He felt himself go dizzy at the touch, sweat dripping into his eyes. The photo, though gripped his attention. It was exactly like the jewel Allen had been after.
  1173.  
  1174. It was at that moment he began to feel something was very wrong with this whole thing. That amazon of a woman who just happen to appear and help out Allen with the haul? Now this woman, similar in many aspects, not just the height, coming in and looking for the same jewel? Saying nothing would be his best bet here, at least until he learned more.
  1175.  
  1176. "Uh, this, uh, is a very impressive jewel. I'm afraid I haven't seen it before, though."
  1177.  
  1178. From the way the woman's hand moved up to his wrist, grazing across his skin like a breeze, he could tell she didn't entirely believe him.
  1179.  
  1180. "Are you sure? Because this really seems like the kind of thing your establishment would handle. It's the closest one for quite a ways."
  1181.  
  1182. "Y-yeah. Sure. Believe me, I would remember something like that."
  1183.  
  1184. The woman smiled, then slowly shifted her rear to rest it atop the counter. She took a posture to show off exactly how short her skirt was, and how impressive her legs and thighs were. The strong scent of perfume hit Taz with such force he almost fell over. He could no longer hide his staring, eyes locked on the assets the woman was so eagerly displaying. "You know, it's not easy for such a lonely woman to find a lonely jewel that's been lost for so long. I've tried so many things in my search and if you haven't seen the jewel, then it's all been fruitless." While her one hand continued to play with Taz's wrist, the other found her leg and caressed it—a slow, liquid movement that made Taz's eyes widen so far his eyebrows about blended into his hair. "Would you consider helping? I would be so... very... grateful." Her hand ventured up Taz's arm, massaging it lightly as it moved.
  1185.  
  1186. "G-g-g-g-grateful?" Taz could hardly manage the word.
  1187.  
  1188. Her smile widened and she lowered her face next to his. "Like you wouldn't believe."
  1189.  
  1190. It turned out, he didn't.
  1191.  
  1192.  
  1193.  
  1194.  
  1195. CHAPTER 4
  1196.  
  1197. "I may have found something," said Val.
  1198.  
  1199. "Mmm?" Allen mumbled, his mouth full of lunch.
  1200.  
  1201. "One of the books you brought from the library. I've been reading it and I believe I've found where they placed my sister's 'statue' after the imprisonment."
  1202.  
  1203. Allen swallowed, standing up and walking over to Val where she sat on the bed. "Yeah? Sounds like good news. Where is it?"
  1204.  
  1205. "Do you have a map? One that shows where you found me?"
  1206.  
  1207. "Sorta. I looked it all up online. I can show you that map."
  1208.  
  1209. Allen quickly brought up the map he'd used to find Val on his computer, pointing out the exact building he'd been digging under. Val stood behind him, leaning in toward the screen.
  1210.  
  1211. "There."
  1212.  
  1213. She looked back to her book, re-reading a few phrases before placing her finger on the map. She moved it up and over a bit, then paused.
  1214.  
  1215. "What is the scale on this map?"
  1216.  
  1217. "Oh, over there. Bottom left. I'm assuming you figured out what miles were from my head."
  1218.  
  1219. "That... is correct," said Val, fidgeting. It looked like she wasn't any more comfortable than Allen bringing the mind-fuck up.
  1220.  
  1221. Taking a look at the scale, she zoomed in once, then repeated her earlier motions. After a few glances back between the book and the map, she nodded. "That is where she should be."
  1222.  
  1223. "Huh," said Allen, squinting at the map. "That's not far at all from where you were. Half-mile, maybe."
  1224.  
  1225. "Yes. The book states she was placed in the same structure as I, in a room symmetrical to my own."
  1226.  
  1227. "Same structure?" Allen whistled. Or at least tried to. He still wasn't very good at it. "I take back what I said about a half-mile not being far. That massive for any one building."
  1228.  
  1229. "I know. Even as statues, people had great respect for my sister and I. We were placed in a rather extravagant structure."
  1230.  
  1231. Allen rubbed his chin. "You want to go look for her, I guess?"
  1232.  
  1233. Val was already pleading with her eyes. "I do. Can you take me back there?"
  1234.  
  1235. "Yeah, I can do that. But do you have a plan? Seems like just going there and digging down to where she is would be a great way to release her on the rest of the world—assuming she hasn't gotten out already."
  1236.  
  1237. "I do. Have a plan, that is." Slapping the book shut, she turned and laid it on a pile with the others. She stood staring at the pile for a moment, a hand resting on the top. Allen crossed his arms behind her, waiting for her to say something more. This wasn't something he felt he should be pushing her on, but at the same time, there was no way in hell he'd be going out there without a plan.
  1238.  
  1239. "Yes. Yes, there is a path for me to take should things not be so simple when we arrive. It would give me the opportunity to imprison my sister again. I do not want to speak of it, however. It gives me little pride." Clothes shimmered and solidified on Val, a conservative outfit of jeans and a long shirt. "We should leave as soon as possible."
  1240.  
  1241. "I'll get my keys." Allen took one last bite of his lunch and dumped the rest, then grabbed everything he needed. He didn't want to admit it, but he was getting nervous seeing Val in her state. Playful, catty Val was fine, awesome sometimes. Business, formal Val was great, too. But a worried, hesitant Val? Allen started to truly feel he may have bitten off a little more than he could chew.
  1242.  
  1243. The drive out to the site was swift and mostly silent. Allen probed Val every now and then, trying to get her to relax or maybe open up a bit about the whole situation with her sister. While she replied to everything, her answers were short and humorless. The only emotion Allen saw on the ride there was an occasional hand darting out to grab the door handle accompanied by a shallow breath. Even after yesterday she wasn't entirely comfortable in the car.
  1244.  
  1245. Allen tried to comprehend Val's position. He bet she was hoping her sister would see reason this time, but both of them knew many years of imprisonment probably wouldn't do much to help Lust's disposition. It was a very optimistic point of view to think anything good might come out of the encounter. More likely, he suspected, Val would be forced to use whatever plan she had cooked up to weaken Lust, make her vulnerable for the same imprisonment she'd been subjected to. The same Val had been stuck in with her. Seeing the razor determination in Val's eyes, Allen witnessed a different side of the woman—no, the spirit that was Val. Placing the Stone of Binding on her forehead the first time must have been frightening enough, but now that she knew what that limbo was like? And she knew how long she'd probably be stuck there?
  1246.  
  1247. Gripping the wheel harder, Allen tried to focus on the road. He couldn't begin to imagine what Val was thinking. Best leave her to her thoughts.
  1248.  
  1249. Allen parked in an empty lot not far from the building entrance. The place was crawling with weeds and pebbles strewn out across the lot. He hopped out of the car, making sure not to twist his ankle on any of the larger rocks. Val was already walking toward the site where they'd have to start digging. Slamming the car door shut, Allen jogged to catch up with her.
  1250.  
  1251. "Hey!" he said, putting a hand on her shoulder.
  1252.  
  1253. She stopped and turned to him.
  1254.  
  1255. "Look, I'm not real good with talking people up, but I figure since this might be my last chance to say it, I should. I... enjoyed having you around. I realize this may not go so well for either you or your sister, and we might not be seeing each other around. But I had a good time. Every minute. Really."
  1256.  
  1257. He offered what kind of a smile he could, given the circumstances, and put his hand against Val's. Her stone face finally softened, a warm smile of her own growing across it. She gripped his hand firmly and Allen felt three other invisible hands touch him. One on the wrist, another on the back, and one on the shoulder. They walked together, like that, to the old building, ready to face whatever Lust had in store.
  1258.  
  1259. What they found happened to be a massive, rough hole in the ground. It was maybe ten feet wide, the edges jagged like someone had wrenched the concrete floor up in a mighty pull. Rock, dirt and even some rebar lay in the radius of destruction. A fine dust had long-since fallen over everything and collected in nooks and crannies.
  1260.  
  1261. "Holy shit," said Allen.
  1262.  
  1263. "This is not a good sign," said Val.
  1264.  
  1265. "You're not kidding." He walked to the edge of the hole, peering into its depths. The room below looked familiar. "Do you think we should go down there? Maybe we're lucky and she's stuck around."
  1266.  
  1267. "I am not counting on it, but yes, it would be prudent to investigate."
  1268.  
  1269. Val's speech reminded him of when they first met: formal, a little uptight, and maybe even awkward. Whatever warmth she was showing before had diffused into the afternoon air.
  1270.  
  1271. "How do you think we should get down there?" Allen asked
  1272.  
  1273. Walking over to the edge of the hole, she gauged the distance down. After humming to herself, she walked up to Allen, wrapped him up in six of her arms and leapt. He hardly had time to bark out a protest before they hit the bottom. Val's legs took the shock without trouble and she released Allen, allowing her extra arms to become visible again. She patted Allen down to make sure he hadn't broken anything, then walked off in the direction of the dais where Lust should have been. Allen opened his mouth to give her trouble for the sudden leap, but stopped when his eyes landed on the same thing Val was looking at.
  1274.  
  1275. The dais was empty.
  1276.  
  1277. A long sigh, closer to a snort, came out of Val. Allen saw several of her hands curling into fists. A wicked aura, both of desperation and fear, bled from her stance. In that moment, for the first time since encountering the stone statue of Val, he was scared of her. His stance stiffened, watching, waiting for Val to do something. The image of Val twirling around, striking everything within reach, stomping on the floor and destroying the ceiling—it was terrifying. He hoped whatever she did didn't bring the whole place down around them.
  1278.  
  1279. As nonchalantly as he could, Allen walked over to where he could get a view of her face. Her eyes were cast onto the floor, mouth even and stone cold. She needed cheering up. No good ideas came off the top of Allen's head, except for maybe sex. But that seemed so simple, and Allen felt she needed something more. He started to pace, his footsteps echoing through the old ruins. Sports were an option. She'd shown some interest in football earlier. Allen cocked his head. Eh, watching football could be stressful, too, if your team was losing, and Allen had shit luck in rooting for the right team. He considered another walk as well. It might help her blow off some steam, but at the same time, they'd just done that yesterday. Surely there was more for him to show her in the short time she had here?
  1280.  
  1281. His pacing came to a halt, fist striking his palm. Dinner at a nice restaurant. He'd been too broke to go earlier, plus he rarely had someone to take. This was the perfect opportunity.
  1282.  
  1283. "Hey, Val."
  1284.  
  1285. Her drooping head rose and turned to him. "Yes?"
  1286.  
  1287. "I'm taking you out to a nice dinner tonight."
  1288.  
  1289. Her eyes regarded him with curiosity. "A nice dinner? What do you mean?"
  1290.  
  1291. "A restaurant. You know what those are?"
  1292.  
  1293. "Yes. You want to go to a restaurant, then? That sounds agreeable." She turned back to the spot she'd been staring at, where Lust's statue should've been.
  1294.  
  1295. Not exactly the reaction Allen had been hoping for, but at least she didn't throw it back in his face. He scratched the underside of his chin, his stubble scratching his fingers back. She probably didn't realize what the significance of a dinner out was. It could also be that food didn't interest her all that much, seeing as she didn't need to eat. Scrunching up his mouth, Allen shook his head. Maybe dinner was a crap idea after all. Oh well. He'd already offered and she'd accepted. Besides, her mood might be dampening her actual feelings about it.
  1296.  
  1297. He gave Val a bit longer to brood and stare at the spot where her sister once stood. After what felt like quite a while, however, he decided any more wouldn't be healthy. It hurt to admit, but seeing Val so downtrodden didn't help his feelings about the situation at all, either. She was supposed to be the one who knew what was going on, who understood her sister and how to stop her. Yet, here she was, staring at the floor like it would solve all her problems for her. Allen tasted bile in his throat.
  1298.  
  1299. He walked over to where Val sat and laid a hand on her shoulder. "Hey."
  1300.  
  1301. She didn't bother to turn around this time. "Yes?"
  1302.  
  1303. "We should go. There's nothing for us to find here."
  1304.  
  1305. "I suppose we should." She didn't stand.
  1306.  
  1307. Allen waited a few seconds, then squeezed her shoulder. "C'mon."
  1308.  
  1309. "What do you suppose this means?" she asked, her voice wistful.
  1310.  
  1311. Allen winced. He was terrible at this stuff. Something had fish-hooked its way into Val's thoughts and it would not be easy to get it out of there. "I think it means your sister doesn't like being cooped up in a dusty old ruin. That's it."
  1312.  
  1313. "She didn't come looking for me."
  1314.  
  1315. "Oh, c'mon, how do you know that? You didn't know where she was, how would she know how to find you?"
  1316.  
  1317. "She could've found me. She could have waited here, too, knowing I would be looking for her."
  1318.  
  1319. "Yeah, I guess. I still don't see how this means anything special. The two of you left on not-so-great terms. Maybe she wanted some 'me-time'."
  1320.  
  1321. "I wonder if she still thinks of me as her sister." The words came out cold, cold enough to make Allen shiver had he not already began to burn with frustration.
  1322.  
  1323. "Oh, what the hell? Is that really what you think?" Allen heard his voice rising. This always happened when things got serious and even though he knew it was happening, he could never stop himself. "You've got nothing to base that off of. This is your job, right? To keep things running? Keep people sexing and whatnot? Maybe your sister understands that. Maybe she feels the exact same way as you about this."
  1324.  
  1325. "That is an optimistic way of viewing it. You may be right. But I was the one who captured and imprisoned her. I was the one to end what we had."
  1326.  
  1327. "And what did you have? Whatever it was, it wasn't working. Stop moving the goalposts. You're judging yourself with unfair standards."
  1328.  
  1329. "But your logic is too cold. Emotion is too important to disregard in such an important decision. Maybe it's right I feel guilty."
  1330.  
  1331. Allen bit his lip to keep from escalating further. That's not what Val needed. And who was she to talk about being cold? He could feel the frost coming off her speech. Stepping in front of Val, he stood atop the spot she was staring, extending a hand downward. Val blinked, looking between the hand and Allen's face, her eyes glittering with that familiar beauty, though drenched in conflict.
  1332.  
  1333. "Then feel guilty. But stand up, too. Don't feel sorry for yourself without learning from it."
  1334.  
  1335. Be a better person than me.
  1336.  
  1337. Val sat in place, staring at the hand, debating with herself. Allen hoped he'd convinced her because not only had he run out of things to say, the next comment from her with that disgusting negative tone might well set him off. Eventually, she huffed, nodded, and accepted Allen's hand with three of her own. Getting her back on her feet was a touch awkward, given she was so much taller, but he managed.
  1338.  
  1339. "Now, how about that dinner?" A corner of his mouth managed a crooked smile.
  1340.  
  1341. She smiled back.
  1342.  
  1343. ~~~
  1344.  
  1345. They stopped by Allen's apartment before heading out. If they were going to a nice restaurant, Allen figured he'd do things right. He put on the one faded navy-blue blazer he had, a light blue button-up shirt, and navy slacks. While it wasn't the snazziest getup in the city, it was the nicest he could come up with. He spun to face Val, intending to show off his style, but he ended up in awe instead.
  1346.  
  1347. It was the red dress.
  1348.  
  1349. Again, he tried to whistle, but it came out flat. That familiar sparkle, the tightness against her body, the way her breasts almost spilled out of the top, and that teasing cut on the legs... all of it just as wonderful as he remembered. He walked up to Val, almost in a trance, laying his hands on her shoulders. He traced one of her flowing arms, adoring her smooth olive skin with his fingertips and groping her tight muscles as his hand glided over them. Cupping her elbow, his touch drifted over her arm to her hand, where their palms met and fingers intertwined. Standing so close to her, he had to strain his neck to look directly into her eyes. Neither one of them smiled, captivated by the other. Those piercing azure eyes melted Allen right there. Swallowing, he looked to his other hand, this time tracing her outer curves. His touch flowed over the group of joints where her arms met her body, then lower to her stomach and finally coming to rest on her hip.
  1350.  
  1351. "Goddamn," was all he could say.
  1352.  
  1353. "I told you I love it when you do that. Look over me."
  1354.  
  1355. "Like I could help myself."
  1356.  
  1357. Allen smirked, withdrawing his hand from her grasp. "I think we're ready to go."
  1358.  
  1359. "Dearie, I'm always ready to go," her lips shot at Allen before curling up in a dark smile, the kind that both teases and promises.
  1360.  
  1361. Yep, definitely gotta go. Else I'll be tearing these clothes off instead of staring at them. He grabbed her wrist and pulled her out the door.
  1362.  
  1363. As a result of never visiting any of the nice restaurants downtown, Allen sat in the unfortunate position of knowing exactly zero places to go. He spent far too long driving around, looking for a place without a ten-mile line extending out of it. The sun was touching the horizon by the time he spotted a place, and there was still a half-hour wait. Guess there's a reason why you're supposed to get reservations.
  1364.  
  1365. He jogged back to the car, letting Val know the situation. He found it hard to keep his speech steady every time he spotted her in that dress. For a woman that supposedly knew nothing about modern fashion, she sure as hell knew how to cook up something to drive him wild.
  1366.  
  1367. "C'mon, let's go wait near the door. I need to show you off in that dress of yours."
  1368.  
  1369. Her cheeks dimpled with her smile and she stepped out. Allen took her arm and guided her to the front door where they stood in the cooling late-afternoon air. He spotted a few spots inside where they could've sat, but anyone passing by wouldn't have had the chance of seeing Val... and the guy she was with. Each time someone walked by and shot Val a look, Allen swelled up with pride. Even more so when their eyes shifted to him. Maybe all the money from selling that jewel could buy a certain kind of respect and a pretty woman on his arm, but what he felt now? Nah, that was the kind of respect you couldn't buy, and the pride of standing next to a woman who was not only gorgeous, but intelligent and caring as well. Someone who felt as good standing next to him as he her.
  1370.  
  1371. "You're cute when you thrust out your chest like that," said Val.
  1372.  
  1373. "Yeah?" Wiping off his front, Allen settled back into a more relaxed pose. He hadn't even noticed he was doing it. "Well, maybe I've earned the right to do it a little bit."
  1374.  
  1375. "That was more than a little."
  1376.  
  1377. "Maybe I've earned the right to do it a lot." He stuck his chest back out again, this time excessively so. "I'd tell you to do it, too, but I think those tits of yours would burst right out of your dress."
  1378.  
  1379. Val giggled, setting a hand on the small of his back.
  1380.  
  1381. After a wait that felt like much less than thirty minutes, they were called in and shown a table. The place certainly fell into Allen's definition of 'nice'. The atmosphere was calm and soothing, a smooth jazz accompanying the dull chatter of conversation. Each table was covered in a red tablecloth, though the red on Val's dress was much more dazzling. The walls were adorned with fine patterns, with framed paintings filling up the empty spaces. A wafting scent of sweet perfume hung in the hair, as well as the occasional rush of spices and flavor so rich Allen could taste it through his nose. Val and him were shown to a spacious half-circle booth against a wall, the seating a plush red. As Allen slid into the booth, the long tablecloth tickled his legs. Val sat mostly opposite him, grinning both with a reckless sort of joy and that spark of risqué brazenness he'd come to recognize.
  1382.  
  1383. Once the menus were set in front of them, however, Allen forgot all about Val. He dismissed the waiter to get them both water and the second he was gone, he allowed himself a thorough gawking at the prices. He could live for days off the money they charged for a single meal! His gawking turned to coughing and he was about to deflect it into his sleeve when he realized he was wearing his nicest blazer. Instead, he grabbed his napkin and coughed into that. When the fit passed, he felt himself blushing at acting so normal in a prissy place like this. Ordinarily, he'd add a spit to the floor on top of the coughing, but he didn't want to embarrass Val. Plus, if he was going to be one of these well-off people in the near future, he might as well act more like one.
  1384.  
  1385. "Are you alright?"
  1386.  
  1387. "Yeah, yeah, fine. Cough all the time."
  1388.  
  1389. "I noticed. Do you think—?"
  1390.  
  1391. "C'mon, Val, this is supposed to be about celebrating! About you! Let's not talk about my stupid cough."
  1392.  
  1393. "If you wish."
  1394.  
  1395. The waiter returned with their water, asking if they'd ever been there before and gave some recommendations. Val listened intently while Allen looked over the menu. At this rate, he'd just end up with the cheapest thing they sold. He might've been coming into big money soon, but 'soon' wasn't 'now' and his 'now' wallet was a little lacking. The waiter left to give them time to think about their meals. Allen didn't notice he'd left until Val's finger hooked over the top of his menu and pulled it down.
  1396.  
  1397. "You've been feasting your eyes on that menu from the moment you got it. Does everything look so good?"
  1398.  
  1399. "Uh, yeah. Everything's looking really delicious."
  1400.  
  1401. "Well, I liked the sound of that grilled strip steak. How about you?"
  1402.  
  1403. A woman that loves steak? God almighty, does she have a single flaw?
  1404.  
  1405. "The, uh," he flipped through the menu quickly, landing on what seemed like the cheapest thing, "the Italian salad."
  1406.  
  1407. "Salad? That doesn't sound all that filling. Is it a large salad?"
  1408.  
  1409. "Looks pretty big to me. Besides, I don't have salad often. It's a good change of pace." He leaned back in his seat, trying to forget about the financial concerns of the evening. Everything would be taken care of soon enough.
  1410.  
  1411. "Do you know when the waiter will be back? I may not get hungry, but I can still enjoy food, and that smell is enticing." Her wet, red tongue snuck out to trace her lips before disappearing back into her mouth.
  1412.  
  1413. "I don't know, actually. Never been to a place as nice as this. Other places they have once waiter to a group of tables, so you have to wait a little bit if you want something."
  1414.  
  1415. "Mmm, what should we do while we wait?" Her eyebrows perked up and her face grew into a lazy, vulgar smile.
  1416.  
  1417. "Why don't you tell me about y—"
  1418.  
  1419. Allen's question was cut short when one of Val's hands slipped under his crotch and cupped his balls, greedily closing her fingers around them. His back stiffened on the spot.
  1420.  
  1421. "Tell you about what?" asked Val, her smile growing wider and darker. She locked eyes with Allen, her gaze slanted with an almost fearful hunger.
  1422.  
  1423. Swallowing, Allen tried to lean back into the booth and look more natural, but Val was enjoying the visible effect she had on him. The hand holding his precious manhood squeezed and pulled, forcing Allen to sit up and away from the booth's backing.
  1424.  
  1425. "W-well, I guess I didn't have you p-pegged as a meat-lover."
  1426.  
  1427. While his speech may have stuttered, his eyes narrowed, matching Val's own intense gaze. He started thinking about how great it would be to slam her against the wall, rip off that dress and wipe that confident smirk off her face. He wanted to dig his own hand into her precious place, control her body like she now controlled his.
  1428.  
  1429. "I can feel that wanton passion coming off of you, Allen," she whispered. "I could live off that alone. But if you're wanting to overcome me, that's only going to make me want to dominate you more."
  1430.  
  1431. Her hand shifted to the underside of his shaft, fingers circling around his now-rigid member in a gradual upward stroke. His cock begged for freedom, Allen's slacks and underwear confining it in a tiny prison. Val's soft palm and fingers felt wonderful even through the fabric, but he could imagine how they would feel outside of it. Each slow, methodical stroke from her wonderful hand got him harder and harder. At one point, he thought his member would rip through his clothes with how hard she had gotten it.
  1432.  
  1433. All the while, she smiled at him, resting her chin atop her visible hands, knowing Allen could do nothing.
  1434.  
  1435. "Have either of you decided what you would like?" asked the waiter.
  1436.  
  1437. Shit! He'd appeared out of thin air, giving Allen no time to compose himself. To make things worse, Val took the opportunity to add a second hand. Two now worked his cock through his slacks, one teasing his head while the other massaged his shaft and balls. He hid his face behind the menu, gritting his teeth in frustration.
  1438.  
  1439. "I'll have the grilled strip steak," said Val. "Well done."
  1440.  
  1441. She handed her menu over with a polite smile, acting as if nothing at all was happening. Easy for her; she didn't have two skilled hands on her privates.
  1442.  
  1443. "And you, sir?"
  1444.  
  1445. "The... the salad, please. Italian salad."
  1446.  
  1447. Val, as if disappointed Allen hadn't slipped up, quickened her motions. A groan rose from Allen's throat, but he disguised it behind a cough. He shot her a scowl which she met with a grin.
  1448.  
  1449. Handing over the menu, Allen kept his face down, knowing he wouldn't be able to hide an expression of pleasure if Val stroked him with any more intensity.
  1450.  
  1451. "And dressing?"
  1452.  
  1453. Fucking dressing? He wanted to yell "Whatever!" but didn't want to give Val the satisfaction.
  1454.  
  1455. "Italian?"
  1456.  
  1457. "Excellent, sir." The waiter gave a short bow to both Allen and Val. "I'll have you meals out as soon as they're ready. Let me know if you need anything else."
  1458.  
  1459. Allen took in a breath to sigh in relief, but Val wasn't done yet.
  1460.  
  1461. "Actually, waiter, could you bring me a drink?"
  1462.  
  1463. "Certainly. What would you like?"
  1464.  
  1465. Her hands dug deeper to the point Allen almost couldn't feel the fabric between her skilled digits and his manhood. Her palm cupped and gripped his head then began pulsing as if sucking. Her other hand seized his shaft as far around as it could and began a delicate pumping motion, making Allen expel his breath in a huff instead of a sigh.
  1466.  
  1467. "Red wine would be wonderful. Do you have that?"
  1468.  
  1469. "Of course. There's a wine list here you can look at."
  1470.  
  1471. Val took her sweet time going through the list, playing as if she couldn't make up her mind for the life of her. Every now and then she would glance up at Allen with those wicked eyes of hers, giving a teasing squeeze to make sure he didn't forget the situation he was in. Of course, there was no way Allen would ever be able to think about anything except those two dexterous hands groping him. Any sort of show Val put on above the table was simply for effect.
  1472.  
  1473. After what felt like and eternity, Val made her decision.
  1474.  
  1475. "I'll be right back with it," said the waiter.
  1476.  
  1477. Only when Allen was absolutely sure the waiter was gone, did he let out a long sigh, closing his eyes and concentrating on resisting Val. He looked up at her, nostrils flaring, and moved his hands to pull hers away. As much as he loved her attention, he wasn't going to lose this little game to her.
  1478.  
  1479. Val was too quick, though. Two more invisible hands darted out, seizing Allen's wrists and pinning them to the table.
  1480.  
  1481. "Let's keep those where we can see them. Who knows what you might do with them otherwise?" said Val, winking and giving his member a swift jerk. "But you had a question, didn't you? And I haven't answered it."
  1482.  
  1483. "Yeah. About—" He cut himself off, squinting as a wave of pleasure drowned out his senses. "About steak."
  1484.  
  1485. "My sister and I actually ate quite a bit of meat back in our day. It was common practice for other spirits to demand sacrifices like boar or deer or livestock. We were perfectly happy with the offering of their physical bodies for long, exhaustive bouts of lovemaking," she said, her grip tightening with deliberate strokes on the words she emphasized, "but we didn't turn away the sacrifices, either. Most people did it for their own peace of mind, anyways."
  1486.  
  1487. "So steak was your favorite?" Allen fought to keep his voice steady and posture even. He was going to beat Val at this if it killed him.
  1488.  
  1489. "Mmm, not necessarily my favorite. There were so many delicious dishes. But it's certainly one of my favorites."
  1490.  
  1491. "You said a lot of people visited you. Enough to 'satisfy' you, anyways. How many was 'enough'?"
  1492.  
  1493. Val's pace slowed for a second. "Are you sure you want to know that?"
  1494.  
  1495. "I wouldn't have asked if I wasn't."
  1496.  
  1497. "Very well, then." Her hands moved to his tip and she traced her fingertips all the way down his shaft, like she was scratching it, only without using her nails. "It was typical for three different people—men more often than women—to come to my sister and I seeking a sexual favor or release each day. There were many repeat visitors, as well."
  1498.  
  1499. "And—" He had to swallow as Val's fingers sent a tingling up his shaft and his spine. "—and for how long did you do this? Accept people like that?"
  1500.  
  1501. "Many years. At least a hundred. We stopped when I learned of my sister's other exploits." Her hands stopped, waiting for Allen's reaction.
  1502.  
  1503. Closing his lips, Allen nodded his head one way, then the other. Three people a day, minus the repeat visitors, then take away the people her sister took care of... either way, it was a monumental number. More than Allen could fathom sleeping with himself. Probably more than physically possible for any one person. To be honest, he didn't know how to react. The number and duration of these... exploits was so high they became meaningless to him. Like looking at an ocean and comparing it to a pond.
  1504.  
  1505. "Tell me how you feel about it now, Val. Would you do it again?"
  1506.  
  1507. "Certainly. It is my role, one which I take great pleasure in."
  1508.  
  1509. "Don't you feel like it cheapens the act, though?"
  1510.  
  1511. "The number or diversity of people I perform sex with has no effect on either my performance or the meaning of the act. I always put forth as much effort as I can, match each encounter to my mate's wants and needs."
  1512.  
  1513. "What if you want to do it with someone special?"
  1514.  
  1515. "I never considered having someone special. It would not work for someone in the position I occupy. I would outlive them, and a spirit and a human would not be able to understand each other well enough to make a connection worthy of being called love."
  1516.  
  1517. So there was a difference. A gap. One Val said was insurmountable. But did she believe that, or was she simply saying that for her own benefit? Did she not want to try?
  1518.  
  1519. Allen looked down at the table, then out across the restaurant. The place was filled with couples and groups, talking about whatever was going in their own lives, uncaring of what was taking place in Allen's own booth. They had their own lives, their own situations, their own stories. They'd walk out of here none the wiser of Allen or Val. What did they matter to him?
  1520.  
  1521. "Alright," said Allen.
  1522.  
  1523. "'Alright'?"
  1524.  
  1525. "What, you want me to be upset or something? You did what you did 'cause it was your job and you enjoyed it. Would you get upset with me for the same? You're a grown woman, you can make decisions for yourself. What happened back then means shit to me right now." He leaned forward, narrowing his eyes. "What wouldhave pissed me off is if you'd said you'd take it all back. That you were ashamed. There's not enough time to be going around, doing stuff half-assed while looking over your shoulder. You live your life, and you mean it. Just like I said I was in it with this thing with you and your sister: that means 'till it's over, no ifs, ands or buts. I'd take conviction over reflection any day."
  1526.  
  1527. "I am... pleased you agree with me," she said, smiling. "I know it is not typical of current societal norms to have so many partners."
  1528.  
  1529. "'Current' societal norms? You mean back in your day people just had sex with whoever? All the time?"
  1530.  
  1531. She chuckled. "Not quite. But they wouldn't be so upset if I was caught in a place like this doing something like this."
  1532.  
  1533. Her hands resumed, quicker now, and were joined by two more. This time, Allen couldn't hold back his moan, though he kept it as quiet as he could. The waiter chose this spectacular time to return with Val's wine. She stared Allen in the eye the entire time, her hands exploring his crotch area with smooth, gentle touches. Only when she was asked a question did she acknowledge the waiter, but even then only to answer. Two hands rubbed up against the inside of Allen's thighs, slowly moving back and forth between his cock and his knees. The other two hands paid special attention to his shaft and frenulum, making his tip ache for the touch it felt earlier. Pre dribbled in his slacks, but Allen hardly cared. He wanted nothing more than for Val to free his painfully stiff member and remove that annoying barrier of fabric.
  1534.  
  1535. But she was in it for the long haul.
  1536.  
  1537. With nothing to do but wait for their food, Val kept her attention of keeping Allen on the edge. Her visible arms were crossed, laying on the table to support her, but all the invisible ones were busy. Two hands held his wrists in place on the table, preventing Allen from struggling away from Val's attentions. Not that he would, but he could tell she liked the control. Her remaining four hands kept Allen in heaven, massaging his thighs, fondling his balls and caressing his member in fluctuating patterns. The cloth of his pants and underwear were a maddening barrier, just enough to let Val play with him indefinitely without giving him orgasm, but not so much that any slight shift in pressure or angle went unappreciated. Whenever he felt glorious release approaching, Val would slow, spreading her hands out to rub his legs more and let his member throb in unrestrained arousal.
  1538.  
  1539. The twenty minutes he waited for their food felt like hours.
  1540.  
  1541. The sight of the waiter approaching put a smile on Allen's face, one other than the stupid blissful grin Val had nearly etched into him. He wasn't exactly sure how he'd eat with his hands pinned to the table as they were, though. Or if he'd even be able to muster the concentration to. Val answered that question by undoing his pants button, opening the zipper and releasing his member from its suffocating enclosure. The moment those four hands of hers touched bare skin down there, his composed smile devolved into a gape.
  1542.  
  1543. "For the madam, a grilled strip steak," said the waiter, placing the hot, steaming meal in front of Val. "And for the gentleman, our finest Italian salad." He slid an impressively-sized bowl in front of Allen with some sides on a smaller plate next to it, but Allen's eyes were fixed on Val's. The joy mixed with lust in her gentle gaze demanded his attention in a oddly peaceful way.
  1544.  
  1545. "Is there anything else you need?"
  1546.  
  1547. "I'll be fine." Val nodded to the waiter. "Allen?" She deliberately left a pause in her speech. "Is there anything you need?"
  1548.  
  1549. You know exactly what I need, you fiend.
  1550.  
  1551. "No" is what came out of his mouth, however, and the waiter left them be.
  1552.  
  1553. Ignoring her dinner completely, Val shifted the weight of her chin to one hand and idly tapped the tabletop with the other. "My, my. From the look on your face, I was sure you needed something." The grin across her face said more than words could.
  1554.  
  1555. One hand encircled his base with a thumb and pointer while the palm and other fingers cupped his balls. Her second and third hands pumped his shaft with three fingers, each hand rotating different directions, while the other fingers teased the underside of his cock with light touches. Her fourth hand cupped his tip in its palm, slowly lifting off the tip to allow the lengths of her fingers caress his engorged head until her fingertips came together over his opening, only to reverse the process with the same agonizingly-slow speed. Allen swallowed, trying to wipe the dripping sweat from his brow, forgetting Val still had his wrists pinned. The lack of freedom drove him even madder.
  1556.  
  1557. "Val, I'm going to c—"
  1558.  
  1559. "Allen, please. We're in public. Don't say such inappropriate things."
  1560.  
  1561. She clearly didn't care how close he was, as her hands sped up, making him lift his chin and gnash his teeth together to keep from moaning. His cock, nothing more than her plaything, helplessly suffered her attentions. Allen's hips began to move on their own, thrusting into the whirlwind of precise fingers as his sensitivity reached its peak. With a moan that sounded more like a whimper, he succumbed to her hands.
  1562.  
  1563. A lightning bolt of pleasure shot down his shaft, his seed spewing forth as his entire body tensed up. Val's hands welcomed the sign of submission, squeezing him from base to tip, encouraging as much as the could out of him. His hips rocked with each spurt. His breaths came out ragged. Finally, when he could give her no more, he went limp in his chair, Val's grip on him disappearing as if it'd never been there.
  1564.  
  1565. "This is quite delicious. Would you like a bite?" She cut of a small piece of her steak and held it out.
  1566.  
  1567. The damn woman had already started eating, acting as if she'd done nothing at all! Allen had to blink a few times to clear up his vision. Sitting up, he answered her question with a glare and poked at his own meal. Salad had never truly looked appetizing to him, but the way this place made it, it didn't seem so bad. His first bite gave him hope for the meal.
  1568.  
  1569. They ate without much conversation, Allen somewhat famished from Val's mind-blowing handjob and Val herself pleased with her steak. Every now and then they would communicate through a series of glances, Val's teasing and playful, Allen's stoic and smug.
  1570.  
  1571. Val finished her meal first. Once done, she scooted across the half-circle booth bench to the middle, facing away from the wall, then patted the empty bench next to her. "Scoot closer," she said.
  1572.  
  1573. "I'm still eating." She may have won the round, but that didn't mean Allen wouldn't stop resisting her in every way he could.
  1574.  
  1575. "Scoot. Closer." A hand wrapped around his still-exposed cock, squeezing and pulling him toward her, forcing him to move over. He grabbed his food during the move, his own way of saying he wouldn't pay attention, no matter what she did.
  1576.  
  1577. "Could it at least have waited until I finished chewing?" Rolling his eyes, he speared another forkful of salad, but Val wrapped an arm around his shoulders and pulled him in, her mouth right next to his ear.
  1578.  
  1579. "Do you remember that load I made you release?" she whispered.
  1580.  
  1581. Allen froze up, his heart rate shooting through the roof. He still tried to play it cool, but being pressed up against Val's voluptuous body and hearing that sensual tone in her voice broke through all his defenses. "Why would I remember it?"
  1582.  
  1583. "I bet you thought it dirtied up the underside of the table. That it fell on the floor."
  1584.  
  1585. Swallowing, he shifted, trying to get a little more comfortable in the pose Val held him. "Yeah."
  1586.  
  1587. "I wouldn't waste it like that. It's in my hand, right now, under the table. I haven't let it go."
  1588.  
  1589. Holy shit.
  1590.  
  1591. "Right now, I'm pushing aside my underwear. My pussy's soaking and exposed. If you were under the table right now, you could see it."
  1592.  
  1593. Allen started panting, unable to speak.
  1594.  
  1595. "I'm going to stuff my hand in there right n—nngh!" Val winced, letting out a dire gasp, "—now and my pussy's going to suck your seed off of it." She leaned her head against Allen's, taking a moment for herself. "Mmmm. Can you hear that? Can you hear the squelch of—" she gasped again, "—of my inner walls sucking on it?"
  1596.  
  1597. Allen couldn't hear a thing over the thunderous thumping of his heart. He wiped his brow to keep sweat from getting in his eyes, but it just came back as soon as he moved his hand away. Val's face twitched as she worked her hand inside, sharp but hushed moans rattling out of her mouth with each adjustment. Allen stared down at her lap, cursing that dress for covering up the scene she described. He could, however, make out a dark spot on it, and the stench of her arousal hit him like a truck.
  1598.  
  1599. Waves of arousal overtook his body with the scent. He became hyper-sensitive of the hand encircling his cock, even if Val had long since stopped pumping it. It took every inch of willpower available to keep himself from tackling Val and fucking her right there. Her body practically begged for him to touch it, to seize it, to have his way with it.
  1600.  
  1601. With a heavy gasp and a slight pop, Val's hand left her soaking cave. Allen could hear her breathing, constant and almost ragged, as she started to recompose herself.
  1602.  
  1603. "Now, Allen, my hand is positively dripping with my juices. Right now, it's moving over to your cock." Eyes widening, he tried to sneak a peek under the table, but Val held his head in a headlock. "No peeking. Wouldn't want someone to notice, would you?" She grinned. "It's getting closer, Allen. Can you feel the heat? It's so close."
  1604.  
  1605. Allen held his breath. He could feel it. It was radiating heat like pavement on a sunny day. Straightening himself in the booth, he held his breath, preparing himself in an effort to not come the instant she seized him.
  1606.  
  1607. But it never came.
  1608.  
  1609. "That steak was delicious!" said Val. "This restaurant has certainly met my expectations. It's been so long since I've eaten, too." Releasing Allen from the headlock, Val took a sip of her wine, sloshing it against her cheeks before swallowing. "And the wine was a superb compliment. What do you think?"
  1610.  
  1611. It took a moment for Allen to realize what had happened. He sat up straight, looking at Val, then her plate, then his salad, his brain snapping back to reality after being so immersed in lust. Blinking, he grabbed his fork, trying to figure out whether to stab the salad or Val with it. That... that tease! He'd been so close! A single touch would have sent him over the edge, and she had acted as if she had every intention of finishing him off... but stopped. The only thing that matched Allen's anger was the confusion that still ravaged his head from Val's deception.
  1612.  
  1613. "You're going to pay for this."
  1614.  
  1615. "Pay? But I thought you had all the money."
  1616.  
  1617. Allen jabbed his salad much harder than necessary. He needed to remove any pointy objects from his hands before he did something serious. "Not. That. Kind. Of pay."
  1618.  
  1619. "I admit I have no idea what you're talking about. Did the food get to your head? Do you think maybe they undercooked it?"
  1620.  
  1621. "Undercooked... the salad?" Allen's hands curled into fists. "Lady, I suggest you stop pushing me. You might not like what happens when you push me."
  1622.  
  1623. "Oh?" Her voice sweetened with a dab of coyness. "What would happen?"
  1624.  
  1625. "Here's what's going to happen." Allen picked up his forkful of salad and pointed it at Val. "I'm going to finish this salad. Then I'm going to pay for the lovely meals provided to us this evening. Then we'll leave and get in the car. On the way home, we're not going to say a single word to each other. Total silence. When we get back to my apartment, I'm going to tear those clothes off you so fast it burns, then I'm going to fuck you so hard the neighbors will think I'm murdering you. Do you understand?"
  1626.  
  1627. Val took a moment, biting her lower lip while staring at Allen, that perverse look of hers darkening. "Yes."
  1628.  
  1629. "Good. Now since you elected to finish you meal so quickly, you get to sit there and think about all the terrible things I'm going to do to you once we leave and watch as I slowly finish this salad." He grabbed her inner thigh and squeezed. "And no cheating." He made sure to run his hand up to where her leg met her body, brushing up against her labia before withdrawing.
  1630.  
  1631. When he took his next bite, he could hear her panting.
  1632.  
  1633. Allen, true to his word, ate as slow as he could stand. Allen's bowl of salad had sat only half-finished. Val's constant stimulation had made eating something of a chore. His attention wandered among the other guests, watching them enjoy their meals as he thought about how hard Val would be coming tonight. She may have won the first round of their little game, but from the way she was panting and having trouble sitting still, he could tell he'd won round two. Every now and then, she'd lay a hand on his arm, a silent inquiry to go faster. He ignored it.
  1634.  
  1635. "I may not know much about leaves and lettuce and whatever else is in here, but I know a good salad when I taste it. You want some?"
  1636.  
  1637. Val licked her lips, but her hunger was for something else.
  1638.  
  1639. "Of course! You had a full steak, you're probably full. Silly me."
  1640.  
  1641. By the time he finished eating, he too was getting restless.
  1642.  
  1643. They almost had to sprint out of the restaurant to keep from doing something lewd in public.
  1644.  
  1645. Val's hands were all over Allen on the way out. They walked out, arm-in-arm, as fast as possible without grabbing unwanted attention. When she reached for his crotch however, he smacked her hand away, shaking his head. Val whimpered, knowing from that brief touch exactly how hard he was, but gave in. With that off-limits, she touched him everywhere else she could: shoulders, neck, chest, stomach, thighs, head, and all the spot in-between. Allen stumbled once, having trouble walking straight with the shear volume of sensations attacking his brain, but he managed.
  1646.  
  1647. Val tried to do the same on the drive, home, but Allen had none of it, scowling and shaking his head when Val started groping him. Again she whimpered, this time louder, but kept her hands away.
  1648.  
  1649. Allen had never driven so fast in his life. Not a single speed limit was left unbroken, and when he finally pulled into the parking spot at his complex, he almost ran up onto the sidewalk. Car doors slammed. Feet hit the ground in a run. The stairs rumbled as they went up. The floor thudded beneath their feet. Keys in the lock. Door flung opened. Door slammed closed. Shoes, socks, blazer, slacks, shirt, all came off in a flurry.
  1650.  
  1651. When Allen finished, he looked up at Val, only to find she'd only removed her shoes. That wonderful dress, as sexy as it was, was only an obstacle at this point. She stood in the middle of the apartment, short-of-breath, staring at Allen with no remnant of sobriety in her eyes. There was only lust.
  1652.  
  1653. "Why are you still wearing that thing?" he gasped at her through his panting, finally getting his underwear off.
  1654.  
  1655. "Because you haven't torn it off me."
  1656.  
  1657. Allen threw Val onto the bed, not even waiting for her to stop bouncing before he pounced atop her. Those generous breasts of hers bounced up and down within the confines of her dress. Allen could hear her body screaming, begging to be released from that prison of fabric. Not giving Val a warning or hint, he seized the dress at her cleavage and tore it. The extravagant dress ripped at the end of the 'V' that held her cleavage, straight down to her stomach. Even if it was just an illusion, Val had made it entirely convincing. Allen moved his hands down to where the tear had stopped and wretched the two sides of her dress again, this time exposing her entire front.
  1658.  
  1659. Biting his lip, Allen stared at the soaking-wet pussy before him, his cock growing unbelievably hard. By this time, Val had revealed all eight of her arms and had no more restraint left in her. She tossed the remainder of her once-beautiful dress aside and pulled Allen into her, lips crashing into a careless kiss. Their tongues dived into each others' mouths, eagerly writhing about and toying with the other. Allen pressed so hard into the kiss that Val's head was forced back onto the bed. Six arms wrapped around Allen and pressed him down onto her, desperate for any contact. Her stiff nipples dug into his chest which pushed back with each strained breath. Her remaining two hands went to his cock, stroking it a few times to make sure he was hard and ready.
  1660.  
  1661. For a moment, she hesitated. Even the kiss paused. Allen, horny and confused, broke away and furrowed his brow. "What the fuck are you waiting for, lady? Either shove it in there or let me do it!"
  1662.  
  1663. She didn't respond so he thrust in on his own, member meeting her lower lips in a swift, fluid motion that sent shocks of pleasure throughout their bodies. Val's flower was dripping wet, allowing Allen to hilt with ease on the first thrust. With a moan, she animated once again, muscled arms tensing and pulling at Allen's hips, trying to drive him somehow deeper. Her walls squeezed his shaft so tight he yelled in a mixture of surprise and pleasure. He slowly pulled back out, Val holding on as tight as she could to his escaping member. Any slight movement drowned him in bliss, the overwhelming sensations almost making him black out.
  1664.  
  1665. He was determined to please Val as well, however, so he grit his teeth and thrust in again. This time, Val reacted by arching her back, driving her tits harder into Allen's chest. Her moan rattled into a yelp, settling only once Allen began to pull back again. She pushed his upper body away, then forced his mouth to one of her tits while she used several hands to play with the other. Allen allowed himself only a second to smile before giving her nipple a thorough tongue lashing. He circled it, then clamped onto it with his lips, teasing the tip with light licks. Another moan rolled out of her mouth in response.
  1666.  
  1667. For the first time, Allen felt like an actual participant. The first time they had sex, she controlled his body as she willed. The second encounter was a blowjob and a massage so powerful he passed out. The next time, he was in the driver's seat, unable to reciprocate. Even at the restaurant, as determined as he was, Val had made him cum without giving him a chance to return the favor. Now he finally had that chance.
  1668.  
  1669. He grabbed the hands on the back of his head and placed them on the tit he'd been working, then sat up straight. Val took the hint and continued to pleasure herself, watching Allen with wild eyes. Still hilted inside Val, Allen grabbed one of her tree-trunk legs and hoisted it onto his shoulder. The churning of her pussy, clutching him as she shifted, elicited a groan of pleasure from Allen and another moan from Val. Now on his knees, he left it to his hips to do the work, thrusting in and out of Val faster than before. She wrapped her legs around Allen as best she could, those powerful thighs holding him steady as he fucked her. Her broad, fluid hips matched Allen's thrusting almost making him succumb right there.
  1670.  
  1671. Seeing the tantalizing form of Val lying beneath him, pleasuring her breasts with four hands, her clit with two and grasping the bed with her last two, gave Allen not only the strength to continue, but a strong sense of pride; he was the one reducing this amazon of a woman to a lust-driven, moaning mess. Even with all her arms, her strength, and her experience, a skilled man with a stiff cock could still hit her buttons right.
  1672.  
  1673. Each thrust Allen accompanied with a grunt, Val's pussy seizing him with incredible tightness as he dove in and pulled out. It was like her flower was alive, pulling at him, pleased to see him enter and yearning at him not to go. He could feel his orgasm approaching, but he couldn't let that happen without getting to Val first. Moving his knees further up, he leaned into Val, thrusting at a new angle this time. When her eyes popped open and she yelled in pleasure, he knew he'd hit the right spot.
  1674.  
  1675. The bed began to groan and creak where Val grabbed it, her knuckles white with effort. Allen's cock electrified her entire body with ecstasy, drilling into her like his life depended on it. She focused every inch of willpower on keeping her hips moving in sync with his, making sure that pleasure hit her in full force on every thrust. Her hands worked her breasts and nipples furiously, tweaking and pulling them in ways she knew her body would respond. Finally, when her mind could take no more of the torrent of pleasure, she grabbed Allen by the shoulders and shoved her lips into his, screaming her orgasm into the kiss.
  1676.  
  1677. Allen pushed back with his mouth, allowing her tongue into to twirl with it, thrusting into her with the last of his strength. When her body seized up, seizing him with legs, pussy, hands, and arms as tight as it could, he knew it was time. Giving one last powerful thrust to hilt himself, he grunted into the kiss, mixing it with the vibrations of Val's own scream of release. Impeccably tight walls milked Allen for spurt after spurt of seed, greedily accepting his orgasm even as they leaked buckets of Val's own juices.
  1678.  
  1679. As the vicious lighting storm of rapture overwhelmed his brain and sent him into unconsciousness, his only thought was that he regretted not seeing Val's face as she came with him.
  1680.  
  1681.  
  1682.  
  1683. CHAPTER 5
  1684.  
  1685. Allen slowly opened his eyes on another day, surprised to find his vision completely absent of the usual morning blur. He flexed every part of his body to make sure it all still worked. His legs were a bit sore, but that was expected. In fact, he’d probably feel a bit robbed if they weren’t.
  1686.  
  1687. His hand wandered around the bed, but didn’t find Val next to him. Lifting his head, he saw her standing up, dressed in her usual skimpy outfit, staring out the small window into the world. He allowed himself a little smile. No woman could stand like Val, so sure of her body, uncaring if either no one or everyone was staring at her with so much exposed and six extra limbs. It wasn’t a show she put on, either. Just a natural state that was so uniquely her.
  1688.  
  1689. “Can’t say that’s ever happened to me before,” said Allen while he sat up.
  1690.  
  1691. Val turned from the window, eyes a touch vacant as they landed on him. “What are you talking about?”
  1692.  
  1693. “Cumming so hard I passed out.” He yawned. “I figure I should’ve at least had the strength to  flop over and stare at the ceiling for a while.”
  1694.  
  1695. “I do tend to have that effect on people.” There’s the grin. Allen wanted to make a snide comment about her morning attitude, but decided letting it go once in a while might not be too bad. Besides, this was a pretty great morning.
  1696.  
  1697. “Doing some people-watching?”
  1698.  
  1699. “People-watching?”
  1700.  
  1701. Allen fumbled with clothing himself before walking over to Val. “Yeah. Watching people. Kinda self-explanatory.” He got up on his toes to look out the window, curious if there was anything in particular that might have caught her attention. Nothing stuck out. “Well, I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t mind every day ending like yesterday.” He practically skipped to the kitchen, bypassing the coffee and nabbing a bagel. Plopping himself down at his small table, he rested his feet on it and smiled up at Val who’d gone back to staring out the window.
  1702.  
  1703. “I did enjoy it.”
  1704.  
  1705. “‘I did enjoy it’? Damn, woman, you almost sound disappointed. I know I ain’t some kind of sex fiend, but I’m not a limp fish, either!”
  1706.  
  1707. “Sorry, I didn’t mean it that way. It enjoyed it thoroughly.”
  1708.  
  1709. Allen narrowed his eyes. “So what was that little hesitation for right while we were in the middle of things?”
  1710.  
  1711. “Sorry?”
  1712.  
  1713. “We were going light speed, hot and heavy, everything was great, and then you froze up.”
  1714.  
  1715. “Yes, I do remember it. I’m afraid my mind had run off for a moment.” Her gaze turned away from the window, but not to Allen. “I am sorry. I do not mean to annoy you or be dismissive. Yesterday was wonderful and I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
  1716.  
  1717. “I hear a ‘but’ in there.”
  1718.  
  1719. “But I feel a touch irresponsible at the timing. Right after I found out my sister was on the loose, I went and enjoyed a nice dinner? There are much more important things for me to be doing.”
  1720.  
  1721. “You know, it’s okay to take a day off every now and then. Do that whole ‘relax’ thing. I remember a certain night when you all but forced me to take it easy.”
  1722.  
  1723. “You were being unreasonable.”
  1724.  
  1725. “And you aren’t now? I mean, yeah, we’re in a pretty tough spot here, but that doesn’t mean we’ve gotta spend every waking moment worrying about it.” He stuffed his face with more bagel.
  1726.  
  1727. Val’s demeanor had gone right back to what he’d seen when they’d gone to find Lust. It annoyed Allen just thinking about it. Val—the perky, reasonable, funny chick who’d run around the city with him, somehow not only tolerating his rough edges but forgiving the transgression that first brought them together as well—turned into a hopeless pessimist the moment she thought about her sister. Not only did it make him queasy to see her face fall and hear the life drain from her voice, but the way she dismissed every practical suggestion thrown her way made Allen want to punch a hole in the wall.
  1728.  
  1729. “I have been thinking. About my sister.”
  1730.  
  1731. “No shit.”
  1732.  
  1733. She shot him a disparaging gaze before continuing. “My methods have shamed me to such extremes, all I can think about is if I made the right choice, took the right path. And even if I did, did I act in a fashion of cruelty or merit?” All of her arms dropped to her sides, limp. “The spirits of old are still out there, somewhere, somehow. The fact that humanity still thrives is proof of it. They are fickle, Allen. Nosy. Curious. Absolute. Part of me wonders if this is a chance they gave me to reform myself.”
  1734.  
  1735. Allen slowly sat up, eyes sharpening with focus. “What are you saying?”
  1736.  
  1737. “I think I should try something else with my sister. Perhaps I need not imprison her again.”
  1738.  
  1739. “Woah there! I get she’s your sister. I get it’s not easy putting her back in whatever limbo you had her in, especially knowing that’s where you’re headed too. But if what you told me about her is true, this is the fate of the entire human race you’re playing with. Not cool!”
  1740.  
  1741. She turned to Allen, eyes pleading. “It’s been so many years, though. She may have changed her mind, just like I’m thinking about changing my own!”
  1742.  
  1743. “Yeah, and maybe she hasn’t, and when you go to her with eight open arms and she shanks you in the heart, where’s that put humans?” He shook his head furiously “Damn, Val, this is not the time for cold feet!”
  1744.  
  1745. “Shank me?” She placed four hands on her hips and loomed over Allen. “She’s my sister! She would never try to kill me! She knows just as well as I the balance between us must be maintained!”
  1746.  
  1747. “Oh, she wouldn’t kill you? Just like you’d never try to imprison her? If you know her so well, why don’t you tell me why she decided to fuck over the human race? Or, even better, talk her out of it? This is reality, not your dream world, and in reality, people don’t just change.” He shoved his face into hers and jabbed at her chest with a finger.
  1748.  
  1749. “Spirits are not people.”
  1750.  
  1751. “Oh, so you’re better than us?”
  1752.  
  1753. “I believe by definition we are superior.”
  1754.  
  1755. “Ah, I get it.” Allen thumbed his nose and paced around the room. If he stood in Val’s face any longer he was liable to do something stupid. “Humans are expendable. Why should you care about them?” He threw his hands up. “Shit, why should I care? Not like I’ve got much to look forward to anyways.”
  1756.  
  1757. The glare in Val’s eyes cracked, if only a little. “Allen, I did not mean humans are worthless. But you must understand this is not the sort of conflict you could easily understand. What I did by imprisoning my sister was nothing less than a calamity among spirits.”
  1758.  
  1759. “Yeah, no, I get it. It’s fine. A lowly little human couldn’t possibly understand you. God knows why I even tried.”
  1760.  
  1761. “Please, don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not trying to put the human race in jeopardy! Quite the opposite, in fact!”
  1762.  
  1763. “‘Take it the wrong way’? There’s no other way to take it! You’ve just got your head up so high in the clouds you don’t even realize what you’re saying. There is a serious risk your sister will ruin us all if you give her even an inch—and you’re planning on giving her just that! I think that qualifies as putting the human race in jeopardy.”
  1764.  
  1765. “I will take every measure to ensure nothing happens! And you could at least have some faith in my sister.”
  1766.  
  1767. Allen gestured holding a glass upside down and shaking something out of it. “Sorry, Val, all out. She kinda lost it when she tried to remove our desire to reproduce.”
  1768.  
  1769. Val crossed several of her arms. “You cannot dissuade me.”
  1770.  
  1771. “Yeah, I can see that.” He grabbed his keys and headed for the door.
  1772.  
  1773.  
  1774. “Where are you going?” Allen almost wanted to smile at the sudden loss of confidence in her voice.
  1775.  
  1776. “To do something about it myself? To run away? Fuck if I know.”
  1777.  
  1778. The door slammed, its echo following Allen down the empty hall.
  1779.  
  1780.  
  1781. **
  1782.  
  1783.  
  1784. Allen’s feet slapped against the sidewalk with each angry step. He shoved his hands so far into his pockets he about pulled his pants down. Everyone on the sidewalk gave him a wide berth, though he was too engrossed in his own thoughts to notice.
  1785.  
  1786. Screw her. She probably had this planned from the start. I should’ve noticed from the way she talked about her sister.
  1787.  
  1788. How would a human like him ever talk reason into her anyways? Why should he? This wasn’t his fight, she’d said as much. When did he ever invest so much in the safety of the human race? Val said the other spirits were still hanging around somewhere—they’d take care of things if they got out of hand, right? Surely this wasn’t the first time there’d been infighting.
  1789.  
  1790. Oh wait, they were spirits, no those irrational, flimsy humans. Val didn’t want someone like him sticking around, dragging her down. She had important things to be doing.
  1791.  
  1792. So wrapped up Allen was he almost stomped right on by his destination. The bell over the door of Diamond Eye rang painfully loud at Allen’s entrance and he expected a few angry stares at the noise, but to his surprise, no one was there.
  1793.  
  1794. He shrugged. He wasn’t there for the company, he was there for some good news. Something to assuage this building frustration before he exploded. Taz had been holding onto Val’s old jewelry for a little while now; maybe he had some sort of lead on their true value or a seller. He trudged up to the counter and hit the call bell several times.
  1795.  
  1796. No answer. No sign of Taz. Not even a “Just a moment!”
  1797.  
  1798. Huffing, Allen crossed his arms and leaned up against the counter. It felt a little creepy in here with no one else around, just him and all these valuables. Almost like someone was dangling bait in front of him to try and get him in trouble. He kept his eyes on the back room, not the displays. Emotion may have driven him to stupidity in the past, but it wasn’t getting to him this time.
  1799.  
  1800. He hit the bell a few more times, but still no answer came. What was Taz doing? It was business hours. Was the place empty ‘cause everyone else had left when they got no reply as well? Allen craned his neck to try to get a better view into the back. Maybe something happened to him? This day did not need to get any worse.
  1801.  
  1802. After a glance back at the front door, Allen hopped over the counter and crept toward the back. “Taz?” He didn’t want to scare the guy by sneaking up on him, but he had to find out what was up. “You okay back there?” Each step weighed more the closer he got to the doorway to the back room. Would he find Taz collapsed or just napping on the job? If anyone walked in right now he’d look just like a—
  1803.  
  1804. “Excuse me?”
  1805.  
  1806. Allen’s head whipped around so fast he almost lost his balance. His eyes widened as they traveled up the form before him. A tower of a woman, over six feet tall, lithe legs and slender arms. Skin smooth as a baby’s bottom, white but not pale. Her clothing made him think southern; a pair of torn short-shorts, a white button-up shirt with far too few buttons done, tied up to expose her navel. Dirty blonde hair flowed down her body like a waterfall. Her smirk and lazy lean gave off a haughty, care-free aura, reckless to the point of danger. Striking hazel eyes bore down upon him.
  1807.  
  1808. Allen swallowed hard. This woman was a perfect mix of sex and trouble.
  1809.  
  1810. “Uh, hi,” he smoothly replied. “I was just—”
  1811.  
  1812. “Taking a look? Sure. That’s why you were going about it so suspiciously.” She stepped over the counter in one smooth motion, those seemingly-endless legs tackling the obstacle with aplomb.
  1813.  
  1814. “Look, I was worried about Taz, the guy who…” Allen’s voice trailed off as his head finally caught up to the present. He’d just checked the door himself. How did this woman get behind him? And her appearance: tall, drop-dead sexy, intimidating and confident—give her another six arms and she’d be Val.
  1815.  
  1816. Shit.
  1817.  
  1818. “Oh, so you know Taz?” She took a step toward him, crossing her arms under generous breasts about to explode out of that tiny shirt of hers.
  1819.  
  1820. “Well, yeah, he’s got some stuff of mine he was take a look at.” He stood up straight, adjusting his collar. “I was just wondering where he was. Didn’t want him running off with it, y’know?” His forced laugh drew a smile from the woman. “I guess he’s not here, then. Probably shouldn’t be back here. I’ll just go ahead and—”
  1821.  
  1822. He tried to step toward the door, but the woman blocked his way. Allen found himself face-to-face with a pair of fine tits. And for the only time in his life, he wanted to nothing to do with them.
  1823.  
  1824. “Sorry, I got in your way. Let me—”
  1825.  
  1826. When he stepped to the side, she moved with him, even edging close enough to prod Allen with that impressive chest.
  1827.  
  1828. “Look, lady, I’m leaving. Just get out of my way.”
  1829.  
  1830. He laid his hand on her arm with the intention of pushing her out of the way.
  1831.  
  1832. The world flipped upside down. Without realizing why, Allen found himself on his back, staring at the ceiling. He hadn’t even seen her move, or felt where she grabbed him to toss him. All he could do was try to calm his spinning head.
  1833.  
  1834. A familiar smile and hazel eyes filled his vision. “Naughty little thief, trying to take something that isn’t yours. I’m going to have to do something about you.”
  1835.  
  1836. Allen couldn’t look away. There was something in her eyes, something that pulled at him. He grew dizzy and faint and light began to fade from the world. He had one last thought before blacking out.
  1837.  
  1838. Were those… wings?
  1839.  
  1840.  
  1841. **
  1842.  
  1843.  
  1844. Consciousness returned to Allen through a blurry haze. Blinking, he brought his mind back into the present. After a few moments, his vision focused and he took a look around.
  1845.  
  1846. He sat in the middle of a rather plain storeroom, boxes and bags and shelves all pushed against the wall, a single door to his left, and a light just a touch too bright over his head. A stale air permeated his nostrils. He made to stand, but could hardly flex his muscles before realizing such an action would do him no good. Rope bit into his ankles and wrists, and the chair he sat in was bolted to the ground.
  1847.  
  1848. Great.
  1849.  
  1850. Could’ve been worse, though. Could’ve not woken up at all. If Lust was as bad as he thought she was, then Allen’s life probably meant nothing to her, just like any other human. The thought creased his face with a frown. Well, maybe that wasn’t entirely correct. She was asking him about the Stone. Maybe she wanted to learn where it was before killing him. Or mind-breaking him. Or both. Val was able to snatch information straight from his head, though. Couldn’t Lust just do the same?
  1851.  
  1852. Allen sneered. Val. He knew it’d been a bit hasty to run out on her like that, but he couldn’t bring himself to lend her any pity. Wasn’t he allowed to get angry at her? Wasn’t that reaction deserved?
  1853.  
  1854. A throbbing head brought his thoughts to a halt. He wasn’t made out for this shit. Lay the fate of the human race on someone else’s shoulders, Allen was running out of time to care for it.
  1855.  
  1856. The door swung open. Allen’s gaze shot toward it. Striding in like she owned the place, the amazon of a woman stole Allen’s breath with a glance. She’d changed her top. She now wore a sweater with no sense of decency, cut incredibly low to reveal the full depth of her cleavage. Those sweet legs, lithe frame and complete confidence dominated the room and stirred within Allen’s loins feelings he’d rather have done without. Still, he managed a glare.
  1857.  
  1858. “You don’t seem happy with your current arrangement.”
  1859.  
  1860. “Fuck you.”
  1861.  
  1862. “Already? I’d hoped to tease you some first.”
  1863.  
  1864. “No, seriously, fuck you and this crap,” he said, gesturing to his bindings. “What the hell is going on here? I came into the store looking for someone and you knock me out and tie me up!”
  1865.  
  1866. “Oh really? Because it seemed to me like you were breaking in. You certainly acted like a thief.” She crossed her arms, tucking them neatly under her impressive bust line. “Perhaps you still have something of mine?”
  1867.  
  1868. Allen growled to himself. He knew exactly what she was talking about. “I told you, I was here to see Taz, that’s all!”
  1869.  
  1870. “Ah, of course.” A finger tapped her cheek. “But isn’t it a bit odd to be on first-name basis with the store owner? Unless you’re a frequent customer, of course. And in that case, I think you might be able to help me.”
  1871.  
  1872. Beneath a scowling exterior, Allen began to sweat.
  1873.  
  1874. “You see, I’ve been looking for something. A rather valuable jewel. I believe I already mentioned it to you.” She made the approximate shape of the Stone with her hands. “About this size, a shade of red that practically glows, and I know it’s nearby.”
  1875.  
  1876. “Never seen it before. And I’m still tied up! I can’t help you, crazy woman! Let me go!”
  1877.  
  1878. She rolled her eyes and sighed. “Insisting on being difficult, are you?”
  1879.  
  1880. A chill, originating from Allen’s right shoulder, crashed over him like an icy wave. When he looked at his shoulder, his jaw dropped. An extra arm was growing from his shoulder, one that was definitely not his. Longer than his own arm, smooth, paler, and decidedly feminine—Allen knew whose arm this really was, despite the fact it was attached to his body
  1881.  
  1882. It gave him no time to consider why it had appeared, for it made its purpose known quickly. Like a snake, the arm slithered across his body and into his pants, then struck.
  1883.  
  1884. “H-hey!” he said.
  1885.  
  1886. “Really? Are you going to do that while we’re talking? Have you no shame?”
  1887.  
  1888. Warm fingers wrapped around Allen’s shaft, tracing throbbing veins and kneading obscene thoughts deep into his mind. Attempting to pull his hips away from the hand only served to strengthen the encroaching pleasure.
  1889.  
  1890. “This isn’t me and you know it!” barked Allen.
  1891.  
  1892. “The arm seems quite attached to your shoulder.” She shifted her weight, tossing impressive hips to the side while tucking her arms even further under her breasts. If she pressed any harder, they’d probably burst free of the sweater holding them.
  1893.  
  1894. It wasn’t worth it, Allen decided. The woman was impossible to talk to and knew exactly what she was doing; all he’d manage to do was get her to antagonize him further. Imprisoned as he was, he wouldn’t be content with surrendering to this. He wrestled with his bindings, rubbing his ankles and wrists raw, but made no progress, all while the extra hand—Lust’s hand—dove deeper into its work.
  1895.  
  1896. Precise motions drove up and down his member, making sure to give the entirety of his cock its attention. Adding a twisting motion to each pump, the hand adjusted its speed to Allen’s reactions. When he moaned, the hand set into a rhythm. A soft palm massaged his head while skilled fingertips drove pleasure into his shaft. Traveling to the base, the hand cupped and fondled his balls, letting them tumble through its fingers like water. It continued to play a symphony a pleasure, one Allen heard all too well.
  1897.  
  1898. When a familiar burning began to swell within his core, he knew his time was running out. His will could not match the skill of her hand.
  1899.  
  1900. “Stop this. Let me go.”
  1901.  
  1902. “Still insisting it’s me? Are you blind?” Lust stepped forward bringing every detail of her luscious body into the lone light in the room. Allen caught her licking her lips before she kneeled in front of him, presenting her chest and face to his throbbing member. With her practically inhuman height, she still had to bend over for it. Heat flushed through his entire body.
  1903.  
  1904. “You’re the sort of gentleman who wouldn’t cum on a lady’s chest and face, right? Especially when she’s still clothed—it’d take a thorough washing to get cum out of a fine sweater like this.” The hand pumped faster, tugging at the dormant orgasm within him and began to force it to the surface like a reeling in a hooked fish. Allen hadn’t the strength to resist. Skilled fingers and smooth skin squeezed and pumped harder and harder.
  1905.  
  1906. “Nnngh!” Allen fought back a moan as best he could, but the pleasure was still clear on his mumble. Lust’s grin grew as deep as it was dark.
  1907.  
  1908. “Don’t do it, Allen. Don’t soil me with your seed, don’t dirty me with your cockjuice. It would be so rude.”
  1909.  
  1910. Something carried along in her voice tickled Allen to his core and broke the last of his concentration. With one last journey over his tip, the hand won.
  1911.  
  1912. “Ah!” Allen cried out as he unconsciously thrust into the furiously working hand, spewing all over the sultry face and chest before him. He shot with incredible force, but Lust’s eyes never flinched, watching him splurt with such hunger he felt he could be consumed from her gaze alone. Shocks of pleasure ripped through his body, one after another, as the hand continued to milk him for all he was worth. Only after he’d gone completely soft and was struggling for air did the hand release him, disappearing as if it was never there.
  1913.  
  1914. Lust’s tongue slipped out from between luscious lips and took a taste of his load. She looked pleased with it in a way that made Allen’s stomach churn. After the first taste, her tongue began traversing her face, extending impossible lengths to clean up everything but one slowly-dripping spot between her eyes.
  1915.  
  1916. Allen’s mind escaped him a moment. Imagine what that tongue could do if… No, no, he needed to banish that sort of thinking. That would end up with him betraying Val and possibly the human race. This woman, no matter how hard she made him cum, was still a monster.
  1917.  
  1918. “Even after I said not to,” said Lust, shaking her head. “Have you no discipline?”
  1919.  
  1920. Allen answered by wrenching at his bonds. Words clearly weren’t getting through to this fiend, and he wasn’t going to give her the pleasure of yelling profanity to her face, as much as he might enjoy it. That smug grin was asking for it, too.
  1921.  
  1922. “Now, now, you need to calm down. We’re not quite done yet.” Those mountainous legs placed themselves on either side of Allen, giving him a great view of her stomach. Lust reached down, grabbed the lip of her sweater, and slowly pulled it off, her lithe body undulating with liquid motion. Tossing the sweater away, she sat down on Allen’s lap and gripped both him and the chair in her powerful thighs.
  1923.  
  1924. The heat of her crotch again Allen’s was unbearable.
  1925.  
  1926. Slender, smooth arms slipped over Allen’s shoulder. Fingers intertwined behind Allen’s head. Lust leaned in, treating Allen to a faceful of those excessive tits.
  1927.  
  1928. “Are you sure you don’t want to cooperate, honey? We really could get past all this trouble with the chair and the ropes and go straight to the fun.” Her voice licked at his ears with a teasing tone.
  1929.  
  1930. “Mmph” was all Allen could get out, suffocated in Lust’s cleavage. But she never expected a legitimate response, did she? And if she got one, would it change anything? Allen snarled inwardly, almost wanting to bite into her skin, just to piss her off, but her scent—god, her scent—pushing its way up his nostrils, sending his head spinning with each breath and making his cock grow so hard it could shatter steel. Lust wielded her femininity like a weapon and was beating Allen senseless with it.
  1931.  
  1932. “Sheesh. So stubborn. Or are you enjoying this too much?” Her perverted hug pushed Allen’s face deeper into her breasts. “Oh well. I guess there’s only one thing to be done about you.”
  1933.  
  1934. She lifted her ass off of Allen’s lap, giving his cock a single moment to breathe before slipping into a miraculous wet heaven.
  1935.  
  1936. Allen moaned shamelessly.
  1937.  
  1938. His member had been swallowed by something impossible. As if covered in butter, he glided inside Lust along dripping walls that caressed him like oiled hands. When she finished receiving him all the way to the base, her pussy seized him with an all-encompassing squeeze that never let go. Allen couldn’t even breathe properly, and every uneven breath he managed was drenched in her aura and her hunger. It spread from his lungs to every corner of his body and reverberated through his bones like an opera sung on chords of the deepest pleasure.
  1939.  
  1940. Gently, she ran a hand through his hair, looking down on him pressed against her chest like some plaything. Allen expected her to start shifting her hips, or at least force him to, but that never came. It didn’t need to. Holding the entirety of his member, her inner walls began to shift and undulate. Flexing an inhuman control, her netherlips sucked, pulled, and rubbed him. Rampant arousal flooded onto his lap, swelling so hot he feared it would burn. Allen tried to drive himself deeper, but Lust had him completely immobile. Without a whisper of movement, she worshipped his cock to oblivion.
  1941.  
  1942. A meager shout disappeared into Lust’s cleavage as she guided him to climax. Careful undulations ran from base to tip as Allen emptied himself into Lust. Not a drop of sweat marked her body, though a deepening grin glowed on her face. It was like she’d turned on a faucet within Allen—he pumped load after load into her hungry pussy, yet she never stopped, never slowed or quickened, just pet his head while her impossible honeypot milked him with the utmost precision.
  1943.  
  1944. After what may have been minutes or hours, the last of Allen’s strength threatening to leave him, she let up. Releasing his head, she detached herself, looming over the defeated Allen and licking her lips. Through blurry vision, Allen stared at her exposed pussy, watching it drip but surprised to find not a hint of his own release. It was like her body had chugged it down.
  1945.  
  1946. “Yer still… yer still not gettin’ any… anything from me,” said Allen.
  1947.  
  1948. Lust giggled. “Oh, you can cut it out now. I know the mark of my sister anywhere. The moment I laid eyes on you I knew you’d been around her. I’ve just been having some fun.”
  1949.  
  1950. “God… damn.”
  1951.  
  1952. He didn’t know if he was berating himself or her. Maybe both. Seeing him probably confirmed for Lust that the fact the gem was still nearby and Val probably had it. Now that she had him, she had a way to get to Val, too. Actually, no, not quite yet. If he didn’t tell her anything, if he gave Val enough time to realize what had happened, there was still a chance Lust wouldn’t find the Binding Stone.
  1953.  
  1954. “And there she is now.”
  1955.  
  1956. Allen’s head snapped up. “What?”
  1957.  
  1958. “My sister. It’s actually quite easy for us to find one another, as long as we allow it. Once I found you, I simply opened myself up to her and she came for me right away. She’s now in the store lobby, waiting for us.” She leaned over and offered a hand. “Care to join me?”
  1959.  
  1960. The bonds holding Allen disappeared. He made to get up, but something new wrapped him up and held him still.
  1961.  
  1962. I knew I saw wings earlier.
  1963.  
  1964. Six wings, much like a bat’s, grew out from her back. Broad and dark, they filled up the space behind her like a backdrop. Three of her wings had wrapped Allen up in something like a cocoon, leaving only his head free. Like a wholly-encompassing hug, her wings gripped tight against every grove on his body. He struggled and squirmed, but the wings may as well have been made of steel. Lust shot him a smile and lifted him off the ground as if it were nothing.
  1965.  
  1966. Allen let out a whoop in surprise; he was pretty sure wings weren’t supposed to be this strong, but then again, he was dealing with “I’ll do whatever I want with my body”’s sister. Surely Lust could break the typical laws of anatomy too.
  1967.  
  1968. With a pat on his head—earning her a glare from Allen—Lust made her way out of the room and up a stairwell. Allen took note of his surroundings. When they made it to the top, he knew where they were. Taz’s body, unconscious, was on a couch in the room they entered, amongst desks of reference materials and varying sorts of equipment. This was Taz’s back room. Which meant in the next room…
  1969.  
  1970. “Sister.”
  1971.  
  1972. Allen cringed at hearing that voice. It had no business being marred by such pain and anger. Lust strolled into the lobby, giving Allen a view of Val, and it made his heart stop. All eight arms were out, and all ended in fists. She hadn’t even bothered to fake clothing, wearing only the scraps of silk passing as underwear that revealed her tense muscles and jagged breaths. Allen half expected steam to puff out her nostrils. When her eyes landed on him, they softened, but only for the tiniest moment.
  1973.  
  1974. “Nel-Vallae, how nice of you to stop by. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I would’ve said hi earlier but I’ve been a bit busy roleplaying a statue for a few thousand years.”
  1975.  
  1976. “That’s the path you chose, sister.”
  1977.  
  1978. Allen was conflicted. On one hand, Val was here to save him, but on the other, Lust had found Val, which was just one step short of finding the Binding Stone and wreaking havoc on humanity. Of course, he could’ve avoided this situation altogether if he wasn’t a rash hothead and thrown himself into Lust’s arms in the first place.
  1979.  
  1980. “Let him go. He’s got nothing to do with this,” said Val.
  1981.  
  1982. “Nothing to do with this? I think he has plenty to do with this.” Lust strode forward with those slender legs of hers, coming up to the counter as if she was serving Val. “The Stone had to be removed somehow, didn’t it? And from the scent of you on him, you must’ve gone crazy the moment you were free. I’m a touch jealous I didn’t get to see it.”
  1983.  
  1984. “He had no idea what he was doing!” Ho boy. Her face was glowing red, but that wasn’t embarrassment. “He’s an innocent human, one of the very beings we have a duty towards! Let him go, your grudge is with me.”
  1985.  
  1986. Allen wasn’t about to say he was comfortable in Lust’s little wing-cocoon, but at the same time, he almost blew up at Val. Not part of this? Just some innocent human? He’d made his decision after Val had rescued him from the pit he’d found her in. He could remember the exact moment, watching her stride away with all the confidence in the world, despite having been dumped into the present-day world with nothing more to go on than an idiot’s limited perception of it. Something like this was bound to happen—he knew that. And he didn’t need anyone covering for him.
  1987.  
  1988. “A duty? To someone like him?” Lust smirked. Her wings constricted tighter, crushing Allen hard enough to make him cry out. “Look. I forgot how flimsy they were. They’re nothing to you and I, Nel-Vallae. Why bother with some illusion of duty? We should be free to do as we please.”
  1989.  
  1990. “They may be weaker, sister, but they are not lesser.” She extended several hands toward Allen. “And if they are so insignificant, what does it hurt you to release one?”
  1991.  
  1992. “Because this one can get me something.”
  1993.  
  1994. “I have the Stone. I was hoping not to use it this time, though.”
  1995.  
  1996. “As if I would give you the chance.” Lust grinned. “Who would’ve guessed my sweet sister would pull what she did last time?”
  1997.  
  1998. Allen looked back and forth between the two. Now that Lust mentioned it, Val never told him exactly how she caught Lust off-guard. Could that be why she was so hesitant now?
  1999.  
  2000. “You look confused, Allen. Has she not told you?” said Lust.
  2001.  
  2002. “I have put that behind me,” said Val.
  2003.  
  2004. “Obviously not, if you’re so defensive about it.” She turned to Allen. “I imagine my sister has gone on and on about what a gruesome decision it was she had to make for the good of humanity. What a tortured do-gooder she is, and how she was forced to banish her sister.”
  2005.  
  2006. Allen said nothing, only watching Lust.
  2007.  
  2008. “It turns out the procedure for imprisoning someone with the Binding Stone takes a little while. Several minutes. And your target can’t move around too much or interrupt you. A very delicate method. So how do you supposed she kept me still and unaware?” Lust positively grinned. “Bait.”
  2009.  
  2010. Allen’s brow furrowed.
  2011.  
  2012. “Some poor sap was honestly having the time of his life. You should’ve heard his screams of pleasure! I was bypassing his body and stimulating his soul directly. Have you ever felt that? A gentle hand, caressing the very essence of your being?” She slowly ran a hand down his cheek. “It may be more than a little taxing on the body, but I can assure you, there’s nothing else like it.”
  2013.  
  2014. “You were killing him,” said Allen.
  2015.  
  2016. “Come now, I’m not that cruel.” Her grin widened. “Probably. But he certainly wasn’t complaining. Yet, only after a sliver of life remained within his body did my righteous sister step in to spring her trap. I do hope he’s alright…”
  2017.  
  2018. She tapped her chin, watching Allen intently. “That’s my sister. My true sister. You may want to reconsider your position. Who knows what else she’s hiding from you? Or what sort of hands humanity is truly in if she gets her way.”
  2019.  
  2020. Val’s head was cast down at the floor, unwilling to meet Allen’s gaze. Her hands had all lost the vigor of anger in them, her shoulders slumped held inward, like Val wanted to make herself as small as possible.
  2021.  
  2022. Allen wanted to smack her for it.
  2023.  
  2024. “And?” he said.
  2025.  
  2026. Val lifted her head just enough for her eyes to bore into Allen’s
  2027.  
  2028. “Ooh, so heartless!” Lust squealed, her wings squeezing Allen even tighter. “I think you and I could get—”
  2029.  
  2030. “Back off. We’d never get along.”
  2031.  
  2032. She gave an exaggerated frown.
  2033.  
  2034. “Val did what was necessary. I know better than anyone that things don’t line up all nice, that you can’t get everything you want. Sometimes, you don’t get anything you want. She made a sacrifice—reluctantly, from the looks of it—because she knew what had to be done was more important.”
  2035.  
  2036. “Mmm, don’t you humans have a phrase for that? ‘The ends justify the means’? Is that the kind of person you are?” said Lust.
  2037.  
  2038. “Don’t go trying to classify everything in black and white.” He turned to Val, forcing himself to keep from spitting in Lusts’ face. “And YOU!”
  2039.  
  2040. Lust covered her mouth while Val’s eyes widened at his booming voice. Val appeared to be halfway between shirking back and smacking Allen across the face.
  2041.  
  2042. Allen found himself not caring which one she did. He’d taken his dignity, reservations, pride, everything, and just gone and chucked it out the window.
  2043.  
  2044. “What the hell are you acting so timid for!? You came here to do something, didn’t you? Do it! Either you don’t care enough about my opinion to ignore me, or you do care enough to take the Stone and do what you have to!”
  2045.  
  2046. “Allen, it’s not that simple.”
  2047.  
  2048. “Yes, sister, please,” said Lust, thrusting her chest out. “Bind me again! The poor human’s has been driven mad by the very sight of you!”
  2049.  
  2050. “Sella, shut up!” boomed Val.
  2051.  
  2052. “Calling me by my name! How long has it been since I heard that from those cute little lips?”
  2053.  
  2054. “Do you truly wish to return to that prison? I came here to offer an alternative!”
  2055.  
  2056. “Yes, under the guise of civility and redemption. However, our last meeting left me with no trust to spare, I’m afraid.”
  2057.  
  2058. “Stop being so stubborn! This doesn’t have to end like last time!”
  2059.  
  2060. “I’m stubborn? Look at yourself! You won’t budge an inch yourself, but what’s worse, you don’t even know what you’re being stubborn about! This man has your head going in circles!”
  2061.  
  2062. Val smashed several of her hands into the counter between them, filling the room with the cacophony of shattering glass. “I know exactly what I stand for!”
  2063.  
  2064. Lust shoved her face in closer. “No you don’t!”
  2065.  
  2066. “Yes I do!”
  2067.  
  2068. “No you don’t!”
  2069.  
  2070. “Yes I—”
  2071.  
  2072. “My god.” Allen’s raspy voice silenced the arguing sisters as a realization dawned upon him. “You’re children!”
  2073.  
  2074. “What?” Val said, head cocked.
  2075. “What!?” Lust spat, eyes narrowed.
  2076.  
  2077. Allen opened his mouth to be interrupted by another bout of coughing. He coughed till his face was red, cursing his damned lungs for ruining the moment. Only after tearing up his throat could he continue.
  2078.  
  2079. “You two never had parents, did you?”
  2080.  
  2081. “No, we did not, though other, more powerful spirits acted as superiors,” said Val.
  2082.  
  2083. “But they didn’t play the part of a parent. They never raised you,” he said.
  2084.  
  2085. “No, they did not act in that capacity. It wasn’t necessary as we were born capable.”
  2086.  
  2087. Allen shook his head in disbelief. He wanted to shake his fists at the sky. “It all make sense!”
  2088.  
  2089. Lust crossed her arms. “Are you trying to make a point? Or am I going to have to bind your mouth as well?”
  2090.  
  2091. “You’re a couple of kids! Terrifyingly powerful spoiled little brats! And you don’t even realize it!”
  2092.  
  2093. “Really?” said Lust.
  2094.  
  2095. Lust dropped Allen to the ground. Suddenly free from his prison, his shaky legs tried their best to balance him. It didn’t matter, as a wall of wings rushed forward, slamming into his chest and hurling him across the room.
  2096.  
  2097. “Sister!” cried Val. She looked went back and forth, torn between helping Allen and holding Lust back. Neither proved necessary, as Allen slowly lumbered to his feet and Lust made no move to continue her beating.
  2098.  
  2099. “I’m so horribly amused at a being so insignificantly younger and naive calling me a brat. Please continue, I’d like a good laugh before I finish with you.”
  2100.  
  2101. Gripping his chest where Lust had hit him, Allen shot her a weak smile. “Lashing out like one, too. Jesus, I can’t believe I didn’t see it before. Well, no, actually, I do my best to stay away from kids, so it’s harder for me to recognize their tendencies. Someone else probably would’ve noticed earlier.”
  2102.  
  2103. “Would you like to feel those words dying in your throat? I could strangle you from all the way over here with ease,” spat Lust.
  2104.  
  2105. “Sella, please, let him speak,” said Val.
  2106.  
  2107. Allen’s smile widened. Val’s voice failed to hide her own annoyance and curiosity.
  2108.  
  2109. “You two… you never had anyone to tell you ‘No’, never had a human truly challenge you, never lived with the hardships humanity have carried its entire lifetime. And from what I gathered from Val, you never tried loving anyone but yourselves and each other. You had humans wait on you, serve you, worship you, tend to every urge, and you thought simply by existing you were giving back. There was no one to instill either of you with a set of values, so your moral compasses ended up spinning and spinning to point wherever they pleased. At least Val developed something of one, but only out of fear.”
  2110.  
  2111. Lust took a thundering step toward him, but Val pulled her back. Allen almost wanted Val to let Lust loose on him.
  2112.  
  2113. “Val, look at yourself. If you could’ve heard what I have while you argued with your sister, you’d be disgusted with yourself.” Her eyes flickered with emotion. “You came here because every waking moment of your life has been defined by your sister—well, your image of her—and the moment you knew where she was, you had to come to her. You didn’t have a plan, didn’t even know where you stood. Were you going to throw words at her until your throat ran out of them and hope for the best?
  2114.  
  2115. “I didn’t realize it until now, but thinking back, I should’ve seen it. Last night, while we were in bed—yes, Lust, we fucked, and it was great—you froze up. When we first met and you were going to town on me, you stopped then, too. I thought you were asking, but now I think you were just unsure. When we found your sister had escaped, you couldn’t do anything but mope, and I didn’t know what to do. I hadn’t expected it to hit you so hard. All these things pointed to the one insecurity crippling you from functioning like a normal person.”
  2116.  
  2117. Val’s lips trembled, as if to ask him to stop.
  2118.  
  2119. “You’re terrified of power. Of responsibility. One of the most powerful beings on the planet, and you can’t stand it. I don’t know why—maybe you’re worried the same thing that happened with your sister will happen again to someone else. Maybe you think you failed her and so you can’t be trusted. Doesn’t matter. You’re going to have to shape up, whether you imprison Lust again or not, or one day, that fear is going to paralyze you completely.”
  2120.  
  2121. Smirking, Lust patted Val on the back. “Well, well, looks like you’ve got your fair share of demons. I do feel for you, sister, truly, especially with a human being the one to spit all of this out. It’s okay to acknowledge the other side of yourself. I did and I’ve turned out wonderful.” She shot Allen a look while curling her hand into a fist. “Unless the human has something to say to me, too?”
  2122.  
  2123.  
  2124. “I can’t say as much about you, but now that I know what to look for, I’ve got you pegged, too.” He jabbed a finger at her. “You’re just the opposite. You’re terrified of losing power. This whole thing is just a damn tantrum. As time went on, you pushed your limits more and more, needed some sort of acknowledgement that you did indeed still have power over others, that if you wanted to do something you could. Val could never get through to you because she misunderstood the root of the problem. She always thought that at your core, you were a reasonable, rational person, but the reason why you’re doing this isn’t rational at all, is it?”
  2125.  
  2126. Allen opened his mouth to continue, but another bout of coughing cut him off. Falling to a knee, he did his best to keep from passing out as he spewed spit and filth. He looked up at Lust and Val through blurred vision. Val looked torn between helping him and chastising him, Lust was stuck between vicious and defensive.
  2127.  
  2128. “But if I’m going to bare everything, I shouldn’t leave myself out, yeah? All this coughing you’ve been seeing, Val? It is something to worry about. Because I’ve got fucking cancer. Turns out not everyone can get away with smoking for half their life and now my lungs are so fucked up they’re not going to last me another month. I haven’t been helping you because I’m brave, I’m not saying all this to your and Lust’s face because I’m clever, I’m doing it because I just don’t care any more. In a way, I’m even more pathetic than the two of you, only really capable of being someone when the threat of failure has lost its teeth. Do whatever you want with humanity—soon I won’t even be a part of it. Fuck each other, hate each other, kill each other, it doesn’t matter to me. I tried to help, I really did, but I guess there’s only so much a human can do.” He stumbled to his feet, breathing as best he could. Holding his chest, he ambled toward the door, two pair of eyes locked on him the entire way.
  2129.  
  2130. “You know nothing about me, human,” said Lust.
  2131.  
  2132. “You keep telling yourself that,” said Allen, and he left.
  2133.  
  2134. He didn’t know where to go. He could head back to his car and drive home. He could find some alley to lie down in until he died. There was a nice restaurant down the street; he could splurge there and enjoy another nice meal. His head fell. Nah, it wouldn’t be the same without Val. Least he could do was hold onto that memory a little longer.
  2135.  
  2136. Pain gripped his chest as he laughed at himself. How sad was it that the one thing he held onto when death stared him in the face was a memory of a girl who saw him as nothing more than a tool? He should’ve gotten past that. Nothing in the world should’ve been worth caring about anymore, yet somehow he managed it anyways.
  2137.  
  2138. That alley was sounding awful nice right about now.
  2139.  
  2140. Looking up, his eyes caught the white glare of the moon amongst the streetlights. The depths of night had swallowed the air since he last felt it. Not a soul besides him wandered the streets, the wind and buzzing of electric lights the only comforts holding back the silence. If only it was raining, too.
  2141.  
  2142. With a sigh, he sat himself down on a the curb. He leaned forward, staring at the ground, half-ready to start puking. So this is how it’d end. A petty argument between sisters. All that stress, that searching, all amounting to nothing because the problem was simpler than Allen could’ve imagined. Closing his eyes, he waited.
  2143.  
  2144. “I can’t help but see some irony here.”
  2145.  
  2146. Allen slowly raised his head, but didn’t turn to Val’s voice. “Yeah?”
  2147.  
  2148. The smack of bare feet on cement grew closer, stopping right next to him. Without looking, Allen could see Val with arms crossed and hands on her hips. “I seem to recall you not having much patience for moping.”
  2149.  
  2150. Allen smiled. Ornery to the last. “Just the annoying kind. And I think I’ve earned a little moping.”
  2151.  
  2152. “Maybe.” She sat down next to him. Allen fought the urge to scoot away. “What sort is the ‘annoying’ kind?”
  2153.  
  2154. “Mainly when it’s not me. No one else seems to know what’s worth moping over.”
  2155.  
  2156. “Is that so? And what might you be moping about now? What happened back there or your unfortunate fate?”
  2157.  
  2158. Allen coughed out a laugh. ‘Unfortunate’. That was an understatement. “Both. Neither. I said I didn’t care what happened any more and I meant it. Whether you or your sis make up or decide to kill everyone doesn’t matter.”
  2159.  
  2160. “And you?”
  2161.  
  2162. “I tried to do something productive with my life and blew both chances. I think I’ll hang it up early.”
  2163.  
  2164. “‘Both chances’?” He heard her shift around—she was interested. Damn. Should’ve watched his mouth more closely.
  2165.  
  2166. Shaking his head, he answered, “What the hell, I’ll tell you. Better than letting it die with me.” He let out a long, heavy breath. Val would be the first he told. “I had a sister.”
  2167.  
  2168. Val nodded, her eyes locked onto Allen.
  2169.  
  2170. “She was younger than me, but smarter and better-looking. Had hair like wildfire, but eyes blue enough you could’ve been looking into the sea. So fucking stubborn, but only because she was right most of the time. Frail enough to come to her brother when things went to shit, but brazen enough to smack an asshole who wouldn’t get out of her face. A creator, through and through. She liked building things with legos, with twigs, with blocks, whatever she could get her hands on. Had an interior decorator phase, but that wasn’t for her. We had this dog… this little shrimp of a thing that wandered around the house, and she wanted to make a little wall he couldn’t get over. So she builds this wall—ugly piece of shit, made out of 10 different lego sets—and sticks it in a doorway. The wall was way too short and even our shrimp of a dog could get over it, or just knock it out of the way if he was bored.” Allen shook his head. “But she didn’t give up. Remade the wall a dozen times before she figured out she couldn’t block the doorway. And what does she do? Sticks it on the stairway. Alone, it wasn’t enough, but add the height of a stair and the dog didn’t know what to do. Course, the dog didn’t care, he wasn’t allowed upstairs anyways, and Mom tripped over the damn thing as soon as she got home. The wall never reappeared, but my sister had her victory. It’s the memories like that… she was the best part of my life. I used to brag about her all the time, how she graduated high school and college early, how she landed a crazy job out of school, just, everything about her was perfect.” Allen turned to Val, wagging a finger. “And I’m not exaggerating on the perfect. She really was.”
  2171.  
  2172. “I believe you.”
  2173.  
  2174. “But she never wanted to find a man. When I’d bug her about it, she’d always tell me, ‘You’re the only man I need in my life, brother’. While I knew that wasn’t true, I think I liked hearing it. It was nice to know that after all those years looking after her, she really appreciated it. I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging or anything. I never risked my life for her or anything so brave, but I kept her safe when she needed to feel safe, told her she was stupid when she was being an idiot, teased her when she got cocky… the important stuff, you know? Then I blew it.”
  2175.  
  2176. “How so?”
  2177.  
  2178. Allen bit his lip. “I started smoking. Well, the smoking was just the beginning. Remember how I told you she was smarter? That never stopped being true, and the older we got, the more I realized I would always be dumber than my kid sister. The same sister who I had to look out for, who I sacrificed for. I thought it wasn’t fair, thought I deserved more. So I became bitter. Not overnight, but I had all the time in the world to fuck up that relationship. I say it started with the smoking because my sister always bugged me about stopping. ‘It’s bad for your health,’ ‘you’ll get cancer,’ ‘you’re not yourself without the cigarettes,’ and all that other stuff. I thought she was browbeating me, using her brains to make me look even dumber than I was, so I naturally did the dumbest thing possible. I pushed her away.”
  2179.  
  2180. Allen brought a fist to his mouth and bit down on a knuckle. He knew, knew it’d always been his fault, but this was the first time he’d actually said it. Not only that, he’d told someone else.
  2181.  
  2182. “From your wording earlier, I thought something had happened to her.”
  2183.  
  2184. “Might as well have. I’m dead to her. At least this way, she now has room for a real man in her life.” He looked at his hand where tooth marks had appeared. “I hope she’s found someone.”
  2185.  
  2186. “I’m sure she’s fine.” Val laid a hand softly on his shoulder.
  2187.  
  2188. “Goddammit!” Allen drove a fist into his knee, trying to drill his knuckles through his jeans. “I thought I was done making girls worry about me.”
  2189.  
  2190. Another hand touched him, this one rubbing his back. “One of the things I always liked about you was how you never allowed me to hold onto irrationality or foolishness, even if it meant I might become annoyed with you in the short-term.”
  2191.  
  2192. “The phrase is, ‘not putting up with your shit’. And yeah, you didn’t put up with mine, either.”
  2193.  
  2194. “I am a bit concerned, however, that your dire circumstance might have made you a bit less… mmm…”
  2195.  
  2196. “I’ve always been an ass, if that’s what you’re wondering.”
  2197.  
  2198. “We can’t all be perfect.”
  2199.  
  2200. “Yeah… yeah, we sure can’t.”
  2201.  
  2202. Allen stared at the ground, playing with his hands, twitching as Val’s hands rubbed his back. Half of him wanted to shrug her off, the other half just wanted to enjoy it. Someone actually cared enough to, at the very least, pretend they felt for him, even when he himself didn’t think he deserved it.
  2203.  
  2204. “Why are you still here?” he asked.
  2205.  
  2206. “Because you need my help.”
  2207.  
  2208. “And your sister doesn’t?”
  2209.  
  2210. “She needs a little time.” Val squeezed his shoulder. “What you said got to her, I think.”
  2211.  
  2212. “What about you? Aren’t you angry, too? Wasn’t exactly pulling punches back there.”
  2213.  
  2214. Closing her eyes, Val thought on her answer a moment. “While I don’t entirely agree with all of what you said, there were some things I think I need to reflect on.”
  2215.  
  2216. Allen spit and stared out across the street. “Throw enough shit and something will stick, I guess.”
  2217.  
  2218. “To be perfectly honest, Allen, it’s not so much what you said that I think is worth considering, it’s what you implied.”
  2219.  
  2220. “What? That you and your sister are fuckin’ idiots?”
  2221.  
  2222. Val grimaced. “No, you stated that quite clearly.”
  2223.  
  2224. He shrugged. “Told you I was an ass.”
  2225.  
  2226. “What I took away from it was an idea, one you’d offered before yet I never accepted. I think it’s possible there isn’t quite the chasm between human and spirit I thought there once was. I think there is a way we can understand each other.”
  2227.  
  2228. “Oh? And what way is that?”
  2229.  
  2230. “Love.”
  2231.  
  2232. Turning away, Allen shivered, saying, “That’s quite a word to be throwin’ around.”
  2233.  
  2234. As sly as he thought he was, however, Val didn’t miss his eyes flicker to hers, asking that silent question before throwing up his defenses.
  2235.  
  2236. “I do not ‘throw’ it lightly.”
  2237.  
  2238. Allen did his best to force down a knot clogging up his throat. “Look, Val, it’s great that you’re coming to see the light, but I’m really not the guy to be having this conversation with.”
  2239.  
  2240. “And why’s that?”
  2241.  
  2242. He scooted away from her. “Because I already fucked my chances. A guy like me you can give all the leeway in the world, and I’ll still disappoint you.”
  2243.  
  2244. She scooted with him. “And what if I don’t believe that?”
  2245.  
  2246. “Then you’re crazy. That shit that just happened in there? That’s not the first time. There are other guys out there with more sense than me, guys actually worthy of you.”
  2247.  
  2248. “I don’t want them.”
  2249.  
  2250. When she gave him a smarmy smile, he had to fight a smile of his own, twisting it into a snarl. “Even if you don’t, I’m not long for this world. I’ve got another month, if I’m lucky.”
  2251.  
  2252. “I can fix that.”
  2253.  
  2254. Allen didn’t have a retort for that one. “You can?”
  2255.  
  2256. “I’ll have to do a little more research, figure out exactly what is killing you, but yes, I have healing powers. Remember? I mentioned it once while we were in the car.”
  2257.  
  2258. Allen looked up trying to reach back into his memory, but the thoughts kept slipping away. The weight of the two things Val was proposing right now had started spinning his head like a top and he didn’t expect it to stop any time soon.
  2259.  
  2260. “Alright, well, then… I’ve… uh… I’ve got a shitty job.”
  2261.  
  2262. Val simply raised an eyebrow at him.
  2263.  
  2264. “Dammit, woman, I’m trying to tell you I’m no good for you!”
  2265.  
  2266. Several hands reached around to his far side and forced him to face her. “And I’m trying to tell you I don’t care.”
  2267.  
  2268. “Fuck! Fine then. Your funeral.”
  2269.  
  2270. With that he laid his hands on the side of her head, pulled her in, and kissed like it was the last thing he’d ever do. Her passion met his own with fervor, mouths clashing in reckless emotion. Her tongue tasted of rose, her scent smelled of spice. His eyes widened in surprised when all eight of her arms wrapped around him, two on his head like he held hers, and yanked him in. Her back hit the sidewalk, but she was too lost to care. They kissed as if they’d been waiting for it their whole lives, wrapped their bodies up in each other in a desperate attempt to be closer, to touch everything about one another. Each breath only fueled their desires further, each exhale smothered the air in their ardor.
  2271.  
  2272. Finally, Allen pulled away, but just enough to look Val in the eyes as he spoke.
  2273.  
  2274. “I told you you were an idiot,” was what he said, but for some reason, he couldn’t stop grinning.
  2275.  
  2276. “Being an idiot doesn’t seem so bad,” she said, smiling back.
  2277.  
  2278. They stared at each other, those stupid smiles stuck on their faces, before Allen glanced back to the door of the Diamond Eye.
  2279.  
  2280. “So, uh, I think we better make sure your sister doesn’t go on a killing spree, but after that, you wanna fuck?”
  2281.  
  2282. “I’d love to.”
  2283.  
  2284.  
  2285. **
  2286.  
  2287.  
  2288. Allen fumbled with the keys, almost dropping them twice before unlocking his apartment door and throwing it open. Before him stood the most wonderful woman, grinning and clearly waiting for him to enter.
  2289.  
  2290. “Heard anything from her?” Allen asked, closing the door behind him.
  2291.  
  2292. “No, I have not.” Val glided forward to greet him, giving him a deep kissing and hugging him close with her many arms before removing herself. “How do you feel?”
  2293.  
  2294. “Haven’t coughed in weeks. Feels a little weird to think about, like I’m gonna hack up a big one any second.” He took a deep breath, holding a hand to his chest as he blew out. “Think we’re gonna hear from her any time soon?”
  2295.  
  2296. “It’s hard to say. She told me she’d be leaving for a while, but ‘a while’ could mean just about anything, coming from a spirit.”
  2297.  
  2298. “And you think she’ll behave?”
  2299.  
  2300. “I think she’s got other things to think about besides the slow and steady extermination of the human race.”
  2301.  
  2302. Allen shot her a frown, then made for the couch. “That’s not exactly encouraging.”
  2303.  
  2304. “I’ll take what I can get.” She followed him and sat down beside him, leaning on his shoulder as he turned on the TV. “She really has changed, you know.”
  2305.  
  2306. Allen’s face twisted a bit before settling on a small smile. “I suppose I can give her the benefit of the doubt.”
  2307.  
  2308. “I love you,” said Val.
  2309.  
  2310. “I still think you’re an idiot.”
  2311.  
  2312. “You pronounced ‘I love you too’ wrong.”
  2313.  
  2314. “I love you too.”
  2315.  
  2316. “Mmm. I know.”
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