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Containment Breach

Grub0830 Oct 9th, 2018 448 Never
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  1. My Thoughts,
  2. From the desk of Brianna Nezu
  3. Dictated but not read
  4.  
  5.  
  6.  
  7.  
  8.     There lies a book somewhere in a building. Not just any building, in fact, there are a lot of people that know it. Or at least of it. People familiar with the building just call it The Library. However, like most abridged names, The Library is just a quick moniker for convenience. In more formal settings, the building’s full name is the Imperial Library of the Love’s Faire Demon Realm. Not that it would tell you this if you asked it; it probably wouldn’t even answer you at all. You might even consider this to be quite rude until someone came and took you back to your padded room, because only a lunatic would talk to buildings.
  9.  
  10.     Now, inside of this building are rows and rows of books, as one might expect to find in a library. Near the back of the library, however, are rows and rows of things that only look like books. These not-quite books bear all the hallmarks of being a book, being leather bound pages of parchment and artfully inscribed covers and witty titles all scripted in loopy fonts trying to catch a passerby’s notice like fish jumping for feed. However, as the old saying goes, do not judge a book by its cover. For these tomes are not mere stacks of ink and paper, but experiences.
  11.  
  12.     The proprietor of the library, a hakutaku known as Madame Bianca, has developed on her own a particular form of magic. Coupled with her innate ability to manipulate a person’s memory, she has taken to inscribing blank books with living memories. Memories of monsters and men, these tomes bring to life the recollections within, allowing others to experience the tales these memories have to tell in ways that mere words could not describe.
  13.  
  14.     There are plenty of such tomes, all sitting in the rows in the back section of the Imperial Library of the Love’s Faire Demon Realm. Some are quite popular. Whether it be the lascivious nature of a dramatic romance, or the rush of epic battles and breakneck action, or even unique perspectives on the most mundane of lives, there seems to be a book for any experience one might wish to indulge. There are books on different trade skills, conveying a lifetime of experience in a single reading. There are even books that let one experience what it is like to be married to, or even be, different species of monster. Madame Bianca has worked tirelessly to collect and inscribe as many different memories as she can, and the rows upon rows of experience books can attest to her diligence.
  15.  
  16.     There is, however, one book in particular, that seems to stand as a bit of an oddity. It sits upon its shelf, in its designated place, stoic and dutiful. Its cover is stiff, its pages crisp, and opening it sends an air of dust and lacquer wafting up toward the nostrils. It is clear that this is a book that does not get taken off of its shelf often when compared to the worn spines and faded colors of the books around it. Bound in a cheerful pink, the book looks friendly at first, but its font is harsh on the eyes, featuring sharp angles and thick pen strokes once one looks past the cheerful pink to the title. The stern lettering reads “Containment Breach.”
  17.  
  18.     If one were to peek at the little card insert on the back cover, they would learn that Containment Breach had been checked out numerous times, but is always almost immediately returned a short time later. Now, this fact might give the impression that Containment Breach is a bad book. However, most people who plumbed its pages wouldn’t be so quick to give the deceptively pink book an outright label of “bad” book. Containment Breach was what one might call, a particular taste. Sure, the taste might be foul to some palettes, but there are a select few that had come to enjoy it. Perhaps it speaks to the wisdom of our forerunners that our preference in things such as books can be called a taste. For just like taste, it is entirely subjective from person to person. One individual’s experience of a certain instance might be completely different from another person in that same instance when viewed in the context of taste.
  19.  
  20.     To that end I postulate that Containment Breach is not a bad book. Merely, that it is a taste only suited to some. There are plenty of tastes like this. Take licorice, for example. It is bitter enough to chase away some tongues, however, to a certain palatte who not only refuses to shy from it, but embraces it, a delicate sweetness can be found underneath. It is a taste appreciated by those who like their coffee as black as night, one who enjoys grapefruit without sugar to curb the citrus bite, and the kind of person who prefers their chocolate to be accompanied by the burn of chile peppers. A peculiar kind of mind willing to push past the bitterness and find the world of flavor underneath.
  21.  
  22.     I do not fault those who take issue with Containment Breach. That they are partially my memories and memories of me certainly does not mean I take offense to those who do not find it to their taste. I cannot blame them. Their palettes lie on the other side of the spectrum, and I cannot find any ire within me over this fact. I only pray that they find something sugary to sit upon the tongue of their literary taste, while I shall take comfort that even though my memories will only speak to few, they will speak worlds. Sugar is easily digested, fleeting. It is bitters that sit down in your gut like a digestive tonic. To that end I urge anyone with the stomach to pour a cup of coffee, grab a bite of licorice, and open the first page. There you will find the words opening the gateway to a new world, and dragging you in to greet me.
  23.  
  24.  
  25.     Containment Breach
  26.  
  27.     “I am sure you are wondering why you are here.” cuts a hard, low voice through the hazy fog of a mind that would much rather have stayed in the soft, dark abyss of unconsciousness. It would have certainly been less painful than the white light that shone through even closed eyes as a painful red haze. A man opens his eyes, and the first thing he sees is the glaring white light bearing down on him like a beating sun. He holds up a hand to shield his eyes, and realizes that his arm is bereft of the white lab coat he was wearing previously. The man scrambles to his feet, and realizes that he is no longer wearing clothes at all. He glances around him, but none of the sights make sense. Like a carnival funhouse of mirrors, everything he sees is distorted. Confusing. Wrong. “Wha-” is all he can manage before a singular vision seizes his view.
  28.  
  29.     It was a woman, tall and voluptuous. The man’s eyes caught her shoes first, black glossy pumps tied with red ribbon strings to sit in a frilly bow on top. His eyes followed the white sheer stockings that ran up her legs and disappeared beneath a black skirt with a white, frilled hem. He recognized the garment as a maid’s uniform as his gaze wandered to a sizeable chest, and up past a soft chin and plump, red lips up to meet the woman’s big, red eyes. Above her face was a nest of short, silvery white hair. On top of that was a maid’s headdress, from which out poked two large, round ears covered in white fur.
  30.  
  31.     The man processed the image for a bit, and a few things clicked in his head at once. The mouse maid was staring down at him could only be a monster demon, and he was stark naked for some reason. She gave a giggle as he scrambled backward to close his legs and cover his shame from the staring woman. “Aha, where are you looking?“ she said teasingly, having caught his gaze that had so thoroughly swept her.
  32.  
  33.     “S-Sorry.” the man said, for some reason manners seemed to surface in the roiling waves of his thoughts. This was met by another giggle, and soon the woman was on him. Kneeling down, she came to eye level with him, and her big smile seemed almost warm while her piercing red eyes gave him an expression he could not read. It was somewhere between curiosity and hunger, if he had to venture a guess. “Where… where am I?”
  34.  
  35.     “Silly.” said the mouse maid, crawling over to him like a cat ready to pounce. “You’re right here, aha!” she said with a soft giggle, her smile growing wider. The man furrowed his brow in confusion, and continued to attempt to scoot away. He was not quite as fast as her, and he leaned back away until he hit the ground. Still the mouse crawled after, and soon she had crawled over him. In any other situation, the man would have found the predicament erotic, having such a voluptuous woman in such a provocative costume crawling after him with such a hungry look in her eye. Before today, the man would have even admitted that such a thing had happened to him more than once in the many comfort fantasies that visited him in the dead hours of the night.
  36.  
  37.     “Coral.” barked the voice from before. The man blinked a few times, and registered that there was another figure in the room. Yes, his mind caught on, for the mouse maid’s voice was soft, playful, and even bouncy. This new voice was cold, hard, and tired.  “Let us not smother our new friend, he has had quite the experience.” it said.
  38.  
  39.     The mouse called Coral seemed to register these words, and she sprang up to her feet with a nod. “Oh, right! I forgot.”
  40. “Remember how disoriented you were when you were first reduced?” said the hard voice.
  41. “Bwa?” said Coral, looking confused.
  42. There was the sound of an exasperated sigh, and the voice continued. “...When they first made you small, Coral. Remember?”
  43. “Oh. Right!” said Coral with a smile and a nod. “My head felt all fssssht!” she said, moving her hands in an explosive motion by her ears. “And then it was whoooo, loopy loop.” she continued, this time her hands moving in a corkscrew motion. Her arms fell to her sides, and she looked up quizzically. “...Took a while for things to look like things again.”
  44.  
  45.     There was a long pause, “...Indeed. Now if you’ll kindly stop trying to mount Mister Rowe, we can get on with our business.”
  46. “But, Brianna. I thought mounting him WAS the business.” said Coral.
  47. “We can’t do that Coral. Just because we’re monsters doesn’t mean we’re rapists.” answered the voice in an exasperated tone that suggested they’d said this many times before.
  48. “...Isn’t that exactly what that means?” said Coral, who gave a puzzled look.
  49. “Just get off of him before I become cross.” said the voice, the irritation palpable and suggesting the threshold was a lot closer than the calm tone would otherwise belie.
  50. “Cross what, Brianna?”
  51.  
  52.     There was a dull thud that resounded out from behind the mouse obscuring Mister Rowe’s vision, like the sound of flesh hitting metal. “Every conversation with you is more evidence that the experiments have killed me and I have been damned to live in some kind of endless purgatory… Coral. Reach into his pockets and bring me his pen.”
  53. “Right away, Brianna!” said Coral, eagerly. Happy for a chance to help her friend, she moved out of Rowe’s vision and started rummaging around in some kind of large white sheet.
  54.  
  55.     It was when Coral took the pilfered items and hastily walked away did he finally start to form coherent thoughts. Coral walked with a bouncing step all the way to a large cage, carrying a very familiar pen that seemed as if it were the size of a large tree branch. That couldn’t be right, thought Rowe. If it were his pen, it couldn’t be that big. Yet, there it was. The nervous bite marks on the top were telltale.
  56.  
  57. Rowe’s gaze followed Coral until he saw that inside the cage stood another mouse girl, this one wearing a white lab coat. Rowe looked around and saw that he was standing on top of a table, the same one he had been standing over not ten minutes before. The truth hit him like a falling star screaming out of the black abyss of space. He had been shrunk down to the size of a mouse.
  58.  
  59.     Rowe spun in place, his mind processing the same room he had been in before, only now his perspective was much, much smaller. The chalkboard, the glass beakers, the arcane runes in the ceiling which cast a soft yellow light around the room. It was all so familiar, but seemed alien now that he’d been shrunk to the size of the test subjects. His breath came quicker, and the world started to spin.
  60.  
  61.     “I understand that this must be a bit of a shock to you… Mister Rowe?” came the voice of the mouse girl in the lab coat. “Coral!” the voice said, urgently. “He’s hyperventilating, go catch him before he falls!”
  62. “Right!” said Coral smartly, before springing into action.
  63.  
  64.     The maid girl was on Rowe in a flash. The man had been wobbling dangerously, and standing so close to the edge of the table meant he was liable to stumble off. Coral came to stand behind him, putting her hands on his shoulders, and gently steering Rowe back toward the cage.
  65.  
  66.     Rowe felt queasy and dizzy at the same time, and allowed himself to be half-guided, half-carried over to the cage. “Who… Who are you? Why am I small? Did you… did you do this to me?”
  67.  
  68.     “We did.” said the mouse in the lab coat, who had fabricated some sort of lock pick out of his pen and was currently picking at the tumblers of her cage. Brianna had a frustrated look in her eyes, mostly because picking the lock was slow going when she could not see. Her position inside the cage meant that she had to pick at the tumblers by feel alone. “And for that I must apologize. I know the reduction experience can be quite disorienting, so just relax until it wears off. The magic ensures your brain adapts to the compressed size, but the process is not without side effects.”
  69.  
  70.     “Why… why did you-?” asked Rowe shakily before he was interrupted by the click of the lock, which sounded quite loud to creatures as small as they were.
  71.  
  72. “To better communicate with you.” Briana said, stepping out of her cage. “You cannot perceive what we truly are outside of the enchantment.”
  73.  
  74. “Wait, what enchant-” Rowe began, but was cut off.
  75.  
  76. “Do you remember what you were observing before you were reduced, Mister Rowe?”
  77.  
  78.     Rowe wracked his brain. Yes, the memories were coming back. He was a clerk, working for the Royal Order Institute of Science. “I was… I remember observing the test mice. My job is to record the eating habits of the test-”
  79.  
  80. “Now take another look at us. Do we look familiar?”
  81.  
  82.     Rowe looked back to meet the gaze of Brianna, and could not find anything recognizable about her, and then he turned to Coral’s smiling face. He shrugged, unable to find anything familiar about the mouse maid, either, until she started wiggling her ears. He squinted, taking a closer look at the ears atop her head, and then he started to realize that they did indeed look familiar.
  83.  
  84.     “Wait… wait wait wait wait wait...” Rowe said, his head spinning again. “Are you telling me that… you...”
  85.  
  86. “Precisely, Mister Rowe.” answered Brianna. She started to pace around him, arms clasped behind her back. While Coral wore a perpetual smile to compliment her maid’s outfit, Brianna’s expression was stoic and hard. “You have only ever seen us as normal mice. However, that is due to a glamour cast upon us as part of the curse that keeps us reduced.”
  87.  
  88.     Rowe held his head, which did not cease its spinning. “How… why? You’ve been people this whole time?”
  89.  
  90.     “Something akin to that, yes. Certainly more than the mere lab rats you thought us to be. This facility studies the effects of demonic energy on animals, right? When you were brought on, they probably told you they were interested in developing bigger cows that produce more milk, or some other such altruistic use for demonic energy since anyone knows that corrupted animals are bigger and stronger than their counterparts.”
  91.  
  92. “They said we would be developing bigger chickens, that lay bigger eggs more often than normal… Fatter pigs, and crops that could be taken in more than once a harvest...” Rowe said with a shaky voice. “It was… all a lie?”
  93.  
  94.     “Not likely.” answered Brianna. “Certainly the Institute is researching every aspect of Demonic Energy that they can… unfortunately it also includes research on people who have been corrupted.”
  95.  
  96. “Wait, you were once people?” said Rowe, his voice full of disbelief.
  97.  
  98. “I ascertain that we are still people, but I assume you meant that we were once human. Yes, we were.” said Brianna. She moved to stand in front of him fully, and Rowe saw that her lab coat was the only garment she wore aside from a pair of pink slacks. Her bare feet paced along the cool marble of the table top, pink toes peeking out from underneath short, grey fur that grew from her ankles and disappeared upward under her slacks. Her lab coat was buttoned at the top, hiding her chest underneath it while exposing her midriff. She had a flat stomach, though the lab coat seemed to suggest her chest bore an equal curvature, for there was not even the slightest  hint of the phenomenon Rowe had long since mentally labeled “underboob”.
  99.  
  100.     Brianna looked a bit different in terms of her mouse features than Coral. The first striking difference was that while Coral’s ears were small and stuck straight up out of her hair, almost as if it were an accessory to her maid’s headband, Brianna’s ears were large and floppy. The weight of them hung down around Brianna’s shoulders like thin white sheets, reminding Rowe of a bridal veil. Her eyes were brown, the same color as her hair, while her expression was stoic and cold.
  101.  
  102. “I was a human, from the village of Ikyo, a small province under the rule of the Kingdom of Zhoros. A childhood infection of the spinal cord me mostly paralyzed. I required numerous treatments that my family could ill afford. Eventually my care came to the Institute, who was all too happy to test monster energy for my rehabilitation. It worked, though I'm afraid the lesions on my larynx have left scars that have not fully healed, which can explain my voice. I am sorry if the sound grates on your ears.”
  103.  
  104. Rowe stood there silently, taking all of the information he was given and letting it sit on his mind as he continued to piece the puzzle together. He turned to Coral, who remained standing near him, hands clasped behind her back. She smiled a bit wider as he turned to her. “And you?” Rowe asked.
  105.  
  106. “Born in Phaern, Mister Rowe.” she said with a curtsy. “It’s near Ikyo, but a bigger city.”
  107. “The Institute took you in?” asked Rowe.
  108. “Yes, sir. ” she said, giving a quick bow with each answer.
  109.  
  110.     “Coral was born with a blood disorder that resulted in hypoxia, a condition where her brain was not able to get enough oxygen. Phaern is a bigger city, but the poorer districts may as well be on the other side of the world for all the help they get. Treatment for such maladies is… well, you know how The Order works.”
  111.  
  112.     Rowe remained silent, for in fact he did know The Order’s policies on health care. The only classes of population who mattered were the Heroes, and then the Clergy. Politicians were not given preferential treatment by way of station unless they were royalty, but people like that usually had the gold to buy whatever care they needed. It was the rest of the population that had to deal without the ease of divine spellcasting to remove diseases and restore lost constitution. No, the ravages of plague and pestilence had free reign over anyone who could not afford the inordinate costs of magical assistance.
  113.  
  114.     Sure, there were alchemists and local doctors who tried their best, but such treatment was a gamble few were willing to take. Doctors who made themselves available for the poor were usually the ones that had failed to make a living in the upper echelons of so-called civilized society. A poor man’s doctor could very well have been regulated to the cheapside districts due to ineptitude, and patrons of such services were generally at risk for all manner of malpractice. Still, risk hardly ever completely deters the desperate.
  115.  
  116.     Alchemists were another option, their tonics and potions purported to blend the magic and sciences to something even more potent. Sometimes they even worked. Still, for every honest advocate of the alchemical arts, there seemed to be ten more charlatans perfectly willing to prey upon the predicaments of the penniless. Alchemy proved to be an even greater gamble than the doctors, for the few alchemists actually trying to help people were far outnumbered by those willing to sell bottles of colored sugar water and call it salvation. Hard earned copper bought lies shaped like hope, and promises found themselves with no shortage of suppliers.
  117.  
  118.     “Mom and dad tried everything, but they couldn’t afford much.” Coral said, her words bearing a somber weight, even though the smile never left her face. “They owed a lot of money to a man named Mister Spife, so they worked for him. I tried working, too. I didn’t like seeing mom and dad work so hard… but I was never good at anything. I guess my head just never worked right after I got sick. I had a hard time remembering what I was told to do, and Mister Spife got angry… He didn’t like me, because I was useless. That’s okay, though. I didn’t mind that he didn’t like me. But then I got older, and he started liking me a lot… Sometimes I think mom and dad gave me to The Institute so Mister Spife wouldn’t be able to like me any more...”
  119.  
  120.     Rowe felt a weight in his chest. As a researcher for The Institute, he had grown up within The Order. He was no Hero, but he had a sharp mind, and was good at following directions. The Order needed men like him, cogs in the machine. Still, even a cog needed care, lest it break. Rowe had lived a privileged life compared to the peasants in cheapside. He was given food, clothing, shelter, and even a minor pittance. All he had to do was what he was told, and he was taken care of, and what he was told to do was rarely ever taxing. Write the numbers, copy the text. A clerk’s life was not glamorous, but it was mildly comfortable. Rowe felt a weight of shame settle over him as Coral told him of her life before coming here. “I’m sorry…” he found himself saying, then shook his head. “That must have been some time ago...” he said, for the two women in front of him now seemed fully grown. Brianna looked younger, but he supposed that might have been the wiry frame of her body. She looked younger compared to the matronly form of Coral.
  121.  
  122.     “The years have blurred together, so I cannot say.” Brianna said. “My parents eventually stopped coming. I expect The Institute has long since told anyone that we are dead. All the better to run their experiments, I suppose. Without peasants checking in every so often.” The mouse girl shrugged.
  123.  
  124.     “Wait, why would they shrink you down? Why do you look like normal mice when I was big?” Rowe said, his mind getting faster at putting the pieces together. He could feel the hazy fog wearing off, and questions welled within him. Things were starting to make sense, but only just.
  125.  
  126.     “To better keep us under control, Mister Rowe. Monsterization healed us, but it also changed us. We were the daughters of peasants, but now. We are demons. Corrupted by the energy, and as a result, magic comes to us just as easily as any Order Mage. The first couple of breakouts were entirely unexpected, but our abilities were fledgling. We were overpowered by The Order’s more experienced mages, then The Institute started implementing stricter and tighter security to prevent our escape… but we kept trying. Every night, we would attempt to break free. Eventually, The Institute decided we were too much trouble and placed the Reduction enchantment on us. An experiment buried underneath a glamour. They still monitor us, and sometimes we are used as experiments. I do believe you periodically monitor our food intake and activity levels. At this point I’m almost entirely certain that they wish to see how long we can go without spirit energy until we start to starve.”
  127.  
  128.     “Oh… Because you don’t have a male to produce it for you.” Rowe said, another piece of the puzzle falling into place. “They shouldn’t starve you though… That’s not right.” he said. He knew The Order’s stance on demons. Rowe even thought for a moment that he should be afraid for his life, but the absurdity of the situation had overridden his training. Nothing about either Brianna or Coral seemed remotely intimidating. Only then another piece of the puzzle fell into place, and he suddenly felt very afraid.
  129.  
  130.     “You don’t have a male… and you shrank me...” he said, slowly starting to back away.
  131.  
  132. Brianna rolled her eyes. “Mister Rowe, please. We do not wish to consume you, no. If you keep backing away like that, you’re going to be in danger of falling off the table again.”
  133.  
  134. Her words were true enough, he was starting to get dangerously close to the edge. He didn’t know if the fall would kill him, but it certainly looked high enough from his position to seem quite painful. “Then why did you shrink me if not to eat me for my spirit energy?” Rowe had been given only cursory knowledge of demons. That they were beautiful, cunning, and preyed upon men to consume their souls. That they had admitted to being the cause of his reduction seemed to fall into place with those facts at the forefront of his mind. Surely they planned to eat him to regain some of their strength, and then attempt another escape. He took a guarded position at the edge of the table, and looked between the mouse girls like a trapped animal. He noticed Coral’s smile fall a bit, and another surge of guilt played over him. He found that he did not like seeing her with that expression.
  135.  
  136. “Please don’t fall, Mister Rowe.” said Coral, her ears drooping slightly. “We never wanted you to get hurt.”
  137. “Yes, we only want to talk.” said Brianna. “We will return you to your original size, if you will but hear us out.”
  138.  
  139. The mice had made no aggressive moves, and Rowe found himself grateful that they had allowed him a wide berth so that he did not back up against the edge of the table. Coral’s expression was soft, while Brianna’s remained cold and stoic. Almost bored, with a slight, disapproving scowl. Rowe looked from one mouse, to the other, and slowly nodded. “How did you even manage to do this?”
  140.  
  141. “We expended the last of our magical reserves.” Brianna answered. “I have an eidetic and photographic memory. I don’t know if I was possessed of these gifts before I was changed, or if they are a result of my monsterization, but I do know that I can recall any of the glyphs I have seen with perfect precision. I picked our locks and proceeded to paint a reducing glyph on the floor using my own blood. It was set to trigger when you stepped into its field. The rest was simply returning to my cage and waiting for you to come in for your checks.”
  142.  
  143. Rowe turned his head, and scanned the floor. Sure enough, thin red lines could barely be seen traced along the white marble floor. He had to squint to barely make them out, and was not surprised that he did not notice them when he walked in. “Your blood?” he asked, lost in thought as his eyes traced the rune on the ground. “Are you okay?”
  144.  
  145. There was a short pause, almost as if this question had not been entirely expected. There was a bit of warmth in Brianna’s voice as she answered. “Yes, Mister Rowe. Thank you for asking. I only had to bite the soft tissue of my cheek, and monsters heal quickly.”
  146. “That looks like a lot of blood...” said Rowe, concerned.
  147. “Even the most superfluous wound of the facial region bleeds profusely, Mister Rowe. I assure you that I am, even now, quite recovered from the expenditure. Still, I feel it was the last of any magical power I had.”
  148.  
  149. Rowe nodded, then turned back, eyeing the mice suspiciously. “All right. Well, you shrank me so I could see you for what you are. The Institute has been running experiments on you while most people just think that they’re testing lab rats...” Rowe found the words tumbling out of him as the pieces continued to fall into place, and he finally started seeing the picture therein. “You want me to help you escape.” he said finally.
  150.  
  151. Brianna wordlessly gave a slow nod, while Coral’s nod was more animated. “We would just love you if you helped us!”
  152. “It, Coral. We would love IT if he helped us.” Brianna said quickly.
  153. “But, Brianna. If he gave us his spirit energy, he would-”
  154. “Yes. Coral.” Brianna said, giving a pained expression. “I understand, but HE doesn’t! Try to keep the plan in that sieve of a brain you have.”
  155. “Oh ohhhhh, right... Well he’s not gotten hard, so I don’t think the maid outfit worked.”
  156.  
  157.     There was a sharp, slapping sound as Brianan forcefully applied her  palm to her own forehead. “Coral, you are the picture of subtlety.” she said, her voice almost literally dripping with sarcasm. Rowe found himself looking rather confused between the two, having become lost in the conversation again. Brianna held up a hand, the fleshy pink of her skin giving way to the grey fur of her wrists and lower arms. “Mister Rowe. We could use an influx of your spirit energy. I know you think that means we want to devour you, but no. A male’s soul energy is mostly concentrated in his sexual fluids.”
  158.  
  159.     Rowe gave a perplexed look. “Wait, what?“
  160.  
  161. Brianna shrugged. “No one really knows why. Perhaps it is because sexual fluids are the biological conduit for reproduction, and thus the vector for the creation of new souls. It really has not been thoroughly vetted, but the facts remain. We need your semen to power our magic. With an influx of fresh soul energy, it will resonate with our demonic magics, and by my calculations we will have the ability to stifle the binding runes that keep us here. Then, with a bit more of your help, we can break free.”
  162.  
  163. “…You need my semen.” Rowe repeated, hoping the situation would seem less absurd if he heard the words out loud. It did not.
  164. “As much as possible!” said Coral. “Look, I even dressed sexy for you!” Coral gave a little twirl about, giggling a bit before facing Rowe again. “I figured if I wore something sexy, it would make you excited and you’d produce more for us! Plus, Brianna said that you would be more likely to help us if you found me appealing.”
  165.  
  166.     Brianna heaved a sigh. “Subtle as a flying hammer, Coral...”
  167.  
  168. Coral gave a laugh, and bounced up to Rowe before he could even think about retreating further. She leaned in close, until her face was rather close to his. “What do you say? Will you help?”
  169.  
  170.     Rowe remained silent for a long, stifling moment. His mouth hung agape as he struggled to find words. His Order training had been extensive, but cogs in The Order’s machine were hardly ever given more consideration than necessary. Sure, he’d been told that monsters were dangerous man eaters who would tempt a man to damnation, but it’s not like he’d ever encountered one before. Besides, these two were human once. Surely that counted for something. Rowe found himself looking at the situation not as being tempted, but as someone being asked for help. One look between Coral and Brianna told him that these two were not monsters, no matter what The Order had said. Besides, even if they were demons, they were still once human. Being held captive and used for experiments did not ring right to him at all. No, he found himself thinking. He couldn’t just leave them to their fate.
  171.  
  172.     “All right… I’ll do it.” he found himself saying. His heart pounded in his chest. The gravity of defying The Order was immense, but he found that once the words left his lips, he could not bid him return. Rowe found himself playing out the immediate future in his head, and nodded. He would help the two mice escape, and then return to his duties without anyone being the wiser. His mind came to the task at hand, and he felt immediately self-conscious.
  173.  
  174.     Almost as if he’d finally realized that he was naked, Rowe turned away from the girls. Certainly his cock was no impressive display, for Rowe would have been the first to admit that he was a grower, not a shower. He thought for a moment that this was probably the least erotic situation he’d ever been in, and found that his cock was a limp, slightly mushy affair. “I suppose I should probably find… like, a cup or something...” he said sheepishly.
  175.  
  176.     Brianna and Coral exchanged looks, and Brianna even offered an encouraging nod. Rowe found that the world kind of retreated from his vision as he tried to look around for some kind of container. That was step one, and it was something he could focus on, while he tried not to think of what he was about to do. The gravity of the decision to defy The Order, to help the girls, and the implications of what it all meant The Order was capable of. If they’d buried the truth under a glamour, then what would they do to a lowly cog who meant nothing? He tried not to think of it. Just as he tried not to think of the prospect of masturbating with two girls watching.
  177.  
  178.     Some men would have thought that any sexual encounter with two females to be the epitome of erotic fantasy, but Rowe felt his chest tighten and his breath come quicker. For the moment he agreed to help, he had felt powerful, like a true Hero. He would assist two downtrodden girls escape imprisonment because it was the right thing to do. They would be free to live out fulfilling lives, because he had made a choice. Everyone knew the tales of Heroes and rescuing people from bad situations was what they did. It was certainly an attractive fantasy. Now, the reality of his decision cast a shadow over his mind.
  179.  
  180.     Rowe often tried to break down stressful situations into little, digestible pieces. Right now, his first step was to find a cup. He tried not to think of the second step, which was to masturbate to completion so that he could deliver the spirit energy necessary to fuel the mice's magics. There was a little voice in him that told him he wouldn’t be able to do it. He tried to stifle this voice, knowing that stressing about the situation would only make doing what needed to be done, that much harder. Still, telling himself not to stress seemed to just make it worse, as as his heart beat faster in his chest, a louder voice telling him that he was going to have to tell the girls they chose poorly. Their captivity would not be broken, because he was too scared to get an erection. Another voice joined, this one angry that the girls should put him in such a situation. No man would be able to just stroke themselves off moments after this kind of shock. The voice of guilt, telling him that the girls were just desperate, and grasping at any hope of salvation joined, making Rowe feel even worse.
  181.  
  182. You’ll never be a hero, stop trying to pretend. Just tell them you can’t do it. It’s not your fault. It is your fault. It’s just stroking off, you do it almost every day. How could they expect you to do that? It’s unfair of them. They have no right to put you in this position. They can’t be angry if you can’t do it. You never could do it. You’re weak. Maybe there’s another way. Coward, just do it.
  183.  
  184. More voices joined, until the inside of his head was full of a cacophonous tumult that he tried to rationalize away, but found that there was only one thought that pervaded above all else. He wasn’t going to be able to get an erection. An eternity passed inside of his head, and Rowe felt the initial rush of heroic intent leave his body.
  185.  
  186. Two hands reached out to place themselves on either side of Rowe’s shoulders.
  187. “We are asking a lot.” said Brianna, a bit more warmth creeping into her voice.
  188. “We know it’s, well. A bit much to take in all at once.” said Coral.
  189.  
  190.     Rowe could not help but find some comfort in the gesture, and he took a deep breath, feeling some of the internal voices quieten inside of his mind, and the world fell back into focus a little bit.
  191. “It is a lot to process, and normally we’d not dump everything out so quickly, but I’m afraid we do not have the luxury of time.” said Brianna. “We need your help, and we need it now. That being said, allow us to shoulder some of the burden. Our accord is not entirely without benefit to you.”
  192.  
  193.     Rowe looked back at the two mice girls, and found that Coral was smiling warmly while Brianna’s expression had softened just a bit from her stoic, aloof stare.
  194. “Demon physique is built for pleasure. I’m afraid my own body is sorely lacking in this,” said Brianna. Rowe felt the urge to protest, but the mouse girl kept speaking. “However, Coral seems to have all of the primary sexual characteristics that I’m almost positive she could elicit a breeding response in your hormones.”
  195.  
  196.     Brianna’s clinical demeanor seemed to fluster Coral, who grabbed Brianna by the shoulders, and pushed her back. “You’re saying it all blegh!” she said. “You’re gonna make him soft forever talking like that.”
  197. Brianna’s expression broke out of its mold to look a bit confused, shocked even. “I am merely stating that your body should be able to arouse him to the extent we need. How can that simple observation inhibit the release of hormones in his body?”
  198. “But it’s not sexy, Brianna!“ Coral said.
  199. “How is impending sexual intercourse not sexy?” Brianna asked in a matter-of-fact tone. “Riddle me that, Coral.”
  200. “Because you’re just being all… blegh!” Coral said.
  201. “Oh, pardon me. I wasn’t aware that I’d been interred next to a penile savant.” Brianna said, a cold sarcasm creeping into the stony timbre.
  202. Coral gave a frown. “You know, I’d put his cock in your mouth just to make you quiet for a bit, but I think I want the first taste. You can just watch!”
  203. “Tch, I’ll be making preparations to dispel the binding runes...” Briana said, before walking over to the edge of the table, and hopping off the edge down to the seat of the chair, and then hopping down to the floor.
  204.  
  205.     Rowe felt all the tension he was feeling leave his body as he watched the mice bicker. He felt the sisterly bond between them, because in his experience, no one but family argued like that. Coral approached him once more, and stood close to his front. “Can I hug you?” she asked shyly. Rowe nodded, feeling like he could use one himself. He opened his arms, and took the mouse girl into his embrace. She pressed herself against his naked form, burying her head into his chest. “It really means a lot that you’re helping us.” she said, her voice barely above a whisper. Holding her there, Rowe found that there was not an ounce of regret for agreeing to help her. He took a deep breath, and found that her hair had a pleasant, earthy scent to it.
  206.  
  207.     Coral pulled away, just a bit, and looked up at Rowe’s taller form with bright, cheerful eyes. “Just let me do all the work!” she said with a dutiful smile, and then she got down on her knees. Rowe looked down, and saw her little maid’s skirt all but settled around her as she tucked her legs underneath her so she could maneuver her head to the height of his crotch. His heart pounded in his chest, though there was less tightness this time. He felt a bit anxious, but he found that he trusted Coral completely, despite that they’d only just met. Was this an effect of the demonic energy she supposedly exuded? He could not say for sure, only that he was confident that Coral was good hands to be in, and it wasn’t long until the metaphorical was made literal as she took him into her hands.
  208.  
  209.     “Goodness, there’s some heft to it.” Coral said, her fingers playing around the soft skin of his limp cock. Rowe felt the urge to apologize, feeling a bit of shame that he wasn’t hard already, but she gave a soft laugh and leaned forward before he could do so. “Let’s wake him up, shall we?” she said with a giggle. Rowe caught the sight of Coral pursing her lips, full and plump, before she leaned in to place a gentle kiss on his cock head.
  210.  
  211.     The world fell away from his perception once again, though this time he was not left with an angry void of mental anguish. His mind had just simply decided the rest of the world was not important as even the feather-light touch of Coral’s lips sent a ripple of gentle pleasure coursing through his cock and up his spine. It wasn’t an orgasmic tingle, but it was a deep pleasure. Like a thorough massage, chasing away all of the stress carried in his muscles, the gentle kisses of Coral’s lips on his cock sent waves through his body and Rowe felt them wash away his fears, his anxieties, and his doubts. They didn’t matter, all that mattered was the pleasure.
  212.  
  213.     The effects of Coral’s intimate kisses was not purely mental, for Rowe’s worries about not being able to sustain an erection for the task at hand were laid to an abrupt rest as Coral’s oral affections sent his blood surging and soon his cock stood at a stiff, ready attention. As his length dutifully answered the siren call of Coral’s lips, Rowe felt even more relief. He was up to the task after all, he thought.
  214.  
  215.     Coral did not stop at one kiss, indeed lavishing even more of her soft lips upon every inch of flesh that Rowe could offer her. Rowe felt himself grow harder, and his skin grew even tighter as he felt himself grow more aroused than he’d ever been in his life. Gone was the shyness, the reluctance, the self-consciousness. An inner fire welled up in his chest, burning all of the doubt and shame away. What was left was a flame-tempered confidence. He didn’t have the words to describe it in the moment, but right then, he would have strode out into an arena filled with thousands as naked as he was, and felt not a drop of humility. Nothing was left of his fear of inadequacy, no. He could maintain an erection tall and proud before any number of people, even masturbate to completion if he wanted. The masses could watch if he wanted, it didn’t matter. He was in control.
  216.  
  217.     “Do my hands feel good?” came the soft voice of Coral, bringing Rowe back to reality. He looked down, and saw that his cock was erect bigger than he’d ever seen it. Not that he was suddenly a horse-cocked stallion, but it definitely seemed to have more heft to it. He found his gaze was drawn to Coral’s red eyes, despite the thin wisps of translucent black smoke that wafted from underneath Coral’s fingertips as she ran them up and down his length. Brianna’s mana reserves had been spent, while Coral was not yet depleted.
  218.  
  219.     “They feel wonderful.” Rowe said, taking a deep breath. Indeed, the tracing of Coral’s fingertips was exquisite, but the sultry smile the mouse maid gave him made his heart quicken with anticipation. More and more his body responded to the demonic energy being delivered through Coral’s touches, and he soon found himself steadily rocking his hips into Coral’s hands as she wrapped them both around his length.
  220.  
  221.     “You always had such gentle hands...” Coral said as she glided her soft skin along his taut cock. “That’s why we chose you, you know...”
  222. Coral’s voice was a low, sultry tone, as she leaned forward to place another delicate kiss on Rowe’s cockhead. Her red eyes continued to gaze up at his even as she snaked a tongue out to lick the underside of it. “You always handled us with such care… We thought we should repay the favor~”
  223.  
  224. `    Rowe felt himself give out an involuntary moan as Coral’s lips started to plant more kisses, this time skipping along the underside of his shaft until she kissed each one of his hanging balls individually. He watched as she opened her mouth and her tongue danced out to lick underneath his sack and then drag itself along the underside of Rowe’s cock until she was back at his tip. Rowe gave a sharp inhale as Coral’s tongue completed its journey, the wet, slick warmth of her tongue causing dull waves of pleasure shooting through his body.
  225.  
  226.     Rowe looked down to see Coral give him another smile, before opening her mouth and leaning forward. Rowe felt her lips slide over his head, and wrap themselves around the flare of his head before the tip of Coral’s tongue started an intimate dance with the tip of his cock. Rowe found his breath shaking with the waves of pleasure that grew more insistent.
  227.  
  228.     Rowe reached out to run his hands through Coral’s hair, finding that the silky strands plied through his fingers as he stroked her head. Coral’s mouse ears pressed flat, and her eyes fluttered closed as she started to suckle his cock head as her fingertips continued their wandering. Coral gave a muffled moan before Rowe felt her press forward, her mouth enveloping more of his length. He gave out an audible moan as he felt himself push past her mouth and the top of his cock entered the silky confines of the mouse maid’s throat.
  229.  
  230.     Coral’s lips kissed his base, and he even felt her tongue slide out to tickle his balls once again. She held it there for a moment, even bobbed a little, causing Rowe to gasp out in pleasure before she relaxed and brought her head back. The cool air of the lab did not have time to chill the saliva left on Rowe’s cock, for the instant Coral eased up, her hands wrapped around his length while his head remained locked behind her suckling lips.
  231.  
  232.     Her red eyes pierced him again, batting long lashes up at Rowe’s disbelieving gaze as he attempted to catch his breath. This was made almost impossible as the mouse maid proceeded to bob her head, dragging her lips along the sensitive nerve endings on his cockhead, while her hands glided along the saliva-slick skin of his length. Her grip was firm, providing almost the perfect amount of pressure. The combined assault of her palms pressing around his length as she slid them back and forth, while she continued to suckle on his head as her tongue played with his tip, made Rowe’s knees almost buckle under the waves of pleasure she sent coursing through him.
  233.  
  234.     As she slid her hands back and forth, her fingers trailed behind as she pulled them back, catching his balls on the downstroke with a delicate tickle of her fingertips. Rowe gritted his teeth as he attempted to maintain his composure, even as his breath became just as shaky as his legs.
  235.  
  236.     Coral’s affections made short work of Rowe’s mental defenses, and soon his cock was twitching as beads of pre leaked steadily from his head. Coral’s tongue greedily lapped these vestiges up, for even Rowe’s pre was saturated with his spirit energy. The delicious taste only spurred her onward to an even more fevered pace, and soon Rowe felt the electrical surges of white pleasure arcing along his cock and traveling up his spine.
  237.  
  238.     The thin black smoke came thicker now as Coral continued her work, her own demonic mana coating Rowe’s cock as thickly as her own saliva. The mouse maid was not the magus that Brianna was, but Coral’s monster instincts could not be denied.
  239.  
  240.     “If you keep... going like that...” Rowe said tentatively, his voice shaking in between pleasured gasps. Coral’s response was just a low, sensual moan as she continued her pace. She didn’t need to frantically pump his cock, confident that her steady pace would break through whatever mental defenses he could muster. In Rowe’s case, that was not much. He felt the white hot electricity well up inside of him as his cock first gave a few dry twitches.
  241.  
  242.     Coral pulled back, holding his cock head in her mouth resting on her tongue before Rowe erupted with a torrent of thick cum. The human reached out to hold Coral’s head in both hands, almost as if to steady himself and prevent his shaking legs from buckling as he deposited rope after stringy rope of fresh cum right onto the mouse maid’s tongue. “Mmf!” Coral gave a bit of a surprised, if muffled, groan as Rowe rode out what had to be the biggest orgasm of his life, and the biggest load he’d ever shot.
  243.  
  244.     The human almost fell back, but his hand was caught by Coral, and he found his balance steadied as the warmth of his orgasmic afterglow settled about him like a blanket. Rowe closed his eyes as he attempted to regain some control of his mental facilities, but when he opened them, he saw Coral waving off the edge of the table to Brianna.
  245.  
  246.     The smaller mouse climbed back up the chair, and hefted herself over the edge of the table to Coral, who still held his cum in her mouth. Rowe watched in disbelief as Coral leaned down to Brianna, and both mice opened their mouths to press together in a deep, passionate kiss. It was all he could do to prevent his jaw from dropping as the smaller mouse girl moaned into the kiss as the two entwined tongues. His cum soon coated both mouse girl’s mouths as their kiss spread his milky effluence all over each other’s mouths.
  247.     Rowe felt himself start to get hard again as the mouse girls shared their intimate exchange, and Brianna’s eyes opened to meet his gaze. She did not break her kiss with Coral, but her steely gaze seemed to disapprove of just how much Rowe enjoyed the sight. Then her eye closed again, and returned to the kiss.
  248.  
  249.     Rowe watched as the light seemed to almost bend around the entwined mice, a flickering black shadow, almost like an inverse flame, sprang to life around their bodies. The demonic energy, Rowe surmised. Their soul resonated with the spirit energy so generously offered them, and soon Brianna pulled away, swallowing her share of Rowe’s cum.
  250. “Yes!” she cried, as her black flame surged even more. “Now I can break the runes that bind us here.”
  251.  
  252.     Brianna scampered off the table once again, while Coral returned to Rowe’s side. “Thank you again, Mister Rowe.” she said, beaming a wide, almost goofy, smile.
  253. Rowe rubbed the back of his neck, almost ashamed that he had enjoyed it so much. “I hardly feel like I did anything at all.“ he said. It was true, too. Far from his worry about being unable to provide the spirit energy needed, now he felt as if he had done nothing but receive a blowjob. It certainly was not the heroic endeavor he envisioned when he first agreed to help, but he also felt that he had no room to complain about it.
  254.  
  255. “Don’t be silly, Mister Rowe.” Coral said, giggling again. “We’d still be stuck here if not for you.”
  256.  
  257. Down below, Brianna had located the binding runes at the threshold of the door. She knew them well. They had been etched there to prevent the mice from ever leaving the room, even if they did manage to get out of their cage. Brianna surmised that The Institute had severely underestimated their ability to escape their cage, otherwise the runes would have been etched onto the bars. Still, thought the mouse, perhaps it was beyond the ken of The Order mages to think that far ahead. Then again, it was awfully hard to etch runes on the tiny bars of a mouse cage. And runes on the doorway meant that no one could accidentally move their cage or the table out of binding runes etched onto the floor. Still, such musings were only wasting time. The runes were at the threshold of the doorway, and now was the time to act.
  258.  
  259. The crackling black energy of Brianna’s demon magic surged out from her palms as she applied her own energy into the binding runes, and she smiled when they gave a sharp pop before winking out. The mouse girl then returned to the other two on top of the table. “It is done.” she said.
  260.  
  261. “So, what now?” said Rowe.
  262.  
  263. “Now we return you to your original size. With the binding runes gone, we can pass through the threshold. Simply carry us in your pockets and out the nearest exit. Do not stop.” answered Brianna. “If you dally, you run the risk of all of us being caught. Now, return to the reduction sigil and I can weave the countercurse.”
  264.  
  265. “Don’t you want to return to being big?” asked Rowe.
  266.  
  267. “In due time.” answered Brianna, with a hint of irritation. “I expect that smuggling out two demons from a compound filled with The Order is easier when those demons can fit in your pocket. I expect people would notice our demonic features should we return to full size inside the compound.”
  268.  
  269. “Oh… right.” said Rowe.
  270. “Be nice to him!” said Coral, frowning. “He just helped us.”
  271.  
  272. “My apologies if my tone offends you.” Brianna said, flatly. “But we are pressed for time. Return to the reduction circle.”
  273.  
  274. Rowe, with the help of the two mice girls, made it back down to the floor, and walked into the center of the rune. Brianna sent a little of the black energy crackling into the red lines painted from her own blood, and soon the rune glowed red.
  275.  
  276.     Returning to human size was not as disorienting as shrinking, Rowe found. He was a bit wobbly at first, but reached out to steady himself on the chair. He looked down to see Brianna and Coral, now once again under the effects of the glamour. He saw them as two white mice, one with large ears, one with short.
  277.  
  278.     Hastily donning his clothes again, Rowe turned back around to see the mice had not moved from their position on the table. Remembering Coral’s comment about his gentle hands, he cupped them and held them out. Brianna and Coral walked over, and he lifted them both to his inner coat pocket.
  279.  
  280.     Rowe’s heart beat so loudly in his chest that he feared someone might actually hear his anxiety as he made his way through the stone corridors at a hurried pace. He tried to hurry, but not look as if he was hurrying. Thankfully, cogs in the machine were paid no mind. As it turns out, most people are so focused on themselves that they rarely pay attention to other people when it comes to the day to day goings on of a place like The Institute. Most people are so concerned with their own happenings that hardly a thought is given to a clerk making his way amidst the hustle and bustle of The Institute.
  281.  
  282. Rowe’s fear gave way to exhilaration as he passed out of the archway that marked the entrance to The Institute compound. He had to control himself to avoid breaking out into a run the minute he passed the threshold. Still, he maintained his composure as he walked along the roads until a path opened that allowed him to break line of sight to the building. As soon as he was out of eyesight of any wary guards or suspicious supervisors that may be gazing out of a window or parapet, he ducked into the wilderness and all but broke into a run as he put as much distance between the compound and himself.
  283.  
  284. Panting and out of breath, yet still shaking with excitement, he stopped and drew the mice out of his pocket. He set them down, and it was not long before the smaller one was tracing lines in the dirt. Another reduction sigil came into view, and Rowe thought that they were going to shrink him down again, but Brianna cast the countercurse and soon the two mice were full size before him.
  285.  
  286. “I can’t believe it!” Coral said excitedly. “We’re out!”
  287. “Was there ever any doubt? My plans are fool-proof.” said Brianna with a smirk.
  288.  
  289.     Rowe could not help but beam a smile. “So, what now? Are you going to return to your families?”
  290. “Not as of yet.” Brianna said sharply.
  291. “We wouldn’t even know where to start…” said Coral, her ears drooping a little.
  292.  
  293.     “We are going to make our way to the nearest demon realm. At least in demon-controlled lands, we don’t have to worry about being hunted.” Brianna said.
  294.  
  295. Rowe nodded. “Well, if you head north from here, you’ll reach the Highroad. From there, it’s a straight shot to DemonCross and the Love’s Faire Demon Realm.”
  296.  
  297.     The two mice gave Rowe a look. Brianna’s expression was calculating, while Coral’s was concerned.
  298. “Come with us, Mister Rowe.” Coral said after a length.
  299. “If they find out we’re gone, they might blame you. You know what The Order does to people suspected of consorting with demons.”
  300.  
  301.     Rowe swallowed as a lump formed in his throat. He certainly did know of what The Order was said to do to people who consorted with demons. He didn’t know if they were true, but he didn’t put anything past an organization that would keep the girls locked under a glamour for experimentation. “I don’t know… The only thing I’m good at is numbers.”
  302.  
  303.     “Then you are substantially more qualified to accompany me on this journey than Coral.” Brianna said flatly.
  304. “Yeah!... Wait.” Coral said, first smiling, then frowning. The mouse maid then turned and shoved Brianna. “Don’t make fun of me with big words!”
  305.  
  306. Rowe smiled, then turned back toward the direction of The Institute. “All I’ve ever known is The Order. They took me from a stock of kids my age because I was good with numbers, and I follow directions well. I have not seen my parents in ages… So I guess, I’m in a similar boat as you.” he mused out loud.
  307. “What boat?” said Coral.
  308.  
  309.     Rowe laughed, once again finding the answer leaving his lips before he’d fully formulated it in his head. “All right, I’ll come.”
  310.  
  311. It was with light hearts that the trio had set out from their captivity toward the Love’s Faire Demon Realm. They had even made good time, eager to stretch their legs as they made their way North to the Highroad. As such, the trio was long gone before The Institute compound sent out an alert as Order mages scrambled to send out familiars to scour the immediate area. The sky lit up with signal bursts of colored mana, declaring to all around to secure the area. The compound buzzed with activity, as if someone had kicked a hornet’s nest.
  312.  
  313. Compound 48 had suffered a containment breach.
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