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Mel hummed, rocking on his heels, waiting for the line to move. He checked his phone, glowering at it; how dare it already be a freckle passed a hair! His reservation was at Blaze It, which was just ten minutes away. With how the line was moving, he’d doubt get it on Miller.

He poked the guy’s shoulder in front of him. He was tall for a dwarf, almost gigantic, towering over Mel, but a dwarf’s a dwarf no matter how big or wide. So long as they had the bea- oh. It was a woman. His mistake.

“What do you want, little baby man?” She said, her voice booming with the spirit of the dwarf, the strength of stone. It shook the stained sugar glass windows, the marble, candied walls of bacon and gumdrops.

“Would you mind if I go ahead? My reservation is closing in-”

“Ooh! Look at the girly man, thinking he is better than the rest of us!”

“No? It’s just my reservation is literally only a few minutes a-”

“Take a look at this git, everybody. He believes he’s special just because he has a reservation.” She scoffed, and shoved him back into the naga behind him. If she wasn’t peeved before, she was now.

The naga hissed and undulated around Mel, prodding her scaly, three-fingered talon into the Dwarf’s chest.

“Would you mind? It’s rude to throw rubbish at people,” she said. Her voice, just like her scales, seemed to come from the sands of Egypt, the soft songs of her people rolling along with her accent.

“The snaky lass better slither on back before I introduce ye to the fate that all snakes befell under the boot of Saint Patrick.”

The naga hissed, her diamond-encrusted frill fanning as she did, showing the tapestry of amethysts and rubies hidden inside the folds of her soft, golden neck. Her blue eyes flashed with such fire as the rattle on her tail clacked its warning, attracting a crowd.

“Tread on me and you’ll see that charlatan’s words were no better than the swill you and your kind imbibe.”

“Oh, those be fighting words, you scaly cunt! Now’s I’m gonna show you where you shouldn’t have tried to drop a dud of an insult. Maybe stick to blowing up yourselves or American infrastructure.”

“I’m from Africa, you neanderthal!”

“You all sound the same to me, and all are just as cowardly.”

The number of ooh’s and jeers raised with each insult as the ring closed ever tighter around the two. The dwarf tossed her beard back over her shoulder, rolled up the sleeves of her fine blue blouse while the naga made sure its tail was tucked back along with its multiple, multiple piercings it had to remove from its long, narrow face. Why she even needed all of those rings of silver and gold when her visage was speckled like a geode, shimmering with every color under the sun and earth, was beyond Mel.

What wasn’t was that the line had forgotten all semblance of order.

He whistled a soft tune, casually strolling up to the front of it, the “fight” behind making it rather easy for him to simply saunter on. There was only a bowl of spaghetti with giant bat wings in between him and the Maitre D, and even they were forced to move out of the way as the Dwarf was tossed into the candy-stripe podium. The jello that made most of it, though, simply bounced her back, right into something solid if that crack and the ooh’s with it were anything to go by; even the podium’s keeper was watching on, their large, white eyes seemingly bugging out more than normal, watching the carnage unfold.

It took Mel nineteen snaps before he managed to break the spell they had over them, and they looked at him.

“My apologies,” they said, and Mel was still not sure if it was male or female. Their voice was perfectly smoker-heavy to cover either-or, and you could never tell with lizards; flat flat flatflatflat. They were wearing a bright red blazer... yet no name tag. “Name?”

“Nivvy Mizzy Izzy Lizzy Wizzy,” Mel said.

The Maitre D looked down at her podium, at the bright, neon, flashing book on it, and the name he gave popped up instantly.

“Ah! Yes! You are right on time... This way.”

Ever louder and harder cracks and crunches bounder after, following after the soft padding of the employee’s talons on the hard floor. Mel still couldn’t tell if it was male or female, but it didn’t matter. None of it mattered. He was finally being seated.

At the coin-operated unicorn.

It was showered in cascading light, its pure, white porcelain body bathed in soft, shimmering colors at the top of seven, grand marble stairs. Angelic music seemed to flow down the stairs to meet him, wrapping him, holding him in its... purity. In its perfect, blissful harmony. As he climbed, each step seemed to rise, as well, making it that much harder to make it to that twenty-six hands high and thirty across horse of metal and fantasy and magic and young girl’s hearts.

The Maitre D wiped off the back of it at the top, being dainty, delicate so as not to scratch the pure hide. There was no saddle for such a splendid beast, allowed to be bare and perfect. Mel slipped off his shoes, then his socks, then his shorts, then his underwear and only then did he straddle it, wallet in hand. He pulled out a dollar, ready to feed it into the slot on its back, just behind its perfectly pointed white ear.

But, to his horror there wasn’t one. There was only a coin slot.

He looked to the Maitre D, handing him his dollar.

“Can you make change,” he asked.

They sucked on their teeth, shaking their head.

“Sorry, sir,” they said. “Exact change only.”

The unicorn turned its head around, nickering as it chuckled at him.

“What loser asks for change?” It said in a pompous European accent. “What’s the matter? Too rich for pocket change? ‘Oh look at me. I can afford whatever I want and don’t ever have to worry about needing metal coins to make ends meet.’ Get this upper class snob off my back.”

“As you wish,” the Maitre D said and wrenched Mel off its back. He didn’t even have time to retrieve his belongings as he quickly descended those steps, pulled away from the unicorn and back into the chaos he had somewhat helped transpire.

There was one last thunderous crack and the Dwarf was down for the count, more blood than being at that moment. The naga’s bright and beautiful face had taken a few blows, yet the scales still gleamed on, showering her in so much light. She slithered over to Mel and took him in her arms, giving his cheek a quick, fluttering lick with her blue tongue. At that moment, a can of chips rolled up dressed in robes with a copy of the Bible in its stick hands.

“I now pronounce you husband and wife,” it said in a French accent. “You may now kiss the husband.”

“I’ve been waiting so long for this,” the naga said and pushed her tongue into Mel’s mouth, making the world spin into a lifetime of chicken nuggers, french fried, and sweer potatoes onto which he built a boat and sailed down the River Styx with his new, sneky bride.

Mel grumbled as he started to stir, rolling onto his back. His limbs were grateful that he no longer wanted to climb up the wall. Brin had moved from his embrace sometime during, now most likely in the kitchen, preparing breakfast. Where else would she be, in the bathroom? Succubus have no need; they don’t truly need to shower unless they get extra dirty and they have no use for the porcelain throne. At least, from what he noticed, but that’s not saying much when he doesn’t really pay attention if they go off to the little demon’s room or n-

He gasped, and opened his eyes at last. Saliim was still laying beside him, her head laying on his shoulder. Her eyes burned in the soft light, smirking at him as her hand continued to touch somewhere that both he didn’t want touched while, at the same time, he knew probably should be. Her runes pulsed pink, giving her wings soft lines of pale fire, crackling gently against his ears, soft pops that brought to mind the crinkling of popcorn during a cold winter night.

“Morning, master,” she said, her tone so coy yet oozing want. Need. She giggled as her hand kept making him want to get his little red lizard to screech and alert, but he had a feeling that wouldn’t really stop her at that moment. “I knew you were strong, but maybe blessed would have been a better word all-around. Oh... no wonder that woman was so dead-set on reclaiming you.”

“Nuh,” he grunted, and groaned again, lost to a yawn. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“What? I’m a succubus. It’s what we crave; it’s why you summoned us, right?” She flicked her hair back, and leaned up, giving him a kiss on the cheek, then another, slowly sliding to his lips. “I want my turn before the other returns. I really don’t like sharing.”

Mel pushed her back, just before she truly reached his lips, and snapped his fingers. A small, plastic water bottle with a spray nozzle appeared out of thin air, the clear plastic frosted from the contents within. It must have been as cold as it looked; Saliim yelped and leaped like a frightened cat from the first blast, landing hard on the floor beside.

“What the hell!” She shrieked, her runes fiery red once more. She clawed at the futon as she stood, though gave pause as her eyes laid upon that water bottle again. “Are you gay or something? I’m literally throwing myself at you and you just spritz me down like a cat in heat? I don’t care if that other succubus puts up with this or not; this is absolutely bullshit!”

“Sometimes,” he said, and sprayed her again, this time right in the belly. She jerked back, holding it as if she was shot by a real gun, then blasted his crotch. Almost instantly, he was made into a woman. “Just not in the mood this morning.”

She scoffed, crossing her arms. “Don’t lie. All guys love waking up to a bit of fun... why? Why do you not want to do it in the morning?”

“Because... I’m kind of... sort of...”

The way he stammered and paused, him, of all people, made it really quick for her to put two and 276,821,249,820,147,888,214,906,821,567... ½ together. She scoffed again, not out of annoyance but of surprising delight, waltzing up to the bed.

“You’re a virgin, aren’t you?” She said, and cooed as she laid in the bed beside him again, rubbing his belly. “You never dipped your brush... have you?”

“No,” he mumbled. “I’ve done plenty of other stuff... but... actually doing the deed? I’m... scared.”

She chuckled, caressing his cheek. “There’s nothing to be scared a-”

“I wouldn’t be so sure about that! Have you met me... What if something goes... wrong? Especially now, with this power. I’ve already seen what it can do to the shot strength; what other possible fuck-ups can occur? What if I literally go off like a shotgun blast and it just turns a girl’s head into a bloody stump or her chest into a white cavity or literally tear her up down there?” He sighed as he pinched his brow, shaking his head. “It was so much simpler when the only things I had to worry about was shooting off early or getting a girl knocked up. Now? The sky is not even the limit on what could happen... Magic is such a pain!”

Saliim hummed, nodding, mulling it all over. Not once did she break her stare. Not once did she let anything else get in the way of her attention, drinking in everything he had to say, every ounce of fear and uncertainty and dread he had to offer, all the while still rubbing his belly and cheek. Of course she blinked at times; she wasn’t that weird.

She finally gave his belly a soft tap, and reached for his hand with the water bottle. She gently peeled it out of his grasp and set it on the ground behind, clasping his hand after, holding it firm yet gently.

“You think too much. You know that?” She said, giggling as she rolled on top, taking hold of his other hand, clasping it too. She pushed them above his head, almost together, but not down to the mattress, instead swinging them. “It’s not healthy.”

“No doubt, but what can you do?”

She giggled, a deep velvet roll, and nipped his nose.

“I know exactly what to do. A rigorous shag does the mind good... Look at it this way, Master: I’m a succubus. You know how many mages I’ve dealt with before you? Some of them were virgins, as well; they all had the same worries, the same doubts and dreadful outlooks... That is, until I gave them what they needed. Granted, none of them have shown anywhere near the inherent strength that you do. In fact, I can only assume you come from an older family to be able to tap into that much of the aether.”

“That’s what they tell me. For most of my life, I thought I was a nobody in West Virginia.”


“Exactly! Then I make a stripper’s snatch talk because I remembered a guy who loved to play with puppets and next thing I know I was brought to this place... Even after all this time, I STILL don’t know what I want to do with my life, either.”

“How long have you been here, exactly? Ten years? Twenty?”

“Do I look that old? Damn; this place has fucked me over.”

She giggled again, this time sneaking a kiss on his lips.

“Silly man. Mages don’t age normally. Time has very different meaning to those attuned. So... how long?”

“Two years? Maybe three?”

She snorted. “That’s it? Look: you still have plenty of time to find yourself. Only start to really worry after your... sixth decade? Seventh? By then, you still have easily another twenty or so.”

“Now why did you have to go and tell me that? I don’t want to live that long!”

“And why is that? It’s not like those around you will age, wither, and die long before you. You have so much time that you can do whatever you wished, whenever you wished it.”

“That’s the problem! I’ll run out of things to do.”

“No you won’t. Not with a mind like yours.” She let his hands go and laid hers on his chest, slipping ever down as she slid along his legs until her face was right on his stomach. She looked up at him, runes pink once more, and her hands were nearing screeching lizard territory again. “Now, how about we take care of this once and for all so you can see it’s not as bad as you make it out to be.”

“Wasn’t you sliding down kind of counterproductive, then?”

“Again, silly man. I love to play a little with my prey beforehand. Just lay there... relax... and let me do what I do b-”

“Breakfast is ready!” Brin declared, and slammed the copper platter down on Saliim’s head. She picked up a plate of cooked pillows from it and handed it to Mel, plopping down beside him. She had her own plate of the round beauties, her pink apron splattered in flour, but she was only wearing that apron. “Morning, master. Sleep well?”

“Eh,” he said, and rolled up one of those heavenly discs. He gently reached for the butter knife on the platter, buried into a jar of wild berry preserves, and got a healthy bit out and into the rolled pancake before Saliim launched the platter towards the roof. It didn’t hit it, though, simply phasing through the illusion cast as the faeries worked, but a few of the tiny, winged workers buzzed down with it, squeaking in their tiny voices their anger towards the succubus. Saliim rolled her eyes, but was soon under the platter once more, slammed into her head again before the faeries flitted back up. “That seemed a bit unnecessary.”

“Which time?” Saliim grumbled weakly under the (bent) tray. Brin mumbled something, which gave Saliim the strength to move it, glaring up at her. “What was that?”

“Nothing,” Brin sung, humming as she cut into her pancakes. “We better hurry though, master. You’ll be late for class.”

“Sometimes,” he said, though maybe with a bit more mirth than he wanted to let on. Today was Alchemy, and, after that little stunt yesterday, he was excited to see what Penelope would do... who knew it would take for her to become a raving bitch for him to show interest? Now, let’s see how she disappoints him.

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