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30

But Mel did not know Brin would not be up in his room. He hoped she was, every step a bit lighter thanks to it, but, as the eyeball split and let him in, his body became like lead again, every step thumping, sinking his heart towards his soles, his soul torn a touch by her absence. He plopped onto his futon, staring at the wall across, watching poster –yes, literally a poster. It was one for a female singer, probably well passed her prime now, but, when the photo was taken for that poster, she must have had only three dicks, tops. Maybe four, but that was pushing it, now more than likely ten if not a hundred times that.

He watched that poster all “night”, time once again skewed in this dimension. Saliim sat beside him, rubbing his shoulder, his leg, whispering sweet, if a touch morbid, lies into his ear. What was she talking about, after all? Brin wasn’t gone-gone. She only left for a little while. She wanted to show Mel how much he really cared for her, so she pulled this little stunt. Once she returns, they’ll have their big ole hug, maybe a good shag, then things will be back to abby normal.

Saliim kept insisting that Brin was gone, though. Gone for good. Gone like a taco on Taco Tuesday, but that’s just silly. The slime didn’t explode; it fizzled out, sure, but it wasn’t the TNT-grade explosion that the tacos produced. Silly Saliim and her hyperbole... Mel would have found it endearing if the notion behind it wasn’t so excruciating.

THEN AGAIN... What if- no. It’s too crazy... maybe crazy enough that it would happen... What if... the two succubus were conspiring together? Yeah! That must be it. Why else would Saliim be trying to console him in such a soothing way? That’s not Saliim at all! She would be trying to tell him to quit being stupid or filling the power vacuum left behind if she really was gone-gone. After all, she was... well... a bitch.

Yes. That must be the case, then. The succubus made a plan to make him feel like complete dogshit, which will lead him to make a right ass out of himself, only for her to return and be more dependent on her than ever before. Who knew the succubus learned about the D.E.N.N.I.S. System?

He was onto them now, though. Mel knew what they were trying to do, so he tuned her out and simply enjoyed poster. It didn’t matter how loud she got, how hard she caressed him, where she caressed him, what she caressed him with, or how much she tried to impede his view as she took advantage of him, he kept his eyes peeled on it. Even when his vision blurred and his abdomen shuddered, pushing inside, he did not take his eyes away, even staring through hers as she attempted to gaze lovingly into his.

“So how was it,” she asked, panting. Her face was flushed, eyes yellow irises, but there were no flames in them, no terror to be had. She smacked the back of his head. “Hey! Stop ignoring me a moment.”

“Kind of lame,” he said at last. “Brin was definitely more passionate.”

That made her climb off instantly. Why did she have to stain his carpet? That was going to reek of low-tide until he went to take a shower. She kept on eye-level, though, finally showing some fire on those eyes.

“Are you serious?” She exclaimed. “I try to console you, and you insult it!”

“It’s the truth. That way, when she gets back, she’ll only slightly kill you.”

“You’re impossible.” She groaned, and the force of it almost knocked her off her feet. She fell into his lap again, holding on to his shoulders. “Wow, I’m out of shape. It hasn’t been that long since I last fed... but... this feels like the time my old master, Yuri Raas, starved me for a year. However, I had the strength to continue until he was completely drained then.” She shook her head, and looked him in the eyes again. Mel wished she kept the fury, for pity and sympathy really did not look good on her. “Master... remember what the slime said-”

“That he was magically delicious?”

“No! No... Those he eats are severed from their connections. Bonds are broken... When you were originally eaten, our ties to you were gone.”

“Oh. So you can leave, then.”

“I could. I have no obligation to stay... but... what can I say? You piqued my interest... Sadly, Brin was a Lady of Mercy. She was dying because she wasn’t bound to you. That was her way of giving back before... you know... I know this must hurt you a lot, m... Mel. Even if you don’t want to admit it, the pain is in your eyes.”

“It is?” He reached up and plucked out his left eye. He held it before h- WHOA! Who was that good-looking hunk? Sure, he had his eye popped out at the moment, but he would totally fuck that dude. He’d fuck him so hard –no homo... He looked into his right eye as it looked into the right, but in neither one could he see the pain and loss and misery and loathing and sadness she stated –oh. Wait. She only said pain... He popped his eye back in, saying farewell to that Adonis, and was forced once more to look at a Saliim. “Nope. Didn’t see it. I think you are projecting your feelings onto me, but that’s okay. Sexual performance is not everything. It comes down to understanding your partner’s wants, reading their body langu-”

“I’ll have you know I have no problems in bed, Mel!” She boomed, scoffing and spluttering in indignation. “I am very well-known for my prowess.”

“Considering we just did it and I’ve been left wanting-”

“I was being gentle! For your sake! Which you were out of it anyways! Give me a real chance and I’ll leave you begging for more.”

“But I already am. From Brin, though, since she knows what she’s doing.” The room buzzed; Mel shoved Saliim off, made sure he was decent below, and lumbered to the entry. It opened, and, on the other side, was a face he never thought he’d see again. “Well, if it isn’t Jack the Joker. Jack the Choker... am I still allowed to say Jack the Chicken Stroker or is that homophobic?”

Jack huffed, smiling at the remark. He had dimples when he smiled, adding some definition to his gaunt face, though it had rounded a touch from the past few months. His skin was still that fine bronze Mel always envied, almost copper and tanned to a brilliant bronze. He had thick black hair, braided into a shoulder-length ponytail, resting on the left shoulder. He had on pristine robes, barely concealing his ripped chest; however it wasn’t as ripped as it used to be, softer, less toned.

“I see you haven’t changed at all,” he said. “May I come in?”

“Of course, buddy ole pal ole friendo ole guy.” Mel stepped back, allowing him to enter... and he noticed that, although he was softer, it wasn’t because he had gotten fat. Instead, it looked like he... “Were you in the carpet constrictor?”

“I was. Just got out of the infirmary... Thank you for saving us.”

“No big. Just tickled it until it could no longer deal with my shit –speaking of, how have you been? Found anybody?”

“Myself, mostly.” He sat on the futon, spreading his arms across the entire top, and must have finally felt Saliim’s leer on him, glaring at her. “I see you found somebody.”

“Who, her? Nah. She’s just... I’m not really sure what she is to me anymore-”

“I’m Saliim, his succubus,” the lovely lady answered for herself, glowering at the man on the futon who returned to ignoring her. He was shaking his head, smirking as he faced Mel again.

“Really? You summoned a succubus over doing Penelope?”

“I mean, it would have been the wise decision, but I didn’t mean to summon her,” Mel said. “I was trying to summon shoes for tea-”

“They didn’t turn into baconators this time?”

“No! That would have been amazing, but, instead, I got Saliim... and Brin.”

Jack barked a laugh. “You summoned two succubus? Where’s the second one?”

“She’s-” Saliim began.

“She went out for cigarettes and milk,” Mel spoke over her, and hugged himself as he leaned against the left wall. “Should be back any moment now.”

Jack looked over to Saliim, and must have seen the real answer, silently mouthing an understanding. He lowered his arms from the couch’s top and clapped his hands together.

“Well, I just came by to say thanks for saving us. I know I’ve been distant, but I just wanted you to know I’m still your friend. Besides, it turns out I’m not gay.”

“Really?”

“Yup. Tried to hook up with another guy, but could not get it up at all. Tried a woman, too. Nada... Turns out I’m just asexual.”

“That’s cool. I’m straight as an arrow.”

“There was no doubting that. How many girls did you ogle when we hanged out –you know, without your shadow?”

“I don’t think we’ve ever met-” Saliim interjected.

“He’s talking about Penelope,” Mel said, and sighed heavily. “It’s true. There were so many nice racks and asses back in the day. Then they turned out to belong to elitist twats and bitches so I just stopped looking.”

“Or Daisy... There’s a rumor going around about you two, by the way.”

“Is it a good one?”

“Just that she takes you into her room, straps you down, then has Leovold come in and fist you in the ass.”

“Ah! Totally true. It’s why I’m not sitting right now... We are dating, though.”

“And she’s cool with you having a-”

“Two.”

“... Two succubus around?”

“She’s helping Benjamin find an unsummoning spell. Pointless, since I was eaten by the cherry lime Nazi slime.”

“You really don’t want to know,” Saliim preempted Jack’s next question.

He simply chortled, shaking his head. “Trust me, it’s not the strangest thing he’s told me. Not even the weirdest thing he’s done... have you told her about Greg and the banana?”

“Oh, come on,” Mel grumbled, but he was smiling.

“What about Greg and a long, yellow fruit?” Saliim said.

“It’s not that interesting-” He began.

“About a year ago,” Jack jumped in, standing as he did, “Greg Lockhart was trying to hit on Penelope. Right in front of Mel. He had a mad crush for her, but she wanted nothing to do with him.”

“It was because he was fat... and had a face that looked like a topographical map of Utah. It would have made the Elephant Man sympathetic.”

“So of course she turned him down HARD. She completely demolished him in the middle of the dining hall where everybody could see. Sure, we’re adults, but we’re also students. We get bored, and love to spread gossip and rumors... Well, Greg decided to start to spread that Mel was abusing Penelope-”

“No!” Saliim exclaimed, gasping.

“He did. Said she had bruises hidden in her robes, raped her frequently, and just made her life miserable.”

“And they spread, though everybody knew she shot him down and I generally ignored her and was a virgin,” Mel said.

“Did you kick his ass?” Saliim said, hopeful.

“Please. I’m a gentleman.”

“What he means is he flew a plane over the Institute and wrote in the sky that he never hit Penelope and that the only thing more pathetic than Greg’s face was his micropenis,” Jack corrected.

“A gentleman’s response.”

“Greg’s reaction was anything but. He walked right up to Mel after he touched down and punched him right in the face.”

“Which only made it funnier because he has bitch fists. I doubt he could have even beat an egg.”

“So what does this have to do with a banana?” Saliim said.

“Well,” Jack said, “after that, Mel decided to place a special ‘curse’ on him: anywhere Greg went, no matter what he was doing, what time it was, there would always be a banana in his proximity... In all truth, he just convinced the student mass and even the house faeries to place a banana wherever he went. Even to hide it in his books, replace his pencils; it slowly drove him mad.”

“Where is he now?”

“General Dimension,” Mel said. “He became so paranoid, so deluded, that he was a danger to everyone, so they isolated him to his own pocket dimension, where he is taught in his cell... however, there’s always a fresh banana every day waiting for him.”

“Serves the bastard right,” Jack said. “Worst part? He was allergic to bananas.” He stretched his arms, groaned, moaned as his back popped, and let them drop, sauntering over to Mel. He held out his hand, smiling at him. “Well, it’s been fun catching up. Maybe next time we can hang out longer.”

“I suppose.” Mel took his hand, shaking it. “You know this is my masturbating hand.”

“So is mine.” They both laughed, letting go, and punched each other in the shoulder, all the while Saliim rolled her eyes. Jack sighed, giving Mel another quick hit before leaping towards the door, missing Mel’s retaliation. “Brin should be back soon enough. Take it easy.”

“Nuh!” Mel said, and plopped back down on his futon as the painting started to shut again –only for it to vibrate once more. He groaned, standing again, his knees yelling at him as he went to the entry. “What n-”

Death awaited on the other side.

Leovold Dominus... He was... shorter than Mel expected. From his legends, he guessed he would be about eight feet tall and simply exuding holy radiance from every pore of his being. He expected choir music to accompany him, singing praises of his deeds and how he was a god among men. Instead, however, he was barely seven foot tall and only gave off a little bit of light from his white-gold inlaid titanium plate. It was form-fitting, hugging his bulky shoulders and brawny arms and chest, while his legs were free, only concealed by white robes he wore underneath, hemmed with golden string. His skin was the same shades as Daisy, but his face and most likely the entirety of his body had far more scars, but it was his hair that really caught him off-guard. He seemed to suffer permanent five-o-clock shadow, but his actual hair was full and lush, spreading out and lazing on an unknown wind.

“Mel Llorwyn,” he asked, his voice more a growl, a deep, resounding boom, than an actual tone.

“Yup,” Mel said, and snapped his fingers. A red blindfold appeared from above, fluttering down into his hand. He tied it in place, and spread his arms. “Okay. You may start whenever you’re ready.”

“... What?”

“Come on. Don’t be so coy. Kick my ass and get it over with already.”

“I... am afraid you’re mistaken. I’m not here to do any such thing.”

“But I took your granddaughter out on a date.”

“You did, and I wanted to meet you. However, then I heard what happened yesterday with the slime and how you are being targeted; your first reaction upon a potential, true threat was to get her out of harm’s way. That’s more than enough for me.”

“Thanks... I guess.” Mel sighed, and removed the blindfold again. “This sucks. I was hoping to get beat up.”

“... Why would you want that?”

“Because then it would speed up Brin’s return.”

“Ah. Yes. The succubus that sacrificed her l-”

“That had a temporary lapse of mortality to kill the Nazi slime, yes. Why is everyone trying to say that she’s dead? She’s suffered far worse; she’s just gone for the moment.”

Leovold opened his mouth, but saw Saliim stroll up behind, shaking his head.

“In any case, this was another attempt on your life, which put my granddaughter’s in jeopardy, as well... Have you obtained any information, any sort of clue, who might be behind this.”

“Only one: the assailant is male. Considering the population here at the school, at least this sector, is a 70:30 split, 70% females, that narrows it down significantly.”

“Very well. I shall relay the news to Benjamin... Take care, Mel, and know my little girl loves you. A lot.”

“Thank you for saving me the trip, and I know... Okay. I’m going back to watching poster.”

“W... watching what?”

“Exactly as it sounded,” Saliim said, and backed up as Mel returned to his futon ag- OH COME ON. He growled as he stomped up to the painting. “What! What do you want?”

It was Peneloputty, dazed and stunned by the outburst. However, she didn’t remain that way long, clearing her throat and looking down at her hands.

“H...hey,” she said, clearing her throat again. “I heard you spent most of the day with me in the infirmary... I just wanted to say thank you.”

“Don’t, and I would have stayed until you awoke but then we were attacked by a putty army which one thing lead to another and Brin gave herself up to a cherry-lime Nazi slime that pulled a Hitler and now I’m waiting for her to come back from the store.”

“... What did I miss?”

“Everything- nothing? Maybe something.” Mel backed away from the door-

“Wait!”

“Did you learn nothing from last time?” Mel boomed, stepping up to the entry just before it shut on her arm.

“I... I’m sorry. Okay? I’m really sorry for how I’ve been acting... I know I don’t deserve forgiveness, not after everything I’ve done-”

“What have you done? Seriously. I don’t remember. Saliim?”

The succubus simply shrugged, which made Peneloputty giggle.

“Thank you... I guess we are back to how we were.”

“Guess so. Now excuse me. I have a poster to watch and a succubus to ignore while she pleasures me.”

“Wait. Wh-”

And the painting slammed shut again. Music to Mel’s ears. He returned to the futon, actually returned to it, and slumped back on it, looking at the poster while Saliim did exactly what Mel said she would... still mediocre, but maybe she’ll get it right just before Brin returns... maybe.

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