"Where are we going?" P'nyssa whispered.
"Through here," Aaden replied, pushing the door open just enough for the three of us to slip through. "You know," he said equally quietly, "you may well be the first fem to ever get in here."
"So," P'nyssa asked, "where's 'here?'"
"Welcome to the Hex," Aaden said. Deep within the town of Rhysh, but not in the Castle itself, we had snuck into the large mel's amphitheater, looking for this small room. The hex lay in the center under two red lights, looking cold and uncomfortable. It was barely five metres across, and the room itself was square, nine metres across in all.
"Excuse me," said a voice from the ceiling, "but she is not the first female to visit the Hex, and you're right, she probably shouldn't be here."
"Oh, come on, Rowan," I said cheerfully, "It's just the three of us."
"What are you doing here so late at night?" the AI asked.
"Playing Hex," I said. "With the requisite medical attention."
The tone of Rowan's voice changed completely as she asked, "May I watch?"
"Well?" I asked Aaden.
"I don't see why not," he smiled. "She will anyway. It's all a matter of whether we authorize her to remember it or not. And even then..." He let the thought trail off. Although visibly AIs followed "the rules" as AIs were supposed to, it was a common supposition that underneath it all AIs quite simply knew everything about everybody. Ress had once assured me that if I ordered an AI to forget something, they would never again be able to mention it, would act as if it never happened, and for all intents and purposes, it would be forgotten. But she couldn't answer the question of could the AI replay the incident "in its mind."
"Okay, Rowan, go ahead and watch," I said.
"Thank you!" she said with an almost girlish squeal. The door we had walked through opened again and a short but very sexy femMeph walked through. "How's this?" the Mephit asked quietly.
"Rowan?" I asked, staring.
"You like it?"
"It's... Uh... Very pretty," I said. If this was her choice for an ELF, I was impressed. Her form was Mephit; anthropomorphized skunk, like Aaden, about 155 cm tall, with a very bushy but short tail. Mostly black fur with a thin, white stripe working it's way up her back. Her breasts were very large, and even concealed as they were by the shiny leather corset, I could tell the left was slightly larger than the right. Her eyes glowed slightly, as if lit from behind, and she held her lips in a perpetual sort of half-smile. Aside from the corset, she wore a small black patch of leather over her groin, secured with nothing more than threads that ran over her hips, and knee-high boots with short heels.
"I figured I should show up like this, just so you two remember that I'm here." She smiled.
"It will be hard to forget," Aaden offered.
Then something hit me. The smell of femMeph. "What the...?" I asked, reaching out to touch her arm gently. It was physical. "Rowan?" I asked.
"Like it? Bawr and Mariah put it together for me. It's a full positerminal."
"But... I thought AI's didn't do well with PT's."
"New technology," she said, "makes new rules, Kennet."
"So," I said, "do you like it?"
"Uh-huh!" she smiled wide and cheerily, like the little girl she had sounded earlier. "I like eating!"
"You'll get fat," I chided.
"And that'll be something new to try, too." She was still smiling.
I shook my head, her glee becoming positively infectious. "So," I said to Aaden, "shall we get on with what we came here for?"
"Let's." He turned towards the Hex, the pit set in the center of the room. Its rim was a thick, padded bar about four cm high, designed to keep the wrestlers in. I reached for the control panel and hit the "prep" button.
There was a slight hissing sound as the Hex began to flood with oil. After a few seconds, it was a half-centimetre deep in the thick, slightly greenish fluid. The hissing sound ceased. Aaden had already set aside what little clothing he had worn, and I followed, stripping off my flannel shirt and jeans.
"Ready, lover?" I asked, smiling.
"Ready," he said, returning the smile. "Ready to settle old scores." He stepped into the pit, settling his feet carefully onto the oiled padding, then dropping to his knees. I repeated the ritual. I stared across the minute distance towards him, and he smiled at me. "Ken," he said quietly, "Ah tadi, Coimelin."
I inhaled sharply. Not at the warning, but at the second word. "Love of my life." If he was trying to throw me off-balance before the battle even began, that was a good way of doing it. I shook my head for a second and said, "Aaden, Sen de..." and I paused for a second. "Coimelin."
He smiled, enjoying the affirmation. Then he lunged for me.
I dodged to my right and he slid across the oiled floor, crashing into the railing. I leapt upon him and he tossed me off easily. Neither of us was sufficiently oily to do what we were here for.
As I rolled across the ring, I deliberately spread as much of myself across the floor, picking up as much oil as I could. I would need it; I wanted to be slippery; it would make it hard for him to get a good grip. More than that, I needed to be ready for him.
Aaden pushed himself off the edge, sliding towards me on his knees, his hands spread wide. I ducked; he compensated, grabbing me under a shoulder and throwing me down and slamming my head to the mat. "Gotcha!" he said.
"No!" I shouted, twisting to my left, away from him. "Not so fast," I said. My heart pounded against my ribs. It was already too much for me.
"See," he snarled, trying to wipe oil away from his eyes with the back of his arm, "You're out of shape. You're nowhere near as good as the day we met, Ken."
"I'm better!" I said, pushing up and leaping for him. He caught me in his arms, taking advantage of the momentum to slam me down to the mat again.
"No, you're not!" he snarled again, straddling my naked body. "You're getting slow, and I'm going to fuck you to prove it."
"You're going to have to try harder than that," I said. I bucked up against his hips and he lost balance, falling back. I clawed for him, grabbing a leg and pulling him towards me, sliding on the oil. I managed to get my knees under me, and he began kicking to avoid me as I grabbed for his waist, trying to pull his ass towards me. "On your back this time's just as good," I said, my lips curled into a sneer.
One foot caught me on the shoulder and shoved me off-balance again. I fell over, my head hitting the mat hard. I shook to clear it, but he was on me again, his strong hands grabbing me, waist and left leg, and throwing me over. I fought him, but this time I knew I was lost. And part of me wanted to lose this fight. But I put up a good show of trying to toss him as he slammed his weight down on my legs, his hands on my shoulders to keep me down, his legs over mine, pulling them apart. "Take this," he said, his cock nudging against my ass. With one push he buried himself inside me, filling me. I screamed. I kept fighting as he kept me, pummeling me into the oily padding of the ring floor, but both he and I knew I was in heaven with his cock inside my asshole, pistoning into my backside. "Take this," he snarled again, "like you made me take you, that first time. You remember that, don't you?"
I nodded, my cheek sliding on the oil. My eyes were closed, as much in pleasure as to keep the oil out. It smelled of olives. He fucked me hard, taking me under the red lights. Every thrust of his furry, oily body against my backside pounded my hips against the mat. The only audience this time was P'nyssa and Rowan, not the crowd we'd had when I won.
"Yes!" he shouted. "Now!" And with one hard shove he roared, burying his cock as deep as it could go, coming inside me, and I closed my eyes and sighed.
He lay over me, his hands sliding off my shoulders and onto the mat, his lips against my ear. "Thank you," he whispered.
"For what?" I asked, opening my eyes and looking up at him. "You won."
"And you liked losing," he replied, easing off of me. As his cock slid out I moaned again. "See what I mean?" he said.
"What can I say? If it hadn't been for my ego, I'd've let you win the first time we met, too." He laughed.
We lay there in the oil for a few seconds, trying to catch our breaths. He looked silly, all droopy, oily fur and smiling dark eyes, his sex slowly retracting into it's sheath. There was an awkward pause- at least it felt to me like an awkward pause- while I decided how to broach the subject. "Aaden? What did you mean by that comment you made before we started?"
"You called me 'coimelin.' You can't mean that."
"Why not? You agreed with me."
I thought about it. "I guess I did." I shook my head. "Forgive me. There was a time in my life when I thought there would never be a 'missus right,' and the only people who even remotely attracted my attention that way were nubile human females with nothing up here," I said, pointing to my head. "Now I find myself in love with an oversized, intelligent, male nonhuman, and there are days when my brain still rejects the idea as ridiculous."
Aaden nodded. "Yeah, I know that feeling."
"Really? How so?" I asked.
"Well, this morning's a good example."
I looked around and said, "Why, what happened this morning?"
"You abandoned me. Imagine my surprise when I woke up to find I was sharing my bed with a fem, and only a fem. And a Tindal fem at that. I mean, sure, I've slept in the same bed as Nyss before, but usually when I wake up, you're there, too. You hadda go attend to a project early today, didn't you?"
I laughed. "So, what did you do?"
"Well," he said, "I was a bit surprised. Then I realized who it was." He paused for a second. "And what she means to me."
"What she means to you?" I asked, curious.
"Yeah, what she means to me. Because she's as much a part of you as this thing," he said, wrapping his paw around my sex. "So I kissed her on the forehead like I did last time, and got out of bed."
I shook my head and looked over to where P'nyssa sat. She wasn't watching us, she was talking intently with Rowan. "Let's hit the showers."
"Sounds good," he replied.
We took turns in the shower doing each other's backs, not being overly sexual, just playful, when P'nyssa peeked in around the glass door, Rowan behind her. "Hi," Aaden said, spotting them first.
"Hello," P'nyssa said. "That was... interesting."
"Think so?" I asked. "You should be the one doing it."
"I'm... uh... not equipped for it," she replied. Aaden and I both laughed aloud.
"Be out in a minute," I said. She nodded and they closed the door.
Aaden and I finished getting as much oil as we could off and got out. Taking a towel to someone as furry as Aaden is fun, and the blow-dryer is even more so. He purred as I massaged his fur to release the moisture. We found P'nyssa and Rowan and headed for the SDisk.
At the disk, we bid out good-byes to the Mistress of Rhysh. She smiled and waved. Imagine my surprise when she leapt onto the SDisk with us.
"Rowan?" I asked, having been the one to catch her in my arms as we teleported.
"Hi!" she said.
"Are you sure you can be this far from Rhysh?" I asked, worried.
"Of course. I can attend all events at the Castle and still maintain a perfect contact here. Why even ask?"
"I worry about everything, sweetheart, that's why."
"Well," she said, smiling, "I've been talking to Dave. He's giving me a support channel, by the way. Just in case the shadow signal drops."
I nodded. That was smart. Redundancy. "Talking about what?"
"Well, everybody who pays any attention at all to you knows that Aaden here is the big thing in your life right now." She poked him gently in the ribs. "And the AIs know something nobody else knows, except you and P'nyssa."
"Aaden's a missing Tleil."
"Right," she said. "So... " There was a pause, and I knew what was coming. "I want to be it."
"Be what?" I asked, knowing it was a rhetorical question.
"Be the mother."
Somehow, knowing what was coming didn't make it any easier. I blinked, stunned for a second anyway. Aaden and P'nyssa seemed similarly surprised.
"Rowan," Aaden said, "You know what we want from this..."
"Uh, huh," she said.
"Rowan, how old are you?"
"I'm fifteen years old. This terminal is itself three years old. What difference does that make, Ken? I'm an AI; I've got the full functional memories of Lynn behind me. Look, this body is functionally ready to bear children. It's an experience I want, badly enough that I'm offering you exactly what you want in exchange."
"Rowan," P'nyssa said quietly, "You don't know what you're asking for."
"The Hell I don't," she said. "P'nyssa, I play Brace recordings of childbirth to myself all day long. I want it. I want it so badly I can taste it the way you see people at the Castle tasting the whip. Please," she said, the last word plaintive and sad. "I had this body built with full fertility. Just for this. And when Dave called me and talked to me about this, I just had to talk to you. If not you, I'll just find someone at the Castle for it. But, like my mother, Ken, I want you to be there, and I want you," she pointed to Aaden, "to be the father."
I shook my head and turned to Aaden, who so far had been pretty quiet. "There are days when I'm sure my life can't get any weirder."
He smiled and said, "Trust me. It will."
I took a deep breath and said, "Well, shall we go discuss this further?" I led this little party down to our home.