The Journal Entries

Erwer, Urim 17, 00916

Travellogue, Day 7

The morning found them wrapped up in more bedsheets than either was used to; Nickolai felt like he was digging himself out of a landslide of linen. "Urf!" he groaned as he finally reached the edge of the bed.

"You okay?" Furry asked.

"I'm fine," he huffed. "Why do you people sleep in such huge beds?"

"I don't. Remember my bed?"

"That was for when you were a little girl. On Earth, that's a bed for a normal-sized human," he replied.

"True," she admitted. "I guess Shardik expects his guests to have guests." She winked at him with a grimace.

He laughed. "You don't want to try that now, do you?" he asked.

She shook her head. "I've got you for another five days," she replied, "and I'm not going to share you with anyone, Nickolai Dittrich."

"Good," he said, leaning over and kissing her. "Now you get to suffer my morning breath."

"I've done that before," she said, laughing. "Come on, let's go take a shower. I need to clean up. You made a mess, and then you made me sleep in the wet spot."

"I'm sorry," he said. "Come on." He reached out a hand and helped her out of bed. They wandered into the shower together, where Nickolai ran his finger along a trio of electronic plates that apparently regulated water temperature, pressure, and pulse frequency. Furry found the soap, and they spent the next ten minutes washing each other. Furry was especially delighted by the erection he had as she soaped and stroked his cock. "It looks cute."

"I also have to piss," he said. "Excuse my language."

She scowled, still smiling. "Be serious, sweetheart. It's something we all have to do. Even me. Go ahead."

"What, here?" he asked.

"Sure. There's the drain. I want to hold it."

"You're strange."

"Oh, come on, Nickolai. It's not like we're talking about anything new here."

He turned his back to her and tried to aim his erect penis downward; it softened enough that he felt he could. Furry took his cock in hand from behind him. It took a few tries to overcome his embarrassment; he could feel the pressure building, but didn't seem to be able to do anything with it. Finally, though, a stream of yellow fluid streamed from his penis; Furry seemed to be having fun aiming it in circles around the drain. When he was finally done, he said, "There. Are you happy now?"

"You're embarrassed!" she said, laughing.

"Of course I'm embarrassed!" he said, annoyed.

"Aw, I think it's cute," she repeated. "Wash me."

He took the soap and complied, scrubbing under her fur between her shoulder blades all the way down to her feet, avoiding her crotch.

"So, are you afraid to wash me between my legs?" she asked. He shrugged and with a suds-covered hand slid it between her labia. "That's it," she said, "Wash me well; get it deep, Nickolai, don't be afraid. You won't hurt me. Now go further back. Good. Hand me the showerhead."

He reached up and handed it to her, smirking. "What's so funny?" she asked, suspiciously.

"Remember what you mentioned about that thing last night?"

Her smile faded. "You want me to..."

"You suggested it yourself last night. Besides, you made me piss in front of you."

"That was different!" she insisted. "Everybody has to piss, every day. You're asking me to masturbate so you can watch."

"Yeah," he said smiling.

She slowly sat down on the floor, examining the controls on the back of the showerhead. They were duplicates of the wall controls, reproduced in miniature. There also seemed to be a dial around the face of it, for controlling stream tightness. Leaning up against one of the padded walls of the shower, she slowly turned the pressure up to a gentle stream, then threw the pulses down from steady stream to a staccato. Nickolai sat cross-legged in front of her. "Ready?" she asked.

"That's up to you," he said. She nodded and turned the showerhead; the stream walked up along the floor between her legs, along her thigh, and slowly she brought it down over her cunny. Her eyes closed, and she aimed the stream down between her lips. Her whole body tensed, and a loud moan escaped her. Nickolai watched, fascinated, as her whole vulva seemed to swell, the labia becoming fuller and redder. She was biting her lip.

Her body tensed again, shuddered; her legs seemed to go into seizure as a long, low moan escaped her. He watched as she raised the pressure and the speed of the pulses; she came again, louder, the moan echoing in the large showerchamber. Incredibly, she still didn't stop, increasing the speed even more; it was almost to a steady stream as she came a third time, tossing her head against the soft-padded wall. Nickolai's own face was flushed with lust; he felt light-headed watching her.

She had the water going without pulses; a steady, tight jet of water that circled her clit as she came again. Her whole body shook with the effort. As Nickolai watched the stream was visibly dimpling the flesh under it; the splashing water was creating little glowing beads all over her fur.

It seemed like a long time as she held the showerhead, aimed directly and forcefully at her clitoris. It was making his head spin just watching her, as her eyes clamped shut tight and she came a fifth time, her moan approaching a scream's volume.

Finally, she pushed the showerhead away from her; the single stream aimed across the chamber and splashed against the far wall. She panted as her eyes fluttered open. "There," she said, breathing hard. "Are you satisfied?" She laughed, and there was no anger in it, despite her words.

"Very," he said, rising on his knees to kiss her. "That was very pretty."

"Good," she said. "Because I get to watch you now."

"Wait a minute," he said.

"What's wrong?" she asked mischievously. "Embarrassed?"

"No, no," he said. "I just..."

"Just what?" she asked, laughing. She poured some soap into her paw and slowly soaped his cock with it, stroking it until it was fully hard. "Now you finish it."

He gave her a sidelong glance before leaning against the wall she had occupied just a moment earlier. Slowly, he pulled gently on his penis, feeling the skin roll under his fingers the way he had at least a thousand times before. In the back of his mind, that thought played itself out. He had masturbated his first time when he was eleven, and that was four years and some ago... four times 365 is over a thousand; yes, at least a thousand times.

He smiled as he stroked his soapy cock, feeling his pleasure rise. Furry was looking at him with as fascinated a stare as he must have been giving her. He mouthed the words "I love you," as he stroked himself faster, and faster, feeling the lubricating effect of the soap fading, allowing him to actually grip the skin of his sheath and roll it over the head of his cock. His foreskin, he knew, was tight, but it felt wonderful masturbating with it as he stroked yet faster. He opened his eyes just long enough to register that Furry was staring at his crotch with wide-eyed wonder, then closed them, speeding to his fastest, gathering his testicles in his other hand to keep them from bouncing around as his orgasm racked through him and his come shot out onto his chest and belly.

"Wow," she said.

"What?" he asked.

"I thought you were going to pull it off! Do you always masturbate so... violently?"

"Well, yeah," he said. "I've never done it any other way. Why, is something wrong?"

"No, no, if that's the way you... you like it. When you... when you fuck me, does my... " she closed her eyes looking for the word- "my sex grip you that way?"

He hesitated before answering. "Not really," he said. "It's different; there's more friction, and besides, that's just my hand, and just me. When I'm with you, it's different. I feel you, all of you, not just your... 'sex.'" He smiled. "I love you."

"I love you too," she replied, warmly. "Let's clean you off. Good shot, by the way," she said, running her finger against one of his nipples and then licking the semen off her finger.

"Guess so," he said, waggling his eyebrows. She giggled.

After they had dressed in the clothes Shardik had leant them (Nickolai was becoming especially fond of the T-shirt he had been given) Furry asked "Dave, which way to breakfast?"

"Ken has instructed me to invite you two to breakfast at his place if you wish."

"May as well," Furry said, smiling. They walked down the hallway holding hands, and at the door Shardik welcomed them warmly.

"Good morning. Two eggs, waffles, and strawberries," he said, tossing plates up on the counter and quickly covering them with food. "Eat, kids. And that means you too, lazy," he said quickly, firing a cloth potholder to his right at the tired-looking melMephit walking through the door.

Aaden glanced down at the potholder where it had fallen, glanced back at Shardik, then stooped, picked it up and handed it back to him. "I love you, too," he said.

"Here," Shardik said. "Your most favorite least greasy morning meal." Aaden took the plate and wandered into the main room, where Nickolai and Furry had already taken their seats at the table and had begun digging in. "No P'nyssa this morning guys. Her case yesterday woke up in the middle of the night with complications. She's back at Cutters." Shardik joined them at the table, kissing Aaden as he walked by, and said, "So, what do you two plan on doing today?"

"We hadn't decided," Furry said. "We had planned on visiting quote the sights unquote, but what is there to visit on Pendor?"

"That's actually a good question," Shardik said. "With only a thousand years of history behind us... almost... we haven't got the great pyramids of Egypt or the ruins of Greece. Still, there are things to do and places to see. You could go watch a few teams from the Arc practicing maneuvers. That's actually fun. Or you could reserve time in powered armor yourself. There are a few proofed suits for civvies to play in. You could go to the Piot winery. Have dinner at Castle Degranni-" Nickolai noticed Aaden give Shardik a slightly exasperated expression- "Not the real one, mind you, but it's hard to tell the difference."

"I could," Aaden said.

"I know you could, lover. I was talking about them. As I was saying, you could go climb a few mountains, race a few rivers. Reserve time in a playball and have a few hours of fun in zero-g." Nickolai blushed slightly; he noticed Furry do the same. "I don't know if either of you like intoxicant, but you could try and outdrink a Centaur in Rocchodain. There's a dance club at Carraraug. That's popular with the younger folks. I'm sure Skii is going there tonight. In fact, you could even go to Monastery Island and find out what all the mystery is about." He smiled, then glanced behind his back and out the window. "But do it early; it's going to rain soon. And if you get hungry, I really recommend the Londenumen Inn at Tuilpalya. Ask for the roast lamb special. And get the beer. Or, if you hang around here..."

"They better hang around here," said another sleepy voice from the hole in the floor. "That young femMark has a game to play this morning, remember?"

"I almost forgot," Shardik said, apologetically. "Of course; you're going to play chess against my lovely daughter, aren't you?"

Furry nodded. "I did say I would."

"Yes, you did," the fox said, rising from the floor. "Good morning, fahs," she said, leaning over and giving Shardik and Aaden pecks on their respective cheeks. "How's everything this morning?"

"Bright and sunny," Shardik answered. "For a few hours, at least."

"What?" Molly replied. "Oh," she said, looking out the window. "Better get moving, then," she said, smiling. "Are you ready?" she asked Furry.

"As I'll ever be," Furry replied.

"Dave, set it up and raise the Castle to Overlook. We're going to play with the playset."

"Of course," the AI replied calmly. The walls of the crater, visible just below the level of the residencies, began to fall away, although Nickolai felt no perceptible motion.

"Come, my dear," Molly said, holding out her hand. Furry took it and allowed the fox to lead her out to the patio. Nickolai followed behind them.

The plain of glass-smooth stone shimmered for a second to be replaced with an enormous chess-set, made of black and white tiles that appeared to grow (or was that glow, Nickolai wondered) out of the stone; in the correct positions stood the correct pieces, although not the traditional pieces.

Nickolai reflected that he'd seen chess machines where the pieces fought out the moves, although the outcome was never in doubt; it was merely for entertainment, making the taking of a piece more dramatic. And as Molly and Furry exchanged moves he saw that was the case; pieces walked, fought, died, and faded away.

Although he had never found chess terribly exciting, he became wrapped up in the game as Furry and Molly instituted a timing mechanism in the hopes of outplaying the oncoming rainstorm, as first Molly took Furry's queen and Furry returned the favor, placing Molly in the first check of the game simultaneously. As piece followed piece in rapid succession away from the game, both were finally left with just king and pawn, avoiding any possibility of checkmate and Dave ruled the game a stale. "Damn! Good game, thank you," she said, reaching out a hand.

Furry shook it gently. "You're welcome. Thank you, as well." She picked up her hand suddenly and said, "That was a drop."

"Indeed it was," Shardik said. "All right, everybody, inside. It's about to pour." Thunder rumbled, although there was no lightning yet that Nickolai saw. "It's hitting shore; that's where the static is coming from," Shardik commented as he closed the glass door behind himself. "Well, you guys can go out; there have to be more exciting places than this on Pendor."

Nickolai found himself liking Shardik, but he couldn't say why. "Yeah," he admitted, "But when I get home, think about the fun I'll have telling my friends I spent the weekend hanging out with Shardik."

"'Hanging Out?'" Shardik said. "Is that expression still around? True, that would be fun. But unfortunately, I've got some responsibilities, as do other people here. So if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go. Be back before shadowfall. Call me if there's trouble." He reached over and picked up a small notebook, kissed Aaden's cheekruff and wandered out, Molly with him.

"So you're stuck with me," the large Mephit said gently. "I'm afraid I'm not going to get anything done today, not with a storm like that shaking outside. You could take off, like he suggested. Or I could show you around."

"What, around the Castle, or around Pendor?" Furry asked.

"Either," he said. "Would you like a guided tour?"

"Yes, please," Furry responded.

"Okay, a tour it is." He rose from the table, putting down his glass, and said, "Give me a moment to dress." He disappeared down the hole Molly had risen from and returned a moment later in a black-sheened kilt, a vest and a cap. "There. Now then, come." He wandered over to the front door and said, "This is the residency level. Not much to see here, I'm afraid. It's kind of boring." He made a right, then a left. "That's the commons. If you're hungry and lazy, Dave will usually have something for you to eat. If you're hungry and not lazy, Dave can usually get the ingredients for whatever you want to cook. If it's a really weird ingredient, like dried hocho peppers," Aaden smiled to himself, "you'll have to get them yourself. The commons also serves as the playroom for the younger kids." He stood into the g-tube and lowered himself down; they followed. "Dave also makes sure that the kids don't play too fast in the g-tubes."

"He let me bump my head yesterday."

"He assumed you were old enough to know better," the Mephit responded calmly. "Was it a life-threatening bump?"

"Well, no," Furry responded.

"Then he had no business interfering."

Furry bit her lip; it was difficult to argue with logic like that.

"Here's the basement. It isn't exciting, although if you look in here," he said, opening a door with a palmlock, "You'll find the PT2, Ken's shuttlecraft. And I think that's the Foe, Maha Oren's ship."

He lead them back up one level, and said, "Here's the general use level. Over there are classrooms, over there's the map room, and that room over there is a plain old-fashioned unsambo."

"Unsambo?" Nickolai asked. The word was unfamiliar to him.

"Practice room for martial arts. You know, everything from hand-to-hand dodge and contact to fully automatic weaponry. The word comes from the roots of the words 'room' and 'stormcloud,' I don't know why." He pointed down the hall and said, "Over there's a VR room Ken uses for high-resolution genework; If you get a chance, watch him at it. It's a little like watching an alchemist. And he always plays music at far too high a volume for my comfort when he does. And that last room, there, is the chapel."

He shrugged and began to turn when Nickolai stopped him. "Uh, Aaden..."

"Hmm?" The Mephit turned around.

"A chapel? Isn't that a little... unusual?"

Aaden smiled warmly and said, "You're making assumptions. The word 'chapel' has so many connotations around it. Come on, let me show it to you."

He led them down the hall and pulled open one of the double wooden doors. "Take a look," he said, walking in himself. Inside, a vaulted ceiling made of granite reached at least 10 meters. There were stained glass windows on both walls, along with a magnificent circular one depicting the creation of Pendor above the door they had just walked in. The opposite end of the chapel terminated in a shallow semi-circle with a single dias. The benches were of hardened wood, with nearly upright backings, and rust-red rugs lay down the three aisles. There were no significant religious icons that Nickolai could see.

"Some people," Aaden said, interrupting his thoughts, "go to the mountains for peace and quiet. Some go to the beach. Some come here. I've sat in these benches for hours sometimes when I've had to wrestle with a problem in my head. It's often been said that the first two people to seriously use the chapel for its intended purpose were Chris and Lori when they were discussing their first child, but that was centuries ago. Before the first opening of the gates. Before I was born, even."

He led them back upstairs, past the two floors of residency, to a floor clearly labled "2." "This is mostly guest quarters, although Ken has a few rooms set aside for others things. The household's exercise room is over there," he pointed to a door on the left, "And it's mostly a duplicate of the unsambo, but most people use the hardware strictly for exercise. And weapons practice must be done downfloors. Over there is a room that mostly gets used as an arts/crafts room. Ken's got a sculpture in there."

"Shardik sculpts?"

"When he wants to, which isn't often. He gets obsessive about doing one thing, and that thing gets done. Would you like to see it?"

"Can we?" Furry asked, excited.

"I suppose," Aaden shrugged. He led them down the hallway and through the door open. "It's a pretty strange image, if you ask me." Indeed it was; the sculpture, in white stone, was of a Centaur wearing exceptionally heavy body armor and helmet, lying on the ground with legs splayed. Stone curled away from the chest of the human half, a hole rent in the armor, a stone two-handed sword imbedded almost to the hilt. The image was graphically violent, yet somehow the statue conveyed a sense of peace and finality.

"Wow," Nickolai said after a few seconds. "He's good."

Aaden nodded. "I don't understand where he got this idea from, but he worked like a demon on it for months. Now that it's done, he doesn't want to show it. I don't know why; I wish he would. It is a good sculpture." He looked around and said, "Want to go up one more floor?"

They nodded. "Come on," he said, leading them to the top floor, labled "1." "Storage, mostly. There's a meeting room over there that I've never seen used. Also, the top half of the physical plant's up here, over in that corner. These corridors lead to stairs to the roof. Come on." He led them a little further down the hallway and said, "Dave, clear this window please." The window cleared as ordered and they were looking into a water-filled chamber. "The rooftop pool, so Shardik could converse with the Dolphins without having to leave home. Works, too; they love the ability to come talk to him in his own home."

Aaden turned to them and said, "Well, that's it. You've seen Shardik Castle from the inside. Sorry it wasn't as exciting as you would have thought."

Furry looked around and said, "We discussed that yesterday," gesturing between Nickolai and herself. "You have to live here; I didn't expect Shardik to keep the secrets of the universe under his bed."

Aaden laughed and said, "Never thought of it that way, but I suppose you're right. Besides, most of the secrets take so much hardware and are so dangerous that they're kept in vacuum."

"Pindam," Nickolai said.

"Right," Aaden replied. "So, what do you guys want to do now? It's only, what, six o'clock? Nine hours till nightfall."

"Actually, Aaden, we were going to go places on our own."

"Of course, of course. Actually, if you follow me around you'll be bored out of your mind, too. I'm going to do a little seed turning. I'm trying to get a variety of SQ-celled plant from Aldeberaan six to grow in our soil."

"Doesn't sound like something we'd be interested in," Furry admitted.

"Then go have fun. Dave, is it raining at Rocchodain?"

"Not that I know of," the AI responded perfunctorily. "The storm cycle seems to be curling off the range of Marbletop."

"Well," Aaden replied, "You can go there first and cancel your room reservations."

"Can't we have the AI do it?" Nickolai asked.

"It's against protocol," Furry said, gently. "We have the time and resources to do it ourselves. Asking Dave to do it would prove we're lazy."

"Oh, okay." He shrugged, still getting used to Pendorian customs. "Let's do it."

"SDisk is on level three, you know where it is. It'll put you wherever you ask. I assume you know how to use it, young lady?"

Furry nodded. "I do."

"See you tonight. Set your watches to PST." Furry adjusted her watch as he had indicated, and they tromped off to the SDisk. They did indeed first stop at Rocchodain, then Furry transported them to a hallway. "Where are we?" Nickolai asked.

"Arc," Furry said. "Come on, I want to get something."


"Skycycles," she replied. She led them to a large shop near the roof of the arcology and entered. A femFel shopkeeper intercepted her headlong rush and said, "Can I help you?"

"My friend and I would like the use of two skycycles."

"Day or overnight?"



Furry paused for a second and said, "No."

"Then you'll be wanting a pair of Solo Fives, a very speedy but very safe model." The Felinzi led them over to a pair of bikes hanging against one wall. "As you can see, they have no forward unit, so unlike the old LNRW models they do not block the driver's vision. They have an advanced collision-avoidance system that allows them to be driven in the most insane manner through wooded forests, if you so choose." The Felinzi grinned, her ears falling back along her white-furred head. "Will these do?"

"Uh-huh. Kolya?"

He shrugged. "I guess."

"Good," the shopkeeper exclaimed. "Up onto the roof, and I'll show you." They followed her up a flight of stairs to a small launch porch. There were two of the model she had indicated sitting there. "Now then, you'll both be using full restraint; sit here," she said, pointing to Nickolai.

Nickolai sat down on the bike she had indicated. The Felinzi picked up a broad loop of belt and wrapped it around his waist, then another pair of loops strung over his thighs. "That should hold you." She spent another five minutes familiarizing him with the control; they seemed to be similar to those found on an air-capable 'Mech.

"Ready?" Furry asked once she had strapped herself onto her bike and dismissed the shopkeeper.

"Yeah," Nickolai said.

"Then follow me!" she shouted, pushing down on the acceleration pedal with her foot; the bike shot out of the 'Arc with no sound but the wind. Nickolai dropped his foot on the pedal and felt the bike nearly take off without him. The display pegged itself at "90 kph" before he figured out how to control the damn thing. "Good thing this has a safety," he said to himself.

"Uh-huh," Furry said in his ear. "And I love the intercom. Sounds like you're right behind me, cuddly." She waved to him from her bike.

Nickolai finally got the courage to look down and watched as the world slipped by underneath him. "Where are we going?" he asked.

"I want to see something; we're going to the Rowan."

"Isn't that the name of an AI?"

"You're behind the times. 'Rowan' is a Mephit who used to live at Shardik Castle. 'The Rowan' is a tree that Oenone planted before Pendor had a breathable atmosphere. It's still alive; it's the oldest tree on all of Pendor."

"I didn't know that."

"Welcome to Pendor," Furry said again, laughing. She dipped her bike down, and Nickolai followed her until they were skimming the grassy ground of Abornia plain. They drove for a while; it felt like almost an hour, cruising along. Although wind was hitting Nickolai in the face, it didn't feel like it was doing 90kph; apparently one of the safety feature of the skybikes was a forcefield that slowed wind down. He felt uncomfortable trusting the hardware so much, but Furry seemed to be enjoying herself, so he resolved to do the same.

They drove on until Furry took to the high air again, circling around one lone tree that seemed to be growing in the middle of the Plain, high on a hill. From the height they were at, there was only one other visible object nearby; a small white rectangle about a hundred metres from the hill. "What's that?" he asked, pointing at it.

Furry looked down from her bike and said, "Oh. I'll show you when we get down. Let's land." She brought her bike to a complete brake, hovered, then slowly eased down with the handlebar. Once on the ground, she undid her belts as Nickolai landed next to her. "How was your first trip on a 'cycle?" she asked.

"A little frightening," he admitted, "But I got used to it."

"I bet. It's fun to take one these into the woods or through a canyon, especially a really twisty one," she smiled, wide. "Come on, let's walk to the stone."

"That white thing?"


They walked the short distance; as they got closer Nickolai could tell it was some sort of deathmarker, a tomb maybe. It was a silent white stone, granite maybe, a perfectly smooth rectangle. On one side, set into the stone facing the tree were the words "DONNA HYZEN LEWIS SHARDIK 0087-0106." Nickolai read the words twice before saying, "Oh."

"Yeah," Furry said, quietly. "They say Shardik comes out here to talk to her, when he's depressed. You know the story about his attempted suicide, right?" Nickolai nodded. "Well, Shardik once said that while Brieanna convinced him to live for a little while longer, it was Donna who convinced him to live forever."

"I wonder why. And what does 'Hyzen' mean? I've been told it's actually a real word."

"It's from an obscure dialect of Pendrii that didn't integrate well with general Quen. It means 'shines like the dew,' and it had something do with her hair." She took his hand and said, "Come on." She led him back to the tree, where he sat down on the ground, leaning against the tree, and offered his lap to her. She accepted, smiling.

"Furry, why'd you bring me here?"

"Because it's quiet," she said, gently. "Because I wanted to get away from everything. Like you on the beach, it's a place where I can just be alone with you, to hold you and be hugged by you."

He smiled and held her a little tighter; a lyric from a song he enjoyed began running through his mind, and he said aloud,

"We are our own saviors,
As we start
Both our hearts,
Beating life into each other."

Furry sighed and snuggled up closer to him. "That's pretty. Where'd you get that from? Or did you make that up yourself?"

"I wish," Nickolai said, smiling as he held her. "It's from an old Terran folk musician. I can't remember the name."

"It's pretty anyway," she sighed. Then she laughed gently.

"What's funny?"

"You're getting hard again," she said. "Want to do something with it?"

Two weeks ago he would had shouted his affirmation. Instead, he asked, "Do you?"

She smiled and tugged at the lace holding his pants shut. She pulled the laces free and dug into his pants with her muzzle. Nickolai closed his eyes and sighed as her tongue assaulted the head of his cock.

It had been a few hours since they had masturbated together, yet he was extremely sensitive now. She moaned softly as she pulled his cock free of his pants; it slapped up against his belly. She laughed and in one swift move took it deep into her mouth. He sighed and felt the pleasure of her tongue deep within him.

"Oh, Furry, don't stop."

She didn't reply, simply and slowly stroked his cock. He scratched her back softly, trying not to crowd her at his crotch or frighten her with any inclination that he might try and choke her. She took her time; he was amazed at how long it seemed to be taking, at how much energy she was putting into sucking on his cock. The pressure built within him as her lips slid along his shaft, pushing the foreskin back with every stroke. He came, gently, feeling his cock pulse against her tongue.

Her reaction was to back away, a look of surprise in her eyes. He could see her throat working, trying to swallow his semen; her eyes winced a little. He sighed quietly as his cock softened against his belly. "You okay?" he asked.

She smiled apologetically, her throat still working. "Don't like the taste," she said, smiling. "Sorry."

"Well," he said, "That's okay. I don't expect you to like everything about me. Thank you. You're the first person to do that all the way like that."

"Really?" she said, her eyes lighting up.

"Really," he repeated. "Thank you, Furry."

With a look of delight, she curled up against him and lay her head on his chest. He smiled and stroked her head gently, teasing her ears with his fingers. She giggled gently and said, "Stop that."

"I think I found another ticklish spot."

"Don't, please?" she said with a tone of seriousness. "I really don't want you to."

"Okay," he said, a little disappointed.

"I mean, I've noticed how much you love to tickle me, but after that, I think I just want a nap," she said, closing her eyes.

He nodded, slowly stroking her soft fur; Markals, he had noted, were 'hairless,' in that they didn't have an overabundently long trail of fur on the tops of their heads. Most Pendorian species were similar; Humans, Satryls, Tindals, and Centaurs were the only species with long hair.

As he stroked, his eyes grew heavy; his climax had tired him, and he noticed that her breathing, too, had grown deep and steady. He closed them and fell into a gentle sleep.

When he awoke, the sun was still overhead. His eyes had snapped open of their own will; it felt like it had been a few hours since they had lain down together. Furry was still asleep in his lap. "Furry?" he asked gently, tapping her on the shoulder.

"Huh?" she asked, looking up and blinking. "Sorry, I must've fallen asleep."

"Me, too. What time is it?"

"Thirteen," she said, surprised. "We must've slept about four hours."

"Lucky it didn't rain," he said. "Look." He pointed. In the direction they were heading, back towards the Arc, there were stormclouds gathering. "Sambo," he said, smiling.

"Very funny," she said. "Come on, let's get the bikes." They gathered their few loose possession together; Nickolai noted with more than a little embarrassment that his pants had been open the entire time. Fortunately, Furry had been lying almost atop of him, and none of his more sensitive anatomy had suffered any sort of damage.

As he retied his pants shut, Furry floated up the hill and over to him on her skycycle. "See you at fifty metres," she shouted as the bike shot straight up into the sky.

He jumped on his bike and joined her; they sped off in the direction of the gathering storm. The forcefields kept them dry and warm as they docked with the skycycle shop. "So," he said, "Where to now?"

"I want to stop by my home," she said. "I want to tell my folks I'm okay."

"Sounds like a good idea," he said as they wandered down to the SDisk.

"Are you going to pay a visit to your mother?"

"I don't think I should."

"Why not?" she asked.

"Furry, will you make up your mind? First you don't like my mother, then you tell me I should see her."

"Kolya," Furry said, sighing, "I love you. I want what's best for you. On one hand, I understand how you feel about her, and I understand that for a Pendorian you're of legal age here. But you've got to understand too that on Pendor, we revere our parents; your trying to completely avoid her is, well, unusual."

"I know. Let me decide how to deal with my mother. I'm pretty sure she'll get along without me. Besides, we called her last night; she seems to be getting along okay."

"I suppose." She sighed. "C'mon. Let's go." They stepped on the SDisk and wandered down the hallway to the Shigokai residence. The door opened as they approached. "Hello?" Furry said as they entered.

"Jofuran!" her mother replied as she stepped out from an adjacent room. "How have you been? Has this young man been treating you well?"

Furry looked over at Nickolai, trying hard to maintain a steady grin, and said, "Considering I've got my arm around him, I hope so Mom."

"And you two really are staying at Shardik Castle?"

"Apparently so. That, or an incredible simulation."

"It's the real thing," Furry's father said as he stepped in behind them. "I've been there. Spent the night there. I was sixteen at the time too, and I found it surprisingly boring."

"Daddy!" Furry said, turning around, releasing Nickolai to hug her father. "Hi!"

"Hiya, moppet," Morrail replied, hugging her. "But I'll tell you this... if I had been offered a room in the Castle for two weeks, I'd take it. Just to have that memory."

"Oh, we're going to stay, unless we get kicked out," Furry said. "But I just wanted to stop by the house and say 'Hi, we're fine.'"

"So I see," Morrail said. "You're looking good, lad. Get a little sun today?"

"Just a little," Nickolai said.

"We went to the Rowan, Dad."

Morrail sighed as he released his daughter and said, "The Rowan is such a depressing place, Jofuran-- a reminder of one of the worst moments in our history. Why couldn't you have taken him to Rainy's View? After all, it's right next to the Castle, and it's a lot more beautiful. The Rowan is pretty, but it's also monotonous. Abornia is so huge, the Rowan is just one tree in that huge field of grass."

Furry shrugged and said, "Just wanted to go there. To see it."

"'Because it was there.' As good a reason as any. So, how long are you going to be home?"

"We're leaving in just a few minutes. I just want to grab some things from my bag and get going."

"Okay, Joey." Morrail leaned over and gave his daughter a gentle kiss. "Take care you two." He walked over to his desk and sat down, flipping a few switches. Furry disappeared into her bedroom, returned with a small black bag on a belt about her waist, and said, "Let's go."

They returned to Shardik Castle by SDisk, stepping out onto the hallway. Nobody else seemed to be home; they found ways of occupying themselves until bedtime.