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The howling sirens of the ambulances screeched into the U of G campus just as Audrey sprinted out the main gates and booked it down the sidewalk. Gotta get out. Can't be near this shit.
She ducked into a convenience mart and stuffed her face into a copy of Scientific American like microchips and computer servers were the most amazing shit in the world. Can't let them see me. I am so not going to jail for this!
After an eternity of pacing up the aisles and tossing random snacks into a handbasket, her heartbeat settled enough for rational thought to return. I'm being stupid! Who would honestly believe that Audrey Belrose had come to campus on a Sunday, or that she'd spent time with Zoey of all people? Sundays were for sleeping off wild, weekend benders and Zoey was an ass-hat! She hadn't interacted with anyone besides Miss Yumi, and teach would have her back. No, I'm clean. It's all golden.
So she paid for her Slurpee – leaving the clerk yelling at her for dropping a cart of unpaid shit on his counter – and kicked up her heels on a park bench, scratching Momo behind the ears so the cat-girl would chillax. "Zoey gets the paramedics, we get to stay anonymous. Cat, I think we're all clear."
"Momo guesses so, Master…"
That was when Nikki chimed in with an urgent text.
=Audrey? Is that you in the Agent-Z video?=
Zoey's webcam had been running!
Nikki met them at the Nutmeg café in full freak-out gear: sweater hoodie and dark sunglasses pulled up over her tense, flickering eyes. Whatever she'd seen in that video had made her paranoid to the core. "We can't be caught together," the bluenette hissed. "I'm risking enough just meeting with you like this!"
Nikki sat her in a corner booth, made her crouch low so they could listen using earbud speakers. The Internet had christened the video 'Web Stripper Poltergeist Assault', and it was just as gruesome watching it a second time: Zoey, in her campus cam-whore studio, floating and screaming in mid-air, Exorcist-style. Zoey, flailing helplessly before being slammed against the wall in a crucifixion pose.
The webcam rolled onto the floor at that point – immersed in Zoey's messy carpet, capturing only her screams – until her broken body was unceremoniously dumped among the refuse. From there, the video recorded her horrific panting and sobbing until the paramedics rushed in and yanked the feed.
Nikki paused and scrolled back to an earlier instant where a second body was clearly visible – a fancy, blue and white-frilled dress, platform heels. Clearly the target when Zoey screamed for Belrose to "make it stop! Make it stop!"
Audrey bit down on her fingers. Shit. Shit, shit, shit!
While she sweated, Nikki pocketed the phone and removed her protective sunglasses, staring her down with the same deep frown the conspiracy nut wore whenever she was analyzing a stupid video game puzzle. She was waiting for Audrey to make the next move.
"This went viral?"
"It's trending mad, Audrey. Someone posted it on Reddit, and from there all the supernatural bloggers ran wild with it."
Nikki pressed onward. "That's you in the dress, right? How'd you figure out how to blur out your face? And every time you scream, it's all pitch-shifted. Seriously, how'd you do that on a live stream?"
The nerd highlighted a screenshot of Zoey's Lolita-fashioned visitor, whose face was smeared and distorted into pink pixels just like the video editing that newscasts utilized to keep crime witnesses anonymous. Clueless, Audrey consulted Momo under the table.
"Misato could do that too, Master. When we went on adventures, her facey went all blurry-like t'other people, and she sounded funny too! That way, none of the bad guys could know who she really was!"
Audrey shrugged at Nikki. "Magic."
"Magic. Right…" On to more pressing questions. "What were you doing on Agent-Z's live stream?"
"Wait – Nikki, you know that nutjob?"
Now it was the bluenette's turn to squirm awkwardly. "Um … sorta? I mean back in the day, I kinda used to follow her on social media and watch her streams. She used to be this awesome fur-suiter who'd post tutorial vids. She'd stream herself sewing costumes, putting them on and then playing around." Nikki's face flushed. "And um … sometimes she'd um, stream herself taking off her costumes. Slowly. To music."
Audrey had no words to express her absolute revulsion. She just made a mental note to never fucking shake Nikki's lady jizz-stained hands ever again. "Excuse me while I swallow my vomit, Ann-Marie."
"Oh like you aren't surfing for porn too! And I haven't watched her in ages, okay? I mean, as soon as she started transitioning to the android fandom it got way too creepy for me."
"The only creepy thing is the amount of bat-shit insanity you nerds brush off as 'normal'. God-damn furries!"
"Yeah, well at least I'm not still a virgin."
Audrey scowled. "Okay, look, here's the deal. She's a girl who goes to university with Tiff and me. Her name's Zoey and -"
"Zoey?" Nikki reared back in alarm. "Wait, you mean people on campus knew her as 'Zoey'? She actually registered, went to classes, and got people to call her by her screen handle?"
Audrey quirked an eye. "That fucked up?"
"I mean, that's like if I made you call me Lady Sapphire whenever we hung out. It's just … wow. Total disconnect from reality."
So Zoey wasn't even snowflake's real name? Jesus, what was next? Was she actually a deep-cover Russian spy or something? "So, how do I get this video pulled off the net?"
Nikki looked at her like she'd just failed basic arithmetic. "Um, you kinda don't? It's the Internet, Audrey. Your dirty laundry stays up there forever. Besides, it's been downloaded hundreds of times already from conspiracy websites and supernatural haunting blogs. Everybody thinks it's a ghost or a demonic possession. Only you and I know what this really was."
Nikki pounded on the table. "Cupidaemons! Love fairies. Those invisible girls with wings that I told you about? The ones who tried to take Celeste away from me? Audrey, they're back!"
Audrey exhaled – the thankless task of coaching Nikki back to reality. "Nik... you ever think you just dreamed up these fairies?"
"It's not a joke, Audrey! I swear I saw them! I ... there was one that taught me how to talk to boys and go on dates and stuff."
"You sure? Maybe it was just Tiff wearing a crappy disguise."
"Wha-? Audrey, I'm being serious here! Don't you get it? A bunch of love fairies must've gone invisible and beaten up Agent-Z. Wanna bet they did the same thing to Tiffany and that bus?" She tensed up and pulled her hoodie strings tight. "They're warning me, Audrey! They know Celeste is still here! They're, they're targeting people I know! Telling me to –"
Audrey put her hand over Nikki's covered wrist, an anchor against the gamer's high-flying ramblings. "Nik? Maybe the universe doesn't give a shit about you fucking an alien."
Nikki drew her hand away, scowling as she focused the laser beams of her blue eyes onto her so-called friend. "Why'd Celeste want to meet with you last night anyway?"
Audrey choked. Scrambled for an answer. Because I make her engine purr so fine, she smirked to herself. Outwardly, she crossed her legs and shrugged. "How the hell should I know? Where is Smurfette, anyway?"
"Oh, she's um, she's checking on her ship." Nikki fidgeted nervously, torn between pressing Audrey for more information and sharing news of her own. After an intense debate, her deep frown broke into an ecstatic schoolgirl grin. "Celeste said she's making a maintenance inspection but I know she's looking through her medical supplies right now! Audrey, she's gonna heal Tiffany!"
Under the table, Momo gasped. "Master, Misses Celeste is gonna save your special friend! Isn't that super-duper?"
Momo's naïve excitement only convinced Audrey that Nikki was lost in delusion. "Nik, go home. Go play your video games. Go draw your furry porn and chill. No one's targeting your friends and Internet buddies. This isn't about you."
If anything, the shadows were targeting everyone around her.
Love fairies attacking Tiff and Zoey. What nerd garbage!
Tiffany had given her the low-down on love fairies; they just wanted to watch humans fuck 'n shit. They were magical perverts, not murderers.
But Nikki offered a harsher flip side: how these winged tricksters groomed happy couples like cattle ranchers. How their big boss queen didn't take kindly to aliens and intermingling. How anything outside their plans and boundary lines got axed.
But that's Nikki. Nikki gets a panic attack when they change the art style on her stupid video games! Good god, if she had to endure another Wind Waker rant…
Maybe the fairies weren't malicious themselves. But if they had pets… Magical minions to act as their proxies…
Audrey's throat ran dry. She needed to check on the hospital. Now.
"Tiff? Tiff, you awake?"
No change. No movement but her stilted breathing. No sound but the steady inhale and click of the respirator. Never in her life had Audrey been more relieved to return to such an awful status quo. She's still safe.
Miss Yumi hadn't been kidding about half the campus visiting Tiffany. At this point, the recovery suite was pretty much a florist's shop: bouquets on the nightstands, wreaths on the wall; potted plants, sympathy cards and stuffed animal squashed into every conceivable corner. Audrey compared Tiffany's bounty of gifts with the small, potted cactus she'd bought from the hospital gift shop. A peace offering in case she ran into Miss Jessie. The prickly lump suddenly felt so inadequate.
"It's hardy, okay? I mean, yeah - maybe all these other weeds have fancier flowers with showy colours but wait a couple days and they'll all be dead and rotting!"
Oh God, bad thoughts! Bad thoughts!
"Just … make like a cactus and hang in there, you got that?"
She approached, clearing space on the nightstand for her desert shrub and then risked a touch on the shoulder. Again, Tiffany's fairy wings did that weird reaction: lifting off the ground, stiffening like lungs taking a deep inhale; glowing a little brighter. When Audrey removed her hand, the wings fell limp and brown as dry houseplants, their beads pulsing in a dim, 'low power' mode.
"What's wrong with her, cat?"
"Maybe the wingsies aren't bad thingies, Master. Momo thinks they're kinda pretty."
"Pretty freakish," Audrey muttered, cringing at how those magical appendages had buzzed so earnestly and with such delight when Tiffany had been near her.
On the plus side, the shadow monsters had quit pacing outside Tiffany's doorway. Yeah, the pack downstairs kept circling the hospital like sharks around a blood-soaked castaway but at least they hadn't found a way past the front door barrier spell. I should go before Miss Jessie shows up.
As she turned to leave, another girl entered with her own gift of flowers. The brunette wolf-whistled. "Got a sweet pussy there, fam."
Audrey held back her vomit but not her bile. "We're in a hospital, you fuckwad, and I'm not a dyke!"
"Whoa, chill brah! I meant your cat."
Audrey followed her pointing finger to Momo. "Oh."
"Nah, my bad. Time 'n place. Call me Jonesy. You Cheerleader's friend?"
"We're just friends," Audrey emphasized, nabbing Momo by the collar. Shit, why's she spitting and hissing all of a sudden?
Side-stepping the angry cat, the new girl snapped her fingers in recognition. "Hey, it is you – Red, the party girl! Cheer used to gab about you all the time. You two were tight! Her sister from another mister, am I right?"
The pint-sized gangsta was clearly waiting for Audrey to hook her up with a "fo' shizzle" but the diva left her hanging. Who are you and what the fuck have you been smoking, 'brah'? Bitch thought she was hot shit but she clearly wasn't anything special - a slim, ballerina body in slacker jeans and a tank top, with chestnut hair chopped into the laziest pixie cut. Probably one of Nikki's people.
"I'm leaving," she declared, moving so as to avoid touching. "Momo, c'mon!"
"Later, Red! We should totally party some time!"
Yeah, no. Audrey had to drag the cat-girl by the shirt, the kid was so incensed by this stranger.
"Her smell, Master! Her smell!"
Cat had a point. What perfume's she using? It made her think of … sugar?
Audrey pretended to walk down the hall, but she watched like a hawk as the brunette went somber and offered up a vase of yellow daises. "Wow… just, wow. Doesn't seem that long ago we had our places swapped, huh Cheerleader? Shit, never thought I'd be the one visiting you."
Her eyes trailed to the floor. They popped open. "What the hell're those?"
The girl knelt down and Audrey couldn't believe her eyes: she actually picked up one of Tiffany's wilted fairy wings, scrunching her face as she turned over the wing tip and inspected its glassy baubles.
"Cheerleader … what the frick did you do t'yourself?"
"Don't you fucking touch her!" Audrey seized the mystery girl's wrist; she flailed in protest.
"Whoa, what crawled up your cooch 'n died? I didn't even –" Her eyes darted from Audrey, then down to the invisible wing. Mental streams flooded with realization and the girl's eyes went wide in alarm.
"You can see those? How're you -? Shit, that's my cue t'make like your mom's legs 'n split!"
The girl wrenched her hand free and snapped her fingers. Her body flashed with a brief, pink light that was supposed to do … something? Seriously, what the fuck was that?
Pleased with herself, the girl stuck out her tongue, spun on her heel and went back to inspecting Tiffany's wings as if Audrey wasn't even in the room anymore. This bitch! Did she suddenly think she was invisible or something? When Audrey grabbed her wrist a second time, she positively freaked!
"Apollo's ass-cheeks, how'd you -?"
The girl upped her game. A sheen of pink light spread over her body and Audrey wobbled as her fist slipped through the girl's wrist. "Gotta bail!" The door was fully closed but that didn't slow the brunette. She simply jumped through the wall like a ghost.
"Momo, get her!" Audrey plowed into the hall, weaving around nurses while the fugitive brunette ran straight through them. The passing staff yelled bloody murder at her but nobody even noticed the other girl.
The chase carried on into the hospital stairwell, where the girl raced up three steps at a time and where Audrey's smoker lungs caved under the stress of so much cardio. "Come back – come back…"
"Momo's got this, Master!" Picking up the slack for her wheezing master, Momo dropped into shadow form and slithered up the walls at a blistering speed. When Audrey caught up three floors higher, the cat-girl had tackled the brunette to the ground, hissing and tugging on a mouthful of ratty jeans with a death grip.
"A phase-shifter! Zeus' thunder-balls, you've even got a phase-shifter! Argh, let go, cat! Lemmie –"
Audrey didn't think she cut an imposing figure – black hair askew, lungs heaving, skin sweaty – but one look and the brunette whimpered and hid her face like she was death personified. A single name trembled through her lips:
Then she was bowing and grovelling like Audrey had her at gunpoint.
"Oh Zeus, not the light! Anything but the light! N-no hard feelings, right? I-I'll do anything you want – you name it! Rim jobs, pet play. You got a foot fetish? I will suckle your groady-ass toes like they're the sweetest candy! Just… oh shit, please don't purify me!"
Audrey didn't know where her newfound authority stemmed from, but she rolled with it. Invisibility, intangibility. "You're a love fairy."
"I'm just a working gal tryin' get by. I mean, Y-yes! Yes, I'm a love fairy!"
She shed her human form in a ripple of pink sparkles. Brown hair shifted into bubble-gum pink pigtails, raggedy human clothes melted into the laciest of baby-doll lingerie. Icicle spikes shot from her spine, spreading a thin, crystal sheen that assembled into grand butterfly wings. The extra appendages immediately hugged the fairy's body like a security blanket.
Nikki had been right all along! "You tried to kill Tiff!"
"I'm just payin' my respects, Red! I heard about the accident; I had to check on Cheerleader."
"Accident? That what you call it when your shadow pets push someone in front of a bus? Don't gimmie that crap; you've still got your little bastards patrolling the hospital!"
The love fairy risked a glance up. "Shad-? Wait, you mean those freaky dudes I passed on the front lawn? You're tellin' me they tried to ice Cheerleader?"
Why did everyone she confronted keep playing the 'clueless' card? "No, you tried to ice her! Call them off, now!"
"We both speakin' English here, Red? I didn't do jack! Not like you care, you crazy, uptight virgin priestess! Fine, then!" The fairy spun around and raised her pink panty-clad derriere in a defiant fart. "Do it, already! Cleanse me in the name of the Moon and all that crap. Bring it!"
Audrey shielded her eyes from the pink light of the fairy moon. She mulled it over. "You seriously didn't do anything?"
"Fam, I'm just paying my respects to my old roomie!"
Her shock seemed genuine enough. Audrey snapped her fingers. Momo shadow-snuck back to her side, off the attack but still hissing and glaring at the love fairy.
"Look," Audrey began, "Something fucked up is going down around here and I need some god-damn answers. My head's racing a mile a minute and you look like shit down there, so why don't we both chill the fuck out and start over."
From her purse, Audrey fished a plastic baggie full of weed. The fairy's apple-green eyes lit with the sweet relief of a foreigner who'd finally heard her native language.
"Name's Audrey. You wanna get high?"
"All day, erry day, fam! And call me Kyu."
A locked door at the peak of the stairwell meant nothing when your smoking buddy could walk through walls and phase her crafty fingers into locking mechanisms. They made the fenced-in rooftop their smoking lounge, kicking back among the thrumming air conditioning units and sending up twin trails of skunky smoke into the burning, sunset sky. Eager for relief from their respective stresses, they baked their brains on Glenberry's finest ganja, while the fading embers of the sun baked the clouds into deep reds and purples.
Momo frowned from a distance, torn between protecting her master from the suspicious love fairy and protecting her nose from the icky, icky, stinky-poo smoke.
Red-eyed and woozy, Kyu giggled and teased the cat-girl by blowing another skunky stream. "Fuuuuuck yeah. That's the stuff! Y'know, the girls back home see me goin' down on human food and they gimmie the stink-eye like I'mma garbage-eating griblin! Like those bitches ain't sneakin' candy and coffee when they hit the field!"
The fairy staggered over to the chain-link fence guarding the rooftop and whistled admiringly. "Some view, huh?"
Audrey exhaled her own blunt and joined the fairy in looking over the city with her newly-opened eyes. The buildings, the traffic, the pedestrians – all that was old hat, but now she could see what Kyu saw, the deeper layer of invisible, intangible creatures that infested the city like weeds on a pristine lawn.
Flocks of oily, black cawglers swooped over the traffic lanes, chomping down on the stress that steamed up like engine exhaust. Cackling griblins scampered from the sewer grates to begin their evening mischief. A delighted parade of cartoony vegetables bobbed their way towards the arcades and dance clubs to gorge on a feast of human happiness. Audrey even spotted one or two love fairies in the mix, puttering about on insect wings as they searched for the next loveable loser to mentor.
"Some view," she repeated, but with far less enthusiasm. If she could snap her fingers and will it all away… "So all these bugs 'n gremlins 'n shit, they've always just been here?"
"Well uh, we kinda brought them over."
"I mean, not on purpose or anything! Here - it's like this!" Kyu jogged over to the rooftop entrance, waving at the stairwell like a TV game show hostess. "Okay – outside is my world, Sky Garden. Inside, that's your world. When I wanna visit your pad, what do I do? I open a portal and let myself in."
She did just that, creaking open the door and making a show of stepping through. In, out. Earth, Sky Garden. "Course, sometimes you pick up some strays along the way."
Case in point – a handful of draydids had joined them on the roof to feed off their mellow vibes. One followed Kyu into the stairwell and continued downward into the hospital. "Y'see? Outside doors, interdimensional portals – they're all pretty much the same. We try to be careful but sometimes crap comes through. Little stuff – a bit of pollen, some bugs..."
"Little stuff? Tell me you can see the frickin' bearded dragon floating over the city like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day float! That's supposed to be 'little stuff'?"
"Aww, Bessie? Naw, that's small fish, Red. You should've seen the creepy crawlies that used't zip past our filters – we're talkin' yer hydras, yer harpies, merfolk 'n minotaur. Yeah, kinda embarrassing what snuck through before management wrote up proper filtration spells. Big V was good for that much, I guess."
"And you people just let all these monsters roam around?"
"Pretty much. And don't get snippy with me. I don't exactly see you humans raring to clean up the plastic in your oceans! Draydids, quee-quays – all these leftover guys are mostly harmless. Nobody can see them anymore and all they wanna do is soak up the sweet, sweet emotions you people churn out like soft-serve ice cream! They ain't hurtin' nobody."
"Yeah? Well what about him?"
Audrey pointed. The shadow silhouette roared its empty maw, shifting its arms into a battalion of blades as it lunged for her. Momo hissed reflexively but her strength was unneeded. The silhouette exploded into a formless cloud the instant it hit the barrier set up by Audrey's spell tags. It retreated, bashing against the perimeter of paper scrolls that the girls had lured it into and redoubled its assault but with every charge it merely dashed itself into pieces like ocean surf against the rocks. Kyu winced awkwardly.
"Yeah… this guy." The fairy fluttered around their specimen. "Hmm, never seen one of these before, and I had some serious roaches in my old apartment. Hey, you tried purifying them, Red?"
"With what? Holy water? Garlic?"
Kyu nodded her head cryptically. "New to this Light-Bringer business, I gotcha. Still haven't tried out all the toys in your goodie drawer. Leave this t'me, Red. After I kinda got kidnapped and freeze-dried by a space lizard, HR totally shelled out for self-defence classes. I gots me some mad skillz now, boi!"
Momo shook her chocolatey hair. "It's not gonna work, Fairy Lady."
Undaunted, Kyu approached the snarling shadow, gathering a sphere of pink energy in her palm. Where the demon's movement was restricted by the good vibe aura of the spell tags, Kyu knew no such boundaries. She reared back her energy sphere – "Judo Fairy Chop!" – and shoved the wad of pink magic into the creature's stomach.
The shadow creature went stiff as an enema patient. Then it doubled over, clenched at its pained belly and unleashed an impotent scream before it exploded. Only Audrey's barrier kept them from being showered in black goo.
Kyu made a finger pistol and pretended to fire a victory shot. "Another bad boy blown away by the Sugarduster!"
When a shadowy arm rose up to claw at her, the fairy freaked and leapt into the air. Momo nodded to herself.
"Momo told you! Lookie – he's just gonna put himself back t'gether." The shadow demon had already gathered its smoky entrails into a frothy cloud. A scratch across Audrey's spell tags afforded it the narrowest of exits. It squeezed itself into thin, inky black wisps and jetted through the fissure to rejoin its brethren on the front lawn. Audrey was left with an extremely smug, know-it-all cat-girl and a dazed fairy blown back on her ass.
Kyu had much to re-evaluate.
"It's got an anchor," she exclaimed. Audrey narrowed her eyes, forcing the fairy to explain. "Okay, Red, I gotta get'cha schooled on Sky Garden biology. All those bugs 'n plants you've been seeing? Here's the thing: they leak. Call it magical radiation. They've soaked up all sorts of magical sunshine from my world and it bleeds off them. Hell, I'm no different. Spend enough wild weekends with me and you might soak up some of my aura."
"What, so I'd grow wings like Tiff?"
"You? Hmph, no chance. Cheerleader only got that way 'cause she was poppin' concentrated magic pills. Naw, the mana you'd pick up? We're talking teeny-tiny – infinitesimally small. Smaller than a pixie dude's dick in an ice bath! You'd have to chill with me for decades just to get a magical wiggle up your nose and you humies just don't last that long."
Audrey bit her nail in thought. "It's not just people that absorb magic, is it?"
"Ooh, the mega-bitch gets a mega point! Rocks, minerals, vegetables – they're all fair game for sponging up our magic spooge. The more Sky Garden creatures a thing can attract, the more it'll soak up their magic rays. It's gotta be something special, meaningful. Something that can create an emotional anchor."
Audrey was beginning to follow. "So like, a toy you got from your grandma when you were five years old and you still hang onto it in your back closet."
"Or a dress your master gave you that's so special you never took it off fer a super-duper long time!"
"Or the dirty panties you snuck into your purse to commemorate your first romp in the sack with that fine-ass bitch from accounting!"
Red and golden-almond eyes reared back at the fairy.
"Aw, c'mon! You'd do it too if you weren't all boring-ass virgins. Panty snatchers represent!"
When they continued scowling, Kyu inspected the failed spell circle, poking at the discarded refuse the shadow had been carrying inside itself. Cigarette butts, junk food wrappers and some familiar black beetles with an unearthly, red glow beneath their shells.
"Scorubs," Kyu mused. "An anchor that attracted a shit-ton of scorubs. Sucking up decades of downer magical energy until it became magical itself. Magical enough to start spitting out these shadow spirits."
An anchor. So she'd been right to suspect Zoey's choker. "And if I find this 'anchor' thing, all I've gotta do is smash it and -?"
"Poof!" Kyu flicked her fingers and set off a tiny magic firecracker. "Nothing but stardust. It'd be like smashing and ant hill 'n watching those suckers go running around without a home."
"So? Let's hurry up and find this anchor already!"
Here, Kyu raised her palms in protest. "Whoa, much as I dig bitches who take charge, I'm gonna have to shut ya down, Red. I bent a lot of rules to help Cheerleader and your nerd-girl buddy with their relationships: Stealing client files, feeding magic pills to a human; not to mention helping an alien sneak back on planet. Nothing nobody can prove, but my boss is starting to watch me like a harpy on the hunt. If I keep hanging around here, that's gonna bring a lot of bad attention to Cheerleader and those afterglow wings."
"But you can fix her, right?"
Kyu looked her sternly. "Red, humans that gobble down magic are anomalies. My boss doesn't fix anomalies, she ends them. Y'dig?"
Audrey clenched her fists, now appreciating why Momo had instinctively hissed and spat at this troublesome fairy girl. "You're the one who gave Tiff those fairy pills. You started all this shit and now you're bailing?"
At the very least, Kyu had the decency to flinch and look ashamed. "Look, I can do some digging on my end but it's gotta be quiet. I'm counting on you to fix this shadow shit. Figure out who's after Cheerleader, find the anchor and get rid of it!"
"Damn it, why's it my job to fix everybody's mess?"
Kyu laughed as she approached the roof's edge and spread her wings for take-off. "Um, because you're a Light Bringer? Comes with the virgin priestess territory, Red. Oh, one last thing: I put a shit-ton of overtime into getting Bluebell and Champ back together, so would you get your shit together and please, please, please stop trying to sink their ship? Either that, or start negotiating a three-way, m'kay?"
Bluebell? Champ? Did she mean Nikki and - ? Audrey retched. "You fairies seriously have nothing but sex on the brain."
Kyu bared a shameless and toothy grin. "What can I say? I'm always hungry."
Back at home under the light of a dark moon, Audrey ripped page after page from her physics notebook as she tried to puzzle out the motives of the shadow creatures' master.
At the club, they attack me. At the university, they attack me. They go after Tiffany, they go after Zoey. Who's pissed at all three of us?
More importantly, what was she going to do when she found the possessor of this magical anchor? She'd started doodling on one page, a crude drawing of Momo firing off a magical hearts. "Hey cat, Misato could do more than just see these magic buggers, couldn't she?"
"Oh Misato was wonderful, Master! She could do all kinds of special magic. Her eyes could see everybody, she could make all sorts of spell tags 'n potions, an' she could hide who she was just like you did for the camera."
Not the power I'm looking for. "That fairy girl. She called me a Light Bringer."
"Mmh! She musta been talking about your super-duper attack!" The kitten danced on her feet again, imitating her former master's voice. "For the sake of my friends, I will cleanse your evil ways! Starlight Princess Pure Shine Go! BWOOSH! That's the spell Misato said t'use the pure-pure beam!"
"Wait, she had a laser beam?" Audrey scooted closer.
"A super love beam," Momo corrected. "A light so super-bright, anything that was bad or dark would go 'poofy' an' disappear!"
Momo delivered it all so innocently and honestly, Audrey almost believed the tale. She indulged a brief vision of vaporizing all the frat assholes and stuck-up snowflakes who got in her way. Now that's power! "She must've been something," Audrey remarked.
"Oh Master, Misato was wonderful! Almost as pretty as you. She was nice an' helpful an' when she transformed, she looked so –"
Wait what? Transfor-? But before Audrey could press the point, the ring tone on her cell interrupted. Nikki again? "Yeah, whaddya want?"
"Greetings, Audrey-da. Are you presently occupied?"
Audrey's heart skipped a beat. "Celeste? N-no, I'm free. I mean, I'm not doing shit! What's up, space girl?"
The Norai took her time assembling a response. "I find myself in need of companionship. Would you care to join me for the evening?"
Companionship. There were so many ways you could run with that word and Audrey's brain grabbed every possible thread and went zooming. It was a small miracle she kept her voice steady. "Umm, yeah whatever. I'm at home, though."
"I am aware. I can see your profile in the window."
Audrey froze, suddenly aware that she'd been scratching her ass this entire time.
"You're at the front gates," she deadpanned.
"Affirmative. May I enter?"
Audrey glanced out the window, saw the blue figure waving from afar. She groaned. This was so not a good time. The fairy world had dumped its problems in her lap; Nikki was either panicking or deluding herself, Tiffany was in a coma, Zoey had been beaten to a pulp and all her leads had evapor–
No, she suddenly decided. Fuck it, this was the perfect time. She hadn't felt this low in a long while. Maybe a good old-fashioned mistake would be just the thing to keep her going.
"Gimmie a sec, I'll come get you."
My profile on Fanfiction.net is hosting a reader poll. I’ve got tons of ideas for fanfics but I want to know what my readers would most like to see.
Your three options are as follows:
I’d prefer to collect all votes on FFN but I will take DeviantArt comments into account. Hit those links and get voting!
My profile on Fanfiction.net is hosting a reader poll. I’ve got tons of ideas for fanfics but I want to know what my readers would most like to see.
Your three options are as follows:
I’d prefer to collect all votes on FFN but I will take DeviantArt comments into account. Hit those links and get voting!
Hello, and thank you for stopping by!
This profile will host, "Redemption's Fall", the written adaptation of my Pokemon Emerald Nuzlocke.
The story can be enjoyed on its own merits, but for those of you who follow Nuzlocke Challenges, below is the modified ruleset governing my challenge:
1. Catch only the first non-ghost Pokemon encountered on each route, town or cave.
a. Excluding ghosts, you may own only one (1) Pokemon of each type.
b. Nrm/Fly = Flying Type. Otherwise, Pokemon are categorized by their Type 1.
c. The "first non-ghost Pokemon" encountered on a route is defined as "first of a type you do not yet own". If a pokemon whose type you already own appears, you must ignore it and catch the next permitted pokemon.
2. Nickname all Pokemon.
3. Create four storage boxes titled as follows: Earth, Purgatory, The Inferno and Paradise.
4. If a Pokemon faints then its mortal life has ended and its soul must await judgement. Perma-box it in "Purgatory".
5. For each soul in Purgatory you may catch one (1) ghost Pokemon. The gender and nickname of this ghost must correspond to one of the souls lost in limbo.
6. Ghost Pokemon are creatures from beyond this world. Consequently, they are unaffected by Earthly tokens. Ghosts may be healed at Pokemon centers but they cannot hold, use or benefit from any items in or out of battle.
7. If a Ghost Pokemon faints then its connection to this mortal world is severed. Perma-box it - along with its mortal equivalent - in "The Inferno", where it will live out an eternity of torment.
8. It is said that the energies of a Legendary Pokemon are capable of cleansing the sins of any lost soul. In exchange for condemning a Regi, Kyogre, Groudon, Rayquaza or Lati_s to the Inferno (i.e. catch it and box it in Hell), you may transfer one lost Pokemon from "Purgatory" to "Earth".
a. If the rescued Pokemon had a Ghost equivalent then release that ghost, as its body and soul have been reconnected.
b. Mark all resurrected Pokemon. If it faints a second time, Perma-box it in "The Inferno".