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Chapter Seven: The Marketplace

© Lady Owl

Heather lay awake beside Neelix, staring up at the cracks along the ceiling of his quarters. She had been awake for the past hour while he slept beside her, unable to fall back asleep. She was still hungry but at least it wasn't so bad that she felt like her own stomach was eating itself.

She kept wondering why she wouldn't wake up. Why this dream wouldn't end. It was all too strange to be real so it had to be fake, right?

She turned her head to look at the strange creature called Neelix, watching his body moving up and down slowly with each breath. Even though she was afraid, he had been her only ray of hope through all of this and he was trying... even when she was frightened or a pain in the ass, he didn't give up on her. She tried to smile a little to herself as she watched him sleep but her smile faded as she wondered where exactly he came from or, really, where she had ended up. She hadn't seen any other humans and things were.. strange, yet familiar in some ways. Even if they looked different, they functioned in a similar way, such as the shower.

She turned her head back to the ceiling, catching those strange pipes out of the corner of her eye again. She turned to look at them, watching as they pulsed with the violet glowing lights. Her curiosity got the best of her as she sat up to look at them more closely but, as she did, Neelix stirred beside her at her movements. She paused for a moment, waiting to see if he would wake, and when he didn't, she carefully slid the sheets off herself and slowly stood, being as quiet as possible. She glanced down at him again to make sure he was still asleep and when she was convinced that he was, she turned and began to explore the room.

Neelix parted his eyes slightly to watch her. She had indeed woken him, but he didn't move, feigning sleep. He was curious to see what she was up to as he watched her walk along the wall, following the transparent plasma supply that gave him power within his quarters. He watched as she followed it until it came to the entrance way that Veeno had come through earlier. She slid her hand along the metal surface of the door, and she noticed a device to the side of the door frame and gently grazed her finger tips against the buttons and over a small blue light near the top of it. She had no idea for certain what would happen if she pressed any of the buttons, but assumed it was probably related to this door.

She continued, carefully stepping over wires and tools, and moving between large crates. Neelix smiled to himself, admiring how graceful she was in comparison to his own, slight clumsiness, watching her as she continued along the wall until she came to the back room where they had showered earlier.

Heather appropriately assumed it was the bathroom, even if the creature who owned it didn't refer to it by that name. She peeked her head inside, and, already having been there, walked past it. She kept moving until the wall cornered to the left, leading down a short hall way to another door. Since all that seemed to be down there was that door, she decided against going that way and continued forward to the back of his quarters. She assumed this area was the equivalent of a kitchen since he had fed her here earlier, however it had no obvious food storage container such as a fridge or even a stove top or other obvious cooking appliances. She only noticed a few misted drawers along the wall and a couple strange devices on a back counter.

Moving through this kitchen, she ran her hand along the table that she had sat at when he fed her and then moved back to the wall, noticing a metal vertical rectangle mounted on it. It was wide and had what appeared to be shutter like slits in it. One of the pieces wasn't entirely shut, as a small amount of light was peeking through it and she pressed her finger against it, wiggling the tip against the small gap to test how loose it was. Her nose crunched up as she felt a presence behind her and she nervously moved her eyes to the side, hoping to catch a glimpse of whatever it was from her perifial vision. She jumped suddenly in surprise and gasped as Neelix gently placed his hand over her's, turning her head quickly to look up at him. She gulped, afraid that she may have upset him by her intrusive actions, but he softly caressed her hand and held on to it as he lifted it from the shutter and over to the right to a panel on the wall. She looked at him and then back to his hand as he guided her hand to the panel and pressed her finger against one of the buttons.

She stepped back into him as the shutters opened, shining light onto them. The individual shutters folded against themselves and raised together to reveal a window. Heather gasped as she looked out and Neelix let go of her hand as she moved close to the window. She pressed her right hand against the thick glass as her other moved to her mouth in shock.

Heather stared out at the large orange and red planet in awe. It felt like someone had just hit her over the head with a blunt object. It all came to her instantly... The lights, the force field, the creatu-... she gasped, correcting herself; aliens. Her eyes were wide and her brows high on her forehead as she stared out at the planet, her other hand moving from her mouth and to the window, pressing against the glass to meet the other. It was both the most frightening thing she had ever seen.. and the most beautiful.

Neelix looked down at her, making sense of the situation himself. It finally came together why she was so afraid of everything. She had, had no idea... It was bad enough she was kidnapped and brought to a place she had never been before, but if she was this shocked from just seeing a simple planet... then no wonder she had reacted the way she had. He wondered just how primitive her species really was and if he had gotten himself into a deeper situation than he had ever realized.

But he moved close against her, wrapping his arms around her from behind to hug her softly. She lowered her gaze, his touch moved her mind away from her worrying thoughts. She moved her left hand from the window and carefully placed it against his arm, letting him know that even through all of this, she appreciated his company... and he slowly lowered his head, nuzzling her shoulder in response. She had become more comfortable with him being near her and with his touching. It brought her comfort and warmth when she felt alone and afraid, and she looked out at the planet for a long time... It was amazing, something she never dreamed she'd ever get to see, unless this all really was just a dream... but she had so many questions and she wanted answers so badly.

Heather twisted herself around in Neelix's arms, him lessening his grip as she turned to face him and he looked down at her in confusion. She looked up into his eyes, staring into them intently as she studied him, knowing now what he was had her seeing him in a new light ( changed her outlook slightly about him). She reached her hand up slowly to touch the side of his face, feeling his soft skin against her fingers. He looked back into her eyes, watching her expression as she explored the features of his face, inquisitively but not intrusive, moving her fingers against the black colored sunken section that led up to his deep, orange colored eye. She then slid her finger tips just beneath his lower eyelid and up along the side of his head where she delicately wrapped her fingers around the base of his ear and slid them up to the tip. He closed his eyes, smiling softly. Her touching felt so nice... he had never been touched like that before.

"You're an alien..." She whispered, breaking the silence and he slowly opened his eyes, watching her as she turned back around, still in his arms, to face the window. He had no idea what she said.. but he hoped he hadn't done anything to upset her..

He softly kissed the top of her head, letting her stay near the window as he moved from her and walked over to his console. He stood beside the chair, leaning down over the panel, his fingers danced along the buttons. The console beeped and Neelix stared at the screen, waiting. Veeno's face soon appeared, his friend smiling at him. "Hey, Neelix. I didn't expect you to call so early?" Veeno said.
"Well I'd like to get out and back home as soon as possible. I'd also like to get the other.. thing over with as soon as possible." Neelix replied and Veeno nodded, "Hmm.. yeah, I understand. Well give me about an hour. I have to stop by work to pick up the stuff and then I'll be right over."

When Veeno arrived, he let himself in as usual, seeing Neelix sitting at the end of his bed with the girl named Heather, nestled up in his lap. Neelix felt Heather tense up at the sight of his friend, and he wondered exactly why she was so afraid of him. Maybe Veeno was right and she'd act like this around anyone that was not himself, which concerned him but he'd hope that once he could communicate with her, everything would be fine and he'd explain to her that no one would cause her any harm, especially not himself or Veeno.

As Veeno approached them, Heather leaned back against Neelix, looking uneasy. He knelt down on his knees before them, holding a small container and set it down on the floor. "I really should have done all this the day of the auction.." He said with a sigh. "What exactly do you have to do?" Neelix asked.

Veeno opened the container, carefully pulling out a very tiny, almost impossible to see micro chip. "Well for one, I have to insert this just under her skin." He replied as he pulled out what appeared to be a needle like tube and inserted the chip inside it. Heather's eyes widened at the sight of it.
"It wont hurt her, it will just feel like a quick pin prick is all." Veeno said and Neelix made a face, not really liking the idea, "Is it really needed?" He asked.
"Well.. all slaves are supposed to have one and even though you're technically not considering her a slave, she still needs it. People don't usually check this stuff out, but sometimes they do and I don't want to get in trouble, so I just do what the Boss tells me to and I'd prefer to keep my job."

Neelix nodded slowly and watched as his friend reached out for Heather. She gasped and pushed back further into Neelix, away from Veeno, causing him to pause. Neelix looked down at her, concerned and gently nuzzled her as he whispered, "It's ok Heather, he wont hurt you." And caressed her arm, but the truth was, Neelix was extremely uncomfortable with this. He was afraid that allowing Veeno to do this and forcing it upon Heather, would damage the fragile bond he had worked hard to create with her. Neelix swallowed hard as Veeno attempted again, leaning forward towards her, but this time, she whimpered and twisted herself so that she could bury her face against Neelix's chest.

"Ok.. that's enough." Neelix said in a stern tone, putting his hand up to stop his friend.
"Neelix, I know it doesn't look pleasant, but it's harmless, I promise." Veeno replied.
"I don't care, Veeno. I'm really afraid of making her hate me that I'd rather risk her not having some stupid little chip I don't even agree with anyway, than her being as fearful of me as she is of you."
"Well what am I supposed to do? It's my job. I don't have to agree or like it, either but I need to do it. I might hate my job but I still take it seriously.. and need it."
Neelix sighed but looked at his friend with a serious expression... that suddenly turned to a hopeless one.
Veeno took a deep breath, "Look, I wont do it... but if my Boss or anyone else asks about this, I did it, and you removed it later on, at your own will, ok?"
"Thank you." Neelix replied and Veeno tried to smile as he placed the chip back inside its tiny plastic case and set it on the floor beside Neelix's bed. "You do need to keep it, though. It has all her current known information on it and you can use it to store future information if you want." Veeno told him and Neelix nodded while he gently rocked Heather in his arms, trying to calm her. "What about that leash you mentioned?" Neelix asked.
"I thought you said you didn't want to use it?" Veeno replied.
"Well, not use it for how it was intended... I thought it might make her feel more comfortable if she could hold onto something other than my hand, while we were out, besides, it has a locator device in it, right? If she were to wonder off, or.. worse.. well, we could find her so long as she held onto it?"
Veeno sighed and shook his head, "That is where the slave ID chip would have been useful... but I didn't bring the leash since you felt so strongly against it. I did bring another device, though that I thought would be better, if you're interested?" Veeno asked but Neelix seemed wary. "What is it?"

Veeno pulled out two silver objects from the container and handed them over to Neelix's extended hand. "They're slave bracers, similar to the one I put on her ankle? But both of you wear one. If she gets too far from you, it will beep once and a little light will pulse. The further you are, the more urgent the pulse." Heather slowly turned her head to peek, watching as Neelix brought his arm back and, realizing she was curious, showed her the bracers. "It would better suit you," Veeno continued, watching as Heather slowly moved her hand up to touch the bracers while Neelix held them in his open hand, "Since you said you didn't like the idea of her being treated like a slave. This is less obvious, for both of you."

"Well, it's worth a try," Neelix replied, "How do I put them on?"
"They'll only open when they're together and the light turns violet, then you press this button here..." He leaned in and pressed the button to show Neelix and both bracers unlatched themselves. "They expand or shrink to fit you both, but now all you have to do it clip it around your wrist. There is a key on the master one in case they wont open or the slave one can't be joined to open them but they come together as a set. No other bracer will work with yours or her's." But as Veeno spoke, Heather suddenly moved from Neelix and crawled into the bed behind him, curling herself up in a ball. Neelix turned his head to see if she was ok.. but it was obvious that all of this had made her extremely uncomfortable. Seeing her like this only made him feel worse about the entire situation, feeling even more doubt about taking her out...

"Man, this is such a bad idea.." Veeno said as Neelix turned his head back to face him, keeping it lowered, "I know but.. I'm really being pushed into a corner with this.." He replied, "But.. lets talk over by the door... I don't want to upset her even more with our bickering." He said as he stood, slipping the bracers into his pocket as Veeno stood as well. "I could just go get you the stuff you need? So you could stay here with her?" Veeno asked as he walked with Neelix to the main entrance way. "I need parts for the ship... now that I don't own it anymore, a deadline has been set." Neelix replied with a deep sigh, extending his hand to the door panel and pressing the button to open it, "I have to look for those, too..."

They both stepped out of his quarters to stand in the hall outside so they could continue their conversation, but as they did, Veeno noticed that Heather had sat up to watch them walk away, a very worried look upon her face.

"Neelix, close the door."
"Huh? Why?" He noticed Veeno staring back at Heather, seeing that she had sat up and was looking at them.
"Just do it, I wanna see something." Neelix looked puzzled but reached to the outside panel and hit the button to close the door, but just before the door shut, he saw Heather perk up even more.
"Did you see that?"
"Yes..." Neelix said as he reached his hand back for the panel, looking as worried as she had, but Veeno stopped him, "Wait... see how she was afraid of you leaving?"
"Of course, why do you think I want to open the door?"
"I'm just saying.. that maybe it is a better idea to take her with you. Leaving her here alone or even with me... " Neelix cut him off as he hit the button and the door opened. Heather jumped back in surprise.

Neelix and Veeno stared down at her, startled, as she swallowed hard... until Veeno broke the silence, continuing from before, "I mean look at her.. she looks extremely distressed thinking you had actually left her here alone..."
Neelix immediately moved to her and wrapped his arms around her, feeling her grasp at his shirt. "Yeah, well.. don't do that again..." Neelix said and Veeno rolled his eyes and crossed his arms, "She really has gotten attached to you, hasn't she.."
"Yeah, and I almost ruined that moments ago.."
"I doubt it. You're all she has and I think she knows it. She might even be more afraid of upsetting you..."
Neelix looked over at Veeno with his brow raised, not liking at all where his friend was going with this, "I certainly don't want her to only be clinging to me in fear that I might discard her..."
"Hey, I'm just saying it's a possibility.. not fact, besides, I don't really think so anyway. I've seen similar situations where slaves cling to their masters simply because they were the only ones to show them kindness, however she doesn't even know she belongs to you. You kept pushing, trying to gain her trust, so she has no reason to think that you'd suddenly get rid of her, leaving her all alone. She's just simply afraid of being alone without someone she... somewhat, trusts in a very strange environment...  but really, Neelix, we need to get going. It's still early enough that we can actually beat the large crowds and I most certainly didn't want to upset you."

Neelix sighed and nodded, "Well I should see first if she's willing to try the bracer.." He said as he knelt down in front of her, taking them out of his pocket. "The master is the one with the red light." Veeno said as Neelix, making sure Heather was watching, clipped it around his wrist, he then held out the second one for her. She looked down at it and then to the one around his wrist and then finally back up to him. He nodded his head slowly, trying to let her know it was ok. She bit her lower lip and slowly reached out, but instead of taking the bracer from Neelix, she turned her head and closed her eyes, her arm extended out for him. He was surprised she was both willing to, and allowing him to put it on for her, and did so. It clicked and adjusted to fit around her small, delicate wrist. She opened one eye and looked down, then turned her head as she moved her hand up to rub at the bracer. Neelix smiled as he stood and hugged her softly, turning his head to look at Veeno, who looked very surprised.

"I just need to get her properly dressed first and we can go." He said and Veeno nodded, leaning against Neelix's door frame with his arms still crossed, as the door shut, leaving him outside to wait for them.

"Did you know she hasn't even seen a planet before? Or well... she seemed extremely shocked when I opened the window and Tesiod was right there in front of her." Neelix said as the three of them walked down a long hall. Heather was wrapped up in the makeshift cloak again, for Neelix was not comfortable in announcing her presence to everyone on the station. She seemed both nervous and curious at the same time as she followed close behind Neelix, holding onto his hand tightly.

"That's odd, but Interesting... I guess it explains a lot, but the outfit she was wearing didn't look primitive or anything, ya know like tribal type stuff or something. Her hair was also neatly kept before I took her out of cryo." Veeno replied and Neelix shrugged, "She did say something to me, though.. after looking at the planet and then.. well," He paused, not really wanting to mention the part about her touching his face, "She didn't seem... overly afraid, like she at least understood what it was. If anything, she seemed puzzled."

They came to a corner and turned, arriving at an elevator that would take them up directly to the market district, Veeno was careful to keep his distance from her as they entered in the enclosed space.

"Maybe she has just never seen a real planet," Veeno continued, "She might know what they are but has never seen one up close, or from space, or something. Kinda like how you said you've never been on the surface of a planet."
"Yeah, that makes sense. If I had been kidnapped and woke up in the middle of a forest, I think I'd be pretty messed up, too but... I know what a forest is at least. I've seen plenty of vids and pictures, but it's not like she woke up in space.. orbiting the planet. She woke up on a station, surrounded by walls and unless there is a window, you could be anywhere and not even know." Neelix replied.
"Well I'm sure she'll tell you where she came from and what she said once we translate her language."
"If..." Neelix said with a sigh.
"Oh come on, it will just take some time but you will be able to communicate with her eventually."
"Yeah, but how long? What if it's weeks.. or months, even. I think she'll just give up entirely. Probably the reason she hardly speaks now... doesn't see a point." Veeno just made a face at him and exited first out of the elevator. He squinted his eyes down the hall to get a glimpse of the area. "Looks like we're still making good timing on the crowds." He said and started walking down the hall, Neelix and Heather following close behind.

The quiet and dimly lit hall opened up into a huge, bright, multi leveled area filled with stalls, flashing lights, and thankfully, not any large crowds. Heather looked way up to see several cat walk like bridges crisscrossing between each level, high above them. At the very top, instead of a normal ceiling, it appeared to be a massive gradually curved glass dome that gave them a beautiful view out into space. She slowly inched her way to the transparent railing, looking over to see the many shops and stalls down below. They weren't very high up, maybe only two or three stories compared to how many levels were above them.

Heather gulped and backed behind Neelix. It wasn't crowded, but there were still plenty of people down below and as Neelix started to move forward with Veeno, he felt his hand holding onto her's, tug. He stopped and turned around to see Heather just standing there, no longer willing to follow. She looked terrified.

"Oh no..." Veeno whispered as he watched Neelix kneel down to her. "It's ok, Heather.. I wont let anything happen to you.." He knew his attempt to calm her was futile, but maybe if she at least knew he cared and wasn't dragging her into this, she'd give it a chance and willingly come along. She lowered her head, her fingers fumbling nervously together. He reached up and softly caressed her face and she closed her eyes.

"Home... I want to go home..." She whispered... knowing he wouldn't understand her anymore now than before... but she was afraid. She had no idea where he was taking her or why. There were so many people down there...

Neelix's eyes widened slightly, He was surprised that she had actually spoken and he gently moved his hands to hers, holding them tightly, wanting to encourage her to continue. "--e-se... I --na -- hom-.."
"That's it.. keep talking.. keeping trying..." But she tightened her eyes and turned her head away from him. "No no.. don't stop..", He said with worry in his voice and moved his hand to her head, gently taking her chin and turning her back to face him. She looked up at him, looking as frightened and defeated now as she had the first day he saw her. He moved his hand from her face and to her hand, holding onto it tightly. "Hom... --ease,  I j-st -ant to -o hom-.." She said again.

"Hom..." He repeated the barely translated word, attempting to understand what she was trying to say, "Home?" He asked, looking into her eyes. She just stared at him before lowering her head. He didn't know what to say.. there was no way he could take her home. Besides the fact he didn't even have his ship anymore to be able to travel anywhere, he had no idea where home was... no idea where to even begin to look. He could ask the ones who stole her in the first place.. but he knew they wipe their star charts that are mapped during their illegal travels, once they reenter Concord space. Any directions of where her home is, was gone.

He couldn't take her home.. but he had given her a home here, his home. He knew that wasn't the answer she wanted to hear but at least it would let her know she was safe and had a place she could call home... with him. Still holding her hand, he slowly brought it up and placed it on his chest, just as he had when attempting to tell her his name. She raised her head, looking up to see what he was doing. "Home." He said, "Neelix, home." She looked at him with sad brows and shook her head slowly, closing her eyes, but he leaned down, slipping his arms around her and lifting her up to hold her tight and close.

"We can try tomorrow, Neelix... it's probably best not to push her.."
"No... she's strong.. and it wont be any different tomorrow." Neelix replied.
"Then we better get going. It's getting later and later.."

Neelix nodded slowly and gently pulled Heather up from his chest. She looked at him and he pointed to himself, then her, and then Veeno, and then extended his arm out and pointed down below at a particular spot. She turned her head to see what he was pointing at. There was a very long table with what looked to be all kinds of different food items placed on it. She looked back at him and he nodded to her, hoping she'd understand and, still holding onto her, he walked with Veeno down the stairs.

Veeno had helped Neelix pick out a wide variety of food items for Heather, even the ones Neelix hated or had never tried before, constantly reminding his friend that just because he didn't like it, didn't mean she shared his tastes. Neelix had never had to care for anyone but himself before, so this wasn't easy for him.

"Half of this stuff is going to go to waste..." Neelix sighed, holding open a container with one hand as Veeno tossed in yet another unpleasant looking item.
"I like some of this stuff.. so if she doesn't like it, just give it to me." Veeno replied as he tapped his chin, looking at the stall for something he hadn't already picked out.
"So I'm buying for you..." Neelix said sarcastically.
"Ha.. like you don't owe me... but really what are you worried about? It isn't like you're broke. You certainly still have plenty of credits after buying her."
Neelix just sighed again, "I hate shopping..."
"You hate everything fun."
"Shopping is not fun."
"It is for me.. Hey, do you like this?" Veeno didn't even wait for a reply before tossing the item into the container as well and Neelix rolled his eyes. Heather squirmed a little against his arm and Neelix turned his head to look at her. "I know.. this isn't fun for you, either, is it." He tried to smile but she just pointed to the floor. He looked down but saw nothing and looked back to her, confused. She sighed and squirmed more until Neelix loosened his grip on her and she slipped from his arm and to the floor. To Neelix's surprise, she reached out to the stall and picked up a large round fruit he had never tried before. She then turned to show him.
"Aww, look, she's helping waste your creds, too." Veeno grinned at him. Neelix rolled his eyes again but smiled down at Heather and held open the container for her and she carefully slipped the fruit inside. "Look at it this way, Neelix, she's comfortable enough to want to help."
"Yeah, I know... but I really think we have enough now, don't you?" Neelix asked as he slipped his hand around Heather's, holding it softly as they continued to walk along the large stall, "The container is almost full."
"Yeah, probably but if she doesn't like most of it, then not really." Veeno replied.
"Then I guess we'll be back here tomorrow..." Neelix sighed, "I still need to look at those parts."
"Well alright, I need to get my own things, too so while you're doing that, I'll get what I need and we'll meet back here?" Veeno asked and Neelix nodded, hitting a button on the container that sealed it shut. He then placed it down in the center of a circle shaped outline on the floor at the end of the table. A larger holographic tube rose up from the circle and scanned the device before opening and devouring the crate. Heather's eyes were wide with curiosity as she saw the crate land on a conveyor belt like contraption below, before the circle closed.

Neelix walked with Heather towards one of four large elevators that were located in each corner of the massive district. Heather tightened her grip on Neelix's hand as they entered, huddling behind him as he stood in one of the corners away from the others who had joined them. Even though Heather felt a bit more comfortable among the many different types of people here, the concept was still so new to her. She couldn't believe this was all really happening and that all of these aliens really existed.

She looked down through the transparent railing of the elevator as the people below became smaller. When the elevator came to a stop at the next floor, the railing behind them faded, allowing them to exit on to that level. Neelix led her off and walked down a large hall that opened into an even larger room, that was oddly round in shape.

"Why Hello, Neelix. It's quite early to see you here." A low and slow, yet friendly voice greeted them as they walked in. Heather peered around Neelix to see a hefty built, older looking male alien with a brownish olive skin tone and a kind hearted demeanor about him.
"Tell me about it... " Neelix replied as he nodded his head to him in a polite gesture. "Were you able to get that part I ordered?"
"It's not in yet, I'm afraid... but word has it that you've sold your prize and joy... is this... true.." His voice trailed off as he noticed a small creature hiding behind Neelix, "And who is this little one?"

Heather hid herself more behind Neelix as she noticed the stranger looking at her, only very slightly peering out so she could still see him. Neelix smiled nervously, not really wanting to have to show her off like this but looked down to his side, stepping aside and moving his hand behind Heather to carefully bring her out. "It's... a long story..." Neelix said as he felt Heather tightly grip his hand. "She's very shy..."
"I understand. She's very lovely, though. Don't believe I've ever seen her species before." He replied and Neelix nodded softly. "I'll let you do your thing, Neelix. Didn't mean to interrupt you."
"Oh, no, you didn't Stanli. It's alright." Neelix replied as he began to move towards the many piles of, what appeared to Heather, to be just junk. Scrap metal and huge parts of contraptions Heather could only imagine what they use to be apart of.

As Neelix walked through the piles and around the large objects, he placed a small marker on some of them after examining them for several minutes. Heather followed close through the store, curiously watching him and looking around at all of the different pieces. She watched as he picked up one of the smaller pieces from a pile and held onto it as he led them back to Stanli.

"All done, then?" Stanli asked.
"Yeah, I'll take this one with me now, though." Neelix replied and Stanli nodded, taking the piece from Neelix and scanning it before returning it to him.
"Have a good day, Neelix.. and you, too, little one." He smiled and gently waved his large hand at her. "You, too." Neelix replied as Heather bit her lower lip, watching him as Neelix led her from the store.

"Are you ready to go?" Veeno asked as Neelix and Heather approached.
"Yeah, I think so." Neelix said as he stopped beside Veeno to think, "We certainly got enough food and I wont need to visit Stanli's for a few days." Heather stood beside Neelix, bored as she watched all the different aliens walk past them. She just wanted to get away from all of them, becoming more uncomfortable as the crowd slowly became more dense. Aliens of all different shapes, colors, and sizes, walked past and around them as the three of them stood there. As Heather watched two people walked by, something on one of the stalls in the distance, between them, caught her eye. As they passed her, unblocking her field of view, she squinted to get a better look. Her hand slowly slipped from Neelix's as she walked towards it and away from him...  her expression was inquisitive but turned to shock as she realized what it was...

The merchant of this stall saw her slowly approach, eying his merchandise. He was wary of her.. but got a glimpse of the shiny metal bracer around her wrist and his brow line narrowed. He waited for her to reach out to his stall before shouting.

"Get out of here, slave!"

Veeno leaned his head to the side curiously to look past Neelix, as Neelix himself turned his head around quickly to see where the commotion was coming from, both panicking when they heard the word slave. They saw Heather several feet away from them, slowly backing away from the one who was yelling; a very angry merchant.

Neelix quickly ran to her, pushing past the curious crowd as quickly as he could in complete panic. He came up behind her, instantly wrapping his arms around, causing her to jump and moving her to the side of him out of the way, in a protective instinct, from the angry merchant. Veeno had come up just as quickly, moving his arms out to Heather, taking her from Neelix and pulling her close to him.

"Is that really necessary?!" Neelix shouted at the merchant as he moved towards him, "Can't you see she meant no harm?!"
"Back off," The merchant countered Neelix's approach, sizing him up despite being much shorter than Neelix, "You'd be best to keep your slave on a leash like she's supposed to be! Coming over here as she pleases, reaching out to steal my stuff!" The merchant shouted back at him.
"She wasn't going to steal anything, you're just overeating." Neelix retaliated.
"I don't trust no slave.. especially slaves that so easily manipulate their masters. Slave bracers? Ha!"
"Hey, they're a perfectly legitimate item!" Veeno scowled at him, but both Neelix and the merchant ignored him as Neelix turned back to Heather and Veeno, Neelix seeing her tightly gripping the arm that Veeno had held across her chest to keep her against him.

Neelix knelt down in front of her and reached up, softly caressing her cheek to make sure she was alright but she was shaking and he noticed a slight glint in her eye from forming tears. He sighed deeply, "I wonder why she came over to his stall..." He said as he stood and reached his hand out, softly taking her's and Veeno let go of her as Neelix started to walk, but Heather tugged on Neelix's hand.

She was both terrified of the merchant and if she had upset Neelix.. and embarrassed she had caused such a scene, but despite that, she knew what was on that merchant's stand and she was determined to get it.

Neelix looked down at her, seeing her nipping at her lower lip and her brows fearful. "What is it, Heather?" He asked her, keeping his voice soft to let her know he wasn't upset with her. It didn't matter that she didn't understand what he said, she had gotten his attention and pointed back at the stall. Neelix looked at it and back to her. He couldn't help but make a discouraging face, but tried to keep it subtle so she'd not think it was directed at her, just the situation. The last thing he wanted to have to do, was go back to that merchant. But he breathed deep and walked to the stall, Heather following close behind, hiding behind him.

"What was it that she was looking at." Neelix stated more so than asked, keeping his tone as calm as possible. The merchant looked at him, staring him up with an annoyed face for a moment, before finally speaking, "I don't know. I didn't get a look at what she was attempting to steal".
Neelix held his tongue, trying to keep it civil, "Would you mind if I allowed my slave to pick out the item she was interested in?"
The merchant slanted his lip... but nodded, "Fine, but I'm watching... I don't trust either one of you." He said with a snort.
Neelix turned to Heather, carefully pulling on her hand to bring her around him to the front. She was hesitant as she looked up at the merchant but pursed her lips and lowered her gaze down at the table in front of her. She gulped and looked up at Neelix, not sure if it was alright or not.. and, seeing him nod gently at her, she moved her hand forward and picked out a strange looking item from the assorted pile of junk this guy was trying to sell.

She held it in her hand and showed it to Neelix. He reached down and carefully took it from her, examining the strange object.

It was a small, thin, rectangle shaped device with a reflective black finish. On one side, there was an older looking screen design that had a large crack in it. On the other, there was some kind of small decals stuck all over it that seemed to be pealing around the edges due to wear. The decals formed what appeared to be a strange representation of stars along with two planets he didn't recognized. He had no idea why she wanted this... but if she really did want it, he'd get it for her, and handed the device back to her.

"How much?" Neelix asked.
"2,000 Creds." The merchant replied and Neelix's eyes widened in shock, "That's ridiculous! do I look rich to you?! And it's broken on top of that!"
"You certainly had no problem buying her," He shrugged towards the girl, "Slaves like that don't come cheap. Besides, so what if it's broken? She really seems to want it and you seem set out on pleasing her." He said with a sly grin and Neelix glared at him, realizing this jerk was taking full advantage of him. "What makes you think I didn't spend everything I had to get her?" Neelix replied.
"You're here."
"Yeah, buying food!"
"Look, I don't care about your little life story, are you buying the item, or not?"
Neelix sighed and looked down at Heather. She looked hopeful as she held the small object tightly in her hands. Neelix closed his eyes and slammed his credit chip down on the counter, "Fine.. but you're a thief, you know that..."
"Yeah, yeah." The merchant replied.

Neelix placed his hand on Heather's back, carefully directing her away from the merchant and back to Veeno, who had been watching the whole thing. "You alright, Neelix?" He asked, surprised that his friend had stood up to that merchant like that... never seeing him act like that before.
"Yeah.. let's get out of here before something else happens.." He sighed deeply as he brought his arm around Heather, holding her close against his side.
"You're not mad at her are you?" Veeno asked, worried.
"What? No! Of course not. I just can't believe that happened... I couldn't ever be mad at her..." Neelix said as he softly nuzzled against her cheek and closed his eyes. Heather nestled her head against him, feeling comfort from his warm embrace as she clutched the item in her hand, holding it tightly to her chest. "I just want to go home," Neelix finished, "I've had enough..."
‹‹ Chapter Six | Chapter Seven | Chapter Eight »

Chapter One

    Yeah so this one took forever to post... so many things going on lately, but at the very least, it's long. I think the longest chapter yet and hopefully it will be worth the wait.

Story Hub: Click thumbnail to access and choose between all current chapters.

Story © Lady Owl & H-Falcon, 2010 | Tumblr |
This shouldn't need to be said but, please do not redistribute, claim, copy, reproduce, edit, or use in any way without my permission. Thank you.
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The-Second-Brother Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2018
"Home?" :'u
"Hom?" ''=C
"Hommme..." x'u

Good idea with the market trip, good opportunity to see more of the station.  I might of liked it more from her perspective, all the new sights and sounds, the weird and strange aliens, all new and wondrous and terrifying?  Maybe think about it for the future :D You can only see something for the first time once
Barabel22 Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2015
I've been reading your stories, keep up the good work...and I'm sad that you discontinued this series.😓
Lady-Owl Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2015   Digital Artist
Why do you think I discontinued it?
MercenaryBlade Featured By Owner May 20, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Man that merchant's a jerk. Poor Heather she's not having a good week.
hollzydollz Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
well all I can say is it is 02:48 in the morning here in Scotland, a few hours ago I discovered your amazing story! I am going to be exhausted in the morning and I don't even regret it!!!
Really this is some amazing stuff, I really love these characters and your art, I won't even get started on that......
I've always loved fantasy but never saw the appeal of scifi but hell, I think you've converted me!
You are so talented. just wow! :squee: 
Lady-Owl Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2015   Digital Artist
Wow. I'm truly warmed and humbled by your comment. I'm so very glad that you're enjoying my story, characters, and art, and really appreciate your comment, as it's so very rare these days to receive comments, let alone thoughtful ones such as yours, so I thank you so very much for telling me your thoughts! It's a pleasure to know and put a big smile on my face!

It's also wonderful to know that you could enjoy a scifi theme, too! It's an amazing genre filled with it's magic and wonderment. One of my absolute favorites!
Pepperistia Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2014  Hobbyist Filmographer
This story is pretty good! I've read many online, but this one definitely beats everything I've ever read. It's so intriguing and I just can't stop reading it. I really like what's going on between Neelix and Heather right now because I have yet to read on further but I think I already have quite an idea about how it's going to progress.
Lady-Owl Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2014   Digital Artist
Glad that you're enjoying it. c:
aximilifaolan Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012  Student Writer
awwwww neelix! :iconiloveyouplz:
UltraViolet1197 Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm usauly very picky when it comes to stuff like this. But you got me hooked on it. I'm very impressed you should get this published when your done.
Whitedragon51 Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012
I must say this is a wonderful story. Now don't take this the wrong way, but i never knew that female star trek fans existed.
Lady-Owl Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012   Digital Artist
Thank you. c:

And lol, really? Don't take this the wrong way, either but, have you been living under a rock? =p
Whitedragon51 Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012
Of coarse not. How else did you think i spot the Voyager reference?
Lady-Owl Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2012   Digital Artist
I'm talking about not knowing their were female Star Trek fans. All you need to do is take a trip around the internet to find that there are plenty of female fans equally enjoying every subject out there.

Besides, just because it isn't blatantly obvious, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Take me for example. Would you have known I was female if my username didn't have "Lady" in it? A lot of girls use gender neutral names: An artist drawing Star Trek fanart on deviantART or a commenter on youtube, might go undetected as a female fan simply because she doesn't announce her gender. Plenty of females also intentionally hide their gender to avoid negative comments towards them, for liking something that is perceived to be solely for men.
UltraViolet1197 Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Am I the only female here that doesn't really know anything about Star Trek? LOL But I'm a big fan of other sci-fi stuff
Lady-Owl Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2012   Digital Artist
Na. I think you fit right in with most of my readers. =p

Actually, I have no idea how many girls (or guys for that matter), who read my story, are fans of Star Trek or any other sci-fi story I'm into. Those who comment regularly either rarely/never make mention of their interests, or have questioned concepts used in my story (to the point of debate), which was a little surprising for me, considering that most of the ideas I use, such as cryo and plasma as a power source, are rather commonly used concepts in science fiction settings, so I would have thought most people would be familiar with them.
Whitedragon51 Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2012
Now hang on, I said I was surprised by you being a female fan, I didn't say there was anything wrong about it. In fact I honestly think its good. A lot of "Ladies" I know have little to no interest in any form of sci fi. Most of them family members. How ever the more I look around, sci fi is no longer the genre for nerds with glasses who sit at their computer all day because they don't have a girlfriend(I have 20/20 vision FYI) Now where did I say There was anything wrong with that? I mean if a girl can fall in love with Firefly, anything is possible and that is precisly what makes this genre great.

I only brought it up because of the Voyager reference. I would have to say Neelix was one of my favorites on that show.
Liliesshadow Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
this is amazing!
Lady-Owl Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2010   Digital Artist
Thank you! I'm glad you like it. n_n
JZLobo Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Well now I'm really curious to see what that thing is. You realize if you had made this into a comic you wouldn't have been able to keep it secret? ;p
Lady-Owl Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2010   Digital Artist
Yeah.. I know. :c

Many good things about having it in written form. c:
JZLobo Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Sneaky. ;)
H-Falcon Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2010
Heh why not? She could have kept it out of view or hidden in the shadows etc.
JZLobo Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Good point.
lonelynightmares Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2010  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
This story is so cute! I can't wait to see more of it. :D
Lady-Owl Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2010   Digital Artist
Thank you very much. I'm glad you're enjoying it. n_n
Installation02 Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2010
THAT... Was fantastic.. I really enjoyed that, you are very good at describing situations.

I have grown to like your characters even more... great stuff..
Lady-Owl Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2010   Digital Artist
Thank you so much. That really makes me happy to know that. n_n :heart:
singular-quartet Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2010
Don't worry, it was worth the wait.

Critique-wise, my one concern is that it might seem a little to much like Stockholm Syndrome [link] . I know that's not the vibe you're aiming for, but right now if I spend to much time thinking about it, I can't help but think of it. I know Neelix isn't aiming for that, because he honestly cares about Heather. Heather, right now, isn't that developed a character. She's been kidnapped, drugged, and then dropped in a bad situation. I'm interested, however, in her growth as a character, understanding her new situation, and how she deals with it. I'm also interested in what it takes to be freed from being a slave.

Technical comments:

First, and most important: Plasma Conduits. Plasma is not an efficient form of energy transportation. It is an effective form of things exploding. Plasma is the fourth form of matter, when you heat something up so much it just breaks down at the molecular level and turns into atomic super-heated death. It should only exist in physics laboratories, stars, fusion reactors, and directly after the detonation of very large bombs. Not that the last three are all different forms of each other: Namely, stars are natural fusion reactors, and very large bombs are run-away fusion reactors that stop working rather quickly and with disastrous results.

Second, and a little more light-hearted: The converyer belts. All I could think of was Disney World. If you stay at one of their hotels, you can just buy stuff at the gift shop, tell them which hotel and what room number, and your stuff just gets delivered to you next day. Here, you buy your stuff, drop it into a tube, and it goes off to your place on the station.
H-Falcon Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2010
And another thing... Really? Going on about the Plasma Conduits? Really? I mean can you ever just read or watch something without analyzing it a million different ways? I mean holy shit! Who the fuck cares if Plasma Conduit isn't a efficient forum of energy transportation!? No one gives a shit that much other then you over baring all knowing attitude caring people. You know what? PRETTY SURE they have mentioned Plasma Conduits on shows like Star Trek. You know that? Those shows are pretty kick ass! There ain't nothing wrong with this stuff. It is people like you who over analise shit on and on over and over. And you know what? No one but you and people LIKE you care to hear about it. So either shut up and enjoy the shit for what it is. Or at the very least keep your opinions like this to yourself. Seriously!

Stop over analyzing everything all the time people. Movies are Movies. Stories are Stories. As long as they entertain and get the points across. That is what matters. If you don't enjoy it. Fine. Your choice. Go find something else you enjoy.

H-Falcon Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2010
Jesus Man. Can you stop being a critic and just either enjoy the story for what it is or go away? Seriously. The Writer even said she wasn't looking for critic and that this was just something she was doing for herself. Will you stop being fucking "Professor Frank" and just stop? Really now. How many times does the Writer have to politely keep telling you or hinting that she doesn't care for your critic and that she isn't looking to be evaluated.

Seriously! Fucking enjoy the story for what it is or go away!
Lady-Owl Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2010   Digital Artist
Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Someone did mention the Stockholm Syndrome on my Please let me pic a long time ago. I can't recall if that was my first time coming across it or not but I'm actually not opposed to the idea.

I don't think it fits the situation entirely, since I obviously wasn't thinking "lets wright about this syndrome" but even at this point, Heather doesn't necessarily know who her captors were. She woke up seeing Veeno and Neelix and no one else. So as far as she knows, they are her captors.

The only down side to the comparrsion from what I understand, is that Heather would need to know she was in serious danger the entire time (before they could speak to her and tell her what is actually going on). Her issue is she just doesn't understand her situation. She is obviously afraid and uncomfortable with this but doesn't necessarily think her life is in danger anymore. Even if Neelix is keeping her there against her own will, she wouldn't know that, either. Especially since he hasn't done anything to restrain her. Right now she has a safe comfortable place with someone who isn't hurting her but showing kindness and providing her with what she needs.

It may very well be a perfect Stockholm Syndrome situation but again, the concept/comparison doesn't bother me. Probably mostly because I know the story isn't really like that, especially later on, and that if the story needs the concept to get across what I wanted, I don't mind. But it's interesting you brought this up since in Chapter 8, things start to open up for Heather a lot more to where she finally will know what is going on and choose for herself from there what she wants to do.

But this is also why I included that part with Veeno talking about Heather latching on because she might be afraid to upset Neelix. I had a feeling that because of that past comment about the syndrome, it might come up again and I thought it would be an interesting idea to be discussed.

The plasma issue is more of an artistic liberty, or just lack of a better concept for now. I don't think the concept is entirely unrealistic to use plasma as a source of energy. I mean we do use electricity and if memory serves me right, lightening is made up of plasma as well and even burns hotter than stars, or at least our own sun. Plus, I've come across the concept being used in other sci-fi so even it isn't technically plausible, it isn't a foreign idea either. But I'd also like to bring across the point that for an advanced alien society, who is to say that they hadn't figured out a way to make it work? Or even that they just use words to name things like we do. How a plasma tv doesn't actually contain plasma, but is called that because we use the term plasma for other things that the tv does use, if that makes sense.

I've not been to Disney World but that is pretty cool they do that there. I pictured something goofy like Futurama tubes or simply airport baggage conveyors... which I hate, but the concept worked, lol.
singular-quartet Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2010
I write up a nice, long response, I think I hit reply, and then I close the window. Goodbye, nice, long response. I will sorely miss you. Oh, well. Let's try again...

One of the things about this, is looking at it wholly from Heather's perspective, then it does have the vibe, but not really. The major deciding factor is pretty simple: Neelix cares.

From his perspective, it's pretty obvious. He's found out that this girl has been dumped into a pretty bad situation, and now he's trying his hardest to get her back out of it. It won't be perfect, it would be spectacular, but he's doing what he can.

It's only human for Heather to latch onto the person whose being nice to her in what's obviously a terrifying situation. She's been kidnapped - actually abducted by aliens - and after spending a day or so in some cell somewhere, this nice (albeit weird-looking) alien has taken her away from it, and is trying really hard to be nice to her.

On the whole Plasma thing, I'll say this. I'm a hard sci-fi dork. Hard sci-fi being the more technically realistic and accurate, the better. Plasma has it's specialized uses (eg Plasma Televisions), and maybe somewhere off in the future, we'll find some weird way to use it as energy transfer. Somehow. If I did come off a little hard on that respect, I apologize.

I will say this, though: You are the writer. It's your story. Whether you or not you listen to my criticism, whether or not you take it to heart, or with a grain of salt, or somewhere in-between, is entirely your choice. Will people like me bitch and moan if some minor detail is out of place? Probably. Will it matter? No. Why? Because those little details aren't important. The story, the interactions between Heather and Neelix, and Veeno, and anybody else who arrives or shows up, are what's important.

Last but not least, the lengths Disney will go to make it easier for a consumer to give them money are absolutely astounding. I hadn't thought of Futurama's people-tubes, but I did think of those clear plastic tubes that some drive-through bank tellers use. And I also thought of the movie the Shadow (I say this as though anybody actually remembers it, let alone watched it) because he used the same thing to talk with all of his agents.
Lady-Owl Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2010   Digital Artist
It's not that you're coming off hard, just that you're taking the whole thing more seriously than I intended... again. If you're coming off as anything, I'd say only as a know it all, which I don't care for, obviously, and that is my only real issue I have other than us both being through this before and it feels like it's happening again, only more extreme. I don't like to have to deal with reoccurring issues.

I take your ideas with both a grain of salt (a simple idea or suggestion) and to heart because it's important to me to know how my story is coming off to other people. I know how I feel and what I'm trying to portray and create. But people aren't always going to perceive things or understand things the same way as myself or just bring up something I had never considered or thought of before.

Though I've mentioned to you before that accuracy and facts are important to me, as you have also just said, those things aren't what matter for this story. They're there for artistic purposes as something new, different, and interesting to add in my art that helps sell the concept that this is alien or very advanced and futuristic.

I'm very aware some of the concepts don't always follow fact and that's ok. I'm not trying to sell to my audience how intelligent or ignorant I am in a particular area, I'm just trying to write a romance set in an alien world. The elements are there to set up a story but what they exactly are or how they function isn't important.

And it might irk you real bad every time I do something that doesn't sit well with you but I can't change that. I can't change your extreme passion for facts and accuracy and I don't want to. I'll continue to write what I write and draw what I draw because I do it to please myself, not anyone else.

So I'm just going to say that if I need/want critique, I'll ask for it and that overall, your critique this far has not really been helpful at all but instead has come off arrogant and unnecessary. It's not the kind of advice that is going to help me, but instead is nitpicking because of your own personal preferences.
singular-quartet Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2010
Then I apologize, and will be silent from here on out. I will, however, still say that I like your story, and wish for you to continue.
horsehugger626 Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I loved this one so much! I loved how it was longer too. Keep up the great work! :D
Lady-Owl Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2010   Digital Artist
Thank you very much and I'm glad it was longer, also. Looking back to my first chapter, it is shocking how short it is. D:
Irukapooka Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2010
Wow this one was worth the wait! So I don't think you need to apologize at all. :) This was a large one and kept me reading for 20 minutes. And! I'm so excited. :) Like I said before, this was well worth the wait. :heart

Btw, I'm kinda half awake right now that i type this but I don't know if this is a spoiler or not, but I doubt it, but what did Neelix end up buying for Heather? It seemed like you were describing a camera but I'm not sure. ^^;

Can't wait for the next update! :tighthug:
Lady-Owl Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2010   Digital Artist
Thank you very much Pooka, I'm glad you enjoyed this one as well. n_n

It's not really a spoiler or anything but I'm waiting until the next chapter to reveal it since for now, I want those who are reading to be seeing things from Neelix's point of view so they're just as confused as he is on what this strange device is. c:
Irukapooka Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2010
You're welcome dear. :heart:

And, lol that does make sense and it's a cool thing that you're doing because my confusion does lay with Neelix and I can't wait till we know exactly what's in store as a reader. :)
Installation02 Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2010
Waa... Wow.. I haven't watched someone before who has written a story... I must read this all some time, I will tell you what I think once I get around to it ^^
Lady-Owl Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2010   Digital Artist
Heh, take your time and I look forward to your future comment. n_n
MahoganyRed Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2010
Wonderfull!! :D I was trying to figure out what was it that she found at that merchants stand. My guess was an ipod too, but then I remembered that the day she was kidnaped she had her camera with her. Is that it? I honestly can't think of anything else. Lol! :D
Lady-Owl Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2010   Digital Artist
Thank you and that was actually something I was debating. The last couple chapters are more recently thought up and written so some concepts have changed slightly. If you remember, in ch. 1 I wasn't even sure if she should have anything at all. I was trying to figure out if someone rushing outside would really think to grab anything or not.

My boyfriend suggested I word it so that the audience can't really be sure if what she found was one of her belongings or not, which I went with. So you'll have to wait until the next chapter to see exactly what it was. Trying to keep things a little more on Neelix's point of view so you're just as puzzled as he is. XD
H-Falcon Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2010
Heh Heh... Looks like it was a good suggestion and it worked. :XD:
Lady-Owl Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2010   Digital Artist
:heart: n_n
potluck-perversion Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2010
I love this, I've been reading every chapter that gets posted.
Lady-Owl Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2010   Digital Artist
Thank you and I am very glad to know that. I'm glad you're enjoying them. n_n
Tsiamon Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2010
Your writing is getting better. I'm interested in what's next.
Lady-Owl Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2010   Digital Artist
Thank you very much, that especially means a lot since I know the story started out short and to the point.

I noticed the chapters have been longer and more descriptive but I think that's because the earlier chapters were written quite awhile ago while this one and the last were written in the last month.
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