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2021.07.29 15:27 Thehairvendors StartHairBusiness

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2023.04.02 06:27 EuphoricWay131 The Ultimate Guide to Visso Hair: How to Achieve Flawless and Natural-Looking Hair Extensions wigs near me best wigs collections

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submitted by EuphoricWay131 to wigscollections [link] [comments]

2023.04.02 06:09 EuphoricWay131 Short Wigs: Tips and Tricks for Styling and Maintaining Your Short Wig Collection wigs near me best wigs

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submitted by EuphoricWay131 to wigscollections [link] [comments]

2023.04.02 05:29 --___--Water--___-- Three Thousand Three Hundred Fifty Eight Days

Been posting a lot of my older raw emotional poems instead of my usual style and think this is the last one.. maybe.. some things just need to be let out.
Messed my titles up, this should be called:

Zen Is A Tool To Remain Curled Up Calm And Centered In An Emotional Whirlpool

You ever feel like you're small and weak Too meek to say boo to anything So you lie in bed all day and weep Never eat or make the calls you need Barely sleep Staring at the walls Smoking weed and whining About the state of your life And if you deserved it all this time
With an IQ sharp as a crayon No lunch or dinner and it's like 7am At least pretend to be neurotypical dayum Sat there like a mannequin Like be reserved not tortured For fuck sake man up again Play some games and chill Get out and not bored Not more of this shit At least meet some people
Fucking autist
Fuck that this life is a circus Believe me of course you didn't deserve this Stop whining bitch it's still early we reserved this If your life was reversed right back to the beginning One changed variable and you're right back to winning Difference between us is I grin and dine while you whine There's always worse shit let's face it I dare ya
So easy it's hilarious, here's my life, let me expand
Switch out the violence and grabbing knives For puppies with magic eyes Switch out the heartbreak of losing my lives With free movies in a 360p horror guise Fuck your disguise
Switch out half a human, never heard or found And the sound of the head that raised you hitting the ground
And The Baby's Cries
Two lives lived as one Half of a whole
Stitches and baby pictures and dole
Weekend McDonald's fries
Switch out McDonald's fries With family that gave a shite Switch out a family full of regret and lies For spite wrapped in sugar and spice And omg all things nice Just another disguise
Switch out self care
For a girl
To restore her's
We watch 360p movies about violence and crime And puppies And crumbling cookies And love laced with unspoken rhymes McDonald's fries like all the time Barely any variables to see Except the ground Started moving Underneath me It writhes Survives I'm not free When it was plain to see There was no truth I decided to hide And protect Me from you Or was it To protect You From What I could be and do
I gave up I died For you
It didn't work
For a girl
Disguised in lies and deceit (Please don't leave me) Shedding them like snake skin at her feet Walking among them Dancing freely Between them The queen of lying In her own mind Denying Flying
But everyone sees
It's that easy
And everyone's bored
Is there any more Of You That is free
Can you ever be uncut
(I still love you but you lie)
Please don't reply
My lost girl with the black hair
Always said I wasn't but I'm scared to let go of this life and die
submitted by --___--Water--___-- to poeticgarden [link] [comments]

2023.04.02 04:59 --___--Water--___-- Three Thousand Three Hundred Fifty Eight Days

Been posting a lot of my older raw emotional poems instead of my usual style and think this is the last one, some things just need to be let out.
Messed my titles up, this should be called:

Zen Is A Tool To Remain Curled Up Calm And Centered In An Emotional Whirlpool

You ever feel like you're small and weak Too meek to say boo to anything So you lie in bed all day and weep Never eat or make the calls you need Barely sleep Staring at the walls Smoking weed and whining About the state of your life And if you deserved it all this time
With an IQ sharp as a crayon No lunch or dinner and it's like 7am At least pretend to be neurotypical dayum Sat there like a mannequin Like be reserved not tortured For fuck sake man up again Play some games and chill Get out and not bored Not more of this shit At least meet some people
Fucking autist
Fuck that this life is a circus Believe me of course you didn't deserve this Stop whining bitch it's still early we reserved this If your life was reversed right back to the beginning One changed variable and you're right back to winning Difference between us is I grin and dine while you whine There's always worse shit let's face it I dare ya
So easy it's hilarious, here's my life, let me expand
Switch out the violence and grabbing knives For puppies with magic eyes Switch out the heartbreak of losing my lives With free movies in a 360p horror guise Fuck your disguise
Switch out half a human, never heard or found And the sound of the head that raised you hitting the ground
And The Baby's Cries
Two lives lived as one Half of a whole
Stitches and baby pictures and dole
Weekend McDonald's fries
Switch out McDonald's fries With family that gave a shite Switch out a family full of regret and lies For spite wrapped in sugar and spice And omg all things nice Just another disguise
Switch out self care
For a girl
To restore her's
We watch 360p movies about violence and crime And puppies And crumbling cookies And love laced with unspoken rhymes McDonald's fries like all the time Barely any variables to see Except the ground Started moving Underneath me It writhes Survives I'm not free When it was plain to see There was no truth I decided to hide And protect Me from you Or was it To protect You From What I could be and do
I gave up I died For you
It didn't work
For a girl
Disguised in lies and deceit (Please don't leave me) Shedding them like snake skin at her feet Walking among them Dancing freely Between them The queen of lying In her own mind Denying Flying
But everyone sees
It's that easy
And everyone's bored
Is there any more Of You That is free
Can you ever be uncut
(I still love you but you lie)
Please don't reply
My lost girl with the black hair
Always said I wasn't but I'm scared to let go of this life and die
A Neverending Thirst
submitted by --___--Water--___-- to OCPoetry [link] [comments]

2023.04.02 04:40 Present-Library-6894 Alternative hair buying 101!

Tips from my experience.
So you're thinking of buying your first wig or topper online ...
I started writing this as a comment on another post, but it got really long, and I figured I'd just make a separate post. After some early misses buying hair online, I've been wearing pieces that I'm really happy with for a whole year now! It is life-changing. Here are my top tips for ordering a wig/topper online and increasing the chances of getting something that works for you and makes you feel amazing!
  1. Lurk on "hairloss Instagram." I created a whole anonymous secondary IG account to follow every hairloss influencer and wig/topper company out there. Even if I didn't think I'd be buying from them, they often post informative videos. Plus, it normalizes the whole thing to see a feed of people just living their lives and looking fantastic in alternative hair.
  2. The big questions are 1. wig or topper? 2. synthetic or human hair? 3. top type (lace, silk, basic, etc.) I wear a lace top HH wig most often right now, but there's no right or wrong answer. This is where those IG videos can help.
  3. For companies you're thinking of buying from, email and ask them as many questions as you want to feel informed and confident. Especially if you're buying an expensive piece. Keep in mind nothing seems to be standard across brands — S/M/L sizes, color descriptions, how they measure length, and what they consider "quality" haifibers, etc. are all different. Ask for every measurement. Take your own head measurements (or, for toppers, hair loss area measurement and bio hair length) and write them down. Also, seeing how helpful/responsive the companies are can help you decide if you want to do business with them. Many of the smaller companies are owned by women with hair loss themselves and I've found them super sweet. If they offer online consultations, that's really helpful, too.
  4. If you're thinking of ordering a wig that's a color or style very different from your bio hair (which can be one of the best aspects of alternative hair!), try to figure out if it's likely a good match. Do warm/cool/neutral/light/dark colors typically look best on you? Bangs or no? I use a hairstyle preview app to put different colors and styles on my face and save me from thinking the gorgeous cool blonde wigs I see online are going to work with my skin tone. You can even pull up a close-up selfie and hold your phone up to a pic of the hair on the computer screen to get an idea.
  5. Some of the pricier shops do limited drops that they hype up and then a bunch of styles sell out instantly. It's fun checking to see what's dropped, but don't let that push you into ordering before you feel ready. Many of those styles come back around and become available again anyway.
  6. Hat wigs are a low-stress way to dip your toe into wig-wearing. Big fan! They're comfortable, very simple to throw on, and undetectable. Plus they are cheaper than other wigs and more durable.
  7. Always check the return policy carefully. Most do have restock fees, but you can almost always return a wig if it's not working out! It's not forever.
Hope this helps! I'm still learning a lot but can try to answer any other questions.
submitted by Present-Library-6894 to FemaleHairLoss [link] [comments]

2023.04.02 01:21 GravityGraveyGuy "「Keep it Hot」, make

Content Warning: This character is a seductress, reader discretion advised.
Stand Name: 「Keep it Hot」
Namesake: The song "Keep it Hot" from the Broadway musical "Chicago"
Localized Name: 「Staying Sexy」
Stand User: Claribel Camellia
User Appearance: Claribel is a tall (5'8") American woman (29) with a slim figure and sizeable "assets". She has gray eyes and long, wavy, reddish-auburn hair. She wears a fair bit of makeup, but most notable is her red lips. She wears a dark "dress" with the front cut out (no sleeves) and a red boa. Has black, lace tights and elbow-length, black gloves (with the underside of the wrist cut out) both of which have a camellia pattern. The gloves also have "flame" emblems on the back of the palm. She typically wears an oversized fur jacket when its cold out (and her ability isn't active). Finally, she wears a pair of red heels with straps that extend to the shin.
Claribel knew she was extremely beautiful, everyone told her. She could feel the attention, and she loved every second of it. It didn't matter if it was jealousy, fascination, admiration, or lust, she ate up every second of it. Through this she learned how powerful her "assets" were. She could use them to pull at the animal brain inside many people, to get them to do exactly what she wanted. Her schoolmates called her many things: a hussy, a minx, a vixen. All true things but she didn't care. But if she were to call any would answer.
She never planned on going to college, it seemed like a waste of good time and money. If she wanted to sleep around to earn a piece of paper she could find better ways of doing it. So she slept with a pilot to make her way to Las Vegas, where the rich were plenty and the demand for people like her was even greater. She used her body to extort anything out of her targets, their lust was but a plaything to her. She milked it for all the attention, pleasure, and money she could get. Some of it was fun, but once she was done with someone, she would throw them aside like a toy. Make them think it was their own fault for her leaving.
But then a new, younger girl arrived at the club she started taking attention away from Claribel. It was fine at first. Claribel had experienced many cases like this, a girl who just entered the adult world and either failed or never intended to succeed, falling back on using their bodies to make money. But they'd never be as good as her, never take care of their bodies as much as she did, never be able to milk all a man or woman was worth like she could. Eventually, they would cave to something and their bodies would follow. But this girl was different, she kept with it, so Claribel knew she had to stop her.
So she pulled some stings, manipulated some dumb, horny saps to go through with her plan. In the end a man was arrested after burning down a house. When a cop questioned her to get more info (the involved either frequented or worked at the club she worked at) she shed her crocodile tears and shook her hips to pacify the cop and clear herself of suspicion (and gain a new customer). Clearly, her plan was perfect. The threat to her "enterprise" was dealt with and none were wiser about her involvement. So any time a threat reared their ugly head, she would devise a plot to have them dealt with. In the end, almost nobody expected her.
Except for one investigator. Their suspicion only grew after she tried to seduce them. So they did some digging and were able to connect Claribel to all the previous cases (5 in total), but when they came back to catch Claribel in the act she was wise to the trick and killed the investigator herself. After making a sob story to a delusional and gullible loser (her words) she got him to take care of the body. However, that came to bite her in the ass when a news story aired. Apparently, the loser wasn't as gullible as she thought, or was even more of a pansy.
So she got thrown into prison for her troubles, her sentence was even extended after she tried manipulating the judge and jury. But apparently the prison wasn't as informed of her tactics. So she slept around with inmates and guards. To her, her body was a deadly weapon. Not in the way professional martial artists' were, but she could get almost anyone to do anything. So a guard she was seducing blabbed about a special transfer, she slept her way into a spot on the transfer. She would've stayed since she had most of the prison under her thumb, but it was getting boring and some higher ups may have been starting to catch on to her wiles.
That was when she found herself on a private plane headed to NYC. She knew her fellow prisoners, but none of them were anything more than toys to her. In the old prison they had some use, but if they wanted her attention, they'd need to prove themselves. Suddenly she found herself in a new cell, but these were strange. Strange enough for her to put aside the "teleportation" to investigate. It seemed like a normal cell, but structured to make it harder to see her cellmates. Before she could think of an answer why a cannister dropped into her cell. Soon a woman's voice came over an unseen intercom.
"Hello new transfers, today is the start of your new lives. You have the choice of whether you want to take the cannister in front of you or not. If you do, you will be live whatever life you want in the city of New York, but we will expect reports. If you fail to make your report you will be returned here for disciplinary action. If you choose to not take the cannister, you will stay here and be put to alternate paths of work. Choose wisely, you are all dregs of society and this is a chance to plant new roots, to blossom into something better," the voice echoed. Claribel could hear a customer service level of condescension.
But still, new freedom intrigued her greatly. Much more than staying and being put to work, so she took the cannister and cracked it open. It began to spray out a gaseous substance straight into Claribel's lungs. Good thing she had no gag reflex or she feels like she'd be retching by now. But she felt a new heat grow inside herself. But it didn't hurt. She could tell it was much hotter than what she was feeling. "「Keep it Hot」!" she called out and felt the heat itself answer.
Stand Type: Phenomena/Integrated Stand
Stand Appearance: 「Keep it Hot」 is a phenomena, but when used on herself, it makes Claribel's skin appear to be red-hot and turns the boa into one made of fire. However, it does not actually catch fire, nor do her clothes.
Stand Ability: 「Keep it Hot」 has one ability.
Razzle Dazzle: When Claribel kisses something or blows a kiss, 「Keep it Hot」 causes a burn mark to form in the shape of a kiss. Once a target has a burn, Claribel can set 「Keep it Hot」 to activate its ability on them. The target will then begin to heat up, starting from the burn mark. The amount that they heat up is based on how attractive those around them find them/how much lust others have for the target or what the target is depicting. The heat raises only on the outermost layer. Furthermore, only what is seen is heated up, which means covering up or hiding can allow one to survive this ability. If a human is exposed to this for too long, it can cause brain damage. If any object near a target catches fire due to its autoignition temperature it will catch fire, but the fire will appear invisible, similar to a methanol fire. However, it will still give off heat lines and shadow. Temperature changes are immediate (whether an increase or decrease) and if the stand stops targeting something it will immediately return to its temperature from before the ability activated. Overall though, living things heat up slower and have a much lower max temperature (140o Farenheit). If whatever the burn mark is on is removed, anything left is unaffected.
--Funny Honey: The heat created by 「Keep it Hot」 cannot harm its user, and it never makes Claribel uncomfortable. She also has the ability to see the invisible fires created by 「Keep it Hot」.
Power: N/A (This stand holds no physical power, but the ability can kill anyone in the right scenario
Speed: A
Range: C (If a target gets 20 meters away 「Keep it Hot」 can no longer affect them.
Persistence: D (The heat is lost immediately once the target is no longer seen as attractive or a target of lust.)
Precision: A (Once a target had been placed Claribel can start or stop 「Keep it Hot's」 effect on the target)
Development Potential: D
submitted by GravityGraveyGuy to fanStands [link] [comments]

2023.04.02 00:27 RaynaClay The Last Resort: Angels and Demons

I have written here before about my job at Ultima Resort (1,2,3,4,5). It has been an uneventful couple of weeks at the resort, so I haven’t really had much to chronicle, lately. I truthfully prefer it that way. Interesting isn’t generally good thing, around here. When there are no guests for a time, we get a bit of a break. We still need to do the cleaning, gardening and lay out meals, but that is a pleasant rest, compared to when guests are around. Unfortunately, it couldn’t last and recently, the streak was broken.
I was cleaning mildew from the shower grout with a toothbrush. I scrubbed carefully around the faucet and along the edges of the tub, leaving it gleaming white. Despite everything, there was satisfaction in doing a job well and in hard work…
Oh, come on, you don’t believe all that garbage, do you?
I jumped, dropping the toothbrush, which clattered against the bottom of the empty tub. I still wasn’t used to the voice suddenly speaking in mind. It seemed to prefer that, speaking at irregular intervals after long periods of silence. Irritated, I bent to pick up the toothbrush and resumed my scrubbing,
“Of course, I do. You don’t find any value in a task well done?”
The disdainful scoff echoed through my head,
Must be a human thing. I do not find any pleasure in tedium or monotony. In fact, I go to great lengths to avoid it.
“Is that what this place is, then, entertainment?”
Among other things, I could feel the smile. Though sometimes there are unfortunate lulls.
“Well, I will try to be more interesting for you, demon,” I rolled my eyes.
Must you call me that? Demon is such an ugly label, invented by the ignorant.
“What should I call you then? You refuse to give me a name.”
Names have power, my dear.
“Maybe I could give you a fake name, then,” I mused. “How about Buttons? Peanut? Sunshine?”
You seek to aggravate me by naming me like a pet. It will not work.
“Really? Because you seem irritated, Muffin,” I grabbed the toilet brush and started scrubbing. I couldn’t let him distract me from my work. I still needed a room, after all, and he certainly wasn’t going to help with that.
You will treat me with due respect.
“I’m pretty sure that’s what I’m doing,” I flushed the toilet and stood to wash my hands. In the mirror, blood covered my face, dripping down my chin. I ignored it, he has just being a jerk.
You shall address me as Alloces. That seems appropriate.
I snorted,
“Ars Goetica? Really? I’m not calling you that. How about we compromise? I’ll call you Al.”
I took his petulant failure to answer as agreement. I headed out to the hall to retrieve towels from my cart.
I don’t see why you resist me. What about this existence is worth holding onto, exactly? The guilt, the pain, the boredom, the menial labor, the servitude? What is it you press on for?
“As long as I am alive, it could always get better.”
It could also get worse. Why suffer any more than you have to? I could help you, if you let me.
“You need to work on your pitch, honestly. It is pretty obvious you just want my body, so that you can leave this place and do whatever your kind do, out in the world.”
Of course I want that, I never denied it. But that doesn’t mean there can’t be any benefit to you. I am open to negotiation. There really are things I could help you with. We could even leave here together, if you wanted. There is no reason we couldn’t share your body, equally.
“Why are you bothering with this? New people come in all the time. You could get a body, free and clear, no negotiations.”
Perhaps. But do you have any idea how long I have been waiting? How long I might need to wait? There are many thousands of us here, searching for a host. More come all the time. It is a matter of luck who claims a host. If I give up this opportunity, it might be decades before I get another chance. So, you are stuck with me, until we come to terms. Might as well just accept it.
“Well, there is nothing you can offer me that is worth giving you even part of my body, permanently. So, I suppose we are at an impasse.”
I think you just lack imagination. There are many things I could offer. We will work something out, eventually.
“Look…” the sound of the bell in reception interrupted my thought. “We’ll have to continue this later,” I muttered, heading for the stairs. “I need to greet our guests.”
I arrived at the desk to find a young man with sandy hair, carrying a bag. He studied my face as I approached the desk, and his lip curled up in a look I could only interpret as disgust.
“Is your manager here, honey?” he asked.
Confused, I raised an eyebrow,
“I’m sorry, I’m the only one working the desk right now. How can I help you?”
He frowned,
“I suppose if you are the only one here, it will have to do. Fine. I have a reservation. Quinton Pryce. Do you need me to spell that for you?”
I shook my head.
“Now, I have someone joining me tomorrow. Her name is Melanie Tyler. I have very specific instructions for how I want her greeted, when she arrives,” he stared at me expectantly.
I nodded,
“I’ll be happy to help with whatever I can, sir.”
“Then get out a piece of paper, you are going to need to write this down, you won’t remember.”
I sighed, then searched my drawers for a pen and notepad. Holding them up so that he could see I had followed his instructions, I poised the pen above the pad and waited.
“Very good. See, take my advice, if you get better organized, it will enable you to offer your customers superior service. In the future, I shouldn’t even need to ask. Anticipating my needs like this is basically a requirement in your line of work. Make sure you always have that notepad ready, in case I have more to ask of you.”
I took a deep breath, reminded myself that I couldn’t hit the customers, and nodded.
“Of course, sir. I apologize for the inconvenience. Now, what can I do for you?”
“She will be arriving in the morning. She doesn’t know that she is meeting me, it is a surprise. She thinks she is meeting a client named ‘Joel Smith’, who wants to plan an event here. You will not contradict that, do you understand? If you want a tip at the end of this, Mel must not be suspicious at all.”
I nodded slowly; I was beginning to get a bad feeling about this.
“Just tell her Mr. Smith is waiting for her and send her to my suite. I will handle the rest.”
He must have noticed the uncomfortable look on my face, because he hurriedly explained,
“It is a surprise for our anniversary. I am planning to propose, and I want this weekend to be perfect,” he pulled a box from his pocket and proudly displayed the large diamond ring inside. As I glanced at it, he snapped the box shut, “Don’t tell her about that, obviously.”
“Of course not, sir.”
“Write it down,” he rolled his eyes.
I made a show of jotting it down on my pad.
Perhaps you were right, Al purred in my mind. I am missing a golden opportunity with this one.
I wanted to tell him to take his shot, then, but talking to myself in front of other people would only make me look nuts. He seemed to know anyway, though.
Don’t worry. I would never really abandon you. We are partners now.
I grimaced involuntarily at that news.
“You have a problem, sweetie?”
“No, sir. Apologies. Do you have anything you need taken to your room?” my finger hovered over the call button.
“I have a few things in my car, but I don’t want anyone touching them. I will go back for them later.”
“Very well, sir,” I lifted a key from the rack. “Follow me and I will take you to your room. May I carry your bag?”
I reached for the bag, but he yanked it away, covering it protectively with one arm,
“No! I’m fine. Besides, it’s heavy, you couldn’t manage it anyway.”
I nodded and I led him up the stairs to room 308.
“I don’t want to be disturbed. No one is to come into my room,” he instructed, standing at the threshold.
I dutifully pretended to write a note about it.
“Good girl, now you are getting it,” he smiled indulgently, for a moment I was worried he would pat me on the head. “You see how much this improves your ability to do the job? You will thank me, later.”
“Of course, sir,” I smiled through clenched teeth. “Dinner is available until 8pm, or you can call for room service until 11.”
Pryce slammed the door in my face. I sighed and turned back to the stairs, to find Manny just reaching the third floor.
“New guest?”
I nodded.
“I thought Vincent was going to help you with check-ins?” “He said he would, but he never came. Maybe he didn’t hear the bell,” I shrugged.
“You can hear that bell in every corner of this building and on the lawns. He’s in the woods again, isn’t he?”
“Probably,” I admitted. “I warned him against it, but he won’t listen. He thinks if he can find that diamond, all his problems will be solved, and he will get to leave.”
“That isn’t how this works. It is dangerous out there.”
“I told him that.”
“So, this is just another form of gambling for him, then,” Manny sighed. “It won’t end well.”
“You never know, he could figure things out, before anything happens.”
“He could, but we both know he won’t,” he ran a hand through his greying hair. “Just, be careful around him. See he doesn’t drag you down, too.”
I opened my mouth to argue, but Manny was already walking away. I pinched the bridge of my nose.
He’s right, you know, Al piped up. Smart guy, Manny. It’s how he has lasted this long. You should listen to him.
“Ugh, when I want your opinion, I’ll ask for it,” I muttered under my breath.
Alright, if you don’t want my opinion on the new guest, I’ll keep it to myself.
I paused,
“What about the new guest?”
Oh, so you are asking, now?
“Yes, I’m asking.”
Well, he certainly won’t be here for long, Al chuckled. He has already decided what he will trade his life for, and once the trade is made, he will belong to us. If my brethren are clever, they might even get a two for one deal out of this one.
“What does that mean?”
His only response was a low chuckle that set my teeth on edge.
“So, you know why he came here? Why all of us came here?”
Of course. Your kind all stink of your desires, your fears, your regrets. I have often wondered how you don’t notice.
“Must be a human thing. So, why is he here?”
If I told you that, it would ruin all the fun, he smirked. You’ll see soon enough.
“That reminds me,” I continued, walking back to the fourth floor where I had left my cart. “You said something about the bride a while back that I meant to ask about.”
I did?
“You said ‘they don’t want her’. As if it was obvious, she wasn’t going to be possessed. How did you know? She had certainly done worse than many of the people here.”
What do you think this place is? Al chuckled. Do you think we lure and punish the guilty? The wicked?
“Well, it does seem that the people here are often guilty of something.”
Sure, but it is the guilt we want, not the sin. We want a suitable host, nothing more. We cannot take a life unless it is freely given, and people with strong guilt and regret are more likely to be willing to give up their lives, with the right motivation. If we orchestrate things correctly, they want us to take them, by the end. As you will. The bride would never have willingly given herself to us. Why would she? She had no shame, no regret, nothing she was fleeing from. She was, in fact, admirably self-interested. In short, she was a poor candidate.
“But the new guy is a good candidate?”
Oh, absolutely. He reeks of self-loathing and desperation. It won’t take much of a push for him.
I rolled that information around in my mind. Was this useful for me? Well, I did know he couldn’t take my mind without my permission. That was good, it meant I just had to refuse him, and there was nothing he could do. That should be easy, right? I bit my lip. Maybe. I finished storing away my cart and headed down to the dining room. It was time to prepare for dinner service.
I entered the dining room to see Vincent standing over by the wine rack, when he heard me enter, he jumped and spun around.
“Lucy, when did you get here?”
“Just now. What are you doing?”
“Just dusting the wine bottles,” Vincent rubbed the back of his neck.
“Where were you earlier? I thought you were going to come and help me with the new guests?”
“There was another guest? I must have been out in the gardens when they came, sorry.”
“Ok. Well, you want to help me prep for dinner?”
We probably shouldn’t have bothered, no one showed up for the dinner service. It was 10:30 when the call for room service finally came in. A rare steak, absolutely no vegetables. Quinton Pryce was very emphatic that there should be no plant matter on his plate. I hung up the phone and turned to the chef to request the meal.
“Hey, Vincent?”
“Yeah?” he looked up from the wine rack, where he was organizing bottles. He had been drifting over there all night.
“You want to take this up?” I offered.
“I’m sort of busy here,” he shrugged. “I’m trying to finish organizing these chronologically.”
He lifted a bottle, dusted it off and studied the label in a way that seemed a little performative.
“Alright, I guess I’ll go, then,” I sighed and grabbed the cloche.
As I headed up the stairs, Al piped up,
He is hiding something, you know.
“Gee, I hadn’t figured that out. Thank you for your insight,” I rolled my eyes. “If you are going to talk, you could at least be useful.”
Oh? He perked up at that. How can I be useful to you?
“I could use some advice on getting rid of an irritating roommate,” I muttered.
He laughed,
I could help with that.
“You know I am talking about you, right?” I raised an eyebrow.
Of course I do, his tone was saccharine sweet, putting my teeth on edge. And I will tell you how to get rid of me, if you want.
“Alright, I’ll bite,” I had a feeling I was going to regret asking, but maybe it was some sort of reverse psychology, and he would actually say something I could use.
Help me break the new guest. I will take him, and leave you to your own devices, I felt his grin behind my eyes.
It’s very simple. All I want is a host. It doesn’t have to be you. Help me obtain another and you are free to go, without me.
“I’m not going to help you shatter and person’s mind and possess their body.”
You wouldn’t be so quick to say that, if you knew what I knew about why he is here, about his desires, Al laughed.
“Maybe I wouldn’t be as quick, but the answer would still be no.”
Suit yourself. I wasn’t really planning to leave you, anyway, Al chuckled, unbothered. I told you, you are stuck with me.
“Unless I manage to escape.”
True, true, he replied good naturedly. I can’t leave this place, as I am now. But you won’t, either. Not without my help. And I will not be giving that, unless you agree to take me with you.
“Not happening.”
That is what they all say. Give it time. Everyone has a price, and I will find yours, eventually. Why not save us both some time and trouble and at least make a request.
“That would imply I want to save you trouble,” I fell silent as I reached the door for room 308.
I knocked briskly, eager to get this over with and get to bed. As the door opened a crack, the smell of oil paint wafted from the room and Pryce poked his head into the hallway. His eyes landed on me and narrowed.
“You again? Does this hotel not employ anything but females?”
“I’m sorry, sir?” how else do you respond to that?
“Look, I don’t want you to get upset, but I really think I would prefer a man serve me, from now on. I don’t need anyone female coming to my room late at night. It isn’t appropriate.”
I blinked, staring at him silently for a long moment.
“Maybe this is hard for you to understand,” he continued, speaking slowly. “I know you are probably looking for some rich man to marry, to take you away from all of this, but I am not available. My fiancée is the only girl I am interested in.”
“That’s great for you,” I held out the cloche. “I’ll get out of your way, then.”
His nose wrinkled in irritation, but he took the dish and spun to head back into his room. As he did, his door opened a little, exposing a large, partially finished painting of a young woman propped up on an easel in the middle of the room. The pallet and brushes indicated that he was currently working on it. The woman depicted was pale, with long, flowing straw-colored hair and dark brown eyes. Feathered white wings burst from her shoulder blades, but she was fettered, wings and limbs wrapped in chains. Despite this, the expression on her face was… ecstatic; absolute, rapturous joy. As I stared into the shining eyes, that cried tears of blood, the door slammed shut.
I just stood there for a moment. The painting had been good, amazing, even, but it left me feeling disturbed, somehow. A creeping dread clawed at my stomach.
So, are you sure you don’t want play with him, just a little? Al wheedled.
The interruption broke me from my reverie.
“I’m going to bed.”
I turned on my heel and headed off down the hall. It was getting late.
The morning was uneventful. I did my chores, worked on balancing the books, set out breakfast that went uneaten. It was a shame; the cinnamon rolls were pretty good. The only odd thing was that Vincent was being unusually solicitous. He followed me closely around the dining room, asking if there were any jobs he could take on. I assumed it was because he blew me off yesterday.
“So, what do you think the new guy is here for?” he asked, mopping the floor to remove the red brown pawprints in what I chose to believe was mud.
I shrugged,
“Hard to say. He said he is waiting for someone, so I think that when they arrive, things will probably begin.”
“When is that supposed to happen?”
“He said this morning…” I was interrupted by the chime of the bell. “Speak of the devil.”
That elicited a small chuckle from somewhere inside my ears. I wasn’t sure if it was good that I amused a demon or not. I shook it off.
“Are you going to help me check her in, this time?” I asked.
“Look, I am sorry about yesterday. I’m here now,” he put the mop in the dark red water and headed for the lobby. “Let’s go.”
I pushed through the door behind him to see a young woman in a sharp pantsuit at the desk, looking down at a large binder of photos and swatches. She must be the event planner that was expecting to meet ‘Joel Smith’. As we approached, she looked up and I froze mid-step. I knew her. The hair was different, dyed a pale blue and long on the top with a modern undercut, and there were no wings, but the face and eyes were unmistakable. She was the woman from the painting. I stared for a moment, wondering what that meant, before realizing I was being foolish. Pryce had said he was planning to propose, so obviously he had painted it for her, perhaps as a gift. The chains had unsettled me, but who was I to judge? He was an artist, maybe it was symbolic. Vincent cleared his throat from behind the desk, startling me back to reality.
“Welcome to Ultima Resort. Do you have a reservation?” he asked, politely.
I needed to remind him to smile more, it would help to hide the apprehension he was currently displaying.
“Actually, I am here to meet someone on business,” she demonstrated a broad smile for him. “My client, Joel Smith, said I should ask for him at the desk, and you would point me to his room.”
“I don’t think there is anyone here named…” Vincent began.
“Of course, ma’am,” I interrupted quickly. I had forgotten to tell him about the false name. “Mr. Smith is waiting for you up in room 308.”
“Thank you. If I may say, this is a beautiful resort. I am so glad that Mr. Smith decided to plan his event here. Perhaps you would be interested in setting up a partnership?” she drew a gold-embossed card from her purse. “You see, I am an event planner, and I am looking for new venues to book events. I am trying to avoid the usual venues in my town,” she shuddered slightly. “But finding new places and rebuilding those relationships is so difficult.”
“Is there a problem with the local venues?” I knew better than to ask questions, but sometimes I couldn’t help myself.
“Oh, no, they are great. It’s just that I always use the same 4 or 5 venues, and it has gotten too predictable. It is safer to adjust my routine, until I have saved up enough to move.”
Mel laughed uncomfortably,
“Did I say safer? I just meant that falling into a routine gets boring. Clients want things that are new and fresh, you know? You have to have variety.”
I nodded, letting the matter drop.
“Well, what kind of partnership did you have in mind?”
“I thought perhaps I could leave some of my cards and you could point guests in my direction, and I could, of course, steer my own clients here, for their events.”
“Well, I will have to consult our owners, but I will certainly take some cards,” I replied, knowing that this was never going to happen.
“Thank you,” she beamed. “Now, I should get up to Mr. Smith’s room. It wouldn’t do to be late.”
Mel grabbed her rolling case and her sample book and rushed for the stairs.
“Do you need help with the case?” Vincent asked.
“Oh, that would be lovely, thank you!” she paused while he caught up and lifted her case, then they both headed up the stairs.
I returned to the dining room and resumed mopping.
Vincent returned a short time later, looking uneasy.
“You didn’t tell me about the new guest’s face.”
“What?” I looked up from the now gleaming floor.
“His face. It was all wrapped in bandages, and his voice was all raspy. He said he had been burned in a fire.”
“Are you sure you took her to 308?”
“Of course I did, I know how to count,” he looked offended.
“I only ask because that doesn’t sound like the man I took up to 308 yesterday. He was pretty ordinary looking. Definitely no bandages or burns. What did the planner say?”
“She seemed to be expecting it, greeted him as Mr. Smith right away and went into the room.”
“Huh. Well, perhaps it was a disguise.”
“Why would he be wearing a disguise?”
“Pryce said he made an appointment with her as ‘Joel Smith’ so he could draw her here for a surprise marriage proposal. Maybe he didn’t want her to recognize him until they were alone in the room.”
“A marriage proposal?” Vincent raised an eyebrow. “That’s odd. She gave me the impression that she was single.”
“Oh? You weren’t with her for that long, how did that come up?”
“She asked when I got off work and wanted to join me for a drink after her meeting.”
“What did you say?”
“I let her down easy, she isn’t my type, after all. She was nice about it, said that was about her luck with men, lately. She hasn’t been on a date in months because she is too afraid to make a date on any of the apps.”
“Well, apparently, she had a really bad first date a while back and now, no matter which app she uses, she keeps showing up to dates and finding the same guy. He has been using dozens of fake accounts, following her at work, chasing off anyone else she meets. I felt bad for her, she seemed really spooked by the whole thing.”
I stared at Vincent,
“So, you are telling me that she is single, and she has a stalker who uses false identities to lure her into meetings?”
“That’s what she said…” he trailed off as he realized. “We need to get back up there.”
I hesitated for a moment. We weren’t really supposed to interfere in these matters and it never ended well when I tried… but I couldn’t shake the thought of the painting, the chains.
See? I told you he didn’t deserve your pity, Al noted.
“You knew about this?” I asked under my breath.
Of course. I said that he already decided what he would trade his life for. So, we brought her to him.
“You can make her love him?”
Of course not. We don’t change people’s emotions, only enhance what is already there. She loathes him, fears him. We cannot change that.
“So, what happens when he learns that?”
Who knows? That is the fun part, his enthusiasm was clear. What will the two of them do? How will she react? How will he? Whatever happens, it won’t be boring.
“Boring?! Does that matter right now?”
Of course, Al sounded puzzled. What else matters, beyond alleviating the constant, crushing tedium of existence?
“Why am I even talking to you about this?” I shook my head and ran for the stairs, trying to catch up with Vincent.
I took too long, because by the time I reached the third-floor hallway, he was already gone. The hallway was empty and silent, though nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I hesitated for a moment, debating what to do next. I thought perhaps Al would chime in, but he seemed content to just let this play out and enjoy the show. Finally, I reached out and knocked on door 308. There was no response, but I could hear a muffled voice from behind the door. He was ignoring me. Vincent was missing. I pulled out my keys and opened the lock. The door swung open to a completely dark room. All the lights were off and blackout curtains were covering every window. Whoever had been speaking a moment ago had stopped, and eerie silence fell over the room. I took a few hesitant steps forward in the beam of light from the hallway, then, the door slammed shut behind me. I spun around, but couldn’t see anything in the now total darkness. Knowing that Pryce must be by the door, I turned and tried to move away, towards the windows. If I could get one uncovered… my thought was interrupted when my foot caught something and I tumbled to the ground, only a few feet from the nearest window.
As I fell, I felt a sudden breeze and the whistle of something moving through the air, then a crunch as it impacted a wall next to me. I scrambled to my feet, ignoring my sore knees, and ran the final few steps, yanking the curtain open. The burst of sunlight revealed a horrifying scene. The first thing I saw was Quinton Pryce, standing near where I had fallen, pulling on a fire poker that was embedded into the wall. The fact I had tripped was the only reason it wasn’t currently embedded in my head. I looked for what had caused me to fall and saw a single raised step in the center of the room. It was just one step and it led nowhere. It didn’t seem to have any reason to be there, but it was lucky it had been. Vincent hadn’t been so lucky. I spotted him lying on the ground by the door, a large bruise forming on his temple. At least he seemed to be breathing. Finally, my eyes alighted on the event planner. Mel was lying on the bed, bound in fine, silver chains. He had redressed her in a flowing white gown, and she seemed to be wearing a wig, long and blonde, like in the painting. She was gagged, but awake, her eyes wide and frightened. Pryce yanked the poker free and turned to me,
“Why are you here? Why did you have to interrupt?” he screamed. “Everything was perfect! I just had to finish it, and they promised we would be together forever.”
I backed away, deeper into the room, as he advanced on me, swinging the poker.
“You sent the white knight too, didn’t you?” he glanced back at Vincent. “I knew I shouldn’t have trusted you. Women always ruin everything. Even her! My beautiful angel. Did you see what she did to her hair? How she spoiled herself? Disgusting,” his lip curled. “I warned her not to, but she didn’t listen. Now I’ve fixed it. And when I am finished, she will be perfect, like she was always supposed to be. Like I knew she could be, the moment we met.”
He took another step towards me.
“What are your trying to finish?” I needed to distract him until I could figure out a plan.
“It came to me in a dream, last night,” his eye gleamed manically. “I know how to make her mine, how we can be together, forever.”
As he spoke, he pulled a knife from his waistband, it gleamed in the light from the window.
“When we die here, together, wrapped in shared chains, the blood from our veins mingling, we will be bound together in the afterlife. And she will finally be the perfect angel I need. Kind, sweet, compliant, and by my side forever. We’ll both finally be happy.”
“Melanie doesn’t look very happy,” I blurted before I could stop myself.
“Of course, she doesn’t!” he whirled to face her. “She doesn’t understand. But it isn’t her fault. Society has ruined women. They don’t understand that their true purpose comes from belonging to a man. I tried to show her, to explain to her that she would be fulfilled if she just listened to me, obeyed me, like she was meant to. But she has been corrupted, so she rejects the truth, fears it. Once I have cleansed her, once we are joined by blood, she will finally see my truth. We will both be ecstatic, together.”
Mel struggled against the chains on the bed, but they seemed sturdy, she was barely able to move. Tears streamed freely from her eyes, which were impossibly wide and frightened, seeming to plead with me for help. I wasn’t going to be much use to her. I was nearly backed into a corner and Pryce was now advancing on me again, poker in hand.
“I wouldn’t ordinarily hit a woman,” he seemed almost apologetic about that. “But I can’t let you interrupt.”
I took a few more steps back, now I was pressed against the wall. Nowhere left to go. He raised the poker above his head, but before he could bring it down, a small loop of chain slipped around his neck, and his head jerked backwards. His hands reached for his neck, clawing and groping, but the chain only pulled tighter. I saw a line of blood appear, but the chain continued to tighten. His eyes bulged for a moment, then, with a final, sharp tug, the chain sliced through his neck and his body dropped to the ground, a ragged wound where his head had been. Behind him stood Melanie Tyler, face streaked in blood that dripped down her cheeks like tears. Her eyes were black as ebony. She licked the blood from her lips with a small smile, then raised the head, so that she was looking him in the eyes,
“Is this what you wanted? Are we joined now?” she laughed and dropped the head onto his corpse.
She closed her eyes for a moment, wiping the blood from her face with the hem of her dress. When she turned back to me, it was with brown eyes that twinkled with mirth. Mel grabbed her purse from a table and searched around inside a moment. Finally, she offered me a little stack of cards. When I didn’t reach out for them right away, she explained.
“My business cards, remember?” she placed them in my hand. “Don’t forget to give them out. And don’t worry, I will be sending plenty of business back here. I think this is going to be a very beneficial partnership.”
She gathered the clothing she had arrived in and began to remove the bloody dress. As she did, I heard a groan from the doorway. Vincent stirred and struggled to sit up. I hurried over to him.
“Are you alright?” I knelt.
“What happened?” he asked.
“It was probably a fire poker.”
He gently probed his temple with a finger, wincing.
“My head hurts.”
“I bet,” I helped him to his feet, he leaned heavily on my shoulder.
“What happened to Melanie? She was on the bed, just over there.”
I followed his gaze to the bed, which was now empty, except for a pile of chain, some of which looked warped and melted.
“What a sweet boy, worrying about me, even now,” Melanie purred, now wearing the pantsuit again. “I am better than I have ever been. I am free. Now, I have to go, but you two take care of yourselves. Expect to see some clients of mine shortly.”
With that, she brushed past us and slipped out into the hall.
“Was she…”
I nodded. He shook his head sadly.
“We should probably go back to the kitchen and find you some ice,” I looked at the lump on his head, it was growing by the moment.
Vincent nodded and we headed for the door.
We managed to find ice and painkillers in the kitchen, and I hoped it would be enough, because we weren’t getting to a hospital. As Vincent sat on a stool, icing his head, I slipped into the bathroom. There was something I needed to know.
“Hey, Al, are you there?” I wasn’t sure if he would even be listening. I apparently shouldn’t have worried.
I am always here, my dear, his voice came immediately. What do you need?
“I just had a question,” I had been thinking about this since the moment I opened the curtains in room 308. “Did you save me?”
Whatever do you mean? he smirked.
“I mean that step, the one in the middle of the floor, going nowhere. It shouldn’t have been there. Did you trip me?”
Of course I did. If you died, all my efforts would have been wasted. I am not about to go back in the queue and start all over.
I wasn’t sure how to feel about that, he had protected me, but it didn’t seem like I should be grateful for that. So, for the time being, I moved on.
“Why did Melanie end up possessed? I thought the target was Pryce?”
He was one target. He may have been willing to do anything to possess her, but she was willing to do anything to stop him, and Tyler made her deal first. Now, he will never hurt another woman, just as she wanted. I could do something similar for you, if you are ready for a deal of your own.
I shook my head,
“No chance.”
We’ll see. The kind of trouble you seem to get yourself into, I suspect there will come a time where you don’t have much choice.
“I am going to back to check on Vincent.”
I turned and left the bathroom.
I guess that is where I will end for today. Nothing too interesting happened after that. Manny took a look at Vincent and said he will be alright; he just needs rest. Hopefully, he knows what he is talking about. Manny, never says much about what he did before he came here, so I suppose he might. We all decided to turn in early, and this seemed like an ideal time to finally write up this entry. I hope we will get another period of quiet, but I am concerned the Mel will keep her promise and send more guests. Either way, I should probably get some sleep while I can.
Until next time,
submitted by RaynaClay to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 23:46 Willing_Ad2038 7 Capital sins according to ChatGPT and Midjourney AI systems

7 Capital sins according to ChatGPT and Midjourney AI systems
I asked ChatGPT to describe all 7 capital sins as if they were incarnated by women. I then fed those descriptions to Midjourney image generator AI system.
Here are the results.
Lust appears as a sultry, captivating woman, with an aura of intense desire and passion that seems to envelop those in her presence. Her skin is a warm, sun-kissed bronze, glowing with a sensuous vitality that invites the touch. Her eyes smolder like embers, a deep and alluring shade of amber, reflecting a hunger that both tempts and consumes.
Her hair is a mane of cascading, fiery red curls, untamed and wild, falling in a seductive disarray around her shoulders and framing her face with an air of reckless abandon. Her lips are full and plump, the color of ripe cherries, often curved into a knowing, provocative smile that promises untold pleasures.
Her curvaceous figure is draped in a form-fitting, crimson dress that clings to her body like a lover's embrace. The fabric is a rich, velvety texture, and it hugs her every contour, accentuating the sensuality of her form. The dress features a plunging neckline, daringly low, and a thigh-high slit that reveals a tantalizing glimpse of her long, shapely legs.
Her fingers are adorned with rings of gold and silver, each set with gemstones that shimmer with a fiery, passionate light. Her nails are painted a glossy, deep red, reflecting the intensity of the desires she embodies.
Lust's gaze is predatory and enticing, holding a power that can both ensnare and intoxicate those who meet her eyes. When she speaks, her voice is a low, sultry purr, a seductive melody that weaves a spell of desire around those who listen.
Her presence is a magnetic force, drawing others into her web of temptation and awakening their most primal instincts. Lust is the embodiment of carnal desire and passion, a reminder of the powerful, visceral urges that drive and compel human beings, and a force that, when harnessed and understood, can lead to both ecstasy and self-discovery.
Gluttony appears as a voluptuous, indulgent woman, with an aura of excess and insatiability that seems to accompany her wherever she goes. Her skin is a warm, creamy hue, hinting at a life of decadence and indulgence. Her eyes are a rich, chocolate brown, filled with a boundless appetite for all that life has to offer.
Her hair is a thick, lustrous mass of dark curls, cascading down her back and framing her face in an opulent display. Her lips are full and sensuous, the color of red wine, often stained by the remnants of her latest feast.
Her ample, curvaceous figure is draped in luxurious fabrics, featuring deep, sumptuous colors like burgundy, gold, and emerald green. Her garments are adorned with intricate patterns of fruits, meats, and sweets, symbolizing the abundance and extravagance of her desires. She wears a wide, jeweled belt around her waist, cinching the fabric of her gown and emphasizing her generous curves.
Her fingers are adorned with an assortment of rings, each featuring gemstones that evoke the colors and textures of her favorite indulgences. Her nails are painted a glossy, deep red, reminiscent of the richest of desserts and finest of wines.
Gluttony's gaze is one of unquenchable desire, her eyes constantly scanning for the next source of satisfaction. When she speaks, her voice is a deep, velvety purr, a testament to her insatiable hunger for life's pleasures.
Her presence is a reminder of the all-consuming nature of gluttony and the potential consequences of unchecked indulgence. Though her appetites may appear enticing, they also serve as a warning to those who would lose themselves in the pursuit of excess, highlighting the importance of moderation and balance in all aspects of life.
Envy appears as a striking, yet discontented woman, with an aura of constant longing and unfulfilled desires that seems to cling to her like a shadow. Her skin is a pale, almost sickly green hue, hinting at the corrosive nature of her emotions. Her eyes are a piercing, sharp shade of jade, filled with a mixture of admiration and resentment as she gazes at the successes and possessions of others.
Her hair is a sleek, dark green that falls in a straight, sharp line down her back, framing her face in a manner that emphasizes her rigid, unyielding nature. Her lips are a thin, pursed line, the color of wilted leaves, often curling into a sneer of disdain or a frown of dissatisfaction.
Her slender, wiry frame is draped in a form-fitting gown of deep, envious green, accentuating her lithe silhouette. The fabric seems to shimmer with an iridescent quality, as if reflecting the ever-changing objects of her desire. Her dress features a high neckline and long sleeves, symbolizing her guarded nature and unwillingness to reveal her true emotions.
Her fingers are adorned with a collection of rings, each featuring gemstones that flicker with a cold, bitter light. Her nails are painted a glossy, venomous green, reflecting the darker aspects of her personality.
Envy's gaze is piercing and critical, always seeking out the accomplishments and assets of others, while simultaneously downplaying her own. When she speaks, her voice is a sharp, cutting whisper, often laced with sarcasm and bitterness.
Her presence serves as a reminder of the destructive nature of envy and the importance of finding contentment and gratitude in one's own life. Although she may appear to have an air of elegance and sophistication, her fixation on the fortunes of others ultimately leads her down a path of discontent and unhappiness.
Anger appears as a fierce, formidable woman, with an aura of intense energy and agitation that seems to emanate from her like waves of heat. Her skin is flushed, a deep shade of crimson, reflecting the fiery passion that burns within her. Her eyes are a blazing, molten red, filled with the intensity and volatility of her emotions.
Her hair is a wild, untamed mane of fiery orange and red, resembling the flickering flames of a raging inferno. It stands on end, as if charged with the electric energy of her ire. Her lips are a bold, fierce shade of scarlet, often set in a tight, grim line or contorted into a snarl of frustration and fury.
Her powerful, muscular figure is draped in a form-fitting, blood-red dress that seems to ripple and flow like the surface of a raging fire. The fabric is adorned with jagged, angular patterns, symbolizing the unpredictable and destructive nature of her wrath. Her dress features sharp, aggressive lines, accentuating her powerful presence and highlighting her strength.
Her fingers are tipped with sharp, claw-like nails, painted a glossy, searing red, representing the potential for anger to cause harm and inflict pain. Her hands are often clenched into fists, a testament to her readiness for confrontation.
Anger's gaze is fierce and penetrating, her eyes narrowed and focused with an unrelenting intensity. When she speaks, her voice is a booming, thunderous roar, a forceful command that demands attention and submission.
Her presence serves as a reminder of the power and energy that anger can evoke, as well as the potential for destruction that it can unleash. While she may embody strength and determination, she also represents the importance of understanding and channeling these emotions in a constructive manner, lest they consume and overwhelm those who encounter her.
Sloth appears as a languid, unhurried woman, with an aura of perpetual lethargy and disinterest that seems to cling to her like a heavy fog. Her skin is a dull, pale gray, suggesting a lack of vitality and a reluctance to engage in the world around her. Her eyes are a hazy, muted shade of blue, often half-closed or unfocused, reflecting her disconnection from her surroundings.
Her hair is a long, unkempt mass of tangled, lifeless strands that fall limply around her shoulders and face, symbolizing her indifference to self-care and motivation. Her lips are a pale, washed-out hue, often set in a loose, indifferent line or slightly parted in a perpetual yawn.
Her soft, shapeless figure is draped in a loose, flowing robe of muted, shadowy gray, conveying a sense of comfort and ease, yet also suggesting an unwillingness to exert effort or engage in any form of activity. The fabric is adorned with images of slow-moving creatures and languorous landscapes, emphasizing her affinity for idleness and leisure.
Her fingers are adorned with a single, unremarkable ring, featuring a gemstone of cloudy, unremarkable gray. Her nails are short, unpolished, and slightly chipped, reflecting her lack of concern for her appearance or any form of personal upkeep.
Sloth's gaze is unfocused and distant, her eyes rarely meeting those of others or conveying any sense of interest or curiosity. When she speaks, her voice is a slow, languorous drawl, often trailing off into silence or punctuated by frequent yawns.
Her presence serves as a reminder of the dangers of idleness, inactivity, and apathy. Though she may appear to embody a sense of ease and tranquility, she also represents the potential for stagnation, missed opportunities, and the neglect of one's own growth and potential. Recognizing and overcoming the temptation of sloth can be a crucial step towards achieving balance, productivity, and fulfillment in life.
Pride appears as a regal, self-assured woman, with an aura of unwavering confidence and self-importance that surrounds her like an impenetrable shield. Her skin is a flawless, golden hue, radiating a sense of perfection and superiority. Her eyes are a clear, striking shade of sapphire blue, filled with an unwavering sense of self-assurance and entitlement.
Her hair is a voluminous, perfectly styled cascade of rich, golden locks that fall in elegant waves around her shoulders, framing her face in a halo of radiant light. Her lips are a bold, resplendent shade of gold, often set in a confident, self-satisfied smile or a haughty, disdainful sneer.
Her tall, statuesque figure is draped in a form-fitting, regal gown of shimmering gold, adorned with intricate patterns of laurel wreaths and crowns, symbolizing her perceived mastery and triumph in all aspects of life. The dress features a high, imperious collar and a sweeping, majestic train, emphasizing her lofty status and the deference she believes she is owed.
Her fingers are adorned with an array of ostentatious rings, each featuring gemstones that sparkle with a brilliant, self-assured light. Her nails are painted a glossy, radiant gold, reflecting her unyielding belief in her own superiority.
Pride's gaze is imperious and unyielding, her eyes always focused on her own reflection or the admiration of others, rarely acknowledging the accomplishments or worth of those around her. When she speaks, her voice is a clear, commanding tone, brimming with confidence and self-importance.
Her presence serves as a reminder of the pitfalls of arrogance, egotism, and an inflated sense of self-worth. While she may embody an air of confidence and authority, she also represents the potential for self-deception, hubris, and the dismissal of the value and contributions of others. Recognizing and tempering the influence of pride can be a crucial step towards fostering humility, empathy, and genuine self-esteem.
Greed appears as a cunning, insatiable woman, with an aura of relentless ambition and an unquenchable thirst for wealth and power that seems to consume her very being. Her skin is a cold, metallic gold hue, reflecting the material riches she continually seeks to accumulate. Her eyes are a gleaming, avaricious shade of emerald green, filled with an unwavering determination to acquire and possess.
Her hair is a sleek, lustrous waterfall of shimmering gold strands that flow like liquid down her back, symbolizing her fixation on material wealth and her unending pursuit of more. Her lips are a rich, sumptuous shade of deep burgundy, often curled into a calculating, insidious grin or pursed in dissatisfaction at the thought of any potential loss.
Her slender, almost serpentine figure is draped in a luxurious, opulent gown of shimmering, golden silk, adorned with intricate patterns of coins, gems, and other symbols of wealth and power. The dress features a plunging neckline and an open back, hinting at her willingness to take risks and exploit any opportunity for personal gain.
Her fingers are adorned with an excessive number of lavish rings, each featuring dazzling gemstones that seem to outshine one another in their brilliance. Her nails are painted a glossy, metallic gold, reflecting her relentless pursuit of riches and influence.
Greed's gaze is calculating and shrewd, her eyes constantly scanning her environment for potential opportunities, acquisitions, or threats to her amassed wealth. When she speaks, her voice is a smooth, silky purr, often laced with flattery and charm, designed to manipulate and entice those around her.
Her presence serves as a reminder of the dangers of avarice, materialism, and the relentless pursuit of wealth and power at the expense of others. While she may appear to embody success and prosperity, she also represents the potential for corruption, exploitation, and the erosion of one's humanity in the quest for personal gain. Acknowledging and tempering the influence of greed can be an essential step towards cultivating a more balanced, compassionate, and fulfilling life.
Does anyone look familiar ?
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2023.04.01 09:08 BlueFishcake Sexy Space Babes - The Video Game

The gas giant loomed large in the viewport, ballooning as the ship coasted toward it, the colorful blue hues of its swirling bands reflecting the glow of the system’s star.
Darren could make out the bright, scarred surface of an ice moon drifting lazily past, framed against the rivers of flowing hydrogen and helium. Silhouetted against the Jupiter-mass object was their destination – Halfpoint Station.
Having come from Earth, which was still a backwater when compared to many of the Imperium’s more developed worlds, the sheer size and grandeur of the structure took his breath away.
It was hard to gauge its true scale in the vacuum of space where there was no atmospheric haze, and there were no landmarks for reference, the unfiltered light creating harsh shadows. As they drew nearer, however, he was able to pick out some of the massive fuel tankers that swarmed its ports like clouds of gnats.
Those vessels put anything created by Humanity to shame – their purpose being to dip into the upper atmosphere of the gas giant, harvesting its resources to fuel the ships that made their berth here.
Calling it enormous was an understatement. It must have been nine miles tall, the main hull of the station forming a long, relatively thin vertical shaft. Surrounding that shaft were half a dozen rotating rings, each one connected to the central column by spokes, the pinpoints of innumerable windows glinting as they slowly turned.
At its apex was a dome of immense proportions, sitting proudly atop the structure, the crystalline material that made up its transparent hull glittering in the starlight. Inside, he could make out glimpses of regal skyscrapers and patches of parkland – an entire city encapsulated in a habitat that had a breathtaking view of the planet.
Darren pursed his lips as he looked down at the device on his wrist, the tiny display showing the familiar text of an article he must have read at least a dozen times by this point.
Halfpoint Station was situated on the outskirts of the Imperium’s sphere of influence, a region of space known only as the Periphery. This put it soundly outside of Purp jurisdiction, but the place still saw a lot of traffic, as the station was right in the middle of a relatively well-traveled shipping route between the three big powers.
While it had started its life as little more than a place to fuel up and get resupplied, being located outside any of the major spheres of influence had its benefits, and the station had garnered a bit of a reputation for its more permissive policies. Now, it was said to be populated by hired guns, smugglers, gamblers, and anyone else who might appreciate discretion.
The Human frowned as he looked out the window once more and tried to reconcile the gleaming edifice before him with the dark reputation the article in his hands presented.
He didn’t have long to dwell on it before the pilot’s crackly voice came through a hidden intercom in the cabin, informing the passengers that they were commencing docking procedures.
The woman spoke in accented Shil. What that accent was, Darren had no clue, but he knew it wasn’t the same one spoken by his professors – linguistic or mechanical.
He glanced around at his fellow travelers, seeing a few species that he didn’t recognize, along with the more familiar Shil’vati. The aliens were easily identifiable by the purple hue of their skin, their sharp tusks, and their seven-foot height.
Several of them returned his gaze, some curious, some covetous.
Males were rare in the Imperium.
Hell, males were rare, period.
By the standards of most races out in the galaxy, Humanity were the strange ones for having an equal number of men and women. Even six years into the occupation, most were still struggling to adapt to the new paradigm brought on by that reality.
Darren was no exception.
Still, he managed to ignore the stares, turning his attention to the smart display on his wrist, bringing up his itinerary. He was headed to Hab-Ring Five, and the only information that he’d been given beyond that were some coordinates to who-knew-where.
He sighed, wishing – not for the first time – that he might have a fellow first timer to converse with.
Unfortunately, that was a pipe dream.
The lack of other Humans on his ship wasn’t surprising. The Imperium had only recently relaxed enough to begin authorizing travel visas allowing Humans to leave Earth, and his kind were still a rarity on the Galactic stage.
As to why he was out here out in the ass end of space?
He’d been offered a job.
He was an engineer by trade, at least according to his degree, and he specialized in the combination of alien and Human technology. It might seem like an oddly specific skillset, but it was one that was in high demand, as just about every industry on Earth was trying to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the Imperium’s literal space-age technology.
It was complicated work, but he was quite good at it, if he said so himself – and his professors seemed to agree. His gift had catapulted him through university and had apparently landed him a very lucrative offer to take up a position on Halfpoint.
How they’d heard of him, he wasn’t too sure. Nor did he truthfully know exactly what the job entailed. Apparently, he was to be briefed on-location.
Regardless, off-world work was a rare opportunity for any Human, let alone one fresh out of school, and visiting an alien space station was a lot more interesting than backpacking around Europe for a year.
Whatever happened, it was going to be an adventure.
The ship matched velocity with one of the rotating rings, the structure at least half a mile tall in its own right, covered in tiny windows that made it look like a whole city block had been condensed down into the shape of a donut.
Now that he was a little closer, Darren could see that the station was actually far from pristine. Its hull was pocked with haphazard repairs, the newer sections shining brighter than their older counterparts, its armored panels pitted with little craters from space debris and micro-meteorite impacts.
The ship lined up with a docking port, and an umbilical walkway began to extrude from the ring, reaching out towards them. It looked like the jib of a crane, covered over with a flexible material that bore a suspicious resemblance to a grey tarp.
Surely it wasn’t actually a tarp? No, it had to be some kind of alien supertech – too advanced for him to recognize at a glance.
His thoughts did little to reassure him as the umbilical connected to the shuttle’s airlock with a tangible thud.
Shaking his head, he retrieved his travel bag, then made his way down the aisle to join the queue of passengers who were waiting to disembark. More of them crammed in behind him, and he tried to ignore their uncomfortable proximity.
He hadn’t actually spent a lot of time around aliens during his schooling. One of his professors had been a Shil, but she had been professional to a fault and had always kept a healthy distance from her students.
Of course, she had still managed to be rather intimidating despite that, her head seeming to scrape the ceiling every time she stepped into the classroom. However, Darren was rapidly discovering that being surrounded by women who stood head and shoulders above him was a different experience altogether.
It was nothing to get worked up over, though. He just needed to-
The Shil standing behind him pressed close – uncomfortably close – Darren swearing that there was room enough in the aisle for her to keep her distance. Suddenly, he felt a sharp twinge in his rear.
Had she just...pinched him? No, it had to have been a mistake.
He turned to glance over his shoulder, looking up at the towering Purp. “Sorry, Ma’am, I must have bumped into you.”
Her sly smile faded as she furrowed her brow in confusion. Before she had time to formulate a reply, the intercom above the exit beeped.
“Oh, looks like we’re moving again!” Darren chimed as he began to follow the queue. “Sorry!”
He followed the procession of towering women into the passenger ship’s airlock. Both of the pressurized doors were open, and before him stretched the umbilical. The worryingly thin material that protected them from the deadly vacuum of space was wrapped taut around a metal frame, and the walkway beneath his feet was made up of a simple grate.
After a short walk, they emerged into a cavernous dock area, so large that it was more like standing in some kind of indoor stadium than anything that could be compared to a space station. There were stacks of shipping containers and unidentifiable machinery everywhere he looked.
It was a challenge not to stop and examine the equipment, each new sight piquing his interest, each strange device begging to be investigated. As he followed the other passengers to the far end of the room – his head on a swivel – he almost bumped into one of the containers. To his surprise, it was floating a foot off the ground, suspended on an anti-gravity cushion.
It was funny – no matter how many times he saw it, it never stopped being surreal to see something just…float.
As he stooped to look beneath it, an irritated dockworker leaned out from behind it to yell at whoever was in her way. She stopped when she saw him, raising a skeptical eyebrow. She was a Rakiri, if Darren remembered correctly. She resembled a towering werewolf, a pair of cat-like eyes peering out from beneath her black fur, her facial features strangely leonine. She was clad in dirty, yellow coveralls that hung loosely from her broad shoulders, exposing the ragged tank top that she wore beneath it. Tufts of her dark coat poked out around the faded garment, giving her a surprisingly fluffy appearance.
“You lost, boy?” she asked as she shooed him out of her path. “Stay behind the yellow warning markings unless you want to get that cute butt smushed,” she added with a nod toward the deck. She continued to push her heavy container, moving it effortlessly on its gravity cushion.
More dock workers were assembling to stare at him, perhaps having never seen a Human before. Or perhaps it was because he was male? It was hard to tell. Either way, a small crowd of yellow-clad women saw him off, a couple of them hooting at him and waving. Not sure if this was some kind of alien greeting, he shyly waved back, eliciting laughter from them after a moment of surprise.
One started to make her way over to him before a menacing growl from her superior made her freeze in place sheepishly. Darren took that as his cue to move on – he didn’t want to get anyone else in trouble by being in the way.
He arrived at a security gate, and after being asked to show his visa, he was subjected to a very thorough – and in his opinion unnecessary – pat-down. Once he was cleared, he emerged into the station proper. He stepped out of the way of the women behind him, then set his travel bag down on the metal deck, taking in the alien sights and sounds for a moment.
Far from being a sterile, clinical environment, he found himself in a bustling bazaar worthy of any city back on Earth. It scarcely felt like he was standing inside a station at all, what passed for the ceiling so high above his head that he could barely make out the crisscrossing support beams and maintenance catwalks.
It was styled like a cramped street, too small for cars, almost like the city center of some old European town had been reimagined in an industrial style. Civilian quarters that resembled apartment blocks rose up towards the ceiling, connecting to it in some places, likely leading up to higher levels of the station.
In every nook and cranny – anywhere there was room – the denizens of the hab-ring had set up little stalls where they were hawking their wares to the tourists who had just boarded. Colorful awnings fluttered in the artificial breeze from the air recyclers, and insulated cables that had been patched from the station’s systems trailed along walls and floors, powering streetside food stands and colorful neon signs.
Speaking of the denizens, they came in all shapes and sizes. Darren had never seen so many varieties of alien in one place before. He could make out a few Shil and Rakiri, but most were unknown to him, the varied hues of their skin and clothes creating a bustling sea of color.
He checked the device on his wrist again, pulling up the coordinates that his new employer had forwarded to him. This was indeed Hab-Ring Five, and he’d been given what passed for an address in this strange environment. Hefting his bag once more, he made his way into the throng, having to dodge and weave between the towering aliens. Many of them barely seemed to register his presence, probably due to his comparatively small stature, though some seemed to stop and stare in confusion.
Well, I suppose Humans are pretty new on the galactic scene, he thought to himself.
The scents of strange, alien food assailed him as he navigated the cramped streets, a few of the criers singling him out. They had sharp instincts, he’d give them that. It seemed the locals could smell a tourist at thirty paces.
Maybe it was all the staring he was doing?
Eventually, he arrived at his destination, glancing up from his display to see a dingy bar. It was open to the street, built into an overhang at the base of one of the many buildings, little more than a long counter with a few stools. Above it was a blinking neon sign in a script that he couldn’t read. As he made his way inside and struggled up onto one of the tall stools, the small handful of patrons who were sitting off to his left paused their conversation to examine him.
They were Nighkru, their goat-like horns and the bruise-purple hue of their skin giving them away. Their silver eyes were striking, almost seeming to glow in the dim light of the bar, as reflective as those of a cat. Their clothing was all tight leather and straps, their skin strategically exposed in places to show off their stunning bioluminescent tattoos, the swirling patterns trailing down slender limbs and across toned midriffs.
He kept his gaze aimed forward, knowing that their kind didn’t think much of the Imperium to which he now belonged.
…Then again, that was true for pretty much every race that wasn’t a part of the massive interstellar empire. Say what you would about the Purps, but they knew how to make an impression.
The bartender walked over to him, leaning on the counter as she looked him up and down skeptically. It was another Rakiri like the dockworkers, her feline nose twitching as she took in his scent.
“You lost, or do you want something to drink?” she asked.
“No thank you, I’m waiting for someone,” he replied sheepishly as he lowered his eyes to his device again.
He was right on time, but as he looked around, there was no sign of his contact. He was supposed to meet them here, right?
The Rakiri shrugged her furry shoulders, then left him to his own devices, moving over to the small group of Nighkru.
Perhaps one of them was his contact?
He certainly hoped not. While he didn’t have anything against a person enjoying themselves with a good drink after hours, it wasn’t a good way to make a positive first impression on a prospective employee.
Fortunately for him, the surprise on one of the trio’s grey skinned faces when she happened to blearily peer in his direction dashed that possibility. Just a trio of young women out for a drink.
Unfortunately for him, after a few hastily whispered words to her friends, the group made their way over to him.
“Don’t see many males round these parts,” one of them said, her faux leather getup creaking as she planted her hands on the bar to his left. Another leaned on the counter to his right, the third posting up behind him.
“A Human, too,” the woman to his right added with a sly chuckle. “Now, what’s a Human doing all alone out on the Periphery?”
“I didn’t think the Purps were letting their pets off the leash.” the one behind him snickered.
“I don’t know,” the first said with an exaggerated shrug. “Maybe he snuck out in search of a real woman? I think we’ve all heard how Humans can be.”
That set the three of them laughing.
All the while, Darren wasn’t sure where to look, turning his head left and right as he struggled to pick a Nighkru. He settled on the woman to his left, having to lift his head to meet her gaze, those reflective eyes shining like a pair of silver coins.
“I...uh...was actually supposed to be meeting someone here.” he stammered, a little of his anxiety bleeding through.
The Nighkru gave him a warm smile that wasn’t reflected in her eyes, leaning a little closer. He tried to pull away reflexively but found another Nighkru waiting for him, something rather soft pressing against his back.
“Well, I don’t see anyone else in here but me and my friends,” one of them said as she tutted dramatically. “Maybe they stood you up?”
“Poor form, that,” the one behind him whispered into his ear. He lurched in his seat, surprised by her proximity. “Leaving a pretty young thing like you hanging.”
The first one nodded, as if that was a piece of sagely wisdom. “I know – how about my friends and I give you a personal tour of the station to make up for it?” she asked, reaching out to brush a piece of errant fluff from his collar. “We’ll even carry your luggage for you – we’re nice like that.”
She signaled to one of her compatriots with a curt nod, who then plucked his travel bag off the deck.
“Oh, that’s really not-”
He tried to stand, but he was cut off as two of the women placed their hands on his shoulders, pushing him back down into his seat. Their touch was gentle, but firm, letting him know that he wasn't going anywhere.
Darren looked to the Rakiri bartender for help, feeling more than a little overwhelmed by the turn of events, but she was staying out of it. She was feigning disinterest, cleaning a glass with a rag that didn’t look clean enough for the job.
It was clear that he wouldn’t be getting any help from her.
Was this really going to be his first experience on the station – kidnapped by a gang of alien grifters?
Just as he was getting ready to – likely ineffectually – start swinging like his life depended on it, he heard a voice ring out in a language he didn’t recognize.
The Nighkru turned their heads as one, and he followed their gaze, seeing another of their kind step in from the street. Her skin had the same twilight hue, her silvery hair pulled back into a long ponytail that trailed behind her as she strode towards them. She wore a jet-black body suit that left little to the imagination, so tight that it might have been sewn onto her, the garment open at the front to expose a chiseled midriff and the beginnings of her cleavage. Her eyes were mesmerizing, his gaze drawn to the glowing tattoos that served to accentuate them.
Oddly, unlike the trio surrounding him, she had no horns.
The stranger walked with purpose, her heels clicking on the deck, her hair swishing behind her as she came to a stop to stare down the three other women. They were already backing off, the Nighkru who had taken his bag setting it back down gingerly beside his seat. Did they know this person? They seemed so wary of her.
“Maybe we’ll see you around,” one of them whispered, her hand lingering on his shoulder for a moment before she followed her friends out into the street.
Once they were finally out of sight, Darren breathed a sigh of relief and turned to thank the newcomer. Before he could utter so much as a word, she beat him to the punch.
“You shouldn’t wander around Halfpoint alone,” she said, skipping the preamble. Her voice had a melodic tone, one that was almost musical to Darren’s ears. She planted her hands on her hips, scrutinizing him with a skeptical expression. “You’re just asking for trouble.”
“I’m just...waiting for someone,” he replied. “Thank you, by the way. I’m-”
“Do you have a weapon on you?” she asked, cutting him off. “A handgun under that jacket? Defense spray? A pocket knife?”
“What? No,” he replied, his brow furrowing. “Why would I have a gun?”
Even with a few inches of titanium-alloy plating between everyone aboard and a messy death by explosive decompression, using a firearm on the station seemed risky.
She snorted derisively, almost as though she couldn’t believe his reply.
“For your sake, I hope that whoever you’re waiting for is smarter than you are,” she said with a roll of her silver eyes. “This isn’t Earth, boy. There are no Shil Marines around to babysit you. Next time you want to play tourist, go somewhere closer to home.”
With a flick of her long hair, she turned about, vanishing into the crowd once more to leave him sitting at the bar in confusion.
Darren felt another hand on his shoulder and turned to see an Edixi wearing grease-stained overalls standing behind him. The tool belt that hung loosely about her hips let him know that she was a mechanic before she’d even had time to open her mouth.
Her kind were evolved for an aquatic environment, and although they were fully amphibious, they retained many of their ancient features. Their bodies were smooth and streamlined, with lean, lightly-muscled frames that made them look like Olympic swimmers. Her eyes were a striking ocean-green, and her azure skin was patterned with faded tiger stripes, darkening as it neared her extremities.
“You’re the new engineer, right?” she chirped excitedly.
“Darren Fogle, pleased to meet you,” he confirmed as he extended a hand. She took it, shaking it eagerly, and he noted that her fingers were webbed.
He was a little surprised by how smooth her skin was. Given the sharklike appearance of the Edixi – and her vocation – he’d expected it to be rough and scaly. Maybe cold and slimy, too. By contrast, it was warm and soft, her small scales smooth like a snake’s rather than sharp like those of a fish.
“Oh, it is. It very much is. The boss told me to fetch you,” she said before turning back towards the street. “Don’t get lost, you hear? There are some rough types around these parts.”
Yes, she could say that again. He stooped to pick up his bag, then hurried after her, trying not to lose sight of her in the crowd. He also belatedly realized that she hadn’t told him her own name.
Was that an Edixi thing or was she just in a hurry?
The mechanic led him through the streets, which seemed to be arranged in a kind of grid pattern, always flanked by the towering hab-blocks. It was as challenging as ever to navigate when so many of the station’s inhabitants stood a head taller than him. It made him feel like a bug that was trying to avoid being stepped on.
He could only assume he’d get used to it. His guide seemed to have no problem getting around, and she was a few inches shorter than him.
Their destination was some kind of service elevator – a large platform that seemed designed to carry heavy cargo up from the docks, wide enough that a couple of trucks could have parked on it side by side. There were still a few cargo containers stacked off to one side that hadn’t been unloaded yet.
He watched as the woman hit a touch panel beside the double doors, and they began to slide shut, the platform lurching as Darren felt it start to rise. There was no grinding of machinery, no vibrations, only a sensation of getting heavier. It was obviously gravity-manipulation tech. It wasn’t too surprising – the Shil seemed to use it for just about everything, so it wasn’t too strange that the rest of the universe did as well.
Convergent technological development, he could almost imagine his Shil instructor saying as they started to descend. Good tech is good tech.
The hab-ring’s many levels flashed by one by one, until finally, the elevator slid to a smooth stop. Darren followed the happily humming mechanic out into a garage, his eyes lighting up as he took in his new surroundings.
Were those… mecha?
The bay’s walls were lined with bulky harnesses that were obviously designed to hold the machines in place, a few of the berths already occupied by half-disassembled vehicles.
They were!
“Real life mecha,” he mumbled.
As a mechanic, he wasn’t ignorant of the genre. After all, what kind of engineer didn’t hold a soft spot for giant stompy robots? Of course, as an engineer, he also held an inherent disdain for anyone that actually thought said machines were even remotely practical outside of the realm of fiction.
The Square Cube Law was a harsh mistress.
The long and short of it was that if you doubled a machine's height while keeping it the same shape, you ended up with four times the muscle power moving eight times the mass. As a result, instead of having the same relative agility as the original, the double-sized machine actually had only half.
That was why ants could lift so much relative to their weight. If you scaled one up, you’d end up with a much less impressive power to weight ration.
And, the problem only got worse the bigger you went. Giant robots would be slow, cumbersome, and they would inevitably suffer from exploding ankles if they tried to move too fast. They’d also sink in just about any terrain that was even slightly porous.
All in all, mecha were a cool concept with absolutely zero real world applications.
Which was why he was so stunned to see some in real life. Sure, the Shil military liked to use exos, but they were really just power armor by any other name with thrusters attached. Besides, the only reason those things could skip around like they did was because they had anti-grav generators…
His thoughts trailed off as an idea occurred to him. He jogged over to the nearest machine, peering up at the twenty-foot humanoid monstrosity. Its legs had been detached, leaving only a bulky torso covered in half-stripped sensory equipment, lenses and scanners visible where their protective covers had been removed. The cockpit was open, revealing the pilot’s seat, along with the surrounding neural interface cables that hung loose like the entrails of some mechanical beast. Its weapon attachments were empty, but it was nonetheless an awe-inspiring sight.
Sure enough, there were two oversized humps on the back. One was clearly for the thing’s fusion engine – and the other must have held the anti-grav generator.
“Darren?” the mechanic asked, having only just realized that he wasn’t behind her. “Aren’t you coming?”
“Y-yeah,” he said, jogging for a few paces to catch up. “That’s a mecha!”
The blue-hued alien nodded slowly. “Yes?”
“A mecha,” he reiterated.
Which prompted another slow nod. “You’ve never seen a gladiator mech before?”
“Didn’t they tell you what job you’d be doing?” the mechanic asked, cocking her head in a rather adorable manner.
“No?” This time it was his turn to cock his head.
Several emotions seemed to fly across the alien’s face. He saw surprise, confusion, and dismay before she finally settled on irritation.
“Typical,” she grunted. “Just… follow me.”
AN: https://youtu.be/a3Xp1WhRQ9Q
submitted by BlueFishcake to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 08:13 -kikimimi- How do you know a human hair wig is at the end of its life if the lace is fine?

I very rarely use glue, so the lace is still in great shape. However the hair itself is not. I wear this wig a few times a week. My usual way of washing and conditioning wigs makes them look and feel beautiful, however I noticed this wig isn’t reacting the same way it used to anymore. It would look nice right after I condition and dry it and that’s it, it starts to look very dry and out of shape after 1 wear. This wig is about 6 months old.
What do y’all think? Is this a sign of the wig deteriorating and my sign to get a new one?
submitted by -kikimimi- to Wigs [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 08:10 HeadOfSpectre The Quest for America

I am Senator Duncan D. O’nutts from Alabama and I love America! I love America so much that if it were possible for me to fuck America, I’d do it. I once dug a hole in my backyard and tried but it wasn’t the same.

But rest assured one day soon I will succeed.

Regardless I am a man on a mission. This is why I became a Politician after all. I must protect our great nation of Subcanada. I must cleanse it of the vile filth that infects it!

And so, after a day of staring slack jawed into the sun and drooling as I pondered the great mysteries of life, such as where was Waldo and who was ‘Big Mac’. I remembered that mission that I had and mentioned that was very important.

Yes I am a Senator.

I needed to cleanse America of The Homosexuals. This is what the Goverment is for! I must cure them!

With much on my mind as I scoured the mountains of Appalachia, I drove my Economical Ford F-350 truck (America’s truck) to visit my good friend Jim Bob on his pig farm just up towards the Crick.

Now by God my buddy Bob Jim is a GODdamn genius. Easily the smartest man on this here planet, HELL yes! He is so very handsome. Chiseled chin, blonde hair, green eyes. He’s like that Chris Evans fella but even sexier. GOD what a man! I always wished he’d hold me, stroke my hair, tell me I was beautiful and maybe give me a good old American kiss on the lips between men who are manly, but he never did. I don't know why…

I pulled up to his lot and got out to see him sitting up on his old rockin’ chair smoking himself a cigarette with his God Given AT4 Heat Seeking Surface To Air Missile Launcher on his lap. A modest weapon to protect against any of them Queers that might invade his God given territory. He had a right to bear arms and when them Commie Democrats came round to take his rocket launcher from him, he was gonna show them the what for!

Now I ask him how we might stop the Gays and Bim Job - he goes and tells me that if I wanna cleanse America of its Homosexuality, I gots to go and find the SOURCE the ALFA GAY and defeat him in single combat.

Now that sounded just about allright to me, So I went on Wikipedia and looked up THE GAYS and I saw an ad for THE GAYS on THE GOOGLE, which is also gay because it has colors and the gays took over all the colors. There is only one color that is acceptable and that is white. Google told me of Elton John, the King of the Gays. The Rocketman. And well I knew what I had to do.

I asked Jib Bom about The England and he just shook his perfect American fist in the air and said:
“I went there once and by golly it was the worst experience of my life let me tell you son. I stopped for lunch and RadIOHEAD TOOK mY FUCkING BURRITO! HE ate MY GODDAMN MotherFUCKINH burritO! I'M SO FUCKing MAD! HNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNGH!!!!!!”
“Understandable,” I said and nodded along as Jom Bib angrily shit his pants in shame.

Then Harold turned into a MAJESTIC BALD EAGLE and promptly died for unrelated reasons.

So I stopped by the airport, and while I was in the bathroom, some American Man got inside next to me and I thought it might be alright if I took a little suck of his American Dick. After all, I had myself a wide stance when I dropped my patriotic turds, and my shoe touched his. So I knocked to apologize and suck his dick in recompense for disturbing this fine specimen of a man. Anywho, after I finished sucking that A-Tier Alpha Male dick and drinking down every drop of his HOT CREAMY MAN MILK like a MAN, I went and flew myself to The England and went looking for this Elton John fella.

My Father never hugged me… why did he never hug me…?

So I go up to the first house I see and I knock on his door and he comes out in a nice shirt, pants and tie and I asks him.
“Are you the Elton John?”
And he says:
“I’m sorry do I know you? I’m just on my way out the door and a little busy right now.”
So I says to him.
“Nah son I’m here to kick your ass.”
So he says to me.
“The fuck is your problem mate.”

And then I fucking punched him.

Elton John recoiled and as I went in to give him a good American Whoopin, he grabs me and punches me. So we’re struggling now, throwing hands just like them kids do during a good old American Football game and he jumps and he kicks me out his door. He tries to run past me to his car but I grab him by his ankles

“Piss off, I’m trying to pick up me kids from school!” He says but I tells him.

And then fire shoots from his feet and Rocketman Elton John flies up into the skies and through the cosmos and I can only barely hold on as he jets towards the sun.

By GOD he’s gonna try and burn me in it!

So we crash down onto the surface of the sun and it is hotter than the Devils Arsehole. And Elton John gets up and he looks at me and he says to me.
“This is very inconvenient for me, can we do this at another time perhaps?”
And I says: "AMERICAAAAAAAA" and shot him 411 times with my God Given American Assault Rifle.

But Elton John did not support Guns and so my Gun got sad and left to go to therapy to get some real support. Then Elton John came at me from the side, throwing punches and kicks. I was on the backfoot, fighting defensively. He moved gracefully, like an expert. Being an 87 year old American Senator who has eaten nothing but triple cheeseburgers and corn starch since birth, I just couldn't compete!

The heat of the sun was sweltering and the light from it was blinding. I could only barely handle Elton John as he came at me viciously. His fist broke my nose. He jumped and axe stomped me down onto the boiling hot plasma that was our sun.
"Do you think that manufacturing moral outrages against human sexuality and peoples personal rights is just a transparent way to steer the conversation away from genuine problems with your country?" He asked. "Surely there are bigger issues than violating the cherry picked morals from some 2000+ year old book. I mean, I'm not an American and probably don't have the most nuanced understanding of your Government, but anyone with a brain can see the laundry list of problems you're ignoring in favor of complaining about moral corruption. Which seems a bit ironic since a reasonable person might come to the conclusion that rampant gun violence is a greater indicator of moral corruption than two men kissing. And while we're on the subject - why is it that so many of you aggressively cater to conspiracy theorists? Surely you can't believe this shit."
"I mean no, but it pays the bills." I said.

"And you aren't disturbed by the implications that by enabling this kind of thing you're contributing to the actual corruption of your nation? And by extension other nations?"
"STOP VIRTUE SIGNALING YOU'RE NOT EVEN AN AMERICAN!" I cried and shot him with my backup gun that I literally pulled out of my ass.

“You can’t stop the gays, Senator!” Elton John said as he picked me up by my neck, “They’re here, they’re queer, get used to it!”
Then, he threw me down, burying me in the center of the sun before flying off.
“Now… I need to pick up my children and attend a charity function for homeless youth. Ta!”

God… How could I have failed.

Elton John was going to attend a charity function to help homeless youth and there was nothing I could do to stop him…

I post now for 3 reasons.

1: To let you know the dangers of Elton John.

2: To ask if the guy I fought was the actual Elton John and not just an unrelated bloke who just so happened to also be named Elton John because I’ve been looking at a picture of Elton John for the past 72 hours and I don’t believe I’ve ever actually met this man in my life. The guy I fought had a mustache and a name tag reading: “My name is Ken.

3: I need a ride home. I’m stuck in the center of the Sun and my phone is nearly out of battery.
submitted by HeadOfSpectre to HeadOfSpectre [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 07:34 Mermaid11100 My Physical & Mental Disphoria List

[ Due to inspiration from another recent post, I decided to write my own Disphoria List. (my mother tongue is german and therefore the list is also written in the language and "only" translated with google, so maybe ignore grammar or term errors) ]

Here is a list of many physical and mental disphoria issues that have always bothered me, some to this day, or that I identify with can. I decided to just make this list for myself because I was adamant that I had to do it. Maybe it's also, to write something off my soul, that I've been carrying around with me for too long.

Physical disphoria:

- Ever since he was little he had a rather slender body, without many conspicuous typically male muscles, not even after he had come of age. At the time, I found this an embarrassing aspect because I didn't come across as "man enough" for everyone. Even when I started ~18. I had started privately with muscle building training (bodybuilding) for at least 15 years, nothing had ever developed and I stayed that way. Today, as a woman-to-be, I'm even glad that nothing has changed and that I have a more feminine body. Another muscle building training would be an absolute no-go for me and would NEVER be an option!

- My hair was rather curly and thin only in early childhood, but as I slowly grew up, the hair became thinner and fell out more and more, which means that I now have "private hairline corners", but that doesn't bother me anymore that I , since I became a woman, I only like to wear wigs anyway (I have always liked long hair), which means that my "real" hair underneath has become unimportant to me and the mostly long hair of the wigs has now become a "part of me" became.

- I am now also very happy that I never really had "typical male hair" on my body, only isolated spots and not very dense. Now that I'm a woman, I find hairy parts of my body "disturbing" and unfeminine anyway, so I shave them off regularly whenever I can and HATE the task every time. I really hope that the new hormones will slow down hair growth.

- As a young woman, my height is a bit bothersome to me. Even without shoes, I find myself "a bit" too tall to pass as a woman. Since I can't walk well anyway (I limp), I make myself a little smaller anyway, because I have to balance with my knees.

- I feel my hands are neither too big nor too small to really call them feminine. I can't put it better.

- I feel my voice, not very feminine, but not masculine either. Earlier in the still old represented gender I only pressed the voice down with a lot of force to appear as a "real man". Since I've also hardly been able to talk to anyone longer in recent years, I almost have the feeling that I've "forgotten" how to talk and I think I have to start something from scratch in order to first learn to talk and then first to take care of feminization of the voice. I just want to make it so that my voice is "somewhat" perceived as feminine, that it also corresponds to my otherwise completely feminine appearance. If there was a magic pill or an electronic chip that you just had to swallow, I would take it NOW,

- Every time I see myself in the mirror without a wig, I hate my only male face. I don't even look if I can avoid it. Only with a wig can I see myself at least somewhat as feminine in the mirror image. It doesn't matter to me whether there's make-up or not.

- Luckily I have had rather thin legs since I was young. The bodybuilding training at that time didn't help here either, fortunately!, now that I want to have more feminine legs anyway. At least they match my skirts visually!

- Unfortunately, I have a rather typical male upper body shape (everything straight). I would love to somehow have a few "feminine curves" that I can also pass as female in terms of body structure. Even a minimal difference with a narrow waist and slightly wider hips would be enough for me.

- Even during my compulsory school years, I was more interested in participating in the exercises with the girls (gymnastics, skipping, tightrope dancing, leapfrog,...) than in being forced to participate in all the "brutal" boys' (ball) sports .

- Pants I found my whole life very annoying and uncomfortable. I always got a permanent feeling of "restricted movement" from them. Due to my not healthy musculoskeletal system, I was always sore and scraped because of all the pants. Now that I'm a woman, I love wearing dresses and skirts with full conviction and I can move much more freely! (Pants really only in extremely bad weather or temperature conditions.)

- Finally: my feet! Oh how I hate those giant male "Bigfoot"! So I am extremely limited when it comes to choosing women's shoes of any kind. Since "normal" women's sizes end a few sizes earlier than my actual size. I can only occasionally fall back on "oversizes", even if they don't match my taste optically. I would love to have them surgically removed and replaced with very small, slim women's feet, but that's just a dream!

Mental disphoria:

- Nowadays, when people call me my old "dead" name, or with wrong pronouns/salutation (He/M..), I can understand if it happens "just" once or unintentionally, but if it happens repeatedly ,

- I used to be “allowed” to show neither emotions nor weakness in society, otherwise you would immediately become a “sissy” and be rejected. But since my decision to switch, I've let my feelings out openly and I'm not ashamed to shed light tears.

- Whether in childhood, adolescence, or even before my TG path, when I was mostly just among boys/men, I never felt comfortable and rather out of place. Everything about them bothered me: their mostly insulting sayings/jokes, their general often arrogant manner and behavior, or even just their bad smells! I would have loved to hand it over back then. Only when I was together with mostly only girls/women did I feel comfortable and safe and there was a feeling of connection even then. Especially it smelled much nicer! Of course it all made sense nowadays and I understand what my intuition wanted to convey back then!

- It hadn't bothered me before, but when I was younger, when I loved playing video games (like every kid I guess) where there was charactecharacter selection in the game, I ALWAYS wanted to control only one female charactecharacter . I always found them much prettier and I could just identify with them better. However, if there was only one male character in games, I wanted to find a way to change it to female, or even swap it out. Now that makes perfect sense too.

- When I slowly started my TG path or was still considering whether I could really be a trans woman, I had done many tests (mostly online) that were titled such as. "What is your gender?", "Are you perhaps transsexual?" or "Are you male or female?". I had always hoped from the start that the results would evaluate me as "female" or "transsexual". When the word "male" came out, "You might be transsexual" or similar ambiguous results, I was very offended or offended.

- My "old self", as a (slightly) "choleric" tended to freak out. Since I have now openly accepted and lived out my feminine side, which has always been dormant in me, I have noticed to my amazement that I have become much calmer, more compassionate, more sociable and gentler. I've become a real elegant lady and I'm very grateful for that.

- I finally have the feeling that I can now live and enjoy my "true" character in full control and not just (act) play a "put-on" character like I used to slip into a costume with a mask.

- For almost 2 years I have been (at least) mentally walking this path to becoming a perfect woman and I can say with absolute(!) certainty that I want to stay/be like this,

- I have absolutely no shyness or fear of hormone therapy (which I am pursuing on my own; no surgery planned!) and I really do hope that the new estrogens will achieve at least the minimal effect that I wish for to make me personally "100% woman " to call.

- Even when I was very young, I was (even if only secretly) very enthusiastic about series and films in which characters from fairy tales and even mythical creatures appear, such as e.g. Fairies, (female) werewolves and vampires, and especially mermaids! and I wanted so badly to be her! I could only identify with these exclusively female creatures. Male versions of such beings, if they also exist in the opposite sex, would not have made me happy at all. Even now, at an advanced age, I freely admit that I still love all these mythical creatures very much!

- I realized even before I made the decision to change my life into that of a true woman that I was very interested in all kinds of transformation comics or stories. I just love reading/watching it to this day a lot, like a male character e.g. takes a pill, goes into a machine, or has an operation to completely transform into a biological girl/woman! Especially for me it has an added attraction when this character not only takes on the opposite gender, but also becomes a not-fully-human species (mythical creatures)!

- I hate ever being considered male! I was and am the most feminine person you can imagine.

- No matter if at that time eg. with friends in front of the shared video game console, or at other gatherings of any kind, where mostly boys/men were present and there were always derogatory remarks or insulting jokes about women, it just made me very angry every time. Now I understand why too! (Because I was a woman inside myself back then!)

- I wish I could learn to control dreams so I could dream of being a true biological woman, at least in this dream world!

- Today's society, unfortunately still mostly controlled by men, scares me to this day! I would so much rather live in a world where there were ONLY women! (Like some Si.Fi.Fantasy movies)

- I am so thankful to have chosen the path of a trans woman! If for some reason I didn't get hormones, I would feel completely down forever!

- I would love to have a relationship where I would be fully respected, accepted and treated as a woman. I really want to go completely from "The One Who Protects" to "The One Who Is Protected"! (Even if only figuratively speaking)

- Everything that I used to want to feel as "cute" or "enchanting" I had to "bury" and hide inside myself. That was very bad for me, because I didn't want to like things that were "typically girly". Now I can show it openly

- Since we're on the subject of "cute", if someone had previously called me "cute", where I still had to fake my "false self" to the outside, I would have had to express massive annoyance, but if someone called me that now , I would be so happy about it and my heart would beat faster with great joy. (Unfortunately, this has only happened once so far, but only because my face was hidden in the FFP2 mask while wearing a girly (Japanese) school uniform ("Cosplay"). I would like such a case, even if I'm just wearing normal everyday feminine clothes and my face is showing.

- In general, my whole interest in films/series/books/..ect.. has changed since I decided to live my "real self". Where action, thriller, violence, science fiction, horror, etc. used to be important to me, it's now comedy, romance, fantasy, drama, love, etc.... at least everything that's more "quiet". (Exceptions prove the rule.)

So, these are items on my list of disphoria that have come to mind so far. I hope that perhaps other people reading this will relate to one point or another, to experience with me a sense of togetherness and the knowledge that I/we are not alone. Thank you for reading!
submitted by Mermaid11100 to MtF [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 06:52 EuphoricWay131 Find Your Perfect Hairpiece: Best Wigs in the USA for Every Style wigs collections near me

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submitted by EuphoricWay131 to wigscollections [link] [comments]

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submitted by EuphoricWay131 to wigscollections [link] [comments]

2023.04.01 03:40 Inorai [Menagerie of Dreams] Chapter 4.5: The Game Is Afoot

[Menagerie of Dreams] Chapter 4.5: The Game Is Afoot
Cover Art Cover Art (Alternate) First Chapter Patreon Playlist
The Story: When a seemingly-powerless human walks straight through the wards shielding her bestiary, Aloe finds herself with a mystery on her shop floor - and with her merciless kin eager to get their hands on him, they've got a deadline on solving it.
Together they strode back through Windscour’s compound, leaving the offices behind. The receptionist rose as they passed, raising a hand, but Kyran waved her off.
“She does not look pleased,” he said, shooting a look at Aloe. “You tampered with her, didn’t you?”
Color crept up her cheeks. “I needed to see you,” she mumbled. “If she’d warned you, you’d have locked everything down before I could get a word out. Wouldn’t you?”
“You can’t go around enspelling whoever you please,” Kyran said, though, his expression darkening.
“I do feel a bit bad for the encounter,” she mumbled, teasing a loose strand of blonde hair between two fingers. Her eyes rose, her expression sharpening again. “But I did what I had to, and I don’t regret that.” She raised an eyebrow. “Will you file a claim of your own?”
She held her tongue after that, watching as the words settled in. It wasn’t as simple as that, and both of them knew it. If Kyran wanted, he could march straight back to Jaian, have an investigation brought against her.
But doing that would also open an investigation into everything else that went on in Windscour, including his theft of Rowen, and he wouldn’t want that. Sure enough, after a moment’s pause, Kyran shook his head, quickening his pace. “Of course not,” he said, his voice saccharine-sweet. “A misunderstanding, that’s all. Yes?”
“Indeed,” Aloe said. She glanced around at the hallways they passed, which were steadily growing more sterile and nondescript as they wound deeper into the research part of the structure. “You’re not housing him in the focarium?” she said. “That’s your pride and joy, isn’t it?” The Lossimers were an analytical bloodline, their magic given to assessments and enhancements, their spells etched in runes. The focarium was his baby—and with it, he could plumb straight into the depths of magic. “I assumed you’d have him there.”
“We’ve only had him a few hours, Aloe,” Kyran said, an exasperated note slipping into his voice. Holding out a hand, he steered them down a side hallway, marked simply Holding. He pulled a badge from his belt, tapping it against a sensor on the wall, and gestured forward as the lock clicked open. “We hadn’t gotten that far yet. Come along.” As he pushed ahead, she saw him grimace. “Let’s just get this over with.”
Yes, please. She followed on his heels as they entered the wing—just a lonely hallway with a handful of doors off either side. Runes glowed from the floor and ceiling, burning with a low light Aloe couldn’t begin to make sense of. Given the name of this hallway and why they’d come to it today, she wasn’t sure she wanted to know.
Kyran went straight to the hallway’s single closed door, all the way at the end. Aloe drifted behind him, her steps slower as he fumbled with his badge a second time. The lock on the door beeped as he again tapped the card against it. And then he stood back.
“There,” he said. “Be my guest.”
And as she stepped forward, she heard him sigh. “You know, I don’t know why you’ve got yourself so worked up over this. If you’d just-”
“Yeah,” she said. “I’m sure you don’t.”
“I mean, you’re going to such lengths. It’s not going to change anything. You have to know that.”
She reached out, laying a hand on the cool metal. “You wouldn’t understand,” she whispered, her eyelids sinking lower.
Pushing hard, she turned the latch, pulling the door open in the same smooth motion.
The room inside was bare, she saw as she stepped in, just a smooth tile floor and a bed jammed into one corner. Something in her eased as she caught sight of the man sitting on its edge.
Rowen looked up through hazy, unfocused eyes. “Hey,” he rasped, then licked his lips, swallowing. He shifted, like he was trying to stand, but his legs weren’t cooperating. He gave up, sitting back down. “It’s…you.
Aloe sighed, crossing toward him. “What did you do to him?”
“He’s just sedated,” she heard Kyran say from the doorway behind her. “Our sleep spells weren’t doing anything to him.”
“You don’t say,” she said dryly. Rowen tried to bat away her hands when she reached in, but she took gentle hold of one wrist, checking his pulse.
“We had to use human drugs in the end,” Kyran said. “Hope you’ve got some of those stashed around.”
She couldn’t miss the amusement in his voice. The spite. He was having fun with this. Releasing Rowen’s arm, she stepped back, safely out of range of his half-hearted swings. Her hand came up to cup her chin. “How am I going to do this?” she murmured.
Kyran snorted. “What’s that? The great Aloisia is stumped?”
She shot him a look. “I’m not-”
“I don’t care how you take him,” Kyran said. “But he has to be gone. I’m not running a hostel here. You wanted him?” He gestured, scowling. “You’ve got him. He’s your problem now.”
“I know, I’m just-”
“If it’s too much for you, I’d be happy to call the deal off.”
It was her turn to snort, shaking her head. “Wouldn’t you just.”
Rowen took another swipe at her, reeling in his seat. “Can’t do this,” she heard him mumble, the words slurred. “I’ll- I’m gonna-”
“Quiet,” she said with a sigh. Her hand dropped to her belt—and her kalimba. This time she unhooked it, running her thumbs across the tines. A cascade of bells filled the room.
Steadily, she started to pluck one after another, the resonance building and turning in on itself as she added notes. Her limbs steadied, her strength buoying. The wave of magical aid was accompanied by the sharp pang of a headache starting to take root. She grimaced, but kept going. Enhancement magic was Kyran’s forte, not hers, but she could make it work in a pinch.
And as the last note echoed on the air, she hung the kalimba back from its loop, letting it fall to her hip. The intoxicating flood of strength was still there as she took hold of Rowen, sliding his arm over her shoulders.
He tried to fight her. His punch was more like a slap, his movements too uncoordinated to break away. “L’me go,” she heard him mumble. “I’ll kill you. I’ll-”
“Yes, you’re very strong,” she said with a grunt, rising. Her knees ached for a moment—but she straightened, pulling his two hundred pounds of dead weight up with her.
Kyran was watching when she turned, one eyebrow raised. “You’re going to carry him like that all the way back to the surface world?” he said. “And what happens after Callaton? Will you drag him through the human streets like a prisoner?”
Aloe grinned, even as she started to sweat. Oh, he thought he had her stuck, did he? She reached beneath the collar of her sweater with her free hand, pulling loose a chain from beneath. A trio of crystal rods hung from it like a pendant.
With the three rods resting in the palm of her hand, she hesitated. Crystal foci were expensive. Incredibly so. These three had been a gift, and once they were gone, she wasn’t sure where she’d find more.
That was a question to be solved in the future, though. She needed them now, so use them she would. Leaning over, she rapped one of them against the wall. It sang out like a tuning rod, filling the room with its clear, pure peal. Kyran’s eyes widened. “Wait. You’re not going to-”
Her hand closed around the rod, dampening the sound—and she snapped it in her palm. Fragments of crystal dug against her skin. Magic poured outward, carried on the rippling echoes of that perfect note.
Home, she whispered silently, holding the image of the Dancing Dragon in her mind. Take us home. The odds were good that this wouldn’t work, but since she didn’t have another option on hand, she had to try. If her magic wouldn’t take hold with Rowen here-
The roar of the magic crescendoed. Light filled her vision. In the incandescent glow of it, she saw Kyran take a step back, letting out a startled yelp.
As the magic wrapped tight around her, she pulled Rowen closer, as if the vortex could possibly rip him away from her. Light flared in front of her as reality tore open, not dissimilar to what Kyran's goos had done - but way the hell more expensive. She sighed inwardly for what this adventure would cost her.
She stepped forward, dragging Rowen with her, and gave the portal a quick, nervous look as the two approached. This had better work. If he destroyed the portal, she'd be stuck here, and the thought of Kyran's smug face leering back at her was too much to bear.
It'd worked for Kyran's people. It would work for her.
Teeth gritted, she heaved the both of them across the threshold. The swirling, blazing magic flickered, growing darker - but held. Aloe grinned. Victory.
And with one last cascade of sparks, she stepped out into the Dragon.
Still reeling, she cast a look around, Rowan’s arm slung around her shoulders. He was taller than her, which left her dragging his legs limply behind them—but they were home. She exhaled, letting herself droop. Almost done.
When Aloe turned for the stairs, though, a glimmer of light on her desk caught her attention. She paused, glancing over. A smile curled at her lips at the sight of her letterbox gleaming in rainbow shades.
Staggering one last step forward, she dropped Rowen unceremoniously onto Daisy’s bed. The knurl raised her head with a whuff, shying back at the unexpected intrusion. “Sorry,” Aloe panted, wiping the back of her hand across her forehead. “Bear with it, girl. He’s friendly. Well.” She grimaced, remembering the swipes. “Mostly.”
He’d fallen still over their journey. She leaned closer, letting her eyes sweep over him as she gave a good, assessing look. What she saw made her sigh, sitting back on her heels. He was still awake, but probably only barely. He kept trying to curl up, pulling his knees close to his chest, and his hands were shaking.
“You’re safe now,” she said softly, but there was no reaction from the man. She turned for the letterbox with a weary groan, dropping into her chair. Was it just another bill, or-
Her smile grew as she withdrew the letter from within, spotting the familiar chicken-scratch handwriting on the front. Despite how horrible a day it’d been thus far, her mood lifted. Leaning back, she took a letter opener from the desk, carefully slicing the letter open.
The paper inside was sturdy and thick, the handwriting no more legible than it’d been on the front.
Aloe -
I almost wrote you earlier, but I wanted to wait until I really knew what I’d found. I’m still in the Deeproads. Deep, but not too deep. Don’t fret.
You’ll never believe what I’ve stumbled upon. I felt a bit of resonance on my last dive, so I plumbed the depths again, and this time, I broke through into a new shell. It’s remarkable. I don’t believe anyone’s been in it for years. Decades. Perhaps centuries. I found the ruins of an old structure abandoned there, but besides for that, it’s all sunbirds and the tiniest, most adorable little dragons you’ve ever seen.
I don’t think the shell is in too much danger of a collapse. It feels almost like a natural pocket, instead of a Child-forged construct. Perhaps you would be interested in visiting? I wouldn’t mind sharing the coordinates with you.
Give your knurl a rub for me.
Aloe chuckled to herself, running her fingers across the textured surface of the paper. “He’s up to his usual troubles, then,” she murmured, her cheeks warming gently. And he’d found dragons for her, too. Miniature ones. She glanced out to the shop floor, raising an eyebrow. The store was wood, so she’d always been loath to bring a dragon inside—especially considering how large they got. But if it was small enough? Maybe.
She lay the letter down with a sigh, glancing back to Daisy’s bed and its new cargo. “But I’ve got to sort you out first.”
Right. Her eyes widened. Rowen—and Welther. She’d talked big back in Windscour, but she wasn’t a scholar. Not really. She’d be struggling through things from here on out.
But Welther. Welther was a delver, a seeker of lost knowledge, new discoveries. Would he be interested in Rowen? She chewed her lip, weighing the possibility. It’d mean revealing Rowen to someone else, and she really didn’t want to make his existence public knowledge.
This was Welther, though. She couldn’t imagine him raising some sort of public stir over her newest charge. And…Aloe chuckled, shaking her head. If she didn’t tell him what she’d found, he’d probably get upset with her for that alone.
“Wait there just a second more,” she whispered, glancing back down to the dozing form of Rowen. “I’ll get you settled soon.”
Reaching forward, she grabbed a sheet of paper and a pen.
The sunbirds overhead flapped back and forth, chattering to each other.
Aloe leaned back in her seat, lacing her fingers behind her head. The shop was quiet. She couldn’t very well open the store, not when all hell might break loose at any moment. Her letter to Welther was written and tucked into the letterbox, whose enchantments had no doubt already whisked it off to its destination. The creatures were fed, their dens mucked out.
All that left for her to do was wait.
She grimaced, letting her eyes sink closed. “What a damned stupid game you’re playing this time, Aloisia,” she muttered, pinching the bridge of her nose. “Go ahead and challenge the lord himself, why don’t you? Why not-”
One of the rafters creaked overhead. She stopped.
Looking up, she watched the floorboards compress, the wood flexing almost-imperceptibly. Her pulse quickened. Was it-
The sound of a footfall drifted down, so soft as to almost be lost entirely. She heard the distant clink of bedsprings.
Aloe sat back, waiting. Her thoughts of Kyran and Welther were long gone, just a flicker in the back of her mind. All of her attention was fixated on the ceiling of the Dragon—and the low, hesitant sound of someone creeping across the floor.
Her shop was well-built, but she’d lived in it for almost two decades, and she knew every creak and whine the place had. Her eyes drifted, following the telltale signs as they crept out of the bedroom and down the hall, descending the stairs on unsteady feet.
The footsteps went quiet, brought to a halt beyond the swinging doors that separated the shop from her home.
Even without a sound, though, she knew he was there. She could almost hear the ragged sound of his breathing, the terrified pounding of his heart. She didn’t get up, just stayed where she was, placid and calm—but her chin lifted. “I know you’re there,” she said. “In the stairwell. You’re not sneaking up on anyone.” In the silence, she heard the faint sound of an indrawn gasp.
Aloe smiled, leaning back another inch. Bingo. “You can come out now.”
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