Monster Girl Encyclopedia Encounter Compendium @alleskeins
Zombie Family: Pharaoh (Wild)

Have you been lonely, traveller? You must've been with me not being there to guide you through these stories. It was already careless of me to just leave you with it, but I trust you've gottent pretty used to it by now. Do you notice a pattern in these stories?

No matter how resistant people are to trust the mamono, love always blossoms between them. You could always argue your way around it. They were manipulated, tricked, caught in a weak moment and so on. But I think you and I know that humans deep down know we are not the bad guys. They know we are not evil.

You might think that that change only came about recently, but I assure you, that deep, buried affection and subliminal sympathy has lasted ages by now. Don't believe me?

Just take a look at this one. Our ancient, secluded ruler of the desert kingdom's mamono, Pharaoh Cassiopeia. You've gotten to know her at least somewhat by now, right? Well, she's got an entry here too. One that dates back several centuries.

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"Your highness, I have a visitor! He says he's from the neighboring kingdoms for negotiations." A cute, peppy Sphinx, a cat-like creature protecting the outer edges of mamono territory in the desert, called out into the echoing halls of the lavishly decorated throne chambers. Her tail wagged as if she was waiting for praise while she presented the strange visitor.

"I see. Thanks Mira, I'll have it covered from here on out." A booming voice commanded, coming from a dominant Pharaoh, sitting atop the elevated throne. Her hair was jet black and reached the neck of her knees in length. Her skin was dark and barely covered with black silk cloth around her breasts and groin. Plenty of jewelry adorned her figure, from head to toe apart from scarce parts like her wrists and the space from her thighs to her ankles which was covered by bandages.

With a bow, the Sphinx left, happily humming a tune as she went by the hooded figure.

The man she had brought in stepped forward, his face hidden underneath the shroud. He was barely standing out, a brown shaggy robe being the only thing he wore.

"Very well then, you've made a far journey and you've been following etiquette so far. Speak, stranger!"

The man took down his hood, revealing a mature, well groomed face. His hair was wine red with slight, gray streaks along its kempt-back strands, transitioning into mutton chops and a similarly colored handlebar mustache. His ears were pierced with a couple of earrings, holding red jewels of immeasurable worth. Said man, was me.

Around two hundred years ago, this was how my story began.

"Thank you, I can't begin to express my gratitude for being let in to your undoubtedly exclusive circle. I just HAD to speak to you."

"Well, human, I still need a reason why I should. Convince me, that you are worth talking to."

"I shall do just that." I dropped my robes, the disguise I put on to even get to this point. Hidden underneath, I wore a royal gown covered in blue and white embroidery and several necklaces of silver and gold. "My name is Sheikh Dramin Moharad, King of Kezzat. I've come to discuss a possible relationship between your kingdom and mine!"

She unfolded her legs, leaning forward in slowly growing interest. "And why should we? What do your people have to offer me?"

"Maybe not my people. At least not officially. But I certainly can deliver you something you might need."

"That being what?"

"Knowledge. Your absence in the world has made you miss several new technologies and sciences, discoveries and inventions. If you intend to reclaim your foothold in the world, you can't go into it blind. That's why I brought a few of these..." I reached for a small bag, hanging from my shoulder. "I've got books for you, scriptures and illustrations as well. I hope you can still read modern writing but if not, I'll be glad to explain everything you need to know."

Her brow furrowed as she stepped down from her throne. With more confusion than thankfulness, she took one of the almanacs out of my hands and gingerly touched the cover. Flipping through the pages, she spoke. "You talk as if you are just here to do us a gracious favor. I very much doubt you're here without trying to gain something from this relationship. So before I outright banish you from my realm for thinking me foolish, what do you want out of this?" Her aura turned into a mix of bad premonitions and dread, making me gulp from the sheer oppression she exuded.

I sighed as I became unable to face her anymore. "Fine then, honesty. I know what your end goal here is and why you've returned to the realm of the living."

"Is that so?" She asked curiously, retaining dignity despite being curious of my claim.

"It is. You want to take back the land you once ruled over. And I'm not enough of a fool to doubt that my kingdom is among those lands. My people will not give up their homes that easily, and they won't let themselves be subdued by a conqueror, much less one that isn't human. It's inevitably going to lead to conflict, so I came before word of your return spread too far to negotiate a chance to avoid bloodshed. I want to show you that we have things we can offer you. Information and advancements we made as a species. In return, I beg you to not involve my people in a conflict they don't deserve to be a part of."

She circled me, inspecting me from all angles with her staff behind her back. "I fail to see how the knowledge you could provide me would be crucial to me."

"Without it, you WILL fail in your conquest." I stated plainly, only to regret those words seconds later. The end of her staff was thrust into my abdomen, sending a shock wave through my body that launched me against the hard sandstone wall. Black fog formed around my wrists and ankles, shackling me to its surface. The wind was knocked out of my lungs and I felt like vomiting from the heavy impact on my organs.

Cassiopeia kept her staff aimed at me as she strutted towards me with a haughty, oppressive gaze. A chuckle of disbelief escaped her lips. "You would DARE tell me there are things I can't achieve on my own?! I'm not powerful enough? Is that what you think? What is it humans can do that could possibly stop me?"

I coughed, spitting up a bit of blood but faced her again, with a stern expression and a serious tone. "Counter magic for one..."

"What?" Her smug grin as I grew ever more tired of her stubbornness.

With my index finger, I drew a circle on the surface I was shackled to and made a slash through it. Following my finger was a bright white cloud that formed the symbol I drew and once it was done, it flared up. I unceremoniously dropped from the wall after my shackles dissolved and approached her.

"You can't do this!" Cassiopeia hissed angrily, once again pointing her staff at me.

I gently shoved it out of my face as I reiterated the importance of her listening to me. "I can and so do many others. Magic has progressed immensely while you were gone. Spells that used to be top of the line back in your time are now base level and easily nullified."

Her fists trembled in rage as the realization of the possible futility of her curses set in. "It can't be! I was the most prolific enchantress that ever lived. I overcame death! I was..."

"And that's my point. Back in your time, you may have been untouchable, but times have changed. I am not discrediting your abilities here. You have immense power and potential. What I am saying is that times moved on without you and these new magics can make your curses backfire. That's only one of many risks out there that could halt your takeover."

She grumbled, provocatively poking my chest with her staff. "My magic can outclass any who come before me. Neither you nor anybody out there can stop me! You think you can impress me just because you can diffuse a restraining curse? My blood is that of generations of Pharaohs! You on the other hand are weak! Just like the rest of them!"

Having slowly reached the end of my patience, I had to make a more blunt example. „Let's put that to the test for a second."

"Test?"

I grabbed the staff she kept prodding me with and sent a vibration of magicka down its length, snaking around her arms and seeping into her body.

"What are you... ngghhhhh!" Her body sank to the ground, bringing her to her knees. It didn't take much to affect her dormant muscles with the pressure of mana. As long as there was even a slight bridge of connection between me and her, she would not be able to move. It was a stun spell. Low tier magic but effective.

"It's what I'm trying to tell you. When I said I want to avoid conflict, I didn't mean that we are defenseless." I opened my hand, ending the stream of magicka I sent down it as well as the strain on her muscles.

"NGHAAAAHHH!" With a grunt and a following sigh of relief, she dropped the staff indignantly, panting and patting the floor to desperately retrieve it again.

I bent down toward her and extended my hand to assist her in getting up. "Look, the bottom line is, I don't want my people to suffer a war that could be avoided right in this moment. It'll end up in death and hurt. You don't want that for your people either, do you?"

With a still furrowed brow, she refused to face me and shook her head, clearly not used to being talked down to.

"I'm not doing any of this out of malice. We can learn from each other. Your knowledge to us is just as valuable as ours is to you. Maybe some diplomacy could create an exchange of that knowledge that we all can benefit from. What do you say?"

She glared up at me for a second and then at my hand. Extending her own, she finally accepted it, got up and dusted herself off, to regain her regal posture. Saying nothing more at first, she turned around and walked toward her throne. Over her shoulder, she then gave her answer. "One month. If within that month we learn something from you humans that is valuable and that we didn't know of before, I will CONSIDER a confederation."

I a deep breath as my lips widened into a content smile. "Thank you, your highness. You will not regret giving humanity this chance."

She smirked "You do possess a strong spirit, I will not deny you that. But heed my words. You have provoked me now, so my eyes will be on you all the more. The only result I will accept is if there is something you have that we can not match in equal measure. So whatever you bring, it better be good. I'll look forward to what you have to offer, King Moharad."

I could feel the oppressive subliminal pressure she put on me. Nonetheless I took a dignified short bow before I turned to leave the throne room. Only to hear these last words uttered by her. "And if you don't, I just might keep you for myself."

With weak knees but a whole lot of relief, I left, the massive stone gates shutting right behind me.

The burning sun almost felt like it could scorch my skin after spending so much time in the cold temple. My right hand man Uzziah was stood there, waiting for me with my jet black horse Amun.

"So? How did it go my lord?"

"The negotiations were a mixed bag, but I have the deal I wanted. War is no longer on the table... for now."

"For now? What does that mean?"

"It means that the fate of the kingdom's peace lies with me now. I have to wow her with something that their ancient civilization can't match in power or knowledge. Otherwise, conflict will be inevitable."

"I see, that is indeed precarious. So, what of the Pharaoh? What do you make of her?"

I shuddered a little, remembering the powerful aura she exuded. "To be quite honest, she scares me. I don't know what drove her to become so maddeningly unrelenting. She has this innate desire to conquer without relent. It's almost as if she has forgotten what being human is like. As if there was none of that left in her."

"You say it as if there's a 'but' to this."

I looked over my shoulder and smiled to myself. "But... I think I like her. She does have a lot of bite. I like that."

"I see..." He looked at me with doubt but decided not to question my sanity. "So what do you propose we do, sir?"

I chuckled a little, hopeless as the situation may have been. "We humor her, I suppose. Maybe, just maybe I can revitalize some of that lost interest in humanity again." I responded, saddling up on my horse, with Uzziah mounting his own.

"You have my sympathies. In the name of the people I certainly hope you have a plan, sire."

"So do I, Uzziah. So do I." I dejectedly took one last look at the temple before riding off, wrecking my brain thinking how to impress this powerful, ancient entity.

Week 1:

Cassiopeia held her tilted head, clearly befuddled as I presented my first offering. "You what?"

"I thought, maybe we could start it off easy. If our people are going to get to know each other, we may as well exchange some of our culture."

We were in the throne room yet again, though this time with two new audience members. "What did you bring?" Karima, a sweet, curious girl who was true to her heart asked. Already leaning over the rim of the crate I brought to catch a glimpse.

"Is it from outside? Is it dangerous?" Was the second question, this time asked by her twin sister Fatima, who was much more cautious and afraid of foreign things and people. Both of them were something they called Anubis, living constructs brought to life by magic and bound to their master, the Pharaoh. Due to Cassiopeia's still dormant powers, these two were still visually children who would only grow over time. Almost like real kids would. Along with all the other creatures in the tomb and beyond, they've been with the Pharaoh through hundreds of years, from her long slumber to now.

Karima pulled out one of the things I brought today. "What is that? A stone tablet? It's pretty! It has gold on it too!"

I cautiously took it out of her hand. "Yeeeeeeeesss... and you should be careful with these. They're not as strong as they seem. These stones have been worked on with a lot of care. Their our star stones. It is where we inscribe our zodiac on as a reminder of our birth signs."

"Birth sign? What's a birth sign?" Fatima questioned, cocking her head as she tried to get a better peek at it.

I showed it to her. "Do you see this animal on here? The one we drew on top of these dots here?"

"Yeah? It's a goat. What about it?"

"Well, my people call this one, the Capricorn. The dots underneath it, are the stars that form it. It's my birth sign, the stars I was born under. The Capricorn is also not just a goat, it's a mythical creature, half goat, half fish. Neither fully one or the other. Just like you both and everyone of your people are half human and half mamono."

"I'm sorry, but is this really your first attempt at competing with our knowledge? We know of the stars and the cosmos. And this talk of signs and how they supposedly connect to us sounds rather benign rather than useful." Cassiopeia interjected, yet took the tablet into her hand to curiously inspect it herself.

"Maybe. Maybe it is of no consequence. I never claimed it was of any significance. But some of our people believe that it does. They have faith that the month you are born in and the stars that are in zenith during that time, can have an adverse effect on you."

"So what? I was born in late April. So what am I?"

"You'd be a Taurus."

"And what does your zodiac say about me?"

"That you are stubborn and hard to convince of anything."

Fatima and Karima started giggling among themselves as Cassiopeia grew red in the face, tossing the tablet back into the crate, thankfully not damaging it in the progress. "This is nonsense! You just pulled that out of your... hrrnn... I don't see how any of this connects to me. I am my own person and not influenced by some passing orbs of burning gas."

I pulled it out again and dusted it off. "There was no offense intended with that. The attributes of a star sign always have two sides to them. Stubbornness is obviously not all there is to you and it does not claim that everything about that is negative. It also speaks to your dedication and tenacity. Once you commit to something you stick by it and believe in it wholeheartedly. And as well, once you have found something you hold dear, you hold onto it and never let go. According to the Zodiac, no one is wholly bad or wholly good. There are two sides to every coin, and you are the same way. Underneath the outward resistance, there may just be a softer core, ready to embrace something new. You just haven't found it yet. It may be time that you open up to it." I approached her, extending my birth sign tablet to her.

Cassiopeia looked down at it and gently caressed the stone work, gazing at the Capricorn thoughtfully. "Why are you giving it to me again?"

"It's my first gift to you. Maybe as the first milestone to commemorate our partnership." Her fingers touched mine as she took the tablet out of my hand.

She gulped, as she gently wrapped it in bandages for safekeeping, then closed her eyes in resilience. "This was not progress. Astrology is nothing entirely new for us."

"Maybe not, this was a cultural exchange. And I am grateful you accepted it."

Visibly bewildered by my gesture, she still managed a meek smile before once again covering it up with a cold demeanor. "I do this time out of respect and my willingness to humor the bargain we struck. Next time, I demand you bring something that we can actually use."

With a heavy heart, I agreed. "Fine, I will. But think upon this gift. Culture like this may be gone if you enslave humanity. It might not look like much to you, but it means a lot to me. I aim to preserve this at whatever cost. I just hope you will come around and see the value in it as well." I turned and left the building, unaware at the time that Cassiopeia held the tablet close to her heart and hugged it with her arms.

Week 2

This time, it was Mira who watched my display. Under the night sky, I asked her and Cassiopeia to follow me outside, where the stone of the tomb's grounds met with the vast openness of the desert.

"What did you bring this time, stranger? Candy? Do your people make candy? Oh, maybe chocolate, god I haven't had chocolate in a long time! Is it chocolate? Is it? Is it?" Mira pestered me, leaning on my back as I rummaged through a crate similar to last time.

"I told you already, it's NOT food!"

"Lame!" She sighed, instantly losing interest and plopping to the ground in defeat and almost immediate disinterest.

"Why did we require Mira's help for this again?"

"I thought she might be the best person to ask for helping me with my demonstration. If you would, Mira, could you come closer for a second."

She cheekily grinned as she smugly got up and approached me. "Aren't you a bold one! Finally caught on to my cuteness, huh? Hehe, can't blame you."

I shook my head and sighed. "No, unfortunately for you, I have not. But I do need you right next to me. Now let's see what we can use... there." I looked around for a disposable object and broke off a twig from some dried up brushwood.

"Okay, keep still and take a deep breath. I promise it won't hurt."

Mira did just that and on top of that, even closed her eyes her cat-like ears twitching in anticipation.

I extended my hand and put it on her chest. That, as expected, caused an immediate reaction and jump from Mira as well as an angered expression on Cassiopeia.

"Eh!? So you WERE going to grope me! You could have at least warned me!"

"Dramin... I expect you to IMMEDIATELY explain why it is you are touching my underling's breast!" Cassiopeia jumped in, a threatening aura almost visibly encompassing her figure.

I reeled back for a second and held my hands up. "It's not like that, I swear! It's this kind of magic I'm trying to teach you. It requires a connection, between me, the subject of the spell and an object."

"Mhm, and how long do you need to keep up this connection I wonder?"

"Just for a second. Calm yourself, your highness, please."

"Tsk, fine, I'll allow it. Continue."

Mira once again came closer after the Pharaoh gave the go-ahead. "Hehe, naughty King."

"Shut up Mira." I joked, carefully placing my hand over her heart again. As soon as I did, I closed my eyes just like Mira was. As soon as I did, the spell took hold. My hand shone brightly as I extracted a white-blue mist from within her. Like a snake, it slithered up my arm and over to the other until it seeped into the twig I held in my hand. To the naked eye, it still seemed like a regular, unimportant piece of shrubbery, but right now, it was a vessel.

Mira opened her eyes, letting out a deep breath that she held in so far. "What... what just happened? I feel like... I'm lighter somehow. Like I'm less than I was before."

Cassiopeia raised an eyebrow, seemingly just as curious as to the explanation as Mira.

"I'll explain it in a second. For now, could you run over to that dune there for me?"

Mira looked to her left, out into the open desert. "The dune? But why? There's nothing but sand there."

"Don't worry about that. Just try doing it if you can."

"Pfft, trying... as if you'd be able to stop m...eeeeeehhhhh!" She squeaked, her voice strained and hoarse as her limbs locked up and even the rest of her body was held back by an invisible restraint.

"Wait, what's happening? Mira, what's going on?" Cassiopeia stepped in, marveling at the Sphinx who was unable to move even a single inch forward mid step.

I raised my twig and presented it to the two of them as I circled the paralyzed feline. "You see, Mira here can only go as far as I allow her to. Her body can not move on without its soul. And her soul... is in here, in this feeble stick. I am its holder and through that, I'm the master of her spectral leash."

With widened eyes, she stepped in front of Mira, doubting the legitimacy of my spell. "Intriguing. She truly is stuck, isn't she? Mira, I ORDER you to step closer!" She demanded, knowing that her subjects can't refuse her. And yet, it was to no avail.

Mira was on the verge of tears as she was twisting and turning. "I would if I could your highness! I swear!"

"Okay, okay, relax. Don't cry Mira. Like I said, this binding is like a leash and I can decide how loose it is. You're free to move again."

As if the paralysis had disappeared from one second to the next, Mira's body tumbled forward until she ate sand. "Puah! Could you just ONCE warn someone before its too late?!"

Justifiably angry, she got up, dusted the sand out of her fur and stomped toward me. "I'm not doing this for you ever again! You are mean!"

"Mean? It was just a demonstration. And you did a really good job by the way."

"Demonstration my butt! Give me my soul back! Now!" She pouted like a little kid.

"Fine, fine, don't worry. Releasing it is the easiest part. You just need to break open the vessel it is stashed in."

Barely had I finished my sentence did Mira snatch the twig out of my hand and snapped it on her thigh. A small wisp escaped from the cracked opening, swirled around and submerged itself in Mira's chest, who then took a deep breath and stormed off.

"Thanks again for your help, Mira. You did great!"

"NEVER AGAIN!" She yelled from a distance before she disappeared into the tomb.

Once she was away, a sudden chuckle escaped my lips and even Cassiopeia hid a little giggle as she covered her mouth with her hand. But as soon as she noticed that I saw it, she wiped the smile off her face as if it had never been there.

I smirked. "You know that as a leader you can still show emotion. I like seeing you show some joy every now and then."

"You forget that we're not here for pleasantries. Your spell was quite impressive, though I am afraid to say, that soul magic is not foreign to us either. I've linked my soul to those of my subjects. The method is different, but the basis is the same. Though I give you that, yours seems to be on par with ours. It'll make a nice addition."

I sighed, having accepted that she would not be happy with just 'on par', and packed my things onto my horse.

"Are you leaving already?" Cassiopeia asked curiously. If I hadn't known any better I could have even sworn there was some disappointment in her voice.

I wanted to leave yet... I held back. I left my horse bound and faced the Pharaoh again. "Will you allow me some questions, your highness?"

She motioned towards me. "Speak. The night is still young."

"I took some time thinking about how to phrase it but I was wondering... do you ever miss being human?"

Taken aback by my question, she stammered slightly but composed herself. "I... hrrnn... I admit it had its charms. I was a Queen first and foremost in my days, so nothing much has changed in that regard. But as for human pleasures... I haven't had the luxury of enjoying many of them. Neither in this nor my former life."

"How did it feel? To lose all of those sensations you used to have?"

"Sacrifices are necessary. In a lifetime, you can only accomplish so much. What about you? Can you claim to have lived your life to its full potential up until now? Don't think I haven't noticed that all the inventions you've shown us have little value in combat. Stun magic, soul transfer, they might be useful in a duel, but not in war. If you do not aim for conquest, what else is there for you in life?"

My heart grew heavy as I leaned against the wall of the tomb. It was not an easy answer to give, but I could only hope that underneath all that indifference to humanity, she would still understand me. "It's my people I live for. I've traded in my life for theirs the moment I took over the throne. When I was a youth, my parents were great conquerors, prolific war masters even. Conflicts with our neighbors would persist for years, with many lives lost on both sides. One day, we thought we had quelled a rebellious uprising in the North, that every last one of them was dead. We had won, hadn't we? These new lands were ours and everyone had to recognize us as their new leaders. Except they didn't..."

Cassiopeia slowly approached me, confused but intently listening.

"During one night, assassins managed to enter my parent's chambers during the night as they stayed in their newly won territory. They were proud nationalists. People who've never been in combat before. Yet they stabbed my parents in their sleep and set fire to their new estate. These people wanted their home back. My advisers were the once who saved me that day and we escaped the burning city, retreating to our homeland. The territory was lost and the previous borders were reinstated. And there I was, coming out of a war that changed nothing except costing thousands of lives, and me sitting on the empty seat of power my parents left behind."

She sunk her head in response, seemingly in thought and then fiercely looked back up. "So you strife for revenge, is that it?"

"That is exactly the thing I am not going for. My parents died because they took away land that belonged to another people by force. They claimed their properties, pillaged their homes and killed their men and women. The lesson I did learn from them is that spilling blood leads to more spilled blood. At some point, one needs to stop the cycle. I am ready to defend my people to the death if necessary, but I will not go into war if I can help it."

"And that's why you approached me... I see."

"Indeed, that was the reason."

"But why should I leave things as they are? I owned these lands once! Do I not deserve them? It is my right to rule over them!"

"And my people are here now, do they not have a right to live on the lands they've lived on for generations now?"

"Why do you think the matters of humans concern me anymore?" She sulked, being shaky at best at being able to put up a tough, uncaring front.

I confidently stepped toward her, cornering her against the wall of the tomb. She scoffed, yet visibly trembled. "Because you were one of us once. You haven't forgotten it, I know that much. It's why I came to you in the first place. You certainly like to pretend you are above humanity at this point. Like you are above fear, uncertainty, empathy... I can see right through you. I don't doubt you've missed out on a lot when you were human. A Queen in live, a Queen in death. You've buried yourself behind walls and sand, pretending the outside world doesn't concern you anymore."

"You're wrong! I am... fully content with my role in this world. I assure you." Her voice was quaky, her lips quivering.

"You don't have to lie. There was a reason why I even held hope that you would listen to me."

"That being?"

Her eyes went wide as I laid my hand on top of her chest. Her skin was cold, yet not unpleasantly so. I looked deep into her eyes with sincerity. "Because I believed that somewhere behind that cold front and the undead shell of your body, there was still a heart behind it all. A human heart that can still feel, guide your decisions and make you understand others. It is still there, isn't it?"

Cassiopeia gasped, tensely moving her hand to remove mine, but unable to bring herself to aggressively refuse me. So instead, she just turned her head away in denial. "I rejected all humanity long ago. There's nothing left of what I once was."

My hand still firmly rested where it was. I could feel her cold sweat building up and the shivers running down her body. "That's a shame. I would have loved to get to know that girl."

She started shrieking internally as her face grew more distressed and then... I felt something I never even expected.

Badump

My jaw dropped as I reeled my hand back in surprise. I looked up at her and there was another entirely unexpected change. Her cheeks had grown red. I asked her in disbelief. "Did... did your heart just..."

"That'll be all for today, Dramin!" She yelled as she pushed past me.

"Wait, I need to..."

"I SAID that'll be ALL!" She rushed inside, hiding her face and muttering to herself. The gates, as if representing her mood, literally slammed shut so hard, I was surprised they didn't break.

I looked down at my hand and against the cold night air, it almost felt like there was a lingering heat on my palm. My mind was ablaze at the implications. There was little choice left for me but to ride home, but that night confirmed something I had been hoping for so desperately.

As soon as I mounted my horse, it was as if I had run a thousand miles. My breath finally caught up to me and I panted from the released tension. Cassiopeia had already occupied most of my mind since I'd met her, but now that I knew she could indeed be more than just apathetic, my heart soared with excitement.

I raced my horse home, zooming past the dunes and looking forward to the next time I'd see her. There was hope yet.

Week 3

"Come along your highness. The golden hour will have past if we don't hurry." I asked of Cassiopeia, guiding her out of her tomb and onto the balcony. I was almost dragging her through the inner halls, much to the delight of the servants and guards who looked on giggling among themselves.

"What's the hurry? Any time is good for a presentation if you have another one lined up."

"It's less of a presentation really..."

"Then why are you..."

"Shush, it should be right about now." I opened the doors to the balcony. I was just in time. I let out a long sigh of relief as the sun slowly disappeared over the horizon. On the balcony, I had prepared an assortment of foods and desserts along with some other small trinkets I brought from home.

I took a bow before her and signaled towards the pedestal on which everything was laid out. "Would you care to join me?"

She squinted her eyes, hesitant to take my hand as I extended it. "What are you playing at here?"

"Dinner, mostly. What says the two of us can't just have an enjoyable evening together. If there are going to be relations between our people, we don't have to be tense around each other at all times."

She finally accepted, however reluctant it may have been and let me guide her to the makeshift dinner table. We stood on each side of it, resting our arms on the railing of the balcony as Cassiopeia started examining the food. "You are aware, neither me nor my servants have need of nourishment."

"Yes, I am. Nonetheless you should try it."

She looked over the table, overwhelmed by the amount of choice. "I don't even know where to begin."

"Oh, you can start with the sweet bread. It's so freshly baked I think it's still warm."

She picked it up with both hands and gingerly guided it to her mouth before taking a bit out of its edge. As soon as the flavor hit her, her eyes lit up while she kept chewing and taking more bites as if her life depended on it.

"And?" I asked curiously.

"This is... delectable. It's so creamy in the center and fluffy all around. What magic is this?"

"No magic, just the skill of our bakers."

"It'sh shoooo gooood..." She fawned over the bread before remembering who she was. "Uhh... what I meant to say..." she tapped her lips with a handkerchief she picked up from the table. "...the flavor is very pleasing. Not too sweet and very savory."

I held back a chuckle but my lips couldn't stop curling into a smile.

"You rather enjoy teasing reactions out of me, don't you?"

"I certainly do."

"What, are you looking for weaknesses? Are you trying to make a fool out of me, is that it?"

"Not at all, I'm enjoying them for sure though." I teased her.

After putting down the bread, she rested her elbows on the table and her head on her hands. "You are an enigma to me, Dramin. Do you know that?"

"How so?" I asked, as I laid my arms down as well across from her.

"We are on the brink of war, I made it clear to you that I intend to take over your lands, I have showed you nothing but distrust and defiance, yet you come here and present me with all of this delicious food. Why? Why do you bother with a futile diversion?"

I scoffed, more in jest than offense. "It's not a diversion from anything. Cassiopeia... I'm not here to sate an enemy. I'm here to make a friend. If you were entirely indifferent, if you were actually certain that you're ready to destroy us, you could've done so at any point now. You had the king of a nation in your grasp this entire time, yet you haven't made an attempt to kill me. And at our last meeting, when I touched you, not only did your body react, but you yourself reacted in a way any human girl I've ever met would have."

Her lower lip trembled as she put a hand to the spot I had touched and clenched it into a tender fist. "You just have to keep prodding don't you?" She gulped as she grew more and more uneasy.

I closed the distance between us and circled around the table. "All of this..." I pointed to the table "...was made by my people. They don't know I ordered it for you, but I'd love for them to get to know you some day. The real you. Of course it was something I wanted to show you to get you to see the value in our artisans but deep down, it was as good a chance as any for me to see your sweet side again."

Just like that night, her face grew redder. "Can I allow myself to be that person? Will anyone even take me seriously anymore if I grow soft like this? How can YOU even respect me in this state?"

"Because this is who you are. Who you were and who you can be again. And I respect that Cassiopeia a hell of a lot more than the one who denies herself."

"You talk awfully sweet for someone so uncertain of the outcome of this affair." Those were the words that came out of her lips, but her body moved toward me, accepting me as I laid my hands on her hips.

"Negotiations can rest for now. There's always tomorrow." I pulled her closer, pressing my lips to hers as the sunlight glittered over the sand of the dunes.

Her former hesitation melted away as her body surrendered to me. My hands glid behind her back, fully embracing her as she leaned onto me. She pursued my lips whenever I gave even the slightest sign of backing away.

I chuckled and touched her forehead with mine. "Did you forget that I still have to breathe, your highness?"

She pouted, biting her lip already as she gazed at me. "This isn't another trick of yours, is it? Still no magic?"

"None that I am aware of, Cassie."

"Then why do I desire you so... did... did you just call me Cassie?"

"It's called a nickname. I thought it sounded cute. It fits you."

"Hrrmmmm..." She murmured.

"You don't like it?"

"I can't let you call me that... I mean I am a..."

I hushed her, pressing my index finger on her lips before I raised her chin and shook my head. "Not today you aren't. Cassiopeia will still be there once this day ends, right now, there's only Cassie in front of me."

She blushed, burying her face in my chest to hide it. She gripped my shirt as if trying to pull me away. "Maybe... we should move this somewhere private. I don't want to be any more exposed than I already am."

With a lowered gaze, she gently dragged me along, back into the tomb. Her face looked like she wanted to disappear but could no longer go back.

I really wanted to prod, tease her a little further and see more of her cute, submissive side, but it felt wrong to do. At that moment, she was fragile. She was exposed and vulnerable and it was like treading on thin ice. If I didn't prove that I was not going to hurt her, that would have been trust that could never be regained, so I stopped myself and simply followed her lead.

We arrived in a lavish bedchamber, decorated with drapes, golden engravings and carvings of former Pharaohs. The center piece of the room though, was a massive, luxurious canopy bed with translucent purple curtains. The bedding as well as the pillows and blankets seemed to be as soft as I imagined clouds to be. Gladly, I would get a chance to find out.

Cassie pulled me down by the collar as if claiming posession of me and started sucking on my lips. She didn't even resist in the slightest when my hands moved around her back and unwrapped her black silk bra's knot. Like water flowing down a river, the fabric smoothly slid off her body, revealing two full, voluptuous breasts. They were just as beautifully tanned as the rest of her body.

When she noticed me staring, she blushed and meekly covered them with her hands. "I never thought that I'd ever come back in here again, let alone bring a man here and get myself into such a compromising situation."

"Well, this isn't a one sided thing. You're free at any point to put me into just as compromising a position."

Her lower lip trembled nervously a little as she gingerly reached for me, shoved her palms underneath the fabric and opened my front. My shirt shed off my shoulders, baring my chest and midriff, which Cassie took no time to admire. Her slender fingers glid over my firm body accompanied by a slightly open-mouthed expression. My skin was just a few shades lighter than hers.

"For a human, your body has been conserved impeccably. Impressive."

"Says the woman who survived centuries and still has a body like this one." I grabbed her thighs and lifted her up, much to her surprise. "Though I would like to see for myself how well conserved it actually is."

With widened eyes, she dropped onto the bed, tossed by me. Nearly spread-eagle, she had no defense to keep up any more. I pinned her, looming over her body. Her hair splayed out over the pillows, she was too self-conscious to look up at me. "There you go again, taking charge. This was not supposed to be your role here."

"And yet, you're not going to stop me, are you?" I moved down, latching onto one of her nipples, sucking, licking and lightly teasing it with my teeth.

Her body arched slightly on the bed, her muscles visibly tensing up. "Your beard! It tickles!"

Her legs clamped together, trying to stop my hand from encroaching on her crotch, yet she couldn't muster enough strength to be efficient at it. Her thighs spread apart as I traced the creases of her underwear.

"For an undead, you are pretty warm down there, Cassie. Mind telling me why?"

"You can't make me say that!"

I ignored her words. At some point she would have to crack and loosen up. And to achieve just that, I fondled her slit, around the rim, moving up top and finally pushing the small, protruding button at its peak. A darker black stain started to form on her panties.

Her lips quivered as I continued to molest her breasts with my kisses. Goose bumps perked up on her shoulders just as her nipples did.

I raised my eyebrows smugly and smirked as I stroked the crevasse of her underwear and pulled a thin string of semi liquid.

"And now it's getting wet as well. Strange, wouldn't you say? I wonder what would cause something like this."

Cassie clenched her teeth together, whincing cutely. "You know full well what you're doing! Nghhhrrrr! I can't stop it from happening!"

"Well, I'll have to investigate it myself then, won't I?"

"No! You can't..."

Her complaints were interrupted by the sound of the hook, that held her panties together, coming undone. The at this point unnecessary piece of fabric was quickly discarded by me. "Apologies, seems like I'm already at it."

I continued my kisses down her body until I was face to face with the source of her 'leakage'. I was confronted with a pussy so pristine it seemed unreal. It was spotlessly hairless, only surrounded by smooth, silky skin. The folds themselves were already stained with spots of moisture which the center kept secreting. Its lips were slightly darker than her skin tone and fleshy pink deeper inside.

"There we have the source."

I felt Cassie's hands on top of my head as if she tried to push me off but there was not a fraction of force behind it. "Are you happy now?"

"What are you talking about? The problem still isn't solved. But maybe... I have just the thing for this." I grabbed the sides of her thighs as I dove in and sucked her clit into my mouth. Instantly, a sour and sweet flavor entered my mouth, drips and squirts of liquid coating my tongue.

I felt the bed shift slightly as Cassie pushed her head back into the pillows. The breathless moans reached my ears while I flicked her bean with the tip of my tongue and pinched it between my lips. It was throbbing and every bit of affection I gave it, gave more lubrication to the rest of her cunt.

I kept sucking on her lower lips as I slid down. When I finally reached the entrance, I parted her flesh with my tongue. The tips of her fingers dug into my wine red hair, only pushing me ever more in despite what she seemingly 'wanted' to do earlier.

My whole mouth was full of her, even the smell now was up close to the strong scent of her juices. Her body convulsed, almost grinding against my face, whether consciously or not. On second though, it was not only convulsing, but twitching and shivering uncontrollably. With the hands on the back of my head it was almost as if she was fucking my face.

The inner muscles of her pussy tensed up around my tongue as I scraped the roof inside. The reason why that was, was obvious, yet the confirmation didn't take long.

"By Ra! Dramin! DRAMIN! DRAAAAAAMIIIIIIIIIN!" One last thrust into my face signaled the oncoming climax. My mouth was flooded with a new wave of liquids being squirted out by the writhing flesh of her cavern.

Even if I tried to move away, I couldn't. Her hands kept me firmly in place, wanting me to take every single drop despite what she might have claimed if I had asked her.

Spatters and spurts dotted my moustache which I was only able to wipe away after her body had relaxed. She fell slack onto the sheets, finally releasing me from her grip. She panted heavily, her weak arms reaching out for me when I moved back up. Like a fish seeking water, her lips desperately sought me out. She cradled my head, keeping me locked to her mouth like she had done when she wanted to keep me licking her pussy.

Her tongue twisted around mine, needy and clingy. Everything about her was so posessive today. She treated me like I was her property and I found myself caring less and less whether I was or not.

The only time she even perked up after that was when she heard me unbuckle my belt to shed the rest of my clothes.

Her mouth once again went slightly agape as she watched everything fall off me, revealing my, at this point, painfully hard cock. It was slightly darker than the rest of my skin was and a bushel of wine red hair topped the base. Its blue veins throbbed, craving release.

"Cassie, I don't think I have to spell it out at this point, but I need you. I've needed someone like you in my life for a long time. Never in my life have I craved someone as much as I have you. I want you to be honest with me as well." I hunched over her, gently caressing her sides and going upwards to cup the side of her face while staring into her deep, dark eyes. "Will you have me?"

The sincerity of that question made her take pause. She looked down for a second to think, then back into my eyes. "If I lose myself, will you be there still?"

I smiled and wiped one of her bangs out of her face. "You can't get lost if I don't let go of you. I'm not going anywhere at all, Cassie."

I captured her lips once more, completing our connection by guiding my dick into her pussy. As I already expected, entering wasn't difficult at all. The moist walls of her vagina greeted and swallowed me effortlessly, but once I was inside, I could feel a constant pull, sucking me inward. It was like a lock. I could get in easily, but right now, it would not let me out. My entire length was a prisoner of her pussy, while up top, Cassie was getting short of breath, not used to the foreign thing inside her. She practically clawed my back with her fingernails and her legs coiled around mine.

With what little room I was allowed to have, I started thrusting, grinding all the way in the back with her flesh embracing every inch of me. I was starting to sweat, the rising heat of her body combining with mine. Whenever I could, I had to catch a breath when she would let go of my lips for the brief intervals she allowed.

Her body sunk into the bed every time I thrust down but due to the springiness at the same time it pushed her right back up into me whenever I moved away. The softness of the silken sheets embraced her figure and slowly took the imprint of her body.

There was no room between our skins, she made sure of that. With arms and legs keeping me as close as possible and our torsos squished together anyways.

We ground up against each other her breasts causing the most friction. I still felt her hardened nipples grazing against my skin.

My mind became a blur, there was only room for her. It was like tunnel vision.

I felt the urge to cum broiling up the more I kept thrusting. The squishing sound of our flesh, one of the few audible noises I picked up anymore, only spurned it on all the more. I grabbed her ass, digging my fingers into it like she did with my back, and pulled her against me in search of deeper penetration whether it was possible or not.

Our voices were muffled by each other's mouths. With how strong I felt the vibrations, she was moaning just as loudly as I was. If those moans were unleashed, who knows who could've heard them. For all we knew, her servants could've been listening in on us since the beginning.

Cassie's eyes were distant and glazed over. There was no semblance of elegance or dignity left in them anymore, yet they were still blankly focused on me.

A tremble went through my body. My shaft and balls ached. With full force, I unloaded all of my seed inside, dumping it in the far back. She didn't allow for it to go anywhere else.

Mine and her grips intensified, our limbs cramping up and surging with intensity. There were certainly scratch marks on my back at this point and perhaps even blue spots on her butt from how tightly I was groping it.

Finally, with the wave of our climax passing, the slumped onto each other, our bodies still tangled together. Cassie looked to be in a state of bliss like I'd never seen before. Every time her mouth wasn't open to breathe, it was forming a content smile while she deliriously patted the back of head which she still refused to let go of.

"You kept your promise. You're still here."

I was at first taken by surprise by that sudden statement and then started laughing. "Of course I am. Why would I not be?"

"For a moment back there... I thought this might be a dream. Like it would be over at any second. I was so afraid to let go of you because I didn't know if you were real and would disappear."

I fell down limply, plopping down on her right side while still embracing her. Just as she did, I reached for the back of her head and let her silky hair glide through my fingers. "As if I could go anywhere in this state. Imagine what your servants would say. They'd be gossiping for weeks, wouldn't they?"

She chuckled along with me as she snuggled up to me. "You were a beast back there. If someone just heard you they'd start talking about it. I certainly hope they did not."

"And why is that?"

She grew redder in the face and buried her face in my chest again as she whined. "I don't want any of them talking about you. Those moments are supposed to be ours. Yours and mine, not theirs."

I comforted her by stroking her back and pulling her closer. "That's funny. If my people heard us like that, I wouldn't mind if they spread that far and wide. If anything, it is proof of the strength of our relationship."

She shied away for a second before looking up at me in deep thought.

"What's the matter?"

"I've just been thinking. In a certain way, you've accomplished your task."

"My task?"

"To show me something that me and my people cannot replicate or match. You've given me human warmth. It's something I never got to experience before. I didn't even know what it felt like before you came into my life. What I'm trying to say is... your people will be safe from me. I want you to be by my side. Not as an enemy. Ever."

My heart stopped for a second, partially in relief and in pure joy. I smiled to myself, proud of how this all worked out. "You can't believe how glad I am to hear that, Cassie. I never wanted to be your enemy in the first place. My people will be very happy to hear that."

She placed a small peck on my lips, longing for every bit of affection I would give her. Then though, her face turned ponderous again. "Speaking of your people, will they be alright without you?"

"Without me? Oh you mean because I'm not present today? I wouldn't worry too much about it. It was already late when I arrived and I don't expect any trouble back home. I'll saddle the horse tomorrow and make my journey back to tell them of the good news."

Her eyes shot wide open as she jolted up in bed. "Y...you're leaving!?"

Stunned by her surprise I answered reluctantly. "Well, yes. I have to. I still have a duty to uphold. I can't just take a vacation and leave them to govern themselves. You know as well as I do, that people need a leader."

"I do but... but..." Her head slumped down in dejection.

"I know, I'm not happy myself that I have to leave so soon. I'll be back as soon as possible, I promise."

Tears started to well up in her eyes. "I just got to have you and now I already have to let you go."

"It will just be for a while. We both still have tonight and tomorrow. We need to treasure the time we have together, Cassie. Even the happiest moments can't last forever."

As if another realization just hit her, the tears started to come more heavily. Streams went down her cheeks as she solemnly knelt there. "So what? One day you will die... and I have to just keep on existing without you? What am I supposed to do then?"

"You will be the strong and courageous leader you've always been. I know my time on earth is brief, but I will be sure to give you all I can while I am here. Let's not spend our night with sadness, Cassie. I'm here, and I'll stay here with you until morning. I am not going anywhere until then." She tilted towards me as if asking for a hug and I was happy to oblige.

"I know you're tired and you have to sleep... but can you at least hold me until you do?"

"Certainly, Cassie. Can't imagine a better way to fall asleep. I love you."

"I love you too, Dramin. A lot." She responded in a meager voice as she rested her head on my shoulder.

I gave her one last kiss on the forehead before drifting off into the darkness of the night.

That was where a story like this would usually end. A nice happy ending with two people living together for the rest of their days. Or the rest of the days of one of them at least.

But in the depths where usually my dreams would be, I found nothing. In fact, I felt like I was slowly pulled from my sleep. Images and memories that should've flashed before my eyes, vanished.

I felt less and less sleepy, slowly dragged back into the real world. My vision was blurry, my mind not having expected to awake so soon. What had it been? An hour? Maybe two? Certainly not enough to warrant me waking up normally. Yet I didn't feel tired. I was wide awake and unable to fall back asleep again.

And as my senses returned to me, I felt something on my chest. A hand.

My sight came back to me, and the thing I saw before me was Cassiopeia apologetically looking down at me with one hand on my chest and the other holding the zodiac sign tablet of the Capricorn I had gifted her...

…as she extracted my soul from my body.

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I know it's been a long time since the last chapter was published and a lot of you have been waiting for new stories to come out. I apologize for that.

As for many others, 2020 hasn't been going that great for me. First off, I have come down with Covid and was out of commission for a good month. I am not in a risk group for stuff like this, but you have no idea how strongly a virus like that can hit you. I was in and out of hospital and quarantine and that wasn't exactly motivating either.

I have been cut off from my family due to travel restrictions and I admit, the loneliness got to me a lot. There are other things to mention, but those would be way too personal.

I don't want to be a downer though, this chapter, thanks to all the time I had, turned out a lot longer and hopefully better than it might have otherwise.

I do hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it. Merry late Christmas and a hopefully much better new year to all of you.

Next up, I'm going to work on the revival of my Pokémon series. If you haven't checked it out yet, go do so if you'd like to. It's already got 3 seasons of content and we're starting to get into the 4th one.

See you there or here again. Wherever it might be, I'm glad you're there for it. See you guys around.

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