With Juliet’s help, Karen and I staged an incident. In the very same place that Juliet and I had run into one another a while back, we had a big ol’ make out session. A session that Juliet and her friends just happened to interrupt.
We got all the usual oooooohing from her friends, and Juliet put her frankly remarkable acting skills to good use. I could see the laughter in her eyes though, she couldn’t hide it from me.
Funny thing about Juliet actually. We spoke more, texting back and forth whenever we were earthside. She explained that her rage over her grandparents’ senseless deaths at the hands of bureaucracy and capitalism had morphed as time went on.
By the time Pellan came around, she was angry at anything and everything. Only the realisation that she’d been killing real people with that rage had been enough to put a damper on it. She explained how her choice to play as a man had been in part a way to further escape her life. Not just a man though, an evil one. The difference between Blackfeather the character and Juliet the person were… stark, to say the least.
She didn’t tell me much about her new life in Pellan, other than that she was playing as a woman again. Apparently the dysphoria of running around in a male body hadn’t been something she anticipated or even properly noticed at first, but it had been yet another lump of coal added to the bonfire of her anger.
Then there was her life outside Pellan. Her parents’ relationship with each other had gone from the happy family that it had once been into a loveless hellhole in the time since her grandparents’ deaths. In turn, that breakdown of love between her mother and father had gone on to put massive pressure on her, the only daughter, to keep the family together. At one point she texted me in tears after another hour long session where she played mediator and couple’s counsellor to her own parents.
I still wasn’t entirely happy with her, and I definitely didn’t feel safe around her. Not after what she’d done, understandable reasons or no. Because yeah, understanding why someone who hurt you had done the things they did was one thing. Forgiving them in both your conscious thoughts and your unconscious mind was an entirely different deal.
Like I’d said to Jeremy though, I just wasn’t capable of holding a grudge, so while I wouldn’t be friends with her anytime soon, I was at least friendly with her. That and I felt like my pure virgin heart was rubbing off on her a little. Okay that last part is a joke, but she was getting a different perspective while she spoke to me so yeah. I was helping. I think.
Back to Operation Karen, Juliet’s clueless friends did the rest of the work for us, spreading rumours and all that. Meanwhile, Nia set up a way to capture their parents’ reaction on video. Well, she straight up just bugged the whole house to high heaven and back, but yeah. No magic spells here.
When the parental explosion came, it was even more brutal than any of us could have feared. Karen’s father came at her with a belt while her mother screamed abuse like a madwoman. Thankfully, Karen wasn’t the same teenage girl anymore. She’d faced down reality-warped horrors and bandits alike back on Pellan. She was tough.
Her father got her tiefling daughter’s fist right to the center of his chest, leaving him breathless and winded. They had no power over my girl, now that she could leave, and her father felt that in righteous fist form. Following the blow to his sternum and ego, Karen calmly called Nia and told her what had happened, then went upstairs to pack.
Nia and I arrived not long after, with her in a killer woman’s suit and a big sleek electric sports car. Goddamn though, Nia looked like the type of ballbusting female CEO that only existed in movies. She had somehow gotten herself to look vaguely like her old self too so that her parents would recognise her. Well, her old self if her transition had gone completely perfectly and all that.
The look on their parents’ faces when she rocked up to take Karen was so incredibly satisfying like, all the way down on some deep and primal level. When she shoved an already written up court summons into their dazed father’s face? Holy fuck. Perfection.
As we were driving away, I’d had to ask, “How did you get enough money for all this?”
“I know it’s lame and all that, but I got it from the stock market,” she said with a sheepish laugh. “Long story short, because it is a very long story, I figured out how to make a crude interface between tech and magic. Then I combined the two into my own automated hedge fund. I’m trying to ease my conscience a little by throwing money at local charities but… god it’s effective.”
“That’s just a little terrifying,” Karen said with wide, adoration filled eyes for her sister. “Imagine the sort of craziness when magic finally becomes commonplace?”
“I guess that’s what our job is,” I said from the back seat. Karen had called shotgun. “Work to make the introduction of magic to earth as smooth as we can.”
“Fuck that,” Nia chuckled, turning her eyes from the road for a moment to shoot us both a look. “Slip magic in nice and easy so it can be used to help keep the one percent rich and the poor making them richer? God no, I’m taking this world in both hands and shaking it like a fucking snowglobe.”
“Oh no,” Karen groaned, face in hands.
Nia laughed. “Assuming I get time out of my busy schedule of saving the universe.” I received a pointed look. “Which by the way, you will be helping me with. Nosos still exists.”
“I know, I know,” I sighed, trying not to think of the slimy eel feeling when the strange and awful entity worked its way into my head.
“But… one thing at a time, I think,” Nia smiled, eyes back on the road. Goodness, she looked even more like a dragon in that moment than she did when she was literally a dragon. This snowglobe we all lived on was so very screwed.
A few months after Blackfeather’s attack and public disappearance, I logged back in after another day of school to get back to work. We’d come up with a name for our little town, by the way. Torch Hill, on account of the fact that a few square miles of forest around our little area had been torched by Colourless and me. Oops.
Also because we were a beacon of peace to the surrounding area. After Blackfeather disappeared, the region became even more unstable, with multiple guilds vying to fill the power vacuum he left. They didn’t mess with Torch Hill though, and pretty soon we were a de facto neutral area where players could trade without worry of being murdered.
So yeah, our little hilltop town was growing pretty nicely. Torch, our new combined guild with Alexia and friends, had a nice guildhall all freshly built, the walls were almost finished. Everything was actually quite nice.
Colourless had put aside his pyromaniac ways and become a merchant, buying and selling player goods and then… well doing stuff. I don’t know. Money stuff wasn’t my strong suit.
Rubbing sleep from my eyes, I pushed open the door to Karen and my room and wandered down the stairs towards the common room. I loved our guildhall. It was rough log construction, but more intricate. Had a great home feeling, rustic and warm. I winced when the last step creaked loudly. Build quality could use a bit of improvement though.
There were only two people in the common room when I rounded the little corner, Liam and Izzy. They were standing about two feet apart, faces bright with embarrassment and eyes pointed firmly away from both me and each other.
I stopped in my tracks. “Uh… did I interrupt you both?”
“What? Interrupt us doing what?” Liam asked with the least innocent expression I’d ever seen. Izzy on the other hand, she had a biiiig grin on her face.
I stared him down for a moment or two, but he didn’t budge. Finally, I shrugged and made for one of the doors leading back out of the room. “I’m going to go see if there’s juice left in the kitchen, you two can go back to making out.”
“We weren’t—“ Liam began, voice cracking a little.
“Liam?” I said, cutting him off. “You’re not fooling anyone. Treat her well, okay? Or I’ll be really grumpy and you might find yourself without heals when you really really need them.”
His denial turned to chastised amusement. “Uh… yeah... I will. Treat her right, I mean.”
Izzy’s giggle followed me into the kitchen, and I couldn’t help but do a silent leap into the air, pumping my fist. Yes! They were making progress! Finally. Goddess, they were even more disastrous than most gay girls were.
Really though, Liam was such a good boy. How many high school dudes would be that chill about dating an openly trans girl. Even if she was cute as fuck. I guess it had to be someone as strong and good as him, anything less was too weak to deal with the shit he’d get.
Wait, I was in the kitchen. What was I doing in here? Oh right, finding some juice. Where did we keep the juice again? It was… ah!
Karen stood on the opposite end of the kitchen, laughing silently at my antics. “They’re cute, right? I’ve been stuck in here for like half an hour while they have their moment. Didn’t want to leave and disturb them.”
“Absolutely,” I grinned, walking over to her. Did I rush over? Maybe a little, it’s hard to see people being all affectionate and then not immediately run to your lover and give them the same treatment.
“Not as cute as you though,” she murmured, folding me into her arms.
Looking up into her gorgeous, luminous green eyes, I had to bite back a no u. My fingers traced her jawline for a moment, revelling in the softness of her crimson skin. So pretty. But also… so tall.
My hand reached further, grabbing a firm hold of one of her horns and dragging her down, slowly, gently, until our lips were pressed together in a deliciously languid kiss. By Feslia, her lips were even softer than her skin, but firm and oh so demanding.
The best part? So were mine. Because I was a girl, a girl who was in love with another girl and it was oh so sweet. Especially when Karen got tired of leaning down and simply lifted me into the air, spinning me until I was pinned against the wall. She held me there with her hips against the rough wood while her hands traced the curve of my waist. Yup, being a girl was so damned good.