Book 1.5: Side Tales – Koko: The Puppet Asylum (Part 6C)
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Eh! Where Did My Pen... Pen... Go!?!

Book 1.5: Amaranthe Guild – Side Stories

Koko's Tale

The Puppet Asylum (Part 6C)

The cold ghostly orbs slammed into the turning 'mouthface' and neck of the Nethbadon, muffling its cries as Demora's pair of fluffy 'spears' struck like a pair of vipers piercing above and below the dark beast's Soul Lantern, stabbing both throat and lower chest.

The Nethbadon's body jerked up and down with each piercing strike landed from her furious arachneth leg barrage; Until finally... the lights in its beady eyestalks faded away and its body lay limp on the floor, unmoving.

Demora tilted her head and took a step back, watching as a dark ghostly orb in the shape of the Nethbadon's head rose up out of the tattered vessel's mouth.

The ghostly Nethbadon Wisp hung in the air for a moment, releasing soft whimpers of mourning for its loss mixed with low growls of frustration for having been netted from the start of the fight and 'killed' while so... helpless.

Not to mention the newly seeded anger in its heart towards its packmates for not even coming to its aid...

If only it had dodged instead of charged when that vile monster girl's back suddenly turned its way, looking so open for an attack... But now it was too late for regrets as it slowly made its way to the Nethmouth Gate; Needing to return to the Dark Realms of the Netherworld where it would have to work long and hard just to earn the spirit money needed to replace its losses here today.

As the Nethbadon Wisp disappeared into the Nethmouth Gate, a smiling Demora walked up to its ragged vessel lying chained and webbed on the floor. Taking a quick look around she muttered, “Good, Anancy and Pinkili have their mutt under control.”

Indeed, they did! For their Nethbadon's hands, feet, and quilled tail were all webbed down onto the floor. And Anancy was flying about in good cheer, easily dodging quills while spitting out web balls at the beast's wide-open mouth which was snapping at things only it could see. This was all thanks to the Prickly Pinkergeist Pins piercing its head and front hairless limbs.

“And the cute Nethdren monster girl seems to be backing her beastie into a corner...” Now faced with only the lead Nethbadon, monster girl's long fluffy fur snaked around the last of the blood-red quills that were stuck near her left shoulder and removed it; Tossing the quill aside, monster girl immediately regained use of her left arm.

Well then, since that's the case let's go ahead and save Kresh while nobody's looking hehehe... Demora knelt down beside the defeated Nethbadon's remains; Reaching out, she grabbed hold of the blood-red Soul Lantern, seeking to pull it free of the creepy mutt's chest when suddenly swirling black ethereal energy with tendrils of blood-red and void-purple lashed out at her uninvited touch.

Demora's jaw clenched as her hands stiffened and a wave of nausea rolled up from her stomach. According to her grimoire, she must fill the Soul Lantern with her power, pushing out any other residing energies within, to bind it to her. If her power wasn't strong enough, then the attempt would fail and the Soul Lantern would damage her soul, weakening her Nethryn magic for up to a month depending on the severity of the backlash.

Okay, let's do this. I'm stronger than that mutt's vile residual energy... I just know it! With her Trinity completely focused on the Soul Lantern gripped in her tense hands, she spun a strong thick tether of Nethryn Arachneth Webs from the tips of her fluffy Angorai Arachneth Legs.

With tether complete, she attached it to the Soul Lantern, connecting it to her Trinity Cores which immediately began to flood the glass lantern with her swarm of nethryn energy! Her energy collided in waves of clashes against the Nethbadon's residual dark energy causing the Soul Lantern to vibrate as her energy pushed the darkness out into the air where it undulated like a liquid squid.

With the energy battle won, her fingers relaxed and her nausea thankfully faded away as she focused on her newly formed connection to the Soul Lantern; Gently tugging, she pulled it free of the vessel's chest cavity and set it to float in the air. With her attention fully on the now lavender-pink Soul Lantern, the dark squid-like energy began to slink through the air towards the nearest Nethbadon... which was being hounded by a pair of giggling doll heads.

Looking down at the Nethbadon's vessel once more, she spotted a blood-red choker collar with a Soul Fetcher badge attached lying on the floor. Hmm, it looks like my eyes have... upgraded? I can clearly see the energy of the Netherworld coming from it but now is not the time to loot... especially since I have nowhere to put it. I guess I could just try wearing it but I don't know if it's cursed... And wearing dog collars is really not my thing... so moving on; Time to play the white knight.

Demora quickly made her way to the trembling mound on the ground and softly called out, “Kresh... Kresh! I'm here to save you but you have to want to come with me... Otherwise, I'll have to let one of those Soul Fetchers take you.”

From underneath the cloths and stuffings that used to be his vessel, chibi Kresh called out, “Kresh want go wit you! Kresh no want go wit dem! Please take Kresh from here...”

“Good, good... Since that's the case, then all you need to do is touch my pretty Soul Lantern and ask to come in to play.” The Soul Lantern lowered to the floor before 'groundhog' Kresh, softly glowing.

Chibi Kresh peeked out from underneath his 'blanket', saw the glowing Soul Lantern, and immediately crawled over to hug it tightly while muttering, “Let Kresh in to play... let Kresh in to play... let Kresh in...”

The Soul Lantern flared as Kresh ghosted through its glass exterior to enter within. “Ooh, pretty Dollhouse in da sky...” Kresh's voice faded away as the Soul Lantern returned to the air.

At the same time Kresh entered the Soul Lantern, the Nethmouth Gate pulsed, and released a bell toll signaling that its purpose of connecting to the world of the living had come to an end and it would soon be closing.

Confused, the cute monster girl and pair of Nethbadons stopped fighting to look about the room wondering who had snatched their assigned soul. All eyes landed on the pretty lavender-pink Soul Lantern floating in the air; Then traveled down to gaze at the oddly strange girl with the fluffy bunny ears and spidery legs that the lantern seemed to belong too.

Huh? Why have all of the Soul Fetchers suddenly stopped fighting and turned to stare at me with their heads tilted? I didn't ring that bell... Well, whatever, let's just take advantage of their confusion and send those mutts ghosting back to their Netherworld!

[“We did it Pinkili! Anancy! I got my Soul Lantern and operation Save Chibi Kresh is now a success. Now let's finish off these last two beastie mutts...”]

Anancy and Pinkili cheered and giggled. [“Yay! See Anancy, I told you Dea could do it easy peasy. These mutts may look big and scary but they're actually just sheep in wolves clothing.”]

[“What? I never said she wouldn't succeed... and don't forget, the only reason they seem so weak is that we had the advantage of...”]

[“Hey girls! What the heck is that thing!”] Demora asked as she came to a stop to point above them.

In the air, above Pinkili's and Anancy's webbed down Nethbadon was the dark squid-like ball of residual energy; The Nethbadon looked towards the creepy spider bunny girl that had suddenly halted her rush, spotting the tattered remains of its Nethbadon packmate behind her.

Time seemed to slow as a jumble of thoughts went through its mind...

It knew there was no avenue of escape. It couldn't beat these two freaky weird doll heads flying round itself so there's no way in neth that it could beat all three of them teamed together. There was only one way it was going to leave here today and that was as a ghostly wisp just like its packmate.

It gnashed its teeth in regret! It had wanted to free its Nethbadon packmate from the ghostly chain net but didn't because the other Nethbadon had ordered not too. And since it had been the one to call them here that meant it was the leader of this hunt.

And this leader was 1. Angered that the other Nethbadon had crashed into it, ruining its attack. And 2. Wanted a bigger portion of the glory for defeating their foe with fewer packmates, thereby increasing their honor earned.

The idea of getting more honor also appealed to it so it had gone along with the order and left the other Nethbadon bound in chains. As such, sealing both their fates. Now, with no hope of escape, its eyestalks all focused in on the dark something that was squirming about in the air directly above which had the attention of its enemies.

Well then... since heads I lose and tails they win, I might as well make my end count for something! Who knows, if this works maybe that dimwitted leader here will repay my sacrifice by helping me earn the spirit money I'll need to replace my vessel and gear once we're all back in the Netherworld. It's worth a shot...

The webbed down Nethbadon uttered a quick series of yips and growls towards its leader who quickly responded back. Receiving the confirmation it wanted, it lifted its head up and began to howl as monster girl resumed her fight with leader; She wanted to end her fight quick so she could jump into the Nethmouth Gate that would soon close.

Energy flowed up the Nethbadon's throat from the Soul Lantern, pooling in its mouth. It burbled and churned as the energy from the air above rushed down to join, swimming and melding together...

“What the neth is it doing? Looks like its gargling... gross!” Demora muttered, scrunching her face at the repulsive sight of the Nethbadon with a mouth full of squirming dark energy.

Turning its head, the Nethbadon then spat out the dark energy with great force towards the lead Nethbadon. The leader howled at monster girl causing her to dodge the soundwaves to the side as the energy squid came swimming past, rushing into its wide-open mouth.

The big ball of energy, formed from its packmates, entered its mouth to swim down its throat and funnel into its Soul Lantern. It seemed to growl in laughter as it watched the other Nethbadon summon its Soul Lantern out of its chest to hang in the air and begin to pulse with power and light.

Feeling a build-up of energy...

“That's not good... RETREAT!” Demora shouted.

All in the room made their moves...

The lead Nethbadon rushed to the near metal sorting table which was pushed up against the wall. It slid underneath and flipped the table over causing everything atop it to crash and spill onto the floor, forming a strong protective barrier. But it didn't stop there, it summoned all of the dark energy it had just gathered within its Soul Lantern and sent it flooding out into its body as it began to grow...

Pinkili rushed in front of Anancy, acting as her shield as they flew high and away!

As for Demora, she turned and was just about to jump away when she suddenly found herself being scooped up and hugged by monster girl who had chosen to save the strange little girl that had teamed up with her against the Nethbadons.

Monster girl knew that by protecting this cute itsy bitsy bunny girl, she had lost her chance of making it back too the closing Nethmouth Gate in time to return to the Netherworld as its bell toll struck one final time. Going home wasn't going to be easy now... at least not without either finding a new soul seeking departure or leaving her vessel and gear behind and ghosting back.

Well, if she wasn't so young and new she'd have several other options of returning but that was still a long way away...

With Demora in her arms, monster girl turned her back to the pulsing Soul Lantern in the air and sent a chunk of her remaining energy into her furry back, increasing her defenses while running as far away as she could; The webbed Nethbadon's growling laughter could be heard from behind her as its Soul Lantern spun faster and faster, pulsing brighter and brighter until...

BOOOM!

The powerful explosion sent dozens of deadly shards of glass flying in all directions as shockwaves rocked the room.

Pinkili's shield flared as several glass shards slammed into the backside of her head, piercing near her ear.

[“Pinkili! Y-you're hurt... let's switch places!...”] Anancy called out, getting ready to switch places with her.

[“No worries. It'll take a lot more than just a couple of pieces of glass to take me out...”]

Meanwhile below, monster girl released a series of grunts as her fur undulated in thick tendrils blocking scores of shards and dampening the impact of the shockwaves, fully protecting Demora from harm.

At the same time, a staccato rain of glass breaking against metal rang out causing the last remaining Nethbadon's ears to twitch. It growled from behind its shelter as its bones continued to stretch and pop. Clawing the ground and bumping the walls and turned table, eagerly waiting for the changes to come to an end so that it could jump out of hiding and rend its enemies.

“I-I think it's over... You can let me go now...” Demora said, gently tapping the fluffy hands holding her body.

[“Dea! Are you okay?...”] [“Is monster girl hurting you?...] Pinkili and Anancy asked at nearly the same time as they rushed down towards them from near the top shelf.

[“Ah, it's okay... I'm okay... It seems she decided to protect me for some reason or other... but everything is fine..."]

“Little monster friend, are you okay?” Monster girl asked, releasing Demora as she then stretched her back and shook her fur causing glass shards to fall onto the floor in a pitter-patter of tinks and clinks.

["Huh... Did she just call me a monster? I'm no monster... right?'] Demora asked in mindspeak chat.

["Ya, that's right. Dea may be little compared to her but she's no monster..."] (Pinkili)

["Yup. The only monsters here are those mutts and herself."] (Anancy)

["Oh, I get it now! You're little, the monster is her, and friend is you so you're a 'little monster friend'..."] (Pinkili)

["Meaning you're a little friend of a monster which is her!"] (Anancy)

["I see... I think. Well, that sorta makes sense so let's just go with that..."] (Demora)

Now free and having been asked a question, Demora turned around, looked way up (since monster girl was quite a bit taller than her), and with upturned lips answered, “Oh, me? I'm just fine... not one little scratch! Thanks to you... but you... how are you doing? You took quite a blast and look a bit... drained.”

“I'm good!... Well, mostly... almost... just a bit banged up... And quite low on energy because of all the fighting and the big boom...” Monster girl was saying, using the darkwood staff to stay upright...

BAM!... CLANG!

An explosion of movement sent the metal table crashing across the floor as a bull-sized Dire Nethbadon revealed itself, turning its head to glare at monster girl as she spun around to face it, staff in hand but near her limit.

“You all need to run away! I don't know how long I can stop him. I'm almost out of energy...” Monster girl spoke, standing in a guard position as Anancy and Pinkili flew to her sides helping to form a protective line to keep Demora safe.

“Dea, run!...” Pinkili and Anancy shouted in unison. “Don't worry about us... it's just our vessels. You go, be safe!” Pinkili and Anancy rushed in, flying about that huge mutt, attacking with webs and pins, keeping it distracted to buy Demora time to run.

Just when it looked like their attacks would be ignored by the dire nethbadon, Pinkili shot forth her empowered pin! Piercing deeply into the beast's hairless arm limb, the pin unleashed all of its stored energy. Sending a rush of pink to cloud all of the big mutts eyestalks causing it to see loads of clones of all in the room giving Demora the perfect opportunity to flee...

But there was no way Demora could do that... just abandon her dollie friends. Friends that reminded her of... well, she couldn't quite put her finger on it but she knew they were important to her. Plus, she had an idea that could help.

Demora moved in behind monster girl and gave her fluffy fur a tug to get her attention, “Uhm, I have a way to help you... to give you lots of energy but it'll only work if you trust me and accept my connection... so do you want to give it a try?”

Monster girl looked down at Demora, thoughts swirling around in her mind, knowing that without help that not only was she doomed but so we're these new allies of hers... so if there was a way to get more energy, to give them a chance of winning and all it took was to trust this cute itsy bitsy bunny girl then, “Yes, let's do it... connect away!”

Smiling, Demora nodded, then began to weave a vibrant Nethryn Arachneth Tether; Using the long reach of her fluffy arachneth legs, she immediately attached it way up on monster girl's back.

Demora felt half of her oryn energy pool sectioning off, becoming dedicated for the sole use of Monster Girl. This left her with about 10% of her own oryn pool to use since Pinkili and Anancy were using the rest. And since this was the case, Demora made the decision to rush up to the top of the wall of shelves to watch and support from on high... out of harm's way.

A big grin lit monster girl's face as she suddenly felt a rush of energy swarming into her body, scuttling up into her head, and entering her empty Soul Lantern third eye!

The more that this stronger source of energy entered to fill her Soul Lantern, the stronger her feelings of friendship and desire to protect Demora grew until they became a part of her, deepening the connection and bond between them as Pinkilil and Anancy cheered! [“Yay! We got a new sister to play with!”] [“Welcome... umm... I don't know your name yet but I'm sure Demora will give you a great one!...”]

A confused Demora was about to ask what they were talking about when suddenly, a frustrated ground-bound mutt that kept missing these annoying doll head flies with its quills turned its head towards a reenergized monster girl that was heading its way with staff in hand...

Yay! Not only did Demora succeed in saving Chibi Kresh but looks like she added another cute fluffy member to the team! Much to the happy cheers of Pinkili and Anancy! Now all that's left to do is defeat the mangy mutt turned Dire Mini-Boss! Only then will she be able to relax and finally loot the storage room before morning comes and all in the Asylum awaken. Coming up Next in The Puppet Asylum (Part 7) A battle against the Dire Nethbadon, giving a new friend a name, finally finding something to wear (hint, it's in the wonderful new sketch illustration below), and trying to figure out where to store all the wonderful loot! Also, a better look into her book... 

Side Note: My niece has sent me her first sketch of Demora! And it really looks great so have a look below or just click the link. So for those wondering how I go through the Character Appearance process, it's like this:

1. First, I think of a character I want in my story and their class. A lot of times the class will help shape their looks in my mind... such as skin, hair, and eye colors. Body shape and height. Gear and clothes... etc...

2. Second, now that I know the basic appearance of the character, I go searching for images online that have parts or pieces that are similar to what I envision for the character. Examples: images of hairstyles and colors, images of clothing and gear, images of body shapes, etc... I then put all these images together and create a Character Appearance Collage using the free online Photo Collage website. Here's the collage I put together of Demora. You can also find a couple of collages I put together of fluffy monster girl on page two of Our Illustrator's Box.

(small note: For help with my name pronunciations and spelling I go to Names.org)

3. Third and lastly, I send my description and reference collage over to my niece and let her do the rest. She does send back questions she may have about certain aspects that need clarification... but other than that the illustrations all come from her interpretations of all I sent her... so without further ado, here's the first sketch of Spider Bunny Demora.

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