Book 1.5: Side Tales – Koko: The Puppet Asylum (Part 7A)
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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 7A)

The big mutt unleashed a sonic howl towards monster girl while firing another volley of tail quills towards the pair of giggling doll heads above.

As for the quills on the dire nethbadon's back, while bigger and deadlier, they seemed to be only useful as a deterrent against foes seeking to either jump on its back or to those foolish enough to fly over... at least that's what Demora thought as she watched from the safety of her perch on high. After all, it's not like it can aim them, or do they have some type of homing magic? Hmm, I should warn them...

[“Hey you two, I know you're having fun up there but be careful not to fly over its back, okay? Those quills back there look far more dangerous than the others.”]

[“Will do Dea.”] [“Staying clear, over and out.”] Pinkili and Anancy replied with giggles, dodging another round of tail quills while staying wide and clear of the big mutt's back.

At the same time that Dea and friends were mindspeak chatting above, a certain fluffy monster girl was busy stomping her foot onto the floor below, pushing off hard, propelling herself straight into the sonic howl's soundwaves, surprising everyone.

Demora was about to shout a warning but stopped... for her arachneth eyes noticed the energy within monster girl rushing up into her horns and out into her silvery bluebell windchimes; With a simple shake of her head, a rain of magical tintinnabulations sang out forming a barrier of sound before her big fluffy body, completely nullifying the incoming soundwaves as they crashed into her shielded Wild Horned Charge!

Thundering towards the wide-eyed mutt, monster girl lowered her horned head straight at its creepy 'mouth-face'. The dire nethbadon's claws scratched at the ground as it shifted its body to the side...

WHAM!

Monster girl's horn missed its intended target but still managed to strike its shoulder causing its muscles to tighten and jaws to clench; The big mutt stumbled a few steps sideways to keep from falling as monster girl's charge came to a stop and turn.

Angered, the big beast stretched its neck towards monster girl as she easily stepped out of its bite range but then something odd and totally unexpected happened; The beast's creepy needle-teeth mouth stretched like dark taffy reaching towards her lower belly to bite!

A bit startled, monster girl's instincts kicked in as she turned her side towards the beast's snapping mouth sending out long thick locks of fur which slapped the bite attack aside. At the same time, she had sent waves of energy into her paw causing the fur to lengthen and wrap around her clenched fist forming a big fluffy rose-pink gauntlet which she quickly launched towards the big mutt...

The dire nethbadon made a strange sound in the back of its throat as it eyed the big incoming flying furry fist! The mutt pushed off the ground with its front limbs hands, retracting its neck and mouth, rising up to stand in a hunched raptor-like posture; Twisting its body while leaning to the side, the fluffy fist grazed its leg limb eliciting a yelp as it flew past...

BAM!

The colorful flying fist smashed into the rock hard wall behind it as Demora's eyes widened... Wow, I can't believe such a big fluffy flying fist could crack the wall like that... Heck, it even bruised that big mutt's leg with just a graze. What's her fur made of... iron?

The dire nethbadon once again unleashed a sonic howl while rubbing its bruised leg and stepping back, seeking to get a little breathing room as monster girl shook her head, creating another bluebell barrier.

From above, Anancy and Pinkili continued to rain down web balls and pink-hued pins which were getting on its nerves! While their attacks weren't doing much if any harm to the big mutt, even the haunting effects of the non-empowered pins were being resisted, their antics were still distracting and very annoying; Managing to cause it to waste time and energy on the pesky duo with its tail quill shots.

Each volley of tail quills launched at them meant none towards what it considered to be the real threat... monster girl.

As the trio continued to fight the dire nethbadon below in a series of feints and frantic clashes, Demora's eyes spied something that she felt may be useful so she hopped up onto the ceiling above and made her way safely across the room to retrieve it, unnoticed.

Outnumbered and frazzled, since its attacks were being countered, the dire nethbadon decided to use its trump card as its very next howl changed to that of a haunting wail...

A parade of dark spirit-shaped energy rushed out of the big mutt's creepy mouth, flying about the storage room to disappear amidst the stored dolls and puppets; A network of vein-lines of blood-red energy grew beneath the surface of the dolls and puppets 'skin'. Sigils of void-purple formed, tattooing their faces, limbs, and bodies with soft glowing power.

The newly possessed polterdolls (thrumming with dark energies) began to shake, rattle, and... rise!

The strange menagerie of polterdolls quickly gathered into a pair of packs; The larger of the packs headed towards monster girl whereas the smaller pack became airborne to hunt those above.

Round and round the polterdolls went, forming a pair of haunted cyclones around their prey, seeking to slam into them as they attacked with lanky limbs and snapping mouths.

Pinkili's Pinkushy Shield flared with each hit as she kept a web ball spitting Anancy behind her; The bright-eyed duo chuckling as they danced about in the air, evading most attacks while whittling away at the smaller pack's numbers.

As for Demora, she viewed the scene from behind the protection of her open umbrella shield; Her bunny ears twitched as her eyes tracked any stray polterdoll foolish enough to come her way; Thrusting with her fluffy 'spears', she pierced another doll head.

Her eyes stared at the convulsing polterdoll body; It was impaled through the head by the bladed tip of her arachneth leg, eyes dimming and sigils fading. Not wanting to retract her leg with the doll still attached, Demora gave her fluffy leg a strong flick sending it hurling towards the ground like a thrown ragdoll...

The discarded polterdoll hit the ground hard, its spirit energy completely faded away as it tumbled towards a big fluffy monster girl who was twirling her darkwood staff about, protecting her front. A series of 'thwacks' rang out as the bodies of attacking polterdolls were repelled. While from her back long locks of fluffy fur lashed out like an angry Kraken flailing its powerful tentacles from below the surface of the ocean's water.

Seeing that its trump card wasn't having much results and that time was running out on the powerful spell, the big mutt did not panic but instead used the opportunity the polterdolls provided for a concentrated attack on monster girl.

Raising its head it unleashed a howl commanding all of the polterdolls surrounding monster girl to charge and swoop at her spinning staff in waves.

A thunderstorm of thwacks resounded in the room! Polterdolls were sent back flying as if they had run headfirst into a helicopter rotor blade... but not all of them.

Some of the polterdolls had managed to grab hold of her slowing spinning staff, latching onto the darkwood shaft as they began to pulse with energy.

Seeing that the first part of its plan had worked, the dire nethbadon drew near, then kicked off the floor with its hind legs to stand in a U-shaped handstand with its quilled tail, arched back, and stretched neck all aimed at monster girl.

Monster girl's eyes squinted and the corner of her bestial lips rose...

This big silly mutt wasn't the only contortionist around, nor the only monster with a plan. Monster girl jumped up off ground, her body turning round as her head not only stayed facing her enemy but also shook causing her bluebells to sing, forming a large barrier sphere around her body as all polterdolls caught within fell limply to ground.

At the same time that monster girl landed on the ground with her fluffy undulating back and horned head facing the dire nethbadon (which Demora found to be super freaky by the way) a large howl echoed as a big volley of large and small quills streaked towards monster girl.

A series of piano-like grunts issued forth from monster girl's wide grimacing mouth as her shield shattered from the offensive onslaught of soundwaves and quills; A half dozen or so long quills made it past her fluffy locks to pierce her back turned front causing her to wobble like Tweedledee.

Seeing its chance to finish it, the dire nethbadon quickly lowered its bottom half back onto the floor and scurried forward on all fours as its neck and mouth once again stretched toward her.

Monster girl chuckled softly, the light in her third eye shinning as Demora and friends shouted out warnings while breaking into a flurry of motions:

Anancy and Pinkili, having finished with their small pack of polterdolls, swooped down towards the big mutt's head. Demora, from on high, launched the ghostly chain net she had stealthily recovered earlier during the fighting.

Unfortunately, with their minds filled with worry, they failed to coordinate their teamwork as the thrown ghostly chain net caught not the big mutt but the two would be savior dollheads!

The netted dollheads duo found themselves spinning and bound as they smashed into the back of the big mutt's neck, bouncing off to crash onto the floor and tumble into the wall.

While the unexpected attack was a failure it did serve to distract the dire nethbadon causing it to not notice that monster girl's back seemed to be undulating far greater than before... as if waiting for something with great anticipation.

The dire nethbadon's elongated mouth and clawed hands lashed out at monster girl. Her long thick locks of empowered fur swarmed out to meet the attack, slapping its eager mouth aside hard, and wrapping around the dire beast's arms as if living chains, catching the big mutt completely off guard as it tried to pull away!

[“Oh wow! You got 'em... umm... monster girl! Don't let 'em get away!”] A just escaped from the chain net Pinkili cheered via mindspeak chat.

[“Let 'em have it... umm... monster girl! Show 'em who's stronger!”] Anancy added before looking towards Demora. [“You know Dea... our new little big sister really does need a name...”]

Demora smiled in relief seeing that her friends were in good spirits, [“Agree. We'll think of one right after she wins this battle of the Soul Fetchers...”]

Finding that it was losing this tug of war and that this monster girl was much too protected by empowered fur, it stretched its neck and mouth up hoping to catch her off guard to bite her face...

But how could monster girl allow that to happen with her third eye on watch?

Spotting the mutt's serpentine-like neck moving upwards, her fur struck forth, reaching out to grab and wrap around its long furry neck, badged collar and all; With a great tug, her fur locks pulled its head down and into her back where an eager mass of supernaturally strong fur swarmed into its wide-open needle-teeth mouth to slither down its throat and latch into its Soul Lantern.

The dire beast shook its head furiously and thrashed with its clawed hands and feet sending small tufts of rose-pink fur up into the air. Monster girl's piano-like “Grrr's” sang out as she wobbled and danced about in circles, their entwined bodies slamming into shelves and walls...

But she just wouldn't fall down no matter how hard the desperate beast fought to get her onto the ground to break free... CRACK! It was too late; Cracks began to form on the surface of its blood-red Soul Lantern, much to Demora's dismay.

Monster girl's long furry locks pushed and pulled against the insides of the weakening dire beast's throat and Soul Lantern until with a final surge of power, the Dire Nethbadon's mouth and throat were split apart and its Soul Lantern shattered... which would have been so gross had the big beast been made of flesh and blood! (But thankfully... wasn't.)

“Woohoo! You did it... umm... monster girl! But is your neck alright like that? What with it all turned around to your back and all...” Pinkili cheered then wondered as she circled around her.

“Ah, I thought it had you when it launched that onslaught of attacks, making you wobble...” Anancy said with hints of mirth, flying up to hover before monster girl.

“Ahaha... Did I really... wobble? Or did I feint? Well, I guess you can tell by the results. All of my foes so far have fallen for that little 'Tweedledum' act since they don't realize just how great my fur really is; Not only is it my greatest defense but also one of my strongest trump cards.

After all, even my Flying Furry Monster Punch can crack concrete walls... and I'm just a young nethlyng so it's only going to get stronger and the cooldown shorter!

As for my neck, no worries... I have full 360 rotation just like my limbs, see?” Monster girl said, grinning as her head turned fully around to face towards her front as it ought to be while spinning her arms around like a windmill. While her head and arms were demonstrating her flexibility, her fur was busy removing any and all quills that were pierced into her body.

“Now that the battle's done and there's no threat around to be found, it's time to return the monster into me.” Monster girl's third eye closed as her big monster body began to shrink and change back to the cute little mask-head wearing Nethdren girl; Anancy and Pinkili circled around her changing body with 'oohs' and 'awes'... “I can't wait to play out here in my vessel body...” The duo excitedly chatted...

Dropping down from above with a smile on her face, Demora opened her mouth to congratulate her new friend but stopped; She didn't know her name.

Tilting her head and looking down, Demora began to ponder as her foot absentmindedly nudge-kicked and shifted aside cloths and stuffings that were strewn about the floor around her...

Clink clink clink

Something dark and metallic skittered out of the pile her foot was sifting through. The noise and movement drawing everyone's attention.

Demora stepped towards the object, curious about the dark energies swirling within it... “That looks like... yup... its the nethbadon Soul Fetcher badge. I wonder if it's enchanted with...”

“Don't touch that!” Nethdren girl called out, rushing to a startled Demora's side, pulling her away from the badge. “Only Soul Fetcher's may claim them. Others that try will find their souls damaged.”

Relieved that her new spider bunny bestie was okay, Nethdren girl bent down, picked up the dark badge, and dropped it into her coat pocket where it disappeared with a Poof.

The pocket of her Soul Fetcher coat was connected to a processing room in the Agents of the Gray's headquarters. She would earn credits for each badge delivered; Credits that could be used to purchase vessel and gear upgrades or turned into spirit money.

Nethdren girl felt something odd this time... The badge went through but something was sent back up into her transfer pocket. She put her hand in her pocket, retrieved the item, and held it up for all to see... it was a letter from HQ.

Confused, she opened the letter to read as Demora and company looked on. “What's... umm... monster girl reading?” Pinkili asked.

“I don't know. But what I do know is that she needs a name... right Dea.” Anancy urged.

“Huh?” Demora muttered, her attention returning.

[“Name. Our new friend needs a name. After all, we can't keep going around calling her monster girl...”] (Pinkili)

[“That's right, it'll seem like we're being mean and teasing her...”] (Anancy)

“Oh that... I agree. Let's see... what do we know about her...” Demora muttered as she eyed the little mask-head girl who was actually a whole head taller than her. “She's a cute little ghostly white loli with a beautiful voice that sounds like a piano.

She wears a big fluffy creepy-cute whimsical beastie Mask-head and gothic loli outfit of pitch blacks and milky grays so her name could be... Masky?

No, that won't do. What about... Creepy... Cutie... Crutie? Nope... nope... Let's try again...

Hmm, Whimsical... Whimsy? It's better than the others to be sure but... ugh... why is this so hard?” A puzzled and bit frustrated Demora grumped. “So what should we name her?”

“Let's see, she's a Soul Fetcher of the Gray that catches spirits...” (Pinkili)

“And she can turn into a fun creepy-cute whimsical plushie monster!” (Anancy)

“That's kind of like those spooky stories told to scare children... like that old tale...” (Pinkili)

“Ooh, I know that tale... it's the one they use to scare kids into being good! The one we turned into a game...” (Anancy)

“Yes, yes! The el Cucuy game!” “Ah! It's el Cucuy! Run and hide!” “Everyone run! Don't let the Cucuy-Harvey get you!”

“Aww... why am I always IT!?!”

The duo giggled, taking turns chasing one another in the air above, lost in the fun memories of playing at the dollhouse with all the others as a pensive Demora pondered aloud, “T-that actually seems quite fitting in a fun sort of way... el Cucuy catches naughty kids and she catches naughty spirits...

So then how about calling her... Kukooie... or Kukouy or adding some whimsy and making it sound a little like Joey at the end like... Kukoey...

Ooh, I like that... Kukoey! We can call her Ku or Koey for short.

What do you all think?” Demora asked, but the little ones were too busy playing above to have heard so she called out to them using mindspeak, [“Hey, what do you all think of naming her... Kukoey!?! We can call her Ku or Koey for short.”]

“I like it. It's fun and whimsical...” “Ku-koey... sounds perfect for her.” Just as they came to an agreement with her new name, Kukoey looked up from the letter which she had just finished reading.

“So, good news or bad news, Kukoey?” Demora asked, turning to face her newly named friend.

Noticing that everyone's eyes were looking at her, the little Nethdren girl looked left, then right, and then pointed at herself, “Kukoey?... who me?”

“Yes! That's your new name... isn't it great? Dea came up with it for you. Or do you have one already?” Pinkili asked with a smile.

“I guess we really should have asked if she already had a...” Anancy started to say...

“Name? No, I don't have a name. None of us Soul Fetchers do... so I get a name?” Kukoey asked, head tilted.

“Yes, you get a name. After all, we can't keep going around calling you monster girl... That wouldn't be a nice way to treat our cute new friend.” Demora reasoned.

“Yay! I'm happy... so Kukoey is my name...”

“Indeed. So Koey, what was that you were reading?” Demora asked.

“Oh, yes... that was a letter from my Agent of the Gray headquarters. It was a letter informing me that I've been put on Sabineth.”

“Sabineth? What's that?” Pinkili asked, floating down to their level.

“Sabineth is given to Soul Fetchers who have been given an opportunity to go out into the world to strengthen themselves. It seems that I'm now... umm... bound to you until your dying breath. So during this time, I'm to work hard at improving myself so when I return I can use my new strength for the Gray.”

“That great! Welcome to the team Kukoey. We're so happy to have you join us!” Demora smiled, giving Kukoey a hug before stepping back. A hug that Kukoey was both surprised and happy to receive.

“And thank you for helping us win this fight...” Pinkili started to say.

“No no-no-no... I'm the one that should be thanking you. Without your help that would be my torn and shredded vessel...” Kukoey started to say, pointing at the dire nethbadon's tattered and ripped body on the floor.

“Ah, no need for thanks,” Demora said, clearly happy. “We're family now! And since the danger is over how about we all celebrate with a looting party?”

The group cheered as they began their search for loot with Demora heading towards the wall of dressers; Her eyes focused on the dresser door in the center with the web design...

Yay! Team Demora, along with new team member and MVP of the battle, Kukoey, have won! Receiving approval from HQ to be with Demora the group is now ready to celebrate by having a much wanted and quite delayed loot party! And by the looks of it, Demora knows just where to begin her search for loot. Coming up next Demora's outfit gets an upgrade, her hard work pays off with blessings, a little looksie into her grimoire, and the search for food begins in The Puppet Asylum (Part 7B).

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