AGNPH Stories

Lazuli Island: The Shimmering Paradise by Pokegirl


Story Notes:

WARNING: This series dwells (or will dwell) in kinks and dark fantisies or fetishes, such as young child, incest, rape, beastiality (of course), and other such pleasures. Unlike the "My Pokemon" series, this is more of lust than love, though some may make its way here. NOTE: Some of the requests from "My Pokemon" may appear here, but no requests will be accepted for this series. Sorry.FURTHER NOTE: Each chapter will be dealing with a different character's POV, or so the plan is currently. You may also see some characters from previous chapters or other stories on or visiting the island, but that's up in the air for now.Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended, and is applicable for all consecutive chapters that follow.

Chapter 3

I hated waiting.

Waiting brought back memories of high school, of sitting outside the principal's office, waiting for judgment. Of sitting on the doctor's table, in a half gown-half nothing garment, the paper crinkling under me as I waited for the doctors to come in with pity in their eyes. Of eating dinner in our apartment, jumping every time I heard a door slamming, expecting it to be him.

I hadn't done anything wrong. At least, not yet. I had just made it to the island today... hadn't even unpacked my bags, both of which were by my feet. I was supposed to meet with Karen, the woman who'd interviewed me.

If you could call it an interview.

A fountain trickled at the center of the floor, between the entry and what looked to be the check-in desk. Water bubbled from the large piece of rock, running down crystals of varying colors. The water that touched the precious stones turned to reflect the gems' color as it struck, splashing into the pool below. A soft instrumental piece played from hidden speakers, something soft with a violin and a piano. Other than those sounds, there was nothing. No sounds of movement. No sounds of the elevators. The only signs of life in this hotel besides myself were the potted plants. I'd have been more concerned, but a man had greeted me once I'd gotten off the boat. He had his Crobat check me for any recording devices before pointing me in the direction of the hotel, so... I should be in the right place.

Sinking deeper into the plush red arm chair, I leaned my head back to look at the chandeliers decorating the ceiling, casting fragments of rainbows against the cream colored walls and the white and black stoned floor.

I didn't expect any of this.


I had been buying groceries but didn't have enough money. I had enough money, but those thin green slips of paper seemed to vanish from my purse every time Adam came home. I was struggling to figure out which items I needed and could spare the few dollars he'd left me, but each one seemed vital when the image of the empty fridge at home came to mind. The cashier was looking at me, then the clock on his computer, sighing heavily as though I was wasting his time (which I suppose I was) and the murmur of the customers behind me sounded like an angry Combee hive. I knew they were talking about me, about how I couldn't afford the items I had gathered. Feeling a painful heat gathering into a lump inside my throat, I was preparing to walk way, to make an excuse, when I felt a gentle touch on my shoulder.

"Here." The woman touching my shoulder put her items onto the belt next to mine, handing the cashier a hundred. "Ring it all up together."

He snapped to attention at that, grabbing the hundred from her as if she'd change her mind. Holding it against the light, he frowned, as if disappointed it was real, then started to ring her items up.

"I can't..."

She turned her head, shaking it lightly. "Of course you can," she replied, not even letting me finish.

"I don't even know you," I mumbled, trying to keep my words low. The cashier looked as though he was trying a little too hard to appear as if he wasn't listening.

"We'll change that," she answered, moving behind me to start bagging her items as well as my own.

A ding alerted me to the fact that the cashier had finished, his drawer popping open. Counting the bills quickly, he handed it out to her, waited a few moments as she kept bagging then glanced to me. He held out the receipt and money.

"Here," he said, "I got other people to take care of. Just give it to her when she's done."

I tried to pretend I didn't here the sneer in his voice, taking the money he offered. The woman was already gathering bags up, leaving me to grab what was left. I shoved the money in my pocket, reminding myself to give it to her once we moved out of the way, since I could feel the glares digging harshly into my back from those waiting.

"Where to?" Her blue eyes, so bright and clear they seemed crystal, focused on me. There was a twist to her lips, like a half smile, as she waited expectantly for me to lead.

"I'm heading home." As much as I appreciated her kindness, I really didn't like the idea of taking a stranger home. However, I didn't know which bags she had were mine or vise versa. "It's a bit of a walk," I continued, hoping to discourage her without saying "no" directly.

"It'll give us time to talk," she answered easily enough.

Deciding she'd leave on her own time and I didn't have to invite her in once we got to my apartment, I gave a noncommittal shrug. As we headed out of the store, I waited. She was sure to ask questions, questions I didn't want to answer. Something about my faded clothes, my red shirt more of a pink and my jeans worn into holes just like my shoes. They were such a contrast to the vibrant mix of blues she was wearing for her shirt, her own black jeans looking as though she was wearing them for the first time.

Maybe she'd ask about why I'd grabbed so many groceries when I had so little cash. That answer would tie into the same one for the faded clothing, leading like a rope to the tangled heart of my problems. If I didn't want to go over it with the doctors or the police, what would make her think I'd tell her?! Just because she'd bought me some damn groceries?!

But she didn't ask anything.

For someone who'd commented about using the time to talk, she didn't initiate a conversation. Even as we left the nicer part of town, heading towards the area that many would rather forget, she said nothing. As the sidewalk became fragmented, the buildings covered with bars over the windows and doors, painted markings tagging who claimed what, she still didn't say anything. Cars drove past us on the streets blaring music, empty cans clattering by, and people called, hooting from the stoops of their homes as we walked. She moved, unfazed, though she had more to fear than I. While I blended in, she stood out like a radiant flower growing between the cracks of the cement.

Yet, something about her made the others wary.

It could have been the suspicion of what she was doing here, one so unlike us. Or the fact that she was so extraordinarily different that if they did do something she'd be missed. However, I think it was more about the air she had around her, as if this was a normal occurrence, that threw them off. So, while there were jeers and interested glares, none of them made a move to interrupt us as we headed towards my "home."

"Are you looking for a job?"

The question startled me, having expected nothing like it.

"I have a job," I replied, so confused that my mouth moved without thinking. I did, too, at a PokeMart. It didn't pay much, but it was better than most of the options my education could afford or what Adam was often pressuring me towards.

She gave a soft hum and nodded, as if she'd expected the answer. When we kept walking and she said nothing else, I played her question again and again inside my mind, twisting it around, trying to find a purpose for her having asked. My lack of money, maybe?


Her lips slowly lifted upward in a smile, one that I could see even though she looked straight ahead.

"I'm recruiting workers on behalf of two resort owners." She shifted the weight of the bags she was carrying but didn't stop walking. A lock of purple hair fell against her face and she shook her head, trying to get it out of her eyes. "I was thinking that you'd be a good fit for what they're looking for."

"You don't even know me," the words slipped out, my spine already stiffening at the thought that this might be another act of charity.

She looked at me then, her head tilting as her eyes squinted, making her look thoughtful and even younger than I originally guessed her to be.

"True," she replied. "In one sense, anyway." She stopped when I did, having reached my apartment building. "But Amy recommended you to my employers, and here I am." She made a half gesture to herself, the grocery bags crinkling as she did so.

"Amy?" The name didn't bring anyone to mind right away. "Wait... Amy from the PokeMart?"

She gave a grin. "Yes, that's her." She waited a moment, her smile fading a notch as she glanced down at the bags in her hands. "We'd better get these inside... the butter will melt otherwise."

I considered just giving her the money back and waiting her out... but the tight smile on her face told me she expected that. Closing my eyes a moment, I drew a breath and released it, giving up. I was far too tired to fight anymore.

Moving up the cement steps, feeling them wobble as I did, I opened the door to the building and let her in.


"Miss Kimberly?"

I stood up quickly, almost tripping over my bags. "Yes!"

Turning, it wasn't Karen that I saw.

It was... some weird blend of Pokemon and human. I thought it was a costume till I saw her tail sway and her right ear flick up, the movements too natural to be manufactured. Her aquamarine eyes pierced me, pinning me in place like a shard of ice, before she glanced down to her clipboard, a small frown on her lips.

"I'm Ms. Blackthorn," she said, her ear moving back in place as she looked back up at me. "Karen is..." The right corner of her lip curled, showing a fang along with a slight measure of disdain. "Indisposed at this time." She gave her head a slight tilt, allowing her to gaze down at me from around the bottom rims of her glasses before she offered her hand. "I'm to assist you for the time being."

Reluctantly, I offered my own.

Her fur was soft, so gentle it felt like a baby Meowth I'd once had the pleasure of petting. Yet, within seconds of touching her, I could feel a cold slowly radiating outward, lapping hungrily at my skin, forming a ripple of gooseflesh down my arm as I withdrew it quickly.

Dropping her own hand, Ms Blackthorn gave a slight frown but said nothing, looking back to her clipboard.

"Karen intended to introduce you to some of the members of our island, one of which will be your partner for your stay here."

"Partner?" The word came out sharply as I felt my body constrict at the thought.

"Yes." She turned, looking back at me to follow her, either not noticing or caring of my reaction. "Leave your bags, they'll be cared for."

I glanced at my bags and looked at her before pulling myself away from them, trusting her words for now and following her towards a different set of doors then the ones I'd entered. "Amy?"

The edges around her eyes crinkled, as if she thought of laughing or mocking me. Instead, she only answered in what I was coming to regard as her polite yet cool tone. "No. Not Amy." She gave the slightest shake of her head, almost regal in its execution. "Not a human partner either." She pushed open one of the doors, allowing me to slip by her. "A Pokemon one."

As she lead me along what looked to be a sandy beach that reached out into an isolated cove, I asked another question on my mind.

"A partner like you?"

Her lips curled in a displeased manner, her very white and very sharp looking fangs peeking out. "No."

Feeling as though my last question had irritated her, I remained silent as we walked. The light breeze from the ocean made what would have otherwise been a hot day pleasant, several large white clouds floating along the sky. The beach followed us along our right side while to the left I noticed what looked to be playing fields for soccer, basketball, and even what I presumed to be Pokemon battle arenas. We veered away from the beach line far before it ended, heading towards a small building with huge fencing on either side. As much as I craned my neck, I couldn't see where it ended. It wasn't just long, either, it was tall too. Taller than the building it was attached to, probably by an additional three or four floors.

"What's in there?" I asked, images of prehistoric Pokemon coming to mind.

"That will be discussed later," she answered, stopping at the door of the building and turning to face me. "Within, we have ten Pokemon who help operate this island." She paused, as if waiting for me to ask how. When I didn't, she continued, explaining anyway. "They help to keep the island secluded and safe for all of its inhabitants." She tilted her head, looking away from me and upward, her words sounding as if they were reflecting something from within. "It is a job which can cause depression, stress... even loneliness." She turned her attention back to me and her words became cool again. "We are seeking partners for them. If one of them accepts you, we'll go over the terms of the job."

A hot lump fell into my stomach and my throat became so dry I felt ill.

"You mean... I might not get the job?"

I... I had left everything... under the impression that Karen had a job for me.

"You'll have a job." Her eyes narrowed behind her wire rims, as if seeing something she hadn't noticed. Before I had a chance to react, she was inches from me, reaching to touch my chin and lift my face up. My breath caught and I held rigidly still, fearful for more reasons than she could know as she examined me.

When she finally spoke again, her words were softer, holding a trace of warmth I didn't think possible of her. "Room. Food. It's included in whatever job we find for you..." She blew a light breeze of air across my face, the chill in it crystallizing the traitorous tears I felt burning down my cheeks. "We just want to find the right one," she soothed. "One that will keep you with us for a long time.

She gave a harder puff, the drops of ice shattering into small flakes of snow while only a cool air touched my skin. They spiraled for a time before disappearing, melting out of existence.

"Karen thought you would be best suited to this task." Her hand pulled away, her head turning as her tone became like a frost settling on grass. "If not, there are other, equally wonderful opportunities on Lazuli. After all," the smile that formed on her face, for some reason, seemed predator-like in nature. "Lazuli is unlike any other..."

With that, she turned to open the door, again, waiting for me to enter.

As if walking into the mouth of some great, unseen beast, I took a step forward, not even getting a chance to see what was inside as the door shut behind me, leaving me in the dark.

My first thought was that Adam had found me.

Turning, I tried to find the door, to get out, but no matter how much I stumbled forward, I couldn't find it. There was nothing there!

No... not true.

While I couldn't see anything, I could still sense something watching me from the dark. Amidst the sound of my heart thudding in my ears, I could make out a low hum that went higher in tone then lower before quieting.


There was a series of click sounds to my right, returned by the humming again to my left.

"Who's there?"

Another noise came from behind me, I turned to look, even though I realized after the fact how stupid that was when I couldn't see. This sound was more like an arrangement of wind charms that had clanged all at once.

"This isn't funny!"

There was a huffing sound, followed by a scraping noise, as if something was leaving the room. Waiting, I heard something moving just as a soft peeping sound was made. In answer to the peeps were a string of chimes before a quick flash, making spots appear in my eyes.

Were these the Pokemon that Ms Blackthorn had mentioned?


I heard a soft pop sound, followed by another flash. Were they leaving?

I moved forward, intent on seeing if I could talk to them. When I moved, it felt like my foot snagged on something. I ended up tripping, throwing my hands in front of my face, trying to twist my body as I fell. My head bumped something, white pain striking the back of my skull as the echoes of shouts and past aches raced through my head.

When the lights came on, I screamed. As I felt hands on me, I tried to push them away, shove myself away from them. My back hit something, knocked something down. I practically climbed over it before the voice registered as female, not male.

"Kimberly! Calm down!"

As a chill filled the air, I felt my eyes roll up towards the ceiling before all thoughts were gone in a welcoming oblivion.


"You're sure?"


"Very well... but expect to speak to Master Diamond about your choice."


"How much longer is she going to sleep?"

"I dunno... can't be that much longer... right?"

Trying to swallow, my tongue scrapped against the roof of my mouth, bumpy and dry. Opening my eyes, I hastily shut them again as a sharp pressure spiked behind my left temple.

"Hey! I think she's up!"

When something touched my arm, I scrambled back with a thin shriek, my eyes flying open. I couldn't make out anything clearly, only blurs of colors and vague shapes. My back struck something, a wall, and only after several blinks I was finally able to see.

More morphs.

Two. One on my right, one on my left. Pikachus? Pichus? No. Even with the human features, the markings weren't those I knew from the PokeMart merchandise. They had small circles on their cheeks, one having blue and the other red. The one to my right had small plus signs inside its red circles and the one to the left had a dash inside the blue circles. Wearing dresses of a paler color then their cheek markings, their eyes were as wide as I suspected mine to be.

"Holy shit..." The words came out slowly from the girl with the red circles before she gave a slight shake of her head, her hand still hovering from where it had touched me, a short laugh like electric pops coming from her that vaguely sounded like "pulse-pulse". "I didn't think a human could move that fast!"

"MIA!" The name came out as a loud hiss from the girl on my left, the one with the blue markings. "You're not suppose to swear!"

Mia pulled her hand back, running it past her neck to flick her curly hair in an indifferent manner. "Oh, who are you gonna tell, Kara?" A soft pause before a snort and an obvious eye roll. "Mom?"

"I could," the other replied sullenly, her blue tipped ears lowering.

"But you won't, Kara." Mia smiled smugly before giving a sassy sway of her shoulders, planting a hand on her hip and waving her finger at Kara. "Besides, you were just as surprised as I was, don't deny it!."

"But I didn't swear."

Feeling my heart slowly backing away from the rapid tackles it'd been making against my chest, I slid down the wall, letting my ass rest on the pillows and my head against the wall, trying to figure out where I was.

The room was painted the shade of budding cherry blossoms, darker red flowers clustered along the top, forming a border. Starting in tight clusters at the top, the flowers broke apart as my eyes followed them down the wall, singular petals drifting downward till they vanished into the plush violet carpet. There were two bedside tables, each with lamps hanging over them, mounted on the wall with white shades, similar red flowers decorating the cloth. At the far side of the room was a desk, as well as a dresser. A picture hung on the wall in a silver frame but I couldn't make out the image on it from here. On the opposite side looked to be a door but I wasn't sure where it led.

However, I was certain this wasn't the same room Mrs. Blackthorn had led me to.

"Kara! Mia!" The new voice made me stiffen against the wall, recognizing it to be a male though I didn't know the speaker. "You better not be disturbing her!"

"We're not!" Mia cried back, hastily shoot a look at Kara that easily translated into "quiet!" while the blue cheeked girl sighed and gave a quick glance of impatience back.

"Why don't I believe you?" The words were light, a hint of exasperation tugging at them as the speaker rounded the corner of the doorway. He had brown hair, straight, but curled inward at the ends. His hazel eyes went to the two morphs first before even glancing my way. "Sorry if they're troubling you..." He walked over to Mia and gave a tug on her ear, making her yelp and glance up at him, grabbing her ear away and clutching it, a sullen pout forming along her face. He gave her a little grin and she turned her head aside, her cheeks darkening as small sparks popped from her cheeks. "They were told not to bother you... but you know how kids are."

I wanted to say "not really," but decided against it. Instead, I watched his hands, my shoulders instantly tensing as he reached towards me. He didn't seem to notice, if his smile was any indicator.

"I'm Kyle, you've already met Mia and Kara." When I didn't take his hand, he seemed a little puzzled but gave a shrug and moved it to rest on Mia's shoulder. "I'm their caretaker..." He gave a wink and leaned forward, speaking in a loud whisper. "Which is fancy talk for 'babysitter.'"

"We're not babies, Kyle!" Mia bumped her shoulder against his leg, forcing him to have to readjust to not lose his balance.

"Aww, of course not, Mia..." He hugged her closer to his side. "You're both my good little girls, aren't you?"

Kara giggled, as if he'd told a joke of some sort, though I have to admit if he did it went over my head.

"Come on, you two!" He gave Mia a little push. "We need to let her have time to herself and to get used to her new partner. You two can visit later, if she wants..." When he glanced to me for conformation, I wanted to say no but the words curled like bile inside my throat when I saw the twin pairs of enthusiastic brown eyes looking at me, the hazel ones only slightly less eager.

Giving a slow nod, I gradually got out the words, "Yeah... maybe later."

"Alright, you heard her, girls, come on!" Kyle ushered Kara and Mia out of the room, lightly pushing at their backs when they seemed reluctant. There was a few moments of silent, followed by a light scolding as Kyle said something about how they shouldn't have been in my room to begin with, before I heard Kara shout out "Bye, Kimberly! Bye, Ganesa!" and the faint shutting of a door.

Dazed, it took me a moment to mouth the words, "Ganesa?"

Looking around again, I tried to find who Kara might have been talking to. So far as I could tell, there wasn't anyone here.

Slipping out of the bed, my toes wiggled when they felt the soft carpet beneath them. Someone must have taken my shoes off... but where did they put them? I couldn't leave without them...

But maybe that was the point.

Then again, I didn't know where my bags were from earlier either. Maybe they were in another part of the... the building I was in. Or maybe they were still sitting in the lobby. That could be too. Maybe it would be for the best. I'd have a lot less trouble grabbing them and leaving then...

Fighting back the feelings that accompanied the idea of going "home," I decided I wasn't going to find my shoes or my luggage in this room. I'd have to travel to the next one and face running into Ganesa, whoever that was, before I could go.

Giving another look around the room, I almost hoped my things would appear, that I hadn't looked as well the last time. That they might have been in a corner, or by the desk, or near the bedside tables... but like most wishes, mine didn't come true. The room remained void of any possessions of mine save for what I was wearing.

Reluctantly, I moved to the doorway where the morphs and Kyle had left from. Touching the doorframe, I waited, listening. There was no sound of movement... maybe Ganesa wasn't here after all? Maybe Kara was wrong...

I moved to look around the corner, only to pull back, unable to make myself look. Leaning against the door, my hand curled around the cool metal of the handle as I took several small breaths through my nose, as if it was somehow quieter than my mouth. I was never going to know if I didn't look and I couldn't leave if I couldn't get past the doorframe!

Compelling my body forward, I kept my eyes down for the first step, following the purple carpet to the hallway. A quick turn of my head in both directions showed a wall to the left with a full length mirror, what looked to be a living room with a couch ahead of me, and a door down a hall on the right. I expected the door down the hall lead out but without my stuff, it didn't mean anything. As the mirror equated to a dead end, I gave another glance to the right before taking several quick steps forward.

My guess about the room being a living area seemed right, but it was a little more than that. To the right, it connected with what appeared to be the kitchen, the stove and fridge visible thanks to an open doorway and a bar window, two stools on my side. On the left was a balcony, wooden, with flower trays on the outside rail. There, perched between two of the trays and an array of white flowers, an odd looking bird sat.

Unable to help myself, I took a step closer, passing the television and coffee table as I moved forward.

It was small, about as large as a bowling ball. The feathers were completely different from the Spearow and Pidgey I was used to seeing, an emerald green with a sheen covered most of his body save for his actual wings (a mix of red, yellow, and black), the one red feather atop his head, and the red tail feathers I could just see behind him. From all appearances, he seemed to be sleeping, tucked close to himself with his feathers ruffled out and his eyes closed.

Was he someone's pet? Was he lost?

Before I realized it, my hand was on the slider door, pulling the handle. It didn't open at first so I tried again, only to realize it was locked. With a small frown, I flipped the lock, looking up to see the dark eyes of the bird opened and watching me. Taking a step back, I waited, half expecting him to attack. When he merely cocked his head at me (the result being his whole body tilting half to the side) and used his beak to clean his wing feathers, I relaxed and moved forward again.

Opening the door, I expected him to rush inside if he was someone's pet, bracing myself for the typical rush of feathers and squawking that the PokeMart birds did when someone opened their cage. Instead, he gave a small shake of his body, ruffling his feathers more, then hopped down on the balcony and took several short hops till he was in front of me.

Lifting his wings, he gave another little hop and a flap, looking up at me as though expecting something. He did it once more and, much to my embarrassment, I suddenly realized I was in his way.

A step to the right fixed the problem and he hopped inside, allowing me to shut the sliding door behind him.

"What are you?" I asked, expecting some kind of answer.

The funny little bird just gave another shake before turning to look one way, then the other. Apparently, the room met his approval for he hopped further in and then gave a larger leap to get on top of the bar counter. However, he must have mistimed his jump because he didn't quite make it all the way. His front claws scraped across the top but having nothing to grip, he slipped. Making several desperate attempts to grab the countertop, he flapped his wings but still fell back.

Rushing forward, diving, I just caught the little ball of feathers, skinning my elbows in the process. Braced for a frantic fluttering and potential pecking, I felt him shrink, as if exhaling a worried breath, before he adjusted to settle comfortably in my hands.

"That was close."

My jerking and spinning unsettled the bird, spilling him from my hands.

Behind me, a woman stood, her head tilted at a slight angle, watching me with little to no expression. Then again, any expression she might have been showing was partially obscured by the mask she was wearing, a half mask of some kind, that let me see her lips but little else. In a way, it reminded me of a knight's helm, the silver blue material it was crafted from glinting from the balcony sunlight. A weird sheen of red covered the eye holes, not letting me see her eyes though I was certain she could see me. Part of the metallic mask cupped her face, following along her jaw though she seemed to have no difficulty in talking. She wore the palest pink colored gown I'd ever seen, so light it was almost white, though there were some darker purple streaks marking the neckline, shoulders, and a few other spots. She had on Victorian styled gloves, the same material as the dress she wore, hiding her hands, with the metal like material tipping the ends like claws while a purple streak ran along the back of her hands. A pair of wings spread from her shoulders, the same color as the gown but firmer looking.

As her head slowly tilted the other way, I watched as she spoke.

"I trust your accommodations are hospitable?" Her words were soft and slow, each one pronounced with a care reserved to holy scripture.

Rather than speaking, I just gave a small nod, wondering how she'd gotten in. Granted, I doubted Kyle and the girls had locked the door when they left but I should have heard her enter.

"Good." Her lips twitched, almost a smile, before smoothing out again. "I see you've met your partner, Ganesa."

"Ganesa?" I glanced back at the bird, seeing that he'd righted himself and was lightly raking the carpet with his right foot, watching the carpet fibers getting caught in his claws. "Him?" I turned in time to see her incline her head a half an inch forward. Interpreting it as a nod, I shook my head. "I don't even know what he is!"

I suspected she was laughing at me when I saw her shoulders lift and fall, though not a sound came from her. Her voice was the same as before, betraying nothing. "Ganesa is a member of the small bird family, though his species is classified as a Natu, to be exact." Her hand lifted to press one of the nails against her lips, as if thinking. Removing it, she smiled again. "He's one of the ten Psychic Pokemon we have assisting us with running the Safari Zone part of the resort. More than that, we'll discuss later after you've had a little more time to adapt."

"What if I wanted to leave now?" The words rushed out of me, so powerful they left me breathless. Watching her lips tug downward into the start of a frown, I suddenly worried about the answer. What if I couldn't? What if I traded one caged existence for another?

A soft ripple of concern touched me then, so abstract against my thoughts that it jarred me from them. Turning, I saw the Natu staring at me, his black eyes questioning. They were black-black too, I mean, he had no irises. Just two black circles floating atop the whites of his eyes. A small wave ran along my skin, starting at the back of my head and moving down my spine and curling around my bottom then following my legs and stopping along my toes. It repeated, warm, like a large, invisible hand was stroking me.

It took me a moment longer to realize it was coming from him.

"You could," came the soft answer to the question I'd originally asked. "Nothing binds you here yet, no contract, no signatures. Only words." She paused, but I didn't turn to look at her, too fixated on the bird before me who only looked back with equal interest. "Ganesa would miss you... but I'm sure we could find him another partner, given time."

The Natu gave a few hops in place, flapping his wings and opening and closing his beak in rapid succession though no sounds came out other than the clicks of his beak tapping itself. He hopped around me, stopping between myself and the women, spreading his wings in a quick gesture and leaving them upright.

Bending her head to look more fully at him, the masked woman turned her head slightly to the right. "I cannot force her to stay, Ganesa, nor can you. The decision has to be made on her own."

He turned to face me then, the feathers along his brow scrunched as if to ask why I didn't want to stay, why I would leave. When I didn't say anything, he took a small step forward, enough that he could rest his head against my knee, a sensation wrapping around me like a squeeze... an invisible hug that kept me still.

"Ganesa..." The soft warning in her voice made the feeling loosen, like an Ekans uncoiling reluctantly.

The little bird shot her a glance before huddling down, as if he was trying to make himself appear smaller than he was. It reminded me...

"It's okay..." I reached a hand to touch the top of his head, still half expecting to get a sharp peck. However, he seemed far more intelligent than the Pidgey and Spearow of the shop (or at least he was trained really well) and no peck was delivered. His feathers were soft, tiny little things that tickled along my skin. "I just wanted to know..."

"You may still leave," she repeated, gliding past us without making a sound. "But once you sign the contract there will be rules to bind your loyalty to the island. You can leave... but you'd be required to come back." She paused at the hallway's entrance, lifting her head though not turning to look back. "I would suggest you make your decision soon. Not that we're rushing you... but better you both do not get attached to something that isn't... permanent."

I felt a pressure along my shoulders, as if someone was pushing down, before seeing the unhappy glare the Natu sent the woman. Looking back towards her, I just had time to see her turn the corner before I heard the familiar shut of the door.

It was only later I realized she'd been pregnant.


"So... I guess you don't really talk, huh?"

Ganesa cocked his head and remained where I'd sat him on the countertop, watching as I ran the water in the sink, intending to get something to drink.

"I thought Psychics could talk to people, you know, in their heads." I wiggled my fingers under the spout of water, checking to see if it was as cold as I liked it. I had found a cup in one of the cupboards I'd explored earlier and intended to fill it when I saw the Natu move.

He took a small sideways hop closer to the sink, then took small steps to walk around the edge. With a little shake of his body, as if preparing for something daring, he put one foot on the faucet. His two front toes and the back toe wrapped around it and he moved his body forward, getting enough room so that his other leg could fit on it. Fully perched on the metal, he moved along it, suddenly flipping upside down without warning. I reached to catch him again but he didn't fall... just hung there.

Moving closer to the source of water, he stuck his beak under it and began to take small nibbles of water, pulling back when too much splashed on him and opening his beak so that I could see his tongue smacking the roof of his mouth. Then, he'd lean in again for another few nibbles.

"You could have mentioned you were thirsty," I said, though mainly to myself.

Waiting till he seemed done, I put my cup under the water, grabbing some for myself. As I took a sip, I moved to turn the water off. Before I could, he fell.

I almost dropped my cup as I saw him give a small flip before landing on his feet in the sink, purposefully moving under the water.

"Oh my God," I finally gasped out, putting the cup on the counter and reaching for my heart. "You've got to stop doing that!"

He gave a small shake that made his tail feathers quiver, the cascade of water rolling off his feathers rather than drenching him. He turned to look up at me, cocking his head to the side again as if he didn't understand why I was so jumpy, then glanced at the handle. I moved to turn it off when a chill suddenly settled heavy on my shoulders. With a shiver that made my teeth clatter, I found myself turning the water warmer instead. The chill that had blanketed me so suddenly began to melt, running down my back like melted snow, leaving only a trail of warmth in its path.

Ganesa seemed pleased, if the rapid clicks of his beak were any indicator. Ruffling his feathers, he gave me another glance, meeting my gaze for several long seconds before turning his attention to the black stopper on top the counter. At the same time, I felt a push at the back of my skull, like someone was pushing me without actually touching me.

Wrapping my fingers around the plug, Ganesa moved to the side to let me place the stopper in the sink, blocking the drain. As the water gathered, he gave a few happy flaps of his wings, bobbing his body with evident satisfaction before settling into the water. When it grew high enough, he began to float like a toy boat, using his feet to propel him in tight circles around the sink.

"You'd probably have more fun in the tub..." I smiled as I watched him bob around. "Or a pool."

He stopped his swimming to look up at me, still floating. He gave some rapid flaps with his wings and suddenly kicked, as if to jump out of the water. I threw my hands up, laughing, trying to shield myself from the spray of water.

"The pool, huh?" His bobbing grew more insistent. "Well, there must be one around here somewhere, right?"

I did have a suit buried somewhere in all the stuff I'd grabbed. If I could find my bag, we could go for a swim.

...I might as well get something out of this trip before I had to go home.


I was able to find my bags after some searching. When I couldn't find them in any of the rooms, I began checking the closets. They hadn't been in the hallway one, but one located in the bedroom area that I hadn't noticed before during my moment of panic. None of the contents looked disturbed either... though I hadn't so much packed them as I had crammed every piece of vital importance in them.

Two empty bags later, I was now in my blue one piece with a towel tied around my waist, a happy but still slightly wet Natu on my shoulder. I'd tried to carry him in my hands but he'd twisted and flapped to the point I was worried he'd scratch me. When I left him alone, he made his way up my arm, his talons gripping but not puncturing. After that, he remained quiet but obviously very interested in our surroundings, turning his head this way and that as we walked. The mirrors in the elevator were a source of amusement for me, watching him puff up then tap his beak against the gleaming surface, going so far as to flick his tongue against it several times before being convinced it wasn't another bird.

Now, the only problem seemed to be locating a pool.

"I don't suppose you know where one is?"

Ganesa met my gaze, blinking once, then shifted himself to look around me. Feeling my throat dry, I turned as well and had to blink several times before I was sure I wasn't just seeing things.



The force that she slammed into me with was enough to make me lose my balance, Ganesa flapping his wings suddenly and giving a sharp hiss that shocked me into righting myself.

"Oh my god, Kimmy! I didn't know you'd be working here!" Amy's wide grin made me smile, taking in the sight of my friend as she stepped back and loosened her hug to let me breathe.

She looked happier than I remembered... not that she'd been unhappy, really, but there was a definite change about her. Her paler complexion now had a healthy tan to it, the ponytail she'd kept at the back of her skull for the sake of having it out of the way gone completely. Her fair hair hung loosely around her face, framing it in a flattering manner I couldn't have imagined her having months ago. Her freckles along her nose and cheeks seemed darker but more becoming with her tan, her indigo eyes so bright they might have been gems in the lobby fountain.

"This is great!" she continued, finally releasing me from the death hug so she could clap her hands and give an excited bounce. "It'll be soooo much fun having you here!"

A slight cough from behind her made her turn and her smile only deepened, causing dimples to show on her face.

"Ah! That's right!" She took my hand and tugged me forward. "Let me introduce you to Roshan, my partner!"

The creature behind her made me feel an instant distrust. He was humanoid but definitely not human... Yet, he wasn't like one of those anthros that I'd seen. I was almost certain he was a full Pokemon... as golden as Amy was, his fur covered him from head to toe. The only other distinguishing colors he had was the stark white mane that formed a cuff around his neck with mingled dark grays and the startling black tips against the points of his large ears. His eyes were crimson, similar to Ganesa's with the fact they didn't have an iris. However, unlike Ganesa's wide eyes, his were squinty and almost crossed as he looked around his nose at me.

"He's a Hypno," Amy continued, both her hands on mine as she all but bounced in place. "And my partner! Oh, GOD, this is going to be soooo kickass!" She laughed suddenly, giving me a another grin. "I mean, can you believe how awesome this job is?!" She leaned closer to me, as if departing a secret, speaking each word one syllable at a time. "We. Get. To. Work. At. A. Fricking. RESORT!" She spun around suddenly in a quick circle before giving a victory pose complete with peace sign. "Free food, free room, all the sun and fun we want!"

"Free food and room?"

She gave a sigh and folded her arms, rolling her eyes before grinning. "Well, almost. I mean, we can't order, like, a frickin' literal ton of food or nothing, but, yeah." She waved her hand dismissively. "I mean, the job is pretty easy too... all we have to do is-"

Roshan reached a hand towards her, lightly putting his fingers on her arm. She turned, breaking off her words suddenly as he gave a slow shake of his head.

"We have to what?" I asked, curious as to why the Hypno had stopped her.

When he turned to look at me, I felt something suddenly groping inside my head, like a hand reaching into a velvet back, trying to dig something out. Before I could do anything, I felt it grab and yank, though not pull fully out. Rather, it brought words to the forefront of my mind and read them back to me in a male voice that almost made me seasick with the way it rolled around inside my skull.

[Ganesa will tell you,] the words dropped back into my mind like useless tiles before new ones were dug up. [Without your contract signed information is...] The groping sensation came back, plucking and discarding till it seemed to find a word that fit. [Limited.]

Feeling sick, I tried to look away from him, hoping that would get him out. A hiss by my shoulder and a sudden crackle made me glance at Ganesa, the tiny bird puffed up twice his size as he deepened his hiss. The Hypno looked away from me and towards him. It couldn't have been more than three seconds but I'd swear to a judge and jury that they conveyed more in those three seconds than Amy and I had the whole time we'd been together.

Roshan bowed his head and Ganesa stopped his hissing, moving his beak to settle his ruffled feathers, smoothing them down.

A puzzled expression suddenly came to Amy's face and she turned to look back at Roshan, who glanced at her then nodded and gestured to me.

"Roshan says he's sorry..." she said, her words slow with uncertainty. "He didn't realize that his talking to you would cause such an adverse reaction..." She looked back to him for conformation and smiled when he gave a slow nod. "Anyway, were you heading to the beach?" She gestured to herself and Roshan. "We can join you. Roshan doesn't like getting his fur wet cuz it smells but I can go swimming!"

The horrified look on Roshan's face almost made me laugh, the information Amy gave clearly not something he wanted shared, but it wasn't enough to leave me fully comfortable with the Hypno.

"Thanks anyway, Amy... we were just going to look around."

The look she gave me was pure skepticism. "In your swimsuit?"

I gave a smile. "Well, it's warm out... and you never know if you'll find a good spot to catch some sun, right?"

"I guess..." she took my hands in hers again, squeezing so hard I thought she'd break my fingers. "But you have to meet up with me later, okay, Kimmy?" She kept my hands in hers a moment longer, the smile gone from her face. "This really is a great job... and I don't want to not work with you again..."

I slipped my hands from hers and gave them a light pat. "I'll think about it, Amy," I promised half-heartedly. "But I have a lot of stuff going on, I don't know if it'll work."

"It's really great though!" she insisted, her eyes pleading with mine. I had to look away before I gave in, the look too similar to the Houndour puppies we'd had in the shop for adoption. "You should-"

Again, she cut off, turning again to look at her partner. The silence stretched longer than Roshan and Ganesa's had, but it resulted in her giving a heavy sigh and letting my hands go.

"Roshan says that I have to let you make your own choices... but I really do hope you stay, Kimmy." She gave me a tight but brief hug. "I did miss you... it was one of the sucky things about quitting."

"Well... thanks, Amy." I gave her an awkward pat on the back before she let go, her smile subdued but still brilliant.

"We'll catch you later then," she said, the wistfulness unable to stay out of her words as she gave a wave.

While she turned to go, I saw Roshan put an arm around her and hug her to him. Rather than pull away, as I would have done, Amy leaned into him. An odd feeling came to me, warm and cold at the same time...

And I had no clue what it was.


Leaving the resort, I wasn't sure where I wanted to head. The beach had looked inviting from when Ms. Blackthorn had walked with me but I was concerned about running into Amy so soon. I headed away from the beach instead, towards the fields I'd noticed earlier for soccer and other sports. There was a building there, far smaller than the resort but larger than the one Ms. Blackthorn had taken me to earlier. Ganesa didn't give any signs of protest when I made my way to the door, so I figured it'd be okay to go in.

The building looked larger on the inside than it did the outside, reminding me of a summer camp I'd been to when I was younger, though far nicer. There were tables all around, ones for ping pong, ones for foosball, some air hokey tables, and even a few tables that had board games stacked on the ends, like chess and poker.

"Hey! Welcome!"

Turning sharply, I felt Ganesa's claws dig in at the quick movement and I winced, realizing I could have unsettled him. His grip eased and he settled against me, giving a soft sigh in my ear before pressing softly against my head, a reminder he was there, I think.

"Are you here to play a game?"

This time, I brought my attention slowly to the speaker, so as not to distress Ganesa.

She was small, only a little taller than Kara and Mia, with two long strands of purple hair jolting out of her head like antennas and the rest of her hair so bushy I almost couldn't make out her face. Her eyes were red, but a lighter shade than the Hypno's and lacking the rodent like quality he'd had. A funny upside-down "v" rested over her nose, like a purple band-aid, but with qualities similar to a tattoo. The clothes she wore looked like baggy pajamas, a mix of clam pink and lavender in large square patterns. I would have mistaken her for human if not for the twin tails that moved around her, a hand on each end with pink finger tips. Both swayed by her shoulders like snakes listening to a charmer, her eyes still fastened on me.

"Master Diamond said we weren't opening for a few days longer... but I was hoping someone might come play."

"I was just looking around." I turned my gaze from her, back to the room. "What is this place?"

"The Recreation Center," she replied, moving her tails on the ground and lifting herself up so that it looked like she was sitting in midair. "For when the tourists want to engage in some healthy competition." She gave a sly wink and held one of her human hands to her face, pushing a single digit against her lips. "No worries about getting bored with all that dumb relaxing!" She gave a small thump to her chest with the same hand. "Not with Iku around!"

"What else is here?"

Her weight shifted, causing one side of her body to lift higher than the other and giving her a tilt to indicate her puzzlement with the question.

Making a sweep with my hand, I asked again. "The island. What else is here?" I shook my head. "I mean, there's the resort itself which is huge... couldn't they have put the Recreation Center in there?"

Her hands straightened out, lifting her so high she almost touched the ceiling as she hugged herself. "Oh, nooooo!" She shook her head again and again. "None of my precious games are going in there!" She gave a wide grin and spread her arms wide. "Look at all this! There's more downstairs! And outside!" She clapped her hands, hooting a little. "There'll be soccer, and baseball! Football, volleyball, and battles! Gllllllorious battles!" She was practically dancing on her twin tails, swaying from one side to the other as she reached for a game of Shortkin on one of the tables. "I've only had Master Diamond, Mistress Pearl, Kara and Mia to play with..." She gave a sudden pout. "Mya won't play with me... nor will the others, but when the guests come, they'll want to play!"

While she set the game on one of the other tables, straightening it so it was lined up perfectly, I had to ask again, "What else is here, besides the resort and the Recreation Center?"

Iku flipped herself upside down, hanging from her tails now rather than sitting. "Well, there's the farm... where the food comes from. A bunch of forests and the lighthouse..." She scratched absently behind her ear. "Cloyster Cove... and the Safari Zone."

"The Safari Zone?" I'd heard of those before, from customers. They'd mentioned catching new Pokemon from there, usually exotics, and would ask us about care like we had a clue of what they should feed them or buy them.

The chittering laugh made me look back to her.

"Yes! It's one of the main attractions of the island, besides my wonderful games, of course." She gave a smart nod. "It's where guests can catch Pokemon to stay with them for their trip and to come here to play games and baaaaaaatle!" She trailed off on the last word with a sing-song tone, giggling and flipping herself right side up. "Your bird buddy works there, I think."

"Ganesa?" Turning my head, I caught him nibbling on the nail of his foot. "Doing what?"

She made a sharp "tsh" sound. "I don't know, not my job. My job is to play games!" She frowned a moment, leaning inches from my face. "You sure you're not wanting to play?" She pulled back and reached for another game, the murder mystery game Hint. "I've got almost everything!"

"No, thank you." I backed up, deciding to head back out the way I'd came.

She gave a sigh large enough to inflate a float balloon. "Next time then..." She was putting the game down and reaching for another one as I left, her words repeating in my head.

What on earth could Ganesa do in a Safari Zone?

...and what was my part suppose to be in all of this?


Returning to the room, I changed out of my swimsuit and back into my clothing, considering the options I had. The one I was favoring most had to do with leaving the island and never returning... but each time the thought came to mind, Ganesa would flap insistently from his spot on the bed where I'd placed him, as if to say he was there and wanted me with him. So, while I didn't like the idea of staying, I thought about it.

I mean, if I did stay, I got a free room (which I assumed was the one they'd placed me in) and food. I also got paid in addition to that, which was nice... but what would I be doing? The most I could figure is that I was to be Ganesa's companion or something, but that seemed too simple for what they were offering. If I knew anything, life wasn't that simple. You didn't get everything for nothing...

So what kind of hidden elements lurked on this island? In the deal they wanted to make with me?

Putting my hand down, Ganesa climbed up my arm, mindful of his claws. Lifting him, he made his way back to my shoulder while I went to sit on the couch, careful to do so slowly so as not to upset Ganesa. I closing my eyes to think better, not letting the pretty surroundings sway my decision, I tried to think on the contract they wanted me to sign for working here. One, I figured, had to do with the morph things they had. I'd never gone on a journey or really left my hometown other than coming here, but I know I would have heard something on the news or in the papers about morphs. I didn't know what the contract would entail about them, maybe keeping quiet or something, but I felt certain it would be there.

Second, I figured, would have to do with the Safari Zone they had. If Ganesa worked there, like Iku seemed to think, then I bet that's where I'd be working too. But what would I be doing? As a companion to Ganesa, what kind of assistance could I offer him? And what the hell was it that he did to run the Safari Zone anyway?

Moving a hand to rest it on my forehead, I willed the slowly building headache to vanish.

It felt like a trap, one whose bars I couldn't see but ready to snap around me the moment I signed anything. But... would it really be such a bad thing? Food, shelter, money... to stay and play companion for Ganesa? If that was really the bulk of what the contract would entail, I could live with that. The island was secure, the guard at the boathouse very competent from what I could tell, I mean, I wouldn't mess with a guy that muscular and I bet Adam wouldn't either. I could be safe here, I think...

A knock on the door gave me a slight jolt, but I'd learned during the day to keep my flinches to a minimum so as not to upset Ganesa's balance. Rising, he gave a soft protest by squeezing a little harder with his right foot, a ripple along my mind indicating displeasure.

"Well, we have to see who it is," I muttered to him, lightly tapping his foot so he'd relax it.

Going to the hallway, making my way to the door, I checked the peephole first before unhooking the chain. Another morph met my eyes, one with a cart that held several trays covered with silver lids.

"Room service," the young morph said softly, her 's' having a soft but charming whistle to it.

The ears atop her head were almost the full length of her body, brown for the most part but ending in a cotton candy pink. Her hair was an odd shade of white that reflected a blue hue as she moved, lifting one of the trays to show the steaming soup under it. Her hands looked like she was wearing brown gloves tipped with a pink ruffle but as she put the lid back down, I could tell it was actually fur. From all the ones I'd seen, she looked the most human, though the deep red of her eyes was unsettling to see on such a face.

"There's also sandwiches and fruit," the morph continued, absently smoothing the white apron she wore over her pale, modest blue dress. The trim of the dress, the buttons, as well as the ribbon she had tied around her neck were all the same pink color of her ears. I wondered if all the maids wore similar outfits or if this one had been designed just for her.

"Will you allow me to bring the food in?"

Realizing I'd been staring at her, I stepped aside to allow her to push the cart in, shutting the door behind her. She went right towards the living area, leaving her cart there to carry the trays to the kitchen table.

"Master Diamond said to inform you he requests your presence at eight," the morph said softly, moving back to her cart. "Ganesa will guide you."

"Master Diamond?"

The maid gave a bob of her head. "Yes." With a curtsey that royalty would have envied, the morph then began to push her cart out.

I reached a hand to stop her, to ask her more, but I wasn't sure what to ask. Before I could think of anything, I heard the door shut, signaling her departure.

Groaning to myself, decided to sit and eat something, not wanting to face whoever he was without a full stomach.


Around seven-thirty, Ganesa began to get fidgety. He shuffled along my shoulder, what little space it provided, and gave quick little shakes from time to time. His anxiety seemed to seep into me, moving like ink in water, and causing me to be more jumpy than I ought to have been.

"Is he really that scary?" I asked Ganesa, the Natu looking up at me with wide-eyes, as if considering it then apparently trying to nod and shake his head at the same time. "Well, which is it?" When he gave a sigh and one of his funny full body shrugs I just decided I'd have to see for myself.

At seven-forty, I felt a pressure urging me to go. Moving for the door, the same pressure guided me outside of it and down the hallway to the elevator. Without thinking about it, I flipped open a panel on the wall that I knew was there and hit the keypad so quickly I didn't remember what numbers I'd pushed. Slipping the panel back in place, the elevator moved, the lights along the top flashing for each floor we passed till we got to the very far right light... and kept going up.

Glancing at Ganesa, thinking that couldn't be right, the elevator continued to move up at least seven more floors before stopping, giving a metallic "ding" before the doors opened.

Stepping out, I found myself in a large hallway. Columns decorated the walkway, huge ones that looked like marble. Lights dimly illuminated the way, the walls a red so dark they were almost brown while the carpet reflected the color of blood where the lights were brightest. Along the way, I noticed canvas paintings as large as myself depicting various Pokemon who I didn't recognize. Coming to the end of the hallway, a huge door loomed over us. Before I could reach to make the foolish attempt of opening it, the doors groaned as if hit by an invisible force and pushed inward.

"Please... come in."

The room was dark. I knew it was huge, though I could see nothing inside it, mainly because of the feeling it gave. I felt the pressure pushing me gently forward but my feet remained planted outside, no amount of coaxing getting me to move when I couldn't see who or what was in there.

"Ah... I see. Forgive me."

Flames streaked from the middle of the nothingness, striking what appeared to be a center fireplace. The wood that was there caught instantly, sharp pops rising to the air as the fire spread upward, the smoke escaping from what looked to be a huge square with piping just over it. The fire helped illuminate the room, some kind of office mixed with a library. Books lined the walls, ladders gleaming against the shelves as couches took shape from the dark. From where the fire had originated, I could make out the form of a man.

"Now... will you come in?"

The pressure pushed again, a hint of desperation to it that finally made me move forward. The doors did not shut behind me, remaining open as I moved closer but in a wide arc around the male. As my eyes became accustomed to the lighting, I could see that he, like Mistress Pearl, wore a costume of some sort which obscured him from view.

His helm was larger than Pearl's, a sort of elongated crown of dark blue with a lighter blue lining to it. Silver rested against either side of his chin in some kind of bolt pattern before following up the helm. The same red material that blocked Pearl's eyes also blocked his but he seemed to have no problems following me with his gaze. The rest of his outfit seemed almost medieval, like a sorcerer's cloak. However, his shoulders and chest were covered by a heavy looking metal, the same silver as the bolt that ran along his face. Resting in the center of the chest piece was a blue stone, lighter than the overall material of his costume but darker than the illuminated blue streaks. He, too, had coverings on his hands but in addition to the blue gloves (mostly obscured by his long sleeves) were twin bracers, wrapping along the underside of his wrist before going along the tops of his fingers into three, long claws. His boots had similar metal fittings, though the claws were made to rest atop the boots rather than dig into the floor.

"Master Diamond, I presume?"

A smile curled along his lips, slow and one sided.

"She said you were smart," he answered, moving closer to the fire. I took a step back, still watching him. "How smart remains to be seen."

"A threat?" I countered, feeling Ganesa's feathers fluffing out.

"No." His voice was deep, almost amused. "I do not make threats."

"Do you have others make them for you, then?"

He did laugh this time, one solid note as if he was caught off guard.

"Well, you and Karen sure know how to pick them, Ganesa." He moved around the fireplace, his fingers tracing the top of the fire pit. "But I really don't think she'll stay."

"She has an opinion too, you know!" I covered my mouth quickly, suddenly aware of my outburst.

"But how often do you let it known?" His head leaned to the side, somehow keeping his helm from falling. "How often do you go for what you want?" His voice grew as hard as the marble pillars we'd seen on our way in. "From what I've seen, not often."

I shook off the soothing sensation that was trying to blanket me. "I'm here, aren't I?!"

"But..." he started slowly, lifting his head to look up at me. "Is that what you want? Or..." He let the words hang before continuing. "Are you using this as an escape?"

The words hit me like a slap.

When he moved again, I noticed a high collar of silver spikes along the back of his neck that flowed down into a magnificently dark blue robe that rippled as he moved like the unknown ocean.

"An escape," he repeated. "Not the best of reasons..."

A loud chime like a gong echoed in my head, making me want to clench my ears against the sound. Diamond turned his head to look at Ganesa, his smile deepening.

"No... you're right. It's not the worst." His smile faded. "But it's not acceptable for our needs."

The gong sound rang again and again, louder and reaching pitches that would have broken crystal. Diamond's lips curled, his arm waving in a quick sweep. A wave of wind roared past us, Ganesa's wings flapping hard to keep his balance before it died away. Huddling closer to my face, the Natu trembled, the silence more powerful than the gong had been.

"What did you do?!"

"A reminder, that is all." Diamond's words had a hot hiss to them that hadn't been there before. "He knows better... no matter his attachment to you, he still needs to obey the rules of the Island."

"And that gives you permission to bully him if he doesn't?" my own voice was growing shrill as I moved forward. "He didn't attack you!"

"And I didn't hurt him." His lips curled back, showing fangs that I was certain hadn't been there a moment before. "Just reminded him, that's all."

"Of what? That you're the 'Master' here?"

"Yes." He moved again, but it was different. Slower, with a tension in his body as if he would spring at any given moment. "And unless he wishes to challenge me for the position, he needs to obey my final ruling."

"Ruling? Like you're some kind of king?" I shook my head. "What kind of king would attack his subjects?"

"The kind that knows what's best for his people, what they'll stand to lose if he's overthrown, and has the foresight to set himself in harm's way before it can touch anyone else."

The words came not from Diamond, but from Pearl. She glided down a small set of stairs, her hand along the rail as she moved closer to Diamond, her gown billowing lightly behind her.

"I told you not to interfere, Pearl." The sentence that came from Diamond seemed more of a growl then words.

"I suppose you'll have to punish me later, then," Pearl replied, a softness in her words that was soothing and a little more.

As Diamond seemed to mull them over, Pearl reached him, touching the armor on his shoulders and moving herself closer to him, lightly kissing at his exposed jaw. A fierce growl worked its way out from him, sudden like thunder, and he grabbed her in so tight of an embrace I thought she'd pop. She was whispering to him, things I couldn't hear from the distance that divided us. Whatever she said seemed to work though, as his body became more relaxed and his head turned to kiss at her throat. She turned in his embrace to face us, his arms still tight around her, not letting her go.

"If he is king, then I am queen." Her voice was steady, showing no fear from his prior display of anger. "And in this case, his ruling is just. Ganesa may try to persuade you to stay, but he is not allowed to force you. While I can fully understand and appreciate his... connection to you..." Her voice fluttered a moment as Diamond's lips roamed around her neck. "Your choice is vital. If this is merely an escape, a way to stay safe, we have other positions. Or, if you chose to leave, that is fine too." She inclined her head. "We can provide you passage to a destination of your choice and funds for your work today and tomorrow, enough to at least secure a temporary lodge."

Dread like brittle ice clustered inside of me.

"What about Ganesa?" I found myself asking.

"He will find another partner, hopefully one that will compliment him as well as you do," Pearl answered.

A soft growl resounded through the room, the vibrations making the air tremble.

"I recommend thinking this over tonight, getting a good rest, and reaching a conclusion tomorrow." Pearl waved her hand. "I will have Tosya bring you a copy of the contract. You need not feel obligated to sign it... but perhaps seeing it will offer some reassurance."

The growl repeated, deeper, and the shadow behind them seemed to darken and sway.

"For now, I bid you both good eve."

Before I could blink, I found myself and Ganesa back in our rooms. Teleportation? How?

"Did you...?"

The shake of his head assured me Ganesa hadn't been the one. Before I could do anything else, there was a soft, familiar knock at the door. Answering it, forgetting to check out the peephole, I found the maid from before. In her hands was another silver tray with a lid on top.

"Mistress Pearl requested to bring this to you," Tosya said softly. "I have also provided a light snack while you read."

Accepting the tray from her, the morph gave another perfect curtsey before turning to go.

"Ah, wait! Tosya!" The morph stopped, one ear lifting slightly. "Amy..." My mind groped around for her last name. "Amy Rosenplum. Do you know her?"

"Ms Rosenplum? Yes." Puzzlement danced along her words. "Would you like me to relay a message?"

"No... no." I couldn't trust Tosya not to report anything I gave her back to Pearl or Diamond. "Can you just tell me what room she's in?"

"Ms Rosenplum and Mr Roshan are located in room 515," she replied. "Do you wish me to summon them for you?"

The mention of summoning made me recall Diamond and I shook my head. "No, thank you. I just wanted to know."

"Will that be all, mistress?"

Being called that made an odd ripple run through me, one of disdain for the title since it made Tosya seem less than me... and one of pleasure for the same reason.

"Yes... thank you, Tosya."

She smiled. "A pleasure, mistress." With a final curtsey, she moved down the hallway and towards the elevators, leaving me with the tray. Shutting the door, I took it inside to sit and read it.


Most of it was what I expected. Things like not trading company secrets, though what the secrets were had been strategically removed. Making sure all members of the island were treated equally, with respect, human, morph (what they called anthro), and feral alike. Agreements about wages, food, and board... an outline of basic care needs for Ganesa that would need to be fulfilled...

And, finally, what my job would entail.

It seemed like I was going to help Ganesa with the Safari Zone after all. While it didn't tell me what exactly he'd be doing (I expected that was privileged information till I signed), it did say that I'd be a guide of sorts for new visitors entering the Safari Zone. Explaining the rules (though the rules weren't listed) and handing out items for the game (again, not listed). Honestly, it seemed really simple...

So why did it pay so well?

...maybe there was something Amy could tell me?

Setting the papers down, I glanced at the clock. It wasn't too late yet, Amy should be up. From the stories she'd tell at work, she was quite the Noctowl.

Pushing out my chair and giving a half stretch, I felt Ganesa give a quiet grunt of air. His eyes blinked open, having been dozing while I was reading. Absently scratching above his beak, he leaned into the touch.

"So, you'd miss me if I go, huh?"

A sense of loss filled me, one so profound I hadn't felt it since my grandmother's passing.

Almost keeling over from the sensation, feeling dizzy from it, it passed almost as quickly as it came. Glancing at him, he just met me with wide eyes.

Drawing in a breath, I headed for the door.


Amy's room wasn't that far from mine, in fact, after looking at the number outside my door, she right next door. That confused me because I hadn't heard anyone coming or going from there or any voices or televisions or anything. Actually, I hadn't heard anything outside of my own room.

"The insulation must be crazy good," I muttered to myself, though I felt a sense of agreement.

The hallway color scheme was similar to my room, the carpet identical. The walls were a deep pink with wide purple lines streaking downward. Honestly, one hand of me expected it to be tacky but the colors chosen really worked well with the design. Giving a light rap on Amy's door, I heard no sounds of anyone coming to answer. Yet, I couldn't imagine her being anywhere else.

"Amy?" I gave a loud whisper, not wanting to wake anyone up in case their rooms weren't as quiet as mine. "Amy?"

Knocking again, I tried the handle. Jiggling it, it seemed locked till a faint blue shimmer happened around the metal and a "click" sounded, the door suddenly opening. Turning my head, I was just in time to see Ganesa's eyes losing the faint blue tint that was around them.

"You shouldn't do that," I hissed. "It's breaking and entering!"

A smug sensation came back to me, indicating that there wasn't any breaking so it was okay. I didn't agree with it but I couldn't just leave Amy's door unlocked and have her come back thinking someone actually did break in, so I stepped inside to wait for her.

But it seemed like she was already home.

I could hear the radio playing now, the song reminding me of the ones Amy had liked to put on the work stereo before the boss would yell at her to change it. A pumping, volatile mess of metal and rock, a techno like thump causing the bass to shake my eardrums.

"Amy?" I called a little louder, not wanting to startle her but there was no response. Had she hurt herself somehow? Worried, I made my way to the living area, the setup of her quarters identical to mine so I knew exactly where to go...

Though I had no idea what I'd walked in on.

No... I knew. I just couldn't believe it.

Frozen in the doorway, I saw Amy, naked, straddling Roshan. More than that, she had her hands on his shoulders, her body bouncing up and down as she pierced herself repeatedly on his swollen, purple cock, shining with their shared juices. One of his hands was squeezing her ass, the other along her back as his head was buried in her cleavage. The scent of the room was overpowering, like this was their third or fourth time going at it. His grunts were beastly, like a Swinubs, his own hips rushing to meet her as his balls struck wetly against her pussy. Her head was thrown back, eyes shut tightly, her lips mouthing his name in silent pleas.

Spinning on my heel, I turned to get out of there before either could see me, shutting the door behind me so loudly I'd be surprised if they didn't hear it.

Then again, with the music and the sex, I bet they didn't notice anything.

Moving quickly back to my room, my face so red it felt like I'd been burned by the sun, I shut and bolted my door, leaning against it while I tried to process what I'd been seeing. I couldn't understand why Amy wanted to have sex with such a thing, especially not when it was a federal offense in our country...

But... we weren't in our country anymore, were we?

Almost at a run, I ran to get the papers off the table, ignoring Ganesa's frantic flaps. I was looking for a particular passage, where was it? About pay... There!

Monetary compensation will be in the form of Lazuli currency unless otherwise requested. Upon request, payment can be given in the form of the employees choice. Lazuli's currency is recognized and can be traded for other currency off island as well...

Not just a resort... a country. A country that allowed sex with Pokemon? Suddenly, the morphs made sense. Were they the children of such unions? Of humans and Pokemon? But then... again, why hadn't I heard of this from the news or elsewhere? I mean, there were often the hoax magazines that claimed something or another...

Were they real?

"That doesn't even matter, what matters is that it's wrong!"

A buzzing moved around my head, like an inquiry.

"Because!" I snapped into the air. "You don't have sex with Pokemon!"

Again, the buzz, a little more persistent.

"You just... don't." My words had less force this time. I mean, I knew I shouldn't have sex with Pokemon, but why? Because they were animals? That was a silly reason, most of them showed themselves to be as smart or smarter than humans. They could consent, so why not?

The image of Amy's apparent pleasure as she rode Roshan pushed itself to the forefront of my mind. Away from them, I could admit to the jealously I was feeling now, had felt earlier when I saw him put an arm around her and she leaned into him. I hadn't had that kind of relationship with Adam, a human, so how dare she have it with a Pokemon?!

Even as anger burned along my veins like lava and ash seemed to scald the insides of my eyes, I could feel my body responding to my thoughts of what I'd seen. The brush of my bra against my nipples sending pleasure through me that I hadn't experienced in months. Anger turned to something else, still as hot but a lot more unsettling.

Making my way to the bedroom, I moved Ganesa from my shoulder to the chair by the desk. His claws grabbed it and he remained perched, watching me. How smart was he, anyway? It seemed like he understood a lot... and responded to my desires.

What did he think about all this?

Feeling far too warm, I pulled off my shirt, watching him. He blinked once but kept his gaze on me. Pushing off my jeans, I could have sworn I saw him shift uncomfortably to the side, a flush of heat racing along my mind. Pleased, I felt more powerful in front of him then I had in... well, forever.

"Do... you like what you see?" I moved my fingers to graze my neck, gliding them down to the valley of my breasts, his eyes following the motion before giving one very slow nod. Smiling, something caught my eye.

Directly under his beak, near his feet, something pink was sticking out from his feathers.

The fear that I felt each time Adam shucked his pants off, showing how flaccid he was, calling me a stupid bitch who couldn't even arouse a man and forcing me to suck him by keeping my head pinned between his legs and the pillows was suddenly enveloped by the realization that Ganesa did like and want me.

That, and he didn't have the heavy hands I'd always fear coming to strike me or force me.

"You want me to stay?" He glanced up at my eyes, away from my body, a flicker coming to my mind, uncertainty about the question followed by a heavy affirmation. Trying to garner what tatters of courage I had left, I felt my chest heaving as I took several quick breaths. "Make me... want to." Suddenly worried how he might interpret that, I amended. "Make me feel the way Amy was, like my whole world is you... and I'll stay."

Rather than the wave of glee I expected, there was a withholding, like a breath being taken, followed by a timid brush along my mind, as if touching something beyond price or value.

He didn't hop down from the chair, either, and make his way to the bed. He remained sitting in quiet contemplation before a ripple ran along my arm, like a warm hand was touching my shoulder and sliding down. A gasp escaped me and I looked down, but nothing was there. The sensation persisted, moving to touch my neck where my fingers had just been and following the same path, stopping to stroke between my breasts.

My head was leaning back of its own accord, the feeling of warmth travelling up now to glide along my neck. Goosebumps remained in its wake, my skin tightening with a desire to feel without fear.

A gust of wind blew along the back of my neck, like someone was blowing on it, making me shiver as my hair ran along my skin. I wanted to lean back, to be embraced, and little more did I think it then I felt it. Something solid, like a chest, moving like someone drawing a breath. Rather than turning and acknowledging what wasn't there, I closed my eyes.

And, within my mind, I could see him.

His arms were wrapped around me, a dark tan. His lips, chapped, rough, moved along my neck. His lips were light against his skin, painted yellow like the circles that decorated his shoulders, cupped by black that ran in two black streaks down his arms with red on the outside. His hair was green, thin tendrils of feathers that clung close to his scalp with one long red feather sticking out near the back.

So far as I could tell, he wore not a stitch of clothing.

"Like this?" he whispered, moving his right hand to cup my left breast and squeeze, the feeling only slightly hampered by my bra.

"Yes," I answered, pressing myself closer into his hand.

"I knew you were it." He gave a few light nips along the edge of my ear, squeezing harder. "I knew I was meant for you."

His free hand moved to stroke my belly, his palm splayed wide, almost covering the full of it.

"A babe... you've always wanted one." His voice was quiet, his lips moving away from my ear to kiss along my neck. "I will give you one, when you are ready."

The laugh I gave carried a hint of a sob, having told no one of my all but forgotten dreams of motherhood.

"Not forgotten," he whispered. "Buried."

"How did you know?" My body arched back against him as I felt his hand slide under my bra, the feel of his hands so soft and light that the contrast between what I was used to and what I was experiencing might as well have been like snow and sun.

"The way you felt after realizing Mistress Pearl's condition." The pressure of his hand against my belly increased for a brief moment. "How badly you wanted that... to feel life in you."

I could only swallow, not having any words I could say.

"Say nothing," he murmured against my skin, kissing down along my shoulders as the hand that was on my belly moved to run under my bra and cup my right breast. Both of his hands were massaging gently as he spoke again. "Just feel."

His hands moved from my breasts to rest just under them, splayed along my ribs. They moved further, along my sides, then the top of my thighs, then back up again. The warmth he spread made me bite my lip, trying not to gasp as they slipped around to my back and unhooked my bra.

"Make whatever sounds you like," he said, smile evident from his voice as he slipped the cloth off of my arms and tossed it to the floor. "I want to hear you..."

My arms moved to cover myself, feeling exposed, but his hands caught me. His thumbs rubbed against my wrists, holding me but keeping it relaxed, allowing me the luxury to slip away if I chose.

I didn't.

A pleased hum oriented from his throat, his head moving to rest against mine while his hands squeezed my upper arms.

"I want to see all of you," he whispered, his right hand going to tug on my panties. "May I?"

Breath shaking, I nodded. Hooking my fingers along the waistline, I wiggled out of the material, pushing it off the bed with a kick of my foot. Turning, I embraced him, no longer wanting to be the only one getting touched. Stroking his face, I caught the surprise in his dark eyes as I pressed my body to his, my spine curving sharply towards him as I felt the heat of his chest against my nipples. His arms moved to engulf me, pulling me tight to him as I captured his lips against mine. Like an electric blanket on a cold night, the comfort I felt within his arms was unmeasured in security and warmth. Even the feel of his hard cock against my stomach wasn't enough to make me cringe away.

He leaned me back gently, leaving me to rest my head on the pillows as he moved his hand along my body again. Every nerve of my body was alert to his touch, desperate for it. This was how I thought it would be, how it had never been when I was with Adam.

"Do not think of him... he will never come near you again save to grovel at your feet." There was a sharpness in his voice that caused me to pause... but it was with appreciation rather than fear. "Stay with me, I will protect you. Guard you." His hands reached for mine. "Love you."

I wanted to laugh and tell him life didn't work that way. There were no more "great guys" who'd proclaim their undying love for you... but the sincerity in his eyes kept me from it.

Where man failed, maybe a Poke-man would do better.

"Show me," I said instead. "Make me believe you."

The smile that appeared on his lips was better than I had been expecting, certain he'd be disappointed by my words. He moved to half cover me with his body, his lips bending down to touch mine, so soft that I felt my mouth opening for more. His tongue mingled with mine, the kiss deepening. My arms wrapped around his neck of their own accord, tugging him closer to me so that his chest lay against mine. When the kiss finally broke, it was followed by more, quick and hard, driven by an intensity that had me responding like a horny teenager, something I hadn't been for many years.

Soft gasps came from me without warning, tiny mewls of need escaping from a part of myself I'd forgotten. I felt his hand drifting downward, working on spreading my petals. Unlike so many times before, they were actually wet. I could almost feel the moisture sticking to his fingers so I closed my legs tightly, capturing his hand unintentionally. I tried to turn my head to hide my shame, but his lips caught me in mid-turn.

"So beautiful," he encouraged, his free hand lightly running along my legs. "You have nothing to fear with me, Kimberly. Open your legs for me, let me please you."

Shaking, I felt my legs open gradually. His fingers moved against my petals again, even more slowly than before. His thumb brushed the tight cluster of hairs down there, grazing my clit in the process and making me arch. A portion of his finger moved into me, curling and swirling, making my hips shake. Turning my head away, I felt his finger slip in deeper. My body responded greedily to his invasion, clamping around his finger and loosening before gripping again.

"Responsive, too," his voice whispered, my cheeks flushing in response.

His finger pushed in fully, the rest of his hand bumping against my pussy. I could hear the sound of my own juices, even smell them. I felt disgusted by the fact that the quicker he pumped his finger in me, the louder it sounded, the greater the smell grew... and the needier I became. In response to the small thrashes I was making on the bed, he slowly moved another finger to join the first, wiggling both inside me. I gave a sharp cry, my hands on my breasts and squeezing before I realized it.

"Yes, like that... give in to what you need. Show me what you desire."

I began to squeeze harder, pinching my own nipples so hard I felt tears come to my eyes as I thrust my hips upward, trying to push his fingers in deeper. I needed more, more of the freedom that washed along the back of my mind, of the warmth his hands gave along my skin, of the way they pushed into me. I needed more of it, more than it.

"Please," I heard myself saying, the words coming without my consent. "Please..."

He didn't make me ask for it, beg for it, like Adam would have. He pulled his fingers out and licked them, smiling at me before moving over me, his cock positioned right in front of my entrance as he gave me a gentle kiss on my lips.

"You're sure?"

"Yes!" I moved my hips up, pushing my pussy closer to him.

With a pleased grin, he kissed me again before pushing past my petals and into my heat. He was so thick that my opening spread to accommodate him, my body eagerly responding as it felt him enter. He kissed me harder, my own lips matching the pace he set as he began to thrust, pull in and out at a leisurely pace. He only began to pick up when my hands moved to run along his back, my nails digging into his skin. Again, Amy and her lover came to mind, the frantic pace of their rutting so clear before he blew it all away. As if he could sense me thinking of thoughts other than him, his pushes became more forceful, pulling out and burying himself into me in harsh, fluid motions. Hugging him closer, I felt myself panting as though I'd been running, even though he was doing all the work. His mouth moved to kiss along my jaw, then my neck, even going so far as to leave a solid, hard bite that made me jump up against him.

I was so close now, my "vision" was swimming.

"Open your eyes, Kimberly. Look at me."

At his command, my eyes flew open, the body I'd envisioned over me gone... but the sensations still remaining. It still felt like he was on top of me, that my arms were around him, that his cock was still pumping inside of me even though I could easily see Ganesa sitting on the chair where I'd left him. His cock was still straining, drops of pre along the top of it... but his eyes were still on me, a violet hue to them as the sensations surrounding my body increased, making me give a startled cry as my hips gave one last thrust and I came. A similar cry echoed along my mind, a pulsing sensation flooding my pussy before I felt myself growing lax on the bed, a light sheen of sweat coating my forehead.

"Oh, my God..." I closed my eyes, but only blackness appeared, for which I was thankful. I didn't think I could go again so soon.

I expected the air to chill me after the glow faded, but Ganesa kept me blanketed in warmth. Waiting for the quivers within me to settle, I opened my eyes to glance at him, more than a little concerned since I hadn't done anything for him. I felt a heat race along my mind and skitter away, as if he was shy, and one glance told me why. I could no longer see his cock, which had already shrunk back behind his feathers... but along the carpet was a wet trail of Natu cum.

The sight of it warmed me more deeply then I could have ever imagined.


"She'll stay."

It wasn't a question and Karen smiled, removing the mask that covered her face and letting down her hair from the high bun she'd had it in. She didn't mention how she'd told him not to worry, as even she had some doubts given Kim's history. Moving a hand over her stomach, feeling the bulge of the Scyther eggs still within her, she turned to look at Zane, watching as he removed his own helm.

"Yes, I think so," she answered, trying to reach behind her to undo the zipper. It was bad enough she'd had to have Arachne let out her gown before she even got to wear it in public but to make matters worse, getting the zipper was almost impossible.

Feeling a presence behind her, she stood still, waiting as she felt Zane unhook the clasp above the zipper then pull down on the nuisance, letting the gown slip to the floor. Closing her eyes, she felt him just inches from her back, the metal from his bracers moving along her sides, leaving light scratches in their wake.

"I didn't forget... about your punishment..."

"I know," she whispered, leaning her head to the side to expose the length of throat, her hair falling away from it.

His pleased growl curled along her stomach, making her toes curl against the carpet.

"Keep your eyes forward," he hissed. "Do not look behind you."

Quieting her breath to listen to him moving, she made out the sound of his cape falling, the collar clanging against the floor. The bracers fell beside it, the shoulder pads next, then the boots, and his robe. All the while, she stood, trembling each time a stray gust of wind caressed her skin, hoping his hand would follow after it. Tiny bumps raced across her skin, wanting to turn but obeying his command, keeping her gaze on the monitors they'd just been watching. While they had not "seen" what Kim had, it was apparent that the Natu had done a good job convincing her of her worth. She wouldn't leave someone like that, someone who could deem her valuable after so long of doubt.

Karen knew that better than anyone.

When his touch did come, she jumped, having not heard him move. His fangs grazed her neck, a warning hissing from him as his arms moved to clutch her close against his chest, his cock already between her legs and seeking entrance. His claws grazed her, cutting her gently again, his tail thumping once on the floor before moving to twine around her ankle...

Ensuring she could never leave him.

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