I’m thinking about making some PDFs and EPUBs for these first 4 volumes. Going to see if it’s as ‘easy’ as I remember first though…
Two chubby white duck-bodied birds flapped their large wings and lifted off the snowy rooftop, almost falling to their deaths. Fortunately, Jake and Vora were ‘professional aviators’ by now and managed to glide down, then soar up higher. Their long necks were stretched out straight and their curved, black beaks spoke fluent English. Or at least, Jake did. Vora’s ‘language’ ability was still quite troubling.
“It’s not that bad. At least they aren’t as cold now, because of all the blubber.”
“Yeah… But we can still hunt and bring back food though.”
As far as food is concerned, there were a lot of fishermen and hunters in the town to the northeast. Which was where this outpost got most of its supply from, but there were also trucks that went north to Rio Grande, which was one of the biggest cities in Argentina at the moment. There were lots of trade ships that went from north to south. Trading all kinds of ‘things’ along the coast. The airport in Tolhuin has been expanded several times and there is usually a lot of deliveries and exports, people can also travel to other cities. For that matter, this town actually had the internet. It was slow as hell, but it existed.
Anyway, the food consumed by the Scouts and Hounds wasn’t nearly as much as they could hunt. Unless they got lazy, like the two original Scouts that they were forcing to exercise by commandeering their bodies. In other words, they often brought back huge amounts of fish, meat and other random things to the outpost. Colas never asked for any compensation for the medical treatments or help with supplies, but Jake didn’t want to feel like he owed them anything.
Jake and Vora flew over the city at a high altitude, just in case. Then they went off toward the mountains to the southwest. There was snow covering a lot of the trees below, but many of them were still bright or dark green. The mountains weren’t that tall, but they were mostly stone-capped, which made them covered in ice and snow now. There were some taller ones in the distance farther southwest, but Jake and Vora didn’t bother exploring that far.
“I can’t believe we were actually planning to hide out in the fucking mountains during winter.”
“I mean, it’s not impossible, but just… Unnecessary, hahaha~!”
“For now.” Vora’s pink eyes looked over at Jake’s Scout, “Humans, dangerous.”
“Yeah. That’s true.”
He sighed and then swooped down toward the thick forest below. Vora flew down after him, the two of them darted between the trees and branches, almost crashing a few times, but always narrowly avoiding death. Then Jake reached out and grabbed a big, fat squirrel by the torso and kept moving. Vora grabbed a brown owl that was about to attack the squirrel. The two animals struggled fiercely, but the claws of the Scouts were extremely powerful and sharp. They also intentionally smashed the heads or torsos of their prey against branches or twigs as they flew, causing them to lose consciousness or even die directly.
There didn’t used to be squirrels in Argentina. But they were introduced into the north region in the 1970’s and they became an invasive species. With the current state of plants and animals, people have started caring even less about invasive species or animal control. Especially with so many ‘traders’ going through and bringing strange creatures to different parts of the world. Those animals mutate, adapt, multiply rapidly, or simply go extinct.
“Raao!” With a loud roar, a huge tan cougar jumped from a tree and neary grabbed Jake’s Scout! However, he quickly abandoned the squirrel, flapped his wings and soared up into the sky. Although the oversized big cat couldn’t get the tasty bird, it settled for the juicy squirrel instead. Then set off and returned home to its many cubs.
“Calm down. I can just get another squirrel or something. It’s not a big deal.”
Vora was furious and wanted to slaughter the stupid cat, but Jake didn’t really care that much. This kind of thing actually happened quite frequently. Whether it was ocelots, cougars or even mutant house cats, it was normal to get attacked by them when hunting. The Scouts could work together to hunt down a lone cougar, but only if all five of them were there. Bigger animals often lose a lot of agility and dexterity. However, their bodies were stronger and heavier, making it much more difficult for the Scouts to do anything without ‘cheating’.
“The last time you tried to use razor wire to hunt, you almost killed the Scout.”
“If we have to torture the animal to death with barbed wire, fishing hooks or other tricks, then what’s the point?”
“It’s not that much easier and where’s the fun in that? Hunting should be primal. A competition between predator and prey, relying on only their bodies… Humans cheat and take all the fun out of it.”
“Whatever.” Jake rolled his eyes and the two of them flew back to the roof of the hospital, where they dropped off the dead owl. This roof had a helipad, with a big black assault helicopter on it, but it was more of an emergency measure. Since they came here a few weeks ago, Jake and Vora haven’t seen the chopper take off once. There were some small enclosed areas on the roof, which acted like bunkers or watchtowers. Although they did have automated turrets and things like that, those were actually more expensive and less reliable than just having real people keep watch.
When the Scouts delivered random dead animals to the roof, the people on watch would notify someone to come up and deal with it. The meat has to be dealt with by professionals and the animals have to be checked to make sure they aren’t carrying anything too dangerous. The Scouts and Hounds also have venom and poison which can sometimes contaminate the creatures they hunt. For that matter, the animals in the wild also have various issues that need to be considered.
Fortunately, most of the people who have survived this far already have superior immune systems, a certain resistance to many toxins and are relatively healthy. Even if some of them are fat or chubby, no one is morbidly obese. Unless they had some blubber-related adaptation or mutation, which isn’t actually that strange. Especially in this environment.
“I’ve been wondering…” As the two of them soared over the slightly frozen lake, Jake asked, “Is it possible for us to create plants, fungi and other stuff like that?”
“Unknown.” Unsurprisingly, Vora had no idea either.
“I guess we should stick with animals for now. How would that even work, anyway? Would we grow a seed and then plant it? Or would a vine start growing out of our body? That seems kinda scary…”
“Unnecessary risk… Tuxedo Meat!”
Jake looked at the thousands of penguins on the rocky, snowy beach below and sighed dramatically. Unlike Vora, who grabbed a fat, juicy penguin that was bigger than her own birdy body, he targeted the brown hawk that swooped down behind the duck-like Scout. Needless to say, both the hawk and the penguin were sent back to the base shortly afterwards.
When Jake and Vora burned enough calories for the Scouts, they came back and witnessed Tori dancing with their own body. The 2.5 meter tall giant armored man was white from the chin-down on his torso, while the rest was mostly black. Those long dangly tentacles were silver, like his eyes. Those strange webbed raptor-like feet were surprisingly nimble and able to move with the beat of the Anime theme song pretty well. Tori waved her huge claw-like hands around, while her real body sang along in a high-pitched voice to the lyrics on the big screen in front of them.
Catarina on the other hand, was just sitting on the side, watching, laughing and cheering on her silly friend. Of course, she wasn’t the only one. Tori was basically performing for a crowd of twenty other people in the Cafeteria… Jake couldn’t help covering his face with his right wing and laughing at his silly daughter.
Vora watched it for a few seconds and lost interest. Instead, she used the Scout’s body to gorge herself as always. It was the Cafeteria after all. The other Scouts and Hounds were also there, eating the treats and leftovers that were fed to them. Jake and Vora flapped their wings and landed on a special perch that was made for them specifically. There was a touch-screen within reach, to customize and order exactly what they wanted the chefs to make. Yes, actual chefs. One of them was actually a famous Argentinian celebrity chef in 2022, but in 2023, they’re lucky to even be alive and have a relatively safe place to work.
“Spicy Mushroom Noodle Soup. Baked Potatoes, Sour Cream, hmmm… Sauerkraut Ramen… Chicken nuggets…”
“Seaweed salad and a rainbow roll. Oh, and a Spicy Tuna Roll. Thank you.”
Of course, even if they could use the touch screen to order directly, they usually used the voice commands instead. Their claws and beak were too sharp, while their wings were too fluffy to pick up properly.
“¡Si, Señor y Señora Cinagra!”
“I’ve noticed that we stopped growing spikes.” While they were waiting, Jake looked at his dancing body and commented, “Maybe it’ll change later. Not sure if it’s good or bad.”
“Good. Spikes, unnecessary.”
“Yeah, it’s kinda hard to lay on a bed or sit on a chair with a bunch of spikes on your back. I think that maybe we ate too many crabs back then. But with how many birds we eat now, you’d think we’d grow some wings or feathers.”
Even if they grew wings, they’d likely be too small to let them fly. Even gliding might be a challenge. Unless his arms grew two or three times larger, transformed into wings and his chest, back and other necessary muscles expanded to compensate… Either way, he was very comfortable with his current appearance and posture, so he didn’t want to change too dramatically if he had the choice.
Jake watched Catarina get up and leave the room. She was wearing black sweatpants and a pink sweater over her now hairless body. Even though the temperature inside the building was relatively comfortable in most places, without her fur, it was still too chilly for the little girl to wear a t-shirt or skirt.
As she walked through the hallway, Cat listened to Tori’s singing and smiled to herself. Then she sighed and shook her head, pulling a cellphone out of her pocket and looking at a text message. She frowned and walked over to an empty ‘ward’, standing by the window to get better reception.
“Estaban… ¿Qué pasa?”
“Es Bruno … Ellos dicen que se cayó del barco.”
“No sé si es cierto o no. No les creo a estos monstruos. No me sorprendería si lo mataran y se lo comieran…”
“¡Joder! ¡¿Cómo pudiste dejarlo solo?!”
“¡No me grites! ¡Tú fuiste quien nos abandonó! ¡¿Recuerdas?!”
“Yo… lo siento… Esteban. Solo ten cuidado. Mantente con vida. Creo que puedo… No, haré lo que sea para sacarte de ahí.”
“No, Catarina. Por favor, solo cuídate. Eres solo una niña.”
“Lo sé. Eso es lo que les gusta.”
“Por favor, no lo hagas.”
“Hablaré contigo más tarde. Con suerte, cara a cara. Te amo.”
“Yo también te amo.”
After taking a few deep breaths and then crying for a while, Catarina gritted her wolf-like teeth and sighed. First she went to the bathroom. About twenty minutes later, she went to the top floor of the hospital. It was only three floors total, unless you count the rooftop and basement. Up at the top floor were a lot of the ‘offices’ of the most important members of the organization in this little outpost. Aside from Professor Colas, there was another man with about the same authority: Richard Queen.
Rick was a tall, muscular, pale-skinned, brown eyed and blonde haired man from Portland Oregon. More importantly, he was the Head of Security in this particular outpost. In a lot of military matters, he had far more say over what happened than Professor Colas. Catarina stood in front of his door and frowned, but eventually she knocked lightly. Similar to most of the other doors in the hospital building, it was actually automated. There was a camera up top and a keypad on the side. Long before she knocked, the person inside was alerted. However, the door didn’t open until she knocked a few more times.
“Catarina…” The cleanly-shaven man wasn’t particularly ugly or bad looking. At least in terms of human aesthetics, he should be fairly handsome. He smiled with big white teeth at the little girl who nervously entered the room, with the door closing automatically behind her… Then he stood up from behind his small metal desk and towered over her tiny body.
“What’s wrong? Is there anything you need help with?”
“Si… Umm, yes. Mister Rick, my brother… My brother died. And my other brother, I don’t know how long he’ll last on that slave ship. Please, I’ll do anything you want, just send someone to pick him up.”
“I’m sorry to hear that… But Catarina, you must know that it takes a lot of fuel to fly that far. And there might be a conflict with those slavers. My people could die.” Richard shook his head. He had very short hair, practically a crew cut.
“I… I can do whatever you want. Anything.” Cat’s blue eyes were bloodshot from crying earlier and already tearing up again.
“Anything?” Rick smirked and looked at the little girl’s body. The figure was mostly hidden under her thick clothes. There really wasn’t much to see in the first place though.
“Si… Anything. I just… I’m still healing, so don’t be too rough. Please.”
“I’m not a fucking pedofile.” Richard complained, “Even if I was, I can buy a dozen girls younger than you for a little bit of food and shelter. Do you think you’re worth so much effort?”
“But there is something you can do for me.” Rick chuckled as he looked at the whimpering ‘puppy’, “Tell me about your friend… Tori. Something I don’t already know.”
“You know what I mean.” Rick frowned, “How many languages does she ‘really’ understand. I know she speaks English, Spanish and can communicate with some types of dolphins like Orcas… But does she know any other languages?”
“Why do you want to know this?” Catarina shook her head, “I don’t know. Even if I knew, I won’t betray them.”
“I’m not asking you to betray them. It’s just a simple question. How much do you know about their abilities? Can they control other animals or do they really need to give birth to them first? Can they control humans?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know. No entiendo!” Catarina shook her head again and backed away from the approaching giant man, moving closer to the door. However, without his permission, the door wouldn’t open.
“You were willing to suck my cock for your brother, but you can’t even answer such a simple fucking question?”
He reached out and pressed his big hand on her right shoulder, squeezing it tightly and causing her to scream in pain. Then he scowled, “Maybe you’re under the illusion that those monsters can protect you? Do you really think they give a shit about you? About any of us? You’re just their ‘pet’. A toy they’ll use until they get bored or find a new one.”
“¡Suéltame!” Catarina pushed his chest, but her back was already up against the closed door.
“Fine. Go back and tell your ‘masters’ what I did. I’d like to see how they react. It’s best if they get angry. Do something stupid.” Rick snickered and patted the little girl’s fluffy white furry head. Then he waved his other hand and the door slid open to the side.
Catarina screamed and fell down, rolling across the smooth tile floor, before getting up and running away while crying. The tall man frowned and turned back into his office, with the door closing behind his back. Then he walked over and sat down at his gray, metal desk. On the large LCD monitor, some documents were displayed in Simplified Chinese. He brought up a messenger, with a black background. He typed something in Chinese and the other side responded in Russian. Then he frowned and typed again in Japanese this time. While the other side responded in French.
“Isn’t this a bit overkill? You’re being too paranoid.”
[Plaga: Вы недооцениваете их.]
“Whatever you say.” Rick shook his head and closed the messenger, looking around the room and frowning. Then he picked up a black cellphone off the table and made a call, which was answered immediately, “Did you pick them up yet? We need both dogs for more leverage.”
“Sí Señor. ¿Dónde quieres que los llevemos?”
“Just put them with the other dogs. Make sure they’re alive. Nothing else matters.”
“And pick me up some… Chili while you’re at it. Make it spicy and fresh. It’s best if the meat is a little undercooked. Only a little bit though.”
“No tengo idea de lo que está hablando, Señor.”
“Goddamn it. Just repeat what I said to Olaf! He’ll understand!”
“¡Vaya! ¡Quieres perras jóvenes de Chile!”
“Shut the fuck up! Now do your fucking job!”
After hanging up the phone, he leaned back in his black office chair and sighed, “Ow!”
He was wearing a tight black t-shirt and similarly black jeans. So his muscular arms were completely exposed. He looked down at his right forearm and saw a big red bump, like a bee sting. Aside from the first pinch, it was just numb afterwards. Then he felt another pinch on his neck and swatted, smashing the tiny gnat to death. However, that only made things worse. The bump on his neck had pieces of the poisonous insect crushed into the open wound… It only took a few seconds for him to start feeling woozy. Then he felt several more pricks on his arms, face, neck.
“Aaaah! Help! Help!” He shouted anxiously, knowing that there were always ‘people’ listening to everything. He also pressed an emergency button on his phone before he lost control over his numb, bumpy red arms…
The door finally opened less than a minute later. A team of medics and heavily armed black-clothed ‘security’ arrived. When they saw the large bulging red lumps covering Richard’s arms, neck, face and scalp, they didn’t go to help him immediately. The security officers had their whole bodies covered, including their heads, but they still looked around anxiously and aimed their guns around the room.
“Fucking idiots! He was stung by bugs! Are you gonna shot them?!” One of the female ‘doctors’ shouted at the people and then rushed forward, “Quick! He still has a pulse! We need to get him down to the ER, now!”
Some of the braver men and women rushed forward to help. Though some of the security personnel and medics still didn’t move. Either acting sluggishly or just completely refusing to listen. Letting everyone else do all the work, while they ‘kept guard’.
“No, no! Aaah~!”
Screams rang out from across the whole hospital shortly afterwards. It wasn’t just Rick who was attacked by those tiny venomous fruit flies! There were thousands of them throughout the entire building and they seemed to be attacking people indiscriminately!
“See. This is why having a carapace is awesome. You don’t need to worry about getting bitten by bugs. Unless they’re really fucking scary bugs…” Jake snickered after returning to his body, watching the people in the cafeteria freaking out.
‘Humans, weak. Useless. Inferior… Tasty.’
“Father, what should we do?!” Tori screamed anxiously, “The Hounds and Scouts don’t have shells! And where’s Catarina?! She’s in danger!”
“Calm down. They’re just gnats. Look, Yolanda got bitten like ten times and she’s still fine. Er, do they bite or sting? Whatever.”
“But what if Cat is allergic?! We need to save her!” Tori started pushing her huge body to the double-doors of the cafeteria, but there were too many people trying to escape and even more people trying to enter the cafeteria. In the end, they got stuck there for a few minutes and they eventually found the scared little wolf-girl crying alone in the shower room.
“Kitty Cat, what’s wrong?” Jake frowned and knelt down next to the crying girl, immediately reaching out and pulling her shirt aside. There was a reddish-purple bruise there already. A large male hand.
“Who the fuck did this?!”
“No! Papa, don’t… Don’t do anything. I don’t want them to hurt you-”
“Catarina!” Tori shouted angrily, “Don’t worry about us! What did they do to you?! Who was it?!”
Three deep and terrifying voices came from the mouths of those huge ‘Hounds’! The five Scouts were also looking at the little girl with glowing pink eyes, “Name! Target! Kill!”
“Alright, calm down Kitty Cat… And Vora. Tori, comfort your sister. I’m gonna go talk to Colas.”
“Padre, please! Don’t be reckless, I can’t lose you too!”
Jake sighed and shook his head, “Trust your ‘Padre’ a bit more, okay? Everything will be fine.”
“Si, Padre…” After saying that, she started crying again. Then she was cuddled by the three giant wolves and five duck-like birds. Tori wanted to cuddle as well, but there was no room. Fortunately, she could control one of the Hounds instead.
When Jake was walking through the halls, there were still people freaking out. There were tons of injuries from bug bites or stings. Though none of them were very serious. Only one guy was stupid enough to try shooting a gnat and the bullet ricocheted off a metal wall, hitting himself in the neck. He didn’t die, amazingly enough. At least not yet. He’s in surgery, along with a woman that fell down the stairs and broke her arm.
“Jacob, please come to my office.” Before he could even make it up to the second floor, Colas’ voice came from a speaker near the ceiling where he was walking past.
“I’m already on my way.” With a chuckle, Jake came to the square staircase and started climbing rapidly. Each step allowed him to go up two or three stairs due to his huge size. A few seconds later, he reached the third floor. Any further and he would be going to the roof. The double-doors opened up automatically when he approached.
He looked at the armed men and women in pitch-black body armor. One of them was actually not that much shorter than himself. He couldn’t see their expressions, because everyone wore fully enclosed, tinted motorcycle or ballistic helmets. Some also had gas masks, combined with a helmet and goggles. There were also some people using bug spray to kill gnats, while wearing white hazmat-like suits, but those little buggers were much harder to kill than ordinary insects. Many of them escaped into the vents or hid in places that couldn’t be seen.
Jake held his breath in order to avoid smelling the disgusting stench that made him sick just thinking about it. Then he quickly made his way to Professor Colas’ door, which opened quickly and closed behind him just as fast. Obviously Colas didn’t want to breathe in those chemicals either.
“Is it safe?”
Jake looked around the simple room. There was a small laboratory connected to this room, but the door was sealed shut. There was also a bedroom for that matter. A few pictures and paintings were on the walls. He had three different monitors for his computer. There was also a comfortable leather couch, large enough for the giant man to sit on.
“Yes.” The Professor had a smile on his dark, bearded face, “There shouldn’t be any bugs in here. It’s also nice and quiet. I know how much you hate the noise.”
“Yeah… It’s still very noisy in my head though.” Jake snickered and rubbed his trembling purple tentacles a bit. His fingertips and palms weren’t as ‘prickly’ as before. But they also didn’t have as good of a grip now.
“I heard that Ricky had a pretty bad allergic reaction. How’s he doing?”
“Unfortunately, Richard died a few minutes ago. The good news is that Tamara Lones will replace him as the new Head of Security. In fact, she told me another fantastic news. It seems that Richard though that the boat ride would take too long and be too unsafe, so he already sent a helicopter to pick up Catarina’s brothers. They should arrive at the base within a few hours.”
“Awesome.” Jake nodded, “I’m sure Cat will cheer up once I tell her the news. She thinks that one of her brothers died.”
“You should go tell her the good news then…” Colas chuckled, “I’m not sure if you heard anything about a mouse infestation in town?”
“Mice?” Jake raised an eyebrow, “There were so many mice before the world ‘ended’. Now that so many animals have mutated and started reproducing faster, it’d be weirder if there wasn’t a rat or mouse issue now.”
“Just like gnats and flies?” The Professor looked up at the giant man with a serious expression, “A lot of times… Mutations cause sterilization and reproductive isolation.”
“If the mice were sterile, how could there be so many of them?” Jake snickered and shook his head, waving his hand as he headed to the door. As he was leaving, he said, “Let me know when you’re done with the first batch of Immortal Flies. As long as I have a clearer idea on what exactly Vora ‘changed’ about them, I can make some adjustments…”
“It should take a few weeks.”
“Weeks? Ugh, whatever. Take as long as you need.”
‘Not lazy. Just procrastination. Probably intentional. And all this sophistry bullshit is annoying.’
‘Father! How was my acting?! Do you think they believed my reactions?!’
Before they even made it to the stairs, Tori was already shouted excitedly in their telepathic ‘Family Channel’.
‘Yeah, Sweetie, you’re amazing as always, hehe~! Maybe someday you could be a real actress?’
‘Really? Hihihihi~! Thank you, Father!’
A few minutes later, Jake made it to a huge room on the first floor. It was originally a room big enough for a dozen patients to stay in their own individual beds, with curtains blocking them from each other. Now, there was a big fish tank on one side, large enough for both Tori and Jake to fit inside simultaneously. The water was fresh and clear, with bubbles rising up from the bottom continuously. There was also a huge bed, large enough for Jake’s current height, though it might be too small if he grows any taller. Three separate dog beds, two separate nests for the young and old Scouts. Catarina also had her own normal-sized bed. Plus a few dressers full of clothes. They also had some computers, TVs and other appliances.
They even had their own personal bathroom, but Catarina was the only one who used it. The Hounds and Scouts went outside. Tori only went in the lake if she had a choice. While Jake didn’t really care either way. He took a shit in the lake most of the time, while he could piss just about anywhere. Even a normal bathroom, assuming that he could fit in the door.
“Padre… Thank you.”
“I’m your Dad.” Jake snickered and walked across the room, hugging the crying little girl with his tentacles, “You’re gonna see your brothers again soon. Are you excited?”
Everyone wants control. Not just people, but every animal, plant and other organism. Even creatures without notable intelligence like bacteria will vie for control or power, whether they understand it or not.
The struggle for control often leads to chaos. But through this chaos, a new order will be created and maintained, until the next struggle breaks those chains once again. Even the planets, stars and galaxies themselves will follow this principle. How could humans resist ‘nature’?
Jacob and Voracity are always in a constant battle for control over their own shared body. Torrent wants to borrow their body sometimes as well. However, she usually wants to maintain control over her own body instead. Often, even when she’s using one of the Drones, just like Vora and Jake, they never go all the way with it. Treating it more like playing a VR Game, rather than taking full possession over those bodies and integrating with them completely.
When Jake and Vora created the Drones, they also limited their intelligence, lifespan and reproductive abilities in order to maintain control over them. Even so, there were times when those stupid dogs would do things like eating shit or marking their territory inside the hospital. No matter how many times they were scolded, the normally obedient puppies just continued to do what they wanted whenever they felt that they weren’t being watched or controlled.
They also fought with each other from time to time, in order to be the ‘leader’ of their three siblings. The Scouts were the same way. Maybe they weren’t as competitive, but they did create their own hierarchy among themselves. The older Scouts were originally the most competitive, because they didn’t want to be replaced and abandoned. Then they realized that it didn’t matter and they found that giving up control over the other Scouts, allowed them to be lazier and ‘enjoy’ their simple lives to the fullest. On the other hand, the younger, more energetic birds were still competing with each other and completing all sorts of tasks to show off to their trainers and parents…
“So in other words, Professor Colas wanted full control over this Outpost and asked me to help him get rid of his competitor. So Vora and I created thousands of tiny, venomous gnat Spy Drones and spread them throughout the hospital stealthily. The Drones have amazing vision and hearing, comparable to a human or maybe a small bird. Actually, that’s a little out of order. The first thing we did when we came here was create and spread those Spy Drones as an insurance measure. We wanted to see and hear everything that was happening around us. And in case they wanted to hurt us, we could use the gnats as a secret weapon…”
“Padre… So you’ve been spying on me?”
Those furry white cheeks couldn’t blush, but the looked girl was looking over across the roaring campfire with an angry expression on her face. They hiked a few kilometers to the southwest, near the snowy mountains, where they set up camp in order to have a ‘discrete’ conversation about things.
“You’re mad at me?” Jake rolled his big blue eyes and complained, “You should know that they’re monitoring every fucking thing in that goddamn hospital. No, even the entire town is under heavy surveillance. I’m not sure whether we’re being watched right now either. Maybe they implanted some tracking devices and ‘bugs’ inside your body when they did surgery? Or they could’ve put something in our food too… Maybe they’re listening to everything we’re saying right now, somehow?”
“Father, I don’t like this. Maybe we should leave?” Tori’s silver eyes looked a little teary, “I don’t like having to be sneaky all the time. And lying to people. Acting is fine, but this is too much.”
“It is what it is, Sweetie.” Jake shrugged, “It’s been like this for a long time… As technology advances, surveillance techniques become even more sophisticated and terrifying. Everything you do and say will be monitored, censored, controlled.
“Yes, Father… You’ve said this so many times before. Over and over again. Technology is scary. Governments are evil. Humans are the enemy…”
“That last one was definitely your Mother.” Jake retorted, “Anyway~, that’s why I created all those Spy Drones. Not just gnats… I also, kinda-sorta infested the town with Spy Mice. They’re basically just regular mice, with extremely heightened senses. Oh, and they also have really sharp, powerful claws, teeth, even poisonous barbs on their tails. Aside from that though, they’re just regular mice.”
“Father, isn’t revealing our secret Spy Gnats really bad? Now Professor Colas and the others will be suspicious…”
“Of course it’s bad.” Jake sickered and shook his head, “I have a hundred other ways to kill or get rid of that bastard… But they’re also making moves. I thought we’d have more time to rescue Bruno and Esteban. In fact, things would have been fine either way. But a certain silly daughter of mine decided to go behind our backs and try to make a deal with Ricky-”
“I… I’m sorry, Padre!”
“I don’t give a shit whether you find a boyfriend in the future, but you don’t need to trade sex to get what you want. At least not while we’re here to help you.”
Catarina covered her furry wolf-like face with her hands and muttered, “No soy una puta…”
Tori giggled and used her big left flipper to pat the little girl’s fluffy head, “Trust us more. We’re your family. Hihihi~!”
“Sorry, Tori… I’m sorry…”
“Anyway, you’re a smart kid. I know you were afraid of hurting us, but you’re still too naive. Like that piece of shit said, if he wants sex, with his position, he can just pick some random girl from the town nearby or buy some slaves from somewhere else. I’ve seen a lot of fucked up, horrible shit lately.”
Jake sighed and shook his head, “I’ve also seen a lot of people get killed and eaten by mutant mice, hahahaha~!”
“Father, isn’t it dangerous though? Won’t that make them more wary of us?”
“Yes.” Jake smirked and narrowed his cold blue eyes, causing Catarina to shiver in her thick white coat. The inhuman man looked over in the direction of the town, though it was completely blocked by the tall trees and hills all around their ‘camp’.
“Whether it’s humans or other animals, they’re all easily controlled by fear. We’re the same way. We fear them. So we want them to fear us more… Anyway, it’s one thing to know that something horrible is happening and actually watching it happen right in front of your eyes. Even if I know it probably won’t change much. I don’t regret helping or trying to help people when I can. Whether it’ll have negative consequences or beneficial ones, we won’t know until the future, when it’s too late to change anything.”
“Yeah… I don’t regret saving people.” Tori nodded her giant Orca head and ‘smiled’, though it always looked like she was smiling because of the way her mouth was shaped.
“Thank you, Padre, Tori… I’m sorry for being useless.” Catarina covered her furry face and started sniffling. Of course, it was also really cold out and her little pink dog-like nose was running constantly. Every breath any of them took would create a big puffy of frosty air.
The three gigantic puppies also crowded around their big sister and covered her with their fluffy white bodies, trying to comfort and console her… The Scouts on the other hand, were flying around in the sky, searching for predators and prey. It wasn’t night, but the sky was dim because of the clouds and it looked a little scary. After they found some big white goats, the Hounds did most of the work and everyone was able to eat their fill over the campfire.
“Well, we should get back inside. I’m freezing my ass off.” Jake snickered and stood up off the snowy ground, patting his ass and then put out the fire with some of the snowy dirt. They didn’t eat everything, so he was carrying a gigantic 300 kilo goat on his right shoulder.
Considering that the ‘slave ship’ had wifi and people were even allowed to make phone calls, the conditions on board really weren’t that bad. The repurposed cruise ship obviously would be able to make it through the tiny frozen over river and reach the interior of the lake, but there was a small port set up on both sides of the land that separated the lake from the waters leading over to the Strait of Magellan. There was also an airport on the far side, where a lot of supplies were transported through.
The moment she saw her hulking, 2 meter tall, Werewolf-like brothers coming down from the helicopter parked on the roof, Catarina shouted anxiously. Bruno had blonde fur, while Esteban was brown. The two of them got bitten by a golden retriever and a brown lab, respectively. They didn’t have tails, but their ears had completely moved to the tops of their heads and their snouts were fairly long. If it wasn’t for her keen sense of smell, she might not have been able to tell them apart from the other male ‘Werewolves’ that were gathered on the roof. There were also some smaller and even taller female Werewolves or ‘Weredogs’. Along with a bunch of random little girls from Chile who were wearing thick coats and pants in order to avoid freezing to death.
The two men shouted and wanted to rush over, but stopped when they saw all the guards with black outfits and assault rifles. Not to mention the scary 2.5 meter tall, black-armored monster with glowing purple tentacles coming off its scalp… Even though Catarina told them about her new ‘Padre’ and even showed them pictures, they were still horrified when they saw him in person. Plus, there was a freaking Killer Whale just chilling on the side and giggling in a high-pitched voice.
“Come this way please. You all need to be disinfected and given a full physical. Don’t worry, we won’t hurt you and you won’t have to pay any medical fees afterwards.”
A short, chubby, Asian male ‘doctor’ came over with a smile on his face. Of course, Jake knew that he was actually just a guy who played a doctor on TV. He did study medicine for a few years, but became an actor after flunking out. Anyway, most of the people in the Endless Hope Organization now days were like this group of lucky people who were ‘rescued’ from a slave ship. They came from all over the world and wound up near Argentina for various reasons. Even Jake was the same. There were also actual Argentinians as well, but there were also other Outposts all over the country.
Catarina waved at the two frightened dogs, “Lo siento, Hermanos, podemos hablar entre nosotros después.”
When they walked past, Jake noticed that of the group, some people had digitigrade feet, similar to his own. Though they looked more like giant ‘wolf’ paws than webbed raptor claws. Bruno and Esteban had normal human feet for the most part. They even had shoes, blue jeans and red/black flannel shirts. Their thick fur could block out most of the cold, but it couldn’t cover up their junk and they weren’t nudists if they had a choice.
Jake… His ‘clothes’ grew from his flesh in the form of an exoskeletal armor. It’s not that he couldn’t wear anything else, but just that he was too lazy to waste time and effort cleaning clothes. He also didn’t like the feeling of having something touching his body like that all the time. Tori also didn’t want to wear clothes, because she was a Killer Whale, though she did have fun dressing up like a ‘princess’ and taking pictures with Catarina the other day.
“Yeah…” Jake groaned and rubbed the base of his bulging tentacles, “It’s getting quieter though.”
He shook his head and walked over to the edge of the roof, looking out towards the town. His connection to those mice was still strong, but a few would disappear from time to time. They were only mice after all. They would do stupid things, like eat poison or fall into traps. Even if they could deal with a regular unprepared human or house cat easily, those super mice had to deal with mutated cats, dogs and other animals. Even other mice might be strong enough to overpower them without Jake, Vora or Tori taking over to control their bodies and fight more effectively.
The gnats were almost wiped out by now. There were still a few survivors, but even if they lived longer, they might die from ‘old age’ soon anyway. Their lifespan was about the same as an ordinary fly. They also weren’t very intelligent at all… However, they served their purpose already.
“Ugh… Fine.” Jake sighed and walked down from the rooftop. Everyone else took the elevator, but he always preferred the stairs. Plus, there were only two or three elevators and Tori shared one with Cat. The group of people had to wait for the elevators to make several trips. Everything took a lot of power.
When he made it back to his room, Jake looked around at the small swarm of several hundred tiny gnats. Then he raised his right palm towards them and they all flew inside, being devoured and consumed by their mother. The taste… Wasn’t very good. After all, they were just gnats. Not even cooked. Their bodies had a lot of harmful toxins and venom. However, Tori was still able to get back a lot of genetic information and actual memories from them. As long as she produced more Spy Gnats in the future, they could ‘learn’ a little from their predecessors. Theoretically. There really wasn’t much to learn or remember though.
The mice could live for 3 to 10 years, so there was no need to worry about them. If they died, they died. If they lived, they could continue surveilling the town. If they survived the winter, they could theoretically venture out into the wilderness. They actually had gills and could breathe underwater, but only if the temperature was high enough for them to survive. Rather than roaming in the wilderness though, it might still be safer to lurk in people’s homes, yards, hide in the sewers or even storm drains.
“There’s always danger. Everywhere. All the time.”
Jake looked over at a building in the distance that was giving off a lot of steam, “Nuclear reactors aren’t cheap. At least they weren’t cheap. But they can put one in this place that used to have only a few thousand people living here… There’s so much preparation and premeditation. Why did they pick this place? Is there something special about it?”
“Antarctica is also cold. It’s harder for a lot of animals to live in the cold. Especially bugs. But not impossible.”
‘Father! Grandmother and Grandfather are on the phone!’
Jake scowled after hearing that. Then whispered, “Okay Sweetie, you talk to them first. I’ll be down in a minute.”
“I don’t know.”
“How are you guys doing now?”
When Jake came down to his room and saw his two elderly parents on the cellphone in Catarina’s hand, he smiled at them and acted ‘normally’. His father had a dark tan, a lot of wrinkles and was wearing glasses over his dark-brown eyes. His mother looked a lot younger than his father. In fact, even before she was infected, she always looked very young for her age. She had pale skin and wore a white hat to keep out the hot sunlight. There were people chattering in the background, seagulls flying in the sky and splashing in the swimming pool on the deck behind them.
“How’s the ‘cruise’ going?”
“Hahaha~! It’s going great, Jakey-poo~! I was a little seasick at first, but I think I’ve gotten used to it now!”
His mother’s loud voice was slightly distorted because of noise correction, “I still can’t get used to your face, hahaha~!”
“There’s nothing I can do about that.” Jake shrugged, “I survived. We survived. It doesn’t matter what we look like… Well, not that I look bad though. Maybe the tentacles are a little weird, but at least I’m not bald anymore, hahaha~!”
“Heh-heh-heh~!” His father also laughed and smiled, revealing his missing teeth. It wasn’t just the back teeth, he also had a lot of missing front teeth on the top and bottom. Dentistry was expensive. He wouldn’t mind spending money on his wife or daughter, but Jake’s father rarely wasted any money or time and effort going to treat himself.
Looking at her husband’s mouth, Jake’s mother smiled and said, “Your Father is going to get some new teeth soon! Whether it’s doctors or dental, you don’t have to pay for anything here…”
“Nothing’s free.” The old man complained, “We don’t have to pay, but Jake will have to work for them…”
“It’s not a big deal.” Jake shook his head and snickered, “You’ve worked all your lives. Just enjoy your retirement on the Infinite Hope. Well… Don’t let your guard down.”
“We know. You too…”
After that, Tori and Catarina chatted with their grandparents for almost an hour, with Jake only chiming in every now and then. Obviously his parents were shocked and amazed when they saw the wolf-girl and especially the talking Orca for the first time, but now they’ve gotten used to it. Instead, they feel stranger about Jake’s drastic change in appearance. Although he wasn’t necessarily ugly, he was definitely scary as hell by most human standards.
“How’s my ‘brother’ doing?”
“Ryan is in school now. He’s made a lot of friends lately. He’s a very popular kid.”
“Yeah…” Jake sighed, “Well, tell him I said hi. I love you guys. Be careful and good luck. Talk to you again soon.”
“Love you too, Honey~!”
“Love you too, Jake.”
“Ah, I love you too, Grandmother and Grandfather!”
“Hahaha~! I love you too Tori, Kitty Cat, everyone, muah~!”
After hanging up the phone, Jake frowned and Tori asked, “Father… Do you still think that they’re just AI?”
“The Infinite Hope has the most advanced AI in the world. It’s a fucking super-secret super-ship that they somehow built over the course of a decade without anyone finding out about it. With the state of even ordinary AI before the world ended, it was hard to distinguish speech, Deepfakes could completely turn another person into someone else, AI generated art was taking over the internet, they could even write believable stories, translate any language into any other language… And that’s only what was revealed on the surface. The truly powerful AI has always been kept secret…”
“Padre… This is unhealthy.”
“Yes, Father. I think you’re a little too paranoid sometimes.”
“Yeah, don’t underestimate them. Don’t underestimate anyone or anything.” Jake smiled wryly and shook his head, “But you’re right. I might be a little too paranoid. Assuming that my parents are real. It means that they can be used as leverage by the Endless Hope Organization to control me to a certain extent. At the very least, I’d be afraid to turn against them completely. Besides, we don’t really have any conflicting interests, as far as I can tell. At least not yet.”
‘Humans, deceptive, cunning, dangerous… Weak, fragile, soft, squishy, meaty…’
“Okay, shush. Why does everything have to be about food with you?” Jake glared at his right palm, which opened and closed, revealing the pink flesh and two long tongues inside.
“Anyway, the moral of the story is that you shouldn’t trust anyone. Not my parents and not your brothers. Catarina, don’t let your guard down around them. Even if they aren’t manipulated or controlled by the EHO, there are a lot of other dangers too…”
“I know, Padre… You don’t need to tell me. I know.”
Jake smiled wryly and looked out the window toward the lake. The sun was going down soon. It was already a lot darker than before. He sighed, “It’s getting colder every day. We need to prepare for emergencies. Tori and I are fine, but I’m always worried about you, Kitty Cat. Try to grow back your fur quickly. I mean, stop shaving. You need that fur to survive what’s coming next.”
“Si, Padre…” Although she was a little reluctant, Catarina still nodded her furry head obediently.
“I’m hungry too, Mother.”
“I’m okay…” The wolf girl giggled, “Didn’t we just eat?”
“Don’t gorge yourself trying to keep up with our crazy eating habits.”
Jake snickered and went over to the fridge nearby. Their room actually had its own electric stove, several large microwaves, lots of toasters and other appliances. Even though the Cafeteria was basically open all night and relatively free, there would still be times when they were too lazy to leave the room.
After grabbing the already cooked giant goat leg from the refrigerator, he put it on a frying pan and heated it up on the stove. Catarina also helped Tori with her meal… A bowl of cereal large enough for a Killer Whale. It also included plenty of milk. There were lots of cows and goats on the farms nearby, so they could get plenty of milk on a daily basis. Those domesticated animals were often mutated or strange, so most of the townsfolk were afraid to eat them or drink their milk. It also greatly devalued the price.
Anyway, Jake didn’t trade or buy anything in person. He left everything to the people in the base who were responsible for that nonsense. Whether they were able to make a ‘profit’ off the stuff he hunted with Vora and Tori, that was their problem.
“Yeah… Although it’s not great having to give up so much ‘freedom’ and ‘control’, living in human society does have its merits after all. Otherwise, how could civilization last so long and develop so far?”
“Everything is always contradictory… That’s just how it goes.”
The average lion can eat 8,000 to 9,000 calories per day. Of course, they can also go without eating for up to a week, then gorge themselves on up to 50 kilograms of meat in one sitting. Although it seems like a lot, lions are fairly large animals. An adult male lion can weigh over 200 kilograms, their shoulder height is around 1 to 1.2 meters at the shoulder, but their length can be anywhere from 2.1 to 3 meters from head to the base of the tail.
In contrast, each of the Hounds was much ‘taller’, at 1.5 meters, but the length of their bodies was only 2 meters. The size of their torsos, the meat on their legs, everything was much lighter. They only weighed 40 kilos, which was why they were so incredibly fast. They can weigh more or less though, depending on how much they eat. For example, it’s not uncommon for the Hounds to consume 10 to 20 kilos in a day. Sometimes in a single meal!
Can the Hounds survive for a week without eating anything? Jake wasn’t willing to torture them to find out. No matter how much those pesky ‘scientists’ asked to do those kinds of tests, he wouldn’t agree to it. They didn’t just want to test the Hounds. They were also curious about the Scouts, Jake himself and of course, Tori. But… Voracity would never allow any of them to starve. Even those mice that they barely paid attention to were able to eat their fill every day.
Ignoring the ‘Immortal Flies’ and Spy Mice, Jake, Tori, Vora, the Scouts and the Hounds all need to eat an enormous amount of food every day. The good news is that they’re omnivores. Just like how Tori can eat a giant bowl of cereal with milk, the big foxy-wolves could also eat a bunch of mashed potatoes or pasta without suffering negative consequences. They didn’t ‘need’ to eat nothing but meat. It’s just that meat was much easier for them to obtain most of the time.
As time passed, whether it was Jake, Torrent, the Hounds, Scouts or even Catarina, they were all growing ‘larger’. Jake’s armor was puffed up and made him look like he had huge bulging muscles underneath that black shell, but really, his muscle mass was about the same. Torrent also didn’t grow any bigger after reaching 4.5 meters long and having her carapace harden again. Yet her body was still getting wider every day. The skinny, lithe Hounds had turned into meatballs on stilts. While the Scouts could barely fly anymore.
“Padre… Estoy gorda…”
Catarina started crying when she looked at her fluffy white body in the full-length mirror in their room. She wasn’t wearing clothes, because it was unnecessary. That fur was even longer and thicker than ever before. Plus her belly was bulging and had a few flabby layers. Even her formerly flat chest was really puffy now. It wasn’t just her body. Even her face and head were becoming more like a husky, with some gray fur patterns. The shape of her skull even changed, while her mouth basically transformed into a snout completely.
“I told you not to try and keep up with our crazy appetites.” Jake rolled his big blue eyes and twitched his long purple tentacles, “What did you expect? Anyway, it’s winter now. It’s good to be as fluffy as possible. Whether that’s fur or blubber. It’ll keep you alive longer if we get stuck out in that hellscape again.”
The wolf-girl retorted, “But we’re not stuck outside now. And it’s so hot in here…”
Jake held a paintbrush in his right hand and continued painting on the huge canvas. What he was painting was what he saw out the window of their room. Or at least an artistic rendering. The frozen lake, the beautiful pink, purple and green sky, with some white stars shining through in the background.
Those penguins were gone now. It’s been a few months and they left before the lake completely froze over. Heading farther north. A lot of other animals also migrated north to escape this hellish cold. With a nuclear reactor, as long as people had electric heaters, they could basically heat their houses effectively. The only issue was whether people really had electric heaters? Some people relied on oil or fireplaces alone, but most would use a combination. The hospital obviously had its own, extremely powerful heating system. Jake even wondered whether there was a mini nuclear reactor in the basement or some secret underground bunker down there.
“I think it’s comfortable.” Tori swam around slowly in her giant fish tank, “I don’t want to go outside.It’s twenty below. I’ll freeze to death, hihihihi~!”
“Twenty C or F?” Jake asked curiously as he stopped painting and looked over at his fattened up daughter.
“Celsius. Father, no one uses Fahrenheit around here. They do use Kelvin sometimes though…”
“That’s a lie.” Jake snickered, “There are actually quite a few Americans in the hospital and Tolhuin now.”
It’s been a whole month since the first batch of ‘werewolves’ arrived. There were also some werecats and other weird mutants. The Purebloods and Breeders in the town didn’t want to have anything to do with those ‘freaks’, but there was enough room to build a separate segregated town nearby. The super low temperatures and harsh environment actually made this City at the End of the World pretty prosperous. Because the animals outside were too busy freezing to death and struggling to survive. So it was much safer than in the tropical or temperate regions.
They also had a functional nuclear reactor for power and could use as much electricity as they wanted. It wasn’t just about heating homes though. They could power factories, greenhouses, computers, they had the internet and a lot of servers were being set up here, in other words, it was almost like the world hadn’t ended down here in Tolhuin. Of course, there were also some other places that had similar situations. But it was basically a self-sufficient City-State now.
“Padre, I think I’m growing a tail.” Catarina looked at her lower back in the mirror and noticed the small fluffy gray nub that was wiggling around slightly when she thought about it.
“It’s not surprising. Your feet have also turned into digitigrade paws. You’re turning into a Werehusky, hahaha~!” Jake grinned his scary white fang-like teeth, “It’s really weird though. The mutant dogs are also starting to stand upright and become more intelligent. It’s like a Furry Apocalypse.”
“I’m not a Furry.”
“There’s nothing to feel ashamed about.” Jake snickered and rubbed his swollen, aching left shoulder, “People who dress up in silly fursuits are weird. But it’s totally normal to be attracted to actual humanoid creatures with fur. There are plenty of people who like hairy men or women. And you can go back as far as a hundred years ago to find ‘Furry’ cartoons. Hell, go back farther to all kinds of myths and legends about Fox Spirits, Snake Girls… Didn’t Loki turn into a female horse and get pregnant with a weird flying 12 legged stallion that he gifted to Odin?”
“How would I know that?!”
“Hihihihi~! Father, you’re funny.” Tori looked over at her father’s left shoulder and asked, “Does it still hurt?”
“Of course it hurts. The doctor said that all the bones from my shoulder to my fingertips are gone now. It’s like I’ve grown a second Vora…”
‘No. One Voracity.’
“I know, but still. She has all the same organs, even a brain.”
‘Irrelevant. One Voracity. One Jacob. One Torrent. We are one.’
Jake looked down at the cracked open ‘mouth’ of his left palm and sighed, “This won’t happen to my feet too, right?”
“Hihihihi~! That’d be funny!”
“It wouldn’t be funny.” Catarina looked over at her silly ‘sister’ and giggled, “You’re just jealous.”
“Yeah!” Tori bobbed her head up and down in the water, “Why can’t I grow arms and legs?! What’s wrong with me? Am I broken?”
“Sweetie, you don’t need arms or legs. They’d just slow you down-”
“When I’m swimming! Where can I swim now?!”
“Mother, why did you take over Father’s left arm?”
‘Purpose, eat, reproduce, expand, grow, explore, conquer…’
“What she means is that with two digestive and reproductive systems, she can theoretically pump out more babies. Theoretically. Realistically, I think it’s more of a redundancy. If something happens to my left arm, then at least I still have the right. If both arms are destroyed, she can still use the rest of my body to survive, I guess. I know that there were a lot of times when the rest of my body relied on just my right arm in order to keep living, breathing and surviving.”
Jake groaned, his left shoulder and bicep were pulsating. He couldn’t sleep all night because of the pain and discomfort. The black armor was cracked from the pressure inside and revealed the bright pink flesh underneath. However, there was no blood or other juices. The flesh underneath was very flexible and durable. The carapace wasn’t ripped or torn off, but loosened and cracked apart on its own.
“Honestly, this reminds me of when Tori was born…”
‘Smaller. Less painful. Faster.’
“Yeah. It shouldn’t take much longer now before the kid is born. Hahaha~!”
“Despiértame cuando nazca la bebé.” Catarina yawned and stopped playing the farming game APP on her phone. Then she charged it and laid down on her side, facing toward the white wall… Then a big dog jumped up on her bed and laid down on top of her!
“Stop, Sophia, it’s too hot!”
“You have your own bed!”
“Hahahaha~!” Jake laughed when he saw the two other fat black and white long-legged ‘foxes’ try to jump onto the bed as well. Then start wrestling with each other and making a lot of noises. Obviously the poor girl couldn’t sleep through all that chaos.
“Actually, our room is kept about thirty degrees colder than the rest of the hospital. We’ve all just gotten so damn used to freezing our asses off that regular chilly temperatures feel ‘hot’ to us now. Plus we’re a lot fatter, hahaha~!”
Eventually the Hounds stopped playing around and went to sleep. Catarina also got some rest. Tori on the other hand, was worried about her parents too much and wanted to see her new sibling being born with her own eyes. This time wasn’t like the Flies, Gnats or Mice. This was another child that would likely stay with them for its entire life.
“Ow, ow, ow, ugh… Fuck.”
Jake didn’t make too much noise, but the pain was pretty bad. His entire left upper-arm looked like a big squishy pink flesh balloon on the verge of bursting, but occasionally there would be some weird lumps appearing, as if something was trying to escape… The shoulder also had part of the womb, but there was a brain, heart and other important organs inside of there. The main area of the womb was the upper arm, between the bicep and tricep. All that excess fat was burned away and devoured in the creation of this huge baby, so all that was left were those powerful muscles and a special skin to prevent the arm from just being ripped apart.
Without the carapace, similar to what happened to the right arm before, the left arm was essentially disabled. There were no bones inside and the muscles weren’t designed to function like an octopus tentacle. All it could do was dangle to the side, waiting for the kid inside to be pushed out eventually.
“I think it’s time…”
“Really?! Catarina! It’s happening!”
Tori screamed excitedly, but Cat just covered her ears and kept sleeping… Well, it doesn’t really matter. Professor Colas had some cameras set up on a certain side of the room, facing a white wall. Jake has been in that area for most of the night. The whole process was recorded and every few hours, he would also use a sonogram to check inside to make sure everything was fine. If Catarina really cared, she could watch the birthing process afterwards.
“Father… Does giving birth always hurt so much? Will I have to feel so much pain when I grow up?”
“Sweetie, it obviously depends on how big or small the baby is… Ugh…” Jake groaned, looking over at the 4.5 meter long Orca in the giant fish tank nearby, “By the time you become an adult… As long as you don’t try to give birth to a fucking whale, it should be fine, right? The Hounds and Scouts didn’t hurt that much, even though there were lots of them. Because when they’re born, they’re so damn tiny… But this thing… I feel like we didn’t calculate this shit very well.”
When the time came, everything happened so quickly. The stomach acid and other fluids were ejected first, which was extremely unpleasant, but a necessary step to the birthing process. Fortunately, Jake was prepared and the ‘vomit’ was sent directly into a plastic red bucket. Then he moved over to a small plastic pool, where the amniotic fluid splattered a little first. Finally the ‘kid’ plopped down onto the gooey pink puddle and looked around curiously. Then screamed as her little sister nearly fell on her head!
Even though she was just born the ‘Kid’, or baby goat, was able to stand and jump out of the way with extremely fast reflexes. The two of them were basically identical twins. Even the brown and white patterns on their wet fur were exactly the same. Those eyes were similar to other goats, separated to the sides of their head to a certain extent. The black pupils were like little horizontal lines. The irises basically covered the entire rest of the eye that was visible, looking dark brown at the moment, but it could change to any color. This eye-color changing gene was something that Jake and Vora understood pretty well, which was why they gave it to all their descendants.
It’s not like a video game, where you have to invest some kind of talent points or skill points and make sacrifices. Most of these inconsequential changes to the body structure wouldn’t make much of a difference either way.
The two kids had short and cute snouts, with adorable pink noses and big white, flat teeth under their pink lips. Their ears were pink on the inside and had brown fur on the outside. They didn’t have horns yet, but there were already little bumps on their furry brown and white heads between the adorable ears that perked up to the sides. The tail was small, fluffy and brown with a white tip. The bodies were short and stocky, but extremely muscular. Same with the relatively short and powerful legs. Their necks were relatively short, but long enough for them to look around the room and examine their surroundings easily.
Their hooves had two big toes at the front that were spread out a little bit, while the ‘ankle’ area, or at least what looked like an ankle, had two small black balls. Those toes were extremely sharp and dangerous. Just like the claws on Jake’s feet or the Hound’s paws, they could release a powerful neurotoxin and rend flesh very easily. However, these weren’t just ordinary goats. They were Grazing Drones, Type-1: Goats! According to Voracity.
They were very similar to Mountain Goats in a lot of ways, because Jake and Vora ate dozens of kinds of goats, even some camelids like Guanaco, in order to create this new, super-goat. At least theoretically, it should grow up to be much bigger and stronger than an ordinary Mountain Goat, but they’re only newborns at the moment.
Their main purpose as Grazing Drones was to convert nearly inedible plants into nutrients for the rest of the Family. Although they also didn’t have conventional reproductive organs and had special carapace protecting their urethras/anuses, they did have udders. Though they just looked like tiny pink nipples between their legs at the moment. Their fur was thick enough to cover those udders under most circumstances. Otherwise, they would easily get frostbite and it would be counterproductive. Also, lactating goats or cows will have to eat and drink far more than usual. Unless specifically controlled by Jake, Tori or Voracity, the goats wouldn’t start producing milk. Because they really weren’t smart enough to understand something like that on their own.
“Hihihhihi~! Father, they’re so cute! I love them!”
“I love them too.”
Jake snickered and watched the two silly goats trying to escape from the pool. However, he didn’t want them to drag amniotic fluid around the room. So he picked them up with his right hand, one at a time, and took him over to a warm, clean, tiny tub of water. Washing them thoroughly. His left hand and arm were totally useless for a few days while the swelling went down, and the carapace would form again.
They were only about 56 cm long and 35 cm tall at the shoulder, but they were only newborns. Jake and Vora had no idea how big they might get in the future. They mainly focused on the diet. Because normal Goats can’t eat meat without getting sick. They also need to stay away from citrus fruits, chocolate, caffeine, onions, garlic and some obviously poisonous things. These super-goats could eat just about anything. Obviously they were designed to eat plant products for the most part, mainly grasses and leaves, but even tree bark if they felt like it.
“I’ll call that one Billy and that one Nani! Just like a boy and a girl goat! Hihihihi~!”
“Whatever makes you happy.” Jake snickered and let the goats run, jump and climb freely. And climbing was their first instinct. Those little legs allowed them to jump up nearly two meters in the air. They hopped up on the kitchen counters easily, nearly knocked over a bunch of pots and pans, then opened up a cupboard and found a bag of dry rice… Before they could start tearing it apart, Jake quickly picked them up and pulled them away.
“Don’t worry Kids. I’ll give you some tasty food. Don’t! Stop biting that!”
It was too late… They directly bit a few chunks off the side of a wooden table leg. He looked around at the canvases he painted over the past month and sighed dramatically, “We’re gonna have to Goat-proof our room now.”
Fortunately, there was another trick that most new goat-owners or parents couldn’t use. Tori and Vora directly mind-controlled the two baby goats and ‘taught’ them that grasses, bushes, weeds, leaves, lichens, mushrooms, veggies and fruits were all much more delicious than the furniture or decorations.
Although Jake couldn’t tell the difference between the Hounds or Goats in terms of appearance, the Hounds and Goats themselves could memorize their own names. The Scouts were the same way. So as long as Tori was patient enough to teach them, then they would respond to Nani and Billy in the future.
The two goats suddenly freaked out and fell onto their backs, fainting overdramatically. Tori and Jake laughed at their silly behavior at first…
‘Father, I’m scared!’
Jake sighed and walked over to his computer, turning off all the cameras and then noticing a message from Professor Colas.
[Jacob, I know you’ve just finished giving birth and you’re probably exhausted, but we just made a huge breakthrough in the Experiment! Unfortunately, a few of the flies were able to escape… I’m sorry. They went into the vents and were poisoned to death. If it feels a little stuffy in your room, you should try opening the window. Oh yes! Someone will come to pick up the samples of afterbirth, amniotic fluid and stomach acid later! Don’t worry, they’ll open the door on their own. You won’t have to wake up to let them in… It’s almost morning, but goodnight.]
‘Not very subtle at all.’
‘Father! The lake is frozen, everywhere is frozen! How are we going to escape?! The Scouts, the Hounds, Catarina, everyone is unconscious!’
‘Stop panicking. Panicking won’t solve anything. It’s not like we haven’t made any preparations for this shit before.’
“And you guys said Vora and I were too paranoid.” Jake smiled wryly, “As soon as we let our guards down, they couldn’t wait any longer.”
There have always been three main opinions regarding ‘Queens’ in the Endless Hope Organization. Professor Colas was part of the group that believed the Queens should just be left alone and observed as wild animals, though he was fine with Jake living in the Outpost as well. Doctor Aliyah was part of the group that thought the Queens should be contained and treated more like prisoners. Not tortured or experimented on, but just kept under complete control. Unfortunately, there was also a third, much more radical voice, which gained a lot of momentum as time went by… Eliminate the threat. All Queens were a threat to not only humanity, but all other life on the planet. Jake and Vora are still very humane compared to most Queens.
“This is probably because of Kelsey.”
Yes, Kelsey Cage, that crazy girl from Baltimore that tried to murder him back then. Unlike Jake who went south, she actually went north and was also captured at some point. She also escaped captivity, but wasn’t intentionally let go… She killed or mind-controlled everyone in the base. Then she went to New York City and started doing the same to the survivors there.
There was also a crazy guy nicknamed the Jade Emperor in China who captured a few Queens and tried to use them to spawn him an army to take over the world… Obviously it didn’t work out. The Queens are instinctively enemies of each other. Aside from that, he was just considered food or a breeding tool, until he outlived his usefulness. It should be noted that the Jade Emperor was also a member of the Endless Hope Organization.
These were just some of the ‘news’ that Jake managed to overhear when eavesdropping or spying on people in this small base. He was certain that there would be all kinds of even more ridiculous things happening all the time, everywhere. The world was huge. There were countless ‘tiny’ outposts like this prepared over the course of at least 40 or 50 years. Various governments also had their own secret bases and secrets.
Jake got up and walked over to the window, looking outside at the frozen lake. The sky was getting brighter and extremely clear. This was by far, the worst possible time to start escaping. It was still obscenely cold. So cold that even Jake and Tori would find it extremely unpleasant. The Scouts and Hounds might be fine, but the newborn Goats and Catarina would be risking their lives just going outside.
Helicopters, planes and drones would be able to easily track them in this weather, at this time of day. Catarina might have tracking devices inside her body. There were still lots of dangerous predators in the wilderness. As time goes by, the strongest are getting stronger and the weaker ones will either die or multiply so much that they can make up the difference.
He looked around at their ‘home’ that they’ve lived in for the past two months and sighed again, “I hope they keep my paintings safe… They’ll be worth a lot of money someday.”
The windows in the room were bulletproof glass and were fairly durable. However, he didn’t need to break them open forcefully. Just open a manual lock. The automatic lock was secretly replaced with the help of Professor Colas and some other ‘friends’ a while ago. He moved the locks and lifted the heavy panes of glass upwards, letting all the heat out of the room almost instantly! Along with all the odorless, noxious fumes that were keeping everyone but Tori and Jake unconscious.
The first to wake up were the biggest Hounds, since their resistance was the highest and their body size was also the largest. Allowing them to be affected the least. Then the Scouts, but the Goats woke up pretty quickly as well. On the other hand, Catarina was still in a deep sleep for a few minutes, until she started shivering and screamed, “What’s happening?!”
“We’re escaping.” Jake snickered, looking at the huge open windows. Unfortunately, they were too small for Jake and Tori to fit through. So he turned to the Scouts, “Go ahead. It’s time to stop being lazy.”
They weren’t really ducks or any specific type of bird. More like parrots in the sense that they could imitate sounds and voices very easily. They just preferred making annoying noises instead of speaking words they didn’t really understand. Flapping their wings, the five lethargic Scouts flew out the open windows and up into the sky. Circling around the hospital.
“Escaping?!” Catarina was still sluggish and confused as she got up, went over to her closet and started putting on some thick clothes. Snow boots, a white coat and pants to blend into the snowy environment, plus some other things like a scarf to cover her snout and special snow goggles for her eyes. Then she also started packing random things away.
“You can’t take your cellphone or laptop.” Jake rolled his eyes and the little puppy-girl looked like she was about to start crying, “I’m serious and you know it too. Don’t worry. I’ve been preparing for this shit for a while now. We’ll be fine.”
“Father, I’m ready.”
Tori didn’t have anything to pack or prepare. She just swam up to the top of her tank and slid down the side of the ramp, which led to the floor. Then she rolled around on some towels in order to dry off completely. Otherwise, the water would start to freeze onto her armor plates.
Jake had to cover his left arm up with a thick black blanket from his bed. Then he used his only right hand to help Catarina pack their bags. And they had a lot of bags. They even tied a few heavy bags to Tori’s long, blade-like dorsal fin. They also got a large sled and filled it with various things. They didn’t really need that much food and water, because it was practically everywhere, but they still took some things in case of emergencies. Most of their supplies were clothes, medicines, guns and ammunition.
Although Jake’s hands were a bit too big for normal firearms now, he could still use them like little toy guns if necessary. Besides, Catarina has also been practicing her marksmanship a lot in the past month or so since she healed. She also had a white bulletproof made from Tori’s shed carapace, which she wore over her thick coat.
Each of the three huge white wolves also had a backpack strapped to their backs, covering theri black manes. They howled and complained, but didn’t fight back or try to take it off. Because they could understand and ‘feel’ the seriousness of the situation. Eventually the door opened and two tall men or women stood outside with assault rifles in their hands.
“Jake, you fucking asshole! Get down on the ground! All of you!”
“Make up your fucking minds.” Jake snickered and looked over at the two people, “Don’t point those guns at us. You know what’ll happen if you do-”
“Fuck you!” The angrier man on the left raised his gun slightly and then went limp, falling to the ground and vomiting uncontrollably inside his gas mask…
“I warned ya.” Jake shrugged and looked over at the other person, who hesitated and ultimately didn’t do anything.
“Smart choice. If you don’t want him to die, you should probably hurry up.”
“What did you do?!” The man shouted anxiously and took the mask off the man, who was still vomiting uncontrollably and spasming throughout his whole body.
“That’s a secret.” Jake snickered, “Let’s just say… There are a lot scarier bugs out there than Gnats.”
“Shit! You’re such a fucking asshole, Jake!”
“Meh. We’re all assholes when we have to be.” The giant armored man, little wolf girl covered in thick clothes, three wolves with backpacks, two baby goats and the 4.5 meter long Killer Whale ‘walked’ out of the room very calmly. Then they went down the hallway and the automated sentry turret on the ceiling aimed at them for a moment, then seemed to malfunction and lose power. There were lots of squawking and clicking noises in the ceiling.
“Aaaaaah~!” A woman in one of the rooms they passed screamed in horror, then there was a loud thump…
Ten heavily armed security officers blocked the way forward and the one in the lead was a tall, blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman who didn’t even bother wearing a mask. She smiled at the front of the team and asked, “Jake… Does it really have to be this way? Can’t you just surrender peacefully?”
“Surrender and what? Wait for death? Be put in a cage somewhere? Get separated from my family?” Jake shook his head and sighed, “Irene… Did they try to use you to threaten us?”
“No… They know it’s pointless.” She giggled and walked over to the side, getting out of the way. At least half of the men and women in the black armored uniforms also moved to the sides, but of the remaining four people who stood there, two of them actually raised their rifles forward for a moment… Then they fell to the ground and started screaming in pain or vomiting profusely.
The other two pulled their companions to the side and Jake casually mentioned, “I haven’t actually done any real tests, so you should really bring them to the ICU immediately. Or they might die. I have no idea.”
As they were walking past, a few of the people who looked like they were going to let them through, suddenly lifted their guns in their direction… But their reactions weren’t fast enough. They immediately fell to the ground without firing a single shot.
“I don’t know if it’s like a neurotoxin, a hallucinogen, an anesthetic or whatever. Stop pushing your luck. I guarantee that every single person in this town is ‘infected’ already. You should really do more tests and be more careful. If I can do this shit, then so could other Queens.”
“Testing takes time and resources we don’t have, Jacob. You know that.” Professor Colas’ voice came from the intercom they walked past, “I wish you a safe journey. I suggest that you be more careful in the future. The war has already begun. There’s nothing either of us can do to stop them.”
“I know. I’ve always known. It’s inevitable.”
When they reached the outside of the hospital, Jake looked around and noticed that there weren’t any drones or helicopters flying in the sky. Of course, the moment he noticed something wrong, he had to sacrifice a bunch of Mice and Roaches in order to sabotage everything. There were also Assassin Drones, Type-1, Fleas, Type-2, Mites and Type-3, Ticks. Thousands of them could ride the Mice all over the place, attaching to everyone that might be a threat in the entire town. Obviously the hospital/base was the most infested out of everywhere. There were even quite a few Flies and Gnats flying around, distracting people.
“Catarina! Wait! Stop!”
“Si, you don’t need to leave with them! You’re not one of them!”
Two giant dog-boys in black outfits ran over, along with lots of other Werewolves and Werecats. Rather than integrating into town, Esteban and Bruno actually joined the Security Force. The two of them had shotguns and some other equipment, but they didn’t bother taking them out. The others were too afraid to actually do anything against Jake after seeing or hearing about what happened to the others.
“Lo siento, Hermanos, pero ya no puedo quedarme aquí. Espero… Espero que nos volvamos a encontrar algún día. Te amo.”
Although they obviously wanted to keep their sister there, in the end, she managed to convince them… They were also in a rush and it was hellishly cold outside, so nobody was in the mood to have a tearful goodbye. After a few hugs and whispers to each other, the brothers and sister separated.
The two Kids were ‘giggling’ and jumped around anxiously. They also used their little black hooves to dig through the snow and ice to reach the frozen grass underneath. Nibbling on it happily. Even if it was extremely cold, it was still vibrant green, surprisingly enough. They ate all the way down to the roots before feeling satisfied.
“Alright, come on Kitty Cat, we gotta go. You two take care of yourselves… Well, all of you take care of yourselves! Hahaha~! I hope the next time we meet, the world will be a lot less fucked up! Hasta luego!”
“Good luck, Jacob. I too, hope we meet again soon.” Professor Colas held a large black mouse in his palm and smiled, “Now, to test how far you can still communicate through these ‘Drones’ of yours… Hahaha~!”
“We’ll see.” The voice was very high-pitched and squeaky, “If it involves quantum entanglement, then there might not be a range limit. If it’s a signal thing, then you’d probably have been able to pick it up and isolate it by now, right?”
In some ways, Jake left, but in others, he was actually still in Tolhuin. For that matter, he could still manipulate mice to use the internet, check maps online, communicate, draw… Especially with Professor Colas’ secret assistance, he could also receive warnings and news.
“You must be careful, Jacob. This winter is strange… Much colder than usual. This will also make your ‘escape’ much easier in some ways, but I don’t know how cold it will get and whether any other strange changes will occur.”
“We’ll be fine. You should worry more about yourself. After getting nuked and then irradiated, I’ve had a slight phobia of nuclear radiation.”
“Hahaha~! Modern nuclear reactors are actually quite safe… But thank you. I’ll be careful. Good luck.”
It’s actually very unusual for Lago Fagnano to freeze over so severely. The ice covered most of the surface, but if you went deep enough, it was possible to go underwater if necessary. Jake stayed away from the lake though and headed to the southwest, into the mountains. There was actually a nice mountain directly to the south, where you could see Tolhuin and about half of the lake very clearly. It was a famous tourist attraction before, but now it was way too dangerous for most people to go over there. Obviously Jake wasn’t about to take them over to sightsee. They’ve been on that mountain plenty of times already anyway.
There was also a road that went down to the southwest from the hospital, through the valleys between the snowy mountains and over to a former Tourist City, Ushuaia. The situation in that city was similar to Tolhuin now. In a lot of ways, it was much more prosperous than before. They had access directly to the ocean and were also protected by some huge mountains all around them.
Anyway, Jake’s biggest threat wasn’t from Tolhuin, but possible reinforcements from Ushuaia to the southwest or Rio Grande to the northwest. Although he could sense some Assassin and Spy Drones in both of those places, even being able to control them effectively, there weren’t that many. If they sent a huge force over from either place, he might notice, but he wouldn’t be able to stop it…
However, it should be noted that Jake and Vora are extremely paranoid. Their persecution delusion has reached the point where they expect the full force of the Endless Hope Organization to hunt them down, along with the Argentinian Military and maybe even Chile… In reality, it was too cold and they really weren’t that important. If Kelsey Cage was an 8 out of 10 on the Danger Scale for Queens, then Jake and Vora were a 2, maybe a 3. They had relatives, attachments, empathy and thus far, they even intentionally controlled their own abilities.
“Are you okay? If you get tired, you can ride the sled.”
Jake looked over at the panting little wolf-girl and sighed. She had to have special leather and fur snow boots made, which could cover her recently ‘transformed’ digitigrade doggy feet. It just looked like she had oversized wolf paws covering her relatively small dog feet and ankles. She also ‘grew’ a few centimeters taller, from 140 to 145, simply because she always stands on her ‘toes’ now. In a sense.
“I’m fine, Padre.”
“I’m fine too, Father. We’re all fine.”
Tori struggled a bit to move her much heavier body forward across the snowy ground. The majority of an Orca flipper is actually a ‘hand’. The arm and wrist is in the skinnier part, while the wider, longer part of the flipper is where the fingers and hand bones are located. For Tori in particular, her flippers were covered with an extra layer of protective black carapace, which allowed her to be even rougher and use more force without worrying about hurting herself. However, her muscles were still strained a bit. Fortunately, she could usually use her tail to push most of her weight.
Jake let out a frosty breath and used his only functional arm to pull the sleigh forward. He also had a bunch of bags and backpacks strapped to his body. His tentacles were also wrapped up under a thick black blanket like his left arm. It looked a little silly, but it was just too cold to have his tentacles exposed to the air directly. His high body temperature could keep them from freezing, but it would also burn a ton of calories and waste a lot of energy.
He looked up at the rocky and icy mountains in the distance with a wry smile on his blue lips. There were a lot of small lakes up in those sharp, jagged mountains to the southwest. They used to be places where tourists would take pictures after rock climbing or hiking up dangerous trails, but now… Every mountain, every patch of forest, every lake, is likely the territory or hunting ground of various predators.
Jake hasn’t been outside much in the past month and they really never went that deep into the mountains in the first place. However, at least the monsters and beasts in the mountains didn’t have guns.
A loud gunshot rang out in the valley, followed by the roar of an angry Mountain Lion. Several more gunshots caused the birds in the area to fly up into the sky in a panic, while a lot of other terrestrial animals were also scared away. Especially the ones that understood what that scary sound meant.
Catarina lowered her hunting rifle when she was sure that the huge wild cat was actually dead, or at least incapacitated. A few days had passed and Jake’s left arm was healed, but he still wrapped his body and head up in thick black blankets. He bent down and looked at the huge 3 meter long big cat that the three Hounds brought over and sighed.
“Not just the size. Look at how thick the fur is and how much fat this bastard has… And there are three of them in the same hunting group.”
Tori spat a whole cougar head out of her giant mouth and dragged her prey over as her armored shell started returning from its camouflage state to the usual black and white ‘Orca’ style. All their backpacks and other luggage were piled up next to the campsite. They obviously brought a tent for Catarina, along with a sleeping bag.
“You’re not sheep…”
Jake rolled his eyes at the two silly Goats that were prancing around the corpse of a smaller Cougar nearby. The two of them used their sharp, venomous hooves and horns to incapacitate the big cat. While the five Scouts swooped down and tore its flesh to pieces with their claws and beaks. Those tiny baby Goats had grown a lot in the past few days, but they were still very small compared to the Cougar. For Voracity though, it wasn’t too difficult of a hunting challenge.
Out of curiosity, the Goats nibbled on the fur and flesh of the cat, but eventually lost interest and started eating some grass nearby that wasn’t covered by snow. Jake, Tori and Catarina laughed at the two ‘Kids’.
“Okay, calm down Vora. Try not to destroy the fur too much. Kitty Cat, help me drain the blood, remove the pelts… You know.”
Catarina was actually very high-spirited now, compared to a few days ago when they were cooped up inside for a month. Whenever they hunted prey, she would help Jake deal with the fur and meat. This time was the same.
Jake did most of the heavy lifting. Tying the Cougars’ hind legs with rope and hanging them up on thick tree branches. They didn’t bother saving the blood, because they couldn’t carry a bunch of frozen blood-sicles with them anyway. The Hounds and Scouts drank their fill. Tori also used the Cougar she caught like a ‘smoothie’. Blood has lots of salt and other nutrients, though there are also parasites, viruses, bacteria, et cetera. Jake and his ‘children’ weren’t too concerned, but Catarina needed to be a little more careful.
Vora loved eating brains, so unfortunately, they couldn’t use the old fashioned brain-tanning method for the hides. That trick also involved using smoke and the result would leave the hides with a strong, smoky stench that was kind of harsh for their group. Even just the usual campfire would aggravate their sinuses and that smoke would often cling to their clothes.
Anyway, they brought lots of salt to use in the preservation process of animal pelts. Which mostly involved cleaning the fur and drying it with salt. The meat could also be preserved in the form of jerky. Obviously to be eaten later. The reason they kept the pelts was to use them to make clothing later. Either that, or just trade them for other resources. They weren’t completely cut off from human civilization.
There were countless small groups of humans scattered throughout the world, living in the wilderness or in some still functional cities and towns. An animal pelt kept at room temperature can be kept for up to a year. In such frigid weather, it could theoretically last much longer.
“Right now we’re only about fifty kilometers to the west of Tolhuin. Specifically, on the southern side of Lago Fagnano. I haven’t noticed any drones, choppers or other surveillance checking up on us yet. But they might be waiting for us up ahead.”
As he spoke, Jake used his fingers to rip off big chunks of tough, warm, juicy red muscle from one of the skinned Cougars. Those mulched up pieces of meat would be directly sucked into the two ‘mouths’ on his palms.
“The Scouts haven’t found anything, but there are too many places to hide. Also, the Scouts have to be careful. There are too many damn birds out there.”
The temperature was higher today than three days ago, but it was still below freezing. In the air above the mountains, the wind chill was terrible. Inside the deep valleys, the weather was much more bearable. The only issue was that the mountains and trees created a lot of shade, which blocked the sunlight and made it feel colder.
“There are a lot of lakes and lagoons up in the mountains, but most of them are frozen over… A few of them aren’t though. Do you guys wanna climb up there and check it out?”
“Father… Climbing mountains is too hard.”
Tori complained as she ate a few kilos of raw Cougar meat like it was nothing. She didn’t speak through her mouth, but from the blowhole on her head, so it didn’t matter whether she was chewing or not.
“It’s hard for you, but it’s easy for them.” Jake pointed to the silly Goats, “I have no idea how big they’ll get, but they should be strong enough to become your legs.”
“Are you sure? I’m really heavy now…”
After fattening up, Tori weighed about a metric ton. Twice as much as Jacob. Even the largest Mountain Goats only weighed less than 200 kg. However, that was before 2023. The Earth has changed a lot since the year began.
“Don’t worry, Sweetie. We’ll never climb a mountain during a thunderstorm again.”
“I wasn’t worried about that…” Tori munched on some meat and even crushed some bones with her powerful teeth, “I’m scared, Father. I feel like… Something is chasing me. Not people. Something else.”
“The Cold Death?” Catarina stopped salting the tan pelt for a moment and looked at her ‘sister’, “Didn’t they say that the Earth was getting warmer?”
“Warmer overall.” Jake frowned, “The climates around the world are going crazier than usual. With so many nukes exploding and volcanoes erupting, I wouldn’t be surprised by anything. From what I heard, the atmospheric composition is changing. Think about the fact that so many people suddenly stopped using gas, oil and coal… Carbon dioxide is actually higher than before though, because of how many more animals are alive now, than before. But there are also countless plants, seaweed and other shit… It’s chaotic as hell. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a hundred degrees tomorrow or negative a hundred the next.”
“Unlikely.” One of the Scouts stopped eating for a moment to speak, “Change, unavoidable. Must… Adapt. Grow. Overcome. Evolve. Survive. Forever.”
In the middle of the night, Catarina was curled up in her tent without wearing all those heavy coats and pants. Basically wearing a t-shirt and gym shorts. However, she wasn’t cold at all, because there were three giant fluffy dogs curled up, with one of them staying awake and keeping an eye out. The five Scouts were also inside the tent, with only one of them staying awake to keep sentry for the others. They understood instinctively how to take turns to keep watch. Though they also had training from Vora, Tori and Jake.
Speaking of which, Jake was outside the brown and green camouflage tent. His body was wrapped up in those black blankets, even including his head and face. In such a dark environment, surrounded by woods and thick trees above their heads, he didn’t need to go out of his way to use camouflage to blend in… Tori, though, was just laying on the other side of the tent and disguised as a gray-white stone. She was a little chilly, but it really wasn’t that bad.
Three different high-pitched biological ‘alarms’ rang out one after another! Jake immediately opened his eyes and looked around, but he didn’t move. Still wrapped up in blankets and laying on the ground outside the tent. Except for the Sentry Hound and Scout, the others didn’t wake up.
‘I don’t know. Maybe.’ Jake could feel that one of the Mice was already dead. The other two were still alive and squeaking, while hiding inside small holes that were dug out of the trees nearby. Using their eyes, the two of them were able to see and hear the enemies that were approaching.
‘Is that… Hold on, I’ll look it up. Uh, Kodkod? What kinda name is that? It just looks like a fucking cat.’
Yes, it was a group of cats. They were very small, maybe only the size of regular house cats. However, they had particularly small, rounded ears, relatively flat and fat faces, big brown eyes… But the fur pattern and coloring made them look like tiny leopards. Jake wasn’t sure about what they were like before, but now, just a cursory glance through the eyes of one Spy Mouse allowed him to see hundreds!
Of course, even if there were thousands of them, Jake wasn’t too worried. The cats that ate the first mouse were already poisoned to death. Dozens of others were either incapacitated or killed by the Fleas, Ticks and Mites that those three Mice were carrying on their bodies. There were also about a dozen more Mice scattered around the forest in other directions or closer to the camp. They were also carrying Fleas, Mites and Ticks that could survive the cold for a few seconds in order to attach themselves to enemies long enough to deliver their ‘payloads’.
Of course, the wild cats weren’t mindless zombies or a well-trained military force. As soon as they noticed their siblings or companions dying, they quickly fled. Some of them actually got separated and ended up closer to the camp instead. However, they quickly smelled the urine and feces of ‘large predators’, so they went back and joined their fuzzy friends. Jake didn’t bother hunting them all down or anything like that. Some of the Spy Mice devoured the carcasses of the poisoned cats, while the others maintained their vigil in their special hiding places.
“Probably…” Jake murmured as he looked around and listened, but then he noticed that the stars in the sky seemed a little weird… There were seven lights in the darkness, however, they were far closer than the other ‘stars’. More importantly, they were moving around swiftly, almost like they were dancing. The seven white lights darted at speeds that should have been impossible for modern aircraft, especially since they often stopped completely or just turned at unreasonable angles.
“Am I hallucinating or is that a fucking UFO?”
“I know there are seven!”
“Father… What’s-Ah! Catarina! Aliens!”
“Shush! They might hear us…”
Catarina, the Scouts and the Hounds all woke up at the same time. Then they quietly crawled out of the warm tent and looked up at the sky curiously. Those lights moved around randomly for at least ten minutes before they seemingly shot off into the distance in every direction…
“Wait, do you think this is some kinda magical treasure? Maybe if we gather them all together, we can make a wish?”
“Father, are those really aliens? Are aliens really real?!”
“Maybe… Drones?” Catarina spoke hesitantly, “Really… Really advanced drones.”
“They could be drones.” Jake nodded, “But they could also be some kinda weird energy lifeforms or maybe we’re all hallucinating? Either way, it doesn’t seem like they found us. Otherwise, we’d probably be getting ‘probed’ by now.”
The three dogs started getting excited and howling, then they went back inside and went to bed again. The Scouts… Well, they were already sleeping. They didn’t care about the lights in the sky in the first place.
“Padre… Do you think aliens did this to us?”
“Turned us into furries?” Jake looked down at the cute wolf-girl that was staring up at the beautiful stary sky, “Who knows? What I do know is that Professor Colas and the others over in Tolhuin were also able to see that UFO. They have no idea what it was… But at the very least, it’s probably not related to the Endless Hope Organization.”
“Cool! Hihihihihi~! Father, do you think we can fly a spaceship someday?!”
“Why not?” Jake snickered, “Maybe we’ll be able to create some kinda biological starship someday? Or we could just sneak some Mice onto a rocket?”
Catarina sighed, “I don’t know if I’ll live that long…”
“Colas and the doctors checked you out. Your lifespan shouldn’t be any shorter than a normal human. Probably longer.” Jacob placed his smooth, carapace-covered left hand onto her tiny, furry head and smirked, “The space age isn’t that far away. I think this ‘apocalypse’ will actually advance human technology more rapidly than before. So long as the AI don’t get out of control and kill everyone.”
“Father… I wanna take a hot shower.”
The three of them sighed at the same time, breathing out icy breaths and then went back to bed. If they didn’t get sleep while they could, they might be too tired to deal with emergencies later. This time it was just a bunch of little cats and some UFOs, but next time it could be Cougars and drones.
The Mice would keep watch during the night, then returned to the sled during the day to sleep. However, not all of them returned…
Jake sighed and used his left palm to swallow those three frozen Mice whole. Later in the day, a hundred tiny pink baby Mice were produced from his right palm. He placed the newborns in several warm, fuzzy pelt pockets, separated from the adult Mice. They only needed to eat, drink and sleep for a few hours before they were mature enough to survive outside. By the end of the day, they would be fully mature.
“At least… These babies will know how to survive better in the cold.”
“It’s so sad…” Tori’s eyes were still bloodshot from crying earlier, “Father, do you think they have souls?”
“Maybe?” Jake shrugged and then gently caressed his daughter’s giant head. He was sitting next to her, so he had to raise his arm a bit.
“Huh?” He looked down and noticed a small bit of white tuft near that armored blowhole, “Sweetie… I think you’re growing hair?”
“Si, Tori, you have more fur here.” Catarina giggled and rubbed near the armored Orca’s left waist, “It’s harder to notice.”
On the edge between the white underbelly and black back, a decent amount of fur was already growing. It’s just that it was usually covered by snow or mistaken for shed hair from the four white ‘dogs’ in their family.
“I think I’m growing some fur again too.”
Jake took off the thick black blanket and noticed that he had a few hairs growing from his chest, belly and lower back. They were just small patches, but the type of fur was very familiar. The long, hollow, transparent hairs looked white at first glance, but under different lighting conditions, the color could change drastically. Sometimes polar bears look green when they live in warmer climates and swim in water that has a lot of algae.
“Do you think I’ll have pretty long hair like Catarina?”
“Who knows?” Jake snickered and shook his head, “I’m more worried that you might accidentally get hair stuck in your blowhole and choke.”
“I’m not that fragile, Father.” Tori giggled and rolled her big silver eye at him, “Otherwise I would choke on all kinds of other stuff too.”
‘Fur, warm. Useful. Fluffy. Necessary.’
After the birth of the new batch of Mice, once their tiny bodies were covered in thick white fur, he started ‘equipping’ them with super small Ticks, Mites and Fleas. Unlike the normal bugs, they had a more symbiotic relationship. Whether it was the Ticks, Fleas or Mites, they didn’t need to eat or drink anything most of the time, so they wouldn’t bother their carriers too much. Only when their host was in danger or an order was given, would they attack the designated targets like efficient assassins. Usually it resulted in their immediate deaths, but sometimes they would survive long enough to be picked up again. When not in use, they could enter a dormant state, where they wouldn’t use much energy and their minds… Were not that advanced. The Mice were a lot smarter than the bugs. At least on the same level as normal Mice. Which was why Jake and Tori were sad when they died. But they didn’t really care much about the bugs.
“Billy, Nani, come down here!”
Catarina shouted anxiously as she watched the two silly goats easily climbing up the super steep cliff next to where they were resting. They were following a frozen stream up the side of the mountain, which was a relatively gentle slope, but there were also plenty of dangerous sheer cliffs all over the place.
“They’re basically Mountain Goats. Don’t worry. They’ll be fine… Probably.”
In the sky, two of the five Scouts were flying around. The sun was bright and the temperature was a little higher, but it still felt colder because they were climbing up into the windy mountains. Instead of hiding in the wooded valley below. There were still plenty of trees all around them though, mostly coniferous, with needle-like green leaves.
Jake looked over at the three long-legged black and white wolves who were wrestling with each other. The other three Scouts were pecking at the bark on a hollow tree trunk and digging out some big, juicy bugs from inside. It was pretty chaotic, especially with those newborn Mice squeaking and the other random noises of the forest. There were always animals barking, howling, roaring, cawing or just sounds of distant tree branches and rocks falling.
Tori screamed as she felt the instant disconnection from one of the Scouts, while the other one was spiraling downward helplessly. One of its wings was completely missing and the other was full of tiny holes. The pain was so excruciating that the poor bird almost fainted. However, Vora quickly controlled it to fall in the direction of their camp. The other one fell down in pieces, with only the decapitated head falling into the woods nearby…
“Cat, use Tori as a shield.” Jake shouted as he took off the thick black blanket around his head and spread it open as wide as possible with his eight tentacles. Although there was still a bit of impact, the Scout only bounced a few times and wasn’t injured by the fall.
“I know…” Jake sighed and placed the blanket down on the ground. The Scout was losing a lot of blood, but Catarina quickly used some bandages to stem the bleeding. Although she was also shocked, sad and upset, she wasn’t as distraught as Tori.
Instead of rushing to go get revenge, Jake took off the blanket around his body and tossed it onto Tori. Then his body started blending into the forest. The two Goats and three Hounds were forcefully recalled by Tori. They quickly came over and hid near the camp. There were no tents set up, but the sled had a big pile of bags on it and there were some other backpacks or luggage just laying around.
“Found it… Steve…”
“Joey… I’m sorry I never managed to remember your name.”
Jake reached down and picked up the large hawk-like head. Those glowing blue eyes were still wide open, but the connection was gone. Something was missing now. Breathing out a long sigh, he removed the feathers, flesh and bone as quickly as possible. Then placed the intact little bird brain into his right palm. The other pieces were devoured by the left palm. The brain was surprisingly resistant to Vora’s stomach acid. Reaching down deep into the arm. Connecting with her central nervous system as it slowly dissolved.
“Steve, come here. You’re a good boy. I love you so much.”
“Hihihi~! Father, his name is Joey. That’s Steve over there.”
“Whatever. They both look the same and I love them the same. What does it matter what I call them? You agree with me, right, Joey?”
“Fuck!” Jake’s eyes glowed bright red, “Goddamn it!”
‘Revenge! Kill! Destroy! Devour!’
“Joey~! Waaaah~!” Tori was wailing in the distance, while Catarina was also crying softly and struggling to help Steve. Keeping the fat bird from dying.
The Scouts were quiet, but the three Hounds were howling and ‘crying’ like Tori. Jake and Vora were the other extreme. They weren’t sad. Just angry. Furious enough to rush up the side of the mountain. They mostly hid in the trees and their body was still camouflage to blend into the woods to a certain extent. Following the scent of blood and gunpowder, it really didn’t take much time or effort to see the bastard who killed their child.
It was just a guy. A short, stocky man with slightly dark skin, a shaggy beard and long curly hair. He had no weird mutations. Nothing special really. Just a man holding a shotgun in one hand and the legs of a headless bird in the other. He had a smile on his face and didn’t seem to sense the danger at all.
Tori’s voice just sounded like a weird bird cry from this distance, though he was a little concerned about the wolves howling. However, living in the wilderness for so long, he obviously had a way to deal with various wild beasts. There were plenty of traps set up all over these woods. In fact, Jake nearly stepped on a large metal bear-trap and triggered a few trip wires, but those traps didn’t even slow down his pace.
“Asshole!” Jake rushed out and smacked the gun away with a tentacle, then grabbed the man’s thick brown coat with his left hand. The whole body was lifted up into the air without any effort.
“Aaah!” Obviously the man screamed. It would be strange if he didn’t in that situation.
“Shut up! Fuck! You killed my baby! Tell me! Why shouldn’t I kill you?!”
‘Kill! Kill! Kill! Revenge!’
“No, no, please! Don’t! I’m sorry! I’m sorry! No sé lo que hice, pero lo siento!”
Although the man was scared, the fact that he was dealing with a ‘human’ did calm him down enough to speak coherently. Not only that, but his right hand reached down and grabbed the pistol on his hip. In one impressively fast motion, he drew out the gun and fired five rounds into Jake’s armored chest at close range. However, the bronze jackets were flattened along with the lead inside and couldn’t penetrate through the thick carapace. It still hurt like hell, but the damage was minimal.
Jake’s tentacle reached down and grabbed the gun from the man’s left hand. While another tentacle broke his wrist and a third grabbed his other hand, to make sure he didn’t pull out another gun!
‘Kill! Enemy! Revenge!’
The more Vora goaded him into doing it, the more Jake instinctively resisted and hesitated. The look in that man’s eyes wasn’t cunning or ruthless, just afraid. Terrified and desperate. He remembered Kelsey Cage for some reason. Of course, he also remembered that immediately after he spared her life and even gave her weapons to protect herself, she tried to murder him for a few hours…
A high-pitched scream snapped Jake out of his reverie and then he felt a sharp pain, followed by a loud *Boom!* and the confusion in those brown eyes as the life faded away. One of Jake’s tentacles had a hole through it. Where a large-caliber hunting rifle bullet passed through. The poisonous and acidic blood splattered on the middle-aged man’s face, burning away part of his beard and searing his flesh. Yet what really did the most damage was the bullet that entered his left ear and got stuck in his brain stem.
“No! No! Ahh! Muere, monstruo!”
Two more gunshots rang out, but Jake had already dropped the dead man and darted behind some trees. His tentacle that was injured quickly contracted and stopped bleeding.Jake’s eyes turned pitch black and he was able to avoid revealing himself for the most part. At least the little boy with the rifle didn’t have the ability to find him on his own.
‘No! He’s just a stupid kid! Vora, don’t! I’m serious! I, no, we have a bottom line! Okay?!’
‘Yes, Mother. Please, please don’t-’
Jake breathed a sigh of relief. Then waited a few minutes, watching the young kid guarding his father’s corpse with the hunting rifle that only had a few rounds left. The boy had tears in his brown eyes and didn’t seem to have any obvious mutations or adaptations. At least not on his exposed head. The rest of his body was tightly covered in thick, padded green and brown camo winter clothing.
“Kid! It was just an accident! Your father killed my son and you accidentally killed him! But you’re still alive! You-”
“¡Vete a la mierda! ¡Voy a matarte! ¡Muéstrate, monstruo!”
“No, we’re not gonna-”
Two gunshots rang out simultaneously. Jake watched as the boy’s throat was torn apart and felt the sharp pain in another one of his tentacles. The powerful rifle rounds tore through the soft and squishy muscle of his tentacle just as easily as the other bullet ripped apart the child’s neck.
“Padre, are you okay?” Catarina looked up at the giant ‘man’ with a worried expression on her cute puppy-dog face, “Padre?”
“Yeah… I’m okay.” Jake smiled wryly as he watched the little girl lower her hunting rifle, “But you should be more careful. Your vest is bulletproof, but you aren’t even wearing a helmet.”
“Neither are you, Padre.” The little girl had frozen tears on her fluffy white cheeks, “We should go… Tori doesn’t want to keep climbing the mountain anymore.”
“I think she probably has a fucking mountain phobia by now…” Jake sighed, “Maybe I’m the same…”
Since there were two people, Jake was worried about finding a whole colony living up near the lakes in the mountains. He was afraid to send anymore Scouts up into the sky now. At least, not for a while. So after regrouping with the rest of his family, Jake started heading to the northeast, out of the valley.
“Padre… Do you blame me?”
“No.” Jake shook his head and sighed, “Don’t blame yourself, either. If they point a gun in your direction, kill them first. I can’t do it. But I won’t blame you for protecting yourself or your family. I just hope we don’t have to do this kinda shit often.”
“Tori’s mad at me.” Catarina’s pretty blue eyes were red from crying earlier.
“I’m not mad at you…” Tori’s voice was quieter and higher pitched than usual, “I’m mad at myself for being so useless.”
“You’re not useless.”
“No eres inútil.“
“I should have seen him. I should have been protecting them. I shouldn’t have let them fly-”
“Stop. Sweetie, they’re Scouts. They were purposefully designed to Scout. That’s their one and only job. And it’s never been a safe one. This time is different from before. No matter what, I’m their father. I’m the one that should have protected them… I let my guard down. Again. I’m sorry.”
‘Pointless. Weak. Too weak. Too small. Need, growth. Expansion. More Scouts! More Hounds! More Goats! Devour everything!’
“Vora… Honey, I’m sorry. It’s gonna be okay.”
Tori started crying again, but she didn’t stop moving with a bunch of luggage on her back. Everyone had lots of backpacks, while Jake pulled along the heavy sled. Catarina’s trembling furry hands were still carrying that same hunting rifle. The reason she didn’t wear gloves was because she ran out. The final pair was destroyed by the acidic and poisonous blood of Steve. Although she was somewhat immune to their venoms and poisons after spending so much time together, she still didn’t want to get slightly sick out in the wilderness.
Without the Scouts, they had to be a lot more cautious. Eventually though, Pierre, Brian and Peter, the second batch of Scouts, started taking turns to do their job. However, this time they were always on the lookout for ‘snipers’. If they saw humans or even a human-like creature, they would immediately retreat back to the sled to rest… Now they weren’t just lazy, they were also really scared.
Five kilometers through the hilly valley, covered in ice, snow and forests, took a few hours. Then they reached a road. More specifically, the end of a road that was covered in snow. Following that road, they could go north and find some small settlements connected to Tolhuin or even follow it all the way to the northeast to return back to where they started.
Unfortunately, neither option was a real choice. They had to keep wandering to the northwest, through the hills and forests, until they reached the rocky lake shoreline. Though it was more like a cliff, leading down to a mostly frozen lake. It was still well below freezing, even when it was sunny earlier. Now that it was getting a little cloudy and a lot darker, the temperature was dropping even farther, especially with the windchill.
“There’s gonna be another snow storm soon… We need to keep moving.”
Even though Jake said that, they didn’t move any faster or differently. Aside from stops to urinate or defecate, they could keep moving at a steady pace of 2 to 3 kilometers per hour on average. Obviously that was very slow, but the terrain was complex. They were going up and down hills constantly, one of them was a Marine Mammal and most of them were carrying heavy loads.
There were also various animals that got in their way or attacked them. For example, a huge group of fluffy brown cows was just loitering in their path. There were many powerful and dangerous-looking bulls, including one that was nearly three meters tall at the shoulder. Practically an elephant-sized cow. There were also lots of wild pigs, various types of goats, and a camelid that looks a lot like a llama, called a Guanaco.
For every large group or herd, there were usually at least one or two powerful monsters that were clearly Mutants or extreme Adaptors. Most of them were just Breeders though. The mutations might be as innocuous as having more fur, feathers or fat in order to survive in harsher, colder climates. Having extra eyes, limbs or other organs was a bit more extreme and less common.
“Is that real?”
Sometimes though, they would come across some monsters that made Jake and Catarina stupefied. Tori and Vora didn’t have as many preconceptions though. At most, they were just wary of the odd-looking creature that was drinking from a small pond ahead. Their group hid off to the side and tried not to attract any attention.
“Father… Maybe we should just leave?”
Jake frowned as he crouched behind a tree, blending into the environment like Tori. The tufts of fur on their bodies were mostly covered in snow anyway, so it didn’t clash against the snowy forest camouflage at all.
It was a little hard to see in the darkness, but there was a large group of gray-feathered ostrich-like birds called Rheas. Their feathers looked a lot like hair or fur for the most part. Except for one bird that was much larger than the rest. It was still gray… But its whole body seemed to be encased in stone. Even that long neck and those powerful, skinny legs were coated in a thin layer of rocky substance. Instead of feathers, the torso had a bunch of jagged rocks covering it. They weren’t just gray, there were also some shiny silvery, bronze and golden places. Along with some clear crystals. Coupled with the massive height of over 3 meters tall, counting the long neck of course, it looked fake at first glance.
“No way…” Jake shook his head, “Even if being able to eat and digest rocks sounds cool, I don’t wanna get turned into a rock giant next. That bird looks strong and dangerous, but it’s obviously a lot slower than the others. It’s practically crippled. Even its wings are fused to its torso now… Maybe it’ll just suffocate and die under its own weight eventually.”
‘Hmmm… Rocky Meat, dangerous.’
“Yeah, not just dangerous to eat, but that thing looks like a fucking ostrich tank.”
“Si…” Catarina nodded her head and was already loading some steel slugs into her shotgun. Well, the rocky exterior was thick, but not equal thickness. Some places were much stronger than others.
“Actually, as long as it falls down, it probably won’t be able to get back up easily…” Tori murmured, “I heard that hunters chase rheas on horseback and throw bolas at their legs to catch them.”
Jake ignored the birds and looked toward the dark sky, “Keep moving. We need to find a place to take shelter before the storm hits.”
That wasn’t the sound of the silly dogs howling. It was just the wind outside the cave. Jake moved some heavy boulders in front of the entrance, but obviously couldn’t seal it completely. Even if he could, he wouldn’t. He needed plenty of air circulation so that he could create a campfire and cook the previous owners of this lovely cavernous home. A group of ten huge gray-furred wild pigs, also known as collared peccary.
“You have to eat, Sweetie. Don’t worry. This storm shouldn’t last too long. Only a couple days at most.”
“I’m not hungry.” Tori ignored the delicious bacon slices that were placed in front of her mouth and closed her eyes, “Save it for the others. Especially Steve. I’m afraid, Father. I don’t want to lose any more of my siblings…”
“Eating less is fine, but you need to eat something to keep up your strength. Unless you want us to carry you later? If there’s an emergency-”
“Okay, okay, Father, please don’t jinx us!”
Tori stuck out her long pink tongue and slurped up the bacon off Jake’s left palm. They have plenty of fat left on their bodies, but they need that blubber to protect them from the cold. If they don’t keep eating, they’ll burn it away pretty quickly.
“Do you think… No, I won’t say it.”
“Yes, I think Steve will pull through. Don’t worry. It’s normal to feel sick in this situation. He lost a lot of blood… Lost a wing.”
Jake sighed dramatically as he looked at the sleeping bird that was nuzzled up against Tori’s giant face. The other three were being kept away from him, not to keep from getting sick, but because they were legitimately afraid that the others might kill their weakened older sibling. Although they were ordered not to, it’s hard for ‘animals’ to ignore their basic instincts. Especially with Voracity’s own cannibalistic nature in the background.
[Are you the scorpion or the frog, Jacob? I think you know the answer already.]
“Fuck.” Jake shook his head, rubbing the white letters off his pitch-black left forearm… When the writing was gone, he breathed out a long sigh.
“Fear is normal. Steve lost a wing. I lost another arm. Even if you don’t wanna do it, you can’t help yourself. Maybe someday…”
“Father, please don’t talk about that kind of stuff.”
“Okay, sorry Sweetie.” Jake smiled wryly and then looked over at Catarina with a worried expression on his face, “Kitty… Are you okay?”
“Si, Padre.” The little wolf-girl was staring at the skewered ham chunks that she was roasting over the campfire, “I’m fine. I’ll be fine.”
“You still haven’t slept yet. You can’t afford to get sick. None of us can.”
She nodded and brought the metal skewer closer to her face, sniffing the scorched meat a few times before putting it back into the fire for a bit longer. Although it didn’t look or smell that appetizing, at least she could be sure that it was much safer to eat this way. On the other hand, the silly dogs were just gnawing on a few big bones without a care. Sometimes they would fight with each other over a ‘chew toy’, which made her giggle.
“They’re so innocent.”
“Yeah.” Jake snickered and Tori also started laughing softly, “They’re young…”
“Si…” Catarina’s adorable husky-like face frowned, “I think I burned it.”
“It’s not a big deal. Even if it turns to charcoal, don’t waste it. I’ll eat-”
“No. I’ll eat it.” Tori giggled, “It’s so tiny that I won’t be able to tell the difference anyway.”
“It’s okay. I’m not that picky.”
The little girl smiled and waited a while for the burnt chunks of meat to cool off enough for her to lick it with her long, flat pink tongue. Then she chewed and wrinkled her snout, continuing to chew until it was grinded up enough to barely swallow. Though she had to drink a lot of water along with it.
There were also over a hundred little white, brown, gray and black Mice scurrying around the cave. The ceiling was fairly low and made of jagged gray rocks, while the ground was mostly just brown dirt. There were a lot of mushrooms and plants growing sporadically, along with plenty of bugs. For the Mice, the small cave was huge enough for them to explore and play around happily. They also tested whether various substances were dangerous or not with their own lives.
“Hey! Don’t eat that!” Jake had to yell at the stupid ‘Kids’ again, because they were nibbling on one of the black backpacks…
“With all this food around, why do you have to try to destroy shit?!”
Billy and Nani made some weird noises, then ran away from their ‘Father’. Jake had to crouch down to avoid hitting his head on the sharp rocks jutting out from the ceiling, so he obviously couldn’t keep up with the little bastards. Fortunately, he was able to ‘control’ them to put down the backpack first before they ripped it open.
“Hey, be careful!”
Tori screamed and prevented the stupid Goats from accidentally trampling a few of the Mice to death by using her tail flukes as a shield. The three healthy birds started squawking and flapping their wings to get out of the way. Then the dogs started barking and Catarina couldn’t help laughing.
“Jacob, are you there?”
Jake stopped paying attention to his body as soon as he heard that familiar voice. Then his consciousness transferred over to the small black mouse standing on the palm of a ‘giant’. He looked up at the messy beard, oily hair and haggard, wrinkled face.
“Colas, what’s up?”
“Ah, good, I was worried that the storm might interfere with your ‘signal’. Hahaha~!”
“Nah, still crystal clear. Like full-immersion VR. At least, how I imagine it would feel.” The little mouse snickered and shook his head, looking up with those glowing blue eyes, “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong. Ah, well, this damn blizzard has been causing a lot of problems, but that’s not why I’m ‘calling’ you. The first experiment has shown some results… The control flies have all died, but the Immortal Flies are still very healthy. As ‘young’ as they were when they were just born. It’s impossible to know whether there will be any other diseases or issues in the future, until the future. For now, at least we know that you were able to extend their natural lifespan dramatically.”
“That’s good… I… Vora and I have been considering spawning a new, upgraded version of the Scouts. Technically they’re Type-1 Scout Drones, code-named Waterfowl. But calling them Waterfowl… Ugh. It might be confusing in the future though. Or we can just call the future Scouts by their own name… Hopefully it’ll sound cooler?”
“I’ll name you Jory, you’ll be Joseph and you’ll be Joe! Hihihihi~! Father, they’re so adorable when they’re babies… I wanna have lots of babies when I grow up!”
“I’m sure you will, Sweetie.” Jake snickered and shook his head, “But how can you remember all those names? And how the hell do you tell the difference? They just look like three white ducklings to me.”
“I know because they all have different ‘voices’, Father. Can’t you hear them? Joe also has a slightly longer beak than Joseph and Jory. Joseph has slightly bigger eyes than the others as well.”
“You’re a genius Tori.”
Jake snickered and rubbed his daughter’s head with his slightly sore right hand. Although the three baby Scouts were born very small, he still had to ‘vomit’ out a lot of stomach acid first. It was a very unpleasant experience and he’s gone through it way too many times lately. It’s also a huge waste of nutrients and energy. The acid will build up again very quickly and it takes a while to ovulate again. Otherwise he could just pump out babies constantly.
“Look how happy Steve is! They know each other! I think he understands that they inherited Joey’s memories!”
After the three ducklings were born and the one-winged Steve had recovered for the most part, Tori also cheered up a lot. The Goats were always causing trouble and even tried to eat Catarina’s tent the other night, but they were also a source of entertainment and happiness. Everyone formed their own ‘cliques’ though. Usually based on their… ‘Breed’. The Hounds were really close to each other and to Catarina. The Scouts were obviously closer to each other, though they also had two groups now. The new and the old birds. The second batch of Scouts didn’t like the first batch, but the third generation was actually very close to Steve because of their genetic memories.
The Mice had the most members by far and they basically kept to themselves. The bugs didn’t need or care about socialization or fun. They were the most similar to ‘tools’. Even Tori didn’t try to get attached or emotionally invested into them. She also wanted to name the Mice, but gave up once their numbers jumped from a few dozen to over a hundred.
“Yeah… It’s kind of amazing when you think about it.” Jake sighed, “Maybe someday, we’ll be able to achieve a kind of immortality by using this method? Well, we’re kind of already doing it. But you know what I mean.”
“Maybe, I can become a human again someday?” Catarina’s pink doggy lips curled a bit, “I shouldn’t get my hopes up.”
“No, it’s really not that far-fetched to transform back from a ‘werewolf’ into a human again.” Jake patted the little girl’s fluffy head, “I just don’t think it’ll be like in the games, movies and stories. I’m also afraid that you might shorten your lifespan by changing so many times. It really depends on the amount of time involved though. Every decade or so, all the cells get replaced-”
“Except brain cells!” Tori interjected.
“Yeah, yeah, except brain cells, unless you’re a monster like us.” Jake shrugged, “In other words, it might take a few years each time, but it’s not impossible. Personally though, I think you’re much cuter now than those pictures of you online.”
“Padre…” Before Catarina could say anything, the three dogs took turns speaking in deep, raspy and slightly feminine voices.
“Wolf Form, more powerful.”
“Fluffy fur, good.”
“Eat more, grow faster.”
“I don’t want to breed litters!” Catarina retorted angrily and then laughed, “If I was a normal human, I would have died a long time ago.”
“Same.” Jake nodded.
“Me too!” Tori also agreed…
“Well, technically you’re more human than I am.” Jake snickered, “At least genetically. No… Maybe mentally as well.”
“What the fuck?!”
Jake shouted and Catarina screamed, but Tori said, “No! Father, it’s an avalanche!”
It only took a few seconds for the opening at the top of the cave to be covered up. The good news is that they didn’t have a fire burning recently, so they didn’t have to worry about suffocating as quickly. The bad news was that they all needed oxygen and the cave wasn’t that large. Especially with Jake, Tori, the Hounds and even the Goats using up a lot of oxygen all the time.
“I’ll dig the way out. The rest of you just stay calm and don’t waste air pointlessly.”
Jake stopped Tori and the Hounds that wanted to help, because the entrance really wasn’t big enough for everyone anyway. Some white fur was already growing on his head tentacles, but they could still be used for illumination pretty easily. Tori was the same way.
“In retrospect, piling up a bunch of heavy rocks in front of the door was probably a mistake.”
An avalanche isn’t just about snow. Because all that snow also picks up big chunks of ice, rocks, frozen soil, trees, tree branches or anything else that might be in its path. It’s very similar to a landslide in a lot of ways. Fortunately, the boulders that Jake put in front of the entrance weren’t too large to pull inside the cave. Then he started the slow process of excavation.
The good news was that the mountain above them was actually not that tall. A lot of ice and snow might have piled up over the past few weeks, but it still wasn’t that big of a deal. Just a pain in the ass. Of course, he didn’t need to completely clear the entrance or dig some super long tunnel through miles of snow. It was only about three meters thick. With a bunch of rocks, ice and trees blocking the way, preventing him from simply ‘swimming’ straight up to the surface.
Instead, he grabbed a snow shovel and cleared it up slowly and steadily. The excess snow was piled over on the sides and eventually melted, seeping into the soil and turning it into mud. A lot of water also went down into the tunnels that the Mice dug. Thankfully, they could breathe underwater to a certain extent, so they didn’t drown.
In fact, the Mice were also trying to dig their way out. At the very least, they could dig out some tunnels underground that could reach the surface somewhere else and provide a little more airflow.
“It’s been a few weeks. Why the fuck is it still snowing?!”
A 2.5 meter tall white-furred yeti with long, thick ‘dreadlocks’ was standing on the top of a huge snowy mound and looking across the vast expanse of frozen hills. He had a few ropes tied around his waist, which he used to pull along the heavy sled filled with various supplies and tools. Not to mention the frozen meat, animal pelts and other resources that they gathered recently.
“The Cold Death.”
The high-pitched and childish voice came from the blowhole of a strange-looking creature. It was shaped like a Killer Whale, but completely covered in thick white fur. However, unlike ordinary Orcas, the ends of those flippers had long, black talons. The shape of the flipper was also more like that of a ‘hand’, which allowed the giant creature to crawl across the land more easily.
“Father… Are they going to be okay?”
“They’ll be fine.”
Jake smirked, though it was almost impossible to tell with all the thick white fur on his face. Even his eyebrows dangled down to the sides and almost got in the way of his vision. Especially with all the snow and frost that got built up on them.
“Si, Tori. My brothers will be fine. Don’t worry so much.”
Catarina was still short, but she did get a little taller after her feet became digitigrade like a conventional ‘werewolf’. She also grew out a long, thick and fluffy white tail with a gray tip. However, she didn’t walk around naked like Jake. Instead, she still had to wrap herself up in thick white winter clothing. Even her wolf-like face was completely covered with a scarf and her eyes were protected by goggles. The hood on her head was almost blown off by the wind.
The wolf-girl had a shotgun in her hands and was looking around warily. As if a scary monster would pop out of the snow at any moment…
She screamed and almost shot the stupid white and black ‘Maned Wolf’ that landed in front of her! The other two Hounds also barked or howled as they jumped around happily. They dug holes and found frozen animals sometimes, or they just buried themselves in the snow for fun. Either way, they were as energetic as usual. Though it should be noted that they lost a lot of weight recently. Not just them. The whole ‘family’ burned lots of calories on their long trek northward…
“Alright, stop fooling around.”
Jake snickered and squinted his blue eyes as he gazed off into the distance. However, his real sight was mostly focused on the vision that the six Scouts were sending back. Whether it was the winding river or the highway, even the small lakes nearby were all completely invisible. The birds couldn’t fly too high because of the strong winds and snow, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to see the ground in the first place. However, with six of them spread out, Jake was able to get a pretty good view of the whole scenery…
“Everything’s frozen over. Even the trees are almost buried by now… It’s kinda scary. At least the actual temperature isn’t that low.”
They were a hundred or so kilometers northwest of where they started a month ago. Considering that it snowed on and off, with mild and heavy blizzards from time to time, their progress was actually pretty fast. They also went around a few mountains and mountain ranges, rather than crossing over top of them.
“Padre, I think we’re in Chile now…”
Catarina’s voice was muffled behind her scarf and almost drowned out in the wind, but Jake and Tori were still able to hear her easily. Especially Torrent, who had absurdly powerful auditory abilities.
Of course, it also meant that they could hear the two silly Goats that were far ahead of everyone else and eating some green needle-like leaves off a half-buried tree. As the group approached, the sense of scale became much more apparent. Nani and Billy were covered in thick white-brown patterned fur. Standing next to Jake, their shoulder heights weren’t that different from his! About 2.1 meters… The length was even more exaggerated. A little over 3.3 meters from head to the base of the long, fluffy tail.
Those horns that used to be tiny and cute had become extremely long, hard and sharper than before. They curved back a bit, but were mostly straight backwards. In order to gore something now, their target had to be something pretty big. Otherwise they’d have to put their heads down into the snow and lift upwards.
A loud roar came from the distance to their right and attracted everyone’s attention. From the air, the Scouts in that area couldn’t really see anything. Instead of being rowdy, the Hounds and even the naughty giant Goats quickly grouped up together with the rest of the family. Everyone hid between a group of tall snow-covered trees. The Scouts also converged and tried to find the source of that strange noise.
It wasn’t a single voice, but at least four different roars. Jake held a rifle in his furry white hands and narrowed his blue eyes, but he still couldn’t see anything in the distant snowy hills. Eventually the noises stopped… About an hour later, nothing happened, so they kept moving northward.
“We gotta find a place to settle down for the night.” Jake looked up at the white clouds in the sky and sighed, “When the fuck is this winter gonna end anyway?”
“Should be… Soon?” Catarina sighed behind her thick white scarf, “We… My family lived in the north. Winters there are usually very warm. It rarely goes below freezing. The summers are really hot.”
“Yeah, Father, I read that northern Argentina is like a jungle!”
“That’s very far north… I’ve never been that far.” The wolf-girl giggled, “At our current speed, we might make it there in a few years?”
“Too slow.” Vora grumbled through Sophia’s mouth, “Burdens, unnecessary.”
“They’re not unnecessary.” Jake rolled his big blue eyes, “Besides… I’m not sure whether it’s really a good idea to go all the way north right now. If we go too fast, we won’t be able to adapt quickly enough. Actually… I’m more afraid that there will be bigger, stronger and more terrifying monsters there. I’m not sure whether things will get better and stabilize in the future or just go off the rails completely.”
“Father! Look! A house!” Tori shouted excitedly, “It doesn’t look like anyone is home! Yay~!”
“Don’t get your hopes up…” Jake shook his head and sighed, “But even if the building is condemned, it can still provide some protection. We’ll see.”
When they approached the two-storey house, the left side was completely covered in snow. Even on the roof, there was another meter of snow piled up and falling over onto the other side. The front door was almost completely submerged. Through the frosty windows on the second floor, they basically couldn’t see anything at all. No smoke was rising from the chimney, which was unsurprising.
“I’ll send some Mice to explore first.”
Jake picked up a small black fur pouch from the top of the sled and took it over to the window. Then he easily shattered the icy glass and felt a wave of horrible stench wafting out from inside… Even so, he still placed the pouch filled with five small brown Mice inside the building.
“Padre, we should just set up camp over here.”
Catarina pointed to the right side of the house, which was somewhat protected from the wind and snow. At least for now. As long as they did a bit of digging, they could make an even better campsite. This ruined house would also have plenty of materials to burn for a campfire as well.
“We should check out the situation inside first.”
“Caution.” Sophia’s bright-pink eyes looked over at the little wolf girl, “Smell… Death. Decay. Danger.”
“Mushrooms.” Tori added on the side, “I can see a lot of scary glowing mushrooms and vines everywhere. No! Father! The Mice might get sick!”
“Don’t underestimate their vitality and resilience. This isn’t the first generation anymore, Tori. They might look the same on the outside, but their insides have changed a lot. If they get sick and don’t die, they’ll adapt and grow. Just like the rest of us.”
The giant white yeti with a furry face looked down at the similarly hairy Killer Whale that had claws growing out of her flippers. Those flippers could actually get narrower or wider now, because there were five ‘fingers’ inside that could spread or come together. As time went on, it even seemed like she might develop a separate opposable thumb or something similar eventually.
“It looks like… There’s a hole in the roof. A bunch of water leaked down from the attic. The pipes also burst from the cold and leaked everywhere. There’s frozen sewage and dirty water all over the fucking place. Yeah, you don’t wanna go in there.”
“I never said I did.”
Catarina giggled and was already starting to set up her tent against the side of the house. Tori, the Hounds and even the Goats used their ‘hands’ to help dig out a huge pit in the snow really quickly. Then Tori’s arms got tired, so she just used her huge tail as a giant snow shovel and sent hundreds of kilos of snow flying up into the air at a time.
“Shush!” Jake complained to the noisy birds, “If you wanna ‘talk’, do it quietly. For fuck’s sake, we’re not the only ones in this frozen hellscape. Don’t attract attention.”
Jake shouted at the loud Goats and then focused his attention on the Mice again. Most of the house was totally ruined. All the appliances and other things like that were destroyed… But, there were always things that could be salvaged, no matter how bad the situation. Some cans of food might explode if the liquids inside freeze, but others were still fine. There were also things that were sealed in plastic or kept in plastic bins, which weren’t contaminated by water, sewage, fungi or other creatures.
One of the Mice alerted the others, because it saw a huge blue spider that was big enough to eat them. However, they quickly discovered that it was already frozen. Whether it was actually dead or not is debatable, but at least it wasn’t a threat. They also saw a woman curled up under a blanket with a young boy, the two of them were frozen solid. Even most of those mushrooms, molds and plants were also covered in a layer of frost.
“Gather what you can, but be careful.”
Jake whispered into their minds and guided the Mice along with Tori. Vora on the other hand, kept watch outside and controlled their bodies to keep working tirelessly. When the small group of Mice was unharmed after a while and marked a few important resources with their scent or other methods, Jake released another hundred Mice into the house. The tiny rodents were extremely light and agile, but they were strong enough to carry 1 kilo of weight each. They also had dexterous hands that weren’t inferior to humans in their ability to manipulate objects. For example, tying and untying ropes, they were smart enough to use simple tools as well. As for creation, Jake and Tori were able to teach them or at least, use their bodies to do those things.
Using snow and ice, they built a ramp leading up to the window. Then carried hundreds of intact metal cans outside, plenty of other things that were sealed in plastic as well. Like gummy candies or cookies. There were even things like popsicles and ice cream in the freezer that were unopened. Maybe they were past the date, but it was probably still fine. At the very least, the Mice deserved some tasty treats for their hard work.
Vora shouted excitedly from Jake’s mouth as she dug the big metal grill out of the snow.
Vora also found a relatively new-looking black pick-up truck on the other side of the house. Then she started digging it up through the dogs.
She also found a giant, frozen brown-furred bull. The two huge Goats were about the same size as that bull and a lot lighter. The average normal-sized bull can range from 500 to 1,000 kg, while the two enormous Goats were only about 400 kg most of the time. However, this frozen giant bull was at least 2,000 kilos! Of course, that wasn’t ‘all’ meat, but there was still plenty of muscle on that beefy monster cow… They were going to have plenty of meat tonight.
After the camp was set up properly, they all sat around the big, rectangular black grill and used it like a huge campfire. Cooking lots of frozen beef. Most of the cow was still slowly thawing on the side, but Vora broke off one of the long and thick legs to get started. There were also some vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, corn and beans. All of them were being roasted in a metal pot on the side of the grill.
Aside from the gray concrete wall, there were also three gigantic piles of snow that blocked the wind from the other directions. So their little camp was relatively cozy and warm. In the end, Catarina was the one doing most of the cooking to prevent contaminating the food as always. With the wind-chill not an issue and the fire roaring in front of her face, she was finally able to take down the scarf to reveal her cute snout. The goggles also came off. Then the smoke got in her eyes and sensitive nose, so she immediately regretted it…
“Chuu! Oh no!”
“Hahaha~! Don’t worry, it’ll add some flavor, hahaha~!”
“Ew…” Catarina groaned and then giggled, shaking her head, “It’s already so dirty… It’s fine.”
“Plus, by the time you’re done with that meat, it’ll look like charcoal. A little snot won’t make a difference.”
A few minutes passed by in relative silence. At least no one was talking. Even the Goats were too tired to keep their eyes open and went to bed early. Cuddled together near the sled, with over a hundred little Mice and seven duck-like Scouts. The Hounds were too hungry and still full of energy, so they anxiously waited for the food to cook, while whining like normal dogs.
“Father, why did they die? They had so much firewood and fuel. They obviously could have kept warm… Right?”
“They probably got sick.” Catarina responded before Jake, “Not everyone is as ‘lucky’ as us.”
The giant white yeti nodded with his furry dreadlocks twitching randomly, revealing the purple suction cups on the underside beneath the fur…
“We are actually very fucking lucky. The past month, we’ve managed to travel through a heavy snowstorm in the middle of nowhere, yet we always seem to find plenty of food pretty easily. Not to mention other supplies. Everywhere we go, there are countless plants and animals that froze to death, yet we’re still totally fine. But…”
“But we need to keep moving.” Tori sighed out of her blowhole loudly, “If we don’t keep moving, the Cold Death might not get us, but we’ll run out of food first.”
“Yep.” Jake nodded with a wry smile on his furry lips, “We should take a break here for a few days though. I don’t wanna waste all this food, but we definitely can’t take it all with us.”
A week later, whether it was Jake, Tori, Catarina or even down to the little Mice, everyone looked a lot ‘plumper’. After eating the 2k kilo bull, they still had plenty of supplies leftover. They had to keep moving though. During the day, the temperature was rising. Not enough to melt the snow, but it was definitely above freezing. At night, it was still very cold, but there was a positive trend at least…
“I’m worried about rain.”
Jake looked at the sled that was covered in a thick white tarp and frowned, “Not just rain, but it might hail. I’m worried about you the most, Catarina.”
“I’m more worried about the dogs and goats.”
The wolf-girl had her scarf removed to let the warm sunshine land on her face directly, but she had to use tinted sunglasses to prevent herself from going snowblind. When Jake saw the ‘husky’ wearing glasses for the first time, he couldn’t help laughing, but now… Well, he still chuckled occasionally.
“Same. Hopefully it doesn’t rain for a while though. I mean, for fuck’s sake, it snowed for so long. How could there be any more rain left?”
“I don’t know. It rained and snowed far more than usual this year. Southern Patagonia is supposed to be really dry…”
Jake snickered and gently caressed the little girl’s furry white head, “The world is changing in a lot of ways. Maybe the fucking poles will reverse or some such bullshit. I’m gonna be super pissed if we make it to the ‘north’ and end up in the Arctic next!”
“Hihihihi~! Father, don’t jinx us!”
“Father, do you hear that?!”
“Of course I hear it! Everyone get down! Hide!”
As soon as Jake said that, the three long-legged fox-wolves buried themselves under the snow with just their heads poking out. Tori stayed still, Jake also laid down. Catarina reacted a little slower, but then she quickly hid between the two silly goats that pretended to be dead. The Scouts in the sky also swooped down and quickly disappeared underneath the thick snow, not far from the shed that was already pretty well camouflaged. All their backpacks and other darker items were under the white tarp of the sled, so from the sky, it was really hard to see anything at all.
There was a horrible shrieking noise in the sky as three gray fighter jets flew past at high altitude. After a few minutes, when they were about to get up again, they started hearing even more noises coming from the east once more! Then a formation of seven fighter jets flew over their heads and went off to the west… There were no explosions and nothing seemed to happen after that, but they still stayed on the ground and chatted for about an hour before getting up.
“I feel like we’ve gotten really timid.”
Jake snickered and shook his head. His tentacles whipped around and a lot of snow was quickly thrown off his fur. He also patted it from his shoulders, chest, abdomen and legs. Then the Hounds hopped out of the snow and started howling at the sky. The goats and Catarina also got up off the ground. Then the Scouts finally dug their way out of the snow. They were buried pretty deep, but no one was hurt.
“Caution, effective.” Sophia spoke in a raspy feminine voice, “Survive. Grow. Reproduce. Conquer. Thrive.”
“Jacob! Jacob, are you there?! Something happened!”
Jake frowned and struggled to send his thoughts over to the black mouse in the distance, eventually possessing the small body. Breathing a sigh, he looked up at the middle-aged man’s gigantic face in the ‘sky’.
“What’s wrong, Professor?”
“It’s your flies. Can you still get in touch with them?”
The black mouse frowned and shook his head, “Did they die?”
“No. Worse. Much worse… They started mutating.” Professor Colas frowned, “We’ve isolated them from each other this whole time, but not only did they grow reproductive organs… They’ve already started laying eggs. Just like normal flies, the eggs hatched into maggots.”
“That’s… Not great.” Jake smiled wryly and shrugged his shoulders, “I guess there really is a distance limit. And like we predicted… Their original designed form can still be altered later. Were they infected with anything special?”
“No. They’ve been kept quarantined since the very start. They haven’t been exposed to anything new… Nothing ‘new’.”
“Oh well. We knew this would probably happen sooner or later. I’m not very surprised or upset about it…”
“Jacob, the flies are unimportant. The real danger are those other creatures you’ve infested Tolhuin with… And of course, these ‘Mice’ of yours. I know you’re not a monster, Jacob. So please…”
“I know. I know… Don’t hurt my children, Colas.”
“I won’t, Jacob. You can trust me.”
Jake sighed and then worked with Voracity to control all the Mice in the whole town to stealthily gather toward the hospital. Of course, there were still plenty of creatures that were living out in the wild. They also left behind a few Mice every now and then, along with a full complement of bugs that lived under their fur. Thousands of cockroaches were still lurking in the town, but Jake couldn’t even control them anymore.
“It seems like there’s a direct correlation between the brain of your offspring and the distance at which you can control them… But we’ll need to do more research.”
“Unfortunately, this might be the last time we ‘see’ each other.” Jake smiled wryly on that cute mousey face, “I hope you live well, Colas. And make sure to take care of my kids.”
“Take care of yourself as well, Jacob… Tell your daughters I wish them the best. I’ll take care of Catarina’s brothers to the best of my abilities. But they shouldn’t need my help. If-”
Jake opened his eyes and frowned, looking to the south, then towards the east, the west, the north…
“We can still feel all our kids, but we can’t ‘Possess’ them anymore.”
“Offspring, free. Uncontrollable… Dangerous.”
“Father, Mother, why are you so afraid of my brothers and sisters?”
The furry Killer Whale asked the big white dog and her yeti father, “Are you afraid of me too?”
The two of them answered at the same time and then Jake laughed, “I’m not afraid of you… I’m just worried about what might happen to you in the future. Vora wanted to maintain her status and authority as ‘Queen’, but the reason I didn’t give the Drones genitals is just to try and protect them… Catarina understands.”
On the warm and sunny beach, a short pale-skinned man was thrusting inside of the truly gigantic dark-skinned woman. Then she casually picked him up like a toy and started riding on his waist, looking like her muscular ass would crush his skinny body easily. However, the bearded man was fine no matter how rough the giantess treated his body. Even when she bit down onto his face and blood gushed out, no wounds were left behind.
Big pink octopus tentacles extended from that woman’s scalp and her eyes were also glowing bright pink. Inside her open mouth were four long, thick, snake-like tongues that stretched out and penetrated into the man’s relatively muscular chest. His heart was ripped out, but still beating. Then it transformed into thousands of tiny black cockroaches and flew away, bursting into purple flames in the rapidly darkening sky.
The man’s brown eyes turned bright blue and his long black hair also turned into purple octopus tentacles. The wound on his chest was covered up by a hard black exoskeleton, which also quickly coated the rest of his body. Then he grabbed the woman’s giant head, which looked much smaller now. Pressing it down against the massive pink squirming tentacle that erupted from the slit at the front of his groin… Those four tongues reached out and slithered up, down, wrapping around that wiggling, throbbing tendril.
Jake moaned softly as he opened his eyes and looked down at his furry crotch. That ‘giant’ tentacle seemed a lot smaller, but was still a fairly tight fit as it entered the slit on his left palm. The right palm was grasping near the thicker base and two tentacles were licking deep down inside his cracked open carapace. Those two fleshy pink orbs inside were far more sensitive than when he was a human. There were also several other strange bumps and lumps inside, which the doctors suspected were nerve clusters similar to a ‘clitoris’ or ‘g-spot’ and were incredibly sensitive when stimulated. There were also several similar nerve clusters inside of his wrists and palms.
“I love you…”
As he ejaculated, Jake was completely ‘awake’ and looked around anxiously. Fortunately, Tori was still sleeping, surrounded by two giant goats and Catarina was in her white tent, almost suffocated by the three silly dogs. Only Steve was still awake, staring curiously at ‘his’ father and mother, who were doing something he couldn’t understand.
“Go to bed, Steve. We’ll keep watch for the rest of the night.”
Jake whispered softly and the simple ‘duck’ immediately closed his eyes, nuzzling his curved black hawk-beak into his fluffy white feathers. That wing was still missing and didn’t look like it would grow back. At least not in the near future. However, as far as the wounds were concerned, he was completely healthy now. Maybe a little too fat because he usually doesn’t get that much exercise anymore.
The slit on Jake’s groin closed up and the fur was a little damp. Which quickly became frosty in the frigid wind. He sat up and looked around at the snowy hills nearby. They’ve traveled a long way since that house, but the scenery was still about the same. However, there was definitely a difference. They were traveling to the northeast. Already crossed back into Argentina, technically, and were headed to the coast of this huge island at the tip of South America.
“Once we reach the coast, we can travel a lot faster… But it’ll be more dangerous.”
‘Danger, opportunity… Endless Meat!’
“Yeah… But still. I have a bad feeling.”
“Maybe? I don’t know. I’ve never met an unrelated ‘Queen’ besides Kelsey. Unless Cindy counts?”
“Uh, I’m really not sure if it’s safe to eat them.” Jake frowned and scratched his long white beard, “Regardless of whether they’re humanoid or were originally a fish, if it’s a Queen, they might have weird abilities we don’t understand. What if they can make us sick?”
“They might still have toxins in them that will still be deadly or dangerous. Anyway, we’ll see what happens. I’m more afraid of bullets and bombs than most monsters out there.”
‘Monsters… We grow, they grow, expanding, endlessly, devouring, conquering… Survival, infinite struggle.’
“That’s pretty much how it goes.” Jake snickered, “I just don’t know where the limit-”
“Mmmmn~! Fuck… Mmmmn…”
Jake bit his tongue. This might not sound too serious, but when you consider how sharp his teeth are and how powerful his jaw strength… Well, the good news is that his tongue could heal very quickly. The bad news was that he probably wouldn’t be able to speak properly for the rest of the day. Fortunately he could still chat telepathically and even use the mouths of his ‘children’ to speak if necessary.
Standing up, the white yeti with dreadlocks walked up the snowy ramp and emerged from the deep pit where they made their camp. At the top of the meter high pile of snow, he was able to get a better view of the surroundings… Even in the dark, the white snow made things seem relatively bright. Those blue eyes narrowed as he scanned the surroundings more thoroughly, breathing in some cold air to cool down his throbbing tongue.
In the living and dead trees around the camp, there were dozens of little Mice scattered around as always, so Jake didn’t have to stick around to keep watch with his own eyes. Even in the camp itself, there were plenty of Mice that were still awake. They were mostly nocturnal after all.
After coming to a place far enough away from the camp, Jake pulled out his long pink tentacle and started pissing. The hot liquid melted the snow and created a small puddle, while the cold wind chilled his exposed genitals pretty badly. However, it didn’t take him long to relieve himself. At least not from urination… After he was done, he quickly found an even more secluded area where he could squat down comfortably.
The furry cheeks opened up with a black-armored pink slit hidden in the center. After a minute or so of struggle, a long brown snake slithered out and coiled around on the icy pit in the ground. Jake pushed a little more, but nothing else happened, so he grabbed some snow from nearby and started ‘wiping’ himself clean. Using snow as toilet paper is actually a fairly common practice when it comes to winter or Arctic survival.
The horrible stench made Jake look down and frown. There weren’t any visible parasites or glowing fungi, but he still had to quickly bury the feces deeply under the snow. Otherwise, those stupid dogs would dig it up and eat it. Not just that, but if he didn’t clean his ass off properly, they would help him ‘clean’ when he wasn’t paying attention. They weren’t that different from real dogs in that sense.
Jake couldn’t help gagging when he thought about it. Because Voracity was just as bad or worse. He used to only wipe with his left hand for that very reason. Now both of his palms have turned into mouths. Thankfully, it’s harder to ‘lick’ through compacted snow than toilet paper.
Not far from the coast, there was a cozy little town. There were only about ten small wooden cottages, surrounded by frosty woods and hills. Gray smoke was rising from the chimneys and rising into the white, cloudy sky. There was also a slightly larger building that had the English word ‘Tavern’ in front of it. There were also some barns for cows and stables for horses.
Some white birds were circling around the town in the sky, while dozens of small Mice sneaked into the area, deftly avoiding the many cats and dogs in those yards. There were also some people in thick white and brown fur coats walking around outside. Along with a few… Very oddly dressed people.
“Are those medieval knights?” Jake couldn’t help being amazed, “They aren’t like me, right? But like, actually wearing metal armor in this fucking weather?”
“Father, maybe they’re like us and have lots of fur or blubber?”
There were actually people completely covered in heavy silver armor, riding some horses around the area. At least they had thick black cloaks to cover part of their armor, though it didn’t seem like it would do much. They carried spears or halberds in their hands, their heads were completely covered by helmets and it wasn’t possible to see what they looked like underneath. The other people also had their entire bodies covered up and their puffy, thick clothing made it hard to distinguish whether they were male, female or something else. At the very least, everyone had two arms, two legs and only one visible head.
“Padre, I can see in one of the windows of the Tavern…”
Catarina didn’t have any special telepathic tricks or fancy technology like drones, instead, she just used some good old fashioned binoculars. They were on a large snowy hill overlooking the forest where the village was located. Both Jake and Cat had hunting rifles ready, which could theoretically reach that far away, but neither of them were professional snipers.
“I can see her too… And she can see us.”
Jake frowned, because he could feel the ‘connection’ between Voracity and that beautiful woman. She had pale skin, large golden eyes, long and pointy elf-like ears, long blonde hair and a very voluptuous body, covered by a thin white robe with the hood down. That woman smiled gently and waved with her right hand to the ‘four’ of them on the hill. Seemingly not worried about being assassinated or attacked at all.
“Padre… Is she the Queen?”
“Yep.” Jake nodded seriously.
“Father, why does she look like a magical Elf?”
“Why do I look like a fucking Yeti? She probably just ate a bunch of animals that have similar features and got lucky…” Jake rolled his glowing blue eyes, “And we can’t see her lower body from here. Maybe she’s an elephant seal from the waist down?”
“Unlikely.” Vora spoke out of Sophia’s fox-like mouth.
Even though they were far away, Tori’s sensitive ears were able to hear the ‘Elf Queen’ speaking somewhat fluent English. She obviously had an Argentinian accent, but it wasn’t that strong.
“My lovely Sister, welcome to my domain. Please, don’t be afraid. The Knights of Patagonia are my loyal servants. With my order, they shall not harm you or your kin.”
“The Knights of Patagonia? Why does that sound so familiar?” Jake murmured and scratched the furry base of his head-tentacles.
“Wasn’t that a guild in T-GoS? I remember watching a World First Stream when they killed the first boss of the new expansion last year… I mean, they didn’t get World First, but they were still in the top 10 in the World. Which is pretty damn impressive.”
“Thank you, Sister.” The beautiful woman smiled wryly, “We were the top Guild in all of Argentina with tens of thousands of members… Now, unfortunately, this is all that remains of our glorious Knights of Patagonia. Please, come closer so that we might converse more freely and easily.”
“What do you guys think? She seems pretty friendly, but there’s like a ninety-five percent chance that she’s just luring us into a trap.”
“Father, she seems like a nice person. We should go and see!”
“I haven’t seen anyone carrying guns so far, Padre.”
Catarina was still observing with her binoculars. Although she couldn’t hear what the woman was saying, she could still read those lips to a certain extent and make some guesses based on what her family was saying.
“They might have weapons hidden though.”
“Okay, Vora, calm down. We’ll go have a chat with your sister, face to face.”
Although it was definitely dangerous, rejecting the other person was also a risky move. It could be the difference between treating them like friends or enemies. The Scouts landed on top of the Tavern’s roof, while the Mice scattered around the village. Sneaking into homes and fighting with the local rodents for territory.
As they entered the village, masculine and feminine voices came from beneath those tightly-bundled clothes. The heavily armored knights on their horses also greeted them casually. Seemingly undisturbed by their strange appearances. Then again, they probably didn’t treat Tori as a ‘person’ in the first place. Just a ‘Land Orca’. Catarina was still completely covered up by her thick clothing, surrounded by the three cautious Maned Wolves and holding a black pump-action combat shotgun in her gloved hands. Jake looked like a giant white yeti with thick dreadlocks and weird feet, but no one seemed very shocked or surprised by his appearance.
Jake nodded to the people that greeted him, while Catarina kept looking around anxiously. Afraid that they would be sniped or attacked suddenly. Of course, the village was incredibly small, so it only took less than a minute to make it to the front door of the Tavern…
“Umm, I’ll stay out here with the Goats and Hounds, Father.”
“Sorry Sweetie, even I can barely fit inside this tiny building.”
Jake complained as he ducked down to enter the Tavern and almost got stuck, so he had to turn sideways. The door was actually pretty normal for human standards. Catarina was about to enter the Tavern after him, but one of the armored guards near the door reached out his hand to block her path and spoke in a deep voice.
“You should stay out here and protect your sister. We’ll be fine.”
“Si, Padre… Be careful.”
Most of the houses in the village were only one or two storeys tall. Only the Tavern was three storeys and fairly wide. The first floor had a fully stocked bar, a stage for performances where a beautiful dark-skinned ‘Elf’ was playing a lute and singing in Spanish, there was also a basement which served as a wine cellar to a certain extent. The moment the door closed behind him, Jake couldn’t help feeling a little uncomfortable.
“It’s not really that hot… Just that we’re too used to the freezing cold.”
Every single man and woman in the bar had long, pointy elf-like ears, but to varying degrees. Jake noticed that the younger, more attractive the people seemed, the longer and pointier their ears. Some of their eyes were also larger or had oddly-colored and glowing irises. Of course, he couldn’t be sure that their appearances were actually biological and not just make-up, special effects or contact lenses.
The ceiling was a little less than three meters tall, allowing him to just barely walk upright normally. Before making it to the stairs, Jake looked over and smelled the delicious looking food on the tables…
‘Noodles! Steak! Potatoes! Chicken! Eggs! Eat!’
“Relax. We can eat later. We have more important shit to do…”
Jake smiled wryly on his furry, white-beared ‘yeti’ face. Then he ducked down to make it up the stairs, which creaked and groaned with every careful step he took. He looked down at the wood that was bending and looked like it might crack apart at any moment, but he still kept going. Trying to put his palms on the walls as he climbed in order to put less weight on the stairs. Unfortunately, that only made the wood on the walls creak even louder.
In the end, he sighed and went back down to the first floor. Then he found a particularly sturdy looking metal chair that could barely fit his giant ass and sat down at a table in the corner. A few minutes later, the glamorous and gorgeous ‘Elf Queen’ walked down the stairs with a smile on her inhumanly flawless white face. It should be noted that many Argentinians have very light skin tones, while there are also plenty with extremely dark skin.
“I am pleased to make your acquaintance, Sister. My name is… Was, Camila Garcia, but my loyal subjects call me Elf Queen or Queen Camila. I would be honored to know thy name as well…”
“I’m Jacob Cinagra, or just Jake.”
The furry giant snickered as the blue-robed woman sat down across the small wooden table. His knees were lifted up above the sides of the table, because he was just too big and the table/chairs seemed comically small in comparison.
“I was not speaking to you, Knave. Please allow my Sister to converse with me alone.”
“Knave? Seriously?” Jake rolled his big blue eyes and they quickly turned bright pink as his voice also became slightly higher-pitched, a little more feminine as well: “Name, Voracity. Hmmm… Food, eat.”
“Please, order whatever you like, Voracity. What brings you to Frost Haven?”
Vora narrowed her eyes and sniffed a few times, leaning closer to sniff the tiny elf girl’s flawless face. Then she stuck out her tongue to lick, but Camila finally moved her head away and pushed the furry face back with her delicate hands.
“Sister, please behave! You are a Queen! Don’t act like a beast!”
“Get away from Her Highness!”
“Bastard! I’ll kill you!”
In an instant, three of the people in the tavern pulled out swords or daggers and charged over. A big burly knight in metal armor also stepped out from behind the Queen that he was guarding and wanted to push the ‘ugly’ yeti away, but he was easily slapped across the room. Those swords and knives also stuck into the hard armor under the thick fur, doing nothing more than irritating the hungry monster.
“Enough! All of you! Did I allow you to attack my Sister?!”
As those golden eyes looked around at the frenzied ‘Elves’, all of them immediately kneeled down and started begging for forgiveness. Then she shouted, “Waiter! My Royal Sister is starving! Please prepare a suitable meal! Now! Everyone else, leave!”
“Yes, Your Highness!”
“Yes, Your Majesty!”
Before Vora could go on a murderous rampage, the group of zealots quickly scattered and either went upstairs or outside. Even the bodyguard in the metal armor groaned in pain, while struggling to limp halfway across the room before they collapsed on the ground and passed out completely.
“I apologize for the reckless actions of my ignorant subjects…”
“You, smell… Delicious.”
Vora opened her mouth full of huge fangs and licked her thick, bearded pink lips, “We, Breed? Create, Offspring-”
“Ah-hem, uh, sorry, ignore that.” Jake cleared his throat, turned his eyes back to blue and complained, “Are you sure you wanna talk to Vora and not me? If I don’t control her, you’re probably gonna end up pregnant.”
“That’s none of your concern.” The Elf Queen frowned, “Please return my Sister’s body to her, so that we may continue conversing.”
“We are one.” Jake snickered, “And what the fuck do you mean it ain’t my concern? Vora is my wife. If she’s the Queen, then I’m the fucking King! Not some shitty Prince Consort bullshit!”
“King? Prince Consort? No, you are merely my Sister’s mount! Voracity, why do you allow this petulant fool to share the same body as you?”
“We are one.” ‘Vora’ responded as her eyes turned pink again, “Are ‘we’ one?”
“Of course we are one, my Sister. Can you not feel the connection between us? Tis different from that which I share with my subjects… We are equals. Two Queens, meant to rule this sad world.”
“Devour, grow, breed, conquer, survive.” Vora growled in her usual gravelly voice, “We… Unite?”
“Voracity, my dear, I would love to form a long-lasting and prosperous alliance between our two peoples. However, the terms of the alliance need to be more specific…”
Camila smirked as she narrowed those big golden eyes and placed her right hand on her bulging chest, “Please explain to me your Racial Characteristics, Class Specific Abilities, Talent Trees and Professions. That way I can help you develop a more perfect optimization for your skills. Personally, I’m more of a Support…”
At that point she started speaking Spanish really quickly with a heavy Argentinian accent, so Tori had to ‘translate’ everything in the background. The whole ‘Queen’ character was instantly broken and replaced by the original Camila Garcia, the Guild Master of the Knights of Patagonia.
“For example, my main ability is to grant boons and blessings. Through long-term close contact and physical interaction, ordinary humans will start to transform into various types of Elves at random. However, I’ve learned how to intentionally guide their Races, even grant them Classes or other special abilities. Under certain situations, I can cleanse diseases, cure poisons, remove curses and purify corruption. As long as they aren’t too far away from me, I can connect everyone together telepathically. I can also use mind control techniques when necessary. That’s very rare though. My guildmates are very loyal and honest. Not like those bastards out there…”
“Stop!” Vora shouted, “Food! Eat! Now!”
“Ah, I am terribly sorry, Queen Voracity.” Camila blushed slightly and then giggled, “I must have scared you. Worry not. For we have plenty of time to discuss terms and conditions. For now, let us share this meal to celebrate our glorious alliance!”
Camila the Elf Queen of Patagonia ate in a very refined and elegant manner… Voracity, the Queen of Gluttony, ate with her hands. Literally. Those two palms opened up and the fingers smashed up the food like teeth would. Unlike the back of the hands that were covered in thick white fur, the palms and underside of the fingers were all just covered in black carapace as always. Just like the bottom of Jake’s bird-like feet.
“Since Vora is preoccupied, why don’t ‘we’ have a chat instead? I don’t really understand why you’re so hostile to ‘me’, but you should understand that Voracity and I are of one body. Even if our minds are often divided.”
“You are just a disgusting parasite, leeching off of Voracity. Defiling her purity and weakening her untamed power…”
“You literally have no fucking clue what her ‘power’ is, right? We haven’t even said anything about that yet. Also, I’m pretty sure Vora is the parasite in this relationship. Symbiotic, sure, but still-”
Camila shouted and accidentally spit across the table, then she blushed and quickly wiped her mouth with a white napkin. Vora reached out and grabbed that ‘wasted’ food, eating it without a second though, then continued gorging herself on steak, baked potatoes, spicy rice and some pot roast.
“Ah-hem… Please do not insult my Sister. She is not a parasite. She is a noble soul, descending from Heaven in order to save this broken world from humanity’s stain.”
“I thought I was bad, but you’re way more delusional than me.” Jake rolled his eyes again, “We adapt. Which isn’t particularly unique. Lots of plants, animals and humans have to adapt in order to survive. Our main ‘ability’ is probably gene editing and rapid reproduction. We can theoretically clone a fucking army of monsters or even humans that we’ve designed beforehand.”
“Such a powerful ability must come at a great cost…”
“Have you ever had kids?”
She was silent for nearly a minute before she looked up into those big blue eyes and answered, “Yes.”
“Then you already know the cost.”
Jake frowned, then sighed dramatically and took control over his right hand. Picking up a steamed sweet potato and taking a bite, burning his mouth a bit, but not caring about the pain. After all, even if he almost bit his tongue off a few times, the injuries were healed before the end of the day. A few little sores or burns would be gone in a matter of minutes or hours. Then he moved onto some pastries.
“This apple pie is delicious.”
“I am sure Raisin-X will be happy to hear that.”
“Raisin-X?” Hearing that, Jake snickered and shook his head, “You guys are still using your character names.”
The tall and skinny light-skinned, black haired, silver-eyed ‘Elf’ man walked over holding a big plate of barbeque pork ribs. As he placed it down, he sighed and turned to the strange-looking ‘monster’ with a little aversion. Not that much though. At least he wasn’t shocked for more than a second.
“We all lost a lot. Too much. I’m sure you’re the same. Family, friends, almost everyone and everything we loved or cared about. All we have left is the Guild. And look at us. We played a game about Elves and Fairies for so long, even LARPing in reality… In some ways, it’s wonderful and amazing. If only… Never mind. I’m sorry for interrupting Your ‘Majesties’.”
“LARPing… I can see that.” Jake smirked as he looked down at the beautiful Elf Queen, “Anyway… Now you know Voracity’s ‘superpowers’, so what kinda alliance do you wanna have?”
“Can you create dragons?”
“I mean, theoretically, yes?” He shrugged and complained, “But what kinda dragon? Like an Eastern Dragon that can magically fly through the air by wiggling around or manipulating clouds? Or a Western Dragon that can also magically fly around by flapping its relatively tiny wings and probably manipulating the elements? Either way, the answer is definitely no in terms of magic.”
“What about Unicorns?”
“A horse with a horn on its head? Yes. Very easily. Giving birth to a fucking horse? No. And even if I could, these are my children. I’m not gonna give birth to a horse just for you to use them as mounts or pets… No way.”
Camila pursed her lips in disdain, “Allow Queen Voracity to speak for herself.”
“She’s still eating.” Jake’s eyes turned pink as Voa took a break from eating to ask, “Trade?”
“Yes, I wish to trade. We are both Queens. Why are you wandering through the wilderness? How long has it been since you have taken a hot bath? As long as you can provide my servants with mounts and combat pets, you can eat as much as you want every day. Enjoy the treatment you deserve as a Queen.”
“Hmmm… We… Stay. Eat, sleep, breed, grow… For now. Future, uncertain.”
Taking back his body, Jake smiled wryly and elaborated a bit: “She didn’t agree to pump out mounts and pets for your Guild by the way. Only that we would stay for a while… But there’s something I’ve been wondering about. Do you know that the Endless Hope Organization has basically declared war on ‘Queens’? How do you guys plan to avoid being hit by a damn cruise missile or drone strike?”
“The Endless Hope Organization? Is that not a charity?”
Camila seemed genuinely surprised and confused, so Jake started explaining the situation to the best of his ability. Talking about a lot of his experiences thus far, even going all the way back to when he first got ‘infected’. Though he obviously left out a lot of the nastier, embarrassing or secretive parts…
“From what you have said, this organization sounds very chaotic and divided in direction. How would they even know that I am a ‘Queen’?”
“Because you literally call yourself the Elf Queen and everyone treats you like you’re their ‘master’. As long as someone enters this town or one of your people leaves and mentions something to outsiders, then it won’t take long before you get paid a visit. They have satellites, drones, helicopters, it wouldn’t be very hard to find this community sooner or later, even if you try to keep to yourselves.”
“I have always been the Elf Queen of Patagonia. Ever since our Guild was first established. We bought this land and set up Frost Haven to hold roleplaying events occasionally. We have been doing so for nearly a decade. There are no electronic devices allowed. Unless you have drawn their attention here, no one should notice… For now.”
“Theoretically.” Jake shrugged and Vora was finally satisfied after eating enough food for ten or twenty people, “That’s one of the reasons why we have to keep moving though. And try not to go near ‘civilization’. EHO has countless branches around the world. All of them have their own bullshit and drama, so they’re too busy to chase after us, but if we stay in one place for too long… You get the point.”
“I still believe you should stay here, Sister. As long as we work together, we will conquer this cruel world! It is only a matter of time!”
“Uh… Sure, whatever.”
“Sweetie, don’t cry. What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong, I just… I just can’t believe I survived in the wilderness for so long! I can finally take a hot bath and sleep in a real bed!”
The cute fluffy white wolf-girl was rolling around on the checkered black and red quilt of the king-sized bed. Jake watched her through the blue eyes of a small brown mouse sitting on the nightstand.
“Well, I’m happy for you, Kitty Cat. Unfortunately, the rest of us are still living like savages until our house is built.”
The Tavern had a nice penthouse on the third floor for the Elf Queen and there were a bunch of rooms on the second floor, but most of them were empty. After all, it was a tavern and basically nobody came to visit Frost Haven. Everyone that comes to the Tavern has a house within walking distance, so it’s rare for anyone to stay here. Maybe they might come to rent a room to have an affair, but even that is a little difficult in a place full of people who are telepathically connected.
Similar to how the Hounds can sense each other and even communicate between themselves without involving Jake, Tori or Vora, the Queen’s subjects are the same. Some of them are more sensitive to each other than others. If a wife finds that her husband happens to be sharing a room with her sister in the Tavern in the middle of the night… Well, even without telepathy, that would be really easy to figure out, because the Elves also have heightened vision and hearing. It made ‘privacy’ really difficult to achieve in these archaic conditions.
Even though they didn’t have any ‘electronics’ or even electricity in this small village, they weren’t really from the middle-ages. The main Guildies might have been professional gamers, but many of them were old enough to have other jobs before then. Specialized jobs like plumbers, electricians, not to mention construction workers, carpenters, et cetera. Many of the houses looked very period accurate for LARPing purposes, but actually had indoor plumbing, concrete foundations, wells, septic tanks and other conveniences.
How does a well work without electricity? They dug a hole relatively deep below the water line, then placed bricks around in a circle… It was just an old fashioned well. The kind that would require a bucket and a rope to drag up some water. It was covered up most of the time and only used when needed. Anyway, they also had plastic water jugs and bottles that could be reused. There were also big tanks full of water that they saved. With all the snow and rain this year, which was very abnormal, they were able to store whatever they could gather. In other words, everyone still had enough water to splurge on taking daily baths, washing dishes, washing clothes, even just cleaning their houses required plenty of water.
It wasn’t that the Knights of Patagonia were against firearms, at least not ‘now’. They simply didn’t have access to firearms before they moved here. Then they were afraid to go out and get exposed to other humans. Realistically speaking, they’re only a dozen kilometers from the coast and there’s a highway even closer than that. They could have made contact with humans a long time ago, but they were always cautious and afraid.
According to Camila, they noticed some people setting up a small town over there a while ago… But then it got raided by pirates. The men, women and children were all either killed or captured. Then the town was abandoned for a while, before being inhabited by another group of humans. Just like before, some pirates came, but this time the pirates were wiped out. Then even more pirates came for revenge and the town was destroyed in the chaos.
Part of Jake’s deal with Camila involved trading firearms. After all, Jake took quite a few guns and then he even scavenged a few more. Including three guns from that father and son back then. There was a decent amount of ammo as well. When Jake and Tori shed their shells, they would also give them to the Guild to be made into ‘Gear’.
Of course, even if they got rid of a lot of their heavy ‘luggage’, Catarina’s new bedroom still had a few guns, some ammo and other supplies. She was allowed to be armed inside the Tavern as a sign of good faith. Similarly, Jake allowing her to stay inside the Tavern was also a show of trust.
“I’m sorry, Padre… Y Tori.”
“There’s nothing to be sorry about. Just relax and enjoy yourself. You never know when we might suddenly need to leave again… So make the most of what you have, while you have it.”
“Si… Buenas noches.”
“Goodnight, Kitty Cat.”
The eyes of the mouse turned silver as it called out, “Buenas noches Catarina~!”
“Buenas noches, Tori. Te amo…”
Even though it was still pretty sunny out, Catarina was completely exhausted. Even Jake, Tori and Vora were tired. Not just physically, but mentally. There’s more to life than just ‘surviving’ after all.
Tori laid in front of the Tavern and waved her furry, black-clawed flipper at people who walked past. A cute little Elf Boy with light skin, blue eyes and blonde hair walked up to her side very courageously.
“Hola! Are you really an Orca?”
“Hihihihi~! When I was born, I looked like a normal Orca, but everyone changes as they grow up.”
“I know. I used to be a human, but now I’m an Elf. It’s totally cringe. I’d rather be an Orc.”
“Why? I think you’re cute this way!”
“I’m so weak and scrawny. If I was an Orc, I’d grow up super fast and be able to help my Papa with hunting sooner.”
“Ah, I haven’t been able to help my Father hunt lately either… It’s hard for me to move on land.”
“It’s amazing that you can move on land at all.”
“Oh, I’m Tori by the way!”
“Hola Tori, I’m Kotoa. Nice to meet you!”
While Torrent was making friends in Frost Haven, Jake emerged from the dense woods and finally saw the so-called ‘town’ that was destroyed by pirates. Now most of the buildings were not only burnt down or broken into pieces, everything was covered in snow. The beach also had a huge amount of ice built up. As the water pushed from behind, it looked like the ocean was a huge moving glacier. There were also many large ships that were flipped over and pushed ashore.
Of course, Jake wasn’t alone. There were three Hounds, two giant Goats and three Scouts flying high in the sky. Along the coast, there were lots of stranded animals like seals and penguins, that were lethargic and helpless. The seagulls, skuas and other waterfowl were mostly fine though. Preying on the carcasses of the animals that starved to death, but didn’t freeze completely yet.
“Well, no point in letting all this meat go to waste.”
With a deep and loud roar, the massive gray-furred seal with the long, bulbous nose pushed its slightly ‘slim’ blubbery body up off the frosty beach. Protecting the five surviving ‘tiny’ and ‘skinny’ looking female seals behind him. Jake looked at them and sighed.
“I can’t do it.”
“Not hungry enough.”
Although Jake used to be afraid of Southern Elephant Seals, because they were truly massive monsters… He used to be a lot smaller. Not only that, but he used to be alone. Then Torrent came along and he had to worry about her safety. Now it’s the same thing with the Hounds, Scouts and Goats.
“Female seals are too cute. But male seals are usually assholes.”
Jake rolled his eyes and looked at the dozens of baby seal carcasses across the beach. Or what little remained of them, after they were picked clean by birds, crabs and other animals on the beach. Then he looked at the emaciated, yet still extremely blubbery seals and sighed.
“I only need you, Vora.”
‘We are one.’
“I know we’re one.”
‘Male, reproduction… Easier.’
Jake walked away from the roaring Elephant Seal that glared at him while ‘standing’ upright with his flippers, until eventually collapsing down onto the sand and looking lazy again. There were obviously plenty of birds, but the ones that could fly were impossible to catch. The penguins that couldn’t fly, could still somewhat outrun the seals. And the surviving penguins were also emaciated, so they weren’t as nutritious as usual.
“You want me to ‘Breed’ with Camila?”
“You don’t know?”
‘Hmmm, jealousy? No… Different. Danger? Maybe. Unknown. Arousal? Yes.’
“So you don’t know how you feel emotionally, but she makes you horny, so you wanna fuck her…”
The giant white yeti snickered and smiled wryly, “I wonder if all Queens are attracted to each other?”
Jake looked over and saw a dogfight in the sky, a dog and cat fight on the hill nearby, while the two Goats were eating the shingles off the roof of a half-collapsed building… He ignored the stupid Goats and the three dogs that were bullying an arrogant cat. Instead, he focused on the Scouts that seemed to be in the most immediate danger.
Jake and Vora commanded them at the same time. The three white birds stopped trying to escape from the slightly bigger brown-feathered hawks. It was only a three-on-three battle, but aerial fights between birds are extremely dangerous. When the three Scouts were about to crash, they flapped their wings and soared off to the sides. On the other hand, when the hawks swooped down to chase after their prey… They were pelted in their little faces with hundreds of tiny rocks and pieces of ice! Being partially blinded and disoriented while diving is extremely dangerous.
As they also tried to fly away in fear, the three giant birds were tangled up in furry white tentacles and yanked down from the sky mercilessly. One broke its legs, another broke its wings and the third had its neck crushed. Jake looked at the hawks and sighed, reaching out to end their suffering. With a slight twist, the two heads were ripped off and tossed to the Scouts that landed nearby. They pecked open the skulls, devouring their tasty brains, then Jake left the rest of the carcasses for them to consume slowly. Even if they didn’t eat everything, it’s not like the bodies would go to waste. There were plenty of skuas and gulls that wouldn’t mind eating the scraps left behind. Whether they could survive the poison, bacteria and other dangerous materials left behind is a matter of natural selection.
The three big long-legged fox-like white and black-furred Maned Wolves were circling around the huge Bengal Tiger. At least, given the size, shape and black stripes on its orange body, Jake initially thought it was a tiger. However, when he got a closer look at that fat, silly and cute-looking face, he realized that it was probably just a Tabby Cat that Mutated.
“I’m sorry, Meow-Meow, but you shouldn’t have hurt my children.”
Jake sighed and then joined the battle. Sophia had a few big gashes on her lower back from where she was sneak-attacked earlier. Tomi had a bloody scratch on the left side of her face. While Orina had a scar on her left shoulder… Of course, that scar wasn’t anything new. She got it from a cougar a while back, so the three dogs really did have a lot of violent conflicts with ‘cats’ in the past. Either as predators or like this time, they were perceived as prey by the bigger and heavier Super Tabby.
The cat jumped up a few meters in the air and swiped down those huge paws towards Sophia, who was also jumping out of the way. Then Jake kicked towards that seemingly defenseless waist, but the cat made a loud noise and twisted mid-air. It almost landed on Orina, who dodged by rolling around on the snowy beach. Then Tomi growled as she bit down onto the black tip of that furry tail, which caused the cat to scream and jump up a few meters in the air again. Swiping around and nearly hitting her in the face with a claw. Fortunately she let go of the tail in time.
“Fuck! This is why I hate fighting cats!”
Even though he was annoyed, Jake still had a lot of experience after all this time. His furry white tentacles reached out and tried to entangle those limbs, but were scratched, bitten or avoided. The cat also seemed completely unaffected by the poisons and toxins that the Hounds or Jake possessed. Otherwise it would have been limp by now.
He picked up a small rock on the ground and pitched it at the cat’s face as hard as he could… Then the damn ‘tiger’ dodged! It also swept up a bunch of snow and sand off the ground, splashing the four of them… And ran away. Yes, it jumped over Sophia and darted off along the coast, climbed a hill and disappeared into the woods.
“Never mind. ‘This’ is why I hate fighting cats.”
“Don’t worry, it’s just a scratch. She’s just being a baby.”
When Jake returned to the village a couple hours later, he was carrying the whimpering and crying ‘puppy’ in his arms. The 2 meter long Hound didn’t actually weigh that much. At least not from Jake’s perspective. The other two wolves were each carrying a big bird in their mouths. An unlucky penguin and a similarly unfortunate skua. The two Goats were still upset that they weren’t allowed to eat shingles, but they pulled two sleds full of scavenged supplies regardless of their ‘complaints’.
“They got attacked by an alley tiger on the beach.”
“¡Ay dios mío! ¡Tenemos que llevarlos al veterinario!”
Kotoa, the little Elf boy, shouted anxiously. Even though the wounds had already stopped bleeding for the most part, they were still pretty gnarly-looking.
“Do you guys have a vet?” Jake raised an eyebrow, “Usually I just use some Spy Mice to stitch up the wounds, but if you guys have professionals and some equipment…”
“Please, come to my house. I’ll help you.”
A short, chubby Elf woman with dark-brown skin came over and guided them to her house quickly. Obviously the Veterinarian could see and hear everything, because her house was practically right next to the Tavern. And they didn’t try to keep their voices down at all.
“Soy Andrea, encantada de conocerte.“
“Hi! I’m Tori and this is my Father-”
“Jake.” The giant Yeti introduced himself, “This little girl is Sophia and this is Tomi.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll take care of them. Are there any precautions I need to take? I can tell that these aren’t normal Maned Wolves.”
“Yeah, definitely wear gloves. Their blood, claws, teeth, saliva, basically everything might be toxic or have weird parasites.”
Although the front door to her house was small, Andrea had a separate attachment to the house, like a garage, where various large animals could be treated. After all, there were quite a few horses, goats and cows in the village. Even a cat or dog might be too big to fit through the door now days.
“Wooo~! Wooooh~! Awwww~!”
“Okay, okay, relax.”
Jake didn’t bother consoling the silly dogs anymore. He sat on the ground in the large open room and controlled Sophia’s body directly. Anesthetics didn’t work on them, so there was no way to remove the pain or discomfort. He could only take his daughter’s place in enduring the lovely feeling of getting stitches.
Of course, it wasn’t just stitches, Andrea also had to debride them first. Removing all the foreign objects and contaminants from the wounds. On one of the wounds, she used staples, while the other two scratches were just stitched normally. The scratch on Tomi’s face wasn’t as serious. It looked really bad, because it was on her face, but the actual depth and damage was miniscule. She still needed some stitches though.
The harder thing was making sure that they didn’t scratch, bite or lick their wounds afterwards. Fortunately, Jake, Tori and Vora could control them when necessary. Preventing the stupid dogs from hurting themselves. It’s not that they couldn’t ‘learn’ or understand that they weren’t supposed to do something. Even a human will have trouble controlling their impulses when a wound or scab is itchy. Especially when they’re sleeping, distracted or tired.
“Sophia, be good. Don’t try to run around until your wounds are healed. And Tomi, stop licking your cheek.”
Jake sighed and shook his head. Then he watched that little boy who was wearing a thick brown fur coat, riding Orina around like a mount. There was also a little Elf girl with white hair and golden eyes, who was hand-feeding Billy while petting him gently. Which made Nani jealous, so the two of them started ‘arguing’ with each other.
It wasn’t just children though. Jake noticed that some cute Elf girls were gathered around Tori and chatting with her about various things. Their bodies were mostly covered by thick winter clothes, but their beautiful faces were still mostly revealed. Some of them, Jake wasn’t actually sure whether they were men or women, because the ‘Elf Transformation’ can be pretty dramatic. Making men more effeminate or androgynous.
“Yeah.” Jake smiled wryly on his furry white face, “Especially for kids. Tori still misses her friends in Tolhuin.”
“At least you don’t call our children tools anymore.”
‘Offspring… Precious. Family, expensive.’
“Uh, I’m gonna pretend like you said ‘priceless’.”
‘Not priceless. Very expensive. Hmmm, some, expensive, others, cheap.’
Jake rolled his blue eyes and led the two injured puppies over to the side of the Tavern. Their tent was set up next to the building. He forced the two restless brats to get some rest and sat down with his legs crossed, leaned up against the wooden wall and relaxed.
“I just sat down…”
“I guess that’s fine.”
Those knights in silver armor didn’t stay outside for very long in the frigid cold. In fact, most people wouldn’t go outside if they had a choice. In fact, the only reason they were wearing cold metal armor in below-freezing temperatures was just to show off to the foreign ‘Queen’ that Camila knew was coming sooner or later. Fortunately nobody got frostbite or hypothermia.
There were actually some blue-skinned ‘Frost Elves’, who really did have a much greater resistance to the cold than ordinary humans. It didn’t mean that they were totally immune though. They still wore clothes, they just felt a lot more comfortable.
None of the Elves had much body hair and the more ‘Elvish’ they became, the leaner they would become. Their appearances became more androgynous or feminine. Their height didn’t change much, at least not because of that. Just like the Frost Elves, there were other strange skin tones like green and orange. Along with plenty of different hair and eye colors.
Camila had the ability to alter their genes, but people also had various mutations of their own. It wasn’t completely one-sided either. Just like Jake’s kids could affect him, the Elf Queen’s subjects could also influence her mind and body. She used to be shorter, have smaller breasts and a bigger waist. In order to fit with her ‘identity’ and their ideal Elf Queen, she became taller, skinnier, more buxom, even her skin became paler. The length of her ears were also much larger and longer than necessary.
“It’s like ‘corruption’. You can influence the people you’re connected with, but they’ll influence you back. Well, Vora and I already predicted this shit. Which is one of the reasons why our children are all…”
“Uh, I was gonna say, special, but yes. They’re basically just a little smarter than ordinary animals they’re based on. Their ability to connect with us is much weaker than our ability to influence them.”
“Torrent is the exception.”
“Compared to all the others, Tori was more of an accident. But not in a bad way. Tori is like a um… ‘Normal’ child? Vora basically just gave her gills. Whether it’s her intelligence, personality or appearance, it just happened naturally.”
Jake and Camila were sitting side-by-side on a newly built patio in front of the Tavern. There were some tables and chairs set up. One table and chair were particularly large though. The sun was shining brightly in the sky and the temperature was so warm these past few days that most of the snow around the village melted.
“Good Morning, Your Majesty!”
“Buenos Días, Reina Camila!”
“Hola, Camila, Jacob~!”
After a month in Frost Haven, the villagers or ‘Guildies’ were already used to seeing the giant Yeti who stayed next to their Elf Queen.
Of course, both Jake and Camila responded to their greetings. She wasn’t actually as crazy as she first appeared, usually. At the moment, she was just wearing a leather jacket, black sweatpants and furry pink slippers.
“Your house is almost finished.”
Jake nodded and looked over at the big wooden barn-like building on the right. It was tall enough that he could see it over the one-storey log cabin. Since they anticipated that Jake might grow larger or need to house similarly giant ‘children’, they had to make the size of the building pretty huge. It had a second floor, but the main living area was on the very wide first floor, without a basement. There were actually several other barns and stables that had similar shape or structure, but they were obviously occupied and Jake didn’t want to live with a bunch of ‘real’ animals anyway.
“Have you reconsidered my offer?” The beautiful blonde Elf girl smiled at the yeti, “It has been a month.”
“Which offer?” Jake raised his left eyebrow, then his eyes turned pink and he growled, “Breed?”
“Yes. Let our Kingdoms merge through marriage. Our subjects have already accepted and grown close to each other.”
Camila pointed towards a group of little kids. Sophia, Tomi and Orina were being ridden by three little kids. A lot of the men and women who walked around the town had small Mice on their shoulders. The Goats were helping pull some heavy carts or logs. Steve was waddling around with a group of hens that treated him like their ‘King’. On the other hand, the rest of the Scouts worked with the Hunters in the Guild.
Tori and Catarina were also playing with some kids ‘their age’, basically 10 to 12 year old children or young teenagers. There were quite a few children, but most of them were actually orphans. Not necessarily related to the members of the Guild. Some of them were rescued when the pirates attacked the town nearby.
“Symbiosis…” Vora looked around and then turned to the ‘tiny’ Elf Queen, “Jacob, indecisive. Afraid.”
“This has nothing to do with him. This is about ‘us’. Our people and our future. Do not allow that weakling to shackle your dreams and ambitions!”
“Okay, first of all, fuck you. This kinda bullshit is one of the reasons why I’m afraid to ‘marry’ you. Secondly, you might be hot, but you’re also a thot. How many ‘Consorts’ do you have, anyway? I’ve seen you fuck like half the village so far. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t care how many people you fuck. I won’t be jealous or upset, because we aren’t dating, we aren’t married and we ain’t gonna be. Vora doesn’t wanna marry you either. She just wants your genes.”
“¡Estúpido! ¡No soy una maldita puta! ¿Hay algo malo en que una reina tenga muchas consortes? ¡Eres solo un perdedor virgen mojigato! ¡Si no fuera por mi hermana, no serías nada! ¡Solo un yeti feo y peludo!”
“See! You think we’re ugly! You’re not even a furry! How the fuck could our relationship ever work out?!”
“Do you actually like the way you look now?! As long as you combine with me, I will turn you into a handsome Elf! Why would you want to stay the way you are now?!”
“Can an elf block bullets with their face?!” Jake glared at the angry woman, “I’d rather look like a monster than turn myself into a weak little fuck-boy!”
“See! Even ‘you’ consider your appearance unsightly!”
“Functionality is more important than aesthetics! Which might sound ironic coming from a fucking artist, but that’s the truth! And besides, I like the way I look! I like looking like a monster! Monsters are sexy!”
“Perverted Virgen Bastardo!”
“¡Eres la perra!”
Torrent looked over at the giant yeti who was towering over the tall Elf Queen and giggled, “Father and Cami are so funny.”
“It’s so embarrassing.” Catarina covered her husky face with her hands.
Kotoa the Elf Boy snickered, “I think Cami looks a lot happier now. She used to be super depressed and stuck-up.”
A brown-haired, brown-eyed, short-eared chubby Elf girl was standing with them. She smiled wryly and shook her head, “Mamá está acostumbrada a conseguir lo que quiere. Mister Jacob es el primer hombre en rechazar sus avances. ¡No, la primera persona!”
“She gets her way because she’s the Queen. And she’s pretty.” Kotoa pouted, “Otherwise our fathers wouldn’t be so pathetic.”
“Your fathers aren’t pathetic.” The wolf-girl sighed, “They’re just men.”
“Our Father is a man too.” Tori retorted, “But he’s special.”
“Yeah, Padre is definitely ‘special’.” Catarina rolled her pretty blue eyes and the other two kids laughed.
“Do you guys want to go to the beach?” The fluffy white Orca asked. There was a river and some small lakes near the village, which finally melted recently, but Tori still missed the ocean.
“Madre won’t let us leave the village. It’s too dangerous.”
“Lizzy’s right.” Kotoa sighed and shook his head, “My father won’t let me go hunting either. He definitely won’t let me go as far as the beach.”
“We’ll have guns. And body armor.” Catarina’s wolfy face smirked, “Even if we meet beasts or pirates, as long as we kill them first…”
“I’m bulletproof, hihihihi~! But bullets do hurt… Just a little bit though.”
Tori pushed her upper body off the green grass with her big white, black-clawed flippers. Moving her tail up and down to keep up with the three of them as they walked over towards the clearing to the southeast of the village. From this position it was possible to see that tiny winding stream that went from west to east. There was also a small lake in the distance. Maybe it was more like a pond.
There was a lumber mill along the river that used water to turn a large saw and chop logs in half. There was also a windmill on a hill nearby that was used to mill grains. A few other windmills were used to pump water from the river to the village. Of course, the heavy snow and winds destroyed half of them over the winter, so now they’re fixing or completely rebuilding new ones.
With only a few dozen adults in the village and about the same number of children, the construction speed was pretty slow. Especially since there weren’t that many carpenters or construction workers. For that matter, it took some actual engineering skills to create a functional windmill. A lot of pipes froze during the winter too, which was an even bigger issue.
“I’m glad the weather is getting warmer, but I miss our slides.”
Tori complained as she looked at the small patches of snow here and there on the mostly muddy ground. Grass and weeds were sprouting up everywhere. In some places, corn, wheat and other crops were also growing rampantly without human intervention. There were also many small saplings that sprouted up out of the soil. While those larger trees were already starting to grow again.
Countless insects were crawling around in the soil, waking from their slumber, hatching from their eggs. Many other animals were becoming more active as well. It was easy to see hundreds of deer, guanaco, rheas and other large animals drinking or loitering around the river. There were also plenty of wild horses, dogs, cats, cattle and other animals that didn’t previously belong in this environment, but had adapted and survived the cold winter through various methods.
“The animals seem a lot less rabid now.” Catarina crossed her arms in front of her flat chest and frowned, “I’m worried about the future though.”
“Yeah, Father thinks this is just the calm before the storm… But I think it’s normal. Aren’t we animals too?” Tori giggled and wiggled around happily, “Even penguins and seals can live next to each other when they aren’t hungry.”
“Penguins are stupid.” The little Elf Boy snickered, “They’re the chickens of the sea.”
“I thought that was tuna?” Lizzy tilted her head in confusion.
“Umm, so, what are we doing here? Going down to the river to catch fish?” Catarina pointed down toward the river near the lumber mill, which was one of the safer areas. Not safe, but safer. Because the animals nearby were afraid of the noise that the saw made. Of course, it was also very annoying to the sensitive ears of the elves.
“I wanna go swimming!” Tori shouted as she rushed down the hill, sliding through the grass and mud on her hard, carapace-covered furry belly. An unknown number of unlucky plants and insects were crushed to death in her path.
Catarina looked down at the path she plowed and narrowed her eyes, “Tori… I think you’re losing a lot of hair lately.”
“I’m shedding ‘cause it’s getting hotter! Father and I will shed our shells soon too!”
It didn’t take the four of them long to reach the river near the noisy lumber mill. There were also a few men and women shouting in Spanish. The big logs were dragged over by the Goats, who were given lots of snacks and pets, along with words of encouragement as their payment. Realistically, they could eat as much food as they wanted, wherever they wanted, but they just liked helping people. There were also some regular cows, horses and even a few tamed guanacos that helped pull carts full of lumber or heavy logs. With so much construction going on, the Lumber Mill was working all day, every day. Just the daytime, not the cold and terrifying night.
The moment Tori dove into the river, hundreds of ducks, geese, seagulls and even wild chickens flew away. The Rheas just poked their heads out of the water for a moment and then went back to drinking leisurely. Soon, those other birds came back and continued doing whatever they were doing before.
“Hihihihi~! Come in, the water is so warm!”
“Tori, we have very different concepts of ‘warmth’.” Kotoa shook his head after poking a few fingers into the chilly water, “Even the air isn’t that warm for us.”
It was about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 10 degrees Celsius. If it was before the world ended, the three kids would have been in their rooms, playing video games with the heat running. Not going outside and freezing their asses off near a river with a bunch of ice still floating on the surface.
“Aaaaah~!” Lizzy suddenly let out a horrible, piercing scream and startled everyone.
“What happened?” Catarina pulled out the black semi-auto .45 caliber pistol on her hip and looked around cautiously. The scream also startled the three people working at the lumber mill nearby, not to mention the animals that were gathered around the river.
The little girl pointed at the rocks nearby and screamed, “That! That! Look! It’s a snake!”
“¡Aaaaaah~! ¡Ayuda! ¡Ayuda! ¡Por favor~! ¡Aaaaah~! ¡Duele!”
When the kids were playing near the river, Jake and Camila’s argument was cut off by a horrible cry. They looked over and immediately noticed a middle-aged Elf man with dark-brown skin, being carried over on a simple white stretcher by two tall and slender, blue-skinned ‘Frost Elves’.
“My Queen! Please, Riccardo needs healing!” A beautiful pale-skinned woman on the side cried out in desperation.
“What happened?” Camila frowned and asked the Elf girl as she motioned for the man to be placed on a simple wooden bench nearby.
“Riccardo, he ate some corn!”
“Is it poisonous?” Jake also frowned on his furry white face as he looked at the man who was writhing in agony, “No, not poisonous…”
“Parasitic.” Camila opened Riccardo’s mouth and looked at his mostly straight, white teeth, but there was one spot that was different. One of his teeth in the back was completely yellow, in the shape of a kernel of corn! Without hesitation, she reached in and yanked it out, causing a lot of blood to splash around.
“Aaaah!” The woman, along with some kids that gathered nearby all screamed in horror when they saw those long tendrils wiggling around like worms.
“Aaaaah~! No, no, inside! It’s inside me!” Riccardo roared with his face flushed red, not caring about the pain in his jaw or mouth, just working hard to take off his shirt and jacket. The woman, who was actually his wife Ariana, quickly helped him disrobe. Thus revealing the even more horrifying appearance of his abdomen…
“No! Riccardo!” She couldn’t help crying when she saw the dozens of small green sprouts emerging from his cracked open flesh.
“The stomach lining has been severely damaged.” Camila sighed and shook her head, “I can heal simple wounds, but this… Is difficult.”
“I’ll help.” Jake sighed, “Vora, Tori, I need your help too.”
“What are you going to do?” Camila furrowed her brows and asked, “Do you also have healing spells?”
“What fucking healing spells?” Jake rolled his blue eyes and explained, “It’s just surgery.”
Yes, his plan was simply ‘surgery’, but he wasn’t a surgeon and neither were his assistants. However, they didn’t have time to find a surgeon and the best they had in the village was just some half-assed med-students. Jake has practiced a lot of special tricks though. Tori, Jake and Vora each controlled a Spy Mouse. First the sprouts were directly eaten by some Spy Roaches and Mice very quickly. Not their three ‘Surgery Mice’, but just some other random ones.
This method was much less violent and dangerous than simply ripping or cutting out the parasitic corn. Then they used some even smaller bugs like Mites, Ticks and Ants to go inside to devour the rest. Whether it was the bugs or the Mice, they all had venom, poison and toxins, not to mention other microorganisms that could be potentially harmful, but with Camila so close by, she could use her power over Riccardo’s body to deal with those negative effects. The hardest part was just that they needed to get inside the stomach to remove the still active kernels that weren’t destroyed by the acid yet. Otherwise the problem might get worse, even if they fixed it now.
“Blegh~!” Riccardo vomited profusely, expelling a lot of kernels, bugs and other chunks of food, which disgusted the naughty kids even further, making some of them start puking as well… Jake also frowned and tried not to think about it so much. After all, he had a phobia of vomit or vomiting for a long time. Which was one of the reasons he hated giving birth so much.
Finally, it was the last and most difficult stage. The three Mice went inside the man’s body, using their tiny hands to stitch up the holes in his stomach. Then after they crawled out, they also stitched up his external wounds, since their tiny hands were dextrous enough. From that moment on, it was up to Camila to use her ‘Healing Spells’ to nurse Riccardo back to health over a period of days, up to a week. The man would basically just need to spend a lot of time resting at the Tavern, where she could periodically improve his body’s ability to heal itself.
The whole process required about an hour. When it was over, Ariana thanked the ‘two’ of them while crying her eyes out. She would also be staying in the Tavern to take care of her husband in the near future. After all, he wouldn’t be able to move around too much or he might risk tearing his stitches. He also couldn’t eat, so he needed an IV with nutrients to keep himself from getting worse.
“It’s harder for me to transform older humans into Elves. If Riccardo was younger, he likely wouldn’t have been infected… However, we must take more care when dealing with plants. Always cook all vegetables, fruits, nuts, berries, everything. Riccardo was lucky that he was found so quickly. Otherwise…”
“Si, My Queen!”
“As you command!”
There was a bunch of excited shouts one after another. However, even though they said that it would be fine to cook them first, a lot of people were still too afraid to eat corn after that. Of course, it should also be noted that not all corn adapted or mutated in such a way. Just like not all Rheas started growing rocks on their flesh.
“It’s not just plants we gotta worry about…” Jake frowned as he watched everyone else leave, “Microorganisms and other stuff like that can be dealt with by the immune system directly, but fungi and bugs… I’m gonna have to be busy next.”
“Thank you, Jacob.” Camila walked over to a small garden next to the Tavern as she spoke to the giant yeti, “I cherish all of my people greatly. And I know how much of a sacrifice it will be for you and Voracity to help us.”
“Once we open this box, we won’t be able to close it again.” Jake snickered, walking through the grass with surprisingly light steps.
“We are not the Greek Gods.”
“True. We’re not really Gods at all. Just two lucky bastards that were probably infected by alien parasites.”
Jake’s eyes suddenly changed to pink, “Not luck… Chosen.”
“Yes, Sister! It was our Destiny!” The beautiful Elf Queen smirked, her golden eyes gazing off into the distant forest, “We were chosen to save this pathetic-”
“No.” Vora interjected, “Hmmm… Not save. Conquer, devour, evolve, ascend.”
“Okay, then why the fuck was I chosen?” Jake’s eyes turned blue for a moment, then pink again.
“You chose him because he was a virgin? Hahahah~!”
“No. We are one.” Voracity looked over at the tiny laughing woman with a blank expression, “Others, choose. We exist. Now, we choose. Open, box. Release… Hope.”
“David died last night.”
Camila wore an elegant black dress, with a simple silver crown on her head. Those big golden eyes were red and swollen. Even though she looked calm and composed, that melodious voice had become hoarse. Jake was sitting on the top of the hill overlooking the river, lake and fields of potentially deadly ‘crops’ that grew wild like weeds… While the dignified Elf Queen was sitting on his furry lap and also gazing out into the distance.
“Yeah… But he was like ninety years old. It’s amazing he survived this long.”
“I know… But he should have been able to live longer. As long as I had a little more time…”
“He ate a poisonous mushroom. It wasn’t old age, for fuck’s sake.”
Jake smiled wryly and shook his head, those long furry tentacles wiggled around in the process. After a while, he sighed, “I know this might sound weird, coming from an antisocial bastard like myself, but we really need more people.”
Camila turned around on his big lap and looked up into his big blue eyes, “Are you finally ready to consummate our marriage?”
“We’re not married. We aren’t getting married. Stop with this marriage bullshit. If you wanna make babies, do it with your ‘consorts’. Are they infertile?”
“Of course not!” She retorted angrily, “They have their own wives and children to care for… My first… My second child, my true heir, should have a father of noble blood. Born to a true King and Queen, our child will be able to rule our Kingdom should anything happen to us in the future.”
“Our Kingdom of like fifty people.” Jake snickered, “I guess if you count the Mice and bugs, it’s more like a few thousand.”
“I only use them for sex, Jacob. I can stop seeing them if you’re willing to be with me.”
“Holy shit, you actually asked ‘me’ and not Vora!”
“I asked ‘you’, because I don’t hate you. Even though you might be an obnoxious prude, I actually enjoy your company… Most of the time.” Camila pouted, “You’re still going to refuse me? You have such a beautiful and sexy Elf Queen sitting on your lap, but you are too afraid to make a move.”
“I’m not afraid to make a move. I’m making a move right now. See? I’m moving all the time. Whether I like it or not.”
Jake shrugged his shoulders and pointed towards three of his tentacles that kept trying to fondle the relatively tiny woman on his fluffy lap. He could feel his fur getting damp as she grinded on his hard ‘bulge’, but even so, his throbbing genitals remained locked away behind his solid armor. It was actually quite painful and unpleasant.
“I really want to fuck you. Not gonna lie. But… Then I remember all the other guys you’ve been fucking this past month. How many other guys have you been with before that? You’re like forty now, right?”
“Don’t you know that it’s rude to ask a lady her age?! You shouldn’t ask her how many partners she’s had either!”
“I’ve heard that. But I honestly don’t give a damn.”
Jake sneered as he picked the angry Elf up off his lap and held her up in the air by the armpits like she was a little kid. Those dainty feet dangled above his lap and she was about to knee him in the face, but was blocked by a tentacle.
“Be careful. If you break your knee, I don’t wanna have to push your wheelchair around in the future.”
“Why are you so mean to me?!” And then, Queen Camila resorted to her most lethal weapon… She started crying and acting like a baby.
“I like you so much, but why won’t you love me back?!”
“I kinda like you too.” Jake smiled, but shook his head before she could be happy: “I like you… Maybe even love you a little bit. I mean, we do have a lot in common with each other. But I don’t need to be your husband and I definitely don’t need to be your ‘lover’-”
“I don’t understand you!”
“I know. Just like I can’t understand you either… You call yourself noble. You try so hard to act like a Queen or Royalty or whatever, but then you still ‘lower yourself’ to fuck so many dudes. Most of whom have wives and kids. Hell, you have sex with their wives too. Which is really hot and I love to watch it all, but I’m not interested in being a part of ‘your’ harem.”
Jake put her back down onto his lap and snickered, “Maybe I’ll have a harem of my own someday, but I’m not into married men and women. You want me, because I’m special. You’re special too. We’re both superhuman monsters, so we should seek similar creatures in order to produce more powerful offspring. Logically. But emotionally, I can’t do it. I love my wife. She loves me. The two of us don’t need anyone else, because… Well, look at my hands. I have two pussies and only one dick.”
“You just don’t like me because you think I’m a slut!” Camila retorted, “You’ve said that at least five times before!”
“Whatever. The point is that I’m not gonna fuck you. And we’re not getting married…” Jake sighed, “Let’s talk about something else.”
She crossed her arms in front of her bulging chest that was reddened from anger. That black dress was basically pulled up to her waist, so that her legs could stretch wide enough to sit on his giant lap while facing him.
“Did it work?”
“Yes, and no.” Jake shook his head, “I released the restrictions, but it doesn’t mean that my kids will instantly grow reproductive organs. Their bodies aren’t really designed to have reproductive organs in the first place.”
“It shouldn’t be impossible…” Camila smirked, “I’ve been able to turn a few boys into girls.”
“What about girls into boys?”
“Your daughter is friends with my son Kotoa.”
“Ah, makes sense.” The fluffy yeti snickered, “Did you actually give birth to him though?”
“I’ve only given birth once… A long time ago. Before I became, ‘me’. I was a much weaker person back then. I made a lot of bad decisions. I did things that I shall regret forever.”
“I… Didn’t do a lot of things. But I guess I also regret those choices I made as a teenager too.” Jake smiled wryly, “But if I did things differently back then, maybe I never would have met Vora, or you. I might have died in a number of different events, long before this newest fucking apocalypse bullshit. So there’s no point dwelling on all the endless possibilities that you can’t change or shouldn’t change in the first place. What’s important is what we do now and in the future.”
“Then let’s not have any more regrets!”
Camila lifted up her dress and tossed it over to the side, revealing her large, perky breasts, the soft abs on her skinny belly and… Well, her furry blonde bush was visible the entire time.
Jake’s irises turned hot-pink for a moment, as his groin started opening up… Then it closed again, his eyes turned blue and those tentacles reached down to start molesting the sexy Elf Queen.
The slimy pink tentacle emerged from beneath the thick white fur, passing through those tiny pink lips and quickly reached the mouth of her womb before either of them could react. Camila was lifted off Jake’s lap at least half a meter by the force alone, not to mention her own reaction afterwards.
Those huge hands grabbed her waist and the sharp nails dug into her flesh, injecting her with an intoxicating venom that made her whole body much more sensitive than before. A few of those long furry white tentacles wrapped around her breasts and ass, sucking, rubbing and writhing, leaving a bunch of red marks on her pure white flesh. In particular, one tentacle penetrated her from behind and started reaching deep into her bowels.
Vora smirked as she started using the tiny woman like a pocket pussy. Lifting her up and down violently as she screamed in pain, pleasure and desperation. Those four long tongues lapped up the blood seeping from her sides, while the pinkish juices flowing from her torn vaginal walls were used as lube for the giant yeti to jerk her around more violently.
“No! Stop! Please! Aaah~! Get off me!”
The horny monster growled and pressed the woman on the bed roughly, transforming into a handsome pale-skinned Elf man with a thin black beard and brightly shining blue eyes. The tentacles on his head turned into long, straight hair that dangled to the sides of their faces. Then he kissed her lips gently and asked, “Isn’t this what you wanted? For us to ravage and dominate you completely?”
“Of course not!” Camila pushed Jake off her body and held her stomach in pain, “Mmmn… Ugh…”
“Can you feel them growing inside of you?”
“This is wrong… This is not real! I am dreaming!”
“Of course you’re dreaming.” Jake snickered and rubbed her swollen belly that was expanding rapidly, “Haven’t you been dreaming this entire time? It’s time to wake up.”
Soon, her belly exploded and countless giant cockroaches erupted in an endless stream. Filling the entire bedroom, then expanding outside the building. Camila felt like she was flying in the sky with her arms flapping like a bird. She looked down at Frost Haven in the darkness. The pain and discomfort from before was gone completely.
“This… This is amazing!”
“I know, right?”
She looked over and saw a blue-eyed, white-feathered, hawk-beaked ‘duck’ that was flying by her side. On the right, there was a pink-eyed bird. On the other hand, her own eyes were obviously golden. The three Scouts flapped glided around in the darkness, able to see pretty clearly, even at night.
“We are one.” Vora spoke in her usual raspy and relatively deep voice.
“Are we one now? No, how… That was a dream…”
“Was it really a dream though?” Jake snickered and shook his birdy head, “Cami, remember your promise.”
“You wanna get married, right? Fine, whatever. But you’re ours now. We don’t share.”
“Really?!” Camila was surprised and excited, “Wait, no, this is just a dream. Of course you would accept my conditions so easily.”
“Easily? Was it really that easy? Say that after you wake up, hahaha~!”
The light shone in from the window in her fancy regal bedroom on the top floor of the Tavern. Those beautiful golden eyes were still swollen from crying as she opened them slowly. Lifting her sore right arm up to block the light. Then she looked at the dozens of red welts on her forearm and the back of her hand…
Camila cried out in pain as she tried to sit upright. When she moved the thick blanket away from her sweaty body covered in red, purple and black welts, she looked down and saw the most striking scabbed over wounds on her skinny waist. Two deep gashes from giant thumbnails. When she looked in the full-length mirror near her dresser, she saw the four long scratches that had already healed over pretty well. More importantly, she felt incredibly sore inside… Not just her vaginal walls, even her cervix and womb were aching horribly. Plus her ass… She immediately rushed to the bathroom and had explosive diarrhea while moaning in agony.
Jake heard an angry scream coming from the bathroom window of the Tavern’s third floor in the early morning. However, he just shook his head and continued ‘Breeding’ with his right hand. He was staying in a large but simple wooden shack. It didn’t provide much shelter or warmth, but he did give him a little bit of privacy from the nosy, perverted, voyeuristic Elves around the village.
It should be noted that there really weren’t that many ‘young’ adults in Frost Haven. As in, people between the ages of 18 and 50. Most of them were either extremely young or very old. So when Jake said that Camila had sex with half the village, he was really only talking about five people. Kotoa and Lizzy’s parents, and one of her female bodyguards named Tessa.
“How dare you! Die, Monster!”
Right when Jake and Vora were about to have a collective orgasm, a heavily armored knight kicked down the door and stabbed a long spear towards the yeti’s face! Jake reached out with his left hand to block by instinct, so the sharp speartip went straight through his gaping slit, halfway down his forearm, before being stopped by the pressure and friction…
Of course, aside from being a little painful, it was actually similar to having a giant metal dildo thrust into Vora’s vagina. The tip and edges of the spear were relatively blunt, while the vaginal walls were extremely durable. Otherwise Jake and Vora would get hurt way worse when they gave birth to all kinds of monsters or devoured sharp bones.
“Ow~! Shit, damn it Tessa! What the fuck are you doing?!”
“I’m slaying the beast that raped my Queen!”
“I didn’t rape anyone! What the fuck?!” Jake complained, “Your slutty Queen seduced my wife!”
“Bastardo! Take that back!”
She pulled the spear out of his bleeding left palm and stabbed toward his face again, but this time, two large tentacles wrapped around the neck of the spear. Then a few more tentacles grabbed her armor. Jake’s right hand was still covering his groin awkwardly, but when the huge man stood up in the shack, he towered over the 2 meter tall female Knight!
With an angry roar, the giant woman broke free from the tentacles and let go of the spear. Instead, she just used those metal fists to punch Jake in the left side of his jaw, cracking open the carapace on his chin! Some blood splashed out of the cracks and the pain was pretty bad, but not unbearable. After all, Jake loses his carapace periodically, so he was used to it by now.
Jake pulled his right hand off his groin and revealed the long, slimy pink ‘tentacle’. Then he reached out and grabbed the other fist that was about to hit his face, blocking her knee with his armored shin. Even using his furry tentacles to entangle her armor again, ripping off the pauldrons, gauntlets and a helmet to reveal her gorgeous blue face. She was a ‘so-called’ Frost Elf. Only 18 years old. With big silver eyes and short black hair.
“Release me, Beast! Duel me with honor and dignity!”
“What fucking honor and dignity?! You broke into my shack to murder me while I was in the middle of jerking off! Is that a fucking duel to you?!”
‘Both of you, stop it!’
“As you command!”
Jake dropped the heavy knight on her feet and she immediately backed away from the monster with his dick hanging out. After sharing their bodily fluids so intimately, Vora and Camila were connected telepathically to a certain extent. Essentially, it was an STD that gave superpowers.
‘Tessa, my love, my most loyal Knight… I know this may be hard for you to accept, however, I truly did take the initiative to consummate my marriage with Voracity.’
‘Forgive me, Your Majesty, but I cannot accept the way this bastard tarnished your perfect body!’
The tall, armored woman knelt down on one knee and bit her lip, but didn’t say anything out loud. Of course, in such close proximity, Jake could hear what both of them were ‘saying’ to each other even if they didn’t speak out loud. From the moment the two Queens were truly connected, it actually opened up many possibilities that the two of them had only fantasized about before…
“I’m sorry I couldn’t stop Vora from being so rough.” The yeti shrugged his furry shoulders as his beard was dyed red from all the blood that leaked out of his chin, “I warned Cami repeatedly and she didn’t listen. Vora also didn’t listen to me anymore.”
‘I do not blame you, Jacob. It was my own choice and… I have no regrets. For my people, for myself, for the world, our union is crucial.’
“Uh, sure.” Jake tried not to laugh as he awkwardly covered up his giant throbbing pink tentacle with his furry white hands, “So… Are you guys done now? Vora and I need to get back to making babies.”
Those blue cheeks were blushing dark purple when the kneeling girl looked up and saw the huge monstrous tentacle that wasn’t far from her face. It was a very small shack. When she quickly picked up her gauntlet, pauldrons and helmet, she heard Camila’s new order.
‘Tessa, please assist Jacob and Voracity. Their offspring are very important to the fate of our Kingdom.’
“Yes, My Queen!”
“Wait, what?” Jake frowned, “How is she supposed to ‘assist’ me?”
‘Jacob, Tessa is my personal Knight and has never served anyone else. I believe she should be more to your ‘tastes’ than a more experienced woman like myself.’
“Goddamn it, is this some kinda twisted corruption play? Hey!”
As Jake was grumbling, Tessa had already put down everything, then took off her other gauntlet and used both of her big blue hands to grab that slimy pink cock. She only hesitated for a moment, before she stuck out her long purple tongue to start licking the smooth edges around the tip. Actually, because Jake looked so inhuman, her mental resistance to Camila’s order was much lower.
Jake sighed and then laughed as he saw the girl struggling to fit the tip of his dick in her pretty purple mouth. He could feel her teeth rubbing up against the most sensitive areas around the head, but it wasn’t very painful. Instead, it added a bit more pleasure than simply sucking or licking.
“Alright, if you really wanna do this, I’ll help you take your armor off… But first we should close the door.”
Although she kicked open the door earlier and broke the latch, Jake just used a random piece of wood as a door-stopper. Then he lifted the girl up off the ground. Even with the heavy metal armor, she was still light from his perspective. Those eight tentacles stretched out and started removing some clasps, untying some knots and quickly removing pieces of armor, one after another. Before Tessa realized what was happening, even her thin clothes under the armor were gone.
Jake looked into those pretty silver eyes and asked seriously, “Tell me honestly. Do you really wanna do this? I don’t ‘need’ you to fuck me.”
“I… I obey my Queen’s orders.”
“So if she ordered you to fuck every dude in town, you’d do it without question?”
“I… My Queen would never-”
“So you obey her orders, but only to a reasonable limit.” Jake nodded, “Camila, I know what you’re trying to do…”
“You wanna turn me into a degenerate pervert who doesn’t care how many guys you fuck behind my back.”
‘You only care about men?’
Jake rolled his eyes and complained, “It’s more complicated than that… It’s more about quantity and quality. No, wait, it’s more about equality. If we introduce someone else into the fuckfest, then it has to be someone we’re both willing and able to have sex with?”
‘You are overcomplicating this, Jacob. It is just sex.’
“It’s not ‘just’ sex!”
‘Reproduction.’ Vora’s voice interjected into their bickering.
“Yeah, that’s part of it. Tessa, you do understand what you’re signing up for, right? We aren’t just fucking. You’re going to get pregnant.”
“If that is what my Queen requires of me, then I will endure this burden willingly.”
Jake looked down at the tall and athletic woman with light-blue skin. She was looking up at him with a firm and serious expression on her face, like she was about to fight to the death… There were plenty of large and small scars all over her muscular body. Claw marks, gunshot wounds, stabs, it was amazing that she wasn’t missing any limbs or digits with so many injuries. Those small, perky breasts had dark-purple nipples. Surprisingly enough, she seemed to have shaved her armpits and pubic hair, compared to the more ‘natural’ Elf Queen that Vora had dominated the other day.
“Do you have a preference?”
“I… I like to be on top.”
Jake smiled wryly and shook his head, “That’s not what I meant… But whatever. It’s probably safer for you to ride me anyway.”
“Do you like cats or dogs better?”
“What? Mmmmn~! Aaaaah~!”
“Seriously, it’s important!”
“I like cats!”
Tessa vaguely remembered what the furry yeti said before he filled her to the brim with incredibly thick white juices. She opened her eyes and yawned, noticing that it was still dark outside… However, she felt a lot of pressure on her bladder, so she had to get up to urinate either way. There was a happy smile on her purple lips as she looked at her Queen’s beautiful face… But then she looked down at the scars all over her formerly perfect body.
She didn’t want to wake up Camila, so she didn’t curse out loud. Though she was afraid that her Queen would still hear her angry voice in her mind. Fortunately, she just kept sleeping peacefully like that. Those wounds were already mostly healed.
As Tessa got out of bed, she frowned and looked down at her bulging belly in confusion. Then she cringed even harder, because it felt like a bunch of little creatures were crawling around inside her womb! Then she rushed to the bathroom and started vomiting in the toilet. It was morning sickness… But this was the first time she ever experienced it before. Because when she went to sleep a few hours ago, she only felt a little bloated at most. Jake did warn her that she was pregnant, but she thought that she still had plenty of time to mentally prepare herself to be a mother!
Without realizing it, she started pissing all over the floor as her water broke. Fortunately the tiles and ground were all waterproof to a certain extent. Otherwise Catarina might be waking up to a golden shower falling from the ceiling… Though she was actually used to much worse after living with those silly Hounds for so long. In fact, the three wolves woke up and started barking loudly at the ceiling, waking up Catarina and a lot of other people in the quiet Tavern.
“Aaah~!” Finally Tessa couldn’t suppress her voice or her pain. She crouched down in the large jacuzzi-like bathtub nearby and turned on the water. However, the tub couldn’t fill up fast enough, because the first ‘child’ had already fallen out along with some blood and other juices. Fortunately, she reacted fast enough and caught the baby before it fell too far. Then another… And another. Within a few seconds, even the afterbirth was pushed out of her womb.
“Oh my God…”
It was at that moment when the Frost Elf realized what that question really meant… Those five children just looked like adorable, wet, furry newborn kittens with their eyes tightly closed. They already started ‘mewing’ and ‘meowing’ in their extremely high-pitched voices, while the dogs were barking even louder downstairs.
Of the five, two had pitch-black fur, one was pure white, another was white with black spots and the last one had tan fur like a cougar. They were so cute and precious that Tessa was completely stunned there for a few minutes. Then she looked down at her chest and frowned, because her breasts weren’t lactating. After all, everything happened so fast. Not to mention lactating, she wasn’t even sure she was pregnant when she went to sleep.
“Ellas son perfectas…”
“Your Majesty! I apologize for waking you!”
“Don’t apologize. I’m glad I was awake to witness this miraculous moment in history.”
Camila walked over from the doorway and took the newborns from her loyal Knight’s hands. Then she placed them on the large white counter near the sink. Using a clean town she wetted with warm water to try and clean off the kittens. Some of them were already using their sharp teeth and claws to devour the big chunk of meat that was ‘born’ with them. They divided up the placenta and even devoured their own umbilical cords in a matter of minutes! Then they started licking themselves clean or licking each other. Not really needing Camila’s help at all.
The white kitten opened her glowing pink eyes and looked up at the two ‘giant’ Elves, “Success.”
“Yes, Sister. Our experiment was a success!”
“Experiment? What experiment?”
The tan cat suddenly opened her golden eyes and had a smirk on her tiny mouth as she spoke in a high-pitched voice, “These children have proven that Voracity has the power to manipulate life magic to a much greater extent than we expected!”
“What life magic? This is just good old fashioned genetic engineering, okay?” The black and white cat opened its blue eyes and glared up at the two naked Elves, in particular, the large-breasted blonde-haired Elf Queen that was covered in suction cup hickies.
“Wow~! Hihihihihi~! These kittens are so adorable!” One of the black cats opened its silver eyes and looked over at her sisters, giggling happily.
“This… This is so bizarre…” Finally, the last black cat also opened a pair of silver eyes, looking at the other four talking cats. Then she gazed down at her sticky paws and felt the urge to lick them… So she did.
“Ew! Ugh~!” Then she gagged and complained, “Why do cats do this?!”
“It’s an acquired taste.” Jake’s kitten shrugged its shoulders and then started cleaning his own ass with surprising familiarity, “You’ll get used to it eventually.”
“Hunting Drone Type-2, Cat.” The white cat spoke in an adorable high-pitched voice, “Purpose… Sneaking, climbing, stalking, hunting… Cute.”
“These ‘Cats’ will become the ancestors of a long lineage of Beast Companions for my people in the future.” The tan kitten smirked, “As Elves, the Hunter and Druid Classes have been Unlocked! Hahahaha~!”
“Hahahaha~!” Camila’s real body was laughing maniacally as well.
“Yes, My Queen!” One of the black kittens looked up at that giant woman with awe and worship, “For Frost Haven! For Queen Camila!”
“Hihihihi~! They’re so funny!” Tori couldn’t help laughing at the two silly Elves, especially when the two of them were still acting the same way in the form of newborn ‘Cats’.
“Ugh, we gotta go… Well, you don’t have to go, Tori, but Vora and I are about to give birth… So yeah, bye~!”
The moment Jake said that, the kitten’s blue eyes lost their fluorescent glow and the color faded until it was closer to gray. Then the cat looked around curiously and started licking her sister’s fur very familiarly. The white kitten also lost the glowing pink eyes, returning to a neutral grayish color as well.
“Ah! I’m gonna have so many new sisters tonight, hihihihi~!”
“Wait, what should I feed my children?” The other black cat reached out with her paw to stop Torrent from ‘leaving’.
“Food? Ummm, Cats like meat! But they can drink milk too. The Goats have started lactating, maybe they would like their milk? I’ll send Billy over!”
That night, Vora gave birth with both wombs at the same time. Even though the puppies were pretty small when they were just born, the shells on both arms were still completely broken open and fell off. Leaving Jake without the use of two of his twelve limbs. This batch of Hounds looked almost identical to the first, but with two minor changes. First of all, they had reproductive organs and all ten of them were female. The reason why females were chosen over males, was because… Males are unnecessary when an organism can reproduce asexually. It’s not that they can’t accept ‘gene donations’ from other creatures and reproduce sexually, just that it isn’t absolutely necessary.
Also, part of the reason why he didn’t create males was simply because it was too easy for them to reproduce and it would lead to overpopulation way faster. Even with the current state of the Cats and Hounds, Jake and Vora still limited their reproductive capabilities to once per year. Although it’s a little hard to tell exactly how long the two new Hunting Drone breeds could survive, when they were created, Jake and Vora tried to give them much longer lifespans than their natural counterparts. At least forty years. Maybe longer… But their reproductive systems would only remain fertile for about 20 years. They made sure to control that part.
“The reason why we’re so afraid of overpopulation is because these are our children, our descendants. I never wanna see a situation where my kids are the only animals in the world and they have to murder each other for food or survival.”
Half of Jake’s face, especially the chin, had transformed into smooth pinkish-white flesh after the armor was removed. His beard and mustache were also gone, leaving only the fur on the rest of his face. Which made it look like a normal human was wearing a yeti mask.
“How are you feeling today? It looks like you’ve healed for the most part. Both of you.”
“Nosotras estamos bien ahora.”
The elegant Elf Queen was wearing a black leather jacket with a long white dress underneath, which reached down to her ankles. Even her neck was covered up by a scarf. Even though the hickies were mostly gone, she still felt a little self-conscious. On the other hand, the beautiful blue-skinned giantess didn’t bother wearing her armor today. She was only wearing a thin t-shirt and a short checkered black-red skirt with some leather boots that reached half-way up her calves.
“They are all so adorable…”
“Yeah… I know, right?”
Jake smiled at Tessa, who was covered in meowing kittens, then looked over towards the over-excited puppies that were already big enough to start running around in the village. Chasing the chickens or fighting with each other over food and chew-toys.
“Vora and I need a break. Our shell is shedding. Tori is the same. Once the new shell is there, we can start producing some more bugs, Mice and other creatures to fill in the gaps. We need to completely turn this area into our territory. My kids are already working on clearing out the dangerous plants and animals in the meantime.”
“Your Spells are on Cooldown. It is understandable.”
“Pft, hahaha~! Yes, my Pregnancy Spell is on CD.”
Jake leaned back on the creaking metal chair with his noodle-like arms dangling close to the ground. The pinkish flesh was soft and squishy, completely boneless and still swollen from the night before. The white fur on his purple tentacles was also falling off periodically, leaving a lot of fuzz on the ground nearby. Though most of it was just blown away by the wind.
“Mew~!” A white kitten jumped onto Camila’s blonde head, then climbed across Jake’s tentacle and quickly found a place to nap in between the bases of those eight thick tentacles that were pulsating constantly. Of course, part of the reason she chose that spot was because she could more easily hide her presence when surrounded by white fur.
“Have you decided their names yet?” Jake asked curiously, “If you take too long, Tori will name them for you. She already named all ten of those new puppies.”
The blue-skinned Elf looked down at the two black cats in her arms and then over at her Queen, who looked tiny sitting between the two of them. Eventually Tessa said, “Mia, Tia, Ria, Nia and Lia.”
“Tori already named them, huh?” Jake snickered, looking over at the group of children that always hung out with each other lately. In particular, Torrent and Catarina were also shedding a lot of fur. The difference was that Tori also lost small chunks of carapace, revealing the black and white ‘flesh’ underneath. On the other hand, Catarina was simply shedding like a normal dog. The fur looked a little less fluffy, but wasn’t balding or having any other weird changes.
“No. These are names chosen by Her Majesty personally.”
“Well, then you did a good job, Cami. The names are very cute and easy to remember.”
“Of course. I have always been excellent at naming characters.” The Elf Queen had a proud smirk on her lips as she pet the tan kitten on her lap, “Ever since we first connected, Ria seems to be the most compatible with me.”
“All of my children will serve Your Highness loyally!”
The two black cats shouted excitedly, while the black and white kitten just looked around in confusion and then went back to sleep in the shade under the wooden bench that the two women were sitting on. Jake looked at the fanatical Frost Elf and sighed.
“Don’t forget that they’re my kids too.”
“Yes, Lord Jacob. So long as you remain loyal to my Queen, I shall remain loyal to you as well.”
“If I couldn’t read your mind, I would honestly have a hard time believing you aren’t just Method Acting.”
In fact, before the apocalypse, Tessa Garcia had a different name. She really was a child actor, or at least, a teenage actress who literally played a female Knight in a hit TV Series in Argentina. When the world started to fall apart, she lost her entire family, all her friends, everything in her life was suddenly gone. So she just kept playing the ‘Role’ of Tessa. A Loyal Knight, who happened to be fairly close with her other ‘Guildies’. Though she never had time to play LARPing games in Frost Haven before, she did understand the general location.
Snapping out of her memories, Tessa smiled at crippled giant and asked: “Jacob… Are you going to play with us tonight?”
“Play?” Vora asked curiously through Jake’s mouth, “Breed?”
“No…” Tessa immediately shook her head with a worried expression on her pretty face, “I can’t do that… I’m still recovering.”
“We’re going to play Tabletop Sidhe Gates. We can start a new Campaign together. The old one… We lost a few Players over the winter.”
Camila sighed and shook her head, “I know you’ve never played Tabletop games before, so the four of us can have a private Campaign together to get you started.”
“Don’t we need somebody to be the Game Master or whatever?” Jake raised an eyebrow, “Can a Game Master also be a Player?”
“I’ll be the Game Master.” Camila smirked, “A three person team is a little light, but the fewer Players, the faster the turns and less set-up required.”
“Ah! I wanna play too!” Tori shouted from across the village, looking over in the direction of her ‘parents’ with those big silver eyes.
“Let the adults play by themselves.” Lizzy giggled and patted the Orca’s fluffy face, “The four of us can start our own Campaign!”
“Or we could just play something else.” Kotoa smirked, “What about Elf Cards?”
Tori asked, “What are Elf Cards?”
“They’re a really expensive collectable card game…” Catarina sneered, “Why don’t we just play poker?”
“Strip Poker?” Lizzy looked at her ‘brother’ who used to be her sister, though not related by blood, then at the cute wolf-girl and the fluffy Killer Whale…
“Shhh~!” Kotoa put his finger in front of his lips and complained in a whispered voice, “Don’t let our parents hear…”
“Well… I’ll play anything, hihihi~! But first, let’s go swimming!”
Unfortunately, the Game Night had to be canceled before it even began, because Kotoa’s mother went into labor! After a few hours of hard work, the Elf Queen herself delivered yet another new life into this world… An adorable baby girl, with big green eyes, fuzzy blonde hair and long, pointy elf ears.
The beautiful blonde-haired, green-eyed and pale-skinned Elf hugged her child with a happy smile on her flushed face. She just gave birth in the middle of the Tavern’s first floor, laying on a long wooden table.
However, she wasn’t the first and wouldn’t be the last. There were actually quite a few pregnant women in the village and a few others had already given birth during or before the winter. Compared to the ‘Breeders’ that can pump out a few babies a month, Camila’s brand of Elves were much slower. They were still considerably faster than ordinary humans used to be though… It was no problem to gestate in less than six months. The exact time varied from person to person.
Of course, aside from Camila, Tessa and Jake, the four kids were also there. The door was turned into double-doors a couple weeks ago, so Jake and Tori could actually enter the Tavern pretty easily now. They just had to be careful not to move too violently or put too much pressure onto one point, or they might damage the floor and fall down into the basement.
“Sí, ella es perfecta. Gracias, Camila.”
A tall and handsome young Elf man with long blonde hair and big blue eyes was standing next to the table, hugging his wife and newborn child. His name was Krispy. Obviously not his ‘real’ name, but everyone called him that because that was his character’s name for decades. Kotoa’s mother’s name was Luma, also not her original name.
“You’re welcome, Krispy. Luma, you should stay here tonight with your child.”
“Yo también me quedaré.”
“No.” Camila shook her head to the nearly two meter tall man, then looked over towards the even taller and more imposing monster she ‘married’ the other day, “You know why.”
“I’m not that insecure.” Jake rolled his eyes at the three of them, “What? I just don’t want my ‘wife’ fucking other guys. I don’t care if you guys are still friends or stay in the same house. As long as you don’t share the same damn bedroom or… Well, you get the point. I don’t wanna talk about this shit in front of the kids.”
Catarina on the side was already sneering, while Kotoa and Lizzy giggled. Tori was mostly confused. After all, she obviously knew everything that Vora and Jake did, so she didn’t understand what her Father was trying to hide.
“She’s not hungry, she’s in pain.” Jake watched the woman pressing her baby against her huge left breast, “Can’t you feel her thoughts?”
“I… I forgot.” Luma blushed and closed her eyes, trying to ‘feel’ the connection between the two of them. The child didn’t understand English or Spanish, but she could still convey simple emotions and desires telepathically. Essentially, her whole body still hurts from being born.
“I can cast a Healing Spell.” Camila grinned as she gently took the child from her mother’s arms and started soothing the baby by singing a soft melody… The theme of a certain Anime about Elves and Cat-Boys. Anyway, the real ‘magic’ was that she caused the child’s body to heal more rapidly by manipulating the parasites inside the baby girl.
“Now she’s hungry or thirsty, well, both.” Jake shrugged his sore pinkish shoulders and used his long furry tentacles to hand the baby back over to her mother. Who was still naked and laying on an uncomfortable wooden table.
“That’s enough excitement for tonight. Everyone should get some rest.” Camila sighed and shook her head, “Krispy, please clean up this mess.”
“Jacob, come with me. I need your assistance.”
“Ah! I can help too!” Tori used her furry clawed fins and thick tail to push herself towards the door where Jake was following Camila and Tessa. However, Kotoa, Catarina and Lizzy all grabbed the sides of the fuzzy Killer Whale.
“Don’t… They don’t need our help!” Catarina snickered, “I’m sure that the three of them can handle things on their own.”
Kotoa shouted, “Let’s just play cards like we planned!”
“Umm… Okay.” Torrent sighed, “Father and Mother never want to play with me anymore.”
Meanwhile, Jake followed the two beautiful women back behind the Tavern to his little shack, crouching to fit in the doorway. Then closed the door behind him. Those silver, gold and blue eyes lit up in the darkness, glowing bright enough to shed some light on the simple, mostly empty room.
“If I cannot have my Royal Consorts anymore, then you will have to satisfy my desires yourself.”
“You sure you wanna fuck me and not Vora?” Jake snickered as he watched the sexy Elf Queen taking off her dress and dropping it on the floor. She recovered from most of her wounds already. Didn’t even have any scars except for those few scratches along her waist and lower-back.
“I want pleasure, not pain.”
Camila smirked and jumped up, wrapping her arms around his giant neck, with her legs tightly bound around Jake’s waist. He couldn’t use his arms, but those tentacles quickly reached down to grab her ass, back, breasts, neck, tying the two of them together as he started to get aroused.
“Don’t worry, I’m a lot more careful than Vora. I won’t leave any marks.”
“I want you to mark me!”
“Uh, okay then.”
“Aaahn~!” Whether it was her nipples or her clitoris, those suction cups were able to produce quite a lot of suction. The tentacles that wrapped her body tightly were like stretchy ropes that could constrict or loosen randomly. Of course, her faithful Knight also disrobed and knelt down to do her duty.
Tessa started by helping Jake pull his long pink tentacle out of his fur-covered carapace, then she began licking it somewhat familiarly. Making sure it was long and hard enough, before guiding it inside of her Queen’s quivering lips. Then she started licking that cute pink ring that was winking between those widely-spread cheeks.
“By the way…” After a few minutes, Jake suddenly asked: “Do you like bees or wasps better?”
“Bastardo! Don’t you dare!”
“Hahahaha~! I’m just kidding…”
Over the next few days, Jake and Tori completely lost all their fur. For a few days afterwards, Jake actually had to wear a simple skirt to cover up his groin, because the carapace that usually locked away his junk was missing. His arms were the first to be covered by a thick black shell again. Then his face, neck, chest, groin and legs. About a week passed by and the father-daughter duo were back to their previous non-fuzzy appearances.
Jake ‘only’ grew about 10 centimeters taller, though he still kept the same proportions, so his mass was obviously a lot higher. On the other hand, Torrent grew another 50 centimeters longer! Now she was 5 whole meters long… Still small for an Orca, but that’s considering a full-grown Orca before the apocalypse! The largest Southern Elephant Seals barring mutations were only about 6 meters long and 3,700 kg, so Tori was still pretty far away in terms of weight, but the length was catching up fast.
Of course, the two of them weren’t the only ones that had a growth spurt. The five kittens and ten puppies were already fully grown adults now. The Hounds were almost identical in size and shape to their predecessors, but the Cats looked more like full-grown Siberian Tigers in terms of size, shape and stature. No, they were actually a bit longer and ‘taller’ at the shoulders, reaching 3.5 meters long and 1.4 meters tall, weighing about 300 to 400 kilos on average.
The amount of meat that Jake, Vora, Tori, 13 giant wolves and 5 huge tiger-like big cats consumed every single day was astonishing. Fortunately, they were all omnivorous and aside from the plethora of plentiful animals outside the village to hunt, there were also countless wild plants, including crops like potatoes, wheat, corn, et cetera. Frost Haven also had several fields of relatively well-controlled crops that they could still eat safely, which needed to be guarded by the swarms of new Spy and Assassin Drones that were recently created.
Gnats, Mice, Roaches, Butterflies, Bumble Bees, Moles and Rabbits were considered ‘Spies’. While creatures like Fleas, Mites, Ticks, Wasps and Moths were ‘Assassins’. Of course, Jake and Vora didn’t need to really replace all the animals in the area with their own offspring. Otherwise, their own children would end up having to fight and kill each other to survive.
“Buk~! Buk~! Buk~! Bukaaw~!”
Jake yawned and opened his eyes early in the morning to the sound of a certain flightless Scout breeding with his harem of fluffy hens. Then he looked over and smirked. A big blue ass was only a few centimeters from his face. A few of his pink tentacles were already inside of those purple holes.
Tessa had one knee on his giant white pillow and the other was on his chest as she bent down to service her Queen with her tongue. She also used her fingers very deftly, while the sexy Elf was moaning in pleasure. Writhing around on the massive bed.
Vora woke up at the same time as Jake, with the same arousal as her other half. So obviously she started using her four tongues and two palm slits to ‘mate’. This was just an ordinary morning routine for the four of them ever since Jake’s house was finally built. His bedroom actually took up about half of the first floor of the barn-sized building.
“It’s raining again.”
Jake sighed as he got up from his bed and watched the two beautiful women getting dressed. They already took a long comfortable bath and were getting ready for the day. However, in this situation, they basically couldn’t leave the house until the storm stopped.
“It rained a lot during the Summer and Autumn as well.” Camila looked at her beautiful and extremely ‘youthful’ face in the mirror with a bright smile on her plump lips, “Jacob, my birthday is coming up soon. Have you thought about what to give me as a present?”
“I can paint you a portrait?”
Jake shrugged his thick armored shoulders and knelt down behind her chair, hugging her tiny body from behind. His face in the mirror was huge, but noticeably smoother and more flexible. When he thought about it a bit, his facial features seemed to morph a bit, with higher cheekbones, a longer and narrower nose, a rounder and less chiseled chin. Those nubs on the sides of his head also transformed into long, pointed elf ears. Then Jake’s face and neck became almost as pale as Camila’s paper-white skin. It looked a little weird though… So Jake made some quick edits and gave himself thick black eyebrows. He also quickly grew some facial hair. Those tentacles were also pulled back and tied into a ‘ponytail’.
“It kinda looks like I’m wearing a suit of armor like this, hehehe~!”
“Very handsome.” Tessa, looked at the two of them in the mirror and nodded her head, “It is a shame it’s fake.”
“Is it really fake though?” Jake snickered, looking over at the sexy Frost Elf, “What difference does it make whether I really look this way or it’s just an illusion? If everyone in the village sees the same augmented reality, they might think it’s fake at first, but eventually they’ll forget. They’ll think that I’m not some giant monster, but just an ‘Elf’ like the rest of them.”
“With my power, you could turn this illusion into reality, Jacob.” Camila looked at him in the mirror and chuckled, “You don’t need that shell anymore. You’re a King. Even if there is a war or a conflict, you shouldn’t be on the front line.”
“Maybe… Maybe not.” Jake shook his head and sighed, “Never know when someone might shoot you in the face. Having bulletproof armor is nice. Speaking of which, is your armor finished yet Tessa?”
“I was going to pick it up from the Leatherworker today.” The tall blue woman in a white t-shirt and black skirt looked outside, sighing dramatically.
“It’s not a big deal. I’ll go pick it up for you later. I’ll wait until the thunder stops though… Never wanna get struck by lightning again.”
Whether it’s the Hounds or the Cats, they’re both afraid of the rain. The Goats don’t really care about the rain, but Jake was worried that they might try eating the armor during the delivery. It was better to just pick it up in person. The Armor Shop was literally less than a hundred meters away, so it wasn’t much of a walk.
It’s not like Jake didn’t know any Spanish. He still understood the very basics. Which hadn’t really changed much, even after all this time. In fact, he started to wonder if maybe he had some kind of learning disability.
“I want a dragon.”
“Eastern or Western?” Jake raised an eyebrow, “There aren’t really any lizards around here, but we’ve eaten some snakes. I think I can put together a half-assed scaly dog with wings… I just don’t know if it’ll be able to fly or not.”
“What about a gryphon?”
“Bird head, lion body and wings on its back? Same issue really. I can put it together, but will it fly? Probably not.”
“Fine, then just give me a Unicorn!”
“No one will know!”
“Everyone will know! Also, no! I’m not fucking your horse!”
“Just use artificial insemination!”
Jake opened his mouth, but didn’t say anything for a while… Eventually he asked, “Vora, do you think that could actually work?”
“Umm… Well, we can try. If it works, then… It really opens up a lot of opportunities.”
“Father… Do you think I’ll be able to find a wife or husband in the future?”
When everyone was eating breakfast in the dining room later, the huge 5 meter long Orca looked over at her parents a little enviously and asked an important question. The table was very wide, but not actually that much taller than normal. Because Jake just sat on the ground directly, while everyone else besides Tori had a simple wooden dining chair.
*Cough-cough~!* Catarina almost choked on her steak when she heard what her silly sister said, “Tori…”
“Sweetie…” Jake smiled wryly on his handsome ‘Elven’ face, “You’re not even a year old. And although you do grow fast, you’re nowhere near being an adult yet.”
“I’m scared. Father, you and Mother always spend all day mating or playing with Cami and Tessa! Kitty Cat and Kotoa are already dating! I don’t wanna be alone!”
“I um, no, we aren’t… Well…” The fluffy white fur on her face blocked Catarina’s blushing cheeks, but nobody really cared about her dating… At least, her father wouldn’t care as long as she didn’t target anyone too much older than herself.
“Tori… I spent the first thirty-one years of my life ‘alone’. But you’re not a loser like me.” Jake snickered and shook his head, “Whether it’s humans, elves, dolphins, orcas or anyone else, you’ve always been able to make friends and form bonds very easily. Hell, you can learn languages in a matter of days. No matter what you look like in the future, how big you become, I’m sure you’ll be able to find a partner… Look at Steve! He was basically crippled, but now he has a whole harem of chickens!”
“Wak~!” Steve looked around the henhouse not far from Jake’s home, but he didn’t see his father. Only a bunch of horny birds that wanted to make babies… And already laid a bunch of fertilized eggs!
Back in the dining room with an extra-high ceiling, Tori looked up at her father and then over at Catarina. After a while, she asked, “Then… Father, can you play with me more often?”
“Of course I can, Baby.”
“We can all play together.” Camila on the side chuckled, “We should go to the beach together.”
“Really?!” Tori shouted excitedly, “You promise?!”
“I don’t see why not. But obviously we gotta wait until the weather clears up a bit.”
“Yay~! Thank you, Father~!”
Hearing the thunder, the white and tan Cats tried to hide underneath the table, but they were both too big. So they started fighting with each other and almost flipped the table over! Then one of the huge wolves barked at them and sneakily stole a big chunk of meat off Camila’s plate, while another just rolled around on the ground, crying while covering her ears…
“They share some of my genetic memories.” Jake sighed, “They remember getting struck by lightning, and how scared Tori was back then.”
“My own thoughts often bleed over onto my Subjects as well.” Camila smiled wryly, reaching down to comfort and caress the two kittens that were bigger than tigers. They also looked similar to cougars, since that’s where most of their genes came from.
“It seems that not all of my children are afraid of the storm.” Tessa chuckled and pointed toward the corner of the room, where the other three Cats were eating and drinking their breakfast. At most, they twitch their ears or tails a little when the thunder cracks.
“Most of my puppies are brave too.” Catarina smirked, looking over at Sophia, Orina and Tomi. The original three Hounds that had some recognizable scars. On the other hand, the other ten giant maned wolves were still freaking out.
“At least none of them pissed or shit themselves.” Jake shrugged, “Seriously though, we gotta ‘distribute’ them soon.”
“Sophia, Orina and Tomi are mine.” Catarina raised her hand like she was in school, “You made them for ‘me’, Padre.”
“That’s fine. And you’re right. I did make them for you. They’re part of your pack… In fact, even if you split them up, they’ll always be part of ‘your’ pack. Right?”
‘Si…’ This time she didn’t open her mouth, but spoke to everyone ‘telepathically’. After such a long time together, obviously she would be infested by Vora’s parasites. Of course, she wishes she became an ‘Elf’ instead, but Jake was her Padre.
“Father, if Mother can make Kitty one of us, then why can’t we make other people and animals like us too? Wouldn’t that be easier than making babies?”
“Other people and animals have their own immune systems to protect them.” Jake shrugged, “Camila’s method is similar. The people she has infected required a lot of time and effort. Secondary infection isn’t as effective. Which is why Steve has been breeding those hens all this time and none of them were connected to us telepathically. On the other hand, all their offspring were connected to us from the moment they were conceived. Same thing with the other Scouts and the random birds they’ve been fucking lately.”
There were only 7 Fourth Generation Waterfowl Scouts, but they were all male. Which actually made reproduction much easier than if they were female or a mixture. They started interbreeding with random birds like Skuas, Seagulls, Ducks, Cranes, Geese and Hawks. Not all of their mates had fertilized eggs, but there were definitely a lot of them that did. Some of Steve’s eggs already hatched into adorable little chicks.
Screams and howls suddenly rang out across the whole village as the ground shook violently! Camila and Jake both cringed in pain, because they could feel a few of their ‘connections’ disappearing. For Jake, it was only Mice and bugs, but for Camila, she could feel at least one or two of her Subjects disappearing!
“Fucking earthquake?! It had to be during a damn thunderstorm! Shit! You all stay inside! Vora and I will go save people!”
PDF/EPUB would be nice. I actually EPUB-fied hardcire-OPness for reading purpose using a web extension
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Yeah, it’s not that hard as long as it’s all in one file. That’s why I started keeping my ‘volumes’ in a single document each time a while back. I just never turned them into epubs or pdfs in the past, because I just never felt like it. Also, going as far back as HCOP, I didn’t really do that back then. There was no master file with everything in one spot.