Kittens Playing God

Chapter 19: Mutants

Leaving Kekremu behind, the rest of the group entered the pyramid. Cynthia remembered there being an array of underground floors beneath it and she guessed Jaliehv placed one of her allies on each to try and stall them as much as possible, or split them up. The fact she holed up in the dark underground told Cynthia that she had no more light demigods to throw at them though. And Lumie and Ralek were the only ones she trusted enough to send out to help Valyra. Still, they didn’t know who they would have to face down here. All that considered, splitting up to occupy each of her allies in a one on one fight appeared the best approach. They had Jaliehv on the defensive. Now was not the time to be overly careful.


Milala was glad the heavy sunshine no longer bore down on them. The inside of the pyramid was uncharacteristically dark for the abode of the light god, but little light orbs still provided enough lumination to see. Milala had expected them to go up the pyramid. Instead, a set of stairs led down below the earth, the roof of the structure completely hollow.
“This is the building she performed her experiments in.” Cynthia informed them. “It goes several stories down.”

Indeed, the first story down they encountered another of her soldiers. A catgirl Asterian smiled back at them. “Hello. I’m Corpix Dretrod, nice to finally meet you all.”
“I suggest one of you stay here to distract this one.” Cynthia commanded. “The rest will move further down. Catch up to us as soon as you’re done.”
“I’ll take her, you move on.” Milala said. The others moved further down and Corpix let them.

Corpix inherited the ears and a black tail. She wore shorts and a crop top, revealing countless scars across her body. They were neat surgical scars, as if she had been carefully disassembled and stitched back together.

“You’re a chameleopard, right?” Corpix guessed.
“Yep. And you’re a… panther?”
“A serpenther actually. But the only trait I inherited from the reptilian side is this.” She stuck out her tongue. Asterian tongues are always human enough to allow for speech but she inherited the length and the split end. Chameleopards actually used their tongues to hunt, to catch small rodents from the safety of a tree. Milala didn’t inherit that trait though, just the tail and the ears.
“Why are you helping Jaliehv?”
“Simple quid pro quo. We’re not here to discuss this though.”
Corpix hand blackened as it changed into a claw. She was a Stüpp as well. But Milala should have the upper hand still. Earth demigod bodies were especially tough, so Corpix would have a hard time scratching her.

Milala turned on her claws as well and the two rushed at each other. They swiped their talons at each other but neither managed to land a hit. Judging by how banged up Corpix looked, Milala hadn’t expected her to match her speed and awareness. After a while, the two disengaged to work out a new strategy.

“You’re better than I expected.” Milala said.
“You misjudge your opponents often?”
“Not usually. But this is my first time fighting a person.” Milala was a child of the wilderness and had hunted down some of Nalisatna’s most formidable creatures to see how they tasted cooked. If Corpix really could equal her in a fight, that was an exciting thought.

Milala closed in again. They scratched at each other ineffectively but this time Milala tried to use her advantage. While Corpix got a useless tongue, Milala had a long tail to try and ensnare Corpix and keep her from dodging. Corpix noticed what she was doing but she only had two eyes and couldn’t focus on both Milala’s hands and tail. It coiled around her ankle and Milala yanked her off-balance to connect a fist with her face. She let go of her leg in time to not be launched into a wall along with her.

Milala expected Corpix to be dazed from the impact but she jumped back as if she took no damage at all. Catching her off-guard, Corpix managed to pin Milala on the ground, scratching at her face.
Her tough skin fortunately withstood the attack without major damage.
“Right.” Corpix said. “You’re an earth demi too.”
“Wait, you’re as well? Apolo never mentioned you.”
“Why would he? He never gave a shit about me.”
Milala knew that Apolomyem’s constant avoidance of people often left others growing resentful.
“So, this is why you joined Jaliehv.”
“Yes. Apolomyem is a threat to this world. Humans count as creatures of the earth, so they were his to reign in. Instead, he let them sprawl all over this world like a mold. Just watched as everything is covered in machines and concrete.”
“We’ve revealed ourselves now. We can work this out with them. Jaliehv is just as much a threat.”
“Not to me. Apolomyem left me for dead. I only ever wanted to live the life you got to live. Run around, hunt my prey and be a part of nature. Instead, I got hit by one of those human machines roaring up and down those streaks they covered the land with. I should’ve died. But I clung on. For so long I crawled through the grass with broken limbs. Until one of those god damn humans found me. For so long, I had to sit through this magically-inept bastard’s attempts at surgery. Cut open again and again. Until they gave up and decided to put me out of my misery. And failed. And throughout all that, did Apolomyem do anything to help me? No. It was Jaliehv that found me. I only get to fight you because of her. The process of the Stüpp mutation restored my bones. She gave me my life back. And she brought that piece of shit Apolomyem beneath her heel. It was so satisfying to see this coward tremble. I owe her everything.”
“I’m… sorry that happened to you.”
So, was it Apolomyem that got Valyra out of the afterlife? Was he on her side now? That was troubling.
“You’re quite lucky. The only reason he hasn’t revoked your demigod status yet is because he would’ve given himself away with that. But now that you’re attacking us, Jaliehv is aware that that secret would come out eventually. I wonder how much longer you have left.”
Corpix dragged a claw across Milala’s cheek, not yet able to penetrate her skin.

Milala put her arms around Corpix and started wrestling her hands away from her. She knew that if she let go of Corpix, she would just stall her out until she became a mortal and then take her out. If she could restrain Corpix arms, she could yet win this. Corpix fought against her though, the Stüpp flexibility giving her a lot of room to struggle, no matter how much Milala tried to hold her in place. She was unable to shake Milala off either. There was no point in trying to choke Corpix out. Stüpp also had an increased lung capacity, so it would take a while for her to run out of oxygen. So all Milala could do was try to somehow restrain Corpix claws away from her, and the rest as well if possible.

Milala got more desperate, as she felt her time running out. She used all four limbs and her tail, trying to restrain Corpix in any way possible. Corpix in turn began using her demigod powers. Aside from being resistant to physical harm, earth demigods could also manipulate the earth. The stone floor shifted to pull Milala, close around her limbs and attempt to pull her off. Milala decided to use her powers too, while she still had them.
The struggle finally came to a standstill. Milala triumphantly found that Corpix couldn’t move an inch anymore, though neither could she. In their struggle, they had become entangled in each other, forming a misshapen ball with their heads slightly poking out, held together by Milala’s long tail. Milala couldn’t tell where in this shape Corpix’ hands ended up, but she couldn’t find the sensation of fingers anywhere against her body, not even from her own. She could feel them sandwiched between something that felt like skin though, but she wasn’t mean enough to scratch Corpix in this state.

“Please tell me you aren’t stuck as well.” Corpix whined.
“I totally am. But I’m sure someone could help untie us later.”
“I hope so. I’d rather have all the bones in my body broken again permanently than be stuck with you forever.”
“I’m still a demigod, you know.”
“Well, Apolomyem better get on that. Without the extra defense, maybe I can still kill you if I flex really hard.”
“Wanna have a rematch again one day?”


Nelub split off from the group to face an Attejs. She wore a sky blue robe with a jagged teeth mouth on it. As she smiled, her own mouth matched it.
“You’re actually the first Attejs I’ve met.” Nelub said.
“You’re small. Are you a Sjetta?”
“Yes. My name is Nelub.”
“I’m Doowu… so you’re actually here to have a fair fight?”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“Then let’s begin.”

Nelub expected Doowu to throw out some sort of magic attack. Instead, a long, yellow tongue stretched out of her mouth. Nelub had spent almost all of her life in Amieredetta and mutations hadn’t really made it there, so this caught her by surprise. The appendage wrapped around her and kept constricting tighter, threatening to crush her body. Nelub conjured some metal nails but they were unable to stab into the tongue. It was surprisingly tough. So instead Nelub fired the nails at Doowu. The nails dug into her body but they only did minimal damage. Neither Sjetta nor Attejs had organs in the traditional sense, they were more like magically animated light and darkness. Being pierced really wasn’t an issue but the more the body is deformed from it’s usual shape, the more easily the magic that gives them life breaks and restarts into a new life. Being cut apart, crushed or torn up is how they could die. So Nelub had to get out of the tightening tongue.

Nelub initially learned metal magic because she thought she could eventually recreate human technology with it. Eventually, she was disappointed to learn that human machines were much more complicated and required many more materials than metals. She never really trained her magic for combat, so she had to figure this out on the fly. She did learn to create metals with magnetic charge, strong ones even. Her magic let her levitate metal, so she conjured magnetized metal on each side of Doowu’s tongue until she could unravel it off her by pulling on the magnets. Doowu tried to pull her tongue out from the magnets but wasn’t strong enough. Instead she gave up on freeing the tip of her tongue and just threw more of the free part of it at Nelub. Nelub reflexively levitated the magnets away from her, pulling the tongue out of reach. Yet more came out of Doowu’s mouth. Akaname tongues really were impossibly long. Nelub looked around the room for help, noticing the four pillars holding up the ceiling. She could fly the magnets around faster than Doowu could stretch her tongue out, so if she just kept it going, Doowu won’t be able to reach her with it. The flying magnet forced the tongue across the room, rounding around the pillars in random patterns. The tongue slid over the smooth surfaces as it was spooled around them, until no more came out of Doowu’s mouth. The magnet-held tip then returned to Doowu to tie into a knot around its base, stretching the whole thing taut and preventing Doowu from pulling the tongue back in. She hung suspended above the floor, trying to pick apart the knot in her mouth and failing, unable to lift the heavy magnets still clinging to the tip of her tongue. She made a pitiful picture.

“You know, you almost had me there.” Nelub admitted.
“Can you let me down?”
“I’m not sure I should. I’ve defeated you fair and square. Who’s to say you won’t attack me again if I let you go now.”
“Okay. But could you at least promise not to hurt me any further?”
“Oh, does this hurt you? I’m sorry.”
“No, I mean… Please don’t cut off my tongue.”
“I’m not sure I could if I wanted to. It must be pretty tough if my nails couldn’t push through.”
“I’m sure those wicked knives you got could do it. Please just promise me.”
Nelub took in the thick web of tongue hanging above her. “Well, it could use a little trim.”
Doowu grew dim. Nelub recognized it as a fear response.
“Just a joke.” Nelub tried to ease Doowu’s mind.
“Well, it’s a cruel one, don’t you think? Losing my wings and antennas already broke my heart. Don’t joke about making me lose more.”
Nelub examined the hanging body closer. She hadn’t noticed any antennas or wings on Doowu. That was the point, she realized.
“Wait, how? Wouldn’t they regenerate under the light?” Permanent injuries were basically impossible for Sjetta and Nelub was sure the same applied to Attejs.
“You have those messed up blue knives. They broke something about me.”
“I’ve never heard of such weapons. Wait, blue? Didn’t-” Nelub remembered that coming up when Algasath talked about an encounter with Jaliehv somewhere. She remembered he was very careful with what he said, just mentioned that this knife disturbed him.
“I think Jaliehv made such knives.”
“Well, I saw a Sjetta with it, right before my vision cut off.”
“Are you sure it was a Sjetta? We don’t really come out here.”
“Well, one of you did. I know what you’re like. Maybe not you. All this time, it was always us Attejs that are so evil and manipulative, but it’s actually you Sjetta. I don’t believe a word you say.”
“No, I think you got fooled. Maybe Jaliehv tested out these new weapons on you. If so, that is dire.”
“But I know what Jaliehv’s Sjetta subordinates look like. It wasn’t them.”
“Maybe it was Jaliehv herself. Remember, she’s a deity and can take on any appearance. Like a Sjetta. She’d test out her weapon and then manipulate you to defend her.”
“I- Why-? No, maybe- There’s something that’s been bothering me. Maybe you’re right.”
Doowu took out a small sphere from her pocket. It did look… somehow wrong. “What color is this?”
“Blue.” Nelub answered.
“I knew these things felt similar. Damn it, I think you’re right. Jaliehv tricked me. I actually had been very critical of this antagonism against the Sjetta until that had happened. She- she did that to me to pull me in line!”
“That seems like something she would do.”
“I can’t believe it! To be tricked like that. Oh, I just wanna-” Doowu started flailing around, spinning and swaying, throwing the sphere to the ground in anger. Then she calmed down. “But she’s a god. I can’t do anything. And I’m afraid what she’ll do to me if I turn on her. Do you think you can defeat her?”
“Yeah, I trust my friends. What is that ball though?” Nelub picked it up.
“Jaliehv gave it to us. It can trap gods inside if you can cut them down to fit. I’m not sure how she expected me to do that, but just in case, I guess. It’s our secret weapon.”
“I should go warn them! I’m sorry, I promise to get you down later!”
“It’s alright.”
Nelub could tell that wasn’t true, Doowu just was kind of a doormat. Nevertheless, she needed to hurry.

Doowu pulled herself up onto her tongue, so she could lie on it. That should be comfortable enough until Nelub returned.


Chloe picked a tall, muscular woman as her opponent. She had thick, green scales protecting her arms and wore a bone mask that should block off her sight. A long, flat snout poked out under it, with rows of sharp teeth visibly lining its edge. From what Chloe understood of this planet, that should be an Asterian. Some lizard kind.

“I’m Chloe!” she introduced herself with excitement. No matter the reason, she liked fighting people.
The lizard didn’t respond, as if she didn’t even notice anything.
“...and you are?”
“Rule: Obliterate.”
“Is that your name or did you just say that?”
“Fine, Rule. Let’s have a good fight.”
“We will.”
Rule again didn’t budge, waiting for Chloe to make the first move. Usually, Chloe preferred close combat, but she would be at too big a disadvantage against her. She relied on grappling techniques, lacking the strength to take out enemies with brute force. Rule was simply too muscular to pin down. So Chloe was down to throwing fireballs, using her tongue or switching in Susi. Susi would be a better match up, but Chloe wanted to see how well she fared against this woman. Even if she got totally demolished, Susi would still go in fresh.

Chloe stretched out her tongue. She’d rather save her Well for when she understood the matchup better. Rule finally moved in response. Somehow she always knew how to turn to dodge Chloe’s tongue trying to wrap around her.
“I think you should just let me do it.” Susi said.
“Don’t talk while I’m trying to use my tongue.” Chloe responded.
“It’s been well established you can talk just fine with it occupied.”
“It still throws me off. Just let me have some fun. You’ll get to analyze her habits too.”

“Who are you talking to?” Rule asked.
“My inner demon.”
“Technically, you’re -my- inner demon.”
“I’m pretty sure you got put into me.”
“-You- got put into me! The Tumor God wanted me to be the one in control, remember?”
“Can we discuss this later?”

Chloe lost focus and Rule used that to grab her tongue. She swung it in such a way the tongue looped around Chloe and then yanked her closer, meeting her with a fist. Rule kept bouncing her back and forth like a yoyo, until the tongue unraveled again. Chloe landed behind Rule.

“You’re tough to still be aware.” Rule noted.
“You merely knocked my hat off.”
Rule looped the tongue around her hand to keep a better grip on it. Chloe was done playing though and switched to Susi’s body. Rule couldn’t knock that one around by the tongue so easily. She relinquished control of their body to Susi.

Susi towered over Rule like Rule did over Chloe. This room was rather small though, so Susi had to hunch over a bit, her skeletal wings touching the ceiling. Susi swung a claw at Rule, who dodged it by a hair’s breadth. Susi swatted her other claw, missing just as closely. Rule did the same lasso trick to wrap Chloe’s tongue around Susi’s snout and pulled her head down. She jumped onto her head and rolled onto her back. Her snout opened and clamped onto Susi’s upper arm. With a loud snap it broke between her teeth.
Susi collapsed, having lost the support of her arm. Rule climbed over to the other side of the body, walking over Susi’s body as if she knew exactly how it would fall. Susi tried to move her healthy arm away but Rule’s teeth had already aimed at where the arm would be moved to. Rule’s strong jaw broke the other arm just as quickly and Susi fell over, unable to get up. Rule climbed back onto her back and Chloe didn’t plan to let her break any more bones. She took back control and switched to her own body. Her plan had been to skitter away with her nimbler body before Rule could adjust to the change. Rule already had. Chloe noticed that she couldn’t switch out Susi’s smoldering chest hole. Looking down, she saw Rule’s thick arm, the one still holding her tongue, sticking through it. The scales unharmed by the burning edges.
There was no way Rule could know this was how her transformation worked. This whole time, she had been steps ahead of Chloe.

“Wait. You can predict the future.” Chloe realized.
“So you figured it out. What a bother. Foreseeing my opponent’s movement requires much more concentration after they’ve realized.”
Chloe half-way transformed into Susi for a split second to free Rule’s arm from her chest and gain some distance. While doing so, she pushed an excess of tongue out of her mouth, to make it too slack for Rule’s lasso trick to work and giving her time to think of a strategy.

She knew Rule could predict the future, but could she see everything about to happen in this room or just read Chloe’s intentions. If the latter, Chloe could throw her off by making her intentions unclear. She could just fire a bunch of firebolts at random. Rule would be just as clueless where they’d land as she was. If the former, that’d have no effect. Well, worth a try.

Chloe shot a barrage of fire balls at Rule. She didn’t bother to move. Chloe remembered how the embers of Susi’s chest didn’t burn her scales either. Her fire spells were completely useless.
“Hey… what the hell are you?” Rule asked. “Your future. It doesn’t make sense. Who is this?”
“I’m not doing anything. Are you okay?”
“Did I slip into the future of that demon? No… Or did I? How? I-” Rule struggled to comprehend what she was seeing. Chloe had no idea what was happening.
“I… I see that all your friends will betray you.”
“Wait, what?”
“The love of your life will weep for you for fifty years.”
“I see all of it at once. As if your entire life happened to you in an instant. I see you at the bottom of the ocean. I see you as you choose your name. I see you dead on a throne listening to the stories of imaginary children. I see you choke on a moon made of blood. I see you failing to convince your friends that you love them.”
Rule collapsed to her knees. “I can’t use my magic on you. It’s like looking into a kaleidoscope.”
“Well, I am from a different world, could that interfere with it?”
“No, no. Everything I saw will happen. Or has already happened. To you or someone that is partially you. Is that demon really the only one inside you?”
“I hope so.”
“No matter. Let’s continue.”

Chloe wished Rule had at least let go of her tongue while freaking out. But perhaps that wasn’t so bad, now that Rule was going in blind. Chloe tried to snake her tongue up Rule’s arm but Rule simply grabbed and pulled it off her. She threw it away from her, seeing no point in holding onto it anymore either. Chloe began returning her tongue into her body. Rule appeared reluctant to approach, unable to foresee the results.

As Chloe tried to think of a plan, the little shadow being hopped down the stairs. She recalled her name to be Nelub. Nelub quickly assessed the situation.
“What’s your plan here and can I help?”
“She’s too strong for me to approach in close combat.” Chloe thought aloud. “Susi is too wounded to fight and my fire magic does nothing. At this point, my only hope is tying her up with my tongue somehow, but I can’t restrain her fast enough before she tears my tongue off her.”
“What a coincidence. I think I may have just discovered a method to help you.”
“For real?”
“Just give me your tongue and I’ll handle it from there.”
Rule watched them carefully. She didn’t know Nelub’s abilities and frankly, Chloe didn’t either. She stretched her tongue towards Nelub and two magnets appeared out of thin air, snapping against the other with the tip of her tongue caught in between. Then the metal discs flew off much faster than Chloe could move her tongue. It circled around Rule, but she once again evaded it as if she knew exactly how.
“Ah, fuck, of course, she can read your future just fine.” Chloe cursed.
“She can see the future?” Nelub asked.
“Yes, but I think only one of ours at a time and mine really gives her a headache. Just keep trying while I’ll distract her.”
Chloe rushed in close, hoping she had a fighting chance if Rule had to fight her and her tongue as separate entities. Rule half-heartedly struck a fist where she expected Chloe to be, but Chloe ducked under it, sliding through between her legs. Nelub seized the opportunity to get one of Rule’s legs caught but she must’ve read her future and lifted her leg up just as Nelub tried to ensnare it, pulling the tongue back out from between her legs. Chloe was still behind her though, and used the moment to try and throw her tongue around Rule’s neck. Instead, she opened her snout at the right time and it got caught between her teeth instead and she bit down. Even her strong jaw couldn’t damage the tongue though. She opened her maw again to get the tongue off her, but Chloe managed to wrap her tongue around it and force it shut. She’d rather not get anything else caught between those teeth. Rule pulled the tongue off her snout before it could secure its hold but Nelub thought quick too and had conjured a tight metal clamp to keep it shut. Unable to take Chloe’s tongue out of her jaws, Chloe had gained a significant foothold. Nelub relocated the magnets, so she and Chloe could pull it in opposite directions. With the tongue already partially stuck on her, Rule couldn’t do much to escape it anymore. Gradually, Chloe tied down her arms, then her legs. Once the crocodile was harmless, Chloe sat down, elated.

“Thanks for the help, Nelub.”
“Looks like you’ll be stuck here with her though.”
“That’s fine. Susi broke both her arms, so we should take it easy anyway.”
“I actually need to warn the gods though. I’ve learned Jaliehv has invented a device that can defeat them.” Nelub held up a little blue ball. Though, looking at it longer, Chloe really hated to describe that as any color.
“I’ll have to run. Oh and, uh, I don’t know how much tongue you have left in reserve but if you can make it upstairs and help an Akaname buddy out. She’s cool.” Nelub ran off further downstairs.

Chloe decided to sit for a bit longer before honoring her request.
“How are your arms, Susi?”
“Still broken. They’ll be healed by tomorrow.”
“Sometimes you worry me. Sometimes you seem as fragile as a bug.”
“If your arms had got caught in there, they’d be gone completely. You better thank me for taking one for the team.”
“You did great, Susi.”


Duuri picked a Shandari as her opponent. She wasn’t sure if she was strong enough to be worth it, but if not, she’d just wrap this up quickly and move on. Really, she should’ve just blasted through the people they ran past up to this point as well. She just didn’t care about beating up weaklings. Unless they were one of those Shandari that thought they could just get away with being a poor excuse for an aegil over here. She wondered which kind this one was.

“My name’s Duuri. Who are you?” The name can be an easy tell for an offworld firel, as evidenced by Monique.
“Lilorett.” It was a Shandari name, but it translated to something alike ‘sweetheart’, so Duuri wasn’t sure if this was promising.
For the next test, Duuri punched her in the face. The force knocked her into the wall, which she bounced off from. As she got back up, Duuri saw blood trickle down her lip. So she wasn’t a shapeshifter, as they didn’t bleed unless they ran out of cells to patch themselves up. But a defective aegil would’ve been shattered by that hit.
“I see what’s going on. You’re a Stüpp.”
“Yeah, I don’t break so easy anymore.” Lilorett smiled in defiance.
“Cute. One of my fellow aegil- well, she says she’s a ‘girl’ because she grew up with Asterians- she also can’t shapeshift and became a Stüpp to compensate. I’m just an air demigod. I heal all my injuries but my bones are still very fragile. Do you know why I never considered becoming a Stüpp to fix that?”
“Because it’s very easy to just do this to you.”

Duuri shot forward once more with the speed of wind and folded up Lilorett’s unbreakable body before she could react. Stüpp bones very much like to straIghten themselves out, so if you bent them just a little, and placed the limbs just right, it was easy to just lodge the body stuck in a position where it could no longer move and can’t free itself without a lot of help. And Duuri never wanted to have to rely on help.

Aegil were meant to be completely independent. They weren’t even supposed to keep friendships. That was a terahl thing. It was embarrassing for an aegil. They provided food for their settlement by going out to hunt and that was the extent of their care for others. A lot of aegil were shapeshifters, but some aren’t. A single strike by the prey could spell out their end, so Duuri had to be especially good at killing to make up for her defect. And even when she was completely untouchable, the other hunters still only saw a broken mistake. She resented them for that. She would make them recognize her one day. And she resented all those other broken Shandari that would just whine for acceptance and not fight to overcome their failures like she did.

Lilorett’s arms, legs, wings and tail were all knotted tightly around her, forming a gross joke of a body. All in all, it took Duuri a couple of seconds to take this idiot out. The confident smile finally vanished.

“I… see how this is a problem.” Lilorett admitted. Granted, only an air demi was fast and strong enough to do this to a Stüpp, but just the possibility of getting stuck like that at all disgusted Duuri.
“I’d pity you if this wasn’t exactly what you deserved.” Duuri walked towards the stairs.
“I was about to say the same to you.”
Duuri turned around to see Lilorett smiling again. And there was something blue coming out of her mouth. Lilorett’s tongue was already coiled around her torso, pinning her arms to her sides. That freak was an Akaname too. Duuri tried to shake the tongue off by knocking herself around with air bursts. Somehow it kept writhing around her without easing its grip. Akaname tongues weren’t especially strong but they could constrict around whatever they held. Soon, Duuri’s entire body was engulfed in the blue flesh.

“I don’t feel uncomfortable in this position.” Lilorett taunted. “How about you?”
Duuri felt the space shrink around her. The tongue compressed around her until her limbs ached and broke. The tongue reached the limit of its strength before Duuri could be crushed completely, but that only meant she had to remain conscious. And unfortunately, demigods still felt pain.

“You know what I pity you most for?” Lilorett’s voice still made it through the thick wall of flesh. As if it wasn’t bad enough that the first time Duuri lost a fight it was against this fuck-up, here came the lecturing.
“That you never experienced the joy of tasting candy. All those people on Shandi have no idea that the sense of taste even exists. When Jaliehv gave this gift to me, I couldn’t believe it. I can’t even describe it to you. I first had a lollipop that was, uh… strawberry-flavored. It blew my mind. And there are like thousands of different flavors. Flavors is what you experience when you taste things. Strawberry tastes like if being burned felt nice and soft. Or like, have you had the chance to hear a violin yet? It’s kinda like that. Then I had a-”
Duuri was having the worst day of her life.

“Oh, uh, what’s going on in here?”
Duuri recognized the voice of the little Sjetta. “Hey, I’m in here.”
“Hey, no fair!” Lilorett complained.
Nelub pulled apart the tongue ball with metal pieces, enough for Duuri to crawl out of it. She laid on the floor for a moment to give her bones the time to heal up.
“I used up the last of my well for that.” Nelub said. “Can you deliver a message for me, Duuri?”
“I found out Jaliehv handed out these containers to her minions. Apparently gods can be trapped. Can you run ahead and tell Algasath and the others so they’re prepared?” Nelub gave her the object.
“Well, not as scary as that knife. But I guess these use less material, whatever it is.” Duuri managed to pop open the capsule and closed it again. Could be useful.
“I’m no good without magic, I’ll go back up to check on everyone. Good luck Duuri.” Nelub skittered back upstairs.
Duuri then scowled at Lilorett. The magnets still attached to her tongue kept her from retrieving it.
“I give up, I give up!” she said.
Duuri walked up to her and knelt down to her face. “You’re the first broken aegil to actually hurt me. Respect.” Duuri patted her head.
“Oh. Thanks.” Lilorett smiled, a little reassured.
“But that still pissed me off.” Duuri grabbed her tongue and a few seconds later had all of it tied around Lilorett as well.
“Next, impress me by getting out of there.”

Next Part: Chapter 20: Tactic