Chapter 121 – Moonlight Drink

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Once the picnickers frolicked long enough in the water– which, to my astonishment really did evolve into nude bathing like Grandmother predicted– and had their midnight dinner (for which the girls dared each other into remaining nude), the third girl retired to her tent and the two couples picked discreet trysting spots.

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After Grandmother’s disappointed whining made it official that she was a hardcore voyeur– both couples had managed to avoid locations she could watch from our position–  she hopped up from her perch, grabbed my hand and pulled me along through the woods again.

“Where we going now?”

“It’s time to get back in the water, Innanmi.”

She paid no attention to my panic as she towed me back down to the fountain pool. I frantically tried to identify where the visitors were hiding as we walked across the beach, half-convinced as I waded into the water that five sets of strangers’ eyes were watching me every step of the way. I mean, I know they were preoccupied, but at least four of them were nearby and fully awake, Grandmother!

The fog was thick, and the shoreline thankfully disappeared. We sat in the water and quietly chatted for a while, going back to the subject of ‘secret magic’, but then Grandmother grew a playful smile, leaned forward to give my cheek a peck, and disappeared on me again, leaving me once more all alone in the dark. Was abandoning me like this some kind of game to her?

The warm water grew to be too much, so I began gently pulling Fire mana out of the water immediately around me and backstroked around the pool. That made a little noise, so I switched to learning my grandmother’s Water mana propulsion. From what I had seen, it was a lot like what I did with Wind while flying, and after a while I could manage a clumsy version of it.

With I decided my body was finally caught up with restoring itself, I waded back ashore, leaving the Fire mana I had stolen from the warm water circulating in my body to stay warm in the cool air. I returned to the spot near the ‘spring’ where Grandmother cooked the fish.

All signs of Grandmother’s cooking fire had vanished. I lay for a bit with my chin on my arms on one of the smooth rocks there, but then grew paranoid that I would fall asleep and be discovered by the mortals in the morning, so I moved into the trees and found a spot concealed by shrubs. It seemed to be a place that had been prepared, a bed of soft grasses just big enough for two to lay. I realized it was one of those popular ‘trysting spots’.

Three nights before this, I danced at a ball. Two nights before, I slept in a luxurious bed and was dressed by my maids when I woke. The prior night I slept in a jail cell, and had a dream telling me about the magic I couldn’t detect that put me in that cell. Now I was hiding in the woods, naked and alone, literally stripped of all my possessions. Was it still ‘Fate magic’ at work? How much worse could that magic make things for me?

Or was something like ‘Fate magic’ helping me now? I had run into my grandmother and apparently my great-grandfather, I had procured a weapon, and I had even learned a few more details about what was happening to me. Were things getting worse for me, or better?

I probably should have used my [Persistence] skill to stay awake, but I hadn’t done it, and drifted off while thinking about these things. No angelic dreams interrupted my sleep, but it wasn’t a very long nap. It was still deep night when I became aware of the sensation of a hand stroking my cheek.

I jerked awake and the girl whose hand had touched me jumped back a bit. She held her hands up, showing them to be empty.

She was a woman of about twenty, just as naked as I was. Her hair was disheveled, and she had a slightly tired look, but she was giving me a warm smile. She moved closer to me and then…

I had just been awakened and my mind was still trying to process the situation, so I can’t be blamed that I went completely blank when she closed the distance, slipped her arms around me and took possession of my lips.

Ceria had coaxed me into kissing a few times, so this wasn’t my first, but the shock of having a complete stranger just take charge like that sort of short-circuited me. I was fully cooperating. It was only when I felt her hand cup my breast that I pulled back.

“Stop,” I said. I was keeping my voice down, having finally remembered there were humans in the area, and I didn’t use Command, but I made my tone firm.

That hand kept squeezing, so I gently removed it from myself. I finally identified her as the extra girl who had gone back to her tent. Why the hell was she here, and why was she here, naked and doing something like this?

She looked me up and down with a coquettish smile, then shook her head. “Amazing. You look as beautiful as the Lady of the Lake. You really are her granddaughter like she told me, aren’t you?”

I wanted to retort that there was no way I was anywhere as beautiful as Grandmother, but I had a more important issue.

“Did my grandmother…” I wasn’t sure what verb to follow with. I guess what I meant was, was my grandmother responsible for this situation?

She had already pulled her hand loose and was caressing my upper arm now.

“The Lady sent me to you. She said you need me.”

“I what?”

Innanmi, you must travel to where that man is and seek his help,” my grandmother said, appearing behind the girl. “But you used far too strong a magic down in the temple. It was powerful enough for me to feel, all the way up here. It’s a long distance to Tëan Tír. You will certainly arrive there starving for blood, and possibly not even make it that far.”

It seemed ridiculous to me, who had fed barely a week before, but then I thought about the event she was talking about, the [Purification] I had done. It had gone on for ages. Maybe I really had spent almost everything I had on it.

“But I’m not hungry yet.”

“I’ve known many vampires over the millennia, Innanmi. My sight is a good judge of when they are in need. I also know that a girl like this is just the thing to make a vampire hungry.”

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“But why would she…” I switched to the girl, pulling back a bit because she had just started nuzzling my cheek. “Why would you want to do this? Do you understand that Grandmother wants me to drink your blood?”

She just closed in again, her hand reclaiming my breast and rubbing her nose in my ear. I looked to Grandmother for an explanation for how the girl was acting. Her eyes sparkled a little, and she gave a low volume laugh. “She’s a bit mesmerized right now, Innanmi. I played with her a long time. She’s doing this as a favor to me.”

“Wait wait wait…” I pushed  her off me again. Rather that fight or try to return, she took the action as her cue to demonstrate her feminine charms with some alluring poses. The full moon lit up her skin very nicely, and I did indeed feel a twinge of appetite as she showed them to me. She brushed brown hair back and squared her shoulders to ensure I had the best view possible, while smiling at me.

My heart was still too troubled to enjoy the view though. “Grandmother, I pay girls for this. I don’t use charm to make them willing. I don’t feed on girls against their will!”

She rubbed the girl’s back as she noted, “You’re going to run out of mortal blood and attack someone eventually, Innanmi. You have no money to hire a girl right now. You are a fugitive and could cause them trouble if you go to your acquaintances. You do not have the luxury to live according to mortal rules.”

The girl again snuggled up to me, pushing me back down to the grass, and hands and lips began their roaming once again. I was now fighting a battle both with my libido, because this was a really stimulating situation, and with my conscience, because Grandmother had a point. Whatever I ended up doing once hunger overcame me would surely be worse than peacefully taking advantage of this girl now.

The moonlight gave her skin a truly attractive color and her hair held an alluring fragrance that I recognized. It was a smell I know well, because my feedings often inspire physical responses in the donor. Grandmother said she ‘played with her’, and she had definitely meant that. She had brought the girl to me still aroused.

Her cuddling and caresses were very definitely having an effect on my body, as well. I don’t mean vampiric hunger. The desires of Robert were alive and well, it seemed. I cooperated again, for longer this time, when she reclaimed my lips.

Finally, my morals got control once more, and I broke free, then grabbed her wrists to bring her hands under control. “Grandmother, I’m sorry. If it’s your bewitchment and it isn’t her own will to do this, it’s wrong!”

Grandmother chuckled and then put her hand on the girl’s cheek. In response, the girl smiled at me and laid her head down on her folded arm, watching me. Part of me was relieved and, I’ll admit, part was disappointed, but on the balance, I was relieved.

“Well, I see nothing wrong with it,” Grandmother declared. “The touch of a fairy makes permanent changes, Innanmi. She isn’t going to regret helping you. She already has a pleasant memory of me which she’s going to treasure, and you can give her another pleasant memory to add to it. You probably will even reinforce my influence on her with your own fairy powers. She will not regret the experience. If you paid her, you would reduce her happiness to mere prostitution.”

She stroked the girl’s cheek and smiled. “She is giving you what you need at my request, Innanmi. She’s assented to being my plaything tonight. Think of it as a gift from me.”

- my thoughts:

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I thought pretty hard about the moral dilemma she's being presented with. Sooner or later she would lose control if she doesn't get blood. But is it better for her to accept this particular help that Grandmother's offering?

If you expect to see my answer next chapter, forget it. Because I may have decided what Tiana does here, but I have yet to figure out what the 'right thing' to do actually would be in this case.

Check out my other novels: Sword Of The King and Tales of the ESDF

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