B5 — 29. Eldritch Adaptation


1. Anthony (Our girl’s boyfriend and the Eldritch of Dre’jna Jaenona Le’thrga)

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A yawn slid through Anthony’s lips as he stretched under the sheets, reaching over to turn off the alarm he’d set for 6:30 a.m.  He lay in bed for a minute, releasing a soft sigh while staring at the ceiling and going over the thoughts that had troubled him last night.

Rachel had placed him as the leader of the day team, which made enough sense, given their relationship, yet also gave him some doubts; it was hard not to remember the long-eared girl laying atop him the days prior, seeking comfort.

He’d known the lunar hare was an independent young woman when beginning to take their relationship more seriously, but this felt like a massive step backward; being separated from Rachel by the daylight cycle and how busy she’d been—finding things to do at specific overlapping points—the last few days to escape any further psychiatry sessions worried him.

It didn’t help that he was forced to sleep alone when he thought they were growing closer.  Pressing his closed fist against his forehead, Anthony stared up at the gray textured patterns 3-meter overhead, reflecting on Rachel’s situation.

In a way, after Rachel broke down, she’d pulled into a tighter ball than before, and he feared she was isolating herself to separate from the vulnerable emotion—which he could understand—Amelia went through a similar phase during her cancer treatments.

He couldn’t help but wonder if separating them into different groups was a way for her to not face the part of herself that was tender—the part she revealed to him in her bedroom.  Rachel was an extremely driven and proactive girl—which he loved—yet he knew that tucking those weaknesses into a tight ball wouldn’t end well and could cause her to make mistakes in the long run.

She lost her mom, and no matter how much Rachel pushed those feelings down or tried to channel them, they would begin to crack her armor over time.

Anthony didn’t have the best relationship with his own mother, and he hadn’t come to understand what kind of bond Rachel shared with hers, but clearly, there were things unresolved.

The fact that Rachel’s own curiosity and pushing mindset had directly influenced her mother’s disappearance was also a massive center of guilt, something Richard expressed to him during their meeting, and it surprised him that the lunar hare would reveal that to him, but, as the psychiatrist said, it would need to be resolved.


Rolling out of bed, he gave Jaenona a melancholy smile as she seemed to appear out of nowhere in the corner of the room; she was dressed in the typical white with black highlights style the deceptive child had grown to like.

Looking into her galaxy-like eyes brought him back to the time he’d first met the eldritch woman—before she sacrificed herself to allow him to enter the Grand Existence of her birth—and he wasn’t entirely sure Jaenona was the same person as that longing, lonely eldritch creature.

There was an unnerving understanding inside her cosmic gaze that caused Anthony to rest on the side of the mattress, staring into the entity’s silent observation; a bond connected them in a fundamental way he couldn’t understand, and he could sense her manipulating unseen forces to his own desires, gleaning insight from places unknowable but to the child.

The plucking strings of her unheard melody brought his thoughts back to the memory of Rachel’s off-handed remark that she’d turned her ears away from Richard and his conversation, yet the lunar hare had never been one that was too concerned with eavesdropping.

It told Anthony she internally didn’t want to face it; Rachel cared very little for privacy, which was just part of her personality and inability to be left in the dark.  Typically, the unknown enticed her, but this was different.

She didn’t want to look at herself, and that bothered Anthony because there was so much depth to Rachel; she was her biggest monster—one she couldn’t face—and she didn’t even fully realize how bad it was.

Mouth becoming a line, he internally whispered.  Is Rachel subconsciously trying to push me away to not be hurt again…  To not feel vulnerable?  There’s no reason Maria couldn’t handle this day team, yet it had to be me…

Jaenona’s child-like face softened.  “A rough night, Master?”

It was rhetorical; she knew everything that passed through his innermost thoughts and desires.  Life is life…  Is Rachel back?

Her long white hair weaved with her head motions.  “She has yet to return, yet I sense your girlfriend will make her arrival shortly.”

It was always a bit unnerving to hear the child string such comprehensive and adult phrases together; the way she could vanish into folds or angles of dimensional refractions without effort had a creepy element to it, as well.

“Girlfriend, huh?”  he chuckled, getting up to do a quick stretch; he only wore his boxers.  “You sometimes phrase things in strange ways, Jaenona.”

“Do I?”  she hummed, head tilting to the side.  “Will you go through the bathing ritual of the humans this day?  Alexa showed me this moving animation of children helping their fathers with washing their backs the night previous.  Is this customary?”

“Alexa…”  Anthony groaned, rubbing his forehead.

“Hmm-hmm.  I suppose she has shown me something unnecessary again.  I wish you well in the warm waters, Master.”

He forced a smile as she showed a charming, toothy grin that highlighted her innocence; it was such a strange and contradictory duality.

Anthony didn’t know if he should have her change out of the blouse and skirt; Jaenona was perfectly comfortable with it and enjoyed the attention Nia had shown to the two black roses she used to keep her thick, white locks in place.

“Hehe.  Thanks, I guess.  You should check on Melissa and ensure everyone is getting ready to leave.”

The girl gave a short, fluid curtsy; he had to admire how deceptively cute the eldritch entity could be.  “I shall do as you command.”

Anthony chuckled as she jogged over to the door, skirt bouncing, and twisted the knob with two hands to exit; he didn’t regret saving the creature’s life and welcomed someone who could help him understand these changes he was going through, yet the disconnect came from her age and appearance.

He and Rachel had been the subject of more than one snickering joke by Cahira, Maria, Alexa, and Scarlet that the girl really could be their child.

Breathing out another long stream of air, he went to one of the dresser drawers to extract some clothes; he’d transferred what little garments he’d gathered in Miami to Zippy—it didn’t amount to much.

Anthony selected a tan turtleneck and pants with a dark brown belt that would match his shoes; it would do well not to stick out too much by dressing out of the ordinary, and France was chilly around this time of the year, so he pulled out a cream-colored open coat he could throw on.

He prepared for the day by heading to the bathroom attached to his room; Cahira’s dragon turtle manor was massive, more than accommodating for a few dozen people.  With warm water running through his long, thick mane of brass-colored hair and down his body, Anthony worked his stiff muscles.

“Huu-haaa.”  Rubbing his face and breathing out as the liquid ran between his fingers, Anthony felt Jaenona send a wordless prompt that Rachel had returned.

What can I do, though…  I can’t help if she doesn’t let me in…  Does she feel opening up to me was a mistake?  I guess the only thing I can do is wait for her to throw out that line for me to catch again…  I just need to be patient.

Anthony turned off the faucet and dried off.  Moving to the mirror, he paused to examine his changed features; The Oscillation transformed him first, yet Magthera—the place of Jaenona’s birth—had further augmented his physical appearance.

The shimmer in his illuminated solar irises kept his attention; he was the Eldritch of Dre’jna Jaenona Le’thrga.  No longer a Legendkin, Anthony discovered he had far more unusual abilities since returning from that mysterious place that granted him a degree of understanding he couldn’t explain at times, as if discovering hidden truths in a fog.

I can only pray Rachel will let me carry some of that weight before it crushes her…  Stubborn to a fault.

His gaze wandered to the corner of the room, where, in supernatural fashion, it opened up like a sliding glass door to show the lunar hare with Selvaria, Jeanne, and some fiend in the disguise of a 5-year-old; everywhere he looked, Anthony could see hidden passageways through dimensional edges, reflective surfaces, and many other phenomena.

It was a little scattered at first, and the unseen entities hovering just outside of sight pulled him to the various sensations that rippled through spatial fields.  Jaenona anchored him to this unusual twist in reality—a dualistic tilt to standard perception—a place unperceivable to common logic and thought.

Jaenona reported everyone else was getting ready, and, after dressing, he stepped upside down through the folded gateway to sit in the chair that had both been tucked in and pulled out; Rachel seemed to believe he stepped through the doorway by her eye movement, walking to sit where he already was, yet after a second, the dubious crease to her brow said she was questioning that line of logic.

“…get that you’re not sleepy, Selv, but I think you should probably spend more time with your mom since you brought her on this trip, rather than running around Paris with Anthony’s group.  Take some time with her in the morning.”

“Mmgm.”  Selvaria’s tail whipped to the left, staring at Galatea, sleeping in the air.  “I guess it would be cool to spend time with her in France, but…  Oh, hey, Anthony.”

Jeanne’s soft blue eyes followed Rachel’s, speaking with a light French accent.  “Ah, this is the co-leader of Mythic?”

The child’s deep brown irises fixated on him, unease entering her voice.  “Was he… always there?”

Rachel’s eyebrows drew together as her brain tried to make sense of the unexplainable event; it wasn’t as if he’d vanished right from the bathroom as much as he’d stepped through a twisted reality that reflected a shadow of himself proceeding to this very place but in delay as Existence tried to catch up.

“I’m… not so sure.  Playing games, Anthony?”  she hummed.

“Discovering more about these new eldritch abilities.  Heh.  I’ll try to explain it when I get a solid grasp.  Fruitful night?  I see you’ve picked up a devil.”

Rachel chuckled, shooting a smirk at the stiff fiend as she studied him like a serpent.  “Elinnila.  A succubus of the 2nd Circle.”

“Hsss!”  The fiend fell out of her chair as Jaenona appeared in front of her, studying the brown-haired girl with her cosmic gaze that penetrated any deception she tried to elicit, and Anthony could see the panicking she-devil in her true, flayed, fleshy form.  “W-What abomination is this?!”

Jaenona knelt down to look under the table sheet at the hiding devil as Rachel chuckled with the others, excluding Jeanne.  “This abomination’s name is Jaenona,” the girl cheerily greeted, scooting forward a bit to hold out her tiny hand.  “Scarlet says it is appropriate to shake when meeting new comrades.”

Anthony’s focus shifted to the holy maiden when her gaze shifted between them.  “Elinnila is… terrified of what you are…  What kind of creature horrifies devils, Rachel?”

He breathed a sad chuckle when the devil exited the opposite side of the table to run out of the room, yet came to a screeching halt when Jaenona was in the doorway, and turning back in alarm, the white-haired child was there as well, straightening from her kneeling position.

“The eldritch…  Rachel can explain.”

Elinnila backed into a corner, which, ironically, he could pull her through if he wanted, transferring her into some in-between dimension of contradictions and harmless eldritch creatures; of course, the devil’s own mind was her worst enemy when it came to such a space, which could forge her own worst nightmare.

“No—no, no, no…  That isn’t some ‘typical’ eldritch thing… th-that’s something else…  Something impossible!”

“Isn’t that the point of eldritch?” Selvaria huffed.  “You’re a big baby.  She just wants to be your friend—don’t be a scaredy-cat.”

“I take offense to that,” Melissa yawned, her tail swinging left and right while coming out of a side door to the dining room.  “What’s for breakfast?”

“Melissa.”  Selvaria’s face brightened, yet, as usual, her monotone voice stayed the same.  “I’m going to be up today with my mom.  If you need me, just call me; I’ll come over to one-punch anyone who messes with you.”

“Hehe.  Sure thing,” she said, tentacle exiting the back of her shirt to open the fridge.  “Oh, restocked?”

Rachel nodded, smirking at the shivering devil in the corner as Jaenona stood nearby, doing her best to appear non-threatening; unfortunately, her cute smile and extended hand didn’t seem to be working to make her a friend ‘near her age,’ as Alexa instructed her.

“Fiona’s doing—she’s getting a ton of donations from French viewers.  Uh, Anthony, have a second?”

“Mmh-yeah.”  He got up, waving at Melissa; he was glad she’d become more accustomed to the crew over the last few days.  “Just start making whatever.”

The girl’s cat ears rose with her grin.  “Oh!  I’ll start making breakfast for Maria, Cahira, and the rest of us; eggs and sausage—hashbrowns in the freezer, too.  Nice.”

“Sounds good.”

Leaving Jaenona to puzzle through the process of making friends with the first ‘person’ outside of their gang, Anthony followed his girlfriend to a nearby gathering area, yet paused in the hallway as Mara exited her room, wearing a deep-blue, button-up nightgown.

Unwinding her green braid, the mermaid shook it out, keeping the band to pull it into a high ponytail.  “Uh-oh.  Dad and Mom fighting?”  she teased in passing.

Rachel rolled her eyes.  “Funny.  Nemesis still sleeping?”

“By the sound waves his breathing is making, probably.”  Her illuminated muddy irises twinkled in passing.  “Oh, what can be discovered in the way someone says something…  Have fun!”

“Maybe Cahira should invest in soundproofing magic,” Rachel mumbled, making Anthony a tad curious when she shut the door behind them; the fireplace lit the moment they entered, even if the manor was kept at an even 24 degrees Celsius.

“How was the night rai—”

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Rachel pulled him down, lips meeting his.  Leaning into it, he carefully picked her up and brought her to the couch; he was a little surprised when she pushed harder, indicating she wanted more than just a morning kiss.

Swallowing the saliva in his mouth, he tasted her tongue before she drew back, appearing a bit flushed as she stared at him; with her broad field of vision, he knew she was scrutinizing every centimeter.

He resituated her cross-legged position on his lap and gave her a half-smile, utterly bewildered by her sudden action.  “Good morning?”

“Hehe.  Good morning,” she whispered, not bothering to adjust her skirt and showing a searching look in her complex eyes; there was always so much happening within them, from the multi-ringed maroon, black, and crimson eclipses to her four-leaf clover pattern.  “I heard you tossing a bit last night before I went out of range…  Do you not want to lead the day team?”

It clicked that she was probing to see what had upset him; she knew he didn’t have a problem taking charge of people, which meant Rachel asked something she knew wasn’t the issue to let him address it.

“Hmm.  I wouldn’t say that,” he returned, vision sliding to her down-turned full lips, still wet from touching his.  “I’m happy to spearhead the rescue of Melissa’s sister.”

Anthony figured he had to lay a trail for her to piece together; Rachel was a pusher, and any concern about her health would be met with an instant stonewall.  She had no problem with what he wanted to express, but how he said it mattered a lot.

A hand gently moving down her spine, feeling Rachel’s braided locks, he stopped just above her tail.  “Something did keep me up last night, though…”

“I’m listening,” Rachel said.  Her creased left eye and smirk said she knew his fingers against her lower back were for more than just keeping her stable on his lap.  “What curveball are you about to throw?”

Releasing a soft sigh, Anthony knew he had to kill the mood.  “You know…  I don’t particularly like my mother.”

Rachel eased up a bit, ears falling forward a tad as she leaned away to put tension against his hands.  “Does she live in France?  I thought you were from the U.K.?”

“Haaa.  It’s not about her being nearby,” he muttered.  “I come from old money, and she was never satisfied with any girl in my life… thinking they would hold me back from achieving her obscure vision of greatness.”

Her gaze drifted to the left with her head, and a low hum rumbled in Rachel’s throat.  “If she contacted you recently, and wanted to show up, then she’d be the best villain I’ve faced… because I haven’t heard one thing about her until now.”

“Haha!  Yeah, she is a villain, of sorts,” Anthony mused, happy to see a smile return to Rachel’s face and rising ears.  “I know it’s not very cool to bring up my ex, but… she hated Amelia and has always tried to keep tabs on me through private investigators.”

“Ooh,” Rachel smirked.  “Are you warning me that your mother could be even worse than facing Hades and Revilla?”

“For you?  Hehe.  Absolutely not!”

“Pheeew…  I was beginning to sweat there,” she grinned.  “Last thing I need is a Hades Lord mother coming after my head.”

“Yeah…”  He breathed out a long stream of air, tongue sliding across his lips before continuing.  “I don’t care what she thinks or anyone else…  I was there for Amelia because I wanted to be… because I loved her…”

Rachel’s side-long, thoughtful look returned as she took his words, dissected, chewed, and let them sink into her belly within seconds, yet, as expected, her tail hit his fingers when he finished his statement.

“I love you and am here for whatever you need.”

And the trap activates!

Fingers creasing her blouse as they moved to her mid back, Anthony leaned forward and found the back of her head with his free hand, delivering a slightly delayed kiss that lingered for a second before withdrawing.

He chuckled upon seeing the lump drop down her throat, wide eyes, and pulled-back ears folded over his fingers.  “I want to learn more about every part of you, no matter what my family, the world… or you think about my devilish lunar hare girlfriend…  Sound good?”

“Uh… yeah.”

Knowing it was her time to have a restless night overanalyzing his statement, he pulled her in for another, more delicate kiss and shifted her to the couch by his side.  Squeezing her hand, he got up and did a Rachel, stretching out a bit.

“I love that look on your face; I don’t suspect I’ll see it too often in the coming years.”

A half-accusatory smile replaced her dazed expression as she went through internal round after round, parsing through his actions and words.  “That was a mean bait and switch…”

“Yet I got such a cute response,” he snickered, bending down so she could draw him in for another quick peck.  “Talk to you tonight?”

Rachel fidgeted with the tail-end of her braid, left eye creasing a tad.  “Give them heck.  The short report?  Treat France well, and they’ll help us.”

“Tag me in?”

Getting up to mirror his stretches, she slapped him on the butt and winked.  “I believe I already have!  Night, my fire-eyed dream.”

Anthony rubbed his chin while watching her leave, purposefully moving slower than typical to let him follow her small, swaying tail.  “And what will I be doing in your dreams tonight?”

Rachel paused at the door to give him an impish smirk on her exit.  “You’ll have to find out tomorrow… maybe we could continue where I left off?  Night.”


He chuckled and shook his head when it shut; she indeed had a devil inside of her.  All he could do was hope she’d take his hints and worries to heart; one of the mysteries and enticing things about Rachel was her enigmatic inner workings.

Exiting the room after a minute—lingering to play on Rachel’s undoubtedly twitching ‘bunny’ ears—Anthony returned to the kitchen to find most of the cast present.

A confused Jeanne sat with her petrified succubus, facing an innocent and cheerful Jaenona as she tried to ‘properly’ introduce herself; Mara appeared to be thoroughly enjoying the exchange from her seat.

Maria and Cahira were seemingly getting a kick out of watching the three and accepted Melissa’s recently finished cheesy eggs, bacon, sausage, and milk meal while Mara observed at the table.  It was telling that the sunlit unicorn was less of a threat to the devil than the cheery-faced, white-haired little girl across from her.

Anthony hovered at the doorway for a moment, deciphering the weaving flames that flickered around the succubus, showing small glimpses of a Hades, attempting to tug her back through, yet the collar enclosing her throat anchored her to this world.

Melissa was chatting with Selvaria and her mother, taking cooking advice from the older women; his focus was drawn to the leviathan, spotting black wisps—no, not black—they were formless voids, hinting at a space somewhat similar to the eldritch forces he was becoming accustomed to.

He mainly soaked everything in without thinking too deeply into it—logic wouldn’t get him any closer to answers—the eldritch didn’t require an explanation; it just was what he knew and could interact with.

Mara’s small smile eventually drew him to sit beside her, waiting for Melissa to get to him; he gave everyone else’s greeting a wave when entering.

The Mythickin rolled around her quarter-full glass of milk while studying him.  “An interesting dynamic I hear from the way this group speaks to one another.  Hmm.  Am I to assume our business today will be less… touristy than Fiona’s streaming escapade last night?”

“I suppose,” Anthony hummed, bringing attention to Cahira.  “You have a contact here that may know something about Melissa’s sister?”

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Conversations tempered as the pirate queen flashed her teeth, drinking some vodka-spiked strawberry milk in front of her.  “Naah.  I got a little birdy that knows someone, who knows someone else, and they may know something about a certain someone!”

Selvaria glared at the pirate, likely thinking this was a wild goose chase.  “Yeah.  I’m going shopping and sightseeing with my mom.  Call if you need me, Melissa.”

“Hehe.  Sure.”

The leviathan’s mother hissed.  “Well… we do have an issue of funds, so we first need to stop off at a bank or credit union to exchange currency.”

Anthony tuned out their plans while thinking the same thing, but Maria seemed to be ahead of him upon catching his questioning eyes.

“Eh-yeah.  I called ahead and got my homie to forward over some rolls to some bank called CIC or somethin’.  We just gotta stop off to pick it up.  Oh, and I got some requests ta visit a few places—we can split if ya want, too—I’m cool grabbin’ the goods.”

“Mmh…  How many of you actually speak French?”

Jeanne piped up.  “Surely many of you will have learned our fair tongue?”

“Uh… what did she say?”  Maria mumbled, looking to Cahira, who shrugged.

It dawned on Anthony that she’d spoken French; he may have a rough knowledge of the language due to his upbringing, yet he’d understood it perfectly.

“Can you talk in French again, Jeanne?”

“Yeah…  Umm, you may be able to tour France without a translator, yet I would suggest obtaining one.  I can call one to meet you somewhere.  Did you understand that?”

He rubbed the back of his neck and looked at the beaming eldritch child.  “Eh… it seems my connection with Jaenona allows me to speak and understand any language.  I believe…”  Anthony trailed off at the confused expressions of those around him.

Maria huffed.  “You can speak French?”

“It was perfect!”  Jeanne smiled.  “You have the accent and dialect I am accustomed to.”

“Dang,” Maria whispered.

Melissa breathed a sigh of relief, seemingly speaking French, as she brought over his breakfast; glancing down, he noticed a new salt and pepper mill on the table.  “I’m glad I’m not the only one in the group that can translate…  It would feel awkward.  I can also speak Greek.”

It all went to his native tongue.

Selvaria mentioned she knew a bunch of food names in French as Cahira raised her drink in a mock toast.

“Nice, I guess we be good fer now, mi golden lassy.  I hear ya be wishin’ ta stay aboard mi dear Zippy?”

“Yeah.  I… hope that is okay?”

“A blonde lioness as yourself sleepin’ in mi sheets seems more than fine fer me!”  she snickered, and Mara gave her a look that said she was hopeless.  “Welcome ta the crew!”

Anthony mediated between the personalities through the morning meal, but it didn’t take long for Jeanne to retire to a room that Selvaria guided her to, not trusting Cahira to take advantage of the blonde—the pirate queen was interested in seeing the succubus outside of her child-state—little did she know that was an illusion, as well.

Jaenona walked beside him as they exited the manor at 8:36 a.m., everyone else finishing their morning preparations.  “Master, I believe my friendship with Elinnila is progressing… swimmingly?”

His gut tightened as he glanced down at the eldritch girl, who wasn’t looking at the distant city through Zippy’s open gates or following the curious boats that kept a respectable distance from the giant dragon turtle.

The light in front of them rippled like water, showing dozens of various versions of Elinnila in a chain that carried out of his line of sight into infinity, spiraling into a helix; Jaenona had a sweet, happy smile on her face, holding her elbow behind her back as red thread weaved between the succubus and eldritch girl.

“She plays the skipping game Alexa showed me to a wonderful degree… better than her previous self, and tells me her secrets like friends are supposed to.  She drowns in a sea of uncertainty and needs to escape her bonds…  Doesn’t she have the most delicious eyes?”

You’re talking about her Infernal soul… looking into the window of what she is at her core.  Anthony carefully responded, not having seen this part of the child yet; there was a curious captivation in her at sampling this newfound string she’d come across.  What is that?

“To some, there is death…  Others, rebirth,” she cryptically replied, crimson thread drawing into her cosmic eyes.  “Yet others… neither.  Life in this space is such a delicate and fleeting thing that connects to so many routes of fragility that could give rise to yet another replacement.”

Trying to shut out the bewitching sight, he turned his focus to the French’s ‘Affaires maritimes’—their coast guard—setting up a blockade to keep the public away from the creature.

Personally, I think she’s so terrified of you, she’ll do whatever you say.

The girl’s big eyes blinked a few times in confusion, and Anthony squinted as her bright white locks caught the rising sun, blinding him for a second; the properties of the light changed upon touching her hair, bypassing his natural resistances.

“Terror is natural when encountering something like myself; it is the nature of those in Existence to fear those of The Song.  Does that mean one such as I cannot be friends with the frightened?  I offered her more milk as a gift of service.  Is that not enough?”

Hehe.  I don’t know, Jaenona.  I don’t know.  Keep practicing.

“Hmm.”  She tilted her body to the left, causing a twist among the chained succubi in whatever event she was seeing or driving.  “Ice cream.  I will try ice cream next.  No… it is too wet.”


Anthony’s eyes widened as space bent so he could see behind the manor, beyond Zippy’s walls, to a black ship flying a gold-toothed jolly roger.  “Jack Ward?”

Cahira stepped out of the house, fiery locks free in the wind as Melissa and Maria followed.

“Wait, that pirate dude that Cahira’s knockin’ boots with?”

“Aye!”  the red-haired woman laughed, shooting a wink in the unicorn’s direction.  “It seems mi lucky sparrow has come home to roost?  Hehe.  Excellent!  It seems we have our lead, mi beastie crew!”

Melissa’s fists tightened at her sides.  “He knows where my sister is?”

“Mmh.  Well, he may be knowin’ the right people ta be shakin’ down to discover yer lil’ sis…  How ya feel about hangin’ a few lads off the docks by their toes?  Haha!”

Anthony was glad when Jaenona’s attention shifted away from the succubus, causing the distortions to cease.  “Will we be swimming?  I am not sure how to accomplish that feat as of yet.  Mmh…”

A soft whisper in the wind drew Anthony’s focus to Paris as a gentle song wove through the air.  “What is that noise?”

“What noise—the wind?”  Maria asked, hands on her hips while eyeing them.  “I may got horse ears, but I ain’t your girlfriend, amigo.”

Cahira held up her hand for Maria to slap.  “Good one!”

Anthony wasn’t amused, though.  “Someone is channeling eldritch energies… crudely.”

“Ooh!  Creepy,” Mara snickered, exiting with Nemesis, who just seemed to have woken up.  “Jack Ward, an eldritch mystery, and Melissa’s sister…  What can go wrong?”

Nemesis shook out his shoulders with a yawn.  “Mmgm.  Eldritch means they’re strong like you?  Heh.  Lead the way,” he grinned, tongue sliding over his black lips.

Anthony didn’t like the sudden appearance; it was only for a moment and then gone like the wind, but he could follow the echo it left without an issue.  Why does it feel like someone is trying to call me?

Using Cahira’s battleship—which terrified the locals—she brought them to the Ebony Pearl, and Jack transferred to their vessel, ordering his fleet of monkeys to scan the city for information regarding giant monsters.

Selvaria and her mother separated with Maria to get some money, and Anthony led the rest of his motley crew of pirates and monsters to a somewhat shady part of Paris to a seaside bar—he’d leave the echo for later—Melissa’s sister came first.

Of course, Jaenona had an uncanny ability to attract attention with her antics; it was the first time she’d been out among the public.

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