Garth sliced a bit of steak, while the rest of Sandi’s family tore into their prey. Three of Sandi’s sisters had taken the opportunity to visit Earth, and predictably, they all looked exactly the same, right down to the black tank top, low cut jeans and thong.
In order to avoid sit-com family drama, Garth had immediately bought four different colored ribbons and handed them out. Now all they had to do was keep the damn things on and he wouldn’t accidentally get anyone else pregnant while her family was visiting.
Her mom, strangely enough, was the only one who looked different. She looked the same as Sandi and her sisters on account of her Lure’s attributes, but quite a bit older, fine lines gathering at the edge of her eyes and where she smiled set her apart from the other succubi.
Garth found it interesting that Succubi’s Lures aged with them.
Sandi’s dad was only five foot eight, but he was six feet wide, with six arm-thick tentacles writhing around his body. He had six more thick ones that came out the bottom of his body and were used to walk. He had a long head and tennis-ball sized eyes that looked like they could see in every spectrum.
He had mottled blue and green skin that was tough, but flexible.
Unlike what Garth’s worst expectations, her dad wasn’t slimy nor did his limbs flail all over the place, creeping up everything. He was every inch the gentleman, his tentacles tightly controlled and not in anyone’s personal space.
“What do you think sex is like with those two?” Wilson whispered in his ear. “I’m picturing giant squid Vs. sperm whale.”
Garth ignored him.
Sandi and her sisters were off devouring a live Banta while her mom and dad were taking the opportunity to dine with Garth. Or in other words, interrogate him. Garth tried to pay attention to what they were saying, but it was a difficult proposition with four identical Sandi’s frolicking almost naked in blood.
“So how did you two meet?” her mother said, cutting a thin slice of steak and holding it above her head, where her real body took a dainty bite.
“She was working as a counter girl at the adventurer’s guild in outpost 3517,” Garth said. “She helped me get my first class, and helped me out a lot.” Good idea or bad idea to tell them she lost her job because of me?
“So what’s she doing now?” her father said in his bubbly voice. “I only ask because we’re a long way away from outpost 3517.”
“She’s part of my adventuring party.”
Sandi’s mom, Ma’ta, gasped, her hand over her lips.
“We’re not doing the dangerous dungeon delving so much as land reclamation,” Simple stuff like moving in and rebuilding after a certain portion of land has been cleared of kipling. My blessing makes me well suited for building infrastructure.” Garth painted his M.O. in the most positive light he could think of.
“Oh, a businessman.” Her father, Oopal, said appreciatively. At least Garth thought it was appreciative. He truly hoped that his translations circuit he’d built by copying and improving the complex store-bought one would hold up to this stress-test. He could just imagine the spell going sour at the exact right time for him to challenge her father to trial by combat.
“Oh my, Sandi always said she’d marry a mighty, muscle-bound adventurer who could sweep her off her feet and take out entire armies by himself,” Garth took a drink of water to hide his reaction to the armies comment. He checked most of her boxes at least. Maybe he should work out more. “But it seems like she’s let love guide her rather than childish notions. She’s really grown up a lot since the last time we’ve seen her.”
“Already starting her own family too. To think, she’ll be turning three years old this year! How time flies!” Oopal chimed in.
Garth choked and sprayed water across the table.
“Dad!” one of the identical succubi feasting on the Banta shouted, looking up. Garth spotted a pink ribbon on her wrist. Yep, it was the one he’d knocked up.
“Okay, okay, she’s twenty-seven. It’s just so much fun to tease the girl’s boyfriends.”
“Don’t let him tease you too much, dear, he’s just glad she found someone as sweet as you to take care of her. She’s not exactly the brightest child and we always worried for her.”
“Hey!” Sandi shouted again, and her sisters clapped her on her shoulder, distracting her with a freshly severed rack of ribs.
“Oopal talks about your letters for days. It’s the highlight of our week.”
Garth felt his brows raise as he looked back and forth between her and her husband. His letters to her dad had largely been safety briefings on the proper way to mate with a Carnophage Succubus and not get one’s head bitten off. There’d been a little status reports and reassurances that their daughter was fine, but not much more than that.
“I hadn’t known you enjoyed them that much, or I would have put more effort into them.”
“Oh, if you don’t mind. We love hearing about our daughter… and now grandchildren! We’re positively thrilled!” Ma’ta said, taking another bite of steak. It was far too little for her, but she wanted to talk to Garth more than she wanted food at the moment.
“That should be easy, I suppose.” Garth said.
“Dad, we’re out!” one of Sandi’s sisters, said, waving her hand to get their attention.
Sure enough, the Banta had disappeared, leaving only a dark stain on the dusty desert floor outside the outpost. Sandi and her sisters stood there with dissatisfied expressions on their faces.
The sun had long since set, but the heat had crept into the gazebo Garth had nonchalantly set up for the family picnic, keeping the cold desert night warmer than it should have been.
“Should’ve known one banta wouldn’t be enough for those gluttons.” Oopal muttered.
“I’ll go buy some more,” Garth said, coming to a stand. four more, and…one for you, Mrs Oopal?”
“We couldn’t ask you to pay that much to feed our family.” Sandi’s mom said.
“I wanna see if he can come through on his grand show of generosity.” Oopal interjected.
“Believe it or not,” Garth said, pulling out some pine seeds and modifying them. “Sandi and I have been doing very well for ourselves on Earth.” He levitated the thirteen seeds up and deposited them around their picnic, one in the center, where the modified trees grew up into strange chandelier shapes.
With another wave of his hand, the tips of the chandeliers burst into flame, fed by the extra thick magical pine sap oozing out. The whole area was bathed in light, making Garth realize how dark it had gotten in the last hour of chatting. With the organic lamps, they should be able to retain the heat and the pleasant mood for another hour or two at least before they made the trip to -Gah- Clarkstown.
“We can swing a few Banta easily.” Garth said. “I’ll be back in just a couple minutes.”
“I don’t suppose you could throw in another dozen or so for the trip home?” Oopal asked before Ma’ta pinched him. Garth chuckled and activated the flight spell in his Status Band and lifted off the ground, about to head for the outpost when Sandi flagged him down.
“You want something extra?” Garth asked when he noticed her rushing toward him. It occurred to him that he was taking food orders for his girlfriend’s family again, same as five years ago. The menial task lent a sense of normalcy to the otherwise bizarre situation he’d found himself in.
“No, I want to come with you. There are some keepsakes and Earth specialties I want to buy for my sisters.” She lowered her voice. “Honey and Garlic.”
“You sure we should leave them to their own devices?” Garth asked, glancing over at the three young and one older succubi who’d clumped up together and begun chatting conspiratorially, throwing glances at him every now and then.
“Now that they’ve gotten a look at you, they’ll spend the next few hours reaching a consensus about whether or not you’re good enough for me. They’ll be gossiping for the next hour at least. I’ve seen it before.” She shrugged, watching them. Her dad grabbed another steak off the tray and began eating it at a slow pace. Garth didn’t know how to read tentacle monster body language, but the man looked…tired.
Sure hope I’m not that exhausted in another twenty seven years. And they said the original Succubi were the only ones to suck vitality out of their prey.
“Alright,” Garth said as he dropped onto Sandi’s real back and stroked her head. “We’ll go together.”
“Whoo!” one of her sisters catcalled. “I’ve always wanted a guy to ride me like that!”
Sandi shook her head and headed out, ignoring her sister’s jabs as she took them to the gates of the outpost only a few minutes away. Once they were inside, Garth handed her a ten thousand credit coin and they went their separate ways, planning to meet up at the gate.
Garth was leading the five Banta on a rope, using every bit of his superhuman strength to keep the ornery animals in line. He’d thrown in an extra one for Sandi to eat. She’d been quite a bit more voracious than usual, and he expected she’d be hungry again in a couple days.
Thank Beladia the breeder had been willing to sell the Banta, but he’d practically charged Garth the price of fifteen of them. Garth had swung it, but he was fairly sure the dealer hadn’t been interested in having his stock disappear at a rate of one every two days.
Sandi had been eating buffalo from the national parks, but when they moved into the city, he’d have to design some kind of meat-plant. Maybe he could have steaks grow on trees.
“Could you imagine how creepy that would look? The mutant, half-formed creatures budding on the trees? Kiiill meeee…” Wilson said, clutching his claws to his chest and twitching on his shoulder as they made their way to the front gate.
Garth sighed. “Thanks for staying quiet while I was talking to Sandi’s parents. For the most part.”
“What are friends for? Speaking of, you think after I get a body you could hook me up with one of Sandi’s sisters?”
“How about I take the back while you get the front next time?”
Garth stopped mid-stride and fixed Wilson with a steady glare.
“Come on! We’re technically the same person! It’d be like using a spell to give Sandi the works. You grab her with your own hand, don’t you? What would be the difference with using the semi-autonomous fragment of your personality gluing your mind together for a little extra fun in the sack?”
“Wow,” Garth said, shaking his head as he turned the corner. “I’m not sure…I don’t know how comfortable I’d be-“
“Hey!” Wilson said, pinching Garth’s cheek and pointing down the street, his hackles up. Garth’s eyes raised, and he felt the hair on his own neck stand up.
At the front gate stood Sandi, with heavy sacks hanging from her elbows, talking to a sharply dressed man in a white and blue silk outfit. It was loose around the arms and legs, kind of reminding Garth of a fancy karate Gi.
Mana visibly swirled around the man, hinting at several valuable enchantments studded around his body. One around his neck, waist, both arms, and on his weapon.
All of that meant he was wealthy and likely dabbled in magic, but it wasn’t what alarmed Garth. It was the long black hair, grey eyes and mouth that seemed to be made for a cruel smile. The man was familiar, and Garth had no idea why, but he trusted his instincts and deactivated his status band, hiding the powerful enchantments.
“There he is, Hey babe!” Sandi said, waving as she spotted Garth leading the team of doomed animals.
“Oh, I see what you mean, He’s very hard to mistake for another human, that’s true.” The man said, looking Garth up and down. Garth felt an instant of lightheadedness.
“Well, are you two ready to go?”
“Sure am!” Garth heard himself say. Of course he was ready to go. An offer to join a clan didn’t come every day, you know. Sandi nodded with a smile and the three of them headed deeper into the outpost, headed toward the Gate.