Garth rocked back and forth in his new recliner, staring out into the desert as he rocked the infant tucked in his elbow.
Seven hundred and fifty-four babies in about twenty hours. No one was meant to look at that many bloody vaginas in one day.
As it turned out, every single sexually active couple that had been in town while Garth had been given Beladia’s ‘Present’, now had kids, skipping the whole nine months of throwing up, in utero bonding, nesting instinct, and all that jazz. There were a few teens who had been forced to explain themselves to their parents.
And Jess had a litter of four. Jamal had more kids than Garth now. Hah. Take that Jamal.
Just under four hundred women had given birth and Garth had been dragged from place to place for his ability to heal. Thankfully everyone was still okay, but Garth was still tense, waiting for someone to shout his name and pull him to the sight of another birth gone wrong. There were still a dozen or so women giving birth.
Four hundred women, seven hundred babies. Needless to say, there was an overwhelming amount of twins and triplets. It was like that episode where Apu had eight kids because everyone slipped his wife ovulation drugs. Except this wasn’t funny, and on a much larger scale.
Normally a person’s cervix couldn’t stretch that far in a single day without serious internal damage. One more not-so-subtle hint that they weren’t playing by Earth’s rules anymore.
God I need some clean sheets.
“I’m gonna die.” Garth muttered, staring at the stars slowly rising on the horizon as he tried to figure out how they were going to care for a number of babies equal to roughly thirty percent of their population. “Wait, no. This is hell. I already died.”
There was no telling when it might happen again either. Garth was one hundred percent sure it was his fault, and sooner or later, people were going to put it together, and probably try to burn him at the stake. Garth was just lucky Paul’s kid wasn’t fooling around with anyone, or else he’d probably wake up with a bullet in his head.
Oh wait, I’m bulletproof. Take that. Hah.
“Wow, you look like shit.” Cass said, sitting beside Garth. The distant wails of crying babies creating a nail-on chalkboard sound that emanated from nearly every house, filling all of Clarkstown with their ear-shredding wails.
Not Lucy though, she was chill as fuck.
Garth idly ran a thumb over the wrinkly, chubby baby’s downy tuft of red hair for which she’d been named. Garth was almost disappointed that she wasn’t a succubus.
After all that buildup, his three kids had come out as pale purple baby girls, no worm-like body, or soft, unhardened scythe-legs, just purple-skinned girls.
In the distance, another fullthroated scream of an infant caught Garth’s attention, and he forced his neck to turn and look for the source of the noise. A moment later it quieted down, falling back into the background noise of constant screaming.
Maybe he could make a dim, cool, box with cork lined walls where people could take turns sleeping. I’ll call them Sleep-boxes and people will pay out the ass to use them. Garth you are a genius.
“You don’t scream though, right? Garth said, petting the infant with his thumb while he prepared a formula bottle with telekinesis. “Cuz you’re chill as fuck.”
“Wow.” Cass said, interrupting his weary thoughts “You look like shit.”
“Cass?” Garth asked, blinking a couple times and looking over at the wizard illuminated by his porch light, a brightly glowing flower that only bloomed at night. They pollinated with hijacked moths.
“Where did you come from-Wait, no where have you been?” Garth demanded. “Even Jim was here for this!” Sadly Jim hadn’t accidently knocked anyone up and been forced to deal with the responsibility, but the extra pair of hands had been appreciated.
“Well, my morning divination yesterday told me I should get out of town if I don’t want to be a baby daddy, so I grabbed my main squeeze and took a vacation to the outpost for the weekend. At least until you learn to reel in that fertility aura.”
“Yeah, that Beladia power that’s just oozing out of you. You could make people parents from a hundred yards like that.”
Garth blinked the sand out of his eyes, then tried to focus on his mana sight. It was there, ever so subtly, Beladia’s brown and green mana flowed out of him and soaked into the environment. Maybe this was how a Beladian temple got started.
‘What, I jerk off and there’s a kid there in the morning?’ Garth had joked, but now the reality was staring him in the face. Garth focused on the Hyper Fertility blessing and flexed his mental muscles, cutting off the steady stream of mana flowing into the environment.
“Now, it’s gonna be a bit like wetting the bed at first,” Cass said beginning to rock beside him. “You’re gonna probably have a couple accidents every now and then until you learn to hold it in.”
“How do you know all this?”
Cass fixed him with a flat stare. “I know everything. I’m older than the Spheres.”
“Alright, Mr. Know-it-all, Why did my daughter come out humanoid rather than with six legs and a powerful hunger for flesh?”
“Probably because humans are an orphello race.”
“An orphello race is a species that can breed with just about anything and make half-breed children. The paper to a quispario race’s rock.”
“There’s nothing special about us.” Garth said, shaking his head. “We certainly couldn’t make babies with anything before.”
“Before you weren’t living in this reality. Orphello races are characterized by an intense fascination with sex with other creatures, including anthropomorphized animals.”
“Oh. Crap.” Garth said. That explained a few things.
“Yep. Kirk’s green aliens, Furries, cartoons, monster girls, tentacle porn, bestiality. You name it, people have done it. Believe it or not, most other species aren’t quite so perverted, as a whole.”
Garth glanced out at the horizon. It was just starting to get light again. In another couple hours the sun would be up again, and he’ll have been up for an entire day. Some people Garth had known before the end of the world could easily stay up a day or two at a time, then sleep a day or two afterward. Not so with Garth. He liked his time in nice manageable chunks.
When Garth’s chin hit his chest, his eyes flew open, but he managed to avoid jerking and setting off the miniature noise bomb in his lap.
“Cass?” Garth glanced over, but the wizard was gone, and the light on the horizon was a bit brighter than it had been before. Micro-nap. Garth felt something scratch the stubble under his chin. Tucked in Garth’s shirt collar was a piece of paper that read:
2:00 PM Training.
Couldn’t the guy have even a little bit of common decency? Like Lucy.
All things considered, Garth’s babies were more well behaved than their pure human contemporaries like Jamal’s kids, so he could at least be smug about that. Better behaved didn’t mean they wouldn’t cry at the slightest provocation though. Neither of them were getting very much sleep anytime soon.
Why me, Beladia? This is too much. Above and beyond cruel and unusual punishment. Garth couldn’t believe this was his reward for trying to re-establish the connection with his deity. I was doing fine without it, and now I gotta come up with some kind of milk-plant because there aren’t enough tits to go around.
The sheer number of babies made Garth want to construct a series of pens with feeding tubes for them to nurse on, much like piglet pens. Only problem was, newborns were completely immobile.
Maybe I can summon some help. Garth had a brief mental image of Woody fumbling his child from a height of twelve feet, then giving Garth a sheepish shrug. He’s not an option, I guess, maybe Beladia has some Nanny-demon/angel things.
It being an unbelievably large multiverse, there had to exist out there somewhere a creature that liked nothing more than to take care of other people’s children. Without eating them. Or stealing them.
Maybe Cass had some ideas. He claimed to know everything.
Lucy started fussing in his lap, wiggling as the light hit her face.
“Hey, is there a-“ Oh right, he’s gone. The sun was now just starting to peek over the horizon, so Garth must have spaced out for an hour or so again. It didn’t really feel like he’d gotten any sleep though.
Well, the screams of the newborn had quieted down just a little and no one had come to get him for a healing in a couple hours…maybe he could get comfortable and just rest his chin on his collar for a couple minutes.
Garth’s thoughts were interrupted by a well-placed kick to the face from his newborn daughter, who was giving him the ‘feed me, and block out that light!’ look.
“Fine, you win. I forgot.” Garth re-heated the cold bottle of formula looted from a supermarket, and stuck the nipple in her mouth, shielding her eyes from the sun with his hand.
Garth glanced around the porch, looking for a way to arrange himself so the sun wasn’t in their eyes. He could turn around and put his back to the sun, but if he nodded off, he’d probably get the worst sunburn on his neck. Garth was considering it, though. The call of sleep wasn’t easy to ignore.
Wait, can I even get sunburn anymore? Garth thought, glancing at his skin, then the sun.
Garth’s musing was cut off when he spotted a cloud of dust on the horizon, lit by the rising sun.
With a scowl, Garth weaved mana into a mirror in front of him, using the Scry spell to get a better view half a mile out.
Lo and behold, Tyler rode at the front of an army some five thousand strong, composed of rough looking men with nothing to lose. Garth spend a moment studying the skinhead’s smug face before sighing.
It couldn’t just be one thing.
“Welp,” Garth said, hefting the swaddled infant as he and Wilson stood and began stretching. Garth stifled a yawn.
“Daddy’s gotta go make a drug deal.”
The sound of five thousand horses wasn’t bad as long as they were going slow. When Tyler saw Garth standing just outside the town, he drew up ten feet shy of him, horse nickering. The steady rumble slowly quieted down as the five thousand riders came to a halt.
“Garth, you babysitting? I always figured you for a twelve year old girl.”
It looked like in the absence of being able to curse, Tyler had been forced to become more creative with his insults. Neuroplasticity at work.
“Magical oil spill.” Garth said. “Just a matter of cleaning up after it for the next eighteen years.”
“You look like a sack of bird crap on a hot day.”
“I feel like it,” Garth said, working the kinks out of his shoulders. “So, what’s the deal?”
“The deal is, I’m here with an army, ready to clear out L.A. The question is, are you ready to pay us for it?”
“Well, we did leave that part unnegotiated because we weren’t sure how many people you could round up. Five thousand’s not a bad number, though.”
Garth drummed his fingers against his baby as he considered.
“You know that grass that knocks out Kipling?”
“I grew it to divide the city into sixteen sectors. Each one’s small enough that a group of five thousand enterprising individuals such as yourself could clear it in a couple days. Given that it’s a month long job, let’s say three tons of coke per sector…Let’s round up to a nice even fifty tons of cocaine for one kipling-free city.”
“That’s a pretty generous offer, but we’re interested in a different kind of payment…” He and the men around him looked down at Garth with lewd sneers.
“Oh my, but I’m already taken.” Garth said, covering his goodies and turning to the side to protect his modesty.
“I’m talking about land!” Tyler shouted, his scalp red, veins throbbing.
At Tyler’s shout, Lucy started bawling, letting out full-throated wails directly beneath Garth’s hearing organs.
“Shhh, Shhh, it’s okay, I know you have an allergic reaction to dipshits, but mom couldn’t handle all three of you, so you gotta stick with me for the day, sorry.”
“We want a share in the new city you’re building.”
“Ah, pirate rules. That’s fine.”
Tyler blinked. “Really?”
“Yeah, we’re gonna need a military after the city gets put together, and only eight thousand four hundred and fifteen people, including yours, so I figure I get ten shares, you, Clark, Sam, and Paul get eight, and everyone else gets one or two.
“What makes you think I want a thousandth?”
“You don’t want a thousandth of an operation that can produce fifty tons of cocaine in a month on half an acre of land, with room for expansion!?” Garth asked, aghast, patting Lucy on his shoulder and directing her squalling toward the rear so they could hear each other.
Tyler blinked at him a few times, obviously confused by the math.
“That’s two hundred pounds per month, per acre.” Garth turned his Gaze to the others in his company. “twenty-five each for the rest of you.”
Garth raised his voice so everyone could hear. “That’s eleven kilos per person, per acre, per month! And you can bet your ass we’re gonna expand!”
“We were thinking about taking all of it.” Tyler said, his forearms resting against his saddle as he grinned.
And here comes the part where Tyler pushes his luck. The man habitually tried to take more, than he deserved, no matter what he was offered.
“Why would you kill the goose that lays the golden egg, Tyler?” Garth asked. “That seems dumb, even for you.”
“There’s more Phytomagi in your town, I even had some of my unclassed men choose it. You’re expendable.”
“Alright, alright, that may be true.” Garth said, nodding, channeling mana through his spell-like ability. Controlling the weather was as easy as riding a bike thanks to Tanglewood, but he didn’t understand exactly how he did it. Hence a spell-like ability rather than a spell.
Above him, clouds appeared out of nowhere, and the entire sky began to swirl around him. One of Tyler’s men glanced up, and tapped Tyler’s shoulder, pointing up.
“But there isn’t a doubt in my mind that I could put every single one of you in the ground right here and now.” Garth said, lifting off the ground as dust began to swirl around him.
The final boss motif, good for scaring mindless gunhands.
“You’re probably right.” He said with a shrug. “But I just so happened to meet some people looking for a purple human spotted entering the Gatehouse with some friends of theirs. They’re looking to ask that person some questions.”
Five men and women became visible surrounding Garth, each of them wearing a blue and silver uniform. The mana snapped out of the environment,
“Think maybe they can?” Tyler asked with a grin.
“I’m gonna humiliate you after this is over,” Garth said, glaring at him. “And you’re getting one less share.”