Looking at it now that I'm alone, I can't shake the uneasiness of the starry night sky still visible with all the illumination in this urban street.
the three crescent shapes that are this planet's, Rooster's moons are nearly invisible even with their giant size and the supposedly more luxurious cities built on them. the laws responsible for this kind of display are way out of the range of my meager scientific knowledge so thinking about it is utterly useless.
But as I wait for Lilia to get done shopping I had to keep my mind busy or I would start thinking about the blue haired guy. well, at least half of that is true.
Remember when I said that the shop Lilia wanted to visit might be something a guy has nothing to do with?
It's a lingerie shop.
After the small conflict inside me of whether I should go in or not I decided to wait outside, mainly because most/all of the people inside are females. There are a number of other races going in and out, which is a little strange considering it's a Zesionien themed shop.
Although I'm saying all of that I don't really know what's inside. The display windows don't actually display anything, with only the words 'female lingerie' written in Zesionien on them.
Iris annoyed me into standing near the entrance after I made a clear point that I'm not going in, all so she could sneak a peek at what the hell is going in inside -if you didn't know, ghosts can go through walls-
As the girls dealt with their business I unconsciously started doing what any healthy teenager in my place would do, fantasizing about what would have happened if I accompanied them inside.
If something like what happened in the previous shop were to happen, with Lilia letting me see each underwear she tried, I probably would nosebleed to death among other natural physical reactions.
I could simply ask her to show me, but we are kind of married for less than a week and I'm not going to risk it like that. I also don't want to think much about the issues concerning how many years I'm actually older than her. I still feel that I didn't grow a single day since the green aliens attack and earthen laws mean shit out here but I can't say I'm completely fine 'holding hands' with a sixteen years old girl when I'm above the hundred.
Anyways, I have to find a way to unload without Iris roaming over my head. It's getting harder -no pun intended- to withstand the pressure especially right now, I have to get it done with before I suffer any health problems, and until that time I have to do my best keeping any bones from showing.
Just as I began taking in a deep breath of the surprisingly cool breeze blowing through I hear the door next to me slamming open then closing in a fast motion. Resting her back on it Lilia slowly slid down sitting on the paved road, multiple paper bags with the shop's logo on them dropped beside her.
Sitting down like that when you are wearing such a short dress isn't a good idea, but thankfully the 'warrior wear' aspects of her clothes helped covering everything even if it still gives that 'can yet can't see anything' vibe.
I offer her my hand, making use of my high level pokerface skill to push through all the embarrassment and hold back on starring at those awfully delicious looking thighs. Lilia took my hand, hers trembling a little, I pulled her back on her feet and before I could ask she said in a low voice.
"They...they wanted to see me.. wearing them..." her eyes fixed on the floor, and an empty smile told about how tired she was.
"I never expected something like that to happen here too" that's too much to ask for, what's wrong with those shops?
"How indecent" said Lilia.
"Indeed" I replayed.
"You wouldn't say that if you went inside" Iris came out a moment after, disappointment clearly visible on her face.
'what? got any problems?'
"I'm just lamenting her choices, it's about time for her to start wearing something more mature and yet..."
'Spare me that, you know it won't do me any good'
I watch as Lilia sighs then starts yawning while covering her mouth.
"Are we done here? Should we return to get some rest then?" she looked somewhat sleepy. Come to think of it we didn't get anything to eat since the morning, maybe dinner is a good option. But the sickening feeling I'm having pushed my appetite into running away and what we ate earlier didn't make me excited for the next meal.
"No, we still have the weapon shop to visit"
"Well, we could just leave it for tomorrow, we aren't in a rush after all"
"Don't forget about the 'book', we planned to get you one today too"
"I... actually completely forgot about that"
"I would like to get one of them done at least"
"Then let's get to the weapon shop, you said they only have custom made stuff right?
"sure, placing the order today is more convenient"
"Okay then, let's go"
The weapons shop, weaponry, arms shop, whatever you call it was ways away from the center of the city. Like any major city on a planet suspended between three suns -or any other big city- the constructions were smaller in these parts, jammed together yet had more space between them than the skyscrapers from before.
The streets gave a feel of a residential aria, a lot less crowded, nearly no glass fronts, people -aliens, of course- watching from the windows, even some kids here and there playing... probably.
But the most important thing to note about this place is that there are very few Zesioniens. Lilia explained before that the further from the city center you went the more diverse the population becomes, around here I saw a lot more Homr -the red guys with four arms-, some Jaj -feather covered furries- and Gittan -huge spheres with armored skin-
It was impossible to guess the gender of the last two, and I don't think I want. As for the Homr the females usually had a more bulky built and a hard to notice chest.
I'm sure there are some people out there who are into red skinned, four armed really muscular women, but I think none of it falls under my range. I like more human looking ones, horns or ears are okay but -preferable if I'm being honest- but other than that it's too much.
Not being racist okay, it's just what I prefer.
Our destination was a two floor building not too large in size with a slightly spacious entrance.
A sign written in three different languages, Zesionien Ahmar and Serdouki -the languages of Zesioniens, Homr and Jaj respectively according to Iris- said the place is open, so we walked in, just like that.
No one was in the corridor inside, which was dark by the was, with a dim blue light coming from the open door at the end. This place smelled like nightmares, and I immediately thought I definitely don't want anything to do with whatever clown with a hatchet waiting in that room.
"Customers, or thieves?" a very deep voice said. It came from the blue room, followed by a yawn and something falling with a thud.
"Customers" said Lilia, then turned to me to whisper "do we look like thieves?"
"They probably can't see us"
"Of course I can, you think this place has no security?"
"Don't know, suspecting people after inviting them isn't a good business strategy"
"Fuck business strategies, you want something or not?"
"How rude" Lilia said.
"…I see" the voice said "come in"
Although I had my worries I found myself following behind my blond companion who didn't falter a tiny bit as she walked in the direction of the blue light.
I noticed that it's one of those places where the more you walked in the further away the end got. It may just be my imagination.
"It's not your imagination"
"The blue light is a diversion, just look"
Not slowing down one bit Lilia turned to the wall and walked right into it, right into it.
'Things couldn't possibly get any freakier'
"For you, yes, for her, no. you simply can't see the same things"
'I'm pretty sure I just saw Lilia walk through a wall'
"That, you aren't wrong about" ghost girl grinned as usual then floated through the wall like the ghost she is.
I waited until her tail disappeared, then a few more seconds, then I lifted my hand.
"yup, it's just a normal wall"
I expected my hand to get through like the dark green paint I'm seeing is nothing more than an illusion and I would find Lilia and Iris waiting on the other side. But the wall was just a wall. I mean it can't be a normal wall since Lilia went through it, and she isn't a ghost so
"What in the world..."
It's a magic door... is what I would call it but this isn't a labyrinth or a ruin so...
"high tech camouflage?"
A moment after I heard the deep voice again a hand came out of the wall and grabbed mine, the grip fastened on my wrist and the wall seemed to turn into fog and I slid right through.
The other side was brighter which surprised my eyes who had adjusted to the darkness of the corridor and after I felt like I could open them I instinctively looked at the person who pulled my arm.
Lilia was still holding my wrist, I blinked at her a few times. Does this count as hand holding? I think not.
She smiles wryly and let go before saying
"umm, sorry Seven, I forgot you didn't have one"
she held up her identity card.
"O~~h! no, I don't get it"
"It for the better if you didn't know" said the deep voice "it means you got nothing to do with this"
"Yeah, my mind can't really understand what a female Homr has to do with the Zesionien military"
"ho-ho, so you know" sitting on a chair with a stack of floating windows was a red skinned, four armed super brawny bald alien.
And from the meager knowledge I gathered on the way here I immediately realized that she is a she -doesn't make any sense- mainly because of her overgrown chest that doesn't look strange because of her size. They are big, really big, but seem normal in some way, I don't know.
"Useful isn't it? that card"
"Well, you wouldn't find this place if you didn't have one" said Iris.
"Let me guess, you saw the blue light" said the red woman "we deal with dangerous things here, it's the best way to keep any smartass from trying their luck"
Long story short the moment we entered both me and Iris saw completely different things from what Lilia saw. Since she was the only one with a warrior grade identification -which is a big thing by the way- the security system refrained from effecting her with the illusion. Instead of seeing a dark corridor with a dim blue light at the end she saw a brightly lit one with red vectors leading to this room
"Unless you have that card you can't even find this shop on the map" said ghost girl.
"I thought custom making only is a bit strange, but you also choose your customers as well?"
"Well" the brawny four armed alien woman stood up from her chair "I don't blame you for not knowing since you are new around"
She walked up to Lilia handing her a rectangular device, much like a tablet, then turned to me resuming the explanation.
"You see, this place could literally turn into a war zone at any moment. Well, that's a little exaggerated, but there is a possibility"
I turn to Lilia, she stops sliding her fingers on the tablet, answering a question I didn't even ask.
"Remember that the five closest plants to Rooster are Zesionien territories? apparently three of them surround this one and the relations between them isn't that good"
"If a conflict arises each one would claim ownership of this place and what follows isn't hard to imagine" the red alien lady said.
I'm totally confused right now.
"So, you mean that this place would become the center point of a civil war?"
"Sigh... just because Zesioniens inhabit all five planets doesn't mean they are all on good terms" Iris explained while floating over my head "we are named Zesioniens after our homeworld, planet Zesion. A few hundred years ago a number of expeditions were initiated to find a solution for overpopulation, in a short time each one got colonized and in a few years announced independence from the empire"
'smells like blood'
"Of course the details are covered so the public doesn't know whether the other four planets were inhabited or not. The records indicated they are capable of life support but said nothing about other sentient life forms. not that It matters anyway. But that's not the problem. The movements against the imperial rule was wiped out easily and things are stable for the time being but no one knows what the next spark may cause"
"The imperium supporters and their enemies... and this planet is between them..." realizing I spoke that out loud I look at Lilia and the brawny four armed women.
"And? it still doesn't make sense to me"
The four armed alien woman sighed again "we sell weapons to officials only, it's a requirement for this kind of business in most open planets. if rebels learn of this place what do you think they would do?"
"It's kinda pointless, I don't think you are making anything here"
"That's right. The real blacksmith is on one of the three moons, even I don't know which one. this place is more like a reception desk where you make your order"
Complicated. Am I diving deeper into alien politics now? My first thought was that a planet such as this would have a lot less regulations since no government has it under its wing. But for just one shop that deals with weapons to exist around is somewhat suspicious.
"... the black market..." I murmured to myself. Lilia and the other woman didn't hear it, but Iris stepped, or more accurately floated in front of me with a really serious look.
"it's about time you shut it"
Her tone made me swallow every word I was about to say, and when I did, the red skinned super brawny woman caught up on it in no time.
"By the way, I still have to hear your name" I have confidence in my pokerface, but it didn't need much skill to notice my attempt at changing the subject.
"Jar, pleasure to meet you" she said with an audible click of her tongue.
"Nice to meet you, I'm Lilia Stoneheart, this is Seven" Lilia said with a smile, probably catching on the growing tension between us.
"So you are a daughter of the Stoneheart house, makes sense" the woman called Jar didn't hesitate, scanning Lilia up and down and nodding. She then turned to me, doing the same with a less friendly look "what about this one? some artificial life form? a servant of yours?"
"Ah, no, he-" before Lilia could say whatever she was about to say I pulled her closer whispering some instructions about what to say.
When I was done Lilia gave me a doubtful look, but then she turned to the Homr woman clearing her throat then continued with a smile
"Our companies have great interests in working with Mr.Seven, so in addition to providing protection I also work as a link between him and the administration"
"Heeh… if the Stonehearts are working with you then that means you're some big shot yourself huh?"
A big shot? Guess being the king of my own planet could be counted as that.
"Yeah, something like that"
The red skinned alien clearly had more to say, but on Iris's instructions I cut the conversation short.
"Lilia, I think it's best if we get done with what we came here for, I would like to head back as soon as possible"
Back to the rectangular shaped tablet like device, Lilia continued sliding her fingers and tapping. I was curious about what that screen displayed but with Jar's eyes on me I saw it's better not to do anything unnecessary.
"Okay, I think this should be enough" saying that, Lilia handed the tablet over to Jar who stared at it for a while then said.
"a MBDE two headed spear huh, Zesioniens really do like those sticks"
"I used a MBSE large spear before but it got damaged beyond repair"
"What about those bracers? I can't help but notice the Glassume covering them, they aren't simple accessories right?"
"Well, I should mind my own business. Your order will cost thirty thousand IU units, four hundreds for transportation. You have to pay forty percent upfront"
"Alright" Lilia took out her 'book' "how long until it arrives?"
"It will take forty two hours at least, you have to show up personally to pick it up"
"About two days..." a beeping sound could be heard as Lilia slides her identity card on her book "Make sure to contact us as soon as it arrives"
Having finished with what we came here for, we left the shop and headed back to the