After Jemmy and Millie had gone at it furiously for a while, they lay back on the bed, gasping. Jemmy hoped that Millie had been distracted for long enough. The pink clay beauty mask she had put on him earlier was now caked on her face as well after their frenzied sex.
"That's what I want!" She said, her eyes gleaming. "Enthusiasm. A beautiful boy who's really hot for me."
Jemmy wondered why he wasn't falling asleep after so much sex, then remembered she had made him take potions to give him stamina.
"Some kind of reward is in order," said Millie. "I'll read to my pretty boy for his good behaviour."
She snapped her fingers, and a heavy tome bound in black leather flew from the bookcase and into her green hands and opened it.
The tome was entitled "Living Death." It was about reanimating dead tissue and amalgamating it into synthetic organisms. Really unappetising.
"Um… Tira has a book on er… curative spells," said Jemmy cautiously.
"Psh! That kind of thing sends anyone straight to sleep," said Millie, curling her black lip. "Now look. One witch, Mary Kauderwelsch, created a being of human and animal body parts to be her servant. For her needs, sexual and otherwise." Millie leered at Jemmy who felt his face grow hot.
Millie blew him a kiss and showed him the illustration. It showed a muscular giant with a grotesque face and huge genitalia. "What an ugly creature," he said.
"Tut tut. Jemmy… that's so mean," said Millie, shaking her head so that her dirty blond hair got into her face and got bits of pink face mask on it. "I think it's especially mean because you're the boy who has everything lookswise."
Strange that she should be lecturing him about being mean when she had raped him, Jemmy thought. But he didn't dare anger her. He pointed at the picture. "Well those muscles… they're so big … it's unnatural."
"I agree, I don't like muscles like that," said Millie. "Not my ideal of beauty."
"Ah, but Mary didn't build the creature for you," said Jemmy.
Millie sniggered, crinkling her long green nose. "Of course not for me. But I've tried making creatures of my own. It's difficult to do it elegantly. But if I could make one who's my ideal of beauty, he would be you!"
Jemmy decided to try and distract her from this topic. "I'd like to see your creations."
"Tomorrow." She leaned forward and planted a wet kiss on this mouth, squashing her nose against his cheek. "Rest now."
He fell asleep, uncomfortably aware of her naked body touching his. His sleep was plagued by disturbing dreams.
He was awakened by Millie's green face looming over him, her long nose almost touching his. Bits of the pink facemask stuck on her face seemed to have dried.
"I want a good morning kiss," she said, and clamped her mouth on his without waiting for a reply. He let her shove her cold tongue far into his mouth, giving him her now familiar bad taste.
She snapped her fingers and a little imp appeared with a crack, somewhat like Gloom in appearance, but with reddish fur. It carried a tray of fruit and meats for their breakfast. Millie insisted on feeding him bits with her green fingers, and he dared not refuse.
After that there came the familiar routine of her bathing him by hand. He was comparatively numb to her fondling his private parts now, even though it made sensations unbidden course through him. But he wasn't so numb to her pushing him down and having her way with him. He had hoped he could grit his teeth and bear it, but really, it was like a wound being open afresh. His disloyal body betrayed him and he could not help but be aroused. The witch straddled him and shrieked as she orgasmed. Then she slapped his face. "A woman of my calibre will always be on top!" she exclaimed. "That's how Shekka wills it!"
Jemmy wondered numbly if she was serious. Tira never spouted stuff like that, so it couldn't really be Shekka's orders. It reminded him of what some dogmatic followers of Seraton said about the missionary position being the only virtuous way to do it.
Millie leaned down and kissed him. "My fertility potion better be working," she said. "I'm going to give birth to all your future sons, don't be in any doubt. We'll have seven. They'll be strapping, handsome boys who'll love their poor, green-skinned mother and not gloat about being more beautiful than she is."
Jemmy wished he hadn't made that jibe about her looks now. He tried to distract her.
"Millie… is the daughter of a witch necessarily a witch too?"
"Not relevant," she said. "I don't want a daughter. There's only room for one woman around here, and that is me. Don't worry, I'll treat Leo as my own. Hugs and kisses when he grows into a strong young man."
OK, this line of talk was getting faintly disturbing. Coming from Millie, 'hugs and kisses' had certain connotations.
Later, she showed him her creation that guarded the entrance to the cave. It looked like a lot of bones strewn around the cavern floor, but Jemmy knew what it must be. He had seen such a thing before…
Sure enough, Millie clapped her green hands together and the old bones leapt up of their own accord and started knitting together until they formed the skeleton of a some dragonish beast. Jemmy and Tira had once broken into an old necromancer's lair and triggered the necromantic spell that animated the bones of a living fossil and caused it to attack them. Millie's skeletal dragon just sat there, however.
"If anyone intrudes, it will trigger the spell," said Millie. "And the Dragonkin skeleton will attack them. If anyone comes to rescue you, they will have a terrible fight on their hands."
She snapped her fingers and her invisible strings tightened around Jemmy and dragged him to her. "So you're mine, puppet boy!" she said, grabbing him and tilting her head to clamp her mouth on his. Her probing tongue pushed at his teeth, and he thought it wise to let her kiss him, using her tongue a lot. The taste of her mouth was already familiar. Things looked pretty bleak. He could only hope that Tira really had sent a spy to infiltrate Millie's lair.
Tira was in better spirits the next morning. Larissa could see that. She was glad. Jemmy's abduction had hit that sweet girl very hard indeed.
Gloom on the other hand seemed to have got out of the wrong side of the bed. "Why are the musicians worth hanging around for?" he demanded, punching the air with his little fists. "What happened to being in such a mad rush, Mistress?"
Tira turned to the imp and put a finger to her purplish lips and then she hugged and kissed Jehu the musician. "Thank you…" she said. "You've given me a sense of hope."
"It was my way of thanking you for your kindness," said Jehu. "You deserved my very best performance." They kissed. Larissa could see they were using tongues.
"Why do humans suck on each other's mouths like that?" demanded Gloom in his shrill voice. "It's like birds regurgitating stuff."
"Oh shush," Larissa told him.
Tira and Jehu gazed into each other's eyes.
"It pains me that you must go into such danger," said Jehu.
"That's why you can't follow," Tira told him. She put her green hands to his forehead and muttered some strange sounding words. "I wish you the very best… always. May Shekka strengthen my words with her power."
"Scary if you really think about it," said Gloom, "how much power the wishes of a witch have. Won't anyone think about the implications of this?"
Tira, Larissa and Gloom had to leave to find the Shrine of Shekka. They reached the bridge by the docks. The waters rushed past, deep and fast as the river opened onto the sea. The bridge had not been lowered yet. There was a little wooden hut by the bridge, but it was locked and quiet.
"Some fool's supposed to bring the bridge down," said Gloom. "Is there another way across? You're a witch and a veteran adventurer. Think of something!"
Passers by were staring at Tira, including those driving by in carts.
Tira twirled a strand of her blond hair in her green fingers, looking at them in bewilderment. "When people who are driving past turn to stare at you… Hello!" she waved at them, though she was clearly still puzzled.
Gloom gave a reedy little laugh.
"You're a beautiful young lady with bright green skin, my dear," said Larissa. "You do stand out."
Gloom leapt over to the wooden hut and began drumming on the door with his tiny fists. "Idiot! Open up and get the bridge down."
The top half of the door began to swing open. "Oh, the donkey's coming out of his stable," said Gloom irritably.
Tira hastily gathered the imp up in her arms and put a hand over his mouth. "Sorry, Sir," she said with an apologetic smile. "Um… please can you lower the bridge?"
It turned out that the bridge warden was a red headed lady.
"Alright, alright," she grumbled.
She went to unwind the contraption that lowered the bridge. Tira started forward to help, but the red headed lady snapped at her. "Don't interfere! Yoo'll make it 'arder."
"Sorry," said Tira, twirling a strand of her blond hair in her fingers.
The bridge was finally in place.
Tira was still attracting a lot of stares from passers-by.
"Just cos they think yer beautiful, doesn't mean yoo can do heavy work," said the bridge lady to Tira. "Mind you, your stunning complexion does make this red-haired freckle faced lady jealous."
"I used to have freckles!" said Tira. "I actually really miss having freckles now that I know I'll never have them again." She grinned, crinkling her shiny green nose. "Appreciate them more."
"Weird thing ter say," said the bridge keeper.
"You thought that was weird?" said Gloom. "You haven't seen anything yet. Superpowered green women have the wildest adventures of all."
"Sounds kind of fun," grumbled the bridge keeper. "Beats this boring job I expect."
"Shekka will transform any woman," said Gloom. "Or is that any sad and desperate woman who doesn't have a useful job? Be careful what you wish on yourself, keeper of the bridge. Mistress made her choice when she was sixteen and can never take it back."
Tira grimaced. "Thanks Gloom. I may have been a sad girl, but not every woman who becomes a witch is. Willow was never that way." Tira stroked her green cheek pensively and reached into her pocket to take out the sun jewel Willow had given to her. "Willow's a light." She turned to the bridge keeper and waved. "Thank you so much! Remember, always be nice and be a light. That's what I wanna to be."
The three adventurers crossed the bridge.
Larissa really didn't like the idea of Tira being sad. "You became so much happier though, since your victory over the Infernal Beast?" she said, touching the green girl's shoulder. "Despite your cruel stepmother."
Tira nodded. "I decided there's no point holding a grudge. Morag's just a fellow human being in need of healing."
"Well that justifies anything," said Gloom, perched on Tira's shoulder. "These human beings in need of healing get a lot of licence."
"I choose to forgive her for wrongs done against me. That's my choice," said Tira firmly. "It's not about her getting licence."
"Quite right," said Larissa.
Little did they know it, but at that time, Millie was watching them via her crystal ball. Jemmy was unwillingly seated on her lap. "See those interlopers, Jemmy?" said Millie. "They won't even get as far as the bone dragon. I've another of my puppets waiting."
As the trio turned a corner into an alley, a stench of raw sewage assailed them.
"What a dump!" screeched Gloom. "Where do this Cityport's taxes go? Not in sanitation, clearly."
There was a bubbling and up out of an open manhole, there erupted a mass of green slime. The slime formed huge, arm like tentacles that groped out towards the trio. Larissa slashed it with her sword, but the blade passed through it, leaving no impression.
Tira's green face was very grave. Had they finally met their match?