Chapter 34

When Sarah woke up in the luxurious king-sized bed, she noticed Aram was
gone. The room still didn't make complete sense to her; apparently all
she had to do was ask for something ... no, not even that; just state an
object, and those "nano-somethings" would make it. Weird, but
considering she was sleeping in the highest room in a floating citadel
in Venus's upper atmosphere, weird was becoming more of a relative term
than it used to be.

With a long, drawn-out yawn and a stretch of her arms out to her sides
and behind her head, Sarah shook the sleep from her eyes, and got out of
bed, walking into the showering room. A royally appointed stall,
approximately 8 feet cubed, the far wall had a large window overlooking
the exterior of the citadel. Thankfully, the shower was essentially
designed after the regular pattern she was used to, with a nice familiar
hot water knob located halfway between the head-level water nozzle and
the floor. With a grin of thanks, she turned it on hot, and let the
revitalizing spray wash down over her face and curvaceous body.

There was a small indented shelf for lotions, and Sarah took a plastic
bottle with a luminescent purple goo in it, and read the label. It was
lavender-scented body lotion, shampoo and conditioner, all in one.
Pouring a generous amount into the palm of her hand, she put the bottle
back on the shelf, and began working the all-in-one into her hair,
letting it form a rich, fragrant lather before massaging her body with
the excess. She could feel her hair and skin thanking her as they
responded to the treatment with a pleasantly enervating tingle.

Once the stuff had been thoroughly worked into hair and skin, Sarah
rinsed off the suds under the spray, and stepped out of the shower.
"Hmm. I don't see any towels," she muttered as she looked around the
room. The voice that replied surprised her.

"Would you like a towel, or do you just want to be dry?" it queried.

"Uh, just dry."  Instantly, Sarah's hair and skin were dried off, with
her hair feeling full of body, as if she'd blow-dried it. "Cool. Um, so
who are you?"

"I'm the Room AI. You can just call me Roomie, if you want."  It
chuckled. "That's what most of the Sylvan are doing, anyway."

"Okay. Roomie, then. What are you, exactly? I mean, I can't see you."

"That's because I don't have a body per se, although I can make one if
you need me to. But basically, I'm more software than anything else. Oh,
Aram left something for you."  And with that, a ring on the bedroom desk
glowed brightly for a moment.

"What is it?" Sarah asked as she picked it up.

"It's your own personal computer."

"Isn't it kind of small to be a computer?"

"It's nano-engineered, so no. Actually, it could be a lot smaller than
it is."

"How does it work?"

"All you have to do is put it on, and concentrate on what you want to

As she slipped it on her finger, Sarah gasped with surprise. "It got

"Relax," Roomie reassured her, "It gets bigger when you decide to take
it off again."

"Oh, okay... Hey, I can actually 'feel' the computer! How's it doing

"Direct link to your nervous system. You'll see images the same way,
kind of like holograms."

"Cool. So, does this thing have internet, or what?"

Sarah thought she heard a chuckle. "Yes it does. Maybe you should try
using it, instead of asking me about it. It's really quite an intuitive
operating system. I think you'll like it once you give it a go."

With an amused nod of her head, Sarah linked in, and opened up her
holographic display. "Wow, it looks completely real."  She connected to
the internet with the native internet program, and was instantly surfing
through sites. "Crap, this is fast! How fast is this? Oh, never mind,"
she said aloud as she thought to herself, "I don't really care about the
specifics, anyway."

"Well, time to go into town and do some shopping!"  Looking around, she
noticed the only clothes that fit her were the ones she'd worn when she
came to the citadel. "Well, that won't cut it! Um, Roomie, where are the
shopping malls in this place?"

"Shopping malls? As far as I know, there aren't any."

"What?!" The noise would have been almost deafening to any human in the
room with her, had there been one. "What the hell kind of place doesn't
have shopping malls?"

"The kind of place that was designed not to need them, I suppose.
Anything you want, you just have to state while desiring it, and -"

"That's beside the point, Roomie! Shopping isn't just about the stuff...
It's about the experience."  Sarah pouted as she looked out the majestic
windows, much less impressed with Aram's engineering 'marvel' than she
had been a few moments ago. "Hmph! Just like a man to design heaven, and
forget some of the best parts!"

"Um ..." Roomie was at a loss for words.

"Sorry, no offense, Roomie."

"None taken. I'm genderless."

"Hmm, I've got an idea. Is there any way to get off this rock? You know,
to get back to Earth for a little shopping spree?"

"Well, you could use a portal. But right now, there aren't any on Earth,
so getting back here would be an issue."

"You know, for a super-computer, you're pretty unimaginative. How hard
would it be to take a portal through a portal? Then I could use it to
come back later."

"Well ... as long as you don't activate the portal while you're walking
through the other one, it would be all right. It's always a good idea to
be cautious, you know. Opening a subspace bridge inside a subspace
bridge ... well, let's just say that would probably not be a good idea,
unless you were intentionally trying to destroy everything within a few
light years from here."

"Great! So where can I pick one up?"  With a slight glow, a 3 foot long
metallic cylinder with a carrying strap materialized on the desk.
"Roomie, please tell me that's not a dildo."

"Ha, ha. Very funny. No, it's not a dildo. It's a portal. Just lie it
down anywhere you want, and activate it by saying "Portal activate,"
followed by "destination," and then your vocalized desired destination.
Then, step through the "doorway" that appears above the cylinder. Or,
you can just link into its system with your ring computer, and open it
that way. But keep in mind that the portable portals aren't able to
connect to just anywhere. They have a limited number of log-in areas,
mostly bridging into security processing areas. Apparently Aram's
fundamental rule plan designed them that way so they aren't abused by
criminals. The default destination for this citadel is AC2, with several
subset processing station destinations, since it's the second citadel
that was built by Aram."

"Not a problem. Thanks, Roomie! Now I just need to find a portal to
leave through. Any ideas?" Sarah asked as she picked up the cylinder.

"The main portal for these chambers is located in the foyer, on the
other side of the function room. It's unique from other residential
portals in that it has an open outgoing connection, which allows it to
connect to virtually anywhere. It's even shielded, so you can "scan"
places that you wouldn't want to go, like deep space, and underwater.
The cloaking function allows you to scan areas without salient entities
noticing anything out of the ordinary on their end, by the way. And your
ring computer can tap into its system, so you don't even have to say any
verbal commands to use it."

"Cool! That sounds perfect. See you later, Roomie."

Sarah picked up the cylinder, slinging it over her back. "Not very
heavy; almost feels like a PVC pipe," she noticed as she walked to the
foyer and used her ring to link with the portal's system. She scanned
for a nice place to drop into Earth. She scanned her apartment, but
decided she wanted to call up a friend to go out with her. She looked up
Alex's apartment, and noticed it seemed unlived in. "Well, that's weird.
I wonder what happened?"

Roomie piped in. "The portal also has a search function available when
connected to a computer like yours. Just visualize whoever you're
looking for, and the portal is able to show the most likely matches."

"Okay."  Sarah began visualizing Alex's face and body, and sure enough,
once she transmitted that image through her ring into the portal's
system, Alex's image appeared on the other side of the portal. "Wow.
Okay, I take it back. Aram wasn't a complete idiot."

"How generous of you," Roomie sardonically replied.

"Oh, you know what I mean. Well, see you later."  Sarah stopped in mid
stride, and smacked her head. "Damn it, I don't have any money."

"Actually, Aram left a debit card for you before he left. Apparently he
set up an account for you after he acquired Belltech."

"Okay, not only isn't he an idiot, but he's a very thoughtful buffoon."

"Wow, what an upgrade," muttered Roomie. "Anyway, your card's in your

Sarah felt a slight tingle near her shapely bottom as her pant pocket
was filled ever so slightly by the materialization of the debit card.
"Well, I guess that's everything. See you later, Roomie. And thanks."
That last was spoken as Sarah was walking though the refreshing vapor-
like shield of the portal into Alex's room.

Alex didn't immediately register Sarah's appearance, but when she turned
around she almost cried out in shock before she recognized who had
entered her apartment unannounced.

"Fucking hell, Sarah! How'd you get in here? I didn't even hear the door
open! And it's locked, anyway!"

Sarah's mischievous grin elicited a quick tit-slap from Alex.

"OW! Hey, that stung!" Sarah winced, rubbing her breast to soothe the
sting. "Mmm, but it hurt so good," Sarah giggled as she walked close to
Alex and reached around her, grabbing her buttocks and giving a gentle
squeeze. "Now I must exact revenge!" she mock-threatened as she leaned
in and kissed Alex on her neck, behind her ear while massaging Alex's
ass through her sexy, white pants. This caused Alex to groan sexily
before Sarah pulled back. "Miss me?"

"Well, yeah," Alex quipped while reaching up to lightly brush Sarah's
erect nipples with her thumbs, eliciting a moan. "How'd you find me?
It's not like I left a forwarding address. And what the fuck are you
doing with that thing strapped to your back? Is that some kind of
vibrator?" she continued, beginning to massage Sarah's massive tits,
causing Sarah's breathing to become slightly more ragged before she

"Hmmm, that's nice. Um, yeah ... I mean, no ... It's not a vibrator. At
least, I don't think you can- well, maybe if- oh, never mind. It's
something Aram invented."

"And you're still sure it's not a vibrator?" Alex snickered as she
continued to slowly knead Sarah's full, magnificent melons in her
delicate hands. "Maybe we could improvise a little, with it?"  Then Alex
chuckled. "I guess little's not the right word, hmm?" she giggled as she
slipped up Sarah's shirt, allowing Sarah's unbound breasts to bounce
free. "Oooh, feeling naughty today, are we?" Alex questioned with a
raised eyebrow and a smile, before her head descended to wrap Sarah's
aching aureole in Alex's warm, wet mouth. Her lips glistened with gloss
as she slowly sucked, then retreated slightly to lightly blow on the tip
of Sarah's right breast before gently tracing her tongue around the
perfect nipple.

"MMMmmm," Sarah moaned as she slipped backwards into a plush leather
couch. "Maybe we can try it out anyway..." she trailed off, then gasped
as Alex gently nibbled her perfectly lush tit while lightly grazing her
increasingly moist mound.

Alex reached over to the cylinder, as Sarah eagerly pulled her silk
panties and her tight denim jeans down below her knees. With a devilish
grin, Alex positioned the tip of the cylinder against Sarah's hungry
cunt lips, eliciting a quickly suppressed gasp of lust from Sarah.
Gently biting her lower lip, Alex slowly eased the tip of the cylinder
into Sarah's waiting snatch, causing Sarah to quickly draw in a breath
in a moment of ecstasy. Then Alex eased the cool, hard cylinder into
Sarah's quim in a gradual movement, allowing Sarah to feel the long,
thick cylinder filling her insides with its hard presence.

"UUUhhhnnn!" she groaned as Alex began thrusting the tool in and out of
her tight cunt, while still sucking and nibbling on her achingly aroused
tits. Sarah couldn't help but squirm under the power of her overwhelming
arousal, causing her to mutter incoherent phrases of sexual passion as
her lesbian lover continued to stroke the inside of her sensitive cunt
with her massive tool of pleasure.

Needless to say, Sarah didn't get to the mall before it closed at 9pm.

Chapter 35

However, a certain 'woman' was at the mall before it closed, though not
in the same city. Arma sat in the food court by herself, her smooth and
perfectly shaped legs crossed at the knee as she sensually sucked on the
straw of her delicious fruit smoothie. All straight men (and lots of
women and even some gay men) stopped briefly as they walked past her,
just to drink in the sheer beauty and sexuality of the sight before them
before taking a deep breath and moving on to wherever they'd been headed
before this sight of utterly perfect sexuality had accosted their
willing eyes.

Arma couldn't help but giggle as she continued with the languid sucking
of her straw, occasionally licking its smooth, thin plastic as she made
eye contact with a particularly admiring young man or woman.

Across the way and down a few shops, a young woman with dark hair turned
to a large wolf, and said, "Looks like this thing's in our court, now."
The double entendre wasn't lost on her, though she only realized it
after she said it, causing her to emit a little laugh as she walked into
the back of the store to bring the matter to the attention of her

As Danielle walked through the curtain into the short, though cluttered,
hallway against the left wall of the store, she could hear the manager
muttering something as he moved around in the back room. She was just
about to step over the threshold into the storage room, when she heard
her manager yell out.

"Stop! Not one more step! Do you want to become a cluster of fairy dust,
or do you just have a death-wish?" he scolded, as she halted mid-stride
to rest at the threshold.

"What are you-"

"Never mind that, just don't come in quite yet!" he retorted in an
annoyed tone as he began to mumble whatever it was he had been mumbling
before Danielle had entered. He paused briefly, and looked at her with a
confused expression. "What did you want, anyway?"

"Just to let you know that we have another code-pink. Right outside,

This seemed to ruffle the old manager. With a huff, and a mumble about
something that undoubtedly made sense only to him, he flicked his wand,
and caused the pentagram on the floor to collapse in on itself. "Well?"
he asked with a harangued tone, looking imploringly at Danielle.

"Yeah, um... he's... that is, she's... um... the person's right outside.
In the food court.  And no, it's not Jason, er, Jessica. This guy's a
little less... prepared. He didn't even consider this side of the
equation, apparently. Looks like someone put a pretty effective whammy
on him."

"Oh dear."  And that was all the old man muttered before rushing past
Danielle, and running to the front of the store. Following him, Danielle
saw him peering with concern out into the food court, looking at the
table and its sole occupant, whom she'd noticed earlier. "Oh my. You're
quite correct. I'd think someone as wily as him..." he let out a quick
laugh, "Sorry... as her, I suppose, would've considered a contingency
plan for an even such as the one she's in now. I guess no one's
perfect."  The old man let out a little laugh.

"Well, just a moment, then."

Arma was halfway through sucking down another delicious dose of her
fruit smoothie, when suddenly, she felt compelled to do some shopping.
And furthermore, she felt particularly compelled, for some odd reason,
to find a store with random knick-nacks in it. Why, she had no idea, but
that didn't change the fact that she wanted a knick-nack of some kind.

With a sigh, she did a quick survey of the nearby shops, and
miraculously found one that seemed appealing. Without hesitation, she
left her drink on the table, to the chagrin of a group of teenage boys
who had been admiring her for the last fifteen minutes, and walked into
the store just beyond the food court in the hall to the north.

As Arma walked through the door, she noticed this was no ordinary mall
shop, and immediately felt a wave of disorientation come over her. She
stumbled slightly, and almost fell. She would have fallen, but for the
arm of an old man in a bathrobe who grabbed her arm and shoulder before
she could. He gently guided her to a nearby wooden chair, allowing her
to sit down and collect her thoughts.

Her vision had blurred slightly, but as it came back into focus she
noticed a wizened old man looking intently into her eyes. She didn't
know why, but somehow she knew that he cared about her very deeply. It
was only after she took a few more breaths that she noticed he was in a

"No, it's not a bathrobe, my dear," he chuckled good-naturedly as he
backed up a bit from her, releasing her arm as he felt she was strong
enough to stay up on her own. "Now, Arma, I've... no, that's not quite
right, is it? Not Arma... no, it's Aram, isn't it?" he looked at her
with a half-sad grin, as if to suggest he knew what she was going
through. "Yes, Aram, though you might not recognize that name right now,
after everything you've been through."

"Aram."  The woman tested the name in her voice, to see if it seemed
familiar for any reason. Somehow, it did.

"Yes. Well, I suppose you're wondering why you're here."

"I wanted to buy something-"

"No, no. I mean, why you're really here."  The old man gave her another
searching look, then continued. "I don't suppose you believe in magic?"
he asked hopefully.

The young woman began laughing. Loudly. "Sure. Siegfried and Roy, right?
Good show."

The old man sighed. Clearly this would be more difficult than he wanted.
As if that was a surprise. This brought forth another stilted laugh.
"No, my dear. I mean real magic. The stuff of legend. Spells, not
illusions. Curses, not parlor tricks."

The young woman gave him a disparaging glance, followed by a snort of
derision. "Uh, no. And please tell me that's not why you think I'm here.
I just wanted to buy-"

"Silence!" the old man commanded, with a sweep of his hand. For some
reason, the young woman found it impossible to speak when she intended
to cut this old geezer down to size. She began to get up to leave, as
she started to think this guy had somehow slipped her some kind of
Rohypnol, or something. "And sit down. Please."  She did so.

"Now," he continued, "This will just take a moment. Please relax."  For
some reason, she did, as the  old man began moving his hands around her,
about a foot away from her body. Somehow, she could still feel his
hands, or the energy of them, at least.

"What are you-" she managed, before the old man gestured, and she fell

The girl behind the old man muttered, "She's strong."

"Yes, please be quiet," admonished the old man as he continued, causing
Danielle to immediately fall silent, with a slight wince of
embarrassment. "This will take a while, I'm afraid. I'll need to put her
into a renewal trance for a while. There, that should do it," he
gestured with a smile, causing Arma's gaze to become blank.

"Yeah, that's attractive, boss,"  Danielle smirked, then sat down behind
the counter, pulling out an old book about spells for creating essences
of masculinity (a subject her manager/master seemed reluctant to teach
her for some odd reason). With a shrug, she began reading, keeping an
ear to the front of the store, in case anyone happened to wander in.

Chapter 36

And then for a few hours, not much happened.

Chapter 37

Evening came, and the shoppers filed out of the mall, followed by the
employees. But no one in the odd little shop, unnoticed by any of the
normal patrons or employees all day (with one exception, of course),
paid any attention to the hour. One was busy poring over numerous dusty
tomes, one was in a motionless trance, and one was reading the latest
Vogue magazine. "Hmm, so that's what it means when a guy won't stop
calling. Good thing I dumped his ass," Danielle murmured before she was
interrupted by a loud clanging sound, which was followed by an obvious
grunt of frustration.

After a few moments, the old man came back to the front of the shop,
holding a bag in one hand, and a Barbie doll in the other. Danielle took
one look, shook her head with a sigh, and went back to her book.

"Don't give me that sigh, young lady," chided the old man. "I'll have
you know that this dragon salt took quite a while to mix up."

"That's not the only thing that's mixed up around here," she muttered,
not lifting her eyes from her book.

"Hmm? Well, never mind that. Get up and help me set up a workspace."

A workspace, as Danielle knew, was usually a pentagram, or a star of
David. Judging by the way the old man had phrased it this time, this one
would be a pentagram. The space immediately in front of the register
counter was cleared for this purpose. The fact that it gave customers a
place to stand while making purchases was really more of an afterthought
than anything else.

Danielle brought out five candles, and placed them on the well-worn
spots around the edge of a circle. She took out her zippo to light them,
but was interrupted by the old man. "Not yet, Dannie. We need her inside
it, first. And then I need to put the dust down around her. Haven't you
learned anything I've been trying to teach you?" he chuckled as he put
the Barbie doll on the counter. "Here, help me move her," he gestured to
the stationary woman sitting on the wooden chair between two rows of
random knick-nacks, and one very rare Paddy-wack. "That reminds me, we
need more dog food. Make a mental note, Dannie."


And then Arma was in the middle of the circle, and the old man was
sprinkling a thin trail of dust in a circle around her. "All right. Now
you can light the candles," he smiled, and Danielle ignited each one,
causing the energy in the room to flex in a quick, but potent motion.

"What was that?" she asked, looking around with concern.

"Relax. It's part of the spell," the old man assured her, before donning
an old dishwashing glove, and picking up the Barbie doll. "Here goes.
And since you're supposed to be learning, I'll explain what I'm doing
here as we go along. Please try and remember it."

The old man held the doll inside the circle at chest-height, and began
moving it in a clockwise circle, from his point of view, while facing
Arma. "Okay, watch how the energy cords netting her are affected by this
movement. See it?"  Danielle nodded. "Good. Now those pink cords that
you noticed earlier aren't natural. They're the ones keeping the net
together. Look closely, and you'll see the blue lines beneath them."

"The ones that look like they're being choked?"

"Yes. Good. Now, notice how the pink cords are trying to gather energy
from the nearby ley lines to reinforce themselves, to counteract this
motion I'm doing?"  Danielle nodded again. "Okay, well the dragon salt
is a very potent counter-magic agent when used properly. It's preventing
the pink cords from reaching far enough to get anything they can use to
sustain themselves."

"Yeah, they don't look happy."

"No they don't. This is a common trap you'll find when dealing with
malicious magic wielders. They'll set the spell up to harm its target if
it senses a magic user, like us, trying to tamper with it."

"So how do you-"

"I'm getting there. Just be patient. Sheesh! Kids these days! Where was
I... oh, right, the deadly magic trap. Yes." The old man paused for a
moment, nodded, then continued with a sour look at his apprentice.
"Well, since we obviously don't want our subject any more damaged than
she already is, we need to focus the negative spell's effects on
something else."

"I was wondering what that Barbie doll was for."

"Exactly. So by using this token to agitate the spell, it's the natural
recipient of its malicious intent."

"And the rubber glove?" Danielle asked, curious.

"A magical insulation measure, to prevent any ethereal shock. Yes, don't
forget to wear one when attempting something like this, or the negative
magic will flow right through the token, and into the nearest living
creature, which will probably be the person doing the counter-spell;

"Got it. Wear a rubber glove."

"A magic one, though," the old man admonished with a scowl.

"Uh-huh. Right. Magic rubber glove. Got it."

The old man harrumphed, and returned to the task at hand. "Anyway... it
should be annoyed enough pretty soon... here we go."

Suddenly, the pink cords disengaged from their host, and attacked the
Barbie doll, trying to work themselves into it. The wizard stopped
moving the doll, and twisted it quickly back in a counter-clockwise
direction, causing the pink cords to be caught on it. Then with a harsh
yank, he twisted again, and uttered a magic word, causing the pink cords
to be completely disengaged from Arma's aura, and to be totally wrapped
around the Barbie doll.

"Acto Finitus!" he yelled with a wave of his hand, and the pink cords
settled into the Barbie doll, losing most of their intensity.

"Is that it?"

"Pretty much. Now the energy's stored in this token, which we will now
refer to as either a battery or an activator, depending on how I decide
to use it. Probably sell it to some guy looking for a sex slave. Turn
him into a nice-"

"Uuuuhn! My head!" groaned Arma as she came to, and slumped in her

"Why hasn't she changed back yet?" prodded Danielle.

"You're under the assumption that she will. But I merely removed the
lust imprisonment spell. The rest, she'll have to deal with on her
own."  The old man then gently put the Barbie doll inside a clear
plastic box, and stored it behind the counter. "But don't worry, I think
our friend here has a few surprises up her sleeve."  He then turned to
Arma. "Feeling better, Arma?"

She groaned, then shook her head to clear it. "How do you know my name?
Have we met?"

"And I was so desperately hoping you wouldn't ask me that question."
With a disappointed sigh, he pointed to the sign behind the counter. It
read simply: