You know what I’ve learned after four years of cramming my head with useless knowledge at some of the finest universities in the universe?
A hole is a hole is a hole.
Three guesses what I’ve been studying, and the first two don’t count.
Seriously. If you’ve seen one hole, you’ve seen them all. It doesn’t matter what type of male it’s attached to, they pretty well all feel the same, look the same, taste the same and they all take a cock in the very same way. In and out, you know, no other way to go. Well, there was that one guy on that one planet. I forget its name but I think that had it two, no three, suns. I’ve forgotten his name too, assuming I ever knew it. I think his hole had teeth, but honestly, I try not to think about it too much. Still, a hole is a hole is a hole. Is it any wonder I’m so bored with them all?
It’s really good to be going home. I think I’m ready to go back too. Back to Rhealliticzk. I miss my parents and I miss my little sister. How old is Lulu now? Damn. Eighteen already. She was just a little squirt last time I saw her. She’s probably wearing long skirts how. I bought her a doll anyway, for a coming home present. I couldn’t resist it, it looks just like her. And I better not let her hear me call her that. She says her name is Liusaidh Blommervermogen and that Lulu is a little girl name. She’s growing up too fast. Maybe she’ll let me call her Luci instead?
Funny, you’d never know we’re brother and sister to see us together. Her hair is so long and red and I keep mine short and sleek. I think it’s a good look for me. So’s the streaks of grayish silver and blond that I have added whenever I get my hair done. Matches the gray in my eyes.
I wonder if I should get another tattoo. If so, what of?
I’m ripped from my inner monologue by the voice of my bodyguard, Swyddogh. He’s come into my cabin—he’s the only one who has that privilege. Anyone else has to request permission, and it’s generally denied.
“It’s time to prepare for landing, your royal highness.”
Right. I want to look my best for my return, don’t I? I’ll be so glad to get out of these pants, I don’t know how I’ve stood them for so long. What do other men see in them? I’ll never know.
Swyddogh is also my personal attendant/valet. Where I go, he goes. He rummages through my clothes, which are already packed, before handing me a dark blue skirt, dotted with pale blue stones in a running diamond pattern. Good choice. I step into it, and my balls thank me for it, free from their confinement at long last.
Fashion? Pah, those barbarians have no idea what the word means.
Swyddogh pulls out a mirror and expands it to full-length so that I can admire myself in it. I turn this way and that, peering into my reflection carefully. Good, as always. My legs are looking fit, I must say. I did some nude sunbathing when I could, and they have a good color to them. Very nice, Kay, very nice. I smile at my reflection.
“When do we land?” I ask, thinking ahead to the huge feast that is undoubtedly even now being prepared for my arrival. My parents do love me very much. They’ll be overjoyed to see me.
“I’m afraid that we don’t.”
“What?” I stop in the middle of smoothing down my skirt, still caught up in my image, and turn to face him.
Swyddogh may have a face that resembles the back end of a Fellaxxian sloth, and that’s saying quite a bit ‘cause they’re ugly as sin, but he’s loyal and brave and very strong as well as a good fighter, and that counts for a lot more than beauty. Our standing joke is that I’m the beauty, he’s the brawn. He’s been in my service ever since I was born. I’m sure he’s glad to be getting back too. If I remember correctly, he left behind a few girls he was more than passing fond of. At least one of those is a native, too. One of the ones that works in the royal palace. No accounting for taste, I guess.
He shrugs, as if to say go figure. “We’re being sent in the shuttle. Apparently there’s nothing being delivered. Other than your royal highness, that is.”
I frown, pulling at my lower lip with my thumb and forefinger, a sign that I’m not pleased. I’d expected this ship to be carrying supplies for home, surely. Since when do we get bypassed like this?
Well, there’s nothing to be done for it at the moment. It is what it is. At least I’ll be getting off here, and that’s what counts.
“Have you taken care of everything?” I ask, even though I know the answer.
Swyddogh nods his shaggy head. He has a mane of hair so thick that ordinary scissors are useless to penetrate their depths. But I hear that he can manipulate his long locks in a way that is quite pleasing to the ladies. Which explains his popularity with them, because, as I’ve said, he fails in the whole looks department.
“Everything is seen to,” he assures me. “All that remains is to bid the Captain farewell and bless the vessel.”
A nuisance, but necessary. I don’t remember how the custom started, but whenever a member of the royal family travels off-planet there is a ceremony that has to be gone through at the time of departure.
“Very well.” I can’t fight it, so I don’t try. It’s not worth the effort.
He offers me one last look in the mirror, before we make our way to the departure deck. The captain of this almost antiquated spaceship is attired in white and gold with epaulets and ribbons everywhere, and he has mutton chops so bushy they almost obscure his face.
He clicks to attention as I enter the area. As he should.
“It has been our great pleasure, Prince Cailean,” he begins, and then he drones on while I try to keep from falling asleep. My mind wanders from his words, which are boring me to death, and I’m thinking about what I’m going to eat first at the welcoming feast—I’m more than positive that they’ve made all my favorite dishes—when I feel a jab somewhere in the vicinity of my kidneys, and I realize that it’s my turn, and that my response is required. Tardily, I draw my attention back to the moment.
The captain is kneeling before me now, waiting. I make the appropriate signs with my fingers, say the right words, thereby blessing the vessel and all upon it, and more of the same. He’s satisfied, and bids me safe journey as I enter the smallish shuttle which will take me home.
Home. I never realized before how beautiful that word is. I’m home at last.
So, do you know what I’ve learned after these four years abroad?
There’s no place like home.
Why—why doesn’t she just give it up already? Parents are supposed to care about their children and nurture their children like the trees provide for us. I understand that, but I’ve told her repeatedly that I will not be a part of this messed up plan of hers. I will not be part of a unity with those meat creatures. Especially not a female of their violent hypocritical species.
“Be one with the trees… Be one with the grass… Be one with the universe and at peace.” I can’t believe I’m sitting here naked in my mother’s garden going through a ritual cleansing ceremony so my mother can dress me up and send me to that spatsory fucked welcome home feast for that spoiled rotten princeling.
“You, Renophoatien are one with the garden… The light of the guardian shines down upon you… The blessed union of spirits flows from the trees…” My Father Josephinipsalon Sameeleon chants at me. It’s all I can do to keep from rolling my eyes. Okay, I can’t keep from doing it, I admit it, I’m rolling my eyes. But his are closed so he doesn’t see my rebellious sacrilege as I reply in chant. At least I’m getting my spirit bath in today. I haven’t been able to sit in the light of the guardian sun for more than half an hour at mid-day since I began working at the palace. It’s a pleasure to be able to open myself to the guardian and relax.
“I am one with the garden… I bathe in the light of the guardian… The spirit flows.” Damn I hate this crap. But it does feel good. My skin is glowing emerald green, my hair is becoming radiant, the flower within shooting color through my hair in hues of lavender, gold and a trace of red through the deep forest green. I’m sure it’s the reason mother insisted on this rite. The amount of time I devote to the guardian will ensure that the color remains in my hair for the next couple of days even if I only spend half an hour at my lunch basking in the guardian’s glow. She believes that the colors will be as attractive to the meat creatures as they are to a female of my own people. The more colors that appear, the more attractive the male, the easier it becomes to make a match.
Mother wishes to attract the meat creature female from the ruling family in the city. She hopes that by tying our family to such a powerful female within their people we can learn to control their actions. We’ve tried to explain how their behavior and waste is killing the trees but they don’t understand. I’ve tried to educate Mother that they are a violent race and do not understand the implications of their actions, nor do they seem to have the patience to learn. But hell, my own mother refuses to listen to me, so I guess in a sense we are no different from them.
“You are a good son, Reno. Honor your family and charm the female, Liusaidh Blommervermogen. Make us proud.” Father says.
“Father, you know I have no interest in females. Not of our species or theirs. Please get mother to choose one of my brothers for this task. There is no way I could even get my flower to open for a female, much less bloom.”
“I understand the problem and you will need to figure out a way to deal with it when the time comes. At this point my son all you need do is charm her. Speak with her. Bond with her intellectually and get her to accept you as a suitor.” Father puts his hands on my shoulders and I place mine on his. He draws me to him and we rest our foreheads together; he consoles me as he has since my childhood, letting his emotions flow through me from our contact. His love and support wrap around me, giving me strength to do what Mother asks of me.
“This isn’t an argument I can win, is it Father?” I shake my head resignedly.
“I’m afraid not, my son. Your mother is Sagotna, tribal mother. When she decides something is for the best of the tribe, we all must do our best to fulfill her desires.”
“But she’s wrong in this. If she wishes to tie us to the humans then she would do better to have me attempt an alliance with the Prince Cailean. Their society isn’t run by the females. He is the one who will be in power not Princess Liusaidh.”
“You may be correct my son, but Sagotna has chosen you for Liusaidh. She’s already spoken with King Liefde and Queen Kaerlighed. They have agreed to the match if you can persuade Princess Liusaidh to accept you as suitor.”
“Fine. I’ll go, but I’m taking Jaou with me. He can be my second for this insanity.”
“Jaouseptanetah has just returned from the wastes. He is tired and has black streaks in his hair. I don’t know if he is healthy enough to attend with you. He bathes as well, but in the healing temple. If his hair at least turns green, then I will support him joining you at the feast. I will not risk his health just so you have someone to listen to you complain.”
“I didn’t know he was ill. I’d never risk my brother.” I truly love my brother, I hadn’t known he’d gone to monitor the wastes. It’s getting harder and harder for any of us to get near the wastes and the area of desolation around it grows each year.
“Did he bring back any news?”
“The trees that surround the wastes are dying as we suspected. Once they fall, nothing will prevent the wastes’ growth into the plain of ferti. If the flowers of ferti die, then so will we all. Our cycle of life will be disrupted and the planet will die.”
“We are desperate then, are we not, Father?” My father rises to his feet and looks down on me with his all knowing green within green eyes.
“Yes my son, so bask in the guardian’s rays and become beautiful, bloom for this female and draw her to you. With the colors of our family and the pheromones you will be exuding, you will be irresistible. Use what the guardian is blessing you with, Reno.”
“But will I be irresistible to a female?” I mumble as my father goes into the house and I close my eyes and tip my head back to the guardian, my arms outstretched to take in all the light I can.
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Sui and Julie