Chapter 15:

A Time Spent Together

Why Kill? When Witches Can Be Tentacled!

After a very long, very boisterous hour of activity from the back room, Madame Jacoux opened the door and stepped out, feeling rather refreshed. In her clawed hand was a limp, blue thing that could have easily been mistaken for a patch of fabric and ribbons. But that was the jellyfish that had just spent all of his energy in an attempt to satisfy the insatiable needs of the tigress proprietor.Bookmark here

Still, it was a valiant effort, one which was awarded with a kiss before he was handed back to his partner, Maribell. Snazzy draped across her palms like a sheet, barely able to lift a tendril in response.Bookmark here

“I… need a… beer…,” was all he could stammer before the tendril drooped back down. He had never met such an intimidating opponent ever before.Bookmark here

Minutes later, after Snazzy had a breather and the liquid partially puffed him back up, he could feel movement in his body again. Maribell cradled him in her arms while dabbing a cool washcloth upon his head.Bookmark here

“Tigerkin Momma is no joke. She’s a beast!” Snazzy spewed out with a shiver. Maribell didn’t need to know any more details. In fact, she simply employed the fastest way to divert the topic from it – by smothering Snazzy against her chest.Bookmark here

His lingering imagery was soon replaced by unintelligible muffles of excitement. She chuckled as his thoughts instantly shifted to adoration of her.Bookmark here

An Onee-san’s all you need!~~~ But Oku-sans are like fine wi-Bookmark here

Maribell smacked him on the head. Regardless, an appreciation for tough, mature Mommas found its way into his heart. Especially ones that didn’t look or act their age. As they made their way back to the inn, he wondered whether Maribell would be as feisty in twenty years.Bookmark here

With the crazy events lasting until evening, the pair drifted to sleep almost instantly after collapsing onto the soft, springy bed. Snazzy, in particular, had been running on fumes, after expending so much magic fighting Clive, and then, giving the greatest backrub in history.Bookmark here

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His body perked up the next morning, when the first rays of dawn cast its glow upon him. He found it quite annoying that he couldn’t block the sun out, but the next best thing was to hide himself under the covers.Bookmark here

Since the pair had gone to bed early the previous night though, he was perfectly awake. Still, something seemed to be off. He tugged at his tentacles, but they seemed to be wedged against something. He could barely move his head either as his face was rubbing against something soft and flat. If only he could back off an inch, then maybe he could make out an arm or a leg, but his body was so pressed up against skin that he couldn’t tell anything. But despite being trapped, there was a strange feeling of bliss wrapped around him.Bookmark here

It feels warm like it’s healing my soul! Imprisoned in Heaven!Bookmark here

All he could do was smile and stick out his tongue in glee, which apparently tickled the skin it touched as a light moan echoed around him.Bookmark here

Eh? That created a response. Maybe that will get her to move.Bookmark here

By this time, Snazzy at least knew that the skin pressed against his face belonged to Maribell. This was not the first time that she had pulled him close while in bed, looking for something to snuggle with. But then, he often awoke in a strange position the next morning. While her sleeping habits weren’t particularly bad, Snazzy sometimes ended up with an arm pinning his tentacles, a thigh that squished the buoyancy out of him, or fingernails digging into his jellyfish dome.Bookmark here

But this was a new one. He was obviously being held down, but not enough to crush him. To find out, all he could do was to use his tongue.Bookmark here

Lick, lick, lickBookmark here

A slight tremor rumbled against him as Maribell’s body shifted. Snazzy felt a large pressure momentarily on his back, but it released, and he wedged himself a few centimeters away. Another few licks later and some more movement, and now, Snazzy was staring at a round crevice.Bookmark here

Hey, isn’t that-Bookmark here

He licked the crevice to check, which caused Maribell to instantly yelp out and bolt upright. The hand that had been pressed against Snazzy’s back released, letting him float to freedom.Bookmark here

The bellybutton.Bookmark here

Snazzy’s face had been held down against her stomach, and as he pulled back further, he realized what else had held him down. At some point during the night, Maribell’s blouse had lifted up. And then, his tentacles somehow slithered across the bare front before being pinned between two mounds.Bookmark here

Now, he was getting a glorious view of her state of undress, but rather than feeling excited, Snazzy broke out into a chortling laugh before hovering away and out an open window.Bookmark here

Maribell, having just woken up from the strange sensation of her bellybutton licked, wondered just what could possibly be so funny. She got her answer when she looked in the mirror. Pulling up her blouse, the imprint of tentacles fanned across her chest. They had stuck to her body for the entire night, leaving an indent across her skin.Bookmark here

Needing to lift her jaw off the ground, she simply unrolled her blouse back to its normal appearance and tried to put on a face of indifference. The less she made a deal out of it, the faster that Snazzy would move on and forget.Bookmark here

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After Maribell finished getting dressed the rest of the way, she left the inn and looked around for Snazzy. He never went very far without telling her. And usually, he was up to something that would cause a scene, making him rather easy to locate.Bookmark here

As she scanned the area, Maribell took notice of a crowd gathered in one spot. Squinting to get a good look as she walked towards them, a few objects flying around caught her attention. Her eyes widened as knives and axes were tossed high into the air.Bookmark here

Since it was happening in a set rhythm and the crowd was not panicking, it seemed to be a performance of sorts. As she got closer, some men were seen juggling handheld weaponry in a circle, taking pride in their dexterity. But then, Maribell placed a hand over her face as a small blue blob was right smack in the middle of them, also juggling knives.Bookmark here

On a whim, Snazzy had joined in on this little act after showing some interest in what they were doing. The men were happy to let the little guy try as, who had seen a jellyfish juggle before?Bookmark here

But Snazzy hadn’t stopped at simply juggling three balls like what the men gave to little kids that wanted to give it a shot. Since he had many tentacles to spare, three balls became six, and then that increased to twelve. Snazzy had four rotations of balls juggling in each of the cardinal directions, a feat that astounded even the performers.Bookmark here

Immediately afterward, they brought him up as an extra to do the more dangerous stunts. But still, that didn’t change the nerves of steel that Snazzy displayed as he started juggling knives. And once again, he made it to twelve knives in the same rotations as he had done with the less dangerous balls. He even puffed out small rings of fire from his mouth, shooting them at the knives in the air. These rings flew to the top of the throwing arc as a knife passed right through it.Bookmark here

By now, the crowd was seemingly getting more excited in Snazzy’s act than they were with the original performers. But that didn’t make them feel too bad. They simply laughed along at the ridiculous feats of a blessed jellyfish beast.Bookmark here

“See, this is a piece of- UGYAHHH!!!”Bookmark here

Accompanying Snazzy’s scream, a loud sequence of metal clattering and sudden gasps from the crowd drew Maribell’s attention back to the center. Snazzy had apparently slipped up. Now, he had collapsed to the ground, several knives embedded in his head. Bookmark here

Maribell instinctively stepped forward, but then she smacked herself for reacting preemptively. The performers raced up to check on him, but as the first man reached over to pull out the knives, Snazzy popped back up into the air with a “Gotcha!”Bookmark here

He used his tentacles to pull out the knives. Then, he licked the tip of another tentacle and brushed it across the top of his head, like he was smoothing back imaginary hair. Where it touched, the stab wounds sealed up, with no sign that it had been there before.Bookmark here

“Hahaha, not to worry! This jellyfish’s act cannot be cut short! But if it were these guys, the show would certainly be axed!Bookmark here

The crowd groaned at the dumb joke but ended up clapping anyway. The sheer ridiculousness of it earned their applause. With Snazzy bowing to the crowd, many coins of various worth clinked upon the ground around him. With him still bowing, he noticed a familiar set of boots walking up to him.Bookmark here

“So, having fun, are we?” Maribell asked innocently.Bookmark here

“Ahaha, just needed the occasional adrenaline boost from performing live. Old habits are hard to break.”Bookmark here

“And here I thought that we could only on a date around town.” Maribell gave her best pout at him.Bookmark here

“Eh, date? Seriously?” Snazzy scooped up the coins around him and gave the performers a wave goodbye. Wolf whistles ensued as they teased Snazzy over the cute girl smiling at him. Totally acting like she was enamored by him, it was now his turn to feel flustered by the attention, as she wrapped her arm around him and cradled him against her chest. That was adequate revenge for leaving her in such a state, first thing in the morning.Bookmark here

Even after leaving the crowd, Maribell still kept Snazzy planted upon her chest, making him start to wonder about this nice treatment. He was now second-guessing her intentions as she strolled through the city with Snazzy cuddled against her like a stuff animal. He couldn’t help but melt into the soft mounds that he rested on.Bookmark here

And just like that, they spent the entire day together, exploring the shops, grabbing a bite to eat, and seeing the sights. Their last day in Adelton was spent on the simple pleasures of life, all while the beating of Maribell’s heart gently thumped against Snazzy’s head.Bookmark here

And even as the sun started to set, and they returned to their inn for the final night, Maribell continued to keep Snazzy close. Closing the door to their room, he noticed that her heart suddenly sped up.Bookmark here

Maribell picked up Snazzy and placed him on the bed. Walking over to the lantern that was the only source of light in the darkening evening, she turned it off. By now, Snazzy knew that something was definitely up. It was bizarre how nice she had treated him, especially after leaving big lines on her chest. While they were likely gone now, she had neglected to even mention it once.Bookmark here

“What’s up, Onee-san? The whole date thing. It was nice, but there’s some reason for it, isn’t there?”Bookmark here

Even in the dark, Snazzy could see that Maribell gave him a wide smile. “I never actually got around to thanking you. For Clive and Cassandra, for giving me some hope to move forward, and for all the times that you saved me. I wanted to give you a little reward for all that.”Bookmark here

It finally clicked to Snazzy what today was all about. Maribell was a sincere person. She knew just how tough keeping her secret safe had been. But each time, he managed somehow. And she was grateful for it all.Bookmark here

Snazzy was just about to say, “You’re welcome!” when the sound of clothing hitting the floor stopped him. His eyes went wide as he watched Maribell strip in front of him. Even in the dark, he could make out the faint outline of her body unclothed. If a jellyfish could have nosebleeds, then he would be having one right now.Bookmark here

“To thank you, I am willing to let you do anything to me. Just for tonight.” Maribell clamped her eyes shut, wondering what would happen next. Snazzy was human on the inside, and given his interests, there was a good chance that he would act upon them. But Maribell wanted to know, what would he do?Bookmark here

She anxiously listened to his thoughts while closing off her vision, but his random mutterings made it impossible to guess where they pointed to. But to her surprise, she felt a little nibble on her left ear which made her yelp and jump, eyes wide open now.Bookmark here

“Okay! That’s all I need for now! Put on those clothes and let’s get to bed! Remember that Madame Jacoux wanted us there bright and early!” Snazzy yelled out as he drifted back to the bed.Bookmark here

“Eh? Are you sure? I said you could have anything.” Maribell asked him, presenting herself once again.Bookmark here

“Giving yourself to a jellyfish. Quite the closet pervert, aren’t you? Maybe some of the things Madame Jacoux hinted were actually true. But if you really wanna reward me, a good night’s sleep with some cuddling would be nice. I miss my dakimakura.” Snazzy laughed as he hopped into bed. Teasing Maribell was simply too much fun.Bookmark here

Seeing that Snazzy was indeed serious, Maribell turned around in surprise. There was zero deception in his thoughts. Only the bliss of their mutual company. Tears sprang from her eyes, which she fought to hide. But she was in no way sad. These were tears of joy.Bookmark here

Maribell had secretly given Snazzy a final test. After an entire day of having fun to set the mood, she would determine her future with the answer to one question. Bookmark here

What did Snazzy truly want from her?Bookmark here

That was the one thing she wanted to know. A human mind, as complex as she found, even tricked itself at times as to what gave the person strength. The incredible effort that he displayed so far, something was driving him. And Maribell was determined to find that out. She couldn’t face the next big challenge without some answer to it. And so, offering her body was the one thing that would tear down those walls.Bookmark here

Was Snazzy a shallow man who only protected her for paper thin reasons? Or did he, in fact, care about her?Bookmark here

If he had gone through with his desires under the excuse that it was a reward, then surely, Maribell would have pulled her grimoire out. She did not need a relationship built upon lies and games. A single incantation of the spell, Dedisco, and the very image of her in Snazzy’s mind would become a dream. A dream that he would soon forget as he woke up alone the next morning. Maribell would have left for Roswalia on her own, likely trusting no one again. But he had not, and that was the reason she wept with joy.Bookmark here

Making sure that he couldn’t hear her light sniffling, she crawled into bed with him. Her hand reached out and pulled Snazzy’s body closer, plopping his head onto her chest. Her fingertips stroked around the top in circles, which was only slightly larger than her hand.Bookmark here

“You sure about this, Onee-san? I was just joking. Wouldn’t want you to wake up with lines again… or worse.” Snazzy snickered.Bookmark here

“I’ll be okay. That’s the worst that can happen, right? Mr. Gentlemanly Jellyfish.”Bookmark here

The two of them closed their eyes and soon drifted off to sleep. For tomorrow, their travels on the road would start up again.
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