The next few days I spent coordinating the three different nations through several trade agreements, and meeting with other nations that wanted to join the alliance. Every night I spent my time recovering by cuddling, and pampering my wives. The day finally came where I went to pick up Lily from her aunt and uncle’s home. Running over to see her I ran into an unexpected sight when I arrived. Standing outside their house several guards were dragging Lily out the front door.
“What the hell do you think you are doing to her!?”, I snapped running over to her.
Seeing me Lily started struggling with them trying to get over to me. Striking her on the head one of the guards attempted to subdue her, but instead it only pissed me off. Before the guard could hit her again his head turned into a red mist. Staggering back the other guards looked at their dead comrades body. Clinging to me tightly Lily was shaking in fear.
“Are you alright?”, I asked her.
“They struck my aunt and uncle.”, she said.
“You guards better have a damn good reason for bothering these people or I am shoving my boot up all your asses! Assaulting a family, especially one of your race, is despicable!”, I snapped.
“They refused to let us take the woman peacefully.”, a young man said walking towards us.
“And who might you be?”, I asked.
“The first prince of this nation, Prince Darrin.”, he stated.
“Might I inquire what offense this woman has done to deserve her being dragged from her home in this manner?”, I stated.
“Treason.”, he said.
“Treason? On what basis do you believe she has acted that way?”, I stated, “According to the neighbors she has never left the house since coming here, and her family said she rarely if ever left her room. You expect me to believe she would sell your nation out by staying in her room?”
Thinking about it for a moment my expression changed as I held her tightly.
“This is your fathers doing…isn’t it?”, I said narrowing my eyes.
Unable to meet my gaze I knew I had hit the nail on the head.
“So your father is going to torture Lily because she is associated to me?”, I stated, “You so much as lay a finger on her I will have your country thrown out of the alliance, and you can fend for yourselves against the humans. As you are well aware only the human nations on the border are peaceful now. It’s only a matter of time before those nations become hostile again so lets see how long you hold out then.”
“All of that for her?”, he asked, “I doubt she is-”
Pouring out a massive amount of blood lust he stumbled back shaking his armor.
“Finish that sentence, and your going home in a body bag…”, I stated, “your position be damned. Your father better understand that the only way things are going to get better is if we all work together. I agree with your father that the humans responsible for torture of your brethren is a high priority. No amount of money, or apologizing can atone for what they did. Where we seem to disagree is that he wants all of humanity to pay, but if I am not mistaken many humans help get you back to this nation, correct?”
Nodding his head he confirmed that was the case.
“So then those humans who have helped you, and their families deserve to die too?”, I asked.
“This, and that are different!”, he stated.
“Oh? I, the Solo Hero, who is well known among all nations to be an ally of nonhumans should have anyone I am attached to here punished for that?”, I stated, “Even though I help save the Demon Nation, started helping the rebuilding of the Amazon nation, and am close with the Dragon Nation should have people I care about here beaten under the guise of treason? Why don’t you ask the miners I helped save, and see if Lily deserves to be treated like scum? She hasn’t done a damn thing to warrant such treatment, and has suffered like so many others in your nation at that hands of jackass humans.”
“My father ordered it, and I have no-”
“So, your father is saying that all humans even the ones that helped him get back here deserve to die?”, I stated.
Unable to answer he was going to let it slip by, but another man stepped up.
“Humans are nothing less than bugs!”, he snarled, “Those that helped us will die painlessly while everyone else will suffer.”
“Father…”, the young man said turning around, “Please don’t bring this up now…we are-”
“Silence boy!”, he snapped.
Telling Lily to stay behind me I glared at the Emperor. Standing nine feet tall with muscles as big as tree stumps this Lion kin would terrify any human he fought…aside from me. His golden mane reflected the light amazingly given the lack of sun on this cloudy day.
“So…on what basis are you saying Lily has committed treason?”, I stated.
“On the basis of being a human lover.”, he snapped, “A crime punishable by death.”
Gripping my shirt tightly she started to tremble against my back.
“I see…”, I stated, “so what does being a jackass get you? An ass beating of a lifetime? You keep that attitude up I will smear your face across this city without breaking a sweat.”
“Big talk for a little man.”, he retorted.
Telling Lily to stay in the house I had her remain in the door way. Walking past his son I walked right up to him, and looked him square in the eyes.
“You want to try me pussy cat?”, I snapped, “I guarantee your all bark, and no bite.”
“You aren’t even worth my time. Grab the woman, and let’s go.”, he said walking away.
“So the Great Lion Emperor regarded by his people to be just, and righteous man is punishing a woman for loving a human? Sounds like a coward to me.”, I snapped.
Stopping his movement he looked back at me.
“What did you say?”, he snarled.
“You must feel so powerful being able to order her death because your afraid you’d lose to me in a fight.”, I said with a smug grin, “You’d rather be a coward, and take your anger out on an innocent woman than try to kill me yourself.”
Clenching his fist I could tell he was on the verge of snapping.
“How would your father of reacted to seeing his son chicken out from a fight, and abuse a woman instead?”, I said, “I bet you he’d call you a piss ant.”
That was all it took for him to swing at me. Casually blocking the punch I socked him in the nose blasting him down the street. Watching the scene unfold the guards froze as the prince stood there in shock. Walking down the street that was now filling up with onlookers I looked at the Emperor as he got back up to his feet. Charing at me I caught his next punch, threw him over my head, and slammed him into the ground.
“I hold no grudge against Beastmen. You all as a whole are far nicer, and kinder than humans by a large margin.”, I stated, “Your hatred of humans is well warranted, and as I told your son the ones responsible for your races abuse should die. The fact is that not all humans are evil just as not all Beastmen are good. By your own admission you’d execute those that helped free your people from slavery. How do you all feel about that? Would you kill the people that reunited you with your families? You know that by helping you that if they are caught their lives become forfeit for helping you?”
Being in the slums many of these people had come here via the underground railroad meaning most of them owed their lives to kind-hearted humans. Looking at one another the people shook their heads.
“Those humans risked everything to save us…”, some said, “They don’t deserve our anger…”
People started sharing their good experiences with humans with each other while the Emperor got back to his feet.
“Damn it all! Have you all forgotten the shit humans put us through!? They raped our women, killed our children, and worked us to death or killed us for sport!”, he snarled, “All humans should be killed for it because all of them are insects!”
“No they aren’t!”, Lily said walking towards the King, “Jameson and other humans aren’t like that! The people that brought me here did everything they could to ease my suffering after being used a dumpster for drunk humans! When I came here I was a broken woman who only wanted to curl up in a ball, and die after having my nose and ears ripped off! The whole time I spent in my room I kept praying to die because I couldn’t sleep without nightmares of my past coming back to haunt me then Jameson found me again. I don’t hold him responsible for me suffering because it wasn’t his fault he only treated me like a person not an animal. His family was the one responsible for me being taken from him, and being sold off to a slaver. Jameson truly cares about me, and-”
Before she could finish the Emperor back-handed her knocking her into her aunts home.
“I don’t need lecture from a fool girl!”, he snarled, “I-”
Grabbing his arm I ripped out of its socket, and clean off his body. Howling in pain I grabbed his mouth, and crushed his lion mouth shut.
“You piece of low life shit…”, I said as I poured out blood lust, “Hitting a woman makes you think your fit to rule!? Punishing your people for finding happiness makes your leadership material!? You are no better than the humans you claim to hate! Instead of trying to reclaim your people you’d rather go on a massacre of the human race to fix your problems with humanity! Your father was killed by a piece of shit, and your mother was treated like a dumpster like Lily! I heard your won’t even face your mother even though she has tried to see you many times. You think she is garbage because she allowed herself to fall into insanity from being raped like an animal! Your stupidity literally knows no fucking bounds! Blame the individuals responsible for your suffering not the race!”
Thrashing around he glared at me in anger.
“You don’t get it…very few of your people want to massacre the human race! Most of your people just want a peaceful life yet you want to force your sense of justice down their throats.”, I snapped, “Not only that you went as far as to strike one of your citizens! What kind of leader does that? I thought you were supposed to be a righteous leader not a common thug.”, I said tossing him to the side to go check on Lily.
Giving her healing potions I cradled her in my arms tightly as she clung to me. Seeing us the people started looking at their leader in disgust. Even his son looked at him like he was trash.
“Humans don’t deserve our forgiveness!”, he said after taking his own healing potion, “Why should we let them live!? They will only come back after us again!”
“We want justice for our loved ones not a massacre!”, some of the people started shouting, “The humans that were kind to us don’t deserve our hatred! They see us as people not animals so they deserve the same respect!”
“We want to just live our lives in peace! Our children have already endured enough, and deserve to have happiness.”, the mothers in the crowd said, “Our kids want happiness not war. Don’t involve us in your anger!”
Helping Lily up I glared at him.
“I am not telling you to forgive those that harmed your family. All of those fuckers need to die, but starting a massacre of the human race isn’t going to solve anything. If you provoke them they will hit you back just as hard. I don’t care how tough you are we all will die someday, and once you do those among the living will have to pay for your actions. Do you want your people to be stuck in war for all eternity?”, I stated, “Those that have wrong nonhumans will be brought to justice, but you can’t blame the crimes of the few on everyone. All your going to do is make those Beastman that want to come home not have the means to do it. The moment you start your massacre the treatment of Beastmen will drop dramatically, and that will fall on your head.”
“Father, the Solo Hero is right.”, his son said, “We need to seek justice for our people not a massacre. If we do as you want we really will be no better than animals.”
Unable to respond the Emperor held his head low. Reattaching his arm for him I looked him in the eyes.
“I agree with you one hundred percent that those who abuse, and treat nonhumans like trash deserve no mercy my family included. You can’t kill every human you see because all your doing is becoming the monster that they try to make you out to be. Show humanity that Beastmen are no different from humans on the inside.”, I stated, “This is no longer about you anymore because you’re the face of this nation. If your going to be an Emperor act like one, and show your people how to reach a brighter tomorrow.”
“Very well, I can’t argue that point anymore.”, he said, “My people deserve peace after the hell we went through. I don’t want my children to follow my path.”
“I think there is someone else that wants their family back.”, I stated, “Go see your mother. She lost her husband, and has a son that thought of her as trash. I think she deserves to have her son back.”
Turning around he walked away back to his carriage. Walking up behind me his son apologized, and said that Lily was no longer being charged. Running after his father the two road off together hopefully to see the Emperors mother. Turning back to Lily I hugged her tightly with a warm smile. Apologizing to the people that were in the street we went inside her aunts home to heal them getting them on the sofa the two recovered quickly. Once they were settled I brought Lily into the kitchen so we could clean the ring. Standing her in front of me I wrap hands around hers as we gently scrubbed the ring together. Leaning back into me she was content to just be in my arms so I let her enjoy it. After a thorough drying I cleaned the chain, and placed it on her neck once the ring was reattached.
“Do you still have your ring?”, she asked me.
Reaching into my storage I pulled out a small box I kept precious childhood memories in. Pulling out the flower ring she selected for me the day we bought them came flooding back to me. Roughly six months before she was thrown out the two of us snuck out on a saturday to go exploring the city. With the little pocket change I had I bought us a carmel apple to share though Lily insisted that I eat it while her tails wagged in dispute of that. Finishing the apple off the two of us ran around the market together looking at the various items from around the world.
Eventually the two of us ran into a peddler from the edge of the human territories who didn’t discriminate against nonhumans, one of only a handful I met as a child. Complimenting us on looking like a cute couple Lily bashfully denied it making it even more obvious to him she liked me. Turning to me the man said that a gentleman should always buy his girl a present on a date. Showing me his collection of items I flipped through my limited knowledge of her culture till I spotted a ring with a small emerald heart made of silver on display. My vague knowledge of beastman taught me that silver was far more precious than gold to them, and that they believed an emerald was the gemstone of their God, Nomast. Selecting that ring I bought it for her immediately putting it on her right ring finger.
Looking at rings for me she ended up buying me a flower ring, a red ruby rose on a titanium band, that she thought looked good on me. Paying for it with all the loose change she found cleaning parts of our home I felt terrible that she bought it for me. When I was about to tell her to give it back the man looked at me with a stern look.
“Are you going to turn away this young girls affection? A woman’s heart isn’t something to be made light of. She will only ever give it to someone she loves with her everything.”, he stated.
Putting it in that light I accepted the ring. Placing it on my right ring finger I looked at it with a smile. Grinning ear to ear he said we had bought a matching set in the Beastman culture. The green heart represented a continuously growing relationship, and the red stood for the my dedication to her. Thanking the old man we returned to our exploration of the marketplace. A few years after Lily was taken away I went back to find the merchant only to discover that he had been beaten to death along with his Beastman wife that he kept hidden away from the public. Apparently his daughter came running out to him, and instead of rebuking them he died with them in his arms. Hearing that I vowed to be like him, and never turn my back on the people I loved because in the end I will only be able to take that love to the next life.
Holding Lily in my arms we looked at the rings together for a while before stowing them back to where we usually kept them. Putting her single suitcase away in my storage we walked out to the living room to say goodbye to her aunt, and uncle. Kissing her cheeks her aunt said to keep her head up, and that if I got out of line to whack me on the head. Shaking my hand her uncle said I should start praying for a thicker skull as Kitsune women where vicious with handheld beatings. Before he could give more advice his wife hit him with a skillet knocking the poor man out.
“You best treat her like a princess, you hear! If she comes back crying because of something you said to upset her this skillet is going to beat you senseless.”, she said warning me.
“I promise she will be more pampered than any Kitsune ever has.”, I said with a smile.
Nodding her head she said she would hold me to that as we left her house. Walking along holding hands we visited the market to get her some much needed food. Sampling various stalls I made sure I spoiled her as she deserved it after the morning she had. Seeing us walking around the shopkeepers smiled as they tried to sell us various items for Lily. Looking at everything she was fascinated with everything enjoying the time with me. Eventually heading back to Courtney’s home I introduced the extremely nervous Lily to the three women.
“…hello…”, she said starting to bow.
“Hold on!”, Tetra said, “No need to be so formal with us! You are gonna marry Jameson right? If you are you’re no different from us.”
“Agreed.”, the other two said.
Looking at the floor she tried to argue that as a commoner it just wasn’t right to not bow. Sighing the three women said that when it came to being in a harem all the women were equal. Glancing up at them I rested my hand on her shoulder.
“There is no need to be formal with my other wives. You are one of them as far as I am concerned, and if you wanted to be technical you were in the harem before anyone else.”, I stated.
Realizing this her ears perked up as she smiled at them. Suggesting we take a bath the three women agreed pulling Lily along with them to get in the bath. Telling them that I would be in shortly I went to our room to get the special shampoo I made for Lily. Meeting the four women in the bath I found the three Dragons staring at Lily then themselves. Even though Lily had been in a bad way my healing magic had repaired more than just her ears, and nose. Due to being starved her body had developed improperly so when I applied <Regrowth> it apparently righted those aspects making her chest and butt…well much curvier.
“You have really nice curves.”, Zena said.
“Yeah, you could easily be a model if you wanted.”, Courtney said.
“…no…I don’t think I am that pretty.”, she said softly.
Walking over to her I gave her a once over with my eyes causing her tails to hang between her legs.
“I happen to think you a very beautiful.”, I stated.
Turning a light shade of pink her tail started wagging happily. Patting her head I said I wanted to be the one to wash her head and tails. No longer just the single tail I was happy to see that her other eight tails had regrown as well. Giving me permission I got her near the facet, and put some of my special shampoo in my hand. Scrubbing her tails thoroughly I made sure every inch was cleaned before scrubbing her ears, and hair. Rinsing the shampoo out I helped wash the rest of her much to her excitement. Stealing a kiss from her every once in a while I smiled as she enjoyed herself. After washing myself we joined them in the hot springs to relax and unwined. Kissing the four of them I asked the three Dragon women how trade was going. Giving me a rundown I informed them of my run in with the Emperor. Looking at each other they sighed saying that I could have easily ruined the relationship with the Beastmen if those people hadn’t shown up. Agreeing with them I apologized to them for my stupidity, but said Lily was worth it as was all my wives and lovers.
Getting out of the spring we dried off, and went up to the bedroom. By the time we got there Lily’s tails were completely dry. No longer messy the poofiness had returned somewhat making me want to cuddle with them. Climbing into bed I immediately started to brush her tail out like I used to when we were kids. Watching us the three Dragons kept their mouths closed as I worked tangles out of her tails. Eventually I did all I could, and fell back in bed with her holding her in my arms in bad the Dragons curled up around us before passing out. Kissing Lily I said I loved her very much.
“I love you too Jameson.”, she said with the same bright smile I saw as a child.
Burying her face into my chest we fell asleep together with peaceful smiles on our faces.