Chapter 3: Look Into Your Eyes

 “It's okay. He's gonna be alright. Everything is alright. I'm alright.” Izzy mumbled, trying to contain his anxiety.


Nelson had disappeared before, a guy like him would do that from time to time. He'd always come back the same nihilistic punk save a few scars or that one tattoo. And this wouldn't be a problem if Izzy and Nelson weren't so co-dependent.


It was strange to see the two of them together, The hermit and the prince. The truth was that the Prince was much more hot-blooded then everyone thought he was. He'd curse himself, his friends who tick him off, his fiancées' family for not approving of 'stupid farm folk', and the very real fear that he wasn't doing anything with his life.


Having the hermit around helped him cope and even answer his problems. He was the Prince's pet project, if the outcast could do well in this world, so could he.


So he maintains his circle of friends, smiles at the onslaught of his future in-laws, and generally thinks well of himself, so long as the hermit was around to remind him that life was harsh and he was blessed.


“Did he get a date without telling me? Did she hurt him? Think he was easy prey? I swear to god if it was that Jinko I'll tear her fucking claws off and...”


Izzy was like his mother's species at heart: seemingly calm and collected, yet wholly violent and ready to take action.


“excuse me?” A young girl inquired.


“I'm sorry miss, I hate to be rude, but I'm waiting for a certain mister who'll talk my ear off about this or that.”


“Oh, maybe I could meet him? I'm new here and don't know a lot of people.”


Izzy gave the girl a quick once-over:


“Human and woman. Strange, not a lot of humans around these parts. Maybe she's a mimic? She does sound sort of shy. Nah, not a lot of mimics around these parts, definitely nobody who'd approach a man on her own. She definitely looks cute though. Short, nice legs, great taste in heeled boots, practical, yet feminine. Probably a little insecure about her height. Lots of girls who wear hears are like that I suppose. I wonder what Nelson would think about that...”


“GAH!” Izzy shouted pulling on his face in agony.


“I'm sorry I troubled you! I'll just go away now!” the girl attempted to scurry off, but not before Izzy caught her shoulder.


“Wait, listen I'm sorry I snapped at you darling, it's just that I haven't seen my friend in awhile, and I am mighty worried about him.”


Izzy turned around putting both hands on her shoulders.


“Now I need to know, have you seen a guy, about yer height, freakishly long hair, and a real crooked demeanor?”




“ahh, well sorry for the trouble.” Izzy sighed, slumping back onto the steps.


“Name's Izzy by the way. Nice to make your acquaintance anyhow.” Izzy said, reaching out his hand.


“My name's Neil, and there's no need to worry, I'm pretty thick skinned.”


“Neil? that's a strange name for a girly, wait...” Gears clicked, cogs did turn, and Izzy made the connection.


“NELSON! WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?! I HAVEN'T SEEN YOU IN FOUR DAYS!” Izzy shouted, pulling Nelson into a tight hug.


“Izzy please, I'm suffocating.”


“And I was choking on my own guilt earlier, you'll live.”


“Guy hugging another guy in womans clothing. This is how rumors are born.”


“Shit, your right.” Izzy replied, quickly unclasping Nelson.


“Okay man, you've got a lot of shit to explain.”




“Where have you been these past four days.


“Laying low, didn't want to get you involved if worse came to worse.”


“If what came to worse?”


“I kissed the President of the Student Council.”


“And my Mom jumped over the moon, what else is new.” Izzy snickered.


“Izzy, do you honestly think I would lie about something like this.”


“Oh heavens, 'Never joke about those who can gut you'.” Izzy realized, remembering Nelsons steadfast rule.


“WHY!? HOW?! Good on you though man. That's a great catch you've reeled in. Have you asked her out yet?”


“I panicked, My sister's fault, and no we've barely spoken since.”

“Man, This is just like when your friend has a scuffle and they won't tell you about it.”


“I'm sure you heard, I was called to the office and she seems to have forgotten about the whole thing.”


“Nelson...” Izzy put his hand on Nelson's shoulder.


“The reason your wearing woman's clothing...did she castrate you?”


“No. I joined the drama club and I think I'm being hazed.”


“Are they raping or otherwise injuring you?”


“No, I just gotta dress like this twice a week.”


“You look like a cute girl.”


“I'm trying my best to contain my excitement.”


“It's a serious improvement though, your clothes are all pressed, your hair doesn't even resemble the ruckus you had before, and your smiling a lot.”


“Acting.” Nelson said waving his arms.


“Your pretty good at it then. Maybe you should put those abilities to the test and act confident enough to ask the President out.”


“Never, she's over it.”


“You think a succubus, let alone a Liliam is just going to 'get over it'? I'll be damned if history hasn't told us otherwise.”

“If 'it' was how hard they got their royal asses spanked in the Second War, then ya, They got over that pretty well.”


“But only because they got nailed in the Third War.”


“Ah the sado/masochistic relationship of human and demon. First they degrade us, then we kick their ass and degrade them. And they like it.”


“I can't even tell if your being ironic right now.”

“Get over it.”


“Neil: If you don't address this, It is going to bite you in the ass.”


“Come on? What she gonna want from a guy like me? She's probably ashamed of this whole mess.”


“Then why did she call you to the office?”


“Bureaucracy, they finally caught onto the fact I'm a delinquent who doesn't participate in state mandated extra-circulars.”


“So this mistake they've been overlooking for three years and suddenly they realize it now? Not only that but they call you to the council office? Not to be insulting, but your being dumb right now.”


“That's a convincing case, but she's just probably just sending out feelers. She'll be disappointed when she comes to the end of the rainbow and finds a mountain of shit.


“Your forgetting something. What is it that Royal Monsters crave the most?”


“Innocent underage boys to satisfy their never-ending cock-lust.”


“Well your not wrong, but really it's The under-dog. Someone who gets shit done despite his stature and when you think about it, you've got the perfect set-up: dark-past, grim-outlook, despised by most of your peers, defeatist attitude, surprisingly feminine, two-steps from becoming a sex slave...

“Your point?”


“If you so much as win a participation award your her wet dream.




“Look alive.”


“What?” Neil spun around, but found nothing. Then spun himself again and found Izzy missing.


“Looking for someone?” a tender voice asked.






“I don't believe we've meet, my name is Lily, I'm the president of this school.”


“Oh...hello” I stammer, trying my best to appear feminine.


“My-my name is Anathema I just transferred here. P-Pleasure to meet you.”


The drama club had given me a strict, cover story. 'It's easy to act like a frightened little girl' they said, 'Just forget your pride as a man and let your fear overtake you!'.


“That's quite a curious name. You wouldn't happen to be a member of the drama club would you?”


“Oh, yes, I am.”


“Charles is quick on the draw, isn't he?” Lily said softly, with a soft smile.


“Seems that way.” I responded. Trying to blush like a girl would at the maybe-innuendo.


“It's quite rude of him though, bringing on people behind my back like this.” She sighed, looking wistfully in the direction of the theater.


There must have been a portable ray of sunshine, some arcane object that shone on this woman wherever she went, so the world would not have to live a second without her beauty. Because every time I've met her she's looked divine. This must be a spell.


“By the by, would you happening to be on your way out?” Lily asked, snapping me awake.


“Oh yes! Sorry, for being a bother, I'll just be on my way.”


“Oh nonsense, It's always a joy to meet someone new. Do you live close by?”




I didn't lie about my residence because the drama club told me to, I did it out of habit. It was a precaution really, if nobody knew where I lived, nobody could show up at my house half-drunk in order to bother me, or worse. It's not like someone couldn't just look me up, but that's an extra step and you know how to deter thieves? Make them work for their marks.


Seriously, pretend for a moment that your a cat burglar and that you make your living stealing from vulnerable suburban houses of wealthy single men. Are you really going to bother with a house that has two locks that gives the same return as a house with only one?


What makes this precaution works is that nobody really has it out for me. I'm pretty invisible at our school, casual jokes and public shaming aside.


Which is why this woman, and this situation terrified me.


Normally, brutes let me be after a week or so of torment when they realized I was more trouble then I was worth. I would sneak out of school a thousand different ways, I'd not come on random days to throw them off, I'd eat spicy food to regurgitate into their mouths if they forced themselves on me, within a week, I'd be left alone. I made it hard on them.


But they were small fries, and Lily is a fucking sea monster. If I tried any of that on her: the consequences may be dire.


This subtle journey to a house that wasn't mine, this Odyssey into pleasantries I was not prepared for, this 'walking together' was a death trap.


“So you see, I had the men tear down the walls and build them back up as window panes so we could grow a small garden in the lobby without having to build another greenhouse . Although We won't see the pay-off for another century, it sure looks nice.” Lily said, smiling at me.


I loved that garden. It is my favorite spot in the entire school. The fact that it was always crowded and never getting to go there only made me love it more, want it more. And the fact that Lily built it made me want her a little bit more as well. Her black horns that curled at a perfect angle around her head, those purple translucent wings she spread so casually while we walked, and that tail that flicked and swayed as if she didn't even have to think about it. Really just the worst kind of death trap.


“So your father works for the rail company?”


“Yea, that's actually why we moved here. That new connections to Codec and all. I don't really understand much of it though.”


Codec was the Paladin's home base in the guise of a city. For the longest time it was one of the few cities to deny citizenship to monsters and incubi. It also sits on the Unamed Library, which is said to contain the most arcane tombs concerning magic and realms that certain species may have arrived from into real-space, so It's a cultural goldmine. They'll occasionally export a text or two and their own agents to other cities in exchange for technological advances and various artifacts, but they recently consented to having a rail station built in their city. God knows why.


I lie though my fucking teeth.


“It must be tough moving around all the time.”


“Oh it's fine, I get to know people better this way.”


“How so?”


“People are actually really eager to share their secrets. Just not to those they see every day. If you only see someone for a month or so you get comfortable enough to open up to them, then you share you darkest secrets with them because you can't bear to keep them to yourself and you wish you could ship them all away.


Literally Verbatim from “Life on The Rails” an auto-biography of a giant who helped to built many of the initial lines.


“Interesting. Yes...” Lily stared to the sky for awhile, as if contemplating what I just said.


“Well then, what if I shared something with you now, and by the time you leave you'll tell me if it's something worth keeping, or something to be sent down the rails.”


“Sure shoot” Oh boy.


“I own this city.”


“Pardon?” I said, mistakenly in a foreign accent.


“The officials are in my pocket, the education system bows down to me, and the police don't even realize any of it. I could text eight numbers and I could make any single person in this city disappear off the face of the planet...”


Lily came at me, fast. Faster then I've seen anyone move before. With one hand she pulled my waist toward her, the other shot below my shirt and to my crotch.

Her diamond eyes are sharper then ever.


“I wave a hand at the fruit market and prices fluctuate, beckon at the pluming and the filtration breaks, blow a kiss to the heater and the town becomes an inferno. I own this city, I own YOU 'Anathema of the Rails'. Neil, I'm letting you know this as a courtesy, because catching my attention brings certain, consequences, as does lusting after me.”


“Catch you attention?” Fuck me. Because I've already fucked myself over plenty today.


“Exactly, now go, run home to your fake family. Because if you continue to pester me the least I'll have done to your is deportation.” She pushed me away and I simply allowed myself to fall down.


“Deportation huh?”


I was angry. Really fucking angry. So angry I might actually have to do something. So I ran up to her, she didn't flinch, just stared, unblinkingly at me with those gentle eyes turned fierce.


“How dare you? 'I'll have you deported'?” putting my lips beside her ear I whisper:


“I'll have you killed.”




For a minute Lily wondered if he would actually do it. Have her killed. How would someone like Neil go about it? Would he just run at her one day with a knife? Nonono, he said he would 'have' her killed, clearly even in his spite he would have a design better then that. Poison? How accessible was her water supply? Hired gun? Who in town would take a teenagers money? Perhaps he would try to get help from some noble family? The Paladin's have a fondness for these sea towns after all.


She snickered, and then she laughed, and then cackled in a way only a demon could.


“FINALLY” She thought.


“Something unexpected! Something exciting! Something REAL!”


Lily regained her Compuserve, retracted her wings, and combed her hair back. Another thought ran though her mind.


“It was pretty nice to be held for a change.”




And back home, one thought chased though Neil's mind.


“She said my name. She actually said my name.”