Heated Waters

[>> Aimless Vacationing - NetSquare.]

Emerging from the transport gate, Eternalis and Aurora were immediately greeted by a cool air gently blowing through the village scenery spread out in front of them, carrying with it the faint smell of greenery. A green Prog dressed in an elaborate floral-print Electopian kimono greeted them with an enthusiastic "GOOD EVENING!" as it floated next to the gate. The dim light of flickering lanterns running along the pathway before them accompanied an artificial background tune of crickets and frogs, further welcoming the new visitors to the Yoka Riverside Sector, which the wooden sign next to the floating Prog helpfully indicated. The two Navis breathed out in wonder once again as they walked through the gravel path laid out before them, making their way to what appeared to be a small cluster of buildings in the distance. To their side, a steady stream babbled and gurgled peacefully, complementing the nighttime animal activity.

Nearing the end of the pathway, they found the small cluster of buildings to be residential housing, presenting a peaceful-looking town radiating out from a crossroads. A faithful recreation of a rural Electopian village, where the encroaching reach of technology had not yet fully overtaken the Electopian desire to preserve their culture. As such, the amount of people in the streets was far less than that of the Square Area that they had just left. Having a river next to it, the town was split in half, with the other side connected to the crossroads by a well-lit bridge. The other side of the bridge had fewer buildings, but the few that were there were much larger, and the riverbank there showcased a long line of hawker food carts, each one emitting sizzling noises and mouthwatering smells.

"Let's go to that side first," said Aurora.
"Read my mind," replied Eternalis.

Having obtained a quick consensus, they made their way to the food carts, where the smell of grilled meats and faint smoke became stronger, and their minds filled with intense curiosity. Wandering to the nearest cart, they found a portly-looking Navi manning the store, who appeared to be an old man with an extremely bushy white mustache, embedded in a giant white bun. Apart from his head, only his forelimbs were visible. In front of him, a stacked steamer pot was sunken into the cart. "Hello hello! Want a steamed bun? They're fluffy and tasty!" the Navi called out, in a stuffy old man's voice that perfectly matched his appearance. As if on cue, the steamer lifted its lid, revealing a variety of white buns, each marked with different colors on the top. Aurora came forward, craning her head to have a better view, while Eternalis hung back, content to simply watch from the side.

"Hoho! Both savory and sweet fillings! Would you like one, miss?"

"I'll take two -- any one of the sweet ones for me. Which one do you want, Eternalis?" said Aurora, putting up two fingers as she turned back to him to confirm.

"Give me one with some meat, then," answered Eternalis.

"Right away, then, two of our best buns coming up!" the Navi said, materializing a pair of tongs out of nowhere, picking up a pair of buns from inside the steamer and tossing them into a brown paper bag. "There you go, please enjoy!"

"Ah, thank you," said Aurora, gingerly receiving the bag. "How much do we have to pay for these?"

The old Navi tilted his head in puzzlement. "Oh? Unoperated Navis don't need to pay. Are you new around this area?"

Aurora's eyes widened as she waved her hands in denial. "Oh, no, no, no! We're only temporarily taking a break from being operated. We're from SciLab, and our operator is on a trip."

"Ah, is that so! My mistake, then," laughed the shopkeeper Navi. "Well, don't mind it, go ahead and keep it! Please tell your operator to come visit this stall if you like it. Try to visit the other stalls, too. Are you going to be staying here for the night?"

"O-Oh! Is that really okay? Thank you very much, and yes, we are," said Aurora.

"I see. The inns are up the hill road. The nearest one is the Mamoru Inn, and has a lovely view of the river. If you're going there, tell them DumplingMan sent you," said the shopkeeper, sending the two on their way. As they left for another stall, Eternalis turned to give a small appreciative nod, which was promptly returned by the bun vendor Navi with a knowing wink. One awkward smile later, he was back with Aurora.

His partner was currently stopped in the middle of the pathway, sinking her teeth into the steamed bun. "Mm?" she wordlessly exclaimed. Her eyes closed shut and her shoulders shivered as she continued chewing, lost in the simple pleasures of the sweet bun. Eternalis could only watch his partner stuff herself with food for the first time in her life, unable to interrupt. Eventually, Aurora's eyes shot open in realization, only to meet Eternalis's amused expression, struggling not to let his laughter escape. Her cheeks, formerly stuffed with food, now slowly turned scarlet as she clutched the brown bag in her arms.

The two stared at each other before one of them broke the silence. "Um... did it taste that good?"

Aurora blinked for a few moments, before she sheepishly grinned, her eyes wandering off to the side. "Y-Yeah, I guess," she said, wanting nothing more than to bury her head in the riverside sand at that very moment.
"Let's sit down here," said Eternalis, gesturing towards the small bench on the riverside with his head, as his hands were both currently preoccupied with carrying a sizable amount of food. Aurora was similarly burdened, as she stared at the tiny sitting space with a furrowed brow, as if deep in thought. Before Eternalis could ask her what she was thinking of, her body began to glow and shift, and the clothes that she had had on vanished into thin air, leaving her with her usual bodysuit on instead.

Taking her seat on the wooden bench, she turned back towards Eternalis, as if expecting something. When he met her eyes with a blank stare instead, she sighed. "Come on, change out of that armor, too. Or are you going to sit on the grass?" At that point, he realized the small space left on the bench, and how his bulky armor would most definitely be unable to fit on said space.

"Oh, haha, right," he replied, as his figure was enveloped in light as well, and the silhouette of the plate armor receded into his body, replaced by his more slender slime body. As the box of grilled meat wobbled about in his arms, he stared down at the empty bench space for a moment before he steeled himself and took his place on it. The size of the bench meant that he was taking quite a large portion of it as well, even with his best efforts to occupy as small of a space as possible. Looking down at the box in his hands, he saw that it was already almost completely empty, with only four skewers of meat left. Three empty wooden skewers sat to the side; Eternalis recalled when Aurora had, without realizing it, scarfed down all of them while walking from stall to stall, before wordlessly passing the box back to him earlier.

Aurora looked confused. "You don't want any?"

"Ah, no, it kind of looked like you wanted to finish the whole thing later when you handed it to me, so go ahead," replied Eternalis, still holding the box.

"No, no, I gave it to you for you to eat, so you go ahead," said Aurora, holding up her hands in refusal. Eternalis shrugged and picked one up. Examining it, he realized that his mouth wasn't exactly designed to tear meat off. Deliberating it for a moment, he decided to toss the entire thing, stick and all, into his mouth. This elicited a shocked gasp from Aurora, but Eternalis seemed to be unaffected by the pointy end of the stick being swallowed by his slimy form. Instead, the humanoid monster looked downwards as the meat skewer was crushed and squished within his body, sending the strange sensations of the meat's taste, texture and aroma all in his chest, instead of in his mouth.

"Mm!" he murmured, satisfied with his first experience with food consumption. "It's good!"

Aurora watched with interest as Eternalis quickly repeated it with two more skewers, swallowing them whole, leaving only one in the box. "... Oh," he said, realizing that the vendor had given them an odd number. Picking up the skewer, he stared at it for a second before he turned to Aurora. "Here," he said simply.

"Ah, no, no, you eat it! I don't mind," she said, raising her hand.

"It's not fair if we don't share it, so come on. Open up, you can bite off half of it," said Eternalis as he aimed the skewer at her mouth.

Aurora's expression went blank as her eyes went from the skewer in front of her, to Eternalis's innocent-looking expression, to his insistent hand gesturing it towards her. The way he held the stick, it wasn't being handed to her--he was intending to feed her. "Wait, what?! No!"

"Huh, why not? I'm just sharing some food with you! Come on!" continued Eternalis insistently, feigning innocence, though his teasing tone of voice betrayed his real intent.

Blinking a few times, she collected her thoughts, before she bit down with gusto, nearly snapping the skewer before leaving about a third of the meat on it. Eternalis then tossed the stick into his mouth with a smile, while Aurora turned away her rapidly reddening face as she chewed on the meat; the taste of food was unable to register in her mind for the first time that night.

"Hey, come on, I just wanted to tease you a little. You look cute when you're caught off guard, I just wanted to see that face again," said Eternalis.

"Cu--?!" "Come on, let's start on these next."

Her exclamation cut off, Aurora turned around, and saw Eternalis holding a box of fried batter balls in his hand, stabbed through the middle with some tiny toothpicks. Realizing that the previous scene was about to repeat itself, she reached over quickly and snatched the box from his hand. "Hey! Wai--" cried out Eternalis, right as Aurora quickly picked up one of the toothpicks and devoured one of the fried balls whole.

"Ah! H-Hot!" She realized her mistake quickly enough, as she burnt her tongue on the freshly made snack, causing it to fall back into the container with a splat. The burning pain made her jaw slacken, and her expression scrunched up into a sulk as she endured it through.

"Aurora..." muttered Eternalis, as his own expression turned into a weary smile. Holding out his hand, he bent forward to move his face closer to Aurora. "Hey, stick out your tongue, let me look at it," he said. For some reason, Aurora meekly complied as she stared down and stuck out her tongue wordlessly. She felt Eternalis's touch on the tip of her tongue before it withdrew, and a cooling sensation restored her taste buds to their former condition.

"Sorry about that, that was kind of my bad too," said Eternalis with a warm smile. Staring down at the pack of six in her lap, she picked up a fresh one by its toothpick, and began to gently blow on it to cool it down. After a little while, she lifted it from the box, placing her other palm under it in case she accidentally dropped it. Aurora then proceeded to present it to a surprised Eternalis, who had assumed Aurora wanted the first bite for herself.

"Come on, let me feed you too," said Aurora, her voice still containing hints of sulking.

Eternalis's surprised expression was quickly replaced by a beaming smile as he devoured the gently cooled ball of fried batter whole. His smile was mirrored by Aurora soon after.
Having finished their meal, Eternalis and Aurora made their way up the hill towards the inn that they had been referred to earlier. The grand archway and entrance gardens leading to the Mamoru Inn seemed to belong more to a five star hotel rather than something that could be called an inn. Illuminated by luminescent flowers growing in hedges placed strategically about the area, the place looked like a sacred garden inviting weary visitors into its fold. Beyond the fountain, a carpeted doorway led to the inn's reception area, beside which a flower-print robe-wearing Prog enthusiastically greeted the two Navis.


Waving to the Prog in appreciation, they entered the inn. In contrast to the grand entranceway outside, they found a modestly decorated reception area, with wooden building structure, and furniture made of woven bamboo. Even so, they managed to mix in some modernity with the decorations, such as the lighting, where certain parts of the wooden structure had slightly wider gaps, from which soft lighting was emitted, creating a warm atmosphere even as it was dark outside. Before them, some coffee tables and chairs sat to the side, and a few dark oak doors were situated next to the arrangements. Beyond all that, further in the back, a reception desk stood at the ready, with two larger double doors flanking it to the left and right.

They would not need to approach the desk, however, as a figure approached them and greeted them with a bow. "Welcome, customers. How may we help you?" the Navi said, appearing to be modeled after a traditional Electopian theatre doll dressed in an elaborate robe and sash. The voice seemed to be female, while the Navi's face was difficult to discern as either gender, due to its porcelain doll-like appearance. Even her expression was static like a doll's, which somewhat unsettled him.

Still, Eternalis managed to respond to the inquiry easily. "Er, yes, we're looking for a room. We were referred here by a... DumplingMan?"

"Just a moment..." the doll said, closing its eyes briefly, before opening them again. "Ah, yes, we were informed of your arrival. What kind of room would you like?"

"I don't know... What do you suggest?"

"That depends on your preferences, but if I may, I would recommend our Grand Suite with a private spring on the first floor."

Eternalis was taken aback slightly. "Recommending the top option right away, huh..." he mumbled, when suddenly-- "We'll take it."

"Understood, we will prepare the room immediately," the doll-like receptionist said. Holding out her hand in front of her, her fingers danced along what appeared to be an invisible keyboard, which only announced its presence with the rippling air effects that were caused from the receptionist's keystrokes.

Eternalis was less concerned about the impressive display, and more about Aurora's interruption. He nudged her side and whispered to her. "Don't tell me this is another one of your 'privileges'? Do you have some offshore money or something?"

Aurora tilted her head, and replied at a normal volume. "Hm? No, not really. These kinds of places don't tend to cost that much, right?" she said, turning towards the doll-like receptionist.

"Yes, that is correct. As elaborate as this place is, it takes a lot less to maintain server space compared to a real world hotel. Simply put, this is an elaborate advertisement for the actual inn in the real world. As such, we may prepare any of the rooms available in the Mamoru Inn for preview to our potential customers in the real world. We charge a small maintenance fee for the preview in order to finance the server, but aside from that, it is not very costly, especially as the initial development of this "Cultural Replication Project" was sponsored by the local government."

Aurora shrugged, turning back to Eternalis. "Well, you heard her. Anyway, even if it did happen to cost a lot, I can always ask Reverus for reparations. I've still got that over him."


Eternalis's eyes narrowed at the last bit that she had let out. Unfortunately, Aurora chose not to divulge anything on that end even with his prodding, instead answering him with a knowing giggle. While he was imagining what kind of blackmail he had on their operator's father, his train of thought was interrupted by the arrival of a Prog from one of the side doors, dressed similarly as the greeter in front.

"Thank you for waiting. Please allow the Prog to escort you to your room."

"FOLLOW ME!" the Prog loudly announced, as it zipped off towards one of the double doors at the back, which swung open automatically to reveal a transport pad. "THIS PAD WILL LEAD TO ONE IN YOUR OWN ROOM! ONLY YOU CAN ENTER AND LEAVE THE ROOM AS REGISTERED GUESTS. A SECONDARY EMERGENCY EXIT PAD IS ALSO AVAILABLE INSIDE THE ROOM. PLEASE ENJOY YOUR STAY!" the Prog yelled out, before zipping off elsewhere.

"Well, ladies first," said Aurora, dashing past Eternalis towards the transport pad, though her words didn't match her actions, as her figure didn't disappear when she did so. Only when Eternalis joined her on the transporter did the pad finally light up, and the two vanished into their lodgings for the night.
The suite was quite spacious, with the main entrance hall branching out into two large rooms. To the right, a luxurious bedroom with a centerpiece of a bed that surely needed a classification above "king-sized", complimented by tasteful furniture and dim lighting from faux lanterns. To the left, a huge leisure area that merged a kitchen space and living area, opened up to a scenery of beautiful forested valleys from high above. The room itself, with its elegant furnishings that seemed quite magnificently large and awe-inspiring would have been already amazing by itself, but the real reason anyone came to this type of lodging was outside, beyond the leisure area.

An enormous terrace overlooked the valley scenery with stone flooring housed an annexed hot spring pool, its size making it look like a veritable swimming pool rather than one made to soak in. Circular sunken lamps were installed into the flooring of both the pool and the terrace at regular intervals to provide illumination. Tiny gaps in the boulders that bordered the pool on the far end trickled out small streams of water into the main pool, above which a foggy cover of steam hovered. To the side, a steady little stream poured from a rocky wall into a bamboo pipe-fed stone reservoir. A pair of water ladles were hung just above the reservoir that they gently bobbed about with the water in it, which was constantly overflowing into a sunken trench around its perimeter.

"Grand Suite, huh," said Eternalis in amazement, as he surveyed the room, passing through it to reach the terrace. Aurora was similarly awed as she followed suit, gazing at the far-off hills. As she turned back to look towards their room, she raised an eyebrow in interest. Eternalis noticed her behavior and turned back as well, though the strange detail took him a while to notice.

"There's... no more floors?" he commented. Looking up at the building they had just exited, it seemed to be embedded into the side of a mountain, and had no floors above or below them. In other words, it was an entirely different building from the inn they had just seen, which was definitely a multiple-floor building.

"Guess they weren't kidding about it being the first floor," commented Aurora.

"I guess we're not jumping out the window if there's a fire... Come to think of it, didn't that Prog mention a second emergency exit?" said Eternalis, searching around the area. Noticing a small set of stairs off the side of the terrace, he descended it to find a smaller level just off to the side, where another transport pad laid, somewhat obscured by overhanging greenery. "Guess that's the one," he said, exhaling in relief. Turning back to the pool, a thought came to his mind, and he looked off to the side. The terrace was wide open to the suite itself, and there were no clear indications of any doors.

"It's a private spring, so there's no one here to bother us... but there's only one pool, so I guess we'll have to take turns. Do you want to go first, Aurora?"

Aurora's eyebrows raised, before her lips curled into a mischievous smile. "What, so you can peek in on me?" she said, her voice taking on a little mocking tone as her hand went up to her lips in a haughty-looking gesture.

If his face could blush, Eternalis would have turned scarlet, though all that happened was him waving his hands in denial. "Wha-- No way! I wouldn't peek in on you!" he exclaimed.

A subtle change came over Aurora's eyes, though the rest of her expression didn't change. "Kidding, kidding. I do have something else to do real quick though, go ahead and try it out first. It's not like you wear that much in the first place anyway if I walk in on you," she said, before heading back into the room.

"Eh? Something else to do? Where are you going?"

Aurora's head popped out from the corner. "Hm? Ah, no, I'm not going anywhere, I just have to talk with Tail for a bit. That tailor in Electown? I promised her earlier, remember?"

"Oh yeah, you did. Alright, I'll take you up on that offer, then," said Eternalis, watching as she disappeared once again into the room.

Looking down at himself, he realized that he really wasn't wearing all that much, besides the bits of armor on his arm, legs and back, and purging the armor from his body took less than a second. Pouring the cold water from to the reservoir to the side over himself, he then stepped into the pool, forming little ripples away that slowly disappeared as they extended away from him. It didn't take long for him to sit down and sink into the pool up to his neck, reclining on the edge of the pool as he allowed the perfect warmth of the water to penetrate into his core with ease through his half-solid slimy composition.

Time seemed to melt away as his thoughts wandered towards the day's events. Laughing the day away, without any real aim, just having a good time. Thinking back, however, it seemed quite clear that Aurora had made a lot of effort for the day's events, while he mostly went along for the ride. The sound of the quietly pouring water nearby allowed his mind to wander further, back to the Sharo Net, where they had converged, and he had made up for what he had done.

Or did I?

Raising his left arm against the light of the moon above, he traced its grotesque-looking appearance, observing how it roiled and bubbled and squirmed about. She had said that she wanted to find a reason to trust him again? After the atrocity of what he had done to her, which he still had very vivid memories of, Eternalis was conflicted. His partner's stalwart desire to find some justification to be with him nagged constantly at him as he allowed his arm to fall back into the water. Watching the water ripple about towards him, he began to wonder--what had he done to deserve it?

"What did she even save me for...?" he said to himself absentmindedly.

"Do you want to know?"

The voice made Eternalis sit up with a start for a moment, before he recognized its tone. However, its owner was nowhere to be seen. "Aurora? Where are you?" he said, looking around the area. However, no matter where he looked, he wasn't able to catch sight of his partner. The voice he had heard came from somewhere in front of him, but all that lay before him was the pool, an empty terrace, and the mountainous scenery beyond.

"It doesn't matter. Do you want to know?" the invisible voice asked again, almost like a record.

Eternalis' brow furrowed slightly as he tried to discern the voice's origin again. It didn't take him long to hang his shoulders. "... Mm, I'd like to hear it," he answered. Silence followed soon after, until Eternalis almost spoke up, before being preempted by Aurora's voice again.

"Back when I got restored from cold storage as your Support Program, I started out as a fresh face. I didn't remember any of my 'previous life', and everything seemed new and exciting to me. We had a lot of adventures, made some friends. Not knowing anything, spending those dreamlike days--I was genuinely happy." Her voice choked for a moment. "... Then I had my memories restored. Everything in the old days came back to me. It was ridiculous, I was so angry. I wanted to be sealed away, so I could forget all of it. But the memories we made together came to me, and that anger turned to fear. I was terrified, that I was about to lose all that I had again. So I decided to try to push you away. Thinking back on it now, it was such a shitty attempt, I can't believe I even tried... You never treated me any different. Nobody did. That kindness was painful... The mask that I tried to put on just tore at me every day." Aurora stopped again, as an errant sob escaped from her throat.


"... The day you were infected by that glitch, I wanted to try to make amends. I wanted to face my past and apologize to you. But before that happened, you were almost taken away from me. It was like some sick replay that I was being forced to watch, like I was cursed to never be happy. I was terrified; I just wanted to die just so it would stop. --So I had a crazy idea, what if I just sacrificed myself to try to save you? If I got deleted, that meant I could die knowing I tried. It was a perfect suicide; it was that kind of selfish wish that made me stand up to you. At least, it was, at first, but it just took five seconds of me being jacked in for all of that motivation to just disappear. I didn't want to die, I wanted to take back my own life. I wanted to just give up, and live my life as a coward. But that was all because I was more terrified of... whatever you were back then." Her breathing was now ragged, trying to wrestle with the memory of that day.

"I almost did give up. But back then... I saw something. When you jumped in front of me, and then got hit by that bomb attack--I don't know if it really was you or if it was just my imagination, but your eyes looked scared back then. I realized that you were just as scared as I was, and I hated myself for it. I was about to run away because I was scared, but I forgot--I forgot that you were just as scared, if not more. After that, it was still scary, but... it was a lot easier to fight. Because I made up my mind, that I was fighting for someone--someone I loved."

At the last sentence, Eternalis's eyes shot open, and his right hand balled up over his chest. His jaw slackened and he blinked wordlessly for a few seconds, before he stood up, as if to leave. "I'm sorry, I must be hallucinating. Some weird voice that sounded just like Aurora just confessed to me. It can't really be her. There's no way it can be her. I won't believe it's her until I can see her face," he said. With a steeled expression on his face, he stood resolutely as he stared ahead at the spot where the voice had come from. For a while, there was complete silence. Then, at the far end of the pool, something gave off a small shimmer, and the clear water suddenly appeared to part.

Sitting at the edge of the pool, hugging her knees to her obscured face, Aurora materialized in the water, without a solitary thread on her pale-skinned body. Illumination by the dim lighting installed into the flooring gave the scene a feeling of ethereality, taking away Eternalis's breath and reasoning for a moment. After collecting himself, he stepped forward. The water rippled gently about his feet as he stopped in front of her. "Aurora," he called out. After a few moments, Aurora turned her sights up to see a hand held out towards her, and Eternalis's smiling face, outlined by the shimmering refracted lights from under the water.

Heart rate increasing rapidly, she extended her own hand out. Scarcely a moment passed before she was hauled out of the water forcefully by that hand, and embraced tightly within his arms. Her body stiffened as memories resurfaced of when she was last restrained as such, but that was quickly overridden as she felt Eternalis's head cradle itself on her shoulder. Despite the odd sensation of being embraced by the slime monster, she felt safe now, more than any other place in the world, as she hooked her own arms around him as well. "I love you too," he whispered.

The embrace lasted for what seemed like ages, during which both of them stayed almost perfectly still, neither wanting to be the first to break it. Eventually, however, Eternalis moved to loosen his grip on her, drawing back his head at the same time. The sudden break of contact between their front sides was a sudden shift in tactile and temperature sensations for Aurora, causing her to squeak out an unbidden moan. Much to her embarrassment, she immediately clamped her mouth shut as she made eye contact with Eternalis, both wide-eyed.

"Eh--Ah, I--" she stammered, before she felt a finger pressing on her lips. The eyes that were staring into hers broke contact to look at her lips, before returning to her eyes.

"I want to kiss you," he said, plainly.

With his finger still on her lips, all she could do was nod weakly. Then, the finger traced down to her chin and cradled it as he brought their lips to an exchange for the second time. Unlike the rough, one-sided oral violation from before, this session was mutual, and they both explored each other's mouths. Aurora's human tongue was no match for the dexterous slimy extension that served as Eternalis's tongue. Yet the playful way in which his subtly sweet-tasting tongue invited Aurora's in caused her to take charge with fervor. She could feel his hand move from supporting her chin to sifting through her hair, to coaxing the back of her neck as she expressed her previously restrained feelings.

The hand that was behind her teasingly traced the small of her back before pulling her up towards his body, though this time Aurora could feel something different as she was pressed up against it. Her own torso's curves were being slowly traced by his body as she sunk into it, and his gooey body undulated and shifted against her skin as he breathed. Familiar jolts of pleasure coursed through her, especially magnified against her more tender regions, and her body reflexively arched forward to further reinforce her counterattack kiss.

Suddenly, just as Aurora's body was about to hit its limit, Eternalis broke off the kiss. A trail of saliva and slime dangled between their lips as their half-lidded eyes continued to stare fixedly forward. Having been denied release, but still mired by her own restraint, Aurora breathed wordlessly, her face contorted into a desperate expression. In response, Eternalis only gave a mischievous-looking smile.

"Alright... I got what I wanted. Tell me what you want," he said. Even so, despite his dominating role for the moment, he lacked the embedded bodily desires of a proper male body, and so all he could do was lead into the desires of his partner's, and take them into himself as if they were his own. This was in the most literal sense, as down below, his slimy body had already begun to merge with Aurora's fluid-like destabilized midsection, and her senses and thoughts were trickling in slowly and mixing in with his own.

"Touch me," she said, though her lips did not move. Her consciousness was interlocking with his mind, and her body's aches and wants were directly fed to him. Faced with the unfamiliar new sensations of a human body, Eternalis faltered, and he stumbled forward, his weight bringing Aurora's body down with him. Fortunately, his body managed to form a springy slime bed around her before she hit the ground, its warmth protecting her from the cold shock of the stone flooring. She was now staring up at the night sky, overlaid by Eternalis's face, whose expression was now thoroughly slaked by lust, thanks to her own. His own thirst for the new sensations of her body fed back into her mind, causing an endless cycle of increasing desire.

Her body, now splayed out over the edge of the pool, was now covered entirely with his body, including her previously untouched nethers. As the pressure of Eternalis's slime body now undulated about her, she could now feel it spread out over her soaked folds, parting them ever so slightly and revealing her hidden nub underneath, while her rear hole was also similarly teased. Thoroughly encased within the slime prison, the blue goo acted as an infinite amount of little mouths, wetly sucking and teasing her most sensitive external points. Her voice leaked out without restraint, her moans indicating her helplessness to resist. Her meagre breasts, her pliant ass, her toughened arms, her toned legs, her tensed midsection, all of it received an assault of alternating squeezes and caresses.

Her lower holes parted slowly with each gooey spasm, and her defenses fell with each attack. Then, just before she felt her body's last wall was about to fall, Aurora's mind transmitted a request to her lover. He complied immediately, covering her mouth with his own as he pushed himself deep inside of her waiting depths, flooding both her pussy and ass with a torrent of blue slime. Her shrieking moan was drowned out by Eternalis's tongue as her insides clenched around the invading semi-solid fluid. When her inner walls contracted, the slime hardened, and when they relaxed, its form became more liquid, allowing it to coat each and every fold inside of her. Her hands dug into the slime underneath her, which reciprocated in turn. Interlocking between her fingers, Eternalis's hands formed in them, pushing hers back down as he continued to probe deeper into her.

It didn't take long for her to be entirely filled. In response, the wet goo inside of her began to move and expand, causing her lower body to arch and contract. Her legs pulled themselves involuntarily out of the water towards her, leaving them open to being lifted above her as the slime's pressure began a pistoning motion in and out of her. This caused Aurora to twist, buck and thrust her body wildly within her restraints, as the shared pleasure built to its climax.

The orgasm seared through their minds as a white-hot wave of pleasure. With their minds in sync, Aurora's sexual crest was accompanied with Eternalis's own, and her body's spasms welcomed a crushing flood of destabilized slime in all three orifices. Waves of goo raged within her nether regions, with her clenched walls sending a copious amount of it bursting out into the pool in front of her. Her throat received a similar deluge of warm slime as she sucked on Eternalis's tongue, riding out the ripples of pleasure into its finale.

Towards the end, the two were reduced to a pile of spent energy on the side of the pool, with Aurora feeling the slime bed underneath her breathing in sync with the weight above her. Her head lolled over to her right, and her nearly shut eyes gazed into her lover's by her side before their consciousness sank into nothing.
The stinging stench had long numbed her sense of smell, yet the dread and revulsion never ceased. Crackling and bubbling, an endless sea of malformed slime spread out before her eyes, over a hollow-looking sky. In the center of it, a swirling mass began to rise from the putrid oceans--though it would be more appropriate to say it was birthed instead, as its features formed sequentially, one by one, to form a vaguely human-like silhouette. The combination of claws and scales that encased the figure on its body quickly turned it into a clearly beastlike abomination. Two red eyes emerged from what seemed like its face. However, that visage, too, fell away, and a rotten mouth emitted a bloodcurdling snarl as five more eyes split open below its current pair.

Even just its appearance was already enough to root her in place through sheer terror alone, but its eyes were still wildly darting about. Suddenly, the beast turned its eyes towards her, and her mind turned white. Try as she might, she was unable to move her body as she wanted, as her lower mental processes had completely shut down. The beast howled, spitting out its caustic fluids everywhere as it lunged at her. Powerless as she was, all she could do was clamp her eyes shut and endure it.

A long time passed, but she could not feel any pain. Rather, she couldn't sense anything at all. It was as if closing her eyes had shut off not only her sight, but the rest of her senses as well. She tried to open her eyes, but she could only still see nothing. She tried to listen, but she could only still hear nothing. It was not darkness, nor silence, but "nothing". Was she unconscious? Sleeping? Dead?

Her question was answered for her as her senses abruptly returned. Unfortunately, she was still in the same scene as before, in the middle of the rotten seas of purple muck. This time, however, she was moving. Fighting against the beast, and apparently winning. Launching powerful attacks against it and sending it reeling. The beast launched counterattacks against her, but they seemed to be ineffective. Her attacks overwhelmed it, and it collapsed and fell. "We beat it." Who said that? It wasn't her. "It's me." The voice talked again, but she didn't hear anything. It was as if she was thinking it, but they weren't her own thoughts. "Those are my thoughts. Look down."

She looked down, even though she didn't mean to--her body was out of her control. She saw her own body, pure and pale and bare, covered in a thin layer of blue slime from the neck down to her feet. Despite the slime's viscosity, she could still move her body freely, as if nothing was impeding her movement at all. In fact, it felt like the slime was moving for her instead of her using her own strength. Her midsection was tinged a deep blue, deeper than the slime surrounding her. Her hand absentmindedly sank into it, and passed through, all the way to her back. Nothing suggested that it was unnatural, she felt no discomfort in spearing herself with her own hand. Pulling it back out, she looked back up, and saw the beast rise up once again, ready for another fight.

Her fists went up instinctively, readying herself by widening her stance and gaining some distance between her and the beast. Her mind felt clear again, except for something next to her. Strange, there was nobody next to her. There was somebody inside of her, with her. Her arms were doubled next to her; she had four arms now--two of her own, and two of that person's. "Let's beat it together this time. I have to show that I can be your partner, right?"

She found herself nodding, and clenched her fists in preparation. He clenched his as well, as they both eyed up their opponent. The heat of battle charged her up from within, providing her with fighting spirit, as she closed her eyes to focus briefly.


When Aurora opened her eyes again, an entirely different scene opened itself to her. She was lying flat on something soft, covered by something warm. Dawn was filtering in from somewhere nearby, and she could hear some light breathing next to her. Her mind quickly registered that she had just had a dream, and she was in a bed, under a blanket. A quick look to her side confirmed that the light breathing was from Eternalis, who was also resting in the obscenely large bed, that they had seen in the Grand Suite just last night. Nothing about what had been in the dream just prior was real, except, perhaps, that there were two Navis, and their hearts were linked together in sync.

Aurora exhaled briefly. Immediately after, she could hear the sounds of breathing next to her being interrupted by some brief mumbling, followed by a long yawn. The blanket shuffled about as she turned to her side, and he turned to his. All the turmoil and spirit from her dream melted away, and groggy-looking half-smiles were exchanged as the day started.

"Good morning."
As they still had some time until they had to leave the inn and make their way towards Sharo Net, the two opted for a leisurely few moments in bed. As they stared up at the ceiling, covered in nothing but the thick blanket, Aurora recounted her vivid dream to Eternalis. "Sounds like a pretty crazy dream," he commented, after listening intently to the story.

Aurora chuckled. "It's too bad I woke up before I saw the ending. Fighting you didn't exactly end too well for me the last time I tried."

"Really? Last night didn't seem to go too badly," teased Eternalis with a mischievous grin.

"Y-You know that's not what I meant!" yelled Aurora as she sank into the blanket, practically steaming from the ears. Laughing at his own joke, Eternalis braced for the usual electrified angry jab, but strangely enough, Aurora didn't have anything more to say about the matter other than burying herself under the covers. He motioned to move the blanket, before he caught sight of his hand. A thought came to his mind, and he withdrew his hand, staring at the bundle under the blanket.

"Uuuugh, you're too mean."

"... Hey, Aurora. Can I ask you something?"

"Hm?" came the muffled response from underneath the blanket.

"You're okay with this, right? With... me, I mean."

The blanket moved slightly, before a head of silver hair peeked out from underneath it, and Aurora's eyes followed suit. Her gaze met his for a brief moment before she rolled her eyes away, with the rest of her face still underneath the blanket. "I'm not repeating anything I've already said," she muttered, her voice carrying a hint of sulking once again.

Eternalis's eyes went wide, before he burst into laughter. "Hahaha! I guess that's the best answer I'm going to get. I mean, unless you're up to do that mind-melding thing again," he joked.

"... I wonder, how did that work?"

"Hm? What do you mean?"

"The 'mind-melding thing' yesterday. It happened when your slime mixed into mine or something, right?" said Aurora, sitting up on the bed. At some point, she had put on her usual base suit, though without the armored parts on. Looking down at herself, she spread her palm over her midriff. While it was solid at the moment, and covered by her suit, when she prodded it a little further with two of her fingers, it wobbled and undulated about, in a manner that betrayed its strange quality of being half-solid, most similar to her partner's body. Eternalis watched quietly, mesmerized by the strange sight.

"I want to try it again. From what I can remember, it felt a lot easier to handle than the usual vocal transmissions; maybe we can use it somehow in battle," she said, a serious look on her face as she clenched her fists.

Eternalis was slightly taken aback, though he nodded. What she said certainly made a lot of sense, something like becoming a single mind would be as close to a Soul Cross as they can get, since Aurora wasn't technically a fully-fledged Navi and seemed to be unable to trigger the protocol. "A-Alright, let's try it again. How should we do it?" he said.

Aurora contemplated it for a few moments, before she turned and sat at the edge of the bed, with her back turned towards him. "U-Um, if possible, I'd like not to repeat what we did yesterday," she said, adding an "at least not so soon" under her breath. "So uh, try touching my back, and I'll try to manually force it into fluid form. Tell me when you get something, okay?"

Eternalis nodded, prompting Aurora to close her eyes, turn towards the wall, and expose her back to him. Slightly obscured by her silvery hair, Eternalis could see her midsection warping its shape slightly as he reached out tentatively. When he touched the base of her spine, he felt no resistance in pushing forward, as if he was reaching into a blank hole instead of something semi-solid. Strangely, Aurora didn't seem to be reacting either, as his sunken hand turned into a sunken elbow, and a shoulder, and...

"Eternalis? Are you done? It feels like something's weighing down on me, could you not push down on me?"

[I'm not pushing down on you.]

"?!" The strange voice seemed to echo inside of her head as her dream came rushing back to her. It was exactly like what she was experiencing right then, but now it was a lot more vivid. She could almost picture Eternalis's face as well, even with her eyes closed.

[Talking without talking,] the voice said. [It's a weird feeling, but it's like I'm thinking something, but it's being fed back to me like I'm listening to a speaker playing my voice back to me.]

"Eternalis? That's you, right?"

[Yeah, looks like it worked. Nice!]

"It feels kind of hard to breathe for some reason, though, like something's weighing down on me--"

As she opened her eyes to see what exactly was the cause of her problem, her sentence stopped before it could be completed. Her mouth stood half-open at the sight before her. [Er, right, sorry about sinking my whole body inside of you. I can't see anything right now, but I tried to thin out the mass added as much as I could, so it's mostly just that your body's a lot denser now. Still, increasing your body density only goes so far, so, uh, I... kind of filled you out a bit.]

"This goes beyond 'filled out'!" she exclaimed. As distraught as she was, she couldn't stop herself from trying to heft her newfound chest up with her hands. She had to admit, there were some times when she wished that she had been designed with a bit more eyecandy, but the enormous pair that she found herself equipped was more fitting for Navis made for much more risque purposes.

[I know, I know, your senses are fed to me too,] he returned, causing her to instinctively jerk her hands away. Right, she'd forgotten about that particular detail.

"Ugh... you sure know how to make me mad about things I actually can't be mad about... Though, seriously, these are actually impossible to move around with now. I feel like I strapped on a couple of lead-filled balloons. Let's scrap this idea, I can barely stand."

[Okay, okay, hold on, I have an idea. Could you put on your armor, too? With your visor.]

"Mm... Alright..." she muttered reluctantly, summoning the armor that she usually wore on top of the bodysuit. The breastplate part no longer even pretended to cover her chest area now, only managing to wrap around the top of her endowments. The remaining parts of her armor apparated somewhat properly, though she could feel a tight fit on them as well. Her visor came last, on top of which two circular imprints etched themselves into the material. Suddenly, she could feel her vision abruptly double, as if her eyes had been duplicated slightly in front of her head. [Whoa, okay, that's a little confusing,] Eternalis said, before it corrected itself, and she could see straight again. [Okay, let's see...]

Aurora then felt the weight on her upper body slowly decrease; she could see her chest visibly recede inwards and her ability to breathe more properly was restored. However, this change was not without its repercussions. "Waaah--!!" Spreading outwards from her midsection, she could feel a wriggling mass rapidly coating the entirety of her body from the neck down. The added weight of Eternalis's slime body distributed itself out into a thin layer between her body and the suit, and the process took barely more than five seconds or so. Aurora found herself squirming and jerking about as the process ended, and the slime began to settle. Behind her, she could hear the sound of slime sloshing about in a container for some reason, which halted soon enough.

A worried voice echoed in the back of her head. [A-Are you okay?]

Shockwaves ran through her body as she started to catch her breath, after which she began to examine her body. "Give me... haa... some more warning... damn it... haa..." she breathed out. Her armor had taken on more or less the same fit as before, thanks to her body returning to normal from its excessively lurid prior form. Most notably, her breastplate had returned to covering her upper torso, though oddly enough, she could still feel a tighter fit compared to before--was the armor jutting out a bit more than she recalled? Even stranger than that, though was the fact that she could not feel any of the earlier sensations of the slime under her suit. However, when she tried to clench her fist, she could definitely feel the subtle presence of a thick viscous layer that wasn't there before.

"Huh, it's... just like in that dream," she muttered. "Eternalis? Are you there?"

[I'm here,] he replied. Suddenly, Aurora felt her arms move by themselves, clenching and unclenching her fists. It didn't feel like an external force imposing the movement on her, either; rather, it felt more like her body was assisting her on movements she had wanted to do unconsciously. [This feels unreal... It's not like before when I was in that GMO, this actually feels... like I'm you? What about you, Aurora?]

"I can't quite describe it either. Maybe more like having a second mind on my end," she said. Lowering herself into a stance, she attempted to throw a few punches, and was surprised at how much strength she felt in it, in comparison to the force that she put initially into it. Walking around, she also felt as if she was barely exerting effort into it, yet when she looked around, she had already crossed the room to the outside. "It's some kind of freaky power-up, too... I take it back, this was a great idea," she laughed, as she stared down at her newly augmented body. Her midsection, originally milky white from the color of her bodysuit, was now a deep blue, matching the color of her armor.

Soon after, that blue color began to swirl as a fountain of slime began to pour out of it, eventually reforming Eternalis's body and returning Aurora's body back to normal.
"Thank you for visiting us. We hope to see you again soon, have a safe trip." "BYE BYEEEE!" "SEE YOU LATER!"

The rest of the morning was a lot less eventful, with the two checking out of the inn. After receiving their farewells from the receptionist Navi and a pair of enthusiastic Progs, the two walked down the path that they walked the previous night. Glistening in the morning sun, the river looked just as serene as it did the previous night. The line of stalls that had occupied the riverbank, however, was now gone for the moment, with only some closed-up carts indicating their previous presence.

Their destination was no longer the entrance they used previously, but the opposite end of the simulated town, where a park area housed a large square flanked on all sides by large trees. It featured a circle of flowers in the middle, where the image of a flock of birds arriving and coming was displayed. If one were to attempt interacting with them, however, they would only turn out to be projections, as it seemed like they hadn't prepared any interactions on that end.

Their aim wasn't for the park itself, as they only needed a relatively secluded area. The reason would be soon shown as Eternalis extracted a small data sphere from inside his body, and placed it on the ground. The ball of light shimmered as it sank into the ground, and turned into a transport pad.

Eternalis turned to the SP beside him. "Well, this was fun. Thanks a lot for the fun day, Aurora, I really enjoyed it," said Eternalis, beaming for all he was worth.

"You're welcome, I had fun too," replied Aurora, returning the smile with one of her own. "Let's go home."

With that, they both stepped through the telepad, and disappeared, with the pad itself blinking out of existence shortly after.

[>> Visiting Home - Sharo Rogue Net.]