This story originally appeared on the Tale April 15th, 2013
That Is This
Two little words that, sometimes, became more than what they might seem on their own. In this case, the words were spoken by a young, orange-tailed Incubi as he looked towards a strange piece of sculpture.
Where that sculpture wasn’t, in and of itself, all that strange, really. It stood in the middle of a roundabout in a slightly more erotic—if there was such a thing in the Realm—part of the shopping district. One would recognize that part of the Realm by the purring and moaning that came from the stores that surrounded the statue and marked the edges of the path that led from place to place. Generally, those who shopped there didn’t quite make it home on time and their Eternals really didn’t seem to mind as, when they came home, they shared the goodies they had found …
… But we were talking about the statue, weren’t we?
Fortunately for the confused Incubi, Tera was walking by, swinging a shopping bag from one hand, a rather satisfied smile on her lips. But, seeing the Incubi, and his confusion, she turned towards him and looked at the statue as well, the smile becoming a bit more … pleased … if that was possible …
“What’s what, Ronald?”
He was quite surprised to see Tera there, more so that she had stopped to ask a question of him … and that she knew his name. He had not too long ago accepted Tera’s offer to come to the Realm. He was more surprised at the time when his girlfriend Violet wanted to come, as well. He still was amused by the color of tail she had, but she said it agreed with her and, as long as she was happy, that’s all that mattered.”
“Your Majesty, I …”
Tera held up one finger, “Ronald … please? You know how I feel about that.”
Of course he did, she didn’t like to be called “Queen.” She was Tera. Embarrassed at his mistake, he looked away a moment, his tail twitching before looking back again.
“Sorry … Tera. I’m confused about this statue. Why would something like this be here? I don’t get it.”
“You haven’t looked it up? You have your book, after all.”
He did look worried now, “I … um … actually haven’t been doing a lot of studying.”
Tera’s smile turned bemused, “Let me guess. Violet?”
He nodded, “She’s changed. Well, not in a bad way or anything, she’s just … refocused, I guess, on other things.”
Tera looked towards the sky and shook out her hair, “Well, you are both still in your first century here. I can’t say I remember many who have managed to do any studying in that time—well, except the white tails, and they have the oddest reading fetish, don’t they?”
Actually he couldn’t answer that question because he was more concerned about understanding the tail that Violet had and what it meant. And he still couldn’t quite understand what she meant when she said it agreed with her.
“Getting back to the statue, if you don’t mind, Tera: what’s that all about?”
Tera’s tail pointed at the statue, “Well, do you want the short, medium, or the I’ll-need-some-hot-choc-to-be-able-to-make-it-to-the-end-of-this-one explanation?”
“Probably the short, if that’s okay. Violet is supposed to meet me here,”
“So she knew about this statue?”
“She said that there was something she wanted me to see. Well, I see it, but I don’t get it.”
Tera set her shopping on the ground, while Ronald tried not to look at what was inside. The whims of someone like her could catch you off guard and then you would be having fantasies about them for days … and she would know those fantasies, too. “Question, if you please? What do you see?”
He turned back to the statue, “I see … Well, it’s … I mean …”
“Can’t quite put it into words?”
“It keeps changing. When I look at one part of it, it looks like something, but then, if I tilt my head, it becomes something else. Look too long and it changes again. It just doesn’t seem to stay one thing.”
“Exactly? Tera, please, I have a headache from looking at it; I don’t want a worse one.”
“What is one of the powers of the Succubi and the Incubi? Name the one that a statue like this could represent …”
He thought about this for a time, Tera not rushing him, but watching his tail as it swished slowly behind him. Then it stopped, and the answer came, “Shape-shifting?”
Tera clapped, a pleased smile appearing as she did, “Exactly right! We can be anyone we want to be, if we want to … or need to.”
“Alright. So it’s a statue that changes … because the one looking at it changes it?”
“Still not seeing what this is leading to, Tera.”
“You do not, at least right now, but you will, eventually.”
He rubbed his eyes and then covered them, “I did ask for the short version, didn’t I?”
“You did. But the understanding was needed first.”
“Shape-shifting statue that is one of our powers. Why not? I haven’t seen all of the Realm as yet, and I’m sure there are other things that will confuse me further still.”
“Given that fact, what’s unique about me?”
Dropping his hands he looked at Tera again, “Off hand I would say that you are unique because you don’t use the power. Or at least I haven’t seen you look any different than when we first met.”
“And that’s why that statue is there: to remind me, most of all, of that power, but also to inspire others to use it if they so desire.”
He paused, then asked, “Why don’t you use it?”
She waved her hand vaguely in the direction of one of the stores, “I discovered a long time ago that playing the role of someone else wasn’t something I enjoyed. Oh, I can do it, and I can do so perfectly … so very much so. But it wouldn’t be me. It’s more erotic to be wanted for being me, the real true me, than it is to play another fantasy. To be wanted for who you are is important. And thus this statue.”
“Still not getting it … sorry.”
She laughed, “You will … Someday.”
He turned away from her and looked at the statue again. Then something odd happened: for a moment, just a split second, it shifted into a statue of … Violet? Then it was gone in the blink of an eye.
“It does, after all, reflect what the viewer is thinking of most … Mind you, I knew everything you both think about a long time ago. It was the reason why I agreed to have you both come here, to be part of our world.”
He looked at her again, not in confusion but understanding, “To thine own self be true.”
“Exactly. You are true to each other and no matter what happens, that will always be. It’s part of what makes …” she paused and just smiled, looking at her shopping bag, “… our Eternals who they are.”
He looked at the statue again, ever changing once more, “Who created it?”
“It wasn’t one being. It is created from each being that comes to the Realm and leaves a part of themselves here.”
“I’m never really going to understand everything, will I?”
Tera pointed behind him, “All you ever need understand is this.”
When he turned around, he saw Violet walking towards him, her arms filled with shopping bags and a promising smile on her lips. Turning back to Tera, he found that she had vanished, her scent of cherries in the wind around him.
And he found that she was right, that all he really needed to understand was that his Eternal was his Eternal …
… though why it was, exactly, that a Succubi named Violet was a pink tail, he’d never understand. He would enjoy it, but never understand it. Maybe someday he would get the nerve to ask Tera about that.
But, for now, Violet had other plans … plans he could see in her eyes …
That was what this was all about.