Stowaway, 115

“It’s actually super interesting being the morale officer,” Matthias said, leaning on the railing and looking out at the ocean. “It’s not just sex.”

Pax, who was well aware of both that fact and the fact that Matthias had been having sex with nearly everyone for the last five days, nodded, continuing to sharpen his knives. “Even if it were just sex, no doubt that could also be potentially interesting,” Pax said. “Given the number of people involved, one would be kept on their toes, I should think. Unless of course the people involved prefer one not to be on their toes, or prefer to pretend toes don’t exist, like that one village near the border of the Sevoshi Desert, remember them? The ones who pretend that feet end in fingers and if you disagree they throw you in foot jail?”

“Yeah,” Matthias agreed. “They’re half over the Dolovin border and so they use that as an excuse to get around the fact that Dolovin law forbids torture to tickle every prisoner for days until they repent. Weird place.”

“Let’s not go there again,” Pax agreed, finishing with one knife and grabbing another. “I’m not ticklish, of course, but I know you found it rather humiliating.”

Stowaway, 114

Kein was on the ship when Pax came up from the cargo hold, which was annoying but would hopefully be mitigated by helpfulness at some point.

“There’s a visitor to the ship,” Keone informed him with a salute. “They came from the ocean, which may be obvious as they’re a merperson. But I don’t know enough about the geographic distribution of merpeople to know if that’s as obvious as it seems and I don’t want to be racist, so I thought I’d add it with apologies if it’s unnecessary.”

“As far as I know, all merpeople live in the ocean,” Pax assured Keone. “The possibility of there being subsets of the species living in inland seas and saltwater lakes does exist but has not yet been explored. I plan to hire expeditionary forces once it’s summer in the places where I have access to such bodies of water.”

“Okay,” said Keone. He looked over at Kein. “Who are they, by the way?”

Easter Knifebunny

What are you up to? Pax texted Nate, as he keyed into Nate’s building.

Nate texted him back immediately, of course. Not much. Just dicking around on Netflix.

They should make a porn version of Netflix, Nate followed up as Pax went inside. Netdicks.

Stowaway, 113

“Captain, can I talk to you for a second?”

Louis had addressed Natalie, but Pax also looked up, though he was driving the ship, so only a little bit. They were sailing east now, having come around the southern coast of Kyaine. The sea was clear. But it wouldn’t be forever.

Natalie was looking at Louis, who had a rather throbbing erection. That was unusual for him, since Denver was standing beside him. “What’s the matter?”

“Nothing,” Louis promised. He looked a little flushed. “I’d like to ask for some shore leave.”

Stowaway, 112

Pax woke up thinking that he should cut his hair today. It was brushing his eyelids, which meant it was too long as it could obscure his vision during critical moments, and then everyone might die and it would be all his fault.

He should get Manuel to do it, he’d taken to doing people’s hair for them and it would look nicer that way than if Pax did it himself. He could do that and then wax himself as well all in one day. A day of hair removal.

As Pax thought all of that, he opened his eyes, trying to sit up without waking Matthias, who was holding him from behind, his body tight against Pax’s. Not waking Matthias was a lost cause since nobody in Pax’s family was a heavy sleeper, but if he was gentle enough, Matthias would just roll over and go back to sleep. He’d had nightmares last night.

Stowaway, 111

“Everything is in order,” Denver said, handing Pax the inventory list.

Pax nodded, scanning it while Nate very casually squeezed Pax’s asshole around his own cock. Everything did appear to be in order, and he hadn’t even gone behind Denver and counted everything himself, because he trusted Denver. “Thank you. I know you found that exercise pointless, but it eases my mind to know that nothing has vanished from the ship in the last two days.”

“I know,” Denver said, patting Pax’s full ass. “There’s nothing wrong with being thorough, and even if there was, it’s not like I opened every crate and barrel and sack, I just counted them and confirmed that they were all where they were supposed to be. Then I compared them to what I counted before we left because I knew you’d ask, and then added all the new supplies we took on just now.”

Pax coughed quietly, blushing. “Thank you, that was very thoughtful. I appreciate you accommodating me.”

Stowaway, 110

“Okay,” said Pax, rubbing his head. “So what have we learned?”

We’ve learned that sweet tasting drinks are evil and we shouldn’t have twenty of them in one night, Nate said, making Pax nod so Pax would know he was correct.

Pax made him stop nodding, because that made his headache worse. “Yes,” he agreed. “We did learn that.” He’d never had twenty drinks in one night before and it had turned out to be an experiment not worth repeating. “We also learned not to make group decisions about body modification unless one of us is sober.”

Right, Nate agreed. Might have been good to have put more than ten minutes of thought into it, too.

“Yeah,” Pax agreed, looking at the flared lizard that was tattooed around his upper right arm in Bevian style. “I like him, though.”

Stowaway, 109

Pax was going to get a neck injury if he didn’t stop going back and forth between all these weddings and wedding parties.

First had been Jade and Pig’s very touching and fast wedding with little in the way of formal rituals. Then, scarcely two days later, Pax had gone with Denver and Louis, who were going with Alse and his delegation, to attend Princess Gabrielle and Prince Franz’s royal wedding in the Dolovin capital, and that had been extremely lengthy and also quite moving, if far more ritualized. That had been followed by an equally lengthy and somewhat staid party at the castle, which Pax had enjoyed. Now, he’d come back and they were on an island having a shirtless wedding party for Pig and Jade and he was pretty sure Nate was drunk, which was unfortunate because Nate was using his body to drink.

Admittedly, that was only two weddings and two wedding parties, so perhaps characterizing what had been a series of objectively happy moments as ‘all these weddings’ had been unfair both from an emotional-supportive and numerical standpoint.

“Uh, okay,” said the shirtless boy serving drinks at the party. “So do you want another one?”

Stowaway, 108

“We are here today to unite two members of this crew in marriage,” Natalie said, standing at the helm in front of Pig and Jade, who were grinning wildly like it was the best day of their lives, which Pax supposed it was, and good for them.

Everyone cheered at that. They were wearing their fanciest clothes, which for some of the crew meant they were wearing an entire outfit. Pax himself was wearing a set of very frilly, lacy, formal dress clothes from the Empire, where Jade was from, with brocade and trim that was in line with Dolovin fashion to represent Pig’s culture. Everyone said it was too fancy for a ship wedding, but there was no such thing as too fancy for a wedding, and besides, Pax had to be dressed enough for himself and Nate, who, if he’d had a body, would probably have worn a shirt to the wedding.

Stowaway, 107

“Thanks for everything,” Robin said, as Pax lingered in the doorway.

“Of course. There’s nothing to thank,” said Pax, nodding. “You know I’d do anything for you.”

“I do. But it always means a lot to me. I know you have to go back now.”

“I do,” Pax agreed. He sighed. “But I appreciate having spent all this time with you.”