Chapter 30

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Knowledge is power.
It’s true. With the right knowledge, you can stay one step ahead of your enemies. But there are some things it’s best not to know. Like the exact date and method of your inevitable death. Or the graphic details of how ‘cubi care for their eggs.
I stood awkwardly on the stairs as, down in the living room area, Alex and Lilly shared their horror over one of my specie’s most disturbing features.
I looked down at my tail. While most bird tails are almost entirely composed of feathers, angel and ‘cubi tails are more like the standard tail you’d find on a cat, dog, lizard, et cetera, except with stiff feathers on the sides that act as rudders in flight. But on a ‘cubus, the feathers stop part-way down, and it becomes a long, thin and muscular appendage intended to… well, it’s designed to help force eggs into someone else’s body.
I sighed. A little too loud.
“Oh, Luke.” Alex turned around, startled, “Uh… how long have you…”
“It’s… it’s not like we really have a choice.” I walked over and sat on the other couch. “If a ‘cubi egg doesn’t develop inside someone else, it… their magic never works properly.”
“They need to absorb magic during development,” Alex said, “Right?”
I nodded.
“Why not just use… you know, the actual parents?” Lilly asked.
“There’s usually more than one egg. Keeping them together past a certain stage can cause them to absorb each other’s magic, and then… it doesn’t end well. And males can have some bad reactions to… having an egg in there. So…”
“Right.” Alex shuddered. “I suppose that does make things more difficult. Still, why not just use another succubus? Promise to return the favor?”
“That’s usually what they go for. Though sometimes it’s hard to find someone willing to make that deal.”
“So… what happens if–if they can’t find anyone?”
“Then you have to pay someone. Takes a few thousand dollars, but lots of people are interested in some quick cash.”
“A few thousand? Just for one egg?”
“Would you let someone shove their egg inside you for an extended period without significant compensation?”
They both shook their heads.
“I know it’s appalling, but… there’s no other option.”
“Okay, Luke. Different subject.” Alex broke the silence. “I never really got an answer from you before. Do you want to stay here? The Lab can take care of you if you want.”
“Y–” I hesitated. “Um… I don’t know.” This place seemed like a dream come true. Safety. Shelter. Food (I assume). I’d been on the run my whole life, and I was pretty sick of it. This could be my chance to finally settle down. Maybe live a semi-normal life.
But it wasn’t just the fear of attack that kept me on the run. It was necessity. Stay too long in one place, and eventually… they’d see the other side of me.
“It doesn’t have to be permanent,” Alex said, “You can come and go as you please.”
I nodded. “I’ll… I’ll give it a try.”

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