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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/campfires/item_id/2017584-Beneath-all-Hope
Rated: 13+ · Campfire Creative · Fiction · Erotica · #2017584
Can these hapless, ticklish, furry heroes escape from the dreaded Blackwold Estate?
[Introduction] Blackwold Estate. How original. The name itself sought to have warned people away, let alone the brooding old building's uncomplimentary reputation. One that was distinctly well-earned and carefully accumulated over the hundreds of years of devoted work on unlucky tenets and adventurous visitors.

An ominous reputation does well to match an ominous visage. The great House squats on the edge of Arkhime County, glaring through a robust rank of over-fed trees at the distant road as if in a stew of revulsion and curiosity. The House looks for all the world as if it's tempted to suddenly rise up and slouch away from the swampy yards and over-grown grounds surrounding it, leaving out-buildings and greenery alike behind as its only marker, eventually in turn to be swallowed by the encroaching marsh. Alas, no such decency could be found here. Abandoned and old, crooked and looming, the House waits for delinquents to steal into its myriad hallways and forgotten rooms once more, rooted to the spot with the (im)patience of a Pitcher Plant.

Such victims seldom are in the forthcoming; determined would be the school-boy boy willing to trek the miles of weedy paths to the House on his colleagues' dare. A group of teenagers, more mobile and adventurous, had in fact encamped in its musty hallways for some time in the past; indeed longer than they had intended, and apparently to a greater respect for the old building forever afterwards. It was only the most inquisitive of civic inspectors to realize that it was there at all, much less the one to determine that it ought to be knocked down. A representative of those such-minded had once tried, but after a lengthy and unaccompanied tour of the premises, had later switched tack, campaigning actively against all disruption of the 'venerable, historic site'.

Well, historic the location certainly is, but well acquainted with concrete public and genealogical records, it is not. Rumours waft and drift around the building like mists rising from the mire. Who was Lord Blackwold? Why did he so often shun the town proper, even the other gentry who would have been happy for relations? What were the final purpose of his eccentric lists of chemical reagents, the only real trade he would consent to in the town, and the mutterings of strange lights and unearthly sounds as night? Why did so many of his maids either ultimately return to the village, nerves tattered and lips sealed, or vanish, resigned in a distinctly suspicious manner despite the reclusive aristocrat's flourishing of all necessary documentation before anxious Officers of the Law?

And, perhaps most importantly of all, who are you, and what are you doing here?

The Cast:
-Our Heroes
Electra; F/Electric Eel
Eva; F/Deer
Connie; F/Giant Otter
Wolf; M/Poodle
Poncho; M/Giant Panda
Nate; M/Fox (The Gods' butler, as of late)
Fletcher; M/Coati
Rommel; M/Fox

-The Blackwolds
Hubert; M/Human (German scientist[deceased])
Herbert; M/Rat (first anthro, father of Primo [deceased])
Kathleen; M/Rat (first anthro, mother of Primo [deceased])
Primo; M/Rat (son of Herbert and Kathleen [deceased])
Diapole; M/Rat (son of Primo, now a ghost [deceased])
Victoria; F/Flying-fox (maid, now ghost [deceased])

-The Magicians
Leona; F/Lion (Diapole's queen and a powerful magician [deceased])
Lysanzk; F/King Cobra (Leona's assistant and secret cleric of T'Calu [deceased])
Mirror Ghoul; F/* (Sentient trap that temporarily imprisons and replaces people in the mansion. Will answer to a magician)
K'Li; F/Demon (Takes the form of an attractive female sheep. Servant of T'Calu)

-Others
Tickonum; */Goo
T'Calu; */God (Goddess of erotic tickling. Source of Leona's power)
Eye of Ketelen; */Major Spirit (T'Calu's go-between with mortal worshippers)

Author's Note: When making a character please fill out the following 'template', or something like it. Just so we can get to know your character from the start.

Name:
Gender:
Species:
Appearance:
Personality:
Human Equivalent Age:

-Ticklish Rating (out of 10; 5 being for the average ticklishness of the average person, 1 being completely un-ticklish)-
Feet:
Legs, Hips, and Buttocks:
Belly and Sides:
Chest, Underarms, Arms, and Neck:
Miscellaneous Info:

-Thank-you!


Name: Connie Courtnouse
Gender: F
Species: Giant Otter
Human Equivalent Age: 18

Appearance: Connie is covered in smooth, dark-brown fur, which she keeps short to show the exceptionally soft under- layers. In practice, this also exaggerates all touch to make her seem nothing short of jumpy at even small touches. She has dense head-fur of a brunette shading.
         Thick bangs, large dark eyes that smile frequently, button nose, dark specklings of fur on her face reminiscent of freckles, and short whiskers can combine to make her simply adorable.
Luxuriantly soft, cream-coloured fur covers the underside of her limbs, tail, feet, belly, and through her chest, coincidentally drawing the eye to her most sensitive spots. She prefers to wear flip-flops, loose jeans, and a sleeveless shirt that shows just a bare hint of flesh above her jeans.

Personality: More than a little reserved and quiet but nonetheless open and accepting to people that get to know her. Just wants out of the mansion and is bothered by colleagues fighting. Enjoys tickling, fortunately for someone so receptive,but everyone has their limits...

-Ticklish Rating-
Feet: 6
Legs, Hips, and Buttocks: 6
Belly and Sides: 9
Chest, Underarms, Arms, and Neck: 7
Miscellaneous Info: Underside of her muscular tail is actually extremely sensitive (7), but she loves having her tail stroked -just watch out how far up you go, since its got a nasty set of reflexes.

Connie dozed awake slowly, prompted by the acute cold sensation pressing against her midriff. Head twirling like a figure-skater, she slowly raised herself up on her front paws, looking around vaguely. A chaotic blending of antique furniture surrounded her, heaped with dust and liberally strapped down with cobwebs. Dim light crawled nervously in from a high set of windows punctuating the upper meter of the walls periodically, the outsides barred in pursuit of some security purpose. At least, three did; the fourth wall loomed at the rear without illumination, broken instead by a pair of heavy banded doors and a steep staircase to another portal, tucked up in one corner like an after-thought.

"Hello? is anyone here?" She called out to the gloom, slowly getting up and edging towards the concrete staircase, head spinning back and forth as if things were expected to change suddenly.
Name: Electra Amazonia
Gender: Female
Species: Electric Eel
Appearance: Electric Eel Morph has long and slender arms and legs, and a serpentine body, has no breasts as she is not a mammal, no hair, has slimy skin that gets irritated when it get dry, small dark eyes.
Personality: Quiet and serious, has a Job as an Astronomer studying the mysteries of space, fears tickling because an incident in her youth, getting tickling by her friends caused her to release such a powerful shock it left one friend dead and the other badly injured. She never wants to hurt someone like that again
Human Equivalent Age: 30

-Ticklish Rating (out of 10; 5 being for the average ticklishness of the average person, 1 being completely un-ticklish)-
Feet: 1
Legs, Hips, and Buttocks: 2
Belly and Sides 6:
Chest, Underarms, Arms, and Neck: 10
Miscellaneous Info: Secretly very Romanticist, enjoys Halloween and reading about Supernatural Phenomena, even if she doesn't truly believe in it. Also loves reading Fantasy and Sci-Fi Novels.

Electra opened her eyes and rubbed her head, she felt a bump there as if she had been knocked on the noggin, she looked around. The room looked like something out the 19th Century, a black velvet chair was in one corner, next to it a bookshelf filled with old books, she saw she had been laying in a ring of velvet pillows on the floor...Where was she? And why was she here?
Name: Wolf W. Wolf (He was Adopted)
Gender: M
Species: Poodle
Appearance: Poofy fur on head, arms, legs, upper chest, and tail. Fur is short, 1/4 inches, in all other areas - makes it easier to put on clothing. Fur is black patches, with white in between.
Personality: Very friendly, very athletic, very smart. Well rounded coordination. Enjoys having fun.
Human Equivalent Age: 17

-Ticklish Rating (out of 10; 5 being for the average ticklishness of the average person, 1 being completely un-ticklish)-
Feet: 8
Legs, Hips, and Buttocks: 7
Belly and Sides: 8
Chest, Underarms, Arms, and Neck: 5
Miscellaneous Info: Wolf might be a poodle, but he was raised by wolves. Thus, he tends to have the mentality of a wolf-type - protective of his friends, antagonistic towards those who try to harm them. That being said, his stepmother loves giving him some truly ridiculous, and embarrassing, haircuts, including putting pink bows in his hair.

Wolf groaned, as he felt his head, feeling the bow his mother had put in it. "What hit me?" he asked, as he removed the ribbon, and put it in his shirt pocket. He looked around; the place was pitch black. "Actually, a better question is, where am I?"
Name: Nate Greenfield
Gender: M
Species: Fox
Appearance: Slender and wiry with dark orange fur along most of his back and limbs with white fur along his front, a bit on the shorter side with loose-fitting cargo pants and a t-shirt.
Personality: Incredibly relaxed about absolutely everything. Very quiet and respectful, often leaving people alone unless there's a distinct reason for them to be talking, but also not afraid to speak up if he needs to. Tries hard to avoid confrontation, but sometimes his curiosity draws him into strange situations.
Human Equivalent Age: 18
-Ratings-
Feet: 3
Legs, Hips, and Buttocks: 10
Belly and Sides: 8
Chest, Underarms, Arms, and Neck: 7
Miscellaneous Info: Wandered into the manor willingly, curious as to the rumors surrounding it and wanting badly to explore. While not a believer in spectral phenomena, he entered the house with an open mind about what he might find.


While there was definitely nothing really welcoming about Blackwold, there was nothing really pushing Nate away from it either. Not as he stood there in front of the imposing building, its looming darkness towering over him like a huge wave of darkness ready to wash over him and pull him under. It did not need to, however, as Nate had every intention of going in and finding out just what was hiding within the walls of the place.

Any other person might have been anxious standing in the shadow of the ominous facade, but Nate was not a very anxious person. The closest he felt right now was the excitement to see what was inside.

Stepping up to the surprisingly intact wooden doors, eager to see his prize after wandering through the gloom for nearly an hour, the fox rapped his knuckles across the surface of the entrance. The sound was too soft for anyone to hear properly, but to his surprise the door opened from the force of his knuckles. Curiosity at its peak, the young man stepped over the threshold of the house, not paying attention as the door quietly shut behind him.

"Hello?" he called out loudly, just in case anyone else had decided to venture in as well. The greeting room was large indeed, with many places for him to go. Where would he start?
Name: Poncho Chong
Gender: M
Species: Panda Bear
Appearance: Big, chunky, black and white fur
Personality: Lazy, but also mischievous
Human Equivalent Age: 18

Ticklish Rating
Feet: 9
Legs, Hips, and Buttocks: 5
Belly and Sides: 9
Chest, Underarms, Arms, and Neck: 5


Poncho sat in a corner of the library and watched the eel wake up. She glanced at him but apparently didn't see him as more than another piece of furniture in the room.

After a moment he cleared his throat. "Ahem! Are you feeling okay?"

She whirled around, startled. "I thought you were a chair!"

"No, I'm a bear," Poncho said. "My name is Poncho. What's yours?"
Name: Eva Murphy
Gender: F
Species: Deer
Human Equivalent Age: 25

Appearance: Eva has short, soft light-brown fur over most of her body. Her chest, stomach, and inner thighs all make up a cream colored underbelly of very fine fur. Shoulder length red-brown hair adorns the top of her head, and her face is delicately featured along with a pair of large green eyes. Overall, her lithe, fit body and features exude a sense of calm and gracefulness. At least, when she's standing still.

Her normal attire consists of a comfortable, long jacket, which she tends to wear open. Underneath is a black sleeveless undershirt that only comes down to just above her bellybutton. Below that is a pair of hip-hugging jeans. When not wearing her jacket, her underarms and a good amount of midriff are exposed to the open air. She wears no shoes, as her hooves are all she needs. Her hands are normal, with the "hoofed" portion forming her fingertips.

Personality: Eva is somewhat of a loner, and comes across as aloof despite her best intentions to be friendly. She tends to be pragmatic, but also easily distracted, sometimes interfering with her goals. She is also instinctively skittish around predatory species. She actually enjoys tickling, as well as being tickled, although she is very reluctant to admit it.

-Ticklish Rating-
Feet: 1 (hooves)
Legs: 3 (8 for her inner thighs)
Hips: 9
Buttocks: 3
Belly: 9
Sides: 6
Chest: 7
Underarms: 5
Arms: 5
Neck: 2
Miscellaneous info: Eva's reaction to tickling is to try and resist and not react as much as possible, pretending it doesn't tickle. Although in practice, this has only encouraged her ticklers on. Her cream colored underfur is extremely soft and pleasant to the touch. But stroking it, especially against the grain, tickles her terribly.

Eva woke up slowly, looking around at the unfamiliar surroundings. The last thing she remembered was the train getting stuck at Arkham station, and she had to spend the night at the inn. But… this didn't look like the room from last night. She was sitting up in some kind of canopy bed, and she was fully clothed, in her jacket and everything. Cobwebs lined the corners of the walls, and the furniture had a layer of dust that must have taken at least a year. Eva's head still felt a little groggy, and this was all very confusing. She thought she heard a young woman's voice coming from somewhere. Eva swore she heard a "Hello? Is anyone here?"

"Hey!" Eva called out. "Can someone hear me?" She stood up slowly and made her way to the heavy oak doors, trying to figure out what was going on.
The door was impassable. The huge knob, looking and feeling more like crude iron than brass, turned when Connie pulled on it, and the entire portal shivered slightly at a powerful tug, but over the years the heavy wooden slab had warped and twisted in its frame, becoming as firm and hard as the stone walls flanking it.

"Damn it." She muttered, apprehension giving rise to vulgarity as she turned around back at the cavernous cellar.

No amount of tugging budged the door, and Connie carefully crept back down the mountainous stairs, worried breath the only noise in the dusty gloom. As she made the last of the crude steps, an irregular concrete spur stabbed into the base of her flip-flop, catching and pitching her forward.

"Oomph!" Dust rose like a flock of frightened birds as she landed on one of the discarded furnishings, spraying up in a mushroom cloud as she coughed and rolled off. After minutes of coughing and rubbing the tears from her eyes, she noted something gleaming in even the faint light.

A round metal circlet, connected to a thick roller by a short length of chain, with another lying a foot away across the board. The cuff was dented and lay in line with an immobile metal circle at the far end. Connie made a face as she recognized the stretch-rack at last under the dust, the wood looking like it had once been lovingly stained and polished, yet the faint worn area where the victim's shoulders would have been and the scoring on the roller giving the impression of great wear in its time.

Next to it, she could now make out a pillory, draped with cobwebs thick as blankets, resting against an x-frame and a pile of carelessly discarded stocks of different lengths and fittings. Nerves already whining like an over-strung violin weren't quietened by the realization that nearly all the piles of furnishings surrounding her were heavily-used and once immaculately kept items of restraint equipment. Concentrating on not considering what that could mean for her and what had once been done in this room, she looked for another method egress..

Confident that if nothing else she was alone, at least, Connie tried one of the two doors sunk in the wall, a mixture of relief and fresh trepidation churning as this one swung in easily. Her nose wrinkled as a ghost of acrid, chemical smell reached it, from yet another door in the side of this next plain little chamber, but more important was the canopy bed in one corner and the beautiful but bewildered looking doe resting in it.
Meanwhile Electra was talking to the Mysterious Panda

"I guess it figures I'd mistake you for a chair." Electra sighed "My species doesn't have the best eye sight."

"Don't worry about it." Replied the Panda who had introduced himself as Poncho "Do you have any idea how to get out of here? I'm hungry I could use some bamboo."

At the mention of food, Electra felt her own stomach rumble

"Is the door locked?" Electra asked

"Afraid so." Poncho said "Even my great bear strengh can't open it."

"There must be something we can do..." Electra started to pace, then her bare foot touched something unusual, a metal ring of some sort.

She was standing on a trap door! She pulled it open and down below was pure darkness, nothing could be seen but it might be an escape!

"I think this might be the way..." Electra said as she started climbing down the ladder
Wolf looked around the room, his eyes adjusting to the dark. Then he saw it - a door. Groaning, he stood up, and walked to it. The handle nearly froze his hand, and made a horrible noise as he turned it, and the hinges screeched as he opened the door. He stepped into the next room, and looked around again.
[I like "Poncho" better than "Pancho". Please change!]

Poncho followed Electra down the ladder. "I don't like all this darkness!"

"Don't worry," Electra said. "I have excellent night vision." She stepped off the last rung of the ladder. "This seems to be a room filled with... Oh My God!"

"What?! What is it?"
Eva looked up from the bed at the opening doors. At first, she was afraid that this was whoever was responsible for putting her here. But looking at the young woman standing in the doorway, that didn't seem likely. She was young, looking to be around 18. She was dressed casually in jeans and a sleeveless shirt. Considering how musty it was in this room, the attire seemed appropriate, Eva realized she felt warm in her jacket. Despite briefly worrying that she was a cat or a wolf of some kind, she appeared to be an otter, which made Eva relax a little. She was a cute girl, but her face showed that she was just as nervous as Eva.

"Hello…" Eva said to the girl. "My name is Eva. What's yours?" The girl told her that her name was Connie, and took a couple steps closer. Eva scooted to the edge of the bed, and motioned for Connie to sit beside her. As Connie sat down next to her on the soft canopy bed, Eva noticed the girl's sleeveless shirt stopped just short of her jeans, and exposed a thin line of short, light underfur. It looked very soft, and Eva had an urge to reach out and stroke it… but shook her head quickly to get the strange thought out of her head.

"Connie, do you know what's going on here? Where we are?" The otter opened her mouth to speak, but said nothing and shook her head sadly. "Great, neither do I. I just… woke up in this room." Eva said, gesturing around. As she pointed, Eva took a more careful look around the room. There was a heavy dresser along one wall, where one might put clothes, although Eva didn't think looking at clothing in here would be useful. There was also a vanity, with many make up and hair brushes of all kinds lying on it next to a small hand mirror.

Along the opposite wall was a full length painting of a lioness. She was beautiful, but had a stern expression. An oddly, she was wearing a maid uniform, and posing with a large feather duster in her hands. Could this have been her room? But it seemed odd to have a painting of a maid. She also had a pair of striking blue-amber eyes, which seemed to pierce right through you. It was almost hard to look away…

"I wonder who she was?" Connie said, thankfully shattering the silence and pulling Eva out of her staring contest with the painting. Despite the warm, still air, a shiver ran down her spine. She turned to Connie, who seemed to be glancing at her curiously. Eva hoped she hadn't been staring at that painting for more than a couple seconds.

"I have no idea." Eva said. "But I get the feeling I don't want to run into her." Something about this room was making it hard for Eva to focus. She raised her arms above her head and stretched lazily, trying to get her blood flowing again. As she did, she glanced out the door to the room where Connie came from. As she did, Eva froze in mid stretch: the room was full of sturdy looking restraints of all kinds. Just what kind of place was this?
Connie slid off the bed, giving the entrancing picture of the lioness a closer glance.

Eva peered back the way the otter had come, sneezing at the still lingering dust kicked up by her feet.
"There's a way upstairs over-there," Said Connie absently, tracing one finger over the beautiful art, streaking through a fine coating of the omnipresent dust. "But the door won't budge, and all the windows are barred. There was another door in the wall next to this one, though, if you want to try and check that."

Eva nodded, clopping into the cellar proper to examine a battered gibbet with no small amount of distaste. Like an iron maiden shorn back to just a metal frame, it leaned against the wall, the suspending chain lying in a pile. Curiously, Eva noticed a little wooden platform with dozens of huge feathers protruding from it, set into the floor right where the prisoner's feet would have been suspended. And the intersections of the metal crosspieces all had little feathers protruding inwards. Some way of increasing a ticklish vicim's discomfiture?

She shifted on her own hooves absently, wondering what that would have been like. She knew no shortage of people who verily exploded laughing if one touched their feet even lightly, though she supposed that would be something that she'd never experience. In any case, she shivered at the thought of the feathers aligned with the victim's abdomen, pressing into skin relentlessly, the prisoner bound to tight to even move or ever possibly evade it-

She jumped as Connie shouted something in the other room, stepping back through the door to see the otter sitting on the floor, shaking her head as if to clear it of something.

"Just stumbled, sorry." She said sheepishly, striking blue eyes wide. They really were an odd shade of sky-blue, Eva noted as she helped her up by one paw. It was a surprise that she hadn't noticed them before.

Connie suddenly poked her in her exposed belly as she was helped up, and the doe snickered in surprise, falling back.
"Hey, cut that out!"

Connie giggled impishly. "Well, you shouldn't show off like that if you're ticklish Eva."

The deer's eyes narrowed. "Show off?" She pounced forward, grabbing Connie's wrist with one arm and digging the other's fingers into the otter's soft belly, teasing along that bare hint of fur. "Have you even seen yourself?" The otter burst out laughing, falling back onto the bed as the doe pursued, driving on and worming one finger into her navel.

She rolled off the bed and curled like a louse, both arms descending to protect her midriff as Eva put her hands on her hips.
"Wow. And you say that I'm ticklish. Now, if we can be serious for a moment, did you say that there's another door in there?"

Still giggling and guarding her belly, Connie staggered to her feet. "Yeah, right beside the door that leads in here. And then there's that other one over there. Have you tried it yet?"

She padded to the portal in question, turning to the doe as Eva shook her head. "How about I try this one and you try and open the one in the cellar; if we can't find a way out we'll meet back here and try the door leading upstairs together.Okay?"

Electra and Poncho found themselves in a pitch black room.

Poncho's nose twitched. "Someone was here a few minutes ago." He said as he sniffed "It was a Dog...A Male Dog."

"Which direction was he headed?" Electra asked

Poncho sniffed some more "That way...Through that door."

Poncho's immense arms opened the door easily.

On the other side there was a table laden with food, and seated at the table, gnawing a T-Bone was a Male Poodle Dog.

"Who...Might you be?" Electra asked

The Poodle looked up from his meat "Wolf W. Wolf." He said

The Panda and Electric Eel looked at each other

"I was adopted by a Pack of Wolves." Wolf said quickly

"I guess so..." Electra said "Do you live here?

"No." Wolf said "I woke up here with no idea how I got here...I found this table with a covered dish with my name on it...Underneath the cover was a T-Bone steak...I couldn't smell any poison or knock-out drops so I figured it wasn't a trap and dug in."

Electra and Poncho noticed there were covered dishes with their names too, they lifted their respected lids.

Delicious smells, filled the air.

"Honey soaked bamboo shoots...My FAVORITE!" Exclaimed Poncho

When Electra lifted her lid underneath was a steaming bowl of Brazilian seafood soup, the kind she used to eat all the time in Rio before her family moved to the States.

"How?" She asked "How does this person who brought us here know all our favorite foods?"
"I have a question," Electra said, as she looked at Wolf. "What does the W stand for? Is your name Wolf Wolf Wolf?"

Wolf chuckled nervously at this. "Actually, the W stands for Wool."

Electra blinked at this. "Seriously?"

"Yeah," said Wolf. "Naming me Wolf Wolf Wolf would have been confusing - that's my cousin's name."

"How's that work?" Poncho asked.

"The name's alphabetical," said Wolf. "Wool comes after Wolf. I'm younger than my cousin by a day, so, I got Wool, and she got Wolf."

"Your family named one of their own Wolf Wolf Wolf?"

"Do you want to know the crazier thing is?"

"What would that be?"

"My cousin's a sheep."

"They named a sheep Wolf Wolf Wolf?"

"Could of been crazier," said Wolf. "At least it isn't Aardvark Aardvark Aardvark."

Electra blinked at this. "Right."
"All my siblings are named after raingear," Poncho said. "I have an older sister named Umbrella and a younger one named Boots. My parents loved rain, especially slow gentle rains. Aardvark would be a good name if you wanted to be first on every list. These bamboo shoots are very tasty. I wonder if they are drugged."

"Drugged?" Electra said.

"Sure. You know. Crazy man gathers some weirdoes together in an old house and drugs them so he can do unspeakable things to them."

"Are you calling us weirdoes?"
Eva nodded at Connie and headed towards the door next to the bedroom. As she did, her thoughts lingered on Connie's innocent little poke at her belly. Such a little thing had surprisingly tickled her… and then the way she retaliated. Eva usually wasn't so forward. But the way the soft underfur of Connie's tummy felt under her fingertips, the way she curled up and giggled… it had all felt so good. Part of her wanted to turn around and do it again, or even taunt the otter into giving her a real tickling, not just a little poke. Her hands smoothed over the light fur where Connie had poked her.

Eva shook her head deliberately. What was getting into her? Maybe there was something about Connie that just put her at ease, even in this creepy place. Yes, that must be it. Eva looked up and opened the other door. Aside from being heavy, it opened readily. Inside was what appeared to be a very large walk-in closet, presumably for the bedroom they were just in. Two long rows of clothing hung on hooks at either side of the room, with a narrow space to walk between them. Despite the size of the room, the walking space was a little too narrow, anyone wider than a stick would be brushing against the coats and dresses and things.

Despite the fact that a closet is almost always a dead end, Eva felt compelled to explore it a little. Maybe because there might be some kind of door or tunnel coming out of the closet… anything was possible. Or maybe she just wanted to look around. But Eva knew she couldn't just turn around, that much was certain. As she stepped inside, she realized it was even warmer here than it was in the bedroom. Not wanting to sweat or overheat, Eva took off her jacket and placed it on a coat hook just inside the room, leaving her in her sleeveless black undershirt. The fur on her arms and midriff were exposed to the air. "Better," she thought.

She walked into the clothing. On her left was a long row of maid uniforms… so many of them. How many maids did this place have? Above the uniforms was a shelf just above her head, which appeared to be filled with all manner of feather dusters. Big ones, small ones, fluffy ones… As Eva walked into the clothing racks, something about those feathers made her shiver. She could just imagine a group of maids crowding around her, trying to "clean" her by dusting those feathers up and down her sides, over her arms, her back… and fluttering over her chest and belly… giggling mischievously as the maids did as the lioness told them. And all Eva could do was hop from one hoof to the other in a giggly fit, trying futiley to keep the maids away as the kept trying to get under her arms…

Eva snapped out of her daydream with a jolt. If she kept spacing out like that Connie will come back and wonder why she was just standing there. Eva moved deeper into the clothing, heading towards the far end. The opposite side of the closet contained a wide array of women's clothing: fancy silk dresses that felt luxuriant to the touch, evening gowns, feather boas, fuzzy pajamas… but everything on that side revealed an expensive taste. As Eva squeezed past an extra narrow portion, a feather boa glided against her belly, almost seeming to linger against her. Eva flinched and let out a surprised squeak.

"I'm spooking myself." Eva thought. "I just need to press forward." She moved a little faster, more determined now. But then it happened again, as she walked past a velvet glove… if she didn't know better she would have sworn it had reached up and stroked her side, prompting another flinch and a stifled snicker. And then again! A long silk glove, paired with a beautiful but revealing little black dress, brushed against her arm in the most tickly manner imaginable. As if the clothing was trying to feel out a trespasser. A ticklish trespasser…

This last curious stroke caused Eva to jump skittishly, throwing her off balance. She flailed, her arms reaching up to steady herself on the shelf above the dress. Her hands reached out behind her and grasped the shelf… only to feel some sort of sticky resin on top of it. As Eva grasped the shelf with both hands above and behind her, she tugged, but her hands seemed stuck tight. And those gloves rested ominously at either side of her, Eva darting her eyes to each one like a hawk, trying to spot any un-natural movement. As Eva realized she might be in a bit of a predicament, she wondered how Connie was doing.
Connie pushed through the door, thoughts still fixed on that beautiful portrait, blurred with confusion. She could remember touching it, fingers tracing over the lioness's lines to the feather-duster -and then she must have stumbled, since she was sitting on the floor, dizzy and feeling vaguely excited or apprehensive about something.

As she moved cautiously into the next room, her thoughts abruptly shifted, recollecting the sensation of her finger pressing into Eva's belly, the doe flinching and pulling back, smile tugging at her mouth, the pleasurable feeling of the deer's hand boring into her midriff in turn. She wanted to do that again, only for more than just a moment, to explore every inch of ticklish fur and listen to her laugh and squeal and to feel her trying to-

Connie shook her head again, staggering against a wall as fresh dizziness struck her. What was with this unorthodox train of thought? Normally she classified tickling in the same area as say, a massage, something pleasant and physical that people could do to each other, but not given much thought unless it was in the immediate future or present. This sudden preoccupation was weird.

Connie flinched as the renewed chemical smell slapped into her when she stepped into the room, eyes widening as she took in the source fully for the first time. The rectangular room was done up like a stereotypical science lab as it stretched off to her right, the walls properly white-washed instead of bare, dented concrete. Too bad the paint was covered by stacks and stacks of shelves bearing odd pots and glass containers, with a sizeable desk and filing cabinet to her immediate left and a long table on the opposite wall liberally scattered with all manner of investigative paraphernalia.

She noted a landing in the near corner, with a metal ladder leading to a trap-door. Perfect, a way up! But most intriguing, however, were the trio of cells embedded in the farthest wall, to her right, and the great metal table set on a stand in pride-of-place. Arms heavily covered in well-worn leather strapping stretched out in all directions, restraints for arms legs, tails, wings and more represented.

An image flashed to mind; Eva -or was it actually her herself she was seeing?- on that table, strapped in and struggling uselessly to defend herself, laughing hysterically as mischievous paws played over her, teasing and prodding. Beautiful. Indeed she could almost hear laughing, though seeming to come from some distance away and behind her.

A feeling of vertigo rose suddenly to replace the image, and Connie leaned against the table, wondering if this sort of thing would be a common occurrence.

It's all the dust down here; I'm lucky I didn't pass out in that other room; no wonder I'm light-headed. It'll pass when we get to the next level and find out what's going on. Her eyes flicked to the little platform and ladder in its discreet corner. Speaking of which, I'd better go tell Eva.

As she turned to leave, something caught her eye. A large beaker rested innocently on the desk, inside of which swirled and glittered an enthralling substance like sapphire-coloured quicksilver. It was liking watching hundreds of gorgeous gems swirling endlessly through a sieve. Guiltily, Connie poked the end of one claw-tip into the mixture. It felt bizarrely solid despite its restless fluidity, indeed, almost warm to her small touch. Perhaps now it was a bit late to wonder about it being a corrosive acid, she thought as she retracted the paw.

A single bead shone on her finger, glistening like dew or frost. As she held it up for a closer look, she chortled as ran freely down her arm, ruffling the soft fur and the tender skin beneath. It tickled astonishingly against her skin for such a tiny catalyst. The drop didn't even seem to leave a trail as it ran down her arm, maintaining remarkable cohesion, though it did flatten out and give the illusion of becoming larger as it passed the crook of her elbow, prompting an extra giggle.

With a shrug - and one last giggle as the drop slid to a halt on her bicep, vanishing from sensation and mind- she left to go find Eva.

(Author's Note: Anyone notice The X keeps skipping his turn? Did we offend him or something?)

After finishing their food, Electra, Wolf and Poncho noticed three other covered dishes

Poncho read the names on each of them "Nate Greenfield, Connie Courtnose and Eva Murphy."

"Who do you suppose they are?" Electra asked

Poncho shrugged "Heck if I know...Something about these lids is keeping me from smelling the food and telling if it's carnivore, herbivore, or omnivore food underneath...If I just took a quick peek."

Poncho touched the lid of the dish meant for Nate Greenfield, he pulled his hand away and jumped

"I got a shock!" The Panda exclaimed "An electrical shock!"

"Did it hurt?" Electra asked

"No, it tickled!' Said Poncho
"Electricity tickles you?" Wolf asked. "And here I thought that my mother had a strange personality, what with her always doing my fur up in the style of a girl."
Poncho thought about that. "Maybe she always wanted a daughter and was disappointed she ended up with a son? Oops! I shouldn't have said that."

"No problem," Wolf said. "I've wondered that myself, but Mom insists it's not true."

Electra was sniffing around Nate Greenfield's plate. "I wonder why it's electrified? That's my thing, you know?"
(Author's Note: Regarding X, there's plenty of reasons why he might skip a turn. He might be busy, or not have a good story line for his character. When he does contribute, he makes good contributions. Just let him be and hope he jumps in again.)

Eva could not have imagined a stranger situation to be in. Her fingers were all stuck to the shelf above her, her arms stuck in a reach up and behind her, stretching her out. Her jacket seemed a mile away, left on the coat hook at the entrance to this long walk-in closet. All she was wearing above her hip-hugging jeans was a small black top, sleeveless and only coming down to just above her navel. Although, stretched out like this, it barely came down past her ribs.

But as if that weren't enough, there were this ethereal black silk gloves on either side of her, both belonging to an alluring little black dress on a coat hanger directly behind her. Her eyes darted from one glove to another, trying to see the movement she knew was happening, trying to figure out the trick. But she was always a hair too slow. As she started intently at the left glove, she felt the right one skitter its fingertips up her side, prompting the doe to twitch away and grin ticklishly. Locking onto the right glove, she only saw it hang limply at her side, before the left one goosed her ribs, making her wiggle back and forth on the spot.

Fortunately, the gloves were being gentle. It was only a playful prod here, a sensual stroke there. Eva was able to hold in her laughter, even if her tummy tensed with held in reactions. Ignoring the absurdity of it, it was almost fun. A game, where she tried to hold it in as long as she could, while the silk gloves teased her just enough to keep the game going, just enough to slowly wear down her resistance and couldn't keep it bottled up anymore, bursting out into giggles of her own accord.

The right glove reached behind her and seemed to stroke the fur along her lower back, twisting as much as she could, Eva still couldn't see it, which left the glove to keep going without stopping. It wasn't a terribly ticklish spot, but the constant light stroking was building…

"What would Connie do if she were here?" Eva thought as her mind became muddled with each additional tickle to her vulnerable, taut frame. Would she save her from these strange gloves? Or would she join in on the fun? Eva could just imagine it, Connie standing in front of her with a mischievous grin on her face, as her paws reached up to softly stroke the soft fur of Eva's inner arms, slowly but surely making their way down to her outstretched underarms, the otter's knowing eyes locking with Eva's. That might not be so bad… in fact, it sounded fun. Part of her wanted nothing more than to feel the girl's paws explore her body, finding each and every tickle spot…

Eva shook her head again, trying to regain focus. She was having a daydream about being tickled while being tickled now. She had to concentrate… but that was near impossible as the left glove pinched her hip, prompting a high pitched "eep!" from the doe, making her wriggle on the spot and shut her eyes in reaction. Unfortunately, the one thing that seemed to stop the gloves was looking at them. Freed from that constraint, the left glove happily walked its fingers over the doe's sensitive belly, wriggling against the soft, cream colored fur. The right glove still kept up its insistently soft stroking of her lower back.

It was all too much, and Eva burst into a fit of giggles, trying to make as little noise as possible, but unable to do much else but stand there and be quietly but deviously tickled by these ethereal gloves. Unable to stand it any more, she was about to burst into loud laughter… when suddenly everything stopped. Both gloves went limp. She opened her eyes, regaining her breath and trying to figure out why. And just at that moment, Connie walked into the room, looking at the doe curiously. "What's going on in here?" Connie asked innocently.

"I'm…!" Eva started, but the words died in her throat. She couldn't tell her that she got herself stuck here, and these gloves behind her came alive and started tickling her! It was all too crazy. But she had to say something, as the otter girl came closer, easily walking through the clothing that didn't seem to be bothering her at all. She noticed none of it trying to come alive and tickle Connie. "I'm stuck to the shelf here. Make sure you don't touch it." Eva told her, finally coming up with something.

"Really? Hmm, let me see." Connie said, walking up to her and standing in front of her. As Eva looked at Connie, she saw none of the earlier nervousness in her facial expression. Now, Connie looked energetic, playful, almost giddy. Eva wondered if she had found anything. The otter stood on tiptoe and looked up to the shelf and Eva's hands. Her paws resting gently at Eva's elbows. As Connie stretched up, Eva could see more of her midriff revealed between her shirt and her jeans, her green eyes darting down to it curiously. But before that band of ticklish skin could taunt her any further, she noticed that as the otter shifted her weight, she moved her paws and fingers on her arm… prompting a ticklish sensation from the doe already sensitized from earlier.
(Thank-you, Carnivore, though Twiga obviously didn't mean to offend. In any case, The X will doubtless appear again when he has the time.)

"Oh, sorry!" Said Connie as the doe snickered, and Connie carefully raised her arms further up and felt her fingers instead, careful not to touch the shelf. It was about as high as she could reach on tiptoe, and she couldn't fully make out whatever glaze had the deer's fingers trapped. Just how sticky was it? Would it give -break up or be melted by her body heat and the friction of Eva's tugging- on its own? Would they end up having to pull the fur off of her fingers to get her loose? Maybe she could get her claws beneath and scrape out whatever residue had collected to-

Connie dropped, folding over and giggling crazily, squeezing at the sudden flare of ticklish sensation in her underarm. Suddenly panicked by the thought of both of them overcome by a tangle of animate gloves and coats, Eva craned her neck to try and find movement, and was relieved when it seemed that something else had spooked the otter. Laughing heavily, Connie twisted around, patting at her sleeveless shirt frantically as if under attack by an army of spiders.

For all her attentiveness, the doe couldn't have seen the line of liquid blue that ran down the otter's arm, seemingly dragged by gravity as it had crossed over her stretched underarm and ran into the edge of her shirt, coming to rest against her cleavage as a pool more alike a gum-ball than a pea in volume.

Flushed even though her fur, Connie slowly returned to her paws, brushing at her shirt wearily as if fearing another attack of whatever had suddenly tickled her.

"Sorry about that; I don't know what came over me." She said sheepishly at the doe's concerned expression, reaching back up to try a second time at freeing her. She leaned in on her tip-toes, unable to avoid pressing the taller girl uncomfortably close as she worked, slowly poking her claws beneath the doe's stuck fingers to carefully scrape at whatever substance was holding them fast.

She really does have some striking blue eyes, Thought Eva, inevitably face-to-face with Connie as she worked. But a shade like that- I'd recognize it. She shifted her weight, feeling her bared sides tingle at the possibility of the animate gloves resuming their attack at any times. Or of the possibility of certain other parties exploiting her predicament. Funny thing is, I think I do recognize that colour. I just don't know where from. In any case, it's her belly that really looks interesting.

Her musing were cut into when Connie slipped - incidentally dragging one pointed claw-tip down her entire arm, the delicate nail gliding through the crook of her elbow and skipping neatly out at her underarm.

And unnoticed by them both, the intangibly thin line of ethereal blue quicksilver that accelerated down the otter's falling arm to fly through the air and land on the hem of Eva's black shirt, blending in perfectly with a narrow line of blue thread.

The doe jumped at the sudden tickling, giggling and glaring, and Connie affixed an innocent smile on her face instead of the smirk that itched for representation. She couldn't really accuse her of anything. The doe certainly had a lovely laugh, and that fur was just so soft... Why was she even trying so hard to free her right away? Connie's eye gleamed as she suddenly noted the profuse line of huge feather-dusters stuffed onto the shelves overhead. Her body was right there, stretched, exposed, defenceless. And so gorgeously, enthralling receptive. It was her own fault anyway for wearing such a revealing outfit , exposing herself like that. And how badly, really, could she be offended by something as beautiful as tickling?

Half-consciously, Connie raised her paws, the doe looking at her uncomprehendingly as she brought them in to play and tease all across those curvaceous-

What was she thinking? Connie jerked, keeping her feet this time as a familiar wave of disorientation and confusion swept through her. They were both kidnapped and locked inside of a strange house -she couldn't annoy her only ally or wast time teasing her when she was down. They had to work together, not play petty games.

Connie prised her fingers under Eva's with renewed determination, mentally chiding herself with every chip that broke loose. It wouldn't be long now.

"Okay, they're mostly broken free," She said a few patient moments later. "But I can't reach the fingertips at the back. I'm going to try and grab your wrists, puts my feet up on the wall, and pull. Got it?"

"Got it." Eva's red hair swished as she nodded. "Just be careful."

Connie took a deep breath, jumped up against of the wall, and strained outwards. With an entirely different angle, Eva's fingers fairly popped out without so much as a second of resistance. The otter flew backwards, to fast for even a word of surprise. She tumbled into the mass of clothing opposite, and Eva was able to drop to a more comfortable position, readjusting her top and checking on her helper as she smoothed over the fur on her sides.

"Thanks a-lot, Connie. That was-"

"Mmfhgph! Get me out of here! Mmph!" Eva saw that the girl had been thoroughly entangled in a thick mass of maid outfits and other assorted garments, head and shoulders completely engulfed in the thick fabric, lower torso poking out horizontally, feet dragging her back and forth as she struggled to extricate herself.

Eva noted that this time, it was Connie's shirt that had been unavoidably dragged up, baring the creamy fur of her belly, framed by the darker coat on her sides and short enough that the long shallow depression around her taut belly button was clearly visible.



(Author's Note: I hope no one mind's this next entry...JD didn't state weather or not Humans exist in this universe...)

Electra sniffed and sniffed, her sense of smell was not as keen as the Poodle's or the Panda's her best sense was hearing as water carries sound better and it is usually dark in the murky waters of the Amazon. But still, her sense of smell was decent, and she could smell there were other creatures besides the three of them.

"Do you smell there are other creatures here?" Electra asked her companions.

Wolf sniffed "I smell...An Otter..." He wrinkled his nose as Otters like all Musteliads are known for their strong odor...And..." Here Wolf licked her lips "...A Tender young Deer!"

"Cannibal!" Poncho chided and he punched the Poodle on top of his head

"OW!" Poncho said "Geez! Your punch hurts!" Wolf rubbed his sore noggin "I would never eat another sapient animal...My family would often feast on Non-Anthro Deer so it's kind of a reflex when I smell any Deer."

"Do you think we should find them?" Electra asked "They could help us."

"Or they could be the one's holding us captive." Wolf said

"I think we should try to find them." Poncho said the Panda wasn't a confrontational sort but he did feel more willing to agree with Electra after seeing the Poodle's creepy hunger despite having eaten a giant T-Bone Steak.

Electra was feeling a bit tired after her meal and leaned against a bookcase, in an instant she felt herself turned around and immersed in darkness

"Electra!" Poncho exclaimed, he saw the bookcase spin around like in something out of those old Monster movies.

"I'm OK!" Electra called from the other side and with that she pushed the bookcase back around

"Either this was the set for some old horror movie...Or whoever owned this place was a real weirdo." As Electra said that a book fell onto the floor, it was a very old book.
'
Electra gingerly picked it up, and looked at it "This is a journal..." She said "...By someone named Lord Blackwold."

She opened the first page "I met my darling Leona three years ago...I was merely a Teenager...Leona was a Lioness born in Africa...Who had been kidnapped and brought to America by those horrible Humans!"

"Humans?" Poncho raised and eyebrow "What are Humans?"

"Humans are a kind a Species of Ape." Wolf said "A long time ago...Before there were many races Anthropomorphic Animals, there were only a Species of naked ape called Humans who lorded over all the Animals...Some believe they were the ones who started creating Anthro Animals."

"Oh Poppycock!" The Panda folded his arms "If these Naked Apes are so great where are they now?"

"Now they're an endangered species...Living on a few reservations...We know they had the power to create new creatures because I'm one those Species they created back in their hey day...Without Humans there would be no Dogs...In fact the Humans called Dogs 'Man's Best Friend' as such I have a hard time begrudging them...Even though a long time ago they enslaved Anthros..."

"Yeah..." Electra said "I don't know what species this Lord Blackwold is...This book is so old whatever scent he left on his journal disappeared a long time ago... And I'm not sure if he's giving any hints to what he is in this journal...He's just going on and one about his lovely Lioness..."
"Maybe he had a thing for them," said Wolf. "It wouldn't be the first time such things happened, or the last. I mean, there's lots of stories about those who loved those outside of their own species."
"Of course," Poncho said. "Why not? Just because you can't reproduce with them doesn't mean you can't love them. My vote is that Lord Blackwold was a human. It's the rare animal who would give himself the title of Lord."

"You may be right," Electra said. "He certainly seems to have been obsessed with the lioness Leona."

"Um... are there any details about... uh... you know... intimate activities between them in his journal?"
Eva smoothed the fur of the stomach and sides, glad to finally be out of that predicament. There had been nothing she could do while those gloves had kept tickling her… and then Connie had been standing so close to her, there would have been nothing she could have done if the otter had decided to have her own tickling fun. Part of the doe was a little disappointed that Connie hadn't tried anything, hadn't wriggled her fingers in the soft, short fur on her belly, or under her arms. All she would've been able to do would be to stand there and giggle…

Pulling her mind back to the real world and out of these building daydreams she kept having, Eva noticed Connie on the floor. The girl's head and shoulders were buried under a mountain of maid outfits, and despite her wiggling, the otter seemed to be getting no closer to clawing her way out of them. It was as if each movement pushing one away only brought another on top of her. But more importantly, her bare belly was sticking out from the pile, exposed and vulnerable, wiggling about unsuspectingly.

Eva sat down on her haunches, moving in for a closer inspection. Her light-colored fur was very short, revealing the taut outline of her belly, including the alluring depression formed by her navel. Eva remembered the first time she tickled Connie, the short but sweet wriggling of her fingers against that soft fur over her belly. She couldn't resist, she had to reach out and do it again. Connie wouldn't mind, would she? It'd be fun, she'd enjoy it… Eva rationalized as her fingertips softly made contact at either side of the otter's stomach.

Connie's reaction was immediate. From underneath the pile of clothing, Eva could hear a burst of muffled giggles erupting from her. The otter's belly flinched and tried to suck in to escape Eva's playful fingertips. But it was a poor defense, and Eva didn't let that stop her. Her hoof-like fingertips skated across either side of Connie's exposed belly, dragging downward through her short fur, then wriggling in zigzags against the grain back up to near her ribs. Eva's touch was gentle and teasing, there was no hint of torture or malice in them. But it was more than enough to evoke that wonderfully cute laughter of Connie's, and the feel her tummy wriggle ticklishly under her fingertips. It was heavenly.

From under all those maid outfits, Connie wasn't entirely sure was what going on. She tried pushing and clawing her way up out of the clothes, but she just managed to dig herself deeper into them. Somehow she had gotten thoroughly turned around. And now that Eva was tickled her belly like that, the girl had no hope of figuring out the puzzle. The clothes were piled loosely on top of her, so she had no problem getting air, but it was pitch black under them, which only heightened her awareness of the tickling. But then… was it really so bad? Isn't this what she was secretly hoping would happen when her thoughts were wandering? As Eva's fingers skated over her ticklish tummy, part of Connie had to admit it felt good. Something about the doe's touch was irresistible…

So with all that in her mind, instead of yelling at Eva to stop, all Connie could blurt out between giggles was: "He-hey! Thahat tihihickles!" While not giving it any conscious thought, it was the exact opposite thing to say if your goal was to end the tickling.

"It tickles?" Eva cooed, her voice lingering on the word. "Well, you shouldn't have gotten yourself in such a ticklish situation then. This belly is practically begging to be tickled…" The doe's teasing only made each little stroke feel all the more ticklish. But then Eva zeroed in on the long shallow depression around her belly button, stroking it ever so softly, teasingly getting closer and closer to the prize…

All Connie should do was giggle herself silly and shake her head from underneath the clothing pile, and she wasn't even sure Eva noticed. If she had been able to, she would've seen the doe's green eyes fixated on the otter's belly, one fingertip circling rim of that ticklish navel, about to wiggle inside…

But suddenly Eva felt a strange but intensely ticklish sensation coming from underneath the fur along her upper stomach. Unbeknownst to her, that mysterious blue droplet had managed to move from the hem of her shirt, to underneath it, easily working its way underneath her fur, its path terribly ticklish. This stopped Eva's tickling in its tracks as she quickly brought her hands to her shirt, pulling on it and looking underneath it to try and see what was going on. But this only made the droplet move again, up the center line of her belly towards her chest. The continued unexpected ticklish made Eva rock back and fall over, rolling onto a pile of long velvet gloves on the floor. As she rocked back, the droplet moved again, this time it seemed to be trying to wriggle its way underneath her bra.

Of course, all those small wriggling motions against the undersides of her breasts tickled like hell. Eva clutched at her chest with both arms, hugging herself without a clue as to what was doing that or what to do about it. Meanwhile, the droplet had accomplished its mission, reaching the promised land of inside the woman's undergarment, tickling deviously against the vulnerable skin and fur there, sending Eva into deeper giggling. But as the droplet did so, it stretched and flattened itself, stretching itself into a wide thin band that almost augmented the bra's support of her chest. And with that, Eva and the droplet seemed to have reached a temporary truce, at least if she knew about any of it. Just at that moment, one of the long black silk gloves from earlier dropped from its hanger and landed directly across Eva's face, effectively functioning as a loose blindfold. Eva didn't dare bring her arms up to bat it away and risk exposing herself, she could still feel the ticklish sensations under her chest.

But while this was going on, Connie had finally had the opportunity to extricate herself from the clothing pile, finally getting up to see Eva on the floor in a fit of laughter, holding her chest. It seemed like the tables had turned in the perfect way. Connie crawled over to Eva with a devious look in her eyes. If she had done that to me, surely she couldn't object to a little payback? Or even more than a little payback? The otter thought as her baby blues gazed and the doe's quivering belly, her lithe form covered in the softest creamy fur. Thoughts of escape temporarily left them both, as the hedonist aura of the room seemed to take hold of them.
Connie didn't question the source of her reprieve or the doe's own reasoning behind suddenly curling up on the floor with a set of gloves over her eyes; she just dove for the attack.

She skidded to her knees right next to the deer, fingers shooting down to jab into her belly, squeezing and probing without a moment's hesitation.

"Tickle me, will you! I'll show you!"

Eva jumped like she'd been stung as the otter made contact, bursting out laughing and bolting upright to fend her off, arms flying to a reflexive defence. At least, theoretically.

In fact, completely unseen, the golf-ball sized puddle of gelatinous slime jiggled beneath her bra- trails of liquid almost like tentacles sprayed out from the motion, covering her chest liberally, too warm for any sensation to reach the doe other than immediate, hellish tickling.

She verily yelled in laughter at this inexplicable attack, arms squeezing back tight to her chest, even as Connie, smirking in satisfaction, squeezed and felt her belly, sparing no square inch of sensitive skin. Instinctively, Eva tried to roll aside, to curl up for protection -and Connie hurriedly swung a leg over her thighs, shifting her weight atop the doe before pressing the assault home grimly.

Eva bucked, each attempt at driving off the vengeful otter overwhelmingly rebuked by the maelstrom of sensation under her bra. Unseen and unsuspected, the tangle of quicksilver seemed to pulse in time to the laughter, tendrils moving as if of their own volition, curling delicately around both nipples, inserting themselves below both of the firm mounds, solidifying, teasing.

On top of Eva, expression alternating wildly between grinning mischievous and sadistic, Connie only now noted the way that Eva's pants rode and covered (or lack thereof) her hips and pelvis. Without preamble, on a hunch, both paws left off squeezing and poking around the deer's navel to assail her sides, each of Connie's thumbs pressing into a nerve cluster just inside the hip-bone.

Eva positively screamed, back arching wildly and hands finally leaving off hugging her chest to clap against her red hair as she howled. With an offering like that -that bared belly, stretched, exposed, thrust into the air before her- Connie swung her arms around beneath the deer's raised back, head coming forward to press against the soft fur.
Perfectly in line with her navel, Connie's snout began blowing raspberries like a geyser.

"Okayokayokay! Ahhahahahah! Sthohohop!" Eva finally managed to gasp out between twisting back and forth, fists pounding the floor and discarded clothing in a futile use of energy under the relentless duel-assault.

Still smirking, Connie released her, taking a step back.
"And let that be a warning to you!" She said with mock severity, eyeing the doe carefully as she recovered from her ordeal. Huffing and panting like a mountain-climber, Eva slowly regained the summit of her own hooves, once again rubbing her midriff to dispel the lingering sensations.

Never taking an eye from her, Connie examined a line of dresses. Her own outfit felt increasingly exposing under the circumstances, and since no one was using any of these... Recovering her own jacket at last, Eva guessed the otter's intention but didn't try to stop her. Just walking past that clothing had tickled; imagine what actually putting it on and wearing it would do!

Of course, this stuff never actually bothered her. She thought resentfully, readjusting her own shirt and bra -and drawing a sharp intake of breath as tickling flared uncontrollably at even that slight movement. And my own clothes are acting funny, too. What is going on here?

"I think I found a way out, or at least, up." Said Connie, now wearing a pretty white jacket that matched Eva's own, with a pair of strangely shaped gloves in the breast pocket. "It's in one corner of the next room. Sort of a ladder leading up to a trap-door. Shall we?"
Wolf looked at the revolving bookcase

"Did you see anything while you were on the other side?" The Poodle asked

"It was pitch black in there." Electra said "But I did smell things, a lot of old machinery."

"Maybe we should check it out!" Poncho said as he pushed the bookcase, Electra and Wolf followed

It was pitch black all right, but Wolf smelled a candle was nearby and he had a match with him. After lighting the candle the three of them saw an entry to a a hallway, on the entry was a golden plaque reading 'History of the Blackwold Family'

"Do you think we should enter?" Poncho asked

"Why not?" Electra said "After all we've come this far."

With the candle in his paw, Wolf led the way.

After entering the hall, the immediately stopped and noticed a magnificent painting.

The painting was of a distinguished Black Rat , his fur was a kind of shiny midnight black with a blue tint, he was dressed in a violet suit the highlight his black fur, underneath the painting was titled, 'The First Lord Blackwold'

"So the Blackwold Family are Rats..." Wolf said "...Interesting."

"Why is that interesting?" Poncho asked

"You don't normally think of Rats rising to positions of power." Wolf said

Poncho scoffed "In this country maybe...In my homeland of China...The Twelve Noble Houses are the Twelve Species of the Chinese Zodiac one of whom is the Rat."

"Guys! I found something!" Electra said she was standing over by an ancient file cabinet.

"I think this contains the entire history of the Blackwold Family!"

Wolf and Poncho rushed over, as they did their fur tickled Electra's naked body causing fur to release some electricity,
"Yeowch!" Wolf yelped, and barked, as the electricity zapped him. "Hey! Watch it!"
"Sorry," Electra said. "But it's up to you to be careful."

Poncho pulled an ancient leather book from the file cabinet. "Here's somebody's diary. It's old! Listen to this...

...and here be the day of my Acceptance at last, this Thorsday to come. I shall ascend to the Tower in my blue gown that Isabella spent an entire year making. It shines and glimmers and she told me she put some Magic in it. I believe her for it is amazingly beautiful....

"Yuck! Girl stuff! Maybe there is a diary in here by a guy with a sword."
Eva gave one last sigh as she caught her breath after all that tickling. "Yes, I think we should" she told Connie, as they both exited the closet, returning out to the main room. Connie was still inspecting the white jacket she had found, investigating the pockets, examining the gloves in the breast pocket curiously before returning them… all the while Connie watched the garment warily. It showed absolutely no sign of coming to life and tickling her the way the rest of the clothing had pursued the pretty doe. Very strange.

There was no way she had imagined the whole thing. Those gloves had came to life and tickled her… playfully, actually rather pleasantly, but tickled her all the same. And then her undergarments had gotten involved. Well, her bra anyway. She swore something had tickled her breasts, expertly so, just now. But there was no way to check on them. She couldn't just stop Connie and say "Hey, hold on a sec. I think my bra might be coming to life and tickling me silly. Mind if I strip quick and take a closer look?" Not happening. Well, things seemed to have stopped, she didn't feel any tickling at the moment. And it least her other undergarment wasn't getting involved in the fun. A shiver ran up her spine at that thought.

But, unbeknownst to Eva, the mysterious quicksilver had not gone completely dormant. It had just stopped its tickling. Now, its gelatinous tendrils spread out across the entirety of her chest and wrapping around her nipples. The goo gave of a comforting warmth, as well as a very subtle vibrating massage. It was stealthily pleasing and stimulating the doe, and it was almost as if the goo was happy in its newfound home. And while Eva wasn't aware if it going on, the sly ministrations were still having an effect on her. She blushed under her fur, and found herself feeling a little hot under the collar.

Eva's mind lingered on the events from the closet. The way tickling Connie had felt, Eva wasn't sure when she would've stopped if it hadn't happened that way, it just felt so good to do. And then the way Connie had tickled her back: the otter's retaliation had been immediate, the girl gave no quarter when she had the chance. She could almost still feel the electric sensation as Connie found that extremely ticklish spot on her hips. It was as if she knew just where to tickle in advance. And then when she had hugged her belly and given her that delicious raspberry… wow. The memory lingered pleasantly in her mind, and part of her felt the urge to forget about figuring out where they were and how to get out of here, but to just spend her time tickling Connie, and then being tickled in turn. Something about it just felt so right…

Meanwhile, Connie's thoughts were in the exact same place. Her mind replayed Eva's fingertips dancing over the otter's tummy, the light teasing touch making her so giddy. And the fact that she couldn't see a thing had only enhanced the sensations, made her focus on them all the more. The last thing the doe had done was circle one finger suggestively around the rim of her bellybutton. If she had actually tickled there…. Connie's paws subconsciously rubbed her stomach over the spot. The open jacket she had found was good protection for her underarms and sides, but like Eva's she left it unbuttoned, leaving just her shirt protecting her belly. Although the doe's shirt was much shorter than her own. If Eva tried to tickle her again, Connie was confident she could wriggle her paws under that jacket and really tickle her.

That thought made Connie remember the second half of their little tickle fight in the closet. Eva had been beautifully ticklish. That spot just inside her hips had been a perfect weak spot, and Connie mentally filed that information away for later. She wondered just how light she could tickle there and still get those irresistible giggles out of that beautiful doe. Probably the gentlest swipes, maybe even just grazing the fur… And then the feel of Eva's tensing stomach in her arms as she blew those raspberries, tickling Eva was proving to be highly addictive. Connie glanced back at her, her blue eyes lingering on that belly…

But the two of them both were pulled out of their memories as they arrived in the lab. Eva looked around wide eyed at all shelves filled with beakers and flasks, material that looked high quality even if it was chaotically arranged. At the far end of the room was the ladder leading up to the trap door, and on the other side was that table with all sorts of straps and restraints on it. "What do you think went on in here?" Eva asked as they walked over to the table.

"Beats me." Connie said. "I still have no idea where we are." As the girl spoke, she came to the table , her paws reached out to absentmindedly fiddle with the straps on the table. Something about the way Connie was doing that made Eva shiver anxiously. Looking at the table brought another day dream to her mind. Connie was strapped into that table, shirtless, as Eva straddled her thighs. Eva teased and tickled the girl, pinching her ribs and spidering her fingertips down Connie's sides, leaning in the give a raspberry of her own, directly over the otter's navel as the laughed hysterically under her. Then their positions were reversed, and it was Eva shirtless in the straps, as Connie teased her paws down Eva's arms, slowly drawing circles under her arms, then leaning in to give a long and very ticklish lick inside the doe's hips, prompting a giggling squeal…

Eva snapped back to the real world. "I'll look up there and see if it leads anywhere…" she said distractedly, as Connie nodded, not even looking up from the table. Eva climbed the ladder, and noted that she still couldn't shake these fantasies from continually popping up in her mind. Although, it didn't really bother her now. They were kind of fun, actually more than kind of, and they felt good… Eva hoped Connie didn't notice her warm cheeks underneath her fur. Eva lifted the hatch and poked her head into the room above.

Tropical foliage surrounded her, and for a second Eva thought they had managed to find a way outside. But looking up she saw large glass panes: they were underneath a greenhouse. That would explain why it was so warm and musty in there. The greenhouse was hot and humid, and all manner of exotic plants seemed to have overgrown the place. She couldn't even see a wall. An assortment of floral aromas hit her nose, as she saw more than a few flowers on plants, bushes, and vines. The smell was overpowering, but lovely after the mustiness and chemical smells of the rooms they were just in.

Eva climbed back down the ladder to Connie, who she noticed still had that faraway look in her eyes as she toyed with the table straps.
As the last of the doe's upper-body disappeared up the trap-door, Connie strode single-mindedly to the table, selecting without even looking an antique flask from within the assortment of apparatus that crouched in the dust like desert ruins. Quickly, she poured it full of the beaker of molten blue quicksilver, the quasi-liquid sliding easily into the container. Right on the beat, she tucked the stoppered container into one breast pocket and returned to the examination-rack, just as Eva's hooves clopped back onto the landing supporting the ladder and began turning to look at her.

"These straps are very worn." Said Connie thoughtfully as she plucked at the leather, head swivelling to regard the doe. Eva blinked -what had happened to her voice? It sounded, hollow, yet accented in an odd way, kind off... Old fashioned. "I don't think that anyone could have gotten out of them. The subject would have been fully immobilized as the experiment progressed. The Doctor could always take his time."

"There's some kind of green-house upstairs." Said Eva uneasily, getting the sense that Connie was chatting to herself more so than anyone else. No that wasn't right. It was like she was talking to someone else, just not Eva. "Looks like no-one's been in that either for ages. We can go up the ladder and explore it until we find a door outside, or into the main building." Said the doe, making a conscious effort to keep her voice steady as Connie's uncharacteristic stare bore down on her.

"Connie?"

The otter started, changing as if every muscle in her body was suddenly being held differently, with a different set of expectations and postural inclinations for each.

"Oh, uh, sorry about that. I think I zoned out there. If the door is unlocked, then, let's go!"

Connie felt her face burning, glad that the doe didn't know just how into her fantasy she had gotten. She could almost hear the laughter, feel the soft fur and firm flesh beneath her fingers, feel the bucking and see the muscles tensing as they fought against the rebuke of those leather straps...

With a suspicious glance- Connie blushed all the more furiously- the graceful deer began legging her way up the ladder. As Connie followed, she felt an unusual weight in her pocket; a brief pause showed it to be some kind of dusty bottle. It must have been in the jacket when she put it on; she certainly hadn't put it there. What could it hold?

With a bemused shrug, she pushed through the trap-door after the doe, making a face as the hot, muggy air enveloped her. Exotic plants of every description and beyond towered over the duo from the dirt floor, framing the world in swirls and minarets of green. It was impossible to tell wether the day was overcast or if the distant panes of the glass-ceiling were just too stained and muggy to see through.

"I think that there's an old path through here." Said Eva with a confidence the fooled neither of them, leading the way through the dense foliage, brushing past plants with every step. The greenhouse could have been a single little side-garden, or it might have been a jungle; the walls could have been a foot away through the hedge-like thickness and neither would have known it.

It was terribly hot and suffocatingly tense in the greenhouse, and the two couldn't have rehearsed it better when they relieved themselves of their jackets in unison, trading wickedly thoughtful glances as the garments came off.

As she picked her way through the underbrush a few paces on, Eva casually reached down and rolled up the bottom of her shirt, feeling the air brush against her fur relievingly. Only her panting, thunderous in the oppression, prevented her from smirking at what a tempting target she must make.

For her part, Connie felt sweat starting to roll off her and bead in her fur, and decided that she might as well follow the deer's example. At least the fact that she was capable of sweating at all would make it an even bigger benefit.

She pulled up her shirt -and squeaked when a leaf, covered in some kind of fuzz and shaped with almost feathery protrusions, brushed against the exposed skin. She swatted away the limb responsible, noting for the first time that Eva was also walking with her arms folded protectively over her belly.

As she brushed another bush, this time a whole trio of leaves contacted her right side. Connie jumped at the touch, falling away and stifling as a giggle as their counterparts on the far side of the path tickled against that half as well. Tot think that those were just leaves that tickled like that...

She giggled at last as she tried to step over line of frizzy flower-buds and missed, causing them to poke against her lower belly and prompting a curious glance from Eva. And around them, as the pretty little sound tinkled, the towering plants stirred and swished in the breeze.

Except, there isn't any breeze.
Electra looked into the file cabinet

"Look! Some scientific documents!" She exclaimed "This is from the year...1942..."

"By that they B.C.E" Wolf remarked "As the Common Era hasn't reached 1942 yet."

Electra began reading the notes, during 1942, a British-American Scientist named Hubert Blackwold was tasked with creating a super serum that could create stronger, faster soldiers to defeat the Nazis and the Japanese, Hubert tested his formula on two Rats, a male and a female...And the results were...Shocking.

The serum caused the Rats to grow larger and more intelligent, the stopped growing when they reached Human height, and were speaking English fluently, his superiors ordered the two freaks to be destroyed, but Hubert realized they had become Sapient Beings and killing them would be flat out murder. there was a scuffle in the Lab, a table was knocked over chemicals were spilled. And in a small explosion, the winds and waters were tainted with the serum and quickly spread around the world to all vertebrate Animals, however not all Animals transformed, apparently the individual Animal needed some kind of special recessive gene or else the serum wouldn't work."

"It turns out Hubert Blackwold survived the explosion Thanks to his two Rats...In gratitude he left them his fortune as he never married and never produced and heir, and the two Blackwold Rats became the first of Animal Dynasties in America." Electra closed the book

"Kind of leaves you speechless..." She said "That our very existence is...An accident."

(Author's Note: I hope JD doesn't mind this explanation of this world...Basically it it's exactly like our universe but diverges at WW2 with Anthros being created by the allies trying to make super soldiers.)
"Wacky scientists," said Wolf. "Always doing crazy things. You know, like in those old movies."
"I wonder what happened to those two rats?" Poncho asked. " Did they have any children?"

"I guess we'll find out soon enough," Wolf said. "If there are any rats still living they must be around here somewhere."

"They had children," Electra said, still reading notes from the file cabinet. "In fact, one of them proclaimed himself Emperor. He was Primo Blackwold, the oldest son of Herbert and Kathleen. But Emperor Primo was a cruel ruler and not well-liked, so the second son, Diapole Blackwold, challenged his authority and a war broke out - the army of Primo versus the army of Diapole."

"Who won?"

"I'm not sure. This particular note ends with Primo and Diapole still faced off against each other."
Eva slowly walked forward through the overgrown plant life, advancing down the "path" she had found. Truth be told, she had just picked a direction that seemed promising. This greenhouse didn't seem to have any walkways at all, and Eva couldn't push forward at more than a snail's pace, Connie trailing close behind her. Eva regretted having to discard their jackets back at the trapdoor. But every room they'd been in so far had been too warm for them, and she couldn't imagine wearing it in here. She'd just have to get another one, moving forward was more important. Still, Eva felt distinctly vulnerable in the small shirt she had been wearing underneath, especially now that it was rolled up to just under her breasts, giving her maximum fur exposure to cool off in this place.

Back near the trapdoor, the white jacket Connie had briefly acquired slumped over onto the floor. The vial of thick blue liquid Connie had dazedly put inside fell out and cracked as it hit the floor. Slowly but surely the liquid freed itself from its glass prison, becoming a puddle on the floor. Then, the liquid seemed to slide downhill, even though it was on even ground, until it reached the base of a large bush covered in thick vines, where it seemed to be slowly absorbed by the plant life, almost hungrily.

Meanwhile, that blue liquid's twin was still nestling under Eva's garments. It seemed to hum with a subvocal energy as it continued to stimulate and please the owners breasts and nipples, as if it were trying to ingratiate itself to its host. Or perhaps offer some positive reinforcement for this strange predicament: See, doesn't this tickle obsessed place make you feel good? Eva subconsciously adjusted her bra, which for a split second send the goo back into tickling mode, sending a quick jolt that caused the doe to stiffen and arch her back suddenly before leaving it alone. The conditioning was crystal clear: Leave well enough alone and everyone can be happy. Try to tamper or discover, and get a swift tickle punishment.

Connie glanced Eva curiously as she saw her stiffen and arch her back in front of her. The doe quickly resumed her pace into the underbrush, and Connie was glad to have her in front. One of those plants must have tickled her, even with Eva as a shield in front they were still giving the otter trouble. Another feathery frond brushed against her now exposed ribs, prompting a ticklish snicker under her breath. If only she could hug tight to Eva as they walked, and protect her front that way. Even maybe letting her paws rest on those attractive curves of her hips and sides and occasionally wiggling just a tiny bit… no, no she shouldn't do that, no matter how fun it sounded.

As a fuzzy leaf brushed Eva's side and made her flinch and giggle, she paused and turned around. "H-hey, are you doing alright, Connie?" Eva asked her, turning back to look at her. After a brief eye contact her eyes wandered down to the wide expanse of bare fur of Connie's belly, reminding the doe of the last time it was exposed to her, her eyes hungrily taking in the sight, before glancing back up and realizing Connie noticed her looking.

"Yea, aside from the heat and all these plants, I'm feeling good." the otter replied, grinning back at her impishly and making a pointedly long glance to Eva's own attractively bare midriff. "All these plants aren't tickling you too much, are they?" Connie asked back.

"N-no." The pretty doe stuttered a little as she blushed deeply behind her fur and turned around to push forward again. "I can handle it."

"Can you? Good to know…" She heard Connie say in a very playful tone behind her. It made Eva think she should be on guard for a tickle attack from the girl, but she realized she couldn't keep glancing backwards every three feet. Besides, would that even be so bad? It couldn't be that much worse than now, as the plants seemed to press in more as she moved forward, a long feathery fern making her twitch to her left, a lazy vine that brushed against her hips just so, prompting her to go this way instead of that around a bush. Eva could also hear Connie's laughter behind her, starting to get more regular. It was almost as if the plants were guiding them…

As soon as Eva had that thought, the two made into a small clearing. They still didn't see any walls, so for all they knew they were now in the exact middle of the room. At this rate they'd be stuck in here a while. But still, this was an area that hadn't gotten overgrown, one place to relax without being constantly tickled by these strange plants. And in the middle of the clearing as a life-size marble statue.

The white marble statue was of a snake woman, standing at ground level with her legs slightly apart, her hands on her hips, her long tail reaching the ground behind her. A commanding pose. Blood red eyes appeared to be made of some kind of jewel. It was hard to tell if she was supposed to look like an albino, or if that was just the effect of the marble. A python, or a boa maybe? Hard to tell, and Eva never knew any snakes. The snake woman was wearing little more than underwear, exposing almost all her skin. Although if the woman this was supposed to be spent her time in here, that was more than understandable. The statue was incredibly lifelike, and whoever had made it had been masterful. She was beautiful, exuding strength and hidden muscle behind a smooth, sleek, sensual form. The barest hints of abs could were depicted on her taut, fit belly. Eva had the urge to reach out and run her fingers along it, the statue was strangely captivating.
"Hey, wait a minute." Said Connie, marching purposefully to one edge of the clearing and kneeling down. "Oh, are you kidding me?!"

"What is it?"

"This is the same trap-door that we got in here with!" Huffed Connie. "See? There's the trail we took, and here are our jackets. From this angle, that statue even looks like a gap between the trees where you could see the glass. Small wonder we didn't see it. We've gone in a circle."

Eva couldn't deny that as she looked around, or avoid feeling the slightest bit foolish, since she had been leading the way.
"Well, we'll just have to try again." Said Eva, shrugging.

" 'Try again'? You were leading the way. You're just going to get us lost again."

Eva's jaw set. "That's not fair. Listen, Connie I think that these plants were actually planted so that they end driving people back to the centre, to this statue, and I think that maybe-Eep!"

The otter hadn't stopped to listen; without warning she sprang at Eva for what was fast becoming an instinctive measure, paws shooting through her defences to tackle the deer's sides just below her ribcage. The doe fell back, giggling and trying to fight her off as the fingers dug in hard.

Eva sank to the ground just a few steps back, giggling and tearing up, bringing Connie down on top of her -and kicked her legs up, sending the wide-eyed otter summersaulting over to vanish in a patch of bushes. Eva rolled over, making to spring after her, only to be rebuked by a root tangled tight around her hoof. Impatiently, she kicked at the stuck limb, irritation only increasing when that other appendage quickly became stuck in the mass of woody shoots as well.

Maybe she could pull herself out; the shape of her hooves at any rate would make them easier to pop out than if she had had a long foot. Eva stretched forward on the ground, grabbing hold of another long root running through the grass ahead, originating from the same tree, and tried to get a grip. Just... A little... Closer...

Her already large eyes widened when the entire root flexed, leaning towards her and coming down on her outstretched wrists. Frantically, she tried to pull back, and instead made a discovery. The grass, oddly short and tipped with broad, flat heads covered in an odd kind of fuzz, tickled. It swayed back and forth with her movements, hundreds of feathery stalks brushing against her hips, her ribs, her belly.

One delicate frond poked gently inside of her navel, and Eva yelped, redoubling her efforts at escape. Stretched out and trapped as she was, it was an exceptionally difficult proposition, but by flexing her entire upper-body, she at last managed to force her rear into the air, slackening off the tickling on her lower belly.

Unavoidably, her shirt fell down farther down, almost fully onto her shoulders, baring the undersides of her breasts, uncovered by her bra, exposing them to the plant's tickling ministrations. One of the many busy stalks just brushed against a trace of blue gel between the firm mounds, and the entire network of quicksilver-tendrils seemed to activate at the touch, tickling horribly under all the layers of protection, vibrating, massaging -tickling. The entire mass pulsated greedily as the doe laughed, swelling and expanding, tickling horribly.

"Connie! Connie -help!" Eva managed to yell out between bursts of laughter, rear turning back and forth in the air, muscles shaking as she strained to free herself.

For her part, Connie was in no state to lend assistance. When the deer had flipped her over-head, she had summersaulted and come to rest against a tree. Without a moment's pause, she leapt to get back up and counter -and only then realized that the tree trunk was covered in thick sap, incredibly thick and sticky, adhering her to the wood tightly. Her back was immobilize, arms spread to either side in twin 'L' positions, tail twisting around to the back of the trunk and just as tightly stuck-fast, only the tip able to even twitch.

Well-aware of the position that she'd be in should Eva catch up to her, Connie kicked at the ground with her foot-paws frantically, uncaring as the friction slid her mangled flip-flops off. She was considerably more alarmed when the roots on either side of her spread legs twisted suddenly, coming down on the inside of her shins, holding the limbs in a broad 'V'.

Oh crap.

Her struggling intensified, even when it simply made the backs of her toes brush against the roots holding her feet hostage, instantly adhering them to other traces of sap, neatly stretching out the plump soles they topped. They only trembled from strain as Connie tried to pull them away, which was more success than most of her squirming body could claim.

She jerked -or, at least, made a determined attempt to that end- and giggled as something tickled over her right foot, running up the arch, across the taunt ball, and through the pass between her toes, small but deadly.

A single ant, with unusual feathery spurs on its legs, meandered up her pant-leg, little feet making the otter twist and giggle as it crossed over the hem of her jeans, running along her belly, before dipping its head to the sap on her other side, and continuing on its way, once again tickling unbelievably it descended the huge slopes of her other exposed sole.

Connie twisted helplessly, giggling as two more ants appeared, then three, all treading the long trail up her soles, along the legs and across this convenient body that now allowed them to get close to the plant secretions without becoming trapped, despite its protests and pointless attempts at freeing itself.

More ants came on, and more, an army marching down a pint-sized Oregon Trail, making the long journey over the otter's body in a swarm, making her throw her head back and scream, chest heaving at the overwhelming tickling. Soon, another branch was established, with ants collecting in a body at the taunt hollow of Connie's right underarm, before threading their way carefully over her chest and ribs, falling back down her side in a waterfall of fuzzy black carapaces. The line at her waist seemed split; one half of the feathered couriers marching straight through the depression of her navel, the other in an arch along the delicate skin on her pelvis.

Connie thrashed, howling with laughter as the ants marched on, thrashing in her syrupy confines as she tried to get free. Unheeding and uncaring, but oh, so tickly! the ants marched on, swarming over her single-mindedly, little feet seeming not to miss a single nerve as they swished through the short fur.
"I think we should stop reading these before we become mortally depressed." Electra said putting the documents back in the cabinet.

"Well..." Poncho folded his arms "Anyone know the way out of here?"

"We just have to keep pushing forward." Wolf said holding up the candle as a drop of wax dripped onto his nose
The poodle turned his head slightly, and raised an ear. "I think I just heard something." He walked to a window. "Funny place for one of these." He opened it. "Guys? You might want to take a look at this."

"What do you see?" Electra asked.

"Some sort of Greenhouse. I think someone is inside," Wolf said. "That or something."
"Look!" Poncho said. "It's a deer and an otter trapped in the plants!"

"What do you mean by trapped?" Electra asked.

Wolf motioned for them to slow down and be careful. "This greenhouse might be filled with carnivorous plants."

"Carnivorous!" Electra said. "Then we should try to rescue those two!"
Eva's body tensed as she held her butt in the air, keeping her midriff above the insidiously ticklish grass. It was a very awkward position, and Eva muscles trembled from the extended strain, unable to hold herself there much longer. But it was all she could do, her hooves and wrists were tightly caught in the roots, and she wasn't going to be able to free herself until the plants let her go, until Connie came to free her. And since the last thing the girl had tried to go was administer another round of tickling, Eva wasn't sure either of those would be anytime soon.

It was even harder to maintain her position while her breasts were being tickled by those plants. Her shirt had ridden up to her shoulders, and it seemed like her bra wasn't completely covering the undersides of her breasts, either. The grass and roots seemed eager to exploit the vulnerability, stroking and brushing just there, sending the doe into sputtering titters, each stroke weakening her tensed body, begging her to relax and fall down completely.

And still unknown to her, the tickling was being amplified significantly by the blue gel, wriggling and massaging, coaxing every possible sensation from her, equal part lover's caress and impish tickler. Even worse, the roots grazing her chest excreted the quicksilver it had absorbed earlier, the two portions merging and taking over more territory under the doe's bra, now coating the entirety of its insides.

Still more roots appeared beneath her, these hooked onto the loose shirt and tugged, pulling the garment clear over the giggling woman's head and exposing the rest of her chest and underarms to the ticklish assault. In the process, the shirt ripped in two places. If Eva were able to put it back on now, it would only come down unevenly to her ribs, and one shoulder strap would be missing, giving the shirt an uneven look and exposing a black bra strap. Although it would still provide adequate coverage to her chest, at least. Not that that was a concern for Eva at the moment.

Taking full advantage of the new territory to explore, two roots moved their way under each of the taut hollows of Eva's underarms. There, each began to softly scritch a pointed tip up and down incessantly. This, combined with the increasing tickles over her breasts, was the straw that broke the camel's back. Eva squealed with renewed laughter, her body relaxing and falling back to the earth.

It was what the plethora of grass fronds had been eagerly awaiting. They immediately began brushing against the entirety of her belly, her body stretched taut by the roots at her extremities. Some teased against her abs, others painted a line along the inner curves of her hips. And as if that wasn't enough, another pair of roots latched onto the belt loops of her pants and pulled them downward. Her pants fell down below her panty line, now exposing even more of her sensitive lower waist. More fronds stroked and teased as low as they could, lapping at the trembling, receptive skin directly above them.

Practically the entirety of the doe's undercoat was now being teased and tickled in some fashion, although she was thankful that at least it wasn't ALL of it. None of the tickling was intense, all of it was gentle yet insistent, never ending and building. Still, it was as much as the doe could handle. All she could do was lower her head to the grass carpet, her eyes shut tightly as the tickling blocked everything else from her mind, the plants having full control of their ticklish pet.

Meanwhile, the ants swarming over Connie were actually having a beneficial effect besides a full body tickling. Each one was after another glob of the sweet sticky sap, tickling the giant being to get there merely a secondary benefit. But the bugs were slowly but surely eating away at the glue that was holding the otter to the tree. And with each reflexive thrash the bond between the two weakened. Although the otter was slow to notice as an army of ants coated her: up and down each arm, over every inch of her sides, even her tail wasn't spared. But this gave Connie thrashing energy to spare, and the effects were cumulative, as the realization finally trickled into her tickle-addled brain.
Connie felt like she was about to pass out. How long had she been here? Her sides and throat ached, body tingling and feeling like all of its nerves had been blunted by the overwhelming sensation. Sweat matted her fur, droplets running along her skin every time she panted and giggled. Where was Eva? She had heard her laughing somewhere close by, and at one point thought she saw a flash of white tail. What had happened to her?

She was fortunate in one thing; unknown to her, all the sweat had functioned as a weak solvent, partially dissolving the sap; had someone without sweat-glands brushed against the tree, they would have really been in a sticky situation. At length, for the millionth time, Connie reflexively tried to reach over and brush the swarm of insects capering over her bound foot, and was jerked back to lucidity when her right elbow gave with a moist popping sound. It had come free!

Suddenly filled with energy, the otter thrashed and pulled, grunting as both fists came free, then her back, and, as she contracted her legs and pulled away from the tree, her tail slid lose, thick appendage flicking back and forth,s shedding goo and insects in spurts.

Grunting and giggling grimly, alternately brushing at her body and her feet, she was at last able to pull her feet free. Too scatter-brained too worry about her flip-flops, she staggered back towards the clearing, laughing as panicked ants crawled over her body, one opportunistic drone using her navel as a bunker from her swiping paws, feathery spurs brushing against the sides and poking into every millimetre.

She crashed through the bushes, raw nerves and worn lungs barely calling for a chortle as the leaves brushed against her. She stopped short as the doe came into view two steps ahead; stretched out on the ground in a 'Y', spread arms and closed legs trapped under the roots, twisting back and forth, giggles trickling from her mouth in one continuous note. Somehow, her shirt had been ripped, and Connie paused, transfixed by the doe's taut and exposed underarms, feeling like she had never appreciated them before.

Only for a moment, however. Connie quickly stepped forward to help her- and pulled back as if the floor had been covered in tacks, as the feathery grass contacted the soft pads of her foot. Without wasting time on calling reassurances, she padded around the edge of the clearing, arms protecting her sides as the leaves tickled against them.

"C-connie!" Laughed Eva as the otter knelt in front of her, tugging at the root pinning her hands to the ground. "Gehgeh-et me out of here! Hahahahaha!"
Connie pulled and strained at the root, muscles shaking. But, after so much effort so recently, there was no way she could make any of the thick limbs budge. She needed to find another way, or to go get help -help? Hah. What kind of 'help' existed in a creepy, forgotten old house like this?

A creak cut through the jungle thickness, as a door in the wall -which had been painted a faded green, rendering it nearly invisible in the floral ocean- squeaked open. Three anthros sprinted up to her; a graceful eel woman, a rather pudgy panda man, and a cute poodle man.

"We're here to help!" Shouted the panda, easily peeling back the root while his comrades freed Eva's hooves.

"Uh, thanks." Said Connie, suddenly feeling like she was just going to collapse and pass out then and there, but damned if she leaned against a tree to keep herself up.
(Author's Note:Chihuahua? I don't think that's the same thing as a Poodle.)

"OMG!" Electra exclaimed "Are you guys hurt?"

Then she looked at the face of the Otter Woman, she was no ordinary Otter, she was specifically a Giant Otter from her homeland of the Amazon.

It was then she remembered...The two friends she shocked when they had a tickle fight, the one she injured was a Crocodile, the one she killed...Was a Giant Otter
"Let's get out of here!" Wolf said, as he, basically, did a tap dance on his toes, as the grass started to tickle him. "I knew I should have worn shoes, and I Hate shoes!"
Poncho was rolling around on the grass, laughing. "Stop! Stop! Hahahaha!"

"Poncho!" Wolf said. "Have you lost your mind? Let's get out of here!"
As soon as Eva was freed by the newcomers, she flung herself up and away from the grass and the roots that had been incessantly tickling her. She stood and bounded to her feet, grabbing the shirt that had fallen and bunched at her hands, quickly putting it on, embarrassed to be in her underwear in from of these strangers. It was little more than rags now, but at least it was better than nothing. It covered her bra (minus the left strap), and came down to her ribs, the fabric frayed where the roots had torn it, exposing even more of the doe's fur to the outside.

Eva moved to where Connie was, standing at the boundary between the dense foliage and the grassy clearing. Now that Eva was standing, the glass had no ability to tickle her, brushing against her hooves futilely. However, this combined with all the earlier tickling had left the attractive doe exhausted, as she leaned heavily against the otter. Connie did the same, each using the other to keep from falling over.

Connie could feel the other woman's body trembling against her own, both their bodies damp with sweat from ticklish overexertion. "She's even more worn out than I am." Connie realized, looking at Eva, and seeing that she was trying to put on as strong a show as possible to the unknown people before her. Despite her own exhaustion, a wave of sympathy washed over Connie, and she had the urge to hug her compatriot, or tell her it was going to be alright… anything to help. As it was, Eva was more of a help to her, as one of Connie's footpaws stepped on Eva's hoof, protecting her from the grass, her far foot thankfully on a bare patch of ground. Connie rested a hand on the doe's hip to steady herself, and in spite of her urge to be nice, she remembered how the roots and grass had tickled and teased Eva there, and what a ticklish spot she knew it was… no, no, Connie, focus!

Eva could feel the otter breathing heavily against her, and Eva couldn't help but notice the way her stomach moved as she panted, the glistening fur undulating with each breath, something about it was strangely captivating… Eva brought a hand to her face and shook her head to clear the distracting thought. She didn't have the time or energy for that right now.

Despite her gratitude at being rescued, Eva looked at the three anthros wearily. Their coming to the rescue had been… convenient. Incredibly, conspicuously convenient. Connie and Eva hadn't heard, seen, nor smelled a soul the entire time, yet the second they were out of their element the cavalry appeared behind a camouflaged hidden door? It all made the doe very suspicious, and she eyed the other group warily. If it came to a confrontation, the two of them were in no shape to do much. Eva would give anything for a nice, warm shower. And then a soft bed…

Although, as Eva watched them, she couldn't tell if they were potential enemies, or merely buffoons. The dog was doing a ridiculous dance on the grass, and the panda was rolling around on the grass. Eva guessed that the eel woman was the leader of their group, she was the only one keeping her composure. Then again, she seemed to be glaring at Connie oddly, prompting Eva to stiffen protectively.

"I don't trust them." Eva leaned over the whisper in Connie's ear, softly enough that she'd be the only one to hear. "But we need to get out of this greenhouse before we both pass out." Eva felt Connie nod, then the doe cleared her thought and tried to speak confidently to the group, covering her exhaustion as well as she could.

"We're fine, don't worry about us." Eva said, speaking to the group, but looking at the eel woman. "Do you know a way out of here?" The deer tried to put on a stern expression as she said it, but her gaze drifted past the newcomers… and her eyes widened in fear, and Connie felt the doe's body stiffen against her in surprise, as she heard Eva lean in the whisper in her ear: "Connie… where did the statue go?"
Name: Fletcher (goes by "Fletch" for short)
Gender: M
Species: Coati
Appearance: Wears a white tank-top and blue jeans, white sneakers, and a dogtag necklace. Stands at about 5'11" and has a slightly-athletic, yet also lanky build. Has the average brown-ish fur color of a coati, with his muzzle all the way down to his pelvis being brighter-colored. Darker fur colors on his forearms, shins, around his eyes and ears, and in ring patterns on his tail. He also has vivid-blue eyes and a pink nose.
Personality: A little shy, never one to start conversation and would much rather someone start it instead. Has the tendency to literally hide with his tail between his legs when nervous.
Human Equivalent Age: 19

-Ticklish Rating-
Feet: 10
Legs: 7
Hips: 4
Buttocks: 9
Belly: 10
Sides: 8
Chest: 9
Underarms: 10
Arms: 8
Neck: 6

Miscellaneous Info: Has a habit of stuttering when anxious, barely being able to finish a sentence without repeating a word or two several times or changing mid-sentence.


         When the coati started to wake up, he was greeted with the feeling of dust and cobwebs on his face, causing him to immediately begin coughing and sneezing. He sat up slowly, his head aching horribly as he used his shirt collar to brush the dust and cobwebs out of his face. After a few more light coughs to clear his throat, he tried to take a look around, but his eyes were too watery from his coughing fit. His head was also in excruciating pain, and it even left it hard to think for a moment. He tried to remember anything that led up to this moment... He knew his name was Fletcher, at least. He was nineteen, a coati, and sadly had no memory prior to apparently falling asleep.

         Fletcher gulped a little before attempting to speak. His voice cracked a little as he spoke. "H-hello? Is anyone there...?" he said slowly and nervously, almost afraid of receiving any response. "Where am I? What's going on...?"
"Thanks again for helping us," Said Connie to the eel-woman, trying to ignore her odd stare. "Oh, I'm Connie, by the way, and this is Eva. Do you know where we are?"

"Not a clue -but I do know that I don't wanna be here. Can we go back inside and talk about this?" Said the poodle, having helped the panda escape the grass in the mean-time.
They began the gradual stagger back to the door, alternately giggling and jumping, swatting at the plants in their way.

"We don't know where we are, either, except that this place is called 'Blackwold Estate'." Said the panda helpfully in his deep voice as they trod along. "My and Electra -that's the eel over there- both woke up in a library; Wolf, in the next bedroom over. I'm Poncho, by the way."

"Pleased to meet you, Poncho." Said Connie, managing an awkward hand-shake and almost falling over. "Did you say that that poodle's name was 'Wolf'?"

" 'Wolf W. Wolf; I was adopted." He called back, stooping in through the doorway after Electra.

Inside was a long chamber Connie would take to calling, at an unknown prompting, the 'Genealogy Room'. Portraits and plaques lined the walls above the wainscoting, and thick filing cabinets reposed in the corners, dusty as everything else. A trio of iron-cast chandeliers hung in the oak vaulting high over the thick carpet, metal holders cold and matted with cobwebs.

"Watch this; whatever genius built this place made the only ways in, either through that greenhouse -or this revolving door!" Wolf pushed against a bookcase, seemingly full of familial history, which suddenly flipped neatly around to reveal a plain section of normal wall, taking him with it.

A series of flips later brought them into a large dining room, and Eva and Connie happily collapsed into a couch resting in one corner, letting out near uniform sighs of relief in the wonderful, cool air. She jerked back to her feet again, though at the sight of the gorgeous repast set out on the table, and drank half of the accompanying tall glass of water in one gulp.

"So... Have any of you found a way out yet?" Asked Eva from behind the contented otter, still sounding suspicious.

Electra shook her head, idly examining an ornate chair.
"No. Through that door" She gestured at an imposing portal across the room from the doe. "Is a bedroom, and if you go through a trap-door in the ceiling, you can get into the library. Which, we found out, has no doors."

As she pointed, Connie saw a flash of scaly skin below the hemline of her shirt. I wonder how ticklish she is? All of them? I should really try to find out, try to- She growled faintly as she shook her head, feeling like cobwebs as thick of those on the lighting fixtures were falling off her mind. Like suffocating masses of ropes sticking to her thoughts...Poetic.

Electra pointed at another door, this one at the far end of the room. "And, you know, I don't think that we've been through that door yet. I got flipped through the revolving one, and then we ended up finding you."

"Well, there is one door in the basement." Said Connie through a mouth-full of food. "But it's jammed, and you -we- would have to go back through the greenhouse to get to it."

Wolf made a face. "No-thank-you. Let's try Door No.1 instead."
Eva lifted the lid from her covered dish she was amazed by what she saw underneath.

"Carrot cake?" She murmured as the sweet smell wafted through the room "How does this place know what are favorite foods are?"

"I have no idea." Electra said with a shrug "All I know is that this place is owned by the Blackwold Family of Rats, one of whom had a thing for a Lioness named Leona."

Connie and Eva looked at each other...Leona? Was that the name of the Lioness in the painting they saw
"Too bad there isn't such a thing as super breath, or some such thing," said Wolf.

"Thinking of huffing and puffing, in order to blow the place down?" Eva asked.

"Well, if we find a big hammer, it would help," said Wolf.

"Why do you say that?" Connie asked.

"Well, my family runs two businesses - Demolition, and Construction," said Wolf. "I guess you could say I know a thing or two about structural engineering. That being said, none of what I've learned from my parents explains the engineering behind this place. Windows in places that windows shouldn't be found, no windows in places that could use them, no lighting in some of these rooms, that greenhouse/funhouse thing, trapdoors, to say nothing about how we got here - it reminds me of one of those horror movies about groups of strangers, or friends, that end up in a strange house, that turns out to be haunted, or occupied by a serial killer, or filled with deadly traps,or something, and one by one, the members of the group are brutally killed."

"You watch too many movies," said Electra.

"He does have a point," said Poncho. "Someone, or something, has to be behind our being here."

"I just hope it isn't a Slasher Film we stumbled into," said Wolf. "I don't like those movies. Them, and ones about possessive ghosts, or murderous children. Those scare me worse than ones about zombies."
"How about intelligent rats who build odd mansions?" Poncho suggested.

"I haven't seen too many good rat movies," Wolf said. "Just Willard and Ben."

"We're not in a movie," Electra said.

"How do we know? Maybe there are hidden cameras and the movie is being made right now."

Electra shrugged. "I suppose anything is possible."

"How do we know we are the only ones in this house?" Eva asked.

"Yes," Connie said. "We didn't know about you guys until you suddenly showed up. Maybe there are more people."
Eva frowned as the group kept on talking. Connie and Eva had needed the rest, and the food and drink had been very revitalizing. But now everyone was just standing around talking. As far as the doe could tell, the conversation was getting them nowhere.

It was true, the layout of this building was baffling. Eva was trying to keep a mental map of the rooms they had been in, but it wasn't making sense. The greenhouse should be huge, yet it was right in the middle of the building, and those three had opening a door seemingly in the middle of it. The place seemed abandoned, but if that were true who was watering the plants in there and keeping them alive? If was as if the house was playing by its own rules.

But Eva didn't care about this "Blackwold" family, or whether they were rats, or if they were into some lioness, even if it was the same lioness she and Connie had seen in the bedroom Eva woke up in. She didn't want to think about her, the whole time she was in that room she felt like the lioness's eyes were on her, following her every move…

Eva's eyes glazed over as she fell into another day dream. She saw herself in a bedroom, laying on her back on a large featherbed. Her clothes were in a little pile on the floor. Her hooves were tied to the foot of the bed with scarves, and her wrists were tied over her head at the headboard, leaving her in an inverted Y. A lioness, the same from the painting… Leona maybe, crawled onto the bed predatorily. Normally being in such a situation with a lion would make Eva panic in fright, but her expression looked… eager.

Leona wasn't wearing the maid uniform, she was in her underwear, black lace and garters… the lioness looked to be around her age, and she was stunningly beautiful. She straddled the doe, and with a hungry growl brought her paws down… and began to tickle the doe. The teasing went on in on, the lioness lightly scritched her claws under Eva's outstretched arms, caresses the sides of her breasts… her long raspy tongue lapped at the deer's belly. But Eva was enjoying it, cooing and moaning between giggles at each pleasant tickle, begging for more when the lioness stopped. If only it was real…

Eva snapped out of the fantasy suddenly, and she could almost feel the phantom paws caressing her underneath her clothing. She blushed under her fur and looked around, hoping no one noticed, she didn't think it was for more than a moment. But she saw Connie looking at her with a knowing look, making Eva's skin burn as she turned away. Come to think of it, she had seen that same dazed look on Connie, too. Were they both having the same kinds of day dreams? Eva decided she had to ask her if they were ever alone, even if it was embarrassing. Eva decided she did not want to add anything to the conversation about who Leona might be, and didn't tell the group about the painting.

Meanwhile, the group was still speculating about the place, about the rats, and generally making small talk. They were never going to get out of here at this rate. "Hey, shouldn't we be trying to get out of here?" She spoke, getting the groups attention. "There's a door no one has been in yet, right? Why aren't we going that way?" Eva pointed to the far door. "Big guy, c'mon, help me get it open." Eva said to the panda, quickly striding towards the door and trying to look more commanding than she actually felt. She had to get the group moving, or she'd just slip into these fantasies and never stop.

"The name is Poncho." The panda said, a little irked. "But that's a good idea." He got up slowly and followed her the far door. Each one pushed on it, and slowly the giant and absurdly heavy oak door opened up, revealing a long, dark hallway. Candles were spaced too far apart for it to be well lit, and neither of them could see where the hallway ended, it merely trailed off into the darkness. But there were so many rooms! The realization momentarily stunned the group as they peered into the dark, candle-lit hallway.
         Hearing no answer, the coati couldn't help but feel relieved. At the very least, no one was observing him from some hidden crawlspace or through a hole in the wall. After he waited for his strength to come back to him, he slowly stood himself up on his feet, grabbing hold of the wall next to him to keep him from falling over. He rubbed his eyes, waiting for them to adjust to the dark room so he could see better. Seeing a door, Fletcher reached for the doorknob and slowly turned it, pulling the door open cautiously.

         "Hello? Anyone else here?" Fletcher called out once in the hallway, to no one in particular. While the luxury of knowing he wasn't being stalked was nice, the fact that he hasn't seen anyone else in this strange place was still putting up red flags. The coati closed the door behind him, trying to keep all noise down just in case anyone...or anything, was there to pose a threat.
Connie tiptoed into the hallway, holding out a candle filched from the dining room as the others followed in single-file. The varnished wood-working, the darkness, and the forbidding aura of reposing age clinging to the passage made the thoroughfare seem gigantic as the procession crept along. The dust and thick carpet collaborated for silence, seeming to pounce on any noise like a predatory animal.

"Aren't there any windows in this place at all?" Grumbled Wolf after a few more paces. "Like, seriously, keeping everything all dark like this is just wasting power. You'd never even know it was day outside."

"Do you think we should try some of these rooms?" Said Connie over her shoulder as still more hall floor rolled away beneath them. "One of them at least might have a window or something that we could go out of."

Poncho paused to inspect one of the vaguely yet distinctly sinister doors they were passing, fairly curtained with webbing and giving off the strong impression that it was daring him to touch it.
"Ah, they're probably just bedrooms anyway." He shrugged off.

A new dilemma made itself known shortly after, when an intersection reared up out of the gloom, a short hallway butting into an especially ornate duo of double-doors to the right, opposite the first landing of a spiral staircase and yet another thick door, both neatly divided by the hallway as it carried on its happy way forward. Seeing the blunt slab of wood, twisted in tis frame and slightly cracked, Connie knelt and peered through the key-hole on a sudden inspiration.

"I can see some daylight down there, at least." She said aloud. "I think that -yeah, this is definitely the cellar that I first woke up in." She returned to her paws, shaking her head. "All the windows are barred down there; there's no way out."

"I wonder what's up there?" Said Eva, the doe peering around the curve of the staircase up.

"Or in here," Added Wolf, knocking on the double-doors. They took to discussing the best rout to take, until Connie thought she saw movement in the wall of shadows obscuring the corridor. Curious, she stepped into it -and was more than a little perturbed when it tried to step back, not being quick enough.

"Oof!" The candle holder hit the ground beside her as she stumbled, contents spilling, flame eating into the dry carpet eagerly and spreading like lightning. The otter panicked, grabbing the first thing that came to paw and whacking at the flames frantically.

After a few moments of panicked beating, the fire seemed to have been averted, at which point she realized a) the stares of the others as she held out the destroyed section of fabric that had once been her shirt, and b) that they were staring right past her at a coati man standing awkwardly in the corridor. His dark fur seemed to turn invisible in the flickering candle-light whenever he stood still, though he seemed nervous, making that a rarity.

"Uh, hi. Can you tell me where I am? What's going on?" He asked, tail curling between his legs, before flicking out to the side and back.




"We wish we could tell you." Electra said "But we have no clue either."

Wolf cocked his head to the side, "A Giant Otter, an Electric Eel and a Coati...So far that's three South American species."

Everyone turned and looked at him

"What?!" Wolf said defensively "I'm saying I've it's a bit odd for so many Amazon species to be here in New England!"

"Do you recall the Oceanic Wars ten years ago?" Electra asked

"Sort of..." Wolf said awkwardly "I was only seven at the time..."

"It was a War the Whale/Shark Alliance had against Brazil." Electra said "From what I remember...The Brazilian Fisherbeasts were really over fishing and so the Non-Anthro fish the Ocean tribes lived on were being taken away from them...The Tribes of the Ocean were always in an odd place with the rest of the World choosing to live in the Ocean where no territories could be set and following the Ocean Currents, the Ocean People were looked down upon for their Nomadic ways, Freshwater Fish like my kind sneered at our Ocean cousins, but ten years ago, the Sharks and Whales...They struck hard and struck fast using some strange means of controlling water our Scientists don't fully understand, they sent tsunami after tsunami crashing into Brazil's shores leaving hundreds dead, and countless refugees fleeing for North America."

"Yes..." Connie nodded "I remember those days...My Grandpa predicted that the Whales and Sharks would take their revenge on the Amazon People, so we left for the US two days before the first attack.

(Author's Note: Anthro Politics)
"Can we not bring up politics?" Wolf asked. "I don't like it, especially after the Donkey and Elephant Incident."

"The one about the parties' mascots?" Eva asked.

"That one," said Wolf. "It was on every station, even on those that didn't deal with the news."

"I can see how that could be annoying," said Connie. "People always thinking that Donkeys were Democrats, and Elephants were Republicans, and how they didn't want their races to be the parties' mascots."

"I missed some good movies because of it," Wolf said. "There was one about a poodle that wanted to marry a rabbit, but it turns out, the rabbit was a weretiger/dragon-thing."

"What?" Eva asked.

"It was a B-Movie, Made-For-TV thing, terrible special effects, bad acting, that sort of thing," said Wolf. "I had things set to record it. Instead, I got a stinking debate."

"That is terrible," said Electra. "Did you get a chance to see this movie?"

"Six months later, when the politics died down."
"You people talk a lot," said Fletcher the Coati.

"Don't they?" Eva agreed.

All seven of them were standing in the hallway, undecided about exactly what to do next.

"But what is this place?" Fletcher asked. "Why are we here?"

"Ah!" said Poncho. "The question of the ages. The question every conscious being gets around to asking sooner or later. Why are we here? What's the purpose of it all?"

"So what's the answer?"

"I can only think of two answers: to find out as much as we can... and to get out of here."

"I vote for the second answer."
"Right, we need to be finding a way out of here, not standing around talking." Eva said, getting impatient with this group. "We should be looking into all these rooms. We're not even trying to see if one of them leads somewhere. They might not all be bedrooms. Let's split up and see, and we can meet back in this hallway."

"Wait, isn't that exactly what people do in horror movies?!" Wolf whimpered. "That's when the monster gets them!" The dog's ears drooped at the thought.

"This isn't a horror movie, and there's no such thing as monsters." Electra said. "But maybe Wolf does have sort of a point. There's a million rooms to check, but let's stay in pairs just to stay safe." Electra looked back at Wolf and then to the group. "Wolf and I can take the rooms on the left going back to the dining room."

"Then the coati and I can take the rooms back on the right." Poncho said, nodding to Fletcher. The group eagerly divided, although it seemed to Eva like both pairs were quick to take the rooms going backwards, rather than any of the doors deeper in, past the intersection. Still, Eva was still wary around the larger group, and was glad she would only have to deal with Connie now. The only risk from her was a series of escalating tickle fights…

At that thought, Eva realized that Connie was still holding the burnt rag that was the remains of her shirt. Aside from her underwear, her entire torso was exposed. Eva could see the short, light under fur of Connie's belly, and the long shallow depression around her bellybutton. Eva's eyes lingered there for a moment, realizing how pleasing the feature was to look at… the thought hung heavily in her mind as she tried to pull herself to the task at hand. "Well, shall we?" she asked Connie.

"Way ahead of you, Eva." Connie said happily, their plight temporarily pushed to the back of their minds. Connie opened the door and they stepped into… another bedroom, just as everyone thought. It somehow had a nicer aura than the bedroom in the basement did. A soft canopy bed with silk curtains was in one corner of the room, and both of them noticed it immediately. The thoughts of a relaxing nap sprang to both their minds… the beds would easily fit the both of them… but as their gaze continued to pan the room, Connie's eyes fixed on another full length painting.

Eva, meanwhile, noticed a door to the right side of the room and wandered in. It was a large, ornate bathroom. With a bathtub and shower! Eva peered inside, and saw there was even bars of soap and shampoo! It was all too perfect, it was just what the tired doe needed after the sweaty exhaustion of the greenhouse. It would only take a minute, really. Besides, Connie could take one too.

While Eva was alone in the bathroom, the blue quicksilver that had given her a minor reprieve now instigated another covert action. But instead of tickling her, it slowly but deliberately dissolved the fabric of the doe's bra, and replaced it. The goo molded itself fully into the shape, usurping each bit of fabric as it dissolved and was consumed by the goo. Eva didn't notice at all, the movement was so slow, and only would have if she looked at her exposed bra strap, which had turned from black into the blue of the strange liquid.

Meanwhile, Connie was still staring at the painting. This one wasn't of the lioness, but looked like the snake woman from the statue in the greenhouse. She wore next to nothing, just like at the statue, and was holding a large pretty flower in one hand. In the other was some kind of bottle, maybe perfume. But her eyes were a striking crimson red, and they seemed to follow you wherever you stood. Connie had a hard time looking away as those eyes seemed to hypnotically bore into her own. It was almost like they were telling her something, as if she could hear the snake's voice whisper in her ear, for some reason with a very slight oriental accent: Stay there. Don't move… and I'll come get you.

But the spell was broken as Connie felt two hands grip her sides and playfully pinch them up and down. The otter curled up and burst into giggles, turning around to see Eva there just as her fingers pulled away, her expression innocent, as if to say What, who did that?

"Connie! Were you still staring at that painting?" The doe tilted her head at the girl curiously. "Anyway, this room has a bathroom, with a huge shower, with soap and shampoo and everything!" The doe spoke excitedly, and perhaps it was the only positive discovery made to date. "I'm going to hop in to wash up after the greenhouse. I'll try to be quick. And you're welcome to come in after me." And before Connie could offer up a word in response, the doe bounded back to the bathroom.

Eva turned the shower on, and noted that the water quickly reached a pleasantly warm temperature. She kept the bathroom door cracked to keep the room from getting steamy and removed her clothes, putting them on a counter. Aside from her jeans, none of them took up much space at this point. Was she wearing a blue bra today? The doe shrugged, she must have been. Then Eva stepped into the shower.

As she lathered herself with the soap, the sweat and grime from the greenhouse melting away, she felt wonderful. Something about the soap was making her skin tingle in a very pleasant way, and it smelled wonderful. It was so invigorating after the events of the day so far. So lathered her body carefully, making sure to wash herself thoroughly, even getting some spots like under her arms twice. The shower was heavenly, and Eva was sure Connie would love it when it was her turn. Even if Eva was taking a little longer than she originally planned, she just couldn't resist.
         "It's Fletcher...I have a name you know," the coati grumbled under his breath, placing his hands in his pockets as he followed Poncho closely. "And horror movies don't need monsters to be dangerous...sometimes it's just psychotic killers. I've seen enough movies to know that."

         "I'm not so sure keeping on the topic of horror movies is a bright idea," the panda bear replied. "But anyway...Fletcher, was it? We should just keep our wits about us and press onward." The two kept on walking, eventually finding the first room to investigate. "Eva's right, they can't all be bedrooms. If we ended up being put in here, we can find the same way to escape."

         Poncho cautiously opened the door, revealing what seemed to be an old storage room. There were crates littered all over the room, but none of them had any contents in them. The room was also overrun by what appeared to be moss and leafy vines...perhaps no one used this in so long that the plant life started to grow over and into it. Fletcher approached some of the vines hanging on the walls, giving them a firm tug or two.

         "What are you doing?" Poncho asked the coati.

         "Checking if they're attached to anything...who knows, it might lead somewhere," Fletcher answered, continuing his tugging on the vines. Nothing seemed to happen, yet the coati continued anyway. "Come on...be useful you overgrown root..."

         After a while, Fletcher tried a different tactic. He planted one foot on the wall in front of him, then yanked at the vine with all his might, trying to bring it down. He gritted his teeth as his strength was giving out, and the vine wouldn't budge.

         Poncho then surprisingly felt something flat with a soft edge run along the back of his leg, startling him and causing him to jump a bit. He turned behind him to see a long vine limply lying on the floor, having been pointing toward his leg. "What was that...?" the panda said to himself.

         While the coati kept pulling on the vine, he might have somehow been pulling in such a way that the leafy tip of the vine brushed against his neck and upper chest, making him gasp and giggle a bit. He loosened his grip and the vine stayed seemingly lifeless. That was odd...it was almost as if the vine came to life and tickled him. Though the vines and roots silently creeping towards the panda and coati would soon confirm his suspicions...
We're supposed to be finding a way out, not making ourselves at home. Thought Connie as she heard the water starting to run in the bathroom. Oh, well. 'Guess I'm just grouchy because she found it first. Now, I wonder how comfy this bed is?

Extremely comfortable, as it turned out. The otter grinned as she sank into it, laying back and not questioning her luck at how surprisingly dust-free the sheets were. The coverings were positively luxurious, the mattress wonderfully soft and comforting. Still hanging half-off the edge, Connie folded her arms behind her head, sinking into the splendid textures and shifting back and forth to feel them rubbing against her soft fur in the most delightful way that made her shiver.

She smiled at the thought of Eva tracing her paws over her, the doe smiling down at her as she was teased, struggling to hold her position. Heavens knew that would be nothing new. Or that coati, Fletcher, or any of the others. Paws gliding over her bare fur, just eliciting the most playful, light tickles. Lovely.

But why stop at just teasing? Her breath quickened as she imagined Poncho -doubtless the strongest person here- holding her arms down overhead, Wolf and Fletcher both neatly head-locking her feet as she tried to kick, paws skittering and raking over her arches -and Eva, straddling her, tickling full-out this time, paws hunting down and exploiting every nerve ending to the max. Questing along her ribs, at her waist, beneath her breasts, and gliding delicately over her belly into her navel...

She almost giggled aloud at the thought, instead getting back up off that lovely bed, carefully folding up her shirt and stuffing it in one pocket. Hopefully the others wouldn't mind the immodesty, but by this point it really was essentially little more than a burnt, itchy scarf.

Not wanting to leave Eva alone in this place, she paced around the room as the water ran in the background, opening and closing drawers at random, idly trying to determine if this had been someone's regular room in the past or just an un-occupied guest's. There were a large selection of quill-pens, some musty volumes in ye olde butchered englese that she didn't give more than a cursory glance, but nothing exciting. Eva was still in the shower, probably using up the place's entire small and sad accumulation of hot-water. Maybe she should try to teach her to be a bit more thoughtful when she got out, all fresh and not expecting it. Heck, why wait for something aggravating like clothing to get in the way?

Gradually, her eyes were drawn back to that vivid, life-size portrait of the cobra women on the wall. She looked... Familiar. Connie wasn't surprised in the slightest by the artist's inclusion of a feather- shaped tattoo on her right leg. It was only being true to form, after all, and Lysanzk the cobra always had had such a marvellous way with feathers, almost as good as poor Diapole... Wait, what?

Unseen to the confused otter, to Eva luxuriating in the shower, to Fletcher or Poncho in their fast-escalating predicament, or to Electra and Wolf further down the hall, the revolving wall in the dining room swung about. Flanks of the purest, most exquisitely crafted white marble neglected to gleam in the gloom as their owner slithered through, heavy with animal grace.

Stay there. Don't move, mistress... And I'll come and get you.
Electra for a few moments sparkled with electricity. Wolf jumped out of the way

"Geez!" Wolf barked "What's gong on?!"

"I don't feel so good..." Electra started to sway on her feet, my head kind of hurts and I'm feeling dizzy...Oh..." And she fainted
"This is not good," Wolf said, as checked on the unconscious eel. He looked towards one of the doors. "I hope there's blankets, or something, in one of these rooms." He opened a door, and found a ready-made bed. "Strange. Then again, as the old saying goes, 'Any port in a storm.'" He then used a type of fireman's carry to pick up Electra. "You'd better not shock me."
Completely unaware of the tickle vine now sneaking up on him, Poncho had suddenly frozen in place and said, "Nate!"

"Huh?" Fletcher said. "Nate what?"

"Nate the fox! What happened to him?"

"What fox?" Fletcher said. " I didn't see any fox."

"He was very quiet, but there was a covered dish for him - I remember it had an electrical charge - and he was with us until we split up in the hallway."

Fletcher shrugged. "I really did not see a fox."

"I didn't imagine it," Poncho said. "There was a fox with us and now there isn't."

"Well, maybe he is with some of the others."

The tickle vine had raised a long tendril behind Poncho. Attached to the tendril was a single leaf which looked remarkably like a tiny curious face.
Eva sighed as she finally turned off the water and grabbed a towel. That had been absolutely heavenly, and there seemed to be hot water to spare. Connie would love it, she thought. Eva toweled off and stepped out of the shower, still rubbing the towel in her hair. She was surprised to see Connie standing there with a somewhat annoyed look on her face. The momentary surprise at the otter coming into the bathroom quickly evaporated, as Eva realized she wasn't so prudish as to worry about the other woman seeing her naked. That's just silly. "H-hey Connie. Is anything wrong?" The doe asked apprehensively.

"You said you'd be quick, Eva!" the otter huffed at her, although Eva thought she detected a hint of playfulness within her anger. "You've in there forever!" Before Eva had a chance to reply, the otter pounced at her, paws darting out to wriggle under the doe's arms, which were wide open as she was holding the towel above her head. The towel dropped to the floor as Eva jumped and brought her arms down protectively. Connie's paws seemed to tickle even more than they did last time, the soap sensitizing and stimulating her skin and luxuriating her fur.

But Connie wasn't going to be deterred so easily. Her paws darted down to Eva's belly, running her fingers through the short creamy fur. She felt the doe's tummy tense and shake under her touch, an intoxicating feeling. Eva curled up and fell to the floor, lying on her back on the towel, still surprised by Connie aggressive attack and how sensitize she suddenly felt. It was as if the shower had doubled her ticklishness.

Connie straddled the doe's legs and pursued her relentlessly, as they tussled in the pleasantly steamy bathroom. "Her fur is so soft right now," Connie thought as she raked her paws through the fur of Eva's midriff, to wonderfully ticklish results. "And she seems even more ticklish than before. I wonder if that shower will do the same to me…" Part of Connie's mind wandered to the thought of Eva's inevitable revenge, her own hands questing through Connie's short fur, making her giggle and squirm delightedly as every ticklish inch of her is explored and discovered… "But right now its my turn." Connie thought gleefully. Her paws descended to the doe's hips, now completely exposed, and the otter began lightly scritching inside Eva's hips, from her sides all the way down to the tops of her thighs. The result was beautiful: Eva arched her back and let out the most delightful stream of giggles, her alto voice a melody of laughter.

Eva was in a ticklish haze as she looked up at Connie, seeing the look of ecstasy in her eyes as she ticklish, eyes glued to her most ticklish parts. But something was slowing Eva's movements, slowing down her brain just enough to not be able to react fast enough. Every time she reached up to retaliate, Connie easily batted away the doe's hands, as if they were moving at a snail's pace. Each attempt to grab the girl's wrists or tickle her back was like moving through molasses, as if some foreign force was pushing her to allow herself to be tickled a while. Whatever was happening, it was working.

Connie's eyes took in the beautiful doe under her, seeing that belly taut with laughter… and suddenly had the thought that she had to taste it. Leaning down, the otter made a long lick from Eva's lower waste up to just below her navel, prompting a squeal and another round of giggles from the other woman. But somehow it tasted wonderful, something about the soap had given it a pleasant quality, and Connie had to have more, her mind completely consumed by the tickling, as if she couldn't even conceive of doing anything else. She began to place light nibbles and kisses all over Eva's belly, each taste on her lips spurring her onto another, and another. Meanwhile, her paws reached up to lightly tease the undersides of the doe's bare breasts, stroking the fur ever so lightly. Eva's laughter took on a breathy quality, the doe becoming increasingly overstimulated, to Connie's utter delight.

***
Meanwhile, the white figure in the dining room slowly made her way to the table, taking careful note of each of the eaten dishes. She moved with a deliberate, serpentine grace, as if she had all the time in the world. As if everything she wanted to do was a destined inevitability. Or as is she were timeless, mere seconds and minutes no consequence to her. Her tail reached under one of the chairs, and retrieved an ornate key. A master key with the ability to lock and unlock anything in the mansion. She turned, and made her way into the hallway. As she got closer, a heavy aura descended upon the minds of the group, as if even being near this beautiful creature was to be subject to its reptilian will…
***

Neither Eva nor Connie were entirely sure how long they lay on the floor, Connie tickling Eva to silent fits of laughter. But finally Eva was able to grab onto the otter's wrists and sit them both up, snapping both of them back to reality. As they both lay there on the floor, panting, both of them blushing under their fur, Connie finally spoke again: "Th-that was for taking all the hot water!" She said, trying to return to playful banter.

"There's still plenty. Don't worry about it. It's your turn now…" Eva said. Connie felt like she had gone overboard just now, at least until the doe grinned at her. The smile broke the tension, and Eva told her "The soap feels amazing. You just wait…" The last bit had a suggestive tone to it, and Connie excitedly hopped into the shower, eager to clean up as well.

Eva returned to the bed, realizing she had forgotten her clothes in the bathroom. "Ah well," she thought. "It's not cold in here. Besides, the sheets on this bed feel lovely." Eva luxuriated on top of the sheets, feeling the soft silky texture against her. But then, something made her pause. The woman calmly lay on her back, stretched out, and put her arms above her head, grabbing one wrist in the other. "This is her favorite game," Eva thought knowingly, somehow. "To softly tickle and tease, and make us try to stay still. So light, but so irresistible. We could take turns, or she could play with us both at the same time…" Eva felt like she couldn't move, as if her body was stiff as a board, but neither that nor the strange revelations in her head seemed to concern her at all, her eyes lidded as if half-asleep.
         "D-d-dude, behind you--!" Fletcher stuttered, seeing the oddly-grinning vine behind Poncho. However it was too late as the vine lunged for the panda's round belly and began tickling it relentlessly, causing laughter to escape from Poncho's mouth. The long plant wrapped around Poncho's waist so that it wouldn't be shoved away so easily.
         While the coati wasn't looking, the vine he had in his grasp came to life as well and stretched out to Fletcher's unguarded underarm to wiggly about in the sensitive hollow. The coati then fell onto his back on the floor, squeaking ticklishly at the same time.
         "These things--they're alive--what kind of--what's going--huh?!" Fletcher stammered, not finishing any sentence he tried to make. The thick roots had finally arrived on the scene now, sneakily hooking itself on the two guys' shirts and other defenses and stripping them away, leaving them a bit more vulnerable as the coati's lithe frame and the panda's large body were both exposed.
         "This is crazy, but it somehow doesn't surprise me, judging by everything else that's happened so far..." Poncho said to himself, despite Fletcher's increasing nervousness. "Hey, calm down, you'll juhuhust! Ahahahaha! Aha ha! Make it--hahaworseahaha!"
         The assaulting plants didn't seem to care for either of their talking, so they proceeded to stroke along both of their bodies, legs, and feet to make them laugh instead. Around the toes, behind the knees, on the arches, up and down the sides, under the arms, on their chests, across their necks, around their abdomens--no place was safe from the leafy torment...
Connie moaned aloud in relief as the soft, hot water cascaded over her nude body, running through her fur to wash away the collected grime and and instantly relaxing the strained muscles beneath. She stretched in the glorious drizzle, back arching, feeling a collection of aches and pains that she hadn't even realized were there until now. Eva had been entirely right; there seemed no risk of running out of warm water any time soon, and the bottles of shampoo were still mostly full. This was wonderful.

Soon, the young otter was lost in a mass of white foam, bubbles tickling against her lightly as she rubbed the substance into her fur. It really did feel delightful; if over-sensitized skin was the only side-affect, it was a small price to pay. She really should step out again to toss Eva her clothes, but the doe could probably wait a few moments as she dried.

On the beautifully decorated marble counter-top, Eva's doppelganger bra shifted on its own, one tendril flicking gradually out to coil around the otter's garment. The mysterious substance -long gorged on the excessive tickling in its vicinity- flowed down the bridge, seeming to ripple gently as fully half of it traversed the tendril, spreading out around the point of contact to envelope the fabric.

As the water ran quietly on and Connie scrubbed off, humming tunelessly, her own bra was slowly dissolved, perfectly subsumed by the exotic acid and re-moulded, appearing again, but this time made of a pretty shade of blue, right opposite the sink from its matching twin and parent.

With one last contented sigh, Connie switched the water off, before dropping her paws to the edge of the basin and shaking like a dog, spraying droplets like buckshot. Feeling vaguely contented, she stepped back out, grabbing a towel and rubbing off, glad that her fur wouldn't take long to dry based on its length.

Fur fluffed and sticking up in patches, she quickly redressed, not noticing the change to her own outfit in the slightest. Bracing for the inevitable vengeful tickle-attack that was sure to come, she stored Eva's clothes under one arm and stepped out, gasping as the carpet made contact with her feet. She hadn't realized how tickly it was before, but now it was difficult to take a step. And that was just the base of her feet, the part of her body with the least contact with the strange cleaning agents. What would the rest of her feel like? She wondered, distracted.

"Got you!"

"Eep!"

Connie staggered into the wall as the sheets fell over her, slamming in to hit like a breaking wave as the bundle of clothing scattered. Her arms flew up to try and ward the heavy draping off, and Eva pounced. Grabbing the trailing end, long enough to still leave a pile of rich fabric on the bed, she gave it a yank, staggering the off-balance occupant around, neatly hip-bumping her onto the bed as she tumbled past. A few more tugs to relieve the slack, and the flailing otter was bound up tightly on the large bed, twisting back and forth in her cocoon. After a few moments, her head escaped the far end, dark hair tussled wildly by the attack.

"Hey! Let me go!" She said, mouth set and eyes smiling.

"After the way you attacked me earlier? I don't think that seems likely." Eva tutted in disbelief, swinging one leg up onto the bed, neatly straddling her friend's feet. Eight pudgy toes wiggled up at her as Connie tried to buck her off, a giggle escaping the younger girl in nervous anticipation. She couldn't see her feet or the position of the doe's hands, seeming to sense that the hoofed fingertips were awaiting the command to strike, hovering just over her fleshy soles.

What she could see make out was the curvaceous form sitting astride her, white flare of a tail pointing up primly, still-damp hair rolling down Eva's back, an assured smile curving up the edge of her pretty mouth, below the one eye not blocked by the thick locks.

"Tickle-tickle, Connie." She smiled, and a blushing Connie fairly squealed as the paws made contact, lightly running over the sensitized and overwhelmingly ticklish soles. Laughing, she struggled back and forth like an energetic caterpillar, head screwing down into the thick blankets hugging her sides, too tight for even the slightest helpful motion.

"Awww. Does the little otter have some ticklish feet as well?" Taunted Eva, resisting an urge to snigger at Connie's ballistic reaction to a pair of claws being dragged along her instep. Face scrunched up as she at last managed a small role back and forth, Connie had no answer but laughter, though that was a reply which she gave energetically enough.

"And, if I tickle here..." Said Eva, letting the words slide off her tongue as she pulled back Connie's big toe, claws running down the hollow besides and the taunt sole below.

"Ahahahahahaha! Oh feeatheathers! Ahahahahahaha!"

"Or, here..." Eva fingers snuck down between the two obvious targets, teasing and stroking the delicate tip of Connie's tail instead, jittering back and forth as it poked out between the two curvy paws.

"Ahahahah -I- hahahaha! I-" Connie made a moaning sound that gave the doe pause, seeming to sink into the blankets as she rolled her head back.

As she turned to regard her, Eva noticed hat her struggles had knocked a thin covering of blanket off her belly, exposing a narrow window over her navel and the surrounding curves. Eva swivelled gracefully around, sliding neatly forward to sit just below the intriguing object.

"Or, what about here?" She asked, watching Connie's crazed grin widen still further as she gave the patch of soft fur a few experimental pokes. Connie squirmed, feeling the sheets pressing in tight against her like a lover as she tried to induce some length of fabric to cover her vulnerability. futilely, as it turned out.

Grinning in earnest now rather than merely her previous confident smirk, Eva slid down beside the otter on the bed, one arm cupping around her concealed shoulders, the other paw tracing a single finger around the exposed area of her belly, just gliding in a neat ellipse, never even prodding or pinching, feeling the muscles clenching and trembling at her touch. But for Connie, fresh on the effects of the lotion and with her short stomach-fur already acting as a natural stimulant, it was nothing short of excruciating.

"Heheheh! Qui-qui-quit it! Hehehhahahahahahahaha!" She stammered, shaking back and forth in the restrictive embrace of the doe's free arm.


Wolf went out of the bedroom to find Electra some water, as her skin was starting to get dry.

As soon as he ran out, Electra started to stir, she yawned, her mouth was really dry.

"So Electra...Your Natural Ghost Sensing abilities have awakened." Came a smarmy voice

That was a Voice she had not heard before, Electra sat up and looked around with bleary eyes

"Who's that?" She asked

Before her formed the Ghost of a well dressed Rat Man

"Lord Blackwold!" Electra gasped

"The THIRD Lord Blackwold to be precise." The Rat Ghost said "And I hoped your Ghost Sensing abilities would kick in sooner."

"What Ghost Sensing abilities?" Electra was beyond confused

"You really don't know?" Lord Blackwold asked "Electric Eels have the natural ability to detect Ghosts and other spirits it has something to do with your electrical organs... Your powers developed rather late."

"Why are we here?" Electra asked

"You have been chosen." Blackwold said simply

"Chosen for what?" Asked Electra

"Only the Gods themselves know...I am merely their humble servant...I don't know what exactly they see in a ragtag bunch of misfits like yourselves but the Gods I speak of are known for being...Kinky."

Electra shuddered at that last word

"However..." Blackwold said "There was one in the house who was not of the chosen, he was not deliberately picked by the Gods, he wandered into this House on his own...Driven by some masochistic urge...Our forces found him and...Reprimanded him."

The Ghost opened a closet, and inside was what was clearly a Red Fox, because Arctic Foxes do not have long muzzles and pointed ears and he seemed to be bleached white...His fur was now white as snow and his eyes were now pink as if he had been forcibly made Albino, he was twitching and giggling as if he was still being tickled."

"He'll calm down soon." Lord Blackwold said "Since the Gods have decreed he is not of 'The Chosen' I still don't know what their qualifications for being Chosen are he will be used as a mere Butler for the Gods."

Electra looked at the Fox's now pink eyes and saw he was currently in the depths of madness not aware of his surrounding or anything.

"If you're making him a Butler...Then what do you plan for the rest of us?" Electra was now terrified

"They'll be plenty of time for that...But first I'm going to borrow some of your electricity so I may be visible to everyone...Hold still this might tickle...

(Author's Note: I hope you don't mind, I had Nate, temporarily insane)
At this moment, Wolf came back into the room, carrying a bucket. "I found some water. Let's get you re-hydrated." He grabbed a cloth, and thrust it into the water. "Let's get your face washed. It will help your skin."
Poncho was laughing so hard he had a strong desire to pee. "I'm going to wet myself!" he yelled, but Fletcher paid no attention. He was locked into his own mind-boggling round of tickling.

Suddenly Poncho felt his bladder release. The tickle plant that was tickling him reacted immediately, rearing back as if it had been touched with a hot iron, then turning brown and shriveling up.

Poncho caught his breath. "Looks like these plants can't tolerate Panda pee very well. Fletcher, do you want to get loose? I think I can help."

Poncho urinated on the tickle vine that was tickling Fletcher. It had the same reaction as the other tickle plant. Soon all the tickle plants were rustling around, drawing back, their little face-like leaves looking at Poncho with something like fear.

"Yeah!" Poncho said, and shook his fist at them. They immediately shrunk back another three feet.
Eva wasn't quite ready to let Connie go. At least, not just yet. So far, she had the distinct feeling that she had been disproportionately on the receiving end of the majority of the tickling. Perhaps that was because Connie was innately more enthusiastic about it. Perhaps because Eva enjoyed being tickled more than she was willing to admit, even to herself. Nevertheless, Eva had the otter right where she wanted her. And she couldn't let her prize go without pushing her luck just a little.

The doe was more than pleased at the stimulating effects the soap had on Connie. She had experienced it firsthand only moments ago, and knew quite well how sensitizing it was. So now, with an irrepressible grin on her face, Eva moved her hands underneath the sheet, delving into the area that was protecting the girl's midriff. Her fingertips skittered against the otter's belly, the light touch sending Connie to endless giggles, although she was unable or unwilling to break free of Eva's grasp.

"So ticklish, Connie…" Eva cooed, teasing her playfully yet mercilessly. "I barely have to touch you and you can't stop laughing. Especially. Right. Here…" Eva said, and her fingertip slipped into Connie's navel. While Connie may have gotten the better of Eva in their tickle fights so far, Eva seemed to excel at this sensual, light teasing. With her prey immobilized, she was like a cat with a mouse, and was reveling in stroking and stimulating the other girl's most sensitive spots.

"Ahahahaha! Shuhuhuhuhut uhuhuhup!" Connie yelped as Eva's fingertip dipped in and out of her bellybutton, swirling around the perimeter in a way that made Connie arch her back and snicker endlessly. Connie couldn't help but notice how gentle Eva's teasing was. In a way, it was even worse than if she had just dug in for a good tickling. With how sensitized her skin was, how short she kept her fur, this effervescent touch almost made her want to beg for more. Being kept just on the edge of laughing herself silly, she felt like she was driven mad. When she didn't have to worry about retaliation, Eva turned out to be an excellent tickler.

"Shut up? About what ? About how ticklish you are? About how easy it is to tickle you like this?" Eva taunted, not giving her a verbal inch. Wrapped in a blanket and Eva's arm, Connie just lay there and giggled against her, trying her best not to think about how much the doe was tickling her, or the fact that Eva hadn't had a chance to put on her clothes, or how her chest seemed to tingle pleasantly somehow, as if resonating happily with every tickle Eva gave her…

It must have only been a couple of minutes, but it seemed like an eternity to the both of them, as Eva's fingertips explored the entirety of the otter's smooth, taut belly. But finally Eva had to relent and let Connie breath. Eva also finally realized that she was getting a bit chilly, and she still wasn't wearing any clothes. Eva blushed at the realization, but maintained her calm confidence, and whispered in Connie's ear, "That's what you get. Now we're even!" And with that, Eva hopped off the bed to retrieve her clothes.

"Hehehe… no way, I'm definitely getting you back for this!" Connie giggled back at her playfully. Somehow the seriousness of their situation had melted away, and the two of them felt completely comfortable around each other, bantering and tickling. Eva gave her a look, before returning to the bathroom to put on her clothes again.

"Was my bra blue? It must have been. It's not like Connie would have switched with me or anything…" Eva thought as she put it on, and then was remained of her shirt, still exposing everything but her chest and one shoulder.

***
Meanwhile, the alabaster serpentine form had made it into the hallway, sniffing at the air with its forked tongue. She immediately placed the location of each intruder, and slowly made her way towards the rooms. She sensed the ticklish energy in the air, the effect the house was already having on some of them, and was pleased. They would soon be ready.
***
         As the vines retreated, Fletcher found himself falling onto the floor, out of breath entirely. He felt relieved until he realized that he had just landed in the puddle of Poncho's urination...

         "If this was under any other circumstances I would be creeped out..." the coati said, standing up again and grabbing his shirt, jeans, socks, and shoes that the roots stripped off of him. At least he wasn't ashamed of his body, otherwise being in just his boxers would freak him out. "As long as those damn things are taken care of...I'll settle for just about anything."

         "Well, at least we know one way of chasing them off now!" Poncho said, proud of his weak bladder for that moment. "There doesn't seem to be anything in here, so I'm not going to waste any more time here. Come on, let's go see if Nate's okay."

         The coati and panda retrieved their clothing and put them back on, then immediately left the plant-infested room to go find the fox that Fletcher had never met. On the way, Fletcher caught a glimpse of the serpentine creature out of the corner of his eye, however when he turned he saw nothing. Perhaps he was just too stressed and his eyes were playing tricks on him...yeah, that had to be it, he thought. He needed to just unwind and let go of that stress before he went insane...

         "Electra!" Poncho immediately exclaimed when he saw the weakened eel girl, wasting no time in rushing over to her as quickly as he could. "What happened here? What'd we miss?"

         "What's the matter? You look like you've seen a ghost, heh heh..." Fletcher said with a nervous snicker, soon dropping his smile of anxiety. The long-tailed mammal gulped a little as every nerve and muscle in his body tensed with slight fear at the thought. "P-p-please tell me you haven't seen a ghost..."
(Nate! Darn-it, Twiga. I thought I told you not to do that!)

"Fletcher -I've seen a ghost!" Exclaimed Electra, tail flicking out. "He's over there."

Heads turned, glanced a Electra in disbelief, and turned again. A dignified male rat, dressed in expensive but old-fashioned clothing, was standing by the foot of the bed, surveying them snobbishly.

"Hello." Even that simple greeting sounded imperious when it came out of his snout, a fact abetted by a curious and foreign accent. "I am Lord Diapole Blackwold; son of Primo Blackwold, grandson of the great Herbert Blackwold. Welcome to my home. I trust that you have been enjoying your stay."

Poncho hmmphed, Electra glowered, Fletcher tried to cover himself, and Wolf shouted. "Why have you brought us here?!"

The rat's severe expression relaxed, gradually transforming into a still-more-threatening grin. "That is a matter most grave to em, though the reasons for it are long in the telling. Kindly be patient as I submit my explanation. Ahem. My father was a not a particularly intelligent or impressive man. Indeed, I should say that he was anything but; a dark blot on my otherwise noble lineage.'

'In any case, after assuming the throne from my grandfather, he corrupted and mis-used the authority he received from my grandfather, Herbert Blackwold, mismanaging his estate dreadfully for his own petty and selfish concerns. I put up with it for as long as I could, but ultimately found that I was unable to tolerate his hedonism for a moment longer." The rodent's mouth twitched, as if in want of a smile at some hidden irony.

'When my patience ran out, I sought to depose my beloved father for his crimes, but well there was no shortage of popular support, I found him too well entrenched -in every sense of the word- to assail him directly. At which point, after some wringing of hands, something very fortunate happened to me.

'Well, for the one thing, I found a source of magic significantly greater than what I needed for my coup de'tat, but far more importantly, I found," He took on a sickeningly dreamy expression. "Leona. She had been working as a maid -can you believe the injustice? a maid!- prior to my little revolution, but approached me with an offer of her voodoo magic while I rested, uncertain of action.

'To make, as they say, a long story short, I recovered my heritage, Leona consented to become my queen, and her servant and assistant Lyzansk was richly rewarded." He kept his eyes firmly on the group as the marble statue of the cobra in question slithered down the hall-way outside, silently passing within an inch of Fletcher's tail. She waved and smirked at Diapole as she passed, though the rat pretended not to notice.

'Unfortunately, the after-effects of my dearest's curse soon set in. I and my retainers and family developed something of a fixation ...on tickling. An irony, that; it was a similar hedonistic bent that first caused me to raise my hand against my forebear. To make matters worse, we found ourselves confined in this mansion, which was eventually abandoned. As this was my home, I could move about the grounds at will, if never resting, but Lyzansk was trapped inside a statue in the gardens -you may have passed it to get here. Leona, on the other hand, well, my beloved always did have an appreciation for her appearance, and the gods found no small humour in trapping her in a painting. The maids, likewise, were imprisoned inside their own uniforms and tools, the guards in their's. I know not where my other retainers could be trapped even know."

"That's all very nice, Lord." Broke in Wolf. "But how can we get out of here?"

"You must re-create the ritual that first bound me here." He said, making an obvious attempt to keep his temper. "To do this, you will need a fragment of bone from my own body -currently interred in the crypt- an item that Leona held in value, my spell-book from the tower, a sample of the tickonium substance my father created in his laboratory, and several other items. Only then will I and my dearest be allowed to rest, and will you be able to walk free of the mansion." That lie came easily; it was only too nice of the gods to provide these foolish replacements for his -their- bondage at last. Still, it was important to keep their hopes up. "If you continue to try and leave now, you will find fate itself arrayed against you to end that purpose."



"Didn't you say the Gods had a special purpose for us?" Electra asked "Aren't we The Chosen of some sort? Why are we The Chosen?"
"The Gods require a small sacrifice," said Blackwold. "Nothing big, not one of life or anything like that."
"What then?" Electra asked.

The ghost of Lord Diapole Blackwold grinned as only an aristocratic rat can grin. "In time, my dear, in time, and all will be known. But first you must find the ingredients for the ritual. The quicker you find them, then the quicker you may leave."

Poncho said, "Then give us that list again so we can write it down. I don't have a perfect memory, you know."

"Very well," said Lord Blackwold. "Listen carefully...

1. A fragment of bone from my own crypt
2. My spell book from the tower
3. A sample of the tickonium substance my father created in his laboratory
4. A hairbrush that belonged my precious Leona and it must have some of her tawny hairs still trapped within its bristles. She owned several hairbrushes, each a work of art with carved handles and enlaid gems.
5. There is a tickle vine that lives in the mansion. Once a year it bears fruit - little red berries. You will need a handful of those berries.
6...."

"Wait!" Poncho said. "You are speaking faster than I can write. let me catch up before you continue."
Meanwhile, as Eva finished putting her clothes on in the bathroom, she and Connie were completely unaware of the bizarre goings-on the rest of the group was witnessing. Connie slowly and a little reluctantly extricated herself from the twisted bed sheets. She stood up and stretched, realizing with a quiet giggle that if Eva were in the room with her, this would be a pretty dangerous thing to do. Although that realization only made her want to do it again once they got to the next room. She'd taunt Eva into pouncing her, then it would give her an excuse to retaliate. Connie could just see the two of them rolling around on the soft carpeted floor, giggling as Eva's fingertips found their way under Connie's arms, Connie's paws seeking out the soft fur and deliciously receptive skin of Eva's belly. It would be a wonderful way to spend the rest of the day…

***
The white marble figure regarded the group carefully. They must have gotten into enough tickling to free her from that immovable prison. How her marble form was moving around so lithely now, well, stranger things have happened. The larger group was still entranced by the rat's speech, the old fool did drone on and on. There were too many of them to just do what she wanted to them, and besides that she tasted precious little tickle energy on her tongue. They weren't quite ready yet. But the other two… they positively radiated tickle energy. They were a feast, and heading in their direction felt invigorating. It made her so eager, ecstatic for the possibilities after so long… but she quelled them. Too much emotion too soon and it would leak out and affect her prey. Not yet. She contented herself with little sips of aura on the tip of her forked tongue, smelling the otter and deer. Wonderful prey. She slipped behind a secret panel in the wall. There were preparations to make. Things to put in motion. She would be the one to win the game this time.
***

As Eva put on her clothes, she sighed contently. Despite the fact that much of it was ruined, she felt comforted by putting it on. Something about wearing that blue bra felt really, really… good. She couldn't quite figure out why. Although letting her clothes air out while she could prance around naked hadn't been all bad, either. Especially when she was around that tickle fiend of an otter. The way Connie had tickled her on the bathroom floor, it had been so amazingly overwhelming. And getting the girl back had been so much fun, Eva felt like it was the one thing she wanted to do more than anything else. If only they didn't have to keep searching these dumb rooms, they could just stay here and have fun…

Eva's idle fantasizing was cut short when she noticed something odd about the bathroom mirror. It was full-length, and pretty wide, but that was all normal. But something about it just seemed off. Eva stepped closer to it, her hooves clopping softly on the warm tiled floor. She saw her reflection, and the room she was in. Yet that feeling remained that the mirror-image wasn't quite right. Eva raised her hand up to the mirror, touching it lightly. It was surprisingly warm to the touch. It was almost as if she were touching her doppelganger's fingers instead of a pane of glass. Very strange.

But with a gasp, Eva felt her fingers fall through the surface of the mirror, pushing past it to who-knew-what. She gasped, and was about to call out to Connie, but before she could the mirror seemed to pull her in. Before she even knew what was going on, Eva fell inside the mirror, into a parallel version of the bathroom. At least that's what she thought it was, Eva only had a moment before the room suddenly went pitch dark. In the last moment of illumination, Eva might have seen two figures in the room with her: a beautiful, albino cobra woman; and an exact twin of herself. But Eva didn't have time to recognize more than apparitions and imagined things out of the corner of her eye.

Connie walked into the bathroom. What was taking the doe so long? They should really be getting to the other rooms. The group was going to come back and find them goofing off. Connie could just picture them walking in just as one of them was tickling the other silly. How embarrassing. Connie looked around, puzzled, as she could find any evidence of Eva at all. "Eva? Hey, where'd you go?" Connie examined the bathroom carefully, checking the tub and circling around the room. Eva was definitely not here. Had she gone to the next room already?
"Eva?" Connie called, feeling just a little bit foolish. How did you lose somebody in a bathroom? What'd that skinny doe do; accidentally flush herself down the toilet? "Eva!" She turned around again, and again found both bedroom and bathroom deserted.

"Yes, Connie?"

The otter jumped, spinning back around to see the deer in question standing right behind her, hands on her hips and vague smile on her lips. Suddenly, she felt more than just a little bit foolish.

"Oh, uh, I just wanted to say that we should check on the others, and then move on to the next room." Connie said, embarrassed at her apparent perceptual lacking as she quickly slouched out. Eva followed hot on her heels, hooves almost silent on the dense carpet.

"We weren't able to find anything in there," Said Connie as she stepped into the room that the others had apparently congregated in. "How did you all -Hullo? Who are you?" A(n overly) dignified male rat was standing in the middle of the room, looking down his snout at the assembled audience.

"I am Lord Diapole Blackwold." He said imperiously. "And I already have some opinion as to your nature, Miss Courtnouse."

"He's a ghost." Electra added in, followed by a brief summary of explanations.

"So, let me get this straight," Said Eva some time later, still with that odd and self-satisfied smile. "We have to scour your mansion, so that we can recreate some voodoo ritual, so that you can go to your eternal rest and so that we can get out of here at last?"

"That is correct, and indeed, haste would be appreciated." Said the rat.

"I wrote down all the ingredients," Said Poncho. " 'Bone -crypt, spell book -tower, berries -gardens, hair brush -Leona's room, somebody to tickle lightly for the duration of the ritual,' and some-"

"Tickonium!" Burst out Blackwold, staring at Connie. "Why, you're wearing it!" He took an aggressive step towards the otter, before pulling up short. "Well, I must say that this is a bit delicate, but ...I need your bra. By the looks of things, you must have activated the last sample from the laboratory. Doubtless it crept on to you when you were not looking and replaced your garment as the best position it could find. At any rate, we shall require its unique properties to perform the magic correctly."

"Oh, sure." Said Connie, folding her arms over her chest. " 'I need you to strip nude so that I can burn your underwear to summon the old-gods and escape my eternal curse to the grave.' Well, I've heard that one before, you perv." She poked Eva in the side, making the doe flinch. "Go use up her bra for your kooky magic; at least she's got a shirt."

Blackwold made a few minor placating gestures. "All right, alright. We'll add it in last; getting it off will be difficult as it is. I just don't want to risk losing it." He gave her a side-long glance. "You know, considering how you dress, I didn't think that you'd even notice the difference, much less mind."

"Hey! My other clothing all caught fire because you couldn't be bothered to install normal lighting!"

"In any case, there is something even more important that I must tell you all." Blackwold said with considerably more gravity. "My awakening has left me disorientated, but I now realize that you may have come through the greenhouse to get here, yes?"

At their affirmation, he sighed. "I see. And were any of you tickled more than a small amount by the plants growing there?"

Another confirmation, another sigh. "Than you may have awoken Lyzansk. As I mentioned, she had once assisted Leona in her magic, but I fear that she always coveted that lioness's beauty and power. I suppose that I can not begrudge her that, yet now I fear that if she can animate her prison -convert it into a golem, if you will- she could work against us. Did any of you observe a statue of a cobra woman in exotic dress while you were in the garden?"

"Yeah," Said Connie, remembering something that Eva had said and surprised that the doe had not spoken up instead. "Or, at least, I thought I did. But when I checked again after I escaped the ants, it was gone."

"Then it is as I feared," Said Blackwold. "We must be weary; Lyzansk is a dangerous foe, at least while I remain incorporeal. I myself do not know the extant of her magic or what tricks she may play. They will doubtless be devious in the extreme." Near the door, Eva smiled all the wider. "Still, every moment we delay is another during which she may work her mischief. Would you like to collect the ingredients as a group, on shall we divide ourselves for greater speed?"

***
Eva was tugged into the embrace of the suddenly fluid glass before she could so much as yell, landing on her rear in this parallel bathroom even as her doppelgänger (after having just taken the time to grin and wave mockingly) leaped back through to the original room, landing on her hooves spryly.

"Hey! Come back! What's going on! Connie-" Like a switch, light vanished, dragging vision away along after it. "-No!" She ran back to where she remembered the wall to be, hammering at the smooth, uncaring surface miserably. "...No."

But wait. Hand't there been someone else in the room? Someone standing right over by the- She gasped as strong hands seized hers, pinning them against her tail as she felt coils thick and cold wrapping around her ankles, her legs, her waist.

"Who are you? What are you doing?" Her cries were interrupted by a single finger, delicate but firm, pressed over her mouth.

"Oh, hush, little one." Eva jerked as the voice sounded bare inches from her face, sibilant and eager. "I just want to play for a little bit." The doe jerked as something small and raspy flicked over her face. "But-ah! You taste simply delicious!"

The thick bands of weight around her legs shifted, slowly forcing her to the ground. "Do not worry, dear. You might not be able to see your hand before your face, but in infrared everything looks perfectly clear." Dark or not, Eva could swear that she saw the larger ...whatever it was... grinning malevolently.




Electra, now that her Ghost detecting sense had finally awoken, felt something was...Off with the Eva that stood before them but she couldn't understand what.

"Wolf, Poncho, Fletcher...I think the four of us can look for the bone first..." Electra cast suspicious eyes on the smirking doe, she got a bad feeling coming from that creature, but she couldn't put her finger on it...And she wanted the powerful Males near her
"In that case, let's get going," said Wolf. Then he looked at the otter. "But first, we might want to give Connie something better to wear - she can't go around in just that!"

"I see your point," said Electra.

"Do you mean that?" Connie asked.

"Seriously," Wolf said, as he got his ribbon from his pocket. "And we can use this for measuring."

"Do you know how to make clothes?" Connie asked.

"No," said Wolf. "But I know how to make a poncho out of a garbage bag - we can use one of these sheets to make a robe, and then use this ribbon to tie it around your waist."

"Those are silk sheets," said Blackwold. "Expensive to just cut them into some sort of poncho."

"She's not walking around naked," said Wolf. "And she's going to need something, for when you take her bra."

Blackwold sighed in annoyance. "Fine! Do it! Whatever makes you get the job done."
"You're pretty good with a needle and thread," Poncho said as he watched Wolf make the garment for Eva.

"I used to work with leather," Wolf said. "I made belts, wallets, vests, moccasins, those kinds of things."

"Did you sell them?"

"Tried to, but I eventually got a real job."

Lyzansk grinned in the darkness, her lower half coiling around the doe's legs and waist, Eva's arms trapped to her sides. She would be perfect for Lyzansk's plans, all she had to do was to make her suitably… receptive to what the cobra had in mind. "Are you ticklish, little one?" Lyzansk asked gleefully, feeling her prey stiffen in her coils, but remain silent. "You don't have to tell me, I already know. Hmm, but maybe I get have you in an even better position."

The coils wrapped around Eva loosened for a moment. The frightened doe took the opportunity to retaliate in the only way she'd been able to think of recently: ticking. Her hands reached up to probe at the body above her, finding the taut stomach of the snake woman. Eva stroked and skittered along the marble, hoping for some kind of ticklish reaction. But sadly, Lyzansk was as ticklish as a stone, and Eva had done exactly what the snake planned. Both wrists were snatched up in one powerfully strong marble hand, and lifted high above Eva's head, stretching her out, as the coils of the snake's lower half tightened again, wrapping firmly around the doe's legs.

"Sorry to disappoint you, dear." Lyzansk hissed in Eva's ear, the forked tongue lapping out to lick the inside, making Eva want to twitch ticklishly. "But you can't tickle me. Stone isn't ticklish at all. Now, if I were in my old body of sensitive flesh, we'd be trapped in a wonderfully ticklish embrace. But instead…" Eva felt a fingernail make contact with her wrist, and slowly trail its way down her arm. "You're going to be the one tickled. So just lie back and enjoy it, I'm quite good at what I do."

Eva felt the fingernail trail down her arm, zig-zagging as it went. That one little nail tickled more than she thought possible. She closed her mouth tightly to keep from giggling, each movement of the snake's finger putting her move on edge. Was she feeling so ticklish right now because of the soap from earlier? From all the tickling earlier sensitizing her? From the pitch black, keeping her from seeing anything, focusing on each touch even more? Maybe all of the above. The fingernail trailed down and down, finally reaching the perimeter of an outstretched underarm, circling the edges teasingly and forcing Eva to use all her will to keep from bursting out laughing.

"It tickles…" the snake whispered in her ear, as the snake kept circling teasingly, her nail never moving into the sensitive territory of Eva's underarm, keeping her on edge. As Eva heard those words, it was as if the tickling intensified, as if she felt even more ticklish, although the tickling hadn't changed at all. It was incomprehensible, but Eva didn't have the ability to think about anything deeply at the moment.

Then, the nail finally descended, softly stroking up and down the very center of Eva's underarm. As she did, Lyzansk leaned in even more to breathily whisper "Laugh." And on cue, Eva broke down into a fit of giggles, each little stroke teasing more laughter out of her. It was such a light little stroke, as if she was barely being touched. How could one little fingernail tickle so much?

"Oh, it tickles…" Lyzansk whispered in her ear again, as she brought two nails to tease under Eva's arm. Her laughter increased in turn, in equal parts to the words and to the increased stroking under her sensitive arms. The more the doe laughed and quivered in Lyzansk's coils, the more the deer's tickle energy fed her. And the more power Lyzansk acquired, the stronger her power of suggestion became.

The hand reluctantly left the ticklish underarm, moving down to make contact with the doe's belly, aimlessly wandering across the bare, quivering midriff, tickling and stroking the short, soft, cream colored fur and the wonderfully sensitive skin underneath. "It tickles so much…" Lyzansk cooed into her ear. "And you like it."

The words echoed in Eva's tickle-addled mind. It was true, the more the snake woman tickled her, her fear had inexplicably dissipated. In its place, part of her admitted that it was enjoyable, pleasant… something she wouldn't have been able to admit to herself a week ago. But the influence of this place was quickly taking hold of her, already receptive to the idea that tickling could be pleasant, even desirable. Eva couldn't deny Lyzansk's words as they wormed their way into her subconscious.

Not that putting up any kind of mental fight would be possible while fingernails stroked and wriggled and teased across her belly, moving from her left side to her right side, exploring the curves of her abs as they shook with laughter, drawing circles around the perimeter of her navel. Eva wanted to arch her back, squirm, bring her arms down, anything. But they wouldn't budge an inch, the snake's grip was absurdly strong. All she could do was sit there and giggle as she was teased.

"Being tickled makes you feel good…" Lyzansk continued hypnotically in Eva's ear, as a fingertip wormed its way into her navel, softly stroking the inner rim there. The doe squealed and laughed, but each stroke seemed to tickle more pleasantly than the last. Lyzansk was right. It does feel good. Lyzansk is always right. She's such a good Mistress…

"Being tickled makes you feel very good…" Lyzansk told giggling woman in her coils huskily. Her hand lifted from Eva's belly, temporarily stopping the heavenly tickling, and prompting a small whimper from Eva. But the hand landed on Eva's chest, squeezing one breast gently. As she did, it was as if the tickonium bra she wore awoke and knew Lyzansk's plans. It vibrated against Eva happily, no longer the subtle un-noticeable movements, but actively caressing Eva's breasts and nipples, in a touch more nuanced than any lover could. Eva moaned and giggled giddily, her body sensitized and receptive to any touch.

"You can't hold out much longer, little one." Lyzansk cooed happily in her ear. "You can't resist my touch…" As the quicksilver stimulated and vibrated, Lyzansk's hand drifting down to Eva's hip, and began to softly stroke up and down the line of Eva's inner hipbone. Eva laughed loudly and bucked her hips against the coils holding her tightly. Even such a light touch was so intense, and she just kept stroking, and tickling, and teasing… a fire was building quickly in Eva, and in her weakened state, she couldn't stop it. She didn't want to stop it. She welcomed it. The goo teased and stimulated her pert nipples and caressed her breasts, while Lyzansk softly teased the sensitize spot, dragging her fingers low down to her waist, but not quite low enough… before returning to those deliciously sensitive hips. It was enough, and with a final, breathy squeal Eva exploded, consumed in ticklish pleasure. If she could open her eyes at that moment, she would have noticed that she glowed with a radiating energy, as Lyzansk ecstatically nibbled and licked at the doe's ear.

After what seemed like an eternity, Eva slumped in the snake's coils, falling unconscious. Lyzansk wrapped the doe in her coils and hugged her, holding her close in the pleasant afterglow. The young woman was a font of tickle energy. With this much, Lyzansk could continue with the next phase of her plans. And now that Eva was sufficiently coerced, she would be a great help. Lyzansk wanted to keep her here in her coils forever, but she knew she had to keep moving before Leona awoke as well. The doppelganger would eventually have to return to the mirror, it would run out of energy sooner or later, but there was still time… Lyzansk curled happily against her new pet for just a moment longer, savoring the delicious moment.

***
Faux-Eva cocked her head to the side as she looked at Connie in the silk toga-like garment the others had gotten her to wear. "You look pretty silly Connie." Eva said with a laugh. "You know, there were a bunch of clothes in the room downstairs. Let's just go in there and take what we need? Something has to fit you." Eva's smile never seemed to leave her lips.

"But you'd have to go through the greenhouse! And we can't go in there!" Electra said to her.

"There was a big door in the hallway that led downstairs, right? We'll use that." Eva told the group confidently.

"That door was locked." Poncho replied. "How are you going to get it open?"

"I'm pretty sure I saw a way to get it open." Eva said, still smiling cryptically. "Just leave it to me. You guys go after your crazy mystic relics, and I'll get Connie something… nicer to wear." Eva said, taking Connie's hand and leading her out into the hallway.

"Did… did Eva seem a little different to you guys?" Fletcher asked the remaining group. He looked pensively, as if thinking hard.

"No, I don't think so." Wolf said. "But its not like we've known each other very long." Fletcher continued to look deep in thought, as he poked his head out into the hallway after Connie and Eva.

(Author's Note: I think Lyzansk has been described in various entries as having legs, and as not having legs. I think going forward, to agree on a standard depiction of her: A Cobra woman, made of white marble with red jeweled eyes, with a snake lower half (no legs, just the coils). She's larger/longer than the others, with relatively small garments covering her chest and waist.)
The coati, the panda, the eel, the poodle, and the ghost padded off down the hallway beyond the intersection, seeking for a previously unvisited exit from the mansions and into the grounds and crypt beyond, leaving the otter and deer behind.

Connie looked after the group forlornly as they turned a corner, before bracing herself and giving the door-knob a good hard tug. It didn't to much as twitch.

"I don't think that you'll ever get it open that way," Said Eva smugly. "Please, allow me."

"What are you going to do?" Grumbled Connie. "Ask this thing politely?" The doe was too busy fiddling with the knob, back towards the otter. "It's not like we can just hit a pressure-point and expect it to-"

Eva gave a spot in the lower-center of the door a sharp rap, and the heavy wooden thing popped open.

"-pop open." She glared at the relentlessly smirking deer over the darkness of the threshold. " Sigh. Let's go."

"Why didn't you just do that before, Eva?" Said Connie as she led the way down the steep cement steps. "We could've tried one of the windows when we came by earlier." As she descended, Connie could see that it still wouldn't have mattered; the windows in question would have been difficult to reach, and the iron bars over them looked like they had been installed yesterday. Still, there was no reason Eva couldn't have at least showed the others or something.

"Oh, you know," Said the doe nonchalantly, as Connie stepped around the disturbed patch of dust on the floor where she had woken up previously, eerily like the chalk drawing around a corpse. She hadn't even heard the doe shut the door behind them. "It has to do with how I'm not Eva."

"Hmm? What do you mean by that?" Said Connie, slowly turning to regard her -just as she leaped into a flying tackle. A mush-room cloud of dust went up as they slammed down amongst the furnishings, Connie gasping as the breath was knocked out of her on the hard wood. Gulping down lungfuls of dust, she could do little more than twitch weakly as the doe grabbed hold of her.

With a grunt of exertion, Eva hauled her to her feet, knocking her backwards onto the bench and leaping atop her. Coughing and sputtering, Connie lashed out, only for the lithe doe to knock her paw aside easily. Eva's own hands went into a blur, knocking her feeble resistance aside as they snatched at the plethora of chains hanging from the device's sides.

Several moments of increased struggling between the two bodies later, Connie found herself strapped to a horizontal rack by several times the necessary number of chains, glaring up at the deer as she dusted herself off.

"Eva! What the heck are you doing? Let me go! There's no time for this." She called out, twisting and struggling in the iron embrace. Eva just regarded her pityingly as she sauntered off towards the closet.

"You really don't listen very well, do you, Connie? I already said that I'm not 'Eva'." She vanished in the thick tangle of clothing, coming back with what seemed to be several pieces of women's underwear. "That little whore you call 'Eva', is being entertained by -and doubtless, I'm sure, entertaining- my mistress at the moment. Take heart; you'll see her again soon enough." She winked, stuffing one of the pieces of lingerie into a ball and sitting down next to her captive's head.

"Now, open wide for me, there's a good girl." Connie snapped her mouth shut, looking away from the brazen deer even as her hand walked its way down her arm. "Connie, don't make this difficult," She cooed, plainly wanting nothing more. "I promise it won't be uncomfortable..."

Her hand teased the outer-edge of the otter's underarm lightly, and Connie's eye widened at the blazing trail of ticklish sensational that followed its path. Uh-oh. She squirmed again in the chains as more fingers joined the attack, an extra digit added to the mix with each circumnavigation of the hollow. It tickled ludicrously, building inexorably, making her want to giggle, to laugh. She growled away the urge, setting her jaw and squeezing her eyes shut even as her lips pulled back in an involuntary smile.

"Awe, Connie, you're smiling," Taunted Faux Eva. "This doesn't tickle, does it?"

Connie growled, the sound devolving into a muffled giggle as she shook her head. She held out like that for a few more moments, feeling like she was going to explode at any moment, when Eva's other hand struck at her far underarm without warning, fingers shaking and vibrating into the ticklish flesh.

Connie jumped, gasping for air just once, and Eva quickly stuffed the little ball in her mouth, swiftly winding another piece of fabric around the otter's shaking head, before winding another around her eyes.

"There! Now you won't feel the urge to do something naughty, like call out for help." She tapped Connie on the nose, getting back off the bench, humming tunelessly. "Now, you stay right there; I'll be back in a moment." Connie grunted into her gag indignantly as her tormentor clopped off, twisting and struggling, the complete futility of the act not inducing hesitation in her for a moment.

There was nothing for it but to lie there until Eva came clopping back up, carrying some equipment from the laboratory unseen. Carefully, she weakened the chains on the otter's torso, just allowing her enough lee-way to slowly draw up the mangled curtains she was wearing and cast them over her head carelessly. Her humming never stopped, just drowning out Connie's grunts of exertion, as she picked up something curiously like a defibrillator. With Eva's memories to root through, the coincidence wasn't lost on the imposter, and she giggled.

"Clear!"

Connie jerked wildly in the bindings as the two pads came down on her chest. It didn't hurt, but she still felt bizarre, untraceable bolts of tickling blazing through her from the points of impact. Adhered to her, tickonium-junior broke cohesion, writhing and squirming crazily with a host of small sucking, popping sounds, each stirring of an appendage over soft fur tickling hellishly.

Connie laughed into her gag crazily, giggles competing with coughing, choking noises as tickling erupted through her. Great lonely banana -that tickled! What was going on? What was that crazy deer doing?

"Clear!"

Again, the pads fell, flaring with tickling itself, and again the tickonium reacted wildly, almost seeming to fall apart as it spasmed. With one hand, Faux Eva pulled out a broad cylinder with a complex looking hunk of metal attached to one end, tightening a chain running under Connie's breast with the other as she did so. A flick of a switch, a thumb to the dial, and- presto!

The tickonium squelched, the machine hummed, ad the otter guffawed helplessly as the blue substance was ripped off her, fighting to hold on every inch of the way as it was inexorably sucked up into the tube. Eva clapped the lid shut a few seconds later, bare jiffies after the last droplet had been drawn into the container's glassy confines. She admired the beautiful, clear gel imprisoned inside with one hand, the other stroking her shuddering victim's hair mindlessly.

"Thank-you, Connie. Lyzansk will be very happy to have this." She returned to her feet, making back for the door so far above, stopping short only as the otter groaned something urgent. "Oh, what's that, Connie? You're afraid that you'll be lonely if I leave you down here all by yourself? I suppose you're right; I wouldn't want you to get bored. Hold on a minute while I find some entertainment."

Connie heard the clopping of hooves on cement, than the faded noise of hooves on carpet, followed by a plethora of light giggles and more hooves-on-stone. She jumped as her captor- still giggling- dumped a huge pile of feathers on her. So, tickling her with these was what the fiend had in mind next, eh? Wait, no, not feathers, these came in bundles, she noted as she squirmed continuously, with little rods sticking out of one end. Oh, dusters, the feather-dusters. That was even better.

"Ladies," Said Faux Eva casually. "Have at it! Connie, adieu." She clopped back up the stairs with her prize, for the door that, while unlocked, could only be opened by a careful shifting of the knob not un-like that on a combination lock and striking at a pressure point. Secure as one could get. She didn't turn around as she passed back over the threshold, mind set on her cover story of how the door couldn't be opened, and how poor, impetuous Connie had gotten herself stuck in the greenhouse as they tried to go around.

***
Connie groaned and pleaded unintelligibly through her gag as she heard Eva clopping off, desperate not to be left alone down here. She continued her pleas all the way until the door creaked firmly shut, and only then relaxed hopelessly in her restraints. It was no use, and, every time she moved, she inevitably brushed up against one of those feather-dusters Eva had left strewn all over her. Every time she so much as breathed -about the greatest movement she could make- one of the stupid things brushed against her taut ribcage, tickling ridiculously under the circumstances.

A trio of feathers fluttered against her right underarm, and Connie giggled into her gag despite herself, determined to keep still until she could figure out what to do. A second later, other fronds whisked over her left underarm, and the otter jerked away, catching the same cluster of pointy feathers in the opposing side. She held her breath, trying to keep in the laughter all over again, even as a group of feathers fell over her diaphragm, horribly ticklish in their mere presence.

This was getting ridiculous, she thought as she felt the feathers teasing against her ever so lightly. There wasn't even someone wielding the dusters, the tips were just brushing against her; she patently refused to admit that she was that ticklish. She jumped as a wave of feather broke over one of her bare feet where previously there had been no such aggravation, deciding that a breeze must have shifted it. Yes, that was it, just a light bree-

She sucked in her breath as the tickling flared again over her foot, accompanied a moment later by a matching feeling on the other limb. Her legs tightened, struggling to pull away. The feathers, they were moving back and forth all on their own! There was no doubt about it, she decided in mixed fear and awe, feeling countless little fronds starting to brush over her helpless body all of their own volition. She could almost see them, dancing back and forth as if performing a slow waltz, a dozen feather dusters rising into the air, borne by phantom hands. Unbidden, the soundtrack to that Disney short, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", began playing in her head as she felt them fluttering back and forth in each underarm, one claiming each of her feet, two her belly, and another audacious duo dusting and pirouetting over her bare chest. It tickled deplorably alone; combined, beyond words.

Compared to Eva's extraction of the tickonium, even this was light, or at least, possessed a marginally more tolerable texture. But, as she virtually sobbed into her gag with laughter, she knew that there was no reason for this to ever end, even as she struggled and fought against her chains, muscles tensing, yanking, tensing again. Tickling rebounded through her from one end to another, relentless, smooth, building on itself like a breaking wave. She fought it, and fought her gag as she struggled to cry out, feeling her breath coming up short, chest heaving and being rebuked by the chains each time. It went on and on. She felt like she was drowning in it, an actual pool of tickling sensation that poured through her again and again without mercy...

For a brief moment, Connie blacked out...
...And four fifths of a second later, Leona awoke in an unfamiliar body.




Electra was feeling weak, partly because of the Rat Ghost draining her of her electricity and partly because her Ghost detecting sense kept sensing more spirits that she couldn't see with her eyes
"Something's going on with this place," said Wolf. "If we find some gasoline, or explosives, we're using that to destroy this place."

"But, we haven't found the way out," said Poncho. "We'd be trapped here if we did something now."

"Well, if you find some, save it."

"Do you know how to use explosives?" Poncho asked.

"Father taught me," said Wolf. "Sometimes you need to take down a ten story building. Also, make a map as you go along - keeps one from getting lost."
"I've been dropping bread crumbs," Poncho said, "so we can find our way back,"

"Back to what?" Fletcher said.

"Just... back. Maybe we come to a dead end and want to go back."

Wolf sighed. "I hope the birds don't eat your bread crumbs."

"What birds?" Poncho asked.

"I was just making a reference to Hansel and Gretel."

"Who?"

"It's a famous fairy tale," Electra said, "although apparently not too famous at your house. I've been thinking. Instead of walking forever down these hallways, why don't we go up?"

"Up?"

"Yes! How tall can this mansion be? Three floors? Four floors? We get on the roof then we can see the edge and climb down."

"Might not be that easy," Wolf said. "I doubt the builders attached ladders to the outer walls. All we really need is a window. And any one of these rooms might have a window."
Faux Eva returned upstairs, shutting the large, heavy door behind her. She could hear Connie giggling and struggling not to move. If she behaved, hopefully Mistress would let her play with the otter girl again. She barely had enough time just now. She held the tube in her hands, looking at the substance inside delightedly. Lyzansk would reward her for finding this for her. No, she would demand a reward. She had earned it. It was wonderful to have a body, and not just some amorphous amalgamation of desires sleeping and dreaming in that mirror. Especially this body, so lithe, so beautiful, so wonderfully alive!

The doppelganger's reverie was cut short as she heard the group ahead of her. She put the cylinder in the back pocket of her pants (it barely fit, but it would have to do), and ran up to them, getting into character.

"Hey…! Connie, she's…!" Eva huffed as she ran up to them, looking completely out of breath and panicked. "We couldn't get the door open, so Connie wanted to try running through the greenhouse. She thought we could get by those vines if we ran. But… they got her! So many coiled around her, they took her deeper in, it was like she sank into them! I barely got away!" Eva said, looked distressed and teary eyed, acting the part to perfection.

"What?! We need to go after her! She needs help!" Poncho said, already starting to head towards the greenhouse door. The others nodded in nervous agreement, wanting to help their comrade but not wanting to go back into the greenhouse.

"Stop!" The ghost of Blackwold said commandingly, halting everyone in their tracks. "Do you all want to end up in Lyzansk's coils? Clearly, the snake has captured Connie. And if you all run out into the greenhouse after her, you'll end up the same. No, we must press on."

"You mean we're abandoning her to that monster you talked about?" Electra asked, horrified. She could also sense things all around her now, as if a ghost was right in their midst, but she couldn't see or notice anything. The eel's eyes darted around nervously.

"Lyzansk has the tickonium now, this is disastrous! We must gather the rest of the ingredients before she does. She already has access to the vine berries, but if she got the spell book, who knows what she could do! Thankfully Lyzansk never fully understood the properties of tickonium, but she knows enough! Be on guard everyone, we must be extra cautious. Come, I will lead you to my crypt. There is a secret passage in the dining room…" Blackwold's ghost led them on, and the group followed. Electra continued darting around, noting a strange expression on Eva's face… and then saw the doe stumble dizzily.

"Eva! Are you ok?" Electra asked her, giving the deer a hand.

"Yes.. Ah." Faux Eva stood up slowly. She had been outside of the mirror too long, spent more time than she had thought. That blasted otter had to put up a fight. She needed to get back. Now. "I need to use the bathroom. There was one in the room Connie and I explored. You guys go on ahead, I'll be right behind you."

Blackwold simply shrugged and kept going, looking increasingly impatient with his flesh-and-blood followers. Eva ran back to the bedroom, to the bathroom, and leaped headlong into the mirror, which obediently let her through. On the other side, the large white marble figure stood before her.

"Sso… you're back. And with a gift…" Lyzansk hissed, as the doppelganger made her report.

***
Eva, the real Eva, woke up slowly and took in her surroundings. She was no longer wearing her pants and ragged top from before. Instead, she seemed to be wearing two garments of very fine, burgundy silk. The top clung tightly to her chest, with two thin straps over both shoulders. The garment was sleeveless, and only came down to her ribs. The bottom garment was a loose skirt, resting high on one hip and low on the other in asymmetric fashion and coming down to mid-thigh. All in all, it was a very revealing outfit, exposing a scandalous amount of midriff, her arms and underarms, as well as much of her legs. But Eva didn't seem to mind.

If Eva had looked, she would have found that both parts of her undergarments were now a mesmerizing blue. Lyzansk, not knowing quite what to do with two batches of tickonium, had simply imitated what the first portion had done, and applied it to Eva. Lyzansk new what delightful effects it could have on the doe, and thought it also made an excellent hiding place. Eva also neglected to notice a black silk choker around her neck, which clasped in the front with a lovely red amulet.

Eva also realized she was sitting on some kind of white marble surface… which was Lyzansks' coils. The snake was lounging on a massive pillow in what looked like an exotic and luxurious bedroom, and Eva was draped across her like a captive slave girl. For some reason, this didn't bother Eva either. Actually, she felt like she enjoyed it.

"Ah, you're awake my lovely pet." Lyzansk said, caressing Eva's arm lovingly. Eva snuggled against the snake's coils contentedly. It was all she could think to do. Near Lyzansk was a small opened bottle, and in Lyzansk's other hand she held a wine glass full of a dark purple liquid. Eva looked at the glass curiously.

"Oh, this?" Lyzansk grinned, noticing Eva's look. "At the heart of my vine's in the garden, the plant grows these wonderful berries. There's enough to make a few bottles of wine with it each year. And that wine has the most excellent properties…" and with that, Lyzansk drank the contents of the glass. Shockingly, the marble statue was actually able to drink it. Lyzansk chuckled pleasantly.

"Ah, I feel so warm. So lovely, even if the effect is so short lived. If only I had that book…" Lyzansk murmurred, and Eva could indeed feel the marble body warming against her, even feeling softer, as if it were flesh and blood. Lyzansk grinned down at Eva. "Yes, this isn't an illusion. Go on… I know what you're thinking."

Curiously, Eva reached up and softly stroked the smooth, gently muscled skin of the serpent's belly. Unlike last time, it reacted, flinching ticklishly at Eva's touch. Eva grinned happily and tried again, stroking more deliberately this time, and bringing her other hand up as well. She softly stroked her mistress's belly, and it quivered and shook wonderfully under her touch. Eva was enraptured.

"Hmhmhm…yeheheesss my peheheet… so good… gehehently nohohow…" Lyzansk giggled, her low throaty laughter echoing seductively in Eva's ears. She had to have more… and she did, spidering her fingertips up those sides and back down, as Lyzansk continued to giggle. The snake made no attempt to stop Eva, and seemed to lie back and enjoy the tickling, the feel of that low, lovely giggle rippling down her body and against Eva.

Eva leaned in, and began to lick the delicate skin around Lyzansk's bellybutton. She lapped in and around that spot like a cat, while her fingers kept playing with those delightfully receptive sides. Lyzansk laughed harder now, her body shaking with it, her coils reflexively but gently wrapping around Eva's lower half as she did so. The moment was heavenly for the both of them, and seemed to linger for an eternity, yet was paradoxically over too soon. Eva could feel the snake's skin cool and harden under her touch, and just like that Lyzansk was as ticklish as a stone once again.

"Ah, you are the perfect pet, Eva…" Lyzansk cooed, making Eva beam, as the amulet on her neck pulsed subtly. "And I have a job for you. A very important job I'm sure you'll love. But first…" Lyzansk paused as Eva's doppelganger pranced into the room, wearing identical clothing to the original. "This one has earned a reward…"
Name: Rommel S. Sahara
Gender: Male
Species: Fox
Appearance: Short sand colored fur that gets darker and lighter in splotches. It's especially noticeable on his head, which is mostly light but has dark "freckles." The shift in shades are rather random elsewhere, but with a very light tan, nearly white, coloration under his arms, drawing the eye to the his weak spot. A small tuft of fur comes down over his forehead. Wearing a pair of cargo shorts and a white undershirt
Personality: Somewhat erratic and awkward, Rommel is deeply intelligent, a font of a wide variety of knowledge. If only he knew when to use it and when to keep his mouth closed. Nonetheless, he means well. Some would say he's timid. He would say (rather defensively) that he just chooses his battles carefully. Rather reserved and insecure usually, but able to tell when it's better to speak up. Very interested in almost all history, especially that of old human conflicts. Any mention of the historical will perk his ears right up.
Human Equivalent Age: 19

-Ticklish Rating
Feet: 7
Legs: 4 (inner thighs: 8)
Hips: 4
Buttocks: 3
Belly and Sides: 6
Chest: 7
Underarms: 10
Arms: 5
Neck: 9
Miscellaneous Info: Displays a love-hate relationship with tickling, mostly hate as it is a huge weakness for him, often used in his past to extort and torment him by his older sisters and past girlfriends, but he can't help but get a little hot and bothered throughout the torture. The more flustered he gets, the more helpless he becomes. Other weaknesses include verbal teasing and a "personal" touch.

"Where on Earth am I?" Rom thought to himself. He was walking through an overgrown forest in search of the mysterious Blackwold Estate when night fell. As he was taking shelter from an unfortunately timed thunderstorm under a hollowed tree, vines suddenly closed the entrance. As he tried to dig his way out, he suddenly felt very... peaceful. Logically, he knew he should be upset, but all he really wanted to do was curl up in the suddenly warm place and sleep... and he woke up on a rather luxurious bed. There was no window in the room, and lighting was scarce. The room had a purple tint from the sole source of light: a small fireplace behind a purple stained glass window, which was itself fairly obscured by soot. It reminded him of imagery he'd imagined when reading The Masque of the Red Death by the old human author Poe, which both piqued his interest and frightened him. The room itself seemed to be in disrepair. He could make out extinguished lanterns along the wall. With any luck, they'd have fuel in them and he could make his way through the building with one.
"Did the owner of this place build it to be creepy? This is such an odd place. It feels... off," Rom thought to himself. Rom grabbed a lantern from the wall and soon realized he had no way to light it.
"Maybe I could move the glass and get to the fire..." Rom put the lantern down on a table and walked to the glass panel and soon realized that there was no place for him to grip and pull on it. And that wasn't the strangest thing. Despite the fire behind the glass clearly being fire, crackling and flickering as fire does, with heat vaguely drifting through the air, the glass was cool to the touch. At that, Rom decided this room wasn't the place to be. He grabbed at the door handle, twisted and pulled. The door didn't pull inward. Rom, panicking, started shaking the door and realized that the door opened the other way. Feeling dumb, he walked through into a narrow, candlelit hallway devoid of any feature save that of the bricks on the wall.
"OK Rom, you're psyching yourself out. Just be calm. A door that opens into the hallway doesn't mean anything. You're jumpy right now. Stay... calm..." and then he heard it. Muffled screams? Kind of rhythmic, kind of not... kind of like... laughter? And then it stopped. For it to make it through these bricks, it would have to be exceptionally close. He froze in place, frightened. Mustering his courage, Rom decided to keep moving forward. After about 30 paces in the dim hallway, it made a 90 degree turn to the left. He turned and saw a blank brick wall.
"What the..." he began, frustrated, and then the wall moved inward an inch, moving into some socket, and then dropped into the floor, opening into another room. However, Rom had no interest in going into that room when he looked at the contents. Was this an old dungeon? Racks and stocks and all manners of restraint were present. Then he heard movement. Chains coming undone. Someone... or something, was just getting out of a restraint. Rom pressed his back to the wall and looked at what was making the noise. It was a fairly cute otter girl, standing up and stretching out, looking at her body as if she was unfamiliar with it, untying an improvised blindfold and gag. More alarmingly were the falling feather dusters. They had clearly just been dropped when he turned and looked (the last 3 hitting the ground), as if a series of ghosts all dropped them almost uniformly. Rom stayed put and ducked back behind the wall, hopefully unseen and unheard (which didn't seem too likely to him considering his heart was beating like an artillery barrage) and listened.
Leona shuddered vividly against the wall, brushing away the latest tingling traces as if she had awoken to find herself covered in insects. She could almost feel those dusters still gliding and teasing all over this strange, curiously sensitive body.

At this point, she wasn't event entirely sure what species she was now, but the perspectives all looked marginally different and her tail felt much too thick and heavy. At least the maids were still prepared to listen to her mental commands, altered physical source or not.

Still, it seemed suspiciously like they had taken their time to heed her yells and desist. She didn't know if she had hated or, in some hidden way, loved the sensation of being out of control for once, unable to do anything more than beg as those dusters squirmed flickered over her body, stimulating every inch to an animal frenzy...

Rooting through her host's memories with some difficulty, she fully appreciated for the first time in years that it was hard to recall something unless you knew it was already there inside your head somewhere. And it was dangerous; if she went to deep, or too recent, or too vivid, her host could wake up and try to assume control again. Right now, the girl -at least the gender was right and the age was an improvement if anything- was still unconscious, but she'd have to tread light.

Despite the difficulties, she got the gist of things after a few moments, Well, then, at least that explains why I'm wearing the slashed-up remains of the bedroom curtains. She thought wryly. And... Diapole! Diapole's awake too! Wonderful. Of course, Lysanzk is free... And considering of this girl remembers about the statue, her friend attacking her, and one of Lyzansks's mirror-tricks, I'm getting the feeling that she's up to something. And she has the tickonium now.

Leona growled instinctively as a new scent crept up to her, sharp in the dust and decay. Fox. Suddenly perking up, she heard light panting coming from behind, and only then noticed that the secret door to the back room was open. Silent on padded feet, she crept around the other side, wanting to curse with every movement of this strange and awkward form. The panting -barely discernible when once it would have sounded like gunfire- hardly changed as she drifted closer, guessing that the source was crouched against the wall on the near side, where she could approach its blind-spot.

With hardly a growl of triumph, she dived around the corner, tackling the wide-eyed fox in front of her. Hauling him back out of the hall, surprise gave her a tiny and crucial advantage as he lashed out and struggled. Grunting with exertion where her last form would have chuckled with ease, Leona pushed him back away again after just a few steps.

Squarely into a St. Andrew's Cross, suspended on the wall right next to the door. A spring-loaded band of metal snapped around his middle as he thudded against the ornate device, and Leon spared no time in lunging back in as he pulled at it in surprise. With two hand, she wrenched his left up, attaching it to one of the two arms of the glorified x-frame over-head with speed that only long practice could bring.

As he yanked at that, she fell back and around, again using her advantage of both free hands to force his last into one of the restraints. He kicked out at her when she went for his legs, but after a few seconds those too were safely fastened out of the way as well.

"Let me go! Who are you? What're you doing!?" He yelled, struggling, bristly tail flicking back and forth below him.

Carefully, Leona probed her host for signs of recognition. This otter had been with another group who had apparently all woken up here, but she had no memories of this particular fox.

"Who I am," She hesitated, not knowing if she should go with the identity of the body or the mind inhabiting it. "...Is none of your business. Ahem. I am also the one asking questions here. So, who are you?"

"Rommel Sahara," The fox said, still struggling and only narrowing biting back something unhealthily witty.

"And tell me, Rommel," She made a beckoning gesture at the feather-dusters. Fully awake, energized by the horrendous tickling they had put her body's last occupant through, and now backed by her magic, the seven implements drifted through the air, coming to rest, floating, in a silhouette around her. "Are you ticklish?"

Rommel's eyes jumped from duster to hovering duster with a delightful mixture of surprise and trepidation, but he held his tongue.

"You won't need to answer that, just yet, but you will unless you answer me. Do we understand each other?" She grinned at his nod, almost feeling like her old self again for a moment. "Wonderful. Now, how did you get in here, and why?"

"I heard about this house and wanted to explore it," Said Rommel nervously. "I got lost in the woods. There was a thunder-storm, and I fell asleep inside a tree. When I woke up, I was here."

Leona could tell he wasn't lying; a grievous pity. "Thank-you, Rommel. Now, what year is it?"

"Uh, 204."

"And that is in the AC(After Creation) system?" Leona asked, breathless.

"Well, yeah. I don't know how you couldn't have known that..." He quieted down as one of the dusters lunged at him playfully, before withdrawing an inch from his skin. Leona almost sighed aloud with relief. Only a century -she had feared that the gods might never know mercy, that that the house would be crushed by a glacier or smashed during a meteorite impact before someone would show up to free her. And speaking of free... She had to go find Diapole. She spun on her heel, heading for the door.

"Hey, wait! You can't leave me here!" Called Rommel as she began to mount the stairs, pausing to look back and cock an eyebrow.

"Why-ever not? If I try to free you, you'll probably just get in the way, and I know that there are enough sacrifices around here to undo the curse. You just sit-tight right there, and we'll talk some more later." It was a bluff; she hadn't examined the otter's memories throughly enough to know exactly how many people there were loose in the grounds. Carefully, Leona probed her records, trying to get as in-depth a view as possible of the events.

It was surprisingly complicated, like trying to play a badly scratched DVD -a sensation she learned of randomly as she hunted for clues- and even if memories of a conversation were in one place, than the actual knowledge gleaned from them was often somewhere else. It was remarkably frustrating.

Without warning, the otter's conscious came surging back in, and Leona, head-buried deep in the tangled morass of her memories, was caught with her flanks wide open. She sank to her knees, teeth barred, growling unconsciously as she fought a desperate psychic battle.

"This" is my body! I "grew it" myself! Yelled Connie, outraged, alternately taking and surrendering the larynx as yanked at anything Leona wasn't defending. The body in question staggered to the side as she wrenched control of the legs, muscles snapping out and back as she worked them in a panic.

Impudent strumpet! "Get back in the limbic system" where you belong! Legs kicked wildly and the upper-torso convulsed in the rising clouds of dust as both minds tried to dominate it.

Rommel could only stare.

Connie had surprise, familiarity with the territory, the energy of personal outrage, and the fact that Leona was still faint and fatigued from her long sleep all on her side. The lioness, meanwhile, was infinitely more experienced as ferociously they scrummed for the motour functions and higher thought processes. An MRI would have faintly glowed as synapses fired and flared out-of-control and with too-much-in-control.

A-"ha!" Yelled Connie as she at last forced her kidnapper down into the sub-conscious, slamming a mental grate shut even as she physically lay in the dust, panting on the floor.

"Sorry about that," She gasped to the poor bewildered fox strung up on the wall, slowly rising to her feet. "See, I'm kind of demonically possessed -I am not a demon!- right now," She clapped a paw over her mouth as Leona managed to work a meta-physical paw through far enough to grab the vocal chords, stomping at the psychic appendage as it slithered back down. Carefully, as if a sudden movement would re-initiate battle, she walked up to the fox.

"There's a lot of explaining for me to do," She tugged at one of the metal straps on his wrist, realizing belatedly that she didn't know where the key was. "So I hope you'll bear with me." She launched into a long summary of explanations, keeping an eye on Leona, sulking in her pit, and working on the cuff the whole while.

"So, pretty much, someone's impersonating my friend, so I have to go warn the others. We're all trapped in this mansion until the curse is finished, and I've got this crazy old ghost stuck in my skull." She capped off with, pausing to rub worn and nicked paws together. "Man, this thing just isn't budging. I don't know where the key is ...But I think I know someone who would. Hold on while I ask her."

Hey, pussy-cat, how am I gonna get this guy out? This is your house; where do you keep the keys? She called down.

As if I would tell you, you scullion, you strumpet! Give me back that body!

Fat chance. Look, pussy-cat, don't make this difficult. We want pretty much the same thing here; an end to the curse. If you cooperate, you and Diapole get to be together again, in the after-life or wherever, and I never have to so much as think of this place gain.

She held her actual breath as a pause lengthened... And I'll stop calling you 'pussy-cat'.

Fine. Thought Leona moodily. In a safe under the stairs; there's a little hidden cubby.

The key to the safe isn't in the safe, is it? Connie padded over, finding the cubby underneath a thick canopy of cobweb in the corner.

Ha. Ha. So amusing. Thought Leona. I shall give you the combination...

Some time later, Connie -now with keys stuffed in every remaining pocket, just in case- was helping Rommel down off the Cross.

"There's still one problem," She lamented almost sheepishly. "The only easy way out is through that door over there, and its jammed. We'll have to go through the green-house to get out. Unless, there's another way back there?" She added hesitantly, looking into the gloom of the secret corridor.

"Nothing that I saw," Said Rommel, quietly re-strengthening his resolve to take everything in stride until he woke up. "What's so bad about a green-house? Are there more ghosts there?"

"No, but, ah, you'll see." She shrugged. "C'mon let's go. We've got to hurry." She paused only just long enough to grab the first thing she saw out of the closet, before leading the way on.




Electra was looking in the crypt with Wolf, Poncho and Fletcher

"Guys..." Fletcher said as he sniffed "I smell something...Something...Foul."
"I hope it isn't a dead body," said Wolf.

"You ever see one?" Poncho asked.

"No, but father did," Wolf said. "He was all set to plant some explosives when one fell through the boards between the floors. Had to scrub the job, call the police, make sure that the bomb squad was their to locate the other explosives, to say nothing of the paperwork, and the fact that he needed to get a new pair of pants."

Electra chuckled at this. "A new pair of pants?"

"Yeah. He caught them on something, and tore them," said Wolf. "At least, that's the story he tells the rest of us."
"I have found some bone fragments," Electra said.

"How do we know they belong to Lord Blackwold?" Poncho asked.

"Let me see those," Wolf said. He sniffed them. "Definitely rat bones. I know the smell of rat."

Electra put the bones in a zip-lock bag. "Well, if you say so. I know I wouldn't know the difference."

Fletcher clapped his hands together. "One item found. Shall we go to the tower and look for the spell book?"
Faux Eva stood tall over the real Eva, still laying in Lyzansk's coils. Eva looked up at her curiously. Normally, the doe would be struggling to get out of here, away from the creepy look-alike. But this seemed to be alright with Lyzansk, and that calmed Eva. Surely, she wouldn't let anything bad happen, right? The amulet on Eva's neck pulsed as she had these thoughts, as if putting them directly into her subconscious.

"I didn't get a chance to have any fun with you earlier." The doppelganger said, grinning impishly. "But the mistress has allowed me to replenish my energies, and possibly more. We made a little bet about you. If I can make you laugh without touching you… well, you don't need to know the details." It was more than a little disconcerting to listen to her voice coming out of her mouth but still be another person. But what did she mean? Clearly, this had something to do with tickling. But how would she without touching her? Eva didn't understand.

But it soon became clear. Faux Eva raised one of her arms, putting her hand behind her head. She raised her left hand to the right's raised elbow, and gently trailed a fingertip down her inner right arm. Eva stiffened in Lyzansk's coils. It was as if she felt the touch on her own body, right on her arm! Eva looked down to her own body, examining her arm curiously and trying to rub away the ticklish sensation of the fingertip slowly stroking down her arm. It didn't work. No amount of rubbing against her fur could take away the feel of her own touch.

"Don't look away, Eva…" Lyzansk leaned down to hiss softly in the doe's ear. "You mustn't look away." And with that command, Eva turned her attention fully to her grinning evil twin. "And you are not allowed to laugh. No matter how much it tickles. You can do it, can't you pet?" Lyzansk cooed to her hypnotically, and Eva was immediately resolved to win this little bet for Lyzansk, whatever it was. She especially didn't want to lose to… herself. Something about the mirror version rubbed her the wrong way. Although that was happening quite literally now.

Faux Eva's fingertip came to the rim of Eva's right underarm, drawing circles around the edge, then spiraling down into the outstretched center. The feeling was incredibly ticklish, just as if someone was actually tickling her armpit. But what was even worse was the fact that she couldn't do anything to stop it. Eva clamped her arms to herself, hugging her chest, but it still felt like her arms were stretched above her head, her underarm exposed to each ticklish touch. Eva clamped her mouth shut tightly, feeling giggles well up inside her. But somehow Lyzansk's words had given her strength. Despite how much it tickled, she was able to stay quiet, although she was sure she looked ridiculous right now.

Mirror Eva frowned, clearly expecting this to be an easy victory for her. She decided to switch arms, going straight for the left underarm this time. Instead of the light and gentle teasing that she knew worked so well when Lyzansk had done it, the other Eva attacked for intensely, scritching and scribbling four fingertips against the wide open armpit.

The real Eva shook and wiggled on the spot, clearly feeling extremely ticklish. Lyzansk's coils loosely wrapped around Eva's thighs and chest, keeping the doe from squirming off of her or curling up into a ball and looking away. Eva had to watch and see herself being mercilessly tickled. For the serpent woman, it was all so delicious, all so invigorating. And things would be even better once Eva retrieved the book from the tower…

The faux Eva was getting increasingly frustrated. This clearly tickled the thing, she could see that much. She had an absurd grin on her face, was twitching back and forth within the mistress's coils, her belly convulsed with ticklish laughter kept annoyingly below the surface… but that gave the doppelganger an idea. Standing tall and stretching out her exposed midriff, the mirror deer reached down with both hands and began to drag her fingertips against the soft fur of her belly, scritching up against the grain.

At this, Eva reached up to cover her mouth with her hands. It tickled so much! She wanted to scream, to squeal, to burst into giggles and lay there a ticklish mess in Lyzansk's coils. But she couldn't, she wasn't allowed to. She was commanded to stay silent and win Lyzansk's bet for her. But she could feel each and every stroke against her belly. There was nothing she could do to mitigate the tickling, despite not even being touched. The situation was maddening, and Eva didn't know how she could possibly hold on much longer. To make matters even worse, the tickonium composing her undergarments sensed the tickling somehow, and seemed to hum happily in response, further sensitizing the poor ticklish doe.

How is she still resisting? She's far too ticklish for this! Is there a weak spot I'm missing? Something key that unlocks that beautiful laughter of hers? Her hips? Thighs? The doppelganger started to panic. Despite how easy this had seemed at first, she was rapidly running out of…

"Time." Lyzansk said decisively, and at that moment Eva let it all out, a cascade of laughter falling out of her lips as she was finally allowed to curl into a ball and titter into Lyzansk's comforting coils. "You lost."

"No, this wasn't fair. You didn't make it fair!" The doppelganger wailed, pointing an accusatory finger at Lyzansk. "That should have tickled her perfectly. I know it!"

"You're right. I didn't make it fair. That wasn't a condition of the bet…" Lyzansk grinned and raised a hand in the air. "Now, back to the mirror with you." And with that, the snake woman snapped her fingers, and the fake disappeared in a haze, the phantasm returning to its slumber within the mirror. At least, until another unfortunate should happen to touch one in the mansion.

"There, there…" Lyzansk stroked Eva's hair lovingly. "You did wonderfully pet. Now, onto business…" Eva slowly recovered from her giggling, finally able to pay attention. "Behind the painting on the far wall is a passage that will take you to the garden. My plants will let you through… mostly. And they will lead you to a small door, which will take you to the tower. I cannot go there, so you must retrieve the spellbook for me. Do you understand pet?"

"Yes, mistress." Eva said to her, as her amulet glowed. "I would be happy to. Will I get a reward when I bring it back to you?" Lyzansk's coils unwound, letting Eva get up as she made her way to the passage, finding a very narrow hallway behind the painting.

"My dear, I will give you a reward beyond your imagining…" Lyzansk told the doe, who smiled happily as she entered the passageway. My dear. My deer. Lyzansk thought to herself, and began to giggle to herself within her sanctum.
Rommel rubbed his wrists as he walked with Connie. The stairs ended with a trapdoor, which he opened and climbed up. His breath was taken when he saw the inside of this greenhouse, or at least, what he could make out.

The air was quite hot and humid, but not unpleasantly so, and the sky was dark, but he couldn't make out the moon or any stars. However, the garden had oddly beautiful bioluminescent flowers, each as bright as a soft but colorful lightbulb. The plants he could make out included thornless rosebushes, trees with many different fruits on them, endless flowers of all kinds (though not too many were glowing) and strange ivy seems to be growing on the trees. It was all so beautiful. Even the grass he was standing on was soft, even kind of fuzzy. If he stepped on it wrong, it might even... tickle. His musings were interrupted by his companion behind him.

"What the...? This doesn't make sense!" Connie yelled.

"Well of course not! Flowers don't glow like that! These plants are..." Rom started.

"Different from before! And it was midday only a couple hours ago! It should NOT be pitch black outside. Something is... off here." Connie interrupted.

"Well, I could have told you that. We're in a spooky haunted mansion with an oddly massive greenhouse and you're sharing your skull with a rather argumentative ghost. You said there's a weird copy of your friend running around that tied you to a rack. I'm almost certain I'm going to wake up in a padded room. Maybe that cute cat girl spiked my drinks last week and I've been hallucinating the whole time since then. Either way, why would anything be normal here?" Rom asked incredulously.

"You should have left him tied up. I could have had one of the dusters tease him until we were done here," Leona piped in through Connie's vocal chords, her own menacing inflections giving away who was really speaking, "I still can."

Rom closed his mouth and looked away.

"Don't be like that. He's a bit shaken; you don't need to agitate him more!" Connie retorted.

"Oh, he doesn't know 'agitation' yet. You give me 10 minutes with him and I'll "pester" him in ways that will make him hold his tongue," Leona shot back menacingly.

Connie just rolled her eyes, "Come on Rommel, we should at least get moving."


"Please, call me Rom," Rom started, plucking two glowing flowers from the ground and, seeing they still glowed, handing one to Connie, "All my friends do. Rommel is a name I only want on documents, it sounds so stuffy. I know we've only just met, but given the circumstances, I feel like we might be here a while, and... it might just help us to be friendly."

"Well thanks! Now lets see if we can find our way out of here," Connie said with a big smile. Rom's heart fluttered ever so slightly... wait, what? Rom shook his head and followed Connie.

There were glowing flowers every here and there, but the ones Rom and Connie held were the main way they saw their way around as they pulled themselves through the thick vegetation. Following the glowing bulb is Connie's hand like a will o' the wisp, Rom started thinking. Yeah, Connie is cute, her smile makes me melt a little, and we're stuck here together, and I'm sure her fur would feel absolutely divine under my fingertips, and to hear her react, the cute squeaks she would make... wait! Stop it! What is going on here? Just because the thought of holding a cute otter girl against myself while sneaking in a couple tickles is a fun idea doesn't mean that I should, say, wait for her guard to drop and...

"Hold up," It was Leona's voice. Rom flew back to reality. "Something's not right here. I feel something else is in the garden."

"Well, what is it?" Connie asked nervously.

"I can't tell. Magic is flowing more actively through these plants than before. Give me control of your body and I'll do my best to navigate us safely through these trees," Leona said.

"Well THAT isn't going to happen. You aren't going to give my body back if I 'lend' it to you," Connie said accusingly.

"Fine, have it your way," Leona teased.

Rom didn't quite notice the slight movement of the roots at his feet, and neither did Connie. The slight movements of the plants went entirely unnoticed, until they simultaneously walked over a piece of vine, stretched between two trees like tripwire, and both tripped and tumbled on the soft muddy ground down a slight... hill? Rom tried to turn over to pick himself and realized his foot was caught in a root that was sticking just out of the ground, his foot on the other side. In fact, both of his feet were stuck in some oddly snug roots. Right underneath the small of his back was a rather sizable root, covered in mud and moss, making it rather soft and comfortable. The glowing flower lay at his side, slightly dimmed since it had been picked. He saw some ivy growing from the tree by his hands. Deciding to try to get some leverage, he grabbed at the vines and his hands found themselves inside hidden cavities in the trunk of the tree. Before he could pull his hands out, the tree inexplicably tightened around his wrists. He squirmed a bit before he realized he was rather trapped.

"Connie? Connie?! Are you there?" Rom yelled out into the darkness.

"Yeah, I'm on the other side of this tree. Do greenhouses usually have hills?" Connie asked.

"Not as far as I know. I'm a bit stuck, can you come help?" Rom replied.

Then, there was an unsettling silence. Then a VERY unsettling sticky substance started leaking onto his foot. The roots were... bleeding sap onto his feet. Around his toes and heels, it started to harden, immobilizing his feet entirely. On the proper soles, it seemed to maintain its liquid form. Then, his nose picked up an odd scent. A rabbit. Not an anthro, just a rabbit. And with a happy squeak, its tongue went up his left sole. On the first lick, Rom froze up, afraid to make a sound and give away his ticklishness. Then on the second one, he lost his composure. On the third lick, the laughter started.

"Ahahahahawhatthehehell?!" Rom couldn't keep himself quiet or still, and squirmed as much as he could, which wasn't much. Here he was, feet immobilized and being licked by an animal he should be eating. And then it got much worse. A drop of a very thick liquid landed from a tree limb onto his right armpit. It smelled very sweet, and then more fell onto his other armpit. And soon, his upper torso was covered in what he realized was honey. Sweet, delicious honey that no animal would be able to resist. And resist it they did not. A rabbit bounded up to his right armpit. Laughing and shaking his head, pleading that the rabbit wouldn't do it, he lost all semblance of calm when the rabbit's tongue contacted his extremely sensitive armpit.

"NOOOHOHOHOH! HEHEHEHEHEHELLP! COHAHAHANIE! HAHAHAHAHA!"

In the dimming light, he saw Connie's silhouette standing over him. He couldn't hear if it was Connie or Leona over his laughter, but he could make out a smirk that one makes upon finding a large amount of money on the ground, and the word "fun."
Connie lunged for the rabbit, though the little leporid was so intent on its meal that it hardly seemed to notice her. The furry little thing tried struggling its way out of her grip after a few seconds, a few thumps from its back feet forcing her to drop it.

"Thanks, Connie." Gasped Rom as the little pest sprinted away into the undergrowth. He gave the roots at either end of his body a sharp tug, feeling more sap drip on top of him. "I'm stuck. Can you help me out?"

"What was that about, a few seconds ago?" Asked Connie as she yanked on the roots around his feet. "It was only a little rabbit."

"Well," Said Rommel, shifting to try and get some leverage as he tugged fruitlessly. "It started licking me."

" 'A rabbit licked you'?" Connie scoffed. "I thought that the plants had started on you, or that you were afraid I would leave you behind like Leona wants to. I never even realized that you were being savagely eaten alive by a bunny. How dreadful."

"Well, it tickled." Rommel grumbled, instantly wondering if he really should have said that. Connie had been possessed when Leona asked him if her were ticklish, and couldn't have seen the response. And now the otter didn't need to know as well.

"Really?" Mused Connie, the intensity of her efforts at pulling the roots off steadily diminishing with each passing second. "Are you ticklish, Rom?"

"No, not even a little bit -heyeyhaha! Stohop that!" Midway through his refusal, Connie had brushed a single finger down the length of his left foot, eyes widening as she saw his body jerk spastically.

"Oh, sorry; slipped a bit there." She said primly, composure perfect under the fox's suspicious glare. "I'm going to try and scrape some of this sap off; if it's anything like what I got stuck in earlier, we'll never get you out while it's here. Try not to move." Slowly, she ran two fingers down his soles, sliding off a few thick sheets of slime.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Rommel's face screwing up under the strain, a few stray snickers escaping his teeth. Smiling despite herself, Connie scraped off the next row of goo even more slowly and gently, just letting the hinted tips of her claws contact the muscled soles beneath.

"Too bad you're not ticklish," Said Connie by way of conversation. "I pretty much explode into a laughing mess if anyone tickles me. Feet, legs, underarms, my tail -oh, and my belly. If anyone so much as pokes me there," She prodded his immobilized foot absently, producing a stifled chortle. "I just curl up and turn to jelly. It's horrible. Lucky you don't have to ever put up with that."

Next to her, Rommel's tail flicked back and forth restlessly as she chipped away at the gunk with remarkably poor accuracy, every second blow striking along his feat, stuck fast and stretched taut by the sap solidified around his toes. The muscles on Rom's arms stood out stark as he converted the tickling into a redoubled but still patently useless escape attempt. The tree wasn't releasing his hands any time soon.

"Hehe-hey! Be careful back there!" He snickered, feeling the warm jungle air brushing against his newly exposed soles, even as Connie flicked off a few traces of honeyed sap. His legs spasmed and twitched under the onslaught, but luckily, the denser sap around the edges of his feet kept them completely immobilized under the otter's ministrations.

"What's the matter, Rom?" Asked Connie innocently. "This doesn't tickle, does it?"

"Oh good, I thought not," She said as his desperate head-shake, marred by the way his mouth kept trying to curve into a grin, but realizing that she was running out of an excuse. "But now, I really don't think that I can get these feet out, after all. I'll work on your arms, instead."

As she rose to her feet, Leona piped up from where she had been watching the scene in amusement.

So sorry to interrupt, strumpet, but do you know just where you've stuck me in here?

When I figure out what the devil a 'strumpet' is, you're going to be in trouble. Vowed Connie. Now, hush-up unless you're going to say something useful. Like, how can we get out of here?

The brain-stem. The lioness continued smugly. And, do you know what you've got down here? Suddenly, Connie felt faint, sweat breaking out and pulse rocketing as her legs turned to water. Groaning, she leaned against a tree. That was the lever that switches your adrenaline on and off. 'Fight or flight', as they say. And this one... Connie put a hand to her aching belly, suddenly realizing that she was immensely hungry. That's hunger. But, do you know what the best one is?

You cut all that out! Thought Connie angrily, trying to focus. There isn't the time for this -oh. Ohhhhh, myyyyyy. She didn't feel hungry or weak anymore. In fact, she felt considerably warmer than she had a few minutes ago, to the point of panting, her chest was tingly, and she felt warmth spreading through her from all directions. She was acutely conscious of not wearing a bra anymore, and suddenly, Rommel looked a lot different.

That, Said Leon deliciously. Is your libido. Did you know this dial went up to eleven?

It's a... dial? Thought Connie, feeling almost dazed. It just seemed funny somehow.

Well, more a cluster of nerve ending and glandular synapses, with a few reservoirs of hormones attached. But, yeah, 'dial' works. Said Leona. Now, as I said earlier, I can guide you out of here. In exchange, you've got to tickle Rommel for me.

Try and stop me. She thought, needing no second bidding in her new state.

The entire exchange took considerably less than a minute, and Connie quickly refocused, confusion giving way to excitement as she saw Rom looking expectantly up at her. Below his jaw, the lighter fur of his underarm was taunt and wide-open.

"Hey, Connie, are you okay? Is it Leona again? Connie? Oof!" He grunted as Connie planted herself on his lower back, a leg on either side proving something to rest her weight on.

"Sorry, Rom, but Leona says she can make the plants let you go, but that she won't unless I tickle you." She intoned, settling her paws on his biceps. It seemed plausible enough. She felt the firm weight of his body under her, trying to twist defensively.

"Connie! Wait, just a second! I really think I can feel my paw starting to give here; we can go back and try to -Gahahahahahahahahahahah!" He burst from frantic pleas into frantic laughter as Connie began scratching at his underarms furiously, nails exploiting every last one of the countless hyper-sensitive nerves bared before her.

It tickled beyond words, beyond thought, and the fox bucked and twisted, screamed and laughed. Time and time again, ankles and wrist yanked in on the frenzied drive to cover himself, and were rebuked, time and time again, by the snug stockade of living wood fitted over them.

Connie leaned forward against his back, putting her full weight atop him, feeling intimately every jump and squirm as he fought to escape. Even as her nails attacked, she began blowing raspberries in the crook of his neck, feeling his pointy ears brushing against her hair as he twisted his head back and forth, belting out laughter.

His bottlebrush spun and wagged like a figure-skater in the air behind them over his uselessly kicking legs, bristly fur rubbing and scratching against Connie's own muscled tail. It tickled on its own, but hedonistically pleasantly, and Connie soon concentrated her attacks on a sweet-spot in his underarm that seemed to make Rom's tail flick in just the right way.

He gasped and laughed, pleaded and yelled, and Connie revelled in every moment, every minute response. She didn't think she could have stopped had she wanted too as her claws rasped rhythmically away. She was hungry, so hungry, for that delicious laughter.

Over time, the opening rush wore off, and she tickled farther down his sides, feeling him buck and squirm as she poked and squeezed over his chest, his ribs, his belly. His laughter barely changed pitch or intensity under the changing assault, always going full-throttle.

"Wow, Rom, do you work out?" Connie asked, though doubting that he heard anything over his own trumpeting laughter. She could feel every muscle group flex at her tickling touch. It was a wonderful thing, having such control. This delightfully ticklish body responded to her touch, not its own occupier's commands. Addictive, in its own way.
At length, Leona spoke up.

I think that's enough; I don't want him to go unconscious. I'll let him go now.

Connie felt her vocal chords twitching, as Leona used them to say something arcane. Abruptly, the plants loosened, retracting and dropping the exhausted fox in their grip face down into the loam.

With enough grace to feel embarrassed, Connie helped him slowly to his feet, knowing he was too tired to strike back immediately.
"You did great, Rom." She poked at her head. "Sorry that this bitch wouldn't let you go sooner, but its over now. Can you walk? The door's right over here, and there're showers inside, so you can wash all this gunk off."

Unfortunately, she realized at they began stumbling back, she was still insanely horny, which the little episode had down nothing to help, and Leona didn't seem inclined to let her go any time soon. A long silent argument didn't help matters, the lioness tacitly refusing to relinquish her petty control, even as they staggered back in to the deserted Genealogy Room. For a brief moment on the threshold, she thought she saw movement in the luminescent garden behind them, but decided that it was merely more aggressive flora.


Electra and company had retrieved the bone "Now for the other stuff." Electra said

"Guys..." Fletcher said nervously "I smell something foul coming from that closet..."

Wolf opened the closet, inside was the skeleton of a Human
Wolf's eyes widened. "Let's get out of here!"
"To the tower!" Poncho yelled.

Electra rolled her eyes. "I don't think a dead skeleton is going to--" But at that moment the skeleton moved slightly and Electra was only too happy to run with the others.

They were running down hallway after hallway when Fletcher gasped, "Does anyone know how to get to the tower?"

They stopped running to catch their breaths. "I hate this old house," Poncho said.
Eva emerged from the narrow passageway out into the greenhouse again. She had no idea how the Lyzansk managed to squeeze through it to get from place to place. Eva had to walk sideways just to fit through, and the marble serpent was a much more imposing figure. Then again, snakes did always seem to fit into tight places. At any rate, Eva emerged into the humid plant-filled room. This time the heat didn't seem to bother her as much. Either she was acclimating, or the revealing silk garments Lyzansk had given her were much better in hot climates.

A small door, a small door… she looked around, but saw nothing that fit the description of what she was looking for. She didn't even see any walls. Maybe the door was in the base of a tree or something? But that didn't make much sense. It was all so confusing. Now that she was thinking about it, why was she even trying to get this book for that giant snake lady anyway? She should be trying to get out of this place. She should be trying to find Connie and the others to help. Well, Eva was still suspicious of the others. But at least Connie was trustworthy, or had been so far. She should find Connie, and get out of h-here…

At these rebellious thoughts, her amulet pulsed, changing from its dull blood red to a brilliant scarlet. At the same time, her tickonium undergarments reacted to the call, and vibrated erotically against the doe's body. The gel caressed her more precisely and skillfully than any hands, paws, or feathers possibly could. The effect was immediate and overpowering. Eva felt her breasts massaged and stimulated, and her womanhood vibrated in pulses that make her legs shake. She slowly fell to the ground, moaning into the grass, glad that no one was around to witness the lusty display.

At the same time, the grass that had so effectively tickled her earlier now found itself reunited with its earlier victim. It eagerly brushed against the bare, taut skin of the doe's belly, rubbing against the extremely soft fur. More grass blades found there way against her inner thighs, stroking delicately but incredibly ticklishly. Eva's moans were quickly interspersed with giggling, her body overcome with the dual sensations. As the amulet pulsed, it emitted a pleasant fogging in her mind, bringing her back to her earlier conditioning.

…Right. I remember now. It feels so good to obey her. I just can't resist… Eva once again succumbed, and the stimuli slowly died down and allowed her to stand again. While Lyzansk's methods may have been simple, they managed to be effective. Eva remained in a cage too pleasurable to leave. While the serpent would be loathe to admit it, it was a technique she had made her own after learning from Leona. While Eva retained her will, it was still twisted to serve Lyzansk's secretive interests.

Eva returned to her search, although the after-effects of the grass combined with her garments had left her more than a little distracted. She tried not to think about how good it would feel if it were an actual someone caressing her, teasing her, and letting her do the same to them… her face burned underneath her fur. "Focus, Eva, focus. I just have to find that damn book." She muttered to herself.

The plants in the greenhouse did seem to be directing her, parting for her, although she definitely noticed that the occasional frond dragging against her side, a vine that couldn't resist a quick wiggle against her thigh. They were as they were made, after all. Eva didn't really mind, as it wasn't slowing her down, per se, but it definitely did not help clear her mind from earlier. Part of her wanted to just wander off the beaten path, let herself be tickled for a while, just enough to sate her needs. Mmmm... She could just imagine being wrapped in those vines, fronds delicately tickling her stretched underarms, another twirling around her navel...

Before the doe could consider acting out on her plan, a sound got her attention. Laughter? Male laughter? It didn't sound like any of the voices from the group, and Lyzansk hadn't told her to be on the lookout for anyone… Eva headed toward the sound, moving easily now through the brush. Eva pushed on, and emerged into a clear patch to discover… a male fox… and Connie! They were slowly walking out of the greenhouse! Eva followed them, eager to reunite with a familiar face, even if the fox made her a little suspicious.

"Hey! Connie! It's me, Eva-!" Eva called after them, catching up to them, as they were walking slowly back, making her wonder what Connie had been up to since last they had met. Although as they turned around, Connie jerked back as if she had seen a ghost.

"Ah! You!" Connie said, and stumbled backwards in a panicked jump. "Get away!"

"W-what?" Eva said, confused, and then remembering how her doppelganger had been loose only minutes before. Or hours, Eva honestly had no idea how long she had been separated. "Oh! Connie, its me, its not the… other me. Back in the bedroom, I got trapped in the mirror in that bathroom. And then this mirror version of me jumped out! I know how crazy that sounds, but its true!"

"E-Eva?" Connie asked, looking at her carefully. "Is it really you? That 'other you' she…" Connie trailed off, shaking her head as if she didn't want to remember. "What happened?"

"W-well…" Eva said, not quite sure what to say, and sure that there were things she wasn't allowed to tell. "The other me… I'd say you wouldn't believe it, but considering all the things that've happened recently, maybe you would. Anyway, I eventually found myself awake and in some passageway that led out to the greenhouse. And I was wearing these clothes… odd, but they feel nice…" Eva trailed off, the explanation vague at best, but neither Connie nor the fox she was withed seemed to want to press the issue.

"No, no it looks good on you, Eva. Really good…" Connie trailed off, and Eva noticed an odd look in the girl's eyes. It looked… lustful. It was a look that made Eva blush, and realize again how exposed her silk garments made her. Connie gazed between Eva and the fox in the same distracted haze, and not knowing how to respond to it, Eva turned to the man.

"Uh, hi there. We haven't met. I'm Eva. You're…?" Eva trailed off expectantly, arching an eyebrow.

"Oh. Um. Call me Rom. Nice to meet you. We're… I guess our story is a little too crazy to believe too." The fox said, nodding at her nervously and a bit out of breath. Eva did just hear someone laughing his head off, it was probably him. Eva remembered her own exhaustion after her first trip through the greenhouse. All that tickling… that delicious, intoxicating tickling… but this 'Rom' was still talking. "We're trying to get out of this basement. You wouldn't happen to know a way, would you?"

Eva saw her chance. "I heard something about a small door in the greenhouse from the… evil me. But I haven't been able to find it. It's supposed to lead to a tower of some kind. If you two are up to it, we should look…" Eva noticed Connie again, her hungry expression, as if she were just keeping herself in check from doing… something. It reminded the doe of only moments before, when she was writhing on the floor of the greenhouse in a swirl of lust and laughter. "Connie? You there?"
         At that moment when the others were running for the tower, at some point during the hustle, it appeared the coati had disappeared from the group. How weird...
         "Hey, where'd Fletcher go?" Wolf asked as he continued running. "Did he get lost?"
         "We don't have time to stop and think about that...!" Electra responded. "I don't want to leave him behind but we don't have much of a choice, do we?"

         "Um...guys? ...Are you still there? I think I took a wrong turn somewhere..." the coati said, apparently having gotten lost, like Wolf had thought. "Helloooo? A-anyone here?" Fletcher's voice choked a little as the worrying feelings started to get to him. What if the next people he found weren't exactly friendly? Is he still being stalked? No, there was no time to think about that. He just had to press onward, trying to rendezvous with the group he had drifted away from. Eventually he saw Rommel, and as he didn't recognize him, he hid around the corner, hoping to overhear any conversation and analyze the situation from there. Fortunately he was quite good at keeping silent, but if they were to be onto him then it would crumble quickly...

(Author's Note: Sorry if my post doesn't make much sense. I am just jumping back in after falling behind after all. I'll try to keep up better.)
Connie looked up, as if shocked out of a daydream, blinking a couple times. "Before we go to the tower, I think Rom needs a shower. I think the soap there would do wonders for him."

Rom wasn't entirely certain, but it looked like the Connie and Eva shared a knowing look with each other. Something about it seemed... off. Rom wasn't the best at this kind of thing, but Connie seemed absolutely infatuated with him, although she wouldn't let it on openly. Rom wasn't entirely opposed to that, but something about the tickling she'd given him seemed... enthusiastic.

"I certainly wouldn't mind a shower. I still have all kinds of gunk on me. If that's the bathroom, I suppose I'll pop in for a quick shower. You two... catch up, I guess," Rom said, shrugging.

"Grab the soap from under the sink! The blue soap! That's the one that'll really clean you deeply!" Connie yelled after him as he shut the bathroom door.

"You won't be disappointed!" It sounded like Leona talking through Connie's larynx, but it seemed to be right next to him... Strange. Right now, whatever would clean the sap and honey from his fur was what was important. Rom opened a drawer under the sink and found combs and brushes. Closing it, he opened the one underneath and found a couple bars of deep crimson soap. Moving them aside, he found soap that shimmered like a sapphire and grabbed a bar. Rom stripped naked and turned on the water. It was a comfortable termperature almost instantly. Stepping into the shower with the bar on soap in hand, Rom started to clean himself using the bar of soap. The soap was incredibly foamy, forming bubbles that sparkled like gems as he lathered. He put an especially thick layer of lather on his underarms and was amazed at how efficient the soap was. The thick honey didn't leave a trace, and the scent was replaced by a refreshing sweet scent of flowers. As he was nearly engulfed in suds, Rom noticed something strange. It was like he could feel every bubble as it popped, the warm water felt warmer, truly, sensation seemed so much stronger. He also noticed that the fatigue that was left by the tickling seemed to leave him. In the state he was in, Rom felt like he could run a marathon! Not that he was focusing on that. There was also the warm tingle going down his spine, and his growing interest in the past half hour. The thoughts of being helpless, unable to do anything to stop or slow Connie's fingers exploring his most sensitive spots. With a soft moan, he imagined if Leona hadn't let him go. What if Connie just tickled him and tickled him until... until he...

Rom relaxed and slowly relaxed himself into a sitting position in the tub, feeling the warm water wash over every part of his body. Suddenly, the door opened. From behind the shower curtain, Rom stayed oddly quiet as he heard it close... and lock.

"C-Connie? I'm... I'm still..." Rom stammered as he heard clothing being removed.

"I thought I'd make sure you were thorough," he heard from the other side. The cute otter girl's voice turned rather sultry.

The curtain was pulled back, and there stood Connie, without a stitch of clothing, looking down on him like something to eat. In her right hand was a scrub brush with a short handle. In her left was a bar of... purple soap?

"Look at you, you didn't even clean the soles of your feet! Let me get that for you," Connie cooed.

Before Rom knew what was happening, Connie was in the tub, sitting on Rom's thighs, facing him. Despite Rom's increased physical stamina, he suddenly realized he had very little physical strength beyond movement. She looked deep into Rom's eyes as she grabbed his wrists, and put them above his head against the wall with very little resistance. Not that Rom was capable of putting up much more. Some arcane words came low from her mouth, and Rom's arms sank into the tile wall of the shower!

"Connie! What are you doing?!" Rom yelled, half distressed, half excited.

She winked and turned around, keeping his thighs pinned the whole time. She lathered the purple soap onto the brush and started scrubbing his feet.

Rom's world became little more than a tickling sensation and laughter as Connie went to work cleaning his feet. The scrub went up and down, then left and right, back and forth across his left sole.

"COHAHAHAHAHANEEHEHEHEE! WHATRYOUDOHOHOHOHING?!" Rom laughed helplessly. His arms were incredibly deeply embedded in the wall, with just under his elbow being the starting point of what was exposed. No doubt his ultra sensitive armpits would be punished before too long, the thought of which sent shudders of fear through his already laughing body.

Connie, undeterred, kept giving the pair of feet in front of her the most thorough cleaning of their life. Sometimes she'd draw shapes on them and "color them in" with the brush. Sometimes, she'd just scrub. Once she was sure that the soles of both feet were absolutely spotless (which she made she to check by rubbing them with her fingers), she moved on to the toes. Each toe was given its own special treatment, with foxes having comparitively big feet and Rom having comparitively big feet relative to foxes. Finally, with Rom's entire feet having been subjected to the most unpleasant bath Rom could remember, Connie ceased her merciless tickling. The world outside of laughing and tickling came back to Rom, a bit at a time, and Connie turned back around to face him.

Connie ran a single finger underneath Rom's chin and looked him in the eyes. "We're not leaving this bathroom until you submit to me. It was Leona's idea, but it's a damn good one. Eva will wait for us. Now then," Connie put the brush on the rim of the tub and started flexing her fingers, "Let's see how long until you break."

Rom looked at her, silent in fear and something that he didn't let him self understand was excitement as Connie's fingers neared him.
Behind her, Connie's tail flicked out, knocking the shower-head off, but, due to some eccentricity in the plumbing, it merely caused the main tap to begin dumping out soft, warm water in a torrent.

The otter barely noticed, too enthralled by her prize. Rom seemed uncertain as to whether to look terrified or intrigued as she rubbed against him, feeling her breasts tingle electrically as they pressed against his pectorals, even that contact making her want to pant. Her hands alighted on his sides under his ribs, feeling damp fur and hard muscles, braced in anticipation, and she had to fight to keep her look commanding and sultry -rather than smirking and triumphant- when he jumped and gasped at even that light touch. Face-to-face they regarded each other, silent as the hot water splashed down.

Without warning, Connie leaned forward, kissing him, feeling his mouth against hers. She felt him struggle for a instant, then gape, then press back passionately. For a long moment they held that pose together, before Connie gradually broke off, panting lightly.

"Laugh for me, Rommel." She whispered huskily, at last setting to work with her paws, squeezing and vibrating against his sides.

The fox jumped as if waking from a daze, jumping at the explosive touch as he burst into laughter. He writhed and struggled, rocking back and forth on the spot, trying to find some way of bringing his arms down to protect his vulnerable sides. But the solid wall held him fast perfectly, the otter sitting astride his waist pinning him to the tub bottom through even the most desperate of throes.

"Ahahahahahahahahahah! Cohohonieheeheeheehhehahahahahaha! Hehelhlpahahahaha! Evahahahahahaha!"

He bucked against her, back arching, heels drumming like a heavy rain on the tub bottom, sodden tail shaking back and forth as he fought on with complete futility. There was absolutely nothing he could do, no tactic or contortion that could save him from the damnable fingers worming against his sides with impunity, driving him to a ticklish frenzy.

"That's it; laugh. Let it all out." Through his haze of raw ticklish sensation, he barley noticed Connie's face, still a scant inch from his own as she tormented him. "Give me your laughter. You have no choice, your body is mine. You are nothing but a ticklish play-toy; a bundle of nerves for me to exploit as I see fit." She whispered, letting Leona help work her vocal chords to produce a tone of nearly perfect sultry teasing. "And we shall play forever, never giving you a minute's rest, never letting a laugh go unheard. No one will hear you, and no one will help you." She teased in his ear even as her fingers made good her threats hundred-fold.

"Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahh-hahahahaahahah!" The fox practically screamed, giving no indication that he had even heard her. Rommel's sides were remarkably sensitive on a bad day, and now, already sensitized from earlier, even more so. With that soap having soaked in to every pore and follicle, they were breathtakingly, imploringly, beautifully ticklish, receptive to every touch and stroke.

Connie delighted in every minute squirm and thrust, revelling in the sensation of power as she felt his body jerk and spasm, so soft and yet so strong under her, and every bit of it at her mercy. She loved the look of panic in his face as she squeezed at the bottom of his ribs, the brief expression of defiance as she prodded his belly, and the way he seemed to melt against her, dissolving into silent laughter when she teased as his navel with one hand, muscles limp and useless.

Glacially, she worked her hands up his chest, teasing and squeezing his ribs, scooting in the last remaining inch to apply greater pressure to the jumpy pectorals.

"And, do you know what comes next?" She whispered, carefully espying one look of pleading and anticipation through the maelstrom of laughter possessing his face. "The finale: You underarms."

Without warning, she kissed him again, resting her hands on his biceps as she nuzzled. She could feel him between her thighs, hard as iron, and she was so wet... Across the mansion, Lyzansk had stirred, smelling a delicious odour, overpoweringly strong, and wondering if it involved her new toy. Connie's hands clapped against his underarms -and the fox feinted dead away. It took her several seconds to realize that her victim was dead weight, even a stroke to his taut underarms provoking only the smallest twitches.

"Rommel? Well... That's something you don't see everyday." She said, at last feeling sheepish. With a word from Leona, she gently slid Rommel's arms out of the wall, swinging around to switch off the flow of water bare seconds before it overflowed the tub.

Water sloshed as she helped him out with difficulty, laying him down on the bathmat gently. He was cute when he was unconscious, she thought, towelling him off vigorously. Almost as cute as when he was awake and laughing.

Unfortunately, she was still wet, in more ways than one. Dying off, she slid on her curtain-poncho again, the dusty garment hanging down past mid-thigh, the rich satin fabric brushing against her almost discomfortingly sensitized skin. As if she didn't feel frustrated enough.

Let him wake up on his own; you'll have to get back to him later. Leona recommended firmly.

He's going to get me for this. Thought Connie casually, watching the fox sneeze and snuffle to himself as he came around. Gently, she stroked his hair, gently rubbing one paw over his pointed ears, hearing him whimper. The very thought of the inevitable retaliation made her feel as if the feather-dusters had found her again, and she shuddered as she slapped on her pants and left Rom to recover.
Electra, Wolf, Fletcher and Poncho were now in the kitchen after their flight
Wolf began sniffing the air. "I smell soapy water."
"It's a kitchen," Poncho said. "Washing dishes, perhaps?"

"Noooo,"Wolf said. "This soapy water has the scent of more than dishes in it."

"Like garbage?"

"More like sex."

"Ewwww!"

Electra giggled. "The panda is a prude!"

"No, I'm not," Poncho said. "I like sex, just not in my dishwater."
Eva stood at the edge of the door leading into the greenhouse, not wanting to stray far. She waited impatiently for Connie and this fox, Rom, to finish with his "shower." Remembering the effect the soap had on her last time, and the escapades Connie and Eva had already gotten up to, it didn't take much imagination to figure out what Connie was doing right now. She pictured Connie pressing the fox against the wall, eagerly tickling his sides and nibbling ticklishly on his neck, him howling in surprise at his newly found sensitivity. Eva had to admit, it made her a bit jealous. All that tickling, and here she was just standing here…

Eva looked around, still trying to find that door that Lyzansk had told her about. It had to be somewhere… her Mistress wouldn't lie to her. And obeying her would mean being rewarded… a shiver ran up Eva's spine, and for a moment to tickonium reacted pleasurably against her. It was as if her clothing was able to read her mind, enhancing certain feelings and thoughts, while steering her away from others. It was terribly, wonderfully distracting.

But despite the distraction, that's when she noticed it. At the marble pedestal where Lyzansk once stood imperiously. There was an indentation where her coils had sank into the base, and at that spot was some kind of hole. Small, but large enough for someone to slip into. Well, someone that wasn't Lyzansk, anyway. Eva stepped closer and peered into the hole. It wasn't much of a door, really. More like a portal, but Eva couldn't see inside it at all, seeing only a blackness that seemed to shimmer with an arcane aura. It seemed like going inside was going to be the only way forward.

Just then, Eva felt a fingertip run along her bare back quickly. Eva jumped in surprise, twirling around quickly only to see Connie grinning at her. It was her usual playful look, but there was a heavier, deeper aspect to it now. Her gaze had an incredibly sensual aspect to it now, with an almost predatory hunger. Eva didn't quite know how to react to it, although part of her was enjoying the physical attention.

"You're back." Eva said, a little curtly. "Done playing with your new friend?" Eva didn't mean for the question to have as much bite to it as she put into it, but the distraction did slow them down, and those two did run off to have fun without her.

Connie's grin widened. "For now, anyway. You should see how ticklish he is, it was… intoxicating. But he doesn't quite have the stamina. I let him rest back there, he'll follow us when he's ready, he said we should go on ahead." The girl's eyes momentarily took on a faraway look, clearly remembering her latest escapade. Although Eva thought she saw a frustrated look in her eyes, and noticed the otter was biting her lower lip.

"Alright…" Eva looked at her friend curiously. It was odd to go on ahead like that, and she felt like Connie was acting a little different right now. Then again, a lot had been happening lately. The doe tried to shrug off the nagging thought, turning towards the portal. "Look what I found. This hole, portal, whatever it is, has to lead somewhere. I think its out best bet to move forward."

"Mmhmm…" Connie murmured, and Eva felt a paw stroking down her side. Not quite tickling, but with a suggestively soft touch. The invitation for a playful bout of tickling was tempting, but Eva was trying to get somewhere, and she did have a mission to accomplish.

"Ah… l-like I was saying, we should h-head in…" Eva said, getting more than a little flustered, as she turned around to see that Connie staring at her, not the portal, affectionately pawing softly at the doe's soft fur.

Connie, her mind foggy with lust and unfulfilled need, ran her paws over the soft, creamy fur of Eva's exposed midsection. She was deliberately not tickling, not yet anyway, but it would be so easy to curl her fingertips, the suggestion laying heavy in the air. She ran her paws upwards, grazing against Eva's chest, against the side and undersides of the soft, tender mounds. Eva's so beautiful. I noticed before, but not like now… so lovely, and I know she's ticklish…

That's it, strumpet. Leona's voice echoed in Connie's mind. This one likes to be teased. Keep it up, and you'll get to have all the fun you want.

I don't need the encouragement. Connie thought back, although the confirmation that Eva was liking Connie's attention emboldened the otter even more. Realizing she needed to reply to Eva, she opened her mouth to speak. "Sounds like a plan." Connie said, her voice taking on a soft and husky tone. "After you, Eva."

Eva turned away from Connie, realizing if she didn't move now she'd end up dancing to Connie's distracting tune. With a decisive movement, Eva hopped onto the pedestal and climbed into the portal. As she entered it, she felt a moment of disorientation, and then opened her eyes to see that she was somewhere completely different.

The doe was standing in a dimly lit room, a few candles provided the only illumination. She was on a thick shag carpeting that seemed extremely soft and fine. It was almost like standing on a pillow. There was no furniture of any kind, and an ornate wooden door was the only exit, at the far wall. On the wall to her left hung enormously large feathers. Eva couldn't even conceive of what kind of bird they came from. Then again, the magical did seem completely normal here. Along the other wall was another strange painting. This one seemed to depict an angel, or was it a demon? It was of a woman with feathered wings coming out of her back, and goat horns sprouting from her head. Her skin was a dull purple, and her clothing left almost nothing to the imagination. Her body was inhumanly perfect, and her was posed as if reaching out of the painting, her hands curled… almost as if she were reaching out to tickle the viewer.

"Interesting painting, huh?" a voice whispered in Eva's ear. Connie's voice. The doe felt the girl pressed up against her back, Connie's paws resting softly on the doe's bare sides. Connie's thin bed sheet garment did nothing to hide the feel of her body against Eva, and she could feel the girl's breasts pressing against her back, and with it the aroused state the otter was in. At that thought, the tickonium once again awakened happily, vibrating pleasantly against Eva's chest and groin, freezing her in place as the doe tried not to visibly react from all the stimulation, even as Connie's paws slowly wandered from Eva's sides to the soft fur of her belly, the otter's breath tickling in her ear.
Slowly Connie stroked one paw down Eva's belly, feeling the doe trembling against her even as the muscles clenched under her claws. Remembering Lysansk's orders but feeling definitively short of breath, Eva moved to disentangle herself from the heated otter- and gasped as the tickonium reacted, sending a ghost of a tickle through her, freezing her in place.

Feeling trapped, the deer held stock still as the paws wandered over her, tickling faintly just by contact. She wanted to move, to get on with the mission, but if she so much as breathed heavily, she tingled and tickled paralyzing. Abruptly, Connie's amusements were cut off by the sounds of voices above them; she turned, just in time to see Fletch and Rom drop in.

"Fletcher?" She said in surprise, pulling away from Eva. "Fancy meeting you here," She peered over his shoulder. "Are the others up there as well?"

The coati shook his head, raising an eyebrow at the potent smell of musk in the room but otherwise keeping outwardly calm. "No; we got the rat's bone fragments, and were looking for the spellbook, but ah, I kind of ...got lost."

Next to him, Rom didn't seem to know how to look at her, arms folded over his belly in a position reminiscent of a turtle hiding in its shell. Connie just smiled at him.

"So, you two have met?" Said Eva, seeming to recover her own composure as the tickonium died down again to a dull throb.

"Well, about that," Said Fletch, suddenly sly. "Connie? Rom told me how you won't stop tickling him-"

"With good reason, too." Said Leona smugly. "You wouldn't believe his reactions! It really is a thing of beauty." Connie made a face as if she had eaten something foul.

"Uh, sorry about that guys.” Said Connie. “Fletch, Eva, I should probably mention that I've gotten demon- er, spirit possessed. By Diapole's dead girlfriend. Apparently it started when I touched the portrait she was trapped in, and she's been making me act kinky and strange ever since."

"You? 'Kinky and strange'?" Tutted Eva. "Nooooo. Surely you jest."

"Anyways," Connie gave her a mock glare. "She mentioned to me that my eyes turn blue, the stronger her influence is. Normally they're brown. And she's got an accent, so watch me when I seem off; she doesn't seem to bad, but you never know."

"Will do," Said Rommel, seeming to take it as an invitation to stare, before nudging Fletch. The coati perked up.

"Oh, right. Demonic possession aside, and as I was saying, Rom wanted me to help him with something -and I bet Eva wouldn't mind either…"

Connie's eyes flashed blue.
"Hurry up -I've got her!" Gasped Leona, falling to the ground and thrusting her arms out overhead. "Quick!" She snapped at Fletcher's dumbfounded expression. “She'll be back in control any second! Grab her!" Rom didn't hesitate, grabbing the otter's feet in a headlock, joined a second later by Fletcher on the arms. Leona fell back to the sub-conscious as Connie charged back in, struggling and kicking as the two boys pinned her down.

"Here, allow me." Said Eva, taking over Connie's kicking feet from Rom, allowing the fox to carefully scoot over the struggling girl's hips.

"Hey, wait! Darn it, Lee! Let me go!"

"You know," Said Fletch conversationally, grunting as one of the otter's flailing limbs caught him upside the head, before pinning it down again. "I think I'm gonna like this spirit."

Oh, hush strumpet; you'll enjoy it. Said Leona soothingly as Connie continued her protests. I'll see to that. Like a torturer torqueing up a rack, she gave the Libid-o-meter another crank. Connie bit her lip, shivering as she felt Rom's hands slip under her poncho.

She felt his claws grazing through her fur acutely, dragging up her garment’s hemline as they traced up her body. Connie bucked her hips half-heartedly, feeling her pulse race as the two paws teased her as she had so recently toyed with Eva.

"Thanks, guys." Said Rom, flushed with vengeance, as he felt Connie's toned belly quivering under his paws, feeling the soft fur parting under his claws. "I've got a lot to get back at her for."

"Think nothing of it," Said Fletcher, at last pinning Connie's arms between his legs, scooting forward so his knees neatly lined up with her ears.

"Remember her navel; she goes crazy if you tickle there." Added Eva, one pointer-finger tracing over Connie's soles, smiling to herself almost nostalgically as the plump appendages wiggled to get away. She only redoubled the teasing when they jerked and started kicking spastically -courtesy of Fletch probing into the girl’s ribs, hesitantly at first, but getting into the groove as a natural.

Giggles bubbled out of Connie’s mouth involuntarily as the tickling gradually increased, Fletch squeezing her ribs, Eva slowly dancing her fingers over her soles, Rom poking at her sides, grinning as she jerked back and forth with each prod.

“Oh fe-feathers –that tihihickles!” She chortled, squirming gently, quietly delighting in the sensations racing through her. The feel of fingers against her feet, groping at her ribs, squeezing into her sides –in her state, it was heavenly.

But it wasn’t so gentle for long; before she knew it, Rom had taken to squeezing her sides with both hands, Eva, to scratching at her feet in earnest, Fletch, to joining the first fingers on either hand together and jack-hammer them into her underarms, right in the hollow at the edge of her breasts.

She shook back and forth, feeling her living restraints kicking in at every turn, throwing her head back and laughing freely. Atop her, Rom squeezed her hip with one hand, eliciting a squeak to punctuate the never-ending giggles, and grabbed one of the two huge feathers mounted on the wall.

Without hesitation, he thrust it under her shirt, feeling it meeting the resistance of her bare breasts, the end poked out of the hole below her right arm. Rhythmically, he drew the huge instrument back and forth like a gang saw, not sparing an inch of her torso. For her part, Connie seized up as the sensation, simultaneously seeming to turn to jelly, lost in ecstasy as tickling swamped her.

***

Lyzansk was on the move. While her new toy went to collect the spellbook, she had quietly slithered down to the main dungeon. Apparently, another intruder –an otter- had been left tied up there, entertaining the maids, and she wanted to recruit her next before tackling Diapole and the others.

If the possessed dusters had already prepped her, converting this new target wouldn’t be too hard, but to the serpent’s surprise, the rack was empty, and the folding door to the Summoning Room was open. A few flicks of her tongue informed her that a fox had passed through here, but the smell was already faint enough for her to tell that the two rooms were deserted. What had happened here? Where had she gone?

The cobra picked up one of the discarded dusters, muttering a few arcane words, recognizing the spirit entrapped in the tool. Victoria? What’s happened? Where’s the otter?

Lyzansk, is that you? She heard the voice in her mind, simultaneously sleepy and excited.The Mistress was just here, she told us to let her go and got out of the rack. We don’t know where she’s gone. But it was all strange…

Yes? Asked Lyzansk impatiently, trying to make heads or tails of this. The Mistress? Leona? This empty-headed cleaning implement must be mistaken; Leona was still firmly trapped in the next room over. But then, why had she mistaken a random intruder for her boss?

Well, it was strange. She seemed off, somehow. And her fur had a whole new texture. And she let us tickle her for a while before suddenly telling us to stop.

Thank-you, Victoria. Said Lysanzk. So, this brush, with no eyes or ears, thought that is was Leona, even though she could tell that it was different body. What was up with that? Just sit tight; I’ve got a feeling that the curse will be over soon.

Wearily, she slithered into the next bedroom over, frustrated but not disappointed. Victoria had never been very bright, and being stuck in a duster for decades couldn’t have helped matters.

Before her stood Leona’s portrait, wearing a maid outfit and glaring at the viewer, haughty as she had ever been. Cautiously, Lysanzk poked at it with an alabaster claw, and cocked a stone brow when she felt nothing but oiled fabric.

No essence, no magic. No attempt at seizing hold of her mind. She had been certain that the lioness had been trapped down here. But if not here, then where? Unless… Unless someone had already activated her and freed her. Victoria’s testimony suddenly made a bit more sense, though a sense that was unwelcome in the greatest interpretation of the word.

Lysansk swept back to the Summoning Room, outfitted more like another bedroom and fairly reeking of fox. The ethereal flame still burned in its corner, cold and ghostly, a hundred years doing nothing to stifle it. She would have to accelerate things if Leona was on the move. Ought she try to risk trying to perform a summoning? Awakening one of the Goddess's servants prematurely?
Electra clutched her head "Oh man!" She said "I feel this place is coming alive with more and more spirits!"

Poncho had helped himself to Bamboo in the fridge "Really?" He asked "Where are they?"
"Part of me is saying that we need to get the hell out of here now," said Wolf. "And the other half says that we should set the place on fire."
Poncho took a big bowl of bamboo out of the fridge and set it on the table. "Part of me is saying I should eat all of this bamboo now, and part of me is saying I should save half of it for later."
Lyzansk flicked out her tongue again, tasting the air. She found no trace of the otter Leona had taken possession of. Meaning Leona must already be in the tower. Her precious pet might end up putty in the lioness's hands, even if they had become otter's paws. Lyzansk didn't want to do so without the spellbook, but it was time for an Awakening.

One of the Goddess's servants could be summoned into the tower. But from here, and without the book, Lyzansk wouldn't be able to command her, only issue very simple directives. It would have to do. In her current form, Lyzansk couldn't be tickled, even by T'Calu's servant. But Leona was in a new body, one that was much more ticklish than before. Perhaps she could be overwhelmed.

The danger was that her doe made a very tempting target herself. And her pet was being carefully trained to enjoy those ticklish attentions, to crave them, to provoke them. But Lyzansk was already pursuing a risky strategy, and wasn't about to stop now. Her tail traced the summoning circle, her lips whispered the arcane words. The summoning room glowered ethereally. Lyzansk felt a response, the servant awakening, hearing three simple words from her summoner: Tickle. Chaos. Lust.
***
The creature inside the painting stepped out and stretched luxuriously. It was a sight of unearthly beauty, had any of the four in the room been looking in her direction. K'Li looked at the scene of the three tickling the otter. Delicious. Before one of them had the chance to notice her, she became invisible, moving silently to a corner to watch her enthusiastic new prey.
***
Connie's husky, heavy laughter mixed with the softer sounds of tickling in the room. Eva was methodically scritching at those feet, marveling at the reactions she provoked. It wasn't quite as effective nor fun as that lovely bellybutton, but still, feet were a strange thing. So sensitive, despite all the walking everyone did with them. Having hooves, Eva couldn't quite understand them. It's not like her hands were ticklish.

After another series of scritches to Connie's feet, Eva changed her focus, moving from her feet to the underside of Connie's tail. Eva drew long, deliberate strokes along the grain of Connie's soft, white fur. Eva felt the otter react instantly, her laughter increasing in pitch, and feeling the otter's body undulate from the sensations, as Rom continued to saw that gigantic feather underneath her loose clothes.

"Oh my… not the tail, Eva, not the tail! Oh and that feather… that feather! Oh yes, the tail… don't stop, don't stop!" Connie babbled in her mind, unable to speak from all the laughter. What would be hard to handle in the best of circumstances was impossible now with Leona pushing the girl's libido off the charts. Each stroke under her tail sent wonderful sensations up between her legs, as that sawing feather managed to tickle along her belly, her breasts, and under her right arm all at once. And Fletch was pawing at the sides of her breasts, tickling and stroking. It was all so… so… pleasurable.

Overwhelmed by the sensations, Connie couldn't hold it in any longer. With a giggling but animalistic cry, she yelled out, and her body stiffened as it was wracked by waves of uncontrollable pleasure. For those long moments, she couldn't think, speak… over feel as she jerked against the fingers and feathers that had teased her.

Eva looked up at Connie, realizing how far they had pushed her. So intense… Eva continued to softly stroke the underside of Connie's tail as she watched the girl buck in the grip of her captors. It seemed to go on and on, either from the effect this place had put on all of them, or that the thing possessing Connie really was putting her in such a kinky state. But finally, Connie started to relax, the moans and gasps turning back into giggles. Eva looked up and noticed the other two had been so enraptured with tickling her that they had barely even noticed.

"Boys… boys!" Eva spoke up, as Rom and Fletcher both stopped at once, looking at Connie with a startled expression, as if they had been pulled forcibly out of a dream. "I think she's had enough…" The three of them pulled away, as Connie shakily started to get up.
         "Ehh, sorry, I guess we got carried away..." Rom replied to Eva, scratching the back of his neck modestly. "Anyway, what do we do now? I'm sure now that we've gotten all the tickling urges out of our system, we'd need to move on to more important matters..."
         Fletcher, of course a little embarrassed after that tickle-happy episode of his, didn't say a word to the others, instead just trying to fade into the background. Normally he wouldn't have spontaneously pinned and tickled someone... but it just happened in the spur of the moment. Perhaps this place was slowly driving them all mad?
         Fletcher offered his shoulders for Connie to lean on so that she could regain balance as she stood up. "Whoo, that was intense..." she groggily said with a wide smile plastered across her face.
         "I'm still completely lost on what's going on here, so would someone mind bringing me up to speed?" Rom said, folding his arms and raising a brow, trying to think of an answer. "Yeah I've got nothing. An explanation would be appreciated..."
         "Well, uh...um..." Fletch began to say, but the awkward moment when they all turned their heads towards him to listen was a bit unnerving... maybe it was just his nerves for all he knew. "I-I'm not too sure myself actually... I just kinda know that this place has a certain... obvious theme to it. There was a ghost rat or something earlier, too... it's all way too weird for my level of comprehen--"
         Fletcher's voice suddenly disappeared as he held his head tightly, looking a bit pained. "Ow, my head... all that laughing gave me a headache, I think..." the coati whined slightly. "A-anyway, uh... where was I? ...O-oh, there were also these living vines, and uh...that's about all I know."
         "That...didn't entirely explain much..." Rommel said with a deadpan tone, giving a puzzled expression towards the coati. "And you might want a damp cloth or something for your head, by the way."
.....Aaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwww...

Strumpet?

...G'aaaaawwwwwww....

Connie!

....G'awd... Oh god... What happened?
Thought the dazed otter, jogged by her passenger's urging. Distantly, she felt someone helping her to her paws, and vaguely realized she was leaning against Fletcher. After that ordeal, his fur against her underarm didn't even tickle, she noted as her mind rebooted glacially.

Congratulations; you've just had your first tickle-gasm. Thought Leona smugly. Quite a kick, isn't it?

Yeah... Yeah... Quite a kick... Connie thought back, as lucidity slowly made itself known again.

"Thank-you, Fletch, Rom." Said Leona aloud. "It's as I suspected. This close to the spell-tower, the residual energy of the place is driving us slowly insane. Soon we shall all become tickle-crazed fiends unable to be satisfied by anything else." Next to her, Fletcher blanched. "But not to worry; by venting the urge to tickle periodically -such as we just did- we should be able to keep our faculties intact just fine. At least until we grab the spell-book, then it will be like holding a hot coal from a fire, and you should allow me to carry it in a shielded container."

"Yeah, but why do we even need the book?" Asked Fletch, impatience vying with reserve in his voice. "I'm still in the dark here." Leona took a deep breath in Connie's unresisting lungs, launching into the storey of how she had helped Diapole overthrow his father, been imprisoned in a picture by the fickle goddess T'Calu and how the only way out for all of them was to recreate the ritual by gathering an assortment of occult items, but Lysanzk was apparently after the same end for some ulterior purpose.

In her corner, K'Li scuffed at the carpet with one hoof, folding her arms over her hilly chest in impatience. She could only act concretely when someone tried to enter or exit the antechamber without the mistress's permission; if only one of the mortals moved a foot to the right, it'd be perfect. It'd been so long since she'd had the chance to work over an intruder, and she could only barely restrain herself from trying to goad them over the threshold right now.

Restlessly, the demonic anthro ewe scanned the room, the mortals showing up as almost-empty sacks of carbon and protein, twitching and pulsing rhythmically, barely distinguishable from the bacteria covering the wall and the microscopic insects teeming in the carpet. The greatest difference -and it, at least, was key- were the constellations of beautiful, alluring lights bedecking each. Every point of star-light represented a node of ticklish nerve endings, fairly calling out to the demon, as a flower irresistibly calls out to pollinating insects in the ultraviolet spectrum. All four fairly glowed, beckoning to her from just out of her reach.

Her feathery wings rustled eagerly as at last the quartet opened the door into the next room, into the basement of the tower proper. At last- the vulnerable intruder would never know what hit it! Grinning ferally, she moved in for a Possession on the one to the extreme left. Swiftly, the gorgeous, brilliant demon leaped gracefully through the air, ethereal form sliding silently into place inside the otter's body, easily repulsing the bewildered attempts of that puny mortal to try and-

-Leona! Horrified, K'Li desperately tried to backtrack as she ran straight into the grip of the considerably more powerful and unforeseen spirit. A brief scuffle ensued, Leona smoothly (if only metaphorically) catching the demon in her grip, pinning her down and gagging her with one hand. In the gloom of the subconscious, wings flapped like an insect on a web as the two tussled.

Following Rommel and Fletcher down the passage, Connie put a paw to her head, feeling a head-ache coming on. Ow! Leona, what are you doing down there? She thought crossly. Is this another of your stupid attempts at dominating me? I already know what you can do down there.

Er, sorry strumpet, Thought Leona, sounding distracted. But we have a guest. Be ready to catch!

" 'Be ready to catch' ?" Asked Connie aloud, ignoring her companions' looks. "What's that supposed to mean?" All at once, in a flurry of flapping wings, a tiny, translucent demon shot out of her ear, expanding and solidifying as it thudded down on the carpet. Connie jerked forward under Leona's frantic power, landing neatly atop the demonling, using her bodyweight to force its wrists to the ground as she slid over its hips.

"Be still, K'Li! It was I summoned you, and you are mine until I discharge you!" Growled the lioness, cutting through Connie's interjections.

"Go to Hall, Lee! I've got a new mistress now!" The sucubi bucked, supernatural strength almost throwing the otter off. "You're going to pay for what you've done!"

With a frown, Leona spoke an arcane word, and the snarling, frothing demoness seemed simply to dissolve into a pile of ticklish mush, giggling softly and curling up like a sea-anemone when Leona released her. Her garments -a bikini like affair of fine leather, soft as silk, bound over her breasts and to the choker around her neck- faintly glowed where they were inlaid with semi-precious metals.

"It's all right." Said Leona to the two startled boys, and Connie decided to sit back and let her do the talking. "I designed these devices myself, since demons aren't affected by tickonium. It performs fairly well the same; at the triggering word, they'll either pleasure her or tickle her. For the latter, increasing as she attempts to resist or remove them. And, as you can see, gentlemen," She ran a paw down Ki'Li's side, and the stricken demoness stirred, giggles rising to laughter for a brief moment. "They can dish it out but can't take it."

Fletcher's face tried to form the better part of a dozen sentences before one at last popped out unobstructed. "Who is she?"

"And what was she doing in Connie's -your- head?" Added Rommel.

"This is K'li. A minor but stubborn and foolish Lust Demon of the Second Circle." Said Leona dismissively, ignoring Ki'Li's own indignant attempts at getting a word in edgewise. "I summoned her years ago and eventually bound her in the painting behind us to catch intruders. We're lucky that she tried to possessed Connie; otherwise she might have overpowered us physically. It is odd, however." She frowned. "I'd have thought that all the traps would be disabled by the curse, or at least not react to my psychic presence."

"Well, what do we do with her?" Asked Fletcher. On the ground, Ki'Li had at last fully curled into a fetal position, laughing silently, trying fruitlessly to undo her garments with limp hands. "Will you release her?" He asked anxiously.

"Hmm? Fletcher, it is inadvisable to feel sorry for her." Said Leona gently. "Had she been born three Circles lower, she'd simply kill us all. She isn't alive like you or me, and she runs on an intricate set of reflexes and instincts instead of rational thought." She cocked Connie's head. "Still, I only turned her into a booby-trap for back-talking and trying to tease me when I wasn't in the mood. If she cooperates from now on, I'll release her before I go on to the afterlife." Leona had to chuckle at that thought, completely unafraid. "And, if it seems unfair to you, Fletcher, know that she and a dozen like her shall have an eternity to punish me when I at last end up in hell. But for now, remind me, Ki'Li, who do you serve?"

"You mistress!" The demoness at last managed to sputter. "Only you! I'll do whatever you command- just- make it stop!" She rolled over, gasping and panting as Loena grunted something and the lights on her clothing at last dimmed.

"There's a good girl." Leona rose back to her paws, turning to face Rom and Fletch. "We'll have to be on our guard. Connie, I may need to use your body suddenly to disable any booby-traps that remain active. On that note... Ki'Li, you're taking point."

"Yes, mistress." Said the demonling demurely, clopping to the front. Again! Already! All those years spent sitting in a painting, and now she was back in that domineering pussy cat's power again. Luckily someone else had awoken her, and while it was difficult to tell mortals apart, the magical signature of this other mage had been familiar. And strong. Strong enough to free her.

She could still feel her in her mind, telling her to stop Leona in words that weren't words. Like she would ever be trying to do anything else. It would be a dangerous game, trying to subtly screw over Leona in favour of this other mage, since Leona could simply imprison her in a receptacle and then go through her ritual, leaving her behind, but never for a moment did K'Li think of actually trying to help her. While Leona might be too dangerous to tackle alone now in the Tower, in the single place where she was strongest, she was still trapped in another body, and one of the mortals was giving off a magical emanation not unlike what the mage's had been...

***
Lysanzk thumped her head against the wall of the summoning chamber. From her vague contact with the demon's mind, it had apparently either turned traitor or been neutralized. Frustrated, she slithered back to the dungeon, casually sealing off the Summoning Chamber behind her. Whatever its status, the demon would give her a small glimpse into how things were in the Tower, until things there concluded. In the meantime, she would try to hunt down another of the items herself.








Electra was worried she didn't know where Fletcher was
"Something always seems to be going on somewhere," said Wolf. "We've got to find a way to get everyone out of here." The poodle then sniffed the air. "I keep on smelling something funny, and that scares me. That, and I keep on hearing strange laughing."
"I hear the laughing," Poncho said. "Reminds me of a carnival fun house. Is it spirits? And why do they laugh?"

"Maybe they sit around all day telling each other jokes," said Electra. "We've got to find Fletcher."

K'Li walked forward, leading the group deeper into the tower. The winged sheep-demoness, lust demon of the third circle, with a beauty beyond the comprehension of mortals, skilled in the arts of seduction and tickling in the service of T'Calu… leading these four young misfits to a book containing unspeakable power. The quickness of her defeat was galling. To think that Leona was residing inside the body of that otter girl! How could she have known?

Ah, but Leona had been asleep for some time. Even in losing the scuffle inside that young girl's mind, K'Li had learned much. Leona was weak, this group of four were slowly succumbing to the tickle-crazed aura permeating this place. An aura that will intensify significantly as they approach the book. And Leona was under the impression that K'Li was only of the second circle, but in truth she had recently descended to the third. All this must be twisted to her own advantage. K'Li began contemplating a plan.

The demonic ewe led the group up yet another level, arriving in a large room with no furniture except pillows of all shapes and sizes strewn across the floor. The floor itself seemed padded, as if they were walking across a giant bed, and the décor brought the mind some exotic locale like a room for a sultan's harem. Along the walls, long silk scarves appeared, and while they looked like simple ornamentation at first, the four in the group realized that they could just as easily be used to restrain someone's limbs and tie a person to the wall.

K'Li noticed Eva's eyes lingering over the scarves. "Would you to try them out?" She asked the doe seductively. "I could tie you in them, and we could have a little fun. I'd take my time to find all those ticklish spots of yours…" K'Li slowly walked closer to Eva as she said this, making the doe freeze in place next to a pair of silk scarves coming out of the wall.

"N-no! I don't want to try it out!" The doe balked, doing a poor job of hiding her nervousness at the offer from the beautiful sheep-woman.

"Don't lie. We both know you'd love it. I can hear your body asking for it. Feel its need." K'Li licked her lips, the two of them now inches apart. "You crave my fingertips softly exploring that ticklish body. Stroking under your arms, making you squirm and giggle with each touch… combing through that soft fur on your belly, lower and lower, hunting for those sweet spots we both know are there… stroking and massaging those delicious breasts as my wings graze up and down your sides, your thighs, as you laugh out and moan, begging for more…" K'Li told her erotic, ticklish tale, eyes gazing into Eva's, as the doe found herself spellbound, unable to look away or deny the allure of everything she was saying. Part of her screamed out to accept the offer, to beg to be put in the soft restraints. But she didn't even need to. K'Li gently took hold of one of Eva's arms, compliant, and brought it up to the scarf…

"Enough! We have no time for this!" Leona barked sharply, pulling everyone else in the room out of the daze. K'Li noticed with satisfaction that the two men in the room were wide eyed, their mouths slightly opened, completely enraptured by the scene of the two women. Just as she had planned.

"Didn't you just say you mortals needed periodic breaks to indulge, lest you all succumb fully to the temptations before you?" K'Li asked, her voice as silky as the scarves she played with. In such proximity to Eva, K'Li also noticed something else: the same magical flavor emanating from the deer's amulet as the magic that summoned her. The girl must serve that faction. Useful information.

Leona growled, although it was much less intimidating coming out of the cute otter's throat. "It's not time for one of those kind of breaks! We have a ways to go yet, and the aura will only get more intense. We don't need you making things worse! Now. Lead onward." She had to admit, the lioness trapped in the otter's body could feel the lust in the room growing. The urge to tie down one of them and tickle them until they begged. Or even be tickled… Leona quickly banished those thoughts, which must have come because of this inferior body. While young and attractive, it was so… sensitive. Leona was excessively aware of the feel of the garment against the soft fur of this body. The lack of undergarments. The craving it had not only to tickle, but be tickled as well. It was a surprising and galling sensation. Leona scowled as K'Li shrugged calmly, as if it were the most innocent suggestion. K'Li turned and headed for the door, halting at the entrance to the next floor for the group to catch up.

But in those moments, Eva had a chance to pull herself out of K'Li's spell. She approached Leona/Connie apprehensively, not sure what to make of her. "L-Leona, was it?" Eva asked softly. "I'm not quite sure what's happening with you and Connie, but where is Connie right now? Can I talk to her?"

Leona looked sharply at Eva with a predatory glare, making the doe flinch. "No. I am in charge of this body. If you wish to speak to it, speak to me."

"N-no. I want to talk to Connie. Please, let me talk to Connie." Eva persisted. Connie seemed to have disappeared after that bout of tickling, which was more than a little concerning. Eva was concerned for her, and so far in this strange place the otter was the only one Eva had come to trust. Not to mention that this Leona seemed strangely powerful, and was surely a danger to her plan to take the book back to Mistress Lyzansk. Eva didn't know what to do. But having Connie in charge of her own body seemed much better than this strange, domineering woman.

"There is no Connie. Only Leona." The otter girl growled deeply, trying to decisively end the conversation. But within the otter's body, Connie's mind stirred. Hey, let me talk! Let me up there! This is my body, you know! But Leona, confident in her control now that Connie was weakened from the earlier tickle-gasm, only thought back No, strumpet. We're in a dangerous place, and you need me in here. Just lie back and watch like a good girl.

Connie's mind flung itself at Leona's, attempting to wrest back control of her body, but this time Leona was able to hold her ground. Connie's mind was still fuddled from earlier, but that same episode had empowered Leona. Connie was stuck at the periphery of her own mind, just as she had done to Leona. The girl sulked in her mental prison for a moment, until realizing that even here, there were options available to her. Fine, if you're going to put me down here, let's see how you like being toyed with! And with that Connie, albeit somewhat clumsily, cranked up the "lust dial" of her own body.

Leona flinched visibly as the sensation suddenly took hold. She was no stranger to lust, far from it, but this body provided a new flavor to it. Leona's own desires were like a molten forge, intensely hot but carefully controlled and steered to her own ends, made into a weapon for her own ends. But the young otter girl still only half understood her own body and its needs. Connie's lusts were more like a blazing fire, chaotic and uncontrolled, a heat that the mind couldn't ignore. Leona hadn't experienced such youthful, energetic desire in lifetimes, and was momentarily baffled as to how to deal with them. And in that uncertainty was weakness, the proud lioness wavering as a shiver ran up the body's spine, combined with the magic in the room driving her even further into a tickle-desiring lust.

These struggles did not go unnoticed by K'Li. As the otter girl hunched over and gripped herself tightly, it was all to clear that another struggle for control was taking place. Leona clearly had to be drained from throwing out a demoness only moments before. It was time for K'Li to take advantage of the opportunity. Turning demurely to the coati, she asked sweetly: "Fletcher, was it? I have an annoying little itch on my back, right between these wings… could you be a dear and scratch it for me?" She made eye contact with the man, her hypnotic gaze brooking no dissent.

"Y-your back? Uh….ok…" Fletcher murmurred, feeling both shy and emboldened at the same time. Her back was to him as she looked over her shoulder, stretching out and revealing her alluring form to him. She was beautiful, her curves, her long legs… despite his shyness he stepped forward, reaching up timidly to softly scratch along her spine, between the angelic wings, as instructed. "H-here?"

"Mmm, yes! Very good. Just a little to the left…" K'Li cooed, and the coati obediently complied, enraptured by the feel of her soft, cashmere-like wooly fur, and the soft skin underneath. As he moved left, his claws gently scritched against the base of the wing, prompting a shudder and a giggle out of the sheep-woman. "Hehe, oh do be careful, Fletcher… I'm ticklish there!" She gushed flirtatiously. A goofy grin came over Fletcher's face as he scritched there a little more, moving a little ways out to the base of the wing. His soft scratches brought out wonderful little giggles, as the ewe tittered under his movements. It was unbelievably intoxicating, and Fletcher's world shrank to just the two of them.

"Mmhmhmhm… oh stop that-hehehe, stop!" She squealed, the last word a true indication of meaning, and Fletcher reluctantly complied. "Mmhmhm… that was fun…" K'Li whispered huskily. "But I've got another annoying little itch, right under this collar. If you could undo it and give me a good scratch… I'll let you tickle a really good spot…" Fletcher wordlessly nodded, his mouth feeling dry at the opportunity, and suddenly it was the only thing he wanted. All he had to do was undo the collar on her neck and give her a little scratch. So easy… as Fletcher reached up, his fingers on the latch at the back of the demoness's neck.
***
Lyzansk needed to do something. At this rate Leona would beat her again. That must not be allowed. This would be her best opportunity, this marble body was a fortress, and Leona was stuck inside a young, ticklish girl. It was perfect. She slithered through the garden, into its densest part. None of the newcomers had even gotten close to it, directed away by the plant-life. All around her, the vines and fronds and grasses… everything stroked and rubbed against her, primitive desires to find and tickle. Obviously the efforts were futile, and Lyzansk was somewhat disappointed by the thought. But now was no time to play. She reached the dense thicket, and inside was a massive flower emitting an intoxicating fragrance. And inside that flower was the ingredient she needed for the next spell.
After collecting the berries and pollen, Lysansk slithered back to the edge of the Greenhouse, pausing to give the Tower -pointy peak vaguely visible through the pains of arching glass - a lingering dark glance. One of the otherwise darkened windows was glowing uneasily, and even at this distance she swore she could hear laughter spewing out. Something was going on in there. The thought made her stonework flex in a smile, wishing she could see it first hand, but, embarrassingly enough, her physical presence couldn’t fit into the entrance.

Regrettable as that was, and much as she trusted her thrall and demon to get the book, she didn’t like to gamble with stakes like these, and the golem swiftly fell into an incantation. The pace of chanting was fast, the vocals irregular and disquieting to even the initiated ear. When complete, her grin stretched all the wider, a renewed spirit filling her as she slithered off for the last reagents.

She soon found the crypt to be already opened –Blackwold and his underlings had to have the bones by now, but she was able to scrape together a few shards. Her pet could provide both tickonium and a willing victim, and now all she needed was one of Leona’s possessions and that spellbook. The former should be easy enough, while the last one was the only thing that Leona and her verminous husband couldn’t have gotten yet. Lysanzk’s eyes drifted back towards the Tower, as if looking through the grimy wall of the subterranean tomb. Physical distance or not, she could feel the demon’s building excitement; surely that could only be a good sign. And soon enough, her new and impressive ally would make the mix all the more volatile.
***

In the glowing, ethereal fastness of the greenhouse, there was always movement. Plants twitched and stirred, instinct and reflex setting botanical fronds to squirming at even the rabbits that chewed at their roots, the little rodents thankfully too small to make common prey. But now, acted upon by Lysansk’s potent spell, the disconcerting, anthropoid thrashing redoubled itself, stalks and leaves twisting and extending as caught in an impalpable gale. Sap and honey fell like rain, vines grasping and intertwining each other spastically.

In the depths of the foliage, the huge flower spasmed, the ghostly luminescent glow pouring from the osculum brightening and flashing weirdly. All at once, the great mass of tendrils supporting it as a pedestal shuddered, rising into the air, thrashing back and forth as gravity pulled on it anew, orienting itself with a shockingly disquieting suggestion of true sentience. Roots pulled themselves free of the damp loam, sliding out of the cold earth and stirring together, entwining and solidifying, forming a trio of thick stalks that radiated from the hub beneath that single great beautiful flower.

Vines disentangled from their engagements with other flora, tentacles supporting fanned vices overflowing with pointed objects resembling protrusions of spiked teeth. At the central hub, nearly a half-dozen empty sacs of toughened cellulose hung, lids open, ready to receive prey. Despite the cacophonous shaking of vegetation and heavy patterning of loose material and disturbed earth, not a sound did the leafy behemoth make as it stretched up, feelers grasping and sliding against the curve of the ceiling. Blind or not, deaf or not, nonetheless did that sightless flower swivel on the spatially distant apex of the tower, hungry with preternatural urging.
***

Searching for the wayward Fletcher, the other group felt the rumbles in the ancient house as the great mass of roots shifted of their own accord. Dust fell and cobwebs trembled, and mortal and ghost alike exchanged alarmed glances.

“What was that?” Asked Electra. “Diapole?”

“Earthquake,” Said the spectral rat quickly, his anger at the repeated musings of burning down his ancestral home suddenly forgotten. “It has to be an earthquake.”

“Let’s just get to the tower and find Fletcher,” Growled Wolf. “I don’t want to have to spend a second longer in this place than I have to.”
***

With the body at last decisively hers and the spellbook so close, Leona could hardly contain her excitement. Ignoring K’Li toying with the coati, her own frenzied lust, and the beseeching doe trailing on her heels, she threw open the door to the stairwell. Magical emanations poured through the opening like water, and it took all her willpower to maintain her feet, let alone dignity. Above would only be a storeroom –virtually an armoury, come to think of it- and her magical workshop, and when she had her Book back, she’d be unbeatable. That thought alone allowed her to keep her composure.

“Come… On,” She panted, resisting the urge to tackle the deer behind her straight to the floor and vent everything in one burst. “We’re almost there!” Connie might be embedded in the lowest depths of the subconscious quite securely, but she was already fighting another conflict with her body –the urge to spin right around and do something carnal with any of the others was overpowering. If it weren’t for her exhaustive mage training, with its supreme emphasis on focus and concentration, she’d have been overpowered. At least the others had the tickling they had meted out earlier to keep their little minds intact, more or less.

Keeping a tight hold of what dignity she retained, Leona leapt up the twisting stone stairs three at a time, one hand glancing off the curving wall to help pull her along. She veritably kicked open the next door, storming into the dusty room beyond, the spacious vertical cylinder reduced to a few narrow aisles, most of the available space crammed with boxes of reagents and magical widgets. One clear path led directly across, where the next-door up waited.
***

K’Li could only sigh as her collar came undone; the garment was comfortable enough, but just being able to get it off still felt like getting rid of a pair of too-tight handcuffs that had been on for a long, long time. Even as she pinched the clasp together to keep it more-or-less on and not alert Leona, she felt the mortal’s paws scratching at her neck, and K’Li giggled despite herself, squirming on the spot with every sensual gesture reflexive to a succubus.

“Okahay! Okay! Stop!” She laughed, spinning around to face him after a few more moments, keeping both hands behind her head on the clasp, as if trying to re-do it.
‘Thank-you, Fletcher.” She said sweetly.

Having both hands behind her head arched her spine, giving her body the unconscious suggestion of accessibility and incidentally thrusting her bust out enticingly. She almost laughed again at the dumbstruck coati’s stare –but instead merely cocked an eyebrow when Leona threw herself up the stairs, leaving the other three alone with a demon. “Yes, I feel much better now.”

One of the mortals –the other female- was hesitantly following the magician upstairs, while the last one tergiversated on the threshold uncertainly. K’Li took a step forward, almost brushing against this last one, great indigo eyes staring up into his, hypnotic powers going full blast. “You seem like a nice guy, Fletcher; can I trust you enough to tell you something? Something secret?”

He nodded, borderline imperceptibly.

“Completing the ritual won’t free you from this Mansion,” She said quietly, giving a slightly exaggerated glance at where her summoner had disappeared. “Leona intends to hand you all over to the goddess T’Calu in exchange for her freedom. Helping her complete the ritual of un-binding will only doom you all and trap me here forever. You don’t want that, do you?”

The coati blinked ponderously.

“Er, what? I –I don’t understand.” He shook his furry head as if attempting the hopeless task of clearing it of K’Li’s surreptitious influence.

“That’s okay,” The demoness said, curbing her impatience. “Listen, all that matters is that Leona can’t get the book, at least not for more than a few moments. Will you help me?” At his renewed nodding, the two great feathery wings fluttered in unconscious excitement behind her. “Oh, thank-you Fletch. I’ll make it up to you. Now, there’s one last thing I need you to do…”
***

Upstairs, Leona was still struggling to open the final door between her and her prize, cursing her body –unrecognizable to the security dweomers- with every second that the portal withstood her. It had been made with her magic, and she would eventually get it to open again, but the delay was taxing. The other two had wisely made themselves scarce, chatting together at the rear of the racks of storage, and she had no mind or care for what was keeping Fletcher and K’Li.

With a flash of light and steam, another arcane fusillade bounced off the wards, and, panting, Leona lent against the theshhold next to the scoured edifice. She rubbed her temples, taking a deep breath. All that time asleep, and already she felt exhausted.

“Hello, Mistress.” Said a smug voice from the other door, the one leading down, which she had left open behind her in her haste.

“K’Li?” Leona turned slowly. The demonling was standing in the doorway, completely and incognizantly naked, both fists glowing with eldritch green light. All at once, Leona’s mind –stupefied by the unfamiliar housing, Connie’s relentless insurgent attempts at control, the frustration of the portal refusing her, desperation for the curse to be lifted, the impish magical aura washing over her- cleared. She dove aside as two bursts of electric green light struck the doorway with a crack of thunder, at last blasting the weakened frame open.

“Get the book!” Possessed-otter and nude demon cried in unison, and, synced with perfect form, both Eva and Fletcher bounded through the door. Laughing exuberantly, beautiful noise at perfect odds with the wild rhythm and tone, K’Li beat her great wing and leapt onto another pile, hands flaring again with more energy blasts.

Leona took cover behind a stack of crates, snatching up the first offensive device she could find –an engraved scepter- and leaping aside as the containers exploded under another barrage of demonic fire. The keys in Connie’s pockets jangled and clashed as she bounded along the wall, to pop up from behind a chest. With a screamed trigger-phrase, a net stitched from lightning spraying from the end of her armament.

The otherworldly mesh caught the manically laughing K’Li on one foot as she alighted on another stack in a spray of caskets, and the demonling fell hard as tickling raced up her foot. She was back to her feet in a moment, redoubling her onslaught as Leona tried to decide on whether to fight or flee, decision hampered by the gross effort of keeping her former slave at bay. Light flashed, and thunder boomed in the confined space, air hazy with dust and brickwork.















Just then Electra felt her electricity leaving her body on it's own, the electric currents traveled to all the Possessed Anthros temporarily bringing them to their senses
Wolf looked up at the ceiling in the room his part of the group were in. "Something's going on up there."
The ceiling bulged, cracked, and a small ball of whirling flame broke through and frantically raced around the room three times before it flickered out of existence.

"Yow!" Poncho said. "What was THAT?!"

"And are there more on the way?" Wolf added, studying the ceiling which quivered and trembled above their heads.
As K'Li and Leona fought in a garish display of light and magic, and the remaining three could only stand dumbfounded, bolts of electricity suddenly emanated from the walls. As if it weren't already chaotic enough. While the voltage was low, having reverberated throughout the mansion, it was still just enough to effect everyone in the room. Fletcher pulled himself out of his K'Li worshipping stupor, and Rom seemed to look around in a daze, as if waking up in the middle of a dream. Although now that the two were aware of their surroundings, there was little to do but look on.

But for Leona the effect of the jolt was far more insidious. Using all of her consciousness to combat the demoness, conjure magical energies, resist the lustful, ticklish urgings pulsing throughout the room, as well as maintain an iron grip on Connie's body required her full and absolute concentration. As the quick zap of electricity made her gasp, it was as if she were suddenly juggling one too many balls, causing them all to drop to the floor. At once, the lust from within and without crashed in on her in a devastating pincer attack, bringing Leona to her knees. Her control over Connie's body weakened, not enough for the otter girl to regain control, but in an in-between state where Leona struggled to operate the alien limbs.

For K'Li, an ethereal being far less effected by the mundane elements, this was all the opportunity she needed. She dove at the otter girl's prostrate form before Leona could recover. Tackling her, K'Li ripped off the makeshift garment, leaving the otter girl's form enticingly nude beneath her. Straddling Connie/Leona's thighs, K'Li's fingertips attacked her belly, wriggling against the cream colored fur, roving its short and luxuriously soft texture to stroke and stimulate the ticklish skin underneath.

Leona tilted her head back and howled before bursting into girlish giggling. She mentally cursed her new, overly sensitive body. Despite Leona's mental fortitude and training, the touch of a succubus was not something lightly ignored or resisted. And in her exceedingly lustful state, it was completely impossible. Waves of ticklish sensations emanated pleasantly up her body and into her mind. This body screamed at her to give in and enjoy it, to embrace the delightful touch. But Leona's stubborn and aggressive nature wasn't willing to give in. She reached out to K'li outstretched ribs above her, pinching and wriggling in retaliation.

K'Li shivered and let out a stream of seductive, musical giggles. However, it quickly became apparent that the winged sheep demon had the upper hand. "Hehehe, no no no, Leona, this time its -hehehe- my turn!" K'Li brought her wings down to rake up and down the otter's sides, exponentially increasing the tickling. Leona's laughter increased, as she tittered and squirmed beneath the alluring creature, feeling her control of the situation slipping. Each touch becoming more and more pleasing, and her will to resist them eroding. It was a feeling Leona, always the dominant one, had never known, one that likely would not have been possible had she not inhabited a body that so enjoyed the ticklish touch. In a haze, she reached out to K'Li's bosom, pawing and stroking at those intoxicating breasts hanging over her, tickling sensually.

K'Li continued to laugh, but if possible the tone became even huskier and more sensual. This was her domain, and she exploited the turn of events expertly. K'Li moved to Leona/Connie's breasts, stimulating and stroking them in a touch equally ticklish and lustful. At the same time, her wings dragged along the creamy fur of Connie's inner thighs. The two moved closer together as the world around them faded away, locked in a ticklish embrace that was quickly spiraling past the point of no return. K'Li leaned down and began to kiss, lick, nibble and giggle into Leona's neck…

The two men stared, spellbound, no longer by the magical, but by the simple but powerful eroticism of what they were witnessing. The impossibly beautiful demoness writhing with the cute, attractive otter girl was too much to bear.

But while all this occurred, Eva was the only one who managed to keep her wits. And that electric jolt snapped her back to attention and reminded her of her mission. She wasn't simply possessed like the others. Her induction and loyalty to Lyzansk had become something far more subtle and insidious. Unseen by the rest of the group, Eva grabbed the book and bounded back the way they came. Each step she made toward the portal back to the garden was positively reinforced by the subtly vibrating tickonium she wore under her clothing, pleasing her and spurring her onward.
***
Lyzansk stood at the portal, awaiting whatever result was occurring in the tower. Her materials were ready. The pollen dust lay in a stone bowl beside her, an makeup brush next to it. The berries were kept in a similar bowl. Vines writhed all around her, questing and searching for prey. If Leona came through the portal, even with the book, Lyzansk was ready to make her stand. But if her pet managed to complete her task, the final phase of her plan was ready. The garden was ready to be fed; the gateway opened. And her pretty doe would be the key. Lyzansk was sure her pet would enjoy the ritual. Enjoy it very, very much; as would she. The golem's tail twitched excitedly, her tongue flickering impatiently. The mad golem hoped and plotted..
         "W-w-whoa, that was...weird..." Fletcher mumbled to himself as he was roused out of his stupor. "What happened, a-anyway...?"
         Rom tried to look away from the girl-tickling-girl scene before them to answer Fletcher, but found it difficult to pry his attention away from the alluring event. "W-well, um...long story?"
         "I'll take your word for it, then..." the coati said, rubbing his temples to numb the slight headache he had. "W-well, I uh...actually, I th-think I should try and find the others...they're probably worried about me...I think. Th-they're probably fine, though."
         "Others? So there's more people here, then, right?" Rommel asked, crossing his legs as he sat and resting both hands on his lap. "Any idea how they got here? What they're doing right now? Their...mental state, perhaps?"
         "Y-you're asking me too many questions...! I'm just one coati..." Fletcher timidly responded before Rom could pile on any more questions. "Well they were headed to a tower of sorts, but...I got lost. They were going to try performing some r-ritual to escape...o-oh! Oh no!"
         "What is it, Flynn?"
         "I-it's Fletch...never mind. I don't know, just...something's telling me that performing the ritual is a bad idea. I-I can't really recall why that would be, but it's not going to end how they think...!"
         "...Now you're just talking crazy," Rom said, tilting his head to the side. "Are you sure you're okay? If there's a chance of escape, why not at least try?"
"Great work, pet!" Cried Leona, snatching Eva up by the scruff of her neck and plucking her from the hole. "Now we must be quick! To the summoning chamber- get the bowl; there's no time to explain." She rounded on the trap-door, sitting open but a few meters away. "Oh, and don't mind this." She shrugged at the verdant behemoth drooling down over them both, sap falling like a light rain. She glanced up at it, calling out an order. "Remember; if you see anyone else, eat them immediately!" And the great revolting thing seemed almost to nod eagerly in answer.

Driven by the urgency in the serpent's tone, Eva quickly slid down the ladder, bowl tucked under one hand and comb in hair. With the tome under one arm, vial of bone dust clutched in the corresponding hand, Lysanzk made to follow. I hate ladders, she thought ruefully, carefully lowering herself into the open pit. But -oh!- this is too beautiful for belief! Everything's ready!

***
In the tower, trapped under K'Li's voluptuous form, Leona threw her head back and screamed in what the unwary could only had believed was primal agony, convulsing and panting. Pretty face distorted in a grin of triumph, K'Li rose at last, wings fanning out as she kicked away the net-hurling scepter. Casually, she leant down and put a hand to the otter's neck, hoisting the limp form to its feet. Her imperious posing was marred as the web of netting over her ankle grazed the edge of her hoof, making her leg jerk ticklishly.

"Oh, don't pass out now, Mistress." Ki’Li said sweetly. "I’m going home, and you're coming with me. I want you to be awake for the trip." She sauntered for the stairwell, dragging the body and seeming to ignore the two bedazzled men.

But with Leona knocked virtually insensate by the demoness's explicit touch, Connie at last managed to return to her body, still tingling electrically. She could care less about Leona, but was quick to decide that she didn't want her body to go anywhere with either her or her way-ward thrall. Still limp, she felt the floor grazing against her knees, as they approached the door. It was now or never.

With a deep breath and burst of motion, Connie ripped free, rolling away frantically in search of an implement. And, as much like a cat confronted with a twitching string as a jailer with a prisoner, K'Li leapt after her. Slamming her to the ground, K'Li swiftly grappled the weakened girl into a school-girl hold, each hand pinioning one wrist to the ground next to her head. Privately, she figured out the source of her victim's shocking return to lucidity soon enough, and once again, she started nuzzling her victim's neck, prompting a ticklish gasp and renewed round of impotent struggling.

Connie rolled back and forth, trying to throw her tormentor off -efforts redoubling as K'Li's wings articulately folded in, tips tracing over her bare belly. After so much sustained tickling, her body refused her demands, weakened limbs putting up scarce a token resistance, as good as paralyzed and rending the demon's adamantine grip wholly redundant. Connie shook with laughter, head lolling back, limited strength unable to put up much of a fight as the stronger demoness tickled her with impunity. Her tail flicked back and forth nervously, feet kicking weakly, but she just felt so wretchedly weak. Everything weakened inoperably, but her lungs, worn to the muscle as they belted out a familiar rhythm of laughter once again, music to Ki'Li's enraptured ears.

Rom had found a small bag of popcorn hidden in his pocket, previously forgotten all through the tumultuous day. While she had helped him get some payback, the sorcerer had been nothing but threatening and domineering ever since they met, and watching her at the mercy of her own demon was an amusing distraction. His snout crunched up and down, passing the bag to Fletcher intermittently as they watched the two voluptuous, almost entirely naked women tickle each other ferociously.

"Hahah-help me! Hahahaha!" Connie at least managed to chortle out to them as, with elasticity beyond three-dimensional ken, Ki’Li’s wings feathered over the firm mounds of her breasts. "It's not Leona! Its -ahahahahahaha!- Connie! It's Connie! I-Gahahaha!" Whatever else remained was drowned out as one of K'Li's delicate wing-tips abruptly flicked back over her recalcitrant toy's navel.

"…I guess then we should probably help her." Rom shrugged to Fletcher, putting away the remaining popcorn. They advanced cautiously, Rom grabbing a little spherical object comfortingly like a grenade from out of a smashed crate. Without sparing a glance up from her play, without looking up, like swatting a bug, K'Li casually hurled another green fireball their way. In the lead, Rom couldn't even take the time to yell as he dropped under the amethyst plasma, which took Fletcher full in the chest, blasting him back into the wall, in, of all a things, a spray of green slime.

Galvanized fully now, Rom leapt forward, even as Connie, one arm freed for a moment, grabbed at K'Li's wing in a reflexive attempt to repulse the tickling it so aroused in her. Ki'Li's eyes widened in shock; first, in sudden horror as tickling raced through her as that sensitive limb was seized -and then in surprise as Rom tackled her from behind.

In those few subsequent, unnervingly complicated seconds, Ki'Li fell back to throw the clinging fox off, wings snapping, and, with one paw still embedded in the demon's remex, Connie pitched forward, and the little sphere fell from Rom's grip, landing softly under her. Only Ki'Li had the time to yell "What the devil-" As the elemental grenade went off with the force of a hurricane, hurling its caged winds in every direction, blasting otter, demon, and fox alike clear across the room...

...And hurling them through a break in the ruptured tower wall with devastating force, hurtling them like comets clear out of the tower. Almost of reflex, Connie grabbed onto Rom, feeling on some subconscious level, cheated to discover that he wasn't attached to anything solid either.

In mid-air, too stunned to scream, and with the curved dome of the greenhouse rushing to meet her like an over-eager puppy, Connie made an abrupt discovery: the magically produced netting, still bound to Ki'Li's hoof, was now tangled liberally around her own upperbody as well. She realized this at the very moment Ki'Li's wings went to work in a furious flapping flurry, supernatural backing keeping the unlikely chain airborne as they flopped along.

"Hey! Let go!" Said Ki'Li indignantly, twisting in mid-air as the duo's momentum swung them out pendulously. Yanked through the air again, the trio bounced onto the greenhouse. Flat on the muggy glass, Connie made something akin to eye contact with a huge and hideous monster made from plant material lurking under her, cavernous, toothy appendage seeming to smile up at her from only a few feet away. She was almost glad when she began to slide down the edge of the dome, back into merciful, fogged ignorance of the behemoth's existence.

Connie and Rommel both scrambled to try and find a handhold on the smooth glass, pace accelerating as the dome steepened out, twisted net tugging at them both intermittently. But without warning, they slid neatly into an open window, falling through, dragging Ki'Li afterwards as the net jerked once again. With one arm, Connie only just managed t o top Rom falling the rest of the way to the ground.

"Let go! Let go!" The demoness demanded, carefully lowering herself through the hole as she struggled to arrest her controlled drop, finding the weight too much. Casually, she glanced to the side -straight down the gullet of the arboreal titan. "Letgoletgoletgoletgoletgoletgoletgo!"

With shocking speed, the huge, central maw closed around the demonling, gargantuan fly-trap like head slapping shut with a moist thumping noise. It seemed to settle contently -for a moment- before thrashing again, material flashing green and yellow as Ki'Li pounded it from within, the whole great structure shuddering and shaking side to side. Connie and Rommel, the latter still clutching on for dear life, swung back and forth wildly, tossed about by the energetic plant. Suddenly, with one last energetic, unintentional twist, the net unwound, and the pair were at last thrown free.

Slapping down through giant ferns, past vines that snatched at them, too late, the two young anthros plopped down to the grass, rolling out into the clearing exactly 4.86 seconds after their abrupt departure from the spell-tower. Around them, disturbed foliage and giblets from the monster’s twisting rained down. Tickle-plants or no tickle-plants, Connie suddenly felt very tired.

"Rom?" She kicked lazily at a troublesome vine; her foot the only body part to show even the faintest sign of life.

"Yeah?" The fox seemed vaguely fascinated with the flashing lights and indignant bellows from within the monster's head, so high up above. He had a vague perception that they ought to move, but resolved to leave that for another moment instead.

"Let's never do that again, okay?"

"Fine by me." He rolled over, vomiting all over the grass.

Electra then fainted, her energy all used up.

"This is not good." Said Wolf
"Now would be a good time to have some C-4, or something," said the poodle.

"You know how to use explosives?" Poncho asked.

"I told you - family is in the demolition and construction business," said Wolf. "I know a thing or two about that sort of stuff."

"Like what?"

"Set the timer and run like Hell out."

"Do you have any on you?"

Wolf blink. "No."
Poncho leaned over to pat Electra's cheek and make sure she was okay after fainting.

"I wouldn't do that," Wolf said.

"Why not?" Poncho asked.

"Electric eel?"

"I think she's kind of like a fully discharged battery now," Poncho said, touching Electra's face. "Yeah, just a little tingle there. Electra? Can you hear me? Do you need anything?"
Lyzansk led Eva to the summoning chamber eagerly, moving with surprising speed through the dense and very much alive foliage. Eva stumbled along, trying to keep up, almost being dragged along in the vice like grip of the serpent's stone body. As they both moved purposefully through the greenhouse, the even-more vibrant vines and foliage undulated and swirled around them. They grazed and pawed at Lyzansk, although she was as implacable as the statue she was made from. Eva, however, was not so lucky. As she was pulled along, the vines teased along her bare sides, others stroking down her thighs, causing the doe to shiver and snicker. But before Eva could even realize what was happening, the two of them emerged into the summoning chamber. Its ethereal purple light glowered with an almost anticipatory air. Almost as if the fire was expecting what was to come.

"Lie down, my pretty little pet." Lyzansk coeed in a tone that was affectionate, but urgent, brooking no dissent. Eva laid down on the warm stone floor, her limbs splayed out in a X formation, as Lyzansk tied her down at wrist and ankle. But by "tied down," Lyzansk merely encircled Eva's extremities with strips of cloth. Eva glanced at them in confusion, but at a few arcane words from the serpent, the cloth glowered faintly, and Eva realized that it was as if the cloth had bonded itself to the stone floor. The doe was effectively immobilized.

Lyzansk was now too impatient to explain what was going on to her servant, her tool. Her mind was racing, in a frenzy with the prospect that her plan was finally coming to fruition. Taking the brush and coating it in the bowl of pollen, Lyzansk began to gently, carefully, and lovingly coat the doe's soft fur with the substance.

For Eva, it was a very ticklish application. Lyzansk was quickly brushing everywhere: the brush coated her taut midriff and swirled in circles around the rim of her stretched navel in motions that Eva thought had to be deliberate. Still, the lightness of the brusk strokes didn't overwhelm, but merely reduced her to incessant giggles, barely uncontrollable, keeping her on the edge of laughter and stifled snickers. The brush continued its journey: up her ribs and into her underarms, down to her thighs… no spot was spared.

Eva lay there gasping for breath, still giggly and light-headed, as Lyzansk finished this portion of the spell. Next, the large stone snake opened the canister of bone dust, spreading it in a side circle around Eva's form. The summoning circle, the most potent Lyzansk had ever made. Finally, as Lyzansk eyes clouded over and she chanted a long string of unpronounceable syllables, she coated her fingertips in the tickle berry paste. Those fingertips then made contact with Eva, one touching each of her undergarments, the diabolical tickonium that had seduced and controlled Eva for some time now.

And the tickonium came to life. It was as if it were hungry, and growing. The gel-like substance ceased it's ruse as simple clothing, and began stretching and spreading across Eva's body. And as if grew to cover more and more of her, it started to tingle, first barely noticeable, but then more and more insistent, in a touch that both tickled immensely and pleasured irresistibly. Eva's eyes opened wide and she knew there was no controlling her reaction. And as the goo slowly consumed her, controlled her, overwhelmed her, the air above Eva shimmered with potentiality. As if the air itself was opening itself up, and making a portal to… somewhere. Somewhere completely alien, yet somehow all to familiar. As if something was coming, and all it needed was for the last door to be unlocked...
         "What the hell was that all about...? Y-you know what, I've decided questioning how this place works is pointless..." Fletcher said, trying to wipe the slimy substance off of his clothes and fur. "Th-this is gross...and uncomfortable...I-I'm gonna go wash this off now."
         With that, Fletch headed into the washroom to clean himself off. He removed his clothing--albeit only where the slime had reached--and stepped into the shower. The goo on the fabric of his tank-top was easy enough to clean off, but the green goop in his fur was another matter entirely...

         "I've...noticed he's kinda frail. Personality-wise, I mean..." Rom said, taking his time in standing up again. "Anyway...what do we do now? Any ideas on how to leave, or do you just intend on staying here? I mean we have access to a shower for one...so surely a bedroom and a kitchen wouldn't be too hard to find either. It wouldn't be desirable but it's manageable... Oh, what am I even saying?"
         The fox grumbled to himself as he tried to reach for something that he could use for support in balancing himself. Connie, who was a little less fatigued than Rommel, was able to stand up easier. She offered a hand to the fox to help him back on his feet.

         Their brief conversation was interrupted by the sound of pounding on ceramic tile. It seemed to have come from inside the washroom, where the coati was cleaning himself off...
         Inside, Fletcher was slamming his fists into the wall, apparently letting out some frustration. His slime-covered shirt lay discarded on the floor, as if it was just lazily tossed there rather than neatly put away.
         "Why is all this happening? Why me of all people? What did I do to deserve this...!? Hey, whoever's trying to prank us, knock it off! It's not funny or entertaining at all...!" the coati shouted to no one in particular, as if expecting some hidden cameras to record his yelling and be displayed to some mastermind of the situation.

         "Um...let's just assume he'll be okay," Connie said, not really wanting to risk going in there and facing Fletcher's anger...
"I think we should get out of here," Said Connie, strength gradually returning as she and Rom leant against each other for support. Subconsciously, she hugged one arm over her chest, though it was nothing Rom at least hadn’t seen before. “Fletcher’s safe enough, but I don’t think we should fight our way through the plants to get to the Genealogy Room.” Overhead, K'Li managed to force one arm out of the vegetation titan's mouth, only for it to be sucked back in moments later.

“Fair enough,” Said Rom, too tired to argue. Together, otter and fox limped over to the trap door leading back down to the science lab, snickering as the grass did its work on their footpaws.

"Did you see where Eva went?" Asked Rom, casting the odd glance upwards as loose foliage raining down around them.

"She cut out on us; grabbed the Book and raced off." Called Connie as she descended the ladder first. "I wish she'd have mentioned where she was going -we'll never get all the ingredients together at this rate."

"Maybe she's at the summoning chamber," Said Rom, following her down and sighing in relief as the heat of the greenhouse gave way to the lab's antiseptic cool. "It'd be the safest place to put the Book, now that the demon's out of commission."

“Let’s not forget that apparently Lysanzk is also around.” Said Connie, shaking herself in the revitalizing colder air. “Come to think of it, do Eva or the others even know where the Summoning Chamber is? It was her doppelganger that attacked me in the dungeon and woke up Leona, so she wouldn’t have seen you coming out of the opening.”

“I don’t think so- and neither would the others,” Rom sat down heavily on the padded x-frame. “Still, we left Diapole with them, so he should be able to guide them. I hope they made out alright with the bone and pollen. How’s Leona, by the way? Still asleep?”

“Like the dead, thank Spirit.” Connie swished the moldering contents of a flask absently, before perking up. “Hey, do you smell rotten eggs?”

“And ozone?” The fox stood up, looking towards the door to the bedroom and dungeon. …and to the supposedly vacant Summoning Chamber beyond that. “And hear maniacal laughter? As a matter of fact, yes.” They swapped glances.

“Do you think Lysanzk could have captured Eva?” Asked Connie, hardly daring to breath at the implications. There was no telling how many ingredients Lyzansk had gathered while they had been distracted by the doppelganger and the demon.

“And taken her to the summoning chamber?” Asked Rom. “ As a matter of fact, yes. And I think we had better get on the move.” Frantically, he grabbed the most dangerous looking implements off the lab table he could find, Connie doing likewise farther down the table. What a few vials of what might-or-might not be acid, some probes and tools, and a set of handcuffs would do to a magical metaphoric colossus and the forces of the underworld, neither bothered to contemplate. It would have to suffice. Clutching tight what little armaments as they had, the duo resolutely turned to the door.

“There you are!” Called Fletcher from the corner of the ceiling. “I thought that huge plant-thing had gotten you! What are you doing down here?”

“We think Lyzansk has Eva, and she’s performing the ritual in the Summoning Chamber.” Called Rom urgently. “Try and find the others, fast –we’ll try and interrupt her!”

***
Slowly, the air unfolded, spiraling outwards as Reality crumpled like origami. Despite herself, Lyzansk cackled and cheered aloud in triumph, as the purple and blue flame danced and flared ever higher. Completely engulfed in a roiling mass of pure tickonium at the base of the serpent’s tail, Eva shifted and thrashed in mindless ecstasy. The thick mass congealed at the edges of the circle, stopping in mid-air above the thin ring of crushed bone as surely as it had encountered a wall of glass.

Above it, the void spiraled open, growing ever larger, seeming to occupy a space larger than the constraints of the room could allow. The great cavern of blackness was darker than space and thrice as empty –but all the same, something stirred in the beyond. Lyzansk thrilled in awe as she felt herself looking down a tunnel, checking off happily the ghostly rat head that poked briefly in through one wall, gasped, and hastily withdrew. In the damning emptiness between worlds, a shape rose up:

A great eye of green fire, flickering and leaping in a rictus around a feline slit of denser blackness, peering into this strange mouse-hole burrowed into its domain with intent curiosity. From within the aurora of emerald fire, flames danced out and gave rise to a ring of mighty tentacles to shame the mightiest kraken, flicking and weaving tirelessly through the void around the flaming umbra. Under the cyclopean gaze of that titan spirit, Lyzansk felt very small and fragile indeed. She was bowing low, without any memory of doing so, and even Eva’s wild laughter and the leaping of the suddenly mild and minor Summoning Fire seemed very far way.

Eye of Kietelen. She thought, and decided that, should the emissary of the Goddess choose to blast her to a smear at that very moment for some perceived impropriety, she could die fulfilled for the having looked upon it.

Mortal… Its voice was like a giant’s pat on the back; gentle, comforting, and almost autonomously fatal in the raw power waiting untapped behind the motion. …You are ready?

Yes, Great Eye. Thought Lyznask. All is prepared –the mortals shall come and the Goddess shall be appeased.

Good. We await. True to its word, the Eye seemed almost to recline in its empty space, idly observing the goings on through the portal like a scientist amusing themselves by watching the activities of bacteria in one corner of their petri dish. On reflex, Lyzansk took a deep breath. She waited for the mortals, sure to arrive now that Diapole knew the summoning was at hand; seven little sacrifices walking right into her hands.
(Author's Note: I can't keep track of everything that's going on anymore, I had fun, but I think I'm going to kill my own character off so I can exit)

Poncho and Wolf felt for Electra's pulse

"She's dead." Said Wolf
"It's time to get out of here," said Wolf.
"Damn!" Poncho said. "Shouldn't we do something about her body?"

"What?" Wolf said. "Carry it around with us? When we get out we can send someone in to find it."

"If we get out..." Poncho muttered.

"Don't go getting all pessimistic on me now. We will get out."
This was it. This was the moment she had been waiting for. Lyzansk stood triumphantly as her plan finally reached its fruition. There was nothing to stop it now.

Eva writhed on the floor, a mass of wriggling goo surrounding and engulfing her. She was hardly recognizable as a person at the moment. But her muffled voice emanated from within. Crazed laughter, moans and shrieks… noises of orgiastic pleasure and knismesistic madness. As she moved, her vague form could be seen beneath the tickonium, undulating in a sensual display that, despite its alien appearance, made one lustful merely glancing upon it.

This was the sight that met the groups, all of them converging on that one spot. The ghost of Diapole, with his unlucky band that had so far accomplished little, were finally urged to action in a last desperate attempt to stave off certain ruin. With a mighty shove, the group burst through a weakened wall on one side.

And exactly at that moment, Connie, Rom, and Fletcher entered from the garden side, open and inviting. The two groups exchanged curious but wild glances at each other, before returning to the sight before them. But now everyone was here. In rushing to stop her, they were merely playing into Lyzansks hands.

With an arcane, chthonic word, Lyzansk chanted the final syllables. At once, the bone dust surrounding the tickonium, keeping the substance at bay and focused on Eva, exploded into a purple flame, quickly brightening the room before dissipating just as easily. Without the ethereal barrier, the tickonium burst forth, more of it than ever, eagerly pursuing new prey. Tendrils of the glistening substance grasped onto each of the poor creatures who had stumbled here.

Rom was the first. A tendril wrapped around his waist, wriggling and pulling. With a surprised yelp followed by a giggle, the fox was pulled into the roiling mass in the center of the room, his laughter joining with Eva's. Then Wolf, hopping from one foot to another as tentacles of the stuff reached for and finally succeeded in grasping his ankles. Still more appendages eagerly tickled at his paws, tripping up the dog and pulling him inside too. It wasn't long before even the stout panda succumbed, as a mass of tentacles tickled at his belly, his sides, searching for any patch of vulnerable ticklish spots in order to weaken and coerce him to the center of the room.

Finally, there was Connie and Fletcher. Having dealt with more of the crazy, magical things in this mad place than the others, they were quicker to react, holding onto pillars for dear life. Unfortunately, they couldn't avoid the probing tickonium. Tendrils stroked and wriggled against Fletcher's feet, sending the poor creature into a fit of giggles, as he struggled not to let go.

And Connie was undergoing a similar ordeal. As she gripped the pillar with all her tired, remaining strength, a single, almost intelligent seeming tentacle of tickonium poked and prodded at her. She snickered between clenched teeth as the thing explored her, searching for some spot that would produce the desired, needed result. A stroke along her side, her quivering belly… a quick circle around the navel might be… but no…

Finally, it settled on the otter's tail. It stroked and teased along the underside of the otter girl's tail, and the girl wanted to squeal from the touch. It was maddening, yet also undeniably pleasant. A soft, loving touch, warm yet insistent, stroking up and down unceasingly. Her resistance waned as the sensations built, her grip on the pillar loosening...
Wild laughter filled the room, echoing and echoing again in the stone and brick confines as it was drawn from so many different desperate throats. The Chamber was a sea of goo, filled with the floundering bodies of anthros going down under the tentacled onslaught like an armada caught in a storm. At the eye of the maelstrom, Lysask yelled out her eldritch cacemphatons in ecstasy, feeling the power build, flowing through her, a key to unlock the final doorway. The air was thick with dancing, obscuring dust, rubble piled in a corner clattering as probing tickonium probed over it.

The blackness of the portal swirled, moved by more than merely the Eye’s roving cephlapoid appendages. Eager for freedom, the cacestogenous inhabitants of the Beyond gathered in their mercifully unfathomable droves, itching to be free. In the hearth, the fire reared and pressed against the ceiling, making eery, sourceless shadows flit about on the walls in droves. At the edge of the tickonium, fires reared up, sealing off the demolished wall and the hallway out -there would be no escape from the giant pentagram.

Pulled taut by the tentacles, oblique to the pillar, Connie laughed and grunted as her grip loosened, fingers slipping free on-by-one. The impish tentacle of tickonium had wrapped around her tail a dozen times, delicate tip playing gently with her own wildly flicking one. It tickled, oh, how it tickled! She gritted her teeth, useless against the laughter pouring out of her, and held on –an act growing ever more precarious by the moment. The titillating cacaesthesia of even one little tentacle was about to prove stronger than her entire combined will. Next to her, Fletch at last let go, the coati managing to gasp in one gulp of air before he was plunged into the writhing morass.

“Fletch! Ahahahahahaha! Nooo -hahahaha!” Yelled Connie. Out of the corner of her eye, smudgy with tears of mirth, a score of mighty tendrils reared back all along her body, ready for the killing blow that would at last knock her loose. She’d never withstand it; she was already nearly mad with tickling. Like snakes, the rubbery blue serpents struck, targeting different accessible body parts.

And like a mongoose, Connie let go, the two limbs wrapped around her feet yanking her through the air under their tensed force, even as the barrage set to assail Connie collided with itself. “H-ha-here goes nothing!” As she was pulled through the viscous goop, kicking and struggling, trying to keep ahead of the appendages that sought to entrap hers, Connie fought to hold her breath, reaching deep inside her own mind. It was a frightening gamble -instinctively, she resisted her own attempts at knocking herself unconscious, even as the faster tendrils began their renewed assault on her body from all directions. It was impossible; there wasn't enough oxygen in her bloodstream. For one brief moment, she passed into medical unconsciousness.

On the floor next to Eva, at the foot of Lysanzk, and one moment from nearly complete mummification in tickonium, Connie’s eyes blazed blue.
****

Flickering helplessly at the edge of the melee, Diapole could only watch as his hopes went to pieces. Leona might have taught him a few cantrips, but he was no possessor. All of the bodies present were firmly beyond his reach, and discorporeal, he could do naught but look on in frustration. All the bodies, that was, except for one… The next moment, the spectre vanished, taking advantage of the only thing close to a functioning body in the vicinity. In the next room over, 'Electra' stood up, electricity literally arcing and sizzling down the length and breadth of her suddenly motile cadaver as Diapole worked over its dead muscles.
****
In the Summoning Chamber, Fletch, Rom, Poncho, and Wolf all struggled in the grip of the tickonium in an inarticulate mass of thrashing limbs. None were fully entrapped, and yet for every tendril they slapped away or dodged, two more arose to snare them. It was only a matter of time. Thrashing and laughing wildly, lifted bodily off the ground by a plethora of assailants, Rom realized he was holding something clenched tight in his left fist, snatched off the laboratory worktable. An air-grenade, such as the ones stockpiled in the tower, used to such great effect only so recently.

“Connie- ahahahahhaahaha!- c-catch!” He yelled, throwing the weapon in the direction of the otter as she was whisked by him. At this stage, it couldn’t hurt. Sensing movement, the tickonium lashed out, deftly snatching the little ball out of the air and whisking it away, deep inside its cytoplasm. It disappeared with a plop, leaving a speckle of small bubbles bobbing on the surface of the goop. It was a great display of how anticlimact-

BOOOOOM!

The weapon detonated, carelessly breaking through the sound barrier, and the tickonium exploded outwards in a wave of blue slime. Incoherent giblets splattered on the walls, the ceiling, raining down in the Summoning Fire and vanishing through the portal. The transfixed anthros found themselves fighting what felt more like individual snakes, wrapped around and through their clothing, rather than an entire kraken. Eva, while shielded from the worst by her tickonium coating, was battered to the brink of consciousness by the titanic wall of air. For her part, Lyzansk never so much as batted a single stony eye-lid as she turned almost completely blue with quivering jelly and the rolling pressure wave passed over her.
****
Having suddenly woken up in the Summoning Chamber rather than the Tower where she had lost control, Leona had been in no position to fight off the tentacles that swarmed her, swarming close and thick as they ravaged her. They had played over her borrowed body freely, threatening to simply knock her unconscious once again before she could avert the crises. Still, she had one advantage. Feeling the magical energy pulsing through the room, thicker than dust or tickonium, she drew upon it like a drowning breaking the water. Leona's spectral form, partially incorporated at long last, stood up from Connie's half-sensate one. Leaving the otter to thrash and howl on the floor as she tried to force away more tickonium, the lioness leaped to her paws, face to face with her rogue assistant at long last.

“Lysansk!" Leona solidified more with every moment, this time in a body far more formidable than the one that had harboured her for so long. "Stop this now! We don't need to fight- we can work together here!"

As if on cue, Lysanzk screamed out one last syllabic dweomer, smirking as the ritual began to gather a life all its own. Rising to her full height, the dwimmer-crafty serpent smirked down at her former mistress.
"You are too late, Leona. The Goddess's army comes, and with it a new age. You can not stop me now."

"I was kind of hoping you'd say that," Leona gave a slight smile -and then punched her late servant in the gut. The lioness's fist glowed yellow where it struck the stone, leaving a luminescent gold imprint. Lightning bolts flashed and sizzled outwards in all directions like ground rent by an earthquake. Weary, Lysansk fell back, patting at the spiderwebbing light frantically, even as it glowed brighter, flashing over her entire body. She hissed as the luminescence peaked, flaring up blindingly, and her coating of pure marble crumbled, revealing a dusty layer of scales underneath.

Leona had already fallen to casting, and seemingly unperturbed by the loss of her armouring, the serpent came on with one fist.
****
As the mage ripped free of her body, Connie came awake again. Most of the slime covering her seemed dead, twitching only faintly, but one thick length of goo circled her midriff, wrapping around her twice, exuding dozens of smaller tentacles that flicked and traced over her freely. Giggling, Connie struggled to prise it off with one hand, the other supporting her as she crawled over to Eva. The doe looked half crazed and half incoherent, red hair matted against her head as she lolled back, panting. Around her neck, steam trailed up out of the cracked ruby centring her strange choker.

"C-Connie?" Faltered Eva, giving her bindings an experimental tug as if noticing them for the first time. "What happened? What's going on?"

"Hold on- hahaha!- we need to get out of here. Now." Said the otter, grim tone offset by the mischievous substance's continued instinctive probing. Without further ado, Connie leaned forward, sharp teeth gnawing on the ribbon binding Eva's wrist to the floor.
****
Around the room, the other anthros began to regroup, shaking off the disorientated tickonium even as another threat made itself known. Regardless of the readily escalating mage duel at the epicentre of the chamber, the ritual had begun to unfold independently, permitting the passage of living creatures between the world and the void.

The glutinous tickonium might have been scattered and reduced to limpness, now the denizens from beyond the portal were eager to investigate. Rubbing out the remaining tingles from the wretched slime, Poncho accidentally staggered closer to the portal. As he did so, a hideous face, all ram's horns and shark's teeth, leered through, the demon thrusting its arms through the aether as it prepared to heave itself out onto Earth.

"Eeargh!" Horrified, the hulking panda smashed it square in the snout, meaty fist swiftly bashing the alien thing back where it had come. Poncho began dusting off his hands in relief, but then snapped back to the portal as more limbs began penetrating through. Tentacles, stingers, pseudopods, pincers, and all other biological appendages seemed represented in some measure as they probed through the gap. Grabbing up a length of pipe disinterred by the collapsed wall, the burly panda began hitting out like a frantic game of whack-a-mole, smashing at anything that twitched. "Guys! A little help over here?!"

Despite his best efforts, a serpentine monstrosity with dozens of short legs slithered through the far edge of the portal, spinning about to flank him -before hissing away as Wolf brained it from behind it with a hunk of rubble. With nowhere to go, Fletcher appeared on Poncho's other side, whacking at the tangle of groping limbs with a hefty rock of his own. Behind them, Rom slid to his knees next to Connie, tugging at Eva's bindings on the doe's opposite side.

"Is she alright?" He asked, grunting in frustration as the fine cloth held against his ardent tugs.

"I'm fine," Said Eva, rolling over partially as Connie at last gnawed through the cloth trapping her left hand, helping Rom tear through the other one. "I only... Feel like I've been dreaming..." Her eyes widened. "The portal! We have to stop the ritual, or we'll be sucked through and trapped!" Rom glanced over at the two duelling sorceresses. Sparks and flashes of alien light flicked and flared as the duo fought in a garish display of pyrotechnic magics.

"You wanna go ask them?" Called the fox, yelling to be heard over the thunderclaps of blazing hexes.
****
Robed in marble or not, Lysanzk was still the larger and stronger of the two mages, and with Leona busy casting, she looked to using that fact to the fullest. She swung straight into Leona, encountering the disturbing sensation of passing through the still translucent mage. Leona hardly managed to complete her spell, but the lioness dodged easily back out of the cobra's reach when it was done. Half a dozen thick black tentacles, vaguely resembling the tickonium, but made from raw shadow, emerged from the floor to wrap around Lysansk's lower torso, poking and prodding every inch of the way. Fighting back laughter, Lysansk twisted in their grip, own muscular tail thrashing back and forth. Out of reach, Leon regarded her smugly, even as the tentacles increased their hold.

She was forced to dodge as Lysansk hurled a spectral ball of energy, burning a hole in the ground where Leona had been standing. The lioness waved her hand, concentrating, and a cadre of spectral feathers appeared behind Lysansk, zipping through the air to attack the serpent from behind. Held fast, Lysansk tried to bat them off even as the thickening tendrils threatened to ensnare her arms. An experienced mage well versed in the art of battle-mediation would have had little difficulty, but Lysansk, for all her admirable willpower, simply lacked the clarity and patience to cast effectively as the tentacles assailed her.

"You had your chance, snake!" Said Leona, folding her arms and taking a cautious step forward. Lysansk's control began to slip away, the less experienced magician unable to hold an incantation as the feathers teased over her. At last, a tendril wrapped its python length over her bicep, pulling the arm uselessly out and back as another mirrored it with her other arm, forcing Lysansk to arch her back as her limbs were pulled taut. Smiling genially, Leona stepped in closer to her, cupping her chin with one hand, before slowly trailing her finger's down the serpent's bare front. "You had your chance to share my glory, but you couldn't listen. Give my regards to the Goddess." Tauntingly, her fingers traced over Lysansk's belly, the scales shivering at the ticklish touch. Now able to play without interference, the feathers settled in comfortably to do their work, tracing over both underarms, dipping under the fabric of her garments, lightly grazing along the hemline of her skirt.

"Ah, Diapole!" Leona half-turned, experienced eyes recognizing the lurching proto-zombie as it leaped the flames. The ghost might have been clad in an eel's flesh, but Leona would have recognized her husband anywhere. "Nice to see you're about, darling. I do hope you're ready to help me conquer the world."

"I thought you'd never ask," Said Diapole, courtly dialect coming out with a slight lisp as it passed through the dead vocal chords of what had once been Electra's body.

"Electra! You're alive!" Called Poncho suddenly from where he was sumo-wrestling a cross between a lobster and a gorilla over the threshold between worlds.

"Help! Us!" Yelled Wolf, punctuating each word with a blow to the monster's head with a brick.

Leona and Diapole swapped amused glances. But halfway through, the expression on the head of the possessed eel corpse's changed to one of alarm. Having at last completed her cantrip, Lysasnk fell to laughing incoherently as the tentacles spasmed. Severed at their connection to the floor, the entire stock fell over, thudding to the floor with the cobra still wrapped snugly in their grip. Of greater note were the two wayward tendrils that lashed out, seizing around the ankles of Leona and Diapole, anchoring them to the construct.

The two mages yanked at the roots ineffectually, ignoring the chortling snake rolling on the ground and the rapidly tiring anthros before the portal. Rom supported the exhausted Eva as he cast about for an escape through the walls of fire, while Connie threw the unconscious body of the snake-demon back through the portal. At this stage, only minor demons -the wood-lice and household pests of their dimension- were attempting the crossing, but the group of anthros was fast tiring. The balance would shift at any moment, and when it did the ritual would be fully complete, and demonic armies would run rampant over Earth.

All Leona had to do was sit back and watch, so it was with no great urgency that she tugged at the inanimate arm chaining her. Unfortunately, she was by this point solid enough for the tentacle to grasp her firmly. Oh well. True, this wasn't nearly how she had planned it, with Lysask trying to turn the ritual to her own ends, and trying to turn her own demon against her. Come to think of it, whatever had become of Ki'Li? She had been at the demonling's mercy when she was knocked unconscious, and then had woken up here...

"Leona!!!" Oh-no. Wings flickering with an expeditious speed more alike a hornet than a falcon, Ki'Li sped in through the door. The gorgeous succubi was drenched liberally in sap, mud, and plant juices of indeterminate origin, with creepers flying out behind her as she zoomed over the firewall. "Leona!" The enraged succubi didn't recognized Lysansk as the summoner who had freed her, didn't care a whit for the portal across the room or the ghost-in-a-corpse so near at hand, and paid absolutely no heed to the mortals in their struggle with other demons. She had eyes only for Leona, for the witch who had torn her from her home without warning, who had sealed her in a painting for decades, and who she now blamed for messing up her perfectly groomed fur! "Leona!"

So fast was the demonling that Leona hardly got the chance to look up as Ki'Li cannoned into her, barreling right on without the slightest loss of velocity. Leona's leg jerked out painfully, snapping the mass of tentacles after her through the air, with a wide-eyed Diapole still stuck on the end, flying in the wind. Turning to look for another weapon, Fletch's eyes bulged out as the unlikely train hurtling through the air towards him. He tackled Wolf to the floor, making a gap in the line perfectly sized for the flying trio to pass through overhead.

"Told you I was taking you with me!" Screamed Ki'Li in euphoric triumph. Trapped in her grip, Leona tried to scream in disbeleif, alas, too late, as they arched straight into the gaping portal and vanished. Wrapped in shadowy bonds, Lysansk could do nothing more than laugh as she was dragged to her doom, and Diapole, poor Diapole, had he been but a ghost, would have been entirely unaffected. Now, however, anchored to a cadaver, he lacked the reflexes to disengage himself before -poof!- he at last slipped through the jagged rent in reality. Behind them, the fires all winked out.

"Electra!" Yelled Wolf in horror.

The portal trembled, if it was at all possible for something defined merely by what is was not (i.e. -occupied space) to tremble. All at once, the probing menagerie of alien appendages was withdrawn, as if sucked back to their origin point. The writhing darkness turned to a kaleidoscope of colours, and the boundaries of the aperture began to twist and turn in space. The portal shook more violently, the guttering Summoning Fire switching from neon purple to sickly green. Arcs of lightning and electricity arced over the portal, snapping out to lash against the ceiling, dislodging solid stones in sprays of dust.

"Uh, guys.... ?" Asked Poncho hesitantly as the flashing strip of discordant colour reverberated again. Nervously, he hefted his trusty pipe.

"We have to get out of here!" Yelled Wolf, already darting for the hallway. "I think it's gonna blow!" While the denotation of the words might have seemed unfitting, their connotative meaning was clear enough, and the others wasted no time in scrambling afterwards. In the two seconds it took for the run back to the dungeon, the entire mansion began to shake. The building echoed with the crash of furnishings smashing and toppling, and dust fell from the ceiling like rain. In no time, the group had staggered to the top of the concrete staircase, looking about wildly for a suitable exit.

"The only way out's though the greenhouse!" Called Fletcher. "This door's stuck!"

"And with that huge plant-thing, we'll never get through." Groaned Wolf.

"We'll have to try." Said Rom, bringing up the rear with Connie and Eva, the trio alternating in their support of one another. Behind them, the hallway to the Summoning Chamber glowed red; it sounded like all Niagara Falls was being funnelled through the little chamber ont he other side.

"Wait," Said Connie. "I think I can open it!" She slipped to the front of the line and started jiggling the knob with one hand, giving the door the odd smack with her fist. After a few tense seconds, the door popped open, replacing the blackness of the basement with the gloom of the upper floor. "Aha! Left, left, right, up, down, rap to the pressure point, twist! That's the combo!" As the building shook and buckled, nobody questioned it as they piled through.

The group darted across the hallway to charge through the double-doors. No-one paused to enjoy the sumptuous decor of the ballroom beyond as they practically flew down the stairs four-at-a-time. A dash down the hall, dodging toppling suits of armour, a crazed scramble through the vestibule, dodging fallen masonry with every step, and they were out! Not one step slowed as they raced own the path, not one head turned to glance back as alien lights lit up the yard around them. Behind the spectral whirring and the rushing of air reached a grotesque height, the air burned with brimstone, almonds, and ozone, and with one final flash and godlike clap, the light show ended as if flashed off with a switch.

Only then, standing, panting like bellows and transfixed at the cast iron gates, did the survivors dare to look back. The House was collapsed; a great, creaking mass of rubble and timber, choked in dust and smoke. As they watched, a mighty, alien shape rose up from the wreckage of the greenhouse -a twisted treetrunk of a body, with a flowering head and countless vines- before the weakened spell-tower collapsed and smashed the cyclopean shape safely back into the ground. Rubble shifted, fires burned, and the remains of the mighty old structure shifted uneasily, but the chirping of crickets threatened to drown the noises out altogether. The House was finished.

In a line at the threshold of the Estate, the five stared back in silence, even as the full moon emerged form behind a wall of cloud like an ancient king stepping from a fortress, surveying the dark night with a gaze twice as imperious. None of the assembled anthros spoke for a long while.

Wolf and Poncho; panting and battered, scraped and bruised from their tangle with the monsters of the void. Fletcher, still covered in traces of magician's goo, and feeling no more certain of the nature of events that he had when he had first awoken in the Mansion late that same morning. Rommel, aching and panting, sweat starting to liquefy and set to running the last clumps of tree sap and honey still matted in his fur as he looked out over the desolate ruin. Connie, one arm folded over her naked chest, dusty, bereft of footwear, and with dozens of miscellaneous keys jingling in her pockets with every shift of her weight. And, at the far end, Eva, leaning against one gate-post, too deep in thought to worry about the cold night air and her scant silken outfit's sore lack of protection from it. It was the Panda that spoke up first.

"Electra..." Said Poncho sadly, turning away from the scene. "She wasn't dead. I saw her. She was dragged through the... Through that hole in the air."

"Don't worry," Said Wolf glumly. He gave a sardonic chuckle. "That wasn't Electra; she really was dead. I think it was Diapole, or some other spirit possessing the corpse. Electra's... Gone to a better place." He said carefully.

Next to him, Connie found the burnt remains of her shirt, still stuffed in one pocket. Sighing, the otter wrapped it around herself like a tube-top. It itched uncomfortably, but it was all she had. The otter turned on the spot, glancing at the others slowly as she made to set off down the country road.

"Do you all mind if we go now?" She said. "It's a long way to Arkhime on foot from here. We might as well get moving."

Fletcher and Rom exchanged shrugs.

"Yeah, let's go." Said the coati. "Personally, I wouldn't mind never seeing this place again." Rom caught his arm as he turned.

"Look!" Breathed the fox, staring in renewed wonder.

Sparks were rising from the collapsed edifice. Silvery blue and white, seeming to float upwards through the air like bubbles, patches of ethereal light larger than an anthro's head began to drift heavenwards from the detritus. Thank-you. They all heard. Thank-you, from dozens of dead throats, as the guards, cooks, maids, groundskeeper, butler, and other functionaries and orderlies of the Backwold Househould at last departed for their well deserved graves. The scheming, conniving masters who had cursed them now gone, they were free to go to on to their eternal rest. So was the substance of the impression that the five young anthros arrived at, several of them silently tearing up at the emotional waves of heartfelt thanks that rolled across the damp field to engulf them. At last, the final spectral prisoner vanished in the night sky -and someone else appeared, booting open a crack sally port and running free of the singed and smoking house.

"Wait for me! Wait for me!" It was a fox, albeit an extraordinarily strange looking one, they realized as the man in question collapsed to his knees in front of them, panting heavily. His snout and ears were proportioned like a typical red fox, yet his bedraggled fur was a brilliant white, and his eyes, half closed in exhaustion, were a bright pink. "Whew! Thanks -I didn't want to have to go all the way back by myself." Slowly, he regained his paws. "Uh, would you mind telling me what's happened? I was exploring that creepy old House when all of a sudden I get knocked out and, well..." Eva put a finger to his lips.

"Trust us; you really don't want to know." She said firmly, quietly relieved that there was someone present feeling more confused than she was. Poncho and Wolf both recognized the fox as the unlucky intruder drafted as the gods' 'butler', but neither deigned to comment as at last the group turned and set out. Behind them, the House sizzled and sank slowly, defeated and soon to be forgotten, and the sombre full moon cast their shadows out long on the road back to normalcy.

[Credits Roll]

Thanks for your participation, everyone! I greatly hope you that all enjoyed yourselves. Thank-you all so much for all your time and effort; I know that this genre of writing may not have been up the alley, so to speak, of some of the participants, but you all did excellent work here today nonetheless. Every one of the 65,000 words you've written (Perspective: 50% more than the minimum required for a novel) has been a pleasure to read. I can only but hope such a collaboration may be possible again in the future.

Special thanks to Twiga for suggesting the idea and making sure I carried it out.

-Proud Regards, JD





The End!

© Copyright 2014 jdstephens, Twiga, BIG BAD WOLF Is Thankful, The X, Steev the Friction Wizurd, Carnivore, Jigfeather, Jun Kapow, (known as GROUP).
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