Chapter Description: Tommy comes across a familiar yet unexpected face on his quests in Malacus.
Chapter 27 Unexpected developments
If you trust in your song
Keep your eyes on the goal
Then the prize you won't fail
That's your grail
That's your grail
“This isn’t what I had in mind when you said we were going to the riverbank,” Tommy said to his centaur companion.
Both he and Nox stood at the edge of what was technically a river. The keyword in this scenario was ‘technically’. When thinking of rivers, Tommy (like most people) presumed water was involved. An understandable if predictable mistake considering where he was. Nothing was ever as it seemed in Malacus, Tommy was realizing.
Dwarves pounded anvils only so they could keep a steady rhythm and sing their miraculous creations into life. Elves inscribed unspoken mind control magic into the floors beneath their feet; creating a kind of hypnotic snare trap. A Mana Pool was literally a magical pit filled up that could be swam (or drowned) in.
Still, the seemingly endless flow of gold coins rushing past him, clinking and clanking like little shifting plates of armor was a little on the nose. “This is the River Bank,” Nox said in a gruff and frank voice. “Out of all the rivers in Malacus, this is the most likely to contain what we’re looking for.”
“Scrooge McDuck couldn’t swim through this stuff,” Tommy complained.
Tommy waved off the question. “Never mind that. This isn’t a river. This is a controlled avalanche. Why here?”
“The Quest of the Dragon is one of the most cherished and difficult quests on Malacus,” Nox explained. “If it were easy all would be flying without wings.”
There was some merit in that thought. Tommy looked down at the little green dragon hiding just beneath his bib overalls. Had that been there the whole time. Whether it had or it hadn’t, didn’t matter. It wouldn’t aid him in solving his quest.
Experimentally, and with the quickness of a child reaching into a mousetrap to snatch the cheese, Tommy skimmed his hands along the surface of the rattling river of coins and got a handful of thin gold coins for his trouble. Even so, his hand stung. It reminded Tommy of the time when he was little and he stuck his fingers inside a fan. “Ouch!” If this had been water, it would have been white water rapids!
“Careful, friend Tommy,” the centaur warned. “Much riches flow through the River Bank, but a body can be buried by their own greed...literally.”
But why gold?” Tommy asked. “And what’s with the runes?” Indeed, all of the coins Tommy had successful snatched up had the same stylistic runes that had once belonged onto his armor...and the playground back home.
“Gold is the element that best conducts magic.” Now Nox was sounding more and more like a certain indignant and exasperated teacher that had lectured countless times over bored students that refused to pay attention. “Why else would it be so valuable?”
Tommy didn’t have an answer for that. Back home, gold was valuable because humans like shiny things...or maybe gold had the same properties and people just forgot. “What about the uh..?” Tommy scribbled his finger in the air to indicate he meant the strange etchings.
“To control the direction of flow of the magic,” Nox said. “You didn’t think your golden war armor had those markings on it for decoration, did you, m’friend? Magic has to be channeled properly and in the right directions or else...” Nox scratched his ears. “How do I put this?”
“Precisely.” Nox’s ears twitched. His head jerked slightly to the right; as if he’d heard something, but was trying to focus on the task at hand. “Most likely, the answer to that riddle- or the next piece of your quest I should say-is somewhere near the bottom.”
Tommy looked at the palms of his hand. They were still a little red. “The bottom?”
“Would you prefer to search the River Sticks?” Nox sounded a little more distracted; not far off as much as slightly agitated.
“Something wrong?” Tommy asked.
Nox turned his head to face the boy. “Um...how to put this delicately?” the horse-man said “A boon of my body is that I have two stomachs. A bane is that when nature calls, it is difficult for me to delay answering it.” He gestured around, “And there isn’t much privacy.”
Tommy blushed. “Oh...yeah.” Horses might drop their loads wherever they pleased, but centaurs were only half horses. In a certain regard, Tommy was lucky for what he was wearing. He’d answered nature’s call at least twice, but the goodnite dangling around his hips afforded him a measure of privacy (and with it, a sample of dignity). “If you need to go...I mean...leave...I’ll wait.”
Mr. Jordan’s equine doppelganger patted his stomach and scraped the ground with his back legs. What might the intestinal track of a centaur look like? “Thank you m’friend. I’ll return as soon as I’m able.” He was galloping away- the sound of frantic hoofbeats already overlapping with his voice before he’d finished the sentence. “Good luuuuuck.”
Tommy sat down in front of the river of gold. The clammy squish of his goodnite registering beneath him. “I’ll need it.” How the heck was he going to get to the bottom of that river to find whatever the quest required of him.
He looked at the paltry sum of coins in his palm and jingled them around a bit and hummed. It’d been a bit, but the coins reminded him vaguely of every poor boys summer pastime: skipping rocks. The river was fairly wide, so at the very least he should be able to skip it a few feet. Maybe it’d help him think.
The first coin didn’t skip as much as it plopped in the rushing pile, immediately becoming indistinguishable from the horde of coins that carried it along. “Scuba tank?” Tommy wondered out loud. No. That wouldn’t work. Breathing wasn’t the problem as much as being crushed was. A lot of gold...a lot of fast moving gold too...meant a lot of weight.
The second coin had a little bit more spin, a little more force. It’s splash was less like a stone skipping across water and more like a cueball scattering billiards. Nature of the environment, Tommy supposed. “Fishing pole?” he wondered before dismissing it completely.
Whatever was hidden beneath the River Bank was buried beneath moving solids, not flowing liquid. He’d need to be the world’s best blindfolded crane game player to pull off something like that. No dice.
Tommy looked at the last coin in his palm, it was golden, but no bigger than a penny. Maybe when Nox was done pooping behind a tree, he’d have better ideas. Tom the Titan was a great war hero, but Tommy was a pretty cruddy quester. He wished he was better at this.
He wished...he wished...Tommy stood up! He wished! He shouldn’t be skipping stones, he should be throwing coins in a well! Magic was real here, duh! Closing his palm, Tommy lifted the coin to his mouth and whispered. “I wish I had what I needed to finish this quest.”
With a lazy, back and forth motion, Tommy underhand tossed the final coin back in the River Bank. Rather than be swept over, the coin stopped. The whole river did. Coins slowed to a clinking and clattering halt before stilling.
The sound of a million piggy banks rattling around loose change rang out in the air as a sinkhole opened up in the middle of the river, coins clattering down into darkness as Tommy watched, mouth agape.
The magic did not end there. For out of the hole, floating slowly up like an angel ascending from the pits of Tartarus was a woman. Her gown was simple and black, with a white apron and trimmings- a faux medieval twist on the stereotypical french maid’s outfit (and infinitely more modest and concealing besides), but Tommy would have recognized those mischievous mismatched eyes anywhere.
“Hello, Tommy.” The Nanny smiled back. “How are you, little boy?”
“What are you doing here?” Tommy asked.
“I live here,” she giggled as if Tommy had asked a silly question. Tommy did feel silly. She had said she was from Malacus, hadn’t she?
Tommy peered down into the bottomless hole that had formed in the now stilled river of coins. “You live in a stream of money?”
She giggled, rather coyly, Tommy observed. “Human legends tell tales of ladies who live in lakes. What’s so strange about a Nanny in a river of gold?” Well...when she put it like that...
Tommy’s feeling of silliness was short lived, “But you have solved the first riddle for your quest.”
The Nanny floated over to Tommy and descended till her feet were upon the soft grass. “Of course, silly! You’re so smart! Nobody’s ever thought to just wish their way to victory. The answer was right there in front of their faces.” Tommy fairly glowed at the praise. “Grown-ups, huh?”
“Yeah,” Tommy agreed. “Kinda obvious if you think about it.”
“Now let’s get you what you need, little boy.” Nanny reached her hand out to the side, and as if peeling back a thick curtain, penetrated the air around them. “Just a second.” When she withdrew her hand, she held a very padded and very crinkly folded rectangle in her hand. To call it ‘cloth’ would be a misnomer. ‘Cloth-like’ would have been more accurate.
Tommy stepped back half a pace. “A diaper?” Pampers, more specifically.
“They don’t have these in Malacus, and I’d hate to stick you with a safety pin, while changing you.”
Tommy gulped. “Changing me?”
Nanny’s mismatched eyes sparkled. “A silly old centaur might not recognize a droopy wet diaper underneath a pair of shortalls, but I do.” She waved the diaper lightly in her hand, playfully slapping it into her open palm. Tommy’s cheeks turned almost sunburn pink. He couldn’t bluff. He couldn’t lie. Not to Nanny.
“You wished for what you needed to finish this quest,” Nanny said. “And what you need right now is a fresh diaper.” Tommy didn’t say anything. He just stood his ground, staring at his sneakers. He didn’t feel much like Tom the Titan; just another little kid with wet pants. “I’m not going to let you go play in a wet diaper. That’d be irresponsible Nannying.”
“PLAY!” The very word energergized Tommy. Heart rate increased. Breathing picked up. Toes wiggled as massive amounts of dopamine were released into his bloodstream.
“Of course, play. Isn’t that what a quest is?” It was true. Pleasure. Vacation. Amusement. All just really big words to describe forms of play. And if he was playing, Nanny knew best.
“Okay,” Tommy said. “Just make it quick.” He started fiddling with the brass buckles on his shortalls. “I don’t want Nox to see-”
A gentle hand interrupted his thoughts. “Not so fast, baby boy.” Nanny whispered. “Do you know how expensive diapers are?”
Growing up in Scrumpton Georgia in an abstinence only sex-education program, Tommy had a vague idea of how expensive such things were. The health education room was plastered with posters about the cost of raising a baby, diapers included. Being unable to get pregnant and very unlikely to have sex anytime soon, Tommy never paid attention to the actual numbers.
“Pretty expensive.” His stomach gurgled in a kind of agreement.
“And your tummy is making funny sounds.” Nanny pointed out. “You know what that means.”
Tommy grabbed his tummy. “No...?” He left that little inflection at the end, but in truth, Tommy knew exactly what was body was signalling. He needed to find his own far off patch of bushes to hide behind or whatever. There wasn’t a latrine in sight.
“If I changed you now.,” Nanny chirped. “I’d just have to change you again in a few minutes.”
“So you’re saying you want me to…?” Tommy left the question hanging. Both of them knew what he was really asking.
Seductively, the Nanny leaned in and pressed her forehead to his; her mismatched eyes twinkling hypnotically. “It just makes sense, doesn’t it Tommy?”
“I...I...I…” Tommy stuttered. The smell of lavender perfume invaded his nostrils, and he wasn’t sure if it was coming from the strange women he’d met on the playground, the diaper in her hand, or both. Something else besides his diaper was swelling, though the two were in tantalizingly close proximity. “I can’t.”
“Sure you can, baby.” Nanny whispered. “There’s not a potty around for miles, none of your friends- real or imaginary- are around right now, and I’ve got a fresh Pampers waiting just for you. All I want you to do is to use your diaper for its intended purpose.”
A tiny, very adult voice, in the back of Tommy’s head reminded him that the goodnite wrapped around his butt wasn’t a diaper. It wasn’t something that was supposed to be peed and pooped in while he was awake; only for bedwetting. That voice used to be much louder once upon a time, but it had gotten increasingly distant over the last few days. It was a sad voice. A lonely voice. The voice that Tommy had had in his head before Mommy brought the clock home.
His nanny (his nanny?) must’ve been able to hear that voice too. “Don’t worry,” she said seductively, “you won’t get in trouble. Just the opposite. Just close your eyes.” Tommy obeyed. “Bend your knees.” Tommy did. “Now push.”
Tommy did. He grunted and pushed, but not with his arms. He pushed with his guts, pushed with his sphincter, pushed with his will. He pushed past every last bit of potty training he’d ever had, and little by little, he did as he was told. It was so weird pooping standing up. At first he wondered if he was doing it right, but then felt the first bit of mess hit the back of his goodnites. That’s when he knew.
He breathed deep and pushed again and felt Nanny’s lips gently kiss his forehead. She was rewarding him, even as the warm mass spread in his pants. His manhood...manhood?....boyhood?...penis. His penis continued engorge even as he filled his pants. The warmth of the mysterious woman’s sweet kisses made him disassociate any disgust he might have or think about what the warmth coming out the back of him was. Truth be told, it felt VERY good as long as he didn’t think too hard about it, and Tommy just didn’t have enough blood going to his brain.
Very quickly, Tommy’s body, internal inertia, and gravity took over. He couldn’t have stopped himself if he’d wanted to. “Good baby,” Nanny whispered. “Very good. Now use it allllll….” A strong grip between his legs told Tommy what she meant.
Tommy shuddered his way into an orgasm as the woman gripped his genitals through pee-pee’d padding. “Oh Nanny!” he gasped, falling through his knees as his penis spurted out his seed, adding it’s warmth to match the warmth in the back.
“All empty?” the Nanny asked.
Beyond words and his heart pounding slowly in his chest, Tommy nodded. “Uh-huh….” He opened his eyes.
She bared her breasts to him. “Then let’s fill you up.” Nanny was also a wetnurse, it seemed. She lowered to her knees and scooped the boy up, cradling him in his mess and guided his lips to her milky nipples. Overcome with instinct, Tommy latched on, his tongue licking and teasing as fresh milk.
Warm in front. Warm in back. And now so-so warm on the inside as his tummy filled up. Tommy groaned with pleasure, not caring about either load in his pants. Eyes started to get heavy. “Don’t go to sleep,” Nanny warned. “It’s not time for nap-nap yet.”
Tommy opened his eyes as she switched him over to the other breast. How was she cradling him so easily? Was he getting littler...er...smaller?
He lost himself as he latched back on and filled his tummy back up. The next time he made boom-booms would be easier, he knew. Nanny’s milk would help him.
Finally, and yet all too soon, Nanny’s milk ran dry, and Tommy felt the fresh air and sunshine of Malacus back on his face.
Why wasn’t Nox back yet? Why did he even want Nox to be here?
His feet had yet to hit solid ground now that his milky snack had finished. Rather, he found himself draped over the woman’s shoulder, seated in the crook of her arm. The mush in his pants had since cooled and was now pressed up against him as his back was patted. “Give me burpies,” she gently commanded him.
A bit of a bubble of hesitation, and then Tommy’s body obeyed. “UUUUUURP!”
“Oooh! That was a loud one!” Nanny remarked. “Good boy! Such a good burper. Do you have one more for me?”
In point of fact, he did. “Uuuuurp.”
“Good baby,” she whispered, before laying him down on the grass.
Tommy moved to sit up. “Okay...gotta...get…” His words were cut off by the gentle hand on his chest guiding him back down.
“I’ve got it, sweetie. Let me change you. Nanny will take care of it.”
Stupidly, drunkenly, futilely, Tommy did his best to fiddle with the buckles on his shortalls.
“Not like that, Tommy,” Nanny giggled.
In reply, Nanny reached between his legs. Tommy felt, more than heard, the little snaps along his inseam and crotch come undone. He definitely felt the cool breeze rushing up his thighs, and saw the nearly destroyed goodnites come into view as Nanny peeled back the bottom half of his outfit as though it were just a skirt.
“Have those buttons been there the whole time?” he wondered aloud.
“Of course they have, Tommy.” Nanny smiled coyly. “Snaps make diaper changes so much easier.” She leaned over his bed wetting pants and tore roughly at the sides. “Speaking of easier,” she grunted, “it will be a lot easier to change you when all of your diapers have tabs. No more ripping off sides or pulling down undies...”
“All of my-?”
Nanny didn’t wait for him to question her. Tommy stopped asking when he got a good look at his shoes juxtaposed against bright blue sky, and the warmth of his muck covered behind contrasting with the fresh wet feeling of baby wipes cleaning them off.
He could get used to this.
“You will,” Nanny said. “Everyone does.”
“Beg your pardon?” Tommy asked, looking up as the old padding was swapped out for the clean diaper. He could have sworn he’d only thought that last part.
Nanny busied herself powdering him and taping the fresh diaper snugly around his waist. Filled with a strange kind of guilty curiosity, Tommy craned his neck and looked at the loosely balled up mess to the side of him. The night diaper was clearly oversaturated with pee-pee, and there was no mistaking what the brown spots meant; but it would have taken a forensic scientist (if anyone) to find what else the teenager had done in his pants.
No laundry worries. No crusty socks or jammies. No discoloration. The evidence would go to the bottom of a trashcan or a diaper pail, and who in their right mind would take a blacklight to a diaper? In terms of sexual gratification it was the perfect victimless crime.
And when Nanny finished buttoning the snaps back up and set him on his feet, no one could tell that his outfit was meant to tear off at the bottom. “Wow…”
His personal assistant/caretaker took him by the hand and lead him towards the stilled money whole. “Ready to keep playing?”
Tommy bobbled his little head. “Uh-huh!”
“Then in ya go!” She gave him a little nudge and his bottom a little pat. “Go head. In you go. It’s fun.”
Tommy looked down into the blackness. It was his first day in Malacus all over again. He looked back up to Nanny. “You promise?”
“Cross my heart. Before you fly, one must learn how to fall.”
Breath steadied, the boy who would fly, swung his arms, readying himself. “One...two….”
“THREEEEEEEE!” Nanny’s arms gave him a gentle shove, ensuring his courage as he went tumbling into darkness.
This wasn’t like the first time, however. Once past the edge of the hole there was no plummeting drop into icy cold water. This wasn’t the most recent time either. No inflatable slide into a ballpit. Instead, just like a certain Victorian girl who crawled down a rabbit hole, Tommy wafted slowly and safely down into the darkness.
He landed when the light from above was just a tiny pinprick above; indistinguishable from a single star. “Where am I?” he wondered. His words did not echo.
What did happen, was a spotlight shown down from the blackness, a single table highlighted, a golden box, not quite the size of a Big Mac container, placed upon it. The runes were as alien to Tommy as any of the others. Thankfully, Tommy could only think of one thing to do; he opened it.
“BEHOLD!” A voice from inside the box boomed. “HAIL GREAT QUESTER! YOU HAVE SOLVED THE FIRST RIDDLE OF THE DRAGON’S QUEST? ARE YOU READY FOR THE NEXT?”
Tommy nodded, grinning wildly. This game was getting good!
“YOU DO REALIZE THAT I’M A DISEMBODIED VOICE IN A BOX AND CANNOT SEE YOU, RIGHT? IS ANYONE THERE OR DID THE BOX TIP OVER IN AN EARTHQUAKE AGAIN?”
The boy spoke up. “Sorry. I’m here.”
“AHA! ARE YOU READY FOR THE NEXT RIDDLE, OH ADVENTURER?!”
‘VERY WELL!” Tommy wasn’t sure how a box could manage to clear its throat, but it found a way.
“IF YOU STEP ON THE DEAD ONES, ALL OF THEM CRINKLE,
STEP ON THE LIVE ONES THEY WON’T EVEN TINKLE!”
Tommy frowned. Crinkle? Tinkle? Did this riddle have something to do with his diaper? “What’s that mean?” he asked the box.
“IT’S A RIDDLE! NOW PLEASE PROCEED DOWN THE HALL.!”
A second spotlight lit the way for Tommy to proceed. Tommy trudged off down the path laid out for him, crinkling all the way. It felt good to have a fresh diaper on, but was he now on a path that he couldn’t turn back from? (In more ways than one?)