THE DAY I spent in Caireen’s world was spent making some other fortifications around the valley. I had suggested building some tall tower structures around the Valley’s perimeter walls to allow archers to defend in the unlikely possibility Camulus decided to come around the sides. They ended up becoming reinforced mini-citadels with housing for a small garrison of two-hundred archers a piece, as well as space for three trebuchets to perch. With the skill of Caireen’s soldiers, combined with magically enhanced arrows, the soldiers would be able to land a bombardment outside of the new walls of the valley - as well as inside if needed. The likelihood of the structures being overrun was minimal, but I also built in a magical self-destruct, so that they couldn’t be used against us at the castle.
Once we had discussed the designs, I managed to one of them that day. It left me feeling nearly as exhausted as I had with the walls the days before! On the plus side it had allowed me time to just cuddle with Caireen and feel loved in her arms.
Saturday morning, I woke up excited! Camille and I were cutting our trip short, and leaving a day earlier than planned to head back to Whateley! Her parents gave her a tearful goodbye at the train station, as well as a hug and a kiss to me as their honorary grandkid! With my extra days in Caireen’s world it felt like it had been more than a week since I’d left Hannah, and I was bouncing with excitement when she let me out of the carrier seat.
“Oh my, someone is a happy little girl?” a woman nearby said to Camille.
“Yes, she is! She’s getting to go home to Mommy after visiting her Granny,” she told her.
“How old is she?”
“Eighteen months, and she’s never been away from her mommy for more than a few hours before.”
“I bet there were some real tears from that?”
“Like you wouldn’t believe!” Camille laughed, “My sister owes me!”
She chose that moment to tickle me and then felt my diaper. “Come on Princess Soggy Pants, let’s go get you a new diapee.”
She left the carrier in our reserved seat and carried the diaper bag and me to the restroom. The changing table in it was almost not even big enough for me, and she left my ankles dangling off the edge of it. “You’d think they’d know babies older than newborns need changing,” a woman said as she washed her hands next to us.
Hannah agreed, “She’s not even close to being potty trained either!”
I accepted my pacifier from her and couldn’t help blushing. The train ride was long and boring, but for some reason my energy level kept growing. Camille practically had to wrangle me to sit still long enough to drink a few bottles and eat lunch on the way. It was just before dinner when we pulled up in the shuttle from the station to Whateley. Camille had texted Hannah that we were almost there and she practically yanked me free from the carrier seat to hug me.
“Oh my God, I’ve missed you so much!!!!” Hannah said to me. She squeezed me tight and we both cried more than I would have expected.
“I missed you too Mommy,” I told her. My brain froze for a moment and I wanted to take back those words.
She giggled, “Well I guess we know that being separated isn’t something we want anymore, huh?” She said as she kissed my forehead. “You two haven’t eaten dinner yet, right?”
“No,” Camille said, “We didn’t have time since we got to the station.”
“Let’s grab your stuff and we’ll go straight into the Crystal Hall?”
I blushed as Hannah helped Camille put the carrier seat into the stroller. “This is adorable! I didn’t think the carriers were quite big enough for her? And what’s up with the eye and hair color Sofia?”
I started for a moment, and then released the spell that changed me back to normal.
“Camille made one slightly bigger to help me blend in as a younger baby.” I told her.
“I thought it would do her good before your upcoming assignment?”
Hannah nodded and continued to carry me while Camille stacked my bag in the carrier seat, and pulled along her own small suitcase. I blushed as we entered since I knew that everyone would assume rightly that the stroller and carrier seat were for me. I watched Streaked laughing at me from across the Hall, but knew better than to engage with her after my warning with Chief Delarose.
I found it refreshing to once again be able to fill my plate with as much food as I wanted! I was excited to not have to hide the fact I was eating a lot. As I ate Hannah was asking constant questions about our trip. I noticed that Camille did her best not to talk about the last simulation run that she had joined me for. I smirked thinking of how cute Baby Camille had been! She pivoted, and asked Hannah questions about her recovery when things hit a little too close to home. She told us the discharges had finally completely let up the night before, and she hoped she wouldn’t deal with it ever again!
‘Remind me to put an exception into my shield spell…’ I told Caireen.
‘We’ll talk about it more tonight,’ she assured me, ‘it’s not a big deal.’
I was about half-way done with my second plate full of food when I noted I was being stared at by Camille. “You must have been starving that whole trip?!?”
I shrugged, “Kind of, that’s why I kept drinking more bottles though.”
“What are you going to do on your assignment?” She asked softly. It was only the three of us and the place was clearing out at the end of the service time.
“What do you mean?” Hannah asked.
I was debating about doing a privacy ward but Camille beat me to it. “Her cover is just having had her first birthday yesterday?”
“She had her first birthday and I didn’t get to have her eat a smash cake?” Hannah’s eyes twinkled.
I groaned, “Not funny Hannah, Camille already made that joke!”
“Anyway, you want her to seem like a normal baby, right? Maybe even have her be a little behind the curve so they think she’s an easier target?”
I groaned but nodded, “Yeah, Agent Sanders and I decided I can say ‘Mama,’ ‘baba,’ and ‘no’ at this point.”
“You’re already breastfeeding her,” she said.
Hannah looked nervously around, “Not so loud!” she whispered back.
“Her privacy ward means no one will hear Hannah,” I told her. “But please… umm…”
“I get it… Anyway, maybe Olivia isn’t really eating real solid foods so well yet?”
“Eewww…” I complained. “You’re not suggesting…”
“Yes, but what I was thinking of is maybe we get Volango to devise up some ‘special’ baby food that has some more calories for you. Maybe something that tastes half-way decent too?”
“She could do that?” I asked, kind of stunned.
“I wouldn’t be surprised?” She paused, “We could probably do the same thing with magic, but with Maponus involved…”
“Yeah, I’m already worried about my disguise potentially setting off warning bells.”
‘I can teach you a spell to use that will keep you hidden still,’ Caireen assured me. ‘I like this idea of super baby food…’
‘Of course, you do…’ I whined.
“I guess let’s talk to her, Hannah, do you know if she’s back?”
“She is… but we need to make a stop at our room first…?”
I smiled, “Okay!”
Hannah decided to try out my new ride and buckled me into the carrier. I made a face at her, but she just popped a pacifier in my mouth and said, “Behave! You’re a baby…” Quietly to me in that ‘don’t you dare embarrass Mommy with a tantrum’ voice.
I sucked on the pacifier as she maneuvered the stroller down the sidewalks. A couple students peeked in as we passed and waved at me, “Hi Sofia!” several said. I was blushing as she pushed the stroller out of the elevator on our floor and down to our room.
“What are you so embarrassed for?” She asked as she opened our door, “Didn’t you get pushed and carried around like this the whole trip?”
Camille had followed us in, “Yes, but she didn’t know anyone,” she reminded her trying to help me out. “I’m going to see if I can find Volango, I’ll let you two do your thing! Glad you’re feeling better Hannah!”
She closed the door behind her and Hannah began unbuckling my harness. She carried me over to the rocking chair and only belatedly thought to check my diaper. “You’re soaked!” She said.
I shrugged, “Sorry… Change me after?” I suggested.
She smiled, “If you pee on me little girl…”
“I can’t help it, I’m just a baby!” I told her with a smirk.
“That you are,” she said and bared her nipple for me to latch on.
There was no hesitation from me whatsoever as I hungrily nursed! Hannah seemed just as relieved to have me back to nurse, and the world suddenly seemed truly right for the first time since the accident! Sometime after she switched me to her other breast, I felt movement from my rear-end, but just kept nursing. I sighed in my head, ‘I can’t do anything about it…’
Eventually I began not really sucking any milk out and pulled my head away. Hannah hugged me then tightly and both of us were teary eyed, “You’re never leaving me again baby girl!”
I smiled, “Okay, Mommy.”
“What’s with you calling me Mommy now?”
I shrugged, “You’re one of my three mommies… I won’t call you that in front of our classmates, but it’s getting harder and harder to think of you as Hannah.”
She tickled my stomach, “I guess I should be considered a mommy since I have to clean your stinker butt up all the time!”
Hannah placed me on the changing table and quickly changed the very wet and poopy diaper. It had leaked some, so she didn’t hesitate to dress me in a set of footed pajamas I didn’t recognize. They were pink with white polka dots, and a koala bear across the zipper that went down to my foot, ending with a little cloth covering to keep a baby from escaping them as easily. They were cute, “Where’d you get these?”
“They were in the boxes the FBI sent for our assignment.” She pulled the zipper up, “They sent us both complete wardrobes with a lot of used clothes for both of us. This was one of the few newer outfits… I think it’s adorable.”
I smiled, “It is…”
She was just about to say something else when someone knocked on the door. She carried me to the door and Camille stood there with Volango, aka Beth. “Oh my God, you can’t get any more adorable!” she said to me as she came in.
They closed the door and found seats around the room on some bean bag chairs. “What’s up?” She asked us, “Camille was secretive but said you need some help?”
We explained the assignment and the concern. “So, you need like four thousand calories condensed into a four to six-ounce container of pureed baby food?”
“Preferably a mixture of jars, pouches, and those plastic tubs Gerber uses…” Hannah told her.
“Hmm… Interesting challenge… You want them to taste okay, right?” She said, looking at me.
“Please…? The whole point is it’ll work with my cover better, but you’ve seen how much I eat?”
She laughed, “Right! I don’t know where you put it!”
“Her diapers,” Hannah and Camille said simultaneously, causing my face to turn red!
“This is not ‘pick on Sofia day!’” I complained.
Hannah took that opportunity to tickle me for a moment, “Of course it is! It’s alllllways pick on Sofia day!”
My diaper was soaked when she finally let up and I glared at her. “You just made more work for yourself.”
She shrugged, “That’s okay, I’m getting used to it!” Her attention turned back to Volango, “Think you can do it?”
She nodded, “I think maybe I can make a device that can take an existing baby food item and add in the right calories… maybe go ahead and make the flavors more gourmet too…” She started talking to herself and said, “I’ll have it to you tomorrow…” and walked away.
“She’s okay, right?” I asked Camille.
She nodded, “Luckily she’s in no danger of dricking out, from Diedrick’s Syndrome. They’ve been really good about checking devisors for that in recent years.”
“Good…” I said thinking about how bad it can get for some of them. Some of them would literally go on crazy mad scientist binges when they dricked out. They would steal components for their devices and usually create all sorts of mayhem. It was rare that someone with Deidrick’s wasn’t a villain! The idea of cute Beth doing that kind of terrified me. Devisors were special because they could come up with just about any invention their own minds could ‘devise’ as long as mentally the physics worked in their own heads. If anyone else tried to copy it or mass-produce it though, their copies wouldn’t work.
“Well, I think she’ll get that taken care of. I know you already got her in her jammies, but she probably needs a bath tonight,” Camille told Hannah, “And I officially relinquish my auntie duties to Mommy!”
Hannah laughed, “Sounds good Auntie Cami!”
Hannah looked at me, “Will your diapee hold a little while? I think you should call your parents and let them know you made back?”
I pushed in on the diaper and shrugged, “If not I guess it’ll just leak, I do need a bath anyway?”
She nodded, “Okay, your phone is in your backpack still, right?”
I nodded and she carried me over to grab it, dug into the pocket to pull it out, and then carried me to the rocking chair before she handed it to me. She cuddled me gently as I pressed the screen and was soon dialing our home phone.
Dad picked up and said, “Hello?”
“Hi Daddy!” I said excitedly.
“Hi Sofia,” he said and I could feel his smile, “Rachel, Sofia is on the phone!” I heard him call.
I heard a little voice say, “Let me talk!!!!”
I smiled as she was on the phone a second later, “Hi Sofia!”
“Hi Lily! What’d you do today?” I asked her.
I ended up listening to her for about ten minutes before she got off the phone to play and I talked to my parents for another half-hour. I could hear the tears in Mom’s voice that matched my own as I hung up the phone.
Hannah didn’t need to say anything, she just wrapped me up tightly in her arms and hugged me. “It’s okay,” She told me.
“I miss them so much!”
“I know… I’m hoping maybe we can see them at Christmas?”
I nodded, “I know you must miss your mom and dad too…”
She sighed, “I do, but as long as I have you, I don’t notice it as bad…”
I looked up at her, “Sorry I left you…”
She squeezed me tight, “You needed someone to babysit you, and Camille’s family was perfect for it. You even got a chance to get some training in – it’s okay.”
I nodded and sat there for a bit before she squeezed my diaper, “That’s not going to hold much more, but I need to check my email – my Esper teacher was supposed to send me something to help me catch up on the semester.”
I nodded, “I haven’t even turned on my computer since we left… I should probably check too.”
I dug through my backpack and pulled out my laptop. I set it down on my desk, plugged it into the charger, and sat down with a squish on my chair before turning it on.
I found a hundred emails I needed to get through, but one caught my eye from ‘Amanda Kensington.’ The subject was ‘Proctor and Gamble Offer.’ I clicked on it and opened it up.
We sent your portfolio off to Kimberly Clark, Proctor and Gamble, and a few other companies who make baby products like we talked about. There was quite the bidding war, and I think there will be a few other deals to be made soon too. Currently several clothing companies are negotiating for your services, as well as a couple toy companies. Venus, Inc. will screen and negotiate on your behalf as your agent to get you the best deals. Proctor and Gamble made a huge offer that I think you should take them up on. I’ve included the contract attached to this email for it. They would bring their product and crew here and make the proposed commercial, as well as photograph you for print ads and packaging.
They want to do this in the last week of combat finals, before they launch a new updated product in February, let me know if you want to move forward!
President Venus, Inc.
I squirmed a bit as I read it. I looked over the contract and felt my jaw drop! I’d researched child model rates for the heck of it one day, and knew this was way above that! They were offering me $7,500 for the day of shooting, plus three cents for every time a commercial was played. They were also offering me a rate for each print ad being used too that didn’t seem high, but knowing how many ads they ran I figured could add up! I giggled then, thinking about the pun.
“What’s so funny?” Hannah asked from her desk.
“Just making a pun inside my head… umm… That girl Mandy has a contract for me already,” I told her.
I sighed, “Pampers?”
She laughed, “Well you do wear them! They throwing in some free diapers?”
I shrugged, “I didn’t see that, but they’re willing to pay me good money for the day of shooting!”
We talked about the offer for a few more minutes before I used an e-sign option and signed off on it, leaving a note that depending on another job I may have to reschedule. I was eighteen and could make my own decisions on matters like that! Between the FBI salary and contracts like this, I might not have to worry about asking my parents for money!
I replied to a couple other emails and read some announcements.
One email was sent from Sergeant Harris stating that the combat team we had joined with Camille would have a practice run schedule for ten in the morning on Thursday. I groaned when I saw the name for the team, “They called us the Babysitter’s Club for our team name?!?!”
Hannah laughed, “Diaper Duty Crew was another finalist.”
I groaned and replied we would be there after seeing we were excused from our morning classes to participate. “We’re going to keep missing so many classes!” I grumbled as I realized that in addition to the undercover time taking us away, we were going to miss more.
“It’s just Calculus, and you’re doing fine in there! Well, also Costume Shop, but we’ve already basically finished our assignment there! She just approved the design for mine, so if you can make it tomorrow, we’ll be done?”
I nodded, “Do we take Costume second semester too?”
She shook her head, “It’s a first-year course to get everyone ready for finals basically, optional after that.”
It was nice to kind of feel less like a baby, and more like a student for a while. Hannah eventually picked me up and said, “You leaked…”
I shrugged, “Not my fault, I’m just the baby here!”
She tickled my stomach for a moment before she stripped off the wet sleeper, “We’ll have to wash that before we go. Come on, let’s get you a bath and then we’ll find another cute outfit for you to wear.”
Hannah was gentle and loving as she gave me the bath that night. I could tell that being apart from me had been hard for her… maybe even harder than it had been for me being away from her. That night we were both very content as I nursed myself to sleep.
I WOKE UP like usual in my crib in the castle, but no one was around. Not wanting to waste any time making preparations I let loose the best baby cry I’d made yet! Caireen was soon there picking me up, changing me, feeding me, and getting me dressed to go back to work. Before we left the castle though she said, “We need to go see General Slane first.”
“Your Majesty, Your Highness” her head general greeted us with a bow as we approached.
“General Slane, you said you had a report from our spies?”
He nodded and looked up, “They report that the army has regrouped and is marching towards us from the south. They report that even though a suggestion was made to come from the north as well, they decided to just take the one direct southern route.”
“That will help…” I said, “Only one major front to defend.”
He nodded at me and shook his head, “The problem is the numbers are way more than we expected!”
“How bad?” Caireen asked.
“We expected a worst-case scenario of thirty-thousand… He has nearly double that.”
“And we only have ten, right?” I asked him.
“Yes, Your Highness,” he told me.
I could tell he looked scared as Caireen looked thoughtful. I decided to ask, “Where did these troops come from?”
“Conscripts along the way,” he replied.
“So, most of them don’t want to serve him?”
He shook his head, “No, they fear for their lives and their family’s lives.”
“That’s something we can work with… Mommy, do we have to fight this war conventionally?”
She looked at me oddly, “What do you mean?”
“Do we have to wait for him to get to our wall?”
“Not necessarily, but marching our troops towards him would be suicide,” she told me.
“I wasn’t thinking that…” I put my thoughts together, “When America fought for our freedom the British pretty much insisted on fighting regular battles with lines of men against each other. There’s an old movie, that’s loosely based on some truth, that a smaller force worked to cut off supplies and performed sneak attacks.”
Caireen nodded, “I remember that part of your history. I thought they were quite the ragtag group…”
I closed my mouth after gaping it open, ‘Sometimes I forget just how old she is…’
“So, what’s your suggestion, Your Highness?” the general asked me.
“We make your own special forces group basically…” I explained the concept of making ten teams of ten members to go behind enemy lines and make as much of their lives miserable as they could. Caireen added some thoughts and we ended up providing each man with special crossbows that would only fire for them, and could also fire a limitless supply of bolts. We magically improved them to essentially make automatic rifles – I even created scopes for them. The hundred men who volunteered were in love with them, and by nightfall departed to begin their mission.
When we were done with all of that, I made the next citadel on the opposite side of the valley from the first. It still wasn’t easy, but I felt slightly less exhausted afterwards. Caireen carried me to the top and I looked down easily over the whole valley. I could even see past the wall and a few more miles until the valley reached a bend, and from what I had been told, began flattening into a plain beyond. Three more trebuchets were set up on top of the structure. I watched as the men began practicing and sighting in with some fruit to mimic their actual rounds of clay pots and metal balls. It was impressive to watch the sling chunk the items forward, and in no time, they were successfully nailing the middle of the road. I watched through squinted eyes at animals who began coming out of the woods to feed on an unexpected snack!
I was taken back to the castle for more sword fighting lessons for a couple hours after we were done there, not quite as drained as the day before. As she carried me to the nursery that night, I felt like we had begun to be prepared. “Sofia you truly are a force to be reckoned with,” she told me as she pulled her blouse down.
I shrugged, “I’m stealing ideas here pretty much.”
“If they work, there’s nothing wrong with that!” she smiled at me.
I nursed myself to sleep and hoped we could defend her world so I would eventually have a peaceful place to come each night.
SUNDAY MORNING, I found myself sitting up in my crib with Hannah nowhere in sight. I saw her shower caddy was missing, so I guessed she was showering. I looked at Emie lying next to me and began playing with her and two stuffed bears. I was enthralled enough in my play that I didn’t notice Hannah until she picked me up.
“Well look at you! Being a good baby and playing with your toys!”
I turned and smiled at her, “What else was I supposed to do since you weren’t here?”
She touched my nose, “Sorry Princess, but I needed to shower.” She squeezed my diaper, “Think you can hold out until after your first breakfast?”
I shrugged, “I dunno.”
She laughed and just sat down and began the day with me nursing from her again. We had both missed each other, it was obvious, but I couldn’t help but feel better with every suckle I made of milk! Once I was burped, she changed me into a pink one-piece jumpsuit with long sleeves. There was some lace on either side of the middle of the front panel, and little flowers covered the design to make it a very girly, and babyish outfit.
“I don’t know about this,” I whined to her.
“You just agreed to model Pampers,” she reminded me, “There’s no doubts you’re a baby, and on your days off it makes sense for you to dress like this. It’s comfy, right?”
I shrugged, “I guess…”
“And it’s easy for me to change you with the snaps!” She said with a smile.
I groaned, “Let’s just go get breakfast already…”
She put a coat on me, but didn’t bother herself as she grabbed her bag and carried me off. No one commented on the outfit, and I sighed as I accepted that she was probably right - I just needed to let her dress me in baby clothes. Caireen seemed to like that thought and gave me a mental hug, ‘Good girl,’ she said to me.
Hannah and I spent the day continuing to work on homework until close to dinnertime, when there was a knock on the door. Beth came in holding something that looked like a weird coffee maker. “You two want to see what I came up with?”
“You’re already done making something?” I said in shock.
She shrugged, “I couldn’t stop thinking last night and worked through the night to make it. I documented it and it’ll count as a project for a homework assignment this week.”
She placed it down on my desk and knelt to my level, while Hannah sat down next to us too. “You just have to plug it in,” she said as she found a free outlet, “and then put whatever food you want to adjust in here. Hannah, can I see your phone for a moment, I’ll get the app on there really quickly…”
I watched as an app was soon installed on Hannah’s phone that controlled the calories the food would be adjusted to, salt, sugar, pre-set flavors, and even temperature if you wanted to just heat up the meal inside the device.
“I don’t have any baby food to try it out on, but it worked really well on a little thing of apple sauce I had in my room. Lightly couldn’t believe the calories she got out of it. She said I should make them for energizers to have as energizer food…”
I laughed, “I guess we’ll have to buy some baby food to try out in it…” I felt my stomach churn with that, “Not really looking forward to that.”
Hannah said, “Give me a second, there was some in the kit the FBI sent.” I watched her go to a set of boxes on the counter and she pulled out a few pouches, “Beef Stew, Chicken and Vegetables, or Turkey and Vegetables?”
I wrinkled my nose at all of them, “Beef…?”
She smiled, “Let’s see how this works!”
I watched as they played around on the app for a moment bringing the calories up to the four-thousand we estimated I ate at dinner each day. There was an option for it to taste like a prime-rib dinner with mashed potatoes that was selected, along with a good amount of salt added! Hannah placed the pouch in the small chamber at Beth’s direction, before pressing go on the app. There was a brief flash, and then nothing.
“Did it work?” I asked.
Beth nodded, “Sorry I didn’t add any cool effects to make it seem like it worked. I thought the flash alone was a better idea just so you don’t draw attention to it. I tried to make it look like a coffee maker for that reason too.”
Hannah nodded, “I guess there’s only one way to test this. Let me throw it in the bag and we’ll go to dinner.”
“Wait… you’re not saying…”
“We need to try it sometime, don’t we? Might as well try it for din-din tonight!”
“Sofia…” She said warningly.
I sighed, “Yes Mommy… I hope it worked… I’m really hungry…”
“If you’re still hungry afterwards I’ll let you go get a plate of grown-up food then.”
I sighed, “Let’s get this over with…”
Hannah carried me all the way and did whatever trick she had tried before to make things warmer. All the way to the Crystal Hall it felt like I was within the spread of one of those outdoor propane heaters. She sat me down at our usual table sitting next to Beth and said, “I’ll be right back…”
“You’re not getting food?” Lizi asked.
I sighed and put up a privacy ward before answering, “We’re trying out Volango’s new device to alter baby food… I’m having a pureed dinner tonight to see if it can work while we’re undercover.”
“Didn’t we tell you that I’m working for the FBI sort of as an intern until I graduate?”
“No…? That’s kind of cool. But you’re older than a baby that eats baby food?” she replied.
I did a quick bit of magic and made myself appear younger for a moment, before going back to normal. “I’m going to alter myself like that,” I told her.
She smiled, “You were much cuter that way!”
“You need to make your hair shorter though,” Camille added as she looked on at me.
I sighed and soon had Hannah back, who whispered to Camille really quickly. She smiled and a moment later my tall stool chair turned into a mahogany wooden highchair with a plush purple covering on it. A tray sat in front of me, while a harness suddenly formed and held me tightly inside…
“Really?!?” I looked at Camille, “You’re ganging up on me now?”
She giggled, “Don’t worry, no one will care.”
Hannah pulled out a bib that she velcroed on my neck, before putting an empty bowl from the serving line on the tray. She held the package for a moment and warned, “I’m warming this up for you, but be warned the daycare may not.”
I made a face, but that didn’t stop her from twisting the plastic cap of the pouch off and squeezing the gooey mush into the bowl. It did not look appetizing at all! She grabbed a baby spoon from her bag and scooped up a spoon, “Open wide for the airplane!” She giggled.
I wrinkled my nose and wanted to refuse, but I opened my mouth and let it inside my mouth.
The texture was still kind of gross, but the flavor of it was really good! I looked over at Beth, “That worked really well!”
Before I knew it, I was taking in spoonful after spoonful of the mush. It wasn’t how I would want to eat my food normally, but the food itself tasted pleasant once you got over the texture! When she scooped the last small spoonful up and placed it in my mouth, I was surprised that I really felt full. “All gone! Good girl!” She cooed at me and wiped a few stray spoonfuls from my cheeks with my bib. I sat back in the cushy highchair then. “Are you still hungry?” She asked me curiously.
I shook my head, “No… actually I had trouble swallowing the last few bites.”
“Thanks Beth,” Hannah told her, “This will probably help us a lot moving forward!”
She smiled, “Any time!”
I was just feeling like everything wasn’t too bad when Streaked walked by and made a comment, “Glad to see the baby sitting in her proper chair finally. Looked like she liked her nummy baby food too!”
I wanted to do something but Hannah put her hand on my shoulder, “Don’t…”
I sighed, “I hoped she’d stop after Delarose read us the riot act…”
I was embarrassed to the point of being in tears then, but I managed to not flat out cry. Hannah pulled me from the high chair and cuddled me while she finished her own meal. On our way back to the dorm a number of girls asked if I was okay… “See, you’re so popular, who cares about that bimbo?” Hannah told me as she walked in the doors of Poe.
I shrugged and soon distracted myself with some other reading I needed to do. I nursed from Hannah before bed and hoped that my life could evolve from being one humiliating experience after another!
THE NEXT DAYS were refreshingly normal for the most part in my world! I was feeling a lot more at ease in my classes. Using my exemplar memory, and fast reading ability, I felt like I was only a slight amount behind now in most of my classes. Hannah was struggling more to get caught up, but we worked together on the coursework we shared, and Beth and others helped her in the other classes. My only gripe was that she had insisted on feeding me several other meals of baby food through the week to ‘prepare me.’ I didn’t bother fighting it, Caireen seemed happy with that, and in exchange I kind of hoped she might come through with her promise on the illusion to make me seem like a teenager again sooner than later.
My nights in Caireen’s world meanwhile were spent doing everything we could to fortify our position. I came up with a plan to put some punji style pits beside the road coming up the valley one of the nights. By the time Thursday came, I was running out of any more ideas on how to prepare for the upcoming siege. Each day we were getting some good reports from the ten units of troops we had sent out to harass King Camulus’s forces. Apparently, they had managed to knock off about half of the ranking officers at a meeting one day. Another day they managed to kill off a number of the horses that were pulling some siege engines and ladders they were bringing. After a few more attacks there were actually some troops that fled and deserted his forces.
Apparently Camulus and his forces had never been attacked that way, and it seemed to be as effective as we could have hoped!
Thursday came quickly, and I found myself in my costume with my fellow teammates looking around a room with a large screen up front. “Take your seat!” a scary looking woman in one of the security uniforms said to us. I fiddled with the small earpiece that Volango had given me a little while before the meeting. It acted as a receiver and transmitter for us to talk over a radio… that wasn’t a radio. My brain hurt as the devisor had explained the principles!
“This is team… Babysitter’s Club…?” She looked bewildered until she saw me. “Hazing the new kid?” She asked them.
Camille shook her head, “Honestly most of the good team names have been taken. We thought it was a cute name and our opponents will probably underestimate us?”
“There’s some truth to that… Just having a baby on your team will do that. Now, just to verify for our records, your team is Sora, Volango, Knag, Zing, Emped, and Emerald, correct?”
“Yes, Ma’am,” I found myself saying along with the others. I had to remind myself of everyone’s code names, since I never thought of Camille as Sora, Esmie as Zing, or Hannah as Emped!
“Okay then, this is going to be a simple capture the flag style simulation…” she began briefing us on the city we were entering. There was apparently a flag hidden somewhere in the lair of a super-villain across town. It was our job to collect it without all dying…”
“Questions?” She asked us.
Several were asked before we were told, “Okay then, saddle up, let’s get you in the Arena!”
From what I had heard it wasn’t easy to get Arena time this close to finals, but somehow Camille had pulled in a few favors to get us in. When we entered, I was truly blown away by how realistic of an environment we were in. ‘It reminds me of the Star Trek Holodeck…’ I thought to myself. Oddly Caireen seemed almost equally impressed!
While we were staring, Volango pulled out some sort of crazy looking machine gun, Zing held what looked like a boomerang in her hand, Knag was suddenly mostly invisible, and Camille had a costume on that made her look like the evil sorceress from a Disney movie. Hannah’s costume was like a slutty Halloween version of my own costume. Among the differences were that the skirt barely covered her panties, she wore flesh colored pantyhose, and a matching domino mask. She didn’t have the diaper of course! All of it was made of Kevra and bullet and slash resistant. Due to the rules of the Arena, everyone’s faces were obscured with masks of some sort as we entered and began looking around.
“Where do you think we need to go?” Zing asked Sora.
Camille pointed up at a tall building in the distance where a flag waved. “It can’t be that easy…?” I asked.
She shook her head, “I doubt it. Zing, can you fly top cover for us?”
“Will do!” She used her speedster ability to launch herself and a small hang glider into the air.
“Knag, go ahead and scout ahead?”
We began getting reports of it being clear, with only NPC civilians around, and began moving out slowly. We were about a block from the tall building when Zing cried out “I’m under attack!” I watched something shoot at her before clipping her, sending her tail spinning down to the ground.
On instinct I performed a spell to slow her descent to where when she hit it wasn’t any worse than jumping off the back of a pickup truck. “Thanks Sora,” she said.
“Not me, that was Emerald,” she replied, just as we began taking fire from automatic weapons!
I put up my shield and surrounded my teammates with one too. Hannah fired her green bursts at several and I took aim at a group of about ten enemies firing at us from the other side of a brick wall. I pulled in a relatively controlled burst of magic and shot it out with my hand at them. The explosion rocked the ground and all of them were out of commission.
“Holy shit, remind me not to piss off the baby!” Volango said.
I wondered where Knag was for a while, until I started seeing some explosions inside the building. Over the radio she cried, “Umm… I could use some help here!”
The five of us worked pretty well to protect and attack hundreds of enemies firing at us with small arms weapons. We eventually caught up with Knag who was not doing well versus a simulated classmate. I was soon embroiled in a hand-to-hand battle with the large boy who appeared to be a speedster. I used the tricks that Sensei had been trying to teach me and managed to hold my own long enough for Hannah to shoot him with her blast.
“Come on, let’s get upstairs…” Sora ordered.
Climbing steps was never my favorite thing, but now that I was a baby, it really sucked!!! The fact that we had to run up twenty flights of them, made me damn cranky by the time we got to the top! Everyone else beat me up there, and I found they were in a battle with two other simulated mutants, one of which seemed to be the person who had attacked Zing to begin with. The stairs had me tired, but also really pissed off. I just took in energy and shot it straight at each of them. The constructs disintegrated and we finished the run when Volango grabbed the flag.
A loud buzzer alerted us the simulation ended. I reached my hands up to Hannah, “I don’t want to walk down those!”
She laughed at me and we soon found ourselves in a debriefing with the same stern woman. I thought we had plenty to be proud of, but she proceeded to tear us all a new hole for ‘mistakes’ we made. About the only thing that she did begrudgingly complimented us on was our teamwork...