Castle Roland

Somerset Farm

by Jamie Haze

In Progress

Chapter 59

Published: 25 May 15


Jamie Haze

The festivities began slowly. The crewmen were as bashful as the Cat warriors although there were mutual shy smiles and nods until Gregor gifted Marta with two cases of ubiquitous sixteen ounce plastic cups that were common at most American parties. Drink containers were the one item the People lacked in quantity and Gregor was happy to supply them from ships' stores since the hold needed to be emptied anyway to make room for the pallets of currency.

Marta, the women and eager children of both sexes began serving what appeared to be excellent black coffee until the first sips were taken. Shy smiles turned into full grins along with emphatic nods of pleasure. "Holy shit," Meesha warned in gest as he smacked his lips. "A second cup of this coffee and everyone will be under the table, if there were any tables," he added.

Gregor agreed and made a brief announcement to the crew. "Everyone should enjoy themselves today but should beware of too much strong drink," he hoisted his bright red cup more to refuse a refill from a little boy hefting a clay pitcher half his height. "Too much and you become fools and may become toilet lickers for the duration of this voyage." After Carb translated the gist of the message to Tonga, he agreed and spread the warning to include all Cat warriors as well although he had no idea what toilet licking entailed, the penalty had to be far worse than serving food to brother warriors.

Mixed groups formed and personal weapons became a common topic. All the crewmen or white warriors were armed, but none carried AK-47's. Each had newer assault rifles including the M-16, 7.62mm, or the M-4, 9mm and others all with the most up to the minute sighting systems and in many variations. Whatever JC wanted, Evan was willing and able to supply.

Some crewmen carried two after JC conferred with Bani to determine the number needed to rearm all the present Cat warriors as he wanted to replace the AK-47, which was heavier and far less accurate than the newer rifles. When someone asked why JC's father equipped the Cat warriors with the AK-47 in the first place, he explained that it was the most popular assault weapon in the world. It was inexpensive, had few moving parts, anyone could field strip one for maintenance, it had been proven dependable in every war around the world since the first Russian model was introduced, there was unlimited ammunition available and most telling, over one hundred million had been manufactured and every arms dealer had them for sale in any quantity.

None of the new sophisticated weapons were loaded to begin with although the crewmen carried ammunition and empty magazines. JC wanted no accidents before the Cat warriors learned the basics in handling and care because he planned to gift the Cat warriors with all the new weapons during the evening and had Evan supply enough of these to equip several generations of warriors as well as enough ammunition to kill the entire South American population several times over. JC was sure the warriors would be more than happy to haul away all the additional supplies and thus empty Sea Song's hold completely.

As the crew and Family entered the village square some of the Cat warriors surrounded Hans and Herman with the two new 'Dobermans'; Henry and Barry. They were fascinated with their huge and obviously powerful side arms, no matter how impractical for the diminutive warriors to carry or even fire. It was amusing for each Cat warrior to fire one of the hand cannons at least once and to fall backward into one of the huge white warriors' waiting arms and giggle with everyone as each discussed the body parts they had 'accidentally' been able to touch. Both sides agreed that at times, a language barrier was a very good thing and no one took offense on feeling unnecessary gropes.

Shooting hand guns got serious when Henry and Barry drew their .32 caliber Berettas as David and Noah, along with Medi, Sean, Tommy, Charlie, Buck and Evan arrived with a case of .22 caliber semi-automatics and an assortment of larger caliber weapons. For the Cat warriors and most of the boys, it was always nice to look a new friend in the eyes without always having to look up. The makeshift pistol range remained busy throughout the day.

The Cat warriors were fascinated with the hand to hand combat demonstrations that Noah and Chad put on, but all declined to participate. The Cat warriors felt that to fight without a weapon would mean that one would have been disarmed by a superior enemy and while they couldn't think of any who might be superior, being disarmed while still alive was too humiliating to contemplate.

Pettie the gentle giant expert marksman was swarmed with little boys and warriors alike when he appeared packing both a simple .22 caliber carbine and two magnificent pigeon grade 12 gauge shot guns. The .22 was Pettie's favorite hunting rifle he brought from his home close to the hill country of Texas and he found the shotguns in a small but elegant forgotten gunroom on Sea Song. Scott carried an unknown awkward looking metal devise and the two were followed by ten crew members who each carried two cases of what appeared to be small shallow bowls to the natives. These crewmen and several others stayed to watch Pettie's demonstration because they had a vested interest.

Earlier that morning, Pettie roamed the ship begging for any loose coins that anyone wanted to contribute as long as they didn't want the coins back in their original condition. The Cat warriors wanted to meet the giant warrior, who according to Sidi and Kad was a tireless, considerate lover and who had a muscular body like theirs except he was twice their size, and once again, per Kad and Sidi, including his manhood and his reputation as a marksman had even been extolled by Tonga himself.

Pettie began his demonstration using a shotgun. The launcher was equipped to throw one clay bird for trap shooting or two for skeet. After he turned several clay birds to dust and tiny shards, the Cat warriors just stared at him and the useless weapon. While they all agreed that the weapon could destroy a flying bird, the bird would not be edible and none of them would kill anything except an enemy that they couldn't eat. Carb explained to Pettie as Pettie loaded his .22.

Pettie nodded, "I surely do agree. Them shot guns are used by folks who call themselves sportsmen. They kill to prove they can, not because they need to eat and if ever a bird they was shootin' at, shot back, well, I think them sportsmen would switch to shootin' these here nice safe clay pigeons." He quickly chambered a round while he talked facing away from the range. He winked at Scott who launched a bird. Pettie turned, raised his little rifle and fired seemingly without aiming. There were oohs and ahs from the crowd when they saw the clay bird break apart and fall. Little boys raced into the thick undergrowth to find and retrieve the broken bird. "Now if that there bird was a duck the only thing y'all couldn't eat is the quack."

After Carb translated that observation the natives agreed with nods of approval and laughter. Pettie broke several more birds with his rifle before he turned to survey the crowd while two more contests quickly developed. The competition to retrieve the broken birds intensified and a group of toddlers were engaged in being the first to find every spent brass cartridge and simple possession without rough and tumble was the rule rather than the exception.

Pettie picked out a boy-not-yet-a-warrior, who, as defined by the Cat people, had reached puberty but not the magic age of fifteen when he would receive a rifle and become a warrior. The boy backed away. He had no wish to be singled out although he yearned to test his skills like all boys of any age. Pettie touched the boy's bow and with motions asked if he could hit a bird with an arrow. The boy nodded enthusiastically. All boys his age could using a bow but as he hadn't trained with a rifle and he was reluctant to try while his peers and so many warriors watched. With encouragement, the boy stepped forward, strung his bow and knocked an arrow. Like Pettie did the first time, he faced away with his bow at his side. Pettie said "quack," Scott launched a bird and the boy turned, drew and fired at the rising clay target demonstrating his lightening reflexes. His arrow connected with the fast moving target just as it reached its apogee and broke in two pieces thereby also demonstrating his extraordinary accuracy.

While the little boys ran to retrieve the broken bird and the precious arrow, a line of boys-not-yet-warriors and warriors quickly formed and a new skill contest was born. When two boys returned, one with the arrow and the other with the bird, broken in two pieces the boy began to leave, but Pettie offered his rifle and took the boy's bow and clutch of three arrows to remove choice. After Pettie pointed out the safety, and the boy had gotten comfortable with the rifle at his shoulder and the sights, he once again imitated Pettie in facing away from the range. No one knew that when he closed his eyes in concentration, that he was actually praying to the Cats to help him send the bullet true to the target. For to fire a rifle for the first time was a dream come true.

While Pettie did a poor imitation of Donald Duck, the boy's quack was that of a white duck hunter using a duck call. He was already raising the rifle and aiming as he turned when he first heard the trap arm click. He fired when the clay bird rose up into his sight and was gratified to see it break into several pieces. He was unprepared for the congratulatory back slap that Pettie administered or the hoots and howls from his friends, the watching warriors or the whistles and cheers from the white warriors.

"What are you going to do with all the money you begged?" someone asked. "Or are we poor seamen supposed to supplement your student allowance?"

"Smart ass," Pettie retorted, "it just so happens I was gettin' around to them coins." He traded the boy his bow for his rifle. "Stay here with me Sport, after I ding up that dude's annual salary with my gun, you can do the same with your bow before y'all switch to the rifle." After Carb translated, the boy nodded that he understood and he was greatly honored that Pettie had given him a white warrior name as he announced to all that henceforth he was to be known as Sport.

Pettie found the baggie of coins in his backpack and picked out an American quarter to begin with. He showed Sport how it should be tossed up and out and then explained what a snap shot was since there was no time to aim using the rifles' sights. Sport looked dubious but was willing to try. Once again all could see the coin wobble when Pettie fired while holding the rifle with one hand as if it was a handgun. Pettie repeated his trick shot several times and each time there was a mad scramble as the little boys ran into the brush to find the coins after Pettie told them he didn't want them back.

Just as Pettie motioned Sport to take up his bow, two Cat warriors halted the proceedings by running into the nearby undergrowth, down range. When they returned each held up a little boy by one ankle. It was instantly clear that the two enterprising boys decided to get a head start in finding coins by hiding where they were most likely to fall. The two fathers sadly offered their miscreant sons to Pettie. He just took a step back looking confused.

Fortunately JC was there to explain with a hand hiding his grin. "These fathers give their undisciplined monkeys to you to do with as you will."

Pettie's mouth dropped open, "Come on JC, they ain't serious are they?"

"Of course not, but I think they would like you to scare the shit out of them. I just wouldn't hurt them too much." JC advised.

"Shit, I could never hurt one of 'em, but I sure can scare 'em some. You just translate for me." Pettie instructed. He took one boy from his father, still holding him up by his ankle and raised him higher for a closer inspection until the boy's head was almost even with Pettie's revered endowments. At that point the apparent lifeless boy couldn't resist cracking one eye open for a close inspection of his own. Pettie squeezed the boy's calf, his thigh, both hard little butt cheeks and finished with his rib cage, which elicited a tiny giggle. "It appears to me as I couldn't get even one good meal out of 'em both put together right now." Both boys came alive and began to struggle when they began to realize why one was being so closely inspected, even before JC was finished translating. Pettie ignored them and continued, "Still I'd take 'em if their daddy's would provide food for 'em for a year. By then they might be fattened up enough, especially if they was nutted now." The father of the boy Pettie still held offered his knife while being sure the boy could see it and while trying not to laugh.

The boys knew exactly what being nutted meant, they'd seen it done to new born boar piglets. Both instinctively used both hands to cover their immature packages and frantically plead to keep their nuts while they promised never to misbehave again and always obey their elders forever.

When both fathers appeared to be satisfied, Pettie offered an alternative. "Or, if the dads think they might want to keep them, kind of on trial for a while, they could be put to work here beside me an' Sport just tossin' coins but not ever goin' off to find any, ever again. Would that work?"

Both fathers agreed. The one took his son back from Pettie and then both held up the dangling boys even further before they opened their fingers simultaneously to drop them on their heads. The boys' lightening reflexes kicked in together as they fell. Both landed on their hands and immediately bounced to their feet to stand before Pettie ready for orders.

Pettie patted both on the back, which to the boys was a confirmation of eternal friendship and then he gave them the baggie of coins and showed them how to toss them and motioned that they should take turns, both in holding the bag of coins and tossing them in the air so there would be no arguments.

For this contest, Sport drew his bow back before he nodded to the boy who would toss the coin. Sport released his arrow a second after the coin was tossed and once again he was successful, the arrow pushed the coin from its trajectory and the arrow veered slightly. Pettie's little helpers watched their friends scramble after the coin and arrow with longing but stayed at their posts. When Pettie saw their sorrowful expressions, he quickly pawed through the many coins until he found two American half-dollars and after the two rascals promptly deposited them in their scaled down belt pouches, they felt free to slap Pettie on the back by way of thanks. Only they couldn't reach his back and their slaps on his ass were more like caresses that began to wander around his hips to his front.

Pettie jumped away. "Hey little dudes, I'm too big and too old. If you want to grope someone pick on Sport here, he's more your size and closer to your age."

JC managed to translate that verbatim and burst out laughing as the two five year olds did as ordered only Sport didn't jump away, he bent slightly to provide easier access while he grinned like a teenage lecher. JC explained to Pettie when he could; "You must understand that the Cat People are the most sexually liberated closed society in the world that I have ever heard of and there has always been far more boys than girls, I think because of the need for warriors, so the boys naturally get together with each other."

"Well they could wait until they get behind closed doors to feel each other up." Pettie huffed.

JC laughed again at Pettie's prudery. "Do you happen to see any doors in the village, or many walls either for that matter?"

Pettie looked back at the two fathers and since they didn't seem to mind what their sons were doing, he called the boys back to continue throwing coins. "Nip an' Tuck! Y'all better get back to business here tossin' coins."

Sport quickly explained to the boys that since Pettie gave them white warrior names like his that Pettie found them very desirable as well and would no doubt instruct all three of them together in the white warrior ways of coupling. He warned them that they had better get back to work to avoid angering their new teacher. The two boys abandoned Sport in a flash and rejoined Pettie ready to do absolutely anything he said to do. The only question they had was which of them was Nip and which was Tuck.

Pettie looked to JC for a translation and saw that JC had turned away and that his shoulders were shaking. "What was that conversation all about JC?" he asked suspiciously.

"They just want to know which is which." JC answered, still trying to stifle his laughter, "You better point them out or they'll start a friendly fight and you will still have to name them personally."

Pettie separated the two and held them apart. "You're Nip, and you're Tuck and no more fightin' or you're both off to the stew pot." JC translated that accurately.

It was Nip's turn to hold the bag of coins and Tuck's turn to throw one. Sport held the rifle up to his shoulder and was already aiming down range before the coin was thrown because Pettie told him to think of the rifle as a blowgun that he didn't have to blow. Sport was ecstatic when he saw the bent nickel that was returned to him and more so when Pettie administered another hardy back slap.

Pettie gave Sport the huge honor of being range master and supervising the coin toss event as long as the supply of coins lasted and of course watch over his beloved rifle before he moved away to watch and perhaps participate in other events. Pettie thought that Nip and Tuck would stay to help Sport, but since he didn't tell them to, they remained at his side, or rather both sides. Nip chose Pettie's right side and Nip took his left. The two walked by him so closely; their shoulders were in almost constant contact with his legs as he walked and whenever he stopped, each boy wrapped an arm around 'their' muscular thigh but they were careful not to allow their hands to wander too high although both got their visual fill of his white warrior appendages.

Scott followed or walked beside the threesome wearing a constant grin and whenever he got close enough to either boy, he felt a welcoming arm around his thigh as well since Nip and Tuck recognized him as Pettie's mate and planned to receive coupling instructions from him as well, whether he knew it or not. Nip and Tuck steered them to the shooting range first because they wanted to see the new weapons being used.

After the potent coffee was finished, mixed groups split away and many of them were at the range learning about the exciting new weapons from key members of the crew in preparation for actually testing their skills on the new very challenging shooting course of Carb's design. The course was intended to improve accuracy using the AK-47 at greater distances than the old assault rifle was known to be capable of so it was around three hundred yards long overall. The first hundred yards were cleared but the wily Cat warriors reasoned that no enemy they were shooting at was likely to be found standing up in an open field so the first hundred yards were used to train boys-not-yet-warriors, which began six months before they would receive a rifle. The remaining two hundred were only partially cleared of some undergrowth but few trees. The course width was about fifty yards wide.

The actual firing line was anywhere within the last fifty yard square. The shooter entered the course from either rear corner and could move anywhere in the square always using extreme stealth, until he took three shots at the all but invisible targets. The target area was also out of the ordinary.

The shooter faced a stone wall that varied from no wall or ground level and then it rose and fell in one foot random increments along its length. The targets were dull yellow melons that were approximately human head size, except they were all cut in half. Again, any enemy worth killing wouldn't be exposing his entire head, only just enough to see an advancing foe. If the melon exploded or merely moved the shot was considered a hit or kill. Each contestant got three shots but was allowed to fire only once from any position. There were no time constraints because there were no watches but all the warriors undertook the course knowing that the faster they killed the less time the enemy would have to return fire.

After Carb explained how the range operated, the crewmen backed away and were content to offer their new assault rifles to their Cat warrior friends. While they had all plinked away at paper targets at assorted distances across open spaces, they weren't marksmen or white warriors as the Cat People referred to them. They were highly trained in performing a plethora of specialized jobs required to move one of the world's largest expedition yachts anywhere in the world for months at a time.

Carb took the first turn using one of the M-16's. Seconds after he entered the square he disappeared and none of the Cat warriors were wearing the usual camouflage paint as they normally would if the day wasn't a holiday. His progress in the course was marked by three reports and even the Cat warriors were surprised when he reappeared standing behind them as everyone still peered into the course trying to find him, which was another part of the contest entirely. All the Cat warriors fell silent for a moment until they heard three distinct identical screeching bird calls which apparently meant three kills. Carb was congratulated with enough back slaps (a new Pettie inspired Cat tradition) to drive him into the ground.

"Could I try?" Marc asked Carb.

"Are you sure you want to?" Evan questioned. "If you miss, you'll be laughed all the way back to Sea Song," he warned quietly.

Carb laughed, "Not to worry, not to miss any is very good, miss one is good, miss all only means much practice, to try before so many watchers means very big balls."

Marc looked pained, "Well, I did pretty well killing footballs until I got caught, and remember, those were moving," he defended. There was a single new bird call.

"Melon heads are ready," Carb advised Marc.

As Marc moved away to begin the course, Evan asked, "Who's tending the targets Carb?"

Carb grinned, "Boys-not-yet-warriors. They learn how not to become melons, very good training, yes?"

Marc entered the course using the same M-16 Carb had used. He imitated Carb's movements except that he chose a different route. The Cat warriors were impressed when they saw him get down on his belly just before he disappeared in some undergrowth seemingly oblivious to any small but potentially deadly jungle denizens that he was disturbing or the thick carpet of plant debris that hid them or the twigs and briers and even spiny leaves just waiting for his tender white warrior skin.

Soon, all heard a report, two minutes later another and the last after another five minutes. The last shot was quite close to the massed audience but as they craned their necks to see and listened intently they couldn't locate him until he finally made some animal sound and stood up almost exactly where he started. Marc's smile was radiant. He was filthy, running with sweat and in the places where he was scratched; blood and dirt ran with the sweat more freely so his injuries looked far worse than they were.

Carb and his father Kuri, the healer, rushed Marc to inspect him more closely for serious injuries and Carb led him off to a nearby spring fed pool where he could wash, or he found out, be washed by Carb personally. Carb used a paste, which he told Marc would also treat his wounds to prevent infection. Marc began to wash Carb in return and both decided together that their dicks were in dire need of treatment as well so they didn't return to the range for fifteen minutes. By then three bird calls had been heard for Marc and another Cat warrior was on the course.

Alex took one look at his partner's satisfied expression and started to laugh, "Son of a bitch, you gave each other some serious resuscitation didn't you?" he accused.

Carb nodded with a satisfied smile but Marc turned haughty, "We most certainly did not. Carb was helping me improve my bird call. It seems I wasn't holding my mouth properly so we worked on that."

Innocent Carb was obviously confused, "Bird call? You made no bird call; you made the call of a monkey in rut. What we did was simple coupling. There was not time for more."

By then Alex and Evan were holding each other up while they laughed. "BUSTED!" they sang together.

Marc collared Alex with his arm after he borrowed Carb's jar of paste. "You just come along with me you dirty boy, you need another good bath and then I'll teach you how to make a proper monkey in rut call." Everyone watched them happily disappear down the narrow trail to the spring.

While the shooting competition continued throughout the day, there was a lunch break when Bani and Charlie arrived followed by a swarm of kids packing food and liquid refreshment. The food was a cold smoked sausage wrapped with flat bread and an assortment of fresh fruit. The jugs and pitchers used for coffee in the morning had been refilled with well enhanced fruit juice. Conversations were interrupted when six boys with newly emerged pubic hair raced each other into the shaded clearing where everyone was enjoying lunch.

The boys were spattered with melon pulp and dried juice and four proudly displayed small wounds that appeared to be from bullet spatter. All but one was superficial, but one shoulder wound was deeper, caused by a piece of shrapnel that had penetrated into the muscle. Kuri sent them all to the spring to wash and bade the one to return after he was clean. The six grabbed enough food to feed a dozen warriors and overflowing cups of juice before leaving to wash.

"Ut oh," Buck intoned.

Bani misunderstood, "Do not be concerned those boys will not molest Alex and Marc."

"I was kind of thinking that it will be the other way around. Marc never had any willpower and he screwed Alex out of all of his inhibitions the first night they got together." Buck answered with some giggles and a suggestive glance at Doug.

Before Doug could do more than blush to respond, the injured boy burst into the clearing through some dense undergrowth. He halted in front of Kuri and babbled out an explanation for his haste in not using the trail from the spring. The boy ignored the fact that he was fully erect and that it was pulsing, ready to explode.

Bani laughed and translated. "He says that two white warriors are coupling with all his friends and his arm is impeded by his wound and he is getting behind in turns. He begs Kuri to fix the problem with haste."

Kuri spoke sharply to the boy and he froze in place. Kuri rubbed paste into the wound and then more on the tip of his knife. He then lengthened the wound and probed for the shrapnel. Some bleeding was stopped with the addition of even more paste and then he used two fingers the squeeze the object to the surface. The boy held up a bloody stone splinter for all to admire with his free hand as Kuri pinched the wound together for a minute before he patted the boy on his butt and sent him on his way. The boy thanked Kuri and disappeared back the way he came while swinging his arm around all different ways to assure himself that he once again had full range of motion and all through the surgery, the boy's erection never faltered. The boy also watched everything with great interest but without showing the slightest degree of pain.

"Holy shit!" Buck mumbled, "if I didn't see that, I wouldn't have believed it if you told me."

Doug agreed, "Yeah, he sure is a horny bugger."

"What are you talking about, you were just as horny when you were thirteen or fourteen and you still are, evidenced by your interest in the kid's hard on rather than that major surgery."

"Well yeah, but when I was his age I married my mouth. That kid has all his buds to mess with whenever one of them feels the need."

"Mouth? Bani questioned with interest.

Doug's color rose as usual, "Ah yeah, kind of, sort of, but I didn't have any willing friends until I met Paul and Marc and then you. You became my mouth after I first saw you at school. Shit, you got fucked a million times before we met up and you didn't even know it."

Bani rolled his eyes, "I am sorry, I do not understand," he complained politely.

Doug shrugged his unwillingness to elaborate so Buck explained in great detail and finished with; "Any of you could probably do it too if you tried but you never needed to obviously."

Bani was already sitting down on some banana leaves and was fully erect from hearing Buck's description of Doug's constant self-abuse at an early age, so he stretched out and flipped back on his shoulders and took most of his cock into his mouth without any effort. When the Cat warriors and boys saw what Bani was doing and then since he didn't stop, they all emulated the position. Once started, it was clear that everyone was going to continue until they came.

Bani sat up after he swallowed several times, he grinned and summed up the Cat males opinion; "That would be most useful and less wasteful if one was hunting alone." The Cats all agreed after they were finished as well when Bani translated that back into Cat language.

Charlie shook his finger under Bani's nose and warned, "Don't you ever do that again if I'm around. Man that was too wasteful if it doesn't end up being in me somewhere or a friend if I can watch, just for educational purposes you understand." The more Charlie scolded the more Bani giggled and nodded as a butchered a yellow melon into eight wedges and passed them around. "This is delicious, what kind is it?" Charlie asked.

Bani looked at Charlie strangely, as if the answer was obvious, "It is a yellow melon. Just one of these will sustain a warrior with food and water for eight days very well. As you can see there are few seeds and they do not spoil. Most important, they do not have any scent which would betray a warrior's hidden position. These, the paste vine, the poison plant which we use to tip our weapons and others were given to the People by the Ancients and grow only within our territories."

"Who are these people?" Charlie wondered.

Bani's emerald Cat eye brightened and the surrounding gold filigree sparkled as he answered while wearing a huge grin. "We are just the Cat People. In truth, I sometimes think we are the Ancients' progeny, but more likely our ancestors were servants of the Ancients and the Great Cats." He added after a moment, "I also think that instead of learning to make love while we touched the twins last night we should have been learning to block our thoughts."

"Fuck no," Sidi and Kad sang together and rocked with laughter. Clearly they'd 'overheard' the silent exchange.

The day advanced at a leisurely pace. Shooting resumed after lunch both at the range and all around the playing field. When a soccer ball appeared teams formed. Since most of the crewmen were European and most of them had either played or were avid fans, all were sure that they could overwhelm the Cat warriors with the advantage of height and weight until JC explained the local rules and then suggested that they watch a Cat warrior match before picking teams. After that half hour match, all the white warriors wanted to be on a Cat warrior team, if only for protection. Mixed adult matches alternated with matches for boys according to age.

Nip and Tuck opposed each other in the match for five and six year old boys and while they were inseparable friends off the field, they were opposing enemies during their match and fierce competitors. The match was the only reason they abandoned Pettie and his legs during the day after they made sure he stood at mid field so he could see them in action. Six warriors acted as referees and instead of red carding for unnecessary violence (the only real offence in a Cat match) both offenders were picked up bodily and tossed backward or anywhere away from the ball. Pettie and Scott noted that Nip and Tuck spent more time airborne than any of the other little boys and they were fascinated with the amazing displays of acrobatics all the Cat warriors displayed even at Nip and Tuck's tender age. Another point both noted; no one, boy or warrior displayed any sign of pain and there were no tears among the little boys.

When the match was over both boys raced each other heading for Pettie. Both leaped at the last moment and he was just able to catch them in his arms as they hit his chest. "Who won?" he asked. "I believe I lost track of the score."

Bani answered from nearby, "We do not keep score as all Cats have equal skills and abilities, so no team has an advantage unless the number of players becomes unbalanced and the referees are there to prevent that."

The mixed adult matches were so intense that Gregor, Hans and Herman were added to the referee force and from that point there were no further arguments about rules and decisions, although at times it appeared that there were three teams on the field, everyone had a back slapping good time. Late in the afternoon someone produced an American football. Curiously, it had a picture of Marc imprinted on its side.

Marc defended himself with logic as the Family moved toward him in mass. "Hey guys, listen, you didn't expect me to slaughter my own football did you? That would be like me betting against myself in a poker game! Besides, that ball was expensive." He had the nerve to quote Anton, "Am I made of money?"

Doug tackled him, "You cheap cocksucker! Bucky bought everything that night, you didn't, and we hadn't even met Anton yet. You are hereby appointed one of the quarterbacks. Come on guys let's get out there and show the Cats how the game is played."

Twenty-two players, mostly family took the field in a brief demonstration. Tackle of course, there were no flags and just playing touch was out of the question. When the Cats saw that tackling was not only encouraged, but expected and the purpose of the game was to get the ball by hook or crook and run with it to the end of the field, they rushed to join the game. Soon there were as many as thirty players on each side, the quarterback, Marc on one team, was always sacked whether he still had possession or not and intended receivers were generally on their backs as soon as the ball was thrown in his direction. Running the ball was impossible because the Cats were too fast and agile. In the air, the poor white rich boys discovered that a Cat could easily leap three times his height and had the uncanny natural ability to catch and hold the ball and was already in motion the instant he landed and took off for the end of the field. Which end was unimportant. Cat players regularly switched sides in an effort to get the ball for themselves and occasionally if one crossed a goal line he kept on running into the jungle and had to be hunted by his brother warriors. Laughter rang through the entire village and American football became a fantastic climax to an exciting fun filled day.

The friendly pitched battle ended about an hour before sundown as all the men and boys migrated to the canoe launch beach to bathe. Jars of paste were handed around and soon the Cats were happily and eagerly cleaning their visiting brothers and encouraged them to reciprocate, which while under the influence of the fantastic paste, they were eager to do.

Nip and Tuck's plan to at last get their little hands on Pettie and Scott were foiled when their two fathers intercepted them and held them in the shallows to be properly washed and when Sport appeared, he found Pettie and Scott along with Doug and Buck, already washed and swimming out to deeper water to turn and face the current to enjoy a casual workout by swimming in place so he had to be content to join them. At first the guys were concerned about his swimming abilities until he turned into a playful river otter and when Doug absently switched strokes to swim like a dolphin, Sport soon matched him and swam at his side effortlessly.

Buck glanced at the mob of bathers having more intimate fun and the foam they were generating. "You know Charlie is right, this paste stuff is fantastic," he rumbled. "I think we should help market it. We can get Evan to help so it's on the shelves worldwide the day it's introduced."

"Don't we need to get it analyzed first to see if it isn't some kind of illegal narcotic?" Pettie questioned.

"Yeah, and see if it can be reverse engineered," Buck agreed. Scott asked what reverse engineering was. "I read about it somewhere. Say we introduce this stuff to the cosmetics market; we claim that it does everything that it really does do. Everyone else in the market is going to buy it and try it to see if it really works. When they discover that it really does work, they'll tear it apart in a laboratory to reduce it to basic compounds that can be manufactured and then mix them all back together. They test their new product and if it's even close to being as effective as paste, they'll go into full speed production, maybe," he qualified. "The catch is that their product has to be as cheap to produce as ours is and I think it also has to be approved by the FDA since its manufactured not just plant based like ours."

"And that's where we've got them." Doug said as he entered the conversation. "There is no fucking way that anyone can compete with a manufactured stuff that the People can make by just smashing up some leaves and berries. Charlie's right, this stuff could be worth billions in profits to the People every year."

"Speakin' of the People, you know when I was feelin' up little Nipster, makin' like I planned to eat his little ass? Well I wasn't feelin' up no five year old boy. I was squeezin' a little young adult. There was no baby fat on that kid, just hard muscle. All those little kids have amazing reaction times too, and when their daddy's dropped 'em on their heads; both landed on their hands and was standin' up in the blink of an eye. Then standin' by their fathers, the kids' bodies looked just like 'em, you know like adults in miniature."

Scott increased his speed until he pulled even with the other three. "There's something else I noticed. All the males are circumcised. Maybe their ancestors were Hebrews or even Muslims, which considering that they're in South America is sure strange."

While they talked Sport seemed content to perfect his new found dolphin stroke and began a subtle campaign to get all four of his new friends hard by doing what Rocket or Comet did to Doug or Tommy if either dolphin wanted to breed. Sport swam under them and brushed his body along theirs and of course Sport also took full advantage of using his hands as he glided back and forth under them. He only needed three passes before he'd achieved the desired results.

Sport decided that he would take them by size. Scott was the smallest, although far larger than any Cat warrior that he'd coupled with, he was also older like Carb so he would be more experienced. Doug and Buck were next in size and almost equal in length and while he was more attracted to Doug, he thought that he would enjoy Buck first before Doug since he was only slightly taller than any Cat warrior. Pettie was as he suspected, humongous by Cat warrior standards, but he was also the most reticent of the four so he would need to be entertained by someone in addition to Nip and Tuck although both were skilled at sucking, he wondered if an older friend should be invited. He knew that all four had experienced paste for the first time that morning and again when they bathed; their scents spoke of their readiness even under water.

Sport was yanked from his planning by a hand wrapped around his bicep that pulled him to the surface. "Sport, what in tarnation are you doin' under there?" Pettie asked, not unkindly. Sport grinned in response; he knew that he'd won the contest of wills. When, was the only question that remained.

The discussion was interrupted when Tonga arrived on the tiny beach to begin castigating his warriors and older boys for trying to start an underwater orgy with the white warrior guests just before the feast and Bani's elevation to manhood and warrior status. He was actually looking for his wayward son as the mob emerged from the water, all excited to varying degrees.

Bani surprised him by tapping his father on the shoulder. He was accompanied by Charlie, Kad and Sidi and all were clean and dry; their bodies glowed and reeked of paste. "We bathed in the new village," Bani explained wearing a satisfied grin.

Tonga actually giggled, "Of course you did and yet you are also on time." He hoisted an eyebrow at Charlie and asked through Bani, "Now that you are mated, will you remain here when the Sea Song boat leaves or will Bani travel with you to your place of learning?"

Tonga could see from their eyes that they were discussing the question silently while Kad and Sidi eavesdropped while looking hopeful. Finally, Charlie nodded and grinned. "We think he should accompany me as he needs much further learning as he is very ignorant of white warrior ways."

Bani stopped translating and frowned, "I will not say that!" he shot into Charlie's mind.

"That's alright, we will," Kad laughed and did.

Charlie interrupted, "As I was saying; but, I will have to get permission from the white warrior chiefs first to be sure it's okay."

Tonga was well pleased with Charlie's one qualification. "Ah, perhaps while you are away, you will learn obedience and respect for your elders." He told Bani. "Now come, it is time you became a warrior."

The group started to follow Tonga until they heard splashes behind them and Charlie saw Buck, Doug, Scott and towering Pettie who was playfully pushing Sport's hands away from his body. "Hey guys I was just wondering where you were," he enthused.

Buck always liked Charlie; he was just a little taller and was never bashful about stating his opinion and was always straightforward. "Hey yourself stud. Now that you found us, what are you going to do with us?"

"Or put another way, which one of us is first?" Doug asked, joining the fun.

Charlie grinned like the young lecher he was. "Well, there are four of you and four of us; I think we should just switch around, but not now, later, after Bani's party. I want to ask if Bani can go to school with me. His father, the most high and honorable Chief of the Cat People said it was alright."

"Ass kisser!" Tonga accused in English. It was clear that he had been prompted by Bani and had no clue what he said.

Charlie frowned at Bani, "You ain't bein' too helpful by teaching your dad naughty words you know. I was just trying to use some of his juice so these guys will say yes." He grinned and added, "Besides brown nosing my new father-in-law can't hurt, can it?"

When everyone agreed Buck said, "Okay, but we'll have to find you two a place to sleep." Sidi and Kad looked crestfallen. Buck saw at once that perhaps they couldn't speak English but that they certainly understood some and knew the difference between two and four.

Charlie dismissed that problem, "Not to worry, remember, I'm a cottage commander and I have my own room that was a master bedroom with a nice big king size bed." He giggled, "I've had as many as seven of my closest friends in it and we always kind of stack up if you know what I mean. Four more won't be a problem."

"Four?" Doug tried to look confused. "There's you and Bani, who are the other two?" He burst out laughing when Kad and Sidi pointed to each other repeatedly. "Oh, I understand the son of a reclusive South American multi-billionaire would probably need bodyguards. Do you have anyone in mind for the job?"

Sidi and Kad couldn't contain themselves any longer. "FUCK YES, THESE TWO!" They chimed together while pleading with their eyes. Even dour Tonga couldn't restrain his laughter.

"Okay, four." Buck agreed but still grinned at Charlie. "But you should know that you won't be going back to Dagger Key except to get your clothes and personal stuff. We go to a private school in New Jersey and our dorm is kind of full. Ideally you should live with JC." He began thinking out loud, "Maybe Ben would consider moving across the hall to Medi's," he mused.

"We can ask Medi when we find him, but that shouldn't be a problem for Medi and Sean, they both love Ben's big dick." Doug added and then had to explain about Ben. Even Charlie's eyes widened as Doug held up his hands to approximate Ben's size.

By then the group had reached the village and saw that that the cocktail party was in full swing, evidenced by the red plastic cups everyone held. Bani stopped the boys to offer some instructions. "Tonight, after the feast, I am to tell the story of the Black warrior in English for you all. I will then receive my rifle which will signal the end of the festivities. Please have Chiefs Gregor and Meesha announce that the feast is ended and their Sea Song boat warriors should return to the Sea Song boat. Only they, you and the other chiefs should remain. Carb will guide you to the Cat Place to see its treasures." He patted his glowing emerald pendant, "I will meet you there. Have no fear of anything you will see, perhaps even a Cat," he added over his shoulder as he disappeared among the village huts with Tonga, Kad and Sidi.

The white warriors, their chiefs (Family members) and all the Cat males of any age were intermingled around many fires that were scattered about the open village center. Each fire was surrounded by woven mats and banana leaves for comfort. A raised dais fronted the village meeting hut where Tonga, Bani and the Council of Elders sat and could be seen and heard.

The feast was a huge success and when finished, Bani stood and bowed to an elderly man, clearly the eldest of the five elders. Carb and Tonga joined him and began signing for the benefit of the Cat People. This seemed to be a signal to the women, girls and toddlers to join their menfolk and when everyone was seated comfortably, all looked to the dais with expectant smiles and looks of adoration.

Bani spoke with a youthful orator's voice as promised, in English. "All know of the horror and heartbreak wrought by the Nazi swine on the people for too many suns. This is Toug a revered warrior and Elder, the last living who helped defeat the swine and all their minions to bring freedom and revenge to the people. I will speak in first person because this is Toug's story and I will tell it as he tells it." He took a deep breath before beginning to speak Toug's words.

"Long ago in the time of sorrow and darkness I had but ten sons and yet I was a warrior with three kills when the Black Warrior came among us." Evan perked up and began to listen intently. "I was at my hidden post near the top of the cliff just below the largest stone hut. Building had long been completed and the hordes of foreign workers were gone. Each night I hoped that a fiend would show himself within range of my dart so I could claim another kill but by then all the invaders were very cautious because we, the few free Cat warriors owned the darkness.

"My attention was drawn to the smallest sound below me around the empty lighted dock. I saw nothing amiss and was about to turn away when the lights on the dock winked out. I waited breathless for an alarm from the outside guards and with luck, one to investigate, but none came. The lights were not dependable and went out often somewhere, frequently.

"But then I saw a shadow move in the new moon moonlight on the dock. It moved again and then was gone. I watched intently and just as I began to wonder if my mind was playing tricks with my heart, I was touched on my back from above my position. I spun about and almost raised my blowgun while my bowels were on the verge of release. I saw at once that the shadow I saw earlier was a very tall warrior more than twice my meager height. I also saw that this strange warrior's hands held no weapon and were open palms up. He obviously had no evil intent or I would already be dead.

"This warrior dropped down to my side. He was dressed all in black, including his head. He made a motion up three times and each time slashed his neck with his hand. I realized or hoped his intent was to kill the three chief Nazi monsters. I nodded and bravely took his hand to pull him up to view the stone hut. One guard most distant, was smoking to give his position. I then pointed out the other two guard positions. The Black Warrior nodded his understanding and touched my blowgun and motioned to the smoking fiend. Next he touched his chest, showed me a knife, his only weapon and then pointed to the other two guard positions. I nodded and crawled away in one direction while the Black Warrior went another.

My target fell dead as he inhaled. I retrieved my dart, fell flat to the ground and waited until I saw a sudden movement cloaked in silence, near the center entrance. I ran to help if needed but the Black Warrior was just cleaning his knife on the dead fiend's cloth covering. He wanted to enter the hut at that moment but I slashed my neck rapidly, three times to show that there were three more fiends on the other side of the hut who could give alarm if they saw or heard movement or noise inside the hut.

"I led the way at the Black Warrior's urging. And I was eager for more kills. We encountered the first guard at the corner. The fool was sleeping soundly with his back against the wall. The Black Warrior took his life but made a small sound while he again cleaned his thirsty knife."

Evan looked over at Gregor and Meesha to see them smile at remembering Anton's ongoing jest with Hans and Herman about cleaning his knife properly just after he used it on the boat deck to settle accounts with a spy.

"The next guard heard the sound and asked a question. To my surprise the Black Warrior answered in the same vile tongue and boldly walked forward while I followed closely. This next fiend held out a box of matches. The Black Warrior's knife flashed out and I had little to do but help lower the fiend to the ground while his blood still flowed forcefully to cover my carefully applied paint with red.

"The Black Warrior then bade me to eliminate the last fiend with a dart because he had been alerted and was moving toward us while he spoke in their tongue. He fell with my dart imbedded in an eye. Once again the Black Warrior wanted to enter the undefended stone hut but I pulled him back and quickly splayed my fingers five times and pointed to the stone hut nearby and made a sleeping motion with my hands against my cheek. The Black Warrior seemed to understand but shrugged as if to ask what to do. Clearly two warriors, even as mighty as we were against fifty was impossible.

"I grinned in the darkness and cupped my hands to send the faintest call of a hunting eagle flying high in the sky. It was a cry that all the free People yearned to hear. It was the summons to attack at last. The Black Warrior looked at me in question so I pointed to the high wall as twenty shadows dropped silently to the ground. I then made the sound of a cricket calling for a mate, which brought these warriors to us. All were shocked to see the Black Warrior as he towered over us all.

"I signed the happenings as quickly as I could and then explained the need to eliminate all the fiends where they slept soundly in their hut. Tonga, the first Chief Tonga nodded and bade us to wait. The hut door was unguarded. The warriors disappeared inside and quickly reappeared with little lapse in time, and I could see that all their bodies glistened even more darkly with blood than mine. All wore pleased smiles. The Black Warrior then honored me by asking with motions if he could enter the main door of that hated place.

"I nodded proudly. The Black Warrior led the way with all the People's warriors following closely with darts and knives ready. The Black Warrior wanted to proceed directly to the sounds of evil laughter and cries of pain but Tonga held him back and pointed to a closed door we knew to lead down to the manmade cave where the captured People were kept.

"Over two suns earlier, we chanced to rescue a young Cat woman who was tasked with laboring in the new made fields by day and forced to do despicable acts with the three monsters at night. It was she who told us that the captives were kept at night behind a closed and guarded metal door in the cave.

"The Black Warrior nodded and slowly, silently opened the door to peer into the gloom. I was at his side as we saw yet another fiend posted at the bottom of the steps facing out. The Black Warrior then displayed his speed and stealth for such a giant warrior. His knife flashed as he hugged the fiend backward and he was covered with heart blood that spurted from the fiend's neck stump.

"The Black Warrior then touched my blowgun and motioned for me to be ready. When I nodded eagerly, he called out again in the fiend's language. We heard echoing footsteps rapidly approaching and when I saw the faintest shadow I stepped out and sent my newly anointed dart into the second fiend's face. We waited a very short time for other footsteps or calls and when there were none, we rushed out and down the cave looking for a metal door that would not open.

"We found the door from the cries and calls of the People clamoring for release and the Black Warrior once again aided us by bringing metal things that we now know to be keys taken from the last dead fiend. When the people were freed there was the sound of rejoicing until Tonga bade them to silence so as not to alert the three monsters above and possibly other fiends as yet unseen.

"It was then that the Black Warrior left us, heading back to the steps. I bade the People to follow quickly so all could witness the final demise of the three monsters and it was only right that he should have the honor and that he would no longer be deterred from his mission.

"All the People followed closely as he boldly entered the large chamber where the monsters were holding forth. The three were engaged in violating two boys and one girl of breeding age. They were placed over a long sitting place and were being assaulted from behind.

"The Black Warrior waited until all the People had assembled in the chamber before he spoke to the busy monsters most politely in their own foul tongue. The three were shocked and pulled away from our friends at once. With the need for silence gone, our laughter was profound as we pointed out the differences in the three engorged cocks even as they wilted. Strangely, their three cock heads retreated into useless sheaths of shin, which cannot be convenient or sanitary."

Bani paused at that point to explain; "You must understand that we are an isolated People and had never before seen a naked white man, circumcised or uncircumcised. We ourselves are not born with these foreskins and at the time of the monsters, these were thought to be as useless as poor pelts of fur that covers the bodies of some of you white warriors. Please excuse our ignorance of these minor body differences. My white warrior mate explained these things just today." He bowed to the crowd generally and hoped that no white warriors with foreskins or body fur would be offended before he continued.

"The first chief monster was as tall as the Black Warrior yet his organ had retreated into his skin and that further to inside his body as he sank to his knees to beg for his life. We all thought that his insignificant endowment was the cause of his viciousness. The Black Warrior silenced this one with a mighty blow to the head.

"The second monster chief was the opposite of the first in both size of his manhood and his demeanor. This fool's cock dangled like a bull's yet it was appended to a small frail body whose bones were all apparent. He raged at us and pointed to the door, I think demanding that we leave. He too was silenced with another blow to the head.

"The third monster chief stood defeated with his shoulders slumped, eyes downcast and his hands covering his endowment. This one also possessed the well rounded belly of a woman who was about to drop a child. All watched the Black Warrior closely to see what he would do, and all were surprised when he first added logs to the fire already burning uselessly in the chambers' fire pit. He then took a metal rod with a barb on one end and inserted that end into the hottest part of the fire. All watched with the eyes of owls to see what he would do next.

"He then forced the pregnant monster to bend over the sitting place and beckoned to the girl he had been violating as he spread that one's plump cheeks. The girl was at a loss at first since she had no cock, until she noted that all the Cat warriors were erect and hoped to be chosen as surrogate. She nodded the honor to Tonga. He rushed forward eagerly and forced his way without thought of using paste. This monster screamed most satisfyingly and continued with each thrust while the rest of the warriors formed a line, eager to take their turn. The Black Warrior then began to ask questions of this monster in a most pleasant tone, and this one answered at once until the Black Warrior nodded in satisfaction, before he turned his attention to the second chief monster.

"This monster did not revive until he felt the hard cock of the boy he had been raping, enter him. Then he had to be restrained with many willing hands. When the Black Warrior questioned him he had the audacity to actually spit upon the Black Warrior's person. The chamber fell silent while we waited to see his response to this ultimate insult. He appeared to be smiling through his head covering as he drew his knife. He motioned that a hand be held up with the fingers splayed. He then removed the thumb perfectly at the last joint.

"He discarded the digit in the fire as he retrieved the metal rod with the glowing tip and applied it to the stump to stop the bleeding. When our old healer saw what was to be done, he took charge of the metal rod and discarding the severed fingers four more times without a favorable response. The Black Warrior sighed loudly and touched a length of rawhide I had tied around my bicep. He instantly was offered enough rawhide to bind every Person in the chamber. He motioned to the warriors holding the monster to turn his body over. All gasped when this was done because the monster was fully erect and perhaps had enjoyed the pain inflicted thus far even at the cost of a ruined hand. All gasped again when the Black Warrior tied the leather around the base of the excited member, pulling with such force; it appeared to be almost severed.

This monster revived himself most quickly and struggled violently when he saw the Black Warrior's bloody blade wave in front of his eyes. He then answered whatever question he had been asked repeatedly. The Black Warrior nodded in satisfaction and offered his knife to the boy most recently violated. The youth did not hesitate and soon held his prize aloft for all to see amid much cheering. The Black Warrior then bade the warriors to turn the useless creature back over so the fucking could continue before he turned his attention to the chief of the three monsters.

"That great husk of a man had regained consciousness and his knees. He spoke at length while shedding tears and begging with clasped hands before the Black Warrior could ask his question. When the thing had finished, the Black Warrior motioned that it should join his fellows bent over the sitting place. He then invited the boy that he had abused to be first. Three lines formed behind the monsters, and thus occupied, the Black Warrior touched me to get my attention.

"He made sleeping motions and pointed to the pregnant monster and then to the cock-less wretch. I pointed south and north in turn and the Black Warrior nodded his thanks and made to leave the hut. I held him back and pulled him to the way down to the cave. The cave was wide and we ran first south, abreast. I could easily see his protruding manhood though the cloth covering from the corner of my eye since it was at eye level. By then I was so infatuated with this ultimate warrior, I would have offered him the comfort of my small body if he had but shown the slightest interest or desire. But that was not to be.

"The Black Warrior knew exactly where he wanted to go in the pregnant monster's hut for he went to the sleeping place. There in a small place filled with cloth coverings, he found a hide box that was fitted with a handle for carrying. He opened the closures and allowed me to look inside.

"There was nothing inside but colored and clear stones in many sizes and shapes. I thought at the time as many as the stars and just as useful or useless. I almost giggled until I saw that the baubles evoked tears of sorrow as the Black Warrior gazed at them and I thought that he sorrowed because there were too few. I planned at once to ask Chief Tonga if we could gift our savior his weight or twice that from chests full of them stored in the Cat Place, which was the People's refuge from fiends by day.

"The Black Warrior left this box of stones near the headless fiend and we ran in the opposite direction to where the cockless monster had rested. We went to the second level, to the largest sleeping place and were horrified by what we found.

"There was a boy there, tethered by his neck to the corner post of the monster's sleeping mat. He was filthy and his bones were showing indicating that he had, had no food or even water for several moons. As we entered it was clear that he had been trying to free his hands from metal shackles by chewing one off but even as the life blood flowed from his wound, he crouched, bared his teeth and raised his hands like claws. He growled and snarled most fiercely ready to attack. It was then that I recognized him as an older friend. Before the demons, we often played Cats and food in the underbrush near the village. Since he was older he was always the hunting Cat and I was the unfortunate game animal.

"My fearless friend actually attacked the Black Warrior, attempting to emasculate him as the Black Warrior scooped him up in his arms while whispering soothing words of calm. I cut his tether and cried out that the People had been freed even as I attempted to staunch the flow of his life blood. But it was too late. My friend smiled, sighed and closed his eyes for the last time snuggled in the Black Warrior's arms.

"The Black Warrior then seemed intent on leaving that hateful, filthy place without his reward until I made the motions of a hide box through my tears. He shrugged his indifference and pointed to under the sleeping mat while he shed many tears of remorse unashamed. I found the box in the low space under the sleeping mat and carried it unopened back to the middle hut while the Black Warrior carried my friend in his arms as if he was merely sleeping.

"We paused a short way from the steps up to the middle hut while the Black Warrior studied to blank stone wall before he bent down and reached into a small crevice that shouldn't have been there. A door of rock swung in noiselessly to reveal a lighted chamber. A third box was there sitting on a table for all to see if they knew the secret of the crevice. This chamber was also crowded with piles of bundled papers of various sizes and in many colors."

Harman whispered kind of loudly to Evan, who by then could barely contain his excitement; "Of course, the Nazis must have decided to steal as much currency as they could carry from the national treasury in addition to the gems. American dollars, English pounds sterling and Swiss francs; all of it was useless to the Germans during the war. That's why none of the gems ever came on the market after the war. They were paying in cash for everything."

"Will you shut the fuck up?" Buck rumbled. "We want to hear the rest of the story." He ignored the giggles from everyone for fifty feet around him who clearly understood his 'whispered' warning.

Even Bani nodded and grinned before he continued. "I carried this box so I had two and the Black Warrior took up the third as we climbed the steps. We left the boxes at the top and I took my friend into my arms as I didn't want any misunderstandings and to be sure that the Black Warrior should be held blameless for his untimely demise.

"A hush fell as we entered the chamber. The three monsters were left to their own devises as all the People gathered around us closely. The boy's mother, a newly freed captive, rushed forward and took up her son and implored the healer to return him to life through her wailings of grief. Tonga asked the circumstances.

It was then that I felt a large warm hand on my shoulder. I looked up to see that the Black Warrior had removed the tight cloth covering from his head. His hair was the color of the brightest sun and his eyes were the blue of the sparkling sea, and when I looked down at the hand that squeezed my shoulder, I saw that he had also removed the hide coverings from his hands. It was then that I saw that he wore a band of gold metal surmounted with a large red carved stone on his smallest finger.

"After I told the tail of our finding, Tonga drew his knife as he started for the smallest yet cruelest monster, but was stopped by my friend's mother. Being widowed in the first attack, she had the right to decide the fate of her son's killer. She asked if a Great Cat could be called while the healer restored the monsters to full awareness so the two could look upon the third as he was slowly devoured limb by limb. Tonga agreed and further decreed that all three would suffer the same fate. He issued orders to prepare while the healer made a drought that eased all pain and restored the mind to full awareness so that when the monsters walked to just outside the wall, they went willingly and calmly, unbound.

"The Black Warrior made to leave us at that time but I was emboldened and took his hand to pull him along as I begged him to stay and watch. We walked behind the body of my friend, who the women had cleansed and wrapped in cloths in readiness for the kiss of fire that would send him into the sky and to the Beyond.

"It was after this greatest central fire was lit and began to burn brightly with flames of many colors that the monsters saw that some of the fuel used in addition to wood were bundles of paper taken from the secret chamber. The monsters really came alive then as they acted like rodents fighting for food as they reached into the fire to retrieve as much of the paper as they could without regard to their burning flesh. They paused only when Chief Tonga roared out the fiercest of calls in an attempt to summon a Great Cat. This call had never been heard before in our long history, but most importantly the call was answered instantly! And not by just one Great Cat, there were several and very close.

"The three monsters ceased all efforts to save their paper when they looked to the sound of thunder just beyond the fires to see shining green eyes staring back at them. Only three Cats broke cover to show themselves while others kept moving around the edge of the clearing. The People fell silent and to their knees in reverence while the three monsters cowered together in fear as man seed and shit flowed freely from their bowels.

"The three most beautiful creatures walked to the main fire impossibly close and stared at the small burning body as it disappeared before their eyes before one approached Tonga. Tonga stood tall while this Cat stretched its forelegs out so their eyes were even. Tonga showed no fear as they greeted each other warrior to Great Cat. Their eyes touched and held unblinking before this Cat's eyes moved to the three cowering monsters and allowed a low growl as its eyes narrowed. The monsters began to back away and move apart as if to save themselves individually as if they could when the three Great Cats slinked toward them with fangs bared in gruesome smiles.

"The first chosen was the pregnant one. All wanted to see what thing he might birth. He backed away from the Cat who seemed most interested and each time his back felt a Cat's head that propelled him back closer to the beautiful predator that stalked him casually. The brief chase ended when the pregnant one fell to his back.

"This one flailed out with his legs in a futile attempt to keep the Cat away as one annoying foot was removed with the crunch of bone. The Cat dropped his puny trophy and sneezed as if to clear his nostrils of a foul odor and taste. Then with another low growl the Great Cat opened his mouth wide to clamp down on the mysterious protrusion. The Cat backed away, finally pulling the body along by the entrails. All were disappointed to see a mass of quivering fat upon the ground and not some sort of hideous progeny. As this monster's screams subsided in death, the two realized that the same fate awaited them.

"These two monsters then colluded with each other to decide a course of action in an attempt to escape. Both ran together into the blackness of the under growth. The People and the Great Cats together heard the screams and then silence as two smaller Cats emerged to prance proudly toward two of the adult Cats who awaited them while sitting on their haunches. The two young Cats dropped their well mauled bloody burdens before their sires' huge paws to look up as if expecting praise. What they received were green eyes rolled heavenward, a deep growl of displeasure and a quick and harmless cuff that would have decapitated any warrior. The bigger Cats then seemed to forgive the two, perhaps their progeny with a snuffle and an affectionate head to head rub.

"The Cat People laughed at this exchange and parents gave their children friendly cuffs about the head recognizing similar problems in disciplining impetuous youth. I thought to escape my father by moving behind the Black Warrior who laughed and stepped away.

"The friendly banter ended then as the Black Warrior tipped his head toward the silent stone hut and motioned that it was time for him to slip away just the way that he arrived. I followed with head downcast but raced ahead to take up two of the boxes to lessen his burden. As we walked down the path to the dock he put his free arm over my shoulders and pulled me tight to his side while I dared to place my small arm around his waist.

At the dock, the Black Warrior pulled a line and a short fat canoe with fixed paddles appeared from beneath. He stepped down to board and I handed down his three boxes. I thought to wave, but he returned to the dock, bent down and greeted me in the way of the People and as our eyes met I hoped he would not see my tears. He patted my shoulders and offered me his well-used knife and I promptly offered mine in exchange since the knife was his only weapon and he could not depart unarmed. We laughed together because our knives were so similar in blade length, balance, feel and even bone handles. I realized then that I did not know the Black Warrior's true name so I touched my chest and said clearly; 'Toug'. He promptly nodded and touched his chest to answer; 'Anton'..."

"He WAS grandfather!" Evan exclaimed as he stood up and raised his hand with his thumb up. Both Bani and Carb relayed Evan's words to the People, which brought everyone to their feet with cheers. Bani helped Toug to gain his feet and down to see Evan's thumb closely. "This was Grandfather's signet ring," he explained.

Toug nodded and pulled Evan in for an effusive greeting as tears of joy rolled down his still handsome face. "It is so." Toug pronounced before he asked, "Tell me of your grandfather, no doubt the greatest of all white warriors during our time."

Evan suddenly pulled a knife and promptly offered it hilt first to Toug. "I will but first, is this your knife?" The knife was plain but as all who had seen Anton use it or felt it in their gut; very functional. Toug took the blade and turned it over; Evan saw three small notches near the hilt.

Carb spoke for Toug, "Toug says the notches were a means of recording his kills." Evan watched as Toug drew his own knife, the one that he'd traded for Anton's so long ago. Evan saw that the bone handle was covered with many similar scratches and when he turned it over; there were more still. Toug looked to Carb to explain.

"Toug was the first and only boy so young, ever to be made a full warrior that same eventful night and he has enjoyed many kills since then. Killing is sometimes needful," Carb concluded.

Bani added what Carb wouldn't say; "Carb failed to mention that he and five young friends were also made warriors at an early age. That occurred just after five year old Tara caught him in the big hut garden where he wasn't supposed to be and there was a need for younger warriors to be Tara's and my guardians." He grinned at Carb's discomfiture and added, "You can imagine his embarrassment when he was seen by a toddler."

"TODDLER," JC exploded, "I'll just have you know that I was already a very experienced Indian scout at the time and a tall painted warrior attempting to look like a tree trunk did not fool me at all."

Evan nodded his understanding of Toug's comment about killing. "Grandfather used your knife many, many times but didn't keep a record and only a few ever witnessed his kills and lived to tell of them. He hunted other Nazi warriors who fled their lands as cowards without honor who thought they would be safe in distant quiet places such as your lands, and others who coveted his property to prosper without effort." He hoped his explanation was sufficient. It was.

Toug asked, "What of the colorful stones?"

Evan rolled his eyes, not because of what Anton did with them, but because he didn't think he could explain the Holocaust or about the Jews who were the former owners adequately or quickly, but when he finished the brief history lesson all the people, who were listening intently, were in tears.

"Over six millions, as many as the stars scattered over many lands and with no warriors?" Toug mumbled. "Surely the progeny of the few that survived are now warriors who can defend themselves?"

To answer, Evan pulled Hans and Herman forward. "These are two Jewish warriors who are now my bodyguards and were Grandfather's in his later years. Can anyone doubt my safety or Grandfathers' before me?"

Just then unseen drums began to beat. The brief ceremony elevating a boy to Warrior of the People began. Tonga appeared pulling Bani along like a blushing bride. Bani was naked and without weapons or any adornment; not even his Cat's Eye. His body glistened wetly from the application of too much paste and his cock was fully erect. To the People, a proud erection was the ultimate symbol of manhood long before they owned modern weapons, back to the time of the Ancients.

Tonga silently draped a bandolier of full magazines across Bani's left shoulder and then a coveted AK-47 across his right. The closest Cat warriors reacted with whispers when they saw that the rifle was Tonga's, presented to him by the first Tara, JC's father. Tonga turned to the People and was about to launch into a long winded speech, which like all politicians; he was so fond of, when JC and John stepped forward.

"Honored Chief, we the white warriors have gifts for you, and your son, the future chief and all Cat warriors." JC announced as he presented Tonga with both M-16 and M-4 assault rifles and before Tonga had a chance to thank JC and the others, he offered Bani a second set of rifles.

John stepped forward at that time and offered Bani a gleaming laptop computer. JC translated for John, "While the rifle is the symbol of manhood, the computer is the symbol of the future and a tool that will help you lead the way." Bani grinned hugely and clutched the laptop to his chest.

"Do not just stand there like a dummy, dummy, open it up and turn it around so the People can see." JC shot into Bani's mind.

Bani frowned at feeling the brief mental assault but did as he was instructed after he giggled at what he saw and then laughed when his image on the screen giggled back. John had turned the webcam on and when Bani turned it so the People could see the screen; they crowded closer at laughed at their images and began aping with each other to see if the wondrous box could keep up with their antics.

Doug noted Kad and Sidi standing nearby and while they maintained smiles, they also tried to hide looks of envy so he tried to touch their minds in English; "Don't worry you two. You will have your own machines soon. All students at our school have them because you will need them to study."

Surprise registered on both young warriors' faces as they looked about until they spotted Doug grinning at them. Sidi answered, "We understand your words in some way but we do not have your language and you Chief Doug, do not have ours. Could it be there is a common language of the mind? We will not need magic machines. We can watch Lord Bani's, but we could use the new rifles to be proper bodyguards."

Doug giggled. Education aside, their first priority was to protect Bani and he misunderstood their looks. "You both will have one of each, but at school you will have small handguns that you will carry under your clothes like we carry ours."

"CLOTHES?" Kad questioned. Doug was surprised to learn that it was possible to shout in mind speak. "We know of these cloth coverings but they are unnecessary. We will run with water, itch and chafe our skins," He reached down to stroke himself to be sure Doug knew what area they were most concerned about chafing.

"Where we live it is very cold now. We have seasons and now the coldest is winter, clothing will feel very good."

"How cold is cold?" Bani asked since the discussion about having to wear clothing was news to him as well.

Doug giggled in their minds most annoyingly. "Cold is as cold or colder than ice cubes or ice cream, only it surrounds you completely when you are outside our huts."

"But what of coupling if one feels the need outside our huts?" Bani asked with a tone of desperation in his mental voice.

JC interrupted although he wanted to hear more of Bani's growing consternation on learning more about the civilization he would soon be entering. "Bani, your father is frowning in your direction. I think he knows your mind is elsewhere. We can explain more fully later tonight."

Bani smiled at everyone disarmingly after a hidden glance at his father, and thanked the white warrior Chiefs for the great gifts. JC nodded to Gregor, who in turn waved to the crew as a signal to hand over all their new rifles to their Cat warrior friends as planned. Doug made sure that Kad and Sidi received one of each model as he promised and created small problem. No Cat warrior wanted to carry two rifles and none of the Elders or sub chiefs could use three or even carry three rifles.

While Tonga met with the Elders to discuss the dilemma, Kad, Sidi, Carb and Bani solved the problem by disappearing briefly. When they reappeared, their heavy AK-47's and ammo bandoliers were gone. Each carried one A-4 slung over one shoulder. When the other Cat warriors saw them they quickly retired their AK-47's as well in favor of their new gifts, so when Tonga and the Elders walked from the meeting hut similarly armed the need to make an announcement was unnecessary except he did manage to say that the old AK-47 would continue to be given to new warriors as a symbol of manhood.

After another half hour of giving thanks for the new weapons which included at least one more cup of the potent fruit drink, Gregor hurried the crew in returning to Sea Song after making sure that everyone knew that Cat warriors would be welcome aboard after the secret part of the manhood ceremony was complete.

"Did Bani ever take you to the Cat Place?" Carb asked JC while they waited for the needless Council decision.

"Ah, well, I know where it is. Bani almost got me in there before he mentioned that it was taboo. If it was taboo for him then it was doubly so for me. I didn't want to get my family killed on a stupid boyhood dare."

Carb grinned, "I will tell you a secret of the People; most have visited there at least one time but it is never spoken of. All know that the Cats watch and if they objected to a person, one with evil intent, that person would not be seen again.

"I say, do you mean that they would be eaten?" Medi asked with wide eyes.

Carb laughed and shook his head. "You heard Toug's words concerning the monsters and we have found three white hunting parties that we think the Cat's discovered first and after the scavengers have finished with. No bodies appeared to have been carried away, which the Cats always do with game. When only scattered large bones are left, who is to know how they died." When he saw Medi sigh with relief as he digested that knowledge he added; "But they will kill any human to keep our mutual secrets, it has always been so since the time of the Ancients."

"What exactly do they eat and why do they stay hidden from you?" Buck asked. Everyone was interested in hearing those answers.

"Before the monsters, the Cat's hunted the same food animals the People hunted, which is why our lands are so extensive and why back in that time the People and the Cats were so few. After the monsters, we shared the cross bred swine, which are huge and breed very fast. Now the People have herds enclosed and the Cats have the wild ones. Now none have to range for food so far and rumors of Great Cats in our lands are waning while stories of extreme danger continue just as we prefer.

Carb continued after reflecting on the question of why the Cat's stayed hidden for millennia, "As to their shyness, I myself think before Bani there was no reason to show themselves because we two species could not communicate as we did at the time of the Ancients. It is enough to know that they are always close and," he smiled at JC, "protective of our young who think they can avoid warrior supervision anytime they wish."

JC turned crimson and rolled his eyes, "I think Bani always knew we were being watched and perhaps even feel which way was safe. I know we frequently saw fresh tracks that were ten times the size of a normal Jaguar and when we did we knew the whole surrounding area was safe for our adventures. Bani also told me one time that he could smell them; their scent is the scent of paste but it was always too slight for my nose."

Carb nodded in agreement. "In return for them guarding all the People, we are pleased to hunt certain game for them that they cannot hunt for themselves." Carb explained further when he saw questioning looks. "The Great Cats enjoy feasting on waterfowl which rest upon our lake during their migrations and also the whisker fish which grow to great size but hide in dens on the lake bottom. The water birds are gone now but the fish are in great numbers. If there is time before you leave us perhaps you would enjoy hunting whisker fish. It is a hunt that all ages can enjoy." He said something to Sport, Nip and Tuck and while Sport nodded, Nip and Tuck started to jump up and down eager to show Pettie their fishing skills immediately even though it was full dark. Since all Cat People could see in the dark, they thought everyone could.

Being a teenager, Sport stayed close to Pettie and Scott during the feast while Nip and Tuck couldn't join them until their mothers joined their mates and once reunited, neither miniature warrior tyke was about to be separated from Pettie and his mate until they were carried away. To get them to calm down, Pettie, who was sitting with his long legs folded Indian fashion, made the mistake of opening his arms and inviting them to sit on his lap as he did regularly with his little brother only his little brother was never naked and neither was Pettie.

Sport had already used signing to tell the two little boys of his success while he was swimming with the white warrior chiefs and Nip and Tuck wanted to see Pettie's erection for themselves. They already had the foresight to anoint each other with paste in the hope of more body contact with him, so they began to wiggle and rub their backs against his body to transfer some of the paste to his skin and Pettie slowly began to react favorably as he casually wrapped an arm around each little body and to unconsciously rub their arms and chests while he watched Sport, who was absently running a hand up and down Scott's thigh ever higher. Scott had already succumbed to Sport's efforts and didn't think anyone could see his hardness in the shadows since they were sitting well back away from the fire.

At first Scott playfully pushed Sport's hand away until he realized that what was happening was nothing more than what had already happened between he and Pettie just a few months after he was hired to be a high school history teacher and part-time assistant swim team coach just out of college. Scott still thanked all gods great and small, that he was wearing baggy all concealing cargo shorts over his Speedo when he first saw Pettie walk onto the pool deck for the first time as a ninth grader, a high school freshman there for tryouts. Pettie already towered over the other young hopefuls and had the wide shoulders that would have put Scott's few college teammates that specialized in the butterfly stroke to shame. Of course he was wearing a tank suit that was at least two sizes too small and the tiny bit of colorful cloth couldn't begin to conceal the size of his youthful package.

It was then that Pettie and Scott made eye contact. Pettie blinked and his eyes widened as Scott nodded and began to turn away to hide his reaction until Pettie suddenly dropped into the pool and began to swim at near racing speed. As Pettie approached where Scott stood watching, he looked up with pleading eyes. Scott nodded again and then saw the coach frown and raise his whistle. It was clear that Pettie had usurped the coach's welcoming speech and was about to order Pettie from the pool. Scott beat the coach in whistle blowing and ordered everyone into the pool to warm up.

Scott thought the Coach would be angry when he took charge that first day but discovered that the reverse was true. The Coach was delighted that his new shave tail assistant actually knew something about competitive swimming. He taught Physics and Chemistry and took the job years earlier because he could look forward to an extra thousand dollars in his paycheck every year for as little as an hour extra after classes during the swim season. The old coach was even careful to avoid being splashed. He eagerly abdicated his authority to Scott that first day and after an only fifteen minutes of watching Scott conduct tryouts, was content to pat Scott on the back and hurry home for an early supper.

Scott looked at the very short roster of returning swimmers in a state where football was the absolute king of sports and then at the ten freshmen hopefuls, nine of them floundering around in the shallow end of the pool, and Pettie who continued doing lazy laps in a lane by himself switching strokes when he felt like it, he decided that everyone would make the team and his first mission was to teach basic swimming forms.

Scott had the nine boys stand up and watch Pettie as he swam by while doing a specific stroke. Then he had the boys emulate the stroke from where they stood. He ignored the starting blocks to begin with; he decided that those would be a whole other lesson after they learned how to reach the opposite end of the pool more or less while staying between the lane markers. The boys inevitably began swimming faster actually attempting to catch up to Pettie, while when Pettie noticed them coming, he slowed down so they could swim together companionably! Scott couldn't quite believe his eyes when he saw Pettie turn the first time in the shallow end; he stood up, and in turning under the diving boards where he couldn't touch; he merely pushed off the wall with one arm and didn't use his powerful legs at all.

Scott didn't like to use his whistle excessively so he just called Pettie's name and got no response. "His names' Little Pettie", a boy advised, "his daddy's Pettie or Big Pettie."

"Little Pettie?" Scott squeaked in surprise before he began laughing.

"Yes Sir Coach, what stroke do you want now?" Pettie asked from close by while he continued to tread water as he looked up at Scott on the pool deck.

"Well, I wanted to ask about your turns; they weren't awful, awful good. Who taught you to turn like you do?"

"No one really," Pettie answered, "I believe I could do it better. I saw it done some on TV but I never been in a big pool with real walls before just our pond with a float out in the middle. I ain't been in a pool long enough to practice regular turns." he qualified.

Scott rolled his eyes as he unsnapped and dropped his shorts without thinking about baring his body. "I'll just show you how it's done," he said while he scooted to a bench and tossed swim goggles to everyone before he continued, "and then after y'all give it a try, we'll attempt a few races from the starting blocks and you Little Pettie, if I catch you slowing down so your friends can catch up again, I'll toss you off the team. To be sure you don't slow down I'm going to race you in every stroke and if I even think you let me win; same deal, you'll be off the team." He warned although he realized he could never do it, he was already enthralled by Little Pettie's magnificent body, his handsome face, his soft voice and he admitted to himself, Pettie's incredible package.

Scott taught the boys how to turn by swimming toward the wall from about ten yards out. He used a middle lane so boys stood on both sides of the float lines and just ducked under to watch as he turned. After his fourth demo turn, he had the boys try. Pettie was one of the first six and after turning, he turned on his power, raced to the other end, turned and raced back. The boys watching cried foul; they didn't think about actually racing and they wanted a second chance at chasing Pettie, so Scott allowed them to race by starting from ten yards out. Then when it was the remaining four boys' turn in the water, they wanted to chase Pettie as well. The first informal heats became a game of fox and hounds and Pettie, the fox, always stood up and was leaning against the wall ready to greet and giggle with the pursuing hounds by the time they touched, up to a full minute after he did.

Scott had the boys take a break before they began using the starting blocks and really looked at the pool for the first time. The high school pool was outdated. There were only six lanes, not eight. There was no electronic timer, the side decks were only five feet wide and the bleachers consisted of a dozen rusting metal folding chairs, plus the smell of chlorine from a poor ventilation system was almost overpowering. When Scott stated his opinion of the facility the boys agreed and then told him that the team only uses this pool for practice and actually holds home meets across the road in a spanking new fifty meter pool on the county community college campus.

"But that's impossible!" Scott complained. "There's no way you can practice in a twenty-five meter pool and compete in a fifty meter pool, no wonder this team never wins." He realized he'd said too much when he saw the ten boys' dejected expressions.

One boy spoke up; "My older brother is already on the team and he told me there's another reason our record is a mite poor. Please don't take offence Coach but, well, my brother don't think Coach Rodgers can even swim. You saw him today standin' back by the locker room door? Well, that's so he wouldn't get wet 'cause he wasn't wearin' rubbers..."

"RUBBERS?" Scott exploded wearing a goggle eyed expression.

"Not them rubbers," Pettie said speaking for the first time so he could be heard over the laughter. "George here meant the kind old timers wear on their feet, you know, over their shoes, them kind," he corrected.

"Oh, I knew that, I was just funin' with y'all." He grinned to negate his statement. "I wonder if the college swim team would let us practice with them," Scott mused. That comment brought on another gale of laughter. "What'd I say now?" he asked.

"Well, nothin' really," George answered, "except they don't have a swim team, the county got state and federal matching funds to build the college and the plans included a pool. After it was all built they discovered that most of the students who go there also have part-time jobs to pay their tuition so there never was any kind of athletics department or team sports. The pool is used just for open swimming on weekends and our home meets."

"I'll make some calls tomorrow to see if maybe we can just move over there," Scott mused.

Pettie smiled at Scott, "You'd get a sight further if you were from around here, but maybe some of our fathers could twist some arms." The other boys nodded.

"Well my grandfather left me his spread and since I wanted to live there, I applied for a job here. My grandfather was Walt Turner. Does that count?"

Scott found that being Walt Turner's grandson counted very much. The boys told him to mention his grandfather's name to whomever he called and the 'good ole boys' would welcome him with open arms as soon as they found out that his family had lived in the county for generations.

After the boys got used to the starting blocks Scott began swimming and racing with them, that is he raced Pettie and found that the big teen was just naturally talented and too fast. Scott still wasn't sure that Pettie was swimming as fast as he could but he was certain that with some training and faster competition that he would realize his full potential and at the end of high school he could look forward to a full scholarship at any college or university he wished to attend.

Scott called a halt at five-thirty and disappeared into the small coach's office to grade papers while he waited for the boys to get showered, dressed and leave so he could shower. If Pettie wasn't among the group he would have showered with them, but since he was, Scott knew he would spring a diamond cutter and reveal his interest in Pettie's extraordinary sleek swimmer's body. His interest in other guys, swimmers mostly was a long held secret that originated back when he was in high school himself. Most remarkable, so far, he had always been able to resist all temptations.

At six-fifteen he closed his briefcase and peeled off his tank suit and as soon as he opened the office door he heard the sound of a shower running. He sighed; it seemed that there was always one asshole or idiot on every team who left a shower running. Scott got about four steps into the shower room with his attention on his hard cock; he planned to jerk off as soon as he got wet using Pettie's face and body as his imaginary lover. The sound of the water changed suddenly and he looked up the see Pettie standing under the steaming cascade facing him, watching him fondle his cock while Pettie's hand was a blur on his own.

Scott rushed forward and batted Pettie's hand away. "Please don't ever do that again if I'm around," he whispered as his hands replaced Pettie's.

"I thought you sneaked out an' I was just takin' stuff into my own hands. Shit Coach, I'm plumb confused. I never felt this way about another guy before although I looked. When I saw y'all standin' on the deck I just had to jump in the damn water or tear up my brand new twenty-four dollar bathin' suit, an' you appeared to be in the same shape. I held back 'til the guys left. I just had to see if I was right. Now I see I was, maybe we could be just like jerk off buddies or somethin'."

"Damn Pettie, you are so beautiful, we can do anything you want and nothing y'all don't want. Like right now you could touch me if you want to or you could just watch." Scott panted.

"I'm sure fixin' to do that, but first I was wonderin' if jerk off buddies ever kiss?"

To answer, Scott pulled Pettie's head down to his five foot-ten inch height until their open mouths met. Their tongues fought. Pettie won when he just straightened up, picking Scott off the tile floor until his toes barely touched.

Scott pulled away suddenly, "Put me down! Put me down!" He gasped, "I need to show y'all a better way to kiss." Pettie dropped him like a hot rock by throwing his arms open wide. Scott fell to his feet, and then sank to his knees using Pettie's quivering legs as guides. He just had time to lock his lips firmly around Little Pettie's little head before it began to vomit cum and he had to consciously swallow rapidly to handle the impressive flow.

Scott thought he would just stay on his knees to nurse every last drop from Pettie but he had other plans and Scott was left sucking air as Pettie's hands found their way under Scott's arms to his pits and he was unceremoniously hauled to his feet and backed against the tile wall and Pettie sank to his knees, eager to try the new form of 'kissing' that Scott had just demonstrated.

While Scott was older, he was no more experienced and it only took Pettie a few seconds longer to receive his own bountiful reward. While Pettie seemed content to continue the kiss; Scott realized the danger they were in and he turned panicky. He pushed Pettie back and attempted to pull him to his feet.

"Pettie, enough, we need to calm down, get dressed and get out of here before we get caught. Do you realize what would happen? I'd be run out of town on a rail by your father, ah, that would be in twenty years; the day I got out of prison and your career as a competitive swimmer would be over."

Pettie remained on his knees and grinned up at Scott. "We sure will Coach, but first we need to do that low down kiss again, only this time at the same time, right down here on this yucky floor."

Scott's answer was a moan and renewed hardness as he sank to the tiles and allowed Pettie to arrange his body to the eager young swimmer's satisfaction. Half an hour later as they finally dressed, Scott began to think of how to tell Pettie that what they did was spontaneous and could never happen again while Pettie had other ideas entirely.

"Say Coach are y'all planin' to start up a herd again on that very nice land of yours?" Pettie asked hopefully.

"Nope, I was born and raised in Houston and just spent some time during summers with my granddad and know nothin' about cattle except as steak, roasts, burgers and of course boots. I was thinking about leasing out the land if anyone is interested but I haven't gotten to askin' around yet." Scott answered while he remained distracted.

Pettie's radiant smile lit up the locker room as he dug into his back pack to retrieve his cell phone. "Got time for some supper?" He asked Scott as he speed dialed. "Hello, Momma, this is Pettie," Pettie said to his mother as if she wouldn't recognize his distinctive soft voice and drawl. He ignored Scott's snickers. "I'm somewhat late for supper because the new coach was workin' my sorry butt off in the pool. Seems he thinks I have some potential but I was callin' to see if you got enough supper for him too. I want him an' Daddy to meet up to talk about a business deal." While Pettie talked to his mother, he easily fended off Scott's frantic efforts to grab his phone. "Okay Momma, we'll see you soon, bye, bye."

"Are you fucking nuts!?" Scott raged, "If you think I'm about to go home to meet your parents after what I just did to you, you are certifiably nuts!"

"Calm down Coach, I got it all worked out. First, you could volunteer to coach me extra after team practice so we could spend some extra time together durin' the week with no questions. An' second, y'all lease your spread to my daddy. Then we put some stock on it. Now critters need some care, most especially on weekends an' since daddy's too busy I guess I might have to spend a mite of time over there doin' just that. Then come spring an' summer I'll be over there plantin' all that fine bottom land with feed crops, which also need some care before they're harvested," Pettie grinned down on Scott, "an' if you weren't otherwise employed school vacations and the whole summer I believe I could just hire you to help me out, that is if you was willin' to do what so ever I wanted like workin' lots more on that low down kissin'."

Scott was nearly speechless but he did manage; "You thought all this up in just a few minutes?"

"Shucks no, I worked out the coachin' part in the pool 'cause I really do need extra help there if you was of a mind to do it. The second part was inspired when y'all said you wanted to lease your land. Daddy's been lookin' to expand without breakin' the bank so I think he'll say yes in a heartbeat."

"It sounds good but I still have to face your dad." Scott said as he followed Pettie outside to the parking lot.

Pettie giggled, "Just don't be doin' any grab ass when he's around," he advised.

"Okay, I'll be good but it seemed to me that you were doin' most of the grabbin' in the shower just now. Do you want me to follow you?" Scott asked although his was the only car in the parking lot.

Pettie looked down on Scott again, something Scott would have to get used to. "Well yo' can but the bus is gone, I'm kind of tuckered and I'm not up to runnin' twelve miles very fast just now."

That first trip to Pettie's family ranch was the first of what became daily occurrences for Scott. While the family had eaten by the time they arrived Scott wouldn't have guessed it from the quantity of fresh hot food placed on the kitchen table for just the two of them. Pettie started talking about leasing Scott's ranch to give hyper-nervous Scott time to calm down and as he listened he began to take an interest. He was surprised by the magnitude of the operation that Pettie proposed. He envisioned actually fully stocking the old 'Turner Place' and raising feed crops on every inch of available bottom land. It was clear that Big Pettie wanted to but Scott saw the hesitation in his eyes and suspected that the reason was the huge cash investment required to purchase the number of prime cattle. Scott opened his mouth at that point.

His grandfather had not just left him the ranch, but also most of his surprisingly large estate so he proposed a partnership. He would provide the cash for stocking and was willing to work as time allowed, weekends, school holidays and every summer as long as he was given direction. Scott could see that Little Pettie was so delighted that if his parents and his five year old brother weren't present he would have received a 'down low' thank you kiss then and there.

Scott was able to curb Little Pettie's impulse by explaining what he thought of Pettie's potential to become a champion swimmer with some hard dedicated work. He opined that he thought Pettie could already beat most of the best college age swimmers and he was only fourteen years old while in upcoming high school meets he would beat all comers and might even take state titles when they got that far.

Big Pettie had noticed flickers of eye contact between his son and the very handsome new coach all through supper and Little Pettie was unusually animated as if he had a burr in his breeches for some reason. He already knew that Little Pettie showed no interest in girls although he had clearly been old enough for almost two years, evidenced by the near constant protrusion in his jeans that was impossible to hide and so was ignored. He wondered how Pettie 'handled' that particular problem while wearing his new ridiculously over-priced almost transparent swim suit in front of the other boys on the team. His frequent trips to the bathroom or excuses that he 'forgot somethin' in his room or the barn would not be options at a pool. When Scott used the word 'they' when he discussed the state finals and he saw both young eating machines blush and hesitate the movement of their forks, he thought that perhaps a second secret partnership had already been negotiated, agreed to and maybe consummated somehow. That could be why the two boys were so late for supper since Pettie had always been early for any meal his entire life. Big Pettie shrugged mentally as he shook hands with Scott after he agreed to the partnership just before Scott left for home.

When Pettie turned away from the door after Scott's tail lights were long gone, he turned to his father and commented; "I think we just made a mighty fine deal, don't you?"

Big Pettie agreed with a hearty back slap and gave instructions, "We sure did, but y'all need to be takin' charge over at that ranch 'cause I'll be too busy here. Teach the coach everything about raisin' beef 'cause all he knows now is how to raise his fork from a big Porterhouse steak. Be sure to take all the time yo' need. Likewise you listen and do everything he says regardin' swimmin' and gettin' in proper shape. And one more thing I forgot to mention, tell Scott he's expected to supper every night he brings yo' home or even when he's just hungry for some home cooked food. I'm already thinkin' of him as part of the family. Now yo' get off to bed, you look some tuckered. I need to make a call to see to it that the college pool is yours to use from now on. I think maybe you two plan on usin' it in the mornin' early whilst it's quiet before school an' then after school y'all can have just team practice so yo' can get home here for supper and we can all eat together."

"Okay Daddy, just one thing; maybe you could get Coach a key so we won't need a janitor to let us in an' we can just lock ourselves in so there ain't no distractions," Pettie suggested and held his breath.

"Good idea Son, I'll just do that."

"Do you think the county commissioners will agree?" Pettie asked halfway up the stairs.

"Yup, they will if they want any more contributions for their re-elections, they surely will. They owe me favors from way back an' this one won't cost them a dime."

What Scott forecast or prophesied for Pettie's first year came true. If he swam in any event in competition he won. The team didn't always win but three wins was still three hundred percent better than previous years and the meets began to draw more spectators and even the cheer leading squad showed up to cheer and then half the girls in the school as word of Pettie's extraordinary body and prominent defined bulge spread among the girls. Pettie's parents and little brother, Hughie, never missed a meet and suddenly other parents joined them.

The bleachers were nearly full of spectators for the last meet, one of the three that the team won overall. Several busses had to be organized to transport all the spectators to the regionals in Austin and more to attend the state finals in Dallas. It didn't seem to matter that Pettie was the only home team swimmer that was to compete at the state level; he had by far the greatest number of fans and they went berserk as always bashful Pettie stood far above everyone on the pool deck winner's platform to receive an unprecedented number of gold metals suspended from blue ribbons that were hung around his neck with great difficulty until Pettie finally knelt down so the short rotund presenter could reach his head.

Scott pulled Big Pettie's arm until he bent so Scott could shout into his ear, "Take a picture of our boy because you'll be taking more just like that when we get him into some national meets, then international and finally to the Olympics."

Big Pettie hugged Scott up off the floor just like Pettie was so fond of doing before he answered, "What's this we shit Scotty? You got a mouse in your pocket? You did it all by your lonesome, somehow you got him motivated to always swim all out. Now how you plannin' to get him some national experience against some real fast movers?" Scott could only shrug after he was allowed to stand on his own two feet again.

On Saturday, the next weekend, Pettie was as usual over at Scott's, supposedly hard at work doing some chore or project that required his presence both Friday and Saturday nights. Big Pettie no longer challenged his big strapping son to think up a reason for his need to stay overnight at Scott's, alleviating the need for the boy to fib. Big Pettie and Hughie were on horseback officially riding the fence lines and unofficially just exercising their horses while they chatted companionably, father to son.

Suddenly Pal, Hughie's Palomino filly pricked up her ears. "Here comes Oscar the mailman," Hughie announced with certainty as he pulled down his hat just before he gave Pal her head and she quickly went into a gallop. "Race y'all to the mailbox Daddy!" Hughie screamed over his shoulder.

"Shit," Big Pettie mumbled, "that horse is more like a dog. Who ever heard of a horse that listens for the mail truck? Come on Sky get a move on. Just try to catch her you big lazy lug." He demanded of his huge black stallion.

Pal learned to listen after several trips to the mailbox. One of Hughie's chores was to get the mail each day and usually in the afternoon. Oscar delivered to the rural routes, which were either ranches or clusters of homes provided for ranch hands and since there were lots of horses, he always carried sugar cubes along as horse treats, much like bank tellers had dog biscuits at drive thru windows and Pal always expected her treat even if Hughie rode his boy size model of all-terrain vehicle instead of her.

When Pettie arrived at the gate, Hughie clutched the few pieces of mail in one hand and was attempting to back Pal away from the open truck window while she had half her head inside trying to coerce Oscar out of another sugar cube by nuzzling his face and neck.

"Hughie, get that horse outta there!" Pettie demanded. "Oscar doesn't want a bath of slobber and snot."

"I told you to back up, you greedy bitch!" Hughie screeched in his youthful voice and which order Pal obeyed.

"Hughie! What was that word I just heard?"

"Ah, sorry Daddy, but sometimes she just gets me so riled when she don't listen, an' besides Pettie says that word and more and you never say nothin' to him."

"That's because he ain't as likely to make a mistake an' say a cuss word in front of your momma, while you boy, got your momma's temper. Just be warned if she hears one of them words outta you, you'll likely be walkin' for a week 'cause you can't sit down."

Oscar interrupted, "Say Pettie, you got any relatives up north that died or you bein' sued by someone in New Jersey State?"

"Nope, none that I know of livin' or dead, and suing me would only benefit the lawyers, why?" Pettie disliked nosey people and gossips and Oscar was the worst offender and spread rumors based on a written address or a return address that wasn't local or a business that he'd ever heard of.

"Well Hughie's got you a letter that screams lawyer. The damn envelope is such fine paper it must have cost a dollar alone an' then the return address is embossed real high too." Oscar explained, eager for information about the costly envelopes' contents.

Pettie took the mail from Hughie. He had no problem picking out the envelope in question. He smiled as he glanced down at Oscar. "I sure am glad to find out you don't read none of my magazines like 'Forbes', 'Business Week', or even 'News Week', if you did you'd have known this name. I guess it's off to the library for you Oscar if you want to know. One thing more Oscar, I better not get any phone calls askin' what's in this letter from any neighbor along your route. Good day." As Pettie turned Sky away he mumbled, "Yonder goes one dumb sombitch Hughie. Now let's just see why Mister Buckminster Trenton the Third is writin' to me."

Hughie giggled, "Now Daddy, what was that word I just heard?"

Big Pettie didn't answer but grinned as he began to read the letter. "I believe I just screwed up. This is addressed to Peter A. Cross, not Peter R., an' I went an' opened it. Oh well, come on Hughie, it's such a nice afternoon let's just ride over there an' give this to him an' Scott direct."

"Who is this guy Daddy an' what's he want with our Pettie?" Hughie asked.

"Well, he's a multi-billionaire for one thing; he earns his money by investing it in new upstart business, so he's called a venture capitalist. Then he also buys businesses that fell on hard times an' either gets 'em up an' runnin' smooth again, or if that ain't possible, he chunks 'em up and sells the pieces. So he's also called a corporate raider. People don't like him for doin' that but I think it's necessary. It's like what Scott an' me did to that rancher we bought that whole herd of Angus from to stock Scott's land."

"That sorry dude got greedy. He wanted to expand an' didn't have the ready cash to do it so he mortgaged his land, the whole place, an' bought that herd for top dollar. Then with no more cash to operate an' more expenses from keepin' a triple size herd, an' with the price of beef down, he was about to lose his herd and his ranch. We bought his herd for fifty cents on the dollar an' he was able to pay the bank loans off an' keep his land so he can start over. But he don't see what we did as a good deed, he thinks we're thieves an' won't even look at me anymore. While if the bank pounced on him, he'd have lost his fancy herd an' his ranch an' be out in the middle of the farm road bare ass naked."

"But what's Mister Trenton want with our Pettie?"

"Oh, well it seems his son and his friends are into swimmin' like Pettie, so his daddy built him a big fancy pool. This letter invites Pettie to go up there and race 'em, which Scott wants Pettie to do in the worst way. Scott still don't think our boy is swimmin' as fast as he can, he thinks Pettie only goes as fast as necessary to touch first an' no damn faster."

Hughie suggested twice that they call ahead to tell the boys they were coming but Big Pettie wanted to surprise the pair with such good news. Pettie wasn't thinking about the two doing anything with each other since it was broad daylight in the middle of the afternoon although he recognized and adjusted to the fact that they were indeed a couple and what they did with each other behind a closed door at night was no one's business. The pair seemed to have an ideal relationship. When it came to running the ranch, Pettie was the boss and whenever Pettie was in the pool, Scott gave the orders.

Everything was quiet as the horses walked into the yard. Hughie's apprehension grew as Big Pettie knocked on the door and got no answer. Pettie decided that they must be out back, using the brand new three lane heated lap pool that Scott had built for Pettie and paid cash to have built in a hurry without batting an eye at seeing the total cost.

As father and young son walked through the opening in the ancient boxwood hedge, they first saw steam rising from the water, and that the water was agitated, which meant that they were in the pool somewhere but not swimming. Hughie knew what they were doing but had no way to stop his father from seeing and maybe getting too angry. He might hurt Scott or even Pettie. The two got twenty feet from the hedge closer to the pool before they saw Scott sitting on the edge of the pool. He was leaning back on his elbows and panting while he watched Pettie bobbing his head with Scott's big hard cock in his mouth.

Big Pettie took one look, grabbed Hughie, threw him over his shoulder and retreated back outside the hedge before he put Hughie down. "I told you Daddy, we should have called first," he scolded anxiously.

Pettie frowned down on his young son as he realized that Hughie already knew what they were likely to see by arriving without being announced. "You knew about this stuff goin' on?"

"Yes Sir. Remember two weeks ago, you and momma went to Dallas for the weekend? I stayed over here with them. We swam in that real nice warm water and we even skinny dipped just like we do in our pond. They thought I couldn't see them getting handy underwater with their dicks but I could. All of a sudden they sent me into the house to watch TV or a DVD Disney movie while they worked out. Sometimes I think grownups are as dumb as fence poles. I just put on the TV turned up real loud and I went to the window and watched how they worked out. After Pettie gets done with what he's doin' to Scott, they'll just switch places for Pettie to have his turn. Them two beat any movie that I ever saw!" Hughie exclaimed quietly.

"Think we should just leave 'em or start out all over from the corner of the house? We could just call out to 'em first to give 'em time to stop doin' whatever they were doin'."

Hughie placed his hands on his hips, tapped a toe and looked up at his father with an eye brow at full arch. "Now Daddy you know exactly what that's called; they were givin' each other a good suck. Say Daddy, since we're talkin' about dicks, do you think mine will ever get as big as Pettie's? He thinks it will after I've growed some."

"Ah, yea, us Cross men tend to be both tall an' a mite longer down there than most men."

Hughie didn't wait for his father to regain his composure, he just blundered on. "I that's good, I can't wait. Of course they don't call it suckin', they call it low down kissin'."

"Did Pettie tell you that?"

"Sure did. I wanted to watch from closer and off to the side, so I just walked out there an' sat down on the deck real close. Scott saw me first and tried to pull away but Pettie held his head right there and when Pettie noticed me he was about to shoot his stuff so he didn't care at all. After he was done he told me it was just somethin' that corny boys did together an' it was low down kissin' an' was a secret just between them and asked pretty please if I wouldn't tell, so I promised and I didn't, be sure to tell them you saw them, okay?"

"Yup, okay, but I think it's a secret that I already know and I should tell them so it's a worry gone for them. Oh, and I think you meant horny, not corny."

"Good Daddy, but first let's make 'em squirm some to get even for them sendin' me in the house." With that said Hughie took off running and quickly disappeared through the hedge.

Big Pettie shook his head. "I thought we was to call out first." He mumbled to himself. He followed along slowly. He actually hoped that the two boys had switched places so he could see Pettie naked and fully erect. He didn't know about other fathers but he was a cattle and horse breeder so wanted to see how his son turned out.

Hughie didn't announce his presence until he cast a shadow over his big brother and Scott's head and shoulders above the steaming water. "I see you guys are workin' out again," he said as he bent double to get a better view.

Pettie frowned at Hughie and once again Scott tried to pull away. "It's the pest again. Yo' may as well finish me 'cause he's already seen us once." He advised Scott needlessly. Scott hunched his shoulders and resumed his treatment after rolling his eyes to the side to see Hughie grinning at him. "And just what in tarnation are you doin' here anyway?"

"There was a real fancy letter for you in the mail today. It's from some real rich guy from up north somewhere. Daddy opened it by mistake an' he thinks it's important."

Pettie extended his arm woodenly as he began to pant and all the muscles in his body tightened; precursors of his imminent explosion. "Give it over an' get the hell outta here," he said through gritted teeth.

"I don't have it, Daddy has it."

The feeling of foreboding entered Pettie's tortured mind. He had to ask; "Where's Daddy?"

"Standin' right behind me," Hughie answered with a satisfied giggle.

Several things happened in short order: Scott bit down on Pettie's cock, pulled his mouth away and he sank from sight. Pettie screamed an obscenity whose first letter was 'F' and the last, 'K' and froze in place except for his cock; it fell to slap his belly and began to eject spurt after spurt of creamy white stuff from his chin down to the source in descending order as Hughie giggled in delight.

"GOTCHA!" Hughie crowed.

"Holy Shit!" Big Pettie sort of agreed amazed that his son could produce such a high volume that might rival his stallion, Sky.

"Relax there Son, I knowed something was goin' on from the first time Scott came out for supper. Now yo' might just want to get washed off and whilst you're under there you might see if you can find your partner unless he's got him a pair of gills." Little Pettie slipped into the water and swam to the opposite wall where Big Pettie and Hughie could see a body hovering.

The two surfaced together and Pettie announced, "He already knew an' he don't seem to be too upset." Scott's eyes flicked over to Big Pettie's to be sure he wasn't being lured to his death. He relaxed slightly when Big Pettie smiled and waved the letter at him.

"You boys get over here an' read this!" Big Pettie called. While they complied with Pettie's command, they didn't leave the pool until he backed away. "You ain't touchin' this fine paper with wet hands, you'll have it all smooched up before your momma gets to read it. And there ain't no reason for bein' bashful about just bein' naked after what I just saw."

The two vaulted out and as Scott beat Pettie to the towel, he dried his hands first and held the letter so they could read it together. Both boys were ecstatic and forgot who was watching. They hugged each other and as usual Scott's feet left the deck while wrapped in Pettie's arms.

"I think they just made a mistake" Hughie prophesied to his father from the side of his mouth.

"How so?" Big Pettie asked innocently.

"Well, now they're standin' there with hard dicks again an' they don't want us to see, so how they gonna get outta that hug."

Big Pettie grabbed Hughie, covered his eyes and turned away from the boys. "You two get in the house an' call that phone number to get all the particulars an' tell 'em you'll be there."

"Good idea Daddy," Pettie answered, "If the number's busy it just might take a while, but we'll keep trying."

"You just do that and when y'all are done come back dressed, by then I expect it'll be time to get home for supper!" Big Pettie called after the boys' retreating backs.

Scott surfaced from reviewing his fondest memories to find himself stretched out flat on his back. He lifted his head to see that half of his cock had disappeared into Sport's mouth and it felt like he was being worked over by a vacuum cleaner. He felt his balls draw up tight and knew that Sport was about to be rewarded with every drop of his liquid 'dirt' if he couldn't be stopped in time. He glanced over at Pettie to see if he was watching Sport work on his straining erection. He wasn't; by that time Pettie was similarly stretched out, only he was resting on his elbows watching Nip and Tuck working over his own hard cock.

Scott could see Pettie's chest; he was beginning to pant which happened only after a long race or just before he exploded. Pettie's long legs were spread wide and Nip and Tuck were comfortably ensconced high on their chosen thigh and bent over slightly with their knees touching. "I see they got you too," Scott commented.

"It's that damn paste an' I wasn't payin' attention until it was too late, an' now it is too late. I wish I could speak their lingo so I could warn 'em they're fixin' to get a bath or drowned."

"Do not be concerned," Carb whispered from close by, "these boys, now named Sport, Nip and Tuck are very expert at this. You give huge honors by allowing them to complete this simple service." Carb spoke to the three and while they didn't acknowledge his words they redoubled their efforts. Carb switched back to English, "Later, Sport would like nothing more than to couple with you both, of course Nip and Tuck will watch and help with their hands." Carb's words seemed to diminish, "We will depart for the Cat Place when you are done."

"We're comin'," was the united moaning response. This was followed by excited giggles from Pettie's two warrior tykes as they competed with each other for his daylong buildup of spunk while after seeing that, Sport was careful not to miss the smallest taste of his, Scott pulled his legs to over his shoulders and took Sport's pulsing cock into his mouth and encouraged Sport to begin thrusting by using his hands. Sport was so honored, he called out for his parents to come and witness the singular event. Scott didn't realize that the activity was being watched until Sport's parents and most of the boys-not-yet-warriors about sport's age began cheering and jumping around their sixty-nine stacked bodies.

Carb led the parade to the Cat Place. The Family followed him and all the Cat People were strung out behind them, talking excitedly about openly visiting the Cat Place for the first time and the possibility of seeing a Great Cat while they were there. At first only Nip, Tuck and Sport walked with the family, of course as close to Scott and Pettie as they could get but they didn't try to hold hands because they saw themselves as protectors and walked with one hand clutching their bows and arrows and the other on their ever present blowguns.

When the mob first assembled the Family saw that all the Cat warriors had retired their AK-47's in favor of their new, modern light weight rifles. Their bows were also left behind as well as the heavy bandoliers of magazines although each warrior carried an extra mag or two in their belts. Hans looked back at the Cat warriors and how they arranged themselves in layers for the trek. The warriors walked to the outside and the boys-not-yet-warriors were the second layer and inside the double perimeter were the women, girls and children.

Hans shuddered and whispered to Herman; "If the Cat People ever had an aggressive leader, I think they could first own the interior and then the country before taking over the rest of the Continent."

Herman grinned, "I would like to take a small squad home and turn them loose on the fanatic groups."

At that moment Medi and Sean began dueling with their torches while making zinging sounds as if they were light sabers. Only a few boys wanted to carry torches as they trusted the Cat warriors not to get them lost plus the feeble light they cast was all but useless to see anything in the dense tropical growth.

"Cease this instant you two!" Hans roared. "Why do you go to so much trouble to embarrass us?" he scolded.

"But Hans, you don't understand these aren't just the smoking things we used in the cave these are rather like very versatile flash lights. Look up." Medi pointed his torch. Everyone looked up to see a needle-like beam disappear in the very dark night sky. "Or look to the side," he instructed as he moved the beam to horizontal, at the undergrowth along the trail. The needle-like beam changed into more of a flood light to illuminate the nearby shrubbery while the small area where they walked was brightly lit with a soft white light that remained constant and emanated from the end of the wooden or metal handle.

Carb turned around to begin walking backward while he explained the unique torches. "These lights are rarely used by the People as they do little more than draw unwanted attention to one's position but they are provided to you to give the feeling of security as we walk along." He mistakenly thought he provided enough information.

"But there's no real heat as in burning fuel and there's also no smoke or even smell." Usually quiet Sean protested. The gang assumed he was quiet because with Medi around, it was difficult for him 'get a word in edgewise' as the saying goes.

Carb sighed, "These are taken from a plant we call the arrow bush, which grows underground and sends up shoots as it travels. The shoots grow very fast in sections and when the perfect height, they are broken off at the first joint and quickly dried on flat rocks in the sun. Only one in one thousand is perfectly straight to become arrows, the rest are discarded. When dried they are very light in weight but become like metal and the tips are very sharp and when alive the tips have hairs which are hard to see because they lay flat along the stem pointing at the earth. When dry the hairs become like needles that act like barbs when withdrawn from flesh. Feathers are added and a long lasting arrow is made."

"But what about these torches, Carb old chap?" Medi persisted while he experimented by waving his around.

"These are taken from mature stems. Each is one section and when dry they remain solid like metal, but full of plant juice." Carb explained and held out his hand for Medi to give him his torch turned toy. Medi backed away until his shoulders bumped Herman's legs. Carb took the torch and grinned at Medi just before he extinguished it by simply putting his palm over the business end. Medi's eyes grew as he watched Carb and then still further when he saw Sean duplicate the sleight of hand.

Doug burst out laughing when the two boys looked at each other. They were clearly puzzled about how to relight their torches when they didn't light after being stuck in the light that Paul held. "Carb got you both, you annoying little pricks," he sang.

Carb waved them over and showed them how to relight the useless sticks. He flicked his thumb nail against the tip. There was a tiny spark and the flame resumed. Medi frowned at Sean like a thunder cloud or as a disgruntled princeling as Sean reignited his and then waved it in front of his eyes.

Medi was about to question Carb further until Buck cut him off, "The arrow plant must be another one the Ancient's provided the People, so let it drop Medi." Medi did but not before he turned off and on his own torch several times while he wondered about possible commercial applications for the mysterious fuel that could jeopardize petroleum production in the future.

The family discovered that they had been traveling south along the river when the third of JC's three homes appeared. At first glance the rambling building appeared to imitate an Indian adobe cliff dwelling except like the other two; it was built of cut stone and there was no cliff. There were a few lighted windows to indicate that it was occupied and JC was quick to explain that it was the home of his father's and now his comprador, Angus, that is Angus represented JC and the People in dealing with everything from the outside world, which was the reason for the massive dock. The dockside crane and the paved road that led a short distance to the south end of the tunnel that connected the three homes together.

Angus also represented JC in the purchase of artifacts, gold and gems brought in by natives from all over South and Middle America, he always paid top dollar and always used small American bills so the natives could spend their new wealth without raising the greedy eyebrows of European outpost suppliers that hundred or even fifty dollar bills would cause. Meesha had already been shown several pallets of these small bills that were to remain for Angus to continue his acquisitions.

"You obviously trust him," Meesha ventured.

"Oh yes, Angus quickly became fast friends with the People and even speaks their language fluently and several other tribal tongues as well but he wants nothing to do with other white men because he says he is wanted by authorities in distant Columbia for a death during a knife fight, which he still asserts should have been nothing more than a fine pub brawl if his adversary hadn't drawn a blade.

"Father found him sleeping on the sidewalk I believe the morning after, as he and four bodyguards were walking somewhere, perhaps to breakfast. My father was fond of advertising his success by always wearing at least five pounds of bling and all of course as pure as possible. Father remembered reaching for a cigarette and when he did so a chain was broken and fell to the pavement unnoticed since father's guards were looking everywhere but down as they were supposed to be doing.

"The dropped chain almost hit Angus in the nose where he was sleeping and he promptly sought to return it by tugging on Father's pants leg to get his attention. Angus succeeded but also got the four guards' attention and they began to beat him, calling him a thief. Father stopped them quickly when he realized that Angus was still attempting to return the meaningless chain and that he must be totally trustworthy since he could have kept the chain and lived very well for a year or more after selling it.

"Father offered him employment at once and Angus, without other prospects accepted without knowing who Father was or what he was to be charged with doing. Father soon gifted him with more than he could ever spend in a lifetime and he has been happy to be here ever since."

The group turned right after following the low land along the lake for a mile and as they turned the jungle gave way to the stone walls of a canyon with many twists and turns as the canyon walls grew higher and more vertical. Curiously, the walls became smoother along with the floor and gradually the walls became vertical and joined the floor at a consistent right angle.

"You may extinguish the torches and leave them here," Carb announced. There was some grumbling about stumbling around in the pitch blackness until the last torch was snuffed. The whole party ground to a halt to stare at the softly blue glowing walls and even the floor. When they looked up, the stars were almost hidden by foliage from over-hanging trees so the canyon would be hidden from above.

"You never mentioned the lighting," Buck accused JC.

"Because I was here with Bani in broad daylight and we only got as far as where the walls and floor smoothed out. When I realized that this canyon was manmade or shall I say unnatural, that I turned back."

"This looks like a freeway entrance ramp." Marc observed.

Doug looked back and then forward, "Ramp is right. We seem to be descending and we're probably below the lake level right now."

"Yes we are," Carb agreed. "We think this was planned and that the Ancients have a way of flooding this canyon and the Cat Place as a means of defense."

"Didn't you mean the Ancients HAD a way of flooding the Cat Place?" Buck asked.

Carb grinned in the soft blue light of the walls and floor. He shrugged, "While only Tonga has ventured into the City until tonight, he reports that everything the Ancients built such as this lighting, clean air of a perfect temperature, cool water for drinking or warm for bathing and a way of disposing of waste all still function, so perhaps a way to drown approaching enemies might also still be possible."

"Thank you for that insight, Carb old chap," Medi quipped, "that observation was most reassuring." He glanced back at Sam and Jack, his ever present bodyguards and giggled, "I am sure you brought along my water wings in the event of need?"

"Most assuredly my Prince," Sam answered, "and we will demonstrate their use at the first sign of moisture around our feet."

"The Emirate is most fortunate that you have so many younger brothers." Jack added.

Huss had to grab Harman's arm to hold himself up as he laughed at his nephew's sour expression and extended middle fingers directed at everyone. Harm shook off Huss and pointed at the walls. "Look at those! This place is amazing!" he said in awe.

The walls were no longer smooth. Carved figures appeared. There were Cats shown sitting on their haunches with their tails wrapped around their forepaws, alternating with life size accurately depicted Cat warriors who were dwarfed by the sitting Cats. Strangely, the evenly spaced figures glowed much brighter than the surrounding background or stone floor. These warriors and Cats were shown to be frowning, if a Cat could frown.

"We think these guardians were placed here as a last warning," Carb said quietly.

Everyone, even the Cat People including newborn babies fell silent. Everyone was so enthralled by the carvings that at first they didn't notice that the twenty foot wide path broadened to one hundred feet and the carvings began to gain depth until they were free standing sculptures and they stood under a vaulted stone ceiling. They had suddenly arrived at the Cat Place. They were standing IN the Cat Place.

The wall carvings had changed from Cats and warriors to trees, vines and dense flowering undergrowth. All remained blue but the vegetation was more intense in varying shades so except for being blue, the walls were a fitting backdrop for the lifelike statues. The statues looked like they had just been sculpted; there was no deterioration, dust or debris of any sort and the statues' eyes seemed to follow each living individual as they passed.

Inquisitive Harman noticed that small chests, like steamer trunks complete with handles, hundreds of them lined the walls behind the statues. He dared to dart away from the group to see what they contained. He found them full of gem stones. "Remember what Toug said about rewarding Anton with twice his weight in meaningless colored stones if they were his only interest? There must be tons of them if these boxes are full like this one." He commented almost to himself.

"They are," Spencer agreed from the other side of the hall as he allowed the box lid of the one he held open to bang as it closed. "Come on," he called to his brother, Harman, "let's go see the altar at the far end of the temple." Neither boy noticed that they could hear each other clearly without the need to shout, or that there was no echo.

There also was no expected altar. Instead they discovered Tonga and Charlie standing in front of a pair of massive open stone doors and the light from beyond them was white, almost like sunlight. The Family's imaginations ran wild as they glimpsed trees and a riot of natural colors. Was the opening a portal into a parallel universe or just another planet? Were they about to travel forward or back in time? Tonga brought them back as Carb joined him to speak his words.

"When I first entered the City I thought my blood flow had stopped and I was entering the Great Beyond and about to meet all of the People who had passed before me. What I found was the home of the Ancients and the Great Cats. Alas, the Ancients have gone from here as well but the Great Cats remain to greet them on their return and now they wait to greet all who stand before them in the Great Hall that lies just beyond." Tonga threw out his arm and pointed beyond the open stone doors.

Tonga spoke to Carb briefly and placed a gold chain around his neck. When the two turned back, all could see that a Cat's Eye sparkled greenly between Carb's pectorals. Tonga spoke in the People's tongue to ask if any among them felt the slightest ability to mind speak Carb. When no one moved, he shrugged and spoke with regret, "Then you are like me. I can only hear the faintest of whispers and I wear two of the Eyes." The emeralds mounted in his amulet only glowed faintly to prove his words. No one noticed that Marta had covered her mouth to hide her smile as she and Carb touched eyes for a second.

Carb stepped forward and beckoned to the Family who had bunched together off to the side. He grinned when he saw some smiles and many more nervous looks. "Bani has touched your minds and finds that you all have some ability to touch each other's minds. Strongest are those of you who have bespoken other species, next are twins, then brothers and last are mated couples to some degree. Tara's long friendship with Bani makes him doubly strong. Last are the few who can only whisper without the knowledge that they can speak if they try, perhaps from intimate joinings with the others who know that they can."

Carb looked at Tommy and smiled. Impish Tommy grinned and thought a blatant invitation with a quick glance up at Spencer. Carb's whole body blushed while his erection grew to expose his answer. Tommy led Carb's eyes to Spencer's growing cock.

"TOMMY! You little whore hound, stop it this instant!" Spencer raged without blocking but as usual, he couldn't stop his cock from being fully engorged and quivering. The rest of the Family laughed at the couples' ongoing drama as Tommy, as usual, dodged out of Spencer's reach. The People, warrior and woman, boys and girls all were opened mouthed as they stared at the magnificent example of manhood.

Spencer finally capitulated with a shrug and admitted to Carb, "What can I say, I'm pussy whipped."

Carb grinned and cleared his throat just before he looked down at himself. "So it would seem am I. There is no need to continue, you understand. Please to come forward to accept these, which should further enhance the abilities you have already gained." He turned to Charlie.

Charlie had been standing close by but had remained uncharacteristically quiet. The boys grinned at him as they lined up in front of Tonga in no particular order except that a constantly giggling Tommy remained permanently at the end of the line. Charlie had both arms up and bent at the elbows and both forearms were festooned with dangling chains that had Cat Eye emeralds attached. He looked like a jewelry department display kiosk at Wal-Mart and Paul, Marc's older brother, told him so. Charlie just grinned as he checked out Paul's gymnasts' body and promptly added him to a list of conquests he was compiling for him and Bani to enjoy at the first opportunity after they all boarded Sea Song for the trip home.

"Be nice guys, these things ain't knockoffs and you all are going to get one, but," he intoned dramatically, "I don't have to tell you how to turn them on." He purposely looked down at his chest to show them that he was already wearing one and it was clearly sparkling while theirs remained just emerald adornments. The joking at Charlie's expense stopped suddenly as everyone realized that while they all heard his warning loud and clear, he hadn't spoken out loud.

When Tommy, the last in line, received his Cat's Eye, he turned to face the rest of the Family so they could see that his was sparkling brightly. First Doug's switched on, then Buck's and then Spencer's. "MAN, YOU GUYS ARE SO BUSTED! YOU HAVE TO SEND OUT A THOUGHT TO TURN THEM ON!" Tommy shouted into everyone's mind.

Charlie bent over laughing. "Pay back's a bitch! That's what you guys get for making me wear that iron monkey suit back in the treasure cave."

Suddenly, everyone's stone was sparkling as they all tried communicating or mind speaking at the same time until there was only 'white noise' or static. Charlie whistled shrilly. "If you want to speak to just one guy, you need to think his name or picture him in your mind. That will block others from hearing what you have to say," he instructed aloud but quietly. When he saw individuals or partners staring at each other and grinning, he nodded. "Now you've got it! Now come on, Bani's waiting."

The whole mob surged forward eagerly, without any more apprehension since everyone was still alive. Just inside the massive stone doors, their world changed. The walls were decorated with an ever changing jungle scene as they moved forward. Both walls differed completely, there were no mirrors and gave the impression that observers were strolling along a jungle trail.

The ceiling was predominantly typical blue sky interspersed with white clouds. Along the walls, vine covered trees, some flowering and others bearing fruit and palms grew from the floor, upward and frequently intruded onto the ceiling with leafy branches or drooping palm fronds. Similarly the sky occasionally intruded onto the wall and even be glimpsed in the distance as spots of sunlight. The trees were surrounded by a wealth of undergrowth, all of which diminished in the distance to give the feeling of depth or perspective. The blank glowing blue floor became plant life shadows dappled on a trail littered with dead plant debris.

It was Nip or Tuck with inborn hunter's eyes who first discovered the animals, snakes, birds and even insects hiding but watching passersby, and it quickly became a game among children and adults to be first to discover and then point out each fellow jungle dweller.

"We're in a 3-D movie set and we don't need glasses!" Marc stated the unanimous opinion.

"This is fantastic," Harm mumbled as he and Spencer attempted to reach into the passing scenery to pick a fruit or feel the back of a tree trunk. "It's all a highly glazed ceramic material of some kind," he pronounced, "either that or a continuous sheet of glass protecting the living jungle from tourists like us."

Buck suddenly pulled Doug down to whisper in his ear; "Hold up your arm," he instructed. Doug did and then looked at Buck in question. Buck rolled his eyes, "Look up, we're walking under a tree. Now look at your arm again. What do you see?"

"A shadow?" Doug guessed, still perplexed. Buck just grinned and waited. Doug's eyes widened as understanding dawned. "A shadow, but that's impossible!" he protested.

JC translated absently as first he and the rest of the guys raised their arms to study the hall ceiling and then the obvious shadows on their arms and each other's bodies. The mob's forward momentum ground to a halt as all the People raised their arms to be sure that shadows appeared on their arms as well and that rubbing didn't remove the phenomena.

Nip and Tuck ignored the shadows on their bodies and chose that moment to remove them from Pettie's until he was able to grab them both and hold them away. "There ain't no shadows down there you little scamps so just you leave off rubbin'," he scolded. Pettie looked up in time to see that Scott was able to stop Sport by just frowning at him. "Can you just imagine what would happen if Hughie ever met up with these two horn toads? Hughie would teach them how to ride a horse and they'd teach him the fine art of couplin' by five year olds."

"Were they good at what they did?" Scott asked using mind speak seriously for the first time.

Pettie grinned, "Put it this way, they got the desired result without wastin' nary one drop."

"Y'all know that Sport wants to get with you too and I'd kind of like to experience Nip and Tuck?"

Pettie giggled to betray their silent conversation. "Shit, the whole damn tribe knows that and expects it to happen and even wants to watch, but I think we should ask if they want to go back aboard Sea Song to go at it kind of private like don't you?"

"Absolutely, no more shows. Let's get JC to ask them in their lingo."

Pettie used his height advantage to see that JC was chatting with some of the Cat warriors who were his friends when they were little. After a blushing Pettie explained, JC agreed and told the three boys; "These two white warriors say they would be greatly honored if you three would accompany them to the Sea Song boat. There, they wish to couple with you according to the People's ways. You must understand that they are inexperienced in those ways and you must teach them most patiently and use much more paste than you normally would to ease the way and build their excitement."

Sport, Nip and Tuck not only agreed instantly, they began tugging Scott and Pettie back to the Cat Place. "Hold up there boys," Pettie protested, "we'll go but not before we see Cat City." He looked at JC suspiciously to ask, "Exactly what did you tell them?"

"About how far have we walked so far?" Evan asked Gregor.

Gregor looked back and shrugged, "If I had water under me I could guess, but I do see that we are still going down, the hall doors have disappeared and we are far below sea level."

Being distracted before JC could think up a plausible answer, Pettie volunteered; "You city goobers are all alike. Don't y'all ever count your paces? I'd say, what with all the stops an' starts, we've gone somewhat over a mile so far. An' before y'all ask, this here hall disappears going forward so we're still goin' deeper an' we've still a way to travel."

Side passages began to appear, always opposite each other and when Harman and Spencer began to veer off at the first, Charlie warned without looking back, "Before you go anywhere, just remember that no one has really explored down here since forever. Bani told you that there was no danger but he meant in this hallway and in the gathering place we're heading for. Explore at your own risk."

That was enough warning for Huss and Tommy. Huss pulled Harm back in line and Tommy attempted to push Spencer using his hands on Spencer's hip. Spencer pushed back and it became a game. Finally, Spencer bent down, grabbed Tommy and placed him on his shoulders where Tommy was always happy to be. He loved to hump the back of Spencer's head while he ran his hands through his lover's thick mop of hair. It was clear to everyone that Spencer liked it too as he quickly grew to half-mast.

"Oh man," Pettie protested as Nip and Tuck began to climb his body using his arms to pull themselves up to his broad shoulders. "Spence, y'all are becomin' a pain in my ass, figuratively this time. Just look what y'all started."

Everyone laughed as they watched Nip and Tuck race each other to the top of Pettie's body. Nip was the winner and nimbly got a leg around Pettie's neck and locked his ankles so Tuck couldn't dislodge him and strangling Pettie was not a consideration. Scott ended the contest by grabbing Tuck and placing him on his shoulders. This started a chain reaction and soon the whole family had very happy riders. Since there were more kids than white warriors, the slower boys had to be satisfied with a father, older brother or one of their friends.

Suddenly Sport emitted a small squeaking sound and bent forward without looking back. The squeak was answered in a higher pitch by a true toddler of not more than three years old. The little boy raced forward toward Sport and just before he crashed, he jumped and actually took two steps on Sport's back before he landed with his legs around Sport's neck.

Carb explained that Sport's pet name for his little brother was Squeak because he could call small animals from hiding by squeaking at them, so Pettie promptly dubbed him Squeak.

Playing horsey served as a distraction and the mob moved down the hallway a bit faster until they finally glimpsed a brighter light from in front of them. This served to hurry everyone along even faster since none of the People had ever been further than the Cat Place, which was not a temple, but 'just' the entry hall; the way into Cat City.

The walls disappeared in both directions for several hundred yards and rose in height to more than forty feet while the 3-D jungle scene remained but grew up with the wall height and even intruded into the ceiling. The actual ceiling was difficult to see because it too was finished with the colors of the sky and included more puffy clouds. Another major difference was a distinctive light source that emanated from what might have been the highest point in the ceiling and perhaps was the center of the vast stone chamber. The light source was also marked by a more intense beam of light that either rose from the floor or came down from the ceiling. It was impossible to tell because they were too far away although they were still walking straight toward it. Whatever the light source, it was bright enough to support plant life because the whole floor that was not paved walkways was occupied by orderly plantings of what might be all the plants that the People said the Ancients brought with them and many that Carb didn't recognize or know to be useful to the People in some way.

Charlie gleefully pointed to low spreading bushes that bordered the main walkway and other more narrow walks that separated plant varieties. "Recognize this one?" He asked the group but was looking at Carb for an answer.

Carb sniffed the distinctive scent and sighed in pleasure. "This is the paste vine. See the flowers and different colored berries as they mature to purple? But here it does not climb and the berries are much larger." To prove his words, he popped one berry into his mouth and chewed slowly until he looked like he was about to have an orgasm as he stared boldly at the assortment of cocks that surrounded him.

Charlie darted ahead to the first of many benches that lined the central walkway and promptly sat down. "Hey Harm, check out this artifact. This is some kind of Ancient porn isn't it?" The question was rhetorical. The ornate bench was made of gold as Harman found out when he tried to lift one end and couldn't budge it, but that wasn't why Charlie called attention to it.

The bench was fashioned using the erect penis and testicles in assorted sizes. The legs were cocks pointing up with fat wrinkled balls as feet. The arm rests and back supports were cocks and all were clearly spurting in some direction to form a delicate filigree of spurts and dribbles to fashion the actual seat and back rest.

"Holy shit," Harman mumbled before he turned to look at everyone who had gathered to inspect the bench. "You understand guys; nothing we see or discover about the Ancients can ever leave here. If news of this fabulous underground City or its wealth ever gets out, the People will be utterly destroyed."

The Family nodded their understanding of the implications and agreed with everything Harm had to say. Medi broke the solemn atmosphere by suggesting; "Well I think we should investigate the rest of this Cat City even though we can never talk about it and I for one am rather looking forward to meeting one of these Great Cats providing of course he has no taste for innocent Arab boys."

"Where we gonna find one o' them?" Pettie asked in dialect, almost without a smirk. He added as an afterthought, "Oh, I meant innocent Arab boys; I expect the Cat's is around here somewhere."

Suddenly Nip, who was riding on Scott's shoulders let out a joyous scream and disappeared as Scott went down to his knees and bent forward. To compensate and not be dislodged, Nip locked his ankles around Scott's neck and scooted back so he ended his ride by actually sitting on Scott's back while he laughed and begged Scott to do it again.

"Are you gettin' tired or are y'all havin' a religious moment down there?" Pettie asked.

"Do you remember in American history, emigrants all wanted to come to America because they believed that all the streets were paved with gold? Well, long before that the early exploration of the America's was spurred on because there was a persistent rumor or legend that somewhere over here, there was a fabled golden city called El Dorado or The Golden One. This walkway is wide enough to be a two lane road and if y'all get close enough it's reflective an' even from your altitude y'all can see that its gold color. I do believe we just found El Dorado! Holy shit!" Scott exclaimed and stood up, which caused Nip to once again quickly, gleefully adjust his position.

Tommy was ready for Spencer's dive to the floor to see for himself. He controlled Spencer by pulling his hair. Doug, being a redhead, was always conscious of getting sunburned. He flexed his supple body as he looked down and then at his shoulders. "Good thing this gold isn't polished, we'd all be blinded and my balls would be toasted but you can feel the radiant heat from the sun, except there is no sun other than up there," he pointed to what appeared to be the center and highest point in the chamber. "But we don't cast any shadows anywhere. I wonder if I'm still getting sunburned." He shrugged when no one answered.

"That one has no fur, Father, but he has speckles like us." Youthful voices intruded into Doug's mind suddenly.

"Hey, hi, err, hello, are you the Great Cat? Have you been sending me pictures? Can you speak English or am I speaking your language?" Doug shot back his questions nervously amid a lot of snickers. He felt a warmer spot on his chest and looked down to see that his new emerald sparkled and pulsed greenly like never before. The gem crackled when answers came into his mind.

"Greetings, the one called Doug. I am the one you seek. It appears we speak the language of the stone in some way. The ones who spoke first are my impudent progeny. Come forward so we may meet."

"Ones, do you mean like you have two sons together like we call twins?" Doug questioned cautiously. By then they had reached the intense column of light and the golden paving was no longer as interesting. From fifty feet away they could see that the light beam came down from the ceiling that was so high up, how far up was anyone's guess. The brilliant ray struck a pool that was at least a hundred feet in diameter and while there was no wind to disturb the surface, everyone could see it shimmer or vibrate much like Sea Song's small pool on the sundeck shimmered from the distant engine vibrations when the ship was docked. Like any pool of water he saw, Doug stepped to the edge and was about to test the water until he was warned.

"Do not swim there. There are other places here where you may swim like the fishes." The mature voice of the Great Cat warned."

"We like to swim. Can we swim too, the One Called Doug?"

Before Doug could giggle or answer, everyone heard some yowls that came from the distant far wall they had been walking toward, opposite from where they had entered. Those wearing emeralds saw flashes of pictures of two small Cats being swatted and tumbling from the eyes of a much larger one. While the gang tried to hide their laughter behind their hands and hide their thoughts, Marc sent a picture of his irate mother nearly lifting him from the floor by the ear whenever he misbehaved and was within her reach for a second too long.

They all felt the Great Cat's amusement and his anger abated. "Yes, you may swim with The One Called Doug and with Long Ear..."

"MY NAME IS MARC!" He both shouted and sent interrupting the Great Cat without a thought of first contact diplomacy or that his brother Paul was standing behind him. He realized when he felt Paul's familiar hands wrap around his neck and lift him completely from the floor. The boy on Marc's shoulders was delighted by having Paul's powerful hands and fingers feeling his little butt and the temporary increase in elevation as Marc left the floor.

"Shut the fuck up and quit sending thoughts. Do you want to get us all killed?" Paul warned through clenched teeth. He thought that he had control of his mind speak but apparently he was wrong.

"... Long Neck," the Great Cat corrected flawlessly, "and others if they wish it, but first, all must be greeted in the proper way and after the greetings you will know which warrior you wish to speak with directly and not disturb others with your thoughts."

From the light column, which they assumed to be the chamber's center point, the golden path continued. It was also from the center that they could see that the tallest trees were planted closest to the walls and that the height of the other vegetation generally decreased as it approached the light column. The overall affect was of being in a gigantic living stadium garden that would rival any manmade gardens in the world for beauty.

Harm's head began to swing from side to side, back to where they entered and forward to where they were going. He squinted up at the distant ceiling, which was more difficult to see because of the three dimensional effect of the clouds. He snapped his fingers. "This is a rhomboid shape," he announced with a laugh.

"A rhom... what?" Marc asked, careful to keep his distance from his frowning brother.

Harm rolled his eyes. "It's a pyramid, we're inside a pyramid! Holy shit! This one just has to be the biggest one in the world. If it was built on the surface it would be the greatest wonder in the world, of course if it was, the inside where we're standing would be filled with dirt so it would be solid."

"Okay," Marc agreed, "but since this one was carved out of solid rock, where's all the shit they took out of here? Like the Nazis built that fucking tunnel that connects JC's houses and used a lot of rock for building but there's still a big fucking pile near the lake entrance. This is a big fucking city, not a puny tunnel so there should be mountains of rock somewhere, but where are they?"

Spencer grinned, "I may have an answer for that." He asked Carb, "When the river floods, does it run thick with silt?"

"No, never, it gets cloudy only. The water comes from the mountains in the south and west and are the limits of the People's territories in those ways. In the east, beyond the river is low and wet and very large so none try to come from there. In the north we have the great sea and high cliffs except at the river mouth where dark earth in the sea protects the river from use by outside invaders. May the People always be safe from large numbers of outsiders."

Spencer nodded in satisfaction. "I think the Ancients ground up all the tailings, the rock carved from the City, into dust and then somehow just let the river flush it all into the sea. So, what they did intentionally or not is block the river that would be navigable otherwise wouldn't it Meesha?"

"Oh yes the greedy Spanish would have built a great port. By now this western side of the river would have been heavily populated. The delta is a very good first defense against any armada of ships. They would have had to invade using small boats, which the People would have been happy to meet when they landed," he looked around, "or, if the Ancients were still here they could have easily used their technology to wipe anything from the sea before their small boats even touched water."

"I think that is the only way that this Jorge person can come at us too." Gregor agreed. "He has only the three shallow draft patrol boats and seventy-five men as long as the Cuban's don't become involved, and I don't think that they would dare even if they knew what the fat fucker is after."

Tuck, still riding Pettie's shoulders ended the discussion by babbling in the People's tongue and pointing ahead while he thumped Pettie's head to get his attention. Pettie was first to see that there was a break in the trees directly ahead. He could see a higher and wider passage centered on the walkway and a golden throne was centered on that. Six golden columns flanked each side of the throne and it didn't take a rocket scientist to see that the columns were perfectly shaped and proportioned phallus' and each was spurting a golden shower of branches that were adorned with enough sparkling gems that perhaps represented individual sperm.

The throne was occupied by a sitting warrior statue that was adorned with golden armor or perhaps merely ceremonial court dress. This statue was guarded by a pair of standing warrior statues that were similarly dressed. Each was armed with what looked like a short javelin. The throne and statues were anticlimactic compared to the Great Cats that sat on their haunches in front of each golden cock. The whole was presented on a raised platform that was fronted by a gently sloping ramp. The perfect symmetry was spoiled by two smaller Cats that crouched in front of the Great Cat to the right of the throne. These two appeared to be ready to leap at unsuspecting prey.

The children, all sitting on someone's shoulders went wild; they pointed, waved and shouted out enthusiastic greetings because the Cat People always spoke of the Cats to their children with fond reverence and never as boogiemen. For the adults, actually seeing and meeting one for the first time was more of a religious experience. For the children however, just seeing one alive was like seeing a famous teenage rock star that had only been described unless they had visited the Cat Place.

Since Tuck sat the tallest he became the leader. He let out a high pitched growl, made a hand signal and as one trained troop of acrobats; the boys flipped backward in a somersault to land perfectly on their feet and were instantly rushing forward to meet their heroes without a thought of consequences. Sport pitched his toddler brother forward and Squeak landed on his feet and was in motion by the time Sport was able to take his hand to run interference for him.

For the body of adults who were watching the uncontrolled stampede, they missed seeing the Great Cat release his twin sons who by then were quivering with excited anticipation. The two juvenile Cats leaped up and out. They cleared the ramp easily and landed in time to sit on their haunches with their long tails wrapped tightly around their forepaws, eager to meet and greet the onrushing children and younger teenagers.

The boys remembered their manners at the last moment. They screeched to a halt in front of the two half grown Cats and sorted themselves out to form two lines with Nip and Tuck, the two fastest and perhaps bravest or future leaders, first. Nip and Tuck stepped forward together as the Cats bent their heads since when seated the Cats were taller than all but the teens. The Cats and boys touched furry foreheads to skin and green piercing eyes to warm brown. They rubbed noses, the Cats purred their pleasure and the boys responded by boldly wrapping their arms around the Cat's necks and hugging tightly. The Cats in turn gave the two boys faces' a lap of their raspy tongues from their chins up and ears for good measure before they were pushed aside by the next boys in line.

While these greetings were taking place, the twelve adult Cats walked sedately down the long ramp and resumed their seated positions. It was then that everyone could see that all Cats wore sparkling emeralds suspended from very heavy gold chains since their stones were proportionally larger. Spencer couldn't help slipping into his appraiser's mode as he approached a Cat seated beside the one Doug and Tommy were greeting; "Two hundred carats at least!" He estimated as he touched foreheads with the Great Cat and then no longer cared.

Doug fastened his eyes on the one he'd been calling Great Cat as Tommy joined him. Both were eager to finally experience first contact and neither worried about becoming cat food. They noted however that the Cats didn't have the long incisors of a prehistoric saber tooth tiger as depicted on poor Tonga's heavy amulet, but still six inches was plenty long enough if they were sunk in your neck.

When Doug looked into Great Cat's eyes, Great Cat introduced himself; "Greetings warrior Doug, this Cat is Fang." Fang took charge of Doug's mind and introduced him to the other Great Cats, who together were the Council of Twelve, the rulers of all the Great Cats.

"Give Fang a great hug, he will appreciate it," a familiar voice intruded into Doug's mind.

"Bani, is that you? Where are you?" Doug sent as he did as Bani suggested and promptly received a motorboat sounding purr in response which was followed by several all-encompassing face washing slurps. He just stood there. He had no wish to offend a Cat that weighed a thousand pounds or more or that Cat's progeny who were the size of adult male Bengal Tigers. Doug's eyes snapped open as Fang administered one final slurp, which was almost like a caress and was directed much further down his body. He blushed scarlet as his cock grew instantly and he heard Bani's giggles in his mind.

Bani advised, "If you look about down here you will see that the Ancients and the Great Cat's revere cocks and what can be obtained from them, but do not be concerned I found the Cats are bashful and won't do more now except to look."

"Thank you very much for those insights." Doug snapped while wearing an embarrassed grin as he was eased aside by Tommy, Buck and Carb who were eager for their greetings after seeing what happened to him.

Doug saw that the two Cat warrior guard statues had suddenly become animated and were pointing at various individuals as they were greeted by a Cat and while their faces were hidden by golden masks, they seemed to be talking to the Ancient who was seated on the throne and that statue seemed to agree with his guards' observations since he was nodding his helmet and mask covered head. The three 'statues' stopped as Tonga rushed up the ramp and stopped them with a frown before he turned to survey the chaos the children and half grown Cats created when a game of rough and tumble began after formal greetings.

The two Cat youngsters alternated from being on their backs and being inundated by Cat children including girls, to gaining dominance and using their heavier bodies to hold down as many wiggling bodies as they could reach with their paws. It was the children that discovered that the Cats had prehensile tails when some little boys attempted a sneak attack from the rear. Two tails first batted the boys' faces and then quickly surrounded their waists to pull them in to join their brothers and sisters in the growing pile of laughing, struggling bodies while paws worked as diligently at the other end of the playful felines.

Just after Fang greeted Toby and Terry, he asked so the other Cats could hear; "You could converse with your mother but not your sire?" His tone seemed surprised.

"Yes, always, touching our father's mind was like touching a rock." The twins answered together.

Fang stretched his neck to survey the milling crowd and then all but roared in everyone's mind if they were receptive to mind speak; "MARTA, MATE TO TONGA!"

Marta approached Fang diffidently with her eyes downcast but she greeted him proudly and held his eyes longer than any of the other People. After they broke physical contact, Marta looked up at the throne and smiled. All the People gasped in surprise when the seated golden statue waved back, stood up, removed his all-encompassing headgear, stepped forward and bowed. Much to everyone's further surprise all the Cat's including the big twin cubs, turned to Bani and bowed by placing their heads on the floor between their outstretched forepaws.

The People followed, first by falling to their knees and then abasing themselves so the only people standing were Family. The People began a muffled chant and kept repeating the same two words; "Tara Bani, Tara Bani..."

"Rise up!" Bani called. "I am not Tara Bani, I am Bani. I have many things to learn from the Great Cats and from the outside world and in the end I may be found wanting, but whatever occurs in the future, we must all, all the People, always stand as one body and never bow down to each other or any other lesser people we may encounter."

"What was that all about?" Marc asked JC, "The only word I understood was Tara."

"Remember when I told you that the People always called my father and I Tara? I told you it meant lord and was a name not a title. Well, it seems that the Cats have decided to grant Bani the actual title, which means he is the first Ancient to be reincarnated." When JC saw Bani present an emerald to his mother and whisper to her, he grinned. "Now I think that Bani got the trait or gene from his mother not his father so that I think means he can look forward to meeting a little sister when he comes home next summer on vacation."

Buck changed the subject as he looked over Bani's costume. "Why are you dressed up in all that gold Bani?"

Bani looked down at himself and shrugged before he returned to the throne to get his most prized possession; his new laptop. "This is the way the Ancients dressed. The material looks like gold cloth but it's really body armor. Fang says that it will repel knives, arrows, bullets or rays and please don't ask what a ray is," he added quickly. "I wore it because it fits me so the Ancients were men our size. Of course they had abilities that are still unimaginable. They built this city perhaps just before the Ice Age or earlier and everything still functions. I think these plants which are thriving but not growing were very precious to them and only a few are growing on the surface but those are extremely useful as you have seen.

"The people have always believed that the Cats have all the knowledge the Ancients had, but until now, there was always a communications barrier. The Cats could not talk to us and the People could not ask the Cats questions. Before you came among us we had no safe way to use the knowledge the People do have; none that would benefit us. You opened the outside world to the People." Bani held up his new computer, "And now we also have a means of communicating with the outside world."

While Doug was paying attention the conversation, he began absently batting at his ear. He assumed at first that it was a knat or other annoying bug buzzing around until he realized that no one had been bothered by any bugs since they'd arrived due to yet another benefit of paste.

He glanced down to see that one of the young Cats was sitting at his side and looking everywhere but at Doug. He seemed to look away but kept the Cat in his peripheral vision. The Cat glanced up quickly and then his tail uncurled from around his paws to snake up toward Doug's head. He made a grab for the tail but missed and the Cat bounded away just out of reach. He felt tendrils of laughter in his brain.

"That Cat is most troublesome. Make him stop. Give him a firm swat; that is what our father does. Can we greet you now Doug and then swim?"

Doug laughed as the two Cats sat side by side to await his greeting. "We must greet to become friends and then I would like to swim but I would never swat another who makes a good joke like tickling. This is my mate, Buck, and we make jokes all the time, but beware; one who jokes can expect a joke in return. We call that joke payback," he warned. He was not completely sure that they understood. He greeted the Cat twins and then watched as Buck took his turn.

The two Cats looked at each other briefly and both turned away before their tails flashed up between the boys' legs to smack their balls, not hard, but hard enough to get their attention. The Cats bounded away about twenty feet and paused to look back. "I think they want us to chase them." Doug suggested and took off running. Buck followed, laughing maniacally.

"What in tarnation is goin' on?" Pettie called, which got everyone's attention.

"They goosed us, and it's time for payback!" Doug broad beamed via his new stone so everyone would know, including the twelve adult Cats. He attempted to inject laughter in his reply so they would know there was no anger, only happiness in giving chase.

Pettie, Scott and the rest of the Family followed. They ran along a path between the 3-D wall and the living garden toward a painted cliff face that extended high onto the ceiling where a majestic waterfall masked the actual corner. The young Cats maintained their constant twenty foot head start by simply slowing down. As the Family got closer to the waterfall they discovered that it was real; water, in surprising quantity, was cascading from the ceiling. One strange thing they noticed was there was almost no sound of water falling into a beautiful pool from a hundred feet up.

Of course the two Cats reached the pool first and increased their speed just before they leaped out to land with one astounding splash. Both surfaced to face the following mob as the Family had been joined by all the children and most of the adult People. Everyone stripped off their weapons and belts as they ran.

Doug, Buck, Pettie, Scott, the twins, Harman and the other adept swimmers dove cleanly, aiming at the Cat twins. In the water, human swimmers had the advantage and Doug was the first to catch up. He boldly grabbed a swishing Cat tail and pulled his body forward until he straddled the Cat's body. "You are caught!" He advised and quickly asked, "Would I be Cat food if I ducked your head under?"

"Not if this Cat ducks you under first!" The Cat answered and promptly dove down. When he reached the bottom he used all four of his powerful legs to bound back up to the surface.

Doug laughed as he turned to see that Buck had received similar treatment. Everyone paused to watch the People including toddlers jump or dive into the water. Sport picked up his little brother Squeak as they ran and actually threw the little boy overhand as he would a football. "Can all the Cat People swim?" Doug asked no one in particular.

Bani answered through giggles, "Oh yes, all swim from birth, but are not permitted until we can walk." He sent a picture of him, Kad and Sidi struggling to divest themselves of all the Ancients' golden finery so they could join everyone in the pool. When he saw his mother talking to his father trying to explain his new status, it was sad that his father was so unreceptive to mind speak, he suggested, "Mother, I believe father's mood could be improved if you and he undertook the task of providing me a sister since I believe he shares some responsibility for producing me, and your daughter might produce even more mind speakers if she has your ability."

"You are correct my Son. I will give him two daughters and another son. He will be so pleased and proud. We must go to a sleeping place here in the City. It is fitting that they are conceived here."

"Three at one time, triplets," Bani squeaked, "is this possible?"

"Oh yes, and I will instruct the other mated women to bare more daughters as well. The need for warriors is waning and the need for mates for all these little boys is imperative if we are to have a balanced population." Marta said and then whispered in Tonga's ear. Tonga's grin was ear to ear as his manhood grew in response. They didn't even look back before they disappeared in the passage behind the throne.

Suddenly Bani was nearly knocked off his feet as Charlie attempted to remove a wide band of gold from around one calf. "Charlie, what are you doing?"

"Well you may be Lord Bani around here, but when we get to their school we'll just be part of the gang. Look at Medi, he's a fucking prince. His father owns a whole country but they don't cut him any slack." Charlie looked at the twelve Great Cats who were still seated and watching the fun through unguarded minds. "What about you guys?" he beamed. "Want to join us, or can't you swim?"

"CHARLIE!" Bani exploded, both out loud and mentally, unsure of how such an insult would affect Cat/human diplomacy.

The Great Cat's answer was united and swift. There were twelve low growls as twenty-four green eyes fixed on him hungrily. "You may begin running as fast as your puny white warrior legs can carry you. You will be poor sport but these Cats have not hunted in sometime." Fang challenged. Bani saw Fang actually wink at him but Charlie didn't, he was too busy doing exactly as Fang ordered; running as fast as he could toward the pool in the distant corner of the chamber.

When the twin cats had, had enough fun in the pool playing at a ratio of over one hundred humans to one Cat, they declared a halt by raising a lip to expose an incisor and sort of frowned at their human playmates. They swam to the near side of the pool where there was a shelf about four feet under the surface. They sat there on their haunches and tried not to pant while they combed their wiry whiskers with their tail tips.

Doug and many of the others swam over near them. "Say Cat friends, we gave you our names but you haven't given us yours. How are you called?" Doug asked.

The two looked at each other and then wailed together; "Father, what are our names? Do we have names? We must have names like all mighty warriors!"

Fang answered, "You have names by which I call you always."

"We do? Tell us!"

A touch of humor entered Fang's words. "You are called Bad Cats!"

"FATHER!" The twins protested while they yowled their displeasure.

Just then screaming Charlie launched his little body out into the water over the seated Cat's heads. He was followed quickly by twelve horrendous slashes spaced out along the side of the pool. Fang surfaced near the group where his sons sat in the water glowering at the one who had splashed them. He paddled to the ledge and used it to pull himself out completely and then showered them all again as he shook his body vigorously before he sat down to peer down on them imperiously.

"Were you chasing Charlie?" Doug asked hesitantly.

"Charlie, mate of Tara Bani, made a joke at these Cats' expense, so these Cat's how did you call it? Made him pay back," Fang answered, looking very pleased with himself.

"Where'd Charlie go?" Buck asked through his gravelly giggles.

Fang surveyed the pool surface quickly. "He is there. He attempts to look like a yellow melon about to be pierced."

Everyone burst into laughter when they spotted Charlie with just his eyes and nose above water. With his wet blond hair plastered to his head, he did resemble a half yellow melon. "Charlie," Doug called, "one of these days your big mouth is going to get you in very big trouble. The Cats were just giving you some payback for whatever you did or said to them."

Bani walked up to Fang and leaned against his foreleg comfortably while Kad and Sidi looked on. "It is good that Kad and Sidi will be around to protect you when we get to school." Bani said aloud and broad-beamed so the Cats would understand.

Fang shook his head and interrupted; "One of these Bad Cats will also go wherever Tara Bani goes. There is a great need for all to understand outside ways. The one who stays will continue to learn Cat ways and Ancient ways. These Bad Cats will always converse so what one learns the other will also know. When Tara Bani returns, these Bad Cats will be his Cat Friends together."

"But Father, what are our names? This Cat must have a name at school, a name like Doug or Buck." The more rambunctious brother declared. It was apparent that he assumed he was the one to go to school. His sibling objected with narrowed eyes and fully bared teeth. He was clearly prepared to fight for the right to accompany Bani.

Fang saw that a major conflict was about to break out between his sons and stopped it with a low warning hiss as he changed the subject. "Cats who converse with each other and with humans choose their own names. Other lesser cats have no need because they cannot converse, even with each other."

The two young Cats got very quiet as they looked around the chamber and tried to find some unique thing or plant that they could name themselves after as both assumed that whichever was first and choose the perfect name would be sent to guard Tara Bani and learn exciting and marvelous outside ways.

The quieter Cat suddenly crossed his eyes and declared, "I shall be called Spot!"

"All Great Cats are covered with beautiful spots," Doug observed "why name yourself after just one?"

The Cat crossed his eyes again and answered, "Because I alone have one far larger spot on my nose. It marks this Cat as different from common Great Cats." Somehow Spot managed to look down his nose at his brother so that all would know which of them was 'common'.

"The names, Deformed or Diseased also enters this Cat's mind," Spot's brother hissed in everyone's head, which instantly exposed fearsome incisors as the twins prepared for battle.

"STOP!" Fang ordered which he accompanied with a roar for emphasis. "Henceforth you are to be known as Spot," he declared before he turned his head to stare down upon his other son. "Now you must decide; which name do you wish to be called?"

Doug suddenly felt his back being massaged and then his shoulders being rubbed aggressively. A tail wrapped around his neck and he was turned and pulled backward until he felt a cool nose, warm breath and stiff whiskers moving over his shoulders. "How are your spots called in human language?" The unnamed brother asked. "They are very beautiful," he confirmed after several raspy licks.

"He has them on his cock too," helpful Buck volunteered, "and they don't come off by licking either, I've tried," he added. "Oh, they're called freckles." The Cat tail holding him disappeared under the surface. Doug's eyes rolled back before they closed and he moaned.

Pettie looked down into the clear water and laughed. "I do believe that there's now about a million little Douggie's swimmin' around just lookin' for a home. Y'all best call all the women and girls outta the pool Bani, before y'all have a population explosion all born with red hair an' freckles."

Bani broad beamed images of lookalike redheaded babies bobbing to the surface so the Cat's would understand the humor of Pettie's comment and made sure that each aggressive sperm was the size of a large pollywog.

"Wow," Doug panted, "that was great, Freckles, thank you very much. You certainly have a very versatile tail."

"You are correct Doug; henceforth I am to be called Freckles."

Before anyone could congratulate Freckles on his choice of name, he suddenly looked up at the ceiling, hissed and leaped from the pool. His dripping hackles rose as his eyes quartered the four walls in each compass point. He decided on what was assumed to be the north wall before he hissed and growled; "Great evil and danger has arrived from the sea."

Bani moved to touch Freckles' head as all the Great Cats joined them to face the sea in the north. Bani confirmed Freckles' pronouncement as he received images from the Cat. "It is the destroyer boat," he announced, "it has arrived."

Wow! Way too long but this should keep y'all busy for a while. Emoe? If you're out there, I could use your help............... HAPPY READING!!!

Jamie Haze

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