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“There it is!” Her arm jabs out towards the smooth red plating wedged between two rocks, and she can see the Black Queen’s eyes fall to it across Pygar’s broad chest, but the gesture’s largely useless; she knows that he can’t see it. Her other arm is locked around his shoulders, and she gives him a little squeeze, trying to lean in so her words will reach his ear despite the wind around them. “My ship, Pygar! Set us down!”

“Here?” he asks, simple but aimless, as though the concept has no meaning to him—and perhaps it doesn’t. She knows she’s dragged him along for half of his adventure without him having any real stake in her fight, but she can’t seem to let him go, and he’s so delightfully acquiescent. His wings shift as he hovers in place.

“Yes, right here. Just down—oh, a little to the left...” And he does, descending slowly, carefully, until the toe of her borrowed boot scrapes the jagged earth. She doesn’t let go until he’s settled, bare feet flat against the rock. The Great Tyrant gracefully disentangles from Pygar’s warm body, drifting out towards the tall expanse of Barbarella’s ship. It’s marvelous to see it again—she’s missed its safe, plush interior more than once. But there are still things outside that ship she wants to hold onto.

She makes herself leave Pygar’s embrace, but she doesn’t go far. Half a step away, still within arm’s reach, she looks at him—his handsome face, his chiseled body, his glorious wings and even the humble wrap around his hips. There’s nothing like him anywhere on Earth, or anywhere else in the galaxy, and of all the pleasures she’s found on her journey, she’ll miss him the most.

She opens her mouth and should say goodbye but simply can’t. The Black Queen meanders behind her, stroking delicate fingers across her ship’s cold hull. She hums under her breath, “Mm, it’s very nice...”

Perhaps she merits watching, but Barbarella can’t tear herself away from Pygar’s unseeing eyes. He’s been such a help to her, and he’s so painfully beautiful.

She reaches out to grasp his arm, fingers closing around his bicep, and a wisp of a smile crosses his soft lips. She asks, “Must you return to your nest, Pygar?”

He tilts his head curiously, innocently, and asks, “Must I?”

The queen laughs. “He has no memory of that.” Barbarella pays her no mind, until she’s come up beside them, her arm casually wrapping around Barbarella’s waist, fingers idly caressing Barbarella’s side. A shiver snakes through Barbarella’s entire body, but she finds herself unable to step away. It’s the same power that holds her to Pygar: the same one the Catchman showed her. It’s infinitely better than any pill. The queen tilts against her, body heat coursing against Barbarella’s side—so many places where it’s just skin-on-skin—and that husky voice whispers into her ear, “I don’t have anywhere to go, Pretty-Pretty. No castle to return to now, and it would be a shame to leave such a creature...” As her tantalizing touch traces down Barbarella’s outer thigh, it’s hard to tell whether she means Pygar or Barbarella. Barbarella’s lashes flutter, but she forces herself not to give in to the distraction just yet. This is important.

After all, the Great Tyrant isn’t the one she cares for. The Great Tyrant can hardly be invited onto her ship. It would be a travesty, and yet, Barbarella’s not quite sure what it is she should do with the Black Queen. It would be irresponsible to leave her somewhere else—to make her someone else’s problem. Perhaps it would be for the best if Barbarella kept an eye on her after all.

The queen’s tongue flicks against the shell of Barbarella’s ear. A few stray strands of golden hair are brushed aside for the Great Tyrant to purr, “Besides, my lovely, I can help teach our angel new tricks you never even dreamed of.”

Barbarella’s breath hitches. She can only imagine. Those raw sensations are still new to her, and she’s delighted in every one. The whisper of the Excessive Machine’s scintillating effect still ghosts across her skin. She feels suddenly hotter, flushed, and might be perspiring through her latest outfit, but she has plenty more inside. She makes herself correct, “My angel.”

Pygar makes no protest to being owned by either of them. When Barbarella slips her fingers between his, he holds her back, smiling sweetly. She’s never wanted anything as much as she wants him. Even though she knows it’s wrong to tear him from his home, she can’t help asking, “Will you come with me, Pygar?”

“Of course,” he answers, without missing a beat. So loyal. Loving. He’ll fit right in on Earth, and fit in even better between her legs, enjoying the lush bed of her ship on the way there.

The Great Tyrant should keep things interesting. When Barbarella guides her man through the round door into her ship, she lets the Black Queen follow, the swiftly-approaching night looking very pleasurable indeed.